Gastronomic tours with Swiss Cheese

[philiptellis] I love food, and I like writing about food. Follow me as I follow my nose, seeking out gastronomic delicacies wherever I find myself

Friday, September 25, 2015

Lemon Rice

S & I really like lemon rice with daal. She generally does the daal, and I make the lemon rice. I've gone through a few iterations before ending up with this version.


  • 1½ cup rice
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I use grapeseed)
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin) seeds
  • 1 tsp urad daal (skinned & split, not whole)
  • ¼ cup peanuts (skin removed, blanched)
  • 3 curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies sliced into thin circles
  • ¼ inch ginger root minced
  • 2-3 dried red sambar chillies
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • Zest of ½ lemon


  1. Heat the oil in a medium (3-4 quart/litre) saucepan
  2. Add peanuts and fry until golden brown
  3. While the peanuts are frying, wash rice, drain well and set aside
  4. Take peanuts out and set aside
  5. Add mustard seeds to oil and fry until they start sputtering
  6. Add jeera (cumin) seeds and fry for about 30 seconds
  7. At this point, heat up 1½ cups of water in the microwave for 1.5 minutes
  8. Add urad daal to the frying mixture and fry until it starts to turn brown
  9. Add green chillies, ginger, red chillies and curry leaves and fry for a minute
  10. Add turmeric powder and mix well, fry for 10 seconds
  11. Add the washed and drained rice and mix well with the spices and turmeric, fry for a minute
  12. Add the hot water to this rice, and let the whole mix come to a common temperature, then slowly add in the rest of the water
  13. Add the peanuts back in, the lemon zest and a third of the lemon juice
  14. Add salt and stir it up
  15. Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on medium-low until almost all the water has drained (steam will reduce, but you'll still be able to tilt the pan and the rice will move slowly
  16. Turn off the heat and let the rice continue to cook in its steam for 2-3 minutes more
  17. Take off the lid and add in the rest of the lemon juice and mix gently taking care not to break the rice
The lemon rice is now ready to eat. Enjoy with daal, curd, pickle, papad or anything else.

Sunday, September 13, 2015


This morning S felt like Upma for breakfast, so I got into the kitchen, and quite accidentally made the best Upma we've tasted in a long while. I thought I'd write down the recipe before I forget.

Now I'm not someone who normally makes Upma. Growing up, the only use of rava/sooji/semolina was to make a porridge with milk, sugar, raisins and nuts. It was only when I got older and left home that I realised that the basic concepts were similar for Sheera Halwa and Upma. This recipe somewhat comes out of my experience making sooji porrige.


  • 1 cup rava (semolina)
  • 2½ cups water
  • 1-2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp sugar (to taste)
  • 1½ tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin) seeds
  • 1 tsp urad daal (skinned & split, not whole)
  • 5-6 cashews (unsalted)
  • 4 curry leaves
  • 2 green chillies sliced into thin circles
  • ¼ inch ginger root diced into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice + some more to add while eating
  • 3-4 sprigs of fresh coriander coarsely chopped


  1. Roast the rava in a non-stick saucepan/kadai until you smell the fragrance of the rava (3-4 minutes), stir frequently to prevent browning.
  2. At the same time, start boiling the water, along with 1 tsp of salt and sugar, once it starts boiling, reduce to low heat.
  3. Once roasted, move the rava into a bowl for later
  4. Now heat the ghee in the same saucepan on low heat
  5. Add in the mustard seeds
  6. Once the mustard begins to crackle, add the jeera and fry for about 10-20 seconds
  7. Now add the urad daal and fry until it just starts to turn brown
  8. Add cashews and stir often until brown. (At this point I actually turned off the heat as the ghee was quite hot)
  9. Add the chillies, ginger and curry leaves and fry for about a minute (I turned the heat back on about halfway through this)
  10. Now add the roasted rava into this mixture and let it fry for a bit. Stir it up so that everything is mixed and the remaining ghee is absorbed
  11. Now add the boiling water to the rava and stir until completely absorbed. You can turn off the heat halfway through this stirring
  12. Lastly, add 2 tbsp lemon juice and mix it up
  13. Taste and add more salt or sugar if required.
  14. Serve into bowls and garnish with chopped coriander leaves

Unfortunately we finished eating it before I could get any pictures, so I'll do that the next time, but if you try this, let me know how it works out.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chicken Kori Rotti

Chicken Kori Rotti is a Mangalorean chicken curry dish where the curry is served over a thin, crisp rice rotti (not the regular soft rotis). It's really flavourful, and can be eaten with rice if you don't have the required rotti. I first tried it out at Mangalore Pearl when I lived in Bangalore. If you live in Bangalore and haven't been there, check out my review for Mangalore Pearl. Kori Rotti was my favourite dish there, and I was really excited when I found a packet of the specific rotti we need.


First, the dry ingredients that have to be roasted:
  • 1.5 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 2.5 tsp Coriander seeds
  • 0.5 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 0.25 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 0.5 tsp Poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 15-25 red chillies (this depends on the spice level and the colour you like, use fewer chillies, and add kashmiri chilli powder if you want to reduce the spice level, but maintain the colour).
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (it's okay to use frozen shredded coconut, just make sure it has some moisture and fat).
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 0.5 medium onion thinly sliced (you'll use the other half below)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil (I use peanut oil)
Next, the ingredients for frying:
  • 0.25 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 0.5 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced thin
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Last, the ingredients to cook the chicken:
  • 1-1.5 Kg (2-3lbs) Boneless Chicken Thighs (Skin is optional, but I used skinless chicken)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (lime juice works as well)
  • 1 can (14oz == 1.75 cup) coconut milk


First prepare the gravy (you can make this ahead of time as well). All of this is done in the same pot. Do not clean it out in between steps. We will use two holding bowls, one for the coconut, and one for everything else.
  1. Roast the cumin, coriander, fennel, mustard and poppy seeds from the first set of ingredients above over medium heat. Don't burn them, take them off the heat once you start to smell their oils come out.
  2. Transfer to a holding bowl.
  3. Roast the red chillies. This will take a couple of minutes. Transfer to the same holding bowl.
  4. Roast the black peppercorns. Transfer to the same holding bowl.
  5. Add a little vegetable oil to the pan and heat.
  6. Add in crushed garlic and fry for a few seconds.
  7. Add half onion and curry leaves and fry until onion is soft.
  8. Transfer this mixture to the same holding bowl as above.
  9. Roast the coconut until it just starts to turn brown. Transfer this into the second holding bowl.
  10. Everything except the coconut should be slightly cooled down by now, if not, wait a few more minutes before proceeding.
  11. Add all of the ingredients from the first holding bowl (everything except the coconut) into a blender with a little water, and blend it until it becomes a paste. You should end up with about 2.5 cups of paste.
  12. Pour half of this back into the holding bowl, and then add the coconut to the blender. Add a little more water and blend until it also turns into a paste. This will be lighter in colour than the first paste. Transfer back into the second holding bowl.
At this point you should have two gravy bowls. One with all the spices, which should be a dark orange to red coloured paste, and the second that includes the spices and the coconut. This should be a light orange paste. We now have the gravy ready, so we start with the chicken. Preparing the gravy
  1. Heat up 2 tbsp oil in the pot
  2. Add the mustard seeds and fry until they start sputtering
  3. Add in the sliced garlic and fry for a few seconds
  4. Add the curry leaves and fry for a few seconds
  5. Add the turmeric and some salt. Mix
  6. Add the half sliced onion, and fry until cooked.
  7. Add the chicken and fry for a few minutes tossing periodically to cook all sides. Add some salt to taste.
  8. Add the lemon juice and mix
  9. Cover the pot and cook on medium low for 3-4 minutes
  10. Add the first paste from above (the dark one), cover and cook for another 6-7 minutes
  11. Add the light paste and the coconut milk, cover and cook until chicken is tender and cooked through (another 5-7 minutes).
Serve over rotti or rice. It also tends to taste better the day after, so I generally eat this for 3 days at a stretch. Enjoy and let me know what you think. Also, if anyone knows where I can find rotti in Boston, please let me know. The one place I did find it in the past has stopped carrying it.
Finished Kori Rotti