December 11, 2006

Green Chutney

Philomena Dias

Green Chutney with Cheese spread on Gootlis or Brun ( hard and soft bread in Mumbai) were a favourite for breakfast. It's been a while but just last week we made this chutney and I've had it over the last few days either for breakfast, lunch or as an evening snack :D

1/2 a coconut
1 bunch of coriander including tender shoots
4 garlic pods
1/3" ginger
3 green chillies - deseed
1/2" tamarind
1/2 a small onion
1 tsp jeera (cumin)
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste

Grind together. Check for salt and chillies and add more if required. makes a good sandwich paste.

July 19, 2006

Beef curry

Philomena Dias

We lived in the Dias house for quite a bit of the 11 months that we spent in Mumbai the year we got married. The commute to Andheri was long and tedious and Julius' house was midway. There was a standing invitation to spend the weekends with them. We sometimes forgot to go home for the week and stayed on 9 days at a stretch. Aunty is a wonderful person and a great cook. We always felt at home. In addition to Aunty, Julius and Audrey, there were usually 4 weekend guests - Annie, Claudette, Ramesh and me. Those days were wonderful!

This is the first of Aunty's recipes

250 gms beef - cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp - Jeera (cumin)
1/2 tsp - Pepper
4 pods - Garlic
3 pcs - Cloves
1" pc - Cinammon
2 pcs - Cardamom
1/4 tsp - Turmeric
3 - Red Dried Chillies
1 Large - Tomato
1 Large - Onion - finely chopped

First fry onions till light brown. Add diced tomatoes and then add the meat which has been washed and salted. let the stock dry. Add the Masala. Add Vinegar and sugar to taste. Then add water till it almost covers the meat. Add potatoes if required. Cook for 45 minutes.

Note: We've tried this recipe with mutton and that tastes fantastic too. Cooking time gets reduced though. Also we always use a pressure cooker to cook meat dishes.

July 1, 2006

Meat Loaf

Philomena Dias

500 gms minced beef
250 gms bacon ( remove sides)
1 tsp pepper powder
4 green chillies
6 pods garlic
1/2" ginger
2 eggs

Wash mince well and drain in a sieve. Put the kheema in a pan on high flame and dry. Dont forget to stir constantly. Cut all the other ingredients very fine and grind into a smooth paste along with the mince. Add salt and pepper later. Soak a bun in water or 4 slices of bread. Squeeze out the water and add along with 2 eggs to the mince mixture. Line the vessel with oil/ butter, pour mixture and cover with brown paper. Tie the paper to the vessel firmly with a string. Put this dish into a larger one half filled with water. Cover the larger vessel with a lid and put a weight on it. Let the water come to a boil and then lower the flame. Cook for half an hour.

June 16, 2006

Nizam Kathi Rolls

Ujwala Prabhu

If you're from Kolkata you'll surely know what i'm talking about. When I first left home and went to Pune to study the one thing that I kept talking about to my new college friends whenever the topic of food came up was Kathi Rolls. When they didnt understand me I told them that they were Chicken Rolls. They said no problem you can have some delicious ones at Marz-O-Rin. And then I waited eagerly till we could go to Camp, where the shop was located - near Kayanis - the Shrewsberry biscuits shop. When it was eventually put in front of me I was terribly disappointed, the Pune Chicken Roll turned out to be hot dog bread with lettuce and chicken with a sweet mayo dressing. I grew to like these too but nothing compares, nothing compares to Nizam Rolls.

Out of Kolkata I tried the Frankies and the Baida rotis but that was not what my taste buds yearned for. For years I've tried to replicate it at home but not very successfully. So I'd save up all the wanting for my annual visit home and eat these rolls every time! And then a few years ago we heard that Nizam had shut down - labour problems. Kolkata has changed so much from when I lived there as a kid. Nizams was an important part of eating out for us and now it's no longer there. Nor is Skyroom or the Chicken Champ place at the petrol pump. For a while when we were in Bangalore, I think for the last two years of our stay, a Nizam outlet opened up in Indira Nagar and their Rolls were finger licking good.

When I went to Kolkata a few weeks back, I decided to try out the Park Street guy. His rolls are good too but he adds some kind of red and green sauce. I didnt let him add those in mine but there was just that something missing.

While writing for the meme that Sonali tagged me for I googled for Nizam Kathi Rolls and was dismayed with the recipe that appears all over the web which has mashed potatoes as a stuffing! Scandalous :D

Here's my version for Chicken Anda Parathas. You could replace the Chicken with Aloo, Paneer, Mutton or Beef. I'm willing to try any suggestions that you may have to make it taste more authentic.

Knead dough for 6 parathas - i use atta but i'm told that maida makes them more authentic and that's what i'm going to try out the next time.
Make Chicken Tikkas - about 4-5pcs in each paratha - shouldnt be made too dry - soft and succulent is what you want
6 eggs - beat, add salt and keep aside
Onions - halve, finely slice and seperate into half rings. mix with chopped coriander, finely chopped green chilly, salt and pepper and a generous amount of lime juice. Mix well and set aside.

Cook one side of the Paratha. Flip over and add egg on top - a ladle full. Spread across the top of the paratha with a spoon. Make sure the flame is on low. After a few minutes flip the paratha and move around on the pan to ensure that the egg remains below and stuck to one side of the partha. Be generous with the oil prior to the flip. When the paratha starts to expand and bloat upwards flip it again and let that side cook. Remember it has to stay soft. Dont let it turn crisp. And I repeat be generous with the oil while cooking. You can wipe some off on tissues later.

Keep the other two ingredients - chicken and onions - ready. Remove the Anda Paratha from the Pan and put on the counter. Put the next Paratha in the pan before proceeding further. In the middle of the paratha spread some onions mixture in a line. Add the chicken tikka pieces over this. Squeeze some lime. Add another layer of onions. Roll the paratha and roll half of it in some brown paper. This will catch the extra grease and keep the paratha in a roll format. Eat hot.

One other change that I intend to make the next time is to lightly saute the onions prior to making a salad out of it. I saw the Park Street guy doing this :P

Update: While surfing to find a picture to put temporarily before I make my next lot and take a picture. I discovered on that a Nizams of Kolkata has resurfaced in Delhi!

Update : Jul 1, 2006 : Viki Saigal : More locations for similar rolls - Ayub's in Bombay in Kala Ghoda or Sardars at Ballygunje Phadi in Cal or Nizam's at H Block C Circus Delhi and if in SIngapore and reeeeely homesick, try the Prata pepper sausage roll at the Takashimaya food Court in Singapore !! July 01, 2006 4:52 PM - more details in his comment on this post

Update: Sep 8, 2006: anonymous says "Nizam's in Kolkata has re-opened on September 6th with a newly renovated with the same food from the same people. Once again we all can enjoy our good old kathi rolls" - i hope that this is true and now i have one more reason to look forward to the my next trip to Kol :P

Update: Dec 11, 2006: We found a restaurant in Dhaka which serves Kathi rolls almost as good as those made at Nizams. For those in Dhaka the restaurant is called Dhaba and it is in Banani.

Update : June 25, 2008 : Vinita Nayar : An article on Nizam, "Beef it up", by Nondon Bagchi on how good the food still is. Have to put this on the top of my list for my next visit to Cal. Thanks Vinita, for the link.

June 15, 2006

10 foods I (we) miss the most

I got tagged for this meme by Sonali of Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice and I know that I am going to enjoy putting this one down. My slight variation is that I'm listing down a few more than required of my favorite foods and some that Ramesh misses. I have wickedly decided that this list will also act as a reminder to ensure that I obtain these recipes from our respective mums and put them up for easy reference :D

We miss everything that our mums cook :D so i'm going to set that aside and list a variety. The lists arent in any particular order.

Ramesh's favourites
Vatha Kuzhambu
Molagu Kozhambu
Mor Kuzhambu
Kirai Mulagutal
Arachuvitta Sambar
Jeera Rasam
Uralai curry
Vendakai Pachchadi
Sojji appam
Paal Poli
Papdi Chaat

My favourites
Dosas and Bhakres with Coconut Chutney
Nizam Rolls
Prawn Curry and Fried (Gaboli fried (Roe - fish eggs) too :P )
Bagde Ambat
Chaklis - My mothers are the best! honest - i've tried them from several sources
Alu Dosa - Rosti - Papa Prabhu version - indianized
Biscut Ambode
Sabudana Vada
Sevai with sweetened coconut / jaggery sauce
Teesre Vadi
Dim Sums
Mutton Biryani

June 13, 2006

Beef Oliathiyathu & Appams

Kiran Mathai

Our samaan has arrived and with it my books. This is from a bunch of recipes written in a 1991 diary. I'm happy to have located it finally and will be posting the 10 odd recipes soon.

We used to haunt the Mathais for Appams, stew and oliathiyathu a long long time ago.

Meat - 1 kg

Masala - grind
Red Chillies - one dozen :D
Coriander 1 1/2 tablespoons
Big Jeera (Cumin) - 1 tsp
Pepper - a pinch
Cloves - 1
Thakolam - 1
Cardamom - 1
Cinammon - 1 1/2"
Garlic 1/2 a pod
Button Onions - 4
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp

Button Onions 10
Green Chillies - 2
Ginger - 1"
Curry Leaves

Cut coconut pieces and fry and set aside

Heat oil, add ingredients for seasoning and add ground masala. Add meat and cook, adding water if necessary till the meat is cooked and dry. Add coconut pieces and serve.

Raw Rice - 2 cups full
Cooked Rice - 1/2 a cup
Grated Coconut - 1/2 a coconut
Sugar - 2-3 tblspns
Yeast - 3/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

Ferment yeast and sugar for 20 minutes. Put all ingredients in a mixer and grind. Ferment at least for 6 hours and then use the batter to make pal appams (thinner batter) or vellappams (thicker batter)

April 20, 2006

Books a noobie South Indian "sometimes" Cook uses

As we are in transit mode, I'm unable to get my hands on my recipe collection to update this site. Decided that this too might be of interest to some of you.

I am a hoarder and collect many books and have, over the years, managed to acquire quite a decent cook book collection. Shall add a picture of the collection once I get my hands on them again. I cannot cook without a book. Well, I can manage Rice, Dal and a Subzi but that's about it. And by the way currently that's our daily fare. The 4 books that I've mentioned here are ones that i refer to the most.


I got my first copy from my mum - actually she gave me hers and said that she'd get herself another! Now here's a book I would higly recommend to all those interested in Konkan cuisine. This, if my mum is not easily available to hound, is where i look for my recipes. I'm scatty and forget sometimes the ratio of rice to udad dal for dosas!! This book comes in handy then :D Sadly, it is currently out of print but you just have to check with your nearest konkani friend and i promise you, out will pop a copy of this book :D

Khana Khazana - Sanjeev Kapoor
I started cooking rather late in life. I was about 34 and a proud owner of several cookbooks. Everytime I'd open them, read the instructions and give up! We had, by then, been in Shanghai for about a year. My friends there had convinced me that I owed them a dinner for which I would have to cook! Armed with a newly aquired copy of Sanjeev Kapoors Khana Khazana, I decided to give it a try. And it turned out quite well or so I was told by them. Most of my friends know that I dont like to cook and hence appreciate what I make when I make it much more than they would have otherwise. What continues to be a huge success with my friends is the Achari Gosht. And I think if I could make it anyone can :P

Prashad - Jigs Kalra
When I was getting married at 25, Sangeeta a very good friend of mine advised me to get a copy of Prashad. She was using it for her dinner parties. It was several years before I actually used it. The one that I've used the most often and recommend is the Lal Maas recipe.

Cook and See
I think this book is better known as "Samaithu Par". I did a google on this and found that it was listed on Amazon! Sadly also listed as unavailable. But if you know anybody in Chennai you'll be able to get your hands on this set of 4 books easily. I've only used Vol 1 so far.

April 7, 2006

Around the World - A Food Meme

I have been tagged by Ashwini of Food for Thought and Sonali of Sugar, Spice & Everything Nicefor this one. Looks like fun and I hope it does the rounds well. I've been tagged once before but this is the first time I'm taking it forward.

1. Please list three recipes you have recently bookmarked from foodblogs to try:
  • Moong Dal Chilla from Food for Thought. I was very happy to come across this recipe. The first time I tried these were when we had a long stay in a hotel in Mumbai a couple of years ago. I enjoyed them enormously and used to look forward to the Tuesday mornings when they served these in their breakfast buffet. It's certainly a dish that I would like to add to my current range of breakfast choices.

2. A foodblog in your vicinity:
  • I'm still very new, here in Dhaka and I have yet to find one in the immediate vicinity. Acutally, I usually never surf or check out sites based on their location. I think this is because when I first started surfing the www, everything was based in the US! The first two that I came to interact with through my listing at Indian Bloggers are
    1. My Dhaba run very efficiently by V K Narayan
    2. Anthony's Bachelor Cooking hosted by a very energetic and enthusiastic Anthony

3. A foodblog (or more) located far from you:

4. A foodblog (or several) you have discovered recently (where did you find it?):
  • Here's the long story for where i found them :D When i first put up my site, it was purely as an online personal recipe collection. Mainly for me and for friends and family. And then while surfing ( and I do a lot of that everyday not being otherwise gainfully employed :P ) I stumbled across Indian Bloggers. Actually desipundit listed one of my other blogs on their site and I noticed the Indian Bloggers chiclet for the first time there. I added a couple of mine to the list and then before I knew it, traffic increased, VKN got in touch with me and then Anthony listed one of the recipes on my site - Burmese Khao Suey and I was happy to share what I had with a wider audience. This lead to interacting with several food blogs which is a first for me :D and 3 that I would like to list here are
      1. Aayi's Recipe
      1. Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice
      1. Food for Thought and
5. Any people or bloggers you want to tag with this meme?

I couldnt resist adding a little bit about memes.
  • "An Internet phenomenon (sometimes called an Internet meme) occurs when something relatively unknown becomes increasingly popular, often quite suddenly, through the mass propagation of media content made feasible by the Internet; however, the popularity of the phenomenon usually wanes as rapidly as it was acquired: the Internet's lack of physical boundaries leads to a much faster and wider spread of information and ideas, especially when the subject is based around humor or curiosity." Go to Wikipedia for more.

February 1, 2006

Keerai Mologootal - Spinach Dal (Kerala)

Vimala Jayaraman

One of our favorites and it is on Ramesh's request list every visit. This Dal is usually accompanied by Vendakai or Lal Petha Pachadi (Okra or Red Pumpkin Relish.

1. Wash, cut and boil ( 2-3 minutes) about 250gms of Spinach along with a pinch of turmeric powder. Drain and mash roughly with a ladle or blend in a mixer for less than half a minute.

2. Boil (pressure cook) 100gms of Toor (Arhar) Dal. Mash well and set aside.

3. In a kadhai add a little oil and lightly fry two small dried red chillies, one tsp of udad dal and one tsp of jeera.

4. Grind 1 1/2 tbl spns of coconut, 1/2 a tsp of raw rice (gives the dal some thickness) along with the red chillies, udad dal and jeera.

5. Mix this with the roughly ground Spinach and boil for half a minute. Add salt to taste.

6. Make a tadka of 1/2 a tsp of mustard seeds and 1/2 a tsp of udad daal and add to the Spinach dal. Put some fresh curry leaves at the end.

7. Serve with rice and a pachadi.
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Vendakai Pachadi - Okra Relish

Vimala Jayaraman

We had the mologootal with this pachadi for lunch today. Truly outstanding when Ramesh's mum makes it.

1. Wash and cut 200gms of Bhindi into small bits.

2. Lightly fry 1/2 a tsp of mustard seeds and a 1 tsp of udad dal. Add the bhindi, 1/4 tsp haldi, one red chilli and one green chilli. Cook for 5-7 minutes or till the bhindi is almost cooked (till it loses its gooeyness)

3. Soak a lemon sized piece of tamarind in hot water for 5 minutes. Extract the juice and strain.

4. Add this to the bhindi and boil till it becomes tender.

5. Grind 1 1/2 tbl spns of fresh coconut along with 4 small green chillies and 1/2 a tsp of raw rice. Add to the bhindi. Add salt to taste.

6. At the end add 1 tsp of jaggery and adjust salt.

Eat along with rice, mologootal and Papad or Chips.

As a variation you could have Parangikai (Lal Petha) Pachadi - the only change required is that in step 5 above you could add 1/2 a tsp of mustard seeds when grinding.

January 14, 2006

Calamars Basquaise

Recette Sorreguieta (but we got it from Nicolas)
Nicolas Moulin

Nicolas got this recipe from a friend and made it for us. That was several years ago, in Banglaore. And when it turned out to be delicious, he gave us the recipe in case we ever felt adventurous enough to try it on our own. Cleaning the squid had been quite a task but I still have the recipe and I do plan to try it out again.

Cleaning the squid
Remove the tentacles
Remove the inside cartilage
Remove what is left inside the body
Remove skin
Wash thoroughly with lemon water

Cut the squid into two pieces lengthwise.
If they are big enough, then cut them in two widthwise too

Preparation of the Sauce
Peel off and cut a few carrots into cubes
Cook sliced onions and garlice in a half regular half olive oil mixture
Add salt, pepper and chilly
Add four peeled tomatoes

Drop the prepared squid in the sauce. Cook until they whiten. Flambe with 3 spoons of whisky. Add white wine and thyme. Leave it to simmer for sometime.

Optional - add fresh cream before serving
Ideally should be prepared a day in advance.