Saturday, June 1, 2013

Kurukku payasam...Healthy kerala style red rice pudding

 Rice payasam is usually a heavy, occasional indulgence, it's pretty easy to cut some corners to turn this former guilty pleasure into a healthy, diet-friendly treat!


 Today i am here with a traditional kerala style payasam. Red boiled rice. The red rice is also known as the unakkalari by kerala peoples. If you cannot find red rice in store then you can buy Rose Matta rice or you can use some any non-sticky rice like brown basmathi for preparing this type of payasam .This is a very healthy pudding as it is made with red rice and jaggery. Red rice , rich in fiber and is a good source of manganese and selenium. Jaggery is rich in iron and is definitely a better choice than sugar.

This recipe combines coconut milk and red rice or brown rice to result in a delicious, creamy dessert. The coconut milk cooks the rice into a perfectly soft texture, and with a tad of sweetener and a dash of cinnamon, this rice Payasam is the poster child for sweet comfort food. Enjoy!
  • 3/4 cup rose matta rice/red rice (nellu kuthari)or Chamba arii or payasam Rice
  • 1 Coconut ( grated)
  • 1/2 Kg Jaggery
  • 6-7 Cardamom
  • 1/4 piece Nutmeg/jaipal
  • 2 tsp Ghee
  • 15-20 Cashew nut,broken
  • 1 tbsp Raisins
  • 8-10 Almonds,sliced
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon powder
Cooking Directions

  1. Soak rice in water for about 3 hours.
  2. After 3 hours strain and grind rice, coconut grating,whole cardamom and nutmeg to smooth paste using 2 cups of water.
  3. Add about 11/2 liter of water to make thin watery consistency and keep aside
  4. Dissolve jaggery in a little water and heat on a low medium flame or until it begins to melt. stir well switch off the gas.Then filter it to remove impurities.
  5. Heat non stick pan or thick bottomed kadai and add the ground rice -coconut paste and Water and cook on medium flame and stir continuously till the rice paste becomes almost thick.
  6. At this stage add melted jaggery water, keep stirring till the payasam thickens to the desired consistency .
  7. Now, heat the ghee in a pan and add the raisins pieces of cashew nut and almonds fry till golden brown and the raisins have puffed up, remove and add to the payasam and mix well preserving some nuts for garnishing...Enjoy!

Thai chicken curry with lemongrass

Preparing Thai food can be challenging, because some of the ingredients are pretty exotic.It can be tough getting hold of things like galangal and kaffir lime leaves in smaller cities like mine so i have replaced it with ginger and bay leaves. Thai green curry paste often contains shrimp, and fish sauce has anchovies, which presents a problem.Because of these challenges, I decided to create my own Thai-style curry using everyday ingredients. I wanted to capture that delicious Thai flavor in a recipe that is accessible to everybody, whether or not you live close to an Asian market. The most exotic ingredient on the list is lemongrass, which is available in the produce section of most Asian grocery stores. If your market doesn't carry fresh lemongrass, it will likely carry lemongrass paste near the fresh herbs or in the Asian food section.  this herb has a distinctive flavor that really enhances the dish.

This Thai Curry Recipe is fragrant and sumptuous, and can be made anywhere from mild to spicy depending on your taste. It starts with a homemade Thai green curry paste which is easily put together with your food processor or blender. Add coconut milk, chicken, and you have a healthy and hearty curry dish that will awaken your senses and boost your mood.I just  love this recipe and it is SO simple. I've adjust it slightly due to personal preferences. I usually go light (if at all ) on the fish sauce and shrimp paste and I leave out the brown sugar completely . For my family, it is already sweet enough with the coconut milk and tomato. I also add  onion to the blender preparation and then slice the rest and put it in the dish with the chicken to cook. This is so easy and tastes wonderful.

Thai green curry paste
  1. 4-5 cloves garlic
  2. 10 green chilies 
  3. 1onion (OR 1/4 cup purple onion), chopped
  4. 1 thumb-size piece galangal OR ginger, sliced
  5. 1/2 cup fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves & stems roughly chopped
  6. 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds
  7. 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  8. 1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (available in most supermarket spice aisles)
  9. 1 Tbsp. lime juice
  10. 100ml coconut milk fresh or canned 
Blend well to create a fragrant green curry paste. If using a blender, add more coconut milk to blend ingredients, up to 200ml as necessary.

Main ingredients:
  1. 4 shallots , or 2 small onions
  2. 2 stalks lemongrass
  3. 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  4. 3-4 tsp Thai curry paste
  5. 1kg Chicken,cut into medium sized pieces
  6. 1 tbsp fish sauce
  7. 4 freeze-dried or fresh kaffir lime leaves or bay leaves 
  8. 300 ml coconut milk
  9. 2-3 stalks of green onion/spring onion
Cooking Directions
  • Peel shallots or onion and cut in half from top to root. Lay the cut sides flat on a board and thinly slice. 
  • Remove any tough outer leaves from the lemongrass and cut off the bulb. Thinly slice the lower half of the stalk (the upper half can be discarded OR cut into long segments and added to the curry pot for extra flavor). Chop the slices with your knife to mince, or pound with pestle & mortar.
  • Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan for a couple of minutes.Add sliced shallots or onions. Fry for 3-5 mins, until soft and translucent. Stir in the curry paste and Lemon grass and cook for 1 min, stirring all the time.
  • Add chicken pieces and stir until they are coated. Add the fish sauce,sugar (if you are using), kaffir lime leaves or bay leaves and remaining coconut milk. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 mins until the chicken is cooked. Stir the curry a few times while it cooks, to stop it sticking and to keep the chicken submerged.
  • Stir half the roughly chopped spring onion into the curry and sprinkle the rest over the top. Serve Hot with Thai jasmine rice or plain steamed basmati rice.
Tips :
  1. If the fresh lemongrass is not available then substitute 3 Tbsp bottled OR frozen prepared lemongrass (bottled lemongrass can be found at some supermarkets, or look for the frozen type at your Asian food store).
  2. If You'd Like More Sauce then add 1/2 cup chicken stock. OR, for a creamier green curry, add more coconut milk (1/3 to 1/2 can) or evaporated milk (both are used in Thailand).
  3. Once chicken is cooked, add up to 2 chopped bell peppers OR experiment with other vegetables of your choice - green beans, tomatoes zucchini, and eggplant all work well.Stir in the vegetables and continue simmering another 10 minutes, or until vegetables have softened and chicken is tender.
  4. You can add a tsp of shrimp paste.Shrimp paste (also known as 'shrimp sauce', 'kapi', 'trassi' or 'bagoong aramang') is a strong-smelling, very salty pink paste commonly used as a cooking ingredient in many Southeast-Asian dishes.