Kala’s Double-Fried-Potato Fried Rice

In Tamil cooking, potatoes are fried in large chunks and used in Pulavs and biriyanis. I wanted to make a rice dish that was different from the traditional cuisine. I came up with this Double-Fried-Potato Fried Rice which gives a lovely contrast of crunchy potatoes with the soft texture of rice. My fried rice includes spices used by the Chinese, and therefore it is very mild. I served this along with Murgh Makkanwali, and it was a smash hit! Though the double-frying takes a bit more time, it is very easy to make and the results are worth it 🙂

 

Kalas Double Fried Potato Fried Rice - Kalas Kalai
Kala’s Double Fried Potato Fried Rice

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Thirunelveli Vegetable Saalna

When people think of combining vegetables and dhal in Tamil cooking, they primarily think of Aviyal. There is another dish, Saalna that is a complete contrast to aviyal both in the type of vegetables and spices used. Saalna does not use strong flavoured vegetables like drumsticks and cluster beans. It also uses cloves and cinnamon, instead of cumin and garlic like aviyal. It may not be as famous as aviyal, but is no less delicious. It is an ideal dish to celebrate the harvest and can be served with Venn Pongal.

Thirunelveli Vegetable Saalna - Kalas Kalai

Thirunelveli Vegetable Saalna

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Ginger Loaf Cake

Christmas is the season when everyone eats heartily irrespective of their religion, especially rich frosted cakes. By the time the New Year approaches their digestive discomfort makes them regret some of their menu. This Ginger Loaf Cake allows them to enjoy the season of cakes and relieve their distress 🙂 I came across this recipe in Cakes and Cake Decorating and All-Colour Cookbook – the same recipe with the same photograph! Self-raising flour is not easily available here, and what is available here is very bitter, so I have substituted it with maida and baking powder. I don’t like the taste of ginger powder and have used fresh ginger extract instead.

Ginger Loaf Cake - Kalas Kalai

Ginger Loaf Cake

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Kala’s Dry Chicken Curry with Madras Curry Powder

The Madras Curry Powder was developed in Tamil Nadu in the kitchens were food was cooked to suit the palate of the British during their Raj. It is quite different from the ‘garam masala’, the North Indian curry powder, which is mentioned in most so-called Indian recipes. Although the Madras Curry Powder has many spices in common with garam masala, it is also has fenugreek seeds, turmeric and, may be, curry leaves, which are typical constituents of Tamil cooking. This powder, though very popular in Britain, is available in very few shops in Tamil Nadu and has never been part of Tamil cooking, which has its own extensive range of curry powders. May be it is too mild for our palate :), and I doubt if people even knew about it since it was made specially for the British. I myself stumbled across it only a decade ago in an exclusive spice shop, which caters a lot to foreigners. Nevertheless, I find it a very versatile curry powder which can be used for both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

Kala's Dry Chicken Curry with Madras Curry Powder - Kalas Kalai

Kala’s Dry Chicken Curry with Madras Curry Powder

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Kala’s Christmas Fruit Cake

50 years ago I received a baking oven as a wedding gift. From then on I’ve been making a rich and large fruit cake for every Christmas, while of course complaining about the labour 🙂 Rum was available freely in liquor stores and I always used rum in my cakes. I had to stop making this fruit cake once the government ordered privately run liquor stores to shut. Now that the government is running sophisticated liquor stores in the fanciest of shopping malls, I was finally able to procure rum again and revive this family Christmas tradition 🙂

Kala's Christmas Fruit Cake 1 - Kalas Kalai

Kala’s Christmas Fruit Cake

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Prawn (Shrimp) Puffs

In India, we use the term prawn for shrimp also. While I was looking for something special to make for Christmas, I came across the recipe Idaho Tuna Puffs in The Family Circle’s Casserole Cookery Book. I decided to substitute prawns for tuna, as tuna is not easily available here, and to make it suitable for the Indian palate. I deleted the cheese from the ingredients because it didn’t contribute either to the flavour or the texture. I used silicon moulds to make these puffs. I used some of the dough to make small pies to give variety in shapes.

Prawn Puffs 1 - Kalas Kalai

Prawn (Shrimp) Puffs

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Viennese Shortbread Star Cookies

Today is Advent Sunday. It not only welcomes the birth of Christ but also the start of the festive feasting. I found this recipe for Viennese shortbread cookies in the All Colour Cookbook. When I tried this in my kitchen, I found that they were very light and crisp cookies, so easy to bite into and chew. The orange flavour from the rind was tantalizing, and the sprinkling of icing sugar made it a little sweeter. I dispensed with the butter cream filling to make it less calorific. The original was piped out through a flower nozzle but I rolled out the dough and used cookie cutters. My method yields around 50 cookies.

Viennese Shortbread Star Cookies - Kalas Kalai

Viennese Shortbread Star Cookies

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