Friday, May 12, 2017

Cauliflower Manchurian/ Gobi Manchurian


 It is a nice warm day and took my daughter to the nearby park. As it's already late, I asked her what would she like to have for lunch. She immediately said "Chicken!" I am running out of chicken in my freezer. But she really wanted to have some chickeny lunch. While thinking of what to make that could taste exactly like chicken, I remembered one recipe. Yes! Gobi Manchurian. I call cauliflower as Vegetarian's Chicken.

We only eat vegetarian food in auspicious days. I always ask mom to cook cauliflower during those days to compensate the feel of eating a non - Veg food! Funny me.. Cauliflower is a low fat vegetable which has dietary fiber, vitamins B, C,etc.,

Cauliflower Manchurian is a fusion of Chinese seasonings with the Indian tastes. It is a must order restaurant dish especially as an appetizer.  It's cooking as a two stages. First, Cauliflower florets are dipped in batter and deep fried once. Second stage is preparing a sauce and add in the second time fried florets. Interestingly, in this recipe when a floret is bitten it gives crispy, chewy, tangy, salty and crunchy along with a bit of sweet taste.




Recipe :
  • Prep time - 30 mins
  • Cooking time - 30 mins
  • Serves - 2
  • Cuisine - Indo- Chinese
Ingredients :

     For deep frying cauliflower :
  • White Cauliflower - 1 small ( cut the florets out)
  • All purpose flour - 1/2 cup (170 gms)
  • Corn starch - 1/4 cup ( 85 gms)
  • Ground pepper corn - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Soy sauce - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt
  • Oil for deep frying
     For the sauce part:
  • Oil - 1 and half teaspoon 
  • Ginger - 1 teaspoon ( finely chopped)
  • Garlic - 1 teaspoon ( finely chopped)
  • Green chillies - 1 ( finely chopped)
  • Onion - 1 small ( finely chopped)
  • Bell Peppers - Green and orange mixed - 2 tablespoons ( fine brunoise cut/ finely diced) 
  • Soy sauce - 1 and half teaspoon
  • Hot red chilli sauce - 1 and half teaspoon 
  • Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Vinegar or Lemon juice - 1 teaspoon
  • Spring onion for garnishing
Method :

Cauliflower florets 
After Blanching

  • Blanch the Cauliflower florets.
Note : Blanching is a process of adding vegetables or fruits in a boiling water for 2 - 4 mins and immediately removed from the boiling water and plunge them into ice water or cold running water. By doing this the cooking process of the vegetable stops suddenly and the vegetable or fruit can lock its freshness and flavor.


Batter

Battered florets

  • For the batter,
                             -  In a mixing bowl, add all the deep frying ingredients except cauliflower and oil.

Note : Watch out for the level of salt as the soy sauce has some salt in it.

                             -  Meanwhile in a deep frying pan, pour oil and keep the stove in high flame. Add water to the mixing bowl and mix the flour so that it forms a pouring consistency batter. Dip the cauliflower florets so that batter covers the florets completely.

Florets after first time frying

 
                             - Once the oil is heated ( The temperature should not exceed 365 deg Fahrenheit), deep fry the batter dipped florets for 2 mins and keep them aside.


  • For sauce,
Adding veggies in for sauce

Sauce
Finely chopped Ginger Garlic

                            - In another deep cooking pot, pour oil and add ginger, garlic, onion, bell peppers, green chillies along with enough salt( can be less). Saute well.

                            - Once the vegetables are well sauteed, add soy sauce, hot chilli sauce, lemon juice, sugar and mix it well. Let it form a saucy texture. Meanwhile, deep fry the already deep fried florets for the second time in same temperature range for 2 -3 mins and add in this sauce. Mix them well and garnish it with spring onions. Oops! I didn't do that!

Sauce and second time frying hand in hand

Adding in the second time fried florets
  • Serve with fried rice or as an appetizer. I bet you will ask for more! Post your tips and comments. Thank you!


Chickpeas Curry/ Kadalai Kurma / Chana Korma


This is something most of the people get excited for; one of the routine orders placed over a breakfast or dinner menus in India. Guess what ? Chana masala! Soft boiled Chickpeas with the onion, tomato masala gives a nice aromatic texture and tastes so good. Even kids love to have Chickpeas. You can expect them to finish the food in a jiffy.

When I was in Northern part of India, though we had mostly Chappati/ Roti with other vegetables in our menus, Chickpeas curry makes the occasion so very special. Whether you are a Vegetarian or Non- Vegetarian, Chickpeas are liked by all. Chickpea's nutritive value is very well known. It contains protein, dietary fibre, Vitamin B6 etc.,

I am sharing the famous South Indian Chickpeas Kurma recipe with you below. This is one recipe where you will need a stage by stage inspection. Make sure, whatever in hot pan is well cooked before adding any raw new ingredient in.


Recipe:

  • Prep time - 6 to 9 hours.
  • Cooking time - 30 mins.
  • Serves - 3
  • Cuisine - Indian
Ingredients :

  • Whole Chickpeas dried - 3/4 cup (170 gms) or Canned one - 1 can ( 15 Oz )
  • Onion - 1 medium (diced)
  • Tomato - 1 medium (diced)
  • Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
  • Red chilli powder - 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder - 1 and half tablespoon
  • Ground Turmeric - a pinch
  • Coconut powder - 1 tablespoon / freshly grated coconut - 1/4 cup
  • Ground pepper corns - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Fennel - 1/2 teaspoon ( crushed or grounded)
  • Salt to taste
For seasoning :

  • Cinnamon - small stick
  • Cloves - 2
  • Bay leaf - 1 
  • Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  • Oil
Method:

  • Soak the whole chickpeas in hot water for 6 to 9 hours. I am using "Garbanzos Chickpeas."
Note : Hot water makes the process a little faster.




  • After 6 to 9 hours, clean the chickpeas with water and pressure cook it without adding salt till becomes soft. How? Put the chickpeas along with water ( water level should be slightly higher than chickpeas). Close the pressure cooker with whistle on high flame. After first whistle, reduced the flame to low. Let it be whistled 5 to 6 times. Some takes more time to cook. So after 5 to 6 whistles, open the PC once the pressure is released. Check it and continue. In my experience, Garbanzos gets cooked in half time compared to the others.

  • You can skip the about step if you are using canned chickpeas.
  • In a shallow pan, heat the oil ( 3 tablespoons) - add the seasoning ingredients except curry leaves.
Note : Always add curry leaves at the end of the recipe for more fresh aroma.

  • Add the diced onions, saute well then add Ginger garlic paste.
  • Then add tomatoes along with enough salt and with the help of the ladle mash the tomatoes while sauteing. This gives a creamy thick texture. And the tomatoes will be blended in the rest of the ingredients.
  • Now add the chickpeas along with the stocking in the PC to the pan and add the red chilli powder, coriander powder and ground turmeric. Mix it well.
  • Bring it to a boil and taste the mixture and adjust it.
  • Lower the flame and close the pan with lid. Once the raw smell of the spices have vanished, add the coconut milk ( Coconut powder + 20 ml hot water - mix it well till there are no lumps) along with ground pepper corns and ground / crushed fennel seeds. Mix well and close the pan.
Note : If you are using freshly grated coconut, grind them in blender along with whole pepper and fennel.


  • After 5 mins check if the raw smell of coconut is gone. Now increase the flame, add the curry leaves. Then cook on medium flame, half opened till the you see oil separating out.
  • Serve hot along with Chappatis/ rotis, rice, idli, dosas.
Hope you enjoyed the recipe. Try it and your feedback are welcome. If you have any doubts, post in comments section. I know that I had not put much pics. Well! I am working on that.. Stay tuned for tomorrow's recipe! Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Boiled Chayote Stir Fry/ Chow Chow Poriyal

I thought of making another simple dish yet delicious which can be served as a side dish for yesterday's recipe, Tamarind gravy. It is one of the very less spicy side dishes and that's how it goes well with the Tamarind gravy. When taken a spoonful taste of this stir fry, it releases the water particle along with the hardness of the chickpeas inside your mouth. I love it! 

It is one of the famous traditional vegetables from mom's kitchen. I like to taste it very often. Each and every time I go for grocery shopping, this is one must vegetable in my cart. A water packed vegetable can really make you feel relished.

Chayote or Chow Chow is a very mild flavored vegetable. Though it has many names widely across the world, there is no doubt of its nutrition content. This vegetable along with seed is rich in Vitamin C and amino acids. It can be taken as food in many forms like cold salads, stir fries, soups, in gravies, along with lentils,etc.,




Boiled Chayote Stir Fry/ Chow Chow Poriyal

Recipe :

  • Prep time - 10 mins
  • Cooking time - 20 mins 
  • Serves - 2 
  • Cuisine - Indian
Ingredients :

  • Chayote / Chow Chow - 1 Peeled and seed removed ( Diced )
  • Onion - 1 ( finely chopped)
  • Green chillies - 2 ( cut and slit )
  • Ground turmeric - a pinch
  • Salt to taste
For seasoning :

  • Mustard - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Split black gram - 1/2 teaspoon 
  • Split chickpeas - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves - 1 Sprig
  • Oil
Method : 
  • In a microwave proof bowl, boil the diced Chayote along with a pinch of ground turmeric and a drop of oil for 5 + 5 mins. uncovered. Drain the excess water or you can use it as a vegetable stock for any required dish.
  • Place a shallow pan on a low flame stove and add oil. In a low heat oil, add mustard seeds, and add the split chickpeas. As the mustard starts spluttering add split black gram.
Note : When you add black gram first instead of chickpeas first, the black grams will be burnt by the time you add the chickpeas as it is smaller in size.
  • Add the onions and green chillies and saute them well till they are soft. Salt can be added while sauteing.
Note : Salt acts as a catalyst and helps the saute reaction to occur faster than normal.
  • Now add the softly boiled Chayote to this and mix it well. Cook till the water is evaporated.
  • Add the curry leaves and serve hot.
Note : Freshly grated coconut can be added right before serving to get a rich sweet taste.

Hope you liked this stir fry side dish. Stay tuned for more mild flavored dishes like this.
Have a wonderful day! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tamarind Gravy/ Kara Kuzhambhu

Tamarind is described as sweet and sour in taste, has high level of Tartaric acid , Vitamin B, Sugar, Calcium which is a strange thing for a fruit. Just imagine how tasty will it be when the right amount of tamarind pulp used in the gravy along with equal amount of spice and salt! Now, that's what I call it as mind blowing feast to your taste buds. Tamarind gravy is a common recipe in all homes of southern part of India. It is cooked at least twice a week in lunch menus of South Indian houses.
My great grandma had her own version of Tamarind recipe. She used to add a small piece of Jaggery which is a concentrated product of sugarcane juice along with tamarind, spice and salt made her gravy so yummy. I was so lucky that I had tasted it many times when I was a kid.
This versatile recipe can be cooked with different vegetables namely Potatoes, Brinjals ( Egg plant), Okra ( Ladies finger), Country Beans ( Avarakkai ), Plantain ( Vaazhakkai), even with soaked and cooked bean.
IMG_5271
Recipe:
  • Prep time - 10 mins
  • Cooking time - 20 mins
  • Serves - 2
  • Cuisine -  Indian
Ingredients:
  • Tamarind - In the size of a lemon ( soft fruit pulp without seeds)
Note : If you are using tamarind paste, add one spoonful first and then decide  whether to add more or not.
  • Red chilli powder/ Chili pepper powder - 1 and half tablespoon
  • Coriander powder - 1 and half tablespoon
  • Ground turmeric - a pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • Onion - 1 medium ( diced)
  • Tomato - 1 small or 1/2 medium ( diced)
  • Garlic cloves - 5 to 7 peeled ( crushed if the size is bigger )
  • Eggplant - 3 medium size ( Cut it into 2 pieces and slit the pieces )
For seasoning :
  • Dried seasoning spices / Vadagam - 1 teaspoon
Note : You can also use just mustard and split black gram for seasoning if you do not have Dried seasoning spices which is a compulsory ingredient of traditional South Indian homes. It is the mixture of Mustard, Split black gram, Cumin, Fennel, Pearl Onions, Garlic, Fenugreek seeds, Salt, Turmeric powder.
Otherwise,


  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Split black gram - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  • Oil - 3 tablespoons
Method :

  • In a hot deep cooking pot (Kadai) add oil, then add the seasoning ingredients (First Mustard seeds then black gram) except Curry leaves.
  • When the mustard seeds splutter and black gram changes to light brown, add the garlic cloves, onion and tomatoes. Saute well and add Eggplants.
  • Once all the mixture are well sauteed, add the tamarind extract and bring it to a boil.
Note : Concentrated Tamarind juice can be diluted in water and adjust the sourness accordingly.

  • Now add Red chilli powder, ground turmeric and coriander powder to this along with enough amount of salt. So, when you taste the gravy at this stage, you will get all the taste evenly. If not please adjust it and cover the cooking pot with lid after simmering the heat.
  • Let it be boiled till the raw smell of the tamarind vanishes and bring it to a thick consistency where the oil separates and add curry leaves and that's it.
Serve with rice, idli and dosa, especially with egg dosa. I love to eat this gravy along with Papads ( Fryum ), steamed vegetable stir fries ( poriyal) which I will share with in next session. Thank you!

Split Chickpeas Pakoda

Ah! It's raining in here. Okay, What would be the first thing that pops into your mind when you see/ feel the rain? People are different so are their interests. Some like jumping in the puddles and love to make their boots soggy by dancing in the rain while others like holding hands with partner in one umbrella and go for a long walk. But there are some people who likes to just sit and watch rain. Well, I am one among them! Wouldn't it be a wonderful warm rainy day with some crispy hot Pakodas?



I would like to share you the Pakoda recipe which I enjoyed in my childhood days. Why don't you try these and send me some feedback?
Recipe:
  • Prep time - 10 mins
  • Cooking time - 20 mins
  • Cuisine - Indian
  • Yields - 15 - 20 Pakodas
Ingredients:
  • Split chickpeas/ Kadalai Paruppu/ Chana Dal - 1/2 cup
  • Onion - 1 Medium size ( finely chopped )
  • Garlic - 3 big or 5 small  cloves
  • Green chillies - 2 ( finely chopped)
  • Fennel seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Dry chillies - 2
  • Cilantro - 3 tablespoons
  • Curry leaves - 1 sprig (optional)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - For deep frying
Method:
  • Soak the split dry Chickpeas in water for more than 4 hours. More the softer is the chickpeas, more the crispier is the pakoda.
  • Once the chickpeas are soft enough, drain the water completely. Then, put them in a blender and grind it to 3/4th coarseness without adding water as the water absorbed by the chickpeas itself is enough for the consistency of the pakoda flour.

  • Also crush the garlic cloves, dry chillies, fennel seeds in a masala crusher.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the thick coarsely grinded wet chickpeas flour along with the finely chopped onion, green chillies, curry leaves, cilantro and crushed masala along with salt. Mix them well without adding water as the onion loosens some moisture.
  • With the help of a spoon or hand, take small amount of the mixture and slowly place it in medium hot oil. Deep fry it in medium flame till the bubble vanishes and place in a tissue paper.
  • Serve hot along with coffee/ tea.
Pakodas can also be served with coconut chutney which I will be sharing in the following sessions. Try this recipe and enjoy the rainy day along with hot beverage.

Mint Rice

Mint leaves are very well-known for its fragrance. It's sweet flavour and cooling nature perfectly pairs with all types of dishes. Of those, Mint rice is one of my favourites. I had plenty of mint leaves in my garden and whenever I cross the mint patch, I never forgot to pick a leaf and taste it. As a fresh start, I am sharing one of the very simple recipes made from fresh garden picked mint leaves.

Recipe:

  • Prep time- 10 mins
  • Cooking time- 20 mins
  • Serves- 2
  • Cuisine- Indian

Ingredients:

  • Fresh mint leaves - 1 cup (packed tightly)
  • Basmati rice or Raw rice - 1 cup
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Onion - 1 Medium size ( finely chopped)
  • Ginger & Garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
  • Green chillies - 2 or more according to the taste (Slit)
  • Salt
Seasoning:
  • Oil / Ghee
  • Cloves - 2
  • Cinnamon - 1 small size stick
  • Cardamom - 1
  • Bay leaves - 2

Method:

  • Wash and soak the rice in normal water for 10 to 15 mins while you cook the rest. Blend the mint leaves in a blender adding little bit water into a coarse paste.
  • In a hot pan pour some oil/ghee , add the seasoning ingredients in low flame. Then add green chillies, sliced onion and saute well.
  • When the onions are sauted well, add ginger garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone. Also add enough salt during this time. Then add the mint paste and mix well till the oil/ ghee seperates out.
  • Add 2 cups of water to this mixture and bring it to boil and add the soaked rice. Mix gently and cover the pan and lower the flame till the rice is done.
  • Once the water is all evaporated, transfer the contents to a microwave safe bowl and microwave it uncovered for 3 mins. By doing this, rice would never stick and will stay with right moisture.
This rice will go well with onion raita ( finely chopped onion mixed in plain yogurt) and spicy chips. One of my easy recipes when you are in a hurry. It carries mild aroma for non masala lovers along with freshness of mint.
Hope you liked my first recipe and your feedback really mean a lot to me. Please share your thoughts while you enjoy my recipe.

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