p Box o' Spices: September 2006

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Channa Masala

This is another one of those quick recipes that can be whipped up in the time it takes to order and wait for the Chinese food. This is Chole cooked the South indian way. We use tomatoes and turmeric and the dish looks somewhat red not black like the Punjabi version. It can be served with rice or roti, but tasted better with rice.

1 can Chick peas or 1/2 cup dried white channa soaked and boiled.
1 large onion - finely chopped
1 tomato - chopped fine

Heat some oil, add jeera. Fry onions till soft, add ginger garlic paste, some chopped green chilies and tomatoes and fry till soft. Add channa, 1 tsp channa masala, 1/2 tsp red chili powder, salt and 1/2 tsp lemon juice. Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles (or cook on medium flame for 15 min until channa is soft). Then mash some of the chick peas with the back of a spoon to thicken the gravy. Add chopped coriander leaves. Serve with steamed white rice.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Chettinad chicken curry

I know there are countless recipes for chettinad chicken. Chettinad is a region in Tamil Nadu which is known for spicy food and sprawling mansions. The people who lived there were very prosperous traders and bankers who did business in the early 20th century with most asian countries. One of the main commodities they traded in was spices. Pepper especially is believed to be used by them even before the rest of India did. That should explain the abundance of spices used in their cooking.

Most of the recipes for Chettinad chicken involve grinding the spices to make the masala. But the recipe is quite simple and does not involve too many steps.

Roast without oil and grind to a powder:
1 tsp whole black pepper
6-8 red chilies (adjust according to how spicy you want)
1 tsp khus khus
1 tsp saunf (sombu/fennel)
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin)
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 cardomoms
3-4 cloves
1 inch piece cinnamon
5-6 curry leaves (optional)
2-3 tsp coconut powder (you can use fresh grated coconut too if available)

Other ingredients:
1 kg chicken - cut to 1.5 inch pieces
2 medium onions - chopped fine
1-2 medium tomatoes - chopped fine
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp lemon juice
curry leave and coriander leaves to taste

Fry onions in some oil, add curry leaves, tomato and ginger-garlic paste.
When fried well almost to a paste, add the chicken.
Add salt and the ground masala, lemon juice, 2 cups water and pressure cook for one whistle. Alternatively you could cook in pan until chicken is done (you may have to add some more water then)
Add chopped coriander leaves and simmer for 5 min.

Serve with steamed white rice.

Hope you enjoy this.

Curry Mela by Bachelor Cooking
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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Black-eyed peas curry

My mom was visiting us. Hope that explains my lack of posts for a while. Now suddenly I feel like I'm doing 10 million things at once. Working full time, taking care of a new baby, and trying to still have a life doesn't leave much time for cooking. And when I do cook, I want to make something that is quick and healthy. This is one of the best dishes in my opinion to satisfy that criteria.

Soak 1 cup of dried black eyed peas for 3-4 hours.
Heat some oil in a pressure cooker/ pan and add some jeera, chopped ginger.
Add 2 chopped (medium) onions and fry till soft.
Add 1 chopped tomato and cook for a minute.
Add salt, 2 tsp channa masala, the soaked peas and 2 cups of water.
Mix in a tsp of coconut paste (optional).
Pressure cook for 3 whistles. If you prefer it very soft cook for an additional whistle.
Add chopped coriander leaves and serve with steamed white rice.

This is my entry to Anthony's curry mela.