Chicken Pakoras

Chicken pakoras are delicious snacks, suitable as an appetiser and has grown to become one of the most favourite & devoured filler in the Indian household and is extremely easy to make.

Time: 20mins

Ingredients:

– 1 lb boneless chicken – cut into small chunks
– 2 Lemons
– 2 Tbsp vinegar
– 1 Tsp ginger-garlic paste
– 2 cups flour
– Salt to taste
– Red chilli to taste
– Water

Instructions:

– Put flour in a mixing bowl and add the vinegar, lemon juice, salt, red chilli powder and water and mix well (no lumps should be formed).
– Add the ginger-garlic paste and mix well.
– Add the chicken to the batter and make sure it is covered with the batter.  Let it marinate for 1hr.
– Heat oil for deep frying
– Once the oil is heated, check for readiness by adding a piece of batter.  If it floats and sizzles, oil is ready.

–  Add a few pieces of chicken to it. Use a fork to scoop up the pieces one by one and allow excess batter to drip back into bowl.
– Let it cook for 2-3 mins. (it will rise automatically)
– Turn and fry till it’s golden brown.
– Sprinkle some chat masala for additional flavor and Serve Hot!

Shahi Paneer

Shahi Paneer

8 oz or more Paneer
2/3 cup tomato puree w 1/3 cup water added or 1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy cream or cashew paste**
1 cup water
2 tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp chopped coriander
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped green chile or to taste
4 black cardamom, seeded
1 tsp Garam masala
1 1/2 tsp red chile or to taste
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp black salt
Salt to taste (1 tsp to start)

Oil to cook

**To make cashew paste:  grind together 1/2 cup un-roasted cashews with 1/2 cup water and let sit overnight.  Cashews need to be finely ground..can do in a blender.

Heat oil in pan, add cardamom seeds, onion and green chile, cook until onions are golden brown.  Add tomato and cook 4 mins.  Take off heat and let cool. Remove from pan leaving as much oil as possible behind (about 1 TBSP add more if needed) .  Grind to a paste in a blender.  Heat pan and add paste back into pan.  When mixture gets hot, add ketchup, turmeric, chili powder, black salt and 1 tsp white salt.  Cook over med heat until oil separates from mixture.  Add milk  and water now.  Cook on med flame for 3-4 mins.  Add garam masala and cream / cashew paste.  Mix well and cook until heated through.  Add paneer pieces and cook until heated through, stirring carefully so as not to break up paneer too much.

This gravy is also very good with vegetable koftas!

Concerning the things we say or do…

I believe most of the time that people are quite unaware of the meaningfulness of the things they say and do.  Certainly, we can hurt people – we have done plenty of that in our lives, and often suffer greatly ourselves before we percieve the harm we have done.  But we also often neglect the small kindnesses – a smile, encouraging word, expression of concern like a hug or simply telling someone that you care for them.  When was the last time you said to someone, in person, that you really liked them and told them the good things you see in them?  Wouldn’t it be nice if someone said those things to you?  I know it would make me feel wonderful!  We are all of value in this world. There is a reason why we are here.  It may not be for us to know exactly what part we play in the grand scheme of things, but I think we all have some understanding of what is required of us, and that it is something good.  Listen to your heart, pray for guidance and you will find your way.  Peace!

Potato dosa filling

I like to heat this up and eat it just by itself with the coconut chutney since I am terrible at making dosas!   Thin flour tortillas or plain parathas heated up can make OK substitutes for dosa.

Potato dosa filling:

2 large potatoes – peeled and boiled  (or about 8 little round red ones for firmer potatoes) and cut into pieces.
1 green chili – chopped (or chili powder to taste)
1/2  to 1 large onion – chopped fine
8 curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chania dal (channa dal)
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt to taste
2 Tbsp oil

Heat oil in pan.  When hot add mustard seeds and dal and cook until dal is lightly browned.  Add onion and chili cook until soft.  Mix potato with salt and turmeric and add to onion.  Add curry leaves and cook until heated thru.  May store to allow flavors to blend.  Use to fill dosa or to spread on plain paratha.  Eat with coconut chutney.

Pudina Kobbari Pachadi Recipe – Mint coconut chutney

Prep & Cooking: 15 min
Cuisine: Andhra
Ingredients:
1/4 cup pudina/mint leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves/kothimira/dhania
1 cup fresh grated coconut
2 green chillis (slit lengthwise)
1 tbsp dalia/roasted chana dal/putnala pappu
¼ tsp cumin seeds/jeera/jeelakara (optional)
salt to taste
2 tsps oil

For seasoning/poppu/tadka:
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp split gram dal/minapa pappu
pinch of hing/asafoetida/inguva
few curry leaves – chopped
1/2 tsp oil

1 Heat 2 tsps oil in a vessel, add cumin seeds, let them splutter. Add the coriander leaves, mint and green chillis and fry for 3 mins. Remove from heat and cool.
2 Grind the sauteed mint mixture, grated coconut, roasted chana dal and salt to a paste in a blender or mixie. Add few tbsps water while grinding.
3 Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard and let them splutter. Add the split gram dal and allow them to turn red. Add curry leaves and hing and turn off heat. Pour this seasoning over the chutney, mix and serve with any tiffin like idli or dosa.

Finding Happiness

I enjoy language and am fascinated by the source of words.  Recently, I looked up the word ”Happiness”.  The root of the word is ”Hap” which is an old English word meaning chance, luck or fortune.  This is the same root that shows in the words: perhaps, happen, happenstance – all relating to chance.  So it suddenly occurred to me that happiness, happens!  We cannot pursue it, search for it – hunt it down per se.  It is something that comes to us if we allow ourselves the peace of mind for it to enter us.  If at all possible, catch yourself smiling today..you will see how utterly simple and unexpected your happiness is.  It is all around us each and every day if we take that moment to pause and appreciate it’s brief, yet delightful wing taps on our soul.

Curry leaf tree and preserving the leaves

This is the curry leaf tree that I am growing in Florida.

curry leaf tree1I bought it as a small plant (not very healthy) from a local mailorder nursery.  I was afraid that it wouldn’t survive, but was told by a resident that I needed to use the native Florida sandy soil – NOT potting soil to grow it in because it is a relative of the citrus tree. They were right and the plant has flourished!  I have recently transplanted it to a permanent location because it is too big for the pot I had it in. The leaves are used in Indian cooking, especially south Indian preparations and add an amazing taste to the food.  There really isn’t any substitute.  They can be purchased online and at Indian grocery stores. If you do buy them fresh, they keep well frozen. I suggest freezing them either in an ice cube tray, or even small baggies.  Add enough water to completely cover the leaves, then freeze.  Pop the frozen cubes out of the ice cube tray and place in a freezer bag and use as needed. If you are using small baggies, you can leave them in them in the baggy and just thaw what you need and re-freeze, just make sure they are covered in water otherwise they will get freezer burned and won’t taste good. This method works well for all fresh herbs too, like basil, rosemary, savory, chives etc.

Spicy fried chickpeas (from gayatri vantillu recipe site)

The chickpeas used in this dish are also called Kala Channa – they are available online or at indian markets.  I find them to be better tasting and of a firmer texture than the regular yellow chickpeas.

Ingredients:

  • Brown Chickpeas – 250gms
  • Black Gram – 1tsp
  • Mustard Seeds – 1tsp
  • Cumin Seeds – 1tsp
  • Curry Leaves – Few
  • Red Chilies – 3 (Break Chilies into Pieces)
  • Salt to Taste (1tsp)
  • Grated Coconut to Taste (5Tbsps)
  • Lemon Juice to Taste
  • Asafoetida – A Pinch
  • Oil – 2Tbsps

Preparations:

Take Chickpeas into a deep bowl and wash them thoroughly. Change water and wash them two to three times. Soak the chickpeas in water overnight. Transfer the chickpeas into a bowl and place this bowl in a pressure cooker and cook. After first whistle lower the flame and cook the chickpeas for 10 to 13 minutes. Drain out all the water from the cooked chickpeas. (Use that water for any gravy preparations).

Method:

Heat a pan and add oil to it. When oil is hot add black gram and fry till seeds start changing color. Then add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Fry till the seeds splutter. Then add curry leaves, red chili pieces and asafoetida. Fry the seasoning well and add the cooked chickpeas. Mix well and add salt. Mix well again and cook covered on low flame for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and stir once. The dish is ready to serve.

To make it tastier, switch off the flame and add lemon juice. Mix well. Serve this tangy tasted chickpeas.

One more variation is add grated coconut to the above tangy chickpeas and mix well. Serve in individual cups or in leafy cups as served in temples.

Points to Notice:

Soak the chickpeas overnight –however if you forgot to soak them overnight, soak them in a flask filled with hot water for 4 to 5 hours.

Remember to switch off the flame before adding lemon juice.

Add only sufficient lemon juice just to bring the tanginess—it should not be more or less.

Adding grated coconut gives a color to the dish along with the taste.

In temples this dish is served plain (that is without lemon and grated coconut).