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October 27, 2010

Konkani Tendli Sukke / Tindora Sukke Recipe

This is inspired by what a Konkani friend brought home one day. Although the dish looked a lot like Kerala Thoran, it tasted very different - sour, spicy and coriander-y. Some basic research online brought up so many recipes for it but I followed the one in Red Chillies.

Tindora Sukke Recipe

Tendli Sukke
Serves 2


Ingredients:
1.5 cups tindora / ivy gourd, cut into thin discs
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
A few curry leaves
1/2 tsp grated jaggery / raw sugar

A small piece of tamarind / 1/4 tsp tamarind paste
Salt to taste

Dry Roast one after the other:
1/2 cup grated coconut
2 tsp coriander seeds / or just use 1tsp powder
1 tsp urad dal
3-4 dry red chillies

How I Made It:

1. Grind together the roasted ingredients with the jaggery, tamarind and salt. Do not add water.

2. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they pop, add the tindora pieces. Reduce flame and cook until the tindora is soft and lightly browned - about 5-10 mins. You can add a pinch of turmeric to this if you wish.

3. Next, add the ground masala to the tindora and mix well. Throw in the curry leaves and cook until they come together - another 5 mins. Adjust salt.

Serve warm with rice and any non-coconut based curry.

October 25, 2010

Peanut Chutney-Andhra Peanut Chutney Recipe

A friend, Indy, has been asking for a Peanut Chutney recipe for ages now. I do make it now and then but its mostly my own version, peanuts often added to give it some texture or when I don't have enough coconut to make a plain coconut chutney. 

Peanut Chutney Recipe

 I wanted to give her the Andhra peanut chutney recipe and I wanted to make it first to see it tasted good enough to share. I took inspiration from both Sailu and Indira but preferred to keep my chutney more dry than watery. The consistency its totally up to you but onto the recipe now. 

Andhra Peanut Chutney Recipe
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup raw, unsalted peanuts
5-6 dry red chillies (adjust to taste)
3 flakes of garlic (or 1/2 tsp garlic paste)
3 shallots, sliced (or use 1 small onion)
A marble-sized piece of tamarind (or 3/4 tsp tamarind paste)
1 tsp oil
For tempering:
1 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp urad dal / split black gram
1/4 tsp channa dal / Bengal gram
1/4 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
A pinch of hing / asafoetida
A few curry leaves (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Roast the peanuts in a dry skillet until brown and the skin starts to peel off - about 10 mins or so. Once cool, you can rub them between your palms and remove the skin but I kept them on. 

2. Heat 1 tsp oil and roast the shallots/onions, red chillies and garlic. Once they are browned, remove and set aside to cool. 

3. Once the peanuts and the shallot mixture cool completely, grind to a smooth paste with the tamarind (fresh or paste) with about 1 tbsp of water. If you want a watery chutney, soak the tamarind in 1/4 cup water (extract juice, discard pulp) and use this for grinding. Add salt. Remove and set aside in a bowl. 

4. Heat oil for tempering. Add all ingredients under the list and when the mustard seeds pop and the dals turn golden brown, remove from fire and dunk into the ground chutney. Mix well. 

Peanut Chutney Recipe

I served this with rice and vatha kuzhambu. If you make the watery version, it goes well with dosa and idli too.

October 21, 2010

Hurricane's Grill Darling Harbour, Sydney - Restaurant Review

**Vegetarians may find this post offensive, gross or otherwise a bit over the top so proceed at your own risk and whatever you do, don't look at the second last picture in this post. Thanks**

So, I am in Sydney this week. Although I asked around a fair bit, authentic Australian food is pretty much just steak and burgers and an odd bit of kangaroo meat thrown in here and there. I am not sure if I can try kangaroo meat so me and a 2 colleagues decided to play it safe and try the immensely popular meat and seafood place -  Hurricane's Grill in Darling Harbour, very close to work and our hotel.
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We got bread for the table. A herb roll with oodles of butter thrown in the centre of the slices. It was delicious - easily the best toasted bread I have ever eaten. Damn, TH would have loved this.

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You should know I detest shoving blurry pics to your face but this is the only picture I took of the amazing garlic mushrooms we got as starters. They were mild yet had a peppery kick. There's a whole bed of olive oil and garlic under those babies that practically made them ooze yumminess (and cholesterol maybe but who cares)

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This my friends, is the star of the evening. Grilled Pork Ribs, Hurricane's signature dish. Every single table had a portion of it and my two friends definitely wanted to try it. I had stopped eating pork when I was in my teens and so just ventured to try a small piece of it (only because they oohed and aahed so much). It was definitely awesome, I can tell you that much.

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This was my order. Tiger prawns in garlic butter, served on a bed of rice with a side salad. I ignored the rice, ignored the salad (but of course) and dug right in. Although the exposed head and eyes did make me a bit uncomfortable, it was too delicious for me to care too much.

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The sauces that went with the prawns made it extra delicious. The green stuff is something like pesto but swimming in oil and the gravy in the steel bowl was mind blowing. The red chilli paste was potent and gave the dish a nice kick.

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Finally, the carnage. I did warn you!

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We polished off everything except this last piece of pork rib.

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I kept thinking what a lovely time my bro and sis would've had at this place. Both love pork, and both would have licked their plates and fingers clean. I can never eat good food outside where I live without thinking of family.

Ok so Hurricane's Grill. If you are ever in Sydney and want a good meal, head down there, they definitely won't disappoint.

Website

We got drinks along with the food (we got 2 of that tiger prawns dish, btw) that you see above and the total amount was AUD 141. Considering that outside food in Sydney is not really cheap anywhere, this was just fine for us.

Check our their Bondi beach branch if you are in that area. Darling Harbour is in the CBD area if you don't drop by here, fret not. Bondi beach is the main deal and I hear there are hour-long queues to get in. I would highly recommend booking a table or going at 6:30pm like we did (we still had to wait 15 mins)

October 14, 2010

Pasta Brava Restaurant Review Singapore

If you are looking for vegetarian-friendly Italian restaurants in Singapore, then Pasta Brava is definitely for you. We went there for my b'day (way back in August) so this review is a bit late in coming.

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The ambience is just as the website promises. Its cosy with dim lights and perfect for a relaxed dinner after work (its very close to my office, located in Tanjong Pagar).

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In true Italian fashion, a small, warm loaf of home made bread was served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar first. We had to rush through it a bit because the crust got super hard and rubbery as it cooled down (testament to the homemadeness I guess)

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While you wait for your food, you can use scribble on the "table cloth" which is actually a thick sheet of white paper. A very nice touch although I am not sure if it matches with the ambience of the place which seems more fine-dining-ey.

I scribbled quite a bit though ;)

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Our Minestrone. It was light, the flavours were perfect and it tasted like how it would have if my mom made it (not that she ever made Minestrone but you know what I mean)

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I know it looks like something else but this is our starter - portobello mushroom slices sauteed in olive oil, garlic and parsley. Although it looks intense, no flavour was overpowering, except that of the mushrooms of course.

Confession: we kinda fought over the last pieces.

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Pasta Brava boasts a lot of home-made ravioli dishes and you have quite a few vegetarian options too. We got the Spinach Ravioli filled with Ricotta and Sun Dried Tomatoes served with Tomato Sauce and Basil. Needless to say, it was quite delicious! We did get extra sprinkling of parmesan on top, btw.

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Since we wanted to go to NYDC for dessert, we reluctantly passed on their Tiramisu and Panna Cotta but definitely plan to go back soon

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Pasta Brava, all in all a thumbs up from me.

Website

Address: 
11 Craig Road
Tanjong Pagar
Singapore - 6227 7550

We shared all the dishes and it costs us about SGD 50 for the two of us. I would highly recommend booking a table because we went on a Wednesday evening after booking and still got a table wedged between two others. The place was packed.

**All pics taken with my phone camera with no edits done. Pardon the quality.

October 11, 2010

Asparagus Usili-Paruppu Usili-Usili Recipe

TH loves usili. Its one of the first dishes I cooked for him back in the day when we had just started seeing each other. I made it totally 'wrong' - with onions, coconut and garlic - stuff that's not really preferred much in a Brahmin household (expect maybe the coconut).

Asparagus Usili

Of course, you can make Usili with cabbage, capsicum, cluster beans, broad beans and the most popular French beans, so I was tempted to try it with asparagus.

Asparagus Usili Recipe
Serves 2-3  

Asparagus (I used the thinner Thai variety) - 1 cup, cut into 1" pieces and par boiled in boiling water for 3 mins
Toor dal / tuvaram paruppu - 1/2 cup
Channa dal / kadala paruppu  - 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies - 3 to 4
Hing/asafoetida (kayam) - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - 1 tbsp (depends on the method you use to cook the dal)
Salt - to taste 

How I Made It:

1. Wash and soak the toor dal and channa dal (you can put them together) for about 1.5 hours.

2. Once soft, grind this coarsely with red chillies, turmeric, some salt and hing and as little water as possible (Sprinkle a few drops so the mixture comes together a bit).

3. The next step is to cook this dal mixture with the asparagus. Its really that simple. There are different ways to cook the dal.

(a) Microwave it till almost done, stirring every one minute. It will take about 4 minutes for it to be almost cooked.

(b) Pat the dal mixture with your hand until you have one thick round roti-like disc and then steam it for 3-4 minutes. This won't work if you added too much water while grinding. Not to worry, either follow step (a) or

(c) Pour copious amounts of oil (you need atleast 3-4 tbsp) into a pan and stir-fry the dal mixture. This will take anywhere between 7-10 minutes and is allegedly the tastiest of them all.

I have tried all three methods and found that the steaming method makes the softest and healthiest usili. The microwave version tends to make it a bit dry but its really not that bad at all. The oil-heavy one is the best of course. It has to be, otherwise it defies the rules of healthy cooking and eating.

4. If you already started out in a pan, then just add the asparagus when the dal is almost done and cook for another 4-5 minutes without adding more oil. If you microwaved or steamed the dal, then heat a pan, add 1 tbsp oil and dump in the dal and asparagus and mix well for about 5 minutes.


Asparagus Usili

October 7, 2010

Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes Recipe - Chocolate Lava Cakes

Chocolate lava cakes are a gorgeous creation. Cakes with a spongy outer layer and an oozing chocolate-y inner side - what's not to love. These lava cakes tend to be quite intense so breaking the chocolate with fruit or ice cream is a great idea. I know, that's a lot of chocolate discussion on this site over this week but when it comes to chocolate, there's never too much of it. Agreed? There you go!

I had been meaning to make some lava cakes for a while, simply to see how well I can get the shape and inner molten centers right. For a first attempt, this turned out fabulous even if I say so myself :)
Molten Lava Choc Cake Recipe

I baked this decadence over the weekend. It rose beautifully and the crust was cracked and heavenly. Be very careful not to burn your tongue on this. I speak from experience, like I almost always do. Learn from my mistakes, ok? The chocolate inside is burning hot when the cakes come out of the oven and they take a while to cool down which is probably the toughest thing to handle when making molten chocolate lava cakes.

Molten Lava Choc Cake Recipe

Since neither TH nor I like very runny centres for our molten chocolate cakes, I increased baking time but made sure that the centre is still gooey and fudgy. This consistency was perfect for us.

Molten Lava Choc Cake Recipe

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake
Fills 4 medium-sized ramekins
Recipe source - showmethecurry.com

Ingredients:
Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate – 4 oz (113g)
Butter – 1/2 cup + to grease ramekins
Eggs – 2
Sugar – 1/3 cup (75 g)
All-purpose Flour – 1/4 cup (40g)

Instructions:
1. In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Once melted and shiny, remove pan from heat and add in butter. Mix until the butter melts fully. Set aside to cool.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 mins by electric mixer, 5 mins by hand)
3. Add chocolate-butter mixture into the eggs, add all-purpose flour and mix until well incorporated.
4. Butter bottom and sides of ramekins (small glass/porcelain bowls) and pour in mixture until 3/4 way full.
5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 C) for 10 – 15 minutes. Shorter for gooey (molten) inside, longer for stiff inside. I baked for about 13-15 mins.
6. Serve warm with ice-cream, fruits or whipped cream.

Molten Lava Chocolate Cake Recipe

Yep, I had to push out some of the centre with my spoon to demo that ;) Now, one thing to remember is, you have to serve molten chocolate lava cakes with some fruits, whipped cream, or ice cream to balance out the dense chocolate flavour - its really overpowering. True death by chocolate!