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Stir Fried Carrots in Chilli Onion Paste

Stir Fried Carrots in Chilli Onion Paste

Anjali Venugopal June 3, 2017 NO COMMENTS

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My love and passion for home cooked meals is not something that germinated in my veins overnight. I grew up in a household that took (and still continues to take) home cooking extremely seriously; to the extent that I can with the help of a negligible amount of effort to back me up, recall practically all the occasions my family has eaten out during my childhood. Both my Amma and my grandma are fantastic cooks with a convincing belief in a fact that they have proved time and again; that a wholesome, home cooked meal is the secret to fitness and good health. And this is possibly what got me hooked to the idea that the tastiest food, the food that gives a nudge to all your five senses, the food that lingers on in your mind for days after you have tasted it, can be whipped up within the confines of your own kitchen while you have absolute control over the quality and the quantity of every ingredient that goes into the wok.

Good food has always been held in great regard in my home; where every dish prepared is critically evaluated; praised when it was called for and criticized (constructively of course) otherwise; where a lot of love and effort goes into the preparation of a meal. As a Hindu household in Kerala, it should come as no surprise when I tell you that we have and continue to celebrate festivals of all other religions alike. I use the term ‘Hindu’ with caution, lest I should be brought within the ambit of the sheer mockery our country, headed by fanatic goons masquerading as saviours of this pure and noble way of life, propels today, shamelessly under the guise of this term. No, I am not one of them. And proudly so.

Let me not unnecessarily venture into areas that make my blood boil.

The term ‘celebration’ in my home had one, and only one meaning and that was to make a delicious, home cooked meal. I still see the twinkle in Amma’s eye when she brings up suggestions such as “maybe we should buy some tender mutton for Christmas” or “how about we prepare a yummy biryani for Eid?”

That would be followed by all of us sitting down together for lunch, laughing, smacking our lips in delight and wiping our plates clean. This practice went on meticulously for all the years I was at home and in all probability counts for a large chunk of the fondest of memories I hold within. Ah those were the days!

Today I share with you yet another incredibly easy recipe which you can whip up with around three ingredients. The base for this yummy recipe is something a lot of us don’t find too exciting; carrots. This has been a favourite dish all through my childhood and I have lost track of the number of times, Amma packed me this for lunch. Till rather recently, I was completely unaware of the possibilities of having this with anything else but rice, or Chapattis. A friend tried this recipe out and came up with the option of using this in a sandwich with some grated cheese. So, the possibilities are many, try it out and keep me posted as always.

Things you will need:

  • Carrots- 4 or 5 large ones (Chopped into round disks, not too fat)
  • Onion- 1 medium sized
  • Dried red chillies- 4-5 (vary according to heat tolerance)
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt

 

How to go about it:

  1. Grind the onion and the dried red chillies to form a roughly smooth paste.
  2. Heat some cooking oil in a wok, add the chopped carrots and the onion paste to it with adequate salt. Stir well to make sure the paste is evenly distributed. Add about ¼ glass of water, keep the wok closed and let the carrots cook well.
  3. Once the carrots are cooked, get the excess water to evaporate. Once that is done, add a bit more oil and nicely fry up the carrots. This should take about ten minutes or maybe a slight bit more. The key to this recipe is to make sure the onion paste is nice and brown, since this is what gives it that lovely flavour. So, as I always tell you, patience is the key 🙂

That was easy as pie wasn’t it? Serve with rice or chapatis and dal or even as a sandwich topping with some grate cheese. Yum Yum. This dish is quite a favourite in my part of the world and I feel it deserves a lot more. So try it out, and let me know!

 

Chicken Perattu

Chicken Perattu

Anjali Venugopal January 12, 2017 2 COMMENTS

 

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Hello hello!

Just as I got done with my mad weekly cleaning of the house, I thought I had to sit down to write just a little something before I got tempted to abandon the blog all over again. So here I am, back at my small, dark, wooden round table sipping on a tall glass of Tang (orange and my favourite), nurturing a holiday hangover, missing the Amma’s hugs and the absolute luxury, the concept of ‘home’ offers; where the house is miraculously clean, and food just somehow finds its way to the dining table without one having to even as much as bat an eyelid.

As I look up from my computer, I realize the sun is out paying Wien a visit, and I can see the snow glistening in the light, rehearsing well to make the city a wet mess and a small black birdie out to play in the withering bush right outside my window. Every time I have the house to myself, I have the habit of playing music and today, I have the Dixie Chicks playing in the background. And that just reminds me of the long way I have come. Let me explain.

Flash back to the 18-year-old me. Acne covered face, an old worn out broom for a pony tail, a black tee and a pair of pretty awful looking jeans and how could I forget them sneakers. This person swore to the world (and to herself) that she was a head-banging heavy metal addict; listening to Pantera or Lamb of God or Judas Priest or Slayer made her feel like she could be a part of that elite clique looking down upon the measly beings, listening to “lame” music; in short, feel “cool” for whatever unfounded reason.

Down the lane, now may be at the start of my twenties, something my dad said really pulled at a few chords in my heart. I will not quote it here but I can tell you that it was meant to bring my head down from the clouds and to start looking at the world in a different light; a lovely golden yellow light.

Just think about this; how many times have you read posts on social media that really meant a lot to you, maybe brought a tear or two to your eyes, heart of hearts wanted to share the emotion with the world by showing it them, but never dared ONLY because of the fear of being “judged” by the “cool kids” (or overgrown adults) for feeling so strongly about something that wasn’t globally recognized in the list of “cool things”? How many times have you desperately used every ounce of sweat and tears in your body to try to portray to the world that you, are the fulcrum of a huge social circle of uber cool, fun people while knowing deep down in your heart that you had just two or maybe three people whom you’d call on a genuinely lonely night?

Well, I was certainly one of them. Covert, yes, but definitely one from that lot. But today, as I stand at 27, I can proudly say that I do not belong to that lot any longer. I honestly do not care if I am thought of as “uncool” or boring or dumb. It was a decision I took many years ago that I would not lie to myself any more. Coming to think of it, there was a point in time where I, myself didn’t know what I liked and what I disliked only because of the mask I was so used to wearing that it actually started to feel like my own skin. Please, pretty please, if you can relate to this emotion, do not look left or right, pull the mask right off, right now! I cannot begin to elaborate on the kind of freedom and happiness it brings to your life. 🙂

Today, I am happy to let the world know that I am a cheap drunk; that my body cannot handle anything more than 2 beers; that I am NOT the rum and coke person I would have liked to showcase myself to be, maybe 6 years ago. Today, I have no qualms in telling the world that, as much as I still love a few of the evergreen metal tracks, I love my country music, my old Hindi playlist, lovely mushy acoustics and even cheesy pop sometimes, for that matter. Haha. Today, I can admit with no shame that although I may not cry often, I have the innate capability to fill buckets when I do start. (I lived under a rock of misconception that crying was a sign of weakness). I can also happily let the world know that I still have horrible skin and hair days and days when I look like a grey rag on the road. Trust me, everybody does. It is just that you don’t get to see it on their social media profiles, just like you don’t see it on mine. 😛

Good Lord, that glass of Tang ran deep. Let me quickly get in to what I came here for in the first place. 😐

Today, I am going to share with you a recipe of a Kerala style Chicken Perattu. It is a lovely, dry, chicken dish that works best with Rice or Rotis or Appams. You may want to try this out on a day you call in for some cold beer with friends (the 2 or 3 referred to hereinabove :P).

Things you will need:

  • Chicken- 500 gms, cut into small pieces
  • Shallots- 10
  • Ginger- 1 inch stick
  • Garlic- 6 pods
  • Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  • Coriander Powder- 2 tbsp
  • Chilli Powder- 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Pepper- 1 tsp
  • Onions- 2 large or 3 medium (long fine slices)
  • Mustard seeds, curry leaves and dried red chillies for tempering

 

How to go about it:

  1. Make a paste out of the shallots, ginger, garlic and all the powders. A slightly coarse paste will do.
  2. Marinate the chicken in this paste for about 20 minutes.
  3. Heat a wok and add this marinated chicken in to the wok directly and add about a quarter cup water and salt to the chicken. Keep the wok closed till the chicken is cooked well.
  4. Simultaneously, in another pan, heat some oil and temper some mustard seeds and dried red chillies.
  5. Add the sliced onions to this and sauté until golden brown. (Don’t be lazy)
  6. Once the chicken is well done in the wok, add the sautéed onions to the chicken and mix well.
  7. At this stage, also add some fresh curry leaves and half a teaspoon of garam masala. Mix well.
  8. Leave the wok open and get the gravy to completely evaporate.
  9. Once the water content has left, add a slight bit more oil, and lightly fry the dish.
  10. Tuck in well, folks! 🙂