Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Kokum Soup ... a new ingredient in my pantry

Kokum - hmm, what do I do with this? One of those ingredients that I had read about in some of my fellow bloggers posts. I had never heard of it before. When browsing through an Indian grocery store in New Jersey, I came across the mystical Kokum - got delighted and bought some. But to my utter disappointment and frustration, I just could not find the recipes using Kokum. They had been lying around in my pantry not knowing when their lucky day will come :(

God bless Sushma of Savi-Ruchi! That's exactly what I as well as my lil' kokums are saying right now! :) She posted the Kokum Rasam recipe - just could not wait to try it. This is such an easy and tasty recipe - mind you, healthy also! Thank you, dear Sushma..will forever cherish this!

Health benefits of Kokum: "The rinds may be soaked in hot water for a few hours to extract the juice which may be mixed with spices and consumed directly. Alternatively, you could add a few pieces of the dried rind to curries and gravies as a substitute for other souring agents like tamarind, vinegar and lemon juice." - Read more:


  • 5 Dried Kokum (8)
  • 2 Dry red Chilli
  • 1/2 tsp red Chilli-Cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground Pepper powder
  • 1/4 tsp powdered Jaggery or Sugar
  • Pinch of Asafoetida
  • 1 tsp Canola oil (Sushma recommends coconut oil - Go for it if you like the coconut oil flavor)
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 5 Curry leaves
  • Salt according to taste
  • Coriander leaves - For garnishing
Cooking Method:
  • Soak the dried kokum in 1 (3) cup of water for 15 minutes.
  • Add Salt, Sugar, Pepper-Cumin seeds-Red Chilli powder to the Kokum mixture and boil it.
  • Temper the boiled mixture with mustard seeds, broken red chilli, asafoetida and curry leaves.
  • Add cliantro and serve.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mutton Curry - Sunday homely style...

Continuing on our tradition from back-home, I always try to make mutton curry with warm rice and salad for Sunday lunch. Not counting the weekends when I was overly lazy or when we have guests over who don't take mutton. Since cooking mutton takes atleast 30 mins, it is best left to be done over the weekend. The best taste is when it is fresh cooked. Re-warming and eating the next day does not taste the same - that being said, I always make extra so we can have it for another meal or two. This weekend was no different - though I am yet to download the pic, so the initial post will be without the pic!

One of my dear friend, Kavita, has pushed me to go ahead and post even without the pic, but atleast get it going again. Trust me, got a number of recipes to post and share and try to keep up with this hobby of mine. Thanks, Kavita - I really need the encouragement and always glad to have friends like you. :)

Ingredients (6-8 servings)
Cooking time: Approx. 30 mins

Mutton - approx 3 lbs (2 packets from my butcher - for my own reference later ;) )
Onion-Ginger-Garlic-Tomato Paste - 12 tbsp (from the paste of 2 onions, 1 inch ginger, 7-8 cloves garlic, 2-3 medium tomato ground in blender, 1-2 green chilli [optional])
Cumin Seeds - 1 tbsp
Canola oil - 3-4 tbsp
Dry red chilli - 4
Dry bay leaf - 4
Cinnamon stick - 1
Sugar - 1/8 tsp
Salt - 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tbsp
Meat curry powder - 6-7 tbsp (I use Shan brand)
Coriander powder - 1.5 tbsp
Garam masala - 1.5 tbsp

Potatoe - 2 large
Hot water - 4 cups


Use a pressure cooker.
Heat canola oil.
As it warms, add cumin seeds followed by dry red chilli, cinnamon stick and dry bay leaf.
Add the sugar and let it caramelize (In the words of my mom, every dish should have sweet and savoury taste in varying degrees but both should be there).
Add the onion-tomato-ginger-garlic paste and toss at regular interval for even cooking.
Add salt, turmeric powder, meat curry powder, coriander powder and garam masala.
Add meat after cooking the above masala mixture for about 5-10 mins in Medium-High heat.
Add the room temperature meat - if frozen meat, make sure it is defrosted and room temperature-ish. It takes almost 20 mins for the mixture to be well coated with the spices and the meat to be half-cooked.
Add big-cubed potatoes 5 mins before you are about to add the water.
Add hot water and let it come to a boil.
Cover the pressure cooker and let it blow the whistle in Medium-High heat. If it is baby-goat meat, just let the whistle start - immediately switch it off else the meat gets overcooked.
Continue cooking in Medium heat for 5 mins (optional).

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mashed sweet potatoes

For the very first time, during Thanksgiving last year I attempted to make "Mashed sweet potatoes". It turned out  nice and served as a good side-dish. Enjoy!


Sweet potato - 2-3 large
Milk - 1 cup
Butter - 3/4th of a stick - approx. 6 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Crispy shallots deep-fried or deep fried onions - as per taste


Boil the sweet potato till they are cooked.
Strain the sweet potato and keep aside.
Boil the milk with butter. Take care that the milk does not  burn in the sides of the container. Unless you like the added taste of burnt milk. ;)
Add it to the mashed sweet potato. Mash it fine or as coarsely as suits your taste.

Add 1tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and mix it up.
Serve with crispy shallots.

Love the mildly sweet taste with some hot-tasting meat and the inter-play of the flavors.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Butternut squash soup

Butternut squash soup

I love soups, but somehow don't make them often! When we suffer from cold, we go scrambling for some soup in the pantry. Always have a good stock of packet soups but always miss Maa's make-from-scratch soup. She makes a delightful veg-stock chicken soup that everyone likes but that is the case with each and every item she prepares. Love you, Maa! :) Thus, I am trying to turn a new leaf and make some of my own soup from produce. Like people are scared of baking since it is so scientific, my phobia is for soup-making. Time to brace and take on the challenge! (*^*)

It was quite long time back I had the butternut squash soup in a restaurant (unless my memory fails it, I guess it was Sweetwater Tavern!) and has just loved the "delicioso creamy" feel of the same. When Maa was here last summer, I ventured to make it on my own. It was horrible - added too much salt - so much that none of us could ingest even 1 spoon of the same.

Come Thanksgiving - since noone was visiting us this time and we were not going anywhere - I wanted to do something different and more apt for Thanksgiving. Along with this soup, made Cornish Game Hen with Crabmeat stuffing, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Crisp-fried Artichoke Hearts. The 3-4 hrs of cooking for just the two of us was so worth it! Sharing the pic here - will post the recipe for the rest of the items later. Btw, can anyone guess the theme of this meal? color food to symbolize the Fall colors!

Thanksgiving 2010 dinner

Ingredients for Butternut Squash soup (makes 4 big bowls)

1 medium Butternut Squash, peeled, chopped into cubes, seeded
2 tbsp butter
I medium onion, chopped
6 cups chicken stock (aka 6 cups Water with 6 tsp Chicken stock powder)
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
Salt and ground black or white pepper as per taste
4 tbsp heavy cream (add more if you want it thicker and creamier)


Heat butter - add few drops of olive oil so that the butter does not burn.

Add onion and cook till transparent.

Add chopped butternut squash and cook for a few mins.

As it looks a bit soft, add the chicken stock and let it continue cooking in Medium heat.

Takes about 10-15 mins - keep checking by poking a knife into the squash - if it goes in without an effort, it's done.

As it reaches room temperature, add the cream and blend it till it is creamy. Add some water if you want it thinner in texture (I added a cup of water)

Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.

IMPORTANT NOTE -- To give the gourmet $50/cup look, add a mint and a dash of cream and send me the money you saved by following this super-quick even-a-5-yr-old-can-make recipe! ;)

This recipe is inspired by: Butternut Squash Soup - by Cathy Lowe

Enjoy this in winter if you can! Miss the holidays already! :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tom Yum Soup

Happy New Year everyone!

My new year resolution is to make 1 post per week no matter what. My problem of the past has been that either I don't have the pic or the recipe noted exactly with respect to the ingredients - but this year, I am trying to turn a new leaf and post whatever I had. So don't get frustrated (if at all someone is still checking back! If you are, thank you :)) if the pic or recipe is missing - it will be added someday soon. It means a lot to me when readers comment/drop emails and keep coming back for more! Thank you for the same - and a big shout-out to all family and friends who have poked me to continue my blogging experience. So here goes my first 2011 recipe.

Whenever we order soup in Thai restaurants, it is always the Tom Yum soup. I am not a big fan of trying out the ready-made pastes or powders for soups other than the ones I regularly use. Sometime back, I was feeling a bit adventurous in my grocery purchase time and went ahead and wanted to try this Tom Yum soup paste. Glad I did coz I have got such an easy and delicious recipe which takes almost no time to make it!!

Ingredients (makes 2 big bowls)

Tom Yum soup paste (Maesha brand available in Lotte Plaza) - 4tbsp
Shrimp 8 frozen medium size
Mushroom 5 button size, chopped
Green onion stalks - 2, chopped
Water 4 cups

Optional : If you want it thicker, add a tbsp or two of evaporated milk

Boil water. Add the Tom Yum paste. Mix it well.
Add the frozen shrimp as the above mix is boiling. No need to thaw or defrost the shrimp.
Add chopped mushroom.
As the mushroom is almost cooked, add the chopped green onion stalks and let it continue boiling.

We did not add the evaporated milk as recommended in the paste bottle. It was just great as-is and we were so full that dinner definitely had to wait another 2-3 hours. So plan to serve it accordingly.

TBD: The pic will be added later when it is cooked next time. Thanks for your patience. :)