Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fresh Black Eyed Beans with Cluster Bean Chutney ~ Mutikaya Alasanda Mirapa Thokku!

Ok now that we have a bag full of fresh black eyed beans, I asked Athamma for different recipes that she remembers from her childhood. I guess all it took was that question, I could immediately see Athamma reminiscing about her childhood days when her Mom used to prepare this thokku, which was liked and much in demand. Since this uses fresh alasanda, it was mostly prepared during this time. She said she still remembers running up and down the stairs along with her brothers, while her mom used to stuff this with Jonna Rotti and drop it as a ball for the kids to catch it! How really sweet!


I called her in the afternoon and asked what was the dinner plan, she said she was going to make this. I was really intrigued with the texture and the taste and I am sure my hubby dear remembered eating this at his grandma's place. This is so typically rustic Andhra, that it takes one a while to get used to the taste and feel. But am sure one you get to taste it again, you get hooked.



Those days it was mostly ground using the grinding stone, so you always know when to add which and the consistency of the ingredients. But with that stone no longer a part of our kitchen gadget, I feel we sorely miss it. The food processor or the mixer doesn't do much justice to those good old stones!

Ingredients Needed:

Cluster Beans - 100 gms
Fresh Black Eyed Beans - 100 gms
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Green Chilies - 4 -6 longs
Onions - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Garlic - 2 cloves
Turmeric powder a pinch
Fresh coconut - 2 tsp
Fresh/ Roasted Groundnut - handful
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves few
Oil - 2 tsp
Water - 1 cup

Method to prepare

First grind green chillies, onions, garlic, coriander leaves along with coriander powder roughly.

Then add the coconut and ground nuts and again run for a minute. It should not be a smooth but still not very coarse.

In a pan take water, add oil and the ground paste along with Black Eyed beans, chopped tomatoes, turmeric and salt. Bring this to boil.

Cook it under sim, till you get a thick consistency.

You will need to feel the chunky cluster beans with Alasanadallu in between, then its really awesome!

Another entry for My legume Love affair, hosted on my blog, an event started by Susan!


Check out my instant Paneer Cheese Rolls
that I made for Kids, which is my entry for this month's MEC event on Paneer!

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Lunch Box Series : LBS#43

Well the way our streets are adorned with big heaps of cauliflower, it is but natural that you find yourself indulging in a Cauliflower mania! Typically this season, we find ourselves cooking or eating Cauliflower parathas, Pakodas, Cauliflower Sukhi, Cauliflower Subji, Masala etc. The list is endless, unless of course, somebody has actually made a halwa or a cake with a cauliflower! I am not surprised though. Anyway, you won't find me attempting that for sure. Athamma, as I was saying the other day, insisted that we take advantage of the bounty seen on the roads. And one fine day, got a big flower herself. This happened couple of days before we decided on the trip. These days Athamma has taken on herself to visit the local market. Initial she used take Konda along with her during Konda's hols. But I think she has mustered enough courage to cross the language barrier and just manage to pick up anything and everything she feels like.

So I ended up making subji twice and something else. In end I still found some florets lying in the fridge. I thought four days shouldn't affect it really. Well it didn't, it was still as fresh as how I put it in. For want of better lunch box ideas, I was thinking what I was going to make as the side dish for the Okra Sambar I planned. The beautiful florets came to mind. It was literally calling me ok, pleading infact for ignoring it for so long. I decided I was going to make a Sukhi with it as a side for the dal. Come what may as a reaction from hubby, I decided to go ahead.


Today's Lunch Box had

Lady's finger Sambar
Dry Spiced Cauliflower ~ Sukhi Gobi with Roasted groundnut powder
Plain Rice
Curd Rice



Since Aquadaze sent a mail with her event on nuts focused on peanuts, I was keen on sending something as I am so fond of these. So this sukhi was seasoned with roasted groundnut powder, which gave such a sublime taste to the cauliflower, I couldn't believe it was possible. I called up hubby and asked if he liked, he said he did. Best was my colleagues liked it very much and were lamenting that I didn't get enough. This is surely something I am going to be making more often!

Dry Spiced Cauliflower ~ Sukhi Gobi with Roasted groundnut powder.

Cauliflower florets - 250 gms
Onion - 1 medium
Chili powder - 1/ 2 tsp
Coriander - 1/4 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric a pinch
Mustard seeds - a pinch
Curry leaves- 4-5 leaves
Groundnut powder - 2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Wash cauliflower and soak in salted hot water for 10 mins. let it drain.

Heat a kadai with oil, splutter mustard seeds along with curry leaves. Then sauté onions till they are brown.

Add the drained cauliflower, sprinkle the turmeric and salt. Cover with a lid and simmer for 5- 6 mins.

Then add the chili, coriander and garam masala. Stir well and again simmer for 5 mins. Let the steam get back in, so that the florets get cooked in the process.

Finally add the groundnut powder and mix well. Let it cook for 2-3 mins.

I am sending this yummy cauliflower with peanuts to Aquadaze's Lets go Nuts event!

And to My legume Love affair, hosted on my blog, an event started by Susan!

Finally to Sunshinemom's FIC, this month being Yellow. I hope she believes this is yellow..:)

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fresh Black Eyed Peas Kurma!

The roads never seem to end, the journey even more. It was the first time we embarked on a road trip in car for nine long hours. Hubby dear was very adventurous when he said we will visit his sister's place for the long weekend. It was not planned, I guess that made it even more exciting and interesting. The chances of it being not taken was remotely less and it gave less time for Athamma to say no for a long drive in. But seriously I enjoyed! We didn't feel the distance until the last 100 kms or so. It was beautiful driving past the green lands, with crops all ready for harvest. We drove past many villages and towns. The best was the lonely land, where to an eye's distance there was nothing but we and the beautiful land! If only we could live in such a beautiful green place!

Since it was a long journey, I was fully prepared with the kids favorite snacks and I kept them engaged with one snack after the other. Else I knew they would have wanted to sit on their father's lap, the moment they get in the car as normally they do. They slept for a while but most times, they were thrilled seeing the cows and sheep on the roads. Though I had the breakfast and lunch packed, we stopped at a motel for breakfast. All motels seems to have play things for kids to entertain them. When breakfast was done, the kids refused to leave the place. We somehow managed to get them back and only stopped again for the lunch. The spot was a beautiful no man's place with lush tamarind trees on both sides and it also had a rock bench. We spread our things and had a quick lunch. Athamma disappeared for a moment to be back with a load of fresh tamarind. She made a yummy looking chutney with it back home.

We reached my sil's place by late afternoon and it took a while for the twins to get used to the place. Since Konda had already been to their home and moreover she is never so shy. Once the boys got to know their surroundings, they enjoyed max! My other sil also came along with her kids. So as I always tease hubby, it was one big family reunion! Only missing part was the song that they never finalized! I am sure Athamma enjoyed seeing her daughters and grandchildren in one place. Though I was resisting the urge, the delicious array of dishes that my sils prepared were not something that could be ignored. They ensured they made all our favorite ones. Right from the tempting Uggani to Mirapakaya Bajji, going to the lengthy Sunday special, everything was a treat!

These fresh black eyed peas are a treat to taste buds. And these were available in plenty. We got a big bunch and shelled them out. The simple kurma that we made with it back home was very tasty and brought back many wonderful childhood memories!

Ingredients needed:

Fresh Black Eyed Peas - 250 gms
Onions - 1 medium
Tomatoes - 1 medium
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Coconut paste - 1 tsp
Roasted Groundnut powder - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - few
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp

Seasonings
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves

Method to prepare:

Heat a pressure cooker pan with oil, splutter mustard seeds and curry leaves. Then sauté Onions till they start to turn brown. They add the ginger garlic paste. Fry for a min.

Then add the chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric and simmer for 5 mins. Then add all the spice powders. Sauté well. Add the shelled black eyed beans. Sauté for 2 mins.


Add the coconut paste, 1 cup of and pressure cook for 1 whistle or till the beans are cooked. Since these are fresh beans, it won't take much time to get cooked. So keep an eye on them, else you will have a mashed peas on hand!

Once the pressure is off, remove the lid and bring the gravy to boil again if its watery. Add the groundnut powder and simmer for 1 min.

The taste of the roasted groundnut in the kurma makes lot of difference!

This joins the party of the seventh helping of My legume Love affair, hosted on my blog, an event started by Susan! Hope you have your entries ready!

And Alka celebrates her blog anniversary in style! She has a cute event called Just for you! This post being just for me, rather my childhood memories spun around this wonder beans. I hope this twist is fine with her! I am planning to send some more, in turn pleasing my folks, but lets first start with self!

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mutton Biryani ~ Weekend Cooking!

As I stepped into the room, I was hit by the aroma of the freshly roasted peanut. It is not something one can miss even if it was the middle of the day, forgot it being the night. What you smell is not related to what you feel, but when it was almost midnight, your senses are more acute, the smell was so distinct that you can feel it washing all over you. Maybe the fact that the house was silent and I was more tuned to the smell that was wandering around I just roasted a batch of groundnuts, to be handy for the chutneys down the week. Its been a while since I roasted any.

Kids had gone to bed by then, while hubby dear was watching the tele, he wanted me to watch that program about Uganda. Though the program was compelling, the roasting was even more! All I could remember while roasting was, all those days back, when I was doing it at Parents home! Groundnuts are a staple at home. And I don't think I have met anybody else who can roast so perfectly as Amma does. The voices from the memory haunts me, and I can hear Amma calling me to come to the kitchen. Though we practically grew up on them, our love never daunts. Even more for Dad, as they had lands where they grew groundnuts. Freshly roasted groundnuts right from the stove, is Dad's favorite. I almost curbed the urge to call them, to tell that I am roasted peanuts. I can imagine the look that hubby dear will have!


Anyway, this mutton biryani has nothing to do with peanuts. It being a Sunday, I wanted to make a biryani. I called up the Aunty who gave me the Mutton Paya recipe. She wasn't in town and was expected on the day. But I couldn't reach her on time for me to prepare the biryani. That's when I decided that I should take a chance and go on my instinct to prepare my own biryani. The entire recipe was just cooked on instinct, will surely prepare it many more times. The verdict for both the Mutton Biryani and Mutton pepper fry was excellent. So naturally will be making it few more times.

Ingredients Needed:

Mutton - 500 gms
Basmati Rice - 2 & 1/2 cups
Onion julienne - 1 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 2"
Javatri / Mace - 1
Bay Leaf - 1
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cardamom - 2
Green Chillies - 2 long
Red Chili powder - 1 tsp
Mint leaves - handful
Coriander leaves - handful
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Ghee - 4 - 6 tsp
Water - 2 cups

For the paste:

Shallot Onions - 50 gms
Onion - 1 small
Green chili - 1 long
Ginger - 2 "
Garlic - 6-7 flakes

Method to prepare:

Wash and soak basmati rice for 15 mins

Wash and drain the mutton.

Grind the ingredients together for the paste, keep it aside. Chop onions as julienne.

Heat a pressure cooker with oil and 3 tsp of ghee. First add all the spices, sauté for a min. Once the cumin starts spluttering, add the onion julienne along with slit green chillies. Sauté till the onions start browning. Add the ground paste. Fry till it's done and oil comes out.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and chili powder, turmeric pwd, and simmer till the tomatoes are soft. Next  add the salt, mint leaves, coriander leaves, Cover with the lid and cook till the tomatoes are soft. Then add the drained mutton. Cook in high while you are stirring it. Then add enough water to cover and pressure cook it for 5 whistles or till the meat is done.

Update: The amount of water added is just enough to cover the mutton. Infact you can pressure cook without adding as mutton will leave out water after pressure cook. If you are unsure, maybe you can add 1/4 cup of water.

Once the pressure is off, remove the lid, cook till the water content is reduced and the mutton is well coated with the masala. The consistency should be a like thick masala coated mutton pieces.

Then add the rice and sauté well. Then add 2 cups of water, remaining ghee, mix well and cover again and pressure cook for 3 whistles.

Note: I added water on instinct. Like for basmati rice to get cooked, yet be separate grains, with 1 cup water to 1 cup rice, you need to sauté it well and do a dum cooking. Only then it gets done correctly. Else it will turn out very soft.

I didn't measure the water for cooking the meat, then I reduced it to half. Finally added about 2 cups of water after adding the rice. I used the stock that was left out from the boiling the meat for the fry. I am not sure if there will be lot of change in the taste if you don't add it.

Other notes that I made note is, I use wash the pan after cooking the meat. When I directly added the rice and pressure cooked again, it was little browned on the bottom. Either this or I could have just cooked the rice in dum as the meat was well cooked.

Most important is, you should be liberal with oil/ghee. This is a special dish and should not be minced on the oil/ ghee. Next time will surely add more so that you really get the restaurant effect.!

I was very happy that my own creation resulted in a delicious tasting biryani and is surely something I am going to improvise on!

We are off for a weekend visit to my sil's place. Will update with their yummy treats soon!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Sambar Rice ~ Sankranti Special!

Waves were hitting the shores, wave after wave, calling me to touch. But I didn't budge from my spot. Every other minute, I was closing my eyes, just feeling the breeze that was caressing me with the salty drizzles from the salty water. I was gazing at my family standing on the beach. With each wave hitting them, Konda and Peddu were jumping. All my life, I have been crazy about beach and playing in it. I have lived most of my life in this city but I was never too satisfied with the times I visited it. Surprisingly now, I am not able to get myself get into the water. Its like, the moment I do, I know I won't want to get away, and I don't want that luxury! I rather enjoy watching my family playing in the waters.

I took a day off on the Mattu Pongal, the day after the main pooja, because everybody were at home. We didn't do much this pongal as the regular work load was too much to manage as such. On Sankranti day, Athamma didn't want to let go without a special dish, so she got up early and had things ready for Poli, then I helped her complete. The next day when all of us were at home, I thought breakfast should be special. Uggani, though a very common breakfast at my inlaws place, is still special and all of us like it so much! Kids enjoyed it much. For the lunch I thought it should be something new, but the kids were insistent that they go for a trip round the city. So we just got in and were surprised that the roads were practically empty. As they say, all roads here take us to the beach! We found ourselves on the beach. Though we always frequent other stretch, we went to the Marina this time, its such a long walk to reach the shore.



It was almost a year since we took the kids to the beach. Last time, Chinnu was scared, this time, he ran forward to get in. But after a while, he slowly reclined. While Peddu and Konda were jubilant. I wish I had taken the camera, it would've made such a lovely shot! But the pictures in my mind will always be fresh. The beach was almost empty and there weren't many on either side of my family. I can still see all five of them standing, holding their hands, the kids giggling when the waves hit them! Every other minute, one of them would turn and look at me with a joy, that's unforgettably sweet! I know my parents would've enjoyed that trip with the kids and I was missing them so much. After a while, Chinnu wanted to sit and both father and son were cuddling together, while others were playing. Then Athamma took turns to sit, and Chinnu jumped to her lap. It was like the ocean wanted us to feel it, they had to hurriedly get up, when a big wave made to them and they were drenched completely. It almost reached me. We took that as the signal to leave and somehow convinced the kids back. Peddu all wet, won't budge from the spot, I literally had to carry him away, promising him a trip soon.

I updated Amma on the unexpected trip, and she was very happy. It was quite late when we got back home. Hubby dear suggested I make just rasam and rice. I said the Sambar rice that I had in mind wouldn't take much either.

I used a different Sambar powder than the one I blogged in this, its more like Bisi Bele bath, but without much of those spices that go in to make. With not much of grinding work, this gets done very quick and makes it an ideal dish for lunch box too.

Ingredients Needed:

Rice - 1 cup
Toor Dal - 1/2 cup
Clove - 1
Cinnamon - 1"
Maratti mogga - 1
Tomatoes - 2 small
Chopped Vegetables - 1 cup (Beans, Carrot, Potatoes and peas)
Tamarind -1 lemon size, soaked and extracted
Turmeric powder a pinch
Asafetida a pinch
Sambar powder - 1 & 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water - 5 cups

Seasoning
Curry leaves - abt 6
Shallot/ Sambar Onions - 5-6
Mustard seeds, Urad dal - 1 tsp
Cashew nuts

Method to prepare:

Wash and add water about 2 times more of the dal, along with turmeric and hing. Pressure cook till the dal is cooked. Except rice and tamarind water, add the chopped vegetables, spices, salt along with 5 cups of water..

Cover the pan with the lid without the whistle, so that it starts boiling. Then add the rice and simmer for 5 mins. Then add the extracted tamarind water and cook with lid covered. Pressure cook it for 3 whistles.

Once the pressure is off, heat a pan with ghee and splutter mustard seeds, then sauté onions, curry leaves. Then add the cashew nuts.

Pour this ghee over the sambar rice.

This goes well with appalam or papad with some poriyal if you have time.

I was supposed to post this on the same day, but looks like I have other things in store! But then better late than never. I really don't want to miss out this recipe, which was really classic.

Our Sankranti went off in a wink, how was your celebration?

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kadamba Sundal ~ A protein packed Salad!

Growing up our family was never a salad family. For that matter, even my in-laws are not. Good healthy food always meant Biryani, Malai Koftas etc. at home. There was never a question of anybody wanting to diet or skipping meals because one meal was rich! If I am to remember well, none in my vicinity were conscious of eating Salads as a way to healthy meals! But turn around yourself, you hear people talking about salad. I really wonder why. Is it the latest fad! Infact I don't know what a salad is called in telugu. In Tamil, of course we use an equivalent term 'Sundal' to mean Salad, but sundal mostly denotes Chickpea Sundal that is made during the Navaratri.

At home when you are referring to salad, it mostly meant Onions, Fresh Cucumber, Carrot and Tomatoes. Well these may not actually cover the entire range, you could say, you are right! But for us it meant only these. Just think about it. When one has to cook Biryanis followed with all those items that make a full course of meal and laid a spread for the guests, these salads would be preferred? Or for that matter we would go to the extent of spending more time in prepping the vegetables, only to be stored away for later usage. Believe me, that's what happened the few times I spent hours on making a beautiful salad preparation, only to store it away for next day cooking. Nobody touched it! Of course, everybody appreciated and commended my artistic hand in making a salad look so beautiful. That my friend is the sad story of a salad that never got prepared much on a high scale for a party.

When one talks about salad, one cannot but think about dressing. Now that becomes even more tough! I have a big book with salad recipes and most talk about dressing which never appeals to my taste! And when it refers to Indian salads, they are invariably douched with lemon! Gosh I somehow can not palate a fresh lemon juice these days. I find that very shocking as I remember munching on lemon wedges when I was in my teens. Does one's taste preference change so much? Recently when our office cook wanted to make a sprouted salads, my colleague suggested lemon to be squeezed on top finally. I strongly protested. Knowing my south indian preference, I suggested they don't strangle the poor lemon. People can do it themselves if they want, I said. Being over enthusiastic the cook had many a lemon chopped into wedges and served. The big bowl of salads disappeared in no time, sadly the lemon wedges had to be stored away!

Until I find a dressing that's suitable to my palate, let me just do this the warm way with just seasoning with basic ingredients!

Kadambam means an assortment of flowers tied together in flower terminology. And this Kadamba Sundal is made with an assortment of lentils, legumes and nuts. The flovour each bean gives is exquisite! I don't think you have a distinct recipe for this Sundal, you can just about do a mix and match according to your taste!


Ingredients Needed:

Kabuli Channa /Chickpea - 1/2 cup
Brown Channa - 1/2 cup
Dried Peas, Mochai, Peanuts, Moong dal, Black eyed pea - fistful
Blanced Almonds - 5

Seasonings

Mustard seeds, Urad dal - 1 tsp
Channa dal - 1/2 tsp
Green Chilis - 1
Red Chilis - 2
Curry leaves - 5 - 6
Coriander leaves for garnish
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:

Since the cooking time is different for each lentil, pressure cook each of them separately. Let it drain. Chop the blanched almonds, keep aside.

Heat a pan with oil, season it with mustard seeds, channa dal, urad dal, chopped green chilies and red chilies. Saute for 2 mins.

Then add the drained legumes to the pan and season it with salt. Simmer for 2 mins and remove.

My entry to the My Legume Love affair started by Susan and hosted by me this month.

This is also my entry for JFI: Chickpea hosted by MS, an event started by Indira of Mahanandi.


We went to the open festival, do check out the details!


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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Being more organised with Menu Planners!

Being more organized helps a lot. As I said in the beginning, when we are harried we resort to planning the menu for the week and mostly try to stick to it. Of course ,there are always a time when we might skip certain items because it was not available or something else came up! But most of the time, I plan to stick to my menu. It gives me a great relief to know that I have an idea what to cook.

Many of you have always asked me how I manage to do so many things with such short time. Though I cannot claim I am able to do all of them myself, as I rely so much on my family to help me manage the tasks. One of the important things that always helped me is, having a planned menu. We arrive at this by sitting together and discussing what we want to do for the week. This hardly takes more than 15 mins for all three of us.

Daddy always tells us to note down everybody's favorite or must-do-a-week dishes and pin them up in kitchen. He says that will help during those times when we don't' know what to cook. And when my hubby's sister family visits, we always plan the menu for the entire time they are visiting and pin it up! Infact we even ask them what they would want. They don't mostly make some of the dishes that I do, so we reserve them for the occasion. Menu planner is a great way to handle during guests visiting!

These days its even more helpful as I ask Konda what she wants for lunch. I have created a Sample Menu planner and also shared what I had planned for this week. I will be updating it with our weekly plan. This only has what I make for the adults. I am planning to update a list with the kiddos lunch in the Spice your Life blog!

The first in the series of Kid's Lunch Box, check out Tadka dal that I made for the twins lunch box.

You can click the Sample Menu Planner

View My Menu Planner

Do check it out and let me know your thoughts. And do try it and see the difference!

If any of you want this Menu planner, drop me a mail!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lunch Box Series : LBS#42

Do you ever feel you cook with the same vegetables every week? Oh I feel that almost every other week. Its almost like there are no new vegetable in the market. Come December we find carts full of cauliflower overflowing. But somehow this time, hubby dear didn't get them. I really had to stress on this flower to be bought. Anyway one flower lasts us many times, so I clean them and store for next use. When I think of Cauliflower, I can't but wish for cauliflower manchurian and Amma's delicious dishes comes to mind. She makes so many varieties with this flower. Cauliflower was a frequent vegetable in her pantry. This reminds me, Dad had sent me their pictures, they have been entertaining a lot and he was telling me the number of dishes she had prepared. Their guests were in love with her cooking. Naturally, I thought. They were surprised that she could prepare so many varieties all by herself. I was only getting more j, knowing I couldn't get to taste them. Anyway I told Amma to click some pictures and share the authentic dishes she prepares.

Coming to Cauliflower, Athamma complains we never make anything with it. I decided to address it and prodded hubby dear to remember getting it. As I was thinking recently, I was really bored with the choice for our lunch. So something different with chapatis was what I planned, since I take only rotis for lunch. This is a simple subji that you can just go about making without much of a planned recipe. Very simple to make, yet tastes good for afternoon! I am happy I was able to update my Lunch Box recipe Series. Do share your lunch box ideas!

Gobi is the main vegetable in this, with just the aloo giving it a company, you can always make it on its own too!

Today's Lunch Box had

Gobi Aloo Subji
Pulkas
Cabbage Salad with fresh carrot
Papaya

Gobi Aloo Subji

Gobi / Cauliflower- 250 gms
Potatoes - 2 small
Onions - 1 big
Tomatoes 1 big
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Roasted Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Cashew and Almond powder - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves - some
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Water - 1 cup

Method to prepare:

Wash and clean cauliflower into florets. Soak it in hot water with salt to ensure its clean. Drain it over a colander.

Heat a pressure cooker with oil. Sauté onions till they are brown, while adding the ginger garlic paste just before to ensure both are well cooked. Add the cubed potatoes and combine everything.

Then add the tomatoes and salt. Simmer till the tomatoes are soft and potatoes are little done. Add all the masalas. Cook on high for 1 - 2 mins, while you are stirring. Once the masalas are well mixed with tomatoes, add the drained cauliflower. Mix well to coat it with the masalas. Add water and the cashew badam powder.

Cover with lid and pressure cook it for 3 whistles or till the vegetables are done.

Remove the lid when the pressure is off, add the finely chopped coriander leaves and bring to boil or cook till you have the correct consistency.

This goes great with chapatis.

I even made Cauliflower Pulao for lunch box, but in the hurry forgot to click pictures. Before the season is off, I am sure I am going to prepare it again for the post!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Events Hosted

Mela Roundups


Microwave Easy Cooking

Entire list of Microwave Easy cooking Round up
    Weekend Herb Blogging

    Jhiva November 2008: Festival Treats

    Monthly Mingle 31: Kid's Lunches

    Tried & Tasted : My Diverse Kitchen

    Best of the Year Event!

    Best of the Year 2011
    Best of the Year 2010
    Best of the Year 2009
    Best of the Year 2008
    Best of the Year 2009


    My Legume Love Affair

    MLLA 7 - Part 1
    MLLA 7 - Part 2
    MLLA 18 


    Check Microwave Easy Cooking for themes hosted by fellow bloggers


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      Tuesday, January 6, 2009

      Vegetable Dum Biryani ~ Weekend Cooking!

      Its back to grind from today! Konda's school reopened today, so we planned the menu ahead to manage the hectic Monday morning blues! Never knew how these last two weeks just flew. Even though we don't get up late, we can atleast start the day little relaxed. Anyway life is like that! I took off the Saturday and was at home to do last minute book wrapping for Konda, apart from few other things. Luckily I was able to do it on time. Hubby dear planned for a movie outing for Athamma and Konda. I picked up the twins from their school and they were so happy seeing me. When I offered to carry them, Peddu said they will walk. I am really amazed at the words he can say. Chinnu has not picked up so much as his brother.

      We came home, enjoying the trip back home. They had kept a Bikke in reserve for each and they munched on it on the way. Back home, they asked for their akka and then they remembered their Nanamma was not around. She is normally the one who picks them up. I think it struck them that their daddy will be around too. When I told them that they have gone for an outing, they looked puzzled. Anyway they carried on with their rotinue. We happily spent the next two hours playing and I managed to give them a bath and feed them too. I was happy about it, as Konda was quite apprehensive on whether we three will manage on our own. Sunday was very much the same, with me most of the time feeding the kids. Each session took about an hour or more, what none of them sitting in one place to eat. But it was so much fun, hearing them trying to express each word. While Peddu can say most words in telugu, he manages to say it in Tamil for the ones he doesn't know. Like he was searching for his pant, when he couldn't find it, he said "Kannam". I was laughing at his expression. And other time when I was feeding Chinnu, he was showing me something. When he couldn't find me, he called out "Amma", When Athamma also responded. He turned to her and shook his head and said , "Daddy Amma. ekkada" He nodes his head so cutely, that we keep asking him questions just to make him nod his head.



      I guess I managed to cover so much of my kids in one post! Anyway getting back to the recipe for the day, these two wonderful recipes which has been on my head for a while, finally came into existence.Since I was at home, I decided to cook something new. Everybody enjoyed the meal, best was the twins liking it. We absolutely loved the combo and I hope you try and enjoy it too!

      Dum Vegetable Biryani!

      Basmati Rice - 2 cups
      Onions - 2 medium
      Tomatoes - 2 medium
      Ginger Garlic paste - 3/4 tsp
      Green Chillies - 3 long
      Cloves - 2
      Cinnamon - 2"
      Cardamom - 2
      Star anise / Anaspuvu - 1
      Marati Mogga / Caper / Enugadanta - 2
      Javitri /Mace - 1
      Bay Leaf - 1
      Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
      Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
      Salt to taste
      Oil - 2 tsp
      Ghee - 2 tsp
      Mint leaves - Handful
      Coriander leaves few
      Carrot, Beans and Potato - 1 cup
      Red Food colour 1 pinch (opt)
      Water - 2 cups

      Method to prepare:

      Wash and soak Basmati Rice for 10 -15 mins in the water.

      Take a pan that has a lid, heat with oil and 1 tsp of ghee. Add all the whole spices, let it splutter. Then add onion juliennes, sauté for few minutes till they turn brown, then add the ginger garlic paste. Fry for 1 min.

      Once the onions are done, add the slit green chilies and finely chopped tomatoes. Simmer and cover with lid, cook till the tomatoes are well mashed. Check in between so that it doesn't get burnt.

      Then add in the cubed vegetables. Stir well so that all the masalas are well combined. Add chili powder and salt. Cover for 2 mins in high while you keep stirring, then add the chopped mint and coriander leaves. Cover and again cook in sim for 10 mins. The vegetables will be half done at this stage.

      Then drain the rice from water, add to the pan. Stir well so that rice is coated with the vegetables and spices. Add 2 cups of water, bring to boil. Add the remaining ghee. Sprinkle the dissolved food colour over the rice, for separate grains to be colored. This is purely optional. Simmer and cover with lid. Ensure the pan is well covered

      Its takes about 10 to 15 minutes to be fully cooked. Stir in interval very gently for everything to be mixed again.

      Notes:
      Since we are using only 1 cup water for 1 cup rice, this has to be cooked in dum. End of it, the vegetables are correctly done and the rice grains are really separated yet well cooked.

      The addition of all the spices lends a great taste to this biryani and should not be missed out. I am sure its easily available in most spice shops.

      It was very interesting to note that Jajikai and Javitri are from the same plant! I haven't used much of either in my cooking before, though I have been having these spices on hand for long. I have cooked with Nutmeg but never with Mace. The dum way of cooking this rice has the fragrance of all these spices imparting their individual flavours!

      With just a simple Onion Raitha and a crunchy Masala Potato Wedges, it was a simple yet a delicious meal!

      Have a great week ahead!

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      Saturday, January 3, 2009

      Best of the year 2008 ~ Recap!

      When I announced a recap of all the lovely blogs out there, I knew I was in for a treat. Yes each and every entry that came my way sure made me want to recreate those delicious dishes! And it also paved way for me to discover some lovely blogs! A big thanks to all the bloggers for taking time to send me their memories!





      Did you ever bother about what you eat between Christmas and the New Year? Man whatever the goodies that Alka has chosen for her recap sure will make a person go hungry for ever!..Her never ending list of delicious food that she has dished out sure makes me eager to know what her plans for the new year is!


      For Aparna, starting her blog in the 3rd quarter of the year, has still managed to log some lovely creations. She hopes to inspire some with her work, which I think is surely going to happen! Her list of recipes are surely tempting not to mention the Almond biscotti which looks classic. Her last post of the year surely leaves one with wanting to check out the new year creation!

      I was introduced to Arundhuti's beautiful blog when she sent in an entry for the mela. Since then I have always gone back to check out some interesting dishes coming from her. This list that she gives sure makes a great party hit! Hop on her place to read her sentiments on bidding this year with happiness!


      This blogger can click like a pro, though she hardly claims so. She has been on and off posting through the year, yet managed to post some classic ones. All her list look so tempting right off the screen! Bharathy, looking forward for some more classic hits from you in this new year!


      This blogger never misses to send me an entry, be it my MEC or any other event. And all her creations are so very delicious. This wonderful recap she had, sure made me feel good in trying to gather the memories! Cham, thanks for sharing!

      Divya Kudua is one person who never fails to appreciate my posts. I have seen her budding into a great cook. Though she claims she started serious cooking recently, her blog holds something else. Check out her beautiful collection of recipes from each month, they make you want to try them right away!


      Next entry comes from Homecooked, who does a quick recap. But do take time to check on her lovely and stunning cake that she did. I was drooling over it for many days!


      For Indrani, starting this blog just eight months back, sure has done a great job with the posts she does. She takes trip down her yummy stuff, to select her favorite on each month. I am sure you will love her choice of best picture. Her resolution is what I have planned too!


      Off on her to vacation, LG sure didn't' want to miss her recap of her lovely blog. She blogs on authentic dishes from Mysore, which sure makes one nostalgic. This post shares the celebration she had with family. What a lovely way to recollect!


      Littlem's resolution for 2008 was really fantastic. That only makes me look forward to what she plans for this year. Her past years outstanding dishes do make justice to one's senses! Check out her tempting pizza, which sure made me drool!


      I got to know Madhu more when she joined me for the running! What a marathon we had and yea she ensured she dished up one interesting one after the other. Her best of the year sure takes the cake!


      When I landed in Meeta's place, I was left breathless! Those lovely dishes in retrospect sure makes one want for more! Her photographs sure makes the food more beautiful. While she shares her favorite, I am sure many are looking forward to what she has to offer us in the new year!

      I couldn't believe it was only 10 months that Neha started her blog, when she had sent in her entry for MEC, I was struck at her statement saying it was her first. Now I see she has really penned down so many delicious treats, one can't but want all of them!


      Pallavi comes with a list of her visitors favorite that gets your attention not doubt. Of course her stats look even more impressive. And yes I was all ready to click on her best of every month. You sure will want to visit again to check them all!


      PJ shares her wonderful journey she had blogging away her favorites. She even says shes got a Chinese cookbook which she got though she can't read. Well PJ, looking forward to many interesting dishes from that book, while I did enjoy your collection very much!


      This lady sure makes me feel wanting to post more! While its only been a shocking 4 months that she started her blog, she has astounding number of recipes posted. Priya, we sure are looking forward to what else you can post and entertain us!


      Priyanka as usual comes with such an array of tempting food that you won't be disappointed. She not only shares her treats from past, she presents a new set of delicious keeper recipes! Do read on her story behind starting her wonderful blog and her picks for the new year!


      This recap from Raaga is perhaps the cutest of all, marking on her adventure in running marathons and trying to catch breath from it! Not to mention those many mentions the daily's seems to have on her blog! Well hop on to read the recap yourself.


      Ramya celebrates her blogs anniversary with a recap of whats been a great period. Check out her collection of goodies that sure will make you want to try them out!

      And this lovely treat from RC, is sure not be to be missed out. She clicks such lovely pictures, I am left drooling most of the time. She says she hasn't kept any resolution for the new year, that itself is something..:)

      For Renuka, things at home kept her from blogging on her memories of 2008 much. She wanted to share this wonderful recipe that she tried from her fellow blogger. I have heard so much about this Zebra cake, I am so much tempted to make it myself!


      We have another outstanding blog making its appearance from Germany. I simply loved what I saw in Sefa's blog. I really hope she will continue tempting us with her lovely pictures!


      Sindhura still in her college, has done a great job in keeping track of her culinary adventures. The line of dishes that she has prepared sure makes one feel very much at home. We sure are looking forward to many more of these yummy treats!

      My dear friend Siri comes with her memories of what 2008 saw in her blog. Its hard to believe that she started this to track her budding interest in cooking. Its now become a huge collection of exceptional ones! Check out her interesting recap of what the year has been!

      Smitha does one final act for the years recap. Whats best than thinking back on what has been a great adventure for blogging. Her highlights sure has some interesting ones for me to try!

      Never one to mince her words, she sure makes your come alive with her entertaining posts! I hardly ever glance at her recipes, always going up and down her post, loving every word she writes. On this occasion she brings you a live picture of things happening around her, while she so candidly recollects her wonderful year that it has been for her blogging. Looking forward to many such posts dear Sra!

      Sunshinemom sure knows where it ticks! This blogger far from being not so good at clicking, says she feared when none came to her blog. I guess she is now happy with the crowd pleasing stuffs she posts!..


      Blogging on authentic Andhra sure comes natural to Uma, no wonder most of her dishes feels its right from my kitchen. Its interesting to note that she has resolutions to bake more, as if the number of cakes she already tempted us with is not enough!


      Vaishali runs hard to make it on time. She needn't have worried. After all who would want to miss her lovely array of dishes that's made on the recap list! She dishes always makes me wonder how creatively she makes sure everything is vegan!

      Veda said she was busy shifting, well that's no issues, we still want to know whats been her best and favorite the year been! Right from starting with a blog that featured her crafts and food, she decided to have one for food alone, I am sure her readers enjoy her authentic blog more!

      This entry comes all the way from Hungary. And its a real pleasure getting to know this blog. Zozo sure knows how to click and make you drool over his pictures! The list that are in the recap looks so tempting and inviting!

      And finally from me, a sentiment during the end of the year! Hope I will be able to keep up to the expectations I have for myself for the new year!

      Thank you everybody! I have included all entries that have reached me, even some that didn't. But please do let me know if I have missed!

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      Thursday, January 1, 2009

      Announcing My Legume Love Affair, Seventh Helping!

      Well I am having a love affair..finally with the legume! This event, the brain child of The Well-Seasoned Cook Susan, is one of the popular online events happening. Being an Indian, I don't' have to emphasize on our legume love! It was indeed a pleasure when Susan dropped in a mail asking if I would be willing to host this. Though I was almost ready with another Mela, I thought I will start this New year with this wonderful event!

      Ok let me first get into what makes a legume, though many of you know and must have read about it a lot. I just wanted to be clear to myself first.

      A legume is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or a fruit of these specific plants. Well-known legumes include alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, lentils, lupins, mesquite, carob, and peanuts. Beans, lentils, peanuts, peas, and soybeans are some of the common legumes consumed by humans. Grain legumes are cultivated for their seeds, and are also called pulses. Grain legumes include beans, lentils, lupins, peas, and peanuts

      Though the French refer to any kind of vegetable when they mean légume, we are concentrating only on the pods.

      So you have a wide choice to choose!



      Also, the prize, The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook, is offered by Susan to one of the participants.

      Guidelines for participation

      Prepare any recipe with legumes as the star ingredient. Any cuisine, any course is acceptable as long as it features legumes. Non Vegetarian entries are allowed.

      You are welcome to submit multiple entries. but posts have to be in English.

      Post them in your blog between now and 31st Jan ’09. Please provide a link to this announcement and to Susan’s event page.

      Send a mail with MLLA in the subject line to cooking4allseasons@gmail.com with the following details.
      Your name
      Your blog name
      Name of the entry
      URL of your post
      An optional photo

      If you don’t have a blog but would like to participate, send an email with the recipe and the above-mentioned details.

      Older posts are accepted only if they are re-posted with a link to this announcement.
      Feel free to use the logo in your post.

      Lets begin our New Year with wonderful creations featuring this interesting ingredients. Looking forward to your enthusiastic participation!

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