Archive for March, 2011

Pregnancy Take 2


2011
03.31

My Pictures 

Howdy folks!! I’m sorry, I’ve been long quiet. Didn’t mean to. Thought every other day I would get back. But each of those days for reasons of their own often killed my enthusiasm for blogging. Like the title says already, we are pregnant again :). That obviously is  my pathetic excuse for the long absence. We’ve been well. The baby inside me is getting lumpy and my two boys have been the best I could  ever wish for. Over indulgent and ever ready to please me they are exactly what any woman could want. For their charming behavior and for my ‘only existent during pregnancy’ luscious mane of hair and dimples I wouldn’t mind staying pregnant and carrying this baby well into adulthood ;).

Anywhoo, I’m back and I hope to stay. In a couple of months Mom is going to be here to help with the new baby and it would be outrageously sinful if I didn’t post all the amazing food she is going to ‘insist on’ making. Yes, she is coming to help with the baby. But while at that, on her own accord, she will take over my house, my life and my SOUL. And that’s why I’m back Internet, to prepare you for all my ramblings in the future months, For my now faithful boys, will soon shed off their adoring skins and take cover under their grandma/mil’s wings and I will be left all alone holding on to my postpartum blues for company. And I’ll have only you Internet to hear me out then and in gratitude  I shall throw in some good recipes amidst the sobbing to make it worth your while. As a overture for the future and in a desperate attempt to entice you to come back in spite of my drone here are some yum recipes.

Vegetable Biryani – Chettinad Style

IMG_9199Known to be the spiciest and the most aromatic cuisine of India, the Chettinad cuisine is one of my favorites. I’ve spent many glorious evenings in Chennai wiping away plates of Biryani and sucking on spicy succulent crab meat while my totally [read more]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pork Fry – Coorgi Style

IMG_8674

Many things about the Kodava community fascinated me right from when I was a child. Their gentle and good looking men and women folk, their intriguing customs, distinctive dressing and sweet sounding language always brought [read more]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navrathan Korma

IMG_9085

Navratan Korma, meaning a mixture of nine gems is a delicious vegetarian dish from the Mughlai cuisine. The nine gems indicate the nine veggies, fruits and nuts that go into the dish. Influenced by the imperial kitchens of the Mughal empire this is as grand and as rich as any vegetarian dish can get. [read more]

Pork Curry– Coorgi Style


2011
03.31

Many things about the Kodava community fascinated me right from when I was a child. Their gentle and good looking men and women folk, their intriguing customs, distinctive dressing and sweet sounding language always brought about great admiration in me. Even today this small community of Karnataka stirs in me great fondness for unknown reasons.   And like the community, the distinctive and exotic Coorgi cuisine has in me one of it biggest fan.

This pork fry recipe from  coorg uses kanchampuli (thick black extract from kudampulli-dried and smoked fruit rinds of the camboge tree) and the traditional coorgi masala. The only variation I made here is I sautéed the gravy to dry ‘cause that’s how Roy likes it. You could however leave it as a thick gravy and it pairs amazingly well with Indian wheat or Rice breads. Also, if you can’t get hold of kanchampuli you can substitute it with rice wine vinegar, the taste is almost close but you of course wont get the dark intense color.

IMG_8674 

Ingredients

2 lbs pork cut into 1’’ cubes, like you would do for stew.
1  large onion finely sliced
5 –6 shallots finely sliced (replace with one red onion if you don’t have these)
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 tbsp kanchampuli
3 – 4 tsp coorgi pork masala (ingredients and directions mentioned below) 
11/2 tsp red chili powder (base this on tolerable spice levels)
1 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 –3 sprigs of curry leaves(optional)
salt to taste
2 tbsp coconut oil/ refined vegetable oil

Ingredients/Directions for coorgi masala powder

3 tbsp coriander seeds 
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp black pepper corns
4 cloves
1’’ of cinnamon bark  
seeds of 1 pod of cardamom

Dry roast all these ingredients separately to a dark brown color and  grind fine.

Directions

  • Mix turmeric,chili powder, coorgi pork masala  with kanchampuli and salt and marinate the meat pieces with this mixture for an hour or two.
  • Add 1/4 cup water, and pressure cook. After the first whistle reduce the flame and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes (slow cooking on a low fame is the key to cook the meat tender).
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook the marinated pieces in a tightly closed pan with 1 cup of water on high for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes on low heat, till it is just about cooked.
  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan, add mustard and when they pop add in the curry leaves.
  • Add the onions and sauté until the onions are caramelized to a dark brown.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste to the onions, sauté until the oil separates.
  • Add the cooked pork to the pan till all the gravy completely dries out. If you want it with gravy cook only until the gravy thickens to the desired consistency.
  • Serve as an appetizer or with rice or rotis.
  • Pork Curry– Coorgi Style


    2011
    03.31

    Many things about the Kodava community fascinated me right from when I was a child. Their gentle and good looking men and women folk, their intriguing customs, distinctive dressing and sweet sounding language always brought about great admiration in me. Even today this small community of Karnataka stirs in me great fondness for unknown reasons.   And like the community, the distinctive and exotic Coorgi cuisine has in me one of it biggest fan.

    This pork fry recipe from  coorg uses kanchampuli (thick black extract from kudampulli-dried and smoked fruit rinds of the camboge tree) and the traditional coorgi masala. The only variation I made here is I sautéed the gravy to dry ‘cause that’s how Roy likes it. You could however leave it as a thick gravy and it pairs amazingly well with Indian wheat or Rice breads. Also, if you can’t get hold of kanchampuli you can substitute it with rice wine vinegar, the taste is almost close but you of course wont get the dark intense color.

    IMG_8674 

    Ingredients

    2 lbs pork cut into 1’’ cubes, like you would do for stew.
    1  large onion finely sliced
    5 –6 shallots finely sliced (replace with one red onion if you don’t have these)
    2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    2 tbsp kanchampuli
    3 – 4 tsp coorgi pork masala (ingredients and directions mentioned below) 
    11/2 tsp red chili powder (base this on tolerable spice levels)
    1 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    2 –3 sprigs of curry leaves(optional)
    salt to taste
    2 tbsp coconut oil/ refined vegetable oil

    Ingredients/Directions for coorgi masala powder

    3 tbsp coriander seeds 
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
    1 tsp black pepper corns
    4 cloves
    1’’ of cinnamon bark  
    seeds of 1 pod of cardamom

    Dry roast all these ingredients separately to a dark brown color and  grind fine.

    Directions

  • Mix turmeric,chili powder, coorgi pork masala  with kanchampuli and salt and marinate the meat pieces with this mixture for an hour or two.
  • Add 1/4 cup water, and pressure cook. After the first whistle reduce the flame and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes (slow cooking on a low fame is the key to cook the meat tender).
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook the marinated pieces in a tightly closed pan with 1 cup of water on high for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes on low heat, till it is just about cooked.
  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan, add mustard and when they pop add in the curry leaves.
  • Add the onions and sauté until the onions are caramelized to a dark brown.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste to the onions, sauté until the oil separates.
  • Add the cooked pork to the pan till all the gravy completely dries out. If you want it with gravy cook only until the gravy thickens to the desired consistency.
  • Serve as an appetizer or with rice or rotis.
  • Vegetable Biryani- Chettinad Style


    2011
    03.31

    IMG_9199

    Known to be the spiciest and the most aromatic cuisine of India, the Chettinad cuisine is one of my favorites. I’ve spent many glorious evenings in Chennai wiping away plates of Biryani and sucking on spicy succulent crab meat while my totally vegetarian best friend V, looked on with great amusing interest. I’m sure her smirk would disappear in a tick had she only known the great void (tragedy) her vegetarian life had conferred on her.

    Anyway, coming back to serious cooking,  here’s a vegetarian version of the popular Chettinad biryani which is so flavorful that I’m sure even a die hard meat eater would easily go for a second helping :) .

    Ingredients
    1 lb veggies of your choice. (I used, cauliflower and broccoli florets, diced bell peppers and carrots, peas and  potatoes cut into long strip like fries)
    3 cups basmati rice
    1 large  or 2 medium sized red onions finely sliced
    3 large tomatoes, diced in chunks 
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
    11/2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
    1 tbsp chopped mint 
    5 cloves
    4, 1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon
    2 bruised whole cardamom
    1/2 tsp red chili powder, alter this based on tolerable spice level
    2 tsp paprika, for color
    2 bay leaves
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder  
    refined vegetable oil
    2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
    3/4 cup coconut milk
    3/4 cup curd
    1 tsp lemon juice
    Salt to taste

    Spices for Grinding

    3 cloves
    2,1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon
    seeds from 1 cardamom
    1 tsp of fennel seeds

    Directions

  • Soak washed basmati rice with 4 cups of water and set aside for an hour. 
  • Dry roast the spices mentioned for grinding and grind to a semi coarse powder
  • Heat refined oil in a wide bottomed pan that can be fitted with a tight lid and doesn’t let steam escape and fry the veggies one at a time until almost cooked and set aside.
  • In the same pan add ghee and  add more oil if necessary,
  • When hot, add the whole cloves, cinnamon and cardamom and let them puff up.
  • Add the chopped onions and sauté until deep brown (the onions should look fried).
  • When the oil comes clear, move the onions to the sides of the pan and add turmeric and the ground spices to the oil accumulated at the center of the pan and sauté for 30 secs.
  • Add remaining ginger-garlic and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes, chili powders and sauté until oil separates.
  • Reduce the flame to low and add the coconut milk, curd, lemon, salt, cilantro and mint and let it simmer.
  • Add 1 tbsp of ghee, salt and cook the rice until the water boils and the rice is only  3/4 done.
  • Drop in the fried veggies into the masala mixture mix well and flatten it at he bottom of the pan
  • Pour in the boiling rice into the pan making the rice form a layer on top of the masala and veggie mixture and has no direct contact to the bottom of the pan.
  • Close the pan tight shut and let it sit on the very low flame for 15 – 20 min or until the rice at the top is done.
  • Remove from the stove and mix in the rice and masala
  • Serve with raitha and mango pickles.
  • Navratan Korma


    2011
    03.25

    Navratan Korma, meaning a mixture of nine gems is a delicious vegetarian dish from the Mughlai cuisine. The nine gems indicate the nine veggies, fruits and nuts that go into the dish. Influenced by the imperial kitchens of the Mughal empire this is as grand and as rich as any vegetarian dish can get.

    IMG_9085

    Ingredients

    10 oz of paneer/cottage cheese
    1/2 cup cashew nuts 
    1 large onion chopped
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1/2 tsp cumin powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    1/2 tsp white pepper powder
    1 tsp punjabi garam masala
    1 1″ piece of cinnamon
    2 bay leaves
    1 pod of bruised cardamom
    4 cloves
    3-4 cups mixed veggies(I used cubed potatoes, chopped French beans, diced carrots,green peas,cauliflower florets, diced bell pepper)
    1/4 cup pineapple chunks
    10-12 raisins
    2-3 tbsp heavy cream
    2-3 tbsp refined oil
    Salt to taste

    Directions

  • Cut the paneer into slabs (not cubes) and toast them on both sides in a non stick pan in 1 tbsp of oil. Make sure you don’t over do it. Both the sides should have just a slight hint of brown to bring out the nutty flavor of the paneer.
  • When all the slabs of paneer are toasted cut them up into small cubes, sprinkle a little salt and set aside.
  • Grind 1/4th cup of the cashews along with the onions.
  • Parboil with salt all the veggies individually (cooking time for each varies) and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan.
  • Add turmeric and cumin powder and sautéfor 30 secs.
  • Add the remaining cashew nuts and the whole spices.
  • When the spices puff up add the cashew onion paste and the ginger garlic paste and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add the garam masala and pepper powder.
  • .Add one cup of water and bring to boil.
  • Add the the veggies, paneer, raisins and pine apple and let it simmer until the veggies are cooked.
  • Garnish with heavy cream
  • Server hot with Indian breads