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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fish Koftas | Fish Balls in Creamy Sauce

Koftas had been my favorite when we stayed in northern parts of India.It was always a desired dish when dining out esp the malai koftas.However,as time passed and as I started cooking myself then the likes and desires changed and its been a while I had it in a restaurant too.The other day I had a packet of tuna in the refrigerator and invariably tuna puffs,tuna cutlets were made but a sort of boredom settled to these regular recipes.And so a trial and error recipe hit the taste buds here and that's this very fish koftas.These were crisp outside and soft inside and kids just gobbled them.I was very happy with the outcome and I think this recipe will grab its place in our monthly menu.Do give it a try if you are looking for a variation to our regular fish curries.I bet anyone would say 'no'and if you are a vegetarian,go ahead and give a shot with grated paneer !!!


Ingredients
to make fish balls

tuna /any fleshy boneless fish 1cup minced
ginger paste 1/2 tsp
green chillies,fine chopped 1 tsp
carrots fine grated 3-4tbsp
potato mashed 1 cup
greek yogurt/thick yogurt 1 tbsp
lemon juice 1 tsp
garam masala 1/2 tsp
coriander leaves/cilantro chopped 1tbsp
curry leaves few chopped
salt to taste 
to coat the balls
corn flour
to make creamy sauce
onion 1 cup finely chopped
cumin seeds 1tsp
ginger garlic paste 2tsp
tomato 2 chopped
broken cashews 2tbsp
chilly powder 1tsp'
turmeric powder 1/2tsp
garam masala 1/4 tsp
cream ,full fat / half n half 1/4 cup
coriander chopped 2tbsp
oil 2tsp


Method
-Mix all the ingredients listed under making fish balls in a bowl.(Refer notes)
-Shape the mix in the form of balls or bullet shapes.Roll these balls in corn flour.
-Heat a kadai/wok and pour oil upto 1 1/2" deep.When the oil is sizzling hot,then slide in each ball.don't overcrowd the wok.Deep fry the balls until evenly light browned,drain on a paper towel .


-Heat another pan with oil listed under cream sauce.Pop the cumin seeds,add the onion and cashews.Saute until slightly browned.Add the chilly powder,turmeric powder,garam masala.
-Add the chopped tomatoes and cook till tender.Add salt.Turn off heat and let it cool down.Blend this mix in the blender without adding water until smooth.
-Heat the same pan and pour the blended mix in it. Add 1 1/2 cup of water and bring it to a boil.
-Add in the chopped cilantro  and add the cream on low flame to finish.
-Add the koftas to the gravy immediately or just before serving whichever way you like the taste.
-Serve warm with chapathis,pulao or any Indian staples !!!





NOTES
* If you re using a packet of tuna in water,squeeze out the water completely.Similarly,after grating the carrots,squeeze out any excess water.Also make sure the potatoes are removed from boiling water immediately after cooked as potato absorbs moisture.Greek yogurt or thick yogurt is one which has no water content.Leaving moisture in the mix may interfere in making balls.
* You can use the same method to make paneer koftas.Grate the paneer.
* You can even use cooked mashed chickpeas instead of boiled potatoes,works really good.I have tried that way too.
* You can use all purpose flour/maida instead of corn flour.
* I love adding the koftas just before serving as the koftas soaked in the gravy for long becomes soggy.Remember that koftas once immersed in the gravy doubles in size so shape the balls accordingly.
* Using red onion for making gravy as it tastes better than white onions.





Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Coconut Fudge | Thenga Burfi

Coconut Fudge(Thenga Burfi) is a very nutty chewy fudge(burfi) that  has predominantly coconut flavor.The cashews add the crunchy bites.This is a very simple burfi recipe and so anyone can please their sweet tooth.It hardly takes few minutes to put together.Enjoy making this simple yet elegant sweet at home to surprise untimely guests or just like that !!


Ingredients
dry coconut/shredded coconut 1 cup
sugar 3/4 cup
water 1/4-1/2 (refer notes)
cardamom 3-4
cashews broken 1tbsp
ghee 2tbsp


Method
-Heat ghee in a non stick pan and fry the broken cashew pieces slightly browned.Remove the cashews along with ghee in a plate.
-Heat water and sugar in the same non stick pan.Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves,bubbles and then reaches one thread consistency.
-Add the shredded coconut,ghee,fried cashews and cardamom powder.Mix well.


-Transfer it into a ghee smeared plate and flatten it with a spoon /offset spatula.Draw lines to cut in square pieces when leukwarm.
-Cool completely and serve or store in air tight containers.


Servings ~ 10 square pieces

NOTES
* I have mentioned 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup water because if you use shredded coconut then 1/4 cup water is required.If you are using dry dessicated coconut then add 1/2 cup water as it is too dry.I have used dry dessicated coconut.
* If you're using shredded coconut then try to leave out the brown portion when scraping as it will not give a pure white color.
* You can pulse the shredded coconut once or twice to blend with the sugar completely.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Lemon Rice | Quick Lunch Box Idea

Lemon rice is a very familiar rice to all and is a quick one to prepare.I love preparing this rice as it can be dressed up in minutes and hardly requires any preparation.This is a perfect rice for travel packs(stays good),lunch boxes.Adding peanuts adds a nice crunchy bites in the rice.This can be prepared by bachelor's or even beginners in cooking.This rice is also a great way to use up(remake) leftover cooked rice.Enjoy this elegant yet simple rice !!!



Ingredients
rice 2 cups
salt to taste
water 3 cups

to temper
mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
curry leaves few
green chillies 3-4
ginger shredded 1 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
peanuts a fistful
chana dal 1/2 tsp
red dry chillies 2
lemon juice of 1 lemon
oil 2-3 tsp




Method
-Cook the rice with salt and water as per packet instruction or as per your choice.I use 1 1/2 cup of water to cook 1 cup of rice.Just ensure that the rice is not mushy once cooked and let it be warm before mixing to the rice(gives the correct texture).Too hot rice can again turn mushy when mixed.
-Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds.Add in the chana dal,peanuts,wait till it turns light browned.Add in the shredded ginger,sliced green chillies,curry leaves.Saute a minute and then add in the asafoetida(hing) and turmeric powder.
-Add the cooked rice and mix gently so that the turmeric powder is evenly coated.Turn off heat and add in the lemon juice,toss well.Serve warm with pickle and pappad !!!


NOTES
*You can use any rice of your choice but basmati rice serves best.



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cantaloupe Ice Cream (Eggless)

Summers are the best time to have chilled and cold smoothies,ice creams,popsicles,granitas and much more.How about a cantaloupe(musk melon) ice cream? This is one fruit which my kids don't like very much and so I always find a way to sneak in this fruit.And its this search that led me to end up making this smooth and delicious ice cream.They really liked the orange color ice cream.Try making it this summer and enjoy !!!



Ingredients
diced cantaloupe 3 cups
sugar 1 cup
condensed milk 3tbsp
heavy whipping cream 1 cup
half n half 2 cups
ginger powder 1/2tsp
lemon juice 2 tbsp
vanilla extract 1tsp


Method
-Wash and cut,remove the core and peel the hard skin.Dice the cantaloupe in cubes and blend it in a blender with 1 cup half n half and condensed milk.Add in the sugar and blend again.
-Whip the whipped cream(very cold) until soft peaks in a cold bowl,add the pinch of salt beat again till stiff peaks.
-Mix the remaining half n half,blended cantaloupe,powdered ginger,lemon juice,vanilla extract.
-Gently mix the whipped cream to the cantaloupe mix.then freeze in a air tight container for 20 minutes.
(If u have an ice cream maker,then proceed according to manufacturer instructions)
-Else,remove from the freezer,whisk it again using a whisker and then freeze again,repeat the same procedure till the time you no longer can whisk.
-Freeze again overnight.Blend in a blender to crush the ice,smooth it in a air tight container.
-Refreeze and serve chilled !!!



Serves 5 cups ice cream

NOTES
* You can use whipped cream instead of whipping cream.If you are using whipped cream,adjust you sugar as per the sugar level in whipped cream.
* Omit ginger powder if you don't like the flavor.



Monday, May 19, 2014

Murgh Badami | Curried Chicken in Almond Sauce

Almond (Badam) Chicken is one recipe which I wished to try since a long time.This is a very creamy chicken curry with delicate flavors.This recipe is similar in looks to the 'shahi' category and is part of Mughalai cuisine.This recipe is not truly the original version of Mughalai cuisine per se,but its almost similar.I have adapted this recipe from ecurry and we definitely liked the dish.I think this is going to be frequently added in our monthly menu.The murgh badami goes perfect with jeera rice,veg pulao or naan or appams too.Do give this a try to surprise your family with a new recipe and am sure kids will love it as the spice levels are low compared to the regular curry !!!


Ingredients
to marinate
chicken 2lbs
lemon juice 2 tbsp
red chilly powder 1 tsp
garam masala 1 1/2 tsp
yogurt,strained 3tbsp
salt to taste

to prepare chicken 
onion thinly sliced loosely 4 cups
ginger paste 2tbsp
garlic paste 1tbsp
green chillies 6-8 divided
almonds 1/2 cup soaked overnight and peeled
whole spices(cloves-6,cardamom -6,cinnamon sticks 2; 1" pieces,bay leaves 2
milk /almond milk 1/2 cup or full cream 1/4 cup
nutmeg grated 1/4 tsp
oil or ghee 3-5tbsp
salt to taste

to garnish
cilantro chopped 3tbsp
silvered almonds or toasted


Method
-Wash and clean the chicken under running water,pat dry.Make a marinade using red chilly powder,lemon juice and salt.Marinate for half an hour and then add the yogurt and garam masala.Mix well and refrigerate overnight or atleast an hour.
-Then,pound the whole spices(cloves& cardamom) by adding in a ziploc bag or in mortar & pestle.Break in pieces. (don't powder)
-Heat a pan and add the pound spices,along with cinnamon and bay leaves.Wait till it becomes fragrant.Add in the oil /ghee and add the sliced onions.Saute till it becomes translucent and slightly browned by adding a pinch of salt.(don't overbrown the onions as the dish is lighter in shades)
-Add in the ginger and garlic paste,saute till raw smell disappears.
-Remove the chicken from marinade,save the marinade aside.Add the chicken alone to the pan,adjust salt.Toss the chicken frequently till all the sides are coated evenly  and the mixture is dry.Don't over brown the chicken too as we need a light colored gravy.
-In the meantime,grind the peeled almonds with reserved marinade,half of the green chillies mentioned.Blend to a smooth paste.Once the chicken masala is dry,add in this paste,nutmeg powder and add 2 cups of water,mix well.Let it cook covered on med-low flame until chicken is cooked and gravy thickens,oil/ghee floats at the top.Adjust salt if required.
-Garnish with chopped cilantro and silvered almonds.Serve with naan ,jeera rice or any vegetable pulao !!(we had with jeera rice)


NOTES
* I have used chicken thigh fillets cut in 2 inch pieces.But you can use any chicken parts with or without bones but make sure to cut smaller pieces.

*  You can use greek yogurt instead of the regular one as it gives a thicker consistency.As my pantry ran out of it,I just added strained regular full fat yogurt.
* I marinated the chicken over night,if you don't have much time then atleast 1 hour of marination should be followed.this helps in making the chicken soft and juicier.
* Add the green chillies as per tolerance.I added half of the mentioned chillies to make paste and added the rest as sliced.You can add either way.
* I have used oil instead of ghee.You can add ghee and oil or use ghee alone or as I used.I have used full cream 1/4 cup instead of milk.You can even add coconut milk instead of milk/almond milk/fresh cream.
* You can add dry raisins soaked in hot water as garnish if you love the sweet bites.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Chocolate-Raspberry Bars : Baking Partners Challenge May 2014

After a very long time(a year),I must say that just started baking for baking partners again.I loved this group always as I love baking and I missed each of the earlier posts too.Swathi @ Zesty South Indian Kitchen started this and as a team the members have learnt new ways,techniques and improved the baking skills.This month the recipe was suggested by Suja @ Kitchen Corner-Try It.There were three recipes in all-lemon bars,chocolate raspberry bars and a vegan bar too.I opted the chocolate-raspberry one obvious that kids love chocolates and sweet.Though the lemony ones looked fancy and bright.I followed the recipe word to word,didn't change anything.Thanx Suja and Swathi for selecting this wonderful bars,kids loved it a lot.Do give this a try and enjoy making your own bars at home !!!




Ingredients
for dough
walnuts 1cup
all purpose flour 1 3/4 cup
sugar 1/2 cup
salt 1/4 tsp
lemon zest 2tsp
vanilla extract  2tsp
chilled butter 2 sticks or 1 cup
egg yolks 3

for topping
walnuts 1/4 cup
all purposeflour 1/4 cup
sugar 2tbsp

for filling
chocolate chunks 6 oz
seedless ,raspberry jam 1/2 cup


Method 
-TO MAKE THE WALNUT COOKIE DOUGH
Finely process walnuts in a blender or food processor.Keep aside.
Combine egg yolk,vanilla , chopped chilled butter,sugar salt and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse 10-12 times until combined.
Add in the flour ,processed nuts and continue to pulse the blender until the dough becomes sticky crumbs and not as a ball.Put together as a ball,cover with a plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F and remove thedough from refrigerator,cut out 1/4 of the dough and replace this 1/4 back in fridge.Pat the remaining 3/4th dough in a unbuttered 13*9 " pan evenly with hands or spatula.


-FILLING
Stir preserve using a spatula or spoon and gently spread over the patted dough.(see pics)
Chop the chocolate in chunks and spread over the preserve.


-TOPPING
Cut the remaining 1/4 dough in small pieces.Add with the ingredients listed under topping and pulse in a food processor till it resembles a crumbly mixture.
Spread this evenly over the chocolate and jam preserve.


-BAKING
Place it in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until the crumbles are crisp and light brown.
Cool over a wire rack until leuk warm.Using a sharp knofe cut in slices.
Enjoy or store in air tight containers upto 3 days.




Serves ~16 square pieces

NOTES
* You can use any other choice fruit topping instead of raspberry.
* I feel you can reduce the amount of dough used for making crumble topping to less than 1/4th dough as mine was fully covered with crumbs and so couldn't make out the topping at one glance unless you see the sides.
 


 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mushroom Thoran ( Kerala style Stir Fry)

Did you know mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle? These are the only exceptional one to the rule that plants don't naturally contain Vitamin D.(read it here)They also are a rich source of many antioxidants,minerals and has beta glucans(an important factor for immunity stimulating there by reducing chances of allergies).So,friends here is a simple yet delicious stir fry recipe of this nutritious veggie.It tastes similar to scrambled eggs.It is one of my mom's signature recipes which I loved a lot as a kid.And now my kids love this too.Enjoy this with steamed rice !!!


Ingredients
button mushrooms 1pck
shallots 4-5 sliced
onion medium sized, chopped fine 1/2
garlic 2 cloves sliced
green chillies 3-4
pepper powder 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/3 tsp
grated coconut 1/3 cup
mustard seeds 1/2 tsp
fennel seeds 1/2 tsp
curry leave a sprig
salt to taste
oil 2-3 tsp


Method
-Wash the mushrooms and pat dry on  a paper towel.Clean the mushrooms by peeling the outer smooth skin.Finely chop the mushrooms.Keep ready all other ingredients listed.
-Heat a pan with oil.Splutter mustard seeds on medium flame and then add the fennel seeds.Add in the finely chopped onion,shallots,green chillies,garlic and curry leaves.Saute till the onions become translucent.
-Add in the turmeric powder,pepper powder.Saute half a minute and then add the finely chopped mushroom.Toss it well,add salt.
-Cover and cook for 5 minutes,wait till the mushroom changes color and leaves out water.Uncover the lid and add in the grated coconut,cover and leave on low heat for 2 mins.Adjust salt.
-Ensure that there is no moisture left out and is dry stir fry.Serve warm with steamed rice !!!


Servings~ a small bowl

NOTES
* I have used regular button mushrooms.
* Remember that mushroom once cooked will be reduced to half the original amount,so plan accordingly.
* Add in salt lesser than required the first time and then adjust.
* You can add powdered fennel too instead of the fennel seeds.\
* Adjust the green chillies as per tolerance.



Monday, May 12, 2014

Chickpea (Kabuli Chana) Dip

Weather has turned warmer here in our place and weekend was pretty good.I think its finally time to bid good-bye to sweaters and jackets.Today's recipe is a simple dip-Chick peas dip.As the name suggests,Chick Peas(Kabuli chana) is a perfect dip for munching tortilla chips or any other chips.This is a very healthy recipe and a quick one to prepare if you have some cooked chana left out in your fridge.You can call this similar to hummus.Another easy way to sneak in chick peas to kids without them knowing.This has a very mild spicy,tangy flavors perfect to match the chips.We just loved munching chips with it,try n enjoy !!



Ingredients
chickpeas, cooked 2 cup
yogurt,full fat 1/3cup
garlic 1 clove
lime juice 4 tsp/vinegar 2 tsp
cumin, freshly ground 1/2tsp
olive oil 1 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
pepper powder to taste
green bell pepper chopped fine 4tbsp
mint leaves to garnish



Method
- Soak the chick peas overnight and cook the chickpeas with water,turmeric powder and salt in a pressure cooker for 3-4 whistles.
- Add the chick peas,garlic,yogurt,lime juice,ground cumin,salt and pepper powder in a blender until smooth.
- Mix the olive oil,chopped bell pepper and mint leaves to garnish.
- Serve with tortilla chips or use as sandwich spread.


NOTES
* You can use vinegar instead of lime juice.And add or decrease the amount mentioned depending on your likes.
* You can omit the chopped green bell pepper if you wish.
* You can add little water to grind the chick peas if you wish to make the consistency as per desired taste.


my li'l ones ready to dig in :)

Friday, May 09, 2014

Netholi (Chooda) Peera Pattichathu | Anchioves Stir Fry

Anchioves stir fry /netholi(chooda) peera pattichathu is a side dish served with steamed rice.I love this preparation a lot.I can even have chapathis with this preparation.This dish is best prepared by balancing all the flavors.Netholi is the smaller version of chooda  and in some places in Kerala both are known as chooda irrespective of the sizes.This is chooda and so it can be cut in halves whereas netholi has to be added just like that.This fish is very healthy for all and is also served to lactating mothers in the initial phase of feeding.Try and you will definitely love this recipe!!!


Ingredients
anchioves 15-20,large ones
gambooge /kudampuli 2-3
pepper powder 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
coconut oil 2tsp
curry leaves

to crush/pulse
grated coconut 1/2 cup
green chillies 6 vertical slit
ginger 1" shredded
shallots 7-8


Method
- Wash and clean the anchioves by snapping the head and tail with hands.Rub sea salt and wash under running water 6 times or more till water is clear.(I cut each in half as these were large ones otherwise use just like that)
-In the meantime,add the ingredients under crush list to a blender and pulse it 2 times.
-Soak the gambooge/kudam puli in water for 20 minutes.
-Mix the fish ,crushed coconut mix,pepper powder,turmeric powder,salt,soaked gambooge,curry leaves and a half cup water in a meenchatti/clay pot.Place over heat and cook covered for 15 mins or till fish is cooked.
-Uncover lid and gently stir the fish using a fork.Adjust salt if required.Cook uncovered if you have any water left out.Pour the coconut oil on top.
-Cover and leave for 5 mins for the oil to blend well.
-Serve warm with steamed rice !!


Servings ~ 3 adults

NOTES
* You can use the same method to cook mathi/sardine peera pattichathu.
* Increase or decrease the chillies and pepper powder as per spice level.
* Adding coconut oil is a must to bring out the actual flavors in the stir fry.
* Don't add any water to crush the coconut and don't overdo it.
* Don't mix the stir fry using a spoon,wait till its warm to remove on a plate otherwise the cooked fish will get mashed up.


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Idli Milagu Podi | Chutney Powder for Idlis

Idli Milagu Podi is a quick and simple recipe which you can prepare ahead and can be stored over a month.This is a handy chutney powder that hardly takes a preparation of ten minutes and can be mixed with sesame oil to enjoy with idlis.I prepared this long back with tuvar/toor dal (recipe from one of the websites)but we didn't like the taste much.However, when one of my friend,Jayanthi served us idlis with this milagu podi and payasam on the occasion of Golu on our visit to her home.I was just hooked by the taste so much that I requested her for the recipe.She was grateful to send me the recipe and the total credits of the recipe goes to her.


Try making this healthy podi at home and mix it with a dash of gingelly oil,Enjoy !!!


Ingredients
chana dal 1/2 cup
urad dal 1/2 cup
dry red chillies 15-20
asafoetida/hing powder 1/4 tsp
curry leaves a sprig
salt to taste



Method
-Heat a pan.Fry the urad dal and chana dal until golden brown on low medium flame.Keep stirring so that the dal don't get burn and then keep aside.(add a tsp of oil or leave )
-Fry the red dry chillies with a little salt(to reduce the smell).Add in the asafoetida ,sprig of curry leaves.Add salt as per taste.


-Grind all together coarsely and store in a airtight container.
-Mix it with sesame oil(gingelly oil ) whenever required to a small batch and the idli milagu podi is ready to serve !!!



Servings~ 1 small bottle

NOTES
* You can omit the curry leaves if you wish.
* I added 18 red dry chillies which gave a moderately spicy podi.Add as per your spice level.
* You should add gingelly oil to get  the exact flavor.



Monday, May 05, 2014

Whole Wheat Chocolate Waffles

Hope all had a relaxing weekend and are busy back again in yet another week.Today's recipe is a whole wheat chocolate waffles.I recently added a new appliance in my kitchen,the most awaited waffle maker.Kids are a big fan of waffles and that's the only reason of buying this new gadget at home.But I never wanted to try the restaurant style waffles loaded with all purpose flour.I wished to sneak in a healthy waffle that can be tried at home with whole wheat flour.I know the first thing that comes to your mind is a dense waffle with whole wheat flour but I must admit that these are very light and soft in texture and my kids really enjoyed having these with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and strawberries.This is a very healthy alternative and a varied option to regular breakfast,enjoy !!!!



Ingredients
wheat flour 1 1/2 cups
baking powder 2 tsp
cocoa powder 1/2 cup
sugar granulated 4 tbsp
eggs 2 separated
canola oil or any vegetable oil 1/3 cup
milk 1 1/2 cup
vanilla extract 1 tsp
salt to taste



Method
-Sift the wheat flour,cocoa powder,granulated sugar,baking powder twice,mix it well.
-Beat the egg yolk and milk.Mix in oil and vanilla extract.Add in the mixed dry ingredients in batches.Mix slowly without lumps.(If there are lumps then don't bother much but don't overmix it)
-Using an electric mixer,beat the egg whites till stiff peaks.Fold in the egg whites to the batter without mixing it too much.
-Heat a waffle maker according to manufacturer's instruction.Spray a cooking spray all around.Pour half cup of batter in each or pour using a laddle or until the plate is full reaching all over.
-Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes or as per each manufacturer instruction.Using a fork gently flip it unto a wire rack and let them cool.(Don't stack the waffles one upon the other when it is hot as they become soggy)
-Enjoy them with chocolate chips or chocolate sauce or whipped cream or just a scoop of vanilla ice cream.



NOTES
* Sifting the flour is an important step as this will aerate the batter well.
* Add a pinch of salt when beating egg whites and also the bowl in which you're beating egg white should be grease free.
* Add sugar as per sweet tooth.As per this you get a bitter sweet chocolate waffles which tastes good with  a scoop of vanilla ice cream.Add chocolate chips if you wish that way too.


Servings 6 quarter size waffles in a 12" round waffle maker