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Tag Archives: south indian

Kerala style Mutton Pepper Masala

#UglyDelicious

No, I am not talking about the Netflix show that has become so popular; instead about today’s dish – a Keralan style robust, peppery mutton or goat masala.

And if you are wondering why the hashtag, it’s because I find it such a harrowing experience shooting dishes like these that don’t look very pretty or appealing but is just damn delicious that I still want to share it with all of you.

I always struggle when it comes to taking photographs of Indian dishes, especially curries. Most of them are of a certain colour tone and to make it look interesting and appealing, there is a constant effort needed to style it well or add the right garnishes to make the dish pop.

I am sure the more skilled photographers would not feel this way, but I am still grappling with the technique that clicking pictures of this Mutton Pepper Masala was quite a challenging one. After various styling efforts on a day that my creativity was not at its best, I settled for these shots. Not my best but you know what…the flavours of this mutton dish make up for the not so delectable photographs.

Kerala style Mutton Pepper Masala - thespiceadventuress.com

As mentioned in the title, this is a Kerala style mutton preparation. You are likely to find a lot of variations of this dish. This particular recipe is one I learnt from my mother, but adapted slightly to suit our taste buds.

The predominant flavour is that of the black peppercorns; you can adjust the quantity to suit your preferences but there must be enough used to get that pepper hit. Mutton or goat is best for this dish but a good cut of lamb with some fat running through it would also be equally delicious.

I feasted a lot on this dish after I gave birth to my son; the red meat helps with boosting protein and iron quantities which is need post pregnancy. And black pepper is believed to be a great cooling agent and also has many other medicinal properties.

Best paired with parottas (Kerala style layered flat breads) but goes equally well with rice and dal.

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms mutton (boneless); cut into small pieces (you can use meat with bones too)
  2. 1 ½ tbsp whole black peppercorns
  3. 1 green chilli
  4. 5 garlic cloves; grated
  5. 1 inch ginger; grated
  6. 2 large red onion; finely sliced
  7. 1 medium ripe tomato; finely sliced
  8. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  9. 2 ½ tsp coriander powder
  10. ½ tsp fennel powder
  11. ½ tsp garam masala
  12. 2 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  13. 3 sprigs curry leaves
  14. Salt, to season
  15. 4-5 tbsp coconut oil

Method:

  1. Grind the black peppercorns, garlic, ginger and green chilli into a fine paste with a little bit of water. Add this to the washed mutton pieces; season with salt and add one sprig of curry leaves. Mix the masala well into the mutton and keep aside for at least 1 hour (longer if time allows).
  2. Heat oil in a large deep bottom pan and add the sliced onions. Sauté till the onion are caramelized to a light brown colour.
  3. Next add the tomatoes and continue to sauté till the tomatoes are completely broken down and mushy.
  4. Then add all the spice powders and mix well to combine. Sauté till the whole mixture comes together and oil starts appearing at the sides. A few drops of water can be added if the mixture feels too dry.
  5. Add the marinated mutton to this along with one sprig of curry leaves; mix well to combine. Add 2 cups water (taste and season with salt if necessary) and cook till the mutton is almost done. (You can also use a pressure cooker for cooking the mutton but add less water).
  6. When the mutton is almost done, increase heat and reduce the excess gravy if any to get a thick masala like consistency. But if you prefer the gravy, remove from heat and garnish with the remaining curry leaves.

Kerala style Mutton Pepper Masala - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

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Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne)

Kerala cuisine in a modern Australian pub!

Surprised? I am…..

I constantly crib about how poorly Indian cuisine is represented in Melbourne with just a handful of restaurants that serve decent fare. And also none when it comes to South Indian food except for plenty of dosa serving restos that are often a disappointment.

So the new South Indian menu at The Rochey came as a huge surprise.

The Rochey has been an iconic part of Fitzroy for many years now but recently went through a whole revamp in terms of food and drink, both of which has been taken up several notches. Mischa Tropp from ‘WeareKerala’ has designed the new menu which showcases regional Kerala cuisine at its best, with some snippets from the Goan cuisine too.

The ambience at Rochey is typical Fitzroy (the architecture is so unique there), retro with contemporary influences but also with the industrial touch that the suburb does so well. While the front portion is the dedicated pub space, there is a cozy dining area towards the back. There is also a beer garden and a party space if you are looking to hold events.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

The new drinks menu at Rochey deserves mention too. There are the classics given that it’s a pub, but there are also some interesting cocktails and new wines, beers etc…. on the list, some of which are specifically included keeping in mind the flavours of the new menu.

I was fortunate to try out a couple of wines that were exceptional and paired extremely well with the flavour profiles of the new South Indian menu.

(I have outlined the specifics of each wine beneath the photographs)

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Harvest Pinot Gris (2017 / Adelaide Hills SA / Organic) – Produced by a Grower’s Cooperative with a strong sense of giving back to the community, this Pinot Gris is easy on the palate, luscious with generous guava, lemongrass and white tea aromatics.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Some Young Punks ‘Monsters, Monsters Attack!’ Riesling (2015 / Clare Valley, SA) – Highly recommended if you are going to try out the fiery fish curry on the menu. A really sweet Riesling with racing acidity and brilliant florals, it is a treat after your tastebuds have been attacked from all the spices.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Yangarra Estate PF Shiraz (2017 / McLaren Vale, SA / biodynamic / preservative free) – Made without additives of any kind, this Shiraz is a treat for the palate. Fresh, medium bodied yet vibrant, it’s an easy one that can be enjoyed young.

The food menu, as I mentioned, is largely based on the cuisine of Kerala. But there are also dishes from the Goan cuisine. And it’s a classic example of old meets new. While some dishes are traditional, staying true to the roots, others are a modern interpretation of the flavours of Kerala and Goa.

(As with the drinks, all the details of the dish will be outlined under each photograph)

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Egg Bonda (boiled egg & onion masala fried in a sourdough batter) – a classic tea time snack from Kerala. Traditionally a chickpea based batter is used but here, a sourdough batter has been used. The flavour was good especially from the caramelized onion masala used in the stuffing. But I would have preferred some sort of chutney or dip to go alongside the bondas. And if you have children with you, they are gonna love it.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Duck Hearts ( Chargrilled with Recheado and a sweet and sour spicy sauce) – One of the highlight dishes of the day for me. Absolutely loved the flavours, that perfect blend of sweet, sour, spicy; absolutely divine. And highly recommended.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Choris (Goan Chorizo with Onion Masala) – A twist on the Goan classic. A great snack if you are dropping in just for a drink or an excellent starter to start your meal. Another one the kids are gonna love.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Confit Parsnips (with Kashmiri Chilli Crumb and Shiso) – perhaps the dish that intrigued me the most on the menu which is why I had to try it. It’s unlike anything I have eaten before yet feels so familiar. For those who are familiar with the classic combination of tapioca and spicy dry coconut powder that is a staple in Kerala might be able to draw references to this one. And I totally loved the ingenuity of this one.

For the mains, it’s best to get an assortment of dishes and share which is the best way to enjoy regional Indian cuisine. We ordered a selection of vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes; also got rice, flaky bread and pappadoms to accompany. Quite chuffed the traditional red rice (Rose Mata) was served instead of the regular white rice; has a different texture and so much healthier than the white. The flaky bread or parotta as called in Kerala is a delightfully flaky creation that’s perfect to mop up the curries.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Girija’s Cabbage Thoran (Stir fried cabbage, coconut and curry leaves) – a classic vegetarian dish from Kerala. If you have looked at my blog before, you would know how much I love thoran and all the incredible dishes that can be made from the basic style. The cabbage thoran is perhaps the most common rendition and in my opinion, the most delicious way to eat cabbage. A must try!

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Kadala (Brown chickpeas with roasted spices and coconut) – Another classic (you are going to hear that word a lot!). This curry that is just resplendent with spices and coconut makes it extremely loved in Kerala and beyond. Again done to perfection and as authentic as it can get. I would have loved to have some appams on the menu which pairs best but the flat breads are equally good too.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Roast Beef (Slow cooked beef neck in a rich Kerala style gravy) – Now where do I even start with how much this dish means to me. I was ready to be super critical of this one, but all that I can say is that Mischa and his team has done a fabulous job with this. Absolutely tender beef cooked in that classic aromatic spicy gravy that’s so unique to Kerala cuisine.

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’ (Fitzroy, Melbourne) - thespiceadventuress.com

Fish Nadan (Freakin Spicy Keralan fish curry) – Yes guys, this is freaking spicy and not for the faint hearted. Even with the hardcore spice eating Indians, this dish stands out for its heat. But don’t let that prevent you for trying it out because it’s sensational and unlike any other fish curry you have ever eaten before. And pair it with the Monsters Attack Riesling that I mentioned above; it’s a match made in heaven.

To summarize, it’s the best Keralan food that I have eaten at a restaurant in Melbourne. Enough said!

Rochester Hotel aka ‘The Rochey’

202 Johnston St
Fitzroy, Vic, 3065

Phone no: 03 9419 0166
Website: http://rochey.com.au/

Timings:

Mon-Thu: 2pm– late
Fri-Sat: 12pm–3am
Sun: 12pm–11pm

Disclaimer – I dined as a guest at The Rochey, but all the opinions expressed are entirely mine. 

Rochester Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fried Shark with Tuticorin Curry Paste

Work hard and party harder! That’s what life looks like at the moment.

There’s plenty of work happening which has to be sorted before the Christmas holidays arrive but most weekends are filled with loads of fun stuff too….buying presents, attending parties, lots of eating out etc….

We are not really a ‘traditional’ family when it comes to Christmas. While we lived in India, Christmas and New Year meant visiting families and spending time with them. But after we migrated to Australia, we let each year’s plan unfold on its own which works out the best for our little family. The only thing constant is our feeling of joy and thanksgiving that He provides and cares for us keeping us together as a family. And that’s all we really need in these times of unrest and strife.

By the end of the month, the Christmas tree and lights are going to be up. And soon after, we will begin to add touches of festive spirit and charm to our home. We don’t go overboard but you will definitely get the Christmassy spirit every time you walk in. Not to mention the carols which will start playing quite frequently. Again not a tradition, but a practice that we started last year for the benefit of our little one.

Even with food, there are no traditions, whatsoever. There are no Christmas cakes, cookies, roast chickens or anything of the like. There will only be food that we enjoy to eat as a family and food that is prepared with much joy and love for our friends who visit us during this time.

What are your memories and traditions associated with Christmas? If you do not celebrate it from a religious point of view, do you make any other special plans for the holiday?

Getting back to today’s recipe, it is time for another seafood dish. I am slowly getting christened as the seafood queen among my friends.

Today’s dish draws inspiration from a very traditional spice paste used in Tuticorin. This deliciously aromatic spice paste is often used as a marinade for fried fish and also as a base for seafood curries in the cuisine of the region.

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I got the recipe for this spice paste from a fellow foodie who in turn had to coax a local resident to learn how to make this highly aromatic, spicy and vibrant spice paste. But instead of using it in the traditional manner, I decided to go the Asian route of stir fries. So, the shark pieces are first shallow fried and then quickly tossed through the curry paste along with onions and tomatoes resulting in a mouth watering starter dish. A winner if you want to include a seafood dish to your party this year!

And of course, always go the sustainable route while buying shark.

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If you do not wish to use shark, feel free to use any fish which has a firm flesh and does not break easily. This recipe would also be a winner with prawns.

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Ingredients:

  1. 600 gms shark fillet; cubed into even pieces
  2. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  3. Salt, to season
  4. Vegetable oil

Find the full recipe here……

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Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood. 

Andhra Egg Curry

I have begun to read a lot more cookbooks these days compared to a couple of years ago.

Earlier, cookbooks were like glossy magazines to me. Filled with mouthwatering, high quality images, a cookbook was only to gaze at and sigh. In fact it seemed like a distant, unknown world to me akin to reading a film or lifestyle magazine.

But this journey of food blogging has exposed me to the behind-the-scenes part of a cookbook. Today, I understand food in its entirety. Now when I read a cookbook, I try to find the author in every page of the book. What is the author trying to tell me through the book? What is his or her food philosophy? I am finally able to see the blood, sweat and tears that go into collating recipes, cooking all the food, styling, photographing, printing, publishing…..the whole journey flashes through my mind which makes me appreciate it and look much more beyond the glossy pictures.

Today’s recipe comes from a cookbook I have begun to admire much. ‘Indian Kitchen (Secrets of Indian Home Cooking)’ by Maunika Gowardhan is exactly my idea of an Indian cookbook. In fact, if anyone ever gave me an opportunity to create an Indian cuisine based book, it might look very similar to this one.

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Indian Kitchen is a perfect tribute to the vastness and rich culinary heritage of Indian cooking. The book does not focus on a single region; it showcases the gems (some forgotten ones) of traditional Indian cuisine from across the country. Maunika has picked out classics from every region and presented it to us in the most beautiful manner.

And according to me, the ultimate compliment you can give to a cookbook author is to actually cook from her book and that’s what today’s dish is all about.

The Andhra egg curry is one of the dishes featured in the Indian Kitchen. In spite of being quite familiar with the cuisine and flavours of this South Indian state, I have never made an egg curry from this region before. The final flavour of the dish was exactly as I imagined while reading through the ingredients.

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While I have followed the same recipe, adjustments have been made to quantities of spices and aromatics. And I would strongly urge you to do the same if you are trying out my recipe too since the flavours would depend a lot on the brand of spices and ingredients that is used.

Extremely flavourful and delicious, this Andhra egg curry is a wonderful accompaniment to steamed rice, rotis, naan, string hoppers, appams…..just about anything that can soak up the richness of the gravy.

And remember if you try out my recipes, I would be overjoyed to see the pictures and please tag using #thespiceadventuress so that I would not miss it.

Let’s get cooking this tangy, spicy, moreish Andhra style egg curry.

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Ingredients:

1. 8 eggs; hardboiled, peeled and halved
2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
3. 1 tsp black mustard seeds
4. 2 medium onions; finely chopped
5. 1 inch cinnamon bark
6. 3 green chillies; slit
7. 2 ½ large ripe tomatoes; finely chopped
8. 1 inch ginger; julienned
9. ½ tsp turmeric powder
10. ½ tsp red chilli powder
11. 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
12. 2 sprigs curry leaves
13. 1 tsp tamarind paste
14. 100 ml thick coconut milk
15. Salt, to season
16. 2-3 sprigs coriander leaves; finely chopped

Method:

• Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan; when hot, add the mustard seeds and allow to crackle. Add the onions and sauté on low to medium heat till light brown.
• Add the cinnamon and chillies; sauté for another minute or two. Then add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Keep stirring to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom and sauté for another 4-5 minutes on low heat till the tomatoes are completely broken down and become a thick, mushy mixture.
• Add most of the sliced ginger (reserve a few for garnish) and all the powdered spices. Mix on low heat for another minute or till the mixture comes together and oil starts to leave the sides of the pan.
• Add the tamarind and one cup of water. Mix and bring to boil and simmer covered for two minutes. Next, add the curry leaves and thick coconut milk. Mix and continue to simmer on low heat for another minute.
• Season with salt and add the halved eggs. Stir gently so as not to break the eggs and simmer covered on the lowest heat for another 3-4 minutes.
• Garnish with chopped coriander and sliced ginger. Add slit green chillies also if you wish to.
• Serve warm.

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Prawn Pickle

An Indian meal, no matter how elaborate it is, stays incomplete without a pickle by the side. It is perhaps only in Indian cuisine that pickles are so diverse in preparation and flavours. And over years, we have learnt to pickle just about any ingredient!

Seafood pickles are extremely common in South India, especially in Kerala owing to the state’s enviable coastline. Today’s prawn pickle is inspired by the flavours of Kerala; it is spicy but sour and tangy too. A complex myriad of flavours in every spoonful.

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Small prawns or shrimps are used to make this pickle generally. The prawns are marinated first, deep fried and then tossed through the pickling mixture which is a fiery concoction of red chilli, aromatics, curry leaves and spices like fenugreek, mustard and asafoetida.

Pickles always develop flavour over days and it is best to store this one too for a few days in your refrigerator before enjoying it.

Pickles are more of a condiment, and supposedly to be enjoyed in small quantities along with the main meal. I tried so hard but failed miserably in this regard as this prawn pickle was so delicious that it became more of a main dish than the condiment. All I needed was a bowl of rice and some thick yoghurt!

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I am sure you will agree on this too, so let’s not waste anymore time talking and get straight on to the recipe.

Ingredients:

1. 1 kg small prawns/shrimps; deshelled and deveined
2. Vegetable oil; to deep fry the prawns

For full recipe, click here.

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Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

Chettinad Style Grilled Snapper

Today, the Chettinad Meen Varuval gets a grillin!

Meen Varuval aka fried fish….the term cannot get more generic than that. There are a zillion ways for frying fish in India itself (forget about the other cuisines of the world). Now I cannot claim to have eaten all the different types but my excessive fondness for seafood has led me to try a large chunk of it.

The Chettinad style of fried fish is one among the simplest yet more flavourful ones that I have had. The marinade is simple with a few spices and aromatics but the defining flavour comes from the red chilli powder which is obtained by grinding dry round chillies (known as goondu milagu in the native language). These chillies have a sweet smoky flavour and are easily available at most Indian and Asian grocers.

Traditionally fried, but I am grilling this beautiful whole snapper that I picked up at my local farmer’s market. I would totally recommend to marinate the fish ahead of time to let the flavours seep in. You can any kind of fish for this; the traditional favourite is Spanish mackerel or kingfish but I would recommend just about any fish including salmon (just don’t overcook it though).

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Barbecue season will be upon us soon and this grilled snapper can be the perfect centrepiece for your party. A side of salad or grilled vegetables and you have a delicious winner on your hands.

Ingredients:

1. 2 whole red snapper; cleaned and gutted, keeping the head
2. 3 – 3 ½ tsp red chilli powder (made by grinding dry goondu milagu)
3. 1 tsp turmeric powder

Read the full recipe here.

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Recipe developed, styled and photographed for Supreme Seafood.

Scrambled Fish with Mustard

Learning the ropes of a new cuisine can be a slightly daunting task!

It is not enough to try and follow a recipe to the exact but it is highly important that you try and have a brief understanding of the ingredients, flavour combinations and food culture of the region in general. This is how you will learn the building blocks of the cuisine and once you do that, the recipe becomes a canvas for your final painting.

And that was my approach towards learning Bengali cuisine; which till two years ago was a totally foreign thing for me. I read a lot about the general food culture and the key ingredients that make the base of this vast cuisine. And just like any traditional regional cuisine of India, food of West Bengal was as varied and colourful as its history. But if you look closely, there are always some key flavours that shine through which makes their food unique.

For me, the one ingredient that stood out was mustard. Now mustard is used in different ways along the length and breadth of India. But perhaps, no other cuisine celebrates it or glorifies it as much as the Bengali cuisine. And I very recently realized that Bengalis can get rather touchy on the subject and talk about this one ingredient for hours. For me, that spells passion!

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Today’s dish celebrates mustard in two different forms – in the seed and oil form. Mustard is often associated with a pungent aroma and flavour which puts it off for so many people. But when used in the right amount and combined with the right flavours, it is an ingredient that can work wonders in your kitchen.

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This scrambled fish with mustard is also a celebration of my understanding of the basic flavours of Bengali cuisine combined with my knowledge and love for South Indian style of cooking. This is not a traditional recipe (so don’t go looking for authenticity) but rather an inspired one.

Inspired by the fish podimas of South India, today we have a scrambled fish recipe which has been deliciously flavoured by mustard and with just a hint of chilli through. This dish can be made with any white fish that can be flaked easily and is best paired as a side dish with steamed rice and dal.

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Ingredients:

1. 2 basa (pink) fillets, around 350gm; cut into large pieces
2. ¾ tsp turmeric powder
3. 1 ½ tbsp mustard seeds

Read the full recipe here..

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Recipe developed, styled and photographed for Supreme Seafood.

Tempered Cauliflower Rice

I have finally jumped on the ‘cauliflower rice’ bandwagon!

The rise of the ‘raw food’ trend has been momentous in the recent times, especially given the current focus on health and natural living.

Cauliflower, perhaps, is one of the first ingredients that began to be used in its raw form as a substitute for grains. If you haven’t got the concept, cauliflower florets are blitzed to a finely grated form to mimic rice. A couple of brilliant cooks and chefs began to come up with delicious and unique ideas of using cauliflower beyond its traditional form. And today, it has a cult following around the globe.

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Though I have come across quite a few recipes using cauliflower in this new avatar, I really didn’t intend to make it. And I almost certainly wouldn’t have if not for the editor of the community magazine where I freelance. ‘R’ has been asking me for an Indian inspired cauliflower rice for months now and I kept putting her off. But finally, here I am with the simplest ‘cauliflower rice’ dish.

So this tempered cauliflower rice is a simple, non fussy dish drawing inspiration from the rice dishes of South India.

A no-brainer really! All that I did is borrow the idea of ‘cauliflower rice’ and the South Indian style of tempering rice and merged it together. Easy peasy, just as Adi would say.

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There are so many ways you can use this tempered cauliflower rice. Have it as the main dish (like I did) with a side of pickle, pappads and salad or you could make a Buddha bowl with chickpeas and an assortment of veggies. It is great as a filling for burritos replacing the lime rice or a nice accompaniment to your steaks (hugely cuts down the guilt factor!).

Before we get down to the recipe, if the idea of ‘cauliflower rice’ has tickled your fancy, here’s another delicious dish I would totally recommend. Sneh is a brilliant cook and she has come up with the perfect pot of cauliflower rice biryani salad!!

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Ingredients:

Note – Make sure that you only buy really fresh and good quality cauliflower, especially when you are using it as a raw food.

1. 1 whole cauliflower; separated into large florets
2. 2 tsp ghee/clarified butter
3. 1 tbsp sesame oil
4. 1 tbsp raw cashewnuts
5. 1 tbsp raw peanuts
6. 1 tsp mustard seeds
7. 2 sprigs curry leaves
8. 3 dry red chilli
9. 1 green chilli, slit in half
10. ½ tsp turmeric powder
11. Asafoetida/hing, a pinch
12. Juice of 1 lemon
13. Salt, to season

Method:

• Wash the florets well and dry completely.
• In a food processor, blitz the florets to get the grainy, rice like texture. If you do not have a processor, then finely great the cauliflower.
• Heat ghee and oil in a large deep pan; roast the cashewnuts and peanuts separately and keep aside.
• In the same oil, crackle mustard seeds and then add curry leaves and dry red chilli.
• Reduce heat and add green chilli, turmeric powder, asafoetida and the blitzed cauliflower along with the roasted nuts.
• Season with salt and add juice of ½ lemon. Mix well and toss on high heat for a minute or two and then remove from heat.
• Taste and add more lemon juice if necessary.
• Serve warm with a dollop of love!

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‘GunPowder’ Prawns

Only for a South Indian can ‘gunpowder’ mean something delicious!

Gunpowder is a fiery spice blend that often graces the breakfast tables of many South Indian regions. It is usually mixed with ghee/clarified butter or sometimes just vegetable oil and used as a condiment to dosas and idlis (both breakfast staples of the region).

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Now with a name like gunpowder, it’s rather obvious that this blend is indeed a spicy and fiery one. The ghee is usually added to tone down the heat but let’s not kid ourselves; this one is still hot and for those with stronger palates.

But today, we are shaking things up a bit. Since I am clearly not a morning person (as most of you know), I am taking this breakfast favourite to spice up my favourite ingredient – seafood!

Gunpowder prawns. Yes, that’s what I am calling today’s dish.

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Get your hands on the juiciest tiger prawns you can, nothing less would do to make this lip smacking delicacy that is definitely a conversation starter.

It’s a pretty simple and straightforward recipe; even making gunpowder is no rocket science. The ingredients are few and the process simple. I have incorporated familiar South Indian flavours which are all present to complement the heat of the gunpowder. And you will see that the prawns can absorb a lot of the heat so that the final dish is actually not very spicy unless you add loads of the spice blend which I do not recommend anyway.

Since I wanted more prawny flavours (for lack of a better word!), I sautéed the shells first with butter and shallots and then added the prawns. But if you cannot stand the smell or if you are not comfortable with the step, just sauté the onions without the shells and toss in the prawns.

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Ingredients:

1. 600 gms tiger prawns (with shells)
2. 3-4 tsp gunpowder
3. Salt, to season
4. 2 tbsp butter
5. 1 sprig curry leaves; finely sliced

For full recipe, click here….

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Recipe developed, styled and photographed for Supreme Seafood. 

Uppu Kari (Chettinad Mutton Fry)

A conversation I had with my 6 year old last week…..

Adi: Mama, I am watching a cooking show
Me: Oh, that’s nice Adi; I am happy you are interested in cooking
Adi: Yes Mama, I also want to learn to cook yummy food like you make before I get married.
A flabbergasted me: Marriage? What’s the connection between cooking and marriage Adi?
Adi: Mama, you learnt to cook when you married dada rite? Just like that….
Me: No dear, I always liked to cook though I started to do it frequently only after marriage. I was studying till then rite!
Adi lets out a long sigh! As if what I have said makes no sense at all.
Me: Adi, you don’t need to get married to cook yummy food. You can learn to cook whenever you want.
Adi (in a slightly sterner voice): Ok Mama, but I will also cook yummy food when I get married!

I ended the conversation, but making a mental note to return back to it at some point in the future. I was happy that he thought that he should learn cooking and also the fact that he thinks highly of my food and that I have been able to inspire him in some way. I am also relieved that I have not bought him up thinking cooking at home is a woman’s job. But cooking and marriage – I don’t think I understand quite what’s going through his little mind.

And later at dinner, over this delicious plate of Uppu Kari (Chettinad Mutton Fry), I shared this conversation with my other half, who as always laughed it off saying that I am going to make my son a chef.

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Uppu Kari is a very traditional Chettiar dish and one of the best kept secrets of the vibrant Chettinad cuisine of Tamil Nadu. Today, one can find several variations of this dish but very few of these do justice to the real heritage of this preparation.

This recipe comes from the famed heritage restaurant ‘The Bangala Table’ situated in the Chettinad region. Uppu Kari or Chettinad mutton fry may have only a few ingredients but it has complex, fiery flavours and is so uniquely reminiscent of this cuisine.

The Uppu Kari is all about the smoky, vibrant and fiery flavour of the dried chillies; not just any variety but the plump round ones that are called goondu milagu in South India. Easily available at all Indian stores and grocers, these chillies are not very hot when kept intact. The combination of dried chillies with the shallots and garlic slow roasted with the mutton in a large wok is what gives this dish its flavour.

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The ingredients are few and the technique simple; all you need is a bit of patience while the mutton roasts itself slowly absorbing all the flavours. And do add that bit of liver, the texture it provides to the whole dish is amazing.

Ingredients:

1. 500 gms boneless mutton (cut into 1 inch cubes) + 150 gms liver
2. 1/3 cup vegetable oil
3. 15 dry red chilli (round variety/goondu milagu)
4. 1 ½ inch cinnamon bark

For full recipe, visit here

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Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood

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