Some Indian Food recipes and Kitchen Tips

Tips on Indian Cooking

When I started cooking first I had to learn everything by trial and error. These are some of my recipes for my daughters who are both newly married [:-)] whenever they feel nostalgic for Mom's cooking. Others are also welcome !

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Urulaikizhangu (Potato) Masala

Pressurecook two potatoes.
Cool, peel and mash them.
Mix two cups of water, 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Keep aside.
Potatoes should be mashed and a few pieces can be left as small pieces to provide texture to the dish.
Heat 2 tsp of any veg oil. Crackle in quick succession, 1 tsp mustard, 1 tsp urad dal and 1 tsp channa dal. When the dals are golden, put in 7-8 curry leaves, 1 inch piece of ginger sliced into thin strips, 3 green chillis slit lengthwise and 2 medium sized onions, sliced.
Saute well till onions are transparent (not brown). Pour in the potato mixture. Let it come to boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes till all are blended.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with Dosas (for masala dosa) or with puris (for Puri-kizhangu).

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Easy Chicken Masala

For making chicken masal from 1/2 kg Chicken.

Cut the chicken into medium pieces. Wash and drain.

Apply a paste of

1 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt

Shallow fry the following ingredients adding them to the pan in the same order, in 2 tsp of oil in a pan.

(a) 1tsp pepper corns, 1 tsp Aniseeds, 1 inch piece cinnamon, 2 cloves

(b) 10 cloves of garlic and 2 medium onions, sliced

(c) 3 medium sized tomatoes cut into pieces+ 1 tsp salt

Saute all the above till the tomatoes are done. Cool and grind into a paste.

Apply this on the marinating chicken and mix well.

Cook the mixture in a pressure cooker till it is done.

Take it off the heat, bring down the pressure and open the lid. Simmer for five minutes on low heat, with the lid open. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

With almost no oil, this is a healthy variation of the Indian chicken curry.

Fish Fry

For frying 4 medium slices of fish (king fish):

Mix the following:

2 tsp of chilli powder

1 tsp of coriander powder

1/2 tsp of turmeric powder

Salt to taste

2 tsp of vinegar (or 1 tsp of thick tamarind juice or juice of half lemon)

Clean, wash and dry fish slices and apply the above paste on both sides of the fillets. Keep aside to marinate for sometime.

**You can add this paste for a variation. It makes the fish fry without giving off 'fishy' smell.

(Optional) Grind to a paste: A handful of small (sambar) onions 1 tsp Jeera (cumminseed) 1 Tablespoon of coconut gratings (or 3 cloves of garlic and 1/4 inch piece of ginger) . Add to the above spice mix.

**You can use the lemon pepper ready spice mix available in USA. Just apply it on both sides (checking for salt to your taste), spray cooking oil on both sides and grill the fish. Totally oil free method of preparing any fish! (Shown in the picture)

Marinate for 1-2 hours.

To use less oil, follow this method to fry the fish.(Usually people deepfry fish.)

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a non-stick flatbottomed pan. When hot, slide in the pieces of fish onto the oil and cover with a lid. Keep on high heat for for 2 minutes. Remove the lid, turn over the pieces and cook again for 2 minutes on high heat, with the lid again in place. Remove lid and turn the pieces gently over again to brown them further (one minute).

When golden brown, keep it on a paper towel for the excess oil to be absorbed.

Masala Fish Fry

A different version of the masala which is a recipe from our Keralite relatives and tastes awesome!
Use a tbsp of thick tamarind water to grind the following into a wet paste.
Grind together:
Coconut Gratings 2 tablespoon
Aniseeds (saunf, sombu) 2 tsp
Garlic 3 pieces
Ginger 1/2 inch piece, peeled
Chilli Powder  2 tsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Apply the paste on the washed and cleaned fish (for 1/4 kg slices). fry using the method given above.

Microwave Fish Fry
 If you want a still healthier option, cook it in a microwave oven for three minutes and later brown it on a skillet with less oil (one or two tsp, just enough to provide the fried look).

Friday, January 04, 2008

Adai-Our family's special recipe

The usual adai you eat in the hotels is different from this one.

Wash and soak 1 cup of parboiled (idli rice) rice separately. Wash and soak in water, 1/3 cup of Channa Dal, 1/3 cup of Tur Dal, 1/3 cup of Moong Dal and 1 tsp of Urad dal, in another vessel.

After an hour or two (when the rice and dals are soft), wash them again. Take the rice, 3 dried red chillies, 1 tsp of aniseeds, 1 clove and 1 inch piece of cinnamon and grind in a mixer until it is a coarse paste. Now put in the washed dal also into the mixer and grind them all till the mix is still coarse but a little finer than before.

Add salt to taste, 1 very finely chopped onion, 1 tb sp of chopped coriander leaves and a few curry leaves, chopped finely. Blend well with enough water to make it a pouring consistency (like for rava Dosa).

Heat a dosa tava (flat pan) with a tsp of oil coated on the surface to medium heat. Pour a ladle ful of the batter into a circle, starting from the edge so that it flows into the centre and forms a dosa. Fill in the in-between spaces also with the batter. Pour a tsp of oil around the edges. Lower the heat and cook till it is done on one side (about two minutes) and turn it over. Turn the heat to medium again. Cook till the other side is also done. Now one adai is ready and the pan will be heated for the next one.

The adai will be golden in colour, thin and crisp. Serve hot with any coconut or green chutney or table butter.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Mutton Kozhambu

Mutton Korma

  • Take 1/2 kg of mutton , cut into 1 inch pieces. Wash it thoroughly in running water and drain it.
  • Apply 1 tsp of chilli powder, 2 tsp of coriander powder and 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  • Let it marinate for half an hour.
  • Cook it in a pressure cooker with 2 cups of water, 1 sliced onion, 1 chopped tomato and 1/2 inch piece of ginger for 20 minutes.
  • Cool it. In the meantime, heat a pan with 2 tsp of oil. Put in one piece of cinnamon, 2 pieces of cloves and 1 tsp of aniseeds, powdered coarsely. In quick succession, put in a few curry leaves, 6 cloves of crushed garlic, 1 finely chopped onion (Tip-use Madras sambar onion for this, if available) and saute well till golden brown.
  • Add one chopped tomato (country tomato, if available) and fry till oil separates. (Tip- Add 1/2 tsp of salt here to soften the tomato and it will get cooked into a paste soon).
  • Now pour the cooked mutton into the pan and let it come to boil. Simmer it till it is thicker.
  • Grind 1/4 cup of coconut (If coconut is not available, substitute 2 tbsp of dessicated coconut or another 2 tsp of fried gram), 2 tsp of fried gram and 1 tsp of aniseeds to a fine paste with very litle water.
  • Add it to the simmering gravy and stir well till it is absorbed into the gravy. Simmer for 5 more minutes on low heat and take it off the heat.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with rotis or rice.
Variation from our hometown:
Mutton Kozhambu
Measurement of all ingredients as above. Tamarind will be an additional ingredient.
Pressurecook the mutton with turmeric powder, 1 cup of peeled shallot (sambar onion), 1 chopped country tomato and 1 inch piece of crushed ginger. Cool and add the juice of half lemon-sized tamarind and salt to taste. Keep aside.
Heat 2 tsp of oil. Put in 1 tsp of crushed aniseed, 1 piece of star anise and 1/2 tsp of 'kadal paasi' (optional).
Keep stirring on low heat while you do the next steps in cooking.
Put in a few curry leaves. Add 6 cloves of chopped garlic and 1/2 chopped onion. Stir and add 2 tsp of chilli powder and 2 tsp of coriander powder. Add the cooked mutton mix with the stock and bring it to boil. You can add vegetables like brinjal, drumstick, potatoes or radish (all cut into medium sized pieces) and let it simmer on medium heat, till the veggies are cooked. Stir now and then and keep the vessle covered with a small part uncovered for the steam to escape.
Add a paste of 2 inch piece of coconut (optional), 3 tsp of fried gram, 1 tsp of aniseeds, 1 clove and 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon. Bring it to boil on medium heat, stirring it for about 3 minutes and take it off the heat when it starts to boil. Serve hot with rice.

Another variation. Potato Mutton Masala

In the mutton korma recipe above, add half cup of washed channa dal when you cook the mutton in the pressure cooker. 
Again add two peeled, washed, and cubed potatoesto the cooked mutton when the pressure cooker cools and proceed with the cooking. This variation is good for making korma in larger quantity with less mutton.

Chicken Fry

Ingredients are given in red colouring as the recipe goes.

Take 1/2 kilo of chicken cut into medium sized pieces. Trim and throw away skin and the accompanying fatty portions.

Wash the chicken two times and drain it at once. (Cooking Tip-Always wash meat one or two times in running water and don't let it soak in water as meat absorbs water and retains it).

Pwder 1 inch piece of cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1 tsp of pepper, 1 tsp of cummin seeds and 1 tsp of aniseeds. Grind 2 onions (cut into pieces), 6 cloves of garlic, 1 inch piece of ginger, 1 tomato-quartered and a few sprigs of coriander leaves. Mix both these with 1 tsp chilli powder, 3 tsp Dhania powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and salt to taste.

Apply it onto the chicken and let it marinate for 2-3 hours.

Pressure cook it for 10 minutes. Let it cool. Or you can cook it in the microwave oven, covered.

Healthier version without oil:

Put it into a heavy boottomed pan (or use the pressure pan if you had used one) and let it reduce to a thick gravy and the oil separates. (Tip-If the chicken is already over cooked, take out the pieces and keep them in a dish. You can add the pieces to the pan when the gravy is thicker and almost done.)

For kids, tastier version:-)
Take out the chicken pieces and fry them lightly in any veg based-oil and add them to the gravy when it is thick. To make it healthier you can roast them in an oven with a spray of oil and then add them to the dish.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice or rotis.