Friday, August 31, 2007

Aloo Pulao | Potato Pulao | Potato Rice ~ Lunch Box Series : LBS # 10

Today's is an item from my past! Of course, I should say everything is one, but this is different in a way that, it brings out memories shared with a colleague. I first tasted Aloo Pulao / Potato Pulao when this colleague got it for her lunch box. She was a fresher and was reluctant to ask if I would want to taste her food. I said I would very happy and asked what it is called. Lo, she said it was called Potato Pulao! I don't consume potato if it's not French Fries or Chips! Infact I have never eaten Potato Stir Fries or Poriyal varieties. So I was little hesitant to say no, but didn't want to hurt her, so took a bite. Wow, it tasted yummy! I can still feel that first experience even now. I didn't ask her the recipe then.

Went home and asked Amma if she was aware of a recipe called Potato Pulao. Amma is known for her culinary expertise but it was wonder she didn't know this rice variety. She said no and asked me why. I recollected the afternoon experience with her. I was told to get the recipe if I had like it so much. So the next day in office, was spent in trying to find out the recipe. 

And conveying back the recipe to Amma was quite difficult. Because my co-worker was a novice and wasn't aware half the stuff used in that dish and even the few she knew she was not able to convey correctly. But I must confess I really don't remember if this is the way I was told. And also because I have prepared this so many times and as it happens, it has taken a stamp of my cooking. I am no longer in touch with my ex-colleague, who is now married, am sure she must've learnt to cook now. I must thank her for introducing this lovely dish to me.

Today's Lunch Box had

Potato Pulao
Tomato Curry with Eggs
Onion Raitha
Curd Rice
Potato Pulao:

Ingredients Needed

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Potatoes - 150 gms
Onions - 1 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Mint/ Pudina Leaves - 1 cup
Coriander Leaves - 1/2 cup
Green Chillies - 4
Coconut Milk - 1 cup
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Ghee - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Water - 3& 1/2 cups

Spices:

Bay Leaf - 1
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 2"
Cardamom - 2
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Clean and soak Basmati rice in water for 15 mins.

Chop Onions into julienne. Wash and clean both Mint and Coriander Leaves. Slit green chillies in middle.

Peel the potato skin and cut into 2 " cubes. Soak in water till its put to cook, otherwise it changes colour.

Heat Ghee and oil in a cooker. Add all the spices, sauté well. Then add onions & green chillies, sauté till they are light brown in colour.

Then add ginger garlic paste. Fry for a while. Then drain water from the potatoes and add them to the masala. Simmer and cover with lid and let it get soften for 2 mins.

Next add Mint and coriander leaves, sauté for 2 seconds. then add coconut Milk and cook on high flame.

Finally add the drained basmati rice and fry slowly so that all the grains are coated with oil. Add salt and water.

Cover with cooker lid and put it on for 2 whistles.

This I served with Tomato curry with Eggs and Onion Raitha. Hubby dear didn't take the picture of all the dishes since he was in a hurry to leave!

Hope you enjoyed my lunch box, looking forward to your feedback.

I cant resist sending this to Sharmi for her JFI: Rice Event

Note: Kindly remember to send in your entries for the Microwave Easy cooking Event. This month's theme was Sweets. Click on the Logo on the right for more details. I will be posting the round up on 5th September.

Looking forward for delicious sweets to start this Event!

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

14 Idlies and a Sambar!

14 Idlies is the way this dish is called in the restaurants in Madras. These are mini idlies soaked in buckets of Sambar. Being a native of this city, I enjoy my Idlies the way it is eaten natively. Idlies are quite popular in Andhra also but Tamil Nadu is famous for its Idlies and Dosas, and if other states also have this, then they must've borrowed it from here!

In restaurants, when you order Idly, you get 2 with loads of Sambar. That's the way it is supposed to be eaten. And when hubby dear started living here, he was having a peck at the sambar. I told him sternly, when you are in Madras, become a Madrasi. I guess living in this city for the past 8 yrs has finally made him one. These days, he takes only sambar soaked Idlies!

My daughter is another fan of this item but she likes to have hers mixed and mashed in sambar. She asks me in telugu "Annam Laga Chesipettu Ma!" (Mix it like Rice and give me). I too remember eating like this when I was a kid. When I used to take lunch for school, it always used to be breakfast items. As I recollected earlier, Podi smeared Idlies are my favorite, so is my daughter's. I almost have this silly pride when I feel that my daughter has most of my taste. But I wouldn't want to confess this out loud! Hubby dear has this little sentiment that his little princess is more like him!

Now coming to this 14 idlies, this is steamed like the regular Idlies, only its a better way to get the kiddo eat her lunch. I find that she completes her lunch box without much ado. So having found this successful, packed this idly tray to my sil for her kids. Heard that they are much more excited to carry their lunch boxes these days!

Amma serves a different sambar with Idlies. This sambar tastes excellent with Idlies and Dosas but not though with Rice.

So here you go!
wondering why the tray looks like this?...well the Idlies are in the plate!!!...:)

14 Idlis

Idly batter
Oil for smearing
Idly tray

Smear the idly tray with Oil. We normally use sesame oil (gingelly/nallanai as in Tamil or Manchinune in Telugu) for Idlies. Take a spoon and fill the Idly tray and stream for 10 mins or till done.

Sambar for idlies

Preparation Time : 15 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins

Ingredients Needed

Toor Dal - 1 cup
Sambar Onions - 100 gms
Sambar Powder - 1 tsp
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Tamarind pulp - small lime size
Coriander Leaves - few chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Turmeric a pinch
Hing or Asafetida a pinch

Final touch

Fresh coconut - 1 Badha (one piece)
Dhania/Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek - few

For Seasoning

Mustard Seeds + Urud Dal + Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - few
Garlic - 4 pods

Method to Prepare:

Clean Toor Dal and pressure cook it with 2 drops of Oil and turmeric. This makes it cook fast. Put it on for 2 whistles. Remove and let it cool down.

Soak tamarind and extract pulp from it.

Soak Shallot (Sambar onions) for 5 mins, this way the skin comes out easily. Chop Onions and tomatoes.

Heat oil in a pan, add the seasoning ingredients. Then add chopped onions. Sauté till they are cooked, add tomatoes, Sambar powder and salt. Cook till the tomatoes are soft.

Then add the tamarind pulp and water. Let it come to a boil. Then add the cooked toor dal. The dal should be well cooked. We usually mash with pappu guthi, which a long wooden stick like ladle.

Cook the sambar on high flame for 5 mins, then simmer for 10 mins till its cooked well.

Meanwhile, heat a small pan with oil. Roast the fresh coconut, dhania and fenugreek. Make a paste of it once its cool.

Add this paste to the boiling sambar and put it on high flame for 2 mins.

Garnish with coriander leaves.



Take the bowl which has the mini idles, pour the hot sambar. Do not cover if you want to pack this for lunch.

After a while, this is ready to be eaten. Normally my idles are soft but this makes it extra soft and smooth.
This is my daughter's Lunch Box, which she was very happy to share with the camera!

Sending this to Sharmi who is hosting the JFI: Rice. I had planned on sending so many for this event. But couldn't manage. Guess Sharmi will be happy!

Enjoy!

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Erra Karam Masala Dosa ~ Andhra Specials!

This is my 100th post and I am celebrating it by posting my hubby dear's favorite dosa types - Erra Karam Masala Dosa. Erra Karam as in Telugu means Red Chilli Masala, this I came to know is hubby favorite dish which he very passionately confessed during my Athamma's earlier visit. He said his mother used to make hot hot dosas and he won't even budge from the table and continue eating them. Never counts how many devoured. He says the hot spicy nature mixed with the hot from tawa makes this one super duper dish to eat. Well I had to believe him, so I asked Athamma for the recipe. She infact had two! No end to these people's fancy to Red chillis!

In the early years of our marriage, I had tough time preparing anything and meeting dear hubby's nod. It used to be so funny, on one side of the table you would see one puffing and dabbing himself off because of the spiciness, on the other side another person, so cool as if there is nothing amiss in the dish. I was referring to my Dad who is normally seen wiping his face off frequently when he eats something specially prepare for the son-in law. The other side is my hubby dear, who has till date never confessed, to have eaten a spicy dish at our home! My brother wouldn't even bother to venture near the place if something like this is on the table. Amma, of course was only worried about pleasing the son-in-law, so prepares something else for Dad. This was a typical scenario for quite sometime.

So it was so much pleasure when I discovered that I could please hubby dear with such a simple yet delicious combi of Red chillies or Erra Karam on Dosa.

Preparation Time : 10 mins
No cooking time as this is raw!
Cuisine : Andhra

Ingredients Needed

Onions - 1
Red Chilli powder - 1 to 2 tsp
Garlic - 3 pods
Salt to taste

Dosa Batter for Dosas!Method to prepare:

Raw grind all the ingredients together.

Take a ladleful of batter and spread out a thin dosa on a hot tawa. Sprinkle oil or ghee on the top. Turn it over.

Once done, take a spoon of the spicy masala and spread over the dosa.

Serve hot!

The raw onions with red chilli and garlic crushed gives an excellent taste to the ghee roast Dosa.

Variations to this:

Chop Onions into fine pieces and mix with red chilli powder.

Spread over the hot dosa before removing it from tawa.

We serve these with Groundnut/Peanut Chutney, which is an all time Andhra favorite!

Enjoy!

During our recent visit to Guntal, Andhra, I took this snap of the Street vendor selling Uggani.



When I was writing that post, wanted badly to show that street snack which is common in that place, was able to get a picture this visit.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Know your Ingredient - Alasandalu | Black eyed Peas

The first in the Know your Ingredient Series is the Black-eyed pea or Alasandalu or Bobbarlu as we call in Telugu.

The black-eyed pea, also called black-eyed bean, blackeye, lobiya, rongi, feijão-frade, Alasandee (Kannada name) or chawli/chawle, Karamani (Tamil) is a subspecies of the cowpea,

History

According to sources, this was originally native to Africa, but widely grown in many countries in Asia, the black-eyed pea was introduced into the West Indies and from there to the Southern United States, where it is still a widely used ingredient in soul food and Southern U.S. cuisine. The planting of crops of black-eyed peas was promoted by George Washington Carver both because, as a legume, it adds nitrogen to the soil and for its nutritional value.
Traditional use and Famous recipes across Globe

Black-eyed peas is a featured ingredient in the dish called Hoppin’ John. It is thought to bring good luck when served at New Years, so it is traditionally eaten on New Year's Day in the American South and in some other parts of the country .

Famous dishes from Andhra includes Guggullu, Alasanda or Bobbarlu vadalu are a savory deep fried snack.

How these are available:

Black-eyed peas are sold dried, canned, and frozen.

Storage and Buying info

When purchasing dried black-eyed peas, choose shiny ones, and store them in an airtight container.

Cooking direction

Dried peas can be soaked for 4 to 6 hrs before cooking them in pressure cooker. Other method to cook these super fast when you think on the moment, is dry roast them till they are brown and pressure cook when they are cool

Nutritional Highlights

Black-eyed peas, 1 cup (boiled)
Calories: 160
Protein: 5.23g
Carbohydrate: 33.5g
Total Fat: 0.63g
Fiber: 8.2g
Calcium (211mg),
Folate (209mcg),
Vitamin A (1,305 IU)

*Disclaimer* Information given in this article, is sourced from Internet.

I would like to know more information on this pulse in terms of the Native Name and other interesting facts including the popular dishes prepared from this.

Once I get most information, I will post a summary of the finding.


Updated on 3rd September

Other names used to refer this :

Red Grams in English
Alsando in Konkani
Halasande Kalu in Mysorean Kannada
Choda in Gujarathi
Chawli in Marathi.
Karaamani / Sikappu Thattaipayir in tamil
Vanpayar in malayalam
Chora in Katchi

and also just as Good Eats in English... :)) by Bee of Jungalbandi

Interesting recipes on occasions

Alasandala sambhar
Chawlichi bhaaji is served for lunch in pathare prabhu, (a maharahtrian community) weddings.
This is also used by Tamilians in their Velladai, Uppadai prepared for Karadayar nonbu, which I am told is celebrated on 14th or 15th of Feb.

Thanks for all your contribution.

Some interesting dishes made with Black Eyed Pea/ Alasandalu

Alasandalu Vada / Black Eyed Pea Fritters
Alasandalu Kura
Brown Karamani Sundal / Salad
Gongura Alasandalu Pappu / Sorrel Leaves with Black Eyed Pea


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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Kori Kundapuri ~ Chicken Kundapuri & Ghee Rice

One of my readers asked me if I knew how to make Coondapur style Ghee Roast Chicken. Well I didn't, but then there is no point why I should not try to know what it is, right?. When I did a little research, I came to know that this is chicken roast dish served with Ghee rice in the Kundapur region of Karnataka. I came across this article which says all. This, the author says, is perfect for any wedding feast. Coondapur style Ghee Roast Chicken is one of those dishes too wickedly rich to eat regularly, but too delicious to drop altogether.

This specialty in chicken is that, it is cooked with the skin. Which is the way I did and the result was just awesome.

Since this belongs to the Karnataka, I was only too happy to right it out, as I want to send this to our dear Asha.
Chicken Kundapuri

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 30 mins
Cuisine : Karnataka

Ingredients needed

Chicken - 1 kg medium
Coconut paste (coarse) - 2 cup
Onions - 4 medium
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Hot spice mix (garam masala) powder - 1 tsp
Green chillies slit - 4
Lemon juice - 2 tsps
Finely chopped coriander leaves - 2 tbsp
clarified butter (ghee) / butter - 3 tsp
salt to taste

Method to prepare:

Clean chicken and cut into medium size pieces. Finely chop onions.

Heat the ghee in a heavy-bottomed pan and saute the onions and green chillies. Fry till the onions are brown in colour.

Add the chicken pieces and salt. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or till the chicken pieces are almost done.

Make a coarse paste of the coconut and add to the chicken along with hot spice mix, red chilli powder and mix well. Cook on high flame for 2 mins and then simmer for another 2 mins till the chicken is fully cooked.

Mix in the lemon juice, chopped coriander leaves and keep covered with the lid for a minute or two.

Ghee Rice

Ingredients Needed

Basmati rice - 2 cup(s)
Warm water - 3 & 1/2 cups
Cinnamon - 1"
Bay leaves - 2
Cloves - 2
Black peppercorns - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Onions - 1
Clarified butter (ghee) / butter - 4 tablespoons
salt to taste

Method to prepare

Heat ghee in a cooker. Add the whole spices and fry for a few seconds. Then add the onion slices and saute for a few seconds till they are light brown in colour

Next add the rice and saute for a few seconds. Pour in the warm water and add the salt. Cover with lid and put it on 2 whistles.

Serve hot with Chicken Kundapuri

Each month we celebrate regional cuisine, an event started by Lakshmi of Veggiecuisine. This month, this is hosted by Asha, so sending this to RCI: Karnataka.

Everything at home just loved coondapur chicken. Kundapuri Chicken has joined our must- repeat dishes for sundays.

Enjoy!

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Jeera Aloo Sabji

In a way Jeera or Cumin is very dear to me. Not sure why, but I like it. There are certain things in life you just like them for no reason. When I first started cooking, I was so confused with all the different names and different usage. Cumin was always one that I was so clear about and I wanted to add to all dishes. Infact I have a favorite Jeera Rice that I always wanted to try but have never come around preparing that. I add lot of Cumins to my Ven pongal, Ghee Rice, Tomato Rice and just about anything of Rice variety.

When Sunita announced an Event on Spice, I thought about a Jeera Aloo by Sanjeev Kapoor. But looks like that has been tried by many and is successful. Hence wanted to change and prepare something for this Event.

Here goes my version of Jeera Aloo Sabji

Potatoes - 250 gms
Onion - 1
Tomatoes - 2
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric pw a pinch
Jeera powder (Roasted & coarse) - 1/2 tps
Coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Peel & Chop potatoes into 1" cubes. Chop Onions and tomatoes to fine pieces

Heat a pan with Oil. Saute in Onions, fry till they are nice brown in colour.

Next add tomatoes. add all the powders. Fry on high flame for 2 mins.

Then simmer and add water. Then add the potatoes, bring it boil, then simmer so that the potatoes get cooked. Once they are done, add Cumin and simmer for 5 mins more.

The sabji is ready. It has the nice aroma of cumin and when you chew you can feel it.

This is my entry for Think Spice...Think Cumin, hosted by Sunita.

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Microwave Easy Cooking Event Deadline Extended

Well I guess with so many events going around and with busy schedule, everybody is finding it hard to participate in all events. I have few requests to extend the deadline for Microwave Easy Cooking. I would like to thank for the bloggers who have already sent in their entries.

So deadline is extended from August 25th to 31st August. Hopefully bloggers who have expressed wish to participate will be able to send in their entries.

Details to participate in this Event:

1. Cook any sweet dish (no cakes, we will have it separate!) in Microwave and post it on your blog from now till August 25.

Note: Posts on Safety, Tips and other things related to Microwave cooking are also most welcome.

2. Add a link back to this event announcement, and feel free to use this logo on the right side.

3. Please send me an e-mail to cooking4allseasons@gmail.com with the following info.

* Subject Line: MEC : Sweets
* Your name
* Your blog name
* A picture of the dish.

4. Non bloggers can e-mail me the recipe and the picture and I will include it in the round up.

5. Deadline is August 25th and the round up will be posted during the first week of September.

Please let me know if I have forgotten to give you any other details

Looking forward to all the delicious entries.

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Lunch Box Series : LBS#9

Todays lunch was a simple Potlakaya Kootu with Andhra Vadiyalu or Odiyalu. and homemade Avakai Urukai. Potlakaya is what is called Snakegourd in English and Pudalankay in Tamil. Amma makes this potlakaya kutu quite frequently. This version is adapted from the Tamil Kootu but I guess she has changed quite a few things to suit our taste. I also make this often for Lunch box as a variety from the regular dal varieties. Another yummy dish that Amma makes from Potlakaya is bajji. She cuts it into thin rings and dips in Basan and fries. They make such a wonderful snack.

Once upon a time during a rainy season, hubby dear wished for this Potlakaya bajji. So took upon myself to prepare the bajji. I had everything ready what with the Snakegourd cut into rings and the batter also ready. Either I was busy or when I was free, it never rained. It remained in the fridge for 3 days, finally hubby dear said he is fed up and wanted me to make it anyway. So I did potlakaya bajji and we eat assuming it was raining outside. I haven't attempted at this bajji since then.

Coming to the Vadiyalu, am sure every Indian kid would've had a brush with this food item. As a kid, I remember the days during the summer vacation, when we won't know how else to keep us occupied, Amma would plan to make the Vadiyalu. We will get up early in the morning and see Amma will be busy preparing the batter required. We would then take big plastic sheets for drying the vadams. She would've prepare so much that by the time, it would be scorching hot, still we won't mind and continue with the passion of making the cakes in the hot sun. Amma used to make different varieties like karam Vadiyalu, Sabiyam Vadiyalu, with Tomatoes. Also the shapes used to vary like the Muruku, Savai and then like pancakes. I guess for the Muruku, its a different recipe. Will have to ask Amma on this.

Above all, plain Rice Vadiyalu is all time hit. These days, we don't do it anymore, more because of hectic schedules and other routine things. But writing this post makes me realise that I should also give such wonderful memories to my kids. So this is what I am going to do for my daughter's next summer vacation...

The vadiyalu that we have at home are prepared by my sis-inlaw. They have lot of open space where they can indulge in such fancies. So every year, she prepares kilos os this batter and sends us a parcel which last for year or less. Normally these stays good for more than a year, unless you serve these for a party, which is what I did and finished off my stock. So we had to prepare them again.

Today's Lunch Box had

Potalaykaya Kootu
Biyam Vadiyalu
Plain Rice
Curd Rice.
Avakai Urukai (Pickle)Potalaykaya Kootu

Ingredients Needed:

Potlaykaya or Snakgourd - 250 gms
Bengal gram Dal (Channa dal) - 1 cup
Onions - 1 small
Tomatoes - 2 small
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Curry leaves - few
Mustard seeds + urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Grated fresh coconut - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Clean the Bengal Gram dal and pressure cook for 3 whistles or till cooked. Keep it aside.

Chop Snake gourd into small pieces after scooping the inner seeds off. Add salt and keep aside for 10 mins. Then squeeze out the water. Its ready to be cooked.

Meanwhile chop Onions and Tomatoes. Heat oil in a cooker, I normally use the same cooker I used for boiling bengal gram.

Add seasoning items, once mustard pops, sauté in onions. Fry till they are brown in colour. Then add tomatoes. Mix in all the powders. Fry on high flame and simmer till the tomatoes are soft and well done.

Then add the squeezed snakegourd pieces and fry for 2 mins. Once done, add the cooked Bengal Gram. Add enough water and put it for 1 more whistle after covering it with lid.

Once the pressure is off, sprinkle in grated coconut and cook on high flame for 2 mins. Garnish with coriander leaves if needed.

Biyam Vadiyalu (Rice Vadams)

This can be done either with fresh rice or with left over rice. With fresh rice, soak rice for 4 hrs, dry in under fan or just like that. Then run it in mixie. Boil water in a pan. Once it starts boiling, add the rice flour with salt and mix it vigorously so that there are no lumps formed. Cumin seeds can be added for taste.

Proportion is normally 1 cup rice with 2 cups of water. As you keep stirring, you can judge if you want a loose batter or thick one. While its quite hot, we take a ladle full and spread on either plastic sheet or cloth and dry them under sun.

With left out rice, run the rice with little water to get a batter. Boil it as how you do with the fresh ones after adding salt to taste and cumin seeds. Other interesting ingredients can be added to give more flavour.

Vadams need to be dried under sun until it comes out easily off the sheet.

This can be stored for over a year. Take out in batches and fry them in hot oil, as how you fry appalams or pooris.

Even fried vadiyalu stays good if you store in a Air-tight container for 2 to 3 days.

This is our simple lunch box, hope you enjoyed it.

I am sending the Biyam Vadiyalu to Sharmi for JFI: Rice.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Know your Ingredient - Globally

What is Muttikaya in Hindi? What is Bengal Gram in Telugu?...well I am faced with such questions all the time. Since I think and use Telugu most of the time, but have to communicate in Tamil to get things from Grocery, I find it hard to get the local name when I order that. So every time will have to ask Amma what it is called in Tamil. Likewise there are few ingredients that I know in English but not equivalent in Tamil or Telugu. When I started writing down recipes when I was in college, I maintained a separate page where I would update all the equivalent names in all the languages. But it was quite limited and updating it was also difficult.
In this age and technology, it should not be a problem to get the different names used in different languages and have them in one common place - The Internet. Anybody can access and be benefited.

So this is going to be a new series where I will be writing on one Ingredients every week. Will try to post a picture and dig up medicinal value, if any, and other related informations that will enrich the ingredient.

Expecting everybody to input the name as it is called in your language. This is not just restricted to Indian names but global languages.

Hope I can get everybody's support and contribution.

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Tomato Rice Oriya Style

RCI : Oriyya was nearing its deadline and I didn't have anything to contribute. So when I checked the sites given by swad, this seems to be easiest that I can prepare....I adapted the recipe from here.

This is also my contribution to JFI: Rice hosted by Sharmi

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking time : 20 mins
Cuisine : Oriya

Ingredients
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Methi leaves - 2- 3 tablespoons chopped
Basmati Rice, uncooked - 1 1/2 cups
Ghee (clarified butter) - 2 tbsp
Fresh/Dried Peas - 1 cup

Masalas to be pasted:
Onion - 1 small
Garlic pods - 2-3
Ginger 1" piece
Cloves 1-2
Cinnamon 1 stick
Cardamom pod 1
Green chilies 3-4
Salt to taste

Onion sliced finely - 1
Bay leaves, crushed - 2-3
red chili powder - 2 tsp.
turmeric - a pinch
Dhania powder - 2 tsp.
Cumin powder - 1 tsp.



Method to prepare

Heat some oil in a cooker, once its hot add the bay leaves.

Then add the sliced onions and fry for a while. Once they are translucent, add the onion paste and fry till the mixture turns brown and Oil comes out.

Now add the chopped tomato and methi leaves. Fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add the spices and keep frying for a minute. Finally add the rice and Peas. Fry it for 3 minutes.

Add 2 - 2 1/2 cups of water, (it depends on rice quality) Add salt to taste.

Cover with cooker lid and put it on 1 whistle in pressure cooker.

Can be served with raita or mint chutney.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Vankai Urulagadda Kura and a new Award

Vankai Urulagadda Kura or Brinjal Potato Curry as it can be called is a very simple yet tasty curry that goes as an excellent combi for Chitramma and of course with Rotis. But the strangest part was accepting the fact that at my in-laws place, they eat this with Sweet Polis or Puran Polis as its commonly known as. I have already given an insight to the place Polis holds at our place, should find time to prepare and post it. But we all had our shock, we in sense my parents and me, when we first came to know that my in-laws eat Polis with this Sabji. Its very famous at their place. As I said they prepare Polis for all festivals and this is the side dish they prepare. This is also the side dish they prepare for Chitramma or Lemon Rice. But there was this secret ingredient that I came to know that they add to this that gives the special taste.

Here you go for the recipe

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Cuisine : Andhra

Ingredients Needed:

Brinjal - 3 medium
Potatoes - 2 medium
Onions - 1 big
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves
Curry leaves
Mustard + Urud dal
Kopra (dried Coconut) + Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Method to prepare:

Chop Brinjal and Potatoes into 2 " cubes. Finely chop onions and tomatoes.

Heat a kadai with Oil, add the seasoning items. Then sauté in Onions and curry leaves. Once they are light brown in colour, add potatoes and brinjal. Simmer and cover with lid to cook well. This way both the vegetables get cooked.

Then add tomatoes and all the powders. Fry on high flame and then add the Kopra and garlic paste. Add water and simmer for 15 mins or till both are cooked and tender. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

The photo shows my lunch box, I made this sabji with Lemon rice, since I have already posted that, just took the sabji part. To be frank, I have come to love the combi of Sweet polis with this sabji. It has an unique taste to the entire stuff.

Now coming to awards. Since the past few weeks, its been raining awards in the food blogsphere. It feels good to get awards. I was happy getting to know the others who got these awards. I felt happy though I doubt it is deserving when I found myself being mentioned by my dear blog friends who never fail to encourage me. Its Archana and Cinnamon. Thanks for remembering and thinking I deserve these. I think the entire community deserve to be awarded, but since I need to mention few names, I take pleasure in mentioning them in no particular order. Most of them have already received these awards...still this is my way of saying they rock!

These are few bloggers who always take time to comment on my posts. If I don't see their comments in even one, I feel like asking them for their valuable comments.

Asha.....the ever rocking gal...not sure how she finds time to comment and encourage everybody. Bee ..
Coffee...
Lee Ping
Jaden
Padma
Suganya
Prajusha
SeeC
Cynthia
Sharmi
Lia
Kajal
Raaga
Tee
Raji

Asha.
Bee ..
Coffee...


If you think only gals rocks, you are wrong...here comes a bunch of guys who equally rock!

Jai
VKN
Joseph My very own award to Jai & Bee's Jungalbandi as the Most Witty and Fun place be....they simply rock and I never miss a day to read their blog...it lightens the mind and heart to read what they write....Jai & Bee kindly accept this from me.


Thanks for all the encouragement. Enjoy!

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Bendakaya Bajji ~ Okra Bajji

Don't mistake this for a snack....I did the first time I heard this name from hubby dear. He is fond of Ragi Sangati with Bendakaya Bajji. I have known to have tasted Sangati with Groundnut/Peanut Chutney or Endimirapakaya Pappu, but a dish made from Bendakaya was strange to me. Now don't ask me why its called Bajji. My in-laws are from strange land. They address lean person as small person and other way round (sshh..hope hubby dear doesn't get to read this post..)

Well as every mom-in-law tries to impress the son-in-law, my mom did too. She must've tried out everything on earth she knows, plus she made it a point to know from my mil what my hubby dear is fond of. She was in for a surprise, she came to know that he is fond of Ragi Sangati with Bendakaya Bajji. We wondered how on earth does a bajji goes with a Sangati. Only then we were introduced to this dish which we feel is so simple that it can't be really so tasty. But then people have their fancies. When biryanis failed to please His Majesty, this simple bajji did. It has to be seen to believe hubby dear's expression, when I first presented him with a plate of Sangati with Bajji. Small price to be paid for such happiness.

Here goes my Athamma's recipe for Bandakaya Bajji. Will update the photo soon..

Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Cuisine : Andhra

Ingredients Needed

Bendakaya - 250 gms
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 1 small
Garlic - 4 pods
Red Chillies - 5
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves few
Photo updated on Oct 2nd 2007

Method to prepare:

Cut Bendakaya to 1' pieces. Chop onions and tomatoes.

In a pan, heat oil, add all the ingredients, fry for 2 mins.

Then add water and let it boil. It will get cooked in 10 mins time.

Remove and mash well so that Bendakaya gets mixed well with other ingredients.

The gravy will be sticky and smooth and will go well with Ragi Sangati.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Cluster Beans Curry | Mattikaya Kura | Side Dish for Dosa

We call Cluster Beans as Mattikaya in Telugu and Kothavarangai in Tamil. Until I started cooking, I never knew the tamil names for many of the Vegetables. I almost feel strange when trying to recollect what Amma says for each one. Though I never really lived in Andhra, I know them by their Telugu names. My parents have ensured we learn the language and continue speaking only at home. And cluster beans is one of favorites with Andhrites. I got this assured when even Athamma wants to make Mattikayala kura every other day. As Daddy loves this curry, it used to make frequent appearance on our dinner table. Since I had that strange habit of not wanting to make certain vegetables, even though I like when it's made, I ensured I gave this a miss most of the time. But alas! entered Athamma, with a soft corner for this abandoned Vegetable. And this is reigning it's head to shamelessly rule the kitchen world every now and then.

But it was a surprise that this has an interesting tale to tell. From goggling, I was enlighten to know that this is used to prepare a guar gum, which is used as a thickener and emulsifier in commercial food processing. Facts never fail to amaze us. Well if I am forced to eat this, then let me eat with something I love - Dosa!

Yes, I find Mattikayala Kura to be more interesting when served with Dosa. Amma makes many varieties with this Vegetable. As I said, Dad is fond of this. (But then Dad is fond of many Vegetables, esp. all those that I never liked but now forced to eat because of my daughter. I can't act grown up if I tell my 6 yr old that I don't like veggies, can I?)

So here is one variety that is a good combo for Dosa

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins
Cuisine : Andhra

Ingredients Needed:

Cluster Beans/ Mattikaya - 250 gms
Onions - 1 small
Tomatoes - 2 small
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Groundnut / Peanut powder - 2 tbsp
Garlic pods - 2
Curry leaves few
Mustard seeds, Urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1 cup
Method to prepare:

Normally very tender ones are used for cooking, This can be checked by pulling on the tops and ends. Pluck the cluster bean with your hand by pulling it downward; if a thick thread comes away, do the same on the other side. You can either use a knife or if they are very tender, with your hands you can cut them 2 inch long pieces.

Boil a pan with water to cook this. Once the water starts boiling, throw in the chopped beans. Half cover it with lid and cook till its cooked. At times we even pressure cook this when we are pressed for time. But water used for boiling this is never used for cooking as it leaves a bitter taste. Drain and keep aside.

Heat a kadai with Oil. Add Mustard seeds, then sauté in curry leaves, onions and garlic pieces. Once the onions are brown, add chopped tomatoes with salt and turmeric pw. Then add chilli powder and coriander powder. Let it cook till tomatoes are soft.

Then add in the cooked beans. Fry for a 2 mins. Then add water and let it boil on high flame for 2 mins. Sprinkle peanut powder to thicken the gravy.

At times, we garlic pods with peanut when we powder it. That also gives a lovely taste to it.

This tastes excellent with Dosa. Amma always goes for Vegetable curries for Dosas, which I have also imbibed. That's my daughter's plate, she was happy that I was taking a photo of her breakfast plate.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ghee Rice

Ghee Rice is what we make for most of our Non-Veg curries. Very simple to make and yet tasty. As the curry is always quite spicy, the mildness of this ghee rice is easy for the stomach.

Ingredients Needed

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Cardomom - 2
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Green Cardamom - 2
Bay leaf - 1
Salt to taste
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Water - 3 cups

Method to make:

Clean Basmati rice in water once, max 2 times not more than that as it will break. Soak the rice for 15 mins, in the same water that you are going to use for cooking. This to make sure the minerals and vitamins are not lost.

Once 15 mins is done, drain the rice from water, keep the water aside. Please don't throw away the water, remember we are going to use the same water for cooking.

Heat a pan with Ghee and add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom and cumin seeds.

Then add the basmati rice, gently stir it so that it gets coated with ghee.

Add 3 cups of water and simmer it until the rice cooks. It takes about 15 mins to cook.

A simple rice dish to enjoy with your choice of curry.

I am sending this over to Sharmi for Jihva for Ingredients : Rice.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Announcing 'Microwave Easy Cooking' Event!

Taking part in an event has always been something I look forward and is such a fun. I had real fun looking at new recipes and cuisine and trying them out. Since then I always thought I should start one myself. As I said I was planning on Express Meals or something on Lunch Box Series. But looks like Microwave cooking is more in demand.

Cooking in Microwave has always been a big challenge to me even now. Most I have done has been only baking a cake. Then I use it mostly for reheating. We had an oven, which we used extensively for baking. But when we exchange that for a Microwave, we thought we will change our cooking drastically. But when faced with the fact that it involves very specific requirements, I have been hesitant on using it frequently. I came to know few others also felt the same. So here comes a challenge to cook in Microwave, based on the theme of the Month.

Calling all you food lovers, wanting to use Microwave for cooking to participate in this Event, which is going to be "Microwave Easy Cooking". Lets begin with sweet beginning.

From the coming month, the theme will be announced during the Round up.

Details to participate in this Event:

1. Cook any item based on the month's theme in a Microwave and post it on your blog from now till the last date of the month.

Note: Posts on Safety, Tips and other things related to Microwave cooking are also most welcome.

2. Add a link back to this event announcement, and feel free to use this logo:


3. Please send me an e-mail to cooking4allseasons@gmail.com with the following info.

* Subject Line: MEC : Theme
* Your name
* Your post link
* A picture of the dish.

4. Non bloggers can e-mail me the recipe and the picture and I will include it in the round up.

5. Deadline is Last date of the Month and the round up will be posted during the first week of following month.

Looking forward to all the delicious entries.

Details of the Past event Round up:

August 2007 - Microwave Sweets
September 2007 - Microwave Basics
October 2007 - Microwave Snacks
November 2007 - Microwave Side Dish
December 2007 - Microwave Gravies
January 2008 - Microwave Tiffins
February 2008 - Microwave Greens
March 2008 - Microwave Rice
April 2008 - Microwave Cakes
May 2008 - Microwave Steamed Dishes
June 2008 - Microwave Preserves
July 2008 - Microwave Soups and Stews
August 2008 - Potluck Party
September 2008 - Microwave Chocolate
October 2008 -
November 2008 - Pavani - Microwave Cheese
December 2009 -

January 2009 - Raji Microwave Paneer
February 2009 - Jayasree Microwave Puddings
March 2009 - Priya Savory Snacks in Microwave
April 2009 - Mythreyee Microwave Nuts
May 2009 - Rachel - Essential Extras
June 2009 - Simran Breezy Breakfast
July 2009 - Ramya Harish MEC Protein Rich Foods
August 2009 - Srivalli MEC 2nd Anniversary Potluck Party
Sepetember 2009 - Srivalli MEC Potluck Party
October 2009 - Suma Fresh Produce
November 2009 - Paru - Sweets 'n' Savories
December 2009 - Cham Festive Foods


January 2010 - Manju of Mirch Masala Dips n Spreads

Have a great time cooking in Microwave!


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Nellore Chicken

I had this interesting insight this Sunday when I planned to prepare a new variety. It was like searching for a needle in a hay! I have so many recipes collected, that it overwhelmed to know that simple ingredients can be mixed to create so many variations and varieties. I am sure the recipes that are shared by other bloggers are as varied as the ones I have with me. Blogging has become an addiction these days. There was a time I used to wonder, seeing people glued to their monitors, smiling and talking to themselves, that they must be off with some screw somewhere in their grey cells. But now I know, given a chance I would also do the same.

Another interesting fact is, my boys are so excited when they see me sit in front of my computer. I wish I can know what they are thinking, when they see the colourful pictures. Of course, its mostly food pictures that they get to see. Infact, my daughter tells me which picture she likes and which she wants me to prepare for her. With all this excitement around, I will never be able to write anything.

So finally I settled to prepare one dish that Amma used to prepare and which Dad and hubby dear used to like a lot. Had always wanted to try my hand on this, finally I was able to prepare this for our Sunday lunch. Along with Chicken kurma, I made the simple Ghee Rice and this chicken Fry which is called Nellore Chicken. Don't ask me why this is called Nellore chicken, I have no clue. Nellore is more of a town in Andhra where I am sure neither chilli sauce nor vinegar might be used for cooking. I always thought this is chistain this name, for want of better one or for a fancy. But whats in a name when the dish is so heavenly.

Only mishap was, since I never did follow the times Amma prepared this, had few doubts while preparing it. I knew I was doing something wrong here but as time was flying and also I was not able to get in touch with Amma to clarify my doubt, I just went ahead with preparing the way I thought it should be. Result, hubby dear found the chicken to be sweet and my daughter absolutely loved it. Well though I was kinda happy that atleast she liked it, I was feeling low that hubby dear didn't. He tried convincing me that 'there has to come a time when I should start thinking of satisfying the kids rather than him'. Well, there is still more time for that I think! My daughter on the other hand, got furious and said that daddy is mean because, when Ammamma makes, he says its lovely and eats everything but when Mummy makes, he is complaining. Ah, I felt very happy to hear this and of course Amma felt very happy too when I conveyed this message to her. My daughter is the apple of her eye, so anything coming from her is precious to my mother....

I decided I am going to make this again with the steps that Amma asked me to follow. But here is the version that sure should work.

This is the lunch I prepared. The ghee rice is a simple and mild one that goes well with both Veg and Non - Gravies.
Nellore Chicken

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Marinating Time : 30 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Cuisine : Andhra

Ingredients needed

Marinade

Chicken - 500 gms
Curds/Yogurt - 1 cup
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt to taste

Spices
Cinnamon - 2"
Cloves - 4
Cardamom - 2

For seasoning
Egg - 1
Crushed Red Chillies - 2
Curry Leaves few
Cashew Nuts - few
Chilli Sauce - 1 tsp
Tomato Sauce - 2 tsp
Vinegar - 2 tsp


Method to prepare:

Marinate Chicken with curds/yogurt, chilli pw, coriander pw, ginger garlic paste, turmeric pw and salt for 30 mins

Cook the chicken with 1/2 cup water till the water evaporates and chicken gets cooked. I pressure cooked the chicken but instead of cooking in the masala, I removed and followed with the preparations. If you want spicy chicken, cook with the masala on high flame so that masala coats the chicken.

Remove the bones and shred the chicken into pieces.

Heat a kadai with Oil. Fry the whole spices and then add crushed red chillies. Just take the chillies and crush on the top with a hard pan to get the seeds out. Fry till its dry.

Once done, add the cut chicken. Break one egg to the chicken and dry roast it. If you want the egg to have little salt, can adjust with that. Then add curry leaves and roasted cashew nuts. Fry for a while.

Finally add vinegar, tomato sauce and chilli sauce. If chilli sauce is not at hand, use extra red chillies for the spiciness.

Enjoy!

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Pappu Chaaru with Arbi Stir Fry - My Express Meal

Pappu Chaaru comes to rescue for our Sunday dinner. After the heavy lunch, this is what has been on menu for many years at our place. We normally never think of making this on any other day or anything else for a Sunday dinner. Pappu Chaaru can be prepared in many ways. Infact, Athamma has a different one from what I learnt from Amma. Will have to try that one day. Ours is a simple dish which doesn't take that much time. My brother, infact says there is nothing to beat Amma's Pappu Charu. Chaaru as we call in Telugu, is more like Sambar except this is more running and light to have. This is also very easy and simple to make. I just make papad or appalam to go with this. But this time made Arbi Stir Fry. This is the variety that Amma used to make for us when we were in school, later she got into the habit of preparing it like this. Since its ages I prepared Arbi like this, wanted to try again.

This is also my entry for Express cooking challenge thrown by mallugirl. I haven't resorted to anything stored in Fridge till date. But the way things are going at home, may think of doing that in coming days.

Our Meal had
Rice
Pappu Chaaru
Arbi Stir Fry
Curds/ YogurtPappu Chaaru

Serves - 4
Preparation Time : 5 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Cuisine : Andhra

Ingredients Needed

Toor Dal - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - small lemon size
Tomato - 1
Coriander Leaves - few
Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Water - 1 cup

For tempering
Sambar Onions (shallots) - few
Curry Leaves - few
Mustard seeds + Urud dal + Cumin Seeds + Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Garlic - 1 pod
Dried Red chili - 1
Oil - 1 tsp

Samagadda Fry or Arbi Stir Fry

Ingredients needed

Arbi - 250 gms
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander pw - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric a pinch
Salt to taste
Mustard Seeds + Urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 2 tsp

How I did this under 30 mins. All my cooking gets done under 30 mins, except for Non-Veg. But this is the first one I timed myself.

0 - 10 min.

Wash and Soak Tamarind in water. Soak Sambar Onions in anther bowl of water. This way skin comes out soon. Take rice, clean and soak for 10 mins.

Pressure cook Toor dal with turmeric and 1 drop of oil. Cook for 3 whistles. This way dal gets cooked soon and better.

10- 15 min

Extract juice from Tamarind. Chop Tomatoes.

Dal gets done in 3 whistles which comes out by 10 mins. Remove the lid, mash it and add tamarind juice, tomatoes, chili pw, coriander pw, salt. Coriander leaves.

Pressure cook for another whistle

Take Arbi, pressure cook for 3 whistles.

Put the Rice cooker to get cooked. This takes 3 whistles.

Check the Arbi and put it under fan to cool. Then peel. If somebody is near by, rope them in. Of course hubby dear refused to be a part of this hurry.

15 - 25 min

Heat oil in a pan, fry all the tempering ingredients for Chaaru and add to the cooked dal.

Then heat another kadai with Oil, Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Sauté in Arbi pieces and sprinkle turmeric pw and salt.

Sauté well with oil so that Arbi does not stick together. Then add Chili pw, Coriander Pw. Fry well. Do not cover with lid as it will make the arbi soggy.

Keep stirring frequently. This gets done in 15 mins.

Rice gets ready by this time.

25 - 30 mins

Transferred all the dishes to bowls to be served. We always set our Curds some 6 hrs before or depending on the season.
Of course, cleaning all this mess takes more than 10 to 15 mins. Normally I try to minimize the usage of cookers by reusing them after one dish is done. This time I used 3 cookers for all the dishes. Well I managed to do this within time. Phew!

Since hubby dear wouldn't partake in this hustle, gave him the honour of taking pictures.

We enjoyed our sunday dinner with a cool shower blowing our way!

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Poori Channa | Chana Masala | Chickpeas Curry with Step by Step Recipe

During the initial days of marriage, Sundays was always a time to relax with a cup of coffee and read the papers and if time permits, watch the Rangoli on TV. Off late I have not been following this ritual, what with the kids getting up with us and at times we find we don't have time to drink the coffee properly too. Kids are adorable no doubt but taxing at times. 

My daughter when she was until 3 or 4, used to sleep along with us and wake up the same time. So never really gives us time to even sit for a moment. Now I find she sleeps late on holidays. But at times, on Sundays she gets up with any nudge from us. My twins on the other hand, off late have got into habit of sleeping after we do, and getting up along with us. But whatever happens, Sundays are dedicated to Pooris. This gives us the pickup needed to run around for the next whole week. This is also to ensure we don't get hungry for a quick lunch, as Sundays it's always late lunch.


When I was with my parents, it was a different story. Amma used to prepare Bhaturas and we generally used to wander around, gardening and doing other unrelated things, but with kids around I don't find time to prepare Bhatura, so it is only pooris. We alternate the side dishes with either Channa Masala, Potato bajjis or Yellow Moong dal / Pesarapappu Kura (as we call in Telugu).

Today its going to be Poori with Channa. This is different from the Chole Masala I made for Bhatura.

Step by Step Recipe for making Channa for Poori

 Saute Onion paste
 Add ginger garlic paste
 Then goes the tomato puree
 Finally all the spice masalas
 Mix well and saute
Pressure cook Chickpea and mash handful of the channa for thickening the gravy
Add to the pan
 Add water and bring to boil.
Add chopped coriander leaves.


Chana Masala

Ingredients needed:

Channa/ Chickpea - 2 cups (soaked overnight)
Onions - 2 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Channa Masala - 1 tsp (I used MTR brand)
Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 tsp
Roasted Cumin Powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves

Method to prepare:

Soak Channa overnight, (atleast for 6 hours) in water. Pressure cook to get tender channa dal. Ensure its not soggy.

Make puree of Onions and Tomatoes separately

Heat oil in a kadai, add onion paste and cook well until raw smell is gone. Then add ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 mins. 

Then add tomato puree. All the powders. Cook for 5 mins till oil comes out.

Then add the cooked Channa to the kadai. Mash some channa to paste, to give thick consistency to the gravy. Sim it for a while, until you get a thick gravy. Finally garnish with coriander leaves.


Poori

Making not so oily and puffed up Poori is an art in itself. Amma always makes great puri and I have learnt the trick from her. The poori turns out not so oily and remains puffed up for quite sometime. To get this, we should make the dough just some 10 mins before rolling out the pooris. If it rests then the dough gets soft which will dunk more oil. Dough should also be stiff and not soft as we make for chapattis.

Ingredients needed

Wheat flour or Atta - 3 cups
Water - 1 cup
Salt to taste
Oil for frying.

Method to prepare:

Take a bowl with the atta. Shift with salt and mix well. Add water little by little and knead well till you get a stiff dough. The stiffness is to make sure pooris don't dunk more oil and not much flour is required to dust it while we roll them out.

We normally not let it rest, but if required it can rest for 10 mins, divide into equal size (as a lemon). Press down with flour and roll it out. You should not use too much pressure as it will make the dough stick to the board and will get a dent. Roll out all the ones that are required to be fried.

Heat oil in kadai, check if its really hot. This can be done either by dropping a small piece of dough or by keeping our hands over the kadai. If you feel hot waves coming out, then it means its hot enough. Just take care not to keep it too close.

Lift the poori and dab off excess flour if any sticking to the poori. If it has extra flour, oil gets mixed with flour. Then slide it gently into the oil. When you slide it from one edge, oil will not splash. Gently press the poori with the slotted spoon, this way it will get cooked evenly and it will rise. Then immediately roll over the other side. Cooking this side will take few seconds more as this is the thicker side.

When its done, just keep it resting on the kadai side so that excess oil will drain away. Remove on to a kitchen towel. (During the initial stages of marriage, Hubby dear used to comment that poori loses its charm when I remove on a kitchen towel, he doesn't anymore...:)...these days he complains when I say I am going to make poori. I guess it all a question of us getting older!)

Serve with Channa!


Whenever I eat poori, I remember my friend's Mom. When we had gone to her place one evening, she prepared Poori for evening tiffin. All my friends, after eating just 2 or 3 pooris, said they can't eat anymore. I never had such hassles. But looking at my friends, Aunty was surprised and said being teenagers we should eat more of such oily food, as we may not be able to eat it at later stage. How true she was!

Wish I could do it again!

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Lunch Box Series : LBS#8

For today's lunch its different than the regular sambar and Vegetables fries. I normally have one day allotted for Rice varieties, so that cooking gets done easily. So prepared Vegetable Pulao, which is almost the same way I make the biryani too. Not real difference between the two. except for few ingredients changed or added. I just term them differently to identify what I want to make. I add curd and little more spices for Veg Biryani, but this is much simpler one to make. Rice varieties that I carry to office are very popular with my colleagues. I pack my box full, plus one extra box for others. They sure like it a lot, which sure makes me very happy.

Today's Lunch Box had

Vegetable Pulao
Onion Raitha
Curd Rice.
Serves : 4
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins

Ingredients needed:

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Butter - 2 tbsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Onions - 2 medium
Tomatoes - 1 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Green Chilles - 4 nos
Turmeric Powder - a pinch
Carrot - 1/2 cup
Beans - 1/2 cup
Peas - 1/2 cup
Potatoes - 1/2 cup
Bay Leaves - 2
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Cloves - 5
Coriander Leaves - for garnishing
Coconut paste - 2 tbsp
Water - 4 cups
Salt to taste


Method to prepare:

Clean and soak Basmati rice for 15 mins in water.

Chop all the vegetables. Keep it aside.

Heat Oil and butter in a cooker.

Add all the whole spices, then add onions, Green Chillies. Sauté till they are golden in colour.

Then add ginger garlic paste. Once its cooked well, add the Vegetables. Fry for 5 mins

Then add drained rice and fry gently so that the rice is coated well in butter and at the same it does not get broken

Then add tomatoes, salt to taste, turmeric pw, water and coconut paste. Normally for cooking basmati rice we use 1-1&1/2 ratio but since we have all the vegetables to cook I added 1-2 ratio of water.

Pressure cook the rice and garnish with Coriander leaves.

Sending this to Sharmi for Jihva for Ingredients : Rice.

Hope you enjoyed my lunch box today.


I was toying with an idea of starting an event on this theme...I was thinking of express meal but mallugirl beat me on that...:)..but I want something more in terms of ideas for lunch and things oriented to lunch box. Please give me your feedback. I would like to know if others are willing to participate in this event.

I thought of something in lines of "Lingering for Lunch?"...as dear lakshmi suggested I always have this "What to cook today" syndrome ..infact that was the thought behind me to start this blog, wherein I thought I will have meal planner ready for any day. Dad always suggested we pin up names of the fav dishes to prepare and nothing comes to mind, check that list and prepare. Few months back, we used to sit around and plan for the entire week for all three meals plus other things. Now things have become more stable. Still I liked the idea of a planned out Menu, where I can buy Vegetables as planned and there is a rotation of vegetables also.
So please think of more ideas to revolve this event around.

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Pithiki pappu kura ~ Hyacinth Bean Curry

Well I must say I had enough with trying to find the English equivalent to this Bean, that's so common. Infact I was on the verge of giving up on this post. Not only was I confused, I confused Amma also. I spent a long distance call on trying to find the exact name of this. I was very particular that I was clear on which bean I was referring too. We finally hit the right one. Since I went to the extreme point of goggling this, I might as well list out all the names for posterity...This goes by the botanical name Dolichos lablab L (I have to confess I felt so stupid that this was that), English - Hyacinth bean, Hindi - Bhaja vasu, Telugu - Anumulu, Tamil - Avarai, Kannada - Anvare. Phew!...so many names and yet we feel we know all of them.

Coming to the dish, this falls under the "the most wanted dish" at my place. I first had it in one of our family friends place. The dear Aunty was one of those types, who cooks things in a jiffy but never appears to have even extended her hand otherwise. Memories of that fine day when I had tasted this, is still faintly lingering somewhere...still its good enough that I always relate to that. Amma has, since prepared it many times for me to even count how many times. I guess I am giving too much of a build up, if you understand the slang, for this simple bean which gets stripped down, sorry peeled out to be cooked unfortunately in a gravy. We get the fresh ones only during a season. So during the entire season, its only Pithikina pappu kura at home. Pithikina means "pressed out" in telugu. We soak the bean seeds overnight or for some 6 hrs, then remove the skin and use the inner seeds for this gravy. This is an ultimate combi with Dosa.

Not only am I a fan of this, fortunately I have got my hubby and daughter into this fan club. You see, I strongly believe, you like something, you get everybody aboard, it only gets easy to get access to that...nice right...:)

Well before I just go on and on...lets get on the fancies of this humble yet delicious bean.

Preparation Time : 15 mins (not including the soaking time and of course time spent on peeling the bean off)
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Cuisine : Andhra
Ingredients Needed:

Annumulu - 250 gms
Potatoes - 1 (optional)
Onions - 2
Tomatoes - 3
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Coconut paste - 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves and mustard seeds for seasoning.
Method to prepare:

Chop Onion, tomatoes to fine pieces.

Make a paste of fennel seeds with coconut.

Heat oil in a cooker, add seasoning, then sauté onions till brown, add tomatoes with salt. Cook till its soft.

Then add chilli powder, coriander pw and turmeric pw. Cook well.

Then add in the peeled beans and fry well. After 5 mins, add coconut paste and water. Cover with lid and pressure for 1 to 2 whistles or till its cooked.

I normally use potatoes if I want to make extra gravy. Normally pressure cook both potatoes and the beans. Else you can chop into cubes and fry with onions.

Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

This goes excellently with dosas.

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