Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Vendhaya Keerai Kara Kuzhambu - Methi Kara Kuzhambu

I have been sporadic in making my appearance here with postings, not because I have not been cooking but because of too many things going on. Each vying for attention and time and the blog does not get the attention it needs. So bear with me for some time.

The recipe for this spicy and very tasty fenugreek leaves (vedhaya keerai/methi) curry was given by a friend 'G' who had brought this for a potluck. Her neatly typed recipe sat in my email box for close to 2 years! One thing I blame it on is the recipe asks for Kasoori methi(dried fenugreek leaves) which I usually do not keep in stock and been forgetting to buy it on every visit. I bought fresh methi leaves and decided to give it a go with that instead.

I am not sure how something as tasty as this curry had to languish for this long. Just that tamarind curries have become a casualty of reducing white rice intake. A spicy curry means more consumption of insane quantities of rice. Hence my waning obsession with these curries is not as high as before. That does not mean I don't like these anymore. Anyway ...

The only alteration I made was reducing the amount of tomatoes that was used. The tomato sauce will definitely give more volume if you were making this in a large quantity. She mentioned that this was based off of a recipe by Revathi Shanmugham. I liked the fresh methi leaves in the curry but feel free to try with kasoori methi.

Saute the onions for the paste and blend to a paste with coconut and cumin seeds and set it aside.
Heat oil and add the seasonings followed by the onions and garlic. When the onions brown, add the tomatoes.
Saute till the tomatoes get mushy. Add in the methi leaves and saute till it wilts.
Add in the turmeric, coriander and red chili powder, mix it well and then add the tamarind pulp, salt and if using tomato sauce. Bring to a boil for about 6-8 minutes.
Add in the spice paste and mix it in. Add about 1 cup of water if required and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves and curry leaves.

Serve with steamed white rice for a lip smacking tasty treat.

Vendhaya Keerai Kara Kuzhambu - Methi Kara Kuzhambu
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
  1. 2 bunches of fenugreek leaves (vendhaya keerai, methi) picked over and stems removed (about 2 cups packed) OR 1 handful Kasoori Methi
  2. 15-20 small onions chopped or 1 cup chopped red onion
  3. 6-8 garlic cloves sliced or whole
  4. 3 tomatoes chopped (if also using tomato sauce reduce to 1 or 2)
  5. tomato sauce (8 oz) (optional, I did not use it)
  6. 1 cup of tamarind pulp from a small lemon size ball of tamarind or 1/2 tbsp of tamarind paste
  7. 1 tbsp red chili powder
  8. 1 1/2 tbsp coriander powder
  9. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  10. seasonings: curry leaves (a spring or two), mustard seeds, cumin seeds and 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
  11. a handful of coriander leaves (optional)
  12. 3 tsp oil
  13. salt to taste
  14. For the spice paste
  15. 2 tbsp of fresh or frozen coconut
  16. 4-5 shallots or 1/4 cup chopped red chopped
  17. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  18. In a little bit of oil saute the onions and blend to a smooth paste along with the coconut and cumin seeds.

  1. In a wok or heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and add the seasonings, fenugreek seeds followed by the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Add the curry leaves when the mustard starts to pop.
  2. Add in the onions and saute till the onions are translucent followed by the garlic and saute till the onions start to brown.
  3. Add in the fresh methi leaves or kasoori methi if using and saute till they wilt.
  4. Add in the tomatoes and saute till they get really mushy.
  5. Add in the coriander, turmeric and red chili powder and mix it in.
  6. Once the methi leaves and tomatoes are cooked, add in the tamarind extract, salt and the tomato sauce if using and let it boil for about 6-8 minutes.
  7. Add in the coconut paste and let it cook on low medium for about 5-6 minutes.
  8. Add in the coriander leaves and more curry leaves if you'd like.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Plum Blossoms!

Will be back soon! Have not disappeared into cyber hollow yet!

Spring is here and the trees and plants are in full bloom! Enjoy some Plum Blossoms. The first in our tree :)

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Shrimp Bruschetta

We went to this restaurant for DD2's basketball end of party. The restaurant chosen for this kinds of events are usually tolerant of noise, crowd and the trash the kids seems to generate. This all but ensures that pizza is the star and the rest of the food is usually not top notch but bearable. That night couldn't stand one more slice of pizza so I settled on one of the dinner specials for that day Bruschetta Shrimp. Boy was I surprised?

It tasted much better than I expected and I was glad I ordered it and I could not wait to try it out for myself but with a bit more spice kick. Needless to say it was a big hit.

I used baguette but made the mistake of buying slightly thin ones. A slightly broader baguette will be good for holding a bit more of the topping. The cheese makes a big difference, so use one that you like and is gooey. I do not like raw onion so I soak it in lime juice to take the pungency away. This is also purely optional.

We had them for lunch on a weekend but these are perfect for a snack or even a light dinner.

Recipe in pictures,

Clean the shrimp and chop into pieces. Prepare the shallots by squeezing lime and adding the chopped jalapenos.
Get the tomatoes ready and cook the shrimp with chili powder and salt.
Slice the bread and brush it with olive oil and toast it in a 400F toaster oven on both sides. Once toasted place the sliced cheese on the bread and put it back in the oven to melt.
Place some pesto on the cheese bread.
Add onions and tomatoes on the cheese and is ready to serve.

Serve it as an appetizer or like we did have it as a meal.

Shrimp Bruschetta
Preparation Time:20 minutes
Cooking Time:15 minutes
  1. 2 Baguette
  2. olive oil for brushing
  3. 1 cup of chopped shallots or red onion
  4. juice from one lime (optional)
  5. about 2 cups of finely chopped tomatoes
  6. 2 tbsp of finely chopped jalapeno peppers
  7. mozzarella cheese
  8. Sun dried tomato pesto (optional)
  9. For the Shrimp
  10. 1/2 lb of shrimp
  11. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  12. 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  13. salt to taste
  14. 1 tsp of oil

  1. Squeeze the lime juice into the chopped shallots or onions and set it aside for couple of hours. Add in the chopped jalapenos. If you are not using lime juice just added the chopped jalapenos to the onions and set it aside.
  2. Wash and shell the shrimp and chop into small pieces. Wash with turmeric powder and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a saute pan and when hot add the shrimp pieces. Saute for a couple of minutes. Add in the salt and chili powder and saute for 4-5 minutes till the shrimp is fully cooked. Set aside.
  4. Cut the baguette diagonally into thin slices. Brush with olive oil and bake in the toaster oven at 400F on both sides for about 4 minutes each.
  5. Slice the mozzarella cheese as thick or thin as you like and place on the toasted bread and again bake in the 400F oven till it melts.
  6. Place a bit of the pesto, onions, shrimp and tomatoes on the cheese topped bread and enjoy them while still warm.

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Brown Rice with Green beans and Peanuts - One Pot Meal in a Pressure Cooker

I bet all of you are following the Republican Primaries with either trepidation, elation or disgust. At least those are the reactions which people have when describing how they feel. I was speaking to one who said he is embarrassed by what people in other countries will think of America. Another was elated that Trump will show how strong America can be without bending over backwards and heard this comment from a young lady in the row behind me in the airplane. She was annoyed at the Republican candidates behaving like petulant children. That is perfect description for these candidates.

I on the other hand am ready to watch the fun. We don't have cable TV which helps but I can't stand any of them running for office and don't care about any of them in either party anyway. If Bush made Obama possible, Obama made Trump possible. It is a swift race to the bottom of the civility track. The losers most definitely are we the people.

That is that and we will move on to some other interesting stuff for now. Like this amazingly simply one pot meal with brown rice. Peanuts is one of those things that is very popular around our house and we all prefer boiled peanuts to roasted peanuts. While it is not that easy finding fresh peanuts, dried raw peanuts are available anytime. Combined with green beans this one pot meal is just the thing for a busy weekday dinner.

If you are not fond of peanuts you can use any beans or peas or corn. You can cook this meal on the stove top but I prefer using the pressure cooker. It is a quick weak night meal after all. If pressure cooker is not your thing, saute the spices and vegetables and mix with the rice and transfer to a electric cooker and then go about your business.

Brown Rice with Green beans and Peanuts
Preparation Time:15 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
  1. 2 cups of brown wash and soak for about 20 minutes (I used Sona Masuri brown rice)
  2. 2 cups of chopped onions (the more the better)
  3. 1 tbsp of grated ginger
  4. 2-3 chopped or grated garlic (optional)
  5. 2-3 cups of cut green beans
  6. 1 cup of raw peanuts
  7. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder or about 6 slit green chilies
  9. 1/2 tsp cumin powder + 1 tsp pepper powder
  10. salt to taste
  11. 3 tsp of oil
  12. seasonings: stat anise, cloves and bay leaves

  1. In a pressure cooker add oil and when hot add the seasonings and let them be in the hot oil for a minute.
  2. Add in the onions and saute till they are nice and brown. Add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute more.
  3. Add in the turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin and pepper powders and mix it in.
  4. Add in the green beans and give a good mix, followed by the rice and mix it in.
  5. Add in the peanuts and mix. Add the required amount of water (for brown rice 1 : 1.5 cups of water).
  6. Add salt and let the water come to a boil. Place the lid and weight and cook for 3 whistles.
Serve with some raita and applam (pappad).

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Stream ...

The thing is - flowing water is soothing to the mind and soul and I am not immune to its charms. Just like watching rain, swimming fish and falling snow, flowing water keeps you engrossed for minutes together.

Creative types will certainly have their creative juices flowing when they are around such beauty. Me on the other hand am not that creative :(. I get my camera and try to capture the beauty. I am not always successful for the aforementioned reason.

If you look at the stream closely they will can sure tell you a story. Gurgling and flowing rapidly in the spring,placid and low in the summer and hardly moving in the winter I bet you can tell I like water, especially streams and rivers.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Like what you are reading? Subscribe!