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Thanks to blogging I have been reintroduced to many Mangalorean classic recipes that were not frequently prepared at my place. On my recent trip to Mangalore the season was just right for us to enjoy a few of the abundant dishes that are prepared out of raw and ripe jackfruits. My mum-in-law was very enthusiastic to teach me to prepare the 'happoL' (papad/poppadoms) but to our bad luck within a week of our arrival in Mangalore it started to pour non stop and our 'happoL' fiasco died an early death. These papads made out of tender but not ripe jackfruit (the pods need to be formed completely) are called as 'ponsache happoL' that require very good sunshine as it aids proper drying and subsequent storage for upto 1 year without spoiling. Anyway, I am glad that I got to see the process and perhaps if I go to Mangalore during the summer next year I could try my hand at preparing some again. 



Like the coconut tree and its fruit the jackfruit tree also has plenty of uses. From the wood that is used to prepare furniture and beams to support traditional tile houses in Mangalore to the leaves that are used in the preparation of leaf baskets/moulds to prepare traditional rice breads called the 'kottige/Kotto' or 'Itoo'. The fruit is used at all stages of ripening. At the very beginning of its life, when the jackfruit is extremely tender and small in size it is called as the 'khadgi' and is used in the preparation of sukkha (shredded and sauteed with spices and coconut) or sliced up and marinated with salt & chilli paste (meet -mirsaang) to be shallow or deep fried. Some people even prepare a mock meat biryani out of it and it is famously known as 'Kathal-ki Biryani' in Hindi. 


At a stage where the pods have formed but the jack has not yet reached its fully ripened stage the pale/off white fruit is removed to be preserved for a longer period of time by rubbing sea salt over it and storing it in traditional ceramic jars known as the 'buyaon' in Konkani. This tender jackfruit is then used up as required especially during the monsoon when seafood is not available in abundance or is extremely expensive. One can prepare many dishes out of salted jackfruit and today's post is a little about how the pods are salted and preserved.


It was literally my first experience at salting the jackfruit. Unfortunately I was unable to take the step by step pictures of this entire process. I brought back some with me when I returned and I am simply relishing it now. However, too much of salted/pickled foods is not good for people with high blood pressure problems, so do eat it in moderation.


Mithache Ghare | Kolache Ghare | Tender Jackfruit in Brine (Salted Raw Jackfruit)


Ingredients:
  • 1 medium sized raw jackfruit
  • 2-3 cups rock salt/sea salt
Other Things You Need:
  • sickle (koithi) or large sharp knife
  • plenty of old newspapers & clean, old kitchen towels (to be discarded after use)
  • coconut or any other oil (to grease the palms)
  • Large steel/plastic bowls/pans/vessels to hold the jackfruit and the discarded pith & skin.
  • large ceramic (buyaon/bharani) or glass jar
Method:
Cleaning the jackfruit
1. Spread out newspapers on the floor to help avoid a sticky mess - jackfruit sap is a pain to clean up.
2. Apply oil generously on the blade of the sickle or knife - let the oil not touch the handle or else it will slip. The application of oil will help clean up of the tools used to cut the fruit.
3. Cut open the jackfruit right in the centre and quickly wipe off the fresh white sticky sap that oozes using slightly oiled kitchen tissue or a old clean kitchen towel. Next, cut the halves into two again and maybe smaller halves if the jackfruit is too large. These chunks are called as 'shed' in Konkani.
4. Carefully slice off the core from each chunk. The core is the hard white portion at the top of each chunk.
5. Pluck out the jackfruit pods carefully - you will need to remove the white thin strips of pith (membranes) that surround each pale yellow pod. Discard the white pith.
6. Each yellow pod of fruit will have a seed within called as 'bikan' in Konkani. Carefully open the pods and separate the seeds. Retain the seeds for later use.
7. When all the jackfruit pods have been removed discard the skin along with the pith.

Preserving the jackfruit
1. Slit the deseeded jackfruit pods into thick strips. Toss them into the ceramic jar and add the salt - enough to coat all the strips well with salt. There is no need to add water. Cover the jar and keep in a clean, dry place of your kitchen.
2. In a couple of days, the entire volume of jackfruit strips would have reduced and the excess water from the jackfruit oozes out causing the strips the be covered in its own salt water or brine as it is called.
3. You can transfer the strips in smaller glass bottles and refrigerate if you wish. Make sure that the bottles have enough brine in them - enough to cover all jackfruit strips completely.

To Use:
Whenever you wish to cook the jackfruit pieces remove the required quantity and soak them in fresh water for a few hours. After a couple of changes of water it is ready to cook.
See my upcoming recipes for the same.

Notes:
The process of cleaning a ripe jackfruit is the same. If you wish to freeze the jackfruit pods make sure the seeds are removed before storing the fruit in ziplock/airtight freezer safe containers.

.



Every once in a while you come across a recipe that simply urges you to try it right away and impresses you beyond your expectations. Well, this is one such recipe. I have been so apprehensive about trying out any kind of breads. I have over the past two years tried my hand at several types of breads and none of them have impressed me. A few flops later I vowed never to try my hand at breads ever again. This despite the fact that the whole purpose of buying a big oven after we moved to this place was to be able to make all kinds of breads like the baguette for example. The husband has been yearning for breads actually. So much that we picked a book on breads on our recent trip to Mangalore. Along with this book I had also bought a tiny book called Coffee, 100 Everyday Recipes. the Everyday Recipes series is my favourite and I have several other books from which I have tried numerous recipes. 

I am a happy person when recipes keep their promise. I mean who wants a waste of ingredients, time and patience right? I was particularly keen to try out this recipe from the book and I had a gut feeling that it would not flop. And it didn't! Infact, I was pretty pleased with the way the sticky flour mixture was magically turning into a smooth dough and then the joy of seeing it double is something else! The joy of playing around with yeast I must say. 


Very rarely do I cook and blog on the same day as it involves many lengthy processes which can be very tiring for a mother of two. From measuring out the ingredients to baking, plating, styling, clicking, writing and editing its a whole gamut of things. But then there are those gems which must be shared on the same day. I bombarded my bunch of friends on whatsapp with the before and after pictures of these rolls and loved the oohs and aahs that I got showered with.


The best part about baking bread is watching the 'science' transform itself into something so poetic. Poetry and romance that is so edible. I know this sounds like nonsense :-) but I think you must start baking breads to fall in love with it. I have been bitten and smitten by the love bug for sure and I am not stopping at this. From now on I will try my hand at making at least one bread recipe once a week. There is so much out there to learn and life's too short.


So here you go, very soft and delicious cinnamon pull apart rolls...if you don't like cinnamon feel free to skip it or replace it with (very little) nutmeg or mixed spice powder. If you are a lover of strong coffee, add a little extra coffee. If you want to make this for kids then go right ahead and skip the coffee and sugar. Infact replace the filling with Nutella or any other nut butter of your choice. I am yet to try out a savoury version of this. Will let you know how it turns out. For now...here goes! Enjoy




Cinnamon Coffee Rolls

Prep time: 3 hours approx | Baking time: 18-20 mins |  Yield: 9 big pull apart rolls

Ingredients:

For the rolls:
  • 450 grams / 1 lb all purpose flour (maida) plus extra for dusting
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons easy-blend dried yeast (I used DCL instant dried yeast) * see notes
  • 40 grams/ 1-1/2 oz caster sugar
  • 55 grams / 2 oz butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 200 ml / 7 fl oz lukewarm milk
  • oil for greasing
  • 115 grams / 4 oz icing sugar mixed with 3-4 teaspoons water to make a smooth icing paste * see notes
For the filling:
  • 40 grams / 1-1/2 oz butter, softened at room temperature
  • 50 grams / 1-3/4 oz soft dark brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder (if you are using large granules, powder them)
  • 1/2-3/4th teaspoon cinnamon powder *see notes before you proceed
Method:
1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast and caster sugar and make a well in the centre
2. Beat the egg, butter and milk together in a jug or bowl and pour this mixture into the well and mix to make a smooth dough.
3. Sprinkle flour on a clean working surface/kitchen counter and tip the dough over it. Knead using the heel of your palm for 5-6 minutes until it turns nice and elastic. While kneading stretch the dough against the surface - this helps it turn elastic. Dust with extra flour if the dough seems too sticky and knead it into a smooth ball.
4. Place the ball of dough in a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a lightly oiled cling film (plastic wrap). Keep in a warm place for about 1-1/2 hours or till the dough doubles in size.
5. Grease a 9 inch square pan with butter. To prepare the filling, mix the brown sugar, instant coffee powder and cinnamon in a bowl. Keep the softened butter ready in another bowl
6. When the dough has doubled in size tip it onto a floured surface and lightly knead it for a minute. Roll out into a 30 cm/12 inch square. Make sure the surface of the rolled out square is even. It doesn't have to be a perfect square.
7. Now spread the softened butter evenly over the surface of the rolled out dough. Scatter/sprinkle the sugar+coffee+cinnamon mixture over it to cover the entire surface.
8. Now starting from the side opposite to you roll the dough firmly into a log. Using a sharp knife cut the log into 9 equal pieces.
9. Place the pieces, cut side facing upwards into the greased baking pan. Leave spaces around each roll as they will double in size.
10. Cover the pan with a lightly oiled cling film and place it in a warm place again till it doubles in size about 35-40 minutes.
12. When the rolls have doubled up, preheat the oven at 200 degrees C and bake for 18-20 minutes or until risen and golden.
13. Once out of the oven brush the rolls lightly with milk so that they don't turn very crusty and hard upon cooling. Place the pan to cool outside for 10 mins and then invert onto a wire rack.
14. When the rolls are still warm drizzle the icing sugar glaze over them.
15. Pull apart to serve. They taste great with coffee, milk or just as they are!

Notes:
1. Instant dried yeast does not require activation in warm water unlike regular active dried yeast. Instant yeast is available in small sachets. I bought my stock from Lulu Hypermarket.
2. Since I didn't want very sweet rolls I reduced the icing by half the quantity. If you like mildly sweet rolls use just 50-55 grams of icing sugar and 1-2 teaspoons of water to make a paste. If you like the rolls sweeter you can make extra paste again after tasting a roll.
3. The recipe called for 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder, instead, I substituted it with 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (to give that extra colour to the filling) and just a big pinch of cinnamon powder as my family doesn't like the aroma of strong cinnamon. If you like, substitute the cinnamon with a little nutmeg but not too much.




This Independence Day I have no Tri Colour dish to post. Instead I picked a very simple sweet dish made out of beets. This beetroot halwa is a cousin of  the very popular carrot halwa or gajar ka halwa as we call it in Hindi. I had written about my low haemoglobin count and how I was trying to get it to normal levels. I read up a lot about how beets are simply magical to produce good blood in your system. Despite know about its health benefits we aren't so keen to eat beets cooked in anyway so there were plenty of times that they would hang around the fridge for days before they eventually got chucked into the bin (don't gasp, it's true). I finally decided I must put an end to that wasteful trend and went ahead and grated them up to be made into a nice halwa. 

This recipe is super easy. I adapted my own carrot halwa recipe and decided to pressure cook the beets as I wanted to speed up the cooking process. The resultant halwa was a perfectly cooked sweet dish with its nutrients intact (or so I'd like to believe) as pressure cooking is known to retain the nutritional value of food unlike the traditional stove top method where you cook the halwa over a slow heat for hours. The best part of pressure cooking is that it is a huge time saver and also lets you be distracted and multi task. While the beets cooked I cleared up the kitchen and what not (this includes shooing away husband who popped his head a hundred times to check if the halwa was done)



Now, a slightly dramatic reason why I chose the beetroot halwa to be posted on the special occasion of India's 67th Independence Day is because of its colour. The beets represent the colour of blood - something that runs freely in all of us despite our cast, creed, social and economic standing. Despite 'blood' being the common denominator for all of us we as a nation are divided for several reasons. I won't elaborate and make this a depressing post. But I just hope we all remember that we are all the same at the end of the day so it's about time we ditched the animosity and worked towards creating a better nation, a safer place for our people.

Happy Independence Day!


Beetroot Halwa
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 25 mins | Serves 4
  • 2 firmly packed cups of raw, grated beetroot (approx 4 small-medium sized beetroots washed, peeled & grated)
  • 180 grams (2 tiny tins) sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (optional - for additional sweetness, adjust to taste)
  • 1-1/2 cups milk (or 3/4th cup milk+3/4th cup water)
  • 3 pods of cardamom powdered
  • 1 tablespoon raisins
  • 2 tablespoons mixed nuts (cashew nut halves, almond slivers, chopped pistachios)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
Method:
1. Transfer the grated beetroot into the pressure cooker and add the milk (or the milk and water mixture), stir to combine and close the lid. Place the weight (whistle) and cook on a full flame until 2 whistles go off. Remove from heat and let the pressure cooker cool down to room temperature
2. When the weight loosens up, open the lid, stir the contents and if there is still a lot of liquid it it, place the cooker back on a low heat for the beets to cook again. Let the halwa simmer until the excess liquid evaporates and the beetroot is well cooked and the halwa thickens up. This should take about 10-12 minutes
3. Add the condensed milk and give it a good mix. Continue to simmer for another 3-4 minutes making sure to stir in between so that the halwa doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Check the taste and add the additional sugar only if required. (see notes)
4. While the halwa is simmering in another smaller pan heat the ghee. When it is hot (but not smoking) add the raisins and fry them till they puff up - remove quickly before they burn. In the same ghee add the mixed nuts and fry till they turn pale golden. Remove and keep aside.
5. Add the fried raisins, nuts and the powdered cardamom to the halwa. Mix once and

Notes:
If you don't have a pressure cooker you can cook this in a regular pan (wide based, such as a kadhai/wok). It will take you longer though and will need you to be present to keep checking, stirring the contents. However, halwas made over a slow fire over a longer period of time are deemed more tasty.
When the beetroots are initially placed in the cooker you may add just about 1/2 a pinch of salt. The addition of salt helps to bring out the flavours more prominently.
Remember that beetroots may not be very sweet so you may need to add the sugar, however do not add the sugar when the halwa is piping hot - when the food is hot the taste buds are deceived into thinking that the sugar is less. Take a small amount of halwa and when it is cool enough, taste it and then add the additional sugar if required.



So the sonny boy gets his food wishes honoured by his dad once in a while. Once in a while would be an understatement as he gets his way around almost everyday. Most times I insist that he eats what is cooked but on some occasions we oblige him by preparing things that he relishes eating. When it comes to replicating fast food at home I am satisfied that what we make at home is any day better than the junk dished out by most fast food joints. The best part about living in the internet age is that recipes of foods from around the world are available at our fingertips. The onion rings have been one of our lil boy's favourite snacks and the husband has tried replicating them several times using different recipes but none of them were 100% satisfactory - in terms of their taste and crispness or rather the ability to stay crisp much after they came out of the deep fryer. 

We used to enjoy some crisp onion rings at TGIF, Mumbai and always wondered how they stayed so crisp for a long time. 


 A couple of months ago Roshan was gallivanting on youtube checking out food videos and he chanced upon this great video on foodwishes.com that showed precisely how you can make ultra crisp onion rings at home. He immediately ran down to the supermarket to buy some instant mashed potato powder as it was the only ingredient we didn't stock at home. For those of you in India, don't fret, you will be able to find the mashed potato powder in most well stocked supermarkets. Also, Panko breadcrumbs are our favourite brand as the result they give is always great - I do hope you find them as I believe they go out of stock often.  I searched for them high & low here in Dubai but none of the supermarkets stocked it. When I was lucky to find some at Spinney's it had an additional flavouring - Tempura, so I didn't buy. If you ever find plain Panko crumbs just buy them! Now we generally buy them from Mumbai and stock up 2-3 packets per year.


These onion rings were so so crispy that we could actually hear them crackle when we munched them. Thanks to that, the photo shoot didn't last very long. I must have eaten half of them during those 10 minutes and I have plenty of shots where tiny fingers are trying to steal them off this plate!  Do try these crispy munchies. They are so perfect for a party. Go ahead, make 'em!


Crispy Onion Rings
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 20 mins | Frying time: 15mins | Servings 3-4

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 large white or yellow onions * see notes
  • oil for deep frying
  • salt to taste (fine tablesalt to sprinkle)
For the coating:
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour (maida)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 2 tablespoons instant mashed potato powder * see notes
  • 1 cup of cold club soda
  • a pinch of cayenne or regular red chilli powder
  • 2-3 cups Panko breadcrumbs, or as required * see notes
Method:
1. Peel the onions and cut them into slices about 1/4 of an inch (not too thick or they won't cook). Separate the rings and keep aside. Place the Panko crumbs on a shallow plate.
2. Heat oil (on a medium high - not full flame) in a deep frying pan and keep it ready.
3. In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients - maida, cornflour, mashed potato powder & cayenne/chilli powder and whisk them all together.
4. Add the club soda and continue to whisk the batter. It may seem a little runny at first but the mashed potato powder will help thicken it up quickly.
5. Add a few onion rings into the prepared batter and flip them over using a fork until they are well coated.
6. Next, coat the rings with the Panko crumbs using a separate fork (to avoid a sticky mess in the crumbs!)
7. Gently slip the onion rings, a few at a time (do not overcrowd the pan) into the hot oil and let it fry on both sides till the colour turns into a golden brown.
8. Use a slotted spoon or fork to remove them onto an absorbent kitchen tissue. They will turn really crisp and hard upon cooling.
9. Sprinkle lightly with salt before serving. Enjoy!

Notes:
1. If you can't find white or yellow onions you can substitute them with very large red/pink onions that we commonly find in India.
2. Instant mashed potato powder is available at well stocked supermarkets across India. When in Mumbai I had purchased it (a brand called Vegit, Aloo Mash) from Star Bazar. It is usually found in the aisle that stocks up instant foods such as idlis, gulab jamoons etc.
3. Panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese brand of breadcrumbs that turns a beautiful golden when fried. It is available at gourmet stores such as Godrej Nature's Basket in Mumbai. In Dubai you can find Panko at Spinney's



Last month when I was at my in-law's in the midst of her mid morning cooking session she asked me if I knew how to cook this simple pumpkin dish. I quickly dropped whatever I was doing and bolted to the kitchen and said that I wanted to learn. It was raining cats and dogs outside and I had this warm fuzzy feeling inside me telling me that lunch that day was going to be a delicious one. There was red boiled rice kept in the hot box waiting to be strained, there was an awesome prawn & potato curry still bubbling on the stove and some breadfruit marinated with meet mirsaang (salt & chilli paste) waiting to be shallow fried. Lunch was going to be awesome. I was already salivating. I was starved and couldn't wait to eat. 
As always I welcomed the idea of having a simply prepared vegetable along with this gorgeous spread. I am quite a vegetarian at heart if you ask me as I prefer having my veggies any day so that way I am low maintenance. I don't need fancy non veg food for sustenance. The recipe seemed so simple that I was really eager to taste the final outcome. In the snap of a finger I was done making this dish and in no time the pictures were shot and food was served. I had a good meal that day followed by an afternoon siesta. Sigh! I miss my vacation already. 

I hope you enjoy this very simple, no nonsense, easy pumpkin saute/stir fry or sukhe (but without coconut) as we call it. 


Simple Pumpkin Sukhe
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins | Serves 2-3

Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 cups thinly chopped pumpkin
  • 1/2 medium sized onion finely sliced
  • water as required
  • salt to taste
For the tempering:
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
  • 2 dried red chillies (I used the round ones also called as Madras chillies)
  • 2 tablespoons oil
Method:
1. In a heavy based pan/kadhai heat the oil. When the oil is hot add the mustard and wait for them to splutter. When they stop spluttering toss in the broken red chillies. Reduce the heat and let the chillies sizzle for a few seconds. Take care not to burn them (they will impart a bitter taste to the dish)
2. Next, add the sliced onion and fry until they turn pale/translucent. Now add the chopped pumpkin and add enough water to cover the pieces.
3. Add salt to taste and cook covered on a medium low heat till all the pieces are cooked and tender.
4. Remove from heat & serve hot with rice or chapathis.



Ola people! I am back from good ol' Mangalore and I am missing it so much already! My trip was awesome. We spent a month and a week there and the children enjoyed it as well. The first one week was a little terrible with the humidity and heat as the rains were delayed, but once we received the first showers it was just wonderful. The whole experience helped evoke so many wonderful memories especially as we drove around our favourite places visiting people or buying stuff or simply vagabonding. Mangalore is truly great if you wish to detox and unwind. Err! detox doesn't really happen if you are related to people who cook awesome food. All we did was binge on all the gorgeous food - either cooked at home or at homes where we were invited to share meals. Nevertheless, it gave me an opportunity to savour different kinds of Mangalorean delicacies and note down the variations in the preparations as well.




On a couple of occasions we ate out but the experience was more tiring what with two kids to manage. Especially one that decided to gather all the cutlery off the table! My little one is just too naughty and while we did manage to eat at Gajalee (Circuit House) and Chefs (Nanthoor) we preferred eating at home as it was more peaceful that way. Roshan & I wished a thousand times that we could eat at all our favourite joints but maybe that pleasure is reserved for our upcoming holidays in Mangalore in the years to come.



While I am still jet lagged and trying to reorganize my house after a month's break I decided to go ahead and post one of the recipes which was tried out before we left. My brother's in-laws make some mean tongue curry. Last year when they had visited my brother's place and even we were stationed there during our move to Dubai they had prepared this gorgeous dish. My son was a little hesitant to try it out and once he did he got hooked on to it so much that we decided to ask them for the recipe. Uncle Wilfy who is an awesome cook usually has marathon cooking sessions at my brother's place whenever he is in town. Together they make kilos and kilos of Kaleez Ankiti (pork sorpotel) (to be frozen for later use) and other Mangalorean/Goan/East Indian delicacies like Mutton Kaleez (offal) curry, Fish Head curry, Tuna Cutlets, Pork Indad, Pathrade and what not.



Uncle Wilfy is a multifaceted, multi-talented man with a great sense of humour. Not only is he a fabulous cook but also a singer and a great Konkani playwright (dramatist) who has written several Konkani plays. His love for his language and culture saw him promoting Konkani amongst the Mangalorean community in the early '70s in the Gulf. Popularly known as 'Wolf' amongst the Mangalorean community in the U.A.E and Bandra he now writes articles for Mangalorean Konkani weeklies. Thank you Uncle Wilfred D'Souza  for this brilliant recipe!

Tongue Curry
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 20 mins | Serves 4-5

Ingredients:
  • 1 large beef/ mutton tongue / jeeb (approx 1.5 kgs), purchase it whole, do not have it cut * see notes
  • 2 medium-big potatoes peeled and cut breadthwise (into thick slices/roundels)
  • 1 loosely packed cup of coriander, chopped
For the masala:
  • 3 medium-big onions finely sliced
  • 1" ginger finely chopped
  • 8 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 4 medium-big tomatoes finely chopped
  • 4 small green chillies finely chopped (adjust to taste, de seed them if you wish)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pepper powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
Method:
1. Wash the whole tongue well, and place it in the pressure cooker, add a little water (about 3-/4th cup). DO NOT add any salt. Pressure cook it for 15 mins.
2. Once done, allow the pressure cooker to cool down to room temperature, open and remove the tongue out. When cool enough to handle cut it into thin slices, about 1/4 of an inch each.
3. Transfer the sliced tongue pieces back into the pressure cooker and add the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala' including the stock.
4. Put the pressure cooker back on the heat and cook for 20 minutes. When it comes to room temperature, open the cooker and stir. Add the chopped coriander.
5. In a large frying pan heat some oil and fry the potatoes till light golden on both sides - do not over fry as they will break when you simmer them along with the curry.
6. Add the fried potatoes to the curry and simmer for 2 minutes.
7. Remove from heat & serve hot with rice or chapathis

Notes:
1. We purchased perfectly cleaned but uncooked tongue from the supermarket (Baqer Mohebi in Dubai). If you are buying the tongue from the butcher you will need to clean it or ask him to clean it. The outer skin of the tongue and some fatty parts at the base of the tongue will need to be removed. Readers in Mumbai can check at the local beef/mutton butcher at Crawford Market or Andheri Market for the tongue. Do go early morning to avoid disappointment or better still, pre order it the previous day.
2. If you intend to clean the tongue at home, do check out some instructions/videos on youtube to help you do that (there are plenty of videos available). Unless you are skilled enough to remove the skin off the wobbly tongue you may be required to boil it first (In a large pan with water) and then remove the skin. The stock which you get in the pan maybe used to flavour the curry or soups. Do not discard it.
3. If you are boiling the tongue in a pressure cooker you will need to pressure cook for 8-9 whistles (on a full flame), then turn off the heat and wait for the pressure cooker to cool down and you are able to remove the weight (whistle) easily. Open and peel/skin the tongue when the tongue is still hot. After it cools down it may be hard for you to peel it easily.  After that follow the instructions in my recipe to cook it again it till tender before cutting it. 



Folks! I know its been ages since I last posted. While the blog is on my mind on a daily basis what with all the food that gets cooked everyday, it is simply difficult to keep up with the mails and comments with an intermittent internet connectivity. At one point I decided to give up and just focus on relaxing while on vacation but then it was impossible to stay away from something I am so passionate about. So after a very long time I am posting one of the recipes I had tried out in Dubai before we travelled to Mangalore. I was very keen to try out tuna cutlets at home as I had only tasted them at my brother's place prepared a couple of times by my sister in law and her dad. They had used tinned tuna and it tasted good.




In June, Roshan on his trip to the Deira fish market brought some tuna. As it was not on the shopping list that I had given him (so typical of men who go grocery shopping no?) I dumped the fish in the deep freezer and forgot about it. A couple of weeks before we travelled to India we decided to use up all the frozen stuff and other perishables and chalked out our weekly menus accordingly. The tuna sparked no ideas. At that point of time we had only considered using it up in some sort of a curry or perhaps frying it. The man eventually decided to cut it up, debone it and use up the head, tail and bones to make some fish stock (more on homemade stock later). When the stock was being prepared we almost dismissed the idea of eating the flesh as the aroma was rather unappetising and strong. However, since I had wasting food and especially fish I decided to go ahead and make cutlets out of it. Not having a real recipe I worked around my minced meat cutlet recipe and added as many ingredients as required to mask the strong taste and aroma of the fish.

I would strongly recommend you to use tinned tuna if you prefer as it is the easiest way to make these cutlets and perhaps you won't require so many ingredients. But if you are like me and prefer to make things from scratch or have a fish you like to use up then I am sure you will enjoy the whole process - you get fish stock for free you see!

Today's recipe is for my dear friend Rashmi Pandey and her family. Rashmi's daughter was my son's best friend in their first playschool and the friendship has grown over the years. I do hope your family enjoys these cutlets Rashmi!


Tuna Cutlets
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 30-40 mins (only if you are using fresh tuna)| Cook time: 15-20 mins | Yield: 12 cutlets

Ingredients: (Please read the notes before proceeding)

For the mixture:
  • 175-200 grams shredded white tuna * see notes
  • 150 grams/3/4th packed cup (about 1 medium sized) potato, boiled, peeled and mashed
  • 150 grams (1 large) onion finely chopped
  • 12-15 curry leaves finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 3/4th cup mint finely chopped
  • 2 small green chillies finely chopped (de seed if you wish)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 2-3 teaspoons garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mango (amchur) powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 teaspoon fresh Kashmiri chilli paste (optional) * see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard paste (optional) * see notes
  • 2-3 teaspoons vinegar and/or lime juice (adjust to taste) * see notes
  • salt to taste
  • oil for frying
For coating & frying
  • 2 egg whites well beaten
  • semolina/sooji or breadcrumbs
  • oil for shallow frying
Method:
Prepare the mixture:

1. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the the curry leaves and fry for a couple of seconds. Next, add the chopped onions and green chillies and fry until the onions turn translucent/pale.
2. Add in the ginger and garlic pastes and fry on a medium heat. Toss in the coriander and mint leaves and let them wilt.
3. Next, add the dry powders - coriander, cumin, amchur and garam masala and fry for half a minute. If you wish you can add the Kashmiri chilli paste now and fry it a bit.
4. Now add the shredded tuna, mashed potatoes and give them a good mix. Sprinkle a little water (4-5 drops) over the bread, shred and add it to the mixture. * see notes. Mix everything well.
5. Add the salt to taste (canned tuna may be salty, so use accordingly). Do a quick taste check and add the mustard paste if required. 
6. Sprinkle vinegar and/or lime juice, mix thoroughly and remove from heat.
7. When it is cool enough to handle, divide the mixture into 12 portions and shape them into balls. Flatten each ball into cutlets. 

Fry the cutlets:
1. In a small shallow plate place the beaten egg whites. In another plate place the breadcrumbs
2. Dip each cutlet into the egg white mixture first and then roll it over the breadcrumbs till well coated on all sides.
3. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the cutlets on a medium heat. If the oil is too hot the cutlets will brown quickly. Fry them till golden brown on both sides.
4. Remove the cutlets onto an absorbent kitchen towel and serve hot with ketchup or dip of your choice. They go very well as a party starter or also along with your rice and dal.

Notes:
1. I used fresh white tuna, filleted (deboned) at home and cooked with some salt, pepper and a pinch of garam masala. Then I drained off the excess stock/liquid and shredded the fillets roughly. This was a time consuming affair and fresh tuna gives out a very strong fishy smell, so my recipe has many ingredients used to mask the smell. If you wish to use canned tuna please go ahead. If it does not have a very strong odor (or you like it that way) you may not really need to use the optional ingredients. Simply taste the mixture at every stage before adding the optional ingredients mentioned above. 
2. To mask the strong taste of tuna I used both vinegar & lime juice. 
3. Take care to see that you don't soak the bread in water - just lightly wet it. The purpose of adding the bread is to absorb excess moisture in the mixture and help bind and hold shape when you make the cutlets.
4. I used homemade Kashmiri chilli paste which was prepared by soaking deseeded Kashmiri chillies in boiling water (enough to cover them) for about 1 hour and then ground them to a fine paste. A little olive oil was mixed in it to help preserve it longer. The paste can be refrigerated for upto 2 weeks. 




Ola people! Here I am sitting in the heart of Mangalore writing down a recipe that is a favourite among many Mangaloreans except me. Well, I am sure it would have been if I ate prawns, but since I don't we postponed even preparing this dish while in Dubai. We wanted to have the curry made by my mum in law who is an amazing cook and she cheerfully obliged. So off went Roshan to the fish market. He chose a fine batch of prawns and cleaned them himself. I helped my mum-in-law grind the masala and the 'hult' (taste check/adjustment) was done by her. It was a case of one too many cooks that didn't spoil the broth. The resultant curry was this lovely spicy-tangy one with prawns and potatoes floating in harmony. 



Since it was pouring outside I couldn't click many pictures (our balcony was flooded already) and plus the gloomy weather didn't support my photo shoot. However, I am so glad that we prepared it as I hardly have any prawn recipes on the blog. The only other recipe I have so far is the Prawn Masala Fry which has been a hit on the blog - Roshan's own take on the restaurant style prawn fry. How many of you have tried it? If you haven't tried it already I strongly urge you to give it a try. I am sure you will love it.


Coming back to my story, as we sat down to eat our lunch my mum in law urged me to give the prawns a try. I don't eat them as am allergic to them but in the past have tried eating one or two prawns when fried. This time I was tempted but wanted to attempt eating the curry at least if not the prawns. I said a silent prayer and symbolically sprinkled the precious blood of Jesus over myself and ate the curry happily. Well, what happened next? I am still alive to tell the tale today and hand over this lovely recipe to you. God willing, I will be able to eat more prawns in the future and share a lot more recipes with you.


This is the curry we Catholics make in Mangalore, I am sure that this recipe is more or less the same if compared to how other communities make it. Some versions have methi/fenugreek seeds added to it and some are more spicy. Either ways this is one dish you should not miss if you are vacationing in Mangalore. I hope you enjoy it.  


Prawn & Potato Curry ~ Mangalorean Catholic Style
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 20-30 mins | Cook time: 15 mins | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
  • 1 kg (approx 30) big prawns, cleaned and deveined * see notes
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, boiled, peeled and quartered (or cubed if you wish)
  • salt to taste
Masala to be ground:

  • 3/4th - 1 cup grated coconut * see notes
  • 1 medium sized onion roughly chopped
  • 4 medium sized garlic cloves
  • 1 marble sized ball of tamarind (add a little more if required)
  • 4-5 long dry red chillies (Byadge variety) * see notes
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds * see notes 
  • 1 teaspoon cumin * see notes
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1 teaspoon mustard 
  • 8-10 peppercorns (adjust to taste)
  • a pinch of asafoetida/hing * see notes
For the tempering:
  • 3-4 small garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon oil
Method:
1. If desired, sprinkle the cleaned and deveined prawns lightly with salt and keep aside for 5-10mins (or until your masala is ground and ready)
2. Using a little water grind all the ingredients mentioned under 'Masala to be ground' to a very fine paste.
3. Transfer the ground paste into a heavy based pan or kadhai and add a little water to the mixer grinder and empty this water into the same pan. Add enough water to make the gravy of medium thickness (adjust this to the desired consistency)
4. Place the pan/kadhai over a medium heat and bring it to a boil. Toss in the pre boiled potatoes and simmer for half a minute
5. Add the prawns and continue to simmer for not more than 2 minutes. Prawns and squid can turn rubbery if you overcook them, so it's either 2 mins or 2 hours to get them nice and soft - anything in between will lead to hard, rubbery and chewy prawns - totally avoidable!
6. Once the 2 mins are up, remove the pan from the heat and get ready to temper the curry.
7. In a small pan (used for tempering) heat the oil and toss in the crushed garlic cloves, give it a quick stir until they turn light golden (not too brown). Pour this seasoning into the curry and cover the pan quickly.
8. Serve hot with steaming hot boiled rice and any vegetable saute of your choice. Throw in a papad or pickle for good measure and a truly enjoyable Mangalorean meal!

Notes:
1. We used big sized prawns available in Mangalore, not tiger prawns which are too big.
2. We used 1/2 a medium sized coconut
3. To make this recipe easy and quick you may substitute the use of dry red chillies, cumin, coriander and turmeric with 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of bafat powder without garam masala added to it. Find the recipe here
4. The addition of hing to the ground masala is optional but recommended as prawns are considered gaseous (causing gastric problems) and hence the hing will combat that problem.



The end of June is here bringing with it a closure of half of the year (I should start writing poetry!). I am so glad that finally the schools will close for the summer and I can relax and do things at my own pace rather than run around like a headless chicken for 5 days a week. While we are busy with some last minute shopping before we head for our vacation I decided to write a quick post and share this amazing chicken recipe with you. It is a recipe that I have adapted from the book 'Recipes For All Occasions' by B F Varghese. It is one of my most favourite cookbooks now. 



Since I love cooking chicken at home I always bookmark several recipes that catch my eye, either on the internet or in cookbooks or magazines. This was one of the bookmarked recipes that I have pinned up on my kitchen pinboard. The instructions were very few but accurate. I have tried this dish several times over making a few changes each time and the results have always been stunning. I have made it with extra gravy, with potatoes and altered the level of spice. Each time it has succeeded in impressing all of us at home. The colour is so smashing and the flavours predominantly come from the freshly ground chillies. This is a keeper of a recipe. I am sure it will be a hit at a party too should you decide to serve it as a starter (cook it absolutely dry) or as a side to chapathis or dosa (cook it semi dry) or as a main course, serve it along with rice (add a little extra water to make a thin gravy)


It is going to be a while before I am able to blog again - everything depends on the speed of the internet connection I get when I am home in Mangalore. In the meanwhile I would love to receive your feedback on the blog, the recipes or anything you wish to share with me. If you have tried and liked any of my recipes please do send me your feedback along with a picture if possible. Send your mail to ruchikrandhap@gmail.com or catch me on Facebook. I will publish your tried & tested recipe pictures in the albums on FB. Here's the latest - Album#3 so do check it out. 

To those of you who have written in to me and have received no reply yet, my apologies, I'll get back to you soon!

Thanks and I hope you enjoy this recipe. Happy holidays!


Hey before I forget,

In the recent past the frequency of my posts has increased and hence the recipe index has grown and gotten more lengthy. It is not always easy to scroll down endlessly on a page especially if you are looking for something in a hurry. Keeping this in mind and upon receiving several requests from readers I have simplified the index to a visual/picture index.

It took me over 2 months, several weekends and holidays to put this together and it was a mammoth task for me but I am finally happy that I have executed it well within the timelines I had set for myself.

It is said that we eat with our eyes first. So go ahead and indulge, salivate over the pictures before you actually decide what to cook! Bon Appétit!

Click to view the Visual (picture) Recipe Index:


Spicy Chicken Dry
(Printable Recipe)
Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 25-30mins | Serves 4

Ingredients:
  • 1 kg chicken 
  • 15 dry red chillies deseeded * see notes
  • 1 medium ripe tomato (about 1/2 cup pieces) pulp/seeds removed
  • 3 small-med onions sliced (about 1-1/2 cups of slices)
  • 1 inch (about 2 teaspoons) ginger grated 
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic (about 1 teaspoon) grated/chopped 
  • 2-3 tsp vinegar (adjust to taste)
  • salt to taste
Method:
1. Cut the chicken in medium sized pieces, wash and drain well (if you have the time marinate it in 1 tsp salt and keep aside).
2. Transfer the chicken into a big pan and add about 1/4 cup of water and salt (if you have not marinated it with salt before). Boil the chicken till it is cooked but not very tender (or it will begin to shred if overcooked).
2. While the chicken is boiling fry the onions in a non stick pan till golden brown. Take care not to burn them. Remove and keep aside.
3. Powder the chilli skins without using any water (use a dry grinding jar) to as fine a powder as possible. Keep aside. Next, grind the tomato and keep aside. Rinse the grinding jar with approximately 1/4cup of water and retain this water.
4. Once the chicken is boiled, remove the pieces onto a plate and retain the stock.
5. In a large frying pan heat some oil and lightly fry the chicken pieces till they turn golden on all sides.
6. Reduce the heat (or remove the pan briefly from the heat) and add the ground chilli powder - if the pan is too hot there are chances that the powder will burn and cause the dish to taste bitter, so be careful. Add in the ginger and garlic and mix well till all the pieces are coated well with this mixture. Fry on a low heat for 2 mins.
7. Now add the fried onions, ground tomato paste and vinegar (start from 1 teaspoon and increase it - the sourness required depends on how sour the tomato is). Mix everything well and add the chicken chicken stock in parts if you like it dry. Cook with the pan uncovered till the gravy thickens.
If you want some gravy, add the stock in one go, simmer and remove from fire.
8. Serve hot with rice or chapathis

Notes:
For a moderately spicy chicken I used 8 kashmiri and 4 bedgi chillies (a total of 12 chillies). If you like it spicy use just one variety of chillies. Remember that Kashmiri chillies give a great colour but are less spicy than the Bedgi/Byadge/Kumti chillies. A combination of both is simply great, so I would recommend using a combo.



G'morning ya'll! An 8 am post on a Friday morning only means that I was pulled out of my slumber way too early. The lil boy is too excited to attend his cousin's birthday party at the play area this morning and it was only fair to wake up his mommy and demand breakfast at 6 am no? Grr! 

Anyway, I got a quick chance to wake up earlier than the others who are still enjoying their sleep and write this post. A super quick breakfast option is what I like on most days when I just don't want to make anything elaborate. Since the past few weeks I have been busy trying my hand at making my own Idli & Dosa batter, a multi purpose batter which can be transformed into not just idlis and dosas but also a host of other South Indian breakfasts. I hope to try them out one by one and post them here soon. 



For now here is the recipe of a simple, tasty and quick breakfast option made from crumbled leftover idlis. I keep making so many idlis week after week that leftovers are a given. Normally they don't remain as my lil girl loves idlis, especially when they are freshly steamed and then dunked in some desi ghee, she simply relishes them. Also, we have discovered the joy of eating idlis with anything from chicken sukka to fish curries. The combo tastes awesome.  

You can make this upma in a jiffy. Just crumble them and temper them with any seasonings of your choice. Curry leaves, urad dal and some hing will do if you are not in the mood of chopping the onions and ginger. I don't have amazing pictures cuz I clicked these pictures on a whim, after debating with myself whether to go ahead and share the recipe or not and then I decided to do that anyway since the idli upma is my go-to breakfast or anytime snack option these days. So enjoy and I hope you like it!


Idli Upma
(Printable Recipe)

Prep time: 5-10 mins | Cook time: 5 mins | Serves 1-2

Ingredients:
  • 6-7 small-medium idlis
  • 1/2 of a medium sized onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 inch ginger finely chopped (optional)
  • 2-3 long dry red chillies (preferably Byadge variety), broken into 2-3 pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard 
  • 1 teaspoon black gram dal / urad dal
  • 1/8th teaspoon asafoetida/hing
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh coriander, chopped
  • salt to taste (if required)
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil
Method:
1. Crumble the idlis into a bowl - not necessarily into fine crumbs. If you are using leftover idlis straight from the fridge you could steam them lightly (for about 3-4) minutes if possible to give that fluffy light texture to the crumbs, otherwise you can simply microwave them for 30 seconds and then crumble.
2. In a heavy based pan/kadhai heat the oil and toss in the mustard. When it stops spluttering add the urad dal and reduce the heat to a medium low. Fry until the dal turns light golden.
3. Toss in the curry leaves, broken red chillies and let them sizzle a bit on a medium heat. Stir and then add the chopped ginger (if using), toss about for a few seconds and add the onions (if using), fry until they turn pale/translucent.
4. If you are not using the ginger and onions, then proceed to add the asafoetida right after you add the curry leaves and chillies, then add the crumbled idlies and mix well. Season with salt only if required (idlis already have salt added to them).
5. Garnish with chopped coriander, mix once and remove from heat. Serve hot!

Notes:
1. I used smallish medium sized idlis. Depending on how many idlis you wish to use adjust the quantities of the rest of the ingredients accordingly.
2. This recipe is great when you have leftover idlis - whether homemade or from the restaurant (seriously, if you have ordered too much and don't want to eat them forever, this is the best way to get rid of them!)