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!

Lauki Masoor (Bottle Gourd and Red Lentils)

When I was growing up, My mom never cooked this vegetable, and I never knew this existed.

After I came here, (when I was learning how to cook) I got all the veggies I could get my hands on and started Cooking. Once when my mother was visiting us, we were in the market and I picked two of these and put them in the cart, and My mom asked me, why did you buy THAT vegetable, and I casually answered that I make kootu with this and it tastes pretty good.

Then she explained that she never used to buy that since my grandpa had always said that if you at that vegetable it is equal to eating meat! So she never ate the vegetable at all. But she was very happy that I cooked it since it has a lot of nutrients!!!!

Also I have to admit somehting, I always cooked it with the seeds and I happened to see Poojas Blog about the Lauki roundup, and almost everyone;'s instructions were to remove the seeds!since I never saw anyone cook it I did not know this, so With the seeds this was not one of my fav dishes. So yesterday I made it after removing the seeds1 I have to tell you it is one my favorite foods list, I loved it.

What you need
1/2 cup - Whole Masoor - washed and soaked for 5 to 10 minutes in water
1 large Lauki - Cut in cubes after removing the seeds :)
1 and 1/2 inch - ginger- chopped
1 medium onion - chopped
2 Green Chillies - Chopped
5 cloves garlic - chopped
1 big tomatoe - chopped
1/2 teaspoon - Turmeric Powder
2 Teaspoons - Salt
1 Teaspoon - Oil
1 Teaspoon- Jeera
1 teaspoon - Kitchen King Masala
1/2 Teaspoon - Chili Powder

--- In a pressure cooker, Add the Cut lauki pieces to the Masoor and make sure it is covered in water, add turmeric powder and salt, and give it atleast 3 to 4 whistles
--- In a Kadai, add oil and jeera to it, and after it roasts a bit, add the chopped onion, gaarlic, ginger and fry till it gets light brown, and then add the chopped tomatoes, and fry till it becomes thick.
--- Add some water to this mixture and make a thick gravy, add the Kitchen king masala and chili powder to it and bring to a slow boil
---By this time, the stuff in the pressure cooker will be ready, add this to the gravy and add more salt if necessary..

I did not have any fresh coriander to garnish, but this tasted Awesome with hot rotis.
My kids had it with hot rice and ghee.
You can call it an ALMOST one pot meal, since it has protiens also!