Sunday, January 15, 2017

Lemon Oorugai | Lemon Pickle without Oil

Pickles are an integral part of Indian households and so it is at our home. A proper South Indian meal is incomplete without the customary Thayir Sadam (curd rice) and oorugai. My MIL is an expert when it comes to pickling. Not only our family, but anyone who visits our home and tastes her pickles doesn’t go without asking her for its recipe. Among all the pickles she makes, my favorite is Avakkai and Vadu Mangai. I hope to post these recipes this summer.

Now, is the season for lemons. I am not a huge fan of lemon pickle. But the one I am sharing today is an exception. I learnt this from my grandmother. The USP of this pickle is that it does not use oil. The salt and sugar act as preservatives. Please don't panic! It is not a sweet pickle. The sugar just balances the sourness of the lemon. It tastes really good and is perfect with a bowl of curd rice.

What you'll need
  1. Indian Lemon – 15 medium sized
  2. Red Chilly Powder – 1/3 + 1/8 cup
  3. Salt – 1/3 + 1/8 cup
  4. Sugar 1/3 + 1/8 cup
  5. Fenugreek – 1 tbsp
  6. Asafoetida – ½ tsp

  1. Wash and wipe the lemon well. Let it dry well.
  2. Cut 12 of the lemons into quarters or cut each into 8 pieces. I had approximate 2.5 cup of cut lemon pieces.
  3. Squeeze and extract the juice from the remaining 3 lemons.
  4. Transfer the lemon pieces into a wide glass bowl, add the measured quantities of red chilly powder, salt and sugar. Also add the lemon juice. Mix well.
  5. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
  6. Now, heat a small frying pan, dry roast the fenugreek seeds until they start to pop. Transfer to a plate. To the hot pan add the asafoetida powder fry for few seconds.
  7. Grind the roasted fenugreek seeds with the help of a mortar and pestle.
  8. Add the fenugreek powder and asafoetida to the pickle mixture. Stir well.
  9. Cover with a lid and keep aside.
  10. Keep stirring once everyday. Transfer to a clean and sterilized bottle after about 10 days.
  11. Let it sit at least for a month before consuming by when lemon would have become soft and would have absorbed all the spices well.

  1. Select firm yellow, thin skinned lemon. Make sure there are no black spots or soft spots on the lemon.
  2. Always use a clean and dry spoon.
  3. Keep stirring it once everyday, with a clean dry spoon for at least 10 days.
  4. Store in clean sterilized glass bottle. I recommend, washing the bottle with soap water and then rinsing it with hot water. And dry in sunlight before storing the pickle. 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Vendhaya Keerai Paruppu Usili

Here I am, with the next recipe in the New Year.  I love paruppu usili period. I have already posted 2-3 usili recipes using different vegetables like Kothavarangai, Cabbage and Vazhapoo. Among these my favourite was Cabbage. But now I have 2 favorites. Cabbage and this Vendhaya Keerai Usili. 

In our house, I had never seen my mother or MIL prepare usili using keerai. A couple of days back, I tasted this usili, prepared by my friend. It was new to me. And I just loved it. I also came to know that usili using murungai keerai is also quite popular. Last week I tried this and it was a big hit at home. My kids also loved it. The flavour of vendhaya keerai with the spiced steamed lentils is just too good. It tastes best as an accompaniment with Vatha Kuzhambu or with Mor Kuzhambu. If you have not tried this before, then do give it a try. I am sure you will love it.

Serves 3 to 4
What you’ll need
  1. Methi Leaves/Vendhaya Keerai – 1 Big Bunch
  2. Tuar Dal – 1/3 Cup
  3. Kadala Paruppu – 1/3 cup
  4. Dry Red Chilly – 2 or 3
  5. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  6. Salt to taste
  7. To temper
  8. Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp
  9. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  10. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  11. Red Chilly – 1

  1. Wash and soak the dals for atleast 30 mins along with the dried red chillies.
  2. After 30 mins, drain the water completely, and grind into a coarse paste with red chillies, salt, few curry leaves and asafoetida. Do not add water.
  3. Grease an idly plate with few drops of oil, take a lemon sized ball of the ground dal paste and pat it on the idly moulds. Repeat this until all the dal paste is used up.
  4. Steam this in a cooker/steamer for 5 to 8 minutes or until the dal is cooked. To check, insert a knife through the dal discs, the knife should come out clean.
  5. Let this cool very well. Pulse it again in the mixie, the dal should crumble and resemble a coarse powder.
  6. Meanwhile, clean and wash the methi leaves/vendhaya keerai, I used only the leaves and very tender stock. I had about 2 heaped and tightly packed cup of leaves. Chop them roughly.
  7. Heat a Kadai with oil, temper with mustard seeds, once it splutters, add the urad dal and fry till the dal turns golden, add the red chilly and fry till it turns crisp.
  8. Now add the chopped leaves and saute till the leaves get wilted. Add a little salt.
  9. Next add the ground dal and mix everything very well. Keep sautéing for 5 to 6 minutes or until everything mixes well and resembles a crumble.
Delicious Usili ready. 

  1. Drain water completely from the dals before grinding.
  2. Also grind the dals coarsely without adding any water.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Kadala Paruppu Pradhaman

Wishing all readers a very Happy New Year!!
It has been a really long time since I last posted a recipe on the blog. Life has become very busy and blog just took a back seat without me even realizing it. But I hope to be more regular this year. So here is to sweet beginnings. 
A delicious pradhaman - Kadala Paruppu Pradhaman. Jaggery and coconut milk like I always say are a match made it heaven, that with the bite of kadala paruppu/channa dal is just amazing. I took out the camera after a really long time and I have not done any justice to the pradhaman. You'll have to just take my word for it and try it out. And I am sure you will not regret it. Now off to the recipe.

Serves 3 to 4
What you’ll need
  1. Kadala Paruppu/Channa Dal – 1/3rd cup
  2. Javvarisi/ Sago – 1/8th cup
  3. Powdered Jaggery – ¾ cup
  4. Thin Coconut Milk – 1 cup
  5. Thick Coconut Milk – ½ cup
  6. Dry Ginger Powder – ¼ tsp
  7. Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp
  8. Ghee – 1 tbsp
  9. Cashew nuts – few

  1. Dry roast the sago and channa dal till the raw smell disappears.
  2. Soak these in water for 10 minutes.
  3. Pressure cook the channa dal and sago with just enough water for 3 to 4 whistles. Let the water level be just above the dal.
  4. Once, the pressure is released, open the cooker and mash the dal lightly.
  5. Heat a heavy bottomed vessel, add the powdered jaggery, with ¼ cup of water. Once the jaggery dissolves, strain for impurities and pour it back in the vessel.
  6. Add the mashed dal and sago to this jaggery syrup. Let it boil for a couple of minutes. Then add the thin coconut milk and boil for 5 to 6 minutes. Keep stirring once in a while.
  7. Once the payasam thicken slightly, remove from heat.
  8. Now add the thick coconut milk and mix well.
  9. Heat a small frying pan with ghee, add the cashewnuts and fry until golden. Add this to the pradhman.
  10. Also add the ginger powder and cardamom powder. Mix well.

Serve warm.

  1. Channa dal should be cooked till soft, the dal should easily crumble when pressed between fingers, but not mushy.
  2. The pradhaman will thicken once it cools.
  3. You can add boiled and cooled regular milk if the pradhaman is very thick.
  4. Do not add more than the mentioned quantity of sago, it will thicken the pradhaman very much.
  5. Traditionally, roasted coconut slivers are added to the pradhman, since I did not have coconut handy, I used cashewnuts.

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