Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Konkani Fish Curry (Kandya Ambat)




Fish curry preparations from the Coastal areas are hands down the best curries in the whole wide world. Reason, fresh fish, fresh coconuts and fresh stock of dry red chillies...:) My ancestors are from coastal region and have known to survive on rice and seafood for their whole lives.:) My grandmother made the best fish dishes ever, she added just those 2-3 fresh ingredients like coconut, dry red chillies and tamarind to freshly caught and cleaned fish by using her signature eyeballing method(:)) to make a fingerlicking gooooood curry!! Since she was an expert, everybody simply loved it!

The highlight of our visit to my grandparents house was mostly "FOOD" and all that simple life around the house. She loved pets so much that all the dogs and cats of the neighborhood used to be at her house :) She loved feeding and talking to them. Wonder none of her kids got those genes passed down hhehehe :(



Few years back my youngest cousin (was 8 yrs then) had visited my grandmother and even he gave her the certificate of excellence :) saying that it was the best fish curry he had in his life (it was actually so cute that it is now a must to be mentioned story whenever we talk about my grandma)....so we all remember her with these loving memories that she has left behind.


Coming to the fish preparation, we have various kinds of fish curries that are very prominent amongst Konkani clan. Northern Karnataka is known for Teppal ambat (schezwan peppers/coconut curry) and Kandya ambat (onion/coconut curry) and in the south of Karnataka they make Phanna ambat (onion tempered curry), Alle piyav ambat/ghashi (onion/ginger curry).. so these are the few variations one will see. Goan preparation is again little different where they use garam masala (whole spices) in the curry. As we move to the north east side of India, one can see the fish preparation in mustard oil and mustard paste etc. So it's unlimited variety :)


Once you get a hang of making these coconut curries, there is no going back- I am telling ya :)

Let us take a look at this Konkani Fish Curry of Kandya Ambat recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut (or frozen coconut)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 big size pomfret/pompano (makes 8-9 pieces/fillet)
  • 1/2 tea spn tamarind extract or kokum or small marble size ball of tamarind
  • 1 green chili slit optional
  • 7-8 red chilies (byadgi/kumti chillies preferably)
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste

Preparation:
  • Clean the fish, apply 1/2 tsp turmeric, salt and keep aside.
  • Lightly roast dry red chillies in 1/2 tsp oil, transfer to a blender. Then in the same pan roast coriander seeds and transfer to the blender. Then add grated coconut and roast it very lightly (do not brown it) before you put it into the blender. Add tamarind, turmeric and make a fine paste by adding little water. 
  • Adjust the taste if need be, sometimes the chillies may not be very spicy, so depending on how spicy you want adjust accordingly. Color of the curry also depends on the quality of the chillies you are using.
  • Take a wide mouth pan, heat oil and add chopped onions. Saute till it turns just light brown. 
  • Now add the ground paste and stir everything nicely. Add slit green chili, salt. Bring the curry to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. 
  • Add water sparingly to get a nice flowy consistency of the curry. Do not make it too thin. Now add fish fillet gently into the curry and let it simmer further for another 5-6 minutes. 
  • Don't keep stirring the fish, as it will break, gently move around so that the curry also breathes :) Switch off the gas once the fish is cooked and you see nice red color on the curry. 
  • Serve hot with Rice, parboiled Rice, Roti etc. Curry tastes even better after few hours or the next day!
njoY!! happY cookinG!!

Note: This method of curry preparation is used mostly for lean and bland fish , also shrimp can be used. Vegetarians can make it by adding potatoes in it. Tastes delish.


You may also like

Coastal Fish Curry (Alle Piyav Teppal Ambat)

Health Benefits:

Pomfret is a delicious, lean white fish that has a wide variety of associated health benefits, including its ability to help reduce weight, boost overall metabolism, speed up repair and growth throughout the body, build strong bones, reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, lower triglyceride levels, prevent arthritis, protect against cognitive decline, prevent various types of cancer, reduce signs of aging, boost the health of your hair, and strengthen your immune system. It is a very good source of protein. It's no coincidence that fish-eating Inuit populations in the Arctic have low levels of heart disease; seafood is low in saturated fat and high in omega-3, (which can both) protect the heart from disease and lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood. One study has even suggested that an extra portion of fish every week can cut risk of heart disease in half. Eating oil-rich fish regularly can help to keep the eyes bright and healthy.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Boondi Ladoo (Bundi Ladoo)



These Boondi or Bundi ladoos are the most beautiful looking ladoos that are there in the market. That light yellow /orange color makes it look so beautiful and festive! It is a collection of tiny pearly balls of gram flour, first fried then dipped in sugar syrup and then rolled into a ladoo. Boondi ladoo is a very delicious treat and is seen served on almost every joyous ocassion in India.

Never in my wildest dreams, I thought that one day I would be making this treat in my kitchen! I always thought it is a difficult dessert to make. No one made these back at home either, we always got it from the store and have eaten plenty at weddings and pooja ceremonies :)


But one day I simply pulled up my socks, said a small prayer in my mind and started making these goodies. To my surprise, they came out so good that my joy had no bounds! From then on there was no looking back. I look forward to make boondi ladoos every Diwali festival. Another reason to learn this exotic ladoos was my son, yes, he saw boondi ladoos from that Krishna animation series and wanted to have it along with rasagulla, sandesh, and besan ladoos :) Thanks to that series, my kid pushed me to do the needful and I couldn't be more happier with the end results!!

This recipe is adapted from manjulas kitchen site.

Let us take a look at the recipe:


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gram flour (besan)
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon water adjust as needed
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
  • 5 green cardamom pods crushed
  • Oil to deep fry

Preparation:
  • Add the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. When the syrup comes to a boil, turn the heat down to medium and stir to dissolve the sugar. Let it simmer until the syrup is about half thread consistency.
  • Mix the gram flour with water to make a smooth pancake-like batter or slightly thicker than dosa batter. You can test by pouring little batter on a perforated ladle(which we use to serve rice) and see drops of batter coming out. If it is runny you will have to add little more besan, if it's too thick add little more water to the batter.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. The frying pan should have at least 1 1/2 inches of oil. To test if the oil is the right temperature, drop a pinch of batter into the oil, if it rises immediately without changing the color then the oil is ready to start frying the boondi.
  • Hold the skimmer(perforated ladle) about 1 to 1 1/2 inches above the oil over the center of the frying pan with one hand. With your other hand pour some of the batter onto the skimmer to cover all of the holes without spilling over the edge of the skimmer. If you hold the skimmer higher than 1 1/2 inches above the oil boondi will not be round.

  • The batter will start dropping through the holes into the oil. Drop enough boondi into the oil so they just cover the surface of the oil in frying pan in a single layer
  • Fry them until the sound of sizzling stops and boondis are light gold in color but not crispy. Lift the boondi out of the oil with a slotted spoon (this allows excess oil to drip back into the frying pan) and put them directly into the warm syrup and mix.
  • Before making the next batch of boondi, wipe clean the skimmer. This helps to keep the boondi round.
  • Repeat the process of making boondi and adding to the syrup with rest of the batter. You may have to adjust the heat in between making boondis.
  • When finished frying the boondi, let them soak in the syrup for few minutes.
  • Add the crushed cardamom seeds and sliced almonds to the syrup.
  • Now drain off the excess syrup.
  • If the boondis are still hot, let them sit only until they are warm enough to handle  but don’t let them to cool off. If the boondis become cold you will not be able to form them into ladoos.
  • Grease your hands with some ghee, to make the ladoos, scoop up some of the boondi mixture into your palm with a spoon. Gently squeeze the mixture between both palms to shape into a round ball about the size of a golf ball. As you are squeezing some of the syrup will come out. Dont worry about it.
  • Repeat the process till all the boondi is used up to make ladoos.
  • As the ladoos cool to room temperature they will become firm but they should still be moist.
  • Serve it as a dessert or snack.

njoY!! happY cookinG!!
Notes:*
If the syrup is not of the right temperature, you will not be able to form the ladoos. If the boondis cool down to room temperature before being shaped into balls, the sugar will crystallize. If you are not able to make ladoos, don’t worry. You can still enjoy them as sweet boondi or use it in boondi raita without adding the fried boondi to the syrup.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Pav Bhaji (Street food of Mumbai)




Getting back to blogging after a short break, feels so good to be back in my comfort zone :)
It was Monday, Presidents day a long weekend in USA. Had a busy rest of the weekend having too much fun! Thought of lazying around while cleaning up the house and at sharp 11:08am had a craving to eat pav bhaji after my eyes wandered on the potato bag in the pantry :) Got lucky as I had all the ingredients in the fridge except pav (Indian bread). After begging for 5 minutes to my Pati-dev who thinks weekends are his right to be a couch potato, sent him off to the store to get the pav while I geared myself to make some YUMM-O street food.


This dish is a big hit at my house and relished amongst my friends. I got this recipe from a Juhu beach vendor in Mumbai on Youtube some years back. Can't go wrong, right? I have customized the recipe just a little bit as per my convenience. I was actually surprised to see couple of ingredients that went into it like kasoori methi and hing. Well, it only adds more great flavors to say the least.

Another huge USP of this dish, can add as many variety of vegetables you want and kids will not even know :) because potatoes overpowers the rest of the clan :)- So yes, Moms can go YAY!!










Pav Bhaji was invented as a midnight dish by street food vendors, made with all the leftover vegetables from the day, mashed up together, with loads of added spice, and butter. Bhaji is the Marathi word for a vegetable dish, and pav probably comes from the Portuguese word for bread.

All I can say is try it and see if you like it.

Ingredients:

For the Bhaji:
  • 2 big potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed lightly
  • 4-5 ripe tomatoes chopped ( if not sour enough, add extra tbsp of tomato paste)
  • 1 capsicum chopped
  • 10 flowerets of cauliflower (roughly chopped)
  • 1 small carrot chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup peas boiled
  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili pwd (to give more color than spiciness)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4th tsp turmeric pwd
  • 1- 2 tbsp pav bhaji masala (everest or mtr)
  • handful chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tbsp fenugreek leaves
  • pinch asafetida 
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • food color orange 1 pinch ( if you want that gorgeous color :))


To Fry the Pav:
  • Butter
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Prepared Pav Bhaji
Garnish Ingredients:
  • Chopped onion
  • Sev
  • Lemon pieces
  • Dallop of butter on it
6 Pav (store bought for now)
Minimum 2 Pav each person to relish all that goodness of buttery bhaji :)


Preparation:
  • In a non stick pan, heat oil, add capsicum, cauliflower, (carrots if using it) and quickly saute it for 2 to 3 minutes. 
  • Add ginger garlic paste and let it cook for little bit more till the raw smell goes away. Add asafetida, kasoori methi and cook for a minute.
  • Now add chopped tomatoes and saute it for couple of minutes. You can add 1 tbsp butter now and let it cook till you see some oil coming out from the corners. Stir in between.
  • Add masalas - turmeric pwd, chilli pwd and pav bhaji masala, salt mix everything together quickly. 
  • Add boiled potatoes and with a masher, start mashing everything together. Add water little by little till you get the consistency of thickness/thinness you want. It is always semi thick. Potatoes basically absorb water. 
  • Taste it and see if it needs adjustment, if your tomatoes are not sour enough, add lemon juice.
  • Add food color if you want.
  • Let it cook on sim flame for about 7-8 minutes. Keep stirring in between and add water as you like. Add another tbsp of butter :)
  • Garnish it with Cilantro and switch off the gas.

How to fry the Pav just before serving:
  • Cut the Pav in the centre and semi open it.
  • On a frying pan, add butter, as it sizzles add bhaji, cilantro and place the pav face down and cook for few sec. Drizzle some butter or oil on top and serve hot.


How to Serve Pav Bhaji:
Serve good amount of bhaji in a compartmented plate, chopped onion, cilantro and lemon slices on one end, you can add onions, sev and butter on top of the hot bhaji, and masala fresh pav on the other side.

Trust me, eating is much easier than writing how to serve Pav Bhaji :):) (joke)

If you are street food junkie, you may also like
Missal Pav,  Baked Potatoes Wedges,  Mumbai's special Masala Sandwich

njoY!! happY cookinG!!

Health Benefits:

Due to the increased interest in foods that are low-carb or low-glycemic index, the potato has unjustly earned a bad reputation. Potatoes consumed in simple roasted, grilled, boiled, steamed manner with little or no oil/butter is very healthy and nutritious for health.
It is loaded with calcium, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron that helps in having strong bones.
It has vitamin B6 which supports heart health.
Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in potatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory.


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