Thursday, October 20, 2011

Manoharam --- a Traditional Sweet made in Tamilian Homes

This sweet is traditionally made for weddings. If you notice two cone shaped objects placed in front of the bride and groom, decorated in foil and flowers, this is what is inside of it. I attempted this for Diwali.
You have to make the Thenkuzhal first. And when you make it, do not add the salt and the Jeera to it. Make it Bland.

What you need to make Thenkuzhal:
Rice Flour : 4 Cup
Urad Flour : 1/4 Cup
Butter -  1/2 Cup Softened to Room Temperature
Water : As Needed

When You deep fry the thenkuzhal, take it out when it becomes crisp. It will not brown much, because it does not have salt in it.

To make the Paagu:
Jaggery - 2 cups
Water - 1/4 of a cup and little more

Bring the water and Jaggery to a boil, and strain through a strainer to get the dirt out. When it comes to a thick liquid like consistency, you can put a drop in a small bowl of water, you should be ale to rotate it, with two fingers and make a ball. At that time, switch the stove off, and take it off the stove.

From here, you are ready to make the Manoharam:

In batches, take about two cups of crushed thenkuzhal, and mix about 1/2 cup of the paagu in it, let it set for a few mins and then you should be able to make small balls of it.

I made about 19 Urundais of Manoharam with half of the Thenkuzhal I made.

With the second batch of Manoharam, I was not lucky, The paagu was too thick for it,and it kind of did not set well at all and I ended up with some loose Manoharams. they taste great, but it is like sweet boondi...
 Hey, you can't win them all :))
This is what they look like....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Broccoli Canneloni Pasta

Note: The recipe calls for Ricotta Cheese, but my kids don't like the taste so I substituted Mozzarella instead. If you like Ricotta, then go ahead with it.
Serves 4

You Need
Olive Oil  - 2 Tbsp
Canneloni Tubes - 12
Broccoli Florets - 4 Cups
Bread Crumbs - 1 and 1/2 Cup
Milk - 2/3 cup
Olive Oil for brushing  -- as needed
Mozzarella Cheese - 1 cup
Nutmeg - a pinch
Parmesan or Pecorino - 6 Tbsp
Pine Nuts - 2 Tbsp
Freshly ground Black Pepper

For Tomato Sauce

Olive Oil - 2 Tbsp
Onion (large) - finely chopped
Garlic Clove -1 Crushed
14oz can of chopped tomatoes- 2
Tomato Paste - 1 Tbsp
Black Olives - 4 (chopped)
Dried Thyme - 1 Tsp 

Make the Broccoli Stuffing
---> Steam / Boil the Broccoli until tender but not mushy. and let cool
---> In a food processor, process Broccoli until smooth.
---> Place bread crumbs in bowl, add milk and oil and stir until soft, add the cheese, broccoli puree, nutmeg, and grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese and season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Make the Sauce
--->Heat oil in a frying pan, add onions and garlic, cook for 5 to 6 mins until soft, stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, black olives and thyme. Add Salt and pepper to season and boil for 2 to 3 mins and pour in to oven dish. (leave some to pour on top of the pasta)

Cook the Pasta
---> Bring a large pot water to boil, add olive oil, salt to it. Once it comes to rolling boil, add the pasta  and cook according to package directions.
--->  Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water to prevent from sticking.

Stuff the Pasta
---> Spoon the broccoli mixture in to a pastry tube or a Ziploc bag (with a hole cut in) and fill in the cannelloni tubes, standing each one to upright, Do Not Overfill.

Bake It
---> Preheat to 375 deg F. Lightly grease one big oven proof dish with olive oil (big enough to hold all the tubes)---> Lay the tubes in the dish over the sauce , Brush the top of pasta with olive oil,and pour some sauce over the pasta, and sprinkle pine nuts. You can sprinkle some mozzarella cheese on top too.
--->Bake it for 25 to 30 mins until golden.

and Serve it HOT !!!

Mango / Avocado Salad

Mango / Avocado Salad

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1 Ripe Mango -- 1/2 sliced length wise in slit in half
1 Ripe avocado-- 1/2 sliced length wise in slit in half
1 JalapeƱo - 1/2
Red Leaf Lettuce -- 8 to 10 leaves
Walnuts - 1 handful, chopped
1 cucumber - slit in half and sliced.
Salt - as needed
Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
1/2 Lemon - squeezed
Ground Pepper - 1/2 teaspoon

Just toss everything in and serve chilled.

Basic Tomato Soup

Basic tomato soup.

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You will need:

1 32 oz can tomatoes (I usually buy the 365 brand from whole foods)
1 box vegetable broth (I usually buy the 365 brand from whole foods)
5 ripe tomatoes (chopped)
1 Teaspoon pepper
20 cloves garlic (chopped in 2)
1 big onion or 2 small ones (cubed)
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt - as needed

The Process:

In a pan, heat the oil, and add the cumin when the oil is hot, let it sputter and then add the garlic, onion and saute for 5 to 6 mins on a medium flame, then add the bay leaves, pepperand then add the tomatoes and the can tomatoes. Let it all come to a rolling boil, add the salt.

At this point, I usually transfer the contents in to a pressure cooker and give it 2 whistles. If you dont want to do that, keep on a medium flame and then keep on simmer for at least 20 mins, to let it all come together. But make sure the water doesnt evaporate and burn it down. You can add an extra cup of water so it does not happen.

Once the pressure is off, in the pressure cooker / or after 20 mins in the pan,
Fish the bay leaves out and then add the vegetable broth to this and with an immersion hand blender blend it all in to a smooth puree. If you don't have an immersion blender, use a food processor to blend it.

Add a little water if its a little thick for you, and taste for salt; serve with croutons...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Arisi Upma --- Broken Rice Upma

This is almost the same as Upma Kozhukattai

You can follow the recipe until you add water to the ingredients and then continue to cook it until it cooks fully. My mom would keep the stove on a low fire and let it roast underneath to create a crisp layer. It is called an adai, not to be confused with the other adai (lentil dosa). I had this for lunch with some Rasathu Vandal, another Awesome Combination.

Maple Syrup Buttermilk Bread

I have been baking bread since I bought my Zojirushi bread maker in Jan 2004. Most of my friends who own a bread maker, warned me that, even though they bought one, it ended up in storage, cos something or the other wouldn't work out and they end up buying bread again. To tell the truth, I have bought store bread once in the last 7 years, and my family hated it. I still buy bread for Pav bhaji and an occasional french bread, but for the sandwiches I make for my kids and the toasts, it is all homemade  bread. Once you try this, I am sure you will  agree and hopefully enjoy baking as much as I do.

Homemade bread also does not have any addtives or preservatives.

   I think I have mentioned this book in my previous blog posts, The Bread Lovers Bread Machine Cookbook.  There are tons of recipes in the book, and this recipe is one our family favorites.

About Maple syrup, I use the original maple syrup, not maple flavored corn syrup. This makes a huge difference in the taste. And always use Grade B for Baking, remember B for Baking. Grade A is used as an accompaniment to waffles etc. A is for Amber, it is generally lighter in color.
About Bread Flour, It is not all purpose flour. I use King Arthur Brand Bread Flour, available in most stores in the USA. I also mix in White Wheat Flour. The ratio I like to use is a 1/2 wheat 1/2 white or 1/3 wheat and 2/3 white, depending on the recipe.
About Gluten, it is basically wheat flour, which is found in the innermost part of the grain and has a higher protein level. This can be brought wholesale from amazon store and can be kept in freezer for a year.
If you have a bread machine, and plan to bake this in that,  please use the exact measurements and try not to  substitute any ingredients.
If baking by hand, you can substitute some, but make sure you have a really sturdy ball of dough, it shouldn't be loose or very dry. (use a regular loaf pan for this).
About Salt, I prefer to use Sea Salt for baking. I buy mine from Costco.
About Yeast, I use the SAF brand, I buy it from amazon, and store it in the freezer. If you become a regular baker like me (an average of two loaves a week) this will come for 6 months.

For a 1 and 1/2 pound loaf.
Water                              1 cup + 1 Tbsp
Unsalted Melted Butter     1 and 1/2 Tbsp
Maple Syrup                     3 Tbsp
Bread Flour                       3 cups or Bread Flour 2 cups and white Wheat Flour 1 cup (healthier)
Dry Buttermilk powder      1/3 cup (if baking by hand, u can use real buttermilk and add in little extra flour)
Gluten                                1 Tbsp
Salt                                    1 and 1/2 Tsp
Yeast                                  1 and 3/4th Tsp

If baking by Machine, just add all ingredients in the same order and set the machine to a regular loaf setting according to your machine instructions.

If baking by hand, u can substitute the real buttermilk for the powder.  and make a nice sturdy dough and knead for at least 20 minutes. Roll in to a loaf shape and in a oil sprayed loaf pan, place the dough.
 For added effect, you can just sprinkle some oatmeal on top.
Other variations can be adding some flax seeds or sunflower seeds or kneading them directly in to the dough also works...and let rise for at least 45 minutes.
Once the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350 Deg F, and let it bake for 45 minutes.
After it has baked, you can check the temperature of the bread, it should register 200 Deg F, which means it has cooked all through.

This makes a really good french toast bread.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Golu 2010

This post was meant to be published in October 2010!!
As usual I did have two parties and the menu was almost the same for both the parties....

Menu on Day 1

Javvarisi (sabudana) Payasam
Neer Mor (Diluted Buttermilk)
Microwave Aplams
Potato chips (bought)
Coconut Chutney
Red Bell Pepper Chutney
Gun Powder mixed with oil
Spinach Rice
Lemon Rice
Potato Curry
Chapathi (catered)
Panner with Bell Pepper
Eggplant and Peanut Gravy

Menu on Day2

Javvarisi (sabudana) Payasam
Neer Mor (Diluted Buttermilk)
Microwave Aplams
Potato chips (bought)
Kanjeevaram Idli
Coconut Chutney
Red Bell Pepper Chutney
Gun Powder mixed with oil
Vathakuzhambu Sadham

Potato Curry

I had a lot of help from my friends and neighbors, Madhu, Suman, Priya, and my sister in law Bairavi.......
It would have been impossible, if not for all of them...


  and Sophie --- upset because we left her in doggie day care for a day due to Golu!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Palak Wadi ---- Healthy (Iron Rich )Green Squares

                                     Collard Greens Wadi
I learnt this from my friend's (Priya) mom, Mrs.Anjali Ambekar. Traditionally this is made with Spinach. My cousin Aparna gave me two big bunches of Collard Greens, which she got for under a dollar, back in November I think. This was the first thing which came to my mind. Even though it is time consuming, it is worth it. It is essentially a finger food, can be had as an appetizer or as a side to Rotis or Pulav.
For an appetizer, Maggi Hot and Sweet Sauce tastes great with it. It can be made ahead of time. It also freezes well too. This tastes best with Spinach, but since I had collard greens, made it with that.
  Please try this with Spinach, for best results...                      
Collard Greens Wadi

                                                              Step  by Step Photos

You will need
 One Bunch Collard Greens (which will amount to approximately 8 cups of greens)
Gram Flour - 1 and 1/2 cups
Rice Flour - 3/4th cup
Salt - 3 teaspoons (more or less, as you may need)
Chili Powder - 4 Teaspoons )more if you can handle spice)
Coriander Powder - 3 Tablespoons
Haldi Powder - 2  Teaspoons
 Oil -- 3 to 4 teaspoons
Red Chili - 2 or 3
Urad Dal - 2 Teaspoons
-----> Wash and drain the collard greens and pat dry.
-----> Chop them in to small strips and keep in a big bowl.
----->  Run them through the food processor once, if you feel the pieces are all too big.
------> Add all the spices to this along with the flour and start to mix with your hand, the mixture should be dry but still bind together.
-----> In a flat vessel, put some oil and spread it all around so the mixture wont stick to the bottom
------> Place this in a steamer and steam for 15 minutes.
------> Let cool and then cut in squares
------> put these squares on a flat pan and grill them lightly so they get a bit roasted on both sides
------> Put the roasted squares in a serving bowl or a box if you plan to serve them later
When you are ready to serve, heat the squares first and then
------> In a dry Kadai, add oil, and when it gets hot, add the mustard seeds, red chili and urad dal
------> When the dal gets roasted pour it over tge warm squares...

Happy 2011

Wanted to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year...

I wanted to apologize for not being prompt about posting entries...I have so many dishes that I want to post but really couldnt  because of the lack of time. I intend to post more recipes this year.

We made a new addition to our family! Sophie aka SoppiKannu

We got her in July of 2010 and she is one of the best decisions we made...

Sophie in December 2010, 9 months old
 We adopted her from a shelter in Charlotte and she is one of the reasons that I have not been posting any new recipes... We think she is a mix of Rhodesian Ridgeback and German Shephered.

Now that she is little over 10 months old, I hope to have more time to post entries on this blog...