Monday, August 31, 2009

Pomegranate Cooler - Taurus is pink on the Zodiac

Food in colour is an event started by Sunshine mom of Tongue ticklers to emphasis the important of colour in food. Ashwini of Ashiwini's Spicy Cuisine is hosting this event this month.
The colour and the zodiac table states, Taurus the Earth sign, secure, active, warm and sociable has been related to pink for the colour. I was hence, supposed to dish out something pink and serve.

I thought of every food from rose milk to strawberry milkshake to beetroot rice. Finally managed this juice for the event.
Had some very nice pomegranates for the pooja offerings. Tried eating one and it was too sour for consumption just as fruit. We had trees that bore these sour pomegranates at home and amma will make pomegranate rice just like lemon rice and rasam with these.
So I thought I would make use of these sour fruits I had purchased the same way. I soaked them in warm water to squeeze out the juice. When I squeezed the juice out, it was so beautifully pink that I decided to make juice. I made and enjoyed the refreshing colourful juice.
For 2 litres juice you will require,
2 Kabul pomegranates (Large)
Sugar/ honey to taste, depending on how sour the fruits are
Ginger scrappings adjust according to taste
Mint leaves few
Peel the pomegranates, remove the pearls and soak them in warm water for a while in a fairly big utensil. Save one tiny sprig of mint and soak the rest of the leaves along with the seeds.
Once the water is cool and the seeds well soaked, press them with your fingers thoroughly.
Pass through a strainer, obtain the juice. Resoak the seeds and extract the remaining juice.
Clean and scrape ginger to tiny shavings.
Add more water as required and mix desired quantity of sugar. Drop the ginger shavings and refridgerate.
Serve chilled with some ginger toppings and the reserved sprig of mint.
I had the juice with honey instead of sugar. Hence the colour is darker in the glass than in the canister.

I am sending this to Ashwini's event mentioned earlier and to Mom's recipes - soup and juices event.

Churma laddoo and more Ganesha neivedhyams.

Having enlisted myself to the Indian Cooking Challenge, has been a thoroughly new experience with experimenting dishes and enjoying what other members have come up with.
When it was agreed that we will try Vinayakar Chathurthi neivedhyams, I was curious. I looked up Tarla Dalal's website and found the Churma laddoo under one Ganapathy Bappa Post. Geeta Narang's microwave version was also there. I suggested it and found there were people interested in trying out this. Srivalli had included it in her options too. So here is Tarla Dalal's version experimented in my kitchen.
Meanwhile yesterday Muskhan and Sadhana of A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine have posted a very delectable Low fat version. I am rearing to try these churma laddus before the microwave version.

Churma Laddu from Tarla Dalal's website:
Cooking Time : 45 mins.
Preparation Time : 15 mins.
Makes 10 laddus.
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) whole wheat flour (gehun ka atta), coarsely ground
1/4 cup grated dry coconut (copra)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds (til)
3/4 cup (150 grams) jaggery , grated
2 tablespoons ghee
Other ingredients:
ghee for deep frying
poppy seeds (khus khus) for coating the laddus.
1.Make a stiff dough of the whole wheat flour using 1/2 cup of water. Knead very well.
2.Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.
3.Shape the portions into the shape of your fist and press with your fingers in the centre of each portion to make an indentation.
4.Heat ghee in a large kadhai and deep fry the dough portions on a very slow flame for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until they are golden brown in colour.
5.Drain on absorbent paper and allow them to cool.
6.Pound in a mortar and pestle to coarse pieces. Grind the pieces further in a food processor to get a fine powder (churma).

7.Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a pan, add the grated coconut and sesame seeds and saute for about 2 minutes. Remove and keep aside.
8.Heat the jaggery with the remaining tablespoon of ghee and 1 tablespoon of water on a medium flame till the jaggery dissolves. Cool slightly.
9.Mix the ground churma, coconut and sesame seeds with the melted jaggery.
10.Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
11.Divide into 10 portions and shape into rounds. Roll each laddu in poppy seeds.
12.Store the laddus in an air-tight container.
I got 12 laddoos depending on the size.
This was such a delicious sweet though very high in fat. But irresistible.

Next is the maharashtrian Panchkhadya shared by Mints.

1 cup grated dry coconut
4-5 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tbsp poppy seeds
4-5 dried dates (Maharashtrians call it kharik)
1/2 tbsp cardamom powder
4-5 tbsp coarsely powdered mixed nuts (almonds,cashews, pistachios)
pinch of nutmeg powder
Procedure -
1. Dry roast grated coconut on a very light heat and set aside
2. dry roast poppy seeds and grind them coarsely after cooling them for 5 minutes
3. take the seeds off the dried dates and grind them coarsely as well.
4. Mix all these ingredients and nuts powder, cardamom, nutmeg, powdered sugar together and offer to Ganesha as prasad.
This was so easy to make, can make ahead and store too. I might be use this recipe for dry neivedhyams during other poojas too.
Srivalli's Boorelu was the other one I tried. It is a slight variation of the Sukhiyan we make during the Saraswathi pooja. I make the filling with coconut and jaggery alone. Here it was with cooked channa dhal added to the poornam and was equally delicious.

Boorelu ~ Sweet filling dipped in savory batter!
Preparation Time : 15 min
Cooking Time : 30 mins
Soaking Time : 4- 5 hrs
Cuisine : Andhra
Ingredients Needed:
For the outer layer
Black gram dal/ Urad dal - 50 gms
For the Filling:
Bengal gram/Channa dal - 1 cup
Grated Jaggery - 1 cup
Fresh grated Coconut - 1/4 cup (optional)
Cardamom powder - 3/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste ( just about 1/4 teaspoon)
Oil for deep frying
Method to prepare:
Wash and soak Urad dal for 4-5 hrs. ( I usually soak for lesser time, an hour before draining and grinding. That will keep the vadas or sukhiyans not so oily.)
Then drain water from the Urad dal and grind to fine paste adding very little water.
Add salt and leave it aside covered.
For the filling:
Pressure cook the channa dal with just enough water to cover it. Once the dal is well cooked, drain and mash it a bit.
Boil jagerry in warm water and strain to remove impurities.
Allow to boil well and cook the coconut and mashed dhal with the jaggery.
Cook the poornam until it is thick enough to roll small balls out of it.
If you find the purnam is very loose, you can cook this in sim to get a thick paste.
Add cardamom powder. Remove and cool. Divide them into equal balls.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed kadai for frying.Once the oil is hot, turn to sim.
Dip each ball in the urad dhal batter, ensuring that it is well coated on all sides.
Then gently drop them into the hot oil.
Turn and cook on all sides.
Since the filling is dal based, it tends to steep into the oil.
That's why you will see dark spots on the sweets.
Once couple of batches are done, strain the oil to remove the scum.
It hardly takes more than 2-3 mins to get cooked. Drain them on to a kitchen towel.
Offer as neivedhyam and enjoy.
The other dishes in the above pictures will feature in future posts, till then try these out and enjoy yourselves.

Ganesh Chathurthi Specials for ICC

For the Indian Cooking Challenge this month, it was decided to cook Ganesh Chathurthi special dishes from various regions of India. Each member will try out apart from dishes famous in their homestate atleast one more from another state.
I had tried the following and the recipes are from Andhra, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
Modak from Maharashtra:

for Stuffing :
2 cups freshly grated coconut (can use frozen unsweetened coconut)
1 cup jaggery (grated)
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoons cardamom powder
A pinch nutmeg powder (optional)
2 tablespoon water or milk
For the outer cover:
1 cup rice flour
1 1/4 cup water
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon oil
for Stuffing :
Roast poppy seeds in a small skillet and let it cool down.
Grind it coarsely and keep it aside.
In a heavy bottom kadai mix all the ingredients for stuffing except poppy seed powder and let it sit for 15 min.
Now heat the mixture over medium heat.
In about 10-12 minutes, the mixture starts boiling and stuffing will turn yellowish brown and will be sticky.
Take the kadai off the heat, add poppy seeds powder and mix well.
Set it aside to cool down.
for cover :
Take vessel that has tight fitting cover.
Start boiling water in that vessel, add salt and oil.
When water starts boiling, lower the heat and slowly add rice flour in small flowing quantity, not dumping everything at once.
Start mixing vigourously with a heavy spoon.
Now close the lid and take the pot off the heat.
Let the covered pot cool down for 15 minutes or so.
Then with wet hands, mix the dough properly. As the dough will warm use cold water to keep your hands from burning.(but do not use too much water).
If you think the dough is little sticky, add 1-2 tbsp maida to it and make the dough soft and non sticky.
Making Modak (Final Product) :
Start boiling water in a large vessel that can fit a steamer.
You may use a stainless steel steamer that fits in a pressure cooker.
Oil the steamer and set it aside.
Make about 20 balls of the dough and 20 parts of the stuffing.
Start making small puri with the dough ball on a oiled paper/aluminum foil.
Keep one part of stuffing in the middle of the puri.
Gather the puri gently to make shape like modak.
Handle the dough very gently.
Follow the step to make remaining modaks.
Now dip each modak in cold water and put it in the steamer.
Put the steamer on boiling water and cover it.
Let the modaks steam for 20 minutes on medium to high heat.
Take the steamer off the vessel and let it sit for 5 minutes before removing moodak from steamer.
Traditionally, modaks are served with ghee but it can be served with coconut milk.

Nugul-untallu (Sesame Laddoo) from Andhra Pradesh

This one of the traditional sweets that Andhra people make.
Traditionally Nugul -untallu are prepared with the black sesame seeds with the skin on.
Wash the black sesame seeds well and dry them under sun.
Dry roast them in a tawa until they pop and let them cool.
Once they are cool, take the seeds and about 3 tablespoons of grated or powdered jaggery and run in a mixie. The amount of jaggery normally determines on the formation of laddoo.
When you make a laddoo, it should stay in shape. Then you know the amount is correct.
You may add more powdered jaggery and proceed if the laddoos don't hold shape or crumble.
Also it depends on the fineness of the sesame powder. When you run in mixie, the seeds tend to become oily and this will help holding the laddoo in shape.
Now for the homestate dish, I shall give you the recipe of
Kaara kozhukkattai from Tamil Nadu:
Outer dough:
1/4 cup of rice,washed and soaked for 1/2 an hour.
1 tablespoon oil
a pinch of salt.
For the stuffing:
1/4 cup of urad dhal, washed thoroughly and soaked for 1 hour
2 pieces green chillies
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
salt to taste
Oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves for tempering and garnish.
Method of preparation:
Outer dough:
You may either powder and sieve the soaked rice or grind with water to a very smooth batter.
If you have a batter, heat it in a heavy bottomed kadai with 2 teaspoons oil and salt.
Keep the fire low and constantly stir until the batter thickens and forms a dough that will be discoloured upon being cooked.
If you are using powdered rice flour, measure it in a cup.
In a heavy pan measure equal amount of water. Add salt and some oil.
Bring water to boil. Reduce heat fully to low. Drop the rice flour into the boiling water gradually with one hand while stirring furiously with the other.
This rice will quickly cook and form a lump.
However you decide to do this, the final product would form a thick lump and if rolled between wet fingers may roll like a ball.
Remove from fire and transfer on a flat plate.
Add the rest of the oil and mix it to the dough.
Cover the dough in a damp cloth and set aside.
For the savoury stuffing:
Drain the soaked dhal. Grind with the chillies and salt adding little amount of water to a coarse batter. This should not be of running consistency but like that for vadas.
Grease a steaming plate and steam this dough for 10 minutes.
Remove, cool and crumble the cooked dough.
Heat oil in a pan. add the mustard seeds. Allow to crackle. Add chopped curry leaves and the dough. Cook for about 7 minutes turning it over so as not to stick to the pan.
Remove from heat and cool.
Preparation of the Kozhukkattai:
Take a small portion of the prepared outer dough.
Knead well with your palm to break any tiny hardened lumps that may have formed while cooking.
Make a small ball of the dough, using dry flour or oil for the tips of your fingers,shape cups of the dough. You may see the step by step pictures here.
Once the cups are done, spoon in the filling, close and arrange on steaming plates.
Steam in a steamer for 10 - 12 minutes.
Remove and allow to cool before taking off the plate.
You may view pictures of my Kozhukkattais in my earlier posts here and also here.

This year I had become a bit heady and prepared more dishes. I shall write up recipes for them in consequent posts. But for now, enjoy all these dishes and dishes other members of the Indian Cooking Challenge have prepared.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Arisi Karjikkai

Karjikkais are very popular sweetmeats. Usually, flour is rolled out and sweet fillings are stuffed in and deep fried to make them. The very delectable variation is the arisi karjikkai where the outer coat is made with rice flour with some roasted urad dhal flour is added to it. This gives the karjikkai a nice flavour.
The filling poornam is made with coconut mixed with sugar or with sugar and lentils. The stuffing is cooked to a very dry powdery consistency to retain the crispness. Jaggery can be substituted for sugar. But again that has to be cooked very dry too.
1 large very ripe coconut scrapped or 1 cup dry dessicated coconut
150 grams/1 cup (250ml) rice
25 grams/ 2 tablespoons urad dhal
200 grams/1 cup(200ml) sugar
2 teaspoons cardamom powder
Ghee/oil for deep frying

Wash rice and soak for an hour. Drain, spread on a piece of cloth for some time and pound to a fine flour in a mixie. Seive and dry roast in a heavy pan until very warm. Seive for lumps, cool and pound them well.
Dry roast urad dhal until slightly brown. Cool and pound to a very fine powder.
Mix both of these together and keep aside.
In a pan take sugar with some water and allow to boil.
Add some milk and with a slotted spoon remove the impurities that will float on the surface.
Make a very thick syrup of one strong thread consistency.
That is if you hold some syrup between your thumb and index finger and pull them apart, the syrup will be pulled along like a thick thread without breaking.
Now add the cardamom powder and the coconut. Cook until they blend well and further until the mixture is dry. Keep aside.
If the filling is damp the karjikkais may not retain crispness.
To prepare the outer coating, measure the prepared flour by volume.
In a heavy pan, take water just as much in volume as the flour. Add 2 tablespoons milk to it.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat,drop the flour and immediately remove from heat.
Mix the flour well and close with a tight fitting lid. Keep covered for 1/2 an hour.
Take this lump on a flat dish and with ghee grease your palms. Knead this dough well for sometime.
Make small balls of the dough and shape them in cups. Fill the prepared cups with the filling.
Seal the edges tight brushing some water along the edges.
Heat ghee/ oil in a kadai and deep fry the karjikkais until golden and crisp.

Remove and place on absorbent tissues. Once cool store in airtight containers.

Just want to share few thoughts and ABCs

Sailaja Damodaran tagged me to do the ABCs. Before I get there, here is something very touching I have to share.
Fate throws his dices and plays the game. One such incident happened just a few days ago.
Two teenage boys were on a motorcycle riding to college somewhere a bit in the outskirts of the city. They were not riding fast,they were wearing helmets - all in order.
Least did anybody expect that fate had other plans. They were negotiating a road turning and were caught unawares by a speeding driver. The vehicle coming at racing speed just lifted this motorcycle off the road and sped away. The boy in the pilloin died on the spot as is very common with these accidents. The rider was jammed between his bike and the road meridian which crashed his helmet. Yes, the helmet was reduced to tiny bits and pieces and those got embedded inside his cracked skull. Eye witnesses say that the boys were not at fault.
The irony was these boys were found in this condition by the pursuers of the hit and run driver.
He had caused another accident earlier and was running away from the scene while he was responsible for this one too.
The saddest part is that both the boys are ( has become past tense, so, were) single children. The pillion rider's family had heavily loaned to keep the boy in this Engineering course which will get him fine placement later and all will be taken care of.
Eventually those people who spotted the two boys gave up the futile pursuit of the hit and run and rushed them to the hospital. From their college ID cards, the college was contacted and the parents from their very own mobile phones.
The boy was declared Brain-dead yesterday, with all his vital organs very functional.
The parents in their sorrow collected courage and strength to pass these organs on to many others who might benefit clinically.
Everyone of his organs from eyes to liver, heart to kindeys are to benefit some others. The parents thought it will be easier to collect the electrically cremated ashes, than a mutilated body.
As one put it, given a choice there are enough people willing to compromise with fate in exchange for these young lives. But .....
I had read a few months ago a similar story. It is commendable that people think differently and accept their sorrow and help others. Spread the love even in your loss. God help them in their grieving and accept in His mercy the young boys' soul.
Now coming to ABCs, here it goes,
The Rules:
1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share the ABCs of you.
4.Tag people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let the tagged people know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
6. Do not tag the same person repeatedly but try to tag different people, so that there is a big network of bloggers doing this tag.

My ABCs go thus,
1. A – Available/Single? Neither.
2. B – Best friend? My husband, of course.
3. C – Cake or Pie? Neither...Chocolates.
4. D – Drink of choice? Fresh lime with a dash of mint and ginger.
5. E – Essential item you use every day? Should have been items...there are so many.
6. F – Favorite color? White
7. G – Gummy Bears Or Worms? Don't know what these are.
8. H – Hometown? Namakkal -the Egg city of India.
9. I – Indulgence? Indian sweets
10. J – January or February? Can't it be July?
11. K – Kids & their names? A daughter, Nikileshwari.
12. L – Life is incomplete without? Contentment
13. M – Marriage date? 13 th of December
14. N – Number of siblings? two younger sisters.
15. O – Oranges or Apples? Oranges and apples.
16. P – Phobias/Fears? Heavy lightning and crashing thunders.
17. Q – Quote for today
Something you could not achieve today will be achieved at a later day. Effort in the direction of progress never goes waste.- Aravindhar annai.
18. R – Reason to smile? Musings
19. S – Season? Summer, Spring, Autumn
20. T – Tag 3 People? Indu, Srikars, Chak-le-re
21. U – Unknown fact about me? I can be stubborn, typically a bull.
22. V – Vegetable you don't like? some yams cause allergies, so I avoid.
23. W – Worst habit? I can forgive but not forget :(
24. X – X-rays you've had? Surgical removal of wrongly grown wisdom teeth.
25. Y – Your favorite food? Rasam saadham and any kootu.
26. Z – Zodiac sign? Taurus.
I am tagging
Chakh le re (God! I don't know her name) of Chakh-le-re
Indu Subramanian of Kaipakkuvam
Sripriya of Srikars Kitchen.
Go girls have fun.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Janmaashtami special Aval Payasam

This is long overdue as many other special recipes for Janmaashtami. We have already celebrated the Ganesh Chathurthi and a Janmaashtami recipe shows up; it is a bit ridiculous. But I was just saving this to send it for few events and so the post got lost among many others. Better late than never, so please bear with this delay and enjoy the payasam.

You will need:
1/4 cup (50 grams) of thick variety aval/poha/ beaten rice
1/2 cup sugar
300ml whole milk
Ghee to roast the aval
Almonds and cashews few soaked and ground to a fine paste
Few strands of saffron
1/4 teaspoon powdered cardamom
A tiny pinch of edible cooking camphor ( Pachchai Karpooram)

Toss the aval in a seive and sift the powdery impurities.
Add ghee in a pan and in warm ghee roast the aval until golden.
Cool and pulse in your mixer just to a very coarse texture. (you may retain aval in whole and cook too)
Cook the aval until soft with water.
Add the sugar and cook further until sugar melts to a syrup and blends with the cooked aval.
Add the paste and the milk and on low heat allow the milk to boil first and simmer. Thus the raw taste of almonds and cashews will also subside.
When done remove from fire and garnish with saffron strands, camphor and cardamom powder.
Offer to Sri Krishna His favourite aval.

The legend is that Krishna's childhood companion Sudhama was struggling to feed his family and upon suggestion from his wife, paid a visit to his friend. He offered aval to Krishna. In return he was blessed with riches and lived happily thereafter.

I shall love to send this aval payasam to Janmaashtami- Ganesh Chathurthi special foods event being hosted by Priti and Purva

and to
FIL - Milk hosted by Sanghi.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Showered with awards

I am ecstatic...there are no words in my limited vocabulary to describe the feeling. The other day I had these awards passed on by Shama of easy2cook recipes.
Again, Chitra of Ratatouille - Any one can cook has been sweet to post one of my recipes as T&T while passing on these awards.
And the dream route seems to continue as Shobha of Anubhavati - Tastes from my kitchen has done the honours.
It is kind of awe that is humongous!! I am just floating in the air. There can be no better recognition for one's simple efforts.The awards have to go to blogs which
Inspire you
Encourage you
May give Fabulous information
A great read
Has Scrumptious recipes
Any other reasons you can think of that make them Scrumptious!

and the rules are,
Put the logo on your blog or post.
Nominate at least 7 blogs
Let them know that they have received this Scrumptious award by commenting on their blog. Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.
Though I have utmost admiration for all the bloggers I have been asked to recognise atleast eight others. All of you know how difficult this is. However, let me try, and the eight of you please pass it on to more friends.
Have also been tagged by Shobha. I've done the tag on an earlier post here. But two questions she had answered and coined remain to be tackled. They are,
What do you consider to be unethical in blogging?
It is disheartening to see your effort and work being stolen..hence PLAGIARIZING is most unethical.
What is your most prized possession in your kitchen??
I have few utensils handed down from my grandmother. They bear the initials VD to denote my grandpa's name, few of these are his mother's. Those heavy stainless steel utensils that have survived three generations are precious to me and best loved is the Mixie!

Now to add a question of my own…
Which gadget of the modern kitchen is of least use to you?
Trust me, I have a few in the list...just want to be sure I'm not alone there.

I would love to pass this on to these wonderful bloggers
Muskhan and Sadhana of A2Z Vegetarian Cuisine
Jyoti of Food Seasons
Roma Sharma of Roma's space
Nithya of Nits Arts and Crafts and
Rajeshwari of RAKS Kitchen

Thank you Shama, Chitra and Shobha once again and all others for being supportive and doing a great job.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Jai Ganesha Gananaatha!!!

Hope all of you had celebrated Ganesh Chathurthi well with loads of good cheers. We had a good celebration here too. There is a sizeable Indian community in Ghana and hence have temples for worship.
The temple committee had announced the programme for this year and offerred to keep the Ganapathy idol for you if you inform in advance. You are allowed to leave your idol to be included in the everyday special pooja programme which many find convenient.
I am told that after 11 days, with permission from authorities, the procession for visarjan will be held, with Police protection and the idols will be immersed in the sea by paid youth who go quite far into the ocean to drop the idols.

However, we performed the pooja at home. Being Sunday, we had a leisurely and relaxed worship.
While speaking to my parents on Saturday, I was told that amma was busy with preparations. She said though she will not be able to offer 21 types of neivedhyam, she was trying few other than the usual.
I remembered that I had committed to memory what I read in one Kumudham Bhakthi magazine about the neivedhyams the Tamil poet Arunagirinaathat had listed in one Thiruppugazh for Ganapathy. I set out to try most of them and with some more, accounted for 21!!! I was thrilled.
The list of neivedhyams as given in Thiruppugazh is as follows and how I could procure, I've given as my comments next to them.
1.Ikku -sugarcane ( elephants love them) ( we bought sugarcane)
2.Avarai - any beans ( had broad beans and added to sambhar)
3.Narkanigal - many variety of fruits ( fruits were bought)
4.Sarkarai - sugar ( easily available at home too)
5.Paruppu - lentils ( cooked lentils)
6.Nei - ghee ( readily available, especially during festive season)
7.Ellu - sesame seeds ( I roasted and powdered these with jaggery for ellurundais)

8.Pori aval -puffed poha (beaten rice will be dry roasted to puff up ) ( I used thick poha and roasted to puff it)
9.Thuvarai -kind of lentils ( thuvar dal ) ( Cooked dhal too for sambhar and rasam also had in filling for kozhukkattai)
10.Ilaneer- tender coconut ( bought from green grocer)
11. Vandechchil -honey ( insects collect the honey thro' their mouth and deliver in the hive) (again something available at home)
12. Payaru - legumes ( cooked some and offered)

13. Appa vagai - variety appam, dumpling and such ( I made neiappam, uppappam, vadai and sukhiyan)
14. Pachcharisi pittu - pittu made of rice flour ( I just mixed rice flour, that was steamed to the paayasam)
15. Vellari pazham - melons ( bought too from vegetable vendor)
16. Idippal vagai -variety of powdered nuts etc.( what better than the Maharashtra's Panchkhadya?)
More so Thamizh moodhaati says that she will offer the elephant faced God milk, honey, sugar syrup and lentils and all of these mixed too in return for good knowledge. With all of this basic knowledge, I tried collecting 21 items, (not 21 dishes) to offer. The pictures are of yesterday's pooja at our home.
I have detailled here the basic kozhukkattais, now have the cup making demo.

Once the dough cups (choppus) are made you may fill with desired filling, prepared.
For modhakams gather the edges and close at the top.
For ellu kozhukkattais, fold in half but close tightly at edges in a plaited pattern so as not to open and spill.
For ulundu filled kaaram kozhukkattais you may either fold and press edges or roll as balls.
For sweet paruppu kozhukkattais, fold in half and seal at edges.
My grandma used to make these half open paruppu kozhukkattais. Shape the filling in your fist and place in the outer dough. Seal only partly so as to show some of the filling on top.
I give here recipe for Panchagajaaya made in South Canara as given to me by my husband's aunt.

Bengal gram 1/4 cup
Dry coconut 1/8 th cup
Sugar/ powdered jaggery 1/8th cup
Sesame seeds 1 tablespoon
Cardamom powder 1/4 teaspoon
Dry roast the bengal gram until golden, not allowing to burn. Keep aside.
Dry roast coconut until brown and flavoursome. Keep aside.
Roast sesame seeds until they pop. Keep aside
In a mixie first powder well the bengal gram .(if you are using jaggery, powder bengal gram coarsely). Keep aside.
Then powder the sesame seeds. Add to the powdered gram.
Powder the coconut and add this too alongwith the cardamom powder to the above mix.
In a heavy kadai, keeping the fire very low, toss the sugar until it shines but does not caramelise.
Quickly take off the fir and mix well with the prepared powder mix.
(If using jaggery directly mix the jaggery powder to the warm mix.)
Offer to Ganapathy as neivedhyam.
May the cheer of the festive season be with you through the year.

I would like to send this to Purva's Festival Foods Janmaashtami - Ganesh Chaturthi Special event.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Padvali Rotli with Aloo Dum

Yesterday, I came across this very delectable recipe in Anubhavati. The recipe and related pictures were so inviting to try. I was anyway doing grocery shopping for the ensuing ganesh chaturthi, so included few more to the to buy list and procured them. There was no worrying about planning for dinner then. But wanted to make some not so usual rotis and Tarla Dalal came to my rescue. She had given few Indian flat breads in her Swadisht Subzian book. She uses whole wheat flour and rolls out healthy rotis. the Padvali Rotli is one such chappathi. The combination of the Aloo Dum with this rotli was purely out of the world.
I have been complaining about not having an exhaust fan in the kitchen, especially on days I had to deep fry stuff, yesterday was one day I forgot to complain because the aroma of the dum aloo was so inviting and kept lingering around the house for awhile. Needless to say, my husband was the happiest having his favourite baby potatoes done so well in a flavoursome sauce.
I shall give here the recipe for the Rotli. Please check this post on Anubhavati and enjoy her more beautiful clicks as well.

Recipe for the Padvali rotli, adapted from Swadisht Subzian by Tarla Dalal:
'Pad' in Gujarathi means layers. This is a layered chappati usually served with 'aamras'. But goes well with any gravy.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oil
Other Ingredients:
1 tablespoon ghee
few spoons of flour to dust on the layers
Combine flour and salt and knead into a very soft and pliable dough.
Rest for about 1/2 an hour.
Divide the dough into 9 portions. Roll out these balls to the size of puris. On one round disc rub some ghee and dust some flour on top of it. Place the second disc and repeat the same. Close with the third. This way make three such layered discs. Keep aside.
Roll each of the thus prepred discs into chappatis of approximately 5" diameter, pressing well on the edges to seal.. Roll out the rest of them similarly.
Heat tawa and cook each one over a low flame until the two top layers are cooked well, thus ensuring it is done inside too. Press slightly with a ball of rolled cloth when they fluff up in order to cook well.
Remove, spread some drops of ghee and serve hot with a curry of your choice.
On a happier note, I deeply appreciate the Awards Shama Nagarajan has showered on my space. Thank you Shama for the lovely, thoughtful gesture. I am to pass this on to atleast seven others, which I shall compile in my very next post. Please bear with me until then.

Thank you all for making blogging so very interesting and a source of sheer happiness.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


This morning when I walked into my pooja room I saw my big basket filled with fresh flowers. The night security had taken upon himself to collect flowers every morning for my prayers. As appa aptly put it, he deserves to be more blessed for doing this. Though he does this to keep him awake during duty hours, it would be sinful if I wasted them to wilt and die. So I decided to perform the sahasranama. Having decided so, I had to think of quick payasam for offering and ended up whisking Phirni in my microwave. By the time the rest of my everyday cooking was done this was ready too.
Savour the speciality dessert of Kashmir easily cooked in your microwave.

Whole milk 500 ml
Rice 50 grams
Sugar 100 grams
Cardamom powder 1 teaspoon
Milk cream 1 teaspoon
Saffron few strands
Cashew nuts and slivered almonds few
Ghee few drops

Take milk in a big deep microwave proof bowl. I used a 3.5 litre corningware bowl to boil 500 ml of the milk.
Bring milk to boil by placing in the microwave on 100% power without lid on for 5 minutes.
Wash and soak the rice for 1/2 an hour. Grind to a very fine paste adding little amount of water to it.
In a flat dish, take the nuts and rub the ghee over them. Microwave on 100% power first for one minute and tossing over, again for another minute. The nuts would be crisp and golden now.
In the same deep bowl, mix the rice paste and sugar to the milk. Mix thoroughly well.
Return to the microwave and cook on 60% power, covered for 6 minutes. Every two minutes open, stir and return to cook. See to that the milk does not boil over. If the milk appears to flow out, you can remove the lid.
Once done, add the cream to the kheer, and the saffron strands, reserving few for garnish.
Microwave on 60% power for just 2 minutes longer.
Remove and garnish with strands of saffron and nuts.

Rich and creamy phirni is ready.
Serve chilled.
For a low calorie version use toned milk and avoid cream and nuts, though it is not my recommendation to enjoy this.

I would love to send this to
Sanghi's Fall In Love - Milk event, dedicating this to all kheer lovers
MEC Potluck Party event currently being hosted by Srivalli who initiated the event
Shanthi Krishnakumar's State Specials event.This is J&K special dish

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tomato pickle

I am copying the recipe out of a very tattered inland letter card written by my chitti (chittappa's wife) to amma dated 16th of March 1974. Amongst lot many things scribbled therein, she has managed to write a whole recipe. Amma has many letters saved in some Mangharam Biscuit tins those were addressed to her and we have a gala time reading them. There are so many of them there. Some of them are from my uncle complaining that rice was selling at somewhere in the vicinity of INR21/- ( in British Pounds then), my first report card (written by the class mistress on a post card stamped 5 np.) from Cliff's school, Ooty, Niki's first greeting postcard and many more. She has them safe even now.

Anyways, the recipe , which I had to proportion to limit to present day's consumption goes like this:
Tomatoes 2 kg
Mustard seeds 100 gram
Cumin seeds 100 gram
Fenugreek seeds 50 grams
Tamarind size of a cricket ball
Dry red chillies 20- 25 numbers
Turmeric powder 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli powder 50 gram
Ginger 50 grams (optional)
Garlic a whole with about 10 pods (optional)
Salt to taste
Gingely oil 500 gram

Wash tomatoes, wipe them dry with a cloth. Cut them in 8s or 4s depending on the size.
Place the cut tomatoes on a big plate and applying slight pressure with your fingers squeeze some juice out of them. Soak the tamarind in this juice thus obtained.
In a heavy bottomed pan, dry roast each separately the fenugreek seeds until slightly brown, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies. Pound them separately in a spice grinder and keep aside.
If you are using ginger and garlic, grind them separately without adding any water.
In the meantime the tamarind would have soaked in the juice well. Obtain the pulp by repeatedly squeezing it out.
Mix all of the powdered spices, ground ginger, garlic paste and the tamarind extract to the tomatoes. Add also the turmeric powder and salt. Mix them very well.
In the pan heat oil until just before smoking. Pour the hot oil over the mixed tomato pieces. Allow to cool and store in clean,dry bottles. Stir the pieces well once a day.
As this is made without adding any water, it will keep well for few weeks.
The tomato pickle is a very delicious accompaniment to rotis, chappattis and also curd rice.
I made it with 400 grams tomatoes and proporionate ingredients.

Colourful peppers and sprouts salad

Few days ago, my husband and myself were contemplating on having something very light as salad or soup for dinner one night a week. The plan was to keep our dinner options light but healthy. Tried putting it in action and found it works well too. I had kept with me a salad list from Fresh Station Bahrain whose salads and mocktails are extremely indulging while still on the healthy side. The list is just their standard menu, but the tamil chef there will whip anything you fancy. Between me and my daughter, we've had their salad and one fresh juice and would feel full. So I wondered if I recreated something like that would both of us love it too.
Having thought of it, I had to put it into action and this was one of those salads I came up with -Peppers and sprouts salad in a sambal dressing.

The Malaysian Sambal is an extremely versatile sauce cum accompaniment and can be used as a dressing for all kinds of salads. Fragrant, tangy and tasty, it can add extra flavour to any dish. The sambal is popular as a condiment in Malaysia. There can be quite a few variations in the preparation of sambal. I just have used here a basic one that I got from my friend.
Recipe for sambal:
· 10 shallots peeled and chopped
· 6 fresh chillies,prefeably the red spicy variety, deseed and slit
· 5 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
· 1 stalk lemongrass small stalk sliced (or juice of 2 lemons)
· 1 marble size tamarind (soak in a cup of warm water and strain)
· 10 dried chilies (soak in hot water for 5 minutes)
· 2 tsp turmeric powder
· 3 tablespoon sugar (optional)
· salt to taste
1. Blend chillies, garlic, tamarind extract, shallots, red chillies and turmeric powder in a blender to a smooth paste. If you are using lemon grass, blend that with these too.
2. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a pan. When the oil is moderately hot, saute the paste until the raw taste subsides and is fragrant. This should take about 12 minutes on very low heat. Stir the paste constantly so that it does not stick to the pan.
3. Add the salt and the sugar.
4. Let the paste cook for sometime while stirring occasionally. When the oil floats on top of the paste, the sambal is ready. Add the juice of lemon and mix well.
5. You can divide this in small portions, freeze and use until about two months. Spoon in as much as sambal you will require on to any salad, or boiled eggs or even if you eat meat, this can be a dressing.

Now coming to the salad,I used different colour bell peppers,carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes alongwith few legumes that I kept to sprout.
I used whole moong, black chick peas, cow peas and fenugreek seeds. Soak a fistfull of each separately and allow them to sprout.
Cut the vegetables. Deseed the peppers and keep ready.
Once the sprouts are ready, transfer all of them in a microwave safe bowl. Add few teaspoons of water and with a lid on cook for 5 minutes on 100% power until they are just boiled enough.
In another bowl, add 2 teaspoons olive oil and toss the bellpeppers. Boil them in the microwave for 2 minutes on 60% power.
In your salad bowl, fill the vegetables and sprouts with as much sambal dressing you would desire. Toss them well to blend in the dressing.
Add the cut tomatoes, carrots and cucumbers. Serve with other starters or some healthy soup.
I did not require salt or pepper as the sambal takes care of the salt and spice.

I would love to send this to the August session of No Croutons Required being hosted by Jacqueline,

and to

MLLA 14 th serving initated and being hosted this month by Susan.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Janmaashtami -Sri Krishna comes to our homes!

When righteousness is endangered the Lord descends. One of such avathaars is that of Krishna.
Krishna is probably the most endeared child to the hearts of many a hindu because He is the child in you. We easily relate to all His pranks and mischievous deeds and enjoy ourselves reading and listening to them.
The Krishna Janmaashtami celebrates the birth of Lord Sree Krishna. It falls on the eighth day after the full moon of the Hindu calendar month of Sravana; the Rohini star will conjunct with the ashtami thithi normally; sometimes it might differ by a few days.
Celebrating the birth of a child brings much happiness, needless to say, it multiplies in the birth of The Almighty Himself !

Homes are decorated with kolams and thorans to welcome the Lord. Special dishes that are most favoured by children are prepared and offerred. The prayers are performed by late evening as it is believed that Krishna was born late into night in a prison cell where His uncle had imprisoned His parents.Take a look at the celebrations at my home yesterday. You may all have celebrated well too. I shall post related recipes in later posts. For now, I think pictures will do justice.

We offer aval, butter, payasam, dry fruits, fruits and many savoury dishes.

May the choicest blessings of Sri Krishna be on all of you.

हरे कृष्ण ! हरे कृष्ण !