Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pineapple Menaskai (Pineapple in sesame coconut sauce)

Menaskai(Curry) is a real treat to your taste buds. For those who love the combination of sour, sweet & spice.., this is the perfect dish. Everytime I eat this , i feel rejuvenated.

This is again a Udupi cuisine. During the weddings, naming ceremony or any festivities, this dish is again one of the must in the innumerable items prepared & served. There is pineapple gojju(gravy/curry) also prepared during Karnataka weddings (Mysore/Bangalore side). I do not know if both menaskai & gojju use the same ingredients. Will check with my grandmom during my next visit to India & update here.

Ingredients: (Recipe source: Mom-in-law)
Chopped pineapple: 1 cup
Tamarind: 1 medium lemon sized ball (adjust according to the sourness of the pineapple)
Jaggery: 1 medium lemon sized ball or 1.5 tsp (adjust according to the sourness of the pineapple)
Water: 1 to 1.5 cups
Salt: According to taste

For the spice paste/masala paste:
Grated dry coconut: 1 cup
Sesame seeds: 1.5 tbsp (I use white sesame)
Dry red chilli: 6-8nos (adjust according to your family needs)

For tempering:
Oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves: 4-6 nos
Dry red chilli: 1 broken
Asafetida: a pinch

  • Soak the tamarind in warm water(about 1/4th cup water)  for 10mins. Extract the thick juice from the tamarind & discard the pulp.
  • Boil the pineapple in 1/2 cup of water. When pineapple is half cooked, add tamarind extract, jaggery, salt to the pineapple & cook again until soft.
  • Meantime, dry roast the sesame seeds & red chilli seperately. Allow them to cool.
  • Make a fine paste of coconut, sesame seeds & red chilli.
  • Pour the paste to the pineapple mixture, 1/4th cup water & cook it on a low heat for another 5-7mins.
  • Prepare the tempering. Add oil to a small pan, when oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves, red chilli & saute for 5-8secs. Finally add the asafoetida & turn off the heat.
  • Pour this tempering to the prepared pineapple menaskayi/curry.
  • Serve it hot/warm as a side dish to rice.

  • The dish is usually made using fresh coconut. I replace it with dry coconut because that way I can preserve it for 3-5days in my refrigirator. If you are sure to use this in a day or two, feel free to add fresh coconut.
  • Pineapple could be replaced with mango, bittergourd, ambade/amtekayi(Thanks to Shilpa of Aayisrecipe for this picture) or capsicum.
  • This dish tastes better the next day. Donot forget to boil this once a day, cool it & then store it in the refrigirator.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bhindi Dopyaza (Ladies-Finger & Onion Stir-fry)

Couple of weeks before, we went to Phuket, an Island in the south of Thailand. Here are some of the pictures. White sand, crystal clear water, beautiful beaches & great food. Exotic place to say the least. We were in water for almost 5-6 hours a day & got tanned to the core. We normally do not experiment with food since my hubby prefers Indian vegetarian food. But, this time, we tried Thai veg food and I was thoroughly impressed with it.
Now coming to today's recipe. I have love/hate relationship with okra/ladies finger. If it is not properly cooked, I hate it , otherwise I love all the dishes with okra. My mom, mom-in-law & sis-in-law all have their own secrets to fry the okra to reduce the slimness. My mom fries the okra on a high flame for sometime. My mom-in-law usually cook the okra in tamarind water & avoid frying them. My sis-in-law adds a little hulipudi/amchur powder while frying the okra as it helps to reduce the stickyness. I have found that all these methods work.
This recipe is adapted from the great cook Tarla Dalal.I followed her recipe, except for adding the curd/yogurt at the end. I added lemon juice instead. Also, I caramelize the onion to get a sweetish tinge to the dish. Our family loves it this way. 

Okra/Ladies Finger: 30-40 (tender & small ones)
Onion: 2 medium sized (sliced)
Ginger paste: 1 tsp
Green chilli : 2 no (finely chopped)
Oil: 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
Kalonji/Nigella seeds: 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder: a pinch (optional)
Sugar: a pinch (optional)
Lemon juice: 1 tsp
Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp (for garnishing)
Salt: According to taste
For frying the okra:
Oil: 2 tsp
Amchur powder/huli pudi/tamarind powder: a pinch (optional)

  • Wash the okra & pat them dry. Ensure no moisture on the okra. Clean & dry the knife too. Cut them into 1cm rings or slice them. 
  • Frying the okra/ladies finger: Heat the oil in a broad pan. When oil is hot, add the okra & fry them on a medium. After a minute or two, add the amchur powder & continue frying until the stickiness of the okra is completely removed. It might take around 5 minutes. Also, fry the okra in batches if you are planning to prepare in bulk. Remove the okra from flame & place the fried okra on a plate (ensure plate is dry).
  • Wipe the pan with the kitchen towel & heat the pan again. Add oil. When oil is hot, add cumin seeds. When cumin seeds turn golden brown, add kalonji & fry for 3-5 secs. Add sliced onion, ginger, green chilli & saute for a minute or two.
  • At this stage, I would like to caramelize the onion. Hence add a pinch of sugar & saute for a min on high flame
  • Now add the fried okra, salt, red chilli powder & cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
  • Finally add the lemon juice & coriander leaves & mix well.
  • Serve it hot with roti or any other Indian bread. 

  • I personally feel caramelizing the onion adds a zing to the dish. But you can skip it if you do not prefer it. 
  • Ensure to use a broad pan to fry the okra as it helps to reduce the sliminess of okra faster.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Vegetable Fried Rice (Indo Chinese)

Chinese food(Actually Indianized version of Chinese food) is available as street food in most parts of Karnataka, India. We get veg noodles, fried rice, gobi manchurian just like the golgappe & churmuri by the roadside vendors.Those street vendors are very creative & to attract the crowd they make various & delicious versions of the normal fried rice.

Though I am not a great fan of this Indian version of the Chinese food, my hubby just loves to eat them. He craves for the gobi manchurian & other Chinese food too.  BTW, Chinese food served in Singapore is completely different than what we used to taste back in India.

Today I'm presenting Sush's version of Chinese fried rice. I have tried many versions & found this version suiting our taste buds. So, I always stick to this now.

Basmati rice: 3 cups (Other long grain rice should also be fine)
Water: 6 cups
Vegetables of your choice: 1 cup (I have used carrots, peas, snowpeas,  sweet corn, beans, paneer(cottage cheese))
Cabbage: 1/2 cup (shredded)
Spring onion: 2 tbsp (finely chopped white portion)
Garlic: 3 pods (minced)
Light soy sauce: 2 tbsp
Tomato ketchup: 1 tbsp
Green chilli sauce: 1 tbsp (adjust according to your family needs)
Vinegar: 1 tbsp
Ajinomoto/MSG: A small pinch (optional)
Salt: According to taste
Green chilli: 2 nos (finely chopped)
Oil: 1.5 tbsp

For garnishing:
Parsley: 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
Spring onion greens: 2 tbsp (finely chopped)

  • Cook the rice & allow it to cool. Gently scoop out the rice & spread it for the rice to cool.
  • Meantime, chop the carrots & snowpeas lengthwise. Cook the vegetables, peas, sweet corn for 2-3 minutes until a little soft & crunchy. Drain the water
  • Heat oil in a broad wok. When oil is hot, add garlic & saute till they turn golden. Then add spring onion whites & fry till they are soft. Follow spring onion whites by green chilli, cabbage & saute the cabbage until it is soft & yet firm (It would take around 2-3 minutes). Add the cooked vegetables & paneer & saute for 30secs.
  • Add the rice, soy sauce, tomato ketchup, vinegar, green chilli sauce, salt, MSG & mix them well. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Finally garnish it with parsley & spring onion greens. Mix & serve it hot.
  • Few people prefer to eat it with chilli sauce or with tomato sauce. So, feel free to serve it with whatever your loved ones prefer. I love to eat it as is. 
  • Feel free to add vegetables of your choice. Some other vegetables that go well are cauliflower, mushroom, tofu & baby corn.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Churmuri (Spicy Puffed Rice)

I can see so many people drooling just by reading the name Churmuri. Just like golgappe/pani poori is for North Indians, I feel churmuri is for Kannadigas (people from Karnataka State, India). I am not saying, Kannadigas donot like golgappe, they love to eat golgappe too :D Churmuri is a street food/chaat of Karnataka. Street vendors sell puffed rice mixed with seasonings and served in a newspaper rolled into a cone. Churmuri can have a number of toppings. The combination of finely chopped onions, chopped cilantro, grated carrots and dry roasted peanuts is one of the most popular toppings for churmuri.(Courtesy: Wikipedia) This street food doesnot call for perfect measurements. Throw in carrots, tomatoes, onions grated mango, chopped cucumber, murukku ( a fried snack) or fried dhal according to your choice & believe me it tastes great :D

Note: Sorry for the delay in posting a recipe. I was on a trip for 5 days & later the sea sickness hit me hard. I will write more about my trip in my next post. Also, I need to catch up with so many recipes posted by my blogger friends.
Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)
Puffed rice/Puri/Murmura/Mandakki:  4 cups
Finely chopped onion: 3 tbsp
Grated carrot: 2 tbsp
Congress/roasted peanuts: 1-2 tbsp
Green chilli paste: 1/4 tsp (adjust according to your family needs)
Chaat masala: a pinch (optional)
Red chilli powder: 1/2 tsp (adjust according to your family needs)
Salt: According to taste
Cumin seeds powder: 1/4 tsp
Chopped tomato: 2 tbsp (optional, but recommended)
Sev: 2 tbsp
Oil: 1 tsp
Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
Lemon juice: 1 tbsp (adjust according to your family needs)

  • Heat the puffed rice in the microwave for a minute for more crispness (Note: this step is completely optional. if you use a puffed rice that is already crisp & fresh, no need for this. I always do this as I donot find the puffed rice fresh here in Singapore).
  • Take a large bowl. Throw in the onions, carrots. green chilli paste, red chilli powder, chaat masala, cumin seeds powder & mix well. Now add the puffed rice, salt, roasted peanuts, oil & mix again. Finally add the tomato, sev, lemon juice, coriander leaves. Mix them thoroughly & serve immediately. 

  • Because of the addition of tomatoes, the puffed rice becomes soggy very fast. Hence, it is advised to be consumed immediately.
  • Throw in grated raw mangoes or finely chopped cucumbers for different versions of churmuri. 

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Balekayi Masale Palya (Spicy Raw Banana Stir-fry)

Spicy raw banana stirfry is inspired by Sanjeev Kapoor's Chettinad Special episode of Khana Khazana.  Me & my 3 & 1/2 year old son watch this religiously. My son gets involved in the show so much that, he tells.., bus bus kaafi hain (enough, dont add more) in between when he adds something to the dish ;D This is the one & only show that my son watches without running around for 30mins(He doesn't even watch cartoon for this long!!). This makes me think whether he would become a chef one day!!

Ingredients: (Serves 4-5)
Raw banana: 3 nos
Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
Urad dal: 1/2 tsp (optional)
Curry Leaves: A string
Red chilli: 1 broken (optional)
Asafoetida: a pinch
Turmeric: a pinch
Water: 2-3tbsp
Salt: According to taste
For spice powder
Urad dal/Uddina bele: 1.5 tbsp
Red chillies: 4-5nos
For garneshing:
Grated coconut: 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves: 1 tbsp (finely chopped)
Lemon juice: 1 tsp
  • Gently peel the raw banana & cut them into 1 cm squares. You can slice them too. Its your choice.
  • Soak them in thin buttermilk or rice drained water. (Note: This is to avoid them from turning black soon)
  • Meantime, dry roast the urad dal & red chillies. Allow it to cool & prepare a powder using a mixer. Keep it aside.
  • Heat the oil in a broad pan. When oil is hot, add mustard & cumin seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add urad dal & saute till dal turns golden brown. Add curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric & red chilli. Saute for 10secs.
  • Now add the raw banana pieces & saute till a fine layer of oil is coated on the bananas. Sprinkle few drops of water & allow the banana to cook for 2-3mins (keep stirring in between as the banana might stick to the pan). When bananas are half cooked, add salt & if needed sprinkle few more drops of water. Cook for another 1-2mins.
  • Finally add the spice powder, mix together & cook for another 30secs.
  • Turn off the heat, add grated coconut, coriander leaves, lemon juice & mix well.
  • Serve it hot/warm as a side dish for rice.

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