Thursday, October 28, 2010

Boondhi ladoo

Sweets and Deepavali are inseparable. Here is my ladoo for you all to enjoy.
My hearty prayers and well wishes to you all on this golden occasion. Happy Deepavali to you all!

Boondhi ladoo prepared.

Boondhi ladoo:
Boondhi ladoo or simply the laddu available in SouthIndia is different from motichoor ladoo. A traditional South Indian ladu resembles the famous Tirupathi ladoo and long lasting in room temperature too. while the mothichoor version is more soft, colorful and should be kept in fridge to ensure the freshness.

This is my mom's recipe and I have seen her struggling during Deepavalis with these to get that shape. Those were the days when moms would start making sweets and savories nearly a week before Diwali. Ladoo is her specialty. Her kitchen is large and well ventilated, so that many can join hands during festival days.
Ladoo making is a laborious task, if we don't plan well ahead. She and her maid would simplify the job by frying the boondhis on one evening and the ladoo making the next day. She used to have a long list of friends to send gifts during Diwali. Those large vessels sleeping now in the attic would be filled with home made murukku, muthiri kothu, athirasam, achi murukku, ladoo and another remarkable sweet which I will tell later . My ladoo saga started again, when we wanted to prepare for a thanks giving.

Ladoo has given me so many sweet memories and it is my most favorite sweet too. Those box of ladoo my chithappa used to buy for me from the Lakshmi vilas, my friend M's loving Tirupathi ladoo came through USPS, my elder uncle's care to take me to Tirupathi in my childhood, Kanagam mama buying ghee ladoo for me, my mom's diwali rushes, the carry home gifts of marriages, hubby's strong passion and possessiveness for these home made ladoos, etc etc:)

Boondi soaked in sugar syrup before making the ladu balls.
Ladoo I made for Valentine's day 2013

Besan flour (kadalai mavu)- 5 cups (1 kg)
(1 -200 ml cup / 200 gms flour yields nearly 10 ladoo)
(water for boondhi- almost half the flour)
sugar - 5 cups (1 kg)
(water for syrup - almost 75% of sugar measure; 4 cups)
baking soda - 1/2 tsp
oil - 1/2 liter (500 ml)
cardamom - 15
pachai karpuram (edible camphor) - a pinch
cashew - 50 number
raisin - 50 number

Special equipment needed:
1.A perforated vessel to make boondhis.
(If we are doing for a small batch, say 1 cup flour, then make holes on a disposable plate using a skewer. I have done this home made boondhi making plate , before buying a traditional boondhi maker and it was very successful too.).
2. disposable hand gloves to bear the heat. Those days they didn't use gloves, I can't imagine that.

Preparing Boondhi:
Mix the baking soda, yellow food color - 2 drops (optional), with a cup of water and pour it into the four. Add water little by little, till it reaches a thick dosa batter consistency. The consistency should be so thick that, if we place a scoop of batter on the perforated plate, it should not run down (we press and make spheres through the holes).

In the same time heat few tbsps of ghee in a broad wok and fry the cashew nuts and raisins separately. Keep aside.

Now add the oil in the wok and start heating slowly, without reaching the fuming point. Gently pour a ladle of batter over the boondhi making plate and press it to the hot oil. Fry till its done. The final product should be crispy.(My version calls for crispy white boondhis. But if you want, you can make soft boondhis too) . Drain oil , let cool and store them.

Making ladoo:
Then in your convenient time, start preparing the syrup. You may need more time and energy to prepare these balls.

Mix the 5 cups of white-sugar with 4 cups of water and *heat it till we get a two thread consistency. (Test:A drop of sugar syrup put in a cup of cold water remains intact as a hard ball). Switch off and add fried boondhis, cardamom powder, fried cashews, raisins. Stir well.

Wear your gloves and start preparing the cute balls out of that hot boondhi mix. Rub some melted ghee to get a good shape. Hurry up, before they get solidify. Make sure that each and every ladoo gets a cahsew and a raisin:)
If you can't do it fast, it may crystallize and the ladoo won't hold together. If it solidifies , don't panic. Just heat the sweetened boondhi with a drop of water, make sure it melts and start making the remaining ladoo.

Boondhi ladu is ready!

* //If making small quantity if ladoo, then no need for 2 thread consistency syrup. Single thread is enough. //
We can make these ladoos using ready-made boondhis too. But buy the boondhi without salt or seasoning.
Don't be anxious on the results. The ladoo will turn out successful for all.It will be much easier, if we split and do the process as said in the anecdote.
Add 1/2 cup milk powder to boondhi syrup mixture, before making the laddu. This gives a more rich taste.

My treat for you all on  Diwali::

Boondhi ladoo
Athirasam (with rice flour)

Gulab Jamun
Carrot halwa
Wheat Halwa
Mysore bah
Maida Burfi
Badam katli
Milk peda(MW method)
Rava ladoo
Besan flour ladoo

Cashew pakoda
Ulunthu Vadai
Cinema theater samsa
Ribbon Pakoda
ordinary pakoda
Vaazhai poo vadai
Masal vadai

Payasam and kesari:
Semiya Javvarisi Paal Payasam
Paruppu payasam
Pineapple kesari
Rava kesari

For health:
Sukku malli coffee
Deepavali Legiyam
Home made Digestion syrup

Enjoy and have a beautiful Deepavali!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gray squash poriyal

This is one vegetable I had a lot of confusion in buying. I don't know the Tamil translation for this vegetable, as I have never seen this before:) So when I saw this for the first time in an Asian market, I was not sure of the taste. But bought it one day to trial run. Surprisingly this tasted just like our Ridge gourd. Recording this Indianised gray squash recipe for you all.

Gray squash in a pack.

Gray squash - 3
Onion - 1/2 cup (chopped)
green chilli - 2 (slit)
curry leaf - 1 sprig
Shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
Oil - 2 tsp
mustard seed - 1/2 tsp
cumin seed - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

Peel and chop the squash. keep aside.
Heat oil in a wok.
Add mustard seeds and let them pop.
Immediately add chopped onion, curry leaf, green chilly and stir well til the onion gets semi cooked.
Now add the chopped squash along with 1/2 cup water and cook it tightly covered till the squash gets soft.
Add salt to taste.
Then add the cumin and shredded coconut and stir to loose all the moisture.
Take off heat.
Gray squash stir fry is ready!

Serving suggestions:
The above said quantity can be served for 3 people.
Serve as side dish with roti or sambar rice, rasam or any spicy puli kulambu.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fish cutlet

I tasted this cutlet for the first time in my friend Gnanam's house (school days). At that time cutlets were served only in restaurants in my home town and newer recipes were rare. Only the young girls would try newer recipes from the cook-books, while the elders sticking with their own tradition. Gnanam's elder sister Clara akka is the one I admire a lot for her cooking, dedication and religious activities. May be she is the one kindled my passion for Jesus, though we have not talked much on that Subject. We all have some role models in life in each and every thing we do, may be our dressing style or way of talking etc, I should say I learned much from her.... Her recipes are the best for me till now. Then I prepared this cutlet at home to impress my mom. So it became our family's  favorite from then on. After marriage I rarely cook fish because of hubby's taste buds:)

Fish cutlet served with lemon wedge. The picture didn't do justice here :)

Fishes suitable for cutlet:
Fish -1/4 kg
Shark (sura meen), king fish (vanjiram/seela meen), sword fish (vazhai meen),
Any fish with good flesh like salmon, red snapper(sankara / romeo), Tuna fish fresh or canned.
I generally prefer shark for this cutlet.

Cooking the fish:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a vessel. Add turmeric powder 1/2 tsp (to reduce fishy smell), salt - 1 tsp. Then add the washed / cleaned fish pieces along with the skin and bones.
Close it with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.
After it gets cool, peel off the skin and remove the bones.
Mash the fish with your hand or masher without any lumps.

Other ingredients:
Potato (boiled) - 2 (100 gm)
onion - 1
green chillies - 2
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
fennel - 1 tsp
curry leaf, cilantro, mint leaf (together) - finely chopped 2 tbsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
garam masal powder - 1 tsp
lime juice from 1/8 fruit
salt to taste
bread crumbs - 1 cup
egg - 1
oil - to shallow fry

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok. Add the fennel, finely chopped onion, green chilly, leaves and fry till they wilt. Then add the ginger garlic paste and stir well.
Now add the mashed fish, chilly powder, garam masal powder, salt and fry till moisture is gone.
Now mash the cooked potatoes and add, again stir well.
Sprinkle the lemon juice and switch off.

Frying the cutlet:
Heat some oil to shallow fry the cutlet in a broad based wok.
Pour the egg to a broad dish. Add salt and beat well.
In another plate spread the bread crumbs.
Now take a lemon size ball from the prepared fish mixture. Flatten it to get a oval or circular shape with 3/4 inch thickness.
Dip that in beaten egg, then dip it in bread crumbs.
Bring it to a perfect shape. Shallow fry it both sides. Drain oil and serve hot.
Fish cutlet is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as evening snack or along with rice as side dish.
Mostly this fish cutlet goes well with tomato sauce.

Making the cutlets with canned fish is much easy.
Bread crumbs can be prepared at home using few bread slices. Just leave them in a hot oven for a few minutes and powder it.
Left over sura puttu can be made into this cutlet the next day.
2 tins of Tuna fish (water based) and 2 small potatoes will yield 10 or 11 cutlets.