Monday, February 19, 2018

Spicy Goat (Lamb) Liver Stir Fry (Pirattal )

I turned on the TV like I always do while cooking and saw the now familiar sight on TV kids running with their hands in the air. Yes! I flung something against the kitchen sink in frustration and then muttered a few choice words in my head that I would say to Marco Rubio and politicians like him with their empty words if I ever saw them in person and then felt a chill up and down my spine with the sad acceptance that nothing is going to be done by these guys in Congress who value their money from the NRA and corporations more than anything else.

But the cynic in me took a short take when I saw how the students of the high school are just not giving up and taking the empty words from these pols. Let's stand with these kids with our support and prayers. Read this article Calling B.S. in Parkland, Florida.

Enough of my outrage, now on to the recipe,

Liver is good for people who have anemia I knew from reading. I visited the doctor a few years ago to check my sudden feelings of tiredness sometimes right in the morning after a good nights sleep and a good breakfast. Some tests later the doctor advised me to get myself some iron tablets and some more iron in the diet. Iron tablets make me hungry and uncontrollable eating of junk food follows. So to avoid this I looked to add iron in the diet. Red Meat, Spinach, lentils, black turtle beans, liver, dates, chickpeas are all foods that are good sources of iron.

While eating red meat everyday is not my cup of tea, literally because I don't drink tea either, eating liver every other week seemed like a good compromise. I have also heard that eating too much liver is not good either. Do not use any of what I am saying here as substitute for doctor's advice please. These are things that work for me and they might not be the right ones for you or your health.

Well anyway, while chicken liver is easier to find than goat liver, goat liver does not fall apart while cooking and a bit more tastier methinks. They are cooked with the right amount of spices to season the liver and that is it. It has to be hot to cut through all the fat though.



Saute the onions, garlic and ginger along with the spices and tomatoes.
Add in the washed liver and saute on medium flame till the desired consistency is reached.




Spicy Goat Liver Stir Fry
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb of goat liver
  2. 1/2 cup of shallots or red onions chopped
  3. 6 garlic cloves minced
  4. 8-10 green chilies slit
  5. 1 tomato chopped fine (optional)
  6. 1 tbsp ginger grated
  7. 1 tsp red chili powder or pepper powder to taste
  8. 1/2 tsp cumin + 1/2 tsp coriander powder or 1 tsp curry powder
  9. 1 tsp oil
  10. seasonings: mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves
  11. salt to taste

Method
  1. Wash the liver and drain the water completely and set aside. If you want sprinkle some turmeric powder and set aside.
  2. In a wide mouthed pan, heat oil and add the seasonings and curry leaves.
  3. Add the onions and saute till they start to brown. Add in the garlic and ginger and saute for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add in the chili, cumin and coriander powders and mix it in.
  5. Add tomatoes and salt and saute till they become mushy and completely broken down.
  6. Add in the liver and cook for 6-10 minutes by mixing gently. Turn off the heat when the required consistency has been reached.


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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Vellarikkai Thayir Curry- Cucumber Yogurt Curry

In summer I grew Indian variety cucumbers, the thin sweet ones with the thin skin that needs no peeling, that is if they are harvested on time else they tend to grow to a really big size real soon. A couple of days is all that is required. At this point they are too hard to eat raw so had to device something that they could be used in.

The main problem was I let the vine sprawl on the ground rather than train them on a trellis which would have made it easy to spot them. So on the ground they remained hidden until they are too big. DH let them ripen and started making juice out of them and eating it with cane sugar. Tastes pretty good. I don't like it as much as he does though.

I ended up using the over grown big but not ripe ones to make a few curries. My favorite is this Kerala style cucumber yogurt curry. If you do not have cucumbers - ash gourd, bottle gourd or snake gourd can be used but the vegetables all have to be cooked. Here is a Kongu style Thayir kuzhambu recipe made with ash gourd.

I also like the white color of the curry so skipped the turmeric powder.





Recipe in pictures:
Peel and chop the cucumber.
In a wide mouthed pan add the seasonings followed by the onions and saute till translucent. Add in the cucumber pieces and let it cook.
Blend the coconut along with green chilies, coriander leaves, cumin, red chilies and pepper to a smooth paste.
Add the blended paste to the cucumber and let it cook for 6-8 minutes.
Whisk the yogurt and add it to the cooked cucumber.



Vellarikkai Thayir Kuzhambu - Cucumber Yogurt Curry
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into cubes (deseed if needed)
  2. 2 tbsp onions
  3. seasonings: curry leaves, mustard and cumin
  4. 1 tsp oil
  5. 1 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
  6. salt to taste
  7. 2 cups of whisked yogurt
  8. For the Paste
  9. 1/2 cup coconut
  10. 4-5 green chilies + 2 red chilies
  11. few sprigs of coriander leaves
  12. 1 tsp pepper corn + 1/4 tsp cumin seeds

Method
  1. In a wide mouthed pan, heat oil add the seasonings (you can skip this step and do it in the end too) followed by the onions and saute for a few minutes.
  2. Add the cucumber and let it cook for 2-3 minutes in low heat. It does not have to be cooked too much just to soften a little bit. If adding turmeric add it now.
  3. While that is happening blend the For Paste ingredients to a smooth paste using about 1/2 cup of water.
  4. Whisk the yogurt and set it aside.
  5. Add the blended paste to the cucumbers and mix well and let it cook for about 6-8 minutes in low heat. Add salt.
  6. Now reduce the heat completely or remove the vessel from the stove, add the yogurt slowly while stirring. This is to avoid curdling.
  7. In low medium heat cook for a couple more minutes to heat through. Turn off the heat.



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Thursday, February 8, 2018

Samba Ravai Paysasam - Broken Wheat Pudding

Around the Kongu Nadu region of Tamil Nadu the wheat product of choice was samba ravai or broken wheat not wheat flour. Before making chapathi became popular, this broken wheat product had a special place in the Kongu kitchens. I doubt if I had eaten white ravai upma that often. Upma as a breakfast item was not a favorite among the younger set and the white upma was even more disliked than the samba ravai upma.

Unlike the almost pasty white ravai - the cream of wheat or white ravai which is made from the wheat kernel where the bran and the germ are substantially removed - not so good. Samba revai in contrast is made from whole wheat kernels - good for you.



Take a look at this pictorial which shows the different parts of the wheat kernel.

Courtesy: Great Harvest of Thousand Oaks, California.


As we all know using the whole grain is better than just loading up on the endosperm or the starchy portions of the grain. Samba ravai comes up with its own benefits. While samba ravai upma is the more popular recipe made from samba ravai, believe it or not it is perfect for making dessert. While its white counterpart is not my favorites for making payasam, the samba ravai has a texture that is suitable for making payasam. Quick, easy and delicious and ready in less than 20 minutes.



Have you heard of sara paruppu or charoli in Hindi? Called Buchanania lanzan in English, these are tiny nuts with a mild taste of almonds and are often found as garnish in sweets. These are perfect for this payasam.



Samba Ravai Payasam
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup of Samba Ravai / broken wheat
  2. 2 1/2 cups of milk
  3. 1/2 - 3/4 cups of sugar - used raw sugar
  4. 2 tbsp raisins
  5. 1/4 cups of cashews + Sara Paruppu (Charoli in Hindi)
  6. 2 tsp ghee
  7. cardamom powder
  8. saffron threads a few
Method
  1. In a thick bottomed pan heat milk, till it comes to a boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for another 5-8 minutes in medium heat.
  2. Add the samba ravai and let it cook for another 8 minutes or so while continuously stirring to avoid getting burned or stuck in the bottom.
  3. Add sugar part way through the cooking process.
  4. While the wheat is cooking, heat a pan and add ghee, roast the nuts cashews and charoli, when they slightly turn color add the raisins and saute for a minute. Turn off the heat.
  5. Add the roasted nuts and raisins, to the cooked wheat. Sprinkle saffron threads if using and turn off the heat.

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