Sunday, July 22, 2018

Semiya or Vermicelli Upma Recipe

Semiya Vermicelli Upma Recipe

The rain Gods have been really kind this time and God's Own Country has received more than a fair share of showers this monsoon. Potholes, water logging and a number of problems are a part and parcel of it however, on the other side of it all we have a green Kochi that is so inviting and throwing up a myriad excuses to go out and explore the flavours of the city. So we decided to waste no time and took a trip on Sunday to our favourite place at the Willingdon island, the Embarkation Jetty. One can still see here the Kerala Water transport service stop by taking people regularly from the island to Vypin, Ernakulam and back. In the times of fast traffic and new age gadgets, it is so pleasing to see this mode of transport is still being patronised by many and lending its own charm.

After the long weekend, Monday definitely creates a starting trouble. I like to keep Monday mornings simple, quick and easy. This Semiya Upma is just the answer to all of you looking to make a delicious start to your week. Serve it for breakfast, pack it in the lunchbox or make it as an evening snack, it is a hit anytime of the day. A one pot recipe, this semiya dish goes well with a green coriander coconut chutney(recipe coming soon).

Ingredients for Semiya/Vermicelli Upma
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 8 to 10
Semiya/Vermicelli (roasted) - 1 cup (I used roasted Bambino Vermicelli, if you do not have roasted vermicelli on hand , you may use the regular one, just roast it for 2 to 3 minutes on a medium flame and you are ready to go)
Onion - 1 small (finely chopped)
Tomato - 1 small(finely chopped)
Capsicum - 3 tbsp (finely chopped)
Green chilli - small (chopped finely)
Ginger - 1 inch piece(finely chopped)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 3 tbsp
Water for cooking vermicelli
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp (for garnish)

Method for making Semiya / Vermicelli Upma
 1- If you have roasted vermicelli use as it is, however, if you have the regular vermicelli, take 1 tbsp of oil in a non-stick pan, add the semiya and fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Keep aside to cool.
2-Take a vessel with water, add half a tsp of salt and boil. When the water has boiled, add the semiya. Let boil for 2-3 minutes till cooked, do not overcook or else your vermicelli will stick to each other and you will have a very sticky upma. (let it be only 90 % percent done). Drain the water using a sieve and keep the semiya aside.
3- Take a pan and add 2 tbsp of oil, add the mustard seeds and let splutter. Now add the curry leaves.If you would like to add peanuts you may do so at this stage. Add the finely chopped green chilli and ginger. Saute.
4- Now add the finely chopped onion, saute till translucent and turns golden brown. Add salt to taste and the turmeric powder. Mix well. Add the finely chopped tomatoes and capsicum and saute for 2-3 minutes. If you wish to add any vegetables you may do so at this stage(you can add finely chopped carrots, cooked green peas of you like). Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
5- Open add the cooked vermicelli/semiya. Mix well for a minute. Cover and cook for a minute. Open mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves.
6- Serve hot with a coriander coconut chutney.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Kopi Luwak, Panampilly Nagar, Kochi Kerala - a Review

Kochi is a seeing a boom in the cafe culture. For those, who love to just sit around sipping a cup of their favourite beverage, nibble on some gourmet delights and watch the world go by, Kochi is the place to be. 

The cafe Kopi Luwak is the new kid on the block bringing in the exotic coffee and more to Kochiites. For those who are still wondering what "Kopi Luwak" means, this is what wikipedia tells you - "Kopi luwak or civet coffee, is coffee that is from Indonesia and includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet.Fermentation occurs as the cherries pass through a civet's intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected. Producers of the coffee beans argue that the process may improve coffee through two mechanisms, selection – civets choosing to eat only certain cherries – and digestion – biological or chemical mechanisms in the animal's digestive tract altering the composition of the coffee cherries".
The cafe owned by Sheeba Manishankar(who also owns the boutique on top of the cafe) and Nirmal has been in the news lately for bringing the very expensive Kopi Luwak to the people of Kochi. 
With word spreading far and wide, not only the people of Kochi are making a visit this beautifully done up cafe but it also has people coming in from different parts of Kerala to savour this much talked about cuppa that is priced at approx Rs 1600. The interiors of the cafe uses a lot of upcycled artifacts and is a colourful blend of several elements put together by the designer herself. 

The many travels have been a source of inspiration for the cafe and the owners have worked towards creating an experience with a difference. They did not want to have similar seating all over and have designed it in a way that each seating arrangement is different and unique, the boat sofa, for instance, is a big hit with the visitors. 

I especially liked the outdoor seating with umbrellas hanging from the top which adds to the ambience. They have also very thoughtfully added a counter to cater to the outdoors. 

The hanging cups installation that you see as you walk through the front door is yet another nicely executed aesthetic creation. The indoor seating is beautiful and nice however, the functional aspect was not entirely kept in mind while designing it. 

We decided to check out the place. We found a simple nice seating in the inside room next to the popular boat sofa and ordered a pesto sandwich(which turned out to be an open sandwich) and a burger. 

The pricing is slightly on the higher side for the food served. A meal for two would cost you approx Rs 600-700. 

Verdict - It is a really nice attempt at executing a good concept and bringing a cafe with a difference to the city, however, to make it one that people will go back to, the owners will definitely have  to pay a lot more attention to the details. Taste, presentation of food and also service needs to be looked into carefully.
Kopi Luwak Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Kadala Curry or Kala Chana Curry

The kala chana served with pooris or batura is one that we all love. A quick and easy holiday lunch. Add in a salad and raita and you are ready for a fabulous weeknight dinner without all the effort of spending hours in the kitchen while your family is at home. 

The kala chana needs to be soaked for 4-5 hours before cooking. You may soak it overnight or can even soak and pre-cook the chana the previous day and refrigerate. Make the masala and add in the pre-cooked chana on the day, so this way you can spend more time with the family.

Note: Sometimes if I forget to pre-soak the chana, I use the cheat method of soaking it for an hour in hot water and it works just the same:).

Getting down to the recipe straight away.

Ingredients for the kala chana curry:
Kala Chana - 200 gms
Water -3 cups
Onion- 1 big(chopped finely)
Tomato - 1 (chopped finely)
Garlic- 4 to 5 cloves minced using a pestle and mortar
Green chilli - 1 (slit into two)
Cummin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp(chopped finely)
Salt - to taste
Cooking Oil - 2 tbsp

Method for making the Kala Chana:
1- Soak the chana for 4 to 5 hours in water. Wash and drain. Pressure cook with 3 cups water, 1 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder for 30-35 minutes. Let the pressure cooker cool down completely only then do open.
2- Take a pan(big enough to be able to add in the chana too). Add 2 tbsp of oil. Now add the cummin seeds, let it sizzle. Now add the slit green chilli and minced garlic. Saute till the raw smell of the garlic disappears. Add in the finely chopped onion and saute till it turns soft and golden brown.
3- Add in the chopped tomatoes. Saute till the tomatoes are well- cooked and mashed up. Add the Kashmiri chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder. Add 1/4 cup water so that the masala does not get burnt. Mix well. Saute till the masala is well cooked and the oil starts to ooze out from the sides of the masala.

4- Add in the kala chana alongwith the water left in the pressure cooker. Add in the chopped coriander leaves. Mix. Add 1/2 cup water if you wish to have more gravy. Cover and cook on medium flame for 10-15 minutes.
5- Open adjust salt and seasoning. Boil for another 4-5 minutes. Serve hot with pooris/batura or rice.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chicken and Sauteed Mushroom Burgers

Burgers are a favourite with my teen. I decided to make burgers for dinner the other night and decided to do the burger patty from scratch instead of using the store bought ready to serve patty(which she is not fond of ). Simple and easy everyday ingredients that you would find in your pantry. Yet another quick and easy recipe from my kitchen to yours. A little prep time and all you have is to assemble a delicious and juicy burger and dig into it.

Coming straight down to the recipe

Ingredients for making the burgers
Burger buns (store bought)- 4
Lettuce leaves - 4
Onion - 1 big (cut into rings)
Tomato - 1 (cut into rounds)
Cucumber - 8 pieces(cut into rounds)
Capsicum - cut into rings (as desired)
Mushrooms - 8 to 10 (washed,cleaned and cut into pieces)
Chicken Kheema/mince - 250 gms
Soya Sauce - 1 tbsp
Tomato sauce - 2 tbsp
Dried herbs - 1/2 tsp
Garlic minced - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
Mayonnaise - 2 to 3 tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp

Method for making the burgers:
1- Wash and clean the chicken mince. Add salt to taste(keep in mind that the soya sauce too is salted), soya sauce, tomato sauce, dried herbs, garlic and pepper. Mix everything and keep aside for 10 minutes.
2- Take a pan, and add in the chopped mushrooms, Add half a tbsp of oil, a pinch of salt and pepper powder and herbs and saute. Saute till the water from the mushrooms dry out. Keep aside.
3- Chop the onions, tomato, cucumber and capsicum into rings and keep aside. I did not use some of these veggies to suit the teen's tastebuds. You may add or remove any of the veggies to suit your specific tastes.
4- Take a flat bottomed pan and add 2 tbsp of oil. Take 1/4 th of the minced chicken mixture. Flaten it out with your palms to be a thick patty of the size of your burger bun. Cook on medium flame till well done. Turn it over and cook the other side accordingly. Keep aside.
5- Now comes the time to assemble your burger. Take a burger bun and cut into help. Spread a tsp of mayonnaise on one side. Add in your lettuce leaf, onion rings, tomato, cucumber and capsicum. Add the chicken patty. Now add in 1 -2 tbsp of the sauteed mushrooms. Cover with the other half of the bun and you are ready to enjoy your homemade burgers made from scratch. Repeat the same with the other three burgers.Enjoy!!

Peanut Chikki from Paper Boat Drinks - A Review

The door bell rings. The courier guy hands over a package from Hector Beverages and this is what the contents are.
 It was a pleasant surprise opening the package from Paper Boat Drinks and finding their peanut chikki in it. A brand known for touching the right chords that brings alive childhood memories, Paper Boat definitely needs no introduction. The paper boat products are all about the classic Indian taste and evokes memories of summer holidays, get togethers and gatherings with family and friends and loads of other childhood memories. The Paper Boat ads and their products sure take you back in time to times spent in granny's home, the train trips with parents on summer holidays, the fun with cousins and lots and lots of good times that are so you.

The peanut chikki from the brand is priced very reasonably at Rs 10 and comes in a very neat and beautiful package. It is really convenient to carry even while travelling, a good healthy snack to pick up any time. I found it to be a good mix of nuts and jaggery. With just the right amount of sweetness, I did want to take a bite and one more and one more.

Thank you Paper Boat Drinks for having sent across this treat. Looking forward to seeing it in the Kerala markets soon and also wondering what their next product is going to be.