Thursday, June 5, 2008

Pulikaichal (Tamarind Rice Mix)

This is the paste with which you can make Tamarind Rice. You get ready mix in all the Indian stores for this too, but all of them have some jaggery added in them which makes them sweet!
You can make this paste and store it either outside, at room temperature, or inside the fridge.
This is also like Milagu Kuzhambu, but has Tamarind as the main ingredient.
In temples, they offer this as prasadam, and it just tastes out of this world!
This can be used to mix with hot rice, if you are feeling too tired to cook anything.

This will not become thick if made with Tamarind Paste, so for Best Results, use real Tamarind.

Here is what you need:
Oil - 1/4 cup (preferably Gingelly or Indian sesame oil)
Tamarind - 1/4 cup full soaked in 3 cups of warm water (atleast for Half an hour)
Salt- 1 Teaspoon (more or less as needed)
Mustard Seeds - 3/4th Teaspoon
Red Chillies - 20 (more or less as needed)
Channa Dal - 2 Teaspoons (more or less as needed)
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Teaspoon
Asafoetida - 1/2 Teaspoon
Curry Leaves - 2 Strands
If you like peanuts, then you can add them instead of the Channa Dal, use raw, unroasted peanuts;
If you like Whole Black Chick peas, (remember to soak it the night before and add them instead of the Channa Dal)

--->Grind half of the red chillies in your mixer, to make a coarse powder.
--->Take the juice out of the tamarind, and keep aside.
--->In a thick bottomed pan, on a low- medium fire, add the oil, and the mustard seeds.
--->Once they sputter, add the Channa Dal (or Peanuts, or Chick Peas)
--->Once they start to become red, add the curry leaves, Red Chillies, and the Red Chili Powder, curry leaves, Turmeric powder, and asafoetida, one by one, mixing after adding each item.
--->Once everything is added, pour the tamarind water sl0wly, be careful, as it may scald your hand.
--->Add the salt and let it all come to a boil (let the fire be on a low medium only)
--->Keep it on fore for aout 1 and 1/2 hours to 2 hours until the mixture becomes thick, and the oil is seperated.
--->Let cool completely before transferring to a dry container and store as you wish.

I have made Tamarind Sevai, here.

As Suganya suggested, I'll send it to JFI- Jihva for Tamarind. To know more about Jihva, please click here. Thanks Suganya!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Paruppu Thuvayal ( Lentil Chutney)

Thuvayal is something like a chutney, which you mix with hot rice and eat, so it is a main dish,
Chutney is only an accompaniment to a side dish.
You Need
Toor Dal - 1/2 Cup
Red Chillies - 3
Grated Coconut - 1/2 Teaspoon (Optional)
--->In a pan, Roast 1/2 cup of Toor Dal, with 3 red chillies and 1/2 teaspoon of Grated Coconut, until the dal becomes red,
--->Grind to a smooth paste, by adding 1/2 cup water. (Add the water little by little), the mixture should be thick.
This is a perfect accompaniment for Milagu Kuzhambu.

Milagu Kuzhambu (Black Pepper Gravy)

The difference between a Kuzhambu and Sambhar are
Kuzhambu may not have any cooked lentils (rarely they do)
but Sambhar is always prepared with Cooked toor Dal.

This Kuzhambu stays fresh up to a week if left outside, or in the fridge up to a month! just like the pulikaichal or the Tamarind Rice mix.

Here is what you need to make 2 cups of this delicious Kuzhambu.
Urad Dal - 2 Teaspoons
Black Pepper - 2 Teaspoons
Red Chillies - 6 Teaspoons
Channa Dal - 2 Teaspoons
Cumin - 1 Teaspoon
Cilantro Seeds - 4 Teaspoons
Oil - 4 Teaspoons
Tamarind - 2 Grape Tomatoes size
Curry Leaves - 1 Strand
Asafoetida - 1 Teaspoon
Mustard - 1/2 Teaspoon
Water - 3 and 1/2Cups
---> In a small pan, pour 2 Teaspoons oil, and roast the first 6 ingredients, until they get a light red tinge, and the black pepper starts to sputter.
--->Pour all the stuff in a plate to cool, and add 1 and 1/2 of the curry leaves and the asafoetida to the pan and roast lightly.
--->Grind all the ingredients, along with the curry leaves and Asafoetida, and the Tamarind, along with 1/2 cup water and grind to smooth paste and keep aside.
--->In the same pan, add the rest of the oi, and add the mustard seeds,once they sputter, add the rest of the curry leaves and mix the paste and add the rest of water, and let boil, until the Gravy becomes 2 and 1/2 cups.

You can have this with hot rice. The perfect combination for this is Paruppu Thuvayal.
My grandma used to pack this rice with us for train trips.

Bell Pepper Jeera Rice (Bell Pepper Cumin Rice)

I did not want to miss the Bell Pepper JFI event hosted by Pooja of My Creative Ideas.
I have made Bell Pepper Jeera Rice.
You Need
Bell Pepper - 4 (Cut in Strips)
Oil - 4 Teaspoons
Ghee or Butter- 2 Teaspoons
Rice- 1 and 1/2 cups
Salt - To tase
(For Dry Roasting, 2 Teaspoons Jeera and 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper)
----> Dry Roast the Jeera and Pepper and make a fine powder.
---->Cook the Rice with less water and let cool.
----> In a Kadai, add the oil, and then add the Bell Pepper Strips, and Saute
---->Once they start to curl, lower the heat and add the powder and the rice, and salt
---->Add the Ghee and mix Well
---->Serve Hot!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pictures of some flowers in Seattle!

Wanted to share these beautiful flowers with everyone!
They were taken outside my sister's house yesterday!
Aren't they pretty?

Lemon Sevai - Lemon flavored Home made Rice Noodles

Sevai is the tamil name for rice noodles.
I made rice sevai using my old sevai machine.
I have an updated version of the sevai machine (called Sevai Naazhi in Tamil), in Atlanta, so I gave the old one to my sister.
So Here is what you need
a Sevai Machine or the press used to make Thenkuzhal or mullu murukku
Idli Rice - 1 cup
Oil - 4 teaspoons
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
--->Soak the rice for about 2 hours
--->Grind to a thin soup consistency
--->In a kadai, add the oil and pour the batter, and add the salt, and keep stirring it, until it becomes a ball like dough.
--->Make small balls, and steam for 15 minutes
--->After it is steamed, put the balls one by one in the machine and make the sevai.
---->Once the sevai is done, make any flavor sevai that you like.
My childron love Lemon Sevai, so I usually make that.
Lemon Sevai is made just like Lemon Rice
You Need (to make 2 servings)
Lemon - 1
Turmeric powder-1/2 Teaspoon
Salt - 1/2 Teaspoon
Oil - 1 Teaspoon
Asafoetida- a pinch
Mustard Seeds- 1/2 Teaspoon
Channa Dal-1 Teaspoon
Red Chili - 1 broken in 2
Green Chili - 1, slit
---> In a small pan, add the oil, after it gets hot, add the mustard seeds
--->Once the mustard seeds start to sputter, add the Channa Dal and the Chilies, and the Asafoetida
--->On the sevai add the turmeric powder, and pour the hot oil with the mustard seed and all the things on the Turmeric powder
--->Take the juice of 1 lemon, and pour on top of the sevai
--->Add the salt and mix well
This can be enjoyed at any time. I make this for my kids lunch.

A Comparison of the Sevai made at home and the store bought Rice noodles
---> tastes much much better.
--->It will not have the rubbery feeling that the store bought one has.
--->This absorbs the flavor
--->Involves Hard Work!
--->Worth the hard work!