Sunday, January 30, 2011


 The wedding and reception in Detroit took us on a trip there for about four days. Two days for the wedding and the remaining two we toured around town to look for fantastic places. A city that has lost its charm because of the slow economy and loss of income. There are some areas I stamped as places less visited the better ..we ran into them especially while we walked around and decided to take the metro rail system.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

#73 French Eclairs- Filled Chocolate Choux pastry

N was a relatively easy child to raise-the cutest petit girl with a sweet tooth to match. She was easy to please and just like all normal kids loved to eat out preferably baked goodies and chocolates. My younger girl V however, preferred homemade food for the longest time except for McDonalds kids meals that she insisted on getting just for the toys!!
N 's favorite treat was the French Eclair. I found out that getting the “pate a choux” right is the trick to making good éclairs.  The pastry bakes wonderfully flaky and you can turn them into rich, creamy and addictive little bundles of heaven. The name ”Choux” means “cabbage” in French and that describes the appearance of these small choux pastries that are round, dainty and hollow inside. The crevices ask to be filled with something soft, rapturous and gooey like ice cream or heavenly custard. Once you pop the first one in your mouth, it is so addictive that you must have another.
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 extra-large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons prepared coffee
  • Mascarpone( a small tub)
  • Powdered Almonds- 1 Tblspn
  • Vanilla extract- 1 tspn
  • Powdered sugar- 3 Tblspns
  • Lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Heat the milk, butter and salt over medium heat in a small saucepan until the butter is melted. Now add all the flour at once and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough
  3. Cook stirring constantly over low heat for about 2 minutes and the flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan and then the dough comes together. Turn off the stove.
  4. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of  a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick and creamy.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip or instead use a plastic ziplock bag and cut the tip when ready to use.
  6. Pipe in mounds of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper .They should be about 1 inch wide and 1 inch high. With a wet finger lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff.
  7. Bake for about 15 mins or when the tops are light brown and puffy. Turn off the oven and allow them to sit for 10 mins until they sound hollow when tapped at the bottom. Gently create a small hole at the bottom of each one for steam to escape and set aside to cool.

  1. Scoop the Mascarpone into a glass bowl and beat along with sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and powdered almonds until smooth. Spoon this into a second “ziplock” bag and cut a slightly smaller tip.Keep aside
  2. For chocolate sauce, place the cream and chocolate chips in a bowl over simmering water and stir until the chocolate melts. Add honey and coffee and stir well, set aside.
  3. For serving, take each éclair and through the hole in step#7, fill the hollow inside with the mascarpone using the bag from step #8.
  4. Place the profiterole on a plate and using a kitchen brush slather the top with the chocolate sauce.

  1. Enjoy the soft, gooey and flaky profiteroles!!

#74 Heart Healthy Oat Flax Muffins

This is my version of the Muffin recipe on the cover of Bobs Red Mill Flaxseed meal. Flax is a whole grain substantially good for all round health. I have changed the recipe around a bit to add zuchini and cranberries. R and I have been packing these treats for our breakfast every day this week. Surprisingly, I enjoyed these moist naturally sweet muffins with orange juice and they aren't as dry as the bran muffins from the supermarket.

•1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
•3/4 cup Brown Flaxseed Meal
•3/4 cup Quick Cooking Oats
•1 cup Brown Sugar
•2 tsp Baking Soda
•1 tsp Baking Powder
•1/2 tsp Salt
•2 tsp Cinnamon
•1 1/2 cups finely shredded Carrots
•1 peeled and shredded Apple
.1 shredded zuchini
•1/2 cup dried cranberries
•1 cup chopped walnuts
•3/4 cup Milk
•2 beaten Eggs
•1 tsp Vanilla

1.Mix together flour, Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.
2.Stir in carrots, apples, zuchini, cranberriesand nuts. Combine milk, beaten eggs and vanilla.
3.Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until ingredients are moistened.
4.Gently fold together all the ingredients. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
5.Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Maked about 15 medium muffins.

Monday, January 24, 2011

#72 Warm Quinoa, Tempeh and Butternut Squash salad

The wholesome goodness of this salad is enhanced by whole grain quinoa along with tempeh(a compressed soy product with a grainy smooth texture). I roasted up a whole butternut squash and juicy sweet garlic cloves immersing in sweet and sour Asian pineapple marinade. The mixture soaks the juices taking the level of flavor to a delightful combination and turning it into a fruity warm vegetarian dish.   
Quinoa- 1 cup
Tempeh- 1 small package soy tempeh
Butternut Squash- 1 small
Scallions- 2
Whole garlic clusters-2
Vegetable Broth- 3 cups
Thyme- 1 stem
Olive oil- 2 Tblspns
Salt and pepper to taste

Pineapple crushed- 2 Tblspns
Ginger grated fine- 2 Tblspns
Vinegar- 2 Tblspns
Oil- 2 Tblspns
Lemon juice- 3 Tblspns
Honey- 1 Tblspn
Chilli powder- 1 tspn
Salt, Pepper to taste
Preparation is in three steps-
Step 1
1.      Remove skin from the butternut squash, wash and cut into ½ inch cubes.
2.      Stir together the Olive Oil, salt, pepper and chopped thyme and mix well.
3.      Heat the oven to 350 degrees and set to roast. Toss the squash into the dressing above and mix well.
4.      Roast the butternut squash on a baking pan until just browned.
5.      While the squash is roasting, take the whole garlic with skin on, place inside some aluminum foil and pour 1 tspn olive oil over it.
6.      Wrap up the foil and throw it into the oven, remove vegetables at the same time.
7.      Test to make sure that the garlic has roasted and are soft. Separate the cloves of garlic from the skins and keep aside with the squash.

Step 2
1.      Take a deep pan and measure in about 2 cups of vegetable broth. Add salt and let it come to a simmer.
2.      Add the washed quinoa into the broth, keep covered and cook for about 15 mins or until just done.
3.      Add ½ cup orange juice and cook uncovered for about 1 min. Remove from fire.
4.      Fluff the quinoa with a fork and let cool.

Step 3
1.      Take the tempeh out of the package and wash really well and dry.
2.      Cut tempeh into small chunks.
3.      Make the marinade by whisking together the lemon juice, vinegar, ginger, honey, pineapple, chilli, oil, salt and pepper.
4.      Marinate the tempeh in the marinade for about 30 mins.
5.      Place a pan on the stove and add a little oil, add sliced scallions to the oil and then add the tempeh with the marinade.
6.      Let the tempeh cook for a while and turn off the fire. There will be liquid in the pan and it makes the awesome dressing.
7.      To put the warm salad together just toss all the ingredients that we just made together and serve warm with wedges of red grapefruit.

 This is going to Pari Vashisht's "Only Salads" event

Sunday, January 23, 2011

#71 Light and delicious Italian style Eggplant Parmesan

An Italian classic baked casserole that is generally made with slices of fried eggplant and cheese. I baked the eggplant slices, layered them with spicy hot tomato sauce and lentils, Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. This is a long time favorite and a dish I made very often when my girls were young children. They loved to eat this using garlic bread to sop up the juices.

Fresh eggplant- 2 medium size
Whole Tomatoes in cans- 2 large
Fresh Basil leaves- 1 cup
Chopped Onion- 2 large Spanish onion chopped fine
Garlic cloves- 10 crushed and chopped fine
Tomato paste- 1 Tblspn
Eggs-4 slightly beaten
Italian breadcrumbs- 11/2 cups
Fresh Mozarella Cheese- slices 8 oz
Fresh Cheddar cheese grated- 1 cup
Parmesan Cheese grated- 1cup
Brown sugar- 2 Tblspn
Brown whole lentils- ½ cup
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive Oil as needed

Eggplant Parmesan Layered and ready to bake
    1. Wash, dry and slice the eggplants into ¼ inch thick slices. Prepare for coating.
    2. In two separate shallow bowls or plates add the eggs in one and breadcrumbs in the other.
    3. Place them in the order as shown in the photos to make it easier on you.
    4. Take a baking sheet and line with parchment paper or foil. Spray non-stick spray over it.
    5. Take each slice of eggplant and dip it in the egg and then roll in breadcrumbs to coat well then placing them on the baking sheet as such.
    6. Heat the oven to 375 degrees and broil until just brown. Keep aside after all the slices are baked.
    7. Wash and cook the lentils in enough water until they are soft and pulpy.
    8. Now prepare the tomato sauce by sautéing the onions in Olive oil on a slow fire until they are translucent. Now add garlic and tomato paste.
    9. Saute for another 3 minutes until the raw taste of the tomato paste is cooked away. Add whole tomatoes crushing them really well with a masher.
    10. Now add salt, pepper, brown sugar, and the cooked lentils from step #7.
    11. Reduce the fire and let simmer for 45 minutes to one hour until thick and rich/
    12. Take a baking dish or casserole and spray with non stick spray.
    13. Starting with the sauce, spread a cup at the bottom of the dish and layer with eggplant slices.
    14. Now sprinkle a chiffonade of basil leaves all over the eggplant. Top with a layer of a portion of each of the cheeses.
    15. Start again with Tomato sauce , eggplant slices, basil, cheeses and keep going until there are no more eggplant left.
    16. Bake in the over covered for 45 minutes and then top with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake uncovered for 15 mins.
    17. Serve with garlic bread or spaghetti.

#70 Pomegranate Cosmopolitans

My infatuation for home made cocktails and mixed drinks has been growing by the day. It makes me feel better that I know what ingredients go into each drink and what could be better than shaking up your own cocktail?.. Cosmopolitans are usually made with triple sec, lime and cranberry juice and vodka. Did I mention that I love Pom Wonderful(Pomegranate Juice) ? This is a fresh and artfully smooth mixed drink where I have combined the fruitiness of Pom with Vodka and lemon juice. I created this recipe being inspired by Ina Garten’s Pomegranate Cosmopolitans. During the making, it got so twisted it became my own. I ended up changing it to my liking so much so that it became a new idea, adding mint and twice the Pom, a splash of orange juice, more sugar to sweeten the bitterness, and Voila!!

  • 11/2 cups Finlandia vodka
  • 1 cup  orange liqueur (recommended Cointreau)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 cups pomegranate juice (recommended: Pom Wonderful)
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup orange or cranberry juice
  • Lime/lemon sections, to garnish

  1. Combine the vodka, orange liqueur, pomegranate juice, orange juice, and lemon juice in a pitcher and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Pour the mixture into glasses rimmed with colored sugar adding sliced lemon/lime sections.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

#69 Lettuce Wraps with Chinese Ground Chicken

After the overindulgence of the holidays, I want to feel like I am eating something healthy so I make a batch of  Chinese style ground chicken in Lettuce wraps.  Eating healthy is harder than I thought, but if you are counting calories, portion control is the only way to manage cravings. I look at lettuce wraps as being healthier compared to what I have been eating these days, but I realized that they have some horrendous calorie counts. If you are a devoted health 'nut', then watch out!! With 77 g of carbs, the calories will add up if these are eaten as an appetizer, in addition to a main dish. I am no dietician, so let’s just say that it is less harmful than some deep fried foods. As far as I have generous portions of meat piled high onto the crispy freshness of the lettuce and drizzle with zesty sauce, I make it a meal and it should be OK…Mmmm!!

Ingredients for chicken mix
3 tablespoons oil
2 Lbs ground chicken
1 can water chestnut
2/3 cup mushroom
½ cup chopped onions
3 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 cup Cilantro and mint
4 -5 leaves iceberg lettuce

Special Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon hot mustard
2 teaspoons water
1 -2 teaspoon garlic and red chile paste

Stir Fry Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 Tblspn Hoisin Sauce
1 tspn Ginger grated
2 Red chillies crushed

1 Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl.
2. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil.
3 Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you're ready to serve.
4 Combine the hot water with the hot mustard and set this aside as well and add to the sauce.
6 Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan.
7.Saute chicken for 10 minutes and add onions, cilantro, mint, ginger, garlic, minced water chestnuts and mushrooms until the chicken is cooked well.
8. Prepare the stir fry sauce by mixing the soy sauce, brown sugar, and rice vinegar together in a small bowl. Add rest of ingredients for sauce.
9. Add the stir fry sauce to the pan and saute the mixture for a couple of mins then serve in the lettuce cups.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

#68 Chinese Steamed Buns/Bao with Chicken Filling

If you’ve ever tried steamed Chinese buns at a dim sum restaurant you’ll know how tender and light the dough is and how moist these buns taste when you bite into one and discover the surprise little bit of meat embedded inside it. My favorite steamed buns from the Wow Bao in Chicago and especially the Thai Chicken filled are notably delish! I like them because of the small size, the scrumptious chicken filling and the fluffy dough, but I wanted to make them at home, since Chicago is too far off to visit.   
Now I may have mentioned in one of my previous posts that on each of my trips to the local Asian market, I discover something new that I bring back home. This time hidden on a shelf in the flour isle, I saw a small packet of flour that read “steamed bun dough”  When I got home from the store and decided to read about this new found package, I found out that it is a flour like powder with instructions on how to make a dough. I poured in some warm milk and sugar to the flour and let it rise for a few hours and I was ready to stuff the meat. The chinese chicken filled savory buns turned out so light and fluffy, that when I served it piping hot I had to watch out to make sure I didn’t burn my tongue. With the weather getting colder by the day, this is a wonderful meal for a cold morning or even for brunch.

Ingredients for chicken mix
3 tablespoons oil
2 Lbs ground chicken
1 can water chestnut
2/3 cup mushroom
½ cup chopped onions
3 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1/4 cup Cilantro and mint
Whole boiled eggs-3 cut into quarters
Grated Carrots or any vegetable like zuchini- ½ cup

Stir Fry Sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 Tblspn Hoisin Sauce
1 tspn Ginger grated
2 Red chillies crushed

  1. Make a dough following instructions on the cover of the package.
  2. To prepare the stir fry sauce, combine all the ingredients and stir well.
  3. In a large wok, sauté onions, ginger, garlic and ground chicken until the chicken is cooked and dry.
  4. Add the mushrooms, water chestnuts, cilantro, mint and carrots and mix well. Add stir fry sauce and mix.
  5. Make small balls from the dough and roll them smooth. Using some extra flour, roll out the balls with a rolling pin into medium thin pancakes.
  6. Place a tablespoon of chicken mix and top with a piece of the egg.
  7. Gather up the edges to enclose the filling completely and twist the edges together to seal. Do the same with the remaining dough.
  8. Line a steamer rack with wax paper and place in a large shallow saucepan with water upto 2 inches.
  9. Cover the steamer and bring to a rolling boil. Arrange the buns at least 1 inch apart on the steamer rack.
  10. Cover and steam until puffy, tender and dough has cooked through. I steamed four buns at a time so that they do not stick.
  11. Serve warm with extra serving of the stir fry sauce

Sunday, January 16, 2011

#67 Mixed Green Salad with Salmon

I am always looking for salads that are light and healthy. I put together this salad with Organic mixed greens or mesclun mix and I must say it  is a ridiculously refreshing meal on its own. The little extra prep that goes into the toppings is really worthwhile!  I decided to liven up the salad giving it a crunchy texture by adding fruit and nuts.  Not only does it take out the boredom of eating the boring green salad, it also adds a lot of color on your plate and enriches the nutritional value.. I had a bunch of watercress that I tossed into the salad at the end for a spicy kick..

Salmon Steak- 1, skin removed and cut into cubes
Zesty Italian salad dressing-1/2 cup
Turkey Bacon- 3 strips divided into 2 each

Organic Mesclun mix or mixed greens- 1 store bought package
Water cress -1/2 cup
Grape tomatoes- 6 sliced
Pear- ½ of one sliced thin
Onion rings-4
Blue Cheese crumbled- 1 Tblspn
Walnuts- 6
Honey- 1 Tblpsn
Salt and pepper as needed.


For Bacon wrapped Salmon bites.
  1. Cube the salmon into small pieces. Toss with ¼ cup salad dressing, a pinch salt and pepper.
  2. Now, pick up a piece of salmon between index finger and thumb. Take a piece of bacon and wrap it around the salmon.
  3. Hold it together with a toothpick. Do the same with all the cubes of salmon until there are no more left.   
  4. Bake in oven or broil until the salmon is just done and the bacon is crisp. Remove and keep aside.
For Candied Walnuts
1.      In a small cereal bowl, toss the walnuts with the honey. Spread them in a small baking pan pre-sprayed with baking spray.
2.      Bake in oven along with the salmon but only for about 10 mins to crisp up the walnuts. Remove and keep aside.
For Putting the Salad together.
  1. This mix is for two people and must be served immediately.
  2. In a glass bowl place the salad mix with the watercress leaves together with the tomatoes, pear and onion rings.
  3. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, the rest of the salad dressing and toss well.
  4. Place a mound of salad in the center of a pretty salad plate and arrange the salmon bites around it. You can place 4-6 as desired
  5. Now, top the salad with onion rings, crumbled blue cheese and candied walnuts. Enjoy!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

#66 Amma’s Thenga Chammanthi or White Coconut Chutney

This is my mother’s recipe for a simple Kerala style white chutney with curds to add tartness to the spicy chutney. She served this chutney with idlis and her red coconut/tomatoes chutney with dosas.

Freshly grated coconut- 1 cup
Green chillies-4
Ginger paste- 1 tspn
Sour Cream- 1 Tblspn

Ghee-1 Tblspn
Red Chillies-2
Mustard seeds-1 tspn
Curry leaves-2 sprigs

  1. In a Blender grind the coconut and ginger with salt to a very smooth paste.
  2. Add shallots and coarsely grind the mix with the coconut paste.
  3. Place a deep pan on the fire and heat a Tablespoon of ghee.
  4. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle and pop, add red chillies and curry leaves.
  5. Lower the fire and pour in the coconut paste and enough water if needed to a thick consistency.
  6. When the chutney just warms up throughout(a few bubbles start appearing on the surface), Add yogurt and turn off the fire.
  7. Serve hot with freshly made idlis.

#65 Gin and Tonic

There is very little that goes into this British iconic drink, gin, tonic water, ice and a bit of lime. What really matters is the use of good ingredients, but is a very simple drink like the martini and very easy to get wrong.  The tonic water is slightly bitter given off by its quinine content and this has to be carefully added to prevent a potential devastating blow to a perfect Gin and Tonic. Even when done right, this may not be your favorite drink but I enjoy a perfect gin and tonic. It is rare to find a good Gin/Tonic in the bars in USA because they use the soda out of a gun instead of the actual tonic water. I am partial to Schweppes tonic water and here is my version where I add lemon juice.

4 cubes ice
2 ounces gin
4 ounces Schweppes tonic water
1 Tblspn fresh lemon juice
1/2 tspn sugar
1 Lime/lemon wedge

  1. Dip the rim of a glass in lemon juice and then in sugar.
  2. Place the ice cubes in the glass pour gin, sugar, tonic and lemon juice over the ice
  3. Stir with a long spoon, garnish and serve immediately.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

#64 Winter-Time Vegetable-Paneer Jalfrezi

We were invited to a party last week and the lady of the house had made Paneer peas curry that reminded me of a vegetable Jalfrezi I had eaten at a restaurant a few months ago so hearty it is almost like  comfort food in winter. The sweet and tart taste of this fresh home-made cottage cheese and the mix of vegetables and gravy make this so refreshing. The Food and Wine website even recommends pairing a citrus and fruity Sauvignon Blanc when serving a Jalfrezi curry. Here is my recipe---- and it gives me great pleasure in saying that it is my favorite winter time curry when paired with warm naans/plain rice and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc of course!! …the creamy and superb texture of the gravy warms up the taste buds and leads to heart warming sensations. It helps me recover from the Winter blues and so the name Winter-time Jalfrezi.

For Paneer:
Whole milk-1/2 gallon
Lemon juice-juice of half a lemon
All purpose flour- 1 Tblspn

For Vegetable gravy:
A mix of the following vegetables- 1 ½ cups
(Cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, Green pepper,green peas, and green beans)
Onions-1 cubed
Tomatoes-1 cubed
Green chillies-3
Cashewnuts-1 Tblspn
Mint and Cilantro chopped-1/2 cup
Red Chilli powder-1/4 tspn
Haldi powder-1/8 tspn
Garam masala- ¼ tspn
Ginger garlic paste-1 Tblspn
Cumin seeds- ½ tspn
Butter- 2 Tblspns
Heavy Cream- 1 cup
Salt and oil as needed
  1. Pour the whole milk into a deep saucepan and let boil stirring constantly until it starts boiling. Quickly squeeze the juice of the lemon into the milk.
  2. Keep stirring until the curds and whey are separated out completely. Remove from fire.
  3. When cool, drain the above into a muslin cloth and let the liquid drain well either overnight or until the curds are thick and liquid has drained completely. Do not toss the whey, it has nutrients and lemon juice and may be used to cook the vegetables.
  4.  When you are ready to cook the Jalfrezi, grind to a smooth paste the cashew nuts, onions, tomato, mint, cilantro and green chillies and keep aside.
  5. Take the curds out of the muslin cloth and onto a flat plate or baking pan. Knead the curds with salt and all-purpose flour and flatten to a rectangle ½ inch thick.
  6. Cut the paneer into cubes of desired size and spray with a little baking spray. Broil both sides of paneer in the oven for about 10 mins until light brown.
  7. Place a large skillet over the fire. Add enough oil and add cumin seeds. Now add the ground paste and on a slow fire sauté until well cooked.
  8. Add the vegetables and garam masala, ginger garlic, haldi, red chillie powder, and the vegetables.
  9. Add salt to taste and just enough liquid whey from the drained curds to cook the vegetables. Let this cook until vegetables are cooked.
  10. Add butter turn off the fire. When slightly cooled add the paneer cubes and lastly the heavy cream.
  11. If you add the heavy cream while the curry is cooking it may separate.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

#63 Kappa/ Kachil Puzhukku

I have been feeling under the weather lately- may be coming down with something. On the other hand, my allergies may be acting up again and what could be better than “Kanji” and “Puzhukku” for some comfort food. Kanji is rice soup and Puzhukku is mostly some kind of starchy vegetable cooked in spices and mashed up with coconut and curry leaves . A puzhukku may or may not have beans added to it. I like it as  a soothing treat for a cold, but R loves it for a regular light supper. Yuca and Malanga are widely grown in Kerala and used to make many authentic dishes. One of my favorites Puzhukku is made of Yuca, but this time, I added some Malanga root to the Yuca. I remember the popular variety of Thiruvathira Puzhukku made with a mix of many root vegetables that my Amma used to serve on the festival - "Thiruvathira".

For those of you who are unfamiliar with these unusual root vegetables--..Malanga(Katchil) is a tuber of a plant originally from parts of Central and South America, Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean, Malanga is a rich and starchy tuber, has an outer coating (brown and white striped) which must be removed and the flesh is cream to pinkish. It has a strong slightly earthy and nutty flavor, very rich in starch and a good source of fiber.  Yuca/ Cassava is called Kappa or Tapioca in Kerala and is a woody shrub also found in South America, Africa and East and South Asia.

Malanga- 1 large as big as a coconut
Grated coconut- 1 cup
Cumin seeds- 1 Tblspn
Garlic-3 pods
Curry Leaves- 2 sprigs
Green Chillies- 3
Haldi powder/turmeric- ½ tspn
Salt to taste, Oil
  1. Remove the skins from both the Yuca and Malanga. Wash well and start cubing them.
  2. Keep the cubed tubers in separate bowls since they have different cooking times.
  3. Grind the Coconut along with the Cumin seeds, green chillies and garlic to a coarse paste.
  4. Take a large pot and add about 1 liter of water and let it boil.
  5. Add the Yuca cubes to the water and let it cook halfway. When done, turn off the fire.
  6. Drain most of the water and keep aside. Save about 1 cup of cooking liquid for use in making the curry.
  7. Add the same amount of water to the same pot and cook the Malanga and keep aside. The Malanga cooks much faster
  8. Make sure Malanga is just half cooked. It is easy to overcook it. Drain well and keep aside.
  9. Take the Yuca and toss it back into the same pot over a slow fire, add 1 cup cooking liquid, haldi, salt and the coconut paste.
  10.  When the yucca and ground paste have exchanged their flavors, add malanga cubes and a little water if needed.
  11. When all the flavors have blended into each other, turn the fire off add cut curry leaves and 1 tspn oil.
  12. Mix well and serve with rice soup or spicy fish curry and crispy pappadams.

Monday, January 10, 2011

#62 Aloo, Methi and Palak Ki Sabzi

Methi or Fenugreek Greens have delicate oval leaves of a nice bluish green color, maybe a bit bitter to taste but are a wonderful source of minerals like Potassium, Calcium and Iron. They are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber.  These leaves aid in digestive disorders and even lower cholesterol and triglycerides according to research. The seeds of the plant or methi seeds are used abundantly in my kitchen because I believe they have healing properties for many ailments. I love my greens no matter what they are---Kerala Red Spinach, Kale, Green Spinach or Collards. For over 70 years the animated cartoon character Popeye the sailorman has said many times over “I’m strong ‘cause I eats me spinach”. At least that is how I convinced my daughters to eat their spinach:)

Aloo/ Potato-1 cooked half way through in a microwave, skinned and cubed
Methi leaves- 1 bunch, washed, separated from the stems.
Palak/Spinach- 2 bunches, washed well, chopped up
Haldi powder-1/2 tspn
Garlic- ½ tspn
Ginger- 1 tspn
Asafoetida- ½ tspn
Chilli powder- ½ tspn
Green chillies- 2 chopped
Onions- 1 chopped fine.
Kasuri Methi(Dried Methi leaves)- 1 tspn
Salt and Oil to taste.

  1. Place a deep skillet or wok on the fire and pour about 2 Tblspn oil.
  2. Add chopped onions and green chillies and sauté well.
  3. Add the Potato cubes and season with asafoetida, Kasuri methi, haldi, chilli powder, garlic, ginger and salt.
  4. Add the fresh methi and spinach leaves and a little oil.
  5. There is no need for additional liquid, since the Spinach or Palak will release water and cook the vegetables.
  6. Stir fry on low fire until all the liquid has evaporated.
  7. Add oil when necessary. The simple sabzi is ready to be served with rotis.
This one is an entry for the Food Palette Green on Torviewtoronto's site.

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