Friday, May 13, 2011

Rasakaalan/ Steamed Veggies in Mild Yogurt and Coconut Sauce..

This is a wonderful dish which I learnt from Kaveri of Palakkad Chamayal.Having grown up in a relatively Palakkad Iyer family, I relish all these yummy dishes and thank Kaveri for bring me back those sweet delectable memories!

It is very simple and easy to make and can be prepared in no time if the veggies are ready in hand.
Most of the palakkad chamayal evolves mainly around the ash gourd and the yellow pumpkin and there are many different recipes using these veggies.
The original recipe had a long list of veggies, but i just made with what I had in hand.
Now going on to the recipe:

Ingredients:

Ash gourd- 1 lb

Yellow pumpkin- 1 lb

Yam- about 10 chopped pieces

Jaggery- 1 tbsp or a small piece

Turmeric- a pinch

Salt to taste

To roast and grind into a paste:

Fenugreek / methi seeds- 1/2 Tsp

Red chillies- 2 nos.

Grated coconut- 3/4 cup

Sour curds/ Yogurt- 1.5 cup

For Tempering:

Mustard seeds- 1/2 Tsp

Coconut oil- 2 Tsps

Curry leaves- a few

Method:

1.Boil the veggies with a pinch of turmeric, salt and jaggery using very little water. Beat the curds and set aside.

2. Roast the ingredients for the paste in a tsp of coconut oil and grind into a smooth paste adding half of the curds.

3.Add the ground paste to the cooked veggies and let boil for two minutes and then add the remaining beaten curds and cook on low heat for few minutes. Do not let the mixture boil after adding the curds.

4.Switch off the heat and place and a sprig of curry leaves on top of it. Heat a tsp of coconut oil and add the mustard seeds and pour it on top of the curry leaves.

5.Ahhhh, the aroma of the coconut oil along with the curry leaves! Better felt than expressed!




Enjoy Rasakaalan with hot steaming rice and any stir fried veggie.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Vegetable Uthappam / Pancakes Topped with Veggies..


Uthappams!!
The South Indian Pizza!
Close Cousin of Dosa!
And all that v luv lotsa!
(Errrrrr.. Relax Relax people... Just watched Simbu's movie - the great T.Rajendran's son!)

These pancakes are nothing but a slight twist given to the dosas to make them more interesting. Usually when the dosa batter is made, the order of the menu would be idlis on the 1st day, dosas on the 2nd and 3rd days and Uthappams on the last two days.
There are a variety of uthappams that can be made and lots of ways to make it too!
This is one simple method I follow and learnt it from a Madurai Idli kadai in Bangalore that serves super yummy idlis, dosais and uthappams with getti chutney and sambhar.
Here goes the recipe:

Ingredients:

Idly / Dosa Batter - about 4 to 5 Cups

Onions- 1 Lagre

Tomatoes- 1 Medium

Chopped Cilantro - a handful or more

Green chillies- 2 or 3 (according to spice levels)finely chopped

Procedure:

1.Chop the onions, tomatoes and chillies finely and mix it a bowl and set aside. Chop the cilantro and keep it separately.


2.If the dosa batter has been refrigerated, bring it to room temp at least half an hour before making the uthappams.

3.Heat a tawa or griddle (preferably cast iron for an excellent texture) and when it is hot, pour a ladle of the dosa batter into a small thick round not spreading it too much.

4.Take a handful of the chopped veggies and spread it on the uthappam slightly pressing it followed by the chopped cilantro.

5.Grease it with a little oil around the corners and cook it on medium heat till it is done on one side. Flip around and cook on the other side for half a minute and remove it from the tawa.

6.Serve hot with chutney, sambhar, vegetable sagu or milagai podi. Tastes great with ketchup too!




Note:
 1. You can get creative and play around with different veggies like grated carrot , beets or spinach etc. and even milagai podi on it for a podi roast uthappam or cheese for a pizzappam!!

2.For a low calorie version, cover the uthappam and cook without applying oil to it.

3.Adjust the heat as you make them so that they are not undercooked or get burnt.

4.Do not flip over too many times as the topping may come off and do not cook too long on the top part as the vegetables may get burnt.

























Friday, May 6, 2011

Kathirikkai Murungakkai Masaal- Chettinad Style / Drumsticks and Eggplants in Spicy Tomato Sauce..

For people who are familiar with the Chettinaad cuisine or who hail from there, the word Kathirikkai (eggplant)and Murungakkai (drumstick) would definitely strike a chord! The combination of these two lovely vegetables cooked along with some spices totally seduces our taste buds! It is a very classic Chettinaad dish and I first got introduced to the dish when I was staying in a PG Hostel during my spinster days. I did not know what is was then, but just knew that it tasted heavenly!
I have tried to keep the dish authentic as far as possible, altering it very little to my taste.
Here goes the recipe:

Ingredients:

Small Brinjals - 5 nos. or Chinese Eggplants- 1 no. cut into long pieces

Fresh Drumsticks - 2 nos. chopped into finger size pieces or 2 cups of frozen ones

Tomato- 1 medium chopped into big pieces

Onions- 1 lagre or 3 medium ones cut into thin slices or 1 cup of Pearl onions

Garlic- 3 pods chopped finely or minced

Sambar powder / Rasam powder- 2 Tbsp

Red chilly powder- 1/2 Tsp

Turmeric- 1/2 Tsp

Salt to taste

For the Tempering:

Oil- 2 Tbsp

Mustard seeds- 1 Tsp

Fennel seeds- 1 Tsp

Curry leaves- a few (optional)

Chopped cilantro for the garnish

Procedure:

1.Wash and chop the veggies into long pieces.


2.Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and fennel seeds and saute the onions, garlic and tomatoes one after the other in order.

3.Add the eggplants and saute well and add the drumsticks next with a little turmeric and about 2 cups of water.

4. Mix well, cover and cook on medium heat till the drumsticks are soft and cooked but not mushy.

5.Add salt , sambhar powder and chilly powder and cook for a few more minutes till it forms a nice gravy. You can cook it dry or leave it as a gravy as per your taste and requirement. I personally like it as a gravy and not too dry.
 
6.Switch off the heat, sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top and let sit covered for a few minutes till the flavors are absorbed.

7.You can pair it with hot steaming rice, idlis, dosas, rotis or even curd rice which tastes the best.




Makes an excellent side dish for ghee rice or Kuskha.

Note: Some people like more of drumsticks in the dish and keep the eggplants less whereas some like to add equal quantities of both. You can alter the quantities of veggies according to your taste.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Veg Noodles - Fast food Style..


Call it noddles! call it pasta! call it whatever u like! but this sooper dooper fast food ishtyle noodles has always been a hit in our house!
Contrary to its name, its a very healthy noodles as it has a lot of veggies in it and is not fried in oil like the fast food way!
The making is very simple with simple ingredients.
Please bear with the pics as they look very rustic- not meant to be taken for the blog, but I baldy wanted to share the recipe and dint have any other pictures.
So here it goes:

Ingredients:

Spaghetti Pasta- 1 pkt ( I use the wholewheat ones) 

Veggies- 2 cups Carrots, bell peppers, onions cut into long strips. You can add more veggies if u want.

Green chillies- 2- 3 nos. slit vertically

Garlic pods- 2 nos. finely chopped

Ginger- I add a small piece as I luv the taste (optional)

Olive oil- 2 Tbsp

Chilly Sauce- 1 Tbsp (optional)

Soy sauce- 2 Tbsp

Vinegar- 1Tsp

Freshly ground pepper

Salt to taste

Large skillet or wok (preferably non stick)

Procedure:

1.Cook the spaghetti pasta according to instructions on the pack.Add salt and a littlel olive oil to it when its cooking.

2.Drain the pasta once it is done,wash it under cold water and set it aside.

3.Heat olive oil in a lagre skillet or wok and just add the ginger garlic onion and rest of the veggies.
Stir fry the veggies on high heat without letting them burn or overcook.

4.Add the salt, pepper, soy sauce, vinegar and cook for a few minutes.

5.Toss in the cooked pasta, mix well and cook for 2 more minutes.

6.Yummy veg noodles is ready to be served with ketchup and a plate of gobi manchurian!





Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Vegetable Dum Biryani..


Dum Biryani is an exotic gourmet style one pot meal and is usually served in weddings and restaurants.

This dish is no humongous task to make at home and with a little patience and perseverance, you can put forth a simply sensational dum biryani for your loved ones.

I came across umpteen recipes on the internet for this dish, but this particular recipe from Usha's myspicykitchen was very interesting and quite simple too which tempted me to try this dish out right away. And yes, the best part was that it turned out perfectly yumm, though the pictures don't seem to be doing enough justice!

The word 'dum' in literal translation means 'breath' or rather 'steam' in this context. The dum biryani is cooked by locking up the full pressure inside the pot. In other words, the steam is strangled inside and not let to escape.
The vegetables are marinated in a spiced yogurt base and the cooked along with the rice and of course the main and exquisite ingredient being saffron which imparts the beautiful color and lovely aroma to the dish!
Though the list of ingredients may look scarily long, trust me friends, its not what it looks and is pretty simple to go about.
Here goes the recipe:
 
Ingredients for the Marinade:

Potato- 1 large diced into long pieces

Green beans- about 15 pieces cut into long strips

Carrots- 1 peeled and cut into long pieces

Lima beans- 1/2 Cup (optional)

Tomatoes- 2 small chopped or puree- 1/3 cup

Green chillies- 6-8 slit vertically

Mint leaves- 1/4 Cup chopped

Cilantro leaves- 1/2 Cup

Fresh Ginger- 1/2 inch piece crushed or grated

Garlic- 2 cloves minced or ginger garlic paste- 2 Tsp

Coriander powder- 1 Tsp

Red chilly powder- 1 Tsp

Garam Masala- 1/2 Tsp

Turmeric powder- 1/4 Tsp

Yogurt-  1/4 cup

Salt to taste

For the Rice:

Basmati Rice- 2 Cups

Cloves- 4 nos.

Cardamoms- 4 nos.

Bay leaves-3 nos.

Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp

Aniseed- 1 flower

Salt - 1 to 2 Tbsp

For the Garnish:

Onion- 1 small sliced

Other Ingredients:

Saffron- 1/4 Tsp or a few strands

Milk-1/2 Cup

Oil- 1/2 Cup

Procedure:

1.Wash the basmati rice and soak it for half an hour or so depending on the quality of rice. Soak the saffron in the milk and let sit.

2.Prepare the marinade by mixing the spice powders in the yogurt and adding all the veggies listed under it. Mix well and set it aside. I prefer to cover and refrigerate it till it is ready to be used.

3.Heat very little oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions until golden brown. remove and set aside.

4.To cook the rice, bring water to boil in a 2 quart pot (roughly abt 2 lts). When the water starts to boil, add all the ingredients for the rice except rice. Give it a good stir and then add the rice draining completely the water in which it was soaked.

5. Let it boil until the rice starts to roll over.After one good boil of about 3 minutes, switch off the heat and drain the rice. Reserve half cup of boiled water for later use.

6.In the same 2 qt pot( preferably non stick or a heavy bottomed pot to avoid sticking), heat some oil and arrange the marinated veggies at the bottom.  Layer half of the cooked rice on top of the veggies and sprinkle half of the oil and half of the saffron milk.

7. Layer the remaining rice and top it off with the remaining oil, saffron milk and the half cup of boiled water.



8. Cover the pot well with 2 or more sheets of aluminum foil or a cloth and then close it with the lid. Fold the foil and seal it carefully  around the lid in a such a way that the steam doesn't escape while cooking. Place some heavy object or weight on top of the lid to lock the steam inside.

9.Cook for 10 minutes or so on high heat and then for 25 minutes on low heat. Switch off the heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

10. Open the lid and carefully mix the rice and the veggies so that they do not break. If you feel that the rice and veggies are under cooked, cover and cook for some more time. But take care not to make the rice mushy.

11. Garnish with the fried onions and serve hot with any curry or raitha of your choice.

Note: The whole secret of success lies in cooking the rice to the best of its perfection. Under cooking or over cooking- both will result in the failure of the dish.
Be careful in choosing the right pot or vessel for cooking as it has to withstand the heat as well as not burn the rice.
You can also add a pinch of saffron food color to the milk along with saffron to get the orange color though I just kept myself to the saffron alone.



Sending this for Aipi's Bookmarked Recipes event.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Soya Chunks Korma / Soy Nuggets in Spicy Tomato Gravy..

Soya Chunks as we all know is the best protein source in the vegetarian sector and these chewy lil' protein balls can be used in quite a number of recipes.
I always use these nuggets in a tomato onion gravy and of course in rice dishes such as pulav and biryani.
But after coming across a mouth watering recipe of these cuties in Laavanya's blog, I sure wanted to give it a try and lo and behold- end result was a sooper dooper korma in a creamy tomato and coconut milk gravy!
I have slightly altered the recipe to my taste.
Here it goes:

Ingredients:

Soya Chunks or Soy nuggets- about 2 Cups or 15-20 pieces

Petite Green Peas-  1/2 Cup (fresh or frozen is ok)

Onion- 1 medium size chopped finely

Tomato Paste- 2 Tbsp diluted in water or tomato puree from one tomato

Coconut milk- 1/4 Cup
Oil- 2 Tbsp

Bay leaf- 1 no.

Cumin seeds- 1 Tsp 

Coriander Powder - 2 Tsp

Red Chilly powder - 1 Tsp 

Garam Masala- 1 Tsp

Cilantro- to garnish
Salt to taste

For the Masala:

Garlic - 5 cloves

Ginger - 1 inch piece 

Green Chillies - 5 to 6 nos.

Poppy seeds - 1 tsp 

Almonds / Cashews - 12 nos.

Procedure: 

1.Bring water to a rolling boil in a wide mouthed pan with a little salt and add the nuggets to it. Cover and cook for a few minutes and switch off the heat and let the nuggets sit for about 10 minutes.

2.When the nuggets are cooked they will turn soft and will bloat up in size.Drain the water and squeeze the extra water from the nuggets once they cool down and set aside.

3.Fry all the ingredients for the masala in a tsp of oil and once it cools down,
grind it into a fine paste adding water.

4.Heat the remaining oil in a pressure cooker and add the cumin seeds and the bay leaf followed by the chopped onions. Saute the onions till soft and translucent and add the tomato paste ,the ground masala paste and the remaining spice powders.

5.Cook the mixture till the paste is almost dry and  add the frozen peas and drained soya chunks along with the coconut milk and salt.

6.Check for salt at this stage, close the lid and pressure cook for about 2 whistles.

7. When the pressure releases, give the mixture a quick stir and transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with some chopped cilantro.

8.An excellent side dish to pair with rotis or chappatis or any mildly flavoured rice. I had made ghee rice and it tasted excellent with the korma!






 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Orange Pazha Thol Gojju / Orangi Tholi Gojju / Orange Peels in Spicy Tamarind Sauce..

Orange peels are an excellent source of Vitamin C and is equally healthy as the fruit by itself. The peels are also known to have many medicinal properties.
Infact, we in our house love the peels more than the fruit :-). This kuzhambu is something my mother made on a regular basis when I was a kid and hmmm...thinking of  the aroma itself makes me drool!
I guess this gojju has its origin rooted in Karnataka, but it has become more of a Tambram dish in the recent days if I'm right!
It is just like any other vetha kuzhambu with slight variations. The bitterness of the peels, the tanginess of the tamarind, the spiciness of the chillies and the sweetness of the jaggery compliment each other so well.
Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Mandarin Orange / Kamala Orange peels from one medium sized fruit

Tamarind- a small lemon sized ball

Oil- 3 Tbsp

Mustard seeds- 1 Tsp

Fenugreek seeds- 1/2 Tsp

Green chillies- about 6 nos. chopped finely (can be adjusted according to spice levels)

Rasam Powder- 1 Tsp (optional)
 
Hing- 1 Tsp


Turmeric- a pinch

Curry leaves- a few

Jaggery - 1 Tbsp

Procedure:

1.Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract the juice.

2.Wash the orange peels, pat them dry and roughly chop them into small pieces.

3.Heat oil in a pan and once hot, add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, hing, green chillies and curry leaves.

4.Add the chopped orange peels with a little turmeric and saute for about 5-7 minutes till they are soft, cooked and turn light brown in color.

5.Pour in the diluted tamarind juice along with salt and let it boil well till the raw smell diffuses and the sauce begins to thicken and reduce.

6.Tip in the jaggery and allow it to cook for five more minutes and switch off the heat. Let sit for a few minutes with the lid on before serving.

7.Serve with hot steaming rice and any curry or kootu of your choice. Good accompiant for dosas and chappatis too.



Note: If you feel the sauce is not thick, just mix a tsp of rice flour in water and add it to the mixture and cook. The sauce will thicken in a few minutes.
Saute the peels till it cooked well and brown in color. If it is raw, it may taste very bitter.
Adding jaggery is very important as the sweetness of the jaggery neutralizes  the tangy taste of the tamarind and the spice from the chillies.
If the sauce has been cooked well and let to thicken, it can be stored in an air tight container and be refrigerated for upto 2 weeks.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ambassador Idlies / Mini Idlies / Sambhar Idlies..

What more can I say when the picture says it all!!
The super spongy mini idlies, the spicy murungakkai vengaya sambhar and all that ghee playing its part in pampering our taste buds..Am I in Kovai Annapoorna Gowshankar??? Voila!!
But the fact is, this restaurant style dish is no big mountainous task, and is such a simple yet sumptuous dish you can put forth in a jiffy if the idli batter is ready in hand!
Going on to the recipe:
There are a thousand expert ideas on making the idli batter and equal amount of contradictions too!
Well this is the what I follow(mom's recipe) to make the batter and yield good results.
You can use any recipe of your choice for the batter, but the end result has to be good!

Here it goes:

Ingredients for the Idlis:

Idli rice- 3 and 3/4 Cups

Raw rice- 1/4 Cup or little less

Urad dhal/ Muzhu ulundhu- 1 Cup

Fenugreek seeds/ Vendayam/Methi seeds- 1 Tbsp

Salt - roughly 1 Tbsp or as per your taste

Small idli size mould for making the idlis

A handful of beaten rice (poha/aval/ avalakki) or cooked rice is optional

A wee bit of luck too for the good fermentation of the batter!!

Procedure:

1.Wash the idli rice and raw rice well and soak them in water for about 5-7 hours.Same thing with the urad dhal and methi seeds but soak only for 45 mins to 1 hour. Do not soak urad dhal for long.

2.Grind the soaked urad dhal and methi seeds first into a silky satiny batter using minimum water.


3.Next grind the soaked rice into a fine batter ( a little coarse is ok or preferred in fact).

4.Cover well and keep the batter in a warm place overnight or for 6 hrs depending on the climate of the place you live. Do not forget to keep the batter in a big container so that it can hold the raised batter quantity after fermentation.I usually place a plate underneath the container to hold the batter in case it overflows and spills once it has risen.

5.Once the batter has fermented well and has risen, make idlis right away or store in the refrigerator till it is ready to be used. If storing the batter in the fridge, take only the required quantity of batter for the idlis in a separate vessel and leave it at room temperature at least for half an hour before making idlis.

6.Grease the idli moulds and for mini idlis grease the small idli mould and spoon in the batter and steam for 7-8 minutes until the idlis are cooked.




Ingredients for the Sambhar:

Traditionally minis idlies taste best when served with chinna vengaya sambhar or pearl onion sambhar. But any other sambhar like murungakkai sambhar or onion tomato sambhar would also do the needful justice!
There are again a thousand versions especially for a restaurant style sambhar, but this is my version of the sambhar and the taste was more than satisfactory and way better than any restaurant sambhar I have tasted so far!

Murungakkai / Drumstick- about 10-15 pieces

Onion- 1 Medium cut into thin strips

Tomato- 1 Medium chopped into 4 pieces.

Toor dhal/ Thuvaram Paruppu- 1 Cup

Tamarind- a small lemon size diluted with 1 Cup of water

For Tempering:

Oil- 2 tbsp

Mustard seeds- 1 tsp

Asafoetida/ peringayam/ hing- 1/4 tsp

Dry red chilly-1 no.

Curry leaves- a sprig

Chopped cilantro- a handful

For the Masala Paste:

Channa dhal- 1 Tbsp

Fried gram dhal (split dalia or pottukadalai)- 1 Tsp

Poppy seeds- 1/2 Tsp

Cumin seeds- 1 Tsp

Coriander seeds- 1 Tbsp

Fenugreek seeds- 1/2 Tsp

Dry red chillies- 4-5 nos.

A small piece of cinnamon (optional)

Pearl onions - 5 nos. or Garlic - 2 cloves (use pearl onions for pearl onion sambhar and garlic for other sambhar)

Procedure:

1.Cook toor dhal with water and make it into a fine paste using the back of the ladle or a hand blender.

2.Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice and set aside.

3.Roast the ingredients for the masala (except garlic or pearl onions if using) in a little oil and grind them into a fine paste using little water.


4.If using fresh drumstick, wash and cut it into finger size pieces. If using frozen, wash the pieces in warm water and thaw it a little.

5.Heat oil in a pan and throw in the mustard seeds,dry red chilly, hing and curry leaves. Add the onions and saute till they are soft.

6. Add the tomatoes and drumsticks next with some salt and turmeric and cook for 5- 8 minutes with the lid closed. If using fresh drumstick, add a little water as it will be very hard, frozen ones don't need water to cook.

7.Once the veggies are cooked, add the tamarind water and cook for five minutes till its raw smell is diffused.

8.Add the ground masala paste and let it cook for a few more minutes and then mix in the cooked dhal and let everything boil for a few minutes till the flavors combine. If the sambhar is too thick add a little water to dilute it.

9. Switch off the heat and garnish with the chopped cilantro and let the sambhar sit for a few minutes.

10. For the Ambassador idiles, arrange the idlies in a bowl and pour the sambhar on it and some ghee on top.



Serve hot!



Bon Appetit!




Note: The tempering can be done either in the beginning or at the end as you wish. I do it in the beginning in order to save time.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jalapeno Corn Muffins..


I had accidentally bought two packets of cornmeal and was wondering how to use them up..
After trying out the Supriya's cornmeal dosa , the next thing on my list was Jalapeno Corn muffins from Kanchana's.
These are such wonderful treats and I just drooled over the very smell of it when it was baking!
I skipped the broccoli as I did have have them handy at home, but the rest being the same.
Here is the recipe..

Ingredients:

Yellow cornmeal- 2½ cups

Bread or all-purpose flour-1 cup

Sugar- 2 Tbsp

Salt-1 Tbsp

Baking powder- 4 tsp

Non-fat dry milk- ½ cup or 1.5 cups non fat milk

Eggs- 3 nos at room temperature

Warm water (105–115°F)- 1½ cups

Cooking oil- ½ Cup

Cream-style corn-16 oz

Jalapeno chili peppers finely chopped- 4-6 nos. or 6-8 if using canned peppers

Grated sharp cheddar cheese-2 Cups

1 large onion grated

Procedure:

1.Preheat oven to 425°F

2.Grease two 12 cup pans or two 9″ × 11″ or 9″ × 9″ baking pans.

3.In a large bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and dry milk.


4.In a smaller bowl, lightly beat the eggs, and stir in the warm water and oil. Pour the liquid mixture into the cornmeal mix and stir in the corn, chopped chili peppers, cheese, and grated onion.

5.Pour the batter into the muffin pans or baking pans if  using and spread evenly with a rubber scraper or wooden spoon.

6.Bake for about 30 minutes at 425°F, until  a wooden toothpick or metal skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.


 

The spongy super soft inside of the muffin was such a heavenly bite and taste is still lingering in my mouth!





I'm not a very great lover of sweet muffins, but these savory muffins are just the right bites!


Note: For a kids friendly version, just remove the seeds from the jalapenos to reduce its heat and thus making it enjoyable for kids too!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Cheppankizhangu Varuval / Arvi Roast / Oven Roasted Taro Root / Colacasia..

Cheppankizhangu Varuval - talk about it and I'm still drooling.. Can't get over the taste of the crispy golden cheppankizhangu with a creamy Vendakkai mor kuzhambu and a soothing Elumichampazham rasam!! The combo is unbeatable on any given day!!
I personally feel it needs a special talent or knack in roasting the taro roots. The golden brown crispy top and the feel of spice till the last bite is what I call perfection!
If I can vouch for a person who can do the best cheppankizhangu varuval, its none other than my m-i-l ! Her cheppankizhangu varuval is the best that I've tasted in all my life! She has a knack of frying these lil' fellas so well, that boy, you'll never know how much of it u might have gobbled!
Now coming to the recipe, I tried baking the taro roots as against frying them in oil.(Well, only if you have the time and patience!) The result was not at all bad I shud say and it was all gone in no time!
On to the recipe:


Ingredients:

Cheppankizhangu- 1lb (small round ones preferred)


For Tempering:

Oil- 2 Tbsp

Mustard seeds- 1 Tsp

Urad dhal- 1 Tsp

Red chilly powder- 1 Tsp

Hing- 1/4 Tsp

Turmeric- 1/4 Tsp

Salt to taste
 
Curry leaves- a few

Procedure:

1. Clean the taro roots and boil them in water or pressure cook for one or two whistles with very little water. If using frozen peeled taro roots (Swad Brand Whole Arvi), just boil for them till they are soft,but not mushy. It is very important that the taro roots retain their shape and firmness.

2.Peel them and keep aside. Mix the red chilly powder, turmeric, hing, salt and oil in a wide bowl or a Ziploc bag and toss the taro roots in them till they are fully coated. Let marinade for about 15-20 minutes.

3.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a baking tray lined with aluminum foil.

4.Arrange the taro roots in the tray, spray some oil on top and bake for about half and hour turning all the sides to brown evenly. Do not forget to keep checking.

5.Once the taro roots begin to brown, switch the oven to broil mode and roast them till you get your desired color and crispness, which may take less than 5 minutes. Do not let the taro roots to get charred.

6.Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, urad dhaal and curry leaves. Add the taro roots once the mustard seeds splutter and the urad dhal turns brown. Toss them well and enjoy hot crispy cheppankizhangu with rice and morkuzhambu, or rice and vengaya sambhar or rice and simple paruppu rasam!!




There are simple things in life which give us utmost joy!! Never miss these lovely moments!

Note: You can also slice the taro roots in thin circles and bake them which may taste even better. I personally like them whole, so did not slice them.
Baking makes the taro roots a bit dry, so the tempering helps in giving it an oily finish.

Friday, April 8, 2011

An award from a Special Friend..

Rema of The Colour Mill has designed this award specially for me in token of our friendship. I'm very happy and excited about it and would like to share the good news with my all my blogger friends.



Thanx a ton Rema for you support and appreciation! You are super sweet!

Thengai Obbattu/ Kayi Holige/ Poli..

'Ugadi' or 'Yugadhi' or 'Gudi Padva' is an important festival observed as the New Year's Day in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra In India
It is the beginning of the 'Chaitra' month and marks the onset of spring.
Lots of mouth-watering sweet treats are made,a special feast is prepared, people buy new clothes, offer pooja to the God and the celebration is very elaborate.
The main sweet dish prepared on this day is the 'Obbattu' also known as 'ubbatt' or 'poli' or 'holige'.
In simple words, sweet chapattis made with maida or all purpose flour.
There are two types of Obbattu - one is the 'Bele Obbattu' which is stuffed with lentils and jaggery and the other is the 'Kayi or Copre Obbattu' which is stuffed with grated coconut and jaggery.
Since my mother and mother-in-law both hail from Bangalore, it has been customary in our family to follow most of the festivals of Karnataka along with that of Tamilnadu.
This was my first year of making obbattu and I'm glad that the results were good thus giving me a chance to share the recipe with others.
This is my mother's recipe:

Ingredients for the dough:

Maida / All purpose flour - 1 Cup

Chiroti Rava / Very fine semolina -1/4 Cup

Turmeric-a pinch

Salt- a pinch

Gingely oil/ veg oil- 1 Tbsp

Water

Ingredients for the filling:

Grated Coconut- 1 Cup

Grated Jaggery- 1 Cup

Poppy seeds- 1/4 Cup or little less

Cardamom Powder- 1/4 Tsp

Ghee- 1 Tbsp

Procedure:



1.Prepare the dough first by mixing together maida, chiroti rava, a pinch of salt, turmeric, oil and add water little by little to make a very soft elastic dough, softer than that of a chapatti dough. Apply oil on all sides of the dough, cover and let rest for 2-3 hrs.

2.Next, dry roast the poppy seeds in a wide pan and remove from heat when it is nice and aromatic.

3.Add the grated coconut and roast for a few minutes and then add the crushed jaggery, ghee and cardamom.

4.Mix well and stir for a few minutes till the jaggery melts and combines well with the coconut and looks well blended.

5.Let it cool for a few minutes and roll out lemon size balls of the mixture.

6.For making the obbattu, grease your palms and on a wax paper or a clean plastic paper, take a ping pong ball size of the dough, pat it into a small round, place the stuffing on it and cover it like how you would do for stuffed chapatti and pat it on the plastic paper so that the dough does not stick to your hand while patting.

7.Heat a griddle or tava on medium high and cook the obbattu on each side for about 2 mins till they are light brown in colour and puff up a little. Do not flip over again and again.

8.I do not add ghee while cooking, instead apply some on top after they are cooked.

9.Store in a air tight container and it can last for up to a week.



What a pleasure it is to dig into hot hot Obbatts with a dash of ghee..!!!
The sweetness of the coconut and the melting jaggery along with the crunchiness of the poppy seeds...ahh! slurppp slurrpp!!


Note: If you dont get fine chiroti rava, do not add the corase rava. The obbattu will still turn out good without the rava.
Keep the dough and the filling covered while doing the obbattu, or else the filling may become dry and stiff.
Do not over the cook as the coconut and jaggery filling will make the obbattu very hard and brittle.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Upma Kozhakattai / Pidi Kozhakattai / Seasoned and Steamed Rice Ball Dumplings..

Pidi Kozhakattai a.k.a Upma Kozhakkattai is a very popular tambram tiffin item and is prepared in most of the households, especially on 'fasting' or 'palaharam' days. It is another variety of upma I would say, the main addition being the thoor dhal and pepper which gives the dish a very special aroma and taste.This is a steamed dish and therefore quite healthy too! Here is the recipe: 
Ingredients:

Raw rice- 1 Cup

Toor Dhal- 1/4 cup or a little less

Peppercorns- 1 tsp

Water- 3 Cups 

Salt to taste




For Tempering:

Oil- 2 Tbsp

Mustard seeds- 1 Tsp

Urad dhal- 1 tsp

Channa dhal- 1Tsp

Dry red chilly - 1 no.

Peringayam/Hing/ asafoetida- 1 pinch

Curry leaves- a few chopped

Green chillies- 2 nos. finely chopped

Grated coconut- 2 Tbsp

Procedure:

1.Pulse the raw rice, toor dhal and peppercorns coarsely about twice or thrice in a mixer. The mixture has to be coarse and not fine. 

2.Heat oil in a pan with a tight fitting lid and add the mustard seeds, urad dhal, channa dhal, dry red chilly, green chillies, hing, curry leaves and grated coconut.

3. Once the dhals turn brown in color, add the water and bring it to a boil and add salt.

4.Now slowly fold in the powdered mixture while continuing to stir it with the other hand to avoid lumps. Check for salt at this and adjust accordingly.

5.Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until the water is fully absorbed and the rice looks cooked. If the mixture is too watery or mushy, let it cook for some more time or if too dry, add a little more water and cook for few minutes.

6.Once done, remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly. Take small balls of the mixture and just shape it into dumplings ( as seen in the pic) and steam them for about 8-10 minutes till they look shiny and glossy.

7.Upma kozhakkattai is best enjoyed with thengai chutney or paruppu kozhambu or thakkali thokku and definitely not forgetting a dollop of homemade ghee on top!



Gobi Manchurian..

I don't think I need to give any kinda write-up for this particular dish as it is so famous.The name says it all!
Gobi Manchurian can be had as a snack, a side dish or a dish by itself.
This Indo-Chinese snack has it all- a little bit of sweet, a little bit of spice, a little bit of tart and what not! Reminds me of the song Mambo No.5!

Here it is:

Ingredients:

Cauliflower- 1 medium size or about 20 bite-size florets

For the Batter:

All Purpose Flour / Maida- 6 Tbsp

Corn Starch / Flour-  3 Tbsp

Rice flour- 2 Tbsp

Pepper- 1/2 Tsp

Salt- 1/2 Tsp

Water-1/2 Cup

For the Sauce:

Onions- 1 small chopped finely(optional)

Capsicum/ Bell Peppers- 1 small chopped into small pieces (optional)

Chopped green onions- 2 to 3 tbsp for the garnish

Garlic- 2 Tbsp chopped finely

Ginger- 1 Tbsp chopped finely

Green chillies- 2 nos. cut diagonally

Tomato ketchup- 3 Tbsp

Red chilly sauce- 2 Tbsp

Soy Sauce- 2 Tbsp

White Vinegar- 2Tsp

Corn starch/flour- 2 Tsp

Oil- 2 Tbsp

Water- 1/2 Cup

Procedure:

1.Wash the cauliflower florets and boil them in water for five minutes or microwave for 5 minutes.
Drain and pat them dry.

2.Mix the ingredients for the batter and add very little water to make a paste.Coat the florets well in the batter and deep fry them in oil or bake on a greased tray at 400 F for 20 - 30 minutes till light brown in color. If baking, do not forget to flip over the florets half way through.

3.Meanwhile, for the sauce, heat oil in a pan and once hot, add the green chillies,chopped ginger and garlic,onions and bell peppers and saute till onions turn light brown in color.

4.Add the tomato ketchup, chilly sauce, cook for a few minutes followed by the soy sauce and vinegar and mix well.

5.Dissolve the corn starch in a little water and add it to the sauce. Add remaining water and cook for a few minutes till sauce starts to thicken.

6. Remove from heat and add the florets just before serving and garnish with chopped green onions.