Friday, February 29, 2008

Lunch Box Series : LBS#27

Kovakkai is only for birds you think? Nay I used to eat too as a kid. I remember eating those bright red juicy fruits, as a 6 year old, while we were living in a smaller town then. Dad was taking take of this district hospital and we were living in a house which was more like a farm house than a colony. We had many acres surrounding our house and finally ended up growing lots of vegetables. That's my only exposure in ever growing and playing around in vegetable garden. Every yield was so much that, we used to give to the hospital and the entire colony and still much was left back unused. In those areas, a typical plant grows which gives out a violet or yellow colour flower. But its so confirmed to that soil and climate, I haven't seen that plant grown in any other area. Its mostly used as a fencing plant. We used to grow this plant instead of having iron compounds. So see midst of this plant is the donda kaya plant that grows abundantly and yields so many fruits. When its bright red in colour, we will see many birds coming there ready to eat them. Mostly parrots are the ones that feed on them and it used to be great trill to see them in action. If we are lucky to have some left by the birds, we will be ready to eat them off. The other thing we used do with those wild plants, was to use its stem to play cricket or jockey. The stems used to be in shape of these bats and we used spend many summer afternoons, shining our bats. Since having left that town, I haven't actually seen a Tindora plant. But when I think of one, all that comes to mind, is that picture of a compound made plants with bright red ripe Dondakaya hanging ready to eat.

I wish certain things remain as such for ever. But we can't really think that will happen right. Now when I think of kovakka, I can only think of eating it as a stir fry. Given a choice, I would never eat but I have known parent's "this is good for health and you are supposed to eat this" line oft with this vegetable that I find I can't escape. Amma makes this as mostly talimpu and this variety is the best I like and mostly prepare only like this. Last evening we again had a cute little scene enacted by the three siblings. When all of three of them were playing, Konda playfully patted peddu on his back. For which he got excited and caught hold of Kond's shoulders. With his baby hands, I think he didn't realise his strength and so resulted in holding konda little tightly. She ended up shouting at him and told him, she isn't going to talk to him anymore. Hearing that Peddu starting crying and going behind her to make her talk to him. But Konda didn't budge and went on saying he can leave her alone and not pester her again. Till then, chinnu was with me but seeing this happening, he jumped down and ran to konda, who was facing the wall. He went straight and bit her back and started shouting something raising his hands. We all had to run to pull them from each other. None of them would stop, so finally we had to cajole konda to talk to Peddu, who was still crying and chinnu who was fuming seeing his brother crying. When she finally hugged Peddu and spoke to him, he was so jubilant and shouting and cheering. All three of them were hugging each other and trying to pacify one and other. It looked as if they were all grown ups and know what they were doing. Seeing them like that, all we could do was to wish, that they grow to be as affectionate with each other as they are now.

Today's Lunch Box had

Endimirapakaya Pappu ~ Red Chilli Dal
Dondakaya Talimpu / Tindora/Tondli Fry / Gherkins Stir Fry
Pepper Cumin Rasam
Plain Rice
Curd Rice


Dondakaya Talimpu / Tindora Fry / Gherkins Stir Fry

Ingredients Needed:

Dondakaya / Tindora / Gherkins - 250 gms
Chilli powder - 3/4 sp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Seasoning
Mustard Seeds + Urud Dal - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves

Spice Powder
Grated coconut - 2 tsp
Whole Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp

Method to prepare

Wash and scrap on the Gherkins outer skin. It sometimes has that sticky thing on its top. Then trim the ends and slice into thin circles.

Heat a pan with oil. Once its hot, add mustard seeds, curry leaves. Then add the sliced Tindora, stir well. Add salt and turmeric and cook it covered with a lid and keep stirring in between so that it doesn't get burnt. Simmer for 10 to 15 mins.

Meanwhile, dry roast grated coconut and whole dhania in a skillet and grind to a fine powder once its cool.

When Tindora is almost cooked, sprinkle this spice powder on it and cover and cook for another 5 mins or till its well blended and cooked.

This makes a perfect Talimpu or vepudu for Dal!

Reminder: Today is the last day for sending in entries based on Greens for the Microwave Easy Cooking Event. Will be doing the round up tomorrow! Come to see the Greens!

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Gooseberry Chutney or Usirikai Pachadi ~ Andhra Special!

I love the smaller variety of Amla much better than the bigger ones. As a kid, I used to visit my friend's place, where they had this Ara Nellikkai tree and it used to yield in loads. And vacation mostly saw us hanging around the terrace, the place where one of the branch peeped in. If it was one thing that I never was able to conquer, and most ardently wanted too, was to climb a tree. I could never get myself do that. So I used to do only thing, that was next best, hang around the place where the branch might be littler lower. But in this case, it was so convenient because we had the terrace near by. The thing with Amla is, once you start eating, you can go on and on. And with the bigger ones, it might be difficult to start but we mostly liked to finish it because we loved the feeling we get, when you drink water after that! It used to be so much fun, we used to eat and then drink water. I remembered that Hals ad that came with the actor doing "Hahhhhh" with her mouth open. We tried imitating that ad many times while eating Amlas.We used to thrive on Amla, Navapallam, Yezadapallam. My most favorite of all times has always been Jamuns. My friend had a big Jamun tree in their backyard and it used to give out such juicy berries. My friends used to climb and pluck all the berries, while I was eagarly waiting down, ready to catch if any one escapes their hold. Those were the fancies of childhood. Now, at the most we get to eat jamun, are the hybrid varieties which naturally don't have that zing to it.

Off late hubby dear got this bug into him. Hope he doesn't read this statement. He has been getting Amlas and making me eat them. All are big ones and they are so sour! God I wonder how I ever ate these before! Infact during my pregnancy, I had a fancy for the Are Nelliakkai, but couldn't get them during that time. But somebody got them for me after delivery and I couldn't actually manage to eat it. Now we eat the big Amla regularly and hubby got hold of the honey pickled one too. Though they weren't sour, vitamin c is lost if its pickled with honey. Fresh Amla had about 250 of Vitamin C. So after reading it, its back to fresh one for me. Well, after too many Amlas I couldn't manage for a while and they were lying in the fridge and what can you expect Athamma to do with them. Show something to Athamma and she will get you a chutney out of it. So this is what came out of it. When I got home after work, I was welcomed by a tangy aroma coming from the kitchen. When I asked her what she did, out came the bottle all in a pachadi!


Ingredients Needed

Amla - 3 big
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 5-6 nos
Red Chilles - 3 nos
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Seasoning

Mustard Seeds + Urud dal - 3/4 tsp
Curry few
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Crush or chop to scoop the pith away. Cut into small pieces. Heat a pan with 1/2 tsp oil and fry amla along with Red chillies, Mustard seeds and fenugreek till its little brown in colour. Remove and let it cool. Add salt.

Grind this mix to a smooth paste without adding water. Heat the pan again with oil and splutter mustard, urud and curry leaves. Then add the ground paste and fry well for 2 mins.

It is very tasty with dal, Chapati and I suppose it will make an excellent touchings for curd rice!

Heres picture of my favorite Jumun, we friends used to compete on whose tongue was the most pinkish! Whatte Fun! Enjoy!

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mooli ka Paratha with Onion Chutney!

Mooli ka paratha dates back to a shot in the past. Those were the times, when we became too involved in experimenting all North Indian food in our Kitchen. It was the time during which Sanjeev Kapoor came to our living room and we had many new wonders shown to us, right there in our house. We were hooked to it. Come Friday and you could see us getting excited to welcome Sanjeev Kapoor and his many wonders. Amma will be ready with her book and I would be back from college by then and be sitting right next to Amma, to catch each and every word that's said without fail. I don't remember if Mooli Paranthas are from his show. But we were taken in by all, that comprises and tagged as North Indian.

Mooli Paratha is the best way to eat up a Radish. Atleast for those who don't like this. But for me, I can have radish in any form, though not as a salad. The ones we get here are very pungent. Amma has always made Mooli Parathas with this specialty Onion chutney of hers. I have been having a bunch of Radish in the rack for couple of days and I have been fantasizing of making these parathas for quite sometime now. Hubby dear got in bulk, thinking I would dish up everything as a stir fry, but I still had something left. I couldn't wait to get them hidden in a flour!. If it is a premonition or a sheer coincidence I am not sure, but the night before my birthday, I seem to be indulging in a stuffed paratha. While I was grating and kneading, I saw the kids playing in the living room. They try to scare me, by popping in and out of the kitchen and when Athamma brought Peddu to show him what I was doing, he looked very expectedly at me. I asked him to grow up fast, so that I can make many dishes to my heart's content just for them.

Hubby dear got them tricycle yesterday and it came with songs inbuilt. Poor hubby, was dreaming and thinking only of the tricycles for the past few days. He was particular that he gets the same colour and same size. He climbed up and down some 5 shops before finalising on the choice. Finally it came home, late night but which time, I had almost got them asleep. They jumped started on hearing the new jarring music. Both of them ran to the hall to see two cute little cycles waiting for them. Konda was already trying to peddle on one. As if they knew to peddle already, both ran to it, one pushed his sister away and climbed on. The first thing they did, was to switch on the music. They are still not able to reach the peddle, but the music went on and on for another hour. The song and the music was so harsh and jarring that Peddu expressed displeasure on the continual note but chinnu cared less. It was with great difficulty, we managed to get them asleep. This morning, they got on to it the first thing in the morning. Well it was great to finally eat the Mooli Paratha after all the commotion. It was quite surprising to know that hubby dear had never eaten this at our home, so this is going to feature many more times from now on.


Mooli ka paratha

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

Ingredients Needed

Mooli / Radish - 2 medium (150 gms app)
Wheat flour / Atta - 3 cups
Salt to taste
Ghee - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Amchor powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Clean and grate the radish. Squeeze away the water and reserve it.

In a bowl, mix all the dry flour along with ghee. Then add the squeezed mooli and mix well.

Slowly add the squeezed water and knead to a soft dough. I didn't water any water as the water from the mooli was enough to get me a soft and pliable dough. Let it rest for sometime, while you get the chutney going.

Divide it into equal sized balls. It makes about 10 app. Roll out as you do for a regular chapati. Heat a tawa and cook the parathas with oil on both sides.

Serve with Onion Chutney.


Onion Chutney ~ Ulli Gadda / Erra Gadda Pacchadi

We call Onion as Erragadda because its red in colour, simple right. But it is also referred as Ulli in most parts of Andhra. Its called Vengayam in Tamil, though quaintly, I don't know the origin of this chutney. Just that Amma makes this for Mooli Paratha and it just tastes awesome.This was one of the dish that I planned for JFI Onion, but time was never my companion.

Thus, I find myself in midst of its company many months later and what a joy it was, this reunion.

Preparation Time: : 5 mins
Cooking time : 5 mins

Ingredients Needed:

Onions - 2 medium chopped
Red Chillis - 4 long
Tamarind - pebble sized.
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Tempering
Mustard seeds + Urud dal - 3/4 tsp
Curry leaves few

Method to prepare:

Heat a pan with little oil and fry the chopped onion, red chillies and tamarind. Once its nicely browned, remove and let it cool.

Grind to a smooth paste along with salt. Temper it with Mustard and curry leaves with the remaining oil.

Serve with Mooli Ka parathas!

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Not a Dum Gosht but a plain Mutton in a Gravy!

Amma has this teflon coated handi that she got some years back. With lot of excitement and expectations, we opened the box, to see a beautiful shining well coated teflon handi emerging off the box. It was so beautiful and delicate, that we even hesitated cooking in it. But it comes out every Sunday to be dozed well and it gives out delicious dishes out. It gives you a feel that its an Akshaya patra, making our dishes taste like amrutham. Amma always planed elaborate feast for a Sunday lunch, and this vessel features in many such ones. Come Sunday and you can see Amma slouching around a hot stove, on which a delicate darling will be simmering a delicious gravy within its bosom. We have had many dum varieties and other slow cooking dishes, cooked in this. Amma has taken the vessel along with her but I have the recipe book with me. This weekend, I wanted to try something from that cookbook, so browsed through it to find some great sounding dishes. Its a small and sleek book having about 15 recipes but all are worth trying out many times. Since I don't have the handi and also I am not exactly for slow cooking right now, I skipped better part of marinade and just cooked everything in pressure cooker. Though in the hindsight I could've marinated the mutton, as I was doing other dishes too. But well maybe next time.

While the gravy was simmering, I was playing with the kids. We always ensure someone is with them, as chinnu has the habit of biting the elder one. His teeth are real sharp and they really dig in. He bits him atleast once given a chance. So we always hover over them. We were generally discussing something, when I saw chinnu was busy playing with something and Peddu was walking around the living room. Suddenly Peddu got in him to come and hug chinnu. It was such a lovely scene. We saw Peddu bending down to the younger one who was busy not noticing him. The elder one was doing baby talk and trying to bear hug his brother. The younger one doesn't like anybody hugging him, so he was stunning him away. Not one to give up easily, Peddu went on trying to hug. Though all of us were rolling down laughing at the elder one's over enthusiastic gestures, we were scared that chinnu might bite his hand. When we tried keeping them away, Peddu was upset and cried for denying him his hug. It was with great difficulty we distracted him with something. I then had my simmering gravy to attend too.

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

Ingredients Needed

Mutton - 500 gms
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/4 tsp
Pudina / Mint - 5 leaves
Onions - 2 medium
Ginger - 2 "
Garlic - 4 pods
Green chillies - 2 long
Bay leaf - 1
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish
Lime juice - 1/2 wedge

Method to prepare:

Clean and wash Mutton and cut into required size. Place it in a cooker along with 1/4 tsp of ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder and mint leaves with just enough water to cook. Put it for 5 whistles or till mutton is well cooked.

Make a paste of ginger, garlic and green chillies. Chop Onions.

Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onions and bay leaf. Once its light brown, add the ground paste. Let it fry for 5 mins. Then add the cooked mutton along with the water. Add all the spice powders along with coriander leaves. Simmer for 10 mins.

When you find the oil coming out or if the gravy is thick enough, remove from fire and add lemon juice.

Serve with Jeera rice.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Monday, February 25, 2008

Jeera Pulao with Aloo Peas Makhani ~ Weekend Cooking!

I never learnt to ride a bicycle. During a summer vacation when I was 6 years old, I remember vividly one morning, seeing a small cycle on our veranda. I ran to the kitchen where I saw Amma busy with the breakfast preparations. I interrupted her to ask, what that cycle was doing in our courtyard. She said I was to spend my summer time, learning to ride a cycle. We then lived in a smaller town, where everything was right around the corner. And so it happened, that a cycle shop was right next to our place and I saw our help going to get those small cycles for us to ride. Sree, of course, got a big boy's cycle. Since I was small, there was no way I could even climb up but I strongly refused to peddle a smaller one. I felt it somehow was demeaning my status or so I thought. So there I was, left to watch my brother enjoy the rides, both the big and the smaller, doing all sorts of tricks while at it. End of the summer, Sree was all set ready to ride one. While I was left to my day dreams of riding one.

It was almost 7 years later, that Dad got us our first and our only cycle. A lady's cycle at that! Since our school was a walking distance away, there wasn't any need to go by cycle. But I insisted, I will go only by one. So Dad thought getting a lady's cycle would suit both of us, but I always knew Sree hated riding in it. But the good boy that he has always been, never uttered a word against it. It was a lovely gray and silver coated BSA SLR, which served me for another 7 years. Amma was scared on me taking a cycle out without even learning to ride. But the only time I have ever fallen down, was banging on our building, being over excited that I was finally on a big cycle. The joys and the escapades I had, riding my cycle will make for many posts. So I will reserve them for another day. These thoughts were triggered from my recent visit to my childhood neighbourhood, when I saw two young girls peddling away on the same roads that I frequented many years ago with my friend. That and the fact that Konda is on her cycle now.

Our friend M, gifted Konda with a cycle some 3 years back. Since then, we have struggled to find place and time for her to peddle it. It comes with that back wheel support that helps it not fall down. Seeing that I was really surprised because our time, we never had such cycles. Every other weekend, hubby dear gets the tyres aired but she uses just occasionally, then again treats it with no attention for weeks together. So, it was a pleasure seeing my twins on it. The moment they see, they climb and sit on the seat and start murmuring something. Hara sits on the front seat and holds the bar, while chinnu will sit on the back seat and holds back rest tightly. When we ask Konda to cycle around, she will say she wants to take it to the school. We ask her to first take it in our compound. So this weekend, it was another of those days. The entire weekend, she spent cycling and now its parked in the bike stand along with our bikes. Father and daughter went out again, late night to check and secure the cycle to our bike with a chain. Through the morning, while I heard her shouting and cheering while cycling, I was busy with our weekend cooking. I finally prepared two of my favorites ones that I had prepared along with Amma in her kitchen, many summers back!

Jeera Pulao with Aloo Peas Makhani and Mutton in Gravy.


Jeera Pulao

Simple and well flavoured with Jeera, it goes very well with both vegetarian and non-veg gravies.

Ingredients Needed

Basmati rice - 2 cups
Ghee - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsbp
Cloves, Cinnamon & Cardamom - 2 of each.
Onion paste - 1/4 cup
Cashew nuts - few
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Ajinomoto (opt)- a pinch

Method to prepare:

Clean and soak basmati rice for 15 mins. I normally soak the rice in that water that I am going to cook with.

Take about 3 medium sized onions and make a paste of it. For the pulao, you will need about 1/4 of a cup, rest for the gravy.

Heat a pan with ghee, roast the cashew nuts, keep aside.

Then add all the spices, followed by the onion paste. Fry for about 2 mins, then add the ginger garlic paste. Sauté till its nice and browned. Drain the rice and fry it for 2 mins, till its well coated. Then add about 3 cups of water along with salt.

Cover and simmer for 15 mins or till its cooked. Garnish with fried cashew nuts

Serve it with Aloo Peas Makhani.

Aloo Peas Makhani

This recipe calls for Paneer, but since I don't normally store Paneer, I replaced it with Aloo. And since I didn't have cream also on hand, I replaced with a quarter glass of milk.That was enough to do for the creaminess of the gravy.

Onion paste - 1 cup
Green peas, boiled - 1/2 cup
Aloo, Boiled - 2 medium
Butter - 2 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Turmeric a pinch
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Tomato puree - 1 cup
Cream - 2 tbsp
Kasturi methi - 1/2 tsp


Method to prepare

Heat a pan with butter, sauté the onion paste along with ginger garlic paste for 5 mins. Then add milk and let it boil. Add all the spice powders and let it cook for 2 mins.

Then add the tomato puree and the boiled peas and aloo. Add about 1 cup of water to get a thick gravy. Simmer and cover with lid and cook for 10 mins. Finally add the Kasturi methi and cook for 1 min and remove.

Serve with Jeera Rice.

This post is too long for the Mutton in Gravy recipe, will be back tomorrow with it. Meanwhile enjoy Jeera Pulao with Aloo Peas Makhani!

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Masala Puri with Toor ki Dal and Shrikhand ~ Gujarati Cuisine!

Masala Puri with Dal and Shrikhand invokes passions forgotten! It isn't long that I have eaten this, but somehow time seems to appear so. Some years back, we had food festival at our office. And one of the theme was Gujarati Cuisine. Oh how much we had fun at that time. Being one of the senior member of the foodie club, I was called oft to the kitchen to oversee things. My colleagues thought that I had an authority on different cuisines. God knows what gave them that thought, but that put me on spot and I had to keep up myself to that image. Which I tell you, was very tough.

We had called in a gujarati cook to help our cook with the cooking. My, the way she cooked was amazing. The food feast went for a week and everyday we had a treat to our taste buds. Our gujju colleague asked his mother for the menu and we had elaborate discussions on how each one would compliment the entire menu. One of the menu had Masala puri. Gosh thinking of that small and delicately flavored puris, makes one want to eat them again. 

The cook came quite early and asked about how much we would want. Not knowing our strength, she assumed a smaller number. But imagine everybody were so taken in on this cuisine that nothing was enough. She sat down and prepared a mass of dough after dough and rolled out puri after puri. Nice bright coloured puris emerged from the oil to be royally paired off with a shy lip smacking dal. It was a marriage in our kitchen. To celebrate the happy occasion, we had shrikhand. We saw a big bowl full of curds and then she asked the cook to hung that in muslin cloth. Then she took it out and rubbed in nicely with sugar and chilled it. Nutty decorated shrikhan was a feast on itself.

When gujarati cuisine was announced to be theme for RCI this month, I couldn't wait to prepare these at home. Though I planned for few more, I was able to prepare only these.

Masala Puri

Ingredients Needed:

Wheat flour - 3 cups
Oil - 1 tsp
Ajwain - 1/4
Asafoetida a pinch
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Oil for frying

Makes about 14 medium sized puris

Method to prepare:

In a bowl, take wheat flour and salt along with oil.

Mix all the ingredients and knead to firm dough adding enough water.

Cover and keep the aside for half an hour.

Divide to equal balls and roll into small puris.

Heat oil in a kadai and deep fry the puris.

Serve masala puri hot with dal

Toor ki Daal

Ingredients Needed:

Tuvar Daal - 1 cup
Turmeric Powder a pinch
Salt To Taste
Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida a pinch
Garlic Cloves - 3 finely chopped
Dry Red Chillies - 5
Ghee - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Pressure cook tuvar dal with sufficient water and turmeric powder.

Once its cooked, mash the dal

Heat the ghee in a pan, add cumin seeds, dry red chillies and garlic cloves. Fry till they pop up.

Add the dal with 2 cups of water and salt.

Cook until the toor daal boils. At this stage add jaggary, though I didn't add as hubby dear likes spicy. Let it boil to a thick dal.

When the tuvar dal is cooled add lemon juice and serve.

Reduce the red chillies, this asked for only 2, but I added 5.

Shrikhand

Ingredients Needed:

Thick curd - 1 kg
Powdered sugar - 3/4 cup
a few strands saffron
Warm milk - 1/2 tbsp
Cardamom powder (elaichi) - 1 tsp

For the garnish
Pistachios and Almonds

Method to prepare:

Hang the curds in a muslin cloth until all the liquid (whey) has drained off.

Rub the saffron into the warm milk until it dissolves.

Mix together the hung curds, sugar, saffron mixture and cardamom in a bowl and churn using a hand blender.

Place in the refrigerator.

Serve gujarati shrikhand cold garnished with of pistachios and almonds.

I couldn't find pistachios in the myriad of my freezer so had to do with just saffron!

This is sent to Mythili who is hosting the RCI themed on Gujarati Cuisine this month.

*******************************************


Why is Jenny running away from the apple! find out in the latest in Tom and Jenny ~ Love Story!

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Friday, February 22, 2008

Lunch Box Series : LBS#26

The thoughts of a lovely puff takes me back to one summer day, when I first dug my teeth on a crisp, greasy but heavenly puff. During my 11th grade summer holidays, being very ambitious to secure a place in our chosen field, my parents along with few others, decided to send us off for summer coaching. That being our first outing alone, the first day we were accompanied by my friend's father. It was too much to travel with a parent, so we convinced the parents that we can travel ourselves to and fro. So there we were, all of 16 years and being so bold to think of traveling ourselves and going to far off place to study. Of course, there were many who did that everyday even then, but for us, school being a walking distance and having never ventured alone, this was a big trip into the world on our own. We were three of us and we used to meet at a spot and then go to the railway station to catch the metro to reach central station and then from there to T. Nagar by Bus. We used to commute by the 10 series. That being my almost, first time traveling in a bus, was real fun. You want to learn life, travel in a public transportation. It shows you the city and its people in a miniature! It carries all sorts of people, cruel and mean too. Its left to you how you handle. But for the young girls that we were then, all we could think of was helping others. We used to offer our seats, if we see old people or pregnant ladies or differently abled ones. But at times, we used to feel dishearten to see meanness in some. But life is never a bed of roses right!

It was during that summer, I remember eating my first puff. And its still the best I ever remember. On the way to the coaching center, was this shop from which tantalizing aromas used to sneak out. It used to lure us on our way to and fro to our center. One day, after much debate if we should eat it and if we do, should we tell our parents, we decide to throw the caution to air. We marched in to conquer! Oh we came out conquered. Thus started our affair with the puffs, which went on for weeks after that. Till this date, I haven't confessed to mom and dad about this. But I am sure, they will get a freak knowing on this affair. The bus fare costed us 1.50 Rs each and all three of us used to take turns in buying the tickets and the puffs. The puffs part was the best. My friends knew I love them, so they generally assume we will stop there for a bite before catching the bus back home. It used to be crispy and tasted heavenly. I realise, the month and odd, I spent going to that place to learn, never really impressed me, as much as that puff did. I went to that place long after that time, to see if that shop still sold that same brand of puffs, I was sad to see no such shop existed anymore. I left back, carrying a heavy heart at a lost childhood and memories full of an earthly and heavenly tasting puffs, in my memories. Oh, how I wish I could get back, just one day of that time again. I wish I paid more attention to that boring lecture, than romancing with the aroma of a bewitching filter coffee, sneaking from the nieghbouring house or day dreaming about the date with the puff down the lane. The woes and follies of our youth!

Today's lunch box will not leave you craving, atleast for me. But if you are the types for greens and cabbages, then by all means scroll down to have a look!

Today's Lunch Box had

Cabbage Pappu ~ Cabbage in Toor Dal
Siru Keerai Poriyal ~ Amaranth Leaves Stir Fry
Pepper Cumin Rasam
Plain Rice
Curd Rice


Cabbage Pappu ~ Cabbage in Toor Dal

Ingredients Needed:

Cabbage finely chopped - 100 gms
Tur Dal - 100 gms
Green chillies - 5 -6 (depending on your choice)
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Turmeric a pinch
Tamarind - 1 piece

Coriander leaves few
Salt to taste

Seasoning
Mustard seeds + Urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Onions - 1 small
Curry leaves
Garlic pods - 4
Oil - 1 tsp


Method to prepare:

Place all the ingredients from Cabbage to Tamarind in a pressure cooker with enough water and put for 3 to 4 whistles.

Once the pressure is off, remove the water and mash well with a pappu guthi or a lenthil masher. Add back the water to the dal.

Heat a pan with Oil and sputter with mustard, urud and sauté onions and garlic well. It can even be little brown.

Tamper this to the dal and let it cook on high flame with salt.

Cabbage is not seen in the dal but gives out a wonderful taste and variety to the Dal.

Siru Keerai Poriyal ~ Amaranth Leaves Stir Fry

Ingredients Needed

Siru Keerai - 1 bunch
Chopped Onions - 1 small
Garlic flakes - 3-4
Dry Red chilis - 2-3
Curry leaves few
Mustard seeds + urud dal + Bengal Gram - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare

Wash the greens well and let it drain. Chop the leaves to fine pieces.

Heat a pan with Oil, splutter mustard, Urud dal and Channa Dal. Then add the onions, crushed garlic and red chili and sauté well. Once they get brown, squeeze out water again from the greens and add to the pan.

Add salt and simmer and cover with a lid for 15 mins or till its cooked.

Serve with pappu.

Enjoy a classic Andhra Pappu with healthy greens. We sneak the cabbages into pappu, whenever possible, hubby is not even aware! So its even more fun.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Anardana Chicken Roast

Ok I again had chicken time and so I screened through the recent find of mine, which is completely based on chicken varieties. Every week, I plan and think I should prepare something from that book, but on a weekday its nearly impossible to cook an elaborate one, which requires about many hours of marinating and other process. Every time with a heavy heart I keep away the book, with a thought that I should refer it again on a much leisure day. Latest pastime for my twins is their fancy to pomegranate seeds. So hubby dear gets them without fail, and the twins enjoy their new found interest with the seeds. And Athamma has found a perfect way to keep them seated in one place for about 5 mins. So we give them in a cup and make them sit in different sofas. Its a joy seeing them sit in a place and happily munching away the seeds. They make different faces and expressions while they are eating. With the glad note that they are sitting for a moment, we too sit and see what they do. Konda, of course can be heard at the background, singing and dancing. Once they complete the seeds, we give them Senipappu (Fried gram). My, they love that too. Not that they can chew on them, I guess they turn it around inside and just swallow. When you give them the cup, their face just ignites and they murmur something that sounds like thank you.! Elder one says Ta tu and the younger says something that sounds like Dhanks..I tried recording still haven't captured the moment.

Seeing them eat the pomegranate seeds, inspired me to use anardana in the chicken roast. Remember I recently opened and ground the anardana seeds and it gave me my long loved dish! So thought I might use that in the chicken fry that I wanted to prepare. Not having a clear idea on how I am going to proceed, just went with the basic things. I didn't want to use coconut paste as I wasn't sure if anardana will go with that combination. I didn't have lot of time to experiment, so given all options I had to bring out a tempting one, now don't forget I got to take pictures and decorate in the process ok. So I remembered I could do flower on a carrot piece, I saw somewhere that it looked beautiful. Now for the life of me I couldn't make that look like a flower! In the end, just assembled everything on the plate and hurried clicked some pictures. Now we can't go without our pictures for a party right, though I got to remember to edit to the proper size that Madame wants!

Ingredients needed:

Chicken - 250 gms
Onion - 1 big
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1 & 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Anardana powder - 3/4 tsp
Lime juice - 1 - 2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish.


Method to prepare

Clean and cut chicken to medium size pieces.

Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped onions and sauté till light brown. Then add the ginger garlic paste. Fry for 2 mins.

Then add the chicken pieces, add all the spice powders except Anardana powder. Fry on high flame for 2 mins, sautéing to ensure it doesn't get burnt.

Then simmer and cover with lid. Cook for 10 mins. Add the anardana powder and stir well. Again cover and cook for another 10 mins or till its cooked.

Before removing from fire, add the lime juice and garnish with coriander.

Sending this to Sra for her event. Hope you enjoyed it!

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Aloo Subzi with Curds and Kasuri Methi

I was edging to do something different when I happened to check out Kamini's Aloo Sabzi. Well I knew that's what I was going to prepare. Never having prepared anything different with Potato other than my Potato Kurma or with Brinjal, this was something very different and a treat to the senses. Now I guess with all the hustle and bustles of other things, I never got around talking about my visit to Kamini's house, some months back. We all planned to meet and since Kamini couldn't make it for the first meet, she invited us home. Unfortunately, Lax and Nirmala couldn't make it. I was feeling so bad at canceling because I knew Kamini had gone to lot of trouble preparing so much for us. Since I had already planned and made arrangement at home, I decided to just pop in and pay a quick visit. Boy that was fun because I thought I knew the place well, only to realize that the place has changed so much that I couldn't find my way in or out. You know how it is right, you stop on the road and ask for direction, you are sure to be misled. People have a tendency to lift their left hand to say you got to turn a right. It so happened that I was directed wrongly two times, when I finally decided Kamini would be the best person to ask for. So finally I reached their place and was able to spend just about an hour or so.

But I was happy that I went because she had prepared such delicious snacks. I got to meet her hubby and sister, both were amazing people, so engaging and entertaining that I didn't realize the time passing away. And her snacks were lip smacking, I have been waiting to see when she will post them. She had prepared Cheese Corn cutlet, Kiwi Tart and chocolate brownie and few other things she didn't, when we confirmed we are not going to drop in. That Chocolate Brownie looked sinful, sad I couldn't eat as it had egg. Rest were yummy. So knowing that this Potato Sabzi was tried out by her, I knew it will be good. I made few changes to suit our taste, but everybody at home loved it. Its different!


Ingredients needed

Potatoes - 4 medium
Tomatoes - 3 medium
Ginger - 1"
Oil - 1 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Curd - 2 tbsp
Kasuri Methi - 1 tsp


Method to prepare

Boil Potatoes and peel and keep aside.

Heat oil in a kadai, add the chopped tomatoes and finely chopped ginger. Add salt so that gets mushy and till the oil comes out.

Add all the dry powders. Cook for a few more minutes.

Dice the potatoes into cubes, Add the potatoes and fry for a few minutes. Then add the curd, the kasuri methi and 1 glass water. Cover with lid and cook till its a thick gravy

Yes this is also going to the Potato party. I am sure both the girls are cursing me by now. But what to do when dear friends are hosting something, got not to disappoint them right. ok girls, this is the final one..enjoy!

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cauliflower 65!

"Beware before you step inside", is the board we wanted to put up on our door outside. We have destructive little ones inside. The scene will resemble like an aftermath of a storm struck place. Things all shoved all over, with chairs lying down. You want to sit. Nay, kindly remain standing if you have dared to pay us a visit. It was a comical scene to see our visitor recently, who decided to visit us for some reason. On seeing the dining chairs in a recline position, he hasten to lift them to their proper position. We hurried to convince him not to bother. Its a problem if they are in their standing position. Then with great difficulty, we cleared him some space to sit down. But if you plan to dine with us, then sorry you got to stand and enjoy the feast! That's what we finally did last night. After a long time, we decided to make Biyam Roti. It was a feast for our senses.

Hubby dear devised the perfect plan for us to eat without disturbing the kids. He said we will let them play in the dining room and as soon as Athamma makes a roti, we will be on the scene to finish it off. The twins have got a liking to climb the chairs and on to the table and have such fun seeing things fall down to the ground. So the chairs are on the floor and we have our dinner in batches. Either of us baby sit them, while others have their dinner. But we have been missing our dining together ritual. So hubby thought this way would help, so had a buffet. Infact I sat with them on the sofa, they didn't even notice the difference, just came close to me and said Mum mum mum and had a bite and carried on playing. It was such fun. We had a great time enjoying the rotis and playing with them.

This reminds me of the Cauliflower 65 that I made last week for Lax. Lathamma and Lax dropped in home and Lak wanted me to prepare Cauliflower 65 same as my Dragon 65. Since it was prawns, I had to make some changes to use cauliflower. I made the spicy groundnuts and Papaya Halwa as this is the latest crazy at home. We had an enjoyable time, it was fun having them home. Konda enjoyed the maximum, as expected it never seem like she was meeting them for the first time. When I told her that Lax is going to come home, she was pestering me some umpteen number of times. Hara was reluctant in the start, then went to Lax, but the younger wouldn't go near. Before serving them, it struck me that I hadn't taken a picture. So hurried with the camera for a fast one. Then I finally asked everybody to pose for a photo. Lak was teasing me saying that they are not food to be captured in so many angles. Gosh, I guess one gets carried away having a camera on hand. We had a marvelous time, I hope they did too and weren't intimidated by my folks at home.

Ingredients Needed

Cauliflower florets - 250 gms
Green Chili paste - 2 tbsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Corn Flour - 4 tbsp
All purpose flour - 2 tbsp
Red food colour
Soya sauce - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying


Method to prepare

Clean and cut the cauliflower into small florets. Soak them in salted warm water to clean any worms in them.

In a bowl, take all the ingredients and mix with enough water to get a thin batter.

Heat a pan with oil and dip the cauliflower in the batter and drop them in hot oil. Once they are cooked on all sides, remove on to a kitchen towel.

You can make more batter as and when it gets over depending on the cauliflower and it so happens that in the end there is not much soya sauce left for the last batch. Still that gives a different taste to the cauliflower.

I served these with hot tomato chutney.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Monday, February 18, 2008

Potato Kurma for any day!

Finally its here, yes I think for everything there is a time right appropriate to sing its laurel. Amma makes the best of Kurmas, though the basic rule for kurma is same, with each legume or vegetable she changes something that gives that kurma, something special to remember on. I have been procrastinating on this post for so long. Finally I knew this is the best time to speak on it. Amma's Potato Kurma is the best. I have been making one for many years without knowing the subtle changes that Amma had added to hers. I never really asked nor remembered much from cooking with her. I mostly learnt helping her in the kitchen while she did the main things. But somehow I never really noticed that she add few things extra to certain dishes. Whenever I make this at home, Athamma says this is different from what Amma makes. Though this is good but not as good as Amma's. Well finally I had to ask what she puts in that makes it all so different. I guess those made all the difference to it.

It is so strange that we finally cook potatoes in its most admired form at home off late. Yes, Konda loves the potato roast and if I pack that for her curd rice, I see an empty box coming home. What more can I ask for? We who have never indulged potatoes in this form, now prepare it 3 times a week just for her. For all I try, I am unable to think of anything else to say today, so I shall just go on with the recipe. Guess my muse is gone for a vacation, that is, if I ever had one. For those of you who read through my rant and rave, sorry come back tomorrow for that. But you can take a look at this recipe as this is a keeper.

Ingredients Needed:

Potatoes - 250 gms
Onions - 2 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Coriander leaves for garnish
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt to Taste

To be ground

Coconut paste - 2 tbsp
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1"
Poppy Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fried gram dal - 1 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves 10 nos

Seasoning
Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves few


Method to prepare:

Boil Potatoes and peel. Keep aside.

Chop Onions and Tomatoes finely. Ground the ingredients to a smooth paste.

Heat a pan with oil, temper with mustard and curry leaves. Then sauté onions till they are light brown. Then add ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 mins.

Then add tomatoes and all the other powders. Cook with lid covered for 10 mins.

Then add the ground paste and sauté well till it gets cooked and oil comes out. Add the cubed potatoes and required water. Let it boil and finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

I am sending this to Sia and Dhivya's potato event.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Daal Paratha with Kakdi Nu Raitu ~ My Gujarati Plate!

My first exposure to gujarati cuisine came during my college days. This is where I learnt about the different and cultural variations of each state. As I had reminisced in past posts, my group was a mixture of many states. And one was my gujju friend J She was the only child of a lovely couple and she was such a sweet girl. This was their first stay in Madras, as Uncle was posted down south for the very first time. I don't really remember the first year at college as I was in a different world all together. But it helped having my family friend being my classmate. I just hanged on, with the crowd she was moving. And she was pretty close to J. J was a pretty girl with long hair. So long a hair, it had to be seen to believe. And she used to have so much difficulty maintaining it. Though she was bent on styling it differently, her parents were against it. And when I remember her, its her hair and her mom's wonderful gujarati dishes that comes to mind. College days got us close, and we ended up going to each one's place for lunch during our summer holidays. When we landed at J's place, we had so much fun cos I was traveling to those parts after a long time. And it helped refreshing my mind.

Her mom prepared awesome lunch for us. One of the dishes that she made was Rajma Masala. It was just so yummy and I wrote down the recipe to try later. Though I tried it couple of times, it wasn't same as Aunty prepared. We spent the entire evening and with reluctant heart, to end the fun, we returned home. I can still close my eyes and remember that delicate aroma coming out of the Rajma Masala. Though we kept in touch for a while after college, we lost touch as we moved on with our life. Oh how I wish those days come back, even if its a college I never wanted to go in the first place, that's the only thing that ever happened. I wish I would be given a chance to do it all over. But life, I guess offers us a different plate than what we want and it always leaves us wanting and longing, for something that never happens as such. I have been back to my college couple of times again, but I always get back with a sense of pang.

Since gujarati food is something I have enjoyed, I wanted to prepare something this month for RCI. So I googled and got a handful of them. I will be trying to prepare them in batches. I mixed and matched the main and accompaniment. This first set came out well. They are for keepers. Hubby dear and Athamma liked the paratha and wanted it to be included in the to do again list. The cucumber raitha is something we always make, though this has few ingredients more.


Daal Paratha

Ingredients needed

Wheat flour - 3 cups
Salt to taste

For the filling

Yellow moong dal - 1 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Asafoetida a pinch
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method to Prepare

Knead the atta to a soft dough. Keep aside.

Pressure cook the moong dal with enough water for 3 whistles or till its cooked

Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds, asafoetida. Once they pop up, add the cooked dal, salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and mix well.

Cook until the dal mixture is dry. Let it cool.

Divide this into equal parts, Follow the same method that followed for a stuffed paratha. Roll out each one

Heat a tawa, smear with oil and cook the daal ka paratha on both sides by adding oil.

Serve daal paratha hot with Kakdi Nu Raitu and Avvakkai Achar.

This combination was Ultimate. The spicy dal stuffing went well with the cool cucumber Raita.


Kakdi Nu Raitu
Ingredients needed

Cucumbers - 1 medium
Curds/ Yogurt - 200 gms
Coriander leaves chopped - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Chillies - 1
Roasted Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp

Method to prepare

Peel and grate the cucumbers. Chop coriander and chillies to fine pieces.

Beat the curds to a smooth texture. In a bowl, take everything and mix well

Serve chilled.with Daal Parathas along with your choice of Achar! Mine has always been Avvakkai.

My gujarati plate is being sent to Mythili who is hosting the RCI themed on Gujarati Cuisine this month.

************************
For a weekend dose of Tom and Jenny, head to here.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Friday, February 15, 2008

Brinji ~ Vegetable Pulav | Tamil Nadu Style Brinji Rice | Lunch Box Series : LBS#25

The best experience one can have with food, will be having a good wedding feast. The varieties one gets served, is simply out of the world. Previous to being a food blogger, I have never really appreciated the varieties one can see in a spread. Not that I eat all of them now. But I have started appreciating the efforts and the varieties one gets served in a wedding feast. I always restrict myself to sambar, appalam and whatever snack that served. Rest of the items just goes wasted. Most times I ask them not to serve. These days I atleast try to eat the poriyal or the kootu.

My favorite feast has always been a Brahmin wedding spread. I simply love their choice and the taste that comes out of it. Of course, now I make usil and other dishes at home. Back then, it used to be a treat. My best friend at school was a brahmin and once when my parents had gone out of station, I was invited for a breakfast at their place. I was in for a real feast. What we have for lunch, they had for their breakfast. Aunty had made Drumstick Sambar with Appalam, Parupu Usil, Avial, Kootu, Rasam and Curds. Gosh by the time I eat all of that, I was ready for a sleep. Imagine eating all that heavy stuff right in the morning. All my brahmin friends had this habit. For me, once was more than enough, though I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We also make all these items in the morning for our packed lunch. I can never imagine changing my food habit. And during weekends, we start our lunch preparation quite late in the morning. But my friends used to have a brunch and then have some light tiffin around 4 pm and then straight dinner. They follow the wise words correctly. I guess each one to their habit.


Coming back to the wedding feast, one of the common items these days in any wedding is a rice dish that they as Brinji. Not sure of the origin of the name but it's one of the most delicious dish one gets to eat. Sure it does tastes different in all weddings, still it's something that's very unique to the wedding feast. I have for many years tried searching for the perfect one or rather the ones that I remember eating at the wedding feasts. I came across another version called, though on its own it tasted great, it wasn't the same thing. I don't remember where I saw this one but I am still searching for the perfect one as its in my mind. If you know one, I would be glad to know the way this is prepared and served in the wedding, meanwhile I will go ahead with the one I prepared recently. First time I did, I didn't have Pudina but it tasted good. So I thought maybe adding pudina/mint might give that exact taste. But it was altogether different one. I had a version minus the roasted spices but adding the roasted spices gave a different taste. Still we enjoyed for our lunch box.
Today's Lunch Box had

Brinji ~ Vegetable Rice
Onion Raitha
Pepper Cumin Rasam
Curd Rice

Brinji ~ Vegetable Rice

Ingredients Needed:

Basmati Rice - 1 & 1/2cup
Onions - 2 medium
Mixed vegetables – 1 cup (potato, carrot, beans, peas)
Coconut milk – 2 cups (1 half of a medium sized coconut)
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 2
Cinnamon – 1 "
Bay leaf – 1
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste

Spices to be ground

Grated coconut – ½ cup
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 4
Ginger – 1 "
Garlic – 5 cloves
Coriander leaves – ¼ cup packed tightly
Mint leaves – handful



Method to prepare

Soak the basmati rice in water for 15 minutes.

Grind all the spice ingredients to a fine paste with little water.

Grind the coconut with little water to get a thick milk.

Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, add the cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and the bay leaf. Sauté for 1 min, then add the onions chopped as julienne and sauté till lightly browned.

Once the onions are brown, add the spice paste and fry for another 5 minutes on a low flame. Take care to ensure it doesn't stick to the bottom.

Add the chopped vegetables and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Drain the rice and reserve the water. Add the rice to the cooker and gently fry for 2 min. Take 2 cups of coconut milk and 1 cup of reserved water, and add to the cooker. Stir well so that it gets mixed properly. Add salt. Cover and put it for 1 whistle.

Serve with Onion raitha.

Before covering, ensure you stir it well so that it gets mixed. Once you open the lid, it might be little watery but once you keep it aside, its all set.

This is my entry for Meeta's Monthly Mingle which this month is one dish dinner.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Chicken with roasted Spices!

When I got back home yesterday, I found two things. One, hubby dear hadn't devoured the hearty ones and my younger one had devoured all else except these molds! Athamma told me that Chinnu didn't eat his lunch but had only Moong halwa and he refused to eat his dinner too and I saw him happily feeding on the halwa again. So what got left were the two hearts for hubby dear. He was teasing me saying I was lamenting that I had prepared much and now nothing is left. He enjoyed what was left. So I now have to prepare this and Papaya halwa again. Both hubby and Konda have become fond of Papaya Halwa. I think of these blog events and appreciate how much we get to learn new taste and flavour!

It was chicken time again and I wanted to prepare something new. But hubby dear warned me not to take too much time as the previous day, so I was not left with much time. And I had been playing to make Chicken vindaloo for the blog, oops for hubby dear. But that takes some marinating time. We can't have that right. Everything on list seems to take some time on its own to get cooked up. Finally thought I will just do something on my own. I guess after having worked on so many chicken dishes, trying to create a new one should not be a problem right. So with that thought being on top, went ahead with the cooking. That being a chicken, it got cooked pretty fast. Had some minutes free on hand, so I thought I might as well complete the photo session than waiting for unknown or unexpected time to come. Got few things to decorate. I hear all the places where one gets to learn to make the pictures look gorgeous. Konda gives me tips on decoration.God, hope my little ones won't start on me soon.. Konda tells me that I got to make my plate look appealing and should decorate and et all. So she asks me to take a lime piece and few onions and directs me to put it here or put it there. A thought struck me seeing that lime piece on the chicken, why not send it to Coffee for her JFI on lime. As such I can't for the life of me, think anything with just lime. Then hesitated and removed the lime piece. What if I am selected to be awarded the most innovative blogger in sending a dish. I don't like to be after awards. But hear me, I don't mind getting one.

So here's my yet another simplest chicken dish for you chicken loves. At the cost of being unpopular among my favorite supporters, I take the plunge and click on the publish button. I pray thee come tomorrow for a feast coming out of a pot!.

Ingredients Needed:

Chicken - 250 gms
Onions - 1 big
Tomato - 1 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pw a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Coriander for garnishing.

Masala to be ground

Whole Dhania /Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp
Whole pepper corns - 10 nos
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1 "
Cardamom -1
Bay leaf - 1/2
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Poppy seeds - 1/2 tsp


Method to prepare:

Clean and cut chicken to desired size. Let it drain.

Chop onions and tomatoes to fine pieces.

Dry roast all the spices and let it cool. Once its cool, grind to a fine powder.

Heat a pan with oil, sauté onions till they are light brown. Add Ginger garlic paste. Fry for 1 min.

Then add the drained chicken pieces to the pan and add chilli, coriander, garam masala and turmeric along with chopped tomatoes. Cook on high for 2 mins, adjust the salt, add about half a glass of water. Cover with lid and simmer for 15 mins.

Remove lid, add the roasted masala. Stir again and cook on high flame for 5 mins, keep stirring so that it doesn't get burnt.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Since you added little water, you can serve this for rotis.

******************************
Well talking about awards, you must've seen from above that dear Bharathy thought about me for Nice Matters award. Phew I had to catch a breath reading what she had to say about me. But don't for one second be taken in by that talk. Bharathy is too sweet, so she thinks highly of her friend. I am sure this is what many out there are doing it everyday. But I am happy to have a dear friend like Bharathy, to boost me time to time. Thank you my dear friend, I really appreciate your thoughts and words.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My hearty Moong dal Halwa

Humne dekhi hai, un aankhon ki mahakti khushboo
Haath se chhuke ise, rishto kaa iljaam naa do
sirf ehsaas hai yeh, rooh se mehsoos karo
pyaar ko pyaar hi rehne do – koi naam naa do

pyaar koi bol nahi, pyaar aawaaj nahi
ek khamoshi hai – sunti hai – kaha karti hai
nay eh buzhti hai, na rukti hai, na teherti hai kahin
noor ki boond hai, sadiyon se baha karti hai....

thus goes the song from Khamoshi. For many years this song meant what love was for me. Being a die hard fan of old Hindi melodies, pathos and melancholy ones hit me straight on head. If I wanted to have a hearty cry for no reason, would just listen to one of these and have a good cry. It been ages since I have had a moment to listen to one and think about the other world, soaring high on these, when my mortal legs couldn't take me so. I remember those late evening reclining on a easy chair, staring at the twinkling stars, with Kishore kumar singing full of pathos in the background. It helped Dad being fond of old Hindi songs too.

Thinking on the same lines, this reminds me of one late afternoon at school during my 11th grade. There I was, standing in front of my teachers, about to embark on a mission impossible. I just plunged in and voiced lyrics from the movie, Aashiqui. I went on and on with a voice more manly than Kumar Sanu could've got..

Dhire dhire se meri zindagi men aanaa
Dhire dhire se dil ko churaanaa
Tumase pyaar hame hai kitanaa jaanejaanaa
Tumase milakar tumako hai bataanaa

and in a voice not as sweet as a crow! God knows what else would've happened, had the teachers not been so dumbfounded to see me in a singing competition! I was there on a mission to help my best friend. He wanted to be there because his girl was participating and he couldn't find any excuse to be there. So I thought the best way to get him there, was to participate. Oh for the sake of friendship, I had to endure the worst time of my life, voicing a song in front of gaping crowd. But I enjoyed the entire episode, that is the first part of it anyways. I guess my teachers were too shocked and surprised to see me there, that they selected me for the second audition. Now, once I can muster the courage right, but if they expect me to come for second, what am I supposed to do. Obviously I can't sing the same song again. But that was the only one I knew. So I spent the entire evening and the next day to learn another one. By afternoon, I was thinking if I would chicken out. But my friend wanted to be there again. So I can't ditch him. This time, the teachers had their sense about and you know how it might've ended. But the fun part was, my classmates thought I had the greatest manly voice and made me sing that song for many months to come. Though I must've sung this song some umpteen number of times, nobody was tempted to entire my life. That, I believe is the love story of mine!


Coming back to present, I asked hubby dear what his plans are for 14th, he asked what 14th? Well I couldn't say much after that, can I?. But being persistent, reminded him what 14th is about. He gave me one look and told me, well if your three brats will give me a second to take a breath, I might remember what date it is today! So there goes my chances of imagining on romantic tone. Anyways, its not like me to give importance to any specific dates like this. But if its for a blog event, then of course you can find me being busy planning what to do. And Pooja wanted a heart shaped ones! So its Moong Dal in heart shape for hubby dear.

Finally I came about to prepare Moong dal halwa. And in a most choatic situation. I will spare you the details as I dont' want to bore on those everyday affair at home. Result was, I loved it but hubby dear said it should've been little more soft. Well love and life is like that right. Gets hard on the beginning and going soft as the time goes..I shall take the philosophy from that.



I am going to prepare this again till I get the perfect one. But till then for those of you who know how to prepare the perfect Moong dal Halwa, can help me with it, others can enjoy the hearty Moong dal while I get on the business.

Ingredients needed

Yellow moong dal - 1 cup.
Ghee - 1 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 & 1/2 cup
Cardomom & Nutmug - a pinch

Method to prepare

Soak Moong dal for 4 hrs. Since moong dal on soaking expands, remember to take only whats required. Grind to smooth paste with little water.

Heat a thick bottom pan with ghee. Add the moong paste and keep stirring well so that it gets cooked and soft. Non-stick would work out well but I did a mistake in selecting a thin one. So it got struck to the bottom.

Heat milk and add this along with sugar to the cooking Moong. It takes about an hour to get cooked. Ensure the moong is soft and you keep stirring it so that the bottom doesn't get burnt.

I used my konda's mould to make out the heart. It looked very pretty indeed.

This I sending to Pooja for her Valentine's Day party!

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Bindi Masala ~ The search stops here!

If there are few things that I have been trying to prepare for my hubby dear, but unsuccessful so far, they must be surely be Bhindi Masala and Moong Dal Halwa. These are his most favorite dishes that he remembers eating in Delhi and has been asking me to prepare them at home over the years.

Bindi Masala is something I tried quite sometime and never succeeded in getting his approval. Infact I remember asking every Delhite I come across, if they know how Bindi Masala gets cooked in Delhi. Though I tried all, it was never the right one as per hubby dear. I have googled it many times, looked wherever possible, but the perfect one always eluded me.

This challenge has left me feeling very incompetent in cooking and I never really liked thinking about it. Of course he remembers other delicacies that he used to enjoy over in Delhi, which I believe is a foodies paradise. I have never been to Delhi, though we have been planning for a trip. He keeps telling me that during the trip, he will take me to all the dabbas that he used to frequent. And get me eat those excellent dishes like Shahi Paneer and Paneer Kulchas.

He says he has never seen anybody else cook these dishes as they were served in Delhi. For a person who is so well fed on authentic andhra dishes, this is something truly remarkable. So I think those dishes must've been really above the mark. We are planning to visit just for the foodie's enjoyment sometime later. Till then I got to dish out these to satisfy hubby dear.

Coming back to this dish I prepared, the other day while shopping I remembered that I have always wanted to prepare with Anardana and never actually got down to it. So finally came home with a packet of anardana, being well satisfied with myself. I remember the many dishes that Chef Sanjeev Kapoor used to prepare with the pomegranate seeds. Coming back home, all I did was just shoving the packet to the freezer. It has been lying around for about 2-3 weeks now I guess. Athamma, while searching for something else, found this and asked me what it was it. It was always behind my mind that I should get around doing something with it.


Yesterday while thinking about AFAM, saw Nags posting her beautiful Curd Rice with Pomegranate, I realized that I have been planning to send this finally, if nothing works out. It then struck me that I have anardana and I can do something with that. And I have been pestering hubby dear to get this fruit, he persists in getting only papaya and it's ending up as halwa! The thoughts persisted and I went home determined to do something about it.

Situation at home seemed rather placid for me to venture into kitchen. so out came Sanjeev's book out and I leafed through it. I remember seeing couple of dishes with Anardana. Bingo, one with a Lady's finger, another with an aloo. Of course, with Aloo it will be three birds with one shot. But time was precious at the moment. So glanced through both the recipes and found the Bhindi to be very simple. I passed on the book to hubby dear and asked if it looks appealing. He asked if it was spicy or sweet. I said it should be spicy, for which he asked, "So what are those fresh seeds doing on that. Don't you dare prepare something with chili and decorate with seeds"

With my sensible sentiments offended, I said I will not decorate mine with those seeds (in mind, my thoughts were, of course my blog pictures were never so glamorous). Seeing that I am in full swing to proceed to kitchen, he asked with an appalled tone, if I was about to venture into something new. I said yeah if time permits. Well I guess I was little too early. It turned out that he planned to go out and I ended up playing with the kids. By the time they returned, it was time for dinner and hubby dear said he was really very hungry. I guess this is the fastest thing I have ever prepared. It took all about 5 mins or so.


Well here comes Bindi Masala finally to rescue.

I had everything ready and added to the kadai and simmered it for 5 mins. By the time, I got the other things to table, Bhindi Masala was ready. I know now comes the tough part. I had to hurry to get the camera. I could see two eyes boring behind my back. I just couldn't bother. I came running with the camera and click click, only two pictures for the blog and the plate is all yours Sir, I said! Well I can't claim my moment of glory if I don't have those pictures, can I? And seeing his expression and the praises that followed, well I just couldn't believe that this is what, he has been asking for all these years. I was too happy beyond words to ask him anything more. My search of many years finally got over and I have successfully hit the right one. I think of kismet and wonder! That book has been with me for many years and yet I searched high and low for that recipe.

Ingredients Needed

Bindi / Lady's finger/ Okra - 6 tender ones
Onions - 1 medium
Oil - 1 tsp

Masala Paste:

Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Anardana powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp


Method to prepare:

Clean and wipe the Bindi dry. Trim the crown and tips. Make a deep slit in the middle. Chop Onions as juliennes. Keep aside

If you have the Anardana seeds, then slightly dry roast and make a fine powder. Fine powder may not be possible. But not real coarse. Store in air tight container.

In bowl, take all the masalas and mix well with oil. Take this and stuff into the Bindi.

Heat a pan or kadai with oil. Sauté the onions till they are light brown in colour. Add the stuffed Bindi and add another tsp of oil if required. Cover with lid and simmer for 5 mins or till the bindi is cooked. Best would be to select tender ones as they will get cooked faster. Also I chopped the bindi into two after adding to the pan. This had them getting cooked very fast.

This, I am sending to Sra who is hosting AFAM with Pomegranate this month. Well if she can cook with the leaves, I guess she won't say no to the seeds in the curry, of course, I got to remember to send the photo as per her wish!

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Monday, February 11, 2008

Idli with Vengaya Sambar | Basic Idli Recipe with Onion Sambar

I remember always having an undying love for Idlis, maybe because I love eating the Idlis with Podi or because my brother hated them. Even now he hates Idlis. During childhood, it was always like this, if he likes something, I will not like it and made a point to always pick a fight with him. But he never budges for anything. Oh how I longed to have a sibling who will do the proper thing and fight with me.

I used to hear tales from my friends about their fights with their sister or brother and I used to go back home with the built up fury to pick a fight with my brother. But everything goes flat because he just never falls pray to that. I had a very dull childhood with no fights with him nor any other dispute. This went to such a greater extent that I used to argue with my mom, saying he never fights and I was feeling left out of the drama. She used to find all this very amusing and asked if I purposely deny eating what he likes.

Yes, he used to like ven pongal, so I never liked it and almost never ate it until high school. Name a vegetable he doesn't like and I will love that. He is a very reserved, calm person and of course, now I know what a wonderful person he is, but during childhood, I hated him because he wasn't like the normal brother you would expect and fight with me. So all you gals and guys who have memories of sibling fighting, I envy you all!

I guess the mind of a kid is strange to imagine. I wonder on these myself and laugh how silly it is to fight with Amma because my brother never fought. But my liking to Idly may have started for various reasons but the simple fact remains that I still like it very much and plan to have it for atleast two days in a week for breakfast. This is the most simplest, healthiest and easiest breakfast to make in a jiffy. I hope you have guessed to which event this is going to

For Idly, we always make only onion sambar with coconut chutney. Amma makes a red chilli chutney which I simply love. It's just red chillies, with ghee and Idli, it's a topper! Since I don't have a picture I will save that for another day. But let me talk about our onion sambar. We don't like any other vegetable added to the sambar we make for Idlis, it's plain Sambar, Onions Sambar! As I have said many times, my in laws love the idlis with the sambar and chutney that Amma makes, so the first day of their arrival is always a bucketful of Sambar and Idlis for them.

Idlis

Parboiled Rice - 4 cups
Urud dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 5 nos (opt)
Salt to taste

How to make Idlis

Wet grinder method

Clean and soak both the rices and Urud dal for 5-6 hrs separately. Grind the Urud dal first by adding enough water. You need to grind till it comes out like a butter. Remove, then grind rice to a fine paste, making sure you add required water in middle. Then add the urud dal paste to the grinder again and let it run for 5 more mins. Add salt

Let it ferment for 10 hrs or overnight.

Next morning, first thing you can do is to mix the batter once again and let it rest. For best soft idlis, don't mix again when you pour into the moulds. Just gently pour down into each mould. Keep for 15 mins for getting cooked and serve hot with Vengaya Sambar!
Vengaya Sambar ~ Small Onion Sambar!

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

For Seasoning

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

How to make Onion Sambar / Vengaya Sambar for Idlis

Clean Toor Dal and pressure cook it with 2 drops of Oil and turmeric. Put it on for 2 whistles or till the dal is cooked. 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. We normally don't chop the onions very finely. It remains as big bulbs. 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.

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

Garnish with coriander leaves.

This plate of Hot Idlies with Spicy Onion Sambar is our healthy eats in the morning. So this is on its way to Tasty Palettes. Suganya wont say no for healthy idlis I am sure.

Back to Main Recipe Index

Go to "Spice your Life" Blog Index


Enter your email address:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...