I had seen a pal kootu recipe in Meenakshi Ammal’s Samaithu Par volume, but was always wondered if milk in a curry would be something I would like. Finally decided to try it, and sorely regretted not having cooked for the past thirty years. This is such a mellow dish, and is perfect with rice. I haven’t tried it with rotis, but don’t see why not. Typically made with ridge gourd, yellow pumpkin, it takes mellow vegetables. On to the recipe now!
Ah. Biryani. That mouth-watering melting pot of flavors and spices. Who doesn’t like biryani? Shockingly, me. I have never been a fan and always wondered at the euphoric reaction it elicited among everyone, including my husband. But, during this quarantine period, I decided to conquer some of my misconceptions and biases (one reason for my dislike for biryani is its name) for certain foods. And, biryani tops the list. Others are kadalai curry, vadakari, korma (i really like the aroma, just not a fan of the actual dish, go figure that), aappam (again, I love the looks, the concept, just not crazy about actually eating it). Anyway, I started with searching for a good recipe for biryani and watched a youtube episode of Revathy Shanmugam’s Kavignar Veetu Samayal and decided to give it a try. Jackpot! Not only did I actually love it and not because I was super hungry, but I even ate it as a leftover. Finally, my search for a biryani I could love is over! This will be, for sure, my go to recpe for biryani. I made the side dish she made as well, and loved it also. Have provided the link in the notes section – for those who can follow Thamizh. Now, on to the recipe.
Having always wanted to make naan at home, the social distancing restrictions provided the perfect opportunity since we cut way down on eating out from maybe once a week to zero, to try it. I browsed several recipes: some that didn’t use a conventional oven needed the tawa to be inverted over the stove. I use a heavy cast iron tawa. That was out. Some used the traditional tandoor. Out. By elimination, I settled on recipes that used an oven. Of these, Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe seemed like a good fit. And that’s what I settled on. He isn’t very clear on how long to bake, so I had to guess. The result: the naans were a bit chewy. I followed his instructions to keep the dough very moist and I think that made a huge difference in the texture. I’m sure I’ll try this again, and maybe will hit the perfect temp and the cooking time. For this recipe, I preheated my oven to 500, which was the max my oven would go. And cooked the naan for approximately 5 minutes.
A traditional rich recipe made out of almond paste (soaked almonds ground into a paste with/without milk), sugar, and clarified butter. Those are the basic ingredients. Saffron and cardomom powder are optionally added for flavor and color. Something similar in the western culture would be marzipan, a candy made out of almond paste, sugar, and sometimes eggs. Yeah. Not really similar. Just kidding.