Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spicy Cranberry Chutney in Mustard oil - flavored with Ginger and Rosemary.

Cranberries, unique American berries are promoted as super fruit because of antioxidant properties which may help prevent urinary track infections. During thanksgiving time I had picked up  one fresh cranberry / Bounce berry  packet from grocery store, this was my first  time  to cook with fresh cranberries. I prepared  spicy cranberry chutney in mustard oil with generous use of fresh ginger and pot grown rosemary. Chutney was spicy, tangy. Fusion of mustard oil, rosemary and ginger  infused  pleasant aroma in cranberry chutney.

Ingredients :-
  • 1.5 Cup fresh Cranberries
  • Ginger - 4 inch long piece coarsely crushed (yield -3/4 cup)
  • 3-4 Garlic cloves
  • 5-6 green chilies
  • 1 Tb.spoon heaped - Fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 T.spoon heaped - Brown sugar
  • 1/2 T.spoon salt
  • 2 Tb.spoon mustard oil
Method for preparing spicy Cranberry Chutney :-
  1. Pick vibrant, plump cranberries, wash and pat dry. Cut each cranberry into half or place cranberries in a zip lock bag , gently stroke with hammer/pestle, you just need to lightly crack/pound  each cranberry. ( I suggested cutting/ pounding Cranberries to avoid popping  in the cooking process) If you want to enjoy the fun of seeing cranberries popping then  avoid cutting/pounding but  stay safe as cranberries pop/splatter while cooking.
  2. Combine green chilies, garlic, ginger and crush to a coarse mixture. Keep it aside.
  3. In a small size saute pan heat 1 tablespoon mustard oil. Add  half tablespoon Rosemary leaves - sizzle for 20 seconds. Drop cranberries,  increase  the heat to high  and stir fry for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt  and 1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar. Reduce heat to medium - cook  uncovered for about 10-12  minutes, stirring occasionally, while sauteing press cranberries with back of the spoon and bring chunky texture. Check picture below to see the texture and consistency of cranberry mixture. After it turns into  thick mass remove pan from heat and keep it aside.
  4. Heat another small saute pan with 1 tablespoon mustard oil, to that add remaining half tablespoon rosemary leaves, sizzle for 20 seconds. Quickly add crushed coarse mixture of ginger+garlic+green chilies, mix and saute by frequently stirring, until mixture emits wonderful ginger+rosemary aroma, about 4-5 minutes on medium low heat.
  5. Combine both mixtures in the first pan, saute for 2-3 minutes over low heat. Enjoy ginger infused cranberry chutney with meals or use it as spread in sandwiches also you can use this chutney in soups, curries, stir fries to bring sourness.
I used rosemary leaves without chopping but later realized that I should have finely chopped to avoid rough texture of  leaves while eating. Salt and brown sugar quantity can be increased to suit to your taste.

Stir fried cranberries in mustard oil (L) and 
sauteed ginger, garlic, green chilies and rosemary (R)

Cranberry / bounce berry Chutney with Indian twist.

Spicy Cranberry and Ginger chutney.
Cranberry Chutney in Mustard oil

Friday, November 18, 2011

Oven Broiled / Roasted Bitter Melon stir fry for a chilly autumn weather / Karela subzi.

Yesterday I cooked Bitter melon stir fry with some twist from regular cooking method. I used  two different  cooking methods, that is - use of oven  and  stove, two cooking steps and later combined results of both cooking processes. Karela subzi / bitter melon stir fry was more tastier than stove top method.  If you don't like bitter melon, do make  an effort to develop liking because bitter melon is one of the best herbal remedy for diabetic management. It contains lot of nutrients and medicinal benefits. This is healthy stir fry to enjoy during chilly autumn days.
Last two weeks we are enjoying extra warm summer like weather around Triangle  but today  (Friday 18th November) early morning temperatures dropped below 30F,  it was frosty morning, frost was formed on the lawn and ground,  it froze water from the pot saucers. Last few days  birds were frequenting those water filled pot saucers to quench their thirst.  Please scroll down to enjoy  this   simple moment of winter scenery.

Ingredients :-
  • 1.5 lb Bitter gourd (6-7 medium size bitter melon/ karela/ pavakka/ Kaipakka/ Hagalkai, Karle)
  • 1 extra large sweet onion - partly cut lengthwise and partly chop finely. (yield 2.5 cups) I used sweet onion from RealSweet  brand produced by Shuman Produce,Inc.
  • 5-6 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 4-5 Green chilies thinly slit lengthwise
  • 1 T.spoon - heaped turmeric powder
  • 1 T.spoon - vinegar (I used white wine vinegar)
  • 1 T.spoon Garam masala ( I used 1/2 tsp garam and 1/2 tsp Goda masala, use your choice of masala blend)
  • 1 Tb.spoon oil + some more to spray over bitter gourd.
  • 1 Cup - finely chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
Method of Preparing oven broiled bitter melon Stir fry
  1. Wash Bitter gourd, pat dry. Chop both ends, make one lengthwise center cut - remove all hard formed seeds, if seeds are tender then just leave it. Make 4-5 lengthwise strips in each half portion, cut 1 inch long strips. For more ease you can make one horizontal cut. You can cut into disc shape too. Thinly slit green chilies - mix with bitter melon strips.
  2. Set oven on high broil setting. Place upper rack 8-10 inches away from upper coil. Arrange  all Karela strips evenly in a single layer in the baking pan. Spray oil, sprinkle some sea salt. Toss several times to coat bitter gourd pieces with oil and salt. Position tray in the center and close oven door.
  3. Broil bitter gourd 15 to 20 minutes, turning-stirring  them  2-3 times  during broiling. I broiled until edges turned crisp but inside was still moist. You may increase broiling time If you need extra crispy Karela texture.
  4. While bitter melons are broiling in the oven, heat  1 tablespoon  oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Drop one single curry leaf, check if it sizzles with splashing noise. Carefully throw in half the quantity of curry leaves, stay back because they splash oil, allow to sizzle for 20-25 seconds and drain them on paper towel. Do this in two or three batches, depending on size of your saute pan. Curry leaves will turn bright green and crisp.
  5. In the same saute pan add chopped / sliced onions - saute on medium heat until they soften and few partially turn slight brown.I choose to use sweet onions to bring natural sweet taste. For more sweet taste sprinkle sugar or brown sugar while baking bitter melon.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon goda masala, turmeric powder, little salt. Stir and saute for one minute. Shut off the heat, allow to cool down.
  7. Take out Karela baking tray from oven, Mix onion mixture gently with baked bitter melon. First do with wooden spoon and later use fingers and coat evenly over karela pieces. Now add crisp curry leaves, mix well and return baking tray back to oven. Set oven back to low broil setting and broil for another 7-8 minutes. shut off the heat and let it sit inside the oven for another 10 minutes. Before serving with roti / rice garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. Enjoy and stay fit in winter.
Ready to get out of oven.

Karele ki subzi

Karlyachi Bhaji

Unusual warmer temperatures in November brought many new
small birds around home in search of water.
Cute eastern Bluebird
Frosty morning froze water in the pot saucer.
Pictures taken around 8 am on 11/18/11

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Kerala Delicacy - Kappa with Cilantro Fish curry.

Tapioca/Kappa and fish curry combination is a  very  popular staple dish  of Kerala and is regularly cooked   in my kitchen. Recently we are not getting good quality Tapioca, each time half the quantity is wasted due to stained and porous texture. This time I was lucky to get very fresh Tapioca from local Mexican store. I cooked kappa stir fry and fish curry. Instead of cooking fish curry in Kerala style, I cooked  Cilantro fish curry. I used less spices and packed this curry with lots of cilantro, use of coconut paste gave thick and creamy texture to the curry. This is delicious curry for cilantro lovers.

Ingredients :-
  • Surmai (Spanish mackerel / Seer Fish/ ayakura) - 10-12  small pieces. (any other fish is fine)
  • 1 medium onion - finely chopped.
  • 5-6 fresh garlic cloves
  • 1.5 inch - fresh ginger piece
  • 4-5 green chilies
  • 20-25 cilantro stalks/stems - 2 inch long
  • 2 Cups tightly packed chopped fresh cilantro leaves + 1/2 cup extra - finely chopped  for final garnish.
  • 1 Cup lightly packed fresh grated coconut or use 1/2 Cup coconut milk.
  • 1/2 T.spoon - turmeric 
  • 1 Tb.spoon oil
  • 1 Tsp corriander seeds
  • 1 Tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 1.5 inch long - bay leaf
Grind above four spices to fine powder.

Method of Preparing Cilantro Surmai Curry.
  1. Grind one cup fresh coconut with one cup chopped cilantro to fine paste by adding 1 cup water. Keep it aside. If you are using coconut milk, mix finely chopped one cup cilantro in the coconut milk.
  2. Combine Garlic, ginger, green chilies, cilantro stalks, 1 cup packed fresh chopped cilantro.( ingredients marked in Green color) Finely crush/ coarse dry paste to prepare base for Cilantro Green Masala (Hara Masala/ Hirva Masala). You may add 1-2 tablespoon water while grinding if needed. Keep it aside.
  3. Marinate  Surmai pieces with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 tablespoon above Cilantro Green Masala and very little salt.Keep it aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium size saute pan.(not bigger than 8" diameter) Add finely chopped onions, saute over medium heat for 5-6 minutes. Add powdered spices - saute for one minute.
  5. Now add crushed green masala paste, stir fry for one minute.
  6. Place all marinated surmai pieces in the pan and gently mix-coat with onion, green masala base.Sprinkle little salt. Cover the lid and allow to cook over medium low heat for 4-5 minutes. Make sure there is little moisture in the pan, you may add 1-2 tablespoon water before closing the lid.
  7. Pour in 3/4 of the coconut-cilantro paste. Mix well, Check salt level. Cover the lid and let it simmer for 7-8 minutes at medium low heat.
  8. Remove the lid, gently turn around surmai pieces. Add remaining coconut-cilantro paste, remaining half cup  extra fine chopped cilantro. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Shut off the heat and let curry sit for half an hour before serving it warm with Kappa/rice/roti.
Note : You can cook veggies, tofu, Paneer,Lentils and beans in the same Green cilantro Masala base. Check earlier blogged cilantro infused Buckwheat+moongbean+quinoa curry.

Cilantro infused Surmai fish curry

Kappa Stir fry Recipe :-

Earlier I have blogged recipe for Tapioca/Kappa curry. I have cooked this tapioca  stir fry based on  the same recipe,  only change I made is, cooked  more dry Kappa stir fry.
Recipe :- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a thick gauge pot. Sizzle mustard seeds for 20 seconds. Add  10-12 curry leaves,   1 teaspoon turmeric powder and  3-4 chopped green chilies, saute for 40 seconds. Add  one cup heaped chopped onions; saute for 5-6 minutes over  medium heat. Add 4 cups chunks (1 inch chunks) of tapioca, sprinkle salt. mix well - saute on high heat for 3-4 minutes stirring often with wooden spoon. Now add 1.5 cup water, 2 tablespoon fresh grated coconut.(For genuine Kerala flavor add 1 teaspoon coconut oil at this stage.This is optional.) Once water starts to boil, lower the heat to medium - cook covered  for 10-12 minutes. Do stir occasionally to avoid burning tapioca at bottom. Remove lid and over  medium low heat cook until all water has evaporated. Finally add 6-7 roughly chopped curry leaves, half cup fresh grated coconut. Adjust salt level.  Mix well . Put the lid back, Shut off the heat, let it sit for ten minutes. Serve warm with fish curry or enjoy tapioca stir fry  in a bowl.

Kappa/Cassava stir fry

Kappa and Meen curry