Thursday, August 07, 2008

Weekend Gastronomy

Away from all the mountains and precipices, forests and deserts, gorges and gullies my weekend was, almost, spent in the infernal kitchen. It was both good and bad, good for it was too hot to do any hikes...mercury levels are well above 40 degrees; bad for the same reason, the kitchen was indeed infernal to spend so much time.

Now you might be wondering what gastronomical Satan had entered me that I cooked so much, there are multiple reasons. Wife of a certain Mexican friend, threatened his life to cook something without any animal in it and this friend knew nothing other than baking beef on barbecue. He turned to me for help and I agreed. Secondly in the evening we had planned a surprise birthday party of an Indian friend. Normally in such Desi parties, we have the "one dish from each home" practice and I had to contribute my part. And finally on Sunday, it was our mundane cooking for dinner and Monday's lunch.

Off late, I've started showing too much interest in culinary activities. Not that I've said good bye to writing or photographing, but cooking has become one of my favourite pastime activities. So I shall be dishing out recipes for some of the dishes which I learnt from various sources - mom, friends, Internet and a great extent from self-experimentation and this particular article would kick start the gastronomy part of my blog. It's gonna be both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, south and north Indian and sometimes international. I will try my best to find the English equivalents for most dishes and ingredients, but I can't assure you that. Don't forget to try it out and write to me the feedback and suggestions for improvement. Bon Appetite!

I made broccoli fry, tamarind rice and mashed potato to save my friend's life; made egg-curry for the aforementioned birthday party and DoNmeNasinkaayi majjige huLi (Capsicum in curds) for our Sunday dinner. Below are the recipes for those.

Broccoli fry

Ingredients:
  • Broccoli (cleaned and stripped)
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic
  • Pepper powder
  • Green Chilies (slit vertically)
  • Lime
Procedure:
Heat a table spoon of olive oil, put the slit chilies and garlic. Once the garlic cloves turn brownish, add the broccoli. Make sure that water is fully drained from broccoli after cleaning it. Saute the broccoli for 2 minutes on high flame. Sprinkle required amount of salt and pepper powder. Switch off the flame and squeeze in lime. Thing to remember is not to fry broccoli for long time since broccoli loses both its nutrition and taste. It's more of a Chinese dish, which I learnt from self-experimentation.

Tamarind Rice (Not Puliogre)

Ingredients:
  • Onions (finely chopped)
  • Mustard seeds
  • Bengal gram
  • Urad dhal (white lentils)
  • Peanuts
  • Sambar powder
  • Turmeric
  • Curry Leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • Tamarind
  • Cooked white rice
  • Coriander leaves (finely chopped)
Procedure:
Soak a medium sized lump of tamarind in water and keep it aside. Heat a tablespoon of oil and add mustard seeds, urad dhal, bengal gram, peanuts and curry leaves. When urad dhal turns brownish, add chopped onions and some turmeric. After the onions are soft, add sambar powder, salt and tamarind juice and a bit of water and allow the mixture to boil and subsequently reduce to paste. Add the cooked white rice and mix well, garnish with coriander leaves and serve it with plain curds or raita. Now this one is not any typical dish of any place, I learnt it from my mother and is a good change for the ubiquitous chitranna (lemon rice).

Mashed Potato

Ingredients:
  • Potatoes
  • Onions (chopped)
  • Ginger (finely chopped)
  • Green Chilies (finely chopped)
  • Mustard seeds
  • Bengal gram
  • Cumin seeds (jeera)
  • Urad dhal (white lentils)
  • Turmeric
  • Curry Leaves
  • Olive Oil
  • Coriander leaves (finely chopped)
Procedure:
Pressure cook the potatoes (Tip: Cutting potatoes into halves or quarters would accelerate the cooking, don't forget to add salt) for about 20-25 minutes. Peel-off the potatoes after cooling, mash and keep aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil. Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dhal, bengal gram, curry leaves, chilies and ginger. After the urad dhal turns brown, add chopped onions, turmeric, salt and fry the entire mixture until onions are sufficiently cooked. Add mashed potatoes and mix well. Saute the mixture for about 2-3 minutes, garnish with chopped coriander leaves. This is a typical south Indian dish which goes well with dosa, chapathi, tortillas. It forms a good side dish with rice and rasam too.

Egg Curry

Ingredients:
  • Eggs
  • Onions (chopped or blended)
  • Tomatoes (chopped or blended)
  • Ginger (finely chopped)
  • Garlic (finely chopped)
  • Green Chilies (slit vertically)
  • Cumin seeds (jeera)
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric
  • Garam masala
  • Chili powder
  • Olive Oil
  • Coriander leaves (finely chopped)
Procedure:
Boil, peel, cut the eggs into halves and keep aside. Heat 2 table spoons of oil, add cumin seeds, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and chilies. After garlic turns brown, add chopped onions and fry it until it's well cooked (the raw smell of onion should disappear). Add blended tomato, salt, turmeric, chilli powder, garam masala and little water, keep the vessel closed until it starts boiling. Add the eggs and cook for about 4-5 minutes on low flame. Garnish with coriander. It's a north Indian dish and goes very well with rotis, chapathis, tortillas or with biriyani.

DoNmeNasinkaayi majjige huLi (Capsicum in curds)

Ingredients:
  • Capsicum a.k.a Bell peppers
  • Coconut
  • Curry leaves
  • Mustard seeds
  • Red/Dry chilies
  • Cumin seeds
  • Curds
  • Asafoetida (hing)
  • Turmeric
  • Olive Oil
  • Coriander leaves (finely chopped)
Procedure:
Grind the coconut fine in a mixer and set aside. Heat a tablespoon of oil and fry the finely cut capsicum. In a deep vessel dilute curds with water, add the ground coconut, fried capsicum, curry leaves and required amount of salt and start heating. Once the mixture starts boiling, switch off the flame. In a small ladle, heat a teaspoon of oil, add mustard seeds and allow it to pop, add red chilies and asafoetida; add the whole thing into the mixture slowly (adding it fast would splash the mixture due to intense heat) and garnish with coriander. Tastes great with white rice accompanied by pickle. This one again is typical south Indian and I found it on thatskannda.com website.
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