Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Peanut Butter Fudge And Vegetable Steak For A Happy New Year

HAPPY 2014 
These are the yummy results of the culinary experiments conducted by my dear grand daughter with my assistance during her Christmas holidays. 
Peanuts - 2 cups
Olive oil - 2 tbsps
Butter - 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar - 3 cups
Salt - 1 pinch
1. Dry roast peanuts till it emanates a pleasant aroma.
2. Cool and then blend with salt till it starts giving out oil.
3. Add olive oil and blend till it becomes a thick paste.
4. Melt butter and half a cup of the peanut paste together in a microwave oven for a minute and stir the contents well.
5. Mix in the powdered sugar and knead into a dough.
6. Pat the mixture on a greased plate.
7. Mark the pieces using a sharp knife so that it is easy to remove them later.
8. Chill the fudge in the refrigerator for an hour till it sets.

Cut, eat and enjoy the melt in the mouth Peanut Butter Fudge any time you crave for a sweet.
Beans ( Stringed and chopped) - 1 cup
Carrots (Peeled and chopped) - 1 cup
Chayote ( Peeled and chopped ) - 1 cup
Onion  ( Finely chopped ) - 1 cup
Capsicum ( Finely chopped ) - 1 cup
Peas  - 1 cup
Tomatoes ( chopped ) - 1/4 cup
Potatoes - 6
Whole Green gram  - 1 cup
Salt - 1 1/2 tsps
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Cinnamon  - 2'' piece
Cardamom - 3
 Cloves - 6
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Garlic - 6 cloves
Oil for sauteing and cooking
1. Pressure cook whole Green gram adding 2 cups of water.
2. Place the potatoes in another vessel without water on top of the vessel containing green gram and cook both together until the cooker gives out three whistles.
3. Heat  2 tbsps of oil in a kadai and add 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds.
4. When it splutters add the chopped onion and fry till it becomes golden in colour.
5. Add the chopped capsicum and cook till it wilts.
6. Add the chopped carrots, beans, chayote and peas and saute till the vegetables are almost done.
7. Blend in the salt and sambar powder and cook till dry.
8. Powder the cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper and cumin seeds into a fine powder. Add the peeled garlic cloves and crush them along with the spice powder.
9. Add the powdered spice powder and the tomatoes to the vegetables, stir well and cook till you get a very pleasant aroma.
10.  Peel and mash the potatoes along with the cooked green gram and add the mash to the cooked vegetables.
11. Blend the vegetables well and keep the mixture thick.
12. Heat one spoon of oil in a shallow frying pan.(We used the aapa chatti).
13. Take a big scoop of the prepared vegetable mash, flatten it like a vada on your palm and place it on the pan.
14. Cook on medium flame till the underneath becomes brown in colour.
15. Gently flip the steak using a spatula and dribble few drops of oil around it.
16. Cook till it becomes golden brown or dark brown on both sides.
17. Lift up the frying pan and slide the cooked vegetable steak on to the serving plate.

Relish the Vegetable steak with green mint chutney and tomato sauce.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Kalli Curry - Cactus And Pinto Bean Gravy


I wondered why a bag of Chappati Kallis / Cactus was sitting  in my daughter-in-law's refrigerator along with the other fresh and colourful vegetables! I almost had a panic attack when she said  that she intended cooking the Cactus  for dinner! I have never seen or heard anyone cook or eat Chappati Kalli in all my sixty five years of existence! I have seen them flourish in waste lands. I have also seen them planted  in rows as borders to demarcate agricultural properties in rural areas. But eating the 'kalli' ? It seemed a bit far fetched! I browsed through the internet to make sure of the edibility of  the 'thorn' considered to be a vegetable before I made an attempt to eat it. I came to know that the  Nopales or the Prickly Pear Cactus or the  Chappati Kalli also known as Opuntia   is widely  cultivated in Mexico  and is extensively used in Mexican cuisine.
After all the panic and research work, I finally did relish the 'dethorned' and scraped Cactus which my daughter - in - law stir fried with other vegetables. 
The next time my son guided me in the preparation of a Mexican dish using Cactus and Pinto Beans. It was fun learning to 'tame' the monster with thorns and prepare it for cooking!
Cactus pads - 2

Pinto beans - 2 cups

Onion  - 1 (Sliced)
Elephant Garlic  - 1(Sliced)
Jalapeno peppers - a few
Vegan Bouillon cube -1
Refried beans - 1 can

1. Carefully hold the nodule at the base of the cactus pad in one hand and scrape out the thorns using a sharp knife.

2. Similarly scrape the thorns on the flip side.
3. Chop and discard the nodule. 
4. Lay the scraped cactus pad on a cutting board and cut the edges and discard.

5. Make sure that all the prickly thorns are gone and wash the pads thoroughly under running water. 
6. Cut the cactus pads into lengthwise strips.

7. Hold the cut strips together and chop them into small pieces like you would cut green beans.

8. Boil the chopped pieces in 4 cups of water adding a pinch of salt.

9. Cook for 15 minutes until the vegetable becomes soft.
10. Drain the cooked cactus pieces and wash with cold water. This removes the slime in the vegetable.
1. Soak the dry Pinto beans in warm water for 4 hours.

2. Drain the now softened  beans and add 4 cups of water in a pressure cooker.

3. Add the drained beans, chopped onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers and the Vegan Bouillon cube.
4. Pressure cook until two whistles, switch off flame and allow to cool.
5. Stir in the Refried beans and the already cooked cactus to the pressure cooked beans.
6. Add more water if the curry is too thick.
7. Since the fried beans already contain salt additional salt is not needed.
8. Stir well and cook the curry for three or four minutes so that the ingredients blend well.

Garnish with more jalapeno pepper slices and enjoy the Mexican Cactus and Pinto Bean Gravy /Kalli Curry with Mexican Red Rice or Rotis.

UPDATED ON - 2/9/2016

Monday, December 9, 2013

Mushroom Pepper Masala

 One of my son's favourite dishes is the Vegetable Pepper Masala which he relished often at the Samrat Restaurant during his boyhood days at Bangalore.  He remembered the most flavoursome gravy and the juicy bites of mushrooms that soaked in it along with the Peppers. Various guesses and suggestions started pouring in during our discussion about the ingredient which rendered the awesome flavour to the gravy. I tried out the dish with a "secret" ingredient which my son suggested  hoping that it would bring out the Samrat flavour.

Mushrooms -  20
Peppers   -  1 green and 1 red
Onion      -   1
Tomatoes -  2
Grated ginger  - 1tsp
Green chilly chopped -  1 tsp
Cinnamon powder -  1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds   -  1/4 tsp
Butter     -  2 1/2  tbsps
Chilly powder  -  1 tsp
Cumin powder  - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder -  1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Salt               -  1 1/2 tsps
Cashew nuts   -  1 cup
Milk        -   2 cups
1. Roast the Cashew nuts in  1/4 tsp of butter and grind them into a smooth paste adding half a cup of  milk and keep aside.
2. Thoroughly wash the mushrooms, remove the stems, slice and keep them aside.
3. Finely chop the onions,  and cut the peppers.

4. Heat the butter in a pan  and add the cumin seeds.
5. Add the cinnamon powder and  then the finely chopped onion.
6. Add the ginger gratings and chopped green chillies and fry till the onion turns golden in colour.
7. Add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, chilly powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt.

8. Stir well, cover and cook on low flame till the tomatoes turn into a paste.
9. Add the peppers and cook till half done.

10. Stir in the cashew paste and then the sliced mushrooms, and  cover and cook on low flame for 5 minutes.

11. Add milk and cook till the mushrooms are done ( for about 10 minutes ) and till the gravy thickens.

Enjoy the Mushroom Pepper Masala with any variety of rice or roti of your choice.