Rajma Kebab

I bookmarked these Rajma kebabs from Srivalli’s blog last month. I tried them today, yeah just this morning and I am posting it hot off the stove. They’re that good and I am that late for my blogging marathon post (theme – “Bookmarked recipes”) and my office. First of all, these kebabs tasted awesome – crispy, soft and beautifully flavoured. I found these kebabs very interesting the way they’re made and they’re also a wonderful new way to present these lentils. My family I told you is not too much of a dal-roti type, they’re more of a rice-Meen Kuzhambu type, so dals aren’t very popular at home. So any recipe that spins lentils in a different way is always welcome. The Rajma is pressure-cooked and ground to a coarse paste, then again cooked with onion, tomato, yogurt and ginger-garlic paste and seasoned with red chilli flakes and garam masala. Once cooked through and nearly dry, the Rajma mixture is shaped into kebabs, dipped in a maida-cornflour batter and dredged in breadcrumbs and then deep fried to crispy golden perfection. Thanks Valli for a great recipe! Srivalli’s blog is like an encyclopaedia of recipes and all with easy to follow step-by-step pictures. I really like it that she mentions little mistakes and screw-ups also as part of the posts (like in this recipe, where I remembered to drain the water and then grind the Rajma) which I think are hugely useful to readers. I also enjoy the way she narrates everyday happenings in her posts. There was a time when I hated Rajma. Those were my MBA days in a college hostel in Bangalore where Rajma was the mess owner’s personal favourite. He made it a point to serve Rajma twice a week at the minimum along with jeera rice. Everytime it was Rajma, I’d head out for a bun and jam at our little potti kadai. But I don’t feel that way about Rajma now. Strange! Not long after my MBA, when they served Rajma and steamed rice on a jet airways flight I ardently ate it up while the rest of my family fiddled with their spoons. They didn’t like Rajma. Maybe it’s starting trouble with Rajma. This Rajma Kebab should definitely help get you revved up on your Rajma journey. Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 40 mins Serves: 4-5 Ingredients Rajma – 2 cups soaked overnight...

Chicken Momo – Steamed Chicken Dumplings

I’ve made momos every-day the past couple of days, they’ve been such a huge hit. I made a small batch of chicken momos as appetizers for the Sarakku party (Booze party) last weekend as I wasn’t sure all of them would like it. But surprise, the chicken momos were gone in a flash and they wanted more. I made a vegetarian version of the momos which went a little slow as most of them were non-vegetarians but the vegetarian momos were good too. These chicken momos are quite easy to make in that there are no complicated techniques and you can’t really go wrong with it unlike a genoise cake that I screwed up pretty spectacularly last weekend. You see, the last few days I’ve been cooking up a storm, mostly good with a few disasters thrown in. I quite enjoyed pleating up the momos into little round bags, but it takes some time. I couldn’t click the momos the day of the party; it was crazy. I made them again the next day by popular demand and managed to photograph them. The chicken filling is super easy to make and is delightfully fresh and flavourful. The freshly minced ginger and garlic add loads of flavour and punch to the chicken. Use fresh ginger (not the hard, dried ones) for maximum flavour. Finish with chopped spring onions to give that Chinese-food touch. I made the filling the previous night and put it in the fridge. It keeps well for 3-4 days. If you have the filling ready, it is that much more quicker to make momos. I am sending these chicken momos to Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon for the theme – “Dallying with Dumplings”. Now you know why I made momos for the party last weekend. Menus will now be centred around the blogging challenges that I take up and my family will have to endure. This time they’re not complaining though. Prep time: 20-30 minsCooking time: 10 minsMakes: 20 Momos Ingredients – For the filling Minced Chicken – 250 gmCabbage – 4 tbsp shredded fine Ginger – 2 tbsp mincedGarlic – 2 tbsp mincedOnion – 1 medium finely choppedSoy sauce – 1-1/2 tspGreen chilli sauce – 2 tspSalt to tasteBlack Pepper powder – 2 tsp (adjust)Spring onions – 2-3 finely chopped (green & white separated)Oil – 2 tbsp Ingredients – For the cover Maida – 1 cupSalt to tasteWater as...

Corn Cheese Balls

Corn cheese balls are perfect kid-pleasers. Everything about these golden cheesy balls spells fun – they’re crispy and crunchy with juicy sweet corn and gooey cheese. These corn cheese balls are rolled in bread crumbs and sesame seeds which impart a wonderful crunch and nuttiness. These would make great finger food for a kids party or any party for that matter. You can make these cheese balls the day before and refrigerate. You can deep fry them just before the party and warm in an oven before serving. Adults would enjoy these just as much as kids. I would order these any day. In fact, when out with friends we almost always order these cheese balls at Cream Centre. We’re a group of diet-agnostic, calorie-ignorant weight-watchers. We watch how our weight climbs every month. We have sudden realizations when we go shopping for clothes, and then we sincerely make exercise plans while we eat our samosas and masala vadais at tea break but our bosses don’t cooperate. We’re invariably stuck in office till late in the evening v-looking up, drafting verbose e-mails and doodling through long-drawn conference calls. And so our resolve fades and we forget until we see our photos and are shocked to see ourselves barely fitting within the photo frame. And so it continues. None of this should deter you from making or eating these corn cheese balls. They’re easy to make and taste just like the cheese balls in restaurants. There are lots of ways to lose weight. Depriving yourself of good food is not one of them. That’s what I tell myself. I am sending these corn cheese balls to Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon – Kid’s Party Finger food, to Srivalli’s Summer special mela and to Kalyani’s “Kids Delight” event. Prep time: 20 mins + 1 hour refrigeration Cooking time: 10 mins Makes: 25-30 cheese balls Ingredients Corn Kernels – 300 gm (about 2 whole boiled Corn cobs)Butter – 4 tbspAll purpose flour/Maida – 4 tbspMilk – 2 cupsBlack Pepper powder – 1 tsp (adjust)Salt to tasteParsley or Coriander – 1 tbsp finely choppedGarlic Powder – ½ tsp (optional)Grated Cheese – 6-8 tbspBread crumbs – 5 tbsp + 1 cup White sesame seeds – 2 tbspOil – for deep-frying Method 1.      If you have packaged corn kernels, steam them for 5 minutes or as per packet instructions. If you are using whole corn cobs, pressure cook the...

Pan fried Shark fillets – Varutha Sura

Let me tell you at the outset that I am no great seafood expert. I am a relative newbie who has grown to appreciate and slowly enjoy seafood through a combination of peer pressure, joint family dynamics and my daughter’s seafood love. Actually I don’t really have much choice. I am married into it. I am now eagerly learning up everything about cooking seafood. The most important and also the most time-consuming part of cooking seafood is cleaning it. However this recipe requires little or no cleaning whatsoever which makes it an ideal recipe for beginners. Now these sharks (Sura) are not the type of huge ones you saw in “Jaws”. The ones commonly available in the market are the much smaller ones. They’re sharks alright, but just smaller. We bought these at the lighthouse fish market (near Marina beach – more on this fish market in another post). There is another famous fish market at Lloyds road. In all these markets, there’ll be women (men at Lloyds road market) who’ll skin and fillet the fish for you for an extra fee. Shark is usually made into puttu, so you’ll have to specifically tell them that you want these as fillets for frying.   I am really amazed at myself at how much I’ve changed. The very first time that I cooked chicken (this was before being married), I had to clean it but I wouldn’t touch the chicken, I used a spatula to push it around in a bowl of water. Last weekend, I sat and scaled thirukai meen (sting ray fishes). Shark fillets (sura) are extremely soft and fragile, so handle gently, especially while frying. These pan fried shark fillets are delicately flaky on the inside and crisp on the outside and are best had hot as a starter or as a side with rice. The pan fried Sura doesn’t smell as overpowering as the Sura puttu and is also a nice variation. Also Shark (sura) is great for nursing mothers like I mentioned in my earlier post. It really improves your supply. Try it.     Prep time: 5 mins Cooking time: 5 mins Serves: 6   Ingredients Shark/Sura – 1 whole shark skinned and filleted (about 1 inch wide fillets) Red chilli powder – 2-3 tbsp (adjust) Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp Tamarind extract – 1/4 cup Black Pepper powder – 1 tsp Salt to taste...

Chicken Teriyaki – Grilled Chicken with Asian flavours

I’ve not been able to blog the past few days because I was busy with work. You see, got to work on work also in office. To all those millions who were eagerly waiting for my next recipe, here it is – Chicken Teriyaki. This chicken teriyaki is a hot and sweet grilled chicken – zesty, succulent and full of wonderful Asian flavours – ginger, soy and brown sugar. This teriyaki marinade is a delightful combination of flavours and a great alternative to tandoori chicken or plain roasted chicken (a la prime roaster, what happened to prime roaster?). The brown sugar is important, so don’t omit it. The brown sugar beautifully balances the heat from the red chillies and tartness of the tamarind and makes the marinade what it is. There are many like my husband who don’t like to taste “sweet” in their main dishes. To them, only desserts can be sweet. Food conservatism! But don’t worry, the chicken teriyaki doesn’t taste sweet. My husband really liked it. You could serve these grilled beauties as they are. It really doesn’t need any chutney or dip. It makes for an impressive starter for a dinner party. You could marinate these the day before in the refrigerator and grill them just before the party. Prep time: 10 minsMarinating time: 1 hour to overnightGrilling time: 20-40 minsServes: 5 Ingredients Chicken – 5 Leg pieces or any cut of chicken MarinadeGinger – 1 inch peeledGarlic – 5-6 cloves peeledTamarind – small marble sizedDry Red chillies – 5 soaked in a small cup of hot water for 20 minsSoy Sauce – 1 tbspVinegar – 1 tsp (I used white distilled vinegar)Brown sugar – 1 tbspSalt to tasteWater as necessary Method 1.      Clean chicken and make oblong cuts in the chicken so that the marinade can sink in. Pat dry and set aside. 2.      Grind together the ginger, garlic, tamarind and soaked red chillies in a mixer grinder to a fine paste. Transfer the ground paste to a large bowl. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and salt and mix well. Add a little bit of water if necessary to thin the marinade. 3.      Rub the marinade on the chicken pieces making sure all the pieces are well coated. Cover and let marinate for a minimum of 1 hour. You could let it marinate overnight in the fridge also. 4.      Grill on a barbecue...

Chicken Satay with Thai Peanut dip

Chicken Satay and Thai Peanut dip is such a superb pair. They go so well with each other and they’re fun. Satay is a great option for a party appetizer, can be prepared well in advance and then grilled or barbecued at the last minute. Satay is super-quick to barbecue or grill, is done in less than 10 minutes. The best part of it is the Thai style peanut dip. It is a delightful medley of flavours and textures – hot, sweet, and nutty with the peanut butter and peanuts giving the dip a smooth yet crunchy texture. Yummy! There are lots of things going for this recipe. You don’t have to make a marinade and a dip separately. It’s all just one thing. You make the peanut dip and use half of it (or how much ever you require) as the marinade and the remaining as the dip. One dip fits all! How about that? A Somberi’s dream come true! This is such a delicious dip that I wouldn’t really mind having extra. I can imagine the dip being extremely chummy with Chinese spring rolls or wontons or any kind of fried fritters. It is really a cool dip to hang out with. I adapted the recipe from Mark Bittman’s book.         Barbecuing is fun. Kids find the whole thing so amusing they’re out of your way the whole time that the fire is being set up. That buys you enough time to prepare lunch, wash and clean up. My husband loves to barbecue, loves starting a fire, some kind of primordial instinct I suppose. So effectively he is also out of the way. Peace! Being able to cook un-plugged, un-interrupted, without being called a hundred times and without being tugged by a 2 ft. little one is what I call peace. Barbecuing is a great weekend family activity and I’d recommend anyone who doesn’t have a barbecue to go out and get one. It need not be any of those very expensive, tripod mounted ones. For weekend barbecuing and the occasional get-togethers, you could go in for a much smaller one. Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 5-8 minutesServes: 5 Ingredients Chicken breasts – 4 cut lengthwise into strips Marinade and Dip Peanut Butter – 2 tbspSoy Sauce – 2 tspSweet lime juice – 3 tbspPeanuts – 3 tbsp coarsely crushedBrown sugar – 1 tspGarlic – 4-5 cloves Shallots...

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