Salad therapy – Kerala dry chicken with coconut & yogurt dressing

We had a relative visit us over the weekend and had prepared some of Anna’s mum’s dry roast chicken curry as a snack.  We had some left over and this has formed the inspiration for this salad.  The dressing is simple to make and probably could work well with any Indian grilled/baked chicken dish (ie. tandoori chicken or chicken tikka masala).   The recipe for the chicken  (Chicken Ularthiyathu) was posted in an earlier blog – link below.

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The Dressing

What do I need to make it?

  • 2 tbsp fresh grated coconut
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 green chilli chopped
  • Handful of fresh coriander and mint
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

100-150 ml

How do I make it?

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a fine paste.   Place warmed left over chicken pieces over salad leaves of choice and drizzle the dressing over.   Enjoy.

Related Links:

Chicken Ularthiyathu –  http://wp.me/p3oBch-M

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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.

Parsley chutney

In the South of India you get two different varieties of chutneys – either one with fresh ground ingredients or the cooked type.   We tried using parsley as the core ingredient for a cooked chutney and were pleasantly surprised with the outcome.   The taste is slightly unusual at first as parsley is not a native Indian herb but after the first few mouthfuls your taste buds get used to it and it is quite enjoyable.

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What do I need to make it?

  • Large bunch of flat leaf parsley chopped with stalks
  • 3 tbsp split urad dahl
  • 3 dry red chillies
  • Piece of asafoetida
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

A cereal bowl full

How do I make it?

First heat a tablespoon of oil and temper the urad dahl, red chilli and asafoetida till the dahl changes to a golden brown colour.  Cool and dry grind the ingredients to a powder.   Heat a pan and add a tablespoon of oil and then add the chopped parsley and cook for five to ten minutes till the parsley has wilted and cooked.   Transfer the cooked parsley into a blender and add the tamarind paste and a bit of salt and blend to a paste.   Place paste in a bowl and then add the powdered ingredients till it is full incorporated into the paste.   Enjoy with plain boiled rice or as a spread on toast.

Roast aubergine and Charlotte potatoes

I think aubergines/egg plant/brinjal what ever you prefer to call it with potatoes is a great combination of flavours.  We had some left over small aubergines in the fridge which I decided to cook with some seasonal Charlotte potatoes – the dish was spiced and roasted in a pan.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 4 small round aubergines quartered (get these in most Indian and Chinese shops)
  • 5-6 Charlotte potatoes skinned, cut into wedges and parboiled
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3/4 tsp coriander powder
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 3-4 as a side dish

How do I make it?

Crush cumin seeds and peppercorn to a coarse powder in a pestle and mortar.  Heat pan, add oil and then add coarse mixture .  Saute for a couple of minutes before adding the sliced onions.  Saute for five minutes till the onions turn golden brown.  Dissolve the turmeric, red chilli and coriander power in about 60 ml of water and add to the onions.  Give it a good stir before adding the aubergines.  Cook for 5 minutes before adding the par boiled potatoes.   Adjust the seasoning and cook over low heat till aubergines are cooked through.   Enjoy with Indian bread of choice.

Garden fresh – fenugreek leaves with coconut and dhal (methi molagootal)

One of my best friends from school Simeen, who subsists on a largely non vegetarian diet has been hankering for South Indian vegetarian food these days and keeps pestering me for some of my vegetarian recipes.  She lives in Scotland and is an avid follower of our blog.  I have promised her that I would post lots of our family favourites so that she can cook them herself.  This one is for her. Though I have made this with fenugreek leaves from our garden, it can be substituted with any spinach.  fenugreek or methi as it is popularly known is widely available with most Asian green grocers in the UK.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 bunch of methi leaves stripped from the stems and washed
  • ¾ cup tuar dhal washed and pressure cooked till soft and mushy
  • A small pinch of ground turmeric
  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 tsp urad dhal
  • 2 to 3 dried red chillies (depends on personal tastes)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • Few curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Enough to feed four

How do I make it?

Roast the urad dhal and the dried red chillies in a little bit of coconut oil till the urad dhal is golden brown.  Add this to the coconut and cumin seeds a little bit of water and grind to a fine paste.  Set this paste aside.  In a heavy bottomed vessel boil the methi leaves with water, salt and a pinch of ground turmeric.  When the leaves are cooked, add the cooked dhal and the coconut paste.  Mix well and let it come to a boil.  Simmer gently for about ten minutes and adjust seasoning.  Now for the tempering, in a skillet heat the remaining coconut oil and add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard begins to splutter, add the curry leaves and take it off the flame.  Add the tempering to the methi and dhal mixture.  Give it one final stir before taking off the flame.  Serve hot with rice.

Indian comfort food – dhal chawal (lentils with rice)

As the title suggests this is the Indian equivalent to chicken soup.  Ask many an Indian and they will extol the virtues of dhal chawal as most of us were brought up on something similar through our childhood.  Anna and I revert to it as it is one of the simplest dishes to make and thoroughly satisfying and comforting.

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Mixed dhal

What do I need to make it?

  • 1/2 cup tuar dhal
  • 1/4 cup moong dhal
  • 1/4 cup horse gram
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece of ginger minced
  • Handful fresh coriander chopped
  • Handful fresh mint leaves chopped
  • Bunch of chives chopped (save 1/4th for garnish)
  • 1 tsp dhania powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • Salt to taste

 For the tempering

  • Pinch of asafoetida
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 4 dry red chilies
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Put all ingredients in a vessel and add two cups of water before pressure cooking.    Heat pan, add ghee, asafoetida and dry red chilies and saute for  a minute.  Add the chopped onions and saute for 5 minutes before adding cooked dhal.  Garnish the dish with the remaining chopped chives and serve with boiled rice or pilaf of your choice.

Jeera Peas Pilaf

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice washed and drained
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 100 gms fresh peas shelled
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 4-5 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • Piece of cinnamon
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp clarified butter (ghee)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 3

How do I make it?

Heat pan, add ghee and cumin seeds and saute for 30 seconds before adding the remaining dry ingredients.    Saute for a minute and then add sliced onions and cook for a couple of minutes before adding shelled peas and washed rice.  Saute for two to three minutes till rice turns into a white colour before transferring into rice cooker.  Add three cups of water and salt to taste.  Stir the rice when done and serve with dahl.

Makkai roti – semi Paleo approach

Most makkai roti recipes call for the addition of wheat flour which gives the dough some elasticity.  We tried to make makkai roti’s (although corn is not strictly Paelo and frowned upon by some we have taken a more practical approach to our diet and try to adhere as much as we can to Robbs guide) a few times with little success.  We once tried it with a beaten egg and the dough felt soft but couldn’t be rolled out.  Finally we think we have cracked it with the addition of Xanthum gum.  Another tip – if you want perfectly round rotis use a large cookie cutter and voila!

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 cup of gluten free fine  corn/maize meal (get a makkai roti flour from Indian shops (yellow colour) – we used Dilsbury brand – not to be confused with the dough boy!)
  • 2 tsp Xanthum gum
  • 1 tbsp oil (vegetable or sunflower)
  • Salt to taste

How many will I make?

Makes around 10-12 rotis

How do I make it?

Mix ingredients in a bowl and knead with a bit of cold water till you get a firm dough like consistency.  Roll out, cut with cookie cutter (optional) and cook on hot tawa/pan.  Use a bit of ghee to coat either side again optional for the health conscious and Paleo purists.  Serve hot with the gravy dish of your choice.

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