Thursday, October 23, 2014

KaraSev (Spicy Savory)

Kara Sev! 

This is a spicy kind of savory that tastes so good just by itself or with tea 
It is very crunchy and yummy!

This recipe is from Meenakshi Ammal's 'Samauthu Par'. 

The proportion of Kadala mavu (Chick Pea Flour)  to Arisi Mavu (Rice Flour) is 4:1

You need 
Kadala Mavu (Chick Pea Flour/ Besan) 2 cups 
Arisi mavu (Rice flour) 1/2 cup
Fennel Seeds 1 tsp
Black Pepper 1 tablespoon (more if you like spicier)
Red Chili 7 big ones 
Butter (melted) 1 table spoon
Salt 1 and 1/2 teaspoons 
Garlic cloves 2 (optional)
Water as needed
Oil to deep fry 


Start by making a coarse powder of black pepper and red chillies in your mixer
Then make a paste of the garlic, you can add a bit of water to this. If there are any big pieces, remove them by hand so they won't get stuck and close the hole of the achu

Mix the dry stuff first and then add the fennel seeds, the salt and the spices
And then add the water, little by little to make a thick dough.
I also added a few drops of hot oil to the dough. 

Add some oil in a thick bottomed pan and keep on a med hi flame
Make sure the heat stays steady through out the process 
Pinch a small ball of dough in to hot oil to check if the oil is ready.
If the oil is hot enough, it should rise back  up to the top instantly.

You are now ready to start making 'kara sev'!

I used a 3 hole 'achu'  and just press the dough on to the hot oil.
Once it's in the oil, take a. Stainless steel ladle and break off the kara sev in to pieces 
This will make it crispier
And the Kara Sev is done when it turns golden brown and is 'silent' 
Remove and let cool 

For the measurement I used, it filled up a 6 cup box.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Manga Thokku / Raw Mango Pickle

This is one of my favorite pickle. Goes very well with plain curd rice! You need raw green mangoes for this. Takes less than 20 minutes to make at home. And way more healthier than any store bought pickle. 

I use a food processor to grate the mangoes. You could do it by hand too.
3 raw mangoes ------ grated
Sesame Oil -------- 6 tablespoons Oil for the last step
                   -------- 2 tsps oil in the beginning
Red Chili powder -----this depends on your spice level, I've used 6 tablespoons
Salt-------4 teaspoons more or  less
Perungayam(hing) 1/2 teaspoons
Vendaya Podi (fenugreek powder) 1 teaspoons
Mustard seeds ---- 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder -- 4 

In a kadai, low to med flame, add 2 tsp oil, once it gets hot, add the grated mangoes
Just spread the mangoes slowly so the oil coats over all of it
In about 5 minutes, you will notice the mangoes have wilted and lose some color
Keep stirring every 5 minutes
In 10 minutes, give it one more stir, and add some of the salt
It will keep cooking

In about 15 minutes, spread the mangoes flat in the kadai and split in to four and add the spices on top
 in a different vessel, add the rest of the oil, and let it get hot on a medium flame.
Add the mustard seeds, and once it starts bursting add the red chilies and once all the mustard seeds have tempered, pour this hot oil on to the mangoes and quickly spread the oil so it coats all over the mango mixture
Leave t on for 5 more minutes on a low flame and you will see the mangoes and oil mix well and the oil will come through the holes in your ladle. And it will also let some oil out. That means it's done. 
Enjoy this with good decent curd rice
Let cool in the kadai and once it's Ll cooled transfer in to a glass bottle and make sure water does not touch the pickle. Guard it well :)
And if you have some white rice put in the empty kadai and mix well and enjoy pickle rice :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Papaya Salsa

It's as simple as can be.
I used a food processor cos I wanted to finish making it fast. You can dice everything and put it together too.

I used
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp of diced red onion
3/4 of an orange Serrano Pepper
1 handful of yellow cherry tomatoes
1 and 1/2 cups of cubed papaya
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vinegar
Salt about 1/4 tsp (a little more of u need)
2 tsp chopped Cilantro 

Assemble your food processor
Start with the garlic 
Chop that
Then add each of the above one by one 
And pulse for a 10 secs
Garnish with chopped cilantro

Tastes great as a side for Nachos, Tacos, Butritos. 

Tip: i added a whole Serrano Pepper and it turned out a little more spicy than I expected it to be. Depending on the sweetness of the papaya, adjust the amount of the pepper and the amount if Lemon Juice. 
You can add half or 3/4 th of a regular tomato instead of the yellow tomatoes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tofu Lasagna

Total time 1 hour
Prep time 30 minutes
Oven time 30 minutes
Rest time 30 minutes atleast. 

There are a lots of versions of lasagna on the web. My daughter loves lasagna and is lactose intolerant. So I set about trying some recipes. 

I have to mention Anu Srinivasan here ( Was talking to her and she suggested to add some almond milk to the tofu while making the Bechamel Sauce. I took her suggestion and tried making it the traditional way of making the sauce. Then I made some more changes to the recipe. 

My version of the Bechamel sauce doesn't involve the stove cos I thought no point in firing up the stove if I blend the tofu and milk in the food processor itself. Since it's all already cooked and it's going to go in the oven for 30 minutes, that is enough to get it nice and thick. So I will call it tofu Sauce

This is a kind of a mixture of many recipes. Pretty easy but a little time consuming. It takes about 25 minutes to make the vegetable sauce. 5 minutes to make the tofu sauce.

As a first step, boil the lasagna according to instructions on the box. I haven't tried the oven ready lasagna. I always use the ones that need to be boiled.

I made 12 strips for this recipe. You will use 11 approximately.  I put one extra if one breaks. 

It will be easier if you have a food processor or a hand blender or a regular blender.

For the vegetable sauce, you can use any veggies you want. I add mushrooms sometimes. My daughter loves celery so I always add that.  Today I have added

1 zucchini
4 stalks of celery
1/2 of Chinese Eggplant
2 cups of spinach leaves
5 tomatoes (2 beef steak tomatoes  and 3 Roma tomatoes)
1 Onion
6 cloves of garlic 
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tsp of oregano
1/4 of paprika
1 tsp of sea salt
3 heaped tsp of tomato paste (optional)

All the vegetables have to chopped into small pieces so that it will be easy to eat the lasagna.

If you have a food processor, just chop the tomatoes and put it in and purée that.

In a heavy bottomed pan, on a medium to high flameadd the oil and when that heats up, add the chopped garlic and onion. In about 4 mins they should be getting translucent, now add the chopped Zuchchini, Eggplant and celery and keep stirring. After about four minutes add the chopped spinach and the salt. Let it all mix and stir for a minute. Now add the puréed tomatoes, and the paste. Mix it well and reduce the heat a bit. Add the oregano and paprika, mix well and let It simmer for 10 mins.

For the tofu Sauce

You need two packets of Firm tofu 
Some lactaid. (I have used almond milk also)
Bit of salt
Bit of crushed red pepper (so it won't be too bland)

Wash the food processor if you want your 'tofu sauce' to be white. 
Just drain the tofu, no need to completely drain
Chop them in to big pieces and add to the food processor
And while it's running add the lactaid, salt and crushed red pepper and run until it becomes thick and creamy. 
Your tofu sauce is ready!!!

Now you can start assembling!!

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

I have used 3 small Pyrex glass containers and one really small glass container. 
You can choose to make it in a bigger pan. I like to make it like this cos you end up having leftovers and this way you can just put it in the freezer. Once it's to room temperature that is. 

Since these containers are small I have cut the strips in to two.

For every Pyrex container you will use 6 cut strips.
Start with two spoons of sauce in the bottom

*Layer 2 strips, 2 spoons of sauce, 2spoons of tofu spread them*
On top I just put a bit of veggie shreds, they are lactose free.

Put all of them in the oven for 30 minutes. (I have already put one in the oven)
Let it rest for a good 45 minutes, it will be easier to cut the lasagna.

I guarantee that you won't miss the cheese. 
This recipe is lactose free!
It can be vegan is you use almond milk or soy milk instead of Lactaid.
And use Soy cheese instead of the lactose free cheese.
Cheese is optional.
I usually serve it with a nice homemade dinner roll :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014



(Ribbon Bakoda pictured with kesari)

Ribbon Bakoda is also called ribbon for obvious reasons! It's an easy to make snack. It's crunchy, salty and deep fried. Now how can it not taste great!
I followed the recipe from Meenakshi Ammal's 'Samaithu Paar' which translates to 'Cook and See'. It is a bible for Tambrahm Cooking.
Here goes!
You need
Oil to deep fry and this 
Gadget called achu for pushing the dough on to the oil. It's available for $15 dollars at any Indian store. It comes with different achus to make all kinds of snacks from the book!
I have two kinds, the one on the left is easier to handle. The one on the right is a traditional achu.

The dough you make has to be made a little dry but not too dry. 
You need:
2 cups Kadala Mavu(Besan/Chickpea flour)
1 cup Arisi Mavu (Rice flour)
1 1/4 tsp Salt
1 heaped tsp Kara Podi (Chili Powder)
3 pinches  Perungayam (Asafoetida)
1 tablespoons Ghee or Unsalted Butter
Put the salt and chili powder in 1/4 cup water and let the salt mix well in the water

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl
Add the salt and chili powder to this
Keep some extra water on hand and knead until the dough becomes a bit thick like puri dough

In a thick bottomed pan, add oil.
On a medium flame, let the oil become hot.
To check of the oil is ready insert a wooden spoon in, you should see bubbles coming out or put a small ball of dough in the oil and you should see it rise to the top. 
Keep the flame in the same temperature.
Put the dough in the achu and push some out in to the oil.

It's done when it's a nice golden brown all over. 

Makes a great evening snack!
In my house we also have it as a side for curd rice!! 

Make sure you have time to make the ribbon once the dough is done. 
Is the dough rests for a while the Bakoda might become oily

Monitor the oil temp through out. If the oil gets too hot then the ribbon will become black. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Nellikai Thokku (Amla Pickle) Version 2

Nellikai is Gooseberry in English and Amla in Hindi, thokku with regards to a dish, in tamil means to be mashed.

I already have a Amla Pickle recipe here. This is a drier version of that.
Since I dont have access to fresh gooseberries, I use frozen ones.
If you get fresh gooseberries, you would wash them, pat dry and cut and either directly move to step num 3
(this takes more oil but lasts longer)
or  pressure cook first (this takes lesser oil compared to the above but if you are like me, the pickle may not last more than a month, (in the bottle, I mean))

Sesame oil is optional, I love the flavor it brings to the pickle, you can use any oil you prefer.
The Chili Powder I use to make pickles is from Hyderabad. It gives it a good color and is equally spicy.You can use any chili powder, you have access to.

To make the thokku with two standard frozen bags you need.

2 bags of Frozen gooseberries / Amla/ Nellikai
3 Tablespoons Indian Sesame oil or Gingelly oil
2 tsp of Mustard seeds
4 Dry Red chilies
Salt as needed
Chili powder - approx 1/4 of the amount of Cooked Gooseberries
Methi Seeds - 1 tsp or Methi Powder
Hing - a generous 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1 tsp

-----> Put the frozen gooseberries along with a  2 tsp of salt and pressure cook them.
----> Once the pressure is down, you wait for the amlas to cool down and patiently take out the seeds, otherwise it may bother you by taking more space in the jar
Always cook in Med Flame 
----> In a kadai, add the oil and let it heat up and once its hot add the mustard seeds and let them burst
----> Add the dry red chili , methi seeds, turmeric powder, and hing and immediately add the de-seeded gooseberries to it and start to mix everything well
----> In a few minutes, everything will be incorportated in to the pickle, now mix it up with your ladle and divvy the mixture in to four parts and add the chili powder so that it covers 1/4 of the mixture completely. If you like it spicy, then add a little more for good measure, add about 1 tsp of salt and mix and taste for salt and if necessary you can add more.
----> In under 15 minutes, you will notice the gooseberries start to wilt and it will be easy to mash them up.
----> At this point, turn off the stove and let cool
----> Transfer the pickle to a dry jar and keep it in a cool place
Make sure you dont insert a wet spoon and nothing falls in to the jar accidentaly. This will make sure the pickle doesnt go bad. Made this way, you can use little oil and not feel guilty about eating pickle!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

You say Pakoda, I say Bakoda

Bakoda is a nice crispy snack and pretty easy to make. It makes a great appetizer.
My mom would make all kinds of Bakodas. Coriander Bakoda, Mint bakoda, Cashew Bakoda and ofcourse, the famous onion Bakoda. 

Today I have used onions, a bit of methi, a bit of coriander and some cashews.

For about 8 to 10 servings you need:
Chopped onions - 4 cups
Salt- 1.5 tsp (I use sea salt in my cocking, pls adjust the salt measurements according to the salt u use)

First chop the onions and add the salt and mix it well and keep it aside for 10 mins. You will see that the onions let out water because of the salt.

In the mean while, keep the oil on the stove on a medium high flame. 

Now add 
1 and 1/2 cups of gram flour
1 and 1/12 cups of rice flour
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of chili powder
6 or 7 green chilies chopped
* I added a handful of chopped coriander leaves and methi leaves, this is optional
2 strands of fresh curry leaves
2 tsp of ghee

Mix everything well. Do not add any extra water, keep mixing it and u will see that it becomes a thick paste like dough. 

Check if the oil is ready by adding a small ball of the dough to it. It should come up and start to get golden brown in color. 

Once u see that it's ready, pinch the dough on to the oil. Bakodas should be shapeless and that's how they get crispy.