Monday, June 30, 2008

Puli Pottichhathu- a tamarind chutney

I came across a recipe a few weeks back on a relatively new (to me) blog, that instantly took me down memory lane. Memories of the countless summer vacations spent in Kerala came flooding back. Summer was the season when mangoes were aplenty everywhere and it was no different at our ancestral home.
The best part of the Kerala trip for me was undoubtedly the food, especially at my father’s
illam. Among other things, I remember eating mangoes, lots of it. A common preparation that was a hit with all the kids there at the time was chopped mangoes slathered with a coarse paste made of crushed shallots, roasted red chillies, coconut oil and salt. It was absolutely heavenly! That has got to be the fondest food memory from my childhood, and this recipe took me there.

The original recipe can be found

Tamarind (lemon sized ball) - boiled in ¾ - 1 cup water, cooled, strained and juice extracted
4 -5 red chillies, dry roasted
1 small onion, finely chopped
pappadums, roasted on an open flame, ideally
1 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp coconut oil

With clean hands crush the chopped onions, salt, red chillies and pappadams thereby mixing everything very well. Dissolve the brown sugar in the tamarind extract and add to the crushed mixture. Stir in the coconut oil.

Serve with some hot rice, or do what I did and have it with some chopped mangoes.

Thank you so much for sharing your recipe, Rajani!

This goes to Sig for JFI: Tamarind.

Here's how I like to have to have puli pottichhathu- with chopped mango pieces.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tomato Oambal

A few days back, I saw this recipe on Arundathi’s blog and wanted to make it right away. The simplicity of the recipe and the fact that it only called for a handful of ingredients was what drew me towards it. I have found that I usually only go for recipes that are quick and easy, and do not have an ingredient list that is a mile long.

I finally got a chance to make tomato oambal today.

1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds & ¾ tsp red chilli flakes
1 Tbsp raisins
3 medium tomatoes, diced
Jaggery (depending on taste)
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds followed by the red chilli flakes.

Add the raisins, chopped tomatoes and salt and cook till the tomatoes turn to mush.

Add the jaggery and continue cooking on medium heat for a good 20-25 minutes till all the water evaporates and the mixture thickens.

Add some lemon juice at the end of the cooking process.

This was my very first taste of the cuisine of North-East India, and I have to say that I simply loved it! I used the tomato oambal as a sauce for some noodles that I made for dinner tonight.

Off this goes to Nupur for the July edition of the Monthly Blog Patrol. The theme this month is Less is More.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bean Salad

I was never much of a salad person back home. I don’t ever remember having a salad in or as part of a meal unless it was in the form of some kind of a raita. During my initial years here, I was pretty rigid food-wise, and our meals comprised largely of rice along with curd/yogurt in some form or the other which was due, in part, to the fact that it was my all time favorite meal. Also, I was only just learning (rather unwillingly) to cook and that seemed the simplest thing to prepare. My eating habits have since changed over time, and I am a bit more flexible and open to new tastes now than I was when I first got here. There’s a lot more variety in the meals I make these days. However, curd-rice with pickles (the Indian kind) continues to remain my ultimate comfort food to this day.

If I’m making a salad, I prefer going for something that is hearty and filling. I put together this bean salad for dinner the other day, which we had along with some cold soup.

1 can of
Roman beans
½ cup frozen corn, thawed
½ cucumber, peeled & diced
1-2 scallions, chopped (white and green parts)

For the dressing:
1 Tbsp olive oil
Juice of a lemon
½ tsp lemon zest
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp honey
Salt & Pepper

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over it. Toss to combine. Chill and serve.

This goes to Lisa for the June edition of No Croutons Required. The theme this month is soups or salads featuring legumes.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Roti John

I was looking for something simple to make for Sia’s Street Food edition of the Monthly Blog Patrol, and was browsing through some of my favorite blogs when I came across a recipe for Roti John on Nupur's blog. Roti John, I found out, is a popular and much-loved dish sold by hawkers on the streets of Singapore. It is basically a toasted French loaf spread with pan grilled eggs and minced meat, and served with a chilli- ketchup sauce. It sounded a lot like my version of French toast, minus the minced meat.

I followed Nupur's recipe. She uses soy granules as a substitute for the minced meat that the original version calls for.

For 2 servings
baguette or a French loaf (I used what I had- 4 thick pieces of Texas garlic toast)
2 eggs
2 Tbsp milk
4 green chillies, finely chopped
3 Tbsp rehydrated soy granules (I used
Nutrela's granular TVP)
¼ cup of finely chopped onions
Salt to taste
Oil for pan frying

In a bowl, beat the eggs along with milk and add the soy granules, chillies, onions and salt. Mix well.

Heat the oil in a pan. Slather a generous amount of the egg mixture onto one side of the bread. Pan fry each side till brown and slightly crisp. Repeat for every slice. Serve hot.
We had this with some Maggi hot and sweet sauce.

I had some of the egg mixture left over at the end which I used to make something else. I'll save that for another post.

This also goes to-
Madhuram for
Your Recipe Rocks
Zlamushka for
Tried and Tasted

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cold Avocado And Buttermilk Soup

One of my recent cookbook acquisitions is World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey, which has some 650+ recipes from around the world.
With the hot weather we've been experiencing over the last couple of days, it seemed like the perfect time to make something light and refreshing. I flipped through the pages of my new cookbook and came across her recipe for a soup that did not require any cooking. Just the thing I was looking for!

Here's my version of the recipe.

For 3 servings
2 cups buttermilk
3 green chillies, chopped
½ - 1 tsp freshly grated ginger paste
Juice of a lemon
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp cumin powder (prepared by dry roasting cumin seeds and grinding it using a mortar& pestle)
1 ripe avocado, chopped
Chives (for garnishing)

Throw all the ingredients together in the blender and process until smooth. Chill and serve.

We had this tangy soup along with a bean salad.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sabudana Khichdi

Pearl sago, or sabudana, as it is known in Maharashtra, is mainly eaten during religious fasting in preparations such as sabudana khichdi and sabudana vadas. In Southern India, it is commonly used in making pappadams, vadas and payasams.
I first came across
Nupur’s recipe for sabudana khichdi a couple of months back, and have been making it very frequently since then. This traditional Maharashtrian favorite is now a regular at our place since it makes a quick, tasty and filling breakfast/brunch during weekends.

Here is Nupur’s recipe and this is what I did. I stuck to the original recipe for the most part, but also threw in some carrots for color, crunch and sweetness. I do not know if the dish will still remain a “fasting dish” with the addition of carrots.

For 3 servings
2 cups sago/sabudana, soaked overnight and fluffed (Nupur has some good tips on how to soak sabudana
1 cup peanuts, powdered coarsely
4-5 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1-2 Tbsp oil
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
2 small potatoes, cubed
8-12 baby carrots, chopped into small pieces
7-8 green chillies, chopped finely (adjust according to tolerance)
Lemon juice

Mix the fluffed sago, crushed nuts, sugar and salt together and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds followed by the green chillies.

Next, add the cubed potatoes and carrots and cover and cook till the vegetables are done.

Add the sago-peanut mixture to the pan and mix well to combine with the seasoned vegetables. Cook on low heat for about 2-3 minutes and turn off the heat.

Squeeze some lemon juice over the khichdi. Serve hot. We had this with some
tomatillo chutney.

I have cooked a lot from Nupur’s blog ever since I first stumbled across it some two years back. These are just some of her other recipes that I remember having tried out.

Dahi Batata (Potato in Yogurt)

Tuesday Soup and Pan-Fried Potatoes

This goes to
Zlamushka who is hosting the second round of Tried and Tasted. The June edition features Nupur’s blog which I simply love mainly for her simple, unassuming and down-to-earth style of writing, and of course, her recipes.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Tortelloni in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Tortelloni are stuffed pasta prepared by shaping the pasta dough into a circle or a square, and then stuffing it with a filling that is usually made up of ricotta cheese, herbs and leafy vegetables such as spinach. They are usually served either with ragù or with a simple sauce made of melted butter and sage leaves.

As usual, I took the easy way out and made use of the store-bought ones. For those of you interested,
this post explains how to make tortelloni from scratch.

This is how I made it.

Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 2-3
A pack of tortelloni (I used 8.8 oz. of ricotta & spinach tortelloni)
2- 3 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 shallots, chopped finely
15-20 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (adjust according to requirement/tolerance)
2 tsp of adobo sauce
2 Tbsp ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
Lemon juice

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add the tortelloni, and cook according to the package instructions. Drain well after reserving a cup of the pasta water and return to the pot.

In a pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and shallots and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt and the chipotle pepper along with the sauce. Cook until the tomatoes are soft.

Add the ricotta cheese to the pan and mix well to make a creamy tomato sauce.

Add the sauce to the cooked tortelloni . Toss to combine. Add the reserved pasta water to thin out the sauce if required.

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the tortelloni and garnish with chives. Serve hot.

This goes to Kevin @ Closet Cooking who is guest hosting Ruth's Presto Pasta Night this week.

I'm also sending this to Archana @ Archana's Kitchen for her "One Dish Meal" event.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Yellow for Bri

First, please do take a look at this post if you haven't seen it already. This one’s too important to have been missed.

Please contribute generously to help Bri and her family. Let us all keep her in our thoughts and prayers.

CLICK is a monthly theme-based photography contest hosted by Jugalbandi. This month’s theme is: YELLOW for Bri

Mysore Rasam
I am home alone a lot these days and rarely feel like making something nice just for myself unless it’s blog-worthy. I usually make do with leftovers or store-bought frozen meals or even cereal (yes, sometimes I like to have it not just for breakfast, but for lunch and dinner too!). Today I felt like making something special for myself. I was going through my blog list of old favorites and came across Mika’s blog. I went through her archives and saw this recipe for Mysore rasam and decided that it just had to be tried out immediately. I make rasam frequently, but this was something I had only eaten at the typical South Indian hotels back home, and had never prepared before. So I got to work in my kitchen.
3-4 Tbsp cooked toor dal (yellow pigeon peas)
1 ball of tamarind (lemon-sized), soaked in hot water and juice extracted
1 tomato, chopped
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
For roasting and grinding to a paste:
1 Tbsp ghee (using oil just will not give you the same taste!)
2 tsp chana dal (split chickpeas)
1 tsp toor dal (yellow pigeon peas)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander seeds
6-7 black peppercorns
3-4 red chillies
3 Tbsp grated coconut
A big pinch of asafoetida

For seasoning:
1 Tbsp ghee
Cumin seeds
Mustard seeds

For garnshing:
Coriander leaves.

Cook the chopped tomato cubes in tamarind water to which turmeric powder and salt have been added.

In a small pan, roast the above mentioned ingredients in a bit of ghee. Cool and grind to a paste.

Add the ground paste and the cooked toor dal to the tomato-tamarind mixture. Adjust to the consistency you reqire by adding desired amounts of water.

Bring to a boil. Season with cumin and mustard seeds. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot.

I had this along with rice and

this koora.