Friday, 27 January 2012

Kothambir Vadi (Maami’s Corner)

When I first came to Mumbai, I used to be awe struck at the coriander leaves heaped at the “sabji mandi”. And people bought them in bundles. Big bundles! Our use of these leaves was restricted to RASAM, SAMBAR & KORMA. I was very curious to know what they did with this. I struck a casual conversation with one such buyer. Seeing my struggle with the local language I think she guessed I was an outsider & was only too happy to share a few traditional recipes on the spot. Kothambir Vadi was one of them. It’s a tasty snack, which can be steamed & stored in the refrigerator to be fried when required.

Coriander leaves: 2 cups heaped
Besan/chick pea flour: 1 cup
 Whole wheat flour: 1 tbsp
Ginger-garlic-green chilli paste: 2 tsp
Turmeric powder: ½ tsp
Red chilli powder: ½ tsp
Asafoetida powder: ½ tsp
White sesame seeds/til: 1 tbsp
Peanuts: 3 tbsps crushed
Ajwain/carom: 1/2tsp
Lime juice: 1 tbsp
Refined oil: 2 tbsp + for frying
Baking soda: ¼ tsp
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together with about three fourth cup of water to a thick dropping consistency. 
Transfer onto a grease plate & steam till the centre is set.
Cool & cut into any shape & deep fry.
Serve with any sauce or chutney.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Spanish Rice (Party Menu)

Tired of making the same rice preparations for a get together?
Then this is for you...modified for the Indian palate.


Long grain rice: 1 cup (I measure in a 200 ml cup)
Bacon: 2 rashers
Chicken stock: 2 cups (400 ml)
Saffron strands: a few
Tomato: 2 blanched & chopped fine
Onion: 1 chopped fine
Garlic: 1 tsp crushed
Olive oil: 2 tbsps
Salt to taste


Soak rice for 10 minutes, drain & keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan, add bacon & crushed garlic.
When light brown, add onion. Sauté till transparent.
Add tomatoes & rice. Stir till well coated in oil.
Now, pour chicken stock with the saffron infused in it.
Add salt to taste (go slow on salt because bacon is salted meat.)
Cook till all the stock is absorbed & the rice is done.
Alternately, use a pressure cooker to make this, only point to remember is use 1 ½ cups of stock for every cup of rice. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Dalcha (Traditional Fare)

Biryani is incomplete without this in Tamil Nadu, but I found this good with plain rice & rotis too.

Mutton bones: 200 g
Tur dhal/red gram dhal: 1/2cup
Channa dhal/Bengal gram dhal/chick peas: 2 tbsps
Raw mango: 1
Brinjal/aubergine: 3
Green chilli: 2 slit
Onion: 1 sliced
Turmeric powder: 1/2tsp
Biryani masala: 2 tsps (What you’ve kept aside, check recipe of MUNIYANDI BIRYANI) 
Whole garam masala: a few each
Ghee: 2 tsps
Salt to taste


In a pressure cooker, add all the ingredients except ghee.
Pour 2 cups water & cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in ghee before serving.
NOTE: if you don’t like the brinjals over cooked add it last & simmer.
Also, bottle gourd can be used instead of brinjals.  

Muniyandi Biryani (Traditional Fare)

 How this name came about, I don’t know. It’s like a pulao, does not go through the prude interpretation of the biryani process, which is more elaborate, delicate & subject to various interpretations across South Asia to the Arab world.

Mutton: 500 g
Rice: 2 cups preferably small grain rice
Onions: 3 sliced
Shallots: 100 g 
Garlic: 2 tsps
Ginger: 2 tsps
Green chilli: 5
Coriander leaves: 2 tbsps
Mint leaves: 2 tbsps
Turmeric powder: 1/2tsp
Red chilli powder: 1/2tsp
Curd: 2 tbsps or 2 tomatoes chopped
Oil: 2 tbsps
Ghee: 1 tbsp
Cinnamon stick: 1”piece
Cardamom: 2
Cloves: 3
Fennel: 1 tsp
Lime juice: 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add shallots & sliced onions. Fry it brown.
Grind ginger, garlic, green chilli, coriander & mint (keep a little aside to make DALCHA). Add the rest to fried onions.
Sauté till oil clears. Now, add turmeric powder, chilli powder, mutton & curd or tomatoes.
Cover cooker & pressure cook for 10 minutes.
In another vessel, heat ghee, splutter whole spices & add washed & drained rice.
Fry till you hear crackling sound of rice.
Add the cooked mutton pieces & measure out 4 cups of mutton stock (if there isn’t enough in cooker, add hot water to make up 4 cups).
Pour lime juice, adjust salt & stir well & cook till rice is done.
Serve with raita & dalcha (recipe follows).

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Jhinga Karela

Prawn stuffed bitter gourd. Unlike the Kerala preparations with bitter gourd, up North, it is generally stuffed with some masala, spicy/tangy & shallow fried. I have done this with a spicy & sour prawns filling.

Bitter gourd: 250 g
Prawns: 100 g small ones or minced
Onion: 1 chopped fine
Green chilli: 1 chopped fine
Garlic: 1 tsp
Coriander seeds: 1 tbsp
Fennel/aniseed: 1 tsp
Fenugreek: 1/4tsp
Pepper corns: 1 tsp
Amchur/dry mango powder: 2 tsps or lemon juice: 1 tbsp
Besan/pea flour: 2 tbsps
Oil: 2 tbsps
Salt to taste


Scrape the bitter gourd to smoothen the outside (keep it for preparing the stuffing) & slit it lengthwise carefully & remove the inner pith & seeds.
Rub a little salt all over & inside. Set aside for 10 minutes.
Dry roast coriander with fennel, fenugreek & pepper corns. Crush coarsely.
Heat 2 tsps oil in a kadai, add chopped onions, green chilli & garlic. Fry well.
Add prawns, the bitter gourd scrapings & salt. Sprinkle masala & amchur powder.
Cook till dry.
Stuff the bitter gourd with this. 
Coat with dry besan & shallow fry in remaining oil, on low flame till brown & cooked.
 Good with rice & dhal. 

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Dry Prawns Chutney (Traditional Fare)

A little chutney of any kind makes a lot of difference to an every day meal. Here, I’m giving you 3 ways of making dried prawns chutney.
Fresh coconut & dry prawns:
Dried prawns: half a cup
Coconut grating: 1 cup
Dry red chilli: 10
Shallots: 5
Pepper corns: 10
Garlic: 3 pods
Curry leaves
Salt to taste

Dry roast prawns & clean it, remove the heads.
Powder the prawns & remove.
Grind the remaining ingredients & mix in the powdered prawns.
Ready to serve.

Roasted Coconut &Prawn chutney:

 Ingredients are the same as above plus a tablespoon of oil.
Fry the dry chilli & coconut in oil (do not brown it too much).
Cool & grind with the remaining ingredients.
Good with rice.

Dry Prawn Sambol:
Dry prawns: 1 cup
Onions: 2
Ginger: 1 piece or use Galangal if available.
Garlic: 1 clove
Red chilli: 10
Lemon grass: 1 stalk
Oil: 2 tbsps
Salt to taste
Crush all ingredients except prawns & oil.
Heat oil, add crushed masala. Fry till fragrant. Add cleaned & coarsely powdered prawns.Add salt to taste. Cool & bottle.
Good side dish for packed lunch.

Friday, 6 January 2012

"Nano Rolls" (Just Bakes)

Cocktail sausages: 10
Pepper powder: 1/2tsp
Plain flour: 250 g
Yeast: 1/2tsp
Milk: 1/4cup
Butter: 2 tsps
Egg: 1
Sugar: 1tsp
Salt: ½ tsp


Cook sausages in a little oil, sprinkle pepper powder, keep aside to cool.
Add yeast & sugar to milk, keep aside to ferment for 10 minutes.
Mix flour with salt, now add yeast. Add water as required till you get a soft pliable dough.
Rub in butter.
Knead for a while, cover & keep to prove for half an hour (it will double in size).   
Beat out air from the dough & make 10 balls.
Roll each ball into long cylindrical pieces & twist it over a sausage to cover it.
Place on a greased baking tray, brush with beaten egg & bake at 2000C for 15 minutes or till brown on top.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Pork cooked in beer (Traditional Fare)

About 30 years ago, before the “arrival” of caterers, a cook would be booked the day a function is fixed & every place had a few very prominent ones under whom young men would apprentice. The kind of food or variety these cooks churned out would put the present day “TRAINED CHEFS” to shame. These cooks themselves  apprenticed under butlers, who manned the kitchens of the English/Portugese homes. Here’s one such recipe with a little modification.

Pork: 1kg, boneless & skinless 
Beer: 750 ml
Pepper powder: 1 tbsp
Ginger-garlic paste: 2 tsps
Vinegar: 2 tbsps
Sweet soya sauce: 1 tbsp (soya sauce with sugar can be used instead)
Salt to taste


Keep the pork as a chunk, score it with a knife & marinate with all the ingredients except beer.
In a heavy bottomed pan place the meat piece & let it brown in its own fat.(takes about half an hour)
Drain out excess fat & pour beer to cover meat, cook till done & gravy dries up. Turn over occasionally.
Cool pork & slice.
Serve cold or hot with mustard sauce.