Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Potato omelette

A humble omelette sans pomp and show. Like the old saying that the best gifts come in little packages.

Only basic ingredients, yet it serves a fulfilling serving!


What I used
  1. Oil/butter: 3 tablespoons
  2. Grated onion (1), grated potato (1 cup)
  3. Salt: to taste
  4. Chilli: 1
  5. Curry leaves: few
  6. Beaten eggs: 3
How I made it
  1. In a frying pan, saute the onion and grated potatoes with some salt, chilli and the curry leaves till the potatoes have cooked.
  2. Spread the contents across the pan and pour the beaten eggs over it.
  3. Once the eggs harden, slide it out onto a plate and turn the omelette the other side up back into the pan, as in a Spanish omelette, to cook the other side.

This was best served hot, with garlic bread :D :D

Classic French toast

I love bread.. just not the regular sliced ones we get in the supermarket!! My kind are the ones that are a bit overbaked with a slight but obvious taste of the overbaked crust. So as a rule, I rarely buy the supermarket sliced breads.

One can't underestimate the ease with which bread can result in a fast turnaround of breakfast. I first had French toast as a child when my mother made it as a Friday breakfast and I hated it. Was never a fan of fried bread throughout my childhood. When the necessity arises, there is a greater tendency to pacify oneself with the availability deemed as the new "in" thing.

On one such uncanny day, with an already preset disposition to eggs and the presence of some bread, I decided to make the French toast for breakfast. This was also due to the keen desire to avoid some good bread from going stale. And secretly I dont wan't to waste food for the sake of the starving children across the world.

So French toast is really easy to make, though I must warn you, it is a bit oily.



What I used
  1. Butter/oil: enough for shallow frying (around half cup for 4 slices of bread)
  2. Eggs: 2
  3. Sugar: depending on the sweetness needed (I used 3 tablespoons)
  4. Bread: 4 slices
  5. Cinnamon/sugar powder: for sprinkling (optional)
How I made it
  1. In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar well and soak each bread slice for about 30 seconds.
  2. Heat the butter/oil in a pan and fry the egg-soaked bread slices till they brown on each side.
Land the toast on a plate lined with tissue/blotting paper to get rid of the excess oil. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon or sugar powder.

This a perfect breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or cardamom tea :D :D

Monday, December 5, 2016

Beef cutlets

The day I made beef roast was the same day I decided to try the beef cutlets, not because of any particular reason other than the sheer availability of beef. 

More importantly, it was a treat that I had planned for my friends and colleagues. I made this inspired by the beef cutlets we used to buy from the food court in our office building. The kind of cutlets with more substance than just a heavy filling of potatoes. This was rich and spicy beef cutlets. 4 pm was awaited eagerly so we could rush upstairs to the food court and grab 2 cutlets before it was all over. 

That's when I decided I must make these yummy cutlets for a treat :D :D

Since the recipe has a lot to do with the beef roast, I suggest you go though the ingredients and method I have mentioned for the beef roast, then follow the below steps:

What I used (extra ingredients not mentioned in the recipe for beef roast)
  1. Eggs: 3
  2. Bread crumbs: 2 cups
  3. Oil: for deep frying
How I made it
  1. To make cutlets, grind the beef roast in a mixer and make small flattened patties. 
  2. Dip each patty in egg wash and coat with bread crumbs. 
  3. Repeat the process of egg wash, bread crumbs once again for really crisp crust.
  4. Deep fry in hot oil to get spicy crispy beef cutlets.

Beef cutlets and hot coffee is a to-die-for evening snacks.

But of course, if you can't wait till evening, just make it any time and have it with anything or even better idea, don't wait for a combo, simply munch on it as soon as it off the stove :D :D

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Beef roast

A beef roast was long overdue. The reason for delay being the time it took  me to get motivated enough to hunt for a place that sold good beef. And then, of course, the necessity to cook something that cannot be substituted with anything other than beef :D :D

Though I like beef roast and other forms of beef, am not very particular about it. The point is am not crazy enough about beef to take the time to go purchase it like I would do for vegetables and fish.

There are some really good stuffs to be made with beef and when I decided to make this beef roast for a few friends, it was just the excuse I needed :D :D


What I used
  1. Beef: ½ kg
  2. Diced shallots (10), ginger (1.5 inch), Garlic (6 cloves)
  3. Roasted cloves (6) cardamom (6) and pepper corn (1 teaspoon), perumjeerakam - fennel seeds (1 teaspoon)
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Garam masala: 2 teaspoons
  6. Meat masala: 2 tablespoons
  7. Cinnamon powder: 1 teaspoon
In a mixer, grind all ingredients from points 2-4 and make a coarse paste. Then, in a pressure cooker, add the cleaned beef cut into small cubes along with the ground paste made above with the mentioned spice powders and cook till 4 whistles. The beef cooks in its own stock, so no need to add water unless you need gravy.

For the second phase, following ingredients are needed:
  1. Coconut oil: 1/2 cup
  2. Mustard seeds: 1 teaspoon
  3. Curry leaves: 10 leaves
  4. Grated onion (1), carrot (1), Capsicum (1)
  5. Corriander leaves: a fistful
  6. Salt and pepper: to taste
How I made it
  1. In hot pan, splutter the mustard seeds and curry leaves in hot oil and sauté the vegetables with some salt and pepper. Capsicum, carrot and coriander are optional. I used it as I find adding vegetables reduces the heaviness of consuming beef.
  2. Once the vegetables are half done, add the cooked beef with its stock and mix everything well. Adjust the masalas and salt as per need at this point and cook on medium flame till the stock reduces and the beef is dry. You can decide how dry you want and adjust accordingly. I cooked the beef with pan open to speed up the process of reduction. Once the stock is reduced or fully absorbed, turn off the fame and let it rest. You can see that the beef would have become a bit drier after resting.
    PS: for really crispy beef roast, continue the roasting till the beef turns black with occasional stirring. It might take 2 hours or so for it to turn this hard and black. It would be totally worth it and I must warn you it is very unhealthy but so god damn tasty that you should try it occasionally. Human body can handle the bad stuff once in a while ;D

A lot of alcoholic beverage fans find in beef roast the perfection of combination that renders their brand irresistible. While for the others, beef roast is a must have with appam, rice, chappathi, porotta, idiappam, you name it and beef goes with it all.

My personal combo is red rice, pulissery, achinga payar mezhukkupuratti and beef roast with some lime pickle.

That, my friends, is my perfect lunch!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Dates and peanut laddoo

The chances of some scintillating events unfolding by chance ... is what happened the day I made dates laddoos :D :D

It was my last week at my job of 8 years and as my farewell to the Firm that gifted me some noteworthy memories, it was my tribute to my friends and colleagues with some me-made culinary art. I prefer DIY gifts these days coz of the personal touch :D. Crossed fingers and a pounding heart loomed over my ecstatic halo of excited anxiety, I was gonna make them in a larger proportion.

As I stepped into the supermarket hoping for inspiration from the arrays decked with packets of possible ingredients, my eyes fell on the shelf with dates and then that MOMENT ensued :D :D My big moment that led to what I have shared below.

Some days feel like they are meant to have been in a certain way. It makes me wonder if there is indeed a pre-destiny. Over the years, I have replaced the blind religious belief handed down over generations to one that believes that we make our own destiny, or at least that our decisions play a vital role in shaping our castles of dreams. The Universe is full of surprises and I have concluded that there are more than "YESes" and "NOs". :D :D

As surprising as was the making of these little rounds of joy, I got some amazing pics during the photoshoot that I was proud of to show off.

I was way over the moon!


What I used
  1. Deseeded dates: 500 grams
  2. Toasted non-salted peanuts: ½ cup (optional)
  3. Ghee: 1 tablespoon
  4. Jaggery: ¼ cup
  5. Ginger: 2 inches
  6. Cardamom: 8 pods
  7. Pepper powder: 3/4 teaspoon
  8. Water: 3 tablespoons
  9. Toasted sesame seeds and almonds for garnish (optional)
How I made it
  1. Grind the dates and peanuts separately in a mixer. I did not powder the peanuts to retain some crunch in the laddoo. In a hot pan, heat half the ghee and cook the dates for a few minutes stirring continuously. To this add the peanuts and mix well and take it off stove.
    PS: you can add other dry fruits instead of peanuts. If no cruch needed, just use deseeded dates
  2. In a separate pan, boil the jaggery with some water, ginger, cardamom and pepper powder till it becomes viscous. Strain most of this juice into the dates and peanut mix and mix well. To the rest of the reduced jaggery, add the almonds that will be used for garnish.
  3. Once the mix cools down, grease you hands and a plate with some ghee and make laddoos of the desired shape and size. Jaggery coated almonds can be used as garnish. Also toasted sesame seeds can be used as topping.

I was tasting this thoughout the making process that by the time it was all over and I had a full laddoo, I was so full I skipped dinner that day :D :D

This was the quickest sweet dish I had made in a while :D :D

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Potato scrambled eggs

It was 9:00 am... a Sunday... a very lazy Sunday. The kind of lazy where one wakes up from bed only to go sprawl on the living room couch. Nowhere to rush to, no timeline to keep up, no commitments to follow through. Such days are WOW to wake up to knowing the day is all mine. :D 

Such lazy days are the days too when going to a store is a big NA NA and where my creativity springs up to keep me all cozy. Bill Gates was so right when he said a lazy man finds the easiest way to finish a task. So around 10:00 am, when my lazy sprawl was getting uncomfortable with the muscle fatigue of staying in a position far too long, I crawled off the bean bag and gave it a reassuring glance to say "I will be back soon dear". Then got my home-ground coffee and decided to have breakfast.

There was an onion, corriander and curry leaves, a few potatoes and that was it. A very silent and polite but obvious swear almost escaped my disappointed demeanor. What was I supposed to make with that???
Why not a Spanish omelette I thought. It had been a while since I made them. When I opened the fridge, what I saw made my heart sink. There was only 1 egg! :-( ;-( 
And my pan needed at least 3 eggs to make one on a day of ingredient drought. Then it happened like the troll where one is about to flip an omelette and ended up with scrambled eggs, with some alterations in my case. 

As I boiled the potatoes and was estimating how to lay the pan so I could still make a Spanish omelette, I suddenly got too bored making a plan and then thought how about potato scrambled eggs. And despite the skepticism, I moved ahead and had a very filling breakfast :D :D


What I used
  1. Coconut oil: 3 tablespoons
  2. Boiled and coarsely crushed potatoes: 1 cup
  3. Chopped onion: 1
  4. Salt: to taste
  5. Pepper powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  6. Curry leaves: few
  7. Chopped corriander leaves: 1/2 cup
  8.  Eggs: 2 (I used one, but 2 would be better)
How I made it
  1. Heat oil in a pan, saute the onions with salt and pepper and add the curry leaves, corriander leaves and crushed potatoes 
  2. Mix the contents well and add the eggs with continuous scrambling till the eggs turn crispy
I was so hungry with all the planning and change of plans that I didn't have the patience to click more pics of this dish :D :D It was all over in a jiffy for me. It was also the moment I basked in the perfection of an egg-potato marriage.

This is a light and filling breakfast for those who don't wanna go heavy.

Have this with a slice of garlic bread and it should just be fine! :D :D

Chicken samosa

Despite the severe curfew on some of our favorite pasttimes, one of the best happenings that sprung from my mom's retirement was the daily snacks she would prepare for my sis and me with the evening tea :D :D. After her retirement, it was exciting to rush home from school for the sole reason that there would be something new and tasty for lunch :D :D

A couple of months ago, I was reminded of the samosas she would make, the one foiled in pastry sheets, which isn't common in Trivandrum. I checked out a few confectioneries here to no avail.

It was time to create what I wanted! And I love that feeling where what you need isn't available and you gotta custom make it :D :D. For me, it was only a matter of reaching the heights of "wanting" to leave my comfortable premises and get the stuff. Surprisingly what led me to make these samosas wasn't my craving. It was while deciding on a menu of snacks to treat my friends and colleagues that I decided "why not some chicken samosas!" :D :D

And here they are :D :D


What I used
  1. Coconut oil : ¼ cup for the filiing and enough oil for deep frying
  2. Mustard seeds: ½ teaspoon
  3. Diced onion: 2
  4. Ginger-garlic paste: 1 teaspoon
  5. Salt: to taste
  6. Turmeric powder, pepper powder and garam masala: ½ teaspoon each
  7. Grated carrots: ½ cup
  8. Capsicum: 1
  9. Chillies: as per need
  10. Chicken: 250 grams
  11. Pastry sheets: as per need
How I made it
  1. In pan, heat oil, splutter the mustard seeds and saute the onion adding some salt. When onions soften, add the spice powders and cook till the raw smell goes. Add the carrot, capsicum and chillies adjusting the salt as needed till the veggies are almost done. Then goes in the minced chicken and cook with continuous mixing till the chicken is done. This is the filling
  2. Take the elongated pastry sheet to wrap the samosa into a triangle and deep fry in hot oil till they brown on either side

These crispy triangles of joy are delicious with sweet and spicy tomato ketchup :D :D
  
Couple it with  a hot cup of cardamom tea or coffee to have an evening that makes you smile in your armchair watching that serene sun go down the horizon :D :D