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 🙂

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Shrimp Quesadilla

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I love Mexican fast food. But for some reason, I don’t buy quesadilla a lot. It could be the abundance of cheese in it that makes me avoid it. One day I happened to buy quesadilla from our cafeteria. They served chicken quesadilla with sour cream and salsa. That day I absolutely loved the quesadilla and I enjoyed it more coz of the tangy salsa that was served along. I thought to myself that I should try making this at home one day. Usually you see a lot of cheese quesadilla or chicken quesadilla. I thought that when I am trying something, let it be ‘not so usual’ afterall 🙂

So I decided to try making Shrimp Quesadilla. The day I decided to make this, I went all out in buying everything that would go well with it. The grocery list was huge 😛 (chips, soda, sour cream and everything required to make salsa, guacamole etc etc 🙂 ). DD pointed it out to me that buying a quesadilla from a restaurant would have worked out cheaper 😛 LOL! All I can say is that all the effort and money that went into making it was definitely worth it!!

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INGREDIENTS:

Tortilla – 4 large sized
Shrimp – 20 nos
Onion – 1 nos small sized
Garlic – 5-6 pods
Green bell pepper – 1/2 of a small sized one
Red bell pepper – 1/2 of a small sized one
Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Cream cheese – 1.5 tbsp
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese – 1/4 cup
Coriander leaves – 2 or 3 strands
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Mince shrimp in a food processor/grinder.
2. Heat oil in a pan and put finely chopped garlic. When the garlic turns light brown, add chopped onion and salt.
3. Cook till onion turns light pink. To this add pepper powder and cumin powder. Saute for few seconds.
4. Add finely chopped bell peppers. Cook till the bell pepper is little soft.
5. Add minced shrimp and sauté till the shrimp cooks through. It wouldn’t take much long to cook.
6. To this add cream cheese and mix well. Saute for 3-4 mins. Garnish with chopped coriander/cilantro leaves.
7. To make the quesadilla, take tortilla and layer the tortilla with the filling. Spread the filling evenly. Top it with some cheese.
8. You could either spread the filling in half the tortilla and fold in the other half. Or alternatively, place filling in one tortilla and place another tortilla on top of the other and press it together.
9. Once ready, heat a pan and toast the quesadilla till it becomes slightly crispy and brown on both sides. Alternatively, you could bake it in the oven at 375 deg F for 10 mins .

Serve warm Shrimp Quesadilla with sour cream, Guacamole and freshly made salsa.

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.

Fish Curry(Kerala/Kottayam style)

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Being a coastal state, fish is an integral part of the meal in most Kerala homes. I have always liked fish fry better than fish curry. But this spicy fish curry, which is usually made in the southern part of Kerala, is now one of my favorites. Its interesting to see that there are small variations in the method of preparation depending on the regions that are geographically very close to each other.

After having this kind of fish curry in many homes, I was tempted to try it myself. And DD, coming from the southern part of Kerala, never found any similarity between what I make and what he was used to eating 😦 . Well, after my 3 trials went flop, I almost gave up. I thought I am never gonna get it right. That’s when I borrowed my mother-in-law’s recipe, which she graciously offered me 🙂 , and thought of giving it a last shot.

And voila! What a success 😀 I have never been happier with my fish curry experiment, so was with DD 😉 I have got compliments for this curry from all those who had it. Thanks to my MIL 🙂 . Now, there are couple of tips that you need to follow blind folded.

Tips: 1. Don’t stir the fish pieces once you put it in the gravy for cooking. I haven’t really understood the reason for it, but it makes a difference. The fish tastes better if you don’t stir it while cooking!!
2. Make the fish curry the previous day you plan to serve it. It tastes better the next day.
3. Use an earthen vessel/pot for preparing fish curry. It enhances the taste of the fish curry.

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INGREDIENTS:

Fish(I used salmon) – 300 gms(apprx. 2 fillets)
Ginger – 1 inch
Garlic – 6-7 pods
Kodum Puli/Gambooge/Dried Kokum – 3-4 nos
(A variety of tamarind)
Red chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder – 2 tsp
Fenugreek powder – 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida – 1 generous pinch
Curry leaves – 2 strands
Coconut oil – 5 tbsp
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1.5 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Clean and cut the fish into small square pieces and keep aside.
2. In an earthen pot, heat coconut oil and add chopped(into small pieces) ginger and garlic.
3. Also add the curry leaves and the kodum puli. Let the ginger and garlic cook till it turns light brown/golden.
4. Keep in medium low heat and add red chilli powder and kashmiri red chilli powder. The reason for using kashmiri red chilli powder is that it gives the color to the gravy and doesn’t make it too spicy.
5. Add fenugreek powder and asafoetida powder and stir for just few seconds. Don’t cook the spices for too long else it will burn and give a bitter taste.
6. Immediately add 2 cups of water(2.5 cups if you want more gravy) and add the required amount of salt. Increase the heat and when the water starts to boil, add the fish pieces.
7. Let the fish to cook in medium low flame. As I mentioned above, don’t stir the fish pieces using ladle/spoon. The fish will not burn or stick to the pan since you are cooking it in low heat.
8. Cook for about 7-8 mins(Salmon takes little longer to cook, about 10 mins). You would know that the fish curry is ready when the water thickens and just about covers the fish pieces.

Serve with rice or kappa vevichadu/puzhungiyathu(a popular tapioca dish in Kerala).

Lime Pepper Breaded Fish

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You might be wondering, after saying that I am not a fan of fish in my previous post, here she comes with a second fish recipe in a week. Well, thats because I saw an ad with breaded fish and I was tempted to make something similar. It turned out better than I had thought. Lime and pepper always goes well with any seafood. My attempt was to keep the recipe simple and so it is…

INGREDIENTS:

Tilapia – 2 fillets
Turmeric powder(optional) – 1/4 tsp
Ground Black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Garlic powder – 1/4 tsp
Onion powder – 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder(optional) – 1/4 tsp
Lime juice – 2 tsp
Coriander leaves – 2 strands
Egg – 1 no
Panko bread crumbs – 1 cup or as required
Salt – to taste(approximately 1/4 tsp)
Olive oil – 2 tbsp

METHOD:

1. Clean, wash and cut the fish into medium sized pieces.

2. Marinate the cut fish with turmeric powder, ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, lime juice, chopped coriander leaves and salt. Refrigerate it for 4-5 hours.

3. Whisk an egg in a bowl. Take the fish pieces and dip in the egg.

4. In a ziploc bag, put the panko bread crumbs. Add little salt, ground black pepper, 1 tsp olive oil and cumin powder to the bread crumbs for extra flavoring and mix well.

5. Put the fish pieces into the ziploc bag and shake well so that its well coated with the bread crumbs.

6. Repeat the process of dipping in egg and then coating with bread crumbs for thicker breading.

7. Heat oil in a pan. Shallow fry the fish on  medium-high flame  till the coating turns brown on both sides.

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Goan Fish Curry

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Though I come from a coastal state in India, and fish is the most common dish in almost all the households there, I haven’t been a great fan of fish. So it is very unlikely that I experiment much with fish. Ever since I have been away from home, I eat fish only by choice and that was practically, never! I was quite happy about it for sometime, but when months passed, I started missing eating fish. At times, when you don’t get something, is when you realize its worth or value 🙂

That being said, I have started to eat fish once in a while by choice 😛 This time I had some guests coming over at my place and I thought why not make something little different than the usual style of preparation. So I tried my version of Goan(Goa is a coastal state in my country) preparation. And it turned out good. I am going to be making it more often.

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INGREDIENTS:

Tilapia – 2 fillets
Shallots – 5-7 nos
Ginger – 1 inch
Garlic – 5-6 pods
Green chilli – 2 nos
Tomato – 1/2 of a medium sized tomato
Lime juice – 1 tsp
Coconut milk – 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder – 3/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 3/4 tsp
Garam masala – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 5-6 nos
Curry leaves – 4-5 nos
Coriander leaves – 5 strands
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 4 tbsp

METHOD:

1. Clean, wash and cut the fish fillets into medium size pieces. One fillet can be cut into 5-6 pieces. Now marinate the fish with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp chilli powder and little bit of salt(as per your taste). Keep the marinated fish in the refrigerator for about an hour atleast.

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Shallow fry the marinated fish till it starts becoming golden in color. You will have to fry it for approximately 2-3 mins on medium flame on either sides. Don’t fry the fish for too long. Keep aside for using later(keep on a kitchen towel to take out the extra oil).

3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a sauce pan. When the oil is heated, put the mustard seeds. Wait for the mustard seeds to splutter and then add cumin seeds and the fenugreek seeds. Once cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds become light brown, add curry leaves.

4. Immediately add, crushed ginger and garlic(For those who do not know what crushed ginger/garlic is, basically use a mortar and pestle to crush ginger and garlic. Alternatively, you could you ginger garlic paste. But the crushed version tastes better). Once it becomes golden brown, add the sliced shallots and green chillies(either slit into 2 halves or sliced).

5. Add salt at this point. Adding salt with the onions has an advantage. It quickens the process of frying the onion by taking the moisture content in the onion. Saute for about 4-5 mins till onion is fried till it turns light pink.

6. Add the remaining turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala and saute. Fry till the spices are cooked well( You would know the spices are done, when the oil starts to separate from the mixture. Alternately you could wait till the onion starts becoming slightly crispy in appearance).

7. Add chopped tomato and lime juice and wait till the tomatoes are done well. The tomato will kind of dissolve when its cooked thoroughly.

8. Now lower the flame medium-low and pour the coconut milk. I use the coconut milk concentrate. So you can add water along with it to bring it to the consistency you would prefer the gravy to be. I do not like the gravy to be too thick.  So I added about 1 cup water.

9. Let it boil. Remember to keep stirring the gravy often else the coconut milk will split.  The gravy would take some time to come to boil since you are cooking in medium low flame.

10. Once it begins to boil, add the fish pieces to the gravy. Since the fish is fried, it is almost cooked already. So boil it for 3-4 mins more and it is ready.

11. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with hot rice.