Sunday, 7 September 2014

AVIYAL

(Kerala style mix vegetable)

Happy onam to all those who are celebrating.


My son-in-law is from Kerala and his palate is very specific about every cuisine, with a fondness for good food. Apart from Kerala food, he loves many north Indian dishes too. Whenever I am making Kerala dishes, I make sure that they are perfect in taste.


Before my daughter's marriage I had no idea of kerala food. I only knew masala dosa and sambhar with three- four colourful chutneys. My husband also loves masala dosa, whenever I go to the Indian restaurant, the first thing I check is if they have masala dosa in the menu. In south indian restaurants I go for paper masala dosa, which is more crisper than masala dosa.


This photo is of onam sadya. Sadya is a term used in kerala for the full meal that is had on onam. This meal comprises several number of dishes (sometimes 10) served with rice, papad and aachar, and several chutneys. My daughter made all the dishes except aviyal, which I made. You can notice the mango pickle which I posted on by blog on 11th august.


Aviyal is one of my favourite dishes from Kerala. If I do not eat it for few months, I really crave for it. It is very colourful and its aroma is very nice with yoghurt, coconut and green chilli.


RECIPE

INGREDIENTS
  • 200 grams carrots
  • 200 grams beans
  • 200 grams pumpkin
  • 200 grams cucumber
  • 200 grams plantain
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp spoon grated coconut
  • 2-3 green chilli
  • 1 tsp cumin powder (jeera)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
  • pinch asafoitida (hing)
  • 6-8 curry leaves
Method

  • Wash and chop all the vegetables and grind the green chilli, cumin powder and coconut with little water and make a paste.
  • heat the oil in a fry pan, add mustard seeds, asafoetida, after few seconds add curry patta and saute for a minute.
  • Add pumpkin, carrot, plantain and beans with salt and cover it, till they are tender but not very soft, it will take 10-15 minutes.
  • Add the coconut paste and switch off the gas.
  • When aviyal is warm, fold in yoghurt.
A big bowl of aviyal is ready which can be served with rice. I even enjoy with roti or paratha.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

RED PLUM CHUTNEY

(SUITABLE FOR VEGANS)



Plums are in season in this part of the world, soon they will disappear from the shops as fall season is already approaching. Soon winter will knock on the door and I am going to miss all these lovely fruits like peaches, plums, nectarine and my favorite ... cherry. I wish cherry was available throughout the year.


The story of this chutney recipe invention is that- when I was in South Africa, we regularly frequented the farmers market early mornings on the weekends. At such markets there were very nice fresh fruits and vegetables available at very reasonable prices. The only problem was that we had to buy in bulk, but this only meant that we had plenty to share amongst friends and neighbors. This gesture was duly reciprocated by our friends! One saturday morning my friend gave me half a box of fresh red plums, around 4 kg. After getting the box I thought, what am I going to do with so many plums?


That's when I got this idea of making plum chutney. I thought of using the sweet and sour qualities of the plums with a dash of ginger and green chilli, which turned out very nice. Now it is made in my kitchen whenever plums are available in summer season. A dear friend of mine calls me to remind me during plum season, “when are you making your plum chutney?!”.



The good thing about this chutney is that it is suitable for fasting days when hindus fast from grains and are not suppose to eat any onion or garlic. This plum chutney also goes very well with any snack like samosa, pakoda etc and is also good with rice-curry or any subzi-roti/nan during lunch or dinner time.


RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

-500 grams red plums
-250 grams sugar (brown is better)
-50 grams finely sliced ginger
-finely sliced or whole green chilli to taste
-salt and chilli powder to taste
-2-3 cloves
-1 tbs fennel seeds (saunf)
-1 tsp mustered seeds (rai)
-1 tsp garam masala
-2 tbs oil

METHOD
  • Wash, clean and finely chop the red plums and remove the stones.
  • Heat the oil in a fry pan on a medium flame.
  • When hot add mustard and fennel seeds and cloves, when fennel seeds are changing the colour, add ginger and green chilli and fry them.
  • When ginger is brown, add the chopped red plums and then salt, chilli powder and cover the fry pan with the lid.
  • Leave it on slow gas for 15-20 minutes till plums are tender and cooked.
  • Add sugar and mix well, let it cook for another 10 minutes till the water evaporates and the chutney is thick enough.

It can be stored in the fridge for 10-15 days in a sterilized glass bottle and can be served with any snack or meal.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

MALAI KOFTA CURRY



Malai kofta is a very famous curry in Indian cuisine, it is a rich curry because of the ingredients used in it. Koftas (balls) are made with paneer (home made fresh cheese) and curry is made with malai (cream), some people call it paneer kofta. In almost all Indian restaurants, this dish is sure to be found. Whenever I am anticipating a vegetarian guest at home, I make this dish.


Paneer is a fresh cheese, which is used from ages and is common in South Asian cuisine and used a lot in north India cuisine. Paneer dishes are many and paneer is used in different types of recipes. One form of paneer is called chhena, which is a slightly different version, when water is drained out and milk solid is used. In this version paneer is not pressed to make it harder to get cubed sized shape.



These days paneer is so popular, and so many new paneer preparations are just mushrooming in north Indian markets. In Delhi, I have seen Idly shaped Dhokla stuffed with paneer, paneer wraps and paneer toppings on pizza, just to name a few.


In my family a majority of people like paneer and all its preparations. My eldest grandson loves paneer dishes, once he sees that a paneer dish is made, he will first clap and do a dance at the dining table and then will sit down to enjoy the food.


Chhena is normally used for making sweet dishes, a lot is used in Bengali sweets, in this recipe I have used chhena. Normally the gravy of these curry is very rich in which full cream is used, but I have used half and half which is easily available in North America. Half and half is a light version of cream in which half is milk and half cream is used.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

For chhena:-
- 1 and ½ l milk
- 3 tablespoon vinegar

For kofta balls:-

-300 paneer or chenna (home made)
-100 grams semolina
-50 grams rice powder
-salt to taste
- chilli powder to taste
-Oil for frying

For Gravy:-

-200 gram onion ( one big)
-200 grams tomatoes ( one Big)
-2 cups half and half (We get in North America, which is     half cream, half milk)
-3 tablespoon oil
-1 tsp cumin seeds
-1 tsp garam masala
-2 tsp coriander powder
-½ tsp red chilli powder
-salt to taste
-finally chopped fresh coriander for garnishing

METHOD

For Chhena :-
  1. Boil the milk in thick bottomed sauce pan.
  2. When it starts boiling add vinegar and mix.
  3. The water will separate from the milk solids.
  4. Sieve the whole thing to remove water from it, Leave the milk solid in the sieve for 30 minutes.
  5. Chhena is ready.

For Kofta balls:-
   1.In a bowl mix chenna with semolina and rice flour,        add salt and pepper, make small kofta balls and keep      it aside.
   2.Heat the oil on a medium flame, when the oil is hot,        fry these balls till light brown.
   3.Leave it to cool for some time.
FOR CURRY
  1. heat oil in a wok, when hot, add cumin seeds and fry till they change the colour.
  2. Add finally chopped onion and fry till golden brown.
  3. Add finally chopped tomatoes and fry for few minutes, add all dry masals and leave it to cool.
  4. Once cold, transfer this mixture in a blander, add half cup of water and pulse for few minutes.
  5. Pour the mixture back into wok, add half and half and boil for few minutes.
  6. Add the koftas, boil for a minute and switch off the gas.
  7. Serve in a flat try, garnish with fresh coriander.
This can be served with nan, roti, parantha or plain rice, can be served to 4-5 people.