Thursday, October 30, 2008

Running for Olympics? Looks like I am!

Are you ready for a non stop bantering from me, for the next 30 days? Well if anybody wants to blame, please feel free to vent yourself at Dhivi. She threw a challenge for the next Recipe Marathon, which is going to be for 30 days. Phew!!! And she took for granted, that I am going to take it up anyway. If you have been following me for a while now, you would've realized that I am not doing a post daily. Reasons being, many asked for recipes that I had already posted. That left me wondering if I am leaving my readers breathless! But when a challenge is thrown at me, I can hardly not take notice of it, right! So here I am, going to be blogging away non stop for the next 30 days. I don't know if I can, but hopeful I can.

I have no idea what I am going to cook. Dhivi and Siri have been very adventurous and decided to do a theme. Though a theme sounds very exciting, I am not sure if I can. But I do have a plan to stick to some theme, nevertheless! I may post some in my Spice your Life blog too!

Do come and cheer us on the way, afterall its the Gold medal we are running for!

Will update the list of my fellow runners soon!

And yeah, before I leave, Pavani has announced the next edition of MEC , themed on Cheese. Do say Cheese and send your entries!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Panasa Thonalu ~ Traditional Andhra Sweet for Deepavali Celebrations!

I had tasted these for the first time recently, when hubby dear was given these by his colleague. She is from a background, where the traditional cooking is still in the vogue! Infact when he happened to drop in for lunch, he was served a curry that reminded him of his grandmother. He was telling me that I should talk to her and get insight into their cooking. I am yet to find an opportunity to do that. So when she had made these sweets, I was impressed by the shape and taste. She was supposed to show me a demo on how they make these shapes, but we couldn't make it. When I showed the sweets to Amma, she said she knows another proportion for making Kaja, but she never attempted to shape them this way.

On the day when we were preparing the kajas, we happened to watch these panasa thonalu, over the tele. She said something very fast, only later I recalled the name of this sweet. I couldn't spend much time seeing the chef who was making these, but I had a rough idea. When I got down making these, they turned out so simple. Since I already made the dough and prepared kaja, I wanted to try the other proportion that Amma knows. This method does not require resting time, as ghee is used instead of Dalda. And you can proceed with the process right away!

Kids are back to school today. Konda somehow didn't complain on going to school, whereas the boys cried as they are going after 3 days. I was working both the days, whereas hubby dear was at home, so all the boys had a gala time, playing and napping together. As such both of them are very attached to their father. When he is carrying them both, they won't even come to me, so spending two full days with him, they have become even more. I call the boys his soul mates!

Now coming to these famous sweets called Panasa thonalu, they are called so because they look like Jackfruit bulbs. Eating each strip one by one is fun!

Panasa Thonalu

All purpose Flour / Maida - 1 cup
Ghee - 1/4 cup and 2 tsp
Sugar - 1 cup
Maida for dusting
Oil for Deep frying.

Method to prepare:

In bowl, take the maida and ghee. Rub in the ghee well, till you get the crumble. Then slowly add water and knead a pliable dough.

Meanwhile melt sugar and remove scum if any. Then cook till you get one thread consistency.

Divide the dough into small balls of size smaller than regular pooris. Dust the dough and roll out as you do your regular pooris. Roll them as thin as possible.

Using the knife, leaving an inch intact, make long insertions, vertically towards the end. Continue to do so till the end as shown in the picture.

Gently remove from the board, gathering the uncut disc. Shake the disc a bit and the strips will fall as long strips.

Gently drop them into hot oil and cook in sim on both the sides. The trick to get all of the as separate, is to make them as you fry them. When you prepare these shapes and allow them to rest, they will loose shape!

When its cooked on all sides, drop these into the sugar syrup. Let it soak for 5 mins, then remove.

Once they are cooled, store them in an air tight container.

I am sending a box of these to Aparna, who is celebrating her blog's first anniversary. I hope she likes these!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Making of Kaja ~ Andhra Special for Deepavali Celebrations!

I wish all my readers a very Happy Deepavali!

I have mixed feeling on the eve of the Deepavali day. Memories gush in bring in the sweet memories of childhood spun around the Deepavali and what it meant as a child. Every year, almost until after college, the enthusiasm was always there. The crisp new dress and the competition on who fires the first bomb, never dies down. All our colony friends used to bet that they will be the first person to get ready and lit the bombs. Thinking of the excitement that used to stem out of it, even now gets me all excited. I was kind of happy that early morning bug hasn't bit Konda as yet. She was still peacefully asleep when I got up at the dawn. Fireworks started since last evening, all those wonderful rockets blustering different colours out there in the clear sky, was a sight to behold. Chinnu was all excited and was cheering for each one that was on display, while Peddu was going deeper and deeper into my arms at each one. Only this morning, he was happy to be seeing them, from a far distance.

Though I am not as excited as it was as a kid, I went about calling all friends and relatives to wish them on this happy occasion. Everybody had a festive tone on the phone, its really wonderful how infectious this day is to all. A day to spend with loved ones and wishing everybody all happiness, I guess this is the meaning behind the festival of Lights! Konda was all excited when she got up and got ready in record time, to wear her new dress. I remembered my one deepavali, when I had got up in the wee hours as early as 3 am, to get ready. In the haste, I slipped and had a full bath much before! How I can still remember the sore bum, but the enthusiasm was all high!

I have shared our Deepavali traditions much in detail in my last year post. This year, I made sure I learnt how to make Kaja, which is a famous Andhra Sweet. Amma used to make this, along with Athirasams for the Diwali. We skipped making this for the last couple of years, because of its elaborate process. Hubby dear always says, he said yes for the marriage, only after eating the Kesari Bath and Kaja that Amma made for him. He thought being her daughter I would also make both the items well. Kesari Bath of course, I made many times. But Kaja, this was my first attempt on myself. Though I have always been the person who finally press them to shape, I had never kneaded the dough. I got to Amma showed me how to knead and then I continued. It was indeed a lengthy process. Took almost 2 hours for us to complete. I had plans to make Amma's famous Murukus, but after this exercise, I didn't have the stamina. Amma had plans and she prepared them the next day.She made Star Murukkus, Plain ones and then Mixture.

Though Amma was telling me about Kakida Kaja, I don't know the difference. I made Kaja and another famous ones called the Panasa thonalu, because they look like jack fruit bulbs. You can make these with the same dough as kaja, or you have a separate proportions for that too.


These are sweets made with All purpose Flour, Vanaspathi and of course Sugar! Once fried, they are normally soaked in the sugar syrup. But they tend to be overly sweet. If you don't want so much sweet, you can powder sugar and sprinkle over the fried Kajas.

I actually wanted to record a video, but since I was also making it, managed only the pictures. Hope the slide show explains the process clearly!

Preparation Time : 1 hour and more
Resting Time for the dough - 1 & 1/2 hrs
Makes - 50 pieces

Ingredients Needed:

All Purpose flour/ Maida - 500 gms
Vanaspathi Dalda - 100 gms
Cooking Soda a pinch
Sugar - 1 kg
Maida - 1 tbsp for dusting
Gram flour - 2 tbsp for dusting.

Method to prepare:

For the dough:

Shift Soda along with the flour in a wide bowl. Add the dalda and crumble well. Then slowly add water and knead to a pliable dough. It should be of medium softness and not to stiff. Knead till you get that smooth texture on the dough.

Cover the dough a wet muslin cloth and let it rest for 1 & 1/2 hours, you can allow it for 2 hrs too. Once 2 hrs is done, knead again and divide to equal size balls of the size shown in the picture. You will get about 6 balls of that size.

For the Sugar Syrup

Meanwhile, have the sugar melting over a pan. Remove scrum if any, then bring it to a boil. Cook till you get a consistency of one thread. This you can confirm, by touching the syrup with your thumb and index finger, when you move, you will find one thread forming. Switch off the heat and cover with lid.

For Making the Kaja

Dust the dough with maida and roll the first ball to a disc of 1" thickness. Remove to a plate. Then roll out the second ball to the same size.

On the second rolled out disc, apply melted dalda and gram flour. Spread evenly all over. Now take the first disc and place on the second. Press firmly.

Again repeat the brushing with dalda and gram flour on the top. Then starting from top, fold it inside, as shown in the picture. Do the brushing and dusting. Fold again, repeat and fold till you reach the end.

Then cut into small pieces of 1 inch size. Then dust them again in maida, press them down on the vertical side, then roll them out to get a long strip as shown in the picture.

Heat a kadai with oil. Since the dough is mixed with Vanaspathi, it does not drunk much of oil. Once its hot, drop in the rolled out kajas gently and cook in sim. The entire batch has to be fried in sim, so add enough to cover the oil. Turn to the other side to cook evenly.

Once they are done, drain the kajas and drop them into sugar syrup. Gently press in so that , it soaks the sugar. Let it soak for 2 mins, then remove and spread for it to cool.

Fry all of them the same way and allow to cool before storing them. These normally stays good for about 7 - 10 days.

Note: Heat the Sugar syrup in between the whole process a couple of times, for it to be absorbed well. If the sugar syrup is not enough, add some more sugar and water, bring to the same consistency before add the fried Kaja.

While I was still making these, Athamma said Chinnu will like something Savory and made the Salt Diamonds as I call them. She made it almost the same way as I did. When he came back from school, he saw the box of these and went about completing it by evening, anyway it was a small serving.

I feel exhausted typing so much, will be back with the recipe for Panasa thonalu later.

Deepavali is celebrated on Tuesday in Andhra, so we are having two days of celebrations!

Have a lovely day!

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ashoka Halwa ~ South Indian Moong Dal Halwa!

Hope Deepavali preparations are on full swing at your place! It is in mine. Since Saturday, we are doing nothing but some sweets for savories for Deepavali. I remember my childhood, when Amma would start off the preparations a week before, getting the flour ready for the Murukkus. Then for the Athirasams. She also used to make our most favorite Kajas. This year, we thought we will skip the Athirasams, but make Kajas. That will be posted tomorrow. Today's special is Athamma's special. She saw this in some tele and had prepared it couple of times. All the times, it was over before even I could click a picture. So this time round, we thought we will prepare again, atleast for the pictures. It came out very well again.

I remembered my Moong Dal Halwa and wondered if it ought to be prepared the same way. Though this method uses Moong Dal, its prepared differently. But I am not sure why its called Ashoka Halwa. If you know, you can let me know the reason. The last time she made, she didn't add any food colour, so it was a natural orange colour. This time, she thought she would make it red!

This is a great replacement for Moong Dal halwa, which takes a long time to get done. This is quick and simple. And no compromise on taste!

So another Halwa to sweeten your Diwali!

Ingredients Needed:

Pesarappu / Yellow Moong Dal - 1 cup
Milk - 1 & 1/2 cup
Sugar - 2 cups
Grated coconut - 3 tbsp (opt)
Ghee - 3 tsbp
Cardamom a pinch
Red Food colour a pinch (opt)

For Garnish

Cashew nuts

Method to prepare:

Heat a pan with ghee, roast the nuts and keep aside, then roast the grated coconut.

Melt the sugar in a pan and get a one thread syrup.

Meanwhile, take the dal and milk in a bowl. Fill the pressure cooker with water. Place the bowl of dal in the cooker and cook for 2 -3 whistles. Once the dal is cooled, grind to a smooth paste.

Boil together and pressure cook. Grind to a smooth paste once its cool.

Take Ghee in a thick bottomed pan, then add sugar syrup, then add the dal paste, cardamon, grated coconut (if you are adding) and half of the nuts. Mix well till you get the consistency of halwa, you can know this when the sides starts leaving.

Grease a plate and spread. Garnish the rest of the nuts over the top

This stays good for 2-3 days, if its not devoured before!

Enjoy your Deepavali sweets!

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Korra Annam Payasam ~ Foxtail Millet Porridge!

Korra Annam, as its called is referred as Foxtail Millet, maybe be easily available to all. But I wanted to share variation made with Korra annam, with you all. I have mentioned before, this was the staple food at my Athamma's maternal house and she grew on this. She had adapted this to her family too and even now she gets a bag of this from her native. The most common way this is confused is as the cooked one, its referred as Annam, since its eaten with dal. She was very enthusiastic when I asked her to show me the different ways this can be used in cooking. We have made dosas, idlis, upmas and of course, a payasam too with this cooked millet. The taste of this yummy Korra Annam payasam, is something you got to taste, to know how delicious it is. Well if you can imagine the taste of Palakova, you are somewhat close!

Come weekend, we are left wondering what to make for the neivedhyam.So this time Athamma said she will make this payasam, that she used to eat at her mom's place. Imagine that! I was really glad that she was teaching me a traditional Indian sweet made with a rare ingredient. Since on Sunday, my kids always get up early, Athamma didn't want to take it for chance. So it was all done before they got up. She had so delicately roasted the nuts in ghee to sprinkle over it. I sprinkled all over with a sense that the picture looks perfect! Of course, it was all over after the pooja was done. I can still feel the lingering taste of this delicious payasam!

Check out other dishes made with Korra Biyam / Korra Annam.

I will be posting a series on Deepavali Snacks and Savories for the next few days! I know I am going to enjoy them!

First in the series, are the Maida Biscuits.

Ingredients Needed:

Korra Annam / Foxtail Millet - 1 cup
Jaggary - 1 & 1/2 cup
Grated Coconut - 2 tsp
Milk - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Cardamom a pinch
Ghee - 2 tsp


Cashew nuts
Coconut pieces

Method to prepare:

Cook Korra Annam in a pressure cooker. See if its well cooked.

Meanwhile, melt jaggary in a pan. Remove scrum. Then add cooked korra annam, grated coconut, milk, water to the melted jaggary. Bring to boil.

Heat ghee in a pan and roast all the nuts and then pour over the payasam.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Lunch Box Series : LBS#41

The clock struck 6.30 pm and I hurried away home, as I had to reach on time. I rushed away heedless of the rain drizzling or the hurried vehicles zooming by. I hastily looked at the showroom that had dazzling sarees on display. It was a pass time once, to look at the sarees on display and wonder who would really want to tie such sarees. Whenever I see that showroom, I get reminded of reading about Madame Curie. In one of the dinner parties she attended, she saw ladies all decked up with diamonds and jewelries. Her husband thought she was also taken in by those ornaments. But she replied that with that amount of money, she could set up so many labs! Well I don't' really want to set up a lab right now, just a comparison!

Well lunch for today was a different affair. For a change we made a simple channa curry or channa kurma. It was delicious to have with chapatis, hubby dear enjoyed it, from the regular rice spread! This is the south indian way of making channa. Its called Senagala kurma in telugu.

Today's Lunch Box had

Channa Kurma
Rasam Rice
Curd Rice

Ingredients Needed

Channa - 1 cup
Onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 2 medium
Ginger - 1"
Coconut paste - 1 tbsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method to prepare:

Soak Channa overnight. Pressure cook in water till tender.

Heat a pan with oil, saute grated ginger. Then add finely chopped onions. Once they turn brown, add chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 10 mins for the tomatoes to soften.

Then add all the spice powders, cooked channa, salt and combine well. Simmer for 5 mins, till the oil comes out. Then add the coconut paste and saute.

Add required water, bring to boil. When it thickens to desired thickness, add chopped coriander leaves.

Goes well with chappatis, but with rice too!

I hope Sra wouldn't mind another Chickpea from me..So sending this to her, who is hosting the Fourth Helping of Susan's My Legume Love Affair.

I had send in Channa 65 too!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Roasted Tomato Soup ~ Quick and Comforting!

I may be drinking only a soup, but who says I am not enjoying? If you must know, I am having a feast every night. With the chill breeze steeping in through the windows, I sip my piping hot soup and can literally feel the heat strolling through my windpipe. Oops, its not wind pipe is it, I meant the throat! Well whatever, you get the draft right. Every sip reminds me of those many times in past, I had enjoyed this quintessential Tomato Soup. This typically is Amma's another one of those wonderful concoctions. Though I remember being the person, who read out to her a decade ago, she has since then changed and modified and added her signature touch!

Though at the risk of being repeated, I am not a soup person. But who can say no to something that's so delicious? Other than at home, I can vouch I have never sip a tomato soup elsewhere. Soup, if at all, has always been Sweet Corn Veg Soup. So I have enjoyed this version of Amma's Tomato Soup. I had it at various times in life. Early years of remembering this, would be that time when I was recuperating from a fall, then during pregnancy. And when she wanted Konda to have an intake of Veggies, so she camouflaged them as soups. Since she was anyway going the full yard, she used to make for me too. Oh how I remember enticing Konda to drink this, saying Ammama made only for her, 'cos she has to grown tall, strong and healthy! Magical words to get my daughter eat, is to say Ammama made for her. She will even eat a full meal that way!

Amma adds ghee roasted bread crumbs as garnish. In our recent trip by train, hubby dear said, that the only good stuff sold, was the tomato soup. So Konda was all excited to taste. It was, of course, served with bread crumbs. She eat up all the bread crumbs and gave the cold soup back to me! I was reminded of that incident when I added the dry toasted bread crumbs to my soup. This fits the bill the outside climate demands, you wonder what's special today, well a bowl of that hot Tomato soup to shoo off the cold!

Ingredients Needed:

Tomatoes - 2 medium
Carrot - 1 small
Onion - 1 medium
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1 "
Mint Leaves - 5
Salt to Taste
Pepper to Taste
All purpose flour - 1 tsp (opt)
Milk - 2 tbsp (opt)
Oil - 1 tsp
Butter/ Ghee - 1 tsp

Method to prepare:

Heat a pressure cooker with oil. Sauté chopped onions, cloves, cinnamon and mint leaves. Then add chopped tomatoes and carrot. Add the flour and stir well.

Stir for 2 mins, then add 1 cup of water and pressure cook it for 1 - 2 whistles. Once its done, remove the clove and cinnamon.

Grind the rest to a smooth paste. Cook it again for 5 mins. Add salt and pepper, water if required. Simmer and slowly add milk. Bring to boil.

Tomato Soup is ready to tuck you in for a sound sleep!

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Palak Paneer Vada ~ Spinach with Indian Cottage Cheese Fritters!

Getting up to a chilled, snow kissed morning is wonderful. Ok, keep it rain kissed mornings. We can't imagine snow hitting us right! But can't we be allowed to dream about it too? If only snow comes to my city, I can only have a wishful thought. As such, the monsoon season gets an irritated reaction from people, who worry more about drying the cloths, than enjoying them. So what will their reaction be, if they are faced with a snow hit city! I have seen answering almost the same questions every year, that Athamma poses on our dear climate, which is so characteristic of this city. Even in a peek hot summer, you can expect a shower of rains to visit you. So this onslaught of rains in winter, no doubt makes her ponder so. It had Athamma wondering why its raining non stop the last two days and when we might have a respite from it. For me, its been a heaven. I have had my share of drenching in the rains, at every chance I got. The very thought of wading through a pouring rain, is enough to lift any gloomy sentiments you might have!

So getting up in the morning, to be welcome by a scantily lit sunlight, you will only feel snuggling back. But there are always the Monday morning blues right. So with heavy heart woke up Konda and I went about my morning tasks. I was all ready to leave by time. I was reminded of those wonderful evenings, when with rains thrashing away, you indulge in a cuppa of coffee with hot bajjis. Wish it was one of those days now. There has been hardly any such days at home nowadays. All of us get back quite late in the evening for us to enjoy such snacks. Still I am hoping one day will come!

Any raining day and you are all reminded of hot pakodas or bajjis to enjoy the day. Though I have both a banana bajji and Palak Paneer Vada in making, I choose the latter, for want of a variation.

So her comes a lip smacking Palak Paneer Vadas to treat you virtually, to enchant you on a rainy day.
Ingredients Needed:

Palak/ Spinach - 1/2 cup
Paneer - 150 gms
Gram Flour / Besan - 1 cup
Rice Flour - 2 tsp
Ajwain / Carom Seeds - 1/4 tsp (opt)
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Onion - 1 medium
Coriander leaves - few springs
Curry Leaves - few
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Method to prepare:

Wash and drain the Spinach leaves. Chop it finely. Grate the paneer and keep aside

Chop the Onions, 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. Infact its enough to just wash the onions and Spinach and use that along with the flour. It should be enough to hold shape.

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!

It tasted simply great. If you don't like Spinach much, this is the best way to eat.

If you are conscious of deep frying, you can shallow fry this too. Spread oil in a pan and place the vadas and sprinkle few drops over it. Cook on both sides. This was also a good way.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chicken Sandwich ~ Cooking with Leftovers!

Most times cooking whats just needed is quite hard to achieve. You do tend to over do on dishes and they end up sitting in the cold comforts of the fridge, wondering when you will cast an eye on it. Well that's not true to T, but of course for effect its accepted. I don't normally cook more than whats needed. And if its so, its with non -veg dishes, which gets done by next morning.

So this chicken fry that I made the previous night had to be completed and so it took the form of a sandwich. It was a perfect blend of spices with a delicate touch of cashew that added the richness to the whole dish. It went well with chapatis, and even more between a slices of ghee toasted bread.

How do you manage leftovers?

Ingredients Needed:

Chicken - 250 gms
Onions - 1 medium
Ginger garlic paste - 1/1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1"
Tomato - 1 medium
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Cashew nut powder - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method to prepare:

Wash and cut chicken into small pieces. Heat a pan with oil and add clove and cinnamon. Then saute onions. When its light brown, add the ginger garlic paste. Saute well.

Then add the chicken pieces and cook on high flame for 2 mins, while you are stirring for browning.

After 2 mins, add the spice powders. Cook to combine everything well. Then add chopped tomatoes and cover.

Cook in sim for 20 mins. Remove lid and add the chopped coriander leaves. Mix well.

Then add the cashew nut powder, mix well. Ensure you stir in between, else it might get burnt.

Remove once the liquid is all evaporated.

For making the sandwich, trim the slices and toast with ghee. Remove the bones in the chicken and stuff the chicken pieces in between the bread slices. Press well and cook on sim.

This is a great way to make use of chicken and with toasted bread, its just out of the world!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Gongura Fried Rice ~ Rice Mela!

Its fun to see how little ones pick up words. Peddu says "Mana" for No and Chinnu says Nana or Vana for No. This is their standard response for any query you pose them. Be it calling them for a bath or eating, their immediate response would be either Maana or Naana, with their heads shaking to show no. Peddu is picking up words much faster and he typically says with his own slang. Last evening, Konda was watching Mr. Beans and hubby dear was standing carrying him. He was literally laughing aloud, as if he understood what was shown.

Coming to their eating habits, other than their regular food, they are ready to taste anything new. Peddu especially is willing to taste new things. Whereas Chinnu backs off. But this one particular food, was something both of them loved the moment I gave them. As you might know, Gongura is something that's held very close to heart to us. I simply love the Gongura chutney that Amma makes. So when we had another bunch of leaves with us, we were wondering what new way to cook it. So this rice dish came upon. After it was ready, I was about to taste when both the twins came running, asking for a feed. I was hesitant but they won't let me go. So had to give them a sampling. But they liked it so much that they wanted it again until it was all over. Of course, it was just a small sample I did the first time. This rice dish is something that's spicy, tangy and all exciting all together! Not to mention, it can be prepared in jiffy!

Ingredients Needed:

Cooked Rice - 1 cup
Gongura leaves - 1 cup
Onions - 1 medium
Curry leaves - 5
Mustard Seeds + Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Bengal Gram - 1/2 tsp
Cashew Nus - 5 Whole
Turmeric powder a pinch
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chillies - 4
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Lemon Juice - half

Method to prepare:

Wash Sorrel Leaves/ gongura well. Allow to drain well. Chop onions and have other things ready.

If you have cooked Rice, this is the best way to make use of it. Else cook rice in the usual way. The rice should not be soggy but as separate grains. More like you do for Fried rice.

Heat a pan with oil. Splutter mustard, urad dal and cashew nuts. Then add curry leaves and bengal gram. When they turn colour a little, add the onions and Red Chillis and sauté till its well done.

Then squeeze the sorrel leaves again for excess water and add to the pan. Fry till the leaves are well cooked. Then add the chilli powder and salt.

When everything is well mixed, finally add the cooked rice. Combine everything well together.

Finally add the lemon juice and mix well.

Simple Gongura Fried Rice is ready!

Well this goes to my Rice Mela!

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Announcing Rice Mela ~ Celebrating Rice in different forms!

Can you imagine a day without eating rice? I might get mixed reactions for this. But are you one of those people, who need to have rice atleast once a meal in some form? Do you feel deprived if you don't have it for atleast one meal in a day? Then you are plagued with the need to find new ways to eat this. Maybe you are comfortable with eating with side dish or make dishes with Non Veg. But what if you run out of ideas?

Well here comes an answer to your quests. So this edition of Mela will hope to answer all your needs in finding a dish with Rice as the main Ingredient. I hope you will indulge me again with all your beautiful creations. It can be sweet or in any form but using Rice as the main ingredient!

What is accepted:

Any dish which has rice as main ingredient and in any form. It can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. When I say that there are breads made from Rice flour or used in soups, I hope you get the draft! It can be both Veg and Non-Veg. And from any Cuisine.

Send in as many as you like from now till Nov 30th 2008. Email your entries to

To participate in this event, please follow the below!
Email and link back to this post are mandatory, if one of them is missing your entry will not appear on the roundup. Thank you for your understanding.

1. Cook anything that's has Rice as main ingredient and post it on your blog from now till Nov 30th 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 : Rice Mela
Your preferred Name
Dish Name
Your post URL
A picture of the dish

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

5. 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!

6. If you want to submit multiple entries, do link your old posts in your new posts, but please do link the announcement page in your original post too.

Looking forward to all your enthusiastic participation!

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cabbage Soup ~ Ultimate Diet Food!

We are just back from our two days trip and weekend saw us celebrating our twins 2nd birthday. I had planned for few things, but looks like plans are only for paper! Chinnu was not keeping well and everything was so hectic that we didn't get to do anything properly. I wonder if all parents face the same pressure during such time. We had the birthday party at home and then hurried up to start an early day for the trip next morning. Luckily both of them are much better today. We even managed to send all of them to school on time. We had gone to Tirumala for blessings and now Peddu and Chinnu spot a shinny tonsured head! They are now going to be referred as bold and bald head boys for couple of weeks!

Getting back to today's recipe, let me warn you upfront that, coming days you will be seeing some soups taking the center place in my blog. I had always wondered why I never got around featuring Soups. which is missing from my Recipe Index! Yes, as I have said, I am not really a very keen soup person. But I decided I am going to address that and so you will be seeing handful of soups parading over here. I have few delicious soups tucked away and have tried many in those bygone days. But then thinking of making soups and then having it included in regular dinner, makes it such a lengthy process. So had always kept it for another day to come. Now that's become the schedule!

Those days when I was making soups, I used to enjoy the time spent with Amma. We used to make together. So when I decided that I am going to make those soups again, I asked Amma to make them for me, as I was not able to get back home on time during nights. This delicious cabbage soup was entirely Amma's own concoction and she was hesitant if I would like it or not. But believe me, it was simply so yummy that I have already made this again couple of times. Cabbage, as you know, is very good for health. Consuming a bowl of raw or half cooked cabbage helps you in losing weight, apart from so many beneficial factors.

Ingredients Needed:

Cabbage - 150 gms
Onions - 1 medium
Garlic - 3 - 4 medium sized pods
Salt to taste
Pepper as per taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Maida / All purpose flour - 1 tsp (opt)
Butter - 2 drops (opt)
Milk - 3 tbsp

Method to prepare:

Wash and chop cabbage roughly. Chop Onions and Garlic. Keep aside.

Heat a pressure cooker with oil. Roast the chopped Onions till they are pink. If you are using All purpose flour, then roast once the onions are done.Then add the cabbage and roast for 2 mins.

Then add 1 cup of water and pressure cook the roasted vegetables. Pressure cook for 1 whistle and allow it to cool.

Once cooled, grind to a smooth paste. Sieve and run for a smooth paste. Add water as per consistency.

Cook without lid, add salt, pepper. Simmer and add milk. Cook for 1 min. Bring to boil or till you get the required thickness.

I have done without adding APF and butter, there is not much difference in taste. It was yummy this way too. I simply couldn't believe it was a soup with Cabbage!

It was filling on its own, but I also had a serving toasted Brown bread for some!

This is off to Divya for her event on Diet Food.

Its also for Lisa at Lisa's Kitchen for October's No Croutons Required featuring Vegetarian Soups

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Microwave Easy Cooking with Chocolate - Round Up!

Finally after a long delay I am here with the round up of Microwave Cooking with Chocolate. Different things kept this round up at bay. I am happy that I am finally able to do this. Again we have some wonderful dishes out from Microwave. Unfortunately I wasn't able make anything, but then there are so many dishes that I feel happy!

I finally thought I should invite fellow bloggers to help me host this event. So contact me if you are interested to host this event. I know this isn't the most easy event but still hey we have a load of dishes coming out from this. Those interested, please mail me at You have the liberty to decide on the theme and you can use the same logo.

Check out the Microwave Cooking Event Announcement for more details

Anjali gets an urge to make something new and so comes into existence the Chocolate Coconut Barfi.

Coconut Barfi is yum, and to top it with chocolate, thats ultimate!

If this is mediocre cake decorating, I don't how beautiful cakes will be from Aparna. She says these are easy to eat.
All it needs is to peel them off and just eat!

These yummy brownies from Divya is made in Microwave are tasty and perfect in texture.

And of course who will say no to something so sinfully delicious that gets done in 10 mins.

This beautiful strawberry dipped in chocolates are sure to tempt anyone. And Usha says she never used Microwave for anything else till now than for reheating.

So its a delicious way to start the journey with chocolate delights!

Now who won't be fond of something thats silky, soothing, and scrumptious. Well Cham is referring to Chocolates, especially dark ones.

So that prompts her to make Dark chocolate blended with fruits & nuts.

I am fond of Gulab Jamuns and if its glazed with chocolate, what more can you ask?

Thats what Priya does and no doubt also they vanish immediately.

Divya knows how to tempt me. Nevertheless I am stern not to succumb to her lovely choco chip cake.

Now imagine how wonderful it will be bitting on a chip in every other morsel of sinfully delicious cake!

There is always a never ending praises for oats and when its combined with chocolate, well I don't have to say how irresistible it becomes.

Thats exactly what Jayasree tries for her guest, who I know would've enjoyed every bit of this!
Kamalika always wants to try out baked dishes if they are from microwave and this one caught her attention.

Well I know how delicious these chocolate brownies are.
These lovely nut chocolates are something nobody can resist. And Lakshmi says these can be made in a jiffy!

Looking at the picture, you might wonder its show! Well you are wrong, for its lovely coconut dusted over a chocolate cake, that Lakshmi makes it look so pretty!


Thank you for sending in and looking forward to the next theme!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Moong Dal Payasam (Pesara Pappu Payasam) ~ Ayuda Pooja Celebrations!

Hearty Ayuda Pooja Wishes to all my dear readers!

Ayuda Pooja always brings in so many wonderful memories. Every year its the same rituals that are followed at home. I remember those many Ayuda Poojas spent during childhood at home. Its the same every year, Amma would have the house cleaned, along with the electrical appliances, and then you can see her marching with a bowl of Kunkum and Sandan, to adore each of them. And I will find Dad going behind her and clean them off neatly. Then Dad will get on saying why should you apply these kunkum over these appliances, they for sure get stained! Later years, he used to ask me do the cleaning job. Then I used to tell Amma to put on places where it won't stain. Still the entire drama used to be fun to watch. While Amma used to be busy with her pooja at home, Dad, Sri and me, would go get the Car and Bikes ready. All would be washed again and adored with flowers and yes, applied kunkum and sandan!

Check out our last year Ayuda pooja celebrations.

After praying to the Sun God and doing arthi, the coconuts are broken along with the pumpkins and lemon. The guy who does the pooja, will then go around the car and bikes with each of them. The lemons are kept under each tyre and once the pooja is done, we got to run over the lemon and go for a round. The lemon would invariably slip and we would've to look around for it! What fun! After marriage, hubby dear joined the fanfare and it used be another rounds of same rituals and ceremonies!

This year it was no different, only we didn't actually get to do it ourselves. Though we had everything ready, our boys decided they wanted to be carried. Konda was busy playing with her friends. Parents joined us along with Sri and his family. We had both Konda's and my niece's cycles, also adorned with flowers and occupying the center spot! Yellow and Pink, both looked so pretty and beautiful. Thats my niece's shadow, she was jumping with jubilation!

The prasad for Ayuda pooja, is usually two types of puffed rice along with jaggary and Fried gram, along with fruits. As for the lunch today, we kept it simple as kids didn't allow us much space. So made only pesara pappu payasam for offering. Its a delicious one. We also make, Senaga pappu payasam, though moong dal has a different taste all together.

Moong Dal Payasam ~ Pesara Pappu Payasam.

Ingredients Needed:

Split Moong Dal / Pesara Pappu - 1 cup
Jaggary - 1 cup
Cardamom - a pinch
Roasted Cashew and Raisins - for garnish
Grated Fresh coconut - 1 tsp
Poppy Seeds - 1 tsp
Ghee - 2 tbsp

Method to prepare:

Heat a pan with ghee and roast the moong dal. Allow it to cool. Then roast the cashew nuts, raisin, keep aside.

Meanwhile, melt the jaggary with little water and remove scum.

Take the roasted moong dal in a pressure cooker. Then add melted jaggary to the dal along with poppy seeds, cardamom and if liquid is not enough , add water thats enough to cover the dal. Pressure cook for 1 to 2 whistles or till cooked.

Once cooked, remove the lid and again cook till you get a smooth consistency, add the grated coconut and roasted nuts. Add the remaining ghee.

Serve hot. or if you prefer it cold.

You can use sugar but since jaggary is more good for health, this is always is preferred.

Enjoy your festival moment with a bowl of sweet Moong Dal payasam.

This is my entry to JFI: Festival Treats, I am hosting this month.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Mega Curry Mela Round Up ~ Part 4!

Life seems to be void of any music off late! Not that we aren't dancing to the tunes of our kids, I am referring to the Music as in listening to songs or watching movies. For me, music means those soulful songs that were sung by Kishore, typically those old classic hits. It was almost like he sang those just for me, for my imagined pathos in life. I wonder why life is so ironical. When you have no pathos in life, you get to hear all those soulful songs and cry a bucketful, for no cause or reason. But when it is actually so, you hardly get time to even stand still for a moment, let alone listening to numbers, which gets your sore soul elated!

But yesterday I happened to listen to one of those songs, that instantly has your spirits up. It was Aadha Hai Chandrama from Navrang. Though I am particularly fond of Kishore Kumar's songs, I am generally in love with all those old classics. Maybe it has to do with my Dad being fond of old classic Hindi songs and I grew up on that. Dad has this habit of suddenly remembering a song and gets me to find him that song. This time, the best thing I did was search net and got this on Youtube. He is so very fond of another number from Shera. I am yet to get that one downloaded. But this song, magically transported me to those many late nights, spent listening to these soulful songs in a dim lit room, for an effect! Thinking of those days of wonderful childhood, leaves you gasping, longing for those moments back. All my young days were spent trying to emulate my Dad and married life, emulating my mom. I ardently hope, I have atleast some qualities that my kids feel worthy to think back!

Anyway, enough of my single minded bantering, its time for the final part of the exciting Curry Mela. I was so two minded on these lovely entries. Should I put them together or combine them with the rest. But I decided that the best way to show my appreciation to the contributions these wonderful bloggers did to Curry Mela, would be to put it together in a single post.

So here comes the Multiple entries with so many exciting and interesting entries. An update on the total entries, its actually 350 entries now. This final edition showcases entries from bloggers who have sent in 10 or more. We have 32 entries from Priyanka, 11 from Divya Vikram, 10 from Aartee, Lakshmi of Taste of Mysore, Srilekha, including 70 from me.

I was actually stumbled to write on the individual entry as they were one too many!


I couldn't really believe Priyanka started blogging just some 6 months back. In such short span, she has managed to create a beautiful place for herself. Very talented blogger, she has other interesting talents to add on to food blogging. Managing her arts, taking care of a 1 yr old, she manages to cook beautiful food with so many varieties. I actually couldn't point out which was more interesting. When you land in her place, you get the fast pace she has, through her post.

If I have to talk about one post I liked over the rest, was her Mughlai Paneer. A busy day finds Priyanka hard pressed for dishing out the lunch plans she had. And hubby dear comes to rescue and she accounts her own creation of a Mughlai Paneer to save the day! Creatively pours in many forms I must say!

Now lets have an overdose of Priyanka's other Vegetarian dishes and I warn you, each of those will leave you craving for more. I really wonder how she takes time to make new ones so frequently! Not to mention her lovely paintings and others, its really nice that she does a great looking cooking too!

Priyanka is one blogger, without whom this curry mela would not have reached so many numbers. Sweet lady that she is, she sent me without hesitation all her wonderful curries! And my, that enthu she conveys through her post is infectious...after reading them, I feel I am geared up to race again!

Do check out her lovely veggie curries and her awesome non veg curries. You won't believe, she seems to have tried one chicken variety from all states. You can find authentic pubjabi chicken to andhra kodi gasi, not to mention those kormas...

Sorry Priyanka, I so wanted to comment on each, but there were so many, I thought it will be great to have all of them in one place! Thank you very much for your many entries and support!

Next set of entries comes another young lady, hardly out of her teens! Well Divya Vikram, my dear ninja friend didn't let me down and you can't believe she can dish out so many recipes everyday! She sent me all her curries on list. And I was left drooling at each picture not knowing which one was more delicious. Be is all those Kuzhambus, or those yummy curries with channa, mattar or black eyed, or with other veggies, you name it, she has it for you!

All her pictures are delicious to feast but the one that caught my eye is her Channa Masala. Maybe because of nostalgic reasons. Divya tries this delicious looking channa masala for the first and wasn't disappointed. So we know how yummy it must've been. She likes it with poori and bread. Yea I remember eating it with bread too!..

Not to be left out without a non veg dish, she sends in her Chicken Chalna. I know where my next chalna is going to come from!


From Nalabagham, comes Aartee with her set of curries, each with a tale of its own. Be it this exciting curry which came about because Aartee had couple of things on hand like baby corn and soya and quickly comes up with this great looking dish. Guess what we are happy she had those on hand!

Or the couple of dishes that Aartee prepares with Ridge gourd, which are easy to prepare and quick to finish too. I personally like it better with dal but I have never really known this to be cooked with Lime!

Not to mention her non veg entries which gets about some delicious ones. Aartee getting tired with making the same old recipe, tries out a variation and gets laurels from her hubby. Now there is nothing more than getting approval on your dish right!

If you are bored with the chicken, you have the egg curry. Aartee makes her favorite dish from her childhood. Egg curry for sure is something all of us resort to, when the need strikes for a quick yet tasty one. And Aartee no doubt looks great!

In the hurry don't forget to check out her other chicken dishes or her seafood spread! And after reading through all Aartee's posts, I know she has a great friend named Bindiya. The way Aatee praises her cooking skills, sure makes me want to meet her.


Lakshimi of Taste of Mysore, tries to recreate the taste of different parts of Karnataka. Imagine, I am dumbstruck at the different cuisines we have in general, and here she goes talking about different way of cooking in one state!!!...And you must read the sweet tale of how we Indians complicate our lives!

While you are at it, check out her other lovely dishes! Be it the authentic Stuffed Brinjals or the famous Majjige Huli or the famed gojjus, she has it all!

Sowmya Tripurant does a guest post in Lakshmi's Cooking Station blog. And what a delicious dish she has to share. Its none other than our crowd pleaser Aloo Dum!

Next comes another lovely set of curries from Srilekha. She sends all her curries with gusto for the Curry Mela. Be sure to check out all her curries in one place!

Be it the Mutton varieties or the veg curries, she has got them in one place!

Finally from me, my set of gravies

Thank you everybody for your wonderful contribution. I hope I haven't missed any entry, do let me know if so, will update the post!

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