Sunday, July 29, 2012

Podi Podicha Pulinkari

The Palakkad cuisine is loaded with coconut and lentils. You will hardly find any recipes without the use of these two ingredients. One such rarity is this Pulinkari. It is a tamarind based gravy with veggies like Pumpkin or ladies finger and is spiced and thickened using a special roasted rice powder. It looks very much like Sambar, but has a very distinct aroma and taste. Since the pulinkari is devoid of coconut and lentils, it is best served with usili or thoran and white rice. It can also be served as an accompaniment to idly and dosa as well.

What you’ll need
  1. Pumpkin – 1.5 cup, peeled and cubed into pieces
  2. Green Chilly – 1 slit
  3. Tamarind – 1 lemon sized ball
  4. Powdered Jaggery – 1 tsp
  5. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Oil – 1 tsp

To roast and powder
  1. Raw Rice – 2 tbsp
  2. Methi Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Dried Red Chilly – 2 or 3
  4. Asafoetida – a generous pinch

To temper
  1. Coconut oil – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Curry Leaves – few sprigs

  1. Soak the tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes. Squeeze and extract the tamarind juice. Keep aside. Should be about 1 cup.
  2. Wash the rice and drain it.
  3. Heat a kadai, and dry roast the rice, as it starts changing color add the methi seeds and red chilly and roast till the rice has turned golden brown. Cool and powder. Keep aside.
  4. Heat oil in a Kadai, add the pumpkin and green chilly and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  5. Next add the tamarind extract to the pumpkin pieces, with about 1 cup of water.
  6. Add turmeric powder, salt and asafoetida. Mix well and let this come to a boil.
  7. Cover and cook on medium flame till the pumpkin pieces are cooked.
  8. Add jaggery and let it boil uncovered for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  9. Now mix the roasted powder in 1 cup of water and add it to the above gravy.
  10. Simmer for another 3 to 4 minutes. Garnish with curry leaves.
  11. Heat a small frying pan with oil. Add the mustard seeds and pour this over the pulinkari.

Serve with a thoran or usili of your choice.

We had with Kothavarangai Usili and rice.

Note: Pulinkari is thinner than the Sambar. Also it thicken a little on cooling, due to the addition of rice, if you feel it is too thick you can add a little warm water and mix.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Canape is a decorative finger food, usually eaten in one bite. A canapé generally consists of a base of either crackers, bread, toast or puff pastry, followed by the application of some cream or butter paste topped with a canope of chopped vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, relish etc.  That’s a small definition of what a canapé is. To know more about it visit this link.

I was introduced to this delicious finger food by my cousin. She had invited us for dinner and served these as appetizers. They were an instant hit with my kids and even with older people (MIL, FIL), and no doubt I wanted to make them at home. When enquired about the canapé cups, she said one of our aunts who lives in Ahemadabad had given it to her. I looked for the canapé cups in quite a few big departmental stores in Hyderabad but was unable to find it. Finally, when my mom visited my aunt in Ahemadabad, she bought 4 to 5 packets of it and I have been making them quite frequently. I couldn’t click pictures of it, since most of the times my kids would be too eager to grab them, and I really didn’t want to dampen their spirit. After all I was making it for them. But yesterday I had to click them, as the stock of these baskets was getting over and I definitely wanted to post these cute looking things. Now I have to start looking for these cups here in Chennai.

But guys, don’t fret if you don’t have the cups, you could either bake them or you could serve them in a different base, like on a toasted bread slice or on crackers.

What you’ll need
  1. Canape Cup/baskets – 15 to 20
  2. Processed Cheese Cube – 1 or 2

For the filling
  1. Sweet Corn – ½ cup
  2. Cabbage – ½ cup, shredded
  3. Carrot – ½ cup, finely chopped
  4. Capsicum – ¼ cup, finely chopped
  5. Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  6. Garlic – 1 or 2 cloves, crushed
  7. Butter – 2 tsp
  8. Black Pepper – ½ tsp
  9. Processed Cheese – 1 Cube
  10. Coriander Leaves - few sprigs

  1. Heat a non stick pan or Kadai with butter, add the finely chopped garlic and onions. Saute for a minute or till the onions turn translucent.
  2. Now add the capsicum and sauté for another minute.
  3. Add the cabbage, carrots and sweet corn, mix well.
  4. Add salt to taste, cover and cook till the vegetables are done.
  5. Add pepper powder and mix well.
  6. Finally add half a cube of grated cheese and mix. Let this mixture cool.
  7. While serving,
  8. Spoon in the prepared vegetable mixture into individual canapé cups, top with some grated cheese. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  9. Microwave the cups with the filling for 30 secs and serve immediately. This step is optional, you can serve without microwaving too. 

Linking this to Celebrate - Olympic Games hosted by Priya.
Also linking to Joy from Fasting to Feasting - V
And to Ramadan Friendly Recipes

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sakkarai Pongal/ Chakkara Pongal

I am always terrified of preparing the traditional neivedyams. I've been married for 10 years now, and even to this day, I am not very comfortable in dishing out the neivedyams or festival recipes. Until very recently, all  such dishes would be prepared by my MIL only and I would be a silent spectator, watching her deftly put together the required offerings with ease. It was only after I started blogging, that I decided to try out these recipes myself and slowly with my mother's and MIL's help I have learnt to prepare most of them. 

The month of Aadi is here. Aadi is the fourth month in the Tamil calendar. This month is dedicated to the worship of Goddess Parvathi or Devi. Most Devi temples throng with devotees. During this month long period, the Tuesdays and Fridays are considered to be very auspicious. Apart from these, Aadi Amavasya, Aadi Pooram and Aadi 18 perukku are important days too. The ladies of the house, generally recite the Lalitha Sahasthranama, and prepare a nevedyam of a sweet, usually Chakkara Pongal and Vadai. Aadi also marks the beginning of the festival season.Today is aadi pooram and we prepared this pongal as nevedyam for the goddess.

What you’ll need
  1. Raw rice – 1/2 cup
  2. Split Yellow Moong Dal – 2 tbsp
  3. Jaggery – 1 Cup
  4. Ghee/Clarified Butter – 2 tbsp
  5. Green Cardamom – 3
  6. Cashew and Raisins – few

  1. Lightly roast the spilt yellow moong dal till a nice aroma starts coming.
  2. Pressure cook the rice and moong dal together with 4 cups of water.
  3. Heat a heavy bottom vessel, add the jaggery and about ¼ cup of water.
  4. Let the jaggery dissolve completely, then, strain for impurities.
  5. Pour it back into the heavy bottom vessel and let it boil, for for 5 to 6 minutes on medium flame.
  6. Keep stirring once in while to avoid burning. Once the syrup starts thickening slightly add the cooked rice and moong da. Mix well.
  7. Now add the ghee and stir till everything comes together as a semi solid mass.
  8. Remove from heat. Add powdered cardamom powder and mix well.
  9. Roast cashews and raisins in a little ghee and add it to the pongal. Mix and serve hot.

You could add milk while cooking the pongal for a richer taste. Substitute half the amount of water with milk.

Remove from heat while still semi solid, as the pongal solidifies with time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Aloo Methi Paneer Parathas

Methi is one of my favorite greens. I love its flavor and aroma. The addition of a spoonful of dried methi leaves (kasoori methi) takes a dish to a completely new level, be it roits, sabjis or dals. Whenever possible I try to grow methi in small kitchen pots. By far, methi greens are one of the plants that grown really very easily. They really don’t require much tending. Just a little sunlight and water and your home grown methi leaves would be ready to use within 10 days of sowing the seeds.

Today’s recipe is a simple but healthy dish. It is perfect for your kid’s lunch box, or for a filling breakfast. Or you could have it for dinner as well.

What you’ll need
  1. Potatoes – 1 Medium, boiled and mashed
  2. Methi Leaves – 1 Cup, tightly packed
  3. Paneer – ½ cup, grated
  4. Green chilies – 1, finely chopped
  5. Amchur Powder – ½ tsp
  6. Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Oil – 2 tsp
  9. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp

For the dough
  1. Wheat Flour – 1 cup + a little extra for dusting
  2. Oil – 1 tbsp
  3. Salt to taste
  4. Water for kneading

  1. Take wheat flour in a wide vessel, add salt to taste. Mix well.
  2. Add the oil and rub well. Now add water little by little and knead into soft and pliable dough.
  3. The dough shouldn’t be too hard neither sticky, else the parathas won’t come out properly.
  4. Cover and keep aside for 20 minutes.
  5. For the filling
  6. Heat a kadai with about 2 tsp of oil. Add cumin seeds.
  7. Now add the green chillies and sauté for 30 secs.
  8. Not add the washed and cleaned methi leaves and fry till the leaves have wilted and the moisture has evaporated.
  9. Now add the mashed potatoes and grated paneer. Mix everything very well without any lumps.
  10. Add salt, garam masala powder and amchur powder. Mix again.
  11. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  12. 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. 
  13. 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.

Delicious hot parathas are ready to eat. Serve with pickle and fresh yogurt.

Linking this to EP Series - Fenugreek and Green Chillies happening here.

Also linking to Let's Cook - Bread

Also to Spotlight - Rice/Roti/Pulao/Puri

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kothavarangai Paruppu Usili

Kothavarangai, gawar phalli or cluster beans is a vegetable which I was introduced to only after my marriage. Till then, though I used to see them in the markets, I had never tasted it. People visiting Kaashi, for the first time, to perform the ancestral rites, have to abstain from eating one leaf, one fruit and one vegetable for the rest of their lives. This is called as Phalapatra Tyagam. The leaf is common to all, i.e. the banyan leaf. The fruit has to be something other than the mango, banana and jackfruit and any vegetable. It happens that both my grandparents and parents, decided to abstain from cluster beans and hence the vegetable never entered our house. (I’m not sure which fruit was abandoned)  It was only after my marriage that I had it for the first time and it is my husband’s favourite. At first I did not quite like its taste as it has a slight bitterness to it. But when made in this usili form mixed with lentils, it does taste good.

Paruppu Usili is a dry vegetable and lentil based preparation, served as an accompaniment to plain rice and Sambar or Rasam. The vegetables commonly used with the lentils are Beans, Broad Beans, Banana Blossom, Cabbage and Cluster Beans. There are numerous ways of preparing this dish. Some people prepare using only tuar dal some with only channa dal. Some like a mix of both.

Serves - 3 to 4
What you’ll need
  1. Kothavarangai/Cluster Beans – 200 gms
  2. Tuar Dal – 2 tbsp
  3. Channa Dal – 2 tbsp
  4. Dried Red Chilli – 2 (adjust according to taste)
  5. Asafoetida – 2 pinches
  6. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  7. Salt to taste

For Tempering
  1. Oil – 1 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  4. Curry Leaves – few sprigs

  1. Wash and soak the dals along with the red chilli, for 20 minutes to half an hour.
  2. Drain the water completely from the dals and grind coarsely with chilli, asafoetida and salt. Do not add any water while grinding.
  3. Grease an idli stand, take a little of the ground dal and pat it on one of the idli grooves. Repeat till the ground dal is over.
  4. Steam this in a cooker for 6 to 7 minutes, or till a knife inserted comes out clean.
  5. Cool, remove from the mould and pulse in a mixer till the dal resembles a coarse powder.
  6. Wash the cluster beans, string them and chop finely.
  7. Pressure cook the chopped beans for 3 whistles. Remove from the cooker after the steam releases.
  8. Heat a Kadai with oil. Season with mustard seeds, once they start popping add the urad dal. Once the dal turns golden brown, add the cooked beans.
  9. Add turmeric powder and salt to taste. Stir and fry for 3 to 4 minutes or till all the water is evaporated.
  10. Now add the steamed powdered dal and mix very well. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes and remove from heat.

Healthy and delicious usili is ready. Serve as an accompaniment with rice and Sambar or Rasam.

Make sure the vegetable is completely dry before adding the powdered dal mixture else the curry would become very mushy.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Watermelon Lemonade

Since my daughter’s school has reopened, I have made it a point to pack some different and healthy lunch for her. While I am busy preparing her lunch, it almost invariably slips my mind that I need to pack her a snack box too. Like every mother, I feel she should eat healthy and nutritious food and end up packing some fruit or the other. I bought a huge watermelon a couple of days back with the intention of cutting it and packing it for the snack box. But, after taking, apples, mangoes and watermelons on alternate days for almost a week, my daughter just wouldn’t have any more fruits for snacks. She wanted to have something else, read junk. I had to give in, after all she is a kid and having it once in a while is ok. So yesterday she took some biscuits and chips with a few dates and dry fruits. And I was left with a big chunk of watermelon.

While browsing through Nalini’s space, who happens to be my partner for this month’s blog hop, I found this refreshing drink. I zeroed in on it, since I had to finish up the watermelon. Nalini’s space has lots of mouthwatering recipes with beautiful pictures. I love her presentation. Even though my daughter rebelled for not eating the fruit as is, she was very happy to have this bright drink in the evening when she came back from school.

What you’ll need
  1. Watermelon pieces – 3 cups, deseeded and cubed
  2. Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp
  3. Sugar – ¼ cup
  4. Water – ¼ cup
  5. Ice cubes – as required

  1. Heat the sugar with ¼ cup of water on medium flame, till the sugar is completely dissolved.
  2. Blend the watermelon pieces.
  3. Add the lemon juice and sugar syrup mix well. Strain the juice.
  4. Pour into glasses, add ice cubes, and serve immediately.


Adjust sugar according to your taste. the amount mentioned was perfect for us.
Also increase or decrease the amount of lemon juice according to your taste.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Broken Wheat Rava Pongal

We’re into the 7th edition of Magic Mingle. This is one event which I look forward to every month. The secret ingredients which Kalyani announces at her space on the 5th of every month always pose an interesting challenge. The 2 magic ingredients for this month are Split Yellow Moong Dal and Black Pepper. The first thing that would come to most people’s minds would be Ven Pongal. For me, Yellow Moong is synonymous with Molagooshyam. But I have posted both the recipes so decided to try a variation of the regular Pongal.

Broken wheat rava upma makes a regular appearance in my kitchen since a long time, but a pongal made out of the same is the latest addition to my menu of regulars. It’s definitely a healthy and tasty alternate to the traditional ven pongal which is prepared out of rice. Traditionally, pongal is made for breakfast, but we like to have it for dinner. You could also serve it to kids, when they come back from school. Best served with coconut chutney, sambar or gothsu.

What you'll need

  1. Broken Wheat Rava – ¾ cup
  2. Split Moon Dal – ¼ Cup
  3. Ginger – 1 inch piece
  4. Water – 2 cups
  5. Whole Black Pepper – 6 to 8
  6. Cumin Seeds - 2 tsp
  7. Cashew – 6 to 8
  8. Curry Leaves – few sprigs
  9. Asafoetia – 1 pinch
  10. Ghee – 2 tbsp
  11. Salt to taste

  1. Dry roast the broken wheat rava for 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Also dry roast the split moong dal till nice aroma comes.
  3. Wash and rinse the wheat rava and dal in 2 exchanges of water.
  4. Add it to a vessel, add the grated ginger and 2 cups of water.
  5. Pressure cook this for 3 to 4 whistles.
  6. Crush the pepper a little with a mortar and pestle.
  7. After the cooker cools down and pressure is released, remove the cooked wheat rava and dal mixture.
  8. Heat a kadai with ghee, add the cashews and fry till they turn golden.
  9. Next add the cumin, pepper and asafetida fry for 30 secs.
  10. Now add the curry leaves.
  11. Finally add the wheat rava and dal mixture. Add salt to taste and mix well.

Healthy and tasty pongal is ready. Serve with coconut chutney or sambar.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vegetable Shikampuri Kebab

I recently bought a couple of cook books by Nita Mehta. The pictures in the book captivated my heart and mind. I tried out a few recipes from it; one of them is the Bhindi Do Pyaaza. For this month, we the Gourmet Seven decided to prepare some Gourmet Kebabs. The source was not limited to anything in particular. So I chose to prepare these delicious kebabs, which had caught my attention the moment I had purchased the Nita Mehta Book – 101 Vegetarian Recipes.

I made very few minor changes to the recipe to suit what was available in my pantry. The result was some really delicious kebabs. The mint leaves, fennel and the flavouring powder made these kebabs very flavourful. We had it with tomato ketchup. My daughter who came back from school and got to taste these hot kebabs was all gaga over it. My pictures don’t do any justice to the way they tasted. I was in a hurry to finish clicking since both my daughters were ready to pounce on the kebabs :)

Makes about 12 Kebabs
What you’ll need
  1. Carrots – 1 cup, finely chopped, boiled
  2. Beans – ½ cup, finely chopped, boiled
  3. Potatoes – 4 Medium, boiled and mashed very well
  4. Green Chillies – 1, finely chopped
  5. Ginger – 1 tsp, grated
  6. Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
  7. Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  8. Fresh Coriander – 1 tbsp, chopped
  9. Mint – 1 tbsp, chopped
  10. Fennel Seeds – 1 tsp
  11. Fresh Bread Slices – 4, grind in a mixer to get fresh bread crumbs
  12. Salt to taste
  13. Oil – 4 tsp

Flavoring Powder (Crush together)
  1. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  2. Green Cardamom – 2 to 3
  3. Pepper Corns – 2 – 3

  1. Paneer – ¼ cup, grated
  2. Yougurt – ¼ cup, hang in a muslin cloth for 20 mins
  3. Onion – 1 chopped
  4. Khoya – ¼ cup, mashed
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Oil for frying the Kebabs – 2 to 3 tbsp
  7. Chaat masala – little to sprinkle on top (optional)

  1. Heat oil in a Kadai, add fennel seeds fry for a minute then add ginger and green chillies. Fry for a minute.
  2. Add the boiled carrots, and beans. Stir fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add turmeric powder and chilli powder. Fry for another minute.
  4. Now add the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  5. Add salt to taste, chopped coriander and mint leaves. Add the flavouring powder. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes or till the mixture is well blended. Remove from heat and cool.
  6. Add enough bread crumbs to make firm round balls. Check for seasoning.
  7. For the filling, brown the chopped onions in about 2 tsp of oil on low heat. Le
  8. Flatten the potato and veggie mixture, place some paneer khoya mixture and shape into kebabs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Shallow fry in 2 to 3 tbsp of oil till crisp and brown .
  9. Sprinkle some Chaat masala and serve hot.

Check out what the other gourmets are upto: Anamika, Anusha, Radhika, Sangeetha, Vardhini, Veena

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Kadala Curry

Kadala curry is a popular Kerala dish, the main ingredient of this dish being Kadala or Chickpeas. Puttu and Kadala is one of the very popular breakfast options in most Kerala households. This chickpea gravy is also served as an accompaniment with Appams, and Idiyappams. Chickpea simmered in gravy of fried and ground coconut with fennel and other Indian spices makes this gravy super delicious. Traditionally these are prepared using the brown chickpeas. Most people do not make use of tomatoes, but I like a wee bit of tang in my gravy and so I usually add a couple of them.

Though we belong to Kerala, but Kadala curry was never prepared in my house. The first time I tasted it was in my college hostel. (Not a very good place to taste something for the first time right!). But the Kadala curry was one of the best items in the hostel menu. And I took an instant liking towards it. Once I came back home during the vacations, I told her about this dish. She immediately asked one of her Malayali friends for the recipe. And we’ve been following her recipe till now. Though we don’t make puttu very often at home, Kadala curry is very common. We at home enjoy it even with rotis and parathas.

Serves – 4
What you'll need
  1. Brown Channa – 1 cup, soaked overnight
  2. Potato – 1 (optional)
  3. Onions – 3 Medium                               
  4. Tomatoes – 2 Medium
  5. Ginger – 1 inch piece
  6. Fresh Grated Coconut – ½ to ¾ cup
  7. Fennel Seeds – 1 tsp
  8. Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
  9. Chilly Powder – 1 tsp
  10. Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp
  11. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  12. Salt to taste
  13. Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp
  14. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  15. Curry Leaves – few sprigs

  1. Pressure cook the chickpeas with the potatoes for 3 to 4 whistles or till the chickpeas are soft.
  2. Heat a kadai with a tsp of oil. Add the grated coconut and fry till the coconut starts changing color on medium heat. Now add the fennel seeds and fry for another minute.
  3. Next add the coriander powder, chilly powder and garam masala and fry for another minute. Transfer this into a plate and let it cool completely. Then grind into a smooth paste using some water.
  4. Heat the same Kadai with the remaining oil. Add mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  5. Now add the chopped onions and fry. After a couple of minutes add the grated ginger and fry till the onions turn brown.
  6. Now add the chopped tomatoes and turmeric powder. Fry till the tomatoes turn soft and mushy and you start seeing some oil on the sides of the Kadai.
  7. Next pour in the ground paste and fry for a minute.
  8. Next add the cooked chickpeas and cubed potatoes.
  9. Add salt to taste. Add more water if required depending on the consistency you require.
  10. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove from heat.

Garnish with curry leaves and serve as an accompaniment with puttu, appam , idiyappam or even with rotis.

 Linking this to Show Me Your HITS - Legumes and Pulses hosted by Nalini.

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