There are so many different dishes in Tamilian cuisine that they can be categorized based on the locality. One such cuisine is that of Tirunelveli, whose dishes are very popular and known for their unique taste and recipes. Here I have given a very popular dish from Tirunelveli called as Sothi. I also learnt recently that it is a popular dish in Srilankan cuisine as well. Sothi is a coconut milk based dish that has a creamy texture (somewhat like alfredo sauce, texture only not the taste) and a mild taste.
Whenever I cook Sothi, my dear friend’s mom come to my mind because she is the one who taught me to cook this dish and she is from Tirunelveli (no wonder :)). She always prepares Sothi when we visit their home for holidays. Compared to many other dishes from Tirunelveli, the number of ingredients used to prepare this dish is less. Coconut milk is the main ingredient and that gives a richness and thick consistency to Sothi.
Sochi is a pretty heavy dish in the sense that you feel the fullness even when had in small servings. Back home, Sothi is the main accompaniment for Idiyappam (string hoppers) along with diluted coconut milk with sugar. It can also be had with rice along with any spicy curry like Crunchy cauliflower. Try this ethnic dish from Tirunelveli right in your home and let me know if you like it with Idiyappam or rice. FYI, I love to have it with both 🙂
Grate the coconut and pulse them adding some water. Strain the milk using strainer. This is first (thick) milk. Add some water to the extracted coconut and pulse them again for couple of seconds and strain the milk. This is second (thin) milk. Repeat this process and extract third milk as well.
Pressure cook the dal for 1 whistle.
Grind ginger and chilli in a blender to a fine paste and keep it aside.
Chop all the vegetables and keep it ready.
In a kadai add a tsp of oil and season it with fenugreek seeds.
Add in onions, garlic and green chillies.
When the onions turn golden brown add the second and third extracted coconut milk.
Then add all the vegetables and bring them to boil. I used drumstick and carrots today. I added drumstick first as it takes lots of time to cook. After 10 minutes I added carrots.
Add the cooked dal to the vegetables and again bring it to boil.
Now add the ground mixture (ginger and chillies) along with salt.
When the gravy becomes thick, add cumin and coriander leaves.
When the mixture comes to boil for the last time add the first extracted coconut milk to it and immediately switch off the stove.
You can sprinkle lemon juice after 10 minutes(optional).
Chicken Lo Mein is a Chinese noodles dish made with wheat flour noodles and chicken. Lo Mein is the Cantonese name for stirred noodles. Traditionally Lo Mein is a variation of another dish called the Wonton noodle soup. Lo Mein is a popular take-out in American Chinese restaurants. It is also sometimes called as Chow Mein but the preparation of this dish very different from that of Lo Mein since with Chow Mein, the noodles are made crispy by frying.
I love Chinese food but normally prefer fried rice and what not. I got hooked to noodles variety only recently. Like said in my earlier posts, I am always on the lookout for dishes from different cuisines which I can try in my kitchen. And now I had the opportunity to cook an authentic dish from Chinese cuisine. The Chicken Low Mein recipe I had given below is a very easy to make and the end result is totally worth the effort.
Chicken Lo Mein has a slight sweetness to it because of the brown sugar but also has spiciness as well at the same time. It is an apt dish to be served for both lunch and dinner. Try this popular Chinese dish in your home and let me know your experience 🙂
Chicken thighs, cut to bite size pieces – 500 grams
For the Lo-Mein:
Lo Mein noodles – 4 oz
Olive oil - 2 tbsp
Unsalted butter - 1 tbsp
Eggs, large, lightly beaten - 2 nos
Ginger, minced - 1 tsp
Red chilli flakes, crushed - ½ tsp
Carrots, shredded - ½ cup
Snow peas - ½ cup
Garlic, minced - 3 cloves
Green onions, sliced thinly – 2 nos
Salt to taste
In a small bowl combine and whisk together sesame oil, hot sauce, garlic, soy sauce, water, sugar, and cornstarch; set the sauce aside.
In a large bowl, add many ice cubes and prepare ice bath for broccoli. So that the broccoli retain its color after blanching.
Bring water in a sauce pan along with little salt to boil. Add the broccoli and blanch them for 4 minutes. Immediately transfer them to the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Heat a large skillet with olive oil in medium high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until changes to white/brown color. Add the blanched broccoli, reduce the flame to medium and add the sauce. Stir to coat ingredients and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Transfer it to a bowl.
Meanwhile bring water in the sauce pan along with little salt to boil. Add the noodles and boil for 10 minutes. Simmer it and cook for another 15 minutes or until the noodles are well cooked. Make sure the noodles don’t stick before adding to the water. Drain the noodles and set aside.
Heat the large skillet and add butter in medium low flame. Add the minced ginger and sauté for few seconds or until raw smell disappears. Add the crushed pepper and cook for couple of seconds. Add in the eggs, stir gently and cook for about 3 minutes or until well done.
Sauté carrot and snow peas with very little olive oil in a small flat skillet. And add it to the eggs.
Add the chicken and broccoli to the eggs as well.
Finally add the drained noodles to the skillet, stir until everything is coated well with the sauce. Sprinkle with green onions and serve hot.
Soy sauce has a lot of sodium, so taste before you add any to the finished product.
Pickle is an accompaniment in Indian cuisine similar to mustard and ketchup in American or salsa in Mexican cuisines. Pickle in the US has a different meaning altogether where it is cucumber fermented in brine or vinegar. Pickle is very popular in Andhra cuisine where it is almost had with all main entrée dishes.
Back home, there are literally hundreds of variety of pickles (both sweet and spicy) and green chilli pickle is one among them. Green Chilli pickle is a recipe from my grandmother, passed on to my mother and now to me (and I will pass on to my daughter when she is ready ). Green Chilli pickle is the best complement for curd rice.
I love Green Chilli pickle very much and have wanted to make it for a long time. As the name suggests, green chilli is the main ingredient (and mango-ginger as well) in this recipe. I am sure all spicy food lovers will love this one. Try this wonderful pickle , have it with curd rice and let me know your thoughts.
Soak tamarind in water and make a thick paste out of it.
Heat gingelly oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds. Add onions and sauté until the color changes. Add chopped ginger, garlic and green chillies and sauté for few minutes.
Add chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and immediately add the tamarind extract.
Give it a stir and switch off the flame when the oil separates.
1.You could also substitute ginger with mango ginger (Inji maanga) and that tastes awesome too. 2.You can refrigerate the pickle and use it for a week. If you want to store it for more days add very little jaggery while making the pickle.
I wanted to post something special for the first post of this new year. So for the past few days, I have been contemplating about trying a different cuisine than the usual south Indian or the occasional north Indian varieties. So me and my HB, after much deliberation, decided on chinese cuisine. As for the actual dishes, we decided on Prawn rice and Dragon chicken.
Prawn rice is similar to fried rice except that in fried rice we add soy sauce. Also in fried rice, we cook the rice separately, then add other ingredients along with the cooked rice in a wok and cook them further. In Prawn rice we cook everything separately, i.e.., rice and prawn and then mix them together. Dragon chicken is an indo-chinese dish which is very easy to make. Guess the ‘Dragon’ came from the fiery red color of the dish. It is a dry and spicy dish that goes well with rice, chappati, fried rice or rotis.
Do try these dishes in your home and let me know your experience 🙂
BTW, a very happy & prosperous 2015!!! 🙂
Chicken 65 masala powder – 1 ½ tbsp (I used shakthi brand)
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Salt – as required
Ajinamotto – ½ tsp (optional)
Corn flour – 1 tbsp
Water – 1 tbsp
For the rice:
Basmati rice – 1 cup
Ajinamotto – a pinch (optional)
Salt as required.
Oil – 2 tbsp
Scallions or spring onions – 3 tbsp, divided
Onion, slits, medium – 1 no
Green bell pepper, finely chopped – 3 tbsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Scrambled eggs – 1 cup
Salt if needed
Green chilli sauce – ½ tsp
Cilantro leaves – 2 tbsp
Garlic, minced – ½ tbsp
For Dragon Chicken
To marinate :
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Crushed pepper - ½ tbsp
Egg whites - from 1 egg
Corn starch - ¼ cup
Soy sauce - ½ tbsp
Boneless Chicken thighs (cubed) - 500g
Ginger - ½ tbsp, finely chopped
Garlic - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Red chilli flakes - 1½ tbsp
Tomato sauce - 1½ cups
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
Cilantro - 1 handlful, chopped
Spring onions - 1 stalk, chopped
Vegetable oil for deep frying
Clean and marinate the prawns. Leave it for at least an hour and shallow fry them.
Cook rice separately. I cooked the rice using boiling method to get fluffy separate grains.
Soak the rice for 20 minutes in water. Boil enough water in a medium sized sauce pan and add the rice. Cook until the rice grains starts to sputter. Always stay close while cooking the rice by boiling method. Because rice cooks really quick in this method.
Heat oil in a skillet and add scallions and onions. Sauté till they turn translucent. Add bell peppers and sauté for a minute. Add them to the rice.
Sauté garlic separately.
Transfer the rice to a wide open mixing bowl or a wok and add the sauce, scrambled eggs, sautéed garlic and fried prawns. Mix them very carefully without breaking the rice. Garnish with spring onions and serve hot.
For Dragon Chicken:
Marinate the cut chicken cubes with the marination ingredients mentioned above and set aside for like 15 minutes.
Deep fry the marinated chicken until the cubes turn golden brown.
Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and pour a tbsp of oil (you can reuse the oil used for deep frying)
Once the oil is hot, add the chopped garlic, garlic and saute until the raw smell goes away
Add in the chill flakes and saute for a little while.
Add in the tomato sauce and stir well.
Then add soy sauce and leave it until the broth comes to a boil
Add the fried chicken cubes to the broth and cook until everything is combined well (by now the mixture should have dried down i.e., not like a gravy anymore)
Garnish with chopped cilantro and chopped spring onion
Server hot with Prawn rice.
If you don’t have green chilli sauce at home, chop few green chillies finely and add them to a half cup of water. Allow them to soak for an hour and just use the water (2 tbsp) to the rice.
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that is not often found in South Indian palate (especially Tamilnadu). It is a low fat, low in carbohydrates but rich in fiber vegetable. Cauliflower fry is one of the many varieties prepared using this vegetable. I came across this recipe when searching for a supplement to our diet (and yes we start a diet system many times a year, but sticking to one is a different story 🙂 )
The main specialty about this Cauliflower fry is the way it is cooked. Though it is called a fry, I actually use a conventional oven to cook. It is a very tasty dish, trust me. When you are uncertain about what side dish to prepare for Chappati or Naan etc remember this wonderful Cauliflower fry.
For those who don’t have an oven, you can cook this dish using a stove as well. Try this simple, delicious and healthy dish in your kitchen and tell me your experience. 🙂
Tomato paste or puree, thick – 4 tbsp (I used hunt’s)
Garlic cloves, minced – 1 tbsp
Kashmiri red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Garam masala - ½ tsp
Salt – ½ tsp
For the seasoning:
Oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – a sprig
Green chilli, slits – 4 nos
Ginger, julienned – 1 tbsp
Onion, big, slits – 1 no
Kashmiri red chilli powder – ½ tbsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp (optional)
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Dry fenugreek leaves or kasthoori methi, crushed – 1 tbsp
Spring onions or scallions – 1 to 2 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and mix all the above ingredients in a large aluminium pan given under 'To bake'. Place it inside the oven and cook for 30 to 45 minutes until the cauliflowers are crunchy (stirring in between). For those who do not have conventional oven, just fry it in a pan on the stove until they are nicely done.
Meanwhile heat oil in a flat pan and season with mustard, urad dal, curry leaves and green chillies. When they start to splutter add onions and sauté until they turn translucent.
Add julienned ginger.
Add all the powders (coriander, chilli, salt, turmeric) and kasthoori methi. Add oven baked or stove cooked cauliflower. Sauté well and cook for 10 minutes.
Garnish with scallions and cilantro.
!To make tomato puree at home: Roughly chop the tomatoes and sauté with little onion until they leave oil. Blend them to make a thick paste.
Carrot chutney is a side dish made entirely from carrots. I did not know you can make chutney from carrots until recently. It is a healthy alternative to other side dishes that you have for dosa and idli, like, coconut chutney, kadalai paruppu chutney etc. Carrot, as you know, is a very good source of Vitamin A. So what better way to have it other than as chutney for breakfast and start your day on a healthy note :). Carrot chutney is one of my HB’s favorite side dish for dosa and idli especially because it being a healthier option.
Carrot chutney is very good for kids who normally sulk over eating vegetables since having it with idli or dosas is easier than having them eat it raw. One other interesting thing to notice is that how well carrot tastes along with ginger, a root known for its medicinal values (home remedy for indigestion, nausea etc).
Do try this recipe in your home and let me know your experiences.
Though fried rice is a Chinese delicacy, it is very popular in India as well. It is a popular street food there. Fried rice in India is a fusion of Indian spices and Chinese method of preparation, aptly named as Indo-Chinese fried rice. Indo-Chinese fried rice has become so popular that I have seen them as a menu item in some Chinese restaurants here!My inspiration for indo-chinese egg fried rice is my uncle. He is a very good cook and one of his specialties is egg fried rice. Whenever we visit them (Toronto, Canada), we can see it in the menu on one of the days. The recipe that I have given below is a tried and tested Indo-Chinese version.
Note:- Fried rice prepared in restaurants has ajinomoto as one of the ingredients but I personally don’t prefer using it and it is not healthy as well (read somewhere that it has carcinogenic properties). Also, the one time I used it, I did not notice any difference in the taste.Delicious, right?
Indo-Chinese fried rice is a variation of regular chinese fried rice with indian spices. Check out the easy to prepare instructions and enjoy hot fried rice, Indian style!
Gingelly oil - 1 tbsp
Green Onion (thinly sliced, green & white separated) - ¼ cup
Garlic, minced - 1 tbsp
Ginger, minced - 1 tbsp
Red Bell Pepper - ¼ cup
Green peas - ½ cup
Carrots -1/4 cup
Cabbage - ¼ cup (optional)
Egg - 1
Cooked basmati rice (or any long grained variety) - 1 cup
Soy Sauce - 1 tbsp or to taste
White pepper – 1 tsp
Chilli garlic sauce – 1 tsp (I used sriracha)
Cook the rice and set aside to cool naturally or refrigerate it for at least 3 hours – Drizzle in few drops of gingely oil and mix the rice carefully until grains are easily separated. Do this once before it goes into the refrigerator.
Make sure to keep all the ingredients ready before proceeding.
Heat a wok or any deep frying pan (I would prefer non-stick) in high heat with gingely oil. Add in green onions(only white), ginger and garlic. Stir for 5-6 seconds or until the aroma aroma spreads.
Add rest of the vegetables. Make sure nothing burns given that you are cooking in high flame. And you want the vegetables to be cooked but still crunchy (that’s the reason we chopped them into smaller and uniform pieces). Keep stirring for 40 - 50 seconds.
Now it is time to add the eggs to the sides of the vegetables. Sauté the eggs until well cooked and scrambled (In restaurants they used to add the eggs once after the rice is added. But I prefer this way).
Next add the cooked (refrigerated) rice. Stir until all the vegetables and eggs are combined.
Next add the soy sauce, chilli sauce and white pepper. Stir for the flavors to combine. Make sure you don't stir it too much because that might make the rice mushy.
Garnish with scallion greens. Serve hot with chilli chicken or butter chicken or any sides of your choice.
1. soak basmati rice in water for 20 minutes before boiling. For 1 cup of rice add 11/2 cups of water. 2. Refrigerate the cooked rice so that you can retain its texture while making fried rice. 3. Chinese foods are mostly (or as far as i know) cooked in high flame. so make sure you keep all the ingredients ready well before starting. 4. Non Vegetarian lovers could also add cooked minced meat right after the eggs are scrambled and before the rice is added. Vegetarians can skip this entire sequence.