Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ragoût aux Pois Chiches and a Trip to Paris...

Nice to see you all back after a good break!

I was holidaying for sometime in Paris , the solid excuse for not blogging in :)... my second visit to the place, this time with kids made a real good difference!.

I'm totally new to cooking what's not 'Hindustani', the simple reason of sticking on to spices and chillies for the safer side, ;P..but somehow made up my mind to come up with any easy one from the fabulous French Cuisine.

So, here's a Simple vegetarian dish of Ragoût aux Pois Chiches which can be prepared in a few minutes.We tried this dish in France with Pasta as the base and tasted more Indianish.The raw materials were easily available near my house here, in India and was done without much effort!.


Serves-2- Cooking time- 20 mins.
Pronounced: rah goo / oh / pwah / sheesh.

Get Ready With:
2 tablespoons olive oil
A cup of diced onion
2 cups of diced ripe red tomatoes
2-3 flakes garlic,chopped finely
A small can of boiled and salted chickpeas/channa
1/2 cup vegetable stock
Freshly ground pepper
Salt-to taste
Parsley/cilantro-chopped-to garnish
Pasta-optional

Method:
1. Heat the oil in a large wok, add the onions and garlic. Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes, till the onions turn translucent.Add a little water, if needed and cook the onions till soft.
2. Add the tomatoes, cooked chickpeas ,veg stock and bring to a boil.Cover with a lid and until the tomato pieces are just cooked(Let them not be over cooked and mashy).Open the lid and simmer to reduce the gravy.Add the pepper powder.Check salt and transfer in a serving dish and garnish with chopped parsely.
3. If you prefer it with Pasta, cook pasta of your choice as per the package instructions and topped with Ragoût aux Pois Chiches, serves you a deliciously heavy meal!.

And now, 'Paris' from our view :)..

The Lecourbe Apartment,we stayed, in Paris.


The Kitchenette.Oops! Did I forget to place those griddles back on the hob after cleaning?


Get,Set, GO...


The Majestic Eiffel Tower ,the Ultimate Symbol of France.
Photographed from underneath while waiting to go up in the long queue.


View from Trocadero.


The Brain behind...Gustave Eiffel...wax statue in the topmost level.



Arc De Triomphe..Viewed from Eiffel.

La Defence.The "Modern" part of Paris!View from Eiffel at dusk. The Grande Arche of La Defence is worth a days visit!.


Trocadero...From Eiffel.


Les Invalides...from Eiffel.


Paris and its River Seine.From Eiffel,again..



See what the toppest sign of Eiffel say..

Hmm... by the time we got down our hunger was triggered by an awesome aroma of food..


Yeah!!Source Found!! What are those Pan cakes stuffed with slices of banana?


AHHAA! Crêpes! Thatz it!...Well, here we GO...


Releasing the batter on a hot griddle,


Spreading with a T-shaped spatula.He seemed to be quite an expert.I firmly believe I'd FLAW if I wud try doing this way!.


Flipping it over,


Spreading in the creamy,chocolatey Nutella,


And the Hot Nutella Crêpe is Ready!.Had a bite on a yummy Sucre Crêpe as well.They all tasted heaven and was finished in a jiffy by the hungry mouths :)


Settled on a bench, enjoying the sudden glitter lights of the Eiffel.People 'Cheering' at the back from Trocadero, but we coolly remained there, facing the Glittering Eiffel ; still busy licking off the last traces of Nutella.
Learn more about Crepes and Nutella.

Les Invalides with its magnificent Golden Dome.


River Seine. Had to cross this decorative bridge to get there..


The golden pillar statues on the bridge,reflecting the golden sun,shouting out the victories of the great legendary kings!


Another shot,hiding the sun...coz my eyes were turning pretty darker by now!


Statue at the base of the pillar..Certainly with more stories, it seems..!


Hôtel de Ville!..here's the final destination of bus numbered 72!...after covering the major monuments of the City... not a Hotel as it sounds,but a City Hall,housing the Mayor of Paris.


Academie Nationale de Musique.Academy of music and fine arts.


The Sacré-Cœur Basilica, crowning the heights of Montmarte,


and the Cathedral, Notre Dame on the banks of Siene.


The Sacred and beautiful stained glass in the Church


The Euro Disney...Is a miniature of Florida's..Had most of those rides as well...Spent a whole day for the Kids, hopping in and out, each and every ride!.

The Louvre Museum.


The Egyptian Sphinx of the Louvre, and


some of the potteries and jewelleries,the Egyptians possessed until a few centuries ago!,


The glass chandelier of the Royal Napolean III Apartment in the Louvre, again.



Days of happiness,fled past..
We finished our Paris tour with an elaborate evening scroll on the Grand Avenue Champs-Élysées .
We enjoyed every moment of it.. just like a Parisian does...

Monday, May 7, 2007

Semia Payasam / Vermicelli Kheer


How about a sweet bowl of payasam after a good lunch?
I know many of you cannot resist, for sure!

Vermicelli, known as Semia, in Tamil or Malayalam goes into a variety of sweet and spicy South Indian dishes.Payasam is the dessert version of it, boiled and blended with thick milk, topped richly with dry fruits, nuts and a pinch of saffron, with a delicate touch of cardamom, a must served item for a feast or an auspicious day.

I used Mehran wheat vermicelle, a pre roasted Pakistani product,which proved to have contributed a better outcome than the normal maida semia.I tried making Semia Payasam in a traditional way,stirring up in the Uruli, this time,and of course, proved to be a greater success!.The advantage of Uruli for making payasam is that it never allows milk boil over,uncontrollably and thickens the contents faster with its heavy bottom and broader surface area.

Here goes the recipe...

To make 2 litres of payasam which serves 15-20 dessert bowls.Cooking time-1 hour.

Get ready with:
3 litres or 3000 ml thick milk
100 grams of Mehran wheat Vermicelle
700 grams sugar(or adjust more or less as you please)
A tbsp of fresh ghee
100 gms of split cashews
Some raisins
1/2 tsp of powdered cardamom/elaichi
1/4 tsp of Saffron(optional)

Method:
1.Transfer milk into a broad flat thick bottomed vessel.Simmer when milk starts to boil,stirring occasionally,using a flat ladle.

2.When the milks gets thicker,after simmered to about 20 mins,crumble semia into almost one inch pieces and add to it slowly,stirring all the time,carefully to avoid lumping up.If you use regular semia which is not pre roasted,you may have to fry the semia in alittle of ghee separately and keep aside.

3.Simmer the mixture again,thickening it to about 15-20 minutes,stirring all the time.Add sugar.(when sugar melts,the payasam turns a little watery.So it's necessary that the payasam is thick just before adding sugar).

4.In this stage the payasam should have reached almost its semi thick consistency and should Not be allowed to boil much as the payasam tends to turn 'red' when the sugar content caramelises.Therefore simmer only for another 15 miutes,in the final stage.Remove from fire.

5.Fry cashews till golden and sauté raisins,using ghee in a separate pan.(Use the same pan if you had fried the semia earlier).I didn't use raisins, as there are raisin haters in my home.Stir in both into the payasam.Add cardamom powder.

6.The payasam turns thicker when cools up and can be served hot or cold,sprinkled with saffron.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Idly Milagai Podi

No tamil homes,I would say,without this red spicy aromatic powder,preserved in small or big jars,glass bottles or plastic containers.A 'must' served item of any Tamil home for the 'tiffin'.Of course every home has its own version of making the same...less spicy...more spicy..a bit more of asafoetida/hing added to it...a bit more garlicky or less and so on...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A Hit of 1000 in 3 weeks with 1675 page views!

Dear fellow bloggers,

'Little', was my knowledge about a 'Blog'until a couple of months ago.When my li'l sis N persuaded me to start a food blog,I felt it would be absolutely 'impossible' for me.

The impossible turned out to 'possible', when Spicy Chilly was born in the month of April!.The hit counter was dragged in on Apr 11th(taking care NOT to rgstr my own entries to the page) and 3 weeks had passed till then!.

So,now 1675 had visited this 'baby'(page views),1000 had already pampered(unique visitors),and more than 80 arrived with their cute and sweet gifts!(precious comments)...drum rolls in the background:D...

I sincerely thank my sis, R.P, Shaheen and Priya Bhaskaran for their timely help and having encouraging me tremendously as a new blogger!

I am extremely grateful to my very dear blogger friends,as well,for their prompt visits,encouraging comments and staunch support.

Let this 'babe' grow up,with blessings from all of you!.