Monday, November 25, 2013

Chicken Pudinawala

Green masala blends well with chicken to make a lovely healthy gravy that will be liked by many. The distinct aroma of Pudina/Mint leaves lingers on for a long time and thus this dish assumes the name 'Chicken Pudinawala'.
There are many versions of this dish made in different parts of India but we down South prefer slightly spicy gravy. Hence generous portions of green chillies, pepper powder and ginger go into this. Garlic adds to the flavour and onions with tomatoes add substance to the gravy. The tangy lemon and yoghurt tenderise the chicken and enhance the taste of the dish. A hint of sugar highlights all other tastes and we felt, adding little sugar is essential for making this.

Cold winter months won't be the same when you make this aromatic main course dish for your family or guests. Once you taste this, you may think one kilo of chicken is insufficient for 4 people. At least I feel so, because I normally gobble up double the quantity of chicken when cooked with this minty spicy gravy!

Chicken without skin - 1 Kg curry size fleshy pieces
Pudina(Mint) leaves - A bunch(50Gms)
Coriander leaves - 100Gms
Green Chillies - 6, chopped
Onions - 3 medium, chopped
Ginger - 2" piece, chopped
Garlic - 8 cloves, chopped
Cumin powder - 1 Tsp
Tomatoes - 2 medium chopped
Plain thick Yoghurt - 2 Tbsp
Lemon - 1 small
Black Pepper powder - 1 Tsp or according to taste
Sugar - 1/2 Tsp
Salt - To taste
Oil/ghee - 20Ml or according to taste

Clean, wash and drain chicken pieces.
Marinate the chicken pieces with yoghurt, salt, pepper powder and lemon juice for 2-3 hours in the fridge.
Wash clean and chop mint leaves and coriander leaves.
Grind the greens with green chillies, onions, ginger and garlic to a smooth paste.
Reserve the water from the mixer.
Heat oil/ghee in a thick pan/kadai.
Fry the marinated chicken pieces without the marinade for 5-10 mins on medium flame, or till slightly browned.
Drain and keep aside.
To the same oil, add the ground green masala paste and fry till oil leaves the sides.
Add sugar, cumin powder and chopped tomatoes.
Fry well till tomatoes get mushy.
Now add the marinade, water from the mixer and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil and drop the fried chicken pieces.
Mix gently, check for salt, cover and cook till gravy thickens and chicken is cooked.
Serve with rotis, aapams, idlis, plain rice or ghee rice and salad of your choice.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Idli Usli(Idli Upma)

In most of the house holds in Mangalore, Idli used to be the favourite Sunday breakfast item. As youngsters, after having served ourselves steaming hot idlis topped with aromatic home made ghee and piping hot sambar on gold lined Hitkari crockery plates, some of us dreaded often thinking about the Idli Usli or Idli Upma that we were going to eat the next morning/evening! Recycling idlis turns out to be a comfort when you smash them into tiny bits, add some eater friendly stuff and present it with some namkeen and a sweet.
Not all Monday mornings were 'Idli Usli Mornings' but sometimes, mother used to make idli usli for breakfast. I was not against it, as I ate almost anything that mother prepared, except some food items loaded with ginger, coriander leaves and trifal. Now Idli Usli is one of my favourite snacks and being an ardent fan of idlis, khottiges and moodes, I simply love this. Those who can't attract their young ones with this can try the variation shown at the end of the recipe.

Leftover Idli/Khottige/Moode - 2 cups smashed
Coconut Oil - 2 Tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Urad Daal - 1/2 Tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 Sprig
Green Chillies - 2, chopped
Asafotoeda - A pinch dissolved in little water
Grated Coconut - A handful
Coriander leaves(Optional) - A sprig chopped

Heat oil in a kadai and fry mustard seeds till they splutter.
Add urad daal and fry till golden.
Add curry leaves and chopped green chillies.
Fry till chillies get dehydrated and turn whitish golden in colour.
Now add the smashed idlis and toss on medium flame.
Add asafotoeda solution, grated coconut, optional coriander leaves and mix well.
Serve hot with any namkeen of your choice and with a piece of Banana Halwa any good sweet.
It is also customary to serve this with a ripe banana to complete the breakfast.

You may add chopped onions, a pinch of turmeric powder and a pinch of garam masala powder along with the seasoning and squeeze little lemon at the finishing stage, which can attract younger generation to relish this. In that case, you may skip adding grated coconut.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Idli Roast

When you make idlis and a significant volume of the batter is left over, you may re-use that making dosas or Ramnan(Ramdan). However, if you have left over idlis, you can either make Idli Usli(Upma), make finger cuts and deep fry them in hot oil and name them idli fry or another alternative is to make Idli Roast.
Mother used to make idli roast and we used to eat it with simple coconut based chutney with or without hing or with coconut oil and raw mango pickle in brine. These are tasty and healthier compared to their cousin, Idli Fry popularised by Diana Restaurant in Udupi. I am fond of these roast idli slices and we make them often.

Try them. You'll like it for breakfast or tea time.

Left over idlis - 8
Coconut oil or ghee - For shallow frying

Slice the idlis horizontally into 5mm thick discs.
Heat a shallow pan and drizzle some oil/ghee.
Arrange the sliced idlis on the pan and roast till golden on 1 side.
Flip over and roast till other side is also done.
Serve hot with chutney or curry of your choice, or with Chilly sauce and tomato ketchup.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Vegetable Pulao with Goan Egg Curry

Vegetable Pulao is the most sought after North Indian rice dish that can be made in many ways. The aromatic bland preparation goes well with any good curry or Daal Fry but we made Egg Curry with Goan style Tikala masala today with a slight variation, as the temperature is dropping slowly and the weather is dry. This pulao reminded me of the perfect pulao I had tasted at Shilton Hotel in Bangalore way back in the early Eighties. Then me and my colleague had tried it with Lamb Paya Curry.
Good Pulao can be made using good Basmati Rice. We normally use India Gate Basmati that yields long grains that cook perfectly and smell good too. Each grain is light enough and you can feel the lightness as you mix in spoonful of the egg curry and swallow the bite.

This combo meal is a sure hit and your family members may demand this again and again. At least I told my wife Meena that this should be prepared frequently! Preparation is fairly easy as most of the ingredients are readily available and not much grinding is involved.

 Vegetable Pulao

Basmati Rice - 1 Cup(200ml)
Water - 2 Cups or 400 Ml(Including vegetable stock)
Mixed par-boiled Vegetables - 1/2 cup shelled/cut into small pieces(Peas, Beans, carrots, Cauliflower)
Whole Garam masala - 1 bay leaf, 4 cloves, 1" Cinnamon stick, 4 Green Cardamoms
Onion - 1 sliced
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 Tsp
Green Chillies - 3 slit lengthwise
Tomato - 1 chopped
Curd - 2 Tsp
Mint leaves - 1 Sprig chopped
Coriander leaves/ Parsley - 2 sprigs chopped
Lemon - 1/2
Ghee - 2+1 Tsp
Salt - To taste

Wash and soak rice in water for 15-20 mins at room temperature.
Drain and keep aside.
Heat 2 tsp ghee in a thick pan and fry whole garam masala spices till they crackle.
Add ginger garlic paste, green chillies, sliced onions and fry till golden.
Add mint and coriander leaves/parsley, chopped tomato, curd, par-boiled vegetables and saute for 2 mins.
Add water and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil, squeeze lemon and add soaked rice.
Cover and cook on slow fire till rice is well cooked and all the water has been absorbed by the rice.
Drizzle one teaspoon of ghee and garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve.

Goan Egg Curry

Eggs - 4
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 Tsp
Onions - 2 minced
Tomato - 1 blanched and chopped(or Tomato puree 2 Tsp)
Red chilli powder - 2 Tsp
Black Pepper powder - 1/4 Tsp
Coriander powder - 1 Tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 Tsp
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 Tsp
Coconut/Cashewnut paste - 4 Tsp
Oil - 2 Tsp
Coriander leaves - 1 sprig chopped

Hard boil the eggs, peel and cut into halves lengthwise.
Heat oil in a pan and fry ginger garlic paste and minced onions till oil leaves the sides.
Add all the powders except garam masala and fry.
Add tomato puree/chopped blanched tomato and fry till raw smell disappears.
Add coconut/cashew paste and mix well.
Add water sufficient to make a semi-thick gravy.
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer.
Add salt to taste.
When the gravy thickens, add garam masala powder and the boiled eggs, switch off the flame and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

If you make the curry spicier, you can add White Pomfret instead of eggs and make Fish Tikala. Then you avoid cashew paste and use coconut paste.
You can also add slit green chillies and  Kokum skin soaked in water for an hour while making Fish Tikala.

Steamed Banana

It was somewhere in the early Sixties in the Autumn months when I came home in the late afternoon from school, dumped my school bag on the nearest available chair and ran straight to the kitchen from where, the distinct aroma of steamed bananas was emanating from the Idli Steamer(Tandoor/Pedaavan). Yes, mother has been steaming them lovely Nendrabale Bananas for our evening snack! These also make good breakfast snack or dessert.
Steamed banana with home made ghee and sugar is a delicacy in this part of coastal Karnataka and widely popular in Kerala, the birth place of Nendra Bananas. Our childhood was spent eating these simple delicacies, when we didn't have many deserts available in the market. The most luxurious dessert was Fruit Salad with Ice Cream at Maharaja Soda Factory,  Rayan's and later at Shetty Ice Cream and Komal's Cream Parlour. Our hunger could be satiated only after eating one full steamed Nendrabale banana with ghee and sugar followed by a generous portion of Phovachutney or Upma washed down with hot jaggery based kaapi in big bronze 'Lota' or tumbler! During Krishna Janmashtami, steamed bananas are essential part of the 'Phalaahaar' in the morning.
Gopi's Banana Shop in Car Street before it was demolished for road widening some years ago
Nendrabale is a wholesome banana available almost round the year in this part of the world. During my younger days, Car Street had two famous banana shops selling these near the Flower Market. One is Gopi's Shop and another, Kunhaambu's Shop. Both were my late father's well known people who wouldn't cheat and they always gave the best bananas at most reasonable prices. As far as my memory goes, I used to buy Nendra Bananas for Re.1/- per dozen in the Sixties. Later in the Eighties I've purchased them from whole sellers in Bunder area for Rs.7/- per Kilo. Now they cost little over Rs.75/- per Kilo in retail and maybe Rs.60/- per Kilo wholesale. Ghee should be freshly made at home but now a days we depend on good commercial ghee available in the market, as good as home made. Those who are calorie conscious may eat them without ghee and sugar. They are tasty anyway.

The method to make steamed bananas is simple and quick. You don't need to mug up the recipe to do this. All you need to do is watch the level of water in your pressure cooker or idli steamer as you steam them.

Nendrabale bananas - 4 big ones(Around 1 Kg)
Fresh Ghee - 4 Tsp(Or according to preference)
Sugar - 4 Tsp(Or according to preference)

Wash the bananas and trim the ends. Keep the peel intact.
If you prefer, you may cut them into two but we prefer them whole.
Arrange the bananas in a bowl.
Boil sufficient water in a closed pressure cooker without weight or an idli steamer.
As steam starts to form, open the lid, place the bowl with the bananas in the cooker/steamer and close the lid.
Allow to steam for 15-25 minutes or till the banana peel splits open lengthwise and the bananas are well cooked and soft.
Remove from the steamer, peel them and arrange individual steamed bananas on plates.
Make gashes on them as shown in the pictures.
Pour melting ghee over each one of them, sprinkle sugar and keep for 3-5 mins before serving, so that the sugar gets well blended with ghee and infiltrates the steamed bananas.
Some add a dash of cardamom powder but they taste excellent as they are, with ghee and sugar.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Caramelised Banana Halwa

When we talk about Banana Halwa, first thing comes to mind is the famous Taj Mahal Restaurant where we get the best Banana Halwa in Mangalore since decades. The taste and flavour of that halwa remains consistent. The reason for that, is perhaps the variety of bananas they use, the quality of ghee and homogenous mixing of ingredients while making the halwa.

Making halwa is an art and the entire process takes little over an hour. Mixing the ingredients over the slow fire itself takes about 40 minutes. Not many venture into this attempt and they buy the halwa from Taj Mahal or some other sweets outlet!

I have seen my mother making banana halwa with utmost patience, She used to keep churning and mixing as the halwa sizzled in the cast iron kadai. The heat used to be enormous and I as a small boy, used to sit by mother's side and watch the process as drops of sweat trickled down my forehead and ears! We have tried making banana halwa only twice over the last 25 years. We laboriously did the job of making it in aluminum kadai and succeeded, but the effort seemed worthless when we saw the output very poor!

I had purchased four Nendra Bananas last week and we made fritters with two of them. I wanted to make Banana Halwa with the remaining two. This time, an idea flashed to my mind and I told Meena, let's add the left over caramel sauce resting in the fridge that we made for Caramalised Bananas recently to the halwa and try making it faster in the non stick pan. I tried and succeeded in making this special Caramalised Banana Halwa within a total time of 45 mins. 15 mins for initial cleaning chopping and mashing the bananas and 30 mins for making the halwa. The halwa turned out delicious, soft and the slight biting flavour of caramel lingered on as we relished the sweet meat!

For banana halwa, you need the Kerala variety Nendrabale bananas but you can also make it with some other pulpy bananas like the Cavendish Robusta. We are used to Nendrabale Halwa and we get that in abundance here in Mangalore. Bananas should be over ripe for making the halwa. Otherwise the halwa tastes sour and doesn't come out sticky.

Be watchful and keep monitoring the Nendra bananas everyday as the skin turns blackish and slight greyish traces of fungus form on the bananas. Keep them covered with a dome net to keep the flies at bay. When the skin turns almost black with a few spots of yellowish red skin visible, that's the right time to make halwa. With two fairly big bananas, we got little over 250Gms of halwa. The purity, delicious taste and the flavour of the halwa is just unmatched by the store bought one!

Nendra Bananas - 4 big(around 800Gms)
Sugar - 8 Tsp(2 tsp per banana)
Ghee - 4 Tsp(1 tsp per banana)
Caramel Sauce - 20 Ml(Optional)
Cardamom powder - 1/4 Tsp
Water - 1/2 Cup

Wash and wipe the bananas to get rid of traces of fungus and other impurities.
Peel them and chop them into small chunks.
Lightly mash them by pounding or run the chunks in a mixie coarsely. I prefer them to be mashed manually to get the right consistency.
Heat a nonstick pan and add ghee.
Add the mashed banana and water.
Keep the flame on medium or low and keep mixing the contents till the bananas start cooking.
Keep stirring and take care not to burn the pulp.
The pulp should get cooked within 15 minutes and ghee starts leaving the sides.
Part of the pulp starts getting browned a bit. This is the time for adding sugar.
Add sugar and mix well. Add caramel sauce and stir.
Keep mixing on low heat till halwa starts to form and the mass turns dark red.
Now add the cardamom powder and mix well.
More ghee oozes out at this stage and when the halwa gets dark brown and sticky, switch off the flame and transfer the halwa to a greased plate.
Spread evenly with a spoon and allow to cool down at room temperature.
If the quantity is less and halwa hasn't spread into at least 1/2 inch layer, compress the mass into a square till you get the desired thickness as shown the the pics.
Check to see if the halwa has set properly and cut into desired shape and size.
Store in an air tight container at room temperature.
If properly made, this halwa can be kept for over 3 weeks without getting spoilt.

If you prefer to make this without caramel sauce, you may add slightly more sugar and ghee.

If the halwa gets harder, you can reheat it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. You get soft and hot halwa!

Don't worry about excess ghee oozing out after you spread the halwa on the plate. The halwa consumes just the right amount of ghee and the excess that oozes out can be collected and recycled. This can be well relished with Ubbati/Holige(Pooran Poli).

Friday, November 01, 2013

Diwali Special Fish Curry Rice on Plantain Leaf

Diwali the festival of lights is here and homes are illuminating with oil lamps and fireworks. The elderly and the younger generation mingle and celebrate the festival after having a oil massage and hot water bath the previous day. Among a section of GSB Konkanis, seafood preparations mark the arrival of Diwali after having the oil bath. This unique tradition has been followed by the Konkanis living along the coastal towns of Kerala to Goa since ages. Among the seafood, prawns and King Fish take the prime place and here, I am showing the readers my preference of dishes for pre-diwali seafood dinner.
This year, we thought of having traditional fish curry rice feast on plantain leaf. We got some fresh Mothialo(Bollanjir/Silver Fish) with which Meena made Phannaupkari and GSB style fish Fried. We had them with boiled red rice. This way of eating on plantain leaf not only adds to the flavour of the seafood delicacies but also ensures an easy job for the house wives to dispose off the environmentally friendly leaf and also saves time on cleaning dinner plates.

We also have a special Gojju(chutney) made with Kholambo(Raw Mango in brine) and Pachponosu(Wild Jack fruit in brine) prepared by our neighbour Vinaya Shenoy. This gojju helps in digestion and also induces salivation in the mouth with its tangy taste to sublimate the effects of the fiery hot spicy phannaupkari. A glass of masala buttermilk completes the feast.
GSB style Fried Fish:

Ingredients:Mothialo(Silver Fish) - 25
Red Chilli powder - 4 Tsp
Tamarind extract - 1 Tsp
Salt - To taste
Asafotoeda - A pinch dissolved in little water
Rice Powder - QS
Cococnut Oil - For deep frying


Clean wash and marinate fish with red chilli powder, salt, tamarind extract and asafotoeda for 30 mins.
Heat oil in a deep frying pan.
Roll the marinated fish in rice flour one by one to coat evenly and deep fry on medium flame till crisp.
Serve hot with fish curry rice, with a lemon wedge and onion slices.

Note: Same recipe can be adapted to fry any other fish like Mackerels, Sardines, Kaane, Ademeen, Pomfret or King Fish.

Kholambo and Pachponosu in Brine Gojju:

In Konkani Raw Mango pickled in brine is called Kholambo and Wild Jack Fruit is called Pachponosu. Raw mango is pickled in brine in summer and the pickled mango stays unspoilt for a year till the start of next season. Wild Jack Fruit is also preserved similarly and these are stored in cool dark places in Porcelain Clay Jars in Mangalorean house holds. These are used in curries but gojju or chutney is most popular.

This requires no heat and is a healthy tasty gojju that goes well with Boiled Red Rice Gruel(Congi) or rice and curds. This is a grandma's recipe passed over from generations to generations. A simple delicacy formulated in the rural places of Coastal Konkan, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala.

1. Raw Mango in Brine(Kholambo) - 1(250Gm)
2. Wild Jack Fruit(Pachponosu) in Brine - 1(300Gms)
3. Grated Coconut - 1 Cup
4. Green Chillies - 5-6
5. Garlic Flakes - 6-8
6. Cococnut Oil - 2-3 Tsp

Cut and wash the mango to remove excess salt.
Cut, clean and wash the wild jack fruit.
Chop the green chillies.
Peel and chop the garlic flakes.
Pound the mango, wild jack and green chillies in a mortar or run in the chutney jar of the mixie till coarsely ground.
Add coconut oil and mix well.

1. Since the mango and wild jack are pickled in brine, no need to add salt.
2. You can also add hing instead of garlic. A generoous pinch should suffice if added while grinding the ingredients.
3. You can also replace green chillies with roasted red short chillies but use only 3-4 red ones instead of 6-8 green ones.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Image Copy Control