Monday, May 28, 2007

JFI for Jackfruit

This month JFI has Jackfruit as the star and it is hosted by Jai and Bee. I love jackfruit, obvious isn't it... I especially love the green, unripe kind as a vegetable. I usually make it Kerala style with lots of coconut. This time I decided to try a new way as a Biryani. I used frozen green jackfruit. For this recipe, I think the frozen ones are sturdy. The canned kind would turn into a mush.

For this JFI, I made Kathal biryani and Elai adai.

I had never imagined anyone else using green jackfruit except Keralites. But from so many recipes that are available, I know I am wrong on that. The biryani actually tastes so much like a Chicken biryani. Jackfruit is quite meaty in texture when cooked.

Kathal biryani (from Sanjeev Kapoor)

Raw Jackfruit (cut Into 11/2" Cubes) 12 pieces
Rice 11/2 cups
Green Cardamoms 4
Black Cardamoms 2
Cloves 5
Cinnnamon 2 1"sticks
Sea Salt to taste
Oil 2 tbsps+to deep fry
Onions (sliced) 4
Caraway Seeds (shahi Jeera) 1/2 tsp
Ginger Paste 1 tbsp
Garlic Paste 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Cumin Powder 1 tsp
Coriander Powder 2 tsps
Red Chilli Powder 1 tsp
Tomatoes (deseed And Chopped) 1 cup
Yogurt 11/2 cups
Coriander Leaves 1/2 bunch
Saffron a pinch
Milk 2 tbsps
Garam Masala Powder 2 tsps
Mint Leaves 1/2 bunch

Cut the jackfruit into slices. Peel and cut into cubes. Wash and soak rice. Parboil the rice with a little sea-salt and half of the whole garam masala (cardamom, cinnamon, cloves). Drain the parboiled rice and keep aside.

Heat sufficient oil in a kadai and deep-fry the jackfruit cubes. Drain and keep aside. In the same oil deep-fry half the sliced onions till golden brown and crisp. Drain and keep aside.

In another pan heat two tablespoons of oil, add shahi jeera and the remaining crushed whole garam masala. Add the remaining sliced onions and sauté for a while. Add ginger paste, garlic paste and continue to sauté. Add turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, chopped tomatoes and continue to sauté for two to three minutes. Add the fried jackfruit cubes and stir. Add yogurt, sea salt and chopped coriander leaves. Dissolve the saffron in lukewarm milk and keep aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Take a large casserole, arrange half the jackfruit mixture. Over this spread a layer of rice. Sprinkle saffron milk, garam masala powder, mint leaves (torn),. Then repeat these layers once again. Top it with fried sliced onions and mint leaves. Cover with aluminium foil and cook in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve hot with a raita .

I also made Ammupatti's elai adai. Her way of making it is similar to my mom's. I used store-bought rice flour and roasted it without coloring the flour. I also used thawed frozen banana leaves available in Asian grocery stores.

It tastes so good warm with the fragrance of banana leaf. You can also make it with parchment paper but nothing to beat banana leaf.

The filling is some delicious chakkai varatti.

Another dessert I love with jackfruit is chakkapradhaman. You can make chakkapradhaman in two ways- with jackfruit varatti or without. Check out my recipes here and here. Making the jam in microwave is much easier than making it on stove-top!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chayote squash subzi , the Andhra way

This is my contribution of to RCI event for this month that focuses on Andhra cuisine and hosted by Latha. I have a great taste for the Andhra foods such as Gutti Vankaya kura, the biryani and the mouth-watering avakkai pickle- possibly everyone has. But from the many blogs which specialize in this cuisine, I have learned so much about the home-style foods that you never see in restaurants. And I make some of these simple recipes regularly at home like Indira's ridge gourd curries, Sailu's Black pepper rice. It is good to see healthy eating habits crossing state borders, isn't it?

For this RCI, I am making a dish that made me respect the tasteless chayote squash a teeny bit more. I consider chow-chow or chayote squash to be quite boring. My MIL and mom makes it as a kootu but somehow this vegetable never seems to absorb any flavors, just my opinion...

In the past year, I have learned two new ways of preparing this vegetable. And this recipe is one of them I found at and I found it when I was searching for an interesting way to make this squash. The cooked vegetable is coated with a thick and coarse sesame-red chili powder. Adding groundnuts and sesame to curries is quite common in Andhra cuisine, making it very tasty. I like to make this extra-spicy because the sesame in the powder does tame a lot of the heat. We eat this with phulkas.

Chayote squash subzi (with very slight modifications from original)

2 chayote squash, peeled and diced
1 large onion
1 inch ginger, peeled and grated
3-4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely diced (optional)

Roast and powder coarsely:
1/3 cup white sesame seeds
a pinch of salt
3-4 red chilies

1/2 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste

Heat oil. Add the seasoning ingredients except turmeric and salt. When mustard pops, add garlic, ginger and turmeric. Then add onions, and saute till translucent. Add the cubed squash and salt. Mix and cover and cook on low-medium heat till soft and well-done. Add tomatoes if using. Tomatoes make it a little sticky and watery but nice and tangy. You can leave it out if you want a dry curry.

Lastly, toss in the sesame powder. The quantity of powder may seem a whole lot but you need this to give taste. Adding a tbsp or two, will not help much...

Garnish with cilantro. Done!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Delicious recipes from fellow bloggers

I usually try out more recipes than I post on this blog. Most of the recipes are from fellow bloggers- I always prefer to hear reviews of my blogger pals than some high-flying chef.

Here are the recipes I tried in the past couple of months:

1. Vaghareli Lilva Kichadi from Trupti.
It is very comforting with kadhi and a dollop of ghee. Yum... Check out Trupti's Gujju recipes. Gujarathi food is something I highly adore and being primarily a vegetarian cook, there are several options with this cuisine. I aim to try out all her recipes from the section.

2. Besan stuffed chilies from Chachi's Kitchen

It is so so tasty and easy to make. Thanks Sajeda, I love this new way of cooking chilies without the usual deep frying. There are some great recipes, many of them gujarathi, in this blog. I love the way her roti's look. Can't wait to try the green chili pickle...

3. Masala Puri from Shilpa's Aayi's recipes

I have tried quite a few recipes from her over a year or so. I am amazed at how regularly Shilpa updates her blog! Masala puri was something I had never heard of but I just wanted to try it after reading her post. Needless to say it came out great. Btw, her date cake is a must-try.

4. Dal rice, the south Indian way from Daily Musings

Quite a healthy meal but with so much great flavor from garlic, sambar powder and onion. It lacks the heat of regular sambar rice and my daughter ate it up gladly.

5. Bread upma from Menu today

This is a tasty departure from my usual bread upma . The addition of fennel gives it the real tamilian kick and the yogurt makes the bread tangy. In my opinion, bread upma has to be the best kind of upma...

6. Gongura pachadi from Sailu

It is so tangy and spicy- it is mouth-wateringly good. This recipe has been my first successful attempt at making gongura pachadi (or thokku). I have had a lot of failures with the taste of other recipes and so this successful recipe will be repeated every time I buy gongura. The only change I did was saute the garlic a little with the rest of spices.

7. A very simple Rajma, indeed from Gopium

I followed Gopinath's advice mostly. But I may have broken his strict (witty) instructions by adding some tomato paste:-) I did not even soak the rajma at all. Such an easy, quick recipe but with all the great taste of authentic rajma. I can't wait to try the Chhole.

Thanks y'all for such great recipes!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Double apple bundt cake

The search started off as a way to use up a jar of Apple butter. But now I am so glad I had a jar to make this recipe. This author's followers are many and this book has been raved all over the blogosphere and beyond... I have nothing more to say about this book and this cake's taste was enough for me.

I usually like to make snack cakes like this with oil because it is slightly lighter. To say the cake was tasty is an understatement. The spices came together very well and I am glad now for that jar of apple butter...

Double Apple Bundt Cake, from Baking, From My Home to Yours

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup store-bought apple butter, spiced or plain
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and grated
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup plump, moist raisins
Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350º F. Butter and flour a 9-10 inch bundt pan.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt.

Working with stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping the bowl as needed, for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth, thick, and pale. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition; you’ll have a light, fluffy batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the apple butter. Add the grated apples and mix to completely blend. Add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and raisins. Turn the batter into the bundt pan and smooth the top of the batter with the spatula.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding. Cool completely before serving. The cake tastes much better after a day or two.