Friday, April 30, 2010

How to make Urad Dal flour ~ Basic Indian Cooking!

After a week of resting and relaxing because of kids vacation, I am all geared for welcoming my nieces and nephew. We had already planned what I should be making during their stay. And they we get to hear that my nephew has prepared a list that he wants me to prepare. Well Hubby dear was trying hard to get hold of that list. Apparently he is shielded from being privy to the secret.

Another thing that kept me busy the last few days was the unbelievable reconnection with my old school friends. The feeling that came in while talking to each of them was unbelievable nostalgic. Did you ever believe those filmy shots that run in front of the character and thought it was funny? Well let me tell you, it was exactly the same way. The incidents that happened was literally flashing in front of me. It was like I was sitting in a mirrored room and things were happening outside and I was hearing voices inside my brain. This was apart from the actual voice that I was talking to.

Thanks to my friend K, for being the instrument to this whole reunion. I hardly believe most times that I have reached this far and to know that my childhood friends have kids entering into their teens! The last two days have been a roller costar ride, walking with a gaze at the memories that came rampart! With thoughts and events that were supposed to have been forgotten came forth forward. It is not everyday that you are lashed with nostalgic feelings that are so heavy to bear and a need to meet them all to revive your childhood. A childhood of  bitter sweet thoughts that will never come back, yet you want to relive all of them all over again.

Well I know I may go on and go, before that let me share the way I grind Urad dal flour. I made this while making Muruku and yes I am planning to make some similar snacks for my little guest when they are here.

Urad Dal flour | Whole Black Gram Lentil Flour

Whole Black Gram Lentil / Urad Dal - 2 cups

We get the dried skinned Urad dal that are used for making idlis, Vadas and Murukkus and most frequently used as seasonings.

Making this at home is so convenient for you to make so many dishes.

Pick the lentil. Heat a pan, dry roast the Urad dal with a spatula.


Roast till the Urad dal starts leaving aroma that is really heavenly.

Ensure you don't burn it but keep stirring that all sides get well roasted.

Transfer to a plate and spread it for it to become cool. Then grind it to a fine powder in a mixer.


Sieve well to get a fine powder.

This flour stays fresh for couple of weeks in room temperature. If stored in freezer, it may last longer though I haven't experimented it. You may store the flour in zip lock covers and store in the freezer.


Do share if you make this flour at home and what dishes you make with it!

I have used Urad dal flour in making Butter Murukkus

For other Basics that you will help in you Indian Cooking, check out the Indian Basics for cooking

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Peanut Murukku | Groundnut Murukku

There are always certain things that remind of your childhood. It is almost like you forgot them and landed in a different place so alien. When something happens and you suddenly remember all those days. You think where did all the years pass away! Something similar happened when Amma recently made this Peanut Murukkus for us. 

All those years ago, I remember us eating these on summer trips went along with our family friends. Aunty's mom used to make these without fail, along with Sesame Ariselu. Both these Groundnut Murukku, Thatta, Nugulu Ariselu were her signature dishes, that she used to make for her grandchildren. And I used to be part of that gang, who got treated to these delicious snacks. 


These kindled my memory so much that, I had to make these again. These didn't disappoint me nor did they sty for long enough for me to enjoy in leisure. Will be making these again as it is not so difficult as the rest.

For a detailed method to prepare Murukkus, please refer the Butter Murukkus that I made for Indian Cooking Challenge. Though the ingredients are different the process is the same. If you must know Murukkus are my favorite, so I really enjoyed the Sago Murukku that we made recently

Peanut Murukku - Groundnut Murukku

Ingredients Needed:

Rice flour - 1 cup
Roasted Peanut powder - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Red chili powder - 1 tsp

Oil for deep frying.

Method to prepare:

Roast the peanuts till done, skin them and powder to a fine texture. Mix it along with rice flour, salt and chili powder.

Add the hot oil and mix to get a soft dough. Heat the oil in a pan and press them down using the muruku press.

Since I used the store bought rice flour, those broke down to bits. But who cares, these were really so delicious to resist!



Now tell me which background you liked?..On my part I liked the content more..:)

Other Indian Snacks that you may like:

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Easy way to make Ragi Mudda | Ragi Sangati Recipe Step by Step ~ Weekend Cooking!

I know I already posted Ragi Sankati before. But that was the traditional way of making Ragi Mudde. Ragi Sangati is one of those few dishes that gets done very frequently at home. So naturally I had to come up with a short cut way of making this traditional dish quick and fast. Ever since finding this method of making Ragi Mudde in pressure cooker, I have never looked back.

I thought I will share this method with each step as I found this method to be the most simplest way of making the mudda quickly. There are certain conditions in making this Finger Millet balls in the right way. First, it got to have more Ragi flour than rice and it got to be soft yet not sticky. I found I was not hitting the right spot at times in the old method. But if you follow the pressure cooker method, you are sure to get the right consistency.

Ragi Mudda, Andhra Mutton Pulusu and Andhra Mutton Roast ~ Weekend Special!


Preparation Time and Soaking Time : 15 mins
Cuisine: Andhra Cuisine
Utensils needed: Pressure Cooker

Ragi Sankati - Making in Pressure Cooker Step by Step Recipe

Ingredients needed

Ragi flour - 1 cup
Rice - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Water - 3 cups (app)
 Method to prepare:

Wash and soak rice for 15 mins.

In a pressure cooker, take 1/2 cup of rice and add 2 cups of water along with salt to taste. Pressure cook for 3 whistles.


Once the pressure is off, check if rice looks soft. The rice should almost look mashed.


Check if the rice still has water, else add 1/2 cup water. Add the Ragi flour. cover with lid and allow it to simmer for 5 mins.

Using a rolling pin, stir well briskly. The ragi flour will be cooked well. The brisk movement will get the flour mixed well.

This takes about five minutes.


Ragi flour is added slowly so that no lumps are formed.

End of the stirring this is what you should get. The consistency should be really soft but not gooey.
 
Next comes the tough job. I have always remembered Amma struggling with making the Mudda as it has to be done with still hot. This is what my granny used to do too. And she had a special task when this was made as she is used to handle the hot rice to make the balls.

But Athamma showed me a simple, yet beautiful way of making these balls without burning your palms.


Take a big bowl that is wide enough to rotate. Wet the entire inner side of the vessel with water, throw away excess water. Transfer the hot ragi rice into the bowl, quickly move the vessel in a circular way so that the ragi rice naturally binds to form a ball.

When you are going to make the second ball, again wet the bowl with water. Repeat the process.


With 1/2 cup Rice and 1 cup Ragi flour, I got a medium sized ball of the size shown above. The balls tastes good when more ragi flour is added to less Rice.

Since I pressure cooked the rice to soft consistency I had no need to remove the excess water as it is done in the normal way. After adding the ragi flour, I added about app 1 cup of water. You may have to reduce or increase this amount as it depends on the rice used and the ragi flour.



Another wonderful way of making use of left over rice is to make them as Mudda for breakfast. This is not only very healthy but most satisfying

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Celebrating Three Years Blogging with Thanda Mela Event!

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons...

Every day is important and every minute spent rightly is worth you many memories. Still some days are more important than others. Like your birthdays or anniversaries. It's on that day you embarked on a new journey, a journey of a lifetime. Each journey makes you what you are. And on this day three years back, I created a space which has come to mean so much to me.
When I was addressed by an acquaintance as 'Oh Cooking 4 all Seasons' Srivalli' recently, I didn't know if I should be upset or elated with the reaction. Well I choose to be elated about it. What is better than celebrating with friends the day I created this blog. To celebrate my first anniversary I had Dosa Mela, followed by 6 different themes. Each mela was an instant hit with entries that left me spell bound.

Due to various reasons, I stopped after Mango Mela, which happened July 2009. Ever since I have been asked so many times by friends and readers when I was going to have the next Mela. One of the biggest constraint was having a rhyming name. I have been dallying around with themes and names. I knew I was nearing the date for this announcement and I had to hit on an apt name. As I was running short of ideas, I even asked Alka to suggest some names. Then I was pestering hubby dear since yesterday. I think out of sheer frustration he finally hit on a name. He just said have Thanda Mela!

Before going into the details of the event, I would like to thank all my readers, friends who have supported me and my work. I really wish for once all my lurking readers de lurk and give me their feedback and suggestions. I would love to get fresh ideas to improve and make this space more interactive.
So thank you everybody for letting me share.

Now for the Thanda Mela details!

Ok, to give you an idea on how many entries I am expecting, here is the data on the past Melas.

Dosa Mela got about 200 entries
Roti Mela got about 280 entries
Curry Mela got about 350+
Rice Mela got about 350+
Mithai Mela got about 320+
Mango Mela got about 160



From now till May 31st 2010, post any dish that is served cold, be it sweet or spiced on your blog.

Link back to this announcement is mandatory as it will help spread the news.

Multiple entries are accepted, infact would be glad to get all different dishes that you have already posted. But please update the post with this post link.

When I said spiced dish, I refer to cold soups etc. To be more specific you can send in Refreshments, Smoothies, Shakes, Ice creams, Cold Payasams and anything and everything that you may serve cold!

Please fill in the details in the event form. I have sent auto notification, and will be checking on everyday basis. So you need not worry about the entry not reaching me.

Still you can contact me through mail if you have a doubt.


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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chana Dal Payasam | Kadalai Paruppu Payasam (Sanaga Pappu Payasam) ~ Tamil New Year Special

Happy Tamil New year and Vishu to all those who are celebrating!

While I was talking about what to make for the Tamil New year, Konda was asking how come we just had one and another new year has come. Well I had to tell that was Ugadi, Telugu new year and this Tamil New year. I know it must be hard to understand for her. But I didn't know how else to explain.

I was telling Athamma that Amma celebrates this day with the usual pomp and show. So she was asking me what I was planning to make. We finally ended up making this simple version of Chana Dal Payasam. Athamma normally makes Sanaga Pappu Payasam this way. As time was short, simpler way of making was adapted. Yet the taste was no less.

For the savory part, we wanted to make Moong dal Vadas, maybe next time. We made simple Onion pakodas as part of the neivedyam.


Chana Dal Payasam | Kadalai Paruppu Payasam | Sanaga Pappu Payasam

Ingredients Needed:

Bengal Gram / Chana dal / Senega Pappu - 1 cup
Jaggary - 1 cup
Cardamom powder

Garnishing

Cashew Nuts - 5-6 whole
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Grated Kopra (Fresh coconut if you prefer) - 1 tbsp

Method to prepare:

Pressure cook the bengal gram till its cooked.

Melt jaggary and remove if any dirt. Then add jaggary, cardomon to the Bengal gram, cook in sim for 5 - 7 minutes


Heat a pan with ghee, roast the cashew nuts. Add kopra if you are using, else roast the fresh grated coconut. Add to the cooked payasam.

Serve hot or chilled.

Do share how you spent the day!

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Monday, April 12, 2010

Bottle Gourd Dal (Sorakaya Pappu)

I know I may not find much time to cook lot of new dishes. But knowing that I am finally posting this Sorakaya Pappu / Bottle Gourd Dal after so many months later, it surely makes me realize how hectic things can be!

Just when I thought I was going to have a relaxing mornings, now that Konda's vacation started, boys started their school. Which means I was to bind, cover two sets of books. Imagine doing it for 15 each, which really isn't that much. Only I end up doing it in the last minute. It was no different this time too. I was hopeful that I could get it done by the night. But I couldn't find the labels. The woes are never ending. I completely forgot about these during the weekend as I was busy cooking for the book.

We decided to re shoot all the pictures again and I realized what a hectic task it is. Hubby dear got new bags for the boys. The entire Sunday was spent walking around with the bag on their back. With my brother and his family relocating, we were busy helping with their packing. The boys had a free reign and played to their heart content. Result was Peddu couldn't get up early for school. We literally had to force him. As I still had to give their books I went with them to the school.



Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins
Cuisine : Andhra Cuisine

Ingredients Needed

Tur Dal - 1 cup
Sorakaya / Bottle gourd - 1 cup cubes
Dried Red chillies - 5-6
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 2 medium
Garlic - 4 cloves
Tamarind - small marble sized
Turmeric a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard, urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves few
Water for cooking



Method to prepare:

Clean the dal and keep aside. Chop onions and tomatoes. Crush the garlic cloves along with the skin.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add mustard and urad dal. then curry leaves. Once it splutters, sauté onions, red chillies and garlic. Once onion is brown, add dal and fry for few mins.

Then add tomatoes, sorakaya pieces, tamarind, turmeric, and water for cooking. Cover it with lid and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles till the dal is cooked well.

When the pressure is off, take the dal masher or pappu guthi, mash the dal well with the red chillies. Add salt. and cook on high flame for 2 mins.

Serve with steamed Rice.

Normally sorakaya is mashed well and blended with the dal. But if you prefer to have bigger chunks don't overcook it.

Interested to find other ways to cook Bottle gourd?


How else do you cook Bottle gourd? Do share!

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Gongura Alasandalu Pappu. ~ Sorrel Leaves with Black Eyed Peas Recipe

Sorrel Leaves with Black Eyed Peas is a recipe I never knew existed! Until one day when Athamma bored with the same dishes I seem to be making, suggested making the Gongura with Alasandalu. It surely had a different taste and a rustic tough to it. We made this months ago, though this finally gets to the spot. Athamma was back from trip and came back loads of Gongura, with hopes of pairing it off with as many different things that she can.

We made a pappu, a chutney, a pickle and still found some lying around for attention. Finally not knowing what else we can make with the sorrel leaves, Athamma said she remembered her mom making it with Black-Eyed Peas or Alasandalu as called in Telugu. Though Hubby dear wasn't very trilled at being offered a dish with this combination, after tasting it. surely agreed this had a different and unique taste.

We are all trying to get used to the new timings for the kids. So it will be a while before I get to do some new dishes. Meanwhile the regular comfort dishes gets an upper hand. Not only these simple dals are favorite, they are easy to make. While one may not really attribute simplicity to this particular dish, I would say it will accord to an extent. Especially if you are on the lookout for a change.


Gongura Alasandalu Pappu. ~ Sorrel Leaves with Black Eyed Peas Recipe

Red Sorrel Leaves - 2 handful
Dry / Fresh Black Eyed Peas - 1 cup
Green Chilies - 3-4
Tomatoes - 1 small
Salt to taste
Oil - 1-2 tsp
Water enough to cover

For tempering
Red Chilies - 4
Curry leaves - 4 -5
Mustard Seeds+ Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp
Onions - 1/2 medium

Method to prepare:

If you are using the fresh peas, you can directly cook the dal with Sorrel leaves.
If you are using dried Black Eyed Peas, there are two ways. First is you can soak the peas overnight and then pressure cook it along with the leaves. Second is by dry roasting it first before pressure cooking it.

I never remember to soak it overnight. So of the best tip that I learnt from Amma was roasting the dried Black eyed peas till it is done. Once it is cooled, pressure cook it before using it in the dish.

In this dal, first dry roast the dried black eyed peas till it is really crisp. Then all add the washed sorrel leaves, tomatoes, green chilies. Add enough water to cover. Pressure cook till it is tender. I normally do about 4-5 times.

Once the dal is cooked well, mash the dal with the gongura well with a masher.

Heat a pan with oil. add mustard seeds, Urad dal, Red dry chilies and curry leaves. Saute for few minutes. Then add onions. Fry well. Add salt.

Then add the mashed Alasandu pappu. Bring to boil.

Serve with rice or rotis.


Notes

Since the sorrel leaves are sour, add only little of tomatoes.
The spice will be enough to balance the sourness, so add the required amount of chilies.

Other Black Eyed Peas Recipes


Other Gongura Recipes 

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Aloo Tamatar with Kitchen King Masala | Potato Curry North Indian Style Recipe

There are moments which you want to always remember and think back. First day at school is surely one of those! Peddu and Chinnu started their school today and it was such a wonderful sight seeing them in their bright uniforms and shiny black shoes. Since buying those shoes, they have worn it some umpteen number of times, with the socks on and off. Chinnu as always, was sure to get what he liked. He got one that was heavy, which he could hardly carry around. Still that was the one he wanted and he wore.

We landed in a place that was crowded with anxious parents and excited pupils. Though both the boys were not upset and even smiled for a while, seeing the other kids crying, both burst into cries that were non stop. With great difficulty we tore ourselves away from scene and waited. Konda came with us and she was quite on the toes waiting for her brothers to come back. After what seem like a never ending period, we finally went back to get them. Peddu was fine, but Chinnu said he didn't like the school and didn't want to come back. Slowly we heard that Chinnu was in his naughty self. He had removed his shoes and socks and made the teacher put it back again. I think he got back his vengeance!
Coming to the recipe for today, this is another version of Aloo Tamatar I made along with Peas Pulao. What was special in this was that the fact that  I used Kitchen King Masala along with the usual spices. 

In one of my recent visits to Nilgiris I saw this packet of Kitchen King Masala. I am not normally given to buying ready to make masalas. The only two masalas that I buy from store are the Pav Bajji and Channa Masala. We even arrived at our own masala that was equally good that we might just give up. So imagine my surprise when my hands reached out to a packet of this masala. I remember reading about it in the blogs. So I finally came up buying a packet.

In the coming days you will get to read about the different recipes that I try this masala with. Hopefully even prepare the paneer recipe on the cover!

Aloo Tamatar with Kitchen King Masala

Preparation & Cooking Time : 15 mins
Cuisine : North Indian
Serves : 2 - 3

Ingredients needed:

Aloo - 2 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Onions - 1 medium
Kitchen King Masala - 1 tsp
Ginger Garlic paste - 3/4 tsp
Roasted Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric a pinch
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water as required
 
Method to prepare:
Pressure cook Potatoes, peel and cut into big cubes when they are cool.

Heat a pan with oil, saut the onions, then ginger garlic paste till well done.

Have it on high flame, keep stirring, while you chop those tomatoes into fine pieces. Add add salt and turmeric. Simmer with the lid slightly covering it.

Then add all the spice powders and stir everything together and slightly cover with the lid. Let the moisture get into it back to get the tomatoes soft.
When the tomatoes are done, add the cooked potatoes and enough water to get a gravy. Simmer and cook til you reach a thick consistency.

Serve with Ghee Rice or Naans

You might want to check out these!


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