Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Leftovers overhauled - Kothu Porotta

Porottas are sometimes the best things to find as leftovers. Unless it is Pizza all cold after sitting in the fridge atleast 8 hours. The combination of piping hot coffee(black) and almost frozen pizza slices is my special favourite....

Don't give me that look.

By the way, before I started salivating about pizza, I was talking about porottas. Good old Kerala porottas, not to be mistaken for Parathas, paranthas etc..

Just heat a frying pan, add 1 tsp of oil, saute 1 onion, 2 green chillies, 1 tomato, saute, add a dash of soy sauce and tomato sauce, 2 eggs, scramble well, add 2 porottas distinegrated by hand and then finally add some crushed pepper.

It is amazing.

I sometimes also make nice and spicy omelettes, heat the whole porottas and have Mott-porott a-la Mohan uncle.He was an old friend and colleague of our dad and one of our sweetest neighbors in Dukhan. Sadly,he is no more . He used to love making Mott porott and named it too.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Beans and Potatoes dry (mezhukkupuratti)

Beans - 250 gms
Potato - 250 gms
Onion - 1
Red chillies - 2

Cut beans and potatoes into bit-sized pieces, wash well. Add enough water (just level), add 1/4 spoon turmeric powder and 1 tsp chilli powder, keep on medium and cook till the water is all gone.

In a kadai, heat about 1 tsp of oil, add finely chopped onion, fry well. now add the the red chillies and the beans and potatoes, add salt to taste.

Great combination with tomato curry and rice.

The simplest dal curry - Mulakoshyam to some!

This is yet another one for B (Gooey Kablooie)

Thur dal - 1 cup washed well
Onion - 1 Sliced
Tomato - 1 sliced
Green chillies - 3 slit
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp

Just put all the ingredient into a pressure cooker with 2 glasses of and cook till 3 whistles. Wait till the steam goes. open the lid, add salt to taste. Temper with

Curry leaves - a handful
oil - coconut oil preferred - 1 tsp

Voila! it's ready. Chuck in a potato to make it thicker. When we add ash pumkin to the same dish, we call it Mulakoshyam. Dunno if it is spelt right, or pronounced right either!!!

If you fry a clove of garlick or seed onions cut into pieces in the oil and temper it, the smell and flavour is amazing.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Puli Chammandi - A simple tribute to Mattemma

This is my entry for JIHVA FOR LOVE

Mattemma is short for matte amma in malayalam, literal translation meaning the `other' mother. She was my maternal grandma's aunt.

She was widowed at a very early age, and shortly my grandma lost her mom. So she was brought up by mattemma.

Tall, slim, with salt and pepper hair and golden skin, she was the kind of person every child would dream of having at home. She lived in my mom's ancestral home and made all our vacations the most heavenly days.

Thinking back, those days we were interested only in the amazing variety of sweet and savoury snacks that she would provide. The normal food items were never very interesting, though I remember everyone raving about her food.

She used to make jackfruit, banana, tapioca and a wide variety of chips and anytime we passed thru the kitchen, which was often, she would give each of us a handful...then there were sharkkaravaratti, madhura seva...so many types of adas, paayasams, kozhukkatas...oh the list would go on and on...and she would make everything from scratch...

I have joined her many days to put the rice, kondattams, pappads and other things that had to be dried in the sun.

The only leisure time she took was about an hour from around 1 to 2 in the afternoon when she would sit facing the east and read aloud some novel from the weekly magazines. She would start making some snacks for the 4 o'clock tea as soon as she put down the book.

And between tea and dinner, she would help us roast tamarind seeds, jackfruit seeds, onions, tapioca and any other thing we could get our hands on. We were really fascinated with the old wood-stove she used to cook everything on.

Ever since I started cooking, I have been thinking how remiss I had been in not appreciating how great tasting even her simplest dishes were.Just talk about mattemma's cooking, and my dad would start drooling.

So in her memory, I present the simple Puli Chammandi

Imli/tamarind/puli (the type used for sambar) - size of one lemon
Curry leaves - 2 stalks
Green chillies - 3
Red chiilies - 2 (or can use 1/2 tsp chilli powder)
Ginger - 1/4 inch
Small onions - 5
Grated coconut - 3/4th cup
salt - to taste(rock salt would add to the taste)

Grind it so that the texture is just short of fine.And add as little water as possible. In the end, she would just roll it into a big ball and place it on a steel plate.Every cooking member in our family has made puli chammandi, but the taste is never the same.

Alas! I cannot produce the kind of taste where the chammandi is ground on the stone.But it is not too bad since my husband has also acquired a taste for this.

I remember leaning against her and rocking to the rythm of her grinding chammandi on the stone..imagine the endless patience it takes to make chammandi for a housefull of people while having a 10 year-old lean on!

And so thank you to Indira who started JFI, Jigyasa and Prathibha for giving us this opportunity for a tribute . Salutations to Pedatha for leaving a great legacy.

Window hanging

I am endlessly fascinated with Batik, unfortunately have not had any chance to do anything about it.

And another thing I absolutely love is mural art. So for this home-improvement excercise of mine, I decided to have a faux-batik border with something to remind me of mural art...

I love the bold colours. I have drawn Krishna and Rukmini, and the lovely clouds with the bold blue borders and a lotus.

Since I was using poplin to draw on , I used fabric colours. I am not very happy with the end results, but an active baby around trying to pull whatever she could reach, it took me longer than expected.

I will be making a few adjustments later on, but for now, I think this is okay to cover up the window.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My attempt at Home improvement - Window

Speaking of view from windows....

There was one window in the house that needed a cover-up very badly...Under an ancient air-conditioner,with the wires hanging from it looking out into the balcony, providing a view of the washing line and some things stored for repair...

I guess Nate Berkus would have extended the curtain rod over the balcony door to cover the window too. My friend who stays in a similar flat has got her window done that way and it looks really elegant..

But as this is not our home, and we are just tenants,making a change was not an option...

Ohhhh..did I mention that this is the first thing anyone would see when they entered our home? yeah this infamous window is in our living room....

So I did what I could to make that window look interesting with the resources at hand.... and between caring for my baby.I would say that it fell a bit short of my expectations, but I just wanted to cover it up ASAP. Maybe at a later date I will get round to modifying it. You can see the result for yourself.

Would dearly like your comments on the same.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

View from my kitchen window - 1

I do not spend too much time in the kitchen, but I like to think that the time I spend there is productive...

I had not given a thought to how pleasant a kitchen window would be. I live on the second floor, so I get a good view while providing me enough privacy.....

I took this picture at about 3.30 in the afternoon,while nothing much is happening...

Most of the children are back from school and at home, the elders are taking their siesta, babies are taking their naps and moms like me are just taking a breather....

Come back for more pictures from my kichen window

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Inji curry (Pickled ginger) - my shortcut!

Vishu has come and gone, but I cannot get over the nostalgia that day invoked...especially since I did not have much time to prepare one of my favourite things ...Inji curry.

There are many people who call this Puli Inji. Puli is tamarind and Inji is ginger. This is one dish that gets mentioned even in the `Aithihyamala' as being equivalent to 108 dishes.

Anyway, I had bought some ginger with the intention of making a Vishu Sadya, but I am finally getting round to it today. So I guess this can be mentioned as my Tuesday Toot too!!!!

Inji/ ginger - 250 gms (finely chopped)
Green chillies - 6-7 (chopped)
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 3-4 stems
Red chilli powder - 1 and 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Hing/Asafoetida powder - a dash
Tamarind pulp - extracted from 3 lemon-sized balls
Jaggery - according to preference
Salt - to taste

Soak the finely chopped ginger in water and drain well...In a deep-bottom pan add 1 tbsp oil, when hot, add the mustard seeds. when they splutter, add the curry leaves and the ginger . Keep stirring to fry the ginger evenly till golden brown.... now add the chopped green chillies..make a paste of the red chilli powder and the turmeric powder and fry till the oil comes on top..now add the tamarind pulp and boil..add the salt, jaggery and asafoetida and take off the stove. When cool, store in an air-tight jar and keep in the fridge to last a few weeks....not that mine will last even 1 week...

I cut the pieces a bit bigger b'coz I love to bite the ginger.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Vishu Sadya

April 14th was Vishu...my favourite festival...

I love everything about it..the kani, Kaineettam from the elders, the sadya of course, and all the fire crackers...

I made a sadya, but ...with my baby daughter's help, I could manage only a few items...

Everything turned out really well, but in my excitement( I was running a bit late), I did not remember to take any snaps of the food items..

I made sambar, aviyal , cabbage thoran, sambharam, gothambu payasam and of course pappads and the ever-present pickles.

Raita (salad)

This ia a perfect accompaniment for any biryani.

Onions - 2 large
Tomatoes 2 large
Coriander leaves- 1 bunch
Green chillies- 2

Curd - 1/2 cup
Pinch of chilli powder
Pinch of chat masala powder
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste

Cut all the into very small pieces. Beat curd and add the powders, sugar and salt. Blend well. Refrigerate till it is time to use.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mutton Biryani - Chettinad style

Mutton - 1/2 KG
Onions - 3 large (sliced thin)
Green Chillies - 3 (slit in half)
Tomatoes - 2 large (sliced)
Garlic cloves - 5 (crushed)

whole spices
cloves - 5nos
pepper corns - 1 tsp
Cinnamon sticks - 2 inch
cardamom - 5 nos
1 bay leaves

Marinate the mutton for 1 hour ...
1/2 cup curd,
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste,
1 tsp chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
salt to taste

Soak 1 and 1/2 cups rice for 1/2 an hour and drain.(may add a half cup more)

Brown the sliced onions, keep aside half for later.
In a pressure cooker, heat 1 tsp oil and add the whole spices..once they release the flavour, add the brown onions, add just the mutton pieces and slightly cook them, add the tomatoes, green chillies and the crushed garlic, add the marinade and pressure cook the mutton..I waited for 3 whistles.

Lightly fry 2 tsp coriander powder and keep aside

Once all the steam settles, empty the mutton into a vessel. Layer the remaining browned onions and half the rice add the mutton pieces ,the coriander powder and add the rest of the rice. Now take the gravy and measure it with the same cup/measure as the rice. Liberally add mint leaves throughout the layers. Add boiled water to make the liquid nearly double the quantity of rice. (I put in 2 and 3/4 of liquid)
I have found that a little less than double is always better, especially in a cooker.

Instead of boiled water, add warm milk with a pinch of saffron for added flavour
Two whistles, and wait 20 minutes before removing the lid.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Cauliflower potato dry - Strictly vegetarian

This is due to a Gooey Kablooie request....!!!!!

cauliflower - 1 medium
Potato - 1 big (cut into bite sized pieces)
Jeera - 1 tsp
Tomato - 1 (sliced)
Green chillies - 2 to 3
Chilly powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp

Cut the cauliflower into small buch of florets. Immerse in water with 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 tsp vinegar for atleast 10 minutes. Take out the pieces from the water towel and keep on a kitchen tand throw the water away..never strain and leave in the same vessel, could become a non-veg dish after all...

Now in a deep wok, add 1 tbsp oil. When hot, add the jeera. then add the cauliflowerand split green chillies and shallow fry. when lightly brown, add potatoes, chilliy powder, coriander powder and stir well. Add the tomato pieces and 1/2 glass of water , keep on medium flame and let cook with the lid on. When the potato pieces are cooked through,add a pinch of garam masala and some freshly ground black pepper. Let it become dry.

Enjoy hot.

Good combination with rice,dal and pappads

Very sorry that i do not have a picture of the dish to post..I make it often and so don't remember to take any snaps.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The foodie blogroll


I have been included in the Foodie Blogroll...I thought I would act blase about it, but I have to tell this.

And the leftover queen herself has left a comment for my Chicken made easy....and healthy.

Take a peek