Monday, May 31, 2010

How to make Mango Shrikhand | Aamrakhand | Thanda Mela

The late nights, the even later mornings, burning the midnight lamps not for school but because you couldn't keep off the fiction you took to read. Enjoying a heavy breakfast, then dashing off to play with friends. Reluctantly coming back home for lunch. But happy that you can then continue reading another book. Come 5 in the evening, off to play a game of shuttle. Followed by a stroll in the lush greens of the neighbourhood. Back home for dinner and slipping away again to meet friends.  Coming back home finally to tug at the curtains to ensure no trace of the night lamp sneaking out. Spending another long night devouring the pages at length, trying to beat the author on his story.

This was how I remember all my summer vacations to have been. Later in years, it was mulling over cookbooks to bake pizzas and cakes or make the best of the season by dishing out many Mango dishes. The many cartons of mangoes that came our way found themselves dressed up as ice creams, soufflĂ©s, cakes, drinks and what not! Of course I wasn't adventurous to attempt at a curry, though I wish I did. All this flashed across my mind because I read  Tintin's The Crab with the Golden Claws late last night. I love each and every one of them, though this is more special because he meets Captain Haddock

And the fact that Konda's vacation comes to an end today and she will be now on to Class 5, which again was a very significant year for me. Though I must say I remember each and every year as clearly as if it happened yesterday. Though I may not actually remember what happened yesterday! As always this past 1 and half months just flew but I know for a fact that she spent most of her time watching TV and then playing with her friend K. I did give her some story books to read. Maybe she is yet to get the love for books. Of course we kept her occupied with lots of activities, coming to which, yes I have finally put up the Kid's Delight - Activities and Cooking with Kids event.

Yes I have a huge bag full of books to be bound, luckily my father in law promised to help me. We will get it done before the last day! It is no fun if I don't get to it on the last day, really!

Coming to the recipe for today, I was thinking I will make lots of Mango based dishes. But with the lack of mangoes in our city, this was the lone mango dish that got prepared. I almost thought I may not have an entry for my own event, when Amma made this for us and I remembered the good ol' days eating this Shirkand
How to make Mango Shrikhand | Aamrakhand | Thanda Mela

Ingredients Needed:

Curds / Yogurt – 1 cup
Sugar – ¾ cup
Mango Pulp – 1 cup
Cardamom a pinch
Nuts – 1 tbsp

Hang Curds for 6 hrs. Then beat well with sugar till frothy.

Wash, dice and extract pulp from the mangoes. Beat the pulp again before adding to the curds.

Mix everything together along with cardamom, nuts. Refrigerate for couple of hours before serving.

This goes for my Thanda Mela. I am celebrating 3 years of blogging with this wonderful event. Hope you have your cool entries sent!

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Peanut Chutney with Roasted Onions, Tomatoes ~ Indian Chutney

Resistance to change is often the most common thing to happen. Especially with food one can imagine the affinity towards food that we grew up with. One of the biggest challenges happen after marriage, when we get to learn what our spouse likes and how we got to change the spouse or change ourselves. Sometimes you can, sometimes you end up changing. But hey it is part of the institution right!

Believe me it starts with the smallest dish meaning from the chutney served for the breakfast to the main course. By chutney I no way say it is small still easier to make and decide in my opinion. So it started for me with Groundnut chutney. My friends always tease me, infact everybody who knows us tease us saying we have a groundnut factory. Meaning we make this 365 days, it ought to be such right. Little did they know that the trait is rather from the land our ancestors came and not just our own.

Anyway, coming to this and the point of assimilation, Athamma adds a variation to the chutney. She adds roasted tomatoes, Onions, Green chilis to the roasted Peanuts. While anything roasted and ground tastes awesome, I somehow couldn't accept the fact that the pure, exalted taste of Groundnut was marred with the amalgamation. True to the situation, they couldn't accept the fact that one could actually think of eating with just plain groundnut ground as chutney and on top not even seasoning it!

The passage of years mends lot of things. Yes it has mend so that that my in laws now eat the plain groundnut ground with or without seasoning. And I eat the one made with all roasted stuffs. This morning when I was busy working on something, I saw Athamma roasted the onions, tomatoes. I assumed she was planning to make something else. But to my surprise the next happened was, everything along with peanuts went into the mixer. Well well, this was one dish that I haven't shared and it is crime not to share one dish that I have come to like!

Peanut Chutney with Roasted Onion, Tomatoes

Roasted Groundnut - 1 cup (100 gms)
Green chillies - 3-4
Onion, medium - 1/2
Tamarind - marble size
Tomatoes - 1 medium
Salt to taste
Garlic pods - 5-6

Seasoning (optional)
Mustard seeds + Urud dal - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves few
Oil - 1/2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Chop the green chillies to small bits, peel the onions, soak the tamarind to make it soft.

Heat a pan, add 1 tsp of oil, saute green chilies, onions, tomatoes until they become light brown. Allow it to cool.

Then take all the roasted ingredients along with peanuts in a mixer and grind to coarse consistency but not to coarse. This should not be a smooth paste.

This is served with Dosas and Idlis.

I know I haven't been able to post much, I have been busy cooking for the book. We made about 6 different pickles and will do doing a tasting and shooting tomorrow. Wish me luck to get the work done faster, days are nearer closer than I thought!

If you are interested to check out other Chutneys posted here, Visit the Chutney Index

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Vermicelli Coconut Burfi

After what was a nomad life for the better half of the month, we are back to our routine with Athamma returning from her trip. I think she cut short her trip because of the simple fact that Chinnu refused to speak to her over the phone. While Peddu tried enticing her by promising never to ask for endless cups of Bourn vita to be eaten as snack or bullying her, Chinnu did a stunt of not talking to her. I tell you my boys know how to get their Nanamma back home.  As Konda is busy with her Summer activities that involves painting, swimming and stitching, she is not aware much of other things. For which I am thankful..:)

For those of you who wanted to know the progress of my book, well I finally was able to install the software to do the design. I can confess enough how much of a stress it was, trying to lay hands on the software to do the designing. When I finally installed it successfully, I was feeling so light as if I have the entire part done. Well I know the big work starts now. On the recipe part, I am so tempted to include so many but will again have to audit on how many to take in and include for later.

Coming to the recipe for the day, it is a sweet dish that Amma made the other day after getting inspired by the telly. There are so many cookery shows in the TV these days that one can get worked up seeing so many aired at the same time. Most times it will be a fun thing watching Athamma or Amma trying to watch all the shows in one go. They check out one show, if it is not good, switch to the other. They simply watch for the fun of shows as most never get to be done nor even being jotted down. But they do attempt at dishes when it calls for ingredients that are readily available with them like this one. Amma adapted this to suit her way of cooking.

Vermicelli Coconut Burfi

Vermicelli - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Fresh Coconut, grated - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Cardamom  a pinch
Cashew nuts
Ghee/ Clarified Butter for roasting

Method to Prepare:

Heat a pan with ghee and roast the vermicelli till golden in colour. Keep it aside. Then roast the nuts, raisins and remove.

Boil the milk and add the vermicelli, simmer till done.

Add sugar and stir well to get the sugar dissolved. Simmer and continue to cook till the vermicelli is done and the milk is all evaporated.

At this stage add the grated coconut and mix well. When you find the mix is coming together, you can add the roasted nuts and raisins.

Grease a plate with ghee and quickly spread this mix over it. Cut into diamond shaped Burfis and decorate with nuts if you want.

This made a good one to make when you are in a hurry as it gets done really fast.

Enjoy your weekend!

Silky temptation of thin finely roasted Vermicelli, cooked over slow flame with milk boiling to thickness though not enough to cut through with knife, sweeten with a bowlful of sugary granules, thicken with pristine white, flowery coconut that was grated with a swollen elbow, that tastes to juicy if you sneak in between the cooking, crowned with jewels enough to put a ruby to shame, that swam in a hot oil to balloon twice its size and with a nutty taste of the cashews in between. If you had removed a while before it would have been called kheer, a moment later it evolves itself as The Burfi!

Well wondering what all this is about! Sra and Nandini tempted me to describe food that was cooked, this is the best I could've get at..:)

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Aloo Palak Recipe | Potato Spinach Masala

The rare times when you actually pause and think you will realize that Life has gone a fast forward track much faster than you expected. That was what happened to me too. With kids having their holidays, we finally had our interiors done. Our relatives left after Konda’s birthday and Athamma went with them for a short trip.

So you can imagine the work that was meted on us. This brought back to force our thinking that no matter what, life goes on. A day passes off too quickly for us to even ponder much. We feared so much on how we handle so many things, yet we pass them as surely as the night dawns to give way to light.

I haven’t cooked much these past few days after my relatives left. I really had to get myself prepare the Ras Malai because of the challenge; else I know I may never have made it. I was happy having attempted it though. It tasted very good, well considering the fact that the paneer was hard. Well next time maybe, you can’t get everything prefect at the first attempt right.

We took the kids to a park nearby and spent almost 2 hours playing. It was my first time, whereas hubby dear had taken the kids many times to that place. Imagine visiting a park nearby that you are not familiar with and your kids show you the way! With a pang of remorse, I realized I may have missed lot of activities with the kids because I was busy doing other things.

But on the other hand, I felt happy seeing the merry my kids had in showing me the way through the park. Small happiness goes long way in mending the hurts you otherwise feel…

I know it’s been a while since I actually posted a recipe per se. So here’s a classic dish that Amma prepared the other day for us vegetarian. I really enjoyed eating this with Hot Chappati off the pan, that I can associate myself when I eat at parents home.

Aloo Palak | Potato Spinach Masala

Ingredients needed:

Potato - 150 gms / 2 big
Palak / Spinach - 2 bundles (1 cup paste)
Onions - 150 gms
Tomatoes - 150 gms
Ginger - Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 3/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Sugar a pinch
Ghee to roast the potatoes

Method to prepare:

Wash and cook the palak leaves in little water for 5 minutes. Once its cool, grind to a fine paste and keep it aside.

Chop Onions, Tomatoes into fine pieces.
Peel and cube into inch sized potatos.

If you are using ghee, then heat in a non stick pan saute the potatoes till done. This should almost be a roast. Remove and keep aside.

In the same pan, heat 2 tsp of oil, add onions, fry till they are gold in colour and add ginger garlic paste. Fry for few mins.

Add the tomatoes, sauté well. If the tomatoes are very firm, add the salt right now to get them soft, else can be added in the end.

Add chilli pw, turmeric pw. cook well for 5 mins. Then add the palak paste. Bring to boil. Simmer for 5 mins or till the gravy is thick enough. Add the garam masala at this stage.

Just before switching it off, add the potato peices and cook it for 5 mints. Finally add sugar to retain the green colour of the spinach.
Serve with Rotis.
It was interesting to note how well aloo got paried with spinach. Though we normally make Palak Paneer, this was the first time we did with Potato. I thought the taste would be very similar but I was in for a surprise when I tasted it to be completely differently and at the same time very delicious. You should surely try this to know the difference!

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Coriander Coconut Chutney | Kothimira Kobbari Pachadi

Chutneys or Pachadis are indispensable part of a breakfast, atleast in most South Indian families. I have always known Amma making either Peanut Chutney or Coconut Chutney every day of the week. Only later when we grew up that she ever tried other chutney varieties with tomatoes, onions etc. 

We love groundnut chutney/ Peanut chutney with anything or everything. Apart from this was the Coconut Chutney that was prepared frequently, because my brother liked only this. So Amma ended up prep it up with other interesting ingredients to bring variations to this. One such ingredient was adding fresh coriander to the coconut chutney.

Fresh Coirander adds such flavour the regular Coconut Chutney, plus this is a nice way to include the coriander in your diet.

Ingredients Needed:

Fresh coconut - 1 cup
Fresh coriander leaves - 1 small bunch
Green chillies - 5
Fried gram - 50 gms
Tamarind - 1 inch
Water - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

For tempering:

Mustard seeds, Urad dal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 8-10
Oil - 1/2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Grate the fresh coconut or cut into small bits so that it is easy to grind them in the mixer.

Wash the coriander leaves and put it in a colander to get the water drain.

In a mixer, take all the ingredients except the seasoning items, pulse it to fine paste. Add water as required.

Remove to a bowl, heat a pan with oil, add the mustards and urad. When it starts spluttering add the curry leaves and immediately pour over the ground chutney.

Most times, we place the curry leaves on the chutney and pour the hot oil over the leaves. This way the leaves don't loose their freshness.

Serve with Dosa, Idlis.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kindle Edition - Flavours from South Indian Kitchen from Cooking 4 all Seasons - eBook

Finally my eBook that I published way back in November, Flavours from South Indian Kitchen from Cooking 4 all Seasons is now available in Kindle version. It was most interesting to document the learning experiance while creating a Kindle book. Pratibha was always telling me that I should think about doing a Kindle version. When she told me I wasn't even aware of these editions.

One fine day while I was browsing I landed in a space that led me to create an account and got me into creating this within minutes. But the process of converting the regular book to suit the Kindle Application took sometime. With my limited knowledge of HTML coding I really had to struggle.

So I am extremely happy when I was finally able to upload a version that was suitable to the application. I would want to thank my readers and friends for their support that they extend.

If you have a Kindle, then you should get your copy from Amazon! Thank you for the support again and hope to talk about my printed cookbook soon.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Host list for Microwave Easy Cooking Event!

Things have been so hectic this past couple of weeks that I completely couldn't take up this favorite event of mine Microwave Easy Cooking, referred as the MEC. Plus added to the fact that my Microwave is not working, I haven't been able to make anything in it. Anyways plans on getting it back to working condition is underway.

Meanwhile I thought I will open up the calender for new sign ups. When I decided that I can't continue hosting this myself, I opened up to bloggers, and even had the entire 2010 fully booked. But to be more realistic, we planned only for 2009. 

So finally here I am with the calender free from June. I will be taking up August as a mandatory Anniversary party. But all other months are open.

Please leave a comment with your email id if you are willing to host this event on your blog for any of the months starting from June 2010.

I will mail you the details and other related things.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Seviyan Recipe for Birthday celebration | Sweet Vermicelli | Typical South Indian Style - 3

Tuesday's breakfast menu was Masala Dosa, Coriander Coconut Chutney, Amma's podi, Chinna vengai pachadi (Shallot Onions Chutney) and Seviyan.

I have already posted how we make Masala Dosa and Amma's Podi. Will be posting the other recipes soon.

The day was special to us as it was Konda's birthday. She celebrated her 9th birthday. The birthday girl was busy walking the ramp with the different dresses that she got from her Aunts and from us. She was also planning to dance to the tunes along with her cousins as it was couple of years back.

Since the kids wanted Pizza, I didn't plan for a special dinner. Special for the kids is anyways is the regular Paneer Butter Masala with Parottas, which I already made on Saturday. so decided that it was going to be just pizzas ordered in. Though I thought of taking a picture of the Paneer Pizza that we ordered, before I could even think about it, it disappeared!

Starting with the breakfast, I made the famous Masala Dosa of Tamil Nadu, where Potato masala is stuffed inside the dosa and served with a variety of Chutneys and Sambar. Potato Masala that I made was thick for it to be stuffed in. For a change I made Coriander Coconut Chutney, Onion Chutney along with Amma's podi. Our regular stock of Amma's podi got exhausted and I got a fresh batch made by Amma.

Keeping with our custom of making a sweet on birthdays, I was wondering what to make that will be enough to feed 12 people with couple of servings. Seviyan or Semiya Payasam came to mind. This is my favorite sweet when Amma makes. I don't make it so frequently and confirmed that my guests like this.

As you got to use more milk to get that richness, I was contemplating on quantity of milk, I remembered the tin of condensed milk lying around. I had plans of making Eggless Chocolate Cake with it. But since my oven is not in a working condition, it will be a while for me to attempt it. I decided that the best way to use up the tin is to make the Seviyan.

Seviyan | Sweet Vermicelli

Condensed Milk - 400 gms (1 tin)
Vermicelli / Semiya - 2 cups (200 gms)
Whole Milk - 1 liter
Water - 3 -4 glasses
Sugar - 4 tsp
Cardamom powder - 2 pinches
Cashew nuts - handful
Raisins- handful
Ghee / Clarified Butter - 1 tbsp

Method to prepare:

In a pan, roast the nuts and raisins in ghee. Remove and in the same ghee add the vermicelli. Roast till they turn colour a bit.

In another pan, boil the milk. When the milk boils over and simmered for 10 minutes, add the roasted vermicelli and water. Cook in low flame till the seviyan is cooked. Ensure you don't over cook the seviyan.

At this stage add the sugar and cardamom powder. Continue cooking over low flame, when you check the semiya is cooked well. slowly add the condensed milk into the pan, stir well.

Finally add the roasted nuts and raisins.
Notes: Normally to give more richness to the Payasa, we may just add small quantity of condensed milk. But this is completely made with it. Hence it is extremely rich and very filling. You may dilute the proportion to suit your taste.

Another important thing to note is to ensure you don't over cook the vermicelli, since it has the tendency to absorb more milk and the porridge becomes very thick.

Reduce the quantity used for making for lesser number, this yielded me enough to serve app 10 - 12 people.

Check out how my kids had Mehendi done on their hands 

I hope you enjoyed my series on traditional South Indian Breakfasts. My relatives have left today, hopefully they enjoyed their stay. Do suggest if you want any more such series here.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Traditional Breakfast ~ Typical South Indian Style - 2

While Sunday was the typical Channa Masala with Puri, along with Sakkara Pongal, today was another typical South Indian Breakfast ~ soft as pillow pristine Idlis, Sambar (typically made for Idlis), Coconut Chutney, Idli Karam and Idli Podi.

The sambar that is made for Idli is different from the regular one. Will be posting the recipe soon. Idli Karam and Podi will be featured in the book.

Catch you soon with other recipes..enjoy your week ahead!

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Traditional Breakfast ~ Typical South Indian Style

We woke up to an unexpected shower of rain! Last night we were so excited seeing signs of drizzling that came our way! We ran out trilled at the prospect of raining visiting us. Only to be greeted with a clear sky but a ground scantly covered with rain drops. It was hubby who with all excitement called out to me as if it was pouring! Well you can imagine the need of rains in our parts of the world. We tried taking deep breath to smell that exquisite smell you get to sense after a shower. Unfortunately we no longer live in a rustic place to experience that. It smelled more of oil and petrol reeked motors, zipping fast past us as we stood witnessing the beauty that was unfolding before us.

But then we had a surprise in the morning. Looked like it rained through the night and morning was so cool and wonderful. Hubby dear left to receive his sisters family.The train unexpectedly was delayed by an hour and by the time they came home, I was able to get the breakfast ready. 

Hubby dear was teasing Amma saying she will get upset if I usurped the show by making all the dishes myself. So he told me that I should be generous to let Amma make her signature Kesari Bath. Well I knew how much loves the way Amma makes it. Though my nieces and nephew love the way I make, I knew I can't stand a chance when competing with Amma. True to word, it tured out really awesome. Kids had a field day just eating that and nothing else!

Rest of the dishes I managed to make before our guests arrival.

Ven Pongal (What I made today was the way it is made normally in Tamil Nadu)
Groundnut Chutney ~ Andhra Special
Onion Sambar ~ Vengaya Sambar
Medu Vada
Kesari Bhath

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