Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jumbo prawns and pasta

I got some really fresh jumbo prawns , And teaming it with pasta was just so, that the prawns could shine and not become just a side dish if I had made rice and the usual accompaniments along with them. 

Cleaning the prawns : I just took off the heads L left the whole of the remaining shell intact and de-veined the prawns by using a toothpick.  Choose a point to the middle of a prawn, between the gap in the shell and insert the toothpick..slowly tease back a tiny bit of flesh at the top till u see the vein. Push the toothpick beneath the vein and pull upwards.. the vein will slide off intact, with a bit of practice. 

You can also shell the prawns, leave the tails intact and de-vein them with a knife, or take off the shells fully. 

The pasta : I used about 350gms for 4 adults.
Boil more than double the amount of water needed to cover the pasta. Salt the water liberally. Let the water boil well. tip in the pasta. Once the water with the pasta again boils, take off the stove, carefully stir once,cover and keep for about 8 minutes. This should yield perfect al dente (cooked through, yet chewy) pasta. 

Drain off the hot water, cover the pasta in cold water and drain well. Now toss with some extra virgin olive oil to coat the pasta and keep it from sticking.

For this dish , all I did was, add some dried oregano and thyme and toss the pasta in some ready made, lite Caesar salad dressing.

Cooking the jumbo prawns with shell :

Prawns - 1 kg (prepared as above)
Garlic - 1 clove (peeled and crushed coarsely)
Butter - 1 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
freshly crushed pepper - 1 tbsp (or to taste)
tomatoes - 2 (chopped fine)
dried thyme - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

In a wok, put in the butter and olive oil . once the butter melts, add in the crushed garlic and let it cook..add the turmeric and chilly powder and saute. Add in the prawns, and the thyme. finally strew the chopped tomatoes and let the prawns cook with the lid one, till they change color to a beautiful coral, the tomatoes are soft and the oil shows on top.
Now add the salt to taste. Make sure to add salt in very small quantities because prawns do not need a lot of salt.  The result will be juicy prawns with a little gravy. Add the freshly ground pepper as the final garnish. Freshly chopped coriander would be great too.

To serve : Individual plates can be prepared with a serving of pasta , with  a scoop of prawns on top.  Slightly messy with the shells to tackle, but absolutely satisfying.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Beans thoran

Vishu sadya this year was a combined effort from my sister-in-law and I. The strain was halved and it was double the fun.

This dish was made by my sis-in-law and it tasted great.
Many vegetables can be made into a thoran, following the same recipe.
You may substitute it with cabbage, carrots, beetroot, string bean, or even drumstick. I sometimes put in a mix of vegetables and it tastes superb

Wash beans well. Top and tail them .

Beans - 1/2 kilo (chopped )
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
green chillies - 1 or 2
Shallots - 3 - 4 (peeled)
Onion - 1 medium (diced) optional
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - whole ( 1/2 tsp or powder - 1/4 tsp)
Salt to taste

Tempering - mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chillies

Coarsely grind the grated coconut, cumin, shallots, green chillies, turmeric and  chilly powder .
Now add this grated stuff to the beans, and mix well with salt to taste.

In a wok , add a bit of oil, add the tempering one by one, and  if adding the onions,  saute them first till golden, add in the beans, mixed with the ground coconut.

Put a lid on , and steam till the beans are done.

The rest of the items were, Sambar, aviyal, kaalan, pappadam, pickle and Semiya payasam.

The Vishu-kani in our puja room

Our daughter in her new Vishukkodi :)

The sadya  ready for serving.