Monday, April 30, 2012

Spicy Kadhai Chicken Curry with Chinese sauces and Banana peppers...Simple Rice & Chicken curry Dinner.

This quick Chinese style Kadhai Chicken curry  I cooked for dinner in March.  There were two banana peppers in the fridge that instantly reminded me of Tri Pepper chicken curry served in one of the local Chinese restaurant. Tri pepper is the combination of  Sichuan pepper corns, banana peppers and whole red chilies. This curry recipe was inspired by the restaurant served Tri pepper chicken. It took little over  half an hour to cook this curry. When I was done cooking, curry in Kadhai looked tempting  that prompted me to pick camera and take picture. It was last minute thought to note this recipe to share in the blog. Try this recipe when you seriously crave for some spicy Chinese chicken curry.
Note - Published on 3rd August.

Chicken curry rice dinner enjoyed on 15th March.

Ingredients :
  • 1 lbs - skinless-boneless chicken thighs cut into 1/2 inch small nuggets.(any other chicken portion is fine but keep it in small chunks form.)
  • 2 banana peppers - 6-7 inch long - cut into 1 inch pieces.
  • One large onion - cut half lengthwise and  finely chop rest.
  •  7-8 garlic cloves - finely minced
  • 2-3 Tb.spoon - oil
  • 1 Tb.spoon - black bean sauce
  • 1 Tb.spoon -  teriyaki sauce
  • 1 Tb.spoon - vinegar
  • 1 T.spoon - soy sauce
  • 1 Tb.spoon - Marsala wine
  • 1 T.spoon - black pepper powder
  • 1 T.spoon - red chili powder
  • 1 T.spoon - crushed dry basil  or half cup fresh chopped basil leaves.( Fresh basil is better)
  • 1 T.spoon - tapioca flour or replace with 1 T.spoon corn starch.
Method for Cooking Chinese Kadai Chicken Curry :
  1. Marinate chicken nuggets in 1 tbsp marsala wine + 1 tsp soy sauce for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in small kadhai or saute pan. Add cut banana peppers in two batches, stir fry / roast each batch on medium high heat for 2-3 minutes until pepper skin is slightly charred. Taste little banana pepper for hotness. If it is hot then I suggest you to skip adding red chili powder and reduce quantity of black pepper powder too.  Drain roasted banana peppers  on paper towel.
  3. In the same pan if required add 1 tsp oil,  stir fry onions for about 7-8 minutes until they get soft.
  4. Add finely minced garlic, saute for one minute.
  5. Add 1 tbsp black bean sauce, 1 tbsp Teriyaki sauce. Mix well.
  6. Now add marinated chicken pieces. Discard liquid created from marination. Saute over high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Sprinkle 1 tbsp vinegar, 1 tsp black pepper powder, 1 tsp red chili powder, basil. Combine well, cover saute pan with lid and allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes. Check  there is  enough liquid in the pan, if necessary add 2-3 tbsp water. Stir at regular intervals.
  8. Next add roasted banana peppers. Stir gently to combine with chicken and gravy.
  9. Add half cup water, sprinkle 1 tsp tapioca flour. (If you are using corn starch / corn flour, prepare paste by adding 1 tbsp water in 1 tsp corn starch) Stir and mix well. Check and adjust seasonings. Throw in some more fresh chopped basil leaves.  Leave it to simmer for 6-7 minutes over medium heat. Serve hot with rice or roti.

Note : This is quite flexible curry. Combination of banana peppers and chicken is the essence of this curry. It is o.k to skip few sauces. If you don't like sweetness in chicken curry then skip Teriyaki sauce because that brings mild sweetness to the dish. In absence of wine use vinegar to marinate chicken. If you are skipping one or two sauces then increase little soy sauce quantity. Taste and adjust soy sauce quantity as you cook. I didn't use salt in this curry because all these Chinese sauces have high sodium content.

Simple Dinner of Kadhai chicken curry and Rice.

Kadhai chicken Curry in chinese sauces.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Vishu Sadya - Delicious Vegetarian Malayali cuisine Feast & Recipe for Kerala Banana Halwa.

Vishu Sadya is an authentic vegetarian  feast  served on a Vishu Day in Kerala.  This year I cooked few sadhya dishes, My Vishu sadya is  not as elaborate as traditional one but  it was good enough to feel festive spirits of  Vishu. Here I am sharing  pictures of  my Vishu sadya spread.  Also sharing  recipe for Kerala Banana Halwa. It is very tasty rustic sweet, which can be prepared at home with minimal ingredients but with some extra efforts of stirring.
Published on 06/29/2012

Vishu Sadhya Menu :

Sambar with Kerala Matta Rice,
Pappadam, Curd chili,
Banana Halwa,
Cabbage Thoran, Green beans thoran,
Cherupayar parippu payasam (Moong Dal payasam).
In the side leaf plate - Mathanga errisseri (Pumpkin+Red chawli curry), pavakka/bitter melon/kaypakka pachadi.

 Kerala Vishu Sadhya spread.

Left : Mathanga Van payar Errisseri (pumpkin_red chawli curry)
 Right : Kaipakka  pachadi (deep fried bitter melon in seasoned yogurt)

Vegetarian Vishu Thali.

Recipe for Kerala Banana Halwa.

Ingredients :
  • 5 Fully ripe bananas (scroll down to check image of ripe banana)
  • 3/4 cup - crushed jaggery
  • 2-3 Tb.spoon sugar
  • 5-6 Tb.spoon - pure ghee/ clarified butter
  • 5-6 cardamom - finely powder seeds
  • 1 Tb.spoon - fine powder of pistachio - Use microplane coarse grater.
  • 7-8 Pistachio - roughly chopped and partly make thin slices for final top garnish.
Directions for  preparing Banana Halwa:
  1. Peel ripe bananas, cut into one inch thick slices.
  2. Heat medium size thick bottomed pot/saute pan. Add one tbsp ghee, slowly keep adding banana pieces. Maintain medium heat. With back of the wooden spoon press and mash all pieces. You will take 5-6 minutes to mash all banana pieces. (you can use immersion blender to puree banana. I wanted to keep it all natural so mashed with the spoon) Keep stirring, once it starts to boil add one more tbsp ghee. Now sprinkle  half the quantity of cardamom powder.
  3. Continue to stir and make sure banana pulp does not stick to the bottom. If it gets thicker and drier you can pour little ghee. After 20 minutes add crushed jaggery. Continue to stir, press all chunks of jaggery with spoon to ease jaggery melting process. Add one more tbsp ghee and continue rigorous stirring.
  4. Now add 2-3 tbsp sugar, mix well..check for sweetness and adjust sugar quantity. Add 1 tbsp ghee, chopped pistachios, remaining cardamom powder. Continue cooking and stirring for another 15 minutes. If you find it exhaustive to stir continuously then reduce heat to medium low so that you can take momentary pauses.
  5. Consistency will keep changing.  After half an hour it will start turning into thick jelly like mass. Keep going until it gets thick and stiff enough to form  layer on the plate. Texture will be quite sticky and you can improve it it by finally adding some more ghee. I used around 5 tbsp ghee during stirring process.
  6. It took me around 45 minutes of continuous attentive cooking. Shut off the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Transfer banana halwa on a  ghee greased  plane surfaced plate. I used butter knife and gave square shape, you will need to do lot of patting from different angles. Sprinkle finely powdered pistachio or you can directly scrape pistachio by holding microplane over set halwa. Also randomly sprinkle and press some thin slices of pistachio for appeal. Cover with plastic cling wrap, refrigerate for one hour before serving. Texture is going to stay sticky and smooth so carefully lift and  separate each halwa square piece with knife and pat to  bring it back to fine  square shape.
  7. It  turns more tighter in texture next day, also taste matures and gets more delicious.
Home made Kerala banana Halwa

Rightly ripe Banana for making Halwa.

Anand Banana Halwa - bigger piece with more darker brown shade.

Kelyacha Halwa

Kerala banana  Halwa

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Vishu Kani - First Auspicious Glimpse for a Happy and Prosperous new year ahead.

Today is Vishu, new year festival of Kerala which is celebrated generally on 14th or 15th April.  I started  celebrating Vishu after marriage, I love this festival and traditional ritual of setting  Vishu Kani. It is a beautiful spread of  many auspicious items, harvest produce around Lord Krishna statue/ picture. All family members watch the glimpse  of  Vishu Kani  as soon as they wake up early morning on the Vishu Day. Family members  straight walk towards Vishu Kani with closed eyes and open to witness the auspicious Vishu Kani sight. It is believed that this first divine glimpse will bring good fortune in the new year.   Viewing Vishu Kani  is a very beautiful and happy  experience. Vishu is not complete without Vishu Sadya, a delicious  vegetarian feast, I will share it  in another post.  These images of Vishu Kani are from  last year Vishu celebration.

On this very auspicious  occasion of Vishu, I wish  all my readers and visitors a very  healthy,  peaceful and prosperous new year.

 ****  Vishu Kani  ****