May 31, 2007

Enchorer Dalna (Green Jackfruit Curry) & Anniversary

Ahaar turned one yesterday! It was around this time last year that I started blogging to participate in JFI created by Indira, and to become a part of the food blogging community. In the past year, ahaar has become a part of our world. My brother wants me to cook for him the next time I visit India; my parents ask about ahaar and the recipes I'm blogging about and of course, offer their ideas and suggestions; I've blogged my mother-in-law's recipes when she visited us last year; Aswin now has his special corner; and our friends have their favorite recipes from ahaar!

Ahaar is a part of our daily lives. It's here that I've tried new recipes, created some of my own and cooked fellow bloggers' creations. Thank you everyone for being a part of ahaar and for your encouraging words!

To celebrate the anniversary (I feel we've come a full circle), here is a JFI entry - enchorer dalna or green jackfruit curry. How important is this occasion? I'm cooking enchor for the first time in the U.S. and eating it after many, many years. And it's the first time for Aswin. Thanks Bee and Jai for choosing jackfruit for JFI.

Enchorer dalna reminds me of hot summer afternoons when the shades are pulled on the windows, there's a constant hum of the cooler, and relatives visiting! During our summer vacations, when we would visit pishis (aunts), kakus (uncles), and thakuma (grandma) in Kolkata, one of the lunches would inevitably include enchorer dalna, taker dal (sour dal made with green mangoes), and aamer chatni (mango chutney)!

Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
1 can jackfruit slices - chopped
1 small onion - chopped finely
2/3 tspoon fresh ginger paste
2/3 tspoon fresh garlic paste
1-2 tomatoes - blanched and pureed
2 green chillies
1 red chilli
1 bay leaf
1 green cardamom
1-2 cloves
small stick of cinnamon
1/2 tspoon cumin seeds
pinch of turmeric
1/2 tspoon coriander powder
1/2 tspoon cumin seed powder
1/3 tspoon chilli powder
1/3 tspoon garam masala powder
1 tbspoon oil
Salt to taste
cilantro to garnish

Drain the jackfruit, wash it well and chop it into small pieces.
Heat the oil in a deep bottomed pan and temper it with cumin seeds, bay leaf and red and green chillies. When they stop sputtering add the cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.

Then add the onion and saute them till they start turning translucent. Add the garlic and ginger paste and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the tomatoes and let it cook on medium heat with closed lid for 2-3 minutes till it mixes well together.

Add the coriander, cumin, chilli powder and turmeric to the mix and let it cook till it all mixes well together. To this add the jackfruit pieces and let it mix well with the spice mixture. Add salt and 1/2 cup water and let it cook on medium heat for 8-10 minutes till the jackfruit is cooked and the water quantity has reduced. You can adjust the water amount based on your need.

Add the garam masala and let it cook for another minute and take it off the heat. Sprinkle chopped cilantro and serve with rice.

We had ours with curd rice and a glass of cold Rooh-Afza. It was delicious. This is going to Jai and Bee's JFI for Jackfruit.

May 29, 2007

Tofu Curry with Panang paste

Thai food is one of my favorites and I am constantly trying recipes which can be replicated at home with my pantry and retaining the Thai flavor. Tofu curry with Panang paste was one of them. I saw the Panang paste at Chez Pim and decided to try it. I reduced the red chillies, eliminated shrimp paste and replaced galangal with fresh ginger.

I found the recipe of Tofu Panang Curry from Amanda's Kitchen. Served over rice noodles, this was our delicious dinner.

3 tbspoons panang curry paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tspoon soy sauce
1/2 tspoon lime zest
1/2 tspoon sugar
1/2 pack tofu - cubed
8-10 mushrooms - chopped
1 red pepper - chopped
1 dried whole red chillies
salt to taste
2 tbspoon oil
fresh cliantro - chopped for garnish

1/2 pack Thai rice noodles

For Panang curry paste
2 dried chillies
1 medium shallots (finely chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1/2 tspoon ginger (finely chopped)
1/2 tspoon lime zest
1 tspoon cilantro roots and stalks (not the leaves)
pinch cumin seeds
pinch whole white pepper
pinch of clove
pinch of cinnamon
bit of star anise

Heat half the oil in a thick bottomed pan and saute the tofu till they turn golden. You can also deep fry them, but I rarely deep fry anything at home.

Mix the panang curry paste in a mortar and pestle or roughly grind it in a mixer. Set it aside.

Heat the rest of the oil and temper it with red chilli. Add the panang curry paste and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the coconut milk and let it cook on medium heat (closed lid) for 4-5 minutes. Then add soy sauce, lime zest, sugar and salt.

Add tofu and the vegetables and cook till the vegetables are done and the curry has a thick sauce.

In the meantime, boil rice noodles as per the package instructions.

Serve the tofu panang curry over rice noodles and garnish with fresh cilantro.

This is going to Weekend Herb Blogging hosted by Kalyn at Kalyn's Kitchen. It's not that I don't use other herbs, but somehow all my WHB entries seem to have cilantro. After all, it's my favorite!

May 26, 2007

Summer is almost here...

Now that it's getting warmer, the plants have been moved to the porch. The seeds have been planted, some have started sprouting and some are getting ready to flower.

Here are some of the plants from my summer garden:

Chilli/Cayenne pepper plant is getting ready to flower

Spinach almost ready to be picked for a salad or maybe dal...

Zucchini seeds have sprouted

Tomato plants are ready to be transferred to a bigger pot

May 23, 2007

Spicy Andhra Chicken Curry

After a busy day, there's nothing like coming home to a warm home cooked meal. This was one such meal. Spicy chicken curry with warm rice and a simple salad. Delicious meal. I was looking for Andhra chicken curry recipe and this spicy chicken curry at Sailu's Food caught my attention. Thanks Sailaja!

This is no simple curry. Fiery chilli and peppercorns, tangy yogurt marinate and the flavor of garam masala and curry leaves all blend in together in this spicy andhra curry. So, while I watch the last episode of American Idol and enjoy my chicken curry, here is the recipe.

I followed Sailu's recipe, adjusting it to my taste, adding cumin seeds and omitting the cashews and milk.

For marinating the chicken:
1.5 lbs chicken, washed and cut into medium sized pieces
4 tbspoons yogurt
1/2 tspoon red chilli powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

For the curry
1” cinnamon
10-12 curry leaves
3 cloves
1/2 tspoon cumin seeds
3-4 tbspoon oil
2 big onions finely chopped
1 large tomato finely chopped
1 tspoon ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tspoon freshly ground black pepper powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
cilantro leaves - to garnish

Marinate the chicken for a couple of hours.

Dry roast the cinnamon, cloves and curry leaves and grind it to a powder.

Heat half the oil in a pan and saute the onions till they start turning brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir for another few minutes. Add coriander, cumin and pepper powder and let it cook on medium heat for another 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Then take it off the heat, cool and set it aside.

Heat the rest of the oil in a wide bottomed pan and temper it with cumin seeds. Then add the marinated chicken. Cook till they start turning brown. Add the onion masala mixture, dry ground masala, salt and 1/2 cup water.

Cook on medium heat (closed lid) till the chicken turns soft. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve warm with rice or chaptis.

This is also my entry for RCI: Andhra Cuisines hosted by Latha at Masala Magic.

May 21, 2007

What's in a name? Pulao no more...

What's in a name? To answer this question, I have to tell you a story. About a couple of weeks ago, I read a recipe in Vegetarian Times that intrigued me. It was called Indian Chickpea Rice casserole. With chickpeas as well as cashews, currants and vegetables, it sounded a delicious healthy meal, sort of a mix between a Qabuli and a Kashmiri Pulao.

I wanted to try it immediately. So I looked around in the pantry, substituted chickpeas with kidney beans (I always have beans in the pantry), added a couple more vegetables and spices and voila, I had my own version of Pulao. Oh yes, no oven for this one, it was made on the stove.

Then, the dilemma followed, the naming process - what to call it. I was going to call it "Special Pulao" and send it to Nupur's A-Z of Indian vegetables. The week passed by. I had every intention of posting it last week with an updated title "Quick Special Pulao" and send it to Nupur's event again, but other priorities came in the way. Now I have two options. I can either call it "Really Quick Special Pulao" for Nupur's event (before it's too late) or leave it as Indian Pulao with Beans - Mandira's way ;)

2 tspoon oil
1 tspoon mustard seeds
1 tspoon cumin seeds
1 cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tspoon coriander powder
1 dry red chilli
1 medium red onion - chopped
2 medium carrots - chopped
handful of mushrooms - chopped
1 green pepper - chopped
1 tbspoon fresh ginger -grated
1/3 cup raisins/currants
1/3 cup cashews (I used a mix of cashews and walnuts)
2 cups basmati rice (I use basmati rice)
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup red beans ( substitute it with chickpeas)
fresh cilantro - for garnish
salt to taste

Heat 1 tspoon oil in a wide bottomed pan and temper it with mustard seeds, chilli and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, turn off heat, and transfer spice mixture to a small bowl and set it aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the pan and ass the cinnamon and the cardamom. Then add the ginger and stir it for a couple of minutes. Add onion and let it cook on medium heat till the onions turn translucent.

Then add the rest of the vegetables, spices, salt, raisins/currents, half of the nuts and mix it well.

Then add the broth, rice and the chickpeas and let it all cook on medium low heat for 30-40 min till all the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.

Garnish with the rest of the nuts, and cilantro and serve warm. It goes well with raita (yogurt dip).

This is going to Abby's celebration of the vegetables at Eat the right stuff. Thanks for hosting!

Update: Now that this has an equally delicious name - Rajma Pulao (thanks Bee!), this is my entry for A-Z of Indian vegetables hosted by Nupur at One Hot Stove. Thank you.

I noticed that I have a growing list of Pulao recipes, so it's also part of the Pulao Series now.
Here are the others:
Vegetable Pulao
Kalam Polo - Persian Pulao

May 15, 2007

Banana Bundt Cake

I am a estate sale, yard sale junkie. There, I have confessed it. As soon as the summer season comes around, I am usually looking out for estate sales, church sales or yard sales where I will browse around picking out things that I had no intention of buying. But it is the anticipation of the unexpected that interests me. Yes, I have also seen way too many episodes of "Antiques Roadshow" :)

So it was at a annual church sale couple of weeks ago, a friend's mother showed me the antique bundt cake mould. Built in early 1900's, it does not have the characteristic ridges of bundt cake. But it has an interesting clasp which opens the base to ease taking the cake out of the pan. This was my new treasure!

And it was in this pan, I baked my first bundt cake for my friend who just graduated. This is for you Dr. Niharika! I took pictures before I took the cake to the party. By the time we got to the desserts, we had had lot of food and a few drinks, so there is no sliced cake picture. But it was delicious and went well with the mango ice-cream.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tspoon baking soda
1 tspoon baking powder
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbspoon sour cream
1/2 cup milk

Grease the bundt pan with butter and dust with flour. Shake off the excess flour.

Preheat the oven to 325 deg F.

In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl, whisk together the egg and the butter together. When they mix well and is fluffy add the sour cream and the milk. Whisk well.

Then add sugar slowly to the mix. When it all mixes well, add in the bananas.

Add flour to this mix slowly stirring well. I don't have a food processor, so I used a egg whisk and a fork alternately.

Pour batter in the bundt pan bake for 40 to 50 minutes or till the toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool for 15-20 minutes. Slice and serve.

I found the original recipe at Baking and Books. For original recipe, click here. This is going to Monthly Blog Patrol - Something Sweet hosted by Coffee at The Spice Cafe.

May 11, 2007

Orange & Pomegranate Muffins - It's Spring!

This is yet another springy and fruity creations. I am on a roll - three posts with a spring theme. I saw this cupcake recipe (original recipe here) and modified it for the muffins. It was a trial and if it wasn't so good, you wouldn't have heard about it from me. But let me tell you all about it now.

With fresh orange juice (I even added some pulp) and pomegranate seeds in each muffin, a chocolate piece which tempts you to dig in, this is a scrumptious leisurely breakfast. With hot coffee or chai, and NPR this is my idea of weekend morning.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk (add more if you need)
1/2 tspoon baking soda
1 egg
2 tbspoon butter
1/4 tspoon orange zest
1/4 cup orange juice and pulp
2/3 cup pomegrante seeds
small piece of chocolate (I had some Toblerone in the fridge, but you could use any variety)

Add sugar to the flour, then add the baking soda. Set aside.
Beat the butter till it is fluffy. Add egg to the butter and mix it well.
Mix the juice and the milk and stir it together.
Add the butter and egg mix to the flour stirring it constantly. Then add the juice and milk and mix it well.
Mix in the pomegranate seeds. I set some aside for the top.
In the meantime, heat the oven to 350 deg F. Scoop the batter to the muffin tray till it is 2/3 full.
Add some pomegranate seeds on top and put the chocolate.
Bake for 20-25 min till the muffins turn golden brown and the toothpick comes out clean.

This is going to the Weekend Breakfast Blogging # 11 hosted by Spicy Andhra.

This uses eggs. I am going to try a eggless version of this muffin next. Will let you know how it turns out.

May 08, 2007

Spring Chocolate Sundae

May 16 is LIVESTRONG Day. It is organised by Lance Armstrong's Foundation to raise awareness issues on a national level and in local communities across the country. Barabara of Winos and Foodies is hosting TASTE OF YELLOW - an event with yellow culinary creations. This brave blogger from New Zealand is fighting her own battles with cancer. We wish you strength and determination in this fight and a complete recovery, Barbara.

Having lost my grandfather to colon cancer, I have seen his fight, chemotherapy and the return of cancer at close quarters. This one is for you, dadu!

Keeping with my recent spring theme, here is my own dessert creation. For lack of a better title, this is Spring Chocolate Sundae. You can put this in it tastes better than it looks category. I wasn't ready for the burst of flavors on my first bite. You taste the dark chocolate first. And about the same time, you become aware of the sweetness of mango and the tartness of fresh berry sauce. This explosion of flavors is like spring - fresh, bright and colorful.

For chocolate mousse
1/2 cup dark chocolate
1/2 cup whipped cream

1/2 cup mango - thinly sliced

1/4 cup raspberries
1/4 cup blackberries
1 tbspoon honey
1 tbspoon orange juice

For chocolate sundae:
Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Take it off the heat and fold in the whipped cream till it mixes well together. I didn't add any sugar, but you can add sugar according to your taste.

For berry sauce:
Heat a pan with orange juice and honey. Once it's hot, add the berries and let it cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes till the berries turn soft, but are intact. Let it cool before serving.

Assembling the Sundae:
Add chocolate mousse as the first layer. Then add the sliced mango pieces. Ideally, they should be in half-half ratio. Top it off liberally with the berry sauce.

Chill at least for an hour before serving.

Update - Also sending it to Deepa at Recipes'n More who is hosting AFAM this month and the fruit is Mango.

May 07, 2007

Palace of Dosas - A review

When a new Indian restaurant opens in a city like Buffalo, especially one offering "authentic south Indian cuisine," the desi community gets all excited. Anyone who had driven past the intersection of Millersport Hwy and Eggert Rd late in March would've noticed a banner that announced the opening of "Palace of Dosas" on April 1. Word spread quickly, and some even wondered if it was all just an elaborate April Fool's joke! But the restaurant did open, a week later, on April 8.

This review is based on our first visit to the Palace of Dosas, but I've added a few details based on subsequent trips.

By all accounts, the cooks and waiters of Palace of Dosas were not prepared for the crowds the first week. There were long queues, and at times, it took nearly 30-45 minutes to get a table. I even heard from a couple of friends that the restaurant ran out of food the first few nights! The waiters seemed ill-prepared to deal with such situations, and on my first visit, I even heard a couple at the next table saying it had been nearly half-an-hour and they hadn't even placed their order! There was, as my anthro professor friend Dr. Lee put it, a sort of "sinking boat" camaraderie in the restaurant - people would turn around, smile at each other, and exchange notes about how long the wait had been!

In spite of all this, we didn't see a single person walk away. The food, clearly, was worth the wait. And I must point out that the service has improved considerably.

We've visited thrice now, and don't see any reason to not go back. Here's a sampling of what we liked the best.

We started out with Medu Vadai, and as one friend put it, they were just right - a crisp golden brown on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. The sambar had the right consistency and spice levels, but the coconut chutney was not up to the mark and we wondered if they had used the frozen shredded coconut one finds in Indian grocery stores in the U.S. instead of freshly grated coconut. For $3.25 a plate, this is the perfect starter.

For dinner, we sampled the different dosas and uthapams.

My personal favorite is the Rava Masala Dosa. It is crisp, golden brown, "holes" that characterize a rava doas were the right size, and the batter is spiced with black pepper, curry leaves, and finely chopped green chillies. In a word, delicious! The masala, a mix of potaoes and peas cooked with onions was a little bland, but the sambar and coconut chutney made up for it. On your first trip, this is a must try ($7.95).

The other dosa we tried was the Mysore Masala Dosa. Smeared with "gun powder" on the inside, it had quite the kick to it! Go for it if you can handle the spice level, but ask for an extra cup of coconut chutney and keep a glass of ice water close at hand! For $6.55, this is another great choice.

The third entree was the mixed vegetable uthapam. With the right mix of vegetables, cilantro, and green chillies, the uthapam was done really well. It isn't easy to make a vegetable uthapam that - while it need not be as crispy as a dosa, a good uthapam should be fluffy with a hint of a golden brown crispiness on one side. The Palace of Dosas gets this right. For $6.55, this is another terrific option.

We decided to end with a round of chai and "madras" coffee. I refrained when the menu said the Madras Coffee was Indian instant coffee, but a couple of my friends willingly tried it for the review :) It was sweet and milky, like all desi and coffee, but not as flavorful.

Overall, the Palace of Dosas is a wonderful addition to Buffalo and I am sure I'll be a regular. If you are in the mood for south Indian food, this is without doubt your best bet in Buffalo.

656 Millersport Highway
Amherst, NY 14226

May 03, 2007

Simple Spring Salad

It has been unintended blogging break, but I am back! Did I tell you the weather is getting warmer here? I had planted some seeds end of March in the pots on the porch. It turned cold after that and nothing sprouted. Soon, I forgot all about it. This week, when I was out on the porch, I saw tiny saplings in those pots. Now I don't remember what seeds were in which pots. Guess I just have to wait and watch:)

Along with gorgeous weather, the Farmers market's will be open in Buffalo soon. I love the fresh local ingredients we can use all through the summer.

Here is a simple spring salad with fresh greens and fresh raspberries that captures the spirit of the Farmers market.

1 cup baby spinach
1 cup red radish leaves
1 green apple
1/4 cup toasted walnuts and cashews
1/4 cup chopped carrots

2 tbspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tbspoon lemon juice
pinch of honey
pinch of olive oil
handful of raspberries

Chop the green apples in long slices and mix all the ingredients together.
For the dressing, mix all the ingredients together. You can either crush the raspberries in the dressing. I just let them soak the dressing and sprinkle them right before serving.
This is going to Monthly Mingle #10 Spring is in the air hosted by lovely Meeta at What's for Lunch, Honey.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...