Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beetroot Kurma ~ Curry Mela!

Do you like Beetroot? I didn't for a greater part of my life. Amma had never somehow prepared this much at home. Well I have actually never asked the reasons. But since I never eat this growing up, continued so when I had my own kitchen.After Konda came into picture, we have been trying to include most of the vegetables. Though this again played no part in our list. All those were the days, before Athamma came to live with us.

One day, when I couldn't get back home early to cook the dinner, she said she will prepare something. I didn't really ask what she had in mind.When I reached home, I was quite curious to know what she had prepared. On starting at the bowl, I was shocked to find something RED, staring back at me. Now I can't actually shout my top out to ask why she made it right. So very coolly asked her, what's in the bowl. Well she is a cool lady you know, so she said since she couldn't find anything interesting in fridge for dinner, she got Beetroot. So she decided to make Beetroot Kurma. Since then, it followed us for many days. Whenever Athamma got a chance to cook, it was Beetroot kurma. Gosh, maybe I have come to like it too, but I wont' accept it, Ok!

Then followed with kurma, we even got ourselves drink beetroot juice, poriyals, salads. We have come a long way, I guess. Anyway kurma was what I prepared couple of days back, when we had a tough choice on deciding which vegetable to cook, thinking on Beetroot was simplest!

Ingredients Needed:

Beetroot - 1 big
Onions - 1 medium
Tomatoes - 1 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Coconut paste - 2 tbsp
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1"
Curry leaves
Coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Oil -1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Peel and cube the beetroot. Pressure cook it till soft. Keep it aside.

Heat a pan with oil. Add curry leaves. Then sauté finely chopped onions till pink, then add ginger garlic paste. Fry well till the onions are brown.

Then add the chopped tomatoes, fry well. Add turmeric, salt, chili powder, coriander powder. Simmer till the tomatoes are soft. then add the cooked beetroot.

Simmer for 5 mins. Then add the coconut paste along with 1 cup water. Bring to boil and simmer till it thickens.

Serve with chapatis.

This goes for my Curry Mela.

I know you would be interested to check out the new category called Others. I have added it just today, to the Food Blog List. Well though I had wanted to categorize them as such, I was promted more by the bloggers themselves. So check out!

Sending this to Sunshinemom who is hosting an event on Food Colour, this month being RED

And to EC, who is hosting WYF event, which is Food colour this month. Thanks ladies for coming up with such ideas!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vazhapoo Vadai ~ Banana Blossom Nuggets!

Our neighbors on one side have a big garden of Plantain trees, along with other plants. When we step out of our home, its like stepping into a garden. Ever since moving into this home, I have always loved the view and the feeling it evokes. It hides the fact of city dwelling and gives a sense of being in a farm land. I can still remember the many mornings, during our early years, spent dining in our makeshift table, looking out of the window, to see lush greens welcoming our eyes. And those many mornings spent sipping coffee, right under its shelter, and those nights eating out in the open, while the trees and the cars shielded us from the stark crowded place!

Every morning, there was even a crow calling kaau kaau everyday. Hubby dear would say Kha Kha, go away konda is sleeping. This continued for many years. Konda used to be very happy that a Kha Kha was waiting for her. The crow, surprising stopped visiting us after Konda started school. And a crow started coming now, it waits everyday at almost the same time. Peddu would come running to see it. He was so fond of it and hubby dear again says the same thing now. If Peddu is sleeping, he tells Chinnu to tell the Kha Kha, that Peddu is sleeping. Its all so much fun. You may think its strange but its true!

You may wonder why I am talking about the Plantain trees now. Its because I came to know that the neighbours were planning to clear off the garden to construct a building. When I asked the lady, and expressed how lovely the garden looks, she just shrugged and left. Not sure of her memories and bond, but mine were cartful. I hoped it wouldn't happen, but it finally came true. The garden got cleared two days ago. While returning home from work, I suddenly realized that I never really captured that garden, always thinking it would be like that forever! I was so heartbroken to find all the Plantain trees already chopped down.

When Anu made Spicy Banana Blossoms, I was thinking why Vazhapoo Vadai never struck me. I was thinking it was anyway too late now to get one and make it. But I was really surprised to see the flower at home. I guess this will be last way of enjoying the garden's bounty. It depresses me to think I may never have those captured moments of beauty, they will only forever be in memories. My lost garden, though the garden was hardly mine!

Amma makes the best Vazhapoo Vada, that I have ever tasted. Everybody at home simply love this. Though hubby dear never likes fried foods, this is one exception for the rule.So this dish is not only about lost flavours, lost love, this is going to one last love from a lost garden! I know I am getting soppy!

Ingredients Needed:

Banana Blossom - peeled and chopped
Bengal Gram - 1 cup (200 gms)
Onion - 1 big, finely chopped
Red chillies - 2-3
Green Chilies - 2
Salt to taste
Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - handful
Coriander Leaves - handful chopped.
Oil for frying

Buttermilk - 1 cup (optional)

Method to prepare:

For the batter

Wash and soak Bengal Gram for 3 hours. Once they are soaked well and soft, drain completely from water. Take it along with Red chilies, grind to a coarse batter. Save a teaspoon of Bengal gram to be mixed as whole.

Chop onions, chillis to fine pieces.

Preparing the Banana Blossoms

The Banana flower has big pinkish red petals enclosing the flowers. The flowers within are about 20 or so, clubbed together. It has a long stack with a head to it, one long outer cover and a shorter cover. We got to remove the thick stack and the shorter cover as shown in the picture.

Repeat for all the flowers, as you go in, you will find very small flowers, in which the long thick stack is not developed. These are used as such. Once all the flowers are done, wash them well and drain.

Normally there are chopped and soaked in the buttermilk to ensure they don't turn dark with exposure to air. But they turn dark anyways. Buttermilk is made using curds, water and salt.

Boil a pan with 1 cup water, when the water starts boiling, add the chopped blossoms and cook for 2 - 3 mins. Drain it in a colander and when its cool, squeeze of the water completely. It should be a dry, when you add this to the batter. Below is the boiled and squeezed plantain flowers.

In a bowl, take the batter along with Onions, green chilies, Curry leaves, Fennel seeds, Coriander leaves and the cooked Banana Blossoms. Mix well. The batter should hold the Vada shape when you take a ball and flatten.

Heat a kadai with oil for deep frying. Divide the batter into required size. Take the batter ball, using your left palm, flatten them into disc of 1 inch thickness. When the oil is hot, sim and gently slides these into the oil.

When it turns golden on one side, turn to other and cook in batches. Drain them on to a kitchen Towel.

Check out Anu's post on Spicy Banana Blossoms, she has more pretty pictures and better explanation on cleaning the Banana Blossoms.

Preparation is same as Masala Vada, only we add the Banana Blossoms in this version.

Sending this to Rachna @ Soul Food for this month's JFI - Flower Power. JFI was originally started by Indira of Mahanandi.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Kerala Vegetable Stew in Microwave!

From our many vacations spent in Kerala, the most prominent things that come to mind, are the Idiappam, Appams, Istew and Pazham Pori. I can't decide in which order I like them. I simply love them all. When we visit those places, we always had the honour of getting royal treatments from Dad's assistants. Starting from breakfast till dinner, it used to be an indulgence to heart's content. Though we have brought back those flavors to home, nothing like enjoying them in its homeland.

We must've visited Erranakulam some 5-6 times now. The hospitality of the people, the beauty of the land, are some of the things that always comes to mind, apart from the lovely cuisine. From the railway station to the guest house, it used to be one long walk and it was always reviving by the time we reached the rooms. Then a visit to Guruvayur Temple in the morning and back to guest house by evening, we used to be all ready for a Pazham Pori treat. Uncle S, who is posted in Erranakulam, knew our likes. So he will have these ready when we get back. Those lovely Pazham Poris can't be matched, I tell you! Yeah back home, we have made these many times, they always are enjoyable. Yet those that we used to eat in Errnakulam, used to be of a different class of its own. Ah, and those many appams and stews. I can only salivate thinking of those days!

Hubby dear is somehow not so very fond of Stew, unfortunately. He will eat stew, but prefers Tomato Kurma for Appams. Maybe thats because we introduced Appam to him along with Tomato Kurma to him. This weekend, yes I finally got myself make the stew in Microwave. It was so simple, I wonder why I never attempted this in MW before. It was ready in less than flat 10 mins, and it was good. It brought back memories of eating it in Errnakulam, where Uncle S, daughter, who was then in 12 std, made it for us, which was lip Smacking! Imagine a 17 year old making a classic Stew!

Appam with Tomato Kurma and Kerala Stew

Cooking Time : 7 mins
Serves - 2-3 servings
Cuisine : Kerala
Mode of Cooking : Microwave

Ingredients Needed:

Potatoes - 2
Carrot - 1 (I didn't add this time)
Onion - 1 small
Coconut grated - 1 cup
Ginger - 1"
Green Chillis - 2
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Curry Leaves few leaves
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Wash and peel the potato. In a Mw safe bowl, take the potatoes with 1/2 cup water. Micro for 2-3 mins. Remove and keep it aside.

Add oil, cloves, cinnamon, curry leaves and micro for 30 sec. Then add grated ginger, chopped green chilies, finely chopped onions, turmeric powder and micro for 1 - 2 mins. Ensure the onions are brown.

Meanwhile, take the grated coconut, add 1/2 cup water and run in the mixer. Extract the thick coconut milk by passing it through sieve. Keep it aside

Add another 1 cup of water to the coconut again and run it to get a thinner coconut milk. When the onions in the mw is browned, add the thin coconut milk and micro for 2 mins. Add the cooked potatoes and micro for another 2 mins.

Finally add the thick coconut milk and micro for 1 min. The stew is ready to be served with Appam!

I guess the turmeric was not enough, the stew still came out white!

This is my entry for Microwave Easy Cooking event, themed on Soups or Stews this month.

Hope you have your entries ready and do remember to send them to me by 31st July!

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Vangi Bath ~ Weekend Cooking and a new look!

Change is the only consistent thing in this life! One can't escape what changes life brings to one, happiness is when when one can adapt to those changes. I guess in general, life sounds exciting when you have a new overlook or a new thing happening to us. But if you ask me, I am more of a routine, mundane person, though I don't mind the changes, life has brought to me, if its something related and within my scope, I never get bored with the same thing. But hey colours bring in lot of happiness right. Few friends have been telling me, that I got to change the template atleast. I looked through few but was always coming back to this one. I like white background, so best would be to change the header!

How do you like the new header? I thought this suited my theme and title! With the four seasons and four seasonal cooking style. I somehow loved that Boar getting BBQ! It took me back to those wonderful childhood dreams, spent reading Asterix, the gaul. I even imagined wild boars will be available in India and all I had to do, was to visit a forest and lo I will find Obelix running behind one! Anyway childhood is the wonderful period in one's life, and those dreams are what we sail our life on! Do let me know if you face any issues with the imagine loading and viewing. I will be very glad to know your feedback.

Yesterday being Aadi Krithigai, we cooked vegetarian for lunch. The temples all over the area, were crowded and hustling busily with all the abhishekams and other poojas. And I finally got a chance to make Vangi Bath. Vangi Bath is something, that I had always wanted to make but the timing was never right. Yeah a vegetarian Sunday lunch was what I was looking for. There is really no fun in cooking for myself alone right! I remember the flavoursome, Vangi Bath from the days when Amma used to make. At parents home, Saturday was always dedicated to a Vegetarian feast, so we have lot of choices and Amma always indulges us.

Finally, here comes the Vangi Bath, the best way to enjoy Brinjal. I do think, if you are a person who hates Egg plant, this is the best way to start liking it!

The items on the menu

Vangi Bath
Cucumber Raitha
Tomato Rasam
Ragi Papad
Bellam Annam

Vangi Bath ~ Curried Egg Plant Rice

Ingredients Needed:

Rice - 1 cup (200 gms)
Brinjal / Egg Plant - 250 gms
Onions - 2 medium
Mustard + Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - 10 leaves
Green chillis - 2 long
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 3 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp

For the Masala

Copra (Dry coconut) - 3 tbsp
Whole coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Bengal Gram - 3 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Whole Pepper - 10 nos
Red Chili long - 4
Poppy Seeds - 1 tsp
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 2"
Maretti Moggu - 1
Oil - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Wash and soak rice for 10 - 15 mins. Pressure cook it and keep it aside.

The ingredients for the ground masala, need to be roasted in oil. So heat a pan, and roast each of them one by one. Allow it to cool, then grind to a fine powder. If Maretti Moggu is not available, use clove. And even fresh coconut can be used.

Trim the Brinjal ends and chop them to long pieces. Soak them in water. else they turn brown.

Then heat a big pan with oil, add mustard, urad and curry leaves. Once they start spluttering, add onion juliennes. Sauté well. Based on your spice level, you can either chop the green chilis to small pieces or just slit them in middle. Add to the onions and fry well.

Then drain the water from the brinjal, add to the onions. Sauté on high flame for 2 mins. Then simmer, add turmeric and salt. Mix well and sim the flame to low and cooked it for 10 mins.The brinjals should get tender with its own steam. Remove the lid and add the ground masala. Mix well. Cook this for 5 mins.

Then add the cooked rice and mix well. Adjust the spice and salt. I retained some masala, so added little more based on the taste. Add ghee and mix well and let it rest in sim for 5 mins for rice to get the masala.

Since this tends to be spicy, the cool cucumber raitha goes well.

Cucumber Raitha

Cucumber - 100 gms
Curds - 50 gms
Salt to taste
Pepper - 1/2 tsp

Method to prepare

Wash, peel and grate the cucumber. Since it has lot of water, just beat the curds and add to this. Add the salt and pepper and serve with Vangi Bath.

Ragi Papad

These are traditional papad made with Ragi flour. We have a marwari family for neighbours and one day I saw the aunties tolling over big vessels full of ragi grains. Out of curiosity, asked what they are going to make. I was really surprised when I was told they were preparing papads with Ragi. They also made with Rice flour. If you ask me now for the recipe, I must confess it sounded so very complex to me what they accounted. It sounded so laborious and difficult. So they made these and so sweetly gave some for us to taste, I am more than happy to enjoy the result. They said they store these for a year. The papad tasted so yummy, we really couldn't believe. Konda just snacks on these. One day I think I will muster the courage to ask for the process again and prepare it myself. For now, enjoy the pictures! I googled on this but couldn't find anything related to this recipe. So I know how traditional this must be!

The twins for a change indulged us by taking an afternoon nap, with a heavy tummy that was god's gift! And the evening was so pleasant with showers! How was your weekend?

And before I forget, I have finally managed to update most of the Food Blog List - By Cuisine, do check and get back to me if any issues! Will try to complete it by today!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Paneer 65 ~ Indian Cottage Cheese Fried with Spices for Golden Fried Love!

Now who wouldn't love Paneer! Yeah there could be some, but mostly they would be non vegetarians. But Konda, even if she eats chicken, can easily give up for a Paneer treat. As I have mentioned many times, she wants to be served Paneer Butter Masala every week, if not once in 10 days. Now that's too much of calories for the adults at home. Though I don't mind one or two serving myself, I feel I could easily avoid that extra buttery stuffing it does to our waistline!

When she likes Paneer as such, why go to the extent of cooking it in lots of butter, nuts, and cream. So Paneer 65, is the best alternative, she has the Paneer craving attacks. Very simple to make, yet no compromise on the taste of eating just Paneer! Since we have the habit of making Paneer whenever there is some extra milk at home, Paneer gets stored through the week. When I saw a big stab of Paneer lying around begging for attention, all I had to do is ask Konda if she wants some Paneer. And you can see excitement simmering in her eyes!

Having confirmed, I marched to the kitchen with all things, and what do I see following me! The ducklings follow me in line. Yep, my three ducklings. Konda was gifted a toy duck with three ducklings on her first birthday. Hubby dear always teased me saying I am the mother duck, with one duckling. When the twins were born, he was more than happy on his words coming true. When I was hurrying up making these Paneer 65, my three little ducklings were eagerly waited to be fed! Believe me, Paneer got vanished in flat 5 mins, seriously!

Before I get on, just wanted tell you know that my sister in law, Pavani has a blog on her own now! Do drop in her blog, Food Lovers and check out what's gets cooked there!

Ingredients Needed:

Paneer / Indian Cottage Cheese - 400 gms, cubed into big pieces.
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Corn Flour - 1 tbsp
Besan / Gram Flour - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Lime juice - 1 medium
All purpose flour / Maida - 1 tbsp

Oil for frying
Method to prepare:

Cube the paneer into a 5 inch squares. In a bowl, take the paneer, add the salt, ginger garlic paste, chili powder, Cumin powder, Garam masala along with Corn Flour and Besan. It should coat the Paneer well.

Then squeeze out the seeds and add the lemon juice to the Paneer cubes. Let it rest for 5 - 10 mins.

Make a thick batter of the all purpose flour with little water.

Heat oil in a pan. Once its hot, simmer. dip the paneer cubes in the maida batter, and gently drop into the hot oil.

Since Paneer is tender, it gets cooked very fast, so turn it immediately and cook on both sides till they are golden brown.

Remove on a kitchen towel and serve hot!

Happy eating and happy weekend!

Just 5 days more for the Soups and Stews to get simmered in Microwave for MEC, hope you are getting them ready! I am planning to make some this weekend, hopefully!

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Plantain or Raw Banana Kofta Curry ~ Curry Mela!

The morning was quite chill and it only had me snuggling against the twins again. I was already late and I had to get things ready for Konda. She was leaving early to school as she is participating in a program, where she is the angel. Amma bought her a grown more than a year back, which looks more like a bridal dress, but if we remove the head gear, it can looks like an angel dress. Which lead Konda complaining that the wings were not there to make it a perfect angel get up. Whoever said angels should have wings! I told my little one that all angels need not have wings, they come in different forms. And to top all, her teacher asked her to get a magic wand and a crown.

Seriously, I wouldn't know where all these things might be sold. When we had visited Calcutta, she had got a crown, two wands. Both the wands had long disappeared. This crown somehow stood the test of time. And that got broken just yesterday when she had it in her bag. So we spent some time late night trying to stick with glue. Konda went to bed only after she knew, her crown was mended. And she was up and ready in short time and went early to school.

The climate was still chill when I started and was beautiful. The city takes a look of hill station aftermath of shower! Imagine riding a bike with the cool breeze hitting your face, and all you want, is to feel the air! With the season being filled with flame of forest, bloomed all over the city, this is the best time to visit! Rain kissed leaves, slowly sway and dew drops fall down as you get under them! Its heaven to travel during this time. Well the thoughts of work or other things, are the last things on mind!

Coming back to the gravy that I prepare lasted night, its a new one that uses raw banana mashed and deep fried. It was so yummy, that even my twins eat it as such. We tried to save some for the gravy!

Ingredients Needed:

For the Koftas

Raw Banana - 1
Corn Flour - 1 tbsp
Gram Flour / Besan- 1 tbsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
All purpose flour/ Maida - 2 tbsp

For the gravy

Onions - 2 medium
Tomatoes - 3 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Cloves - Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Cream - 2 tbsp (I used milk)

Oil for deep frying - 3 tbsp

Method to prepare:

For Koftas

Wash and trim the banana. Pressure cook for 1 whistle, or till its soft. Peel the skin and using a masher, mash it well. Don't run in a mixer to make it a paste. It won't taste that well. You need to have little bit of pieces of banana in the koftas.

Take the mashed banana in a bowl, mix in the chili powder, cumin powder, salt, ginger garlic paste. Using your hands, mix them well together. Then slowly add the corn flour and Gram flour. don't add any water. With the water content that's present in the banana, there is no need for adding water and more over, it won't absorb so much oil when you deep fry it. Divide the dough into small equal sized balls.

Make a lump free batter of Maida with little water and salt. Heat the oil and let it get really hot, before you could dip each ball into the maida batter and deep fry. Let it get cooked on both sides and drain on a kitchen towel.

If you want to avoid the deep frying, you can even shallow fry these in the muffin pan or if you have Kulipaniyaram pan with you. You can drop a tsp of oil in each groove and place the balls and shallow fry these. I haven't tried baking, but that also should be equally good.

For the Gravy:

Make a paste of Onions, Tomatoes separately. Heat a pan with oil, cook the onion paste till the raw smell leaves, then add the ginger garlic paste.Cook for 2 mins. Then add the tomato puree. Simmer and cook it covered for 5 - 10 mins. Actually I might've used less oil than 2 tbsp, but I added little by little so I think it can come up to 2 tbsp.Just check make sure it doesn't get burnt.

Then add the dry spices. Mix well and simmer again.Adjust salt and spices based on your taste. Finally add the milk In most cases, when cream is called, I replace with 1/2 glass of milk. It mostly works out well. If you want more taste, add two drops of butter or ghee. While adding the milk, have the flame in sim, else it might get curdled. Then once its mixed well, slowly add water based on the gravy you want. I added about a 3 quarter of cup. Bring to boil. And simmer till it cooks to a thick gravy. Finally garnish with coriander leaves.

Add the Koftas to the gravy just before you serve, else it might absorb the gravy and become very soggy.

Best is to make the koftas just before serving so that they are still hot and crunchy when you bite on them while you eat the gravy with Chapati.

I must say, though this is the first time I am cooking banana in a gravy, it was really yummy and the recipe is a sure keeper.

This goes to the Curry Mela.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Cabbage Chutney ~ call it Cabbage Pickle if you want!

Let me say I have been preoccupied with something since yesterday! And like as with everybody else, I am more interested in finishing that job before I could think of a blog post right now. But I really didn't want to miss out a post for various reasons. First being, few dear friends have said they log on to read me the first thing they get connected and when they don't see anything new, they get disappointed. Now I can't disappoint friends, can I? And second being, I can't really be away from posting, even if it's a simple chutney that I am going to blog about. I won't say I am so addicted, maybe a wee bit.

Anyway, Amma said a couple of days back, that Peddu can now repeat till 'F' and she especially love the way he says F. Now I wanted to see how he says. And I really had a gala time laughing at the way he twists his tongue and says "Fiii", not sure if he designed the word himself. Thinking of which, I remember the time this weekend, when I was asking him to put off the feeding bottle he had. He has this habit of sipping his bottle when he feels sleepy. However much we tried, we couldn't get him give up the habit. I told that his teeth will all come out protruded. He didn't bother, then something promoted me to say, 'Peddu, if you have protruding teeth, you will not have any girlfriend.' Now that had him throwing the bottle down. Well I am sure he won't have understood what I said, but his action got me rolling down laughing!

Coming to this simple Chutney or rather pickle, as ingredients used are normally used for a pickle, it's more of a touch and feel one, than a typical recipe with correct proportion. Though in all my recipes, I only give app. of what's gone in, cooking after all is about your senses. This one is more on the abstract, where a particular item was added after tasting. So do use your judgment!

Ingredients Needed:

Grated Cabbage - 1 cup
Fenugreek / Methi Powder - 1 tsp
Mustard Powder - 1 - 2 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Tamarind - marble size


Red chillis - 3
Curry leaves few
Mustard Seeds + Urad dal - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 3 tsp

Method to prepare:

Wash and pat dry the cabbage leaves. Then chop them finely.

Heat a pan with 1 tsp of oil, simmer and fry the cabbage well. It should be really dry but not burnt. Then add the methi powder and mustard powder. Fry for another 5 mins under sim. Since oil is less, it might tend to get burnt. so take care.

Then finally when its all fried well, add the chili powder and salt. Adjust all the spices. And allow to get fried for another 2 mins. Then remove and allow it to cool.

Meanwhile, soak the tamarind in water. When the cabbage is cooled, grind the cabbage mix with the soaked tamarind to a coarse mixture. Ensure you don't get it into a paste. You will have to retain the cabbage pieces

When its done, heat the pan again with remaining oil. Season with mustard, urad, red chillies, curry leaves. Once they are done, add the cabbage mix. Let it cook in sim for 2 - 3 mins till its done.

Remove and store in a dry bottle or vessel. This stayed good for 4-5 days.

Enjoy with chapati or along with Rice and dal!

Thanks for the terrific response to the Food Blog List by Cuisine, I am working on the list and will soon update all the blogs. I am really glad that it got your interest!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Moong Dal Curry for Batura ~ Curry Mela!

It was a sunny Sunday morning. I was up all early and not sure what to do. Of course, I have a dear space where I can relax and talk about what goes in our parts of the wood. But somehow I wasn't up to staring at the screen so early. So sat out with a cuppa of coffee and wondering how the day is going to pass. With Hubby dear not around, we don't usually plan for cooking anything. Kids were still sleeping and I remembered that I didn't remember to soak the channa for the poori, which is our customary Sunday breakfast.

When I got inside, I saw Athamma all ready and up. Yeah, she has the task of making Sunday Neivethyam, so she was all bathed and had things cooking on the stove! When asked what's cooking, she said she had the Moong Dal in cooker. I feel sorry for her, gone are those days when she used to relax on Sundays. Now since they got into the habit of pooja on Sunday morning, she has to be all ready early morning and on top, decide what to prepare for Neivethyam. Since sweet of any kind never gets consumed at home, she has to think of different dishes. And off late, she decided on Pooris. That's when I told her that in Bengal, they offer Luchis for Kali Maata. She was so happy knowing that. Of course, I knew the reason few weeks later!

I always feel so bad for the Gods, because tradition says we shouldn't taste anything that's to be offered to God. Imagine, if you are somebody who can't decide on salt or spice without tasting, then poor God gets to eat like that! Athamma, who normally never goes wrong in her salt or spice, always has this doubt while she offers. So I tell her to taste and then do the pooja. Of course, this is such a taboo, if I have to confess, I have tasted few times and then offered. I always think what's the point in offering something tasteless!

Anyway this Moong Dal curry is what we decided to make for the poori. The twins were very happy on being given the plate to themselves, and on top they wanted the gravy too. We gave them unsauteed Moong and they won't have anything with it. So finally they dipped in the gravy and enjoyed.

Moong Dal Curry

Whole Moong Dal - 1 cup
Onion - 1 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1"
Tomato - 1 medium
Turmeric powder a pinch
Chili powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 -2 tsp
Water - 1 cup

Method to prepare:

Wash and soak whole moong dal overnight.

Wash and add 1 cup of water and pressure cook the moong dal for 1 whistle. It should not be overcooked, but just right.

Heat a pan with oil. Add the whole spices, then add finely chopped onions. Sauté till the onions turn light brown. Add in the ginger garlic paste. Fry well till its well cooked.

Then add the finely chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 5 mins, till the tomatoes are nicely mashed.

Add salt, turmeric, chili powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Mix well and simmer for 5 mins.

Then add the cooked Moong dal along with the water and simmer again for 5 mins.

The gravy shouldn't be dry and at the same time not too watery.

Moong Dal curry was excellent with the Batura I made.

Whoever thought this will be so yummy! But believe me, when I was preparing it was wondering how this might taste with poori, but one bite and I was impressed. This is for sure a keeper.

And since this was only experiment while hubby dear was not around, next week will surely prepare again for him and enjoy it all over again!

This goes for the Curry Mela hosted by yours truly!

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Nawabi Biryani Revisited with Chicken Roast ~ Weekend Cooking!

Everyday seems to come with a new challenge and I am determined that I meet them all. The latest one on the breakfasts and another one given by hubby dear are top of my mind. Hubby dear has given me the mission of cooking all that I posted a year ago. Want to know the reason why? Well he feels those pictures have to be replaced with new ones. So here I am with the first in that attempt. Nawabi Biryani is the first of the posts I did and it holds very dear to heart as its the most delicious one I can remember eating when I used to eat meat some 2 decades back. And now its a favorite with hubby dear and is prepared quite often. But only this time I had a mission of clicking it away. I also wanted to try some dry roast that will go well with this biryani.

Last night when hubby dear called from the station before starting home, Peddu pulled the phone from me and said 'Dada Da Da" meaning Daddy come come, well I was sure that would have put the Daddy dear in one spot. This morning when he landed, Chinnu won't talk to him, and was sulking. While Peddu when he saw his father, he climbed up and won't get down. So today he got his father also joined in giving him bath, and then feeding. All the while, he was looking at his father and went on saying dada dada. He was occupying his father so much that Chino didn't get to be with his dad. So finally hubby dear sat down with both of them and was telling them that he missed them the first day itself. So no more traveling alone. Good thing!

For Nawabi Biryani click here for recipe, I have uploaded the latest picture.

Chicken Roast

For Marinade
Chicken Breast pieces - 250 gms
Onion - 1 small
Ginger Garlic - 3/4 tsp
Green Chillies - 2 small
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder a pinch

For Frying
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 1 small
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/4 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Clove + Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish.
Oil - 2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Cut Chicken pieces to medium pieces. Make a paste of onions, ginger garlic, chillies to a smooth paste. Marinade the chicken pieces with the paste, salt and turmeric for 30 mins.

Heat a pan with oil. Add finely chopped onions, sauté till they are light brown. Then add the ginger garlic paste, Bay leaf. Fry till the ginger garlic paste is well cooked.

Then add the marinade along with the chicken. Cook on high flame for 5 mins, while you are stirring. Water starts coming out. Simmer for 5 mins. Then add all the dry spice powders and mix well. Simmer under cover for another 5 mins.

Then add the chopped tomatoes. And cook covered for 10 mins. By then the tomatoes are mashed and blended well.

Adjust salt and spice. Since I added two chilies, and chili powder, this tends to be little on the spicy side, so adjust according to taste.

Cook high flame while stirring so that it becomes dry. This takes about 5 - 7 mins. Check if the chicken is cooked, since no water is added and basically its cooked with its own steam.

Finally add the chopped coriander. Mix well.

Optionally put this back to micro for 5 mins, the chicken gets well done in roasting.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Prawn Roast and some new goals!

Hubby dear has gone for a family reunion at his native place. He has gone visiting his sisters and all of them have gathered at one place for a typical family gathering. I can only imagine the reunion song they might sing together. Maybe like 'Yaadon Ki Baaraat' title song? Well they might sing a telugu one that I don't get right now. Visualize each of them singing a line running in slow motion, calling in between 'Anna', 'Akka'... Well Athamma is all so restless being left along, while all her children have gathered with their whole family. I too would've loved being there, only with the kids, it becomes too hectic. They have plans for a film outing and elaborate cooking. The sisters ensure they stuff their brother with all his favorite dishes. I can expect a long list of stories when he is back.

Coming back to the goal I am talking about, I happened upon a beautiful blog called 80-Breakfasts, where the author ChichaJo writes about beautiful breakfasts. She says in real life we might have reached 80 and more breakfast items. That prompted me to check how many I have blogged and was depressed to see only 48, now I have got on myself to reach 80, if not 100. Let me see how it goes! Of course, I can't expect to get my so beautifully appealing as ChichaJo, all her pictures are mouth watering and out of the world!

And finally I have been able to update my other blog with something today! Those are my recollections at odd times. Hope you drop in and see what you can get out of it.

Coming to these prawns, these are not made by me, all I did was just click the picture. Amma made these when we visited them for dinner. One mouth and hubby dear was praising its taste. So I had to click it and take note of the recipe. I have not cooked prawns till now. But noting the recipe is all important. And I thought I will share it with you.

Ingredients Needed:

Prawns - 500 gms
Onion - 1 medium
Tomatoe - 1 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Clove - 1
Cinnamom - 1"
Salt to taste
Oil - 3 tsps
Ghee - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish
Water - 1 cup

Method to prepare:

Clean and wash the prawns. Chop Onion and Tomatoes finely.

Heat a pan with oil. Saute Cumin seeds, then add the onions. Add the clove and cinnamom. Then add the ginger garlic paste. Fry well. Then add the tomatoes. Simmer till its mashed well. Add the salt, chili powder, coriander powder and turmeric. Fry till the oil comes out.

Then add the prawns and fry till its well cooked and dry. Add a cup of water and bring to boil. Then simmer and fry it becomes dry. The whole cooking takes about 20 - 30 mins.

Finally add a tsp of ghee and fry it dry. Before removing garnish with coriander leaves.

The small size prawns suit these best. The prawns have to be really dry.

Enjoy as a starter!

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sugar Diamonds ~ And some sweet gestures!

I had the most wonderful feeling when I finally came up with a new logo for Microwave event. Next month marks the first anniversary of this wonderful event. When I had thought of the event, it was all spur of the moment and I didn't' have time to even think of something for the logo. And its been a year now, and I finally thought I should spend some time on this and get a new one out!

This took just about 5 minutes to complete but a year to come into existence. So do check out the new logo for Microwave Easy Cooking and please use this going forward. I hope this month's theme is simmering in all your minds with soups and stews!

Ok while all of you get your simmering soups out, let me talk about this simple snack that can be every kid's favorite one. It was mine and it is my daughter! When we thought what to make for the pooja in a jiffy, this is what came out. When you have the dough ready, it takes about 15 mins to get everything in place. Konda was really happy seeing this and wanted it for the snacks next day. I made about a medium tiffin box full, by time I completed making all the batch, it was half empty! Remember the salt version? Both have been my favorites during my childhood.

I can only look forward eagerly to the time when my twins grow up to ask for these. Actually I did give them some to eat, but didn't want to overdo their first intake.

Ingredients Needed:

All purpose flour / Maida - 1 cup
Salt to taste
Ghee - 2 tsp
Water to knead
Flour for dusting

For Syrup

Sugar - 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup

Oil for frying

Method to prepare:

Take the flour, salt in a bowl. Knead to a stiff dough. Let it rest for 10 mins.

Then divide into equal balls. Take a ball and flatten on the rolling board using a rolling pin. The dough has to be of thickness of 1 inch. Then using a knife cut them into strips of 2 inchs sizes and do a cross cut. Each one will be like a diamond.

Meanwhile, take the sugar in a pan filled with water. And cook over sim flame for the sugar to melt. Remove any scum if any. Then keep on stirring it to get a cystylation of 1 thread consistency.

Heat a kadai with oil. Once the dough is cut as small diamonds, gently drop them into hot oil. Cook on both sides.

When its cooked on both sides, drop these into the sugar syrup. let it coat on all sides. And remove.

If you find sugar is not enough, you can add more and make more syrup.

Store them in air tight container. These can stay crispy for couple of days, provided they are left behind.

Hope you enjoyed these small treats from my childhood.

Now coming to the part I had been meaning to post, since I came upon them. Blogging has brought about many pleasant things into life, one of the most important being the many friends. Its been my pleasure to know and interact with some, more closely than others. I have enjoyed the email conversations and chats. One such wonderful person is Kamala. When she had hesitantly mailed me, some many many months ago, were the beginning of a wonderful friendship. She is very sweet and too kind! I have enjoyed her mails and innocent approach to things. I was happy when she finally started her own blog, for she has many unique and excellent ones, blogged at her place.

And she was so sweet enough to send this beautiful gift for Konda. I came to know that these were her sister's own piece of work. I was speechless at the beauty. Its been a real pleasure receiving these gifts. And to pamper more, two really huge chocolate bars came along, which I have resisted much to avoid. If you want to know more about Kamala's sister's varied talents, drop in her place and check out. Those creations really left me at awe!

Kamala, please do convey my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to your family for this lovely gesture and my daughter was very happy getting these gifts.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Eggless Chocolate Brownie with Banana ~ Sinfully Delicious!

I had been waiting for many months to actually bake these brownies. Almost since I got to eat what Lak had made for us. I got hold of two chocolate bars immediately, in hopes of baking these. But time just flew and these bars had only each other for company, in the cold compartments of the freezer. Well there was this tin of peaches, of course! Not being satisfied, she had to ruffle the devil, Lak again made some more to tease us. And thats it, I had to make it. One Sunday evening found me in great need to baking these, plus the sight of two lone overly ripen banana, didn't help much! Just to confirm on the proportion, called up Lak. Well what followed were series of calls and messages between us, because I add too much of butter and the whole thing looked like a big mass of chocolate floating in the dish with butter sparkling!

Lak was very sure that whatever may go wrongs, brownies will save themselves. I kind of liked her consolation, for I had dropped in quite a lot of stuffs in it and I didn't want it to go waste. Of course, I could always lick it away. And Chinnu, who was seeing me through the whole process, had already tasted the batter and wanted more. So he would've been happy to nod again. After a hasty span of 10 mins, I was in a hurry to remove and taste. Wow, it was too sweet and buttery. But how is complaining. I simply loved every bite. To top it, I had added roasted nuts. Can you imagine the divine taste the whole thing had?

You won't believe, I enjoyed every bite of it and was glad everybody simply loved it. It is indeed a great pleasure knowing what was doomed to be a disaster turned out so well. Next time, I will come up with a better doomed one!

Ingredients Needed:

All purpose flour / Maida - 1 cup
Butter - 100 gms (should've added little less)
Dark Chocolate - 125 gms
Milk Chocolate - 115 gms
Ripe Banana - 2 big
Sugar - 1/2 cup and then powdered
Cinnamon powder - 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda - 1/4 tsp
Cooking Soda - a pinch
Chopped nuts - 1/2 cup

Method to prepare:

Melt the chocolates in microwave for 2 mins. Then add butter and put it back for another 2 min. You will have a real blended chocolate and butter.

Pulse the banana with a tsp of milk to get a puree. Add another tsp if needed.

In a bowl, take the AP flour and mix the dry ingredients. then add the powdered sugar and then melted butter and chocolate bars. Mix well. Finally add in the pulsed banana and chopped nuts and mix well. You should not beat it but gently mix it.

Grease a microwave bowl with butter and dust it with AP flour. Then pour in the batter and microwave for 7 mins. Normally a quarter kg of cake or brownie takes about 4 mins in micro, since this comes to about 750 gms, it will take about 7 mins.

But be sure to check in between by inserting a clean knife in the middle. If it comes out clean, its done. Of course its only after 7 mins.

Let it rest for 5 mins. Cut and enjoy!

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Carrot Coconut Vada ~ Carrot Coconut in Savory doughnuts!

Now talk about same ingredients taking form as different dishes! The grated carrot and coconut finds its way in yet another form, now the famous Vadas! We had this recipe bookmarked for a long time but since this involves deep frying I had been avoiding it and saying no to Athamma whenever she asked for this. Finally Athamma decided she will do it herself and not wait for me. Well not that I say no to any deep fried loves. But it does sound good right when you say you don't want to eat fried stuff!. She got all the things ready and said there is no going back now. So what else to do but to fry these lovely ones!

Hubby dear won't have anything to do with these. Well its his loss we thought and enjoyed dipping them hot in tomato sauce. We packed some for parents too and they too really liked it. Its really hard to make Konda eat any of these, so didn't even bother forcing her to taste. While Peddu was more interested in licking the sauce. Kids, I tell you, they are least interested in things you want them to be.

Konda's teacher wanted her to find out about her blood group. Since off late she's got scared of injections, we have never taken a test, so we have been postponing. Finally last evening, she insisted it be done. Though I knew she will have same as mine, hubby dear took her for test this morning. Should I say I was very glad it was same! Well small pleasures I guess. Anyway we were upset in sending Peddu alone to play school. Chinnu was feeling low, so sent Peddu alone. I called up to know how Peddu is, I was told that he cried for sometime and went searching the rooms for his brother. Then he cooled and settled down playing. I was choking down imaging how lonely he must've felt. Anyway life teaches you many things. Trying to face adversaries is the most important one. I can't think of a more adverse situation for a kid of his age.

Well before I go all soppy, here is how we made the vada.

Makes about 10 medium sized Vadas

Ingredients Needed:

Grated Carrot - 1 cup
Grated Coconut - 1 cup
Gram Flour / Besan - 2 tsp
Rice Flour - 2 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp - 4 hrs soaked
Onion - 1 medium
Ginger - 1" grated
Coriander leaves - few springs
Green chilli - 1 finely chopped
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Cloves-Cinnamon powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Method to prepare:

Wash and soak the urad dal for about 4 hrs. Its got to be soft.

Grate Carrot and coconut. Chop the Onions, Chillis, Coriander leaves.

In a bowl, take the besan and rice flour along with all other ingredients. Mix well. Add more besan if needed to get a batter that holds shape. Add very little water to bind.

Using your left palm, take little of the batter the size of a ball and pat them down. Make a hole in middle for it to get fried well.

Heat a pan with oil. Once its hot, gently drop these shaped vadas and cook on both sides.

Once done, drain on over kitchen towel.

Serve hot with tomato sauce. I think this tastes great when hot, but no harm trying it warm if you want!

And yes the Urad dal is not ground but added as whole, that's why you got to ensure its well soaked. When you bite into the vada you can sense the different taste and this was one thing where the bite on the ginger was appealing to me!

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Carrot Coconut Idli with Idli Rava!

Idlis have always been my favorite. Not sure if I liked it more because my brother didn't like it. Well that's a thing of childhood. While we were young, it was always a case of me not liking what my brother liked to eat. How else do you think, I kept my Amma busy? If Sree likes Pongal, I don't like it. Sree hates idlis, I simply loved it. And he still hates it! I guess I made sure of this likes and dislikes till I was 10 to 12 years old. This was extended to even vegetables.The ones he ate, I made it a point never to even touch. I do remember saying its very difficult to ruffle his anger, so these were some of the antics I resorted to get him fight with me. Well nothing worked out, expect Amma getting wild at my behavior!

Having crossed that age and having kids of my own, I understand what a challenge it must've been to my parents. I was always saying they loved my brother more than me. Now I know how much that must've hurt them, cos my Konda says the same now. She feels I give more attention and kisses to her little brothers than her. I find history repeating itself! I try explaining, but as I know, it will not get registered in her mind. Hubby dear makes sure he spends every second he gets with her, but I guess she will forever think I am ignoring her. Well I hope time will heal that and make her understand that a mother's heart is big enough for all her kids and some more too!

Thinking of this, reminds me of those Idlis that Amma used to make. She wanted to try a different one in hope that Sree will like it. Whether he liked it or not, I remember lovely every bite. She used to stuff Potato Masala in the Idli batter and steam them. It used to be so spicy and tasty. Well that promoted the preparation of these masala idlis mixed with Carrot and Coconut. They make a great evening snack. Well not to mention a great ones for the early start of the day too.

This time we used the idli rava that's readily available. This cream of Rice is not mostly used in Tamil Nadu, and more common in Andhra. Athamma had got a packet from her place and this masala suited the idli texture very well.

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Steaming Time : 10 - 15 mins
Soaking Time : 4-5 hrs
Fermenting Time : Overnight or 6-7 hrs
Cuisine : Andhra
Makes - 4 Idis

Ingredients Needed:

Idli Rava (cream of rice) - 1 cup
Urad Dal - 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Soda a pinch

For Filling:

Grated Carrot - 1/2 cup
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste (Since idli batter has, adjust the salt)
Green Chilies - 1 finely chopped

Method to prepare:

Wash and soak Idli Rava for 1 hr Soak Urad dal separately for 4-5 hrs. After soaking, drain the water from the Urad dal and grind till soft and fluffy and mix with the idli rava. Mix well.. Let it ferment overnight. Remember there should not be any water in the Idli Rava.

After fermentation, the batter will rise to double.Before pouring them into the molds, add salt and pinch of soda bi carbonate. Then mix in the grated chillies, Carrot and Coconut.

Grease the Idli molds and pour a ladle ful of batter into the molds. Steam them for 10 - 15 mins or till they are cooked. Cool for few mins, then remove each idli carefully with a spatula.

Idli Rava is sold separately in most stores. Its the called the cream of Rice. And can be used to make instant idlis this way. The usual process of grinding the idli rice takes practice.

Also I have noticed that these idlis are little porous than the ones that we usually make. I haven't experimented a lot with this, so I am not sure if they really come out as soft as our regular Idlis made with Parboiled Rice. But these tasted great.

For making regular idlis check this post. See in that post too its the same story about my liking for Idli!

The addition of vegetables to the Idlis make it a great thing to have for the breakfast!

And hubby dear was so happy seeing this, as he is so used to eating these idlis during his growing up. So next time we visit our place, I will have to get more to stock.

Enjoy your Carrot Coconut idli with Groundnut or Coconut chutney!

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ragi Roti ~ Indian Flatbread with Finger Millet Flour!

You know during the Roti Mela, I wanted to make many varieties and learn more but unfortunately only 25 found its way to the Mela. But one most predominantly missing entry that was quite common at home, was this Ragi Roti. The other day I was looking at the previous posts and the archives I have, something struck me very strange. Yea the fact that there wasn't a post on Ragi Roti. Ragi flour is something that's always stocked at home and we make dosas, Sangati, and Rotis with it. So its really funny that the Roti never got featured. Ragi is always preferred over other grains for its health contents. My parents always preferred Ragi Sangati. And not to mention my in-laws. Every chance they get, Athamma prefers to make Sangati or make dosa for herself while we have regular dosa.

I remembered my grandparents cultivating this crop, so we were never short of this at home. Now with the fast pace life style and other food habits, these healthy alternatives are overlooked. But hubby dear and Athamma always preferred Ragi Sangati, so I have to make this quite frequently. Good part being that Konda also likes to eat Sangati. But for a change, I thought Roti will be better. These rotis can be had for breakfast, lunch or for evening snacks or dinner. These can make a lovely meal for anytime of the day!

Peddu and Chinnu spot two pigtails now, since their hair has grown long and we are yet to give them a much needed make over. But they dislike it so much that they run the moment I take a comb. While on the other hand, Konda complains that she wants a pigtail but I do it. Well its always this way right! So while I was busy with this work, Athamma said she will make it. And all I did was to click the pictures and then enjoy them! And during this time, we have Spring Onions and Capsicum in abundance at market place. So those found its way into this Roti and in the process made it even more healthy.

Ingredients Needed:

Ragi / Millet Four - 1 cup
Salt to taste

Optional Ingredients: (you can use whichever vegetable you have on hand)

Spring Onions - 1/2 bunch
Capsicum - 1/2 half
Green Chilies - 2 long.

Method to prepare:

Chop all the vegetables very finely.

In a bowl, take the ragi flour, salt and all the chopped vegetables. Mix well. Then slowly add water to knead to a dough. It should not be runny but still soft.

Spread wet muslin cloth over the roti rolling board. Divide the dough into equal balls. Flatten the balls, by dipping your fingers in water and patting the ball down to form a disc of 6 diameter or a small roti size. Pat them slowly as the chopped vegetables tend to fall out.

Heat a tawa and spread oil, then slowly take the cloth near to the pan, gently remove and place on the hot tawa. Sprinkle oil on the sides and let it cook. It takes about 1-2 mins on sim to get evenly cooked. Turn to the other side and cook well.

This can be eaten as such but can be served with Ground nut chutney for a healthy brunch.

This goes off to Sia who is hosting the WBB event, themed on Summer Feast. My dish features Spring Onions and Capsicum which available right now in our parts of the woods. WBB, is an event started by the lovely doctor, Nandita from Saffron Trail.

Since this is also a very healthy dish made with Ragi and vegetables, I am sending this to Mansi who is hosting an event on Healthy Cooking!

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Boorelu, Gaarelu and Kudaalu - Traditional Sweets ~ Andhra Special!

Festivals are always something that will remain forever fresh in our mind. Celebrations in way of sharing good times, comes more with sharing food among other things. And I can still remember each and every occasion that has gone by. Mostly of course. Till I started working, every festival was eagerly awaited and enjoyed, a we sure will have a day off. While at school and college, these festival days are something that's discussed at great lengths. Everybody used to be so obsessed about new cloths, new things and they could go on and on for ages. I think its all a fancy of childhood and as we grow older, these things loose they appeal. Thinking back on those days, I really wonder if I was like that. But then that's what makes our childhood such a cherished period of our lives!

Especially the food that Amma used to make for each and every festival used to be highlight. And there are also few items which don't get made on other days, so those festivals are more wanted mainly for the special food that gets prepared. Though I used to help Amma in most preparations, except for few, I hadn't learnt much during the early years of marriage. Since Poli was the only thing I loved and it also happened to be the dish that's prepared most at my in-laws place, it got done on all festivals. But there are other wonderful dishes like Boorelu, Kudaalu, which Amma never prepared much. And that's when I came to know from Athamma that she used to prepare these a lot. These are the Purnam Boorelu or Poornam Boorelu.

Then there were the other Suguntullu, that I used to get treated specially when we visited our ammamma's place. For many years, this used to be the special sweet that my Aunt used to prepare for me. Making these have been on my list for a long time and this weekend, Athamma said we have. So early morning saw us cooking these and Athamma had a fun time making the dough. As she always gets the filling little runny, its my task to get them solidified. We made Boorelu, Garrelu, Kudaalu. Well maybe this festival time, I may not have any post to do since all the sweets got featured now!

Boorelu ~ Sweet filling dipped in savory batter!

Preparation Time : 15 min
Cooking Time : 30 mins
Soaking Time : 4- 5 hrs
Cuisine : Andhra

Ingredients Needed:

Black gram dal/ Urad dal - 50 gms

For the Filling

Bengal gram/Channa dal - 1 cup
Grated Jaggery - 1 cup
Fresh grated Coconut - 1/4 cup (opt)
Cardamom powder - 3/4 tsp
salt to taste

oil for deep frying

Method to prepare:

Wash and soak Urad dal for 4-5 hrs. Place in a big vessel as it will expand after soaking.

Then drain water from the Urad dal and grind to fine paste adding very little water. Infact just about a teaspoon of water should be enough. The batter is almost like the thick dosa batter before you make dosas. Add salt and leave it aside covered.

For the filling, pressure cook the channa dal with just enough water to cover it. Even if excess water is there, you can always use the water for chaaru. But less water is better.

Cook the jaggary to remove any scum. Then once the dal is well cooked, drain and cook it along with the jaggary. It should become very soft enough for you to mash well.

You can either grind it to a smooth paste or mash it with the lentil masher. If you find the purnam is very loose, you can cook this in sim to get a thick paste. Add Cardamom powder and grated coconut. You will know its done when the dal starts to leave the sides.

Remove and cool. Divide them into equal balls.

Heat a thick bottom kadai for frying. Once the oil is hot, turn to sim. Then dip each ball in the Urad dal batter. ensure its coated on all sides. Then gently drop them into the hot oil. Turn and cook on all sides. Since the filling is dal based, it tends to steep into the oil. That's why you will see dark spots on the sweets. Once couple of batches are done, strain the oil to remove the scum.

It hardly takes more than 2-3 mins to get cooked. Drain them on to a kitchen towel.

Since the batter used is of Urad dal, we can also make savory doughnut or the Medhu Vada. Add onions and other spices and deep fry them as regular vadas.


Ingredients Needed:

For filling as above

For outer layer, you can use a stiff dough made with maida as you make for puri.

Method to prepare:

Knead a stiff dough using maida, salt and water. Divide into small balls of equal size. Roll them out and place the sweet filling in middle and cover as shown in the Kajjikayalu.

Deep fry in oil. Drain and store.

Gaarelu is Methu Vada.

We had a gala time enjoying the sweets that are mostly prepared during festivals. I guess I have to complain RCI Hostess for this! Because Vani chose Andhra Festival Food and how can I not make them!

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Palak Jhunka ~ Spinach in Gram Flour!

The weekend has been one swing of cooking and I finally prepare many that were pending for a long time. This dish, though I had read about it a long time ago, didn't know what its called and whose specialty it is. When I had read this in my cookbook, I was curious to know how it tasted, though I knew it must be yummy. Because it has besan or the Gram flour added to the leaves. This one typically calls for the greens, more in particularly something which we couldn't place tamil name for. So decided will make it with spinach as its more readily available.

This sounds more like the parupu usili thats famous in Tamil Nadu, though how you can it is quite different. But of the same types, I can say. If you find you have some leftover greens, and it won't be enough for a full side dish, then I guess this is the easy way to make use of that greens. Even otherwise, I find that this will go very well with chapatis.

So heres how I think I am going to make my palak more often. I finally found out that this is called the Jhunka or Junka, this is famous in Karnataka and they use green chillis. Instead I used Chilli powder and to spice it up, used ginger garlic paste and spice powder.

Ingredients Needed:

Spinach Leaves - 1/2 cup
Onions - 1 small
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Spices powder (Cloves+ Cinnamon) - a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Gram Flour / Besan - 3 tsp

Method to prepare:

Wash the leaves and drain. Chop the onions and keep it aside

Heat a kadai with oil. Then temper with cumin seeds. Once its done, saute the onions till they are brown. Then add the ginger garlic paste, fry well.

Add the Spinach leaves and simmer for 2 mins, add the chilli powder, Salt, Spice powder. Mix well. Cover and keep it for 5 mins.

Remove cover and add the gram flour, mix well. You can sprinkle some water for it to get cooked. And by covering again, the flour gets cooked by the steam.

This is done in 10 - 15 mins time. Serve well with chapatis.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Paneer Chilli ~ An Indo Chinese Fantasy!

I think Paneer chilli is the best example of how we can do a change over to our most favorite item into another and still love it more. Paneer, of course has caught everybody's fantasy and has been a ruling ingredients in every home. I haven't come across a kid who doesn't adore this. And my love for this started the moment I was introduced to it. Maybe it was increased more by the fact that I was the only Vegetarian in most gathering and Paneer was the only dish offered as the equivalent to a tantalizing chicken or meat! Well I never missed those much. Instead always looked forward to these treats.

Then came the introduction to Indo Chinese food and it was also embraced with equal aplomb. What followed were series of dishes being transformed into a Chinese one by adding its signature ingredients and making them into a chinese dish. Really do you think a Chinese would know what a Paneer Chilli mean or even taste like? I don't' think so. But really taste is something very subjective and when you like something, you add it in many others and see if it comes out well. I guess thats how this dish came into existence!

I have had this sleek handbook, rather a cookbook titled Favorite Chinese Dishes, with me for over a decade. Believe me, I have taken that book many a time, thinking I should prepare something from it. The dishes featured aren't anything different though. Most of them are the usual fare of the Indo Chinese Cuisine. Still it was a mystery unsolved. The book has about 25 dishes, all beautiful explained, of course no pictures. Still I could imagine each of it being prepared and enjoyed. As I have mentioned, hubby dear is not very fond of typical Chinese food, so whatever I prepare has to be more of a spicy flavored.

Finally I thought I will be able to prepare something from this, when Dhivi announced her AWED themed on Chinese. What better time than this to try out something from this dear little book of mine. And of course, it had to be Paneer Chilli for my love for Paneer!

I modified and changed few for our taste.

Ingredients Needed:

Paneer or Indian Cottage Cheese - 2 cups (squares and deep fried to a golden colour)
Onions - 1 small chopped squares
Spring Onions - 5 bulbs and the greens
Coriander leaves - 5 springs
Capsicum - quarter piece, chopped as squares
Green Chillies - 2 slit and trimmed
Garlic - 2 big pods, finely chopped
Tomato Sauce - 4 tsp
Soy Sauce - 2 tsp
Ajinomoto - a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee for frying paneer

Garlic crushed was used, which I didn't. The recipe didn't call for capsicum, but I added.

Method to prepare:

Wash and cube the paneer. Fry the paneer cubes in ghee and drain them once they turn golden.

Once you have all the onions, capsicum, spring onions all chopped and ready, heat a pan with oil.

Once its hot, saute the onions well, then add the capsicum and simmer for 5 mins for it to get soften. Then add the roasted paneer, tomato sauce, soy sauce, salt and ajinomoto. Mix well and simmer.

After 5 mins, sprinkle the spring onion tops and serve!

Your tempting Paneer chilli is ready to devoured!

Thank you Dhivi for finally making me cook from this little book of mine, we loved it and so I am sure you will too!

Since Paneer is a rich source of Protein, sending this to Sangeeth at Art of Cooking Indian Food, who is hosting an event on Eat Healthy - Protein Rich.

Paneer is said to be the primary source of protein for Buddhists (typically those of Southeast Asian origin) who adhere to vegetarian as opposed to vegan diets. It gives about 15% of protein.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Announcing Curry Mela ~ an event to celebrate Indian Curry!

Well this is not about how the English think about Indian Curry. I rather liked the term Curry, so thought of having it as the name of this Edition. I have always wondered what to make to accompany Dosa, Idli, Chapati or even at times Rice. When dal is not the preferred item to include, you are left with no choice much. At least our south Indian cuisine to certain extent. Its always either Sambar or Coconut chutney for Dosa or Idli. Or some dal for Chapatis. Or sambar for Rice

So here is an event, where you can showcase what different gravies you prepare for the different meal of the day. The gravy should be Non Lentil based. It can include legumes, dal, vegetables. But the base should not be thick dal, like in Sambar.

The Gravy cannot of the following
Chutneys, Podis, Sambars, Lentil Based or Dry Veggies (Stir fries, poriyals)

What is accepted:

The gravy base has to be liquid made with something other than Dal. It can be Coconut Based, Tamarind Based. And it can have dal in it as in Kootu.

The entries can be side dishes served for Dosas, Idlis, Pooris, Rotis (all variants), Rice. I guess that covers everything! It can be both Veg and Non-Veg. And from any Indian Cuisine.

Send in as many as you like from now till August 20th 2008. Email your entries to
To participate in this event, please have these in mind!

1. Cook anything thats a gravy served with other main course and post it on your blog from now till August 20th 2008. Can send in as many entries are you can!

2. Add a link back to this event announcement, would be nice if you can include the logo!

3. Please send me an e-mail to with the following info.

Subject : Curry mela for Dosa (or if its for Idli or Roti or Rice, please mention that)
Your preferred Name
Dish Name
Your post URL
A picture of the gravy alone is fine, but will be great if you can include the accompanying dish like the Dosa, Roti etc Don't worry about the size.

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

5. If you feel you want to participate but can't find time enough, I will accept already posted entry, if you create a NEW POST linked to this announcement. But it will be really fun to create a new dish!

Looking forward to all your enthusiastic participation!

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chettinadu Sorakkai Kurma ~ Bottle Gourd Curry Chettinad style!

We always love the kurma that served with the Parotta in our places. Any place down south you visit, this sure is present. It looks that whitest creamy kurma, which somehow makes it very difficult to guess, what's went in! For many years, Amma and I had only discussed about it and at times attempted to look out. At one point, I even thought I would ask a person we knew, who was into catering. Well we didn't for the obvious reasons, most people refuse to share their secret recipes. The search continued albeit, many attempts still unsuccessful!

The other day, Amma was telling me that she tried out a new dish with Bottle gourd aka the Sorakkai or the Sorakaya. She happened to see this in a TV show and since she had bottle gourd on hand, prepared it for dinner. The resultant kurma was much appreciated. Since then, she had been telling me to prepare it. Finally we got the Sorrakai, but had to wait almost two whole days, before this actually found its way into the kurma! Meanwhile, it was much enjoyed as a gada by Peddu. Infact I made him pose standing with this huge Bottle gourd over his shoulders. He was all merry, being told to carry it over his shoulders, though he struggled to lift with his tiny little hands. And I happily clicked away! Well after two sundry of loitering from the fridge to the dining table and finally made it to the kitchen slab, it was ultimately halved and downed into the kurma!

After having prepared and a bite later, I had this sense of Eureka! I was all elated, I could only nod at the confirmation that this is the same korma that gets served along with parotta in many places down south. No tomato, no turmeric, it was indeed a different kurma that I have ever tried. But most definitely a keeper! From the name, I can say this is from the famous Chettinadu cuisine, so I am all happy having landed with this finally!

Ingredients Needed:

Bottle Gourd / Sorakkai / Sorakaya - 250 gms
Cumin Seeds / Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Onion - 1 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilli - 2 no
Garam Masala - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

To be ground

Fresh Coconut / Copra grated - 3 tbsp
Sesame Seeds - 1 tsp

Coriander leaves for garnish

Method to prepare:

Peel and chop the bottle gourd to 1 inch cubes. Make a paste of Dry coconut along with the Sesame seeds. if Copra or the dry coconut is not available, you can use the fresh one too.

Then heat a kadai with oil. Add the cumin seeds. Once they cackle, add the finely chopped onions.Sauté till they are brown, then add finely chopped green chillies. Fry for a min.

Then add the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw aroma leaves. Then add the chopped bottle gourd and simmer for 2 mins. When you find its well mixed, add 1 cup of water. and cooked it covered for 5 mins.

Then add the salt, coriander powder, garam masala. Cook for another 5 mins. Then add the ground paste of coconut and sesame seeds. cover and simmer till its cooked.

This takes about 10 more mins, Remove and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Goes very well with chapatis or parottas.

Sending this to Pooja's VOW event, which is focusing on Bottle Gourd.

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