Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easy egg curry with coconut milk / தேங்காய் பால் முட்டை குழம்பு

Ingredients Serves 4
Eggs - 4 (can use boiled egg also)
Coconut milk / cream - 1 can / 400 ml or fresh coconut milk
Water - 2 cups
Tomato,chopped - 1/2,Medium
Pearl onion / small onion,peeled - 10 heads
Dry red chili,slit in the center - 2
Red chilly powder - 1 1/4 tbsp or according to taste
Curry leaf - 1 stem
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Coconut oil - 2 tbsp or can use regular oil
Roasted gram dal powder - 2 tbsp (optional) To know how to make it Click here
Salt as needed.

Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.
Once it pops add the curry leaf and the pearl onion and fry for 2 mins.
Add the chopped tomato and cook for 5 minutes and smash the tomato using the spoon.
Put the heat in medium ,add 1/4 cup of coconut milk,1 cup water, the chilly powder and the dry red chili and let it cook until it is reduced in half or cook until the raw chili powder smell is gone.
Add the remaining coconut milk, remaining water,salt and eggs and put the heat in low.
If you are not using boiled eggs- then break the eggs directly into the curry (or) if you are using pre boiled eggs, slash the egg whites slightly with a knife and drop them into the curry.
Do not stir if you are using raw eggs.Let the eggs cook for 5 minutes.
If the curry looks very runny , add the roasted gram dal powder and keep stirring in the other hand.
Close the lid and let it cook for 15 minutes in low heat.
Sprinkle with coriander.
Serve hot with rice.

The gram dal powder if not mixed well will form lumps, so use a tea strainer or icing sugar sprinkler to sprinkle and stir at the same time. It gives body to the curry ( a thickening agent). Do not use too much just around 1 - 2 tsp will be enough.
DO NOT cook on high heat, or else the coconut milk will curdle.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Coriander pesto

On valentines day since I was doing 5 dishes so I kept the menu simple and this pesto was one of them. Everybody makes their own pesto and this one is mine and is easy on ur wallet as well.Usually pesto is made with basil and pine nuts, but I substituted coriander for basil and walnuts for pine nuts bcos simply they are cheaper and that's what I had in my pantry ! I make this pesto and store it in the fridge for almost a week. The flavor is so refreshing like a wave hitting you on a beach, and the fun part is it literally takes 5 minutes to prepare. Its every home cooks dream to finish off the cooking in 10 minutes and feed something healthy for the family.

Coriander pesto serves 3

Coriander with stems , chopped - 2 cups
Walnuts,chopped - 1/2 cup
Garlic, chopped - 2
Lemon juice - 2 to 3 tbs
Olive oil - 1/2 cup
Green chili, chopped - 1 (optional)
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients to the blender and blend to a chunky paste. how easy is that!

IF you want less oil add 1/4 cup of olive oil and feel free to add more lemon juice or 1 clove of garlic more.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Eggplant fritters with roasted red pepper sauce

This recipe is a continuation from my last post Roasted red pepper sauce. This eggplant fritter was the appetizer II recipe on the valentines day surprise dinner. Theme Italian with absolutely no cheese.
Like I told before I tried to throw this surprise dinner with an Italian theme, since my husband is not a big fan of cheese I tried to venture to do a Italian dinner but with no cheese at all and I succeeded and to tell you the truth, I did not find any difference.
Today's recipe is an easy eggplant fritter with a roasted red pepper sauce.
For the sauce I used part store bought tomato sauce and roasted red pepper puree.
Sorry I do not have a great foto to post.

Salted eggplants

Egg plant fritter Serves 4

Eggplant / aubergine, cut into rounds- 8
Plain flour - 1/2 cup
Egg, beaten - 2
Panko bread crumbs - 1 cup or fresh homemade bread crumbs - 1 cup
Fresh / Dried oregano - 1/2 tbs
Fresh / Dried basil - 1/2 tbs
Pepper  to taste
salt to taste
Paper towels / towels - 6
Salt - 1/4 cup
Oil for deep frying

Preparing Eggplant:
Cut the eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds.
Sprinkle salt on both sides of the eggplant and place the eggplant on the paper towel and cover them with a paper towel. leave it for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes change both the paper towels and leave it for another 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes pat the pat the eggplant dry for any moisture and excess salt.
This process is to draw out all the water from the eggplant so when we deep fry it, it will crisp up.

Cooking method:
Heat the oil in a deep dish for deep frying

Prepare a breading station:
Add salt and pepper to the flour and put them into a wide bowl
Beat the eggs add salt and pepper to taste and put them in a wide bowl.
Spread out 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs on a wide flat plate and add half of the dried basil and oregano.
Once the oil is hot, dip the eggplant in the flour, then the egg and then the bread crumbs and deep fry it for 1 to 2 minutes or until the bread crumbs are golden brown.
take out and lave it on a paper towel for excess oil to be absorbed.

Enjoy with the Roasted red pepper sauce or any sauce / dip you like.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Roasted red pepper sauce - Dip

Store bought pasta sauce (with herbs - optional)  - 1/2 cup
Red pepper whole - 1
Garlic, chopped finely - 3
Dried oregano - 1 tbs
Dried basil - 1 tbs
Ground pepper - 1/2 tbs
Red chilly flakes - 1/4 tbs
Garlic powder - 1/4 tbs
Olive oil - 2 tbs
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnish

Preparing the red pepper:
In the oven:
Preheat the oven to 500 f
Place the whole red peppers on a sheet pan and let it cook for 30 - 40 minutes until the peppers are completely charred and wrinkled.
Easy method on a gas stove top:
Turn on your gas to a medium heat, place the whole red pepper on the gas stove and let it get charred, keep turning from side to side until the whole pepper is completely charred.

Cooking method:
Hold the charred pepper under running water and remove the skin on the pepper.
Remove the seeds from the pepper and cut into chunks.Add the red pepper to a blender and blend it into a puree without any water.
Heat a pan with 2 tbs of oil, add the garlic and cook for a minute. Then add the blended pepper and fry for a couple of mins
Add the pasta sauce to it and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the dried herbs and garlic powder, salt and pepper and cook it for 5 more minutes.
Remove from heat and serve with the Eggplant fritter or any other fritters you like.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Yellow cherry tomato bruschetta

I have been gone for a long time now.. Was caught up with other things in life.. Visited California and explored food to the fullest.. I ate so much that my stomach was about to blow up and when I left LA my jeans wouldn't fit me! 
So back to normal life and back to blogging.. Today's recipe is one among the Valentines day special - No cheese Italian. I made this recipe on Valentines day for my husband. The theme was Italian with absolutely no cheese.
This recipe is so easy to prepare, colorful to look at and yummy to taste. I used yellow cherry tomato for this recipe. The recipe has very few ingredients to use and I consider it a Semi-homemade recipe bcos all we have to do is prep the ingredients and ready to munch on it.

I am using fresh  bread and drying it out in the oven to make it crispy or you can buy dried out bread / rusk from the store. I am using wheat bread in this recipe since I ran out of white bread, I recommend using white bread for this recipe. You can do this recipe with all the ingredients you have at home.I threw this surprise valentine dinner with only all the things I had at home, no special shopping of any kind.

Yellow cherry tomato bruschetta Serves 2- 3

White bread / rusk / dried out bread slices - 4
Yellow cherry tomato,chopped - 1 cup
Red onion  chopped finely - little less than 1/4 cup 
Coriander, chopped with stems - 3 tbs
Dried oregano - 1/2 tbs
Dried basil - 1/2 tbs
Garlic powder - 1/4 tbs
Pepper powder - 1/4 tbs
Chilly flakes - 1/4 tbs
Olive oil - 1 to 1/5  tbs
Salt to taste

Preparing the bread:
Preheat the oven to 350 F
If you are using fresh bread cut it into equal rectangles, you might get 3 slices if your bread is large or just cut it into equal halves.
You can either take of the crust or choose to keep it. It depends entirely on you.
Place the bread slices on a sheet tray, 1 inch apart.
Put it in the oven for 4 minutes, take out turn the slices and put it in the oven for again  3-4 minutes.
Check the slices after 3 minutes, if they start to change color remove them, if not leave it in the oven for 1 more minute.
Note: We want to dry the bread out, so it becomes crispy but don't want the bread to change color
You can skip this step by buying dried bread slices from store.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in to halves or into quarters, add them to a bowl.
Add the other ingredients to the bowl  excluding oil and mix them together until combined.
Add the olive oil and toss them together.
Let it sit for half an hour.
Place 2 tbs of the marinated tomatoes on top of the crispy bread and serve.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Valentine special - Drink - Sunset vodka

This is our first Valentines day so I decided to surprise my husband with a beautiful candle light dinner on valentines day. I wanted to go Italian but with NO CHEESE at all. I love Italian food so does my husband but he hates cheese. When we go to restaurants he removes the cheese and eats his food. So I wanted to give him light Italian food without any cheese at all and at the same time which are easy to cook. So I resorted to Sunset vodka for the drink, Sunrise yellow tomato bruschetta, Crispy eggplant fritters with roasted red bell pepper sauce and Paste 2 ways (Cilantro pesto and tomato n basil sauce). I know it seems so much but trust me these are so light that they will serve only two.
I have a lot of work to do and was praying he should not come home early, cos I will be caught doing all the arrangements. But everything went as planed and when he opened the door the whole living room was lit with candles and a wonderful table set. He was truly surprised and we had a wonderful dinner. He enjoyed the food a lot and at the end there was absolutely no food left. I decided to serve my recipes with you all bcos these are tasty Italian food with absolutely no cheese at all but you wont feel the difference. To start with I am starting with my drink recipe sunset vodka.

Sunset vodka Serves 2

Orange juice - 2 cups
Vodka - 1 cup
Grenadine rose syrup - 2 - 3 tbsp
Lemon juice - a dash (optional)
Simple sugar syrup - Sugar 3 tbsp + 3 tsp of water 
Ice cubes
Lemon slice for garnish

Put a small pan on heat add the sugar and water and stir until dissolved.Cool it and keep it aside.
Add orange juice and vodka and stir.
In a cocktail glass fill with ice cubes and add the orange juice mixture.
Add one table spoon of grenadine ( DO NOT STIR). the grenadine will go down and it will have a beautiful visual appeal.

You can increase the vodka by another 1/4 cup if you want a strong drink or 
If you want a mild refreshing drink decrease the vodka by 1/4 cup.
If you want more sweetness increase the sugar in the sugar syrup by 1 tbsp and make it 4 tbsp.