Welcome to the world of simple and easy recipes...

We, the ‘aakrantham crew’ extend our special greetings to the beginners in cooking, the novice Bachelors, suffering husbands for being the guinea pig of wife’s culinary experimentations and the most sophisticated cooking experts who, out of their intricate and above-average try-outs have forgotten their beginning point in cooking. Yes! Our aim is to show the simplified paths of cooking, to depict the formulae for day-to-day needs to kill the hunger, to help out someone who is completely new to kitchen and those whose breaths stop hearing the name of dishes with words like ‘forelle’, ‘pecam’, ‘oreo’, ‘agua’ e.t.c in it.

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Monday, 28 January 2013

Amara payar Thoran / Upperi - Lima Beans

 Unlike the usual Lunch timing, that day I could come home early for lunch and as expected, food wasn’t ready. Seeing me at an odd time, she got wondered and rushed into kitchen to finish off cooking. I noticed the washed and drained Lima beans on the cutting board. With her assistance, I cut the beans recollecting my cutting skills earned during my PG period and taught her how to cut vegetables without cutting fingers or nails! But after cutting she turned out to be my teacher, as I did not know how to prepare a beans thoran (upperi). As it was a new learning for me, I guess it might help many of my bachelor friends too. Moreover, it’s a simple recipe for any beginners to try and tasty too.

Lima Beans (അമരപ്പയര്‍) – sliced n chopped – 1 cup
Oil – 1 ½ Tb spoon
Mustard seeds – 1 tea spoon
Curry leaves - 8 no. s
Dried red chilly – 2 no. s
Coconut – grated – 1 handful
Salt – as needed

How to:
1. Heat oil in a nonstick pan. Put mustard seeds and leave to sputter. Put the cut red chillies followed by curry leaves.
2. Add the cut lima beans to the pan turning to low flame. Sauté for a minute. Add the required amount of salt and sauté to mix well.
3. Cook the beans in low flame, sautéing occasionally. After 5 minutes, add the freshly grated coconut and mix well.
4. Leave the beans for cooking well. Remember to keep the flame lowest possible. Stir occasionally.  

Have a try and let us know!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Kannur Chicken Biriyani

Though I’m supposed to post Kozhikodan Biriyani recipe for Aakrantham fans, I’m not yet ready with fine photos for it. So thought of posting a Kannur Biriyani’s recipe, for which some snaps were clicked few days back by my hubby, when we made it at home.
This recipe is a dedication to my friend Ammu and there’s an interesting story behind this dedication. We used to have a year-end gift exchanging, amongst a group of my Cognizant friends called ‘Roofians’, similar to the Christmas friend activity done in school days.  As we are spread across different locations, the friend selection is done by an online tool developed by few of us and the gifts are ordered online. Moreover, from a common mailbox we use to assign different funny tasks to our friend anonymously. And this year, Ammu got a task to prepare Hyderabadi Biriyani and post the recipe as well as the photos. Poor girl! How can she do this if she doesn’t even know how to make an ordinary Biriyani? But she was clever enough to post the pictures in the Face book group along with the recipe copied and customized from a blog. But the cleverer group members made it out from her attire, hairstyle, serving dishes and the suspicious ‘scissors’ found in the photo, that the Biriyani was bought from some hotels on her way back from office and she mixed it in a steel vessel to serve. Also the scissors were used to cut the pickle’s and raitha’s packet. And what more?! In the photo, she eats the self made Biriyani at her dining table, with the neatly tied hairstyle and beautifully pinned salwar kameez and shawl!! Finally since the truth shined through the lie, she had to admit the fraud.

So for her, I’m posting a Biriyani recipe here…

For frying Chicken
Chicken – 1 kg
Chilli powder – 1 Tb spoon
Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 Tb spoon
Lemon juice – 1 Tbspoon
Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
Salt – as needed
Ghee – 2 Tb spoon
Oil – 1 Tb spoon

For Masala:
Onion – chopped - 8 medium sized
Tomato – cut into small pieces - 2 big sized
Green chilli – 7 no.s
Ginger – 2 thumb sized pieces
Garlic – 15 big cloves
Corriander, Pudina and curry leaves – chopped – a handful
Garam masala – 1 ½ teaspoon
Curd – 3 Tb spoon
Pepper powder – as needed
Salt – as needed
Turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon
Ghee – 2 Tbspoon

For Rice:
Kayama rice – 4 cups
Ghee – 3 Tb spoon
Oil – 1 Tb spoon
Cinnamon – 3 small pieces
Cloves – 3 no.s
Bay leaves – 2 no.s -  cut into pieces
Water – 5 ½ cups
Salt – as needed

For layering:
Onion – ½ chopped
Cashew nuts – 10 no.s
Raisins – 15 no.s
Garam masala – 1 teaspoon
Lemon juice – 1 Tbspoon
Corriander leaves chopped – 3 stems
Ghee – 1 Tbspoon

How to:

1. Drain water from washed and cut chicken pieces. Marinate chicken using chilli powder, kashmiri chilli powder, lemon juice, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste, salt and keep for 30 minutes. Heat ghee and oil in a fry pan. Shallow fry the chicken.
2. Heat ghee in a non-stick vessel. Add chopped onions and sauté well till the onions turn translucent.  Crush ginger, garlic and green chillies in a grinder and add this to the onion. Sauté for a minute. Add coriander, curry and pudina leaves to this and fry well.  Once the raw smell of this mixture is changed, add tomato and mix well. Sauté all these together for two more minutes. Add gharam masala, salt and turmeric powder, sauté and add curd to it. If needed, add pepper powder also.
3. Adding the remaining ghee from the chicken fry to the masala and sauté well. To this, add the fried chicken. Mix the masala and chicken well and cover the dish. Keep the flame to low and leave it to cook for 10- 15 minutes.
4. Drain water from the washed Kayama rice. (do not soak the rice). Add ghee and oil to a pressure cooker and on heating, add cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves. Sauté well. Add the drained rice and fry in low flames for about 5-8 minutes. Make sure that the rice grains are not sticking to the bottom. Now pour water to the fried rice and add needed salt. Close the pressure cooker and wait for one whistle. Switch off the flame and pull the vent weight (pressure regulator) upwards to blow off the steam (or place under flowing water). Now open the Pressure cooker and sauté the rice with a flat spoon making sure that the rice grains are not broken.

Note: I’m using Kayama rice here which actually needs 6 cups of water for 4 cups of rice for proper cooking. But since the rice will again be cooked during layering, I’ve poured only 5 ½ cups. Similarly you can use water depending on the type of rice (Basmati/Kayama/Jeerakasala) you are using.

5. In a small frying pan, add some ghee. Fry the chopped onion till golden brown. Fry the nuts and raisins as well. Take off from the pan and keep this aside.
6. In a big vessel, put an even layer of the cooked rice. On top of it spread a pinch of gharam masala, pudina leaves and sprinkle a little of  ghee and lemon juice. Above this put a layer of masala along with chicken pieces. Again a layer of rice and masala similarly and on top of it, rice layer. (depending on the vessel’s size, decide the layer count. Anyhow bottom and top layer should be rice). On top of this rice spread pudina, fried onions, nuts and raisins. Close the vessel tightly with a lid. On top of the lid, place a vessel with  hot water in it. Switch on the stove and keep in the lowest possible flame, for 30 minutes. Switch off and don’t open the vessel for 20 minutes.
7. Serve hot, with raitha, pickle and pappadam.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Kunjippidi (കുഞ്ഞിപ്പിടി )

 As any other day, we were having our lunch with routine ‘matta rice’, fish curry, some vegetable ‘thoran’ and pappadam.  I thought about a change that was badly in need from the same style food. I kept this thought in mind though! But I don’t know, if some telepathy worked between me and my wife. The next day when I was at dining table for Lunch, it was not the usual meals or biriyani or ghee rice, but the so called ‘Kunjippidi’ (it’s Malabari name). Many of you might have already known and tasted this dish with different names like – kozhippidi (കോഴിപ്പിടി ), arippidi (അരിപ്പിടി ), kakka orotti (കക്ക ഒറോട്ടി ), irachi pathiri (ഇറച്ചി പത്തിരി ). The dish was yummy in taste and tempting in its look. We took a portion of this to our friend Ashiq’s home for a small get-together there, that night.  No doubt, it was finished and bowl came back empty within minutes. On their request, I’m posting the recipe here….
This can be made with chicken or meat or fish. We made with beef on that day.
 Beef – 1 kg
Rice flour (flour used for pathiri and idiyappam) – 3 cups
Onion – chopped - 1 medium sized
Tomato – cut into small pieces - 1 medium sized
Greenchilli, ginger and garlic – Ground together – 2 Tb spoon
Meat masala – 2 Tbspoon
Corriander, pudina and curry leaves – chopped – a handful
Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder – ½ tspoon
Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon
Coconut – grated – 1 coconut
Cinnamon – 2 small pieces
Cardamom – 2 cloves
Clove – 3no.s
Shallots – 4 cloves
Garlic – 3 cloves
Salt – as needed

How to:
1.       Set aside the washed and cut beef for draining.
2.       Mix Onion, tomato, green chilli-ginger-garlic mix, meet masala, leaves, coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, and salt well with hand in a pressure cooker. Mix the beef too with this mixture and pour half a cup of water. Cook beef up to the required number of whistles depending on the nature of beef.
3.       Keep 3  ½ cups of water in an open vessel on stove. Add needed amount of salt and on boiling mix the rice flour well with the handle of a wooden spoon or stick. Saute few times so that the flour is well mixed with the boiling water. Switch of the stove. Close the vessel for 2 minutes.
4.       Kneed the rice flour well with both the hands and make the dough using less water. Once the dough with the required consistency is made, take small balls from it and press softly with the index finger. Thus make tiny round shaped ‘pidi’ as seen in the picture. You can spread raw rice flour so that the ‘pidi’s are not stuck together.
5.       Now cook the above ‘pidi’s in steam using a steam cooker/pressure cooker/ puttu kudam as per your convenience.
6.       Put the grated coconut, cinnamon, cardamom, shallots and garlic in a mixer, add one cup of water and grind well.
7.       Once the beef is cooked, pour the above coconut mixture into the beef and cook for five minutes. Saute well.
8.       Now mix the cooked ‘pidi’s into the above mixture. Saute well. Make sure that the pidi’s are not broken, but remain in shape. Cook for five minutes. Switch off the flame. Close the vessel and leave it for 30 minutes so that the spicy taste of the beef mixture is absorbed by ‘pidi’s well.

Thus the delicious and spicy Kunjippidi is ready. No need of any side dishesas it’s self sufficient with spicy-ricey flavor!!  But a hot ‘Sulaimani’ (black tea) would be a great combination with this typical malabari dish.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Fish Stew - മീന്‍ ഇസ്റ്റു

While in LuLu for this month’s grocery purchase, we noticed that lots of fresh Indian Mackerel (അയല ) are there in fresh fish section. As we were dying to eat Mackerel fry (അയല പൊരിച്ചത്), remembering an old Malayalam hit song "Ayala porichathundu karimeen varuthathundu….", we couldn’t hold back from buying it. And of course, the very next day, my wife fried the fish for lunch. But to be frank, we were desperate that the fish fry wasn't up to the expectation. The fish seemed to be not as tasty as we get in our hometown. It was then she suggested about making Fish stew for next day’s breakfast as it’s one of those breakfast combinations (നേരിയ പത്തിരിയും മീന്‍ ഇസ്റ്റും)  which she cherishes out of her mom’s kitchen. I too thought; okay! let me have a try..!!
No doubt, the dish and the combination was one if it’s kind – super delicious and how can I hide its recipe from my cookery fans? Here it’s for you….

Ayala – Small sized – 6 No.s – washed and cut into pieces
Fenugreek – 8 seeds
Onion (medium sized) – ½
Green Chilli (sliced) – 20-25 no.s
Ginger, garlic paste – 2 tsp
Corriander, mint & curry leaves – chopped – 1 handful
Tamarind juice – ½ cup
Grated coconut – 1 ½
Salt – to taste
Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
Shallots – 3 no.s

For garnishing - വറവിടല്‍, താളിക്കല്‍)).)) :
Coconut oil – 1 Tbspoon
Curry leaves – 1 stem
Shallots chopped – 4 no.s

How to:

1.       Put one grated coconut into a mixer jar, pour water just enough to dip the coconut and mix well. Squeeze this mixture to take thick coconut milk.

2.       Take the remaining half coconut along with fennel seeds and shallots and grind well with ¼ cup of water.

3.       Mix fenugreek, Onion, green chillies, ginger-garlic paste, coriander, mint and curry leaves, tamarind juice and salt well with hand and add ¼ cup of water in a pressure cooker. Pressure-cook this mixture for 2 whistles.

4.       Open the pressure cooker and put the cut fish into it and boil for 3 minutes in low flame. Add the grinded coconut mixture as in step 2 and heat for two minutes (in low flame).

5.       Add the coconut milk as in step one and heat for another 3 minutes in low flame.

6.       Heat 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan and sauté chopped shallots till it turns brown and add curry leaves to it. Pour this on top of the gravy to garnish it.

Note:  depending on the piquancy of the green chillies, the count can be increased or decreased.

The fish stew can be prepared with other Indian fishes like Pomfret (ആവോലി ), King fish (അയകോര , നെയ്മീന്‍ ) or sardine (ചാള , മത്തി ).

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