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Curd – The making

Rich source of calcium & riboflavin, readily digestible proteins, an ideal diet for sensitive digestive systems and what not. Could it be in the form of lassi or buttermilk or let it be as it is, the most delicious of all! Curd is used in numerous ways in Indian culinary art. Over 50 per cent of the total milk in the country is converted in curd.

During the process of making curd, bacteria convert milk into curd and predigest milk protein. These bacteria then inhibit the growth of hostile or illness‑causing bacteria inside the intestinal tract and promote beneficial bacteria needed for digestion. These friendly bacteria facilitate the absorption of minerals and aid in the synthesis of vitamins of B group. Buttermilk, which has same nutritive and curative value as curd, is prepared by churning curd and adding some water, removing the fat in the form of butter.

Orla Jensen of Copenhagen, author of Lactic Acid Bacteria, observes that yogurt and fermented beverages may be frequently used in case of gastric irritation where other food cannot be retained by stomach. The lactic acid, he says, is completely metabolized to carbondioxide and water is not excreted in the urine. It also does not have any effect on acid-base balance in the system. It is thus an alkaline food. Besides aiding in the digestion of food, curd decreases dryness and gas in the stomach by helping in secretion of hydrochloric acid, pepsin and renin.

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I was unaware of making good quality curd in my initial days of marriage. As curd is ineluctable in my diet, I knew there must be some standard methods of making it.

I researched and got a solution; Curd is produced by the controlled fermentationof milk by two species of bacteria (Lactobacillus sp. and Streptococcus sp.).  The sugar in milk (called lactose) is fermented to acid (lactic acid) and it is this that causes the characteristic curd to form.  The acid also restricts the growth of food poisoning bacteria and some spoilage bacteria.  So, whereas milk is a potential source of food poisoning and only has a shelf life of a few days, curd is safer and can be kept for up to ten days, under proper storage conditions.   

For making curd you need a starter culture. Buy a packet of curd from any desi stores to get that Indian taste; I got it from one of my friend’s place. In US, I have heard of people getting it from India. I don’t know how far it’s true but genuinely accepted it.

Boil half a gallon of milk [could be 2% or whole milk, but not low fat] & cool till its luke warm [40-45°C]. Add starter culture, be generous and add half a cup into a clean canister preferably made of steel or porcelain. Loosen the curd & add the warm milk to it. Keep this overnight or for 6 to 8 hours. In cold countries, keep the container either in a preheated oven [150F] or switch on the oven lamp until the whole fermentation is carried out, 6 to 8 hrs or could be more in winter days. Also, I have heard to get thicker consistency people do add 1 tbsp of milk powder to it. If possible, then cool the curd in a refrigerator until it is eaten.

 Thought of making curd rice after scrumptious curd making session. Curd rice is one great comfort food . One could enjoy good tasting even with pickles or chutneys.

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Loosen curd [2cups with half a cup of water] & make sure it’s sour enough, if more then add milk. Splutter mustard, cumin & urad daal in a pan with few tbsp of oil. Add a pinch of asafetida. Add curry leaves few, green chilies chopped [4], ginger chopped ½ tsp. Stir for a while. Add curd & switch of the gas. Add cooked rice [2 cups, salt added while cooking] & stir all at once.Garnish with coriander leaves & have it with pickles or chutneys of your choice.

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Yes I have heard the voice against Internet plagiarism. Exactly what I have heard may vary, depending on what I have read, or been listening to, and so been filtering the information or opinions that we all may encounter. But everyone is worried about it — And for good reason, I am with it!

Yahoo, rather blaming others for ill practice, its better to apologize!

For more awareness on what happened do read this

 

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Icon credits Sandeepa

 

 

Blogging was one just option in making me engaged in doing something. Doing something in our own interesting area is fun, which is otherwise called hobby in our early childhood. But blogging could be said above all this. A word which every time spew from my mouth like feeling bored, feeling home sick and so on, has come to an end.    

Initially I just had liking for blogging, but now I started loving & my interest has powered to high degree. I make use of all the idle time in cooking, taking pictures, writing & reading other interesting blog. I will soon be getting engaged into my professional career, but I won’t be quitting this activity as my mind always feel fresh and active when I do this. I only repent on one thing why didn’t I start this before? 

Well I read about the JFI event in Mahanandi & quickly responded for this month’s event in happy burp. I was happier when I saw the JFI for this month is potato. I thought & the very next image which spring up into my mind was Mumbai’s chaat corner where you cannot find chaat without potatoes & I knew that I was going to make Ragada patties for this event.

Though high in carbs, potatoes maintain the blood sugar control in a steady manner as it releases the energy slowly, hence best source for long term energy. Potatoes are high in fiber aiding the digestive system and they absorb water which makes one feel satisfied and less hungry. Potatoes are fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free and saturated fat free. They are high in Vitamin C and potassium and are a great source of Vitamin B6 and dietary fiber. Hence they also show certain therapeutic effects. The alkaline in the potato can neutralize the acid of the stomach and relieve an upset stomach. It can help relieve heart burn or even a peptic ulcer can be helped by the alkaline in a potato.  

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Patties or tikkis are made of cooked and mashed potatoes & spices, which is then tawa fried [I baked it to reduce the oil content]. Ragada is used as relish for the patties, made by cooking chick peas in a spicy sauce and then pouring over the patties. The patties is finally garnished with tamarind chutney & chopped onions, green chilies, coriander leaves, curd & sev.

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Ragada

  • Chick peas 1 cup soaked overnight, cooked with salt and mashed a bit
  • Tomato 1 pureed
  • Turmeric Powder 1/2 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder 1tsp
  • Red chilly powder 3/4 tsp
  • Cumin powder 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder 1/2 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil few tsp for cooking

Patties

  • Potatoes cooked and mashed 4 medium sized
  • Garlic chopped finely 1 tsp
  • Green chilies chopped finely 1 tsp
  • Ajwain ¼ tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to brush up the patties before baking
  • Tamarind chutney  

Extract juice of marble sized tamarind & raisins [4 to 5, soaked previously in water] in half cup of water & discard fibers left any. Add red chilly powder, cumin powder [¼ tsp each] to it & salt to taste. Microwave this for 20 to 30 seconds. I make this way instead of making in large quantities.


Method

Ragada 

Add pureed tomatoes in a sauce pan and cook for a while. Add all the spice mixtures & salt to it. Now add the cooked chick peas, a cup of water & let the boil come. Mash the chick peas while stirring. 

Patties

Mix all the ingredients together except oil. Make patties of any shape. I baked these patties for 30 minutes turning them in between at 375F. This is usually done by drizzling few drops of oil on a tawa / pan, placing these tikis on the tawa & frying on both sides. I thought of cutting down oil content. 

Place these tikis on a serving plate. Add the Ragada on top of it. Drizzle few drops of tamarind chutney & curd. Garnish with chopped onions, coriander leaves and green chilies. I did not have sev to garnish. That definitely gives a good taste.

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Although I make varieties of pachadis at home, I gave a variation for my tomato pachadi this time. Pachadi is always made with ground coconut mixed with curd; here I skipped the coconut part as I had a shortfall in my freezer, that’s happening for first time. 

I rather found this to be simpler than the usual one i make as the grinding part was elided. This is served for 4 and made in not more than 10 minutes.

  • Tomatoes 1 medium sized diced randomly

  • Curd 1 ½ cup [mixed with ½ cup water if thick in consistency]

  • Curry leaves few springs

  • Mustard to splutter

  • Red chilly powder ¾ tsp

  • Turmeric powder ½ tsp

  • Salt to taste

  • Oil

 

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Splutter mustard in oil. Add curry leaves and tomatoes and cook for a while till it’s soft and mushy. Add all the powders & stir for a while. Loosen the curd if thick in consistency, add salt to it. Switch off the gas and add curd to the tomatoes with continuous stirring.

Haryali Chicken

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I was in an ecstatic mood for this V-day as my only husband said that we would be going out for dinner and to be ready for that evening. The moment he said, I started day dreaming about steaming Naan, kadai mushroom, kheema muttar & so on….. Another image which wool gathered was about haryali chicken as it was one of my favorite appetizers. The thought itself made me drooling, forget if it was kept in front of me.  

I usually have an urge to find out the local weather everyday, but my moony mind did not allow me to check the site that day. Fantasies were clouding my mind when all of a sudden I saw a lurid scene outside my window….I trice window shade slowly to see if my vision was proper…no it was not blurred…it was snowing !!! My next move was towards the system & checking hour by hour weather status. It showed heavy snow & windy that day. I’m not permitted to go out on bad weather days as I’m prone to status asthmaticus, which is in general called asthma.  

The V-day went flop and I didn’t bother, but the thoughts of haryali chicken didn’t erase from my mind.

Haryali chicken is a version of fried chicken where the marinade is made of herbs & spices.  

Making….. 

  • Chicken cut into pieces [legs, wings & thighs are good choice to go with this recipe] – 1 lb
  • Oil for shallow frying
  • Shallots for garnishing
  • Mint leaves for garnishing 

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Marinade 

  • Paste of coriander, mint and green chilies. I took a whole lot of bunch of coriander leaves, a few; say 4 to 5 leaves of mint and around 6 to 7 medium sized chilies
  • Whole peppercorns, coriander seeds & fennel seed ½ tsp each. Pulverize them to coarse powder.
  • Garlic finely chopped 1 ½ tsp
  • Ginger finely chopped 1 ½ tsp
  • Salt to taste  

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Marinate the chicken with the marinade said above. Keep refrigerated for half to one hour so that the flavors get sink into the pieces. Shallow fry them on medium to high flame turning sides in between. Garnish with fried shallots and mint.

Baking would also be a good option as the consumption of oil would be less. Serve as an appetizer or side dish with mint chutney.

Eurasian saucy relish

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Till today I was unaware that our very own radish could be Eurasian in origin.Were their ancestors interracial? ….Forget it! I never want to bring racism in vegetables.  

Radish which is called Mooli in Hindi is found lavishly in any corner of world. But these red ones; I hardly found anywhere in India. I do not know about present day as globalization would have bought impact on them too.   When I first saw them I was pretty confused with Turnips [Shelgaum in Hindi] & beet as they were hiding between beet leaves and pinkish white turnips in the grocery store. I thought, must be a hybrid species. It was then the Google Guru who stroked  me that it is a variety of radish.  I fell in love with them on first sight itself. One among the most beautiful vegetable I guess!   

Thought of giving a tangy taste to it ….. 

  • Radish red ones – 12 to 15 ones cut into quarters
  • Tomatoes – 2 diced
  • Garlic crushed – of 2 pods
  • Green chilies – 2 chopped
  • Jeera to splutter
  • Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Garam masala – 1 ½ tsp [I use kitchen king as it doesn’t give too much of masala taste even if added little more]
  • Kasoori methi[dried fenugreek leaves] – 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil as required
  • Water ½ cup 

Method 

Heat oil and splutter jeera when hot. Add tomatoes garlic & green chilies to it. Stir it in between until the tomatoes are done & become saucy. Add all the spice powder to it. Add the diced radish to the sauce pan, stir for a while, add salt & water, stir again. Close the pan & allow them to cook for say 15 to 20 minutes & done with it. Finally add kasoori methi & make a way to your stomach ……. 

Stir Fried Mushrooms & Paneer

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Stir fried veggies is the easiest recipes I guess. I usually make this when I’m not in a mood to cook. Just add bit oil, add together the veggies, spices & salt to taste…..What a cushy job!

Most of the Chinese recipes are stir fried such as stir fried string beans, broccoli, mushrooms, eggplants, noodles etc. I love them even if they are bland in taste, but spice is essential in whatever I cook.  This time my choice was button mushrooms and paneer. Both goes well for stir fried & because of its soft texture, it hardly takes time to cook….. 

The recipe goes this way 

  • Mushrooms – a packet which consist of 12 to 15 mushrooms
  • Paneer- 10 to 15 cubes
  • Tomatoes- 1 big diced
  • Green chilies – 4 to 5
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
  • Jeera to splutter
  • Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  • Tandoori masala – 1 tsp
  • Oil as required
  • Salt as required 

Method 

  • Heat oil in a pan & add jeera to splutter

  • Add sliced mushrooms and paneer to it

  • Toss it for a while till the paneer turns light brownish. Do not constantly stir with spatula as there is a tendency to break up the paneer cubes.

  • Add all the spice powders to it & toss for another 2 minutes.

  • Add diced tomatoes and green chilies at this stage.

  • Simmer it for a while till the tomatoes are soft & well bended with mushrooms.

  • The whole cooking is done on slow to medium flame.

As Tandoori masala is added it gives a grilled taste.