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Archive for October, 2008

Mexican Fiesta

In the past month or so our Saturday nights are spent mostly at home. No its not the economic tough times. Its the football season. This year thanks to Fantasy football and all other kinds DH is now a regular football watcher. I almost give up on DH on Saturday,Sunday and oh yes,Monday too!. My liking for football stops at the kickoff-song by Faith Hill every Sunday night. At the “whats for dinner? ” discussion DH suggested he was craving the enchiladas I make. So Mexican it was for Saturday night- Chicken enchiladas, Spanish Rice and Guacamole

Chicken Enchiladas

I do accept that this recipe uses store bough enchilada sauce,however this does not compromise the taste.You can use other sauce recipes from online,as also you can make the enchiladas vegetarian by using mushrooms,spinach,carrots etc as stuffing.

Ingredients
1 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 flour tortillas
1 medium onion, sliced long
1 green pepper(capsicum) sliced long(julienned)
red pepper
El Paso Enchilada Sauce
El Paso Taco Seasoning
1 cup Fiesta Cheese
( Note: the sauce,seasoning and cheese are easily available at any grocery store in the US)

Preparation

  1. Defrost the chicken breast and cut it into small pieces.about and inch long and 1/2 inch thick. marinate the chicken for about 15 mins with the taco seasoning and chilli powder
  2. In a sauce pan, heat oil and saute the onions and green peppers. Add some seasoning to the mixture while sauting. Once sauted well,set aside in a bowl
  3. in the same sauce pan, heat some more oil and drop the marinated chicken and let it cook well.
  4. When the chicken is cooked well, with a fork and spoon you can pull apart the chicken to give it that pulled meat look. This step is optional.
  5. When the chicken is cooked completely, drop back the green pepper onion mixture and cook everything for a couple of mins
  6. Add 1/2 can of the enchilada sauce to the mixture and let it all come together to a boil.Add salt if needed.
  7. Lastly add cheese to the mixture and turn off the heat
  8. To assemble the enchiladas you will need an oven proof baking dish. Spray the dish with cooking spray. Take a tortilla and fill it with the chicken mixture and roll and lay it seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with all tortillas,laying them tightly next to each other
  9. Top the rolled-tortilla assembly with the leftover enchilada sauce and let it flow around.
  10. Top with some more cheese.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 mins are 350F

Spanish Rice

This was my first time trying Spanish Rice. Usually I cooked store bought taco rice or spanish rice. I improvised on a recipe from the book Quick Fix Meals by Robin Miller which dear friend K gifted me, autographed by the author and all.

Ingredients
1 cup Basmati rice
1/2 cup canned and drained black beans
8-10 medium shrimp
1 tbsp kraft barbeque Sauce
Mccormicks Salmon Seasoning(or any Cajun seasoning)
red chilli powder
cumin powder
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped green and red pepper
1/4 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf
Chopped Cilantro for garnish

Preparation

  1. Cook rice as usual,but add some salt while cooking. A couple of minutes before being done,drop the black beans into the rice. The black beans are pre cooked so we really need to just get them some heat.Drain the rice-bean mixture and set aside to cool.
  2. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan.Saute the slivers of garlic in the oil till brown.
  3. Saute onions and green-red peppers next.
  4. Drop the bay leaf into the mixture
  5. When the mixture softens add shrimp.If the shrimp are large chop the shrimp into 1/2 inch pieces. Let the shrimps cook well.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes , salmon/cajun seasoning,red chilli powder and sumin powder and cook well till oil leaves the sides and tomatoes soften.
  7. Add the bbq sauce for that smoky flavor
  8. Let the entire mixture cook and come to a boil.Add salt if needed.
  9. Layer the rice-bean mixture on top of the sauce. DO NOT mix yet. Cover with a plate and steam cook (cover th pan with a plate,then pour water on the plate to seal the steam in) for few mins on low flame.
  10. Turn off heat and top with chopped cilantro and mix the rice and sauce just before ready to serve.

Guacamole

Ingredients
1 avocado
2 tbsp finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp finely chopped tomatoes
1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
chopped chilantro
lime juice
cumin powder
salt
sugar

Preperation

  1. Cut and scoop out the insides of the avocado and max it all up.
  2. Add red onion,tomatoes,jalapeno peppers,cilantro,limejuice,cumin powder,salt and sugar to the mashed avocado and mix it all together
  3. Serve chilled.
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Who is awake?

I am sure the title of the post has caught you by surprise,but thats the essence of “Kojaagari Purnima”. This festival is celebrated on the full moon day of the the month of Ashwin (Sept-Oct). It marks the end of monsoon and beginning of harvest season. It is belived that on the night of Kojagari,the goddess of Kojaagari, Laxmi, moves place to place asking “Who is awake?” (“Kojagarti?”) and blesses those she finds awake. So on this day people sit up late and enjoy the moonlight, while munching on light snacks and a must have beverage- Masala Doodh.

Growing up we did not celebrate this day. However, my ILS have done so for years. DH has these wonderful stories about spending the night on their buildings rooftop. Now I continue to do my part of keeping the tradition going. So tonights spread for Kojaagari was – Bhel,Shev-Batata Puri and Masala Doodh. I am sure have already tried the first two items on the menu. Believe me any Indian, and more so a Mumbaikar knows what-how-where of Bhel and Shev Puri. So lets move our focus to Masala Doodh

Masala Doodh (Masala Milk)

Ingredients

2 cups Milk (2%)
10 pistachios (de-shelled)
6 almonds( preferably skin on)
Kesar Milk Extract
1/2 teaspoon cardamon powder
1/2 cup sugar

Preparation

  1. Set the milk to boil on low heat
  2. When the milk gets warm enough add sugar and let it heat.Make sure you boil it on low heat so as not to burn the milk.
  3. Meanwhile, in a spice grinder, grind the pistachios and almonds to a coarse powder. Almost the consistency o store bought bread crumbs.
  4. When the milk boils, add the pistachio-almond powder, the cardamon and about 4 drops of the Kasar Milk Extract
  5. Let it boil a few mins till the milk has reduced a little. The thicker the better, but you dont have to reduce it to half.
  6. Ladle in glasses and enjoy in the moonlight

Note
If you havent done so already,Supreme Spice’s Kessar Milk Extract and Tea Masala are worth the buy. I use the Kesar Milk Extract in all sweets,kheer,sheera,milk,shrikhand. And at 5$ its def cheaper than those dry-non-coloring-Kesar boxes you find at Indian store.

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Dal Fry

Ingredients

1 cup tuvar dal
1 big red onion
3 roma tomatoes
5-6 cloves
5-6 black peppers
nutmeg powder
2-3 bay leaves
turmeric
chilli powder
dhania powder(coriander powder)
jeera powder
ginger-garlic paste
garam masala
jaggery
1 tbsp kasuri methi
cilantro for garnish

Preparation

  1. Boil(in pressure cooker) one cup tuvar dal separately.
  2. Cut onion and tomato length wise.
  3. In a large vessel,take some oil ,when oil heats up,to it add cloves,nutmeg,black pepers and bay leaves.You can replace these with off the shelf powders except for bay leaves
  4. When the spices brown a little,add the onion and let it brown.Then add the tomatoes
  5. Now add,turmeric,red chilli powder,dhania powder,jeera poweder,ginger garlic paste,some garam masala and salt
  6. Mix well.Let it cook till the oil separates.
  7. Add the cooked dal and bring to a boil
  8. Lastly add a little jaggery and some crushed kasuri methi for added flavour.Garnish with cilantro

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Dosakai/Parval (Gourd Curry)

A few weeks back I came across a strange looking vegetable in the indian store.It looked like a tomato sized pumpkin crossed with a cucumber.Come to find out that its a vegetable called Dosakai(which mostly south indians use in sambar etc).Both mummy and aai had no idea about how to use this.So googled some recipes for Dosakai,when I couldnt find any i decided to improvise on this one

You could use this recipe for any time of gourd.

Any Gourd Curry (Dosakai)
one or two Dosakai ,scrape the skin and remove the seeds of the cucumber and make big chunks

( if using ridge gourd,2 young looking, fresh ridge gourds. Scrape the skin and ridges, wash, then cut into bite size pieces)

Ingredients
Small can of diced tomatoes
1 onion finely chopped
4 green chillies
1 tablespoon finely grated coconut
½ tsp of dhania(coriander) powder
turmeric
salt
Fodni Ingredients
1tsp each of mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves & minced garlic

Preparation

  1. Heat oil, do the fodni, saute onions, tomatoes and green chillies.
  2. Add chopped ridge gourd and all the seasoning. Stir to mix and cook,covered.
  3. The gourd is high in water content,that plus tomato gives away enough water.So no need to add extra water unless necessary.
  4. Cook till ridge gourd pieces are tender and the sauce thickens.
  5. Serve it warm.

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Goan Prawn Curry

Ingredients
20-25 prawns(medium sized)
1 small yellow onion

For the curry
1/2 cup (1 wati) fresh grated coconut1 can coconut milk1 tablespoon chilli powder (depends on how spicy you want)1/4 tsp turmeric1 tsp tamarind paste1/4 tsp black pepper

Preparation

  1. Apply salt (not too much) and defrost shrimp(prawns). This will take 15-20 mins
  2. Blend ingredients for the curry in a mixer till the grated coconut is blended fine.
  3. Dice the onion .Add oil in pan and fry the onion till its soft
  4. Add the salted prawns to the onion and let it cook for 2-3 minutes
  5. Add ground masala now and also some water till you get right consistency .Boil on medium for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Enjoy with chapatis or rice!

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At first this recipe may not sound very tempting,but trust me the balsamic vinegar-honey-garlic combination gives it that sweet-sour-spice flavour which I cannot put in words.I picked this recipe from the Tv show Everyday Italian and modified it for cod.I believe any white fish fillets will taste good with this. This dish requires you to prepare ,marinate and refrigerate the fish the for more than an hour in advance.But it is well worth it

Cod with Balsamic Glaze
Ingredients
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons honey, depending how sweet you want it
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cod fillets
Nonstick cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Whisk the vinegar, honey, oil, and garlic in a bowl. Arrange cods in an 8-inch square or round baking dish. Pour marinade over the fish, coating it completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours.
  2. Preheat the broiler. Line the bottom and sides of a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Remove fish from marinade, reserving marinade, and arrange the fillets atop the baking sheet. Pour the marinade into a heavy small saucepan. Broil the fillets until they are just cooked through and caramelized on top, about 12 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile bring the marinade to a boil and simmer until it thickens slightly and becomes syrupy, whisking often, about 15 minutes. Spoon off any excess oil from the sauce, if desired.
  4. Transfer the fillets to plates. Spoon the sauce over and around the fillets, and serve.

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This bhaji is semi dry and tastes great with hot chapatis.The moong dal and shepu ratio is almost 1:1.i.e. you see as much as yellow in this bhaji as you see the green.Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 cup shepu(dill,chopped coarsely)
1 cup mugdal
1 large onion diced
1 tsp ginger paste
1 large green chilli
turmeric
1 cup water

Preparation

1. Soak Mugdal for an hour before preparation
2. Heat oil and add one whole green chilli (uncut)
3. When chilli browns,add onion and fry the onion till transparent
4. Add the mugdal.Mix well.
5. Then add turmeric and very little ginger paste
6. Add shepu Mix well.
7. Add water and pressure cook.(do not whistle,turn off cooker before the whistle)
8. When cooker cools open and add salt.
9. Cook till all the water evaporates.Do not overcook,dal should be semi-cooked

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