All posts by gangof480

Veronica’s South Indian Chicken Curry

So this is a basic version of a go-to recipe – robust, tasty, easy to make, and quite the staple with rice, chappattis, naans, parathas …

  • 2 chicken breasts, in pieces
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, skinned, pureed
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
  • chili powder – to taste, depending on how spicy you want the curry
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • salt
  • Coconut milk, as required
Coriander seeds and powder
Coriander seeds and powder
  1. In hot oil, saute the fennel, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. When aromatic, add the chopped onion and fry till lightly browned.
  2. Add the ginger-garlic paste, fry.
  3. Add the turmeric, chili, coriander and cumin powders, fry to a paste.
  4. Add the tomato puree, keep stirring for a few minutes, till cooked.
  5. Add salt and the chicken pieces, cook till done, usually about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut milk, give it a good stir and a simmer.
  7. Done.

Pix borrowed from the web, as usual, with thanks.

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Pam’s Masala for Curries

Mona brought with her a small bottle of masala powder and produced magic in the kitchen.

This was her mother, Pam’s, basic masala powder, made fresh every year, which she   sent to her daughters in Dubai and Shanghai.

The curries are to die for.

Masala for Chicken and Meat Curries

  • 1/2 kg dry chilies
  • 1/2 kg (dhaniya) coriander seeds
  • 50g mustard seeds
  • 50g cumin seeds
  • 50g fennel seeds
  • 50g black pepper seeds
  • 50g methi seeds
  • 50g chukka (dry ginger)
  • 1” piece asafoetida powder
  • 1 tbsp channa dhal
  • 1 tbsp thoovar dhal
  • 2” piece haldi
  1. Roast briefly, about 10 minutes, separately, on a low flame.
  2. Cool.
  3. Blend to a powder. Sieve and store in an airtight jar
  • Add garam masala powder for chicken and meat curries.
  • For fish curry, add chili and turmeric powders to the above.

Recipe for Chicken Curry with the above Masala

  • 1 chicken breast in pieces
  • Big onion, sliced
  • a little fennel
  • a little cumin
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 piece cinnamon
  • few cardamon
  • Ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tomato, skinned, chopped
  • Turmeric powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp of Pam’s masala powder
  • 100 ml coconut milk diluted with 50 ml water
  1. Fry onion,  fennel, jeera, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.
  2. Add ginger garlic paste, fry.
  3. Add  tomato, fry.
  4. Add haldi, coriander and cumin powders and Pam’s masala powder.
  5. Cook to a paste.
  6. Add chicken pieces and a little bit of hot water.
  7. When chicken is half cooked, add mixture of coconut milk and water.
  8. Cook till done.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Sango’s Multi-Seed Bread

So met Sango again, after a couple of years and she’s down 20kg, bursting with energy, glowing skin … thanks to a strict discipline of intermittent fasting. This is one of her fave recipes that’s helped her on her way to what she is today.

IMG_9528

  • 1 cup/125 gms sunflower seeds (or a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup / 90gm flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup/ 65 gms almonds, soaked 6 hours, peeled and chopped (or a mix of almond, macadamia and brazil nuts)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (or a mix of almond powder and oats, any ratio works, keeping the weight the same)
  • 2 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 4 tablespoons psyllium seed husk
  • 1 tsp fine grain sea salt ( 1 1/2 if coarse)
  • 3 tablespoons melted ghee or virgin coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups/ 350 ml water
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (I added date syrup which was less sweet)
  • OPTIONAL, YOU CAN THROW IN SOME CHOPPED DRIED FRUIT LIKE FIGs, CRANBERRIES, SULTANAS, PRUNEs … if you want it slightly sweet. About half a cup, max.
  1. Preheat oven to 350F / 175 C for 20 minutes.
  2. Place all dry ingredients EXCEPT CHIA SEEDS in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the melted ghee or coconut oil and maple syrup to the water. Use half this mixture to soak the chia seeds.
  4. Add the remaining half to the dry ingredients and amalgamate well.
  5. Now add the chia seeds plus its liquid.
  6. The dough will be quite thick. If dry to the touch, an additional 2 tablespoons water can be added.
  7. Lightly grease a silicon baking tray, 9.5 x 4 inch (can be slightly smaller or bigger by an inch or two).
  8. Pack the dough tightly into loaf pan. Pack in tightly with the back of closed fist. Smoothen surface. Cover with cling film and rest for at least 2 hours, up to a maximum of 8 hours, in a cool place. If overnight, best leave it the refrigerator.
  9. Place in the centre of the oven and bake 20 to 30 minutes (bear in mind that heating can vary oven to oven).
  10. Remove without turning off the oven, pull down the sides of the silicon pan and turn the loaf upside down onto a baking tray and return to oven.
  11. Bake an additional 30 to 45 minutes. When done, it should sound hollow when tapped .
  12. Cool before slicing.
  13. Cut into slices and individually pack, if freezing.
  14. Stays in the fridge for four days and best eaten within 8 days when frozen.

 

Kumari’s (quick) beetroot (a side dish)

I saw her grating, stirring, tasting and serving – all in a few minutes. This was it.

beetrood

  • Beetroot, grated
  • green chili (as required), de-seeded and sliced OR one or two dried red chilies OR a dash of chili powder
  • I tomato, chopped
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • Juice of lemon – to taste
  • salt
  1. In a splash of oil, toss in the fresh chili or dried chili or chili powder, if using.
  2. Stir a bit and add chopped onion.
  3. Stir fry till the onion is translucent, add chopped tomatoes and continue stir frying.
  4. When a paste forms, add the beetroot, stir till just cooked, add salt.
  5. Dress with fresh lemon juice before serving.

Healthy, and terrific with either rice, chappatis or wraps.

Pix from the net, with thanks.

Mum’s wonderful, wonderful Buttermilk

The eternal go-to during Indian summers. There are so many varieties and recipes, but the one you are used to is the only one that hits all the right spots !

buttermilk.png

For 2 glasses :

  • 3 tbsp thick yoghurt, whizzed in a blender
  • Separately, give 3 shallots, 1 green chili and some fresh coriander a quick buzz in a blender to break them up and mix them up, but not too finely
  • Salt
  • Water

Mix the lot together. Make a jug and stick it in the fridge !

Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Option : Add a bit of ginger and a few curry leaves while blending the shallot mixture. Or even a lemon leaf … (from your garden or Asian supermarkets).

Pix borrowed, with thanks, off the Web.

Shikanji – Homemade Lemonade

Traditional Indian lemonade, this is a summer favourite … and with current sweltering days and soaring temperatures … a welcome relief !

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 12.56.44 PM
Shikanji
  • 1.2 litres of water
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • Juice of 3 lemons
  • black salt to taste
  • Pepper powder, to taste
  • A pinch of powdered cumin or ginger or chaat masala spice blend
  • Mint or basil, to garnish

 

Gently heat water and sugar together, stirring to dissolve.

In a jug, mix the lemon juice, powdered black salt, powdered pepper and sugar water and stir well. Chill in the fridge.

Flavour with a hint of cumin or ginger (powders) or a pinch of the chaat masala spice blend (available in stores).

Serve over ice, garnished with mint or basil.

Aaaaah !

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 12.56.06 PM

Pix off the web, as always, with thanks.

Sangeeta’s Quinoa, Chia & Flaxseed crusted Chicken

Another from Sango’s kitchen, table, imagination, research, cookbook …

  • 200 gms chicken breast boneless
Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 8.24.39 AM
chicken fillet
Marinade
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp Coleman’s double superfine mustard powder,  into a paste with 1 tbsp cold water
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 cloves of garlic finely grated
  • finely chopped herb of your choice, basil or coriander
Crust  
  • 2 tbsp quinoa raw, whole
  • 2 tbsp chia seed raw, whole
  • 2 tbsp flax seed raw, whole
Grind the above very coarse together – best to start with the flax seeds before adding the quinoa and chia.
  • 2  tbsp almond meal
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp dehydrated cheese flakes (optional)
Mix all the above four dry ingredients together.
  • 2 to 3 tbsp cold pressed oil
  • 20 gms butter (optional)
  • 1 whole egg beaten with 1 tbsp of water
  1. Slice the chicken breast in half, lengthwise, so it is thinner and will cook quicker.
  2. Place between two sheets of cling film and use a meat hammer to beat it out to make it a little more thinner. The ideal thickness should be 1/2 an inch. Marinate a minimum of 2 hours up to overnight, in the fridge.
  3. Heat a pan and add 2 tbsp of any cold pressed oil.
  4. Take the chicken out of the marinade and hold up so the excess marinade is removed.
  5. Dip in the beaten egg, and again drain of excess egg wash.
  6. Place gently on the dry crumb mixture, coating both sides.
  7. Just before putting it into the hot pan, add 20 gms of butter (optional) to the heated oil, and as it melts and amalgamates with the oil, place the crumbed chicken gently into the pan, lower heat and keep the pan closed , flip the side gently and cook till both sides are a golden brown.

Pix off the web, and with thanks.

Sangeeta’s Beet Hummus

I have the very very good fortune of knowing gifted, intuitive cooks who – apart from being close friends – are willing to share recipes, thoughts, innovations, suggestions.

Sangeeta is one such, and one of my dearest treasures is the handwritten cookbook she gifted me over 30 years ago.

Now a passionate advocate of Intermittent Fasting (IF) and healthy eating, Sangeeta continues to experiment and tweak, and this hummus recipe is the first of many to come (I hope) from her current kitchen.

  • Half a cup of chickpeas, soaked overnight (none of the canned stuff)
  • Salt
  • half a sliced onion
  • 2 pearls sliced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Sesame seeds, roasted and soaked for at least an hour
  • Beetroot,
  • Whole garlic
  • Italian seasoning
  • pickled lemon
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook the chickpeas on low heat in plenty of water, adding a little salt halfway through. Keep skimming the top of water to remove any grey foam.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and bay leaf to the water.
  3. Roast beets in oven with the whole garlic, salt and some Italian seasoning, covered, for the first 20 minutes and then open, so it caramelizes a bit.
  4. Once everything has cooled down, blend the lot with some pickled lemon ( I chuck  them in some salt and leave  them to pickle for about 2 weeks … tastes good in so many things).
  5. Adjust seasoning and serve drizzled with olive oil.

Served it with crudites, wholewheat pita grilled with olive oil, minced garlic, salt and pepper and chicken kebabs.

Thanks much Sango, as always !

Pinhead or steel cut oats for Brekkers

The Sangeeta version.

 

A bowl of slow cooked pinhead oats, lavished with thick coconut milk, bananas, pomegranate and some macadamia nuts !

Delicious !!

My mantra is soak everything for at least 7 hours !

Pix off the net, with thanks …

Burratinas before dinner …

This gets done in a flash when all the ingredients are assembled … fresh burratina from Puglia, tomatoes on the vine, sweeter than sweet, olive oil, fresh basil, avocadao oil, a terrific balsamic reduction and a dash of salt and pepper.

  1. Place a burratino in the serving dish, drizzle the avocado oil over it.
  2. Add sliced tomatoes, scatter the basil leaves.
  3. Grind a bit of sea salt and pepper onto the cheese.
  4. Splash a bit of the balsamic reduction over it in a nice ruby red rich squiggle.

Tastes better than it looks, these pix don’t do it justice. But oh, the burst of flavours, the freshness of the ingredients, the crunch of the seasoning. Don’t need a single thing more.

Some pix of ingredients off the web, with thanks.

 

Sylvia’s Poached Chicken

With Syl’s recipes, the making is as easy as the reading.

Thanks much.

  • 2 or 3 chicken breasts
  • Garlic paste or ginger-garlic paste
  • whatever herbs you have lying around
  • tiny amount of salt and pepper (just for the flavour)
  • few peppercorns
  • a bay leaf
  • few cloves
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • boiling water, to cover and a bit
  1. Marinate the chicken with garlic, herbs and salt and pepper for as long as you can but one hour is just fine.
  2. Place the chicken, peppercorns, bay leaf and cloves in a frying pan, pour boiling water over and place on a stove. Add the stock powder, let the water come to a boil for a minute.
  3. Turn off the heat, leave the chicken in the pan till the water cools.
  4. Now you have poached chicken that’s not dry. And you can use the cooking liquid as stock or a base for chicken soup.

Pix borrowed off the net, as usual, with thanks.

Pam’s stir-fried Paneer

Another light, easily made dish. Stir fry, serve.

Paneer is a fresh cheese from South Asia, particularly the Indian subcontinent. It is unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer or curd cheese, made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar or any other food acids.

malai-paneer-cubes-355

  • paneer, cubed
  • a bit of oil
  • whole jeera (cumin)
  • pinch of sugar
  • green capsicum, cubed
  • 1 big onion, cubed
  • salt
  1. Heat oil in a wok, add the cumin/jeera and when it sputters, add the capsicum and onion and stir fry till just about done.
  2. Add the paneer, sugar and salt and give it a bit of a toss till flavours are blended.

Great with chappattis or rice.

Thanks Pam.

Pix borrowed off the net.

 

Pam’s Beetroot Salad

Had this @ Pam’s on a hot summer afternoon, at lunch, and it was lovely.

I normally dislike beetroots, but these half boiled ones retained a hefty crunch.

Top-15-Benefits-and-Uses-Of-Beetroot-for-Skin-Hair-and-Health

  • Beetroot, parboiled, chopped fine
  • 1/2 to 1 big onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tomato, chopped fine
  • green chili (as per taste), de-seeded, chopped fine
  • dressing – salt, pepper & lemon juice
  • chopped coriander to garnish

Toss all together.

Pix off the net, with thanks.

Chia Pudding for Breakfast

Came across this recipe somewhere, can’t remember. Sounds interesting.

for 3

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (adjust to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • fresh cherries or berries for garnish
  • a small handful of toasted nuts – almonds, crushed pistachios, for garnish

Combine chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract in a container that can be sealed – like a mason jar.

Stir well, refrigerate overnight.

Top pudding with berries and nuts before serving, chilled.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Grilled Peppers

I know this sounds like a no-brainer … but when served piping hot, with meat and salad on a cold Gurgaon evening, music playing, wine in hand and catching up with old friends after yonks, it was delicious beyond belief.

  • Green, red and yellow peppers, sliced, de-seeded, pith removed
  • olive oil
  • crushed garlic
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper
  1. Marinate all of the above for a couple of hours.
  2. Grill in a pre-heated oven, over a surface sprayed lightly with olive oil.
  3. Turn over once after a few minutes, grill till just done, not limp.

This can be made with yellow and green zucchini as well.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Broccoli-Date-Pomegranate Salad

Another winner from the Kuko table !

Source and mix. Serve.

  • Broccoli florets, steamed
  • Pitted dates, sliced
  • pomegranate arils
  • toasted almond slivers
  • honey mustard dressing

Honey mustard dressing

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  1. Mix vinegar, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, dijon and honey in a bowl.
  2. Whisk  to combine, stream in the olive oil.
  3. Once combined and emulsified, taste, adjust salt, honey or vinegar as necessary.

Recipe for the dressing from http://violetmeyer.com/honey-mustard-dressing/

‘Kitchadi’ elevated to a party dish !

Lentil and rice based Indian comfort food – heartwarming, nourishing, filling and especially for those days when you don’t have much stuff at home or want to finish bits and bobs of vegetables.

We usually make it on Mondays, when supplies are low, we haven’t yet been grocery shopping and I want to spend as little time as possible even thinking about a meal.

These amounts serve 6 people.

With a little experimentation (steaming instead of cooking), it turned out looking pretty good, fit for a party !!

IMG_7121

  • 1 cup masoor dhal
  • 1 big tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp hing or asephoetida
  • 1 big onion, chopped

Pressure cook the above with some water – just above the level of the ingredients. When done, strain the dhal, tomatoes and onion, keep aside and save the cooking water.

  • 1 brinjal, diced
  • 1 raw banana, diced
  • murunga leaves
  • any left over vegetables, all diced
  • 1 big onion, diced

In hot oil, sputter mustard, add onion and stir fry till brown. Add all the vegetables and stir fry for a few minutes till done. Keep aside.

  • 1 1/2 cup Ponni or Basmati (or both mixed) rice

Cook the rice. Just as the water is almost absorbed into the rice, add the cooked vegetables and the dhal mixture along with the saved cooking water.

Cover and cook till done.

If steamed in a rice cooker, it can be upturned and served like a cake in the pictures.

  • Mustard
  • Urud dhal
  • curry leaves
  • murunga leaves

Sputter the mustard first, then add the urud dhal, then the curry leaves and finally a whole bunch of murunga leaves. Use this as a garnish any which way.

Pix of ingredients off the web, with thanks.

Vermicelli for Breakfast

This vermicelli uppuma is a staple in many south Indian homes, a quick breakfast dish that is satisfyingly simple to make.

  • Big onions, chopped
  • curry leaves
  • mustard seeds
  • grated ginger
  • urud dhal
  • dried red chilies
  • roasted vermicelli
  • a little water

Banana, on the side

  1. In hot oil, sputter the onions, curry leaves, mustard, ginger, chilies.
  2. Add roasted vermicelli, saute well.
  3. Add a little water and cover. The vermicelli will absorb the water as it cooks.
  4. Serve with sliced banana

Bananes-tranchees-surgelees-51

We like to eat it with a banana, but it goes with anything – some yoghurt, or mango pickle … or just by itself !

Pix off the Net, with thanks.

Kuko’s Celery Soup

Continuing the Kuko kitchen legacy … an absolutely delicious soup in its simplicity.

  • Celery, chopped
  • 2 big onions, chopped
  • garlic, crushed
  • chicken stock
  • dash of cream
  • 1 boiled potato (optional) for a thicker soup
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 tbsp port wine
  1. In olive oil, saute the celery, onion and garlic. If using the potato, add. Cool. Blend. Strain.
  2. Return to heat with the stock mixed in. As it simmers, add the cream, sugar. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Take off the heat and swirl in the port or whatever wine is on hand.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Veronica’s Sambal Tomat (tomato hot sauce or relish)

A sambal (or sambel as in Javanese) comes in many varieties and tastes; they are piquant, spicy, chili hot … and are made from a mixture of variety of chili peppers and secondary ingredients like shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, lime juice, and rice or other vinegars … in myriad combinations.

This one is to die for, literally, a simple hot relish made with chilies, tomatoes, shallots and garlic.

  • 4 big red chilies, cut into 4
  • 3 to 4 big tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 to 12 large-ish shallots, halved
  • 6 pods garlic
  • salt

img_7020

Fry the garlic and onion in a little oil till softened. Add the chilies and stir till cooked and soft. Cool, and mash well with a mortar and pestle. (You can also blend it coarsely, but Veron assures me the taste is not the same).

To the remaining oil in the pan, add the tomato and stir till cooked and soft. Give it the mortar-pestle treatment separately.

Mix the two pastes, add salt as required.

Bottle, refrigerate.

Pix of ingredients – as always – from the web and some info on the sambel from wiki.

Veronica’s well-loved ‘Ayam Kuning’ aka ‘Yellow Chicken’

Veron is an ace in all dishes Indonesian and this was a particular hit with my niece, visiting from university and interested in trying out different dishes.

This one is for you, Pooj !

  • 5 chicken drumsticks
  • a 2″piece of fresh ginger
  • a 3″ piece of fresh turmeric
  • a 2″ piece of galangal
  • 1 stem of lemon grass
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 7 shallots
  • 4 candlenuts (or macadamia nuts)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • salt and pepper
  1. Blend all ingredients except chicken to a fine paste, ideally with no water.
  2. Rub the paste into the chicken, add a bit of water if too dry. Marinate a while.
  3. Boil, cool, refrigerate till required, ideally overnight.
  4. Fry the chicken pieces the next day.

The chicken pieces, once boiled, can be stored up to a month in the fridge, after boiling and cooling.

Candlenut or aleurites moluccanus is a flowering tree in the spurge family, also known as candleberry, Indian walnut, kemiri, varnish tree, nuez de la India, buah keras, or kukui nut tree. The nut is often used cooked in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, where it is called kemiri in Indonesian or buah keras in Malay. On the island of Java in Indonesia, it is used to make a thick sauce that is eaten with vegetables and rice. In the Philippines, the fruit and tree are traditionally known as lumbang

Wikipedia

Galangal, also known as Siamese ginger, is a member of the ginger family – Zingiberaceae. Its skin is smoother and paler than ginger root’s, the interior ranges from white to yellow to pink, and its flavor is stronger and more astringent.

http://www.foodrepublic.com/2014/01/22/what-is-galangal-and-how-do-i-use-it/

Pictures from the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Grilled Mushrooms

I’m a sucker for food that delicious, easy to prepare and involves the least work.

So these few posts are all things Kuko, as she whips them up effortlessly, remains elegant and relaxed and entertains with gracious facility !

  • Button mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, patted dry
  • Finely chopped onion
  • cheddar cheese
  • a dash of mayonaisse – a tablespoon or more
  • breadcrumbs
  1. Mix the cheese, onions and mayo and stuff the mushroom caps.
  2. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  3. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes till browned.

Utterly delicious ! She said the addition of the mayo makes all the difference and she picked this tip up when she was in the Philippines.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Kuko’s Mutton in Cream

So, spending a night with old friends in Gurgaon, after years and years, and there’s this splendid dinner served piping hot on a cold December night.

Old friends, terrific food, music, wine and much reminiscing …

This dish was particularly delicious.

  • Mutton with bone, cubed
  • garlic paste
  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • oregano, or mixed Italian herbs, thyme …
  • salt and pepper
  • brown sugar
  • red wine
  • dash of cream
  • caramelised onions
  1. Marinate the meat overnight in a mixture of garlic paste, red wine vinegar, olive oil, herbs, salt, pepper and a bit of brown sugar.
  2. Pressure cook and when done, add a dash of red wine and the cream. Adjust the salt and pepper.
  3. Garnish with caramelised onions before serving.

This same dish can be made with chicken instead of meat.

Pix from the Net, with thanks.

Kuko’s (Indian) twist on a salad dressing

To give regular salad dressing a bite …

… sputter in olive oil, some mustard seeds, curry leaves and a couple of dry red chilies.

Mix this into the vinaigrette and lift with the addition of a couple of tablespoons of fresh orange juice.

juice_PNG7192

Goes brilliantly with grated carrots.

Pix off the web, with thanks, as always.

Brekkie, in some style !

Veggies are good at breakfast, I read, they are especially good, as they’re nutritious, full of antioxidants, provide very few calories per portion, and are packed with fiber—which is filling because it takes up space in your digestive system. Fiber also slows digestion, which means you’ll have a steadier supply of energy over a longer period of time.

So rooted in the fridge this morning and voila :

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A simple fried egg-white, stacked on walnut bread cut to size and garnished with a light salad of cherry tomatoes, avocado, some parsley, some Japanese cucumber and pomegranate arils tossed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Oops … forgot to mention the most important part – a layer of hummus (made sans garlic) between the egg and the bread !

Tasted every bit as good as it looked !

Thanks Veron.

The info on veggies for breakfast from http://time.com/4583581/healthy-food-meal-protein/?xid=newsletter-brief

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies : a breakfast option

So, after a very early morning Pilates class, Sudha handed me a cookie which she said was her breakfast, on her way to her next class. It was delicious.

Here is the recipe, which I got from her, which she got from Smitten Kitchen. Given that its been passed from hand to hand or rather kitchen to kitchen, and it never turns out exactly the same, I have to say her version and mine were both terrific, in slightly different ways.

img_6986

For about 50 cookies (49, to be exact !)

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1  1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp teaspoon table salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1  1/2 cups raisins
  • 1  cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup drinking chocolate (Sudha’s addition)
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Separately, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together.
  3. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture.
  4. Stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts, if using them.
  5. Either chill the dough for an hour in the fridge and then scoop it, or scoop the cookies onto a sheet and then chill the whole tray before baking them.
    (You could also bake them right away, if you’re impatient, but I do find that they end up slightly less thick).
  6. Either way, heat oven to 350°F (175°C) before you scoop the cookies, so that it’s fully heated when you’re ready to put them in.
  7. The cookies should be two inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (baking time will vary, depending on your oven and how cold the cookies were going in), taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top.
  8. Let them sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Pretty easy to make, they came out well and they will go down a treat !

 

Christmas is Coming ! (3)

I wanted an easy recipe for mulled wine.
This is by Ina Garten and sourced from Food Network.
For 8 servings :
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 oranges, peeled, for garnish

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  1. Combine cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.

 

Christmas is Coming ! (2)

Time to jettison ‘healthy eating’ for a bit and indulge in some decadent food and drink. As in :

Salted Caramel & Dark Chocolate Milkshake (for 2)

  • 1 pint salted caramel ice cream
  • 1 pint dark chocolate ice cream
  • 1/2 cup fresh milk
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg

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  1. Whizz on low speed till smooth.
  2. Add more milk for a runnier shake.

Recipe by Manfred Tham, chanced upon in some magazine in a salon.

Image borrowed from http://www.cheatsheet.com/life/7-easy-and-delicious-milkshake-recipes.html/?a=viewall

Christmas is Coming ! (1)

Festive times and festive evenings draw near and people on social media have now discovered the most indulgent dessert ever and they just can’t seem to get enough of it! The gluttonous red wine chocolate brownie is now red hot on social media …
 Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake

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  • 200g plain chocolate
  • 170g salted butter
  • 250 ml red wine
  • 250 ml caster sugar
  • 75g light brown soft sugar
  • 130g plain flour
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee
  • cocoa or white icing sugar, to dust
  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3.
  2. Grease and line a rectangular baking tray.
  3. Melt plain chocolate with salted butter over a pan of boiling water.
  4. Add wine, caster sugar, light brown soft sugar,  plain flour,  beaten eggs, vanilla extract and instant coffee.
  5. Bake the mixture for 30-40 minutes in the oven.
  6. Leave to cool down and remove from the tray.
  7. Dust the brownies with cocoa or white icing sugar and voila!

From : http://www.ibtimes.co.in/why-this-chocolate-pudding-most-indulgent-dessert-ever-705023

And another !!

Red Wine Brownies with Drunken Cranberries

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  • ¾ cup red wine
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 stick butter (1/2 cup), plus extra for greasing
  • 6 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate (I used half and half)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  1. In a small bowl, mix the red wine and cranberries together and allow to sit for 30 minutes to an hour or until the cranberries look plumped.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Grease and flour an 8 x 8″ pan.
  4. Mix flour and sea salt in a bowl. Set aside.
  5. In a mixing bowl over boiling water, heat the butter and chocolate until just melted and mixed together.
  6. Remove from the bowl from the heat and beat in the eggs one at a time. (If the bowl seems very hot, you may want to let it cool for about 5 minutes before adding the eggs).
  7. Add the sugar and cocoa powder and mix, then add the flour and mix well.
  8. Mix in the red wine and cranberries. Fold in walnuts, if using.
  9. Pour the mixture in the baking pan and bake for about 50 – 55 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out with only crumbs.
  10. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan about about 25 – 30 minutes, then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.

Can’t wait to try them !

From : cookienameddesire.com, Amanda Powell

Apricots. Apricots. Apricots.

The fruit is everywhere, warm, orange, gold, offering all kinds of suggestions.

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Sauces. Appetizers. On the side.

Three recipes I haven’t yet tried. Sound delicious though.

As an accompaniment, from Alon Shaya, Executive Chef and Owner of Shaya in New Orleans.

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  1. Stir together :
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp orange juice

2. Whisk in

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp water

3. Set aside.

4. Chop into 2 cm pieces :

  • 3 apricots
  • 2 tomatoes

5. Toss with the prepared dressing (above). Sprinkle with 2 tbsp sesame seeds and serve with grilled fish.

As a sauce, from Eric Banh, Executive Chef @ Ba Bar in Seattle.screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-1-00-45-pm

  • 2 cups diced, fresh apricots
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  1. Cook the above over medium heat for about 10 minutes, till the alcohol evaporates and the sauce thickens.
  2. Transfer to a blender and puree till smooth.
  3. Drizzle over roasted vegetables, grilled bread or baked chicken.

As an appetizer, from Jason Hotchkiss, Director of Culinary Operations @ the Patio Group on Goldfinch in San Diego.

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  • 6 fresh apricots, halved
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • shredded basil
  • chopped cucumber
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  1. Drizzle the cut sides of the apricots with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill over high heat, flesh side down for about 2 minutes or until charred.
  3. Cool. Cut into wedges. Arrange, top with the feta, basil, cucumber and lemon juice.

None of this is mine, neither the recipes not the photographs. All borrowed – with thanks – from print and the internet !

Another easy, filling Brekkie

Trying to make the mornings easier, healthier and fast, on-the-go; with food that’s good on the table and in the system.

So this is Veron’s – googled, I think, off the net.

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Almond milk, thinner as it is from regular dairy, and off a different non-milk white – ivory ? – doesn’t photograph as well, but it tastes far better. (That’s my take).

  • A couple of tablespoons of rolled or steel-cut oats, per person, soaked overnight in almond milk.
  • Transfer to a bowl, mix in a dash of honey (optional), more almond milk if required, and arrange sliced banana, pomegranate arils and blueberries.
  • Sprinkle cinnamon powder and chia seeds, enjoy.

Mango cubes, ripe and succulent, should make a great alternative / addition ?

 

Kumari’s chicken

On a visit to Chennai last week, Mum’s helper, Kumari, brought this steaming dish of chicken to the table. It was delicious with a paratha and a pat of ghee !

  • Chicken, in pieces
  • 1 big onion, diced fine
  • 1/2 (or more, as per taste) tomato, diced
  • 1 tsp or so ginger-garlic paste
  • 1/2″ cinnamon
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • turmeric powder
  • chili powder
  •  salt
  1. In hot oil, fry cinnamon, cloves and fennel. Add onions and saute till golden.
  2. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry till the aromas are released.
  3. Add tomatoes and curry leaves and fry to a liquid-y paste.
  4. Add the chicken, turmeric and chili powders and salt.
  5. Add a splash of hot water, as required, cover and cook till done.

This same recipe, with the addition of mint and lemon juice (and in a larger quantity) can be used to make a biryani.

Pix borrowed off the web.

Selvi’s Chicken Curry with Broad Beans

One of the nicest chicken dishes I’ve had in a while. The addition of  beans – avarakkai in Tamil, aka Indian broad beans – elevates the dish to a satisfying level.

Its delicious, filling and different; all it needs is a dish of piping hot rice or a couple of hot chapattis off the tawa.

  • 1/2  kg chicken, in pieces
  • 200g seeds of the broad beans (or from a tin of butter beans)
  • 3 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 big onion, diced
  • ginger-garlic paste
  • a 1″ piece of cinnamon
  • 2 potatoes, cubed
  • turmerdic powder
  • chili powder
  • a pinch of garam masala powder
  • salt
  • a squeeze of lemon juice or a spoon of yoghurt (optional)

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  1. In hot oil, fry the onion till golden. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry till the aroma fills the room.
  2. Add tomatoes, fry to a paste.
  3. Add chicken, potatoes, beans, cook a bit and then add the turmeric, chili and garam masala powders and the salt. Add a bit of water, cover and cook till chicken and potatoes are done.
  4. Add the lemon juice or yoghurt – as per taste.

Pix borrowed off the web.

 

A Green and Delish Breakfast

So, no grains. Nothing acidic. Light yet filling. Tasty.

This is entirely Veron’s creation and it was so good, so good.

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Boiled eggs, halved. Yolk discarded.

Avocado into guacamole sans tomatoes (and it tasted better).

Organic kale chopped, freshened with a simple olive oil/lemon juice/salt/pepper dressing.

Roasted pine nuts.

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And for those who wanted grains and yolk, a different version. Wholemeal walnut bread. The yolks atop the guacamole.

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Try it for that sense of total well-being after the meal !

Sweet Paul’s Famous Feta & Lemon Dip

Came across this first in his cookbook and then online – will be trying it out very soon. Looks and sounds terrific.

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This is the most blogged, tweeted, and pinned recipe I have ever created. It’s also one of the simplest recipes ever. Just a few ingredients, 2 minutes in the food processor, and voila, you have the most amazing dip. I’ve even used it as a topping for baked chicken or white fish.

– Paul Lowe

Serves 4

  • 7 ounces feta cheese (about 1 cup crumbled)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, plus more for garnish
  • 1–2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Crudités, chips, toasts, or pita crisps, for serving
  1. Place the feta, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil in a blender and whir until combined but still slightly chunky. It’s dense, so you may need to stir it with a fork once or twice. Taste, and if it’s too salty add more lemon juice.
  2. Spoon into a serving bowl, drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of pepper flakes and some lemon zest.
  3. Serve with crudités, chips, toasts or pita crisps.

 

Thanks Paul !

http://www.sweetpaulmag.com/food/lemon-and-feta-dip

Sylvia’s Fragrant Rice Dessert

She just made it up. With what she had.

Like she always does, and it is superb each time.

IMG_4250

  • cooked rice
  • jaggery
  • freshly grated coconut
  • cardamom, powdered
  • raisins
  • organic Mallige mangoes

Toss, top with sliced mango, enjoy.

Jaggery is an amorphous form of unrefined and non-distilled sugar prepared from the sap or the juice of plants that contains a considerable amount of sucrose or sugar. This includes things like sugar cane and certain palms like date palm and Palmyra. Sometimes, it is also called country sugar, since it is prepared in rural households of certain countries. It is also called molasses due to its semi-solid state. Chemically, it is defined as C12H22O12.

Jaggery is predominantly made in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Besides tasting very good, it has many health benefits.  – https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/other/what-is-jaggery.html 

Pictures of ingredients borrowed off the web, the first one is Syl’s.

Baked Olives a la Navzer

Thrown together to no particular recipe, according to Navzer, this was another stellar pick on that cold Vancouver evening, along with the patates bravas.

  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sliced lemon from zested lemon
  • olives
  • A slug of wine
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly roast fennel to release flavour and aroma over a low flame in a non-stick pan.
  3. Toss olives with lemon zest, garlic, olive oil and the wine.
  4. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil, layer the sliced lemon, scatter the olives over the lemon slices and bake for 20 minutes.

Terrific.

Images off the net, with thanks.

Patates Bravas by Navzer

A tapas dish from Spain, this is Navzer’s version, served on a cold Vancouver evening, quite the shining star among an abundance of delish platters.

  • potatoes with skin, in small pieces, or small potatoes halved
  • olive oil
  • mayonnaise
  • any hot sauce
  • paprika or crushed red chili flakes
  • chopped garlic, about 4 to 5 cloves
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 1 tomato, pureed
  • dash of ketchup
  • chorizo or spicy Italian sausages, chopped, pan fried and kept aside
  1. Boil potatoes in a pan of salted water, till almost done.
  2. Drain and cool.
  3. Toss the potatoes in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, bake for 35 minutes till browned, edges crisp.
  4. Separately, mix 3 tbsp mayo, hot sauce to taste, paprika, chopped garlic, lemon juice and pureed tomato along with a dash of ketchup (for tang).
  5. When the potatoes are slightly cooled, toss with the sauce/dressing and stir in the fried sausages.

Good both hot and cold, absolutely delicious in fact.

Images off the web, with thanks.

Elsie’s Brinjal ‘meykewerti’ (in Malayalam, a vegetable dish)

All-types-of-Brinjal

  • brinjals (aubergines) of any kind, cut in thinnish long wedges
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • 1 heaped tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • chili powder, to taste
  • 1 big or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup tamarind water (soak tamarind pulp in hot water for a bit, and extract clear tamarind water)
  • a couple of spoonfuls fresh grated coconut
  1. In hot oil, fry the onion till glassy. Add the ginger-garlic paste and chili powder and cook till the ‘raw’ smell evaporates.
  2. Add the tomato and salt and cook to a paste.
  3. Add the brinjal pieces and the tamarind water and cook till just done.
  4. Garnish with grated coconut.

Images borrowed from the web.

Elsie’s Prawn Curry

Another dish, south Indian, and easy to make (along the lines of the egg curry … with a couple of omissions and additions).

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  • prawns, cleaned, de-veined, shelled
  • 1 big big onion or 2 small small onions (I love the sound of this !!), chopped or sliced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, crushed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 green chili, seeded and sliced (can increase or decrease according to taste and this is balanced by the chili powder added later)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 piece cokum
  • 2 small tomatoes or 1 big one, chopped
  • salt
  • coconut milk
  • fresh coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish
  • 1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)                     )
  • red chili powder, according to taste             )
  • 2 heaped tbsp coriander powder                   ) mix into a paste with a bit of water,
  • 1 tsp vinegar                                                        ) keep aside

MAIN-prawns

  1. In hot oil fry the onion, ginger, garlic, chili and curry leaves, and brown on low heat, stirring all the while till the ‘raw’ smell disappears.
  2. Add the paste and keep stirring and frying, again till the ‘raw’ smell evaporates. Add the tomatoes and salt (the salt makes the tomatoes cook faster), and cook well to desired consistency, adding water in spoonfuls to ensure the paste does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the cokum and coconut milk, cook a bit and add the prawns and cook gently and carefully till just done. Do not overcook the prawns.
  4. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Images borrowed from the web, with thanks.

 

Elsie’s Egg Curry

So, another friend is visiting and I have mined her trove of easy-home-food recipes in an attempt to coax Mum into eating …

… because when I try Mum’s recipes, they are never up to par as far as she is concerned. Mona suggested I don’t even try to replicate her recipes, but offer different ones instead, so they remain new and fresh … and there’s nothing to compare them to. Smart lady !!

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  • 4 eggs, boiled, or 4 egg whites made into an omelette with chopped tomato, onion, green chili, coriander, salt and pepper – and cut into squares
  • 1 each – cardamom, clove and a small stick of cinnamon
  • 1 big big onion or 2 small small onions (I love the sound of this !!), chopped or sliced
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, crushed
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 green chili, seeded and sliced (can increase or decrease according to taste and this is balanced by the chili powder added later)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 small tomatoes or 1 big one, chopped
  • salt
  • coconut milk
  • fresh coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish
  • 1/4 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)                     )
  • red chili powder, according to taste             )
  • 2 heaped tbsp coriander powder                   ) mix into a paste with a bit of water,
  • a pinch of garam masala (optional)             ) keep aside
  • 1 tsp vinegar                                                        )
  1. In hot oil sputter the cardamom, clove, and cinnamon stick.
  2. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chili and curry leaves and brown on low heat, stirring all the while till the ‘raw’ smell disappears.
  3. Add the paste and keep stirring and frying, again till the ‘raw’ smell evaporates. Add the tomatoes and salt (the salt makes the tomatoes cook faster), and cook well to desired consistency, adding water in spoonfuls to ensure the paste does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Add the coconut milk, cook a bit and spoon the boiled egg halves or omelet squares into the gravy.
  5. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Images borrowed from the web, with thanks.

Sweet Summer Kale Salad

Discovered in Kitsilano, Vancouver, this salad and dressing was outstanding ; the kale elevated by the sharp contrasts between the piquant, nutty and sweet accents.

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  • Kale
  • Chopped apples
  • Cranberries
  • Almonds

Dressing

  • olive oil
  • orange juice
  • balsamic vinegar
  • shallots, diced
  • garlic, diced
  • honey
  • red chilies
  • oregano
  • sea salt
  • pepper

Most pictures borrowed from the web.

A Sunday lunch with prosecco and friends

Unplanned, on-the-spur-of-the-moment and impromptu, this lunch was sunny, sparkly, air-conditioned and frothy both in liquid sustenance and atmosphere : good cheer, good friends, good food (even if I say so myself).

With Raising Sand (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss), thank you Neena.

Menu

Prosecco, prosecco, prosecco. And good old G & T. And fresh, tender coconut water.

Ok, so these are not my pictures, they’re off the web, but they encapsulate the moments and are the visual ooh’s and aah’s elicited by chilled bliss on a humid summer day.

On to the food :

Kurmur, crunchy, fresh, crisp, in bowlfuls, with the drinks.

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Melon with proscuitto and a honey mustard vinaigrette. (The vinaigrette was part of the plan, but it didn’t get made).

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Here’s the recipe anyway – 4 tablespoons of your best olive oil, 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, 20ml runny honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons of wholegrain mustard and a pinch of salt – mixed and stirred and shaken. Got the recipe off the net and the pix were stunning.

A Curly Kale Salad with tomatoes, olives, cubed feta, a minced red onion, cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced red radishes and Japanese cucumber, sliced mushrooms – and for the kick – fresh betel leaves, minced. The whole lot gently tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. And just a dash of apple cider vinegar. Pomegranate arils. Roasted sunflower seeds, scattered.

A word about the kale. A serendipitous discovery – this was organic, fresh, crunchy and wonderfully green. Home delivered by Ben of Sustenir Agriculture which practices urban farming in Singapore.

Urban farming, thus described : controlled environment agriculture : growing plants without ever exposing them to the outside world, using artificial lighting, exacting specific nutrients and controlling every aspect of the air and water environments … perfecting a plants habitat: giving them exactly what they need, when they need it. Their lack of exposure to the hazards of traditional field farming (insects, temperature changes, cleanliness and purity of water, parasites and inconsistent levels of sunlight) … ergo clean, healthy produce …

Yes, it tasted clean. And healthy. And fresh. And good, considering : kale is the king of healthy leafy greens, a widely regarded super-food that brings more nutrients to the table than any other green on the market. Rich in beta-carotenes, Vitamins K,C, A and calcium, consuming it raw, cooked or juiced will give you boundless energy. With the highest anti-carcinogenic properties of any salad, this is the mighty green that might just save us all!

Arabian Beef Kebabs

These were especially delicious, a new recipe.

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  • 1 kg minced beef
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 fresh cup coriander leaves
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • big onion, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves and 4 cardamom, and some cinnamon, blended
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • salt
  • 100g olive oil or butter
  • ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  1. Mix all together well.
  2. Set aside for 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Shape, pan fry.
  4. Garnish with mint and coriander leaves.

Pita wedges tossed with sea salt, olive oil and freshly minced rosemary.

Hummus and Baba Ghanoush.

Roast chicken with chunks of butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Smoked salmon with cucumber and soft cheese.

And dessert was Mango Fool with Lime and Toasted Coconut

A puree of Alfonso mangoes (in season), swirled with the zest and juice of half a lemon and Greek yoghurt, chilled, then spooned into ramekins and topped with toasted coconut flakes and sprinkled with black chia seeds. (Couldn’t find passion fruit which was part of the recipe – a drizzle of passion fruit seeds. Substituted with chia).

One did float on the bubbly a bit, which is why my photographs are less than par. Some pix borrowed off the web.

Elizabeth’s Sardine Curry

David and Elizabeth have been endlessly kind, preparing different kinds of food to entice Mum into eating.

Sardines, suggested David, a curry of sardines, the easiest thing to make. I had not heard of sardine curry, and the next thing I knew was Elizabeth had made and sent across two versions, one spicier than the other. It was delicious. David said this was the standby dish in their home, the last resort almost when one was out of ideas or when guests landed up unexpectedly.

Thank you Elizabeth, for painstakingly writing out the recipe.

It is reproduced below exactly as she wrote it.

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  • I can sardines in Tomato sauce ( bones removed,  retain the sauce)
  • 1 radish (sliced and fry with 1tsp oil on high heat)
  • 1 brinjal cubed
  • 3 to 4 strands long beans cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 potato cubed
  • 1 big onion sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic split into half
  • 1piece ginger and 5 cloves garlic (coarsely pounded)
  • 2 tomatoes quartered
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asaphoetida)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1tsp fish curry powder
  • 2 Tbsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp mustard seeds
  • 1tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • lime sized tamarind lump mixed with 3 tbsp water and the liquid extracted
  • A sprig of curry leaves
  • 1 green chili de-seeded and split
  • 2 cups water or more if needed
  • 4 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 sprigs of coriander leaves chopped for garnish

Heat oil in a pan .
Fry the mustard seeds till they sputter, then the fenugreek seeds.
Add the onions, curry leaves, green chili and garlic and fry till the onions are slightly brown.
Add the pounded ginger – garlic and sauté for 1 minute till fragrant.
Add all the curry powders and the sauce from the sardine and saute for 2 min.
Add potato, water and salt to taste.
Once potato is 3/4 cooked, add the vegetables and tomatoes.
When the vegetables are cooked add in the tamarind juice and let it boil for 2 more minutes.
Remove from heat.
Garnish with coriander leaves

NOTE: drumstick /Raw banana also can be added.

Photograph by Elizabeth and David.

Mum’s Mango Chutney which turned out to be Dad’s recipe

There is this accompaniment – a mango chutney or chamandi as it is known in Malayalam – which was and is a household favourite, to die for.

So, with Mum at home, we decided to revive old traditions and boy oh boy, did it vanish in seconds !

  • 2 raw green mangoes (the sourer and rawer the better) skinned and chopped into smallish bits
  • Some dried red chilies, stir fried in a dash of oil
  • A knob of ginger
  • Salt
  • Curry leaves
  • A splash of coconut oil
  • Fresh grated coconut

Blend the lot (except the coconut oil) together to a fine paste, then add the coconut oil and give it another whirr.

Its OMG all the way. And in the process, learned a bit of family lore – it was Dad’s recipe all along. Mum would prepare the ingredients (and quantities) and his greatest joy was in the blending before the eating.

Brilliant with rice, dosas … as an accompaniment to South Indian dishes.

All photos borrowed from the net, with thanks.

 

 

Mulled Apple Juice

During Lent, and for those who abstain, this one was googled off the net and went down a treat.

Dinner for 10 and many refraining from alcohol, so it was chaas (spiced buttermilk) or fresh tender coconut water with chia seeds and mint or mulled apple juice.

recipe-image-legacy-id--444725_11

  • 1 liter apple juice
  • strips of orange peel
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • sugar or honey to sweeten – if required
  • more orange peel to garnish
  1. Simmer the apple juice with orange peel, cinnamon and cloves for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Sweeten if required.
  3. Serve warm, garnishing individual glasses with a twist or orange peel and a stick of cinnamon.

Recipe and picture from BBC GoodFood.

Kumari’s Mutton & Drumstick Curry

Kumari, Mum’s helper, brought a gift of six fresh, bright green murungakas – as they are called in Tamil – with the injunction, complete with recipe, that I was to take it to Singapore and cook it for Mum, with mutton.The murungas had been gathered from her garden, and from the tree across the wall, from her neighbour’s garden.

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Murungai is the fruit of the Moringa oleifera tree (family Moringaceae) and its long thin seed pods resemble drumsticks, hence the name.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 1.57.08 PMMoringa leaves are popular in South Indian cooking, containing as it does, all of the essential amino acids – the building blocks of proteins. But this is the first time I had heard of the seed pods being cooked with meat and it sounded interesting and I gave it a try. It was delicious.

 

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  • 1 1/2 kilos of mutton, cleaned and cubed
  • 2 big onions, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 to 1 1/2 drumsticks, fresh, in 2 1/2″ lengths
  • Garam masala powder or 1/2″ of broken cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 3 pods cardamom, a scant teaspoon of fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 to 3 tbsp coconut milk
  • Chili powder
  • Dhaniya (coriander) powder
  • Haldi (turmeric) powder
  • Salt
  1. Boil the drumstick pieces in a little water mixed with salt and turmeric powder, till just done, still firm. Keep aside.
  2. In hot oil (in a pressure cooker) sputter the garam masala and as the fragrance is released, add the onion and fry.
  3. When translucent, add the ginger-garlic paste, fry till aromatic. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry to a paste.
  4. Add the mutton and the powders, stir well, add a bit of water and pressure cook till just done.
  5. Open, add the cooked drumstick pieces and the coconut milk and give it a swirl. Let it heat up and dish out and serve with steaming hot basmati rice.

Murunga leaves (moringa in both Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia / Malay) are particularly good for health and googled images provide details.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 1.57.24 PM

This is one dish that will return to the table. Definitely. Apart from the various made with the leaves.

Images googled off the net, with thanks.

Dahi vadas aka dumplings in spiced yoghurt a la South India

Delish beyond belief. Now craving South Indian cuisine.

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  • curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 inch knob ginger
  • 2 green chilies (or more, according to taste)
  •  2 handfuls urud dhal, washed, cleaned and soaked for 6 hours or overnight in water
  1. Grind all of the above with minimum water added, adding it judiciously and a little at a time to get a batter that is thick and not runny, yet smoothly ground.
  2. Mix in salt
  3. Heat oil in a wok over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, drop rounded spoonfuls into the oil and fry till a golden brown, turning them over to even the browning. This will take a few minutes as the inside of the vadas or dumplings need to be cooked as well. Perhaps about 8 minutes ?
  4. Remove from the water, gently squeeze them till a bit dry and arrange in a dish.
  5. Drain on absorbent paper, then soak them in warm water for about 5 minutes. This will draw out the excess oil.
  • Yogurt
  • Water
  • Grated ginger
  • Cumin powder
  • Salt
  1. Whisk yogurt and water to a thick yet runny consistency, add the remaining ingredients.
  2. Pour over the dumplings.
  3. Tarka with urud dal, curry leaves, asephoetida (hing) powder – a pinch, mustard seeds and dried red chili.
  4. Remove from the heat and ad 1/2 tsp red chili powder into the hot oil.
  5. Pour over the yoghurt-vada mixture in dish.
  6. Garnish with plenty of chopped coriander.

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To die for.

Rice Dishes

Tried out a number of easy rice dishes, all good, all quickly done. You could either use a rice cooker or make it in a pan.

CoconutMilk

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Coconut Rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • big onions, chopped
  • green chili
  • cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt
  1. Sputter the cinnamon stick in hot oil, add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Mix the coconut milk and water, add and cook till just done.
  4. Tarka with mustard seeds, urud dal, dry red chilies, curry leaves.

 

Mushroom Rice

  • Big onions, chopped
  • garlic, chopped
  • 1 star anise
  • lots of sliced button mushrooms
  • chicken stock
  • green peas
  • lots of coriander leaves
  • salt
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups warm water

 

  1. Sputter the star anise in hot oil, add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. As it turns golden, add the mushrooms and peas and stir till just turned colour. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Add the coriander leaves and the chicken stock (either as liquid stock with the water, in which case adjust the amount of water accordingly, or crumble the stock cube into the rice).
  4. Add the water and cook till just done.

 

Mint Rice

  • Oil
  • Cumin seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Green chilies
  • Cloves
  • Big onions, chopped fine
  • lots of fresh, chopped mint leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati rice, washed, drained
  • 2 3/4 cups warm water
  1. Sputter the cloves in hot oil, add cumin and fennel. Then add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. As it turns golden, add lots of chopped mint and keep stirring till brown. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Add the water and cook till just done.

Pictures off the net, and thanks for the loan.

Murgh Methi Malai aka Chicken with Cream and Methi

This chicken dish was done in a very short time. The fresh fenugreek leaves made all the difference, I think, compared to the dried ones. Whatever the reason, this one is a winner.

  • 500g chicken breasts or thighs, cubed
  • 3 big onions, on the smaller side
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch knob of ginger
  • 2 or 3 green chilies
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) or a cup of chopped fresh leaves
  • 1 cup yoghurt, hung in muslin to get the thick curd
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 bay leaf

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  1. Grind the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies to a paste.
  2. Sputter the bay leaf in hot oil in a wok, add the ground mixture and keep stirring as you fry it over a medium flame till just brown.
  3. Add the chicken and saute for about 8 minutes, then add the yoghurt and a little warm water and cook for about 15 minutes or till done.
  4. Add the kasuri methi, pepper, garam masala and salt. Stir well, cook a bit more.
  5. Add the cream, swirl, and cook just a bit more.

Gosh, this was delish ! Went superbly with both naans and/or fragrant mint rice. Kudos to Mona, again.