Thursday, November 12, 2015

Gothumai Alwa

Okay, first things first. We call it alwa, not 'Halwa'. Now that, that is clear, we can move on to the recipe.

Have to mention my aunt Mrs Kamakshi and my cousin Priya for making this alwa along with me on skype and showing recipe, step by step! Thank you both :)

This recipe makes about 2 cups of alwa. 

You need whole wheat for this. It's called 'samba gothumai' in Tamil. It's available in the Indian stores as 'Haleem Wheat'. I don't like alwa made out of wheat flour. 

Whole wheat 1/2 cup
Water 3 and 1/2 cup water (basically 7 times whole wheat)
Sugar 1 and 1/4 cup+ 1/8th of a cup ( if you like it sweeter, make it 1 and 1/2 cup sugar)
Ghee 1 cup ghee ( keep a bit more handy)
Cardamom 1/2 teaspoon

The first step is to soak the whole wheat overnight. 
Drain the soaked wheat.
Go ahead and grind the water and the soaked wheat in your wet grinder if you have one, for at least 45 minutes to an hour. 

If you don't have a wet grinder, you can use your blender or mixie to do this. Just make sure it's super smooth.

Prepare the tray you are going to pour the alwa with ghee. Spread the ghee so that it covers the tray fully. 

Strain the mixture through a fine strainer and try and squeeze out al the juice from the leftover pulp.

Add the sugar, saffron and cardamom to this mixture.
Pour this in a heavy bottomed pan. On a medium flame, keep stirring this mixture,. 
Be prepared to be near the stove for a good 45 minutes. 

I've taken pictures every 10 minutes. So you can see the difference. 

Every 10 minutes add a generous ladle of ghee, when you reach around  40 minutes, you should be able to see the ghee oozing out of the alwa. This means, it's ready to be poured on the tray.

In the last 15 minutes, you will notice that the mixture starts bubbling and coming together. When you mix it, it should cling to the spoon. 

At this point, the alwa is done. 
Pour it out on the tray. 
Enjoy it hot! You will be able to cut it in pieces once it sets. 

This can be stored for at least a week, but be sure to microwave it a bit before eating for maximum taste. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Kathrikai Gothsu

This is an easy to make side dish for idli, Dosai, Arisi upma and pongal.

And it's the best side dish for Idli! 

It's best if you can find the medium sized soft Indian brinjals. Otherwise an Italian eggplant that's soft to touch will work very well. 
You start with roasting the eggplant directly on fire. I've done them in the oven wrapped in aluminum foil when my apartment stove had electric coils. But have to say the charred taste of the eggplant is the best. So if you have a gas stove, please do them on the stove. I have a grill that I use only for this purpose! 
Make sure the Brinjal is cooked all over, cos if that's uncooked, it's going to taste bad.
To make gothsu for 2 people that love gothsu and eat more gothsu than idlies, You need:

Two really big and soft (Italian) eggplants, charred, peeled, and mashed with hand.
Oil-- 2 tsp
Mustard seeds -- 1/2 tsp
Green chili -- 4 or 5 
Tamarind -- lime sized 
Red chili -- 1
Curry leaves - few
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida -- 1/4 tsp

If you have a kalchetti, it works very well. Otherwise an heavy bottomed vessel will work.
---> soak the tamarind in about a cup of warm water and let it sit
---> during this time, take out your kalchetti and revel in its beauty :) 
---> take a break and put the brinjals on a medium flame, you could put two on the same flame if you have a big stove or do it one by one.
--->Make sure to turn them around so they get charred all over.
---> keep aside and let cool and use this time again to admire the beauty of your kalchetti( if you have one) 
--->mash the tamarind and squeeze the pulp, and add some more water to this
---> scoop out the pulp from the charred brinjals and mash it and mix it with the tamarind 
--->break the chillis in to two and keep all the other things handy near the stove
You could chop them but it makes the gothsu super spicy. 
--->On a medium flame, add some oil in the kalchetti. Let it get hot. Once it's hot, add the mustard seeds. Let them sputter.
---> now add the chillies, curry leaves, hing, turmeric powder and reduce the flame and now add the tamarind brinjal mixture to the kal chetti
---> add some salt and let it come to one boil,
---> this should not be boiling too much..
---> make some super soft idlies or dosai and enjoy it :)

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oven Roasted Potatoes

One large Potato cut in cubes 
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp kara Podi (chili Powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
Two pinches of Perungayam (Asafoetida)
Pre heat the oven to 425F
Mix the oil, podi, salt, turmeric powder and Perungayam well. 
Toss the cubes in them and spread them on a tray.
Put them in for 15 minutes @ 425F and hi broil for about 6 minutes

Came across this article on making crispy potatoes. It is recommended that you par-boil the potatoes before you put them in the oven. Since I just made one potato and had it as soon as it was done, it was very crispy and not leathery at all. When I make a big batch of potatoes, I will try par-boiling them.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Thattai (a crunchy savory snack)

This is my favorite snack ever! Uses very simple ingredients but you won't be able to stop with one.
I have used Meenakshi ammal's Pachai Arisi Thattai recipe here.
Two main ingredients are Rice flour and Urad flour
Ready made rice flour is easily available everywhere now.
Urad flour is available too, if you don't find it, just dry toast some urad dal and let. lol, grind to a fine powder and run through a sieve.
I made two kinds today

Regular Thattai made with red chili powder. 
Makes 50 thattais (approx)
Rice flour - 2 cups
Urad Flour- 2 tbsp
Ghee- 2 tbsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp and a pinch
Red chili powder - 3/4 tsp
Water- 1 cup and two tbsp 
Chana dal (soaked for half hour) - 1 and 1/2 tbsp 
Curry leaves - 7 or 8
Oil- enough to deep fry

Start by sieving both the flours and the chili powder through a strainer or a sifter. Add the ghee, chili powder and salt, ghee, Chana dal and curry leaves. Mix it well. Add the water in and make it a moist dough. 
Cover it with a wet cloth so the dough won't get dry.
Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan. If you have an electric fryer set the temperature to 400 deg.
Once the oil is hot you are ready to start making it.
Take a plastic sheet (I used a used ziploc bag)
Oil it well. Keep some water in a small bowl near by. 

Make about a dime sized ball from the dough. Dip your fingers in the water and flatten the dough to a round circular shape. Make a batch of 6 or 8 and slowly drop them one by one in the hot oil. 
After a minute or two, turn them and let them cook. The Thattai is ready when it is a nice Holden red in color and it makes a hard noise when you lift it with your ladle.
Repeat the same process until you run out of dough.

You can make a different variation of this using Black pepper. Coarse grind about 1 tbsp of black pepper in a mortar and use it instead of red chili powder. Everything else stays the same.
The ones on the left is made with black pepper. 
Happy Snacking!!