Jun 27, 2011

Crunchy grilled cabbage sandwiches


What you need: Serves 3-4
8 slices bread (white, wheat or any bread of your choice)
2 tablespoons butter, divided3 cups shredded or chopped cabbage

For the Cabbage filling:
2 cups finely grated fresh cabbage
2 green hot chilies finely chopped
1 cup onions or scallions/green onions chopped
1 cup green peppers/capsicum finely chopped
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste
¼ tsp mustard seeds
A few curry leaves
2 tsp olive oil


Heat a large saucepan on medium-high. Add in the oil, mustard seeds, and chilies and curry leaves, toss in the onions and peppers as they splutter. Add the cabbage and stir fry for 5 minutes. Let the cabbage stay crisp and not get soft. Add in the cumin powder, turmeric and salt. Set aside.

Preheat a skillet or sandwich toaster, generously butter one side of a slice of bread. Place bread butter-side-down onto skillet bottom, top it with the cabbage filling, butter a second slice of bread on one side and place butter-side-up on top of the sandwich. Grill until lightly browned on both sides; serve it with some ketchup or mustard sauce. Enjoy!



Jun 26, 2011

Mushroom and Methi Pilaf


When this pilaf is made with freshly picked button mushrooms and lust green fenugreek, I can assure you, this pilaf will be absolutely mouth watering! It can be made for breakfast or as a main course for lunch/dinner.

What you need: Serves 4-5
2 cups rice, preferably Sona Masoori or Basmati
2 cups fresh button mushrooms washed and chopped
1 cup onions diced
1 cup ripe tomatoes diced
2 tsp fresh ginger and garlic chopped
2 tsp fresh fenugreek (methi) chopped
2 tsp cilantro finely chopped
A stick on fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp Whole Garam masala (1/2 inch cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 4 cloves, 1tsp fennel seeds)
1 tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp turmeric
2 tsp ghee/oil
Salt to taste

First, soak the raw rice in cold water. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Add ghee into a medium pan. Over medium heat, add the whole garam masala, and fennel seeds. Stir in whole mint leaves, chopped ginger, garlic, and onions. Once they turn soft, add chopped tomato and fenugreek. Stirring attentively, cook on medium-high till they are soft and pulpy. About 5-7 minutes.

Add in the mushrooms and powders (chili powder, turmeric and salt), cook for a few minutes. To this mixture, pour 4 cups of hot water (lesser if you like your pilaf flaky, more if you like it soft and mushy) and bring to a boil. Now drain the soaked rice and add it into the bubbling mixture slowly. Let is simmer on high for 3 minutes.

Add in the lime juice, then, cover the simmering mixture on low heat for the next 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally, very gently. All the liquid will evaporate. Test to see if the rice is cooked. If it is watery, let it stay on low heat for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat. Smear the top of the pilaf with 1tsp ghee just before it is served. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Jun 5, 2011

Mangalore Lamb curry

Mangalore is located on the Karnataka coast, about 200 miles from Bangalore, and is a chief port on the Arabian Sea. The cuisine of this place uses a lot of coconut. This lamb curry is one such delicacy that reminds you of the sandy beaches, salt breeze and warm sunshine on the Malabar coast.

What you need: Serves 4
2 lb Lamb with bone cut into 2 inch pieces
½ cup garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tsp red hot chili powder
2 tsp coriander powder-
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
A pinch of Aniseed
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
12 cloves
2" piece of cinnamon
2 green cardamoms
2 cups onions diced
1 cup tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
1/8 tsp sugar
1 cup of hot water
½ cup oil or less

Grind the red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin seeds, aniseeds, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom to a fine paste with very little water.
Smear this to the lamb pieces along with some salt and let it marinate for 2 hours.

Add oil in a heavy skillet, when it shimmers, add a cup of onions and turmeric, fry the oniosn to a golden brown, remove them from the oil and set aside.

To the same skillet, add in the remaining onions  and tomatoes, fry them until they are soft. Add in sugar, then the marinated lamb, let them cook for a few minutes on medium high.

Add hot water and cook the mixture well, for about 15 minutes.  Now pour in the coconut milk. Stir it in and let it simmer for about a minute. Turn off the heat.

In a small pan, add a tsp of oil, immediately add in the garlic paste, and let it cook on low until all the raw smell disappears, and lets out the aroma of roasted garlic. This should take about 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Add this to the mutton, before serving. Garnish it with the fried onions . Serve hot with steamy rice. Enjoy!


Okra and Tomato fry / wrap


This is my little sister Jes’s signature recipe, and she makes it finger licking good. Mom always insists that only she make it. Here is her recipe.

What you need: Makes 6 wraps or serves 4 as a side dish
2 cups fresh okra, washed, wiped dry and diced
1 cup onion cut lengthwise
2 cups tomatoes diced
A sprig of curry leaves, washed and the leaves chopped finely.
A tsp of urad dhal (uddina bele)
½ tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of sugar
Salt as needed
1tsp olive oil

Get a skillet nice and hot, add the oil, as it smokes, add in the urad dhal and let it roast to a light brown. Toss the onions roast on high heat for just a minute, as it browns, add in the tomatoes and let them cook until they are soft. Add in the cooked okra. 

To this, add all the powders, roast for 2 minutes on high heat, then on low for the next 7-10 minutes. It is fast and healthy, especially if you love okra. Enjoy!

Sorekaay paaysa / Calabash sweet porridge

What you need: Serves 6-8
4 cups grated Sorekaay/Calabash/Green Bottle gourd (Remove the seed and fleshy membrane inside. Grate the skin and white matter)
2 cups white sugar (Vegans, substitute this ingredient with brown sugar)
4 cups milk (Vegans, substitute this ingredient with almond milk)
1 cup water
4 tsp khova or condensed milk (Vegans, eliminate this ingredient)
4 tsp ghee/butter/oil
A few saffron strands
½ tsp powdered cardamom seeds
A few cashews and raisins to garnish.

In a thick cooker pan or skillet, add 2 tsp ghee and roast the grated gourd for about 5 minutes on medium-high. Add a cup of water and bring it to a simmer. This will soften the gourd.

Add milk, saffron and sugar; cook it on medium heat for the next 15-20 minutes on low.

Grate the khova and add it into the simmering mixture. Sprinkle the cardamom and garnish it with butter/ghee roasted raisins. ghee, raisins and cashews. Serve it warm as dessert or chill overnight. Enjoy! 



Jun 4, 2011

Melt in your mouth Mango cake!


I made this cake for my mom’s birthday. The smell of mangoes at the Gandhi bazaar (A local well known market here, in my home town) market was too intoxicating, that I opted to make something out of it. Mom loves mangoes, so what better than that. I doubled the quantity to make a four layered cake, it was just yum. Truly that melt in your mouth mango cake, try it, you won’t regret it :-)

What I used: Makes a small 8 inch round cake, serves 10-12
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
½ cup mango juice
For the Mango Cream frosting and filling:
2 Tbsp pureed mango
1 cup diced mango
4 fresh plums sliced
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 trays of ice cubes 
1 small jar of mango jam
1 cup mango juice

Preheat the oven at 350 degree F. Sift together flour, salt and baking powder twice. Set aside.
Grease and dust an 8 inch round cake baking pan with butter and flour.  You may also make 2 cakes with the batter.

Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla on medium speed for about 4-6 minutes until light and fluffy.
Gently fold in the flour mixture with a spatula. Cut and fold in a circular motion.  Add ½ cup mango juice, Fold in gently. Empty the mixture into the greased cake pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cake starts to leave the sides of the pan and a knife or skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool the cake completely before overturning it. Scrape out all the crumbs to get a clean cake.
Divide the cake into two equal parts but cutting through middle with a serrated knife.

Soaking and filling:
Take a large bowl, put in the ice cubes. Take a smaller bowl that sits on the ice and pour in the cream cheese, heavy cream, 2 Tbsp pureed mango and sugar. Beat on low speed until all of them combine to get light and fluffy. The ice helps it stay cold enough while blending.  Chill the prepared whipped cream for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Using a brush or your bare hands, sprinkle the base layer with mango juice.

Whip up the mango jam with a spoon on mango juice to make it smooth and spreadable. Apply a thin layer over the soaked cake layer.

Now add a layer of chilled cream frosting to the cake, and top it with sliced mangoes. Add another layer of whip cream and cover it with the second cake layer. 

Soak it the same way, ice the sides of the cake first with cream frosting. Top it with sliced/diced colorful fruits. Chill overnight for the best taste. Enjoy!
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