Friday

Chola Batura - Punjabi Fried bread with Garbanzo beans



The deafening sirens warned the residents to run to bunkers below, the fighter planes were hovering in the dark skies , and there was fear in the face of people . There she was holding on to her husband and a year old baby in the faraway land hoping that the Pakistani bombs would miss the target of the major railway network near her house in Sharanpur, in outskirts of Delhi. It was the India Pakistan war of 1971.It was here, during one most difficult times of her life that she leaned Mrs Gupta and other elderly woman and took solace in learning cooking in North Indian home cooked meals and learning to crochet and knit.

My mom. She came from a small town in Kerala. After marriage she left with her husband to settle in North India. I really wonder what would it have been for her to be so far away from the family with no knowledge of Hindi . Imagine the technology back then . Forget emails and web came was there even proper phone lines.
Her cuisine even now,37 years later , is based on foundations she learned then . On my visits to India one of favorite past times is to rummage to torn recipes books reading her favorite recipes. She doesn't have any measurements written down so it interesting to read recipes .
She is known for her Chola batura she learned from one of her neighbours in Sharanpur. After a 0lot of coaxing she wrote this for me with real measurements and not a pinch of this and pinch of that. This is one of my favorite recipes. My moms chola batura.

Batura:
1 kg Maida(All purpose flour)
Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp
salt - a pinch
curd - 1/2 cup
Milk as needed for kneading
Oil to deep fry
Mix all ingredients and knead for 10 minutes. Cover it with a wet cloth and leave it for 4 hours. After 4 hours divide the dough into small balls. Now roll the dough in circles of about 8" in diameter. Heat oil in pan. When oil is hot fry batura till both sides are cooked(approx 3 mins each side). If you use the laddle and try to keep batura submerged in oil, the batura will puff up. Paper towel is useful in absorbing oil. 6 cup of Maida will approximately make 40 baturas.
Chola:

1 cup of Garbanzo beans soaked and cooked(1 1/2 of can beans)
2 tsp Jeera(Cumin seeds)
1 small onion chopped
1 tsp Pepper
1" ginger
1-2 green chillies( depending on how hot you want)
1/2 tsp chilly powder
2 tsp tamarind pulp
1 tsp sugar
salt as need
handful of chopped coriander leaf

Grind 1tsp jeera, pepper, ginger , green chillies and chilly powder. Heat oil in a pan. Add a tsp of jeera. Saute onion till golden brown. Add the ground masala and fry it for minute. Now add the garbanzo beans , tamarind pulp , sugar and enough water to cover the beans. Simmer and cook till gravy thickens. Add salt and mix in coriander leaves and serve it. This masala is real home cooked type. My mom didn't give me exact measurements. It is after 10 years of various permutations and combination I came up with this proportion. I firmly suggest cooks to modify as per their taste buds.

Monday

Christmas tradition..................Fruit Cake Kerala Style



The Christmas tree has been decorated,
The cookies have been baked,
The gifts have been wrapped,

The sounds of Santa’s sleigh is still far away,
But there is still one thing left to be done before the end of day .


The New year is almost here and like most of you I have many things that has to done. One is to thank all of you for your support and encouragement at each turn in life of my blog. Thank you all.

I was recently going through recipes of fruit cake and something that Archana of Spicyana had written caught my attention. "A mere mention of the word “fruitcake” during holiday season evokes strong sentiments among people, they love it or hate it, at least on this matter we all seem to have a decision made ."

Growing in Kerala I used to hate this cake. It stood no chance with the cream filled pastries . But during Christmas time my house was flooded with plum cakes with and without icing. I hated each and every version. Why did I hate it? I have no idea , I never even would have tasted it it just because I thought I wont like it. I didn't want to try it.

About four years ago , I ate this cake at my friends(SJ & NP) house for Christmas. I don't know whether it was nostalgia about my darling home, or the fact I was pregnant and my taste had changed or whether it was served in company of my good friends the cake tasted delicious. I have ever since been craving for this cake. But I never make it at home only because I feel this is time consuming cake and I really hate recipes with to many ingredients and to much work. But Shn's post really inspired me to try it. I usually give cookies to my neighbors for Christmas and this year I decided to make this instead .

Thank you Mishmash, for sharing the recipe. Honestly I was scared I would screw up this recipe as it was out of my league all together. (too much work for me)

For the second round I used spicyana's recipe because I didn't have any wine left and was running short of rum and she suggested using orange juice.

I am also sending this cake (via Internet, imagination required) to my old classmate Seema.
We always tend take for granted the things around us. Growing up I was crazy student in college. I was the loud mouth crazy girl and I never got to know many of my classmates well as i should have (I thought I knew everyone ).Recently after 10 years I was reacquainted with her(we weren't the best buddies )and more I began to talk to her I realised that she was way different than what I had perceived. She was powerhouse of creativity . She was everything that I loved. So Seema if you ever get a chance to read this blog I am sending you this Fruitcake as Holiday gift to you and wishing you all good things in life.
So sending this cake to Mishmash & Archana for recipe , SJ & NP for reintroducing me to Fruit cake and to Seema.

Happy Holidays to all of my readers too.

Sunday

Back with a vengeance-Sardines in Tomato, chilly sauce on a bed of cassava mash



Ha, Ha I got your attention. For those of you from Kerala ,yes this is nothing more than our favorite old time buddy Kappa* & Meen**(Cassava mash & Sardines cooked in red chilly sauce). Just tried to jazz up the old buddy.
Before I start, I like to thank all my buddies who came in during the past one month , left comments on my blog. I saw those but I was caught in a whirlwind of things happening in life. Curious what was happening? Just click this link.
My house was swamped with people on thanks giving day and life has never been same. On T day I made the whole deal . Turkey with Balsamic vinegar marinade, corn bread(my 3yr old and 5 yr old made) , Sweet potato casserole, Potato casserole, Mashed potato, cranberry salad, corn with garlic and parmesaen cheese, vegetable pie, Green bean casserole, Dinner roll, Tandoori chicken full baked, dinner rolls, cornbread stuffing , pecan pie andp each pie .The Thanksgiving leftovers lasted me for 3 weeks. First time in my life the whole 14 ponder turkey was over. On day after Thanksgiving I made turkey barbecue sandwiches for a picnic at the beach. Sweet potato casserole was the dessert. Mashed potatoes become topping on turkey pie on day two. The next week I made a Turkey Pasta hot soup and on third week turkey took the form of Turkey paratha and said goodbye to me for another year.

Turkey Pictures



Picnic at the Beach( this years christmas pictures were taken here. hence Xmas ornaments on the sand)

Now back to Kappa and meen. This dish has now attained the popularity which was un thought of 15 years ago. Kappa and meen originally was a poor mans food. In my father in laws place kappa is still an unappreciated food as it was what all the workers were fed in the good old times after a day of hard work in the paddy fields. My husband aunt still doesn't eat Kappa, and Fish curry made of sardines is looked down upon. I always tell her she doesn't know what she is missing.

There are many versions to Kappa & Meen . In the blog world these are some versions of Mighty Kappa & Mean Meen Curry


So why is that my Kappa & Meen different from these seasoned cooks?Because this lazy cook used frozen yucca and sardines in can to make her version.




Why ? Because I live in a place where I don't get fresh Yucca all the time and the only fish, I have access to without paying through the nose is Tilapia & Salmon from Costco(a warehouse shop).

In the coastal town, I live either you go out in the sea and catch fish or else pay the white fisherman the hefty price they ask or it is Costco to rescue. After having the same fish for quite a while now, I decided to buy canned sardines and make curry. This was a first for me or than canned tuna which I love. After looking thoroughly to get fish in oil or water, I accidentally grabbed fish in tomato sauce.(oooooooooopsey)

But I was determined not to quit and my experiment turned out to be good.

Ingredients for Kappa

  • 3LBS Frozen yucca root
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1/3 cup of coconut(grated frozen used)
  • 1 green chilly
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 sprig curry leaf
  • salt as per taste
  • 1 tsp Coconut oil

Method

Cover kappa with water and microwave in a microwave safe bowl for 20-30 minutes. Meanwhile in a blender grind coconut, chilly, turmeric and cumin seeds to coarse paste. Once yucca is done drain and mash yucca. Add the coconut paste , curry leaf to this and microwave for 5 more minutes. Now drizzle the oil in hot kappa and serve. Your fast track Kappa is done.

Verdict.

Being sceptic I am, I wasn't sure about this method. But this came very close to real kappa.I microwaved for 30 minutes and next time I reduce the time to 25 as I like Kappa not to be mushy. I have not tried microwaving fresh kappa, so don't know how long It is going to takes. Recommended when you have other stuff to do and cant stand in kitchen and check Kappa.

Mathi Curry:

  • 1 can sardines in Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tsp chilly powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek powder
  • 1 tsp fish curry masala
  • 1 small onion
  • 1" ginger peeled and chopped
  • 1 green chilly
  • salt as recq
  • 1tb oil

Method

Heat a pan. Add oil and saute onion, ginger and chilly. Before it turns the color add chilly powder, coriander powder , salt , and saute till you get rich color. Now add 1/2-1 cup of water, fenugreek powder and kodum puli.Bring it to boil. Now add the sardines in can and fish curry powder. You can omit fish curry powder is you want homemade taste. Simmer till gravy thickens and remove from fire

Verdict.

The gravy was thick and coated fish very well. I think it is tomato sauce. The fish had absorbed all the spices and it was yummy. Usually I don't add tomatoes to my fish curry so this was a bit different(i mean in good way). It tasted like i prepared in meen chatti and kept it for couple of days.

So my friends you can take Keralite away from kappa and meen but you can never take meen & kappa from a Keralite heart.

Few facts about Kappa from wikipedia

The leaves are used to treat hypertension, headache, and pain.
Cubans commonly use cassava to treat irritable bowel syndrome, the paste is eaten in excess during treatment.

*Kappa: Yucca

**Meen : Fish

Wednesday

I am a Selfish lover- Red prawns in Malai


I am a selfish shellfish lover. I have a love for crustaceans. Even though crab tops the list , prawn comes in a close second. If you have read couple of my previous blogs you would have realised i love recipes that is easy(less pounding, grinding mixing), fast, less ingredients and last but not the least tasty. Red prawns in malai as my previous post Kerala Fish Bake , and Karimpumkala Toddy Shop Prawns Fry is simple and taste great.

Ingredients
Prawns - 2 cups
Sliced Potato - 1 cup
Vinegar - 2dsp
Ginger - 1"
Garlic 1dsp
Sliced onions - 1 cup
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Tomato pieces 1/2 Cup
Dry chillies - 10
Sugar - A pinch
Salt as you req
Cream - 2 tbspoon
Oil - 4 Dsp

Cook prawns in vinegar , salted water and minced ginger till dry.
Grind the skin of chillies with garlic. If you want it spicy leave 3 chillies with seeds on.
Cut the potato slices into thin matchstick pieces and keep in water. Dry them and fry them crisp over low fire. Next fry onions till golden brown and remove. Now add the ground masala and saute well and add prawns. Fry for 3 minutes. Add the fried potato, sauteed onions , tomatoes, a pinch of sugar and salt. Let it cook for 5 minutes or till the tomato is completely cooked. Now simmers and add the cream . Let it cook for a minute or two in low fire and remove it. Your dish is done . SAVOUR IT WITH RICE OR CHAPATHI.
Suggestion: I have tried this with the matchstick french fries we get in freezer section instead of potatoes. Works well too