Love Thai Food…

I am in love with Thai food… It’s my go-to food when I want to eat something nice and familiar and be sure that I will love it. So making Thai food at home is not a usual thing for us as when we feel like it we just go out or take out from our favorite Thai restaurants around our place. A few weeks back I bought this cookbook from Barnes and Noble. The reason I picked it up was it was on sale and it had a ton of very pretty pictures. I love cookbooks with pretty pictures. It just makes it easier for me to decide on whether I want to or not make a particular recipe. So this book that I picked up is called ‘Curry Bible’ by Mridula Baljekar. There are a pages of recipes for different meats and vegetables all with the same link – curry. This is where I picked this recipe from – Thai Yellow Chicken Curry, one main reason being that it has baby corns in it. I love baby corns and so does Amit and both of us love Thai food, so why not. Oh and an added incentive was that it does not use all coconut milk, instead it uses yogurt which makes it an healthier version. I did make a couple of changes to the recipe either because I did not have the ingredients or felt it would make the dish just a little more flavorful. This recipe serves 4 and takes about 45  mins to prepare.

Ingredients:

  1. 6 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste (ingredients and recipe follow)
  2. 2/3 cup plain yogurt
  3. 1/4 cup coconut milk
  4. 1.5 cups water
  5. handful of fresh cilantro
  6. handful of thai basil leaves (I did not have these handy so skipped it)
  7. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  8. 1 large red onion cut into wedges
  9. 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  10. 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cut into strips)
  11. 6 oz baby corns (halved lengthwise)
For Thai Yellow Curry Paste
  1. 2 orange habanero chili (I wanted it spicy, you could use normal orange or yellow chilies)
  2. 3 garlic cloves
  3. 4 shallots
  4. 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 12-15 black peppercorns, crushed
  7. 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
  8. 1″ fresh ginger

Directions:

  • Heat 1/2 tbsp oil and add the yellow curry paste. Stir fry the paste till it is fragrant for a min or two.
  • Add the chicken and baby corn to the paste and transfer it to another bowl.
  • In the same pan heat the rest of the oil and stir fry the onions and garlic till the onions are pink.
  • Now add the chicken and baby corn to this and stir fry till the chicken and baby corn are tender.
  • Now stir in the yogurt, coconut milk, water, cilantro and thai basil.  Bring this to a boil and let it simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Garnish with some cilantro and basil and serve hot with rice.
For Yellow Curry Paste
  • Grind the ingredients together in a food processor or grinder to a smooth paste. You can store this in the refrigerator for upto a week.

I served this with some saffron coconut rice. The recipe for the saffron coconut rice will be uploaded soon. The recipe is very easy to make and goes well with either rice or bread. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

Shilpa

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An awesome weekend Breakfast / Brunch

This is a recipe Amit loves so much that he time and again requests for it. But generally I make it for breakfast so I did not find the time to actually get the pictures. Last night I got the request once again, last night. And since I had the time, I managed to click some pictures this time. And therefore managed to post the recipe. I modified the recipe just a teeny-weeny bit from the recipe posted by Meeta at http://www.whatsforlunchhoney.net/2010/12/chocolate-and-pistachio-french-toast.html.

This is a very quick recipe. Takes about 10 minutes of prep time and depending on how long you would like to soak the bread in the eggs, it takes another 3-5 minutes per french toast.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 slices of bread
  2. 8 tbsp of chocolate spread (4 squares of milk chocolate + Hershey’s chocolate syrup)
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  6. pinch of nutmeg
  7. pinch of salt
  8. 2 tsp butter
  9. icing sugar

Directions:

  • Spread the chocolate spread on slice of bread and place another slice on top of it.
  • Beat the eggs and milk together with the spices.
  • Soak the sandwiched bread slices in the egg mixture.
  • Heat a pan and melt the butter in it. Now place the sandwiched bread slices in the pan and cook it for about 2 minutes on each side or till the french toast is cooked.
  • Sprinkle some icing sugar on the french toast. Serve the french toast plain or with some warm maple syrup.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do. It’s an easy recipe and is very quick to make too. You can make these and place them in a warm oven till they are ready to be served.

In love with fish…

As a kid I wasn’t a fish lover. But I think I start loving it more and more as I grew older and realized that it’s a tastier and healthier option. And now it’s even more easier with all the fillets readily available. Ond day I hope to live some place where, I can go to the market and get fresh fish, till then I will make do with the freshest fish I can find here in AZ. So last night was a fish dinner night. I wanted to make something quick and easy.

On another note, Amit and I were going to get some coffee the other day on Mill Avenue (it’s the street on which our lab is located). There is this quaint little book store on this otherwise, restaurant / bar / pub filled street. It’s a really nice bookstore, I think owned by an old couple who are also very nice. They have tons of books on every conceivable topic and some that I bet you won’t find elsewhere. And they have a large gray cat who sits around watching all the people who come into the store.

So while browsing through the books, I saw this Martha Stewart book on sale. I glanced through it and since I do not have any of her books, I thought why not. I am sure I can get atleast a couple of recipes that I can tweek to my liking in here. She had a recipe for a roasted salmon with herbed stuffing. I did not have salmon, for that matter I did not want to but a whole fish to make the dish. So I decided to tweek it to make it a roasted swai with rolled / filled herb filling. And I must say, I was very happy with the final dish. It was as intended very easy to make and took about 15-20 minutes of preparation time and then about 15-20 minutes in the oven. So technically I was busy cooking it for only 15-20 mins, the oven was the one cooking after that. The herbed filling is sufficient for about 3 large Swai fillets.

Ingredients:

  1. 3 Swai fillets
  2. 2 tsps olive oil
  3. 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
  4. 2 carrots (grated)
  5. 1 bunch of green onions (chopped)
  6. 5-6 small cloves garlic (chopped)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  9. 1 cup chopped coriander
  10. 5-6 basil leaves
  11. 1 sprig tarragon
  12. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  13. some oil to brush the baking dish
  14. kitchen string
  15. 1/2 teaspoon butter

For seasoning the fish fillet

  1. 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  2. salt to taste
  3. ginger powder
  4. coriander powder

Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil and add the cumin and fennel seeds when the oil is hot.
  • Next add the red onions and fry till they soften and start turning pink.
  • Now add the garlic and fry a few more minutes till the raw smell of garlic is gone.
  • Next add the carrots and green onions and cook for a few minutes till the carrots have softened.
  • Finally add all the herbs except the tarragon.
  • Preheat the oven to 500F.
  • Now place a fillet on a large plate and season one side with the red chilli powder, salt, ginger powder and coriander powder. You may add as much or as little of these spices. I added about 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander pwd, 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder and salt to taste.
  • Next spread the filling on the wider end  of the fillet to about three fourths of the way down to the narrower end.
  • Start rolling the fillet from the wider end to the narrower end and tie it up with the kitchen string.
  • Now place the tied up fillets on a baking dish brushed with some oil.
  • Place the tarragon sprigs on the rolled fillet and place in the oven.
  • Turn the rolled fillet over after about 10 minutes and let it cook for another 5 mins. Keep a careful eye on the fish so that you do not overcook it.
  • At the very end, pull out the baking dish from the oven and brush the top with some of the butter and place it under the broiler for a couple of mins so that it browns slightly.
  • Serve with some greens and it makes a meal in itself.

We loved this fish with the filling and I am definitely gonna make different fillings because there are a multitude of possibilities for that. I will definitely keep you posted on what other fillings I try out. This one makes the entire dish very fresh, the herbs are definitely the main reason for that. Hope you enjoy the dish and thanks for reading.

A lazy Saturday afternoon lunch…

Today was one of the days where we actually woke up kind of early enough to have breakfast. But after some bagels and coffee Amit decided that he needed a late morning, early afternoon nap. So I decided that I would make some eggplant for lunch following the recipe that my Mom used to make at home.

I started making the eggplant and realized that I did not have a key ingredient, tomatoes. So I decided to improvise and make a different gravy. So instead of the onion tomato gravy that I was going to make for the eggplant, I decided to make a coconut onion gravy instead. And I am so glad I did not have tomatoes to make the original recipe; this one is just as good. It takes about 15-20 minutes to make the gravy and depending in how big a frying pan you have, about 5-10 minutes for each batch of eggplant slices. I had to fry the eggplant in about 4 batches so it took me about 30 minutes to be done with the frying, and the gravy was ready in the meanwhile. It takes close to 40-50 mins prepare the dish. It serves about 3 – 4 persons.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 large eggplant
  2. 1 tsp oil
  3. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  5. 1 onion
  6. 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  7. 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  8. 1/2 cup thin coconut milk
  9. 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
  10. 1 tsp coriander powder
  11. salt to taste

For frying the eggplant

  1. oil
  2. 2 red chilli powder
  3. 2 tsp ginger powder
  4. 1 1/2 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)
  5. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  6. 1/4 tsp garam masala
  7. salt to taste
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

Directions:

  • Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  • Mix the oil with the ingredients listed under ‘For frying the eggplant’. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with the oil mixed in with the dried spices.
  • Heat a pan and fry the slices on without any oil. The oil brushed on the slices to saute/fry  it.
  • While the slices are frying you start preparing the gravy.

  • Heat some oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and red chilli flakes.
  • Once the cumin seeds are browned add the chopped onions and fry it till it is browned slightly.
  • Next add the ginger garlic paste and cook till the raw smell of the ginger garlic paste is gone.
  • Now add the coriander powder and fry till the dry spice is cooked.
  • Next add the thin coconut milk and let it some to a simmer. Now add the chopped coriander leaves.
  • Once the coriander leaves are thoroughly mixed, add the thick coconut milk and salt and bring to a simmer.
  • Once the eggplant slices are all fried, transfer them to a baking dish.
  • Now pour the gravy over the eggplant slices in the baking dish.
  • Place the baking dish in the oven for about 10-20 minutes or till ready to serve.

Amit is my eggplant expert. He is the one who buys and makes eggplants for us at home. But today since he was taking a nap, I decided to make eggplant and he loved it. So it’s Amit certified!!! 🙂 Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did. Its definitely different from the usual recipes I have made with eggplant before. Thank you for reading this post and have a great rest of the weekend.

In celebration of completing another major step towards my PhD!!!

I know I have been missing from my blog from a very long time. In fact it will be two months on the 22nd of August. But well I guess sometimes you just need to prioritize and you end up giving up the very thing that makes your life less stressful. But I can say one thing about the last two months, I did manage to accomplish two major milestones towards my doctoral degree; first – I submitted my PhD proposal and second – I completed the written part of my comprehensive exam. A couple more steps and I will be pretty close to officially completing my PhD program…

So in celebration of having completed all these milestones, I decided to make some chicken tikka masala tonight. In fact I was to start making it around 6:30 pm but thanks to the dust storm that rolled into Phoenix this evening, I was stuck at school for an hour more than I had planned.The chicken tikka masala essentially has two main ingredients, the gravy/masala and the chicken tikka. This recipe serves 4 persons and takes about an hour to prepare from start to finish if you make the chicken tikka and masala simultaneously.

Ingredients:

  1. 500 grams of boneless cubes of chicken
  2. 2 tbsp oil
  3. ½ tsp Cumin seeds
  4. 1 Bay leaf
  5. 2 Black cardamoms
  6. 3 Green cardamom
  7. 3 Cloves
  8. 1 inch Cinnamon
  9. 3 medium / 2 large Chopped onions
  10. 2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
  11. 3 chopped Tomatoes
  12. 1 ½ tsp Coriander powder
  13. 1 tbsp Red Chili powder
  14. ¼ tsp Turmeric
  15. Salt to taste
  16. 4 tbsp Cashewnut paste
  17. 1 Tomato (no pulp chopped into large chunks)
  18. 1 Green pepper / Capsicum chopped into large chunks
  19. 1 Onion chopped into large chunks
  20. 2 tbsp Cream
  21. ½ tsp Garam masala
  22. fresh Coriander for garnishing
  23. 1 tbsp lime juice

For the chicken marinade

  1. 1 tsp Ginger paste
  2. 1 tsp Garlic paste
  3. 1 tsp Chili powder
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 1 tbsp Lime juice
  6. 2 tbsp Oil
  7. 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  8. 1/4 tsp carom seeds / ajwain
  9. 2 tbsp Gram flour
  10. 1 cup Yogurt
  11. 1 tsp red Chili powder
  12. 2 tsp Ginger garlic paste
  13. ¼ tsp Turmeric
  14. Salt to taste
  15. ½ tsp Garam masala

Directions:

Chicken Tikka

  • Marinate the chicken in ingredients 1 to 5  under ‘For the chicken marinade’ for 20 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile heat the oil and add the carom seeds. Once the carom seeds start popping, add the gram flour and roast it till it is cooked through. There will be a nutty smell once the gram flour is cooked.
  • Now add this to the yogurt, red chili powder, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, salt and garam masala.
  • After 20 mins add the marinated chicken to the yogurt mixture.
  • Let the chicken marinate for about 2-3 hours. (I did not have 2-3 hrs. I managed to marinate it only for an hour or so)
  • Once the chicken is marinated long enough, oil a baking sheet and pre heat the oven to 425F.
  • Skewer the chicken cubes onto skewers and place the skewers on the baking sheet. The chicken will cook pretty fast, about 15-20 mins. After once side is cooked, turn over the chicken on the skewers. After about 10 mins, turn it over once again. It should be browned slightly on either side.
  • Add the chunks of tomato, green pepper and onions to the leftover marinade.
  • Set the chicken aside. You can start preparing the gravy while the chicken cooks.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, set the oven to the broiler setting and transfer the vegetables on the same baking sheet.
  • Once the vegetables brown remove them from the oven and set them aside.

For the Masala / Gravy

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Once the oil is hot add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamom (black and green), cloves & cinnamon to it. Once the whole spices start imparting their fragrance, add the chopped onions.
  • Brown the onions and add the ginger garlic paste at the very end. Once the ginger garlic paste is also fried add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are completely incorporated with the onions.
  • Next add the coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Let the dry spices cook through, it will take just a couple of minutes.
  • Once the dry spices are cooked through add the cashew paste and cook it for a couple of minutes till the oil starts separating from the mixture.
  • At this point add the chicken and mix thoroughly. You may want to add some water to the gravy at this point if it is too thick.
  • Let the gravy simmer for a couple of minutes then add the roasted vegetable chunks to the gravy. Mix the vegetables together and let it simmer for a couples of minutes.
  • Next add the cream, coriander leaves and lime juice to the gravy.
  • The chicken tikka masala is now ready to serve.

We had the chicken tikka masala with some naan and it was brilliant. Now no more craving for restaurant style chicken tikka masala. I can make it at home anytime. Though not too often, it’s not the healthiest of meals after all. But once in a while when you feel like indulging, its perfect. And I followed the recipe from the following link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gh-SZ1drOMc. One change I made to the recipe was that I roasted the vegetables before added it to the gravy.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did both making and eating it. And hopefully no more such long breaks from blogging for me. I can definitely say that cooking is my stress buster for sure. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you enjoy the chicken tikka masala.

A Melt-in-Mouth Wonder

Who doesn’t love caramel custard!!! I love it and I haven’t met a single soul who does not. I have been wanting to make this for a very long time. I just have never actually made it though it’s a really simple to make dish and heavenly at the same time. To add to it I bought these ramekins at World Market the other day and was dying to use it. What better dish to break in the ramekins with – caramel custard / pudding.

Amit and I were watching the eight create channel on TV the other day and the chef was preparing the caramel custard / pudding. The name of the cook is Andreas Viestad. He was making Scandinavian Creme Caramel. It looked perfect and he seemed to really enjoy the creme caramel he had made. I tried to remember the ingredients and directions but then that was a few days back. And so I had to engage in a long and time-consuming internet search. And yes I was definitely successful, why else would I be posting this recipe right… So here’s the recipe for an awesome yet simple caramel custard / caramel pudding / creme caramel. It serves two and takes about 40 – 60 minutes.


Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. few drops of lemon juice
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/2 vanilla bean
  5. 1/2 cup milk
  6. 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  • Place the sugar in a sauce pan with a few drops of  lemon juice and heat it on a slow flame until it makes a rich caramel syrup.
  • Once the caramel is a rich golden color, pour it in the ramekins quickly before the syrup stiffens and swirl the ramekins till the mold is covered with a layer of the caramel.
  • Heat the milk and cream in another saucepan. Make sure that you do not bring this to a boil. You just need it warm.
  • Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds.  Add both the seeds and the bean to the milk/cream.
  • While the milk and cream are getting warm, beat the eggs with a fork or whisk. You do not want to use an electric beater.
  • Strain the milk / cream mixture into the eggs slowly.
  • Add the leftover caramel into the mixture.
  • Bake in water bath at 300 deg F for 40 minutes or until the custard is set in the middle, covered with foil.
  • Chill the ramekins and unmold the pudding.
  • Use a knife to help unmold the pudding.

We had this both when it had just cooled and when it was chilled and it was delicious either way. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. And thank you for reading the post.

Shilpa

A lip-smacking, mouth-watering delight!

Chicken Makhani, this is one dish I always thought is for the restaurant. Not one to be recreated at home as it’s almost impossible to get the right mix of ingredients or I missed something. So I never actually got down to trying the recipe. Then the other day I went to Fresh and Easy on the way back home from work and picked up some never frozen chicken breasts. I really wanted to make something very Indian with some yummy curry. So I decided to challenge myself to the elusive perfect chicken makhani or the famous butter chicken. I browsed through a zillion recipes online and based on what I saw I came up with my own recipe. One which I hoped would be THE PERFECT BUTTER CHICKEN / CHICKEN MAKHANI.  This recipe serves 2. And takes about 45 minutes to make if you multitask making the curry and the chicken. The curry itself takes about 30 minutes to prepare and the chicken about 30 minutes in the oven. You will need to marinate the chicken for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight if time permits.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 medium sized chicken breasts (8-10 large chicken pieces)
  2. 2 tbsp cream
  3. 2 tbsp butter
  4. 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  5. 4-5 green cardamoms
  6. 4 tomatoes (chopped into large chunks)
  7. 1 inch piece of ginger (julienned)
  8. 2 green chilis (de-seeded and chopped fine)
  9. 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  10. 1/2 – 3/4 tsp red chili powder
  11. 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  12. 2 tbsp oil
  13. salt to taste

For the marinade:

  1. 1/2 cup yogurt
  2. 2 tbsp cream
  3. 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  4. 2 tsp red chili powder
  5. 2 tsp cumin powder
  6. 1 tsp coriander powder
  7. 1/4 tsp garam masala
  8. 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  9. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  10. salt to taste

Directions:

  • Cut the chicken into large chunks.
  • Marinate the chicken in the marinade for atleast a couple of hours.
  • Roast the chicken in the oven till cooked throughly.
  • Heat half the oil and butter. Once hot add the green cardamoms and nutmeg.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes after about 15 seconds.
  • Once the tomatoes are cooked thoroughly and mushy set it aside to cool.
  • Once the tomatoes are cooled grind it to a fine paste and strain it to remove any large chunks.
  • Next heat the rest of the oil and butter and add the garlic, ginger and green chilies to the hot oil.
  • Once they have browned add the strained tomato paste.
  • Let this mixture cook for about 2-3 minutes then add the red chili powder and salt.
  • Bring to a simmer and add the cooked chicken to the tomato gravy.
  • Bring to a simmer and add the dried fenugreek leaves and honey.
  • Mix the butter chicken thoroughly and add the cream and let the butter chicken come to a slow simmer.
  • Remove from heat and serve with naan, paratha or any other form of bread.

One of the main problems when I have made anything close to butter chicken in the past has been the color of the dish. It was never orange enough. But well this time it was perfect and no added colors. Secondly, though I had to add some butter and cream, I did not have to add cups of it to make it delicious. So when I served it Amit was speechless. In his own words – “This is the best butter chicken I have ever had!!!”. The gravy is mindblowing and if you follow my recipe to the tee, I guarantee you with the same great results. And the gravy is versatile enough to either add chicken, paneer or mixed vegetables to it. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did and thanks for reading…

Shilpa

Summer’s here and so is the June Daring Cook’s Challenge!!

I was driving to work the other day and the weather forecast was being read on the radio. And this is what they said – “Cooler temperatures today, with a high of 106F”. That’s when I knew summer in Phoenix has arrived. So when the daring cooks challenge for June was announced, it fit in perfectly with the rising summer temperatures. A healthy potato salad!!! I have never been a fan of the mayonnaise laden potato salads that are so common. So I decided to create my version of a potato salad, healthy and fresh!!!

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

I chose to make a potato and chicken sausage salad with a lime-garlic-basil dressing. The chicken sausage is optional, I added it in because I found these interesting jalapeno-mango chicken sausages, which I thought would go well with the potato salad. And they added an awesome twist to the potato salad. This recipe serves 2 and takes about 1/2 hour to make (most of the time is spent in roasting the potatoes).

Ingredients:

  1. 20-25 small red potatoes (halved with skin)
  2. 1 jalapeno-mango chicken sausage (sliced and cooked)
  3. 1/2 cup chopped green onions (only the green part)
  4. salt to taste
  5. 1/4-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  6. 2 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing

  1. 1/8 cup olive oil
  2. 1/4 cup lime juice
  3. 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  4. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  5. salt to taste
  6. 2 cloves chopped roasted garlic
  7. 1/4 – 1/2 tsp red chili flakes

Directions:

  • Mix the potatoes with the olive oil, salt and black pepper.
  • Roast it in the oven till the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Mix the cooked chicken sausages, potatoes and green onions.
  • Mix all the ingredients under ‘For the dressing’ in a grinder.
  • Mix the dressing with the salad and serve it warm.

I promise, you will love it. The dressing adds a fresh zing to the potato salad. And the sausage is completely optional. I loved it though as the sausage added an interesting twist to the potato salad.

Back after another unplanned break!!!

I know I had promised I would not disappear for such long periods of time but I guess my PhD program does take precedence over all else… 🙂 But well I am back and this is gonna be a short post but a post nonetheless after one whole month. I had actually made this dish before I went on my one month sabbatical but never got down to posting the recipe. I love spinach and it’s healthy too. So why not combine some spinach with fish! And I do love all kinds of seafood so it  feels like the best combination…. And its takes about 30-45 minutes to make with about 20-30 minutes of active prep / cooking from your side.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 fish fillets (any kind cleaned and cut into four pieces each)
  2. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  3. 8 cups of spinach leaves
  4. 1 tomato (pureed)
  5. 1 1/2 onions (finely chopped)
  6. 4-5 cloves garlic (sliced fine)
  7. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  9. 3 teaspoon cumin powder
  10. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder
  11. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  12. 2 teaspoons oil
  13. 1 cup water
  14. salt to taste

Directions:
  • Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil. Add the cumin seeds and when it sputters add the raw spinach leaves. Let the leaves wilt just a little; this takes about a minute.
  • Now transfer the spinach to the pureed tomato and puree the entire mixture together.
  • Heat the rest of the oil in the same pan and add the chopped onions to it. Once the onions soften a little add the sliced garlic.
  • Once the onion and garlic brown add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder and fry for a minute.
  • Add the water and salt to this mixture and let it come to a simmer.
  • Now add the fish to this mixture and cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and let the fish cook in the mixture for another 5 minutes or till the fish is partially cooked.
  • Now add the spinach – tomato puree to the fish and cover the pan. Let is cook for about 10 minutes.
Your fish in spinach curry is ready to be served either with rice or bread. This recipe is a keeper as far as I am concerned specially for the weeknights. And it serves about 2-3 persons. I hope to be a little more regular now with my posts but I do not think it’s going to be possible till after I am done with my exams. For now, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. Now I am gonna go have dinner – some fish in spinach gravy with bread…
Vishu Aashamsagal! (Happy New Year…)

As I mentioned in my post a few days back, I celebrate the New year three times a year! And this is the third one in the year – Vishu. So Happy Vishu to everyone. We celebrated Vishu yesterday (15th April). So this is how we celebrate Vishu at home. The night before, Mom sets up the Vishu kanni. It has a plethora of things spread out for you to wake up to and see the first thing in the morning. There are fruits, grains, vegetables, yellow flowers, mirror, lamps, clothes, jewellery, etc.

I prepared everything the night before and was up before sunrise around 5:00 am – 5:15 am. I lit the lamps and candles and woke up Amit and asked him not to open his eyes till I told him to. At home Mom used to do the waking up everyone part. And then the best part of Vishu, everyone gets money from the head of the household. As kids, you can imagine how exciting that part used to be. Oh yes and then the firecrackers early in the morning. When we lived in Bombay, we never did that but in Kerala that’s how it is celebrated. You burst firecrackers to ring in the new year.

And then of course there was a delicious spread of food for lunch. Since I am in a bit of a time crunch with the whole proposal defense thing, I decided to go with appam and stew for dinner and pradavan for dessert. The stew is one of the easiest dishes I have made and it’s so delicious. And it is so versatile because you could make a vegetable stew like I did, or you could switch the vegetables with chicken, mutton or fish. This stew goes best with appams or palappam like they are called. The appam recipe is for another post. Today I will be blogging about the vegetable stew. This is a very easy recipe with a few ingredients and it takes about 30 mins to make. And this recipe serves about 2-3 persons.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 potatoes (chopped into 1/2″ cubes)
  2. 1 medium carrot (same size as the potato)
  3. 1 small onion (thinly sliced)
  4. 2 garlic cloves (crushed)
  5. 1/2″ ginger (crushed)
  6. 2-3 green chillies (slit lengthwise) (to taste)
  7. 1 sprig curry leaves
  8. 3 cloves
  9. 1″ piece of cinnamon
  10. 2-3 bay leaves
  11. 4-5 whole black pepper
  12. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  13. 1/2 – 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper powder
  14. 1 can coconut milk
  15. 1 teaspoon oil
  16. salt to taste

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan.
  • Then add the whole spices and fry for a minute.
  • Add the onions and fry for s couple of minutes.
  • Next add the ginger, garlic and curry leaves and fry the mixture till the onions are light brown.
  • Now add the coriander powder.
  • Next add the potatoes and carrots and mix till the onion mixture and vegetables are completely mixed.
  • Mix half the can of coconut milk with about a can of water and set it aside. Next add the salt and black pepper to the vegetable mixture. Add this coconut milk to the saucepan and let the vegetables cook completely.
  • Once the vegetables are cooked add about 1/4 cup of coconut milk and let it come to a simmer. Do not boil the stew once you add the coconut milk.


I served the stew hot with appams which Amit actually made. And yes Happy Vishu once again… Hope you enjoy the appam and stew as much as we loved it. And I will be trying to make the appam at home from scratch and posting that soon. And oh yeah, the pradavan recipe too.  So here’s to an awesome new year!