30 September 2012

Ayala Chuvannulli Curry / Mackerel Shallots Curry

Fresh Mackerel - love them. It is one of the 10 super foods to prevent heart disease. It is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids and minerals which help body prevent heart problems. And if it is a yummy curry like this one I can have any amount of it.

Recipe Source - Shantha Aravindan

Mackerel / Ayila - 3 large cut into 3 pieces
Tamarind / Puli - size of a lime soaked in 2 cups water
Kashmiri Chilli Powder / Piriyan Mulaku Podi - 2 tbsp
Ginger / Inji - 2 tsp finely chopped
Garlic/ Veluthulli - 5 finely chopped
Green Chilly / Pacha Mulaku - 3 slit into 2
Tomato / Thakkali - 1 large roughly chopped
Salt - as required
Shallots / Chuvannulli - 1 cup finely chopped
Curry Leaves / Kariveppila- 1/4 cup finely chopped
Fenugreek Powder/ Uluva podi - 1/4 tsp
Coconut Oil / Velichenna - 2 tbsp

Cut and clean the Mackerel. Discard the head. Cut it into 3 broad pieces.
Soak the tamarind in water. Squeeze the tamarind in the water to extract the pulp. Strain and pour it into a wok/ pan.
Add in the chilly powder, turmeric, ginger, green chilly, garlic, tomato and salt.
Slowly add the fish.
Let it come to a boil on high flame. It will take appoximately 5 minutes for the fish to cook after it comes to a boil.
In the mean time, mix the shallots and curry leaves in the coconut oil. Squeeze well with hand and mix for 30 seconds.
Once the fish is cooked add the shallot mixture. Stir slowly. Check salt. Bring to boil for 30 seconds. Remove from flame and tip in the fenugreek powder on top.
Keep it closed for 15 minutes. Serve with rice or even chapathi.

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27 September 2012

Malabar Chemeen Biriyani / Malabar Prawns Biriyani

It's been a while since I cooked prawns. Just avoid it for health reasons. But it is still one of my favorites. Whenever I used to make rice with prawns my usual hassle free recipe is the Prawn Pulao but this time I wanted to try something different. Just love these one pot meals. 


Short Grain Rice / Neychottari - 2 1/2 cups
Cloves/ Grambu - 5
Cinnamon/ Patta - 2" two pieces
Cardamom/ Elakka - 1
Mace/ Jatipathri - 2
Fennel Seeds/ Perumjeerakam  - 1 tbsp
Star Anise/ Thakkolam- 1
Nutmeg /Jathikka - 1/4 piece
Water - 5 1/4 cup (for rice) + 1/4 cup (for masala)
Clarified Butter/Ghee - 2 tbsp

For Marination:
Prawns - 550g (cleaned)
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp or as required

For Masala
Onions - 5 medium size thinly sliced
Ginger - 2" long piece
Garlic - 10 cloves
Chilly - 1 (increase as per tolerance level)
Tomato - 3 finely chopped

Coriander Powder - 2 tbsp
Biriyani Masala - 2 tsp
Coriander Leaves - 1/2 cup
Mint Leaves - 3 tbsp
Oil - 2tbsp + for frying onions + for shallow frying prawns
Salt - as required

For Seasoning
Fried Onion - 2 thinly sliced


Preparation of Ghee Rice:
Wash and strain the rice.
Measure 5 1/4 cup water and boil it along with the spices - Cloves, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Mace, Cumin Seeds, Star Anise and Nutmeg.
Add salt and bring to a boil.
In the meantime in a kadai/ non stick vessel heat the ghee and fry the rice for 5 minutes. Keep stirring.
Strain and pour in the boiling water into the rice. Stir once slowly. Check salt and close tightly. Lower flame. The rice will be done in 10-15 minutes.

Preparation of masala:
In a small kadai fry the onions and transfer it to a plate lined with kitchen tissue.
Shallow fry half of the prawns for 2-3 minutes. Transfer it to a plate lined with kitchen tissue.
Make a paste of the ginger, garlic and chilly.
Heat oil in a kadai/ wok. Saute the ginger garlic chilly paste.
Saute the onions. Tip in the masalas and saute for 1 minute on medium flame.
Make a paste of half the masala.
Pulse the mixer with 1/4 cup water to remove all the masala in it. Add back the paste along with the water and chopped tomatoes into the kadai and saute till tomatoes are soft.
Add the prawns that has not been fried along with the mint and coriander leaves. Mix well and cook for approx 3 minutes till prawns is cooked.
Now add the fried prawns.

Layering the rice and masala:
Fluff up the rice using a fork.
Layer first with half of the masala then the rice into the kadai. Sprinkle the fried onions.
Transfer the rest of the masala, the rice and remaining fried onions. Close the kadai with a lid and cook on low flame for 10 minutes.
Serve hot with cucumber raitha, pappad, mint chutney and pickle.

I prefer to make  a paste of half the masala as I don't like to see too many onions in my biriyani. This is optional.
Only half of the prawns are shallow fried. The uncooked prawns when cooked with the masala gives the distinct flavour to the masala and the rice.

12 September 2012

Tomato Rice

One easy way to get rid of the monotony of having white rice or boiled rice everyday is to make tomato rice. Healthy and yumm.. And the best way to make kids have their share of tomatoes. One tomato is in itself power packed with nutrients. And it is said that Indian tomatoes are the most tasty ones.  I prefer to make something quick and easy on Sundays rather than elaborate meals.

Basmati Rice - 3 1/2 cup

Ghee - 2 tbsp
Split Chickpeas/Chana Dal/ Kadala Parippu - 3 tbsp
Split Black Gram/Urad Dal / Uzhunnu Parippu - 2 tbsp
Cashew Nuts - 12 nos
Cumin Seeds / Jeera - 3/4 tsp
Asafoetida/ Kayam Podi - a pinch
Dry Red Chillies/ Kashmiri Mirch/ Piriyan Mulaku - 2 

Onion - 1 cup finely chopped
Green Chilly- 2 slit
Cloves/ Laung / Grambu - 4
Mace/ Javithri/ Jathipoo - 2
Cinnamon Stick / Dalchini/ Patta - 2 (each 2 inch long)
Ginger - 3 tsp shredded
Curry leaves - 12 leaves
Tomatoes- 3 cups chopped fine
Tomato Puree - 3 cups
Red Chilli Powder - 1 1/4 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Fresh Coriander - 1/2 cup

Rinse the basmati rice in cold water. Transfer to a bowl and fill water approx 1 inch above the rice and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain.
Cook the rice in a pan with enough water to cover it. Drain the rice when it is 3/4 cooked.
Heat ghee in a pan. Lower the flame.
Add the chana dal and fry till golden.
Add the urad dal and cashews.
Now add the jeera, asafoetida and red chilly.
Sprinkle in the cloves, cinnamon and mace. Cook till they are aromatic and crackle.
Turn the flame to medium high. Add the onions, ginger and green chilly. Stir till onions turn transparent.
Add the tomatoes,  puree and the curry leaves. Stir well.
Add the chilli powder and turmeric powder. Stir.
Add salt and cook for 10 minutes on low flame.
Check salt, add the cooked rice and toss gently to coat the rice with the tomato mixture.
Add the coriander leaves and fluff up the grains of rice with a fork.
Check salt and remove from fire.

Make sure you soak the rice well and do not break them while washing.

05 September 2012

Sachertorte - A Viennese Special

Sachertorte is one of the famous and fabulous cake from Vienna. It is an all time favorite chocolate cake. It was invented by Franz Sacher in 1832. It is supposed to be a masterpiece of Austrian cuisine. 
It is a superb, deep, moist chocolaty cake with the glossy ganache. This is a very rich cake - A treat for special occasions.The best part is that it can be prepared a day before as the taste improves if left for a day. 
I prepared this for my Amma's 60th birthday. Love you Amma. Hope you have many many more wonderful birthdays. 

Recipe Source : BBC Food

Unsalted Butter - 140g
Caster Sugar - 115g
Cooking Chocolate - 140g
Vanilla Extract - 1/2 tsp
Eggs - 5 separated
Plain Flour - 55g 
Ground Almonds - 85g

For the topping and icing
Apricot Jam - 6 tbsp
Chocolate - 140g
Double Cream - 200ml
Milk Chocolate - 25g

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Grease and line a 9 inch round cake tin.
Melt the chocolate using a double boiling method and let it cool.
Cube the butter. Beat it in a bowl until really soft.
Add in the caster sugar. Mix it well in a cake mixer or using a hand mixer until soft, thick and light in colour.
Add the melted chocolate into the butter sugar mixture.
Add in the vanilla extract. Whisk the mixture till well incorporated and colour is even.
Separate the egg white from the yolk.
Add egg yolks one at time into the bowl and whisk.
When the egg yolks are well combined sift in the flour.
Mix in the ground almond. Fold in the mixture well.
In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites on full speed till soft peeks are formed but not dry.
Take about 1/3 rd of the egg white and stir into the chocolate mixture vigorously.
Add in the rest of the egg whites. Fold it into the mixture till well incorporated.
Transfer it into the cake tin. Make sure it does not stick up on the sides. Level it.
Bake for 45 minutes or until it starts leaving the sides and crusty on top.
Let cool. Turn out and remove the paper.
Heat apricot jam in a pan and brush it evenly on top and sides of the cake

To prepare the icing
Break the dark chocolate into pieces.
Heat the cream until piping hot and pour it on top of the chocolate. Mix well till chocolate is melted.
Let cool a bit.
Then pour it on the center of the cake. Tilt the cake to the sides so that the icing flows and cover the cake on all sides. Spread it using an offset spatula.

You can also make icing writing ( I skipped this step)
Break the white chocolate into pieces and melt it using double boiling method.
Transfer it to an icing bag. Pipe 'Sacher' on top and leave to set.

Make sure you separate the egg yolks carefully.
To beat egg whites to stiff peaks make sure the bowl is totally dry. Not a drop of water.
Use fresh eggs only. It gives more volume.
Make sure you whisk it to the right point where peaks ar formed as you lift up the beater. If you beat more it becomes dry and breaks into pieces. It will be white and fluffy.
You can make the cake a day in advance and make the icing on the day.
I used the Amul Fresh cream which has only 25% milk fat as we do not get the double cream with 48% milk fat here in my place.

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