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We Malayalees have a tendency to quote famous Malayalam movie dialogues, when we are faced with different life situations. Dont you think so? If you are a regular visitor here, you should know I’ve proclaimed my “unending” love for beef many a times. Given this much background info, let’s play a game.
Can you guess the famous Malayalam movie dialogue I had in mind, when I got the following comment from a reader for “Beef Podimasala” recipe.
“No hindu would ever try this recipe, I hav unsubscribed from your website after seeing these. Not a single indian food website even the top listed, are showing these absurd recipes about beef.”
So ready with your guesses? I’ll give a clue, it’s a famous political satire film and some people consider it as a classic. It’s from the movie – “Sandesham”. Now I’m sure you if you’re a Malayalee, you must be saying the dialogue out loud. “Polandine patti oraksharam mindarathu”! (“Don’t say a word about Poland”) I just replaced Poland with Beef in that sentence ;)
How-much-ever, I like to live a carefree life without any theories and rules and regulations, I do have so many rules or practices of my own making, sigh! One such practice is not to reply to anyone, when I’m not in the right frame of my mind, especially if I’m provoked. I try to follow this in my personal life and also blogging. My commenting policy? In short, think of it as going to a friend’s house, wouldn’t you respect that friend? Anyways…
When somebody tells me something which makes me angry and upset; I keep quiet without replying immediately. I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad. But my logic is that, I don’t want to regret later over something which I shouldn’t have said. I take my time to process the situation and respond if and when required. From my experience most of the time, it’s best not to reply.
Hear, But Not Listen ;)
It doesn’t mean, I don’t express my feelings. I do, but I make sure that it’s done in a way, that doesn’t make me regret it later. Now you know why most of my recipes have “crushed ginger & garlic”, and why the mortar and pestle is my fav kitchen tool !! ;)
I got that comment two years ago and if you are wondering why I’m writing about it now…Let me quote another fav movie dialogue of mine “ellathinum athintethaya samayam undu Dasa” ;) (“There’s a time for everything Dasa…”)
About this recipe… it actually reminded me of a long forgotten taste. But the thing is I’m sure I haven’t tasted it from my home or anybody else’s. I must have tasted it from some restaurant or thattu kada. I felt this curry had some kind of crudeness to it. The masala flavour was not subtle, it’s kinda out there. When you pair it with some side dishes, it works out well. We had it with some coconut rice and it was a great combo!
Here is the recipe…
Grind together chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder (1/2 tsp), pepper powder, cloves, cinnamon, fenugreek, smal onion (3) and garlic with 2-3 tbsp water to a smooth paste…
Add the reserved gravy gradually, bring to a boil. Reduce flame and cook till till the gravy has thickened…
Frozen fever has well and truly hit our household. How else to indulge a princess in practice than a Singalong version of the film, staged in London’s most spectacular venues?
Preparations began the minute the invite came through the door via a friend. Daughter of a former soap star, turned yummy mummy no less. The stakes were high. I imported a vision in sky blue polyester from China. While Mini Basu started practising fist pumps timed to dramatic perfection. Conceal. Don’t feel. Let it go.
I escaped work early to escort the princess to the ball. The man fittingly put a new Bentley delivered for his latest photoshoot to driving us to the Royal Albert Hall. And we arrived to a sea of excitable, mini Princess Elsas and hassled mums, herding their charges about.
I hope they sell wine, I blurted as said mums turned sharply. Half disapprovingly and half wondering how I’d read their mind. A jug of Viognier and bag of popcorn duly acquired, we stepped into the vast labrynth. No sooner than we had sat down, that adult size Princess Elsa and Anna lookalikes waltzed throught the crowds to a live rendition of the theme song. As if that wasn’t enough, the heavens burst to shower glittery snowflakes on the 1000-strong audience.
I took another sip of said wine and gently lifted Mini Basu’s jaw off the floor. Princess no 2 beside her couldn’t be distracted by a a herd of raging reindeers as she repeated every spoken and sung word from memory.
And as I sat through the campest thing I have done in my life to date, I pondered on the meaning of it all. Disney’s word on Girl power (after several misses). Or the importance of will power?
In my case, it’s the latter. Let it go basically summarises the approach to my diet, lifestyle and cash flow in the run up to Christmas. More luscious cocktails out, more stodgy comfort food in and far more indulgence than can be justified on the wallet.
So, in preparation for the madness to ensue I am enjoying quiet nights in, with budget meals like this Chana Saag recipe, chickpeas in a spinach and tomato masala, spiked with mango powder. I first tried it at a dinner at home for colleagues and then Diwali. It’s pretty much become a weekday staple in our home now, for big and little kids.
Letting go feels all the more timely for it.
Peel and finely chop the onion. In a medium sized pot, bring the oil to heat on high and when it’s sizzling hot, toss in the chopped onions. Saute the onions for ten minutes with a pinch of salt.
When the onion starts turning a pale golden, add the ginger and garlic, and saute for another five minutes until the onions turn a darker shade of golden.
Now add the turmeric, chilli and cumin powders and stir for a minute. If the mixture starts getting stuck to the bottom of the pot, add a tablespoon of warm water and scrape it off.
Next, chop the tomato roughly and chuck it into the masala, stirring for a couple of minutes until it disintegrates. When it does, add half a cup of warm water. lower the heat to medium and let the spices infuse the tomato. If you’re using frozen spinach, now is the time to cook it according to pack instructions.
In about five minutes, when you see oil oozing through the surface of the masala, roughly chop the spinach (I usually just take a pair of scirros to the bowl contents) and stir into the masala. Now, rinse and drain the chickpeas and mix them in.
Let the chickpeas cook with the spices for another five minutes. To finish, add salt to taste, sprinkle garam masala and amchoor powder all over and serve hot. This is great with toasted pitta bread, but also served with rotis.
|Javvarisi Upma (Sabudhana Upma) - ஜவ்வரிசி உப்புமா|
As I had mentioned sometime back, I joined We Knead to Bake – a baking group in August. Aparna chooses a bread and posts the recipe every month and all them members bake the bread and post it on 24th of the month. This month Aparna chose this very fragrant bread Sheermal. Wiki says – Sheermal […]
Nagli or Kane or Lady fish is abundantly available in the river near our home. So we get very fresh ones in the market. It is considered as one of the “clean fishes” as it does not have too many bones. It is easy for digestion, so when we introduce fish to babys, we start […]
Forget demanding clients and scary colleagues, there is really nothing more intimidating than a room full of mothers.
Mine, for a start, is a formidable force to reckon with. If you have a problem, she definitely has the solution. But when I embraced motherhood, I discovered the mighty powerhouse of mothering womankind that was Mumsnet.
Who cares if my mother has reared three fine specimens of humankind (yours truly included)? I turned to this fiesty forum on whether belching infrequently would damage baby’s gut lining irrevocably, if formula feeding would destroy baby’s immune system permanently and whether the right angled arch stretch meant I needed to rush to hospital.
So, imagine my terror and awe at being invited to speak at the Mumsnet Blogfest. The topic – Food Blogging: Where’s the Beef? It’s been eight long and wonderful years of blogging after all. During which I’ve gone from tormenting my mother to regretting it gravely. Revenge is best served with sweeties, fed covertly to your kids.
It didn’t take long for the conference panel debate to go from how it all started with that back of a fag packet idea, and the 11 rejections before the book deal to how I navigate the murky waters of brand partnerships (read: paid content).
This for me is particularly sensitive. I guard this site jealously. I don’t advertise here. Or offer guest posts. But on rare occasions, I do consider the odd brand partnership where the outcome could be relevant and interesting to you lovely people.
Patak’s is a case in point. While their jars of sauces reminds me of my early days in the kitchen, their pastes I was sent to trial were more of a revelation for the Chicken Shashlik & Malabar Prawn Curry. The trick to using these is to look closely at the ingredient labels for recipe inspiration, and to add a host of fresh vegetables and herbs to increase the goodness quotient in the end result.
The jar of Rogan Josh paste I used as a marinade for Chicken Shashlik, a juicy, grilled chicken and vegetable kebab, with roots in Mughal days basted generously with a melted lemon butter. The mild curry paste was ideal for a Malabar Prawn Curry, steeped in tomato, curry leaves and whole mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Both made excellent, quick and very lavish weekday meals for the lot of us.
I’m not about to say: “when I was a little girl”. But sometimes life really does come full circle. I’ll take two jars and a night off, thanks.
Dice the thighs into large bite sized chunks and marinade in the Rojan Josh spice paste, ginger and garlic for at least an hour, more if you have the time. If you are using bamboo skewers, now is the time to soak them in water.
Next, chop the onion and deseeded pepper into large pieces, and slice the courgette into 1cm thick slices. Toss them up in a bowl with the juice of half a lemon and salt added to your taste.
Now turn the grill onto 200 degrees centigrade (400 Fahrenheit) and get on with the assembly job. Thread the vegetables and chicken cubes onto the skewers, packing them together so the chicken enjoys the moist goodness of the vegetables as they cook. I did onion, pepper, two chunks of chicken and onwards. If you keep a systen to the threading, the shashliks will look all the prettier when they are done.
Then layer the skewers on a lined baking sheet and grill for 25 minutes, turning carefully a couple of times. Mix the remaining lemon juice with melted butter and use this to baste the chicken when you turn the skewers.
This is lovely served with a squirt of fresh lemon juice and buttered rice. But it could easily be a very healthy weekday dinner, served with a leafy salad.
Malabar Prawn Curry
Toss the prawns in half a teaspoon of salt, the chilli and turmeric powders and leave to sit. Chop the tomato into small pieces. In a wok or kadai, bring the oil to heat on high. When it’s hot, toss in the cumin and mustard seeds, as well as the curry leaves.
As they sizzle up, toss in the ginger and garlic for a few seconds and when they turn golden, the tomato pieces and the mild curry paste. Saute this masala on medium for two minutes and as the tomatoes disintegrate, stir in the coconut milk. If the masala starts getting stuck on the bottom of the wok, then add a tablespoon of warm water to loosen it.
Let the coconut milk gently bubble for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Finally, drop in the prawns, simmering gently for another two minutes until they are cooked through. Add salt to taste and serve with a roti (or two).
“Multitasking” being the mantra for today’s woman, nobody wants to waste their time, resources and effort by experimenting, especially when they are pressed for time, right?
Tell me something… how do you decide whether to try a new recipe? Is it based on the ingredients list or style of cooking or visual impact of the dish, good memories associated with the dish or because it was recommended by somebody whose taste you trust, or by tasting it, or do you go by your instincts?
I’m sure it varies for each person, for example my sister-in-law will try a new recipe, only after tasting it from somewhere else. If she sees a recipe in a magazine or cookbook or even a blog ;) – she wouldn’t try it, but if she happens to taste something and likes it, then she tries it at home.
So what’s your criteria for trying out a new recipe? I’ve seen that people often prefer to try recipes from a trusted source, say like their family, friends or a trusted cookbook author or cookery show host.
For me, it’s a combination of all those things. Though a combination of all those things works, most of the time I decide on a recipe based on ingredients list and style of cooking. But at the end of the day, nothing convinces you to try a recipe, like tasting the dish for real.
Take this Paniyaram. I’ve seen the recipe for Paniyaram in many books, shows, blogs etc; but I used to think, what’s the big deal, it’s just some fried idlis, it can’t be anything more than a “glorified idli”. Well, sneaking a bite from a friend’s plate at a restaurant changed my opinion of it being “just some fried idlis”.
This dish is a great example of what great difference a simple tadka could do to a normal food. It heightens the flavour and takes it to the next level. The wonderful texture of crunchy exterior and spongy inside is worth experimenting. Also, it’s a great way to use up your left over Idli batter. Hope I’ve convinced you enough to try this ;)
Here is the recipe..
Heat oil/ghee in a pan and crackle mustard and urad dal. Add sliced small onion, chopped ginger, green chilli and coconut. Fry it till the onion turns golden brown…
|Chow Chow Poriyal|
|Pepsicola - Image source: https://mehtaworld.wordpress.com|
|Neem Flower Rice - வேப்பம்பூ சாதம்|
|My mum plucking chillies|
|Just harvested carrots|
|Urad Dal Bonda (Mysore Bonda) - மைசூர் போண்டா|
Last December when I was pregnant with Ayaan, I had invited few of my friends and their parents (who were visiting them) to dinner. I told aunty that I love chicken and she told me she will make something for me. She had only 1-2 weeks until she returned to India. She was very sweet […]