May 28, 2011 5 comments:

Sweet Potato Stew ~ Chilakada Dumpa Pulusu

When ever I make any stew (పులుసు) that reminds me of my childhood morning meal made by my mom. Because she always used to make one fry, one stew and we finish our meal with the yogurt and go to school. When she was here for for the first time, she made Okra Stew, which reminded me of all those old days. Remembering those thoughts, one day I have experimented the same recipe of her with this wonderful vegetable and since then it's a favorite dish in our family. Here is the recipe for you, try it out and see if this is favorite worthy. :-). Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Stew
Sweet Potato - 2 medium
Onion - 1/2 medium
Red Chile Powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - 2 tsp
Tamarind -  medium marble size (key lime size)
Cilantro - 2 Tbsp
Oil - 1 Tbsp
Raw Sugar- 2 tsp

Chana Dal - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - 5
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chile - 2 ( whole)
iPhone Camera came to rescue when we forgot the real camera at our friend's house :-)

1. Heat the oil in the pan and make tempering (పోపు/తాలింపు/तड़का). Add Red Chillies, followed by  Chana Dal, Urad Dal, Cumin Seeds and Mustard Seeds, once they start spluttering add turmeric powder and curry leaves.
2. Add Chopped Onions to the pan and Peel and Cut the Sweet Potatoes into medium cube size and add them to the pan. Add the 1 tsp salt and close the lid.
3.  Meanwhile, take the tamarind in a small bowl with some water (1/4 cup) and microwave it for 1 min. let it cool for few min and extract the tamarind juice by squeezing the tamarind in the warm water.
4. Add this water to the pan and add remaining salt and chili powder and close the lid. Leave the heat in medium and let it simmer.
5.  After 5 min, check for the softness of the sweet potato. If it is cooked properly, taste for the salt and other seasonings, adjust every thing as you needed.
6. Add the Sugar and close the lid and let it simmer for 5 min.
7. At the end add the cilantro and turn off the heat and leave it on the stove for few min.

Yum! Yum! Yum! Sweet Potato Stew is ready to be served. Serve over hot  white rice , add Ghee (clarified butter) as necessary and enjoy your wholesome dinner.

Note: As the sweet potatoes are sweet the sugar amount in this recipe is little less when compared to other stews.

take care until next time

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May 23, 2011 3 comments:

Chicken 65 ( Killer Recipe )

I think I have had enough writings on my recent trip and travel and made you bored with my experiences. I think now I am back to reality and got back to routine. At work things were crazy and we are done with a major release Phew! Before I went to trip I used to monitor our nightly build process as it was my turn then, since I was going to vacation some of my wonderful colleagues volunteered to take care of the build in my absence. In return favor to them I have promised some nice goodies from my kitchen. To kept my promise I have made this Chicken 65 (which is long time due for me to try as well). It came out too good and beyond my expectations and won everybody's taste ticklings at work.

Chicken 65
I was surprised myself how fast, easy and yet very tasty is this recipe!! Check this out, you will be convinced like me for sure.

Source: This recipe is adapted from my favorite site vah-reh-vah.

Before Frying:
Chicken Breast - 1 lb (small size tray)
Salt - 1 Tsp
Black Pepper - 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 Tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Corn Starch - 2 Tbsp
Egg - 1
Vegetable Oil - Enough for frying

After Frying
Olive Oil - 1 Tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Garlic - 1 Tbsp
Ginger - 1 Tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Green Chilies - 3
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili Garlic Sauce - 1 Tbsp
Honey - 1tsp
Curry Leaves - 10 or Cilantro -  1/4 Cup
Lime - 1/2

Thanks to morning sunshine for cooperating to capture all the wonderful colors in my click.

1. Cut the Chicken Breast into small pieces. (I have used Chicken Stir Fry variety so it was easy to cut)
2. Add Salt, Red Chili Powder, Turmeric Powder, Ginger Garlic Paster close the lid the set aside for 15 minutes. (to let all the flavors to sink in)
3. Mean while heat the oil for frying.
4. Add the Corn Starch and Egg to Chicken and mix well. Once the oil is hot, drop chicken slowly into hot oil. Fry them until golden brown color in batches. The Turmeric and Red Chile Powder will give nice color. (natural coloring agents).
5. Keep these fried chicken pieces on the paper towel to drain the excess oil from it.
6. Take the non-stick pan and add the olive oil to it.
7. Once the oil is hot, add cumin seeds, once they start spluttering, add the chopped ginger and Garlic pieces. Add the Green Chili. let the mixture fry for a min.
8. Add the salt, Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder followed by Chili Garlic Sauce.  Mix well and Add 2 tbsp water to make the mixture little dilute.
9. Add Honey and mix well.
10. Add the Fried Chicken Pieces to the pan mix it very well and Add the Coriander leaves at the end. Switch off the stove and leave it on the stove for 5 min.

Chicken 65 Served at it's best. :-)
Serve into plates while it is hot, with a side of green lime. Now you are almost close to heaven, squeeze that lime on and dig into it to taste the heaven. :-)

  • I have avoided the MSG (Chinese salt) and food color from the base recipe.
  • Honey is my secret ingredient in the recipe, this softens the spicy taste and make this mixture little thick and sticky so that it will be coated well on the chicken pieces. and Don't over do this, may kill the spicy taste.
  • By the way this is my first attempt at Chicken 65 :-)

I am sending this to MizHelen's  Full Plate Thursday.

Enjoy and Take Care until Next time

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May 22, 2011 4 comments:

Meal Ideas When you are on the Travel

Several people asked me how I have managed the meals for Kids on the travel, Here are some meal ideas that I have tried and worked for our family, hope these will be handy for you while you are on a trip or travel with kids (and will be future reference for me ;-)).

Asparagus Stuffed Omelet, Onion and Spinach Omelet, Open Faced Omelet Sandwich, French Toast, Cereal with Milk / Fruit, Oatmeal with Milk.

Rice and Spinach/Tomato Curry, Mixed Veg Chinese Noodles with side of Chicken Fries, Rice and Roni Pasta, Uncle Ben's Rice, Cheese Pizza (frozen), Rice and Egg Plant Stir Fry, Couscous Pilaf with Mixed Vegetables (instant) Mac and Cheese Singles w Mixed Vegetables.

Snacks: I have pre-packed  these snacks and they were very handy and tummy satisfying for kids when we are on the long drives.

NutThins, Chips Ahoy on the go, Clif Kids Bars, Nature Valley Oatmeal Bars, Fruit Loops.

Hope these meal ideas might be handy for your next trip.

Take care until next time

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May 21, 2011 3 comments:

Let's Go Little Local to Kauai

When we have decided to go to Hawaii, we have picked the 'the Garden Isle' ( Kauai's nick name) for our heavenly stay. Though I wanted to witness the Volcano's that are on other island, my hubby thought it would be too much to do 'island hoping' as we are travelling with two young kids, and I agreed with him. So we have decided to stay on a Condo, after some research and talking to travel agents, we have decided to stay on the Poipu Beach, which is on the south shore of Kauai. Popiu Beach is very family friendly and well equipped with amenities like rest rooms, showers etc and it is one beach which is monitored by life guard.

Wild and Beautiful Flowers at Local Farm Market
So we have rented a nice luxury condo at Villas at Regency in Poipu Kai Resort area, though we did not get a ocean front or view, it is 5 min away from the beach and very convenient and we have enjoyed the walk to beach. When we check in, the minute i entered into condo, i quickly browsed the kitchen  (the usual me), and it was stunning, with all the stainless steel appliances and well organized cookery stuff.

As I am travelling with kids, I knew I had to cook some meals at the condo, for kids, and I have packed some rice box entries, oatmeal singles, mac and cheese microwavables, some breakfast bars, Nut thins, Cookies etc. I have looked on Google maps and realized they have Walmart near airport and Costco as well. ( Have no planning of Bulk Shopping at Costco, but the presence of Costco gave us some relief, don't know why we love Costco that much :-) )

After a 6 hour long flight, the tropical breezes, birds  and plants gave us a nice warm welcome. We got the car equipped with car seats and when everybody is set in the car, then we realized that we forgot to pack our GPS, ( after enough cursing ) we have relied on our mobile GPS and they did pretty good job too. We found the walmart and bought some frozen entries like chicken strips, mixed vegetables, Pizza and Noodles Packs, Milk, Bread, Eggs, Chips, Cereal. I am disappointed to see the lack of some fresh vegetables at the Walmart. We headed to condo enjoying the drive in those thick wooded tree roads. Not to mention, Kids are confused with the time difference ( 5 hour diff from Dallas), I have quickly figured the oven settings and baked the Tuscan Chicken Pizza for dinner. The family enjoyed the dinner together after 20 hours long daytime.

Tropical Bananas and Mountain Apples
Next day when I woke up and looking for my morning heaven ( yes, Coffee it is), and did not find any staples like Oil, Salt, Sugar etc. (Forgot to mention, we have packed our favorite instant coffee Taster's Choice and Kids Complan in the last minute, thanks to hubby's advice) We were told they will be available, so I haven't packed or planned for these. So we headed to the beach in search of some coffee shops, and after talking to locals, came to know the Big Save is the destiny for groceries and such kitchen staples which is located in the near by Historic Koala Town.

Big Save is similar to Kroger or Albertson's where you can find all the grocery needs and fresh vegetables and fruits. After picking all my kitchen staples, and entered into market section felt fresh by looking at all those fresh, tender and crisp vegetables and beautiful and unlimited Herbs (Mint, Basil, Thai Basil, cilantro) and the herb quantities are huge compared to here. (herbs must be abundant here for this tropical weather). And there are so many tropical fruits, local papayas  (are very small compared to Texas size), pineapples, kiwi, jack fruit etc. I have picked fresh spinach, onion, tomato, asparagus, EggPlant (they were just similar to the one in India, long and thin, how can i miss my favorite vegetable) and some tropical bananas and local papayas Seriously, The fresh produce reminded me so much of Indian vegetables and fruits.

After having a tummy full breakfast (Oh! those baby papayas are so sweet and yummy) we headed to North shore to check out the light house. On the way the nice variety of fruit stands attracted and made us stop by. There I found Big Hass Avocados, Egg Fruit, Tender Young Coconuts, Limes, Pumellos and Baby Tropical Bananas. The Young Coconut water was refreshing in the little sun on that day. Egg Fruit was interesting and new to me. So i  bought them to give it a try. They looked like ripe mangoes but inside they are so soft and tastes like Baked Pumpkin or Sweet Potato. That was a very filling fruit.
Egg Fruit on the Left and Baby Papaya on the Right

On our Boat Trip and Snorkeling day I found this fruit Seema Chintakayalu ( looks like twisted tamarind) which brought me so many childhood memories.

Baby Mango and Seema Chintakaya (twisted tamarind)
I think this fruit became rare in India these days and so hard to find it now (I am so happy to find this fruit here). When we were kids we used to go to farms with a long stick to reach these fruits on the top of the tree (cause, these trees are so delicate to climb ;-) ). Those were some fun days of childhood full of silly things. And on the way to Poipu Sands beach I found this Mango tree with full of baby mangoes.

Since I was there I have been longing to go to local farm market there which happens weekly in every town on the Island, as I have heard very good things about the nice display of local vegetables and fruits at these markets. We went to the one in Koala town near to Poipu Beach. It was a wonderful experience, (similar to 'Raitu Baazar' in India), I have witnesses so many local wild and beautiful flowers, the vegetables are fresh and tender, Hass Avocados, Baby Buck Choys, Chineese Egg Plants, Okra, Long Beans, Fresh Lettuce, Spinach and several herbs.
Okra, Green Long Beans, Chinese Egg Plant, Grape Tomatoes, Key Limes
On the fruits side, there are tropical bananas, Local Papayas, Baby Pineapples, Kiwi, Jackfruits, and Key Limes . There is another new fruit that I have never seen before, and that is Mountain Apple, It looks like elongated apple, and tastes like apple but it got some nice fragrance of some flowers. And not to mention their unlimited Young Tender Coconuts.
Baby Pineapples, Local Papayas, Tropical Bananas, Cucumbers

The people here are so innocent and very friendly,  I am glad I have picked Kauai, as I have had true Hawaiian Experience in every single moment of stay on this beautiful island.

Baby BuckCHoy, Hass Avocados and more... Wonderful Local Farm Market Experience at Koala Town
Besides all this local experience we have witnessed some nice food heavens also in Kauai.

Hope I have made you fly to Kauai with this reading experience.

Take Care until next time

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May 14, 2011 4 comments:

Some Good Eats at Kauai, Hawaii

By looking at the title now you can guess the reason for my absence in the blog world from the past 2 weeks. I have been vacationing in Paradise, lost in nature and got enough washed in the  Pacific Ocean. Yes, it's like my dream come true, when we have decided to go to Hawaii. and after some dilemma in Maui and Kauai, I have picked Kauai which is known as 'the garden isle', as both of us are nature lovers. Thanks to my hubby for making my dream real and it is a very memorable vacation for me for life time. Though I am on vacation, Food is on my mind. Just kidding, I meant, Where ever we go we have to eat right, we can't ditch it.;-)

As we went there with Kids, we have rented a Condo, where I have cooked breakfast and one meal at the Condo (esp Kids definitely enjoyed the meal at condo), and we ate once outside every day. We have explored so many differnt restuarants, Coffee shops and Ice Cream shops.

Roy's - Downstairs cafe - Keiko Paradise
There are so many diffrent kinds of small and unique restuarants in cute little village centers, on the coast side. Any restaurant you go, either you get a ocean view or beautiful garden view with natural landscapes. Hawaii is famous for their Polynesian Culture and Food (mainly focused on Pork), as we are not that great carnivorous, we haven't tried any of the Polynesian food. As I prefer vegetables anytime, and hubby is little hesitant to try seafood (for sea food reaction) we got stick to veggie options on this trip. And Surprisingly every restaurant we went, has great choice of vegetarian options; It's like my luck by chance. ;-)

Day 1 - when we went to Lighthouse on the North East Shore, there we had lunch at Lighthouse Bistro. When Hubby had Grilled Mahi-Mahi on a snadwhich bread, I had veigge burger wrap with Papaya seed dressing ( which is interesting). Sorry, Couldn't get any pictures though.

Day 2 - when we are on the way to Canyon, in poipu beach we had lunch at 'Downstairs Cafe', where we have a breathtaking away garden views with full of lush greens. I had Fried Avocado Soft Tacos which are superb, (the Avocados are Hass Avocados local to Hawaii, they are very huge and thick green compared to the Avocado here).

Hubby had Grilled Eggplant with Red Pepper Hummus on the Flat Bread along with fresh baby spinach. It was huge, very filling and fantastic.

Day 3 - We went to Keiko's Paradise, where the restuarant was decorated like a island and with rain forest theme ( which is full of small waterfalls and orchids all over the place and seating areas are designed like small huts). I simply loved this place. Hubby didn't dare to try their local catch (fish)  entrées, usually they serve the local catch ( the fish caught on the same day and they are very expensive also). He ended up ordering Shrimp Basil Pesto Served with Rice Pilaf and Garlic Toast.

I have ordered Asian Cashew Chicken which is very good. Our souls and tummy satisfied in this heavenly place. :-). They serve the food with a flower on the side either Orchid or Plumeria.

Sorry, the auto flash didn't bring all the colors of this beautiful dish in the picture.

Day 4 - Sea Sickness, could not keep anything inside. No thought of Food on mind. ;-)

Day 5 - We just ate at McDonalds because of Kids Rush.

Day 6 - We went to Tropical Burgers which states the Best Burgers on the Island. Ambience is not that great and Hygenic but the food is awesome, loved every bit of it. Hubby's choice was, Fire Roasted Chicken Burger - Chicken Served with Pineapple and their Fire and Secret Sauce. (Believe me their secret sauce is making their burgers best.)

Mine is Veggie Burger - Garden Fresh vegetables, Tofu and Oatmeal Patty served on Fresh Spinach Bed with their secret sauce on the Bun. Not to mention their fries are so goooood.

Day 7  - We ate at Taco Bell.

Food Chains like McDonalds, Taco Bell and Starbucks same menu as we do see here. But the other restaurants are very unique with their own style of decor and menu choices, they stood at their best and distinct.

Lappert's IceCreams is one of the best Icecream and Coffee Shops on the islands. It's a chain store, you can find one in almost every shopping center on the coastal line.
Kids fully enjoyed the Ice cream at Lappert's :-)
Lemon Grass Grill for Asian, Brick Oven Pizza for Italian, Roy's for Hawaiin style are some good eat mentions by locals. But we did not have time to witness these food heavens. I have also seen Curries - Nepali and Indian restaurant and ShivLink is supposed to be the good indian resturant on the island. I have even witnessed the Roy's here on Poipu Beach. I know Roy's from one of our office parties held at 'Roy's Hawaiian Fusion' in Dallas.
PukaDog Best HotDogs - Papalani Gelato ( Ice Creams) - Poipu Tropical Burgers Place

Hope you have enjoyed reading my food heaven (restaurant) experiences in Paradise ( Hawaii). Wait for my next post to take you little more local to Kauai. :-).

Until then Take Care

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