Archive for the ‘Appetizers’ Category

Medu Vada / Uzhunnu Vada – Spicy Black Gram Dumplings


2011
04.11

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My Mom makes the best uzhunnu vadas I’ve eaten. Unfortunately I’ve never get to watch her make them since very rarely can we stand each other in the same room let alone a kitchen. Very often as I am gulping down some of her tasty delights, there occurs brief lapses in my senses and in the bliss of ecstasy I find my self proclaiming the usual foot-in- the-mouth/call-it-on-yourself declarations like: I’ve got to learn this from you !! And then of course I find her smirking and hear her insinuating, PRETEND under the breath remark(loud enough for the next door neighbor to hear): Oh that will need your butt to forsake the couch. Of course that sends me eating more than my stomach can handle and I walk away making sure my eyes reveal what my tongue so desperately wants to lash out, but dare not say: My ass will never leave the couch Ma and you forever will end up cooking for me ‘cause I’m going to make sure you outlive me and manipulated by me, your motherly instincts will continue to feed my greed whether you like it or not. Long story short, this IS my mothers recipe but I learnt it from my sister who, God bless her- has all the patience in the world to bear my mothers taunts.

The two main points to remember in order for the vadas to be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside is: 1> Use as little water as possible for grinding. 2> Aerate the batter thoroughly using a fork after grinding.

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Ingredients:
IMG_93142 cups urad dal/ black gram
1 tsp crushed pepper 
1 tsp grated and crushed ginger 
2-3 green chilies finely chopped
2- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro 
10-12 torn curry leaves
1 tbsp diced coconut (optional. I don’t add this my mother does) 
1/2 cup chopped onions   
salt to taste 
refined oil for deep frying

 

Directions

  • IMG_9296Soak urad dal in water for 5 –6 hours.
  • Grind it to a smooth batter without adding too much water.
  • Use a fork or a mixer and aerate the batter thoroughly.
  • Now add all the other ingredients except oil and mix well into the batter.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan.
  • Immerse the front of your palm in water and scoop a hand full of batter and shape it into a ball.
  • IMG_9305Use your thumb to make a hole at the center of the ball like a doughnut.
  • Flip your palm back side up on top of the hot oil and let the doughnut slump down smoothly on its own into the hot oil.
  • Fry each side for about a minute until deep golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  • Serve hot with sambar and coconut chutney.

     

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    Chenda Kappa and Mulagu Chammanthi/ Boiled Tapioca with Green Chili Chutney – Kerala Style


    2010
    07.28

    IMG_7666

    Whoever said life’s finer pleasures are in simple things couldn’t be more right. And when the adage is applied to food I would bold, underline and increase it to the biggest font possible. There are foods that I could eat anytime of the day and everyday if it were allowed.  And this, is one of them. The green chili chutney is what does it for me. As a child my mother served this chutney with all forms of boiled or steamed roots and tubers like sweet potatoes, yams, tapioca etc. And that was when I think I inherited my love for the sweet tangy and spicy combos.

    Note: You cannot replace shallots with onions in this recipe as it takes the taste to a whole different direction.

    Green chili Chutney

    Ingredients

    10 shallots roughly chopped
    10 hot green chilies roughly chopped
    1/4 tsp of tamarind paste
    1 tbsp coconut oil
    salt to taste
    1  curry leaf

    Directions

  • Grind shallots, green chilies, tamarind and curry leaf to a coarse mixture with a chunky texture.
  • Drizzle with coconut oil and mix well.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Serve with hot kappa or yams.

    Cooking Instructions for Tapioca

    Depending on the quality of the tapioca the cooking time varies. So it is safer to cook this in an open pan with salted boiling water rather than a pressure cooker. This allows you to check on it with a fork in regular intervals. Cooked tapioca should be soft and tender right through.

  • Chenda Kappa and Mulagu Chammanthi/ Boiled Tapioca with Green Chili Chutney – Kerala Style


    2010
    07.28

    IMG_7666

    Whoever said life’s finer pleasures are in simple things couldn’t be more right. And when the adage is applied to food I would bold, underline and increase it to the biggest font possible. There are foods that I could eat anytime of the day and everyday if it were allowed.  And this, is one of them. The green chili chutney is what does it for me. As a child my mother served this chutney with all forms of boiled or steamed roots and tubers like sweet potatoes, yams, tapioca etc. And that was when I think I inherited my love for the sweet tangy and spicy combos.

    Note: You cannot replace shallots with onions in this recipe as it takes the taste to a whole different direction.

    Green chili Chutney

    Ingredients

    10 shallots roughly chopped
    10 hot green chilies roughly chopped
    1/4 tsp of tamarind paste
    1 tbsp coconut oil
    salt to taste
    1  curry leaf

    Directions

  • Grind shallots, green chilies, tamarind and curry leaf to a coarse mixture with a chunky texture.
  • Drizzle with coconut oil and mix well.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Serve with hot kappa or yams.

    Cooking Instructions for Tapioca

    Depending on the quality of the tapioca the cooking time varies. So it is safer to cook this in an open pan with salted boiling water rather than a pressure cooker. This allows you to check on it with a fork in regular intervals. Cooked tapioca should be soft and tender right through.

  • Carrot Sandwiches – Bangalore Style


    2010
    05.20

     

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    Anyone growing up in Bangalore in the 80s  would have eaten or seen these sandwiches in any of the Iyengar bakeries found in every nook of the city.  Though I love most of the stuff from these bakeries, the sandwiches were probably the only healthy food you could find in these places then. My sister Sophie, takes it up a notch by using whole wheat bread and adding a few other vegetables. And I must say, I love these more than the authentic ones.

    Ingredients

    whole wheat or white bread
    2 tsp refined oil 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds 
    1 cup finely chopped onions
    1 finely chopped tomato 
    2 cups grated  carrots
    1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper(optional)
    1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli (optional) 
    1 tbsp chopped green chili
    1/4 tsp 3Cs spice mix
    1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste 
    a pinch of turmeric powder
    1 tsp chopped mint
    1 tsp finely chopped curry leaves
    2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
    2 tsp (or to taste) sugar

    butter for toasting the bread
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add green chilies, curry leaves, onions and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, spice mix, mint and sauté until the tomatoes turn soft.
  • Add the carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, cilantro and sauté for a few minutes until the veggies turn tender, take care not to over cook them.   
  • Add sugar, mix well and and turn off the stove.
  • Apply a little butter on slice of bread, spread some carrot filling and top it off with another slice of bread.
  • Toast it in a sandwich maker or toast for minute on both sides in a pan while pressing down the sandwich using a spatula.
  • Serve for breakfast or as a snack.
  • Carrot Sandwiches – Bangalore Style


    2010
    05.20

     

    IMG_3049

    Anyone growing up in Bangalore in the 80s  would have eaten or seen these sandwiches in any of the Iyengar bakeries found in every nook of the city.  Though I love most of the stuff from these bakeries, the sandwiches were probably the only healthy food you could find in these places then. My sister Sophie, takes it up a notch by using whole wheat bread and adding a few other vegetables. And I must say, I love these more than the authentic ones.

    Ingredients

    whole wheat or white bread
    2 tsp refined oil 1/4 tsp black mustard seeds 
    1 cup finely chopped onions
    1 finely chopped tomato 
    2 cups grated  carrots
    1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper(optional)
    1/4 cup finely chopped broccoli (optional) 
    1 tbsp chopped green chili
    1/4 tsp 3Cs spice mix
    1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste 
    a pinch of turmeric powder
    1 tsp chopped mint
    1 tsp finely chopped curry leaves
    2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
    2 tsp (or to taste) sugar

    butter for toasting the bread
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  • Add green chilies, curry leaves, onions and sauté until the onions turn translucent.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute.
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, spice mix, mint and sauté until the tomatoes turn soft.
  • Add the carrots, bell peppers, broccoli, cilantro and sauté for a few minutes until the veggies turn tender, take care not to over cook them.   
  • Add sugar, mix well and and turn off the stove.
  • Apply a little butter on slice of bread, spread some carrot filling and top it off with another slice of bread.
  • Toast it in a sandwich maker or toast for minute on both sides in a pan while pressing down the sandwich using a spatula.
  • Serve for breakfast or as a snack.
  • Aloo Tikki / Spicy Potato Patties


    2010
    04.01

    These are just about the easiest patties to put together. They make amazing appetizers when served with a combination of meetha chutney (tamarind and sugar),  green chutney (cilantro, green chilies and lime) and chole.

    IMG_5985 

    Ingredients

    3 large potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
    1 tsp corn flour
    1/4 cup green peas, boiled
    2 green chilies, chopped
    3 tbsp lemon juice
    1 tsp cumin powder
    1 tsp red chili powder
    salt to taste
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
    pinch of asafoetida
    refined vegetable oil for frying

    Directions

  • Thoroughly mix all the ingredients except the oil.
  • Divide into 10 to 12 equal portions and shape them into flat patties
  • Heat oil in a fry pan and shallow fry over medium heat until golden brown and crisp on both sides.
  • Drain and pat dry on absorbent paper.
  • Serve hot with chutneys and chole.
  • Rava Idli / Sooji Idli / Steamed And Spiced Semolina Dumplings


    2010
    03.09

    IMG_5319

    Remember sometime back, when I’d confessed about my addiction here? Well, it had been a couple of weeks since then and my cravings had begun to creep up again. So, instead of making Rava dosas like last time, I decided on the easier, rava idlis. Obviously, the lesser work involved the more happy I am. And since I put loads of veggies in my idlis. I like to think the lazier me provides healthier options for my family ;).

    Ingredients

    1 cup coarse rava
    2 cups sour curd/yogurt
    1 tbsp chopped cilantro
    2 tbsp chopped curry leaves
    1/2 cup mixed veggies (I use finely diced tomatoes, grated carrots and slightly cooked peas)
    5 – 6 tbsp of clarified butter(ghee)
    1/2 tsp grated and crushed ginger
    1 tsp bengal gram(channa dal)
    1/4 tsp mustard seeds
    1tbsp chopped cashew nuts
    1/2 tbsp chopped green chilies (optional)
    1/4 tsp baking soda (optional)
    few whole cashew nuts to place on top of the idlis for aesthetics
    salt to taste

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    Directions

  • Dry roast the semolina till it is slightly toasted and emits a  a nice aroma.
  • Heat ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds, dal, chopped nuts, curry leaves and sauté.
  • When the mustard pops, add ginger and green chilies, and sauté for a minute.
  •  Switch off the heat add the toasted semolina and mix well.
  • Add salt, soda, carrot, coriander leaves, yogurt and mix well.
  • Let it to settle for 30mins.
  • Grease an idli stand with ghee, place a cashew nut at the center of each depression and then and then pour in the mixture on top of the nut.
  • Steam for around 15-20mins.
  • Serve hot with coconut chutney or sambar.
  • Lamb Cutlets – Kerala style


    2010
    01.01

    In Kerala these cutlets are ideally made with minced beef. Since most of my Christmas party guests were non beef eaters, I substituted beef with lamb. It turned out pretty authentic in taste and, a hard core mallu friend of mine couldn’t tell the difference. So my take – you could use any sort of red meat in this recipe and it wont be easy to tell. What does make a difference however, is what you serve them with. To bring out the actual  flavor or these savories you have to, I cannot stress this more, serve these with the Malayalee Charlasthin slices of onions and finely diced green chilies soaked in white vinegar with a dash of salt.

    cutlet

    Ingredients

    1 lb very lean ground/minced beef or lamb
    3 medium sized Yukon white potatoes, cooked pealed and mashed
    1 very large  or 2 medium sized onions finely chopped
    5- 6 green chilies, finely diced
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    2 tbsp grated ginger
    2 tbsp diced garlic
    2 tsp Black pepper powder
    1/2 tsp kerala garam masala
    refined vegetable oil
    1 beaten egg
    1 cup bread crumbs
    2 tsp whole coriander seeds, dry roasted and crushed
    Salt to taste

    Directions

  • Sauté the chopped onions in a tsp of oil  in a shallow pan  until golden brown
  • Crush the grated ginger and garlic and add them to the pan along with the green chilies and continue to sauté until oil separates
  • Add in the ground meat, turmeric powder, garam masala, pepper powder and  crushed coriander seeds and let it cook on high flame for 10 – 15 mins, mix occasionally with a spatula to prevent clumping to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add salt to taste
  • When the meat is well cooked take it off the flame and mix in the mashed potatoes
  • Roll the mixture it into lemon sized balls and shape them into round or oval patties
  • Dip each patty one at a time into the beaten egg and coat with bread crumbs
  • Refrigerate them for an hour or 2 or overnight. (This step prevents the patties from breaking apart while frying)
  • Heat oil on high flame and shallow fry them until brown on both the sides

    Serve with sliced onions and minced green chilies soaked in vinegar  with a dash of salt.

  • Spinach Mushroom Cheese Folds


    2009
    12.31

    While shopping a day before Thanksgiving at the Asian market, I chanced upon these organically grown, beautiful looking, pearly white and earthy brown Beech Mushrooms or Buna Shimeji. I immediately picked a pack of each because I looove cooking with mushrooms. For me mushrooms are meek and cooperative in any dish. They hold on to their texture and flavour whether sautéed, stir fried or souped. With all the immune boosters and antioxidants mushrooms harbor, delicious eating couldn’t get more healthy.

    So, coming back to my beech mushrooms, I got them during Thanksgiving hoping to stir fry them for the teriyaki cooking I planned during the long weekend. But, like the many things that we plan during holidays the cooking never happened and these 2 packs sat un-noticed for a whole month. Then while rummaging through the fridge just before my Christmas party I noticed these  balls of  pearls sitting fresh and bright as ever. A whole of thirty days and not a bruise or a wrinkle. I at once decided to use them for my spinach folds instead of the baby bellas I normally use. I like to use mushrooms for my folds and puff fillings since they give good body and texture and don’t  feel gooey like the usual spinach and cheese fillings.

    I used bread to wrap the fillings as I had plenty of old bread. You could use puff pastry or pastry shells and instead of frying you could bake them in a pre-heated oven at 400°F for about 20 minutes or until the shells are golden brown.

    spinachfolds

    Ingredients

    10 – 15 slices of buttermilk bread with edges trimmed off
    1/2 cup mascarpone cheese. (You could also use cream cheeses instead, just fluff it up with a little bit of milk)
    10 OZ frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
    2 OZ each of brown and white beech mushrooms ( you can use any mushroom of your choice. the earthy ones suit the recipe better)
    One medium sized onion finely chopped
    2 tsp finely chopped baby dill
    1/2 tsp pepper
    refined oil for frying
    salt to taste

    spinachfolds2

    Directions

  • Sauté the chopped onions in a tsp of oil  in a shallow pan  until golden brown
  • Add in the spinach, mushrooms, baby dill, salt and pepper and continue to sauté until the spinach is cooked.
  • Put of the flame and mix in the cheese.
  • soak each slice of bread very briefly in water and gently squeeze the water out. Place the filling at the center and fold the bread into half and seal the edges.
  • Refrigerate for an hour or two and  when they are set shallow fry them for a minute or two until they turn golden brown on both the sides.
  • Place the fried folds on a paper towel and gently pat dry the excess oil.
  • Serve with hot and sour chili sauce.