Monday, March 29, 2010

Spicy Red Chillies Pappad in Onions & Coconut (Mirsaange Happla Kismuri)

Spicy Red Chillies in Onion & Coconut or Happala Kismuri are a desirable lunch or dinner accompaniment for me and my family. This recipe takes me back to night-time dinners when Mom used to ask me help her make this dish. I used to love crushing the Pappad's, the sheer 'crack' sound of Pappad used to get me amused. We used to relish eating this side dish with 'Paej' or 'Paez'. This recipe is little on spicier side; but relished to the core by everyone in the family, including my husband. The Happalams I like eating most of the times are sourced from Arathi Home Industries, Kundapur. Their Happalams are also available at Udupi & Mangalore local condiment stores.

My granny tells me that Gojju's and Kismuri's are the ancient way of cooking. They take less time to make plus most of the ingredients can be found in your pantry without a trip for grocery shopping. In olden days, especially in a joint family system, the ladies would gather on a terrace of the house or the central exposed portion (chowk) of the house with the Chakla-Belan and sun-dry arrays of Red Chillies Pappad on large plastic sheets. Kids would add their help by turning the sheets to areas where sun rays were at their blazing best. Mom made large batches of Pappad when we were kids. Apart from offering help here and there, I used to love blowing air into a freshly rolled Pappad, stuff some oil in a tiny aperture on the side, seal it completely and eat it, swallow and gobble till you enjoy the spicy thrill which comes along! All kids used to compete on which one could finish the process seamlessly. And all this cookery fun in a broad daylight with the scorching heat and blazing hot Sun!

Cooking time: 5 minutes
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Red Chillies Pappad or Mirsaange Happolu (konkani term) or Happalam - 6
Onions (finely chopped) - 1/2 cup
Grated coconut or Shredded coconut - 4-5 tablespoon
Green Chillies - 2
Coconut oil - 1-2 teaspoon
Salt - as per taste

Roast the Pappad on a Tawa/ Frying pan till they are evenly fried on both the sides. Immediately apply oil on the exposed side of Pappad and keep aside. Crush green chillies in grated coconut, add chopped onions and adjust salt. Hand crush the Pappad one by one and keep aside. While serving, add the crushed Pappad and mix well. Add oil if desired, otherwise omit this step. Serve as a side dish during lunch or dinner. Goes well with 'Paej' or 'Paez'.

Suggestion: Microwaved Pappad and Stove-Burner fried Pappad do not give the same flavour as Tawa-Fried ones. Moreover they puff up and do not remain flat upon frying as required for this recipe. Choose your medium of frying Pappad carefully as it makes a big difference to the final taste. For best results, choose good quality fresh or frozen grated coconut.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mashed Potatoes In Seasoned Coconut Sauce (Batata Gojju)

Simple dish for afternoon lunches - Potato Gojju. Sometimes when I go through - "what to cook" moments the Gojju's bail me out like a breeze. Easy to make, this side dish version can be replicated to many a favorite vegetables. The dish takes less than 15 minutes of cooking time.

I have also mentioned another Gojju version previously - Onion Gojju.

Preparation time: 20-25 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

Potato (boiled and mashed) - 3 cups
Grated coconut - 3-4 tablespoon
Green Chillies - 2
Tamarind lump - 1" piece
Salt - As per taste

For seasoning -
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 5-6 leaves
Oil - For frying

Boil Potatoes in a pressure cooker and allow to cool. Crush green chillies in grated coconut and tamarind with salt to paste. Add potatoes and adjust water as per consistency required. Heat oil in a small pan, add mustard seeds and one they begin to pop, add curry leaves. Turn off flame and pour this seasoning on the Gojju. Mix while serving. Serve as a side dish, tastes great with rice.

Suggestion: Transfer Potatoes immediately after the cooker cools else they absorb water rendering a soggy flavour to the Gojju. The seasoning has to be just right, if you burn the seasoning, the Gojju would catch the smoky flavour.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fish Fry in Red Paste ~ Goan Style

Fish Fry is a one of the prefered ways of cooking fish especially in western region of India where Fish is a significant part of any staple non-vegeterian diet. Coat them with Sooji or Semolina of choice with herbs and spices. Serve with a dash of lime juice and enjoy the delicate fillet melting in your mouth. This is my own interpretation of the Fish Fry in Red Paste I'd tasted long back. Unlike the conventional recipes, this one takes the longer route. Here, spices are ground, applied in abundance as a spice rub to the fish and pan-fried to the extent required.

Yield: 15-18 pieces from 3 fillets
Preparation time: 60 minutes
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes

Fish fillet of choice ~ Tilapia - 3 fillets ~ approx. 15-18 bites
Red Chillies (Byadgi variety) - 3-5
Ginger (minced) - 1 teaspoon
Garlic (minced) - 1 teaspoon
Red Chilli powder (optional) - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Black Pepper corn (whole) - 1/2 teaspoon
Brinda or Kokum shells or Sol/ Tamarind juice - 2-3 shells or 1 teaspoon
Sooji or Semolina - For coating the fish - 3-5 tablespoon
Oil - For frying

Lightly roast red chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and pepper corns with few teaspoons of oil. Allow to cool, grind to a fine paste, add ginger-garlic as well; grind with little or no water to a fine, smooth paste. End result would be a red paste, add red chilli powder if desired. Add salt and Kokum shells or Sol to the marinade. Soak the fish fillet, chopped into bite-sized pieces in this marinade and leave for 60 minutes.
Once done, coat the Fish pieces in Sooji and pan-fry using a frying pan with oil drizzled on sides for 10-15 minutes. Fish cooks faster so once done, poke a toothpick to check for doneness. Serve with lime wedges garnished on the side.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Grated Coconut Sweet (Coconut Vadi/ Naarlachi Vadi/ Soye Khadi)

Coconut Vadi is a sweet very popular in Western part of India. This easy-to-make recipe finds lot of importance in festival food preparation which is called as Falaar. Falaar is a combination of various sweets, snacks and appetisers made during Diwali or any important occasion like weddings, birth ceremony, etc finding lot of prominence in Marathi and Goan homes. Once prepared, different combinations of these are gifted to family, friends and relatives. Most of the dishes are home made and made from scratch.

Coconut Vadi or Naarlachi Vadi (Naaral = Coconut in Marathi, Vadi = square cut shaped eatable). Excess coconut in my house is used abundantly for the Vadi's. Its a little tricky dish because your sugar syrup consistency plays a vital role in deciding the taste, texture and firmness of the Vadi. I also love Tomato Khadi which I'll save for another post. I cut them with a lame hand owing to which the shape was not perfect, but lessons learnt. :) So I decided to share the recipe only if I found it blog worthy with a successful attempt. I did not add food color; prefer to keep it natural and organic, these tasted yummy!

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes
Yield: 10-12 pieces

Coconut (grated) fresh or frozen - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Skinless Cashew Nut (coarse powder) - 6-10 nuts
Water - For the sugar syrup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Food color of choice (optional) - 2-3 drops
Sliced Almonds/ Slivered Almonds - 2 tablespoon

Heat sugar and just enough water to cover sugar completely. Allow to caramelise into syrup. You will notice bubbles coming up and the sugar melting. Stir occasionally playing between low-to-medium flame. Once the sugar syrup reaches a one-thread consistency, add grated coconut and food color and keep stirring till the coconut gets collected and water evaporates completely. The best test would be take a drop of the syrup and stretch between thumb and index finger for one thread consistency. Take care not to burn your fingers. This whole process takes around 30-40 minutes.
On the side, grease a pan or a pyrex glass cake tray with ghee on the bottom surface and on the sides. Once the grated coconut is cooked completely, turn off flame. It will appear as a single lumpy consistency. Add Cardamom powder and give a stir. Spread on the pan and pat to get a flattened surface. Garnish with sliced almonds or silvered almonds. Once spread, cut into desired shapes and leave to cool. Remove after couple of hours. Store in air-tight containers.

Suggestion: These Vadi's do not contain milk. They have a shelf life of upto 1-1/2 week. Preferably store in refrigerator if dwelling in hot terrains or store them in air tight containers at room temperature. No need for refrigeration as well. Store them in air-tight containers for better taste and freshness.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fenugreek Leaves Mini Dosa (Methey Sanna Pole/ Methe Sanna Polo)

In my house, Mini Dosa's or Sanna Pole's are quite a common sight to see. So what is this Mini Dosa or Sanna Pole all about? These are mini tiny Dosa's made of Rice and Red Chillies with little coconut. This is a quintessential Konkani dish. I relish all my afternoon lunches with these tiny spicy and crisply fried rice pancakes. I recall long elaborate conversations with mom, aunts, granny and host of other relatives on the daily tit-bits and trivia's of life shared over these tiny cute things. These should not be confused wih the Goan Sanna's as they are a different entity all together. The batter (Peet) of this Dosa is very tasty and little bit on the spicier side. The only chore for this dish is the rice has to be soaked for good hours before the plumpy grains can comfortably break down in the blender. Some add lentils (Toor Daal) along with rice, I prefer the dosa with rice alone.

During the olden days when produce was scarce and commute was a big problem, this recipe was a big relief. Some smear the batter with the palm to make Mini dosa's on a hot frying pan giving it a perfect round shape. I use my trusted long wooden spreading spoon. Grind rice with red chillies, throw in a some spice, mix in chopped vegetables and voila! You are done with the dish! During my great grandmother's era, everyone had a cowdung smeared stove top for cooking. The ladies had a hollow rod which was used to ignite the spark and enable the wood to catch the flame to provide heat. Times have changes so much with lot of ease and convenience introduced into our kitchens.

Batter remains the same, change the vegetables to make Cabbage Dosa, Fenugreek Leaves Dosa, Drumstick leaves Dosa, Onion Dosa or mix all of these vegetables together as per your choice. These dosa's go well as side dish and make a crispy tasty fare with less oil. I personally prefer this tiny dosa's with Soupy Brown Rice or Paej as its called in Konkani. The batter should be used in 2 days max and once done stored in the refrigerator.

Yield: 6 Mini Dosa's
Preparation time: 240 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Fenugreek or Methi leaves (washed and chopped finely) - 2 - 2 1/2 cups
Dosa Rice (Sona Masoori variety) - 1/2 cup
Red Chillies (Byadgi variety preferred) - 5-6
Tamarind Juice - 1 teaspoon
Salt - As per taste
Grated coconut (fresh or frozen) - 2-3 tablespoons
Asafoetida - Just a pinch
Turmeric powder - Just a pinch
Oil - For frying

Wash rice till clear and pre-soak rice in water for 4-5 hours. Roast red chillies in a teaspoon of oil and mildly sweat them in oil till they are partially roasted for 2-3 minutes. Allow to cool. Grind along with Rice, Red Chillies, Tamarind, Turmeric powder, Salt and grated coconut to a coarse paste with very little water.

Mix the batter with chopped vegetable. Adjust salt and spice levels. Heat a shallow frying pan, take a spoonful of the batter mix and spread on the pan. Spread mini dosa batter as per capacity. Drizzle oil on the sides. Once cooked on sides, flip them over to other side and fry evenly on both the sides. The dosa's taste better if crunchy and little bit charred. Serve hot as a side dish along with rice and curry.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chana Dal In Jaggery Sweet Dish (Chana Dal & Kaju Madgane/ Mangane)

Ugadi or Gudi Padwa or Sanvsaar Paadvo is an auspicious occasion for all Hindus. In my home, we refer to this day as Sanvsaar Paadvo or Yugadi. Yugadi implies = Yug (era) + Aadi (beginning) = Beginning of an era [Source - Wiki]. For us, there is huge amount of preparation for this festival day. The previous day the entire house is cleaned, prepared and decked up for the festival.

The important contraptions in the house are cleaned, tied with Paddy stalks (called as Navve Bandoochey in Konkani). This signifies the harvest which is reaped and the joy of embracing the produce and giving it, its due importance in the household. Most of the time, we used to source the Paddy stalks from the local farmers. Previous day, Mom used to incessantly sit and finish stitching the containers for Khotte, made from Jackfruit leaves and stitched together with dried curry leaves stem. Essentially, breakfast comprised of Khotte-Chutney. I recall from early morning, Mom used to slog in the kitchen, while I used to pitch in with some help here and there. Before breaking the fast, we used to treat ourselves with Bella-Bevu: Neem Leaves known as Bevu in Kannada language and Jaggery known as Bella in Kannada. Luckily, we had a Neem sapling in our house garden. Mom used to saute the Neem leaves in ghee and we all used to eat chunks of Jaggery and crunchy Neem leaves before breakfast. As much as I hated it as a kid, now I understand the religious sanctity of these rituals.

Lunch would typically comprise of Rice (Sheet), Lentils (Daalithoi), Side dish (Tendle-Bibbe Upkari), Salad (Toushey Hullal), Curry (Tendle-Bibbe Daali Aambat), Fritters (Phodi of choice - Breadfruit, Bitter Gourd, Kantola) and the final icing on the cake - sweet dish or dessert - Madgane which is Chana Daal cooked with Jaggery and Cashew nuts. The entire day diet is observed with No Garlic and Onion rule.

Apart from all the regular Yugadi dishes, I made Madgane because its a traditional sweet dish which we make at home on the occasion of Yugadi. In Goa, this dish is known as Mangane. This was my sweet little way to connect to our traditions in a far away land. These are little things which connect you to your roots, keep you more grounded, in sync with your past. Needless to say, we enjoyed the festival food.

On a separate note, my first ever guest post made an appearance on Deepa's food site:

You can check my guest post on a Konkani recipe on: South Canara GSB Konkani ~ A Daily Vegeterian Meal. Click here for the essay which explores the nuts and bolts of a daily vegeterian meal followed by a recipe on Raw Jackfruit Fry - Kadgee Phodi. Thanks Deepa for giving me an opportunity to write on an essay on a cuisine which is so dear to me and my family. I really appreciate the gesture of goodwill. What better way than have lots of Food loving individuals bonding over a healthy chatter of food, produce, spices and stories related to food.

Happy Gudi Padva/ Yugadi to all!!

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

Chana Daal or Split Dalia - 1 1/2 cups
Jaggery (molten or broken into pieces) - 1 cup
Cardamom powder - 6-8 pods
Rice flour - 2 tablespoon
Coconut thick milk - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Coconut thin milk - 1 cup
Water - as per consistency

Grind grated coconut with water and extract coconut milk. The first extract is thick and known as thick milk, the second and third extracts are thin milk. Set aside.
Soak Chana Dal and Cashew nuts in water overnight for 8-10 hours. Next day pressure cook them for 4-5 whistles. In a deep dish pan, cook Chana Daal with Jaggery. Once jaggery melts completely and the mixture is an even consistency, add the thin milk and stir gently. Take care to ensure the mixture does not stick the bottom of saucepan.
Bring to boil, and add thick coconut milk towards the end. Adjust the taste and consistency of water as per requirement. Bring to a complete boil, check if cooked and turn off the flame. Garnish with lot of cardamom powder. It enables in balancing the sweet texture of jaggery with a little spicy flavour. Serve hot or chilled as per choice.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paneer Dum Biryani 1.0 (With Yogurt)

After having learnt the basic approach to cooking Biryani; I know love to experiment with different mediums and vegetables, meat, condiments to take the flavour to the next level. I chose a one-pot--dish to satisfy the hunger within stipulated time. I prefer Biryani over weekends, makes cooking easier and a wholesome home cooked dish full of flavour, vegetables or meat with few hours of labor.

I thought of Paneer Biryani which is easy and convenient. I clubbed it with Shan Pilaf-Biryani masala and cooked Paneer in Yogurt which offered good texture. I twisted the flavour at few places to create Hyderabadi style Dum Biryani with spices, condiments which complement Paneer. So I placed weight on the Biryani stock-pot and sealed the sides with foil to prevent the steam from escaping. The Biryani was just perfect.

Preparation time: 60 minutes including cooking time for Rice
Cooking time: 10-15 minutes
Yield: 6-10 servings

Cooking Rice:
Basmati Rice - 1 and 1/2 cups
Oil - a teaspoon
Salt - As per taste

Paneer Gravy:
Paneer (pre-fried) - 200 gms
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1+1 = 2 tablespoon
Tomato (chopped) - 1 cup
Red Onions (thinly sliced) - 3 cups
Yogurt - 2 tablespoon
Cloves - 3-4
Cardamom - 1
Black Cardamon (Badi Elaichi) - 1
Cinnamon stick (Flat Indian variety) - 1 stick (browen into bits)
Ghee - 3 tablespoon
Salt - as per taste
Shan Pilaf-Biryani Masala - 2 tablespoon or Home made Biryani masala recipe

Biryani Masala: Grind to powder - Yields 2 tablespoon
Fennel seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Black Cumin seeds or Shahjeera - 1/2 teaspoon
Mace (Javitri) - 2
Poppy seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon stick (Flat Indian variety) - 1
Cardamom - 2
Black Cardamon (Badi Elaichi) - 1
Caraway seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cloves - 3-4
Nutmeg (grated) - 1/3rd of a Nutmeg

Red Food color (optional) - 1/2 teaspoon
Saffron (crushed in milk) - few strands
Milk - 3-5 tablespoon
Garam Masala powder - 2 teaspoon
Nutmeg (grated) - 1

1. Cooking Rice - Wash Basmati rice multiple times till the water is clear. Soak rice in water for 1/2 hour if possible. Cook rice in water with 1:1 1/2 proportion, with one teaspoon oil and salt. Once rice is done, spread on a long tray and separate with a fork if the need be. The drier the freshly cooked rice, the better.
Also, soak Saffron strands in some warm milk and set aside. Crush them lightly with pestle and mortar to get the heavenly color in milk.
2. Paneer Gravy - Heat a tablespoon of Ghee in a deep dish pan; saute cloves, cardamon and cinnamon sticks in them till the ghee turns fragrant. Saute onions till they wilt and are soft. Add Tomatoes, mash them to get a good dry consistency. Add in the ginger-garlic paste and saute well. Once the gravy is well fried, and oil oozes out, add the Biryani masala, Paneer pieces and saute to get an even consistency (I had pre-fried Paneer in little ghee and set it aside after thawing to room temperature). Turn off the flame, mix in the yogurt well and set aside.
3. Assembly - Take a deep dish stock pot. Transfer on low flame (this is key, do not turn flame to medium or high) and add a spoon of ghee, allow to melt. Add a layer of 1/3rd of cooked rice and paneer gravy. Mix the rice and Paneer well. Sprinkle Garam masala powder and some grated nutmeg on top of the layer. Add another layer of 2nd portion of cooked rice, sprinkle nutmeg powder and garam masala powder again. Add the last portion of cooked rice, sprinkle red food color on top of it. Slather few spoons of ghee, add crushed saffron milk. Cover the lid tightly and place some weight, much better if you can seal the sides for 5-7 minutes with a wheat flour dough or foil. Turn off flame after 5-7 minutes. Take a side scoop of Biryani and enjoy with Mirchi Ka Saalan or Raita of choice.

Verdict: The taste of Biryani was awesome and restaurant style. More often than not Biryani has a dry texture, to combat that I ensured the Paneer pieces get coated with Yogurt. Also the Saffron Milk hydrates the Rice while getting cooked on Dum thereby keeping the rice moist. Since I layered rice in different colors of white rice, yellow rice and red rice, it came out visually rich and appealing. This is a high-calorie recipe. For better taste and flavour, do not compromise on ghee.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Udupi Mattu Gulla or Udupi Brinjal - An Essay

The story of Udupi Brinjal or Gulla begins with a key figure, a saint named Swami Vaadiraja. In Udupi, a special variety of Brinjal is known as Mattu Gulla or Matti Gulla. This is a heirloom variety of seed with a 100+ year old legacy and age; grows only in the land of Udupi at a small village named Mattu, located near Udayavar. This story was narrated to me by my mother. Swami Vaadiraja used to offer a delicacy prasad named Hayagreeva Maddi to Lord Hayagreeva, a white horse lord. Hayagreeva Maddi is a sweet delicacy made of Bengal Gram, Jaggery, Ghee and Grated Coconut. Incidentally, this is my mothers favorite sweet as well. Vaadiraja used to offer the offering everyday to Lord Hayagreeva. This Maddi was kept on his head and the horse-shaped lord would partake some portion of it and leave some for Vaadiraja.

Some devotees who did not get to eat the Maddi plotted a plan and mixed poison in one such preparation. As usual, Vaadiraaja offered the offering to Lord Hayagreeva and no sooner he had a portion of it, he turned blue. Lord Hayagreeva did not leave any morsel for Vaadiraaja and cleaned the bowl. Incidentally, the Udupi Krishna idol turned blue. The same night around, Vaadiraaja had a dream that few seeds of a brinjal ought to be given to Udupi village farmers hailing from a place named Mattu. They would be required to harvest a crop and offer the Mattu Gulla or Brinjal to Lord Krishna. The Brinjal would serve as a remedy for extracting the poison off the lord. Promptly, the farmers sowed the seeds, harvested the crop and offered the Gulla to Lord Krishna and thereby the poison removed. This is the famous folklore associated with the origin of Mattu Gulla.

This Brinjal came to be known as the famous Mattu Gulla or Matti Gulla. This Brinjal is green in colors opposed to conventional blue Brinjals. The crown of the Brinjal has thorns on it and this Brinjal grows only in the land of Udupi. The Brinjal has a spherical, oblong apperance with a light and dark green hue as shown in the picture. The other picture is a successful attempt to harvest a Mattu Brinjal grown at a friends place in Udupi in the nascent stage. Even to this date, the villagers come from Mattu to Udupi Krishna Math before sowing the seeds. Once the crop is done and the harvest is ready, the first harvest is offered to Udupi Krishna Math, Udupi and then sold in markets and commercial areas. The Gulla once immersed in water oozes a blackish liquid and hence the water turns black.

Recently, the Udupi Brinjal was in news for lot of reasons. Apparently, the genetic modification of the crop would result in loss of the original composition and makeup of the the famous Brinjal. I was sad to note this as I have been eating the delicious, rare, green Brinjals ever since I was a kid. Hope the centre takes a firm decision to abhor and stop the practice thereby giving the Brinjals their unique identity and status for which they are well known for.

We make lot of delicacies of Brinjal like Stuffed Brinjal (Gulla Puddi Sagley), Gulla Fritters (Gulla Bajey), Gulla Sambhar (Gulla Kolmbo). My granny awaits the Gulla season to arrive so that the enture family can sample a piece of this tradition which has a rich legacy and saga associated with it. She has one old lady Farmer who supplies us with Gulla straight from farm since last 25 years; every year when the harvest season completes, she first comes to our place because she knows half of her supply would dwindle in a minute. I hope and pray that the genetic modification battle ends on its own without hampering the originality and the genetic makeup of this great vegetable which we all adore in my family.

Update - [Further to this post getting published, a good samaritan send me a link on the whole debate of genetic modification of Matti Gulla. The need for Mattu Gulla to attain a GI Status, Geographical Indication is the crux of the debate. The sad part is the Brinjal would lose its essence should the GI status be opted for, owing to further propagation of the modified form of Brinjal which leads me to believe that the original taste and flavour of the Brinjal would be compromised for. I know that having eaten vegetables for ages this need not be a big issue but considering the various marvels of technology and the bane it brings along, this is just the beginning. The day is not far when most of the vegetables which we consume are genetically modified and revolutionised to a great degree beyond recognition. The taste would be a far cry from what you consumed as a child. My empathy goes to the hard working Farmers who would lose out a great share of the productivity pie if the move gets replicated to other vegetables leave alone the good old Brinjal. The article and subject matter details can be found on this article]

Friday, March 5, 2010

Plantain Curry in Spicy Coconut Paste (Kele Koddel)

A simple Konkani curry for simpler afternoon lunches. Plantain Curry In Spicy Coconut Paste or Kele Koddel has been my childhood favorite. Time and again, I used to insist this dish to be cooked just because I loved eating the spicy cooked Plantains.

I used the short, green plantain variety which has a thick bark. It can be stored in fridge for few days is you wish to push the ripening process. If the skin goes black, don't bother,the plantain can still be used after stripping off few layers of the skin. Its a simple curry with no jazz and loads of nutrition. Best tastes if fresh grated coconut used and not the frozen variety. The Garlic seasoning offers the much required aromatic closure to this dish.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Unripe Green Skinned Plantain (sliced into 1/4th " thickness pieces) - 2 or 3 cups sliced
Grated coconut - 3/4th cup
Red Chillies - 6-7
Tamarind juice - 2 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 1/3rd teaspoon
Water - For gravy consistency
Salt - as per taste

For seasoning -
Garlic (crushed) - 5-6 pods
Oil - For frying

Trim the head and tail end of Unripe Plantains and strip off the first layer of thick green skin on the surface. This leaves with a starchy and stringy layer which needs to be retainedon the vegetable. Further, slice the plantain into pieces of 1/4th" thickness and boil in water with 1/3rd teaspoon turmeric. Boil till Plantain gets cooked completely. If using Indian Plantains, you could cook them directly in gravy and skip this step and Indian plantains cook faster.

Roast red chillies in oil, allow to cool. Grind with grated coconut, tamarind juice and salt. Add enough water for grinding consistency. Boil the ground paste and add boiled plantain pieces. Bring to boil and simmer on low flame for 10-15 minutes. Once completely cooked, turn off the flame. In a small deep dish saucepan, heat couple of spoons of coconut oil and saute crushed garlic in them till they are browned. Pour this seasoning on the curry. Serve hot with warm rice as a side dish.

Suggestion: Crushed Garlic oozes the oil which offers the much required seasoned aroma to the curry. Retain the skin of the Garlic if you wish to for more flavour. This is my granny's tip.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chinese Cucumber Dosa or Crepes (Magge Polo/ Southekai Dosa)

Magge Polo or Southekai Dosa - A Dosa variety which is my childhood favorite, enjoyed by many owing to the occasional vegetable taste and the simplicity of the recipe. Polo in Konkani is Dosa. Chinese Cucumber or Magge as its known in Konkani is a regular vegetable in our house. I like mixing this vegetable wtih curries, dosa's et al. This recipe is followed by many a folks in my house. The batter does not require fermentation, can be made the previous day if you want to enjoy hot dosa's for morning breakfast. This Dosa can be enjoyed with a single flip, you need not fry it on both the sides. For best taste, fry it with ghee, better if its home made one and not oil. Serve with Chutney Pood or dry chutney powder liked Puddi Chutney.

Cooking time: 2-3 minutes
Preparation time: 120 minutes
Yield: Around 15-20 Dosa's

Chinese Cucumber (skin peeled, de-seeded and chopped) - 3/4th cup
Rice (Sona Masoori or Dosa rice) - 3/4th cup
Grated coconut - 2 tablespoons
Salt - as per taste
Water - For consistency
Ghee - For frying

Wash and soak the rice in water for 2-3 hours. Grind the rice, grated coconut and Chinese Cucumber pieces. While adding in the blender, add the cucumber first, then the coconut and then the rice. This causes minimum damage to your blender as cucumber has high water content. Grind to a batter with salt which is of buttermilk consistency and not as thin as Neer Dosa batter. It should be in-between. Store over night in refrigerator, use the next day around or immediately as per choice. Pour a ladle full of batter on a heated dosa frying pan, slather ghee on sides. Fry only on one side till the dosa is completely cooked. Serve hot with Chutney of choice.