Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Peerkangai masiyal

There are certain vegetables that one might enjoy consuming cooked in different methods. Many basic Indian vegetables are easily adaptable to suit such variations. The ridge gourd is one such vegetable. When Velamma was around and she would do the vegetable shopping for my mother, she would select tender vegetables that are abundant in season. The market will more often be having local farm produces and hence such vegetables will be regular in the menu.

While I have lately found that eating fresh tender ones raw with salt and pepper smeared is delectable, I might still love to have the heerekkayi bajji that my friend makes or the simple curry stewed with onions and tomatoes with rotis and most certainly my mother's porichcha kootu, this masiyal is also good to have with steamed rice as a side or to mix with the same. It is also my sister's favourite preparation. She is very fond of the vegetable stewed thus.

This is also a recipe that can be easily prepared without much of pre-cooking requirements; hence I am hoping that my daughter might find it quite suitable for her to cook and pack to work.

400 grams tender ridgegourd
1 small lime size tamarind
3 tablespoons thoor dhal (masoor dhal and moong dhal will work excellently too)
3 numbers dry red chillis
3 numbers fresh green chillis
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon split urad dhal
2 sprigs curry leaves
4 teaspoons cooking oil
1 heaped teaspoon salt (or as required)

Wash the vegetables clean and peel the skin lightly. Cut in small cubes.
Wash the thoor dhal clean and cook until soft. The dhal should be cooked soft enough to mash.
Soak the tamarind in water and extract the pulp.
Slit the green chillis in two.
Heat two teaspoons oil in a heavy pan. Drop the slit green chillis and saute' them for a few minutes. Add the cubed ridge gourd pieces and toss them for about three minutes.
Add some water, the turmeric powder and the salt. Cover and cook until the vegetable is tender.
Remove some of the cooked vegetable, mash the rest of the vegetable along with the cooked dhal.
Bring the tamarind extract to a boil in a pan and allow to simmer until the raw taste is lost.
Add the reduced extract to the cooked vegetables and the mashed dhal vegetable combination.
Cook all of these together until they blend well. add the asafoetida powder too.
Heat the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter and add the split urad dhal. When it turns golden brown, remove from the stove and add it to the masiyal. Add the curry leaves.
Enjoy with hot steamed rice.
Other vegetables such as chow chow, bottle gourd and summer squash can be used in this preparation.
You can do away with the tamarind extract and squeeze the juice of a lime while serving

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Mango Kesari

Wish you all a very happy new year, very belated wish though. I had not planned to stay off blogging for long, yet, I was unable to even blog browse, let alone write and post something. Owing to some unrest in the country where I live, I was asked to extend my month-long visit to the US of A by a further two weeks. In all, it was a wonderful vacation. We could visit a few friends and family as well as go around at ease.
I decided to make use of this unplanned extension by visiting my cousin in Iowa. That made a week long catching up with her and her family. She took off from work to keep me company and we chatted, listened to music, read, cooked and even baked some stuff. It was a totally relaxed week there.

I came back and between settling into to routine and everyday chores, there was this 'no inclination to spend time on the computer mood' for a few days. Thus, I kept off blogging and reading posts too. However, I already have my next short vacation planned and will be off by the next fortnight visiting home. Hence, before I go on another long period of absence, I thought of slipping a quick post in.

This was a dish that my cousin baked for me and to carry back for my daughter. It was one of the quickest to prepare and very delicious too. She said that most of the times when in the temple they request for something to be prepared at home and brought, her friends ask her to bring this. I am sure that will be the case when you try also.

1 cup Rawa / semolina
1 cup white sugar
1 cup thick mango pulp (she used ready to use mango puree)
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) butter
1 teaspoon powdered cardamom
A handful of nuts and raisins (or candied fruit)

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare a baking dish by greasing the insides. (Though the butter will take care of this part, I would feel easy to grease)
Mix all the main ingredients in a bowl, handling them gently. It does not matter that the butter is totally soft and blended well. It melts during the process of baking and mixes well with the rest of the contents.
Transfer the mixed ingredients to the baking dish. Spread the nuts and candied fruits on the top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from the oven, allow to cool and cut into desired size.
A very sweet and flavoursome dessert is ready.
You may want to increase the quantity of sugar, if the mango puree is not very sweet.
She said that the pineapple kesari that is commonly served in parties in South India inspired her to try this. She added that when you have over ripe bananas, you may pulp them and prepare the same dish.