March 17, 2008

Alur Dom

alur dum

I
can easily add alur dom to my list of favorites. But, it wasn't always so. Growing up, I was a spice wimp and would avoid anything spicy. "Jhaal," I would yell and run away to the sugar container. My grandmom made a mean alur dom which was spicy and red hot, a dish that I regularly avoided. It wasn't until my high school that I really tasted her alur dom and was floored. It was flavorful and spicy and delicious.

I made this recently after a long conversation home about how the ingredients, and how she got that delicate balance between spicy but not too hot. I found that usually garlic is avoided in the alur dom. The sweetness of the onion paste is countered with the heat of the red chilli; sour yogurt and tomatoes along with garam masala add to the flavors of the curry. The potatoes are not boiled earlier, rather they cook on medium low heat in the bubbling curry.

The result was fantastic.

Ingredients:
1 lb small potatoes (peeled)
1 medium 0nion grated
2 medium tomatoes - paste
1 1/2 inch ginger - grated
1/2 tspoon cumin seeds
1 dry red chilli
2-3 cloves
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaf
2 green cardamom
1/2 tspoon turmeric
2/3 tspoon red chilli powder
1 tspoon cumin powder
1/2 tspoon garam masala
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tbspoon oil
salt to taste

alur dum

Method:
Heat 1 tbspoon oil in a non stick wok and fry the potatoes lightly. Keep aside. Now add te rest of the oil and temper with cumin seeds, red chilli, whole spices. Then add the ginger paste and saute for a minute. Then add the onion and saute on medium-low till the onions become golden brown. Then add the tomatoes and cook till it mixes well with the onion mix.

Then add the masala powder - turmeric, cumin seed, red chilli and garam masala and mix well. Then add the yogurt mixing vigorously to stop yogurt from separating. Add in the potatoes and cook for 10-15 minutes with closed lid till the potatoes are cooked. Add water if you need more gravy (I added about 1/4 cup).

Serve warm with luchi or paratha.
alur dum

This is my entry to Ode to Potatoes hosted by Supriya of Monsoon Spice and RCI:Bengal by Sandeepa of Bong Mom's Cookbook. Thanks for hosting gals!

March 13, 2008

A plug for me...


I recently worked on a cover story for Khabar, a monthly Indian-American magazine published from Atlanta.

Titled The Call of the Kitchen, the article includes interviews with cookbook authors like Suvir Saran, Ammini Ramachandran, Niloufer King, Monica Bhide, Pushpa Bhargava and our own foodie bloggers like Nupur of One Hot Stove and Indira of Mahanandi.

Here is the introduction:

Bunches of cilantro, coconut aviyal, whole heads of garlic, shrimp balchao bruschettas, handfuls of aromatics sizzling in the pan, dals, chaat, cloves, chilies, saffron, and eggplant bhartas. These multiflavored, multihued words provide just a glimpse into the world of Indian cookbooks and blogs, which generate wide interest and often feature traditional and innovative cuisines from various parts of India. Sure, with innumerable blogs and about 6,000 cookbooks published every year, it’s difficult to focus on all that’s out there, but certain titles do stand out from the crowd. Not only do they do a great job of highlighting India’s regional cuisines, they’re also gradually introducing mainstream Americans to the convenience of cooking Indian food in their households.

Read the entire article here.

March 11, 2008

TSP Spices Review: Cauliflower & Fish Fry

Tsp Spices

A few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised when Sheena Simpson of Melissa Libby & Associates contacted me. They represent several food-related organizations, and she offered to send me a couple of spice and ingredient samples for review. I readily agreed to this great offer, and in a few days my box arrived. It was Spice Basics box from TSP Spices.

Tsp Spices

It was a beautifully packaged box with six tin boxes - turmeric, chilli (mild), cumin, coriander, fennel and ginger powder. Each spice came in its own tin box, carefully put in one teaspoon packets. The back of each box explained the spice flavor and even suggested pairing options for it. Let me tell you, I am already thinking about my Christmas gifts!

Before I cooked up a storm with the spices, I took a peek at the company history and mission. Tsp Spices was started by Katie and Sara when they found themselves at turning points. Their website has information on spices, recipes and factoids. It is also well designed and informative. The star of the company, undoubtedly, is the spice collection and the best part about the spice collection is that everything is organic.

I decided on two recipes using spices from the box.

Cauliflower Stir Fry

Cauliflower stir fry

The first thing I made was a simple cauliflower stir fry which brought out the spices and gave the cauliflowers their beautiful color too! The only other spices I used were mustard seeds and cumin seeds to temper the oil.

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)
1 pack frozen cauliflower (defrosted)
1/2 tspoon mustard seeds
1/2 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1 tspoon chilli powder
1 tspoon coriander powder
1 tspoon cumin powder
1 tspoon ginger powder
Salt to taste
1 tbspoon oil

Method:
Heat the oil and temper it with mustard and cumin seeds. Then add the cauliflower and stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the ginger powder, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, salt and mix it together. Add a little water (about 2 tbspoons) and cook closed lid on medium heat for 7-8 min till the florets are cooked.

Serve Warm with chapati or rice.

This is my entry for A Taste of Yellow hosted by Barbara of Winos and Foodies. Thanks Barbara. To see my last year entry click here.

Soy Sauce Marinated Fish Fry

Photobucket

The second thing I made was a spicy fish fry. I mixed the spices in soy sauce and marinated the fish for 2-3 hours. It was just delicious!

Ingredients: (Serves 2)
2 white fish fillets ( I used sea bass)
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon chilli powder
1 tspoon coriander powder
1 tspoon cumin powder
1 tspoon ginger powder
salt to taste
1 1/2 tbspoon soy sauce
2 tbspoon oil

Method:
Mix all the spices in soy sauce and make a paste. Marinate the fish fillets with the paste and marinate the fish for 2-3 hours.

Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry fish in a pan, about 2-3 minutes on each side.

Serve warm. We enjoyed ours for dinner with cucumber salad.

March 04, 2008

Arusuvai Friendship Chain - Goda Masala

Lentil Butternut Soup

I was thrilled when Nupur of One Hot Stove wrote to me about being a part of the Arusuvai Friendship Chain. The mystery masala came with a lot of other goodies - delicious caramel, chocolate and nuts brittle, a cute souvenir keychain and a beautiful hand-made card. Everything looked and tasted absolutely great. Thanks Nupur!

Arusuvai Friendship Chain was started by The Yum Blog and Bhags and Bharati where bloggers send "mystery" ingredients to each other. Now who can refuse this exciting offer to taste new ingredients and cook with it.

Photobucket

Now back to the mystery ingredient, as soon as I opened the masala packet, I could immediately smell the coconut and the cloves in the masala. Hmm, what could this be? So I did my little research and was confident that it was Kolhapuri Masala. I wrote to Nupur, and guess what, it wasn't Kolhapuri Masala. It's Goda Masala!

Almost immediately, I wanted to make something using the masala. It was the middle of the week, and let's say choices were limited. I opened the refrigerator and took out the lentils, butternut squash puree and decided to make a simple soup using the masala. About the flavors, I was delighted by the combination. The sweetness of the squash when combined with coconut, cloves, dagad phool, sesame seeds spice mix gave the soup a delicious, delicate flavor. Alternatively, one can always mix a little rice in the soup and make this into a complete meal.

Ingredients: (serves 2-3)
1 cup boiled dal (I used toor)
1 cup cooked butternut squash puree
1 tspoon goda masala
1/2 tspoon mustard seeds
1 dry red chilli
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 tspoon oil
1 cup water
1 tbspoon lime juice (for garnish)

Method:
Heat the oil in a pan and temper it with mustard seeds and red chilli. Then add the lentils and cook it for a couple of minutes. Then add the butternut squash puree and add water as needed. Add turmeric powder, salt and goda masala and let it cook for 4-5 minutes till everything mixes well.

Lentil Butternut Soup

Serve with lime.

A surprise ingredient is going out to Asha at Foodie's Hope and Linda at Out of the Garden. Thank you for playing along ladies. Watch out for the postman :)

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