Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Prawn Spicy Green Masala

This is based on one of the popular dishes available at Gajalee Restaurant. They call it Prawn Green Chilly Sauce. It is so deliciously tangy and peppery, one just can't stop at one serving. Recently when I had this there with a mocktail, I repeated the order and had one more plate to go with just Tandoori Rotis.

Whenever I eat something new, I reckon what goes into the dish and roughly had an idea that the sauce has fresh mint leaves, coriander greens and onions apart from ginger, green chillies, garlic, turmeric and cumin powder. The tangy taste can be achieved by adding lemon squeeze, vinegar or green tomatoes.

My method of cooking is slightly different from Gajalee's and one can clearly make out by the appearance of the dish that I have not passed the gravy through the sieve and also kept the gravy thick. Besides, I don't want to lose all that fiber in the gravy which is good for digestion. Price of onion has nothing to do with it!

This has been made to my liking and I can always count on the chef at Gajalee to make that fantastic dish the authentic way. After all, we also need to promote good restaurants and good people. They have invested heavily to provide royal treat in a cozy ambiance and we can not parallel that!
Jumbo Tiger Prawns - 500Gms shelled and deveined
Lemon - 1+1/2
Salt and pepper
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 Tsp
Shallots - A handful cleaned and chopped
Onion - 1 small cleaned and chopped
Ginger - 1" piece chopped
Garlic - 6 flakes peeled
Green Chillies - 4 cleaned and chopped
Coriander Greens - A handful
Mint leaves - A handful
Green Tomato - 1 small chopped(Reduce lemon squeeze by half if you add this)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 Tsp
Refined oil - 15 Ml
Butter - 25 Gms

Marinate prawns with salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1/2 lemon squeezed, for 2-3 hrs in the fridge.
Clean, wash and grind the greens with chillies, ginger, garlic, onions and optional green tomato to a fine paste
Heat butter in a shallow pan. Fry the marinated prawns on high heat for 3-5 mins till tender.
Remove and keep aside.
Heat oil in the same pan, fry ginger garlic paste, followed by the green masala paste till oil leaves the sides.
Add juice of lemon, turmeric powder, cumin powder, about 1/2 tsp pepper and salt to taste.
Now add the fried prawns, add little water, cover and cook for 2-3 mins on slow heat.
Raise the flame, mix the prawns well with the masala, transfer to serving bowl and serve with lemon wedges and onion slices.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Egg Chilli Fry(Egg Ball Chilli)

I was somewhat regular at the Sujatha Hotel in Mangalore till year 2010 before it closed down. They had a Chinese restaurant first started by a Chinese family from Kolkata in the late Seventies called Ho-Pei. Later when the Chinese family left and continued their business in Jeeth Bar and Hotel Navaratna(Lai Lai), Sujatha Hotel guys changed the name of their restaurant to Ting Hao. Ting Hao served some of the best Indo-Chinese as well as Mangalorean delicacies. Egg Chilly is one of them.
When I ordered Egg Chilli first in the 90's there, the waiter Laxman told me "Sir Egg Chilli here is made with egg omelette and you may not like it!" I was discouraged and decided not to try that. Yet, my curiosity to try it some day or the other was live inside my mind! To support my thoughts, a friend was all praises for Egg Chilli there and he was also a bit into cooking himself. He said "I've tasted egg chilli at many places but the way these people make them with strips of egg omelette, it is ultimate!"

Then I tried it one day and found it excellent! The sauces coated the strips of fried egg/omelette and as each bite danced on the tongue tip, it provoked the salivary glands to pump in at their peak! I also tried making them at home with fluffy fried egg/cushion omelette and succeeded.

My experiments in cooking are sometimes more practical than authentic. I developed Omelette Balls last year, using the Muffin Pan or Aappo Tawa as a cocktail snack, easy to share and eat. Last week we had a pot luck party at a friend's place and I was supposed to bring one or two dishes from my home. I announced that I'll get Masala Fried Prawns and Egg Chilli. When my friends saw Egg Balls cooked with spicy tangy Chinese Chilli sauces, they were totally bowled and the dish was acclaimed to be ultimate!

Try this with a little patience, little practice, but with lots of love and care because your family or friends deserve the best!

Eggs - 4
Salt and Pepper
Refined Vegetable oil - 4 Tsp
Garlic - 6 cloves peeled and finely chopped
Onions - 2 sliced(Around 100Gms)
Green Chillies - 4 French cut
Capsicum pieces - A handful(Optional)
Red Chilli Paste/red chilli sauce - 1 Tsp(We used ready made hot chilli sauce got from Coorg)
Dark Soy sauce - 2 Tsp
Vinegar - 1 Tsp
Sugar - 1/2 Tsp
Corn Starch - 2 Tsp mixed in 1/2 cup water to a thin paste
Onion Shoot - A sprig chopped

Heat a muffin pan on the stove and reduce heat to medium.
Break the eggs and collect egg white and yolks in separate bowls.
Beat the egg white with an egg beater or spring till frothy.
Add the egg yolks, 1/2 Tsp salt and 1/2 Tsp pepper. Beat well.
Apply a drop of oil in each depression of the muffin pan.
Pour small portions of the beaten egg mixture into each depression. Allow to cook.
As the sides start detaching and the egg balls start getting golden in colour, flip them over using a spoon.
You can also add a drop of oil each while flipping over the egg balls.
Roast them and remove them into a bowl. Keep aside.
Heat remaining oil in a non stick pan or wok.
Add chopped garlic and stir fry on full flame.
Add the onion slices along with green chillies/optional capsicum and fry till onions are transparent and chillies develop whitish patches.
Now add salt and pepper to taste, sugar, dark soy sauce and red chilli paste/sauce. Stir fry.
Now stir in the corn starch paste and little water/stock if necessary. Bring to a boil.
As the sauce sizzles, add the egg balls and mix gently, taking care not to break them.
Add vinegar, mix and transfer to the serving bowl.
Garnish with chopped fresh onion shoot and serve as a starter snack or with fried rice or noddle of your choice.

Makes 18 egg balls and serves 4-6 people.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pathiri(Rice Flour Chapathi)

It was the summer of '65. The place was Shimoga where my only sister who is a doctor, married and settled down. I was in 3rd standard and was on summer vacation. In the old fashioned kitchen over the firewood flame, Rice Flour Bhakris were being roasted and in a kadai, Jhunka was being prepared. Bhakri and jhunka is a staple combo breakfast for the people settled in the Uttar Kannada and Belgaum districts. My Brother in Law's family roots are in Sirsi and the good ladies who came down from Sirsi and Sagar were happily preparing a tasty wonderful breakfast for the hungry boys and girls who were sitting aside and watching the magical hands rolling the bhakris, roasting them and stacking them!
Pathiri with Chana Roasted Masala Curry
Pathiri(Pathir) has its origin in Kerala and it also resembles Rice Flour Bhakris to a great extent. It is a staple food in Northern Kerala where Mapillas have concentrated. The popular combination is Pathiri with Mutton Curry or Kadala Curry(Chick Pea Curry). Though this also resembles Coorgi Akki Rotti to a great extent, Coorgi Akki Rotti is made with steamed left over rice and this is made using the special pathiri powder.
Pathiri with Chicken Pulimunchi
A healthy nutritious alternative to parathas or chapathis, Pathiri is a tasty treat for the entire family. We tried it mostly with Chicken Pulimunchi and Chana Curry with roasted grated Coconut(Soi Bhaajjunu Ghashi). Those who eat pork can eat this with the Coorgi specialty Pandi Curry and this also goes well with a variety of North and South Indian curries.

We get Pathiri Powder in major retail stores here in Mangalore. It is finer than the normal rice powder and pathiris come out silky smooth with this powder. The process of making pathiri is simple but needs a little practice. Unlike the rice flour Bhakri of Uttar Kannada district which is made by processing rice flour in boiling water, pathiri  powder is mixed with hot water and kneaded to a soft dough. Then it is rolled between two sheets of plastic or aluminum and roasted(Baked) without adding any oil or ghee till it puffs and is slightly golden in clolour. Please follow the instructions on the pack for good results.

Pathiri Powder - 1 cup
Hot water - 2 cups or more
Salt - To taste

Mix pathiri powder with 1 cup of hot water and salt to taste.
Knead well to a soft dough, adding little by little water as needed.
Make Egg size balls, place the balls between two sheets of plastic paper and press with the pathiri press or by keeping the sheets on a rolling board and pressing with another.
On hot tawa, roast the pathiri on both sides slightly, press with a towel on the edges, so that the pathiri puffs up.
Roast till golden on both the sides and wrap in a cloth to retain warmth and softness.
Serve hot with curry of your choice.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Wishing all the readers and well wishers of Kudpiraj's Garam Tawa
Happy 67th Indian Independence Day!

Monday, August 05, 2013

Aambe Saat(Maambala) - Poor Man's Rich Candy

Aambe Saat, Aam Saat, Maambala, Maamidi Tandra or Mango Jelly; call it any name you want. This is a sweet and sour energising dried Mango candy like delicacy available almost round the year.

During our childhood days, Aambe Saat used to come from local villages where they process mango pulp, spread it on palm leaf mats(Maandri) and dry in the hot summer sun in layers, roll them and sell in the market. Its cousin Pansaat or Jack Fruit Jelly was also available. These were poor man's Candies and were mostly relished suring the monsoon season in every house hold.

Now a days, undivided State of Andhra Pradesh produces excellent Aambe Saat which is inexpensive and can be preserved for a long time. I remember my friends from Hyderabad and Vijayawada getting this for me every year. It used to cost around Rs.150/- per kilo in the high season as far as I remember. According to sources, Maamidi Tandra is mainly made in Atryapuram village in Rajahmundry in traditional way with over ripe Totapuri mangoes.

This is a sample pic of Aambe Saat or Maamidi Tandra which I acquired a few years ago. The first look at the delicacy may remind one of any exotic sweet! Maamidi Tandra is much in demand and is exported to many countries today. Hence, the name poor man's candy is obsolete today, but the nostalgia that goes with it made me tag it thus!

Methi Murg

Methi Murg is a North Indian dish with an excellent aroma and taste. Fresh Methi(Fenugreek) leaves are cooked with marinated chicken pieces and other masala ingredients on slow heat, inviting the diner to gorge on a sumptuous meal.

Added cashewnut paste and brown onions sublimate the bitterness of the methi leaves and make the sauce succulent and finger licking good. We as youngsters were never fortunate enough to find this dish on the menu of Mangalorean restaurants, as those days fresh methi leaves were not easily available in the local market.

We made this yesterday for our brother's family who came down on a holiday from abroad and their young children gave a Hi5 for this curry. I am sure the followers of my blog will also love this.

Make sure that you have a stack of hot parathas/rotis/naan/phulkas or even ghee rice ready before you serve this item piping hot. Perfect maincourse dish for the monsoon or winter ambiance.

1. Chicken pieces without skin - 500 Gms
2. Lemon - Half
3. Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp
4. Black or White Pepper powder - 1/2 Tsp
5. Salt - To taste
6. Curds - 1 Tablespoon
7. Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 Tsp
8. Brown Onion Paste - 1 Tsp
9. Chopped onion - 1 medium
10. Tomato puree - 1 Tablespoon
11. Red Chilli Powder - 1 Tsp
12. Jeera Powder - 1/2 Tsp
13. Dhania Powder - 1/2 Tsp
14. Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 Tsp
15. Cashewnut paste - 1 Tbsp
16. Methi Leaves - A Handful chopped and blanched
17. Refined Oil or ghee - 1 Tbsp
18. Brown Onion - 1 Tsp(Optional)

Marinate chicken pieces with ingredients 2 through 6.
Heat oil in a vessel, fry chopped onions till golden. Add Ginger garlic paste, brown onion paste and fry till oil leaves the sides.
Add Tomato puree and the dry powders except garam masala powder and fry till raw smell disappears.
Now add chicken pieces with the marinade and the methi leaves.
Cook till chicken is tender.
Now add cashewnut paste and garam masala powder. Mix well and simmer for 5-10 mins.
Garnish with optional brown onion.

Serve hot garnished with lemon wedges, with roti or ghee rice.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

‘Aatidonji Dina’ Unique Monsoon Festival of Tuluvas

Aati Kalenja pic by: Ram Naresh Manchi
This is an excerpt from my articles and pictures on ‘Aatidonji Dina’ or a day in Aati month celebrated at Pilikula Heritage Village in the years 2008 and 2009.

Aati(Aashaad)is the month during monsoon season when heavy downpour of rains incite enthusiasm among the hard working Tuluvas of the undivided Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka state. They indulge in farming, rain sports and cultural activities with a wide spread of monsoon delicacies to greet the month that ensures their well being.
On Aati Amavaasye(New Moon Day), Tuluvas prepare and drink ‘Pale Ketthe Kashaaya’, a medicine that clears many ailments of the digestive system, purifies blood and builds up immunity according to belief.

‘Aati Kalenja’ the folklore of Tuluvas is the main attraction during the Aati month now confined to rural places, and not many urban dwellers get a chance to watch it now a days due to modernisation. Normally adolescent children are prepared with typical dress made of palm and tender areca leaves, their faces painted and a drummer goes along with the Aati Kalenja singing ‘Paaddana’ or folk songs while the Kalenja dances in a front and back slow motion rotating the umbrella made of coconut leaves. During my younger days, I have seen them every year and women mostly used to accompany them with the drum and singing.

Rains greet the well attended gathering at Pilikula Heritage Village as ‘Aatidonji Dina’every year as Dr Vamana Nandavara, the man in charge of the Heritage Village at Pilikula takes the pain to arrange a food festival showcasing Tuluva delicacies within the Gutthu House.

Food specialties included Aritha Pundi, Gujjeda Happala, Thevuda Chutney, Kudutha Saar, Thetlada Kajipu, Uppad Kukkuda Chutney, Nurge Thoppu Ambade, Kudutha Chutney, Kanile Padenji Ghasi, Thekkareda Adye, Pathrode, Manjal Iretha Gatti, Saarnadye, Kanchalada Kajipu, Pelakaayida Gatti, Pelakaayida Gaari, Mambala and a variety of Kashayas that tickle the taste buds of connoisseurs.

Enthusiastic Ladies Group prepares and presents the ‘Aati’ food specialties. The two consecutive years of Aatidonji Dina went by fast enough but the taste of goodies that we tasted there linger on forever!


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