Inviting you all to Viki's kitchen in facebook too. Also welcoming you all to visit my arts and hobbies page in facebook.. Have a nice day !

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Pineapple kesari

Very long back I had this pineapple kesari in a wedding breakfast and fallen in love with this immediately. I have heard that this is more famous in Kerala, where we get abundant fruits.
Mostly I prepare Xav's favorites only, but for a change he asked me to make this for me. So I prepared this for Christmas breakfast along with Idly, vada and sambar. Surprisingly he too liked it very much for the first time:) Hereafter I can have this kesari more frequently...hi...hi.

Just like many other recipes, this also remained idle in my draft until now. Here is the most delicious version of Kesari for you.



Ingredients:
Ravai / rava / semolina / sooji - 1 cup
Pineapple - 1 1/2 cup (chopped)
(I used fresh pineapple. But we can use the canned ones too)
water - 2 cups
sugar - 2 cups
(Add more sugar at the end if desired)
cashewnuts - 10
raisins - 15
ghee - 5 tbsp
yellow food color - 1/8 tsp
Cardamom - 4

Method:
1.Take a thick wok / pan , which has a proper tight lid.
Heat a tbsp of ghee and fry the broken cashews , raisins one by one and keep aside. Powder the cardamom and discard the skin, keep aside. (I put the skin in to the tea).

2.In the same pan add another tbsp ghee and roast the rava till we get a nice aroma.
Transfer it to a dry plate.

3.Coarsely grind the pineapple in a blender. Keep aside.

4.In the pan add water , sugar and let it come to a boil.
Then add the yellow food color and mix well.
As the water starts bubbling , reduce the flame.

5.Now add the rava in a wide spread manner .Add it slowly without stirring . Then immediately put the crushed pineapple and stir well. Close it with a lid and reduce the flame to minimum.

6.After the rava gets cooked , add the remaining ghee, fried nuts, cardamom, raisins.

7.Keep on stirring till the kesari leaves the sides of the pan.

Pineapple kesari is ready!

Note:
The pineapple kesari should not be dry , but somewhat sticky.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as dessert along with breakfast or evening tea with spicy snacks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Awards .....

My sweet blogger friend , Siddhi of Cooked Dil Se has presented me these lovely awards.





I like her flair to learn and present the International cuisines.Her Mushroom Lasagna from scratch is very amazing. Never thought of making my own lasagna sheet before. Hats off dear!
Moreover her Indian cuisines are much authentic and mouthwatering . Recently I came across her Repost for RCI-Mumbai and was stunned by her vast collection. Now I am planning to buy some grocery to try her Mumbai recipes. That's the power of inspiration. Right!

I feel so honored to get these 'Beautiful blogger' and 'Happiness' awards from her. Thanks Siddhi . Keep up the good work dear!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Milagu kulambu

(Milagu kulambu means a gravy made with pepper).

I am sure my regular readers may know my taste for simple recipes. Here is another simple kulambu (curry) without garlic , onion and tomato. So we need not worry much of chopping stuff.
Mostly I prepare this during winter or rainy season. Its good for digestion, cough, cold , sinus problems etc.
Even though I prepare this regularly at home, I referred to this blog for a more clear version.
Here goes a simple recipe for a quick dinner



Ingredients
Tamarind - gooseberry size
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Hing - a pinch
Sesame oil
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - 1 sprig

To dry roast and grind:

Whole black Pepper - 1 1/2 tbsp
Channa dhal (kadalai paruppu) - 1 1/2 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Red chillies - 4
cumin - 1 tsp

Method:

Dry roast the items given till the channa dhal turns mild red.
First powder them without water. Then add hing and 1/4 cup water and grind to a fine paste.

Extract juice from tamarind using 2 cups of hot water. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok and splutter the mustard seeds.Put curry leaves.
Pour the tamarind juice along with 1 tsp salt , turmeric and bring to a boil. Reduce flame and let the raw smell vanishes. Let it get reduced to 1 1/2 cups.

Now add the ground masala paste and allow it to boil for 2 minutes.

Garnish with fresh curry leaves.

Serving suggestions:

Serve hot with piping hot rice , ghee and pappad.
I prepare pumpkin poriyal , omelet or usili.

Note:
If we are packing this for lunch box, then add 1 tbsp sesame oil to the curry at the end and mix with rice. This will prevent the rice from dryness.
The consistency should be like denser vathak kulambu.
This curry will show a mild bitter taste , but would be of great taste if served with hot rice and ghee.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lovely Gifts !

We all love gifts . Yeah! its very to exciting to receive a surprise gift. That too in blogosphere we are blessed with so many lovely friends pampering us with cute awards.
First award and very first comments do excite us a lot and no one can deny that:) You should have seen me when I received my very first award from Gita....Each and every award inspires me more and reminds me to be creative. That's the power of appreciation. Isn't it!

Malar of Kitchen Tantra has shared this lovely Cheer reading award with me. Not only in cooking , she has the potential to succeed anything she undergoes. I adore her space because of the unknown medicinal cum historical info she shares there along with excellent food. Her non-veg menus are endless and makes anyone crave. I wonder how she learnt so much recipes and prepares them with such dedication everyday. I am addicted to her Brinjal serwa and Vazhai poo kuruma. Don't miss her round up on Kitchen mishaps event now.



Thanks Malar. I am so glad to get it from a passionate person like you.
You always make me cheerful:)

Kathy of 'Lessons from the Monk I married' , has presented me a Happiness award. She is a writer cum blogger and her lessons on life are very inspiring. Many a times after reading hers I understand the true meaning of simple pleasure in my life. Her recent post on 'The Best Things In Life Are Free' has made me identify the hidden treasures around me:)



I am so proud to get an award from a great person like her. I am in cloud 9 now:)

Now I have to share 10 things that make me happy as per the award rule. OMG!Its very pleasant to recollect what makes us happy and its the true meaning of award here.

Here are they:)

1. Cooking for my husband, who appreciates me for everything I do.
2. Visiting Churches, all religious places and celebrating festivals.
3. Pink color, Watching Rose flowers or any flower.
4. movie night at home with popcorn and coke.
5. Shopping.
6. Gardening , bird watching and country side living.
7. Walking, Basketball.
8. Blogging, blog-hopping, browsing.
9. Collecting inspiring books, cook books, greeting cards, coins, .
10. Visiting Aquarium, Zoo, museums.

Thanks for this gift and opportunity dear! I feel so honored to get this from you. This means a lot to me and your every day lessons inspires me very much. Best wishes!

The next award is from Kitchen Queen of Khatta Meetha theeka. I admire her recipes because of the simple ingredients and easy to follow instructions. I love her Kuzhi appam and Thaval vadai which are in to-do list now:)



Thanks dear! I am very glad to get such an appreciation from a nice person like you.

I think the Beautiful blogger and Cheer reading awards have gone many rounds . So I would like to share the Happiness award (which kathy presented me), with the following friends.

Malar of kitchen Tantra
Kitchen Queen of khatta meetha theeka.
Gita of Gita's kitchen.
Vinolia of Akal's saapadu.
Jaleela of samayal attakasangal
Shama of easy 2 cook recipes.
Devasena of A connoisseur's eye for life's little melodies.
Usha Nandhini of Usha Nandhini's recipes.
Saraswathy Balakrishnan of Taste of Sara's kitchen.


Congrats friends! I am eager to read your happy moments also:)

A small break:

I can't be using internet till Monday (01/25/2009) due to travel .So please excuse me, if I didn't reply . I will try to get back as soon as possible.

Enjoy blogging and take care!
Love,
Viki.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ennai kathirikkai / Stuffed brinjal fry

Whole stuffed eggplant / yennai kathirikkai

I relate this whole stuffed brinjal with a story I read very long back in Ambulimama:) It is the story of a wise boy and the king's feast to commons.

The story is as follows:
The king who has heard about the intelligence of a local boy wants to test him. So the king asks him to tell , which food is tastier in that feast without talking with others or tasting. Within a few minutes the boy runs around and tells the king 'The tastiest one is the Ennai kathirikkai, Sir and the least wanted is So and so vegetable'.
When the king asks his secret, the boy says 'I went to the waste leaf area and no one has wasted a single ennnai kathirikkai and vice versa'.
Its a simple story and I assume that the moral is we can judge the taste of the food while disposing the leaf.(Indian feasts are generally served in fresh banana leaf).

So after reading this story , brothers and myself started craving for that unknown fry. Mom learnt the recipe from her friends and we got our most favorite fry.
Even now myself, hubby and brothers prefer it more than meat....funny thing is I never long for meat if have this ennai kathirikkai:)

Hope you too fall in love with this buttery brinjal fry.



I would like to show you the picture of a rare brinjal I got from grocery stores. Never seen a triplet brinjal before:)



Ingredients:
Brinjal / baby eggplant - 6
Oil to deep fry - 1 cup
(I used corn oil)
Salt - 1 tsp (check taste after mixing with chilly powder)
Red chilly powder - 1.5 tsp
garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
(I used Shan brand garam masala)

Method:

Remove the bracts of the brinjal.
Wash and clean them in running water.

Make two slits in the top and bottom, without cutting it into half.

Place the salt and powders in a small bowl.
Mix them into a smooth paste with 2 tsp water.

Carefully stuff this paste inside the brinjal. Keep aside for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok.
Deep fry them, till the skin gets wrinkle and the brinjal turns tender like butter.

Note:
We can coat some oil all over and broil in the oven instead of deep frying. But We can't expect the real taste in that oven method.

Ennai kathirikkai is ready!

Serving suggestions:

Serve as side dish with sambar and rice.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Paruppu payasam

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous Pongal / Sankaranthi festival!

I am eager to post something sweet for this sweet Pongal and here comes my paruppu payasam for you all.

I make many kinds of payasams (kheer) and I am sure most of my readers may very well know about my sweet-tooth:) . On top of the list this simple paruppu payaasam always holds a great place in my festive lunch because of my hubby. I too love this very much because of its simple ingredients.



Ingredients:
Green gram dhal (paasi paruppu) - 3/4 cup
jaggery - 1.5 cup (crushed)
shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
(mildly tender coconut will taste great in this payasam)
cardamom - 3
ghee - 1 tbsp
raisin - 5
cashew nut - 10

Directions:
Wash and clean the dhal. Pressure cook the green gram dhal with 2 cups of water for 2 whistles and mash it coarsely using the back of a spatula.

Heat another pan with 2 cups of water and add jaggery.
After the jaggery gets dissolved, distill the clear jaggery solution and discard the sediments.

Add the jaggery solution to the mashed dhal along with shredded coconut and let it come to a boil.

Crush the cardamom and add the seeds to the kheer.

Heat a frying pan with 1 tbsp ghee.
Roast the cashews to golden brown and raisins till they puff. Pour it into the kheer.
Switch off the stove.

Paruppu payasam is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve hot or cold as dessert.

Event:

My friend Shama of Easy2cook recipes is hosting a pretty event called Christmas Party-09 event and I am sending my Christmas cum New year dishes to hers.

Here is our simple New year lunch, which I am sending for Shama's. The New Year came on a Friday this year and we had a vegetarian south Indian meal for the lunch.
The menu was plain rice, ketti paruppu (dhal), Arachi vitta sambar, Aviyal, Ennai kathirikkai (stuffed brinjal), pickle, pappad, curd and paruppu payasam.



My another entry is the Christmas fruit cake.


Hope it suits the event. Happy hosting dear!


Award:


My friend , Faiza Ali of Faiza Ali's Kitchen has presented me this lovely award. She is a very innovative person and I admire her skills on appreciating International food. Especially I like her perfect Black forest cake and the delicious Bakhlava very much. Every woman loves this word beautiful and I feel so honored to get this 'Beautiful blogger' award from her. Thanks Faiza. This means a lot to me and you have inspired me much by this.



I could not pick a few from you , as all of you are awesome and unique in a special way. Anyways I have to share them with a few and so I am passing it to the following friends.

Sarah of Vazhayila.
Sanghi of Sanghi's Food delights.
Aysha of Life Today.
Vrinda of Sankeerthanam.
Padma of Padma's recipes.
Rina of Rina's recipes.
And to all of my blogger friends who leave a comment here:)

Happy Pongal my friends and Enjoy blogging!

You may also like my:
Pongal aviyal
Sarkarai Pongal
Venn Pongal

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chicken sukka varuval and our Christmas cake

Before going to today's post, I would like to share the Christmas cake I prepared for Baby Jesus. I made a fruit cake and frosted it with butter cream icing.


'Happy Birthday Baby Jesus' A Birthday cake for Jesus.

Next comes our Chicken sukka.

Chukka / sukka means a dry curry in a gorgeous dark brown color.Chukka gets its color during the stir fry process. Unlike many other chicken recipes, sukka will not have any mint leaf or cilantro . But the main flavor comes from sesame oil, shallot onion , lots of chilly powder and curry leaf.

This is a fiery HOT curry and one should have the heart of steel to try this . If you are not used to the South Indian spicy food , then reduce the quantity of spices given below as per taste. But the real taste lies in the dominating red chilly-pepper combo.

It is more popular in Chettinad restaurants, a Tamil cuisine known for its spicy and delicious food.

It is always my dad's choice in the Aachi's restaurant in my hometown and hubby's favorite too:)

Here is the famous chukka varuval for you all.



Marination:
Chicken (boneless) - 1 lb (1/2 kg)
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tbsp.
(ginger - 2 inch, garlic - 5 cloves)
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste (1 tsp)
Vinegar / lime juice - 2 tbsp
oil - To deep fry (200 ml)

Select red meat (boneless thigh portion) from chicken , as it will give a juicy texture whereas breast / white meat will yield a hard finish.

Wash and clean the chicken in running water. Cut the chicken into medium size cubes (approximately 2 cm).
Finally rub 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and keep aside.

Grind the ginger, garlic to a fine paste.
Marinate the chicken with all items given above (except the oil) for 2 hrs.

Heat the oil in a wok and deep fry the marinated chicken pieces till it is completely cooked. keep aside.

To Temper (finishing touch)
:
sesame oil - 2 tbsp
fennel seeds - 1 tsp
cinnamon - 3 inch
Shallot or red onion - 200 gms
(I have used red onion here)
Salt - to taste (1 tsp)
Red chilly powder - 2 tsp
Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tsp
garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Lemon - 1/2
Finely chopped ginger - 2 tbsp
curry leaf - 2 sprig
Green chilly - 2 (finely chopped)

Chop the onion into thin long pieces.
Heat oil in a wok. Add fennel seeds and cinnamon stick.
Let the fennel seeds become red. Put 1 sprig curry leaves and wait til they get crispy.

Slide in the onion and fry till it gets half cooked.
Add the fried chicken pieces along with salt and all the above said powders.

(Some people add 1/2 cup shredded coconut blended with 1/4 tsp cumin at this stage).

Sprinkle 1/2 cup water and cook covered for 5 minutes till all the masala powders gets blended to give a nice flavor.
Now add chopped fresh curry leaves (1 sprig), green chilly, ginger and mix well.
Stir for a minute and put off stove.

Squeeze lime juice and mix well with the sukka.

Chicken sukka is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Goes well with chapathi, roti and rice.
Perfectly pairs with curd rice also.
Serves 4 people.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Murukku

Murukku is an Indian snack served along with coffee or tea. It is generally prepared with rice flour and a gram flour.

Xav loves murukku with coffee like anything. So, I specially made it for him.
Here is the murukku I prepared for hubby as my Christmas gift.

I know, making murukku is not a big deal for anyone who loves to cook. But I have not ventured myself in this art for quite a long time because of my fear on hot oil:( There are so many ways to make murukku, but I planned to follow my mother's recipe , which has never disappointed me at any point of time :)

I started by 10.30 Am and completed successfully by 12 noon. So it took just 1.30 hours totally and voila my secret gift for Xav got ready 2 days before Christmas. But I could not be so hard-hearted to hide it from him till the Eve:)

Roasted Urid dhal:




Kneaded murukku dough:



Murukku before frying:




(At this stage the murukku should not have much cracks. If so add some more water and knead the dough again to check for the uninterrupted flow. This will yield smooth and crispy murukku).


Fried murukku:




Ingredients:

Rice flour - 4 cups
(If you have a flour mill in your vicinty (just like Indian flour mills), then soak 4 cups of unboiled rice (pacharisi) for 2 hours, drain the rice and prepare flour. Otherwise we can use store bought flour also. But the ratio should be always 4 : 1)
Urid dhal (Black gram) - 1 cup (without skin)
Butter - 5 tbsp (1 tbsp / rice + dhal mix)
Cumin - 1 tbsp
sesame seeds - 2 tbsp
Hing (Asafoetida) - 1/8 tsp
Salt per taste
coconut milk - 1/2 cup (optional)
Water for mixing - (nearly 3 cups of water)
Oil - to deep fry (500 ml)

Method:

Heat a wok and dry roast the urid dhal till it we get a nice flavor and starts to turn golden (not red). Keep aside and let it cool. Then dry grind it to a fine powder using an Indian mixer.

In the same wok , dry roast the rice flour for about 10 minutes . When we touch it , we should feel it like river sand. Then let it cool.

Put both the flours in a large mixing bowl . Add cumin, sesame, asafoetida and butter. Mix well.

Take 2 cups of water and add 3/4 tsp salt for every cup of flour. Mix this salt water along with coconut milk with the flour and knead to a soft chapathi dough consistency.

Now check salt and add more mixing with water,if necessary.

Fit a 3 hole plate in the murukku mold and fill it with dough.

In the mean time heat the oil in a wide pan till smoking point. Then reduce flame and press the murukku in circular shape into the hot oil.
Flip once after one side is done.

After the hissing sound and bubbles subdue, drain and remove the murukku. Place them on paper towel and store them in air tight containers after they get cool.


Murukku is ready!

Note:

Makes 15 big size murukku or 30 murukku of our palm diameter.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Creamy pasta.

This pasta dish is a favorite one in our house. With very few steps and lesser time we can get a delicious meal. Hope you all like it.
Just for my reference , I have written the brands I used, hope it will be interesting to look back:).



Cooking the pasta:
Rotini Pasta (or)any big size pasta - 1.5 cups (uncooked)
(I used whole wheat rotini pasta , ShopRite store brand)
Water - 5 cups
First bring the water to boil and add the pasta and cook al dente. (Al dente means cooked completely but firm)
Drain water and run it under cold water.

Preparing the vegetables:
Ranch dressing - 6 tbsp
(I used less calorie fit active brand)
Shredded mozzarella cheese - 1/4 cup
Broccoli / spinach - 1 cup
Red onion - 1/4 cup (chopped)
Green beans, fresh peas, carrot, olives - 1 cup (together)
garlic - 2 cloves
olive oil - 1 tbsp
Italian seasoning - 1 tsp

Chop the vegetables into big pieces.
Heat oil in a wok. Add the crushed garlic followed by the onion and chopped vegetables.
Add salt to taste. Sprinkle some water and cook covered till they turn tender crisp.
Switch off flame .

Method:
Mix the sauteed vegetables with cooked pasta and olives. Stir well.
Add shredded cheese while the pasta is hot.
Mix the ranch dressing before serving.

Serving suggestions:

Serves two.
Garnish with a few drops of tomato sauce.
Some protein rich sides like boiled eggs or baked chicken can make this meal a wholesome one.

You may also like:

1.Have a glance at how my friend Gita prepared the chicken fry in oven.
2.My chicken kickers.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Gulab Jamun.

Wish you all a very happy and prosperous New year my friends!

After a short vacation , I am very glad to present a well known Indian dessert , the Gulab Jamun.

Gulab means Rose flower and Jamun means a dark colored fruit called Naval pazham (Tamil). Mostly they soak the fried khoya dough balls in oil and soak them in rose scented sugar surup or honey or cardamom + saffron mixed sugar syrup.

The traditional method is to prepare / buy sugarless paal kova (khoya in Hindi / extremely condensed milk in form of creamy white semi solid) and mix it with maida flour to make jamuns.

It is my mother's technique to make gova at home by evaporating milk with lot of stirring, then add a tsp of rice flour + sugar to get the finishing touch. (For making GulabJamun we need not add sugar in ghova.) Then she would knead the gova (if we leave them behind ..hi hi) with careful addition of All purpose flour, baking soda ....mix them to get the small balls..fry them in ghee ..soak in sugar syrup....OMG! a lot of work ..huh!

But for me the easiest way is to buy a readymade Jamun mix. Anyways it still needs some technique to get a flawless one and I am giving out my procedure.



Ingredients:
Gulab jamun mix - 1 1/4 cup (250 ml)
(I used Gits brand)
water - 1/4 cup (Check instructions in your package carefully)

ghee / oil for deep frying - 100 ml

Sugar - 2 cups (400 gms)
water - 2 cups (equal measures of sugar)
Cardamom powder - 1/8 tsp
saffron - few strands.

Method:

Pour the mix from sachet in to a mixing bowl.

Using your hand gently break down all the lumps.

Immediately add all the water given in the instruction (adding little by little will create lumps and we may need more time to straighten it).
Mix well. At this stage the dough may seem a little sticky.
Allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Now the dough will become hard like chapathi dough.
Divide it into 20 equal parts and make smooth balls of 1 inch diameter with your hand.
Apply ghee / oil to make crack-less balls.
(If our dough is perfect ,we won't need oil to make it smooth).

Prepare sugar syrup in a wide vessel. Boil it for 10 minutes to get a single thread consistency.
(Single thread - If we pour the syrup by using a spatula , the last drop should fall as a single drop/ thread)
Add cardamom and saffron to it. Keep it in low heat.

Heat oil in a wok. Reduce flame to minimum and slowly fry the balls to a reddish brown color.
Drain oil and put it in hot syrup.

Take off the heat for sugar syrup now.

Likewise continue for all the jamuns and add them to the syrup.

Now leave it open till the gulabjamun gets cooled. Let them soak overnight or atleast 5 hours.

GulabJamun is ready!

Serving suggestions:

Serve it in small bowls with a generous helping of sugar syrup.
Decorate it with slivered almonds , pistachio (if desired).
Serve chilled as dessert after a grand dinner.

Tips:

The secret to get flawless gulabjamun lies in the dough and ball preparation. If we see any crack in the ball before frying, then redo it with very little ghee.
The diameter of the ball before frying should be 1 - 1.5 inches.

Important points:
One of the biggest challenges we face is to get a correct water + flour mixture.
So fry one ball, immerse in sugar solution and wait for 10 minutes to see if we get the correct taste. It is a must , if we make large batches.
If the jamun seems not cooked at center, then reduce the flame. Because high flame leaves the center raw.
If the jamun has more water content, ADD milk powder. NEVER add maida or any flour to suck the extra water added. It is very important hint in getting successful gulabjamuns. So keep some milk powder handy (Milk powders never go waste...hi..hi).
If the jeera is not absorbed properly, then increase the thickness of syrup by adding more sugar and heat to get a thicker sugar syrup.