Thursday, January 24, 2008

Food for comfort



When Meeta of "Whats for Lunch Honey?" announced Monthly Mingle event "Comfort Food", the first thing that came to my mind was Tomato Soup and Garlic Bread. Soups have always had a special place in my heart. Well, for one, they warm up the heart during a rainy day for sure:) and the other thing is, its the staple food for us whenever me or V fall sick. And I have always craved for those hot and sour, and sweet corn Chinese soups, whenever we plan to do a take out. In fact I have tried my best to taste soups from all the places we have been, which got me a pet name from my husband :) .....well the name is secret, but I can sure share with you this creamy tomato soup and garlic bread I made one of these days .


Ingredients: Serves 1 person

Creamy Tomato soup
------------------------
Tomato- 2 medium nos
Garlic - around 8 cloves
Cream - 1/4 cup
Onion - 1/2 cup chopped
Coriander leaves - to taste (I add a lot since I like the taste)
Cracked pepper - 1 teaspoon (to taste)
Hot sauce (Tabasco sauce) - few drops (to taste)
Cornstarch (cornflour) - 1/4 teaspoon
Warm water - 1/2 cup
Butter - 1 tablespoon
Oil-1 teaspoon

Garlic Bread - To make one garlic bread
--------------
One slice of bread - I used the whole grain bread (Any bread can be used for this)
Garlic - 2 big cloves
Coriander leaves - a few
salt- to taste
Oil - 1 teaspoon



Method:

To make Creamy Tomato Soup:

Cook the whole tomato and unpeeled garlic until these can be mashed. I nuked the tomato and garlic covered in a microwave vessel for two minutes as that was quicker than the stove method. Mash the tomato and garlic until it forms like a paste. I used the electric masher for the first time for this purpose and it worked well for me. Then to another vessel on the stove, add butter and oil and caramelise the onion. Add salt, mashed tomato-garlic mixture, stir well , be careful at this time as the heat can cause the soup to splatter, reduce the heat at this time, add the cream, cornstarch and stir well to combine everything well. Add the hot sauce, coriander leaves and stir again. Once a bit cooled, transfer contents to a blender and puree the mixture. Transfer the pureed mixture to stove to heat once again for a minute or two and garnish with a bit of cream and cracked pepper. Serve along with garlic bread.

To make Garlic Bread:

Roast the whole garlic and coriander leaves until soft or microwave it in a closed vessel for 2 minutes. Mash it along with salt and oil until it is of spreadable consistency. Spread it on a slice of bread on one side. Fold it once and apply the rest of it outside. (Actually I had made very little paste, so I applied some of the soup I made on the outer portion of the bread after it is folded). Then keep it in a sandwich maker until its done. Serve it warm along with soup.

The next comfort food I had in mind was the simplest comfort food which I relish anytime. It can be called a Kerala comfort food, because it has Erissery (a curry made with pumpkin (can use other vegetables also), green gram) and Cheera(Spinach)-thoran (thoran is a dish of Kerala) and I always associate it with Mom's cooking, hence its a complete comfort food for me :) The rice I use here is Matta Rice which me and V like for its Thiamine (Vitamin B content) and for its pinkish color which it imparts to the Kheer which we make out of this rice on occasions. I made Kanji (Gruel) out of the rice as its such a delight to have it during this cold weather. The mention of Kanji itself warms up the heart. For making Kanji using Matta rice, I used the pressure cooker as my rice cooker never was able to cook the Matta Rice that well. I poured two extra cups of water for cooking the rice and cooked it for 3-4 whistles.



Ingredients

For Erisseri:
---------------

Pumpkin- a medium piece cut in small chunks
Green Gram - 2/3 cup
Water for cooking the green gram
Shredded coconut- 1 cup
Red Chilly - 2 nos
Garlic - 2 cloves
Tampering: Mustard seeds, cumin seeds,curry leaves,,Red Chilly, oil

For cheera(Spinach) thoran:
-------------------

Spinach (I used the cut spinach from frozen section) - 2 cups
Shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
Garlic - 2 cloves minced
Red chilly powder - 1 teaspoon
Tampering- Mustard seeds, oil



Erisseri
Method:

Erisseri:
-----------
I used pressure cooker for cooking the whole dish as I was running out of time, but I suggest you folks to cook only the green gram in pressure cooker for this recipe as the pumpkin gets mashed when cooked in pressure cooker. Anyways here is how I did it:

In the pressure cooker, add 1 teaspoon oil, and the other tampering, then add the green gram, pumpkin (you may cook it separately) , salt and water , and cook it for three whistles. Then grind the coconut, red chilly, garlic to a course paste. Mix it to the content in the pressure cooker, stir it well and after a minute, switch off the stove.



Cheera (Spinach)-Thoran
To make cheera thoran:
--------------------------

Defrost the spinach (if you have bought the frozen ones). If you have whole spinach, chop it well. Mix it with coconut, garlic, chilly powder, and salt. In a vessel on the stove, heat a teaspoon of oil, add the tampering and then add the spinach mixture and stir it well on medium heat. Close the vessel and let it cook until the spinach is cooked.


The above picture is the Rose Matta Rice which has been cooked with lots of water. I drained the water from the rice through a sieve before serving to V , though I prefer it without the draining. That's why you don't see the water in which it is cooked.



Garlic Chicken







Hi I am posting this after a long time. I was very busy renovating our apartment to make it look good:) . This easy dish can be prepared fast.

Ingredients:

Shredded chicken (breast or highs or fillets) : 2 cups
Crushed Garlic : 1 whole Garlic
Minced green chili: I use a lot, you can use according to your taste
Salt: according to paste
For garnish: Coriander leaves,Whole peppercorns crushed: 1 teaspoon, Spring onion sliced in thin circles
Spice Powders: Curry powder (you get in your local Indian store or some American stores (in the asian section) . You can even use Sambhar powder :) (try it, its quiet different)
Onion cut in thin slices : 1 whole
Tomato: 1 medium size
Oil :

Method:

Add oil to a pan, and when its heated, add onion, half of crushed garlic and stir well, then add the minced green chilli and stir well again. Then add tomato and stir on medium-high heat until a paste of all the ingredients is formed, then add the shredded chicken and combine well, add all the spice powders, salt and pepper and stir well at low-medium heat. Cover the vessel and let the chicken cook . Then at the end when the chicken is cooked, add crushed pepper, and coriander leaves.

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