Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beans Stir Fry

I am happy..I wanted to witness snow fall...I saw snow fall... I wanted to ogle at snow coved roofs....I ogled at the snow covered roofs....I wanted to take pictures of snow falling on my open arms ... I took pictures....I wanted the snow stuck on the road to melt away....rain poured and washed all the snow away....
I am happy...

One of my childhood fantasies about snow has finally closed its curtain. It is time to move on to my next wish list, yes I really do want to see a shooting star someday.... Sometimes I stare at the sky to try my luck, but ends up calling some weird moving stars as alien ship, creates a whole new story around it in my head (a tiny side effect of watching X-files back to back) and retreats.

I think someday while standing on a street, I will have an instinct to look at the sky...but oh no there is a twist.... my silky looong hair (totally bollywood) is blocking my eyes...wind is blowing strongly unsympathetically at me... but the determined me...against all odds...slowly pulls back silky long hair and witness the wonder......Blink !!! Blink !!! Blink !!!

So what is the connection  with all this and beans stir fry ?

Absolutely no connection...I just love to blabber silly and completely nonsense stuffs...I read somewhere that genius minds think like this and suddenly make all the connections... and yells E.u.r.e.k.a !!!!

Let me move on to this simple yet delicious dish, that taste absolutely  great with rice and some yoghurt....

Recipe :
  1. Beans                -  2 cups ,washed, trim the ends and then cut into small (like pic above) 
  2. Garlic                -   3 pods crushed and chopped finely
  3. Onions               -  1/2 large , diced finely
  4. Chillies               -  2-3, slit lengthwise.
  5. Turmeric powder -  1/4 tsp
  6. Mastard seeds     -  a pinch
  7. Cumin seeds       -  a pinch
  8. Oil 
  9. Salt

  1. Heat some oil in a pan, splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  2. When spluttering is over add garlic.
  3. When the aroma of garlic is released, add onions and green chillies.
  4. Saute till onions go slightly transparent.
  5. Add turmeric powder and saute till the raw smell of turmeric goes.
  6. Add the beans with little salt.
  7. Lower the heat, cover the pan and let the beans cook, sauteing it now and then.
  8. Take off from heat once the beans are cooked to your preference.
  9. Check for salt and adjust.

I like to cook till the beans are completely soft and the onions resembles a dark brownish color.

Do you think looking at the above picture, these beans have gone to heaven...? 
It is in the middle of nowhere...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Snack Time....Bread with Potato filling

Being stuck at home due to snowfall was not something I was looking forward for this long weekend.... Winter’s first snowfall started and everything is sort of dead here including my classes and transportation...

This is my first snowy winter and all the excitement and the jumping watching the snow fall is loong gone...Now I can't wait for the winter to get over...For the moment I am waiting for the roads to clear up...

I know this is not a traditional thanksgiving item, but for me this is one of my comfort snacks. I make this quite often and finish it fast with ketchup...Whaaat Ketchup? Yep ketchup used to be a weakness for me. But I have it under control now. These days I like appreciating the actual flavor of the dish rather than enjoying ketchup...

The filling I used here is pretty straightforward...But the combination of toasted bread and this filling is what that makes this an awesome snack

  1. Bread                 -  few slices (7 - 9)
  2. Potato                -  1 large (used Russet)
  3. Onion                 -  1/2 large chopped finely
  4. Green chilies        -  2 chopped finely
  5. Turmeric powder  -  1/4 tsp
  6. Cumin seeds        -  1 pinch
  7. Mustard seeds      -  1 pinch
  8. Oil
  9. Salt
  10. Pepper powder     - 1 pinch (optional)
  11. Butter                 - enough to toast the bread

  1. Cook the potato with skin in a pot of water. I used the microwave setting for cooking the potato..Its pretty fast but if cooked for long you will end up with a withered potato...(right pic above)
  2. In the meantime heat some oil, splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds..
  3. When the spluttering is over add the chopped chilies and onions...
  4. Saute till the onions are transparent and oil starts to appear...
  5. Now add the turmeric powder and saute till the raw smell of the powder goes...
  6. Peel the skin of the cooked potato and cut into small cubes and add to the onion mix...
  7. Mix everything together, slightly mashing the potatoes..Add pepper powder...
  8. Switch off the heat and let it cool. Filling is ready

  1. Take a bread slice. Slightly moisten one side by dipping it in water. Too much much will tear it, make sure to dip just enough.
  2. Press the bread slice with both hands and squeeze it.
  3. Place a spoonful of the filling at the center, and seal the edges by slightly moistening the ends...
  4. Spread butter on both sides. 
  5. Continue the process with all the bread slices..
  6. Heat a pan, and toast the bread on both sides, till it is slightly brown...
  7. Serve hot and enjoy...:)

Happy Thanksgiving...:)...Have an exciting and awesome vacation....:)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Kerala Porotta - A Quest

This post has been in my draft for quite a while now.... may be I feel this is a work in progress kind of thing...Well mostly because I want to try out with few more recipes…

I once bought a packet of frozen parottas, but by the time I thawed it, the whole thing was completely soaked in oil... which is something I dislike.....and thus ended my interest in buying frozen parottas here

I read so many recipes and by the time I started making, these are the list of ingredients that popped into my head....
The proportions of liquid contents and dry contents can be adjusted to become a smooth and moist dough. So here goes my attempt with these ingredients. 

    Ingredients I used
    ---------------------- adapted from : here
    1. All purpose flour   -  2 cups
    2. Wheat flour         -  1/4 cup
    3. Egg                    -  1 large
    4. Milk                    -  1/2 cup
    5. Sugar                 -  1 tsp
    6. Baking powder     -  a pinch
    7. Oil 
    8. Salt
    1. Whisk the egg and milk, add the rest of the ingredients except oil and wheat flour.
    2. Slowly add little bit of wheat flour till whole mix becomes a big ball.
    3. Now add oil little by little and knead the dough till it become a soft and non sticky dough.(5 min)
    4. Cover the dough with a wet cloth and let it rest on a kitchen counter for 1 hour
    5. After 1 hour, knead the dough again for 5 more min.
    6. Divide the dough into small balls of equal sizes
    7. Grease the work area with some oil.
    8. Dip the ball in some oil and start flattening it...(fig. 1)
    9. Flatten it as thin as should look transparent, even if it tears its fine...but make sure it is flattened like a thin film (fig.2)
    10. Coat the entire flattened surface with oil.(fig. 3)
    11. Slowly lift about 1/3rd of one end, stretch it a bit and fold it in a zigzag manner.(fig. 4)
    12. Continue like this. Lift, stretch and fold....(fig. 5)
    13. Here the oil and the folding help to create layers...
    14. Stretch from both ends (fig. 6) and fold it into a round shape where the   end get tucked into the center.(fig. 7)
    15. Place this under a wet cloth.Repeat the process with each of the small balls.
    16. Heat a flat pan on medium heat.
    17. Roll out each to a round disk of medium thickness.
    18. Use only oil to help the rolling process.
    19. Cook each parotta with little oil, turning and pressing it frequently, until it is cooked and resembles like the picture below.
    20. Keep the cooked porotta in air tight container or casserole. This will help softening the parottas more...
    21. Continue the process with all 
    22. Take 3-4 cooked parottas and smack them with both hands on all sides. This helps to separate the layers.
    Enjoy the parottas with this Spicy Chicken curry

My verdict : Even though I used oil as less as possible, this came out really soft. This tasted like the parottas I used to eat at home...I will mark this attempt as a success....

Next time I might drop few of the ingredients and try this again...:)
To be continued.......

Monday, November 1, 2010

Butter Chicken / Murgh Makhani

In one of the episodes of Gordon Ramsey's Great Escape to India, he orders butter chicken and this food writer explains to him about its origin and how this dish is made very differently in the west...

But my favorite quote is when Ramsey tastes his first bite and exclaims 'Bloody Hell!!! '.
And as for me the highlight of this weekend was this decadent dish and after eating this I almost blurt out 'Bloody Hell !!!"...

If you are looking for the authentic version this may not be the right place. But someday I would like to taste this dish from the place this was originated and check how close am I …

After trying out recipes from various sources and going through several variations...I have now settled with this ingredients and method.

I used fresh tomatoes and to make it a bit healthier I added yoghurt instead of cream.
Adding Kastoori methi/ dried fenugreek leaves (left pic) makes a huge impact to the curry...
Sources: (1) : Soma @ ecurry
  1. Chicken               -  1 lb boneless cut into small cubes
  2. Chili powder         -  1 tsp
  3. Tandoori Masala   -  1 tsp
  4. Turmeric powder  -  1/4 tsp
  5. Ginger                -  1 tsp
  6. Garlic                 -  1 tsp
  7. Lemon juice        -  1/2 lemon
  8. Yoghurt              -  1/4 cup
  9. Salt
Mix the chicken pieces with the ingredients listed. Marinate and refrigerate for 2 hrs.

Makhani Sauce:
  1. Cinnamon stick              -  2 cm
  2. Cardamom pod             -  3 slited and crushed slightly
  3. Bay leaves                    -  3
  4. Cloves                          -  3
  5. Ginger                          -  1 tbsp crushed
  6. Garlic                            -  1 tbsp crushed
  7. Chili powder                   -  1 tbsp
  8. Tomato                         -  7 medium sized, cut into small pieces
  9. Salt          
  10. Honey                            - 1 tbsp 
  11. Yoghurt                         -  1/2 cup
  12. Kastoori Methi                -  2 tsp
  13. Butter
  14. Oil

  1. Heat oil in a sauce pan. Add bay leaf and cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
  2. When the aroma of spices comes out add the crushed ginger and garlic and saute till it turns slightly brown
  3. Remove the pan from heat source and add the chili powder into the oil. Within seconds the chili powder will turn to a darker shade. Add the cut tomatoes along with 1 cup of water and salt and place the pan back to heat source. This should be done quickly or else chili powder will get burned.
  4. Close the lid and let the tomatoes cook slowly on low-med heat. Stirring once a while.
  5. Once the tomatoes are cooked. Open the lid, increase the heat and let all the water content evaporates.  The consistency will come to a thick liquid. Makhani sauce is ready.
  6. Switch off the heat and let it cool.

  1. Heat some oil and butter in a frying pan enough to shallow fry the chicken pieces.
  2. Shallow fry the chicken pieces when the oil is hot.
  3. Remove the chicken pieces when they are cooked through.
  4. Switch of the heat source. 
  5. Into this oil-butter (add bit more butter / oil if necessary) , add the prepared makhani sauce and stir. Little water can be added.
  6. Whisk the yoghurt and add to the makhani sauce and stir. Sauce should be at a very low temperature so that yoghurt won't get curdled.
  7. Once the yoghurt is mixed well into the sauce. Switch on the heat and stir.
  8. Add the fried chicken pieces and mix everything.
  9. Add honey and kastoori methi. Stir check for salt add if necessary.
  10. If it tastes very sour, add bit more honey.
  11. Switch off the heat.
  12. Serve hot and enjoy...:)