Monday, April 27, 2009

Kadugu Yerra....Not! - Pondicherry Mustard Curry

Regional Cuisines of India- Pondichery, hosted by Lavi this month, got me digging into Pondicherry and it's cuisine. Puducherry, as it's now called, is a Union Territory of India and has FOUR official languages - Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and French. It's cuisine is influenced by the French colonists as well as the regions surrounding it. Pondicherry is famous for it's beaches, Aurobindo Ashram, Auroville and many monuments and places of religious worship.

I found this Kadugu Yerra recipe here. The recipe called for prawns but since the event is vegetarian only (plus the fact that I don't eat/cook seafood!), I swapped the prawns for cauliflower florets. I understand Kadugu means mustard in Tamil. Not sure what Yerra means. Prawns, maybe? Any comments on that?
Update: So yerra does mean prawn/shrimp. Thanks, ISG! Changed the post title!

Kadugu Yerra - 001

Ingredients:
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mustard seeds, ground to paste
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds, ground to paste
1 large potato, cut into small cubes
1/2 a head of cauliflower, cut into florets
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut cream
1 tbsp vinegar

Kadugu Yerra

Heat oil in a pot. Add crushed garlic and cumin seeds. Saute for a few seconds and add onions. Fry for a minute and add tomatoes, salt and red chili powder. Once the tomatoes are soft, add potatoes, cauliflower florets, coconut milk and salt. Cover and cook on low until the veggies are cooked. Add mustard and methi pastes, coconut cream and a little water. Bring to a boil. Add vinegar. Adjust seasonings and you are done! Serve with white rice. I liked it with rotis too.

Thanks to Lavi and Lakshmi, for hosting and creating this event respectively.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Thai Style Noodles


My favorite Thai noodle dish is Pad Kee Mao or Drunken Noodles. Thanks to It's a Vegan World - Thai event, I decided to try this at home. When I searched the web, this recipe looked close to the Pad Kee Mao I get at my favorite Thai restaurant. The nearest Asian store in the neighboring town did not carry the flat sen-yai noodles that this requires. The owner promised to get me some the next day but even a week later, she did not have them. So I figured I'd adapt the recipe with what I had in hand. This turned out a bit different because of the noodles and other variations but still it was one delicious dish! Since this isn't exactly Pad Kee Mao, I'm calling it Thai Style Noodles :)

Thai Style Noodles

Ingredients:
For the marinade:
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp palm sugar
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp red chili flakes

1 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped fine
2-3 dry red chilies
1 small onion, chopped
1 small block of tofu cut into small cubes
1 small red pepper, cut into strips
1 bunch spring onions, cut into long strips
handful cilantro leaves
salt to taste

1 pack Ching's Hakka noodles

Method: First prepare the marinade and marinate the tofu. Chop vegetables. Prepare the noodles as per instruction. While the noodles are cooking, heat oil in a wok. When it gets very hot, add crushed garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add dry red chillies, onions and red peppers and continue to saute on high heat, for about a minute. Add marinated tofu, the remaining marinade and cooked noodles. Mix well. Adjust seasonings. Add spring onions and cilantro.

The red chillies I used were not hot enough, so I added about a tsp of red chili paste (sambal oelek). Next time over, I'd also increase the amount of red chili flakes in the marinade. I normally do not like chunky tofu in dishes but the marinade made a world of difference!

I will try the original Pad Kee Mao with sen-yai noodles some day soon for sure. The flat noodles give a different texture & taste to the dish.

Closer Look -
Thai Style Noodles

This is going to Priya for IAVW-Thai event, which was started by Vaishali. It is events like these that give us the impetus to prepare dishes that we've been meaning to make for ages! Thank you both for that too!


Priya passed me this wonderful "I love your blog" badge. Thanks so much, Priya! I truly cherish this!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Gaeng Massaman - Thai Massaman Curry

Thai is my favorite non-Indian cuisine. The variety of noodles, rice and curries in Thai cuisine is amazingly huge. The more I dug into it, the more I liked! Massaman curry or Gaeng Masaman is a curry from South Thailand. Masaman means "muslim". The dry spices used in this curry paste are thought to be brought over to Thailand by Muslim traders. Hence the name. I use Maesri curry pastes in my Thai cooking at home. The end result has always been wonderful and taste just like the restaurant version. They come in convenient little one-time-use cans and make Thai cooking a breeze. I read somewhere that many Thai restaurants in the US use Maesri pastes too!

Info on the curry and the recipe is from here. The curry paste has a LOT of oil. So I used coconut cream to fry the paste in, instead of more oil as the recipe suggested. I normally add fish sauce as well but I cooked this specifically for the vegan event and so skipped that here.

Update: Apparently, the massaman paste contains shrimp paste as well. I checked the ingredients on the Maesri tin and it does not list shrimp paste as one of them. I do believe it is vegan.



Ingredients:

1 small can massaman curry paste (about 4 tbsp)
1 can coconut milk
1 medium onion, sliced
2 potatoes, cut into big sized pieces
1 small block of tofu, cut into chunks
1 tbsp cashews (or roasted peanuts)
1-2 bay leaves
3-4 cardamom pods
1/4 cup water
1 tsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 tsp tamarind paste

Into a heated pot, put about 1 tsp of coconut cream and the massaman paste. Fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add the thick coconut cream that's on top of the coconut milk can. Mix and simmer until the oil separates.
Add potatoes, onions, tofu, the remaining coconut milk from the can, bay leaves and cardamom pods. Add some water, if too think. Mix well. Cover and cook on low for at least 15-20 minutes.
Add palm sugar and tamarind paste. Simmer for a few more minutes.
Serve with fragrant jasmine rice or rotis.

Friday, April 10, 2009

An Exciting New Blog on the Block!

The term "Indian cuisine" is such a misnomer! Each state in India has it's own unique foods and flavors. Even within a state, you'll find diverse foods & cooking techniques based on regions and/or sects/castes. For many folks, Indian food is synonymous with curry. For others, the thought of cooking Indian foods is daunting, what with the seemingly long list of ingredients that even a "simple" recipe has. So, a group of bloggers got together to come up with a new blog dedicated to making the collective "Indian Cuisine" simple and to showcase the sheer variety of foods and flavors that Indian cuisines have to offer.

Withut further ado, presenting BEYOND CURRIES!!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Tadka Dal - Thovve v/s Kattu Saaru

Back to basics! What is the difference between Thovve and Kattu Saaru? For the non-Kannadigas, both of these are forms of simple tadka dal. The main difference is in the texture. Thovve is thick and Kattina Saaru/ Kattu Saaru is thin, like saaru (rasam-like consistency). The basic thovve generally has mustard seeds and hing tadka with green chillies, curry leaves and salt. In the Kannadiga brahmin world, most occasions like festivals & weddings will have thovve in this basic form. You have a bit of it with rice and ghee and that's how you begin the feast! Cilantro and lime juice are optional ingredients here. "Kattu" is the dal broth. Cooked, mashed toordal is also called kattu. Kattina Saaru uses dal broth and water and is therefore more watery, like rasam. It has some additional ingredients like cumin, crushed pepper, lime juice & chopped cilantro.

Thovve

Thovve Ingredients:


Toor Dal 1 cup
1/2 tsp tumeric
Water - 3 cups
salt to taste
Cilantro (chopped, for garnish)

Tadka:
1 tsp oil
mustard seeds
asafoetida
curry leaves
Green chillies - 3 (or to taste)

Boil dal with water and turmeric until soft. Do the tadka, add salt and garnish with cilantro. That's it! Told ya, simple dal! :)

Kattina Saaru

The recipe for kattu saaru is pretty similar to thovve. Whisk the cooked dal so it's well mashed. Add more water while cooking the dal and/or add water to the already cooked dal, to make it broth-like. Bring to a boil. Do the tadka with all the ingredients listed for thovve plus cumin seeds and ground pepper. You may want to add more chilies for heat. Finish with salt, chopped cilantro and lemon/lime juice.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Korean Potatoes and Korean Spinach Salad

DK of Culinary Bazaar is the person behind the AWED (A Worldly Epicurean's Delight) concept, where each month we visit a different country, right from our kitchens! It is a wonderful opportunity to learn about different cultures, cuisines and countries and try out new dishes that we otherwise may not. This time it is PJ's turn to host and she has chosen Korea. Thank you, DK and PJ! Based on what I had available, I chose to make Sigumchi na mool or Blanched Spinach Salad from this site and the popular Gamja Jorim or Spicy glazed Korean Potatoes from here.

Sigumchi na mul

Ingredients for the Spinach Salad:

1 bunch spinach
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds for garnish
6 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to blanch

Heat water, add salt & spinach. After about a minute, drain the hot water and cool the spinach in cold water. Drain and squeeze well.
Put spinach in a medium bowl, add all ingredients and mix well.
Transfer to a plate, garnish with sesame seeds.


Gamja Jarim (Korean Potatoes)

Ingredients for Gamja Jorim:

2 potatoes, peeled and cut
Onion, sliced
1 tbsp Gochujang (Red pepper Paste) (I used sambal oelek instead)
1 tsp Gochugaru (Red chilli powder)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Corn Syrup (I used organic molasses)
Sesame Seeds for garnish

Stir fry the potatoes and onions in oil.
Add the gochujang, gochugaru, garlic, soy sauce, sugar, corn syrup and a little water.
Cover and turn down the heat.
Cook until the potatoes are tender.
Serve with sesame seeds as garnish. Can be served hot or chilled.

To cut the cooking time, I'd nuked the potatoes with water for 2 minutes before frying in the pan. Both the salad & the potatoes turned out great. The flavors in the potato just blew me away! It was very spicy, with the sweetness from the sugar and syrup balancing the flavors very nicely. I'll be making this often! Kombe! :)