February 27, 2006

We are back!

We had to take a short sabbatical from blogging during the last week due to an unforeseen business travel to India visiting Mumbai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Palakkad, and Cochin - all in a week's time. Now that we are back in Muscat at our home, My Dhaba, we wanted to write and thank all of you for staying in touch with us via your comments and mails. We will be back from tomorrow onwards to our regular routine of cooking and posting our recipes at My Dhaba. We will also certainly try to answer all of the unanswered comments separately. Cheers!

February 14, 2006

Era mita aka sweet prawns

Era mita aka sweet prawns

Prawns – ½ kg; shelled, deveined, and thoroughly cleaned
Coconut – 1/4th of a fresh coconut
Coriander seeds or powder – 1 tablespoon
Green chillies – 4, medium size, medium hot
Cloves – 4
Cinnamon sticks – 2 one-inch long sticks
Cardamoms – 2
Onions – 2, medium size, finely chopped
Lemon – 1, fresh, large, sour, strain the juice
Oil+ghee – 1+1 teaspoons
Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
Salt – ½ teaspoon or adjusted to taste
Hot water – 2 cupfuls

Method: Grind the green chillies, coconut scrapings, and coriander powder to a smooth and thick paste. Heat a flat-bottomed vessel and puor in the oil/ghee mix. When it becomes smoking hot, add the cloves, cinnamon sticks, whole cardamoms all together and follow with onions. Fry till the onion edges turn brown here and there, then add the masala paste, salt, and turmeric powder. Fry for a minute. Add the prawns and mix it well with the masala. Pour 2 cupfuls of hot water over the prawns or sufficient to just cover the prawns. Cover and cook over moderate heat till the prawns are cooked well and the gravy is thickish. Add the lemon juice just before removing from the fire. Serve hot. Enjoy!


February 13, 2006

Ginger mushrooms

Ginger mushrooms recipe

Mushroom - 1/4 kg
Onions - 2, medium size, finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2, medium size, finely chopped
Ginger - 1-inch piece, boiled and then ground to a fine paste
Garlic - 3 beads, crushed
Black pepper powder - 1 teaspoon
Vinegar - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil+ghee - 1+1 teaspoons
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon

Method: Mix the mushrooms with vinegar, turmeric powder, salt, and 1 cup of water and cook for 3 minutes or until only semi-cooked. Heat oil in a frying pan and when very hot put in the garlic and onions. When onions turns brown here and there, add the tomatoes and saute till the oil separates. Add ginger and black pepper powder and saute for a minute over the moderate heat. Add the cooked mushrooms along with its sauce and cook until the gravy thickens to the desired consistency. Serve hot. Enjoy!


February 12, 2006

Fried chilli squids aka calamari

Squids are often called as calamari in the fish markets and restaurants. Squids, sometimes considered shellfish are related to octopuses. More information on squids is here at wiki.

Let us present to you one of our favorite seafood recipes today - the fried chilli squids.

Thoroughly cleaned squid

Fried chilli squids aka calamari recipe

Squids - 1/2 kg or about 10 squids, cleaned well and sliced into pieces (How to clean squids?)
Onions - 2 medium size, finely sliced
Green chillies - 5, medium size, finely chopped
Garlic - 4 beads, crushed
Vinegar - 2 teaspoons
Black pepper powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cummin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon or adjusted to taste

Method: Heat oil in a frying pan and when very hot put in the onions. When onions turns limp, add the squids. Cover with a lid, bring slowly to boil, and cook till all the water of the squids is dried. Add all other ingredietns together at this time and stir-fry the squids till brown. Serve hot garnished with lemon wedges and sweet bell pepper slices.


How to clean the squids?

1. Remove the head and entails of the body which usually comes out in one piece.
2. Pull out the cartilage protruding from the body and discard it.
3. Discard the outer membrane of the body and fins.
4. Remove any grit from inside the squid bodies.
5. Rinse and clean the squid under cold running water.

February 8, 2006

Traditional Indian home cooking tips: Eggs

My Dhaba presents to you a new blog series named 'traditonal Indian home cooking tips'. In many cases, traditonal knowledge has been orally passed for generations from person to person and is not written down. Such knowledge typically distinguishes one community from another, per wiki. With these series of traditional cooking tips, it is our endeavor to chronicle the torchlight of traditional knowledge and collective experiences accumulated and passed on by generation to generation.

Let us start off My Dhaba's traditonal Indian home cooking tips' series with eggs as the subject today. Hope you will like these series.

We welcome you to add your inputs via the comments if you heard of any other such cooking tips pertaining to the discussed subject.

My Dhaba's traditional Indian home cooking tips: Eggs
  1. Do you wonder why the yolk of the hard boiled egg moves away from the center? Remedy this by stirring the eggs frequently while boiling.
  2. Have you seen eggs cracking while they are getting half-boiled or hard-boiled? Put a little vinegar into the water when you cook eggs to seal the cracks and will prevent the contents of the egg from coming out.
  3. When boiling eggs, a small teaspoonful of salt in the cooking water will help to prevent the shells from cracking.
  4. Do you fail to make a frothy omelette? Here is an easy method to get real tasty frothy omelette, especially in the case of duck’s eggs. Beat the whites and the yolks separately. Add a pinch of salt or bicarbonate of soda to the whites. It is the protein which gives you the trouble.
  5. To store hardboiled eggs, remove the shells, cover with cold water and keep in the refrigerator. They will last for weeks.
  6. An omelette, well-dried and cut into square pieces makes delicious curry with the usual curry masala powders, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, etc.
  7. Hardboiled eggs, cut into neat round slices, fried in besan batter with onions, green chillies and coriander leaves makes a nice snack.
  8. Crack the shell of a hardboiled egg, then gently roll between the palms of both hands before shelling. This loosens the cleavage and shelling is much easier.
  9. It is timeconsuming to clean a frying pan in which scrambled eggs are prepared. Fill it with salt water and see the result.
  10. It is appetising to have bits of crisply fried bacon into scrampled eggs. Use bacon fat for extra aroma.
  11. It is better to make scrambled eggs softer by adding one tablespoonful of water instead of the oft-used milk.
  12. It is colorful to have scrambled eggs look like burnished gold. Some like flecks of gold and white in their plate. To have solid gold color, beat eggs till yolks and whites are thoroughly mixed. To have flecks of gold and white, beat till yolks and whites are just broken.
  13. Beat eggs slightly when used as a thickening agent, e.g., in custard, puddings, etc. Beat eggs well when used to make foods light as in sponge cakes, puffy omelettes.
  14. It is advisable to break each egg separately into a cup to test for freshness.
  15. If any egg yolk happens to get into the white when separating eggs, the whites will not beat up stiffly. Remove the yolk with a piece of the egg shell as the edges are sharper than a spoon.
  16. Eggs leave an awful smell in the plates if not washed properly. Hold the plate in front of the fire for few seconds and the smell will disappear fast. Washing the plates with the left-over tea and tea leaves from the tea pot prior to cleansing power of lotion also helps to remove this smell.
  17. If you do not have enough eggs to set and egg and milk custard, then put a slice of bread cut into pieces. The custard will set beautifully.
  18. Give a truly professional touch to homemade biscuits and buns by brushing the tops with a well-beaten egg. The gloss on the biscuits and bun tops and the fresh from-the-oven aroma make your pastery appetising.
  19. Whipping cream is a thankless job. To get better results, have the cream and all the utensils as cold as possible. A well-beaten egg white may be added to the cream to get desired results.
  20. Keep eggs fresh by rubbing them lightly with either oil or butter.
  21. Eggs should not be washed before storing. Eggshells are porous and allow water to permeate through; thus eggs become stale.
  22. To find out whether the eggs are stale or fresh, shake them. If these give sound, these will be old. Freshness of the eggs could also be found by immersing them in mild saline water. While the good ones sink at the bottom, the bad ones will surface.
  23. A cracked egg is not really a catastrophe. If you still want to boil it without having the bother of the white running out into the saucepan, all you need is to wrap the egg in some housefoil and then boil in the usual way.
  24. Hard boiled eggs dropped hot in cold water peel easily.
  25. To prevent the dark circle forming around the yolk of a hard boiled eggg, plunge immediately after boiling into cold water to cool rapidly.
  26. Instead of using eggs for frying meat or vegetable cutlets, keep ready roasted gram powder which can substitute for eggs. Make a thinnish batter with this gram powder, dip the prepared cutlets in it and fry.
  27. Add a little maida flour to each egg when making omelettes. This helps omelette to keep its shape if guests are late at table.

February 7, 2006

Rava dosai

Rava dosai recipe

All purpose flour - 1 cup
Wheat suji (rava) - 3/4 cup
Curds - 1 cup
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Onions - 2, medium size, finely chopped
Green chillies - 2, small size, finely chopped
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Black-gram dal - 1 teaspoon
Dried red chillies - 2, broken into halves
Oil+ghee - 4 tablespoons

Method: Mix the flour, wheat suji, sour curds with a little water to make a thick batter. Beat the batter to a smooth consistency and keep aside for 3 hours before using or you may mix the batter the last thing at night for making ravai dosais for breakfast next morning. Season the batter like this. Make a tablespoon of mixed oil and ghee smoking hot, add the mustard seeds to splutter, black-gram dal to brown lightly, the dried red chillies, following with the fresh curry leaves and lastly the finely chopped onions and green chillies together. Saute till the onions turn limp, then remove the onion mixture from the heat and mix into the batter. Add the baking soda powder and salt and mix thoroughly. Heat the dosai pan over moderate heat. Grease the pan with oil and ghee mix. When very hot, pour a big spoonful of the batter right in the middle of the pan, spread slightly to a thinner round. Cover with a lid. When cooked a delicate brown underneath, turn over the dosai. Do not cover after turning over the dosai. Pour, if you feel the dosai needs it, some more ghee/oil around the edges of the dosai on both sides while it cooks. These dosais are very tasty eaten just as they are or with a little sugar. You may also try this with any of your favorite chutneys.


February 5, 2006

Rajma curry aka Kidney beans curry

Rajma curry aka Kidney beans curry recipe
Serves - 4
Preparation time - 25 minutes


Kidney beans – ¼ kg, soaked overnight
Onions – 2, medium size
Garlic – 3 beads
Ginger – 1-inch piece
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Ghee – 1 teaspoon
Tomatoes – 2, medium size, finely chopped (optional)
Salt – ½ teaspoon or adjusted to taste
Red chilli powder – 2 teaspoon (Kashmiri chilli powder preferred)
Garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder – ½ teaspoon
Cummin powder – ½ teaspoon
Coriander leaves – for garnishing

Method: Grind the onions, ginger, and garlic to a fine paste. Heat oil and ghee mix in a flat-bottomed vessel and fry the onion paste till golden brown. Add the tomatoes and saute till the oil separates. Add the red chilli, garam masala, coriander, cummin powders, and salt. Fry for a minute. Add drained rajma beans and 4 cupfuls of water. Stir well and bring it to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for approximately 25 minutes or till beans are tender and the curry thickens. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with boiled rice. Enjoy!

If you are using a pressure cooker, bring it to full cooking pressure on hight heat and then subsimmer and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool naturally.


February 4, 2006

Sago vattals: end-result

Here is the end-result of sago vattals prepared a few days ago. Recipe details are here.

Completely sun-dried vattals...

When needed, deep fry in smoking hot oil or ghee and serve.

Deep-fried sago vattals...


February 3, 2006

Fried aloo gobi

Fried aloo gobi aka fried potatoes and cauliflower recipe

Cauliflower – 1, medium size, break into flowerettes
Potatoes – 3, large size, scrapped off the skins and cut into cubes
Onions – 2, medium size, finely chopped
Garlic – 3 beads
Ginger – ½-inch size, ground with garlic to a smooth paste
Red chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Black pepper powder – ½ teaspoon
Cummin seeds powder – 1/4 teaspoon
Fenugreek seeds powder – 1/4 teaspoon
Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon
Salt – 1-1/4 teaspoons
Cloves – 2
Cinnamon – 1 one-inch long stick
Oil – 1 tablespoon
Ghee – 1 tablespoon
Coriander leaves – a bunch, finely chopped

Method: Put the cauliflower and potatoes into a vessel with all the masala powders, salt, ginger-garlic paste, and cut onions. Keep aside 1 tablespoon of finely sliced onions aside. Barely cover with water and boil till the vegetables are tender and there is no water showing out of them. Remove from the heat and keep aside. Heat a flat-bottomed frying pan and pour in the oil and ghee into it. When the oil becomes smoking hot, put in the cloves and cinnamon stick together, then the remaining onions and saute till the onion edges turn brown here and there. Now add the cauliflower and potatoes, and fry turning over frequently, over low heat, to a nice appetizing color. Stir in the coriander leaves a minute before removing from the heat. Serve hot as an excellent side dish with rice, chappaties, or bread. Enjoy!

The other vegetables thay you may fry with the potatoes in the same way are cabbage, peas, french beans, etc.


Virtual Cooking Competition – Q1 2006

Please note the changes as highlighted below.

We are quite excited in announcing to you My Dhaba's Virtual Cooking Competition (VCC) planned to be conducted every quarterly. Here is our invitation to food and drink lovers from all around the world to participate in this culinary competition.

The virtual cooking competition aims to honor excellence in food blogging, recognize the individuals, to develop and raise the visibility of food blogging and creative talent, and showcase the participating and competition winners' food and drink recipes. We hope that you would enjoy and have great fun by participating in My Dhaba’s one-and-only virtual cooking competition.

Who may participate? The entries may be submitted by any food lover – food and drink bloggers, website owners, noncompeting chefs, and culinary students worldwide.

What to submit? Let us start off the culinary competition with the theme "appetizers (any cuisine)" for VCC-Q1 2006. There should be an end-result picture and its original recipe details for the submitted entry. Each entrant may submit up to 3 recipes. Submitted work must be preferably the orginal work of the entrant. Entrant is soley responsible for obtaining necessary authorizations to use a copyrighted recipe and also in giving proper credit to the original source of the used recipe.

How to submit?
1. Nominate your favorite recipe by e-mailing it to us (info.vkn@gmail.com) with VCC–Q1 2006 in the subject line or as a comment to this post.
2. Recipes from food bloggers/web site owners eligible for entry must have been blogged or published during the period from January 1, 2006 until March 31, 2006.
3. You may also want to tag your entries as follows – [Tagged with: : ]
4. Even if you do not have a blog or a website, you can still participate in this culinary competition by sending us an email (info.vkn@gmail.com) with recipe details and a scanned picture of the end-result.
5. Please ensure that you mention your name, blog/website name, permalink URL to VCC recipe post, the name of your recipe, recipe source, etc., in your mail to us.
6. Only the nominations received by email or a comment to this post are accepted.
7. When an entry is processed, the nominator will receive an email receipt confirming the entry.
8. My Dhaba is not responsible for any incomplete or disqualified entries.

Public opinion poll: The VCC - Q1 2006 results will be solely based on a public opinion poll to be conducted during April 11-April 20, 2006.

Prizes, gifts, and sponsors? The award winner will receive a gift from My Dhaba team and other sponsored prizes. Winners will be notified by e-mail after the general announcement of winners on April 21, 2006. Prizes, gifts, and sponsors are yet to be announced.

Deadline? The deadline for entering into the VCC - Q1 2006 has been extended to April 10, 2006. Entries cannot be accepted afterwards unless the deadline is officially extended.

We welcome you to participate in VCC-Q1 2006. Nominate your favorite appetizer recipe! Don’t Miss It!

For more information or to get help in nominating a recipe, feel free to contact us (info.vkn@gmail.com).


February 2, 2006

Chicken korma (2)

We reproduced our chicken korma today. The only changes made to its recipe are addition of 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder and reducing the amount of green chillies to half. Have you noticed the subtle color difference?


February 1, 2006

Onion kheer (payasam aka pudding) recipe

Today at My Dhaba, we have prepared a really cool and refreshing onion kheer for you. Has anyone tasted this before?

Onion kheer (payasam aka pudding) recipe
Yield – 2 cups

Onions – 2, medium size
Boiled milk – 2 cups
Almonds – 15
Cardamom pods – 8
Sugar – 2 tablespoons
Saffron – 1/8 teaspoon, soaked in 2 tablespoons of hot milk
Raisins – 1 tablespoon, fried in a little ghee till they swell up
Ghee or oil – ¼ teaspoon

Method: Cut the onions into very tiny bits and rinse it quickly in a basin of water. Washing the onions in water will remove the raw pungent flavor. Blanch the almonds by putting those in hot water and peel off the skins when they become loose. Grind the almonds to a very smooth paste along with cardamom pods. Then dilute this paste with water to make one cup.

Heat a flat-bottomed vessel, pour in the ghee, and saute the onions in it till limp. Pour the boiled milk over the fried onions, cover with a lid, and simmer gently over low heat till the onions are boiled soft. Stir in the sugar and simmer further till the sugar is dissolved. Next add the diluted almond paste and simmer still further till reduced to 2 cupfuls. Remove from heat. Add the raisins and saffron-soaked milk to the ghee and serve hot or when lukewarm. Enjoy!

Onion kheer is very soothing when you have a cough, common cold, or feel constipated. I remember the invitation My Dhaba had received few days ago from Zoubida from Canada to participate in the meme - Natural home remedies to fight common cold. So Zoubida, onion kheer is one of the remedies for common cold that we have at My Dhaba. Hope you like this. Let me also invite a few excellent Indian food bloggers to carry on with the meme baton - AayisRecipes (Shilpa), DailyGirlBlog (Priya), FoodiesUnite (Meenal), IndianFood (SH Priya), and RasbharaRecipes (Ujwala).

We hope Becks and Posh might still consider a late entry to the Sugar Low Friday event. Sam, I am sending you My Dhaba's onion kheer as an entry there. Cheers!

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