Thursday, April 26, 2007

Palak Paneer

Palak paneer,a famous North Indian Side Dish,is said to be a well balanced,nutritious and a tongue tingling one.Unlike the other dishes of North India,this particular dish has a delicate flavour of the fresh green palak,paneer and lighter masalas.
Generally our little ones make a big fuss to take green leafy vegetables,but if your kid is a paneer lover,he would surely attempt to try this.I make this dish occasionally,when my kids are in a mood to taste paneer as well.

This is my entry to JFI-WBB hosted by Indira.

So,here goes the recipe folks...

Serves-4, Cooking time-40mins.

Get ready with:

Palak-a fresh bunch
Paneer/cottage cheese-200gms cut into cubes. Click here ,to make home made paneer.
A big onion-cut finely
A tomato
4 green chillies-split lengthwise
A tsp chopped ginger
A tsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 cup oil-to fry paneer pieces
4 tsps oil-to temper (divided into 2 parts)
2 tsps of fresh whipped cream- for topping
Salt-to taste.


Palak,paneer and the veggies..

Method:


  • Wash Palak well and cut into large pieces.

  • Heat 2 tsps of oil(the first part to temper) in a wide-kadai-with-lid and lightly sauté the green chillies.Add the palak,close with lid and let it cook in a medium flame.Sprinkle a little water if only necessary as Palak when getting cooked,lets out water and gets done in its own water content.Cook till the leaves are reduced and tender.Cool and blend well in a mixer.Keep aside.
  • Blanch the tomato by immersing it in HOT water for 10mins and peeling off the skin.Blend well in a mixer.Keep aside.

  • Fry the paneer pieces using 1/2 cup oil,in a separate kadai,lightly till golden.Keep aside.

  • Now use the kadai taken to cook palak.Heat 2 tsps of oil(the second part to temper), sauté onions till translucent and add the ginger- garlic mixture.Sauté in reduced flame until the aroma fills the air.Add the tomato puree and cook in a low flame till the oil separates and the raw smell disappears.

  • Add cumin,coriander and garam masala powders and sauté for a few seconds, keeping the flame still low to avoid charring.

  • Add the cooked and mashed palak-green chilly mixture.When it is about to boil add the fried paneer pieces and simmer for 3 minutes.Add water if necessary.The gravy should not be watery and must be semi thick.

  • Swirl top with whipped cream.Goes well with chapathi,nan&paratha.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Morkuzhambu




When I happened to know about Lakshmi's RCI, Tamil Cuisine...as an interested new food blogger,I made up my mind to contribute to the great event.Mainly because I am married to Tamilnadu and soaked in Tamil Cuisine all the 3 times a day.As a proud daughter inlaw of Tamilnadu,I learnt the Unique recipes and cooking methods of the state.The teachers being my ma inlaw and her mother.
Morkuzhambu in Tamil,Moru Curry or Kachiya Moru in Malayalam,Majjiga Pulusu in Telugu,Majjige Huli or Saaru in Kannada,Kadi in Gujrathi, are all close to one another as the members of the same family,like we the food bloggers!.

This side dish is the most favourite rice accompaniment of my family and is a Definite Sunday Samayal.So here's the simple and tasty recipe of Morkuzhambu,I learnt from my husband's granma: my entry to RCI Tamil Cuisine.
Serves 4,cooking time-30 mins.

Ingredients:
2cups of decreamed thick and sour yoghurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt- to taste.

Soak-
2tsps coriander seeds
3tsps of thuvar dal
3tsps of raw rice in water for 20 mins...and:-

Grindwith-
1 tbsp of grated coconut
1"piece of ginger
1tsp cumin seeds
4 green chillies.

To Season-
1tbsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp urad dal
4-5 redchillies,broken into 3 pieces each
A stalk of curry leaves.

Method:
1.Soak and grind the ingredients as mentioned above; keep aside.
2.Heat oil in a thickbottommed vessel(avoid iron kadai, as it may not tolerate the acidity in yoghurt),splutter mustards and urad dal,fry broken red chillies.Add curry leaves.
3.Immediately add the ground paste to avoid overfrying red chillies and boil carefully for 2 minutes in low flame to avoid any sticking to the bottom.Add turmeric powder.Add a little water if the paste gets too thick.
4.Whip yoghurt lightly to make it to a uniform consistency and add to the boiling paste.Add salt.The curry frothes up in a few minutes. Switch the stove off. (if overboiled the yoghurt gets denaturated into water).
5.The curry should be semi-thick and not too watery in the final stage.Serves well with boiled rice.




P.S-The photographed dish is 'Plain Morkuzhambu'.Variations can be made with added vegetables like ladies finger, ash gourd or even 'vada balls'.

Variation1) If you prefer adding vegetables,follow the recipe as above.The vegetable of your choice,should be cut a little big,say an inch piece and cook separately.they should not be let wholly cooked in the ground paste or after the addition of yoghurt.

Variation 2) If you want to try with vada balls,soak 1/2 cup whole(ball variety) urad dal for an hour and grind to a smooth paste.Add salt.Deep fry in oil as small gooseberry sized balls.Immerse one by one into the hot "morkuzhambu".Let the balls absorb the curry well and turn a little bigger in size.Check consistency & Serve.


--------------------------Poosanikkai/ash gourd Morkuzhambu-------------------

See also-Morkuzhambu-by Prema Sundar.
Poosanikkai Mor kozhambu-by Asha.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Manga Pachadi / Mango Salad


Weird!..When I have a huge 15 year Mango Tree,laden with fresh green mangoes,right in my very own front yard,I almost 'squeezed' my brains out, thinking of an Indian vegetable which begins with the letter M.
So this is my contribution to Nupur's,A-Z Vegetables,for the Majestic and Mighty letter,M.

M is for Manga,Mangai or Mango.It is the peak season for Mangoes in South India,as the summer days are getting longer and hotter!.
So folks, here's a simple 'n' cool Kerala recipe of Mango Pachadi or Salad, to beat the heat.

Serves-4 ; Cooking time-15 minutes.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup freshly grated green mango-the mango should have more of sweetness in it and lightly sour.
1/4 cup finely minced shallots or big onions.
1/2 tsp minced green chillies.
1/4 tsp minced ginger.
3/4 cup fresh,thick and creamy coconut milk,extracted from 3 cups of grated coconuts.
1 tbsp coconut oil-to temper.
1/4 tsp mustards.
1/2 tsp urad dal.
A pinch of fenugreek seeds/uluva/venthaiyam.
A stalk of curry leaves.
A single red chilly-broken to 2 pieces.
Salt-to taste.
2 pinches of sugar-to regulate the taste.
1/2 tsp of mustards,coarsely crushed.

Method:

1. Combine the grated mango,shallots,green chillies and ginger.Add the coconut milk.
2. Heat oil and temper with mustards,urad dal,fenugreek seeds,curry leaves and redchilly respectively.Add to the above mixture when cooled.Add the crushed mustards,(I had used them as a topping) salt and sugar.Mix well.
3. Serves well with Hot Lunch.

The 15 year old mango tree in my front yard.

P.S-Grated carrots can also be added to make the Mango-Carrot Pachadi.

Please note that this dish contains coconut milk and not yoghurt as in the other pachadis.

Recipe Source-Nadan Pachakarama by Mrs.K.M Mathew.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ulli Thoran / Stir fried Onions with Coconut.



Keralites have a good taste in making dishes using coconuts. More than any other dish we find all around our country,the Kerala dishes have coconuts as one of the major ingredients.

Thoran ,the exclusive side dish,is a dry fry variety of any vegetable with plenty of coconut gratings in it.The item is nutritious as well, as the vegetables are chopped finely and gets cooked mostly in its own water content.It has its unique taste when tempered with Coconut Oil.

I prefer to make this side dish when I run short of vegetables, unexpectedly.'Ulli Thoran' is a side dish that goes well with 'Rice and Sambhar' or 'Rice and Theiyal'.

Ingredients:

Shallots or small onions OR Big Onions cut lengthwise-1cup.
Grated coconut-1/2 cup.
Ginger-grated-1/2 tsp.
Slightly ripe green chillies,cut into rings-1 tbsp.
Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp.
Curry leaves- a few.
Coconut oil-2 tbsps.
Mustard seeds-to temper.
Salt- to taste.

Method:

1. Combine the onions, coconut shavings, ginger, turmeric, curry leaves and salt and mix them gently using fingers.
2. Heat coconut oil in a wok,splutter the mustards and add the above mixture.
3. Close the wok with an appropriate lid,not to allow the steam to escape,and simmer cook.
4. Sprinkle water if necessary and turn it occasionally to avoid burning.Press thoran lightly flat to the bottom to facilitate cooking with minimum water.
5. Remove from fire when the onions are cooked.(evaporate the excess water if present, keeping the pan open, in a medium flame).
6. Serve hot as a side dish to boiled plain rice and theiyal.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Idichakka Mezhukkupuratti / Stir fried green jackfruit

There are little houses in Kerala without a Jackfruit tree in their front or back yards.When I was young we had a tree in the back yard and we used to tie long ropes on its woody branches to make the traditional "Onam Swing".My mom used to make a variety of dishes with the "Idichakka",the young green jackfruit and many traditional sweets with the fleshy and tasty fruits.

Venamengil chakka verilum kaykkum...is a famous malayalam proverb, meaning; Hardwork turns anything possible! or Hardwork succeeds!.

Here's a spicy traditional Kerala recipe of the young green vegetable dedicated to the Essence of Kerala Cuisine.

Serves-4,cooking time-30 mins.

Ingredients:
An Idichakka
10 nos Ulli/shallots-crushed
4 flakes of garlic-crushed
2 tbsps oil
1/4 tsp each of mustard seeds and urad dal
2 tsps chilly powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp freshly crushed pepper powder
Salt-to taste
A stalk of curry leaves

Method:

Deskin the chakka.A little difficult job but I found out the easier way of chopping the spines off and hard cutting using "Aruvamanai",the knife of Tamilnadu,wherein both the hands can be used effectively!.

  • Make the deskinned chakka into 4 quarters by cutting lengthwise.Remove the excess hard stem in the centre.while doing this,be careful not to chop it off completely.Let a part of it be with the pieces to keep the tender fibres of the vegetable intact.Cut into equal sized cubes.
  • Pressure them in enough water to keep soaked along with the turmeric powder and salt.Cook till soft.
  • Drain away excess water.Never retain the water as it would be blackish, bitter and has no nutritive value.
  • Heat oil in a wide nonstick kadai,splutter mustards,brown the urad dal and add the crushed shallots and garlic.Fry lightly till the aroma fills around.Now add the cooked pieces,chilly and coriander powders.Pour a little water to coat the pieces with the spices.Stir occasionally.Do not close the pan.Add the pepper powder and the curry leaves.Check and add salt if needed.
  • Fry till the pieces turn darker and roasted.
  • Serve the mezhukkupuratti with rice or chapathi.

Monday, April 9, 2007

My Lunch Today.

A balanced,nutritious lunch supplimenting the carbohydrates, proteins,vitamins and minerals for the day.
It is the Indian Tradition of having the sumptuous nutritious meal,after the SURYODAYAM,or the sunrise.This should be taken after the sun has risen well enough in the horizon...the time roughly between 10.30am-12.00noon.After the British rule,Indians stuck on to the habit of breakfast.They called this morning lunch as BRUNCH...but whatever.. my family still follows this method of HOT Brunch, a well balanced and nutritious array of vegetarian delights.
This is my contribution to Shaheen's, 'Show me your Hot Plate Lunch.' forwarded to Meeta's event of 'Show me your lunch box'.

So now,lets have a peek into the dishes...
  • Carrot Rice-grated carrots tempered with ghee and slightly sauted to steamed plain rice.
  • Cauliflower stir fry-flowerettes of cauliflower stirred into a spicy mix.
  • Cabbage koottu/parippu curry-shredded cabbage cooked in split green gram dal.
  • Onion and tomato raitha-Onions and tomatoes mixed with yogurt, accompanies the carrot pulao
  • Fried baby yams/chena mezhukkupuratti-tender yams fried to make a spicy dry side dish.
  • Tomato garlic rasam-the appetiser.
  • Drumstick sambhar-tender drumstick pieces cooked in Thuvar dal with delicate spices.
  • Fresh Curd and Jar of pickles-for the boiled plain rice to end the meal.
  • Plantain fruit-a simple fruit for the day.
  • P.S-I also made steamed rice and a bowl of tempered curd rice, but my camera made a li'l fuss to accomodate:).

So,here I am with the vegetables(carrot, cauliflower, cabbage and drumstick) for the vitamin and mineral suppliments.Rice and yam for the carbohydrates.Green gram and Thuvar dal for the leguminal proteins,Yoghurt with the milk proteins,and the plantain for the vitamins A, B6 and C and minerals such as potassium, magnesium and phosphate.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

A Sweet Start & the cook in me...

Hi fellow bloggers,
Well!...Its almost a month ,since I started my blog, 'dewdropsblue'.Soon I found a new 'Zest', a sort of happiness,fulfillment and self-satisfaction...virtual friends with whom we share a lot...Just to describe the day to day happenings and share my interests,the blog proved to be perfect media!
The interest in cooking,sharing recipes and presentation and an addictive love to it had all instilled me to start a food blog.

Now,I am prepared and set out to discover the 'cook' in me...
I happily welcome all my blogger friends to my new food blog.
Happy blogging!.