Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mutton Curry - Our Family Recipe

I guess every family has a recipe that is a favourite with all their friends. When we invite our friend home, they always want to know if mutton is on the menu!!!!

So to keep up the tradition, my brother and I have also learned to make it the same way..usually, whenever I get a recipe, I would put my twist on things, but this is one recipe that I do exactly the same everytime...

So here goes...

Mutton - 1 kg (cut, cleaned)
Marinate the mutton in 1/2 a cup of curd and salt to taste. Keep for 1 hour or more

Bay leaves - 2 nos (whole)
Onions - 3 large (slice)
Green chillies - 5 (slit)
Garlic - 1 full pod (slice)
Ginger - 1 and 1/2 inch (slice matchstick size)
Curry leaves - 1 handfull and more
Coriander leaves (chopped for garnish)
Tomatoes - 3 medium (sliced)

Dry roast on a low flame and grind coarsely,
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp (perum jeerakam)
Pepper corns - 1 tsp
Cinnamom - 1 inch pieces - 2 nos
Cardamom - 4 nos
Cloves -4 nos
Jathipathri (mace) - 1 small piece
Star Anise - 1/2

Mix together and add water to make a paste of
Coriander powder 2 tbsp
Red chilli powder 1and 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp

Heat 1 tbsp of cooking oil in a deep bottom pan, add the sliced onions and half of the curry leaves. Then add the bay leaves (optional). Once the onions are golden, add the sliced chillies, garlic and ginger, saute until the raw smell goes and by this time, the onions should start to brown.

Add the paste made out of the powders and saute on a medium flame till the oil starts to surface. Add tomatoes to this till they soften.

Now,add the marinated pieces of the mutton, hold the marinade. Once the meat is mixed well with the other ingredients, add the powdered garam masala, then the marinade. If you wish for more gravy, 1 cup of boiled water maybe added.I prefer not to add water. We sometimes add potatoes at this stage.

Wait till the gravy starts to boil, then lower the flame, cover well, and let it cook. When the meat is really tender, the oil floats on top. Check the salt at this stage and add more if needed.

Garnish with the rest of the curry leaves and coriander leaves. Put off the fire, leave the lid on half covered, and wait for 10 minutes..this is to let the flavour of the leaves steep.

Serve while still hot with parathas, Kuboos, chappatis, fried rice, etc etc..

The Versatile Burger Bun

This is one instance where there was not much of cooking involved, but still, the satisfaction of the end product was just the same.

Some days, it is just difficult to muster the energy to pull together a meal, and yet there are days whe I do not want to reach for the phone to order take-away.

When there are fresh burger buns available , putting together a juicy sandwich is just a matter of minutes.

I used chicken nuggets instead of burger.

Sliced fresh tomatoes
Would have loved some lettuce
A slice of cheese (optional)

Some relish, a dollop of Thousand Island dressing and tomato ketchup....

Slightly messy, but great comfort food....

Absolute satisfaction guaranteed!!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

A handmade gift - Wall hanging

This is a gift I made for a friend...she had written this lovely prayer that had stuck in my mind I asked her to write it down for me, and I got to work...

I crumpled up the cloth and dyed it.Next I gave a wide border, with rough edges..then I drew the sacred heart.

Gave a decorative outline for the heart and the prayer.

Pencilled in the prayer...I wish I were a better hand at calligraphy...but I do not have the skill or the patience...

waited 24 hours for the whole thing to set....
Ironed the painting on the opposite side

And Gifted it to my friend on Easter day...

It may be short on finish, but it has `heart' in abundance. What say you?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Chicken made easy....and healthy

There are many people including a couple of my cousins and my dear sis, who would like to make chicken, but do not have the patience or the ability to know when and how to add the particular ingredients to get the best results...

This is a recipe that will ensure good results...

1 kg Chicken (cleaned, and cut into pieces)
1 onion -peeled, sliced long
4-5 cloves of garlic
8-10 peppercorns crushed
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 potato- washed, peeled, sliced round
1/4 tsp oregano
3 fair sized tomatoes sliced round
1 tsp soy sauce/ oyster sauce
1 tsp paprika,
a pinch of turmeric
chilly powder according to taste

heat the cooking pot, add 1 tsp oil..just enough to turn the onions golden , add the crushed garlic, saute till the smell is pleasant..add the chilli powder and chicken pieces. Once the meat turns white, add all the other ingredients ...yep! ...just toss in everything, turn the flame way down..medium or less...and wait 30 - 45 minutes...

check if the chicken is done ..just check the potaoes..if they are cooked through, it is time. there is no need to add water. there will be very less gravy, but it will taste really good. garnish with spring onions...

This is my own creation..just a change from the usual chicken masala we make.

P.S...If celery is not available, green peppers (capsicum) can be used to give a different but nice flavour.

Rosemaling - love it !!!

This is one instance where the pleasure I get while reading a book just doubled...!!!!...(imagine that...)

I was reading a book about a Norwegian girl lost at sea and her life afterwards...she thanks the people who rescue her and give her refuge by decorating a wooden box, decorating music sheets and painting decorative hair combs in the Rosemaling style..

So I searched the internet and found a great site with all things imaginable,decorated in this style...

And given here is my attempt at Rosemailing...I have not decided whether I should make it a wall hanging or make a pillow cushion out of it.....I just know that it is a highly addictive way to paint.

I would really love to get some comments/suggestions on this one....In case anyone is wondering, I used acrylic paint...

A simple salad - Peppers

I love salads...and since summer is nearly here, I will be making loads of salads. Other than being advantageous from a healthy point of view, I love the colours, tastes and textures that make up a salad.

This one was made mainly with peppers...I cut red, yellow and green peppers, added 1tomato and two boiled and sliced eggs to it.

For a dressing,
1 tsp of mayonnaise,
1/2 tsp of salad oil (I think oilve oil tastes best),
1/2 tsp of fresh, coarsely ground pepper,
salt to taste,
a pinch of sugar (I always add sugar to seems to add an extra something)
juice of half a lemon...

Some green peas (blanched) would make the salad better.

Toss together and enjoy.....

Maambazha koottan (Ripe mango curry)

This is the a very easy curry to make in the traditional way and the results are delicious.....!!!
2 -3 ripe mangoes
4-5 green chillies
200 gm ash pumpkin (kumbalanga)

Grind less than half a coconut with 1/2 tsp of jeera.

Keep aside 1 cup of beaten curd.

kaduku- 1/2 tsp
uluva - 1 pinch
2-3 dried red chillies
curry leaves

Peel the mangoes, cut the flesh and put the mango seeds along with the pieces into a thick bottomed pan. Slice the chillies , cube the ash pumpkin. Add water till the pieces are immersed...add 1/2 tsp of salt, 1 tsp of red chilli powder and cook till the pieces are cooked.
Add the ground coconut and simmer for a few this time, the liquid should have reduced to more than half the initial measure.

Lower the flame and add the beaten curd...add more salt to taste. Switch off the stove before the curd heats up. Now add the seasonings.

Absolutely great with Rice, Inji curry (or tender mango pickles)and Pappadoms...

You can substitute the mangoes with semi-ripe bananas ..only other variety will do.