July 01, 2015

Day 3 cookbook giveaway - Indian cookbooks


For Day 3 of cookbook giveaway, I have two Indian cookbooks for a lucky winner.

The first one - From mom with love came to me a few years ago. At first I didn't do much with it, then I tried a couple and then another couple of things from the book. The Panchmel dal recipe is pretty good.

The author mentioned once she wrote it for her kids who grew up in the US.

The second one - Bong Mom's cookbook needs no introduction! It's by Sandeepa, who blogs at Bong Mom's Cookbook.  Her blog is probably as old as mine.

The book is a collection of her memories and recipes and her writing is as evocative as her recipes. And oh la la, this book is autographed by her which makes it even more special.


This cookbook is part of a four day cookbook giveaway as our blog celebrates 9 years.

All you have to do is

1. leave a comment either on the blog (ahaar.blogspot.com) or
2. on the facebook page of the blog (facebook.com/ahaarblog).

Thank you for your love, comments, shares, likes and lessons. We learn and grow each day.

June 30, 2015

Chingri mach diye fulkopi datar tarkari (cauliflower stems with shrimp)

Cauliflower stems in mustard sauce with shrimps


You know what this post means, right? This means that my parents are visiting from India. Every summer I wait when they come to see what new recipe they will share with me.

Just last week, I was making some cauliflower for dinner and as I got ready to clean up, my parents carefully kept all the cauliflower stems away. I've was expecting a Labra or mixed vegetarian dish. But I was in for a surprise.

The cauliflower stems in this dish are cooked with big chunky potatoes and shrimp in a mustard sauce which brings out the best of the stems. The combination just works!

The prep may take some time but the result more than makes up for it.

Make it for the long weekend and watch your friends and family enjoy it.

Ingredients:
(serves 4)

Stem from a big cauliflower - cut into 2" pieces
1 big potato - cut into 1" cubes
10-12 shrimp - cleaned
2-3 green chillies
1 tspoon panch phoron
1-2 garlic cloves - grated
1/2 tomato - blanched and grated
2 tspoon mustard seeds ground to a paste with 1/2 tspoon posto (poppy seeds)
1 tspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2-3 Tbspoon oil

Method:
Mix the shrimp with salt and 1/2 tspoon turmeric powder. Heat 1 tbspoon oil and saute the shrimp lightly. Set it aside.

Grind 1 of the green chillies, garlic and the tomato together. Then grind the the mustard seeds and posto with a little water till it makes a thick paste.

Heat the rest of the oil and temper it with the 2 green chillies and panch phoron.

Then add the turmeric powder, and the potatoes. Let it cook for a minute or two. Then add the tomato paste and saute it for a couple of minutes.

Add the mustard paste, cauliflower stalks and the shrimp and let it all cook together for another minute.

Add salt and about 1/2 cup to 1 cup water (depending on the consistency you want) and close the pressure cooker. Let is cook for 1 whistle.

Then open the cooker and finish it with chopped cilantro leaves.

Cauliflower stems in mustard sauce with shrimps
Serve hot with white rice.

Day 2 cookbook giveaway - Essential Mediterranean cookbook


For Day 2 of cookbook I've chosen one of my favorites - The essential Mediterranean cookbook, published by Bay books in 2003.

This book captures the sunny cooking of Mediterranean countries, whether simple or complex, from all areas around this balmy sea. Full-color illustrations.

It has gorgeous photos and unique recipes like this pine nut and honey tart.

This cookbook is part of a four day cookbook giveaway as our blog celebrates 9 years.

All you have to do is

1. leave a comment either on the blog (ahaar.blogspot.com) or
2. on the facebook page (facebook.com/ahaarblog).

Thank you for your love, comments, shares, likes and lessons. We learn and grow each day.

June 29, 2015

Ahaar is turning nine!

Bring out the streamers, balloons and face painting (yes, we're into that now a days). And don't forget the cake. Our little blog is turning nine.

We are so happy that this repository of recipes and memories is still going strong. To celebrate we are giving away some cookbooks through out the week. I will post a picture of the cookbook every day.

All you have to do is leave a comment either on the blog (ahaar.blogspot.com) or on the facebook page (facebook.com/ahaarblog) to tell us how you found us.

Thank you for your love, comments, shares, likes and lessons. We grow each day, and have enjoyed every year of the journey.

Here is today's book - Perfect Tapas. Published by Parragon, this book has a selection of the very best tapas recipes to inspire you.


Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
Year 6
Year 7
Year 8

June 04, 2015

Vacation tales and recipe for tamarind & pepper chicken

The blog hiatus was not planned. We were taking a vacation end of May and things got really busy before and after vacation. Work to be finished, clothes to be packed etc. I look at the blog and see it's almost been a month.

Let me tell you about our vacation briefly. We went to San Juan, Puerto Rico and spent about 5 days there. The beach was a couple of blocks from the apartment and the kids were ready to go to the beach at 8:00 in the morning. We were there by 9:00 and spent the next couple of hours digging sand, wading in the waves and came back tired and hungry.

In the evening, the kids went to a park close by and chased pigeons and jumped from bronze shells. It was a lot of fun.

The food was amazing too. Papayas and mango for breakfast, and a whole variety of empanadas, coconut water was to be had. The chicken in the empanadas were nicely spiced and I quickly became a fan.

If you are in Puerto Rico, you have to try mofungo, part of Puerto Rican cuisine. My favorite was the one I had in El Jiberito, a long-standing popular restaurant in Old San Juan. Theirs had raw plantain, sweet plantain and cassava.

The biggest revelation was Lil A's food choice. I ordered plain rice, chicken tenders, you know, kids meals. Instead, I ended up sharing most of my meals with him. He was more interested in Salmon with tamarind sauce, chicken with creole sauce.

We came back happy and tanned and are slowly getting back to the routine. How has your month been?

Tamarind and pepper chicken
Today, I want to share the recipe of tamarind and pepper chicken the one I made for Kerrytown Saturday. I used fresh ground black pepper and the sour comes from tamarind and some tomatoes. The tomato sweet and sour balances out the tang of the tamarind.

Ingredients:
6-7 pieces of chicken thighs, cut in long strips
2 medium onions, cut in long thin slice
1 1/2 potatoes slice long
5-6 curry leaves 
1 tomato - chopped
3-4 garlic cloves - grated
1 tspoon grated ginger
2-3 bay leaves
1 1/2 tspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 dry red chillies
3/4 tspoon of garam masala powder + 1/2 tspoon for marinating chicken
3/4 tspoon tamarind paste
1 tspoon turmeric powder
1 tspoon cumin seeds
Salt to taste
1/4 cup oil

Garam Masala powder
3-4 green cardamoms
2 sticks of cinnamon
2-3 cloves
1/2 star anise
1 tspoon coriander seeds

Method:
Tamarind and pepper chicken
Add 2-3 tbspoon oil and saute slices from one onion for about 5-6 minutes till they start to turn brown. Take it out and keep it aside.

Then dry roast the garam masala powder ingerdients till the aroma comes and grind it. If there is anything extra, keep it in an air tight box and use it later.

Marinate the chicken pieces in salt, half of the turmeric powder, 1/2 tspoon black pepper and 1/2 tspoon garam masala powder, half of the ginger, garlic paste and keep it aside for an hour.

Cut the potatoes in long slices. Heat oil and saute the potatoes for a couple of minutes till the raw smell goes. Then take it out and keep it aside.

Tamarind and pepper chicken
Heat the rest of the oil and temper it with cumin seeds, curry leaves and bay leaves. Then add the ginger garlic, paste, the dry red chillies. Saute for a couple of minutes.

Then add the slice onions and saute till it starts to turn soft. Add the tomatoes, turmeric powder and 1/2 tspoon garam masala powder and 1 tspoon black pepper powder.

Let it cook on low heat for good 5-6 minutes till it all comes together nicely. Now add the chicken pieces and let it mix together with the spices. Add the tamarind paste and cook it covered for 3-4 minutes till the chicken starts to brown.

Tamarind and pepper chicken
Now add the browned onions, with a cup and half of water, potato slices. Mix it all together and cook on low heat for 8-10 minutes till the chicken turns soft.

Add the rest 1/4 cup garam masala powder, cook for a minute and take it off the heat.

Tamarind and pepper chicken
Taste best with some plain rice.


May 07, 2015

Finding green almonds to pickle in spring

Green almond pickle


Imagine my surprise while browsing through a middle eastern store at finding green almonds. I bought some just to test it out, what does it taste like, what can be done with it.

Aswin saw someone eat the whole thing - the green fuzzy outer hull and all - and almost shouted it out. I didn't believe till I tasted one. It's tart and crisp, and tasted I ate a couple before stopping.

Green almond pickle
Turns out they are very seasonal and I felt super thrilled to get my hands on them. As you can see the almonds inside the hull are very jelly like and not completely formed. It hardens as it ripens.

I decided to pickle them to preserve it to keep the fresh spring flavor last a little while longer. It did not disappoint.

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh green almonds - chop them in long slices. I made about 3-4 for each almond hull and all.
6-7 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 cup white cooking vinegar
1 cup water
2 tbspoons sugar
2 dry red chillies - torn in pieces
1 tspoon coriander seeds
1/4 tspoon black pepper

Method:
Green almond pickle
Slice the green almonds and the garlic cloves.

Green almond pickle
Heat the vinegar and water combination. Add the sugar, coriander seeds, chillies and black pepper and let it come to a boil. 

Green almond pickle
Turn the heat off and add the almonds and garlic.

Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

Green almond pickle
Then pour it in clean bottles and close the lids. Let it sit for about 2 weeks atleast before taking it out. Serve it with burgers, or in salads.

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