Kairi/Mavinakai/kaccha aam aka raw mango

I recently found raw mangoes at the Asian store. In Bombay they call it kairi, in Hindi it’s kaccha aam and in my mother tongue, Kannada, we call it mavinakai. They immediately made me reminisce spring time in India. There would be hawkers selling raw mangoes, tamarind, starfruit, bora berries etc on carts outside school ๐Ÿ™‚ I hated fresh bora berries, never found them appealing, but I did somewhat develop a taste for the dried ones, they were tangy and that’s what I liked about them. I’ve found ripe mangoes in the US in almost every season. They are not the best tasting, but I was surprised to see them available year round.ย In India, ripe mangoes are available only during the summer. Needless to say raw mangoes are available in spring and late winter. ย I love mangoes – raw or ripe!! I sorely miss the Alphonso mangoes also known as the king of mangoes. I have begged my parents to bring some, but they never do since the mangoes won’t pass through customs ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

But anyways, back to my tryst with raw mangoes at the Asian store – my eyes lit up when I saw them and I picked up a few. I was very keen on making panha (sweet raw mango drink). I already made one batch, and the second one is underway. I’ll post the recipe of whichever one tastes better ๐Ÿ™‚ The advantage of living in a cosmopolitan city like Bombay was being able to sample food from all over India. Panha is primarily a Maharashtrian drink. I also know of Gujaratis making panha, so maybe it’s a common drink in the West in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

After using up most of the mangoes, I had one left. And I knew exactly what I wanted to do with that one mango. Chop it up, sprinkle it with salt and chili powder and savor it ๐Ÿ˜€ That’s how the hawkers on the street would offer it. Tamarind, mangoes and starfruit sprinkled with salt and chili powder and probably some other secret ingredient that made those acidic and tangy fruits taste heavenly! I finished eating the pieces just before I started writing this post. My lips are still burning, after all I used the ‘extra-hot’ chili powder that I found in the Indian store. I have a propensity and high tolerance for heat. But I should probably use regular chili powder or cayenne pepper next time. It’s going to take a while for my lips to cool down ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Fish pakoda and kumquat salsa

I know, I know….it’s been very long since I posted a recipe. If you have as many deadlines and ‘things-to-do’ lists as I have, you would probably be posting sporadically as well ๐Ÿ˜›

Jokes apart, I had to post a recipe to get my mind off of everything that is going on. I have been working on too many word documents, and I simply had to work on something else! So here is what I made for dinner today. I knew before I started that I was taking a risk with the combination I was making. However, it turned out really well and both the dishes complimented each other. Even though one of the dishes has Indian flavors and the other one does not, they still go along really well! I had never used or even eaten kumquats before so that was completely new too. Now that I know what they taste like I will be buying them more often! I wish they weren’t as expensive though. For those who are not familiar with the fruit, kumquats are little citrus fruits, almost like oranges, but these can be eaten whole, skin and all. ย The kumquat salsa was inspired from this recipe.

I have been waiting to make fish pakodas for a really long time. The one thing that kept hindering me from it was the fact that the pakodas have to be deep fried. While it does not really clash with the low-carb diet I have been following, I still wanted to be cooking low calorie food, for hubby’s sake, if not mine!! But I did give into temptation today and as a result of that here is a posting ๐Ÿ˜‰

Without further ado here is the recipe for fish pakoda (fritters) and kumquat salsa.

Kumquat Salsa

Ingredients:

1 cup washed, dried sliced kumquats

1/2 chopped red onion

large fistful of cilantro, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

cayenne pepper – to taste

red chilli flakes – ย a sprinkling

1/2 tsp powdered cumin

1/2 tsp coriander powder

kosher salt – to taste

Method:

Combine all the ingredients. Adjust spices and salt to taste. Let the salsa sit for a while as you make the pakodas so that the flavors blend.

Fish Pakodas

1 lb meaty fish (I used mahi mahi, you can use tuna, swordfish, or any other fish) – cut into chunks

1 1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour), sifted

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp powdered cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper powder

1 tsp baking powder

a pinch of carom seeds (ajwain)

1 green chilli pepper

1 heaped tsp dried mint

a fistful of cilantro leaves

2 tbspns lemon juice

salt – to taste

water – to make a batter

oil – for deep frying

Method:

In a non-reactive mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix well. Crush the carom seeds between the palms of your hands as you put it in.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix again.

Gradually add enough water to make a smooth lump free batter. ย The consistency should not be very runny or too thick, it should be of dropping consistency.

Add the fish chunks into the batter and set it aside for 30 mins.

After fish has been sitting for a while, heat oil on medium heat until it is hot, but not smoking. The temperature of the oil is important so that the fish is cooked and yet not burnt. Medium heat is essential, and at the same time it should be hot enough before you drop in the fish.

Slowly add the fish chunks separately, making sure that they don’t overlap.

Turn them once or a few times until they look golden brown. ย Remove them onto absorbent paper and serve hot with kumquat salsa and tomato ketchup.

Bon Appetit!

Whole wheat pancakes

I got a little tired with monotonous breakfasts, so I decided to try pancakes today. I decided not to use all purpose flour and that obviously made a huge difference! I think I was happy with the outcome though. I decided to use some of the strawberries that I bought on sale. Hubby wasn’t too enthralled about that so I made plain ones for him. I’m definitely going to play around with this recipe until I’m totally pleased with the end result. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour (atta) 1.5 cups

Baking powder – 3.5 tsps

Salt – 1 tsp (I used 3/4 tsp for a low sodium alternative)

Sugar – 1 tbsp (next time I might try brown sugar)

Milk – 1 1/4 cups milk

Egg – 1 large

Butter – 3 tbsps, melted

Water – 1/2 – 3/4 cup (It will depend on how thick your batter is)

Method:

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.

The batter will be thick. Add enough water to bring it to pancake batter consistency.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat.

Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. If you want to add toppings like strawberries or blueberries do it before you flip it. Brown on both sides and serve hot with butter or syrup. ย We had ours with pure maple syrup and it was yum! ๐Ÿ™‚

I wanted to include a pic of the plain pancake, so here is a pic (it’s on the far left, it looked so plain compared to my colorful ones!) On a side note, I also need to spruce up my pictures. I’m using my point and shoot for all the pictures here. I should probably take lessons from hubby to take better pics. Also, I don’t have too many props to make them look nice ๐Ÿ˜› and more often than not, it takes a lot of effort to take these pics because the husband is very keen on eating first! By the time we finish eating, there’s nothing left to take pics of ๐Ÿ™‚