Chicken Noodle Soup


Traditional chicken noodle soup with Indian flavors.
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Carrots, corn, celery, onions , tomatoes, chopped cilantro and a spoon of ginger garlic paste.
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4 cups of chicken broth and chicken breast cut in cubes.
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I am using campanalle pasta for the noodle part. You can use any pasta or noodles. Cook the noodle/pasta as per box instructions.
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bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, fennel, cumin, black pepper and cardamom
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Give a quick crush to the spices to release the flavors.
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Tie the crushed spices into a bundle, I have used a bounty paper towel. A clean cloth can also be used.
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In the pot, add a spoon of oil, and sauté the onions, ginger garlic paste, carrots and celery.Add the chicken, tomatoes and cilantro. Sprinkle some salt to sweat the veggies and sauté until chicken changes color.
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Add 4 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water.
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Place the spice bundle in the soup. Cover and cook in low heat for at least an hour.
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After an hour, remove the spice bundle.
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Add the cooked noodles/pasta. Season the soup with salt and pepper.
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To make the vegetarian version, replace chicken with chick peas or black beans and chicken broth with vegetable broth.
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Koottaanchoru


This is the Nellai version of Bisibelabath. The difference is in the vegetables and the spices used. I have greatly enjoyed this rice at my maternal grandmother’s place. This is a great one pot dish.Image

raw rice – 1.5 cups
Thur Dhal – 1/2 cup

Cook the dhal and rice together in a pressure cooker with 6 cups of water , some salt and 2 tsp of oil. You can cook them in a regular pot, add enough water so that cooked rice-dhal has a soft texture.

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I have small onions, radish, cooking banana, eggplants, flat beans and drumsticks. Traditionally, we use what we call as “Naattu Kaai” for this rice and avoid vegetables like carrots, peas and cauliflower.

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Chop the vegetables in big chunks as they have to withstand a long cooking process.

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Tamarind water and asafoetida.

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For the masala, grind red chillies, cumin, small onions, garlic and 1 tbsp. of coconut.

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In the pot add some sesame oil and fry curry leaves and onions.

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sauté the veggies.

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Add the tamarind water.

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Add salt, turmeric powder and asafoetida and cook until the raw smell of tamarind goes away in medium heat for at least about 30 mins. Add the masala and cook for another 15 minutes.

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Traditionally, drumstick leaves are added. As I can’t get them in my place,I have added some chopped methi.

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Add the cooked rice and dhal to the curry and mix well. Simmer for 15 mins, making sure the rice is not getting dry.

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Fry some curry vadaam (if you don’t have it, mustard seeds will do), red chillies and curry leaves in a separate pan and add the seasoning to the rice.

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Tastes good when its hot and tastes even better at room temperature. This is a great all-in-one dish with rice, lentils and vegetables and the combination of red chillies, cumin and garlic add layers of flavor. Back in my hometown, I have even tasted this dish with shrimp in it. You can try that too !

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Chicken Kola curry


“Kola”s are the Indian meatballs.
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Minced chicken (If you don’t get minced chicken, just grind boneless chicken without adding water).

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Roasted channa dal (pottukadalai) and fennel. grind them together and make dry powder. Or you can use besan and fennel powder.Image

This will be used to bind the kolas.

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chopped onions, chillies, coriander leaves and ginger garlic paste

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Sauté the onions, chillies, ginger garlic paste and cilantro.

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Add them to the minced chicken.

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Add turmeric powder, chilli powder , a pinch of garam masala and salt.

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Add the roasted channa dal+fennelseeds powder to the chicken and mix well.

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Make even sized balls (kolas) out of the meat and set them aside.

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Now for the gravy:
red chilies
coriander seeds
fennel seeds
cumin seeds
raw rice

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Fry the spices in a spoon of oil.

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Grind them with 3 tbsp. of grated coconut.

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Make it to a smooth paste and dilute with water.

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chop some onions, garlic, chillies, tomatoes and curry leaves.

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Use a shallow pan(so that all the kolas can be placed in a single layer). Saute the garlic, curry leaves ,chillies  and onions.

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Add the tomatoes and sauté until they soften.

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Add the prepared masala.(Picture 14)

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Add some tamarind water and salt.

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Bring the curry to a good boil and then place the meat kolas in the curry. This is how its traditionally done. If you are concerned that the kolas might break, you can shallow/deep fry the balls first before adding it to the curry. But then the kolas won’t be as juicy as the traditional way.

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Once you have placed all the kolas in the curry, reduce the heat, cover and cook until the kolas are done..

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Make sure the kolas are cooked all the way before removing from heat.

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Serve with rice. For the vegetarian version, make kolas by grinding soaked thur/moong dhal .
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Spizzzzy..rice noodles (strictly vegetarian :) )


Fresh flavors, bright colors …spring is here 🙂
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Cook the rice noodles according to box instructions. Thin noodles just require soaking in boiling water. Thicker noodles may require 5-6 mins cooking .
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cut all the veggies in thin strips. mince garlic and ginger.
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For the sauce :
soy sauce – 2tbsp
red chilli garlic sauce – 3 tsp
green chilli sauce – 2 tsp
rice wine vinegar – 1 tsp (optional)
brown sugar – 1tbsp
Mix them all together, and if you taste it now, you will be thrown off by the intensity of the sauce, but whe we mix with the noodles it will be perfect.
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Cut some paneer in thin strips and shallow fry them. You can replace with Tofu or scrambled eggs.
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Now for the easy part, heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a wok and sauté chillies, minced garlic and ginger.
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Saute the onions…
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Add the carrots and green beans.
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Now add cabbage.
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Finally add all the colored peppers… (when you add veggies in this order, it is easier to maintain their crispiness).
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The sauce goes in….
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Mix well with the veggies.
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Now ad the noodles , make sure the heat is ‘high’.
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Gently toss the noodles to mix with the sauce and veggies.
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Turn off the heat add the fried paneer and some chopped cilantro.

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Grab a fork and say “hello, spring…. ”  🙂
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Fish in cocount curry


My hometown is a small fishing town in the southern tip of India, so my love for fish shouldn’t be a surprise. Nothing compares to the taste of freshly caught fish cooked within hours. I became a vegetarian few years back and I have to say it would have been impossible if I am still living in my hometown. This curry is a traditional recipe and brings back memories of my school days, sharing lunches with friends, I had a couple of friends whose moms made awesome versions of this curry 🙂

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Fish – cleaned , cut and rubbed with turmeric and salt. (I have Tilapia here)

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Tamarind water (Even after all these years of cooking I can’t rightly judge how much tamarind I will need. I usually make a good amount of tamarind water and add to the recipe as needed and save the rest in the fridge and try to use it within 4-5 days).

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chopped onions, diced tomatoes and a generous amount of curry leaves.

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In a pan, add 2tbsp of sesame oil. Fry 1 tsp of mustard seeds and 1/2 tsp of fenugreek.
Saute the onions and curry leaves.

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When the onions lightly brown, add :  2 tsp of turmeric powder and red chilli powder (according to your heat preference) directly to the oil. This will instantly cook the chilli powder and take the raw smell out of it.

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Once the oil separates, add the tomatoes.

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When the tomatoes soften, add the tamarind water.

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Add about a cup of water and salt. Allow this to boil and reduce a little bit (until the raw taste of tamarind goes away).

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Add the fish pieces and allow it to cook for 5 mins. That’s all it will take for the fish to cook.

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While the fish is cooking, we can make the coconut paste. You’ll need :
grated coconut – 3 tbsp.
chopped onions – 1 tbsp.
garlic – 2 cloves
cumin – 2 tsp
curry leaves – some
(If you like a little punch, you can also add 1 tsp of black pepper. )
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Grind them all with water to make a paste.
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Add the coconut paste to the fish curry, stir in without breaking the fish .
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Sprinkle some more curry leaves, cover with lid and simmer for 10 mins. Allow the curry to stay in the pan for at least 30 mins before transferring to the serving dish.
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Serve with rice. You can drizzle a tsp of sesame oil in the curry before serving. Fish, curry leaves and sesame oil are like soulmates, they work very well together 
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Idli podi (or molaga podi or chammandhi podi or..)


Call it any name , the taste never fails. I’ve always loved the combination of idli and podi(who doesn’t), this particular recipe is from my mom’s mom. This is more intense, more flavorful and more salivating 🙂 There are a few brands of podi available in stores (in NJ that is, I am sure there are more options in India), but I usually find them to be either very mild or they look very reddish as if the red chillies are raw. This recipe is very simple, so I always make it at home.
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If you just want a basic podi…these are the only ingredients you need.
Urad dhal – 1 cup (you can use urad dhal without the peel too)
Channa dhal – 1 cup
dry red chillies – 2cups (loosely packed)
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These are just embellishments that add more layers of flavor. You don’t have to add these for a simple podi. If you are adding sesame seeds, the shelf life is less.Sesame seeds (black, brown or white) – 1 cup ; Garlic cloves – a few
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Heat a pan and dry toast the lentils (urad dhal and channa dhal). Do not add oil, just toast them dry for a few minutes, until you get the flavor and the urad dhal becomes slightly pinkish.(Make sure to keep stirring to avoid burnt lentils).Image
Set the toasted lentils aside. Heat 1 tsp of oil and toast the chillies until they slightly change in color (again no burning).
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Toast the sesame seeds in a tsp of oil.
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Roast the garlic in a tsp of oil.
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Let everything cool down for atleast 30 minutes. Then dry grind it to a coarse powder.
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Add salt only after grinding. The right texture should be like beach sand, if you add salt while grinding, it will add moisture.
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Hot idlis, podi, sesame oil and a cup of good Madras coffee…..mmmm….what a wonderful life !!
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You can also add podi to spice up the idli upma.
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Make “crispy idli fingers” (cut the idlis into finger shaped pieces and coat them with the podi and oil mix and shallow fry them. You won’t believe how crisp they come out.)Image