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
  • What was that again?

    2010
    10.20

    Collages1

    The last one year for Nish who turned 4  in September has been profound in terms of mental maturity and verbal acquisitions. His preschooler sass, innocent fumbles, wise observations and insightful witticisms never fail to amuse us. Our days would definitely be dull without him.

    Here are some of his quips for some laughs—

    Ma, can you please leave the bathroom? I need some privacy.

    Pa, you need to listen to Ma, ok? him is the only grown up in this house.

    Ma, grow up!

    Hey Pa, can you turn on the lamp? I need some sun light in the room.

    Ma, when I was a baby in your tummy did I come out when you threw up?

    Ma, I don’t need a baby brother or a baby sister, can you make me a baby puppy instead?

    Reciting the Lords prayer – Our Father in heaven hallowed be thy name ……do not bring us to the test but deliver us from Eagle – Amen

    And these might be incriminating for my food blog, but nevertheless ….

    Ma, I only said it smells good, I didn’t say it tastes good.

    Ma, this tastes  funny. are you sure it is food?

    Aloo Gobi

    IMG_8647Well since I could never bend it like Beckham I chose the easier alternative and learnt to make a killer Aloo Gobi. I consider a bowl of Aloo Gobi perfect when the potatoes and the cauliflowers remain )…[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     Methi Pulao/ Fenugreek Leaves Rice Pilaf

    IMG_8794Methi Pulao is something that I usually make when I’m entertaining vegetarian friends.  No reason in particular. But since I’m a big fan of the flavor of fenugreek leaf flavor I just assume every vegetarian out ….[read more]

     

     

     

     

     Kadai Paneer

    IMG_8663

    This all famous colorfully vibrant Punjabi dish goes perfectly well with all Indian breads. This is a very simple dish to make but can look very attractive on the table when you are entertaining. It is not just about the looks either, it tastes amazing too….[read more]

    Methi Pulao/ Fenugreek Leaves Rice Pilaf

    2010
    10.20

     

    IMG_8794

    Methi Pulao is something that I usually make when I’m entertaining vegetarian friends.  No reason in particular. But since I’m a big fan of the fenugreek leaf flavor I just assume every vegetarian out there will find it irresistible too.  And frankly every time I’ve made it I haven’t met anyone till date who hasn’t gone for a second helping of this. So like I always say, my assumptions are very rarely wrong ;).

    Ingredients

    1 cup Basmati/Long grained rice
    2 packed cups chopped fenugreek/methi leaves
    1 med onion, finely sliced
    1/2 cup fresh green peas
    1 med tomato cut into chunks
    2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
    1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
    1/2 tsp red chili powder
    4 cloves
    2, 1/4 inch pieces of cinnamon 
    1 crushed cardamom
    2 tbsp roasted cashewnuts 
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1/4 tsp saunf/fennel seeds
    Salt as per taste
    ghee/oil

    Directions

  • Soak rice in water for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside for 15 minutes.
  • Heat a tsp of ghee in a pan, gently roast the rice for a couple of minutes.
  • Pour two cups of water and cook the rice. When cooked fluff it up and set aside to cool.
  • Heat oil/ghee in a wide pan.
  • Add cumin, fennel, cloves,cinnamon, cardamom and let the spices roast.
  • Add onions and sauté until they are golden brown.
  • Add green chilies, ginger garlic paste and sauté for another 2 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, turmeric, chili powder and sauté until oil separates.
  • Add fenugreek leaves, peas, salt to taste and sauté until cooked.
  • Add rice and lemon juice and gently mix on low flame.
  • Kadai Paneer

    2010
    10.15

    This all famous colorfully vibrant Punjabi dish goes perfectly well with all Indian breads. It is a very simple dish to make but can look very attractive on the table when you are entertaining. It is not just about the looks either, the taste’s amazing too. The powerful Indian spices ignites a roaring flame of passion between the mild and sweet colorful peppers  and the nutty cubes of paneer. Just one bite and you’ll know exactly what I’m harping about.

    IMG_8663

     

    Ingredients

    2 cups mixed multicolored bell peppers
    14 oz of paneer/cottage cheese
    1 medium onion chopped fine
    1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    1 large tomato chopped into chunks
    1/2 tsp turmeric 
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp katoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
    1 tbsp coriander powder
    2 tsp chopped green chilies
    1 tsp red paprika/ kashmiri mirch
    1/2 tsp 3 Cs spice mix
    1 bay leaf
    1 star anise
    1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
    1 tbsp cashew-almond paste -optional (cashew nuts and almonds in equal proportions ground to a paste with little water)
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    2-3 tsp fresh cream for garnish
    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.
  • Heat a tbsp of refined oil, add star anise, bay leaf and cumin and sauté for a minute.
  • Add in the chopped onions, sauté till golden brown
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a minute
  • Add salt, chilies,paprika,  turmeric, coriander, spice mix, cashew-almond paste and tomatoes and sauté till the oil comes clear.
  • Add the bell peppers and kastoori methi and sauté till the veggies are cooked but yet crunchy.
  • Stir in the paneer cubes and let it cook for a couple of minutes till it all comes together.
  • Take off the flame. Garnish with heavy cream and cilantro
  • Serve hot with Indian Breads .
  • Aloo Gobi

    2010
    10.14

    Since I could never bend it like Beckham, I chose the easier alternative and learnt to make a killer Aloo Gobi. I consider a bowl of Aloo Gobi perfect when the potatoes and the cauliflowers remain intact in shape and size but are yet cooked thoroughly through. And of course the cauliflower florets shouldn’t be giving off that God-awful gaseous stench.  Over the years I figured the best way not to stink up your kitchen while cooking cauliflower and the like (cabbage, kohlrabi etc) was to cook them dry. And the easiest was to cook them dry is to deep fry them (tastier option) or broil/bake them (healthier option). You of course can cook them dry directly in the pan too. But that requires frequent stirring and totally depends on how patient you are willing to be. I’ve detailed all four techniques here. Follow what ever floats your boat.

    IMG_8647

    Ingredients

    2 cups cauliflower florets
    1 cup quartered potatoes
    1 small onion chopped fine
    1 tsp grated ginger
    1 medium tomato chopped into chunks
    3/4 tsp amchoor /dry mango powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric 
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp katoori methi / dried fenugreek leaves
    pinch of asafoetida
    1 tbsp coriander powder
    1 tsp chopped green chilies
    1 tsp red chili powder
    1 tsp punjabi garam masala
    2 bay leaves
    2 tbsp chopped cilantro
    refined oil
    salt to taste

    Directions

    If deep frying – Heat refined oil in a deep pan. Sprinkle salt on the cauliflower and potatoes and deep fry them until they are cooked through and light golden brown in color.  Set them aside on paper towels to drain out the excess oil.

    If broiling – Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a shallow pan. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric. When the cumin seeds are roasted switch off the flame.  Spread out the cauliflower and potatoes on a flat dish. Sprinkle salt  and drizzle the hot seasoned oil on all the veggies. Broil until cooked through to a golden brown color tossing it every 8 minutes.

    If baking – Preaheat oven to 350 F. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a shallow pan. Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric. When the cumin seeds are roasted switch off the flame.  Spread out the cauliflower and potatoes on a flat dish. Sprinkle salt  and drizzle the hot seasoned oil on all the veggies. Bake on 350F until the veggies are cooked through.

    If stir-frying in a shallow pan with no water – Follow the instructions below to make the masala. When done, add the veggies and mix well into the masala. Close the pan and let is simmer on medium heat. Stir every 5 minutes and close the pan with a tight lid when left to simmer.

    Making it all come together –

  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in shallow pan
  • Add cumin seeds, asafoetida and turmeric, sauté until the cumin is roasted. (omit this step is broiling or baking)
  • Add bay leaf and saute for 30 secs.
  • Add ginger and onions and sauté until onions are golden brown
  • Add tomatoes, coriander powder, green chilies, red chili powder,garam masala,  kastoori methi, amchoor and sauté until oil separates. 
  • Add the cooked veggies and mix them well into the masala until they come together.
  • If adding uncooked veggies follow stir-frying directions.
  • Garnish with cilantro. Switch off the flame.
  • Server hot with Indian breads 
  • Chutneys Galore

    2010
    10.07

    2010-08-30

    Well it is a day over a over a month since I bought my new toy and evidently I’m not yet bored with it like I thought I would be (or should be) by now. And since the Wife/Mother has shown no signs of curbing herself, the Husband and Son have stopped making efforts to hide their annoyance as well. The boys hopelessly voice out their oh-no! not again shrieks while the obsessive and unrelenting South Indian in me serves them yet another variation of a fermented crêpe or a mutant version of some fried or steamed dumpling they just had a day before.

    The only saving grace for both the parties involved have been the savory chutneys. These spicy and tangy dips always manage to get the boys excited and hence lessens the burden of guilt for me, though obviously I don’t seem as bothered as I should be ;). In any case, when I see my boys serve themselves big mounds of these chutneys, which again is so not the right way of doing it and I have had to dig my nails into the wall and eat my own hair to refrain myself from lecturing them about the correct or rather the traditionally allowed proportions, I’m glad I look less evil than what I actually am.  When your boys act like the dinner or at least a part of the dinner you served was finger licking good you definitely can pass for a good Mother/Wife. Can’t you?? 😉

    Green Chili Coconut Chutney

    IMG_8613This mildly sweet, delicately spicy, greenish tinged elegance pairs very well with dosas and idlis. This chutney is my Mom’s recipe and something that I absolutely love..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

    Shallot Chutney/ Ulli Chammanthi

    IMG_8601This is another one of those chutneys that you continue to lick off of your plate even when the dosas and idlis are long gone..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Onion and Garlic Chutney

    IMG_8598 This chunky,mouth watering, finger licking chutney is for those who crave for that hint of sugar in every spicy bite. This is one of my most favorite chutneys. It has a really long shelf life and actually never goes stale on you[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

    Onion and Garlic Chutney

    2010
    10.07

    IMG_8598

    This chunky,mouth watering, finger licking chutney is for those who crave for that hint of sugar in every spicy bite. This is one of my favorite chutneys. It has a really long shelf life and actually never goes stale on you.

    Ingredients
    1 chopped red onions
    1 tsp red chili powder (base it on taste)  
    1tsp paprika (for color)  
    2 tbsp sliced garlic  
    1/2 cup tamarind pulp extracted from 1 lemon sized tamarind
    3 green chilies slit lengthwise
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    small pinch of asafoetida 
    1 tsp jaggery shavings 
    salt to taste 
    1 spring of curry leaves 
    2-3 tsp of sesame oil (cold pressed)

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida, mustard and curry leaves.
  • Add onions, green chilies and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent
  • Add chili powder and paprika and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Pour in the tamarind pulp and bring to boil.
  • Add jaggery and salt to taste.
  • Serve with dosas or idlis.