Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pal Payasam

Pal Payasam is traditionally served at Tamil wedding feasts. It is quite a challenge to drink up every single drop of this divine dessert when it is running all over the banana leaf! The taste of Pal Payasam is elevated to exquisite, in my opinion due to the simplicity of the ingredients. Milk, Sugar and Rice. No added flavours - no Cardamom, Saffron, Raisins, Nuts etc - typical components of Indian desserts.

I followed the recipe from Ammupatti's blog. She has provided detailed instructions for making quick Pal Payasam in a Pressure Cooker, and has some interesting stories about the Kerala-style Pal Payasam. Since this dish was cooked entirely in a pressure cooker, I am submitting this to the Blog Bites: Cookers event at the One Hot Stove.

Since I followed Ammupatti's detailed instructions, exactly, I am not repeating them here. If you are fond of simple desserts, this one is for you.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Thai Green Curry

I love to recreate dishes I try at restaurants at home.. it is the challenge of working with new ingredients, learning something about a completely different cuisine and also most importantly, being absolutely sure of what goes into your food. The last reason motivated my spin on the wonderful Thai Green Curry. I wanted a version without too much coconut milk or oil, and also skip the fish sauce. At this point, I'd like to make the disclaimer that this is completely my adaptation of the Thai dish and may not be authentic at all. Jugalbandi has a detailed recipe and some useful links to other versions of Green Curry. One thing that I've found with Thai curries is that it involves several specialty ingredients.. galangal, kafir lime leaves, lemon grass etc. If you live near an Asian market, use some other recipe that calls for all these ingredients since I suspect they all contribute to the explosion of flavours you get in traditional Thai curry.

Ingredients : My Green Curry Paste
1 C Thai Basil leaves, packed
1 C Cilantro (leaves and stems), packed
1/2 medium Red Onion, chopped (or 3-4 shallots )
10-12 Thai Green Chillis
3 cloves Garlic, smashed
1 inch piece of Ginger, chopped
1 T lime zest
1 T Coriander seeds, toasted
1 t Cumin seeds, toasted
1 stalk Lemon Grass ( use juicy portions at its base, discarding the dry woody parts )

Green Curry
1 T oil
4 T Curry paste
1 C Broccoli florets

1/2 C Carrots, sliced
1 C mixed peppers ( green, red etc )
handful of green beans
1/2 block of tofu
1 small Can Coconut Milk 
1 T Soy Sauce
1-2 Thai Green Chillis, slit

Grind the ingredients for the paste coarsely. This paste freezes very well. For the curry, fry the curry paste in the oil until the raw smell from the onions and garlic disappears ( or for about 5 minutes on medium heat ). Add the carrots, beans and peppers and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the soy sauce, green chillis, tofu, broccoli and coconut milk and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Garnish with a few fresh torn basil leaves, if desired. Serve with fresh cooked jasmine rice.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spicy Cornbread

I don't usually look forward to Cornbread. To my palate it has always seemed a little bland and the one time I made it, it turned out a little dry and heavy. Recently, to go with a hearty chickpea stew, I decided to give it another go. I loosely followed Mark Bittman' s recipe and added a few things to liven it up. This time the cornbread turned out moist and delicious and didn't need copious amounts of butter. I even had a bit for breakfast a couple of days later and it was still good!


2 T Oil
1.5 C medium grind Cornmeal
0.5 C All purpose Flour
1.5 t Baking Powder
1 t Salt
1 T Sugar
1 Egg
1.25 C Milk
1 t Black Pepper
1 t Red pepper flakes
0.5 C Green Bell Pepper, diced
0.5 C Red Bell Pepper, diced

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together oil, egg, sugar and milk. Add to the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in diced bell pepper and red pepper flakes. Add a little more milk if the mixture seems too dense. Bake in 375F oven for 30 minutes or until the sides have pulled away from the pan.