Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mullangi Keerai (Radish Greens) Poriyal / Thoran











Radishes in the plant bed




The fully grown root veggie pops up the ground and is ready to be pulled out!




I wet the soil well and Yay!  I harvested my own radish (radishes, but pictured only one) in the kitchen garden!
I never knew the greens are edible and badly wanted to make good use of the healthy organic greens. I decided to make poriyal / thoran, which is gonna be my first attempt!


Here we go..




 So, to start with, slice away the radishes underneath and wash the greens well in running water.




Remove the hard stem (if you feel rough while chopping.The stems here were tender) and chop the greens. Mine were a little spiny and I noticed them getting soft while getting cooked!




Top it with green chillies, onions, turmeric powder, salt and coconut.




and mix gently with your fingers well to combine.




Heat oil in a kadai, splutter the mustard seeds, brown the urad dal and dump the green mixture.




Sprinkle some water, say, a tbsp and close with a lid once it starts steaming. Open the lid once every 3-4 mins now and then sprinkling a tbsp of water to keep it hydrated and not letting it turn too dry.




Radish greens need a longer time to get cooked; for about 15-20 minutes.




 They do wilt and change colour as any greens while getting cooked but still stay a bit crunchy!
 Yummy and healthy as well :)




Serve warm with steamed rice or Indian breads.
The leaves taste a li'l bitter, but flavorful!


Now, for the recipe all in one place..


You need:

A  bunch of radish greens (3 large cups +/- ,  loosely filled)
Green chillies- 3-4, slit  lengthwise and halved (you can susbstitute red chillies, which go better)
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Shallots- 10-15, sliced ( I used 1/2 big onion)
Salt- to taste
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup

To Season,

Oil-  a tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Urad dal- 1/2 tsp

Method:

Slice away the radishes and wash the greens well in running water.
Remove the hard stem (if you feel it rough while chopping.The stems here were tender) and chop the greens.Mine were a little spiny and I noticed them getting soft while getting cooked!
Top it with green chillies, onions, turmeric powder, salt and coconut and mix gently with your fingers well to combine.
Heat oil in a kadai, splutter the mustard seeds, brown the urad dal and dump the green mixture.

Sprinkle some water, say, a tbsp and close with a lid once it starts steaming.
Open the lid once every 3-4 mins now and then sprinkling a tbsp of water to keep it hydrated and not letting it turn too dry.

Radish greens need a longer time to get cooked; for about 15-20 minutes. They do wilt and change colour as any greens while getting cooked but still stay a bit crunchy!





Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kaju Katli





While the activities, cooking, baking and photography when it comes to any cuisine make me confident and proud, this is the probably an Indian recipe which I found completely challenging! I tried making Kathlis 5 times last Diwali and flawed miserably. The first time the mistake was due to the sticky cashew powder stuck on the inner walls of the mixie jar while the second and third trial failures due to the mistake in sugar syrup consistency. The following errors were due to the overcooked dough!Whatever, my kitchen was filled with hard katlis, sticky katlis, raw katlis, and dry katlis.

I decided not to try making inedible Katlis again, though it made me desperate! I very well knew the fact that I flaw with Indian sweets and snacks, but my ego as a cook and the blogger in me totally refused to admit this which probably relaxed my tough decision.

During my last visit to Kottayam, I came across tetra packed ready made cashew powder. Why not give another try?
To be honest I wasn't confident, when I took the stepwise shots, about the final outcome.
Anyway, now you see them and Bharathy is waiting eagerly for your comments :)


  Kaju Katli
Yields 10 diamonds and bits :)

Recipe Inspiration- Lavi

  Ingredients:

*Cashew powder - 1 large cup
 Sugar - 1/2 cup
 Water - just to the immerse the sugar in the pan ( 4 tbsp)
 Ghee - 1/4 tsp (which is optional. The actual recipe doesn't call for it) +  a few drops to grease the plate.




Remember, the ratio between cashew powder and sugar is 2 : 1

Method:

How to Make Sugar Syrup for Kaju Katli?

Take half cup sugar(3 oz.) in a thick bottomed pan, and pour water till it get immersed (say 4 tbsps of water).

Keep checking every half minute..

A. Soon after the sugar water starts to boil, have a little in a spoon and touch it with your fingers. it will be very sticky to your fingers.

B. Second stage is, just drop a drop of sugar syrup on a plate, and tilt the plate, sugar syrup will start flowing.
 Therefore the required stage for Kaju Katli is just before the stage of 'Single String Consistency'.
When the syrup attains this stage, put the cashew powder to the syrup and keep stirring to avoid lumps. Break lumps if any.

Keep the flame low and keep stirring for at least 3-4 minutes.

The Dough in the Pan on Fire

When you see bubbles coming and blowing off from the cashew burfi and when you take it with a slotted spoon ( Jalli Karandi ), and tilt the spoon, the mass should start sliding vertically like a piece of paper and flow flat.

The Transfer


Switch off the flame and remove from the stove. (just takes 3 - 4 minutes in slow flame, dont exceed this time, if you are a beginner)

Transfer the dough on a ghee smeared flat plate (I used a glass half plate) and smooth the top with the spatula making sure the dough is 1/4 inch thick. I used the silicon spatula which did the job quite gracefully!

Line the dough into diamonds with a sharp knife. Cool and separate the pieces.





Note


About the Cashews

*I used cashew powder. If you do not get it, you can powder the cashews.
As Lavi says, you can use 30 large ones which would yield a cup of powder.Something very important about this is that to make sure they are dry and fresh. Refrigerated nuts tend to be moist and while to powder you may find the powder getting stuck to the sides of your mixie jar or coffee grinder. This spoils the whole later steps. Therefore the nuts and the ground powder needs to be dry!

About the Sugar Syrup Consistency

Again, as she says the string consistency for sugar syrup is very important in making Katlis. The other important fact is, when to switch off the flame. If you overcook, then you will end up in hard Katlis. so these two facts are to be learned and followed exactly.

When she says 'String Consistency'  here in the Kaju Katli, you need not wait for single string consistency at all, it should be the previous stage to single string consistency.

About the dough

Do not over cook the dough.
I added a few drops of ghee, which is optional. This made the dough glossy, smooth and manageable with no broken edges.See to it the dough is soft and loose while transferring on to the plate since it hardens while cooling.



Monday, February 20, 2012

Pachai Puli Sadam / Raw Tamarind Rice



I am not quite sure whether such a recipe for tamarind rice or 'puli sadam' exists traditionally in the state, but this had been one of the regular dishes ever since I got married, which I learnt from my in-laws.

So, what is this Raw or Pachai Puli Sadam  all about?

Unlike the regular Tamarind Rice where you prepare the tangy sauce and  spice powder, this calls for the simple tamarind extract and some extra amount of left over rice (particularly if you had skipped the day's lunch!) as for the main ingredients.

It's easy to make and a satisfying meal that doesn't demand for any accompaniments, the ingredients always ready in a South Indian kitchen and more satisfying as you had found a good way to get rid of the previous day's left over rice!





Pachai Pulisadam / Raw Tamarind Rice
To serve 2

You need:

To marinate,

Freshly cooked rice or left over rice - 4 cups
Tamarind-  a medium lime sized- extract thick pulp
Sesame seed oil/ Nallennai- 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt- as needed

To season,

 Sesame seed oil/ Nallennai- 2 tbsps
 Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
 Urad dal- 1 tsp
 Hing/ perungaya podi- 3 fat pinches
 Dried red chillies- 7-8 nos, broken into 3-4 pcs each
 Curry leaves- 2 sprigs

 Shallots/ chinna vengayam - 12-15 nos, cut into 4 pcs each

Method:

Mix 4 cups of rice with thick tamarind extract, 1/4 cup of sesame seed oil, salt and turmeric powder, if possible with your clean dry fingers. Lightly press/pack the rice. Close it with a lid and let it stand for at least 6-8 hours.

After 4-6-8 hours,

  Heat 1/4 cup of sesame seed oil in a wok, splutter the mustard seeds, brown the urad dal, throw in the curry leaves and broken chillies. Stir in the shallot pieces (it shouldn't get sauteed but retain the rawness and cruchiness) immediately followed by the rice. Mix gently on fire until pulisadam gets heated up and the oil coats over the grains.

Remove from fire and serve hot with vadagam / paruppu thuvaiyal / curd.





Note:

I marinate the rice overnight and use it for brunch the following day. So, I let it stand for 10-12 hours.
The marinated rice keeps well for few more hours under refrigeration.
Always use shallots / chinna vengayam cut into chunks. If you do not prefer the raw crunchy taste and texture, feel free to saute a bit in oil before you add the red chilles. See to it you do not over do that.
Pachai pulisadam serves well as a packed lunch too :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

'Melt in the Mouth' Hearts!



                                                            Foodgawked , Tastespotted
I could hardly sleep yesterday night! Know why? I had been seriously drafting a rice dish, all set in the weekend. Just a click of the publish button and done!
I forgot all about the Valentine's day! And now I've got less than  24 hours!

In the morning I made up my mind to bake something which I'm pretty used to.
Bingo! The Melting Moments! Yes, I have all the ingredients in the pantry and now what else?
Oh my! the heart shaped cookie cutter!

Zoom zoom- bazaar, back home, cookie dough, oven, bake, cool, shoot, blog!
puff..
pant..

:)


Melting Moments Recipe:
Source - Joy of Baking

1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams) cornstarch (corn flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (30 grams) confectioners sugar (powdered or icing)
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Topping:

1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners sugar (powdered or icing)



Method:

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, cornstarch and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Cover and refrigerate the batter for an hour or two, or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

When batter is firm, form into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake for about 10 - 14 minutes or until the edges of the cookies just start to brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 3-5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack that is placed over a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Put the confectioners sugar in a fine strainer or sieve and sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the sugar.

These cookies store very well. Place in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper and they will keep a couple of weeks. If desired, just before serving, sprinkle the tops of the cookies with confectioners sugar.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.




Now, this reminds me of Fogg who rushed back to the Reform Club after Around the world in Eighty Days!
It's already 2:55 pm in India. But the day is yet to dawn in the other side of the world! :)

                                                       Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Meen Peera / Fish with Shredded Coconut






Meen Peera is a popular dish belonging to the Christian households of Central Kerala. As any fish dish, I have grown up savouring meen peera right from my childhood days and still one among the favourites!

Traditionally meen peera is made with Netholi or anchovies but any small fish should serve fine too.
The combined flavour of cooked fish with the coarse coconut in which the juices of chilles, 'kudampuli', coconut oil and curry leaves all melded in becomes irrestitible to any fish lover in the state!

Ingredients:

Fish-(anchovies is used here) - 1/2 kg , cleaned
Kudampuli (kokum) - 3 to 4 pieces
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Salt to taste

To Grind Coarsely

 Freshly grated coconut - 1 to 1 1/2 cups
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

Green chillies - 7 or 8 numbers
Small onions - 6-7, sliced
Ginger - 1" piece,  sliced
Garlic - 10 small cloves, sliced


                                                                   Kudampuli / kokum
                                                                   

Method:

Wash the kudampuli and soak in 1/2 cup of  warm water for 10-15 minutes.
Pulse the green chillies, small onions, ginger and garlic for not more than 3-5 sec, followed by the coconut and turmeric powder added in. Let the whole mixture be coarse and dry. No water is added during grinding.

Transfer ground paste to a flat earthern vessel / meen chatti or a thick-bottomed utensil. To this, mix in the kudampuli (and the water in which it was soaked) along with fish and the curry leaves and salt. Drizzle 1 tbsp of coconut oil to avoid the curry sticking to the bottom. Cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until the fish is cooked. Drizzle the rest of the coconut oil or the remaining 1 tbsp over the curry. Serve hot with steamed rice.




Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fudgy Chocolatey Brownies




There are four reasons for this post.

1. I had wanted to make one of the best brownies for my cousin's daughter, who is carrying; home made brownies being her favourite.

2. I was in Kottayam past week and had lots of free time and patience and was motivated to try out a new brownie recipe.

3. Swapna. She'd already tried this and approved. Passed me over the recipe instantly when I requested.

4. Spicy Chilly is shifted to an own domain!
    I had wanted  to do it pretty long back but then the .com status wasn't available. Since not quite happy with the others like .net, .info etc, I had been postponing the shift.
    A couple of days back I noticed the change of  blogspot.in attached to the blog URL. So why not give another try? And to my pleasantest surprise the URL www.spicychilly.com was available!!!
I couldn't wait to register. The blog is still in transition and would take another day or be ready as soon as I post this to grace the occasion :)




 Fudgy Chocolatey Brownies

Source- Chocolatechic

The way the batter is prepared is different from any other brownie recipes. Half of the eggs and sugar are mixed in with the chocolate, while the other half are beaten until they double in volume and are as light as a sponge. Whipping the eggs creates the surprisingly creamy, soft and definitely fudgy texture.

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
  • 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped ~I used Hershey's semi-sweet
  • 2 c. sugar (scant, if you use semi sweet chocolate)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs



Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ยบ F. Put a 9 inch square baking pan (I used Pyrex for this) on a baking sheet. Whisk flour and salt together.

Set a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put the butter and chocolate in. Stir frequently until the ingredients are just melted-you don’t want them to get so hot that the butter separates.  Add 1 c. sugar and whisk gently just to incorporate it, then remove the bowl from the pan of water. Stir in the vanilla and transfer to a large bowl.

Put the remaining cup of sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium bowl and whisking a whisk, stir in the eggs. Switch to a rubber spatula and little by little add half of the sugar-egg mixture to the warm chocolate, stirring very gently without stopping-you don’t want the heat of the chocolate to cook the eggs.

With the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, or have your chef son beat the reaming sugar and eggs on medium-high for about 3 minutes, or until they double in volume. Using a spatula and a light touch, fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate, stopping just short of blending them in completely.
Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the batter and delicately fold them in, working only until they disappear. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the spatula.

Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until the top looks dry. Poke a thin knife into the center and take a peek: The brownies should be only just set and still pretty gooey.

Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

The brownies are fragile and best cut in the pan. Cut eighteen 1½ x 3 inch bars.
(I had halved the batter and baked twice dividing them into 1½ x 1½ inch bars).