Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Turkey Jhalfrazie

My leftover turkey/chicken from Christmas dinner is always made into a jhalfrazie. What is a jhalfrazie? It is a dry kind of stir-fry, if you will, usually made with leftover meats, which have been marinated and cooked, and fried with lots of green peppers and onions. In the British days, the cooks would reconstruct leftover meats into a new dish and that is how this term came into being. The authentic jhalfrazie or should I say the restaurant jhalfrazie is made out of leftover tandoori meats, but I don't follow any such rules. My dish has a American-Italian-Indian-Chinese flavor to it, that's why it's a stir-fry. American because of the poultry seasoning on the turkey, Italian because of the pesto, Indian because of the curry paste, Chinese because of the soy sauce and sesame oil, and so I rest my case.The turkey was made with the Cilantro Pesto, the pesto recipe was the one I submitted to Kalyn's Kitchens Holiday Herb Blogging event.

Leftover marinated and cooked Turkey or Chicken cut into cubes about 2 cups

1 clove garlic minced

1 tsp ginger minced

1 green chilli minced

2 tbsp onion minced

1 tsp Curry Paste(Okay still working on putting links to previous posts, haven't figured that one out, pls help)

1 green pepper cut into strips

1 onion cut into cubes

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

Heat the oil, add the minced garlic, ginger, green chilli, and onion. Saute till golden add the green pepper strips and onion cubes stir on high heat, add turkey and curry paste, and keep stirring till well combined. Add soy sauce, stir. Serve hot with rice, rotis or use as a filling in a tortilla wrap.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Curry Paste

This curry paste is always in my fridge, I usually make it fresh about once a week, can be frozen too. It's a basic curry paste and you can embellish it to whatever your cooking. I use this paste as a fish or chicken marinade. To make a tandoori paste just add yogurt and garam masala to it. I also use it in Chinese or Thai cooking. When making a curry, I just saute some onions, and this paste and tomatoes, fry well, add coconut milk and veggies or chicken, and it's done.

Pretty versatile huh!!!

Whole head of garlic

2 inch fresh ginger

2 tbsp vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

Blend till smooth. Keep in plastic or glass containers, avoid metal containers as there is vinegar in it. IThe vinegar and salt act as preservatives.

Indian Masala Seasoning

Kalyn's Kitchen's herb blends inspired me to make my own seasoning blend with a Indian twist, I usually give Chai Tea Mix, and a Pulao Mix as Christmas gifts. I am a teacher too and have a lot of co-workers that I usually give gifts to, so this seasoning blend would be something different. I do have some staunch fans for my Chai Tea Mix, and they ask me every year for it. Anyway here goes my Indian Masala recipe. This seasoning can also be used for tandoori chicken/vegetables/fish, by mixing some yogurt and salt to the masala and marinating in it and then broiling it. Yummy !!!!

4 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp ginger powder
2 tbsps onion powder
2 tbsp chilli powder
3 tbsp cumin powder
4 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried parsley
1 tbsp garam masala powder
1 tsp turmeric

Mix everything until combined. This seasoning can be used on chicken, turkey, pork, fish, and any vegetables as a rub or a marinade. Can be used instead of curry powder too.

If you don't have garam masala just mix 1 tsp clove powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp cardamon powder, a pinch nutmeg.

Thanks for the idea, Kalyn.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

2006 Colorado Blizzard

My backyard

My frontyard

Just outside my back door
My patio table and grill

Indian Pan Potato Fries

My son is addicted to potatoes in any form, especially fries, hash browns, potato cutlets, mashed potatoes in that order. So I'm always thinking of ways to make these. But he likes these Indian French fries, better than the ones from the drive-thru. Which makes me feel better as I can control all the ingredients. Instead of pan frying like I did, you could bake it in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.
4 large Potatoes
2-4 tbsp Oil as needed
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
A pinch of Asafoetida
1/2 tsp Chilli powder
1/2 tsp Salt

French cut the potatoes, I use a French Fry Cutter, makes my life easy. Add 1 tbsp water and nuke in the microwave for 5 minutes. Drain. Heat oil in a large frying pan, add cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add potatoes once the cumin seeds get a little golden. Leave the pan on medium heat and keep stirring occasionally till the potatoes get a nice golden color and turn kind of crispy. Once done add salt and chilli powder, and stir for a few minutes and then serve.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cilantro Pesto

An Indian take on pesto, and I like the kick the green chillies give. I started making this pesto as I would always have cilantro in the fridge, and after a week, I had to use it up or trash it. This freezes well too, I use the pesto for pastas, dips, spreads, marinades, and even in some curries.
I used this pesto for my Thanksgiving turkey breast, just put the pesto under the skin and some spice rub on the top and bake as usual.

Cilantro leaves about 2 cups I add the stems too
Almonds 2 tbsp
Garlic cloves 2
Ginger 1/2 inch
Green Chillies 2
Peppercorns 5
Salt 1/2 tsp
Olive Oil 1/3 cup

Blend cilantro, almonds, garlic, ginger, green chillies, peppercorns, and salt to taste. Drizzle olive oil while letting the blender run. If using for pasta add parmesan cheese while mixing in with the pasta.

Oven Chicken Fry

What with the Blizzard in Colorado, I was getting antsy sitting at home, and then I started thinking about food, and had visions of whipping up some exotic dish. Anyway I decided to make some regular chicken fry instead, but in the oven. This is such a regular dish in Mallu households, and invariably I had some chicken marinating in the freezer. It is normally a high calorie dish because it is fried in oil, but baking and broiling it cuts down on some of the calories. I'm trying to be careful with my diet, and cuting down on fats as much as I can.

3 Boneless chicken breasts cubed into 1 inch pieces
Ginger paste 1tbsp
Garlic paste 1tbsp
Red chilli powder 2tbsp
Fennel seeds powder 1 tsp
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Cornflour 2 tbsp
Vinegar 1tbsp
Salt to taste

Mix all the spices, cornflour, vinegar, and salt well. Then add to the chicken. Marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place aluminium foil on a cookie sheet spray lightly with oil, place chicken on the foil, and spray chicken lightly with oil. Bake till chicken is done, then turn the oven to Broil and broil for a few minutes so the top part of the chicken gets some color.
Serve hot.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Thenkuzals are delicate crispy nibbles, eaten with chai or afternoon tea. My son loves them, and Diwali was a good excuse to make them. It took me less than a hour to make them. They taste so much better then the store bought stuff.
Rice flour 2 cups
Urad flour 1/2 cup
Butter 2 tbsp
Salt 2 tsps
Hing 1/4 tsp
Pepper powder 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Oil for frying
Mix the rice flour and urad flour, add butter, and rub it in. Add pepper powder and cumin seeds to the the flour mixture. Take 1/2 cup water add salt and hing, stir until dissolved. Add to the flour mixture and make a soft dough. Add more or less water as need be.
Heat oil. Add the dough into the murukku press, use the thenkuzal plate for this.

Press out the thenkuzal and fry till light golden. Drain on paper towels.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Rice Laddoo/Ari Unda

This is a traditional sweet from Kerala. I remember eating this when I was a kid, visiting Kerala during summer vacations. Our Kerala visit was a yearly ritual, and a two-day journey from Bombay to Kerala, which I loved as I got to meet all my cousins, and eat lots of mangoes and read books.
Ari means rice in Malyalam, and unda means round/ball. Traditionally the rice is soaked, ground, and powdered. Then mixed with coconut and jaggery syrup to make this delicious creations. I used rice flour instead and it turned out fine.It has a unique taste and is pretty filling.
Rice flour- 1 cup
Coconut grated - 1/2 cup
Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup
Add the grated coconut to the rice powder, and mix well.
Rice flour and coconut being roasted
Use a big skillet to roast this rice and coconut mixture, on a low heat, stirring constantly until it changes color and you get the aroma of the rice roasting. Keep aside.
Heat jaggery and water, and make a syrup. Remove from heat add the rice and coconut mixture, stir well. making round balls
The mixture needs to be moist or it cannot be shaped into balls.
Ari undas ready to eat
Make round balls, while the mixture is still hot. Pressing well to keep its shape.
This is my entry for the Special Edition Jihva hosted by Vee of Past, Present, Me.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Rava Dosa

Dosas are to South India what crepes are to France. The dosa is a large crepe made with fermented batter of rice and urad dal. Rava dosas, however, are made from an airy thin batter of rice flour and semolina, and can be made whenever one gets the craving to eat dosas. This batter is poured out on an iron flat griddle letting the batter flow in the pan. The pan needs to be hot so the batter does not stick and comes off easy.

Makes about 7 dosas
Rava (Semolina) ½ cup
Rice flour ½ cup
Salt ¾ tsp
Soda bicarbonate ¼ tsp
Green chilies 2 finely minced
Ginger ½ inch grated
Curry leaves 2 finely minced
Cumin seeds ¼ tsp
Yogurt 2 tbsp
Water 2 cups
Oil for making the dosas
1. Mix the rava, rice flour, salt, and soda bicarbonate.
2. Add the green chilies, ginger, curry leaves, and cumin seeds.
3. Add the yogurt, and water mix well with a whisk till no lumps are formed.
4. Set aside for a few minutes, and get your tava or flat non-stick pan ready.
5. Heat the tava, add ½ tsp oil, and use a cut onion to spread the oil on the tava.
6. Pour a ladleful about ½ cup batter on the hot tava in a circular motion without touching the tava, see that you pour it in a thin layer, because it is hard to spread the batter with a ladle. The batter will have a lattice work effect, and a lot of holes.
7. Pour ½ tsp of oil and cook on medium heat. Cook only on one side till crisp and golden. Use a flat spatula to coax the dosa off the tava fold over and serve with chutney.

Usually using the cut side of the onion to clean the tava does the trick and I have hardly ever had a dosa stick. I also use a cast iron flat griddle pan to make my dosas.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Jeera , Cumin Seeds

Mythili of Vindhu is hosting a food-blogging event called 'Mistress of Spices', and we get to write about our favorite spice.
I’m choosing Jeera as my favorite spice for this event; I hope it’s not too late to post.
Cumin (Jeera) is usually used both as a whole seed or ground powder in virtually any Indian curry dish, which makes it one of the most important of all Indian spices. Cumin seeds can be either white or black. Black cumin seeds have a slightly sweeter and more delicate flavor than the white seeds. It gives that powerful aroma which many people associate with Indian food. Cumin also has a bitter and nutty taste. Cumin is identified with Mexican cuisine as well. Cumin can be found in some Dutch cheeses and in some traditional breads from France.
Cumin is an ancient spice and the use of which dates back to ancient Egypt, has been mentioned in the Bible, been used by Greeks, and been referenced in middle age Europe. Cumin is also known to be an appetite stimulant and believed to ease stomach disorders, such as diarrhea.
Cumin is the dried fruit of a small herb. Cumin adds flavor to foods, liquors and beverages. The spice is of particular value in the blending of Indian curry powder. It also enlivens pulaos, biryanis and kebabs. Cumin has digestive properties and when boiled in water and drunk, is very refreshing. It is also used in medicines, toiletries and perfumery.

Indian cumin grows abundantly in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Utter Pradesh. It is exported in its natural form as well as oil and powdered forms. Exports are mostly to USA, Singapore, Japan, UK and North Africa.
Lastly, my parents are currently visiting, and they insist on drinking Jeera Water, water boiled with Jeera and Ginger powder. This is a very common way of drinking water in Kerala, and in Malayalam, is called Chukku/JeeragamVellam; Chuka meaning dried ginger, jeeragam meaning jeera, and vellam meaning water. “Chukkuvellam”, the boiled and herb-infused water has become a trademark of Kerala. Tourists have been fascinated by this herbal concoction, often falling into the everyday habit of drinking it.

Tropical Smoothie

Frozen fruits like papaya, mango, strawberries, and pineapple which come in a bag, or any frozen fruit of your choice about1 cup
Any watery fruit like watermelon 1 cup cut into cubes
Honey 2 thsp

In a blender place the fruits and honey. Blend on high speed until smooth. Serve in a tall glass.
If you don't have watermelon just add 1/2 cup water instead.
This is a great smoothie, no dairy, and low cal. I usually have this for my mid-morning snack.

Baingan Fry (Brinjal Fry)

A FYI, an eggplant considered a vegetable is actually a fruit, and it originates from India. It gets more interesting, in the US, the eggplant was used as a table decoration till the 20th century. Didn't know that...Anyway I had gone to the Asian store to buy my weekly round of veggies. They always have plentiful varieties of eggplants in the store. For this recipe you can use any variety, they all turnout well.

Japanese eggplant 5 cut like frenchfries, a little thicker though, 1/2 inch in diameter, and 1 inch long
Red onion 1 large sliced
Green chilles 4 cut lengthwise
Salt to taste
Oil 2 tbsp

For the Tempering:
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1tsp
Garlic minced 1 clove
Curry leaves 5

1. Zap the brinjals in the microwave for 5 minutes.
2. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, let it pop add the rest of tempering ingredients as listed.
3. Add green chillies, then onions, saute for a minute.
4. Add brinjals, and salt. Keep stirring.
5. Cover and cook for 15 minutes on low heat, till everthing is fried well. Remember to keep stirring occasionally.
Goes well with a chapati or tortilla. Serve rolled up as a wrap. Yummy!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

French Beans Thoran

I buy the French beans at Costco, and they are a staple in my house. Thoran is a dry vegetable curry , with the flavoring of coconut in it. My embellishment to this dish is the tempering which is slightly different from the traditional, mustard seeds and udad dal tempering. Instead I add cumin seeds and garlic which add a definite kick to the otherwise bland dish.

Serves 6-8

French beans 2 lbs chopped finely
Salt to taste
Oil 2 tbsp

Grind to a coarse paste

Fresh/Frozen Coconut grated 2 tbsp
Green chillies 3
Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp

For the tempering

Mustard Seeds 1tsp
Cumin Seeds 1tsp
Hing a pinch
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Garlic chopped 1 clove
Curry leaves 4


1. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, once they pop add rest of the tempering ingredients in the order listed.
2. Add beans, salt, ground paste.
3. Cover and cook on low heat, till tender and dry.
4. Serve as a side dish.

If I am in a hurry, I zap the french beans for 5 minutes in the microwave, then the whole cooking process takes only 10 minutes or less.