Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Snow peas poriyal

Snow-peas can be compared with Indian broad beans /avarakkai (Tamil) / chikkudukaya (Telugu) / sem (Hindi) / avara (Malayalam).

Snow peas come in peak season during summer here. Mostly it is steam cooked with little salt and consumed as a snack or appetizer. But most of the Indian women I know would prefer making a spicy stir-fry like mine :) Have a look at my spicy avarakkai fry too.
Our fist place in US was Missouri. We were in a cozy little town called Ofallon. That place really looked like a hallmark greetings or Thomas kinkade painting for me. That beautiful little town we lived had only one Indian grocery store (named Suvidha). At that time, they would bring fresh vegetables and groceries on only one evening in a week and that would get sold in minutes. Also the prices would look huge for anyone who had just relocated to USA from India. We were also one among those who would do multiplication  on looking at the dollars. Students and newbies think like that and I am sure there is nothing wrong in thinking of saving.  So we would go to the local American grocery stores like Schnucks or Shop and save or mostly Aldi to buy vegetables. In the beginning , we all wouldn't fuss much to get typical Indian vegetables like brinjal, gourds etc and rejoiced on seeing beans and carrots there :) (In our native we always wanted vegetables from cooler zones).
After few months, everyone would start looking for more nostalgic tastes. At that time we found this vegetable. It was like a sweet medley of avarakka and crispy cucumber. I started cooking this after that day and we like this poriyal very much. Enjoy !
Fresh snow peas 

snow peas poriyal

snow peas - 1/2 lb
shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
cumin - 1 tsp
salt - to taste.
To Temper:
onion - 1/2 cup (chopped)
green chili - 2
mustard - 1/2 tsp
urid dal - 1/2 tsp
coconut oil / olive oil - 2 tsp

Chop the snow peas into small pieces.
Slit the green chilli into two (or) chop finely.
Heat oil in a wok. Add mustard, urid dal and let the mustard crack.
Then add the chopped onion and saute till it gets tender.
Then add the chopped chillies, snow peas and Saute well.
Sprinkle a handful of water and cook covered for 5 minutes in medium heat.
Then add required salt. Open and let it get dry
It will get cooked in almost 10 minutes in medium heat.
Then add the shredded coconut, cumin and stir well for a  minute.
Switch off.
Snow peas poriyal is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with rice and any curry like sambar, puli kuzhambu.
Try this with my favorite sweet mango sambar and enjoy !

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tamilnadu's village style mixture

Mixture / namkeen  / மிக்ஸர் is a popular spicy snack of India. Just as the name says, the snack mixture is a mix of various snacks like omapodi, kaara boonthi, nuts, spices etc.
The North Indian namkeen mixtures are made with thin sev and we can see this trend in Chennai mixture too. Most of those namkeens contain a hint of sweetness.  But there is one more mixture variety from my native place, which may not be much popular, but I like it very much. I have seen this kind of mixture in Kerala too. This mixture should be made with thick sev and the spice level should be high. We call it as 'Thisayanvilai mixture'. One of our good relatives, AnnaPazham paatti used to buy this for us. This mixture would be packed in palm leaf containers (olai petti) and that adds more glamour to it.
I tried to create it at home and it turned out to be a great success. Should I say hubby dear and me enjoyed this mixture throughout that weekend with tea!
Tamilnadu's village style mixture

Omapodi and kaara poonthi 
plantain chips
soaked channa dal

frying the channa dal

fried peanut, curry leaf, channa dal

Every goodness in one bowl together, the MIXTURE

After mixing the snacks together...
Fruit of my work ♥ Mixture stored in airtight container.....for snack time !

Omapodi (thick sev) - 1/4 kg  (or) crushed - 2 cups
kara boondi - 1/4 kg (or) 2 cups
banana chips - from one plantain  (or) 100 gms
peanut  (ver kadalai)- 1 cup (or) fried masala peanut - 1 cup
channa dal (kadalai paruppu) - 1/2 cup
murukku -  1 or 2 (optional)
curry leaf - few
garlic - 4 cloves
red chili powder -  1 tbsp
hing - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste
oil - for deep frying

1.Prepare the omapodi, boondi, chips ahead. I suggest making them a day ahead. Buying them from store is also a good option. Gently crush the omapodi into medium size pieces.
Put them all together in a wide mixing bowl.
2.Soak the channa dal for 4 to 5 hours. Drain water. Pat dry in a fresh kitchen towel. Let it dry in room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat oil to deep fry in a wok. Deep fry the channa dal.
Add this to the bowl.
3. Fry the masala peanuts. My recipe would be for baking, but use the same ingredients and deep fry them for mixture. Put this with other items in the bowl. We can simply fry the peanuts too (like me).  If we add masala peanuts, then it gets the touch of kovilpatti mixture.
4. In the same hot wok, fry a handful of curry leaves to crispy. Put that to the mixing bowl.
5. Peel and crush coarsely few cloves of garlic. Fry till crispy. Add to the bowl.
6. Now add some crushed murukku to the bowl.
7. Then add chili powder, hing , salt to all those items in the mixing bowl. Mix well using a spatula or hands. Check and add salt little by little as many already contain salt.
8.Let cool and store in air tight containers.
Village style mixture is ready !

Serving suggestion:
Serve as snack with coffee or tea.
In my house, we enjoy this with sambar rice too.

*The difficult to make ingredients like sev (omapodi), kara poonthi, chips, fried peanut can be bought as readymade from any Indian grocery store and this snack can be made in a jiffy.