Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 5 Posts of 2010 on Mysoorean

Hope you all had a good 2010. Wishing everyone a brighter, healthier 2011!

Looking at the many "top posts" in the blogosphere this week, I decided to check out mine. Here is a quick look at the five most popular posts on this blog in 2010. From the seldom times I do check my blog traffic and stats, I was not surprised to see which post was the most popular. The other four were a revelation for me. And none of the five posts are from 2010. Hmm....something for me to think about.

Post #5:
The AWED series had me trying out new cuisines in my kitchen. This post about two quick and easy banchan dishes from Korea is at #5. Presenting Spinach Salad and Korean Potatoes.

Sigumchi na mul

Gamja Jarim (Korean Potatoes)

Post #4:
Thai cuisine is a favorite with us. This Massaman Curry had us craving for more!

Massaman Curry


Post#3:

A fabulous combination of vegetables in a bhaji. And the contrast in colors makes a pretty sight too. Here is Carrot and Beans Palya.

Carrot Beans Palya


Post #2:


A nutritious curry with dal and lots of vegetables. Here is Mixed Vegetable Kootu.

Mixed Vegetable Kootu


Top Post #1:

Like I mentioned earlier, was not surprised to find Bisi Bele Bhath being the most popular post, with almost 7 times more hits than the second popular post. I was horrified to see that the picture was a really bad one, from the time when I was using an old camera and had virtually no photography or editing skills. This is the trimmed version of the bad picture. I MUST get better pictures of BBB next time and post them soon!

Bisi Bele Bhath

Thank you all for visiting my blog. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Southekayi Palya - Cucumber Bhaji

Wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas and the bestest (as M says) wishes for a happy, healthy 2011!

Simple things are sometimes the best. Like this cucumber bhaji. Quick to prepare and goes with rotis or rice-sambar or some rice and yogurt.

Southekayi Palya

Ingredients:

2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tbsp coconut gratings
salt to taste

Tadka:
1 tsp oil
mustard seeds
urad dal
turmeric
asafoetida
2 dried red chilies, broken
curry leaves

Method:

Heat oil and pop in mustard seeds and urad dal. Once the mustard seeds crackle, add asafoetida, turmeric, red chilies and sauté for a few seconds.
Add curry leaves, the diced ccuumber and salt. Sauté for a minute or two.
Cover and cook on medium until soft. Add water, a tsp at a time, if required.
Finish with coconut shreds.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thai Tofu Curry

So I managed to reach 20 posts for the year. And this is the 21st! I may have a couple more too. Let's see :)

Before we moved from the US, I did one shopping devoted to buying condiments and other food stuff that I thought may not be available here. Like tins of various Thai curry pastes, sambal oelek, Mexican condiments, a spice rub that I really like etc. Turned out that most of them can be found here after all! Many super markets have at least a few shelves devoted to international fare, apart from specialty stores carrying various exotic groceries.

This tofu curry is adapted from The Essential Thai Collection cook book. The original was a beef curry, which I have substituted with tofu.

That Tofu Curry

Ingredients:

1 tsp oil
1/2 block tofu, cubed
1 onion, sliced thinly
1 small red pepper, cut into strips
2 tsp Thai red curry paste (I used Maesri brand)
1/2 tsp tamarind concentrate
2 tsp palm sugar
6 pods cardamom, crushed
1 cup coconut milk

Method:

Heat oil. Add the curry paste and cook for a minute, stirring constantly.
Add onion and cook for 2 minutes.
Stir in tamarind paste, coconut milk, cardamom pods and palm sugar.
Bring to a boil, then add the tofu cubes and red pepper strips.
Simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir from time to time.
The curry should be quite dry but add a little water if necessary.
I also added a pinch of salt to suit my taste.
Serve with rice.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baingan ka Bharta - Microwave Cooking

Baingan bharta is a favorite in the family. Roasting an eggplant on the stove and the subsequent clean-up is a pain point, at least for me. Microwave cooking makes it easier, though I do miss the smoky flavor of roasted or grilled eggplants. So here comes my second microwave recipe that is non-messy and certainly simpler. The end result was really good. It comes from the same book as before - Nita Mehta's Exotic Celebrations for LG India.

Baingan Bharta

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant (large variety)
2 tbsp oil
2 medium onions, chopped fine
1" piece ginger, grated
1-2 green chilis
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp dhania powder (coriander powder)
1/4 tsp garam masala powder (curry powder)
1 tomato, chopped
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste

Method:

Wash eggplant and poke all around a few times with a fork, making deep indentations. Place it in a microwave proof plate and nuke for 5 minutes.
After it cools, cut into half and scoop out all the pulp and mash it.
In a microwave proof bowl, put oil, onions, ginger, chillies, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, dhania and garam masala powders and the mashed pulp. Mix well and microwave uncovered for 8 minutes.
Add chopped tomato, tomato puree and salt. Microwave covered for 6 more minutes. Serve hot.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Moong Dal with Capsicum

I miss my cook from Bangalore. Though not exactly the greatest cook on earth, she was a great help and made some really good stuff too. I only cooked when I felt like it and only what I felt like! Here, I have a sous chef of sorts. This lady chops veggies, grates coconut and makes chappatis for me. This works well for me. At least in this phase now, when I'm all enthu cooking. And these days, enthu posting too! Two posts in two days is a record for me. As probably is three posts in a week!

What to make for lunch or dinner is always a big question. Often inspiration comes from an article you saw or something that popped on your reader. Like this dal for lunch yesterday that was inspired by this post of Meeso. Now I make dals and more dals but never one with capsicum/green pepper as the star ingredient. Good stuff! Thanks, Meeso!

Moong Dal with Green Peppers

Ingredients:

1/2 cup moong dal
1 green pepper, chopped
3 pods of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
3-4 green chilies, chopped
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
salt and lime juice to taste

Moong Dal with Capsicum

Method:

Cook moong dal in a pressure cooker, along with garlic and a pinch of turmeric.
Heat oil and add jeera. Once it crackles, add the green chilies, onion, then green pepper and fry for a few minutes.
Put chopped tomatoes and sauté for a minute. Add salt and a quarter cup of water. Cover and cook until soft.
Pour in the cooked moong dal with garlic.
Add more salt, if required, cilantro and the lime juice.
Serve with rice.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Potala Rasa - An Oriya Curry

One thing I really like about the locality I stay in, is the wide variety of options available for fresh produce. There are three big stores selling only fruits and vegetables and really fresh ones at that. Then there are four regular grocery stores, umpteen street carts around almost every corner selling fruits and mobile cartwallahs selling more stuff. Love, love!

I found some fresh parwals and had to get them, esp after seeing this post from Satrupa. This is only the second time I'm using potol/parwal/pointed gourd and the first time trying an Odiya dish. I did not have ginger. Then I forgot to add garam masala. Added a clove of garlic that the original does not call for. Plus my shortcut of adding coconut and tomato in the ground paste. Still, an absolutely delicious dish. Here is how I did it.

Potala Rasa

Ingredients:

1/2 kg parwal, slit lengthwise
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

To grind:
2 onions, medium
Cinnamon - 1"
Coriander Seeds - 2 tsp
Garlic - 1 pod
2 green chilies
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp shredded coconut

Potala Rasa

Method:

Heat oil in a pressure pan and fry the parwals for 3-4 minutes. Keep aside.
To the same pan, add the ground masala. Fry for 4-5 minutes, until the raw smell is gone.
Add turmeric, sugar and salt. Mix well.
Slide in the parwals. Cover and cook for one whistle.
If using a regular pan, add a couple tbsps of water. Then cover and cook until soft.
Serve with rotis.

Be sure to check the original recipe here. Thanks, Satrupa!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Aloo Posto - In a Microwave

I realized that I only have 16 posts for 2010 so far. As you can tell, you won't hear a "on a blogging break" from me when I'm off for a week, if at all! :) I'm trying to make it at least 20 by the end of this month. So here comes post #17, with pictures taken on my phone! My camera needed charging and the aloo posto bowl was clearing out fast. Not-so-great pictures notwithstanding, here comes another post - all in an effort to make it to that number!

Cooking an entire dish in a microwave oven is not my cuppa tea. I'd rather cook on a regular stove. The umpteen times of opening and closing and stirring in between etc did not appeal to me. But this recipe for Dum Aloo Posto that came with my microwave oven, sounded less tedious and so decided to give it a try. The whole process was not bad at all and not to forget, faster too. I may try out a few more microwave cooked recipes after all!

The potatoes were not well cooked in the time the book mentioned. I had to nuke for a further couple minutes. Also reduced the amount of oil. Looking at other posto recipes on the net, I added a bit of sugar. The recipe suggested the potatoes be peeled and scooped to form balls or cut into 1" pieces. Of course, I chose the cutting!

Aloo Posto
Recipe Source: Exotic Celebrations by Nita Mehta for LG.

Ingredients:

2 potatoes, cut into 1" thick chunks
1 onion, chopped
2 tbsp mustard oil (I used sunflower oil)

For the Paste:
1 tbsp cashewnuts
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 green chilli, chopped
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup water
salt to taste

Method:

Microwave all ingredients of the paste in a bowl for 1 minute. Cool.
Grind to a paste in a grinder until smooth.
Microwave oil and onion in a deep dish for 5 minutes, uncovered.
Add paste and potatoes and mix. Microwave for 2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup water and microwave covered for 4 minutes. Give standing time of 2 minutes.
Serve with rice or rotis.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Cabbage Kootu

Oh, the things you wish you'd known earlier! Do NOT rent the apartment on the topmost floor of a building when you're in a city like Madras. The view may be nice but it is always H-O-T! Even when the temperature outside is pleasant. Not looking forward to our electricity bill!

It has been 6 weeks since we moved here. Except for the weather (which has not been too bad lately) and light bulb moments like above, it has been quite nice. Contrary to the general opinion that the city is not so cosmopolitan and only Tamil works in Madras, I've found that English works quite alright too. Even Hindi, to a certain extent. A few shops here and there that did not have English speaking/understanding folks but I could still manage with my toota-phoota Tamil or with help from other patrons. The only trouble I have is with the maid, who understands no word of English - even basic stuff like "go" or "come". She likes to talk, that Chinnamma. The fact that I don't get 95% of what she says does not deter her at all from going on and on in eloquent Tamil! We still manage to communicate with each other though - me in sign, Kannada, English, Tamil, all mixed in and she, after much training from me, in shortened Tamil with words that she now knows I get! :)

The traditional kootu does not have garlic, lemon juice nor sugar. I tend to add garlic in most dishes these days. The lemon juice and sugar came about in an effort to offset an accidental overdose of salt in this dish. And it worked well too. Goes to show why you never say "never" when it comes to cooking. You don't know which no-no thing you did that brought about your next signature dish! Right? So, here's my recipe for cabbage kootu.

Cabbage Kootu

Ingredients:

2 cups cabbage
1/4 cup tuar dal
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)
salt to taste

For grinding (with a little water):
1 tbsp coconut gratings
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 dried red chilies
5-6 peppercorns
asafoetida
turmeric

Tadka:
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp chana dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp crushed and finely chopped garlic (optional)

Method:

Cook dal and cabbage in a pressure cooker, with a bit of turmeric.
In a pan, do the tadka and add the cooked dal and cabbage.
Mix in the ground masala.
Add salt, lemon juice and sugar. Bring to a boil.
Serve hot with chappatis or rice.