Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mutton and Potatoes in a Pressure Cooker (with fresh coriander leaves)

I don't seem to have time to do commentary on the world happenings these days. Not that there is nothing going on in the world, just that there has been too much going on in my life that there is not enough time to comment :) You can count laziness in that list. With the Presidential race heating up and all kinds of weirdos coming out of the wood work just following their antics will make our summer go faster and with much entertainment as long as you are not too invested in one candidate. Well I have come to the happy realization that i am in neither the right or the left aisle and that gives me a ring side view of all hilarity that goes on on all sides.

One thing I have been very proud of this summer is DD's cooking skills as she went off to spend the summer by herself. All the trouble of putting fresh cooked food on the table every day seems to have paid off. Don't think this is in any way altruistic done for the sake of children. I like to eat fresh cooked food as well ;) She prefers to cook on her own, need I say Indian style food fresh everyday so much so that she turned down the offer from my cousin's wife to cook food for her for a week. My cousin told me that DD told him that she likes cooking daily and eating fresh. Besides teaching how to make an omelet, cook noodles and occasionally cook rice I was not able to teach her much else. But osmosis seems to have worked were direct teaching failed. This blog also helped and of course there is telephone, skype and myriad other technologies to aid in the long distance cooking help department. One thing I am extremely happy about is for packing along a pressure cooker.






Speaking of pressure cookers I am of the firm opinion any cook starting to try Indian recipes should be armed with a pressure cooker for sure. A pressure cooker makes this recipe a quick meal and the taste will make everybody think that you had slaved over the stove for hours. The truth is, the pressure cooker makes the cooking a breeze and the fresh coriander gives that special taste and you will be very happy that you added that to the mix of spices. The addition of the potatoes thicken the gravy naturally.


Saute the ingredients for the paste and set aside. In a pressure cooker add oil and saute the seasonings followed by the mutton.
Add in the potatoes followed by the masala powders.
Add the blended paste,salt and water, cover and let for 3 whistles.
Open the lid once the steam subsides, give a good mix and add more salt if needed.





Mutton and Potatoes in a Pressure Cooker (with fresh coriander leaves)
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:30 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb of mutton cut into bite sized cubes
  2. 3 tsp of turmeric powder
  3. 2 medium sized potatoes peeled and cut into chunks or fairly big cubes
  4. 1/4 cup of chopped onions
  5. 1-2 tomatoes chopped
  6. Whole spices - 1/4 inch piece cinnamon, few cloves, marathi moggu, star anise,curry leaves, fennel seeds
  7. 1 tbsp kuzhambu thool or any masala powder
  8. 1/2 tbsp of red chili powder (or as per taste)
  9. salt to taste
  10. 2-3 tsp of oil
  11. For the Paste
  12. 1/2 cup of chopped red onions
  13. 4-6 garlic cloves
  14. 2 inch piece of ginger peeled and chopped
  15. 6-8 red chilies
  16. a big bunch of coriander leaves (about 2 cups loosely packed)

Method
  1. Wash the mutton with turmeric powder and set it aside.
  2. For the paste, in a saute pan heat a tsp of oil and when hot add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger and saute for 6-8 minutes till the onions start to turn brown, add the red chilies and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the coriander leaves and saute for 30 seconds or so and turn off the heat.
  3. Let cool and blend to a paste.
  4. In a pressure cooker heat oil, add the whole spices (or if preferred use 1/2 tsp of garam masala instead) and finally the curry leaves.
  5. Add in the mutton pieces and saute for about 4-5 minutes. Add in the tomatoes and saute for another 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes disintegrate and get mushy.
  6. Add in the chopped potatoes and saute for another couple of minutes. Add the powders chili and masala powder. Mix.
  7. Add the blended paste ,salt, give it a good mix and add about 1 cup of water (depending on how thick or thin you want it to be).
  8. Close the lid and let cook for 5 whistles. Let the pressure subside on its own.
  9. Serve with rice or parathas/







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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Coriander leaves Rice - Kothamalli Sadham

Have you tried growing coriander leaves? If you have I am sure you'd know what I am talking about. The aroma and taste of fresh herbs is unmistakable. I was lucky to have some fresh grown coriander leaves. This recipe for coriander rice is what came to my mind immediately. Everything the leaves touch comes out with an amazing aroma. I am not fond of raw coriander leaves so I do not sprinkle them on top of everything. I like the leaves to be cooked.



Coriander rice can be made in a couple of ways. One way is to make the spiced coriander paste and mix it with cooked rice. The other way is to cook the rice in the spice paste. Though both methods are almost the same amount of time I personally prefer the second method.

Roast the dals and red chilies and take them to a blender. Next saute the onions, green chilies, coriander leaves and tamarind. Powder the dal first and then add the coriander onion mixture and blend to a paste.
In a pressure cooker add oil and the seasoning, saute the onions till it is brown.
Add the blended coriander paste saute for a couple of minutes. Add the soaked rice and mix it in.
Add the required amount of water, salt and cook the rice for 3 whistles till it is completely cooked.






Coriander Leaves Rice - Kothamalli Sadham
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:15 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups of Ponni Rice (use Basmati rice if you prefer but the cooking time will vary)
  2. 3 cups of packed coriander leaves
  3. For the spice Paste
  4. 1/2 tbsp Bengal Gram (kadalai paruppu)
  5. 1 tsp split urad dal (ulundham paruppu)
  6. 2 red chilies
  7. 4 green chilies chopped
  8. 1/4 cup of roughly chopped onions
  9. a small piece of tamarind
  10. For seasonings
  11. 1 tbsp finely chopped onions
  12. 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves
  13. 1/2 tbsp chopped cashew nuts + 1/2 tsp of ghee (use oil for vegan)
  14. salt to taste


  15. 2-3 tsp of oil


Method
  1. Wash and soak the rice for at least 20 minutes or so.
  2. In a saute pan heat about 1/2 tsp of oil and when hot add the Bengal gram and saute till it turns color, add the urad dal and let it saute till that also starts to turn light brown and then add the red chilies and saute for about 1/2 minute. Remove to a blender.
  3. Now to the same pan add a bit more oil and saute the onions till they are translucent, add in the green chiles saute for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the tamarind piece and the coriander leaves and saute till the leaves are wilted.
  5. Run the blender with the dal and chilies till they are powdered a bit. Now transfer the onion and coriander mixture and a tbsp of water and blend to a smooth paste. Set aside.
  6. In a pressure cooker heat a tsp of oil. Add the seasonings, cumin seeds and mustard seeds and when the mustard seeds start to pop then add the curry leaves.
  7. Add the onions and saute till they start to turn brown, add the coriander paste and saute for a couple of minutes.
  8. Drain the water from the rice and add to the coriander paste and mix it well.
  9. Add the required amount of water (see Note:). Add salt and let it come to a boil. Close the lid and cook for 3 whistles. [This time is if you are a rice that requires more water and longer cooking time than Basmati rice. For Basmati rice after the lid is closed lower the heat to medium and cook for 7 minutes and turn off the heat]
  10. Roast the cashews in either ghee or oil and add on top of the rice before serving.
  11. Note: When adding water to cook rice for rice dishes, if the rice is pre-soaked reduce the required amount of water by 1/2 cup. This will ensure that the rice is cooked separate and not mushy.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tapioca - Yuca - Roast - Maravalli/Kuchi kilangu varuval

Tapioca, Cassava, Yuca - this is a tuber with many names. In Tamil it is called Kuchi Kilangu or Maravalli Kilangu. In our neck of the woods it was commonly referred to as Kuchi Kilangu. Whichever name you know it by they are delicious and easy to cook though the peeling of the skin and cutting might take longer than the actual cooking.

Tapioca chips or kuchi kilangu chips as they are called in Tamil was a favorite snack item when we were kids. The thick cut and crunchy chips with spicy seasoning but a sweetness of its own was a lot different than eating the ubiquitous potato chips and they were not as common as the potato chips. To confess I had not eaten boiled tapioca or cooked fresh tapioca before I came here to the US, unless I ate some without knowing what it was.

I used to be so fond of it that it was regular on my weekly grocery list. Then as with everything else it completely stopped. A couple of weeks ago I picked it up to roast it and now I am hooked again.





Tapioca Roast - Kuchi Kilangu Varuval
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 2 medium size tapioca, peeled and cubed 1" pieces - about 4 cups
  2. 1 tbsp sambhar powder or 1/2 tbsp red chili powder
  3. salt to taste
  4. seasonings: cumin seeds
  5. 1/2 tbsp oil

Method
  1. Boil a pot of water and add the cubed tapioca and let it cook for about 6-8 minutes. Check often because you don't want this to be mushy. It should be fully cooked but not falling apart. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pan add oil and when hot add the cumin seeds.
  3. Add in the drained tapioca pieces and stir fry for about 6-8 minutes. Toss at regular intervals and do not let it stick to the bottom.
  4. Add salt and the sambhar or chili powder and continue to saute for another 6-8 minutes till it gets crispy and the spice powder is well coated. You can saute it longer if you want to get it even more crispier.

Serve as a side for rice or as an appetizer.
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