Kalonji Gobi Aloo

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Since I have completed my 50 recipes(yayyyy!!!! 😀 ), I thought I should do something exciting. So I came up with this idea, that my next 5 recipes/posts would be something that I have never tried before. It will be something ‘NEW’ and my first attempt on it.

So to begin that challenge, I came up with the simplest thing one could make. Frankly, till few weeks back, I didn’t even know what ‘Kalonji’ was! I didn’t know such a thing even exists. But I bought it for a particular recipe that will follow this post and so now I have to try and come up with recipes, that makes use of this 🙂

Having said that, though it was just an experiment, it really came out well and I am for sure making it again! Kalonji Gobi Aloo goes very well with chappatis and is a time saver. It would altogether take you less than 30 mins to make this dish. It is very simple in its preparation method. The least ingredients used, the simplest flavors from mustard oil and kalonji, it is perfect if you want to soothe your stomach and not spice it up with all the regular masalas 😉

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INGREDIENTS:

Cauliflower – 1 small sized
Potato – 2 medium sized
Kalonji/Nigella seeds – 1 tsp
Green chilli – 5-6 nos
Mustard oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. over 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Heat oil in a pan. If using mustard oil, you should ensure that the oil is heated properly(you should be able to see fumes coming slightly). To this, add nigella/kalonji seeds.
2. Once the kalonji seeds pop, add slit green chilli, diced potato and half the salt. Pour some water(apprx. 1/4 cup) and cook covered in medium flame.
3. Meanwhile, cut cauliflower into medium sized florets(almost same size of the diced potato). Wash them and put into the pan.
4. Add the remaining salt and give a good mix. Cook covered till potato and cauliflower is done. The cauliflower shouldn’t be mushy. It should be soft and yet slightly firm. Since you cover and cook, the potato will also be cooked properly.
5. If there is water in the pan even after the vegetables cook, put the flame to high and sauté for couple of minutes to make it dry.

Serve with chappati/roti(Indian bread).

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Kallummakkaya varuthadu/Mussel Fry

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As I had mentioned in my Kallummakkaya mulagu aracha recipe, mussel is not one of most common seafood item you would find in Kerala homes. It is one of those special things that you make very few times in life 😛 So you would want it to taste good when you make it so rarely. When I bought Mussel, I split half portion of it for making Kallummakkaya mulagu arachadu and half the portion I used for making this Mussel fry. I felt when you finally make up your mind for putting that much effort in its cleaning and preparation process, you might as well want to try couple of different dishes out of it 🙂

Mussel fry has been one of my favourites and I have always preferred it over mussel masala. Ya right, the less healthier it is, the more tastier it gets 😉 But to make you feel better, this dish is not deep fried and so it is not junk as such 🙂 It goes very well with rice, moru kachiyadu and bhindi fry/carrot thoran.

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INGREDIENTS:

Mussel/Kallumakkaya – 10 nos
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Oil – 2 tbsp
Curry leaves(optional) – 1 strand
Chopped onion(optional) – 1 tbsp

To grind:-
Shallots – 6-7 nos
Garlic – 2 pods
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Black peppercorns – 1/2 tsp
Vinegar – 2 tsp

METHOD:

1. Clean and wash the mussels. (To clean the mussels, you have to remove the sand and the fibre type beard from the mussel. Then wash them well.)
2. In a blender, put all the ingredients mentioned under ‘To grind’ section and make into a fine paste.
3. Take the mussel and marinate it with the ground paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix it well so the spices are applied evenly on the mussels.
4. Marinate for 1-2 hours.
5. Heat oil in pan and shallow fry the Mussels in medium flame. Once the mussels are 75% cooked, you can add the curry leaves and chopped onions if you like(I didn’t put it in mine, but I always add these for prawns/shrimp fry. It adds a very different and good flavor to you mussel fry). The mussels are done once they look little firm. They are little chewy in nature.

Bhindi/Okra Fry

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Bhindi/Okra/Vendakka is one of my favourite vegetables. I like most of the dishes made of bhindi provided it is not slimy. Of all, bhindi fry is the best! I like to have bhindi fry pretty much with anything mainly poori, chappati or even rice. Mom used to prepare this dish quite often. But it took me some trials to get the recipe perfect. And the secret is nothing but the coriander powder. My mom always uses her own coriander powder for all her cooking. Until I knew that and started using this coriander powder, I would always get disappointed after making this dish coz it would be nowhere close to my mom’s bhindi fry! Well, ever since, I have got perfect and delicious bhindi fry 😉

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INGREDIENTS:

Okra/Bhindi/Lady’s finger – 1 lb or 1/2 kg
Garlic – 4-5 pods
Onion – 1/2 of a medium sized one
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Garam masala – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder(click for recipe) – 1/2 tsp
Yogurt/Curd – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1/2 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Heat oil in a pan and sauté crushed/minced garlic till it turns light brown.
2. Add chopped onion, sliced okra, turmeric powder, chilli powder, garam masala, coriander powder and salt. Mix well (It deosn’t matter that you are adding it all together, because it tastes really good at the end. Isn’t it easy 🙂 )
3. Saute occasionally and let it cook in medium flame. Add yogurt and mix well. Once the okra cooks well, slightly increase the flame(medium high) and suate frequently. This is if you want the okra fry to be crunchy.
4. When it really cooks well and turns little crispy/crunchy, remove from heat.

Note: One thing I do not like about most okra dishes that you buy from outside is that it is usually very slimy. Two tips that can help you get rid of this texture of okra/bhindi. 1. Once you wash the okra/lady’s finger, pat them dry using a cloth or kitchen towel. Before you slice/chop them, dry them well. 2. Adding yogurt/tamarind water can help getting rid of this texture of okra.

Mushroom fry

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Am back with yet another mushroom recipe. When I posted my Mushroom Shrimp Stir fry recipe, I had couple of my vegetarian friends tell me that I should post something interesting with mushroom but it should be purely ‘Veg’. So I thought, I would post the original recipe from which I borrowed the idea for ‘Mushroom Shrimp Stir fry’.

This recipe is my mom’s original version 🙂 Coconut oil, freshly ground black pepper, coriander powder and curry leaves is what gives this dish its flavor. Again, the simplicity of this dish makes it unique. And the coconut oil gives it that ‘naadan’ touch(what I call ‘Taste of Kerala’) 🙂 Some might think that non-keralites wouldn’t like this dish because of the use of coconut oil here. I had that notion too. But I served this dish to my friends who don’t come from Kerala and are not used to coconut oil in their cooking and they absolutely loved it 🙂

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INGREDIENTS:

Mushroom – 20 nos.
Shallots – 7-8 nos.
Garlic(minced) – 2 tsp ( 4-5 pods)
Onion – ¼ of a medium sized one
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
Ground black pepper – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. ½ tsp)

METHOD:

1. Finely chop washed mushrooms. To this add chopped shallots, chopped onion, curry leaves, red chilli powder, ground black pepper, coriander powder and salt. Give it a good mix and let it marinate for 15 mins.
2. In a pan, heat coconut oil. To this, add minced garlic and sauté till it becomes light brown.
3. To this add the marinated mushroom.
4. Fry this in medium heat till mushrooms cook well. Saute occasionally. It takes about 15-20 mins for the mushrooms and onions to loose its moisture and become nice and crispy.
Note: The coriander powder I used is home made. The store bought ones don’t taste as good. So to get the best results of this recipe, please use this simple home made coriander powder.

Serve with rice or chappati.

Carrot thoran(Stir fry)

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Any meal in Kerala is incomplete without a vegetable stir fry. There are 2 most popular types of these stir fries. It could be ‘Thoran’, which is basically veggie seasoned with a coconut ground mixture. The other is called ‘Mizhukkupurattiyathu’/’Mizhukkuparatti’. This is a more simple style of preparation which doesn’t use any kind of spices. I will post the recipe of one of those in the coming days.

Here I have made carrot thoran. One of the easiest and fastest recipes. Thoran is usually made with vegetables like carrot, beans, long beans, cabbage, okra, beetroot etc. Now that is also because these are mostly the vegetables that are commonly available in Kerala/India. There are very slight variations when using different vegetables. For instance, beet and carrot is grated and the other vegetables are chopped finely. Similarly, when using cabbage, you also put ginger and turmeric powder. Anyway, after coming here, I have made thoran using grated broccoli and asparagus too. They also taste equally good 🙂

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INGREDIENTS:

Carrot – 2 nos.
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. ¼ tsp)

To grind:-
Grated coconut – 1/3 cup
Shallots – 5 nos
Garlic – 2 medium pods
Green chilli – 2 nos
Curry leaves – 8-10 leaves
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp

METHOD:

1. Grate carrot and keep aside. In a pan, heat coconut oil and add mustard seeds. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add grated carrot to it.
2. Sprinkle some water on the carrot. Also add salt at this time. Cover and cook till carrot is soft.
3. Meanwhile, grind all the ingredients in the ‘To grind’ section in a mixie/blender using very little water(about 1 tbsp). The ground mixture should be mostly dry and not watery.
4. Once carrot becomes slightly soft, add the ground mixture to it and mix well.
5. Allow it to cook for another 5 mins and remove from stove.

Serve with rice and sambar or moru 🙂

Kallumakkaya Mulagu Arachadu(Mussel masala)

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Mussel is not one of the most common seafood one would make at home. It has its share of complication in terms of cleaning, availability etc. However, it is one of those things like crab that if you get it ready made, you would definitely not want to miss it 🙂 I am not sure how much mussel is popular in other parts of India or even the world. But I know in Kerala, being a seafood lovers hub, mussel is appreciated by most people. And coming to US, I have found Kiwi Mussel in Ranch 99 market. So I am guessing, it is may be used in most part of China too 😛

So when I first spotted mussel in the Ranch market, I had no clue if I should buy it ‘coz I knew the difficulty in cleaning this thing and I didn’t have any particular recipe in mind. That day I decided not to buy it. However, the very next week, I found myself craving for it. I know I used to like the fried version of mussel better, but I vaguely remembered my dad and brother liking the ‘mulagu aracha’ version of it. So I made both version. You can find Mussel fry recipe here.

Mulagu arachadu means, a curry primarily made of ground red chilli. This is no fancy dish. The beauty and taste of this dish is the simplicity of its preparation style. This is probably one of those items where you can just relish the goodness of a seafood by not altering/replacing the actual flavor it offers by the strong flavors of other spices.

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INGREDIENTS:

Kallumakkaya/Mussel – 10 nos
Shallots – 5 nos
Garlic – 1 pod
Onion – 1/2 of a medium sized
Ginger – 3/4 inch piece
Tomato – 1 no. small sized
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Oil(Coconut oil recommended) – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Curry leaves – 4-5 leaves
Coriander leaves – 1 strand

METHOD:

1. Clean the mussels by removing the mud in it. Wash thoroughly and keep aside.
2. In a mixie/blender, grind shallots, red chilli powder and garlic into a fine paste.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Put sliced onion, ginger juliennes and curry leaves into it. Add salt at this point.
4. Once the onions turn pink, add the ground masala. Saute till the masala is cooked well.
5. Add sliced tomatoes and sauté till tomatoes are cooked.
6. To this add washed mussels and cook in low-medium flame.
7. Saute occasionally. Add little water and cook covered till mussels cook through.
8. You will know when the mussels are cooked when it becomes very soft and you can tear the center portion easily. Mussels are a little chewy even when cooked well.
9. Garnish with some chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with rice and stir fries 🙂

Mushroom Shrimp Stir Fry

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To all the shrimp lovers, this is the easiest recipe for making a delicious shrimp dish. The flavor comes fresh from mushrooms and freshly ground black pepper. Usually I make shrimp with lot of other spices, but the simplicity of this dish is what gives it a very unique flavor.

I was doubtful of how much DD would appreciate this dish. But I know he loves a peppery touch to the dishes. I served him this new dish with some fried rice. Usually when I make new stuff, I ask him to rate the dish so I know how good or bad it is :-P. I must add here, that he is very stingy in giving rating, especially when it comes to my cooking :-(. And he claims that the reason behind it is so that I would be motivated to do better each time. Well, having said that, I was pleasantly surprised when he gave me one of his highest rating for this new dish 😀

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INGREDIENTS:

Shrimp – 15 nos
Mushroom – 1.5 cups
(I used Enoki mushrooms. But you could use white mushrooms if the former is not found. Its easy to find enoki mushrooms in Ranch market or any Asian market)
Onion – 1/2 of a small sized one
Garlic – 3-4 pods
Curry leaves – 4-5 leaves
Black Pepper – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste(apprx 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Clean the mushroom and shrimp and keep aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a pan. Add chopped garlic and curry leaves and saute till garlic turns light brown.
3. Add chopped onion and salt. Fry till it turns light pink. Add turmeric powder and half the ground black pepper. Saute for 30 secs.
4. To this add mushroom. Saute till mushroom is 75% cooked.
Note: Since I have used enoki mushrooms, I put the whole mushroom. But if you use white mushrooms, then slice them into small pieces.
5. Now add shrimp. Saute occasionally till shrimp is cooked through.
Note: The shrimp that we get here in the US doesn’t take too long to cook. It takes just 2-3 mins. But if the shrimp takes longer to cook than mushroom or they take almost same time, put them to the pan together. The thing to be noted is that both should cook well together.
6. Once mushroom and shrimp are cooked through, take it from heat and add the remaining ground black pepper and stir lightly.

Serve hot with any indo-chinese noodle/rice varieties or as a side condiment with any regular meal.