Friday, October 3, 2014

Nei payasam

 Nei means Ghee, Payasam is a kind of kheer. This is a payasam from Kerala and it is known for its extreme sweet taste and ghee. This is prepared during pooja days as offering.
In my father's house, this payasam is prepared during Navaratri and offer as neivedyam to our family Goddess. We add more bananas and little raw rice in this recipe, while the traditional Kerala Nei payasam will have rice only.  I like the original version also very much. Hubby dear asked me to prepare this payasam as he still remembers that unique payasam from his elder brother's wedding:) So I made this super sweet payasam in the traditional manner. Try this and enjoy !
Ghee rich very sweet thick payasam.

Ingredients:
Raw rice or basmati rice - 1 cup
ghee - 1/2 cup
jaggery - 2 cup
cardamom , dry ginger powders - 1/2 tsp each
sliced coconut - 1/2 cup
cashew , raisin - few.
Banana - 1 (optional)

Method:
Cook the rice in a heavy bottom vessel (stove top) with 2 - 3 cups of water. After water comes to boil, add chopped banana. Wait till the rice gets cooked.  It should not be mushy.
In the meantime dissolve the jaggery in 1 cup water and bring it to a thick stage. Pour the clean jaggery solution (leaving behind the sediments) to cooked rice. Stir till it becomes thick . Fry the coconut pieces, cashew, raisin in ghee. Pour ghee, fried items, powders mentioned and mix well. Stir and cook till the dessert leaves the edges.
Time taken : almost 1 hour.
Nei payasam is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as dessert.

Happy Vijaya Dasami to you all !
Thanks to this free images link !


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pillow soft idli and party menu

Making an idli successfully is every Indian ladies' wish. That too the malligaipoo idli of Tamilnadu needs a perfect recipe, quality ingredients, weather and more importantly a wet grinder.  But most of us who search for a good idli recipe for pillow soft diamond white idli are from abroad or cities. I am using a Preethi mixie for making idli batter (not wet grinder).  Earlier my idlies would come out good on one day and sometimes different. Then recently I got this recipe from my chithi and it works best for me any day. After that it became everybody's favorite party food in my house and my three idli plates were not enough :) Then hubby bought me a another set of  idli plates also:) I am sure you are all gonna love this too

Here are some tips for making mallipoo idly:
*Find a best quality idli rice that works for you. For me it is Laxmi brand always.  I had tried with ponni parboiled rice and it works too, but we believe in idli rice for generations:)
* urid dal should be the white whole urid dal. Fresh split black urid dal is  the one we had used for long time as we get that free from our land. So we are sure of its age :)  But this white is better, as it gives more batter like fresh dal.
*Coarse sea salt or fine sea salt gives more flavor.
* Use any raw rice or raw basmati rice.
*Always rinse the rice 3 to 4 times in tap water or till water runs clear. This ensures pearl white idli.
*Never use baking soda for idli. This plain batter is must for white color idli.
* Always mix the idli batter using hand before fermentation. After the batter gets fermented, we can use spoon to handle it.
* Both grinder and mixie can give the same results. Use Indian mixies or grinders only for making this batter, as blenders may vary in quality.
* I grind the batter to a fine texture for both idly and dosa. But many people make a coarse batter for idly and fine one for dosa, which is also good.
* I recommend preparing idly on the first two days and using the same batter for dosai from then on. The batter stays good inside fridge for a week.
*After grinding the idli batter, mix with hand and divide it into three containers and let it ferment. By this way , we can make soft idli every day.
*In colder regions: prepare the batter and immediately keep inside an oven. If there is pilot flame (conventional gas oven), then the batter will become fluffy and double within 8 hours.
* If there is no pilot flame (electric ignition oven), then heat the oven to 300 deg C for 5 minutes and keep the batter. Also in this oven during very cold winters: maintain the temperature by keeping a large pot of hot water inside the oven and change it once in 4 hours ☺☺
* While making sambar for guests or parties, always temper it with ghee only and add some jaggery , fresh cilantro before switching off.

I am sure this will make your guests call you as idly queen :)

Soft idly with murungakkai sambar


Pillow soft idly with malli chutney. Home stye !

My favorite Idli plate (this type won't have holes in each dent and so no need to spread an idli cloth).
Ingredients:
Idli rice - 4 cups
raw rice - ¾ cup
urid dal - 1 cup + 2 tbsp
methi seed (venthayam) - 1 tbsp
fine sea salt - 1 tsp / cup  (here 6 tsp)
we can use coarse sea salt too (but measurement may vary).

Method:
Soak idli rice, methi and raw rice together for 4 - 5 hours in normal weather. (over night soaking can be done for subzero winters).
Soak  urid dal for 1 hour (definitely not more than that).
First grind the urid dal using cold water to a fluffy fine texture.
Grind the rice along with salt to a fine texture (or medium coarse texture).
In a large mixing bowl, mix all the batters together. Mix vigorously with hand , so that both mixes very well. Keep on mixing for at least 2 minutes.
Divide it into three portions and store separately. Fill the containers to 1/4 or 1/2 only, as the batter will rise during fermentation.
Keep in a warm place (see tips above) and let it ferment for 8 hours or overnight.
Then take one container and keep all others in fridge.
Before pouring for idli, mix very very gently twice using a mixing spoon. Don't mix too much.
Grease an idli plate, with very little drop of ghee or sesame oil.
Scoop idli batter and fill each dent up to 3/4 full.
Keep the idli stand inside pressure cooker and steam cook for 8-10 minutes without putting weight valve.
Take out and scoop out the steamed idlie, when they are still hot.
Soft idli is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve with any chutney or vengaya sambar or idli podi.

How to plan for an easy party with idly batter?
Recently we hosted a party in our house. Here is my menu plan for an easy vegetarian get together or dinner for 10 people. I didn't take any pictures (I should have....) ☺

Prepare 30 - 40 idli, just an hour or two before party. Microwave this and close tightly (steam makes it more soft), before bringing to dinning table. If possible prepare the idli just before serving, as it is  the most authentic version, but I do this to make it easy.
Serve a simple snack or appetizer like onion bajji. We can prepare the bajji batter almost a day ahead and keep in fridge. Don't mix onions ahead. Start frying the favorite bajji just before party starts.
While the guests are enjoying the idli, start making crispy masal dosa with ghee.
Make sambar and potato masala filling one day ahead or in early morning. keep in fridge. We can garnish the sambar later.
But always make the coconut chutney as fresh as possible (within 2-4 hours in cold regions).
Serve the idli in bowls and top it with sambar (North Indian version) or in plate and pour sambar, chutney over it (South Indian version).Keep spoons handy.
For dessert, prepare ahead some ice cream or rava kesari or just a store bought icecream. I served kulfi icecream , which I prepared in excess while making for hubby's office party.
Though this party menu may look elaborate, it is not tiresome, if planned properly.

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