Monday, March 26, 2012

A Work Of Art

Steamed Whole Cauliflower

This is 'the' recipe I love to make to impress my guests. It's relatively simple and looks fabulous as a centre piece. It's great fun watching the guests as they contemplate being the first to dig into this Work Of Art.

The Recipe

1 whole cauliflower, medium size - soak in enough water to cover the cauliflower for 15 minutes with 1 tsp salt. Drain.
1 tsp jeera seeds; 2 tbsp oil; salt to taste; coriander leaves for garnish; 1/2 cup water.
For Masala 1 medium onion; 2 medium tomatoes; 1 small piece ginger; 3 flakes garlic; 1 tsp coriander powder;1/4 tsp turmeric powder; 1 tsp chilli powder. Grind all these ingredients to a smooth paste.

Steam cauliflower for 15 to 20 minutes until skewer or fork can be easily inserted into the cauliflower. Keep warm on serving dish.

Heat oil in a nonstick pan and add the jeera seeds. Lower flame when they begin to sputter and add the ground masala. Stir fry till the masala leaves the sides of the pan and the oil begins to ooze out. This will take a few minutes. Add salt to taste. Now stir in the water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute and pour over the cauliflower. Scatter the coriander leaves around the cauliflower. Let the masala seep into the cauliflower before serving as a side dish for dinner.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bangers And Mash

Tribute to Sophia Loren & Peter Sellers

The song Bangers & Mash by Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren used to send me into fits of laughter each time I heard it on the radio. My Mum made vermicelli and macaroni at home but what was minestrone and tagliatelli? I had no idea. At that time there was no internet and cookery books were rare. All I know is the song had me in fits each time I heard it and it was years later that I had the opportunity to actually cook Italian food. I can even pronounce the words and unlike the song where native food causes marital disharmony, in our house Minestrone is a roaring success.

Minestrone is a thick soup of Italian origin made with vegetables like beans, onions, celery, carrots, stock, and tomatoes often with the addition of pasta or rice. (I prefer pasta and use tinned tomato puree). There are many recipes for minestrone, since it is usually made out of seasonal vegetables (I use carrots, French beans, onions & celery). . It can be vegetarian or made with chicken broth as well. I like to add hard boiled eggs to make the meal more filling.Minestrone is as popular as pasta on Italian tables.

The Recipe
1 cup celery, onion, carrots and French beans, minced fine; 3 flakes garlic, minced;
1 cup whatever pasta is in your kitchen; 1 cup tinned tomato puree; 2 chicken soup cubes. 1 cup boiled chicken, shredded; 2 tbsp olive oil; ¼ cup warm water; 2 cups water;1tsp Italian herbs ;2 tbsp grated cheese.

Stir fry finely minced onion, celery and carrot in olive oil until golden brown. Add chicken and gently fry for a minute. Add soup cubes dissolved in ¼ cup warm water and mix well. Stir in the tomato puree, pasta & water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer until thick- about 15 minutes- on a low flame stirring all the while. Add herbs, season with pepper and salt if desired. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with grated cheese. Garnish with hard boiled eggs cut in half. Not only looks good on your table but fills up the empty spaces in your stomach.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Best

Working Woman's Speedy Prawns

Things have a way of piling up on the weekends and one needs to have some quick, speedy recipes at hand. Especially when one has to spend more time on preparation than cooking. This is one such recipe. Throw it together and serve it up on busy days. You could also serve it to kick off a party.

The Recipe

18 tiger prawns, washed, deveined, heads removed- retain tails for decoration; 1 Maggi soup cube dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water; 1/2 tsp white pepper powder; 2 flakes crushed garlic; 1 1/2 tsp cornflour mixed in 1 1/2 cup water; 2 tbsp olive oil; coriander leaves for garnishing.

Heat olive oil in a large non stick pan and stir fry crushed garlic for a minute until golden brown. Add the prawns and cook till pink and curled up. Pour in the dissolved soup cube and stir well. Next lower flame and quickly stir in the mixed cornflour. Keep on heat until the mixture thickens and begins to simmer. Keep stirring gently for 1 minute. Add seasoning- white pepper powder and salt if required. Transfer to serving plate and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with noodles.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Glady's Brown Stew

Nazareth Convent Treat

This is a recipe my mother learnt while studying International Cuisine at Nazareth Convent, Mangalore way back in the 1950's. All her recipes were tried and tested and moreover hand written evoking memories of an era bygone. As children, all of us spent hours pouring over her cookbooks, writing our names against recipes or simply conjuring images of the feasts within those ordinary covered notebooks. One recipe lives on in my memory and that is Brown Stew- simple, scrumptious and quick to make. Serve it with crusty brown bread or rice or pooris. A treat for everyone.

The Recipe

1 large chicken, jointed; 1 large onion, sliced; 1 tsp fine sooji roasted till crisp;1/2 cup boiled vegetable like peas, carrots, cauliflower boiled; 1" piece ginger, minced; 3 flakes garlic, minced; 2 green chillies, slit; coriander leaves and spring onions chopped; salt to taste.

Fry onion in 2 tbsp hot oil. Add ginger garlic, spring onions, chillies and corriander leaves and stir fry till aromatic. Add the jointed chicken and brown all over on a medium flame. Add the sooji, 1 cup water and mix well. Lower flame, cover and pressure cook 3 minutes till done. Grilled potatoes may be added. Serve hot.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thumbs Up

Salmon - A Healthy Choice

Healthy food choices need not be boring. The sensory properties of food like taste, smell and appearance can be very , very appealing. Salmon is an oily fish from the deep sea with an attractive, bright orange colour that practically begs to be eaten. Team it with ladies finger and capsicum for a practically perfect meal and enjoy all its benefits.

The Recipe

2 salmon fillets, washed in salt & haldi and completely drained; 1 medium capsicum, sliced thick; 6 ladies fingers washed and cut diagonally into 3 pieces each; 3 flakes of garlic, crushed; salt & white pepper to taste; 2 tbsp olive oil for frying.

Heat oil in a non stick pan on the fire. Stir fry the garlic till golden brown. Season the salmon with salt & pepper and fry both sides, turning gently to retain shape. This takes just a couple of minutes. Drain & keep hot. In the same oil quickly stir fry the ladies finger for 3 to 4 minutes on high heat. Add the capsicum and give it a quick toss. Arrange on serving plate with the salmon on top. Serve hot with garlic bread.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Fruity Surp- Rice!

Apricot Chicken Pulav

India is a melting pot of recipes and Pulao is of Persian origin. Also known as Pulav or Pilaf, in India this is a very popular dish.
Historically, mutton was cooked in water with spices. Once the meat was cooked, rice and more water were added to finish cooking. Along with rice, green gram or channa dal could be added. Sometimes the cook added yoghurt as well in which case it was called Yakhini Pulav. For Vegetarian Pulav water, spices and vegetables are cooked with Rice . Dried fruits and nuts can be added. Today there are so many different kinds of recipes that one is spoilt for choice. Whatever you cook will taste good. It all depends on your taste.

Anything with apricots interests me and when I came across this recipe made with lamb decided to try it out with ckicken instead. Since I had brandied apricots in my cupboard decided to use them. The result was a delicious, heady, elegant dish. Serve it for a party and Surp-Rice your guests.

The Recipe

1 kg chicken, jointed , clean ed & washed; 2 medium onions, chopped; 4 garlic cloves, crushed; ½ tsp haldi; 2 tsp jeera powder; 1 tsp chilli powder; , 1 tbsp coriander powder; 1 tsp garam masala powder; 2 cups basmati rice;
100g brandied apricots, chopped – soak ¼ kg dried apricots in enough vodka to cover them for 3 days, drain and store apricots in bottle , keeping vodka for other recipes ; 4 cups chicken stock made with 2 soup cubes; 7 to 8 whole brandied apricots, 1 tbsp almond nibs and chopped coriander leaves for garnish.
Fry the chicken and onions in a large nonstick pan until the chicken starts to brown. Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the spices and mix well.
Next stir in the rice and chopped apricots and stir until well mixed. Add the chicken stock and transfer contents to rice cooker. Takes about 15 minutes to cook. Garnish with whole brandied apricots, almond nibs and chopped coriander leaves . Serve hot with tomato and onion pachdi.

NB: Can add the apricot kernels too to the pilaf. Have to crack the nuts first.