December 31, 2006

Happy New Year



I look forward to the New Year,
and wish
you an auspicious New Year filled with Peace, Love, and Hope.

Happy New Year to fellow bloggers, foodies, readers, friends, and family.

December 27, 2006

Salmon feast!

The last few days of the holidays just whizzed by. We were in Chicago visiting family and relatives. Enjoying the time with nieces and nephews, chatting late into the night, playing The Great Dalmuti and ofcourse eating and endless cups of chai and coffee were just some of the things we did over the last week. Blogging, unfortunately, took a backseat.

But I am back with two salmon recipes. I didn't like salmon when I first tasted it. But have grown to like it over a period of time and these two are my favorite ways of cooking it. One is a curry with tangy tomato and onion paste while the other is a crispy shallow fry.

Salmon Fry
Serves 2-4
I usually marinate the salmon for upto 2 hours before frying. It gives it a great taste.

Ingredients:
4 salmon portion pieces
2 garlic cloves - paste
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
1/4 tspoon red chilli powder
1/2 tspoon lime juice
3 tbspoon cream of wheat or rava
Salt to taste


Method:
Marinate the salmon with turmeric, chilli powder, garlic paste, lime juice.
Heat a non-stick pan with a few drops of olive oil, spread the cream of wheat on the salmon generously and shallow fry it for 6-8 minutes on medium heat each side till flakes easily.
Serve warm with roti or naan. It makes a great wrap with fresh cucumber and onions!

Salmon Fish Curry

Serves 2-4
Ingredients:
4-6 salmon pieces
1 medium onion - chopped
2 garlic cloves - paste
1" ginger - paste
2 medium tomato - chopped
1/4 tspoon mustard seeds
1/4 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon coriander powder
1/2 tspoon cumin seed powder
1/2 tspoon garam masala powder
1 small cinnamon stick
2 cloves
2 red chillies
1 tbspoon olive oil
1/3 cup water
salt to taste
cilantro to garnish

Method:
Use 1/4 tspoon turmeric powder and salt and mix it well with the fish. Set it aside for 30 min.
Heat half the oil in a wide bottomed pan and shallow fry the salmon pieces. Set it aside on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
Now put cinnamon, clove in the same oil. Then add the ginger, garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Add in the onions and stir for a couple of minutes. It shouldn't turn brown. Now add the tomatoes and cook on closed lid for a couple of minutes. Cool this mix and puree it to a fine paste.
Add the rest of the oil in the pan and temper with cumin, mustard seeds and red chillis.
Add the paste into the pan and cook it on medium heat for 8-9 minutes or until the oil leaves the sides.
Add in the cumin and coriander powder, turmeric and chilli powder, garam masala and salt and water. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Add in the salmon pieces and cook for a couple of minutes till you get a thick curry.
Serve warm with steamed rice.

Season's Greetings and Best Wishes for a Happy New Year. Enjoy!

December 20, 2006

Pecan Pie


I was getting ready to post my healthy sabzi for the week when I thought 'nah, I'm craving sweet, let me post something sweet.' You know how that goes. So I am posting the pecan pie recipe. This is Aswin's friend Ben's grandmother's pecan pie recipe and tasted sweet, nutty and delicious. While researching for the post, I came across this interesting piece of information.

One tradition holds that the French created pecan pie soon after settling in New Orleans, after being introduced to the nut by Native Americans. It is sometimes referred to as "New Orleans pecan pie," adding an aura of French cuisine to a home-cooked comfort food. Attempts to trace the origin have, however, not found any recipes earlier than 1925, and well-known cookbooks such as Fannie Farmer and The Joy of Cooking did not include it before 1940.
Find more information here.


Ingredients:
1 9-inch pie crust. I bought a readymade crust
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup sugar
1 cup light or dark corn syrup
2 tbspoon butter
1 tspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup pecans


Method:
Preheat the oven to 350F.

Beat the eggs slightly. Add sugar, corn syrup, butter and vanilla until it mixes well.

Pour the mix in the deep dish pie crust. Add the pecans on top covering the mix. Alernatively you can stir the pecans directly into the mix.

Bake the pie for 55-60 min until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm.

December 17, 2006

Betutu Ayyam - Indonesian whole stuffed chicken

I made this Indonesian whole chicken recipe for the holidays from Madhur Jaffery's Step By Step Cooking. I haven't tried cooking from cookbooks much, but I couldn't have asked for a better result. The instructions were clear and easy to follow.

I made a few changes to the original recipe. I used green bell pepper instead of red. I think red would have given it a slightly sweet taste. I also added a bunch of cilantro which gave it a fresh taste with the lemony flavor. The chicken was lightly browned before putting it in the oven and I cooked it for 2 1/2 hours.

When it came out of the oven, the chicken was tender and juicy and tasted delicious. But I forgot to take a picture after taking it out of the oven and it was gone by the time I remembered it. We had a piece left which we enjoyed with paratha the next day. I have taken a picture, but it doesn't do justice. I will update the picture the next time I make it.

This is a Balinese recipe which is originally cooked in a banana leaf, but I cooked in a foil and it came out great. There is a a considerable amount of prep time and cooking time involved in this recipe, but it will be a great addition to your holiday menu! Here is the recipe as I cooked it.


Ingredients:
3 1/2 - 4 lbs chicken
4 1/4 tbspoon lime juice
1 tbspoon + 1 tspoon brown sugar
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon red chilli powder
4 - red chillis
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 fresh lemon grass stick (I didn't have this so I used 1 tbspoon of lemon zest)
1 - green bell pepper
3-4 shallots
1 1/2 inch cube - ginnger
5-6 garlic cloves
1/3 cup cashew nuts
1 1/2 tspoon black pepper
5 tbspoon oil
Salt to taste


Method:
Combine 3 tbspoon of lime juice, 1 tbspoon sugar, salt, turmeric and chilli powder in a bowl. Make large diagonal slits on the chicken and rub the marinade well into the chicken. Set it aside to marinade. The book calls for marinating it for 1 hour. I let it marinade for 3 1/2 hours.

Crumble the whole chillis in a bowl with a little bit water and set it aside for 30 min. Chop the shallots, green peppers, garlic and ginger. Coarsely chop the cashew nuts. Put the cilantro, peppers, shallots, ginger, garlic, nuts and the remaining lime juice into the blender and grind till it becomes a fine paste. Add salt, remaining sugar, lime zest, pepper and the soaked red chillies and mix it well.

Heat oil and add the paste and fry for about 15-20 min till the oil separates from the spice and the paste darkens in color. Set it aside. In the same pan, lightly brown the chicken.

Heat the oven to 350F. Spread the foil, overlapping them so that you can wrap the chicken well in the foil.

Put the chicken breast down. Rub the fried spice mix in the chicken all over. Turn the chicken and rub the mix. Put the remaining mixture into the chicken. Wrap the foil well, put in on a tray and put in in the oven and cook it for 2- 2 1/2 hours depending on your oven.

Take the parcel out and pour the oil into a bowl. Take the spice mix from the chicken and mix it will the oil and use it as a dressing for the chicken pieces. Serve with fried rice, pulao, naan or parathas.


With wonderful flavors of lemongrass and cilantro, this is my entry for Holiday Cooking with Herbs at Kalyn's Kitchen.
Happy cooking for the Holidays!

December 12, 2006

Healthy sabzi for this week- Red Chard

I first tasted this simple mixed-veg dish this weekend at my friend's place. It was so delicious I had to recreate it the next day. But I didn't have eggplant (one of the ingredients) so I made my changes to the recipe. And have come to the conclusion that this recipe works with any vegetables as long as it has a few main ingredients like chard and potatoes. It is cooked over low heat with cheese and paanch phoron and the vegetables soak all the flavors into a wonderful mix.

Red chard is healthy and is high in vitamins, A, K and C, thiamine and riboflavin, not to mention iron, potassium and magnesium. It also has fiber and is low on calories. No wonder, it is my healthy vegetable of the week! If you want to know more information on red chard, click here.

So you see, this is also a great way to get your proteins and vitamins in one go. It will be a great dish to warm up those cold days and hey, it brightens the sunny ones too! I like to taste my vegetables so I cut them chunky. If you prefer a smooth texture, you can cut them smaller.


Ingredients: Serves 2-3
1 bunch Red Chard - chopped (you can also use spinach or swiss chard)
2-3 Red Potatoes - boiled (you can also use a mix of potato and eggplant)
6-8 Radish - chopped
1 red onion - chopped
8-10 mushrooms - chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tspoon paanch phoron
1/4 tspoon cumin powder
1/4 tspoon coriander powder
4 small cubes of cheddar cheese
1 tbspoon Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Heat oil and temper with paanch phoron.
Add the garlic and saute for a minute.
Add the onion and let it cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the chard, followed by radish and mushrooms.
Let it cook on medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes till the leaves start wilting.
Mash the potatoes. If you are using eggplant, mash it too. Add it to the pan and mix it well together. Now add the cumin and coriander powder and let it cook on low heat 4-5 minutes.
Add the cheese, salt and pepper and cook for another couple of minutes on low heat till it becomes thick and creamy.
It's ready to eat.
Serve warm with nan, chapati or paratha.

I am starting a new series "Healthy sabzi of the week" and will be featuring one vegetable every week.

December 10, 2006

G is for Gazania

We bought Gazania plants for the first time this summer. It was the daybreak series, and true to its name, this flower plant brightened our rooms and the porch garden.

Daisy-like, they are part of the Asteracae family. They grow a few inches in height and take a few weeks before blooming. Gazanias are natives of South Africa. They are generally low maintenance and grow well in full sunlight and water.

While searching for more information on the flower and it's origins I came across an interesting link which talks about the derivation of the name - Gazania.

The generic name Gazania, was given in honour of Theodor of Gaza (1398–1478). He was responsible for the translation of the botanical works of Theophrastus from Greek into Latin. Another possibility is that gaza is Greek for riches and could refer to the richness in colour, variety and abundance of the plant.

More information here.

This is my entry for the flowerfest going on at Manisha's Flowerfest.

Reference: Gardening tips'n ideas

December 07, 2006

Mushroom & Green Bean Casserole


It was 6F outside and I was freezing by the time I reached home. After I warmed myself up with some ginger tea and aloo bhujia, I wanted something warm and fresh for dinner. As you have probably seen, my midweek dinners are quick, easy and hearty.

I searched my fridge and pantry and saw I had all the ingredients for a bean and mushroom casserole. I chopped the veggies, fried the onions, and toasted a chapati to top the casserole, heated the oven and my dinner was ready in an hour along with a toasty kitchen. Double benefits of baked dinner on a cold evening! And the chapati topping was a real discovery. The chapati bits soaked all the creamy sauce and was delicious.


Ingredients:
1 lb green beans - chopped to bite-size pieces & boiled
1 lb baby portabella mushrooms - chopped
1 can - cream of mushroom soup
2/3 cup - milk
1 tspoon butter
1tbspoon red table wine
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 chapati- toasted in oven for 15-20 min
1 onion - sliced thinly and fried
salt and pepper to taste

Method:
Heat the oven to 350deg F.

Mix everything in a baking dish.


Break the toasted chapati and fried onions on top.

Bake at 350 deg F for 35 min. Take the casserole out and let it cool. Serve warm. The second plate in the picture belongs to Aswin who insists on eating everything with ketchup, whether it is scrambled eggs or casserole! This is our midweek dinner.

December 04, 2006

Sweet Poha (Beaten Rice)


When Kay announced Jihva for Jaggery and asked everyone to try something new, I turned to my mother-in-law's recipes. She had made sweet poha (beaten rice) which I really enjoyed and wanted to recreate it for this event. With coconut, jaggery and poha, this quick dessert works everytime.

In India, during the winter months, we would look forward to another special jaggery - nolen gud or new gud made from palm juice. When the fresh gud arrived at home, we would even eat it with fresh, hot chappatis or make payesh (my dad makes the best payesh!) with it. Sandeepa has a delicious looking nolen gud payesh (kheer).

Ah, nostalgia! Back to my sweet poha recipe.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup poha (thick)
2/3 cup fresh shredded coconut (I used frozen coconut)
2/3 cup jaggery
1 tbspoon ghee
2 cardamoms - powder
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup warm water
almonds and raisins for garnishing

Method:
Dry roast the poha to get rid of the raw smell. Then soak it in boiled water for a 3-4 minutes (or till it becomes soft) and strain the water. Set it aside.
Now dissolve the jaggery in water and cook on low heat till it becomes thick. Strain once to remove any dirt. Keep it aside.
Heat a thick bottomed pan and roast the coconut on low heat till the raw smell goes away. Add jaggery and cook till it mixes well. Add the poha to the mixture.
Put ghee and cardamom powder and take it off the heat.
Garnish with raisins and almonds. Serve warm.

This is my entry for Jihva for Jaggery being hosted by Kay at Towards a Better Tomorrow. Thanks Kay!

December 03, 2006

GBP Winter/Spring 2007- Calling all Foodies!


December has begun and in several homes, foodies like myself are looking at their plants and herbs, watering them, making sure the temperature is optimum and there is food, water and sunlight for the plant.

If you haven't planted anything, there is still time. Go ahead and plant your favorite herb, plant and make exciting recipes with it. Send me pictures of your plant/herb along with your recipe at ahaarmail@gmail.com. I will do the roundup on April 15, 2007. Please spread the word!

My earlier announcement here

This event was started by Ginger and Mango.
Update: Inji's summer round up is up and running. So feast your eyes and turn green with envy. Or else, use your green thumb to plant something!

I am looking forward to all your recipes.

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