Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Parippu Vada / Lentil Fritters

It is getting colder and colder in this part of the world. These are the times when you feel like having some of those comfort snacks like Parippu Vada (Lentil Fritters), Ulli Vada (Onion Fritters), etc with a cup of steaming hot tea. I still remember those old days when we used to wait for the lady who used to bring parippu vada most every evening to sell at our place. We used to wait for her, so we can have the tea with the vadas. Now that I do not have the luxury of sitting and waiting for the lady who sells Parippu vada, I had to dig into my bookmarked recipe from Mishmash to make the vadas myself.  

Makes 20-22 vadas

Toor Dal- 1 cup
Small Onions/Shallots- 3/4 cup (chopped)
Ginger- 1/8 cup (thinly chopped)
Green Chilly- 1/8 cup (thinly chopped)
Curry Leaves- 2 twigs (chopped)
Salt- to taste
Oil- as needed to deep fry

  1. Soak the dal for at least an hour.
  2. In a grinder, quickly grind the dal into a very coarse paste and transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add in the chopped small onions, ginger, green chilly, curry leaves and salt to the dal and mix well.
  4. Check to see if you can make a small gooseberry size ball out of the dough and flatten it slightly with your palm. If you think the dough is not sticking together, it could be because the dough is too course. If this is the case, take half of the dough and mix it again in the grinder to a slightly less coarse texture. Mix this with the rest of the dough to create cohesiveness for the dough to stick together.
  5. Heat oil in a deep frying pan in medium flame. Test if the oil is hot by dropping a tiny bit of the dough and see if it comes to the top with oil bubbling around.
  6. When the oil is hot, start making the balls out of the dough, flattening it with your palms and fry it in the oil.
  7. Fry in a medium flame so that the inside is cooked well while the outside is crispy.

Serve your Parippu Vadas with a steaming hot cup of tea or coffee. What could be better than this on a cold and freezing wintry evening. Thanks Shn for sharing the recipe!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Goan Beef Curry

I was on my search for a "different" beef preparation when I landed upon this Goan Beef Curry. The main thing I was looking for in the recipe was some unusual ingredient. We love beef big time and always make the Kerala style nadan beef recipes and hence was looking for a change this time. My search ended when I saw this Goan Beef Curry recipe in Lakshmi Nair's Cook Book - Pachaka Kala. The ingredients that made me try this recipe was fenugreek and mustard powder, that is unusual in a beef curry, at least for me. It was definitely worth the attempt!

On a different note, I am searching in CSN stores to pick up a Christmas gift for myself and my kitchen. As most of you know, you would be surprised with the array of their offerings which ranges from extra tall bar stools to great cookware which would be hard to find anywhere else. Now lets get on to the recipe!

Serves around 10 people
Oil- 5 tbsp
Onion- 2.5 lbs (2 big - thinly sliced)
Garlic- 18 pods 
Chilly Powder- 2 tbsp + 1tsp
Coriander Powder- 3 tbsp
Cumin Powder- 1.5 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1.5 tsp
Fenugreek Powder- 1.5 tsp
Turmeric Powder- 1.5 tsp
White Vinegar- 6 tbsp
Water- 4 tbsp
Thick Coconut Milk- 1.5 cup
Beef- 3.5 lbs
Salt- to taste

  1. Crush the garlic using a mortar and pestle into a coarse paste.
  2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and saute the crushed garlic for a minute.
  3. Add the thinly sliced onions and continue to saute until they turn transparent.
  4. In the mean time, using a mortar and pestle or a mixer, grind the mustard seeds adding a little vinegar. You could also use mustard powder instead.
  5. When the mustard is finely ground, add the chilly powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, fenugreek powder and turmeric powder and mix well with the remaining vinegar and water to make a fine paste.
  6. Add this paste to the cooker and saute until all the water is gone and oil starts to ooze out.
  7. Add the beef and salt to the cooker and cook for around 3 whistles or until the beef is cooked. Turn off the stove when the beef is done. No need to add any water, as there will be water coming from the beef.
  8. When the pressure is released, open the cooker and turn on the stove again.
  9. Add the coconut milk to gravy and mix well.
  10. When the mixture starts to boil, turn off the stove and the beef curry would be ready to serve.

So if you are looking for a different beef curry recipe, this is definitely worth a try. The fenugreek together with the mustard paste gives the curry a unique taste and flavor.

Today I aslo happened to see the event at Chacko's Kitchen The 30 best recipes of 2010 and decided to give it a shot. I have sent across the Kinnathappam and Coconut Rice recipe to the event. Wish me luck!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Meen Vevichathu / Kudampuli etta Meen Curry / Spicy Fish Curry

Each region in Kerala has its own version of Fish Curry with its own unique flavor. The version here is the Kottayam Style Spicy Fish Curry which uses Kudampuli (Coccum), where as if you go to the Trivandrum side you would find fish curries that uses Vaalan puli (Tamarind). The Fish Curry here is also referred to as the Toddy Shop Fish Curry (Shappile Meen Curry) as it is the kind served in the toddy shops in Kerala. The taste of this curry is enhanced when served the next day. It would be ideal to use a 'manchatti' (Earthen pot) which also adds to the taste of the curry.

Serves 8-10 people
Coconut Oil- 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves- 2 twigs
Fish- 1 lbs (I used Tilapia; Any kind of fish is fine)
Shallots - 1/2 lbs
Ginger Garlic Paste- 2 tbsp
Coccum- 4 pieces
Water- 2 1/4 cup + 7 tbsp
Kashmiri Chilly Powder- 3 tbsp
Turmeric Powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder- 1 tbsp
Fenugreek Powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste

  1. Add the coccum pieces to a cup of water and keep aside.
  2. In a mixer, grind the shallots with no or little water. You do not have to make it a fine paste.
  3. Mix Kashmiri Chilly Powder, Turmeric Powder, Coriander Powder and Fenugreek Powder with 7 tbsp of water and keep the powder paste aside. This is a spicy curry; adjust the chilly powder as it suits your taste.
  4. In a pan or earthen pot, heat the coconut oil.
  5. When the oil is hot, splutter the mustard seeds and 1 twig of curry leaves.
  6. Add the ground shallots to the oil and saute until all water is evaporated and it starts to become a light brown color.
  7. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute again until the raw smell is gone.
  8. Add the powder paste to pan and saute again until all the water is gone and oil starts to ooze out. This could take 7-10 minutes in a medium flame.
  9. Now add the Coccum with the water and add the remaining water as well.
  10. Add salt to taste and let it boil.
  11. Add the fish pieces and swirl the pan itself so that the fish is immersed in the curry. Do not use a spoon to mix from this point, as it will break the fish pieces.
  12. When the curry starts to boil, turn off the stove and close the pan with a lid and keep aside for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Garnish with remaining Curry leaves and serve.

As mentioned earlier, if made ahead the taste is enhanced. This goes well with Mashed Tapioca (Kappa) and  Rice. 
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