Archive for the ‘Seafood’ Category

Chinese – An order of 2- Entrée Plate Coming Right up


2010
03.14

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Ok, I’m being upfront in saying this -These are not Indo Chinese recipes (if that was what you were hoping for). Is it authentic Chinese? I’m afraid, not. The recipes are as Chinese as you think ‘Panda Express’ is ;).

While dining out, for my family, the husband, the son and myself  included, good taste and some amount of hygiene is all that it takes, to float our boat.  We don’t care much for authenticity, snooty ambiances or high profile chefs. On the other hand, throw in some confusion, a harried waiter messing up with orders, a whining child there, a falling cutlery here,  and we’ll blend right in. Owe it to my thrifty Mallu blood, I hate to see good money go down the drain, and that, is exactly what I think happens at most of these supercilious restaurants. Their bite size portions, invariably leaves me eating a follow up dinner at home or, when fate is out bent on grudging me, I wind up to-going the insipid spread, and after having paid a couple of hundred dollar for a an ounce of salmon or crab, I’m back to square one, behind the apron, altering the packed meals to fit our tastes.
In comparison, this bourgeois American-Chinese chain, though might not have lofty sounding names on their menu, has always managed to provide hearty satisfying meals for my family, every time we’ve eaten at the food court, while shopping at the local mall. I accept, the food is slightly on the greasier side than I would like (the only reason, I try making them myself). But, I find the taste awesome. So, whenever I have lots of veggies in the fridge and when there is very little time to cook, I invariably try to imitate Panda express at home.

Stir-Fried Mushrooms and Asparagus in Chili Garlic Sauce

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 The best way to use up left over vegetables that don’t need much cooking time, is to make a stir-fry out of them. You can use any combination of vegetables you like. .[read more]

 

 

 

 

 

Ginger Sesame Shrimp with Snow Peas

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The vibrant colors of fresh vegetables never fail to excite me.  I always try to pick a couple of  bright colored vegetables while I grocery shop..[read more]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Chinese Egg Fried Rice

IMG_5516The trick to getting fried rice to smell and taste like the ‘Chinese’ kind, is to add the rice when the eggs are 1/2 done..[read more]

Ginger Sesame Shrimp with Snow Peas


2010
03.13

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The vibrant colors of fresh vegetables never fail to excite me.  I always try to pick a couple of  bright colored vegetables while I grocery shop, just to keep me motivated about cooking, through the week.  My this week’s saviors were the asparagus, with which I made the stir-fry, the bright green snow peas that I decided to team with the shrimp  and the green-witch celery, that went into the fried rice. So it was full blown panda express at home, this Friday night :D.

Ingredients

1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp refined vegetable oil
1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
6 – 8 oz snow peas, trimmed and stringed
11/2 tsp crushed black pepper
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup onions chopped into chunks
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp  soy sauce
1/2 tsp corn starch

IMG_5472_2 

 

 Directions

  • Toast the sesame seeds on a medium flame, in a heavy bottom pan until golden brown. Take care not to scorch them. Set aside.
  • Heat the oils in a wok.
  • Add the onion saute for a minute, when they turn translucent add ginger and garlic and sauté for another minute.
  • Add the snow peas, brown sugar, pepper,sauces and stir-fry for a minute.
  • Add the shrimps, and con starch dissolved in water and sauté until the sauce thickens and the shrimps turn pink. 
  • Reduce heat to low, sprinkle in the sesame seeds. Toss the wok a couple of times.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Serve with fried rice.
  • Kerala Style -Meen Curry With Thengapal/Fish Curry With Coconut Milk


    2010
    02.14

     

    fish in coconut milk200

    Had one of those rare weekends when everything went as planned. A quiet Saturday with friends of the family, a flawless Sunday with a long afternoon nap, clean to-do list, and best of all, with Monday being a holiday, absolutely no dreadful Sunday-Evening-Jitters. Yes, I bask in the  luxury of weekends and all. But the torture I go through at dusk every Sunday,  at the thought of having to get back to work the next day, makes me sometimes wish they never happened. Silly me, I agree. I choose the monotony of a work week forever, over a roller coaster of work, fun,  and back to work again.

    Anyway, well rested and in high spirits on Monday evening I drove to the market, having decided to treat my DH with some well deserved home cooked meal. He did a fine job at making the weekend perfect for me. Among many other things, he’d gotten the  house  immaculately spic without me having to raise a finger (sigh! if only we had more valentines day weekends). So, when my fish monger showed off his wears of some the finest silver white Pomfrets that I hadn’t seen for a long time, I was glad my luck was still sticking around. And, like I always do when I see a good buy, I went amuck. So, if you are not a big fan of Pomfrets, I’d suggest you come back to this site in probably a year’s time, because the next gazillion posts are going to be Pomfret this, Pomfret that and Pomfret this and that too ;).

    By the time I was  done with the bulk Pomfret shopping, there wasn’t much time left to cook. So, I changed plans and decided to make this quick and easy fish curry in coconut milk, one of R’s favorite.  The recipe is similar to the Kerala Red Fish Curry , except that you thicken the gravy with rich coconut milk right at the very end. At my sister S’, insistence, if you haven’t already noticed, I managed to stick in a piece of kudampulli in the pictures too. She has me convinced that the pictures of fish curries in my previous posts looked incomplete without one of these jutting out like a sore thumb (*rolling eyes*). So, there S, I hope it meets your standards now :D!

    fish in coconut milk

    Ingredients

    1 lb fish cut into slices
    2 tsp red [amazon-product type=”text” text=”chili powder”]B000JMAXNS[/amazon-product](base it on tolerable  spice levels)
    1 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”paprika”]B000NO5CRY[/amazon-product](mainly for the red color) 
    1/4 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”turmeric powder”]B000JMAXOC[/amazon-product]
    3 –4 shallots finely sliced (if you don’t have these you can use one med sized onion) 
    1 tsp grated ginger
    1tsp finely chopped garlic 
    2 kudampulli (camboge fruit rinds)
    (If you don’t have this you can use tamarind instead, but the taste won’t be authentic)
    1/4 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”fenugreek seeds powder”]B000JMBEGS[/amazon-product]
    2 sprigs of curry leaves
    1/2 tsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”black mustard seeds”]B001E6CFAW[/amazon-product]
    2 –3 tbsp [amazon-product type=”text” text=”coconut oil”]B002DGNP10[/amazon-product]/any vegetable refined oil
    2- 3 oz of canned coconut milk ( canned coconut milk is much thicker and creamier than fresh coconut milk. If you are using fresh you might need about a cup in this recipe) salt to taste

    Directions

  • Soak kudampulli in a cup of hot salt water and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add [amazon-product type=”text” text=”black mustard seeds”]B001E6CFAW[/amazon-product], when they pop add in the curry leaves and [amazon-product type=”text” text=”powdered fenugreek”]B000JMBEGS[/amazon-product].
  • Add sliced shallot and sauté till golden brown.
  • Add crushed ginger and garlic and sauté till oil separates.
  • Mix together [amazon-product type=”text” text=”chili powder”]B000JMAXNS[/amazon-product], [amazon-product type=”text” text=”paprika”]B000NO5CRY[/amazon-product] and [amazon-product type=”text” text=”turmeric powder”]B000JMAXOC[/amazon-product]in a little warm water to make a smooth paste, add to the pan and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add soaked kudampulli along with the water and allow it to boil for a few minutes.
  • Add the fish pieces.
  • Close the lid and let it boil it again.
  • Once the water boils, reduce the flame and let it simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes until the fish is cooked. Add more water if necessary.
  • Add coconut milk and mix in gently. let it simmer for 5 minutes before putting off the flame.
  • Season again with a little oil, mustard and curry leaves if desired.
  • Serve with Rice or Kappa
  • Kappa and Meen Curry / Tapioca with Curried fish


    2010
    01.24

    The 80s in one of India’s finest cities, Bangalore, wasn’t easy for me as a child of two  Malayalee immigrants.  I hated that we stood out starkly among the rest, the natives and the other immigrants from elsewhere included. I was a vain kid to say the least, and keeping up with appearances was among the top most in my priorities then. I had lots of misgivings about my background. And try as I did, it was hard for me to conceal the huge gulf between ‘us’ and the rest. What with a nosey grandma sporting the traditional Syrian Christian attire, her all white dress of Chatta and Mundu with a pleated tail,  three huge coconut trees in our small garden that loudly shouted ‘Malayalee’ to the arid Bangalore skies, endless number of  Mundu clad UnGles, and AnDies with hair slicked in strong smelling coconut oil, visiting us from Kerala every so often, our odd furniture at home that never matched the drapes, our lunch boxes packed every other day with Puttu-Kadal  and the like, and not to forget the most thwarting of all – the infamous lingual problems of pure Malayalees – I cringed every time my parents spoke in their thick accent to a neighbor or a friend of mine. All these and many more inane differences agonized my amorphous little mind, and at times I longed to miraculously disappear and be born again in a Sambar and Rice eating house hold.

    knf

    My parents both, well educated and well read, worked decent jobs and tried hard to provide fairly for their four girls. Three of their own and one their niece, my cousin J. Oblivious of their youngest’s desperate woes, they persevered in their own ways to instill in their girls a pride for their heritage and an abiltiy to connect with their roots. And as a part of this agenda they made sure we spent every summer at our ancestral home in Kerala  bonding with our extended family.

    Of course this part I loved. What was not to love in that exotic paradise,  where I swam all day in blissful abandon in those crystal clear streams, where there was only green everywhere and the other colors were forced to shy away, where my grandparents pampered me like I were the princess of Persia and the only the chores I had to do was eat and sleep. With countless cousins hovering around me there was no dearth for playmates and I loved the candid risky trips I took with them to the local cinema hall, that played Malayalam comedies but always ran a full house. The problem my ingenious adventurous cousins quickly solved by making us carry our own chairs to sit.

    With all this fun, I wished dearly that the holidays days never end. But they always did. And, we had to go back to the city, my home, where I was transformed yet again into that silly Mallu spiting child.

    And then I grew up. Growing up thankfully peeled off my false pretenses and without my jaundiced glasses I found diversity all around me. I realized that, in spite of all the eccentricities every culture was guilty of, its people couldn’t help but be proud of their ethnicity. Unfounded were my niggles as a child and I too eventually couldn’t help but  embrace with pride, the Malayalee in me.

    This post is for my little boy N, born to immigrant parents and growing up in a land were all dreams are said to come true. I hope in his quest for wanting to belong, he finds an identity that he can be proud of. Be it as an American, an Indian or as a Malayalee.

    Kappa Puzhukku / Mashed Tapioca

    kappaKappa (tapioca) and Meen (fish) curry or like a Malayalee  would say it ‘kappa puzhukku end meen gurry’ is so [read more]

     

     

     

     

     Meen Curry / Kerala Red Fish Curry

    fishcurry

    The distinguishing character of this spicy hot red curried fish is the smoky sourness rendered to the fish and the gravy from the kudampulli [read more]

     

     

     

     

    Kerala Meen Curry – Kerala Red Fish Curry


    2010
    01.24

    The distinguishing character of this spicy hot red  fish curry, is the smoky sourness rendered to the fish and the gravy from the kudampulli-dried and smoked fruit rinds of the camboge tree. In Kerala, fish is traditionally cooked in an earthen pot that provides a distinct flavor to the curry.

    fishcurry

    This dish is best served with Kappa or white rice. In my family we even ate it with rotis (Indian bread) and I must say, though it sounds odd, it is a wonderful combination.

    Ingredients

    1 lb fish cut into small pieces
    2 tsp red chili powder (base it on tolerable  spice levels)
    1 tsp paprika (mainly for the red color) 
    1/4 tsp fenugreek seed powder
    3 –4 shallots finely sliced (if you don’t have these you can use one med sized onion) 
    1.5 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    2 kudampulli (camboge fruit rinds)
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    2 sprigs of curry leaves
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    2 –3 tbsp coconut oil /any vegetable refined oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Soak kudampulli in a cup of hot salt water and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add black mustard seeds, when they pop add in the curry leaves and powdered fenugreek.
  • Add sliced shallot and sauté till golden brown.
  • Add  ginger-garlic paste and sauté till oil separates.
  • Mix together chili powder, paprika and turmeric powder in a little warm water to make a smooth paste, add to the pan and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add soaked kudampulli along with the water and allow it to boil for a few minutes.
  • Add the fish pieces.
  • Close the lid and let it boil it again.
  • Once the water boils, reduce the flame and let it simmer for about 5– 10 minutes until the fish is cooked. Add more water if desired.
  • Season again with 2 finely sliced shallots fried deep in 1 tsp of coconut oil, mustard and curry leaves if desired.
  • Serve with Rice or Kappa
  • Kerala Meen Curry – Kerala Red Fish Curry


    2010
    01.24

    The distinguishing character of this spicy hot red  fish curry, is the smoky sourness rendered to the fish and the gravy from the kudampulli-dried and smoked fruit rinds of the camboge tree. In Kerala, fish is traditionally cooked in an earthen pot that provides a distinct flavor to the curry.

    fishcurry

    This dish is best served with Kappa or white rice. In my family we even ate it with rotis (Indian bread) and I must say, though it sounds odd, it is a wonderful combination.

    Ingredients

    1 lb fish cut into small pieces
    2 tsp red chili powder (base it on tolerable  spice levels)
    1 tsp paprika (mainly for the red color) 
    1/4 tsp fenugreek seed powder
    3 –4 shallots finely sliced (if you don’t have these you can use one med sized onion) 
    1.5 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    2 kudampulli (camboge fruit rinds)
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    2 sprigs of curry leaves
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    2 –3 tbsp coconut oil /any vegetable refined oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Soak kudampulli in a cup of hot salt water and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add black mustard seeds, when they pop add in the curry leaves and powdered fenugreek.
  • Add sliced shallot and sauté till golden brown.
  • Add  ginger-garlic paste and sauté till oil separates.
  • Mix together chili powder, paprika and turmeric powder in a little warm water to make a smooth paste, add to the pan and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add soaked kudampulli along with the water and allow it to boil for a few minutes.
  • Add the fish pieces.
  • Close the lid and let it boil it again.
  • Once the water boils, reduce the flame and let it simmer for about 5– 10 minutes until the fish is cooked. Add more water if desired.
  • Season again with 2 finely sliced shallots fried deep in 1 tsp of coconut oil, mustard and curry leaves if desired.
  • Serve with Rice or Kappa
  • Tickle Your Palate With Some Pickle


    2010
    01.13

    IMG_4057_2

    My Godmother Auntie M,  is my Mom’s biggest rival in the kitchen, second only to my   Grandmother (Dad’s Mother, Mom’s mom-in-law of course ;)). Auntie M is what I would call a ‘Joy in the kitchen’.  She is a big girl (hard not to be when you cook like that) and has a sense of humor to match her size. With non stop witty chatter she cooks with ease and effortlessly sprawls out such scrumptious meals that, no invitations for dining are turned down at my God Parents. One of the treats that I fondly remember on her dining table from my childhood were the assortment of  Kerala pickles she often served. She was notorious for pickling anything and everything that grew or moved. And my Godfather Uncle G, often teasingly warned us naughty kids to mind our fingers and toes lest they end up in one of her pickle jars :D.

    This post is dedicated to Auntie M from whom I learnt two wonderful things. 1-Kitchen could be fun and not just work. 2- It just takes a simple jar of home made pickles to turn an ordinary Indian meal into an extraordinary one.

    Indian pickles unlike pickles form most other parts of the world,  apart from oil and salt use lots of flavorful spices in their marinade. These are not just for preserving seasonal food for non seasonal times but, with their powerful flavors form an integral part of the Indian cuisine.

    Pickled Shrimp – Kerala Style

    shrimp2

    Among many other things, Kerala cuisine is popular for its lip-smacking zesty meat and seafood pickles. These pickles are so astonishingly flavorful that it is hard to believe they are so easy to make.[read more]

     

     

     

    Lemon Pickles – South Indian Style

    lemon2When life offers me lemons I make pickles of them. I’d suggest the same to anybody who even remotely likes the citrus family. Because making lemonade out of them, to me is like saving the wrapper and throwing away the candy. The peels with all their essential oils,[read more]

     

     

     

    Bittermelon-Carrot-Mango Pickle/Pavakka Carrot Manga Achar (Ready To Eat)– Kerala Style

    IMG_3237

    This is my Mom’s all famous  mixed pickle recipe. It comes together fairly quickly and is one of my favorites. Like all mothers do, my Mom too eyeballs all her ingredients while cooking. So the proportions ..[read more]

     

    Pickled Shrimp- Kerala Style


    2010
    01.12

    Among many other things, Kerala cuisine is popular for its lip-smacking zesty meat and seafood pickles. These pickles are so astonishingly flavorful that it is hard to believe they are so easy to make. Owe it to my Godmother, Auntie M’s influence, I always carry a jar or two of these in my fridge. I usually make them on cold weary days when I have nothing much else to do and seek refuge in my warm kitchen. They always come in handy at times when I’m too lazy to move a finger let alone cook (which happens more often than not) or when I hear my husband yawn while setting the dinner table.

    shrimp2

    Though the following recipe talks about shrimp, you could use any boneless fleshy fish diced into bite size chunks. Traditionally, these pickles are made by deep frying the shrimp or fish which really toughens it up. But, I think it is unnecessary to deprive the meat of all its moisture when you are anyway storing it in the fridge. So here’s the deal. Unless you want to keep your pickles forever say like a year or two and don’t have a refrigerator, then deep fry them. But, if you think you have enough space in your fridge for a jar or two of these and you have a family of gluttons (like I do), who will wipe them clean before you know it, shallow fry them until they are just cooked. It makes a world of difference in taste and texture. This stays perfectly fine for months and the older they get the tastier they become.

    Ingredients:
    1lb medium sized, deveined and shelled shrimp
    1 tbsp red chili powder
    1/4 cup finely sliced ginger
    1/4 cup finely sliced garlic
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    1 tsp mustard seeds
    1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds powder
    2 – 3 pinches of asafoetida powder
    3 green chilies finely chopped
    1/2 tsp whole black pepper corns
    1 – 2 sprigs of curry leaves
    1/4 cup vinegar
    oil as required (I use sesame oil – the golden, cold-pressed kind not the dark brown from toasted seeds found in the chinese market. It gives a very distinct flavor to the pickle. You can use any refined oil if you aren’t too fond of sesame)
    salt to taste.

    Directions:

  • Marinate the shrimp with 1/2 of the chili powder, turmeric powder, 1/2 of the vinegar and salt for 30 minutes.
  • Shallow fry the marinated shrimp until just cooked and keep it aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida, fry mustard, fenugreek, black pepper and curry leaves.
  • Add the sliced ginger and garlic, green chili, and remaining chili powder and sauté until golden brown.
  • Add the fried shrimp, remaining vinegar and salt (it should taste slightly saltier than normal) and mix thoroughly. Add more heated oil, just sufficient to make sure all pieces of shrimp are covered with the vinaigrette. Put off the flame.
  • Mix everything thoroughly.
  • Bottle it in clean jars and keep it air tight.
  • Shrimp Biryani


    2009
    12.31

    Especially while cooking Indian, I cannot get myself to cook shrimp without coconut in some form or the other.  Shrimp and coconut for me, is one of the perfect pairings in food . A little bit of of coconut goes a long way. So, though my Shrimp Biryani recipe calls for a full cup of coconut milk, the calorie conscious could do with half coconut and half 2% milk. The difference would be insignificant. This recipe is mind blowing simple  and very often the top sell at most spreads.

    shrimp biryani

    Shrimps are  tender and delicate and hence do not require long hours and complex procedures for marinating.

    Ingredients
    1 lb medium sized, deveined and shelled shrimp
    1 large  or 2 medium sized onions finely sliced
    4 large tomatoes, diced in chunks
    5- 6 green chilies, slit length wise
    1/2 tsp turmeric powder
    2 tbsp grated ginger
    2 tbsp diced garlic
    1/2 tsp black pepper corns
    1/2 tsp kerala garam masala
    3 cups basmati rice
    pinch of saffron
    refined vegetable oil
    2 tsp sesame oil or ghee (clarified butter)
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
    1 tbsp chopped mint
    1 cup coconut milk
    1/2 tsp red chili powder, alter this based on tolerable spice level
    1 tsp lemon juice
    Salt to taste

    Directions

  • Marinate the shrimp in lemon juice and salt and set aside
  • Soak washed basmati rice with 5 cups of water and set aside for an hour.
  • Sauté 3/4th of the chopped onions in 2 – 3 tbsp of oil  in a wide bottomed  hollow pan  until golden brown; make sure the pan can be fitted with a tight lid that doesn’t let steam escape.
  • Crush the grated ginger and garlic and add them to the pan along with the green chilies and continue to sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the diced tomatoes, turmeric powder, garam masala, pepper corns, chopped mint and cilantro and continue to sauté until oil separates.
  • Add salt to taste
  • Add in the shrimp and sauté for 2- 3 minutes and then reduce the flame to low.
  • Add one cup of coconut milk, salt and 2 tbsp of sesame oil or ghee to the rice soaking in water and then set to cook until the water boils and the rice is only  3/4 done.
  • Gather all the shrimp and the masala mixture together and flatten it at he bottom of the pan
  • Dissolve a pinch of saffron in 2 tbsp of milk and add to the boiling rice and mix it.
  • Pour in the boiling rice into the pan making the rice form a layer on top of the masala 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
  • Deep fry the remaining sliced onion and sprinkle on the rice as garnish.
  • Serve with raitha or baingan masaledar.