Fluffy Spiced Lemon Pancakes

My weekends usually call for a fluffy stack of pancakes and these Spiced Lemon Pancakes are just one of the many varieties I like to whip up. What can beat your fork cutting through a buttery, zesty, maple-syrup-drenched stack of goodness on a cheery, lazy weekend?

The key to most simple recipes like this is using flavorful and fresh ingredients. Even though it has few steps and simple ingredients, take your time with it – patience and attention to the smallest of details is really what makes a final dish shine and taste good 🙂

If you have questions along the process of how to make this, head over to my instagram so I can connect with you and answer any questions you might have via DMs. @thefoodiecutie Happy cooking!IMG_5845

INGREDIENTS

  • AP Flour, 2 cups
  • Sugar, 1/4 cup
  • Baking Powder, 2 tsp
  • Baking Soda, 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon, 1/4 tsp
  • Nutmeg, 1/4 tsp
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp
  • Warm Milk, 1 cup
  • Lemon Juice, 2 tbsp
  • Unsalted Butter, 1/2 stick (1/4 cup), melted
  • Egg, 1, separated
  • Vanilla Paste, 1 tsp
  • Optional, Lemon Zest, 1 tsp

HOW TO MAKE IT

Dry Ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together. Set aside.

Liquid Ingredients. In a microwave safe cup or bowl, add the milk and butter and warm it in the microwave until the butter is just about melted (about 45 seconds). Be careful to not boil the milk – it should just be warm. Remove from the microwave and add in the lemon juice. Mix together and set aside.

The Batter. Now add the separated egg into the flour mixture along with a little of the milk mixture and whisk together. Add the milk mixture little by little and keep whisking until the batter forms. Once all the milk has been added in, mix in the vanilla paste and lemon zest. Whisk until everything is fully combined, but don’t over mix it. Let the batter rest for about 10-15 minutes to let the ingredients combine.

Make pancakes. Heat a skillet on medium low heat and lightly grease it with butter. Once the skillet is hot, pour about 1/4 cup of batter in a gentle stream so that a round shape forms. Cook on one side until you see tiny little holes form on top of the pancake and then flip the pancake. When the pancake flips, you should see it slightly rise a little. Cook for about 30-45 seconds. Done!

Top with fresh fruits, syrup, honey, or preserves.

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Uppumav/Upma (Spiced Semolina)

You know, as a kid I wasn’t really crazy about uppumav. The sweet, salty, spicy crumbly and steamy plate my mom would serve with a banana had my tastebuds going wild. There was just so much flavor and texture that I wouldn’t have assumed to be in a dish. But the older I get, the more I find myself loving these old childhood dislikes. Do you have any recipes you’ve found yourself liking over time?

Any way, this dish is a CLASSIC for breakfast/brunch. I personally like my uppumav to be slightly soft with a little dry texture. If you’re a fan of the smoother type of uppumav, just add about another 1/3 to 1/2 cup of water to this recipe. You can enjoy this dish with sliced up bananas, kadala curry, or, the kid-favorite, sugar!

If you have questions along the process of how to make this, head over to my instagram so I can connect with you and answer any questions you might have via DMs. @thefoodiecutie Happy cooking!

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INGREDIENTS

  • Semolina, Rava, Sooji, 1 cup
  • Coconut Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Urad Dal, 1 tsp
  • Dried Red Chilis, 2, broken
  • Curry Leaves, 2 sprigs
  • Green Chilis, 2, diced
  • Red Onions, 1, diced
  • Ginger, 1 inch, minced
  • Carrots, 1/2 cup, diced
  • Raisins, 1/2 cup
  • Cashews, 1/2 cup
  • Water, 1 1/2 cup
  • Grated Coconut, 1/2 cup
  • Salt, 1/2 – 1 tbsp

HOW TO MAKE IT

Roast. In a small pan on low to medium low heat, add in the semolina. Roast it until it turns slightly brown and releases its aroma. Set aside.

Season. In a large skillet on medium high heat, add in the coconut oil. Once the oil is melted and hot, add in the mustard seeds, urad dal, dried red chilis, and curry leaves. Be careful not to burn any of the spices and reduce the heat if need be.

IMG_5815Saute. Once the mustard seeds pop (and this will happen quickly), add in the green chilis, onions, and ginger. Saute this until they soften and lose their rawness. Once they soften, add in the carrots and cook until soft. Use you spatula to keep the ingredients moving so nothing burns. Finally, add in the raisins and cashews. Cook these until the raisins slightly plump up. Be careful not to burn the raisins or else they will taste bitter.

IMG_5816Mix. Now add in the water and slowly mix in the roasted semolina. Mix this so there are no clumps. Once everything is mixed evenly, reduce the heat to low and cover for 2-3 minutes. Now add in the grated coconut and mix evenly. Turn off the heat and cover for another 5 minutes to give the coconut a chance to soak in the flavor. Check for salt and done!

*If you prefer a smoother uppumav, add in about another 1/3 to 1/2 cup of water.

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Kerala Red Fish Curry

When I think of home. When I think of Kerala. THIS is the recipe that comes to mind. With its nostalgic, bright red color, tangy tamarind flavor, and perfect level of heat, this classic Kerala Red Fish Curry recipe is truly a pot of joy.

Growing up, I’d watch my mom freshly scale and filet a whole salmon or king fish. While she prepped the fish, the kudam puli (malabar tamarind aka garcinia cambogia) would be soaking in warm water and then she’d move into chopping up the fresh ingredients. My favorite part of this dish was its preparation in our old black, clay meenchatti.

A chatti is an unglazed clay pot. Similar to why people love cooking with cast iron or woks, it holds it’s flavor like a fine wine over time. Because the chattis are unglazed, it’s able to retain and circulate moisture through the dish making the fish extremely flavorful. Eventually, I will do a video on how to season your chatti and tips on cooking without. If you do not have a chatti, you can still make this dish in a regular pot or dutch oven.

This used to be one of those recipes I was so intimidated to make because it is such a staple dish in our household. I’ve broken this down so that it hopefully makes Indian recipes easy to follow and easy for you to recreate.

If you have questions along the process of how to make red fish curry, head over to my instagram where I have a behind the scenes video saved to my highlights showing how to make this dish and so I can connect with you and answer any questions you might have via DMs. @thefoodiecutie

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INGREDIENTS

  • Salmon or King Fish (you can use boneless), 2 lbs, cut into medium cubes/chunks
  • Kudam Puli/Malabar Tamarind/Kokum, 4 pieces
  • Coconut Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, 1 sprig (10-12 leaves)
  • Ginger, 1 1/2 inch, minced
  • Garlic Cloves, 5, minced
  • Shallots or Red Onion, 3 shallots or 1 red onion, finely diced
  • Green Chili Pepper, 3, diced
  • Red Chili Powder, 1 tbsp
  • Coriander Powder, 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder, 1 tsp
  • Tomato Paste, 1/4 cup
  • Salt to Taste

HOW TO MAKE IT

Soak the tamarind. Wash the tamarind pieces first and then soak it in warm water. Set aside.

Season the oil. In your chatti or pot on medium high heat, add in the coconut oil. Once the oil is melted and hot, add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds pop, add in the ginger, garlic, shallots, and green chili peppers. Cook this until the ingredients soften and lose its rawness.

Form the gravy base. Now add in the red chili, coriander, and turmeric powder. Mix this quickly so the spices don’t burn. Pour in the tomato paste. Drain the tamarind (reserve the water) and add into the pot along with all of the fish.

Cook the fish. Now that the fish is in the pot, DO NOT mix it. If you move the fish too much, it could cause it to break up into pieces. I recommend using a soft silicone spatula if you need to move the fish or the best thing to do is rotate the pot. Keep this covered on a low boil (medium to medium-low heat) for about 15-20 minutes, checking periodically to see if enough water has extracted from the fish. If there isn’t enough moisture from the fish then add some of the tamarind water and/or warm water to the pot, just enough to barely submerge the fish. Boil this until the gravy slightly thickens. Taste for salt and done!

Notes

  1. You can use ginger garlic paste (about 2 tbsp) instead of fresh minced
  2. In place of tomato paste, you can use about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce
  3. You can buy the tamarind online or in select Indian grocery stores. It’s commonly found under the name “kokum.” The brand SWAD makes a good one.

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Kerala Appam/Palappam

My all-time favorite South Indian food combo is these cripsy-edged appams paired with a ladle full of tangy, sweet chicken curry poured on top of the pillowy center. Growing up, this was my breakfast. My brunch. Our special occasion table special for holidays like Christmas and Easter. Nothing beats eating this, except being able to make it from scratch!

As always, do not fear how long the “how to make it” section is! I promise it’s mostly just full of a lot of details and notes to help you along the process of making these appams. This is one of those dishes that you need to plan ahead for because of the fermentation process required to make it.

If you have questions along the process of making this side dish, head over to my instagram where I can connect with you and answer you via DMs. @thefoodiecutie

INGREDIENTS

  • Long Grain Rice (Uncooked), 1 cup
  • Coconut Water with Pulp, 1 can (brands like Goya or Foco are great)
  • Grated Coconut, 1/2 cup
  • Cooked (Parboiled) Rice, 1/2 cup
  • Coconut Milk, 1 cup (Chaokoh is my favorite brand)
  • Sugar, 2 tbsp
  • Dry Active Yeast, 1/2 tsp (+ 2 tbsp warm water, 1/2 tsp sugar)
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp

IMG_3007HOW TO MAKE IT
Soaking. Soak the long-grain rice in the coconut water along with enough water so the rice is fully submerged. Using coconut water is optional, but I like that it sweetens the rice. You can simply use water only if you prefer. Let the rice soak for 6-8 hours (or overnight).

The batter. Once soaked, drain completely keeping the water. Add the soaked rice to a blender along with the grated coconut, cooked rice, coconut milk, and sugar. Blend this until it’s smooth with very little grit to it. The consistency should be like a slightly thinner pancake batter. If it’s too thick, mix with a little more of the reserved water. If it’s too thin, add a little rice flour. *Tip: use an immersion blender after the batter has been made to run through and make there everything is mixed really well. 

Fermentation. In a cup with about 2 tbsp lukewarm (not hot) water, dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved, mix in the dry active yeast. Let this proof for about 10 min. It should puff up and look frothy when it is done proofing. Mix this into the prepared appam batter. Keep the batter in a large (plastic) bowl and cover. *I personally keep my batter in a large plastic bowl because I live in a colder climate and plastic doesn’t hold cold temperatures like glass and steel bowls will. I also like to a drape towel over the covered bowl so it can incubate or I put it in the oven with just the oven light on. 

The next day/after 10-12 hours (sometimes 24 hours), the batter should have risen/puffed up and will have little fermentation holes on top. This is a good sign of fermentation. Mix this with the salt and then we are ready to make appams!

Making appam. Now that your batter is ready, you will need an appam chatti to make the lattice-edged appams. *If you do not have a chatti, you can use a flat griddle, but you will need to add some rice flour to the batter to thicken it up. This is a different style called Vellayappam (which also includes some spices) and it is similar to a pancake batter/shape. 

Place your chatti on its ring so that it is balanced. Turn the heat to about medium. Using a flat ladle, pour about 1/3 cup into the center of the chatti. Pick up the chatti using the handles, hold it away from the flame, and then rotate it in a circle motion in one round motion. Rotate so the batter goes near the edge of the chatti (below the round studs) in one full circle and then place back on the ring and cover. Don’t try to rotate more than once or you will get doughy appam and lose the lattice shape.

Let this cook covered for about a minute. Try not to peek too much or else you will release the steam that helps the appam cook. If your batter is clumping up/not sticking when you try to form the appam on the chatti, your heat level is probably too high. Use a spatula to remove the appam from the chatti and done!

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Storing. If you have extra batter leftover, you can store it in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.

Carrot Thoran

One of the simplest South Indian side dishes to make is a thoran, which is a vegetable-based side dish made with a few spices and fresh grated coconut. I think the most commonly used vegetable to make a thoran is cabbage. Though one of my favorites, too, I have a love for the sweet and spicy balance that carrot thoran brings.

There are a few ways to make a thoran. I have noted two methods below. You can grate the carrots, slice them, dice them. Whatever you want! If you have questions along the process of making this side dish, head over to my instagram where I can connect with you and answer you via DMs. @thefoodiecutie

INGREDIENTS

  • Carrots, 10, grated (about 4 cups)
  • Shallots, 2, sliced
  • Grated Coconut, 1 cup
  • Turmeric, 1/2 tsp
  • Coconut Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds, 2 tsp
  • Green Chili Pepper, 2, slit longways
  • Curry Leaves, 1 sprig (about 10-12 leaves)
  • Dry Red Chilis, 2
  • Salt, 1 tbsp

IMG_5363HOW TO MAKE IT

Grind. In a small blender or food processor, grind the coconut, shallots, and turmeric together just until combined. Set aside.

Season. In a saute pan on medium high heat, add the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds green chilis, red chilis (broken in half), and curry leaves. Cover until the mustard seeds start popping.

Cook. Add the carrots to the pan. Mix and then cover for about 3-4 minutes to let it cook. Once the carrots are just firm, uncover and add in the grated coconut mixture. Stir and cook this, uncovered, until everything is combined. Add salt. Done!

ALTERNATE METHOD (without grinding first)

An alternate way of making thoran is to heat the pan with coconut oil and add the mustard seeds, green and red chilis, sliced shallots, and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds pop, add in the carrots and turmeric and cook covered until the carrots are just firm. Add in the grated coconut and salt and mix. Done!

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The Ultimate Oreo Bundt Cake

I never thought I’d make a cake that would call for about 50 Oreo cookies in the recipe, but here we are. And, I don’t regret the decision at all. This, what I am deeming, The Ultimate Oreo Bundt Cake recipe is one of those delicious accidents that happen in the kitchen from time to time. I was trying to find a way to avoid eating the large pack of Oreo cookies my husband bought so my solution was to mask them in an even more delicious thing – cake!

This cake is so soft and fluffy and the frosting is meant to mimic a “cookies and milk” taste. If you don’t like Oreos, well this cake is the base for some of my other cake recipes so you can sub in chopped nuts, some dried fruits, skip it all together and add some fresh lemon or lemon extract. There are as many combinations to this cake as there are Oreo cookie flavors.

If you have questions along the process of making this dessert, head over to my instagram where I can connect with you and answer you via DMs. @thefoodiecutie I hope you enjoy this sure to be crowd-pleaser!

INGREDIENTS

  • Oreo Cookies, 1 packet (40-50 cookies)
  • Unsalted Butter, 1 1/2 sticks (room-temp, sliced)
  • Coconut Oil, 1/2 cup
  • Sugar, 1 cup
  • Eggs, 4
  • Vanilla Paste, 1 tbsp
  • AP Flour, 3 cups
  • Baking Powder, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Warm Milk, 2 cups

chocolate vanilla frosting

  • Powdered Sugar, 1 1/2 cups
  • Salt, 1/4 tsp
  • Cocoa Powder, 1 tbsp
  • Milk, 3 tbsp
  • Vanilla Extract, 1 tsp
  • Lemon Juice, 1/2 tsp

IMG_5485HOW TO MAKE IT

The Oreos. In a food processor, pulse 40-50 Oreo cookies until crumbly. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the ground mixture, then set aside the rest.

Make the batter. In a large mixing bowl, add the butter, coconut oil, and sugar. Use a hand mixer to cream this together. Once it’s creamy, add the eggs in, one at a time. Once combined, mix in the vanilla paste.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Little by little, add the flour to the large mixing bowl followed by a little of the milk at a time. Do this until both the flour mix and milk are evenly combined to form your batter.

Using a silicone spatula, fold in the ground Oreo cookies into the batter. Mix evenly then set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes.

IMG_5423Bake. Set the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a bundt pan and pour in the batter. Lightly tap the pan on a hard surface 1-2 times to release any air bubbles. Now bake the cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Do not open the oven during baking time.

Make the frosting. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together all of the frosting ingredients. The consistency should be slightly thick, but pourable.

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Decorate. Once the bundt cake is out of the oven, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before flipping it onto a wire rack. Once the cake has cooled completely, place the wire rack on a baking sheet. Use a spoon to drizzle the frosting over the cake and then top with the remaining crushed Oreos. Done!

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Easy Gulab Jamun

Often described as fried donuts soaked in a spiced sugar syrup, Gulab Jamuns are so much more than that. These plump sweets are probably the first thing you had at an Indian restaurant or elicit fond memories from older days. We didn’t make this dessert much when I was a kid. I was always craving semiya payasam. But, because it is such an iconic sweet to offer for special occasions (or really any time), my mom grew determined to learn how to make it. I think I got my incessant recipe testing from her. No matter the time of day or how many things were already cooked, there was always time for a test to see if you could perfect a dish you had in mind.
The process of making gulab jamun is surprisingly simple, but, much like how every household has their own version of making chaya (tea), this is one of those recipes I already know will get lovingly scrutinized. Some will make this with milk solids as opposed to milk powder. Some will add spices to the dough. Rose petals will be used as opposed to rose essence. Speaking of rose essence, it’s not the same as rose water. Rose water is a more diluted form of the essence so a little essence goes a long way!
On to the recipe. I am sure you might have questions along the process of making this. If you do, head over to my instagram where I can connect with you and answer you via DMs. @thefoodiecutie I hope you enjoy this sweet treat!
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INGREDIENTS
  • Oil for frying, ghee or canola oil
  • Pistachios, chopped, optional garnish
Sugar Syrup
  • Sugar, 2.5 cups
  • Water, 2 cups
  • Green Cardamom Pods, 8, ground
  • Cloves, 2, ground
  • Lime Juice, 1 tsp
  • Salt, 1/4 tsp
  • Rose Essence, 1/4 tsp
  • Saffron, 2 pinches
Dough
  • Milk Powder, 1 cup
  • AP Flour, 1/4 cup
  • Baking Soda, 1/2 tsp
  • Ghee, 1 tbsp
  • Yogurt, 1 tbsp
  • Warm Milk, 1/4 cup
  • Lime juice, 1/2 tsp
HOW TO MAKE IT
Make the sugar syrup. In a sauce pot, add all of the ingredients for the sugar syrup EXCEPT the rose essence and saffron. Once this comes to a boil, stir and let boil on medium for about 4-5 minutes. After about 5 minutes (or once it feels lightly sticky to the touch), add in the rose essence and saffron. Set aside.
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Make the dough. In a mixing bowl, add the milk powder, AP flour, and baking powder. Whisk together. Drop the ghee into the bowl and then use your fingertips to start pinching the ghee and powder mix together. Do this until you get small clumps of dough. Now in a cup, lightly mix the milk and yogurt together. Pour this in batches to the dough mix and use the same pinching method with your fingertips to clump the dough together. When the milk and yogurt is mostly incorporated, add in the lime juice and repeat the process. Once everything is evenly mixed together, you should be able to pinch the dough together so that it holds.
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Form the balls. I like to roll the balls from the loose state versus rolling the dough into one big ball and breaking off smaller pieces from there. You can try either way. Lightly grease your hands with some ghee and then grab enough dough so that you can form a round shape about 1″ diameter. Keep in mind these will plump up once we add them to the sugar syrup so you don’t want the dough balls to be too large. Tightly roll these balls in your hands so that there are no cracks. Once completely smooth set aside, covered with a paper towel.
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Fry and soak. In a deep skillet, add enough oil so it’s about 2″ deep. Heat the oil and then reduce the heat to low. Add a few of the dough balls at a time into the oil. Let this cook on low for 1-2 minutes using a slotted spoon to roll the balls and help cook evenly all around. Once a deep golden brown color forms, drop it into the warm sugar syrup. Let this soak for about an hour or overnight. You can eat these warm or cold. Enjoy!
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Everything Bagel Cheese Pasta

This pasta is EVERYTHING…but the bagel! I am so excited to share this recipe with you because it only takes about 30 minutes to get this cheesy, flavorful pasta dish on your plate. If you’ve never had an everything bagel, the seasoning (give or take) is a mix of sea salt, white and black sesame seeds, dried onion flakes, dried garlic flakes, and poppy seeds. It’s a special combination of flavors that only made sense to combine with a gooey vat of white cheese sauce.

In my recipe for Everything Bagel Cheese Pasta, I use gruyere cheese, but you can essentially use any cheese. And, for pasta noodles, I used the Rao’s Orecchiette Noodles, but you can use any variety you want.

The question I’m left with is, would this pasta be better in an everything bagel bread bowl?!

Anyway, I’ve broken down this recipe by its process so that it’s easier to follow and prepare for. I hope you enjoy making this and as always if you have any questions, I’m always answering directly on my instagram @thefoodiecutie. Enjoy!

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INGREDIENTS

  • Rao’s Orecchiette Noodles, 1 packet (about 4 cups)
  • Unsalted Butter, 1/4 cup (or half a stick)
  • AP Flour, 1/3 cup
  • Warm Milk, 2 cups
  • Gruyere Cheese, 1 cup
  • Tomato Sauce, 1/2 cup
  • Pasta Water, 1/2 cup
  • Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning, 3 tbsp
  • Dried Chives, 1 tbsp
  • Smoked Paprika, 1 tsp
  • Red Chili Flakes, 1/2 tsp
  • Black Pepper, 1/2 tsp
  • Salt, 1-2 tsp

HOW TO MAKE IT

Boil. Bring a large pot of water to a rumbling boil. Add in about a tbsp of salt to the water. Once rumbling, add in the pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente (firm, but not soft). Drain the pasta and keep about a 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

Make a Roux (thickening base). In a large pot on medium to medium-low heat, melt the butter. Once the butter melts, with a whisk in hand, lightly add in the flour and whisk continuously to avoid clumping. Keep whisking for about 4-5 minutes or until it forms a light yellow color. The consistency should be somewhat loose. IMG_5294

Form the Bechamel (White Sauce). Now slowly pour in the warm milk and be ready to continuously whisk. The sauce will clump at first, but if you keep whisking, it will smooth out. IMG_5295

Mix and Season. Once the sauce has become smooth again, mix in the cheese. Once the cheese is melted and incorporated, mix in the tomato sauce and pasta water. Now add the remaining seasoning. Mix in the cooked pasta. *NOTE: Taste the sauce first before adding in the additional salt. Depending on the cheese used, you might not need any additional salt. 

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South Indian Beef Cutlets

There are several varieties of cutlets including vegetable and fish, but the one I ate most often as a kid was the beef cutlet. This crispy, flavorful, savory appetizer is something I would either dunk into a pool of Maggi’s Spicy Ketchup or eat with sarlas, a simple onion salad.

As always with these old-school, Kerala recipes, it’s all about the process. I’m finding the more I cook, the more I”m in love with the process versus just completing the task at hand. There are beautiful lessons in the process. Skills are learned or made better. Failures are challenged. And, of course, delicious food is created and enjoyed. These processes have so much to teach us if we let them. Who knew cutlets could be so philosophical?

Anyway. I’ve broken down this recipe by its process so that it’s easier to follow and prepare for. I hope you enjoy making this and as always if you have any questions, I’m always answering directly on my instagram @thefoodiecutie.

INGREDIENTS

  • Beef, 2 lbs, round roast, cut into medium chunks
  • Meat Masala
    • Black Peppercorns, 1 tsp
    • Green Cardamom Pods, 6
    • Cloves, 8
    • Cinnamon Stick, 1/2 a stick
    • Cumin Seeds, 2 tsp
    • Fennel Seeds, 2 tsp
    • Red Chili Powder, 1 tsp
    • Turmeric Powder,  1 tsp
  • Golden Yellow Potatoes, 3
  • Coconut Oil. 2 tbsp
  • Shallots, 3, fine mince
  • Ginger, 1 inch piece, fine mince
  • Garlic, 6 cloves, fine mince
  • Green Chilies, 1, fine mince
  • Curry Leaves, 2 sprigs, minced
  • Egg, 1, beaten
  • Bread Crumbs, 1 cup
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

img_3247HOW TO MAKE IT

Spice Blend. Start by making the meat masala spice blend. In a saute pan, add in all of the masala ingredients except for the red chili powder and turmeric powder. On low heat, warm the spices just enough to release their aroma (about 3-4 minutes). Transfer the spices to a grinder to turn it into a powder. Once in powder form mix in the red chili and turmeric powder. Set aside.

Cook. Wash the beef under cold water. Squeeze out as much excess water as you can. Place the beef chunks in a pressure cooker along with 2 tbsp of the meat masala and 2 tsp of salt. Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes. While this cooks, boil the potatoes then peel and lightly mash them so that they’re slightly chunky. Set aside. Drain the excess water from the pressure cooker and then transfer the beef chunks, in batches, to a food processor. Pulse the beef several times to mince the meat. Pulse it until it’s all evenly shredded. Set aside.

Saute. In a large saute pan on medium high heat, add the coconut oil. Once the oil is hot, saute the minced shallots, ginger, garlic, green chilies, and curry leaves. Once the rawness of the ingredients cooks down, add in the minced beef and mashed up potatoes. Mix this together really well then check for salt and spice level. *I like to add 1 tbsp more of the meat masala at this point and then mix it in

Shape. A trick to shaping the cutlet is to use a regular spoon. Scoop up about two spoons worth of meat and then use the shallow side of the spoon to press into the meat. Press so that you begin to form a round, oval shape. Do this on both sides and ensure there are no cracks in your cutlet. Set this aside on a plate or baking sheet as you form the remaining cutlets. A trick is to refrigerate the formed cutlets for about 30 minutes so it holds the shape together more firmly. This helps as we go into the next step.

Dip and Dredge. Grab two bowls. In the first bowl, add one egg and beat it very well. In the second bowl. add in the bread crumbs. I like to designate one hand for egg dipping and the other for bread crumb dipping. First dip the cutlet in the eggs so that its thinly coated then place it into the bread crumb mix. With the other hand lightly coat the cutlet on all sides and shake off excess. Continue to do this for all of the cutlets.

Fry. In a shallow frying pan on medium high, add enough oil so that its about 1-1 1/2 inches deep. When the oil is hot, add in a cutlet. You can fry several cutlets at a time, but don’t overcrowd your pan. Cook each side for about 20-30 seconds or until you see a light golden color form. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cutlets from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels. Done!

Notes

  1. I typically use a round roast cut of beef. I have seen ground beef used, but I don’t prefer the texture. Minced meat offers a fuller bite in my opinion.
  2. You can fry this in coconut, vegetable, or canola oil.
  3. You can store these in the fridge for about a week or freeze them for several months.

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Sambar (a south indian vegetable stew)

Now that my dosa recipe is up on the blog, I couldn’t leave you without a good sambar recipe. Sambar is one of those recipes that makes me think I could live off vegetarian food. For a pot full of vegetables, this stew sure does pack a LOT of flavor!

Sambar is made many different ways. In fact, different districts within South India all seem to have their own variation. From the types of vegetable used to the spice blends, the combinations are vast.

What I’ve created is a version that highlights my favorite flavors. I tend to love a good savory and sweet combination which is I love included golden potatoes and pumpkin or butternut squash in this dish. The podi (powder) I make perks up this sambar with earthiness and the tamarind adds the right amount of sourness to balance everything out.

I hope you enjoy making this recipe (and eat it with some idli or dosa!). If you decide to make this tag me @thefoodiecutie on Instagram or comment below with how this turns out for you 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • Toor Dal, 3/4 cup
  • Sambar Podi (powder)
    • Grated Coconut, 1/2 cup
    • Urad Dal, 1 tbsp
    • Curry Leaves, 1 sprig
    • Coriander Seeds, 1/4 cup
    • Cumin, 1 tsp
    • Dry Red Chilis, 3
    • Peppercorns, 1/2 tsp
    • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
    • Methi (Fenugreek) Leaves, 1 tbsp
    • Asafoetida (Hing), 1 tsp
    • Turmeric, 1tsp
  • VegetablesDrumsticks (Moringa), 3-4 pieces
    • Okra, 3-4 whole, tops cut
    • Roma Tomatoes, 2, large dice
    • Golden Potatoes, 1, peeled, large cubes
    • Carrots, 1 large, cut into rounds about 1mm” thick
    • White Pumpkin (Mathanga) or Butternut Squash, 1/2 cup, large cubes
    • Pearl Onions, 4, thinly sliced
    • White Onion, 1/2, large dice
    • Green Chilis, 2, slit longways
  • Tamarind Concentrate, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, 1-2 tbsp

Tempering Ingredients

  • Coconut Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Curry Leaves, 1 sprig
  • Asafoetida (Hing), 1/2 tsp

img_5024HOW TO MAKE IT

Create the base. In a pressure cooker, add the toor dal along with 2 cups of water. Pressure cook on high for about 10 minutes. Once cooked, lightly mash some of the dal to make the water thicker.

Make the podi (powder). To make the sambar podi, take a deep skillet and put it on the stove on low heat. Start by toasting the grated coconut until it’s lightly golden. Now add in the remaining podi ingredients and use your cooking spatula to keep the spices moving around the pan on low heat. We’re just cooking this until the spices release their aroma (about 1-2 minutes). Let this cool completely before adding it to a spice grinder or small cup blender. Blend this into a fine powder. The powder might have some light coarseness to it – that’s ok.

Pressure cook the veggies. Put the okra in a small skillet with about a tsp of oil. Lightly roast this just enough to cook the outer layer. This helps reduce stickiness once we add it to the pressure cooker. Add all of the cut vegetables, about 4-5 cups of water, and 1/4 cup of the sambar podi to the pressure cooker with the toor dal in it. Mix this then pressure cook on high for about 15 minutes.

Season and temper. Now add the tamarind and salt to the sambar and mix. In a small skillet, add the coconut oil. Once melted and hot, add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds pop, turn off the heat then mix in the asafoetida. Pour this into the sambar. Flavor trick: put about a 1/2 cup of the sambar in the tempering skillet and swirl it around to pick up any last bits of spices then pour it back into the sambar. Check for salt and done!