Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sticky Mango Jam

I get all excited whenever I see recipes with mangoes like when I saw this one in the Washington Post Food section and then immediately enter a period of longing for all things mango that I left behind. In India of course.

Like I have mentioned before Ataulfo or Champagne mangoes seem to dull the ache a little bit. The article also says Tommy Atkins mangoes can be used but I have never seen one of those.

While the taste buds can be satiated a bit, the nose does not smell even a whiff of mango. In India you always knew that mangoes were in the house, the sweet smell is almost impossible to resist. This fantasy is pure nostalgia and we won't go there.

Those of you who are lucky to be enjoying luscious juicy mangoes choose which are not stringy. Include a partially ripe one for the best jam.

Peel the mangoes and dice them.
In a thick bottomed pan add the mangoes, lemon juice and sugar and in medium low heat melt the sugar.
Continue cooking in high heat till the foam subsides and do the plate test to see if the desired consistency has reached.

I set out to make jam but let it cook longer to get that sticky slightly thicker consistency to enjoy as a treat. They make great sandwich cookies or is great on crackers. It is up to your requirement to turn off the heat when the desired consistency has been reached.

Sticky Mango Jam
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:40-50 minutes
  1. 3 Chamgagne mangoes peeled and chopped into small dices
  2. juice from 1 lemon
  3. 1 1/4 cups of sugar

  1. In a thick bottomed pan, take the diced mangoes,sugar and 3/4ths of the lemon juice and in low heat get the sugar to melt. Keep stirring so it does not stick but gently so as to not to break the mango pieces.
  2. For the mixture not to stick to the sides is to squeeze the rest of the lemon juice on to the sides of the pot. This keeps the sugar from sticking to the sides.
  3. Bring the mixture to a slow boil and let it cook for about 30 minutes. It will be foamy and bubbling.
  4. Use a deep pot so the mixture does not boil over. Keep stirring at regular intervals. The mixture will be loose jam consistency at this point.
  5. Do the plate test - take a small plate and pour a drop of the jam, if it does not flow and is stationary in one spot. It has reached the consistency desired.
  6. To get it into sticky jam consistency I cooked for another 10 minutes.
  7. Let cool and transfer to sterilized glass jars.
  8. Note: For Sterilizing - I do not follow the long arduous process instead I put the glass jar in the microwave for 45 seconds and then fill it.
  9. The trick to avoid sugar from forming crystals on the sides of the pot I use the trick taught by my aunt. To squeeze or drizzle some of the lemon juice on the sides of the pot just about the sugar level and it mostly prevents the sugar crystals from forming.
  10. The jam is good for 3-4 weeks outside if it lasts that long.
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Monday, May 25, 2015

Spicy Fish Poriyal - Spicy Flaked Fish with Bell Peppers

I was reading this article,Training for Discontent which gave me goosebumps. Just like in the article there are pockets of affluent and highly educated areas exist all over the country (here in the US) where the situation is probably exactly the same. I bet this happens in India too. Kids are pushed to the limit and in the end they are not enjoying anything they do? Anyway lets say for arguments sake that our parents did similar things. That would have been sad really and where would that have left us? As completely unadjusted morons. But lucky for us our parents were smarter. I was under the wrong impression that us Asians had the dubious distinction of treating kids like they are machines who only have to do organized and managed activities and nothing else. This article opened my eyes to the fact that people of all colors and stripes are susceptible to the disease. So kids can go back to being kids we need to take medication to cure us parents of that achievement disease.

There are several things that kids need to learn and enjoy then being trained to become automatons. Don't get me wrong DD & DD2 have have to get good grades and try their best but I will feel terribly guilty if I push them to do organized activities to the exclusion of everything else. You can read the article and decide where you stand in that scale with respect to pushing kids to become igh achievers.

We all want the best for our kids so here is an opportunity to make something that the kids actually like.

This recipe came about when I did not have a plan as what to cook for lunch on a lazy weekend. I had a couple of bell peppers, some frozen fish (halibut I think it was) and a necessity to cook lunch quickly. This recipe came about that way. Nothing special but a quick and easy way to get something tasty done. This can be had with rice or wrapped in a tortilla or even chapathi or as a side with rice and some dal perhaps.

Spicy Fish Poriyal with Bell Peppers
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:20 minutes
  1. 5-6 filets of any firm fleshed fish cut into bite sized chunks
  2. 1/2 cup of thinly sliced red onion or shallots
  3. 2 bell pepper cored and diced
  4. 1/2 tbsp of red chili powder
  5. 2 garlic cloves diced
  6. 1 tsp of ginger grated
  7. 3-4 green chilies cut really small(optional)
  8. salt to taste
  9. 2-3 tsp of oil
  10. seasonings: cumin seeds

  1. In a wide mouthed pan or cast iron pan heat the oil and when hot add the cumin seeds followed by the green chilies if using and onions and saute till they are just about turning translucent. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add in the bell peppers and let them cook on medium high heat for about 7-8 minutes till the bell pepper starts to change color.
  3. Add the chili powder and salt and mix it in well.
  4. Add in the fish and let it cook for 3-4 minutes by which the fish should be completely cooked. Make sure to handle the fish gently.
  5. Turn the heat to high to let all the water evaporate and then give a good mix and turn off the heat.
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

More Spring Flowers - Guess! - Revealed

Flower 1 - Thyme
Flower 2 - Sage

Some more Spring Flowers for your viewing pleasure. You are welcome to take a guess as to what plant the flowers belong to.

Beautiful aren't they? These pretty tiny light purple flowers? Flower 1:

How about these? Flower 2:

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