Hawaiian Pineapple Curry

Hawaiian Pineapple Curry

A different creamy curry made of pineapples, peas and coconut milk. Easy to cook and tastes great with soft chapathis.

Hawaiian Pineapple Curry

If you are like me, who doesn’t enjoy a lot of sweets and at the same time cant tolerate a lot of heat and really like a mix of hot and sweet, prefer tangy food, love pineapples and  like Indo Chinese cuisine, you would love this recipe. When I came across this recipe in Chef Mallika Badrinath’s cook book, I immediately gave it a try and was so impressed with the results. This recipe does not use onion, tomato and potatoes. So its a great different ‘curry’ recipe if you are bored of eating the same old onion tomato based curry.

The recipe calls for unripe pineapple but I have always used fully ripe pineapple. It still tastes great as a conglomeration of heat, sweet n tang.This recipe uses 5 green chillies. Initially I was hesitant as I normally use 1 chilli but at the end I was glad that I did use 5 chillies. Since the thick and creamy coconut milk balances the heat, you don’t have to worry about the heat and add 5 or even step up to 6 Thai chillies. The original recipe involves grinding coconut and extracting the milk but i just used canned coconut milk.

When you taste the curry, you are first greeted by the creamy aromatic coconut curry and when you take a bite of the well cooked pineapple and experience the slight sweet and tang, its a blissful culinary experience. Cook this up for dinner and you sure will have a satisfying hearty meal.

Ingredients:
Pineapple -1 cut into medium sized squares
Coconut milk -1 can
Frozen peas thawed -1/2 to 1/4 cup depending on your taste
Salt to taste
Cumin powder 1 tbspn
Coriander powder 1 tbspn
Oil to saute
Cinnamon stick

To grind together:
Coconut powder or flakes -1/4 cup
Thai chillies – I used 5. You can step up the heat to 6 chillies. The heat will be manageable if the other ingredients in the said ratio
Ginger 1/2 inch
Poppy seeds 1 and half tsp
2 tsp of water

Preparation:

pineapple curry making
1. Grind the items given above as ‘To grind together’ into a paste
2. Heat oil in a deep pan
3. Temper cinnamon stick
4. Add pineapple pieces and saute for 2 mins
5. Add coriander powder, cumin powder and saute
6. Dissolve 1/4 cup of coconut milk in water and add it to the pineapple pieces
7. Let this boil for 5 minutes so that the pineapple is cooked
8. Add salt, the ground paste and thawed peas and saute
9. Add some water and let it boil for 5 mins
10. Add the thick coconut milk and mix well. Once this comes to a boil, remove from flame and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves
11. Creamy n tasty pineapple curry is ready. Serve with soft chapathis.

Hawaiian Pineapple Curry

2 Min Mug Cake (Eggless)

2 Min Mug Cake (Eggless)

Yes this is all done in 2 mins! Well relishing time not included :) read on..

 

Mug cake

There are almost a million microwave mug cake recipes on the internet but i have never bothered to try any of them. We are not the family that would want to have cake every week. But once, it so happened that it was my Hubby’s bday and I would have completely spoiled it if not for this cake. Being the procrastinator I am, I forgot to buy the gift he wanted. Not only that, I was too busy with my baby and chores that I couldn’t make anything sweet. It all boiled down and stood like a big monster in front of me at 11pm on my hubby’s bday eve.

That’s when I vehemently searched for microwave mug cake recipes n got this one or should I say unearthed treasure! It works like a charm. It has no eggs but its so moist and fluffy!

As my hubby was working on his laptop, I went in to the kitchen and started putting the ingredients together. Hubby later said that he thought I was doing the dishes or cleanup. I could get the batter ready in a minute – no fancy equipment is needed.all that I used was a bowl, spoon and a mug. I spent the next one min microwaving.Hubby prob thought I was warming milk. I was so surprised how the cake was really there in front my eyes in 1 min :)

Finally the reveal part. It was 11:55 pm.. I walked up to him with the mug. He looked up and asked, milk ? And saying so he saw the mug and cried wow what’s this!!

I wished him a happy bday and presented my cake :). The cake turned out so moist and I must say that he was completely bowled over :)

So here is my 2 min chocolate mug cake. I got the recipe from here

Mug cake

Ingredients: (for 1 mug)

1. All purpose flour (Maida) or pastry flour 1/4 cup

2. Sugar 3 tbspn

3. Oil 2 tbspn

4. Milk 1/4 cup and 1 tbspn

5. Cocoa powder 2 tbspn ( I used Ghirardelli hot cocoa powder)

6. A small piece of chocolate – I used a half snickers bar

7. Baking powder 1 pinch (if you use all purpose flour, add 1/4 tsp of baking powder)

8. Salt 1/4 tsp

Preparation:

1. In a bowl mix all dry ingredients except the chocolate bar

2. Add oil and milk and mix well without any lumps

3. Now choose a nice deep mug

4. Pour half of this batter into the mug

5. Break the chocolate bar and drop it into the mug

6. Pour the remaining batter on the top of the chocolate

7. Place the mug in microwave for 1 min. You will see that the cake has risen to the top and bubbles

8. Microwave for 10 more seconds. Insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean your cake is done

9. Enjoy!!

Please note

* When you use maida (all purpose flour), add 1/4 tsp of baking powder and for cake using pastry flour, add just a pinch of baking powder

* If the cake still looks bubbly on the top, that’s ok. Since this cake is very moist it tends to look like that

* Make sure that that batter is filled  only up to half of the mug otherwise the cake will spill over the mug

* You can use any variety of chocolate. Even add 1 tsp of instant coffee powder to make a coffee flavored cake

* This cake is ideal to greet surprise guests. It takes less time to make than coffee.

*You can portion control late night chocolate or cake cravings with this cake.

* This hot n moist cake is perfect for the cold weather days

 

Saag Aloo

Saag Aloo

Saag Aloo is a close relative of Saag Paneer which is a varaiation of Palak Paneer. Growing up in Chennai, I never had saag paneer or saag aloo. Palak paneer was widely available and loved. When we moved to US, that’s when I came across Saag Paneer. While palak paneer uses ‘palak’ leaves, Saag paneer and Saag aloo use spinach and mustard greens. What are Mustard Greens? Are they good for our health? read on…

Saag Aloo

Please read the following article from Whole Foods.

Mustard greens have high cholesterol lowering ability. Are rich in Vit C, E, A and K. Its a good detox and an antioxidant. It is anti inflammatory which aids support in cardio vascular problems.

 

Saag Aloo

With spinach and mustard greens both in this dish, I must say its a very tasty and healthy dish

Saag Aloo

Ingredients

1. Spinach – 1 bunch (Cleaned in water. I soak my spinach in water  for 10 mins so that all the mud comes out)

2. Mustard Greens – 1 bunch

3. Green Chillies – 2

4. Medium sized onions -2 (cut into half moons ref pic 1)

5. Medium sized tomatoes – 2 (i used roma tomatoes – ref pic 2)

6. turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

7. red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp

8. coriander powder – 1 tsp

9. salt to taste

10. Potatoes – 4 boiled and chopped into big pieces

11. Cinnamon – 1 stick

12. Cumin Seeds – 1 tbspn

13. Oil of Sauteing

14. Milk 1 tbspn

16. Yoghurt 2 tbspn

 

Preparation:

1. Soak spinach and mustard greens in water for 10 mins so that all the dirt comes out.

2. Finely chop onions and tomatoes

3. Heat 1 tbspn oil in a pan and once the once the oil is hot onion and salt. After 5 minutes once the onion turns transparent add 2 green chillies and tomatoes. Saute till the tomatoes turn mushy. add turmeric powder

saag aloo steps

4. Drain water from spinach and coarsely cut it. Add spinach to the tomato onion masala and saute till it wilts

5. Drain water from mustard greens. Coarsely cut it – I retain the stalks too. Add mustard greens to the masala and saute till it wilts.

6. Turn off flame and let the contents cool down to warm. Transfer the masala to a mixer and grind it into a coarse paste. I usually ‘pulse’ for 2 to 4 times

saag aloo steps

7. Now heat oil in the pan. Temper cumin seeds and cinnamon stick

8. Carefully add the coarse saag paste and saute well. Do a taste check for salt. At this point it should be slightly salty as we are yet to add potatoes

9. Add 1 tbspn of milk , 2 tbspn of yoghurt, chilli powder and coriander powder

10. when the mixture comes together, add cooked and chopped potatoes and mix well. Serve this curry with soft chapathis and rice

saag aloo steps

 

Saag Aloo

Jeera Poli ~~ Deepavali Special

Jeera Poli

Jeera Poli

My mom prepared this sweet Jeera Poli which is my grandmother’s signature dish. My paati used to prepare this sweet for every Deepavali. I am happy to share this traditional recipe with my readers.

Ingredients:
Maida / All purpose flour -1 Cup
Sugar -1 Cup
Water -1/4 Cup for sugar syrup
Oil to Deep fry
A pinch of salt
Water to make maida dough
Ghee 4 or 5 tbspn

Preparation:
1. Combine maida, water and a pinch of salt to make a tight dough like chapathi dough
2. Separate the dough into 5 big balls
3. With a rolling pin, roll these thin chapathis
4. Now place one chapathi, spread 1 tbspn of ghee and stack the next maida chapathi on the first one. Continue stacking all maida chapathis one over the other
5. Now roll all the chapathis together
6. With a knife divide the roll into 10 equal sized rolls
7. Now make medium sized pooris with each of those 10 rolls
8. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the pooris
9. While you fry the pooris, prepare sugar syrup by dissolving 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. The sugar syrup should be in a sticky consistency
10. After the pooris are deep fried, drain the oil by placing it on a paper towel. Once the oil is drained (a minute or so), drop the pooris in the sugar syrup
11. Garnish with coarsely broken elachi and saffron strands
12. Serve the jeera polis hot

Kalakand/Qalaqand /Kalakanu ~~ Deepavali Special

Kalakand

Kalakand

Kalakand

Happy Deepavali to all my readers! Deepavali means sweet.. Carackers..happiness… joy. When I grew up in Chennai I used to eagerly wait for Deepavali to taste the milk sweet from ‘Sri Mithai Sweets’. My mind mom’s office would give her a packet of Kalakand from Sri Mithai which at that time was a rarity in other shops. That so soft grainy textured sweet cooked to perfection that would melt in the mouth was such a sweet pleasure. To me Sri Mithai meant Kalakand n Kalakand has to be had only from Sri Mithai..

Years later, this year I surprised my family by preparing this addictive sweet. I used only 1 ltr milk and got 8 pieces.yes, its that rich.

Ingredients:
Milk 4 cups
Sugar 1/4 cup and 2 tbspn
Ghee or butter to grease the plate

Preparation

1. Heat 2 cups of milk in a saucepan. If you are using a stainless steel pan, pour a spoon of water before adding milk. This will help with the milk not sticking to the sides of the pan (pic I)
2. When the milk comes to a roaring boil, add 2 spoons lemon juice and let the milk curdle (pic II)
3. In a strainer lined with cheese cloth, filter off the whey and retain the fresh paneer (pic III)
4. Wash the paneer in cold runny water and let it hang in the cloth for an hour (pic IV)
5. In another pan, heat 2 cups of milk in med- low heat till it reduces to 1/2. It took me almost 45 mins (pic IX)

Kalakand_Making

6. Now crumble the paneer and add it to the boiling milk (pic X)
7. Keep stirring for another 15 to 20 mins (pic XI)
8. Milk thickens and you will be see the bottom of the vessel as you stir (pic XV)
9. Now add the sugar. The thick milk will turn watery as sugar melts (pic XVI)
10. In another 15 mins, it comes together like a jelly (pic XVII)

Kalakand Making

11. Now switch off the flame and transfer the contents to a greased pan
12. Adjust the sides so that its a perfect square. Garnish with thinly sliced pista and saffron soaked in milk (pic XVIII)
13. Cut into slices. You can serve after 15 mins

Happy Deepavali! What sweets did you prepare this year?

Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha ~~ Deepavali Special

Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha

Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha

Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha

Hyderabadi double ka Meetha is a very popular and easy sweet to prepare.

Double ka meetha (Urdu: شاہی ٹکڑا) is a bread pudding dessert of fried bread slices soaked in hot milk with spices, including saffron and cardamom. Double ka meetha is a dessert of Hyderabad. It is popular in Hyderabadi cuisine, served at weddings and parties. Double ka meetha refers to the milk bread, called “Double Roti” in the local Indian dialects because it swells up to almost double its original size after baking.

The dish is similar to Shahi Tukda which has its roots in Pakistani cuisine and is a famous dessert in Mughlai cuisine. It is particularly prepared during the festive month of Ramadan and on Eid. The recipe uses bread, condensed milk, and dry fruits.

I had tasted this sweet few years ago in an office potluck. For the first serving I didn’t bother to try this sweet thanks to its nonchalant looks. A colleague of mine casually remarked how awesome the ‘Hyderabadi Double ka Meetha’ was. That’s when I turned to look at the small placard reading ‘Hyderabadi Double ka Meeta’ at the corner of the table. One bite was all it took to convert me into an instant fan. I told myself that the person who prepared this should have woken up at probably 4 in the morning and should have spent quite a long time in front of the range to make this sweet. – I didn’t quite guess the simplicity of the recipe at that time

A week or so later I read about this recipe in Chefinyou’s blog and was surprised by the easy recipe. I decided to prepare this high calorie sweet some day. Time passed by and the ‘to do’ was still in the ‘to do’ list. This Deepavali I finally gave in and prepared this wonderful sweet. Its easy to put together and consumes very less time (both to prepare and to disappead ;-)) . Why not try this easy sweet for Deepavali?

Ingredients:

1. Bread – I used 7 pieces cut into triangles

2. Ghee to deep fry

Sugar Syrup:

3. Sugar – 1 Cup

4. Water – 1 Cup

Sweetened Milk

5. Milk – 1 Cup

6.  Sugar – 1/2 cup

7. Saffron threads – few mixed in 1 tbspn of hot water

8. Roasted nuts

Preparation:

1. Cut bread into triangles. Heat ghee in a pan and deep fry the bread into golden brown color

2. Place the bread pieces in a bowl

3. Mix sugar and water for sugar syrup and heat till they mix well and boil

4. Pour the sugar syrup on the bead pieces. Let it stay for 10 minutes till the bread absorbs all of the sugar syrup

5. Meanwhile in a pan , combine milk, sugar and saffron threads and boil to prepare the sweetened milk

6. When the milk reduces to half , switch off the flame and pour on the bread pieces

7. Let it sit for another 10 minutes and the bread will absorb all the milk

8. Garnish with toasted nuts. I served it by adding a spoonful of sweetened milk on the dry bread pieces

Rasmalai ~~ Deepavali Special

Rasmalai 

I always consider the the last 6 months of the year are not for calorie counting as there are so many festivals starting from Varalakshmi vratam in July and so many sweets.;-) Deepavali is the most famous and most celebrated of them all. This year Deepavali  falls on the 23rd of October this year. Starting today, I am going to post several Deepavali sweets and savories on this blog. One of the sweets I tried earlier this month was this very sweet and soft ‘Rasmalai’. Rasmalai originated from Odhisha, an Eastern State of India, from where it moved on to ‘West Bengal’ along with its elder sister, ‘Rosogulla’. If ‘Rosogulla’ is sweet, ‘Rasmalai’ is the sweetest! The preparation of ‘Rasmalai’ is similar to ‘Rosogulla’.  Unlike Rosogulla, we need to shape the chenna as round discs. You have to prepare chenna just like Rosogulla and boil it in sweet water. For Rasmalai, we also have to prepare a sweet sugary milk called the ‘Ras’ in which the chenna balls are soaked. Delectable isnt it?  If Deepavali is the ‘King of Sweets’, then this is the most fitting sweet for the king :-)

I followed the ‘Rosogulla’s recipe from Srimathi Meenakshi Ammal’s cookery book and adapted it to prepare the ‘Rasmalai’. Since the preparation is similar to Rosogulla, I re-used the preparation photos.

Rasmalai

Rasmalai

Rasmalai

Ingredients:

Chenna:

Whole milk – 1 litre(4 Cups)

Sugar for Chenna balls – 1 Cup

Water – 2 cups

lemon juice from 1 whole lemon

Ras:

Whole milk – 1 cup

Sugar – 1 cup

Saffron strands – 5 to 6

Elachi powder(Cardamom powder) – 1 tsp

Roasted pistas for garnishing

Preparation:

1. Boil 1 litre (4 Cups) of whole milk in a wide vessel. When the milk comes to a roaring boil, switch off flame and add the juice of one whole lemon while constantly stirring.

2. The milk will separate into cheese and whey. Using a tea filter, filter out the whey. Now wash the retained chenna in cold running water to remove any trace of lemon.

3. Hang the chenna in a cheese cloth for 1 hour. You should also keep a heavy object on the cheese cloth so that the pressure gets the water out.

4. While the chenna is getting dried, prepare ‘Ras’ by boiling 1 cup whole milk in a vessel along with 1 cup sugar, saffron strands, elachi powder. The milk has to reduce to half. Switch off the flame and set it aside

5. After one hour, using the paper towel, wipe out the any moisture. Now the chenna will look crumbly. (refer pic 1)

Rasmalai Steps

Rasmalai Steps

6. Spend the next 10 minutes in kneading the chenna to a fine dough (refer pics 2,3)

7. Make small round balls of chenna and then flatten them to form round disc. Keep the size small as they will double their size after boiling

8. Heat a mixture of 2 cups water and 1 cup sugar in a pressure cooker (preferably pressure pan). When the sugar water comes to a boil, carefully add the chenna discs one by one. Close the pressure cooker and let it cook for 1 whistle. After the first whistle, switch off the flame and let the pressure release on its own

9. When the pressure is released, open the cooker. You will notice that the chenna discs have doubled in size. With a ladle, carefully take a chenna disc. With another ladle lightly press the disc so that the sugar water is expelled. Now place it in a clean serving bowl

10. Repeat this for all other discs. Now spoon the prepared ras on the chenna. Garnish with roasted pistachio. Keep it chilled for a hour.

11. After an hour, you can serve the rasmalai in a serving bowl topped with roasted pistachios as a dessert.

  • 1 litre of milk yields almost 20 medium sized rasmalais

Panchamrutham – a healthy dessert

Panchamrutham 

The grand celebrations of the ‘Navarathiri’ festival have finally come to an end and we are wrapping up and stocking away those golu dolls till next year. Now on the kitchen front, I am left with a cornucopia of fruits (apples, bananas, grapes, rambuttan, mango, dates and pear), all nearing their expiry. How does one consume so many fruits? The answer is ‘Panchamrutham’.

Panchamrutham

Panchamrutham is a healthy and tasty dessert made with mixed fruits and jaggery. All you have to do is cut the fruits, mash the bananas, add the jaggery and voila you are done. You can call it the Indian fruit salad. In Chennai, temples usually serve Panchamrutham as an offering to the Gods. The Palani temple is known for its panchamrutham. At home, my dad usually prepares this dessert with all the remaining fruits in the fridge. This time, my husband prepared this wonderful panchamrutham. Here is the recipe…

Panchamrutham

Ingredients:

1. Mixed fruits and Bananas – I used apples, bananas, grapes, mango, rambuttan, dates, pear

2. Jaggery – start with 2 tbspn and add if needed

3. Ghee – 1 tsp

4. Cardamom – 3 or 4 pods crushed

5. Honey – 1 tbspn

6. Pachai karpooram (edible camphor) – 1 small piece

Preparation:

1. Mash the bananas and finely chop the fruits

2. In a big bowl, add the fruits, Jaggery, roughly crushed cardamom pods, honey and mix well.

3. take a small piece of pachai karpooram and powder it  on the panchamrutham

4. Mix well. Drizzle a tbspn of ghee

5. Let it rest for 30 mins. You will see that the water starts to come out of the fruits making the dish slightly soggy

6. This is the right consistency. Scoop into a bowl and serve with love!

  •  While you are preparing at home, you can get creative and use any fruit but you should not skip bananas.
  • After you mix in the fruits with the jaggery, you have to let it rest. Probably place it in the refrigerator. The more it marinades in the jaggery, the better it tastes

Navarathiri Day 9 – Black Chickpeas Sundal

Black Chickpeas Sundal

This is the last one on my Navarathiri series. Check out the nine different sundals from day 1 to day 9, here. This black chickpeas sundal is traditionally prepared on ‘Saraswathi Pooja’ day.

Black Chenna Kadalai Sundal

Ingredients:

1. Black Chickpeas – 1 Cup

2. Salt to taste

3. Oil to temper

4. mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

5. Coconut powder – 1/4 cup

6. Red Chilli – 1

Preparation:

1. Soak black chickpeas overnight in a deep vessel. The next morning, pressure cook black chickpeas with required salt and water for 2 to 3 whistles. You should be able to squish the black chickpeas between your fingers,

2. In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds followed by red chilli, coconut and cooked black chickpeas

3. Stir and transfer to a serving bowl.

Navarathiri Special Day 8 – Yellow Pattani Sundal

Yellow Pattani Sundal (Yellow Peas Sundal) 

I am racing with time to finish up the blog posts on Navarathiri. We prepared the ‘Yellow Pattani Sundal’ (Yellow dried peas) on the 8th day. Here is the recipe.

Yellow Pattani Sundal

Ingredients:

1. Yellow pattani – 1 Cup

2. Oil to temper

3. Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp

4. Coconut powder – 1/4 cup or lesser

5. Red Chilli – 2

Preparation:

1. Soak the peas in a deep vessel overnight

2. The next morning, pressure cook the dried peas with necessary water and salt for not more than 2 whistles

3. Let the steam release on its own

4. In a pan, heat oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, red chilli, coconut powder and the cooked peas

5. Carefully stir without breaking

6. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves