May 30, 2008

Mango Jal Jeera

Mangoes, the king of fruits makes the summer bearable. The golden color of the ripen skin makes my mouth watery. I love remember eating raw mangoes with a salt and chilli powder sprinkled over them. How yummy….I can’t think of a better way to eat mangoes. Who could forget the kili mooku magoes sold in the beaches? Sundal and these mangoes still rule the beaches. 

I came across this drink in an informal get together hosted my by friend Hema during last summer season. She served it as an appetizer and later came to know that it helps in digestion when I rang her up for the recipe. I was sold to the taste. It was absolutely refreshing and a good thirst quencher. Try this in an empty stomach when u go on a liquid diet as it is a good cleanser.
Mango Jal Jeera
serves : 4
What u need:
Raw mango – ½ cup
Coriander leaves – ½ cup
Mint leaves (Pudhina) – ½ cup
Green chillies, chopped – 1-2
Cumin powder, roasted – ½ tsp
Black salt – ½ tsp (optional)
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste.
Crushed ice

What to do:

Peel and roughly hop the mangoes. Clean the coriander and mint leaves and chop them roughly. In a blender using little water grind all the ingredients to a fine smooth paste. Transfer this mixture to a big vessel and add four glasses of water to this mixture and keep it aside for at least 30 minutes. Pour this over crushed ice and serve immediately in tall glasses.

Though the black salt is optional I can promise u that this adds a great taste to the jal jeera itself. What better way to celebrate May without paying tribute to the king of fruits, Mango?

This recipe is finding its way to arundati’s May Mango Madness. WYF hosted by easy crafts  and to  Mythreyee's Sweet Series.
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May 29, 2008

Sirukeerai Poriyal / Amaranthus Stir Fry

Any greens is good for health and I  am sure you will all agree with me. Here is a simple recipe that goes very well with sambar rice.

Sirukeerai Poriyal / Amaranthus Stir Fry

 You’ll need:

Siru Keerai / Amaranthus  - 1 bunch
Chopped Onions – 1, small
Garlic flakes - 3-4
Dry Red chilis - 2-3
Mustard seeds  - 1/s tsp
Urad dal – ½ tsp
Grated coconut – 3 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

clean and wash the greens well and let it drain. Chop them fine.

Heat oil in a kadai. add mustard and let it pop. Add urad dal,  red chillies, onions, crushed garlic and sauté well. Once they become brown, add the chopped greens, salt and cover with a lid and simmer for 10 mins or till the greens become tender. Add the grated coconut and mix well. Serve with sambar rice. 
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May 28, 2008

Puran Poli

Wooooo…… Hoooooo..... finally I did it without any assistance from anyone. During my school days my work in the kitchen was only up to making dosas, idlis, making chappatis and of course rice. Also I was not ready to explore beyond that. After that I was busy with work and had no time at all. But after having children I had all the time and could explore all by myself. With puran poli it was the same. While at school all I had to do was cook them in the tawa and tuck it in. Amma used to prepare the dough in the morning itself and every one hour she will apply more oil and will keep kneading it. By the evening the dough will be very soft and pliant and she will make the poli by spreading it with her fingers in a plantain leaf. I had no patience for it.

After marriage my MIL also used to make it the same way. Every time she visits us she will prepare the puran and dough and I will cook them in the tawa. I never did it all by myself from scratch. So when I came across sri’s roti mela I thought why not give it a try and rang up my MIL for instructions. She was as usual delighted. She loves cooking and always keeps me encouraging trying on something new. I told her that I was scared of making the purans as I have never done it before though I could manage the dough. She gave me a few tips which u will find at the end of this post if something goes wrong with the purans.

Puran Poli

For the dough:
Whole wheat flour – 2 cups
All purpose flour (maida) – 1 cup
Turmeric powder / yellow food colour – 2 pinch
Salt – to taste
Gingelly oil
Ghee – to cook
For the puran:
Bengal gram (kadalai paruppu) – ½ cup
Grated coconut – ¼ cup
Elaichi – 2 to 3
Jaggery – 1 to 1 ½ cup
Ghee – 1 tbsp
For the dough:
Mix the flours together with the turmeric powder, 1 tbsp gingelly oil and salt and by adding little water steadily knead it into a soft dough. Keep aside for half hour. After ½ hour add one more tbsp of oil and again knead the dough and keep aside.
For the puran:
Pressure cook the Bengal gram for 1 whistle and after put them in a strainer so that no water is in it. In a mixer grinder put the cooked Bengal gram, grated coconut, elaichi and jaggery and without adding water grind them till all of them are mixed together and coarse.

In a heavy bottomed kadai heat the ghee and add the puran mixture to it and in a medium flame keep stirring it around till the mixture leaves the sides and comes off the kadai. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Keep aside and let it cool.
Now roll them into small balls. Puran is ready.
Take the dough and roll them into a big lemon sized balls. Take one ball and roll it into a small puri. Now keep one puran ball in the centre of this and cover it from all sides and make this in to a ball. Roll this puran stuffed ball gently into a roti by sprinkling little flour to prevent them from sticking to the rolling pin. Be very gentle while rolling to prevent the puran from coming out of the ball.
In a tawa cook these polis by applying ghee around them and flipping it over till they are cooked. Serve them hot after smearing some more ghee.
I was apprehensive about the consistency of the puran and my MIL told me that if the puran becomes very thick and hard, sprinkle some warm milk over them to soften the purans. If the puran is very soggy and becomes incapable of being rolled into balls sprinkle some rice flour as it will absorb the excess moisture and the puran will become firm. It seems that I need not have feared at all. The puran poli came out very well. The children were very happy with the result and told me that I could make them often and they need not have to wait for their Avva’s (Grandma) arrival to taste the polis again.
This puran poli is going to find its way to Sri’s Roti Mela and also to Mythreyee's Sweet Series.
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May 26, 2008

Homemade Coriander Powder

After making red chilli powder it is time to make coriander powder which is also vastly used in indian cuisine. The flavor it emits is so good and it also acts as a thickening agent.

You’ll Need:
Coriander seeds – ½ kgs
Rock salt – ½ tsp

Make sure that you buy fresh coriander seeds. Upon buying them immediately dry it in the sun. When you keep the seeds for some time in the cover you can see them turning into a coarse powder in the bottom of the cover.

When you use this for grinding they spoil quickly. So use the seeds immediately and grind them after drying them in the sun or you can also microwave them if you are using lesser quantities. Before taking for grinding them in the mill add the rock salt.

The addition of rock salt is to prevent the freshness of the powder when stored for a long time and you won’t get any small bugs or insects when you store them for longer periods. Store in a dry container and use as required. Use a dry spoon.

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May 24, 2008

Radish / Mullangii Sambar

The most used vegetable for sambars and also this vegetable helps in water retention of the body. So use this vegetable maximum during the summer months. 

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May 22, 2008

Capsicum Sambar

On that day it was a not a case of trying out a new veggie in the usual recipe but because of non availability of any other veggie in my fridge. My in-laws were coming from villupuram to my home. It was a bit sudden after a frantic phone call in the morning and I was not prepared. For lunch as usual I planned sambar and had the dals ready only to find out that there was no suitable vegetable except for a lonely capsicum. So I thought why not. As for my FIL, hubby and children bell peppers are always associated with Chinese cuisine. My elder son, Arun would never touch it. He will go even hungry but would never eat this particular veggie which used to make me mad. What am I to use for fried vegetable rice and noodles other than carrots and mushrooms?

I love the flavor it emits even while cutting bell peppers. It is quite unique. So I went ahead and made the sambar. Both of them arrived and sat down for lunch and hubby also came home for lunch. I need not have feared at all as everyone loved the sambar with the unique flavor of capsicum. My MIL especially loved it. For a person who did not know what do with the capsicum she now frequently makes capsicum sambar at home.

Cooking time: 30 min, serves: 4
What U need:
Tur Dal – ½ cup
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Asafetida – 2 pinch
Capsicum, big – 1
Onion, sliced lengthwise – 1
Tamarind – 1 small lemon sized
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Sambar powder – 3 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste.
Coriander leaves – for garnishing.

What to do:
Pressure the dal with 2 cups of water with the turmeric powder and asafetida for 3 whistle with a few drops of oil to ensure fast cooking. Mash the dal well with a ladel and let it settle. After a while you will see the excess water standing on top and the dal to have settled at the bottom. Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract the pulp. Cut the capsicums lengthwise.

In a kadai, heat the oil and put the mustard seeds while they crackle add the cumin seeds, onions, curry leaves and capsicums. Sauté them till the onions brown slightly. Now pour the water on top of the dal and add salt to this mixture. Let it come to a boil and now add the sambar powder and tamarind pulp. Cook it covered for 10 minutes. Serve hot with rice after garnishing with chopped coriander leaves.

This capsicum sambar goes to pooja for celebration of the event JFI-VOW on completing the 2nd successful year.
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The Basic Sambar Powder

There are many varieties of sambar powder that people make as it is one of the main dishes of the south Indian cuisine. I was quite used to the sambar powder that we made at home before my marriage. We not only used the sambar powder just for sambar alone but for many other porials (side dishes) also. It was like a multi purpose powder that could be used with various dishes. I never liked the sambar made with the powder that I purchase from the shops. One time I tried it and it was not an experience that I wanted to repeat. I feel that the shop-purchased powder has a pungent smell to it that ruined the sambar itself.

So, after getting married I was a bit apprehensive of the type of sambar powder that my in-laws would use. Thankfully my MIL made the exact version of powder that I used to make at home before my marriage. I breathed a sigh of relief. Here is the sambar powder recipe which could be used for side dishes also.

What U need:

Round red chillies (Gundu milagai) – ¼ kg
Coriander seeds – ½ kg
Curry leaves – 2 fistfuls
Bengal gram dal (kadai paruppu) – 200 gm
Cumin seeds – 100 gm
Black pepper corns – 100 gm
Turmeric stalks – 100 gm
Methi seeds – 50 gm
Raw rice – 200 gm (optional)
Rock salt - 1 tsp

What to do:

Dry the chillies, coriander seeds, turmeric stalks and the curry leaves in hot sun and to the on the day that you take this to the flour mill for grinding add the other ingredients. Usually I use all this powder in 2 - 3 months time.

If not you can dry roast all the items in a kadai except turmeric stalks and rice and grind them to a powder.

The idea of adding rice is because it acts as a thickening agent and while making porials it also coats the veggies well and quickly absorbs the moisture in the dishes.
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Paneer and Veggies in tomato gravy.

The first food blog that I came across when I was searching for paneer kurma was Nupur's. so when the lovely zlamushka announced the tried and tasted event I wanted to say a thank u properly for inspiring me to start a food blog of my own. Being a south indian, to me kurma will always be associated to a coconut based curry and though I have modified the original recipe by Nupur a bit I could not bring myself to call this dish a kurma and hence this new name.  
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May 20, 2008

Idli Milagai Podi | Side Dish for Idlis / Dosas

I know that we all eat idlis and dosas with various chutneys and sambars but along with this idli molagai podi is also a must to be served along with chutneys in my house hold. So this is one thing that has always been around forever as long as I can remember. I always used to breakfast idlis only with podi in the mornings when I rushed to work. This will always come in handy when you don’t have the time to prepare chutneys during the morning madness.
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May 18, 2008

Idli Sambar.| Side dish for Idli / Dosa

Summer vacations always played an important role in during my school days. I, my brother would go to my grandparents home in Trichy on the very day my exam got over and will return only the day before my school begins. There will be a big crowd with my chitti’s two sons and another chitti’s daughter. I remember waking up to the smells of sambar in the morning and hurrying up to get ready before relishing it with hot fluffy idlis. Grandpa would never allow us to sit for breakfast if we had not completed finished our morning routine. God, its holiday and we are entitled to take bath at any we want, we used to argue with him but he would hear none of it.

Though my grandpa is not with us now we are all grateful for all the good habits that he instilled in us without any compromise. Even after I started work Sundays are really special and idli and sambar will be a must for breakfast to be eaten at leisure and enjoyment not gulping it down in a hurry during the week days. In our house we all always made it with tur dal and sambar powder. But after my marriage I came across a different variety of sambar that my MIL made during my first visit there and I must say that I really got hooked to the taste of it. She is a very special person to me and quite a jiffy in the kitchen. She taught me a lot when it came to cooking and she never failed to encourage in my new cooking adventures. This is her version of sambar to eaten with hot idlis. This sambar will not taste well with rice.

You'll Need:

Moong dal (split yellow Dal), washed – ½ cup (payatham parupu)
Onion, finely chopped – 2
Tomato, finely chopped – 1
Potato, finely chopped - 1
Green chillies, slit – 4 to 5
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste.
Coriander leaves for garnishing.


Pressure cook washed dal along with the turmeric powder and chopped potatoes with 2 cups of water. 2-3 whistles should do the job.

In a kadai, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the onion and fry till they turn translucent, now add the chopped tomatoes, slit chillies, curry leaves and sauté them for 2-3 min. when the tomatoes become slightly mushy add the cooked dal along with the potatoes. Add salt and if the consistency is a little thick adjust by adding enough water. 

Cover and cook for 10 min in a low flame. idli sambar is ready. Don’t forget to garnish with coriander leaves as they rend a nice flavor. Serve this sambar hot with idlis and dosas.
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May 16, 2008

Chinese stir-Fried Vegetable Parathas.

Parathas, the name itself makes my mouth watering ……. Easy to cook, pack and very tasty and also happens to be a staple part of our everyday diet. There are many reasons one can cook up these parathas as it is quick to make, it is nutritious and most often it becomes one meal where stressing oneself on an elaborate menu can be avoided. The simplest version being the aloo parathas or the methi parathas and the simple version can be made into an exotic version with a little imagination and various stuffing. Make the parathas exotic by stuffing them with various vegetables, fruits, herbs or spices or a combination of all the above.

Aloo parathas along with a glass full of lassi would make me a happy girl any day. For Srivalli’s Roti mela I have come up with an enchanting Chinese styled parathas. If you ever wonder about what you could come up with some left over veggies here is a whole some meal that you can delightfully cook up and get the thumbs up from the whole family as I got. This also makes a great lunch box dish.

Cooking time: 20 min, makes – 12 parathas.
Chinese Stir-Fried Vegetable Parathas
You'll need:

For the dough:
All purpose flour (maida) – 500-600gm (3 cups approx)
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – ½ tsp or to taste

For the Stuffing:
Onions, sliced - 2
Cabbage, shredded – 2 cups
Bean sprouts – 1 cup
Carrot, coarsely grated – 1 cup
Soya sauce – ½ tsp
Sugar – ½ tsp
Salt – to taste
Ajinomoto – 1 pinch (optional)
Oil – 2 tbsp.

What to do:

For the dough:
Mix the flour, oil and salt together with a little warm water and make soft dough.

For the stuffing:
In a kadai heat the oil and add all the vegetables, ajinomoto powder and onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. Now add the soy sauce, sugar, salt and mix well and let it cool.

Make the dough into balls and roll them out as thin as you can with a rolling pin. Now put 2-3 tbsp of the stuffing in the centre of each paratha and fold from all the sides to make it look like a square.

In a hot tawa smear a little ghee and put this stuffed paratha with the open edges at the bottom. Cook for a few minutes and flip it over and cook it again. Put oil or ghee around the paratha again if needed. Serve it hot with curds or chilli or tomato sauce.
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May 8, 2008

Homemade Red Chilli Powder

We use this powder in almost all the dishes but I guess we all don’t pay enough attention to this when we really should. We buy red chilli powder from the stores that comes in sealed sachets, including me for various reasons. I was quite shocked upon hearing news that many adulterations takes place in the powders that people use. One such powder is chilli powder where they adulterate it with brick powder and food color powder.

Our mothers and grandmothers insisted on buying the whole chilllies and grinding it into powder before using. They also swear by the taste difference it would make to the whole recipe when home ground powder is used. So why suffer using adulterated powders when we can spend a little of our time and prepare it at home itself and be healthy.

You’ll Need:
Whole red chillies – ½ kgs
Kashmiri whole red chilli – 100 gms
Rock salt – ½ tsp


You can buy any chilli you want. Though the round ones are supposed to be more spicier. The use of kashmiri chillies is to give more color so that you can avoid food color in your recipes.

Dry both the chillies in sun. You can also microwave them if you are using lesser quantities. Do not remove the stem part of the chillies. Before taking for grinding them in the mill add the rock salt.

The addition of rock salt is to prevent the freshness of the powder when stored for a long time and you won’t get any small bugs or insects also.

Store in a dry container and use as required. Use a dry spoon.

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May 7, 2008

Paneer Wraps

Paneer also known as Cottage Cheese is known for its versatility. Every body loves it. My kids are a sucker for paneer. They would devour any dish that I can concoct with them. This recipe was a given by a good friend whose daughter and my sons go to music class together. While waiting for the kids to come back from their classes, all the good old ladies waiting outside used to have great chit chat. It will be like big ladies only party. We all used to have a great time. I would call that as quality time well spent.
As all the ladies had kids going to school within the age of 10, all of them had problems with lunch box. The trick is to prepare food that they can easily eat and to prevent them from bringing half the lunch back home. This is a great recipe was a sure hit among many of them.
Paneer Wraps

You'll Need:
For the Rolls:
Wheat Flour – 1 cup
All purpose Flour (Maida) – 1 cup
Oil – 4 tsp
Salt – to taste
For the Stuffing
Cauliflower, grated – 1 cup
Paneer, grated – 1 cup
Green chillies, chopped – 3
Coriander, chopped – 2 tbsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
To prepare Rolls:
Mix the flours , oil and salt and make a smooth and pliable dough as you would for rotis by adding enough warm water.
Knead the dough well and keep for ½ an hour. Knead again.
Divide into 6 portions and roll out each portion into rotis with the help of a little flour.
Cook lightly on both sides on a tava (griddle) using enough oil till they are well cooked.
To prepare Stuffing:
Heat the oil in a kadai or wok and add the green chillies and the grated cauliflower.
Fry till the cauliflower is cooked. Now add the paneer, coriander and salt and cook for some time.
Divide into 6 portions and keep aside.
How to serve:
Place a hot Roti on a plate, place a portion of the stuffing on it.
Roll as shown in the picture and serve hot.
Won't it look good in a lunch box. Apart from using cauliflowers I have also used other vegetables like juicy sweet grated carrots, beet roots, capsicums, succulent mushrooms etc.
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