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February 25, 2010

Chettinad Vegetable Kurma

My kids absolutely love having kurma with chappatis. I too find it easier to feed the kids as much vegetables as I can when making them. I try out many kurmas changing the ingredients that I use usually to make them. You get varied taste by this and this Kurma is my absolute favorite and also my Athamma’s (MIL) among the side dishes that I make which I learned from a karaikudi Aachi who was her neighbour.


CHETTINAD VEGETABLE KURMA


You’ll need:


Boiled vegetables- 2 cups (I used cauliflower, carrots, peas and beans)
Poppy seed (khus-khus) - 2 tbsp

Cashew nuts- Broken in small pieces- 1 tbsp

Onions – 1 (large) chopped

tomatoes- 2 (Large) chopped

Curry leaves- 1 sprig

Turmeric powder- ½ tsp

Red chilli powder- ½ tsp

Milk- 1cup

Oil- 2 tbsp

salt- to taste


For the special chettinad masala:

Freshly grated coconut-1/2 cup

Coriander seeds- 1 tsp

Cumin seeds- ½ tsp

Whole red chillies - 3

Cardamom - 3

Fennel seeds - 1 tsp

Cloves - 2

Cinnamon – 1 inch piece

Oil- 1 tbspn


Method:


Heat oil in a pan and fry the ingredients mentioned under chettinad masala separately one by one till you get an aroma. Keep aside to cool. Soak the poppy seeds and cashew nuts in hot water. Drain and add it to the roasted ingredients. Grind to a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining oil in a pan. Add the curry leaves and onions. Saute for few minutes till the onion turns pink and then add the tomatoes, ground paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt.


Cook till tomatoes blend well with the masala and oil separates on the sides. Mix well and add one cup of water, boiled vegetables and milk. Cover and simmer for a few minutes. Serve hot. This goes well with chappatis and pulao.

February 20, 2010

Eggless Chocolate Cake


A hassle free and quick cake that can be rustled up in a jiffy. This makes a very suitable snack that I send for my children to be had during their break time at school. I don’t’ like sending them chips packets that are a favorite among their friends.



You’ll Need:



All purpose flour - 1 ½ cups
Powdered sugar – 1 ¼ cup
Baking soda – 1 tsp
Cocoa powder – 2 tbsp
Butter / oil – 5 -6 tbsp
White vinegar – 1 tbsp
Milk – 1 cup
Vanilla essence – 1 tsp


Method;


First sift the flour, sugar, baking soda, cocoa powder together. Add the milk, vinegar, oil, essence and blend well. Pour this batter into a greased microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 5-7 minutes. Let it stand for 10 minutes.


The cake is ready. Let it cool to room temperature. Store in an air tight container. This freezes well too.

February 19, 2010

A TRIP TO KANCHIPURAM

Last Sunday will always be quite a memorable one in my life. We finalised a purchase of around 3 acres of farmland for use after our retirement. After that we visited the temple town Kachipuram and visited Lord Ekambareswar and Kamatchi amman Temple. I would like to share some of the photos that I clicked during the trip. I couldn't have asked for a better gift for valentine's day.

















This lingam itself is made of 108 lingams. There is also one made of 1008 lingams but the devotees were not allowed to click away picutres. Hope you all like it.

February 17, 2010

Coconut Burfi in Microwave


This is an all time favorite burfi my Grandma used to make while all the kids of the house visited her during the holidays. She will do this burfi in her trademark “Venkala urli”. The heavenly smell of coconuts and ghee surrounds the whole house and we all will surround her while she cooked and vied for the first one to taste it.


I did this in the microwave on Friday for mahasivarathri as a prasadham as my In-Laws came to visit us and I dimply did not have enough time at hand. It is very sad. You miss out on the nostalgic part of it. This was Friday’s prasadam.


You’ll Need:


Grated fresh coconut – 1 cup

Milk – ¼ cup

Sugar – 5 tbsp

Cardamom powder – 1 tsp

Yellow food color – 2 pinch

Ghee / clarified butter – 3 tsp


Method :


In a microwave safe bowl, mix together the ghee and fresh coconut and microwave on HIGH for 3 mins stirring once after 1 minute. Now add the milk, sugar, cardamom powder and yellow colour and microwave on HIGH for 3 more mins, stirring once after 1 minute.


Remove and immediately spread the mixture onto a greased plate and allow it to set for 1 hour. Cut into desired shapes and enjoy it to your heart’s content.


Tips: You can also grind the coconut with milk to a paste instead of using the coconut directly. If you are not using liquid food color dissolve the color in some milk before using. Do not over cook else the burfi might harden.

February 15, 2010

Mutter Ki Kachoris


When this month’s Indian cooking challenge was announced and ever since I went thru it I was in quite a dilemma as to which one to choose. Arun made it quite easier and announced that he did not want moong dal kachoris. As the peas season is going to come to an end and I had quite a lot of them stored in the fridge I decided to go with peas kachoris. We all loved it very much when we had on a Sunday evening for snacks with lassi. Mmmmmm. Bliss.



MUTTER KI KACHORIS
You’ll Need:
For the dough:
All purpose flour – 2 cups
Ghee – ¼ cup
Salt – to taste
Water – to knead
Oil – for deep frying


For the filling:
Fresh peas - 1 to 1 ½ cups
Ajwain – ½ tsp
Fennel seeds – ½ tsp
Green chilli – 1
Ginger – ½ inch piece
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tsp


Method:
For the dough :         Add salt to the flour and mix it well. Then add ghee to the flour and crumble it well so that it mixes with the flour well. Add water little by little to the flour and knead into dough. The dough should be tight and keep it closed with a damp cloth at all times and let it rest for ½ - 1 hour.


For the filling:          Grind peas, fennel seeds, green chilli and ginger coarsely in a mixer grinder. In a kadai heat oil and add ajwain to it. Now add the ground peas mixture, red chilli powder, coriander leaves, salt and cook for a 2 minutes or more till the raw smell disappears. Let it cool.


How to proceed:
Knead the dough once more. Make ping pong sized balls of them and flatten them with your hand to make a cup. If you don’t have the patience ot hard pressed for time like me then an easier way out would be to divide the dough into half and rolling them with a rolling pin on a clean counter top evenly and cutting them out with a cutter or with a katori.


Put around 1 to 1 ½ tsp of the filling into the cup and close it slowly around the edges to make into a ball again. Take the excess dough out and flatten them lightly against your palm.


Slip them slowly into the hot oil and deep fry till they float on top and the sizzling of the oil reduces. You can cook 2-3 kachoris at a time and not more. Drain on an absorbent paper. Serve hot with coriander and mint chutney or top them with thick fresh curd and sprinkle chat masala on top of them. Store in an air tight container for later use.


Tips : Take care not to over cook which leads to change in color and also pay attention to the oil temperature. It should not be smoking hot.

February 12, 2010

Mega Pongal Celebration

Arun's school this year conducted the SANGAMAM fest during the pongal holidays which we all attended and had a super duper time. Lots of different varieties of food were on display but I way unable to click anything due to the unbelivable rush there. I could not get to focus on anything with the camera. But I clicked this picture after the school reopened after pongal holidays. The school aurthorities had left it for a month without distrubing it.


This is a close up of the above picture.

February 11, 2010

Vengaya Kari Vadagam

These tempering balls when used in kulambus give a distinct flavor to the dish. We make this during the month of February and March though the official summer season begins from April. It is said to prevent them from dust during the strong winds during the summer season. Earlier my grandma used to make them and we as kids will sit under a nearby neem tree's shade and guard them from crows and other birds. We will be supplied with lemon juice and watermelons for our big help. Now my MIL makes them and keep us all supplied.


February 9, 2010

Orange N Chocolate Malai Cake


This is my first baked cake and guess what, it came out well better than I hoped. It felt good about baking biscuits as they all came out very good. But I was very nervous about baking a cake. It felt like rocket science for a novice like me. When ever my kids asked me to bake a cake I would tell them the excuse that I am still in the learning process and I did not want to fail the first time itself.


Arjun, last week lost his patience and demanded to bake one right away and I was about to open my mouth to give a reply when he smartly replied “ Mom, you can’t always keep on studying. You’ve got to write the exam some day. Atleast we get to know the result and could try to be good the next time”. Well, I couldn’t argue with his reasoning as the smart pant was right. So this is the cake that I baked.


The aroma of orange was all over our home that my neighbor came knocking. Hope you will also try out this and enjoy like we did.


You'll Need:


All purpose flour – 1 cup

Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp

Powdered sugar – 1 cup

Cream (Malai) – 1 cup

Orange zest – 2 tsp

Cocoa powder – 1 tsp

Eggs – 4


Method:


Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C. Beat the eggs well separately. Sieve flour with the baking powder atleast twice together. Whisk the cream well. Prepare a baking tray by greasing with butter and dusting with flour.


In a vessel combine the sugar and beaten eggs and blend well till the sugar dissolves completely. Now add the sieved flour and baking powder little by little and blend well. There should not be any lumps. Add the cream now and blend again without forming any lumps.


Divide the batter into two portions. To one portion add the orange zest and mix well. To the other portion add the cocoa powder and mix well till it dissolves well in the batter.


In the prepared baking tray first pour the cake batter with the orange zest and on top pour the chocolate batter. Transfer the tray to the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When done cool over a rack and store it an air tight container and serve with cream.

February 8, 2010

Puris

Hot puffed up puris with your favorite side dish is how one should end their long tired day or it is also perfect for brunch on a lazy Sunday. The kids love puris unconditionally no matter what you give them as a side dish. You could never get any objection from them. yesterday's breakfast was puris with puri kilangu. Here we go with puris…..

February 5, 2010

VEGETABLE GHEE RICE

This colorful mixed rice variety is one of kids favorite lunches. I can pack this rice for any number of days during the week and they will never complain and will home with an empty lunch box which I’m sure you would all agree is all a mother wishes on a daily basis. Today’s lunch box had


Vegetable Ghee Rice



You’ll Need:


Rice - 2 cups
 Mixed Vegetables – 1 cup ( I used Carrots, Beans, Peas and Potatoes, cauliflower)


Fresh Garlic pods – 4 to 5 crushed


Onions – 1 (big)


Green chillies - 4


Clove - 2


Cinnamon - 1"


Cardamom - 1


Bay Leaf - 1


Cashew nuts – 2 tbsp


ghee / clarified butter - 2 tsp


Oil – 2 tsp


Salt to taste

Method:

Wash and soak rice for 10 to 15 mins. Slice the onions into juliennes. Slit the green chillies. Heat ghee and oil together in a cooker, add the cardamom, clove, bay leaf, cinnamon and cashew nuts and fry for a minute. Now add the onions and garlic till they become golden in color.

Now add the vegetables and sauté and cook for 5 minutes till the veggies become tender and pliant. Now add the rice and sauté till it is fully mixed with the vegetables. Add salt and 4 cups water. Mix well and close with the lid.

Cook for 2 whistles and serve hot with curd raita. You can also roast the cashew separately and add it the rice before serving. You can also use basmati rice for a nice flavor and good taste.



Served with love,

February 3, 2010

Venn Pongal

Sundays are for preparing leisure breakfasts which should differ from the daily dose of idlis, oatmeals and bread sandwiches on the go during week days. Getting up late, treasuring a hot steaming cup of coffee while going thru the newspaper and making the breakfast while watching TV and relishing it with all the trimmings at leisure instead of gobbling them as we usually do on week days is something I look forward to instead of having to hurry up the kids for school and having to shout at them when they make it late.

February 1, 2010

Paneer Parathas


This is my first shot at food for the blog with my new digicam. I was making paneer paranthas for dinner and Arun commented that I had so far not taken any pictures for the blog. So We all decided that we will click the picture of the very same paranthas that I was making. Arun volunteered to cut the ribbon and so this was clicked by him.


This recipe features either for my kids lunch box or for dinner when I have some left over panner and I run out of time.


PANEER PARANTHAS


You’ll Need:


Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
Grated paneer / cottage cheese – 4 tbsp
Red chilli powder – ¼ tsp
Turmeric powder – 2 pinch
Kasuri methi – 2 pinch
Salt – to taste
Ghee / clarified butter – to cook
Water – to knead


Method:


Take the flour in a container and add to it salt, paneer, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, kasuri methi, 2 tsp ghee or oil and crumble it well. Add water and knead to a dough. Let it rest for some time.


Make balls from the dough and flatten them using rolling pin into paranthas. Cook over a hot tawa by drizzling with either ghee or oil around it till brown little spots appear on it. Serve hot with any subzi or curds.


You can omit kasuri methi and instead chopped coriander leaves but I believe that kasuri methi adds more flavor to the paranthas.
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