Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gardudde Ambat / Bottlegourd in Coconut Sauce

Ambat is a Manglorean curry which consists of the basic Masolu and vegetables. Masolu is a thick paste made with grated coconut, tamarind and dry red chiles.
Ambat may or may not contain lentils. Moong ambat, takka ambat consists of plain masolu or gravy. While others like valli ambat have toor dal or pigeon peas. I find the ones with lentils more healthier as less coconut is used to prepare the gravy. 
During religious festivals ambat is prepared with mustard and curry leaves seasoning. Some of the ones I have earlier posted are Mooga randayi/Ambat, karate ambat and takka ambat. Some ambat curries are seasoned with fried garlic while others are seasoned with fried onion. Valli ambat and papaya ambat are such curry. Another famous ambat is cauliflower and peas ambat which I will post later. 

1 medium bottle gourd
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup toor dal or pigeon peas
1 teaspoon coconut oil or any other oil
salt for taste

For the gravy or Masolu:
1/2 cup coconut
1 inch piece of tamarind
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
5-6 byadgi chili or red chilies or as desired

Peel the bottle gourd and chop it into one inch pieces. Pressure cook the bottle gourd with toor dal, onions, salt and 2 cups of water. Cook till the toor dal is well done. Stir the toor dal and vegetable with a ladle till the lentil is all mushy.
Fry the red chilies in a pan till they are crisp. Finely grind the red chilies along with grated coconut, tamarind, turmeric adding as little water as possible. Add this paste to the lentils and mix well. Add water as per desired consistency and get it to a boil. Fry the remaining chopped onion in the coconut oil till it is golden brown. Season the curry with the onions. Serve hot with rice.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mangalore Prawn Curry / Sungta Masolu

Prawn is a delicacy and is loved by all Mangaloreans. Prawn curry is prepared by different ways all over the Konkan coast. In Maharashtra and Goa it is prepared with the spices like coriander, cumin and garlic. This recipe is a very traditional and simple recipe where the unique flavor of the prawns is not over powered by many spices. It is traditionally served with boiled rice and Mangalorean fish fry.  The flavor of the prawns increases as time goes along. It tastes better the day after it is made.It is a good idea to make this curry at least 2-3 hours before serving. 

10-15 prawns
2 cups grated coconut
1/2 teaspoon tamarind concentrate or coin sized ball of tamarind
1 tablespoon coconut oil
8-10 dried red chillies (preferably byadgi chilly)
4 pinches of heeng or asafoetida
salt for taste

Fry the red chilies for 8-10 minutes on low flame till crisp. Grind the grated coconut, red chilies and tamarind into a very fine paste. De-vein and clean the prawns well. Put the prawns and the coconut paste in a deep bottomed vessel and cook covered for 8-10 minutes on low flame or till the coconut paste comes to a boil. Uncover the vessel and add salt as per taste. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. 
Add asafoetida in 2 tablespoon of water and mix it well so that it partially dissolves in water. Sprinkle this water over the curry and mix well. Immediately pour the coconut oil all over the curry and give it one good stir. Place the lid over the vessel and keep covered to enable the flavors of asafoetida and the oil to be absorbed well into the curry. Serve hot with boiled rice. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Middle Eastern Brown Lentil Soup

This is a Middle Eastern style lentil soup. It is very simple to prepare and makes a one dish meal when served with bread or even pita bread. The whole secret of making a great lentil soup is the right amount of lemon juice and cumin powder added during the time of serving. 

1/2 cup brown lentils or whole masoor dal with the brown skin
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon coriander seed powder
5 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1 medium sized carrot
1 tomato
1/4 stick celery
1 medium white/yellow onion 
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds powder for garnish
3 tablespoon Cilantro/Coriander leaves or Parsley for garnish
salt for taste

Wash the brown lentils well and soak them for 6-8 hours in water. After soaking, wash the lentils with fresh water and keep aside. Chop the onion, tomato and carrot into small pieces. Heat oil in a pan and and chopped garlic, chopped celery and onion. When the onion is transparant add the carrots and the tomato. Mix in coriander seeds powder, 1 teaspoon  cumin seeds powder, turmeric powder and cayenne pepper. Add the lentils and salt. Pressure cook till the lentils are soft. Whisk the lentils till the lentils are mixed with the vegetables. Garnish with lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon cumin powder and coriander leaves/parsley. Serve hot. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blackened Salmon with Simple Rice Pilaf

I have had blackened salmon at many restaurants in Bay Area. Having grown up eating sea fish with lean meat I am was not used to eating fresh water fish like salmon, tuna or rohu (which is found in Indian rivers). I do enjoy eating the tuna sandwich at subway though. So when ever I am eating out I prefer salmon well cooked with lot of seasoning and spices. I found this recipe from a dear friend and now its a regular at my home too. Blackened seasoning can be found in some stores around the coast. I didn't find this seasoning at my local grocery stores, so I looked up the internet and found this recipe. I modified this recipe for making the seasoning.

Blackened Seasoning:
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon red chili powder or as per taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
2 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

Mix the above spices well.

Ingredients for Salmon:
1 fillet of salmon - around 300-400 cut into 2 inch pieces
3 tablespoon of blackened seasoning with the above recipe or store bought blackened seasoning
lemon for garnish.
Salt for taste

Apply salt and the seasoning mixture to the salmon on all sides and marinate it for at least and hour. There are two ways of frying the salmon. Either you can melt butter in a pan, dip the salmon in butter on both sides and put the salmon to fry on a pan. This is a traditional way and the result is definitely yummy. 
A healthier method I follow is to coat a shallow frying pan with 2 tablespoon oil and put the salmon skin side down. I put the pan on high heat till the side is blackened and well cooked. Flip it to the other side and cook till it is blackened on the other side. Garnish with lemon juice and serve hot with pilaf.

For the Pilaf:
1 cup rice (basmati can be used here. I used adobo as an experiment and it came out to be very flavorful too)
2 cups of stock (vegetable or chicken)
1/2 teaspoon salt or as per taste
4-5 strands of saffron
Heat the stock. Pressure cook or pan cook the rice with the stock, saffron and salt till it is well done. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Stir Fried Colorful Chinese Rice with Nine Jems

This colorful chinese rice is a great treat during the cold windy winters. It is extremely healthy option as there so many vegetables go in preparing the stir fry. We usually buy vegetables from our local farmers market at Mountain View. Any vegetables available on hand can be used to make the stir fried chinese rice. But I buy vegetables in little quantities, like 4-5 beans, few flat peas and like wise for the stir fry. 

I use at least nine different vegetable to make this rice and hence the explosion of colors. This rice is a hit with the kids and is a great way to make children eat their vegetables. I have used carrots and red bell pepper for the red color. Green bell pepper, beans, peas and brocoli for the green color. Corn for the yellow color. Apart from this I also use cauliflower, onion and eggplant, cabbage and spring onions. 

2 cups of rice (I use basmati)
1 medium onion (sliced)
half a piece of red and green bell pepper (julienne) 
2 bunches of spring onions
two - four tablespoons of chopped vegetables available on hand (choose from cauliflower, brocoli, cabbage, carrot, peas, corn, eggplant, beans )
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoon red chili sauce or optionally tomato ketchup
oil for frying 
2 chopped green chilies
1 tablespoon ginger (chopped)
1 tablespoon garlic (chopped)
salt and pepper for taste

Wash the rice well and cook it in 3 1/2 cups or water till it is 3/4 Th done. I usually pressure cook the rice. Heat oil (as required) in a pan and stir fry all the vegetables (excluding the onion, spring onions and bell pepper) on high heat. Keep aside. 
Add 3 tablespoon oil in another pan and add the ginger garlic pieces. Fry for a minute on high flame and add chopped chilies. Add sliced julienned bell pepper and sliced onions and stir well. Lower the flame and add soy sauce, red chili sauce and vinegar. Mix the rice and stir fried vegetables well with the sauce. Adjust salt and pepper. Garnish with finely chopped spring onions and cook till the rice is hot. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Blackened Seasoning for Chicken or Fish

Blackened Seasoning:
1 teaspoon paparika
1 teaspoon red chili powder or as per taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
2 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

Mix the above spices well and store in an airtight container. Check out the Blackened Salmon recipe here.