Friday, October 26, 2007

Egg curry

I love a well made egg curry. Boiled eggs simmered with lots of spices and coconut milk, what's not to love!

Growing up we had egg curry mostly for breakfast. It can be served with a number of Kerala breakfast dishes: chappathi, poori, puttu, idiappam, velleppam, the list goes on and on. I often serve it with rice too. A friend of mine loves to eat egg curry as a sauce for pasta, works for me!

eggs - 5
potato - 1 large cubed
onion - 1 cup sliced thin
green chilies - 3 split (+/- to taste)
fresh ginger - 1" piece minced
curry leaves - 6 (optional if you don't have it handy)
coriander powder - 3 tsp
cayenne powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder -1/4tsp
garam masala - 1/2 tsp (optional)
coconut milk thin - 2 cups
coconut milk thick - .5 cup
tomato - 1 sliced (optional)
oil - 3 tbsp


*Boil eggs, peel, and keep aside.

Mix all the powdered spices with a little water to make a paste. This is to prevent the powdered spices from burning as they hit the hot pan. Heat a saute pan and add 3 tbsp of oil. When oil heats up, add the spice paste and saute till the raw smell disappears. Add a bit more oil if the spices start to stick to the pan. Be careful not to burn the spices, but fry to a golden brown color. Now add the sliced onion, green chilies, curry leaves, and ginger. Saute till onion is translucent. If using, add tomato slices and saute for 2-3 minutes.

Add thin coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add potatoes and simmer till it cooks. Now add the eggs. I often slice the eggs in half before adding to the pot. If you prefer, it is fine to leave it whole. When the sauce thickens, add thick coconut milk and simmer for a few more minutes. Egg curry is ready to be served.

* Over boiling eggs brings out the sulphuric smell and green ring around the yolk. Here is how I make perfect boiled eggs.

Start eggs in a pan of cold water and a tsp of of salt. Make sure that all the eggs are submerged in upto 1" of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Turn off heat and keep a lid on the pan. After 15 minutes, take eggs out and submerge in cold water. Eggs are ready to be peeled. The yolk would be moist, but firm, and no foul smell!

Labels: , ,

Chilie ka salan

Chilie Ka Salan is a Hyderabadi dish. Whole chilies are cooked in a wonderful blend of ground roasted peanuts, coriander, and tamarind. A mixture of different varities of spicy green chilies may be used. I have made this with just Jalapeno chilies with great results. Serve with Biriyani/rice or roti as a condiment.


whole green chilies - 15
raw shelled peanuts - 1/2 cup
coriander seeds - 1/4 cup
jeera (cumin) - 1 tsp
whole pepper - 1/2 tsp
onion sliced - 1/2
ginger - 1" piece
garlic - 2 cloves
tamarind concentrate - 1 tsp

asafoetida powder - 1/4 tsp
mustard seeds -1/2 tsp
turmeric - 1/4 tsp
curry leaves - 6

salt to taste
vegetable/cooking oil as needed

Clean chilies and slit lengthwise leaving the stem intact. Remove seeds unless you have a penchant for super hot food!

Roast raw peanuts in a heavy pan. Remove and keep aside. Add a tsp of oil to the pan and roast whole coriander seeds, cumin, and pepper. Remove and keep aside. Heat a tsp of oil and saute sliced onions, ginger, and garlic. When the onions have wilted, remove and keep aside.

Grind roasted peanuts along with coriander and onion mixture to a paste in a blender or food processor. Add enough water to facilitate smooth grinding.

Add 2 tsp of oil in a heavy pot and saute the prepared chilies. Remove and keep aside.

Add an additional tsp of oil to the same pot. When oil heats up, add asafoetida, mustard seeds, and curry leaves. When mustard seeds have finished popping add the sauted chilies and turmeric. Add the ground peanut paste. Add tamarind concentrate to the chilies. Simmer till the chillies are cooked through and sauce thickened.

Serve as a condiment to rice or roti.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Okra saute

Okra has always been one of my favorite vegetables. Whether it is stewed in coconut milk or just stir fried till caramelized, I love okra!

The following is a very simple okra stir fry with onions and chilies. I like to serve this as a side dish with rice.

okra - 1 lb
onion - 1/2 (chopped fine)
green chili - 4 (chopped fine)
curry leaves -6
asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
turmeric - 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
salt to taste
oil - 3 tbsp

Wash okra and dry with paper towels. Cut okra into fine rounds.

Heat a heavy pan. Add oil. When the oil heats up, add asafoetida followed by mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds have finished popping, add chopped onions, green chilies, and turmeric. When the onions have softened add okra and salt to taste. Keep stirring at high heat. Initially, the okra will be slimy, but keep frying till it starts to brown. When okra has taken a good bit of color and is no longer slimy, take off heat. Serve with rice.

Labels: ,

Monday, October 1, 2007

Chicken Biriyani

My husband hails from Mahe in Northern Kerala. One of the specialities of the region is biriyani. Though made by cooks all over Kerala, the Northern Kerala biriyani is special and different. I learned to make it from my mother-in-law who was a talented cook.

Biriyani is not an everyday dish. Made mostly on special occasions, it is a complex dish and may take a few trials to master. To make an authentic biriyani, you have to be generous with your spices, don't hold back!

Traditionally, biriyani is made with the whole chicken. Using the chicken whole, increases the flavor. Traditional biriyani also use a lot more of ghee than the recipe below. I have cut it down significantly in the interest of health and to be honest taste!


Chicken whole - 1 (approximately 4 - 5 lbs)
rice - 4 - 5 cups

garlic - 1 pod
ginger - 4" piece
*green chilies - 25 - 30 (increase or decrease to suit taste and endurance level!!)

onion - 2 sliced thin
aniseed - 1 tbsp powdered
garam masala powder - 1 tbsp
medium tomato - 2 sliced
yogurt - 1 cup
cashew nuts - 1/2 cup
raisins - 1/4 cup (optional)
coriander leaves - 1 cup chopped
ghee - 1/2 cup ( may use softened butter instead)
vegetable oil for sauteing onions
salt to taste

*(Don't be alarmed at the number of chilies! This spicing is for the whole dish including rice, which serves 6 - 8 people. I use the small Thai bird chilies. They are spicy!! Depending on what you have on hand, any spicy green chili may be used. If you are not used to handling chilies, may want to wear gloves.)

Clean and joint chicken. Cut into smaller pieces.

Using a food processor/blender blend garlic, ginger to a smooth paste with some water and keep aside. Grind green chilies to a coarse consistency.

Heat a pan and add a tbsp of vegetable oil and a tbsp of ghee/butter. Add 1/2 of the sliced onions and fry till it has an even brown color. Add cashews and raisins to the onion and fry for a few more minutes. Remove onion, cashew, raisin mixture and keep aside.

Heat oil in a heavy pot (large enough to hold the chicken) Add the remaining sliced onions and saute till soft. Add the ginger/garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone. Add ground green chilies and saute for a few more minutes. Add tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes are mushy. Add aniseed powder and cook the whole mixture for a few more minutes till blended uniformly.

Now add the cut-up chicken and stir to coat the spices on the pieces. Add salt and cook for 3-5 minutes. Add yogurt, stir well, cover, and cook the chicken till almost done.

While the chicken is cooking, clean rice and cook in plenty of salted water. When the rice is almost cooked remove and strain. Keep a close eye when the rice is cooking. It is important to strain the rice before it is fully cooked. It should be only 3/4 cooked. If you don't keep a watchful eye, it is very easy to over-cook the rice and spoil the whole dish!

Now the dish is ready to be assembled and baked. A heavy pot with a tight fitting lid (I use a large cast iron pot) is best for this purpose. Alternatively, use a large baking pan and aluminum foil for covering.

Preheat oven to 350*c. In the pot, add a tbsp of ghee/butter and spread it around. Add a layer of rice and spread. Add 3-4 ladles of chicken pieces along with juices over the rice. Add another layer of rice to cover the chicken. Now spread a layer of browned onion, cashew, and raisin mixture. Add a sprinkling of garam masala and a handful of coriander leaves. Add few spoonfuls of ghee/butter. Repeat the layers till all the rice, chicken, and other ingredients are completely used up ending with rice. Cover with lid or aluminium foil and bake for 30 - 35 minutes. Take out biriyani and stir well. At this point all the moisture is absorbed by the rice and the chicken is completely cooked. Adjust seasoning and serve hot with raita and chutney.

Labels: , ,