Monday, April 30, 2012

How to peel Garlic and Pearl Onions in Microwave ~ Indian Thali Mela Extended

I know this is not more of a post than just tips. I have no excuse other than saying that things have been hectic that I completely missed out making something for my own MEC, hosted by Nalini this month. I hope she is not wild with me for not sending anything. I just want to make up with these simple tips that does help a lot in the overall schema of things.

I met my friends over this weekend and it has been one memorable evening. We are meeting some of them after 20 years. We have been working towards this day for over six months. All of us have been looking forward for this day to arrive. It was a great evening and we didn't realize the time passing by. Sunday was spent just recollecting the turns of events.

In all the happenings, and the BM that just got over, I completely forgot that I don't have an entry for the MEC. This simple yet so useful tip that I resort to, came to help.

When you have to grind a large amount of Garlic paste, I always find it hard to peel each of them. So microwave comes handy. So does the Pearl Onions that again becomes tedious task to peel the outer skin.

So in my recent thali preparation, I found that using the microwave for peeling really helped a lot.

There is really not much, just microwave each for 20 or 30 secs, you will hear the garlic outer skin bursting out.

Allow it to stand for few seconds, you will notice the skin coming out very well.

The pearl onions almost come out as cooked. Reduce the timing if you want it firm.

Sending this to my MEC hosted this month by Nalini


Coming to the Indian Thali Mela, I am extending it to May 31st on demand.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In trail of a spice! - Food Memoirs and some ~ Egg Bhurji

Dear Readers,

If you are reading this for the first time, then I suggest you update on the first part of this story. This resembles something of a food memoir. I tend to take advantage of my poetic license and may twist an incident to suit the story.

"In trail of a spice!"- typically symbolizes the eternal trail after something in life. In pursuit of something that always seem to elude one. And without spice, there is no zing in life. In essence "In trail of a spice!" is the characters' journey through their life, trying to find their own meaning in this walk of life.

These are reflections of every day drama of ordinary people leading extraordinary life. They are here to share their passion, laughs, the highs and lows that life takes them through.

It's about Maya and Dev and their three children and their extended family, their memories of childhood with its laughter, the joy, the sorrow and their memories of pet dogs.

Disclaimer: This is purely a work of fiction, based scantly on real incidents. After all our everyday life is always full of inspiration for a work of art.
In Trail of a Spice - Part 1
Memories older than two decades were all up in front of her in flesh. Maya was finding it hard to see through her clouded eyes or utter a word through the clogged up throat. She was meeting a bunch of guys with whom she grew up and it's not everyday that happens! It had taken almost a year for this reunion to happen. She still remembers how it was to speak to each one of them over the phone when they got connected again.

In this age of Facebook and Linkedin, it's not a miracle. But it is a miracle that they got back together. She had spent the last 20 years without much of a friend and getting back all of them, was little overwhelming to handle. Maya has always been a tomboy. Be at home or at school, she only had boys for friends. She can never stomach girly talks or such. And the one girl friend she finally got, turned out to be same. Sandy was much like her to learn anything new.

In fact they both learnt and did lot of things that girls are expected not to do. Thoughts were distracted with the scenes that were unfolding. As in a movie, in a slow motion things started happening. She saw Ketan and Shan, her best buddies, hugging each other. What must have been some 12 years of lost years, was recollected in that tight hug of lost brotherhood, she guessed. They last saw each other at her wedding, an occasion they both forgot having attended.

The small reunion was quite an emotional outburst, but each one carried himself splendidly by not showing their feelings out. Maya did not think she would cry but she did. Good thing none saw her as they were so busy trying to come in terms with their own feelings. When there was a lull interim to catch their breaths, Maya took out a scrap book out to show her friends. She was the one with the muse among the lot. As she took it out, she remembered the many occasions she had flipped through those papers, remembering all those forgotten years of childhood. She had painted and penned words, expressing how it felt all those years ago.

The painting and the words were meant to be a gift to her friend, but never gave! She always wondered if she would ever have remembered if not for these lines.

"So, we are parting to enter the realm of mere mortals.
No doubt, even as I pen these lines, many will be paying you obsequious tribute.
Toadying, however, would be most unbecoming of our clan.
So, I shall bid you a more realistic farewell.

Well maybe I am just dreaming that we are parting but I know dreams come true
And I am still here believing that we will be pals for ever.
I am sure that you will not do too badly given you contacts.
And I am sure I am dreaming we are parting, only to meet in the next world!
Good Bye to you my loving Friend

F: Field of love!
R: Root of joy!
I: Island of God!
E: End of sorrow!
N: Name of hope!
D: Door of understanding!
is the miracle called friend, so keep in touch friend....

Hope you wouldn't forget me!
I wouldn't wish you success or all the best because I know you will come out with both of them
Miss you Friend!"

She showed those papers to the rest and then hastily put them back in, as she could sense couple of them were gearing up to tease her!

Slowly things were getting back to normal. Each one trying hard to come back to the present. The stories that surfaced, the jokes that were shared again, almost made them think they were back in their classroom.

Her friends always proved the statement wrong that backbenches were not the academic lot. Yes her friends were the rowdy lot yet brilliant folks, who always competed in coming first in the class. Yet when something notorious happened, teachers for sure knew where to point fingers.

Maya felt herself jolted to present and saw her friends in a different eye. Years have had its effect on some, on some it left unruffled. Some of them were still the same old buddies, who always had a protective scarf for her. On some, time had drastically left its imprint. She struggled to tuck in her emotions and tried concentrating on what the topic on discussion was. She heard words like reunion and calling folks. Now that really got her attention. It took her a moment to understand that everybody wanted a reunion of the batch.

The fever really caught on and all were eager to get it done. There was so much enthusiasm to meet all the classmates. They decided on a date and promised to make it happen.

By the time Maya came back home, she was exhausted. As she stepped in, her kids came running to climb on her. She knew they must be hungry and she was yet to get the dinner ready. The kids love eggs and that was the easiest to make she decided. Then she remembered Egg Bhurji. She wondered why every time it comes to her friends, she ends up thinking about Eggs. As she said Egg Bhuji is something Dev would never eat or rather she has never seen this being made in what must be some 25 years.

In the initial years of marriage, when she wanted to impress Dev with her cooking, she asked him his favorite dishes. The conservative eating habits that he has, he said he would must rather disclose the dishes he will never eat. Bread Omelette and Egg Bhuji topped the list. Maya remembers how shocked and surprised she was, hearing him say that he detests those two dishes. She confessed her closet love for these two dishes and the many memories associated with those two.

Well it can't be Egg Masala again, so be it Egg Bhuji and declared that in memory of meeting her friends, she was going to make that for dinner. Looking at the way she looked, it was obvious to Dev that she wasn't about to change her thought.

Egg Bhurji
Tying around her apron, she stepped into the kitchen.

She quickly set the eggs for boiling for the kids and took out onions for the bhuji.

Out came a non stick pan,  and she doused a ladle with oil, quickly greased the surface. With the expertise of dicing the onions to the minute possibility, the onions met it's fate. She checked if she had enough green chilies to raise the hair up. After all this was just for Dev and he is a hot person.
She dropped the onions and on high sauteed them to golden, then went in the finely chopped green chilies with a dash of salt. She always remembers how Dev is particular about salt ending up as a mass in Omelette.  

It struck her that she had to get the dough ready for the rotis. Remembering the dough she had refrigerated that morning, she took it out to defrost.
The pan was simmered and she was hoping the onions would get burnt! The dough was still little hard, and she added couple of oil drops and knead again. The tawa was brought out of its hiding and sat on hot flame. It was opposing that last minute work of course.

Maya had to work on the dough to get them rolled out and cooked. She removed the lid to see that onions were nicely browned and with a quick swirl, the eggs were poured in. 
She had to be swift to get the onions coated with egg and she scrambled the eggs and added handful coriander leaves.
With the wooden spatula, she broke the eggs apart and simmered again.
Within seconds the bhurji was all done.
It wasn't complete with those green garnish, so she did.
The rotis were done, so was the Egg Bhuji.
Dev was entertaining the kids while she got the dinner ready. She set the table and called out everybody. There was an instant jubilance that came out! Dev looked up to see her pensive, he knew Maya was preoccupied and left it at that.

As she was serving the Egg Bhuji, she thought how symbolic it is. The many years that passed were invisible. She was back with Amma serving her her favorite meal. Though she was just a phone call away, it felt the years have gone so beyond her reach to feel them and they engulfed her all over again.

Somewhere she could hear the shrieks of kids reaching her ears, with a smile she opened her eyes to see fond eyes looking at her back...

Maya realized she has all the time on earth to update Dev about her reunion, it was time to hit the bed right now!

To be continued...

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Chicken Curry | Andhra Chicken Curry ~ How to make Chicken Kura | Step by Step Recipe

I know this recipe has been in draft for the longest period, I was literally waiting to post these when the Indian Thali Mela is on. Since the Thali Mela has been on my mind for a while, I made sure I prepared both Vegetarian spread as well as non veg thalis.

Since Sundays are always non veg at home, it helps to plan for the thali and prepare. No matter what happens, our Sunday breakfast is always either Poori Channa or Appam Tomato Kura. My boys love both the combinations, while Konda likes to eat the Appam with only Coconut Milk. So no matter what lunch I plan to make, I need to plan for the breakfast first. Then of course we go for our vegetable shopping. On the whole, Sunday ends up being very hectic. However if I get a thali on the side, why not!
Chicken Kura

There are so many different ways we make the Chicken Curry at home. Especially the ways I make are completely different from the way Amma makes. Now don't ask me from where I get my ideas, though all of them stem from Amma's original recipes.

So the previous Chicken curry and today's special are Amma's special dishes. Since I was helping her with making the spread for the guests we had for lunch, I also made sure I clicked all the steps. 

Step by Step Recipe

Marinating the Chicken

Ground Coconut and Poppy Seeds Masala

Making the Gravy

Add the ground Coconut Poppy Seeds Masala.

Chicken Curry 
Ingredients Needed:

To marinate

Chicken - 1 Kg
Ginger Garlic paste - 3/4 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Curds / Yogurt - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

For the Gravy

Oil - 2 -3 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1 tsp
Cardamon - 2
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 2"
Curry leaves few
Onions - 1 big
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Tomatoes - 1 & 1/2 medium
Chili powder - 3 tsp (as per your taste)
Coriander powder - 3 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup

Masala to be ground

Coconut - 2 tbsp
Poppy seeds - 1 tsp

Add enough water

How to make the Chicken Curry

For the Marinade

To marinate

Wash and cut the chicken into bite size pieces. In a bowl, take the chicken along with ginger Garlic paste, Turmeric powder, curds and Salt to taste. Mix everything well and marinate for at least 30 mins.

For the Ground Masala

Dry roast the poppy seeds and chopped coconut pieces separately. Allow to cool and grind to a smooth paste adding enough water. Keep it aside.

For making the Chicken gravy

In a big Kadai, add oil. Then add fennel seeds, Cardamon, Cloves and Cinnamon. Allow spices to let out it's oil.

Then add the chopped onions and saute. Next add the tender curry leaves and saute well.

Saute till the onions start turning colour. At this stage add ginger garlic paste and combine everything well.

Add finely chopped tomatoes, saute in simmer for couple of mints. Then add the marinated chicken along with the marinade.

Continue to cook on high for 5 mins, while you keep stirring.

Next add the Red Chili powder, Coriander powder and bring to high. Continue cooking and you will see the gravy coming out.

When you have cooked the chicken on high for 5 - 7 mins, add about 2 cups of water and bring to boil.

Then add the ground masala and continue boiling.Cook in sim with lid covered for 10 - 15 min until the chicken is cooked

Finally add the coriander leaves.
Chicken Curry ~ Andhra Thali
Chicken Curry ~ Weekend Special
Sending these for my Indian Thali Mela and to Usha's Chicken Feast

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Announcing the winner of the giveaway for the Blog Birthday

When I wanted to celebrate the five years of blogging, I thought I must share my joy by doing a giveaway. I  am touched with the many wishes that's come my way and I am happy for all the support and wishes from my friends and readers.

Apart from this giveaway, the other exciting event planned for the Blog Birthday, is creating an eBook with the eligible entries that are submitted for Indian Thali Mela.

Now coming to the winner of the cookbook Giveaway -  The Cake Doctor

The winner is selected from, though originally I had planned to get the kids pick up a winner.

And the winner is Padma Rekha

Congrats Padma, you have always been a wonderful friend and I am so glad to have your support..:)
Please email me your address, the book will be delivered to your home.

Thank you everybody for your beautiful wishes!

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Kodi Kura Andhra Style | Andhra Chicken Curry ~ Indian Thali | Step by Step Recipe

For the next thali in the series, I want to showcase a typical Andhra Thali featuring non vegetarian dishes. When it comes to making non veg dishes on special occasions or even Sundays, we make it a point to make some dry items, mostly masala rice or pulao. Sometimes when we want to pair it with Biryani, the side dish becomes little mild and not your regular spicy stuff. In this case the biryani flavour has to be more.
We made this thali couple of weeks back. Since we have vegetarians to cater too, it was decided that we make Tomato Pulao. Kids normally prefer chicken, so it will have to feature on the table. On the other hand, there is always a sweet and a paan that's mandatory for any Non Veg thali too. I served ice cream and beda was there, but missed in the picture!

Kodi Kura Andhra Style
Kodi Kura Andhra Style

Indian Thali ~ Chicken Curry

Tomato Pulao, Chicken Curry, Mutton Gravy, Mutton Fry, Pepper Cumin Rasam, Plain Rice and Curds

Andhra Chicken Kura | Kodi Kura

Ingredients Needed:

For the Gravy

Chicken - 500 gms
Onions, finely chopped - 1 cup
Curry leaves - 5 -6
Fennal seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Chili powder - 2 tsp
Masala paste - 2 tbsp
Coriander powder - 1 & 1/2 tsp
Tomato puree - 3/4 cup
Water - 2 cups
Coriander leaves for garnish

Masala Paste
Onion - 1/2 cup
Coconut - 2 tsp,
Clove - 2
Cinnamon - 2",
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp

How to prepare Chicken Curry

Wash and cut into bite size pieces. Drain the chicken in a colander.

For the ground masala, take all the ingredients and grind to a smooth paste. Keep it aside.

Heat a kadai with oil, add onions. saute well. When the onions starts turning colour, add the curry leaves and fennel seeds.

When the onions are turning colour, add the drained chicken, and cook on high. Add turmeric powder and salt. Cover with lid and cook in simmer for 10 mins.

Remove lid and add ginger garlic paste. Continue cooking on high and keep sauteing.

Add Coriander powder, Chili powder, mix well. Cook for couple of minutes. Then add the ground masala and combine everything well.

When the water is all evaporated, add tomato puree and cook. Then add water and coriander leaves. Bring to boil.

Simmer for 10 - 15 mins or till chicken is cooked.

Andhra Chicken Curry
Andhra Chicken Curry

This goes for my Indian Thali Mela

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