Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fish Fry!!

Be Careful what you FISH for ;-) "

We visited our friends for dinner last night. Toddler girl of theirs came running into my arms- she is such a crowd-pleaser, I tell you. So  much so- that whether she is asked or not, she will recite her nursery rhymes to you, Bollywood songs too at times:-)

As I looked at her, I recalled my mom telling me how I used to be the same, that is- when I was too young to know better. As time passed by she said, " It was impossible to get you out of your room to even say a hello."

Sometimes tho, I did come out of the room and insisted on helping her in the kitchen. Truth be told- The mess on the kitchen floor was more than the helping done!! More than often I remember telling her, "I loooovvvvveeee Fish Fry but I hate to smell like one, so I won't be helping you Mommy.'" I only offered helping my mother on one condition-I was told! I always insisted on wearing that one little chiffon white dress with pink roses all over it and a bow! Boy! wasn't that a gorgeous dress*sigh*. I also promised to sleep in the kitchen and work like a horse and obey her rules if I was allowed to wear that dress every single day at school! That didn't happen but I insisted on wearing that same dress to every single party we were invited to. Later as I grew, it was " BlackBlack and even more Black" much so- that I also wore a black lipstick! (I don't wear it anymore, but I do have one- just in case:-) The metamorphosis was unbelievable- tho I won't get there anytime soon-but YOU FOLKS STILL GET THE IDEA RIGHT?

Anyways on that lil' fishy note, I share My Mom's recipe for Fish FRY!!

2 Tsp of Turmeric Pwd
2 Tsp of Red Chili Pwd
2 Tsp of Cumin Pwd
2 Tsp of Ginger-Garlic Paste(optional)
1/2 Tsp of Amchur Pwd (optional)
3 Heaping tbsp of Rice Flour
2 Heaping tbsp of Rawa/Sooji Semolina)
4 Whitefish fillets (Tilapia, Catfish or Cod)
4 Tbsp of OIL
(or generous helping of oil preferred than quick burst of cooking spray I'd say)
1 Tbsp of Lemon Juice or Tamarind Pulp
Salt to taste

1. In a shallow dish, rub the tamarind pulp/lemon juice and very little salt on the fish fillet and keep it aside (15-20 mins)
2. In a second dish, combine the turmeric, red chili, cumin powder, amchur powder with ginger-garlic paste and mix well.
3. Now in another dish, combine rawa, rice flour and salt-mix well and keep it aside.
4. Coat each fish fillet with the spicy mix and keep it aside for 10 more mins.
5. Heat some oil in a medium skillet.
6. Now, take the coated fish(coated with spicy mix) and gently coat it with the rawa, rice flour and salt mixture.
7. Discard any remaining spic mix and flour.
8. On the heated medium skillet, fry each fillet, for about 3-4 minutes or until golden brown on each side.
9. Drain on a paper towel.
10. Serve immediately, sprinkled with lemon juice!

Comfort Food- Shrimp Patio!

"Comfort Food- Just tend to make you feel better about life!!"
Another Thursday morning and I am ready for some meaningless chater! This chatter never really drives me nuts. In fact it has always made me remember something or the other from my childhood.The time spent with My Mom and Ragini- I simply adored those bonding sessions (that is what I realize/understand now), but I remember clearly, how much I hated mothers instructions while being there in  her "Charming Retro Kitchen," tho I must admit-that the Do's and Don'ts were also rewarding and fun at the same time! 

Me and my Brother used to finish the last speck of everything with mighty proud delight as if we have had a hand in the food prep work- Ahh!! Biggest pride ever!

From Help To Pride- let me share this incident with you my Friends about
 "MY TINY LIL' HELPER " - Ritvik !!!

Parth was working from home that day! Ritvik (pic on the left)must be a year and a half then. It was one of those lazy and lousy afternoons, when one craves for piping hot chai every half an hour. This must be our 3rd cuppa chai since morning. Just so you know, I like to have my tea with a dash of ground cardamom (it's a warmimg spice like nutmeg and cinnamon and is equally valued for it's aroma and flavor).

I went to the kitchen for the 4th time to make some tea for us. As I was getting the tea-pot ready with some water boiling, I realized, I was out of ground cardamom!  But I knew-I had some green cardamom pods on the top shelf of the cabinet (in the kitchen). Since I stand 5ft nothing :((:(( , I could not reach to the top shelf of the cabinet, so  I called out," Parth, I need YOUR help."  Parth who was busy, asked my lil' helper to look into the matter.

Next, I hear some soft footsteps approaching and my heart pounds to see a lil' shadow over on my kitchen wall. I turn around and look- It's Ritvik! He looks at me and wonders if I'd called and asks "(h)ELP?". I point my finger towards the top shelf and say" I need some green cardamom pods for my tea." Ritvik, then takes one glimpse at me(5 ft nothing :(( :(() and himself (a foot TALL maybe) and the top shelf- figures instantly that it's not our cuppa chai :-) and without sparing another minute calls out " PARTH hELP"!!

My Husband-Parth is 6"3...hmmm TALL :-) reaches out soon enough for our HELP! Need I say more:P ?

On a lazy afternoon all you need is One Hot Cuppa Chai to relax and feel magnificent! And on a Lazy evening, I'd say, simply follow this recipe as is! If you have a packet of Shrimps sleeping in the cold, its time to get them out folks...Time to give these Shrimpi's a lil' warm n' spicy spa treatment, a lil' oil dipping n' some fresh air!!

!!! This is a COPY CAT RECIPE !!!
I have followed this recipe closely from Monica Bhide's Cookbook, (A Gift From Parth's  Colleague)
"The Everything Indian Cookbook"...
Please Feel Free To Borrow:-)

4 dried red chilies
2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 fresh garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 x 1-inch cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large red onion, minced
1 1/2 lbs. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon jaggery or brown sugar
Table salt to taste

1. In a spice grinder, grind together the red chilies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cloves, black peppercorns and cinnamon, as finely as possible. Place in a glass bowl and add the turmeric, red chilies and vinegar and mix well. If you need more liquid, use water. Set aside
2. In a large skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onions and sauté for about 7 - 8 minutes or until the onions are well browned. Add the spice paste (from Step 1) and cook for another minute. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 - 3 minutes.
3. Add the jaggery and salt to taste. Add about 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for two minutes.
4. Serve hot with Roti/Jeera Rice.

Thalipeeth (Kepra Bhajani)!!

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take 
 by the moments that take our breath away " Unknown

"The Aroma and the flavorsome Thalipeeth in my kitchen trigger many a memories for me!
Reminiscing- how best things/moments in life have always been and will be Really Free :-)"

I still remember the stressed out days and nights when Mom had no time for cooking. Phew-Those were some busy days! But instead of relying on another of the Restaurant Take outs, Mother used to simply Take a Deep Breath and her hands would automatically reach out to the Food Pantry to grab some Home-made Thalipeeth Bhajani!! She then used to ask us (my brother and me) to gather all our friends in the garden area. It was so much of fun back home, to just call over your friends on a sticky summers night and simply lie down together on the tender green grass under the sky. When we did that, we often looked like those spokes of a huge "Ashoka Chakra Wheel" with our heads in the center! The best and spontaneous tales were frequently exchanged on such events!! Some shared tales from the books while others from their hearts! Sharing one such gasping and eventful moment of my life!

"आठवणीत आजही आहे मैत्रिणीन बरोबरचा एक उनाड दिवस ! 
आणि पाठोपाठ आईचा ओरडा " उकिरडा फुकायाला कुठे गेला होता ?"
 अश्रुने भरलेले डोळे पुसायला शेजारच्या काकूचा मायेचा पदर ! 
समजूत काढून जेवायला बसवणाऱ्या माई आणि सगळा विसरून प्रेमाने गरम गरम थालीपीठाचा घास भरवणारी ती माझी आई !"

"This is the One and Only Store Bought Favorite Comfort Food of mine!!"
Take a guilt free trip to your closest Indian Grocery Stores and pick up A Packet Of "Kepra Thalipeeth Bhajani"...
not for me:-) but for you!! 
I already have my Pantry stashed up with these heavenly goodness!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pahadi Paneer Tikka

"I'd take more hikes & fly more kites, 
I'd stop playing serious & seriously play, 
I would run through more fields & gaze at more stars, 
I'd do more hugging & less tugging :-)
U think if you could? you would do the same?"
Stepping Out Of The Pahadi's into The Hariyali ...(Paneer Tikka)!

1st Marinade- (Grind to a fine paste and keep it aside)
1 Cup fresh green cilantro
2 tsp of fennel seeds(saunf)
5-6 garlic cloves(optional)
1" piece of ginger
3-4 tbsp of lemon juice
salt to taste

2nd Marinade-(Mix all the ingredients and keep it aside)
400gms of Paneer Cubes
1-2 tbsp of gram-flour
2-3 tbsp of Hung Curd
1 tsp of oil
salt to taste

1. Grind together the above mentioned ingredients(1st Marinade) and rub it all over the Paneer cubes. 
2. Refrigerate this Marinade for at least 1/2 an hour.
3. Once the Marination process is done, generously dip and then dunk the Paneer cubes in the rich hung curd mixed with 1-2 tbsp of besan(gramflour) and 1 tbsp mint chutney. Refrigerate this marinated Paneer for at least 45 mins.
4. Gently now, thread the Paneer cubes onto the skewers. 
5. Heat an oven to 180°C or a gas/tandoor on moderate flame.
6. Grill Paneer for 15 minutes.
7. Spoon some drops of oil on the paneer pieces in the oven/tandoor and grill further for another 5 minutes.
8. Serve hot with tomato slices and lemon wedges.

Nariyal-Alu Kachori!! (CoCoNut Kachori)

Howdy People!!! 
Christmas was here n' So was SANTA :D
Christmas is Gone n' So has Santa :(

Christmas always brings back tons n' tons of memories to me n' has always been my Favorite Holiday too!!

Christmas Eve like today's (24th December) are so mean't to kick in that real atmosphere of "Fun n' Celebration"- Unbelievable !! Today, On X'mas eve, I ran out of cookies :(( so fed SANTA some CoConut Kachori's :-) were a lil' too spicy for him (just a hunch, since my box of soft tissues later was missing) )but I think he must have quite liked them, for he took a few for his Adorable Mrs. Santa, The Elves n' Rudolph!

CUT II !! This year we had a Super Duper Christmas! Perfect Crispy Weather to die for-One living in Cincy couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day in December! It was a perfect weather to work in the yard minus the sunburn. An absolutely gorgeous day, where I kept all the windows open all day long and found all the unwanted sounds completely lost in the whistle of air humming, dishes humbly agreed to "sit in the sink" and the floor simply danced to "skip a mop"!!

On that Skippy note, don't skip to jot down this recipe for " CoCoNut Kachoris" 

This is one of the most wanted vegetarian delicacy 
from my Menu  "SizzlingSwirls"(Website Coming Soon). 

Ingredients For the CoConut Kachori filling:
1 cup fresh grated coconut
2 tsp of finely chopped cilantro
3-4 tsp finely chopped green chillies
1-2 tsp of finely chopped cashews 
1 tsp golden raisins
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tsp sugar
salty to taste

Next, Roast 1 cup of fresh(Thaw if frozen) grated coconut with a dash of sugar(very little), 3-4 finely chopped green chillies, 1 tsp of finely chopped Cilantro, 2 tsp of khus khus(poppy seeds), dry fruits like golden raisins and cashews, till it is nice and crispy. Tadaa your CoConut Kachori filling is ready!

Ingredients for the CoConut Kachori Cover/Coating:-
Take some(2-3) boiled/grated potatoes.
Add 1/2 a cup of Fresh Bread crumbs and a bit of cornflour (for binding), 
A pinch of salt and knead into a dough

Mash the potatoes and knead into it the bread crumbs and salt. The dough should be wet very soft.
Our CoConut Kachori Filling is All Ready, So we now shape small baskets of the dough in your palm (wet your palm with very little warm water if its too dry) and add the yummylicious flling-about a spoonful in the basket and then collect the edges and seal to get a stuffed ball.
Deep fry these CoConut Kachoris in oil/ghee on medium heat till golden brown!

*** A Useful Tip From My Di To All of YOU :-) "Yummy, one of my favorite Indori chat items.. Try dry plain mashed Potatoes from the box with your grated boiled aloos. And then coat them with finely powdered bread crumbs and fine rawa mixture! No bread at all. I mash the potatoes after grating them put salt and dry potato flakes, it helps get the stickyness out, fill it with coconut dry fruit mixture, make small balls and then coat it well with rawa/ breadcrumbs mixture". 

*** My SIL(Beena) says " in the coating mix along with aloo.. add araroot.. it will turn out smooth"
"Have Fun My Friends n' I'll see you all in a few hours with the recipe for Pahadi Paneer Tikka"