Sunday 26 April 2009

La Brioche Vendéenne (French Sweet Bread) and some awards...

Though I was off my pc during my two weeks of holidays that I spent peacefully and happily with my teddies and my beloved, I’ve been taking a glance of all your comments and encouragements (without being able to reply at once). A big thanks to all of you for stopping by and and hope you’ve been doing good. It's so nice to come back blogging along with some motivating and encouraging awards from my dear friends, tell me what else do we need to do what you like?

One of my daughter’s favorite for breakfast is this sweet feathery bread,
there's another version that I’ve already tried and posted here, quite good too but I found this one much more perfect for my taste, I loved the fluffy texture and the slight vanillated orange flavor...(I found the recipe here and I thank Guylaine for sharing this recipe that I'd treasure); came out to be the best of all sweet breads I’ve ever tried so far, up to my expectations, and approved by the whole family.



Ingredients:
500 g of Pastry flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk for basting
125 g sugar
2 tbsp pearl sugar (I haven’t used it here)
75 g softened butter( cut into small cubes)
2 tbsp fresh cream
15g baker's yeast
100 ml warm milk
1 tbsp Cointreau / vanilla extract (I added both in equal quantities)
1 tbsp orange flower water

Method:
Crumble the yeast in the warm milk and dissolve it.


In a bowl, mix together the sifted flour, sugar and salt and make a pit (hole) in the middle;

Add the 2 eggs, the cream, milk and the yeast mixture along with the softened butter. Add the Cointreau and the orange flower water and knead (approximately 10 minutes) until you get a homogeneous dough which is almost unsticky. (You may use a robot for doing this but take care not to let the yeast get in contact directly with the salt).
Make a ball and wrap it with a plastic food wrapper and let it stand for an hour in a warm place until it doubles it's volume.


When it has doubled the volume, divide the dough into 4 and form 3 or 4 long rods out of it. Place them one beside another and press the top part together to form one and then pass them one below another and pleat.

Place it on a baking sheet and leave it in a warm place, air –tight, for about an hour.

Dilute the egg yolk with a spoon of water and beat slightly. Brush the top of the pleated dough with the solution.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 20 to 25 minutes.

(If the top browns too quickly, cover the dough with an aluminum foil.)

You may like to top with some pearl sugar (I haven’t done here)



Let it cool down before serving.(Thing that we didn’t respect at all, half of it was already over by the time each one us took a bite to taste, then another one more and then one small bite……) Ideal even for tea time with toppings or fillings of your choice. Happy Baking!









And some awards.....

Priya, Phanitha, Sanghi, Dhanya Nambirajan , Vibaas and Shama Nagarajan have passed me this lovely award which comes with the following note:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog.
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you.
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs (Only if you like).
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blog.

I'd like to thank you Priya, Phanitha, Sanghi and Shama for your kindness but you're also leaving me the task to choose seven of them......that's really tough for a lazy bundle like me as there are so many blogs I love to read and many to mention....)

I'd simply love to pass this award to all my blogger friends I've mentioned under "My favorite fellow bloggers" scroll down and see the right column please as I love to read all of them....Thank you for picking up this award dear friends :)

Another one passed to me by Sangeetha and Dhanya Nambirajan. A big thanks to both of you Sangeetha and Dhanya, for rewarding me with this beautiful gift, that means so much to me. I think all of us have a reason or another to blog....maybe all of us merit it???? I would like to invite all of you bloggers to help yourselves to this one too...Thank you so much dear friends :)

Wednesday 15 April 2009

Chicken Pakoda

Taking advantage of my holidays, mmm hum, rather the Easter holidays of my teddies to take a pause, to receive friends and family, to get together, to relax, enjoy the pleasant weather, to do nothing ( no homeworks, no keeping up with the time, running to school, waking up early in the morning...), and keep off my pc for a couple of weeks but couldn’t resist to upload this simple snack, which I did for my little sis who loves norukku theeni (snacks), like most of us do and something very quick and easy to do and ideal to serve for an aperitif. Enjoy!
Ingredients:
2 cups boneless chicken
½ cup Gram flour
2 tbsp corn flour
Chilly powder (according to taste, 1 tbsp for me)
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
20 Cashew nuts or peanuts
2 sprigs curry leaves
Oil for deep frying

Method:
In a bowl, mix together the gram flour, salt, chilly powder, and the oil.
Taste and correct salt and chilly.

Cook the chicken pieces in some water. (You may also like to add salt and pepper powder while cooking or cook it as it is)
Shred the chicken roughly and add the corn flour to it.

Combine the prepared powders with the above and mix well.

Add the curry leaves and the nuts.

Correct salt and the hotness if necessary. Mix well so that everything is well coated with the powders.
(I didn’t have to add any water to the above mixture as the chicken had enough moisture already, but if you find that the mixture doesn’t coat the ingredients well, then just sprinkle some water and mix well.

Heat enough oil in a wok for deep frying.

Take the chicken pieces and sprinkle some of them in the hot oil. (They should fall down separately.)

When they turn crispy and golden brown, remove and spread it on a paper towel. Do the same for the rest of the mixture. Cheers!

Friday 10 April 2009

Thenga Sore (Coconut Rice)

I love doing this simple rice as it can be paired with any side dishes like gravies, stir-fried vegetables, any seafood / meat fries, egg masala, pickles / chutneys..... This is ideal to transform a plain boiled rice to something special (creamy coconut flavored with little spices and a hint of lime), without going in for a lot of work or using necessarily lot of ingredients.

Ingredients:
2 cups Basmati Rice
2 cups of coconut milk
2 tbsp lime juice
Salt
A pinch of turmeric
1 tsp mustard sees
1/2 tsp channa dhal
1 tsp urad dhal
A pinch of asafetida
A sprig of curry leaves
4 or 5 whole dry red chilies or green chilies
10 cashew nuts
10 peanuts
5 tbsp sesame oil

Method:

Wash the rice and drain.
Add the coconut milk, lime juice and another 1 ½ cups of water, some salt and turmeric and cook the rice in a rice cooker. (You may like to add some chopped coriander leaves as well; I didn’t have it at the moment)
Remove and spread it in a wide vessel and let it cool down.
Heat the sesame oil in a pan, fry the cashew nuts and the pea nuts until brown, splutter the Urad dhal, Channa dhal, mustard seeds, the chilies and the curry leaves. Add the asafetida and pour it all over the cooked rice and stir well until everything has been well mixed up. Enjoy!

Kozhi -Poricha Kari (Chicken Fry)

This is one of my favorite recipes for cooking this meat in a semi-dry version, excellent as a side dish for Rice varieties or other main dishes. This recipe was passed to me by my dear and only sister [Thank you Eli :)].

Ingredients:
1 kg chicken
Whole spices (Cinnamon sticks 1 or 2, 3 cloves, a bay leaf)
2 tsp chilly powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cumin seeds powder
½ tsp coriander powder
Salt
2 big onions
½ tbsp each ginger and garlic paste
2 tomatoes
10 tbsp Oil
2 sprigs curry leaves
1 tbsp fennel seeds powder

Method:
Chop the onions and the tomatoes very finely.
Clean the chicken and chop into pieces. Put it in a double bottomed vessel along with the turmeric powder, salt, the whole spices, the chopped onions and the tomatoes, the ginger garlic paste, the chilly powder, cumin and coriander powders.

Pour a cup of water (just enough to cook the chicken) and cook on high flame for about 20 minutes or until the meat is done.

Remove and filter it through a colander and separate the meat from the rest of the mixture.

Heat oil in a wok, splutter the curry leaves and fry each piece of meat in small batches until golden brown. Keep aside.

When everything has been done, (remove any excess oil), put once again all the fried meat in the same wok, and stir-in all the filtered remaining mixture from the boiled contents, without the broth (if you want it dry) and stir fry on high flame for some more minutes until the oil separates and until the meat is well coated and the mixture browns slightly.


Add the fennel seeds powder just before switching off the flame. Stir once again, remove and serve.
Enjoy your Meal!

Thursday 9 April 2009

Greeny Delight (Broccoli Soup)

I haven’t tried doing soups with broccoli until I was inspired to do it by seeing Varsha’s version HERE (Thank you Varsha, we enjoyed it!).

Knowing that my beloved likes Broccolis, whether they’re stir-fried, boiled or steamed, he loves it so much, I did the soup in my own way, with nothing except Broccoli, (keeping in mind my dear vegetarian blogger friends):) a simple version, yet very smooth and creamy, a little heavy but ideal for a stomach-filling dinner without any solid food ( I need to do this before summer :), I enjoyed it as it is, just topped with the roasted almonds for some crunchiness, but maybe you would like to personalize by adding some grated cheese or croutons or fried bacon or simply some fried onions or some roasted slivered almonds or whatever you like......


Ingredients:
1 kg Broccoli
3 sticks butter (reduce if you want)
Fresh herbs any (I used Thyme, Basil, Marjoram)
50 ml fresh cream
1 liter water
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method:

Melt the butter in a big casserole and fry the cleaned Broccoli florets for 2 minutes. Salt slightly and sprinkle the finely chopped herbs and add the water.
Let it boil and cook closed for about 20 minutes.
Blend it it all with the cream, taste and correct salt if necessary.
Serve hot, topped with some freshly ground pepper.

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Kari Puli Kozhambu (Mutton tamarind curry)

One of the family recipes passed to me by my sister in law. I’ve posted a similar recipe using tamarind and mutton together (here) and most of you said that you haven’t heard about a recipe using mutton in a tamarind curry, yet very similar like Mutton Dalcha, Mutton Bafat...

Parts of the mutton like rib chops, loin and shoulder or neck meat are ideal for this curry, instead of the leg part of the mutton, which we prefer usually for Briyani or Kurma or for any other mutton dishes. Because, unlike for other classical curries, this curry tastes better with bony parts…... Any vegetables like Drumsticks, ladyfingers, Eggplants or raw Mangoes go well with this sauce.
Ingredients:
3 big onions
1 full garlic and equal amount of ginger pasted
A handful of tamarind (enough to get a cup of thick tamarind extract)
1 ½ cups of coconut milk
4tbsp curry powder
3 tbsp vadavam
2 sprigs curry leaves
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt
Any Vegetables (Eggplants/ Drumsticks/ Ladyfingers)
5 tbsp oil

Method:

Clean and chop the mutton pieces.
Extract the tamarind juice, dissolve the curry powder, salt and turmeric in it and keep aside.
Make a coarse paste of the onions and the ginger- garlic separately.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker, splutter the vadavam and the curry leaves. Fry the onions until slightly brown, followed by the ginger garlic paste until oil separates. Add the mutton pieces and stir until well coated.

Add the tamarind juice and a cup of the coconut milk. Stir, taste and correct the salt and hotness of the curry and pressure cook until 3 whistles. Remove off the fire and let it cool down. Open and pour the remaining coconut milk and add the veggies if any, let it boil for 10 more minutes. Remove off the flame and serve with Rice / Rotis.

Mutton can also be substituted by pork meat (preferably shoulder / rib/ loin parts).

Puli Saadham (Tamarind Rice)

Puli Saadham, called “Puliyodharai” in Tamilnadu is a sour, spicy and hot rice mixture; a dish considered as a poor man’s festival food in some places in India, as it is a good stomach-filler and also requires very little inexpensive ingredients….
Whether it’s for the poor people or for the others, I love this dish for several reasons: First of all, for the stimulating flavor of tamarind, which gives the tanginess to this rice, ideal for hot temperatures, for picnics, because it doesn’t need to be heated to be palatable, reason why people in India pack this for journeys/ excursions and also because it is stomach-filling, which is important for me :) After all, one of the main reasons for which we eat food is also to fill up our stomachs right?)

It also reminds me of my happy days in the hostel, far far away, long time ago, ………………………Flashback….., whenever there is an excursion, the cooks at the hostel, used to pack up this tamarind rice along with the Egg Masala and the Vadava Thuvayal for the journey….. Happy memories with my friends have remained intact in me along with the memorable tastes on my taste buds which pushed me to do it for my own and only satisfaction, as , neither my beloved nor my teddies are great fans of this rice….:) Sometimes, being selfish makes me feel great :) Cruel me :)
Ingredients:

A handful of tamarind
A sprig curry leaves
10 tbsp sesame oil
¼ cup roasted peanuts / cashew nuts
5 or 6 dry red chilies
A dash of asafetida
A pinch of turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp channa dhal
3 cups boiled rice

To roast or dry fry:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
½ tsp peppercorns
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
¼ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
3 or 4 dry red chilies

Method:
Soak tamarind in 2 cups of warm water for about 15 minutes, filter and extract a thick tamarind mixture.

Roast and grind all the ingredients under “To roast or dry fry:” to a fine powder.

Heat 5 tbsp oil in a vessel and fry the channa dhal, the cashew nuts or peanuts until golden brown; add the curry leaves and the red chilies followed by the mustard seeds; when they splutter, add the asafetida and then the tamarind extract and the turmeric powder. Add salt and boil on low medium heat for about 10 minutes until the raw smell disappears.

Add the powdered spices and correct the saltif necessary. Boil for some more minutes until the oil separates from the sauce. Remove it off the fire.

Spread the boiled rice in a wide pan and add the remaining sesame oil to the rice and stir well until the grains get well separated.

Add the prepared tamarind mixture little by little and stir well until the rice has been well coated or until you get the preferred taste.


This rice tastes even better the next day. Serve as you please with a side dish.

Monday 6 April 2009

(Manga-Yiral Poriyal) Fried Chicken Gizzards



Ingredients:

500g Chicken Gizzards
2 onions
1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste
1 or 2 tomatoes
1 tsp chilly powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt
5 tbsp oil
¼ tsp garam masala
To roast /dry fry in a pan:
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
¼ tsp peppercorns

Method:
Clean and chop each gizzard into 2 or 3 pieces. Sprinkle the turmeric powder and keep aside.

Chop the onions and the tomatoes finely.

Dry fry (without oil) the coriander, cumin seeds and the peppercorns and powder them.

Heat oil in a wok, add the onions and fry until translucent; Sprinkle some salt.

Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry well until the oil separates and the raw smells goes off.

Add the powdered spices (coriander, pepper and cumin), the chilly powder and the garam masala and stir fry until you get a nice aroma.

Add the tomatoes and continue stir frying until they turn mushy. Taste and correct the salt if necessary.

Add the gizzards and stir well to coat them well in the sauce. Reduce the heat to low medium and cook closed without adding water, until done, for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Goes well with rice.

(I added 2 peeled and chopped potatoes along with the gizzards).

Friday 3 April 2009

Pudhina/Malli Thokku (Mint/Coriander Chutney)

By now, you might be knowing that I'm doing everything to finish up my fresh herbs lying in the refrigerator since two days....

Yes, I insisted to buy sufficient amount of Coriander and Mint leaves for doing the dinner of my daughter's Bday party (last week end), but did I ask him to buy 5 bunches of Mint leaves and 5 bunches of Coriander leaves??? that is the work of my beloved "Hum Hum", I suppose (as usual), he preferred to buy them, all at once, so that I don't ask him to run to the shop to buy the fresh herbs, at the last minute...... always too much or nothing :):) :)

So.... after the Nilgiri Kurma, it's a thokku with some more of the greens ......I don't like to see any fresh herbs in the refrigerator for more than 3 or more days; I have the impression of making them old and tired and that they're making faces to me because I'm letting them die without giving them the oppurtunity to be useful, fresh and healthy :) So making use of them to give them another new life in my dish..... :)

I prefer calling it a thokku as it has neither the texture of a chutney nor a pickle.....but you can call it as you like....a salsa/ a chutney/ a dip/ a thuvayal.......it goes well mixed with rice or as a side dish for chapatis and many main dishes. I like so much the mixture of the slight munchy and nutty texture of the roasted peanuts and the fresh herbs, that I realized that I've been swallowing already a couple of spoons of the thokku :), tasting and re-tasting, while wiping out everything from the bowl of my blender....Shhhhh..... I have to taste and correct the taste if necessary, shouldn't I ? :)


Ingredients:
2 cups coriander leaves
2 cups mint leaves
4 or 5 green chilies ( reduce or increase according to your tastes)
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
a lime size tamarind
salt
6 tbsp oil

Method:

Wash and keep aside the leaves of the fresh herbs. Remove the seeds from the green chilies.

Dry fry/ roast the peanuts in a pan and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the coriander and mint leaves along with the green chilies for 3 minutes or until the raw smell disappears.

Add the roasted peanuts to it and remove off the flame.

Allow it to cool down and blend everything with tamarind and salt to a coarse mixture. (we're not going to add water here; heated and cooled oil can be added if necessary, it helps to conserve the thokku for a longer period) . I like it coarse with some whole peanuts in between but you can very well blend it finely too.

This thokku can be kept intact for a week, if conserved in the refrigerator, in an air-tight bottle.

Great as an extra side -dish with Chapati/ Methi Parotta/ Semolina Idli/ Curd rice/ Kattu Sore or Lemon Rice or Tomato Rice.

Thursday 2 April 2009

Nilgiri Chicken Kurma

As it’s name indicates, “Nilgiri” refers to a range of mountains bridging across the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in South India, blessed with a tropical, semitropical and temperate vegetation, including herbs, plants, shrubs, trees, flowers and spices with potential medicinal value but also known as a paradise for wild animals.

The origin of the name “Nilgiri” otherwise called “The blue hills” seems to derive from two Sanskrit words (Nil=Neelam=Blue and Giri = Hill or Mountain) and it is believed that the people living in the plains, at the foot of the hills, gave the name, the “Nilgiris”, in view of the violet blossoms of ‘kurinji’ flowers enveloping the hill ranges periodically.

Coming to our recipe, actually I was inspired to do this delicious curry when I saw my friend's recipe Malar’s recipe HERE. Thanks to Malar for sharing the recipe of this rich green goodness.

Though we don’t have the entire vegetation of the whole Nilgiris in our dish, the only fragrance of the fresh coriander and mint leaves, blended and cooked slowly with the chicken in the coconut milk is more than enough to take us to the Nilgiris:) Happy meal dear friends!

Ingredients:
1 kg Chicken
Whole spices (5 Cloves, 6 cardamom pods , 3 bay leaves, 1 star anise, 2 cinnamon sticks)
Fennel seeds 2 tsp
5 green chilies deseeded and slit lengthwise
3 Onions chopped finely
10 pods garlic and equal amount of Ginger
250 ml yoghurt
2 tomatoes chopped finely
Salt
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
5 green chilies (deseeded)
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup coriander leaves
300ml coconut milk
250ml ghee

Method:
Blend the ginger, garlic and 5 deseeded green chilies along with some yoghurt.


Grind the coriander leaves and the mint leaves with some more yoghurt to a fine paste.


Heat ghee in a double bottomed vessel, add the whole spices and the fennel seeds and splutter.


Add the onions and fry until translucent, add the ginger/garlic/green chilies paste and fry until the oil separates and the raw smell goes off. Add the tomatoes and fry until oil separates.


Add salt and turmeric powder. Add the chicken pieces and stir fry until every thing is well coated, leave it for about 5 minutes.


Add 2 cups of water and bring it to boil and cook closed for about 15 minutes.


Add the coconut milk and cook on medium heat for 5 more minutes.

You can always top the curry with some more coriander/mint leaves.....

Great with Naan / Chapati / Parotta / Poori