Sunday, 30 September 2012

Lentils (Dal)

Lentils or Dal as we refer to it at home is such a comforting food..Trying to follow in my dear mothers footsteps,who always prepared dal everyday quoting",dal helps children grow",this recipe though is my aunts,(Chachi) from my fathers side,who in spite of her tiny diminutive appearance was a powerhouse in the kitchen....Born and brought up in Pakistan,she taught me this dal,which is so simple and easy to make and delicious with both roti`s and rice... I do try to make it at least once a week.... 


1 cup moong dal (green grams)the yellow variety...
1 big onion sliced absolutely fine
1 big tomato just slit on top but not all the way through,the objective here is to keep the tomato whole...
2 slit green chillies
1/2 tsp ginger and garlic paste (2:1)ratio
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch of red chillie powder or even better yellow chillie powder
A few sprigs of coriander leaves cleaned
4 tbs oil
salt to taste

Method :

Take a heavy bottom vessel with lid and add all the ingredients except the oil and onions...add 2 cups water and allow it to cook covered gently stirring the dal occasionally without mashing the dal or the tomato....once the water has drained,check to see if dal has should remain whole,but at the same time should have cooked...this dal should remain  thick ,depending on your requirement for the day you could add some more water to make it a little less thick as i have shown in the photo....Remove the tomato and take it of the fire...In a pan heat oil and add the thinly sliced onions in batches...fry till crisp and brown..remove,drain excess oil ...just before serving the dal,add the browned onions to the dish and serve with wedges of lemon...

Some points to remember when your making dal,always pre soak them in enough water (a little more than double) and cook the dal in the same not discard the water....use organic dal as much as possible...lessen the volume of dal if using organic...always remove the scum which forms on top...Enjoy  this dal,its healthy,nutritious and and packed with proteins...Remember to share your food and serve with love and kindness....

Monday, 24 September 2012

Mutton Chops

Whats with barbecuing and men,there is something which draws them towards a grill pit,whether its the meat or the fire i`m not sure but I`m most certainly not complaining...I love to grill and barbecue,though the marination is done by me,the grilling is often times done by the male members of my family its the simplest of recipes and is always tantalisingly delicious....Visiting relatives necessitated the firing of the grill,marination is simple and with as few ingredients as possible....A good mutton chops requires the least number of ingredients possible...i can`t stress it more here...please do not flood a barbecue recipe with too many spices or sauces..keep it simple,allowing for the taste of the meat to come through....

This is a picture of both a chicken and a mutton chops barbecue...more on the chicken in a later post...As far as possible get the best chunk of meat as possible.if you live in India ask your butcher to give you a rack of lamb chops,uncut,this way you have a control of the pieces you want to have...I cut them into big chunks of 3,that way they singe less and you have more meat in each piece.....

1 kg of mutton chops cut into pieces of 3 each,on an average you will get 8-9 pieces
2 tbs ginger and garlic paste
8 tsp of lime juice
2 tsp of papaya paste,i have a dear friend an neighbour who gives me the raw papaya from her garden,I peel,dice and puree it,keep 1/2 in the freezer and the other half in the fridge for use
2 tbs chillie powder or as per your spice quotient 
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tbs chillie flakes,put a couple of red dried chillies in a mixie and pulse for a while
salt to taste.....

Apply the papaya paste,lime juice and salt to the chops and marinate for 1/2 an hour....
Follow by adding all the spices and mix well by hand...marinate for not more than 6 hours in the fridge,turning occasionally...
Grill on a barbecue grill......
Some notes on a grill...get the fire started and heat the coals well,keep stoking them as you grill,do not turn the meat more than once,if you have to, then twice only otherwise you will be left with a rubbery kind of a texture in the meat....Leave a bucket of water beside the grill in case of accidents,and keep an eye on children...Hope you like this recipe....avoid too many spices in a barbecue as the high heat tends to burn most of it...just keep it simple....Please share,and serve with love and kindness...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Fish Curry

What do you do when you have a large fish on your hands,and your done with making cutlets,frying and grilling end up making fish curry....Yes after using up all the good pieces from an entire King fish for all of the above, I was left with the head and tail bits and i most certainly wanted to make my favourite fish curry...

Many of you must be making a similar fish curry using the choicest of fish pieces,but I always use the head and the tail pieces...somehow the taste is better when you use this...but even better in my opinion is making fish curry with small fish...any small variety would do....

Fish head and Tail from a 1 1/2-2 kg Fish
 3/4 Gingelly oil 
1/4 cup Coconut oil (as far as possible please use both these oils,this gives the curry its distinct taste,you can lessen the amount if you want,but its fish curry,i always add a generous amount of oil)
2 Large onions chopped fine
2 Tomatoes sour variety chopped fine...reduce if mangoes are too sour
4 Green chillies chopped
1/2 small bunch Coriander Leaves chopped
1 large raw mango cut into big chunks
A few sprigs curry leaves
A lemon size ball of tamarind soaked in 2 cups of warm water,mashed well and strained
1 tsp ginger and garlic paste (2:1) ratio
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 heaped tsp chillie powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp heaped cumin and fenugreek powder (this is a powder I always keep stock of,in a 2:1 ratio,cumin being 2.i roast them on a dry skillet till fragrant,cool and powder them,store in airtight container)
1/2 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste....

As far as possible please use a mud pot to make this curry and to serve it too...i find that it gives an earthy taste to this dish,and that it keeps better for a couple of days at least....You can use any vessel of your choice,though a heavy bottom one would be preferable...add  the gingelly oil and heat well,drop in the fenugreek seeds and before it browns too much add the mustard seeds and splutter them....add the curry leaves,whole garlic pods and onions and saute till just going to turn brown not brown the onions too much...add the ginger garlic paste and saute well....add the dry spices,always keep your heat low when you add dry spices...saute well add the tomatoes and mix in some water so as to get everything together,mash well with a wooden spoon...add the cut mangoes,coriander leaves,salt and the tamarind water,cover the dish and bring to a rapid boil,turn the heat to sim and allow it to simmer on gentle heat for at least 1/2 an hour....
          A seasoned cook will tell when the curry is ready,just by the smells emanating from the pot......even before you add the fish,this curry gives out a fish curry smell like nothing else does...after 1/2 an hour gently add the fish,cover and let it simmer occasionally shaking the pot, swirling it gently....After 10 minutes open lid and add heated coconut oil and close lid...swirl again and remove from fire...let it rest for a while...serve with hot rice...
As many of you will know this curry tastes best the next day...on the following day heat gently and serve with dosa,appam or idli....Remember to share with love and kindness.... 

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Channa Batura

My first ever glimpse of a channa batura was at woodlands drive inn hotel...those of you familiar with chennai would remember this quintessentially beautiful place with a never ending row of huge trees and lush greenery all over...this was the place where the family went to on Sundays...were people in love met to have a cozy rendezvous,where college students,read New college because of its close proximity,hung out and a place where "everybody knows your name".....This place was the best restaurant to serve the channa batura,it was huge enough to fill a hungry stomach and easy enough for a near empty first impression was whats such a big poori doing on my plate...the first bite was the kicker...this breakfast just draws you to it...i make this on and off,and do a simple batura,avoiding the yeast and adding curd instead...the more elaborate batura asks to be kneaded and kept overnight,but i do the simpler,easier one and its still delicious....

Ingredients for the batura:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup fine semolina (sooji,rawa)this one has to be the fine variety,if you live in chennai,you get it at Bombay General Stores BGS(T Nagar)
2 tbs thick curds
oil for frying
1/2 tsp sugar
2 big pinches of salt
Mix the flour with the semolina into a bowl
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the curds,sugar and salt,mix it and allow it to sit for awhile...gradually add in the flour with some water to form a firm dough,cover and let it rest for some time...keep it longer if you want to go for the sour taste...i prepare this just before i start the channa...whenever your ready,form big balls and roll out into big discs...much bigger than the average poori ..heat the oil in a large kadai and gently fry flipping just once....

Ingredients for channa:
1/2 kg white kabuli channa washed and soaked overnight
2 onions chopped
2 tomatoes skinned, seeds removed and chopped
2 green chillies chopped
1/2 cup or bunch coriander leaves cleaned
3 inch piece ginger cleaned and cut into small pieces...leave some ginger for the garnish
1 inch piece cinnamon,3 cloves
1 tsp chillie powder
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tbs dried pomegranate seeds (anardana)also available at BGS  or a tea bag...use either of the two as the channa will turn too dark almost blackish ,i like the pomegranate seed taste better than the tea leaves vote goes to it...
1 tsp coriander powder
A couple of spoons oil
1/2 tsp cumin
salt to taste

Throw away the water used for soaking the channa and fill with fresh water,place in a cooker,if your using the tea bag this is the point where you add it,if your not using it proceed with cooking the channa till done..cooker 5-8 whistles depending on your cooker...don`t add too much water to boil,add just enough..once cooked,if your using the tea bag remove it now...take a few channa and mash well,mix it back in and set aside....Grind the pomegranate seeds along with all the powder spices to a paste adding some water to it,set aside....Take a heavy bottom vessel add some oil,heat and add cinnamon and cloves,saute well,add the chopped ginger,cumin and green chillies,fry for a while and then add the chopped onions  fry till it turns golden brown,add the ground spices mixture and saute well.....keep adding some water along the way and continue to cook the mixture....add the tomatoes and keep sauteing till the oils are this point add the cooked channa and mix thoroughly...allow to simmer gently..serve garnished with ginger julienne and a slit green chillie...

There is a tangy taste which comes in this channa recipe,but if you feel you need some more you can add tamarind paste along the way.....  salt and spices can be adjusted as per personal choices...Rolling the batura can be a bit challenging for some,but with practice a perfect one can be achieved...Enjoy your channa batura,remember to serve with love and kindness....

Saturday, 15 September 2012

chutney for idli or dosa

My family always craves for different types of chutneys to go with the normal idli and dosa for breakfast...though the coconut chutney is an all time favourite,this chutney has and will always remain one of our constant companions for breakfast,its easy to make and delicious...
5-6 juicy red tomatoes,sliced thin
2 green chillies minced
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1 tsp of white sesame seeds
a small handful of roasted peanuts
a small ball of tamarind cleaned and stones removed
1 tsp jaggery
salt to taste...
In a heavy bottom vessel,add a tsp of oil and roast the cumin and green chilli till the colour the same pan add the sesame seeds and peanuts or groundnuts and fry on a s low fire for some time ,till a lovely aroma emanates,do not over fry...please remember to fry all on a slow fire,now remove and set the same pan add the sliced tomatoes and fry till all the water evaporates...add the tamarind,jaggery and salt..switch off stove and shut the vessel with a lid till it cools grind the cumin,green chilli,along with the sesame seeds and ground nuts adding very little water as possible...finally add the tomato mixture and grind to a coarse textured chutney...the chille ,salt,tamarind and jaggery can be adjusted to each ones individual preference...enjoy this chutney...i do....serve with love and kindness

this is how it looks before grinding it....

Omelette aka Kaka`s Omelette

Many many years ago there was a hindi movie called Bawarchi staring the flamboyant Rajesh Khanna also known as Kaka...Following the release of the film,a spurt of his recipes appeared in the magazine Filmfare...this was one of the recipes that stood out in the much so that it was always referred to as the Rajesh Khanna omelette...its easy to make and tastes delicious...many of you would have done variations of this recipe,but i follow the method to the tee even now... 

6 large eggs beaten well
3 large onions minced real fine
2 green chillies minced fine
2 large red tomatoes minced fine
A handful of coriander leaves minced
1/2 tsp of ginger and garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chillie powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A dash of pepper powder
4 tbs of butter or olive oil
salt to taste

Beat the eggs well with a dash of pepper and a bit of salt and set aside.Take a heavy bottom pan add butter or oil,add the green chillies first and saute for a few seconds...add the onions and coriander leaves and fry till golden brown,at this point dont overdo the onions,add the ginger garlic paste and saute well ,next add the turmeric and chillie powder along with the tomatoes and mix it all up really well,add some salt to soften the this on a slow fire as at this stage it tends to burn a with a wooden spoon keep mixing till all the water has evaporated and all your left is a mushy paste remove from thoroughly ....mix this into the beaten egg...In a pan add butter or oil heat gently,not flaming hot..add a spoon or two of the egg mixture and form an omelette ,cover and allow to cook well,do not flip the omelette but fold,roll or do anything else other than flip it...the colour we are looking for is golden brown here...serve hot..can be put in rotis and formed into a roll,tastes fantastic with curd rice,  rasam rice as well....
I know that this is an easy recipe to follow,but do remember to take some time making this,and please remember Rajesh Khanna when you make it..i do....always share your food with love and kindness

Friday, 14 September 2012

chicken tikka

This is almost like staple food at home..its made so often that its become synonymous with our home...everyone loves my version and i thought i must share this recipe with all of you... i do have a tandoor which i use when i have a large number of guests,but for every day home menu i use the iron grill right on the gas stove..wooden skewers work well for tandoori dishes,so use them instead of steel ones...That`s a picture of my iron grill above...
1/2 kg boneless chicken cut into bite sized pieces
1 tsp raw papaya paste(buy a small raw papaya,peel dice,grind and keep in refrigerator)
2 heaped tbs black salt
juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
add the above ingredients to the chicken and marinate for 1/2 an hour at least
1tsp chilli powder
1 tsp zeera powder(cumin powder)
1/4 tsp garam masala powder (optional)
1 tsp dhania powder(coriander powder)
1/2 tsp orange red colour(optional)
1 tsp crushed  kasoori methi leaves
1/2 tsp mustard oil,yes mustard oil...this is what gives the distinct tandoori flavour so please don`t leave this one out...can add 1 tsp for a stronger me you wouldn`t know its there at all
Mix all the ingredients into the chicken well,take your time doing it...enjoy the process....allow marination for 2 hours at least before you skewer and grill....
A little tip on the papaya paste,do not add more than the stipulated amount and do not marinate for longer than 2 hours....if you do have to marinate longer add a lesser amount of papaya paste..
Serve with love and kindness....

Thursday, 13 September 2012

sweet potato kheer

The best part about making this kheer is that there's nothing left over,you dont even need to search for a container to put it in the fridge...If you dont have sweet potato you can substitute with the ordinary potato as well...Its simple to make and sort of ready in a jiffy....
1 large sweet potato,peeled and cut into small pieces
4 cups of thick milk..the creamy kind
1 cup of sugar or to taste...i find it sufficient,but those would like to change the proportion please do so
1 tsp rose water
4 tbs thick cream
2 small green cardamom lightly crushed
Take a heavy bottom vessel or alternately you can make this in a cooker,see that the vessel is clean,you need to boil the milk with the potato, cardamom, and sugar,place on heat and cook till its a mushy paste ,stirring constantly...or you can put it together in a pressure cooker and cook for ten minutes approximately,check if potatoes are done,mash them well with a wooden spoon till its blended and smooth...remember this sweet thickens when cool so keep it slightly liquid ...Remove from fire, cool add the rose water and cream mixing well.. Refrigerate for a while and if possible serve in  mud pots....this can be eaten with rotis and parathas too....serve with love and kindness

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Introduction to me !

Welcome to my blog. To introduce myself, I'm Tasneem Ayub, home maker, entrepreneur, wife, daughter-in-law, punching bag, agony aunt and just "Ammee" to a lot of people. Born and brought up in Chennai to a working mom, businessman father and a whole lot of brothers and sisters, me being the youngest, our home was always warm and had a welcoming atmosphere. Since time immemorial, my late mother would ensure that we, her children would imbibe the best and healthiest of food possible would take pains in choosing the right vegetable and food products,source them herself and in spite of time restrains,would prepare the best possible food,. I've been told that even before i learnt  the alphabets properly, I learnt to hold a ladle,amply aided by my brother another foodie like me...The 11 o clock lunch was my favourite meal of the day,ie on the days when i was home... I would cook up a storm in the kitchen,cooking lamb chops in a mud pot was my usual mid morning snack...and to think all this was cooked on firewood..those were the best moments of my life...

Marriage brought along with it tremendous responsibilities,a husband who loved good food and a child whom i just had to give a spoon to,experimenting with food and recipes became an obsession,when everyone wanted to collect novels and read magazines, I would buy recipe books adding to a strong collection I had gathered over in my teen years...I remember joining easwari lending library and later elloor library,more so for the recipe books from which i would copy the recipes and make them...My husband and son were my guinea pigs,whether they enjoyed my recipes was a different story,but encouragement was always evident in their kind remarks...Today, I have learnt that food prepared with a lot of love and started with a prayer often turns out the best meal in the world,even if it the simplest of meals....

  Starting a blog was such a daunting task,with no experience in the it world,my friend Jamuna`s daughter Sruti Bhaskar who has been like a daughter to me set up this whole procedure for me...I`m indelibly indebted to her and thank her from the bottom of my heart. I`m also grateful to Ganesan Rajaram whom I`ve just met once in my life,who set me thinking of starting a blog...thank you sister in law Zaheeda with whom I`ve had many culinary experiences...and my backbone my son Feroze and husband Ayub who have put up with all my experiences in the kitchen...ever so grateful to my dear Sandesh Reddy,cook,chef,baker, him what you may,but I know him as the kindest,most largehearted person I have had the good fortune to meet...every turn in my kitchen is a constant reminder to your generosity and largess of heart...thank you...I`m starting my blog today the 12 th of september on my late brother Ajaz Sikander Bakth`s birthday...he was the greatest influence on my cooking adventures,the best cook and a passionate foodie,he taught me to love cooking and serve it in style..there are too many influences in my life to state here so let me rest...I will be posting recipes only after this blog,those who love to cook please enjoy them and are welcome to share it...take care and serve food with love and kindness...