Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easy Pineapple and Chicken Curry

Here is a chicken curry that is both spicy and sweet and a breeze to make. The tempering step for this curry is entirely optional but highly desired- There's something to be said about tempered curry leaf and mustard seeds that does wonders to a curry.
  • 4 Chicken Thighs, skinned and cut into pieces
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, vertically cut
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh or Canned Pineapple Chunks (I Used 'Dole' pineapple chunks)
  • 4 Green Chili, roughly cut
  • 1 Tsp Chili Powder or more/less (Optional)
  • 1" Ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 Stalk Curry Leaf
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 Tsp Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Chicken Masala Powder( Any brand, I used "Sakthi")
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • Salt as needed
For Tempering(Optional):
  • 1/4 Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 2-3 Green Chili
  • 1 Stalk Curry Leaf
  • 1 Tsp Olive Oil 
    • Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the cut onions, garlic, ginger,green chili and turmeric powder. Saute until the onions are almost translucent.
    • Add the chicken pieces to the pan and increase the flame to high. Brown the chicken on the outside with the cracked pepper sprinkled on top.
    • Add the chicken masala powder,give a good stir so that the masala powder coats the chicken and other ingredients in the pan.
    • Throw in the chopped tomatoes a couple of minutes later.
    • Add about a cup or water and cook the chicken with closed lid for 10 minutes.
    • Add salt, chili powder(if using), coconut milk and pineapple chunks. Cook for 5 more minutes.

    • Optional Step (For Tempering): In a small skillet heat oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they start sputtering add the curry leaves and green chili.Shake the pan for a few seconds and pour over the chicken curry.
    • Serve the chicken over hot white or brown rice.

    Sunday, April 24, 2011

    Beet Sliders With Homemade Slider/Burger Buns

    Saturday was a washout. It started off with a drizzle steadily progressing to an incessant pour.Around noon I saw signs of the rain slowing down which made me to fervently hope that the Sun god would show mercy and send at-least a ray of sunshine for me to shoot pictures of my mouth-watering sliders.Then a thick blanket of fog settled down on my town.While some would think it romantic, an ideal scenario for cuddling or chilling with the family in front of the TV with a cup of Chai Tea + Crispy snacks, I think of it as an ominous presence where some kind of evil lurks. Fog, at night or day gives me the creeps! So noon came with hubby and little A badgering me to give them some food.I had to keep them away from the food, especially my hubby,like swatting a fly with my bare hands.Shoo, shoo be off. Thirty minutes later with the family getting annoyed,impatient I decided to take a chance and placed these beauties at the brightest spot I could find in house and clicked away. It was also fortunate that the Sun decided to peek out from behind the gray clouds before ducking back for the day. So what do you think?
    Little A wanted to go to the park this weekend. His dad had promised him and that was the foremost thing on his mind. By Sunday noon(today) he got impatient and asked if the rain will go away if he sings "Rain Rain Go away song". He He.. Is that an innocent question or sarcasm? Are 3-yr olds even capable of being sarcastic? Pondering.
    So this post winds up the fourth edition of "7 days of Blogging Marathon". Thanks to Ms.SriValli Jetti for starting this exciting event. If you are new my space, this is what I posted for in the past 6 days:
    For the Sliders(Adapted from here):
    • 1-1/4 Cup Whole Milk
    • 3 Cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
    • 4 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
    • 2-1/4 Tsp Active Dry Yeast
    • 6 Tbsp Butter, Melted
    • 1/2Tsp Salt
    • Little Oil for coating the dough
    For the Beet Patties/Cakes (Makes 18 Slider-sized patties):
    • 2 Medium Beet, Peeled and Grated
    • 3 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes, boiled till fork tender and finely smashed
    • 1 Small Sweet Potato, boiled till fork tender and finely smashed
    • 4 Stale Whole Wheat Bread, toasted and crumbed in a blender
    • 1 Small Yellow Onion, finely chopped
    • 3 Hot Cherry Peppers in Pickling Brine ( I used B& G brand) or more/less, chopped and seeds discarded
    • 2 Small Garlic Cloves, Peeled and minced
    • 1/4 Tsp Cracked Pepper or more
    • 1/4 Cup Cilantro, finely chopped
    • Salt for taste
    • 3 Tbsp of Oil
    For Assembling the Sliders:
    • Mix of Spring Greens
    • 18 thin slices of tomatoes
    • 18 Tooth-picks
    • Kettle cooked Potato Chips
    • Scald the milk in a sauce pan. When its slightly warm, add the sugar and yeast. Stir to incorporate and let it sit undisturbed in a warm spot for 10-15 minutes. The mixture would have frothed indicating the yeast is alive.
    • Add the flour, salt and melted butter and knead to a smooth dough for 8-10 minutes.
    • Coat the dough with a tsp of oil and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Let it rest for an hour.
    • Punch down the dough that has almost doubled in size. Divide the dough into 18 even balls.
    • To make slider buns: Keep the left palm firm and flat. Place a ball of dough on the left palm and cup it on the top with the right palm. Roll the dough till a smooth ball is formed that has a flat bottom and a domed top. Place it in a greased baking pan/sheet and repeat the same for the remaining balls. Let it rest for 45 minutes.
    • Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the baking sheet on the top rack and bake for 15 minutes till the tops are brown in color.Let it rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

    • Meanwhile mix the grated beets, smashed potato and sweet potato, chopped onions, minced garlic cloves, crumbed bread, cracked pepper and salt. Mix it until they are all incorporated.
    • Add the chopped cilantro at the end and gently combine.
    • Form the mixture into 18 patties.
    • Cook them on a wide pan with a tbsp of oil for 2 minutes per side.
    • Gently move them to a plate to slightly cool.
    • For Assembling the Sliders: Cut open the Slider Buns and place some greens, beet patties and top with tomato slices. Cover with the top of  the bun and insert a tooth pick.
    • Serve immediately with a side of chips.
    Makes 18 Beet Sliders.

    Check out the Blogging Marathoners doing (Group 3) BM#4 along with me-
    Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma
    Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
    Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
    Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
    Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu
    Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali
    30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Sriv


    Saturday, April 23, 2011

    Zebra Cake

    My son is many things - Smart as a whip( for his age). For Example, he is very good with numbers. When his grandpa visited a couple of weeks ago, we asked him to test A with a number quiz. So grandpa typed "7" on the laptop. A said the right answer. Grandpa then typed "17". The answer was Seventy-One. We  had a good laugh. Grandpa then decided to challenge him by typing "915". Nine hundred and fifteen was uttered with all the confidence of a 3-yr old. Stunned grandpa upped the challenge by typing  "10,000" on the laptop. Me and hubby exchanged looks and waited with bated breath wondering will he or will he not. Then my munchkin squeaked "Ten thousand". What a showoff! Grandpa looked like the cat that ate the canary! Grandpa who had only 2 daughters, who was already pleased that both his daughters gifted him with grandsons who will turn into strapping lads, was even more pleased that they wouldn't grow as nincompoops. Anyways, A started started weaving his magic around grandpa so he could get a ride around the block in grandpa's black car..and he also politely stated to grandpa that he would like to sleep next to him. LoL.What A doesn't know is that Grandpa snores like a Copter.
    So A is many things but courageous fella he is not. Well can't expect him to be everything when he is only 3,right?.But I so want him to be a fearless kid. He is scared of "Dino Dan" on TV always clinging to mommy when a big Tyrannosaurus Rex(T-Rex) comes stomping on the screen, Pressure cooker whistles, Vacuum cleaner noise and so forth. Last month a friend and her family came to our place for a sleepover. Her hubby was blowing his nose and clearing his throat in a boisterous manner. Every-time he did that A's eyes would well up with tears and lips would quiver with a promise of a bawl.
    When he is upset I always have something sweet to distract him. A piece of chocolate or a chocolate cake. His new favorite is the Zebra Cake which I would like to think of as "The Pacifier". I have seen plenty of folks post this eye-catching cake recipe but I wasn't motivated to try it until I saw it at Shab's Cuisine. Her pictures of this fabulous cake spurred me into action. First time I tried using a Bundt Pan and it was a disaster..Oh the taste and texture was great but the layers bled into one another. The second time around I decided to use a 9" cake pan and it turned out great. Third time it was even better. I used the dark cocoa powder and the layers were prominent and the cake was a beauty. See for yourself-

    • 4 Large Eggs, at room temperature
    • 1 Cup Milk, at room temperature
    • 1 Cup + 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
    • 1 Cup Canola Oil or any Vegetable Oil
    • 2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
    • 2 Tbsp Dutch-processed Cocoa Powder
    • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
    • 1 Tsp Vanilla Essence
    • 1/2 Tsp Salt
    • 9" Round Cake Pan
      • Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Sift the flour with baking power and salt. 
      • Add the eggs to the sugar in a wide shallow bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs and sugar for 2 to 3 minutes or until they are pale yellow and thick enough to form a ribbon when the whisk is lifted from the bowl.
      • Pour the Oil, Milk and Vanilla extract to the egg mixture. Add the  flour mixture in small batches and mix only till it is combined.
      • Remove 2-1/2 Cups of batter to another bowl and stir in the cocoa powder.
      • Grease a 9" pan with butter/oil and dust it lightly with flour. Now using a small ladle pour about 3-4 tbsp of white batter into the pan. Don't wait for it to spread. Alternate it with cocoa batter. Repeat. This below picture shows when its 1/4th done:
      • 1/2 way thru:
      • At 3/4th. I am feeling the tension.
      • Finally its done. Move the pan carefully and position it in the middle rack.
      • Bake for 50 minutes or till the toothpick comes clean when inserted in the center. Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest till the cake pulls from the sides of the pan. Carefully move it to a plate or cooling rack and let it completely cool prior to cutting into wedges.
      • Admire your creation before digging in.
      Check out the Blogging Marathoners doing (Group 3) BM#4 along with me-
      Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma
      Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
      Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
      Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
      Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu
      Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali
      30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Sriv


      Friday, April 22, 2011

      Mini Masala Fried Idlis with Peppers and Peas

      Day5 of BM#4: An interesting conversation between myself and my bossy 3-yr old-
      A: Mom, what is your problem?
      Me: What's the matter, A?
      A: Take me to the library. I want Max and Ruby book.
      Me: Hold on, Pudding. We will go in a bit, ok?
      A: (2 seconds later) Mom, come away from the computer. Its your last warning.
      Me: Puttu, you can't talk to mommy like that.
      A: Yes Mommy. I will put you in the the Dirty Water(Storm Drain) and you will stay there until you are 60-yrs old.
      Me:(At loss for words..wondering where this is all coming from) We will go after you are done with your snack. Okay, pudding?
      ***An hour later..he has forgotten the trip to Library. He lifts his T-shirt and touches his belly-button while I am chilling with a cookbook) ***
      A: Mommy, what is this?
      Me: Its a belly-button, Pudding
      A: I want to hold that belly-button.
      Me: You may touch it, feel it but you can't hold it A.
      A: (After some thought) I want 2 belly-button, 3 belly-button, 4 belly-button
      Me: You can't have that many, Pudding. Everyone has "just one". Be happy with the one you have, okay?
      A: (After some thought) I want to go buy belly-buttons in the shop. Mommy, lets go to Stop & Shop.
      Me: LoL, LoL, LoL. They don't sell belly-buttons in stores. Okay? But they sure sell veggies. Go get your coat, A. We will go get some peppers for your num-num.
      *** Off we go! The End ***

      A few other Hilarious quotes of my little boy:
      • Daddy is a Mad Dog, I am a happy puppy (My favorite)
      • Mommy, clean this poo-poo-ness (After a potty session, My least favorite, LoL)
      • Timeout for you Mommy. That's your patience (He can't say "punishment" yet)
      • Mommy, can you be Princess Fiona?? (He says this after he picks out a nice outfit for me. The kid knows only one Princess and that's from Shrek movie. The kid doesn't grasp the concept that she is also an Ogre Fiona)
      Anyways, I make this colorful dish for A to snack on or even as a breakfast. This recipe goes with the assumption that people have "Idli batter" handy. I am surprised that I haven't posted an Idli("Steamed Rice Cakes")  recipe yet!  

      And hey folks, Happy Earth Day 2011. To the Christians around the world, Have a reflective Good Friday! To my sweet loving Mom, Happy Birthday!
      • 18 Mini Idlis
      • 1 Small Yellow onion, finely chopped
      • 1/2 Cup Chopped Red, Yellow and Orange Peppers
      • 1/8 Cup Green Peas
      • 1 Stalk Curry Leaves
      • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
      • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
      • 1/2 tsp Chili Powder
      • 1/8 tsp Turmeric Powder
      • 1-1/2 Tbsp Oil
      • Salt as needed
      • Make Idlis from the Idli batter. 
      • In a skillet, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Once they start sputtering, add the chopped onion and the chopped peppers. Saute until the onions are browned and the peppers are shrunk.
      • Add the green peas, curry leaves, turmeric powder, chili powder and salt and give a good stir.
      • Add the steamed "mini idlis" to the pan.
      • Toss about until they are all mixed.
      • Move it to the plate and get ready to dig in.

      On a lazy day, I just chop the regular-sized idlis and fry them with the spices minus the Veggies and they look like this-

      Makes 2 Servings.

      Check out the Blogging Marathoners doing (Group 3) BM#4 along with me-
      Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma
      Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
      Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
      Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
      Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu
      Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali
      30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Sriv


      Thursday, April 21, 2011

      Cabbage, Onion And Blackgram Fritters "Doughnut Vadai"

      Day4 of BM#4: My neighbors, a gay couple sold their house last week and moved out. I mean why would anyone want to sell their house when its not a seller's market?? Found a bigger house?? Can't afford to pay the mortgage?? Don't know what the reason was but I am sad to see them go.I will especially miss "hubby#2" cause he was a true example of perseverance and discipline. There wasn't much of an interaction between us except for an occasional hi and bye..But I used to watch him..Don't take it wrong, I wasn't ogling but I liked watching him go about his business.You see,my kitchen overlooks his garage and since I spend most of my time washing and cleaning in the kitchen I couldn't escape clapping eyes on him, whether I liked it or not. Oh, I liked.
      So "hubby#2" drives a blue beetle. I have never seen someone care of their car like he did. Rain or shine, hell or high-water, he would clean his car the old-fashioned way - with a pail of water and a soapy sponge exactly 2 times a week. No more, no less. Even when there was snow on the ground he carried on. Nothing would deter him from his car-cleaning obligation. That kind of dogged determination certainly impressed me and I rejoiced that I had found "my muse for discipline". He had recently adopted an uber cute Chihuahua puppy that he would take for a walk right after he comes from work.Now my loss is two-fold -- I will miss my neighbor "hubby#two" and his puppy too.
      Speaking of discipline and perseverance, you will need it both if you want to make this deliciously deep-fried fritter. The texture and consistency of the batter is important if you want the fritters to have that perfect hole in the center to resemble a doughnut and there is no easy way out. The batter is indeed unforgiving..if it is too runny it will end up like these. So if you fail to achieve this perfection first time, try it again and again. Its totally worth it. Addition of cabbage in this "Doughnut Vadai" was a new for me.
      I first saw this at Kathy's space, The Colors of Indian Cooking,  about 2 months ago. Kathy is an extremely talented Hollywood writer and an equally talented cook whose Momo recipe, Pizza recipe, Vietnamese drip coffee recipe and definitely this Cabbage fritter recipe have made me go mad with wanting. I made this Fritters(Vadai) for my hubby's potluck party at work and he said they were gone in a matter of minutes. Its totally irresistible and definitely not to be missed out. Even my 3-yr old who doesn't care for hot, spicy food but certainly loves deep-fried goodies, asks for seconds.He is equally crazy about Masala Vadai too.

      • 1 Cup Whole Black Lentil/Black Gram minus the shell
      • 1 Medium Yellow Onion, finely chopped
      • 1-1/2 Cup Finely Shredded Cabbage
      • 1/8 Cup Finely Chopped Cilantro
      • 4-6 Hot Green Chilies or More/Less 
      • 1/2" Ginger, peeled and finely chopped
      • 1/8 Cup Fresh or Frozen Green-peas (Optional)
      • Canola Oil for deep-frying
      • Kadai or a dutch oven for deep frying

      • Soak the Black Lentils in water for about 2-3 hours.
      • Drain it completely and grind it to a fine paste with very-less/no water either in a food processor or a blender.
      • Remove the seeds of the hot green chili, finely chop and add to the lentil paste.
      • Add the chopped cabbage, onion, cilantro, salt to the batter. I did not grind the onions because it leaves water and that is bad for the batter. The batter has to be relatively thick to make a doughnut shaped fritter.
      • Place a Ziploc plastic bag on a flat surface, smear it with oil and add a golf-ball size batter. Press it down gently to form a Pattie. Using the forefinger put a hole in the center.
      • Pick up the Ziploc bag with your left hand, transfer the doughnut to your right hand and drop it gently into the oil. Repeat for the remaining batter. Deep fry fritters in batches until they are browned evenly on both sides.
      • Fish them out of the oil using a skimmer and drain them on paper towel and serve it hot and crispy with a cup of Masala Chai/Tea.

      Makes ~ 20 Doughnut Fritters.

      • It is extremely important that you grind the batter with as less water as possible(no more than 2-3 tbsp). The dough has to be relatively thick to form a perfect doughnut shaped fritter.
      • Do not let the batter rest. The salt in the batter will make the cabbage and onion shed water thereby making it soggy.Ergo, no perfect doughnut and no crispy fritter.
      Check out the Blogging Marathoners doing (Group 3) BM#4 along with me-
      Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma
      Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
      Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
      Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
      Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu
      Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali
      30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Sriv