Friday, August 26, 2016

Vendakka Kari (aka) ladies finger (aka) okra dry curry

Macro Nutrition Facts

For 1100 grams of Okra which is about 2.4 pounds, I usually use about 6 teaspoons of oil (including the amount of oil used for brushing the pan.
After Cooking, this reduces to about 650 grams, which can serve about 5 people, for 130 grams per serving.
For a 130 gram serving, the Calories are 111 and the Macros are 
Fat (g)   4.8
Carbs (g) 16.4
Protein (g) 4.2

It's called Ladies finger in India and okra in the US. The kind you get in India is longer and the ones you get here in the US is shorter. 

In the greater Atlanta region, you can find the Indian version in many Indian stores. 

In the South Indian cuisine, we make a dry curry with this, or use it in 'sambar' or Vathakuzhambu' or make a 'daangar' which is kind of like a raita.

To make this dry curry, if you want it to be crunchy, you have to wash the okra ahead of time, preferably a day ahead and wrap it in a towel. 

Cut the okra in pieces like these. 
If you have a cast iron pan, please use that. If not, you can use a regular kadai or a nonstick pan. Although a cast iron pan makes it tastier.
I oil the pan with a teaspoon of oil and brush it around. And keep the flame on a medium and once the pan is hot, toss the okra on it. 

Toss it around gently, without mashing the vegetable.

Don't crowd the pan. Make it in two batches if necessary.

For every 100 grams of ladies finger, you can use half a teaspoon of oil (approximately).

And just toss it around, very gently, every 10 minutes without breaking the okra.

After about 20 ~ 25 minutes, when you see the juices have come out of the vegetable and it has started shrinking add enough salt and some turmeric powder. I don't add any red chili powder to this. I feel it takes away the flavor of the vegetable. But if you like it that way, you can add some at this point.

After the salt/ turmeric is blended in to the okra about 10~ 15 minutes after you added, the okra is done. 

Sometimes I just leave it like that, and sometimes I season this with oil and mustard seeds.

This is a side dish which can accompany rasam, sambar or morkuzhambu or just curd rice. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Vazhaikai Podi (to mix with rice)

You need raw green bananas to make this. There shouldn't be any hint of sweetness. 
You need 
2 raw green bananas
Dhania (coriander seeds)
Red chilies 
Chana dal
Tamarind (optional) (very little)

The ratio of Chana dal, dhaniya, red chilies is 1:1.5:1.5
You steam the bananas, peel them.
Roast the spices
Grind them with tamarind (I didn't use any cos it Tames the spiciness) 
Take it out and keep aside
Put the bananas in the mixer. 
Now put the spices you ground back in to the mixie and run it one more time.
Just garnish with curry leaves.

Mix with hot rice and eat.

Traditionally they powder this in an ammi (a stone grinder). It's obviously more tastier If hand pounded. 

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!! 

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.