Kachchi Kairi ki Khaasiyat!

Ever had bhel puri with little pieces of raw mango in it? Try it. We did last week at the office – had a bhel wala come in and give us all freshly tossed bhel, salted and ‘chillied’ according to every individual’s taste. Enjoyed it and got inspired by raw mango, kachchi kairi, whatever you may want to call it.

Cool and chilled
Green mango has its many uses and it is a boon for those who cannot bear the heat. At home we have a tradition to have kairi panna in the fridge, ready and bottled, every day of the week. It’s cooling, it’s nutritious and it’s tasty! We add a generous pinch of green cardamom and some people prefer to add kesar too. You choose. So bhel and panna aside, green mango is lovely as a snack – cut up in thin slices and lightly salted. Yes, the pickle industry thrives on this mango and I do so look forward to the gunda kairi that my mother in law makes for us every year.

Think out of the box
You can think out of the box while green mango is in season. Add some chunks to the dal, add some grated bits to thepla dough, make a nice chutney with grated onion, or make an instant pachadi with jaggery or use green mango chhunda to stuff mutton kababs or toss with peanuts and mustard seeds to temper rice. Grind two tablespoons of grated raw mango with a tablespoon of roasted peanuts, three tablespoons scraped coconut, a few red chillies and turmeric powder to a coarse paste. Add this to rice tempered with mustard, cumin, curry leaves and asafoetida. I love to add some whole roasted peanuts and sprinkle some grated green mango and grated coconut. Serve it hot drizzled with a little bit of ghee. Uses leftover rice very smartly!

Pickle that is healthy
Those who are hesitant to make pickles simply because they think they might not get it right, let me encourage you to do this simple one. It is best kept under refrigeration in Mumbai. Let’s start with half kilo of raw mango, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes. Keep 100 grams of salt in a bowl. Take ¼ inch asafoetida cube in a mortar and add 1 ½ tablespoons of red chilli powder and a little salt. Pound with pestle into a fine powder. Mix with the mango pieces and add about three more tablespoons of red chilli powder and the remaining salt. Mix really well and transfer into a sterilized jar. Keep in the fridge. If you like it, make some more batches.

Ingredient of importance
As an ingredient in main course dishes, green mango adds the perfect astringent note. Mutton, fish and chicken all take to green mango very well. Surmai likes sour things like tamarind and lemon juice and when green mango is in season add that too. Cooked with sweet coconut milk, this curry is simple and simply lovely with steamed rice.

Fish and Green Mango Curry

  • Marinate 8 thick slices of surmai in a mixture of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and salt with half a teaspoon of turmeric powder for about fifteen minutes.
  • Heat two tablespoons of oil in a non stick pan and shallow fry till half done.  Drain and set aside.
  • Soak one cup of scraped coconut in one cup of warm water for three to four minutes. Grind and squeeze to extract milk.
  • Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in another non-stick pan. Add 1 medium chopped onion and sauté till soft. Add quarter teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 ½ teaspoons red chilli powder, two tablespoons of scraped coconut and salt and sauté for two to three minutes.  Add two cups of water and let the curry simmer for five minutes.
  • Add a little more oil to the oil in which the fish pieces were fried.  Add ½ teaspoon mustard seeds, 4 slit green chillies, 1 tablespoon coriander powder, 1 ½ teaspoons of   red chillli powder, 10-12 curry leaves, quarter teaspoon of turmeric powder, and slices of 2 raw mangoes and sauté.
  • Strain the onion curry into this tempering, pressing well to extract all the flavours.
  • Add the fried fish. Mix 1 ½ tablespoons of rice flour with quarter cup of water to make a smooth paste and add it to the curry. Cook, stirring continuously, till the curry thickens.
  • Add extracted coconut milk and stir. Add 2 tablespoons tamarind pulp and let the gravy come to a boil.
  • Switch off the heat and garnish with some chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with steamed rice.
  • While you await the season of ripe sweet juicy mangoes, make full use of the tangy green ones with these great recipes and also don’t forget to share your food experiences with us!

 

Kairi Poha – The zing from raw mango in a more or less usual poha will definitely pleasantly surprise your taste buds!
Kairi Poha
Aam ka Panna – it is supremely refreshing and very easy and plus it is my moms recipe – so this one is very difficult to go wrong
Aam ka Panna

 

Happy Eating.Happy Cooking!
Sanjeev Kapoor
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Christmas dinner recipes – Mains are the main!

Christmas Dinner Recipes will have to include main course suggestions for sure! As I have been observing, it is not impossible to have a totally vegetarian celebratory meal but fact remains that chicken or meat or fish does complete the meal for Christmas. You have to decide which protein you care for. My suggested recipes will bring to fore some specific ideas that could work according to your theme or idea for the get together or family meal.
Main Course for Christmas Dinner
These recipes are given in full detail on http://www.sanjeevkapoor.com which now comes to you in a new avatar. As for the ideas for a vegetarian meal, there is no dearth of recipes. Decide which regional cuisine you would like to go for! Cooking with vegetables can be easy as well as challenging. It depends on how you look at the recipe. If it is a festive celebration, go for the more elaborate recipes so that your efforts are counted as really special.
Palak Bahar is colourful and appetizing. Shaam Savera is actually in Christmasy colours of red green and white! Or dish up a Baked Spinach and Potato Delight with uses cheese and white sauce and is a great hit with kids.
All said and done, even as you browse now and think about what to cook for Christmas, it will be rather difficult to nail down any recipe for surety because there are so many choices lying ahead for you as we help you plan a Christmas dinner!

In London: My schedule of events

Flew down here last night after a short, two-day stopover with family in Singapore. Alyona and kids are enjoying in Singapore. I will spend this week in UK and Bath for the promotion of How to Cook Indian and then join them.
First things first.
May 23 – This morning meeting in Abrams & Chronicle Books office to streamline the whole week’s events. Then a late afternoon interview with Food Writers Guild. Rest of the day, probably catch up with my favourite places in London!
May 24 – BBC Radio 4 Stations interview followed by a live telephonic interview for Talk Radio Europe, Spain. Then a late afternoon train ride to Bath where I have a cooking demo in Topping & Co. bookshop from 7.45 pm to 9 pm.
Be back in London on Wednesday – May 25 – afternoon and meet up with sales and marketing team in London.
May 26 – Thursday is packed. First, meeting with ‘Saturday Kitchen’ TV Show followed with a demo at the Selfridges Food Hall, Oxford Street. In this Selfridges Ocean Campaign, all the chefs are going to use only fish (approved by the Marine Conservation Society) and this event too has been created by Abrams and Chronicle Books. I have 40 minutes scheduled (1.50 pm to 2.30 pm) to demonstrate Mackerel Curry.
May 27 – Radio interview with BBC Asian Network and later an interview with Foodepedia.co.uk.
May 29 – Sunday. Event is at Hampton Court Foodies Festival in Surrey and my demo recipe is Kerala Fish Moilee.
Fish, to think of it, is being chosen for the demos because it is quick to cook and healthy. How about some recipes for you then?
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

Konkan food – a blend of three cuisines

Konkan cuisine is an interesting amalgamation of all food traditional: be it from Malvan, Goa or Mangalore. In keeping with the distinctive type of cuisine in each of these areas there is a plethora of flavors that can be played around with. Each household has its own variation of the same recipe hence the repertoire increases.
Malvan food is known for its fish preparations. What distinguishes Malvani fish curries is not just the variety of gravies but also the variety of recipes for the same kind of fish made by a dazzling permutation and combination of spices and ingredients and dry-to-wet cooking styles. For a good recipe read Malwani Fish Curry.

Goans traditionally use a lot of vinegar or toddy in their spicy dishes. Toddy is locally brewed palm vinegar. Garlic is another favourite. Goans believe in preparing everything freshly from raw ingredients, they believe it tastes much better that way. While that may be debated in some circles, one cannot dispute the outcome is usually mouth watering! Goans make the best crab preparations. Being a former Portuguese colony, Goan cuisine encompasses Portuguese dishes but is also characterized by strong flavors and tropical notes such as lots of coconut. It also makes exuberant use of many new ingredients such as cashewnuts that first entered India through the port of Goa. The long period of Portuguese rule, besides that of the Muslim and Hindu kingdoms, has left an indelible influence on the original style of Goan cooking and this has led to an exotic mix of truly tasty and spicy cuisine.
Mangalorean cooking is unique in the way the spices are used to enhance the taste and the flavor. When fresh coconut, chillies and various combinations of spices are ground the result can be described with only one word – culinary magic! The people of this region are fond of variety and therefore have perfected the art of improvising and coming out with a veritable repertoire of perfectly cooked food.
Another community that has now adopted Karnataka is the Saraswat Brahmins. Having coursed through various lands the Saraswats have a unique cuisine. They make use of practically every vegetable so much so that even the skins and seeds of many vegetables that most others discard, are used effectively in different chutneys. Even fresh fruits like mangoes and jackfruit are used in a variety of dishes both sweet and savoury. Among their vast repertoire Batata Humman and Mango Sasam have to be mentioned.

Nutrition – some hints for balanced eating

Eat a variety of foods in adequate amounts for each food has a different nutritional speciality. This way not only will your nutritional requirements be met, you will also be able to break the monotony of eating the same kind of food daily.

Always maintain a desirable body weight in order to prevent developing chronic diseases like diabetes or heart ailments or certain types of cancers. You can get this from the height-weight (easily available, especially with your GP) chart, which again is worked out, on the basis of your lifestyle.

Avoid foods rich in saturated fats and cholesterol as this can cause obesity, which in turn can give rise to heart ailments or diabetes or even certain types of cancer.

Eating foods with adequate fibres is considered very healthy for they not only provide bulk and thus prevent overeating, they also help prevent constipation, lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

Though water is not considered as a nutrient, it is very essential for the upkeep of our bodies. Lack of water over a period can prove to be life threatening as it could lead to dehydration and even death.

Salads should always find place on your daily menu because being mainly vegetable based they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibres. Beans or sprouts add proteins and when combined with pastas like macaroni, spaghetti or roots like potatoes or beetroots the carbohydrate content is adequate. Something like Button Mushroom Salad is a nice offering.

Of all the non-vegetarian foods, fish is perhaps the most ideally designed for healthy and quick family meals. Healthy because most types of fish are very low in fat and high in protein. There are some fish which are oily but they are high in essential fatty acids. Fish and Green Mango Curry is perfect for this month.

Limit your intake of alcoholic drinks since they are high in calories but low in nutrients. The metabolites (end products) produced by alcohol are harmful to the body, especially to the liver.

Desserts are an important component of an enjoyable meal and if they are fruit based they also provide the desired nutrients because they are packed with vitamins and minerals and are high in fibers. Try Low cal Crunchy Fruits with Yogurt.

Adequate and regular exercises are necessary along with healthy eating to make way for a meaningful life devoid of health worries.

Healthy balanced diet – fill up the nutritional gaps

When we hear the words diet and nutrition used so easily and readily these days, they almost become synonyms! The reality is that they mean different things.
Diet is the food and drink that a person consumes. Nutrition is dependent partially on diet because it is through your diet that your body is supplied with the food that is to be assimilated in order to feed and nourish the cells. Actually you do not live on the food you eat but on what your body digests and assimilates.
A good wholesome diet is always recommended but it does not always provide for good nutrition. Sometimes the body cannot assimilate it. Assimilation of food depends upon the functioning of the endocrine and exocrine glands. If the glands are malfunctioning the result is poor nutrition. Many people are born with faulty glandular mechanisms and as a result are sickly or puny. However, in a vast majority of cases, a good and proper natural diet can help improve and in many cases, cure a faulty endocrine system.
Deficiencies in the body do not happen overnight. It is something like losing weight by exercise. You exercise for a week and nothing happens. You exercise for another week and nothing happens. You still exercise for another month and still nothing happens. And then, suddenly, boom – the weight starts coming down fast as you keep exercising. So you can ignore your nourishment and nothing happens. Ignore it some more (in other words, eat a lot of junk food!) and still nothing happens. Spoil it some more and still nothing. And then suddenly, boom – the vitamin and mineral levels drop, the cholesterol sky rockets…and you are left wondering what went wrong?
Eating a healthy balanced diet should come naturally to us. We have around 21 main meals in a week. Try and have at least 19 good homemade meals with more of vegetables, pulses and fish and less of oil, desserts and heavy meats. As we have access to ready to cook packaged meals and also loads of imported fancy foods it is easy to give in to temptation. Quite a few foods that we buy off the shelves contain additives or preservatives some of which can prove harmful to the body. It is, therefore, always advisable to read the labels before buying anything. Some of the chemicals may be present in minute quantities, which may not be harmful in that small a quantity, but may have a cumulative effect. That is, over the years they may accumulate in the body before the harmful effects become apparent.
So the bottom line is…eat healthy foods daily ensuring that they are natural! Try recipes like Healthy Lapsi Pulao…

Lovely Sunday

What a lovely Sunday morning it was! Two things: The Mumbai Marathon excitement plus the fact that the weather was so conducive to running…I felt happy for all the participants of the half and full marathon who needed a cool start to the day.
We started off sharp 9.10 am from the starting point. As I was representing the Forum For Autism we had the company of Harsha Bhogle who is also the Brand Ambassador for the Forum. Harsha has sponsored a special child’s education and special needs and encourages everyone else to do so as well. Chitra Iyer, President of Forum for Autism, was there. So were Alyona, both my daughters Rachita and Kriti, and Harsha’s wife Neeta. We had a few special children too with us and we always choose to walk the Dream Run so that they can participate too. We had supporters of the cause who are young and old and cannot necessarily run too. We had prominent placards for holding up and making our presence felt in the 38,000 plus crowd! Right at the starting point had the opportunity to have quick word with Ms Priya Dutt who had some relevant questions for us….there is hope that there would be some steps taken to increase the awareness about autism. We were actually quite in front of the crowd and finished by 10.45….the fastest we have done in all these years.
We had a lunch invitation from a dear friend so our afternoon went in that followed by a massive shopping session for the weekly provisions…early dinner and early lights out!
Monday begins with a back to back schedule of meetings. For today, how about some protein rich foods for a good start to a hectic week.
Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor.