Monday, June 30, 2008

Godumai Halwa, Wheat Halwa ~ The Traditional Sweet!

Wheat Halwa was something I always thought I should make an attempt! I love Thirunelveli Halwa and I can eat a load, of course figuratively. But I can perk up energy to even do that half way! I remember the many occasions that Dad had got this especially for me and it used to be something I used to enjoy. Goduma halwa is loaded with ghee, it literally oozes out, even pouring out ghee. But its worth every bite! I always thought the best way to enjoy this halwa, would be taking a spoon of it and rolling it around your mouth and slowly slipping on each small bite of it. See I have made a thesis on this subject! Best part is, hubby dear doesn't like this, so I get to eat his share. Worse part is, he never remembers to get this. Of course that was in the past. Now he has made it a rule to buy this occasionally and I indulge in this sinful act till it lasts!

When the famous friends announced the next puzzle to be cracked in the Open Sesame 2, I was all ready for it! I am amazed at the intelligence that Dhivi seems to have in creating the puzzles, they are just awesome! I guess taking pity on us less intelligent mortals, she has given some obvious clues on the way. Else there is no chance for one to hit on the head! I chose the Box 3, yeah I have an attachment for 3 and sent the answer. Maybe because I was obsessed and had already worked on this, finding the answer was quite easy. But you never know these girls, so I was still apprehensive on the answer!

I am a grass , or am I a cereal or a grain
I am everywhere and in almost all the foods you eat
My whole being used in many ways without restrain
I offer you something which is so hard to beat

I am as old as you can think of me to be
Thought to be originated from the land of camels
I am breakfast, lunch and dinner for all to see
Or be it desserts from cakes , pies to caramels

I am famous all over the world from east to west
As breads, flatbreads , cookies to muffins
I am v healthy and like a treasure chest
For ppl - weight conscious and its healthy kins

Buckle up and take a pen and a paper
I am yellow when alive, brown when put to 'dust'
Eating me makes you look so dapper
Now think hard and tell me what is that grain that we all genuinely trust

I said it was Wheat and yes I got it right this time!

Since wheat halwa was something so long on my mind, I decided that I am going to make it. And yes, this was what I was busy cooking last Saturday night after 10 pm! I had couple of recipes on hand, but didn't want to take a chance in experimenting at this point, so referred The Yummy Blog, as I knew Lathamma had posted this. With a print out and all things, I set forth to make it.

The changes I made to the recipe was increasing the sugar, cos you know I am a sweet person..:0)..though I don't like sweets, I like sweets to be sweet! Puzzled? Well another change was adding saffron. Lathamma asked for saffron colour, well I thought I will add saffron straight. How about that, holding the saffron by its horns and asking it to yield its colour!

Preparation time : 15 mins
Cooking Time : 40 mins
Soaking Time : 12 hrs
Cuisine : Tamil Nadu

Ingredients Needed

Whole Wheat (wheat grains) - 1 cup
Sugar - 2 cups (You can increase to suit your taste)
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Ghee - 5 tablespoons (You can increase if you like)
Saffron colour or Saffron strands - 1 pinch or abt 5

For Garnish:
Your choice of nuts roasted in ghee

Method to prepare:

Wash and soak the wheat grains in water for 12 hrs.

Then drain wheat and add 1 cup of water and grind in mixie. Strain through a sieve to get the thick milk. Add another cup of water and grind it for another 2 mins. Strain and repeat process till you get the husk left behind. It took me about 4 times.

Heat a heavy bottom pan or Kadai. Add the sugar and the milk and cook on slim. Its very important to cook in sim, else it will get lumps. Only mistake I did was to let it unattended when the wheat milk started gathering. Then I had to press it down to remove the lumps.

You got to keep stirring continuously, until the milk starts thickening. Add the saffron and cardamom powder. Then add the Ghee. Keep stirring and cooking on sim. Its done when you can roll the halwa into a ball.

But you also should see if the ghee is oozing out on the sides. Add the nuts and mix well.

The consistency is very important if you want to cut them into shapes. If you add more ghee and allow it to be cooked a little longer, you will get the consistency as of Tirunelavi, though I am sure the Traditional sweet has more to its secrecy!

Anyway I was glad that I attempted this halwa, though I am not sure I will want to try again because of its tidious process, but its worth the efforts.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Microwaved Quick Mango Chunda!

Mango Chunda was something I got to taste during the Gurathi Food festival we had at office. One of my colleagues, was a gujju and he said this is their prized dish. We had Masala puri as one of the items and this is what they decided on. When we asked him to share some of their stored stuff, he got some very reluctantly, thinking we might waste. He needn't have worried, the bowl was clean licked off! I was most taken in by it and always wanted to try at home.

When I choose Bottled as the theme for this month's Microwave Easy cooking, I was hoping that I will get around making some of those book marked preserves. I had a Mango chunda recipe on hand. But it was with stove top reference. I knew it should take more than 5 mins to get it done. But I was still hesitating to handle it. Last week was the busiest one in terms of cooking something new and clicking it for the blog. But my obsession for this would never cease!

When I happened to chat with Divya, she said she has a Mango chunda made in mw. I said I have been thinking of making just that, only I was thinking of the timing. so she mailed back the recipe with the MW process. Yeah, the recipe was the same but the timings, my god the one on stove top says it takes about 40 - 50 mins, working on the sugar and mango.

Infact Divya's recipe calls it to be soaking in for 5 mins, I skipped and just mixed sugar with Mango and kept it inside. It was just too simple to make in Microwave! Imagine by the traditional way, the whole family is involved in mixing the sugar and heating over the pan on a stove top! After making it and enjoying it with Roti, I felt I was really glad that I did this in microwave as this I feel is the real benefit of cooking in Microwave.

Ingredients Needed

Raw Mango, grated - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 & 1/2 cup
Turmeric a pinch
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Roasted Cumin seeds, crushed - 1/2 tsp (I used powder)

Method to prepare:

Grate Mango and mix turmeric to it. Then mix the sugar to the Mangoes and in a MW safe glass, keep it for 2 mins.

Open and stir well. Then keep for 3 mins.

The sugar is all well melted and mixed, The consistency should be of one thread, when you test it.

Then mix the chili powder and jeera powder. Mix well and let it rest for 5 mins.

Enjoy with rotis or as such. This is my entry for my Microwave Easy Cooking, this month themed on dishes that can be bottled!

This I heard stays good for a year. But I am sure if I make this, it won't be around for so long!

We had been to Tiruchendur on a day trip and came back this morning. I got many mails from friends and readers saying they heard there was a slight tremor in Madras. Since we were not at home, I asked Athamma about it. She said she didn't feel anything. So it must've been very slight, thank God for that! Thank you all for your concerns. I am feel very honored to have your friendship!

Will be back with pictures we took in Tiruchendur. Have a great Sunday!

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Lunch Box Series : LBS#37

When I sat to write this post, I was actually thinking what to write. Sometimes I find myself without any story to tell you! And without a story, I really can't proceed right. In the last few days, I have been cooking a lot. Yeah, blog wise its a good news, because I don't have to scratch my head to think what to post. But when it comes to question of what to say, most of the times I don't have a problem, except for days like today.

Ok, its been a while since I regaled the antics the twins have been up to. Atleast at office, we get to sit for a while, but its only running on our toes, the moment we step in our home. Last evening, I landed home, to see all of them running around like they are been the other. My niece was also playing along my kids and it just liked like crèche! My parents, who were looking at the drama these little ones were creating, had that dazed look. Hubby dear even teased them, by throwing a challenged if they were up to baby sitting these naughty ones for a day. I was really amused hearing that. Hubby dear was also very elated. He told that he was welcomed by Peddu with a dance. Peddu saw his father and in his excitement, he danced around. Well I can imagine that. And hubby dear went on telling me this, till we went to sleep! If I have to relate that in comparison, its like a boy in his first crush!..:)

Anyway coming to my lunch box today, I devised a plan to change the combine and I landed with a different one, atleast the same vegetables and different dish.

Today's Lunch Box had

French Beans Kootu
Indian Broad Beans Stir Fry
Plain Rice
Cumin Pepper Rasam
Curd Rice

French Beans Kootu with Channa Dal

Since I have always only made a Kootu with either Snake Gourd or Chow Chow, I thought I could try beans for a change. And if I used tur dal, it might sound very much like Sambar, so here with Chana dal!

Ingredients Needed

Beans - 100 gms
Channa Dhal - 1/2 cup
Onions - 1 small
Tomatoes - 1 small
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt to taste
Grated coconut - 1 tsp

For Seasoning

Mustard seeds + Split urad dhal - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves few


Take a pressure cooker and cook Channa dal for 3 whistles, then add chopped beans and put for another whistle.

Heat a pan, add the seasonings. Then add the onions, sauté well, then add tomatoes. Add all the powders. Cook for 5 mins. Then add the cooked dal and vegetable, add some water. Let it come to boil. Sim for 10 mins

Finally add grated coconut.

Indian Broad Beans Stir Fry ~ Chikkudu Kaya Talimpu

Ingredients Needed:

Chikkudu Kaya (Indian Broad Beans) - 250 gms
Onions - 1 big
Garlic - 2 pods
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric a pinch

For seasoning

Curry leaves
Mustard seeds + Urud dal - 1 tsp

For Garnish
Ground nut powder - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Cut beans to small pieces. Boil them in water for 10 mins or until its cooked. Little water can be retained.

Chop Onions, Crush the garlic..

Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds and curry leaves. Then add onions and garlic, fry till they are brown in colour.

Once the onions are brown, add the cooked beans. Cook for 2 mins, add the chili powder and turmeric and salt. Cook on high flame to ensure the water in the beans gets evaporated. The result will be a well mixed veggie with all the spices. Finally add the ground nut powder!

Enjoy and have a great weekend!

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Spicy Tamarind Chutney ~ Andhra Special!

When I think of raw tamarind, I get transported to my childhoods days, spent in eating those right off the tree! When I was about 8 years old, we lived in a smaller town. The house was surrounded by acres of empty place and there was a big compound enclosing it all. We had many trees like Tamarind, Mangoes and lots of other ones. During summer, when the tamarind tree is full with its yield, my friends used to climb the tree and shake it down. I used to be one standing below, eagerly waiting to pick the first one. And once we had our load, we all used to gather around and enjoy these tangy ones. Wow, that crispy raw Tamarind, it looks that light shade of green, when you bite it, its juice gushes out. That taste is something, that will forever linger on your taste buds! The seeds are then dried for a while and then thrown on coal and till now I have not tasted anything that good!

Tamarind is something we use in everyday dishes. And the specialty dishes like Pulihora, Fish Curry I have already posted. Of course, there is the Puli Kolambu that Amma's signature dish, that I am yet to make. Somehow, hubby dear doesn't prefer tangy dishes, so its not often I cook with only tamarind. I asked Amma and said, though I know I am yet to post the Puli Kolam, I wanted something entirely new! Immediately she said, she knows of this chutney that her father loved. My grandfather, during one of his posting in a remote village, had to stay there without the family. Now my grandfather was a serious person, and most people who come in contact with him, are always scared and very hesitant to even utter a word. So imagine he had to stay away from family and his food was to be taken care of by others. It so happened that his clerk used to make this Tamarind Chutney and for the entire period he stay away, he generally eat this and lived. On his return, he asked ammama to make this for him. So finally I got to taste what got my grandfather hooked!

One mouthful of this and you have different flavours hitting your senses. I mean it literally! We made it in the morning and had it along with steaming rice and ghee. I don't think you need a separate passport to take you to heaven. This is enough! Hubby dear, who normally never much vocal on tangy things, said I should've made this while he was at home. That should convey how tasty this was.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time : 10 mins
Cuisine : Andhra
Serves - makes a regular cup
Shelf life - 3-4 days in room temperature

Ingredients Needed:

Tamarind - medium lemon size soaked.
Sambar Onions - 50 gms
Coriander Seeds / Dhaniya - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds / Jelakara - 1 tsp
Dry Red Chillie - 5 nos
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp


Mustard Seeds + Urad dal - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Method to prepare:

Wash and soak tamarind in water for 10 mins. Meanwhile dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds and chillies. Allow it to cool.

Peel and chop the onions to quarter size pieces. In a dry mixer jar, take the tamarind, the spices, chillies, about 4 onions pieces. Grind to a smooth paste using the tamarind soaked water.

Heat the oil in a pan, and temper with seasonings. Then sauté the chopped onions till they are brown! Add turmeric and simmer for 2 mins.

Then add the ground paste and cook till the oil comes out. All it took was only 2 tsp of oil.

It takes about 10 mins to get cooked.

Store in a dry container for 3-4 days. Serve it with hot piping rice with a dollop of ghee.

I sent it as a side for rice and kootu, it was a different experience all together. This is a recipe for keeper for sure!

Sending this to Sig who is hosting the JFI themed on Tamarind. JFI is an event started by Indira of Mahanandi.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kothu Parotta | Chili Kothu Parotta ~ The Ultimate Joy Food!

Kothu Parotta / Chili Parotta has been on my mind for ages. Must be really years. Seriously, have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to taste something and when you do, you simply fall in love with it! You get so depressed for the many years spent without tasting it. This happened to me. Kothu Parota is the ultimate Street food you can get in this parts of the world! If you are familiar with the gastronomical indulgence of the people hailing from Tamil Nadu, then this is their ultimate choice for fast food or street food, as you may call it! I have always had a great passion for Parotta. When you walk on our streets, more in particular, the market places, you can for sure see many such Parotta wala on the push carts. The aroma that sniffs pasts, pulls your heart strings to core.

I have always longed to eat in such places. But the puritanical attitude, which rears its ugly head at times, never allows it. I am not a puritan par se. But a woman is allowed to have her contradictory attitudes right! Plus the strict rule that Dad always has on never to eat anything from the street or road side shops because of the hygienic conditions. I have never eaten from any such shops. Can you believe, we went to Bombay, Calcutta, but never ate anything off the street! All those yummy chats and masalas. They did tug me to no end. But then Dad's rule or not, even when I traveled without him, I can't get myself eat in those places. Though one part of me, always longed I wasn't so prudish!

Now all said and done, it isn't I never enjoyed Kothu parotta. My colleagues used to order this from Saravana Bhavan. Saravana Bhavan is really conjus, they give a very small box with an overly charged price! Still one colleague ordered Kottu parotta for lunch, almost every day. And most times when we sat for lunch together we used to share our lunches. Though not sure how authentic, it sure was yummy! But then where is authentic coming in a fast food. Though Amma and I used to experiment and generally cook lot of new dishes, this was something we never attempted.

During my blog hopping, almost a year back, I came across a recipe and I had noted the method. When Sia announced street food for MBP, I knew I can finally try Kothu parotta. I had bookmarked many recipes showing how to make one, but since the concept of MBP demands we follow another blogger's recipe, I tried following Spicyana's recipe. I had loved her bowl! But as catastrophe happen when you least expect it, yeah else its not called catastrophe right, I found myself not finding time to make this. I thought I will again have to postpone making this.

Was if not for Sia warning to shoot me, I won't have made this! I didn't even read her message fully, I sent a mail saying no no no, I don't want to be shot but would prefer cooking this lovely Kothu parotta for her! And then she has the WBB this month, right!. Thanks a lot, my friend, we have a lovely dinner last night. And the greatest pleasure was, Peddu liked it so much that he came back for a second helping and wouldn't share it with Chinnu. Chinnu came running to me and said ' Tha Na tha na." Not sure what the means, but that's what Chinnu keeps saying these days. Well, Athamma gave orders that this is going to be cooked often, but with wheat flour!

Now coming to the Kothu Parotta, this is a lovely way to eat Parotta. Check this post for making Parotta!

Kothu Parotta ~ Easy Beesy Way to Spicy parotta
Adapted from here

Shredded Parotta - 6 nos (I used only All purpose flour for making the parotta)
Onions - 2 medium
Ginger Garlic paste
Green chillies - 1-2, Slit and chopped to half
Capsicum - quarter of a medium size one
Spring Onions - half of a bunch
Tomato sauce - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Coriander to garnish

Though the original recipes uses Crepes, I made parotta and didn't use whole garlic and ginger. Instead used a ginger garlic paste as it was stocked. Omitted Soy Sauce and Celery. Added more Green chillies to suit our taste!

Method to prepare:

Make the Parottas before you start with this. Actually this came into picture to use the day old parottas. But I think the fresh one will be best for kids.

Cut Onions into squares or big chucks. I don't like to chew on big capsicum pieces, so chopped them fine.

Trim the Spring onions and use the onions for sauteing. Tear the parottas randomly. I don't think same size will have that effect!

Heat a pan with oil. Add the onions, fry well. Once they turn pinkish, add the ginger garlic paste. Fry well. Then add the capsicum and cover for 2 mins in sim.Once they are soft, add the white onions from the spring onions. Stir well.

Now add the green chillies, salt and the green part of the spring onions. Once they sizzle well, add half of the tomato sauce.

Then goes the parotta pieces. cook on high flame for 2 mins. Then add the remaining tomato sauce so that its gets coated well.

Add rest of the garnish and cover for 2 more mins. Check the parotta softness and add more tomato sauce if required.

Serve hot!

Kothu Parotta is on its way to join the party at Sia's place.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thota Aaku Mamidikaya Uragaya ~ Pickle with Mango and Amarnath Leaves!

If you are somebody like me, who hesitates to take in greens, then this recipe for sure will convert you! This is the first time I am ever making a pickle out of it and the credit all goes to Athamma. After her visit from her daughter's place, she got back some Aara Keerai or Thota Aaku. I know Aara Keerai may not be referred as Thota Aaku. Amma was giving a different name for this.

Anyway recently Amma had got raw Mango and its been lying around in the fridge for so long! On her return, Athamma was really shocked that I hadn't attended to that lone Mango. I said I didn't find time to even glance at it and hoped every much that it would remain raw! Yep, it was still raw, the shelf life of raw mango to remain raw is app 10 days! Ha Ha, Dad will give me a field day, if he happens to read this. Dad always teases us that we are always checking out the shelf life of all ingredients that go into the fridge!

So I was happy that I could finally get to make that Mango into something. But this turned out to be simply too good! I still can't believe myself that it tasted so yummy.

This is another Andhra Special coming your way!

Ingredients Needed

Mango - 1 cup grated
Ara keerai / Thota aaku - 1 cup (washed and dried and chopped finely)
Methi seeds /Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 tsp seeds roasted and ground fine
Chillie powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Red chillies - 2-3
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp

Method to prepare:

Wash the Greens couple of times. Chopped them finely into very small pieces. Then dry them in shade, till they are all dry.

When you are ready to make the pickle, grate the mango and keep aside.

Roast the Methi seeds and powder them fine.

Then heat a pan with oil. Temper with Mustard seeds, the add the Red chillies. Fry well.

Add on the chopped greens. When they are nicely fried and mixed well, add the grated mango. Fry in sim for 2-3 mins. Then add the fenugreek powder and chilli powder and salt. Fry till oil comes out.

Since this is a pickle, you need to be little liberal with Oil.

This stays good for 3-4 days in room temperature. And for a week when stored in fridge.

This week's Weekend Herb Blogging is back on home ground. So sending this to Kalyn's Kitchen!

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Monday, June 23, 2008

Kajjikayalu or Karjikayalu~ Andhra Special!

We had quite a fun cooking late on Saturday night. Our dinner was simple as hubby dear was not in town. And kids graced us by going to bed early. We found ourselves in the kitchen by 9.30 pm and I saw Athamma was getting something ready. I was busy cooking for one of the pending events. Imagine staying up late to cook up for events. Seriously, I found myself laughing over it. But nevertheless all interested. Athamma was planning to make Kajjikayalu. I remembered helping out Amma, when she used to make these a decade back. Its been quite long, since we made it at. I know hubby likes these and its been on mind for a while. But we always get our dose of these, when my sister-in-laws gets them when they visit us.

Since it was already getting late, I said we will do it on Sunday. Once my dish was all done, I sat to work on the Mela entries. Let me confess right away, I may not be able to do the round up in another atleast 2-3 days. Anyway I was busy working, when suddenly the skies opened and it really poured. Power got cut and I sat up fanning the kids till wee hours. It was all thunder and lightning. Konda and Chinnu were fast asleep, while Peddu got up. He says 'Ma, Paa', the moment he gets up. He shows the milk and asks for a feed. This is how he is being doing off late. He recognizes all objects and says just the first syllable. We got to understand what he is saying. I thought he might get scared of the thunder, but he happily slipped on the milk, looking at the lightning that managed to peep in. We then slipped to oblivion not knowing when the rains stopped.

Morning next, was one beautiful one to wake up too! It was all so chill and misty. Imagine we getting this climate in this season. But then our city is known for its off seasonal behaviors, and that's one of the reasons why I love it so much! We thought we will get down to making the Kajjikayalu or Karjikayalu as its also called, before the kids come down on us, so I clicked away many pictures while making it. Thought of making a video, but since hubby dear wasn't around, I couldn't manage both cooking and capturing!

Kajjikalu is a famous Andhra sweet. Its outer layer is made with All purpose flour or Maida and is stuffed with different fillings. It can be of these separately or combined. We can use Coconut filling, Fried Gram, Poppy seeds, and yes you can think of others too. We made both coconut and dalia fillings. To know which is what, Athamma toped the dalia ones with red colour!

Ingredients Needed:

For the cover:

All purpose flour / Maida - 1 cup
Ghee - 2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Water to knead

For the filling:

Grated Copra - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup or (you can increase as per your taste)
Cashew nuts - 10 whole ( you can use other nuts combination with raisins)
Poppy seeds - 2 tsp
Cardamom a pinch

Oil for Deep frying

Method to prepare:

Kajjikayalu are normally made in half moon shapes. There are many ways to make this. You can even make these in the molds available.

To make the dough, take the flour, salt and ghee in a bowl. Mix well. Then slowly add water to knead into a stiff dough. If you want to get a crispy cover, the dough has to be stiff. When you allow it to rest, it will get soft again. So either you mix some more flour before rolling out. Or you knead and roll out immediately

To make the fillings, grate the Copra or the Dried coconut. This tastes great and also stays longer as the fresh one might get spoiled.

Chop the cashew nuts into small pieces. Mix the grated coconut, cashew nuts, sugar, poppy seeds and cardamom together. This will be a dry mixture.

Making the kajjikaya on the rolling board.

Once you are ready to roll out, divide the dough into small equal balls. Using the rolling pin, dust the balls, flatten them into small circles, like the puris.

Scoop a spoonful of the coconut filling and place on the middle. List one side of the dough, bring to the other side and press well. You can dab some more flour and press well so that the filling doesn't come out.

Making it in your palm.

Once you roll out the cover, take it on to your left palm. Hold it while you scoop in the fillings. Now gently cover both open sides. You will end up having a half moon.

In all shapes, to get the design, you have to turn the sides like tuck in and then press. Then again tuck in. As shown in the picture.

Round Kajjikaya.

This is much easier way to make. Roll out two small puri size dough. Place the filling in the middle. Place the other puri on top and press down well.

Once you have all the Kajjikaya filled and ready, Heat the oil for deep frying. Once the oil is hot, simmer and gently drop in the kajjikaya. Fry in low flame, only then the outer layer will be crispy.

Turn to the other side, when its cooked on one side. Once its done on both sides, drain them on to a kitchen towel.

I actually didn't count how many came as I was eating them non stop without having my breakfast too! Talk of an addiction!

I am sending our famous Kajjikaya stuffed with coconut to Suganya who is hosting AFAM themed on Coconut.

Sending this to Vani of Batasari, who is hosting the RCI: Andhra Festival Foods! I never knew about this until Asha told me. I would've been really sad to have missed it. Thanks Asha and thanks Vani, will try to send in more!

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wasabi Coleslaw on Roasted Paneer!

Taste & Create was one event that got me hooked on to its concept. This event hosted by Nicole of For the love of food, partners with another blogger and we got to pick a recipe from our partner's blog and prepare. Last month, though I was having a note on the time and all, I completely forgot to send the mail. This time round, I had reminders to give my name on time. And on top, my dear friend gave me a gentle reminder. I was so happy she did. I sent out a mail immediately to Nicole asking her to consider my name for this month's edition.

Then I completely forgot about the time. One fine day, I saw Simran doing a post on this. And I thought I was again missed out for this edition too. Simran sent a mail saying she saw my name on the list. What a shock! Imagine you are in something and don't even know about it. Went to Nicole's blog and yes, I was in the list. I promptly clicked on the link and landed in Culinary Disaster! But you expect it to be some disaster right? No its not, Jeff has given a misnomer to his beautiful blog. I was hooked reading through his posts and amazed at the many different chicken dishes he has! All with so many herbs and many different ingredients. It was literally a feast for a person to cook non-vegetarian.

While I was still browsing through the posts, my eyes fell on this and I thought wow, two events in one shot. Why not, especially when our dear local walking encyclopedia has got her hands on the tube. These days I only rely on her knowledge to know where to get what. So I sent her a mail immediately, asking if she still has that tube of wasabi with her. Bang the reply came saying she still has and will send it across soon! She was sweet enough to send them across to my office and my security was looking suspiciously at the bag. Want to know what the goodies Anu sent along with the tube. Her homemade cookies, can't believe this is her first attempt. Both Konda and hubby dear got hooked to them. Infact, Konda took these for her school snacks, which I must say, says lot about the cookies! Thank you, Anu. You are too sweet!

Now, coming to the recipe I made. I had all of the listed ingredients except, Rice white vinegar. I used fruit white vinegar. I don't know if the taste differs and used a wee bit less of wasabi as it was really strong! This is also the first time I using purple cabbage as its called here. Peddu was very much taken in by the looks. As coleslaw is also served with fried fish or chicken, I thought I could top it on my all time favorite, Paneer! I had a slab of this tucked in for making the ever in demand PBM, so I thought I could make it come out as something different!

Wasabi Coleslaw on Roasted Paneer
Adapted from here

Ingredients Needed:

Purple Cabbage - 2 leaves
Green Cabbage - 2 leaves
Carrot - quarter piece
Spring Onions - 3 stalks
Salt to taste
Fruit wine vinegar - 1 tsp
Soy sauce - 1/2 tsp
Ground pepper for the kicks
Wasabi - 1/4 tsp or even less

Method to prepare:

Grate the cabbages and carrot finely. Chop the spring Onions. In a bowl, take the chopped vegetables and mix all the ingredients.

I finally added the wasabi, tasted and adjusted. Take care to add very less as its quite strong.

Heat a pan with butter. Take a Paneer slab and place on the butter. Roast for a min or two. Sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Take a scoop of the coleslaw and place on the roasted paneer.

Tastes great as a starter!

I am sending this entry to Kay, who is hosting this month's Think Spice event, and she is thinking Wasabi!

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Dosa Mela Round up ~ Part 4!

It always turns me on! With its texture so soft and complexion so fair! Well, I am talking about the dosa batter. Of course, from the round ups, we know not all dosa batter is fair! But I am talking generally in terms of the passion it gets out of people who love it! Its ought to be declared a Global Food! I was thinking there can only be that many dosa lovers, even after those big round ups. But I was proved wrong.

Even many days after the round ups, I kept getting mails asking for entries to be added to the mela. I finally decided its best I do another round up. But days were flying as typical it is when you are busy with something. And I totally forgot that this is still pending! Let me finish this before the Roti Mela comes on picture, is what I thought.

So here comes another set of Dosas to tempt you all!

From the Iyengar's Kitchen comes a lovely Pudina Raagi Dosa. Now what can be more healthy than adding mint to an already healthy stuff.

Veda does a great job in combining both!


Sita finds an easy way to feed her son egg, who doesn't like omelet or boiled ones.

So the egg finds itself topping the delicious dosa.

Now I have always been so open about my passion for Tomato Dosa. This is my the most favorite from what my mom makes.

So its not fair that Anu tempts me so with her oh so beautiful pictures! Be sure to check out her step by step pictures..everything looks great

Ranji loves dosas, but when it comes to preparing it, she prefers one that's quick to fix.

So try out this no fermentation, no chutney dish..and you will crave for more for her Methi dosas!.

Now would you believe it, for Subha thinking of Mysore Masala Dosa, she gets reminded of Mumbai!!!...yes its true..

She was first introduced to this super duper delicious dosa in Mumbai!

Ramya brings in another traditional recipe, that she learnt from her MIL.

All those boiling and then mixing it with masala, makes it one exciting dosa to try, not to mention her tempting picture!

We have a Sweet corn adai coming all the way from Amma's Special. When its from Amma, anything is special.

But this I must say looks extra with loads of corn in it. What a healthy way to eat!

Raaga comes out with a healthy Vegetable Dosa! You have a sour batter on hand, then this is it for you!

She says she had this for the original mela, but what a luck she posted it on time for this pending edition!
I thank all bloggers for their enthusiastic response. I really loved doing a recap on dosas again!

Look out for the Roti Mela round ups!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Lunch Box Series : LBS#36

Its been quite sometime since I have been to a vegetable market. I remember going to those a decade back. There were times when I used to take Amma in the bike and we both will check out, all the fresh vegetables and bring back a load. I even remembered how much a kilo of tomatoes costed the previous time and that even used to be a topic for discussion for a while. And those times when we decided to make Cauliflower Manchurian, we scour the market for Spring Onions and full bloomed Cauliflowers. During the Cauliflower season, you will find every nook and corner selling these in push carts.

Then came the concept of vegetable supermarkets. All fresh and neatly packed in covers, these shops used to charge you more in the initial period. Now they sell at almost the same cost as the local market. Dad has always taught us to think quality is the best in whatever we buy. He never approves of getting things in sales. So he was one happy person who he saw these shops emerging. Vegetables washed and neatly packed, all ready to use. When he makes a visit to these, he comes back with too many things and Amma used to complain. He used to tell her, cook 4 vegetabls for a meal. Then it used to be a big task for Amma to come out with dishes using four different vegetables.

These days, in most of these vegetable supermarkets, they even sell packets with freshly chopped vegetables. Its packed based on the type of curry you want to make. I am yet to try those, though I have heard my friends saying its good. I really wonder how much time will it take them to chop few vegetables!

Anyway coming to the visits to vegetable shop, these days its hubby who does it. And I told him to get some different vegetable on this visit. Every other day, its the same veggie for Sambar or for Puloa. I was really getting bored. We make Kootu with Snake gourd, Chow chow. And of course, anything can go into Sambar. So I was wondering what different veggie he is going to bring. Well he got the same ones, but asked me to try something different! He said why don't you try something different from the same old Pottalakaya or Pudalankaai Kootu!! Well what do you expect, I made a poriyal out of Snake gourd, I guess its different! Of course with moong dal to make it healthy!

Today's Lunch Box had

Mulakaya Sambar ~ Drumstick Sambar
Pottalakaya or Pudalankaai Poriyal - Snake Gourd with Moong Dal
Cumin Pepper Rasam
Curd Rice

Pottalakaya or Pudalankaai Poriyal - Snake Gourd with Moong Dal

Cooking with Snake Gourd is quite interesting. You can do bajjis, Kootu and not to mention this Poriyal. This actually tasted great!

Ingredients Needed:

Snake Gourd - 100 gms
Yellow Moong Dal - 50 gms


Mustard Seeds + urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Red chillies - 4 broken.
Curry leaves
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Scrap the outer skin and chop into fine pieces of 1 inch size. Soak them in Salt water for 10 mins. And squeeze them well.

Meanwhile, par boil the moong dal to half done. If you like your poriyal to be well mixed, you can fully cook it.

Heat a kadai with oil. Temper it with Mustard Seeds and Urad dal. Then add the curry leaves and broken dry chilies. Fry for 1 min.

Then add the squeezed snake gourd and add salt. Simmer for 10 mins. It should be cooked. Once its done, add the cooked moong dal and mix well.

Taste great as a side for Sambar!

Reminder: Entries for Roti Mela can keep coming on!!!

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thengai Sevai ~ Coconut Rice Noodles!

I was seriously wondering what to prepare with coconut. We mostly use coconut for korma. But we also make Coconut Milk Rice, Thengai Sadam and some sweets like Coconut Poli, Kozhkattai etc. Of course, we always have the quintessential Coconut Chutney and the Kobari Mudda always ready at hand. I wanted to make something exclusively for the AFAM, hosted by my dear friend Suganya. So that Coconut Puri was something bonus, I should say.

While I was still breaking my head wondering what could that special dish that always excites my taste buds, when I suddenly remembered the Coconut Sevai. I love Sevai, especially I have eaten Sevai made with Lemon and Coconut. But I always loved the coconut wala much better than the lemon one. Remember I made the Mango Sevai, yep I still had a packet of Sevai. Infact since I planned something else for hubby dear, I made half of it and had all the coconut sevai to enjoy myself. I still have a packet of Sevai on hand. One never knows what one is going to come out with.

Fixing a Coconut Sevai is very fast. If you have all the things ready on hand, all you have to do is to assemble them in a hot sizzling pan and you have your Sevai nicely flavoured with Coconut. There is nothing like working out a quick meal. I mostly have grated coconut readily stored. So this took about 10 mins to get done.

Ingredients Needed:

Rice Sevai - 1/2 cup
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Mustard Seeds + Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Bengal Gram dal - 1 tsp
Cashew Nuts - 5 whole.
Green Chillies - 2 -3 no
Curry leaves - abt 6 leaves.
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Cook Sevai in about 3 times of water. Once its well cooked, drain them in a colander. This takes about 5 mins

Heat a pan with oil. Temper with Mustard and Urad dal. Then add the slit chillies, curry leaves. Add salt and mix well. Then add the grated coconut and fry for another 2 mins. Then add the cooked Sevai.

Simmer for 2 mins and let it get mixed well.

Your delicious Coconut Sevai is well ready within minutes.

My plate of coconut sevai is on its way to Suganya who is hosting AFAM themed on Coconut. Since this is such a quick breakfast to fix, sending it to Raaga, who is hosting WBB, Express Breakfast.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

How to set Curds ~ Making of Curds!

Making of Curds or as its called setting of curds, must be quite an easy one if you are used to doing it or have seen it being done often. I have always seen Amma setting this late in the night. She has certain vessels, which she doesn't use for anything else. I have tried following this principle to greater extent. At times, Amma ends up boiling a whole new pack for setting the curds. Then she will be seen cooling it under fan or over a bowl of water or at times seen blowing it. It used to be fun. In our climatic conditions, we need not really do much. It gets set automatically. Of course, provided you have the milk in the right lukewarm temperature.

To record, to find out if the temperature is correct, this is what Amma told me when I was in my teens. Wash your hands. Dip a finger into the bowl of milk. If you find the milk to be nicely warm, then its the right temperature for setting. And she also keeps the vessel near the stove. The warmth from the stove would be transferred to the vessel. What was so funny was, when we visited them in Calcutta, I found her setting the curds in a hot box. She said only then the curds was getting set. For her, it was the first time, she has ever lived away from our beautiful city. And that didn't educate her enough on temperatures. A winter is as warm as in a late summer here. How fantastic! Whatever, we love our city.

Now coming to myths surrounding setting and borrowing curds, certain things take a cake. Like the myth, that curds shouldn't be borrowed after sunset or on certain days. Well I have never really asked more than the basic question. I wanted to know why it should not be, but of course there was no valid reason. This reminds me of one funny incident. When I was in high school, we had a neighbour with whom we were very close. She used to be mostly at our place when her kids were at school. We indulged in many cooking experiments. It used to be real fun. Once she got some guests from her native place. Two people in their 70's and couldn't really hear or see things properly. But they came visiting them and wanted to tour the city. They returned back home after touring and sat for lunch. Once it was over, they asked for buttermilk. On bringing out the curds vessel, they said they will make it themselves. Not knowing what to say, aunty gave them the vessel. That's it, after few mins, they returned an empty vessel. She was lamenting that they didn't even bother asking if they had to keep some for setting the next batch.It was ever more daunting because it happened on a day when she couldn't ask others for culturing the curds! Heights of belief!

How to set the Curds:

Bring the milk to a boil and simmer for 2 mins.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. The temperature should be luke warm.

For 1/2 liter milk, you would need app 15 ml of curds to set. This is the regular teaspoon. You can always adjust based on the temperature and the curds.

Cover with lid and let it set for about 6-7 hrs in places where its over 35 degrees C. It normally takes about 5 hrs app in our temperature.

When you find its set, put it in fridge.

Few things to spoil the curds or turn it to sour, will be adding the culture when the milk is very hot and covering it.

When you find that its too hot, allow it cool down.

Adding more culture than needed.

When you find its not set properly, heat some extra milk and add to the curds. Cover again. It should get set within hours.

How to make Curd Rice or Perugu Annam, check here

And you want to know how to eat a curd rice, then Lak has great notes on it! She infers that the way to a TamBham boy's heart is through serving him a perfect Thayir Sadam!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Palak Moong Dal ~ Spinach in Mung Bean!

This was supposed to be the first post to be followed by the Palak Puri. But somehow it got first! Things always happen that way right. We plan something, and something else happens. Anyway how we cope with it and make the best, is the part of the game called life! Well I guess I don't need to go further into that topic. This Palak fantasy we indulge, goes back to those days before marriage. This was something that Amma used to make so very often. We used to ensure we had this on table, atleast once a week. That was the attachment we had with this dal.

But after marriage, things somehow changed. Since hubby dear used to prefer mostly spicy stuff, these dishes took a back seat. I always thought of making it, but it never somehow came around. Finally we have reached a point, where everything gets accepted. You can say its time constraint or so many factors. Fact remains, we finally got to make this. This dal becomes more interesting when all you got to do is, pluck few leaves and your dinner is ready! This is what I did this Saturday. Not being sure what to prepare for dinner, I was walking with the kids in the backyard, when I suddenly happened upon these pots of spinach plants. They had bloomed well. And all those memories of Palak in Yellow Moong dal, was all I could remember.

I went back home with a handful of leaves. And finally they danced a melody in company of the lovely Yellow Moong dal! The dance of the youth all remembered again!

Ingredients Needed:

Spinach Leaves - about 10 - 15 medium leaves
Yellow Moong Dal - 1/2 cup
Garlic pods - 2
Onions - 1 small
Green Chillies - 3-4 nos
Salt to taste
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Pressure cook the moong dal till its half done. Take care you don't over cook this.

Heat a pan with oil. Temper with cumin seeds. Once they start spluttering, roast the finely chopped garlic. Fry for 1 min, till they leave aroma. Then sauté finely chopped onions. The amount of onions used can be less. Sauté till its pink.

Wash and chop the Spinach to fine pieces. Add these along with the slit green chillies, to the pan. Sauté well. This takes about 3-4 mins.

Then add the cooked Moong dal and add required amount of water. Bring to boil. Adjust salt. Simmer for 5 - 10 mins. The dal should be of medium consistency as this is usually served with Pulka or chapatis.

If you feel the spice is not enough, you can add chili powder while its boiling. This tastes great with Pulkas. Though I served it with Rotis.

Sending this to Joanna from Joanna's Food, who is hosting this week's WHB. Weekend Herb Blogging is an event started by Kalyn!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Coconut Masala stuffed Puri ~ Roti Mela!

Once upon a time, there lived a glorious dish called the Coconut Puri. It lived in a world filled with full of glossy, colourful yummy dishes. Its companions reeked like those of exotic Channa Pulao, Corn on Toasts and such. Not to mention its partner in fame, the lovely Carrot Chutney! But for all its glorious days and yummiest looks, it was always sidetracked for likes of Channa pulao and many such. Every time it was opened to glance through, Coconut Puri all stands upright for all attention, for it knew it was a looker and a teaser. But will people ever want to actually try it? Such were the sad thoughts, that crossed its mind many a time. Every time the pages were leafed and it was passed on for something else.

Many a summer passed, when finally one Sunday morning, it all changed. From backdrop wonderful fame, it was brought forth for a lovely praises and it has since lived so high in the hearts and minds of those who devoured it on that fine Sunday morning. That Sunday morning, was when Amma finally decided she wanted to make Coconut Puri. Of course, not without its partner in life. Thus emerged from the realms of hot burning furnace, the knight in the shining armor, tucked within it, the delicious coconut all tossed with spice and flavour! Its great on its own. But it does plead you to make its partner, the Carrot Chutney too. We finally succumbed to both and had a feast of a lifetime. As one of the many such feasts that always come back to haunt, this used to tease me, taunt me and kill me with its overdose of appeal.

And many such summers after, I found myself longingly looking at the picture, that spoke of my long ago Sunday spent frying and grating the coconut to perfection and finally dressing it with a sheet for a cover! Yes, I was finally able to make this. What a recollection it was. Was feeling bad that I didn't have time enough, to make the lovely carrot Chutney. But I promise, will make it sure soon. But for now, let me present the glorious Coconut Puri in all its wonder!

Ingredients Needed:

Wheat flour - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Water to knead the dough

Coconut Filling:

Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Gram Flour/ Besan - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Green Chili - 2 finely chopped
Ginger - 1 inch
Curry leaves - 5-6 leaves
Mustard seeds + Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

In a bowl, take the flours and make a stiff dough. Since you are adding maida, it might tend to get soft. So ensure you add very little water to get a stiff one. Moreover when you allow it to rest for a while, the dough tends to get softer.

Meanwhile get the filling ready. Grate the coconut into fine pieces. Chop the chilies, ginger and curry leaves into fine pieces, as these have to added into the fillings and should not come out during frying.

Heat a pan with oil. Add Mustard and Urad dal. Once the mustard splutters, add the green chilies, ginger and curry leaves. Fry for 1 mins. Then add the grated coconut, fry well. To this add the besan. Fry in sim, till you get the aroma. This takes about 2-3 mins.

Remove from fire, add the salt and chili powder. Mix well. Sprinkle few drops of water and gather the filling into a dough. Remember that water is just to gather the coconut, besan and other ingredients. So just few drops is enough.Also more water will drink oil. So add enough to gather as a ball.

Divide the puri dough into small balls. Flatten by dusting it. Divide the fillings to equal balls. Place a ball in the dough and cover well. Dust it and gently roll out like chapatis.

Heat a kadai with oil. Once its hot, gently drop the puris and fry as you regularly do the puris. You have to take extra care while rolling out, so that the filling does not come out.

Let it get cooked well on one side, before flipping on to the other.Once its cooked on both sides, drain to a kitchen towel.

Coconut Puri is walking alone to the Roti Mela, it breaks my heart so, to see it without its lady love, the Carrot Chutney! But I don't Coconut Puri won't be missing its partner much in the Mela hungama!

Are you still thinking about what to make for the Roti Mela. Do think fast, just another 4 days to go!

Actually when Suganya announced Coconut as the Fruit of the Month, I was wondering what I should post as I have no more coconut dishes. Only while I was drafting this post, I remembered and felt how wonderful! So sending this to Suganya for her AFAM event, which is Coconut this month. AFAM is an event started by Maheswari of Beyond The Usual.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Palak Puri, Spinach Puri ~ Roti Mela!

As I was telling, I had shortlisted some 15 new Indian Flat breads to be made for the Mela. But as luck would have it, things at home has been really hectic . The bunch of paper printed all the recipes is still fresh without any tale of being handled. Normally the paper by end of cooking, gets changed in colour and look. It attains that well handled appearance that says without any questions, that it has been looked at, quite a number of times and has gone through a long process of being unattended on the Microwave. Yes, thats where I keep my papers that have recipes to be cooked. Then once I am done, I don't even put them back in the shelf. It takes some days to finally transferred back to the shelf.

Now coming to this Palak plant in the pot, I should say this is the only thing we have ever tried growing in our back yard. Athamma is known to resort to these pots to yield us some of its leaves, in the dire needs of not having anything on hand to cook. But long before this, there was a time when Amma used to make this Palak Puri and Methi Puri, very regularly for breakfast. She uses the delhi palak as its called. That gives a real vibrant green colour to the puri.

Deciding that I am going to make Palak puri, I went and plucked about handful of the leaves, as I was planning to make only 4 of them. After the process and mixing, I found that these leaves were not giving out that real green colour. But anyway the taste was great. So next time, its going to be delhi palak for the puri.

Ingredients Needed:

Atta / Wheat flour - 1 cup
Palak / Spinach - 10 leaves
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:

Wash the leaves well and boil them in water for 5 mins.

Once cool, run them in mixer to get a paste.

In a bowl, take the flour, salt and the palak paste. Mix well.

If its not enough to gather as a dough, add little water to get a stiff dough.

Let it rest for 5 mins. Heat a Kadai with Oil for frying.

Divide the dough into equal balls. Roll them as regular puris.

Once the oil is hot, gently drop each one and deep fry as you do with your regular puri.

Cook on both sides and drain them to a kitchen towel.

Serve with pickle or any gravy.

This is going to the Mela too!

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Kakarakaya Kura ~ Bitter Gourd Curry!

For Weekend Herb Blogging this week, I am going to blog about a vegetable that's my hubby's most favorite. And of course, something I keep my distance from!I try quite hard. Its a real wonder how this particular dish never got featured as the pictures are quite old. Until my marriage I never bothered to ever taste this dish the innumerable times that Amma must've prepared it. I was thinking I will eat it later and later, maybe never in this life time!

Imagine my utter shock on knowing that this is hubby dear's favorite vegetable. It was too shocking, can anybody actually like this vegetable. One that's too bitter, do what you may but can never remove that bitterness from it! But it looked like I was against a wall. I had to cook this atleast once, if not many times in a week, something with this vegetable. So its always some stir fry or dry curry or at sometimes kura is what we come up with. This kura is quite popular in Andhra.

Bitter Gourd is also known as Bitter Melon. Its considered to be very healthy and especially for diabetics. In our local, most people also advise to drink its raw juice to control Diabetics. But apart from its medicinal value, hubby dear simply loves it. This gravy or Kura is the best way he enjoys.

Ingredients Needed:

Kakara Kaya - 100 gms
Onion - 1 big
Tomato - 2 medium
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Groundnut powder - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Grate the outer skin of the bitter gourd and chop into thin circles. Dry roast them on a pan. If you have a granite kitchen slab, drop the toasted gourds on the ground, this is normally done to remove the bitter ness. Then soak in salt water for 5 - 10 mins. This is to remove the excess bitterness in the gourds.

Heat a pan with oil. Sauté the chopped onions till they turn pink. Then add the Clove, cinnamon, then after a min, add ginger garlic paste. Fry for 2 mins, till the onions are brown on tips.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and dry spices powders and salt. Let it get cooked well. Squeeze out the excess water from Bitter gourd and add to the pan. Cook on high flame for 2 mins. Then add 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil.

Then simmer and cook with lid for about 10 - 15 mins. When you think its thick enough, add the ground nut powder. Mix well and cook for 2 - 5 mins.

This goes very well with rice or Chapatis too.

Bitter gourd is on its way to Astrid from Paulchen's Food Blog, who is hosting this week's WHB. Weekend Herb Blogging is the brain child of Kalyn.

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Chambray, Til ko Alu and Pakku ~ what - a thali from Sikkim!

Its such a wonder always. Being part of a country, which is a home to many cultures, to people who speak so many different languages, its hard to be familiar with all! So taking part in the Regional Cuisines of India, is such a wonderful opportunity to learn about different cultures, different cuisines. You may never actually visit that place, but by cooking something that's common in that place, sure gets you a feeling of knowing something about them!

I haven't traveled much through North India, except couple of times to Calcutta and both the times, had a great time. But I don't think I would ever get an opportunity to visit other states like Sikkim or Nagaland. So when my dear friend Bhags announced North East India as the cuisine we got to cook this month, I was left clueless. Of course, she was kind enough to give some links. But as usual, this and that kept me quite busy until the very last moment! Infact I was alerting hubby dear to be ready for a feast on North Eastern Cuisine. Still I was so very concerned when to actually get down doing it.

Hubby dear finally came to rescue. He said he would want to have those lovely Momos, he remembered eating while he was in Delhi. Though the steamed Momos famous, he preferred the deep fried ones. Apart from this, I also went through the list that Bhags had given. I finally nailed Sikkim to be the cuisine I wanted to try. Actually all other things sounded so complicated or something not available locally! For all the potato disliker I claim to be, for all RCIs, I end up making something with Aloo. With just 3 days to go, I couldn't postpone it any longer. I decided on a Meat dish with Rice and Aloo.

When I checked I had only Keema, so it was to be Keema curry. Of course, I hope nobody is going to fly down from Sikkim to show draggers at me, for changing their authentic recipes. I marched home with recipe and hoped my pantry will have all the things needed. Rice was quite simple and Aloo was wonderful. This was the first time I was eating Sesame powder in a vegetable. We always use Sesame in Pulihora or in Sweets or Savories. Aloo emerged as a delicious darling all decked up in Til powder!

Only I encountered a disaster with the keema curry. It was to cook on slow for an hour. I knew it wouldn't take that long, so was having an eye on that. But as luck would have it, my twins decided it was their potty time. And rest is history! What was supposed to be a gravy, ended up charred to its base and I had a sukka keema on hand. Hubby dear didn't complain but I was feeling awful! He said it tasted great, so the next time I am going to have both the eyes on that!

Adapted from here

Chambray ~ Fry-Cooked Rice

Basmati Rice - 200 gms (1 cup)
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Bay leaf - 1
Ghee - 2 tsp
Black Cumin Seed - 1/4 tsp
Water - 1 & 1/2 cup

Method to prepare:

Wash and soak rice with bay leaves and cinnamon for 15 min.

Heat ghee in a non-stick wok, add the cumin seeds, let it splutter. Then add the rice without the water. Fry for 2 mins in sim.

Then add the turmeric and salt. Mix well and add water. Cover with lid and cook in sim for 10 mins or till the rice is cooked.

Chambray is eaten with Til ko alu.

Til ko Alu ~ Potatoes with Roasted Sesame Powder.

This is the first time I am cooking with roasted Sesame seeds. It gave a real yummy taste to the roasted potatoes. The recipe calls for boiled potatoes. But since I was using just two medium potatoes, I pan roasted them with the onions. Finally it gave an excellent taste!

Potato - 2 medium
Onion - 1 sliced
Green chili - 4 sliced to small pieces
Sesame seeds (Til) - 10 g
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Roast the sesame seeds in the pan in sim. Once its roasted, remove and grind to a smooth powder once its cool.

Peel the skin of the potatoes and soak in water.

In the same pan, heat oil. Add chillies and onions. Sauté the onions till brown.

Then add the cubed potatoes. Simmer and add a spoon of water.Cover and let it get cooked. After 5 mins, add the roasted til powder. Mix well and again cover it covered.

This gets cooked in about 10 - 15 mins.

This was a good combination with the rice, though you may find it little dry. So ensure you add about 2 spoons of water while its getting cooked.

Pakku ~ Mutton Keema Curry (oops Dry keema)

This curry was without any chilli powder, so I added it. I obviously can't expect hubby dear to eat without that!

Mutton Keema - 250 gms

Marinating paste:

Onion - 1 medium
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Dry Coriander - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (my addition)
Ginger garlic paste 1/2 tsp
Cloves - 2
Cardamom - 1
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
Nutmeg powder - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:

Wash and drain the keema.

Make a paste of all the ingredients. Then mix it with Preparation : Marinate mutton pieces with the paste, add salt and turmeric powder, Chilli powder and keep for 20 min.

Heat a pan with oil and add the marinade and cook it covered, till its done.

My thali is on its way to dear Bhags who is hosting RCI this month featuring North East Cuisine. RCI is an event started by Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine

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