Thursday, December 11, 2008

Califlower and Edamame with Mint and Ginger

I wanted to finish the mint leaves leftover from making the salad.
You need
Mint Leaves - 8 or 9 Washed
Ginger - an inch piece, peeled and chopped
Grind them both to a fine paste, add 1/4 cup water...
To Make the Subji
Canola Oil - 1 Teaspoon
Jeera - 1 Teaspoon
Cauliflower - 1, cut in flowers
Frozen Edamame - About 1 and 1/2 cups
Salt - as needed
---> In a Pan, add the oil on a medium fire and then add the jeera
---> Once it sizzles, add the mint and ginger paste you made
--->Then add the cauliflower and kind of coat the mint mixture all over, so that all of the pieces get the mint on them
---> Now add the Edamame
---> Cover and cook, make sure the water is always there otherwide it will get burnt
--->Once the water is all evaporated, the cauliflower and the edamame should be cooked, turn the stove off and add some salt to taste.

[If you want, you can add some chili powder or green chillies to make it spicier.]
I served this with Rotis and Sprouted Mung and Masoor Dal.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Black Eyed Beans in a Salad!

This recipe is from Bairavi, my cousin's wife. She got it from a sindhi friend of hers.
I just loved the taste of this when I had them and had to share...
It is kind of a mix of a salad and sabji...
You can substitute Chick Peas instead of the Black Eyed Peas..., but if you use chick peas, you have to soak it overnight. With black eyed peas, i just washed them and used them.

You need
For the Masala;
Mint leaves - 1 bunch - Washed and Drained
Garlic - 2 Cloves
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Green Chillies - 2
Coriander - 2 handfuls - washed and drained
Salt - to tast
When I use coriander, I just cut off the ends, and use the stalk also, it gives more flavor.
To make:
Canola oil - 1 Teaspoon
Jeera - 1 Teaspoon
Black Eyed Peas - 1 Cup
Cucmber - 1 english cucumber which equals 3 indian cucumbers, chopped
Red Bell Pepper - 1 chopped
Juice of 1 Green lime
Salt to taste
--->Grind the stuff forthe masala to a smooth paste.
--->In a pan, add the oil and jeera, when it sizzles, add this paste and saute for two minutes, all on a medium high pan
--->Add the washed black eyed beans to this and mix well.
--->take the whole thing and transfer to a vessel which you can pressure cook in, and give it 3 to 4 whistles and then turn the fire to a low heat and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
---> Once the pressure goes down, check the beans, it has to mash when pressed wih two fingers.
--->Transfer to a big bowl, add the chopped cucmber, chopped red bell pepper and add the juice to it and add salt if needed
--->Garnish with a mint leaf, and take a picture!!!

I made this for dinner yesterday, served with 2 rotis, Beetroot subji and Kadhi...

Chutney for Chutney Sandwich

This is my friend, Mina's recipe. This is for making chutney sandwiches. I made them in the same food processor as the pesto.
You need
Coriander or Cilantro - 2 bunches, just cut of the ends and wash thoroughly (3 times under water and drained)
Green chillies - 10 to 12 (depending on your spice level
Skinned Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Garlic - 5 cloves
Salt - 1 to 2 Teaspoon (more or less)
Sugar - 1/2 Teaspoon
Lime - 2 to 3 (take the juice out and pour directly into food processor)
Just grind everything to a chutney, Do not add any water to this, if needed add more lime juice....
You can use this to make the famous bombay chutney sandwich......
In Chennai, in the 80's we used to get this outside Prince Plaza, Egmore.
It is so delicious, spread it on a slice of bread, top with
Slice of tomato
Slice of cooked potato
Slice of cucumber
top with a dash of salt and pepper
Top with one more slice of bread spread with this chutney.... Yumm..........

Pesto - (my sister's recipe)

I made pesto for the first time yesterday. I also made Chutney for Bombay chutney sandwich for the first time. My daughter, my husband and me like the chutney but my son hates it, so When we all have the chutney, he can have pesto!

This is my sister's recipe,

You need
Pine Nuts - 1/2 cup
Olive Oil - 4 Tablespoons
Basil leaves - Approx. 2 cups, Washed and drained (chop it if your mixer will not grind)
Sundried Tomatoes - 6 or 7 (I only had that much)
Garlic - 4 or 5 cloves
Salt - less than 1 teaspoon
Black Pepper - 1 Teaspoon

Just put everything in your food processor and grind to a smooth paste.

You can use this as
-->A spread for a sandwich, The one on the left is a whole wheat flax seed bread and the one on the right is a sourdough bread. The sandwiches were just great!
---> A spread of this on a slice of bread and melt some cheese on it, for, instant pizza!!
-->A sauce for pasta.
-->A sauce for Pizza.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Amish Friendship Muffin!

I Got this dough of Amish Friendship Bread. It is some kind of a chain mail except it is with bread dough! Now I have to find 3 souls to give this batter to and make sure they continue the chain!!!

Verdict: It is kind of laborious (not able to believe i wrote that word) because it asks for soooooooo many ingredients, but can't complain. I chose to make muffins instead of a loaf. My kids love muffins! I tasted one and it tastes exactly like "Porai" which you get in tea shops in Chennai. I dont know what it is called in hindi. The muffins crusted up on top and is soft underneath!!

Coming to the recipe, it is really very simple

You can read about this bread here.
You need the starter for this bread.
on Day 1 do nothing with the starter,
start mushing the bag everyday from
Day 2,
Day 3,
Day 4,
until Day 5.
and on
Day 6, add to the bag, 1 cup of Flour, 1 Cup of sugar and 1 cup of milk and mush the ba
and continue mushing the bag on
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9 and on the 10th day
again mush the bag and follow the directions below
Pour the contents of the bag in to a glass or plastic bowl and add
1 1/2 cups flour,
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups milk.
Mix well and then measure out 4 separate batters of 1 cup each in to a gallon Ziploc bags.
Keep one bag to yourself and give 3 to friends along with a copy of the recipe.
Should the recipe not be passed on to a a friend on your 10th day, tell the recipient which day the batter is on when they receive it.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To the remaining batter in the bowl , add the 4th bag,
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour
1 cup oil
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 large instant vanilla pudding
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grease 2 large loaf pans or pans for 2 dozen muffins.
Mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dust the greased pans with half of this mixture.
Pour the batter evenly into pans and sprinkle remaining sugar mixture over the batter.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour for loaves and 30 minutes for muffins.
Cool until bread loosens from pan evenly and turn on to a serving dish.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Variation: Add one cup chopped nuts or raisins or dried cranberries.

Methi Thepla

I made Methi Thepla from this recipe. It came out really well. Don't have any pictures of it though. There was no time. You just have to take my word for it!!
I followed the recipe exactly (to the extent of adding the jaggery even though i HATE adding jaggery to salty dishes) but in the end instead of adding the chopped methi leaves to the dough by hand i mixed everything in the food processor. It was a mistake but a good one, in the sense the methi blended well with the dough and it was really easy to roll it out.
Try it out!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Potato Rudraksha Kari (Cubed Side Dish)

This is a very interesting Potato Curry Recipe. It doesnt have anything out of the ordinary but yet so rewarding. When the potatoes are cubed, for some reason, someone thought it looks like the meditation bead, the rudraksham and named it after that!
When I saw the challenge post by Iyengars Kitchen, I thought most of the Tamilian brahmin recipes fall under it, there are so many and this I had in my computer already so I thought I will send it right away!
You need
4 Large Potatoes - Cut in small squares (no need to peel the potatoes)
Oil - 2 to 3 Teaspoons
Mustard - 1/2 Teaspoons
Curry Leaves - 1 Strand
Coriander Leaves- 1 handful
Red Chili Powder - 1 Teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/ 2 Teaspoon
---> In a Kadai, on medium fire, add the oil and the mustard seeds and let it sputter, once they start sputtering, add the curry leaves, turmeric powder, and red chili powder and then add the cubed potatoes.
--->Keep stirring the potatoes on and off until it softens and then add the corainder leaves.
---> If you like, you can really roast them, just be keeping it for a longer time on the stove.
Tastes so good with some hot rasam rice!! YUM!!

Butter Corn

This is one of the snacks I make for my kids, when they are back from school.
It is one of the easiest. I have taught them to make it for themselves also.
You need
Frozen Corn- 2 cups
Salted Butter- 2 Tablespoon
Lemon Juice - 1 teaspoon
Water - 1/3 cup
---> In a pan, add the frozen corn and water and keep the stove on a medium fire, and let it boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until most of the water is evaporated.
---> (you can do this in the microwave also, add little more water if you do that, cook for 3 minutes)
---> Add the butter and lemon juice to this and eat it hot...
(The only thing is the microwave dries it out and on stove top it is moist. So add more water and little more butter)
Tastes great on a cold winter day.
We first had it in Spencer Plaza, Chennai, India, and ever since my son became a fan.
He makes this on his own.
In chennai they make the plain version which is the one above, a chinese version (instead of lemon juice add soy sauce and some chili sauce), a chaat version (along with lemon juice and butter, add some chaat masala and red chili powder) and one more version, i cant remember. The smallest size cup was the bathroom cups they have here and it would sell for 70 rupees in 2002. We would end up spending 600 rupees there itself!

SnakeGourd with Lentils (Pudalangai Kootu)

This is another version of Kootu, different spices, well not really! Let me explain...
I used 4 Snakegourds for this, each about a foot long. I bought them at the indian store. When you buy them, touch them all around, to make sure they are kind of soft all over, but not so soft that water comes out of it if you press it. It should not be hard, if they are, you will not be able to cut through them and they will be very fibery.
How to cut this
---> First cut of the ends.
---> If it is very long cut in 6 to 8 inches
---> Slit in the middle and remove the seeds, you can do this with a spoon, just scoop it.
---> Slice it in half cirlces, in thin slices
To make the Kootu, you need
SnakeGourd - about 6 cups sliced
Tuvar Dal - 1 handful
Moong Dal - 3/4th cup
Salt - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon (more or less to your taste)
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - 2 Teaspoon
Mustard - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 1 strand to garnish
Cilantro - a handful, choped to garnish
Water - 3 to 4 cups
Urad Dal - 1 Teaspoon
Jeera - 1 and 1/2 Teaspoon
Green Chillies - 3
Almonds - 5
--> Wash the dals and place in a vessel, add the cut snakegourds to this and add about 3 cups of water. The water should cover the vegetables and dal, and place on stove on medum fire. Add more if it doesnt cover it well.
---> Add the salt, turmeric powder to this and let this come to a boil. Make sure this does not boil over, so add a wooden spoon to this and keep an eye on it.
---> Simultaneously in another stove, in a small kadai, add 1/2 teaspoon oil and roast the Urad Dal and Jeera until the Urad dal becomes rose in color. when its done, remove from kadai and add to a mixer, and to this add the green chillies and almonds and grind to a smooth paste.
---> Once the dal and vegetables are cooked (it will take 20 to 25 minutes) add this green masala you have made to it and stir it once and let it come to a boil again.
---> In the kadai in which you roasted the urad dal, add the rest of the oil and add the mustard seeds, and once they start to sputtter, add the curry leaves to it and pour it on the kootu,
---> Garnish with a handful of coriander leaves, and Enjoy!
Instead of using coconuts I have used Almonds. It gives the same creamy effect. Do not overdo the almonds otherwise you will get a nutty taste.
You can have it with hot rice or Chapathis......

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bisi Bela Bath

I got this recipe from my husband's friend, Anil Parthasarathy's Mom, Mrs Padma Anandan. I think of her, when I make this. It turns out very well. I made this for a potluck party.
At this time, I must say i dont like to use the frozen mixed vegetable bag for this or for any other indian dish, be it avial or undhiu or Biriyani. I think it is a crime....
It really takes away all the taste that is intended for it.
Also I always use the REAL tamarind in all of my recipes, but if you like you may substitute it but the taste will not be awesome...
The ratio of Rice to dal is 1 is to 3/4th cup.
You Need
Rice (Jasmine or Long Grain or Ponni Raw or Sona Masoori) 1 Cup (I used Ponni )
Tuvar Dal (Split Pigeon Peas ) 3/4th Cup
Ghee 1/3rd cup
Oil (Indian Sesame Oil) 4 tablespoons
Turmeric Powder 1 Teaspoon
Sambar Powder - 1 Teaspoon
Salt - 1 and 1/2 Teaspoon
Tamarind - 1 American lime size
Water - 6 cups
Mustard seeds - 1 and 1/2 Teaspoon
Curry Leaves to garnish - about 4 strands
Turnip - 1 Medium Peeled and Cubed
Bell pepper Green - 1 Large Deseeded and Cubed
Tomatoes - 4 Medium Cubed
Chayote - 2 peeled, deseeded and Cubed
Indian Eggplants - 2 Large cubed
Carrots - 3 cubed
Coriander Seeds 1/3 Cup
Dry Red Chillies - 1 handful (more if you need it spicier and less if not, also depends on the spicyness of the chili)
Split Channa Dal - 4 tablespoons
Urad Dal - 2 Tablespoons
---> Wash the Rice and dal together.
---> Soak the Tamarind in 1 cup warm water.
---> Start getting all the vegetables ready, i e, peel, cubed etc.
---> After about 20 minutes, squeeze the tamarind well and take out all the juice.
---> In a pan, add half the oil and ghee, and keep on medium fire, saute all the vegetables together
---> Once the vegetables are half cooked move everything to a pressure cooker
---> Add the washed rice and dal to this and then add the remaining4 and 1/2 cups of water
---> Add the sambar powder, salt and turmeric powder
---> While it comes to a boil, simultanousely start dry roasting all the masala stuff
---> Once the coriander seeds is well roasted, (you will be able to smell it) , make a fine paste, you can add 1/2 cup water to this and make a really good thick paste.
---> By now, the stuff in the pressure cooker will start to have a slow boil, add this masala to that and again wait for another slow boil
---> Close the cooker and put the wight on it and give it about 2 whistles, at the third whistle, make the fire to a low and after 5 minutes switch it off
---> Once the pressure goes down, add the remaining oil and ghee to a pan and on a medium flame, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves to it. Once the mustard seeds start to sputter, pour this over the bisibela, and enjoy it HOT ....
Since this really is a one pot meal, you can just have it or make some raita with it or have it with chips.
this measure will easily feed upto 6 hungry people! :)
I forgot to add this yesterday!
You can use shallots or onions also for this.
Taste it and see if the tamarind taste is ok, otherwise, you may add 1/2 teaspoon of tamarind paste to it, this really depends if the real tamarind is old or new.
Also, when you add the water, make sure your cooker is big enough so this wont boil over, there should some space in between.
And then, once the pressure is down, transfer the contents to another vessel, because there will be some stuck to the cooker. Be careful, not to scrape otherwise the bisi bela will taste burnt.
And then, last but not least, Keep it covered intil you eat otherwise it crusts up and form a hard covering on it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Mattar Paneer (Version 1)

I usually make Matar Paneer in 3 ways. This one is my daughter's favorite. I always use Indian Peas (frozen) for this. The ones we get here are too sweet and do not abosrb the spices. you get this at the Indian Store
You Need
1 Packet (Indian) Frozen Peas
1 Packet Paneer (Store Bought)
4 Tomatoes - Chopped
1 Onion - Chopped
Ginger - 1 Inch Piece - Chopped
Garlic - 7 cloves Chopped
Garam Masala - 1 Teaspoon
Jeera Powder- 1 Teaspoon
Red Chili Powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Teaspoon
Jeera - 1 Teaspoon
Oil - 3 Teaspoons
Salt - To taste
---> In a Pan, on medium fire, add 1 Teaspoon Oil and Roast the Jeera, once it starts to sizzle add the Onions, garlic and Ginger,
--->Once it starts to brown, add the chopped tomatoes, and saute well on a medium fire
--->Swtich off the stove once it all gets mashed up
--->Let it cool, and once cool, make a gravy out of this, either using a hand blender or food processor
--->In the same pan, add 1 teaspoon oil, and add the peas, and saute well, once it is half cooked, reduce to a low flame, add the gravy and all the masala powders and salt. Let it come to a slow boil.
--->Garnish with coriander leaves and paneer (see below)
If you like the paneer as is, then just add it to the pan.
My kids don't like it that way, what I do is cube the paneer and lay them flat on a dosa pan and then add very little oil and keep all of them on a low flame, and turn both sides equally, so they get a golden hue around it, and then saute again with some salt, and then add this to the gravy...
Serve hot with Rotis....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My recipe on Key Ingredient!!!

My recipe is on Key Ingredient!

Here is the link...


As the name suggests, this is a mixture of lot of things....If you make laddus, then this becomes easy....
You need to make,
Karaboondi (Spicy Boondi)
Oma podi (Fine and Thick sev)
Roasted Channa Dal
Roasted Peanuts
Follow the same recipe as boondi in the laddu recipe, but add some salt and some chilli powder to it. Deep fry till it gets crisp, drain and keep aside

Oma Podi
To make the sev, the ratio is two parts rice flour to one part Channa Dal (besan) flour.
1 cup Rice flour
1/2 cup Besan
2 table spoons melted butter or ghee
Salt as needed
Omam powder (Powder some Ajwain or Bishep's weed in your mixer)
Make a thick dough and use your sev maker to make this and keep aside
This is puffed up rice,you get this in Indian stores.
Take some murmura and deep fry this in hot oil and keep aside
Shakkar Para
Follow the recipe and make it and keep aside
Roasted Channa Dal
Soak some Channa Dal for two hours, drain and let dry on a dry towel for an hour.
Deep fry this in hot oil and keep aside.
Roasted Peanuts
Take some unroasted, peeled peanuts and deep fry in hot oil and keep aside.
For spice,
Deep fry 4 dry red chillies in oil and keep aside.

Powder this coarsely with rock salt by hand or a mixer and add this to the big bowl where you are going to mix everything.

And just mix everything with a dry hand and store in an airtight container.

Boondi Laddu

For Deepavali, I usually make Boondi Laddu and Mixture.
If you would like to read the story of why I started making laddu's please go to the end of the recipe...
To make 20 laddus, you need the Laddu Ladle and
You need
Channa Flour (Besan) - 1 Cup
Water - 1/2 to 3/4th cup
Oil - to deep fry
Sugar - 1 and 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
and optional
Kalkandu (Square sugar candy) - 1 handful
Cashews - sliced and roasted in ghee
Raisins - (Optional) Roasted in ghee
Pachai Karpooram (Raw camphor) - 1 pinch
Saffron - 1 pinch

---> To the besan add 1/2 cup water and mix well. Make sure it does not have any lumps in it. If you want colored laddus you can add the food coloring to the besan.
---> The consistency you want is thick. It should not be runny.
--->If you want you can add a pinch of baking soda to it. I have not added it at all.
---> In a kadai, add cooking oil, enough to deep fry the boondis and keep on medium high flame.
---> You can deep fry in ghee also, but I used canola oil.
---> When the oil is ready, take a small ladle with the premixed boondi flour and pour it slowly on the laddu ladle on top of the oil, and swirl as fast as you can until the smaller ladle is completely empty.
---> When the boondi's are 3/4th fried (not too crispy and also cooked), take it out of the oil. If you let it become crisp, it will not absorb the sugar syrup.
---> Repeat this process until you are out of all the mixed flour.
---> In another kadai, add the sugar and the water ad heat on medium high flame.
--->And heat this until you get in between the single thread and the double thread consistency.
--->Let it cool down completely.
---> Mix the boondis to this and also add your optional nuts, raisins whatever you want
---> Leave the mixture for an hour or so, and when you come back you can see the sugar has become crystals.
---> Now just make the laddus and store.
This will last fresh up to three weeks, left outside.
Happy Deepavali!!! There is a story of why I made a tradition of making Laddus .... for that we have to go back about 15 years... when my son was born. (Imagine a spiral going backwards with a sound drooiiinngggg)
When my son was born, my dad got him a book to teach the tamil letters. My son loved to read and whenever he wanted to read he used to pick this book and we would go over all the tamil letters with him and he knew all the words for each letter.
(The word for the letter la, in that book, was laddu....)
Fastforward 4 years, we visited India when he was 4 and my daughter was 4 months old. My mom had made laddus for him, and when she handed him one, she asked him, whether he knew the name of this thing... and he said "la.... laddu, bookla irukkume!"
whch translates to, la is for laddu and it is in the book...!!
My mother was so moved that she vowed to make it for him whenever possible. When she visited us the next time, she brought with her the laddu karandi, (Ladle to make it) and ever since I try my best to make it every year.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cluster Beans and Lentils Gravy (Kothavarangai Poricha Kuzhambu)

When my kids were 10 and 6, we lived in India for a year. Our neighbor had a 2 year old at that time, who used to sing this tamil song, like a rhyme

"Thambikku Kalyanam.... " and it used to have the words Kothavarangai Paruppu kootu, in it.
If anyone knows the full song please email it to me.
I have mostly made the Paruppu Usili with it. My mother used to make this kootu a lot. In the US, mostly the beans we get here are very mature hence it tastes beter in a paruppu usili. But when I came across the tender ones, I made this Kootu. I referred to "Meenakshi Ammal's Samaithu Paar" which literlly translates to "Cook and see" but means "Try and Cook"
And I have to talk about this book here... every Tamilian girl who gets married will have all the three parts of this book, whether she cooks or not. I bet you, ten times to one, to go and look through a tamilian girls recipe books and you will find these either in english or Tamil.
Since I got married in two weeks time, and was here immediatly after the two weeks, I have my mother's books with me. So some pages are missing or some recipes have been marked with oil stains, so it is very precious to me!!!
I do refer to these books from time to time, I love the way she writes, even though the amount of oil she asks that you use is incredulous, i still love it.
These 3 books have all that you need to know about tamilian cooking right from, how to make rice, to planning the menu for a wedding, or how to get ready for a puja... Just GREAT!!!
If you have the book, this recipe can be found in Book #3, under chapter 2, which is Poricha Kuzhambu and Kootu Types. It is called Kothavarangai Thengai Paal Poricha Kuzhambu.
I have followed it exactly except for the oil amounts!
Now lets come to the recipe...
Tender Cluster Beans - Cut in small pieces -- 1 and 1/2 cups
Toor dal (Split Pigeon Peas) - 1/2 Cup
Thick Coconut milk- 3 Tablespoons
Salt - 1 and 1/2 Teaspoons
Sambar Powder - 1/2 Teaspoons
Dry Red Chili - 2
Black Pepper Corns - 7 to 8
Mustard - 1 Teaspoon
Urad Dal Split (Bengal Gram Dal) - 2 Teaspoon
Rice flour - 1 Teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Teaspoons
Hing - a dash
Curry Leaves and Coriander - To garnish
Oil - 2 Teaspoons
--->Pressure cook Toor Dal in your cooker.
--->In a teaspoon oil roast one teaspoon urad dal, the dry red chillies and black pepper corn till it becomes a light rose color and make a fine powder
--->Mix the coconut milk and the rice flour and mix the powder along with it and keep aside.
--->In a vessel, put the chopped cluster beans, and add water till it covers , then add the salt, turmeric powder and sambar powder and keep on a medium high flame.
--->Once the beans is cooked, add the masala you have made (coconut milk +rice flour + and roasted powder) to it. Let it come to a boil.
--->By this time your lentils will have cooked, mash it and add this to your cluster beans.
--->Let it come to a boil again.
---> In another pan, add a teaspoon oil and the mustard and let it sputter, once it sputters add the rest of the Urad Dal and roast till it becomes rose in color.
--->Pour this on the Cluster beans and garnish with Curry Leaves and Coriander Leaves.
Enjoy with hot rice and ghee.....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Tomato Chutney (Tomato Thokku)

In Tamil, there is a phrase -
"All in All Azhaguraja"(Azhagu means Handsome or Beautiful and Raja means King)

Azhaguraja the guy has everything in his shop etc.
There was this character played by Actor Kaundamani in a tamil movie where he has a store and he rents out everything for the village.
I found this clip, the scene in which he claims to be "All in All Azhaguraja".
I am reminded of that whenever i make this Chutney, because it really can transform in to anything you want if you have this at home.

Some uses for this chutney in my house
--->As a spread for bread
--->Mix with hot rice and you have tomato rice instantly
--->Use it as a pickle for Curd Rice
--->Goes great with a soft Dosa as a chutney
--->Spread on a hot roti with ghee and this chutney and roll it up for an extremly yummy snack.
--->Serve on the side with Idli
(I make some small Idlis and roll them in this chutney lightly and put in a bowl before my daughter and it vanishes instantly!)

Now Don't you ALL agree this is an ALL in ALL Azhaguraja???

Whenever I shop for Vegetables, I go overboard when I see Tomatoes and invariably by too many of them. And after a week to 10 days of cooking, if I still havent used them then I make this.

I had 6 tomatoes leftover, and they were big, The oil to tomato ratio is for 2 big tomatoes use, 1 tablespoon oil. I dont make this too spicy since my kids also enjoy it and use it liberally. If you find the spice is too much, you can reduce it. The tomatoes I use are generally little sour, so this brings it to a better taste.

You Need
Tomatoes - 6 chopped
Gingelly Oil - 3 Tablespoons
Salt - 2 Teaspoons (more or less according to your taste)
Mustard seeds- 1 Teaspoon
Green Chillies- 3 chopped
Red Chili Powder - 2 Teaspoons
Hing- 1 Teaspoon


---> First Chop the Tomatoes.
---> In a pan, add the oil (on a medium high flame)and the mustard seeds and once they sputter add the green chillies, hing, tomatoes and salt all at once.
---> Mix well and cover this and reduce the flame to a medium.
---> Go around the house and do your chores returning to the stove every 15 minutes to mix once and make sure the mixture doesnt get too thick.
--->After about an hour, you will see it become almost a liquid and the and also gone considerably low in the pan, please look at the picture above.
---> Once you feel this is thick enough switch it off and let cool.
---> After it cools down, transfer to an airtight container and treat it like a pickle, so NO wet hands or wet spoons. This will last as long as a month, or even lesser if you finish it faster :)

I have made some tomato rice with it....

How I Store Green Thai Chillies

I use Thai Green chillies in my cooking. I find that it matches the closest in taste and spiciness to our very own Indian green chilies. (Even though the ones we get in India are way better, we have to settle for this in the US :( .... )

These are available in the Indian Store or the Korean H Mart.
As soon as I come back home from the market, i don't wash them. I just pluck off the stems and store them in a dry, airtight container. And when you need it, just wash them use them.
This lasts more than two to three weeks.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Masoor Dal Kofta (Red Lentil Balls in Tomato Gravy)

The recipe for the much awaited Masoor Dal Kofta...

I had made this for Navrathri last year... I have used Whole Masoor Dal, with the skin. If you are using broken, then please increase the quantity by atleast one/third cup.

You need

For Kofta Balls
Masoor Dal- 1 Cup (Saoked for 2 hours atleast)
Carrots - 2 (Grated)
Mint Leaves or Coriander Leaves - 1 handful washed (the recipe calls for Mint, but I used Coriander)
Onion - 1 Chopped
Green Chillies - 2
Salt - 1 and 1/2 Teaspoons
Oil- To deep fry the kofta Balls

For Gravy

Onions -2 Chopped
Tomatoes- 4 Chopped
Ginger - 2 Inch Piece peeled and chopped
Garlic - 6 Cloves chopped
Salt- 1 and 1/2 Teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Teaspoo
Coriander Poser- 2 Teaspoon
Garam Masala Powder- 1 Teaspoon
Curd - 2 Tablespoons
Oil- 3 Teaspoons
Coriander leaves- To Garnish

To Make the Kofta Balls
--->When soaking the dal, check for any stones or dust particles and then soak it.
--->Just take everything except the carrots and salt and put in the food processor. Grind to a thick paste. Do not add any water to this.
--->Now add the carrots and the salt and mix well.
--->In a kadai, put some oil and put it on a medium High Fire.
--->Once the oil is hot, make balls out of the paste mixture and make the koftas.
--->Once it gets a rich brown colour all over, take and drain the excess oil on a tissue.

This paste makes atleast 20 Koftas.

To Make the Gravy
---> In a Kadai, add the oil, and oce it gets hot, add the ginger and garlic pieces and fry well, once it starts to get brown
--->Add the Chopped Onions to this and fry till it gets brown
--->And then add the chopped tomatoes and all the masala powders now
--->It will all boil together and the tomatoes will start to get juicy
--->Switch off the stove and let cool
--->Grind this gravy to a smooth consistency
--->Pour this back on to the kadai and turn the stove to a medium low flame
--->Add the 3 tablespoons of the curd and let come to a slow boil
--->Pour this on to a serving dish and check for salt. If you need more salt, please add.
Arrange the koftas according to your taste and garnish with fresh corainder leaves...

You can enjoy this with hot Rotis!!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Update on my Hand

I did meet with a specialist in the first week of October. It seems it was calcium deposit. Nothing to worry. It seems it will go away on its own in 3 to 6 months!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Gold Coin is the right Answer!

Rekha from Rekha's Kitchen had the right answer! It is Gold coin....
Mina learnt this from her sister, Neeta. And she learnt this from a cooking class she went to in the early 90's in Andheri, Mumbai..
Anyway, Mina has "WOW'ed" us everytime she makes this. It is a great appetizer and also easy to make.
You need
1 lb Frech cut Frozen Beans, thawed
3 carrots Grated
1/2 cup Green Peas
2 Potatoes (Boiled and Mashed)
Ginger Paste - 1 Tsp
Green Chili Paste - 2 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Garam Masala - 1 Tsp
Salt - as needed
Oil - 2 to 3 Tsp
Mustard- 1 Tsp
Hind - a dash
Bread - 1 Loaf
---> In a kadai, add the oil, and when it gets hot add the mustard and hing.
--->Once the mustard sputters, add all the veggies except potatoes and also add the masalas including the pastes.
--->Cook this on a medium flame until all the veggies are cooked and blended with the masala mix, and once it is cooked, switch off the stove.
--->Once the cooked mixture of veggies and masala is cooled, add the potatoes and make patties
--->Take two slices of bread and wet one side of each slice and drain on a towel
--->Put the patty on the wet side of one slice and cover it with the other slice, with the wet side facing the patty
--->Seal them both together with water and cut the whole gold coin to make a circle.
---> Do this until you have finished all the vegetable mixture.
--->Deep fry this in hot oil, until golden brown.
Actually, Mina does all prep work and keeps the bread filled patty in the fridge the day before she needs them.
Enjoy this with some green chutney....

Friday, October 10, 2008

Guess What This Is......

My friend, Mina made this. this is one of her signature dishes... Guess what this is called??

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cooking Oil ?????

I have mostly used canola oil for cooking. A couple of years ago, I was using Olive oil to cook for about 6 months. at that time, everyone was saying that Olive oil is healthier etc, so I switched.

Now I am back to using Canola Oil. I read in readers digest that Canola Oil is used in Mediterranean cuisine and it seems after some survey they found that people from that region had fewer hear attacks.

I also use it to deep fry.

I use it mainly because it does not have a taste to it.

My mom used to use Sunflower oil. That also did no have a specific taste to it.

I found this information about Canola Oil,

Let me know what oils you all use..

In India, my Mother in law, (Mrs Meena Ganesan) uses Gingelly Oil,
My aunt (Mrs. Sugantha Gurumoorthy) uses Sunflower Oil, to cook.

Here I have not seen Sunflower Oil in the markets. But I have come across Vegetable Oil.

Other Than Canola Oil, I use
Olive Oil if I make Pasta or Salads and use
Gingelly Oil, to mix with rice with some Podi, with Idli Milagai podi, to make Vathakuzhambu, etc.

Thenga Podi (Coconut Powder (Mix) with rice)

Mina, my friend commented that tamilians make a lot of podi's (mixes), which is so true. We really do make these mixes and keep so that on the days there is nothing to eat, you can just make rice and eat the podi rice. You can even make this rice for your guests...
This is just one of those podi's...
The perfect combination for this thenga podi rice is " Sutta Arisi Applam" which means rice papad made on the stove, mmmm...
I ended up with two extra coconuts soon after Ganesh Chathurthi celebrations, and had this coconut grater that I bought in Apna Bazaar, in Seattle. My kids helped me in grating the coconuts...
This mix lasts long in the fridge, provided you handle it with care, (no wet spoons or wet hands)
You need
Grated Coconut - 3 Cups
Urad Dal - 1 ½ Cups
Dry Red Chillies - 1 ½ Cups (whole Chillies)
Tamarind - Small Lime Size
Salt - 3 Tbsp
Hing - 2 Tsp
Oil - 2 Tbsp
--->The whole thing should be done on a medium flame.
--->In a Kadai, add the oil, roast the urad dal until it is light red in color, add the hing and the tamarind and roast until the urad dal is red in color.
--->Take out the roasted Urad Dal and pour on a plate to cool
--->Next in the same kadai, add the red chillies, roast it well, add little more oil if needed.
--->Take out the roasted chillies, on a plate to cool.
--->In the same kadai, add little oil and roast the grated coconut until it becomes rose in color.
Once everything is cool, put everything, and add salt to this and make a fine powder in your Indian Mixer Grinder.
Mix this powder, with hot rice and little Gingelly Oil, and to have the utimate effect, you should try it with the Rice papad!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Golu 2008

Navartahri started on September 30th. Just like last year I had two big Parties...
This time around, I didn't have the time to take pictures of what I made, but here is the menu for both the parties....
On Friday October 3rd I had made
Sambar (it was a mixed vegetable sambar)
Chutney (regular Coconut Chutney
Poricha Keerai (Spinach with seasonings --Tamilian style)
Potato Curry
Rotis (This was catered)
Carrot Mango Vatana Sundal
Sabudana Payasam
Cut Cantaloupe

And for the Sunday October 5th Party I had made

Vegetable Rava Idli
Vathakuzhambu Sadham
Curd Rice
Potato Curry
Cut Mango Pickle
Sabudana Payasam
The sabudana payasam (which Aparna started and I finished) made for the friday party tasted so good that my husband didnt get to have it, everyone told him it was the best, so he requested me to make it again so I made the same payasam again for the Sunday Party.
The Vadai Morkuhambu was the Hit of Friday party and the Vathakuzhambu Sadham, was the hit for the sunday Party.
I will post the recipes of the dishes that I have made here, which still I have not blogged about. I know the masoor Dal Kofta which I had made last year is still pending for the blog. Can't believe that I haven't made that in a year, but hopefully you will see all the recipes soon...

Before I end this blog, I have to thank some people who helped me a lot in both the parties;
(Imagine me having an Oscar award in one hand and saying this :)))) )

For the Friday Party, many thanks to
--->Bindu, who just landed at my place in the morning, and stayed till 2 in the afternoon, and helped me cut all the veggies and made me stay on track and just gave me GREAT company,
--->Priya, who stayed for an hour and a half in the evening and helped make the potato curry, cut, peel and grate the huge enormous mango for the sundal and also helped me clean up the sink before everyone came,
--->Aparna, (my cousin), who came at 7pm before everyone came and made the rice, started the payasam on the stove and started the first load of the idlis,
--->Manju, Suman, Harshi for helping to keep the subsequent batch of idlis as and when needed...

For the Sunday Party I have to thank
--->Sivagami, who was one of the first few guests, who helped me peel all the potatoes,
--->Devina, who diced all the potatoes,
--->Vasanthi, who helped me in making the potato curry,
--->Asha and Abi(my cousin), who made the idlis in batches...

If I have forgotten anyone, please excuse me....

Even though the last week has been hectic and my sister calls me the craziest person alive to cook everything by myself for the parties, I still enjoyed every bit of it. I could not sleep properly because I was so excited about cooking ..... :)
As promised, I will post all the recipies one by one........
Tomorrow is Saraswati pooja, and the day after is Vijayadasami!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Green Tomatoes in VathaKuzhambu (Spicy Gravy)

When I saw plump green Tomatoes at the market, I started dreaming about this! Seriously!! This Vethakuzhambu is so tasty that once you make it it will be on one of your favorites list.
My mother used to call these "Naatu Thakkali".
I bought three of them, and made Vethakuzhambu. You can also add one or two of this to your sambar in addition to other veggies you may have and also in your kootu. I also added this, to mango dal i had made and it had an unique flavor. I loved it.
These are different from the Tomatillos you get in the market. They come covered and are much smaller and more sourer in taste.
This is the same way that you would make the Brinjal Vethakuzhambu.
You will need (this measurement serves 3 to 4 adults)
Green tomatoes - 3 (cubed)
Tamarind - (2 grape tomatoes size)
Sambar Powder - 2 or 3 Teaspoons
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Teaspoon
Salt - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Water - 3 to 4 cups
Hind - 2 dashes
To Garnish
Oil - 3 Teaspoons
Mustard - 1 Teaspoon
Red Chili - 3 Broken
Fenugreek - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 2 strands

For making Vethakuzhambu, I prefer sesame oil, or gingelly oil, it adds a whole lot of flavor to it.
--->Start with Soaking the tamarind in 1 cup of water, (for atleast 10 to 20 minutes)
--->Start Cubing the tomatoes
--->when the tamraind is soaked well, you should squeeze it well and extract all the juice out of it., take the juice from that slowly without letting the tamarindout of your hand!
--->In the vessel you are going to make, pour this tamrind juice, add the sambar powder, turmeric powder, 2 Cups of water and the hing and let it start to come to a boil on a medium-High Flame
--->In a different vessel, add the oil, and then add the mustard seeds and once it starts sputtering, add the fenugreek, Curry leaves and then the Cubed green tomatoes.
--->Saute this for 5 to 10 minutes
--->Pour this in to the Boiling tamarind water and reduce the flame a little and let it all come together
--->After you see that the gravy has thickened a little, you can turn the stove off.
I have made my Vethakuzhambu in my Kal Chetti. The great thing about this pot is that even after you take it off the stove, it keeps boiling for 10 minutes! It retains heat that long.

And once you are done with your vethakuzhambu, just add a handful of cooked rice to the empty Kal chetti and just move the rice around so it holds on to whatever little bit of the vethakuzhambu is remaining in the vessel, and enjoy it. You will become an eternal slave to this taste!!!!
As an afterthought I added some Fried Manathakkali to this. I don't know what it is called in English but I found this in Wikipedia.

More about Manathakkali (What I know)
Manathakkali is an acquired taste.
It usually grows on the roads, like a weed in Tamilnadu. you can pluck them and eat them from the plant itself. This berry is very high in Iron Content.
We also use the ripe green ones to make pachadi (Raita).
The way they dry this India is they pluck the berries, and wash them and soak them in buttermilk and salt and dry them in the sun.
After the drying is done, (the Manathakkalis shrink) they are bottled and lasts as long as 10 years! Nothing happens to them if they are kept water free.
When you are ready to make them, just deep fry them in hot oil, it is so much fun to see them plump again once they are in hot oil, and as you would fry a vadai, take them out and place them on a tissue paper, thats it.
My kids eat it just like that. They love it for the salt!
Whenever I make it I put two handfuls of the fried ones in a Ziploc box and store it for my son. My son has it with whatever I give him for Dinner.
I also add them in Vethakuzhambus like this to give an extra taste. It is fun to hear the sizzling sound when you plop the freshly fried ones to the boiling Vethakuzhambu.....
It also tastes so good with some Jeera Rasam, I will post the recipe soon.
I am dreaming about this combination... now so bye bye!!

The one on the left is the Dry ones and the one on the right is Deep fried ones. The deep friend ones stay crunchy till a month if stored in an airtight container.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Simple Rasam

This is one of the most simplest dishes which is totally gratifying.......
So many ways to make the rasam, but this is the most easiest recipe!
As you can see I have made it in my Eeya Chombu.
You need
What you need: (This is for 2 people)
A tiny ball (grape tomato size) of tamarindYou could use tamarind paste (about 1/4 teaspoon), but do not expect the rasam to be tasty :(
One medium sized tomato (chopped as desired)
1/4 cup of uncooked Tuvar Dal (pressure cooked till soft)
1 tsp of jeera
2 Green Chili (Optional)
1/2 tsp salt (more or less as needed)
1 tsp of rasam powder (in our house, it is the same as sambar powder but sambar and rasam taste completely different!!)
2 and 1/2 cups water
Dash of Hing
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
To garnish
1 tsp Ghee or Oil ;
1/2 tsp Mustard;
1 Red chili
1 strand Curry leaves
2 strands Coriander Leaves
--->Cook the Tuvar dal with 1/2 cup water in the pressure cooker, you can add the turmeric powder to it.
--->Take 2 cups of water and soak the tamarind in it. Extract all the juice from it and filter the water. You can use your hand to filter and it is ok if some tamarind escapes(!) your hand and falls in to the pot!
--->Add the chopped tomatoes, jeera, Green Chili, salt, hing, rasam powder, turmeric powder.
I also add some coriander leaves and curry leaves (Chopped Finely) to the rasam at this point.
--->Let it all come to a boil. (medium high flame, keep watch, you don't want it to boil over)
--->Once it is all boiling, add the extra half cup of water, the cooked Dal,reduce the flame and let it again come to a boil.
To garnish
--->Add oil or Ghee in a small kadai
--->Add the msutard seeds and once it sputters add the red chillies and pour over rasam
--->Add some coriander leaves for flavor to the rasam.

To serve, Mix rasam with hot rice and a dab of ghee and just enjoy!!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hing in Hindi - Asafoetida in English - Perungayam in Taml

More information on hing can be read here. It is one of the great flavors in Indian Food.
I love hing so I use it literally on everything I make. :)
The brand I usually use is LG. I tried Vandevi once and it I felt it is just turmeric powder, did not actually have the flavor of the real hing.
So the last time I went to India, I saw my grandmother using this block of hing and the food tasted awesome. So when i came back, I found this in the Indian Store (again LG brand Block Hing) and of course Immediately bought it home. This beats the powder by many times.

I wrapped the block in an old kitchen towel and pounded it with a hammer until it became to an 1 inch pieces and put all of them in the Indian Mixer Grinder and ground to a fine powder. When I open the bottle, the kitchen smells FANTASTIC!! It took a total of may be half on hour. It is not an easy task but well worth it.

Please do give this a try!!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Vadai Morkazhambu (Fried Lentil Crisps in Buttermilk Gravy)

This is one of the tastiest morkuzhambu and is also ready in a jiffy, if you don't have any vegetables and want to make somehting yummy for yourself or your guests.
My Maternal Grandma (Mrs Vimala Ramamurthy) is an expert in making this.
She is the one who taught me how to make the vadais.
I think you can learn to make vadai, by watching a person make it rather than reading a recipe.

This Measure serves 4 adults.

All You need for the Gravy is
1 cup Yogurt - Mix this with 3 glasses of water to make Buttermilk, depending on the consistency of the yogurt. (Even though I make my own yogurt, I dont use that to make any morkuzhambu. I use the store bought yogurt just because it is more thicker and holds it well (without seperating) even after lightly boiling it.
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 Teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 Teaspoon (more or less)
Masala to grind
(Please soak the Urad dal for the vada also, at the same time, look below for that recipe)
To Soak atleast for half an hour in about less than 1/4th cup of water
Cumin- 1 and 1/2 Teaspoon
Green Chilli - 2
Coconut - (Optional) 2 Teaspoons
Rice - 1 Teaspoon
(Note- You may use rice flour instead of rice)

For seasoning
Oil - 1/2 Teaspoon
Mustard Seeds- 1/2 teapsoon
Red Chili - 1
Hing- 1/4 teaspoon
Curry leaves and Coriander Leaves to garnish.

After you soak the above, grind to a smooth consistency.

In the vessel you are making the Morkuzhambu,
--->Pour your masala and add about 1/2 cup of water, the salt and turmeric powder and let it all come to a smooth boil on a low flame
--->At this point, add your buttermilk, and little more salt, depending on the sourness of you buttermilk, and keep stirring on a low flame.
--->After you add your buttermilk, you have to keep stirring so the yogurt does not separate and this mixure should just get warm, not Boiling Hot.
--->For seasoning, in a seperate vessel, add the oil and once it becomes hot,add the mustard seeds and the red chili and once the mustard seeds sputter pout this on the morkuzhambu)

To make the Vadais
(This measure makes atleast 10 vadais, more if you can make smaller vadais!!)
You need
Urad Dal (Whole) - 1 Cup (you may use broken ones too)
Salt-1 Teaspoon
Black Pepper - 1/4 Teaspoon
Green Chillies - 1 or 2
Curry Leaves - 1 strand
Rice flour- 1 to 2 teaspoons
Soak the Urad Dal atleast for half an hour (you may soak at the same time you soak the masala for the morkuchambu, and after making the morkuzhambu, come to make this!)
You will see that the Urad Dal has bloated, which means it is ready yo grind.
You may use a food processor, but for best results use an indian mixer.
Drain all the water and add the salt, pepper and chili to this.
(Optinal - I always grind everything together since my kids would not eat the pepper etc, but if you wish u can grind just the Urad dal alone and then mix in the pepper and chili)

The trick is to grind the Urad dall with no water or as little water as possible, if it is too runny then your vadais will be a flop. It has to be thick. Add the rice flour if you feel it is thin. Adding too much rice flour will take out the softness of the vadas. Add the curry leaves to the dough.

Making the vadais
--->Heat oil in a kadai
---> Take a thick ziploc bag and and lay it down, and spread little oil on it.
--->Check if the oil is done by just putting very little dough in the oil, it should come up immediately bubbling.
---> Start by taking a spoon of the dough and put flat on the Ziploc and press lightly with your fingers, make a hole and carefully peel it out carefully and again without burning your hands place it in the oil.
--->Let it become golden brown and turn both sides equally and take out and place on a napkin so it drains of the excess oil

Making vadais is an art really, it takes some time to learn, I used to make them by the Ziploc way and now I can make it with just one hand. It is just practice. If you don't want to learn, there is always the shapeless vadais which you make by putting a small teaspoon of dough in the oil.

Everything tastes the same!! Just that the shapeless ones are called "Kunukku" not Vadai :)

Coming back to the recipe, once the vadais are warm, put them in the morkuzhambu and garnish with the coriander and curry leaves.

Serve with hot rice and some Paruppu Usili. or
You can make a Tamilian Vegetarian meal by making the Keerai Kootu (I have made the lazy kootu with just regular spinach) and Vazhaikai Manjal Kari.
You can see I have made 3 Kunukkus, on the side :))

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Kollu Sundal (Steamed Horsegram with Seasonings) (Kulthi)

Horsegram is called Kollu in Tamil, Mudhira in Malayalam, Ulavalu in Telugu, Hurule in Kannada Kulthi /Hulthi in Hindi and Kulthi-Kalai in Bengali.

 More information can be found on these here. They are not easily available in the indian stores but if you ask for it your store can get it for you. They are low in glycemic index, I dont know why it is one of the least known grams that we have....
This recipe makes about 5 servings for 100 gms per serving- [Calories 173]
Macro Counts each serving is Fat 4.7 gms, Carbs 23.9 gms, Protein 9.1 gms)

Horsegram - 200 gms 
Coconut - 20 gms
Oil - 2 Teaspoons


--->Wash the Kollu. Soak it overnight if possible or atleast for 6 hours.
--->If you have 1/2 cup of Kollu just add 1/2 cup of water to it and some salt and hing and pressure cook it. (If it was 2 cups you have to put 2 cups of water)
--->When it is pressure cooked, drain and save the water, you may add it to your rasam or Dal or sambar.
--->In a Kadai, add little oil and mustard seeds, when it sputters, add some red chillies and a dash of Hing and little Urad Dal, and Fresh grated Coconut (this is Optional, and how much of it, really depends on how much you like it) and stir the drained kollu along with everyithing once and serve.

I add some Kollu to Sambar or Kootu or Dal. I also have made sprouts with it.

This Sundal can be had as a side dish too or a main snack.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Aloo + Methi + Pudina Paratha

In the last two times I made Alu Paratha, I have always added Methi to it. I think the next time I make it will be just plain Alu Paratha, so anyway, lets come to the recipe...
You will need
5 Medium sized Potatoes - Pressure cooked, and mashed very well
1 Bunch Methi- Washed 3 times and then Chopped finely (just the leaves, not the stalk)
1 Bunch Mint Leaves (just two handfuls of Pudina leaves) again washed 3 times and chopped fine
1 handful of Coriander leaves - Washed and Chopped
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Paratha Masala (See Note **)
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
1 and 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
Note ** I bought this on a sudden whim, actually this is just a mixture of Coriander Powder, Cumin Powder and garam Masala and they have added a little bit Onion Powder. I usually don't buy this masala at all, but since I bought his, I have to use it :(
Make Roti Dough
--->add the Masalas to the Mashed Potatoes and taste for salt.
--->Add the Chopped Herbs to this potato mixture
---> Mix well and taste for salt again
---> Roll a thick roti. Make a small ball of the Potato mixture nad place on it
--->Cover the potato mixture and fold down all sides well
--->Roll carefully and slowly, so as to not let the mixture out
--->Put on a Tawa, and please look to my Paneer Paratha instructions as to how to cook this.
Eat hot with some pickle on the side... Enjoy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Gooseberry or Amla (Frozen) Pickle - Nellikai Oorugai

You get Frozen Amla Packets in the Indian stores. All you need to do is go get 2 packs of them and start to make this yummy pickle..
You will need
2 Frozen Amla Packets
Pickle chili powder (this is different from the red chili powder, since they use different kind of red chillies, if you don't have it, you can use red chili powder)
Red Chillies
Mustard Seeds
--->Cut the Amla Packets and put the Amlas in a vessel and cover them with water.Let the water come to a boil and let it boil for a good 20 minutes., until all the water is gone and the Amlas are soft and able to mashed with a potato masher.
---> Mash them with a potato Masher and if you are a patient person, try and manually take out the seeds, with a dry hand. This is optional, if you don't mind the seeds continue on to the next step.
--->Once all the Amlas have been mashed, spread the mixture flat in the vessel and divide in 4 parts.
--->You will need chili powder as much as the 1/4th part of the Amla. and salt about 3/4th of the chili powder. Hing will be less than 1/4th of the salt.(This is all done in proportions)
--->Amla, 3/4th of Amla = chili powder3/4th of chili powder = salt1/4th of Salt=hing
--->Now add the chili powder and salt and hing.In a separate vessel heat up oil (enough to cover the Amlas) and add the mustard and red chillies and once the mustard sputters, pour it over the mixture and mix immediately.Make sure the Amla is completely soaked in oil.Once it cools, carefully store in a dry container and store in fridge.

This is called Nellikai Thokku, in tamil.
You could also make the Gooseberry in salt water brine with the frozen packets. I still havent experimented that, once i do i will post it.

This lasts up to a month if taken care of very well, Make sure you don't touch it with Wet hands or put a wet spoon in it. Always keep a small bowl and put some from the big jar to the small bowl to serve, that way you can make sure the pickle will get spoilt soon.

(Raw) Green Banana Skin Curry

As the name suggests, this is a dry curry made from Raw Banana Skin . This recipe actually originates from Palakkad. My husband is 1/2 Palakkad ( an area which is right in between Kerala and Tamilnadu) so he generally loves any recipe made from that region. I also have a freind, Girija who is from Palakkad and she makes lot of recipes from Palakkad. I got this from her.

When ever you make the Banana curry, save the skin and cut in small pieces and soak in water, mixed with a little turmeric powder. You can store this in the fridge up to 4 to 5 days when you are ready to make this curry.

You Need
Skin of 5 Green Bananas- Cut in small pieces
1/2 Onion - Cut in Small Pieces
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 Teaspoon
Red Chili - 2 (Break in two)
Hing - 1/2 Teaspoon
Salt - About a teaspoon (add more if needed)
Curry leaves and Coriander leaves to garnish
--->Keep the fire on low and Add the oil to the pan and add the Mustard seeds and wait till it sputters.
--->Add the red Chili, Hing, and the Cut Onions
--->Once the Onion starts to get brown, add the drained(if soaked in water)Banana Skin Pieces
--->Keep an eye on pan so as to not borwn the skins too much, keep stirring occasionally until it all comes to gether, on a low to medium stove it takes about 45 minutes
--->Garnish with Curry Leaves and Coriander leaves.

Verdict My husband loved it, me not so much, it was too fibrous. My kids ate a spoon of it and very tactfully avoided the curry!!! so if you want to add a whole lot of fiber to your diet, go ahead and try this one out!
Girija also told me that, after you make the curry, just before you are ready to take it out from the stove, fry some shallots and mash them and mix them in to the curry. I didn't have shallots so didn't do the last part.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pongal (Rice And Lentil Grits) and Spinach Sambar (Spinach with Split Pigeon Peas)

This is one of the most easiest and tastiest meals to make, and also very healthy for you!
Pongal is kind of like Grits, although in North India they make something similar (not the exact recipe) and call it Khichdi.
I always make it in this Vengala Paanai (Bronze Pot in Tamil). The inside of this is coated with Eeyam. This is my mother's pot and the Pongal or anything made in this tastes exceptional. This also retains heat very well and cooks faster.
Allright lets come to the recipe
The measure of Rice to Mung Lentil is 1 is to 3/4th proportion. you may use more or less lentils, how ever you like.
Rice 1 Cup
Split Skinned Mung Bean 3/4th Cup
Cumin Whole 2 to 3 Teaspoons
Black Pepper (coarsely ground) 2 Teaspoons
Cashewnuts Sliced - a handful
Ghee - 3 tablespoons
Water - 4 to 5 Cups
Salt - 2 teaspoons
---> Wash the rice and the lentils and put in the vessel you are going to make and add about 4 cups of water, add the salt and half of the cumins and let it come to aboil, keep stirring it with a wooden spoon so it does not boil over
--->after the rice is about 3/4ths cooked, check to see if the water is enough and add the extra water if needed
---> In a small kadai, add half of the ghee and let it get hot, when it is hot, add the rest of the cumin and all of the black pepper, and pout it in to the the pongal vessel and return the kadai back to the stove
--->add the rest of the ghee to the kadai and add the sliced cashews, and roast it till it gets light brown, be careful not to burn the cashews
--->Pour it over the Pongal and by now the water should all be gone. Check if the rice and the mung bean is cooked, test by taking a spoon of it and put on plate and smash with your finger lightly, it should get smashed, then it means it is done.
Serve hot with Sambar or Chutney or Gothsu!!
Spinach Sambar
This is even more easier than any other sambar, Just follow the same recipe as my Shallot sambar, only use a half pound of frozen spinach and boil in the tamarind water, along with the spices mentioned in the other recipe....
you don't even have to thaw it, just plop it tn the water and do your thing!
I have added a handful of soaked black chick peas to the sambar.
P.S.(I always soak a lot of chick peas once every two weeks and drain the water and store in a Ziploc in the freezer and throw some in my Sambar, or Dal to get the extra protein. If i want to add it to my salad, I just put some in the pressure cooker with some salt and water, and when it is done drain the water and add the water to my Dal or rasam and just the chickpeas to my salad)

Leftover Calzone Filling and Sprout Sandwich

I had some calzone filling leftover, so i just added some cut tomatoes to it, and spread it over bread and added some alfalfa sprouts(my most fav. sprouts) and had a great sandwich.
The bread is homemade, it is called Whole Wheat Flax Seed Bread.
It was delicious!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Eggplant, Shallot and Zucchini Calzone

I got this book called Vegetarian (Over 300 healthy and wholesome recipies from around the world) edited by nicola graimes. Bought it barnes and noble. I am going to try all these and post some recipies if it comes out good, atleast once a week.

I made this Calzone last week. It came out pretty good.
You need
For the crust
2/3 cup Warm Water
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
2 Cups of flour
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tblsp Olive Oil
For the Filling
3 baby eggplants, cubed
3 Shallots, chopped
1 small Zucchini Cubed
1 Garlic Clove chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
2 Tsp Fresh thyme
3 oz Mozzeralla Cheese cubed
Freshly ground Black pepper
To make the crust.
--->If you have a bread machine, put the items needed for the flour in the pan and set the machine at dough setting. If you dont have a bread machine, follow the steps below.
--->To make the dough, in the water, add the yeast and sugar let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes until frothy.
--->Sift the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
---> Gradually pour the eyast mixture and add 1 tablespoon of oil to this. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes, until smooth. The dough shuld be springy and elastic.

--->Once the dough is made let it sit for an hour and half to rise.
To make the filling.
---> Heat the oil in a pan, and the chopped shallots and fry till it softens.
--->Add the eggplant, garlic, zucchini, crushed red pepper, thyme and salt and pepper.
--->Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, untill eggplant begins to soften.
--->Divide the dough in half (I divided it in four since i felt it was too big) and roll it in to a 7 inch piece round.
--->Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
--->Spread the eggplant mixture on it and sprinkle witht he mozzarella cheese.
--->Dampen the edge with water and fold over the other half to enclose the filling
--->Seal firmly with the end of a spoon.
--->Brush the top and bottom with oil
---> Line a baking pan with foil and place the two calzones on them
--->Make a hole on top of the calzones to let the steam escape.
--->Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden.
--->After you take it out, brush with remaining oil and sprinkle with parmesan cheese (I skipped this part, since kids were too hungry.

The other calzone came out perfectly since I had sealed the edges very nicely, the one in the picture was not sealed, hence some cheese came out!

My daughter gave a 6 on 10 for this, not bad for the first time........
Also the original recipe was with sundried tomatoes. I replaced it with zucchini, since my son is not a fan of tomatoes.

Update! on my hand!

Update on my hand ---

It still hurts if I press it against something but the swelling / or the inflammation has gone down. I am seeing a hand specialist next month to figure the problem...

Watch out for some new posts!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This post was typed entirely by my left hand!!

Seriously! So excuse the wrong or missing capitalization and punctuation marks!

abOUT 2 WEEks ago I had some pain on my right hand, just under the little finger, could not straighten it out or curl it completely.
i learnt something valuable - Never underestimate the power of your little finger!!

I dont know if i injured myself or what happened to it, but kept going thru life with the pain, until it got worse last weekend, when it was swollen and puffy and i would wince or cry if anyone accidentaly knocked me or touched my hand!
Right from brushing my teeth in the morning to flossing at night, the little finger plays an all important role in your life.

I finally went to a doc on monday, he could'nt find a fracture, and i told him i was having up to 6 advils a day and i reluctantly let him touch the hand, and i couldnt stop the tears when he was trying to diagnose what i had. He has referred me to a hand specialist and in the meanwhile prescribed a painkiller which is the grandma or great grandma of advil.
I have to say, it is doing an excellent job of it. The pain has gone down considerably, as well as the swelling.

I was trying to browse the net if i can find any info on what this is and i found this blog
Although she has not updated it for the past two years, it is the same exact thing that i have right now.

I am looking forward to using my right hand once again. and hopefully it will be alls well that ends well. I miss my right hand :(

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bittergourd Dry Curry with Yellow Split Peas (Pavakkai and Kadala Paruppu Curry)

This kind of bittergourd curry is usually made in weddings.
You need
Bittergourd (medium size) - 6 to 7(seeded and sliced)
Channa dal - 1/2 cup washed (yellow split chick peas)
Tamarind water - small tamarind ball soaked in 1 and 1/2 cup of water
Coconut- 2 tablespoons
Green Chillies- 2
Oil - 1/2 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 1 strand to garnish

--- Wash and cut the bittergourd lengthwise, and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds, and slice them
--- In a vessel, add the tamarind water, channa dal, bittergourd pieces, salt and turmeric powder, and cover and bring to a small boil over a low to medium flame
---Keep stirring this to make sure there is enough water to cook it, it it is not enough add little more water.
---Once the bittergourd and channa dal is cooked (you will know this by pressing the bittergourd and channa dal with a fork and it should easily cut in two or mash) drain the excess water (use this water in sambar or rasam or kootu)
---Grind the coconut and green chili together
---In a pan add the oil, add the mustard seeds, once it sputters add the bittergourd and channa dal and then add the coconut and greenchilipaste to this and mix well and let it be onn stove for 5 minutes on a low flame
---serve hot with rice
this goes well with sambar or rasam or yogurt.

Ideas and Tips

As the name says this post is for all the ideas and tips. I will update it as when I come across things.

Shortcut to making Sevai
I know a lot of people use instant rice noodles to make sevai, Smitha, my friends daughter had this idea. She said that she goes to a Vietnamese restaurant (the ones with PHO in the name) and asks for the rice noodles alone, and bring it home and make south indian sevai to eat! The only downside is that it is very oily it seems but it tastes great. So this is another option to using rice noodles..

Minestrone Soup

I made this for a party, so this recipe feeds atleast 15 adults. It filled a 5 quart slow cooker completely and then half filled a 2 quart Sauce pan.
I dont like using canned beans in any of my recipes, so I always soak them ahead of time.
If you dont have the time or forget to do that, you may use the canned beans.
This soups also freezes well, you can make it and store in freezer bags and use them when you want later. When you want to eat, thaw it out for 4 hours and bring to a boil again.
You need
Red Kidney Beans - 2 Cups (Soaked for 8 to 10 hours)
Cannelini Beans (White Kidney Beans) - 1 cup (Soaked for 8 to 10 hours)
You can soak the beans together
Elbow Macaroni - 4 to 5 cups (cooked according to package instructions)
Onions- 2 big white ones -sliced
Tomatoes - 1 32 oz canned peeeled tomatoes (pureed)+ 3 big fresh tomatoes pureed
Green Italian Squash - 3 - Cut in cubes
Yellow Italian Squash - 3 - Cut in cubes
Carrots - 4 - cut in cubes
Broccoli - 1 small head (Cut in small flower like pieces)
Half Cauliflower - Cut in small flower like pieces
Beans- 2 handfuls (cut in 1/2 inch pieces so it can fit on a spoon)
Garlic - 1 - chopped
Crushed Red pepper- 3 to 4 tablespoons
Italian seasoning - 3 tablespoons
Olive oil - 5 tablespoons
Salt - to taste
Cranberry juice (or dark grape juice) - 1 cup
--- In a pressure cooker cook the beans, (Cover the beans with water and add some salt to it)
--- Cook the macaroni according to package instructions (remember to add salt to it)
--- In a big pan, (low medium flame)add the oil and wait till it gets hot, then add the chopped garlic
--- After the sliced onions and saute them lightly, then add the veggies one by one except the tomatoes
--- After all the veggies are sauteed lightly, add the tomato puree and the crushed red pepper and italian seasoning and salt and bring to a boil
---Once the beans are cooked, add this to the soup without draining the water
---Add the cooked macaroni to the soup
--- the soup consistency should be of a thick tomato soup, so add some water if necessary
---In the end add the juice to the soup
--- Taste the soup to see if it needs more salt
I started making this at 6.45pm and was done by 7.15pm including cuttting the vegetables and the pressure cooker time, so it is very easy to make. The soup was on a low flame till 7.45pm and then I transferred to a crock pot and took it for the party.
You can make this ahead of time and transfer it to a slow cooker, and keep on low heat, as time goes by the flavor gets better and better!