Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Arisi Upma / Rice Rava Upma


Upma is a popular breakfast item in South India. It is generally made of Rava or Sooji with a combination of vegetables and generous amounts of Ghee. Other variations prepared with Semiya/ Vermicilli, Cracked Wheat, Rice Rava, Rice Flakes/ Aval and now Oats are also very common. Even though it is very popular, and people would gladly have it in hotels, somehow, when made at home, it is not very well accepted.

When I decide to make upma mostly for dinner, (since we generally don’t have breakfast), my husband will invariably ask me “Oh! Upma va!!” Followed by statements like, “You keep watching so many cookery shows, and always keep noting down recipes. Is it only to make this Upma?” In return I would say something and it would go on. In the end, most of the times he will win the battle and I will end up making something else.

But, now with my older one also at home, there’s hardly any time to enter the kitchen. Most of my time goes by in sorting out sibling rivalries. And moreover hubby dear is not in town, so it is upma in all forms and shapes on most nights. It is really simple to make and gets ready in no time. A boon when you’re pressed for time and thankfully my elder one likes any kind of upma.

So while, going through Divya’s space, my partner for this week’s blog hop, I saw different kinds of upma recipes. I decided to make Arisi Upma. I have pretty much followed her recipe but for a few changes and also I used the pressure cooker to cook, as the upma gets ready real quick in the cooker.


Serves: 2

What you’ll need

1. Raw Rice – 1 cup
2. Toor Dal – A fistful
3. Grated Fresh Coconut – ¼ cup (optional)

For Tempering

1. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
2. Split Urad Dal – 1 tsp
3. Channa Dal – 1 tsp
4. Hing/Asafetida – a pinch
5. Dried Red Chillies – 2 broken
6. Curry Leaves –few
7. Oil – 1 tbsp

Method

1. Wash the rice and dal well and spread it on a kitchen towel to dry in shade.
2. Once all the rice has become dry, grind the rice and dal into a coarse powder. (Rava/ Sooji consistency)
3. Heat a Pressure pan/cooker with oil, add mustard seeds, once they pop, add the urad dal, and channa dal, and dry red chillies, fry till they change color. Finally add the hing and curry leaves.
4. Now add about 2 or max 2 and ½ (depending on your rice type) cups of water, and let it boil.
5. Add the grated coconut and salt to taste.
6. Now add the rice and dal powder and stir well.
7. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook on high flame till the steam starts coming out through the vent.
8. Now place the whistle and cook on low flame for about 5 to 8 minutes. Turn off heat.
9. After the pressure is released, open the cooker and give the upma a good stir.

That’s it, healthy, tasty and easy upma is ready. Serve with a chutney or Sambar.


Linking this to Blog Hop Wednesdays.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Koova Kali / Arrowroot Halwa - Thiruvathira Special


Season’s Greetings!

Thiruvathira is a festival celebrated in the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. This festival falls in the Dhanu Month (Dec 15 to Jan15th) on the full moon day and is celebrated as the birthday of Lord Shiva.

Traditionally, in our home, the ladies would wake up very early, have bath and prepare some special offerings called Kali and Kootu. These are then placed on individual plantain leaves, one for one lady with a banana and beetel leaf. These are then offered as neivedyam to Lord Shiva and later on eaten by the ladies. The neivedyam is supposed to be offered before sunrise. And then they go to a nearby Shiva Temple for the Aarudradarshanam. Women folk generally, chew beetal leaf, enjoy themselves on the swings and certain communities perform a special dance known as Thirvathirakali.

Koova Kali or Arrowroot halwa is also one of the offerings prepared especially on this day. I was introduced to this only after marriage and now make it on every Thiruvathira, sometimes even on other days, while craving for something sweet. I enjoy having this more than the Kali or the Kootu. It is really very simple to make and nobody can go wrong with this. So here is the recipe for this:


What you’ll need

1. Arrowroot Powder/Koova Podi – ½ cup
2. Powdered Jaggery – ¾ cup
3. Grated Fresh Coconut – 1 Tbsp (Optional)
4. Cardamom Powder – a pinch
5. Ghee/Clarified Butter – 4 tsp + a little for greasing
6. Cashew Nuts – for Garnish
7. Water – 1 cup + 1/3 cup of dissolving Jaggery

Method

1. Grease a plate and a flat back cup (davara).
2. Dissolve the jaggery in about 1/3 cup of water. Strain for impurities and heat it on medium flame. Add the grated Coconut to the syrup and let it keep boiling on medium flame.
3. In a Kadai, add the arrowroot powder and 1 cup of water, mix it well without forming any lumps.
4. Place the kadai on medium heat and keep stirring, after sometime say about 3 to 4 minutes, mixture will start thickening and will change color from white to transparent.
5. Now add the Jaggery syrup and stir well. You will feel as if lumps have formed, but keep stirring well and smash the lumps with the back of the spatula.
6. Add about 3 tsp of ghee and stir. The mixture will start leaving the sides, and come as a whole mass. Add another spoon of ghee mix and transfer to a greased plate.
7. Level it with the back of a greased cup. Cut into desired shapes once cool. Decorate with cashewnuts.


Note:

No particular paakam (Jaggery syrup consistency) is required to be formed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Green Peas Paratha/ Matar Ka Paratha


Stuffed Parathas have become something very common in my household these days. These are one of the best ways of making your kids have some veggies. Both my daughters like them a lot. My elder one is always asking me, “Mom! So what’s inside today’s paratha?” In order to maintain the surprise element, I keep experimenting with various kinds of fillings.

Now, since winter has set in, markets are getting flooded with loads and loads of Fresh green peas. It's time to put these tiny green pearls to good use and of course to do away with the frozen ones. (At least for the time being!) I add a handful of these into almost all the curries I make. During these months, I end up making these green peas parathas every now and then, where the peas are not merely add ons but the main attraction! These were loved by my 2 year old daughter who was having them for the first time. She liked them so much, that she insisted on having them for dinner as well.:) Now off to the recipe:

For the dough
1. Wheat flour – 2 cups
2. Oil – 1 tbsp
3. Salt to taste
4. Water as required for kneading
For the filling
1. Fresh Green Peas – 1 cup
2. Ginger – 1 inch piece
3. Red Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
4. Ajwain /Omam – ½ tsp
5. Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
6. Roasted Gram Dal Powder/ pottukadali podi – 1 to 2 tsp
7. Salt to taste
8. Oil – 1 tsp


Method

1. In a bowl, add the wheat flour, salt and oil. Rub this well with your finger tips. Add water little by little and knead into a soft and pliable dough. Keep covered until further use.
2. Boil the peas until ¾ done. Strain and keep aside. After it cools down, grind it coarsely.
3. Heat a kadai with oil, add grated ginger and fry well.
4. Now add the ground peas, red chilly powder, ajwain, garam masala and salt to taste. Mix well.
5. Finally, add a tsp or 2 or the roasted gram dal powder. This is added to remove all the excess moisture. Let this cool.
6. For making the parathas, pinch out a lemon sized ball from the dough, roll out into a small disc. Place a spoonful of filling in the middle and bring the edges together to completely cover the filling. The edges should overlap slightly to seal the masala. Gently flatten the filled ball. Dust with flour and roll out to a flat disc of about 5-6 inches.
7. Heat a tava (griddle). Roast the paratha on medium heat till done on both the sides. Grease the paratha with a little oil while cooking.

That’s it hot and delicious parathas are ready. Serve with pickle and any raita of your choice.


Linking this to Priya’s CWS – Peas and to LGSS - Stuffed Parathas hosted by Vardhini started by Vatsala
Also linking it to Nayna's Event Let's Cook for Christmas Red and Green.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Aloo Channa Chaat

This post is dedicated to our friend PJ who is expecting her second baby. As soon as we came to know about it, all of the blogging marathon friends were quite excited. We all wanted to do something special for her and hence the idea of a virtual baby shower was conceived. So here’s wishing PJ a very happy, healthy and safe delivery.

PJ has a wonderful space with lots and lots of recipes. I tried out this yummy Aloo Channa Chaat from her space and it was loved by one and all at home. Though Chaats are my favorite and I can never resist from having them when I pass by my favorite Chaat Joints, I have never ventured into making them at home. Somehow I always thought these, if made at home would never taste like the ones we get outside. But I was proven wrong, this one tasted awesome and with the leftover chutneys I am planning to try out a few more chaat recipes.


Makes 4 servings

What you’ll need

1. Channa – 1 Cup
2. Boiled Potato – 2 to 3
3. Chaat Masala – ¼ tsp
4. Chilli Powder - ¼ tsp
5. Green Chutney *
6. Sweet Chutney*
7. Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
8. Coriander Leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
9. Sev – 1 tbsp
10. Juice of ½ a lemon
11. Salt to taste

For the Green Chutney

1. Coriander Leaves – 1 small bunch
2. Mint Leaves – 1 small bunch
3. Green Chillies – 3 to 4 (adjust according to taste)
4. Ginger – 1 inch piece
5. Juice of ½ Lemon
6. Salt to taste

Method for Green Chutney

1. Wash the coriander and mint leaves. Slit the green chillies. Wash peel and roughly chop ginger.
2. Now grind the above ingredients into a smooth paste adding a little water as and when required. Do not add too much water as the consistency of the chutney is generally thick. Transfer into a container.
3. Now add the lemon juice and salt to taste, mix well.
4. That’s it, green chutney is ready. This stays well for a week to 10 days when refrigerated.


For the Sweet Chutney

1. Dates – 10, pitted
2. Tamarind – a small lemon sized ball
3. Jaggery – as much as the tamarind
4. Chilli powder – ½ tsp
5. Roasted Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
6. Salt a pinch

Method for the Sweet Chutney

1. Pressure cook the dates and tamarind in separate containers.
2. Once cooked, remove and allow to cool. Then grind both the cooked dates and tamarind into a smooth paste.
3. Now heat a kadai, add the dates and tamarind mixture, then add jaggery and bring to boil.
4. Now add the chilli powder, jeera powder and salt and bring to boil again.
5. Remove from heat, when chutney becomes slightly thick and saucy.
6. Sweet chutney is ready. This also stays good for about 10 days when refrigerated.

Now to assemble the Aloo Chaat

1. Soak channa overnight, and pressure cook it for 3 whistles or until soft.
2. Cube the boiled potatoes and set aside.
3. Now, in a bowl, add the chaana, boiled and cubed potatoes, lemon juice, salt, chaat masala powder, chilli powder, sweet chutney and green chutney and mix well.
4. Now add the chopped onions, and garnish with coriander leaves topped with sev.


That’s it yummy and healthy chaat is ready at home.

Note:

1. Adjust the amount of chutneys according to taste.
2. You could also add, papdi, and roasted peanuts for an added crunch.


Check out the others participating in the virtual baby shower

Aarthi http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com
Cool Lassi(e) http://pangravykadaicurry.blogspot.com
Gayathri Kumar http://gayathriscookspot.blogspot.com
Kalyani http://itsnotmadrasi.blogspot.com
Kaveri http://palakkadcooking.blogspot.com
Mireille Roc http://gourmetglobal.blogspot.com
Pavani http://cooks-hideout.blogspot.com
Pradnya http://pumpkinfarmfood.blogspot.com
Priya Srinivasan http://enveetukitchen.blogspot.com
Priya Suresh http://priyaeasyntastyrecipes.blogspot.com
Srivalli http://spicingyourlife.blogspot.com
Suma http://veggieplatter.blogspot.com
Sushma http://sushmapinjala.blogspot.com
Vardhini http://vardhiniskitchen.blogspot.com
Veena http://veenasvegnation.blogspot.com
Vaishali http://ribbonstopastas.blogspot.com

Monday, December 19, 2011

Herbs and Flower - Spring Onions : Roundup

Here comes the roundup of the event Herbs and Flowers – Spring Onions. I thank PJ for letting me host this wonderful event and I also thank everyone for participating in this event and making my maiden event a success. I was amazed at the different ways in which the spring onions were put to use. I received a total of 23 entries varying from soups, starters to chutneys. Let’s get to the roundup. The entries are listed in the order in which I received them.

Nayna of Simply Food sends us Chinese Hot and Sour Soup


Priya Mahadevan of Now Serving sends us Spring Onion Subzi


Akeela of Torwviewtornto sends us Eggplant Casserole


Vidhya of Sugar N Spice sends us these yummy Scallion n Garlic Pancakes


Chandrani of Cuisine Delights sends us Soya Manchurian with Spring Onions


and Spring Onion Paratha



Malathi Savitha of My India Recipes sends us Spring Onion Upma


and Tomato Spring Onion Sabzi


Pranthi of Delicious Recipes 4m Pranathi's Kitchen sends us Tofu with Spring Onion Stir Fry


Julie of Erivum Puliyum sends us this yummy Spring Onion Dal


Pradnya of The Pumpkin Farm sends us these yummy Vegetable Hakka Fried Rice


and Malaysian Fried Noodles


Amy of Food Corner sends us three entries. Yummy SriLankan Vegetable Rotis


Creamy Spring Onion Soup


and Sri Lankan Style Spring Onion Fry


Uma of My Kitchen Experiments sends us this wonderful Spring Onion Soup


Swetha of Our Cherished World sends us Spring Onion Tofu Curry


Sangee of Spicy Treats sends us this yummy Spring Onion Carrot Paratha


and an interesting and innovative Spring Onion Chutney


Ganga Sreekanth of My Favorite Foods sends us Chilly Gobi


Anusha of Tomato Blues sends us Spring Onion Dal


Pushpa of Taste as You Cook sends us Spring Onion Fry


Christy Gerald of My Kitchen Flavors - BonAppetit! sends us this simple yet tasty Capsicum Spring Onion Masala


And finally from my kitchen Palakkad Chamayal comes Gobi Manchurian


Hope you enjoyed the roundup! I once again thank all my friends who have made this event a success.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Lemon Rice


Lemon rice, Coconut rice, tomato rice are few of the rice varieties which find their way into my daughter’s lunch box almost on weekly basis. Whenever, I make it for her lunch, I make sure to prepare a little extra so that the others at home can also have a little of it with their lunch, since these items are an eternal favorite in our home.

Even though these recipes are always a hit at home, I never even thought of publishing them in my blog, as I thought these to be too simple. Then one day, a friend of my mine was saying that her lil one does not seem to enjoy plain rice with dal and she wanted to try something different for her. And she casually asked me how to make lemon rice. That’s when I realized that, though this is a simple recipe, it’s not necessary that everybody has to know it. So I decided I should soon post a few of these simple day to day recipes which would also definitely come in handy for bachelors.

So, for this week’s blog hop I was paired with Pinky and my immediate choice was this simple rice. You can find the original recipe here.

Lemon rice is a tangy rice variety that can prepared in a jiffy if you have cooked rice at hand. It’s great for travel. Thinking of lemon rice brings back memories of the train journeys from Jabalpur, the place we lived to Chennai (where my grandparents lived). My mother would definitely pack Lemon rice with some vadams, in one big box (Sambadam) and Curd rice in another one. I and my brother used to have so much fun during that 28 hour journey. Can’t imagine doing the same now, though!


Anyways, here is the recipe:

What you’ll need

1. Raw Rice – 1 cup
2. Lemon – 1
3. Salt to taste

For Tempering

1. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
2. Split Urad Dal – 1 tsp
3. Bengal Gram Dal – 1 tsp
4. Groundnuts – a fistful
5. Green Chillies – 1, finely chopped
6. Asafetida – a pinch
7. Turmeric Powder – a pinch
8. Curry Leaves – 2 sprigs
9. Oil – 3- 4 tsp

Method

1. Wash the rice well and drain it. Cook the rice with 2 cups of water. The rice should be well cooked but not mushy. So adjust water accordingly.
2. Once the rice is cooked, transfer it into a big wide plate and fluff up the rice so as to separate the grains. Allow to cool completely.
3. In a small frying pan, heat oil, add the mustard seeds, once they splutter, add the groundnuts next add the Bengal gram dal and urad dal, fry on medium heat till the dals change color, next add in the chopped green chillies.
4. Lower the heat and add the turmeric powder and asafetida. Finally add the torn curry leaves and remove from heat.
5. Pour this over the cooked rice, add salt to taste and mix well with a spatula.
6. Finally add the juice of 1 lemon and mix well.


That’s it yummy lemon rice is ready, serve with some applams or chips.

Linking this to Blog Hop Wednesdays started by Radhika.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Matar Paneer




I and my daughter simply love paneer. This might be the nth time I am saying this, but that is the fact. So any dish where paneer is one of the ingredient gets an immediate nod from my lil one.  Off late, my daughter has started accompanying me to the super market. As soon as we enter the store, she is on her own, with a small basket in her hand. By the time I finish my shopping, she would’ve finished hers too and a couple of sure shot things that would be in her basket are chocolates and paneer! There would be many other things, which of course I have to diplomatically discard. Such is my daughter’s love for Paneer. Let’s get to today’s recipe, an all time classic and a favorite of many: - Matar Paneer.

What you’ll need

1.       Fresh/Frozen Green Peas – 1 Cup
2.       Cottage Cheese/Paneer – 150 gms
3.       Onion – 2 Medium
4.       Tomatoes – 3 Medium
5.       Garlic – 2 to 3 cloves
6.       Ginger – a small piece
7.       Cashew Nuts – 4 or 5
8.       Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
9.       Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
10.   Chilli Powder – 1 tsp (Adjust according to taste)
11.   Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
12.   Cumin Seeds / Jeera – ½ tsp
13.   Milk – ½ cup
14.   Kasoori Methi – 1 tsp
15.   Fresh Coriander Leaves – for garnishing
16.   Oil – 2 tbsp



Method

1.       Peel and roughly chop onions. Grind onions, ginger, garlic and cashew nuts into a smooth paste.
2.       Also grind the tomatoes into a smooth paste.
3.       Cut the paneer into cubes and soak them in salted lukewarm water until the time of use.
4.       Cook the green peas in water and keep aside.
5.       Heat a Kadai with oil, add cumin seeds.
6.       Once the cumin seeds change color, add the ground paste of onions, ginger, garlic and cashewnuts. Saute for a few minutes or till the raw smell of the onions disappears, say about 6 to 8 minutes on medium heat.
7.       Now add in the spice powders – turmeric powder, coriander powder and chilli powder. Saute for about 2 minutes.
8.       Next add in the tomato paste and fry till all the moisture disappears and the oil starts separating.
9.       Now add in the paneer, green peas about 1 cup of water and salt to taste. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes. Adjust the amount of water depending on the consistency.
10.   Next sprinkle the garam masala, Kasoori Methi and add the milk. Stir well and simmer for another 2 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.
Yummy Matar Paneer is ready. Serve hot with rotis or parathas.

Linking this to the Winter Carnival at Tickling Palates, CWS– Green Peas hosted by Priya and Kalyani’s HLI – Green Peas hosted by Veena.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nei Appam





Hello Friends!
Last year on this day, I sat down and gingerly wrote my first post!  And today after a year I am writing my 120th post. The journey thus far has been wonderful with lots of new friends, searching for new recipes, experimenting with them, capturing them and so on. I am overwhelmed with the support my readers have extended towards me and my blog. So at this juncture I would like to thank all my readers and fellow bloggers who have visited my space regularly leaving their valuable feedback.

Any milestone achieved calls for a celebration right! So today, I am sharing the recipe of the very famous Neiappams. Neiappams are a part of the Palakkad Iyer Cusine, be it a festival, marriage, or religious function. What the Palakkad Iyer’s call Neiappam is known as Unniappam in Kerala.

 The only difference I know of between Neiappam and Unniappams are that the latter are made by pouring small ladle full of batter into a special pan, called the appa karal whereas the former is made by pouring a ladle of batter directly into oil/ghee. The end result being that Neiappams are slightly bigger and flatter at the underside whereas unniappams are much smaller.

Karthigai is approaching and Neiappams are a part of the offerings made on this day. So celebrate this Karthigai with these yummy appams.



What you’ll need

1.       Raw Rice – 1 cup
2.       Powdered Jaggery – 1 cup
3.       Banana – 1 small. ripe
4.       Coconut – ¼ cup, cut into small pieces (optional)
5.       Green Cardamom/Elaichi – 4 to 5
6.       Oil/ghee for frying

Method

Wash and soak the rice in water for 2 hours. Strain the water completely. Spread the rice on a white cloth and leave it in shade for 10 to 15 minutes.
 Grind the rice without adding any water into a very fine powder. Now slowly add the powdered jaggery and keep grinding adding very little water. Also add the chopped banana and grind to a smooth paste. Transfer into a bowl.
Add the cardamom, and coconut pieces. Mix well. The batter should be of pouring consistency, not too tight or too runny. Add water if necessary.
Heat a paniyaaram pan, fill ½ of each groove with a mixture of oil and ghee. Let the oil get heated.
Now pour small ladleful of batter into each of the grooves, flip over after a minute. Let this cook on medium heat till a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Insert the skewer into each of the appams and transfer them onto a paper towel.



Yummy nei appams are ready.

Note:
You can dissolve the jaggery in about 1/4 cup of water and add it to the powdered rice and grind to a very smooth paste.
The consistency of the batter is very important to get soft appams. The batter should be of dosai batter consistency. Adjust consistency by adding water. If it is very tight, the appams will be very hard.


Linking this to Kavi's event Jingle All the Way.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Mixed Vegetable Soup




Soups are something which I have been saying, are not exactly my cup of tea. But now that winter is here, my daughter who is a soup lover is always asking me to prepare a warm bowl of soup for her. So I end up with a bowl for myself too. I have kind of started enjoying it as well. I always prefer to make the soup from scratch rather than using the ready to use powders. The fresh veggies always make a big difference not only from the nutritional point but also taste wise. Soups are a healthy and nutritious way to satiate your hunger pangs. A big bowl of vegetable soup is a fulfilling meal in itself. So here is the recipe for a yummy, warm and comforting bowl of goodness.

What you’ll need

1.       Carrot – 1, finely chopped
2.       Beans – 4 – 5, finely chopped
3.       Fresh or frozen green peas – a handful
4.       Sweet Corn Nibbles – a handful
5.       Capsicum – 1/2, finely chopped
6.       Cornflour – 1 tbsp
7.       Milk – ½ cup
8.       Butter/oil – 1 tsp
9.       Pepper Powder – as required
10.   Salt – to taste




Method

1.       In a vessel add all the chopped veggies except capsicum and cook them in enough water until done.
2.       Dissolve cornflour in ¼ cup of water and keep aside.
3.       Heat a pan with the butter/oil, add the chopped capsicum and sauté for few minutes on medium flame.
4.       Now add in the veggies and the stock, add the seasonings and allow to simmer.
5.       Next add in the cornflour and stir well. Allow to simmer till the soup thicken slightly.
6.       Finally add in the milk, stir well and remove from heat.
Serve it hot.



Linking it to the Winter Carnival hosted by Radhika and CWS - Green Peas hosted by Priya.
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