Cook's Hideout: May 2007

May 30, 2007

Chimichanga with Pinto Beans

Chimichanga is a deep fried burrito usually stuffed with rice, beans, vegetables and cheese. Wiki says “According to a legend, Monica Flin, who started the restaurant El Charro in 1922, accidentally dropped a burrito into the deep fat fryer. She immediately began to utter a Spanish curse-word, but quickly edited herself to say chimichanga, the Spanish equivalent of thingamajig.
Instead of deep frying my chimis, I baked them and I have to say that I didn’t miss the fat or the calories in the baked version.

Dried pinto beans – 1 cup (or 1 can)
Salsa – ½ cup (home made or store bought)
Lime juice – 1tbsp
Cheddar cheese – 1 cup (I used reduced fat cheddar and monterey jack blend)
Salt and pepper – to taste
Flour tortillas – 5


  • Cook the beans (pressure cooker makes life easy here, but canned beans are far better). Mash the beans and let them cool.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Combine beans, salsa, cheese, lime juice, salt and pepper in a bowl. Spread the bean mixture on one half of a tortilla, tuck the tortilla over the mixture; fold the sides; roll the tortilla to make a wrap. (Use a toothpick to tuck the loose end if needed.)
  • Arrange them on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (cover the sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up).
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes per side or until the chimis are golden brown on all sides.
Serve warm with guacamole, salsa and sour cream.

Spanish rice with Pinto Beans

I just love all kinds of beans and I try to keep my pantry full with both canned and dried beans (ya.. I agree I go a little over board and buy more stuff than I need. It’s always better to have them when you don’t need them, but not have them when you need them doesn’t feel right).
I had of bag of pinto beans (bought a while back), that I finally decided to cook. Dried beans need planning, time and energy to cook(all of these are missing in me on a weekday) , but I decided to finish this bag and swore not to buy anymore dried in the near future.
I soaked about 2 cups of beans and used one cup each in 2 recipes; Spanish rice and Chimichangas.

Dried pinto beans – 1 cup (or 1 can)
Brown rice – 1 cup
Bay leaves – 2
Onion – 1 large, chopped fine
Green peppers – 2, medium (you can use any color peppers)
Jalapeños – 2 , chopped
Garlic cloves – 3, minced
Tomatoes – 2 medium
Tomato paste – 1 tsp
Lemon juice – 1tbsp
Cumin powder – 1tsp
Chili powder – 1tsp
Salt and pepper – to taste

  • Sort through the beans, soak overnight. Rinse and cook along with brown rice in a pressure cooker with bay leaves. (Beans cook faster in pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, then cook rice and beans separately. Pinto beans take almost 1 – 1½ hours to cook.)
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan; sauté minced garlic and onions till onions turn transparent and pink, about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add peppers, jalapeños; cover and cook till veggies are tender.
  • Add tomato puree and chopped tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper; cover and cook for 5 minutes.(If using canned pinto beans, add rinsed and drained beans to the veggie mixture at this stage, let them heat through, then rice to this mixture.)
  • Add the cooked rice and beans to this mixture. Squeeze lemon juice; mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Garnish with green onions and serve hot with guacamole, cheese (cheddar, Monterey jack or pepper jack cheeses would taste awesome) and sour cream.

May 25, 2007

JFI - Jackfruit Masala Curry

Bee and Jai at Jugalbandi are hosting this month’s JFI with a very special ingredient – Jackfruit (or Panasa kaya in telugu)
. I have never cooked with it before but I have tasted both ripe jackfruit and the yummy jackfruit curry (panasa pottu kura) that my Peddamma (Mom’s older sister) makes. But never have I thought of using the ingredient myself (don’t ask me why).

I have to thank Bee and Jai for choosing jackfruit as the ingredient, as it made me try it and both my husband and I liked the dish.
This recipe is from my cousin.

Jackfruit – 1 can, drained and rinsed; chopped into bite size pieces
Onion – 1 large
Tomatoes – 2 medium, ripe (I substituted one tomato with 1 tsp tomato paste)
Ginger-garlic paste – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 6
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Red chili powder – ½ tsp
Chole masala – 1 tsp (or Garam masala)
Aamchur powder – ¼ tsp (or little bit of tamarind pulp)
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – to taste

  • Heat 2 tsp oil on medium heat; add cumin seeds and when they splutter add curry leaves and onions; sauté till transparent and lightly browned on the edges.
  • Add turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes; cover and cook till the tomatoes are tender.
  • Next add the jackfruit pieces, ½ cup of water. Cover and cook for about 8-10 minutes.
  • Add the powders and salt; cook for another 3-5 minutes. Serve with steamed rice or rotis.

May 19, 2007

RCI-Andhra: Thokkudu Laddu

This is one of the 10 things I miss about my Mom’s cooking. They are also known as Bhandar laddu because they were originally made in Machalipatnam/ Bhandar, Andhra Pradesh. These laddus are made with besan (chick pea flour) and are very similar to besan laddus, but are more time consuming to make and way more delicious.
Photos Updated: December 2012.
My mom always makes them when either my sister or I visit India. Freshly made laddus just melt in your mouth and they also keep well for almost 10 days at room temperature and almost 1-2 months in the refrigerator.
This recipe has been on my to-post list for almost 6 months now. I took the pictures during my India trip last year and it is a perfect Andhra treat for RCI-Andhra blog event hosted by Latha. Recipe is a two step process, first make the janthikalu and then grind and make the laddus.

Besan (Chick pea flour) – 1 cup
Sugar – 1 cup (or more depending on how sweet you want)
Cardamom (Elaichi) – 6 pods
Ghee – 4 tbsps
Cashews (fried in ghee)

  • Janthikalu (Murukulu): Add just enough water to besan to make a thick batter.

  • Fry janthikalu in hot oil till golden brown. Remove onto paper towels and allow to cool slightly.

  • When they are cool enough to handle, crush them into small pieces and grind into smooth powder. Sieve the powder 2-3 times to remove any big pieces of janthikalu.

  • Meanwhile, make the sugar syrup. Simmer sugar and water (level of water in the vessel should just above sugar) until it comes to one-string consistency.

  • When you get to this stage, remove the vessel from heat; add the powdered janthikalu, ghee, cardamom powder and cashews. Cover and keep aside until the mixture is easy to handle. Then make laddus and enjoy the warm, freshly home made delicacies.

May 17, 2007

Pulihora Gongura

This is my 1 year Blogging Anniversary Week. On this occasion, I'm going to post two of my Mom's recipes. Pulihora Gongura and Thokkudu Laddu (Bhandar laddu).
When you are talking about Andhra cuisine, gongura pachadi and avakaya have to be mentioned. Pulihora gongura is one of the many variations in which gongura pachadi is enjoyed. I don’t have the exact measurements, but the spices can be adjusted after the pachadi is made.

Gongura leaves – 1 bunch
Tamarind – 1 big lemon ball size
Red chili powder – Use good pickle quality chili powder
Salt – to taste and also for preservation, so use slightly more than you need (check the taste first, it shouldn’t be too salty)
Mustard powder – 1tbsp

For Pulihora popu (tadka)
Chana dal – 1tbsp
Urad dal – 1tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Red chilies – 2-3 (depending on the spiciness you need)
Curry leaves – 8-10
Hing – ½ tsp

  • Clean the gongura leaves and thoroughly dry them on a clean cloth.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a pan, sauté the leaves on low heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. I
  • n the mean time soak the tamarind in ¼ cup water and bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove and cool.
  • After the leaves and tamarind are cool enough to handle, grind along with salt, mustard powder and chili powder to a smooth paste.
  • Heat ¼ cup oil (looks like a lot, but this pachadi needs oil to stay fresh longer), add popu ingredients and after the seeds splutter, remove and cool. Add the gongura paste and mix well. Adjust seasoning and enjoy with hot rice and ghee.

I'm sending this to Latha (@Masala Magic) for RCI-Andhra blog event.

May 10, 2007

Vankaya Kottimeera Karam Kura (Eggplant in Cilantro Gravy)

I love anything made with eggplant (brinjal) and this is one of my absolute favorite recipe (I know I said the same thing for a lot of my other eggplant recipes and they all countJ). This dish tastes delicious and the aroma of cilantro cooking with eggplant is just wonderful. I used small Indian brinjal and I think they have the most flavor compared to Japanese or American eggplants.

Indian eggplants – 10 – 12, cubed

For the Masala paste:
Cilantro (coriander leaves) – 1 cup
Green Chilies – 6 (or according to taste)
Ginger – 1” piece
Grated Coconut (fresh or dry) – ¼ cup
Salt – ½ tsp

For popu:
Chana dal – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Red chilies – 2 (optional)
Curry leaves – 6

  • Grind all the ingredients for the masala paste with water. Add just enough water to grind, so that the paste is not too thick or too runny. Keep aside.
  • Heat 2tsp oil in a pan, add the popu ingredients and after the seeds splutter and the dals turn light brown, add curry leaves and eggplant pieces. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 8-10 minutes or until the eggplants are half way cooked.
  • Mix in the cilantro paste and salt; cover and cook until eggplants are completely tender and the masala paste doesn’t smell raw anymore. This will take 10 more minutes.
  • Serve hot with rice and dal for a wholesome meal.

This is my entry to this RCI-Andhra event hosted by Latha (@ Masala Magic).

May 05, 2007

O for Onion Rice

This is a very basic rice recipe with caramelized onions and my entry for this week's A-Z Indian Vegetables hosted by Nupur (@ one hot stove).

Rice - 2 cups, cooked
Onions - 2 large, thinly sliced
Tomato puree - 2 tbsp
Peas - 1/4 cup
Red Chili powder - 1tsp
Garam Masala - 1tsp
Bay leaves - 2
Cloves - 4
Cumin seeds - 1tsp
  • Heat 2tsp oil in a pan, add bay leaves, cloves and cumin seeds, saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add onions, fry on medium heat for about 20-25 minutes. Occasionally baby sitting the onions to make sure that they don't burn.
  • After the onions turn golden brown and caramelized , add tomato puree and peas (boiled), cook for 2 minutes. Add chili powder, garam masala and salt, cook for about 5 more minutes.
  • Mix rice into onion mixture, adjust seasoning and serve hot as is or with a curry/raita on the side.

May 03, 2007

Mixed Vegetable Curry

I have been using Savoy cabbage instead of the regular head cabbage after I read this post on Indira’s blog. As she says it is a few cents expensive, but if that comes with a boost in nutritional value, then I’m all for it. This dish tastes great with rice and sambar or even with rotis.

Savoy Cabbage – 1 cup, shredded
Mixed vegetables – ½ cup (I used frozen mixed vegetables, thawed)
Moong dal – ½ cup, soaked for 30 mins
Green chilies – 4
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 6
Red chilies – 2
Salt – to taste
  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan, add the seeds and when they splutter add green chilies, red chilies and curry leaves.
  • Sauté for 30 seconds, add cabbage, other veggies (you can use carrots, beans, peas etc) and soaked moong dal.
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Add salt, mix well and enjoy.

May 02, 2007

RCI - Andhra Cuisine: Kanda Bachalikura

This is my entry to this month's Regional Cuisine of India (RCI) - Andhra Cuisine, being hosted by lovely Latha (@ Masala Magic). This dish is mostly made during celebrations like weddings, house warming ceremonies etc. This was on the list of my favorite things that I miss about my Mom's cooking.
I did not have enough bachalikura, so I also used spinach. (For authentic taste, use bachalikura without spinach).
Little more information on Bachali Kura: Basella alba Stewaret (syn Basella rubra Linn) Basellaceae; Common English Name:
Malabar nightshade, Ceylon spinach or Indian spinach; Tamil: Pasalai keerai; Hindi: Poi; Thai: Phak ptlang.

Photo Courtesy:
Kanda (Suran) - 1 cup (I used frozen cubed suran)
Bachalikura - 1 cup, chopped
Spinach - 1/2 bunch, chopped
Ginger - 1" piece, minced fine
Green chilies - 6, finely chopped
Tamarind paste - 1tbsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

For Popu:
Chana dal - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Hing - pinch
Curry leaves - 6

  • Microwave the suran pieces in 1 cup of water for 6-8 minutes, or until the cubes are tender.
  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan on medium low heat, add the popu ingredients and when the seeds splutter, add curry leaves, ginger and green chilies. Stir fry for about 30 seconds.
  • Add turmeric and chopped green veggies, cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until they wilt down and don't smell raw anymore.
  • Add the microwaved kanda (suran) pieces; cover and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • With the back of the spoon mash kanda pieces till it becomes smooth. You can leave them chunky, but traditionally this dish has a very smooth consistency.
  • Add the tamarind paste, salt and little water (if needed). Cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot with rice.
Kanda Bachali kura & Mixed vegetable curry with Rice

Note: Lemon juice can be used instead of tamarind paste in this dish and it will taste equally yummy.

Here's another similar dish from Ammalu's Kitchen - Kanda Palakura Avapetti.


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