Monday, June 29, 2009

Kovakkaai Fry

Kovakkaai, also called Ivy Gourd in English, was an unknown vegetable to me until a few years back when I had it at a friend's place. My Mom never used kovakkaai in her cooking and I didn't know how great it tasted. As a matter of fact, I made kovakkaai fry when my Mom visited me last summer and now she is making it on a regular basis. How sweet is that????!!!!! Anyway, getting back to business, this fry was the simplest that I've ever made (except for the cutting part, which takes too long), with very little variety of spices that go into it. Because of the limited spices, the flavor and taste of kovakkaai is well preserved.

Ingredients (about 2 servings):

Kovakkaai - 1/2 a pound cut into thin slices
Cooking oil - 1 tablespoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon (vary this to suit your taste)
Salt to taste


1. Wash kovakkaai, cut into thin slices and set aside.
2. In a wide pan, heat some cooking oil, add the kovakkaai and fry for about 5 minutes or until it gets a little soft, on medium heat.
3. To step 2. add some red chilli powder and salt and keep frying until the kovakkaai cooks thoroughly and becomes crispy.
4. Turn off the stove and serve as as side with rice or rotis.

Soaking the cut kovakkaai in salt water for 10 minutes before cooking speeds up the cooking process, or so says my Mom :-).

My Entries To AFAM - Bell Peppers

Here are my entires to AFAM - Bell Peppers, hosted this month by Priya, originally started by Maheswari @ Beyond The Usual.

Capsicum Rice

2. Capsicum Chicken Masala

Capsicum Chicken Masala

After being an eggitarian for almost 23 years, when I started eating chicken, I was very picky and ate only specific dishes which looked good (oh yeah, looking good was the first and foremost criteria) and were spicy. Even now, I like only a very few, Indian varieties of chicken, which obviously, are not available in any of the Indian restaurants that are around in my area. So, I started making my own chicken dishes by following online recipes and tinkering them to suit my taste buds. This dish though, is a recipe which my youngest sister emailed me a few months back and is supposedly from one of her colleagues who cooks great chicken. And, how does my little sister know this colleague of hers makes great chicken? Yes, she eats them too!!! (now, don't you go and tell my Mom about that... he he). I gave it a try and just loved it :-).

Ingredients (about 2 - 3 servings):

Chicken - about a pound cut into bite-sized pieces
Onions - 2 to 3 medium sized ones finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2 medium sized ones finely chopped
Capsicum - 1 big cut into chunks
Cooking oil - 2 tablespoons
Ginger garlic paste - 2 to 3 teaspoons
Red chilli powder - 3 to 4 teaspoons (vary this to suit your taste)
Coriander powder - 3 teaspoons
Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch stick broken into small pieces
Cloves - 2 to 3
Pepper powder - a couple of pinches
Turmeric powder - a big pinch :-)
Salt to taste


1. Wash the chicken pieces with turmeric powder, drain thoroughly and set aside.
2. In a wide pan, heat some cooking oil, add pepper powder, cinnamon sticks, cloves when the oil gets hot and then add the chopped onions and fry until they turn golden brown in color.
3. To step 2, add the tomatoes and fry until the get cooked.
4. Add the ginger garlic paste to step 3, fry for a few seconds and then add the washed chicken from step 1 and fry for about 5 minutes on low flame.
5. Add the chilli powder, coriander powder and salt to the chicken, sprinkle some water, put on the lid and cook on medium flame until the chicken gets soft. You might have to be careful when adding the water as the chicken itself leaves some water when it is cooked.
6. Open the lid when the chicken gets soft and let the contents of the pan to turn to a gravy consistency. This takes about 10 - 15 minutes on medium flame.
7. Now, add the capsicum chunks just 5 - 10 minutes before turning off the stove. Serve with steamed hot rice or rotis.

Since we add the capsicum at the very end and don't cook it for a long time, it gives the dish a little sweetness and a crunch. I made this for my colleagues at work (of course, with a little less red chilli powder :-)) and they all seemed to like it. Hope you will like it too!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Entries To Monthly Mingle: Ravishing Rice Recipes

Here are my entries to Monthly Mingle: Ravishing Rice Recipes, started by Meeta @ What's For Lunch Honey? and guest hosted this month by Nags @ Edible Garden. The theme of this event allows entries with any form of rice (flattened, puffed, rice flour etc), which was nice I thought :-).

1. Sunitha's Tomato Rice
2. Capsicum Rice
3. Simple Lemon Rice
4. Varutha Upma

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fresh Corn With A Spicy Rub

When I went to the grocery store last week, I noticed this terribly fresh looking corn that was so inviting and hence bought a couple of those even though I didn't have the slightest clue as to what I was going to do with them :-). Back home, I used to love fresh corn when it is cooked over the flame and has that slight charred flavor to it. After coming to the US, I tried to do the same over an electric burner only to find out that I cannot get the same effect as the flame. Moreover, I had never made any dish with just corn alone although I use frozen corn along with other veggies in many dishes. Anyway, after I bought them, they were sitting in my refrigerator for about a week and finally I decided to try something really quick with them and it turned out great. I even had a couple of friends who came over for lunch last weekend and served this as an appetizer :-).


Fresh corn - 2
Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon (vary this to suit your taste)
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon


1. Microwave corn in a container with little water for about 10 - 15 minutes (the time might vary based on the power level of the microwave). You can even do this over the stove. Set it aside for it to cool down a bit.
2. In a small cup, mix lemon juice, red chilli powder and salt thoroughly and rub the cooked corn from step 1 with the mixture and serve :-).

How simple is that????? It makes for a really quick and healthy snack.