Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Guessing Game! Revealed.

Flowers which would soon turn into a beloved Veggie (I hope)! Can you guess?

Thanks all,for playing along.

It is Peas! Bee you got it! I knew you would, saw a pea plant in your blog too. So did Mandira, Deepa Cooks ,Linda (I think misled you by calling it a beloved veggie right? I love peas too) and Inji

Revathi, Asha, Gangadhar, Shaheen,Sia,Jyothi,Sandeepa and Deepa good guesses all. Thank you.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Chicken Liver Fry

Memorial Day: A Moment to honor our Veterans
The start of the Summer heralded by the long weekend is a time of fun but for the reminder by the parade of bikers who ride to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in the Nation's Capital to honor their fallen comrades the purpose of the holiday will be all but forgotten. I would like to take a moment to remember them.

Potomac River in all its glory (Reminds me of Cauvery River and home)

If this is one of those things that brings out the Ewww factor stop reading. Growing up I remember fighting for the lonely piece of Chicken Liver whenever chicken was cooked if at all it survived the cooking process getting so soft when cooked it might just get dissolved. Back home we buy chicken by the number, get the chicken that weighs as much as we want to buy, so the chances of more than one chicken liver is not likely.

Iron Content (7.5mg for 90 g)
There was a Blood Drive by the Red Cross at work. I proceeded to donate some, among the various that are done to better determine if it is ok to give blood, the nurse did one test where she dropped a drop of blood into a test tube of some solution and the blood just kept floating, it is supposed to sink. So she took another droplet of blood for the same test to be done in a machine which showed that my blood was borderline for iron. Another point to the left I would have been disqualified. Disqualified I was in the next test because of my visit to India 8 months ago. It must be a year before you can donate blood if you travel to a country where Malaria is prevalent.

This gave me a scare and prompted me to look for foods that are rich in iron content. Nothing can beat Chicken Liver in the iron content department. I had gone grocery shopping with a friend who bought a tub of Chicken Liver which prompted me to grab one too (usually I just walk past wondering what I would do with that much liver) and she also gave me a simple quick recipe.

Eating too much liver is not good because it also a significant source of Vitamin A. Read this story in Britons 'eating too much liver'. Well I did not know that Britons were fond of liver.

Chicken Liver Fry (Serves about 4 Liver Loving Adults)

1. Chicken Liver (20 oz) washed thoroughly and cut in half if needed
2. 1/2 Red Onion Sliced thin lengthwise
3. 2 cloves garlic sliced (optional)
4. 3/4 tbsp sambhar powder or chilli powder (if adding chilli powder add a tsp of cumin powder)
5. 2 Red Chillies broken and seeds removed
6. 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice or Vinegar
7. Salt to taste
8. 1/2 tbsp oil

1. Heat oil in a pan add the red chillies
2. Add the onions and saute till they start turning color
3. Now add the chicken liver pieces and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the powders and salt.
4. Put the lid on and cook for about 8 minutes or till the liver is cooked completely (the color should change from bright red to gray)
4. Open the lid add the lemon juice and cook till all the water evaporates and the spice is well coated.

Serve with rice as a side.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Black-Eyed Peas with Methi leaves

Young Author's Day and a Blog
It was Young Author's Day in DD's class yesterday and really glad was able to make it, it was great fun listening to the stories that these kids had made up. There is a great number of future authors for popular fiction, no doubt about that. Visiting activities at her class have always been fun and relaxing. The only thing they are during weekdays mornings and extreme planning has to go into being able to go. What amazed me most was the patience and respect that they gave to each author who was reading the story. Nobody made a sound or talked to their friends sitting next to them. It is little wonder that there are so many authors in the US and the book stores are filled with so many titles.

Well the downside (or is it upside?) of blogging is that everyone in the house wants to do it too. DD has been bugging me for a while now about starting her own blog. We made a deal that she has to come up with reasons to start her own blog and a name for the blog. The reason was made up in no time, the blog was going to house her poetry and fiction collection and she had a name ready "Cherry Blossoms". After much debate and going back and forth decided it was ok for her to have her own blog but I control the password but the typing and posting will be done by her.

I hit the last batch of Methi leaves that I had planted some time ago and wanted a special dish. NPR Kitchen Window had an article on Crete: Ancient Diet with Modern Message caught my eye, about how they eat the food produced from their land and sharing it with others a little like home. The recipe for Black-Eyed Peas with Fennel sounded like something I could try, but with Methi leaves in place of fennel. Guess any leafy green would work fine. Very few ingredients but very very tasty.

Recipe Source: NPR's Kitchen Window

Black Eyed Peas with Methi
1. 1/2 cup of Methi leaves (chopped both the leaves and stem)
2. 1 Medium Red onion Chopped fine
3. 1 1/2 Black-Eyed Peas soaked overnight
4. 3 garlic cloves chopped
5. 3 green chillies slit lengthwise
6. 1 tsp sambhar powder
7. 3 Red tomatoes chopped
8. 2 tbsps Tomato sauce
9. seasonings (cumin and curry leaves)
10. 1 tsp oil and salt

1. Cook the Black-Eyed Peas on the stove pot till soft.
2. In a pan heat the oil and add the seasonings and the green chillies.
3. Add the onion and saute till translucent
4. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes.
5. Add the chopped methi leaves and saute till they wilt.
6. Now add the tomatoes and saute till they turn soft and mushy.
7. Add the sambhar powder,salt and the tomato sauce mix.
8. Add the BE peas and cook till the liquid evaporates.

Serve with rice or chappathis.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day and Bell Pepper with Wadis

Happy Mother's Day

Present by DD2 (made in her painting class)

Bell Pepper with Wadis
Saw them on Mahanandi , read Anita's description of them and their birthplace and again watched Manisha's pictures. Well could not resist any longer. Went to the grocery store and asked for Wadis the shopkeeper thought seriously for sometime('what is this women asking for and in which language' is probably what went through her mind). I am not a Hindi speaker (blame it on the politicians in my home state, they thought we would be disadvantaged if we learnt Hindi as the 3rd language besides learning the 2 required ones) but thankfully she did figure it out. She gave me a box of 'Spicy Masala Bari' no wonder I did not find them when I searched for them high and low. It looked like choclate chip cookies for sure and DD2 wanted to taste it, try as I might she would not part with it, without a taste. Taste she did and then gave it back to me. It was SPICY.

I did not feel like potatoes and did not have egg plants, Bell Peppers is all I had and wanted to cook the Wadis. The smell when they were being cooked was something to savor and the taste was fantastic too. Thanks for the intro to a truly tasty find.

Recipe's original idea from Mahanandi and Mad Tea Party

Bell Pepper with Wadis

1. 3 Bell Peppers seeds removed and cubed
2. 1/2 red onion rougly chopped
3. 5 garlic cloves minced
4. 1/2" ginger grated
5. 3 tomatoes roughly chopped
6. 4 Wadis broken
7. 1 tsp cumin powder
8. 1/2 tbsp Corriander powder
9. 1/2 tsp sambhar powder
(did not add too much chilli powder then the kids won't touch it, the wadis were spicy by themselves)
10. 1 tsp tumeric powder
11. tamarind pulp about 1/4 cup
11. Salt to taste

1. Heat oil in a pan and fry the Wadis till they turn brown, set aside.
2. Add the onions and fry till translucent.
3. Add the garlic pieces and ginger and saute for a minute
4. Add the tomatoes mix them, cover with a lid and cook till they turn soft.
5. Add the powders and mix well.
6. Now add the bell peppers and saute for a few minutes, add the wadis
7. Add the tamarind juice and salt, cover and cook till the bell pepper is soft.
8. Open the lid and saute for a few minutes till the moisture is gone.

Serve with Chappathis.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Simple Lunches - 2

Blog Anniversary
I have been blogging for a little over a year now though it does not seem that long. Rattled past my first blog anniversary and 100th post without realizing the milestones. So just taking a moment to acknowledge what a pleasant ride it has been. My culinary skills have improved, have learnt a great deal about different cuisines, variation in recipes that I know very well, free time better spent (though this is a topic of debate, I have been accused of being blog addicted and it is also a reason for flared tempers at home) and the last but not the least the friendships that I have gained, it has truly enriched and taught me a great deal. I thank and acknowledge everyone of you who take the time visit my blog and leave a comment. You make my day!

Weekends leisurely pace gives me time to cook something different from rice. Family complains that they eat rice almost every day. Making chappathis does not come naturally, it is not time consuming per se but I like to make them when I have time.

Another Cauliflower and Potato Curry


1. 8-10 baby potatoes boiled to tender and cut in half
2. Half head of Cauliflower cut into florettes
3. 1/4 Red onion roughly chopped
4. 5 garlic cloved smashed and roughly chopped
5. 1/4 ginger grated
6. 1 tsp turmeric powder
7. seasonings curry leaves, 1 tsp cumin seeds

1. about 1/2 medium red onion chopped
2. 1 garlic clove
3. 2 medium sized juicy tomatoes chopped
4. 1 tbsp chicken masala powder or
1/4 tbsp cumin powder, 1/2 tbsp corriander powder, 1/4 tbsp chilli powder

Saute the above in a little bit of oil cool and blend to a paste

1. In a wide mouthed pan, heat a little bit oil add the seasonings and when the start to turn color
2. add the onions and saute till translucent
3. add the garlic and ginger and saute for a minute more
4. add the cauliflower and turmeric and saute for a few more minutes about 4-5 minutes
5. Add the potatoes, ground mixture and salt, mix well.
6. Add a 1/2 cup of water only if you want a watery gravy(family likes to dip their bread in the gravy)
7. Close the lid and cook till the cauliflower is tender.

Serve with chappathis.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Puttu and Kadala Curry

Hooray! I finally made it and wondering why I waited this long. I have longingly looked at all the blogs with the lovely Puttu and Kadala curry. But in the end it had to come to this to have me spring into action. The family complained loudly that they have been eating steamed rice for the past month and wanted something different. I am sure it has not been that long. I had rice flour and enough help from different blogs, to help me along the way. Puttu it was going to be. I also remembered Inji trying this without a Puttu tool and thanks to her detailed instructions.

Kadala Curry is something I cook often and eat with rice or chappathis mostly so eating it with Puttu was indeed different.

Kids loved eating Puttu with Sugar.