Monday, May 7, 2018

Kitchenaid hand blender and Keerai masiyal

"And sometimes we all say a million reasons why we cook an elegant meal....for the love of someone, for the kid, for charity, for a party , for testing a new gadget etc, but the real reason is we all  love cooking , cooking excites us, it cools the hunger and, in simple words....cooking makes us feel like an artist"

This is another comfort food from the basic Indian cooking. The greens are indispensable in a well balanced Indian menu and much praised for the health benefits.
Generally the arai keerai and siru keerai (smaller leaved amaranth) are good for this blending recipe. I have used spinach here.  

In this recipe I have used the kitchenaid hand blender to mash the 'hot spinach'. In Chennai I used to blend the keerai, using a small rough clay vessel and a wooden pestle ( In Tamil - keerai kadaiyum mann pathiramum , mathum). That traditional clay vessel imparts an earthen flavor to the simple keerai masiyal.
Nowadays Indian mixie is used to prepare this masiyal , palak paneer, pavbhaji masala, soups, dals and all those dishes that needed a good mashing. But the drawback is, everything we put in mixie should be cooled to room temperature to avoid them gushing out while grinding. So we have to wait till its cool. Then we have to heat it once again before serving. This multi heating and long hours of wait can be thwarted by using a hand blender.

A hand blender is handier than an ordinary mixie, as we can blend the hot contents right out of the stove and we can serve immediately without reheating. That's the best feature I like about hand blenders. 
I prepare keerai masiyal on almost all weekends along with fish curry or sambar rice and I palak panneer once a week. So this is one of my favorite gadgets.

I bought this some 2 years back from Kohl's in the Kitchenaid section. Since then I have been using it almost twice or thrice a week. I would say this is sturdy, pretty and useful.

 I am an avid fan of Kitchenaid equipments. Just like the old fashioned stand mixer (which I absolutely love), this blender is gorgeous and an useful tool for all who love to cook. 
Kitchenaid hand blender has been an all time  favorite among chefs and homecooks. Mostly it is used to prepare soups, mashed potatoes, mixing hot stuffs in the western world. Just like that the Indian kitchens also need a hand blender nowadays for those busy hands.

Hope you all fall in love with this pretty hand blender !




Keerai masiyal with rice, fish curry and fish fry

Using Kitchenaid hand blender for mashing pav bhaji masala.

Controlled mashing is a good feature of hand blenders.


Ingredients:
Spinach- 1 bunch (300 gm approx)
water - 1/4 cup
shallot - 2
green chilly - 2
garlic - 4 pearls
cumin seed - 1/4 tsp
salt - to taste (very little only)
Lime (sunnambu) - a very small pinch (optional)

Method:
While as a bunch, trim off the hard stem side and take the spinach leaves. Rinse thrice or more times and clean the leaves well.
Take a narrow wok and bring to boil 1/4 cup water. Remove the skin of shallot and garlic. Add them to the boiling water along with the chillies, cook till they get soft. Add the spinach and cook them without closing the lid. 
After a few minutes, gently turn the whole lot and cook the other side too.
Check the stems if they are cooked. Wait till all the moisture is gone and put off fire.
Add cumin, salt and blend in a mixer to a coarse paste using a hand blender.
(Just two or three pulse is enough).

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with rice or as a curry over rice.
We generally prepare this masiyal along with fish curry and rice.

Note:
In my native place , they add a pinch of lime (calcium oxide , that we use along with pan leaves)while blending to get more nutrition. Its purely optional here.
No tadka / tempering is necessary.

Some folklore from my native place (arai keerai / small amaranth):
This masiyal can be prepared with black pepper instead of green chillies and consumed daily to reduce the obesity. 

Example of recipes that can be prepared quickly using a hand blender  in Indian cuisine:
Mashed dal, Soups, Pavbhaji masala, Kheers, Palak paneer, mashed spinach, mixing hot stuffs for samosa,  baby foods, pureeing etc.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Appa


My dad is my hero forever. Sometimes I don't get enough words to describe his love for me and my mom and  brothers. His love for coffee is my most joyful memory. The last month I spent with him was really a gift of God for me. He loved me so unconditionally that he didn't even want to make me travel to see him for the last. Still he made everyday with him memorable and happy for me. He was a person , who wouldn't even criticize anyone , not even those who used to hate him, or not even a movie. He wouldn't even say bad things about a movie we watch, as he would tell me to respect the work of the artists in that movie (those words always surprises me , how can a person love everything?)  .He was a man who was misunderstood by some, because he used to protect his family as much as possible , just like any other real dad in this world.   He lived a selfless life, filled with love for family. dedication towards work, care for friends and for all who come near him. I was always exclaimed at his dedication towards his clients and sometimes he would consider them as his own brothers and sisters and children, which I had not seen much in many . Amma and appa were a very happy loving couple and he just lived for us only after her. He loved amma very much .  He was a rational thinker, a  very practical man. He was an atheist, but still loved all religions. He would never argue about religions or would never treat anyone partially because of social status or for anything. But he would go to temples for us and would mingle with other religious priests and would give donations to all religious institutions. I am sure God loves him very much and give him peace.