Friday, 23 September 2011

Peanut coconut chutney/ verusenagapappu kobbari pachadi

My favourite part of a south Indian breakfast is the chutney that accompanies it. While these chutneys are meant more as dips for the idlis and dosas, i eat them the other way round. I heap on double servings of chutney before i go for another serving of the actual breakfast course. And i love them so much that i bring them to the lunch table to enjoy with my rice and ignore the curries until the chutneys are gone. And i like them plain, like the picture you see above, without getting it cluttered by the zillion ingredients of tempering.
While i love all kinds of spicy chutneys, i especially love the white ones. The peanut chutney, coconut chutney, roasted Bengal gram chutney, and this one - peanut coconut chutney. Once its made, every visit to the kitchen will see me sneaking small spoonfuls. Its not just a delicious side dish to south Indian breakfasts, but goes perfectly with the deep fried evening snacks and if like me you can't get enough of it, pairs perfectly with rice too.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Cooking in an Indian village two generations ago

I have told you that i recently went to visit my parents in Vijayawada. My grandma lives in a small village nearby, so i usually also go visit her whenever i go to Vijayawada. Also because she loves me to bits and asks me when i am coming to visit her again only a week after my latest visit. My aunt's family also live in that village and my aunt usually does the cooking part now that grandma has become quite old. Coming to the picture of discussion today, this was how the rice was cooked that day, that was eaten with fish and chicken curries.
This is similar to the basic three stone cook stove mentioned here (My friends tell me i have an addiction for wikipedia, possibly caused by an obsession for perfection). Bricks are set up on three sides to balance a cooking pot and firewood or dried cow-dung cakes are used as fuel and pushed in from the open side. Food is cooked on the open flame and controlled by the amount of firewood placed under the pot. This was how my grandma always cooked, she had two such cook stoves side by side and managed to cook delicious meals on them during our childhood summers spent in that village. I guess this type of cooking is almost non-existent today, even in villages, because everyone now cooks with LPG or natural gas or electricity.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Mom's Simple Fish Fry

My mom makes the best fish fry. OK, i know that sounds like such a generic statement. Let me personalise it and say that only mom makes the kind of fish fry i love. Even i can't cook a fish curry that i can eat. My dad loves fish among all the non-vegetarian options and somehow that did not pass on to me, unlike the sweet tooth and the general foodie thing. While fish curry (chepala pulusu) is the Andhra favourite, i cannot eat it with any hint of enthusiasm. Even when my grandma lovingly prepares it  for me. 

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Wholewheat Oats Raisin Cookies

I can't say which i love better, baking cakes or baking cookies. Cookies are easier to bake, more difficult to get wrong and store for longer. So they are great for gifting. Cakes need a little more attention to pull them off correctly and so would have taken second place, except that i now have the cutest cake mould and i want to try out more varieties of cakes. This battle within me continues, while the winner may ultimately announce itself on the blog based on the number of blog posts dedicated to cookies and cakes. Today makes them even.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

This Flower is a Chocolate Cake - Black and White Wednesday

I can't believe its Wednesday again, already! Time for another black and white Wednesday and i have not done a single recipe post since the last one. What can i say, i have been busy and time flew. To give you some context - My dad retired from his job last month after having completed almost thirty five years of service. He had a single employer all his life, the state government. Those were the days when private employers weren't big in India and a young man was deemed eligible for marriage only if he had a government job. And so he kept at it for the better part of his life, where colleagues became family friends.
And when he was throwing these friends a farewell party at the end of last month, i couldn't be with him on his big day because i was going to spend it with my in-laws celebrating the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi. I can't even type this without feeling extremely guilty about it. My way of making amends (to myself, mostly) was to visit my parents a week later, and bake my dad some sweet goodies. My dad has a sweet tooth (a huge one) and loves everything sweet. So, i baked him this chocolate cake, another orange chocolate chunk cake, a bunch of peanut butter cookies (that were promptly shared with some of his now ex-colleagues) and a larger bunch of wholewheat oats cookies (the recipe will come soon).
The recipe for this chocolate cake is the same as the one i have posted in June and have referred to in many posts since then, it has become a family favourite. What's new about today's post is that i got myself a new silicone cake pan recently that is the shape of a flower and i have baked all my cakes in it since then, i had to share with you. Today i am traveling back to Hyderabad and once i settle down, hopefully the recipe posts will start coming soon. Oh yes, i have been clicking photos of mom's dishes in the kitchen the last few days - you will have to wait a little more to see them.

This photo goes to Susan's Black and White Wednesday event. An event i now look forward to.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

My burger takes many sides - Black and White Wednesday

We had this chicken burger for dinner one night before i started blogging. This was one of the first photos i clicked after having taken a fancy to photographing foods. I was also previously not too keen on presenting foods well, i would just throw whatever i cooked on a plate and hand it over to my husband. Then during one of our usual chit-chat sessions, my mother-in-law told me how much her son liked well presented food. This was news to me, and i was appalled at the way i was serving him lunches and dinners with zero thought to presentation for a whole year. So this photo was from that time when i started giving presentation a little thought and wanted to click a photo to remember my humble beginnings.
The burger is made of grilled chicken breast fillet (cooked similar to this) and the sides are grilled pink onion slices, fresh tomato slices, small scoops of avocado, fried fresh green chilies, pickled jalapeno slices, and grilled green bell peppers.
Since i don't have the process pictures for this dish, this never made it to the blog till today. And today this gets to see light because of Susan's Black and White Wednesday event.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Watermelon Granita

I was eating a lot of chocolate ice-cream during the last few months this year and it all started because Baskin-Robbins was offering one box free with every box you bought at the supermarkets. And we loved their Bavarian Chocolate flavour - silky smooth, had a few crunchy bits in between and real dark chocolate flavour. I could lick the box clean if no one was looking, or even if someone is looking (depends on who is), that's how much i liked it. And then once those people knew i was addicted, they took back the special offer. You can guess i was not too happy, and to register my protest i stopped buying them. But did the cravings for something ice cold and sweet stop?