Archive for the ‘South Indian’ Category

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Chicken, in any form and style, is one of my favorite food. Chettinad is a region in Tamil Nadu state in India and famous for its spicy and flavorful cuisine. I would love to visit this place to try other dishes of this cuisine. I have tried this recipe many times mainly with Chicken but also with Mushrooms and it has always turned out good with its bursting and tickling taste. I have never tried this dish at a restaurant but researched online before making it. Also, I don’t get good variety of food in Indian restaurant in our town. As always, the inspiration behind this recipe is the great chef Sanjeev Kapoor. Traditionally, the Chettinad cuisine offers spicy food with lot of red chillies and spices. The most important thing about this dish is the freshly grounded masala made of roasted spices and fresh coconut. For a vegetarian version, you can try this with Mushroom as they are as meaty and similar in texture as Chicken. Of course, my preference is Chicken over the Mushroom. Don’t let the long list of ingredient scare you as the end result will be very delicious. Enjoy this dish with ghee (clarified butter) rice or roti (whole wheat flat bread).

Ingredients :-

Chicken 1 pound (approx 500gm)
 Oil 2 tablespoon
Poppy seeds, soaked 2 teaspoon
Ginger, chopped 1 inch
Garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon
Cashew nuts, soaked 8-10
Onions, finely chopped 1/2 cup
Curry leaves 8-10
Tomatoes, finely chopped 2 medium
Turmeric 1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Crushed black pepper 1 teaspoon
Lemon Juice 1 teaspoon
Cilantro, finely chopped 1/4 cup

For Chettinad Masala :-

Coconut, scraped 1/2 cup
Coriander seeds  1 teaspoon
Cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon 
Fennel seeds 1 teaspoon
Dried red chilies
6-7
Green Cardamoms 3
Cloves 2-3
Cinnamon 1 inch piece

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Method :-

  • Add a pinch of salt, turmeric powder and lemon juice to the chicken. Keep it for marination for one hour
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a nonstick pan. Add the coconut, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, red chillies, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and saute on medium heat for four to five minutes.
  • Cool and grind the above mixture with ginger, garlic, poppy seeds and cashew nuts and some water into a smooth paste. Put water as little as possible.
  • Heat the remaining oil in another non-stick pan.
  • Add the curry leaves and onion. Saute onion till golden brown.
  • Add the ground paste and saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, salt  and mix well
  • Cook for five to seven minutes or till the oil separates.
  • Add the chicken, crushed peppercorns and saute for more five minutes.
  • Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

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    Notes :-

  • I have used here boneless chicken breast but you can try it with thighs or chicken with bone. The cooking time would differ.
  • You can decrease the hotness of this dish by reducing amount of red chillies.
  • If you can’t find fresh coconut you can use the dried coconut powder.
  • This curry is known for the flavors, the spice and the aroma due to its fresh grounded spices. You can get ready made store bought masala but it will not justify the real taste of this dish. 
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dahi bhindi

Hope you all had very good Memorial Day long weekend. Its been a while I have posted anything on my blog. Okra is one of my favorite vegetable and I love to try different recipes using it. I love its crispiness after deep/shallow frying. The dish which I have tried here is scrumptious and delicious and was surprised to not see it in the menu of Indian restaurants in the USA. I think this dish will be a winner in the restaurants and people will surely like it (of course, if properly made). Dahi Bhindi can be cooked in 3 different ways (that I know of) – Rajasthani, Kerala and Hyderabadi style (each representing different states, flavors and culture of India). This particular recipe follows the Hyderabadi style adapted from Tarla Dalal (famous Indian food writer/chef) with some variations. The creamy texture of the gravy with crisp okras will just amaze you to think how simple dishes can sometimes be so incredible. This will definitely make you more hungry. Hope you would love it like I do.

Ingredients :-

Bhindi/Okra, Washed, dried and chopped
2 cups
Onion, Finely chopped 1 large
Tomatoes, Finely chopped
2 large
Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 teaspoon
Sugar
1 teaspoon
Yogurt, beaten
1 cup
Grated Coconut, Frozen/Fresh 1 tablespoon
Cashew Nuts 6-8
Warm milk 3-4 tablespoon
Kasoori Methi/ Dried Fenugreek Leaves
1 tablespoon
Garam Masala
1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder
1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Amchur Powder/Dried Mango Powder
1/2-1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Coriander Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Oil
1-2 tablespoon


For tempering :-

Mustard Seeds
1 tablespoon
Curry Leaves
6-7
Cumin/Jeera
1/2 teaspoon
Urad Dal/Split Black Lentils
1 teaspoon
Red Chillies, Halved
2-3
Hing/Asafoetida
A pinch
Oil
1 tablespoon

Method :-

  • Soak the cashews in warm milk for about 10 minutes.
  • Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan and add okra pieces to it. Saute the okras on high flame till it crisp.
  • Remove and drain okras on a tissue paper. Keep them aside till needed.
  • Grind soaked cashews and coconut to smooth paste adding the milk used for soaking. Keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and urad dal in it. When they crackle add red chillies, asafoetida and curry leaves.
  • Add the chopped onion and saute it until they turn light golden.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for another minute till the raw smell disappears and onion turns golden brown.
  • Now add all the dry masalas/powder (garam masala powder, red chilli powder, amchur powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder) along with Kasoori methi and fry for 2 minutes.
  • Mix the chopped tomatoes and fry it until tomatoes turns mushy and oil separates out.
  • Now add grounded cashew-coconut paste and mix it well. Keep stirring for a minute.
  • Add yogurt, sugar and salt  to taste and mix well.
  • Depending on the consistency add 1/2 – 1  cup of water. Simmer the gravy for about 5 minutes.
  • Mix in the okra pieces and adjust the seasonings according to taste. You can add more water if consistency is thick and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve hot with Roti/Indian bread or Rice.

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Note :-

  • You can even deep fry the okras. That will turn the okras more crispy. I prefer pan frying for healthy option.
  • Make sure okras are well dried before you cut.
  • Cook okras without adding any salt and do not cover. This will reduce / remove the stickiness in the Okra.
  • Adding sugar is optional to reduce the sourness of the dish.
  • You can save some of the tempering to add it at last as garnishing.

chicken ghee roast

Truly admitting, I love Chicken in any form. At times when I became vegetarian for about 2 years, I missed chicken and was tempted to eat on lot of occasions. As a replacement to chicken, I had to satisfy myself with Paneer delicacies. Its probably the most sought after food by Vegetarians in India. But even best of Vegetarian recipes couldn’t stop me drooling over delicious recipes of chicken enjoyed by people around me. So in short my love for Chicken was never lost, it was indeed hidden somewhere deep in my stomach & thoughts. The dish I have tried today is categorized as one of the favorites in Mangalorian cuisine. I did not know about this fantastic Mangalorian preparation until I saw it in one of Indian cookery show and instantly thought of trying it. I have never tried the original one but was very happy the way it came out and now it has become one of my  favorite side dish or as starter. Ghee (Clarified Butter) Roast is said to be native to coastal Karnataka. The word ‘Roast’ loosely means braising rather than actually sticking the meat into an oven. The first step is to braise the chicken and then add spices into the same pot to cook slowly till it becomes tender. A more healthier version would be to reduce the quantity of ghee but I think the dish will miss that distinct ‘ghee roasted’ aroma and flavor. I would suggest indulging in this heavenly delicacy only occasionally. As always, the freshly grounded masala (spices) tastes lot better. I hope you like this recipe. Enjoy!!

Ingredients :-

Ghee (Clarified Butter) 1/2 cup
Chicken, dried and cut in bite size
1 kg
Thick Yogurt/Curd
1/2 cup
Turmeric Powder
1/2 teaspoon
Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon
Jaggery/Sugar (Optional)
2 tablespoon
Curry Leaves
10-12
Kashmiri Red Chillies
15-20
Small Red Chillies 7-8
Black Peppercorns
7-8
Coriander Seeds 1 1/2 tablespoon
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tablespoon
Fenugreek Seeds 1/2 teaspoon
Cloves 4
Garlic cloves 12-16
Tamarind paste 1 1/2 tablepoon
Salt to taste
Fresh Cilantro Leaves, Finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons

Method :-

  • Marinate the chicken with curd, turmeric powder, lemon juice,  1/2 tsp of salt for a minimum of 3-4 hrs or overnight in the refrigerator. I marinated it for overnight.
  • Heat a pan and dry roast the red chilies on low flame for 2 mts. Keep in mind that it should not burn otherwise it will spoil the dish. Remove from fire and keep aside. In the same pan, add a tsp of ghee and roast, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, cloves and peppercorns on low flame for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool.
  • Grind the red chillies and spices along with garlic and tamarind to make a fine paste. This is your ground spice/masala.
  • Heat a big pan with 1/4 cup of ghee and fry the marinated chicken until it gets almost cooked, but not fully cooked.
  • Remove the sauteed chicken pieces and keep aside. Remove the remaining liquid into another bowl.
  • To the same pan add the remaining ghee and fry the ground spice/masala paste for 5 to 8 minutes over medium flame, or until the spice/masala starts leaving ghee on the sides. Make sure not to burn the spice/masala mixture while doing this process.
  • Add the fried chicken pieces and mix well. Add the left over liquid,curry leaves and jaggery/sugar and cook on medium flame for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste. Remember that marinated chicken already had salt added in it. So add salt accordingly.
  • Reduce the flame and cover the chicken with lid. Cook the chicken till the spices/masala dries up and there is thick coating of spice/masala on chicken pieces. This will take approximately 8-10 minutes on medium flame.
  • Remove lid, roast the chicken for 2-3 minutes. Turn off flame, remove onto a serving bowl.
  • Finally garnish the chicken with chopped cilantro leaves and serve immediately.

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Notes :-

  • Kashmiri Red chillies are not spicy at all. So you may go easy with the quantity of Kashmiri chillies. Also the small chillies are hot in taste so add according to your taste.
  • Adding sugar/jaggery suppresses the hotness of the dish.
  • Ghee gives extraordinary flavor to this dish but if you think its heavy on your calorie count then you can decrease the quantity of ghee and add some olive oil instead.
  • Any part of chicken goes well with this dish but it will taste best if made with chicken in bone.

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South Indian food like Idli, Dosa, Uttapam are amongst my favorite breakfast items as they are nutritious, low in calories and filling. I remember, as a child, these dishes in our home were treated as delicacies. Even when we use to go out for dinner (rarely) my 1st choice would be sada (plain) dosa (savory crepes). I am certainly in love with this cuisine for its health benefits (one year to ninety years old can have it as its easy on digestion) and delightful taste. Idlis are soft, savory cakes which you can enjoy with sambhar (Spiced lentil veggie soup) and any type of chutney. Normally idlis are made from a fermented batter of rice and skinless split black gram (dhuli urad dal) which requires at least 2 days of preparation. Specifically, Rava idli is very easy, quick and handy to make as you can find most of the ingredients easily in your pantry. It is made of semolina (cream of wheat/Rava/Sooji) and acts as a savior when you don’t have any regular idli batter in hand. So lets start with the recipe.


Ingredients :-

Semolina/Rava
2 cups
Sour Curd
1/2 cup
Coconut Oil/any other
3 tablespoons
Fresh Coconut, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons
Urad Dal (Split skinless black gram)
1 teaspoon
Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram)
1 teaspoon
Broken Cashews
1 1/2 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoon
Green chillies, seeded and chopped
3-4
Curry Leaves
4-5
Ginger, finely chopped 1 inch piece
Salt
To taste
Fruit Salt (Eno) 1 tablespoon
Water
1 Cup

Method :-

  • Dry roast the semolina/rava in a heated pan.
  • Combine the semolina, curd, water, 2 tbsp of oil and salt together in a bowl. Whisk it continuously so that there is no lump. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
  • Heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil in a small pan for seasoning. Add the urad dal, chana dal  and cashews. Fry it till they turn brown in color. Add mustard seeds.
  • When the seeds crackle, add the coconut, green chillies and curry leaves and saute for a few seconds.
  • Pour this  seasoning over the semolina batter and mix well.
  • Add the fruit salt and sprinkle a little water over it. When the bubbles form, mix it gently.
  • Pour spoonfuls of the batter into greased idli moulds (don’t let the batter fill till the brim) and steam on medium flame for 8 to 10 minutes. Check by inserting tooth pick in center of idli. If it comes out clean then its cooked.
  • Serve hot with any chutney of your choice. Below I have mentioned one of the chutney which goes well with this dish.

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For Onion Tomato Chutney

Ingredients :-

Onion (Preferably red onion), chopped
1 cup
Tomato, chopped
3/4 cup
Red chillies
3-4
Ginger, chopped
2 teaspoons
Oil
2 teaspoons
Salt
to taste
Curry Leaves
5-6
Mustard Seeds
1 teaspoon
Urad Dal (Split skinless black gram)
1 teaspoon
Chana Dal (Split Bengal Gram)
1 teaspoon

Method :-

  • Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan. Add half of the curry leaves and  red chillies followed by the onions.
  • Add some salt and fry till they become translucent.
  • Add the chopped ginger followed by the tomatoes.
  • Fry till they become soft and remove from the heat.
  • Let it cool and grind it to a fine paste.
  • Heat other teaspoon of oil in a pan.
  • Add rest of the curry leaves and red chillies and saute it till fragrant.
  • Add urad dal and chana dal and let it brown.
  • Add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Switch off the heat.
  • Add the tempering/seasoning to the chutney and serve with idlis.

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Notes :-

  • If you don’t have eno use 1/4 – 1/2 tsp of baking soda. In this case, the batter needs to be fermented for minimum of 25-30 minutes to raise.
  • I always prefer using eno compare to soda since it soothes the stomach. It is available in any Asian/Indian store.
  • Curd should be sour enough to make good tasty idli otherwise it tastes bland.
  • You can add grated carrot, peas or chopped cilantro/coriander to add more flavor.
  • To get Idli with cashew visible on top first place one roasted cashew in each moulds and pour batter on top.
  • Consistency of batter and adding eno plays a major role in soft and fluffy idli.
  • You can drizzle some drop of ghee (clarified butter) on idlis while serving.
  • Idli moulds can be found in any indian store.