24 June 2012

Low Fat Brownies

These are moist and chewy and can't tell they are low fat. Easy to make and tastes good with a cup of coffee. 

Recipe Source: Sanjeev Kapoor

Cocoa Powder - 3 tbsp
Refined Flour - 1 cup
Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
Caster Sugar - 1 cup
Skimmed Milk - 1/2 cup
Egg whites - of 2 eggs
Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp

Preheat oven to 180 degree C.
Grease and line a 8 inch square tin with parchment paper.
Mix the dry ingredients - cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda  and sift it into a bowl.
Add the castor sugar and mix well.
Beat the egg whites and add it to the bowl.
Now add in the milk, vanilla essence, oil and mix until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
Bake for 25 minutes or until firm to touch.
Once baked let the brownies cool in the tin.
Lift the parchment paper on the sides and transfer the brownies to a plate.
Refrigerate it for 30 minutes. Cut it into squares.

Do not over mix.
Make sure you leave enough parchment paper on the sides of the tin so that you can lift the brownies with ease.

19 June 2012

Chena Achar / Kerala Style Yam Pickle

Most of us are quite familiar with the range of pickles, it may be mango, lime, garlic,prawns, fish, beetroot, mussels etc.. But not all must have heard of the yam pickle. It has become my favorite after I tasted it for the first time when mom got it from one of our customers. Right then I knew I had to make this pickle. After my first successful attempt at making beetroot and carrot pickle, I made the mussels pickle and here I am with the third one. Hope you all will like it.
The only problem with elephant yam is that you need to take precautions before starting to clean and cut it else you will end up itching your hands. So it is better to apply oil on your palm and hands before starting to clean it.

Chena / Elephant Yam - 800g (weighed after peeling)
Tumeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Carrot - 200g
Garlic - 50g
Green Chilly - 50g
Ginger - 2'' piece
Cumin powder - 2 tsp
Fenugreek powder- 2 tsp
Sugar- 3 tsp
Salt - as required
Split mustard seeds - 2 tsp
Asafoetida powder - 1/2 tsp
Vinegar- 2 cup
Pickle Powder - 2 tsp
Chilly Powder - 2 heaped tsp 
Kismis - 25 
Lime - 1/2 medium size

Peel, wash and chop the yam into very small pieces.
Add the turmeric and salt. Mix well.
Transfer the yam into a muslin cloth. Squeeze out all the water.
Place the tied muslin cloth in a large sieve or colander and place a heavy weight on it. Let it be for 2-3 hours till the water in the yam gets drained out.
Remove the yam from the muslin cloth. Apply oil on your palm and in small portions again squeeze out any water left in the yam.
Transfer it to a vessel with vinegar in it.
Finely chop the garlic and ginger.
Chop the carrot into small pieces.
Chop the chilly into 1/4 '' pieces so that you don't bite into it.
Add the ginger, garlic, carrot, chilly, asafoetida powder, cumin powder, sugar, pickle powder, kismis, chilly powder and split mustard seeds.
Check the salt. Stir well.
Add the lime juice and stir again.
Transfer the pickle into a bharani or air tight jar.
Check every 2 days and keep pressing the pickle from the top so that the juices come to the top.
Use after 2 weeks.

It is very important to squeeze and remove all the water possible from the yam.
I used Kashmiri Chilly powder. You can adjust it depending on spice level required.
I used Eastern pickle powder.
You can add thinly sliced dates too.
The pickle gets tastier as you keep it.

Sending this post to The Kerala Kitchen event hosted by Julie at erivumpuliyumm

13 June 2012

Navratan Kurma / Nine Gems Vegetable in Rich Sauce

This is a famous Mughlai dish and gets its name from the word 'Navratan' (which means nine gems in hindi) ie the nine vegetables that go into making this gravy with rich nutty sauce. I have tasted different versions of this royal curry at restaurants but never liked it as I hated to bite into sweet fruits in my dish. But this version is perfect for my palette. The raisins are ground into a paste and love that nutty flavour from the cashews.

Recipe adapted from here

Ingredient List 1:
Cauliflower - 1/2 cup (small florets)
Frozen green peas - 1/4 cup(1/2 " length)
Beans - 1/4 cup (1/2 " length)
Yard long beans - 1/4 cup(1/2 " length)
Bottle gourd squash - 1/4 cup(1/2 " cubes)
Potato - 1 small (1/2 " cubes)
Carrot - 1 small (1/2 " cubes)
Capsicum - 1 small (1/2 " length, seeded)
Water - to cover the vegetables (approx 2 1/2 cup)

Ingredient List 2:
Onion - 1 medium size
Ginger paste- 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Cloves - 4
Cardomom - 4
Bay leaves - 1
Cashews - 1/4 cup
Golden raisins - 1/4 cup
Oil / ghee - 2 tbsp
Salt - as required

Ingredient List 3:
Tomato paste - 1 tbsp
Kashmiri chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder -1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp

Ingredient List 4:
Paneer - 100gms
Ghee / oil - 1 1/2 tbsp

Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp

Combine the ingredients in list 1 and boil over medium high heat. When it starts to boil reduce flame to medium low and cook uncovered for 8 minutes.
Reserve 2 cups water from this and transfer the vegetables to a colander.
Heat oil or ghee in a skillet. Add the ingredients under list 2 and saute it on medium low heat.. Cook until the nuts have browned and raisins swelled approx 10 minutes.
Pour in half cup water into the skillet and scrape out any masala sticking to the bottom of the skillet.
Blend this in a blender after adding the ingredients in list 3.
In a skillet transfer the sauce. Use 1/2 cup of  water reserved to remove all the masala sticking to the sides of the jar and transfer it to the skillet.
Add in the vegetables. Pour the remaining water. Mix well. Check salt.
In a separate pan heat the ghee and fry the paneer till golden brown on all sides.
Transfer the paneer to the veggies and simmer the curry on medium heat for approx 8 - 10 minutes stirring in between.
Sprinkle the coriander and serve with rotis.

10 June 2012

Kozhikaal / Vegetarian Chicken Legs - Thalassery Special

Don't get puzzled by the name. Kozhikaal is a Thalassery special evening snack made of tapioca. The name thus because it looks like fried chicken legs. It is crispy and perfect for the cool weather outside here in Kerala. It is very difficult to find this snack even in Kannur which is approx 12 km from Thalassery.

Recipe source - Magic Cook

Tapioca - 1/2 kg
Pathiri Powder/ Fine rice powder - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Onion - 1 medium size (finely chopped)
Green Chilly - 2 finely chopped
Garlic Paste - 1/2 tsp
Ginger Paste - 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri Chilly Powder - 1 tbsp
Curry Leaves - finely chopped - 12 leaves
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Oil - for deep frying

Peel the skin of the tapioca.
Slit it into thin pieces (approx 4 inch pieces long and as broad as a pencil)
Mix the pathiri powder and APF along with salt and water to make a semi thick batter like idly batter.
Add in the onion, chilly, ginger garlic paste, chilly powder, curry leaves and cumin powder. Check salt.
To this batter add the sliced tapioca and coat well with batter.
Heat oil in a slightly wide wok. Pick 5-6 slices of tapioca along with batter. Press it slightly with your palm and slide it into the oil. Reduce the flame to medium. Toss it till crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a plate layered with kitchen tissue.
Serve hot with tea or coffee. Enjoy!!

Make sure you buy fresh tapioca else it will be difficult to slice it to thin pieces.
This is a medium spice snack. Increase spice level as per taste. The batter may taste a little spicy but once you fry it that extra spice will not be there.

03 June 2012

Kallumakkaya Achar / Mussels Pickle - Celebrating 100th post

Can't believe I came so far. Yayyy it's my 100th post!! I know I have been slow to reach this milestone. But when I began my journey blogging, never thought I would come so far and be more and more passionate about food. My first thoughts were that I would use this blog like a recipe book to save my favorite recipes but later did I find out how much fun it is to get feedback, likes and best of all make so many new friends. All the while enjoying the cooking too.Thank you all for the support and for joining me in this journey.

To celebrate my 100th post I wanted a dish which is so much a speciality of Malabar region - the best pick was 'mussels pickle'. Mussels pickle is an all time favorite. Once you taste it you will want more and more. One of my other favorite with mussels is the Kallumakkaya Upperi / Mussels dry and the Arikkadukka / Stuffed Mussels.


Fresh Mussels - 1 kg

Chilly Powder - 1tbsp + 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1/2 +1/2 tsp (or as required)
Gingelly Oil - 200ml + 2 tbsp for frying kismis
Green Chilly - 20 g
Ginger - 40 g (1/4 cup slivered)
Garlic - 75g thinly sliced (1/2 cup tightly packed)
Curry Leaves - 12 leaves
Vinegar - 1 cup + 1/4 cup+2 tbsp to dip muslin cloth
Kismis - 3 tsp
Split mustard seeds - 1 tsp

Wash and clean the mussels.
Marinate it with chilly, turmeric and salt for half hour.
Transfer the marinated mussels to a skillet and let boil to dry up the water in it.
Heat oil, transfer the mussels into it and fry.
Using a slotted spoon strain the mussels and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen tissue.
In the same oil fry the ginger for 1/2 minute. Add in the garlic fry for 1/2 minute. Then add in the chilly. Fry for 10 secs. Switch off the flame. Add in the curry leaves.
Transfer the fried mixture along with the oil and the mussels into a vessel. Mix well.
In a mud pot mix 2 tbsp chilli powder with vinegar and bring to a boil. Let cool completely. Transfer it to the mussels mixture.
Heat 2 tbsp gingelly oil to fry kismis. Add it to the mussels mixture.
Add the split mustard seeds.
Check salt .Wrap a muslin cloth (dipped in vinegar and squeezed) around the vessel and leave it overnight.
Next day add 1/4 cup of vinegar and mix well. Transfer it to a bharani / air tight container.

Cooking Tips:

  1. Use small  fresh mussels.
  2. Reduce the amount of chilly if you like it less spicy.
  3. Fry the mussels till the oil stops bubbling. It should not be over cooked.
  4. Add salt with care as the mussels will have salt in it. A little extra can be added the next day.
  5. You can add thinly chopped dates too.
  6. Make sure that there is no moisture in the vessel / bharani you transfer the pickle.
  7. It can be used right away but better if you can keep it for a week and then use. The masala   blends in.