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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Thengai Paal Meen Kuzhambhu / Fish Curry with Coconut milk

I have never been a big fan of seafood, except for crab. Thats the main reason that you don't see that much seafood related dishes in the blog. However I have started cooking fish these days for the sake of pappu. Amma generally makes fish curry with coconut and thats how I know fish. But my MIL makes a version wherein she never uses coconut. Its just lots of tamarind and loads of pearl onions. I took a liking to that curry right from day one and I make it occasionally at home.

This is a hybrid version of my MILs fish curry. I had some coconut milk on hand which I added in the end, allowed the curry to come to a boil and viola I got a tasty curry with a very mild flavor of coconut. The coconut masks the overpowering taste of the tamarind and gives a not-too-much creaminess and sweetness to the curry. On the whole it sure is a winner to me.

~*What U Need*~
Fish - 250 gms
Shallots/Pearl onions - 12
Tomato - 1 medium
Garlic pods - 4
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli powder - 1.5 tsp
Coriander powder - 1.5 tsp
Fish curry powder/sambar powder - 1 tsp(optional)
Thick Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Salt - as required
Gingelly Oil - 3 tbsp
Tamarind - 1 lemon sized ball soaked in 1/4 cup water
Salt - to season

To grind to a fine paste:
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Peppercorns - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Shallots - 5
Garlic - 3

To season:
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds+Urud Dal - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

How I Made it:
Marinate the fish with salt, turmeric powder for 30 mins. In a kadai, add oil and when hot add the 'To Season' ingredients and fry well. Add chopped garlic pods and saute them for a minute. Add the chopped shallots and fry till golden brown.

Add the spice powders and fry for 5 mins. Add the ground paste and fry till the raw smell goes off. Then add tomato and saute till the oil oozes out. Now pour the tamarind extract and bring to a boil.

In low flame keep boiling till the oil separates and the curry reaches the desired consistency. Add a sprig of curry leaves and the fish pieces. Cook for few mins and then add the thick coconut milk. Bring it to a boil and remove from flame.

Serve hot with white rice!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Eggless Strawberry icecream | No Icecream machine

Strawberries have started cropping up everywhere in the market and they are big, bright and juicy to look at. I have never missed picking a carton for the past three weeks. Moreover pappu is a big fan of strawberries, he likes munching them for snack and so its a must in the grocery list. Last week he was down with a mild cold attack and the strawberries were left untouched. I had a whole carton of them and I wanted to put the whole box into use.

I knew the solution was icecream. We have never been big fans of strawberry icecream, its always been chocolate and so I was a bit hesitant. However I am happy that I made this. The tartness seemed to cleanse the palate with every bite making us to want more. I am totally in love with making icecreams at home and am sure gonna try more flavors.

Prep time: 20 mins; Cooking time: Nil; Serves - 8-10
Adapted from here

~*What U Need*~
Sliced strawberries - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Whole milk - 1/2 cup
Heavy cream - 1 cup
Vanilla - 1 tsp

How I Made it:
In a bowl, add 2 tbsp sugar and strawberries. Give it a good sir and let it sit for 2 hours at room temperature. After 2 hours, puree 3/4 th of the strawberries with the syrup and using a fork mash the remaining strawberries. Add the remaining sugar to the milk and melt it in low heat. Cool to room temperature.

Whisk the cream to soft peaks. Mix the milk, strawberry puree and vanilla. Fold in the cream.

Pour into a freezer proof container and chill for one hour. After 1 hour, take the icecream and whisk to break all the crystals. Repeat procedure 3 times and then chill overnight.

Serve with some chocolate sauce!!!

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Easy Chicken Sandwich | Sandwich recipes | Easy Party Ideas

I try new recipes mostly for dinner. Like different soups and salads, loaded focaccia breads, pizzas and many more. Remember the pot pie that I mentioned in my last post, that was made for dinner too. The pot pie was brilliant, the crust perfectly flaky and the gravy rightly seasoned. Then again I was not able to take pics as I have very bad lighting in my place and it was night. Many such good stuff are getting missed here at the blog and thats making me sad, very sad indeed. I am feeling the need to document those recipes somewhere and here on I am going to share a casual shot of the dish and how to cook it in my fb page. Whenever I get to take a decent picture of the dish I will update my blog with step by step pictures. Lets see how this is gonna work out.

Do you still remember the rotisserie chicken that I had bought a week back. This is what happened with the leftovers. A simple and easy chicken sandwich which could be had for breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack. This makes a perfect kids lunchbox recipe too. I had some light sour cream on hand and so used that for dressing. You could easily replace it with greek yogurt or mayonnaise. I kept the seasonings simple but you could jazz it up too with italian seasoning, paprika, onion powder or anything that your heart wishes at the time.

~*What U Need*~
Cooked chicken - 1 cup
Garlic powder - 1/8 tsp
Low fat Sour cream - 2 tbsp
Salt - a pinch
Pepper - to taste

Spring mix - 1/2 cup
Bread slices - 2
Cheese slices - if needed
Cooking spray/butter - to grease pan

How I Made it:
Mix the chicken, garlic powder, sour cream, salt and pepper. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours. When ready to serve, spread the salad on the bread slices, top with the spring mix and cheese if using and close with the second bread slice. Heat a tawa and when medium hot, grease with butter and cook till crisp on both sides.
Serve warm!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Double Chocolate Brownies

So this last month for the 22nd, it was double chocolate brownies.

As you know, I bake something on the 22nd of every month in celebration of the arrival of our sweet prince. While its been something sweet for the past 11 months, I have moved on to brownies ever since pappu showed a deep attraction when I made them two months back. He eats them for breakfast, lunch and snack and whenever he needs one he goes to the fridge and says "bonieee". And so I have decided to bake brownies atleast once a month... Just for my sweet lil pappu chellam.

I get excited whenever I get that crackled skin on a brownie. Brownies are meant to be crackle-y atop and super fudgy in the middle and duper chocolaty with every bite. This recipe from Pastry affair is a keeper because it makes the best moist and fudgy brownies with just 4 tablespoons of butter.

Adapted from Pastry affair
Prep time: 10 mins; Cooking time: 25 mins; Yields - 16 servings

~*What U Need*~
Butter - 4 tbsp
Semi sweet chocolate - 4 oz, chopped
Eggs - 2, large
Brown sugar - 3/4 cup, packed
Granulated sugar - 3 tbsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Chocolate chips - 1/2 cups, I used Hershey's special dark

How I Made it:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 inch square pan and line it with parchment paper such that it overhangs the sides. Chop the chocolate. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and chopped chocolate over low heat until smooth.

Remove from heat. Stir in the eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract. Fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Allow the batter to cool to room temperature and then add the chocolate chips. Transfer batter to the prepared pan and bake for 20-22 mins or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean with a few crumbs. Cool completely and slice into 16 squares.

Yummy and fudge-y brownies ready!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Chicken Salad | Easy & Healthy Chicken Salad

I have always eyed the rotisserie chicken that they sell in walmart or sams. It looks so juicy and whenever I see one I always dream of making potpies, salads and sandwiches. Whenever I think of buying one or whenever I ask the huss to buy one, he always says 'get it if you think that you can finish it'. And then I back off. That word means that the chicken is meant for me and only me. Finally I mustered all my courage and bought a rotisserie chicken last week. We had it on sandwiches and then I made pot pie one day and finally I finished it by making a big batch of this salad which I had for lunch with a side salad and then with some soup for dinner.

~*What U Need~*
Cooked Chicken - 1 cup
Celery - 1/4 cup, chopped
Green onions - 2, chopped
Grapes - 1/2 cup, chopped
Almonds - 1/4, slivered

For the dressing:
Yogurt - 1/4 cup
Mayonnaise - 1 tbsp
Sour cream - 1 tbsp
Coriander - 1 tbsp, chopped
Brown sugar - 1 tsp
Vinegar - few drops
Salt - to taste
Pepper - to taste
Red chilli powder - a pinch(optional)

How I Made it:
In a mixing bowl, mix mayonnaise, yogurt and sour cream, vinegar, brown sugar, red chilli powder and salt and pepper to taste. Add chopped coriander and mix well. Do taste test and season as needed. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Chill well.

Serve on a bed of lettuce or side of salad or in a sandwich.

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chettinad Chicken Biryani | Chicken Biryani ~ Chettinadu Style

Whoever was the first to discover biryani seriously needs a standing ovation. Its a science, making that perfect biryani is a science and skill by itself and it needs experience to get that texture and flavors right. My mom makes the best dum biryani in the world and me and my brother go bongers whenever she makes it. I had never had the courage to attempt her version cos its quite lenghty and I had never had that patience. So I always stick to the pressure cooker version. It is easy but still it took me an year and lots of trials to perfect it. And now I can proudly say that I make a good biryani.

I have started trying new varieties of biryanis these days, the first bring the Dindigul chicken biryani. It was so tasty and it has become a regular in the kitchen. Last week when I was reading the booklet that my MIL had presented, this chettinad biryani had me hooked to it. The ingredients were huge and the process lengthy but I knew that it would be a stunner by taste. And so it was.

~*What U Need*~
For Marination:
Chicken - 500 gms, with bone
Thick Curd - 2 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a big pinch

For Briyani Masala Powder:
Fennel Seeds - 1 tbsp
Cinnamon - 1"
Cardamom - 2
Star anise - 1/2
Cloves - 2

For Grinding:
Pearl Onions - 8-10
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup
Mint leaves - 1/2 cup
Green chilli - 1

For the biryani:
Onion - 2, chopped, medium
Tomato - 1, chopped
Green chilli - 2-3
Bay leaf - 1
Cardamom - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Thick curd - 1/4 cup
Coriander and mint leaves - a handful each
Oil - 2 tbsp
Ghee - 4 tbsp

Biryani rice - 1 1/2 cups
Coconut milk - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup

How I Made it:
Marinate the chicken with the marination ingredients and set aside for 20 mins. Soak the basmati rice in water for 20 mins. Grind the biryani masala powder in a coffee grinder. Grind the coriander, mint leaves and green chilli and set aside. Grind the pearl onions and set aside. Heat oil and 2 tbsp ghee in the pressure cooker and fry the cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon and green chillies.

Add onions and fry till golden brown. Add the ground pearl onions paste and fry till the oil separates. Add ginger garlic paste and once the raw smell goes off, add the chopped tomatoes. When the tomatoes are cooked till mushy, add the ground mint-coriander paste.

Add the curd and mix well followed by the freshly ground biryani masala powder, turmeric, coriander, and red chilli powder. Fry for 3-4 mins. Add the chicken pieces and cook till half done. Meanwhile drain water from the basmati rice and saute this in 1 tbsp ghee till it turns non-sticky. Add the rice to the masala, pour water and coconut milk, season with salt and cook for 2 whistles. Once the pressure is released, add the remaining 1 tbsp ghee and chopped coriander and mint leaves and fold carefully not to break the rice grains.

Serve warm with raitha!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Whole Wheat Molasses Bread | Eggless & Butterless

Life gets a new meaning when you have friends around you. And when you are in another land, friends and neighbours are life. I am glad that I have a sweet heart Indian family who lives next door. And weekends usually start with a movie or card night or atleast non-stop chatting. And then there is the occasional potluck filled with loads of food and lots of laughing. Life is not that monotonous when you have people around to share. ^Touchwood^

I love experimenting breads with new textures. And this is one of that kind. Cornmeal adds a nice texture to the bread, the buttermilk the needed moistness and the molasses adds to the texture and flavor. Slather it with some butter or marmalade and you have a healthy breakfast on hand. The best thing about this bread is that it stays moist even the next day and isn't that an added advantage when it comes to homemade breads.

Prep time: 10 mins; Cooking time: 30 mins; Serves - 2-3
Adapted from here
~*What U Need*~
Whole wheat flour - 1 1/4 cups
Cornmeal - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
Molasses - 1/4 cup
Buttermilk - 1/2 + 1/3 cup

How I Made it:
Preheat the oven to 325. Butter two min loaf pans. Mix together the dry ingredients. Stir the molasses into the buttermilk. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients, mixing just till combined, then pour into the loaf pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean, about 30-35 mins. Cool on a rack for about 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Serve with marmalade or butter!!!

So thats it Folks...
With Love,

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