March 26, 2012

Beef Ulathiyathu

Here is a favourite of all the malayalee Syrian Christians. How many malayalees do you know who doesn't have a memory attached to this? Very few. We have all grown up with this spicy beef preparation and yet it remains a favourite among the Keralites. The Captain is seriously obsessed with this particular dish and you will most likely find it at our home when he is in town. Ulathiyathu is a Malayalam word which means "to roast". So if i have to give it a English sounding name, does "Spicy Beef Roast" sound appropriate enough? It sure does. If you want a taste of Kerala, go ahead and give this recipe a try. Happy Cooking!

You will need:
Beef cubes - 1 kg
Coconut Slivers - 1 cup
Shallots sliced - 1 cup
Garlic chopped - 8 to 10
Ginger Chopped - 1 inch
Green Chilli Chopped - 3
Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Curry leaves - a handful
Coconut oil - 3 Tbsp

For the Meat Masala:
Chilli Powder - 2 Tbsp
Coriander Seeds - 4 Tbsp
Black Peppercorns - 1 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cardamom - 6
Cloves-  6
Cinnamon Stick - 2
Bay Leaves - 1
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp

Dry roast all the ingredients in the meat masala section except turmeric for about 4 minutes.Add the turmeric
Grind it together with half of the ginger and garlic.
Marinate the beef with half the meat masala and pressure cook it with salt,vinegar and some of the curry leaves. This may take about 25 minutes on medium low flame.
Once the beef is cooked, heat the coconut oil in a pan and saute the coconut slivers,curry leaves, onions,ginger, garlic and chopped chilli until the onions become slightly brown.
Add the remaining meat masala and saute for another 3 minutes.
Add the cooked beef and roast it until you reach the dryness you require.
Garnish with Curry leaves and serve hot.

March 21, 2012

Lemon Sorbet

What better than a Lemon Sorbet to cleanse your palate after a good lunch on a summery afternoon! It is said that the tradition of having sorbet after a savoury meal started in France to prepare the diners palate for the main dessert. Also called a ice cream's poor cousin, this low calorie frozen treat is perfect for those hot summer days and can be relished without the slightest of guilt.The Lemon Sorbet is The Captain's favourite frozen treat after the famous Orange bar ice cream. This citrusy sorbet is tart as tart can be so am sure you will thoroughly enjoy this summery treat if you are a lemon fan like us.

You will need:
Sugar - 1 cup
Water -  1 cup
Lemon Juice - 1 1/2 cups
Plain or lemon Flavoured Soda - 1 cup

Make a simple sugar syrup by simmering the mixture of water and sugar for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
Allow the sugar syrup to cool completely, add the lemon juice and soda.
Blend well and freeze for about 2 hours.
Remove from freezer and blend in a food processor to break down the ice crystals well.
Return to the freezer and blend it for another 4 times, every 2 hours.The more times you blend, more lighter the texture will be.
Blending the sorbet is what gives it the fluffy ice cream kind of texture or you will be eating ice crystals.
Garnish with mint leaves and lemon strips before serving.

Watch this space for more fruity Sorbet recipes to try this summer!

March 20, 2012

Crumb Fried Fish

I was in Australia for about a year and you would see Fish and chips shop in just about in every street of the suburbs. It is a very popular take away dish and is normally batter fried. In India, the crumb fried version of fish is quite popular, especially in Kerala. The Captain got back home yesterday after his sail and his first request to what all he would like to try this time by his "cooking obsessed wife" was Crumb Fried Fish with Tartar Sauce. Wonder from where he suddenly got this craving from but i was only more than pleased to grant his food request. He normally is not fond of fish so i jumped at the opportunity to make him this. 

You will need:
Sear Fish Fillets - 500 gms
Pepper Powder - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Vinegar - 2 tsp
Plain Flour - 4 Tbsp
Water - Just enough to make a paste
Original Flavour Cornflakes Crushed - 1 cup approx
Oil- for shallow frying
Lemon - For Garnish

Marinate the cleaned fish fillets in the paste made of pepper,salt and vinegar.
Keep it aside for atleast 2 hours.
Make a smooth paste with flour and water.
Heat a flat pan with just enough oil to shallow fry it.
Coat the marinated fish in the flour batter and then in the cornflakes mixture.
Fry the fish in the hot oil until its golden brown on both sides.
Just before serving, sprinkle lemon juice on the fried fish and serve hot with Tartar sauce.

March 17, 2012

Badami or Almond Chicken Curry

Badami Chicken or Almond based chicken is a Mughlai dish characterized by its rich taste and ingredients. Mughlai food is laden with creamy sauces and dried nuts and this dish is no different to it. There are numerous recipes online for this chicken but i have chosen the easiest of them all. I get very put off by long recipes and many ingredients in a dish, therefore this one has fewer ingredients but no less in taste. In fact, it tastes absolutely fantastic.The gravy is slightly spicy with a hint of sweetness from the nuts. This goes best with tandoor naans, rotis or even a North Indian Pulav. 

You will need:
Chicken - 1 Kg
Onions Sliced - 3
Tomato Chopped - 2
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 12 pods
Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Yoghurt - 1 cup
Almonds - 1/2 cup
Cashewnuts - 1/2 cup
Coconut Milk or regular Milk - 1 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1/2 tbsp (Optional)
Ghee - 1/2 cup
Cardamom - 4
Cloves - 6
Cinnamon sticks - 2 i inch pieces

Make a paste of the nuts, chilli powder and turmeric. I suggest soaking the nuts in a little hot water before grinding to get a smooth paste.
Heat ghee in a pan. Add the whole spices, onions and saute till the onions are almost brown.
Add the ground masala and saute for another 5 minutes.
Add the chicken pieces and tomatoes and roast in the masala for a few minutes.
Add the yoghurt, salt and water and cook on slow fire with lid on for about 20 minutes.
Add milk and sugar cook for another 5 minutes.
The curry will be really creamy in texture. Serve hot with your favourite roti and a side of salad.

March 16, 2012

Date Bars or Matrimonial Bars

I ve been bitten by the baking bug a little too much lately. Third day in a row and i was again in a mood to make something. And this something has been in my "to make list" for a very long time. Date Bars or Matrimonial Bars as they call in Western Canada !!! I have made this several times now and not fed up yet. Frankly, i hate Dates. I just cant seem to like it no matter how many reasons you give me. Then i found this chewy crispy recipe. Kudos to the guts in the date hater in me to even try making it in the first place and boy, am i glad i did. Now this is the only way i can eat the healthy iron rich dates and had so much of it during my pregnant days also. This recipe just ups the nutrition value of dates with oats in it and i can guarantee you that even fussy children will love this. So dont hesitate even once to make these for them,  for they will eat it like they would any chocolate snack.  (P.S Just dont call them "Date"bars when you ask them to try it or they may cringe even before trying me.)

You will need:
Chopped Seedless Dates - 200 gms
Water - 1 cup
Plain Flour - 175 gms
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Brown Sugar - 175 gms
Chilled Butter cubed - 175 gms
Oats - 100 gms
Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp

Grease a 8 inch square cake pan and preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Cook dates with water on medium low heat for approximately 10 minutes until it becomes gooey.
Remove from flame, add vanilla essence and cool completely to room temperature.
Sift together flour and baking soda.
Add sugar,oats and cubed soft butter to the flour and mix together with your fingers until soft moist clumps are formed.
Divide the oat mixture and press one half of the mixture evenly at the bottom of the pan.
Now spread the date mixture on the oats base.
Top the date mixture again with the rest of the oats mixture, pressing it gently.
Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown.
The smell will be too wonderful that you will want to cut into squares and relish it immediately. But hold the thought!
Before cutting into equal squares, let it sit in the baking pan for a couple of hours.
Otherwise, it might crumble too easily while removing from the pan.
Your Date Bars are ready!!! Carry a piece with you to work for a quick boost of energy or serve with vanilla ice cream for a scrumptious dessert.

My butter became too soft sitting outside and therefore my date bars is a bit crumbly compared to the other times i ve made it. So make sure you have chilled butter cut into cubes and please mix it in with your fingers only instead of reaching out to that food processor.
Add half cup of roasted nuts on top of the date puree layer for a crunchy twist to the recipe.
The longer you bake it, the more chewy and crispy it becomes.

March 14, 2012

Roasted Walnut Brownie Bombs

RICH CHOCOLATE HIGH ALERT!!! I ve been feeling very chocolaty lately and wanted to make some real yummy chocolaty brownies. I have the perfect recipe for it and went for it today. Brownies are a favourite among most chocolate lovers and i would say its kinda  a cross between cakey and fudgy. I made it and suddenly a light bulb went zaaapp inside me. Felt very destructive and crumbled up the entire lot. I am mad right ? Yes, sometimes i am quite mad but these madness do lead to something better sometimes. This time too magic happened and i came up with these fab brownie bombs. This post therefore is a combo of both a brownie and brownie bombs. Make whichever you prefer, but make sure you do give these bombs a go. You will want to keep making them again and again as it finishes too quickly. Dont be surprised that i have not added any baking powder or soda as we dont want the brownie to rise but should be dense and moist. Best part of this brownie is, we are not using any electric beater either but using a single bowl and a wire whisk to combine everything. Beating too much incorporates air into it which is to be avoided.

For the moist fudgy Brownies, you will need:
Dark Chocolate Chopped - 150 gms
Unsalted Butter - 115 gms
Eggs - 3
Cocoa - 2 Tbsp
Granulated Sugar - 200 gms
Chocolate or Pure Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
Plain Flour - 3/4th cup
Roasted Walnuts chopped - 1 cup

I roasted the walnuts in the oven for 10 minutes and roughly chopped it.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease a 8 inch square pan.
Melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of simmering water.
Remove from heat and add the sugar stirring with a wire whisk allowing the sugar to dissolve a bit.
Add the essence and eggs one at a time beating well with the wire whisk after each addition.
Finally, stir in the cocoa powder,flour and the chopped walnuts till well combined.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until a tooth pick comes out with a little of the batter clumps but firm at the top.
Take care not to over cook it as it will dry out. So keep checking now and then towards the end as a minute or two more makes a huge difference to the texture.
Cool completely before cutting into squares.
Enjoy your brownies with some ice cream or proceed to the next step to make the brownie bombs.

For the Brownie Bombs, you will need:
The above prepared brownies
Hersheys Chocolate Syrup - 1/2 cup
Melted Dark Chocolate - 110 gms (Optional)

Crumble the cooled brownies in the food processor and add the Hersheys syrup.
The mixture will look very gooey. Grease your palm and make bite sized balls with the brownie mixture.
Cool in the fridge for atleast half an hour.
Savour it as it is or dip in the melted chocolate and chill until set.
You can also make these as brownie pops but inserting a lollipop stick to it.

March 13, 2012

Mini Mock Cheesecake with Lemon Curd topping

Ok. I am high on some serious tangy sugar. So hope i write this recipe the way its meant to be written. Like i promised in my earlier post, i made a cheesecake but like the title says it is a  "Mock" cheesecake because it is a cheeseless cheesecake. Its hard to tell unless you mention it to someone. This is the only kind of cheesecake i've had until very recently. Again, my mom's recipe and a favourite among all her guests and family. Once you've made this, i am sure you are gonna keep making it with different flavours and toppings. This time i ve made it lemony but you can top it with any fresh fruits or sauce you like.
You will need:
Condensed Milk - 1 tin
Eggs - 3 separated
Lemon Juice - 1/3 cup
Cornflour - 2 tsp
Digestive Biscuits - 100 gms
Butter - 56 gms
Sugar - 1 tbsp

First, make the base by crushing the biscuits in the food processor or just crush it inside a ziploc bag using a rolling pin.
Add the butter and sugar and mix it just until it resembles wet sand.
Divide the biscuit base among the mini cheesecake pan or a regular large tart pan. I used 2 silicone 12 hole mini cheesecake pan. So that makes approximately 24.
Press the biscuit mixture firmly to the bottom of the pan and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes or more.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees and make the filling.
Whisk the separated egg whites until soft peaks appears.
Blend egg yolks, condensed milk, cornflour and lemon juice.
Gently fold in the stiff egg whites into the condensed milk mixture.
Pour on top of the biscuit base and bake for 10 minutes. If you are using a regular large tart dish to make a single large cheesecake, bake for about 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
Keep it aside to cool, remove from the pan very carefully and top with the lemon curd.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this easy recipe :) .

March 11, 2012

Lemon Curd

My whole house is filled with the lovely citrusy smell and I am filled with so much happiness that it is hard for me to try and explain it. I have always been hesitant to make lemon curd at home and today, when I am burning with a fever of 101 Degrees, I decide to make it. I am so glad I overcame this fear and made this incredibly tangy delicious lemon curd which immediately lifted my mood and made me so cheerful. For some reason, I think lemon curd frightened everyone to thinking that it’s too complicated. But No! It’s so easy. Best part is you can make this ahead and keep in an airtight container for about a week or two in the refrigerator. The flavor of this is so strong and creamy that you can enjoy it with a simple toast, scone, pancake, fill your tart or dip a simple cookie in it and watch your simple dish turn to a luscious treat. I am still deciding what I can use this lemon curd for. Maybe a Cheesecake!!! Watch this space for a simple cheesecake recipe or a Lemon meringue pie using this lemon curd recipe.

You will need:
Eggs - 3 kept at room temperature
Sugar - 1 cup
Fresh Lemon Juice - 1/3 cup
Lemon Zest - 1 tsp
Butter - 50 gms

Break the eggs and add  the sugar and lemon juice in a stainless steel bowl.
Whisk with an electric beater on high for a minute or 2.
Place the stainless steel bowl on top of simmering water and stir it constantly with a wire whisk.
Continue doing so till your egg mixture thickens and becomes like thick custard.
This will take approximately 10 minutes.
Remove from the simmering water and continue to stir it while adding the butter and lemon zest.
If it has curdled, don’t worry. Just strain it through a fine sieve.
Cover it with a cling wrap, touching the wrap on the surface of the lemon curd. This prevents it from forming a thin film on top.
Transfer into a air tight bottle and store in the refrigerator.

If you want the texture to be lighter, just add 1/2 cup of whipped cream. Enjoy your lemon curd any way you like.

March 10, 2012

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

I've been having this huge craving for Chicken Satay for the last 2 weeks and finally i made it for myself today. Yippeeee!!!Thanks to my sudden cravings like these because of which, instead of heading to the restaurant, I end up trying to make it at home and therefore learn how to do it. It was quite nice for a first time home made satay. I will probably cut the chicken into strips and not cubes the next time. Hope you enjoy this satay too!

You will need:
Creamy Peanut Butter - 4 tbsp
Soya Sauce - 1/4 cup
Lemon Juice - 1/4 cup
Brown Sugar - 1 tbsp
Garam Masala - 1 tbsp
Garlic Cloves - 6 cloves
Boneless Chicken Breast - 6 cubed or cut into strips
Buttermilk - 1/4 cup

Make a smooth paste of all the ingredients and marinate the chicken in it for atleast 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Weave the chicken onto skewers and grill for 10 minutes on each side.
Serve with Peanut Sauce.

For The Peanut Sauce:
Roasted skinned Peanuts - 1 cup
Brown Sugar - 2 tbsp
Soya Sauce - 1 Tbsp
Fish Sauce - 2 Tbsp
Sesame Oil - 2 tsp
Water -1/3 cup
Garlic minced – 3
Lime Juice - 1 tbsp
Thai Chilli Sauce - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Coconut Milk - 1/3 cup

Put all the above ingredients in a blender and make a smooth paste.
The sauce tends to thicken so add more coconut milk or water if you want a more runny dip.

March 5, 2012

Coorgi Chicken Curry

I am a huge fan of Kodagu or Coorgi cuisine. Coorgis are pure non- vegetarians, as some of them like to be called. The base of traditional Coorgi gravy, whether vegetarian or non-vegetarian, is coconut with a lovely blend of spices. This chicken curry is my favourite one till date and I have made it several times. When I have guests coming home for the first time, I don’t think twice. I make this chicken curry often with Paputtu and it is a guaranteed hit. 

You will need:
  1. Chicken Medium Cut pieces - 1 Kg
  2. Coriander Seeds - 2 Tbsp
  3. Coriander leaves Chopped - a small bunch
  4. Green Chillies -  13 to 14 medium sized ones
  5. Ginger Chopped - 1 inch
  6. Garlic pods - Around 10
  7. Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  8. Poppy Seeds or Khus Khus - 2 tsp soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
  9. Big Onions - 4 Sliced
  10. Tomato - 2 chopped
  11. Coconut Oil - 4 tbsp
  12. Lemon Juice -1 tsp
  13. Thin Coconut Milk - 1 1/2 cups
  14. Thick Coconut Milk - 1/2 cup

Make a smooth paste of ingredients 2 to 8 .
Heat oil and sauté onions till they are almost brown.
Add the ground masala and sauté till the oil separates or the raw smell goes away.
Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté till it softens.
Add the chicken pieces and roast it in the masala for 5 minutes.
Add the thin coconut milk, salt and cook till done.
Just before removing from fire, add the thick coconut milk and lemon juice.
Serve Hot with your favorite pulav or my favourite... Paputtu!

Watch this space! I will be posting the recipe for Coorgi Pandhi curry soon which is a winner every time. 

March 4, 2012

Spicy Glazed Chicken Wings

Again struck by the cooking bug, I was in such a mood to try a recipe that I saw on Food Food channel. When I heard my long time friend was staying with me for the weekend, I already knew what I was going to be feeding her. This recipe has now become my favorite appetizer and I am looking forward to making it again for the next big dinner party. Simple and not very time consuming, it is the perfect appetizer especially when you have a screaming toddler in the house and have to do the cooking in such a rush.

You will need:
Chicken wings - 1 Kg

For the Marinade:
Degi Mirch - 1 tsp
Mixed herbs (I used coriander and cumin only) - 1 tsp
Plain Flour - 2 Tbsp
Corn flour - 1 Tbsp

For the glaze:
Chopped Garlic - 1 tsp
Ginger Paste - 1 tsp
Vinegar - 2 tsp
Brown Sugar - 2 tbsp
Red Chilli Paste - 3 Tbsp
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Corn flour - 1 tsp
Water - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves - a small bunch

Marinate the chicken wings in salt, degi mirch and mixed herbs. Keep it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Put the flour and corn flour in a zip lock bag. Toss the marinated chicken in the flour coating it well.
Arrange it on a baking tray, spray with a little oil and bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce for the glaze.
Heat the oil. Sauté ginger, garlic, chilli paste, chilli powder and the brown sugar. 
Stir until the brown sugar melts. Add the vinegar, water,corn flour and stir until the sauce thickens.
Once the chicken is done cooking in the oven, transfer them into the hot sauce.
Keep stirring until the sauce is completely dried up and coats the chicken wings.
Just before removing it from the flame, toss it with some chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

March 2, 2012

Coconut Crepes

Muttakuzhalappam / Madakku San / Coconut Pancake are the different names we Keralites relate this particular Coconut Crepes with. This is a very popular Breakfast or evening snack among the Syrian Christians of Kerala and loved by all ages. When I think of this yummy crepe, I remember our school days when amma used to serve this for our evening after school snack. Everyday we come back from school hungry and anxious to see what she has made for us. The days we told her in advance that we want Coconut Crepes for snack, every minute that we took walking back from school to home would seem like an hour. I don’t think this memory will ever be replaced by a new one for this particular dish but will take my sisters and me back to good old school days. I am sure some of you out there are remembering and recollecting some of your old memories when you read this recipe just like me. It is too early for my son to remember that he ate it this morning but I am so happy I gave him a taste of our childhood. Hope you will make it too and I can guarantee it that your children will love it.

You will need:
Maida -  2 cups
Eggs - 2 
Water - 2 1/4 cup
Salt to Taste
Coconut - 2 cups
Sugar - 4 Tbsp
Cardamom Powder - 1/4 tsp (Optional)

Whip the eggs well.
Add the flour to the egg mixture and mix it well with it wire whisk.
Add water, sugar, salt and mix well till you get a very smooth thin batter.
Heat a kadai. I used an appam chetti (Available in most supermarkets). Take care not to over heat the pan.
Ladle the batter into the warm kadai and turn it around once like how you would make an appam. Make sure you are turning only once so that the batter doesn't over lap. Else you will end up with very thick crepes.

Carefully transfer it to a plate.
For the stuffing, mix together coconut, sugar and cardamom powder.
Put a tablespoon or more of the coconut mixture in the centre of the crepe as shown below.

Fold the crepe carefully at the vertical side. Next, fold the crepes horiszonatally into almost half and bring it together like a spring roll. Now you will get a roll with the sides closed.
Your Coconut Crepe is now ready!!! Serve it hot or cold and enjoy a delicious snack.
Watch this space for innovative ways of making yummy crepe desserts!