How are you all doing? Happy Valentines day! A day for love, a day to be loved and a day for love to be loved! Yup.. Its one whole day when we get to show our special people that they matter to us. And unlike many people, I absolutely love the idea of having this day. No it doesn’t not mean that we can’t show love on other days, and if you see it like that then I feel sorry for you. If you giving me another chance to show you how much you mean to me and you make it mandatory on the 14th of every Feb then I am taking it! Cause you know what? no matter how hard I try, some days, I forget to tell you how much you mean to me. Somedays I try but I might not be able to get to you cause you were having a bad day. But today I am going to take that day. Also maybe 20 years from now, this day might not mean as much as it does today but so what? Today is what matters right?
So on this special day, I decided to make my husband his favourite deep fried snack. These cutlets. I do not make them often, infact the last time I made them was close to a year ago. Simply cause they are deep fried and they involve quite a few steps. But once you make them, you could make a large batch and freeze them and use them as and when you want. That is what I did this time 🙂 This recipe is from my grandmother and her cutlets are out of this world. These little bites of heaven are perfect for a evening snack or a great side for dinner time. There are many variations to these cutlets, some people add cashews to the meat and some others fry the meat and add rice flour. My recipe is quite straightforward. Boil / cook each part of the recipe. Combine , dip , coat and fry! FINISH!
Chicken – 500 gms ( boneless)
Potatoes – 4 large
Onions – 3 cups ( chopped fine )
Green Chillies – 10 ( adjust to taste)
Ginger – 4 inch knob
Garlic – 14 cloves
Turmeric Powder – 2 tsp + 1 tsp
Coriander Powder – 4 tsp + 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder – 3 tsp
Pepper Powder – 2 tsp
Fresh Coriander Leaves – 1 cup ( chopped)
Mint leaves – 1 cup (chopped)
Salt – 1 tsp + 2 tsp + 1 tsp ( adjust to taste)
Oil – 2 tbsp + more for deep frying
Eggs – 2 ( beaten )
Bread Crumbs – 1 cup ( more according to shape of cutlet)
Peel potatoes and boil till soft. Set aside
In a pressure cooker add the chicken pieces. Then add 1 tsp turmeric powder + pepper powder (2 tsp) + Coriander powder 1 tsp + 1 tsp salt. Pressure cook the chicken for 3 whistles. ( If you do not have a cooker, just use a pot and boil the chicken till cooked well.)
Once the chicken is cooked, open the cooker and look for water. If there is excess water, cook the chicken on high flame till all the water has evaporated. Same for when cooking in a pot. Once all the water has evaporated, set aside to cool down
Then in a blender, blend the chicken to form a coarse paste. Make sure not to grind it too much. You want some chucks of chicken to remain
In a large flat bottom pot, add 2 tbsp of oil. Once the oil is hot. add the onions and fry till golden brown. During this time in a mortar and pestle add the ginger + garlic and green chillies. Crush to form a nice coarse paste
Add the ginger paste to the onions and fry till the garlic looses its raw smell
Then add the rest of the turmeric powder + coriander powder + garam masala powder. Give it a good mix and fry till the masala has cooked well into the onion mixture
Set aside to cool. During this time lets get our assembly line ready 🙂
In one plate add the boiled potatoes + the onions spice mixture. Add the fresh mint and coriander
Mix with your hand to evenly distribute all the ingredients. Then add the ground chicken
after you have mixed the chicken with the rest of the spiced potato mixture, make small patties of equal size and set on a large cookie sheet or plate
Now with one hand dunk the patties into the light beaten egg mixture and then into the bread crumbs to coat evenly
Set aside in a large plate ready for frying!
In a large wok or Khadai, heat oil
Once the oil is hot ( on medium heat) fry the patties till golden brown
So the festivities are just around the corner and I have tons of festive food recipes to share with you. But before that I would like to share this recipe. If you are the kind of person who loves rotti and chicken or plain rice and chicken, then this is the dish for you. Pepper chicken has been adapted to suit every taste bud around India. Infact every region has its own version of a pepper chicken. This recipe is from the chettinad region of India. Now the chettiyars are a class of people that loved money and had a fine eye for architecture. But personally I think their greatest contribution is their cuisine! Every single dish has a distinct taste and unique flavour that keeps you coming back to it ever so often. This is one such dish. Traditionally, you would require a “arakal” to make this spice mixture but a mortar and pestle or even a blender would do the job. Another important aspect of this style of cooking is the fact that whole spices are used in the recipe and not the powder, this helps to enhance the pungency of the spices. Ok I have said enough about the dish. Here is the recipe. Do try it out and I promise that you will not be dissapointed!
Instructions :– 1. In a khadai, dry roast the above ingredients (except the turmeric powder, ginger and garlic). Take care not to burn the spices
2.Then in a mortar add the spice and the other ingredients and grind to a fine paste. Use 1 tbsp of water if required
1. Chicken – 1 kg
2. Vegetable Oil – 1/2 cup
3. Cardamom – 5
4. Onions – 1 + 1/2 cup finelly chopped
5. Tomato Puree – 1 cup
6. Salt – to taste
7. Water – 2/3 cup
1. In the same Kadai, heat oil. Once the oil is hot, add cinnamon, cardamom and onions. Mix well and let the onions fry till golden brown
2. Then add the tomato puree. Mix well to combine. Then add the ground up spices (above) and mix well. Cook on medium flame till the oil seperates from the mixture 3. Then add the chicken into the masala mixture. Let it come to a boil. Then lower the heat, add 2/3 cup of water and cover and cook for 20 mins on low
4. After 20 mins, open the cover and crank up the heat and cook till all the water has evporated and the masala coats the chicken. 5. Your Chettinad pepper chicken is ready! Serve with hot rice or flaky malabar parathas!
It has been so hot in Bangalore I can not begin to describe the heat! When I moved to Bangalore, I remember even in March some morning we would have to wear sweaters to school. But given the heat now, its hard to believe there was a time like that.
This recipe is actually a “Prasadam” also. Ok now a Prasadam is an offering that s made to good and then distributed in a temple or any religious place, between the devotees. Even a fruit or flower offered to god, can be considered a Prasadam. In many home in India, this recipe is made every day, using various kinds of pulses, nuts etc (like peanuts, green gram etc) We make this dish during the summer months, cause unlike many indian dishes, this is low on heat, spice and it is considered a salad. I love how easy it is to make this dish and its easier to polish off 😛 Ok now if you are using chickpeas from the can, then you do not need to soak it overnight and pressure cook it. I buy 2 kilos of these grams every month ( the dry version) So it basically goes into this, or hummus or a North Indian Channa Curry.
Chickpeas – 1 + 1.2 cup – (if using dried – soak over night and pressure cook for 4 whistles)
Coconut Oil – 3 tbsp
Black Mustard Seeds – 1 tbsp
White Urad Dal – 1 tbsp
Dry Red Chilli – 4
Curry Leaves – 2 steams
Fresh Grated Coconut – 3/4 cup
Salt – to taste
Green Chillies – 3 (slit into two)
Lemon Juice – half of one lemon ( optional)
In a heavy bottom wok / Khadai heat oil
Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, add the urad dal and dry red chillies
When the chillies puff up, add the curry leaves
Then add the chicken peas ( if canned drain the water and use)
Add the green chillies, coconut and salt
Mix well to cover the chickpeas well
Turn off the flame and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the chickpeas and mix well
How are you all doing today? So this is what I made for our dinner last night. It is so simple and hardly takes any time. If you have any left over rice, you can use that too. I make a new batch of rice everyday so I can add that to my sons diet. Rice is a staple at my place. It could be fermented like in Dosas and Idilis, or plain rice and Pulav/ Pilaf or just various kinds of flavoured rice. Its not really the best thing to have a lot of rice in your diet and trust me I know that, but its just the easiest thing to cook when you can’t spend too much time in the kitchen. One question I get very often is how do I cook my rice? Now heres the thing, cooking rice purely depends on the type of rice!
If you are using a good quality Basmati rice, then one cup of rice with 2 cups of water is perfect! But if is red rice, or any kind of wild rice, its a whole different story. We make a lot of red rice at home, but that involves soaking the rice for one whole night and then using tons of water and then draining out the excess water! Its a long procedure, but personally I love the flavour of red rice. Back in my village we always have red rice. Ah the taste of red rice and avial!
My son loves it too!! We make Kanji – ( rice cooked in lots of water) and have it with Payar (green gram curry) with Papapdam and pickle. It is just the simplest dish on this planet and yet the most healthy and power packed meal ever!
Ok so back to this recipe. This recipe is super simple!! All you have to do is make the tempering and mix them both! Finished!
Basmati Rice – 1 cup ( soaked for 15 – 20 mins)
Water – 2 cups
Salt – 1 tsp
Coconut Oil – 4 tbsp
Dry Red Chillies – 6
Mustards Seeds – 2 tbsp
Urad Dal – 1 tbsp
Channa Dal – 1 tbsp
Cashew Nuts – 10
Curry Leaves – 15 ( cleaned and dried)
Asafoetida – a pinch
Salt – to taste ( for the final dish)
Fresh desiccated coconut – 1 cup
Pour 2 cups of water into a large dish with a lid. Once the water comes to a boil, add the soaked rice and salt. Stir gently and cover and cook for 10 mins
Then using a spoon, take one grain of rice and check if the rice is cooked. If so, turn the flame off and set aside
In a large wok / Khadai, heat coconut oil
When the oil is nice and hot, add mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to crackle, add the dry red chillies, asafoetida, urad dal, channa dal and cashew nuts . Fry till the urad dal turns a light golden yellow
Then add the curry leaves and stir
Then add the coconut and the cooked rice
Stir well to combine all the ingredients
Add salt according to taste and your dish is done!
Serve right away with your choice of curry or just with yogurt and popopdams
This time around I am taking you back to my roots. This recipe has been on my ‘to do’ list for quite sometime now but I honestly haven’t had the time to make it. Simply put, this one is a little tough and time consuming to make and for me this recipe is complex.
But just because I said that, please do not be dissuaded from trying this one out. If you have never tasted authentic Prawn Theeyal from Alapuzha, Kerala then trust me, you have missed out on something really unique. This dish does not use a single drop of oil. All its colour, taste, texture, flavour and aroma is derived from the roasted fresh coconuts. The prawns may also be substituted for fish, vegetables or just potatoes and cashew nuts (with certain minor changes to the recipe)
We Malayalee’s have a way of adding coconuts to everything! It’s actually quiet interesting to note that there is not a single part of the coconut tree that gets wasted! Every part finds a very unique use in our culture. The coconut itself is used in almost every Malayalee recipe, the leaves of the coconut tree are used for thatched roofs and chicken huts, the flowers are used in every Hindu Malayalee wedding, the branches are used for cooking fuel, the list is endless! So when I say, I am going to share a Malayalee dish, 99.9% chances are that there is a coconut or two used in the recipe! LOL
Now another thing with this recipe is that, this dish tastes better the day after it is made. Yes! Somehow the flavour just enhances overnight and by the next day the dish has so much more flavour and tastes divine. The recipe is divided into two, first is the roasted spice coconut and then the main dish. The roasted spiced coconut mixture (Araap) can be made in large batches and stored in the freezer. But remember you have to bring the mixture back to room temperature and then heat it a little bit in order to be used again for the recipe. Also fresh coconuts have to be used throughout the recipe an not the dry dehydrated kinds.
Ingredients for the Araap / the roasted spiced coconut mix
Coconut – 1 large (grated fine)
Dry Red Chilli – 4- 5
Fenugreek Seeds – 4 – 5 seeds
Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – 10 leaves ( fresh)
Shallots – 10 ( cut into three)
In a large kadai, add the coconut and start to fry on low heat. Make sure to stir constantly and on low so that you do not burn the coconut. Roast the coconut evenly till light brown
Then add the rest of the ingredients and fry till the coconut is golden brown to a little dark brown
At this time you will be able to smell the coconut roast and the spice also emit a wonderful pungent aroma (it takes around 15 – 20 mins, be patient and ensure the heat is on low)
At this stage turn off the flame and let the mixture cool down
When the mixture is just a little about room temperate, empty into a mix jar and blitz on medium
Do not add water to the mixture
Open the lid at every one min interval and give contents of the jar a nice stir
Finally you will see the mixture begin to become wet! that is because of the oil that comes out of the roasted coconut. This is key to the recipe. Make sure to blitz till you achieve a nice paste-like consistency
Your Araap is ready!
Now to assemble the main dish
Prawns – 1 kg – de shelled, de veined
Coconut Pieces – 1 from one coconut ( cut to small rectangles)
Green Chilli – 3
Tamarind Paste – 3 tbsp
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
Water – 1 cup ( divided into 3)
Place a khadai / Mann Chatti on medium flame.
Then add the turmeric and 1/3rd of the water
Once the water is hot add the coconut, green chilli and tamarind paste and bring to a boil
Then add the prawns and cook for 5 mins
Finally add the Araap to the mixture in the Mann Chatti and add a little more water
Cover the pot and let it cook for another 5 mins
Now if you see that you do not have enough gravy, add rest of the water and cook for 2 mins
You will see the gravy thicken and turn from light yellow to golden dark brown
My next post is an authentic Kerala style fish fry for which the perfect accompaniment is a “Nadan” salad. Back in Kerala it’s called Challaas. Usually when alcoholic drinks are served with fish fry, Challas is a must. So here it is.
Onions – 2 large
White Vinegar – 2tbsp
Green Chilli – 2
Salt – ½ tsp
Cut onions length wise and green chilli’s into small thin round circles.
In a bowl add the onions, chilis, vinegar. Toss in the salt and mix it all up nice and well. Serve straightaway or the onion will lose water and it will become soggy .
An authentic south Indian breakfast includes a preparation made with Rice or Wheat, usually fermented overnight and then either steamed or fried. Once such dish is the Idli! Accompanied with a chutney or a chammanthy, Iddli’s are best served hot out of the cooker with “Kappi” – Coffee.
Idli Rice/ Boiled Rice – 3 cups
Urad Dal / Back Gram (skinless) – 1 cup
Salt – 1 heap teaspoon
Water – Three parts
One part to soak rice
Second to soak Urad Dal
Third Part set aside for grinding the mixture
Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ teaspoon
Preparing the Batter –
Soak rice in a container ensuring the level of water is above the rice. In another bowl soak urad dal and fenugreek seeds. Let them soak for about 4 – 6 hours.
First grind the soaked urad dal. You will see how the batter is nice and fluffy. Grind to a nice smooth silky consistency. Keep aside. Then grind the rice to the same consistency as the urad dal. If required add little water while grinding and then add the rice batter to the urad dal. Mix thoroughly and add salt.
Store this mixture in a big bowl (twice the level of batter) to allow the batter to ferment and rise! Just incase place a plate underneath the bowl so if it does spill over there won’t be a mess on your counter. Let this batter stand over night. (6 – 8 hours) Next morning you will see that the batter has considerably risen.
Finally Cooking – Get your idlli cooker ready and oil the tray/ mould well so when the idli is cooked, they come out easily and they remain in shape.
Take your batter and scoop out the batter from the top. Do not mix it all up. The secret behind nice soft fluffy idlis is not mixing the batter and using the soft nice foam like batter on top. This makes the perfect melting idli. You can have them with Tenga chamandi (coconut chutney), Mulagum cheriyaulli chammathy (chili and shallots chutney) or just MTR Chatni poddi.