Monday, April 27, 2009

Kadala (Black Chickpea) Curry

Kadala Curry is a dish from Kerala, the southwestern Indian state known for its drop-dead gorgeous backwaters and its amazing food full of cocout. I ate this last night at a fabulous Keralan restaurant in Hyd and couldn't get enough of it . . . it was amazing with appam (Keralan dosas) and paratha, but would also be fan-tabulous with rice.

This recipe is courtesy of "Live to Eat" at

2 cups Kadala (black chickpes), soaked overnight
1 cup sliced onions
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup fresh/frozen grated coconut
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 cardamom pods
3 cloves
1 star anise
5 whole black pepper
salt to taste
1/4 tsp oil

To Garnish
1/2 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp sliced shallots
a few curry leaves
1 dry red chilly
Mix the soaked kadala with sliced onions and turmeric powder. Add water to cover the kadala and cook till soft (or pressure cook for about 15 minutes).

In a shallow pan, heat oil and add cardamom, cloves, star anise & black pepper seeds and fry for a minute or two.

Add coconut and fry till brown.

Add red chilli powder & coriander powder and fry on low heat till brown.

Dry grind the fried ingredients in a spice grinder. The oil from the coconut will help form a smooth paste of all the ground ingredients.

Add this paste along with salt to the cooked kadala. If there isn’t enough water in the kadala, add a cup or two and mix well. Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes till the gravy is thick.

To garnish, heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to splutter add shallots, curry leaves and red chilly and saute till brown. Pour this over the cooked kadala.

Serve hot with puttu or appam or steamed rice.

Chenna poda (Oriya cheesecake)

This recipe from Orissa is apparently the only cheesecake made in India. Really.

1/2 pound Chenna (paneer), freshly curdled - the recipe below makes exactly enough
1/2 cup semolina (cream of wheat)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/2 cup raisins
a sprinkling of cashew pieces

In a big bowl, mash paneer thoroughly. Add semolina, sugar, cardamom, raisins, and cashews. Mix it well using your hands.

To get a caramelized effect on the top, apply a tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter) or unsalted butter to the bottom of the baking dish; sprinkle with sugar and then hold it slightly above a gas stove for a few minutes to melt the sugar. Spread the melted sugar evenly.

Pour the paneer mixture over the sugar; Bake in a preheated oven of 325 for one hour. Insert a toothpick; it's done when the toothpick comes out clean.

For the "authentic Oriya experience," Anshuman says to pour sugar syrup over the cake as soon as you get it out of the oven, then pop it right in the fridge.

Cool for 2-3 hours, then turn it upside down. It should stay fresh for a week in the fridge.

Homemade Paneer!

again, courtesy of Anshuman, who can't believe that I don't know how to make cheese at home . . .

1/2 gallon whole milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, or the water that forms over yogurt ("juaan" in Oriya . . . does it have a name in English?!)

Bring the milk to a boil, then take it off the heat. Add lemon/watery yogurty stuff, and mix it all together. Cover it and check after 5 minutes; if the milk hasn't started curdling, add 2 more drops of lemon juice/yogurt water. Leave it for 30 minutes or until the milk is fully curdled; the finished state will have paneer (cottage cheese) floating in greenish water. (For reals.) Strain it through cheesecloth -- and you have your own homemade cheese!

Cococut-Cocoa-Cashew Cake Cubes

Another amazing-sounding recipe courtesy of Anshuman . . . .

for the cake:
Cream of Wheat: 1.5 cup
Sugar: 1- 1.5 cup
Yogurt: 1 cup
Coconut: 1 cup
Butter : 1 cup unsalted
Beaten Eggs: 3
Baking powder: 1.5 tsp

Mix coconut and cream of wheat. In a separate bowl, mix sugar and butter
Now add yoghurt to the coconut-cream of wheat (sooji!) mixture. Add everything to beaten eggs and mix well. Keep for 1 hr in the fridge.

Pre-heat oven and bake at 350 till done.

Let the cake cool, then cut it into cubes.

for the frosting!
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup milk
1 tbs butter

Combine all above ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium fire till it gets an icing consistency. While still warm, dip the cake cubes into the icing mix and then roll them over a plate of crushed cashews.

Veggie Vindaloo

Apologies to my dear Anshuman for "f'ing up his recipe," as he so graciously put it. (The original first ingredient was "a whole buttload of lamb," if that gives you any clue). However, this sounded so tasty that I decided it would be worth it to try a non-carnivorous version anyway :). (He also conceded that you could probably also add sweet potato and bell peppers to mix it up a little).

1 Tbs cider vinegar
2 tbs tamarind pulp
2 large onions
15-20 garlic cloves
1 inch finger of ginger
2 Tbs grated Coconut.
6 potatoes, cut in 1 inch cubes.
1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, red Chilli powder, and black pepper.
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 paprika cut into 4s
Two red chillis
one inch of cinnamon bark
3 cloves
2 bay leaves.

Grind one onion with half the garlic, with a little water. Add the vinegar, tamarind pulp, cumin, coriander, red chilli, black pepper powder and make a fine masala paste.

Chop the remaining onion.
Crush the ginger and garlic in a mortar & pestle.

In a flat bottom pan, heat 3 TBS oil. Add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamom,
two red chillis. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add ginger garlic, and saute till golden brown. Add the masala paste, and add litle water, and fry till oil
separates from mixture. Add salt to taste and stir well.

Add the potatoes and other veggies, paprika and stir well. Add the grated coconut, and add 2 cups of hot water. Let it simmer in low heat till potatoes/veggies are cooked.