Friday, March 27, 2020

Oats curd rice

Oats thayir saatham (ஒட்ஸ் தயிர் சாதம்), is our new favorite breakfast nowadays.
I soak steel cut oats overnight and cook it in stove top with old fashioned oats to prepare this curd rice. Most days I use old fashioned oats only, if I didn't soak steel cut oats. I won't recommend using steel cut oats only, as the old fashioned one or the quick oats gives a better texture for this recipe. Some days I pressure cook it the night before and leave it in countertop , just like our native style 'old rice' for next morning curd rice.  If you are using a quick oats you can cook it in stove top easily and use that for this recipe too.
I temper this curd oats, so that my hubby loves it like the regular 'curd rice' . I am sure anyone who loves curd rice will definitely like this.

Oats curd rice with mango pickle

Oats - 1 1/2 cup
(Old fashioned oats - 1 cup + steel cut oats 1/2 cup).
Indian plain yogurt (fat free curd) - 1 cup
sea salt - a pinch
water - 4 cups.
sesame oil - 1 tbsp.
mustard seeds- 1 tsp
urid dhal - 1/2 tsp
ginger - 1 inch ( chopped finely )
green chillies - 1 (chopped finely).
curry leaves - 1 sprig.
cilantro- chopped ( 1 tbsp)
fresh chopped shallot - 2 tbsp
Soak the steel cut oats for 2-3 hours . Add it to a cooking vessel along with old fashioned oats. 
Cook it in stove top for 10 minutes or until it is gets mushy.
If you are using an instant pot or pressure cooker, soaking is not necessary. Cook it in high pressure for 5 minutes with 4 cups of water. 
We can do this at night and keep it in countertop to get it little fermented. This is a healthier as well as easier version.

Before using it, add salt, curd, chopped shallot, cumin, cilantro to the cooked oats.

To temper: Heat a frying pan . Add oil.
Put the urid dhal and mustard seeds . After hearing the popping sound, add chopped curry leaves, cilantro, green chillies and ginger. Pour it over the oats. Mix well.

Oats curd rice is ready !

Serving suggestions:
Serve as  breakfast with mango pickles or just enjoy simply, because it tastes excellent all by itself. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Instant pot basic recipes and timings,

Electric pressure cooker (aka Instant pot) is the new hero in many households nowadays. Since its arrival, desi women have started 'fan clubs' for it :) . I too got two IP s , but still using both my traditional cookers too often.
Still I don't believe that IP can totally replace the traditional pressure cooker of Indians. In my view IP is more safer for anyone who is new to cooking, it won't need much monitoring (switch off automatically) etc.

I thought I should write down some of the simple recipes and timings in this post, which I use regularly. (I will be updating this page often).

Links for Instant pot manual : Ultra 10 in 1 , Duo
Sarkarai pongal in Instant pot

Some terms in Instant pot:
NPR - natural pressure release (IP releases pressure in its own - this is more safer)
MPR - Manual pressure release (by turning the feature in weight valve)
Always be careful while releasing the pressure manually. I always suggest waiting a minimum of 10 minutes before opening.

Basmati rice:
Rice - 2 cups, Water - 2.5 cups, 
number of cups of Water = number of cups of rice + 1/2 cup 
Rinse and add rice and water to Instant pot (directly to the inner pot given).
Choose pressure cooking, high pressure setting.
Set time to 3 minutes. Close lid . Check the pressure weight valve and keep it in sealing position)
After it finishes cooking, let cool for 5-10  minutes (NPR - natural pressure release).
Release excess steam manually now. Open the lid.
We can release pressure immediately also (no need for waiting time).
Gently loosen up the rice using a fork , by stirring it once.
Perfectly cooked rice is ready.

Toor dal (paruppu):
Toor dal - 1 cup, Water - 3 cups (thrice of dal).
(or) just see that the water stands 1 inch above dal.
Mode : Pressure cooking, high pressure.
Time : 10 minutes
Set it to pressure cooking high and 10 minutes. After it switches off, release pressure manually after 5 minutes or immediately .

Hardboiled Egg (5-5-5 minutes rule):
Pour 2 cups of water in a 3 qt (or any) IP inner pot. Place the steel trivet inside (see images to understand what this means).
Place the eggs . (I keep a silicone IP egg cooking holder above the trivet and place the eggs on it).
Set to high pressure, pressure cooking mode, 5 minutes.
After it finishes cooking, wait 5 minutes, release steam manually.
Fill a separate bowl with cold water (tap water) and keep the eggs for 5 minutes.
Peel them off.
Perfect hard-boiled eggs are ready !

Steel cut / old fashioned oats - 2 cups
water - 5 cups (cups of oats x 2 + 1 cup water)
Mode : Pressure cooking, high pressure.
Time : 5 minutes
Set it to pressure cooking high and 5 minutes. After it switches off, release pressure manually after 5 minutes or immediately .

Friday, February 28, 2020

Air fryer : Onion Pakoda

 Air fried spicy snacks is my newest passion in cooking. After I started airfrying (since 4 years or more), I started loving air-fried items better than deep fried ones. When it comes to airfrying , one has to develop a mindset to appreciate this taste too, as our tastebuds are used to deep fried items only. So the first step is to prepare some easy recipes like French fries in air fryer , sweet potato fries and we will slowly get used to this. There are a lot of airfryer recipes in the internet. I formulate my own, to suit our taste.  My hubby loves this very much, and many a days he will demand this quick snack along with tea:) . Try this and fall in love with oil-less  spicy snacks.

Red onion - 2 (big) (250 gms)
besan flour - 1/2 cup
rice flour - 2 tbsp
salt - 1 tsp (to taste)
olive oil (or any cooking oil) - 1 tbsp
red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
asafetida (hing) - 1/4 tsp
garam masala (optional) - 1/2 tsp

Preheat the airfryer to 375 F.
Peel and slice the onion into long pieces. Put it in a mixing bowl.
Add all the other items and mix well. Sprinkle very little water (handful) and mix well.
The mix should not be watery.
Spread this pakora mix in the airfryer basket (not necessarily a single layer).
I do this quantity in 2 batches.
Start heating and bake for 20 minutes. Every 5 minutes take the basket out and shake well and repeat cooking again. Depending upon the airfryer , onion size and water content in the recipe, the pakora will get ready within 15-20 mins. Don’t let it char.
Take out and enjoy.

For bigger batch:
When it comes to party, I wouldn’t suggest airfried items, as this gets longer time to cook and also, deep frying is always associated with party foods.
But if you are planning for 'meal prep' kind of idea, then make this onion pakora in advance (say a day before) , put them in zip lock covers and keep refrigerated.
Before serving do the airfrying for 5 mins at 350 F or spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes (until crispy) at 350F in regular oven.
Serve hot.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as evening snack with tomato ketchup and hot tea.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's day

Everyday is a Valentine's Day for everyone who lives in love ! Love is exciting when we are young, it grows with age everyday ....keeps the marriage totally happy always ! Love is the bond that glues the couples together and makes the house a home. Love is the salt of this earth and a gift from God to mankind. True love lives forever !
காதலோடு வாழும் தம்பதிகளுக்கு எந்நாளும் காதலர் தினமே ! அனைவருக்கும் இனிய காதலர் தின நல்வாழ்த்துக்கள் !
Wishing all a Happy Valentine's day !

Friday, January 31, 2020

Snacks made by my friend !

Recently a very sweet family has moved to our neighborhood and we feel  very glad to be their friends. We celebrated Christmas at our home. After that, during Pongal they invited us for a get-together during their son's birthday. At that time only I came to know about my friend Gayathri's passion for cooking. She had made an array of yummy snacks for Pongal festival ....A spicy Andhra style murukku, Jangiri and Kajirikai (somas in Tamil) and a ginger tea.  Everything was perfect. I love the way the Kajirikai holds the shape beautifully and the yummy  jangiri made without colors and the crispy spicy murukku.
We enjoyed this party very much and went together to the movie Jumanji the next day in East Brunswick mall and to a lunch at Cici's pizzeria, where kids can play too.

I am sharing some of the pictures I got. I will share the recipes here (same page) once I get.

Pongal snacks made by Mrs.Gayathri. I admire her dedication very much. 

Yummy snacks made by my friend Gayathri.
 And on another wintry evening Gayathri has brought us this spicy pakora - Palak mirchi pakora and that too tastes  totally YUMM! ....Thanks dear !
Palak mirchi pakora.
I think , this inspiring friendship will kindle my passion to cook (blog) again.
Thanks be to God !

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Happy Pongal,

Wishing all a happy and prosperous Pongal !

Pongal greetings Photo courtesy : click here.
Here is what I did during Pongal:
I prepared aviyal and pongal puli kulambu on the night before Pongal , as I wanted to make sure that I give this as lunch pack along with rice for my hubby the next morning.
On Pongal morning I made Sarkarai pongal and paruppu.
Here are some pictures to enjoy !

My sarkarai pongal (in NJ, USA)  in the new pot I got as Christmas gift from my hubby and Shakthi.

Sarkarai Pongal with Aviyal
Pongal puli kulambu with aviyal and appalam
My nieces Abinaya , Narthana's Rangoli in Tuticorin (photo sent by my brother Saravanan).

A Rangoli in my chithi's house in Athoor.

My chithi's neighbor's beautiful Rangoli for Pongal and colored with the help of local kids. 
My pongal grocery haul :) Jaggery, new rice bag, banana. :) 

Vegetables I bought for Pongal :) It is traditional to include all the vegetables on that day , wow , what an excuse for me to buy all these veggies :) 

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year ,

Kulfi ice cream I made !

Chicken briyani for New Year !