Stuffed Chillies.

I have had mind-boggling two weeks which along with the weather hasn’t helped my disposition at all.

Really groggy weather in my neck of the woods right now. It is not raining but it seems likes it would rain any minute now and its been like that for the past three days without a drop of rain. The greenery seems to be going brown without going through the customary color change and that is just sad. For fall is not fall until the colors come in. Three weeks into september and I am already missing summer. The weird weather is to blame. There is slight chill in the air. Not much but enough to send the kids into the customary change of season cold. I am already dreading the winter this season.

The weather, though, has had me craving for deep-fried stuff all week. I am resolutely ignoring it. Thinking ahead, I am saving myself for Diwali, you see. Maybe if I abstain for the next month, I can gorge away the diwali goodies guilt-free. One can always hope. Sedentary lifestyles make you plan ahead for these things. But I digress. I was talking about the last two weeks.

Early on, as soon as I posted about the sweet appe, my blender died on me. Serves me right for cribbing about it in the last two posts. I had a good GE model with a coffee grinder attachment which had served me well the past 4 years. With the kind of use I have made of it, I am surprised it took so long for it to give up on me. But, the whole thing was disappointing. I always thought that the day it dies on me would be the day I have a dozen people for dinner. There I would be trying to grind up a heavenly curry paste and it would blast out, make horrible sounds, keep sputtering and the red light that signifies the machine is on would fade away slowly, kind of like the eye of the terminator at the end of each movie. And that I would see my dream of an Indianised Martha Stewartesque meal fading away with that light. O, the horror! O, the pain! If nothing so melodramatic, I thought that it would at least do me the favor of dying a spectacular death with the top flying away and the stuff that I was trying to grind hitting the roof and coming down in a shower. You know, a shower of strawberry smoothie early in the morning would be a spectacular way to start a day, wouldn’t it? But alas, no such luck. It just sputtered and ground itself to halt, never to make a peep again. Why? Because.

So anyway, I am having the biggest internal debate. I have decided to take this oppurtunity to invest in either an Indian mixer/grinder or the wet grinder. I can’t decide between the two. So I have decided to make it a democratic decision. I invite my readers to please vote for either so that I can finally decide. Yes, the word decide is on my mind too much these days. The Libran moon is up, my friends.

While you guys are voting on that, you could also comment on how one should deal with a 3 year old when you trying to talk to him about a certain not-good-boy thing he did and he replies,

“I don’t want to talk about it”.

To say, I was flabbergasted would be putting it mildly. I was completely dumb-founded and had no idea how to proceed. I stood there mute, actually feeling the sting of the ‘chaata‘ I would have got from my parents in such scenarios. They same ‘chaata‘ that they never got a chance to dispense, btw. He hasn’t repeated the action, but I would still like to be more prepared for statements like that one in case they make an appearance again. I still haven’t thought of a good retort. Yep, amazing two weeks I have had.

I decided to stuff my misery, my undecisiveness and my complete lack of ability to overcome a 3 year old among other stuff into some Anahiem Peppers and have a good dinner, instead. This decision was the easy part.

Stuffed Chillies

Recipe:

1)

Prep the chillies. Make a small horizontal cut,parallel to the stem about 1 cm below it. Make a vertical slit perpendicular to the first slit to the tip of the pepper. OPen up the pepper gently and remove all the seeds inside. I don’t remove the ribs. Sprinkle some salt on the peppers and keep it aside while you prepare the stuffing. The salting is an optional step. I do it because it softens the peppers just enough to allow it to cook quicker.

2) For the Stuffing. Mix

1/2 cup Besan/Chickpea Flour
1/4 cup Fresh Coconut gratings
1/4 cup Peanut powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder/Dhaniya
1/4 tsp Turmeric/Haldi
1 tsp Peanut Oil
a pinch Asafetida/Hing
Salt to taste
Juice from One lemon

together to almost form a dough. This stuffing is enough for 6 medium length peppers.

3) Gently stuff the dough into the chillies.

4) In a 8′ pan, heat a tsp of oil and spread it all over the pan’s surface . Add

a pinch of hing

Place the peppers on pan so that they are not overlapping. Immediately lower the flame, cover and cook for about ten minutes on each side. The time taken to cook would depend upon the amount of stuffing in your chillies. The steam and juices from the pepper should go through the stuffing right to its center. Make a cut on one of the chillies to make sure it has cooked all the way through. There is nothing good about uncooked besan. Enjoy.

pic_0612-contrast

Advertisements

Oven-Baked Chicken Curry

Yes, I called it a curry and refuse to call it anything else. A generic mix of spices for the general region of the Indian subcontinent all cooked together genericly goes by the name of curry in the western world. So when I cook something that satisfies that definition, in my western kitchen, I will call it a curry. [Defiant]. Besides, my blog, my rant. So there.

My love affair with the chicken began some 7 years ago. Before that I absolutely refused to eat it. Don’t ask me why.I have no idea. The thing with ingredients that make an entry into your life after your food habits have formed is,it takes quite a lot of thinking to decide how it will be cooked. It doesn’t come naturally to me. See, I look at beet greens, which I have never cooked with before and red amaranth comes to me. I look at zucchini and ridgegourd comes to mind. I look at a chicken and all I see is a mass of pink muscle. I have to go through my recipe book to decide which way I want to prepare it. This frustration with chicken is largely due to the fact that I have never really been successful in making a simple chicken curry. [ shutting my ears among the echoes of *gasp*, *and you are a food blogger?* ]

It’s true. Dinner with friends, potlucks and there it is. The ubiquitous ‘simple’ chicken curry,right there, mocking me. Each time, I go to the creator of this bane of my culinary existance and I try to stir the conversation ever so diplomatically to how it is made. I start with complimenting the dish and then finish with “you know there is something so very different from all the normal chicken curries in this. Koi special ingredient ?” Somewhere in between those two praticed lines, I get my answer.

Arre, nothing yaar! Hot oil, jeera, khadha masala, pyaz,tamatar, haldi, mirchi, dhaniya-jeera, garam masala, chicken, namak. Fir pani daala, aur 2 seethi nikali. Bas..“.

I am not going to bother translating that because it doesn’t help. Do you hear me?? IT DOESN’T HELP! I put all sorts of masala in the pressure-cooker with the chicken and it still tastes like something the local Indian restaurant serves at the buffet. A pseudo-Indian americanised curry that even non-indians have trouble eating. At this point, I am doing the mental version of pulling my hair out. But the lady in question is not done yet because the clincher comes in.

Sabke Haath ka bhi farak hota hai. That’s why it tastes different”.

I will translate this. This essentially means “My hands turn simple, everyday ingredients into magic. You, on the other hand[no pun intended] are a nincompoop!”. Aaaaargh!!

So, to take the smirk off her face,I go home and try it out. Nothing. Nada. Bland, insipid mess. It is the chicken, I tell you. These chicken have too much water in them. Besides,there is no smirk, is there? She just wants to get away from this non-chicken curry-making cook as far as possible. “Doesn’t know how to make chicken curry? Don’t know what kind of food the kids are being raised on? Bechare

As I burn in this hell of chicken-curry-failures, once in a while, something works. Only it is not add-some-of-this-some-of-that-and-pressure-cook-to-2-whistles kind of thing, it is somewhere in between. I chalk it all up to this game God plays so that I don’t give up completely on my simple-chicken-curry hope.Bhagwan, how you test me? Bachche ko rulaoege kya?”.

****************************************************************

Oven Baked Chicken Curry

This is the curry I make for the weekday dinner guests. It is a no mess, no fuss kind of thing, 10 minutes of prep and cooks in the oven keeping the stove top free.

Make a paste using a blender or mortar-pestle the following

*3 green chillies/Thai peppers
*4 cloves Garlic
*1 inch piece Ginger

Mix together to make a marinade,

*1 cup dahi/curd/yogurt
*1 tsp Red Chilli Powder or 1/2 tsp red Chilli Flakes
*1 tsp Black Pepper Powder
*the paste made above
*1 tsp Garam Masala
* 1/4 tsp Saunf/Fennel seeds Powder
* 1/8 tsp Star Anise powder (Available in Korean Stores)
*Salt to taste

Add to the marinade

1 lb bone-in chicken thighs, chopped into bite-size cubes

Mix well.Set aside for as long as you can. I normally do this in the morning and cook it for dinner. When ready to cook,add

1/2 Red Onion. sliced
3 tbsp peanut oil

to the chicken mix.Pour everything in a baking dish. Into the oven it goes at 350 deg. Put it, Shut it, forget it for the next 40 minutes. Finish with a tadka/chaunk.

Heat

1 tsp Ghee

Add

1 Badi Elaichi/Black Cardamom
3 cloves
1″ Cinnamon

Pour over the chicken, sprinkle some coriander leaves/cilantro and serve. Goes well with Jeera Rice and Crispy Papad on the side.

****************************************************************

Completely irrelevant to the recipe : I cannot help but mention the carnage at Virginia Tech.It was appalling, what happened. It has been even more appalling, watching the media coverage. Monday evening, a whole lot of emphasis on the killer being Asian. Tuesday evening, a big attempt to blame the VT administration for not seeing into the future and predicting this might happen. Wednesday, repeated playings of the killers videos. It’s been amazing to see virginians stand strongly by their alma-matar. Rare is the person who spoke against the university on camera or off. Several people cancelled interviews with the media in protest against the emphasis on the killer and not on the killed. Thursday evening saw a marked difference in media coverage with the focus more on those killed, the loss and grief of their near and dear ones. The hokie spirit is everywhere I go, especially today being decreed a National Day of Mourning in memory of those killed.

Keeping the dread at bay with Carrot Soup.

Finally, the dreaded february is gone. I was hoping against hope that it would take the dreaded cold and the dreaded parasites with it. It dreadfully didn’t, leaving the whole family to deal with the dreaded flu season for the adults and dreadful strep throats and ear infections for the kids.
With two clingy kids, a loss of apetite – the kind I have never experienced before and looming deadlines in front of us, me and the hubby were dreadfully tried like we have never been tried before. Oh, yes! It has been a dreadful kind of month for us.

Which means, it’s been a soup kind of month for us. Anything and everything got pulped, pureed, pulversied and slow-cooked into a heavenly flavored liquid which can cure all that ails the human body. And, boy it did. Thick, hot, filling broth that took out the parasites one healing spoonful at a time, giving us much needed nutrition during a period of acute appetite loss, comforting us with its soothing vapors and enveloping us in its warmth much like our mom’s pallu. The pallu we wanted to burrow into and the kids were trying hard to find in me (Sorry Dears, the apron will have to do). 🙂

Only two good things came out of this. One, the disappearance of the permanently-3-months-pregnant look I sported and second the recipe of the day, Carrot Soup.

The Carrot Soup became one of our mainstays during this period. And not just because s o m e o n e decided to buy carrots at Costco.

Picture 013

Recipe

Melt

1 tablespoons unsalted butter

in a pressure cooker over medium heat. Add

1 bay leaf,
1/2 medium onion, chopped

and fry till soft. Add in

5 medium carrots chopped into bite size pieces
1 tbsp ginger, chopped finely

cook for 2 minutes, till coated with the butter. Add

3 cups water,
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper

Bring to a boil over high heat. Put on the Pressure cooker lid and let it whistle 3 times. Take off the heat and let it cool. When cooled, open the pressure cooker, puree the mixture in a blender till smooth. If you have one of those stick blenders, more power to you. Pour the soup back into the cooker and stir in

1/4 cup milk,
1 tbsp sugar,
Salt to taste

Reheat over medium heat until piping hot. Serve immediately.

Armed with a bowl of piping hot goodness, I go on to play this meme that I was tagged with eons ago, but couldn’t get to. So here goes, the 5 things you don’t know about me and for all I know, you don’t want to know about me. You are going to, anyway.

1. I hate Dill . There are no two-ways about it, no grey areas. Nope, just do not like it. Whether it is the smell or the taste or the way it looks. Hey, look someone decided to chop up some of their hair for dinner today.Thin little strands going through my food completely grosses me out.

2. I grew up, a very picky eater. Made my mom’s life hell with all the likes and dislikes. { I am so sorry. mom. But don’t you worry, Aayush is making sure I pay for it.}. A trip to the west with half of the things, I did like growing up, not available, I have out grown that.

3. I love the Austin Power movies. Don’t you hate me for this. But, I just love the idiotic behaviour and a little bit of psycho-analysis on myself tells me I am probably an idiot , too.

4. I am a voracious reader. I have 400 blogs on my google reader list and at any moment of time, at least 4 books just for myself from the library. I can read anything. Give me a printed(typed) word and I will read it.

5. I am the typical libra woman. Read Linda Goodman and you would know more about me than you want to know 🙂

That’s it. With all my secrets poured out, a bowl of soup poured in, I leave you with this Tamatar Story. Bhagwaan ji, aapki creativity ki to daat deni padegi. The various ways you make sure we remember you. Kabhi doodh pi kar, kabhi tamatar ka roop dharan karke!! Jai ho, Jai ho!!

To Roast a Chicken…

I discovered the joys of roasting a whole chicken as recently as three months ago and I have been doing it left and right since then. You would understand the significance of the statement appropos coming from me, if you knew me better. Meet me. A firm believer in the fact that if it used to move on its own, it needs a lot of help (read, heat and spice) to be made edible. Me, for whom seafood or chicken (the extent of my non-vegetarian existence) equals hot and spicy food. The neurotic eater, who would never touch a dish that does not have at least 50 spices in it. Ok, so maybe that is exaggerating a bit. 49 would do as well. But, you get the point. I did not try alfredo for quite a while after I came west just because it was…ahem… not colorful enough. That’s me.

The only reason I ever tried my hand at it was because it satisfied some primeval urge in me. There is something primal about cooking a whole bird. No use of those fancy knives (until after you have cooked them, that is), no chopping, no bhuno-ing. Just some TLC is all it needs and a hot oven…well, medium hot oven…you know what I mean. But, that urge to go primitive stops at the swanky grocery store. Nope, not gonna see me wring a chicken’s neck and pluck its feathers, no siree. I have to hop in my heated seats, power doors, gas-guzzling much-bigger-than-I-actually-need sports utility vehicle, pick me up some nice, already dead, de-necked, de-feathered and definitely ‘de-cavity’-ed chicken before I can go ‘primitive’. Again, that’s me.

What surprises you is how juicy, the chicken that results, is. I am a firm believer that any kind of meat, poultry or seafood tastes better on the bone. Not that, that stops me from appreciating the quick cooking nature of the boneless ones or using it to the optimium. But, the biggest difference here is the use of the skin,which has all the fat. The fat that keeps the meat moist during the lengthy cooking process. It is the kind of thing that makes you appreciate the meat for its own flavor and taste rather than its blandness that takes well to being smothered in a spicy gravy. Which is why, even someone like me, who can’t imagine a meal without rice or roti or any meat without gravy, can make a whole meal with this. With a little rice on the side, of course. You know by now, that’s just me.

Roast Chicken1

I am not going to go into the details of How to roast a chicken. You can just google it and find hundreds of sites that will tell you how to do it. I am just going to give you some tips to twist it to the Indian palate without turning it into Murgh Musallam

1. First of all, I do not eat the skin of the chicken. There are hardly any Indian dishes that cook chicken with its skin on. Even the famous Tandoori Chicken is not cooked with its skin on. While this may largely be due to the fact that we most often than not broil or stew our chicken which does not bode well for the skin, it also means that much less fat that we are consuming (which we make up for in all that ghee we use for the gravy, but hey, the chicken is healthy). So, I concentrate all my seasonings under the skin.

2. Seasoning, Seasoning, Seasoning. Most sites you see will tell you the season the bird well. But, how well? And how well is seasoned well? How do you know? Well, the measure I use is this. Consider, chopping up the whole bird to make a Chicken curry. Consider how much salt you will put into the curry, in that case. That’s the amount of salt you require to cover every portion of the bird. Season the outer skin, under the skin and inside the cavity, too. Be equally liberal with the Black pepper, too. Try using rock salt as opposed to regular salt. Much more flavor.

3.Consider the flavorings you are going to put. Resist the temptation to put in all your regular spice powders. Concentrate on one or two and use that to the optimum. Consider mixing in the spices with room temperature butter and then slathering the bird with it rather than just sprinkling on the top. Since, I prefer to put my flavorings under the skin, I always mix them with unsalted butter. Separate the skin from the meat using a thin paring knife.Now, this requires a lot of practice and a stomach of steel. But, the end product, my friend, is worth it. I mostly go with some Chilli powder, Cumin and some garam masala. I also like using some dried herbs, thyme, being the all time favorite with chicken. It also goes well with the spices. Massage the flavored butter into the bird all over. If you decide to mix in the salt and pepper with the butter, remember to sprinkle some more salt on the skin and the cavity.

4. Consider using a spice bouquet. I fill the cavity with a whole garlic bulb slit across, an onion-halved,two cinnamon sticks, a bay leaf, two Black cardamoms and some cloves. Sometimes, a lemon halved.

5.Place the chicken on a bed of veggies, especially some root veggies like Potatoes and carrots. The veggies absorb all the flavor from the chicken juices making them delicious. Remember to coat the veggies with a thin layer of oil and salt.

6.I do not bother tieing (trussing) the chicken legs. I have never ended up with burn’t chicken tips, so I haven’t felt the need to.

7. Even though, We don’t eat the skin, I like to bring a golden brown bird to the table. Pre heat the Oven to 450 degrees F. Cook the chicken for 15 mins before lowering the heat to 350 and cooking for another 35 to 40 minutes depending upon the chicken and the oven. I always use a 5-pound chicken and these instructions work perfectly with them.

8.Most sites will tell you to cut into the thigh of the chicken and check the juices that run out. If they are clear, you have a cooked bird. That’s very sound advice. I know the chicken is cooked, when the leg moves freely when wiggled. That is the test that works for me. When in doubt, use a thermometer

9. Let it rest. For at least 15 minutes before you start carving it. Results in a juicier chicken.

10.You can try carving it in a fancy way. I just like doing it in a very basic way. Use a very Sharp Knife. Hold the tip of the chicken leg and let your knife in to the joint between the leg and breast and slice right through. If you are at the correct place, the knife will cut through like butter. If not, wiggle the tip of the knife gently, till you hit the spot. Apply the same logic to the joint between the thigh and the leg. For the breast, I just like to let the knife follow the breast bone and get the whole breast out in one go. Remember to slit through the bone between the two breast first, though. That’s it.

Now, at this point, most cooks will ask you to save the carcass to make chicken stock. I haven’t reached that culinary peak yet nor has my stomach. Which is why I don’t save the carcass. I do save the bits of meat on the back of the chicken and the juices that accumalate in the roasting pan and make my stock using them. Any guesses on what my next post would be??

RoastChicken3

Helpful Links :

Find a Step-by-step How-to here
Some great basic tips here
How to Carve a chicken

Pucker up to some Cranberry-Apple Chutney!

Its the season for cranberries. Its one of the main things that I look forward to as thanksgiving approaches and it is also something I buy only during thanksgiving and never before. In any form. No cranberry juice all around the year for me. This is the only time of the year that it seems right. Though, I experimented with cranberries (dried ones in cranberry muffin, juice in a cranberry martini etc), I never went Indian with them. Until this year for thanksgiving, I made some cranberry chutney and I could’nt resist putting in some of this and some of that and a whole lot of jaggery to make it family friendly. I like the tartness but my husband is not so much a fan. I mean, it is a chutney , you know!. The chutney is really good , especially with some hot parathas.

Cran Apple Chutney

Heat , in a medium size sauce pot

1 tsp of ghee

Add,

1/4 tsp Black mustard seeds

When that sputters add,

2 Cloves
5 Green chillies (slit length-wise or chopped finely)
4-5 Kadipatta (Curry Leaves)
a pinch hing (Asafoetida)
2 Apples , chopped into cubes size of cranberries
1 12 oz bag of Fresh cranberries
Salt to Taste

Mix everything together and cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat. The cranberries pop, the apples melt and results in a wonderful dark pink concoction. If you taste it now, you will get, other than a burnt tongue, a really really tart taste. Its time to sweeten things up.

Add

1 cups of Jaggery
1/4 cup Orange juice

Cook, covered on medium heat till the jaggery melts and remove from flame. Add

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

to finish off a wonderful-tart-yet-sweet-and-with-a-hint-of-heat chutney. This was a part of my neither-here-nor-there-Thanksgiving dinner and we have enough leftovers to have with parathas. My son loves them in his PB & J Sandwich. I get the feeling that his palate is becoming neither-here-nor-there, too. But, of course, I would prefer it to be called “Well-Rounded” Palate!

This is my contribution to Jihva-Jaggery hosted by Kay of Towards a Better Tomorrow and also
to Festive Fair hosted by Anna of Morsel’s and Musings

Making the Weekday Special with Chilli Chicken

Aayush has decided that he likes to bite into things and chew his food rather than having it mashed and gulping it down. Finally! I almost had visions of feeding him mashed food into old age.

“Kha re, deva. Hoddu jatalo!!”.. “Eat it, my lord. Make you a big boy!” .

Amazing how he can set his tooth grinders on when he is eating a chakuli (murruku) or tukdi or even potato chips. But, a roti or rice, god forbid if he would chew through them. After a lot of explaining, showing him how dad (and all ‘big boys’) eat, trying to enforce the rule by refusing to mash his food and finally, breaking down and just praying to god for salvation, the bugger decides to eat like a grown up. So what pushes him to do it ? Not peer pressure, not shame, not wanting to be a ‘big boy’ nor any of my culinary creations. Oh no!! It was the blasted Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets. Not that I have anything against them. Rather them than the ones at MacDonalds, I say. It is the sheer perverse-ness of it that frustrates me. After going through a lot of struggle to avoid getting him on the fast food bandwagon (struggle, not only because of the sheer amount of outlets and Ads , but because we have had to avoid it, too), the one food that drives him to take that next very important step in his development comes straight out of a fast food chain. Ugggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

Thats kids for you. So, how does the a two year old with parents trying hard not to expose him to fast food, come across a Chick-Fil-A Chicken nugget? Ah, see , thats a whole other can of worms. Of late, there have been discontent in the family about the food that coming out my kitchen during week days. Discontent that they were just not as exciting as before. Discontent that began erupting with mild comments, mild comments that turned into mutterings when food was served, mutterings that turned into snide comments, and snide comments that finally became loud complaints. When even those didn’t have the desired effect, they decided to hit it where it really hurts! The ego. Oh yes, the hubby coming home with one of the drive-thru specials was becoming a regular feature and signs of a full blown mutiny were apparent. I was not ready to give in, though, and a full blown war was about to start, when Aayush decided, he liked fast food.

And, peace was sketched out between the waring factions (read, the parents) in the interest of the innocent people (read, the kids) whose life was blown apart by the silent war (though I am sure, Aayush doesn’t look at it that way). It was decided that something “exciting” (in terms of food!) will be made mid-week, the day hubby comes home at the same time as me, and that he would help in any way he can, begining with staying out of the kitchen and making sure the kids stay away, too. He was very happy with that suggestion. Poor guy, has no idea the tornado that is going to hit him in the form of two kids who have missed their parents the whole day. *snicker, snicker*

So, the good news is, Aayush likes chicken and that means a quick route to good proteins for him and another reason for us ( S and me) to gorge on chickens and hubby takes care of the kids for one WHOLE evening. Not a bad deal. I began the healing process with some darn good, Indo-Chinese concoction that I guess would be known as fast-food in India, but since I make it at home, is alright ;).

IMG_0313

Cube into bite size pieces

3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast

Make a paste of the following and marinate the chicken in it for about an hour.

1 tbsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tbsp Soya Sauce (Dark or lite, I prefer the dark)
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tbsp Cornflour

In a large frying pan, heat up

a couple tbsp of Peanut Oil

Shallow-fry the chicken cubes in the oil. If you have used a large enough pan, you will be able to do this in two rounds. Follow the usual rules. Don’t over crowd the pan, don’t try moving the chicken around for a couple minutes until a shake to the pan has it dancing in the pan. Usually, with chicken pieces this small, you know you are ready to turn them when the side on top if white with small pink center on top. Drain on paper towels when cooked through. Cool. This part you can do ahead of time. I have to warn you though that the family might think they are chicken pakoda and finish them off.

Raise the heat on the remaining oil (there should be about 2 tbsp oil, if there isn’t add more), add

2 whole dried red chillies (optional)
1/2 cup sliced Green Onions
(usually a bunch. only the white part, save the green for garnish)
1 tbsp chopped Garlic
4-5 chillies slit length-wise

Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add

2 tbsp Soya Sauce
2 tbsp Chilli-Garlic Sauce (you get these in most grocery stores)

Add salt, depending on taste. Usually, with that amount of soya sauce, its not necessary. Mix to coat all the chicken with the sauce. Stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Remove from flame and top with

chopped greens from the green onions
(That sounds very knowledgeable,doesn’t it?)

I served this with dal and rice. But, it works as an excellent finger-food,too.

And All was as should should be and peace reigned the kingdom again. With the mutiny squashed, the queen was joyous. The king was happy with the time he was getting with the kids and the prince and the princess were just happy with the attention. The chicken nuggets got to stay in the outlets where the bad grown ups (us) can go and pig out without the kids knowing about it. Everyone gobbled down on the ‘exciting’ home-made food, and they lived happily ever after

…………………………………………………………….until the next meal.

Cauliflower Upkari (Cauliflower cooked with mustard seeds and whole chillies)

Cauliflower Upkari

When you are eating something as spicy and in-your-face (or should I say in-your-tongue) as Avre Bendi, the side dish has to be suitably subtle. Else, you risk having too many flavors, to enjoy any one of them. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Enter the upkari, the great konkani stir-fry.

This is just vegetables tempered with mustard seeds and dried red chillies cooked in a little water till done. Salt, of course and garnished with coconut gratings. If you have been following this blog, then you know by now that no konkani dish is finished without the addition of coconut gratings. After all, it is a coastal cuisine. Sugar or jaggery is added depending upon how bland or bitter the vegetable used is. However, with cauliflower, none is needed.

So on to the upkari….

1 cauliflower chopped into florets

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

2 dried whole chillies or a pinch of chilli flakes

salt

1 tbsp Coconut Gratings

Heat up oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. After they sputter, add the chillies/flakes and the cauliflower florets. Add salt, a little water. Cover and cook till the florets soften and water dries out.

Very simple and very delicious. Just a few things to be careful about. Add very little water since cauliflower cooks very fast and releases water during cooking. Don't overcook the vegetables. Just soften them enough and they are good to go. They go wonderfully with any spicy curry. In konkani cuisine, they are usually made to go with curry using beans or legumes and there, you have a complete meal….