Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Dulce De Leche

Now, why would I come back to this almost deserted blogspot of mine?
Oh, just a picture wouldn't do justice to this sweet, I realized. 

It's been almost a year, when I had decided I would want to try making some DDL at home. Thanks to the very scary thought of cooking a can full of condensed milk inside the pressure cooker, it never got done. This time around, I had decided come what may I need to make an attempt, may be when the husband was around. 

This morning,  I woke up early in an attempt to finish the trial before the spouse left home. After all I had to ensure, someone was around to rush me to the emergency room in case of untoward incidents. Lucky enough I am here relishing DDL and blogging about it.

I had this presumption that since its a sweet dish, I wouldn't gorge on it. Boy! was I wrong, indeed. Its silky, smooth texture and the divine taste would never make you look for a company , period. 

I would not call myself a fan of DDL yet, for something sweet is not my liking. But if there's someone whom I should be scared of, its got to be my 5 year old daughter. She's someone who's got very picky choices when it comes to sweets and anything royal is only what she would prefer. And DDL has been added to her list from today. 

I followed the instructions from Cakes and More and from DivyasCookBook .

  • I cooked my DDL for about twenty minutes (in a five litre cooker) after the first whistle in low flame and it was just perfect to our liking.
  • If you prefer a more caramelized form, cooking for about 30 to 40 minutes should do it.
  • Make sure the can is in room temperature before attempting to cook it in the pressure cooker.
  • Make sure you have abundant patience before opening the cooker or the tin, for you may have to pay the price for it later on.
Hope to use the DDL in some desserts in the coming days. Stay tuned.

More on DDL at Wiki and David Lebovitz page.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Tomato Thokku

Tomatoes hit a low price very recently and I took advantage of the situation. How? I got myself 2 Kgs of Natti Tomatoes. Now that I had them, I had just two things to make out of them.

Making Tomato Sauce and Tomato Thokku at home has always been on my to-do list. Tomato Sauce is still on the plans, but I got cracking with Tomato Thokku.

I remember tasting this particular dish from the tiffin dabbas of my classmates at school and the taste still lingers on. This dish is quite popular in the state of Tamil Nadu. I did ask around a few on how to go about this dish and a bit of google search and I have made the simplest version of tomato thokku and sharing the same here.

The flexibility this dish carry's along with it, is simply amazing. You can make it spicy, tangy, sweet (with a bit of jaggery), or even give it a flavour of garlic and then you can have variations in its texture too. You can either prepare the dish with pureed tomatoes or with  bite size chunks. There's some more, with or without skin, with or without the tomato juice. I told you, this dish can be customized in any manner that you wish.

Personally I believe the juice that oozes out adds on the flavour and taste to the dish.The texture is somewhere between a chutney and pickle in my opinion. Its good to go along with hot steaming rice, rotis, chappathis, (Indian flatbread), Idlis and Dosas.

500 gms                              Tomato
2 Tsp                                  Mustard
2 Tsp                                  Fenugreek Seeds
2 Tbsp                                Oil
1 strand                              Curry Leaves
Chilli powder                      (As per your taste)
Salt                                    (As per your taste)

My way of Making 
1. Chop the tomatoes into small bite sized cubes and keep aside.
2. Heat a kadai or heavy bottom pan with some oil. Once hot let the mustard seeds crackle. Add on the fenugreek seeds and curry leaves.
3. Saute for few seconds.
4. Add on the tomatoes and let them cook covered. Mix well with required Chilli powder and Salt.
5. Check for the water content (that the tomatoes let out).
6. See to that the dish does not burn. Keep stirring once every ten minutes.
7. Check for the thickness of the gravy after about 20 minutes.
8. If thick enough, cook for about ten minutes without lid and stir it once more time.
9. Once cooled store in air tight containers under refrigeration.

1. Never use an aluminium pan or kadai when cooking with tomatoes.
2. Always use a dry spoon to dish out some thokku.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Idichakka Thoran

The moment I saw these tender raw jack fruit lying on the shelves at SPAR I knew I had to take it home with me. But why? It got me nostalgic. Yeah I have told this earlier too I realize. Anything that reminds of summer vacations at my maternal grandparents place in Kerala makes me emotional and nostalgic. Jack fruits and mangoes definitely fall into this category. What fun it was to pull them down right in ones own garden and farm. Gone are those days of fun during vacations.

Tender raw jack fruits(ഇടിച്ചക്ക) could easily get confused for breadfruit (കടച്ചക്ക). But both taste different and are cooked different as well. 

Cleaning and cooking tender raw jack fruits (ഇടിച്ചക്ക) or for that matter any form of Jack fruit is not an easy job. One needs to grease hands and the knife with enough oil so as to spare the gum from sticking all over.  And please be careful not to cut your fingers the way I managed to.  The outer skin is very rigid and thick and takes time to be removed. Best done after cutting down the jack fruit into cubes. The beauty of tender raw jack fruit is that only the outer skin needs to be removed and every other part of the fruit can be cooked.

A friend suggested I try making dry roast dish similar to the beef ularthiyathu and so I have kept aside some cooked cubes to try them out in the coming days. 

This time around, I have attempted to bring in the flavours similar to that of my grandmothers thoran preparation.

2 cups de-skinned and diced     Tender Raw Jackfruit          
2 tsp                                           Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp                                        Turmeric Powder                
3/4 cup                                       Grated Coconut                                         
3-4 depending on spice levels    Green Chillies                                            
3/4 cup cleaned and sliced         Shallots                                                                                                                                 
1 tsp finely chopped                   Ginger                                                        
1 tsp finely chopped                   Garlic                                                         

1 tsp                                          Mustard Seeds
1 tsp                                          Urad dal
2 Sprigs                                     Curry Leaves
3-4 depending on spice levels  Split Dry Red Chillies  

2 tsp depending on spice levels  Crushed Pepper Pods

Salt                                           As per taste
Oil                                            2 tsp

My way of making
1. Pressure Cook the diced jack fruit for about one whistle with turmeric powder, salt, chilli powder. Do not over cook. Drain the water if there is excess and crush the cooked jackfruit with a pestle or rolling pin or use the back of the spoon with all the elbow power you posses. Easier way is to use the mixer but do not churn them to a paste. Pulsing them would help.
2. Grind together coconut, green chillies, shallots,ginger and garlic without water.
3. In a wok, heat oil and wait for the mustard to crackle. Add urad dal to it and add the split red chillies and curry leaves.
4. To this add the crushed jack fruit and add along the crushed pepper pods. Check for salt and add if necessary only.
5. Add the ground coconut paste to the jack fruit and saute for about three four times and cook covered for five minutes.
6. Serve hot with steaming rice.