Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Will be on a break!

Hello friends,
I will be off to India for about a fortnight. I shall miss posts from friends, at the same time trying to catch up.
So long....

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ginger Lemonade Concentrate

My mother makes lemon juice concentrate and stores in the refridgerator. She makes it a point to store such stuff whenever we are on vacation. She bottles the concentrate and sends it over to my sisters. She may have to refill often whenever my husband is around and any of her grandchildren.
I love ginger in the juice as much as in my tea. I add ginger to the recipe she follows to make ginger lemonade.
Make a puree of ginger, and extract the juice; boil it with the sugar while making the syrup and add to the extracted lemon juice. It is as simple as that.
The concentrate does not use any preservative. Hence has to be stored in the refridgerator. But keeps well for about 20 days provided it lasts that long. Beyond that period, there will be a tinge of bitter tangy taste of rotting fruit.
Given below is with some 10 very juicy lime fruits that yielded about 350 ml of concentrate.

1o numbers medium size but very juicy lime fruits
2X2'' piece ginger
400 grams granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
Wash the lime, cut and squeeze out the juice.
Peel the ginger and chop. Run this in a blender adding water. When pulped, pass this through a strainer and extract the juice.
In a heavy utensil, dissolve sugar in the water. Add the ginger extract to the sugar.
Boil the mixture for about 5 -7 minutes to form a syrup.
Simmer for another 3 minutes.
Allow to cool completely.
Once cool, add the lemon juice extract and mix well.
Store in clean bottles.

To serve, add three parts of water to one part concentrate. Drop thinly sliced lemon zest and serve chilled.
The quantity of sugar can be adjusted according to requirement. The ratio of sugar to juice extract from lime is about 4:1, sugar:lime juice extract.
You may use lesser sugar for the concentrate and add more sugar while serving.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Choco Almond Burfi

Nupur wants us to make use of some ingredients we have bought for some random dish and have simply pushed it right to the back row of the kitchen shelf, at the same time you use it in a recipe from a fellow blogger. The event is BB4: What's Lurking In The Kitchen.

This post may not have appeared today, if I were not chatting up with Shoba late in the evening yesterday. In fact I promised her that I would cook something from Anubhavati for this event. I looked up and found that I lacked one thing or another to try my choice dishes. However, for today's lunch I have cooked her Easy and Healthy Vazhakkai Fry. I shall refrain from repeating the recipe as you may all look up from her site and enjoy the same. I only show you a picture of my version.

Well, that was not anything from ingredients lurking in my pantry. Eventually, the veggie would have appeared on my lunch menu in the course of the week, before I go on my home bound vacation.
So I choose to give you here, what I made just to use up the ground almonds and some Ovaltine I had. The Ovaltine was what I bought when my mother visited. She takes her lunch around mid morning, skipping breakfast. She prefers not to have a second helping of coffee. That is why I purchased ovaltine. Under normal circumstances I would have packed it off with her. This time, having bought the smallest available size, it was not worth adding to her twenty kilo baggage allowance.
I planned to use it in some cake or sweet, but kept putting it off. Similarly, the milk powder was something left over after I purchased when somebody suggested making yoghurt with it and after one pathetic try, given up.

Then when I found that Jayasree had made badam kathli in the microwave, I borrowed her recipe and tweaked it just by adding the Ovaltine and the ground almonds and reducing the sugar. Her recipe for Badam Kathli can be read from her blog Experiments in Kailas Kitchen..
I give below my tweaked version. This no longer qualifies to be called Kathli, the pieces are so thick that I have to call them burfi. I was a bit over zealous and let the microwave work a wee bit longer, which effectively over cooked the dish kept therein. I had to quickly retrieve and pour the mixture out on a greased surface by which time it had cooled and beyond the roll-out texture. Nonetheless, the sweet was a treat, ready in minutes it was just an indulgence.

Ingredients and method to prepare:
Almond powder 3/4 cup
Milk powder 1/2 cup
Ovaltine 1/4 cup
Powdered sugar 1/2 cup
Milk 3 tablespoons
1 teaspoon ghee to be smeared in the bowl

1 teaspoon ghee to grease the surface/ plate

Warm the milk in a microwave proof bowl for two minutes on medium high. Mix the Ovaltine and the sugar to the warm milk.
Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix them well.
Put the bowl back in the microwave and cook without lid on on 100% power for 2 minutes.
Take it out, give a quick and thorough stir.
Return to microwave and keep it on for 1 and 1/2 minutes on 100% power.
The mixture will bubble and froth. ( This is where I thought it was undone and let in go for a further 20 seconds).
Remove from the oven. Keep whisking until it gathers well to a chappati dough-like consistency. Transfer to a greased surface.
Roll out thinly and cut diamond shapes.
A very relishable sweet is ready to indulge.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Microwave Kadalai urundai - Jaggery coated peanut balls

The fastest procedure I had found to make my all time favourite Kadalai urundai is with the microwave. I was experimenting chikkis with the microwave oven and then the idea of making the jaggery syrup formulated. Quickly tried these and some aval pori urundais, they were both delicious, done under 15 minutes, and gone by the batting of the eye-lid too.
Here is the simple yet delectable recipe:
3 cups oven roasted and skinned peanuts
1 cup jaggery
1/3 cup water
cooking oil/ghee to grease your palms

To roast peanuts, take raw peanuts in a flat microwave proof dish. Microwave on high(100% power) for 2 minutes and a half. Open the door, give one toss and microwave on high for a further minute.
Take out, allow to cool and skin them. The skin willl easily peel off.
Warm 1/3 cup of water on microwave high for 1 minute.
Dissolve the jaggery in this and pass through a strainer to remove scums.
Take the dissolved jaggery in a deep microwave proof bowl. Allow to boil on high (100% power) for 5 minutes initially.
Stir once well and continue boiling on high settings for 1 more minute. Check the syrup consistency by dropping few drops of the syrup in water. If a solid ball can be formed at this stage, the syrup consisitency has been achieved.

Drop the skinned peanuts in the syrup. Mix them well.
Put the mixture back in the microwave and cook on 100% power for 30 seconds more.
Take the bowl out, allow to cool slightly.
Grease your palms with oil or ghee and make balls of the mixture.
Initially the balls may not hold shape and will be soft. But as they cool down, they become hard.
Please adjust the cooking time in accordance to the output of individual microwave ovens.
You may make jaggery coated balls of puffed rice, puffed poha (aval pori), roasted gram etc. similarly.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pearl onions Thokku

Thokku is one form of pickle I relish. Not inclined to pickles, I make do with the vegetable on my menu or the different kuzhambus to go with my curd rice. But thokkus are exceptions. The other pickles I might have are vadu mangai, moar nellikkai and elumichangai.
If that is me, my husband, I wonder has ever tasted pickles. On the contrary, Niki likes pickles and she also loves the thokkus as much as me. So I make very small quantities, that may last just about a week. However, recently I bought the bag of pearl onions and they were so good that I wanted to preserve them in pickle form.
I made with about 200 grams of pearl onions and hoped that I may pass that off as side dish for dosais. But my apprehension was unfounded. My husband liked the thokku and I have some more reserved in the bottle for the next dosai session.

Incidentally Priya is hosting Siri's Healing Foods representing Onions this month. I am sending her this entry.
Pearl onions 200 grams
Tamarind a small lemon size ball (make tiny bits of this)
Dry red chillis 7 pieces (medium spice)
Salt as required
Sesame seeds oil/ gingelly oil 1/3 cup

1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Few curry leaves
2 tablespoons urad dhal
1 teaspoon Asafoetida powder

Peel the pearl onions and cut them roughly, just to facilitate the grinding in the mixie.
Take one tablespoon oil in a heavy pan. When the oil is hot, saute the pearl onions, tamarind, salt and the red chillis until the onions are soft.
Allow to cool. Transfer the mix to the jar of a mixer-grinder and coarsely grind it.

Heat the rest of the oil in the same heavy pan. Add the tempering. When the mustard seeds crackle and the urad dhal is golden, transfer the onion mix to the pan.
Cook this on medium heat until the blend is well done and the oil surfaces.

It should be well cooked in order to enhance shelf life. This is a preserve that can stay at room temperature for about a fortnight. Can be refridgerated also if desired.
This makes an excellent side dish for dosais and chappatis. You may even mix with hot rice.
We had this with rawa dosais this weekend!

Heerekkayi bajji - Ridge gourd in spiced yoghurt

You have a memory associated to a particular dish that endears the dish to you. Well, this is one such that I had at my friend's place about 6 years ago. All of our friends in Malaysia knew how my husband picks on vegetables. They try and not make such vegetables if they invite him for lunch or dinner. On the contrary they know that both Niki and I love to have more vegetables, and they try to accomodate that whim also.
The days after the packers moved our stuff to be shipped to Egypt, we were having, breakfast, lunch and dinner at one friend or the others' house. It was easy that we lived in the same condominium complex.
One particular dinner was, upon request a simple menu with chappatis and rice with vegetables. That night my friend had made this 'bajji' (what thayir pachchidi to Tamilians is something similar, though it bears the name of a very different deep fried dish). She cooked this just an extra vegetable serving. Served it to my husband and all of us were watching his reaction. Lo! he simply enjoyed it and wiped the plate clean before asking what the dish was. We were all amused and she let the secret out, suggesting he may have extra servings if he liked it.
I had been wanting to make this for very long. Last year when I mailed her for her version of tomato rice recipe and this one, she promptly mailed me back. I simply marked a star, made her version of tomato rice and left it at that. Suddenly I was craving for the bajji. I pulled out her mail and today cooked the same. I had to make some alterations to the original version to reduce the quantity of coconut. Otherwise, I have followed her recipe mostly.
I planned the lunch accordingly. It was this bajji, potato dry curry for dear husband, a simple radish -tomato salad and porichcha rasam. Today's Ramayana reading enlisted "paruppunchaadham" as neivedhyam. So the menu had been balanced, in the sense that I cooked dishes that both of us would relish...not the food pyramid stuff :)

Now, I move on to the recipe.
The original recipe has more coconut and no dhal is added to the grinding. I reduced the coconut and added some urad dhal and horse gram with just a few grains of rice.
What you may require:
2 medium, tender and fresh ridge gourds
2 green chillis
1 tablespoon fresh grated coconut ( The recipe uses 3 tablespoons/ more)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon urad dhal
1 teaspoon horse gram (optional)
1/4 teaspoon raw rice
1 cup thick yoghurt
Salt to taste

1 teaspoon oil/ ghee
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 dry red chillis
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida powder
Few fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon urad dhal

How to proceed:
Wash and remove spines from the ridge gourd. Cut in medium sized pieces.
Boil the ridgegourd, cumin seeds and slit green chillis until the vegetable is soft. Add the salt and allow to cool.
Dry roast the raw rice, urad dhal and horse gram until golden brown.
Grind along with coconut adding little water. When the coconut is nearly smooth, add the cooled ridge gourd mix and pulse the mixer for a few seconds. The pieces should neither be left in chunks nor should it pulp. The texture should be coarse.
Add this to the yoghurt and blend with a spoon.
Heat oil in a pan and temper the listed ingredients.
Serve as side dish for rice mixed with thogaiyals, porichcha rasam, vatthal kuzhambu etc.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Raw Banana Peel Kootu and an Update/ Apology

My previous post has been edited. I was carried away by an e-mail that was forwarded and happily shared the same. I was very inquisitive to read up, much later only. That is when I am lead to believe that the mail circulating is a hoax!
I have apologised for misleading my readers in that post. But once again, please forgive my over enthusiastic reaction to such NON-SCIENCE nonsense.

The outer peel of few vegetables can be made use of in many recipes. Some are added to roasted lentils and spices and ground to a paste while some can be cut, cooked with spices to go as accompaniments to rice.
For this kootu, you may use the fresh, green peel of plantain that we usually discard using the vegetable for making chips or stir-fry vegetables. The Nendram variety is most suited while the peel of any cooking plantain would be fine.
We make this in two methods, one adding jaggery and cooked as a sweet kootu and the other with spices and tamarind gravy. Given here is this second method. I have added adzuki beans to this kootu.
What you require:
1 cup cleaned and cut pieces of fresh plantain peel
1 teaspoon Sambhar/ rasam powder
1& ½ teaspoon salt
A small lime size ball of tamarind
½ teaspoon- 1 teaspoon powdered jaggery
2 tablespoons pressure cooked thuvar dhal
¼ cup soaked and cooked adzuki beans (thattai payaru)
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Grind to a coarse paste
2 teaspoons fresh coconut
½ teaspoon raw rice (soaked in some water)
2 teaspoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon urad dhal
1 teaspoon channa dhal
¼ teaspoon asafetida powder
Few fresh curry leaves

Pressure cook the dhal and beans separately.
Boil the peel and cook until tender.
Soak tamarind and extract the pulp. Add the turmeric powder and salt. Allow to come to a boil and simmer for 7 minutes until the raw taste of tamarind is lost. Now add the jaggery and then the cooked peel and continue to simmer.
Few minutes later add to this simmering mixture the cooked dhal and beans. Allow them to cook for few minutes. Finally add the ground coconut paste.
Remove from fire when the gravy is thick.
Temper with the ingredients listed under tempering.
Serve with rice.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Aam Ka Panna - Microwave version

Aam ka panna is a very refreshing mango drink. It acts as a coolant especially in summer when the mercury hits high. They are made from raw mangoes that have a sour -sweet taste and with mint leaves. Mangoes are cooked prior to being blended. Cooking them in the microwave gets it done easily.
The high power or 100% power in the recipe refers to an output of 900watts. So adjust the time for cooking according to the specifications of your microwave oven.
1 whole big raw mango
3/4 cup of sugar
1 fist full fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon roasted and powdered cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black salt/ Kala namak
Water as required
Choose firm, green skinned mangoes. They should be raw and hard to press.
Wash, peel and chop the mango into small slices.
Place the slices in a microwave proof utensil, add 1 cup of water to it.
Cover and cook the mango on 100% power for 4 minutes.
Add sugar, black salt and roasted cumin seeds powder and microwave covered on 80% power for 5 minutes.
Allow to stand a further 5 minutes.
Cool them outside the microwave.
Blend this mixture along with mint leaves in a blender.

Transfer to clean bottles and store in the refridgerator.
To serve, mix 1 part of juice to 3 parts of very cold water.
Pour in glasses and enjoy.
The salt and sugar can be varied as required.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pani Puri / Gol Gappe - Indian Cooking Challenge

Having skipped last month's Indian Cooking Challenge, I was looking forward to making it up this month. It was a delight that Srivalli chose Gol Gappe/ Pani puri. Being one of my favourite street foods, I usually make the puris at home and assemble them as desired. I had made Bhel puri for my husband's birthday last year and not made them since. So this was an opputunity to treat him to these. ( I had to watch him enjoy as I am to strictly follow low on oil, no spices diet having recovered from a bad infection very recently).
The following is the recipe given by Srivalli. I had used a 1/4 cup measure (60ml) and made about 20 puris.

For making Gol Gappe
Semolina 1/2 cup
Plain Refined Flour/ All Purpose flour 1/2 tbsp.
Cooking Soda 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil for Frying

For Spicy Pani or Spicy Water
Chopped Mint Leaves 1 1/2 cups
Chopped Coriander Leaves 1 tablespoon
Tamarind 1/3 cup
Ginger 1"
Green Chillies 4 to 5
Ground Cumin Seed (roasted) 1 teaspoon
Kala Namak (Black Salt ) 1 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

For Filling
Potato Filling
1. Boiled Potato, finely chopped /mashed and mixed with salt and red chilli.

Lentil Filling
Cooked Channa or Peas - 1 cup
Salt to taste
Chili powder 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder 1/4 teaspoon
Garam masala powder 1/4 teaspoon

Cook the channa or peas till tender. Then drain and cook with the masala till aroma comes out.

For Red Tamarind Chutney
Tamarind 1 cup
Jaggery 1/2 cup
Sugar 2 tablespoon
Red chilli powder 1/2 teaspoon
Dry Roasted cumin powder 1 teaspoon
Kali Micrch (Black pepper) powder 1/4 teaspoon
Cloves 2
Warm water 2 cups
Oil 1 tsp.
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:
For Gol Gappe or Puri:
Mix semolina, plain flour, cooking soda, salt, 2 tablespoons of oil in a bowl and knead well to make a stiff dough.
The dough should be stiffer than those for normals puris and chappathis.
Cover it with a wet muslin cloth and let it rest for 15 mins.
Once again knead well until quite elastic. I use the hand mixer fitted with kneading hooks, if making a larger quantity. But with this small quantity, I ran them in the small chutney jar of the mixer- blender for a few minutes until dough was elastic.
Then pinch out very small balls and roll them into small circles. Ensure that you roll them out neither too thick nor too thin.
Since these are popped into the mouth as wholes, they should be bite size puris.
Put the rolled out circles back under the muslin cloth while you are rolling the rest and before they can be fried. If making large quantities, make in small batches.
The puris will puff well only if they are moist.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan, deep fry the puris on medium heat ensuring that they puff well and become crisp.
Remove from oil and place on kitchen tissues to absord the excess oil.
Allow the puris to cool before storing in airtight containers.

I follow Mallika Badrinath's recipe for making puris and they turn out excellent. I have given that recipe in this post.
For making spicy water or Pani
Soak tamarind in water and extract the pulp.
Grind mint leaves, coriander, ginger, chillies and dry roasted cumin seed to a smooth paste using the tamarind pulp.
Add salt and black rock salt to taste.
Leave this in the fridge to chill.
Add more water as required.

Making Red Tamarind Chutney
Soak and extract the pulp from tamarind.
In a pan dry roast the cumin seeds and the cloves. Pound them into coarse powder.
To the tamarind pulp add jaggery, sugar, red chilli powder, black pepper powder, roasted cumin powder, cloves and salt.
Heat the mixture in a pan for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Remove from heat and let it cool down.
This will tend to thicken up, so add warm water if it becomes too thick.
Once it cools, blend the contents in a blender to a smooth paste.

Assembling the Pani Puri / Gol Gappa
Make a finger size hole on the centre of the top of the puri.
Add a tsp of mashed boiled potato and / or channa in the middle of the puri.

Add a little of the red tamarind Chutney. Dip it in the spicy water or pour some spicy water in the hole.
Swallow as whole.
Enjoy them as evening snack.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Whole wheat and Almonds payasam

Given a chance, I have every excuse to stay out of diet plans. This was the case until recently.
I pride myself of not falling sick and enjoy street foods to delicacies provided they are vegetarian.
Then the recent set back was an eye-opener. I had to listen to my body and not abuse it. I decided that I will plan and stick to healthy, yet 'no compromise on taste' food pattern.
Result: I cut down my tea intake, switched to green tea, kanjis/porridges, 'low on oil and spices' dishes.
And I am loving it! Feels good to hear people tell you that you look better :) Combined with a mandatory 40 minute @ 6 km/hr walk on the treadmill is keeping me fit. I have no inclination for the afternoon nap, sleep soundly at night and so on.
I made this kanji powder combining whole wheat, almonds and roasted gram. To add flavour, I ground some cardamom and saffron along with. I have this free of sugar every morning.
Today, I had to make payasam for neivedhyam and quickly fixed this with the ready made powder and full cream milk and of course sugar.
As for the kanji, it takes few minutes to be ready with this powder, dissolved in water to cook and one boil with the milk. However, for the payasam, I let it simmer for a while to bring out the creamy texture and the sugar to blend well.

Ingredients for the powder:
1/2 cup whole wheat
1/4 cup roasted gram
10 numbers almonds
3-4 pieces cardamom whole
Few strands of saffron

Dry roast each separately on a heavy bottomed pan on low to medium heat until well roasted but not very brown or charred.
The saffron should take less than a minute if it is done last and the pan is already very hot.
Combine the roasted ingredients. Allow to cool.
Powder coarsely to fine in a mixie. This filled about 3/4ths of a 450 grams Ovaltine bottle.
The powder stores well at room temperature for about a month.

Add 200ml of water to 2 teaspoons of the powder, bring to a boil, add milk as required. Remove from heat when mixed and Kanji is ready.
Add extra powder and extra milk and sugar as desired for the payasam texture.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Vazhaikkai Bajji- Plantain fritters

Having told you earlier how my aunt is 'bajji paati' to my daughter and nephews, I should confess that her husband was an expert at bajjis. He was a Forest officer, who had trained in The Forestry Institute in Dehra Dun. They had to cook in camps and thus he mastered many dishes. His Vegetable biriyani is yet another masterpiece. He taught me that cutting onions with the skin on keeps the rounds from breaking for salads and bajjis. He was posted in Salem during my college days and whenever I visited them, he would treat me with one of his famous recipes.
This is an easy recipe that makes use of left over idli/dosa batter.
Though I have made them with plantains, you may use sliced potatoes, onions or brinjals for the bajji.
If you have ¼ cup of left over batter, add to it rice flour and gram flour and make these.
Given below is for about 8 big bajjis. Served hot with coconut chutney, they make an excellent tea-time snack.
1 firm raw plantain, peeled and sliced
¼ cup of left over idli /dosa batter
3 tablespoons rice flour
3 tablespoons gram flour
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 pinch of sodium bi carbonate
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon asafoetida powder
Oil for deep frying
Rest the sliced plantain in cold water.
Mix the dry ingredients to the batter to a lump free batter. Add water and mix thoroughly to a batter that will match idli batter consistency.
Heat oil in a pan. When the oil has reached optimum temperature, remove the plantain from the water, dip it in the batter to coat on all sides and gently slide in the oil. Repeat with a few more, as many as will float free in the oil and cook.
Turn the bajjis over twice and allow to fry until golden brown. Remove with a slotted ladle and turn them on to a colander.

Repeat with the rest of the raw plantains in the water.
Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Aval upma -My husband's style

Had it been few months ago, I would have had to post Tea for the His Cooking event, Priti is holding. But now things are very different. Between my recuperation and the near improbablity of getting good food outside home, my husband has picked up cooking skills that I am sure proud of.
In my absence he was cooking for himself a proper breakfast, packing a somewhat frugal lunch and cooking rice and vegetables for his dinner. He had even attempted to grind for dosais and make them.There is my instruction sheet still attached to the door of the refridgerator in the kitchen.
He now makes semiya upma, aval and wheat rawa upma very well. One of my blog buddies suggested to him that he can start a rival blog to mine :)
Though I am fully fit to cook anything he desires, nowadays, he makes these simple upmas that taste real good for me whenever he can. It is a long way from reheating frozen dishes that I used to store for him before I travelled while we lived in Egypt.
This aval upma has roasted potatoes to add a bit crunch and onions tossed just about a little and the regular garnish. The picture speaks for itself.
His recipe for the above is,

1/2 cup medium thick aval/poha/beaten rice, washed under running water until the aval is tender and salt added.
Any quantity of microwave cooked potato, the more the better.
Sliced onion as desired.
Green chillis slit, deseeded. (as per spice requirement)
Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, channa dhal and curry leaves for tempering.
Two table spoons oil in all - for tempering, roasting onions and potatoes and for the upma.

Add oil in a pan and crackle the mustard seeds and cuminseeds. Add the channa dhal and fry until slightly brown. Put in the chillis and sliced onions. Toss them around for a while.
Add the cooked and cubed potatoes. Keep roasting until they are crunchy.
Add the salted and softened aval. Toss for a few minutes on medium heat until all ingredients blend well.
Remove from heat and transfer on to your eating plate and consume as soon as possible:)

Now that is how he eats it...piping hot with a hot cup of tea.
I hope Priti enjoys adding this dish as much as I relished it.


Pitlai is a dish that has a consistency between sambhar and kootu. The ingredients match those of sambhar as well as kootu. Has more vegetable quantity than sambhar. Though I mix rice to it and have it like sambhar, ideally it is a very suitable side dish to go with moar kuzhambu.

Pitlai is mostly prepared with bitter gourd, and if prepared this way, you do not find them very bitter. However, you may use other vegetables like brinjals, chayote, broadbeans etc. You may combine vegetables and cooked legumes, or combine three or more vegetables. The preparation then will be named Sambangi pitlai ( I am not aware as to why the name has been derived thus)
Eggplants, I read, are very useful if you are on a weight loss diet. Low in carbohydrates and rich in fibre make them excellent for weight watchers. They are also rich source of host of other minerals.

1 cup cubed brinjals
1/4 cup cooked thuvar dhal
Pulp extracted from a marble size tamarind
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Salt as required
To be roasted and ground to a coarse paste:
1 table spoon coriander seeds
4 dry red chillis
1 teaspoon channa dhal
3/4 teaspoon urad dhal
2 teaspoons fresh grated coconut (you may add more coconut if desired)
few drops of oil for roasting (optional)

For tempering:
2 teaspoons gingley oil ( any cooking oil)
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon urad dhal
2 dry red chillis
few fresh curry leaves
1 teaspoon fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon asafoetida powder

Wash and pressure cook thuvar dhal until soft. It is not necessary to mash it.
Soak the tamarind and extract the pulp.
Cook the cubed brinjals until soft. ( I microwave them for 4 minutes on high)
Roast the ingredients for the masala. I dry roast them. Oil is only optional. Grind adding some water to a coarse paste.
In a pan bring the tamarind extract to a boil. Add salt and turmeric powder and simmer.
Put the cooked brinjals in and simmer for few minutes.
Add the cooked dhal and the ground paste. Allow to come to a boil and keep on heat for a few more minutes.
Remove from the stove.
Heat oil and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle add the red chillis and urad dhal. Fry until the dhal is golden brown. Add the asafoetida and curry leaves to this tempering just before removing from the stove.
Temper this to the cooked pitlai.
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Enjoy with steamed rice.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nan Kathais

These are probably the easiest to bake and the most versatile cookies. This particular recipe is from my friend which she had shared with another friend’s daughter who made them for us.
Niki follows this recipe whenever she feels like baking all by herself. I have a recipe in my microwave cookbook which replaces the gram flour in this with semolina.

1 ¼ cups All purpose flour
¼ cup Gram flour
½ cup Ghee (clarified butter)
½ cup Powdered sugar

Pre-heat oven to 160 degrees Centigrade
Mix all the ingredients with a spatula until well blended.
Pinch out small portions and roll them in balls and then flatten a bit.
Place well apart on a baking tray. Bake for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. While still warm, sprinkle some powdered sugar over the naan khatais.
Allow them to cool and transfer to airtight containers.
I have added some readymade jam and nuts.