Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Jantikalu for ICC

This month's recipe for the Indian Cooking Challenge announced by Srivalli and tried by all the members was the jantikalu or murukku famous South Indian savouries. With the festival season upon us, all of us geared ourselves to try it out. Though I do this regularly to indulge my family, replicating the given recipe was fun.
Now, for the recipe given by Srivalli :

Ingredients Needed:
Raw Rice - 4cups
Urad Dal - 1 cup
Water - app 1/2 cup or more
For Seasoning:
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Sesame seeds- 1 tsp
Asafoetida/ Hing - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Butter - 75 gms
Method to prepare:
Wash and drain the rice. Dry the rice spread on a cloth in shade for 1/2 hr.
Dry roast the urad dhal to light brown. Allow it to cool.
If you are using more quantity, you can get it ground in rice mill, else use your mixie to grind both rice and urad dhal.
First grind rice into a fine flour, sieve, repeat until a very fine flour is achieved.
Spread the flour on sheets of paper until required.
Ideally the murukkus taste good if done with this moist flour immediately or it should have dried thoroughly in hot sun and stored.
Similarly grind the roasted urad dal to fine powder.
In a wide vessel, take both the flours along with salt. Mix well.
Add cumin, sesame seeds to the flour, mix well.
Whether you use asafetida powder or the solid variety, mix it in water, make sure it is dissolved before adding to the flour. If its not dissolved properly, when deep frying the muruku, there are chances for the asafoetida to burst due to presence of solid particles.
Mix the asafoetida to the flour and finally add the butter.Rub the butter in gently and mix the flours to blend well.
Gather everything well and you will get more of a crumbling mixture.
Now gradually add water and knead a dough which is little more softer than the puri dough.
Heat a kadai with oil enough to deep fry.
Once the oil is hot enough, simmer to low flame.
Take the Muruku achchu, wash and wipe it clean. Then divide the dough into equal balls. Fill the muruku maker with the dough. You can either press it directly over the flame or press over a paper and gently slide it down the hot oil. But since the quantity mentioned here is less, you can press it directly over the kadai.
Cook over medium flame, using a slotted spoon, turn it over to other side to ensure both sides turn golden colour.
Remove to a kitchen paper and store it in a air tight container.

The recipe given by Srivalli is similar to what many of my cookbooks have given. But I usually use 1 cup of urad dhal to 5 cups of raw rice as given by my aunt. Also we are an indulgent family that we use more butter to get melt-in-the-mouth murukkus. But too much butter will make the murukku oily and also may not hold shape rendering them to break. So butter should be optimum, neither too less or too much.
Since we are only two in the family, I have tried the recipe with quarter of the above quantity.
My cup is 240ml standard cup, which while measured heaped weighed 250grams of raw rice. I used split urad dhal levelled in 1/4 cup measure and butter 2 tablespoons. With this I achieved 420 grams of murukkus.
Hope you will all enjoy making these murukkus for the upcoming festive season.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Navrathri neivedhyam – neiyappam

Have a glimpse of golu at my house this year! We managed to move into the present house by the middle of last week. We did most of the soft moving ourselves. Between my husband, his driver and myself, we moved clothes, electronics, books, our CDs, cassettes and kitchenware in the boot of the car making as many trips required.
We arranged most stuff in place, leaving those that would go on my show case, buffet and China cabinet and my books. These were to be attended to when the company -hired movers would bring the furniture in. We had also brought the cardboard cartons that house my Golu dolls and decorations. Having done all this, we had the house partially functional before the furniture was moved in.
That evening after a thorough sweeping and mopping we set the golu up.
One of the many thrills of blogging is that I was introduced to an Indian lady living here through my blogger friend Shobha of Anubhavati. Once while chatting with her on gtalk, she mentioned about her friend M who lives here.
The next day she mailed M, gave her my telephone number and to me hers. We got in touch and decided to meet over this festive season.
Having set the golu I called M over to visit my golu, warning her that the house might still be a mess with a carton or two unopened lying at most inconvenient places. She seemed not to mind at all. Very well, I can say this because she even brought another friend along. They both came with their children who I simply loved from the minute they got off their car. That day, I spent few happy hours talking to the ladies on random topics. So much for blogging! A BIG THANK YOU Shobha.
On the day that conjuncts with the Moolam Star (Usually will be the 7th day of Navrathri, sometimes the 6th) the Saraswathy aavahanam is done in some homes. Most people arrange this on the Maha navami day though. I do the aavahanam on the Moolam day. That day I offer appam as one extra neivedhyam as will be pittu on the Friday during Navrathri. These are not standard practices. I’ve picked them up because an aunt would do or some elderly neighbour suggested that. Having followed one year I make it my practice. The idol of Goddess Sarawathy is placed over a stack of books that will also be worshipped on the day of the pooja. Usually they may comprise of our school books, the books that are used in our day to day lives and such.
The Goddess of Knowledge is worshipped among knowledge rendering books.

This is a picture of the Saraswathy pooja done on the Maha Navami day.
This recipe of neiyappam is a combination of two recipes handed down to me. I first learnt it from my neighbour living a floor above mine in Manama in 1992. Later, I improved on it when my cousin made it for the pooja we had at my Chennai home. It worked well for me. You get soft appams with right amount of sweet taste to them.

1 cup (heaped) raw rice
1 cup (level) powdered jaggery
¼ teaspoon powdered cardamom
1 tablespoon dessicated coconut
Ghee/ oil for cooking
Wash rice well until water drains clear.
Soak in some water for an hour.
Add 2 table spoons of warm water to the jaggery. Dissolve and strain the scum out. Keep reserve.
Drain the soaked rice and grind to a stiff paste initially adding small quantities of water. Once the rice is fine add the jaggery dissolved water and grind further to a smooth batter. Take care not to make it very thin. The batter should be like that of dosa batter.
Remove from the jar of the blender. Wash the jar with some water and recover the adhering paste. Retain this water.
Take a small portion of the batter, add to the recovered water that you washed the jar with. Mix well. Take this in a pan and keep on low fire. Stir continuously. This will thicken while cooking. Stop cooking while the consistency reaches that of infant feed (koozh).
Mix this cooked semi solid batter to the ground batter. Adding cardamom and coconut, mix them well. Leave aside for two hours.
Place your appa karal (appam mould) on the stove. When the pan is warm add some ghee in each of the indentions. Allow the ghee to reach smoking point. Add the batter to fill the indentions, just below level. Cook until done. Check if it is cooked well by inserting a tooth-pick and drawing it out. If it comes out clean the appams are done. I close the pan with a lid. But I’ve seen people don’t find it necessary.
These appams will be soft and porous.
I shall post randomly other recipes that featured during Navrathri. Meanwhile, Happy Dussehra for today.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Colourful Mini Idlis

For sometime before active blogging, I was following few other peoples' lovely blogs which actually inspired me to have a space to share recipes I try in my kitchen. Madhuram is one of those many who were my inspirations. I am still not confident with my baking prowess but I try her other recipes whenever they are made differently from what I usually do. Her colourful cocktail idlis where such a hit with me that I try them with whatever chutney I have or whichever varietion I can think of.
Please visit Madhuram's very own space for her recipe of cocktail idlis.

I made them with tomato chutney, pudina chutney and coconut chutney.
Also that I made them in mini moulds to have bite size idlis.
What you require:
3 X12 mini idli moulds
30 tablespoons idli batter
4 table spoons each of the above mentioned chutneys
What you should do:
Grease the idli moulds and keep ready.
Divide the batter into three parts. Mix with each part, one chutney of choice. The batter will itself be very colourful now.
Pour them into prepared moulds and steam in a steamer for 8-10 minutes.
Remove and serve the mini idlis colourful and decorated.
Madhuram suggests that the chutneys shall be a bit more spiced as they would tone down when mixed with idli batter. But I made them with normal spice as it would delight the kids too.
I've used carrot strips, tomato strips, cut carrots, bits of idlis and tomatoes as well as Milagai podi for the garnish.
These are off to Poornima's Tasty Treats who is hosting Tried and Tasted- Madhuram's eggless cooking. The event to honour fellow bloggers initiated by Zlamushka of Zlamushka's spicy kitchen

to Kids' Delight the event to celebrate blog anniversary of Spice your life by Srivalli

and the garnish is my entry to Garnish the dish event collectively held by the Innovative in-laws


We lived in a gated-guarded compound in Bahrain. Since the property belonged to someone from the royal family and The King's secretary resided in the compound we had police security by night. Two policemen took turns to guard at night. One of them was a retired Air force officer of the Pakistan Air Force.
While I distributed Navrathri prasadams to our gardeners and maintenance personnel they used to share it with these officers too. On one such occasion, he had the sarkarai pongal and wanted me to write down the recipe for his wife. I gave him that and made some pongal to send to his family. He was so touched by this simple geature and befriended us so much that to my husband he was 'hamara dosth policeman' and to me Bhai saheb. I was bhabijaan and Niki was Bitiya to their family. On the eve of eid his wife sent me seviyan and when once Niki was home on holiday, they sent a 2 litre icecream box full of Kashmiri pulav.
It is time around eid this year and we just made a call to wish him. I decided to dedicate this post to this man and his family. This is an iftar dish so is an ideal time to post it too.

I made the chocolate fudge and rolled it over dates. These taste excellent but heavy in calories. typically a minute on lips and forever on hips delicacies :(
Evaporated milk 200ml
Sugar 220 grams
Cocoa powder 2 tablespoons
Butter 12o grams
Dates whole 20 numbers seeds removed.
Mix all ingredients except the dates in a heavy bottomed pan. Place on medium fire and constantly stir until the mixture thickens and leaves sides of pan.
Switch off when the mixture can be rolled in a ball. Allow to cool until. Since you have added enough butter, it will not be necessary to grease your palms.
Take a small ball of the mixture and roll it over one date, completely covering it.
Repeat with the rest of the mixture. Place the rolled dates separated in a flat dish.
These chocolate delicasies are off to
CFK - chocolate hosted by Hema of Salt to taste an event started by Sharmi of Neivedhyam
and to
Kids Delight happening @ Srivalli's Spice your life to mark the anniversary of the blog.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Navrathri musings

Come festival season and a wave of nostalgia sets in. Pondering, I decide we look forward to Navrathri or Deepavali to come by for the joys they bring along. There are many festivals celebrated in our Hindu religion. But there is no comparison to the mood that these two festivals bring with them.
We, my parents, my sisters and I lived with our paternal grandparents. The house was very large that this one room was dedicated to the golu we set up every year. The only other time this room became functional was when a new arrival was expected. This room was constructed with two doors, one leading to an attached bath and another opened to the dining room. Thus it was convenient for delivery and convalescence.
The room was on other days housing two big wooden cupboards filled with dolls and figurines of various sizes and shapes, all neatly wrapped in folds of newspaper. The ready- to- fix golu stand was housed in the backyard covered ‘kottagai’ ( the barn would be very aptly English). Thestand comprised of 9 steps that were broad and sturdy wooden planks and eight thinner reapers fitted appropriately with screws and bolts to hold them in place.
Around navrathri the household will be buzzing with activity and being school holidays we will all be included in those. To set up this stand, we await Periasamy. Periasamy makes one of his twice annual visits on the Mahalaya amavasya day to set up our golu. His other visit will be on the Boghi pandigai when he will do the ‘Kaappu Kattu’. Periasamy was employed by my grandpa in his youth. He was the cowherd, kept our dogs and used to ride the bullock cart taking my aunts and older cousins to school.

Later on, thaththa recommended for him and got him placement as peon in a government school. Then he moved to the Velagoundapatty village, where he worked. But without fail he will mark his attendance on these two occasions.
This was followed until few years ago, even after we sold the house and appa bought this new house. For the past three or four years we have not had Periasamy visiting us. Neither has anyone informed us that he is ill or no more. My parents have tried to enquire but with not much success. I conclude the latter as he would have been very old.
Coming to the golu, Periasamy would, with the aid of any servant around, bring down the stand, clean them and set the ‘padis’. Then he will neatly unwrap the dolls while we will watch mesmerized in spite of the fact those were the same that were exhibited repeatedly for many years in the past too. Patti and amma will bring out moth-ball scented white sheets to cover the padis. Once the sheets were spread to hospital precission, under patti’s scrutiny, Periasamy will singly set the golu up. Finally we will be allotted a tiny patch of the room to do a park as it will be called but actually had enough stuff to duplicate a town. Sand and clay and paper-cut figures and our toys will all be displayed there. Few years we have even grown some greens to make the hillocks look real.
Once our golu has been set, we were to go around inviting people to view our celebrations. A horse drawn cart will be hired and since it is a small town, the cart-man knows most of the homes we should be taken to. Decked in the best of pattu paavadais we go around with one tiny kunguma chimizh and a large bag to collect stuff. Today I feel so embarrassed that we would pipe up to sing at the least invitation from the lady of the house. We were strictly instructed that the collection was not to be opened until we got back home. And then the elders will decide as to what we can be allowed to eat and what is not. Our mother and aunts will repay the invitations that came in by paying their visits on another day.
By God didn’t we have fun? Today the trend has changed. Only thing is that the spirit of the season still is alive in out Indian hearts. Sitting alone in Ghana today I miss India. The navrathris Niki and I celebrated in Chennai were every ounce enjoyable as my childhood ones. We had as much fun in Malaysia with our very own gang, for lack of better expression, to describe the fun and friendship we share, we safely call ourselves a gang!
I am looking forward to Navrathri this year too. But I know it will be a subdued affair with us moving house right at this time around and trying to live in two homes at one time. However, I wish all of you have a great navrathri.
This post is just to wish all of you a very joyous festival. I have posted few pictures of my past golu set up in Malaysia and Bahrain. God willing, this year I will have some pictures to show off too.
With the impending move, my posts and comments on other blogs may suffer. I’m not sure of the duration the internet provider will take to install the facility in the new house. So if I were not looking your spaces up, please bear with me. Should be able to catch up soon.
I also take this oppurtunity to wish Eid Mubarak to our Islamic friends too.
Meanwhile Ammu of Nature kitchen, Kitchen Queen of Khatta Meetha Theeka and Chaitra of Aathidhyam have honoured me with a few awards. Thank you ladies. I appreciate your kindness.I shall include them in a future post. Thank you one and all.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Aezhu Kari Kootu

The 7 kari kootu is usually made on the Thiruvaadhirai festival to consume with the Thiruvaadhiraikkali, a sweet dish made with roasted and powdered rice cooked with jaggery.
Ideally the kootu will have those vegetables grown during an Indian winter, as the festival is celebrated in the Tamil calendar month of Margazhi (period mid December to mid January).
As the name suggests it shall be made with 7 different vegetables. But we usually end up adding more vegetables than the suggestion. The kootu tastes best with creeper grown veggies like ash gourd, pumpkin, broad beans, snake gourd and most importantly lima beans is added. Other than these you may add sweet potatoes, potatoes, yam, chayotes etc.
Certain vegetables like ridge gourd, bottle gourd and drumsticks are not allowed on festival cooking ( I'm not aware why, though). On other occasions you may add these to the kootu.
It is a very vegan dish which goes well with hot steamed rice. Being a kootu freak, I consume bowls of this just like that. I refrain having anything else when I cook this.
The recipe I share below serves 4 full servings.
2 cups vegetables, suitably cut or diced in big chunks.( use any of the above mentioned.You may add or reject according to your taste)
1/2 cup thuvar dhal
A big lemon size ball of tamarind
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt to taste
To be roasted in 3 teaspoons oil and ground to a coarse paste:
12 -15 long variety dry red chillis
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons channa dhal
1/4 cup fresh dessicated coconut
For tempering:
6 teaspoons cooking oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds
2 dry red chillis
2 green chillis slit lengthwise
1 teaspoon asafoetida powder
Few fresh curry leaves.
Wash and suitably string/ peel and cut vegetables into big pieces. Cook tubers separately and the vegetables separately. If you are using fresh Lima beans or green peas, you may cook them with other vegetables. If using dry beans, soak them ahead suitable for use.
Soak tamarind in water for about half an hour and extract pulp until thoroughly drained of pulp.
Pressure cook thuvar dhal very soft adding the tuemeric powder. Keep aside.
Roast the ingredients for grinding, cool and grind to a coarse paste adding water.

Take a heavy pan. Place it on high heat. Heat the oil for tempering and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the rest of the tempering. Toss until the green chillis turn slightly white.
Add the tamarind extract and salt. Bring to a boil.
Add the cooked vegetables and simmer for 12 - 15 minutes until the raw flavour of tamarind subsides.
Add the pressure cooked dhal and a few minutes later the ground paste.
Allow to boil and continue to boil for only three further minutes.
Switch off the heat. Give one thorough mix and serve hot.
At the final point adding a teaspoon of coconut oil will make it very delectable. I make this often whenever I have random mix of vegetables.
This vegan dish is off to It's a vegan world - Indian hosted this month by Erbe in cucina an event started by Vaishali of Holy Cow! Vegan recipes.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gujarathi Milagai Podi

Like I told earlier, my pantry stocks all kinds of podis. For idlis alone I have three or more milagaipodis, like the ellumilagai podi, chutney podi and the gujarathi milagai podi which I'm sharing today.
This is a recipe again adapted from S.Meenakshi Ammal book. I don't know why she calls it Gujarathi milagai podi though. I asked my Gujarathi friend if they make anything like that but was replied in the negative. For want of a better name, I will use what the original recipe calls it.
Call it anything, the flavoursome podi is sure to tickle your palates.
( The picture below shows double the volume of ingredients listed below)

Preparation time: 20 minutes for roasting and 5 minutes for powdering.
Yield : 200 gram of podi

Dry red chillis 3/4th of standard cup (180 ml)
Sesame seeds 3 tablespoons
Urad dhal 3 tablespoons
Thuvar dhal 3 tablespoons
Channa dhal 3 tablespoons
Moong dhal 1 1/2 tablespoons
Salt 2 1/2 tablespoons (Sea salt. If using table salt adjust according to taste)
Asafoetida powder 1 teaspoon
Roast sesame seeds until they pop; salt until dry, asafoetida until it emits a nice aroma.Keep aside.
Roast the red chillis on a low heat. They should be brittle but shall not char. While roasting chillis be prepared for a heavy bout of sneezing though! Keep aside.
In the same pan first roast the channadhal for some minutes before adding thuvar dhal. Roast further and add the urad dhal and finally the moong dhal. This way all the dhals roast evenly and golden without getting charred.
Cool all the roasted ingredients.

In the jar of the mixie first powder the chillis, salt and asafoetida initially until they are a coarse powder. Add the roasted dhals and powder to a fine powder as possible.

Transfer to clean airtight bottles and store in a dry place. As these are all roasted without adding oil the shelf life is long. Over the days the colour may fade a bit but it will taste every bit flavoursome as the first day.
This podi makes your fluffy idlis more indulgent :-)
I would love to send this to,
Lakshmi Venkatesh's Think spice - red chillis this month an event initiated by Sunita of
and to
MLLA 15th helping hosted @ Sia's Monsoonspice this September while Susan
The Wellseasoned cook initiated this event.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Muthusarai or Magizhampoo thaenkuzhal

This recipe is probably one ancient that I know. I have known it to be followed by my grandmother and before her, her mother-in-law. The same recipe features in the Samaiththu Paar by S.Meenakshi Ammal which was first printed in 1951 and is being re-printed on and on to date. The only alteration in my recipe is addition of cardamom powder which is not in the book. Many people have been intrigued about adding cardamom in a savoury snack. They love it when they try it :)

4 standard cups (240ml cup X 4) raw rice, heaped cup measure - 1000 grams
1 & 1/2 of a cup moong dhal -225 grams
3/4 th of a cup channa dhal - 110 grams
100 grams butter
4 teaspoons cardamom powder
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
500grams oil for deep frying
Wash the rice well until water runs clear and soak in water for about two hours.
Drain water, spread the rice on a clean cloth to dry in shade.
Once dry, but still moist, powder in a mixie. Sieve to a fine powder. Repeat these steps until all soaked rice has been powdered.
Spread a sheet of paper and a cloth over it. Spread the powdered rice on this. It will be best to use the moist flour right away for best results. Otherwise allow to dry thoroughly, thus spread and store in airtight containers until required.If the quality of rice is good, you will get 2&1/2 to 2&3/4 cups of rice flour per cup soaked rice.
The murukkus tend to turn out hard and brown in colour if the flour is not used this way.
I usually make murukkus the very same day as pounding the flour.
Roast the two dhals separately until they are golden taking care not to over heat them. Cool and powder them to very fine consistency.
The author of the recipe book suggests that you can pound the rice in a mill, but do the dhals at home for best results.
Mix the rice flour and dhal powders. At this point the floue mix will look as yellow as custard powder and the aroma of roasted moongdhal will be invitingly strong.
In a big bowl mix the flour, cardamom powder, salt and sesame seeds. Gradually rub the butter in with tips of your fingers to evenly mix with the above.
If you are making a large quantity (anything above 2 cups of the mixed combination), divide the mix in smaller portions. Add water to one divided portion to make a soft dough that can hold shape and can be pressed into shape with a mould. Divide this dough into smaller portions that will fit into the cylinder of the murukku press.
Heat oil in a kadai until just before smoking point. To test the optimum heat of the oil,drop a small portion of prepared dough in the oil. It should dip in first and quickly bounce upwards to the surface of the oil.
Fit the murukku achchu (murukku press) with the plate that has pores in the shape of three stars. Place some dough into the press and pipe out directly in the warm oil.
Do not crowd the murukkus in the oil. Allow them space to float and fry. Turn them over using a slotted ladle. Fry both sides until they are golden brown. Remove from oil and place on an absorbent tissue. Cool and transfer to store in airtight containers until required.

These muththusarais are just pure indulgence. They feature in all Seer bakshanams in South Indian Hindu brahmin weddings and functions in counts of 31, 51 or 101. The aroma of the roasted dhal and cardamom give this a unique taste.
The dhal flour can be made and stored for few months also. Just add 3 parts of rice flour to 1 part of dhal flour by volume and make these anytime. The muththusarai is one sure savoury in my diwali bakshanam list. That is one time I use the whole of the above recipe. Otherwise I use 1 cup rice and proportion the dhals and butter for some weekend snack.
I am sending these delectable murukkus to
MLLA 15th helping currently hosted @ Sia's Monsoonspice an event initiated by Susan The wellseasoned cook.

to Sweets and Savouries Event held @ Sara's Corner.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Oattu Pakoda or Ribbon Pakodas

The oattu pakodas/ ribbon pakodas are an anytime snack, in the sense they are very easy to cook up anytime. though it is better to soak, drain, pound,seive and use the rice flour, it is not a must. They turn out very well with store bought flour also. All cook books I have give the combination differently. This is a recipe my periamma used and had given all of us.
3 cups fine rice flour
1 cup gram flour/ split Bengal gram flour/chick pea flour
2 table spoons butter at room temperature.
4 teaspoons red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Asafoetida powder just a little
In a big bowl, mix all of the flours and powders well. Rub the butter in the flour mix well to spread and blend well. Add water gradually to mix a smooth dough.
Divide this into smaller portions.
Heat oil in a kadai.
Fit the murukku press with the plate that has two rectangular slits.

When oil has reached optimum heat, take one portion of the divided dough and press out the ribbons in the oil. Press just one or two in the oil, giving enough space to float and fry.
Once the sizzling of the oil has subsided remove the ribbon pakodas with a slotted ladle placing gently over absorbent tissue. Allow to cool and store in airtight containers.
The above quantity can be mixed and pressed in one shot. It is however advisable that you mix the flours and rub in the butter, divide this into portons before adding water, if you are making large quantities. Mixing the water to the flour mix and allowing it to rest may result in discolouring. The oxidation and fermentation brings the darker shade in the murukkus. This is applicable to all murukkus.

I would love to send these to Shanthi Krishnakumar's Dussehra - Diwali event

and to Sara's Corner's Sweets and Savouries event.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Channa Masala

This version of Channa masala is what my sister’s mother-in-law makes. She is my aunt (uncle’s wife) as well and indulges us with her signature pulikoozh, rawa laddoos etc. She also makes the best pulikkaichchal according to my daughter. This she says because when Niki was very young, manni used to make pulikkaichchal and ask Niki to tell her if we could smell it from a distance. This made the child feel important.
My sister is a very choosy eater cooking for whom is not easy.She has been eating Cerelac thro' her 4 years of hostel in Madras Veterinary college:( She dislikes most vegetables and a no-to-masala person. Onions and garlic are NO NO to her. So the following recipe does not have garlic listed in the ingredients. I add garlic and fair amount of other spices usually. But when I am short of time, I switch to this version as it does not require to cook the masala to remove the raw taste.
1 cup channa (white chick peas)
½ cup coriander leaves washed well and dried over a cloth
3 big red onions
4”piece of ginger
2 teaspoons redchilli powder
2tablespoons any brand channa/chole masala powder
1 lime size ball of tamarind
3 teaspoons powdered jaggery
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cuminseeds
4 green chillis slit lengthwise
2 tablespoons ghee/oil

Method to prepare:
Soak channa overnight or if cooking by evening, soak in warm water by morning.
Drain, wash and pressure cook this until tender. (About 4 whistles in the pressure cooker or 25 minutes in a pressure handi)
Chop onions and ginger. Grind along with cleaned coriander leaves to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
Soak tamarind in water and extract a fairly thick paste.
Heat ghee or oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the cumin seeds and the slit green chillis.
Toss for a few minutes. Add the ginger-onion-coriander paste and the tamarind pulp, bring to a boil. Add salt, channa masala, turmeric powder and the red chilli powder. Allow to simmer for atleast 15 minutes on very low fire. Add the powdered jaggery.
Add the cooked channa. Allow to simmer further until the gravy is thick.
Take off the heat and serve hot garnished with strips of ginger and fresh coriander leaves chopped and added.
I’m sending this to Viki’s Side dish for chappati event

Tomato Herb Soup

This is an every morning ritual since we moved to this country to chat online with my sister. The five hours and a half, time difference work well for both of us. I chat with her before I move on to my daily chores, by which time she would have a free afternoon.
She is a cook who puts her heart to her cooking and is full of ideas. Few days ago I told her about the soup/salad dinner options I intend to follow. She suggested that we can try using vegetables themselves to thicken the soups replacing the flour – butter combination. That very day I had some chayote in my fridge and few very good tomatoes. I also had fresh mint and oregano leaves. They were enough to tempt me to try out this soup.
The herbs lend the soup warm balsamic and aromatic flavor. It was such a soothing soup. We had the soup with some tossed salad and bread rolls were full.
What I used:
3 medium size roma variety tomatoes
½ cup medium cut pieces of chayote
A tight fist of fresh mint leaves
1 sprig (approximately 15 leaves) of oregano leaves
1 very small red onion cut
2 teaspoons cooking oil/ghee/butter (I used sunflower oil)
Salt and pepper according to taste.

And how I went about the soup:
Heat oil in a pan and toss the onions for a few minutes to alleviate the pungent taste that may be present if cooked raw.
In a container put whole tomatoes, cut chayote, tossed onion and the cleaned herbs together. Pressure cook until one whistle. The tomatoes will be easy to peel this way.
Peel tomatoes. Transfer all the contents to the jar of a blender and blend well.
Wash the jar with ½ cup of water and add this water to the puree above.
Cook this in a pan adding salt and pepper until desired consistency is achieved.
Serve hot with a salad and dinner rolls of your choice.
Mint leaves are recommended home remedy for digestion heartburn from indigestion etc. Oregano is high in antioxidant properties. It is proven to treat food-borne diseases.
Both of them can be safely had in mild teas or soups during pregnancy. If you have morning sickness and throwing up food, this soup can contain your sensation. Mint also aids digestion.

I would like to send this recipe to Food for 7 stages of life - Pregnancy (Zero hour) hosted jointly by Radhika Vasanth of Sourashtra Kitchen and Sudeshna Banerjee of Cook Like a Bong
and to Sireesha of mom’s recipes soup n juice event.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Triple Duet

Yes! I coined the name for the combination juice, I created. I had these many fruits after all the poojas that lined up and had consumed enough of the fruits by themselves and fruit salad and whatever I could use them in. Then I had little of each like one apple, some cut pieces of mango, few red grapes ½ of a pomegranate few musumbi oranges and two kiwi fruits. On an odd whim I wanted to try making juice of these in varying thickness and combining them. Wow!! What an idea that was. See the pictures and tell me. I waited for my husband to be around so we can consume the punch right away before any discoloring sets in. He was fascinated and clicked away in all 23 pictures which I made a photo folder and called it MY JUICE INDULGENCE :)
I guess you may create your own by combing other fruits, but my duets were,
Yellow combination –Mango and apple
Pink combination – Red grapes and pomegranate
The light green and not much prominent combination –Kiwi and musumbi
Wash fruits, peel and cut them. Blend very well adding sugar each combination. Keep them separately chilled until you need to serve.
I have not added ice or milk or ice cream here. Those may be more creative combinations, no doubt.
Using a funnel, take small quantities of the above into tall glasses and serve.
Patterns may form and delight you depending on the thickness, one may float over the other combo or blend to an altogether delicious punch.
I wish to send my indulging triple duet to,
Sireesha’s Soup and Juice event

and to Radhika's Food for Life Zero hour event. co-hosted by Sudeshna Banerjee of Cook like a bong

Corn Methi Pulav

This recipe has been adapted from the Cooking Under Ten Minutes by Tarla Dalal.
I have altered to suit availability of ingredients and the taste fancies of the two people who would eat it, my husband and myself.
Last weekend, my husband had to work as he does once every third weekend. I cooked this rapid cooking menu and sent his lunch.
The menu consisted of Corn and Methi Pulav, cucumber raita and roasted baby potatoes.
It is a real quick-fix lunch.

For the Corn- Methi pulav you need:
1 cup uncooked Basmati rice
1 small bunch of methi leaves, washed and leaves separated, but not cut
¼ cup frozen ready to use sweet corn kernels
1 small bay leaf
1 cardamom whole
3 cloves
2’’ stick cinnamon
1 red onion small, sliced well
Coarsely powdered black pepper
¼ teaspoon garam masala (optional)
Salt to taste
2 – 3 teaspoons ghee
Wash basmati rice well and drain.
Heat ghee in a pressure pan, add the spices first and toss them for some time.
Add the onion slices and continue until the onions are translucent. Add the washed rice and roast for 2 minutes before adding the methi leaves, corn and salt.
Add two cups of water and pressure cook until one whistle before switching off the stove.
Open, mix well and serve hot with raita.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kongu Style Thayir Keerai

Kongu nadu is an area that covers as many as 50 cities. Coimbatore,Erode, Salem and Namakkal are all covered in this region. The Kongu Velala Gounder community is quite prominent in my home district. Schools and marriage halls are named Kongu------ in Namakkal. The cuisine is versatile and liberal use of garlic and spices can be found therein. We get aromatic, strong tasting spices from the Kolli Hills around here that compliments the taste of the cuisine.
This keerai thayir kadanjadhu can be had in any home in my hometown. They have it with rice, Kambu choru or with dosai.
I have just altered a recipe from one of our neighbours to my taste.

1 cup - any variety greens/ spinach (I used Thandu Keerai)
1 Cup – Slightly sour yoghurt
3 long pieces - Dry red chillis
3 pieces Green chillis
1sprig - Curry Leaves
1 tsp - Fenugreek Seeds
2 medium Onions
1” piece Ginger
1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
3 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
Salt to taste
Wash the spinach well, chop, pressure cook with turmeric powder and keep aside.
Chop ginger, green chillis, onions and keep aside.
Heat some amount of the oil in a pan, add mustard, red chillis and fenugreek seeds and saute on slow fire.
Add chopped onions, ginger, green chillis and toss further until onions are transparent.
Mash cooked spinach with a masher, and add to the above with the salt.
Remove from the fire and add the yoghurt.
Put this back on the stove and simmer for 5 minutes.
Garnish with curry leaves. Serve hot with steamed rice.
You can add garlic and cloves to give this a masala touch. But that is optional though it is ideally the kongu style.

I wish to send this to RCI - Kongunadu hosted by Priya of Priya's Easy N Tasty Recipes an event which was intiated by Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Some super friends and nice gestures

I am super excited with the bonds of friendship developing around the blogsphere. People just think of nice ways to bring lots of smiles through sweet gestures. It means more to me as a person than anything else. I'm fully enjoying all the love you send my way.
With all humility I accept all these awards and tags. Thank you all, sincerely.
Shanthi Krishnakumar passed this on. Just with participating, I learn that you reap an award!

Thank you very much Shanthi. I am honoured. You are a great cook and a super blogger.
Hema and Priya have shared these lovely ones. You two are super girls and thanks for having thought of me. Hema has simply showered all her bounty on me.

Rupali of Chakh-Le-Re has passed on the following two. Thank you so much dear, you are a sweetheart.

Sandhya and Purva tagged me with ABCs. Thank you girls. Just got it done. Read them here.
Sanghi has celebrated her milestone post by sending out goodies to us. That is a very nice way to celebrate and I wish you many more with all your three spaces Sanghi.

I have crammed my thanks here. I owe a lot of my learning to one and all of you. I am in cloud9.
Not just the above mentioned people, but all of you have given me loads of love and reasons to smile.
Please accept this whole bounty from me as a token of appreciation.
Hope all of you will keep blogging yummilicious recipes, so I can try them out and indulge myself and the family.