Archive for April, 2011

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!

Advertisements
A Quick and Easy Dinner

This week seems to be one of those weeks where I am on a cooking spree. And since I am actually pretty busy, the dishes are going to be very quick ones with few ingredients. Perfect for a busy weekday night! Since I had some of the sausages left over from last night, I decided to make a Frittata with some sweet potatoes and sausages. It takes about 15-20 mins of preparation time and then about 40-45 minutes in the oven. So it does not actually need much of your actual time.

The colors in the dish are very eye-catching, green from the cilantro, orange from the sweet potatoes, yellow from the eggs and a rich brown from the sausage. I am amazed by the orange color of the sweet potatoes, back in India the sweet potatoes are not orange, they are a pale yellow. But I love the orange sweet potatoes, they add so much color to any dish.

Since I do not have much time, these posts are going to be to the point, without much ado. This serves 2-3 persons, 2 if this is all you are serving and 3 if there are some sides.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 medium/large sweet potato (diced)
  2. 2 sausages (I used chicken sausages) – diced into the same size as the sweet potato
  3. 1 cup chopped cilantro
  4. 4-5 green onions (chopped)
  5. 3 eggs
  6. 2 tbsp milk / 1 tbsp cream
  7. 1 cup chopped cilantro (coriander)
  8. 1 tsp red chili flakes
  9. 1/2 tsp powdered black pepper (add more or less to taste)
  10. 2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
  11. salt to taste
  12. 1 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and add the red chili flakes.
  • Pre heat the oven to 350 F.
  • Toss in the diced sausages and green onions and let the sausages brown.
  • Once the sausage has browned add the sweet potato and salt and cook for about 5-10 minutes till the sweet potato start softening.
  • In the meanwhile beat the eggs lightly in a bowl, then add the cilantro and the cream/milk and beat.
  • Once the sweet potatoes start softening add the egg mixture.
  • Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top and transfer the pan into the oven.
  • Let the Frittata bake in the oven for about 35-45 mins or till the Frittata is cooked through.

Loved the dish, hope you too love it. It’s easy to make and does not require much of your time. Once the dish is in the oven, you are free to do whatever else you need to. Therefore a perfect weekday dinner. Enjoy!

Muthu, I dedicate this to you!!!

Amit was out-of-town this weekend and I was too bored to cook for just me. But I picked up some broccoli at Safeway yesterday and since he hates broccoli, I decided to finish it before he got back. I am not a big fan of broccoli either, so I had to have it with something I really love. That’s sausages, but again, they are rather unhealthy so I decided to combine the broccoli with some chicken sausages. And then I had to make some  garlic cream sauce to go with the broccoli and sausage. I love garlic…

And I have to dedicate this post to one of my closest friends, Muthu, who is miles away in Zurich now. But when she was here in the US, she used to be the one who used to have all the broccoli when we went out to eat and forgot to tell the waitress not to put broccoli in our dish. She is going to be very proud of me for making broccoli at home. I used to be worried that it would turn all soggy and that I would not like. But as it turns out, not only is broccoli healthy, it is also very quick and easy to make.

This recipe takes about half hour from start to finish. You could serve it with a pasta or bread. I had just this for a light and quick dinner. I would say, that if you are serving this with a pasta or bread, it would serve 2 persons. I had just this for dinner and it was definitely a single serving.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 floret broccoli
  2. 2  chicken sausages (cut into 1/4 inch thick slices)
  3. 6-7 garlic cloves (sliced)
  4. 1 tablespoon sun dried tomato
  5. 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  6. 1/2 tsp oregano
  7. 1/2-1 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  8. 1/4 cup water
  9. 1/4 cup cream
  10. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  11. salt to taste
  12. 1 bowl iced water
  13. shredded parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions:

  • Bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil. Add salt to the water and once the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli florets and let it cook for 1 minute.
  • Immediately after a minute, drain the broccoli out of the water and put it into the bowl of iced water.
  • Heat the olive oil and add the garlic and sun-dried tomato. Saute the garlic and sun-dried tomato till the garlic turns brown.
  • Next add the oregano, red chilli flakes and pepper powder.
  • Mix the ingredients together and add 1/4 cup water.
  • Once the water starts simmering add the cream and mix throughly.
  • Transfer this sauce to a serving bowl and saute the broccoli in the same saucepan for a couple of minutes.
  • Now transfer the broccoli to the serving bowl over the garlic cream sauce.
  • Next saute the sliced chicken sausages in the saucepan till browned on both sides.
  • Now transfer the chicken sausage over the broccoli.
  • Top with some parmesan cheese and serve hot either by itself or with some pasta or bread.

I loved this dish. It has the healthy broccoli and the tasty sausage. The combination is mind blowing and the garlic sauce is very flavorful. And the dish looks very colorful thanks to the bright green of the broccoli.

I am still unpacking so am still trying to locate the batteries for my camera. So sorry about the pictures. I promise, I will have better pictures for my next post.

Happy Gudi Padwa

Spring time in India is time for new year celebrations. It’s amazing how almost each state has a different name and date to celebrate the occasion. And now that I am married to a Maharashtrian, I celebrate two of them at home. April 4th is Gudi Padwa – the Maharashtrian New Year. And in another 10 days I will be celebrating the Vishu, the New Year’s day according to the Malayalam Calender.

Since April 4th happens to be a weekday, it would have been almost impossible for me to make the special dinner / lunch on the 4th, so we decided to celebrate Gudi Padwa on the night of 3rd April, when it’s already 4th in India so technically the new year has already started!!!

So the menu was Puri with some homemade Shrikhand and some payasam / kheer. This post is dedicated to Shrikhand. It is really easy to make and takes about 10 minutes if you have all the ingredients at hand. And it so happens that Amit and I both LOVE SHRIKHAND, so I can guarantee you that we are going to have shrikhand at home very very often now. This serves about 3 persons. I do not have the exact meassurements but the approximate ones should work just fine. You can adjust the ingredients to suit you taste.

Sorry about the pictures, I am still unpacking (we moved to a new place this weekend) and therefore am still trying to locate the camera.

Ingredients:

  1. 21 ounces fat free greek yogurt (you could also use 2%, but you have to use greek yogurt to get the consistency)
  2. 4-6 tablespoons sour cream (more if required to get the desired sourness for your shrikhand)
  3. 4-6 tablespoons powdered sugar (again this can be adjusted to your liking depending on how sweet you like your shrikhand)
  4. a pinch of nutmeg
  5. 3/4 tsp – 1 1/4 tsp powdered cardamom
  6. a few strings of saffron dissolved in a tsp of just warm milk
  7. slivers of almond / pistachio for garnish

Directions:

  • Whisk the greek yogurt in a bowl till it is a smooth consistency (takes about a minute).
  • Now add 3 tablespoons of sour cream and continue whisking.
  • Next add 4 tablespoons of sugar and continue to whisk.
  • Add the saffron, nutmeg and 3/4 tsp cardamom and whisk till the mixture is throughly mixed.
  • Now comes the taste check, I added about 1 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cardamom and 1 tbsp sour cream to get my desired taste.
  • Serve this chilled with a few slivers of almond or pistachio.

I served this with some puris and both Amit and I loved it. It tasted exactly like the shrikhand we used to get back home in India. Cheers to greek yogurt for making life so much easier and yummier… I did find quite a few recipes online for shrikhand with different variations. The ones that inspired me most are listed below:

http://www.aayisrecipes.com/2007/11/11/shrikhand/

http://chakali.blogspot.com/2009/04/instant-shrikhand-recipe.html

Happy Gudi Padwa to everyone… And for those who celebrate Ugadi or Cheti Chand, my wishes to you too. In case I missed out on naming any of the other festivals, here’s wishing you a very happy new year!!!