Sunday, August 14, 2011

My First Daring Cooks Challenge

I was anxiously awaiting for the announcement of my first challenge as a new member of the Daring Cooks.  "What could it be?" I wondered but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would be Indian food, and to my surprise I loved it!

Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks' host.  Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

I used the recipe provided for us for the Appam which is somewhere in between a grainy thin pancake and an airy crepe. For the accompaniment I made Chicken Tikka Masala from Saveur's website and basmati rice.  It wasn't difficult to make and the results were delicious!

I invited my daughter, her hubby, and our best friends Bob and Ann to be my guinea pigs. Either they love me very much and did not want to hurt my feelings or they really did love it.  They used the appams to wrap the chicken and/or soak the creamy sauce. No leftovers and they all had seconds, including my boys!  Even my husband who does not like anything with coconut milk said "You can make this again anytime!"  What great sports!

Servings: Makes about 15. I find 3-4 are enough for a serving
1 ½ cups (360 ml/300 gm/10½ oz) raw rice
1 ½ teaspoons (7½ ml/5 gm) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) sugar
½ cup (120 ml) of coconut water or water, room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons (22½ ml/18 gm) cooked rice
½ teaspoon (2½ ml/3 gm) salt
about ½ cup (120 ml) thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can)
1. Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. You can soak it overnight, although I did not try that.
2. Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.
3. Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. You can see that it is not completely smooth, but very thick—that’s about right.
4. Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell. Don’t worry--they are mild tasting when cooked!
5. Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk. Notice how it bubbles after you add the coconut milk. I recommend test-cooking one before thinning the batter.
6. Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.
7. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.
8. Make another, and another... Here you can see some that were made in regular skillets.
9. I have found that the leftover batter can be refrigerated for a day or 2.

1 tbsp. ground turmeric

4 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. red food coloring (optional)
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1  2 1⁄2" piece ginger, peeled and chopped, 
   plus julienned strips for garnish
1 jalapeño, stemmed and chopped
1  28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts, 
   cut into 1 1⁄2" cubes
1⁄4 cup Greek yogurt, such as Fage
Kosher salt, to taste
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1⁄2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. paprika
2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Cooked basmati rice, for serving
1. In a blender, purée turmeric, 2 tsp. garam masala, coloring, garlic, ginger, jalapeños, and 1⁄2 cup water. Put paste into a bowl. In the same blender, purée tomatoes and strain through a sieve. In a bowl, mix 2 tbsp. paste, chicken, yogurt, and salt; marinate for 30 minutes. Place oven rack 4" from heating element; heat to broil. Transfer chicken to a foil-lined sheet tray; broil until cooked, 5–6 minutes; set aside.
2. Heat butter in 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Add coriander and cumin; toast 4–6 minutes. Add paprika and onions; cook until soft, 6–8 minutes. Add remaining paste; brown for 5–6 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cream and 1 cup water; boil. Reduce heat; simmer until thickened, 6–8 minutes. Stir in remaining masala and chicken; season with salt. Serve with garnishes and rice.


Andy said... Best Blogger Tips

Great job! It all looks lovely