Thursday, December 24, 2009

Spicy Prawn Masala

I love spicy food. I have seen that Indians would go to any restaurant and try to get them to make the menu items they offer spicier. I am one of them who always would love to go for 5 Stars (*****). One of the things I was told by my Indian friends when I had a baby was that, never give the baby non-spicy stuff or reduce the spice just for the kid. I know a lot of them have to keep aside food for their little ones before they add the chillies. I didn't want to do that extra step, so I followed their instruction and fed my son with the same spice level as ours. It has worked great so far for us!

This recipe is a real spicy 5 star one! If you cannot take that much spice, reduce the amount of chilli powder to suit your taste buds.

Oil                                - 2-3 tbsp
Curry Leaves                 - 1 twig
Onion                            - 1 big (Chopped)
Ginger-Garlic Paste        - 2 tbsp
Chilly Powder (normal)    - 2 tsp
Kashmiri Chilly Powder     - 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder            - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala                - 1/2 tbsp
Prawns                           - 1/2 lbs (Used Cooked Tail Off Big Kirkland Signature Prawns)
Lemon Juice                   - 1 tbsp
Water                            - 1 cup
Coconut Oil                    - 1/2 tbsp
Salt                               - to taste

1. Marinate the prawns with Salt, chilly powder (normal) and lemon juice. Keep aside for 15-30 minutes.
2. Heat cooking oil in a pan and splutter half of the curry leaves.
3. Add onions and saute it till they start turning brown.
4. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone.
5. Add Turmeric, Kashmiri Chilly Powder and Garam Masala and saute well for 1-2 minutes.
6. Add the marinated prawns to this and make sure the prawns are completely covered with the masalas.
7. Add a cup of water to the prawns and let it boil. At this stage you could stop, if you need a gravy dish than a dry one.
8. In a medium heat keep sauting the prawns, until the water starts to reduce.
9. Add the coconut oil and keep sauting until it reaches the consistency you need and darker color.
10. Add the remaining Curry leaves and serve.

This dish will be a treat for anyone who loves spicy food. Enjoy your Spicy Prawn Masala / Chemmeen Masala.

Vegetable Pulao

Vegetable Pulao or Pilaf is a rice dish mixed with vegetables and mildly flavored with the spices like Cardamom, Cloves and Cinnamon to give it an aromatic flavor. Here is a little bit on the history of Pulao/Pilaf (Source:Wikipedia):

The English term pilaf is borrowed directly from Turkish, but all these terms ultimately derive from (Classical) Persian پلو , which is pronounced [paˈlau] in Persian (Dari), and in standard Iranian Persian, polów. In Urdu is pronounced pulāo پلاو. Depending on the local cuisine, it may also contain a variety of meat and vegetables. Pilaf and similar dishes are common to Middle Eastern, Central and South Asian, East African, Latin American, and Caribbean cuisines.

The recipe I have here is the Indian version of the Pilaf. I got the basic version of this recipe from one of my friend's mother (Thank you Thankam Aunty!). We had a dinner at their place where aunty made this Pulao and my son could not stop eating it. So I had to get the recipe from her.

Basmati Rice            - 2 cups
Onion                       - 1 (medium sized)
Ginger-Garlic Paste   - 1 1/2 tbsp
Tomato                     - 1
Green Chilly              - 2
Cardamom                - 5
Cloves                      - 5
Cinnamon                 - 1.5inch stick 
Oil                            - 5 tbsp
Mixed Vegetables      - 1 1/2 cup (Corn, Green Peas, Corn & Green Beans) 
Coconut Milk            - 1/2 cup
Water                       - 3 3/4 cup
Salt                          - to taste
1. Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes
2. I used the frozen mixed vegetables. So I microwaved the vegetables for 5 minutes.
3. Using a mixer, make a fine paste of the tomato and green chilly.  
4. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a pan in medium heat.
5. Add the spices (Cardamom, Cloves & Cinnamon) to the oil and saute for a minute.
6. Add the Onions and saute until they start turning brown.
7. Add the Ginger-Garlic paste and saute until the raw smell is gone.
8. Add the tomato-green chilly paste and saute for 2 minutes.
9. Add the water and thick coconut milk and mix well.
10. Add enough salt (could be more on the higher side, as the rice and veggies have to cook in this) and let the water boil.
11. Add soaked rice and microwaved vegetables to the boiling water.
12. Add 2 tbsp of oil to the water as well. This will prevent the rice from sticking together.
13. Once the rice is almost cooked and very little water is left, turn off the stove and close the pan with a tight lid.
14. Open the lid after 30 minutes and the Pulao should be ready.

You could garnish with nuts and raisins, if needed. This is a quick and easy recipe, especially if you are using the frozen mixed vegetables.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mango Cream Pudding

Summer in India is known for its delicious Mangoes. Last summer when I was on vacation in India, I got to eat Mangoes from every home I visited. That is how much popular Mangoes are in India. Per the article in Wiki, nearly half of the world's mangoes are cultivated in India alone! Here in US, I have rarely tasted good Mangoes. So most of the time you have to satisfy yourself with the Mango pulp. But then it is convenient too. You could quickly make Mango Shakes, Mango Lassi and other Dessert with this pulp. Here is a quick and simple recipe for a tasty Mango Cream dessert.

Cool Whip - 16 oz
Mango Pulp - 30 oz (1 tin)
Pistas - 5-6 for garnish

1. Blend the Cool Whip to make it a little smooth. I used two 8oz box of Kraft Cool Whip.
2. Mix the Mango pulp with the smoothened cool whip using a blender. Keep aside 2 tablespoons of pulp for garnish.
3. Now put the 2 tablespoons of mango pulp kept aside on the top of this mixture and give it a swirl to garnish.
4. Crush the Pista and spread on the top.
5. Refrigerate for an hour.

Yummy mango cream dessert is now ready. Your kids would love it, not that adults won't.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Fruit Cake / Plum Cake

It is that time of the Year again...Gifts, Santa, Holidays, and Fruit Cakes...Christmas time...

Fruit Cake is something I have always missed after coming to the US. Not that we don't get fruit cakes here, but not the kind that you get back in Kerala. These fruits cakes are also known as Plum Cakes. These cakes packed with dry fruits and nuts and the caramel flavor always has been one of my favorites. Last December I happened to taste the fruit cake made by one of my friends, which brought back those same old memories to my taste buds. The first thing I asked her was the recipe. She gave me 2 scanned pages of a book which I do not know who the author is, neither did she. I tried it out with some modifications last Christmas and turned out be a great success.

This year I planned ahead and soaked the dry fruits early November and made the cake after 5 weeks. So it was much more tastier. So here goes the ingredient list for the Fruit Cake/Plum Cake:

Makes a 5 lb Cake

All purpose Flour- 2 cups
Salted Butter- 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 lb
Eggs - 5
Pineapple Jam - 1/2 lb (I used Kissan Jam)
Candied Peel (Tutti fruiti)- 1/2 lb
Raisins- 1 1/2 lb (Minced)
Cashews - 1/2 lb (chopped)
Baking Powder- 2 tsp (level)
Nutmeg Powder- 1 tsp
Cinnamon & Cloves Powder- 1 tsp
Caramel Syrup  - 3 tbsp
Orange Juice- 3 tbsp
Vanilla Essence- 3-5 drops
Rum- 700 ml (optional - I used Myers's Rum)

  1. Mix the minced Raisins with the Candied Peel in a storage bowl. Add Rum to this. Close the bowl. Keep this for a minimum of 3 days. I kept this for 5 weeks. Shake the bowl every other day. Again this is an optional step. You could make this cake without soaking the raisins in Rum as well.
  2. Drain the rum out from the dry fruits and keep the fruits aside.
  3. Separate the Egg White and Yolks. Beat the Egg yolk well.
  4. Sift the Flour, Baking powder, Nutmeg powder and Cinnamon and Clove powder together.
  5. Mix the drained dry fruits and chopped Cashew Nuts with the flour using a spatula and ensure that the fruits/nuts are well coated with the flour.
  6. Beat the Butter and Sugar together with a blender and add the beaten Egg yolk to this. Beat the mixture until it becomes light and fluffy. If using unsalted butter, add 1/2 tsp salt.
  7. Add the Caramel syrup, Jam, Orange Juice and essence to the Butter mixture and beat again until everything is mixed well.
  8. Add the Butter mixture to the flour and mix well. You could use the blender.
  9. Beat the Egg whites until still. There should not be any moisture in the bowl or the blender to ensure that the Egg whites would become stiff.
  10. Fold in the Egg Whites to the flour mixture slowly using a spatula.
  11. Pour the cake batter into a butter smeared baking pan (I used 14 x 10.5 inch) or a pan lined with parchment paper.
  12. Pre-heat the oven at 325 degree and bake for around 1 hour. The time would vary depending on your oven. So keep checking.

Once the cake is out of the oven, let it cool. The cake would taste good, if you could resist the temptations and eat it the next day. This recipe would yield around 5 lbs of Fruit Cake. I am not sure whether the picture I have given here does any justice to the taste of the cake. If you like fruit cakes, this a must try.

Sending this recipe to the Cakes'n Cookies event hosted by Sara's Corner and Show me your Cake Event hosted by Dil Se.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Caramel Syrup

Caramel is a beige to dark brown confection made by heating any of a variety of sugars. It is used as a flavor in puddings and desserts, a filling in candies and chocolates, and a topping for ice cream and custards.

I made this syrup for my fruit cake. Caramel Syrup can be made in large batches and kept in the fridge. You can keep it refrigerated for more than a year.

Sugar - 10 tbsp
Water - 10 tbsp

1. Heat the sugar in a vessel in medium flame.
2. Stir in between and continue till it starts to bubble.
3. Keep in stove until it reaches the darkness you need. Ensure that it does not get burnt.
4. Add water to this boiling mixture. Ensure you keep a safe distance when you do this, as it could splash.
5. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.

Your Caramel is now ready. You could store it in a closed container and store in the fridge.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Potato Bhaaji

Poori used to be one of my favourites as a kid, and still too. I think most kids like poori. It is something I rarely make, coz of my lazines to knead the dough and roll it out :-). So my son is not familiar with this favourite of most kids. Now it dawned on me that I should introduce my son to this dish. 

Eventhough all I have been talking about is Poori, that is not the dish in the limelight. Its the Bhaaji that goes with Poori. Poori Bhaaji.... I am still drooling :-)

This is the list of ingredients that I used to make my version of bhaaji:

Potato                  - 3 (Medium sized - cut into cubes)
Onion                   - 1 (Big one - finely chopped)
Mustard               - 1 tsp
Chilli powder        - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder  - 1 tsp
Carrot                  - 1 (Grated)
Green Chilli          - 2 (Cut lengthwise)
Curry leaves         - 1 twig
Salt                      - to taste

1. Heat little oil in a pan and splutter the mustard and curry leaves.
2. Add the Onions and saute till transparent.
3. Add Green Chillies, Turmeric powder and chilli powder and saute for a minute.
4. Add potato, salt and grated carrot and enough water to cook.
5. Close the lid and cook until the potatoes are done.
6. Mash the potatoes and turn off the heat.

Your Bhaaji is now ready to be served with the puris.
Related Posts with Thumbnails