Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pumpkin & Raw Banana Curry in coconut gravy - Kerala Style

Kerala style curries make a very rich addition to routine meals, they are simple yet very flavorful. This curry is prepared with combination of pumpkin and raw banana by adding minimal spices and fresh coconut paste...all together it blends into Great tasting vegetarian curry.

  • 2 Cups - Raw Banana or Plantain - Peel the skin and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • 2 Cups - Pumpkin - Peel the skin and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • 12-15 pearl onions ( You can replace with one medium size chopped onion)
  • 1/2 grated coconut - yield 1 Cup - tightly pressed.
  • 1 Tb.spoon - corriander seeds
  • 1 T.spoon - cumin seeds
  • 1 T.spoon - mustard seeds
  • 1/2 T.spoon - Turmeric powder
  • 4-5 dry red chilies - ( I used byadagi chilies)
  • 12-15 curry leaves
  • 1 Tb.spoon cooking oil
  • 1 T.spoon coconut oil (optional)

Preparing Coconut+Spice paste for Gravy:-

Combine fresh grated coconut + red chilies + corriander seeds + jeera in a blender jar with 1 1/2 Cup warm water and grind to fine paste.

Method of preparing Curry :-
  1. Heat 1 tbspoon oil in a heavy gauge pot. Add the mustard seeds ,when seeds begin to sizzle and pop - add 7-8 curry leaves - pause for 15-20 seconds - add 1 tb.spoon fresh grated coconut..saute until it turns brown and aromatic. Now add pearl onions and saute for 2 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Add diced raw banana with one cup water and let it simmer on medium high heat for 6-7 minutes until they are partially cooked and water is almost evaporated. Stir frequently.
  3. Now add pumpkin pieces, salt and turmeric powder.Combine with raw banana, add one cup water and let it simmer for another 5-6 minutes.
  4. Stir in half quantity of coconut+spice paste, Mix well.. cover with lid and let it cook for 3-4 minutes on medium low heat. Make sure there is enough gravy in pot, adjust water accordingly.
  5. Add remaining curry leaves and coconut+spice paste, combine and cover with lid - Adjust seasoning and gravy consistency by adding little water. Simmer it for 5-6 minutes on medium heat. Stir gently few times.
  6. Finally drizzle one tspoon coconut oil - reduce heat to low and keep it warm until serving. Enjoy with rice and roti.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peeled Green wheat+Chana Dal+ Brown Rice Payasam with jaggery for Vishu

This year for Vishu celebration I missed setting Vishu Kanni . I am marking this auspicious day with Payasam recipe based on Chakkari Pongal.I found a packet of Peeled Green wheat in one of our local convenience store...It is wheat without skin...I added Chana Dal , Brown rice and made this fusion Payasam/ Kheer. Freshly made Ghee from unsalted butter gave nice aroma and taste.

Ingredients :-
  • 1/2 cup peeled green wheat ( regular wheat can be used too) - soaked in water
  • 1/2 cup Chana dal - soaked in water
  • 1/2 Cup brown rice - soaked in water
  • 1 Cup grated jaggery
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh coconut
  • 10-12 Cardamom - finely powdered ( keep 2 whole cardamom aside)
  • 3 Tb.spoon raisins - fried in ghee till well puffed and turned golden brown.
  • 20-25 Cashews - fried in ghee till golden brown.
  • 7-9 Cups water.
  • 5 Tb.spoon Ghee ( clarified butter)
Soaked wheat , Chana Dal , Brown rice

Cashews & Raisins fried in Ghee

Preparations before Cooking Kheer :-
  1. Mix wheat,chana dal and brown rice in big bowl and thoroughly rinse under water till water stands clear. Soak for 6-8 hours.
  2. Take small pan and heat 1 tbspoon ghee - Add golden raisins and fry them till they nicely puff and get golden brown shade.
  3. Discard remaining ghee from pan by wiping with paper towel. Add fresh 1 tbspoon ghee, moderately heat and fry cashew nuts till they turn golden brown.
  4. Also you will need to wash pressure cooker thoroughly with metal scrubber to eliminate smell of earlier cooking.
Method of cooking Payasam/Kheer :-
  1. Take minimum 4 Quart size pressure cooker. Heat 1 tbspoon ghee. Add two whole cardamom and let them sizzle for 10-15 seconds. Add 1 tbspoon grated coconut and fry for 30 seconds.Put soaked wheat ,chana dal and rice - Stir for 2 minutes on high heat. Add 6 Cups water and wait till it starts boiling.
  2. Add grated jaggery and brown sugar. Stir well till jaggery+sugar melts. Add half quantity of powdered cardamom.
  3. Cover the lid and allow two whistles. Quickly reduce heat to low and let it stand for 5-8 minutes..It is fine if cooker blows one more whistle.Shut off the gas and wait till pressure cooker releases all built up pressure.
  4. You will find that almost all water has been absorbed and wheat , chana dal is tender and plump. Add remaining cardamom powder, fried cashews and raisins, grated coconut. Mix well.
  5. Add 2 more cups of water , Mix well and let it simmer on medium heat for 8-10 minutes. As per your consistency requirement add one more cup water.
  6. Lastly add 2 tbspoon ghee. Mix well . Take hand blender and quickly give 10-15 seconds of swirl in one side of cooker. This will balance consistency of Kheer. Let it simmer for another 5-6 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature drizzled with melted ghee.
Pressure cooked Wheat,Dal and rice

Fresh Clarified butter / Ghee made with Unsalted butter

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Coarse Textured - Spicy Palak Paneer.

Palak Paneer is traditional Indian dish, popularly relished in Indian parties and restaurants. Today I cooked it slightly different by maintaining partly coarse texture..generally this dish is very mild but I spiced it up by adding few spices and made it hot with green chilies.

Ingredients :-
  • Fresh Spinach - 1o oz packet (284 gm) or one bunch of spinach.
  • Paneer - 12 oz. (340 gm )- griddle roast - cut into half inch cubes. ( 20-25 cubes of paneer)
  • 1 extra large onion - finely chopped
  • 3-4 fresh garlic cloves - finely crushed
  • Ginger 1 inch piece - finely crushed
  • 4-5 Green chilies - finely chopped
  • 2 Tb.spoon cooking oil
  • 1 Tb.spoon melted Ghee
Spice Blend for Palak Paneer
  • Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece
  • bay leaf - 1 inch long
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/2 T.spoon Shahijeera
Combine all spices and make fine powder.

Advance Preparations :-
  1. Clean and rinse spinach leaves thoroughly in water and divide it in two parts. You can use either 10 oz packed fresh spinach or a fresh bunch of spinach.
  2. Take half the quantity of leaves and boil in salted water in microwave for 4-5 minutes. Drain the water and puree with hand blender. Keep it aside.
  3. Remaining Spinach finely chop in the food processor. Keep it aside.
  4. Cut Paneer block into 1/2 inch thick slab and fry it on griddle by maintaining very low temperature until it turns golden brown on both sides. Cut the slab into 1/2 inch cubes OR you can first cut cubes and later fry them on griddle. Cover fried pieces with moist paper towel and keep it aside.
  5. In a small jar of blender mix ginger,garlic and green chilies - Finely crush and keep it aside.
Method of Cooking Palak Paneer :-
  1. Place a heavy bottom pan and heat 2 tbspoon oil. Add chopped onions and saute until they turn soft, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the crushed ginger-garlic-green chili mixture and saute for one minute.Now mix the powdered spice blend and saute for one minute on medium heat.
  3. Add griddle roasted paneer cubes , little salt - Gently stir and mix with onions and spices.Add chopped spinach and combine all well, add little more salt and let it cook on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes. If you find it too dry then sprinkle little water.Keep stirring at regular interval.
  4. Lastly add pureed spinach and mix well. Decrease heat to low , cover with lid. Shut off heat after 2-3 minutes.Finally drizzle melted ghee. Enjoy this deep green colored,coarse textured spicy palak paneer with roti and rice or as a sandwich/wrap spread.
Note :- You can also use frozen chopped spinach for this recipe. You can skip first three steps from advance preparation. At step 3 of cooking process - before adding paneer cubes, add frozen spinach and let it cook for 3-4 minutes. Place immersion blender directly into the pot and partly puree spinach. Don't swirl blender all around pot. This way you can balance coarse and pureed texture. After this step add paneer cubes and let it cook for 4-5 minutes on low heat.
When you want to cook Palak Paneer for big crowd - Use fresh spinach and frozen chopped spinach (50:50) ratio.