Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Dry Mushroom Masala

DD2 loves mushrooms and when my mother was here visiting she made a mushroom masala which seems to have become her favorite preparation. She called my mom got the recipe and decided to cook it herself and it did come out well.

The part that you have to be watchful about when making a dry masala dish with mushrooms is the moisture it releases once it starts to cook. You can add the masala after the water from the mushrooms has completely evaporated or add the masala in the beginning and then cook till most of the moisture is evaporated.

Wash and dry the mushrooms and cut into quarters.
Get the ingredients for the masala ready.
In a saute pan heat oil and saute the spices and when they start to turn color transfer to a blender.
In the same add more oil if required and saute the onions,garlic and ginger, transfer to the blender and blend to a fairly smooth paste.
In a wide mouthed pan heat oil add the seasonings and when the mustard starts to pop add the mushroo, and saute.
Add the blended masala and continue to cook till the water is evaporated and the masala is well coated .

Dry Mushroom Masala
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
  1. 2 lbs of mushrooms washed and cut 4s
  2. seasoning: mustard seeds and curry leaves
  3. salt to taste
  4. 1-2 tsp of oil
  5. For the masala
  6. a little less than 1/4 cup of onions chopped (use more if you want more masala)
  7. 2 cloves of garlic
  8. 1 inch of fresh ginger
  9. 1/2 tbsp of coriander seeds
  10. 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  11. 5-6 red chilies
  12. small piece of cinnamon stick
  13. few cloves

  1. In wide mouthed pan heat oil, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add in the cut mushrooms and let it cook. While the mushrooms are cooking get te masala paste ready.
  2. In a saute pan, heat oil and saute the coriander, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and red chilies till they start to turn color and give a good aroma.
  3. Transfer to a blender and in the same pan saute the onions, garlic and ginger till the onions become translucent and start to turn brown on the edges. Transfer to the blender and let cool and blend the onions along with the spices to a fairly smooth paste.
  4. AS the mushroom cooks it will release a lot of water. Let it cook for about 5-10 minutes and add in the masala paste and salt. Continue to cook till all the water is absorbed and the mushrooms are coated with the masala.

Serve with steamed rice or as a side.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Grain of the Week - 46 & 47 - Idli Rice

The softness and fluffiness of idli (Steamed rice and lentil cakes) to a large extent depends on rice than anything else. Idli perhaps can be made with any kind of parboiled rice or pulungal arisi. Not the parboiled rice which is glassy and translucent but the one that is opaque and white and not shiny. But the one that works best is what is sold as idli rice.

Short and opaque this rice is perfect for making idli. While any kind of rice can be used for making dosai, idli is a different matter altogether. When the rice is soaked and ground it should give a good amount of ground batter. Idly Ponni or IR 20 are the commonly used varieties of rice used for making idli.

PS: A friend on FB says the idli rice is called Kalla Muthu.

The process of soaking the rice and making idli is detailed in this post.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Thick Peanut chutney

Not everybody likes peanuts. Worse yet, some people are allergic to peanuts. This method of preparing chutney will not help those who are allergic to peanuts but will make it tolerable for those who do not like the overwhelming taste of peanuts.

We had a get together couple of weeks ago and a friend brought this chutney to the party and it was a big hit. Most people could not tell it had peanuts. In all the work in organizing a party I was not able to savor the taste of the chutney so I saved some of the leftover chutney to enjoy the next day. But when I looked for it the next day to eat with some idly the chutney had disappeared. DD had asked for it and grandma (yes my mom) gave it to her grandchild. No grandma says no to the grand child!

Even without this story what does a blogger that too a food blogger at that, when confronted with something that good do? Ask for the recipe of course and the recipe I received was written as good as or better than a food blogger. So here goes the recipe from my friend Vijaya Akka who originally got it from another friend but presented with her own modifications.

Spread the raw peanuts in a single layer on a microwave safe plate. Heat and cool in intervals as explained till the peanuts are just about cooked but not roasted.
Saute the red chilies, garlic and ginger in a tiny bit of oil. Powder the peanuts, salt and red chilies so the chilies are tiny specks.
Add the coconut, ginger and garlic and blend to a coarse mixture. Add the lime/lemon juice and mix.
Once the lime juice is mixed into the peanut chutney. In a saute add oil and fry the seasonings and add to the chutney.

The trick to making this chutney without the overwhelming peanut taste is to not to roast the peanuts fully. Roasting the peanuts fully and blending them makes them generate oil which is where the overwhelming peanut smell and taste comes from. Instead these peanuts are slow roasted, cooled and roasted again till they are barely out of their raw state but not more.

Thick Peanut Chutney
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:20 minutes
  1. 1 cup of raw peanuts
  2. 1/4 cup of grated fresh or frozen coconut
  3. 6 red chilies
  4. 2-3 cloves of garlic
  5. 1 inch piece of ginger
  6. salt to taste
  7. about 1-2 tbsp of lemon/lime juice (or as much needed)
  8. 1/2 tbsp of sesame oil (the recipe calls for a 1 tbsp of raw sesame oil or any vegetable oil)
  9. salt to taste
  10. seasonings
  11. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  12. 2 tsp urad dal
  13. 1 tsp channa dal
  14. 1 sprig curry leaves
  15. 1 dried chili cut in half
  16. Note:The amount of dal in the seasoning depends on how much crunch you want in the chutney, add more or less depending on taste.

  1. In a microwave safe plate, spread the peanuts in a single layer. Roast the peanut in the microwave in intervals. First microwave for 1 minute. Toss them around, cool for a minute. Then microwave for 30 seconds, stir, cool for 30 seconds. Repeat this process 5-6 times more till the peanuts are not raw anymore but are not roasted.
  2. In a saute pan heat 1/2 tsp of oil and saute the red chilies, garlic and ginger for about a minute or so. Set aside.
  3. Take the peanuts, salt and red chilies and powder till the chilies are blended to fine specks. Take care not to make the peanuts into a paste.
  4. Now add the coconut and blend to a coarse mixture. Add the lemon juice, mix and set aside.
  5. Get the seasonings ready, heat the rest of the oil (or just use a tsp of the oil and add the rest raw to the chutney) and when hot add the channa dal and saute till it turns starts to turn brown, add the urad dal next and saute till both are golden color, add the chili, mustard seeds and when the seeds pop add the curry leaves. Pour over the chutney. DO NOT mix the seasonings till it is time to eat. This keeps the dals crunchy and nice,
  6. Serve with idli or dosai. Taste good mixed with rice also.

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