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Thursday, June 30, 2011

HOW TO CLEAN VAZHAIPOO (BANANA BLOSSOM)

Banana blossom, vazhaipoo in tamil, has immense medicinal properties. The flower is rich in fibre and is effective in treating menstrual disorders like excessive bleeding & painful menstruation. It provides relief from stomach ailments, especially ulcers. Cleaning the flower is a task for novice cooks, but the benefits are worth the task.

South indians make a variety of dishes (poriyal, paruppusili, vadai etc.) with these flowers.

The pictures are self explanatory, yet a small explanation.


Apply oil on your hands. Remove the bracts (red coloured petals).


Collect all the florets.

How to open the flowers?.. Gently rub the top edges of the flower on your palm. The flowers will open and you will find a hard stamen (KaLLan in Tamil) and husk(plastic like small petal). Remove the stamen and the plastic like petal.These are to be discarded and should not be used while cooking the flowers as they will be very hard.

Continue the procedure with all the blossoms.

Chop the blossoms finely and add to a bowl of diluted buttermilk to prevent discolouration. Vazhaipoo is ready to cook.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

VAZHAIPOO (BANANA BLOSSOM) PARUPPUSILI

Banana blossom, vazhaipoo in tamil has immense medicinal properties. The flower is rich in fibre and is effective in treating menstrual disorders like excessive bleeding & painful menstruation. It provides relief from stomach ailments, especially ulcers.

NOTE: The stamen and filament should be removed before cooking . A separate post on cleaning vazhaipoo (Banana blossom) will follow. Cleaning is time consuming but worth it.

INGREDIENTS:

Vazhaipoo (banana blossom) - 1

To temper:

Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp.
Curry leaves -a sprig
Oil - 3 tablespoons

To coarsely grind:

Toor dal - 1 cup
Dry red chillies – 3
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt - to taste


METHOD:

Soak toor dal and red chillies in water for 1/2 an hour. Drain completely and grind coarsely alongwith salt & turmeric powder. If necessary, sprinkle water. Steam cook the ground paste for ten minutes and keep aside.

Finely chop vazhaipoo and boil in water alongwith salt and turmeric powder, drain it and squeeze out the excess water using your hand.

Heat oil in a pan, temper with mustard seeds , urad dal and curry leaves. Add the steam cooked paste and fry for 5 minutes. Add the boiled vazhaipoo, mix well and saute for 3 more minutes.

Serve hot. An excellent side dish with south indian thali.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

HOW TO CLEAN SUNDAKKAI (TURKEY BERRY)

Sundakkai(Bhankatiya, in Hindi) is known for its healing properties. It is slightly bitter in taste and helps in proper digestion. It destroys intestinal worms and bacteria. Malai sundakkais are less bitter than naatu sundakkais. Turkey berries (Sundakkai) should be cleaned and de-seeded before cooking. After cleaning, these can be used in kozhambus and also sundried and preserved for a year.

THE PROCEDURE OF CLEANING SUNDAKKAIS:

Select green sundakkais.


Remove the stalks. Crush slightly with a stone crusher.

Drop these into a bowl of water. Using your hand, slightly press the sundakkais inside the water and rinse well. The seeds will settle down in the bottom. Take out the sundakkais. Discard the water. Fill fresh water and repeat the procedure twice. The sundakkais (turkey berries) are ready to use.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MALAI SUNDAKKAI VENDAYA KUZHAMBU

SUNDAKKAI VENDAYA KUZHAMBU, PACHAI SUNDAKKAI KUZHAMBU,IYENGAR THALIGAI,SUNDAKKAI KUZHAMBU

Sundakkai(Bhankatiya, in Hindi) is known for its healing properties. It is slightly bitter in taste and helps in proper digestion. It destroys intestinal worms and bacteria. Malai sundakkais are less bitter than naatu sundakkais.

NOTE: Turkey berries (Sundakkai) should be cleaned and de-seeded before cooking. This kozhambu is made with raw sundakkais and not with the dried sundakkai vathal. A separate post on cleaning sundakkais will follow.

This kozhambu is mixed with rice alongwith gingelly oil and packed for travel. THIS KOZHAMBU WILL NOT TASTE BITTER,***AS WE SAUTE BEFORE & ARE ADDING THE BERRIES ONLY WHEN HALF DONE.

INGREDIENTS:


Raw turkey berry (sundakkai) - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - a lemon sized ball
Sambhar powder - 1 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds powder - 1/2 tsp.
Toor dhal - 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Asafoetida(hing)
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Oil - 2 tablespoons
Salt - as per taste
Curry leaves - few

METHOD:

Dry roast a handful of fenugreek seeds and powder it. (This can be preserved & used while making vendaya kozhambu). We need only half a spoon of this for this kozhambu.

Soak tamarind in water and extract pulp. Keep aside.


Heat a spoon of oil in a pan, saute the raw sundakkai with little salt and keep it aside.***

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters, hing, turmeric powder, toor dhal, and curry leaves . Now add the sambhar powder, vendaya powder and slightly saute it being careful not to burn it. Immediately pour in tamarind extract alongwith salt. Allow it to boil. When the raw smell of the tamarind is diffused,*** add the sauteed sundakkais and again boil it till thick.

Malai sundakkai vendaya kozhambu is ready to serve with rice and goes well with roasted papad or appalam.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

TOMATILLO KOOTU / THAKKALIKKAI KOOTU



This is a traditional kootu made with thakkalikkai (Tomatillos), slightly different from the normal kootus we make.

INGREDIENTS:

Tomatillos - 6
Moong dhal - 2 tablespoons
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp.
Coriander leaves - few
Salt - as per taste
Oil - 2 tsp.

To grind :

Green chillies - 2
Scraped coconut - 1/4 cup

To temper :

Ghee - 1 tsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp.
Cumin seeds - -1/2 tsp.
Hing
Curry leaves - a sprig

METHOD:

Select firm tomatillos.

Pressure cook moong dhal alongwith turmeric powder and mash well.

Grind the items given in "To grind" to a paste.

In a pressure pan, heat oil, add the tomatillos and saute well. Add salt and saute for a minute.

Now add the mashed dhal & ground paste. Pour in half a cup of water and pressure cook for 1 whistle**. Temper with the given ingredients. Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice. Goes well with chappathis. A perfect side dish for southindian thali.

NOTE: ** Tomatillos are slightly hard to get cooked even if we cook it covered for a long time. To enable perfect cooking of the tomatillos, pressure cook for 1 whistle.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

VEPPAMPOO (NEEM FLOWER) RASAM

This rasam, known for its medicinal values, is very useful for stomach upsets and has a unique flavour and aroma.

NOTE: You can also fry dried neem flowers in ghee and mix it with hot rice alongwith salt. This helps in de-worming and upset stomach. It is also anti-viral.

INGREDIENTS:

Tamarind - a small lemon size
Salt - as per taste
Dried neem flowers - 3 tsp.
Ghee - 1 tsp.
Oil - 1 tsp.
Dry red chillies - 2
Hing - a pinch

METHOD:

Soak tamarind in water and extract about 3 cups of juice from it.

In a vessel, pour the tamarind extract, hing and salt and allow it to boil till it diffuses the raw smell.

In a pan, heat oil & ghee and fry the red chillies and veppampoo (neem flower) till it turns dark brown, but should not be burnt. Add this to the rasam. Close with a lid so that the aroma of the neemflower will be infused in the rasam. DO NOT BOIL IT AGAIN AFTER ADDING THE NEEMFLOWER ELSE IT WILL TURN BITTER.

Serve hot with rice.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

PORIULLU / NUTS & LENTILS MIXTURE (KARNATAKA STYLE)

Poriullu is a famous Iyengar (Hebbar, Mandya) snack prepared during special occasions. It is a spicy nuts and lentils mixture (Chivda). This is a healthy, colourful tea-time snack. Any lentils can be used. However, the soaking time differs for each lentil. In karnataka, during broad beans season, similar type of mixture is made using Pachai mochai (field beans or bakla).

NOTE: Raw peanuts or roasted peanuts can be used. Moong dhal, mochai kottai (navy beans) can also be added. Bengal gram can be used instead of pottukadalai. Moong dhal & bengal gram should be soaked for 2 hours and mochai kottai should be soaked overnight. Black chick peas (karuppu kondaikadalai) can be substituted for kabuli chana.

If the oil is too hot, the lentils will become too hard to bite. So, ENSURE MEDIUM HEAT OF OIL.

INGREDIENTS:

Peanuts - 1/4 cup
Green gram - 1/4 cup
Kabuli chana - 1/4 cup
Dried green peas - 1/4 cup
Pottu kadalai (Roasted gram) - 1/4 cup
Cashews - 15
Salt - as per taste ( I used a little more than 1/4 tsp.)
Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp.
Hing - a pinch
Turmeric powder - a generous pinch
Oil - for deep frying
Ghee - 1 tsp. (for tempering)
Metal strainer - 1

METHOD:

Soak dried green peas and kabuli chana separately overnight. Soak green gram and raw peanuts separately for 2 hours. Drain each item separately and dry it in a clean towel for half an hour.

Heat oil in a kadai. Ensure medium heat of oil. Deep fry all the items one by one, by immersing the metal strainer in oil. Transfer the items one by one to a wide bowl. Deep fry the pottukadalai also and add it to the bowl.

In another pan, heat ghee and temper with hing, turmeric powder and chilli powder. Add this to the bowl of mixture alongwith required amount of salt. Mix well by tossing the bowl. Spicy poriullu is ready.
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