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Monday, August 23, 2010

Phad Thai

Sometimes I mess up....

Had some very dear friends over at our place a few days back and I made them this gloppy, mushy, too sweet and really bad looking pad Thai that everybody claimed tasted just like baingan ka bharta (roasted eggplant curry).
hmmm I wonder how the eggplant I make tastes like ??? :-) LOL

lot of things went wrong.
  • I let the rice noodles soak in the water too long (40 mins), they turned waaaay softer than necessary and broke very easily.
  • I added the eggs after adding the noodles. That just made a big giant blob of everything.
  • The sauce had too much palm sugar.
  • I couldn't get raw shrimp so had to get pre cooked shrimp. I suppose they are OK for cocktails and stuff but for this they got too tough and couldn't absorb any of the flavors from the sauce.
  • Chopped the tofu too small!
Tried making it again and I think It came out much much better. Looks better too :-)
I made this vegetarian without any shrimp however the recipe below includes shrimp.

(serves 2-3)
(prep time 40 mins)

Oil 1/4 cup
Garlic 1 1/2 Tbs (minced fine)
Shallots 2 Tbs (minced fine)
Red Thai chilies 4 Tbs (sliced thin)
Shrimp 6-8 med size (deveined)
Egg 1 large
Tofu 1 cup (cut into 1" cube)
Dried shrimp 2 Tbs (optional)
Pad Thai sauce 1/2 cup
(2/3 cup tamarind pulp + 1/4 cup soy sauce + 2 Tbs fish sauce + 1 Tbs palm sugar cooked over med low heat for 30 mins)
*Rice noodles 3 cups (**soaked in hot water for 10 mins only!)
Garlic chives 2/3 cup (cut into 4" strips)
Bean sprouts 2/3 cup
Spring onions 1/2 cup (cut into 2" strips)
Roasted peanuts 1/4 cup (crushed)
Juice of 1 large lime
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Chili flakes 1/2 tsp

It's important to follow this order

I listed the ingredients in the order they go into the wok.
Please make sure you have everything ready.
Heat up some oil in a wok.
Add the garlic cook for 30 seconds
Add the shallots and chilies cook for a minute.
Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes.
Crack in the egg and let it set for a bit and then scramble it.
Add tofu and stir for another minute.
Add dried shrimp and cook for a few seconds.
Add the pad thai sauce.
Dump the noodles in and mix well.
Add garlic chives, bean sprouts, spring onions, crushed peanuts and stir for no longer than a minute.
Sprinkle some lime juice, coarse pepper and chili flakes.
Combine well.

* Rice noodles come in different thicknesses, I used 3mm. They are also called rice sticks and I am pretty sure I saw some fresh ones at Uwajimaya that don't need to be soaked in water.

**Bring a pot full of water to a gentle simmer and turn the heat off. The pot should be wide enough for the noodles to swim around. Soak the noodles for 10 mins only, when you take them out they should be el-dente. Drain well and allow to cool before adding it to the wok.
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Sunday, August 22, 2010


One of the yummiest and easiest sides I ever made. Twice fried plantain is very popular in many Latin American countries. We had this with Puerto Rican style green mojo sauce.

(prep time 5 min + cook time 10 min)
(serves 1-2)
How it's done

Unripe (green) Plantain 1 large 
Oil for deep frying
Kosher salt

Peel off the skin of the plantain and slice it into 1" to 1.25" chunks. I got eight pieces from one large plantain.
Heat some oil in a wok and deep fry the plantain pieces for 5 minutes and take them out.
Now you need to flatten them.
Traditionally a tostonera is used. And since I didn't have one I placed each piece between 2 sheets of wax paper and pressed down with the bottom of my palm, then I used the smooth side of a meat mallet and pounded it gently to a 1/4" thickness.
Once all the pieces are flattened, fry them again for another 5 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Take them out on sheets of paper to absorb extra oil and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.
Tell me this ain't easy.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Gai Hor Bai Toey

Thai style chicken wrapped in pandanus leaves. These turned out very tender and juicy, I had some friends over and they all loved it.

You can get frozen pandan leaves from Uwajimaya that are already cut into 6"strips, but I got fresh pandan leaves from Viet Wah on Jackson St. in Seattle. I think that's the only place where you can get them fresh. The leaves were well over 2' long even after I trimmed one inch off from the bottom because it seemed tough. I was able to get four 6" strips from each leaf. For this amount of chicken I needed two packets of pandan leaves for around $1.69 each.

(prep time 10 mins + 3 hours for marinade + 6 mins cook time)
(serves 2-3)

Coconut milk 1/2 cup
Red Thai chilies 3-4
Ginger 1 1/2 inch piece
Garlic 4-5 cloves
Cilantro small bunch (approx 1/2 cup)
Fish sauce 3 Tbs
Soy sauce 2 Tbs
Rice flour 1 rounded Tbs
Pepper 1 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp

Blend everything until smooth.
This amount will be enough for about 4 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) cut into 2" pieces.
Marinade the chicken for at least 3 hours in the fridge.
Simply wrap a single piece of meat in a 6" long pandan leaf and secure with a toothpick.
Deep fry for 5-6 mins.
We had this with a Thai sweet and sour sauce.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Class today

Fantastic group of people!
Everyone was good sport and used their fingers to eat the dessert :-)

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Goan fish curry

Wow.... August is surprisingly turning out to be all about south Indian delicacies!

This fish curry is prepared with an oily fish and has lots of coconut in it. Eating with your hands preferably on a banana leaf is highly encouraged :-)

Hubby ji loves fish, me not at all!! Anytime you see a post about seafood is because I made it for solely for him and had a salad for myself (and spent the rest of the day airing out the fish 'aroma?' from the apartment)
Sigh..... love!

(prep time 40 min)
(serves 2)

Mackerel 1 lbs - cut into large pieces
Desiccated coconut 1/2 cup (un-sweetened)
Coconut milk 2/3 cup
Ginger 1/2 Tbs (chopped fine)
Garlic 1/2 Tbs (chopped fine)
Onion 1/2 cup (sliced thin)
Tomatoes 1/2 cup (cut into small chunks)
Green chilies 1 Tbs (chopped fine)
Juice of 1 large lime
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Cumin 1 tsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Tamarind pulp 1/4 cup
Black pepper 1 tsp
Oil for cooking


Season the fish with coriander powder, cumin, turmeric, tamarind pulp, black pepper, salt and lime juice.
Marinade in the fridge for 15 mins.
Heat some oil in a frying pan and brown the onions until dark brown.
Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 mins or until the tomatoes are soft.
Mix in garlic, ginger and chilies and cook for 2-3 mins.
Blend grated coconut, coconut milk and the fried onion mix into a smooth gravy.
Add the fish to this sauce and cook on med-high heat for another 8-10 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
Don't over stir this.
Small little chunks of fish will fall off and mix with the sauce.
Sprinkle some fresh chopped cilantro over the curry.
Goes well with boiled cumin rice.
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rava Idli

I love south Indian food! I am new to the flavors and new to cooking it. The other day I woke up craving Idlis. I made the coconut chutney and Idli Podi. The idlis and rasam were from a pre-mix that I got from Mayuri. Maybe next time I'll make those from scratch.

hmmm... the title for this post is a bit misleading, Oh well :-)

I don't have idli molds so I steamed the batter in a large round steamer and used a cookie cutter to make the circular shapes.

Happy birthday bug, I love you so very much!

Coconut Chutney

This makes a lot of chutney, close to 3 cups, you can freeze the leftover easily. The ingredient list seems very daunting but all of the things on it are found very easily at any Indian grocery store.

Start with a fresh medium size mature coconut. Remove the water and keep aside. You will need only the white part of the coconut, peel off the brown skin at the back after removing the coconut from the hard shell. Cut the coconut into small chunks. You should have roughly 2 to 2 1/2 cups of coconut chunks.
Ginger 1" piece
Green chilies 2-3 medium size
Jaggery or Brown sugar 1 tsp
Tamarind pulp 2-3 Tbs
Cilantro leaves 1/4 cup
Channa Dal (split chickpeas without seed coat) 2 Tbs 
Urad/Maash Dal (washed black gram) 2 Tbs
Raw cashew nuts 1 Tbs
Raw Peanuts 1 Tbs
Mustard seeds 2 tsp
Cumin seeds 2 tsp
Curry Leaves 3-4 leaves
Water  (Use coconut water and add enough plain water to get 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid )
Salt 2 Tsp

For tempering: (these quantities are for 1 cup of chutney)
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Bay leaf 1 large - broken up in large pieces
Dried red chili 1 large - broken up in large pieces
Asafoetida (Hing) 2/3 tsp
Oil 4 Tbs


Most of the ingredients will need to be roasted. Channa dal takes the longest so start with that first.
Pour about 1 Tbs of oil in a frying pan and heat it up.
Add the channa dal and reduce the heat to a low simmer.
Roast the dal for about 10 mins and stir it a few times.
Now add the urad dal and roast for another 5 mins. Stir occasionally.
Add the cashews, peanuts, red chillies, curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and roast for another 6-8 mins. Stir after every minute or two.
Allow the roasted ingredients to cool down.
For this step a hand held immersion blender worked better for me than a regular blender.
Combine all the roasted ingredients with the coconut chunks, tamarind pulp, jaggery, ginger, green chilies, cilantro, salt and water (basically everything).
Blend blend blend until you get a smooth and thick chutney (almost as thick as yogurt).
Cool the chutney in the fridge for about 20-30 mins.

The chutney it almost ready. The step should be done right before serving, so if you are going to freeze the chutney then don't do this now. 

Heat 4 tbs of oil in a frying pan.
Add all the spices listed under "For Tempering" except hing, that should be added in the last 5 seconds.
Fry these on high heat for 30 seconds and pour the hot oil over the chutney. You will hear a loud sizzle, that's good a thing.
Your chutney is ready  :-)

Idli podi
(makes about 2/3 cup of powder)

Channa Dal (split chickpeas without seed coat) 1/4 cup
Urad/Maash Dal (washed black gram) 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds 2 tsp
Coriander seeds 2 tsp
Cumin seeds 2 tsp
Pepper corns 2 tsp
Sesame seeds 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 3-4 leaves
Dried Red chilies 2-3 Large
Asafoetida powder (Hing) 2/3 tsp (this is added in the last 5 seconds)
Garlic powder 1 tsp (optional) (this is added in the last 5 seconds)
Dried tamarind or anar dana (dried pomegranate seeds) 2 tsp (optional)
Oil 2 tbs (use about a tsp at a time)
Salt 1 tsp

All these spices are roasted separately and slowly over low heat and then ground into a fine powder.
Pour 1 teaspoon oil in a heavy base frying pan.
Roast channa dal for 10 mins - keep aside.
Add another teaspoon or oil and roast urad dal for 5-6 mins - keep aside.
Add the rest of the oil and roast all of the spices (minus the hing and garlic powder) for about 3-4 minutes add the hing and garlic powder in the last 5 seconds.
Allow everything to cool.
Grind everything together in a coffee grinder.

You can eat this with some ghee and idlis!
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Grilled Pomfret

You won't find this fish in Pike's Place, I got it from Uwajimaya and they also cleaned it for me. My husband loved it with khamiri roti, onions and lime .

(prep time 30 mins)
(serves 2)

Pomfret fish (whole) approx 1 lbs
Greek yogurt 3 Tbs
Red thai chilies 2 (med)
Lime juice 2 Tbs
Carom seeds (Ajwain) 2 tsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Coarse black pepper 1 tsp
Cumin 1 tsp


Make a few cuts across the fish.
Combine all of the spices, lime juice, yogurt and rub the paste liberally over the fish and inside the cuts.
Marinade it in the fridge for 30 mins.
Rub a little oil or butter on both sides. Do this again when you turn the fish.
I baked this in a pre-heated oven for 8 mins at 400 over a rack and then broiled it for 2-3 mins each side on high. This should also be great for grilling outdoors. Make sure to cover the fins and tail of the fish with some aluminum foil before you broil or grill as they blacken quick and catch fire.

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