Tag Archives: coconut

Hop along for some Hoppers

Sri Lanka’s bowl shaped pancake- light, fluffy and delicious, is my new favourite. Quite similar to appams, hoppers are made with naturally fermented rice flour. They can be eaten sweet or savoury. A staple found primarily on every table in a Sri Lankan home.Of course, I first sampled it years ago when I went to Sri Lanka, and several time later at food festivals or five star hotels, but the novelty has not worn off. In fact, I am in love with these with renewed vigour. I prefer savoury ones any day.

Naturally then, I hopped over to Madeira and Mime, a new restaurant (opened 5 months ago) in Powai to sample some great hoppers. Known for their great food and drinks, I was sure I would get good ones here.And right I was!

The doughy centre and crisp edges with a filling in the centre, are enticing. And that’s exactly what was served to me here, one Hopper with chicken sukka and the other paneer makhani. There was a mutton version too, which I decided to skip.

20170322_131026

The highlight for me was the accompanying coconut pickle- spicy, well seasoned and with a great bite to it.

The hoppers were well-made, just the way they should be and the generous chicken sukka with an egg at the base made it even more delicious.The flavours of the chicken were lip-smacking and comforting. No spice was over powering and the pieces of chicken were succulent and well-meshed with the gravy. One could just roll it and bite into it effortlessly. The paneer makhani one which is obviously a twist in terms of the filling, was not so exciting, in comparison, but tasty nevertheless.

Made of rice flour and coconut milk, hopppers are light and pair well with just about anything. The slight sour flavour and a medley of textures is what sets these apart. Made in a special pan or appachatti, these are quite easy to make as well and quick too, but yes require a special skill.

Madeira and Mime is every bit your neighborhood bar offering unique drinks and delectable food along with great service by their always-smiling staff. I too left the palce smiling after having savoured palate-pleasing hoppers.

Advertisements

Amti, my comfort food

Who can resist a well-made amti with steamed rice? Not me for sure. That is actually my comfort food when overeating has happened or I have been eating out a lot. More so in the festive season.

Amti is generally, a soupy dal made, with tur dal, tamarind, spices, jaggery and coconut. A well -known lentil-based dish, amti is eaten all over Maharashtra and Goa. Even during Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali, amti is a must on the menu. In fact I have been relishing some delectable ones these last few days, as I was vegetarian.

It is the staple part of almost every meal and yet has variations, as different dals are used -Tur, masoor and black gram or even chickpeas and split green peas. One can just unleash one’s imagination and create new versions.

Some ladies prepare a sheng daanyachi amti, using groundnut paste and it is tempered with hing, green chillies.  It is absolutely delicious and has a unique flavour and aroma. It can be relished with bhakri or even with Masale bhaaat. Kala watana amti (black gram cooked in coconut, tamarind and jaggery) is also traditional. Goda masala or kala masala is the key to a well-made amti. That is what lends it that spicy flavour and a unique taste. And it is then balanced with the addition of sugar or jaggery. The proportion of this is key to get the flavour right. The sweet n spicy taste of amti is typical. Masoorchi amti made with sprouted whole brown masoor dal is another favourite.

What is interesting is that while dals are referred to as amti, some even call any curry an amti and thus, prawn amti is popular too, among the Non vegetarians. Oh! non-vegetarian amtis with sea food can be so delicious. But I must confess, I still prefer the vegetarian versions.

My twist on amtis has been a tomato amti that I prepare. My family loves it. Paired with rice and batatachi bhaji (potato preparation), it is a lip-smacking meal. It is a bit like the tamatar saar but with coconut, chillies, garlic et al.  I once savoured a mouth-watering Bhendichi amti. Amti made with bhindi(ladies finger). I  was pleasantly surprised that it wowed my palate considering, normally, I do not enjoy my bhindi or okra in a gravy. I prefer it dry.

The key ingredients in any amti are coconut, goda masala, jaggery and tamarind. The dals can be varied or even other ingredients can be used. The flavours and taste are distinct and any meal in the Konkan region is incomplete without an amti.

Some of the delicious amtis I have tasted are in hotels in Pune at Courtyard by Marriott Hinjewadi and of course at Taj Wellington Mews as part of a Maharashtrian Food Festival. Those flavours still linger in my mouth.

maharashtrian-food-festival-1

Do write in and share what’s your favourite amti. I am certainly making one for lunch today!

 

 

Coconut Rice: Recipe

One of my comfort foods when I am not in a mood to cook an elaborate full meal. Try this simple recipe of mine. You will love it

20150727_100123

Ingredients:

1 cup rice

3tbsp ghee

1tsp mustard seeds

2 cups fresh grated coconut

5 red chillies (split)

1 tsp urad dal

6 cashew nuts chopped

fresh curry leaves

salt to taste

Method:

Boil the rice with salt and spread it on a plate.

Heat ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add urad dal and red chillies. Add curry leaves.

Add cashew nuts. Then add coconut after cashew nuts have turned golden brown.

Saute coconut on a low flame, until it turns golden. Add salt if required.

Add cooked rice and mix well.

Remove from flame and serve hot with pickle and papads or curd.

A Taste of Ecuador

I was lucky to have attended the All You Need Is Ecuador Press Conference yesterday. Oh! It was such a revelation. Ecuador is such a beauty. A unique place with universal appeal. The 8th most bio diverse country in the world. Whew!

Pro Ecuador, the Institute for the Promotion of Trade and Investment of the country, were such gracious hosts.  Consul General of Ecuador, Mumbai, Hector Cueva Jacome and Priscila Moscoso Meiller, Trade Officer were warm and ever willing to share information.

The cuisine sounded even more interesting. To a gourmand like me, the food has to be tempting. And it sounded extremely appetizing and varied. Most regions in Ecuador follow the traditional three course meal of soup, a course that includes rice and a protein, and then dessert and coffee to finish. Supper is usually lighter and sometimes consists only of coffee or herbal tea with bread. Wow! Sounded just like what I would enjoy. They also eat a lot of fish, shrimps and tuna in particular. Perfect, I thought.

We sampled Empanadas De Viento – A combination of the gooey cheese and onions inside a crispy fried empanada and topped with sugar. I relished them immensely, but could not help note the similarity between these and our own Rissois from Goa. These were definitely strongly reminiscent of Rissois. Those too are little envelopes, usually filled with prawns, onions and white sauce and deep fried. Of course there is no sugar on those. But there is no cause to be startled at the similarity, I thought. After all Rissois are delectable Portuguese turnovers, which we Goans have received as legacy and have incorporated in our cuisine.

Empanada De Viento

These empanadas de viento are the perfect breakfast or afternoon snack with a hot cup of black coffee, I was informed. And the good ‘ol Goan Rissois can be savoured anytime too.

The other dish we tried during lunch was exotic. Pescado encocado or fish with coconut sauce. One cannot go wrong with fish. Not at least where I am concerned. This Ecuadorian fish with coconut sauce, called pescado encocado, is a traditional coastal dish of fish seasoned with citrus and spices and then cooked in a sauce of cilantro, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and coconut milk. As I tasted the flavoursome sauce, subtle yet, with a pronounced flavor, I was once again reminded of our Goan fish preparations with coconut milk. Gosh! The similarities were too many.

Encocado de pescado

Our caldeen is on these lines. And our basic Goan fish curry too. Of course we use prawns as well apart from fish. But so do the people of Ecuador. I was told that one should ideally use fresh coconut to make the sauce. Just as we Goans do. Both the coconut water and grated coconut flesh, but if you are in a rush, use canned coconut milk for convenience. Ah! The short cuts in modern rushed times, which we all resort to.

Back in Ecuador, Pescado encocado is typically served with rice and fried ripe plantains. You can also serve it with patacones or green plantain chips instead of the sweet ripe ones.

I was transported to heaven after my Ecuadorian meal of rice and Pescado encocado. You too must try it. It is really simple to prepare.

 

Pescado encocado or fish with coconut sauce

Recipe courtesy Pro Ecuador.

Yield: For 4-6 people

Pescado encocado or fish with coconut sauce is an Ecuadorian coastal dish of fish seasoned with citrus and spices and then cooked in a sauce of cilantro, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and coconut milk.

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ lbs halibut or any other fresh fish, cut in medium size chunks
  • ¼ cup lime juice, from about 2 limes
  • Juice from 2 oranges
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 2 tbs sunflower or olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 4 roma tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 3 tbs cilantro, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Mix the lime juice, orange juice, crushed garlic, cumin, paprika, coriander powder and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Marinate the fish chunks for 1 – 2 hours.
  3. Heat the oil to prepare a refrito or base for the sauce, add the diced onions, tomatoes, bell peppers and salt, cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Add the coconut milk to the refrito, mix it in well and cook for about 10 minutes, if you prefer a thicker sauce you can thicken the sauce by adding ½ tsp of tapioca starch or corn starch.
  5. Add the fish fillets, cover partially and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve with rice and fried ripe plantains.

Coconut Rice : Recipe

                                                                                            

 

Ingredients:

 

1 cup rice washed

3 tbsp ghee

1 tsp mustard seeds or rye

2 cups fresh grated coconut

1 tsp urad dal

5 red chillies, split

6 cashew nuts, chopped

Fresh curry leaves

Salt to taste

 

Method :

 

Boil the rice and spread on a plate. Heat ghee in a pan, add mustard seeds, urad dal, red chillies and curry leaves.  Add cashew nuts and salt. When cashew nuts turn golden brown, add coconut. Fry on slow heat. Add the cooked rice when coconut turns brown, Mix well. Remove from flame and serve hot with raita, papad and pickle.

 

 

 

Can never have enough of it : Goan cuisine

I am married to a Goan, enjoy Goan food at home, can cook loads of Goan dishes myself, yet, can’t have enough of it. Simply love the cuisine. So, I happily trooped off to sample the Goan food festival at Lake View Café at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel last week for dinner. A pity the festival ended last Sunday.

 Have never seen such an interesting use of ingredients like Coconut Milk, Tamarind, Spices, Kokam, as in the festival.  I personally relish sea food, chicken in Goan cuisine, but,  was pleasantly surprised to find that the Mergolho (pumpkin and papaya curry) and the breadfruit curry could be so delicious. Am hooked onto it now.

The soul kadi was a tad too milky. Too much of coconut juice and less kokum. The ambotik with plain steamed rice was a treat, as was the sannas with sorpotel. The chicken cafreal was well made and the succulent pieces of chicken simply melt in  the mouth. The clam chops with mango chilli sauce weere to die for, something which I have never tasted before. Truly unique. Prawn balchao was yummy though I tend to have it as a pickle rather than a starter.

Bebinca (layered caked made with flour and coconut milk), the ultimate Goan favourite dessert, without which any celebration is incomplete, was there. But I am not a great fan of it. Dodol (toffee like sweet made up of rice flour) and Doce (fudge made up of gram flour)  too were on offer but I loved the cashew doce. It was unusual and well made.

A special Feni Muddle bar had been set up at the hotel which was serving exotic Feni cocktails, but I decided to give it a miss. Had a busy working day the next morning.

Chef Danish was there, ever-smiling and ready to serve us with warmth. The highlight of the festival was Jacinta aunty, from Goa who was flown in especially to give authenticity to the masalas, used in Goan food. She did a great job. Her son Michael was assisting her. Apparently aunty goes regularly to the Goa Marriott and Spa too, to grind masalas. She has the midas touch.