Potato Masala/Potato Thokku – Traditional side dish

This potato thokku is a hot, spicy, pucca tamil (south-indian) masala curry that goes splendidly well with rice and sambar or rice and rasam. It is a thokku, meaning it is that wonderful glossy, concentrated, flavour bursting semi-gravy state that tastes so good with rice. This potato masala is terrific for a traditional banana leaf saapadu. But this is an easy dish to prepare, needs no great technique or expertise. You could add in green peas along with the potatoes to make a potato-peas masala. Did I tell you about my family’s sambar and potato thokku formula? I must have. It is our staple menu for special days, festivals and many other ordinary days in between. Like Senthil-Goundamani and Viswanathan-Ramamurthi, Sambar and potato thokku are inseparable. Sambar means potato thokku, potato thokku means Sambar, anything else and it would be a God-mistake (Deiva-kutham). Prep time: 10 minsCooking time: 25 mins:Serves: 4 Ingredients Potatoes – 1/4 kilo boiled and cubedOnion – 1 large chopped fineTomato – 1 large chopped fineGinger – 1 inch piece peeledGarlic – 6 cloves with peelGreen chillies – 1-2Red chilli powder – 1 tbspTurmeric powder – 1/4 tspCurry leaves – 1 stemCoriander leaves – a handful chopped for garnishingMustard seeds – 1/2 tspOil – 2 tbsp + 1 tspSalt to taste Method 1.      Boil potatoes in a pressure cooker till tender yet firm. Let cool, peel and cube them. Set aside. 2.      Grind ginger, un-peeled garlic and green chillies with a little water to a nearly smooth paste. Set aside. 3.      In a kadai/skillet heat 2tbsp oil. When hot, add mustard seeds and when they crackle add curry leaves. Throw in the chopped onions and sauté till translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. 4.      Add the ground ginger-garlic-green chilli paste and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the turmeric powder and red chilli powder and mix well. 5.      Add one cup water and mix well. Add salt, taste and adjust seasoning. When the water comes to a boil, tip in the cubed potatoes. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes till the potato and masala are well mixed and the potato masala has reduced to a thokku (thick gravy) consistency. 6.      Uncover and drizzle a tsp of oil along the edges of the kadai/skillet. Mix well and cook uncovered for 5-6 minutes till the oil separates and the potatoes have coloured. Garnish with chopped coriander...

Kathirikkai Chops – Brinjal/Eggplant pepper masala

Brinjal is on many people’s hate list and there are some who love it. I am in between (always in between – naduvule konjam kaaname pone pakkam). I like it. Brinjal is one vegetable that elegantly carries off traditional Indian curries as well as baked continental fare. It is a very versatile vegetable and there are a dozen ways to cook it. They can be stuffed, baked into casseroles, deep fried like bajjis, shallow fried, stir-fried, pureed into pestos, grilled or roasted. What I am posting today is a simple fried version seasoned by a hot pepper-coconut masala. This Kathirikkai chops is a dry, spicy side dish that goes well with steamed rice or roti. There are lots of brinjals out there – small green ones, small purple ones, the big purple ones and the streaked purple ones are most commonly available. I used the small purple ones. You could try the dish with other varieties of brinjals as well. You never know, with this Kathirikkai chops, the brinjal hater in your family may actually start liking it (or may start hating me). My husband hated yogurt, lassi and other yogurt based dishes and would never touch them until once when he went to the US. He happened to try flavoured yogurt and he realized that he really liked it (as if it’s not available in Nilgiris. He knew but never dared to try it). He has been transformed ever since and enjoys lassi and our very own Nilgiris’ flavoured yogurt also. I dare you to try brinjal. If you don’t like it.. try again later.  Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time: 15 minsServes: 4 Ingredients Eggplant/Brinjal/Aubergine – 1/4 kilo chopped lengthwiseOnion – 1 choppedCurry leaves – 1 stemMustard seeds – ½ tspTurmeric powder – 1/2 tspOil – 1 tbsp + 1 tbspSalt to taste Masala Paste Coconut – 3 tbsp gratedBlack peppercorns – 1-1/2 tspCumin – 1 tsp Method 1.      Heat 1 tbsp oil in a kadai and when hot add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start crackling, add onions and curry leaves and sauté till the onions are translucent. 2.      Drop in the chopped brinjal/eggplant and turmeric powder and let fry for a minute. Cover and cook on low for 5 minutes. 3.      Meanwhile grind together grated coconut, black peppercorns, cumin and water in a mixer to a smooth paste. 4.      Add the ground paste to the brinjal...

Indian style easy Grilled Chicken

Chicken is the family favourite. Chicken in any form is loved at home. We could negotiate for a separate account at KFC, we’re that regular there. My daughter loves KFC’s chicken strips and making an oven baked version of these strips is on my long list of “To try recipes”. Yeah, I know I am not a very good mom by circle of moms standards, I let my kids eat junk food but I think it’s ok if it’s once in a while. Coming back to this recipe, this is by far the easiest, most basic grilled chicken recipe. The marinade is an Indian style tandoori chicken type masala which is simple and tasty. The key to grilling chicken in an OTG is making sure it’s not overcooked. When chicken is overcooked it gets dry, stringy and chewy. So start checking from the halfway point. You could serve these as starters or as a side with biryani. Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time: 40 mins -1 hourServes: 5 Ingredients Chicken – 5 leg piecesGinger – 2 inches peeledGarlic – 7-10 podsGreen chillies – 2-3Red chilli powder – 2 tbspTurmeric powder – 1 tspLemon juice – from half a lemonSalt to taste Method 1.      Clean chicken and make oblong cuts in the chicken so that the masala can sink in. 2.      Grind together ginger, garlic and green chillies to a smooth paste. In a bowl, add the ground ginger-garlic-green chilli paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, lemon juice and salt. Add water to make a smooth marinade neither too runny nor too thick. 3.      Throw the chicken pieces into the marinade and mix well making sure to rub the marinade into the slits in the chicken. Cover and let the chicken marinate for a minimum of 2 hours. 4.      Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cover the crumb tray with aluminium foil to protect the tray from drippings. You can discard the aluminium foil once the chicken is done; saves you from washing the crumb tray. 5.      Transfer the marinated chicken to the oven and grill/broil for 40 minutes to 1 hour. Turn over the chicken halfway through and baste with remaining marinade. Start checking the chicken from 30 minutes onwards to make sure it isn’t overcooked. Serve hot with cut onion rings and lemon wedges. Notes 1.      Once the chicken is cooked, if you’d like the outside to be crispier, cook...
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