Showing newest 20 of 21 posts from February 2009. Show older posts
Showing newest 20 of 21 posts from February 2009. Show older posts

28.2.09

Lentil's Rice





Paruppu Saadham:

Pappu Annam, Paruppu Saadham. Rice Kitchedi. Arisiyum Paruppum Saadham???

Yes...much similar to 'Masala Pongal' dish with slight variation! Its a comfort food, well balanced, nutritional and easy to fix recipe!

As we say it as 'Paruppu Saadham'(at Chennai)...people from South(Coimbatore belt)call this as 'Arisiyum Paruppum Saadham'!! Hmmmm pretty weird??? I tease them a big time....why to mention 'arisi'(rice) if it is already a saadham(cooked rice)there! Anyways, it was fun to be 'fault finding' in linguistic stuff. Different regional people of the same language, perfect certain words and also mispronounce few words...maybe the influence of outside settlements or local twist, whatever!!! This is Paruppu Saadham to me!:)

Ingredients:

Cinnamon Stick 1
Cloves 2
Cumin 1 spoon
Green chili 3 slitted
Garlic 6 cloves sliced
Onion 1 large sliced
Tomato 1 optional chunked
Rice 1 cup
Thoor dal 1/4 cup
Butter 2 cubes
Cilantro leaves few.

Method:

Soak rice and lentils few hours ahead.

Melt butter, throw in, the spices.

Then add chilies, garlic and onion. Fry for 2 minutes.

Add tomatoes, salt, rice and lentils. Measure water and add to this. Either slow cook or pressure cook.

Once they are done, remove from heat and garnish with cilantro leaves.

26.2.09

Chicken Puffs




Chicken Puffs:

Myself and my friend Sridevi, were big time 'Chicken Lovers'. We can't take one day with greens and vegetables. While in hostel...almost every single day, we step out for 'Chicken Pakoda' or 'Chicken Puffs'. There was a saying back then among our friend's circle...'Even if we say...the Chicken is poisoned, these two stupid's will still have it'!!! Aaah thats cruel, right! But we were like that, its part of the growth!!!

Ingredients:

For Puff Pastry Sheets:

All purpose flour 1 cup
All purpose flour for dusting 1 cup
Egg whites from 1 egg (for egg wash)
Butter 1 whole stick
Salt as per taste
Baking soda 1/4 spoon
Warm water

For the Filling:

Chicken (boneless, skinless & cubed)
Onion 1 large finely chopped
Garlic 2 bead minced
Ginger 1" grated
Salt
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Coriander seeds powder 1 spoon
Cumin seeds powder 1 spoon
Garam masala powder 1/4 spoon
Cilantro leaves few
Mint leaves few chopped
Oil few spoons.

Method:

In a wok, heat oil. Add ginger-garlic and onions...fry them real good, till golden color.

Add all the powdered spices and bring them to masala consistency. Add chicken and cook them till they are done. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves. Set aide to cool down to room temperature.

Make a smooth fissure less dough using just warm water + salt and soda.

Make equal parts out of them. Knead them to paper thin.....bast with clarified butter and dust them with flour. Now fold them as shown in the picture. Repeat the same procedure over and over for atleast 4-6 times. So you will end up having neat thick square sheet.

Repeat the same for all the remaining equal parts of the dough.

The more you knead over and over....the more the layers. The more you bast with butter...the more the crispiness.

Well...now to the each of the sheet....coat them with egg white(egg wash). Then place spoon full of masala chicken. Cover them and seal the edges. Repeat the same for as many as puffs you want!

Once again bast the outer sides of the puff with butter. Place them over butter papers, in an oven safe container. (Note: Aluminium foil could actually burn the puffs to char before it is done thoroughly) Bake them over 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Often bast them in between with butter.

Enjoy with ketchup as an evening snack.

Award



  • Rajeshwari


  • My blog buddy, Rajeshwari has shared this award with me. Oh my gosh,'Blogging with a Purpose' I am really speechless, felt so good!:) Thank you dear.

    Blogging with a purpose...did I??? Yeah...sure everyone has some purpose with it, I guess! So I am leaving it blank...this award belongs to everyone. It is displayed here, please feel free to take it with you. Almost everyone deserves it!!!

    Award



    I am thrilled to receive this award from my blog buddy Anu.

  • Chandrabhaga


  • Thank you so much sweetheart. 'Circle of friends' award sounds so nice to me...its like going on a 'time machine' back to high school years!!! Wow...this award makes me feel like a teenager!:) This blog world has created lot differences in our lives, right! And earning friendship makes it wholesome!!! Sure...I want to share this award with everyone. Please feel free, to take the award with you.

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  • 24.2.09

    Mutton Coconut Biriyani.



    Mutton Biriji:

    Mutton Thengai Birinji. Mutton Coconut Birinji. Mutton Biriyani with coconut milk. Mutton Coconut Biryani. Mutton Coconut Birinji.

    As every culinary journey begins with a grandmother's story, so is mine! My Grandmother was a gifted cook in the family!:) I miss her authentic preparations! This was(is) one of her unique recipe 'Coconut Birinji'! When I was a kid, watched her move around in the kitchen, with great admiration! Grandma would strain herself so much to make an early breakfast, an elaborate lunch, an evening snack and again a dinner! It used to be like...Kitchen was her industry and she worked there 3 shifts, without rest! Sometimes...when guests arrived without prior notice...in minutes she would come up with fabulous tiffin or like this variety rice! When it comes to cook for others, mothers and grandmother's would get up early and toil in the kitchen. Oh boy...that was some time! But when our turn comes...we just take them out, to restaurants!:(

    Birinji Saadham and Pudhina thuvaiyal is her master piece! I never got a chance to learn anything from my Grandma(my bad luck)! But whatever she cooked for me...the taste still lingers in my mind! Wish I had her energy in entertaining people!!! Well...today I tweaked her recipe to suit my carnivore palate! Yeah...added meat to it! But one could continue this in the same fashion, without adding any meat!:)

    Ingredients:

    Short grain rice 2 cups
    Goat's meat 1/2 kilo
    Coconut 1 large
    Green chilies 6-9 slitted
    Garlic 1 whole head, peeled
    Onion 1 large sliced
    Salt
    Mint leaves 1 fistful
    Fennel seeds 2 spoons
    Bay leaves 3 crushed
    Ghee 1 cup.

    Method:

    Cook meat till tender...with limited salt in it. Set aside, retain the meat cooked water.

    Shell the coconut and make a thick extract (milk) from it. Maybe make sure...if you're using 2 cups of rice, 4 cups of thick milk will be appropriate.

    In a wide vessel, heat ghee. Add fennel seeds, bay leaves and chilies. Wait till the chilies crackle up.

    Then add sliced onions and fry till fragrant. Followed by garlic and mint.

    Now stir-in, cooked meat. Cook over high heat. Once the water is reduced and oil shows up on sides.

    Add rice and fry for 2 minutes. Then add 4 cups of thick coconut milk to it. Cover and cook over sim heat.

    Once the rice is done soft and fluffy...serve warm as a main dish. Mint thuvaiyal is considered as perfect side dish in my family.

    23.2.09

    Gongura Leaves Curry




    Pulicha Keerai Kootu:

    Sorrel Leaves Curry. Sorrel leaves Kootu.

    The Botanical name of this greens is Hibiscus acetosa/ Rumex acetosa. The species name acetosa signifies its 'sour' nature. We call this as 'Puicha Keerai' in Tamil. The English common name is 'Red Sorrel' or 'Wood Sorrel'. They call it as 'Gongura' in Telugu. These greens are rich in Vitamin C. So widely used in the treatment of scurvy. It is diuretic! Also helps to flow gastric juices...thereby supporting digestion and acts as a laxative. In folks remedy they use these leaves for any kind of inflammation and jaundice symptoms...although the claim need to be verified!

    Ingredients:

    Sorrel Leaves 1 bowl
    Salt
    Chana dal 1 fistful
    Coconut 1/2 shell grated
    Dry red chilies 5
    Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
    Sesame oil few spoons.

    Method:

    In a wide wok, heat oil. Add mustard and chilies. Wait till the splutter.

    Add chana dal and fry really good, till it turns to reddish color.

    Add greens, cover and cook. This greens wilt too quickly. Further add grated coconut and cook over high for 2 minute.

    Remove from heat.

    Serve to go as a side dish for South Indian meals.

    Radish Greens Poriyal




    Radish Greens Poriyal:

    Radish Greens Vepudu. Mullangi Keerai Poriyal.

    Most of them, use beets and radish and throw way the greens! Well...these greens are also rich in vitamins! Radish greens contains more vitamin C than the root! Like many other cruciferous vegetables/greens(Cabbage family) these radish greens posses cancer-protecting properties! The high sulfur from these greens helps gastric juices flow and thereby supporting the digestive system! It also acts as a visceral cleanser! Flushes away the impurities from the gall bladder, kidney and protects and strengthens the liver! So the next time you spot the radish along with its leaves...don't hesitate to buy them. Trim and use them in culinary!:)

    My Mommy use to make this stir-fry! Since radish greens are slightly bitter in taste...She used to add grated peanuts to it. Like most of the greens it has 'Vitamin K'. So people with high blood pressure, do not 'over do' with greens!

    Ingredients:

    Radish Greens 1 bunch
    Salt
    Turmeric 1 pinch
    Peanuts 1 cup
    Dry red chilies 7
    Mustard seeds 1/2 spoon
    Sesame oil few spoons.

    Method:

    Chop the greens coarsely, along with its tender stems. Set aside.

    Toast the peanuts and rub away its fine skin.

    Grate peanuts and red chilies together.

    In a wide wok, heat oil. Add mustard's and wait till it splutters.

    Add greens, plus salt and turmeric. Cover and cook, till they wilt.

    Then fry over high heat for few minutes.

    Finally add grated powder to it, stir fry over high for 2 more minutes.

    Serve to go with your steamed rice or as a side dish. Enjoy.

    20.2.09

    Mutton-Cashew Nuts Fry



    Mutton Kaju Fry:

    Goat's meat & Cashew nuts Fry.

    Brain is one of the powerful organ! About 1.4 kilo of brain is still a mystery to lot of scientists! If I want to talk about the brain chemicals and function...I could talk all day long. But let me stick to the area, I am blogging about!:)

    Our fragile brain is coddled and curdled safely by cerebrospinal fluid! Besides...it also requires more pampering from the diet we eat! Does that make any sense? It can't take even the slightest abuse(too much alcohol, high cholesterol, high blood sugar). So we need to keep it pampered, all the time.

    Brain cells needs fresh glucose, each time! A minute to minute supply! I am worried for those who are on crash/yo yo diet! As...any other organ gets its supply from breaking up the fat cells(storage cells). Whereas brain is the only organ, that demands fresh glucose! That is why, when glucose level drops, mental irritability and fainting happens!

    Well...as we grow older, damaging of grey cells(comes as a package)! As you would have observed, short term memory loss is common among older citizens! Oxidative stress damages the grey cells and also the neurons. (The neurons are message carrying cells). Unfortunately...if a neuron is dead, its dead forever. There is no recovery!

    When it comes to medication(any brain targeted drugs, could be for Alzheimer/Depression). Most of the drugs that are targeted to brain, just fails! Because there is big border-crossing guard cells! As these guard cells only allow molecules that have essential business in the brain. These guard cells are hyper vigilant! Almost 98% of drugs do not cross from blood stream into the Brain! So now pharma companies are working on some genetically engineered drugs that could be smuggled through this guard cells!

    Well...buffing our brain through food and life style is an important, step! To give it simple...anything that is good for heart, is also good for our brain! Also oxidative stress is a worst enemy of brain cells...eat your vegetables and fruits, promptly. Think about more colorful vegetables to reduce oxidation. Never go on 'low carb diet' instead plan for 'good carb diet', the complex carbohydrate...to give a steady supply of glucose to it. An Australia based study says...vegetarian's brain size shrinks after certain age(50's 60's). They have severe memory loss than meat eaters. So try to fairly treat yourself with occasional meat diet. Once or Twice a week would be appropriate. Fish, Nuts, colorful berries are absolutely brain foods! A diet should be rich in variety of brain protective nutrients, including antioxidants(Fresh Fruits & Vegetables), omega-3 fatty acids(Fish & Olive oil), and vitamins C(every 4 hours), D(sunlight & Milk) and E(unpolished grains, nuts).

    Ingredients:

    Goat's meat/Mutton 1/2 kilo
    Cashew nuts 1 cup
    Ghee 1/4 cup
    Cloves 2
    Cinnamon 1 stick
    Onion 1 grated
    Ginger-garlic paste 1 spoons
    Salt
    Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
    Chili powder 1 spoon
    Pepper powder 1 spoon
    Garam masala powder (optional)
    Curry leaves to garnish.

    Method:

    Cook meat in a pressure cooker, using limited water...till tender.

    In a wide wok, heat ghee. Fry curry leaves till crisp and set aside. Fry cashew nuts till golden color and set aside.

    Wash and wipe off the wok. Heat few spoons of ghee. Add cloves and cinnamon to it.

    Followed by ginger-garlic paste and onion paste. Fry real good, until raw aroma leaves the pan.

    Now add cooked meat to it. Fry over high heat. Add salt, turmeric, chili and pepper powders. When the meat is really fried and aromatic...add nuts and curry leaves to it.

    Serve warm to go with your South Indian meals.

    19.2.09

    Fresh Figs Subzi





    Athi Kai Kootu:

    Ficus in Culinary, Dumur ka Subzi, Athi Kai Kootu, Figs with lentils Curry.

    This woody tree comes under Moraceae family. The genus name is Ficus...since there are several varieties of species here(about 850)...I am leaving it blank here. One could assume that, I used 'indica' species tho'. The tree is native to Persia(modern Iran)from there it spread to all Mediterranean and Asian countries. Fig tree is considered holy in many religion(Buddhism after enlightenment, under Bodhi tree). Fig trees are keystone species in an ecosystem. As it supports too many lives...including insects, worms, birds, bats that feed on its fruits....

    Fig is a remarkable fruit! It has peculiar arrangement of flowers!! You guys wondering what? Have you ever seen a fig's flower? It is neither fruit nor a flower actually!!! As you would have heard this proverb in South India(Tamil language). 'Maraindhu Poo Pookkum, Therindhu Kai Kaikkum', meaning...the flowers bloom secretly and fruits flourish visually!!! Botanically speaking, it posses both flowers + fruit! A flower the grew inwards!! Since it has a receptacle like, hollow(the inner pith) & outer leathery skin. It has multitude of flowers that grow inwards...which never gets a chance to face the sun! Yeah...one of the natures mysteries!!! If you break open a fig, you'll notice 1000s of teeny seeds and along with it lots of 'dot' sized buzzing flies(microscopic flies that has been feasting inside happily and thereby helped pollination).......woooo!!!

    Figs are often associated with a thought of 'Fertility tree' among most of the population. But in reality, it doesn't posses any such quality. It is valued for its high laxative property! Both the pectin and minute seeds gives a good roughpage to the stomach. The dry fruit...serves as a best source for magnesium, iron and potassium! It should be noted that, this fruit has more potassium than bananas! As a fresh fruit posses phosphorous and calcium. Again its calcium content is more than milk! It has high sugar content...gives out quick energy. One can rely on htis fruit for instant glucose! The thick pectin it posses, a soluble fibre helps to control the blood cholesterol level. So don't hesitate to pick a ripe fresh fruit, next time from the market. Also...do not throw away the cut and bruised fruits, my friends...I tell you. The over ripe, slightly bruised fruits are actually rich in anti-oxidants than the raw unripe ones.

    My mommy and Grandma used to make pickle or kootu out of these fresh figs. The raw figs have unique taste...kind of like 'Plantain Flower'! There was lots of figs tree in our school. During lunch time...myself and my brother used to have food under one such big tree. As a kid...never liked this fruit. Used to wonder...how these 'microscopic' insects got into these fruits!! Older, wise people used to say...one should not 'break open' fig fruit and see it...before eating! Does this make any sense...yeah we will lose our appetite! It may not be a fancy fruit...but sure it has lots of goodness in it. So the next time you spot one...don't hesitate to cook them/eat them!

    Ingredients:

    Fresh Figs 1 cup
    Thoor dal 1/2 cup(cooked)
    Chana dal 1/2 cup(semi-cooked)
    Dry red chilies 7-9
    Onion 1 chopped
    Ginger-garlic paste 1 spoon
    Tomato chopped
    Salt
    Turmeric 1/4 spoon
    Chili powder 1 spoon
    Oil few spoons
    Mustard 1/4 spoon
    Cumin 1/4 spoon
    Curry leaves few.

    Method:

    Slit twice the figs and wash several times in the running water.

    Heat oil, in a wok. Add mustards, cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves and red chilies. Wait till they pop.

    Now, add ginger-garlic paste and followed by onions and tomatoes.

    Further add figs and both the dals(cooked+semi-cooked). Add salt, turmeric and chili powders too. Cover and cook, till tender.

    Serve to go with your rice. That I call as perfect healthy meal.

    18.2.09

    Award


    Award

    My Sweet friends( Yasmeen, Shanghi and Vinolia)had shared an award with me! Award, 'You are Sweet'...isnt that sweet!!!

    I will share this award with all my sweet fellow bloggers!:)

    Yeah...I don't want to make a list, that is so endless...

    This award goes to all my sweet fellow bloggers....who take care to notice whats happening in my blog...leave their sweet comments and suggestions! I love you'all!!! Thank you so much for being so sweet with me!!!

    Cranberry Pickle





    Cranberry Pickle:

    Like many other berries, cranberries are also rich in antioxidants. Berries are rich in anthocyanins, flavonol glycosides, catechin, citric acid, malic acid and quinic acid.

    It is said to have properties to heal Urinary tract infection! Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins! Which could possibly prevent the adhesion of certain bacteria, that are associated with infections to the urinary tract. But research has not confirmed it yet. The anti-adhesion properties from its fatty acids believed to inhibit the bacteria associated with gum disease(Dental plaque) and gastro-intestinal ulcers too. Proanthocyanidin compounds are anti-carcinogenic, they inhibit the growth of tumour producing cells. So cranberries can be considered to have Anti-Cancerous property too.

    Besides they are good source for Vitamin A and C! When it comes to Vitamin C, its a water soluble Vitamin...so please ensure that you buff your body constantly. Like drink Vitamin C rich juice every 5 hours...to give a sustained steady flow in your blood stream.

    Also they are flavenoids rich(a phenol compound), they are good for one's healthy heart! Instead of depending on a glass of red wine...to clear the clogged arteries, cranberry juice can help!

    Ingredients:

    Cranberries 1 cup
    Sea Salt / Kosher salt
    Chili powder
    Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
    Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
    Curry leaves few
    Sesame oil 1/2 cup.

    To be Toasted & Powdered:

    Coriander seeds 1-2 spoons
    Fenugreek seeds 1-2 spoons
    Yellow mustard seeds 1-2 spoons
    Cumin seeds 1 spoon
    Curry leaves few
    Dry red chilies 5-7
    Asafoetida 1 spoon

    Method:

    Slit the berries and add sea salt to it. Store them in ceramic jar for few hours.

    Heat oil in a wok. Add mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves. Wait till they pop.

    Now stir-in, salted berries to it. Fry for couple of minutes....then add chili powder and other pickling spices to it. When it is done and oil shows up on top, remove from heat. Do not leave long...the berries wilt so quickly. I like them to be intact here and there!

    Bring down to room temperature and store in a ceramic jar.

    Also, before storing in a jar...make sure its dry! Smear a teaspoon full of spirit in the jar(to avoid any bacteria).

    15.2.09

    Shrimps-Drumsticks Soup




    Shrimps & Drumsticks Soup:

    Shrimps and Drumsticks Stew. Murungaikkai-Eral Soup. Murungaikkai-Iral Thanni Kuzhambu.

    Shrimps: Shrimps contain a sleep promoting amino acid - Tryptopan, in it! So if you're suffering from insomnia, fix shrimps for dinner! Or any sea food namely, cod, tuna and trout are also abundant in this amino acid! Better balance your sea food with enough carbohydrate diet. When we balance it with good carbohydrate diet, we fall asleep and also stay asleep(not tossing and turning in the middle of the night). Well...why I am raving about this sleep so much!! Yeah, for most of the illness, good nights sleep is a solution! Than the perfect 6 hours shut-eye mode...if a person plans for 8 hours routine, it can even prevent them from getting a stroke!

    Besides, Tryptopan also revitalises one's brain cells! Helps to remember better. It solves questions and queries. You would have noticed people say...sleep over it(to solve a problem). Sleep sorts out queries. When we are asleep, our brain chemicals still function! Various synapses breaks, releases chemicals, sort out using past experiences and things we studied from subconscious! Most of our problems could be solved by mere sleeping it over! Tryptopan helps to retrieve even a long lost memories!!!

    Drumsticks: The Botanical name of this tree is 'Moringa oleifera'! Both Leaves and pods are edible here. While talking about its pod, we call it as 'Murungai kai' in Tamil. Which literally means 'Twisted vegetable'. Yeah...the pod is so slender and looks twisted. The common English name is 'Drumsticks', since the vegetable looks like one! They also call it as 'Horse Radish' at some places.

    The tree is called 'Brahma Viruksham' in Sanskrit! As the name implies, it is used in the treatment of fertility problems in Sidhha and Ayurveda medicines. The leaves, flowers, slender twigs and pods are all edible here and its good for overall fertility(for both men & women).

    Ingredients:

    Drumsticks 2-3 chopped
    Shrimps 200 grams (small)
    Chilies 3 chopped
    Ginger 2" grated
    Garlic 6 cloves chopped
    Onion 1 chopped
    Tomato 1 chopped
    Salt
    Turmeric 1 pinch
    Curry leaves few
    Cumin seeds few
    Cilantro leaves few
    Oil few spoons.

    Method:

    In a wide vessel, heat oil. Add cumin and curry leaves. Wait till it splutters.

    Add chilies, ginger and garlic. Fry till fragrant.

    Add onions and tomatoes, cover and cook for a while.

    Then add drumsticks, salt and turmeric. Add 2 cups of water. Cover and cook.

    When the veggie is 3/4th done, add shrimps. Cook over medium heat for another 7-10 minutes.

    Remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

    This could be taken as soup or as stew with plain steamed rice.

    Green Gram Fritters





    Green Gram Vada:

    Green Gram Vadai. Whole Mung dal vadai. Whole Moong dal vadai. Pachai payiru vadai. Pasi paruppu vadai.

    Another exciting recipe from Andhra home! Telugu people always inspired me in cooking, language and culture! I learned a lot from them!

    When I was in Hyderabad...my house owner Auntie used to share with me, all her home made goodies. She is really good at making evening snacks...all spicy, crispy & sizzling hot! Even if I say...I am on diet and I don't eat fried, she will never buy it and insist me on eating! she will be very considerate that I going thin, day by day! So sweet, right! I have posted some of her recipes already...like spicy poori and corn vada!

    Maybe this is not exactly her recipe...but she narrated this to me, she said...she practically turns any gram into vada! I duly noted her point and hibernated till I got a chance! When there was a 'Dal' scarcity in U.S.A., few months ago! I tried to manage everything with local grams! I also got remembered about this particular vada, so made some 'Kidney Beans Vadai' and 'Green Gram Vadai'! I got to say, both these are healthy adoption! They consume very little oil and an amazing point is...they turn super crispy! Isn't that exciting...so why are you waiting for, go on...soak some gram already!!!

    Please take a look at 'Kidney Beans Vada'

    http://www.kitchentantra.com/2008/03/karamani-vadai-brown-small-black-eye.html

    Ingredients:

    Green Gram 1 cup
    Salt
    Green chilies 6-8 chopped
    Ginger-garlic paste 2 spoons
    Fennel seeds 2 spoons
    Onion 2 finely chopped
    Coriander leaves few finely chopped
    Curry leaves few finely chopped
    Oil for frying.

    Method:

    Soak the green gram for 4-6 hours. Wet-grind coarsely, using very limited water.

    To this add all the above said ingredients except oil. Mix them well.

    Heat oil in a pan. Make small 3 inch size fritters(vadai) and surface fry them in hot oil.

    Serve hot with mint and tomato chutney.

    12.2.09

    Valentines's Day Special - Wheat Halwa / Karah Prasadh






    Thirunelveli Halwa:

    Thirunelveli Iruttukkadai Style Halwa/ Gothumai Halwa /Gyehoo`n Ki Halwa / Wheat Halwa / Glossy Ghee Halwa.

    Today I present...the world famous 'Thirunelveli Halwa' recipe! A regional Speciality Dessert! Thirunelveli/ Tirunelveli is situated in South Tamil Nadu. The city is 2000 years old(maybe much more). Has a rich History right from the 1-2 Century B.C. The word 'Thiru + Nel + Veli' literally means 'Sacred + Paddy + Fence', from the name one can understand that it has rich paddy feilds!

    I am fascinated by this famous sweet from this city 'The Halwa'! Although Halwa is common through out India...it is kind of unique from this place! Pappa has several times stopped to buy me KG's and KG's of this Halwa from that famous sweet stall....the legendary 'Iruttu Kadai'! The 'Iruttu Kadai' translated as 'A Dark Shop'! Yeah, as the name implies...this shop doenst have any electricity/power supply! The shop doesn't have any modern trends either! The shop doesn't even posses itself a 'name board' too. One cannot believe, that from this shop they export and run business/sell Halwa through out the world!!! The heritage is maintained in this shop right from the day they started! Its been 200 years!!!

    Well...this is a 'Wheat based Halwa Recipe', I know some of you are already raising your brows! Though Thirunelveli is famous for 'Rice' why a 'Wheat Sweet' got so famous? This Halwa was made famous by a Marwadi(Jain Community)family which settled there 300 years ago! It is said that the original shop started by them was called 'Lakshmi Vilas'! Slowly, others borrowed their formula and now the halwa has become synonymous with the city!

    Also this Halwa has a unique taste! It is said that the richness of this Unique taste comes from the water they use! Traditionally it was/is cooked with 'Thamirabarani' river water(that flows across the city). Though the recipe is copied and duplicated around Tamil Nadu, now...but no one can absolutely take over Thirunelveli's traditional sweet business! People always value tradition & identify the originality!

    Well...I have been perfecting this recipe since my school days! When I was in +2, my mommy gave me some tips...which helped to imitate the authentic Halwa! Sounds kool huh. Here you go 'Home Adapted Version'.

    Ingredients:

    Good quality whole wheat grain 1/2 kilo
    Clean extra white Sugar 1 kilo(that's right twice the quantity of wheat)
    Good quality Ghee 1 kilo(Hmmmm...I know it sounds more, you will be amazed at the way this halwa absorbs it)
    Cardamon seeds powder 2-4 spoons
    Crystal Clear Water 3-4 litres
    Ghee fried slitted cashew nuts
    Red Food Color 1/4 spoon(optional)
    Saffron 1/4 spoon(optional)
    Powdered saago 1-2 spoons(this actually gives glossy appearance)

    Method:

    Wash wheat several times in running water or until water runs clear.

    Then soak the wheat in crystal clear water for at least 8-10 hours.(preferably overnight)

    Wet grind the wheat, using the same soaked water. And filter it to collect clear 'wheat milk'. Yeah please throw away the husk.

    Place this 'wheat extract/wheat milk' in the fridge for 20-30 minutes or much more.

    You will notice, the milk has separated into....bottom with thick milk and on top with water. Now carefully discard the water. Maybe carefully use ink filler/pipette it out.

    To this thick milk add sugar and wait till they dissolve. The milk thickens at this time again.(if you want to color it, you can add color to it now)

    Heat a large, wide, heavy bottomed 'Iron wok'. Add few cups of ghee and start adding the 'wheat milk' to it. Stir constantly.....cook over low-medium heat.

    Add saggo powder too.

    When the halwa is bubbly and about to consolidate, Pour in the ghee now. Stir in.

    One can add cardamon seeds powder + saffron. Add fried fried nuts and raisins now.

    When Halwa consistency is achieved.....it will leave from the wok.

    It turns up into glossy reddish brown color.

    If someone wants to have their 'Halwa' still more 'glossy' or 'bead like' or 'glass-like'......one can add more powdered saago to it!

    Spread this halwa in a tray and refridgerate for a while. Then you will find it easy to cut them into desired shapes.

    10.2.09

    Green Grass Juice



    Arugham Pul Juice:

    Herbal Concoction. Arugham Pul Ras. Arugam Pul Kashayam. Dhoob Ki Kashaya. Wild Bermuda Grass Juice.

    Bermuda grass, Botanical name of this grass is Cynodon dactylon. We call it as 'Arugham Pul' in Tamil, they call it as 'Durva' in Sanskrit & 'Dhoob' in Hindi.

    Before going into detailing about this particular grass...let me first explain a bit about Chlorophyll(the green pigment of a leafy vegetable)! The molecular structure of these chlorophyll pigment's are much similar to our haemoglobin pigment(the red pigment found in our blood). The function of both these pigments are more or less same too(transporting oxygen is their primary function). Surprisingly both of the pigments are composed of 4 elements Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen and Nitrogen...organised around single Iron atom.(A German Chemist, Dr. Richard Willstatter determined that the two molecules closely resemble each other in the Year 1913).

    Medicinal Uses: 'Ayurveda', Traditional Indian Pharmacopoeia, states that this grass can be used in the treatment of Asthma, Bronchitis, piles, tumours, enlarged spleen and liver disorders! Another Great Traditional 'Unani system of Medicine' states, it is a tonic for brain and heart! According to the folk's remedy...they crush this grass and apply it on their minor cuts! And it can be used for any general inflammation! Regular intake of this juice has several healing properties...like it reduces body heat, relieves impurities, lowers one's blood glucose level! From my Genetic point of view...it has lot more antioxidants, in fact! So...the antioxidants, prevents the free radical damage & reduces oxidation and thereby DNA degeneration (Less the DNA degeneration...the less we age, both physically and physiologically)!

    We generally don't appreciate things that we get for free, right! Off lately, even among youngsters, knowing logic behind the traditional recipes is growing, that good!

    Taste: The grass has a sweet taste. And it is an excellent body coolant. I could relate this drink with modern green tea so much!

    Caution: Be sure that you pick the right species(grass). Use only native Indian species that grows in wild(it usually creeps on side wards). Never attempt to try with your Bermuda grass...from the lawn (although same species, its hybrid - has modified genes)! Also never overdo with the greens. Any greens have this blood thinning property...it may not be advisable to people who have condition like Blood pressure.

    I can't believe that I am posting a drink...made out of Grass!!! Some of you might think I am paranoid or something!:( Bermuda grass juice!!! Sounds so weird, but can't help it...it has lots of goodness!!! Hindus consider it as a holy Grass and include it in their pooja ceremony! Maybe it is a way of life...to protect the species from the verge of extinction!! But never seen anyone making any culinary attempt!! The street vendors used to sell this 'Arugham Pul Juice' at the Marina beach, Chennai...although never cared to try, back then. All old people from the walking club used to drink it with great passion!

    Ingredients:

    Bermuda Grass(native Indian species that grows in wild & not from your lawn)
    Honey
    Filtered water.

    Method:

    Trim the grass 1" above from the roots. Wash and clean them.

    Now boil them in 1-2 cups of filtered water. Maybe for couple of minutes. Then filter the same.

    Add honey to it. Serve warm early in the morning(preferably empty stomach & after work outs).

    Chicken Tomato Thokku



    Chicken Tomato Thokku:

    Kozhi Thakkali Thokku. Kodi Tomato Vepudu. Murg Tamatar ka Curry.

    Mommy used to make Thakkali Thokku(Tomato dip)to go with our chappathis(during school days). Later I tweaked the same recipe and added chicken to it...to suit my palate(during hostel days). So when ever I visit home during vacation...I try to cook and show them what I have improvised. One such recipe is this!:)

    Ingredients:

    Chicken 1/2 kilo (skin-on, bone-in)
    Country tomatoes 6 pureed
    Garlic paste 2 spoons
    Salt
    Turmeric 1/4 spoon
    Chili powder 1-2 spoons
    Cloves
    Cinnamon 1 stick
    Bay leaves 2
    Cardamom 3 crushed
    Curry leaves 3-4 twigs
    Cilantro to garnish
    Butter 2 cubes.

    Method:

    In a wide wok, melt butter. Throw in all the spices and wait till it crackles up.

    Then add garlic and fry till its raw odour leaves the pan.

    Now add chicken, salt, turmeric and chili powder....fry real good.

    Add tomato puree and coever and cook. Let the chicekn get doen with this tomatoe based water...do not add any water further. Leave them in medium heat. It may take at least 20 minutes to get cooked.

    When the chicken is done thoroughly and the puree has also consolidated real good, with oil showing up on top and sides...remove from heat. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

    Serve warm to go with your chappathi or poori.

    9.2.09

    Award


    A Million Dollar Friend Award:

    Sometimes we cross path with fellow bloggers...that we end up knowing each other, beyond blogging!!! Thanks to the very idea of blog comments!!! Although making a bunch of new friends is not uncommon in this blog world...but still, only with very few...we have real touchy conversation!!! Guess frequency match made it lot easier!:)

    I would like to send this Million Dollar Friend Award to my Friend:

  • Viki Xavier
  • 8.2.09

    Yam Subzi



    courtesy
    http://forum.mikroscopia.com/uploads/post-114-1117915832.jpg

    Senaikizhangu Mandi:

    Senai Kizhangu Masala. Senai Kizhangu Thokku. Yam Poriyal. Yam Koora. Senai Kizhangu Poriyal.

    I know some of you might be wondering...why Yam, Collacassia, Taro roots and Few other modified roots(vegetable) prick our throat, when undercooked or even pricks our palm(while cleaning & chopping). I already mentioned about it in my previous posts...but will do it once again.

    Many plants produce Calcium(Ca)Oxalate in a crystalline form! They are called Raphides (a needle like crystals)! This calcium oxalate is a byproduct of a plant's metabolism. Its a excreta of the plant that gets stored in a special cells called idioblasts. Which may vary from plant to plant(ranging from 75-90%). The Word 'Raphide' comes from the French word via Greek origin, 'Raphid' means 'Needle' in French...which would have derived from 'Raptein' meaning 'to Sew' in greek. This crystalline, Calcium oxalate's are either in druse form(diamond shaped - many faceted) or raphide form( simply needle like). These are actually toxic to humans! It is a basic nature's plan...a defense mechanism of these plants to fight against their hungry herbivore predators!

    Anyways...since we are smarter than these plants. Lets cook these type of vegetables with lots of tamarind than usual. Yeah...tamarind(hydrochloric acid)dissolves this calcium deposits with their weak acids! So before you intend to cook these yummy vegetables...make sure that you soak them in a tamarind based water for a while. Even though...if you skip this. Add tamarind to the dish & don't consume immediately, give a nice resting time.

    Collacassia, Yam, Taro roots & Pidi Karunaikizhangu should be prepared with lots of care, adding tamarind, lemon juice and tomatoes will help!

    Ingredients:

    Yam 1/4 kilo (skin scraped & cubed)
    Green chilies 3 finely chopped
    Ginger 2" grated
    Garlic 6 cloves minced
    Onion 1 large chopped
    Tomato 1 small chopped
    Salt
    Turmeric 1/4 spoon
    Chili powder 1 spoon
    Tamarind paste 1 spoon
    Curry leaves
    Chana dal 2 spoons
    Urad dal 2 spoons
    Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
    Vadagam 1 spoon
    Cumin seeds 1/4 spoon
    Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
    Oil few spoons
    Cilantro leaves to garnish.

    Method:

    In a wide and heavy bottomed wok, heat oil. Add all the tempering spices. Let them crackle up.

    Then add chilies, curry leaves to it.

    Add ginger, garlic and onions...fry real good. Maybe till onion turns golden color.

    Now add tomatoes...cover with lid.

    When the tomatoes turn pulpy...add salt, turmeric and chili powders.

    Stir-in cubed yam to it. Stir fry for 2 minutes.

    Then add tamarind paste and 1 cup of water. Cover and cook over medium heat.

    When the vegetable is done, garnish with cilantro leaves.

    Serve to go with your meals.

    7.2.09

    Neeraagaram


    Neeragaram:

    Neer + Aagaram = Water based Food.

    This is the simple man's food, now forgotten by this convenient driven world. In a Tropical country like India and especially South India...to beat the heat, people often practice all sorts of things. And food habits becomes a culture after considerable period! The availability of sources and weather conditions also play a significant role in it.

    When a predominant society was in agriculture...which had tedious working hours. Early morning breakfast preparation is duly avoided. Since they have to work under the scorching sun, with parched throat during the day and get back home in the evening and fix something...they intentionally cooked more rice! Need not to say, paddy is their main produce! Well...also Tamil Nadu culture says, a women should cook more food than the family requires. Maybe this could be the reason...in a primitive society, cooking was a long procedure...no power stove, gas cylinders, microwave, fridge or electric rice cooker, pressure cooker....etc. Another point that could be added here is...primitive society didn't have Eat areas, like restaurants, hotel, shops. And once again not even the processed or semi-processed food! So the culture of cooking in excess would have come into practice, to greet their sudden guests. Also to feed the infants.

    Anyways...the excess rice is soaked in water, overnight and well covered. As a way to prevent wasting food & also a storage style! The next day morning, before the rice is actually fermented...they beat it to make a watery porridge like this. Well...if you allow it to ferment, this leads to something called 'Tappa Kanji'!

    Well...this may not be a fancy breakfast, but sure it left them to fight hunger whole day long. And it is an excellent thirst quencher. As rice based starch and excess water gave a cooling effect, it would have been okay to work under the sun!

    Caution: Make sure that you don't ferment it. You know...its illegal to ferment your own drink(alcohol)like this. As we can't predict what it had turned into...ethyl alcohol or methyl alcohol!

    Ingredients:

    Left over rice 1 cup
    Rock Salt
    Butter milk.

    Method:

    Soak rice over night with water. Probably 1 cup of rice can be soaked with 2 cups of water.

    The next day morning, add rock salt and butter milk to this. Give a quick blend and chill it.

    6.2.09

    Mutton Snow Peas Korma



    Mutton With Snow Peas Korma:

    Indian Broad beans with Mutton - Korma recipe. Avaraikkai Mutton Kuruma. Snow peas with Meat. Chikudukai Mutton Curry. Bakla-Mutton Curry.

    There is nothing much to say...I love Avaraikkai! In fact when I was a kid, we had 'Avarai kodi' in our garden. They flourish too quickly. Each vine gives out about 4 kilos of Broad beans every week(during season). So we used to share them with neighbours and friends. It became a custom to include them a lot in cooking. So each time Mommy pairs them with mutton or chicken preparations. I have to say...broad beans turns yummy when paired with just 100 grams of meat. Naima aunty, had actually taught this trick to my mother! I bet no one will waste vegetables when it is made so delectable...so dig in!

    Ingredients:

    Goat's Meat 1/2 kilo
    Indian Broad Beans/ Snow peas 1/2 kilo
    Onions 2 finely chopped
    Tomato 2 finely chopped
    Fresh ginger paste 2 spoons
    Fresh garlic paste 2 spoons
    Green chilies 3 slitted
    Curry leaves 3 twigs
    Cloves 3
    Cinnamon 3
    Cardamom 3 pods
    Fennel seeds 1 - 2 spoons
    Bay leaves 2
    Cas cas milk few spoons(2 spoons of cas cas wet ground...maybe after soaked in warm water)
    Fresh coconut 1 (chopped and wet ground to thick milk)
    Oil 1 cup
    Salt
    Turmeric powder 1/2 spoon
    Chili powder 1 -2 spoons
    Oil few spoons
    Cilantro leaves few to garnish.

    Method:

    Pressure cook meat with enough salt and water. Maybe for about 6 whistles. Set aside and retain the water.

    In a pan heat oil, add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, fennel seeds, bay leaves, curry leaves and green chilies. Fry them for a while.

    Now add onions and fry till golden brown.

    Then add ginger - garlic paste to it. Fry them till its raw smell leaves.

    Later add tomatoes and fry till its water content is lost.

    Add snow peas to it and stir fry for couple of minutes.

    Add salt, turmeric, chili powder and cooked meat along with its water. Cover and cook over medium heat.

    When the meat and vegetable are done...add cas cas milk and thick coconut milk to this. Let this come to boil 3-5 times.

    Garnish with cilantro leaves.

    Serve warm to go with chapathis/dosa/idly/iddiyappam.