Saturday, May 28, 2011

Curried Long and Kidney Beans - Srilankan Style

Toronto ranks as the second-best city among the world's "metro powerhouses" in areas of business opportunities, culture, livability and innovation, only beat out for the top spot by New York City and followed closely by surprise contender San Francisco a new report claims. As for me, I will tag Toronto as an cultural Icon. I'm always impressed by the feast of cultures its got to offer. And sure different cultures bring exotic flavours of different foods, Western, Mexican, Italian&Spanish, South Asian, Greek& other Mediterranean, Chinese, Japanese, Thai&Malai & other Oriental, Pakistani, Srilankan you name it...With all these captivating culinary skills we have a perfect gastronomic treat right here.
Today I'm blogging one of my favorite Srilankan Tamil curry made with Srilankan raw curry powder which is usually on the menu in most of the Srilankan Tamil take outs and their gatherings and special occasions. Somehow took a liking towards this vegan preparation that I gave it a try at home. Some of the Srilankan Tamil dishes follow the method to deep fry the vegetable and then add it to the sauce/gravy, which definitely grades high in taste if you comprise on health. Well once in a while is ok, but not on regular basis. I completely cooked in steam and it still turned out tasty.
1 full bunch of Long beans, broken into 1 inch pieces
1 or 1/2 Can Kidney beans
1 Tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 medium onion sliced
3 small green chillies
8-10 curry leaves
2 Tbsp Srilankan Curry power or use the Spice powder mix(below)
2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
Salt to taste
For the Spice powder mix:
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp fennel powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp fenugreek powder
1/4 tsp Mustard powder
1 tsp Chilly powder
1/4 tsp Black pepper powder
1/2 tsp Dhal powder

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In a kadai, heat oil and allow mustard to mustard.
Add sliced onions, slit green chillies & Curry leaves and saute till onions are translucent.
If not deep frying, then add the broken long beans, salt and saute' .
Now add the Srilankan Masala powder and mix thoroughly.
Add tomato paste and mix again.
If required sprinkle some water and cook covered for 15- 20 min or till the beans are soft.
If you deep fried the beans, then before adding the fried beans add the spice powder to the sauteed onions and fry well.
Then tomato paste and a little water and cook till the sauce thickens, and then add the beans to the tomato spice mix gravy.
Cook for 5 to 6 mins till the beans absorb the sauce into them.
Now add the kidney beans and mix well to coat them evenly with all the masala, taking care not to mash them.
Simmer for another 2 mins and remove from heat.
Makes a hearty side dish for rice, idiyappam or parota.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Karela Khatta Meetha / Bitter gourd Sour & Sweet

---AKA Kakarakaya belam pulla Kura/ Pavakka Vellam Puli Kuttu---
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It's been a wet spring so far. But thanks for the change that is about to stay. Environment Canada is predicting above average summer temperatures from coast to coast and an increase of a couple degrees here in Toronto. We mothers are fortunate to have been bestowed with a warmer and dry Mother's day weekend. Happy Mothers days to all mothers!!!!
Thinking of mothers sure puts food they cooked for us on the top of the list. We can't be grateful enough for all the delicacies they showered on us. Mother's cooking is in itself a comfort and name one comfort food for me, is this sweet and sour bitter gourd curry. Yes, off course Bitter gourd is one of my fav veggies. For those whom this vegetable is an introduction or who shy away from this veggie, I encourage them to give this recipe a try, you won't be disappointed.

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3-4 Medium Size Bitter Gourd (5-6 if small)
Oil - 1 tbsp
1/2 tsp Mustard
1 small Onion
3-4 Green Chillies slit
6-8 Curry leaves
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
1 small lemon Size tamarind ball soaked in enough water
1 Tbsp crushed jaggery
Salt - to taste
Coriander leaves - a small bunch
Scrape, Wash and slit Bitter Gourd into four parts and then further cut those four sides into small pieces.
Now soak the pieces in salt water to remove excess bitterness.
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Allow mustard to splutter in a kadai/pot after the added oil is hot.
Then add cut onions, green chillies, curry leaves and saute till onions turn slightly brown.
Add Tomato paste and fry for a minute or till raw smell is gone.
Add chilly and coriander powder and mix
Add Bitter Gourd pieces, salt, and mix well.
Sprinkle some water and cover with lid to cook the Bitter Gourd in steam for about 20minutes.
Keep mixing periodically and add more water if required.
Once the Bitter Gourd is almost cooked add the squeeze the tamarind juice into it and mix well.
Add jaggery and mix till dissolved.
Cook for another 5-7 minutes or till karela is soft.
Add finely chopped coriander leaves and remove from heat.
Serve this with hot rice and papaddam or dry fish or meat fry.DSC02816 - Copy