DEEPAVALI SWEETS AND SAVOURIES

Deepavali lehiyam Medhuvadai Laddu Mathri Multinuts chikki MWbadamburfi Badamkheer Akkaraadisil Multinuts chikki Almondballs Dryfruitsandnutsladoo carrotkheer Milletminibonda Aama vadai Aama vadai Paladapradhaman Mysorebonda 

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Friday, December 31, 2010

NEW YEAR WISHES

WISHING YOU ALL
12 Months of Happiness,
52 Weeks of Fun,
365 Days of Success,
8760 Hours of Good Health,
525600 Minutes of Good Luck,
31536000 Seconds of Joy..
Have a great year ahead!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2011!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

CREAM OF CARROT AND ALMOND SOUP


INGREDIENTS:

Carrots (diced) - 2 cups
Almonds - 6
Butter - 1 tablespoon
Onion - 1 ( medium- sized)
Fresh cream - 1/4 cup
Boiled milk - 1/2 cup
Salt - as per taste
Black pepper powder - 1/4 teaspoon

To garnish:
Grated almond - few
Chopped parsley or Coriander leaves - few

METHOD:

Wash the carrots well, peel the skin and dice to cubes. Chop the onions. Whip the cream and keep aside.

Melt butter in a pressure pan over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and almonds. Saute for a minute. Add two cups of water and cook for two whistles. When slightly cool, grind in a mixer, alongwith milk . Strain through a soup strainer. Add salt and pepper. Reheat in simmer for five minutes. Mix in the whipped cream and serve piping hot. Garnish with almond slices, parsley or coriander leaves.

Monday, December 20, 2010

MYSORE RASAM

The taste and aroma of this rasam is exotic, aromatic and unbeatable. I prefer to drink this hot rasam in a glass, as it is, like a soup.

NOTE: Some add coconut while frying & grinding the ingredients. But I don't as it will get rotten soon.

INGREDIENTS:


Toor dhal - 1 tablespoon
Tamarind - a small ball half the size of a lemon
Tomato - 1 big
Hing
Salt

To be fried in oil and ground to a coarse powder or paste:

Toor dhal - 1 tablespoon
Pepper - 1/2 tsp.
Dry red chillies - 1 or 2
Corinder seeds - 2 tablespoons
Cumin seeds - 2 tsps.
Oil - 1 tsp.

To temper:

Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Dry red chilliy - 1 (whole)
Curry leaves - a sprig
Ghee - 1/2 tsp.

To garnish:

Coriander leaves - few

METHOD:

Pressure cook toor dhal, mash it and keep aside. Extract pulp from tamarind. Fry the ingredients given in "To fry in oil" and grind it to a paste or coarsely powder it. Keep it ready.

Puree a tomato. In a utensil, add pureed tomato, tamarind pulp (you can also add tamarind as it is), salt and hing. Add half a cup of water and bring it to a boil till the raw smell of the tamarind is diffused. Now add mashed dhal, ground paste, and mix well. Boil for just two minutes. Add three more cups of water and boil till frothy. Turn off the stove.

In a kadai, heat ghee, temper with the given ingredients. Pour it over the rasam and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Your spicy, tangy mysore rasam is ready.

Friday, December 17, 2010

CAULIFLOWER STIR FRY

INGREDIENTS:

Cauliflower florets (medium-sized) - 3 cups
Onion - 1
Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp.
Kashmiri chilli powder - 1/2 tsp.
Sambhar powder - 1 tsp.
Kesari powder - 1/8 tsp.
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - 3 tsp.
Salt - as per taste

FOR TEMPERING:

Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1/4 tsp.
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp.

METHOD:

Parboil the cauliflower florets with turmeric and salt. Dissolve kesari powder in 3 teaspoons of water. Keep aside.

Heat oil, temper with the given ingredients, add chopped onions and saute till translucent. Now, add all the powders, give a quick stir and add the parboiled cauliflowers. Stir well, sprinkle the kesari powder solution and cook covered in low flame for 5 minutes. Do not overcook. This should be slightly crunchy. Goes well with phulkas and also as a side dish with South Indian meals.

Monday, December 13, 2010

MINI IDLI SAMBHAR (RESTAURANT STYLE) / HOTEL SAMBAR

How to make hotel sambar, How to make mini idli sambar

An easy to make, healthy breakfast with mini idlies dunked in hotel sambar. Mini idli and hotel sambar? Its just a different way of presenting things. A small variation alongwith the usual things gives the unique taste like hotel sambar. Read further on making hotel sambar. It took more time for me to type this recipe than to make this. Haha..
FOR THE MINI IDLIES:

Pour idli batter (click here for the idli batter) into the mini idli mould using a spoon and steam cook for 8 minutes. Take out from the mould and keep aside.

How to make hotel sambar, How to make mini idli sambarHow to make hotel sambar, How to make mini idli sambarSAMBAR RESTAURANT STYLE (HOTEL SAMBAR):

INGREDIENTS:
Toor dhal - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - half the lemon-sized ball
Pearl onions - 1/2 cup
Tomato - 2
Salt - as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp.
Sambar powder - 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Hing
Oil
Curry leaves - few
Coriander leaves - few

To fry in oil and grind to a paste:
Coriander seeds - 2 tablespoons
Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Chenna dal( to be fried) or Pottukadalai( need not be fried) - 1 tsp.
Poppy seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Dry red chillies / green chillies - 2
Pearl onions - 6(raw) (Grinding the pearl onions raw alongwith the given ingredients gives the hotel flavour).
Scraped coconut - 2 tablespoons

METHOD:

Pressure toor dhal with turmeric powder, mash well and keep aside.

Soak tamarind in lukewarm water and extract juice.
In a kadai, heat a spoon of oil and fry the items given in "To fry in oil and grind to a paste" (except pearl onions and scraped coconut) until golden brown. Add scraped coconut and raw pearl onions to it and grind to a thick paste using little water.

In the same kadai, heat oil, add mustard seeds, when they splutter, add curry leaves and pearl onions alongwith a pinch of salt and hing. Saute till translucent. Now add the chopped tomatoes, sambar powder, required amount of salt, and tamarind extract. Allow it to boil. Now, add the mashed toor dhal and ground paste. Let it boil unil the raw smell is diffused and semi - thick. Transfer it to a bowl. Hotel sambar is ready at home.

How to make hotel sambar, How to make mini idli sambar
HOW TO SERVE MINI IDLI SAMBHAR (RESTAURANT STYLE):
INGREDIENTS:

Mini idlis - 10
Hotel Sambar - 1 cup
Carrot grated - 1 tablespoon
Coriander leaves finely chopped - 1 tablespoon

FOR TEMPERING :
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Ghee - 1 tsp.

METHOD:

Arrange mini idlies in an oval plate, pour hot hotel restaurant style sambar over the idlies. The sambar should neither be too thick nor too watery. Add the tempering. Garnish with grated carrots and coriander leaves. Serve hot.

Friday, December 10, 2010

ONION CURRY


This is a very quick curry, yet tasty and can be done in less than 5 minutes, especially when you are running short of time and the vegetables are out of stock.


INGREDIENTS:

Onion - 1/2 kg.
Sambhar powder - 1 tsp.
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 3 tsp.

For tempering:

Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
White urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder - a pinch

METHOD:

Chop onions into thin, long pieces.

In a kadai, heat oil and temper with the given ingredients. Add chopped onions, salt & sambhar powder. Saute till done. Serve hot. Using sambhar powder gives a good aroma. This can also be had as a dry curry with chappatis. Best with south Indian thali.

Monday, December 6, 2010

VEGETABLE POHA / AVAL UPMA / ALOO POHA / KANDE POHA


This poha is best when done with thicker variety.

INGREDIENTS:

Thick poha / Getti aval - 2 cups
Carrot - 1
Potato - 1
Shelled peas - 1/4 cup
Chopped onions - 1/4 cup (optional)
Salt - as per taste
Chopped coriander leaves - 1 tablespoon
Scraped coconut - 1 tablespoon (optional)

For tempering:

Oil - 2 tablespoons
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp.
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Peanuts - 1 tablespoon
Green chillies - 2
Hing
Curry leaves - a sprig

METHOD:

Wash the poha gently, drain the water completely and keep aside for 10 - 15 minutes. (By doing like this, the texture of the poha will be maintained instead of soaking in water for some time. However, if elders prefer the poha to be soft, soak in water for 10 minutes, squeeze out the water completely and use).

Heat oil in a kadai and temper with the given ingredients, add the chopped onions( I haven't used) and when translucent add the shelled peas, diced potatoes and chopped carrot. Loosen the poha gently with your hands and then add the poha. Add salt, mix it gently, sprinkle some water and cook it covered till soft. Add the grated coconut and mix gently again. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with any chutney of your choice or tomato ketchup. Tastes fantastic when served hot.

NOTE: You can also squeeze the juice of a lemon at the end. If done with potatoes it is aloo poha and if done with onions it is kande poha.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

POSTPARTUM FOOD & CARE


DISCLAIMER:

This post aims to provide guidance on what to do during labour pain and postpartum period.

All materials contained in this post are for information purposes only and not a medical advice.

Antenatal care should be followed as adviced by your doctors. Follow the diet chart from doctors as well.

This post doesn't research about customs and sanskars, but will be useful for ladies right from labour pain to post partum and post natal confinement.

This has a detailed description of what to do and what not to do starting from labour pain to postpartum confinement. This is purely a Tamil Brahmin community’s custom. These are the postpartum and postnatal confinement practices and rituals followed by Tamil Brahmin community.

My grandma and mom gave me a hand-written note (in tamil) of the do’s and don’ts during postpartum period for our future family guidance. I AM ATTACHING IT (AS IT IS) IN THE END OF THIS POST. However, if somebody needs a copy you can mail me and I can send you the copy. Though the doctors say one can eat anything, nowadays, follow as much as you can from this post. However, seek your doctor’s advice and your family elders’ advice also.

HOPE YOU WILL FIND THE POST HELPFUL & INFORMATIVE. GOOD LUCK.

WHAT IS A POSTPARTUM PERIOD?

Post partum is the period after delivering a baby. Post partum care is very important for a woman after labour. Post partum practices varies across regions. The period of confinement also varies across regions, from 6 weeks to 6 months and some believe until the restoration of menstrual cycle. The food taken during that period also varies across regions.

In India, elders of a family guide throughout this period to restore the mother’s health after child birth. A special diet known as “PATHIYA SAMAYAL” is supposed to be taken during this period. Doctors in western countries, do not recommend pathiya samayal though. These diet alongwith certain strict regimen should be followed by the new moms to restore their health.

THINGS TO BE AVOIDED DURING THE POSTPARTUM PERIOD:

Avoid pickles, sour curd, hot items, chillies, melons, grapes, spices, and oily food.

Avoid toor dhal as it causes gas problems. Instead use moong dhal.

THINGS WHICH CAN BE USED DAILY DURING THE POSTPARTUM PERIOD:

Betel leaves are rich in calcium and can be used as thamboolam.
Murungai ilai (drumstick leaves) helps in producing breast milk.
Garlic pods boiled in milk can be taken daily. This also increases the production of breast milk.

POSTPARTUM CARE:

The vagina should be cleaned with lukewarm water as and when possible during the 1st week after delivery.

Breast feed. Keep your nipples clean so that the baby doesn’t catch any infections.

Stay indoors.

Have a warm bath daily and not warm shower.

Exercise moderately.

For 1st 30 days, the stomach should be wrapped tightly with a large piece of clean cloth. This helps in compression of the abdomen (lower abdomen in particular). THIS AVOIDS THE PRESENCE OF HOLLOW SPACE IN THE ABDOMEN REGION.

Rub olive oil, Vitamin E oil or gingelly oil on the skin (especially abdomen region).

Food need to be fresh. Say “NO” to processed foods.

Food should be warm. It should be neither too hot nor dry.

Food should be prepared with digestive spices such as cumin seeds, caraway seeds, ginger, garlic, fenugreek, mustard, turmeric, pepper, and fresh curd. Avoid sour curd.

Take ghee internally.

Avoid high sugar and caffeine. THIS WILL LEAD TO WEIGHT GAIN.

DEALING WITH POSTNATAL DEPRESSION AND STRESS:

Avoid physical stress and fatigue.

Take rest. Sleep well. Take a nap while your baby naps.

Do not do the laundry work and other chores.

Eat a healthy diet. Take light and balanced diet with nourishing green vegetables.

Do pelvic exercises after six weeks. THIS WILL KEEP YOU IN GOOD SHAPE.

Isolation increases depression. Stay in touch with friends.

LINKS TO PATHIYA SAMAYAL:

The Pathiya thaligai (samayal) is according to the practices followed in an Iyengar community. Click on the names of the recipes to get the link.

DURING LABOUR PAIN : Jeeraga kashayam

SPECIAL RECIPES TO BE TAKEN DURING POST PARTUM PERIOD:

FOR BREAKFAST:
Idli OR bread slices
Dosai with less oil
Sevai

Soup

FOR LUNCH:
Rice
Ghee
Karuveppilai kuzhambu
Karuveppilai thogayal
Milagu kozhambu
Vatha kozhambu
Manathakali vathal kozhambu

Poricha kootu

Simple dhal made with moong
Any curry tempered in ghee
Milagu rasam
Jeeraga rasam
Poricha rasam
Kandathippili rasam
Angaya podi
Ela vadaam (roasted in direct flame)
Curd rice with Manathakkali vathal OR thumattikaai vathal fried in ghee
Prasava lehiyam (after lunch)
Soups in the evening

FOR DINNER:
Rice with milk (Paal saadham) during night with Narthangai salt pickle

HAND WRITTEN NOTE GIVEN BY MY GRANDMA AND MOM : RIGHT FROM LABOUR PAIN ALONGWITH THE DETAILS OF HOW TO DO PUNYAGAVACHANAM AND ALSO THE CUSTOMS & PRACTICES DURING POSTPARTUM.

Monday, November 22, 2010

IDLI USILI - 5 VARIETIES



Here are some varieties of idli usili or idli upma. Idli lemon usili, Idli molagapodi usili and idli coconut usili. This can also be made with leftover idlies.

NOTE: Idlies can be perfectly and easily crumbled when kept in refrigerator.

COMMON INGREDIENTS :

Crumbled idlies - 12 ( 4 FOR EACH VARIETY)
Salt - little

COMMON TEMPERING: (THIS TEMPERING IS FOR 4 IDLIES)

Ghee - 1 tsp.
Oil - 2 tsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Chenna dhal - 1/2 tsp.
Curry leaves - few
Dry red chillies - 1 or 2

METHOD:

IDLI LEMON USILI:

Crumble idlies, add a dash of salt and temper with the given ingredients. Squeeze a lime and garnish with coriander leaves.

IDLI MOLAGAPODI USILI:

Crumble idlies, add a dash of salt and temper with the given ingredients. Add idli molaga podi and give a quick saute.

IDLI COCONUT USILI:

Temper the given ingredients alongwith scraped coconut. Crumble idlies add a dash of salt. Mix both. Serve hot.

IDLI PULI USILI:

Crumble idlies, add a dash of salt and mix with pulikachal mix.

IDLI PLAIN USILI :

Crumble idlies , add a dash of salt and temper with the given ingredients. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

AGATHI KEERAI KARIAMUDHU / AGATHI LEAVES CURRY


This is a famous Iyengar kariamudhu (curry) which is made on Dwadashi days. People fast on 'Ekadashi' day and have 'Dwadashi Paranai' (special food or thali) on the next day which levels the acidity and the menu by itself is fantastically medicated. We don't use tamarind for this thaligai(samayal). The menu is as under:

1. Rice
2. More kozhambu
3. Agathi keerai kariamudhu (poriyal)
4. Poricha kootu
5. Poricha sathumudhu(Poricha rasam)
6. Nellikkai pachadi or Nellikai thogayal
7. Akkaraadisil or any kannamudhu (payasam)
8. Sundakkai vathal fried in ghee
9. Curd

Known as agathi in Tamil, gaach munga in Hindi, avisi in Telugu, agase in Kannada and akatti in Malayalam, agathi leaves have medicinal properties and removes toxins from the blood. Boiling agathi leaves in water and drinking the water kills the germs and bacteria in the stomach. Yet, it is not supposed to have agathi leaves daily. It can be made once in 15 days and can be consumed only twice a month and that is why our ancestors have made it a point to consume it on dwadashi days. Coming to the recipe,

INGREDIENTS:

Agathi keerai - 1 bunch
Sundaikkai vathal (Dried turkey berry) - 10 nos.
Coconut scraped - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 1/4 tsp.
Salt - as per taste
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Dry red chillies - 1 or 2
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - 1 tsp.
Ghee - 1 tsp.

METHOD:

Take out the agathi leaves, discard the stem and chop it finely. Boil it in water alongwith turmeric powder and salt till done. Drain the water completely (Do not discard the water, and this can be drunk).

Heat ghee and fry the sundaikkai vathal (dried turkey berry) till dark brown. Keep aside. Heat oil and temper with mustard seeds, urad dhal and chillies. Add the boiled agathi leaves, sugar and coconut. Saute well and finally add the fried sundaikkais. Mix well and this is an excellent side dish with Dwadashi meal.

Monday, November 15, 2010

THAVALA ADAI



INGREDIENTS:

Raw rice - 11/2 cup
Toor dhal - 2 tablespoon
Pepper - 1 tsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Curry leaves - a sprig
Hing
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tablespoons ( for tempering) &
Oil - for shallow frying

To grind to a paste:

Toor dhal - 3 tsp.
Green chilly - 1



METHOD:


Pound rice, tur dhal and pepper to rawa consistency.

Soak toor dhal for 1/2 an hour and grind it alongwith green chilly to a paste.

Measure water in the ratio 1:2. (i.e.) 1 cup of this rawa needs 2 cups of water. Keep it ready.

Heat oil in a kadai and temper with mustard seeds, urad dhal, curry leaves and hing. Add water and salt. When it starts boiling add the pounded rawa and ground paste. Stir till thick and like a dough. When slightly cool, take out a ball and flatten it to thick adais (patties). Likewise, shape all the balls to patties.

Heat a heavy bottomed pan, pour in some oil and place these flattened adais (patties), cover it with a lid and when golden brown, flip it to the other side, drizzle oil on the sides and cook uncovered till golden brown. Serve hot with any chutney of your choice, but best with molaga podi or lime pickle.

NOTE: You can also soak the rice for an hour, dry it on a towel and pound it to rawa.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

BABY CORN PEPPER FRY

NOTE: THIS RECIPE CAN ALSO BE DONE USING MUSHROOMS OR CAULIFLOWERS.

INGREDIENTS:

Baby corn - 10
Onion - 1
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp.
Pepper powder - 3/4 tsp.
Green chillies finely chopped - 1/2 tsp.
Coriander powder - 1 tsp.
Soya sauce - 1 tablespoon

Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tsp.
Spring onions - few
Coriander leaves - few

FOR THE BATTER:

Corn flour - 1/4 cup
Maida - 2 tablespoons
Black pepper powder - 1 tsp.
Soya sauce - 1 tablespoon
Salt - as per requirement

METHOD:

De - husk the baby corns and cut into inch long pieces. Boil in water till half - cooked. Pat it dry and keep aside.

Mix the items given in "FOR THE BATTER" in water to form a smooth batter. Dip the baby corn and deep fry in oil. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a kadai, add onions, and sauté till translucent . Add green chillies, ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is diffused. Add coriander powder, little salt and pepper powder and saute for a minute. Now add the fried baby corns, soyasauce & mix well. Sprinkle some water. Cook it covered till done. Add finely chopped spring onions and saute it for 10 seconds. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and spring onions. Your baby corn pepper fry is ready to serve with phulkas, parathas, naan and rotis.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

PISTACHIO FUDGE / PISTA BURFI

INGREDIENTS:

Pista(unsalted) - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Ghee - 3 tsp.

METHOD:

Blanch pista and peel the skin. Peeling the skin in a boredom job though.

Spread on a clean cloth and pat it completely dry. Heat a pan and warm the pistas(DO NOT DRY ROAST).

Grate & reserve a few pistas for topping. Grease a plate with ghee and keep aside.

Grind the pistas to a coarse paste. DO NOT ADD WATER.

Heat a heavy-bottomed pan, add sugar alongwith 1/2 a cup of water and bring it to one-string consistency.

Simmer the stove and add the pista paste. Mix well. Stir continuously till thick. Add ghee in between and stir till the mixture becomes like a dough and leaves the sides of the pan.

Switch off the stove and transfer the mixture to the greased plate. Top with grated pistas and flatten with a spatula to desired thickness. Cut into desired shapes while hot. When cool take out the pieces. Store in an airtight-container.

Monday, November 1, 2010

THIRATTUPAAL

This is a traditional Tamil brahmin sweet and is made on all important days. In Iyengar marriages, there is a lovely function. The bride is given a small cup of thirattupaal and will be asked to distribute it to all the people available. Elders tell her that if she distributes to everyone, she can run the family within the means effectively. It is a great deal to make very small balls, like a chickpea, out of it and to distribute it to everyone.

This is the traditional way of preparing thirattupaal. Though this is time consuming, this will be tastier than the microwave version. I got about 3/4 kg. with the given ingredients.

INGREDIENTS:

Milk - 3 litres
Crushed jaggery - 2 cups
Cardamom - 8
Ghee - 1 tablespoon

METHOD:

Crush the jaggery bars using a crusher. Powder the cardamoms.

Boil milk in a thick bottomed deep utensil. I used a pressure cooker. Put a small plate inside the milk. This prevents the charring of milk. Stir often. When the milk starts thickening, take out the small plate and stir the milk frequently till it reduces to half.

Now transfer the milk to a wide , heavy bottomed pan or a non-stick kadai. Allow it to boil and stir it continuously till it becomes thick like a curdled texture . Now add the powdered jaggery. Mix it well. The jaggery will dissolve and start thickening. Now add the cardamom powder and ghee. Stir till the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. The mixture should neither be too moist nor like a dough. Switch off the stove and transfer it to a container.

DELICIOUS THIRATTUPAAL IS READY.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

MULTINUTS CHIKKI / MIXED NUTS CHIKKI

The signature recipe of my MIL is cashew chikkis using jaggery for karthigai. My memories go 25 years back when I first made it for thalai karthigai. Though I knew cooking, I was novice in making chikkis. My husband told me about cashew chikkis, and the method. I was not able to shape it due to lack of knowledge, poor consistency of the jaggery syrup, to shape into rounds while hot etc. My tension level rose to unlimited levels. Then, I called upon my neighbour maami and she helped me in making cashew urundais. From then till now, I was suffering from a phobia of making this. After making this, the PHOBIA POYE POCHU.

Coming to the recipe.... I was having lots of dry fruits in my refrigerator and was planning to make LONAVLA TYPE CHIKKIS for diwali. Very easy one and need not worry about the sugar syrup consistency etc. It came out perfect, crispy and was melting in my mouth. So decided to make these lonavla type chikkis for Diwali.

INGREDIENTS:

Mixed nuts (cashew, badam and pista) - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Ghee - 1 tablespoon

METHOD:
Crush the nuts slightly (as shown in the picture). I used a stone crusher. You may not get perfect shapes if the nuts are big. Warm them in a kadai.(DO NOT DRY ROAST).

Grease a wooden plank and a roller pin (chapathi roller) with ghee and keep it ready.






















Heat a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and when melted, swirl it on all sides, add the sugar and saute till it caramelises to a light brown colour. Now, add the crushed nuts. Switch off the stove and mix it quickly. Transfer the mixture to the wooden plank. Flatten out to a uniform medium sized layer using the rolling pin. Cut into desired shapes when warm and break into pieces when cool. Store in an air-tight container. I got 15 - 20 medium sized chikkis.

Monday, October 25, 2010

BOILED PEANUTS / AVICHA VERKADALAI

Who would not love to snack on this? Its hard to stop eating them. An awesome snack, especially on rainy days with a hot cup of tea.

INGREDIENTS:

Raw peanuts - 1/4 kg.
OR groundnuts with shells - 1/2 kg.
Salt - as per taste

NOTE: Generally a fistful of rock salt for 1 kg. is wise. In this case, it is 1/4th of a fistful. Some like it salty and some like it with less salt. Calculate according to your requirements. 1/4 kg. of peanuts will cater two persons.

Soak the peanuts(either raw or with shell) in water for 1 1/2 hours. Pressure cook for 3 whistles alongwith salt and the soaked water. Let them sit in the salt water even after it is cooked. Drain the desired amount of peanuts from the salt water and eat it one by one, with hot tea. It will become more tastier when staying in salt water.

Monday, October 18, 2010

MASAL DOSAI / MASALA DOSA

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOSA:

Idli rice- 1 1/2 cups
Raw rice - 1 cup
Whole white urad dhal- 1/2 cup
Salt - as per taste ( generally I put 1 level tsp. for 1 cup of rice.This will be fine. Here, it is 2 1/2 tsps.)

METHOD:

Soak rice and dhal separately for 3-4 hours. Grind rice and dhal separately. Add salt , mix the batter and allow the batter to ferment for 7-8 hours.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MASAL:

Potatoes – 3
Big onion - 1
Green Chillies - 3 or 4
Ginger - a small piece (optional)
Turmeric Powder - a pinch
Hing
Curry Leaves - few
Coriander leaves finely chopped - 2 tablespoons
Salt
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp.
Oil- 2 tsp.

METHOD:

Pressure cook potatoes for two whistles. Peel the skin and cut into big cubes. Chop onions into lengthy strips. Slit green chillies vertically.

In a kadai, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add urad dhal and fry till golden brown. Now add turmeric powder, hing, onions and curry leaves and fry till the onions are translucent. Add the potatoes and salt. Slightly mash the potatoes. Add coriander leaves, mix well and keep it aside for spreading on the dosa.

HOW TO SPREAD: Spread the dosa batter in a dosa pan. Sprinkle some oil on all the sides and when one side is cooked, flip it to the other side. Leave it for 15 - 20 seconds. Again, flip it to the first side. Place a ladle of masal and spread only on one half of the dosa and fold the other half to cover it OR place the masal in the centre and fold it on both sides as shown in the picture. Serve hot with any chutney or sambhar or your choice.

NOTE: For spreading in the dosa , the masal should be semi-solid.
This masal can also be used as a side dish with pooris and chappathis.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

EASY SWEET CORN DELIGHTS - 7 VARIETIES

NOTES ON COOKING CORN: I have used fresh American corn kernels. If using American corn, Microwave high for 3 minutes. Add salt to taste, mix well and again Microwave high for 1 minute. Frozen corn can be substituted instead of american corn. If using frozen corn, put it in a bowl of water for 5 minutes, drain the water and then microwave the corns. If using the regular indian variety of corn, boil it in water till tender. All the recipes will taste better when served HOT.

1. BUTTERY CORN:

American sweet corn - 2 cups
Salt - 1/4 tsp.
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp.
Butter - 2 tsp.

METHOD:

Wash the corn kernels and transfer it to a microwave proof bowl. Microwave high for 3 minutes. Add salt to taste and again Microwave high for 1 minute. When hot add the butter and pepper powder. Serve hot.

2. CHEESY CORN:

Boiled/Microwaved corn - 2 cups
Chat masala - 1/2 tsp.
Chilli powder OR pepper powder - 1/4 tsp.
Salt - 1/4 tsp.
Grated cheese - 2 tablespoons

METHOD: Mix all the ingredients when the corn is hot. Serve hot.

3. SPICY CORN:

Boiled/Microwaved corn - 2 cups
Chat masala - 1/2 tsp.
Kala namak(Black salt) - a pinch
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp.
Dhania powder - 1/4 tsp.
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp.
Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp.
Salt - a pinch ( as already the boiled corn has salt in it)
Butter - 2 teaspoons
Lime juice - 1 tsp.

METHOD: Mix all the ingredients and serve hot.

4. MASALA CORN:

Boiled/Microwaved corn - 2 cups
Grated carrot - 1 tablespoon
Chopped tomato - 1 tablespoon
Chopped onion - 1 tablespoon
Chopped cucumber - 1 tablespoon
Chopped green chillies - 1 tsp.
Chopped coriander leaves - 2 tsps.
Salt - a pinch
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp.
Lime juice - 1 tsp.

METHOD: Mix all the ingredients and serve hot.

5. CORN BHEL:

Boiled/Microwaved corn - 2 cups
Boiled potato - 1
Grated carrot - 1 tablespoon
Chopped tomato - 1 tablespoon
Chopped onion - 1 tablespoon
Chopped cucumber - 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp.
Chat masala - 1/2 tsp.
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp.
Chopped coriander leaves - 2 tsps.
Lime juice - 1 tsp.
Salt - a pinch
Sweet chutney - 1 tsp.
Green chutney - 1 tsp.
Sev - 2 tablespoons

METHOD: Mix all the ingredients(except sev). Top it with sev and serve.

6. CORN DELITE:

Boiled/Microwaved corn - 2 cups
Olive oil - 1 tsp.
Oregano - 1 tsp.
Basil(fresh or dried) - 1 tsp.
Finely chopped cilantro - 2 tsps.
Lime juice - 1 tsp.
Salt - a pinch

METHOD: Mix all the ingredients and serve hot.

7. CORN SUNDAL:

Boiled /Microwaved corn - 2 cups

FOR THE TEMPERING:

Oil - 1 tsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Chopped green chillies - 1/2 tsp.
Scraped coconut - 2 tablespoons
Hing

METHOD: Heat oil and temper with the given ingredients. Add corn, mix well and serve hot.

Monday, October 11, 2010

PALAK PANEER - 2 VERSIONS

I made the jain gravy version some days back and while tasting this nobody at home could make it out. It was like regular palak paneer.
NOTE: If health conscious,
fresh cream can be substituted with milk. Adding milk gives a creamy texture to the gravy. I would prefer to have this gravy without using ginger .

INGREDIENTS:

Palak - 2 bunches
Paneer - 200 gms
Crushed Kasuri methi - 1/2 tsp. (optional)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Salt - as per taste
Butter or Oil - 2 tablespoons
Fresh cream - 2 tablespoons OR boiled milk - 1/4 cup
Garam masala - 1 tsp.
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon

VERSION - 1
FOR THE JAIN GRAVY:

Grated Pumpkin (yellow) - 1 cup
Green chillies - 3 or 4
Grated ginger - 1/4 tsp.(optional)

VERSION - 2
FOR THE REGULAR GRAVY :

Onion - 1
Garlic - 3 pods
Green chillies - 3 or 4
Grated ginger - 1/4 tsp.(optional)


METHOD:

Clean the palak and take out the leaves. Discard the stem. Blanch(Put in hot boiling water for 2 minutes, drain completely and run under cold water) the palak and grind it to a puree.

Grind the items given for the gravy (JAIN OR REGULAR) to a fine paste. Heat butter, and temper with cumin seeds add the ground paste and saute till the raw smell is diffused. Now add the palak puree, coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well and saute for 2 or 3 minutes.

Wash the paneer and dice them into medium-sized cubes. Soak it in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain completely and add it to the palak. Saute in low flame for 5 minutes. Add crushed kasuri methi. Pour in fresh cream or boiled milk and give it JUST ONE BOIL. Serve hot with any Indian flat bread.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

POTATO CARROT SOUP


INGREDIENTS:

Potato - 2(medium-sized)
Carrot - 3
Tomato - 1
Onion - 1
Garlic - 2 pods
Celery - 1 stick
Pepper - 1/4 tsp.
Corn flour - 2 tablespoons
Butter - 2 tablespoons
Salt - as per taste
White/Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp.


METHOD:

Peel and dice the vegetables to big cubes. Chop the onions. Crush garlic.

Heat butter in a pressure pan, add pepper. When it crackles, add onions and garlic and saute till translucent. Now add the corn flour and saute for 1 minute. Add in the tomato, potato and carrot. Saute for 2 minutes . Pour in 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 1 whistle.

When cool, blend it in a mixie and strain through a soup strainer. Reheat and serve hot. Sprinkle some white/black pepper powder while serving.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NAVARATHRI SPECIALS

SCROLL DOWN TO THE END OF THIS POST FOR SALT SUNDAL, SWEET SUNDAL AND THE RECIPE LINKS FOR THE ABOVE COLLAGE.

HAPPY NAVARATHRI. This year, Navarathri starts on 8th Oct 2010 and ends with Vijayadasami on 17th Oct 2010. What is the significance of Navarathri?


Navarathri reminds all women, who are the guardians of the family, culture, and integrity, to guide the family towards the path of justice, love, and divinity. Navarathri is celebrated all over India, Nepal and also Mauritius. Also known as Vijayadasami, Dasara, Dussehra in India & Mauritius and Dashain in Nepal. It is celebrated as “victory of good over evil”

"Nava" means nine and "Rathri" means night. And Navaratri is"nine nights". Goddess Durga is worshipped on the first three days of the festival. The next three days Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and then Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on the last three days. The tenth day is "Vijayadasami". Vijaya means "victory", the victory over our own minds which comes when we worship these three goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Thus, Navarathri signifies our spiritual awakening.

Coming to the celebrations in South India, the interesting part is arranging Kolu for the festival. Steps made of wood or Readymade steps are arranged in the order 3, 5, 7 or 9 and the "Kolu Bommais" (earthen dolls) are arranged on the steps in a specific order. Kolams are drawn on mornings and evenings.

Daily pooja is conducted in the morning with chanting of slokas. In the evening many ladies are invited and will be offered "thamboolam". The prasadam or offering is in the evening, mostly sundal and ends in the night with "Arathi". "Saraswathi Pooja" and "Ayudha Pooja" is celebrated on the 9th day. Books, tools and musical instruments are kept in Pooja on "Saraswathi Pooja" day. Poojas are done for the vehicles at our home as it plays an important role in our daily life. Vijayadasami day is very auspicious for new ventures. Kids are enrolled in music classes, games classes etc. People gift their gurus with "vasthram"(clothes) and get their blessings.

The best part is the "Naivedhyam" and mostly the menu is Sundal(Sweet or Salt). Puttu is made on a Friday of Navarathri. Kondakadalai (Black chana dhal) sundal and appam is made on Saraswathi Pooja day. Some make kadalai urundai also. Payasam is also made daily.

SALT SUNDAL:
INGREDIENTS:
Any pulse of your choice- 1/4 kg.

TEMPERINGS:
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Turmeric powder- a pinch.
Urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Dry red chillies - 1 0r 2
Scraped coconut - 1/4 cup
Hing
Salt - as per taste
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 1 teaspoon

METHOD: Cook the pulses as said here and temper with the given ingredients.

SWEET SUNDAL: This is made only with Karamani(cow peas) or Pachaipayaru(green gram)

Karamani or Pachaipayaru - 1 cup
Crushed jaggery - 3 teaspoon

TEMPERINGS:
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Dry red chilly - 1
Scraped coconut - 1/4 cup

METHOD:

Cook the pulses as said here, drain the water completely. Heat a teaspoon of oil and temper with mustard seeds and dry red chilly. add the cooked pulse, a pinch of salt and jaggery. When thick add coconut and mix well.

LINKS FOR LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST OF NAVARATHRI MENU:

TIPS ON COOKING PULSES FOR SUNDAL
AAMA VADAI
PUTTU
PAYASAMS
KADALAI URUNDAI
APPAM (TANJORE STYLE)
APPAM (NEIYAPPAM)
KONDAKADALAI(BLACK CHENNA SUNDAL)
KABUL CHENNA SUNDAL
GROUNDNUT SUNDAL

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TIPS FOR CLEANING COPPER AND BRASS ARTICLES

After my post on tips for cleaning silver artiles, many friends asked me about cleaning the copper and brass items. Traditional way of cleaning, especially during karthigai festival, involves lot of time using tamarind, salt and lemon peels and also it is rough of your hands. This is a quick method of cleaning copper and brass items in bulk (sans shoulder and hand pain) and cheaper too. 

THINGS REQUIRED:

NON FRUIT VINEGAR
SALT

METHOD OF CLEANING:

Make a solution from NON-FRUIT VINEGAR and salt. Allow the salt to dissolve. You can also use table salt. Immerse the brass or copper items. While immersing, the colour will start changing. Leave it for a while. Take out and wash with a dishwash liquid and scrub. For bigger vessels, dab the scrub with the solution and wash as usual.

NOTE: For 1 cup of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt will be best. The quantity can be increased or decreased depending on the number of items you clean. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

BABY CORN FRITTERS


INGREDIENTS:

Baby corn - 10 nos.
Oil - to deep fry

For the batter:

Corn flour - 3 tablespoons
Maida - 1 tablespoon
Rice flour - 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp.
Salt - as per taste
Soya sauce - 1 tsp. (optional)
Curd - 1 tablespoon
Tomato red food colour - 1/4 tsp.
Kesari powder - 1/4 tsp.

NOTE: You can also use orange food colour instead of Tomato red colour and kesari powder. As I had these two ingredients, I have used it to get the desired colour. If you do not have a MW oven, you can cook the baby corns in boiling water for 3 minutes and drain the water.

METHOD:

Peel the skin and take off the fibres from the baby corn. Wash well, cut into two and Microwave High(uncovered) for 2 minutes.

Make a medium - thin batter with the given ingredients adding little water, just enough to cover the baby corns. Mix it well without any lumps. Marinate the microwaved baby corns for 10 minutes in this batter.

Deep fry in oil,(ensure even coating on all sides) till golden and crispy. Serve hot with tomato - ketchup and chilli sauce. Perfect and tasty tea time snack. Goes well with fried rice and also with phulkas as a dry curry.

Monday, September 27, 2010

GREEN CHILLY THOKKU

This is a traditional recipe from my paati and amma who are here right now. They were very much interested in sharing this recipe in my blog. They used to do it years back and said it was the best combo with "Saar theertham"( leftover cooked rice soaked in water) or curd rice. It was spicy, hot and tasty. They also gave some post - natal and post - partum food and care guidance for the whole family's (FAMILY TREES?!!!) future guidance which will be shared in a future post. What an interest at this age ?!!!!!! I admire their generosity to share things which will be useful for everyone. KUDOS PAATI AND AMMA. THANKS A LOT. Another combination they gave was mixing this thokku with a spoon of coconut oil and having as a side dish for Thengai dosai. Here is the way they prepared this.

INGREDIENTS:

Very tender green chillies - 50 gms.
Tamarind - a lemon size
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 1/2 ladle
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp.
Hing

METHOD:

Slit the green chillies, heat a tablespoon of oil and saute the green chillies till the colour changes, with white spots in it and the raw smell is diffused. Grind it alongwith salt and tamarind to a fine paste. Again, heat the remaining oil, temper with mustard seeds, urad dhal, hing and turmeric powder. Add in the ground paste and saute well till oil leaves the sides. This can be preserved even for a month if sauted well with oil. It can also be refrigerated.

NOTE: THE CHILLIES SHOULD BE VERY TENDER. YOU CAN SOAK THE TAMARIND IN WATER AND USE THE VERY THICK EXTRACT. BUT FOR GETTING A PERFECT TEXTURE USE THE TAMARIND DIRECTLY WHILE GRINDING SUBJECT TO THE QUALITY OF THE PRODUCT.
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