Monday, November 30, 2009

Rasathu Vandal

This is related to my uncle's post here.
When he wrote it, I wanted to post a picture of it.
This is Rasathu Vandal with Brown Rice.
Vandal is actually the bottom part of the rasam. It should have the dals, the cury leaves and the coriander stalks and the mustard seeds with the red chillies.....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Rashmi's Thecha

My Friend Rashmi made this Thecha. It means to crush or to pound in Marathi.
Rashmi's Mother in law Mrs Meena, introduced me to this...
I had taken pictures of it a long time ago, but i don't know where they are. I will find it and post it soon....
This is made with Red chillies, Garlic, Lime Juice and salt nothing else,
and oh my god, it is just a great accompaniment to anything, dal, curry tofu, veggies etc.....
Her mother in law also makes one with spinach and green chilies, yummmmmmmm

Rashmi's Thecha was made with Red Chillies, Curry Leaves, Garlic, Salt, Lime Juice and a few peanuts...

Although I mixed some in my Tomato Bisque Soup (it was great), Mrs Meena made a roti (She makes the best roti in the world) and put some of this and some ghee and rolled it and gave it to me...
The taste was just heavenly....

Rashmi uses it in any thing she makes...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Marinated Tofu on a Salad

This was my dinner on Nov 3rd...
I had a block of tofu and made a very simple marinade with
Yogurt, Turmeric powder, Red Chilli Powder, Lemon Juice and Salt.

All you do is to drain the tofu and then cut it in pieces and soak it in the marinade.
In a non stick tawa, put 1 teaspoon oil and spread it around so that the whole pan has little oil in it, and then arrange the tofu and keep the fire on a low medium flame.
In about 10 minutes, use a griddle to carefully turn the tofu around so it gets grilled lightly on the other side.
The tofu is done if it gets a light brown hue on both sides.
Make a salad (any way you like) and put the tofu on it and enjoy!

My kids (especially my daughter) is not a fan of tofu, but she liked it made this way.

My Uncle's Blog....

My Uncle Mr.Janakiraman (Mama) has started a blog and you can read it here

It is called Anusham.

Although this has nothing to do with cooking, it is an interesting read.
My aunt, Mrs. Vijayalakshmi (Perima) also has a done a post in Tamil on the blog.

The latest post is on Rasathu Vandal....


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Asparagus Curry

As the name suggests, this is a south indian version of the Asparagus.
To make this for 4 people,
You need
Asparagus - (choose thin ones_ 2 bunches
Oil - One teaspoon
Mustard - 1/2 teaspoon
Red chili - 1
Urad Dal - 2 teaspoons
Curry Leaves - 5 or 6
Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
Water - 1/4 Cup
---> Cut off the stems of asparagus
---> Chop the asparagus in to small pieces.
---> In a non stick pan, add the water and asparagus and salt and cover it and steam this in a slow flame.
---> Keep a watch on it, if the water evaporates fast , then the vegetable will burn, so keep it on a slow flame and keep stirring.
--->One the color changes and all the water is evaporated, add the tadka to this.
For tadka,
---> In a small pan, add the oil and when it heats up, add the mustard seeds (Once it starts bursting) add red chili and urad dal and roast till the dal turns in to a golden color, add it while hot to the curry.

This goes with Rasam, Dal, Chapathi, or Rice.

Mor Kuzhambu (Yogurt Gravy)

Just to demonstrate that the Nagini Style Mor Kuzhambu can be made with any vegetable, here I used Okra or ladies finger, (fried in a little oil, with salt) and them put in the gravy.
If you plan on adding Chayote or white pumpkin, you have to cook them first in water and slat, and then add it.

Just enjoy with hot rice.....

Paruppu Urundai Mor Kuzhambu (Steamed Lentil Balls in Yogurt Gravy)

This item has become kind of a delicacy now a days...... This can be made with either Toor Dal or Channa dal or a mixture of both. My mother used to make this very often and she would use them in Mor Kuzhambu or put them in regular Tamrind base gravy (Puli Kuzhambu) or also make Rasam with it.In any way you use it, it will be the star of your menu.
To complement this, you can make a regular Keerai Masiyal.
It is kind of a long proceedure, but well worth the effort.
Since the main ingredient is Dal or lentils, it is a very healthy meal filled with proteins.

Paruppu Urundai
To make around 20 balls:
Toor Dal -- 2 cups
Hing -- 1/2 Teaspoon
Green Chili -- 4 to 5
Red Chili -- 3 to 5
Salt -- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons
Soak 2 cups toor dal, or (1 cup toor, 1 cup channa) for 2 to 3 hours.
Similar to making the Paruppu Usili, you start by draining the dal of any water and grinding it with hing, and the chillies, and salt and grind to a coarse to smooth paste. You can add a little water and make a LITTLE runny. (this is where it is a little different from the Usili, for Usili the dal paste should be dry).

Oil - 2 Teaspoons
Mustard - 1 Teaspoon
Curry Leaves -- 2 strands
---> In a kadai, take the oil, add the mustard, curry leaves, and add the dal mixture and saute till it becomes a little thick.
---> Switch off the stove and wait till you can handle the heat of the dal mixture.
---> In a vessel, brush it with some oil so that the balls wont stick to the bottom of the vessel.
---> Now, take about a tablespoon of the dal mixture and make a ball and arrange in the oil brushed vessel.
---> Put the vessel (with all the balls) in a pressure cooker and steam it in a pressure cooker without the weight for 15 to 20 minutes on a medium flame.
---> After you switch off the cooker, take the balls out (so they don't end up sticking together,and let cool.
---> In whatever gravy you choose to float them, put them in that and eat while it is hot...

Mor Kuzhambu... (Nagini Style)
This time, I chose the Mor Kuzhambu to be the gravy.
There are over 15 kinds of Mor Kuzhambu, this one is called Nagini Style, named after Mrs Nagini Kumar , my aunt Mrs Subha Raman's friend.
It is made with yogurt, Coconut, Red Chili, Fenugreek.
You need about 4 to 5 cups of the kuzhambu for the 20 balls to float.
Yogurt -- 3 to 3 1/2 cups
Red Chili - 3
Fenugreek - 3/4 th teaspoon
Coconut - 1/4 cup
---> Roast the fenugreek and red chili in a bit of oil until the fenugreek turns a rosy color.
---> When it cools, add this to the coconut and make a smooth paste in a mixer.
---> Blend the yogurt well, with water and make it like a thick soup.
---> Add the masala you made with coconut and heat on a low flamed stove, and be careful so that this doesnt curdle.
---> Give a tadka to this with oil, mustard, curry leaves and red chili and hing.

Enjoy with hot rice.

Paruppu Urundai Rasam
My niece Sandhya is allergic to coconut, so I put some of the balls in rasam so she also could enjoy them.
For the rasam, you generally make what is called a "Gottu Rasam" or as my patti (Grandma) calls it a mottai rasam :)
This is made with Tamarind water, rasam powder, salt, turmeric powder and a tadka with mustard and red chili, Tomatoes are optional in this kind of rasam, but I added them, since Sandhya loves tomatoes..
Tamarind -- about half a table spoon of raw tamarind
water - 2 cups
Rasam Powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Hing - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - as needed
Oil - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 4 to 5 leaves
Red Chili - 1 or 2

---> Soak tamarind in 1 and 1/2 cup warm water and extract all the pulp
---> In a vessel add the tamarind water, rasam powder, salt, hing, cut tomotaes, turmeric powder and bring to boil on a slow medium flame.
---> Once the tomatoes have cooked, add the remaining water in a way that adds some froth to the rasam and wait till it comes to a boil.
--->Once the rasam is frothy on top, switch off the stove and give the tadka, with oil, mustard seeds and red chili.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Happy Deepavali!!!!!

Happy Deepavali!!
For this year, I made Laddu, Peda, Gulab Jamun (from mix), Mixture and Thenkuzhal....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Golu 2009

Navarathri started on September 19th. Just like last year I had two big Parties...

Only this time, I had them back to back.... one on Sep 19th Saturday and the other on Sunday Sep 20th...

Menu for Party on September 19th



Coconut Chutney

Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Milagai Podi

Vatha Kuzhambu Sadham (Rice)

Urulaikizhangu Kari

Aplam (PapadS)


Paneer Sabji

Kollu Sundal

Neer Mor

Javvarisi (sabudana) Payasam

Menu for Party on September 20th


Kanjeevaram Idli


Coconut Chutney

Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Milagai Podi

Milagu Kuzhambu Sadham (Rice)

Urulaikizhangu Kari


Pachai Pattani Sundal (with Mango)

Neer Mor

Javvarisi (sabudana) Payasam

I had made lots of Bell Pepper Chutney, earlier in the week, enough for both the parties. That was the hit Chutney in both the parties. On Saturday, the Vathakuzhambu sadham was a hit also and on sunday the Milagu Kuzhambu sadham was a hit.

The new addition to this year’s golu was the Kali Doll that I got from Calcutta, and the Vittal and Rakumayi doll which I got in Chennai. The Marriage set is also a new addition to my collection this year.

I would like to mention some of my friends who helped me make these parties a grand success...

Drum Roll Please......

First of all to Gayatri a.k.a. Gayu, my daughter's friend, who dutifully came on a nice Friday evening, to help us unwrap the dolls and arrange them on the steps. She also helped in making the streets of India exhibit...

To Mina, who came after playing tennis to rearrange some of the dolls on the shelf.

And thanks to my husband, and my kids, Varun and Varsha who helped in the unpacking of the dolls, in arranging the cricket set and the other dolls and also packing all of them again, sealing the boxes and special thanks to Varun for dismantling the Golu Shelf and putting them back in the basement!!

As for the Parties here is my thanking speech

For the Saturday Party Many Many Thanks to

Suman , Priya and Madhu.

Suman Helped in peeling and cubing the potatoes, Washing the coriander, Frying the Aplams, garnishing everything.....

Priya helped in Making the Potato curry, frying the aplams

Madhu helped in washing all the vessels I had used that day......

And to Bairavi, Suman, Priya, Harshi, who helped in making the idlies during the party....

For the Sunday Party, Many Many Thanks to

Aparna, Asha, Bairavi, Vasanthi who helped in making the idlies while the party was going on....

Chutneys for Chaat, Pani Puri Water

These recipes are all Mina's

When she makes the chutneys, she never adds water, instead she adds Lemon Juice so the chutneys last a long time.
All of these last two to three weeks in the fridge and nearly 6 months in the freezer.
But, if you take it out to thaw from the freezer, use it right away.

My friend Veena, makes the chutneys, fills them up in an ice cube tray and has bhel whenever she feels like it, That is a good idea, tooo!!
Green Chutney

Makes about 2 cups of thick chutney. To use, take a tablespoonful and add two to three tablespoons of water to make it thin and then use.
Coriander - 3 Cups (filled tightly in measuring cup)
(Cleaned, Washed, drained and dabbed with a paper towel to take out excess water
Raw Peanuts (Shelled) 2 Cups
Green Chillies - 12 Washed and dried (add more if you want spicier)
Lemons - 2 to 3 (squeeze out the juice and discard the seeds)
Salt - as needed for taste

Grind everything together, to form a smooth thick paste....

Sweet Chutney
This recipe makes 4 cups of Sweet Chutney!
Dates - about 3 cups (pressure cooked with 1/4 cup water)
Thick Tamarind water - about 1 cup
Jaggery or sugar - to taste
Salt - to taste
Chili Powder - roasted - 1 teaspoon
Jeera Powder - roasted- 1/2 teaspoon

Grind everything together, to form a smooth thick paste....
When you taste this, it should taste both sour and sweet at the same time (Khatta Meeta)

Garlic Chutney
Garlic - Cloves from 6 to 7 garlics
Red Chili - Equalling the amount of Garlic
Salt -as needed
Lime juice - to make it easier to grind
Dhania Jeera Powder - as needed

Again mix it all to make a smooth paste....
Just add a dab of this to your Chaat to experience the pungent taste

I don't have a picture of this, I will post the picture, when I make this next time)

Pani Puri Water (Look for this picture in Harshi;s Pani Puri Water Picture)
Pudina (Mint) leaves - 2 Cups (filled tightly in measuring cup)
(Cleaned, Washed, drained and dabbed with a paper towel to take out excess water
Green Chillies - 4 or more if you need this spicier
Lemon Juice - 3 or 4 tablespoons
Coriander - 1 cup (filled tightly in measuring cup)
(Cleaned, Washed, drained and dabbed with a paper towel to take out excess water
Black Salt - 1/2 Teaspoon
Salt - to taste

Grind everything together, to form a smooth thick paste....
When you taste this, it should taste kind of salty with an after taste
Again, this is very thick, you should just take a tablespoon of this paste and add up to 3 or 4 cups of ice cold water and then use it...

Saturday, September 12, 2009



My friend Harshi invited me and a few friends for a sumptuous chaat feast.
It was a delicious evening!!! Am really lucky to have friends who make such good food!!...

Harshi was telling me that there is an order with which you eat chaat in Bombay, that is
you start eating by Bhel Puri, then Pani Puri, Papdi Chaat, Dahi Puri, and then end it with Ragda Patties. I am not sure about this order but you got to eat all of them.....

Bhel Puri

The tradional Bhel has these ingredients...
Murmura (called Arisi Pori in Tamil ) (sauteed till it is crisp with a little oil, turmeric powder)
Potatoes (Boiled and peeled)cut in to very small cubes
Onions (finely chopped)
Coriander (Fineky Chopped)
Mango (peeled and grated)
Papdi (you get in most indian stores, this is optional)
Fine Sev (you get this also in Indian Stores)
Green Chutney
Sweet Chutney
Spicy Garlic Chutney
I havent given any measurements for any of these because it really depends on how much u
like potatoes, onions, and how spicy u want it to be.

---> Start with a big basin and your clean hand, add the roasted murmura first,
--->Add the potatoes, mango and onions to it and mix well
--->Next hand crush the papdi and add to this
---> Add the chutneys one by one and keep mixing it with your hand as when u add the chutneys
one by one
--->Scoop some out in a bowl and garnish with sev and coriander....
Pani Puri

Pani Puri
Puri - you get these in the indian stores
pani puri water -
Potatoes (Boiled and peeled)cut in to very small cubes
Moong dal Soaked overnight, drained and pressure cooked
Sweet Chutney
--->Break the puri's softer side with your thumb
--->Add very little of potato and moong dal
--->Add some sweet chutney
--->Fill up the puri with the panipuri water
--->Eat the whole puri (without getting choked :) ) this takes practice.....

Papdi Chaat
Papdi Chaat
Have to credit Veena in making this so beautifully in Harshi's House!! :)
Papdi - you get these in the indian stores
Potatoes (Boiled and peeled)cut in to very small cubes
Onions (finely chopped)
Coriander (Fineky Chopped)
Fine Sev (you get this also in Indian Stores)
Green Chutney
Sweet Chutney
Spicy Garlic Chutney

--->Arrange the papdis in a nice circle
--->Add very little of potato on them
--->Add very little of onions on them
--->Add very little of Green Chutney on them
--->Add some sweet chutney, Garlic Chutney
--->Garnish beautifully with Fine sev and Coriander
--->Scoop some carefully in to your mouth (this also takes practice..... )

Dahi Puri

Dahi Puri
Have to credit Veena again, in making this so beautifully in Harshi's House!! :)
Pani Puri - you get these in the indian stores
Potatoes (Boiled and peeled)cut in to very small cubes
Onions (finely chopped)
Moong dal Soaked overnight, drained and pressure cooked
Coriander (Finely Chopped)
Thick Yogurt -- Blended well
Fine Sev (you get this also in Indian Stores)
Green Chutney
Sweet Chutney
Spicy Garlic Chutney

--->Arrange the puriss in a nice circle
--->Add very little of potato and moong dal in them
--->Add very little of Green Chutney on them
--->Add some sweet chutney, Garlic Chutney
--->Pour some yogurt on them
--->Garnish beautifully with Fine sev and Coriander
--->Scoop one (at a time) carefully in to your mouth

Ragda Patties

Ragda Patties (For 2)
Ragda is usually made with White Vatana (Yellow whole peas)
Yellow Whole Peas - 1 Cup
Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - as needed
---> Soak the Peas overnight
--->Drain them and add fresh water that it covers the peas fully
--->Pressure cook it with Turmeric powder and salt
When cooked, it should easily mash with your finger (with no effort)
Patties (for 2)
Potatoes (medium sized 3 or 4) -Boiled and mashed
Bread slices - 2
Chili Powder - 1 Tsp (optional)
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
--->Boil, peel, and mash the potatoes
--->Soak the Bread in water for about 10 seconds and drain and remove all water and mash and miz it with the potatoes.
--->Add some salt, chili powder and turmeric powder to this
--->(You could add some chopped coriander or mint leaves to this for a different taste)
--->Make small burger shapes and roast on a flat nonstick pan with little oil

The assembly
--->Take two patties
--->Pour some hot Ragda on it to cover the patties
--->Add bit of chopped onions, chopped Green chillies, Sev and coriander and eat!!!


And Harshi ended the meal with serving us Kulfi.

She made the Kulfi with a store bought (indian store) Kulfi Mix, but she had added some bread (soaked and mashed) to the kulfi mix, so it was very creamy and tasted sooooooo good...

Thanks a lot Harshi for a wonderful evening, I am posting this 3 months after....

I will post the recipes of the chutneys soon...

My Memories of Chaat in Chennai (Late 80's)
My earliest memory of Chaat is in Annagar near blue star bus stop, a place called Chaat Bhandar, it was really bad cos i Hated it...
and then I went on a two month trip to Bombay to visit my cousins, and they took me to Juhu, where it was great....
and then back in Chennai, There was a shop called Vitan, there used to be this small chaat shop right outside, and one of the best Bread Channa I had was there...
and then of course how can I forget the Bombay Sandwich guy, who used to sell out of his cart outside Prince Plaza.. There was one shop in Paris Corner also,
Let me know if anyone has eaten in all these places.......

Friday, August 21, 2009

Check it Out In Chennai

If you are in Chennai, Do Check this place out. They have wonderful cakes and snacks. They operate out of a basement of an apartment building.

I was there twice this trip and both the times had a great time eating the cakes....

Padmashri Foods

New #4/ Old #7
2nd Cross Street, C.I.T Colony
Chennai -600004

044-24997567, 044-24995701

Bread Bowls

I followed this recipe and got these great looking bowls. My suggestion is to use the smallest bowls since it is the perfect size. I bought some correlle bowls at walmart, (the smallest size available there). It hold 4 oz I think. Otherwise, the recipe is just great. Will definetely make it again.

Deep Fried Snacks... Thenkuzhal

Thenkuzhal is one of the most rewarding snacks you can make and almost foolproof.
The above pictures were taken in Madurai when I was in India, when my Grandma made some for me. She made it with the help of Viji, a wonderful lady who is my aunt's kitchen helper.
She used a traditional press.
What I have here in the US is more modern version of the press.

What ever you have at home, if you make this, it will be over in a few days. It is a great snack to munch on.

The recipe
Rice Flour - 1 Cup
Urad Flour - 1/4 Cup
Jeera - Make sure it is clean, 1 teaspoon
Salt - about a teaspoon
Butter -  1/2 Cup Softened to Room Temperature
Water- as needed

---> Mix all the ingredients to make a hard to a little soft dough.
---> In a pan, heat some oil and test the temperature by adding a small amount of the dough to it. It should immediately rise up to the top.
---> Make in to balls and stuff in to your press. Use the mold with one hole in the middle and holes all around.
---> Slowly make the thenkuzhals by pressing the press in small circles in the oil.
---> Make 3 to 4 at a time, depending on the amount of oil you are using.
---> Once it becomes a light golden color, turn around and after a few seconds, when it is golden all over, take it out and drain on an absorbent paper towel.
---> If your thenkuzhal is becoming red in color, then you may have used too much Urad Flour.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Deep Fried Snacks....Vella Cheedai, Uppu Cheedai

Yesterday August 13th was Gokulashtami...Lord Krishna's Birthday.....
So I attempted to make some of the Savories that are usually made, Vella Cheedai, Uppu Cheedai and thenkuzhal.
I took these recipes from Aparna, who is an expert making the Cheedais. The Uppu Cheedai
All of them use more or less the same ingredients.

Vella Cheedai
Vella Cheedai is the sweet version of the Cheedai as the name suggests, Vellam means Jaggery I a raw form of sugar)
You Need
Rice Flour 1 cup
Urad Flour - 2 teaspoons
Jaggery 1 cups
Sesame seeds- 1 teaspoons
Cardamom - 5 or 6 peeled and powdered
Coconut (cut like small teeth) - 3 tablespoons OPTIONAL
---> In a heavy bottomed pan, add the jaggery and about 2 tablespoons water. Keep the fire at low flame.
--->In 10 minutes the jaggery would have melted and become completely liquid.
--->At this point, switch off the stove and add the cardamom powder, coconuts, sesme seeds, the rice and urad flour.
--->Mix well to make a batter
---> Make round balls and deep fry till it becomes dark brown but take it out before it becomes black.
---> When Deep frying, as always keep the fire on a low to medium flame, otherwise the outside will cook fast and become black but the inside will remain uncooked.

Uppu Cheedai
Uppu Cheedai is known to create catastrophies in the kitchen. Heard a lot of stories, that if you don't make the dough right, the moment when you out the small balls in the oil, it will start bursting. Because of this, I have never attempted this in the past. Armed with Aparna's recipe I was determined to overcome my fears :) )
It turned out great, the only disappointment was I made tooooooooo little :(
You Need
Rice Flour 1 cup
Urad Flour - 2 teaspoons
Salt - As needed (i added 3/4ths teaspoon to a teaspoon)
Sesame seeds- 1 teaspoons
Butter (Melted ) - 1/4 stick
Water - as needed to make a thick dough
--->Mix well to make a batter
---> Make small (smaller than the Vella Cheedai) round balls and deep fry till it becomes dark brown but take it out before it becomes black.
---> When Deep frying, as always keep the fire on a low to medium flame, otherwise the outside will cook fast and become black but the inside will remain uncooked.
---> when it turns an even golden brown, take them out.

Both of them tasted really good. I also made Thenkuzhal. I will post the recipe for that tomorrow.

Dosai Milagai Podi a.k.a Gun Powder and Idlies...... In India

Most of our friends call this Gun Powder because of the spice it has. I have seen a lot of versions of this all through my life.... My favorite is how my Paati (Grandma) Mrs Vimala Ramamurthy makes it.

People who don't like the spice , make it in an orange color, and i would not call THAT Milagai Podi because Milagai means Red Chily. You've gotta add the spice it needs, some others add Jaggery to this, and I cannot bring myself to even try it, because it takes away the spice......

Depending on your spice level, adjust the amount of Red Chillies you add to this, but please do SOME justice............
Lets goto the Recipe
You Need
Channa Dal --------Half of 1/4th Cup
Urad Dal ---------- 1/4th Cup
Sesame Seeds (Optional)------- 2Teaspoons
Mustard Seeds ---- 1/4th Teaspoons
Dry Red Chillies--------1 Cup (yes i said it right, 1 cup)
Hing - 1 Teaspoon
Salt - To Taste (I would add a teaspoon first and then taste it)

---> In a heavy bottomed pan, start by roasting every item, one by one with little oil for each item
---> You have to roast the Channa Dal until it becomes an even shade of rose
---> Take it out and then in the same pan, now roast the urad dal
---> Now take that out and roast the sesame seeds
---> Now Take that out and roast the mustard seeds
---> Now Take that out and roast the Red Chillies (put your stovetop fan on if you don't want everyone in the room to cough)
---> Keep the roasted items on a big plate and let cool
---> Once it is cooled, add them to your big mixie jar and make a fine to a little coarse powder
---> Add some salt while it is grinding
and then
---> Make a nice soft Dosa and take the Milagai Podi for a test drive...... :)

You could even dry roast everything but, it will hit your throat really hard since it will get very dry.
So of you add some oil, it will become moist and also have that glowing red color.

I have already posted the recipe for Idli here. Idli is one of my comfort foods. Had it a lot at home in India. Wanted to post a picture of my perima, Mrs Sugantha's Idlies...

I have already posted the recipe for Idli here. Idli is one of my comfort foods. Had it a lot at home in India. Wanted to post a picture of my perima, Mrs Sugantha's Idlies...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Palm Fruit - Nongu in Tamil, Tadgola in Hindi and Lontar fruit in Indonesia!!!

This fruit takes first place on my top 10 fruits list.

I just love this fruit for its texture and softness. It is a jelly like fruit and I found some info on it here. Me and my son had tooooooooooo much of it in India. My daughter didn't like it that much.

According to my grandma, this fruit cools you down on a real hot day. And in Chennai it is always Hot....

If you haven't had this fruit yet, you have to try it once.

It comes in a hard shell, the vendor will remove the fruits out for you.
You wash them in cold water and then by peeling the skin around it carefully without poking in it so the juice remains intact.

When you are ready to eat it, you bite it on one end and then slowly suck the juice out and then chew on it and enjoy the taste.... Yummm

Back after a lonnnnnnnnnnnng Break.... Party Menu Part 2

I had gone to India in June and came back in July. Does that explain my long absence?? I hope it does....
I am so jealous of bloggers who go on a vacation and then blog from there...
I also went with great aspirations to India and blog from there, but mostly got lazy and when I got the mood to write, there was no electricity and when there was electicity, there was no internet, or something was wrong with it....

Alls well now and after settling back at home, i will start posting some great pictures and recipes and stuff that we did in India!
But since I have to continue with my Party Menu, I will post Focaccia now. Am still waiting for Aparna to give me more pictures of the Lasagna she made. So I will post the Lasagna later...

For the Focaccia, you need:
a 10X15 inch rectangle pan or a 18 inch round pizza pan, I have found that the pizza crisper works best since it has lots of holes the crust doesnt become too hard and the dough rises beautifully.

Water ------------ 1 Cup
Olive Oil ---------- 1/4 Cup (or as Rachel from Food Network calls it EVOO)
Salt --------------- 1 Teaspoon
All Purpose Flour -- 3 to 3 1/4th Cups
Yeast (Fresh) ------ 2 Teaspoons
About the Yeast, you have to make sure you have a resonably fresh yeast. If you are in doubt, check this link and proof your yeast.
I buy my yeast from here. I keep it in the freezer and store it for about 6 months. I do make bread atleast twice a week. This works for me, and if you don't use it often you are better off buying the small packets that you get, but be sure to proof it.

---> If you have a bread machine, put everything in the machine and set it for dough cycle and press start. (In my machine the Dough cycle is for 1 hour and 50 mins.)
--->If you don't, then you may use your hands or a food processor to mix everything well and cover and let it rise and rest for atleast 2 hours.

For Topping:
Olive Oil ------ 2 to 3 Tablespoons
Garlic Cloves --- 3 or 6 or 9 (Minced)
Kosher Salt ---- to taste

---> Combine the olive oil and garlic for the topping and set aside.
---> Brush the panyou are going to use for focaccia with a little olive oil.
---> shape the dough so that it fits,
(What I do is, roll it out flat on the counter top and spread the topping on it and then roll like a wrap and then roll it out flat again.
---> Cover it with plastic wrap and let rise again for 45 minutes.
---> Preheat oven to 375Degree F
---> Take out the plastic wrapm and drizzle olive oil over it and put some more garlic and then sprinkle kosher salt and evenly press it in. Then with your finger poke holes randomly in the dough.
---> Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until brown.
--->Serve it warm with a nice soup...

I use fresh garlic as opposed to those already peeled ones you get in the store.

Also I use lots of garlic for flavor.

If I plan to make focaccia for dinner, I make the dough in the morning and keep the dough in a big bowl (covered in plastic wrap) in the fridge. An hour before serving I take it out and do the rolling and putting the garlic in it.

I also substitute some semolina flour in it, and then sometimes I make it half white and half wheat.

When you make it half white half wheat, the dough will not rise that much.

Make it and let me know how it turned out...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Party Menu!! Part 1 --- Tomato Bisque Soup

We organized a SURPRISE birthday party for my son's 16th Birthday!! It was a very small gathering....
The menu was
Lasagna - by Aparna
Spinach Rice - by Bairavi
Potato Dry Curry - by Asha
Salad - by Priya
Cake - ordered by Sabitha
Drum Roll please
I made Tomato Bisque soup, Focaccia bread and bread bowls.......

I am still waiting for the Lasagna recipe from Aparna.

Here is the recipe for Tomato Bisque Soup (serves 8 to 10)
Olive Oil - 3 tablespoons
Onion - 1 (diced)
Celery - 2 ribs
Garlic - 8 to 10 clovces minced
Diced Tomatoes - 1 (32 Ounce) Cans or (or 3 large fresh tomatoes, diced)
Fresh Basil - 3 to 4 tables spoons Chopped (or 2 tablespoonsdried basil)
Tomato Puree -2 (16 ounce cans)
Vegetable Stock - 1 (24 ounce ) carton
Heavy Whipping Cream- 1/4 cup
Bay Leaf - 1
Cayenne Pepper Powder - 1 Teaspoon
Salt and pepper to taste.
--->Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot.
--->Dice onion and celery and add to pot.
--->Saute until the onion is transparent.
--->Add garlic, diced tomatoes and basil, and stir.
--->Stir in tomato puree and vegetable stock slowly
--->Once it starts to boil, with your hand blender blend all ingredients to a puree.
--->Soup should be an Orange color with green basil bits in it.
--->Add bay leaf, Cayenne Pepper, Salt and Pepper, and simmer on low for about an hour.
--->Add the heavy whipping cream, Remove the Bay Leaf and blend again.
---> Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serves 8-10.

I doubled the recipe and it served more than 20. Really tasty. I had made bread bowls to drink this in, I will upload those recipes one by one....
Try and use fresh ingredients, the more you resort to canned and dry spices, the less tastier...
I used 1 small can of tomatoes and 2 fresh tomatoes....
USE fresh garlic, dont buy the aready peeled ones from the store....
That is a Harley Davidson cake and it was WICKED.......

Friday, April 24, 2009

Asian Salad

I got bored of making the same salad everytime, so I called Chef Shiyam, and this is his recipe.
For the dressing
Garlic - 1 whole garlic, peeled
Black Sesame Seeds - 2 Teaspoons
Red chillies 2
Chinese Sesame Oil - 2 Tablespoons
Young Ginger - 1" Piece, peeled and grated
For The Salad
Napa Cabbage - 1 Big Size, chopped in ribbons
2 Carrots - Peeled and then peel the carrot in ribbons and add in salad bowl
Glass Noodles - 2 handfuls
Spinach - 1 handful - optional
--->In an aluminium foil add the garlic, red chillies, sesame seeds and put in a toaster oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes
--->Once it cools, put it in a mortar and grind it well, add the oil and ginger to this and make a thick paste.
--->Now add the napa cabbage to the salad bowl, add the carrrots and this paste and add salt as needed and mix well, if you like you can add the spinach for some color
--->Just before eating cook the glass noodles according to instructions on the box and toss it in to the salad....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Filter Coffee

I saw a lot of filter coffee posts on the net, all of them are good and pretty much the same method I use also, but since I also drink it, I thought I must add my version to this list.

Let me tell you about my Filter, I take it with me, where ever I travel, along with the coffee powder. Recently at Newark Airport, I had to take an early morning flight back to Atlanta.
I had just made Filter Coffee in the morning and had washed the filter immediately and packed, the security guard looked at in the Xray and asked what kind of contraption it was, and I said, it is a coffee filter, and sure enough he opened it and could smell the coffee and he was intrigued .... :)

Now lets read the instructions,
You will need a filter for this, it has 4 parts, the cover, the press, the bottom, and the top with the holes. I grind my own coffee beans with a Braun Coffee Grinder. I buy the Millstone Columbia Supremo coffee beans, and grind what I need every day. (Yes, I do this EVERY morning). To use the powder in the filter, it has to be super fine.

For 2 people to drink coffee
You need
Coffee Powder - 3 Table spoons
Milk - 2 Cups
Sugar - as needed
Boiling Water - 1/2 cup
---> Take the Coffee powder, and press in to the top part of the filter and use the press to press it down well
---> The water should be boiling water, and should be poured s-lo-wl-y over it
---> Cover the filter
In 5 to 10 minutes you should have the decoction
---> Take 1 cup of milk in a microwaveble pyrex glass cup and heat it well
--->Pour the milk frothy in a cup
and mix in 1/2 the decoction in it and add the sugar and you can have coffee
and repeat the same instructions for the second cup of coffee.

That is my favorite cup to have coffee. My family in India, tell me that I drink it in a jug, but I prefer to call it a cup :)

I liked these two posts on filter coffee also,