jazz-cooking recipes

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zucchini soup with a hidden brinjal

apple-banana excellence

grandma’s delicate omelet

dinner brilliance

baby corn – cabbage – carrot delight

saturday celebration

payasam

 

 

 

Cooking is the worst thing happened to civilization. I was lucky that I was not initiated into cooking (thanks to my non-conventional and born-free mom who appeared so wrong when we were growing up) until the need to find some food for myself hit me hard. So I am very original with my cooking. So much so, I need non-formatted people to enjoy my food. If you are one of those non-formatted people, and if you are looking for healthy – and pleasing - food, and if you hate cooking and cooking and cooking, then here are some recipes for you to enjoy and entertain.

good thing about the recipes: all recipes could be improvised to suit your taste and imagination just like in Jazz

warning: not suitable for strictly health conscious people

Tips without the hidden agenda of value adding to every consumable for the economy to grow (oops!, isn’t economic growth a good thing?):

*       when using a wok, select non-Teflon (or any other chemical) coated wok since any such coating chemical is very bad to your body (I am a chemical engineer and I know) and since oil is required by your body for its healthy functioning (really, I bet that your doctor said otherwise)

*       gingerly oil or olive oil or any other good oil has medicinal and nutritious values that would enrich both your food and your body (and the soul in my case for gingerly means grandmother’s indulgence over me)

*       coconut oil is good as long as you are (or your spouse is) NOT into the oily habit of devouring fried food whenever it could be helped along with the attitude of nothing-could-qualify-as-food-when-there-is-no-meat

*       heavy bottom vessels and clay pots are ideal for cooking since they distribute heat evenly

*       cook always with low or low-medium heat because it reduces the stress that you feel with timing in the kitchen (specially if you have been educated) and what’s more your food gets cooked just as much as it should and NOT more

*       adding salt (yet another miserable habit of civilization) kills the taste of vegetables and therefore do not add more than a pinch of salt to vegetables (that is if you insist on adding salt) and no salt at all if your vegetables are 0-3 day fresh.

*       make it a habit to top your cooked food with small amount of spinach or kan-kun or coriander or basil or any other leaves of your choice a minute after you have switched off the heat and leaving the leave-topped cooked food for another 5 minutes with the lid on

Recipe 1

zucchini soup with a hidden brinjal

Dinner for 2 people

who have had dinner every night for the last 50 years

(oh dear – what boring lives they must have had!)

ingredients

measure

cooking method

brinjal (eggplant)

1 small

-        cut the brinjal into thin round slices and let them stand in lightly salted water

gingerly oil or olive oil or any other oil

1-2 tablespoon

-        add the oil and brinjal together to a wok

-        cover the wok and cook with low flame (gingerly oil should not be overheated since it looses its nutritious properties at high heat)

onion

1 big or 5–6 small

-        peal and slice the onions and garlic (the way you please while the brinjal is cooking)

-        add them to the wok and cover it and continue cooking under low heat

garlic

3-5 cloves

zucchini

1 (any size)

-        wash and slice the zucchini (as you please)

-        add the zucchini slices to the wok when the brinjal-onion-garlic mixture has turned slightly brown or even a little burnt (you may increase the heat little more if necessary at this point)

-        continue cooking under medium heat

tomato

2 medium-sized

-        wash and slice the tomatoes (as you please)

-        add to wok and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes under low heat

water

2-3 cups

-        add water and let it come to boil under medium heat

-        simmer at low heat for another 5-10 minutes (or until the soup looks slightly thick without overcooking the zucchini)

salt

to taste

-        add as you please (the lesser is the better even from taste point of view)

pepper

7-8 corns

-        grind the pepper and add to the soup

-        switch off the heat as soon as pepper is added

spinach or coriander or any other leave

small quantity (optional)

-        top the hot soup with leaves and cover the wok

-        let it stand 5 more minutes

lime

Half or full

-        add the juice of the lime to the soup and mix gently

*       serve it on soup bowls and enjoy the soup while it is still warm and not tongue-burning

Recipe 2

apple-banana excellence

Breakfast for 4 grown ups and 1 youngster

just before they left for Nuwareliya to feel the cold air!

(Rohini akka - my husband’s sister - is crazy about both)

ingredients

measure

cooking method

-        preheat the oven to 175oC

-        very lightly grease (not really required) an oven-proof (preferably a rectangular Pyrex) dish

banana

4-5 medium-sized

 

-        cut the peeled bananas and the unpeeled apples into eatable pieces

-        add to a saucepan with cup of water

-        cook the fruit mixture slightly under low heat (not more than 5 minutes)

-        transfer the lightly cooked fruit mixture from the saucepan to the oven-proof dish

green or

cooking apple

3-4 medium-sized

water

cup or much less

margarine (NOT butter)

cup (or more if you fancy)

-        melt the margarine in the same saucepan under low heat

quick-cooking oats

2-3 cups

-        add oats to melted margarine and cook while mixing well

-        add a little water at a time to the oats and continue cooking until you feel the oats is moist (not wet) and cooked

-        spread the cooked oats evenly over the fruit mixture in the oven-proof dish

-        bake in a preheated oven at 1750C for about 15-20 minutes

-        serve warm preferably with plain yogurt

*       it will still taste good even if you leave the margarine out of the recipe for health concerns

*       yogurt could be replaced with a tablespoon or two (or more, if you please) of vanilla ice cream

*       cold ice cream with warm apple and banana is just heavenly – give it a try

Recipe 3

grandma’s delicate omelet

This omelet is so full of love and care that grandma showered on us

(until she was shot and killed by the IPKF at her home in Jaffna)

ingredients

measure

cooking method

egg

1 (with a deep yellow yolk)

-        beat the egg with a few fork-strokes and set aside (over beating an egg kills the taste of the omelet)

pepper

4 – 5 corns

-        crush the pepper and cumin seeds gently and set aside (need not powder them with all your strength actually)

cumin seeds

half a teaspoon or more

green chilly

1 or 2

-        wash and slice the green chilly into circular pieces

-        peel, wash and slice garlic and onion into circular pieces

-        if you slice them medium sized you could bite into them (I like that)

-        if you wish, choose to add one or two of these ingredients (not all) increasing the quantity as you please

garlic

1 or 2 cloves

small onions

3 or 4

gingerly oil

generous amount

-        add chilly-garlic-onion pieces to a wok along with the oil and cook with a low flame (gingerly oil should not be overheated)

-        cook the chilly-garlic-onion mixture until it suits your taste (I like it almost raw so that they are crunchy and I could feel the taste of chilly, garlic and onion separately)

turmeric powder

2 pinches

-        add the turmeric powder to the chilly-garlic-onion mixture getting cooked

-        add the crushed pepper and cumin seeds immediately after adding the turmeric powder

-        mix with the fork for few seconds

-        pour the lightly beaten egg over the chilly-garlic-onion mixture

-        raise the heat to medium and cook the egg through

-        once firm turn the side and cook a few minutes more

-        transfer to the eating plate directly

*       generous amount of virgin gingerly oil is a must to bring about grandma’s care and no other replacement to gingerly oil is suggested

*       with these ingredients, you may make the omelet as you please

*       scrambling the egg mixture once its partially settled (not cooked through) gives chucky omelet pieces that are bitable which taste really good

*       no salt is added (yes, really) because salt kills all that original aroma and taste of this delicate omelet

*       pour also any leftover gingerly oil in the wok onto the food if you’d please

Recipe 4

dinner brilliance

The best discovery of my jazz cooking

– it pleases the eye and relaxes the mind and helps you maintain your health

ingredients

measure

cooking method

grandma’s delicate omelet

1 per person

-        make according to Recipe 3 (or a variation of that)

bread

2 pieces

-        take them in any condition (warm or lightly toasted or at room temperature) that pleases you and relaxes you

-        place them on a large, pretty plate

or chappathi

1 medium-sized

paprika

1 in any colour

-        let the vegetable stand outside the fridge to reach room temperature

-        de-stem or de-end, wash and slice as you please

-        place them on the plate arranging them nicely

tomato

1 medium-sized

cucumber

1 small

pepper (optional)

3-4 corns

-        crush the pepper and sprinkle on the slice vegetables on the plate

-        have the dinner munching slowly on the vegetables (remember, 32 bites for a mouthful, or is it 26?)

*       i apply generous amount of butter (or margarine) on my bread or chappathi whereas my husband doesn’t

*       replacement of the suggested vegetables are up to your imagination even though you don’t want to increase the quantity (since you need to munch on them with 32 bites a mouthful)

*       no salt is added (yes, really) because salt kills …….

*       grandma’s delicate omelet could be replaced by bull’s eye (made in gingerly oil) if you need to cut down the preparation time further

*       with bull’s eye, pepper becomes essential not optional

Recipe 5

baby corn – cabbage – carrot delight

Imitating the Chop-Suey for two

– it is very tasty and very healthy

ingredients

measure

cooking method

baby corn

1 can

-        open the can, drain the water, take out the baby corns, cut each baby corn into two lengthwise, and set aside

cabbage

half of 1 small-sized

-        peel the cabbage, soak in water for few minutes, remove from water, break into medium-sized pieces by hand, and set aside

carrot

4 medium- sized

-        peel, wash, and cut into circular disks or elliptical (if you know what it is) disks

-        blanch the carrot (boil the water in a saucepan, remove the lid, put the carrot into boiling water, wait until the water starts to boil, wait another minute and drain the water completely)

-        set aside the blanched carrot

water

2 cups

onion

1 medium-sized

-        peel the onion, wash and cut lengthwise

olive oil, gingerly oil or any other oil

1-2 tablespoon

-        heat the oil gently in a wok

-        add onion and cook gently for a minute or two

-        add blanched carrot, cover the wok and cook gently for another minute or two

-        add baby corn, cover the wok and cook gently for another minute or two

-        add cabbage, cover the wok and cook gently for another minute

-        remove from flame

soy sauce

1-2 tablespoon

-        sprinkle soy source and crushed pepper on the cooked vegetables

-        cover with the lid and let it sit for 5 minutes

pepper

5-6 corns or more

-        serve the cooked and seasoned vegetables on two pretty plates with some carbohydrate (such as a small roti, chappathi, two pieces of bread, small amount of cous-cous, or be innovative)

*       soy sauce that we buy from the shops are not anything great, it does not all have the qualities of a home-made soy sauce, and therefore the less you use the better it is

*       replacement of the suggested vegetables are up to your imagination as long as you decide which is to be blanched and which is not

*       no salt is added (yes, really) because salt kills …….

*       it makes great dinner

Recipe 6

saturday celebration

Breakfast-lunch for 2 people who got up late on a Saturday

- it is easy to prepare and is, of course, very healthy

ingredients

measure

cooking method

water

3 cups

-        place water in a large saucepan, cover it, and let it come to boil

mysore dhal

chana dhal

greengram (mung) dhal

1/3 cup of each dhal

-        pick over the dhals and wash each separately with water (while the water is boiling)

-        add the dhals to the boiling water, cover, and let the water comes to boil again

-        once the water starts to boil, place the lid in such a way that it only partially covers the saucepan, and continue to cook under medium heat

-        skim off all foams that arises and continue to boil until all three dhals are just cooked

pasta (optional)

2/3 cup or to your need of carbohydrate

-        add the pasta and continue cooking for another 12-15 minutes (what you have here is something like a stew)

brinjal (eggplant)

onion

garlic

2

 

1 or 2

3-5 cloves

-        cut the brinjal lengthwise into two halves, then slice them across into thin (not so very thin) slices, and let them stand in lightly salted water (while the dhals are cooking)

-        peal and slice the onions and garlic cloves (the way you please)

gingerly oil or olive oil or any other oil

2-3 tablespoons or even more

-        add the oil and the sliced brinjal-onion-garlic mixture together to a wok, cover the wok, and cook with low flame (gingerly oil should not be overheated since it looses its nutritious properties at high heat)

-        continue cooking under VERY low heat until the brinjal-onion-garlic mixture turns slightly brown or even a little burnt

zucchini

1 (any size)

-        wash and slice the zucchini (the way you please while the pasta is cooking)

-        add the zucchini slices to the stew (only after the pasta is well cooked)

salt

to taste

-        add as you please (the lesser is the better even from the taste point of view)

-        mix the stew gently with a long-handled spoon

-        continue cooking the stew under medium heat for another minute or two

tomato

2-3 medium-sized

-        wash and slice the tomatoes into small cubes (while pasta is cooking), add to the stew (after adding salt to the stew), cover it, and cook for a minute (and not more)

-        switch off the heat

pepper

7-8 corns

-        freshly grind the pepper and add to the stew

-        let it stand for 5-10 minutes with the lid on

lime

(optional)

half of a small one

-        add the juice of lime to the stew and mix gently

*       just before serving, add the slightly-burnt brinjal-onion-garlic mixture to the top of the stew

*       enjoy the stew with it multiplicity of tastes while it is still warm and not tongue-burning

*       brinjal could be replaced by mushroom

Recipe 7

payasam

It is ‘the’ dessert that accompanies a lunch in a Tamil celebration

– that of a rich home or a humble home

ingredients

measure

cooking method

milk (cow milk)

or

coconut milk

1 litre (= 4 cups)

-        boil the milk in a heavy bottom saucepan under medium heat

jaggary or sugar

4 tablespoons (or to taste)

-        add jaggery (or sugar) to the boiling milk and let it come to boil again while keep stirring gently with a long-handled spoon

-        reduce the heat a little

 

sago

6 tablespoons and not more

-        add sago to the boiling milk and keep stirring the milk gently until sago grains become larger and transparent

-        now the basic ‘payasam’ is ready

vermicelli (optional)

a handful and not more

-        crush the vermicelli by hand into approximately 1-inch pieces and add to the ‘payasam

-        cook for a minute or two

-        take the ‘payasam’ off the heat, cover it and set aside

cardamom

cinnamon

8-10 pods

a few pieces

-        peel off the cardamom and grind the seed to powder

-        grind the cinnamon to powder

-        add to the powders to the ‘payasam’, gently mix and cover again

cadju (or peanuts)

raisins

butter

as much as you like

about 20 - 30

1 teaspoon

-        chop the nuts to the size that you wish

-        wash the raisins

-        melt the butter in a small heavy bottom saucepan, once melted, add the nuts and raisins and roast them until they are slightly brown and giving out a wonderful aroma

-        add a pinch of salt (if you really insist) and gently mix the ‘payasam

-        add the roasted nuts-raisins mixture to the ‘payasam’ just before serving

*       I prefer adding the spices whole at the beginning itself and pick them off the ‘payasam’ before serving

*       enjoy the ‘payasam’ either warm (as I like it) or at room temperature

*       you may have it after your meal or as a stand-alone meal (as I have it)

email: rshanthini@pdn.ac.lk

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updated on January 19, 2011