Monday, August 1, 2011

Methi Matar Malai

Living in the United States has taught me several things in life. One of the things that I learnt was to cook my own Indian food that I grew up eating but cannot find it locally in Minneapolis, even at the best Indian restaurants. Just the other day I picked up a fresh green bunch of Methi (fenugreek) from our local Indian store, the intention was to make yummy parathas for the kids. But eventually it turned out to be a “chef’s choice day” on my daily menu board and the chef’s craving overruled everything else. So the next experiment in Kucurry kitchen was one of my favorite vegetable dishes, Methi matar malai (literally means “fenugreek peas cream”) which is easily available at any decent Indian restaurant in Mumbai. I knew that there could be an elaborate recipe for this one, but as always I tried to simplify it and it turned out just as I wanted it to be. Try it for yourself you will not regret it!

Methi Matar Malai:


1 Bunch fresh methi leaves (de stemmed fenugreek leaves)
½ Cup sweet green peas
1 medium Tomato or 1 Tsp. concentrated Hunts Tomato Paste.
¾th cup Whole milk or cream.
1 small onion
3-4 medium garlic cloves
2-3 Serrano peppers
3 Tsp. oil
4 whole pepper corns
1 cardamom
1 Clove
Small cinnamon stick
Cumin Seeds
Poppy seeds (khas khas) – Optional
Turmeric powder

• Chop the tomato and grind into a smooth paste. If you are using tomato paste, mix paste with 1 Tbp water and keep aside.
• Grind chopped onion, serrano peppers and garlic in a smooth paste. Add water only if needed.
• Heat 1 Tsp. oil in a shallow pan, add cumin seeds and poppy seeds. Add the chopped fenugreek after poppy seeds start changing color. Cook till methi is softened and partially cooked. Keep aside.
• Heat the remaining oil in a pan. Add clove, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric powder and pepper corns. Cook for a couple minutes. Add the onion, garlic, pepper paste. Cook on medium flame for 5-10 minutes. Then add the tomato paste and green peas. Cook on low flame for 5 minutes.
• Add the methi and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the milk/cream once the sauce begins to boil. Lower the heat, add salt to taste and simmer for 10 minutes or till you think it is ready to go.

Serve with roti, chapatti, naan or any other Indian bread.
Eat to your heart’s content!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fish Sukka/Fish with dry gravy

Just the other day someone asked my dear husband about the food that I make. He was in a pretty good mood that day, so prompt came the reply…”O ya…my wife does make pretty good looking food!” and just when my face began to light up, he added in with a smile on his face ‘but not necessarily good tasting you know!!” and turned around to look at how I react. “Well” I said “if not the food, you at least love my art! Maybe henceforth, you should just look at it and appreciate it rather than eating it!!”So the point is that I am an art lover. I like to see art in everything around, may it be the buildings, clothes, landscape or nature. So of course I try to see art in the food I make. The colors, form, texture, presentation, aroma, taste…it has everything you need to excite your senses. I strongly believe that “good looking” food is as appealing to the tummy, as much as amazingly tasty food is to the mind! So even if it is a simple recipe, it is your creativity that will always be put to test before your culinary skills.

Today’s recipe is the simplest fish recipe that I have ever tried. Few ingredients, less prep time and good scope for creativity. Its my grandma’s recipe, passed down to me by my mom so it is definitely worth a try.

Fish Sukka/Fish with dry gravy:

1 Pound fish fillets - Tilapia or any fish you like (best choice for this recipe is Indian Surmai)
1 cup grated/shredded dry coconut – Suka khobra (optional fresh coconut)
5-6 Large garlic cloves
5-6 Medium Kokam/amsul
¼ Tsp. Turmeric powder
½ Tsp. Red chili powder
¼ Tsp. Garam masala powder
½ tsp. Lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Olive oil
1 Pinch red food coloring (optional)

For garnish:
Lemon slices
Onions – julienne cut
Lemon juice
Salt pepper
Kaoori methi (Can be replaced with Italian seasoning or finely chopped cilantro)

Heat 1 tsp. oil in a shallow pan and add the grated coconut and garlic. Roast/Sauté on medium flame, stirring continuously. Set aside and let it cool. Grind this mixture in a thick smooth paste by adding water as needed. Add all other ingredients, except oil, to this paste, mix well and apply a thick layer of this paste to the fish fillets. Marinate for about an hour.
Add 1Tbsp oil in the same shallow pan. Gently lay the marinated fillets with a thick layer of marinade on and under it. Cook each side for 5 to 8 minutes or till fish is ¾ cooked. Add a cup of water and simmer for 15 minutes. Set the fillets in a serving dish. Mix sliced onions, lemon juice, ½ tsp. kasoori methi, salt and pepper for garnish. Top with lots of cilantro if you like.

This can be served with white basmati rice, jasmine rice, naan or roti.
Cook well. Be creative!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tomato with coconut curry.

Tomatoche Sheeray - Tomato with coconut curry.

Category: Indian/Maharashtrian/Pathare Prabhu.
Preparation time: 30 minutes.
Serves: 3 to 4


Tomatoes - 3 Medium,
Onions - 2 small,
Coconut Milk - 1 Can,
Besan - Gram Flour - 4 tsp,
Geera- Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp,
Ghee - Butter - 1tsp,
Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp for low spice, 1/2 tsp for medium spice
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch,
Hing - Aesafoetida Powder - 1 pinch
Fenugreek/Methi seeds - 5-6
Salt - To taste,
Sugar - 1 tsp
Cilantro - for garnishing.

Cut tomatoes and onions -Juliane (long thin) slices and keep aside in separate containers.
In a vessel on medium flame, add ghee. Heat for a minute and add a pinch of hing, geera, methi, haldi and onions. Saute till onions start getting soft and pale. Add tomatoes, red chili powder and saute for 10 minutes, stirring continuously. While the onions and tomatoes are cooking, on the side empty one can of coconut milk in a bowl. Add 2 cans of water. 2 -1/2 cans if the coconut milk is very thick. Mix in the besan , salt and sugar . Make sure there are no lumps formed.
Once the onions & tomatoes are cooked, add in the coconut milk mixture. Stir and cook on low to medium flame till it starts boiling.Garnish with finely chopped fresh cilantro.

Serving suggestion:
Best served with plain white rice and pickle.

Ravioli in Creamy Marsala Wine sauce.

Ravioli in Creamy Marsala Wine sauce.
Category: Italian Vegetarian

Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4


Semi frozen ravioli (4 cheese/mushroom/spinach) - 1 Pack
Shallots -2 medium
Bay leaf -1
Red Chillies - 2 small
Black Pepper - 1 pinch crushed and 2 corns

Garlic- 4 medium to large cloves

Thyme - a pinch

Italian seasoning - a pinch

Dried basil leaves - a pinch
Olive oil -1Tbsp
Red cooking wine - 3/4 cup
Marsala wine - 1/4 cup
Light whipped cream. 1/4 cup


Boil ravioli directed on the pouch. Strain and keep aside. In a shallow pan heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add bay leaf, pepper corns, crushed red chillies, and finely chopped shallots and garlic. Saute for 7-8 muntes, till shallots are soft. Add a mixture of 3/4 cup red cooking wine and1/4 cup marsala wine (you can add more if you like a stronger sauce) Cook on low flame till sauce starts to boil and thicken. Sprinkle Italian seasoning, thyme and basil. Let cook on low flame for 2-3 minutes. Add salt to taste and a pinch of crushed black pepper. Add sweet cream as you desire. More the cream, richer the sauce. Let boil for 2 minutes. Add boiled strained ravioli and cook for 2-3 minutes before serving. Garnish with shredded Parmesan Cheese.

Boil the ravioli alongside the sauce so ravioli is hot when the sauce is ready.

Serving suggestion:
Best served by itself, with garlic bread or Bruschhetta. This sauce can be used with the stuffed Tilapia recipe posted here.

Spiced puffed Indian Bread.

Tikhat poori - Spiced puffed Indian Bread.
Category : Indian/ Snack/Meal
Preparation Time: 1 Hour
Serves - 4 to 6

Wheat Flour - 2 cups
Rice Flour - 1 cup
Gram Flour (Besan) - 1 Cup
Whipped plain yoghurt - 1 cup
Turmeric Powder - 1 pinch
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 Tbsp/Oil to fry
Green chillies - 2 -3 medium
Cilantro - 1/4 cup
Ajwain/Oova - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste.

Put together cumin seeds, green chillies, cilantro and 1/4 cup water in a blender and grind to a smooth paste. In a deep mixing bowl add the wheat, rice and gram flour. Heat 2 tbsp oil and pour it over the flour mixture. Add the green paste, yoghurt, salt, sugar, turmeric and ajwain. Mix well and knead to a soft dough (Just like the the dough for making chappatis). Add water in very small amounts to achieve the desired consistency of the dough. You may need to sprinkle some flour over the dough with kneading it. Cover the dough and keep aside for 15 minutes. Roll up small dough balls, with diameter just about the size of a quarter or a little bigger. Using a rolling pin, on a clean dry surface, roll the balls into pooris about three to four inch diameter, dipping them in dry wheat/ all purpose flour at intervals to avoid sticking. Deep fry the pooris and serve hot.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve Hot with any pickle, vegetable curry, gravy, Kadhi or raita.

Shrimp with a spicy Onion Tomato sauce

Kandyvarchi Kolambi - Shrimp with a spicy Onion Tomato sauce
Note: Substitute Shrimp with potatoes for vegetarian version.
Category: Indian/Maharashtrian/ Pathare Prabhu
Serves: 4

Onions - 3 medium
Tomatoes - 3 medium
Shrimp - 300gms
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 5 large cloves
Green chilli - 1 medium
Cilantro - 1/4 cup
Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp (or to taste)
Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 pinch
Salt - to taste
Lemon juice - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Aesafoetida - Hing - 1 pinch (optional)
Bay leaf - 1
Butter - 1 tsp (Optional)


Put together ginger, garlic, green chilli, cilantro and 1/4 cup water in a blender and grind to a smooth paste. Heat oil in a vessel, add hing, turmeric powder, bay leaf and finely chopped onions. Saute onions (stiring at regular intervals) till soft and pale. Add finely chopped tomatoes and saute for about 5 minutes or till tomatoes are soft. Add the green paste, red chili powder, garam masala and let cook uncovered till all the ingredients blend in well. You may add half cup water for changing the consistency. Let cook for 5 minutes. Add washed, cleaned, de-veined prawns, shrimp or lobster. Stir well, add 1/2 cup of water and cook covered on low - medium flame for 10 minutes or till shrimp is completely cooked. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro and top it with a tsp of butter.

Serving Suggestions:
Great with white slice bread, chappati, naan, bhakri, roti or paratha.

Pickled Shrimp - Indian/Maharashtrian style

Kolambiche Lonche - Pickled Shrimp
Category: Indian/Maharashtrian/ Pathare Prabhu/side dish
Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Oil - 1 Tbsp
Asafoetida Powder - Hing - 1 Pinch
Shrimp - 1 pound/500 gms
Red chili powder - 1 tsp
Achar masala/ Pickle spice - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Lemon juice - 2 tsp.

Heat oil in a shallow pan. Sprinkle a pinch of Hing. Add washed, cleaned, deveined, shrimp and saute for 2 minutes. Add Red chili powder, achar masala,salt and stir well. Once the shrimp is cooked, keep it aside (off the heat) and let cool completely. Once the shrimp mixture is at room temperature add the lemon juice and stir lightly. A quick delicious Shrimp pickle is ready.

Pickled shrimp can stay fresh for 4 to 5 days if refrigerated. DO NOT reheat the pickle at anytime after its done cooking the first time, even for later servings. This recipe can be modified to make pickled pomfret or Tilapia. Just substitute shrimp with fish.

Serving Suggestion:
It is great side with a good seafood menu. Should be served at room temperature.