Gol Gappa for Elevenses

Pani Puri or fondly known as Gol gappa…

Filled crispy mini puris dipped in sweet spicy tamarind water… 

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I remember asking my husband about them after watching ‘Gol gappi’ session in one of my all time favi Hindi movie Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi..

But it stopped there.

Recent times, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to try them out at a Gujarati eatery. Few more visits later, last weekend I returned home with a pack of 50 mini puris.

I had the strong intentions to replicate or innovate.

Today these replicates were my Elevenses treat ! 

Fillings; chickpeas, chopped onions, coriander leaves, Indian mixture and a touch of masala powder.

Masala powder: Chilli powder ‘a little’ or chopped fresh chillies or chilli flakes or Chat Masala (available from Indian grocery shops).

There are variety of sauce/water versions served as dips.. I have tried the spicy water version, however I definitely preferred the sweet sour spicy tamarind water which I believe is known as Meetha Chutney, this is the recipe  I used.

As always, I am not a strict follower of measurements within cookery and use the ‘agak agak je la’ techniques (translates ‘as per individual taste’).
You should be able to buy freshly made mini puris from an Indian sweet shop or traditional eatery spots.

Definitely a treat that you could get easily hooked on…as I DID!

Happy weekend everyone..

 

©CreamCili

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Onam Celebrations

We were invited to Onam celebrations recently, an event organised close to our village.

Onam is a major celebration celebrated in one of the southern states of India, Kerala.

A brief introduction, from my perspective that is…

Historically during the British Empire period, the Indians who migrated to Malaysia were mostly from the Southern states of India with Tamil Nadu being the highest exporter of migrant workers. On the same count, some of my childhood friends in Malaysia trace their ancestry to Kerala…

As with Deepavali, a major celebration in the state of Tamil Nadu and people of origin (like myself), Onam celebrations in Malaysia is more of a trickled affair, by ‘trickled’ I mean it is not as exactly as how our ancestors would have celebrated it however attempts are made to closely resemble it, as far as memory permits.
In honesty, I as a third generation of Indian origin from Malaysia, we have somewhat lost a few details and gained a few. It is memories that guide me with my heritage today and too will help guide my children…

People from Kerala mostly speak in Malayalam language, a language closely related to Tamil, my mother language.

Through this closeness of language and friendship, I have come to like and fall in love with many Malayalam movies and have great appreciation for their music.

And at the Onam celebration, undoubtedly I have fallen in love with THEIR FOOD too…

WOW was the word I could describe it!

We were served with almost 15 DIFFERENT TYPES OF DISHES on a banana leaf replicate, some came in tiny quantities, some served in abundance, and on the whole we were super filled.
They were pen ultimately finished off with Cherupayar Payasam or as we refer to it in Tamil Pachapeyar Payasam (made with green moong dhal and coconut milk) for dessert.

Post planned activities, the day concluded with delicious sugar high milk tea and fried lentil cakes or parupa vadai..

Since the day, I have been on search for Kerala recipes online in hope to recreate…

Grateful to have found Indu’s International Kitchen, a sweet and straightforward little blog and you can read more about Onam foodery on her site.

My baby boy who sat down ever so calmly for his share…
(and the rest was a messy history 🙂 )

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Hot and Spicy Chicken curry

It’s raining and predicted to rain all day where I am..

The next village is now just partly visible from my kitchen window, covered in thick mist.

And it does feel quite wintery…a feel I get almost 350 days in the year! 🙂

Here’s a recipe to warm up the day.

Hot and spicy Chicken curry….

Ingredients (Enough for approx. 3-5 people)

Approx. 1 inch of ginger – sliced thin
2 cloves of garlic – sliced thin
2 tbsp. of ginger garlic paste
3 medium potatoes – cubed
3 medium tomatoes – chopped
1 ½ red onions sliced
2 packets of Chicken breast quarters (check it out from Tesco) – cut into small pieces and skin removed.
Once cleaned, add ¼ tsp. turmeric powder and 1 tsp. of ginger garlic paste to the chicken and coat well, leave aside for 15-20 mins.
(Approx. 0.6 kgs)
4-5 tbsp. cooking oil
450ml hot water
100ml coconut milk
Few curry leaves – if available.
Coriander leaves for garnish.

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Spices:
½ tsp. jeera
½ tsp. fennel seeds
1 dried chilli
2 cardamoms
1-2 star anise
1-2 inch of cinnamon sticks
2 cloves

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And curry powders:
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. coriander powder
40g. Curry powder
6-8g of good chilli powder

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Curry, chilli and masala powders – feel free to experiment with different brands to achieve the required taste and heat levels. I use Baba’s, Rajah’s or East End brands.

Rajah’s curry powder are quite spicy for me so I reduce the quantity accordingly. The above are for Baba’s brand which is comparatively milder to other brands mentioned.

Method:

1. On medium stove, heat oil and add the spices, add curry leaves if available. When it gets quite aromatic, add the onions and sliced garlic and ginger, fry till lightly browned, then add potatoes, let these cook for 30 seconds.
2.  Now add garam masala and coriander powder. Next add the marinated chicken, tomatoes and ginger garlic paste, stir well, cover and leave it to cook in its own juices for 1-2 min. The tomatoes and paste should provide enough liquid.
3. Once the chicken looks cooked on the top, add the curry and chilli powders. Stir well, it should look slightly oily. Keep stirring to avoid ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Do this for at least 30-60 seconds.
4. Now add the hot water, stir well, bring it to a boil, then cover and leave it to cook on the same medium heat for approx. 3 minutes.
5. Add the coconut milk, mix well, bring it to a boil and cook for a further 1 min.
6. Turn the stove to lowish heat (slightly above simmer point) and let the curry cook to bring out the best of flavours for 20-25mins. I typically set my timer accordingly.

Keep a check, the rate at which the liquid (curry) reduces depends on your stove and pot. If needed, add a little hot water (remember to always use hot water!!)

You could if preferred, thicken this curry by cooking on higher heat :-).
A note however: The approx. length of cooking indicated in recipe above helps to achieve a succulent chicken curry.

Add salt to taste and garnish with Coriander leaves before serving.

Serve with warm white basmati rice or breads…yummylious!

Enjoy cooking everyone!

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Sambal Tofu

I still remember those hot Friday afternoons when I rush home from school for lunch time, having worked so hard (WELL that’s how I viewed my teen life to be 🙂 ), knackered and super happy its finally weekend!

Malaysian school finishes earlier on Fridays to allow Muslims to observe their Solat Jumaat secara berjemaah – Friday prayers together with other people in the community.
In the northern states of Peninsula Malaysia, Friday is a day off, hence your weekend starts on a Thursday.

Albeit all the traffic jams caused, I often find myself mesmerized at the beautiful sight where you find people coming together in hundreds to join in the Mosques.

Likewise Fridays are a prayer day for Hindus too, and in our household, my mum would typically cook a scrumptious vegetarian meal comprising sambar, two vegetable stir frys and or a sambal dish and a must have deep fried dish.
Appalams (or papadams) , yummy finger licking array of pickles and my sister’s favourite plain yogurt (tairu) serve as glorious extras.

This sambal tofu recipe I’m sharing today is one of our family’s favorite Friday dishes.

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

©CreamCili

Main Ingredients

500g Firm tofu (I used Tofu King brand – Made in UK)
1 ½ medium white onions sliced – (keep a handful aside to add towards the end)
1 ½ large tomatoes chopped
1 clove garlic sliced
1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil
120ml boiling water (Approx. 8 tbsp)
3 tbsp. sweet chilli sauce.
1 tsp. lime leaves chopped (if available) / 1 stick of lemon grass
Handful of coriander leaves chopped
Salt to taste

Spices:
1-2 star anise
3-4 Cardamoms

Curry powders:
½ tsp. turmeric powder.
2 tsp. chilli powder (adjust to individual heat level as required).
(I use Rajah or East End brand)

Method:

Prepare ahead:

Cube the firm tofu, sprinkle some turmeric powder and salt and keep aside for 5 mins.
Deep fry these cubes in vegetaable oil till lightly browned. Watch closely and do not let them overcook.
Remove and set aside.

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In a wok:

1. Heat oil, add spices to flavour the oil and brown the chopped garlic and sliced onions.
2. Next add the chopped tomatoes (you could also use tinned chopped tomatoes) and saute.
3. Add the ginger garlic paste, cover and cook for a few more seconds.
4. Add the turmeric and chilli powder, stir well, again cover and cook in the juices for approx. 15 seconds, before adding half (60ml) of the boiling water. Now cover and leave it to cook in medium heat for a few minutes till it thickens. Stir as necessary.
5. Add the lime leaves (if available) / lemon grass. Add the remaining boiling water, cover and cook in low heat for few more minutes.
6. You can now add the sweet chilli sauce, salt, and the handful of sliced onions you set aside earlier. Cook for a few more minutes, till the gravy thickens, now add in the fried tofu, lower the heat, coat well in gravy before serving.

Garnish with coriander leaves!

For a simplistic meal, serve with white boiled rice and sliced cucumbers.

Best wishes
©CreamCili

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Sprats – deep fried the mi-way

In season: July to April (UK)

Greater similarity to my favourite Anchovy or Ikan Bilis Besar…
I wanted to know how they taste like and seek out if they are compatible with an Asian recipe..
Specifically the Malaysian Indian (mi) way 🙂

I paid just £0.94 for about 15 of these tiny fish at my local supermarket..

Ingredients:

1 tbps. Ginger garlic paste
1 tbps. Red onion paste
¼ tbsp. Turmeric powder
2 tsp. Curry powder
¼ tbps. Chilli powder
Thinly sliced red onion and chopped corianders
Lemon juice
Salt to taste
Plain flour

(My recommendation: If available, Fish/Seafood curry powder would be a better option for its higher jeera content… I used Baba’s Fish curry powder)

I cleaned and scaled the fish -without removing the head.

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Mix well and leave it to marinade for minimum of 45 mins before dabbing each fish with plain flour and deep fry these in vegetable oil for a few minutes.

The fish was full of flavour and had more of Mackerel like taste than Anchovy to me.
Simple, delicious and a crunchy  accompaniment to rice and dhall…..

And at such good value, I would definitely be buying again when they are in season again this year.

I found this Good Fish Guide from the Marine Conservation Society, pretty useful for information on sustainable approach to buying fish.

And hope you do enjoy this simple recipe..

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