Saturday, February 28, 2015

Idimee

Idimee is a fusion dish of Malaysian/ Burmese flavours of Mee Goreng and Indian idiyappam/ sevai or string hoppers. This was brought to India by the Chettiars, a successful business community in India.

This is easy to make and is a great one dish meal.



Mee Goreng

1 cup Idiyappam (I've linked to my recipe of it, but you can now even get store bought which just needs to be steamed. If you can, do try to make it at home. Its a bit of a lengthy process but worth it).
1/2 cup Carrots, julienned
1/2 cup Beans, julienned
1/2 Onion, sliced
1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
2 Green Chillies, chopped
1 Spring Onion, green and white parts chopped separately
4-5 tbsp Soy Sauce
Cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Cook the carrots and beans until tender but still firm. Saute the onions and green chillies and stir fry until translucent and caramelised. Add the whites of the spring onions and saute. Add the cooked carrots and beans and stir fry until crispy.

Add the idiyappam and toss to mix with the vegetables. On a low heat continue to fry the veggies and idiyappam. Add the soy sauce and mix through.

Serve hot sprinkled with the greens of the spring onions and the cilantro, if using.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fried Green Tomatoes

I've heard so much about fried green tomatoes, but have never eaten them. Well, now I have. I didn't love it, it was a little too sour for me and the kids. We made a bhajji (vegetables fried in a thin batter) out of it. I did use the green tomatoes to make other stuff, like sambar, and loved that. But, no, the fried green tomatoes were not for me!


Fried Green Tomatoes

5-6 Green Tomatoes, cut into discs
Oil, for deep frying

Batter
1 cup Gram Flour
1/2 cup Rice Flour
A pinch of Asafoetida
A pinch of Salt
A pinch of Red Chilli Powder
Water, enough to make a batter.

First heat the oil in a deep pan. Make a batter with all the batter ingredients.

Dip the tomato slices in the batter until thinly coated. Slowly lower a few at a time into the hot oil. Flip after a minute, and fry until cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat until you've fried all the tomatoes.

Serve hot with ketchup or a spicy chutney.


(Shown here with Kale chips. The little brown discs are the green tomato bhajjis)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Carrot Soup

One of the many things I've done with my kids that I'm proud of is making them love soup! Every day they have a different kind of soup, and they have to have a bowl of vegetable soup before eating dinner. I blitz all my soups because my kids don't like chunky soups, but do go ahead and make it to the consistency that you desire. The other thing which I like about my soups is that they are very low calorie and low fat. Thankfully.


Carrot Soup

3 Carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small Potato, peeled and chopped
1 tsp Butter
1 tsp Sugar
Cilantro Leaves, for garnish (optional)
Pepper and Salt, to taste


Melt the butter in a pan on medium heat. Add the potatoes and carrots and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Add water (enough to submerge the veggies), cover and cook until veggies are very soft and mushy, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the stove and allow to cool in the pan. Put the soup (the veggies and the water) in a blender and blend until smooth. It should be neither too thin nor too thick. Adjust water accordingly.

Put the soup back on the stove and bring to a simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. Garnish with cilantro leaves.



Monday, February 16, 2015

Pasta with Brown Butter Sauce

Have you made brown butter? Don't think about the calories for once and go make this sauce. It's one of the best things you would've done. And you can always just smell, taste and then feed your hungry family, friends and neighbors. And let me tell you, they'll come asking when they smell that sauce.

Brown butter is exactly what it sounds like. You cook the butter down until it turns brown and caramel-ly and nutty and sweet and well...It's taking butter to a whole new level.

Well, try this recipe and you won't be sorry. It's a No Regret Move, as the consultants say.


Pasta with Brown Butter Sauce
(Recipe from Saveur)

8 oz Pasta, any kind will do. I used bucatini.
1 cup Butter (I know. It's not for the faint of heart, but trust me)
3/4 cup Pine nuts
4 Eggs
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
Salt and Freshly ground Pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta until al dente and keep aside, reserving about half a cup of the pasta water as well.

Melt the butter on low-medium heat in a large pan. Add the pine nuts and stir until they turn golden brown. Remove the nuts with a slotted spoon. Now crack the eggs 1 or 2 at a time into the pan. Keep scooping the butter over the eggs until cooked. The recipe calls for fried eggs with a runny yolk, but I'm super scared of the infections that uncooked eggs can bring in India, so I turned it over and cooked it through. (Though I can just imagine that the runny yolk mixing in with the brown butter and coating the pasta must be just amazing).

Carefully remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and keep covered, and warm.

Now add the pasta, half the pine nuts and all the reserved pasta water. Toss to combine and heat pasta. Ladle the pasta into serving bowls, top with a fried egg, a sprinkle of the remaining pine nuts and some Parmesan. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dāngar

The Chettiars are an old banking and financial community in India, and especially present in southern India. The Chettiars are considered to be among the pioneers of organized banking in the country. They are also credited with introducing the concept of double entry book-keeping. This community from the south of Tamil Nadu has left a silent signature on everything from manufacturing to banking to films. And on food. Chettiar cuisine is characterized by aromatic and spicy foods with fresh ground masalas and lots of seafood and meat, except beef and pork.

Some Chettiars are originally from Burma where they functioned as moneylenders and contributed significantly to the economic development of Burma. Hence a lot of Chettinad food has Burmese and Malay influences.

This dish is a spicy pickle/ side that tastes great with idlis and dosas. And even as a spread on toast. It is spicy, tart and sweet.


Chettinad Dangar

2 cups small Onions, chopped fine
1 cup Tomato, chopped fine
6-8 cloves Garlic, chopped fine
8-10 (or according to how spicy you'd like it) dried Red Chillies
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Tamarind extract
1 tbsp (or according to how sweet you'd like it) Jaggery
3-4 tbsp Sesame Oil
Salt, to taste

Roast the chillies without oil for 4-5 minutes. Cool and then break them into 3-4 pieces each.

Add the sesame oil to a frying pan. Add the dry roasted chillies and fry for a few minutes. Add the onions and garlic and salt and fry very well until the onions are translucent.

Now add the tomatoes and stir fry until soft. Add the chilli powder and mix well. Continue to cook on a low flame. The oil will start to separate in the pan. Now add the tamarind extract. Continue cooking on low until the smell of tamarind has gone. Now add the jaggery and stir to combine. Cook on a low flame stirring occasionally until it becomes thick. Cook on low for as long as possible for the best results.

Let cool and transfer to a sealed container. This can last up to a week or longer in the refrigerator. Or, like in my house, it can be finished in one meal!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Spicy Chicken with Cashewnuts

This is an easy riff on the traditional kung pao chicken. It's super easy to make too. 

                                (terrible photo, sorry. Didn't have time to take a good shot before serving!)

Spicy Chicken with Cashews

3/4 kilo Chicken, boneless and cut into bite sized pieces or smaller
2-3 cloves Garlic, peeled and sliced thin
2 tbsp Sesame Oil
2 tbsp Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Cornflour
1 Spring Onion, chopped
A pinch of black Pepper powder
1/4 cup Cashews

Marinade: Mix together the soy sauce, salt, sugar, cornflour and pepper. Coat the chicken with the marinade. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, heat a pan with the sesame oil. Add the garlic and saute. Then add the cashew and stir until slightly browned. Now add the chicken. Cook, stirring, for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Transfer to a bowl. Garnish with the spring onions. 

Serve hot with brown rice, or noodles. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Open-faced Ravioli

Being a big fan of open-faced sandwiches (or Smørrebrød), I had to try it with pasta too. After all, the fillings for ravioli are interesting as the pasta!

So, first off, do try to make your own pasta. Its easy, quick and tastes so much better than store bought.

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.

Roll the pasta out as thin as possible, and then cut into small squares or circles, or I guess any shape should be fine.


Now boil the pasta in salted water until al dente.




Arrange the pasta in one layer on a baking tray. Top with any ingredients that you fancy! Let your imagination go wild. Here I used four kinds:







a. Spinach and Feta Cheese
b. Caramelised Onions
c. Tomatoes and Mozzarella
d. Chicken Sausage.



You could really use whatever is on hand. This is a kitchen sink sort of dish. I've also made them later with Corn and Cheese, and Mushrooms and Cheese. Everything tastes great. Next time, pesto...

Now bake in the oven until cheese is melted, about 8 minutes. Remove and serve warm.

Its a mix between a pizza and a ravioli and a lasagna. Its really quite easy and delicious.

Enjoy. Let me know what imaginative toppings you end up using.