Coconut & coriander chutney

We have both been very quiet for the last few weeks as we have  gotten quite engrossed in our daily routines.   Hopefully we will get back into the habit of sharing recipes on a more frequent basis.   Apologies for the multiple posts today as we clear some of our back log.   The first recipe we would like to share with you is a simple accompaniment for dosai or idli.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1/2 cup of fresh coconut – grated or pieces
  • 1 Thai red chillies
  • 1 small red onion or 2 sambhar onions
  • Handful fresh coriander with stalk
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Around 1 cup

How do I make it?

Place all the ingredients in a blender  with a little bit of water and grind to a coarse paste.  Transfer into a serving dish and enjoy 🙂

Arachuvita onion & murangai kai sambhar

One of the dishes that is synonymous with South Indian cooking is sambhar, a thick dahl and vegetable based gravy dish normally eaten with rice and often served as an accompaniment with  idlis & dosais (rice & urad dhal batter steamed dumplings and pancakes).  The key to any good sambhar is the spice powder which varies from household to household and we sometimes feel the recipes are guarded secrets passed on by word of mouth from one generation to the next.  One can find sambhar powder in most Asian grocery store which is a suitable substitute (our family recipe can be shared for a small fee  :-)).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 murangai kai (called moringa in English or more colloquially known as drumsticks in India) cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 10-12 small sambhar onions (available in Asian grocery stores – alternatively use baby onions)
  • Extract of a small ball of tamarind (alternatively ½ tsp of tamarind paste)
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • ½ cup of pressure cooked tuar dahl
  • 3 whole red chillies
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp channa dahl
  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ cup fresh grated coconut
  • Handful of fresh coriander for garnish
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4-6

How do I make it?

Heat a tablespoon of oil over medium heat and roast the coriander seeds, channa dahl and dried red chillies for a few minutes till the seeds change colour.   Once cooled, grind to a paste with fresh coconut and a pinch of asafoetida – use a little water.   Keep this aside.   In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil followed by the mustard seeds.   Once the seeds start to splutter add the curry leaves and vegetables.   Saute over medium heat for a couple of minutes and then add the extract of tamarind water, sambhar powder and a bit of salt.  Pour in 500 ml of water and cook over medium heat till the raw smell of the powder disappears and the vegetables are cooked.  Add the cooked dahl and paste and simmer for 5-10 minutes.   Adjust the seasoning, garnish with fresh coriander and switch off heat.  Serve hot with plain boiled rice.

Curly kale thoran

Thoran is a generic Malayalam term given to any dry mixed vegetable dish garnished with fresh coconut.  It has taken us a while to experiment with non traditional Indian vegetables and greens but having just attempted a curly kale thoran we think we have been missing out on this wonderful leafy vegetable which is very high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C and rich in calcium.  There appears to be more than one variety of kale – we’ve tried the curly variety in today’s thoran and in the past have stir fried an Italian variety called ‘cavolo nero’ with a splash of tamari soy sauce, Shaosin wine, palm sugar and spiced black rice wine vinegar.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 200 gm curly kale washed
  • 1/2 cup dried borlotti bean pressure cooked with 1 cup of water
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp split urad dahl
  • 1/2 tsp channa dahl
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Heat a wok with the coconut oil – first add the mustard seeds and wait for them to start spluttering before adding the urad and channa dahl.    Once the dahls start to brown a bit add the curry leaves and dried red chillies – stir for 15 seconds before adding the curly kale.   Add a 1/4 cup of water, turmeric powder, mix, cover and cook over a low heat till done.    Remove the lid, add the cooked borlotti beans, fresh coconut and adjust the seasoning before taking it off the heat.

Salad therapy – roasted corn and coconut

A simple salad to pull together as an accompaniment  or a summer barbecue staple.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 ears of corn
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • 3 tbsp grated coconut
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4 as a side dish

How do I make it?

Roast the corn cobs over an open flame and then shuck them once cooled.     Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together.

Coconut fish soup revisited

Having previously discovered the simplicity of preparing a fish soup infused with Thai flavours, tonight was an opportunity to experiment a bit further with different ingredients.   Net result was a wholesome bowl of coconut fish soup with bags of flavour.  The ingredients are predominantly Indian by nature but the soup has more of a Pan Asian feel to it because of the coconut milk and the fresh sambal.  The soup uses ‘kokum’ to provide a bit of tang to the dish – this is typically found in India and commonly used in west coastal fish dishes.   If kokum is not available in your local Indian grocer then feel free to substitute it with some tamarind pulp.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 large fillet of cod cut in half
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 1 inch piece ginger cut in julienne
  • 4 medium sized mushrooms sliced
  • 75 gm of baby leaf spinach
  • 400ml tinned coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 kokum pieces chopped
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • Handful fresh curry leaves
  • Small handful of fresh coriander to garnish
  • Salt to taste

For the sambal

  • 1 cup of shredded coconut roasted till light brown
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small shallot (we used small Indian onions)
  • 4-5 small dried red chillies (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

Pound all the ingredients (except the coconut) to a paste in a pestle and mortar.   Once the roasted coconut has cooled, mix it with the paste and it is ready to serve.

How much will I make?

2 large bowls of soup

How do I make it?

Heat a pan, add coconut oil followed by the caraway seeds, ginger and curry leaves.   Stir for a minute before adding the sliced onions, green chillies and cook for a couple of minutes.   Pour in the coconut milk with 400 ml of water and season with salt and white pepper.   Reduce the heat to low and cook for ten minutes before poaching the cod fillets in the stock till cooked through.   Remove the fillets and add the mushrooms and spinach to the stock – increase heat and cook for five minutes.   To assemble the dish, place the cod fillets in the middle of the bowl and pour stock with vegetables over it.   Garnish with a tablespoon of the sambal and some fresh coriander.  Enjoy.

Coconut treats

Diwali the Indian festival of lights is a time of year for families to get together and a time to binge on sweets and savouries with reckless abandon.   It is traditional to make some sweets and savouries and offer it to guests when they visit during the Diwali festival.  Anna and I both wanted to carry on the tradition of  our mothers and grandmothers  to make something afresh rather than buy ready made sweets which we have in the past.   Here are a couple of quick recipes with coconut which are easy to make and sure to impress!

PS.  The macaroon is not a typical Diwali treat but something we made as a housewarming treat for a couple of dear friends of ours.

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Coconut barfi

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee

How much will I make?

16-20 pieces (thinly sliced)

How do I make it?

Heat the sugar in a pan with a quarter cup of water till it dissolves and begins to form a thick syrup (should form a string when a spoon is dipped in and pulled out or if brave test between fingers – warning the syrup is piping hot).   Reduce the heat to low and then add the coconut and cardamom powder.  Keep stirring till the mixture leaves the side of the pan (shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes).   Add the ghee, stir and take of the heat.   Transfer the mixture onto a tray lined with grease proof paper and spread the mixture evenly (rule of thumb – aim for a height of 5 cm).  Allow to cool before cutting into pieces with a pizza cutter.  Enjoy.

PS For a juicier barfi replace desiccated coconut with freshly grated.

Coconut macaroons (recipe from Whitworth’s desiccated coconut pack)

What do I need to make it?

  • 80 gms desiccated coconut
  • 50 gms caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • Zest of a lime
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 medium egg white beaten till soft and not stiff

How many will I make?

12-16 depending on size

How do I make it?

Pre heat oven to 180 degree Centigrade.   Fold all the ingredients into the beaten egg white till you get a semi moist mixture (add more beaten egg white if the mixtures seems dry).  Scoop a tablespoon of the mixture and place it 5 cm apart on a baking sheet lined with grease proof paper.   Cook for fifteen minutes till the macaroons start to brown.   Allow to cool before serving.

Thai flavoured casserole

Having caught the casserole bug a couple of weeks ago we have been busy experimenting with different ethnic flavours (posted our take on Moroccan and Creole/Mexican casseroles in earlier blogs, links below).   Tonight we tried putting together Thai ingredients to create a casserole which was not as thick as previous attempts as there are no starchy ingredients but flavour and taste wise was delicious.   You need some standard Thai ingredients to ensure you maximize the flavour.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 500 gms boneless chicken thighs (6-8 pieces)
  • 1 large white onion sliced
  • 1 red pepper cut into cubes
  • 1 yellow pepper cut into cubes
  • 2 green chillies roughly chopped
  • 5-6 garlic pods
  • 1 carrot roughly chopped
  • 6-8 button mushrooms halved
  • 5-6 baby corn cut into bite size pieces
  • Handful of green beans chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 200  gms sliced bamboo shoots (small can drained)
  • 6-8 snow peas/mange tout
  • 1 stick of lemon grass bruised
  • 1 piece of galangal bruised
  • 1/2 tsp crush dried birds eye chilli
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 2 tsp Sriracha chilli paste
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Few sprigs of fresh coriander chopped to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

First marinade the chicken thighs with the Sriracha paste and a bit of salt – set aside for a few hours.   Heat your oven proof casserole dish and add 1 tbsp of coconut oil – sear the chicken pieces on both sides and remove.   Add another tablespoon of coconut oil and stir the crushed birds eye chilli for 30 seconds before adding green chilli, garlic, lemon grass, galangal and kafir lime leaves and stirring for another 30 seconds.  Add the onion and  peppers and stir for a couple of minutes before adding the remaining vegetables, stock cubes, coconut milk, chicken and about 200 ml of water.  Sprinkle a little salt and black pepper to taste and place the casserole in a pre-heated oven at 200 degree Centigrade for an hour or till the chicken is cooked through.   Garnish with fresh coriander and serve on its own or with a bowl of Jasmine rice.