Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spicy Chicken Kabab




Well, my mouth waters when I hear kabab, what about your's? I had never eaten much kabab in my life, but the only time I ate, I craved for more, but unwillingly had to stop myself when I had to make choice between the money I had to pay to the vendor and my appetite for kabab, as the former was tooo expensive for me to handle. Anyways, recently, I was behind my husband to buy me skewers, and he kep delaying the thing promising me that he would buy me the metal skewers instead of the wooden ones, .....ofcourse my patience (especially when I don't get the tools to cook when I am trying to cook something new) didnt last long ;) ....so I made up my mind and when we went to Walmart for some other reason, the first thing I did was to disappear from my husband's eyes to hunt for skewers.....I got it finally, though it was wooden, before my husband could utter his protest against it, I had made up my mind and convinced him my way :) .......So today I tried making kababs as hubby is coming tonight , and I wanted to surprise him with this,....The kababs were done beautifully the first time itself. I am so happy, because now I dont need to spend even a dollar to have those restaurant style kababs be it in US or India. and I was able to prepare yet another dish to satisfy my hubby's palate...and as always I want to actually thank him for being a very cooperative glass slide (thats what they use in experiments in chemistry labs right ? ;) in all my cooking ventures :)) ....I am posting the pictures here, here is the recipe:
Ingredients:
Chicken breast (or thigh) skinless bonneless : 2 medium sized cut into bite size pieces.
Onion: 1 nos sliced in squares
Marinade:
Onion: 1 nos
Garlic: 3 segments
GreenChilli : 3 nos
Tomato: 1 nos
Coriander leaves: 4 - 5 strands
Salt
Ginger garlic paste
Oil
Curd
Grind all these to form a thick but smooth paste. You can also add some store bought Tandoori Chicken Masala powder this marinade to get the color and a different taste.
For grilling:
Wooden skewers or metal skewers (i used the wooden skewers) If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 30 minutes before using them.
Method:
Marinate the chicken pieces in the marinade overnight or atleast 2 hours. Remember, the longer you marinate, the tender the chicken becomes.
Preheat oven to highest temperature. I put it at around 400 degrees F.
Piece the skewers through a chicken piece. Then bring the chicken piece all the way to the edge, but leave a little space, so that you have space to hold both ends of the skewers with your hands.
Add a onion piece following the chicken piece. Repeat this process of adding chicken and onion alternately depending on the length of your skewer.
Repeat the process with the rest of the skewers.
Keep a holding tray in the oven beneath the rack where you plan to place the skewers. The holding tray is important as the chicken pieces should be placed in such a way that the excess marinade on the chicken piece should be falling off the chicken pieces onto the holding tray, else the kababs remain soggy which is not a good kabab.
Grill for around 30 minutes or until nthe chicken pieces have black spots which shows that its grilled properly. In between turn the skewers to let the chicken pieces to be grilled uniformly.
Sprinkle some lemon drops on the kababs when they are done. Your spicy chicken kabab is ready to be relished :) Enjoy!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Phova Ukkeri (Chivda)

Preparing the "tadka" for the "phova ukkeri"
Better to fry the pappad ahead of time so that the excess oil is absorbed by the papar towel.

After poha is added to the "tadka"


The final stir after everything is added



Store it in an air tight container after it is completly cooled




Delicious phova ukkeri ready!
Recently I prepared "phova ukkeri" (we konkanis in kerala call it ukkeri, instead of upkeri, which is called by rest of the konkani communities in other states) the first time in my life. And it came out so perfect I myself could not believe I was able to make it so good:) ........I love this snack, as far as I can remember, I always used to bug my mom to make this when I saw the peanuts and "phovu" (beaten rice or "aval") when we went out to the market for the house grocery. She also used to give me phova ukkeri in a small bag when I had to leave home to go to my college which was outside kerala. So I always have nostalgic feelings associated with this snack as they have always made me think of my home back in Cochin when I was in college as well as now too.....I actually wanted to prepare this for another reason too, and that was for diet purpose. This snack doesnt consume much oil, nor is it filled with fat or cholestrol. And its toooo tasty. I prepared one batch 2 days back and my husband and myself emptied the snack box within 2 days hehehe...........Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
Poha (thin or thick): 3 cups
Peanut: 1 cup
Small Green chilli: as per taste
Curry leaves: a bunch
Pappad: 8 nos cut into small pieces (as seen in the pic) before frying
Cumin seeds: 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds: 2 tablespoons
Asafoetida (hing): 1 teaspoon
Salt
Sugar: 1/4 teaspoon
Oil: 3 tablespoons
Method:
Heat oil in a vessel. When oil is heated properly, lower the fire and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, when these pop, add green chilli (slit lengthwise into thin pieces), Curry leaves, and Peanut. Saute this on low fire until all are roasted properly and a nice aroma of the "tadka" fills the kitchen :) ......Then add the poha and stir again until poha becomes crisp (if needed add a few teaspoons of oil). Add turmeric, salt and sugar at the end and mix properly on low fire. Fry the pappad seperately and add it to the poha mixture. Add asafoetida at the end and mix properly. Authentic phova ukkeri is ready. Store it in an air tight container after the snack is completly cooled. Enjooy!

Bread-Omelette


I recently made this dish after getting information about it from one of my neighbours here. Its easy and can be prepared in no time. Can be had as a brunch item:) So here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Bread: 8 slices cut into small pieces
Onion
Green Chilli
Ginger - Garlic paste
Tomato
Eggs: 3 nos
Water as needed to make the batter
Salt
Coriander powder
Asafoetida

Method:
Combine everything except bread and water. Combine bread and water seperately in a bowl to form a paste. Add the other ingredients mixture which was combined first. Add more water until a batter similar to the dosa batter is formed. Heat a griddle, and spread a laddle full (the batter might be thick so it might help if you can spread the batter on the griddle with a spoon to get the shape and thickness). Cover it with a plate until the dosa is cooked well. Flip the dosa to cook the other side as well. Your dosa is ready!

My Favorite Kitchen Gadgets

Spice grinder
Beater

Chopper


I am posting snaps of some of my favorite kitchen gadgets.

Some more snaps on ksheere prepared using broken wheat

Step 6:Ksheere
Step5: After ghee is added when after sugar is completly absorbed.

Step 4:After adding sugar to wheat milk mixture.


Step 3: After the wheat is absorbed all milk.



Step 2: Adding milk after that.




Step1:Heating the wheat until the raw smell goes away.


I liked the cracked wheat version of ksheere better than the broken wheat in terms of texture....I guess the broken wheat which I bought from the indian store here is not the one I was looking for....anyways here are the pics I took.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Ksheere


Ksheere or Ksheera is a sweet dish similar to Rava Kesari (one of previous blog entry), but is different in the way it is prepared as well as its taste. Infact I prefer Ksheere to Rava Kesari. Ksheere is prepared by konkanis mostly for auspicious occasions such as Sathya Narayana Pooja. I simply relish the taste of this sweet so much that I sometimes used to eat it whenever I felt hungry, when it was time for lunch at home, and my mom used to catch me red- handed stealing it from the fridge as she used to tell that I would lose my appetite later to have proper lunch food if I have something like this first, its never stopped me though to repeat my actions later too ;) ......anyways here I am sharing with you the recipe which you too can try at home. Here I have prepared Ksheere with cracked wheat, as I did not have broken wheat, and I had also read somewhere that cracked wheat can be used in place of broken wheat which is ideally used to make Ksheere.


Ingredients:
--------------

Cracked wheat: 1 cup

Milk: 1cup

Water: 1 cup

Sugar: 1 cup

Ghee (I melted the "I cant believe its not butter" brand and used it instead of ghee as I was on a diet, the wonderful aroma of ghee may not be there when you prepare it with this, so you can use the Ghee you get in Indian stores): 1/2 cup (1 cup is what should be actually used but it makes it very heavy on the dish).

Cashew nut (saute in oil until the raw taste is gone): a handful (optional)

Raisins (saute in oil until all raisins become plump): a handful (optional)

Nutmeg powder: 1/2 teaspoon (optional)

Cardamom powder: 1/2 teaspoon (optional)


Method:
--------
Roast the cracked wheat in a vessel without oil or ghee until the raw smell of cracked wheat is gone. Be careful to not burn the wheat.

Add milk and water to the cracked wheat and keep the fire high. Let the mixture come to a boil and then lower to medium. All this time keep stirring to avoid the mixture sticking to the bottom of the vessel and also to combine the mixture evenly.

When the cracked wheat absorbs all the milk and water, it starts thickening. This happened to me after like 5 minutes of stirring. At this point add sugar and keep stirring again on high fire. When sugar is added to the mixture, it becomes a bit watery, but that is natural as when we add salt or sugar to any dish, it makes the dish watery. But make it a point to add sugar only after the wheat is completely cooked, else adding sugar stops further cooking.

Keep stirring properly until the mixture thickens again, adjust the fire in between accordingly. It took me around 10-15 minutes for the mixture to thicken after sugar was added.

Add ghee at this stage and stir uniformly. Add cashew nuts, raisins, nutmeg powder, and cardamom powder and stir uniformly. Turn off fire. Ksheere is ready to eat! You can have it cold or warm, usually it is served warm. Actually it is first offered to God Vishnu on occasion of Sathya Narayana Pooja and then after pooja , distributed among people as prasadam.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Idiyappam


Idiyappam is a very popular dish of south india (especially Kerala). Its made either sweet or without the sweetness its made to eat with various traditional south indian gravies like "kadala curry" (channa masala or chickepea), "ishtoo (stew)", "chicken curry" ......or with just plain sugar and sweet coconut milk. To make it you need a Idiyappam mould which you get in almost all Indian stores. The same mould which is used to make Chakli can be used for making Idiyappam. So here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Rice flour which is roasted (no oil) , until its heated (or you get idiyappam flour in Indian stores): 1 cup
Water: 2 cups
Oil: 3 tablespoons
Salt: to taste

Method:

Let the rice flour cool and then sieve it (optional to sieve) to avoid lumps. Then add salt and mix it. Boil water in another vessel. Take the vessel off fire. Wait until it is a bit cool so that you dont burn your hands while mixing it later with rice flour. Add oil to the rice flour and mix well until the rice flours stick together to form a course mixture. Then slowly sprinke 2 tablespoons of water and mix again. Continue adding water and mixing (it is not necessary to use the entire two cups of boiled water) until you attain the desired consistency of idiyappam where, the rice and water for a smooth dough, which is a bit smoother than the chappatthi dough. Heat water in the steamer or cooker. Rub oil on the idli stands and inside the idiyappam mould. Then add the dough to the mould to fill it to the maximum. Make idiyappam on the idli stands using the mould and then keep the stand in the pressure cooker which is filled with sufficient water to cook the idiyappam. Cook and check for doneness after around 15 minutes or more.

Chilli Chicken curry




Chilli Chicken has been my favorite dish to order when I visit any Indian restaurant which serves non-vegetarian dishes. I like it because its spicy and I like spicy food. I had done several tries in my cooking with chicken to create a chilli chicken dish, but all didnt satisfy my standard of chilli chicken taste. So then I came across a recipe in internet which tells that it adds more taste if we were to saute the chicken initially along with lots of spices like ginger and garlic and chilli, to get a restaurant type taste for home cooked chilli chicken. And I also invented a method to add more taste to the chicken and that ingredient is the Tomato-Chilli sause you get in any Indian store. You would definitly see the difference if you were to use in this dish. So here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
==========
Chicken (Boneless): 4 large pieces cut into bite size pieces
Onion
Capscicum
Garlic
Ginger paste
Green Chilli
Salt
Spices:
Tomato - Chilli sauce
Cinnamon powder
Coriander powder
Chilli powder
Nutmeg powder
Method:
========
In a wide bottom vessel which can be used to prepare the chilli chicken curry, heat 2 tablespoons of butter and add chopped garlic, ginger, and green chilli and saute them for 10 seconds on high fire, add the chicken pieces, saute again for another 2 minutes.
Reduce the fire a little, and saute until the chicken pices turn light brown on all sides. This will take atleast 15 minutes where you need to keep stirring in between. Then add all the spices to it and miz uniformly.
Meanwhile in another vessel, add 2 tablespoons of oil and saute chopped onion, capscicum and saute until they turn golden brown. Add a pinch of salt and mix uniformly.
Add this mixture to the chicken in the other vessel and mix uniformly again.Add enough water or chicken broth to just cover the pieces and lower the fire to medium. Cover the vessel and allow to cook until chicken is done.
To make a thicker gravy, in a vessel, mix rice flour (or cornflour or maida) (the amount depends on how much thick you need your gravy to be) and enough water to form a thick gravy like paste and add this to the chilli chicken curry and stir and wait until the mixture thickens.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice or chappatthi.

Hyderabadi Biriyani


The first time I heard about Hyderabadi Biriyani and had it too , was when I was in Hyderabad for my friend's marriage. She took me to a authentic hyderabadi restaurant which was famous for their biriyani. I just loved the aroma and the taste it bought with it. It was so tasty that I cannot describe what exactly was the secret ingredient behind the biriyani. Though I could not reproduce the same effect with my version of this Hyderabadi Biriyani, I made this with help from a friend who is from Hyderabad and a good cook too....She told me that the meat which we use in this biriyani is marinated for a long time in curd and spices. So thats the secret I guess. Here is the recipe:


Ingredients:


Chicken (boneless) : 4 large pieces cut into bite sizes

Basmati rice: 2 cups

Onion: 2 sliced long

Capscicum: 1 no

Garlic: 3 pods

Ginger paste: 1 teaspoon

Coriander leaves: 2 or 3 strands chopped into small pieces for garnish

Cashewnut: 1/2 cup (optional)

Raisins: 1/2 cup (optional)

Curd: for marinating the chicken

Water: 3 cups

Butter: 2 tablespoons

Green chilli:3 nos


Spices:

--------

Cloves: 1 - 2 nos

Star-Anis: 2 nos broken into pieces

Cinnamon powder: 1/4 teaspoon

Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon

Chilli powder: 1 teaspoon or according to taste

Cumin powder: 1/2 teaspoon

Nutmeg powder: 1/4 teaspoon


Method:

=======

Marinate the chicken in curd, salt, chilli powder, and coriander powder. Keep the chicken refrigerated while marinating it. Marinate it for a whole night if you are preparing a day early or for around 4 hours if you want to prepare it in a hurry:)


In a small vessel heat oil and add the raisins and saute until they have become plump. Also saute cashewnuts seperately in the same oil.


Heat a wide bottom vessel which can be used to prepare the biriyani. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and add chopped garlic, ginger paste, cloves, star-anis and let it saute for 10 seconds.


Then add the chicken pieces and saute in high fire until chicken pieces turn brown. This might take around 15 minutes, adjust the fire accordingly in between the sauting so that the chicken pieces do not stick to the bottom of the vessel.


After that, add the chopped onion, capscicum and green chillies to the vessel and saute until everything is partially cooked. Then add the rest of the spices and saute.


Add the rice to the vessel and mix uniformly. Add water, salt and cover the vessel. Cook until all water is completly absorbed. Then garnish with coriander leaves and raisins and cashewnuts.


Enjoy this meal with a chicken curry or raita!

Pathrodo







Pathrodo is one of my favorite Konkani dish. I used to always watch my mom prepare the colocasia leaves for making this dish. I also remember her consistent advises about being careful while handling these leaves as they are very itchy. I have never prepared this dish when I was in India. However numerous times have assisted my mom in making it. I still get a nostalgic feeling when that aroma of the rice paste comes when applying it on the leaves. Since I came to US, I was wondering where I could get hold of those colocasia leaves, but to my dismay I could not find any. I then searched in google about this dish and voila! I came across this site called http://aayisrecipes.com where I got the inspiration to make Pathrodo using "Collard Greens" which we get in plenty in almost all american grocery stores. I got so excited and couldnt wait until my hubby returned from Miami so that we could purchase this leaf. After we bought a bunch, I was then busy taking out the veins, and preparing this dish. And as you can see above pic, it resembles the same Pathrodo made with the traditional colocasia leaf. and it tastes almost the same, that you cannot tell that it was made with a different type of leaf. (Though if you are very taste sensitive, you might pick up a bit of bitterness of the leaf, but only very very light tinge of bitterness which can be ignored coz the taste is otherwise so alike to the traditional Pathrodo). My hubby is fully impressed with this version of Pathrodo that he always buys me the leaf :) . And another advantage of using this leaf is, it doesnt even itch and is much faster to prepare than the colocasia leaf. So all in all I just love the idea of making Pathrodo using Collard Greens. Hope you too enjoy ! Do let me know if it came out good:) So here is the recipe:
Ingredients:
============
  • Collard Greens: 1 bunch
  • White Rice: 2 cups
  • Shredded coconut: 1 cup
  • Turmeric: a pinch
  • Tamarind pulp: 3 tablespoons
  • Asafoetida: a pinch
  • Salt: to taste (do add a little more than you usually add to bring out the taste of Pathrodo when cooked)
  • Red Chilli (or green chilli): to taste (do add a little more than you usually add to bring out the taste of Pathrodo when cooked)

Method:

  1. Soak white rice for 3 -4 hours. Grind coconut along with turmeric, tamarind, chilli and asafoatida using very little water. Then add white rice and salt and grind again using very little water because we need a paste form of this mixture to be applied on the leaves.
  2. Prepare the collard greens leaves by first taking out the stem and then carefully taking out the thick veins from the leaves using a knife.
  3. Use a plastic cover on a flat surface. Place a big leaf with the lighter green side facing the top, on the plastic cover and then apply the rice paste generously on the surface of the leaf.
  4. Place 2 leaves, one on each side of the first leaf, again with the lighter green surface facing the ceiling. apply the paste again on these leaves. Now we have a good base for placing the rest of the leaves.
  5. Repeat step 3 and 4 until you get sufficient thickness to roll a medium sized pathrodo.
  6. To roll the leaves, you can do it the way which you wish, I first roll the left and right sides and then roll from the top to bottom, tucking the parts of the leaves inside while rolling it. Also apply the paste each time you roll the sides, and this way the paste is applied on the darker side of the leaves.
  7. You have your pathrodo ready for steaming in your pressure cooker or any steam cooker. I have a steam cooker which I am very found of and as it is multipurpose.
  8. Fill sufficient water in the cooker taking into consideration that the cooking time for this Pathrodo is one hour. Then place the pathrodo on the idli stand and place it in cooker.
  9. Let the fire be high initially for around 15 minutes, then lower to medium and let it cook for the rest of the 45 minutes.
  10. Pathrodo is usually served along with coconut oil. You can use other oils too. You may also roast the cooked pathrodo on a heated tawa by adding few drops of oil on each side while roasting it. That is yummy too!

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