Dec 29, 2011

Shrimp Dry Roast...deliciousness on a plate !!

I love having Shrimp , my mom makes the most amazing Shrimp curry I have tasted. Any time we go to any seafood restaurants I always end up ordering some shrimp based dish or salad.

However Manish cannot have any shellfish as he had some allergic reaction to it as a child and is afraid that he may be allergic to shellfish, so preparing shrimp is off our menu list. So after our wedding this is the first time I am actually making shrimp at home. Thanks to my sis-in-law who came over for the holidays, I had an excuse to prepare and someone to share the dish with :-)
I initially thought of making simple Kerala style spicy shrimp fry...then I thought of making it a bit more interesting by making a dry roast like dish where I roasted some shallots, ginger-garlic and curry leaves until the curry leaves are crisp and added it to the fried.shrimp. This added some additional flavour and the dry masala tasted simply awesome.

Shrimp Dry Roast Recipe
Recipe source: My own
You'll need
Shrimp or Prawns - 1 lb ( I bought large Gulf Shrimp)
Red chilli powder - 1-2 tsp ( depending on how much spicy you prefer)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Ginger-Garlic paste - 2 tsp
Water - 2-3 tsp (or enough to marinate the spices on the shrimp)
Small Pearl Onions or Shallots - 6-7 ( sliced)
Minced Ginger - 1 or 2 tsp
Minced Garlic - 1 or 2 tsp
Curry leaves - 2springs (about 8-10 leaves)
Salt - to taste
Oil - for frying shrimp + 2tblsp ( I used Canola oil, Coconut oil would provide an authentic keralite flavor)

1. Wash and clean the shrimp. (Mine was already cleaned with the Tail on , I used it as it is after washing)
2. Take the shrimp on a plate and add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, pepper powder, ginger-garlic paste and salt and add a little water and marinate evenly on each shrimp. Refrigerate for 15-20mins to marinate well.
3. Heat some oil (about 4-5 tblsp) in a non-stick pan and add the shrimp and let them fry. Keep the pan aside. (Do not over-fry shrimp as it tends to turn rubbery.)
4. In another non-stick pan, add 2 tblsp oil and add the shallots (or pearl onions) , minced ginger , minced garlic and curry leaves and keep roasting until the curry leaves are fried crisp and the onions are nicely carmelised.
5. Add this dry roasted mixture into the pan with the fried shrimp and mix very well, such that the onions and curry leaves are coated with the masala from the fried shrimp.

Serve hot with plain rice or chapathi .

This dish was really nice and spicy and shrimp was fried perfectly.The dry masala from the shallots and curry leaves tasted superb , all in all it was Finger licking good !!

I seriously wished we had made more...Manish was left to enjoy the smells :-)

Hope you all are eagerly waiting for the New Year!! Wish you all a Very Happy New Year 2012!!

- Manju

Dec 26, 2011

Idiappam (StringHoppers) with Egg Masala

To begin with I want to thank Julie of Eivum Puliyum for gifting me a 'Fabulous Blog' award. Thank you so much dear for remembering me and I am so much honored  to have received this award. Julie is hosting her first event Christmas Delicacy and I wish her all the very best and hope that she gets a lot of entries.
Coming to my dish , Idiappam or StringHoppers is another authentic Keralite breakfast dish. Idiappam is my sisters favorite breakfast item. She could eat dozens of these and still ask for more :-) I totally agree with her. Idiappam is also called Noolappam ( 'nool' meaning thread) in Kerala. It gets the name from the distinct noodle like or thread like shape it is made in. It so soft and spongy and easy to digest and a very healthy breakfast dish.

It is prepared by making a soft and smooth dough from roasted rice flour seasoned with salt and is then steamed after pressing it through an Idiappam press / Idiappam maker which gives it its distinct noodle or string like shape. Fresh grated coconut is added to garnish over the Idiappam which gives it a very unique taste.
Idiappam goes well with Potato Stew, Green peas curry, Kadala curry, Egg Masala , Ulli(onion) curry or simply with Sugar or sweetened Coconut milk. Usually fresh grated coconut is added while preparing , so it tastes pretty good eaten simply as it is too :-)

We had Idiappam with a really simple and easy to make Egg Masala curry. The spicy gravy compliments well with the simple and slightly sweet Idiappam (sweet due to the grated coconut). For vegetarians who do not eat Egg, you can simply skip the Egg from the preparation and perhaps add some Green peas, it would still taste great!
I used my Idli mould and steamer to prepare the Idiappams. The recipes of both the Idiappam and Egg masala should provide about enough to serve 5-6 people.

Idiappam or StringHoppers Recipe
Recipe source : My MIL
You'll need
Rice flour - 3 cups ( Rice flour should be roasted)
Warm water Boiling Hot water - enough to prepare a dough
Salt - to taste
Fresh Grated coconut - 2 cups

1. In a large mixing bowl add the Rice flour and salt and using the warm hot water prepare a smooth dough with the help of a spoon. The dough need not be round and shapely, its will almost resemble a thick sticky paste which can be easily rolled into a ball if held with a wet hand. ( Water has to be really hot to get a smooth dough)
2. Wet your hands and take a handfull of the dough and fill it inside the idiappam maker.
3. If using Idli steamer, add fresh grated coconut in each idli mould and press the idiappam maker such that the dough takes the shape of thin noodle like strings and fill it in each mould. 
4. Garnish again with grated coconut and steam the Idli moulds for 7-10 mins on high heat.
5. Take it off the Idli moulds and serve hot.

Egg Masala Recipe
Recipe source: My own
You'll need
Chicken Eggs - 3-4 nos.
Water - to boil the eggs
Red Onion - 1 large (thinly sliced)
Green chillies - 3-4 (slit lengthwise)
Tomatoes - 2 large ( chopped into small cubes)
Ginger-Garlic paste - 1 tblsp
Red chilli powder - 2 tsp
Corriander powder - 2 tblsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tblsp
Water - enough for the gravy (approx 1-2 cups)
Salt - to taste
For tempering:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Dry red chillies - 2
Curry leaves - 4-5 leaves
Canola oil - 2 tblsp

1. Boil some water and add the eggs and continue to boil for about 10 minutes on high heat. ( Th eggs should get fully boiled)
2. Heat the canola oil and crack mustard seeds , then add the dry red chillies and curry leaves and saute for a minute.
3. Add the ginger garlic paste and green chillies and saute for a minute.
4. Now add the Onions and add salt and cover and cook until the onions are fully cooked.
5. Add the masala powders (Red chilli powder, Corriander powder, Turmeric powder and Garam masala) and saute.
6. Add the tomatoes and gently mix well and the add some water depending on how much gravy you prefer. 
7. Cover and cook on medium heat and let it boil.
8. Slit the eggs in half and add the eggs into the masala gravy , stir gently and turn off the heat. Serve hot.

Hope you all enjoyed your holidays and had a great Christmas. We really enjoyed with a nice trip to Chicago and Wisconsin Dells and had a total blast.
I'm sure Manav enjoyed too, in his own little baby way !!

Also please check my update on my About Cooking and Me! page ...

- Manju

Dec 20, 2011

Pasta Shells in white sauce with Sausage, Mushrooms and Peas!

This is a really simple and easy Pasta recipe. I've always enjoyed the Chicken Alfredo pasta served at Restaurants. Manish wasn't a huge pasta fan until I started preparing Pasta at home. Initially I used to flavor it with Indian spices and slowly progressed it to proper Italian flavored Pasta dishes and now Manish too loves Pasta prepared any style ! :-)

I wanted to have some restaurant style pasta at home one day, so simply searched few online sites and recipe ideas and finally decided on making this. Must say, it came out pretty well but I would have liked to season it a bit more. For seasoning ideas, you may add red chilli flakes or dried oregano to the mushroom, sausage and peas mixture. Or you may add seasonings to the white paste sauce.

I took the pics in a hurry, so that I could eat while the pasta was still hot :-) , so please bear with my pics.
My white sauce is not exactly an Alfredo sauce , so I'm just going to refer to it as white sauce. To prepare Alfredo sauce you should skip the all-purpose flour in the preparation. But it tasted really good nevertheless.

Pasta Shells in white sauce with Sausage, Mushrooms and Peas Recipe
Recipe source : My own
You'll need
Shell Pasta  - 2 cups ( or you can use any kind you like)
Water ( enough to boil pasta)
Sausages - 2 ( I used chicken franks)
Mushroom - 2 cups ( sliced)
Green peas - 1 cup
Red Onion - 1/2 cup ( chopped into small cubes)
Olive oil - 3 tblsp
Salt - to taste
For White Sauce:
Butter - 2 tblsp
Heavy Cream - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup ( or you may substitute both cream & milk with 1cup half and half )
All purpose flour - 2 tsp
Parmesan cheese - 2 tblsp (grated)
Salt - to taste
Pepper powder - a pinch
Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp

1. Boil water and once it starts bubbling , add salt and then the Pasta Shells. (add enough salt such that the water tastes salty, this will help flavor the pasta)
2. Add 1 tblsp of olive oil in the water ( this helps the pasta from not sticking to each other )
3. Meanwhile , in a frying pan heat 2 tblsp of olive oil. Cut the sausage into small cubes and fry the sausages.
4. Keep aside the fried sausage cubes and add onions into the pan and saute them till they turn pink.
5. Add the mushrooms and green peas and some salt to taste.
6. Once the mushrooms are mildly cooked add the sausage cubes, mix well and keep aside.
To prepare the white sauce:
1.Heat a nonstick pan and melt the butter.
2. Add the all purpose flour and keep stirring to avoid any lumps being formed.
3. Reduce heat and add the cream and milk or half n half and keep stirring till the sauce thickens, then add the freshly grated parmesan cheese. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder up to your taste.
4. Once the Pasta Shells are cooked al dente ,meaning , pasta should still be slightly chewy and not overcooked) drain the excess water and add the pasta into the white sauce. (The all-purpose flour in the white sauce tends to thicken the sauce )
5. You may add some pasta water if required to loosen the pasta-sauce mixture and keep on low heat.
6. Mix in the sausage, mushrooms and peas. Mix well and turn off the heat.

I did not coat the pasta with too much white sauce, but it tasted great just the same. You can mix more sauce if you'd like. Its best served hot.
Manish really enjoyed having this and I was just so glad it turned out well. :-)

Enjoy your Holidays!!


Dec 15, 2011

Spicy Tuna Fish Cutlets

Hello there...I know I haven't been blogging much these days and I haven't had much time to blog hop either. There has been so much going on the past few days that I honestly haven't had much time to spend on my lappy :-)
As I had mentioned in my earlier post here, we had lot many celebrations lined up and we had quite an eventful weekend with lots of celebrations , food and sweets!
It was our Wedding Anniversary on Dec13th and these cutlets were my special treat to Manish who loves Tuna. And we both love Cutlets...we atleast I know that I could eat them all day! And these came out just so perfect that we were literally sad when it got over. :-)

Cutlets are nothing but croquettes made of meat/chicken/fish/veggies. They are usually deep fried, but I prefer to shallow fry depending on the thickness. Its a lovely appetizer, crunchy and spicy and finger licking good. These Cutlets are my own recipe and it takes hardly 30mins to prepare them.

I made few heart shaped cutlets, special ones for my sweetheart. I also prepared small cute round ones. They were crunchy on the outside, smooth on the inside, with a nice spicy flavor that will keep your tastebuds running even after you finish eating them. TRUST me!!!
Let me take you through the recipe with some step-by-step pics which will definitely make it easy for you to understand how this delicious appetizer is prepared! :-)
This recipe made about 10 small round cutlets and 4 medium sized heart shaped ones.

Spicy Tuna Fish Cutlets Recipe
Recipe source : My own
You'll need
Canned Tuna - 2 tins , 5oz each ( I used Light tuna)
Potato - 2 medium ( I used Russet)
Red Onion - 1/2 large or 2 medium ( diced into thin and small cubes)
Green chillies - 1 or 2 (thinly sliced)
Ginger - 1 inch or 1 tblsp (diced well)
Garlic - 2 (diced well)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Corriander powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
To coat the cutlets:
Egg - 1
Breadcrumbs - enough to coat ( Approx 2 cups) - I used store bought ones
Canola oil - for frying

1. Dice and chop the red onions, green chillies, ginger and garlic and keep aside.
2. Boil the potatoes with some salt and mash them well and keep aside to cool.
3. Open the tuna cans and drain any excess oil or water and keep aside.

4. Heat a non-stick frying pan on medium heat, add 1 tblsp canola oil and add the Ginger, Garlic and Green chillies and saute until the ginger-garlic turns mildly brown.

5. Add the Red Onions and and add some salt and cover and cook until the onions turns soft and mild and mildly carmelised, stirring occasionally.

6. Now add all the spices ( Red chilli powder, turmeric powder, corriander powder and garam masala) and mix well.

7. Then add the tuna chunks and mix well and such that each tuna piece is coated well with the spices and onions. Cover and cook for 2-3minutes and turn off the heat and let it cool.
8. When cooled , add the mashed potatoes and mix well. [ Its best to use your hands at this point :-) ]
9. If making heart shaped cutlets , take a large handful of the tuna-potato mixture and pat it down on a plate or board and then cut into it using the cookie cutter, or you could shape it by hand. ( I used cookie cutter)

10. You can also prepare small flat and round cutlets by taking small tennis ball sized tuna-potato mixture and gently pat it to form a disc shape of even thickness.
11. To coat the cutlets, beat an egg in a bowl and in a separate plate place the breadcrumbs.

12. Gently dip each cutlet into the egg and place it on the plate with the breadcrumbs and coat it on both sides with the breadcrumbs. Do this one by one.
13. You can deep fry or shallow fry the cutlets as per your wish. Fry until the cutlets looks brown and crunchy.
14. Serve hot with ketchup ...yummm!!

a. You can substitute the Tuna for shredded Chicken/Beef.
b. Vegetarian variations could include mixed veggies like carrots, peas, baby spinach, paneer etc.
c. You could flavour your breadcrumbs instead (if you do not like all that spice ) with some garlic powder, red chilli flakes , dried oregano or some italian seasonings etc.
(The Potato helps to bind the mixture together and helps keep the cutlet intact while frying.)

Make these next time you have guests at home and they are going to be begging you for the recipe! :-)

Have a great day!!

Sending this post to:
1. Snacks Mela hosted by Srivalli

2. Christmas Delicacy event hosted by Julie.


Dec 8, 2011

Crispy Veggie Samosa

I love Samosa , its my favorite, infact everyone in my family loves it! Its a very common Indian snack item and can be found in almost all bakery shops across India. Even at the restaurants here we get Samosa. :-)
The most common stuffing used is spiced Potatoes , sometimes green peas is also added.

Samosa is a stuffed and deep fried , mostly triangular shaped pastry shell made with all-purpose flour. The stuffing can be as per individual preference. Veggies (could be Potato/Green peas/Carrots/Paneer/Tofu) , Chicken , Meat, Egg , even fruits can be used for the filling .
I have also heard of Chocolate filled Samosas...mmmm....that would just taste so heavenly!! I should definitely try making that sometime!
Also recently I have seen several recipes where the Samosa is baked. I'm sure it would taste just as good and that is noted down in my 'must-try-next' recipe list

My sis-in-law had come over to visit us recently and she wanted something homemade to take back to her friends and instantly Samosa popped up in my head :-) Its not very difficult to make and the filling is your choice. I prepared an easy Potato, grated carrots and peas filled stuffing and used some typical Indian spices for a spicy taste. I have also flavored the pastry shell with some cumin and carom seeds and a pinch of red chilli powder.

This recipe prepares about 18-20 small samosas.

Veggie Samosa Recipe
Recipe source: My own
You'll need
For the pastry shell:
All-purpose flour -  2 cups
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Ajwain seeds (Carom seeds) - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder - a pinch or 1/4 tsp ( optional)
Baking soda - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Oil - 1 tblsp ( Canola or vegetable oil preferred)
Salt - to taste
Warm Water - 1cup ( or enough to make a smooth dough)
For the filling:
Russet Potatoes - 2 large
Onion - 1 large (Chopped finely)
Green chillies - 2-3 (sliced thinly)
Carrot - 1 large (grated)
Green peas - 1/4cup
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tblsp
Garam masala powder, Turmeric powder, Red chilli powder , Corriander powder - 1/2 tsp each
Oil - 2tsp (for tempering)
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Ajwain (Carom seeds) - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - for frying

1. In a deep bowl mix the all-purpose flour, cumin seeds, ajwain seeds, oil , red chilli powder (optional), baking soda (optional) and salt with warm water and make a smooth dough and brush some oil over the dough and keep aside covered by a damp cloth for half an hour.
2. Boil the potatoes and peel off the skin.
3. In a pan heat 2 tsps of oil and crack the cumin seeds and ajwain seeds and add Onions, Green chillies and ginger garlic paste and saute until onions turn pink
4. Add the Carrots and Green peas and saute for another 2mins.
5. Now add the Garam masala powder, Turmeric powder, Red chilli powder and Corriander powder and Salt and saute for another 2mins and turn off the heat.
6. Mash the potatoes and add it to the veggie mix and combine it all together well. Check if the filling is seasoned well.

7. Take the dough and make small 'tennis ball sized' balls. (You may make larger balls depending on the size of the samosa)
8. Roll each ball into a circular shape with a rolling pin and cut it into half (almost a semi circle)
9. Make a cone shape by joining both the ends of the semi circle and pinch it together with the help of some oil or water.

10. Add 1tsp of the potato-veggie into the cone and fold in the end and again pinch it so that it is tightly closed.

11. Heat some oil in a deep pan and add the samosa, few at a time and fry it until golden brown.

Suggestions: If you do not want to add all that spice, you can prepare the filling without adding any of the spice powders. The green chillies would provide a mild spice to the filling.
If you'd like , chaat masala powder can be added which will provide a tangy yet mildly spicy flavor.

They taste great when served hot with some mint chutney or tomato ketchup. Spicy snacks always go well with a nice hot cup of sweet tea or coffee too. These turned out crispy and spicy and was over within seconds of me having kept my camera down. :-)

I'd love to share with you all the Award I got for participating in the event Love Lock with Sweets. Thank you so much Vidhya.

Sending this post to:
1.  Christmas Delicacy event hosted by Julie.

2. Jingle All the way event hosted by Kavi.

3. Snacks Mela hosted by Srivalli

Enjoy your day!

- Manju