Thursday, March 15, 2012

Strawberry kesari

Nowadays the sweet tooth for me and my husband are growing bigger and we are craving dessert after each meal. I bought some fresh strawberries the other day (nope..we are not great fans of strawberries and my kiddo is one step ahead..she doesn't like any fruits at all) with the idea of making strawberry pancakes or adding them to fruit salad with apple and bananas. I made the fruit salad with half of the strawberries and even managed to sneak a couple of them in my kiddo's lunchbox (knowing it will go anywhere but my child's mouth). I didn't want to waste them and decided to make a dessert with the remaining fruits. As I expected my husband also suggested the same and specifically he wanted me to make strawberry kesari which I have tried only once a long time back. I had the same thing in mind so I readily accepted, although my response was "OK..I don't want to waste the fruits, but you should really have control on how much sweet you are eating". Presenting the yummy, sweet and pinkalicious strawberry kesari..

Things you'll need:
Semolina (rava) - 3/4 cup
Strawberry pulp - 1/2 cup
 (You can extract the pulp by grinding the strawberries as it is or with some milk, and you could filter it if you don't want the seeds in your mouth while enjoying the kesari )
Sugar - 3/4 cup or less (You might not want the sugar to overpower the flavor of the fruit)
Ghee (clarified butter) - 5 tbsp
Cashew nuts - 1tbsp
Raisins - 1 tbsp

Yield - 4 Servings


Roast the semolina with a tsp of ghee until nice aroma from the semolina arises.  On a pan, add 3 tbsp of ghee and fry the cashew nuts and raisins until the raisins are puffed and the nuts are slightly browned. Add the water.

Bring the water to a boil and add the semolina stirring continuously to avoid lump formation. Reduce the heat to minimum, add the strawberry pulp to the the mixture and stir well until it gets absorbed well.

Add the sugar and stir. Adding sugar will make the kesari slightly watery but once the sugar gets incorporated well the consistency changes, so nothing to worry.  When the sugar gets mixed well and the kesari leaves the sides of the pan, Switch off  the stove and add the remaining ghee and stir well.

Yummy strawberry kesari is ready for you to enjoy...

Baked Mahi Mahi

I think the most universally common way to cook fish is to marinate them with desired marinade and fry them. But there are some fishes that tastes good when the are grilled or baked. One such fish is Mahi Mahi. The first time we got  Mahi Mahi, I marinaded the fish as usual and fried. But it turned hard and did not taste very good. Recently we had grilled Mahi Mahi in a taco, and it tasted so yummy. That's when I knew like Salmon Mahi Mahi has to be grilled or baked and should not be cooked for a long time. Even after all these discoveries I managed to slightly overcook the fish and it turned rubbery. So its very important to be very careful not to leave the fish in the oven or grill for too long. Now for the recipe..

Things you'll need:
Mahi Mahi - 1 lb
Olive oil - for brushing the fish
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Salt - as required
Lemon juice (optional) - few drops

Yield - 6 - 10 pieces (Depends upon the size of each piece)


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Clean and cut the fish into slices of desired size. Place them either directly on a baking sheet or on a rack placed above the baking sheet (If you prefer skin-on, place the fish flesh-side up ). Make sure to line the baking sheet with foil to collect any dripping from the fish.

Mix the chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and lemon juice. The mix should be dry. Brush each piece of the fish with olive oil, then rub them with the spice mixture.

Turn the oven to broiler setting and bake the fish for 15 mins (turning the fish in between, if required) or until the fish flakes when picked with a fork.

Serve it with few drops of lemon juice.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chicken poorna kozhukattai masala (chicken filled rice dumplings in coconut gravy)

This recipe was inspired from one of my friends' recipe she brought for a potluck. She had made a vegetarian version of  'kari kozhukattai' which is a popular dish in their native. It consists of  'kozhukattai' s soaked in mutton gravy. But for the potluck she had made a vegetarian gravy in which she had soaked the rice dumplings. It was so delicious. I was talking to my husband about the potluck and this dish which I tasted for the first time. Unfortunately there wasn't much left overs for us to take home. So my husband didn't have the chance to taste it. But his antennae started to brighten as usual on hearing about this recipe and wanted to try this out at once. But he had a different version in mind. Here's the result...Chicken poorna kozhukattai masala.
Things you'll need:
Ground chicken - 1/2 lb
Onion - 1, chopped
Tomato - 2, chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 2tsps
Curry leaves - a handful, minced
Coriander leaves - few sprigs, chopped
Green chillis - 2, minced
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp + 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp
Rice flour - 1 cup
Grated coconut (optional) - 1/4 cup
Salt - as required
To grind :
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Poppy seeds - 2 tsp (soaked in little warm water)
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Cloves - 3
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp

Yield - 12-14 pieces
Prepare the filling or 'poornam' by sauteing half of the onions, green chillis, half of the curry leaves, coriander leaves, ground chicken, and salt, in little oil. Turn off the stove when the chicken is almost done. Add the grated coconut (optional), salt to the rice flour and make a soft dough with warm water. You can even prepare the dough by stirring in the rice flour in warm water. This doesn't work for me, so I have chosen the kneading method.

Divide the dough into equal parts. Make a cup of each part and fill the chicken filling in the cup and close it so that the kozhukattais are shaped like a ball. Steam the dumplings until they are cooked. Please ensure they are not overcooked and remain soft. Don't leave them open until you have prepared the gravy as this leaves them dry and make it difficult to get soaked in the gravy.

Prepare the gravy by sauteing onions, ginger garlic paste, curry leaves and tomatoes in order, and adding chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt. Add little water to avoid the masalas sticking to the pan. Cover and cook for few minutes (Don't get alarmed by seeing the egg in the gravy, it has nothing to do with the recipe..It was for my kiddo :)). Once the gravy is cooked, add the ground coconut paste and 1/4 cup water and let it boil for couple of minutes. You could make some holes in the dumplings with a fork , but be careful not to break them.

Let it stand for few minutes so that the kozhukattai s are well soaked in the gravy. You can either have this as it is or with rice or bread of your choice.

Colocasia honey drops (seppankizhangu thaen mittai)

A dessert? with colocasia, no way...that's what I thought when my husband suggested this recipe. As I have mentioned in my previous blogs my husband always encourages me to try out new recipes. But lately he has also started inventing new ideas and substituting base recipes with different ingredients. One such invention is the Colocasia honey drops. I didn't have the confidence that it will turn out well until I tasted it myself. Trust me...your guests would never find that it is colocasia until you spill the secret out. Now to the recipe...

Things you'll need:
Colocasia - 2
all purpose flour (optional) - 1 tbsp
sugar - 3/4 cup
water - 1/2 cup
oil - for shallow frying the colocasia

Yield - 12 - 15 pieces


Pressure cook the colocasia to two or three whistles or place them in boiling water until they are soft. Peel the skin off and mash them until there are no lumps, to a soft dough-like consistency. If they are watery and sticky you might add the all purpose flour to reduce the wetness.

Shape them into discs and shallow fry in small batches in medium flame. Make sure they are brown throughout and not over burnt. Prepare the sugar syrup to one-string consistency.

Place the discs in the hot sugar syrup and wait until the discs absorb the syrup well. Transfer them into another container and once the syrup cools down, pour the remaining syrup over them. Keeping them in the hot syrup for too long might result in breaking of the discs.

Step 4:
Allow it to cool down. You can either serve them directly or by adding some coconut flakes or unsweetened coconut powder on top.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kung Pao Chicken

This is a traditional Sichuan recipe supposedly named after a governor of Sichuan province. In any Chinese restaurant this dish would be definitely in the menu. This dish is also my favorite as well as my husband's. I would not say this is an easy-to-make recipe, but since I used ready made Kung Pao sauce it didn't take me much time to prepare this dish. If you couldn't get ready made sauce you could also prepare Kung pao sauce ahead using some soy sauce, rice wine, rice vinegar, sugar, cornstarch and chilli sauce.

Things you'll need:
Chicken - 1/2 lb
Vegetables of your choice (cubed) - 2 cups (I used zucchini and baby corn)
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
corn starch - 1 tbsp
ginger - 1/2 inch piece (minced)
garlic - 2 (minced)
Spring onion - 2 (chopped)
red chillis -  3
Roasted peanuts - handful
Kung Pao sauce - 2 tbsp
egg - 1
Oil - for frying the chicken

Yield - 2 - 3 Servings


Clean and cube the chicken. Marinade the chicken with 2 tsps  soy sauce, egg, and 2 tsps corn starch. Keep aside for 10-15 mins. Heat the oil in the pan and fry the chicken pieces. Drain them and place them in a bowl lined with a tissue.

Heat some oil in a pan (you can use sesame seed oil for better taste) in medium heat, add the red chillis, when the chillis are just brown (see that the chillis are not burned). Add the ginger and garlic and the vegetables. saute the vegetables until they are almost done. Don't cover them while cooking, the vegetables should be crisp.

Add the soy sauce, Kung Pao sauce, little salt (go easy on the salt since soy sauce has salt in it), and 1/2 cup water. Stir well and add the chicken  and the peanuts. Add the corn starch and stir quickly to thicken the sauce. Garnish with spring onions.

Serve with stir fry noodles or fried rice.

This recipe can be substituted exclusively with vegetables.