Tomato curry – Juicy tomatoes in a creamy curry

tomato curry

How to make : 

  • Chop two large juicy tomatoes and a large onion .
  • Heat up oil in a pan, crackle some mustard seeds.
  • Add curry leaves and the chopped onion. Brown them.
  • Add salt, chili powder, a little curry powder, turmeric and continue stir frying.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and a slit green chili, stir fry until all comes together as thick.
  • Pour water, about 1 and a 1/2 cup.  Mix all, cover and cook under medium flame.
  • After 3-4 mins cooking , open the lid and mix 2 tbsp of Maggi coconut milk powder or fresh coconut milk-thick version.  Stir, cover and lower the flame.
  • Cook under low flame about 3 mins until the gravy becomes thick and aromatic.
  • Spread some crushed curry leaves on top.
  • Sprinkle two pinches of brown sugar.  Adding sugar will beautifully balance the flavours in this gravy.
  • Delicious with Rotis, Thosa, Hoppers or with plain rice.
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Sri Lankan Thosa – Soft flat crepes made by Urind and Rice flour

Thosa

thosai

 

Thosa is a big peg of  South-Indian-cuisine jigsaw and has been quite popular in the Indian sub-continent  – and beyond –  since time immemorial.

They are  soft, spongy discs, made from a combination of Urind flour and Rice flour with an unquestionable potential for a healthy meal. Since they taste delicious with tomato curry,  I have introduced here the meal with the green chili coconut chutney, in order to make the meal an unforgettable culinary feast. Had it not for the guidance that I got from my cousin, Thanuja, from  Sri Lanka, I would have struggled  in perfecting this amazing culinary delight.

What you need :

Urind whole 1/2 cup
Basmati rice 2 cups
Fenugreek sees 1/2 tsp
Onions 1 medium
Curry leaves, a few red chili whole, garlic chopped
Salt to taste
Bicarbonate of soda 3 pinches

 Let’s make:

Soak it

  • Wash and place both Urind,  Bastmati rice and fenugreek seeds in a wide bowl and fill it with water at least two level above the grains.
  • Leave it overnight – uncovered.  If you cover, it becomes slimy.

Grind it

  • Next day morning, drain the water and grind the grains into a smooth paste using a glass or two lukewarm water.

Ferment it

  • Place it in a wide bowl, cover with a tea towel and then a heavy lid on top.
  • Let it ferment near your stove, where enough heat generates during cooking.

Salt it

  • Around 5 p.m. open the lid and mix more warm water, a tsp or two salt and 2 pinches of bicarb.
  • Close the lid again.  Let it rest.

Make it

  • At dinner time around 7 your batter is ready to make thosa.

Temper it

  • Cut the onion into small pieces, crush curry leaves, break red chili whole into small pieces and shake off the seeds, cut a garlic clove into small pieces, keep ready 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds ready.
  • Heat up 2 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and toss mustard seeds first.  Let it crackle and toss the rest .  Let all fry and turn into brown colour.  Be careful not to burn them.  Now pour everything on to the batter and give a good stir.

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Pan fry it

  • Heat up a flat non-stick pan and spray oil on to it.
  • Take a ladle full and slowly drop it on the pan and quickly spread it around the pan with  the back of the spoon being careful not to let the spoon touch the bottom of the pan.
  • Bake both sides until golden.
  • Place all cooked ones on a foil sheet.

Make the accompaniments

Tomato curry 

tomato curry

How to make : 

  • Chop two large juicy tomatoes and a large onion .
  • Heat up oil in a pan, crackle some mustard seeds.
  • Add curry leaves and the chopped onion. Brown them.
  • Add salt, chili powder, a little curry powder, turmeric and continue stir frying.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and a slit green chili, stir fry until all comes together as thick.
  • Pour water, about 1 and a 1/2 cup.  Mix all, cover and cook under medium flame.
  • After 3-4 mins cooking , open the lid and mix 2 tbsp of Maggi coconut milk powder or fresh coconut milk-thick version.  Stir, cover and lower the flame.
  • Cook under low flame about 3 mins until the gravy becomes thick and aromatic.
  • Spread some crushed curry leaves on top.
  • Sprinkle two pinches of brown sugar.  Adding sugar will beautifully balance the flavours in this gravy.
  • Done!!

Green Sambol

green chili sambol

How to make : 

  • Place two chopped green chilies, Some crushed curry leaves, a handful of fresh coconut, chopped half an onion, salt and crush all together using a hand blender.
  • Mix freshly squeezed lemon juice.
  • Adjust the taste.
  • Ready!
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Sri Lankan Coconut Roti – Pol Roti

Sri Lankan Roti

These creamy coconut rotis are everybody’s favourite in Sri Lanka as well as tourists who visit there from abroad to enjoy the picturesque scenaries in the country  and explore the country’s authentic cuisine.

Some love a plain creamy version of rotis by just mixing flour and scraped coconut together with salt, but I make it much more flavourful , by tossing onions and curry leaves into the dough as it gives a mouthwatering aroma while baking.

They go deliciously well with a mutton, fish or chicken curry,  simple lunu miris – a tongue burning mixture of chili and red onion chopped together with a dash of lemon juice.  I serve these rotis cut into stripes to my little son  with just a knob of butter which tastes creamy and buttery in every mouthful.

It’s not so difficult to find fresh coconut even in the West these days,  as the Asian supermarkets store fresh frozen grated-coconut.  You just have to defrost the pack in the microwave for 5-10 mins to turn it into fresh aromatic coconut for any of your culinary needs.  Desiccated coconut also could be used if softened by adding some hot water into it which gives a unique taste.

You need the following few items to make these:

Fresh coconut 1 cup
Plain flour 2 cups
Onion 1 chopped into very small pieces
Green chili 1 chopped
Curry leaves A handful cut into thin pieces
Salt 1tsp or to taste
Red chili powder 1/4 tsp
Butter / coconut oil 1 tbsp
Lukewarm water to kneed the dough 1 cup or a little more

 images (2)  IMG_1364

Let’s make it:

  • Mix well chopped onion, green chili , red chili powder, curry leaves, salt and butter/oil with scraped coconut using your fingers.

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  • Now add flour into it and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour lukewarm water gradually while kneading until everything comes together and not sticking onto  your fingers.  Check the taste and adjust salt at this point.
  • Let it rest for 20 mins so that all flavours binds together.

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  • From the dough, make equal size balls and place them on a foil sheet.

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  • On a another foil sheet flatten one ball and cut into disc shape using a round lid or a cookie cutter.

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  • Heat up a flat pan, tawa or a non-stick flat pan. Brush little oil.
  •  Place on the hot pan taking care not to damage the shape.  The easiest way is to bring the foil itself near the pan and slowly lower the disc shaped roti onto the pan.
  • Bake both sides until it turns golden colour.  If you pan has space you can place two or three rotis at the same time. Press gently and if a whoosh sound emits then it has to bake further few mins as the water has not evaporated fully.

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  • Once out of the pan, let them release steam by placing  on a wire rack.
  • Serve hot with a spicy chicken or mutton curry or just with a blob of butter.
  • yummy !!

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Paneer Paratha – Healthy, homemade paratha

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This delicious paratha recipe that I share with you,  was passed on to me by my beloved friend, Aliya, from Hyderabad, India. The creamy paneer and the sweetness of carrots blend so well and the combination turns these parathas a real winner out of all other paratha varieties.

You can be quite generous with grated carrots but do not add green chilies if you are serving these for kids.  Let them enjoy the creaminess of parathas without having to burn their little tongues.

Let’s start making:

  • Grate 1/2 of the paneer and 2 or 3 big carrots.

download (1)paneer1-1-300x243 download (2)

  •  Add the following to the carrots and paneer and mix thoroughly.
Chaart masala 1 tsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Garam masala 1/4 tsp
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Cummin powder 1/4 tsp
Green chilies (optional) 1 thinly sliced
 Pepper powder  1/4 tsp
  • Make balls and keep aside.

paneer2

  •  Now it’ s time to make the chapathi dough.  In 2 cups of Atta flour  add a little salt and olive oil.  Mix well.  Add lukewarm water gradually and kneed it until it won’t stick to your fingers .     download (4)        IMG_2955
  • Take a little from the atta flour and roll it  into a ball.  Dust the kitchen top with flour and roll it to a flat round shaped disk with a rolling pin.

IMG_2957

  • Place a ball of panner  in the middle .

paneer3

  • Fold , roll in to a ball again, flatten on your palm and roll on the kitchen top into a round shaped roti with the help of a rolling pin. You must dust the kitchen top liberally with flour to make it easier.
  • Bake both sides on a hot, flat frying pan or thawa.

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  •   Place on a foil and let the steam escape.
  • Serve with pickles and raita. Roll up when serving kids. My favourite is Mitchel’s lime pickle which is delicious with its subtle sourness to enhance the taste of any kind of paratha.

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 Delicious Raita, the unquestionable accompaniment for parathas.

Raita

Make this easy raita : 

Serve Parathas with this Raita and kids will love it.

  • Take two dollops of full fat plain yogurt, mix a tablespoon or two water and whisk until smooth and creamy.
  • Cut red onions, a juicy tomato (deseeded) into small chunky pieces.
  • Cut cucumber into tiny pieces.
  • Mix them in yogurt.
  • Add some salt and pepper powder.
  • Now, heat up a pan and sprinkle some cumin seeds. Dry roast them until golden. Take out of the pan and crush them, using a pestle and mortar or  a spice grinder.
  • Sprinkle the crushed cumin seeds.
  • Mix all well and adjust the taste.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  • Yummy !!
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Caramelized Onion – A sweet and sour delight

This caramel goes deliciously well with buttered bread slices and has become the latest favourite in America.  Although  Americans use vinegar in place of tamarind, I suggest, tamarind cannot be replaced with anything else due to its own naturally harmonized sweetness and sourness.

To its credit, tamarind has a great medicinal benefit too.  So, the sweetness of onions,  blended with tamarind juice, which in turn makes it a sweet and sour delight!!

Let’s make it:

  • Take three onions and slice them very thinly.
  • In 1 tbsp of olive oil stir fry them until golden. Throw a few crushed curry leaves. Do not cover the pan.
  • Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine the following:
Chili flakes 1 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pulp diluted in water 1 tbsp
Brown sugar 2 tsp

 Pour the mixed pulp onto the onions.  Mix all together and let it cook under low fire. Do not cover the pan at any point.

  • Adjust the taste by adding more sugar, salt or tamarind until it gives the best taste.
  • Enjoy with a buttered bread slice!!

Tips:

  • Indian onions, shallots or red onions are the best. Dutch onions are not suitable for this recipe as it has no natural heat of the onions.
  • You may add more of any of the above to balance the taste according to your liking)
  • For tamarind pulp, either you can buy the bottled pulp or just make the wet or dry tamarind into a pulp by mixing a little water


sugar caramel

 

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Stuffed chilies – Crispy, chilies Sri Lankan style

chili5 Crunchy stuffed chilies, deep fried to perfection of golden colour and filled with juicy onion stir-fried, form a  perfect gastronomical delight for chili lovers. These crispy chilies could be served on the side of any main meal or served on its own with a pool of ketch-up or chili sauce as a snack.  Yummy!!!

First make the stuffing:

fry it

  • Slice two medium onions and fry in little olive oil until golden.
  • Add salt, a pinch of turmeric, 1/4 tsp of curry powder, 1/4 tsp of chili powder and a few crushed curry leaves.  Mix and stir fry a few mins.
  • Add a few roughly mashed boiled potatoes.
  • Mix all , check the taste and keep aside. Add more chili powder and salt if needed.

chilil6

  • Next, place the green banana chilies in a bowl and fill it with hot water.  Cover and keep for 5 mins until the chilies get wilted.

chili

  • Shake all the water off and remove the seeds inside.  Then slit each chili carefully on top to open a cavity.

chili1

  • Fill the onion and potato stuffing in the cavity and spread it across the chili and lightly press together.
  • Make batter by mixing 1/2 cup of plain flour and water. Whisk with a fork to make it without lumps.  Add a beaten egg white and whisk until you have a thick batter. Mix 2-3 pinches of salt and a pinch of turmeric to flavour the batter.
  • Now with a help of a tong, dip the stuffed chili into the batter and take out gently and roll on Golden breadcrumbs.
  • Deep fry in hot oil.  Do not try to turn the frying chilies in the first few minutes as the batter might slip out.  Gently turn and fry all sides.
  • Fry all the chilies in batches.
  • Serve hot.
  • Yum!!

chili3

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Bitter Gourd /Karella/Karelia/Karavila curry – Inspired by Punjabi cuisine

karella-2-300x215

This is a definite diabetes buster; it is bitter, yet Juicy and delicious, if you get the ingredients and their proportions right. Bitter Gourd, also known as karella or karawila,  can be turned into a variety of dishes, depending on the type of cuisine you like to follow.

The type of dish that I describe is the Punjabi way of cooking; believe me, it is really delicious. I am grateful to Munaza, my Pakistani friend and her mom, for her dedicated culinary guidance in preparing me for this great, magical dish. The other amazing fact about this dish is that it only needs a few easy-to-find ingredients, despite its rich taste.

What you need:

karavila2-300x175 onions-300x229tomato1-1-300x224

Bitter Gourd/Karella/Karavila 4
Onions(Indian Onion) 3 large
Chili powder 1/2 tbsp
 Riped and Juicy Tomatoes 3 large
Turmeric 1/2 tsp
Salt 1 tsp
Olive oil 3 tbsp

Let’s make it:

  • Cut the Bitter gourds in thin rounds. Do not wash before cutting.

karavila-300x203 Sprinkle Salt liberally, about 2 tbsp and leave for up to 4 hrs.  This will take out some of the  bitterness of Karella and make them soft enough to cook.   If you are serving this dish to a diabetic patient, leave only for 2 hrs in salt so that most of the bitterness is intact. karavila-3-300x263

  • Wash Karella in a colander under a cold water tap.
  • Squeeze out water.
  • Heat up  Olive oil in a wide pan.
  • Add the round Karella pieces and fry them until they turn Brown/Golden, while turning constantly. (Pls. see the pic for the colour)

karella-300x215

  • Meanwhile cut tomatoes in small chunks and onions thinly.

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  • Once the Karella pieces turned into brown/golden colour , add tomatoes, onions, chili powder, turmeric and 1 & 1/2 tsp of salt, all at the same time.

tom-300x224 Now mix everything together and cook under medium fire, uncovered.  Remember to stir every now and again allowing it not to touch the bottom of the pan.  Do not lower the flame to minimum or cover the pan as the curry will become too watery.

  • The Karella will take about 1/2 hr to cook properly.
  • Taste and add more salt if required.
  • Cover and lower the flame to the minimum and cook for about 5 min.  This will allow the juices to run.
  • Let the curry rest for a while before serving.
  • Serve with hot white rice or chapatis.

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Vegetable Fried Rice in coconut flavour

 fried rice
This recipe is a  very colourful  and equally flavourful -fried rice with an ample amount of vegetables, both for nutritional values and enriched taste. This is something very easy to make for a special occasion –  to go with a juicy chicken curry or any vegetable side dish of your choice or on it’s own with a boiled egg.

Let’s Make it :

chil veg

Cut carrots, green beans, leeks, one onion and a red capsicum chili  into very small pieces. chop some ginger and garlic.  Keep aside.

Lets cook the rice :

  • You need to wash and soak 1 & 1/2 cup of Basmati rice in water for about 20 mins.  Then add water just above the level of rice.  Drop a few pinches of salt, turmeric or saffron , two cloves, a cinnamon stick,  two cardamoms and a few drops of oil to prevent rice from sticking. Cook under low flame.
  • When the rice is half cooked, add two tbsp of Maggi Coconut milk powder or the same amount of fresh thick coconut milk.   This will give a creamy taste to the rice.  Open the lid and let the steam escape. Run a spoon through and let the rice to rest.  Mix a dash of turmeric to give a lovely colour.

Prepare the vegetables now: veg2

  • Heat up a wide wok and add a generous amount of butter. (olive oil or any other oil will not give the required flavour. )
  • Add  the chopped onion, ginger and garlic. Fry until golden.
  • Now add carrots and beans. Close the lid briefly to soften them.
  • Add the capsicum and leek whites first, lastly it’s green parts.
  • Fry  until the vegetables are  soft,  being careful not to let them change colour by getting over cooked. ( See the pic above)
  • Add the rice gradually while mixing with the vegetables.
  • Finally,  give all a very nice shake and sprinkle some Chinese chili paste on top to give a real zing !!!
  • Done!!
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Grilled Cherry tomatoes

cherry tom2

 These beautiful, grilled, cherry tomatoes look and taste great as a side dish when you are serving baked / grilled fish or meat.  Also, without a doubt,  the burnt taste blended with light sourness and sweetness of the cherry tomatoes will enhance the taste of your main dish. In Persian cuisine, more often than not, grilled tomatoes can be seen as a culinary delight: one reason is that Iranians love the colour, red; on the other hand, Iranians are fully aware of the obvious health benefits given by the tomatoes.

The grilling process is as follows:

  • Get the cheery tomatoes with the stem intact.  Prick each one lightly with a toothpick.
  • Place on a baking tray lined up with a foil.
  • Sprinkle salt and olive oil.
  • Grill under 200 C oven.
  • Serve warm with their juices braised on tomatoes.

cherry tom

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Greek Salad – Inspired by healthy Mediterranean cuisine

salad1-300x224 Tossing a few ingredients together, you can serve this beautiful, crunchy and  healthy Greek salad within minutes.

What you need:

  • A handful of green and black olives in brine.
  • A few ripped , juicy  cherry tomatoes.
  • Thinly sliced red onion.
  • Greek Feta cheese, cut into cubes.
  • Shredded lattice.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Dried Oregano.

Lets make :

  • Place all the veggies into a wide bowl.
  • Toss Feta cheese cubes and olives on top.
  • Sprinkle salt, pepper and dried oregano.
  • Lightly mix all together.
  • Serve immediately.

salad2

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