|Thippanahalli home-stay in Chikmagalur|
The only time I willingly sat down was for the delicious home-cooked Malnad food – fresh Kadubus (rice balls), Akki rotis (rice flour rotis) served with a lip-smacking hot chutney, fragrant Tomato Rasam, steamed rice and Chicken Saaru in Chikmagalur. Heavenly! We stayed at an absolutely wonderful home-stay “Thippanahalli” set amidst a huge coffee estate in Chikmagalur.
|Coffee beans, grown on the Thippanahalli estate|
I stalked the cook and helpers for the recipes the entire time I was there and managed to extract a quick abridged recipe rundown from the host’s mother who must have thought ‘Silly Apprentice cook – doesn’t know even Tomato Rasam’. My Maamiyaar must think the same thing too. I make a few nice rasams but I’ll go after every good rasam out there, think what people may. Rasams are some of the simplest yet soul-stirring foods there are.
|Taking a walk through the coffee estate|
The recipe today is not from our drive-athon trip though (it’ll come soon). This is a simple light stir-fry that is great for after-trip guilt. Having stuffed my face with all the good food I am now dreading shopping for Diwali. I cannot bear to walk into the trial room with mirrors all around to show in maximum brutal detail how bloody fat you actually are, to scare the shit out of you.
So typically atypically while the rest of the blogosphere is raining Diwali sweets and savouries, I post this light Paneer and vegetable stir-fry with Asian flavours. For this stir-fry I like to throw in lots of chopped garlic and fresh ginger for maximum flavour. I also like to add in a bit of brown sugar to round out the flavours. You could adjust the quantities to your liking. Keep stirring/tossing the whole time and keep the heat fairly high and don’t cook covered. Add the toughest veggies first and the most delicate ones towards the end. And those are the only things you need to remember about stir-fries. Add in any sauces/spices you desire but go light. Stir-fries are lovely eaten hot. I grilled some fish to make it a complete meal. But you could serve a large bowl of this stir-fry all by itself and call it a meal. Nobody’d complain.
Ingredients – Asian stir-fry
Heat a non-stick tawa or cast iron skillet and add a tablespoon of oil. When hot, drop the paneer cubes and fry on medium heat till they are golden around the edges and toasted. Remove the fried paneer pieces to a plate.
In a small bowl, combine together salt, black pepper powder, soy sauce, garlic powder and brown sugar. Mix well. Set aside.
To a wok, add the remaining oil and when smoking hot, add the chopped garlic and ginger. After a minute, add the sliced onions. Stir around. When the onions turn translucent, add the chopped carrots and beans and stir around making sure to keep the heat fairly high and tossing around the vegetables constantly lest they burn. Toss around for about 2-3 minutes.
Add the sweet corn kernels. Pour over the sauce mixture and toss well for another 2-3 minutes. Add the fried paneer and the Iceberg lettuce. Toss for a minute. Switch off. Serve hot along with grilled chicken or grilled fish for a complete meal.
Prep time: 5 mins
Ingredients – Grilled fish
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lightly oil a baking tray and set aside.
Combine together salt, black pepper powder, red chilli powder, lemon juice and oil in a small bowl. Mix well. Set aside.
Wash and pat dry the fish fillets.
Use your fingers to rub the marinade all over the fish fillet. Repeat with all the fish fillets. Place the fish fillets on the baking tray and place the baking tray in the middle rack of the oven.
Grill for 10 minutes. Flip over gently and grill for another 10 minutes. The fish must be cooked through by now. The fish should break easily now. If you break off a small portion of the fish, the inside would have turned white.
Remove from oven. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice.