Wednesday, August 29, 2007

JFI- Rice - Fried Rice, Mumbai Shtyle!!

I grew up eating Maharashtrian, South Indian and Punjabi Food... Chinese food was something rare (gosh , I sound so ancient when I say that!.. ahem, just to set the record straight, I'm not THAT old!) My parents were not really into experimenting with Chinese cuisine, having notions that creepy crawlies were used in food, made them rather averse to it!!


With these mixed up ideas, finally in my F.Y.B.A, I scooped a forkful of dangling noodles and 'slooshed' them into my mouth... fully expecting to scream and choke and expire all over the floor. What happened instead was an explosion of hitherto unknown taste! I was hooked! I still remember, I ate Indianised Hakka -Noodles and Fried Rice everyday in that week, couldn't get enough!!MySpace Smilies.. Later I came to know that the Chinese food I eat in Mumbai is 'Indianised'.. loaded with spice to suit the Indian palette and that the original version is a lot healthier! Well, I'm sticking to my version!


So when Sharmi announced JFI-Rice I decided to make my version of Fried Rice, Mumbai Shtyle! Mumbai's landscape is dotted with restaurants catering to Chinese cuisine and in the street food category the red carts (with a multicolored dragon of an unknown breed breathing fire) stand out and make their presence felt. The food is redolent with ginger and garlic, smells so tempting that one is naturally drawn to it!

So without further ado, here is my recipe!!!
1 cup long grained Rice
2 cups mix vegetables- Steamed (Carrots and French Beans)
1/2 cup Spring Onion Greens
1 small Capsicum
1 tbsp Oil
1 tbsp. Butter
1 tbsp Soya Sauce
1 pc coal * (optional)
for smokey flavour

Clean & wash the rice. Drain all water. Heat oil, add rice. Ensure that every grain of rice is coated with oil. Boil 2 cups of water, add salt. Add rice to the boiling water. Cook rice till almost done . Spread the rice in a plate and let it cool completely In a wok, heat butter, add chopped onion and capsicum. Add the steamed vegetbles. Add rice, soy sauce, salt if required. Mix with a light hand.

*for smokey flavor: Heat the piece of coal until it glows red.

Transfer it to a steel cup/ katori.
In the wok (which has the rice) make a small well/ depression, place the cup in it, pour 1 tsp. oil on the coal.Cover the wok IMMEDIATELY. Leave the lid on for a minute.
Iserved this fried rice with glazed Tofu , YUMMY!!


And now!!! My turn to brag!!!!


Yep, IMySpace Smilies!!!!! Tee of Bhaatukli has honoured me with this ...

MySpace Smilies



Keeping in mind the tradition, I would like to pass this on to my fellow bloggers

Nupur

Nandita

Suganya


The Cooker

Raaga

Sharmi

Oh!! it looks like everyone on my list already has won the award.......... but in my humble opinion, everyone of you deserve this award!!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

DALMA RCI - Orissa And an Award!!!

It's time for RCI and our hostess this month is Swapna and the theme is Orissa Cuisine.Having little or no exposure to this branch of cooking, I also admit that it has so far been neglected.. why? Born and brought up in Mumbai, I was exposed to a large variety of cuisines, but I have never seen a restaurant serving Oriya food! The closest I came to anything eastern, was Bengali sweets!
When we moved to CA, I caught up with the local Indian fauna as quickly as a moth gravitates towards light. My very first taste of Oriya cuisine was at this potluck which led me to my very first experiment in Oriya cuisine a wonderful chutney which was also an introduction to panch phoron (a mix of mustard seed, cumin, fenugreek seeds, kalonji/nigella & fennel in equal portion).
Sadly, what I know about Orissa is also negligible.. somehow over time, getting caught up with scores in tests, higher studies and trying to scale the corporate ladder (and you are right at the bottom) leaves one ignorant about anything else!And now that I have the time, what better way to start learning something, than to start off with food!! (spoken like a true foodie!!)
To start off with, I got hold of my friend B who is from Orissa and asked her to give me a 'nice Odissi recipe'. she was prompt in sending me the recipe, which in her words ...main ek pura special odissa ka item bata rahin hoon...DALMA

Ingredients: (the measures are good for 2 people)
1/4 cup Channa daal
1/4 cup Moong daal (lightly roast the daal)
Vegetables (this dish is perfect to make use of all vegetables u have!) I used 2 cups of mixed veges : Cauliflower, potato, French beans, carrots and peas.
1/2 medium Onion finely chopped
2 tbsp. oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp Cumin/ jeera
1/2 tsp Panch Phoron
5 whole Dry red chilies
1/2 tsp grated Ginger
Salt to taste
Do the prep: Dry roast 1 tsp cumin and 3 red chilies. Cool and grid to a powder, this will be used for garnishing
Soak Channa Daal in water for 30 minutes. Dry roast the yellow moong daal.
Boil the Channa daal and Moong daal . When the daal is nearly cooked, pitch in the chopped vegetables and cook till done.
While the daal and vegetables are cooking merrily, heat oil in a wok/ kadhai. Add Panch Phoron, tejpatta/ bay leaf. After the PP pops. Add the red chilli, ginger and then the finely chopped onion. Saute till the onion turns translucent.
Add the daal and vegetable mixture. Add salt and cook this for a few mins. Add the cumin-red chilli powder. Dalma is ready!!

Serve with rice or roti.
Verdict: Beauty lies in simplicity! The lack of any 'masala' is the USP of this dish! The twist in taste comes from the panch phoron. Talk about nutrition!! this dish packs it all!! A wonderful recipe! A very forgiving one too... add any vegetable at hand eg: eggplant, yams, raw papaya in addition to the above mentioned mix. Grated fresh coconut can be used for garnishing as well.

Doubts: Did I get it right? How well was I supposed to cook the daal and veges? to a mush? Errr... is this supposed to be a gravy vegetable? I followed the recipe, but these doubts kept popping into my mind. Oh well, B and my blogger friends can review it and give me the feedback.After all, there are no mistakes, it is all learning! Isn't food blogging just awesome!!!!

Swapna, Thank You for hosting RCI! All the best for the round up.

NOW for something THRILING!!!

Spaz



"The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who "effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don't limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship."

Oscar Red Carpet 1


The Budding Cook has honoured me with this award!! Big Hug

I was thrilled to recieve this!!! Do I deserve it? That is debatable! Nevertheless, it is so motivating! When I stepped into the world of blogging, I was kinda sure of what I wanted to do, but what I was worried about was how well it would be accepted. One year down the line, I have realised, I am a part of this world which has now become a very important part of me. Fellow bloggers have reached out and welcomed me into this world and taught me so much! This is an award for ALL my blogger friends who have motivated me and brought me this far! I love you all! And so, I deserve this honour only when I share it with you all!

Given a choice, I would want to extend this award to all my blog buddies, as it is I had a tough time in choosing a few!

I would ike to pass on this award toAwards

Asha of Foodie's Hope
Coffee of Spice Cafe
Nupur of One Hot Stove
Trupti of The Spice Who Loved Me

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

Z is for.... Zafrani Pulav

As we come to the end of our journey in the A-Z of Indian Vegetables, I want to present a Nawabi Dish...the flavourful Zafrani Pulao.
This has been on my mind ever since I saw the movie 'Cheeni Kum', where a proud Amitabh claims that he makes the Best and most Authentic Indian Food in the UK.. until Tabu returns the Zafrani Pulao and pops his pride!
Bits and pieces of the recipe remained in my memory(I liked the movie a lot, and in enjoying the movie, I quite forgot to jot down the recipe!!) So I hunted around the net and found a recipe which was similar .. not the exact, so tweaking it a bit to suit my requirements I attempted this aromatic rice preparation . The end result was a wonderful and delicately coloured and flavoured rice and I was rather pleased with the outcome! What however left me in doubt was.... do you eat this with any gravy vegetable? Please do let me know. I did enjoy eating the pulao without any gravy, savouring every morsel which sometimes brought a whiff of the spices in it, sometimes the sweetness of a plump raisin and the crunch of an almond! (now I know why the Nawabs must have favoured this preparation!!)
Here is the recipe with my tweaks: (for the original recipe, please click on the 'recipe' link given above)

1 cup Basmati Rice (uncooked)

A generous Pinch Saffron Threads

2 tbls. Ghee

1/2 Red Onion sliced thin

1/2 tsp Ginger and Garlic paste

1 Whole Clove

1 Cardamon Pod

1 Cinnamon Sticks (3” pieces)

1 tbsp. Golden Raisins

2 cups Water

3 tbsp Slivered Almonds

5 tsp milk

1 tbsp Yogurt

Salt

Procedure:

Rinse rice 3 to 4 times in cold water, drain well. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Lightly toast the saffron. Remove and add it to some water and keep aside.

Heat the Ghee over medium-high heat; add onions, ginger and garlic. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until onions soften slightly.
Stir in cloves, cardamom and cinnamon. Cook 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally to blend flavors.Add rice, and mix till every grain of rice is coated with ghee. Add the almonds and raisins. Add salt and mix well. Add water. Bring it to a boil. Add the saffron, Yogurt and milk.Cook (covered) till the rice is done and every grain of rice is separate. Serve immediately.

This will go to Nupur for the A-Z series.
Nupur has been a great hostess and this whole journey has been an awesome learning experience! Thank You Nupur for this wonderful opportunity!!

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

JFI-CHILLIES.. Mirchi Ka Salan .. sort of!!!!

Chillies.. a necessary ingredient in Indian Cooking... and so thinking of a dish that uses chillies was not really difficult, but selecting A particular dish.. was difficult. Finally I, zeroed in on MIRCHI KA SALAN.. a dish where MIRCHI was the focus, and more importantly, it was a dish I had not tried earlier. I had seen some ready to cook pack 'Kitchens of India' brand I guess.. intrigued by the name, I almost picked it up, but later hesitatingly put it back.. I was not into blogging at that point of time and well, the mind was not as open to experiments as now!
The idea however lingered, and then I started collecting recipes.. and so pulling out my SUPER heavy file, I flipped pages over pages (of recipes collected, but not tried) till I came to a bunch , neatly stapled and labeled "MIRCHI KA SALAN"- Hyderabad Special. I had about 10 different versions, so I finally picked out one,and decided to make this with slight variations to suit my taste.
Ideally Mirchi Ka Salan is served with Biryani, but I like it just as well with plain Rice , Paratha and ...~sheepish grin~ sliced bread as well!
My variation to the standard salan was I added Green and Red Bell Pepper to the Serrano chillies. I simply love the slightly sweet and smoky flavour of the red bell pepper and it blended well with the salan.
Here is my adaption of Mirchi Ka Salan:
3 Serrano Chillies
1/2 (each) Green and Red Bell Pepper, cut in chunks
1 Med. size Onion
1/2 tsp Tamarind Concentrate
Small lump Jaggery (optional, I like sweet-sour taste and so I added it- NOT a part of the original recipe)
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds/ Rai
Few Curry Leaves
Oil
1-2 cloves
For the Paste:
3Tbsp Dessicated Coconut
3 Tbsp. Roasted Peanuts
~2 Tbsp Sesame/ Til
2 Tbsp. Corriander seeds/ Dhania seeds
4 Peppercorns
3-4 Dry Red chillies
Do the Prep:
Slit the green chilli (do not cut into 2), deseed
Chop the bell pepper into chunks
Roast the ingredients for the Paste in just a drop or 2 of oil.. let it cool before grinding
Chop the Onion and saute till golden brown, cool and grind to a paste.
Shallow fry the green chilli and the pepper chunks till you see blisters on it.
Heat 1 tsp oil, add the mustard seeds. After they pop, add the curry leaves and cloves.
Add the onion paste and stir well. Add the Salan Paste, mix thoroughly and cook for 2 mins, stirring continuously on a medium flame.If the paste sticks to the pan, add some water and cook well.
Add the tamarind concentrate, jaggery and cook for about 3-4 mins, till the gravy thickens.
Add salt, chillies & pepper chunks. Mix well and cook for a minute.
Serve with Biryani, Paratha, plain Rice... Yummy
* I chickened out at the last moment and removed the dry red chillies before grinding the paste, thinking that the Serrano chillies would make my hair stand on the end!! but made a mistake there. My adaptation of the salan was VERY tasty, but not fiery! But those who want to enjoy this side dish without smoking at the ears, all I have to say is, go right ahead!
This is my entry for JFI CHILLIES, hosted by our own Nandita !! Thank U Nandita for a wonderful choice of ingredient!
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