Thursday, March 15, 2012

Classic, all-time favourite!

There are some dishes I can eat every day of my life, if I have to. Classics that never go off the 'favourites' list. One of them is this simple, really quick Balekai fry (sauteed cooking bananas, the green ones). An all time favourite and for me, best eaten with hot plain rice and ghee. Maybe some clear rasam (Indian lentil and tomato soup) as well...Just like it used to be at Amma's :)

Here's how I make it. Try it and chances are it'll creep into your 'favourites' list too, if it isn't already there :)

Get a couple of green cooking bananas. Pick fairly firm ones and avoid the ones that have a slight yellowish tinge to them (which means they're probably ripening). If you live in Aussie land, you can find them at most fresh fruit 'n' veggie stores or your local Indian store.
Then, wash and peel them. Try not to take off too much of the insides while you peel. Just lightly run your knife down the sides and get rid of the fibrous green skin.
Now slice each banana in half and then quarter. Next, slice into bite sized wedges, neither too thin nor thick. Make sure the pieces are somewhat similar sized to ensure even and fast cooking.
Then heat about a tablespoon of oil in a pan or wok (non-stick works really well). Once the oil is hot, add 1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds and let them crackle. Next add 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin, a pinch of hing (asafotieda) and a pinch of turmeric. Also add in some fresh curry leaves (yum!). 
Tip in the sliced banana and give it a good mix so that they are coated well with the tempering.
Saute, uncovered until the bananas are well cooked. Somewhere in between the cooking process, add salt and chilli powder to taste and mix well. You should be aiming for them to turn out sort of crispy, sort of tender, well cooked and well flavoured. This really shouldn't take very long, say about 10 - 15mins.
You could cover the pan to speed up the cooking process, but I don't like to do that as the whole dish tends to get a bit soggy.

Do make sure it is well cooked. Under cooked green bananas are notorious for not-so-pleasant tummy issues :)

This is a great dish to serve on the side if you're cooking a south Indian feast.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sweet Potato Fries (in the oven)

Hey there! Trust everyone's been cooking well and eating well :)
As you may already know, can be a serious addiction! I may have to sign up for Pinterst-aholics Anonymous soon. (Of course, someone is bound to come up with that soon!) Meanwhile all is well at the inspiration land, so much to see, so much to admire and quite a bit to try as well. Like these super awesome sweet potato fries. KFC had them for a limited time and I was in love. And there was this one time we ate at a nice cafe-restaurant kind of place and we ordered their hand-cut sweet potato fries which were really delish. So it's small wonder that I tried them at home the same evening I saw it on Pinterest. Got to love Pinterest! They turned out so great! (Unfortunately, I don't have a record of the blog I found the recipe from).

It's super easy. All you have to do is get yourself a sweet potato (or two) and wash it thoroughly. You'll be leaving the skin on so it's important to clean it very well and get rid of any dirt on it. Then simply cut them into sort of chunky slices and place in a bowl. Drizzle a wee bit of olive oil all over it. In another little bowl, prepare your spice mix - now I used paprika, salt and cumin powder. You could use anything you like, although my spice mixture tasted really good in the end :-)

Now place the chips on an oven tray (you may want to line it with foil first) and put into a preheated oven at 180 deg. Leave to cook for about 20 minutes, but keep checking on them as oven temperatures and cooking times may vary. When you take them out after they're done, they should be kind of crispy, kind of soft, kind of sweet 'n' salty...mmmm, you get the idea!

We had ours with home-made pizza, yum!


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