Two Kerala delicacies: Nenthrakkaya/Plantain Kalan with paprika Poori, Shrimp/Chemmeen Moily and a bonus Spinach and Feta pockets to go!
It snowed 6" here NC in one night on the 2nd of March with temperature plunging down to 11F at night, can you believe it?!
But we loved it, it was a joy to look at the powdery snow when the sunlight hits it. Such glorious sight, it feels good to be alive! A short lived joy though, it's all went back to normal now, although it's still a bit cold!
Hopefully, weather gets warmer now that we had the snow storm. I am really looking forward to Spring after what seems to be a longest and coldest Winter this year!
(Click to enlarge the snow covered photos of our front and back yard.)
What else is going on over here?
Well... Siri had a resolution not to shop for a week, to use up all the fridge and freezer food etc and she achieved that goal this week! Inspired by her, I have decided not to shop for 14days as well starting from last Saturday and I also want to try to detox myself by getting on a liquid only (Rasam/dal broth fast?!) plan one day per week! Can I do it? Time will tell, I will update you for sure! :D
As some of you know already, I am taking a short break from posting any dishes in my Aroma blog so I can have some time to read few books. I will be cooking as usual and posting here at FH once a week on Wednesdays though. If any of these dishes suits your events, I will gladly send it you. I have posted all the event logos on the bottom of the post, have linked to respective hosts and their posts as well.
Ever since I cooked for RCI Kerala, I have fallen in love with Kerala cuisine, always so simple, flavorful and delicious. I tried these Kalan and Shrimp Moily from a book called "The essential Kerala cookbook" by Vijayan Kannampilly. A very non-pretentious, soft bound book by Penguin Original with no pictures at all but recipes are so authentic, it feels like I am cooking from a grandmother's kitchen! :)
I love Plaintains. The kind I get here are from South America, so tough that I have to cook them in a pressure cooker to soften them unlike Indian Plantains which are lot tender and almost like cooking Potatoes. Anyway, here is a classic Kerala Kalan, delicious Palntains cooked in a spicy yogurt and coconut sauce.
I made some Paprika Pooris to serve with Kalan, which are a surprisingly perfect combo! Kalan tastes better the next day as the spices mingle overnight, just keep it in the fridge and reheat the next day to serve.
You need to cook these first in a pressure cooker:
3 Spanish style Plantains, 4 Shallots, chopped, 2 green chillies,sliced, 1/2 tsp black Peppercorns, crushed, 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp Turmeric, 1 tsp salt and 1 1/2 cup water.
To grind to a very smooth paste:
Grind the first 4 ingredients with water to fine paste and add sour cream to get a smooth ground masala, keep aside)
1/2 cup fresh grated Coconut,
2 Shallots, sauteed until soft for 2 mins in 1 tsp oil,
2 tsp cumin seeds,
1/2 cup water.
1 1/2 cups Sour cream or Yogurt.
1 1/2 tbsp (use Coconut oil to be authentic) oil+ghee,
1 tsp Mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds,
few curry leaves,
1-2 red chillies,
2 Shallots, chopped.
Some chopped Cilantro, Optional.
To make Kalan:
1. Peel and cube Plantains to small pieces. Add all the "you need" ingredients up there in a pressure cooker along with Plantains and cook until soft.
2. In a pan, heat oil+ghee etc , add other ingredients as in the "temper" section one by one, stir until onion is slightly golden. Then add cooked Plantain into it and heat for 3 mins.
3. Turn down the heat, add ground masala to it and simmer gently for 1/2 an hour. Never let it boil, coconut paste might separate to make the gravy thin.
4. Once it thickens and smells good, add cilantro and adjust the salt. Take off the heat. You can reheat in the Microwave when you need it.
Plantain Kalan with Paprika Poori or Boori: (as Aparna told me to say, Malayalee style! :D)
Kalan with thinner gravy can be served with rice or as side dish. I made Pooris flavored and colored with some Paprika in the dough. Paprika gives them a great color without adding heat to the Pooris.
1. Add 1 1/2 cup wheat flour/atta, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp Paprika (just for color, sweet Paprika is not spicy), mix well. Add enough milk or water to make a very stiff dough, cover and let it rest for 20mins or so.
Heat oil to deep fry to 365F.
2. Divide into Golf sized or smaller balls. Roll each out into 4-5" circles 1/8" thick (you can use a 4" cookie cutter to cut the shapes) , gently add to hot oil. Press the top a bit with a perforated spatula until it puffs and flip the Poori, let it get golden and remove on a paper towel.
3. Serve with Kalan.
Usually, I don't buy or cook Seafood at home although I love to order Salmon or crab cakes in the restaurants. But after seeing so many delicious Seafood dishes cooked by other bloggers, I have decided to cook a few Seafood dishes too. I bought a pack of large Shrimps and chose a Moily/Molee recipe from that Kerala book. We loved the flavorful gravy with some plain rice and kids were happy to have a non-veg as well! :D
20 large Shrimps, deveined and cleaned with tails,
2 tbsp Lemon juice,
1 tsp peppercorn, coarsely crushed,
1 tsp Turmeric,
1 Tsp salt.
2 tbsp oil,
Few Curry leaves,
1 Onion, finely chopped,
1-2 Green chillies,sliced
1/2 Cup Tomato sauce.
Grind to a fine paste:
1" fresh ginger,
1 tsp sweet Paprika,
1 tbsp coriander seeds,
1/4 tsp thick Tamarind paste,
2-3 tbsp water.
1 cup Coconut milk.
Some Cilantro to garnish
To make Shrimp Moily:
1. Marinade the Shrimps in lemon juice, salt, pepper and turmeric for 20 mins.
2. Heat oil, add curry leaves, finely chopped onion, green chillies, stir until soft.
3. Add ground paste and stir fry for 2 mins until oil shows up on top, do not burn the masala.
4. Add Tomato sauce, cook for 3 more minutes or until you get a thick sauce.
5. Turn down the heat, add 1/4 cup cold water and 1 cup coconut milk, simmer until the sauce is heated thru' on low heat.
6. Once the sauce hot enough, add Shrimp along with it's marinade, mix well. Cook gently until Shrimps turn pink, doesn't take much time to cook. Garnish with Cilantro.
Do not add Shrimps unless the coconut milk sauce is cooked thru' and smells good. Do not overcook the Shrimps once added to the sauce, they will be tough to eat.
Serve this Moily with plain rice, Aapams, Pathiri or Idiappam. Again, this Moliy tastes better the next day but equally delicious to serve right after it's made.
Spinach and Feta Pockets to grab and go/meals on wheels!
Last Sunday, we were lazing around watching movies when kids wanted some snacks. I had a can of Pilsbury Crescents in the fridge. Since I always have Spinach and Feta in the freezer (which are both kids' favorite), they wanted to make some quick Crescent pockets. These are very easy to make and delicious to eat. Spinach is fully cooked, so you can keep these on the kitchen counter for 1-2 days without a worry, ie if there are any left of course!! :D
1 can of Pillsbury Crescent, which has 8 triangles.
(Or you can use Puff pastry, Bread dough, Pizza dough,Phyllo dough sheets and or any crust of your choice. Oven temp vary depending on what crust you choose)
2 cups Fresh or frozen Spinach, chopped,
1/2 cup crumbled Feta cheese,
pinch of salt,(Feta has salt, go easy on the salt)
1/2 tsp Garlic pd,
1 tsp dry Steak seasoning which has onion flakes, herbs and red chilli flakes,
1. Microwave Spinach with 1 tbsp water, witha pinch of salt or if frozen, without any water with salt for 5 mins or so covered until Spinach is cooked and almost dry. Cool it.
2. Add all the spices and Feta to cooled Spinach, mix gently. Do not break Feta too much. Adjust salt and spices to your taste. Divide the filling roughly to 8 portions.
Preheat the oven to 375F or as the Crescent can instructs you.
3. Open the can, lay the triangles on a cookie sheet. Take 1 portion of filling and place it on the widest part of the crescent ans wrap the dough around the filling lightly however you want and seal the edges.
4. Repeat the same with all others and bake for 15-20 mins or until they are golden. Excellent to eat right after baking and nutrius too! You can use Pizza dough or inbetween the Biscuit dough too instead of Crescents! :)
Here are the logos of each event I will be sending these dishes to;
Kalan, a Kerala dish along with poori, goes to EC of "Simple Indian food", who is hosting "WYF-Cuisine" event.
Shrimp Moily, goes to Divya Vikram of "Dil Se" blog's event "Think Spice..Think Peppercorns". This event is started by Sunita.
Spinach and Feta Pockets, goes to LG of "Taste of Mysore" blog's event "Meals on Wheels" and to Pallavi of "All thingz yummy" blog, for her event "Sunday snacks-Grab and go" as well.
Both Kalan and Poori and Spinach-Feta Pockets, go to Trupti of "recipe Center" for her event "
Thanks to all the event hosts, enjoy! :)
Tried and Tasted from other blogs, thank you for posting these my dear friends! :)
Click on the collage to enlarge. In addition to following the original recipes, I added a few other veggies or spices to these dishes.
Mulangi sambhar, from Krishnaveni. (added a bit more coriander seeds, rest is the same)
Sabbakki Idli, from Lakshmi G. (Used 2 cups Rava to 1 cup Sago/Sabbakki, steamed in Dhokla stand instead of Idli stand)
Cauliflower Kurma, from Madhumathi. (Added Potatoes, Peas and Lima beans with Gobi/Cauliflower)
Dill chapatis, from Ashwini. (I added some spices to the dough and improvised, will post my version of Parathas next week)
Movies I watched:
Frozen River (Oscar nominated, beautiful and heart wrenching)
Priceless (French movie with English subtitle, good love story to watch to pass time!)
Religulous (Documentary by Bill Maher, another must watch if you are open minded enough to question the existence of "God" and "God's people"!)
Thanks for all of you who passed on few award last week to me, they are in my sidebar with your names. Hugs to all of you!
Have a fun weekend, see you next week! Purnima let me know that March 8th is celebrated as a "International women's day", so enjoy that too! :)