Friday, June 22, 2012

Aloo Methi Kolhapuri

A while ago, Nupur sent me some Kolhapuri masala (along with other yum goodies) and I must say, I'm surprised at myself for not having tried to procure it sooner. A long time ago, a friend of ours from Kolhapur had made a gourmet looking, super delish peanut-stuffed-potato curry using Kolhapuri masala and he was going to get me some of this masala back then, as I recall. I totally blame him for me having missed out on this powder all this while! :)

The masala is a deep red, hot, spicy powder that, Nupur said, can be used in just about anything - bhajis, dals, curries etc. And my two cents on using it - let the masala take center-stage. Go easy on garlic or any other strong masala you are using, and let the flavors of various spices in it do the talking. If you haven't tried it already, do so soon. I have not seen it in the two Indian stores here. So beg, borrow or steal, if need be! (Or just make it yourself!) It will be totally worth it :)

Aloo Methi Kolhapuri

Ingredients:

2 big potatoes, peeled and diced into thick cubes
1 big bunch methi or 1 block of frozen methi
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
1 green chilli, slit (optional)
3/4 - 1 tsp kolhapuri masala
1/2 tsp kitchen king or garam masala (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp jeera
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp lime juice
salt to taste
1 tbsp cooking oil

Method:

If using frozen methi, let it thaw and squeeze out all water. If using fresh, clean and chop roughly.
Heat oil in a kadai. Add jeera and let it sizzle. Add the green chilli, garlic and turmeric. Fry for a few seconds. I have to add here that the masala itself is quite spicy. So adding green chilies and the quantity is totally upto you.
Add onion and fry until translucent.
Add methi leaves and saute on high for a minute.
Add the cubed potatoes and fry for a couple minutes.
Mix in the kolhapuri masala, sugar and salt. Sprinkle some water, if needed. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 minutes, until cooked through.
Add lime juice and KK masala and saute on high for a minute more, until the flavors are well blended.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Curried Chicken Salad

Back when I was working (I've been "on sabbatical" for almost 3 years now!), I think I was the only one in my campus who was all enthu about (at least some of) the cafeteria food. Every Monday, Chef Dave would send out the menu for the week and I'd eagerly scour the menu to see what was interesting. Wednesdays were ethnic foods days (his chana masala was way better than mine, I must add) and Fridays were fried food. Salads, soups and deli stations were available everyday and there were deli specials each week. One of his specials was curried chicken salad in a mango chutney/relish smeared spinach wrap, that was one of my favorites. Delicately flavored chicken salad with raisins for sweetness and roasted nuts for added crunch (not to forget nutrition & flavor) and that sweet-spicy mango chutney spread which took it up a notch or two, for sure. Chef Dave was kind enough to share his recipe with me, which (me being me) I cannot find. Below is an effort to recreate it. The greek yogurt sub for mayo is my own thing. Chef Dave would use only real mayo, of course! :) And you could easily substitute the chicken with chopped hard-boiled eggs for a delicious curried egg salad and have it the same way. Or as my sis added, chopped boiled potatoes for a nice potato salad.

Curried Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped cooked chicken (I used pre-cooked chicken strips, chopped)
1 stalk of celery, chopped thin
1 tsp minced yellow onion
1 tbsp shredded carrot
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp walnuts or cashewnuts, chopped (optional)
1 tsp garam masala/curry powder
a pinch of turmeric
a dash of lime juice
2 tbsp mayonnaise (or the seasoned greek yogurt substitution mentioned below)
salt and pepper to taste

Method:


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
If using yogurt instead of mayo, whisk the yogurt with a dash of lime, sugar and salt. Then mix in along with the rest.

For the sandwich:
Spread some mango chutney on a toasted slice of bread.
Place mixed greens/lettuce/spinach and tomato slices on top of another slice. Top with the chicken salad and the mango chutney smeared slice.

Or wrap the chicken salad in a whole wheat tortilla smeared with some mango chutney goodness. Add shredded lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and whatever else you please, basically.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Moolangi Saaru - Rasam with Radish

One of the many things that both M & S did during their "boring" week home was to click umpteen pictures of anything and everything I cooked. So thanks to M is this recipe for mullangi saaru (radish rasam), which otherwise might not have seen the light of the day here :)

I usually make plain saarus with vegetable heavy palyas on the side. Sometimes I include vegetables in the saaru and when I do, it is usually mooli. Both the kids like this and that is a bonus.

True to my short-cut heavy ways, the saaru also get done faster than, say, how my mom used to make. Usually the dal is cooked separately and then the saaru pudi (rasam powder) is added, which has to be boiled on low for a long time in order to smoothen the sharpness of the masala. Then the seasonings and tadka are added later. I pretty much cook everything in the pressure cooker. With a rather large one, I even cook rice, dal and sometimes veggies (like I did for the beans bhaji here) together in one shot, though in separate containers.

Moolangi Saaru

Ingredients:

Toor dal - 1/2 cup
Radish - daikon 3-4 (or a bunch of small, red) cut into thin roundels
Tomato - 1 medium, halved
1 heaped tsp saaru pudi or rasam powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp thick tamarind concentrate (about a lemon sized amount, if using raw)
1.5-2 tsp shredded jaggery
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp coconut shreds

Tadka:
Ghee, mustard seeds, jeera, curry leaves, heeng

Method:


Pour dal into a vessel that fits into a pressure cooker and wash with water multiple times, until clean. Add 4-5 cups of water, rasam powder, turmeric powder, radish and tomato.
Set it inside the pressure cooker, stacking along with other containers (like for rice), if using.
Cook until the dal is soft (2 whistles in my cooker but it can vary).
In a pan, heat ghee and do the tadka. Add the cooked dal, salt, tamarind and jaggery. With the ladle, squish the tomato (or you could just use chopped tomatoes in the first place but somehow, I end up following my mom's way each time) and mix well into the dal.
Add more water for a thinner dal. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Once it comes to a boil, add chopped cilantro and coconut.
Serve with rice and ghee (yes, more ghee!)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Gobi Masala

M's summer break started almost 2 weeks ago. In anticipation, I bought tons of arts/crafts stuff for her. I bookmarked a few short summer camps/classes that she could go to (tennis, theater kinda stuff). We went to the library and picked out many books. And she has had many play dates with one of her friends. She has been "helping" me in the kitchen or experimenting on her own. Not to forget, her TV time. You'd think that's a lot going on, right? Despite all the stuff and activities, she complained of boredom (and here I was, all proud of myself for coming up with so many things!) and last week asked if there weren't any fun summer camps around that she could go to! And how about I check with S's school to see if they had any. That way, when he cried, she could be there to take care of him! (Every now and then, the big sis love happens. For the most part though, she finds him annoying!). She likes having people around, that kid and only me & her was just not cutting it. Long story short, she started her summer camp this week. In S's school (and without having caught as much as a glimpse of him while there, of course :) And 2 days down, still loving it. If we were in that fab community of ours in BLR, it would have been a totally different story - with me having to persuade her to join a camp, do something, anything, apart from playing with her gang of friends all day.

Here is a curry I made with cauliflower. Many of my lengthier curries are usually offshoots of this curry, as this gobi masala is too.

Gobi Masala


Ingredients:

1 small cauliflower, cut into florets and cleaned
1/2 cup milk (or some cream)
1/4 cup tomato puree
Whole garam masala (bay leaves, 2 cardamoms, 3-4 cloves, 2 small cinnamon sticks)
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp kasuri methi
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
1 tbsp oil, divided
salt to taste

To grind 1:
1 medium onion, chopped

To grind 2:
8-10 cashews
8-10 almonds
1 tbsp raisins

Method:

Soak almonds, cardamoms and raisins in warm water for 15 minutes and grind to a paste using a little water.
Fry chopped onion in about a tsp of oil, until brown. Let cool and grind to a smooth paste.
In a pan, heat the remaining oil and fry the whole garam masala in it for about 30 seconds.
Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for at least a minute on medium.
Add the nuts-raisins paste, red chilli powder and turmeric and saute for a minute more.
Add the cauliflower florets, milk, the onion paste and salt to taste.
Mix well. Cover and cook on low until the cauliflower is cooked through.
Mix in the tomato puree and kasuri methi and cook on low for another 4-5 minutes.
Finish with garam masala or KK masala.