Saturday, May 21, 2016
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Poruvilangi or Porulvilangi Uruandai is a healthy and nutritious sweet ball. The name Porulvilangai literally means that the ingredients are a mystery. Though it resembles any other laddu in appearance, but the texture is very different. These balls are very hard, infact, you need to use a small hammer or a grinding stone to break it.
Poruvilangai was one of the things which my grandmother would always keep ready when we went for our summer vacations as it was my mother’s favorite. As a child I never really liked them, just because they were too hard. These are a favorite with my in laws and my mother in law makes them on and off. She tells me that, in her times, when people used to go on long train journeys, they would prepare these and carry it along. These hard balls have a very long shelf life and stay fresh for a couple of months.
The main ingredients used in its preparation are Whole Wheat grains, Boiled Rice/Puzhungal Arisi, Green Moong/Pacha Payaru, Dry ginger, cardamom and coconut bits sweetened with Jaggery. The measurements and ingredients seem to differ from one household to another. I came across recipes making use of Channa dal, roasted gram dal and even groundnuts. The recipe I am sharing is handed down to me by one my mother in law’s relative who is has been regularly preparing these for a very long time now.
Poruvilangai, like I mentioned earlier are supposed to be very hard, hard to the extent that they need to be broken with pestle. The reason it was made like this was so it could have a long shelf life, as these were made in large quantities in those days. But now, children don’t and adults don’t seem to like it so hard, so the balls made from the recipe I am sharing today, are not so hard. I won’t say they are soft and crumbly, but they can be broken by our teeth. Refer the notes section, if you want to make the stone hard poruvilangais.
What you’ll need
- Boiled Rice/Puzhungal Arisi – 4 Cup
- Whole Wheat Grains/Gothumai – 1 Cup
- Green Moong/Pacha Payaru – 1 Cup
- Jaggery – 6 cup, powdered
- Dry Ginger/Sukku – a big piece
- Cardamom – about 10
- Coconut – 1 cup, cut into small pieces
Roast and Grind
- Dry roast the rice, whole wheat, green moong until golden. Keep stirring and roast on medium heat to avoid burning and for even roasting.
- Break the dry ginger into smaller pieces used a pestle, heat that also for a minute or so, for easy grinding.
- Spread all the roasted ingredients on a newspaper and allow to cool slightly.
- Then grind them along with the dry ginger and cardamom in batches in a mixie, sieve it and keep aside.
Prepare Jaggery Syrup
- Heat a heavy bottomed kadai, with the jaggery and water enough to immerse the jaggery. Heat it on medium flame, else the syrup will thicken even before the jaggery dissolves.
- Once the jaggery has dissolved completely, strain for impurities and pour it back into the kadai.
- Add the coconut pieces to this.
- Keep heating on medium flame, stirring once in a while, we need to get the soft ball consistency or thakkali pagu. It is ok if you remove the syrup just before the soft ball consistency. (Check Notes)
- To check for the soft ball consistency, take some water in a plate, and add a drop of the syrup into it, if it settles and you are able to roll it into a ball then the syrup is ready. Remove from heat.
- I removed mine from heat, just before the soft ball consistency.
Prepare the urundai
- Keep a medium sized bowl with a cup of the flour in it. This is for rolling the prepared urundais.
- In another wide bowl, take a cup of the flour and add about 2 ladles of the syrup. Mix it quickly with a wooden spoon or spatula, and try forming balls, if you are able to form the balls, then quickly roll them into balls and put them into the bowl with flour. If you are not able to form balls then add another spoon of syrup and try.
- The balls may feel soft while rolling, but they harden on cooling.
- Repeat the above procedure until you are done with all the flour.
- Some syrup may be left over, you can refrigerate the syrup and use it later again to make the urundais, by heating it with little water.
- Healthy and tasty poruvilangai urundais are ready.
- If you have the facility to get the grains milled in flour mill, then that would be good. Else use the mixie and sieve the powdered flour. I ground mine at home in a regular mixie.
- The jaggery syrup is the one that is responsible for the hardness of the urundai, so if you want them a little softer, you can remove the syrup just before it reaches the soft ball consistency. Or if you want really stone hard urundais then keep the syrup a little longer than soft ball consistency. I removed mine, just before the soft ball consistency.
- The urundais will feel soft while shaping, but on cooling, they will harden.
- I had some jaggery syrup left, it is difficult to give exact measurement of the jaggery syurp.
- The ratio is 1:1, for one cup of powder, use 1 cup of powdered jaggery.
- The main flavoring agents are sukku and cardamom, so don’t skip that.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Thoran is a very common and popular stir fry served usually as an accompaniment with steamed rice and Sambar. It can be prepared with almost all the vegetables, like raw bananas, pumpkin, all the different varieties of beans, carrot, cabbage etc. Usually the vegetables are finely chopped and stir fried in coconut oil and finally garnished with some fresh coconut.
Couple of days back, when I got these yard long beans I was getting ready to prepare it like any other day, then my MIL, asked me to soak some pasi paruppu/moong dal and add to the thoran. The thoran made with the addition of the dal was very delicious and all including my kids enjoyed this slightly varied version of the thoran.
Serves - 4
What you'll need
- Payathangai/Yard Long Beans – 500 gms
- Moong Dal/Pasi Paruppu – ¼ cup
- Fresh Scraped Coconut – 1/3 cup
- Green Chillies – 2 to 3
- Curry Leaves - few
- Turemeric Powder – ¼ tsp
- Salt to taste
- Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
- Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
- Broken Urad Dal – 1 tsp
- Wash the dal, rinse well and soak it for 20 minutes.
- Wash the yard long beans, string it and finely chop the beans. Keep aside.
- Heat a Kadai with oil, temper with mustard seeds and urad dal, once the dal changes color add half of the chopped beans stir well.
- Now drain the dal and spread it as a layer over the beans and top it with the remaining beans in such a way that the dal is covered by the beans.
- Sprinkle some water, cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium to low heat.
- Remove the lid and stir, add the salt and turmeric powder, sprinkle more water if required cover and cook till the beans is cooked.
- Remove the lid and let it fry for a while, keep stirring once in a while.
- In the meantime, add the coconut, green chillies and curry leaves in a small mixie jar and pulse it for a few seconds.
- Add this to the beans and stir well. Fry for a couple of minutes and remove from heat.
Delicious Payathangai Thoran is ready. Serve as an accompaniment with rice and Sambar or Mor Kootan or with Rasam.
Thursday, May 5, 2016
It is Mango time!!! Yes..markets are flooded with different varieties of mangoes. Once the mango season starts, I can’t think of even single day, when we don’t have our dose of mango in some form or the other, be it the simple manga curry, manga pachadi, manga kootan or mambazha pulissery, if not then, just cut up a fruit and eat.
So here is another recipe, that can be added to my already big list of mango recipes – the Mambazha Sambar. We usually prepare the pulissery with ripe mangoes, sambar using ripe mango is not so frequent.
The Mambazha sambar is very much similar to the regular arachuvitta sambar, the only thing is the addition of the ripe mango. But the taste and smell of the sambar is very much different from the regular sambar. It has a lovely aroma and slightly sweet sour taste. Do try it this while the mangoes are in season.
Serves 5 to 6
What you’ll need
- Ripe Mango – 2 Medium sized, cut into big chunks with the skin
- Drumstick – 2, cut into finger sized pieces
- Tamarind – gooseberry sized
- Tuar Dal – 1/3 cup
- Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
- Salt to taste
To roast and grind
- Asafoetida – a small piece
- Channa dal – 1 tbsp
- Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp
- Fenugreek Seeds – ½ tsp
- Dried Red Chillies -5 to 6
- Coconut – 1/3 cup
- Oil – 2 tsp
- Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
- Curry Leaves – few
- Wash and pressure the tuar dal with enough water. When cooked, mash well and keep aside.
- Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Squeeze and extract the juice, discard the fibres.
- In a vessel, add the tamarind juice, also add another 3 cups of water, add the drumstick pieces, turmeric powder, and salt.
- Bring this to boil and let it keep boiling on medium flame till the drumstick pieces are almost done, at this stage add the ripe mango pieces and boil for another 4 to 5 minutes or till the mangoes are cooked.
- In the meanwhile, heat a kadai with a tsp of oil, add the asafoetida and fry till it puffs up well, next add the channa dal and fry till the dal starts changing color, then add the coriander seeds and methi seeds and fry till a good aroma starts coming, taking care not to burn anything. Finally add the red chillies stir till the chillies become bright red. Also add the coconut and fry for a couple of minutes. Coconut need not change color.
- Transfer to a plate and let it cool.
- Then grind to a paste using about ¼ cup of water.
- Once the mango is cooked, and the cooked and mashed dal to the tamarind water and mix well, boil for 2 minutes.
- Then add the ground paste add a cup of water and adjust the consistency. Check for seasoning and bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Garnish with curry leaves.
- Heat a small frying pan with oil, temper with mustard seeds. Pour the tempering over the sambar.
Serve hot with white rice and a poriyal or thoran of your choice.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Vishu is almost here. It is one of my favorite festivals. I love keeping the Vishu Kani. A typical Vishu Kani consists of an Uruli filled with rice, the Kani Vellari or Malabar Vellarikai, other vegetables and fruits like snake gourd, mango, jackfruit, banana, a mirror, an Idol of Krishna, a new cloth, gold ornaments etc and ofcourse, the kani is incomplete without the Kani Konnai also known as Laburnum. The Kani is arranged the previous day night and viewed early morning on the day of Vishu which usually falls either on the 14th or 15th of April.
The Kani konnai is not easily found in most parts of the country. Most of the years I make do with some yellow flower. But this time, I am really happy, as the place I live in, is lined with these trees and is in full blossom. So this year’s Kani is going to be adorned with the Konnai.
No festival is complete without a feast and no feast is complete without a Payasam.
We usually prepare the Pal Payasam in our house for Vishu. But I love Pradhamans and I had this packet of Rice ada with me, so I prepared this pradhaman a couple of days back. It turned out super delicious, perfect for any feast. I have already posted the Palada Pradhaman, which is equally tasty.
What you’ll need
Serves – 4 to 5 generously
- Rice Ada – ½ cup (I used store bought)
- Powdered Jaggery – 2 cup
- Thin Coconut Milk – 4 cup
- Thick Coconut Milk – 1 cup
- Coconut pieces – ¼ cup, cut into small pieces
- Cashewnut – few (optional)
- Ginger Powder – ½ tsp
- Cumin Powder – ½ tsp
- Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
- Soak the ada in plain water for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Now drain the water, and add about 4 to 5 cups of water and cook the ada in it till the ada is really soft. Make sure ada is soft, even if it turns a bit mushy it is ok, as the ada, will separate once we add it to the jaggery syrup.
- Strain the ada and wash it well in cold water. This will prevent sticking. Drain and set aside.
- Heat a heavy bottomed Kadai, with jaggery and ½ cup water, filter for impurities. Wash the Kadai and pour the jaggery syrup back into the kadai.
- Let this boil for 6 to 7 minutes, or till the syrup reaches a slightly thicker consistency.
- Now add the cooked ada and sauté it well. Keep stirring and sauté till the syrup thicken again for about 8 minutes. Add a tbsp of ghee and sauté for a couple of minutes more. This is the most important step. This is when the ada will get the sweetness from the jaggery, else ada will taste bland.
- Now add the thin coconut milk and mix well, allow to boil for atleast 10 minutes, or till the mixture is slightly thick.
- Turn off the flame.
- Add the cardamom powder, cumin powder and dry ginger powder to the thick coconut milk, mix well and add it to the Pradhaman.
- Heat a small frying pan with ghee and fry the coconut pieces till dark brown. Fry the cashews if using and add it to Pradhaman.
- You may feel the consistency is very lose and not thick, but the payasam will thicken as it cools. And the consistency will be perfect. There won't be any need of adding extra milk. If you want it thicker, then you may reduce the thin coconut milk to 3 cups.
- The sweetness was perfect, if you want more or less, adjust accordingly.
- The ada I bought was very small and cooked very fast; cook your ada depending on its size. Make sure it is completely soft else, after adding to the jaggery it will become hard and feel like it is not cooked.
- I used KPL coconut milk powder, the taste was very good. I found it better than the tetra pack, but nothing to beat the taste of fresh coconut milk. Refer my Chakka Pradhaman post to know how to extract coconut milk.