Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Spicy Crab Curry - South Indian Style

DSC03611 copy The only seafood I use to enjoy in my childhood days was fish and shrimp/prawns. Though rarely my mom used to cook crabs I never did dared to taste it..
Firstly because of their severe smell and next I couldn't understand how the heck we eat it...You have to keep cracking the shell of its legs and body to get to its flesh...It looked tedious to me and more over I thought who kicked me for such an adventure...until one day after I got married my husband made a crab curry that broke of the shell of me not trying them. That was the tastiest seafood I had tasted. I think I got more fascinated by the thick gravy that he prepared for the crabs...Ever since I started trying them...AND in these 10-11 years of marriage I would have eaten them 10-15 times...Mostly we cook them at home..but there use to be one Malayalee restaurant in Chennai, which use to have Crab Manchurian on their menu which use to be exceptionally great. One other place was the Nagapattam seashore, Tamil Nadu India...I should say one of best places to enjoy seafood..their fish and Nandu(crabs) are irresistible..accompanied with Kothuroti(mashed egg parota w/ choice of meat/chicken) and mutte dosa(thin egg dosa) with mild yet spicy fish gravy..

So Crab/Nandu(Tamil)/Peethalu(Telugu) is one seafood which comes with a reciting story in my life. I made it only a few times after I came to this part of the world. Guess I'm not so fortunate enough to get those live jumbo crabs. So have to rely on the small or medium size frozen box crabs...

This recipe is not the exact one that my hubby made the first time. Nevertheless it tastes good too.
1 box Frozen crabs cleaned
3 Tbsp oil(canola/olive)
3 medium onions
6-8 green chillies
200 gms coconut
1 tbsp rice flour
200gms crushed tomato puree
2 Tbsp ginger garlic paste
3/4 tsp fennel seeds
10 - 12 curry leaves
a bunch of coriander leaves - finely chopped.
Spice powders:
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilly powder
1 tsp each cumin & coriander powders (optional)

Salt to taste
Defrost, clean and wash the crabs and keep them separate. You can add a Little turmeric, chilly and salt to marinate them as we are working on the gravy for them.
De skin onions and cut them into cubes, add the fennel seeds and grind them to a fine paste...keep aside
Add the slit green chillies to the crated coconut and make a smooth paste
Now in a wok or kadai, heat oil and then add the onion fennel paste. cook this for 3-5 mins till the rawness of the onion is gone. Now add ginger garlic paste and cook for 2 mins.
Add curry leaves and saute'
Add turmeric and fry for a min.
Add coconut and chilly paste and cook for 3-5 mins
Now add the tomato puree and cook for 5-6 mins or till the mixtures leaves the oils.
Now add all the malasa powders and some salt, mix well. cook for 2 mins till nice aroma is achieved.
Now add the crabs and the remaining salt and mix well till all the crabs are well coated with the gravy mixture.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup water and cook on medium heat till the crabs change color and appeared to be cooked, about 5-7 minutes.
Once the crabs are almost done, add the rice flour to thicken the gravy and make it stick to the crabs.
Add the chopped coriander leaves and remove for heat.
This is one richly flavoured and aromatic dish.
In my experience this crab preparation is best combo with Egg fired rice and a papad. The thick gravy that is dressing the crabs perfectly goes with the mild fried rice and scrambled papad.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spicy Shrimp Dry - Asian Oriental Style

DSC02744 This is one easy way to cook up shrimp with spice and taste. The traditional shrimp/prawn curry takes time cause they use lots of onions for gravy or if it is cooked in kerala or Thai style the coconut milk forms the base for the gravy. But for weekday dinners when we want something quick yet not compromising taste...this could be one recipe for shrimp.

No need to cut a whole lot of onions or grind ginger garlic paste or extract fresh coconut milk(off course now most of us use canned). Though I named it spicy, we can reduce the chilly and make it less hot so kids could enjoy too.

DSC02724 Ingredients:
1 Pkt frozen jumbo shrimp(deveined, deshelled, tails intact)


4 pods Garlic finely chopped
1 inch Ginger piece finely chopped
2 long Green Chillies finely chopped
2 Onion leeks chopped
1 tsp Red Chilly Flakes
A sprinkle of Pepper powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

1 tsp Worcester sauce
1 tsp Teriyaki sauce
1 tsp Soya sauce
1 tsp Oyster sauce
1 tsp Chilly Coriander sauce

1 tbsp sesame or canola oil

Garnish :
Spring onions rounds
Coriander finely chopped

DSC02739 Procedure :
In a wok heat 1 tbsp of oil and add the shrimp along with turmeric and little salt...
Saute' for a 1 to 2 minutes and remove from the wok and keep aside.
This will possibly take off any raw shrimpy smell and lets out a nice aroma.
Now in the same wok add garlic and ginger, saute' a little, add green chillies and onion leeks saute' for a minute.
Transfer the sauteed shrimp to the wok, coat with the fried ingredients.
Add all the sauces. You can omit some sauces if you don't prefer them.
Add salt, red chilly flakes, and give it a nice mix to evenly coat the shrimp with the sauces and other ingredients.
Saute more till the raw smell of the sauces is gone and the shrimp are fully cooked.
Remove from heat and garnish with coriander and spring onions.
Serve with fried rice or even just as starters.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Bulgur or Cracked Wheat Porridge

If there is one term that tops the healthy diet list with good carbs and good fats that is none other than "Bulgur" Bulgur wheat or cracked wheat is so rich in fibre and has lesser carbs than in white or brown rice...You read any health article this is one grain that you can readily see in the healthy carbs list...

Bulgar, cracked wheat, cous cous, qiunoa are a few terms in the world of diet and health which are talking there place instead of rice.

Bulgur is differentiated with cracked wheat, which is crushed wheat grain that has not been parboiled. Although traditionally de-branned, whole-grain, high-fiber bulgur and cracked wheat can be found in natural food stores. Bulgur is a common ingredient in Turkish, Middle Eastern, Indian and Mediterranean dishes. It has light, nutty flavor.

Its high nutritional value makes it a good substitute for rice or couscous.

Bulgur has low glycemic index of 46 than compared with rice at 83

Bulgur can be used in pilafs, soups, bakery goods, or as stuffing. It is also a main ingredient in some salads. In Indian cuisine, bulgur or daliya is also used as a cereal with milk and sugar, which is what I'm posting here.

I had this cereal once in a restaurant in Delhi, North India...Usually I'm bad at trying new foods..But this porridge didn't disappoint me.

I have yet to discover the other versions of this wheat where it can act as a substitute to rice. I remember my aunt used to make upma with this...But the cracked wheat which I got from Indian groceries is a larger grain and more firm and hard. So I don't know the ratio of water to be added to it for upma or to cook rice.

For now I'm happy consuming this as a porridge to benefit from its goodness.

Ingredients :
This is one filling porridge, packed with fibre and protein and has a nuty chewy texture which is perfect for me...

1/2 to 3/4 cup Bulgur or Cracked Wheat
1 + 2 cups low-fat or 1% milk
1 cup or more water
4 Tbsp Brown sugar or 4 sachets of Sugar free or Splenda
A Pinch of salt
A few saffron strands
Raisins (Completely optional, omit if your on a diet, I just used them here for presentation)
Thinly crated nuts like cashew, almonds or pista (I didn't use nuts either)
Few drops of Almond and/or Rose Essence ( This is optional again, I used it to flavour my porridge, instead of having a bland one or to balance the wheaty flavour)
1 pinch of Cinnamon or All spice or Nut meg powder if you want to spice it up more. ( I preferred without these spices)

Read the instructions on the Wheat package to boil or pressure cook wheat with 2 cups of milk and 1 cup water along with salt
If using cracked wheat variety it will take longer time to cook.
Soak the saffron strands in the rest of the 1 cup milk
When almost cooked add brown sugar, rose or almond essence, spices (if using) and cook till wheat is soft.
Once fully cooked add the remaining 1 cup saffron milk and remove from heat.
Serve hot in bowl garnished with crated nuts, raisins(if using) and a saffron strand.
The above measures make around 3 to 4 cups of porridge.