February 05, 2012

Sundays in the Kitchen #1

Sunday lunch at home is my department. But usually I end up making my ten minute rice and dhal and vegetable fry. Nothing too exciting. I overcame my urge to be lazy this Sunday and decided to cook something different for lunch.

The menu:
Cashew nut and Mushroom Rice, Brinjal (Rat) Curry, Tomato Raita

Brinjal (Rat) curry:
For as long as I can remember, this curry with the whole mini brinjals has been called 'rat curry' at home. Despite the resemblance, it's still quite a gross name.

First wash and trim the tails of the brinjals. Cut into quarters but not all the way up the stem to keep them intact. Make a masala paste with dry mango powder, haldi, garam masala, salt and oil. Use a knife to spread the paste into the slits of the brinjal. Deep fry till the skin is slightly crispy and and the insides are cooked.

In a saucepan, add 1 tsp of grated ginger, 1 tsp of grated garlic to 4 tbsps of hot vegetable oil (if you have groundnut oil, it adds a nice nuttiness to the curry). Add 2 onions that are finely chopped. Mix well and cook till the onions have turned translucent. Add 4 tsps of andhra masala- this is a combination of chili powder, corriander powder, jeera powder, haldi, powdered cloves and probably other things too.  The one we have at home was given to us, so I can't even check any list of ingredients. But I'm sure you can experiment with the use of various powders. Just make sure none of them overpower the dish.

Once the masalas are nicely mixed up, add 5 finely chopped tomatoes. Reduce the flame, cover with a lid and leave to cook for about ten or fifteen minutes. Keep stirring to make sure the bottom doesn't burn. Once nicely cooked, add about 150 ml of coconut milk. If you don't have fresh coconut milk/cream, just mix about 4 tbsps of dried coconut powder with milk. Stir well and put over the fried brinjals. I didn't have any fresh corriander today, but it will make a nice garnish.

Cashew and Mushroom Rice:
In a saucepan, add half a chopped onion, 1 tsp of jeera seeds to 2 tbsp of oil and 1 tbsp of ghee. Then add 1 tsp of grated garlic, 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper and a pinch of cinnamon. Once it is fried well, add a handful of cashew nuts and 1 cup of sliced mushrooms. Fry till mushrooms are cooked and cashew nuts and golden. Add 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then lower heat, put the lid on and cook for ten minutes.

Tomato Raita:
Whisk up about 400g of set curd. Add 3 tsps of black salt, 1 tsp of corriander powder and a pinch of chili powder. Then add 3 finely chopped up tomatoes and half a green chili.

And that was my lunch today. Was quite nice. :)

I really need more practice with food presentation and photography. The thing is I'm far too impatient because the food becomes cold. There's always next Sunday for more practice.

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