Saturday, December 31, 2005

New Year Greetings "2006" !

Wishing you all a New Year filled with good health,new hope and new beginnings!
There is NO limit to the goals you can attain or the success you can achieve!
Your possibilities are as endless as your dreams !!
May "2006" open up for you more opportunities,lead you to the path of success,
happiness ,prosperity and showers on you all that you ever wished for.

My wish for you.....

H appy times with friends & family
A bundance
P rosperity
P lenty of love
Y outhful excitement at lifes simple pleasures

N ights of restful slumber
E verything you need
W ishing you love & light

Y ears of good health
E njoyment & mirth
A ngels to watch over you
R emembrances of happy years!

Wish you and your family a very happy and prosperous new year!Have a nice weekend and a lovely day!

Sailaja,Satish & Nehal

P.S My toddler son,Nehal wanted me to bake a bunny rabbit cake for New Year's eve.Am sharing with you the picture of the cake that Nehal and I enjoyed decorating together....:)


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Celebrating Christmas Eve with Sweet Pongal

Here's wishing you all a very Happy and Cheerful Christmas & Happy Holidays! Celebrating the Lord's birthday with this sweet dish as an offering to HIM!


Sweet pongal is a sweet and pudding-like dish that is traditionally prepared in South India for the harvest festival of Makar Sankranti festival celebrated on January 14th.In the rural villages people gather in front of their homes and cook the 'sweet pongal' in earthen clay pots.The courtyards are decorated with long shalks of sugarcane and under it this sweet dish is prepared.

This sweet is also prepared as 'naivedyam' or 'prasadam' as an offering to God during various festivals of India.


Ingredients:

1 cup raw rice
1/4 cup moong dhal (green gram lentil)
1 1/4 cup grated or powdered jaggery
5-6 cardamoms (powdered)
10-12 cashewnuts
8-10 raisins
2 tbsp ghee

Dry roast whole green gram dal till light brown in colour.Remove from fire.
Wash rice.Pressure cook the rice and dal till it becomes very soft and mushy.Alternately you can cook the rice and green gram dal with 3 1/4 cups of water in the microwave and set aside.
Heat jaggery in half cup of water till it dissolves completely.
Add the cooked rice and dal to the jaggery and cook on low flame for few minutes.Turn off heat.
Heat ghee and add the cashewnuts and raisins and fry till brown and add these along with the ghee to the sweet pongal.Now add the cardamom powder and mix well.
It can be served hot or cold.





Friday, December 23, 2005

Ulli Kaadalu Pakodi - Onion Stalk Fritters



Onion pakodas (fritters) are a famous snack of India.In Andhra,the stalks of onions are also used to make pakodas.The basic ingredients being besan (bengal gram flour) and onion stalks.Onion stalk is useful as herbal medicine and its juice is good for the treatment of anaemia.These fritters are tasty and can be eaten dipped in tomato sauce or chutney.

Ingredients:

1 cup besan (bengal gram flour)
10-12 onion stalks chopped finely (discard the flower buds)

1 tsp ginger garlic paste
4 green chillies, chopped
a few curry leaves (optional)
1 tbsp hot cooking oil
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd
1/4 tsp cooking soda
oil for deep frying
water to make batter


Combine besan,green chillis,chilli pwd,ginger garlic paste,chopped onion stalks, corainder leaves,cooking soda and salt.Heat oil and add 1 tbsp of this hot oil to the above mixed batter and mix well.Now add enough water and mix to form a dropping batter consistency.



Heat oil in a deep frying pan and when the oil is hot drop in spoonfuls of the batter to make pakodas(fritters).
Remove when the pakodas turn golden brown.
Serve hot with tomato sauce or coriander/cilantro chutney.





Thursday, December 22, 2005

Kothimiri Pachadi - Cilantro Chutney


This authentic Indian chutney is so versatile and goes with most foods and tastes great on crackers,sandwiches,grilled chicken,fish,chips and of course no Indian meal is complete without freshly prepared chutney.Generally its prepared fresh and traditionally served with curry and other side dishes in a traditional Indian meal to contrast the flavors.Its a very popular chutney here in India and there are numerous ways of preparing chutneys and each home has its own own version of making it.In the North its called 'Hari Chutney'(hari means green in hindi) or 'Green Chutney'.Down south chutneys are eaten with idlis(steamed rice cakes),dosas,vadas and steamed rice. You can have it as a side dish,as a spread or a dip for savouries like pakodas and samosas,bread or cheese rolls....the choice is yours.

Ingredients:

2 big bunches of fresh coriander leaves (washed and chopped)
2 green chillis (slit lengthwise)
2 dry red chillis
1 tbsp channa dal (senaga pappu, bengal gram lentil)
1 tbsp urad dal(minappa pappu, black gram lentil)
¼ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1 ½ tbsp tamarind paste
pinch of sugar or jaggery(optional)
salt
oil
Seasoning- 1 tsp mustard seeds and few curry leaves

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds, let them splutter. Add the dry red chillis, urad dal, channa dal and fry constantly till brown (approx 2-3 minutes on medium heat).
Remove from pan. To the same oil add the coriander leaves and green chillis and fry for 3-4 minutes on medium heat stirring continuously.Remove from fire and cool.
Grind the fried dals mixture, tamarind paste and salt till the dals are well ground.Next add the coriander leaves and green chillis and grind to a slightly coarse paste adding little water.
Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a pan.Add mustard seeds and let them splutter and then add the curry leaves and fry for 10-15 seconds and turn off heat.Add this to the chutney and mix.Serve with idli,dosa,vada or as a dip for any savoury of your choice.

I like my chutney to have a slightly sweet tangy taste so I add some jaggery or sugar.This can be stored in the refrigerator upto a week but it is advisable to finish it in a day or two.My 3 yr old and I use the left over coriander/cilantro chutney as a spread on toast and its absolutely heavenly!

I had posted this recipe earlier but without a picture of the chutney,so posting it again today.Our breakfast today was ravva dosa with coriander chutney.






Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bagara Anda Masala - Eggs Cooked In Rich Creamy Sauce


There are innnumerable ways of cooking eggs right from a simple boiled egg or bull's eye to a stuffed egg curry.Bagara Anda Masala requires the famous Indian 'Bagara masala' which is a type of Indian curry where the key flavours are coconut, tamarind, peanuts and sesame seeds. Bagara Baigan(egg plant),a Hyderabadi speciality dish is cooked with these ingredients which lends its a certain exotic rich creamy quality that no one can resist.Bagara Anda Masala is eggs cooked in peanut-sesame paste and in tamarind sauce and without the use of onions or tomatoes(onions and tomatoes are the basic ingredients for most indian curries) and believe me it tastes great.This dish goes well with flavoured rice,rotis or white rice.

Ingredients:

6 boiled eggs
1 1/2 tbsp roasted peanuts
1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds (til,nuvvulu)
1 tbsp fresh coconut
1 tbsp poppy seeds (optional)
oil for cooking
1/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
pinch of methi (fenugreek seeds)
1-2 whole dry red chillis
4 garlic flakes chopped
8-10 curry leaves
2 slit green chillies
1/2 - 3/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp jeera pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/3 tsp turmeric pwd
1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 cup water - as required
salt
1/4 tsp garam masala pwd

Heat 2 tsps oil in a pan and add the boiled eggs and fry for 2 minutes and remove.Make small slits with a knife along the length of the eggs and keep aside.

Dry roast sesame seeds and poppy seeds for 4-5 minutes. Grind sesame seeds,poppy seeds,fresh coconut and roasted peanuts to a fine paste adding some water.Keep aside.

Heat 1 1/2 tbsps oil in a pan.Add cumin seeds and let them splutter and then add methi seeds.curry leaves,dry red chilli,green chillis and chopped garlic fry for 20 seconds and then add the ground paste.Saute till oil seperates..i.e approx 7-8 minutes on medium heat and stirring it constantly so that it doesnt burn.
Now add chilli pwd,turmeric pwd,coriander pwd,cumin pwd and saute again for 30 seconds.
Add the boiled eggs and mix well.Add tamarind paste and let it cook covered for 4-5 minutes.

Now add 1 cup water and salt, cover and cook on medium flame for about 10-12 minutes. Lastly add garam masala pwd (optional).

Serve hot along with plain white rice, biryani, paratha or roti.




Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Vankaaya Pachadi - Egg Plant Chutney


This particular recipe is similar to the Punjabi dish Baigan ka Burtha.Down south in Andhra,we dont use any of the spice powders which are used in preparing the burtha.To prepare the pachadi,mustard seeds,cumin seeds and black gram are used for tempering and the egg plant is grilled or placed directly over the gas burner so that the insides of the egg plant is cooked.The flavour of the grilled brinjal/egg plant is very different to the one where brinjals are chopped and cooked in any gravy or stir fry dish.The big round white-green egg plants are used to prepare vankaaya pachadi.When choosing the egg plants check if there are any tiny holes and if you find any such holes it means that it is infected with worms. The egg plant should be firm to touch but not hard.It should be tender and the seeds will be white.If very hard it means its very mature and the seeds will be black and those can be discarded as they dont taste good at all.

Ingredients

1 large green brinjal
1 1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
1/2 mustard seeds
3/4 tsp cumin seeds
10 curry leaves
1/2 tsp urad dal(split black gram)
1 large onion chopped
3 green chillis slit length wise
1 tsp chopped ginger
chopped coriander leaves for garnish
salt
1 tbsp oil

Apply oil to the egg plant and place it on the burner and keep turning the brinjal, so that the skin on the surface is uniformly blackened.Place over the burner till the egg plant softens and cooked.(Alternately you can put it on the baking sheet and bake it at 350 degrees C and keep checking it and turning it till the skin starts cracking and can be peeled off without difficulty. Remember, this process has to be done carefully so that the inner part of the egg plant is cooked well)

Remove from fire when done and wash the egg plant with water. Peel the skin and mash the egg plant.This is how it looks like after the skin is peeled.

Add tamarind paste and salt to the mashed egg plant and keep aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.Now add the cumin seeds and black gram dal and let them fry till brown i.e 1 minute approx.
Now add the curry leaves and fry for few seconds.
Add the chopped onions,ginger and green chillis and fry till transparent.Dont brown it.
Now add the mashed egg plant which has been mixed with the tamarind paste and salt.Mix well.Let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
Turn off heat and garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve with hot rice and ghee or rotis.

Andhras love their brinjals and one special dish is stuffed brinjal curry called 'gutti vankaaya kura' which is made with the small purple egg plants.It can be eaten with rotis or rice.




Sunday, December 18, 2005

Chole Masala With Puri - White Chick Peas Masala Curry with Fried Indian Bread


White chick peas or garbanzo beans or kabuli channa is a popular lentil in most parts of India.It belongs to the pea family and its nutty ,creamy flavor and less fat makes it popular and a favorite for anyone who tries it.They are naturally rich in protein and are high in manganese, folate, iron and dietary fiber.

Chole, a Punjabi dish,is regularly cooked in my kitchen.We generally eat chole as a evening snack garnished with chopped onions and cilantro(coriander leaves) or eat it with puri or bhatura(type of Indian bread)for dinner.

Ingredients for Chole:

1 cup white chick peas (soak overnight in 6 cups of water)
To cook the kabuli channa it has be soaked in water and pressure cooked.It is necessary to ensure that the channa is soaked in plenty of water for 6-8 hours, preferably overnight. Wash and pressure cook in good amount of water, since the channa will first bloat to third its size on soaking, then double that on pressure cooking. So soaking is important before pressure cooking for best results.

Pressure cook for at least 5-6 whistles, to be done.Many add cooking soda to soften the channa but I think that spoils the taste.Just plain boiling in a pressure cooker should be fine. While cooking the channa, add a small pouch of muslin cloth in which a tsp of tea leaves have been tied. This will enhance the colour and flavour of the dish. You can also add a bayleaf and a stick of cinnamon, if the dish is going to be spicy.

1 tsp tea leaves (tied into a small muslin cloth to form a pouch)
1 cup tomato puree
1 large onion
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp garam masala pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp chilli pwd
1/4 tsp turmeric pwd
1/2 tsp cumin pwd
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp punjabi chole masala (any good brand)
1/4 tsp sugar (optional)
salt
1 cup water
chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Pressure cook the white chick peas till soft but not mushy.Make a paste of 3 tbsps of the boiled chick peas.Keep aside the boiled chick peas along with the left over water (used to pressure cook the chickpeas) and the boiled chick peas paste.
Grind onions to a paste.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy pan.Add the onion paste and 2 slit green chillis and fry well till oil seperates.
Now add the ginger garlic paste and fry till oil seperates stirring constantly so that it doesnt burn.
Add turmeric powder,chilli powder,coriander pwd,cumin pwd and salt.Mix well.
Add tomato puree and fry for 3-4 minutes.
Now add boiled chole with the left over water and the boiled chole paste.Mix well.
Add more water if required ,cover and cook till you get the desired consistency for gravy.
Add garam masala and chole masala and mix well.Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot with puri,roti or bhatura.


If you have an cast iron skillet use it to cook the channa ..thats how the street food vendors make it - in big kadais which are cast iron.You can cook it in any cooking vessel.

Method to prepare puris:

Take a wide bowl and mix together 1 cup atta (wholewheat) flour,a dash of ghee or oil or margerine and pinch of salt.Make a deep well in center and pour little by little some warm water to make a smooth stiff dough(not too stiff nor too soft).It should be a slightly firm dough.Let it sit covered for 15 minutes.Divide dough into small lemon-sized balls and roll them out using a rolling pin.The rolled out puris should be circular shaped around 6-7 cms in diameter.

Heat enough oil for deep frying the puris.Slowly slide the rolled out puris into the hot oil and press gently with the spatula so that it puffs up with the steam and swell up like a balloon and turns golden brown with a light crisp. (If it doesnt rise immediately to the surface it means the oil hasnt reached the correct temperature for frying)Flip the puri to cook the other side for 15-20 seconds till it turns golden brown.Drain the puris ensuring all the oil has been drained along the sides of the cooking vessel.Remove onto a absorbent kitchen towel.

If the oil is the right temperature the puris will puff up within seconds of sliding into the hot oil.Serve piping hot with chole or potato curry or any curry of your choice.Puris taste best when hot and served immediately on frying.

Puri is a famous fried Indian bread eaten with curries or veggies on non-veg curries and is eaten for breakfast,lunch,dinner.Infact my son and I enjoy eating puri with white sugar ..:).Believe me,it tastes great.I pack my son's tiffin box with puri spread with mixed fruit jam and he just loves it...:)





Friday, December 16, 2005

Curried Baby Potatoes


Potato is a regular vegetable in my kitchen.There are innumerable ways of cooking up potatoes.Use it almost every other day be it, potato curry with masala dosa,vegetable pattis,salads,potato fry,mixed veggie rice dish,a gravy dish or aloo parathas.Today,I cooked some baby potatoes gravy dish which has a rich flavour using cashewnuts,melon seeds and poppy seeds ..of course with Indian spices..'garam masala'.Turned out great.Excellent with rotis/parathas.

Ingredients:
1/4 kg baby potatoes (boiled and peeled)
1 cup chopped onions
2 green chillis slit
whole spices (1" cinnamon stick,3 cloves,2 green cardamom pods)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp cumin pwd
1 tsp chilli pwd
1/2 tsp garam masala pwd
melon seeds and cashewnut paste (soak 2 tsps melon seeds and 6 cashewnuts in water for 10 minutes and grind to a paste)
coconut - poppy seeds paste (Dry roast 2 tsps khus-khus and grind to a paste along with 1 tbsp grated coconut .You can use dry coconut if fresh isnt available)
oil
salt
chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan.Add the chopped onions and green chillis and fry till rawness disappears.Cool and grind coarsely.Keep aside.
Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pan.Add whole spices and fry for 10 seconds.Add ginger garlic paste and 1 tbsp of water and fry stirring it constantly so that it doesnt burn for 3-4 minutes.Now add the coarsely ground onion paste and fry for 3 minutes on medium heat.Take care that it doesnt burn.
Add coriander pwd,cumin pwd,chilli pwd and salt.Mix well.
Now add the boiled potatoes and mix well.Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
Now add the coconut-poppy seeds paste and cashewnut-melon seeds paste.Mix well and add 1 1/2 cups of water and let the potatoes cook in these masalas for 10-12 minutes.
Add garam masala pwd and mix well.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

This baby potato gravy curry can be served hot with rotis/paranthas or rice.





Thursday, December 15, 2005

Menu For Hope II

On 8th October a 7.6-magnitude earthquake hit the northern parts of Pakistan and India leaving more than 73,000 dead and over 3,000,000 people left cold, injured, hungry and homeless.You can read more about the earthquake here.

They need our help!

Food bloggers from around the world have joined together for the Menu For Hope II campaign started by Chef Pim to help the earthquake victims.The website First Giving is collecting all the donations and then forwarding the funds directly to UNICEF, the recipient organization. This fund is being earmarked to support the victims of the Kashmir earthquake.

As a donor, you can be confident that your donations will utilized for the cause it is being collected for. And you might even win a fabulous prize at the same time.Take a look at the amazing Menu For Hope II that food bloggers from around the world have put together, take your pick, and go ahead to First Giving to make your donation.

This young girl in this picture now has to look after her younger sister by herself. She has no family members left to help her.


We can help all those suffering like this young child.Let’s go to First Giving and donate now!

Senaga Pappu Menthu Kura - Fenugreek Leaves Stir Fried in Lentils


Methi Channa dal is a semi dry (sukha) curry which is very nutritious made with methi (fenugreek leaves) and channa dal (split bengal gram).Fenugreek leaves are rich in iron, vitamins, and minerals and is generally cooked with potatoes or dals (lentils).Fenugreek leaves have many medicinal properties and help in improving digestion, reducing colic, relieving constipation, and hemorrhoids.

Channa Dal(Bengal Gram) is nutritious and has a sweet,nutty flavor and is easily digested.Its a popular lentil in India and generally used in dal dishes and savories.The legumes are also roasted and powdered into chickpea flour(besan), another widely used ingredient in nearly every regional Indian cuisine.Besan is the basic ingredient in preparing bajjis,a popular snack in India.

This healthy recipe is regularly cooked in my kitchen ensuring my toddler son gets his vital nutrients in his growing years.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of fresh methi (fenugreek)leaves washed chopped
1 small cup senaga pappu (channa dal,split bengal gram)
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd
2 cups water
1/3 tsp turmeric pwd (pasupu,haldi)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
4 garlic flakes finely chopped
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 green chilli finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes finely chopped
1 tsp butter
salt


Wash the channa dal and add two cups of water,salt,coriander pwd and turmeric pwd pressure cook till one whistle.The dal should be soft and not mushy.
Heat oil in a skillet. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter and now add the garlic and hing and fry for 10 seconds.
Now add tomates and green chillies and fry till oil seperates.
Add the chilli pwd and mix well.
Add chopped methi and the cooked dal and let it simmer for 10-12 minutes covered.The consistency of the dal is semi dry.
Towards the end add butter and mix it well.

Serve hot with roti or rice.





Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Ulava Chaaru / Horsegram Lentil Thick Soup


"Ulava Chaaru" in the winter! There couldn’t be a better time to enjoy this steaming hot delicious South Indian soup with rice!

Rasam or Chaaru is a South Indian soup prepared with tamarind (paste) water, tomatoes and pepper,coriander,garlic and other spices...lentils are an integral part of most rasams. It is eaten with rice, or can be had as a soup by itself. In a normal South Indian meal,rasam or chaaru is a must.

Horse gram or ulavallu(telugu),Kulith(Hindi)and Kollu payiru(Tamil) is a staple lentil of many Indian farm families.It is a small,flat,oval bean with a darkish rusty tan color and has an assertive earthy flavor.Horse gram is believed to prevent the formation of stones in the kidney and for those with the problem, consuming boiled horse gram water for one month will help to dissolve the urinary stone and can help cure it without surgery. It is also believed to be beneficial for cough and phlegm too.

Ulava Chaaru is a traditional Andhra Rasam or Chaaru.Its a thick horsegram lentil soup and is generally served with fresh cream or butter and rice.In our homes we serve it as a special dish in parties and weddings.


Ingredients:
1 cup ulavalu (soaked overnight)
tamarind, soaked in hot water
3 green chilies slit lenght wise
10 button onions (peeled)
2 whole dry red chilies
10 curry leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp jaggery(optional)
2 tbsp oil

For the Powder:
1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 garlic cloves
Grind coriander seeds,cumin seeds and garlic cloves to a fine powder and keep aside.


Soak overnight the horsegram (ulavalu) and boil it in 8 cups of water in a fairly large pot.Boil till the dal is well cooked.Generally ulavalu will not have a mushy appearence as compared to other lentils like tur dal.The liquid has a dark brown chocolate color.Strain the liquid and 1/2 cup of cooked dal. The remaining left over dal can be thrown away.Generally its used by farmers as fodder for their cattle.

Take 1/2 cup of cooked ulavalu and one cup of the strained ulvallu water and grind it to a paste.Keep aside the ulavalu paste.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet.Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
Now add cumins seeds,whole red chillis and curry leaves and fry for few seconds.
Now add the button onions and green chillis and fry for 3 minutes.
Add the strained ulavalu water and let it boil.Add salt,jaggery and turmeric pwd.
Now add the ground pwd ,ulavllu paste and tamarind paste and let it cook on low heat for 20- 25 minutes stirring occasionally and till you get a thick soup like consistency.
Serve hot with rice and a generous amount of fresh homemade butter or cream.

Generally the butter is melted and added to the soup and rice,mixed and eaten.Very tasty dish , eaten and relished more during winter times as its supposed to give heat to the body.

Traditional Andhra dish - 'Ulava Chaaru' is my entry to 'From My Rasoi' food event started and hosted by Meenakshi of Hooked on Heat...the theme being 'winter' I couldnt think of a better dish than 'Ulava Chaaru'...:)





Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mirchi Khatta Masala - Tangy Green Chillis Curry


Long green chilli peppers are large, mild chilles and are generally used here in India to cook Mirchi Ka Salan(Hyderabadi dish),stuffed bajjis,pakoras and other gravy dishes...they can be chopped, ground into paste, slit, and deseeded, or an entire chilli can be inserted in the dish.

These chillis have a very mild spice to them and I usually like to cook these chillis during winters as a curry dish which has that tangy flavour.It goes well with pulao,rice and rotis.My family enjoys this dish, especially during cold weather.I thank my chef friend,D,for sharing this recipe...here goes "Mirchi Khatta Masala" for you...

Ingredients:

10 long green chillis (cut into 2" pieces)



1 cup chopped onions (make a coarse paste)
1/2 tsp shahjeera (black cumin seeds)
1 tbsp chopped pudina (mint leaves)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd
1 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp cumin pwd
1/2 tsp garam masala pwd
2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tbsp of boiled channa dal paste (boil 2 tbsp of channa dal and make a paste)
2 tbsp of khus-khus and melon seeds(magaz,dawsa ginjallu) paste(soak 2 tsps each of poppy seeds and melon seeds in little water for half an hour and make a smoothe paste)
3 tbsp oil
2 cups water
salt
chopped coriander leaves for garnish


Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan.Add shahjeera and pudina leaves and fry for 10 seconds.
Add the coarse onion paste and fry till oil seperates.
Next add ginger garlic paste and fry till oil seperates.
Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well and fry till oil seperates.
Add chilli pwd,cumin pwd and coriander pwd and mix well.
Now add the green chilli pieces and salt, mix well.Cover and cook on slow fire till three fourth cooked.
Now add the khus-khus and melon seed paste along with boiled channa dal paste and tamarind paste.Mix well.
Add water and mix well and cook till the chillis are soft.Add garam masala towards the end and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serves best with hot rotis and rice/pulao.





Sunday, December 11, 2005

Kodi Kura -Simple Traditional Chicken Curry


Traditional chicken curry cooked here in most Andhra homes is very simple.Button onions (sambar onions or shallots) are generally used in cooking non-veg dishes which are better tasting than the normal onions and have a mild sweet flavour.You can use the normal onions too.

This chicken recipe is a basic chicken gravy curry.Simple,easy and tasty!

1/2 kg chicken ,cleaned and cut into medium sized pieces
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 cup button onions/sambar onions(peeled)
whole spices (3 elachi,2"dalchini,6 cloves,one star aniseed)
2 cups of water
salt
oil
chopped coriander leaves for garnish

For paste:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
5-6 dry red chillis
1 tsp saunf (fennel seeds)
2 elachi (green cardamom)
4 lavanga (cloves)
2" dalchini (cinnamon)


Grind the button onions coarsely.Remove and keep aside.
Dry roast dry red chillis,coriander seeds,elachi,dalchini,cloves,saunf and make a paste adding some water.
Heat 3 tbsps of oil in a skillet and add whole spices.Now add the coarsely ground onions and fry till brown.
Add ginger garlic paste and chicken and fry for 3-4 minutes.
Now add the ground paste and salt and mix well.
Cover and cook till oil seperates.
Now add 2 cups of water and cook till done.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve with rice or rotis.




Indian Kitchen - Traditional Coffee Filter / Modern Coffee Maker



The magnificent aroma of hot and freshly brewed coffee will hover over most S.Indian homes and a traditional coffee filter is essential to prepare it.Brewing coffee is an art and one masters with practice and its according to one's taste...some like it light/strong/black.To get that perfect decoction its a ritual that most women follow every day.

The brass coffee filter in the picture is an antique one used by my grandmother and is more than 70 years old..Yes,its an antique piece and is very precious to me..:)



A coffee filter is a two portion steel/brass container.The lower portion is for the collection of the brew that percolates down and the upper part for pouring boiled water and ground coffee beans and a filter is placed within the upper portion.The brew that percolates down can be strong or light depending on the amount of ground coffee added to the filter.



Generally the coffee powder used is Chicory and Pure.We use prefer to use the pure one as its got an authentic and aromatic flavour.I pick up my coffee powder at the local coffee bean seller who grinds the coffee beans in my presence and is absolutely fresh.

Of course,today the traditional coffee filters have given way to the modern electronic coffee makers by reputed brands and are very useful too.We also use the modern coffee maker in our kitchen.We,andhras,love our coffee..be it filter coffee or instant coffee..:)



I have been inspired by Indira of Mahanandi to start the Indian Kitchen series.Thanks,Indira for bringing forth this idea to showcase our Indian Kitchens / Utensils to the rest of the world.



Saturday, December 10, 2005

You Are What You Eat Meme : My Top 10 Favorite foods!

I have been tagged by Paz of The Cooking Adventures of Chef Paz and Lera of Myraid Tastes to share my top 10 favorite foods. Thank you Paz and Lera.This meme was started by Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen.It wasnt easy coming with only 10 favorite foods but had fun in creating this meme post..:)

Its been exactly a month since I have started this food blog and was going through the index of the recipes I had blogged so far and found that I havent blogged all my favourite foods yet. That reminded me that I need to post more of my favorite food in here.

So,I finally manage to come up with my top 10 favorite foods.

1.My all time favourite dish is Chicken Biryani. Indian that I am, rice being the staple diet, biryanis,pulaos and flavoured rice dishes are an integral part of my kitchen.Of course,not to forget steamed white rice which is our afternoon meal along with a veggie or non-veg curry ,dal cooked with a leafy veggie, veggie pachadi which I call our Andhra salad..:) or veggie stir fry dish ,rasam which is a steaming hot tamarind water soup cooked with Indian spices or sambar,pickle especially’aavakai’ which is a spicy mango pickle and some papad or saabudana fryums.This is a normal south Indian meal which I cook every day and relish and will always be my favourite meal.

2.Chinese Cuisine – I love Chinese food,period! I have always had consistently good Chinese food, be it sweet corn chicken soup,plump dimsums served with interesting sauces, fragrantly spiced chilli pepper prawns, honey and pan-fried noodles,crispy potatoes, chicken dumplings or Chinese greens.

3.Italian Cuisine – Italian food combines the ultimate in comfort food – like simple pastas with rich tomatoes, garlics and olive oil. Italian food is full of the flavors and sensations that just feel right and I would say that Pizza with lots of cheese, Lasagne and Pasta are all my favorite Italian foods.I have posted one of my favorite pasta recipe-Cheesy Pasta Bake

4.Salads- Love salads , any kind of salad.Be it veg,non-veg or a macaroni pasta salad..:).One of my favorites is Mixed Sprouts Corn Salad

5.Indian Street Food – Street food is a culinary tradition that most Indians wouldn’t dream of doing without.Street food here is a learning experience by itself, cooked right before your eyes, reassuring not only of the freshness of the food being made but also the ingredients that go into preparing it.Just love Murri Mixture (Andhra Bhel),Paani Puri,Samosa and Chaat.I cant live without these street foods.

6.Sweets – Kolkatta’s famous Rosagulla , Hot Gulab Jamuns and Bobattulu or Poran Puli are my favourite Indian sweets and of course pastries. Indira of Mahanandi has given a step by step method of preparing Puran Poli (Bhakshalu/Bobattulu) in her blog.

7.North Indian Food- Stuffed Parantha with Dal Makhani ,Butter Panner Masala and Mughlai Chicken Curry and a big glass of Lassi (sweet buttermilk).

8.Masala Chai- Need it every single day and my favorite hot beverage especially during winters.There’s nothing more soothing than a hot cuppa chai/tea.

9.Masala Dosa – My all time favorite Breakfast dish.Eat it for dinner as well.I am extremely fond of this famous S.Indian tiffin.I have posted the recipe of the favorite tiffin Masala Dosa

10.Bread Toast with peanut butter.My most favourite, simple, made with least effort, tasty food which I eat it for breakfast,lunch or dinner on an occasional lazy day…:)

Having listed my favorite foods , I cant help but get nostalgic with the memory of eating hot, homely food at my grandmother's house as a child for Sankranti,our main S.Indian festival,with all the family members (grandparents,parents,aunts,uncles and cousins) swatting on the ground in a circle and eating food spread on a plaintain leaf. Those gatherings would happen only once a year in the month of January when Sankranti is celebrated ushering in the New Year.

Those mouth watering, delicious, wide spread special meals will always remain the most favourite family meals I ever had.

Thank You ,Paz and Lera, for tagging me to share my most favorite foods.It was fun and nostalgic too.

So let’s get more food bloggers to have some fun too..:) Do I have only 5 bloggers to choose?Alright,here I go...

Anne of Anne's Food
Chanith of Mom's Recipes and More
Doc of Gluttony Is No Sin
Rums of Life & Food
Susan of Farmgirl Fare


So,,its over to you foodies and have fun as much as I did in sharing my fav foods and tagging you to share your fav foods..:)



Gutti Dondakaayi - Stuffed Gherkins/Tondli

These oblong shaped vegetables are an unusual treat to an otherwise monotonous meal. They lend themselves well to stuffing, slicing, frying, etc. Gherkins (Tondli,Dondakai) tastes great cooked by itself, or as a combination with other veggies. Take care to wash hands immediately after cutting the vegetable, since it tends to stain fingers and make them rough.Always nip of a tiny piece off the top and base tip, before cutting, stuffing, etc.



Posting my mom's recipe called Gutti Dondakaayi (Stuffed Dondakaayi).

Ingredients:

1/4 kg fresh tender dondakaayalu (gherkins,tondli,kunthroo)
4 dry whole red chillis
1/2 cup roasted channa dal(dalia,putanalla pappu)
1 tsp cumin seeds
7-8 garlic flakes,peeled
salt
oil for frying
10-12 curry leaves
Clean the gherkins and make a vertical slit on one side length wise..i.e each gherkin should be intact and not cut into two pieces.
Heat oil for deep frying the slit gherkins.Deep fry the gherkins till slightly brown and cooked.Remove on absorbent paper and cool.



In the same oil add curry leaves and fry for one minute.Remove and cool.
Dry roast cumin seeds and red chillis.Cool.Now blend to a fine powder cumin seeds,red chillis,roasted channa dal and garlic.
Stuff this powder in the fried gherkin slits.


Heat 1 tbsp oil in a skillet and add the stuffed gherkins and fry on medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring till well blended.
Remove onto a dish and garnish with fried curry leaves.
Serve with rice.
Here in Andhra we use dondakai a lot in our cooking.You can also use the same method for cooking stuffed brinjals/egg plant.



Friday, December 09, 2005

Minappa Sunni Undalu -Black Gram Lentil Sweet


Minappa Sunni Undalu (Urad Laddo)is an Andhra sweet dish which is very simple to prepare and can be stored in an air tight container for atleast 2 weeks.
Time is just flying by..its already a whole month since I actually started this food blog of mine and it seems like yesterday...:).Let's celebrate with a sweet dish,eh?

Ingredients:
1 cup black gram lentil(without husk)
1 tbsp raw rice
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup ghee/clarified butter

Dry roast raw rice in a vessel till brown and remove.Now dry roast black gram on a medium flame till deep golden brown and till you get a nice aroma...which could take atleast 20 minutes.You should keep stirring the dal while dry roasting it lest it burns.Allow it to cool.
Blend both the raw rice and black gram to a fine powder.Keep aside.
Here's a picture of the black gram dal both before and after dry roasting it.



Blend the sugar to a fine powder.Keep aside.
Heat ghee till it melts.Do not over heat.Keep aside.



Now mix together black gram powder and powdered sugar in a wide plate.Slowly add hot ghee and keep mixing with hand, till the mix holds together.



Shape into round balls of the size of a big lime.The ghee should be just enough to hold the powders together and not drip while making balls.

Stored in an air tight container the laddos stay fresh for at least 2 weeks.

Variations
A combination of jaggery and sugar can be used. Take 3/4 cup jaggery and 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

Tip
Mixture of black gram powder and sugar can be stored in an air tight container for 1-2 months. When ever required mix ghee and make balls.


Protein Rich Parathas - Stuffed Parathas With Carrot Filling



Earlier I had posted the recipe for carrot yogurt salad.In that recipe the carrot mixture prepared before adding the yogurt to it, can also be used as a filling to make stuffed parathas.The recipe for this carrot filling is here.I usually pack my son's tiffin box with this 'protein rich paratha'.You can also use the filling for sandwiches as well.

The recipe goes like this.. add some besan (chickpea flour) to the usual chapati dough.To 1 cup wheat flour add 1/2 cup besan,1 tsp caraway seeds or cumin seeds (its your choice),pinch of garam masala pwd,salt,1 tsp oil and mix well.Add water to it and prepare the normal chapati dough.I also add some fresh methi leaves and coriander leaves while preparing the dough.Keep the dough aside for a few minutes.



Stuff the carrot filling in a lump of dough and roll to make a round paratha.
Cook the paratha on the hot plate or tava, when both sides are cooked, add a little ghee and spread it on both sides of the paratha. Cook till paratha turns golden brown.

To serve the paratha, put 1 tsp butter on the paratha.Serve with a curry of your choice or plain yogurt.

This is nutritious and healthy.This way I get my toddler son to eat his veggies and get the nutrition required for healthy growth.:)



Thursday, December 08, 2005

Carrot Perugu Pachadi (Carrot Yogurt Salad)


Many think that an “Ayurvedic Diet” is a diet consisting of spicy Indian food. Not necessarily – an Ayurvedic diet is a diet which matches your body type to the foods consumed – eating those foods that sustain your body type, to avoid unbalancing your prakruti (natural tendencies). Ayurveda includes counter measures to let you “cheat” sometimes, without harming yourself..:)

Eating, according to Ayurveda, is a learning process, that involves learning the properties of foods, listening to your body, to see not only the reaction to certain foods but also the signs of possible imbalance, and matching the foods you eat to your individual state and needs.

Posting a very healthy ayurvedic and tasty recipe.Carrot Raita or Carrot Perugu Pachadi(telugu) where grated carrot is lightly stir fried in spices, onions and blended with yogurt and coriander leaves.Eat it just as a salad or with roti or rice.Its your choice..:)

Ingredients:

3/4 cup grated carrot
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 chopped small onion
1 cup fresh plain yogurt
1 chopped green chilli or large pinch fresh ground black pepper
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
10 curry leaves
salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
1 tbsp grated coconut (optional)

Whip the yogurt until smooth.Keep aside.
Grate carrot.Keep aside.
Heat ghee in a skillet.Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
Now add cumin seeds,asafoetida,curry leaves.Fry for 10 seconds.
Now add the chopped green chillis,grated ginger and onions.Fry for 2-3 minutes.
Add turmeric powder and grated carrot,coconut and fry for 4-5 minutes.
Stir constantly so that it doesnt burn.
Remove from fire and cool.



Once its cool,add the whisked yogurt,salt and coriander leaves and mix well.Chill and serve.




Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mirchi Bajji ( Stuffed Green Peppers)



Mirchi Bajjis are green chillis stuffed with potato filling and then dipped in gram flour (besan,senaga pindi) batter and deep fried in oil. Mirchi Bajjis are famous in India and often served as evening snack with a cup of tea.Mirchi Bajji is an Indian street food and is popular during the monsoon season.One can use different kinds of stuffings for the peppers.

Today I have used a potato based filling which is mostly used as a stuffing in north indian mirchi bajjis.I have used banana peppers which are less spicy than the usual Indian green chillis.You can use any kind of green chillis.



Ingredients:(for 10 green chillis)

Wash and dry the green peppers.Take a pepper, make a slit lengthwise in the middle, keeping the ends intact. Scoop out the seeds with a knife or spoon leaving the insides clean for the stuffing.



Stuffing: 1 cup of mashed potato,2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves,1 chopped onion,pinch of salt,1 tsp grated ginger,1 1/2 tsp chaat masala(pinch of garam masala pwd).Mix well and keep aside.

Prepare the batter with 1 cup of gram flour,1/4 cup of rice flour, pinch of cooking soda ,salt and 1 cup of water.The batter should be like a dosa/pancake batter consistency.Mix well and keep aside.

Now stuff the peppers with the potato mixture.Fill in the gap of each pepper with the potato stuffing and keep them on a plate.



Dip one by one into the batter coating them well on all sides and drop them gently into hot oil.



Deep fry until golden, turning constantly.Deep fry 2-3 bajjis at a time. Drain the oil from the bajjis well and remove them on absorbent paper.





Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Arati Kaaya Masala Vepudu (Plantain Stir Fried With Spices)


Raw Plantain(Green) is called 'Arati Kaaya' in Andhra and is a popular vegetable in Southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.The famous "Banana Chips" of Kerala are raw plantains slices deep fried in coconut oil.

You need to be sure to pick a recipe appropriate for the plaintain you have on hand.When the plantain is green it is quite starchy and the flavor is more like a potato.The green fruit can be fried or boiled.When the plantain turns yellow the sugars begin to develop and imparts a slight sweetness to the fruit. At this stage the fruit may show a few freckles of black.The plantain is at it's sweetest once it turns black.One would want to use these plantains for dessert or any recipe which requires a sweet taste.So, Plantains can be used at any stage of ripeness.Here's a picture showing plaintain in different stages of ripeness...green,yellow and black

Today's recipe is a dry masala stir fry dish with plantains,onions,fresh coconut and spices.The recipe source is amma (my mom) and is a family favorite dish.Tastes excellent with rice,you can eat it with rotis too.



Ingredients:

2 raw plantains, peeled, sliced into thick rounds
2 tbsp fresh grated coconut
3 medium onion peeled, sliced into thick rounds
2 green chillies slit length wise
1 tsp red chilli pwd
3/4 tsp coriander pwd
1/2 tsp cumin pwd
1/2 tsp fennel seeds pwd(saunf)
1/4 tsp garam masala pwd
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
10 curry leaves
2 tbsps oil
salt
1/2 cup water

Take a wide plate and combine all the dry masalas except garam masala and saunf pwd with sliced onions and plaintains.
Heat a cooking vessel and add oil.Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.Now add the cumin seeds and curry leaves.Fry for 10 seconds.
Add slit green chillis and add the plaintains which have been combined with the masalas.Add grated coconut.Combine well.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of water and cover and cook.Let the plaintains cook in the steam.
Once in a while stir.
Add the garam masala pwd ,saunf pwd and adjust salt towards the end of the cooking.
Once the plaintains are cooked till soft remove from heat and serve with hot rice.

In fact Raw Plantain is an effective astringent and is recommended by Ayurveda widely as a diet for treating diarrhoea. Cut one raw banana into three pieces and soften them in a pressure cooker adding adequate water. Drain out the excess water. Separate the peel and mash the softened pulp well. In a skillet, dry roast 1 tbsp of poppy seeds(khus-khu,ghasgasaalu) till they brown. Grind it to a fine powder. Add this powder to the mashed banana pulp with a pinch of salt. This nutritious receipe checks diarrhoea owing to its astringent properties.