Thursday, December 31, 2009

Channa Pulao - My Legume Love Affair 18

Channa Pulao

I've never met a chickpea recipe I didn't like. Ever. This one, from the lively little e-cookbook authored by Srivalli of Cooking 4 All Seasons, host of MLLA 18, is no exception. Flavors of South India Kitchen is a fifteen-recipe collection of some of Srivalli's blog recipes, as well as a sneak peek of new ones which are slated for publication in a larger book version in 2010.

I am very pleased for the opportunity to lend my support to Srivalli's venture, as well as enjoy the privilege of featuring one of her recipes, a spice-charged mountain of basmati rice and chickpeas. It is enough to feed an army and packs well for commuter travel.
Channa Pulao - Reprinted by permission. © Copyright 2009 - Srivalli Jetti. All Rights Reserved.


For Rice

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Turmeric Powder a pinch
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Clove - 2
Cinnamon - 2”
Cardamom - 2
Salt to taste
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Water - 2 cups

For Masala

Onion - 1
Green chilis - 2
Mint Leaves (Pudina) - ½ cup
Coriander Leaves - 1/2 cup
Coconut - 50 gms
Garlic - 4 pods
Ginger - 2"

For Channa Pulao

Kabuli Channa - 1 cup, pressure cooked separately with little salt.
Onion – 1, julienne
Tomatoes – 1, finely chopped
chili powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:

1. Soak Channa overnight. Then pressure cook with little salt till soft. Drain the channa and store the water for cooking rice. Meanwhile wash and soak basmati rice for 15 mins.

2. Grind all the Masala ingredients to fine paste.

3. Once rice is soaked for 15 mins, heat a pan with ghee. Add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf. Fry for few mins. Then drain rice and fry for few mins ensuring the rice does not break. Add 2 cups water (channa water and water used for soaking the rice) and pinch of turmeric and salt. Cover and cook till its done. Rice should be separated and not sticky. Keep aside.

4. Heat oil in a big kadai, add onion julienne, fry it it's brown in colour. Add the ground masala, cook on high flame for few mins, add chili powder. Simmer for 5 mins. Then add tomatoes with salt. Cook till it’s soft and mashed.

5. Then add cooked channa and mix well. The masala should not have water in it. Then gently mix the cooked rice to this masala. Simmer for 5 mins. The rice is ready.

Notes: Please adjust the chili as it’s added both whole and powder. Since salt is added in all process, ensure you adjust to your taste.
Dry White Chickpeas
Kabuli (White) Chickpeas.

to Srivalli for allowing me to reprint her recipe and for hosting MLLA for the second time this year. You have all been critical to the success of MLLA. I am indebted to your delicious contributions and look forward to kicking off another year with you, a Happy New Year!


Been There, Done That ~

Chickpea Caldo Verde
Brown Rice, Chickpeas and Broccoli Rabe
Coconut Chickpea Curry

Other People's Eats ~
Quick Channa Masala with Mushrooms
Apple, Onion, and Feta Chickpea Socca
Eggplant Channa Gravy

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pink Variegated Poinsettia - A Festive Photo for No Croutons Required

Pink Variegated Poinsettia

Poinsettias have evolved a long hybridized way from the traditional velvety, bordello-red botanical decorations clustered in the dining rooms and shopping malls of my youth. They now come in colors of golden cream, faded plum, and vivid salmon, as well as the variegated variety I snapped yesterday. These poinsettias sat among hundreds of bold, bracted plants that undulated and levitated in a cramped greenhouse shielded from the icy winds that forecasted, and delivered, a foot of snow a few hours later. Had I been paying more attention to the tag tucked in the soil line, I would have noted which cultivar it was. But I was so blinded by the wild, saturated beauty surrounding me that the moment was all that mattered, a moment captured just for Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes, who put out the A.P.B. for Festive Photos for No Croutons Required*. May we all be so blinded this holiday season.

*No Croutons Required is a collaborative food-blog event effort by Jacqueline, and Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen.


Been There, Done That ~
Christmas 2007
Christmas 2008
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Christmas Cookies

Other People's Pretties

Felix Xmas
Göteborg's Christmas Markets
New Day

Saturday, December 12, 2009

No Sweat - Sweatbox Potatoes with Herbs and Butter

Sweatbox Potatoes

I can only speak for myself, but Christmas feels a little early this year. Perhaps it's because the tonnage of pumpkins and various other squashes I trudged home with over a month ago are still waiting for their debuts in various soups, breads, and custards; they are configured on the floor in something of an obstacle course at the threshold of the kitchen. Remarkably, I have not lost any to those queasy spots of dry rot nor lost my footing stepping around them. Clearly, I am pressing my luck, and clearly, I have to hack and seed the lot of them, if only I didn't get distracted with so many other goodies. No, I'm not talking about Christmas cookies (not yet, anyway), nor wassail bowls, nor any other traditional December tiding recipes. I'm talking about potatoes. New potatoes, actually, the kind that are tiny as marbles, and often mistaken for pearl onions in netted bags unless you take a closer look. You can sometimes find them loose in bins among the "older" new spuds, the ones of fingerling length or as big as a baby's fist. You don't come across them very often, and you may well pass them by not knowing quite what to do with them. Boiling can get pretty boring.

But sliding in a gleam of hot butter in a big, old skillet, skins shrink wrapped and clinging with herbs, is a marvel of culinary economy, comforting carbs, and a clever, quick little appetizer to spear with toothpicks, served straight from the pan for informal gatherings. Sure, I feel guilty for neglecting the orange, green, and yellow boulders on my floor. But at fifteen minutes start-to-finish to prepare sweatbox potatoes, there's really nothing to sweat about.

Teeny, Tiny New Potatoes

Sweatbox Herb and Butter Potatoes - My mother's recipe, the origin a mystery.

Serves 3-4.


1 pound tiny new potatoes, washed but not peeled. Do not dry. Nick out any "eyes" that might have sprouted, and discard any potatoes that are green under the delicate skin. Green potatoes are toxic and cannot be eaten.
2-3 tablespoons butter or oil (Use the maximum measure for a skillet that does not have non-stick coating.)
1 handful mixed fresh herb leaves, rinsed and patted dry (I used rosemary, thyme, and sage; if using dried herbs, reduce amounts to 1 teaspoon each.)
1 teaspoon or more sea salt crystals or flakes
A few cranks ground black pepper


Choose a large skillet with a well-fitting lid. Place wet potatoes in skillet, then turn the heat up to medium. Shake the skillet to redistribute the potatoes as the water evaporates. When the skillet is dry and hot, add the butter or oil. It will immediately sizzle. Shake the skillet again to cover the potatoes with the hot fat. Cover the skillet tightly; do not let any steam escape. (This is how the sweating starts.) Turn heat down to medium-low. Let the potatoes cook for about 3 minutes, then shake the skillet. Cook for another 3 minutes, then shake the skillet again. Remove lid quickly to pierce the largest potato with a skewer and check for browning. If it's still hard, and/or the potatoes aren't uniformly browned, close the lid and cook another few minutes, shaking the skillet once again.

Continue to cook, shake, and test every few minutes until that same largest potato is tender, and they are all fully browned. Remove potatoes to a warm bowl, then toss herbs into hot skillet. Fry them in the sheen of fat until dark and a little crispy. Return potatoes to skillet, shaking to cover them with the herbs. Turn the heat off, cover the skillet one last time, and let it sit on the hot burner for 1-2 minutes. Remove lid. Potato skins will be wrinkled and shiny. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. In the rare event that you have leftovers, they are easily revived by reheating in a skillet with a 1/4 cup water until the water evaporates. --

This recipe is for Laurie of Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska, hosting Weekend Herb Blogging #213 for Haalo of Cook Almost Anything at Least Once. Laurie will have her round-up online by Monday next week. Do be sure to stop by for the consistently tantalizing array of recipes.


Been There, Done That~
Swedish Stuffed Potato Dumplings
Duchess Potatoes
Rosemary Roasted Blue Potatoes

Other People's Eats ~
Nook and Pantry's Thyme-Roasted Potatoes
Week of Menu's Korean-Style Roasted Potatoes
Daniel Humm's Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Dried Figs and Thyme (The New York Times)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


... of The Garden Cat Cottage, winner of the Amaltheia Organic Dairy Goat Cheese giveaway. Kathy, please contact me at thewellseasonedcook AT yahoo DOT com with your shipping details.

Thank you to everyone who participated. As opportunities become available, I will continue to carefully select quality culinary products (comestibles, equipment, and books) which I believe my readers would enjoy the chance of winning. As always, I am delighted by your visits and comments, and look forward to discovering the new faces who have introduced themselves through this event.