Friday, 30 April 2010

Happy weekend!!!

Vaazhaikai bajji/ arati kaya bjjilu/ Raw plantain fritters


In Madurai, at around 4'O clock in the evening, every small tea shop and hotels will have this snack. They serve it with coconut chutney. Vaazhaikai bajji and coconut chutney- a super yum combo !!!. I personally love this bajji than any other bajji preparation. The soft meat of raw plantain covered with a crispy outer coat of batter will keep anybody longing for more and when it is served with coconut chutney- hmmmmmm I have no words to describe it. I love the smell of raw plantain. If you are  a person who love the smell of raw plantain and its taste this recipe is for you.

Ingredients :

Raw plantain (Indian variety)- 2 nos
Bengal gram flour (kadalai maavu, chenaga pindi)- 11/2 cup
Rice flour (arisi maavu, biyappindi)- 1/4 cup
Baking soda- 1/2 tspn (optional)
Asafoetida- 1/4 tspn
Chilli powder- 2 tspn (adjust according to your taste)
Salt to taste 
Oil for deep frying

Method :

Take bengal gram flour, rice flour, asafoetida powder, red chilli powder and salt in a vessel and mix together. Now add enogh water to make a batter similar in consistency to dosa batter. Cut raw plantains as shown in the picture into a thin stripe (no need to remove the skin...I love them with skin intact as it is more flavourful but its your wish). Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough immerse the individual plantain stripes in batter so that it is coated evenly with batter. Then drop them in hot oil and fry until they acquire a golden brown colour. Yummy, yummy snack will be ready. 

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe: Take care that the batter is coated well on the plantain stripes.Do not make the batter too thick or too watery. It should have a consistency of dosa batter or a little thicker.  Include asafoetida. Bajji and asafoetida are inseperable :). Happy cooking !!! and have a beautiful weekend!!!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Mochakottai pulikuzhambu/ Endu anapa ginjalu pulusu


I love this beans. We call it as mochakai. I have no idea how it is called in english. After some search I came to know that they are addressed as field beans but I am not quite sure about it. May be this beans is localized only to certain regions so that we do not have an english name. I haven't seen these beans in my husband's place (telangana region). In Madurai we get fresh ones in the month of december and  it will last until march or so. My mom said now it is available all year through. You can just boil  the fresh pods with salt and have them as a snack. You can prpare kootu and kuzhambu with fresh ones too. The fresh smell of the beans will be really mesmerizing. To have a look at the fresh bean pods please visit Kamala Boopathy's http://www.cookatease.com/fresh-mochai-field-beans-stir-fry. She really have some beautiful pictures in her blog.  After coming here I searched, searched and searched for these beans and atlast found these dry beans in a chinese shop. No need to say how happy I would have been and how irritated my hubby was :). This dish is a very native, village dish perhaps unique to tamilnadu or perhaps to south India. Andhraites do you use these beans? This dish tastes the best when prepared with dried anchovies. Here I have used brinjals. The brinjals too taste great in this gravy.

Ingredients :

Mochakottai ( dry mochhai)- 1 cup
Brinjal- 4 nos
Onion- 1 no
Tomato-1 no
Garlic- 6 pods
Green chillies- 3 nos
Curry leaves- 25 leaflets
Coriander powder- 3 tbspns
Chilli powder- 2 tspn (adjust according to your taste)
Turmeric powder and asafoetida powder- a pinch
Tamarind- size of a small lemon (soak and extract tamarind juice)
Coconut milk- 1/2 cup ( or use 2 tbspn of dried coconut powder)
Fenugreek, mustard and jeera seeds- 1/2 tspn (for tempering)
Oil- 4 tbspns
Salt to taste

Method : 

Soak the mochakottai in enough water for 8 h. This step is imporatnt to inactivate some natural protein inhibitors present in the beans which hinders with digestion. Now boil the soaked mochakottai in a cooker until they turn soft. The time taken for cooking differs depending on the beans. Mostly a single whistle is enough. Cut onions, tomato and green chillies into small pieces. Cut each brinjal into four pieces. Soak and extract tamarind juice. Extract coconut milk if you use fresh coconut meat. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough add the fenugreek seeds. When they turn brown add mustard and jeera seeds. Let them splutter. Now add onions, garlic pods, curry leaves, green chillies, turmeric powder and asafoetida powder and saute well until the onions turn translucent. Add the tomato pieces and saute until they become soft. Now add coriander and chilli powder. Saute for a few seconds and add boiled mochai and brinjal pieces. Mix everything together and then add tamarind juice, coconut milk or coconut powder and enough water. Boil everything well. Add salt after the brinjals are cooked. Simmer until the oil seperates on the top. A very tasty kuzhambu will be ready and it tastes yummy with hot rice, idly, dosai and chappathi. 

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Use brinjals with this kuzhambu. It tastes yummy. Add longitudinally slit green chillies too. They also taste wonderful in this gravy. Use this kuzhambu the next day of preparation. This helps the masala and salt to seep well into the beans making it very tasty. Happy cooking !!!

I would love to submit this recipe to Suma's 'Delicios Dals' From India  event. She needed a traditional dhal recipe for her event and I am sure this dish fits in very well :)

Thanks to Indira of Mahanandi for her kind info about the telugu name of this beans and its usage in Andhra.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Chicken fry/kozhi varuval/kodi vepudu


This is my most favourite dish. In my home I was the only NV eater. When sunday comes I would go to the meat shop and buy 1/4 kg of chicken. My mom would prepare this for me. Beautiful days they are !!! I will grind the masala in 'ammi kal'. The smell of garlic and ginger ground together....simply awesome!!! So until today if I smell garlic and ginger only this dish flashes in my mind. The smell of garlic and ginger not only made me happy but also the cats in my home. They will also be eagerly waiting for sundays :). My mom would marinate the ground masala on the chicken and will wait for sometime. Even that time appeared  to me very long. And finally she would drop the marinated chicken pieces in hot oil. The smell of chicken being cooked  along with the smell of ginger and garlic will make me more and more hungry. I will be waiting with a plate near her. As soons as they are in my plate it takes just a few minutes to gulp them down with a dash of lime juice on their top. Now, things have changed. Knowledge (?) I have gained has made me health conscious (!!). Even if I prepare this dish,  now-a-days I cannot enjoy it with a guilt-free mind. The books and articles I have read always told me that deep fried food is bad for health. Hmmm....some simple joys of childhood can never be brought back :(.

This chicken fry is very simple and very aromatic. I can swear that this is the best chicken fry in the whole world :).

Ingredients :

Chicken- 1/2 kg
Ginger- 1 large piece ( a 2 '' pieces?)
Garlic- some 6 pods ( take them in amount equal to that of ginger pieces)
Chilli powder - 2 tspns (adjust according to your taste)
Green chillies- 2 nos (optional)
Turmeric- 1/4 tspn
Maida ( All purpose flour)- 1 tspn
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method : 

Grind together ginger, garlic, green chillies, chilli powder, turmeric, all pupose flour and salt to make a paste. If you use chicken legs make small slits on the chicken meat. Apply the ground paste as a thin coating to the chicken and marinate for one hour. Otherwise you can marinate the chicken pieces the previous day and store them in deep freezer. This helps the salt and masala to seep deep inside the pieces. Heat oil in a vessel. When the oil is hot enough drop the chicken pieces in oil. Fry until the chicken acquires a deep brown colour. Serve with raw onions and lime wedges.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : If the chicken pieces have fat sticking to them, they will burst when frying. Be very careful when you are near the hot oil. The above mentioned masala is more than enough to do the magic. Avoid adding any additional masala items. A very tasty snack. It makes a perfect combo with rasam sadham. Happy cooking !!!

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Ellu thuvayal/ Nuvvulu pachadi/ Seasame chutney


A very simple side-dish for lemon rice, idly, dosa and curd rice. I just love the smell of seasame. I love cocnut too. They together form a perfect combo. I have tasted this from one of my friends tiffin box :). Most of the time she used to bring lemon rice and ellu thuvayal. I just loved it. Very easy to prepare. This thuvayal can be prepared in no time when you have all the ingredients in hand. Wikipedia has some very good and interesting info about these small seeds

Ingredients :

Black seasame seeds- 4 tbspns
Coconut meat- 2, one inch pieces. (cut them into small pieces so that it is easier to grind)
Urid dhal- 1 tbspn
Dried red chillies- 6 nos (adjust according to your taste)
Tamarind- size of a big gooseberry
Garlic- 3 pods
Salt to taste

Method :

Heat a pan. When it is hot enough add seasame seeds, urid dhal and red chillies. Fry until the urid dhal changes into brown colour and emits a nice aroma. Remove from fire and cool the ingredients. Grind together in a mixer grinder with coconut pieces, tamarind, garlic and enough salt. A very aromatic thuvayal ( a dry form of chutney) will be ready to be tasted. 

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe :  Use only black seasame seeds please!! White ones are less aromatic and not as tasty as the black ones. The final product should be thick and not watery like chutney. So use only minimum amount of water when grinding. Happy cooking !!!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Vendakkai pulikuzhambu/ ladies finger or okra in tamarind based gravy


This is one of the best way to cook ladies finger. Tastes very yummy and this kind of preparation totally removes the gooiness from this vegetable. In united states and here in Germany they call this veggie as okra. In India we call it as ladies finger (ofcourse a very beautiful name !!!). Its scientific name is Abelmoschus esculentus. I am very surprised to know that in some part of the world even the leaves of ladies finger are routinely used for making certain dishes or eaten in the form of salad. Do we use it? Any information is appreciated. This veggie is a very good source of dietary fiber. It is also a good source of protein, riboflavin, niacin, phosphorous, pottasium, zinc and copper. It is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. A popular conception (mis!!!?) in my native place is, if you eat ladies finger you can get the ability to perform mathematics very well :). Unfortunately, for a 'mandu' like me nothing worked out in front of mathematics. For me mathematics is always a book of unnecessary 'problems' :). So, how did I make this dish?

Ingredients :

Ladies finger (Vendakkai, okra)- 250 gms
Onion- 1 no (preferably red one)
Tomato- 1 small
Green chillies- 4 nos
Curry leaves- 20 leaflets
Coriander powder- 3 tbspns
Chilli powder- 2 tspns
Tamarind- size of a small lemon (soaked and juice extracted)
Fenugreek, jeera and mustard seeds- 1 tspn each
Asafoetoda- few pinches
Turmeric- a pinch
Oil- 4 tbspns
Salt to taste

Method :

Cut vendakkai as shown in picture. Cut onions and tomatoes into small pieces. Slit green chillies and cut them into half. Heat oil in a pan. When it gets heated add fenugreek seeds. When they turn brown add mustard and jeera seeds. When they splutter add onions, curry leaves and green chillies. Add also a pinch of turmeric, few pinches of asafoetida and salt to taste. Saute well until the onions turn translucent. Now add the tomatoes and saute them until they turn soft. Now add the cut vendakkai pieces. Saute well until they obtain brown spots on its skin. Now add coriander and chilli powder. Saute for a minute and then add the extracted tamarind juice. Allow the mixture to boil well. Check once again for salt and adjust accordingly. Simmer the puli kuzhambu until oil seperates on the top. Flavourful and tasty vendakkai puli kuzhambu will be ready to serve.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Saute vendakkai well in oil so that their slimy nature is removed. Tamrind removes the remaining sliminess. Adjust the salt and spiciness according to the sourness. Hope you too will enjoy it.....Happy cooking!!!


Saturday, 24 April 2010

Happy weekend!!!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Keeri muttai/ Boiled egg with fried onions


One of our favourite dish. Very simple, aromatic and very tasty too. My mom used to make it often. The most funniest part of this dish is its name. We call it as 'keeri' muttai. There is also a small mammal called keeri pilla (mongoose). Ofcourse this is hen's egg and not from mongoose !!! :). Since this egg is cut open I guess they called it this way. It tamil the meaning of ' keeri' is to scratch or to cut. Whatever it is the taste will definitely conquer you. It is a dry preparation but you can mix those golden, crispy onions with rice and eat. They taste yummy!!! You will be surprised how onions, green chillies, curry leaves and turmeic powder could do the magic.

Ingredients :

Egg- 2 nos
Onion- 3 big red onions or some 20 shallots or pearl onions (If you use the big variety use only red onions)
Green chillies- 5 nos (adjust according to your taste)
Mustard seeds, jeera seeds and urid dhal- 1/2 tspn
Curry leaves- 20 leaflets
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tspn
Oil- 4 tbspns

Method :

Very simple. Cut onions into thin slices. Slit green chillies lengthwise and cut into two. Boil egg and cut them into two pieces as shown in picture. Now heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot enough add urid dhal. When it browns add mustard and jeera seeds. When they splutter add the onions, green chillies, curry leaves and turmeric powder.  Add enough salt too at this stage and saute the mixture by keeping the fire on sim. Saute until the onions turn golden brown. Add the egg at this stage and allow them to brown a bit on both sides. A very delicous, simple dish will be ready to be savoured. Just mix the onions with hot rice and enjoy with the egg pieces.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Make it simple. Do not add any additional ingredients. Onions, green chillies and turmeric are must ingredients. Make thin slices of onions so that they get the required consistency quicker. Use red onions or shallots. Use of lots of onion makes this dish tastier. Use only green chillies and not chilli powder. Take care not to burn the egg pieces. When cooking always stand near the pan and stir the ingredients frequently otherwise the bottom layer get charred quickly. Happy cooking  friends !!! and have a beautiful week end.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Mupparuppu vadai/ Fritters made with three different dhals



My mom taught me how to make this vadai. This is a variation of the usual vadai recipe.  We normally make vadai either with channa dhal or urid dhal. But in this recipe channa dhal, urid dhal and moong dhal are added in a ratio of 1:1:1 to make crispy vadais. You can also use these vadais to make urundai kuzhambu, which is a mouth-watering delicacy. As I have already mentioned if you use different variety of pulses in your cooking you will get all the necessary amino acids and in this way vegetarians can meet their protein requirements. I was not sure how these vadais will turn out since I was making them for the first time. But they turned out to be extremely tasty, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Do try it as it makes a tasty and healthy snack.

Ingredients :
Channa dhal ( kadalai paruppu)- 1 cup
Moong dhal ( pasiparuppu)-  1 cup
Urid dhal (uzhundham paruppu)- 1 cup
Onion- 1 no (red onions are better)
Spring onions (optional)- I had some at home so I minced them and added to the batter, you can also use spinach
Green chillies- 4 nos
Curry leaves- 10 leaflets (minced fine)
Ginger- ½ inch piece minced finely

Cumin seeds- 1 tspn
Chilli powder- 1 ½ tspn (adjust according to your taste)
Asafoetida- few pinches
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method :
Soak all three dhals together in water for one hour. Then grind them together with enough salt and asafoetida powder into a coarse batter. Cut onion and green chillies into small pieces. Mince ginger and curry leaves. Now add everything to the ground batter and mix well by adding chilli powder. Taste the batter and adjust salt once again. Now the vada batter is ready. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Take small lime sized batter and drop them in oil. Do not overcrowd the pan. Take them out when the vadas become golden brown in colour. Fry all the batter in batches. Crispy vadas are ready to be relished.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Grind the batter into a coarse paste. Take care that the vada batter is thick and not watery. When grinding add water in very small amount and only when it is absolutely necessary. Do not make large vadas. Then the inside of the vadas remains uncooked. Happy cooking !!!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Pavakkai varuval/kaakarakaya vepudu/bitter gourd fry


A wonderful side-dish with sambhar sadham. Not so healthy (?) because this dark green vegetable is deep fried in this recipe :). But sometimes you can 'live to eat' :). My mom used to make it often when I was a kid. This recipe takes out most of the bitterness of this vegetable. Pavakkai, bitter gourd, bitter melon or Momordica charantia is a vegetable highly valued for its medicinal properties. It has proven anti-diabetic compounds and many other medicinal properties. Some people hate this veggie because of its bitter taste and some are very fond of this vegetable. I like it especially the smaller variety which is available in south India . They are much more tasty. I miss them because we could never get it here. The final product is more like chips, even children will love it. This fry is a very simple one to prepare and I hope you will enjoy it too !!!

Ingredients :

Pavakkai/ bitter gourd - 2 nos
Chilli powder- 1 tspn
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method :

Cut pavakkai as shown in picture. Add excess amount of salt to the cut bitter gourd pieces and mix well . Keep it as such for one hour. Because of osmosis the bitter tasting liquid will start to ooze out. After one hour  wash the cut bitter gourd pieces with water. This removes much of the bitter taste. Now add chilli powder and turmeric powder and mix well so that the pavakkai pieces are uniformly covered by it. Then heat a pan with oil for deep frying. When the oil gets heated add the bitter gourd pieces and fry well until crispy. Normally there is no necessary to add salt because during the intial step enuogh salt enters the bitter gourd. But if the salt is not enough you can sprinkle it at the end.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : I love to remove from fire when they turn very crispy. It depends on you. But take care not to char them. You can also add the chilli powder at the end after frying the pavakkai  pieces. Happy cooking!!!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Paalakura pappu/spinach dhal/paalakeerai paruppu

In my home my mom makes just plain paruppu and rasam. I never knew that we can make so many different varietes of pappu until I started having andhraite friends. Yesterday when I made this dhal we just loved it. I just made a small change to the actual recipe and that made a lot of difference.  I bought a bunch of spinach form local farmer's market. They were very fresh and beautiful,  I  just can't resist picking them up. The recipe is very simple, flavourful and full of goodnes. I am planning to include lots of spinach dhal throughout the spring season and become strong like popoye :). I forgot to mention one more thing 'I HATE FROZEN SPINACH'. Might be the nutrition is preserved in frozen spinach but not its wonderful flavour. 

Ingredients :

Toor dhal (split pigeon pea)- 1 cup
Spinach- a big bunch (fresh ones please !!!)
Onions-1 
Garlic- 5 pods (make thin slices)
Green chilli- 3 nos
Dried red chili- 4 nos
Red chilli powder- 1 1/2 tspn (adjust according to your taste)
Turmeric- a pinch
Asafoetida- a pinch
Mustard, jeera seeds, urid dhal- 1tspn (for tempering)
Oil- 4 tbspns
Salt to taste

Method :

Wash and chop spinach leaves. Cut onions, green chillies and slice garlic into thin pieces. Cook toor dhal with a pinch of turmeric, asafoetida and few drops of oil in a pressure cooker. Take care not to overcook the dhal. It should be cooked but should retain its shape. Now heat oil in a pan. When the oil gets heated add the mustard and jeera seeds. When they splutter add the garlic slices and dried red chillies. Saute until the garlic slices acquire a golden brwon colour. After that add  onions, green chillies and enough salt. Saute until the onions turn translucent. Now add the chilli powder and saute for a few seconds. Add the cooked dhal ato the pan and add enough water. The dhal should not be watery or too thick. Allow the mixture to boil. and then switch off the stove. Now to the piping hot dhal add the chopped spinach leaves and mix well. The heat of the dhal is enough to melt the spinach. Adding spinach at the end really makes a lot of difference. It helps in retaining the real flavours of spincah and seals in the nutrients. 

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Add spinach to the dhal only after you have removed it from fire. This really helps to seal the flavour and the nutrients present in spinach. Use only fresh spinach  leaves and not the frozen ones. This is a very tasty and healthy dish. Hope you will enjoy it too. Happy cooking !!!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Sundakkai pulikuzhambu / pea aubergines in tamarind sauce


Rajender likes this kuzhambu very much. Whenever he sees sundakkai in Indian items selling shop he immediately asks me whether we can take this small peas :). I have told him numerous times that it is called sundakkai in tamil but he could never catch that word. But today when I am searching for english names for sundakkai I came to know that these small wonders are also called as pea aubergines :). Another name for it is turkey berry and its scientific nomenclature is Solanum torvum. If you want to know more about sundakkai please follow this link. Definitely wikipeida has lots of interesting information about  this vegetable.  I think there are sub-varieties within them because my mom used to say that one variety of sundakkai tastes very bitter and the other one was totally bitterless and they call that bitterless variety as 'kari sundakkai'. My dad loved the vathal made out of this sundakkai. For making vathal they soak these sunadakkai  in salted buttermilk and  dry them under sun and then store them. The dried ones can be deep fried and they make wonderful combination for rasam sadham, but they do have a very bitter taste. I introduced this vegetable to Rajender only after marriage He immediately became fond of it. You can find this vegetable in chinese stores too and the variety we get here is totally bitterless.

Ingredients :

Sundakkai- 150gms
Onions- 1 no
Tomato- 1 no
Garlic- 6 pods
Green chillies- 3 nos
Curry leaves- some 20 leaflets
Coconut scrappings- 1 tbspn (optional, fresh or even dried one will do)
Fenugreek, jeera and mustard seeds- 1 tspn (for tempering)
Coriander powder- 2 tbspns
Red chilli powder- 2 tspns (adjust according to your taste)
Asafoetida- a pinch
Turmeric- a pinch
Tamarind- size of a small lemon (soak it and extract the juice)
Oil- 4 tbspns
Salt to taste

Method :

Cut the pea aubergines into two. Soak them in water until use beause when exposed to air they acquire a brown colour very fast. If you are using the bitter variety crush the individual berries and wash them well in water to remove their small seeds. This greatly reduces the bitterness. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil gets heated, add fenugreek seeds. When they turn brown and emit a nice aroma add mustard and jeera seeds. When they splutter add the halved sundakkai, cut onions, curry leaves, garlic pods, longitudinally slit green chillies, turmeric and asafoetida. Add salt to taste and saute until the onions turn translucent. Now add the cut tomatoes and saute until they become soft. Now add the coriander and chilli powder. Mix well all the ingredients and add the diluted tamarind juice. Boil the mixture well. Taste it and adjust salt and spiciness. Now add a tbspn of coconut scrappings and simmer for 5-10 min more until the oil seperates and floats on the top.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Take care to adjust the salt and hotness (spiciness) according to the sourness of the tamarind. Take care not to burn any items when frying. The gravy should be closer to thick consistency. Do not make it watery. Try it, you will love it. Happy cooking!!!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Giessen farmer's market

I love visiting farmer's market. Every saturday we have one in the city center. For me it is not only a place for shopping but also a place to see and enjoy many different people and a variety of different things. There will be lots of people from little ones to elderly and moslty everyone wears a friendly smile. People will be selling different varieties of cheese, eggs, several different varieties of potato, flowers and plants, honey and its related products like bee wax, fish and other flesh items, lots of fruits and many different variety of vegetables. I feel very happy when I go in. Whether I am buying things or not I take time to stand and stare at all different products and ofcourse at people too :). Even though the price of the items sold there are a bit higher than the regular supermarkets, definitely you get the best product for the money you spend. Just a couple of collage about our saturday market. Hope you will enjoy watching it too. Just click on the picture for an enlarged view. There are lots of fellow food bloggers from many different countries. It would be a pleasure to see pictures of farmer's market from different countries. Please do post some pictures whenever you can :)


Tomato gravy with fried bengal gram dhal flour/ thakkali gravy with pottukadalai maavu


If you are searching for a tasty alternative to potato curry for pooris here it is. My mom taught me this and my periyamma taught my mom :). This gravy is very good for diabetic people and people who would love to avoid potato because of its high carb content. Whenever I tell mom that I am making pooris she will start appreciating this gravy and her sisters cooking. So after few such episodes I decided to taste this tomato gravy which my mom is in all praise for. I should accept that what she told is very correct. Definitely it is better than the usual potato curry. Because of the addition of pottukadalai maavu, it is also high in protein content and has very low carb content. You will definitely gulp in a few more pooris or chappathis if you make this side-dish, so be careful :). It is very, very simple and easy to prepare.

Ingredients :

Tomato- 2 nos (big, firm, ripe ones)
Onion- 1 no
Fried bengal gram dhal (potukadalai)- 1 cup ( fry this and ground them to a powder)
Fried bengal gram dhal powder (pottukadalai maavu)- 4 tbspns 
Red chilli powder- 1 1/2 tspn
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Green chillies- 3 nos (mince them) 
Curry leaves- 10 leaflets
Mustard, jeera and urid dhal- 1/2 tspn (for tempering) 
Salt to taste
Oil- 3 tbspns

Method :

First fry the pottukadalai until it acquires a light brown colour and gring them to a smooth powder. Heat oil in a pan.  Add urid dhal, when it turns brown add mustard and jeera seeds. When it splutters add the cut onions, minced green chillies, curry leaves and turmeric powder. Add enough salt to taste. Saute the mixture until onions turn translucent. Then add the cut tomatoes. Saute well until they turn soft. Now add pottukadalai maavu  (fried bengal gram dhal flour, which you have ground already) and chilli powder. Mix well and add 1 cup of water. Let it boil. Since you have added the fired bengal gram dhal flour the mixture thickens very fast. Simmer for 2 or 3 minutes and remove from fire. Very tasty side-dish for poori or chappathi will be ready. 

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe :  Adjust the fried gram dhal flour (pottu kadalai maavu) according to the amount of gravy you need. Store the remaining pottukadalai maavu in an air-tight container. If you  like you can also add a teaspoon of garam masala at the end of preparation. Happy cooking !!! and have a beautiful week ahead!!!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Thakkali-ellu chutney/ tomato chutney with seasame/ ramulakaya-nuvvulu chutney


 
The origin of this chutney is an interesting story. When I was doing PhD in India we (our labmates) went to a stem cell conference in Hyderabad. That was my first visit to AP and I had no clue at that time that I will marry a person from AP :). The conference was arranged in a five star hotel so there were lots of delicious food. We really had gala time and till now I have never attended such a posh conference. But the dish that mesmerized me was not from that five star hotel. We stayed in a  very normal hotel and in the morning we used to buy idlies from a nearby shop. With that idlies they served a tomato chutney. All the 3 or 4 days we stayed there I would eagerly wait for the breakfast because of that particular chutney. I could never forget that taste. I always had that tomato chutney in my mind. One day I wanted to make that chutney myself by remembering that taste and imagining the ingredients and that is how this chutney originated. Do try it. You will also get caught by its taste. 

Ingredients :

Tomato - 2 nos (ripe and firm ones)
Onion- 1 no 
Garlic- 5 pods
Urid dhal- 1 heaped tbspn
Black seasame seeds- 2 heaped tbspns
Dried red chillies- 6 nos (adjust according to your taste, I like it spicy)
Curry leaves- some 10 leaflets
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Tamarind- size of a small gooseberry (optional) ( If your tomatoes are not sour enough use it when grinding)
Salt to taste
Oil- 2 tbspn

Method :

Heat a pan. Fry urid dhal, black seasame seeds, red chillies and curry leaves until the urid dhal turns brown and emits a nice aroma. Remove from fire. Cut onions and tomato. Peel the garlic pods. Add oil in a pan. When the oil gets heated add a pinch of turmeric, onion, tomato and garlic. Saute them until the onions become translucent and the tomato pieces becomes soft. Now add all the items together in a mixer grinder including the required amount of salt and grind them into a paste. Tasty, tasty tomato chutney will be ready to serve. Tastes wonderful with idly, dosa and even with curd rice.

Taste enhancing tips : Do not use white seasame seeds. Use the black one. Take care not to burn the ingredients when frying. Onion, garlic and curry leaf  adds taste to this dish. Happy cooking!!!

Happy weekend!!!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Khichdi

For me, this dish carries with it many nice memories.  Before marriage, Rajender used to cook this one-pot meal very often. A very quick one to make and very satisfying too after a day of stessful work. Rajender used to have this with raw carrots and his mom's mango pickle as a side-dish. I too got used to it and whenever I make this khichdi, carrot+mango pickle will be our side-dish .  He uses toor dhal (thuvaram paruppu) for this khichdi while the norm is moong dhal (pasi paruppu) or bengal gram dhal (kadalai paruppu). But whatever it is, kichdi smells and tastes very good.

Ingredients :

Rice - 2 1/2 cups
Toor dhal- 1/2 cup
Onion- 1 (big variety)
Potato- 1 big
Green chillies- 5 nos
Curry leaves- some 15 leaflets
Jeera- 1 tspn
Turmeric- 1/4 tspn
Oil- 3 tbspns
Salt to taste

Method :

Cut onions, green chillies and cube the potatoes into big pieces. Heat oil in a pan. When it is hot enough add the jeera seeds. When it splutters add minced onions, green chillies, curry leaves , cubed potato pieces and turmeric powder. Saute for few minutes until onions turn translucent. Now add water depending on how much the rice you use demands. I use 5 cups of water for 3 cups of rice+lentil. mixture Let the water boil. Now add enough salt and water+lentil mixture into it. Tranfer everything into a rice cooker. When done serve with any side-dish you would like. But mango pickle and carrot tastes awesome with it !!!

Taste enhancing tips : Just follow the recipe. Make it as simple as possible without the addition of any other items. This lentil, rice medley has a very nice aroma and you will love it. Happy cooking !!!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Rainbow fruit salad



I love rainbows because I love colours. Imagine a world without colours, dull and scary right?  Life is full of colours, blue sky, green plants, brown earth, flowers and fruits in almost all shades !!! We should thank GOD for making our lives sooooo colorful. 

The new ‘mantra’ in the world of  nutrition is eat rainbows everyday !!! Oops!! sorry :) , eat different coloured foods (if you could select foods containing 7 different shades, darker the best) everyday. When we think of different coloured foods naturally fruits come to our mind first. What gives the fruit its colour? There are certain plant chemicals called anthocyanins, anthoxanthins, carotenoids etc., (there are 1000s of such chemicals !!!) which gives fruit their respective colours. Phytochemicals are powerful anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants protect our body against harmful free radicals. Free radicals are substances that produce damage to our body and these anti-oxidants inactivate the free radicals. That is why anti-oxidants are important in our diet. Anti-oxidants  protect against cancer, heart-attck, neurological diseases and other age related disorders. Interested in knowing about the anti-oxidants much more please follow this link.

Spring is here and so are different variety fruits. So picked up a few varieties to make this colourful salad. It was a feast not only to our taste buds but also for our eyes. Rajender loves fruit salad made with custrad powder, milk and lots of sugar. But I hate to make fruit salad that way. They are sinfully delicious !!! with its extreme sugar content. So made a simple yet tasty salad with different coloured fruits, a teaspoon of honey and roasted pine nuts.  Seeing these different colours I thought of giving them the name RAINBOW SALAD’. A healthy, cool salad for the hot summer !!!

Ingredients : 

This is upto you. Add whatever you like or whetever you get in your region.
I used :
Apple
Grapes ( two different colours)
Physalis
Blue berries
Plum
Peach
Musk melon
Kiwi
Strawberries
Pine nuts (If you do not get pine nuts in your region use the nut you love, roasted almonds too make a suitable accompaniment)
Honey- 1 tspn

Method :

Cut fruits into bite-sized pieces and mix them in a bowl. Serve chilled with a teaspoon of honey and roasted pine nuts. Pine nuts with fruits are really tasty and healthy. Happy blogging!!! and always ADD COLOUR TO YOUR LIFE !!! :)

This entry goes to Madhuri's



Wednesday, 14 April 2010

My first blog award !!!



Sheba of http://forkbootsandapalette.wordpress.com/ has tagged me via this award. To make it clear for people who do not know about this, it is just a way of recognizing people's effort in blogging. It is not a simple thing to get recognition for the blogs. Building a constant readership is a very difficult thing. I have experienced it very well. So when Sheba tagged me for the award I am really, really very thankful to her. It means at least few more people will come to know about my blog. Normally people pass on the award to other people and I want to do the same. Since this award is a kind of encouragement for the newbies I would love to pass  on this TAG award to my friends who are still in their earlier stages of  blogging. You can find wonderful recipes in all these blogs. Keep visiting and keep encouraging friends...it means a lot :) THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO TAKE TIME TO READ AND COMMENT ON MY BLOG.

Aparna Vijay of APARNA'S VEGETARIAN CUISINE
Jutson Devasahayam of SAMAYAL SAMAYAL
Pavithra Srihari of Binge on veg !!!

Thanks a lot Sheba once again and Happy blogging friends !!!

Saggubiyyam janthikalu / javvarisi murukku


Actually this is a murukku recipe with a twist. There are many different ways to make murukku but adding javvarisi to the murukku dough is very new to me. I love javvarisi vadgam for its crispiness and adding sago to murukku really did the trick of making it  very crispy and delicious. Thanks to Srivalli of  Spicing your life . She conducts an event called Indian Cooking Challenge. I found the theme of the event to be very nice. My grandmother knew to make many different sweets and snacks and my mom only knew 10% of it. Now myself I just know only 5% of what my mom knew. The reality is many of our traditional recipes are in the danger of extinction.  In Indian Cooking Challenge you get delicious recipes which are traditional and time-tested. You have to try it. Isn't this a wonderful way to learn traditional recipes and pass on to your generation? So this is the first time I am participating in the ICC event and this saggubiyam janthikalu turned out to be awesome!!! Thank you Srivalli for this recipe :) I have a doubt Srivalli....should we use curd or sour buttermilk? What is the reason for using curd and not water to soak sago? My friend asked me this and I had no answer :)

Ingredients : 

Rice flour- 2 cups
Fried channa gram dhal flour (pottukadalai maavu) - 1/2 cup
Besan flour (kadalai maavu) - 1/2 cup
Sago (javvarisi)- 1/2 cup
Curd- 50 grams
Chilli powder- 1 tspn or as per taste
Asafoetida- a few pinch
Oil- 50 gms
and Oil for deep frying
Special utensil- murukku achu

Method :

Soak sago in the diluted curd  for three hours. Dilute the curd so that the sago is totally covered by it. When I added curd to the sago within 15 minutes the sago absorbed all the liquid. Then I have to add some more water to make the sago sitting immersed inside the fluid . This is very important to make the sago super soft. Srivalli and my mom already warned me what will happen if the sago does not turn super soft. When the sago is not soft enough, when you add the murukku dough to the hot oil, they will literally burst....Imagine the hot oil splashed out everywhere and the sound of crackers in your kitchen, so be extra careful.With this fear in my mind I checked the consistency of the sago frequently. I had an idea of grinding the sago into a paste if they do not turn soft enough. But with careful monitoring and addition of water the sago turned super soft in 3 hours time. When you press the sago between your thumb they should become a paste and thats the right and safe consistency. Now take rice flour in a vessel, add pottu kadalai maavu and kadalai maavu to it. Add enough salt to taste, asafoetida and red chilli powder to the flour mixture. Now heat 50 gms of oil in a pan. When the oil becomes hot add it to the flour mixture and mix the flour using a spatula. Then add the soaked javvarisi to the flour mixture and make a soft, smooth dough out of it. Add more water if the moisture and liquid in the soaked sago is not enough. Now take the murukku achu fill dough in it and make murukku shape as shown in picture. Now heat oil, when the oil is hot enough fry the murukku and take them out when they turn golden brown in colour.

Look at the murukku with javvarisi in it. For me it appears like pearls embedded in it. They did have a wonderful crispiness and taste!!! You will also fall in love with it, especially your children.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : Take care about the sago part. Make sure the sago turns soft enough. If you still have a doubt the safest way is to grind the sago and add it to the batter. If the murukku dough is too dry you will not get a perfect murukku like this. They will break into small pieces when you fry them in oil. The dough should be moist enough but not too watery or dry. Do not over fry the murukku otherwise it acquires a different taste. For me without asafoetida, murukku is not complete. So add a few pinches of asafoetida. It greatly enhances the flavour. Happy cooking!!!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Happy tamil new year !!! Puthandu vazhthukal !!!



May the coming year bring you lots of happiness and peace !! Have a beautiful year ahead!!!

Maamidikaya pappu/ raw-mango dhal/maanga(i) paruppu


This is a dish which I knew only after my marriage. But the first time I tasted it I fell in love with it. Now it is mango season and in Srilankan stores they had some fresh, raw mangoes. I picked up a few to make this pappu. My mom-in-law make this dhal as a side-dish for pooris...hmm heavenly combination. It tastes the best with pooris rather than with hot rice. I just followed my mom-in-laws protocol for this dish and the preparation is as follows :

Ingredients :

Raw mango (sour variety)- deskinned and cut into small pieces- 1 cup
Toor dhal- 1 cup
Dried red chilies- 5 nos (adjust according to your taste)
Red chilly powder- 1 tspn
Garlic- 5 pods (crushed or cut into thin slices)
Jeera and mustard seeds- 1 tspn
Oil- 3 tbspn
Salt to taste

Method :

Cook toor dhal and mango pieces in a pressure cooker with enough water. The dhal should not turn into  paste. It should retain its shape and at the same time it should be soft enough (see the picture). Add enough water to the dhal mixture and adjust it according to your desired consistency. It should not be too thin or too thick. Now heat oil in a pan. Do the tempering using jeera and mustard seeds. Add these seeds only when the oil is hot enough. When they splutter add garlic pieces and fry for a minute. Then add the red chillies. Fry for a few seconds, when they emit a nice aroma transfer the cooked dhal, mango mixture to the pan. Add salt to taste and remove from fire. You can add red chilli powder when you cook the dhal and mango pieces or you can add it when doing the tempering. I add the chilli powder directly to the hot oil. But be very careful when doing so. It can get burned very easily. Simmer the stove before adding the chilli powder to the hot oil. This step should be imediately followed by the addition of mango, dhal mixture.

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : The raw mango should be very sour. More sour the mango is, the tastier will be this dish. Add enough salt and chilli powder to balance the sourness of the mango dhal. Tempering brings out the real taste of this recipe. Take care that the oil is hot enough before you add the tempering ingredients. Frying the garlic in oil to golden brwon colour imparts a nice aroma and taste to the dish. Whole red chillies added to this dsih has a wonderful taste. I just love it. Use peanut oil if possible. Avoid gingelly oil in this preparation. Happy cooking!!!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Manga(i) sambhar/ maamidikaya sambhar/sambhar with raw mango


The most flavourful sambhar you can prepare is this. During mango season every home in my native village will have raw mangoes in their sambhar. I know it is a famous dish in Madurai, not sure about other places. My dad loved it. If you haven't tried sambhar with raw mango, this is the time to try it. The mango need not have to be too sour. Select mango with a very slight sweet tinge, but not very sweet. The most wonderful thing about this dish is the flavour that the raw mango imparts to this dish and the taste of the mango pieces in sambhar...simply yummilicious!!!
Ingredients :
Toor dhal- 1 cup
Raw mango- 1 no (big)
Drumstick- 2 nos (optional)
Onion- 1 no
Small tomato- 1 no
Green chillies- 3 nos
Garlic- 1 pod (crushed)
Curry leaves- few leaflets
Coriander powder-  2 tbson
Chilli powder- 2 tspn
OR instead of the above coriander and chilli powder add 2 tbspn of MTR sambhar powder (no other brand please)
Coconut scrappins- 2 tbspns (dried coconut scrapping is also fine, but not coconut powder)
Fenugreek, mustard and jeera seeds- 1 tspn each
Turmeric powder- a pinch
Asafoetida- a pinch
Tamarind-  a small piece (adjust according to the sourness of raw mango)
Oil- 2 tbspns
Salt to taste
Method :
Cook dhal with enough water in a pressure cooker. Do not overcook the dhal and end up with a dhal paste. It spoils the taste of sambhar. Dhal should retain its shape but should be cooked and soft enough. Cut onion, tomato, drumstick and raw mango. Onions and tomato should be cut into bite sized pieces. Drumstick into an inch piece and cut raw mango into big pieces. Do not throw away the mango seed. Just retain some flesh on the seed and add this to sambhar too. Extract juice from the soaked tamarind. Now add oil in a pan. When it gets heated add fenugreek seeds. When they turn brown enough and emit a nice aroma, add mustard and jeera seeds. After they splutter add the cut onions , curry leaves, crushed garlic, green chllies and a pinch of turmeric powder. Saute well for a few seconds. Then add the cut tomatoes. Saute well until the tomato becomes soft. Now add drumstick, coriander and chilli powder or MTR sambhar powder. Saute for a minute and  add tamarind juice and enough water. Now let the drumstick cook in this mixture. Once the drumstick becomes soft add the raw mango pieces. Continue cooking until they become soft. Now add a pinch of asafoetida and the cooked toor dhal. Add water and adjust the sambhar consistency to your desired level. Sambhar should be little on the watery side. Allow the mixture to boil. Add salt to taste. Simmer for 3 more minutes. Before removing from fire add coconut scrapings. Tasty and most flavourful sambhar will be ready to be served.
Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : The main point to note is the sourness. Since your are adding sour mango in the dish, take care to adjust the sourness from tamarind. If the mango is very sour decrease the amount of tamarind used. As I mentioned already, selecting  mango with a sweet tinge is preferable. Refer this link for tips to make a perfect sambhar. Happy cooking !!!

This recipe goes to Suma's 'Delicios Dals' From India  event.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Happy weekend!!!

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Saturday, 10 April 2010

Rhubarb pickle



It is my invention. I am not sure whether this vegetable (?) is available in India. When I came to Germany I used to watch these sticks with wonder. What for they use it was the question in my mind. One day my labmate bought a cake. It was sour because of a particular ingredient in it. I enquired her about it. Then she showed me in internet the picture of this and she explained about Rhubarb. She said they used to make jams and cakes out of it. Then with the help of wikipedia I learnt about these sour stalks. One day I bought them and tasted it. They are very sour. Naturally I thought about pickles. If it is this sour how about pickling them. Thus this rhubarb pickle was born. Once I prepared it I can't beleive how tasty it is. Definitely they have a wonderful taste equal to gongura. Rhubarab has laxative and astringent properties.These rhubarb petioles have lots of oxalic acid like gongura and hence the sour taste. If you are a person suffering with arthritis problem or kidney stones this is not for you. 

Ingredients :

Rhubarb- 3 nos
Garlic- 6 pods
Chilli powder- 3 tspns 
Turmeric- 1/2 tspn
Fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and jeera seeds- 1 tspn each
Dried red chillies- 4 nos
Curry leaves- few leaflets
Asafoetida- a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil- 3 tbspns

Method :

Cut rhubarb petioles into pieces. When cutting them remove the fibrous outer covering. Then boil the pieces in half-a-cup of water. Rhubarb has lots of water content. So when it is boiled it immediately becomes paste like as shown in picture. Now heat a pan. Add oil. When the oil gets heated add fenugreek seeds. When they turn brown add mustard and jeera seeds. After they splutter add curry leaves, red chillies and garlic pieces. Fry for few seconds. Now add few pinches of asafoetida, red chilli powder and turmeric powder to the hot oil. You have to be very quick at this stage. Do not allow the chilli powder to get burned. Immediately add the rhubarb paste. Then add enough salt (it takes a lot of salt since it is very sour). Now stir continuously until oil seperates out. Tatsiest pickle, goes very well with rice, idlies (hmmm...) dosa and even chappathis. 

Taste enhancing tips for this recipe : For me without garlic no pickle is complete. Take care not to burn the chilli powder. Adding chilli powder directly to the hot oil imparts a nice aroma to the pickle. Taste it, you will love it!!! Happy cooking and have a wonderful weekend!!!