Raw Mango Chutney with Mint

Come summer and the markets are flooded with mangoes. There are so many varieties across the country. In fact, the raw mango available in North India is very different from that available in South India. The northern version is more tart and lends a unique taste to any recipe. The southern version is generally sweeter. It is quite hard to get your hands on a really really raw mango in Chennai. Anyways, to make the best of what is available, here is the raw mango chutney I made.

Ingredients

1 raw mango (kairi)

1 cup fresh mint leaves (pudina)

1 green chili

3-4 tbsp salt

1 tbsp black salt

Lemon juice (optional)

Green Mango Chutney

Green Mango Chutney

Peel and core the raw mango. Chop the pulp into small pieces. Remove the fresh leaves from the mint stems and wash them thoroughly. Mix all the ingredients and make a puree in a blender. Add a little water to make the chutney thin and of flowing consistency. Add lemon juice if required.

Refrigerate for upto a week.

White Sauce

I always wanted to learn white sauce. I thought it was some complicated dish which required some unknown inaccessible ingredients and was meant to be prepared by the Gods of the kitchen. Then yesterday my friend AD asked me how to prepare white sauce and that launched a couple of hours of R&D. Surprisingly, the recipe was very simple.

I was still skeptical of preparing it but took on the dare praying for it to come out well and comforting my heart at the same time by saying that if it didn’t turn out well, I could always go back to my regular ways of making pasta. A little bit of waste in the name of learning something new should not be taken badly. So I gave it a try and it came out surprisingly well. It tasted so good….so heavenly. Thanks God.

Ingredients

1 tsp unsalted butter

1 tsp all purpose flour (maida)

1 cup milk

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper (or white pepper)

1 cube of cheese (approx 2 tbsp grated cheese)

White Sauce

White Sauce

 

Heat butter in a pan and add flour. Cook for a while but do not let the flour brown. Take off the gas and add the milk. Mix properly and simmer for 2-3 mins. Add salt, pepper and cheese. The sauce will thicken slightly. Take off flame and pour over pasta.

Spread white sauce over a medley of vegetables, top with grated cheese and bake it till cheese turns golden.

Saute a few veggies, mix with white sauce without the cheese for a healthy snack.

Fresh Coconut Coriander Chutney – A Refreshing Condiment

This is one condiment I learnt from my MIL. Whenever she makes idlis, she will make coconut coriander chutney. The only thing to be kept in mind is the quantity of spices to be added. The whole dish goes topsy-turvy if the spices go awry. It is best suited with South Indian or tropical dishes.

Ingredients

1 fresh coconut, de-husked

1 cup coriander

1 green chilli

1 tsp salt

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

½  tsp sugar

1 cup coconut water

Coconut-Coriander Chutney

Coconut-Coriander Chutney

Only fresh coconuts work best for this condiment. Remove the pith of the coconut and wash properly with water. Clean the coriander under water. The soft stalks of the coriander can also be used along with the leaves. Mince the coconut and coriander with the spices, sugar and green chilli in a blender while adding coconut water to thin the paste to liking. Refrigerate until use.

Homemade Potato Chips

One of my fond memories of childhood is chips, papad, kachri etc spread out in the backyard of my house. My mother would spread plastic sheets on the ground and line them with papad or spread a cloth with chips of all shapes and sizes. We would store them up in large jars ready for use. It was fun preparing the fares specially when it hard work increased the taste of the fares and also helped fill out the dull summer afternoons during holidays 🙂

This time I went home, Mom and I again made some potato chips. The best part is frying the chips once they are done and everyone digging into the bowl.

Ingredients

2 kg large potatoes

Peel the potatoes. A special chips cutter is required as displayed below. Hold it at an angle and just slice the potatoes against it.

 

Chips cutter

Chips cutter

Wash the chips in water 2-3 times to drain out the starch. Boil in a pot of water for 1 minute to make the chips tender. Test by squeezing the middle of a chip. It should not be too hard or too soft. Drain the water.

Spread a nylon or synthetic cloth under the sun. It is easy to free the chips from a synthetic cloth. Lay the chips on the cloth singly. They should not overlap each other. Let them dry for a couple of hours till they feel crisp. They will be stuck to the cloth. Stretch the cloth by its two ends running along the entire length of it. The chips will come off automatically without breaking. Leave the chips in the sun till they dry out completely.

Chips drying under the sun

Chips drying under the sun

Store in an air-tight box. Fry and sprinkle salt or chat masala for taste. Serve hot with tea.

Potato Chips ready to be fried and served

Potato Chips ready to be fried and served

The chips mentioned here are very handy when fasting as they do not contain salt. In order to make salted chips, add salt to the boiling water.

Macque Choux – Spicy Sweet Corn Side Dish

Macque Choux (pronounced Moch Shoo) is a corn dish sautéed with vegetables straight from Louisiana, USA. It is said to be invented by the Cajun tribe of the state and so macque choux is also sometimes understood to be a blend of corn with cajun spices.

Corn straight off the cob can be used in this dish. Some people use creamed corn also giving the dish a pureed look. I had a bag of frozen sweet corn sitting in the freezer and HD asked to make “something nice” out of it sometime so I landed with this dish. It is really easy and as long as you don’t overcook the corn, it turns out as a great side accompaniment to your meal.

Preparation Time – 10 mins

Servings – 4

Ingredients

250 gms sweetcorn (frozen and thawed)

1 green bell pepper (seeded and chopped)

1 large onion (sliced)

1 tomato (diced)

1 tblsp ginger (chopped finely)

1 tblsp garlic (chopped finely)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp vegetable oil

2 tblsp green coriander leaves (chopped finely)

For the dressing

½ tsp sugar

2 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp mustard sauce

1 tsp green chilli sauce

1 tsp red garlic chilli sauce (optional)

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions till light pink in color. Saute the bell pepper, ginger and garlic in it. Add sweetcorn, sprinkle a little water on it and cover the pan for 2-3 mins while leaving the gas on sim to allow sweetcorn to become tender. Remove the cover and let the corn cook for another 2-3 mins. Make sure the corn does not get overcooked or it will become too dry for taste.

Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Transfer sweetcorn mixture to this bowl. Add salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Garnish with tomatoes and coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Mirchi ka Thesa

Sometimes you feel eating something spicy with your meal. Yeah, yeah….the pickle is there and the chutney is there and the salad is there for the crunch. But the spicy, hot quality is missing. Bring along “mirchi ka thesa”. This is one of the Marwari dishes I learnt from my MIL. You can store it for upto a month in the fridge in an air-tight container.

Ingredients

15 garlic cloves

8-9 green chillies

2 tblsp oil

Salt to taste

thesa

Peel the cloves and chop them. Remove the stem from the chillies and cut them into half. You can add more chillies for a spicier taste. Heat oil in a pan and add the cloves and chillies to it. Fry till the cloves and chillies change color. Remove from pan and let it cool. Add salt to the mix and grind it to a coarse mixture in a blender. Mirchi ka thesa is ready.

Kheere ka Raita (Cucumber Raita)

Cucumber is a cooling agent and one of the best ways to beat the heat. Cucumber raita serves as a great side dish or can be served as the main dish also. It is very simple to make and adds to the flavor of a meal. Also, curd contains enzymes that aid digestion making the two a killer combination.

Ingredients

1 cup curd

1 cucumber

White Salt

Black Salt

Red chilli powder

Zeera

Remove the bitterness from the cucumber and peel it. Grate and keep aside. Mix curd and cucumber. Do not throw away cucumber juice but add it to curd to enhance flavor. Roast zeera on a pan and grind it. Add white salt, black salt, red chilli powder and zeera to the raita according to taste. Only white salt and red chilli powder can do but to get the real taste, black salt and zeera are recommended. The tantalizing smell and taste that arises on adding all these spices makes the raita a real delicacy. Add a little water to get pouring consistency. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

How to make Cottage Cheese at Home

These days half the dishes are ready-to-eat and easily available in the market. Just add water or oil, cook for a little while and you have a sumptuous feast in front of your eyes. However, they do not taste the same as a meal made from scratch. Well, it is not always easy to have all the ingredients from scratch, but you can definitely have cottage cheese made at home. In fact, if you have milk sitting in your freezer for more than 3 days, you can utilize it to make cottage cheese instead of throwing it away.

Ingredients

½ liter milk

2 tblsp lemon juice

1 muslin cloth

Boil milk and add lemon juice

Boil milk and add lemon juice

Curdled milk

Curdled milk

Pour the curdled milk onto a muslin cloth

Pour the curdled milk onto a muslin cloth

Tie and hang the muslin cloth to drain cottage cheese

Tie and hang the muslin cloth to drain cottage cheese

Boil the milk in a container. When the milk starts to bubble, add lemon juice and let it simmer for 2 mins. Stir continuously with spoon. Take off the flame and drain the milk on the muslin cloth.

Cottage cheese ready for use

Cottage cheese ready for use

For best results, tie the muslin cloth on the mouth of a container and drain the milk on it. Also, you can drain the milk on a sieve and then transfer the residue to the muslin cloth. Tie the muslin cloth and squeeze it under running water to drain out excess milk. Let it hang for an hour. Store in the fridge and use as required.

Sukha Besan

Sukha besan is a Marwari delicacy. The Rajasthanis use a lot of besan (chana dal flour) in their cooking basically because of less availability and accessibility of fresh fruits and vegetables. This dish, however, used radishes to lend it its special taste.

Preparation Time – 20 mins

Servings – 4 people

Ingredients

1 cup besan (chana dal flour)

1 cup radish, grated

3 green chillies

2 tblsp oil

1 tblsp rai (mustard seeds)

Salt and red chilli powder to taste

Sukha Besan

Sukha Besan

Cut the green chillies into 1 cm pieces. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the chillies in it along with mustard seeds. Add the grated radish and fry till it turns light pink. Add the besan, salt and red chilli powder and roast it along with the radish for 5-7 minutes till it turns brown in color. Sprinkle a little water if besan is too dry while roasting. Do not add too much water to it. It should retain the dry texture because of which it is called sukha besan. Serve with roti/rice.

 

Tip: Sukha besan does not store well on account of radish.

Coleslaw

Coleslaw can be made with varied ingredients but the basic are cream (or mayonnaise), cabbage and carrots with an ample sprinkling of salt and pepper. Grate cabbage and carrots. Mix with cream and add salt and pepper according to taste but keep it strong.

 

If you don’t have cream, you can use a sandwich spread. You can also use curd as a substitute.

 

Generally coleslaw is made from raw shredded cabbage. In fact, coleslaw is derived from the Latin term literally meaning cabbage salad. Carrots are optional. You can add in other vegetables like onions, capsicum or cucumber or fruits like apple or pineapple.

 

A variety of seasonings can be used like chilli flakes or ketchup according to taste. It is all about experimenting and arriving at your choice of ingredients. Coleslaw can be served with burgers or can be used as a spread with bread.