Monday, April 29, 2013

Appam

It had been a hectic couple of weeks for me and I didn't get much time to blog for the last many days. I had been setting up an Art Show of my student's projects at the elementary school where I teach art. It was a real back-breaking work setting all that up. But it was highly rewarding to see the beaming faces of the students and their parents.
Seeing an inactive blog, some of my friends were even asking me whether I stopped cooking altogether :-). No worries there. I had been cooking and experimenting as usual, as it is a way I unwind even on the busiest of days. But I was not getting time to sit down and type the recipe.
This recipe is  different from the one I had posted earlier, which uses powdered rice. If you live in a place where it is difficult to get the powdered rice, this is a good alternative. In fact now that I started making it, I feel that this is more like the traditional appams in which the raw, powdered rice is used.
Ingredients
Raw rice(sona masoori) – 1 cup
Cooked rice – ½ cup
Grated coconut – ½ cup
Salt to taste
Yeast – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tbs or to taste
Method
Soak the raw rice for 4-6 hours.
Grind to a smooth batter adding the cooked rice and grated coconut and enough water.
Add the yeast,sugar and salt.
Mix well and keep it covered for 3 hours or till the batter doubles in quantity
Give the batter a stir,add more water if the batter is too thick-it has to be of pouring consistency.
.Heat Appachatti or a pan and  pour 1/4 cup of batter into it and rotate the appachatti and cover and cook for about 2 minutes in medium heat. Once the middle portion is cooked, remove the cover and cook for another 30 seconds uncovered .Remove from fire and serve with stew or curry of your choice.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Healthy Elvis

Fried peanut butter, bacon and banana sandwiches, dubbed "The Elvis" after the famous singer’s penchant for the tasty concoctions, get a healthy remake in this easy recipe. Here I have ditched the bacon and replaced the PB with a more nutritious option like unsalted almond butter. Just be sure to choose one nut  spread of yours  without hydrogenated oils, added sugars, or salts.
Recipe source: Shape Magazine
Ingredients:
2 slices whole grain bread
2 tablespoons nut butter
1 banana, sliced
1 tablespoon agave nectar(Optional)
Method:
Toast bread, then spread nut butter on both slices. Layer sliced bananas in between the bread and drizzle with agave nectar.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Gothambu Payasam /Broken Wheat Payasam



Vishu is here and I am sure that any Indian celebration is incomplete without a payasam or kheer. So here is a delicious gothambu(broken wheat) payasam from my kitchen to yours. With all the best wishes for an auspicious Vishu and a bright and happy year ahead!
Ingredients:
Broken wheat - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1and1/2 cup or to taste
Thick coconut milk -1  cup
Thin coconut milk-1 cup
Milk -1 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Cashew nuts - 10 - 15
Coconut slices-2 - 3 tbsp
Raisins - 10-12
Ghee - 1 tbsp +2 Tbs
Method:
Pressure cook broken wheat with 3 cups of  water for 2-3 whistles. It should be cooked well.Open the pressure cooker when the pressure releases.
Meanwhile make a jaggery syrup using  1/2 cup water and jaggery. Strain it to remove any  impurities. Pour this is to the cooked wheat and along with 2tbs of  ghee.  Cook this while stirring for about 2 minutes or till jaggery is almost dries up. Add thin coconut milk and stir continuously and when this starts to boil add the thick coconut milk along with milk . Keep stirring and simmer till the payasam becomes thick. Now add powdered cardamom.You can add a pinch of salt to bring out the taste.
Heat 1 tbs ghee and fry cashews, coconut slices and raisins. Add this to the prepared payasam. If you find the payasam thick  once it cools , you may add some milk to get the desired consistency.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Vegetarian Thai Red Curry


Hailing from the land of coconut trees, I am in love with any cuisine that has coconuts or coconut milk in it. So, needless to say I am an avid lover of Thai cuisine. The Thai Red Curry is a perennial favorite of ours. For me a Thai meal is never complete if it doesn't have the red curry as part of it.
One of the things I like about this dish in particular is that you can make it with whichever vegetables that you have  handy, as the secret is in the gravy.
If you keep the curry paste prepared ahead of time, you can put together this in no time.
Ingredients:
1 tablespoon cilantro
1 tablespoon coriander
1/2 tablespoon cumin
20 or to taste (de-seeded) dried Thai Red Chilies
1 1/2 tablespoons galangal/ginger
1/4 cup garlic
3-4 tablespoons lemongrass
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup shallots
1 tablespoon Kaffir Lime Zest
3 tbs oil
Method:
Prepping
Soak the chili pepper in hot water for 10 minutes or until soft. You can see that the color gets brighter once when it's soft.  Skin the zest out from kaffir lime. Slice lemongrass thin to limit the fiber size. Peel garlic and shallots.

Grinding
Grind the dry spices(peppercorns, cumin and coriander) separately in a spice grinder or mortar and set aside to  add them to the curry paste later.
Squeeze the water out from the chili peppers. Put the rest of the ingredients in the mortar or grinder and make a smooth paste.The paste should be thick and not watery.Add the powdered dry spices to ground paste.
Heat Oil in a skillet.Add the paste and cook it until the oil starts to separate and the paste starts to clump together (3-5 mins).

This curry paste will stay fresh for a few weeks in the refrigerator and for a year in the freezer.
For the curry

Ingredients:
Oil – 1 tbsp
Red Curry Paste – 1-2 tbsp
Coconut cream -3/4 cup
Coconut Milk – 1 cans (14oz/400ml each)
Palm Sugar – 1/2 tbsp
Soy Sauce – 1 tbsp optional
Snow Peas – handful
Red Bell Pepper – 1/8, sliced
Green Bell Pepper – 1/4, sliced
Eggplant- 1 medium sized
Carrots – 1 thin slices
Onion – 1/4, sliced
Frozen corn-1/2 cup
Thai Basil Leaves – 4-6, torn up
Extra Firm Tofu – 14 oz block, cubed optional
Method:
Heat the oil in a thick bottom pan over medium heat ,stir in curry along with sliced onion and stir for a minute. Mix in the coconut cream.When curry paste is dissolved in coconut cream add the coconut milk ,soy sauce and sugar .Check the saltiness and add salt if needed.Add the cut veggies to this along with a green chilli if you need added heat. Add the basil leaves and cook till veggies are cooked.If you are adding Tofu add it 2 minutes before you are done with the cooking.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Thai Mango Sticky Rice(Khao Niaow Ma Muang )


Thai was my theme of the day. I made the Thai Red Curry and Sticky Rice for dinner and once I had finished making it, my eyes fell on the ripe mangoes that were there in my pantry. So I thought, why not make some Khao Niaow Ma Muang with those yummy ripe mangoes  so as to complete my Thai dinner. So here I am.
For those who haven't tried it before, the looks can be deceiving, but it really is soooo... good.
Recipe source:About.com
Ingredients:
1 cup Thai Sweet Rice (also called 'sticky rice' OR 'glutinous rice', available at Asian food stores
1-2 ripe mangoes, cut into bite-size pieces (for more on mangos, see below)
4-5 Tbsp. palm sugar Or brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 can good-quality (thick) coconut milk
1/4 tsp cornstarch
water (for boiling or steaming the rice)

Method:
Soak the rice in 1 cup water for 20-30 minutes, OR up to 4 hours.
Do not drain the rice. Simply add 3/4 cup (more) water, plus 1/4 can coconut milk, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1 tbs brown sugar. Stir this into the rice.
Bring to a gentle boil, then partially cover with a lid (leaving some room for steam to escape). Reduce heat to medium-low.
Simmer in this way for 20 minutes, or until the coconut-water has been absorbed by the rice. Turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner with the lid on tight. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.or you can pressure cook this or 8 minutes.
To make the sauce, warm (do not boil) the rest of the can of coconut milk over medium-low heat (5 minutes). Add 3 Tbsp. sugar, stirring to dissolve and 1/4 tsp cornstarch mixed in 1/4 cup water to this and cook this for another 2 mintues
Taste-test the sauce for sweetness, adding more sugar if desired. (note that it will taste less sweet when added to the rice).
To assemble, place a few 'mounds' of sticky rice in each serving bowl. Top with slices of the mango, then pour sauce over. It should look like an English pudding with custard sauce, with the mounds of rice swimming in sauce.
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