Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bengali Rasogollas

This month’s challenge by the 4 Velveteer’s Group was Rasgullas. The famous rasgullas don’t need any introduction. Very popular as the king of Bengali Sweets- though the origin of the sweet is said to be in its neighboring state of Orissa.


Rasgullas are my favorite, but the thought of making these at home was a real challenge to me. At first I thought of let going this month’s challenge, but then on second thoughts I decided to just give a try. With a brave heart and a determined will I went ahead with my Project Rasgullas. I adapted the recipe from Manjula’s Kitchen. The step by step video was really helpful. Since I was very apprehensive about trying them out, I tried out only half the quantity mentioned in her recipe. But then I repented on that, as the Rasagullas turned out super soft and spongy. Everyone wanted a second helping but alas there was none! Some relatives are coming over this weekend and I have decided to make it in a larger quantity this time.
So, I really have to thank Aparna for posing the challenge and making me try out this heavenly dessert.



Here’s what you need to make about 10 medium sized rasgullas

1. Milk 3% fat – ½ liter (approx 2 ¾ cups)
2. Lemon juice – 1 tblsp
3. Sugar – 1 cup
4. Water – 3 ½ cups
5. Cardamom powder – 1 pinch

This is what I did:

Heat the milk in a heavy bottom pan or vessel. Once the milk starts to boil, add the lemon juice and stir. You will see the milk solids separating out. When all the milk solids have separated, strain it using a muslin cloth. Run it under cold tap water, so as to remove the lemon flavor. Tie the cloth with the paneer or Chenna and place a heavy weight on top of it. Let it remain this way for 10 to 15 mins or till all the water has drained out completely.

Now, remove the chenna from the cloth, place it on a clean work surface and knead it for about 10 mins. The more you knead the softer and spongier the rasgullas. Pinch out a small round from the kneaded chenna, and make a small ball out of it. Do this with the remaining chenna.

In the meanwhile, heat a pressure pan with the mentioned amount of water, sugar and cardamom powder, let the mixture boil, till the sugar is well dissolved and it starts boiling. Now add the prepared Chenna balls into this syrup. Close the lid. When the pressure builds up, place the whistle and cook till one whistle. Lower flame and cook for another 2 mins. Turn off the flame.
Once the pressure from the cooker is released, transfer the rasgullas into another bowl and refrigerate for minimum 2 to 3 hours.


Devour this divine treat chilled.

Also sending this to Flavors of Bengal hosted by Priya of Mharo Rajasthan an event originally started by Nayana

Tips
Knead the chenna very well. To test whether the chenna is ready, take a little chenna and rub it between your thumb and index finger for few seconds, then form a ball. If you are able to form a smooth and firm ball then your chenna is ready.
The rasgullas will become double in size once cooked, so make the balls small.
Make sure there is enough space in the cooker for the rasgullas to cook well.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kanji and Muthira Puzhukku/ Rice Gruel and Horsegram Curry

My daughter’s school vacations started on Friday. This is the first time in 9 nine years, that I am at my mom’s house for vacation to stay for a month. All these years, mom was in the same town as me close to each other, so I used to visit her often. Never used to wait for vacations! So, came to Bangalore on Saturday and just got settled here at home, that was the reason I was unable to blog or take a peek at my friend’s blogs.
Kanji and Puzhukku is a comfort food. Puzhukku is mild on spices, flavored with fresh coconut and coconut oil. This is one of my favorite meal menus. Another dish called Vanni, is also made in combination with this. I will be posting the recipe for Vanni very shortly.
Muthira/Kollu/Uluva/Horsegram is kind of legume known for its medicinal value. It is an excellent source of Iron. It helps in weight reduction.



Muthira Puzhukku

Ingredients

1. Muthira/Kollu/Horsegram – 1 cup
2. Raw Banana – ½
3. Grated Fresh Coconut – 1/3 cup
4. Chilly Powder – 1 to 2 tsp
5. Jaggery – 1tblsp
6. Coconut oil – 1 tblsp
7. Salt to taste

Method

Wash, pick and soak the horsegram for 8 to 10 hours. Drain the water. Wash well. Pour enough water and pressure cook the horsegram for 3 whistles. Then cook in low flame for 20 mins. By now the horsegram would be cooked well. Wash, peel and cube the raw banana, and cook it separately adding little salt.
Now in a vessel, transfer the cooked horsegram with the water, add the cooked raw banana, chilly powder, jaggery and salt to taste. Let this boil for a few minutes. Next add the grated coconut and simmer for a few minutes. Check for the consistency of the puzhukku. It should not be too runny nor too dry. It should be of a semi solid consistency. Finally drizzle with coconut oil and mix well.
Yummy and delicious puzhukku is ready to be had with Kanji.


Sending this to MlAA 34 hosted by Jaya Wagle of Desi Soccer Mom originally started by Susan



Kanji

1. Par boiled rice/Puzhiganl ari – 1 cup
2. Water – 6 cups

Method

Wash the rice well. For 1 cup of rice add 6 cups of water and pressure cook it for 3 whistles. Open the cooker after it cools, add salt and serve the Kanji with tasty puzhukku.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Carrot Rice

Preparing lunch and snacks for my daughter is a big challenge for me. She is such a fussy and choosy eater that I have a tough time making her eat something healthy. My daughter’s hot favorites for her snack and lunch box on any day would be Potato chips and Noodles and that too without veggies. (She’s very particular about that). Thankfully, the school she goes to now has a set menu which does not permit noodles. I was so happy when I saw the menu. Everyday there would be a choice of either a rice item or some roti or paratha. So I pack her rice and rotis on alternate days.

In my never ending struggle to feed my daughter something healthy and nutritious, I found this particular recipe in my favorite author Mallika Badrinath’s book. She comes as my savior on most occasions. This is simple and healthy rice and is a quick fix for kids as well as hubby’s lunch box. Most kids like carrots when compared to other vegetables. And all mothers will surely know its health benefits. Carrot rice has become a family favorite now and is there in my daughter’s and H’s box at least once in 10 days.




Ingredients

1. Rice – 1 Cup
2. Carrots – 2 Big
3. Onions – 2 Medium
4. Groundnuts – 2 Tblsps
5. Oil – 2 Tbl sp
6. Salt as required
7. Cinnamon – a small piece
8. Cloves – 2
9. Cardamom – 1 or 2
10. Cashews a few


For the spice powder

1. Coriander Seeds – 2 tsps
2. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
3. Red Chillies – 3 to 4
4. Grated Dry Coconut / Khopra – 2 tblsp

Method

Cut onions into small pieces. Peel and grate carrots. Cook rice, allow it to cool and separate grains.
Heat a Kadai with oil, add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and cashews. Fry till cashews turn golden. Next add the onions and sauté till onions turn translucent. Next add grated carrots and fry for few minutes. Cover and cook till carrots are slightly soft.
In the meanwhile, fry the items mentioned under For spice powder in a teaspoon of oil and powder it. Also, roast the groundnuts without oil, remove skin and powder it coarsely.
Once the carrots are done, add the cooked rice, spice powder and salt to taste. Mix well for 2 to 3 mins on high heat till the flavors are blended together. Finally add the coarsely ground peanuts. Mix well.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with a simple potato fry or a raita of your choice.




Sending this to CWS- Coriander seeds originally started by Priya, Guest hosted by Aruna
Also sending this to Priya and Aipi's Bookmarked Recipes.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nei Payasam

Wishing all my friends a very Happy Vishu.

Payasam is a must to celebrate any festival and same goes with Vishu. Generally my MIL would have gone with Paal Payasam, but since we had made it only two days back for Sri Rama Navami, decided on making another traditional payasam i.e Nei Payasam. It is also called Kadu Madhura Payasam i.e. very sweet payasam.

This Payasam is very special in Kerala temples. It is also made as a prasadam on the occasion of Bagavathy Sevai – a special pooja conducted between mid July and August to please Devi.
So here’s the recipe for this divine treat:


Ingredients

1. Rice – 1 cup
2. Powdered Jaggery – 2 ½ cups
3. Ghee – 3 – 4 tblsp
4. Cardamom Powder – little
5. Coconut cut into small pieces – a handful

Method

Wash rice well. Add 3 cups water and cook the rice in pressure cooker for 3 whistles. In the meanwhile, heat a heavy bottom vessel; add the powdered jaggery and about ¼ cup of water. When the jaggery dissolves completely, strain for impurities and pour it back into the same vessel. Let this jaggery syrup boil for a few minutes till the syrup starts thickening. Mash the cooked rice and add it to the jaggery syrup. Mix well. Now keep stirring for few minutes. Add about 2 tblsps of ghee. Mix well. Keep stirring till the Payasam starts leaving the sides of the vessel and reaches a saucy consistency. Do not cook for very long as this will become very hard once it cools down.

In a small frying pan, heat 1 tblsp of ghee, add the chopped coconut pieces and fry till golden brown. Add these to the payasam. Also add the cardamom powder and mix well.

Delicious nei payasam is ready to eat.


Note:

This payasam is generally very sweet, so you can’t eat more than 3 to 4 spoons at one go. But you can reduce the sweetness according to your taste.

Sending this to Celebrate Sweets - Sweets with Rice Event by Niveditha hosted by Priya.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Goduma Rava Kesari (Broken Wheat Kesari)

This weekend I had a few guests over during tea time. I wanted to try a different sweet which would not take too long to make as well. I took out my favorite author Mallika Badhrinath’s book and decided to make this recipe. The outcome was well appreciated. This is the prasadam given in Annavaram Satyanarayana Temple (Andhra Pradesh). It is also called Lapsi. Considering the regular Rava Kesari, this is a healthier option. So here’s the recipe




Ingredients

1. Goduma Rava/Broken Wheat – 1 cup
2. Powdered Jaggery – 1 ½ cups
3. Water – 3 cups
4. Ghee – 3 tblsps
5. Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp
6. Cashews – few
7. Kismis / raisins– few

Method

Heat a heavy bottom Kadai or Non stick Kadai with about 2 tblsps of ghee. Add the Broken wheat and fry for about 3 to 4 mins. Then add 3 cups of water. Give a good stir and cook covered in low flame till the broken wheat gets cooked and the water is completely absorbed. In the meanwhile, in another vessel add the powdered jaggery and dissolve it in little water. Strain for impurities and keep aside.

Once the broken wheat is cooked add the jaggery syrup and mix well. Keep stirring till the jaggery syrup is absorbed completely. Add few drops of ghee if kesari sticks to the pan. Remove from heat when the kesari leaves the sides of the Kadai.

Heat a small frying pan with a little ghee, fry the cashews till golden brown, then add the raisins and remove quickly. Add these to the kesari. Also add the cardamom powder and mix well.

Tasty Goduma Rava Kesari is ready to eat.





Sending this to Aipi’s Bookmarked Recipes and to Akila’s Dish name starts with G.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Navarathri Pulinkari



Here is a traditional Palakkad recipe after a long time..

This post is dedicated to Goddess Annapoorneswari of Puthucode. Puthocode – my native place is a small village in Palakkad District. The famous Annapoorneswari Temple is situated in the centre of the village. There are four main streets – North, South, East and West. (Vadakke Gramam, Thekke Gramam, Kizhakke Gramam and Padinjare Gramam). It also has a Siva temple at the other end of the Village. The activities of this village revolve around these temples.

Navarathri Temple Festival is celebrated with great fanfare. The festival starts on the Prathamai Thithi after the Mahalaya Amavasya. The following nine days each of the villages are assigned particular days with the responsibility of flower decorations, garlands, lighting of lamps, annadanam for devotees, elephant procession etc. The festival ends on the 10th day i.e Vijayadasami with the aarattu.

A sheeveli consisting of five elephants take the Utsavmurthy around the village accompanied by Panchvadhyam and Chandai in the morning and evening followed by lunch and dinner respectively. The eighth day or the ettam villakku is the day of the North Village. There is a grand show of lights and fireworks in the evening.

Coming to the lunch, menu consists of Navrathri Pulinkari, Olan and Chadachadyam Payasam on all nine days. And that’s how this pulinkari gained popularity. The pulinkari, and olan have to be made in very large quantities and so the cooks there never bother to cut the veggies. They just drop the whole pumpkin and ashgourd from atop and use the broken pieces as it is in the pulinkari.

Pulinkari is a variant of the Sambar, but surely the taste and aroma is very different. It can be had with rice just like Sambar.




Now here is the recipe for the Navarathri Pulinkari

Ingredients

1. Ashgourd –100 gms
2. Pumkin – 100 gms
3. Raw Bananas – 1
4. Yam or Chenai – 100 gms
5. Tamarind – a big lemon size
6. Tuvar Dal – 4 tblsps
7. Grated Coconut – 3 tblsps
8. Green Chillies – 3 – 4 (or according to taste)
9. Powdered Jaggery - 1/2 tbsp
10. Curry leaves a few
11. Turmeric Powder – a pinch
12. Salt to taste

To be roasted and powdered

1. Methi seeds – ½ tsp

For Tempering

2. Coconut oil – 1 tsp
3. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
4. Dried Red Chillies – 1

Method

1. Cook tuvar dal in pressure cooker until soft, mash and keep aside.
2. Soak tamarind in hot water for 10 mins. Squeeze and extract tamarind juice. Pour this in a vessel. Add about 2 cups of water.
3. Remove skin and cut the vegetables into big cubes. (Little bigger than usual Sambar). Add these vegetables to the Tamarind juice.
4. Now add turmeric powder, and salt.
5. Boil this till the vegetables are cooked.
6. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the mashed dal and boil for 2 to 3 mins.
7. Grind coconut and green chillies to a fine paste adding little water.
8. Add this ground paste to the tamarind – veggie – dal mixture. Simmer for 5 mins. Check for salt and also adjust consistency by adding water.
9. Heat a small fry pan with oil, temper with mustard seeds. Pour over pulinkari and garnish with curry leaves.
10. Sprinkle roasted and powdered Methi seeds on top cover and keep for a few mins.




Serve this delicious Pulinkari with rice and olan as an accompaniment.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chettinad Urulai Roast

Chettinad is a small region in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is very famous for its spicy and aromatic cuisine, palatial homes, and beautiful local arts and crafts. Naatukotai Chettiars is a popular community in this region. Chettiars are known for their trading skills. This community is generally known for their wealth and you can see it at their weddings.

I remember a small incident which my husband often tells me. This was during one of his friend’s wedding, he and some others had gone to attend the wedding and since they were the boy’s close friends, they received a royal welcome. And after a while, an aachi from the girl’s side came up to them, took them to this magnificent house filled with things for the bride to be. She even asked them to make a checklist and to let her know even they had missed out any item.( During a daughter’s marriage, she is gifted everything that would be needed to start a family from a box of mustard seeds to vessels, clothes, footwear, almirahs, cots, mattresses, jewelry and the list just continues. You name it and it should be there.) The couple moved to Singapore immediately after marriage and all their belongings remain in their ancestral house till date.
The Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest cuisines. It is famous for its variety of non vegetarian treats. The vegetarians need not despair as they have a mouthwatering array of vegetarian dishes as well. The use of various spices like Marathi Moggu, Annasipoo , fennel seeds, and other spices like bay leaves, peppercorn etc are very common.

That was a very brief introduction on the Chettinad region and cuisine. Now coming to our recipe, I learnt this recipe from a chettiar friend of mine. She taught me a few other recipes too. But this recipe was a great hit at home and we’ve stuck to this recipe for long now. So it’s a really tried, tested and tasted dish. The recipe has been slightly modified to satisfy our taste buds.


Ingredients

1. Baby Potatoes – 250 gms

Dry Roast and Powder

1. Split Urad Dal – 1 to 2 tsps
2. Dried Red Chillies – 2 – 3
3. Whole Black Peppercorns – 5 – 6
4. Salt to taste

For Seasoning

1. Oil – 2 – 3 tsps
2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
3. Hing – 1 pinch
4. Turmeric Powder – 1 Pinch
5. Curry Leaves a few

Method

1. Boil and peel the baby potatoes.
2. Heat a Kadai, dry roast the split Urad dal. Once it starts changing color add the peppercorns and red chillies. Roast until Dal turn nice and brown. Cool, grind and keep aside.
3. In the same Kadai, add oil. Once oil is heated, add the mustard seeds and hing. Next add the turmeric powder and the curry leaves.
4. Next add the boiled and peeled potates. Give it a good stir. Add salt to taste and sauté for a about 5 mins.
5. Finally add the spice powder and mix well.

Spicy Chettinad Urulai Roast is ready to be had with a combination of steaming hot rice and Sambar or with just a simple Rasam. Tastes out of the world!


Note:

1. If baby potatoes are not available, use big ones. Boil and cut them into medium sized chunks.
2. Adjust spice according to your taste.
3. You could also add sliced onions and garlic to this. Saute these before adding the potatoes.

Sending this to Radhika's event CBB Series #2 ~ Chettinad Special

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Carrot Tomato Cooler

The mercury is rising here in Hyderabad. The weather is so dry that it is scary to go out in the day time. I just feel like finishing the day’s cooking before 10 am and be out of the kitchen. Alas! That’s not really very possible when you have 2 little girlies with their unending demands to keep munching or drinking something.
Here is a recipe of a perfect summer cooler, which I saw in television about 3 weeks back. When I whipped up this refreshing drink, it was an instant hit with my daughters. Both of them really loved it.



Ingredients Makes: 2 Glasses

1. Carrots – 3
2. Tomatoes – 5
3. Ginger – 1 small piece
4. Pepper Powder – ¼ tsp
5. Honey – 1 tblsp (or to taste)
6. Juice of Half a Lemon
7. Mint leaves for garnishing

Method

Blend carrots, tomatoes and ginger in a juicer or Mixer. Strain the juice. Then add pepper powder, honey and lemon juice. Give it a nice mix. Pour it into glasses. Garnish with mint leaves. You can add ice cubes or refrigerate and serve chilled.


Sending this refreshing summer cooler to Priya and Aipi’s
bookmarked recipes.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Subz Hara Masala ~ Mixed Vegetables in Green Gravy

We make rotis almost every day at home and having them with the same old red gravy becomes boring sometimes. I wanted to try something different. When I checked my refrigerator for the veggies, I had a few of this and a few of those; Luckily for me there was a bunch of fresh coriander leaves which my MIL had just bought from our regular bhajiwala. So I decided to make this particular gravy which I had noted down in my dairy. It turned out very well and everybody at home liked it very much. So here’s what I did:


Ingredients (Serves 4)

1. Mixed vegetables – 2 cups
2. Onion – 1 big
3. Tomatoes – 2 medium
4. Oil – 2 - 3 tsps
5. Jeera - ½ tsp
6. Saunf – ½ tsp
7. Salt to taste

To be ground into a paste

1. Fresh Coriander Leaves – 1 big bunch
2. Mint Leaves – 4 to 5 leaves
3. Green Chillies – 2 – 3
4. Garlic Cloves – 2
5. Ginger – 1 inch piece
6. Fresh Grated Coconut – 1 tblsp



Method

For the veggies I used carrots, potatoes, French beans, Cauliflower florets, frozen green peas. Cut the carrots, and potatoes into small cubes. String French beans and cut into 1 inch size pieces. Separate cauliflower into medium sized florets. Pressure cook carrots, potatoes and French beans. In a separate vessel, boil cauliflower and frozen peas. Keep these cooked veggies aside.

Grind all the items mention under to be ground to a paste in a mixie adding little water. Keep aside.

Heat a Kadai with oil, add the jeera and saunf. Next add the finely chopped onions and sauté till onions turn golden brown. Then add chopped tomatoes and fry till tomatoes turn soft. Now add the green paste and sauté for about 2 to 3 mins or till the raw smell of garlic and ginger no longer remains. Next add the boiled veggies, salt and about 1 t o1 ½ cups of water. Cover and let it simmer for 5 mins. Adjust water according to gravy consistency. Garnish with some fresh cream. (That is completely optional)
Yummy Subz Hara Masala is ready to had with garam garam rotis..


Sending this to Herbs and Flowers in my Platter hosted by Krithi originally started by PJ of Seduce Your Tastebuds.

Also to C for Colorful Curries.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Awards Time!!!

I am happy to have received these awards from my blogger friend Jay of Tasty Appetite. An award means appreciation and who does not like to be appreciated. This award has boosted my spirits to keep blogging. Thanks a lot Jay to have considered my blog. I would like to share these awards with my fellow blogger friends. The rule says that I can share it only with 15 though I have many many more in my mind. I dedicate this award to all my blogger friends who regularly visit my blog and leave their precious feedback. Many of you might have received these awards but still I would like to mention it here:






1. Sravsculinaryconcepts
2. Reshmi Mahesh
3. Sweetindianhome
4. Divya
5. Valar Siva
6. Kurinji
7. Aruna Manikandan
8. Dr. Shameena
9. Reshmi
10. Vidya Kannan
11. Priya
12. Raji
13. Rajani
14. Kalpana Sareesh
15. Jayashree Sathish
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