Monday, 1 June 2009

Fried yams (Chena Porichathu)

Chena porichathu/ Fried Yam is one of our favourite side dish and makes a good vegetarian replacement for the fried fish or and any other fried non-vegetarian dish. The only hard part is the cleaning. The skin has to be completely cleaned and should be done with a gloves if possible. Because raw yam is a skin irritant and can really be itchy. So don’t handle the raw yam without gloves unless you love scratching!!

400g Yam (chena) (cleaned weight)
1 tbs Kashmiri Chilli Powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
¼ cup(4 tbs) water
¼ cup oil (4 tbs)
Salt- as required

1. Peel the yams and wash it. Slice it into 1/2 cm thickness. (you can fry it without further slicing also). And then slice it again keeping the same thickness into long juliennes. You can also cut them into cubes, if you prefer.
2. Heat a large frying pan, add oil and all the other ingredients and mix well.
3. COVER and cook on medium high heat stirring occasionally to avoid charring for about 25-30 minutes or when they start browning. Serve as a side dish for plain rice. As easy as that and Simple too, and taste.........You should know!!.

Date Muhalabiyeh/ muhalabiya

Muhalabiya is one of the most common Arabic desserts even though the name might sound a bit unfamiliar. This was one of the desserts that used to be served in our university food court during lunch. But I never bought them and never tasted them from the university simply because it was served in a small tray without any garnishing on them and for me, it looked so plain and bland and never appealed to my eye. One more thing, whenever I feel hungry first thing that will come to my mind will be something that is sweet based. So, during my university days I went to one of the supermarkets nearby and headed off to the bakery section. Saw a piece of chocolate cake well garnished and looked very appealing. Bought it and took a bite just to realise how bad that cake tasted. I couldn’t have it at all. That would be the only chocolate cake I ever discarded in my life after having a single bit. So you can imagine how bad it would have tasted. The cake was too dry and almost tasted like a stale bread. Just imagine what impact the garnishing gives a dish. It doesn’t mean that the dish would taste bad if the garnishing isn’t that great. Learnt a lesson from that experience. The other day I had serious craving for some dessert and there was nothing at home that would please my palette. Then I started flipping over my bundle of recipe books looking for an easy dessert that can be made in minutes Then I came across this Muhalabiyeh/muhalabiya in my little nestle cookery book and went for it. And It tasted really yum and it was so easy that you can prepare for your guests if you are making so many dishes. Atleast dessert part would be less painful.
Funny part was that the recipe also calls for rose water which is an ingredients I have never used in any of my dishes. My rose water bottle has been sitting in the cupboard for few years actually and sometimes use it on my face just for a fresh feeling. God knows…read somewhere about rose water being used on face for some reason I don’t even remember. I have had a few Arabic sweets before with overpowering aroma of the rose water that sometimes just put me off. But if u add a little just in right proportion, it really boost up the flavour of the dish with a subtle taste of the rose essence. Please don’t Omit the rose water while making this dish because the sweet will be flavourless and bland. 

I can 397g sweetened condensed milk+1 litre water
½ cup rice flour
2 tbs corn flour
¾ tbs rose water
1 cup chopped dates seeded
Pistachios for garnishing

Preparation:1. Empty the condensed milk can in water and stir well.
2. Stir in the rice flour and corn flour to this condensed milk and water.
3. Mix thoroughly using a wire whisk to avoid any lumps.
4. Place on low heat while continuously stirring until mixture thickens. This will take around 25 minutes on low flame. It will have a thick custard like consistency.
5. Add rose water, stir and remove from heat.
6. And chopped dates and mix.
7. Pour in serving bowls and leave to cool.
8. Garnish with dates and serve cold.
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