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Thursday, 20 March, 2008

Roti Rolls

Roti is an Indian bread eaten with curry. It is usually made on an iron griddle. The main ingredient of Roti is wheat flour called atta. Rotis are easy to make with a little practice. It is similar to a tortilla. I remember my first days, when I used to struggle making rotis, sometimes they came out in the shape of Africa and sometimes that of India, sometimes they were hard and sometimes it used to stick to the tawa. I used to take these rotis to my office and my colleagues used to laugh seeing the shape of these rotis. I was staying in the land of rotis and parathas, Punjab so I could understand why they laughed at me. Most of them made beautiful, soft rotis and looking at my blackened rotis can make anyone laugh. I have come a long way from then.


Here in Cape Town, we get rotis in supermarkets, but most of them are made the Malay way. It is usually made with lots of oil or ghee. The Indian rotis do not use much oil and this helps us to keep cholesterol to some extent at bay.


I make rotis everyday in the morning to pack a healthy lunch for my husband to take to work. Recently, my eight year old son came and told me "Mamma, I do not want sandwiches for lunch, I would also like to take rotis to school". I started thinking of different ways to send rotis to school. I did not want to send curries to school as he would make a mess of his uniform and come home. I thought of the wraps available at fast food restaurants and came up with this recipe. I am putting up the photo of roti and shall put the photo of roti roll when I take one.


Ingredients for Plain Rotis:

  1. 2 cups atta (or 1 1/2 cup white bread flour and 1/2 cup brown bread flour)
  2. Sufficient water and salt
  3. 1 tsp. oil




Method:

  • Mix atta and salt with warm water.
  • Knead till soft and then put the oil on to this dough and knead it once more, keep it aside for an hour or two.
  • The dough should be kept covered with a damp cloth or with cling film.
  • Divide into balls.
  • Roll out each ball by dusting it with some flour into a circle of the required size.
  • Cook these rotis one side after the other on a flat or slightly concave iron griddle.
  • You may apply ghee on these rotis but not necessary.

Filling for the Rotis:



  1. 500 gms chicken breasts cut into long strips
  2. 8 to 10 lettuce leaves
  3. 1 green pepper sliced
  4. 1 onion sliced
  5. 100 gms of creamy salad dressing or mayonnaise(I use spur's creamy salad dressing used for french fries)
  6. A few coctail tomatoes cut in half
  7. 1 tsp. chicken masala or garam masala
  8. 2 tsp.oil
  9. salt to taste


Method:

  • Saute the chicken breasts in 2 tsp. oil until cooked and water has evaporated.
  • Put in the garam masala, cocktail tomatoes and salt and mix for two minutes.
  • Remove it from fire. Keep it aside.
  • Take one roti, first place one lettuce leaf in it and then some cooked chicken breast, one or two pieces of green pepper, onions and finally a little sauce on the filling.
  • Roll the roti in such a way that the bottom is folded first and then the sides.
  • Finally roll a serviette on each roti so as not to get the filling out.
  • A nice delicious roti roll is ready to eat.

Wednesday, 19 March, 2008

Meen Pachacurry (Fish curry)

Yesterday when Rosly asked me for more fish recipes, the first recipe which went through my mind was Meen Pachacurry. This curry may be called by different names in different places in Kerala.
I remember the excitement I used to get when my family used to pack our bags for our long awaited summer holidays. It used to be a tiring trip. We lived in Gujarat and to reach Kerala by train, took almost 3 days and 2 nights and now with the introduction of the Konkan railway, this time has been cut short. I used to get up very early on the third day and wait for Palakkad to come. There was always a feeling of happiness as soon as I entered the starting point of Kerala state. I did not want to miss the coconut trees, the jackfruit trees, the mango trees, the paddy fields and so on. This land will never lose its beauty at least from my mind. It is picture perfect. I forget my worries whenever I remember this natural beauty. I have strayed away from my topic isn't it? That is me, a big day dreamer.
The story of my meen pachacurry originates from Ashtamudi, a place in Kollam district. This is the place where my mother grew up, the house is on the banks of Ashtamudi lake. I used to go and sit near the lake to watch the sunrise and sunset. Did you ever watch the night sky near to a lake? It is beautiful and if one is lucky, one can get a glimpse of a shooting star. At night you can hear the fisherman making sounds by hitting slowly on the boats to attract the fishes.
Early in the morning one can see the boats passing by with the fishermen chattering and gathering their nets. This brings in the fresh catch of fish especially Karimeen. It is a type of flat fish with black spots. When the fisher woman brought this to our door, I was sure that I would get meen pachacurry for lunch. I love that curry. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg fish (karimeen or angel fish or any other flat fish)
  2. 1 cup Coconut shredded
  3. 1/2 cup fresh green mango pieces or 1/4 cup tamarind juice
  4. 5 green chillies
  5. 4 garlic flakes
  6. 1/2 inch ginger
  7. 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  8. 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  9. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  10. 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  11. few sprigs of curry leaves
  12. salt to taste
  13. little water

For seasoning:

  1. 1 tblsp. oil
  2. 1/3 tsp mustard seeds
  3. 2 shallots thinly sliced
  4. 2 whole dried red chillies

Method:

  • Grind the grated coconut, green chillies, garlic, ginger, chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and fenugreek seeds to a very fine paste. Keep it aside.
  • In a pan, heat oil, splutter the mustard seeds and put in the shallots and dried red chillies and saute for 2 minutes or until the shallots have turned slightly brown.
  • Add the mango pieces and 1/2 cup water along with salt or the tamarind juice and salt. When you add tamarind juice add water accordingly. Bring it to boil. Put in the fish pieces and cook until nearly done.
  • Add the ground coconut paste and curry leaves and let it cook till done and the curry is of a thicker constituency.
  • Serve it with hot white rice.

Monday, 17 March, 2008

Chicken cutlets

Ingredients:

  1. 500 gms chicken breasts
  2. 2 boiled big potatoes
  3. 1 inch ginger
  4. 2 or 3 green chillies (as per your taste)
  5. bread crumbs for rolling the cutlets
  6. 2 egg whites
  7. 1 tsp. chicken masala or garam masala
  8. 1/2 tsp turmeric
  9. 1/2 onion cut into very small pieces
  10. salt as per requirement
  11. oil for frying

Method:

  • Boil the chicken breasts in a little water and salt.
  • When it is cooked and cooled blend it with a blender or chopper
  • Mash the boiled potatoes, salt and the chicken mixture.
  • Heat a pan add 2 tsp oil, saute the onions, ginger and green chillies. Add the turmeric and chicken masala and saute for a minute. Add the potato and chicken mixture and mix.
  • Remove this mixture from fire. Make small balls from this mixture and then press this ball slightly with your other hand to get into a cutlet shape.
  • First dip this ball into the egg white and then roll it in the bread crumbs.
  • Follow the same procedure with the other cutlets.
  • Deep fry it in oil. Take it out of the oil when it is of a golden brown colour.
  • Serve it with tomato and onion salad.