Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Thengai burfi / Coconut burfi

    
 For the third and final day, I've selected yet another traditional sweet - yummy and chewy coconut burfi.  As children, this used to be our evening snacks when we came back from school. We could eat as much as we wanted without any guilty feeling of gaining weight like now. We loved them. The easily available ingredients and being easy to prepare, makes it possible to make it often. This, like sesame seeds laddoo, you will not find in sweet shops (different variety is available). My granny and mom used to make this very often but I learnt it from my sister when she visited our place. All thanks to my grandson, I'm learning how to make our traditional sweets so that he can also enjoy what we enjoyed as kids. Now for the recipe.

INGREDIENTS;
1. Sugar - 1/2 kg
2. Roasted gram - 2 tablespoons
3. Grated fresh coconut - 1no
4. Ghee - 100 ml
4. Cardamom - 4 nos
5. Water - as needed

METHOD:
1. Grease a tray with ghee and keep it ready.
2. Put the grated coconut in a blender and pulse it for a few seconds (should be coarse).
3. Take a heavy bottom pan/kadai add sugar and just enough water to cover the sugar and bring it to a boil.
4.Once it starts boiling, add a spoon of milk and keep simmering. Remove all the impurities floating on the top.
5. Add the grated coconut and cook for a few minutes on a medium heat. Then add half the ghee stirring all the while.
6. Keep adding the left over ghee little by little as you cook till the mixture starts foaming. 
7. Add the roasted gram and cook till it starts leaving the sides of the pan.
8.Remove from the heat, pour it into the greased tray and let it cool.
9.Once cooled, cut into desired shape and serve.




Tuesday, 25 October 2016

BM 69 Indian sweets. Karai Kacchayam

Abi's li'l hands grabbing the goodies!
      
   Though we like sweets, we don't enjoy the market sweets that much. Traditional and home made sweets are the most favorite ones. Of these, our traditional sweet called kachayam is a big family hit. We make two types of kachayam. One is made out of rice flour and sugar syrup. The process is more tedious. The second one is called karai kachayam. Karai means mixing.This is easier and instant and made by mixing all the ingredients nicely. Hence the name. Both taste fantastic. Here I'm making the second  variety. 
     Every time I make this, time rewinds in my mind and brings some sweet memories. Once we visited my MIL 's sister's place, unannounced as newly married. She was too excited and anxious as it is believed the new bride has to be given sweets on her first visit and there was no sweet shop nearby. So she made this quick sweet with so much love and it tasted like heaven, something which I've not forgotten even after many decades. In fact I learnt it that day. So I dedicate this to her.  Now to the recipe. 
                       
Ingredients:

Wheat flour   - 1 cup
Maida / All purpose flour -2 tablespoons
Ripe banana  - 1
Sugar   - 1/2 cup ( or to taste)
Grated fresh coconut - 3 tablespoons (optional)
Green cardamom   - 5 Nos
A pinch of cooking soda
Ghee/ oil for frying

Method:
1. Mash the banana well in a mixing bowl.
2. Add in all the other ingredients  except oil.
3. Add water a little at a time to make smooth batter. The batter should be of pouring consistency.
4. Make sure there are no lumps in it.
5. Heat ghee in a pan, bring to a medium heat and pour a spoonful of batter into the hot oil. (You can pour 4 or 5 kachayam in one go depending upon the size of your pan).
6. Fry on both sides till they become golden brown.
7. Lift one at a time, press it in between two steel ladles to flatten them and also strain the excess ghee out. (Need to do this quickly so as to remove all of them without burning).
8. You can of course serve them hot or even cold (room temperature).

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#69

Monday, 24 October 2016

Sesame seeds laddo / Til ka laddo / Ellurundai

  
   Ellurundai / til ka laddo is a traditional Indian sweet. In South India, we make these laddoos with black sesame seeds and considered as poor man's delicacy in olden days. But not anymore. Nowadays, people don't make it the traditional way and you don't get it in the sweet shops also. Making the laddoos the traditional way is a bit difficult now as we need the traditional pestle and mortar for pounding. Instead we make do with the mixer grinder now. The traditional way of making tastes so much better without any doubt. But when you crave for these laddoos even the substitute tastes great. So for those of you with a sweet tooth,this one is a must try. Here comes the recipe.


INGREDIENTS:
1. Black sesame seeds: 1/2 kg
2. Jaggery / Karuppatti: 1/2 kg
3. Fresh coconut: 1 no

METHOD:
1. Clean and roast the sesame seeds till nice aroma comes and let it cool.
2. Grate the coconut and Karuppatti and keep them ready.
3. Divide the sesame seeds, jaggery and coconut into 2 or 3 equal portions. Put one portion of the sesame seeds in the mixer and grind till coarse.
4. Add one portion of the jaggery into coarsely ground sesame seeds and run the mixer for a few more minutes.
5. Now roast one portion of the grated coconut till it turns light brown and nice aroma comes. Add it to the ground sesame seeds and jaggery while it is warm (not very hot). Run the grinder till all the ingredients are well mixed.
6. Repeat the process till all the ingredients are used.
7. Put all the portions of ground ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix them well with a spoon.
8. Take small portion of the mix and shape into laddoos while still warm. If the mixture becomes cold, it can be heated up on a low heat.
9. Cool the laddoos and store them in a container. The taste improves after a day or two.
10. One must keep in mind that while running the grinder the load becomes more. Take the portions according to your grinder's capacity.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#69

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Pickled bitter gourd

.
   The pickled version of bitter gourd is my final post for the topic of shelf life dishes. It is a very good substitute for spicy and oily pickles and therefore very healthy. One doesn't need to add too much spice or oil to prepare this sweet / bitter, tongue tickling dish. It can also be stored for months in the refrigerator. 

   This one is always available at my mom's place as my father likes it very much. During summers, my parents prefer ragi , bajra, dalia or any millet varieties of porridge with curd and pickled bitter gourd for breakfast. It can also be served with curd rice. A very simple and easy to make dish. I learnt it from my mother. Here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:
 Bitter Gourd - 2 nos
Tamarind - a lemon size ball
Jaggery / sugar - 2 to 3 table spoons
Green chillies - 4 nos
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tea spoon
Oil - 1 table spoon
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tea spoon
Curry leaves - A few
Salt to taste

METHOD:
1.Wash and cut the bitter gourd into 1/2 inch circles. Slit the green chillies.
2.Heat oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add curry leaves and green chillies. Saute for a minute. Now add the bitter gourd and fry for 2 minutes.
3.Take out tamarind juice before hand and add a cup of water to it. Pour the juice into the bitter gourd. Add salt and turmeric powder and let it boil. Reduce the heat and cook till half done.

4. Add jaggery/sugar, adjust water and cook on slow heat till water dries up and it looks like pickle. (not too dry nor watery)
5.Cool and store in a dry jar and use as required.
6. Chillies, tamarind and sugar can be adjusted as per one's taste.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Curry leaves podi


   
   Though I was not planning to make this podi as it is difficult to get curry leaves in Rajasthan. But when we moved into our new house, the first thing I did was to see the backyard for any chance of finding a curry leave tree. Wow! Indeed their is one. So the first thing that came to my mind was making this podi for this month's BM. This goes very well with softly cooked plain rice and ghee and not to forget the nutrients it provides being rich in iron. So here it is.

INGREDIENTS:

Curry leaves : 1 handful/ bunch

Toor dal : 2 table spoon

Urad dal (black or white) : 2 table spoon
Red chillies : 3 nos
Oil : 1 teaspoon
Hing/ Asafoetida : a pinch
Salt to taste

METHOD:

1. Dry roast both the the dal and the red chillies.

2. Wash the curry leaves and let them dry naturally for a few hours or under the fan.

3. Heat oil in a pan and fry the curry leaves till they are crispy. 
4. Add salt and hing to the roasted ingredients and grind to a coarse powder and keep aside.
5. Now grind the fried leaves till coarse. Add the coarsely ground dal powder and run the mixer for a few more seconds. Can use push button at this stage. The end product should be coarse. 
6. Serve with hot rice and ghee.



For more recipes on shelf life, check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#69

Monday, 17 October 2016

Peanut Butter

    
   I'm sure, those who have already made this would agree with me that this is one of the easiest, quickest and tastiest dishes without any argument. This one is a favourite in our home. It gets over as soon as it appears on the dining table. It is always on the top of shopping list planned or unplanned. So I was looking for a recipe to make it at home. I went through many of them and finally made it in my way. Most of them are same barring a little change in sweetening agent and grinding. It came out so well and every one liked it and now is very much in demand. Here goes the recipe.



INGREDIENTS:

1. Ground nut -1 cup
2. Any vegetable oil - 1 tablespoon
3. Honey - 1 teaspoon 
4. Salt to taste (1/2 tea spoon approx) 

METHOD:

1. Roast the ground nut in a pan on medium heat till the outer layer is brown and black spots starts appearing. Let it cool to room temperature and rub the nuts with both your hands lightly to remove the skin.
2. Put the cleaned nuts in a mixer grinder and run the mixer using the push button for a few minutes till the nuts are coarsely ground.


3. Add oil, honey and salt and grind further till the required consistency (fine paste or with granules for crunchy texture). I made one with granules.

4. Store in an air tight container. No need to refrigerate for 15 to 20 days (it will vanish before that :)



Monday, 5 September 2016

My most beautiful penstand!


     "Abi's real schooling has started", I said when he was asked  to bring an old CD and an invitation card. We were skeptical about Abi doing any art work except for colouring (he can mess with colours as much as he wants). He cannot sit and listen or follow any instruction/ guidance for more than 10 seconds, for he thinks he knows everything!! In fact within minutes of you trying to teach him something, he will turn around start trying to teach the same thing to YOU!

    We sent the CD and the card and waited to see what are they going make out of them. Meanwhile raksha bandhan came. He did not bring any craft work home, which surprised us because we thought those things were for making rakhi. We tried asking Abi what did they do with the CD and card. But as is his habit, he wouldn't say a word!

     Then PTM happened and we came to know that they are going to make something for janmashtami with that. Then the day before janmashtami, Abi brought a pen-stand made in school and said, "Happy janmashtami naani, I made this for keeping my pencils"! Kudos to his ma'am who has made them all and could make children like Abi do craft work. We tried to find out which part of the work Abi did in making the stand without much success. 

I am sure it is a lot more of ma'am's effort and less of the children. But in the process Abi has learnt so many things like using old things, following instructions, keeping pencils in a stand and most of all he was so happy to show us something that he made. This is the first time he has made something with the help of his teacher and brought it home. So precious. Now is the time I think that even I can sit and have fun doing these craft works with him.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Bravo !!!!

    We must warn the class teacher about his shyness on stage, I said. So that she can leave him out and choose somebody else. One fine day after coming back from school Abi sang something. I think he did that by mistake because he does not like to discuss his school activities at home. It really takes a lot of effort to find out how he spends his day there. After a lot of coaxing he said, they were taught  some song and dance steps. When I asked him which song, after much pondering he came out with half a sentence of the song, " mere pyareeeee......!".

    Since raksha bandhan was nearing, we thought that children may be doing some activity for the festival in the school and  this song may be connected to that. Next day we pestered him more and he reluctantly showed us a dance move, blushing and feeling so shy the whole time. So it was confirmed that Abi is taking part in some dance programme. This made us all nervous, because in his last 2 stage appearances, he looked so frightened and pretty much cried through the whole song, without moving one step! So I said we must warn the concerned teacher just to save her from disappointment.

     Meanwhile we received a note from the school that Abi is taking part in a dance item and it is only in house affair and they are not inviting anyone. After discussing all the pros and cons we decided not to tell the teacher anything and let Abi take part in the function and see if there is any change in him as this is only for kids. The D-day arrived. Abi was sent in home dress (jeans and t-shirt) as per the school's instructions. We waited for his school time to be over like over eager parents waiting for some entrance exam result.

    Finally the result was out.....Yes!!! He did it!!! That too on a stage without crying (though we could not see). His ma'am explained that he did hesitate a bit in the middle, and stopped. But with a bit of coaxing, he took his time and completed the song. Our joy knew no bounds.We congratulated the teacher for her effort and told her about Abi's previous performances. 

Bravo..... my child. Slowly but surely you are getting rid of your fear/ shyness. So proud of you!

Monday, 29 August 2016

Umpteenth Time...

   Planning, packing, moving to a new place, hunting for a house, unpacking, finding a good school, applying for admission, buying new uniform and books, preparing abi for the new environment, settling down and adjusting to everything new around you... phew! Have I left out anything?  This is what is happening with us right now. Our daughter has been transferred. Although, this is not something new for us as we have been doing this since 1979! With so much experience, one might think we should be able to move easily (as a few of my civilian friends used to say).  But believe me, we still find it difficult and tiring (apart from getting emotionally drained out) more so with age catching on. This, by the way, is the reason for the long gap since my last entry.

   I look back at the golden days (when I was much younger). Whenever hubby was posted to a new place, I used to be excited and look forward to meeting new people and making a new place our home. No school hunting was involved then as my daughter was in a boarding school. Of course parting with old friends was always difficult but we part with the hope of meeting again somewhere as Army is a small world.  But with time the excitement is all gone. I cannot figure out any single reason for that. 

   We are temporarily settled now, quite comfortably. The place is a little away from the city and Abi has to travel for about 25 minutes (one way) to school, which is the biggest disadvantage. The place has its own beauty, quiet, charm with hardly any noise pollution away from all the chaotic activities which one goes through in a city (typically old people' mentality!).The surrounding hillocks staring back at us when we stand in the balcony makes one realise how small is mankind in front nature's majestic beauty. Equally strong are the plants and trees trying to survive in the rocky terrain proves that they are the real fighters / survivors.. 

 For the time being, we are enjoying our stay in the campus surrounded by greenery and waiting, albeit halfheartedly, to move soon ... yet again.

View from our balcony

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Lemon Rice

  
      Third in the rice series is lemon rice. This is one of the most popular one amongst the variety of rice dishes I frequently make for my friends. An easy and quick to prepare and convenient to carry. A very refreshing and tasty lunch box dish. This dish always finds a place in valai kappu (baby shower) functions. Those who have not tried this must give it a try.

INGREDIENTS :
  • Rice - 1 cup
  • Lemon - 1
  • Turmeric powder 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
FOR SEASONING :
  • Oil - 1 1/2 teaspoon
  • mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves - A few
  • Chana dal = 1/2 teaspoon
  • Urad (white)- 1/4 teaspoon
  • Green chillies - 3 nos
  • Onion finely chopped - 1
METHOD: 
  • Cook rice the usual way and let it cool. Leftover rice can be used.
  • Squeeze the lemon juice, add salt and turmeric powder and mix them.
  • Sprinkle the juice over the cold rice and mix gently taking care not to break the rice.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds,chana urad dal and fry till the dal becomes golden brown.
  • Now add curry leaves, onion and green chillies. Saute them till the onion is translucent. Lastly, add the rice adjust salt and toss around slowly keeping the flame low.
  • Remove, sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and serve with papad.





Arisiyum paruppum recipe

   Arisiyum paruppum means rice and dal cooked together. I'm not aware if this dish has another name. It 's a popular dish in our side (Tiruppur, Coimbatore), usually made for breakfast or dinner. It's meal by itself and does not need any other side dish. It's quick and a time saver when you have unexpected guests at meal time. It can be served with dry vegetables, pickles or curd. Variations can be made by adding veggies to it. I've made a simple one without adding vegetables to it. Serve this with home made ghee and you will be left wanting more. Here is the recipe.



INGREDIENTS :
  • Rice- 1 cup
  • Chana dal- 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt - To taste 
  • Water - 3 cups
FOR SEASONING :
  • Oil - 1 teaspoon
  • Ghee - 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves - A few
  • Garlic - 2 small
  • Onion - 1 big (I've used shallots. They taste better)
  • Green chillies - 2 or 3
  • Tomato - 1 small
METHOD :
  • Wash rice and dal and keep aside.
  • Heat oil and ghee in cooker. Once it is hot add mustard seeds. Let them splutter. 
  • Add diced garlic, curry leaves, onion, green chillies. Saute till the onions are translucent.
  • Add tomatoes and saute for a minute or two. Now add  rice and dal with water, turmeric powder and salt. Mix them all nicely, close the lid and cook upto 3 whistles (as you normally cook rice).
  • Once the gas is turned off, let the steam in the cooker go by itself and then open. Serve it with ghee, curd, pickle or fried brinjal.



Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#65

Ven Pongal


There are so many dishes to cook with rice. It was very difficult to choose only three of them. My first one in this series is ven pongal as I made this when my father had come to my place. This is one of his favourite dishes.
This is a very popular and simple dish which can be made in a jiffy. It neither requires many ingredients nor needs much time. It tastes great with coconut chutney. Now for the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Rice- 1/2 cup
  • Moong dal (yellow)- 1/4 cup
  • Cashew nuts &Raisins- 8 each
  • Salt to taste
FOR SEASONING:
  • Oil- 1 tablespoon
  • Ghee- 1 1/2 tablespoon
  • Ginger chopped- 1 teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds- 1 teaspoon
  • Whole black pepper- 1 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves- A few
METHOD:
  • Dry roast moong dal and rice separately until it is hot to touch. Do not over fry it.
  • Heat oil and ghee add finely chopped ginger, saute for 2-3 seconds, then add pepper, jeera seeds (you can pound pepper and jeera slightly for more flavor), cashew nuts,raisins and curry leaves.
  • Add rice and dal with 3 cups of water and salt. Cook it for 3 or 4 whistles.
  • Let the steam go off and then open the cooker. Mix the contents nicely.
  • Serve hot with white coconut. 
  • PS: One can cook the rice and dal separately and the seasoning to it.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Pavakkai kulambu / Bitter gourd Gravy


This one has surprised my North Indian friends as they had not heard of karela gravy. They mostly make stuffed karela or karela fried (chopped). Even our helping staff were taken aback when I made this gravy. My sister makes it often and it's liked by everyone at home. I followed her method and it turned out well. I do not make it very often as it involves a lot of tamarind and my hubby  is not very fond of it. But for those who like tangy and pungent taste would love it. Now for the recipe, made from home grown fresh organic karela!



INGREDIENTS TO GRIND :
  • Onion sliced : 3 nos
  • Chana dal : 1 and 1/2 tablespoons
  • Coriander seeds : 2 tablespoons
  • Cumin seeds : 1 teaspoon
  • Red chillies : 3 or 4 nos
  • Curry leaves : A few
  • Coconut, grated : 1/2 cup
  • Oil : 1 tablespoon
FOR SEASONING;
  • Oil : 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves : A few
  • Sliced bitter gourd : 2 nos
  • Turmeric powder: 1/4 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Tamarind juice : 1 and 1/2 cup
  • Jaggery / sugar : 1 teaspoon
METHOD:
  • Soak the tamarind (lemon size) in a cup of water. Squeeze out the juice from it.
  • Slice the bitter gourd, remove the seeds and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan, fry red chillies and channa dal till golden brown.
  • Now add sliced onions (I've used shallots)  coriander and cumin seeds and fry till they turn golden brown in colour. Add the curry leaves and give it a nice toss.  
  • Remove from heat and add the coconut and let cool.
  • Grind to a fine paste adding enough water.
  • Heat oil for seasoning add mustard seeds. After it splutter add curry leaves and the bitter gourd, saute for a few minutes.
  • Add the tamarind juice and a cup of water. Add turmeric powder, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat and cook till the bitter gourd is nicely cooked.
  • Now add the ground masala adjust salt and water and let it boil for a few more minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with plain rice.


Saturday, 11 June 2016

Thakkali / Tomato kulambu


   This kulambu is the basic curry (with a little addition and subtraction) for most of the gravy items including non-veg in our homes. You can add most seasonal veggies to this curry to churn out lip-smacking dishes. So this is my obvious choice for the BM entry. Also, I'm posting the tomato version of it as my father likes this gravy with idlis and he is here visiting us. It goes very well with plain rice. One can serve this curry with rice and appadam (papad) for a change giving lentils a break. Believe me, everyone will welcome this change.So without much ado, straight to the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • Tomatoes          - 5 nos
  • Onions sliced     - 3nos
  • Red chillies        - 2nos
  • Coriander seeds- 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin seeds     -1/2 teaspoon
  • Black pepper -   5nos
  • Chana dal -      1 tablespoon
  • Grated coconut - 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic   -           3 or 4 pods    
  • Curry leaves - 2 springs
  • Oil -                 1 tablespoon
For seasoning:
  •  Oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves.
Method:
  • Boil the tomatoes and keep aside to cool.   
  • Fry chana dal,red chillies in oil for a minute.
  • Add all the ingredients except tomatoes, coconut and the curry leaves and fry till the onions turn golden brown. Now add coconut and the curry leaves and switch off the gas, mix all the ingredients nicely. Let it cool.
  • Grind the fried masala to a fine paste adding enough water. Now add the boiled tomatoes and run the mixer for a few minutes till the tomatoes are blended well with the masala. It should look like this -
  • Heat a teaspoon of oil, add mustard seeds wait till it splutters then add some curry leaves. Now add the ground masala-tomato paste adding enough water to make running gravy. Add turmeric powder and salt to taste.
  • Let it boil and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle coriander leaves and serve hot with idli, dosa or plain rice.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#65

Vegetable kurma


When Srivalli posted about BM#65 in the month of May, I was super excited. It was summer vacation and my father, sister and nephew were coming and a lot of cooking will be happening. My nephew, especially, is very fond of chapati and paranthas and will be cooking different types of curries(side dish) to go with it. So I thought I will be having many recipes to upload on my page and the BM. But to tell you the truth, it was not  that easy. Though I had prepared  many dishes, clicking photos was a problem for me. Many times I forgot to click pictures or in a hurry to serve food,  the pictures did not turn out good (lighting) etc. Thankfully, I managed to at least write my posts on time. This kurma is my nephew's favourite one. I was more than happy to make this as one can add as many vegetables as possible. Moreover, my li'l one also enjoyed eating in competition with my nephew.  Now for the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:
  • Mixed vegetables like potato, carrot, peas, cauliflower (peeled & cubed)- 1 to 1-1/2cup 
TO MAKE PASTE:
  • Grated coconut - 3 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon - 1" long
  • Cardamom - 2
  • Clove - 4
  • Ginger -1" piece
  • Poppy seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
  • Saunf /fennel seeds- 1 teaspoon
  • Roasted chana - 2 teaspoons
  • Salt to taste
FOR SEASONING:
  •  Oil - 1 teaspoon
  • Bay leaf -1
  • Black pepper  -5
  • Onion sliced- 1 
  • Tomato chopped -1
  • Green chillies- 3 (slit)
  • Turmeric powder - A pinch
  • Whole garam masala- as per choice
METHOD:
  • Cook the vegetables with salt and just enough water till they are soft.
  • Grind all the ingredients under to make paste into a fine paste.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add bay leaf and the whole garam masala and saute for a few seconds.
  • Add onion and green chillies fry till the onion turns pink in colour.
  • Add tomato and let it cook well. Now add the cooked vegetables, ground masala paste, turmeric powder. Mix them well adding enough water. Adjust salt and cook on a slow heat for 5 minutes.
  • Remove and serve  hot with paranthas.



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