Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pazham moru koottan

NOTE: This post is several months old....It has been languishing in my drafts for quite a while now.
A few years back, if someone had told me that I'd make plans to meet up with several random people known to me only through the internet, I would have said it is downright crazy. But that is just what I did yesterday. And the funny thing is, it is not even the first time I am doing it. I've met fellow food bloggers twice and mommy bloggers once.
So this time round, as a seasoned "blogger meet"-er, I walked in without even noting down the phone numbers of the people I was meeting. And then, as I got closer to the venue, I am I supposed to recognize them? There's only one person here that I've met and one whose face I am familiar with through her FB profile. I am the kind of person who can't remember faces that I've seen in real how am I going to remember an FB profile face? If worst came to worst, I could always identify all-female groups and walk up to them as say, Are you food bloggers?
Luckily, I didn't have to resort to that as my face-recognizing skills seem to have become soon as I walked in, I saw Lata waiting in the lobby. Identifying the rest of the group wasn't too difficult, mostly because Lata knew them or because they were familiar with her FB profile photo. Conversation and food, both were in plenty and thoroughly enjoyed.
The day after the meet found me wanting to make something simple, yet flavourful....and I resorted to an old favourite - moru koottan, which loosely translates to buttermilk side dish.
Moru koottan is a tangy, spicy dish that is made with curd, coconut and green chillies. Usually, ash gourd, colocascia, yam and fried okra are the veggies added to it. In my family, we make a version that uses ripe nenthra pazham - a variety of plantains that Kerala is famous for. This koottan is a lovely blend of three different tastes - tanginess from the sour curd, sweetness from the plantains, and spiciness from the chillies.
Mixed with rice and served with a side of spicy roasted potatoes and papadums, this is foodie heaven.

What you need:
Nenthrapazham (Kerala plantain) - 1, diced
Coconut - 1/2 cup, grated
Green chilli - 3
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Sour curd - 1.5 cups (beaten till smooth)

Add some water to the diced plantains. Add salt and turmeric powder. Boil on low heat for a few minutes until the plantains become soft, but not mushy.
Grind the coconut and green chillies to a smooth paste,using some of the sour curd for grinding.
Add this to the simmering mixture and let it boil for a few minutes until the raw smell is gone.
Now add the remaining curd and stir well. When it starts frothing, switch off the heat.
Heat some (coconut) oil. Add mustard seeds, a broken red chilli, some curry leaves and a few methi seeds to it. When the mustard seeds pop, pour this over the koottan.

1)The plantains used should be just ripe....not overripe...the skin should be yellow, with no signs of blackening.
2)The curd should be sour. I usually leave mine on the kitchen counter overnight to make it sour.
3)Use your discretion to decide how much curd is needed. Start with a cup and then, based on whether you want a more watery gravy or not, alter the quantity.
4)After adding curd to the koottan, you should not let it boil. As soon as it starts frothing, you should switch off the stove.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Samba rava cutlet

A snack, google search tells me, is a small portion of food, as opposed to a traditional meal. To me, snacks are a meal. I prefer munching on snacks to proper sit down meals. Here is an easy-to-make snack which uses ingredients that are mostly available in an Indian kitchen. The recipe is from a cookery show on Vijay TV.
What you need:
Samba rava(wheat rava) - 1 cup
Potato - 3, medium sized, boiled, peeled and mashed
Carrot - 1, grated
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp
Green chilli - chopped
Ginger- a small piece, chopped fine
Garlic - a few cloves, minced
Corriander leaves - a few, chopped fine
Onion - 1, chopped fine
Oil - for deep frying

Soak samba rava in water for an hour. Drain. Squeeze out all the water and transfer to a large bowl. Mix all the other ingredients and knead well. Pinch out small balls of the dough, flatten between your palms and deep fry in hot oil until well browned on both sides.

This can be eaten as it is with some ketchup.
I sandwiched it,along with some raw onion, tomato, cheese and ketchup, between two slices of bread.

This goes to Priya's Bookmarked recipes-every Tuesday event.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Diwali sweet from Assam

Over the last few days, most TV channels have been featuring recipes for Diwali. One such recipe that caught my attention is this sweet from Assam. I am not sure what it is called.....the lady said something that sounded like Bihu Mitha. If any of you are familiar with this dish and know its name, please do let me know.

To make it, you need:
Maida/all purpose flour - 1 cup
Rice flour - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Curd - 2 tbsp
Oil - for deep frying

Knead all these ingredients together to a smooth pliable dough. It should be similar to chapati dough. If you follow these measurements, you need not add any water while kneading. However, if you feel the dough is too hard, add a little bit of water and knead.
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed kadai. Pinch small balls of the dough. Pat it into a thick circle using your palms. Make a small depression in the middle and deep fry in hot oil, turning over once or twice until both sides are brown in colour.
Drain excess oil.

What I think of the dish:
This is definitely an easy-to-make sweet. It tastes really good - almost like adhirasam. The outer part turns nice and crisp with a bite to it on cooling and the inner part remains soft, giving it a wonderful texture.