Thursday, September 30, 2010

Beerkaya Royyalu / Ridge Gourd Prawns Curry

Absolutely enjoying "Fall", specially when I jog my first grader to school in the morning. Trees with leaves changing colors, a blanket of fallen dried leaves on the ground, got to take the fullest of the season, before cold winter sets in.

Seasonal changes bring change in the way we cook food too. From outdoors BBQs to strict indoor dishes. Most of my indoor cooking is Desi style which requires preparation. Its not like you are hungry and you just sandwiched slices of buttered multi grain bread with a slice of ham, cheese with some lettuce. Your meal is ready to go. Indian cooking is all about intensity, flavour, spice, lots of ingredients and time to cook them up. But its worth the wait, because of the exceptional taste.

This is one Andhra preparation which puts all together with end result being irresistible. Its so strange that I have never tasted this dish whenever my mother cooked it growing up, in fact for some reason I was so averted towards it. but since its was known for its taste, after so many years I cooked it to see what comes of it..and honestly it lived up to its popularity. And this can just be eaten up with plain rice. But let me warn you for the temptation of over-eating here, which is why I don't cook this curry so often, it would disturb my diet of  keeping my serving of rice under one cup per day.

The ridge gourd (Beerakaya in Telugu) forms a creamy base for the curried shrimp. A real match that you are so tempted to call heavenly. Well, ridge gourd is such a versatile vegetable that it embraces any other ingredient, be it veg or non-veg to be subtle and yet give a wholesome lift to the dish. More delicacies of ridge gourd I would be blogging are with Kheema, mutton, Channa dhal..

Now lets is the making of Prawns with Ridge gourd.

2 big - Beerakaya/ Ridge Gourd / Beerkankai (De-skinned and chopped into small cubes)
1 to 1.5 lb Prawns / Shrimp (De-shelled, De-veined)
2 tsp oil
2 medium Onions chopped
4-5 Green Chillies slit
A Few Curry leaves
1 Tbsp Ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp Red chilly powder
A pinch of garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Finely chopped fresh coriander leaves to garnish

To marinate shrimp :
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp each of cumin and coriander powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Little Salt
A splash of oil to put all together

Procedure :
Clean prawns and marinate with the marinade items..keep aside.

In a hot pan add oil and add the marinated prawns and stir fry them till all the water evaporates and a beautiful aroma comes out. Remove from pan and keep aside

In the same pan add some more oil, add chopped onions, slit green chillies, curry leaves, and cook till onions are translucent.

Add ginger garlic paste and cook till rawness is gone.

Add chopped ridge gourd pieces, salt mix together and cook covered, till ridge gourd is half done.

Then add the stir fried prawns, little water and cook covered till the gourd and prawns are fully done.

Add finely chopped coriander and remove from heat.

Serve it with plain cooked basmati, ponni or sona masoori rice.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cantonese Chicken Chow Mein(Noodles)

Stir fry chicken noodels 3
It is constant challenge for moms to see that kids get their daily intake of veggies in different colors. I see that they have their share of veggies along with we parents by feeding them everyday with freshly sliced Bell peppers, cucumber, carrot in raw form and broccoli stir fried.

Apart from this if I can incorporate them in meals too, that is a bonus. Making sambar(lentil stew) with plenty of veggies, Veg fried rice, Veg pilaf are some of the keeper dishes for me to make them eat vegetables with not much fuss.

Chow mein is another dish where you can add different vegetables and coz my kids like noodles its a breeze to make them eat. And why not this is wholesome meal by itself, with all the nutrients from the veggies, protein from the chicken and carbs/starches from the noodles.

I keep trying different variations of noodles.. This is one of them.

Stir fry chicken noodels 2
1/2 pkt Cantonese noodles
2 tbsp oil preferably sesame oil
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast thinly sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 onion sliced
1 cup chopped veggies (Bell peppers, Broccoli, Carrots)- add according to taste
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 Worcester sauce


Add noodles to hot boiling water in a pot cook for 2 - 3 minutes till the noodles are soft and drain them thoroughly in cold water. Add some sesame oil to keep them seperated.

Heat up a wok and add remaining oil, add ginger garlic paste, fry a little and then add chicken and cook till almost done.

Now add all the vegetables and fry till veggies are nearly cooked but still crisp.

Add all the sauces, salt, pepper and fry for a few seconds.

Now add the boiled noodles and mix thoroughly till noodles are well coated with all seasoning.

Cook on high for a minute and remove from heat.

Serve hot.

Stir fry chicken noodels 1

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Prawn Pakora or Shrimp Fritters

AKA Eraal Pakoda or Royyala Pakodi

With US OPEN and TIFF going around it sure is an interesting week so far. When it comes to weather the tables have turn from hot humid conditions to windy cool cloudy and sometimes rainy too. All the more reason to enjoy some spicy snacks..and this time its prawn pakora. We desi ppl tend to make fitters/pakoras with pretty much any it veggies or chicken, meat or seafood like fish or shrimp.

Growing up I never liked the idea of prawn pakodi. Desi prawns are so filled with flavour that I use to feel they overpowered the original taste of pakodi. But the frozen small shrimp that we get in our local Asian markets are much milder in flavour..perfect to prepare a quick starter or snack. Must add that kids like these too.


1 pkt frozen shrimp - small size, defreezed
1 medium size Onion cut thinly length wise
Channa flour/besan/Channa maavu/Chenaga pindi- 1 Cup
Green Chillies - 2 ( cut into small pieces)
1/2 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a handful
Coriander leaves - A few chopped
Baking Soda - A pinch
Salt - to Taste
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Chat masala powder - 1/2 tsp ( for extra flavour)
Enough Water

Oil for deep frying

Mix all the ingredients with enough water to make a mixture which is not too thick or too thin. Keep aside

Meanwhile heat oil in a deep wok/kadai/pot.

Drop small amounts of the mixed batter into the oil for deep frying.

Once the pakoras turn dark yellow or orange color remove them from oil onto a plate with issue paper to drain from excess oil.

Serve hot with ketchup or just by itself.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Banana Sujji Halwa

Toronto was under heat alert this week..Thank God we are getting some showers to bring down the temperatures. It has been a severe summer this year. Kids will return to school next week. They did have a good vacation. My kids are not so fond of Indian sweets, infact they don't like goodies if they too sweet. Good for them..They enjoy the roasted rava more whenever I make any sweet with semolina..And with deserts like these being loaded with sugar its a no-no for parents too.. Thanks to get togethers, pinics and some special events, which inspire us to venture into making of sweets too.

I saw this Banana Kesari one time when I was blog hopping. Had some ripe bananas at hand likely whipped out a dessert for my after church fellowship time.

Ingredients :
1 Cup Rava or Semonlina
1 Ripe Banana thoroughly mashed
1/2 Cup Sugar
4 Tblsp Ghee or Butter
1 Tsp Banana Essence if available
1/2 Tsp Cardamom powder
1 Cup Water
2 Tbsp Cashew and Raisins
Green food coloring(optional)

Heat one tbsp of ghee in a deep pan or kadai and fry the cashew and raisins till cashew turn golden brown and raisins pop up.
Remove and set aside.
In the same kadai add one more tbsp of ghee add rava and fry till all the ghee is absorbed by the rava.
Add sugar and mix well.
Now add the mashed banana to the rava and keep mixing.
Now keep adding water little by little till the rava is fully cooked.
If adding color mix it with the water as you are adding it.
Add the caradamom powder and mix well.
Add the remianing two tbsp of ghee and mix nice till the mixture leaves the surface of the pan.
Add cashew raisins and empty it in a wide plate greased with ghee.
Let it cool and cut into desired shaped or just serve in desert bowls.