Sunday, April 26, 2009

Capsicum Peanut Curry


This is a colorful curry made from capsicum, peanuts and tomato. This is my mom's recipe which I used to love during my childhood days. This is a different kind of curry as compared to the other Konkani curries as it uses soaked peanuts. The peanuts need to be soaked for around 1- 1/2 day so that it sprouts. The water in which the peanuts are soaked needs to be changed every 6-8 hours. If you find sprouted peanuts in your local market you can use those too. My mother also uses a little rice to thicken the curry. This curry goes well with rice and dal.

Ingredients

1 green capsicum or bell pepper
2 medium tomatoes
1 cup soaked peanuts
1 tablespoon rice (uncooked)
1 cup coconut
3-4 red chilies or as per taste
small piece of tamarind
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida or hing
7 curry leaves
1 tablespoon oil
salt for taste

Method
Boil or pressure cook the peanuts with a little salt till soft. Chop the capsicum and tomato into one inch by one inch pieces. Heat one teaspoon oil in a pan and fry the capsicum till soft. Take care not to burn it..so fry it on low or medium flame. After it is soft on all sides add the tomato and fry it for 5 minutes. Add the peanuts and switch off the flame. Fry the rice in a seasoning pan on a low flame till it is crisp. Grind the coconut, tamarind, red chilies and rice into a fine paste. Add this masala to the vegetables and cook covered and get the curry to a boil. Add salt as per taste. Season with mustard seeds, asaoetida and curry leaves.

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Mango Saffron Frozen Yogurt / Mango Kesher Frozen Yogurt


This frozen yogurt reminds me of two of my favorite ice creams - mango and kesher. I always see a frozen yogurt shop when we go to have dinner in downtown. But as we are always not very hungry after dinner, we skip the dessert. I had a tin of Alphonso mango pulp available on hand and so I decided to make mango frozen yogurt. Later I decided to add saffron as well. The result was overwhelmingly good and I have decided to make this more often.

Another interesting fact is that even thought the mango and saffron individually have strong and distinct flavors and both are used generously in this recipe, their flavors don't interfere with each other. When you first take a bite of the yogurt, you will taste the mango flavor and later when the yogurt melts in your mouth the sweet kesher flavor becomes distinct. Even though I used a small portion of vanilla in this recipe, its flavor was muted by the other two flavors and one really had to concentrate on the yogurt to find it!

This dish goes to the My Favorite Things event hosted here and here.


Ingredients

1 cup alphonso mango puree (available in Indian stores) or 1 cup chopped mango pieces
1 cup sugar (I used 1 cup sugar as the alphonso puree had added sugar, so if using mango pieces use another 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup whole fat milk
1 cup thick yogurt
2 pinch kesher or Saffron
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Method

Heat the milk till warm and add kesher or saffron. Keep it aside till it cools down completely. Blend all the ingredients including the saffron-milk together till smooth. If you are using mango pieces, then blend the mango pieces first and then fold in rest of the ingredients.

Put the mixture in an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer's directions. Serve it immediately or store it in the freezer for future use. You can make delicious ice creams and frozen yogurts even if you don't have an ice cream maker. Follow the instructions here to make ice cream or frozen yogurt without an ice cream maker.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Piyava Odi / Rice and Onion Fritters / Konkani Onion Vadi / Onion Oodi


I have been wanting to eat this dish since a long time now. This was a common item in our meal at my home in India. We would make a jars full of onion and garlic Odi or fritters and store them for the rainy and winter season. My grandmother would also make these in summer and send us these fritters. We also made "Same-tha-pan" or rice papads with sesame seeds steamed on banyan tree leaves. Steaming them on the leaves gives the papads a mild flavor of the banyan tree leaves. Potato wafers and many pickles adorned our jars in the summer season. Coming back to the onion fritters, ensure that you make it when the sun is hot. These need to be dried in the hot sun for 2-3 days until they are crisp and stored in air tight containers.

Ingredients

1 cup rice
5-6 byadgi red chilies
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 medium onion chopped into small pieces

Method
Soak the rice for 7-8 hours. Wash it and grind it into a very fine paste with red chilies. Put the paste in a heavy bottomed pan and add 1.5 liter of water to the paste. Cook the paste on medium flame stirring it constantly. Let it come to a boil, then reduce the flame and stir continuously. Ensure that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
Once it is cooked it will be semi- transparent. Cook till the dough becomes thick and most of the water evaporates. Let it cool completely. Add onion pieces and mix well.


Grease a few plastic sheets with a mixture of oil and water. I ripped off two ziplock bags and used them as plastic sheets. I usually spread a plastic carpet in the patio. I then put a cotton chaddar or rug on the carpet and then put these plastic sheets on the cotton sheet. I kept spoons along the sides of the ziplocks to avoid it from flying around the patio due to wind.


Dip your fingers in water and take small pieces of the rice dough and drop it on the plastic sheets. The odi should be around the size of a dime. Make vadis with all the remaining dough and lay them on the plastic sheets. I tore up few of the good old ziplock bags and used them to dry the odis.


When they dry completely, store them in a airtight container. Fry them in hot oil and serve hot with rice.


Variations: To make garlic odi or garlic fritters, add 10-15 raw garlic cloves while grinding the rice paste. Omit the onion pieces if you are making garlic odi. To make plain Odi, just add around 1 teaspoon(or as desired) heeng or asafoetida to the rice paste while cooking it. 





Thursday, April 2, 2009

Methi Rice / Fenugreek Rice


I have been trying to make dishes which contain both rice and vegetables. This saves me time as I don't have to make two or three items to take in tiffin for our lunch. This dish includes the goodness of fenugreek leaves and the rice also cancels out the extra bitterness. Methi is also known to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar. Peas, soaked groundnuts, corn kernels can also be added to this rice dish.

Ingredients
1 bunch of fenugreek leaves or methi
3 cups cooked rice
2 tablespoon sambar powder
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate or tamarind water as desired
3 tablespoon gur or jaggery
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1 teaspoon oil
red chili powder for taste
salt for taste

Method

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add asafoetida. Add sambar powder, tamarind water, jaggery and one cup of water. Get the mixture to a boil. Add chopped methi leaves and cook till the methi leaves are soft. Add chili powder and salt as desired. Mix cooked rice and mix well so that the rice gets coated well with the masala. Serve hot with papad and curd.

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Serves: 2