Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kanji / Rice porridge

We didn't really think we should make a post of this so-called poor mans food "Kanji " or in simple plain words Rice porridge. There's nothing really that goes into making it, but the idea is new to lot of other Indians. Its then we realized its popular only down south and most of us have this comfort food when we are struck with a bad cold or one of its accomplices.

Prep Time
: 20 mins

Rice:1/2 cup
Water : 1 1/2 cups
Salt to taste
Grated coconut (optional): 1-2 tablespoons

* Rice : Water = 1:3
* If you are using red matta rice, you will need to add more water.
* While giving this to small babies/ children, add some ghee and nicely mash up the rice. Its a great meal by itself, specially when they are sick or have lost appetite.
*We usually make the kanji in a open deep pot.

Wash rice thoroughly and keep it to boil in water until the rice is cooked fully. Make sure the water doesn't completely dry up.It should be semi liquidy. Smash it a little with the back of a spoon or a potato masher. Add salt and grated coconut. Serve hot. Puzukku (lentil curry), Pappad, chamanthi /achaar is all you need with the Kanji to make it one of the best meals ever...

Friday, February 26, 2010

Unakka Chemmeen Chamanthi

Looking at the remaining baby shrimp from last week, we thought of all that we could make and then Alas we realized that we missed the classic recipe Cheemmen Chamanthi, a favorite in all mallu homes. So here's our very own version. All you need is a bowl of kanji or steaming rice to enjoy this mouthwatering chutney.

Prep time : 10 mins
Onakka Chemmeen/ Dried shrimp: 1/2 cup
Grated coconut : 1/3 cup
Dried red chillies: 3-4
Shallots/Pearl onions: 2-3
Garlic(chopped): 1/2 teaspoon
Ginger(chopped):1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves: 2-3 leaves
Oil :1 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Heat lil oil in a kadai /deep pan.Fry the baby shrimp for about 3-5 mins. Add rest of the ingredients and keep roasting it on low flame for about 5-10 mins till all the rawness goes away. Turn off the heat and let it slightly cool before you coarsely grind. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Green Chutney and Chammanthi

Here's one aromatic chutney that freshens up any of your sandwiches or chaat with its intense green flavor.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Mint leaves /Pudina: 1 bunch
Coriander leaves/Dhaniya: 3/4 bunch
Red pearl onions/shallots: 2-3
Green chillies: 2-3
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Garlic: 1 pod
Salt to taste
Lemon juice: 1-2 tablespoons
Sugar: 1 teaspoon

* To make a smooth spread add a little sour cream to this chutney.

Grind all the above ingredients to a smooth paste. Adjust salt and spice. Chutney is ready.

A slight alteration in the ingredients can make a delicious chammanthi.


Mint leaves /Pudina: 15 leaves
Coriander leaves/Dhaniya: 10 leaves
Red pearl onions/shallots: 2-3
Green chillies: 2-3
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Grated Coconut : 1/3 cup
Salt to taste
Water: 1-2 teaspoons

Coarsely grind all these ingredients. Enjoy it with steaming hot rice.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Avocado Smoothie

Avocados doesnt not really fall into the fruit category because it doesn't have a taste on its own.It needs some salt/ sugar to make something interesting of it and there are some creative recipes if you search the internet pool. Its rich smoothy pulp is said to have properties to reduce the bad cholesterol numbers. So here's a classic smoothie to say cheers to good heart and good health!!!

Prep time: 5 mins
Avocado: 1
Cold milk: 1 cup
Honey/Sugar (your preference): 1-2 tablespoons

* We used our regular low fat milk and yet it came out very creamy.

Cut the Avocado in half, pull the seed and scoop out the pulp.Blend it all with sugar and milk until smooth and creamy.Enjoy it cold any time of the day!!!

We are sending this entry to Healing foods event hosted by Siri's Corner.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Unakka Chemmeen Mulakkittathu

This post just happened out of the blue on a lazy morning while we were casually watching TV and came across this cookery show " Taste of Kerala " in which the host travels to different homes trying out some locale specialty. Just looking at this recipe we were drooling so much that our trial happened the same afternoon. Though this recipe is very spicy, it brings a blissful worth in every spoon.

Prep time: Approx 20 mins

Dried shrimp/ Onakka Chemmeen : 1 cup
Pearl onions/Shallots (finely sliced or crushed): 3/4 cup
Dried red chillies (crushed): 20 or 1/3 cup
Garlic: 2 pods
Curry leaves: plenty
Coconut oil: 3-4 tablespoons
* We bought the dried baby shrimp which is commonly available at the Asian food store.
* If you are using slightly bigger shrimp, its recommended to remove the head and tail. But if you do the same with the baby ones, there will be nothing left to eat.
* Instead of crushing dried red chillies, you could alternatively use chilli flakes.
* Also be careful while adding salt since these dried shrimp are already very salted.
* We know the smell while frying these dried shrimp can taunt you, but trust us its absolutely worth all the discomfort. So another tip is to open the windows and doors before you start to make this.

Take a deep pan, preferably a chatti (earthen pot) and heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil on a medium flame. Add the dried shrimp and saute until its roasted well (almost golden). Remove it from the chatti and keep aside. In the same chatti pour the remaining oil and fry the crushed garlic and sliced shallots well. Add the curry leaves. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and saute well until the onions start to get translucent. Now add the crushed chillies and saute well. Excuse all the coughing & sneezing with the chilli flakes. Finally, add the fried shrimp to this mixture and keep sauteing continuously for about 10 mins until all the flavors incorporate well.

Serve it hot with steaming rice or kanji (rice porridge). Or like the host suggested its a great accompaniment for a "thanni party".

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vegetable Cutlet

Here's another addition to the Appetizer collection that takes some serious time n effort, but is sure to work wonders and impress your guests. Don't think these crispy bites need much of an introduction to all our Indian palates, so we'll straight go down to the recipe...


Bread Crumbs: 1/2 cup
Eggs (beaten): 1
Potatoes (boiled & mashed): 1 cup
Carrots (steamed):1/4 cup
Cauliflower (steamed):1/4 cup
Onions (finely chopped):1/2 cup
Green chillies (chopped): 3-4
Ginger garlic paste: 2 teaspoons
Cilantro leaves: handful
Jeera/Cumin seeds (crushed): 1 teaspoon
Saunf/Perinjeerakam (crushed):1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 1-2 teaspoons
Coriander powder : 1 teaspoon
Garam masala/5 spice powder: 2 teaspoons
Chat masala: 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Pepper powder: pinch

* You can also add corn kernels or any other vegetables of your choice to tweak this recipe.

Mash the boiled potatoes well and keep aside. Blend the steamed carrots and cauliflower until finely shredded. Squeeze out all the water from shredded carrots and cauliflower and add it to the mashed potatoes. Heat some oil, splutter the cumin seeds, add the ginger garlic paste and saute.Add the chopped onions, sprinkle salt and add all the dry powders. Mix well. Add the saunf. Let it cool. Add this mixture to the mashed vegetables. Add chopped coriander leaves. Mix everything until the all spices and the vegetables blend in. Adjust the salt and spice levels.

Make small balls, flatten them slightly, dip into the beaten egg and then dip into the bread crumbs to coat it well and keep aside. Heat oil in a flat bottom pan and shallow fry these cutlets until golden brown. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Red Velvet Cake with Whipped cream & Strawberries

Valentines day fever is all over and we can't help staying out of it. To add more color and spirits to this fun day, here's a simple red velvety cake that takes hardly anytime from start to end. Even better, add a whipped cream topping with tons of strawberries. What more do you need to impress that special person in your life?? Happy Valentines Day!!!


All purpose flour: 1 cup
Sugar: 1 cup
Eggs: 2
Butter: 1/2 cup / 1 stick
Buttermilk: 1/4 cup
Cocoa powder: 2 tablespoons
Red food color: 2 teaspoons
Baking powder: 1 teaspoon

Whipping cream: 1/2 pint
Powdered sugar: 1 tablespoon or more according to your sweetness liking
Strawberries: about 8-10 of them sliced.

* We used a little less food color. However you can add a few more drops to get the deep red color.

Beat sugar and butter until smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly until ivory. Meanwhile sieve the all purpose flour, baking powder and cocoa. Slowly add this flour mixture in little portions to the beaten egg and mix well. Add the buttermilk and mix well. Finally add the red food color and give a thorough mix until the batter is perfectly smooth. Butter a baking dish, pour this batter and bake at 350 ° F. Check to see the cake rising and turn off the oven when the center comes out clean as poke it. Leave the cake to completely cool before you turn it onto a plate.
Cut the strawberries and keep aside. If they are little sour you can dust some on sugar (1-2 teaspoons) on top of it. It makes them sweeter.

Then beat heavy whipping cream with a hand mixer simultaneously adding the powdered sugar until it holds firm peaks.

Spread a layer of this whipped cream on the cooled cake. Decorate with strawberries. You can even add chocolate shavings for some added color.
Enjoy a slice of this delicious cake on this special occasion with your loved one. Excuse the smudged whipped cream on the slice.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vegatable Kurma

Well, we don't know much about the origin of this dish, but we can do say that its a common item in every restaurant you can go to in South India. It is commonly referred as the "Vegetarians delight". And there is sure to be a slight variation in taste and style within these regions due to the obvious difference in inspirations.

Potatoes (finely cubed): 1/3 cup
Cauliflower (florets cut): 1/4 cup
Carrots (cut ): 1/4 cup
Beans (cut small): 1/4 cup
Green peas: handful
Onions (sliced): 1/4 cup
Tomatoes (pureed):1/4 cup
Whole Garam masala: handful (Bay leaves -2, cloves -3, star anise-1, Cardamom- 1 pod, Cinnamon stick-2)
Poppy seed/Khaskhas: 1 tablespoon
Cashewnuts: 2-3 tablespoons
Mint leaves: about 20 leaves
Cilantro/coriander leaves: equal amount as the mint leaves
Green chillies: 2-3
Grated coconut: 2 tablespoons
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Garlic (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder: a pinch
Pepper powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Salt to tatse

* You can use a mix of vegetables of your choice. You could also add paneer cubes.

Grind the mint leaves, coriander leaves, ginger, garlic, green chillies and grated coconut with a little water to a fine taste. Also soak the khaskhas and cashew nuts in warm water for about 10 mins and then grind it to a smooth paste and keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep pan, saute all the whole garam masala. Add a sprig of curry leaves and the sliced onions. Sprinkle salt. When the rawness of the onions goes away add the the rest of the vegetables and keep sauteing. Add the turmeric powder and the green chutney you made ahead and mix well. Keep on low -medium flame and toss the vegetables in he chutney. Add the tomato puree and the ground khaskhas-cashew paste and mix everything nicely. Add 1/4 cup of water and cover and cook until all the vegetables are soft and all the rawness of the spice have gone away.
Now dilute the coconut milk with a little water, add pepper and the garam masala powder and pout in to this. Don't let the coconut milk come to a full boil. Turn off the gas just before that. Your wonderful vegetable kurma is ready to eat. Personally we like it with parathas or puris.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Oven baked Fries

Here's our attempt at the king of all fast food - French Fries in a non convention style. Baked to perfection with a subtle hint of garlic and chilli makes these the easiest comfort food without a big guilt of eating unhealthy.

Potato (cut into strips): 1
Salt to taste
Pepper powder to taste
Garlic powder (optional): 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder/flakes: 1/2 teaspoon
Olive Oil: 2-3 tablespoons

*We have used a slightly different chilli powder i.e, Mexican chilli powder

Peel the potatoes and cut it into thin strips. Sprinkle salt, garlic powder, pepper, chilli powder and drizzle olive oil generously. Preheat the oven at 450° F and bake the potato till it gets crisp. Take off from the oven and eat them hot. Important note is that these fries lose all the charm when you have it after its cooled down.

We are sending this recipe to Healthy fast food event hosted by food for 7 stages of life and Sudeshna’s Cook like a bong.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Egg Puffs

Back home in India, you are sure to tumble on these hot buys in any bakery. Early in the evenings, the inviting smell of these puff pastries make sure you don't go home without buying them. So just to recreate one such memory, we tried an easier version of these Egg Puffs using store bought Pastry sheets.


Puff pastry sheets: 1 sheet (which makes about 4-5 puffs)
* We have used and recommend the Pepperridge Farm pastry sheets. 2 sheets come in one box.

Eggs (hard boiled): 2-3
Onions (finely chopped): 1/2 cup
Tomatoes (pureed) :1
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 1/2 teaspoon
Green chillies (chopped): 2-3
Curry leaves: a few
Cilantro/Coriander leaves: handful
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
Chicken masala: 2-3 teaspoons
Pepper powder: a pinch
Saunf/Perinjeerakam (slightly powdered): 1 teaspoon
Tomato ketchup/Sugar: 1 teaspoon

Egg wash to brush
* You can make the egg wash by beating one egg with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar.
Heat oil in a pan, saute the ginger-garlic paste, green chilies, curry leaves and chopped onions. Sprinkle some salt and saute well. Add turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, chicken masala and pepper powder. Mix well. When the masala starts to coat the onions, add the tomato puree and keep sauteing until it all comes together. Add chopped cilantro leaves and crushed sauf and stir. Add tomato ketchup/sugar and give final mix. Adjust the salt and spice levels. Let it cool. Slice the boiled eggs and add it into this mixture. Give a gentle mix making sure the eggs doesn't get completely crushed.

Meanwhile take out pastry sheet from the refrigerator and let it sit out in room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you make the puffs. Divide the sheet into 4-5 pieces and roll out into a square using a little flour. Place a scoop of the filling into the center and fold all 4 sides like shown in the picture. Brush a little egg wash on the corners and the top side. Preheat the oven to 400 ° F and bake until pastry rises and gets golden brown. Takes about 20-30 minutes for 4-6 puffs. Enjoy it hot.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Idli Fry

Here's another recipe which is a leftover transformation. Though this post/ recipe was something we were contemplating about posting it or not. Why? Because the recipe is so simple that it didn't really call for blog space. But, at the brighter side, we thought for all those people who haven't heard or tasted anything like this, its gonna be a big miss.


Left over Idlis (Cut up into strips): As per your need
Chilli powder to your liking
Salt to taste
Oil to fry
A few curry leaves for garnish

Heat some oil in a pan, add the cut up Idlis, sprinkle salt and chilli powder and saute until it coats well on the Idlis. Once the Idlis start to slightly crispen on the sides, tear up the curry leaves. Take it off the heat. Serve hot with your evening cup of tea.


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