Monday, February 22, 2010

Cauliflower Chops

Feb 22nd 2010

My favorite cauliflower chops till date is the one made at Hotel Saravana Bhavan. I am yet to taste one that is better. The search for this recipe resulted from a casual conversation with Amms about the availability of  cauliflower in excess in Chennai and what to do with it.  This is a great side-dish and tastes very good with either pooris or chappatis. Of course you could eat it with rice too. 

Difficulty level: Easy - Medium

Preparation Time: 30-45 minutes

  • Onions - 1 1/2 to 2 large
  • Tomatoes - 2-3 (medium sized)
  • Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp.
  • Cauliflower - 1 large ( US size)
  • Coconut extract - 1/4 cup
  • Red chilli powder- 1 tsp.
  • Salt - as required
  • Oil - to fry
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
  • Curry leaves- few
  • Chopped coriander leaves - 1 Tbl sp
  • Slit green chillies - 2
Grind Together

  • Grated fresh coconut - 2 Tbl sps
  • Poppy seeds - 1 tsp.
  • Roasted gram - 1 Tbl sp
  • Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp.
Method de Preparation
  1. Chop onions, tomatoes and cauliflower into fine pieces.
  2.  Wash cauliflower well and microwave for  just a couple of minutes till soft.
  3. Heat oil, add cumin seeds, curry leaves, green chillies and then onions.
  4. Fry till it turns transparent and add cauliflower pieces.
  5. Stir till cauliflower is well cooked, add red chilli powder, mix well and then add chopped tomatoes.
  6. Pour little water and keep closed till cauliflower becomes soft.
  7. Add ground paste and salt.
  8. Cook till gravy becomes thick.
  9. Pour thick coconut extract. When it attains boiling point, remove from fire.
  10. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  11. Enjoy!
Source:  Malika Badrinath and the net :) , modified some from here

Chef's Tip: Use more onions than tomatoes. Try to use fresh tomatoes as the puree or canned ones don't do justice. I usually eyeball the ingredients and don't measure exactly, so modify stuff to suit your taste.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Egg curry (Malaysian Style)

Feb 18th 2010

We are not vegetarians and actually eggetarians. Egg-Curry is something that has always found a fond place in our homes and in our hearts. Amma used to make egg for us when she herself has never eaten it.  And for the longest time her type of egg-curry and omlettes were all I have eaten with egg. 

This recipe is something I learnt from a Malaysian friend of mine, so no doubt on the origin of the recipe. I have modified it some from there. Most Malay and Thai cuisines use a lot of coconut milk like in Goan and Keralite recipes due to the abundant availability of coconuts I presume. Without further ado, I will go into the recipe.

Difficulty level : Medium

Time: 30 min

  • Spices ( 2-3 Clove, 2 Cardamom, 1-2 Bay leaf, 1 Cinnamon stick, 1 Aniseed)
  • Ginger ( 1 inch), Garlic ( couple of pods)
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp Chilly Powder
  • 1 tsp Dhaniya Jeera Powder
  • Spring onions ( 1 bunch)
  • Eggs (~ 6-8)
  • Oil
  • Shallots ( 4-5)
  • Coconut milk ( 1 can)
  • salt to taste
Method de Preparation
  1. Boil the eggs in a separate vessel.
  2. In the meantime chop the onions and the spring onions.
  3. Take oil in a pan, add some turmeric, salt and chilly powder fry the boiled eggs cut in 2 to a golden brown and keep aside.
  4. In the same pan, add oil and saute the spices and the ginger garlic cut in small pieces.
  5. When well done, add the shallots finely chopped and saute till it turns transparent.
  6. Add the turmeric powder, chilly powder, dhaniya-jeera powder and garam masala at this point.
  7. Saute for a min and then add in the coconut milk and some water and allow to boil at medium heat for a min or two.
  8. Bring to a thick consistency and add the chopped spring onion, stir in the eggs and serve with rice or parathas.  Yum Yum :)
Tip: The eggs can be added in without the frying step but they don't taste as good, so take the time and you will be glad you did :)


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Grilled Eggplant Panini

Feb 17th 2010

I have already mentioned that the Mr has a love affair with this vegetable, so this was something I made for his surprise birthday bash, right after the guests came, 'cos it was just that easy :) This is a super easy dish to make on the spot if you do the prep work earlier. Having a good panini maker is the key! 
You could alternatively toast this on the pan but would be more work and not the same taste.

Difficulty level : Easy

Time: 35 min (prep time), 2 mins (per panini)


  • Mayonnaise
  • Olive oil
  • Eggplant  (big fat purple one)
  • Basil (chopped)
  • Roasted red pepper (in a jar)
  • Bread (Oat N Nut or the like)
  • Mozzarella Cheese Slices
  • Onion sliced
  • Salt
Method de Preparation
  1. Cut the eggplant in thin slices and just brush with oil on both sides and sprinkle just a little bit of salt. Set the oven to either broil or at 475 F and then grill on both sides.  If you use the broil setting make sure you check constantly so that the veggie does not burn (~ 6 min). Slicing the eggplant thin ensures that it is cooked well.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise and the chopped basil and keep aside.
  3. To assemble the sandwiches, slightly brush with olive oil on both sides of the bread, spread the mayo mix on one side, place eggplant and the sliced onions and a couple of roasted pepper slices on top. Add the mozzarella slice and place the other slice of bread (oiled on both sides too).
  4. Grill in the panini maker till desired.
  5. And voila, slice and serve.
Source: I found the recipe here but have modified it some to suit my convenience.

Tip: At times you could do a simple panini without the eggplant and with a panini maker, it would taste good too. Everything else can be kept the same. Cut in smaller triangles, they make great appetizers too.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Oats Dosa (Crepe)

Feb 8th 2010

This dosa can be made paper thin like regular dosas or a slightly thicker version with veggies like adais. A sneaky way to get kids to eat oats, a better option than white rice. And another great perk with this recipe is that you don't need to wait for the batter to ferment. Dosa can be made the same day the batter is made.

Difficulty level: Easy

Preparation Time: 6 hrs soaking time, 2 mins per dosa

Method de Preparation

  1. Soak the oats and urad dhal separately, immersed in water for 6 hrs.
  2. Grind separately in the blender and then blend once all together. Grind well.
  3. Add required salt and water to bring to the consistency of maybe a pancake syrup or regular dosa batter.
  4. Heat pan and pour batter in the center and spread out in a circle using the ladle.
  5. Add a little bit of oil ( 1/2 tsp) on each side, spread over the dosa.
  6. Garama Garam Dosa is ready.
  7. Goes with any chutney on the side, we had ours with tomato thokku (pickle/chutney) and Bell pepper (capsicum) thogayal (chutney).
Source: my friend Kavitha

Lime Sherbet Punch

Feb 8th 2010

Now this is something that even V can make :) Usually we women are sensible when we plan for a party, but sometimes we get the "I want to do it all" feeling. And when that happens, God save us! You want everything on the table to have your touch. It is at these times that this wonderful drink comes to your rescue. It is a fun punch to make anytime but especially great when you want a drink that will be an assured hit requiring least effort from your end. Enough said :)

Difficulty level: child's play

Time required: 1 min

  • Lime Sherbet or any sherbet icecream (1/2 gallon)
  • Sprite/Mountain Dew/7 up ( 1 to 1 1/2 gallon)
  • Ice
Method de Preparation
  1. Take the ice-cream out of the refrigerator a little before the party (1/2 hr) or thaw (10-30 secs) in the microwave.
  2. Empty ice-cream and sprite into the punch bowl.
  3. Mix such that not too many lumps are there.
  4. Enjoy!
Source: Shweta  I think at a party in Nashville

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Eggplant with Kalonji

Feb 3rd 2010

This recipe was a hit the day I tried it out. With K's never ending love affair with eggplant and my don't care much about you relationship with the vegetable, I am always looking for new recipes to try in the hope that I will come to love it. I succeeded with this one :)

This recipe is a little bit time consuming but no pain without gain remember, so roll your sleeves and let's get to work.

Time required: 45 min

Difficulty level: Medium


Method de Preparation:
  1. Heat water in a vessel and when it begins to boil, immerse the tomatoes and allow to boil/cook well for about 8 -10 min or more. They will slightly crack and the skin will start to open out.
  2. In the meantime, take a lot of oil (for frying) in a pan and heat. When the oil is heated well, fry the eggplant [chopped in the size of a french fry]. Allow for a min or so till cooked or slightly browning. Another indicator is the fizz sound settles down.
  3. Drain the oil out from the eggplant with a tissue and keep aside.
  4. Peel the tomatoes and chop into pieces.
  5. Take a little bit of oil in a pan, add the kalonji seeds and then ginger garlic paste.
  6. When raw smell goes, add the tomatoes and saute for a few min.
  7. Add salt, turmeric and chilly powder.
  8. Add the eggplant towards the end and garnish with cilantro.
  9. Enjoy with rotis.
Chef's tip: Frying the eggplants till tender and boiling the tomatoes in the hot water are key to ensuring the excellent taste this recipe offers.

Source: Prema chithi with an eggplant loving chithappa

Lime Rasam

Jan 23rd 2010

This is a rasam that does not require any tamarind. The ginger in the dish adds a very nice flavor. My sister Anitha is the one who really popularized this when we were in graduate school. This is a regular in our house because V can eat it too as it is not very spicy. 

  • cooked Thoor dal (1/4 or less cup)
  • green chillies (2-3) slit
  • ginger (about 2 inches) cut into tiny pieces
  • tomatoes (2)
  • mustard and jeera with ghee for seasoning
  • Cilantro
  • 1 tsp Chilly Powder and MTR Rasam powder
  • Hing (a pinch)
  • salt to taste
  • Turmeric powder
  • Lime juice (fresh or packaged) 1 or 2 tbsp - per taste

Method de Preparation:
  1. Chop tomatoes in relatively big pieces and microwave for 1 or 2 min.
  2. Take a little bit of water in the vessel, add the turmeric powder, green chillies, ginger and hing and allow to boil for 5 min.
  3. Add the tomatoes and allow to cook for a min.
  4. Add chilly powder and rasam powder and wait a couple more mins.
  5. Add the thoor dhal, and enough water  (about 2 cups), and add salt. Mix everything together and sit back and allow the whole mixture to blend well and boil.
  6. When it begins to foam, turn off gas.
  7. Season with mustard and jeera in ghee.
  8. Garnish with chopped corriander (cilantro).
  9. When cooled a bit, add the lemon juice.
Source: Amma, Anitha

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