Inviting you all to Viki's kitchen in facebook too. Also welcoming you all to visit my arts and hobbies page in facebook.. Have a nice day !

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New year,

Lets welcome the New year with joy,
with lots of prayers and well wishes,
May every day be filled
with happiness and peace,
May every face on earth live happily forever,
with all our needs satisfied,
May every life lives peacefully
with all our dreams come true,
May every child gets love and care,along
with all the toys they want:)
May God shower His abundant love on all of us,






Wishing you all a
beautiful, Prosperous and Blessed
Happy New Year and Happy blogging!
Love,
Viki.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas,

Wishing all my friends and readers a  Blessed Happy Christmas,
May all our dreams come true.






Nativity scene on Birth of Jesus Christ.



Our Christmas tree.

Christmas tradition: Cookies and snacks along with chocolate milk for Santa Clause. Cilantro for reindeer.

Fruit cake for Baby Jesus's Birthday, the Christmas,

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mixed vegetable pakoda

Pakoda / pakora / fritters. A pakoda is a deep fried spicy snack.

In Tamilnadu it is common to see the vendors making these crispy pakoras in front of their stalls to attract the crowd in the evening / night. They prepare the pakora's base batter in a big lot and would make various pakoras by dipping and frying the relevant items as per order. There are many variations in making pakora and the dominant ingredient gets the title (mint pakora, tea stall pakora, cashew pakora, onion pakoda etc.,).
Here is a different pakora with mixed vegetables. We can use almost any vegetable here and I am sure deep frying makes it delicious:) If preparing the pakora as tea time snack, I suggest making a little extra, as it makes a wonderful meal with rasam rice for dinner:)

Mixed vegetables I had.

Crispy mixed vegetable pakoda.

Important Ingredients:
Besan flour - 3/4 cup
(Bengal gram flour / kadalai mavu)
Rice flour - 1/4 cup
Red onion - 1 (big)
green chilli - 5
ginger - 2 inch
hing - 1/8 tsp
salt - to taste
curry leaves- 1 brig
cilantro - 1/4 bunch
mint leaf - a handful
cilantro - a handful
red chilli powder - 1 tsp
curry masala powder - 1 tsp
oil - to deep fry (250 ml)

Vegetables :
cabbage - 100 gm
carrot - 1
broccoli / cauliflower - 1 cup
potato - 1
French beans - 10
(Vegetables with more water content are not suitable for this recipe).

Method:
Cut the vegetables into thin slices of 2 inch length.
Chop the onion into thin slices.
Finely chop the green chilli, ginger, cilantro and mint leaves.
Mix the chopped veggies with the besan flour and rice flour.Add chilli powder, salt and garam masala powder.
Try to knead the flour without adding water.
Heat 2 tbsp oil and add it to the mixture. This makes the pakoda more crispy. Instead of oil we can add a few drops of water also.
The dough consistency should not be like chapathi dough. It should be like a mixture of moistened flour with veggies.
Heat oil in a kadai. Drop small pieces of mixture in to the hot oil. Reduce heat to medium so that the vegetable gets cooked evenly. Flip and fry to get crispy fritters.
Take them out and place over paper towels to remove excess oil.
Crispy mixed vegetable pakoda is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot as an evening snack or as side dish with any variety-rice.
Goes fine with curd rice , rasam or sambar rice

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Inji mittai

Inji - fresh ginger ; mittai - candy.

This is a candy sold in almost all the bus stations in Tamilnadu. I have never seen any one preparing this at home, as it is easily available there. This inji mittai is helpful in digestion and boosts the energy level during travels. I couldn't get a recipe from anyone I know, so I formulated this recipe myself. I am not sure if this how they prepare the ginger candy commercially, but works for small batches. It tasted exactly like the vendor's and I am sure many of you will like it too.


Method 1:

Ingredient:
very young fresh Ginger root - 150 gm
(Makes a paste of 3/4 cup)
sugar - 1 cup
water - 1/4 cup
cardamom - a pinch (optional)

Method:
Choose very young tender ginger, without any fiber. Scratch and remove the skin of ginger. Wash well to remove any impurities. Grind to a fine paste with 1/2 of the water mentioned above.
Bring remaining water and sugar to a boil and keep on heating till sugar solution gets the candy stage (2 string).
Add the ginger paste and cardamom powder. Stir well for 10 minutes or till it forms a mass and starts leaving the vessel holding the spatula.
Grease a plate with a 1/4 tsp ghee. Pour the ginger candy mixture and let cool for some time. Then draw lines and let cool completely. Break into squares as per the guidance lines and preserve in an air tight container.

Inji mittai is ready!

Method 2:
(If we cannot get the tender ginger, this method holds good)

Ingredients:
Fresh ginger - 150 gm
sugar - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 1 tbsp

Peel the ginger and extract juice with just 1/4 cup water. Discard the fiber.
Let the juice stand for 10 minutes. Discard the white residue.
Add the clear ginger juice to sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and heat till it starts getting candy stage (2 string). Put the all purpose flour (maida) and stir vigorously to avoid lumps. Now the candy will start leaving the sides and starts crystallizing. Pour over a well greased plate and flatten to 1/2 inch thickness. Draw lines using a knife and let cool completely.
Break into squares and preserve in air tight container.

Inji mittai is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Taking a ginger candy after a heavy meal helps in digestion.
Good for people with giddiness.
Makes 20 small squares (1.5 inch).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pepper chicken curry

Kozhi milagu kulambu - A chicken curry prepared with vibrant Indian black pepper masala. Pepper based curries called as milagu kulambu in Tamil may be one of the traditional masalas used in India before the arrival of chillies. Interestingly enough chillies made their route to India through Spanish and colonization, just 500 years ago only. Before reading this history, I had a different imagination because of the strong usage of chile peppers in India:)

Using black peppers in non vegetarian foods is highly recommended by elders in my town, as they believe that it can cure any food related allergies and a great cold remedy. Won't that be convincing enough to make a curry with black pepper:)


Ingredients:
Chicken - 1 lb
plain curd - 4 tbsp
dry ginger powder - 1 tsp
salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
fennel - 1 tsp
cinnamon - 2 inch
bay leaf - 1
Sesame oil - 1/4 cup (must)
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

Paste 1:
tomato - 3
onion - 1
garlic - 1 (full)
Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok and fry the chopped onion,peeled garlic till it wilts. Then add the chopped tomato and cook till it gets mushy. Let cool and grind to a fine paste.

To dry roast and grind:
Whole black Pepper - 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 3 tbsp
cumin - 1 tsp
cardamom - 5
cloves - 4
cinnamon - 2 inch
fennel - 1 tsp
black cumin - 1/4 tsp
mace - a thin strip
nutmeg - a tiny scrapping

Method:
Choose red meat with some bones from chicken.
Wash and pat dry. Add a tsp of salt, curd, turmeric and let it marinate for an hour or two.

Dry roast the items mentioned (just a minute is enough...don't let any of them char, otherwise the taste will change). First powder them without water.

Heat oil in a wok and put fennel, cinnamon, bay leaf and curry leaves. Then add the marinated chicken pieces without the liquid. Fry till the color changes to white and chicken shrinks a little.

Then add the onion tomato paste, remaining marinated liquid and cook covered with required salt. Check if it is done. Now put the prepared masala powder, dry ginger powder and mix well. Cook covered in medium heat till oil separates.

Garnish with fresh curry leaves.

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot over rice along with a drop of ghee.
Also a very good side dish for chapati or rasam rice.

Note:
If tomato is not available, 1 cup of thick plain Indian yogurt can be added instead.
Traditionally dry red chillies are not added in this curry. But can be included if we want it more spicy..

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Simple Beans poriyal (stir fry)

Flat beans is called as 'nattu beans' (Tamil) or 'country style beans' in India. It has more fiber than the French green beans (popularly known as 'Ooty beans'). The flavorful Flat beans are suitable for South Indian poriyals (stir fry) and easy to cook French beans for North Indian curries and baking.

Here is the most common way to prepare an Indian stir fry. Almost any vegetable can be made as poriyal by this method. Sure it is a basic Indian recipe for starters.


Flat beans.

Beans poriyal

Ingredients:
Flat or French beans - 1/2 lb (200 gm)
Red onion (chopped) - 1
shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
mustard - 1/2 tsp
urid dhal - 1 tsp
coconut oil - 2 tsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
cumin - 1/2 tsp
Dry red chilly - 3

Method:
Wash and clean the beans in large amounts of water multiple times to remove all the dirt / sand. Drain water and chop it finely.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds, urid dhal and let mustard splutter.
Finely chop the onion, chillies, curry leaf (optional) and add to the wok.
Stir till onion turns soft.

Add the finely chopped beans and stir fry for 2 minutes. Sprinkle a handful of water and cook covered for 10 more minute in medium heat. (Ooty beans / French green beans takes lesser time to get cooked). Open the lid. Let all the moisture dries up. Check if the beans is cooked but firm.

Add salt, cumin and fry a bit. After the poriyal looks very loose without any moisture put the freshly shredded coconut and stir for few seconds. Switch off.

Simple beans poriyal is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Beans poriyal can be served as side dish with sambar rice , curd rice or rasam rice, chapati.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Kashmiri pulav (II)

This is the pulav I prepared for the International festival celebrated in 'Our Lady of Fatima' Church. I prepared this Kashmiri pulav and chicken kabob along with other participants. It was a delightful experience to see the guests liking the Indian food. Here is the recipe for my friends!

Kashmiri pulav.

Cooking the rice: (for 2 or more people)
Basmati rice - 1 cup
Water - 3 cups
butter - 1 tsp
salt - 1/2 tsp
lemon - 1/4 of a fruit
turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp

Wash the rice thrice in cold water.
Soak the rice for 30 minutes.
Drain the rice and keep ready.
Bring the water to a good boil along with turmeric, salt, butter. Add the soaked rice, lemon juice and reduce flame. Cook for 5 minutes and drain the water. The rice should not be raw, but cooked and stiff. Run under cold water to make it extra fluffy.
For more details click to read how I cooked rice for pulav.

Ingredients:
Onion - 1
butter / ghee - 2 tbsp
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
plain Indian yogurt - 1/2 cup
salt - 1 tsp
cilantro - 2 tbsp (chopped)
mint leaf - 1 tbsp (chopped)
green chilly - 2
green peas - 1/2 cup
carrot - 1 small
saffron - few strands
rose essence - 2 drops

Spices:
bay leaf - 1
cinnamon - 1 inch
cardamom - 3 (crushed)
cloves - 3 (crushed)
star aniseed - 1
fennel - 1/2 tsp
nutmeg - a tiny bit
mace - 1 inch

fruits and nuts: (chopped)
apple - 1/2 cup
pineapple - 1 cup
pomegranate - 1/2 cup
orange - 1
raisin - 1/4 cup
tooti fruity - 1 tbsp
cashew nut - 10 (full)
almond - 4 (slivered)

Method:
Fry the cashews, almonds, raisins and keep them aside.

Heat oil / butter in a wok. Add the spices and stir till the fennel turns red.
Cut the onions in thin long pieces. Immediately add the onions and fry till it get golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste and stir till the raw smell vanishes. Add more ghee if needed.
Toss in the split chillies, cubed carrot, peas and cook covered. Then add the required salt, yogurt. Cook in low heat till the masala gives a nice flavor and oil oozes out. Check the taste. If needed add some salt or lemon juice or red chilly powder to alter the taste to need.
Switch off and add rose essence.

Add the cooked rice and mix well. Add another tbsp of ghee over it.
Mix the fried nuts and raisin.

Peel and core the apple. Cube it into small pieces. Cut the pineapple into small cubes.

Place prepared rice in a serving tray and let it cool little. Add the chopped fruits, chopped mint, cilantro and saffron strands. Mix well.

Kashmiri pulav is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as main course with any spicy curry like butter chicken or Chicken tikka masala.

Note:
To make the pulav more flavorful and rich, cook the rice with a few strands of saffron.
If prepared with a dominant red and green colored fruits, we can prepare it as a special Christmas pulav.

Spinach scrambled egg

Both of us love home made foods. So whenever we had to go for a grocery shopping or any other thing on a weekend, I finish my cooking duty before we start, so that we can have our meal as soon as we reach home. That particular Saturday we had to go out for a few hours and I wanted to make some rasam, rice and a side dish. When I checked the vegetable tray there was some spinach leaves which won't be enough to make a stir fry but  I didn't want to waste them. So I made a spinach poriyal with some eggs and it tasted richer than the plain spinach fry.


Stir fried spinach and egg.

Ingredients:
Spinach (any greens) - 30 leaves
egg - 2
Shallot / red onion (chopped) - 1/2 cup
garlic - 5 cloves
shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
mustard - 1/2 tsp
coconut oil - 1 tbsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
green chilly / dry red chilly - 2

Method:
Wash and clean the greens in large amounts of water multiple times to remove all the dirt / sand. Drain water and chop it finely.

Heat oil / ghee in a wok. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
Chop the onion, garlic, chillies, curry leaf (optional) finely and add to the wok.
Stir till onion turns soft.

Add the finely chopped greens and stir fry for 2 minutes. Cook covered for 1 more minute. Open the lid. Let all the moisture dries up.

Add salt, cumin and fry a bit. After the poriyal looks very loose without any moisture. Keep aside.
Before serving, heat the poriyal and break two eggs and pour over the stir fry. Scramble well to get tiny pieces. Then put the freshly shredded coconut.

Spinach scrambled egg is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Spinach scrambled egg can be served as a simple breakfast with sweet oatmeal.
It goes well with sambar rice , curd rice or rasam rice.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Onion bonda

Onion bonda / vengaya bonda is a spicy snack that can be seen in almost all the crowded tea shops in Southern Tamilnadu. I used to think if it is that strong flavored  fried big onion balls were attracting all the passersby:) Whenever I eat some onion rings after coming here,that flavor brings me back those memories and  I comfort myself saying that I will make my favorite onion bonda one day:) In India this is not commonly prepared in households because of the need for more frying oil and  so I too hesitate to use and reuse that much quantity of oil:) Recently I made this for us along with ginger tea on a cold winter evening and it came out just like that tea shop's:) 

Vengaya bonda.

Ingredients:
Red onion - 4 (big)
maida / All purpose flour - 4 tbsp
besan flour - 2 tbsp
green chillies - 6
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
hing / asafoetida - 1/8 tsp
salt - to taste
baking soda - 1/2 tsp
corn oil - 2 tbsp
corn oil - 250 ml (to deep fry)

Method:
Slice the onion in lengthwise to get medium thick pieces.
Finely chop the green chillies.
Place the chopped onion, curry leaf, chilly in a mixing bowl.
Add required salt and mix well without adding water.
Now add the measured flours, baking soda,hing, red chilly powder and mix well.
The water in the onion will be enough to moisten the flour.
Heat the oil in a deep frying pan.
When the oil becomes hot take out 2 tbsp hot oil from it and pour over the bonda batter. Mix well and make small orange size balls. Reduce flame. Put the balls in hot oil and fry them in medium flame. Do it in small batches (2 or 3 at a time) without crowding the oil.
The oil should be enough to cover the balls, otherwise the center will be uncooked.
The bonda will take more time to get fried completely. Frying in medium heat will ensure complete cooking till the core. After the bubbles subdue, take the bondas and drain excess oil in paper towels.
Before frying every batch of bonda heat the oil to maximum, then reduce it to medium and fry them.

Onion bonda is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as tea time snack with hot tea or coffee.
It won't need any dipping.
But tomato ketchup or coconut chutney also suits well.
Makes a nice side dish with sambar rice or curd rice.

Note:
The frying process requires more oil than vadai and bajji because of the shape and size of the bonda balls. The bonda should be well immersed in hot oil to fry it completely. Water should not be added to make this bonda batter.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fruit salad ice cream

I don't remember me craving for any kind of ice cream since my childhood except for this 'ice cream with fruit salad'. There is a bakery cum ice cream shop in my home town named Arasan ice cream parlor, which serves this fruit salad ice cream in tall glasses. They have their own versions like honey ice cream, fried nuts ice cream, ice cream cakes etc. It would be always crowded by people who want to enjoy their fabulous cakes, bakes and ice creams along with the ambiance. At that time it was the best meeting place for youngsters and We also used to enjoy this ice cream in a tall glass while dating.

It is very easy to make and we will get a grand looking dessert in minutes. Just a scoop of ice cream over finely chopped fruits will do the magic.I used homemade pomegranate ice cream in this recipe. Many a times I have felt this ice cream fruit salad to be very filling. So if we are planning to serve this as a dessert, make sure to plan a very light meal before that.

Pomegranate Ice cream with fruit salad.

Ingredients:(use any available fruit)
(for 2 servings)
Apple - 1/2 small
pear - small piece
orange - 2 pieces
green and red grapes - 6 each
pineapple - 1 round slice
pomegranate - a handful
strawberry - 2
cherry - 2
apple sauce /dates syrup / honey - 2 tbsp
Ice cream - 2 large scoops
(vanilla or any fruit flavored ice creams only)

Method:
Choose a very tall glass. Traditionally they are served in taller and leaner glasses. I have used these shorter glasses according to my need:)

Choose any seasonal fruit. But keep in mind, one should be crispy like apple the other with tangy taste like pine apple and the grapes are a must.

Finely chop all the fruits. Put them zip-lock cover and keep refrigerated.
Keep the apple and pear separately in lemon juice water to prevent discoloration.
(Put the chopped apple and pear in a bowl and pour enough water to cover. Squeeze few drops of lemon and mix well). The chopped fruits can be preserved for a few hours inside fridge. (If we want to get the benefits of fruits, start eating them immediately after chopping).

Mix all the fruits. Fill the glass half way with the mixed chopped fruits. Pour a generous tbsp of apple sauce or date syrup or honey over the fruit.
Place a big scoop of ice cream over it and top it with a cherry.
If needed insert a wafer biscuit on top along with cherry.

Fruit salad ice cream is ready!

Serving suggestion:
A tall glass and a long spoon will make the dish more attractive.
Serve as dessert or snack .
I like to have it as a breakfast itself:)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Desserts for Thanks giving

Before we enter into the next month, let me post the photos of the simple dessert table I kept for Thanks giving. It was not extremely formal but met my satisfaction to some level.

Here is how I planned the lunch....

*I started planning 5 days ahead and kept a check list as usual. It included some main points like preparing home made yogurt with whole milk, buying the ingredients, preparing desserts,grinding the masalas, preparing base masala, ghee making , marination time calculation.

*Buying some desserts instead of preparing is a good idea to reduce the stress. I bought an apple pie and some pomegranates to give it a real Thanksgiving look.

*On Monday I prepared the pistachio ice cream.

*I prepared a carrot cake and did icing to honor Jesus, saying 'Thank You'. I baked it by Tuesday and kept it refrigerated to get a even surface. Did the icing with store bought cream cheese frosting and home made colored icing, while the chicken was in the oven on Thursday morning.


I finished setting this dessert table, arranging all the dinnerware, serve ware on Wednesday, that made my job easy on Thanksgiving Thursday.

Keeping a side table solely for desserts and  dinnerware would make it easy.

*Keep all the coke / drinks in refrigerator for better taste, but leave a few in the table to give some idea to the guests.

Thanks giving cake.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Whole roasted chicken for Thanks giving

Last week we celebrated Thanks giving day and we had a good time with our friends. I was not planning a whole roasted chicken until that Sunday. Because, few years back I baked a cornish hen for a Christmas, (but not in a formal way) and Hubby dear didn't like that version as it lacked the juicy finish, but anyhow I finished it off and didn't say a word to anyone about it:) After that I didn't dare to make any whole chicken till the food network TV kindled my passion again. Inspired by Paula Deen's whole roasted turkey, I wanted to bake a whole turkey or chicken. I was a bit skeptical on trying the big bird , so chose a miniature version:) I like the way she narrates a recipe along with her memories. So I wanted to try hers. I followed each and every step from Paula Deen's, but used my own marination. I prepared Indian tandoori masala and kept the bird marinated overnight. I kept the masala in lower note to enjoy the chicken flavor. The roasted chicken came out perfectly and I was extremely satisfied by the meat quality. Believe me, I have never tasted such a juicy white meat in my life and I got addicted to it:) I think the secret lies in baking temperature and the procedure. I am noting down every step I followed for my future use. May be next year I may get the courage to invite more people to share my oven roasted turkey:) I was totally glad to see my friends and hubby enjoying the chicken. Thank you Paula !

The Thanks giving spread included Turkey biriyani, whole roasted chicken, kheema gravy, chicken 65 , raitha , rasam rice and for dessert I made carrot cake, pistachio ice cream and bought an apple pie.
After that meal we couldn't go for the Thanks giving sale that night. So slept a little and got up early and got some of the deals:)

This post reminds me of my mom's whole fried chicken too (which I haven't tried by myself till now) ....:)

Hope you all like my roasted / baked chicken!

Baked whole chicken I made for Thanks Giving day.
Important points before roasting turkey or chicken:
Calculate the number of guests, servings and buy meat accordingly (generally 1 lb or little lesser per person).
Plan ahead and calculate the cooking time of the bird.
Click to see thawing time.
Calculate the time required for baking the chicken or turkey.
Be strictly hygienic, as this recipe involves overnight marination inside fridge.

Ingredients: (I used)
Whole chicken - 7 lb
(Calculate 1 lb for 1 person)
Butter - 8 tbsp
turmeric - 1 tbsp
salt - 2 tbsp
lemon - 2
onion - 1/2 kg
garlic - 6 pearls
herbs - cilantro, mint (handful)
chat masala - 1 tbsp

To make Tandoori masala:
Thick curd - 1 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tbsp
salt - to taste
Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
(Instead we can grind 3 cloves, 2 inch cinnamon, 2 cardamom, 1/2 tsp cumin , 1/2 tsp fennel)
white vinegar - 1/2 cup
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Red food color - 4 drops (no need)
butter / oil - 4 tbsp

Mix all the items above in a broad vessel. This is the freshly prepared tandoori masala.

Processing the whole chicken:
Buy a whole chicken with skin. Let us assume that we are buying the chicken a few days before Thanks giving:)
Carefully remove the organs kept inside chicken in the pouch. I save the giblets and liver in freezer for later use.
Now keep it in freezer till we need it.
The day before cooking, remove the bird from freezer and put it in a big bowl of water or leave in refrigerator till it thaws.
It should finish thawing before we go to bed:)

Marination:
The chicken was marinated overnight in Indian Tandoori masala in refrigerator.
12 hours before baking, take the thawed chicken, wash and clean it.
Pat dry in kitchen paper towels.
Take a handful of tandoori masala (or any marination) and rub all over the skin. Then carefully put your hand inside the breast skin (without tearing the skin)
and rub more marination inside too. Likewise do for the back side too.
Pull the skin evenly and cover again. (Never do the raw stuffing overnight, as it will contaminate the bird). Place the bird along with excess marination in a big bowl and cover the lid tightly using aluminum foil. Using vinegar is a must for keeping the bird safe.
Keep the chicken marinated a whole night or 10-12 hours in refrigerator.
The next day morning take out the chicken and place it in a plate to drain excess marinade. Now stuff the prepared stuffing.

Stuffing:
I stuffed 2 onions thinly sliced, garlic 6 pearls, cilantro, mint.
Take a handful of stuffing and fill the bird loosely.

Tie:
Drain the excess masala in a plate , do the stuffing and tie before baking.
Buy a thick cotton thread and cut it into required lengths.
Place the chicken with breast side up.
Tie the legs as shown in photo.
With another long thread tie the whole bird , so that the wings also stay intact.
Tying is a must to get a beautiful shaped baked chicken. Otherwise the limb will go in every direction and we won't get a presentable version.

Baking the whole chicken:

First 30 minutes should be baked with an aluminum foil wrap to prevent darkening.

After 1 hour. Onions and remaining marinade are poured around to increase moisture.

After 3 hours of baking the chicken was almost done. Check now.
Preheat the oven to 350 deg C.
Now place the chicken in a sturdy baking pan with handles.
Cover the breast portion of chicken with a small piece of aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
After that remove the foil.
Now pour the remaining marinade to the pan.
I added few sliced onions to increase the moisture in chicken.

Basting:
Keep a basting brush ready.
Bring 1 stick butter to room temperature and 1 tsp salt to it.
Every 20 minutes pull out the rack and apply some butter to the chicken.
After that scoop the juice collecting in the bottom and drizzle over the chicken.
This makes it very very juicy.
Then continue baking.
Don't turn it over.
I prepared a 7 lb chicken and so I needed 3 hours.
Allow 20-25 minutes for 1 lb chicken at 350 deg C.
Higher or lower temperatures will yield brown or dry meat.
After 1 hour the chicken will start roasting and it will get a beautiful red color all over.
After the prescribed time, the chicken will get a gorgeous golden brown color.
Now again apply a coat of butter all over the chicken.

Checking:
Pierce a knife to the breast (close to tied limb) and we will see a clear juice running out of it. (Baking thermometer can also be inserted near thighs, without touching bones. But I didn't use it).
That's it ....... the chicken is roasted!
If not done, the cover and bake the chicken for another 20 minutes. It will not be necessary....I assure you:) .
Switch off and take out the roasted chicken with pan.
Remove the threads using a pair of scissors.

Setting time:
After 3 hours and 20 minutes the whole baked chicken was ready to serve.
Prepare a serving plate with some lettuce or any leaves as base.
Take out the roasted chicken using two spatulas and place on the plate.
The remaining liquid can be used in making gravy and onion over briyani.
Again cover the chicken with a new piece of aluminum foil and let the juices settle for 20 minutes. This will make carving easy.

Whole roasted chicken is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Thanks giving day is always a turkey day too! Turkey briyani with whole baked chicken.
Before carving squeeze juice of one or two lemons over the roasted chicken and sprinkle chat masala over it.
Serve with any kind of rice or bread.
I served Turkey biriyani along with roasted chicken.
Roasted chicken tastes great with hot sauce as a dipping and some lemon wedges.

Note:
The white meat will be very moist,tender and juicy just like the red meat, if prepared with the above said procedure and butter.
Marination / stuffing can be varied according to taste without altering butter quantity and procedure.

Left over:
The left over chicken can be sliced and wrapped in individual servings and kept frozen for future use.
I like using left over chicken in wraps and curries.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanks giving wishes and Prayers !

Wishing all my readers, friends and family a blessed , prosperous and happy Thanks giving!


Thanksgiving Pictures, Comments, Images, Graphics

Thanksgiving Pictures Comments - Photobucket


Thanksgiving Pictures, Comments, Images, Graphics

Thanksgiving Pictures Comments - Photobucket

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our walks of life, for your comfort, your companionship, your guidance, your love, and your presence. Thank you for safeguarding us and protecting us. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, family,  health and your grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us.
Amen.
(Prayer inspired by American Catholic website).

Happy Thanks giving and thank you all!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Basundi (easy and traditional methods)


Basundi - a milk based dessert.

Basundi may seem a simple dessert with lesser ingredients but the traditional version calls for lots of time, a heavy bottom vessel.....and lot and lot of energy.

Recently I decided to make this for him in the traditional way here. But the milk was kind of sticky all the time and I took a very long time in getting a cup of this yummilacious dessert. So I replaced that version next time and and made us 2 cups of more delicious basundi in just 10 minutes. Hope many can use this recipe in this holiday season to get their favorite basundi quickly.


Ingredients:
Whole Milk - 1 liter
sugar - 12 tsp
saffron - few strands
cardamom - 8
almond - 5
cashew - 5
pista - 5
Lot of time and a heavy bottom vessel:)

Method:
Pour the milk to a heavy bottom vessel and heat till it boils.
Then reduce the temperature and let it evaporate.
Gather all the cream (பாலேடு) appearing above. Keep aside. Again go on heating(for 1 and 1/2 hour or more) in low flame with constant stirring, till it gets a very thick fluid stage.
If we go on heating we will get paalkova. So stop at this liquid stage.
(If we are using 6 cups of milk, then we will get 2 cups of basanthi).
Then add the gathered creamy layers along with finely chopped nuts, sugar, saffron and cardamom powder.
Switch off. Let it come to room temperature and keep refrigerated for 2-3 hours before serving.

Basundi is ready!

Easier version:
This quick basundi version will come handy when we want to present a rich dessert with limited effort.

Ingredients:
Sweetened Condensed milk - 1/2 cup
whole milk - 1 1/2 cup
paneer (Indian cottage cheese) - 4 cubes
cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
pista, cashew, almond - each 5

Method:
Bring the milk to a boil and wait few seconds till it looses its raw smell.
Switch off.
Add the condensed milk and mix well.
Crumble the paneer and mix with the above.
Add the coarsely crushed nuts and saffron .
If needed add more sugar and refrigerate.
Quick basundi is ready!

Serving suggestion:
keep refrigerated for 2 - 3 hours and serve chill after a hot lunch.
Serve in ice cream bowls.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Idiyappam and Paaya

After posting the idiyappam recipe, I couldn't resist raving about this  famous combo, 'Idiyaappam with aattukkaal paaya'. It resembles the famous Nihari dish and has some history behind. click to read. Traditionally the paaya should be cooked overnight or 6-8 hours. But I am narrating a simple process.

Preparing 'paaya and idiyappam' together is a time consuming process for me. I always plan the paaya for lunch with some ghee fried rice and save some paaya for dinner......So that I can leisurely indulge myself with my idiyappam process by evening:)

Idiyappam with aattukaal paya (goat leg curry).

Here is the link to both of my recipes. Enjoy!

Idiyappam
Paya

Tips:
I suggest using white raw rice flour(pacharisi mavu) for making idiyappam to serve with paya. That will yield very soft idiyappam (like the street foods) while the red rice flour idiyappam is good to go with sugar.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Idiyappam

I don't know what took me so long to post this dish. Idiyappam is a very popular main course dish in South India, next to Idly. Idiyappam is always recommended for easy absorption and hence a quick energy. It is preferred by elderly people, children and for those in convalescent period.It is a rice based dish.
Nowadays instant idiyappam (sevai / dried rice noodles) is more popular because of time constraint. Anyways preparing idiyappam from scratch yields a very good quality version. Xav loves home made idiyappam than the instant one, so I have to master this art for our Saturdays:)

Idiyappam squeezed on idly plate. My idiyappam press is also on picture:)
There are many kinds of idiyappam presses in India. I use my murukku nazhi with idiyappam plate, but if we need to make more number of idiyappams, the above tripod style press is more convenient (I had one like this in Madras...couldn't carry it here..hmm...So kitchen gadget lovers should buy this one...hi..hi).I got this image from this website.
Idyappam with store bought samba red rice flour. I used double horse brand red rice flour.

Petal-soft idiyappam waiting for its matching side dish.

My favorite combo:  shredded coconut + sugar with idiyappam.


Hubby's choice:  Idiyappam with  coconut milk and sugar.

For 3 big size idiyappam:
Ingredients:
Raw rice flour (pacharisi) - 2 cup
(puzhungal arisi flour can also be used. But the flavor will be different).
water - 1 1/2 cup
salt - 1/4 tsp
ghee / oil - 1/2 tsp

Method:
Dry roast the rice flour, till it gets a sandy texture.
Store for future use or start preparing right now.
Bring water to rolling boil with salt, ghee.
Pour over the roasted flour and mix to get a soft chapati dough stage.
Divide into 3 equal portions.
From one part, take a handful and stuff inside the idiyappam press (idiyappam nazhi).
Grease a idiyappam plate or idly plate with a drop of ghee / oil.
Squeeze the strings in continuous fashion. Place inside idly cooker or idiyappam steamer.
(I use pressure cooker for both idly and idiyappam.Pour 2 cups water in the cooker.Leave the bottom-most plate empty and keep the idiyappam plate above it, as shown in picture. This will ensure the idiyappams to get cooked without getting wet. I keep it for 10 minutes in high steam without putting the weight valve).
Likewise steam all the idiyappams.
The whole process will take 1 hour.
In the mean time prepare the side dish and serve hot.

Serving suggestions:
Serve idiyappam as dinner or breakfast.
The popular side dishes are lamb paya (aattukkaal paaya), mutton kulambu, vegetable kuruma, shredded coconut with sugar, coconut milk mixed with jaggery solution and cardamom or sugar.
Idiyappam with paya is more popular in Tamilnadu.

Tips:
Dry idiyappam are commonly available in market as instant idiyappam. They are easy to make, but the home made ones are definitely more delicious.
Ready-made idiyappam flours are more easier, as they are already double roasted and hence we can start preparing the idiyappam immediately.
If we want to make our own flour, then soak 2 kg of raw rice for 2 - 4 hours. Drain and let dry in shade for 1 hour. Then grind in the nearby mill or your mixie to a fine state. Roast it at home to get the sandy texture, let cool completely and store in air tight container for 2 months.
I prefer buying plain white rice flour.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Inippu sundal

Sundal / sprout stir fry is a healthy Indian-snack.While all the other sundals remain spicy there are a few variations too.  Karamani and green gram are more suitable for making a sweeter version. It can be classified as a healthy dessert because of the benefits of red cow peas.

Other names: thattam payaru inippu sundal , karamani, red cow peas, red chowri, red chawli, azuki beans, small red beans.

Sweet karamani sundal.

Ingredients:
Red cow peas - 1 cup
jaggery - 1 cup (or less)
freshly shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
cardamom - 2
ghee / coconut oil - 1 tsp
cashew - 4
raisin - few

How to cook the cow peas?
Add twice the measure of  water to the unsoaked karamani (red cow peas) and pressure cook till 2 whistle. Then reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
If soaked overnight: add enough water to cover karamani (red cow peas) and pressure cook till 1 whistle. Then reduce heat to minimum and cook for 5 minutes.
Soaked red chowri can be cooked in stove top too. But it will require more water and time.
Dry roasting the bean reduces the cooking time in stove top method.

Method:
Wash and cook the red chowri beans. Drain the excess water from cooked dhal. The water can be used in making curries, soup, rasam etc.

In a separate vessel add 1/2 cup water to jaggery and dissolve it by heating. Pour the clear jaggery solution to a bowl and discard the sediments.

Heat the oil / ghee in a wok and put the cashews, raisins. Let the raisin puff in minimum heat. Pour the jaggery solution and heat till it gets thick.Add the cooked beans and reduce heat. Wait till it looses the excess moisture and turns grainy.

Switch off and sprinkle the cardamom powder, shredded coconut. Mix well.

Sweet Sundal is ready!

Serving Suggestion:
Serve as snack.
It can be wrapped inside a chapati and served as sweet rolls.
Excess inippu sundal can be kept frozen and used later for making  boli / sweet paratha, susiyam or stuffed kozhukattai.