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Old 6th June 2020, 21:07   #1936
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Here are some of the usual dishes I had cooked/baked/prepared during the lockdown period from March 23 until May 7. Fearing that I would put on weight, I used to have just 2 meals in a day - a brunch around 11-12 PM and another meal around 7-8 PM. Plus, since I was all alone during this period, I had pretty much the entire home for myself!

Aloo paratha:

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Man, they turned out better than what my wife bakes! And quite simple to make at home too. Preparation tech. - Boil potatoes in a cooker, peel them, mash them, mix salt to taste, aamchur powder (dry mango powder), a pinch of chilli powder and chopped green chillies with the mashed potatoes, stuff them between two flattened kneaded dough flats (!!!), flatten them and roast them in a tawa with ghee. Add a dollop of butter while serving. I prefer having it with chilled curd.

Appam:

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I love crispy appams with the soft centers and prefer savouring it with kadala curry/egg roast. Kadala = kala chana = chickpea. Preparation tech. - Grind soaked rice (the boiled rice/puzhungal ari variant) + grated coconut + cooked rice in a mixer grinder to a fine mix, add a bit of baker's yeast mixed with warm water to this mix and leave it for 8-10 hours or overnight for fermentation. Use an appa-chatti to bake these appams and most importantly, while baking, cover the pan with the lid to ensure the center portion gets cooked nicely.

Caramel custard:

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I love this dessert and it is damn simple to make although the end product can be had only after it is chilled which takes anywhere from 4-10 hours. Preparation tech. - Boil sugar in a pan to make caramel (no water to be added) and coat an alu. baking tray with the caramel, whisk 4 eggs, 500 mL boiled milk, vanilla essence and sugar in a bowl, pour the whisked contents into the tray with the caramel coating, keep the tray in a convection oven and set temperature to 200 'C, use a toothpick to see if the contents inside have been baked properly, take the tray and keep it outside to cool off a bit before keeping it inside the fridge (6-10 hours tops), take the tray out, tumble upside down and serve.

Chicken curry - v1.0:

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I prepared this with the usual ingredients (curry cut chicken pieces 500g, green chillies, onions, tomatoes) and an Aachi chicken masala packet. Came out decently well - nothing to write home about. I had it with ghee rice, some fried chicken pieces and Coke for a late brunch:

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Chicken curry - v2.0:

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Now this one came out exceptionally well. What was the difference you'd wonder? Cashew paste! Holy hell, the difference in the taste was massive! I kept licking the ladle time and again while the dish was being prepared. I had also used Everest chicken masala powder this time. The other ingredients were the same as the last one. Do try adding cashew paste to curries. I prepared this for another lazy Sunday brunch:

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Chicken stew:

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I prepared this chicken stew when I had a wild craving for having bread and stew (a delicacy served in Kappa Chakka Kandhari restaurant for their sunday breakfast). It came out well but nothing like what that restaurant served.

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Preparation tech. - Add 500g curry cut chicken pieces, diced carrots, peeled potatoes, green peas, a ground mix of cinnamon stick, elaichi and few pieces of cloves in a pressure cooker for a few whistles, fry diced onions and green chillies in a pan with coconut oil (coconut oil is important as it adds the characteristic taste of the stew), add salt, a pinch of turmeric powder, ginger-garlic paste and cashew paste, mix the contents from the pressure cooker to the pan and add coconut milk while stirring in low flame. Serve with bread/appam.

Egg roast:

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Egg roast can be had with appam/bread/phulka rotis/rice/dosa etc. Preparation tech. - boil 3 eggs, slice them into two pieces, saute diced [onions + green chillies + tomatoes] along with salt, ginger-garlic paste, chilly powder, a pinch of coriander powder and garam masala and water, add the boiled egg pieces to the final mix. Easy as that.

Ghee dosa and sambar:

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This is a lethal combo. On a really famished evening, I've managed to have 11 ghee dosas prepared by my wife along with onion sambar! Preparation tech. - For ghee dosa, I use the readymade batter from iD or Balaji. Add some salt and water to the batter packet, mix it well, pour the batter into the pan which is warm. A hot pan will not let you spread the batter evenly. So if the pan is hot, use some water to cool it down in a sink. You'd have seen how the dosa centres use a broom (!) and water to cool and clean the large pan!

As far as sambar goes, I use the sambar masala powder from Aachi or Everest. Aachi scores in the taste aspect. Boil toor dal for a few whistles in a pressure cooker along with diced [peeled potatoes + tomatoes + peeled carrots] and a pinch of turmeric powder, sputter mustard in a pan and fry diced okra/ladies' finger/bhindi in the pan and add this to the contents in the cooker, pour some tamarind paste solution to the contents, sambar masala powder and salt to taste, garnish with coriander leaves at the end. Serve with rice/dosa/idli/utthapam.

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For preparing onion sambar (ulli sambar), remove carrots, potatoes and ladies' finger from the above mix, fry some peeled shallots with diced green chillies and curry leaves in a pan and then transfer it to the cooker.

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Ghee rice:

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The ghee rice or the ney choru is one of the most relished dishes in the malabar regions of Kerala. Having wed a girl from this region, I get to have this dish quite often when I visit my in-laws' place. I also learnt to prepare my own variant of this dish which is easy and is best served with a non-veg. curry. Preparation tech. - Add cleaned basmati rice, adequate water, few spoonfulls of ghee, few cloves in a pressure cooker and cook it for at least 10 whistles. In the meantime, fry diced onions, broken cashews and raisins in a pan with ghee in low flame until the onions turn golden brown. Add the mix to the cooker and serve.

Phulka and paneer gravy:

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I experimented with this paneer dish for a dinner and hot damn, turned out quite well! Heck, even the phulkas did which I wasn't remotely expecting to! Preparation tech. - For phulkas, I used Aashirvaad's aata powder. You could try using the multi-grain variant too. The batter was prepared with the aata powder, water and salt. No oil was used and the dough was non-sticky. After baking the flattened pieces on a tawa, I transferred it to the flame directly.

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For the paneer curry, I used onion paste blended with chopped tomatoes and cashews, sauted this paste with ginger-garlic paste, salt, a pinch of tumeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder, slit green chillies, coriander leaves and diced paneer cubes. Came out damn well and I loved having it with the phulka rotis.

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Puttu + kadala curry + bananas:

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The classic, evergreen combo every mallu loves to have! The only hard part of preparing puttu is perhaps grating the coconut. Preparation tech. - I use the puttu powder from Eastern or Double Horse (I avoid Nirapara). Mix the powder with water and salt to make it into a powdery, free-flowing form. Fill the puttu stack with a mix of coconut grating and the powder. Bake it for about 10 minutes until steam begins to come out from the top.

As far as kadala curry goes, soak the kadala/chickpea overnight in water. In a pressure cooker, add the chickpea and water and cook it for a few whistles. In a pan, add diced [onions + green chillies + tomatoes] along with salt, ginger-garlic paste, chilly powder, a pinch of coriander powder and garam masala. Some folks use chicken masala powder too which is fine - it gives that different taste to the curry. Add coconut milk if necessary which would thicken the gravy.

Afghani omelette:

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I stumbled upon this dish from the FB feed. The recipe is from this website. Came out quite well and I liked it. It was a wee bit heavy for a breakfast though.

The next thing I'd love to learn is to bake breads at home after looking at the mouth-watering snaps posted here!

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 6th June 2020 at 23:05.
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Old 6th June 2020, 21:36   #1937
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Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
dishes I had cooked/baked/prepared during the lockdown period from March 23 until May 7.
In some movies we see how the kidnapper has the victim holding the days newspaper and giving out some message for the ransom payout T&C etc. The presence of newspapers in your pictures reminded me of that!

You have held us hostage with beautiful dishes
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Old 7th June 2020, 08:41   #1938
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Originally Posted by Gannu_1 View Post
Add cleaned basmati rice, adequate water, few spoonfulls of ghee, few cloves in a pressure cooker and cook it for at least 10 whistles.
Would the rice retain its shape and structure?
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Old 7th June 2020, 08:50   #1939
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Would the rice retain its shape and structure?
Haha I had to cook for several whistles with the basmati rice I had. I wasn't sure why. Once it turned out to be undercooked and the water had nearly dried up. I had to pour water and cook it a second time. In any case, if you're cooking rice using a pressure cooker, you'd know the right amount of whistles and the flame on the stove for the right output.

EDIT: Big brother bblost just pinged. He was checking if I had soaked the basmati rice in water. I didn't. Maybe that's the reason it took a lot of time for the rice to cook? He suggested soaking the rice for at least half an hour prior to cooking it which would require only 1 whistle. Thanks for the tip Immy!

Last edited by Gannu_1 : 7th June 2020 at 09:58.
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