Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Paal kozhukkattai (Type 2)

Paal kolukkattai is a famous payasam / kheer in my home town. I have never seen it being served in any restaurant. so I guess it is a regional dessert. It can be made using white sugar or jaggery. Click to see my milky white paal kolukkattai. The whiter one is more popular and made of cow's milk. But the jaggery based one has more native flavor and made with coconut milk.This version is my hubby's most favorite and he started asking me once more on seeing this :)

Paal kolukattai in jaggery and coconut milk payasam.
For kozhukkattai:
Rice flour - 3/4 cup
hot water - 1/2 cup
salt - a pinch

To make kolukkattai:
Bring 1/4 cup water to boil along with a pinch of salt.
Add this to the rice flour slowly till it reaches chapati dough consistency.

Divide the dough into two equal portions.
Make small balls of 1/2 inch diameter from one half of dough and elongated spheres of 1 inch length (Hemispherical cylinder) from another half.
Lets call them both as 'kolukkattai'. (While preparing big batches, they place the kolukkattai over a new wet cotton cloth spread on a large plate called thambalam and cover with the same cloth).

Bring 2 cups of water to boil and add handful of the kolukkattai to it.
Add them in smaller batches with some interval, otherwise all will get dissolved.
Wait till all the dumplings get cooked and water gets reduced to the minimum.

For payasam base:
Jaggery (crushed) - 3/4 cup
coconut - 1/2 (or) 1.5 cup extract
ghee - 1 tsp
cashew - 4
almond - 2
raisin - 10
cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
shredded coconut - 2 tbsp

Shred the coconut and add 1/2 cup warm water to it. Squeeze the milk. repeat the same thrice to get all the coconut milk. Keep aside.
Add 2 cups of water to the jaggery and bring it to a boil.
Remove any dirt by filter. Pour this to the prepared kolukkattai and bring to a boil.
Now switch off and add the coconut milk, cardamom powder.

Fry the nuts, raisin in ghee and pour over the payasam. Decorate with freshly shredded coconut.

Paal kolukkattai payasam is ready.

Serving suggestions:
serve warm as dessert.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brinjal puli pachadi

Katharikkai - Brinjal / eggplant , puli - tamarind , pachadi - less cooked curry / salad.
other names: Sutta kathirikkai puli mandi, eggplant tamarind chutney.

brinjal - 1 (100 gm)
green chilly - 2
curry leaf - 1 sprig
shallot - 3
asafoetida / hing - a pinch
red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
cumin - few seeds
salt - to taste
tamarind - 3 inch strip

Wash the brinjal and pat dry. Apply few drops of sesame oil allover the brinjal and rub well. Pierce a metal skewer (vadai kambi) into the brinjal and start broiling it over medium flame. (In olden days they place these brinjals over hot charcoal, after cooking rice and let them get broiled themselves).

After sometime we may see the skin of the brinjal getting char and it will start smelling great. It will take around 5 minutes in low heat to get it cooked completely. I broiled chinese eggplant, that was long and slender.

Place it over a plate and let it cool. Then peel and discard the skin. Mash the brinjal coarsely with hand. Chop the onion, chilly, curry leaf and add them to the brinjal. Extract the tamarind juice with very little water and pour it to the mixture. Add all the powders, salt, cumin and mix well.

Brinjal puli pachadi is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with any rice.
The tamarind taste and spice level should be dominating in this pachadi.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Roasted cashew (Indian style)

Some years ago, there were myths about these innocent cashews and weight conscious people stayed away from them. Gone are those days and now everyone recommends them to stay fit:). Anyways if you are more particular about weight loss, then roast the cashews in oven without butter or oil. But recently I prepared this Indian style spicy roasted cashews for our road trip. This is how my mom used to do occasionally and I am glad that we found a good snack for the weekends. Should I say, Xav likes it very much and he has promised me that he will avoid store-bought snacks (!).

Cashews(raw and whole) - 20
ghee / butter - 1 tbsp
salt - to taste
pepper - 1/2 tsp
red chilly powder - 1/4 tsp
garam masala powder - 1/8 tsp (optional)

Heat the ghee and fry the cashews in very low flame. It will take almost 5 minutes in that low heat. Switch off and take out the nuts. Drain the excess butter using a paper towel.
(If you need to roast more cashews, then add another tbsp of ghee and fry them 20 by 20. Don't crowd them).
Wipe the wok and put the cashews, salt, pepper, chilly powder, garam masala and mix well. Let them cool completely.
After cooling the nuts will turn more crispy.
Store in an air tight container.

Serving suggestions:
Serve with coffee or tea as snack.

Consume them moderately. Cashews can be roasted in oven also.
Oven fried cashews (5) with less salt can be consumed 30 minutes before meal to achieve the satiety factor.
Microwaving the cashews: It may take less than 3 minutes to get it roasted.
Oven: Spread 2 cups of cashews over a cookie sheet, in single layer. Temperature 375 deg F and time 15 - 20 minutes with constant stirring. Coat them with a tbsp of butter and salt before taking out.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

Dum aloo is a famous Indian dish available in almost every Indian restaurant. The baby potatoes soaking in that sauce looks so beautiful and I absolutely enjoy preparing this cute curry:) The regular dum aloo has a spicy finish while the Kashmiri version should be on the sweeter side (as per my knowledge).  Originally, they deep fry the potatoes and slow cook them in the gravy overnight. But I did a less calories version on my own to get closer to that restaurant taste. Try this and enjoy:)

Aloo - potato.
Dum / dham / tham - Anything (biryani, vegetables, non veg) closed tightly and cooked in its own vapor in low heat for hours to get a much flavorful and juicy food.

Dum aloo served.

Baby potatoes getting par boiled.

Baby potato - 15 (1 lb)
bay leaf - 2
oil / butter - 2 tbsp
Tomato puree - 1/2 cup
ginger powder - 1/2 tsp
garlic - 3 cloves
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Plain Indian yogurt (thick) - 1/2 cup
dry methi leaves - 1 tbsp

To dry roast:
Cardamom - 3
cloves- 4
cinnamon - 1 inch
nutmeg - a tiny shaving
shahi jeera - 1/4 tsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
fennel - 1 tbsp
dry red chilly - 6
coriander seed - 2 tbsp

For gravy:
cashew(soaked) - 10
almond(soaked) - 5
raisin - 10
dates - 2
mint leaf - 1 sprig
cilantro - 2 sprig
milk - 1 cup

Soak the nuts, dry fruits in warm milk for 4 hours or overnight (in water).

Choose very small potatoes or buy a baby potato pack.Wash the potatoes.
Put them in boiling water and cook for just 5 minutes (1/2 boil).
Put in cold water and gently peel the skin using a knife.
Then make a few holes all over the potatoes using a fork.

Dry roast the items given. Grind them together with those mentioned above.

Heat 2 tbsp butter / oil in a wok and shallow fry the potatoes till they get a mild red color outside. Keep aside.

In the remaining oil (we won't get much left out, but it will be enough) add the bay leaves, crushed garlic and fry for a few seconds. Then add the tomato puree and fry for a minute. Immediately add the ground masala and bring to a boil. Then add the turmeric, beaten yogurt, salt and mix well.  Put the baby potatoes and reduce the flame. If needed add some milk. Slow cook it for 30 minutes and switch off.
Sprinkle some crushed methi leaves.

Dum aloo is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with paratha, chapathi, jeera pulav or plain rice.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Kambu kolukkattai

Kambu - pearl millet (bajira - Hindi), kolukkattai / kozhukkattai - steamed sweet dumbling

Few generations ago this must have been a staple snack / breakfast among the village people of Tamilnadu. I have read about this in Tamil folk tales and tasted a few times.Then I tried to bring out that ancient snack and here goes the recipe :)

Kambu - 1 cup
rice - 2 tbsp
coconut (shredded) - 1/2 cup (optional)
cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
jaggery (crushed) - 3/4 cup (or lesser)

Dry roast the kambu, rice till the kambu smells good.
Let it cool and powder it.
Add 1/2 cup water to jaggery and dissolve it by heating.
Filter and remove any impurities.
Pour the hot solution to a mixing bowl. Add the flour, cardamom powder and kambu flour. Mix well to get something like hard chapathi dough. Take a ball and press well inside the palm to get a rough oval shape. Grease an idly mold with very little sesame oil and place the dumplings. Cook in idly cooker for 5 minutes (full steam).

Kambu kolukkattai is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot / cold as healthy breakfast or snack.
Palm jaggery can also be used instead of the cane jaggery.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Potato bajji (Urulai kilangu bajji)

Bajji (Tamil) - Vegetable slices coated with spicy gram flour paste and deep fried. (Whereas in hindi , baji means a spicy curry served roti).

We can get this snack in almost all the tea shops of Tamilnadu, India. The valaikkai bajji prepared with unripe banana is more common and claimed as the standard version when served with thick coconut chutney (ketti chutney). But I have seen mom utilizing various vegetables like Potato, onion, cauliflower, unripe plantain (valaikkai), brinjal, unripe tomato, capsicum. Also bajji can be made using boiled egg, fish, bread, appalam (pappad). As it is a simple snack, that can be prepared within 10 minutes, bajji comes handy for me whenever we get surprise visitors, especially during winter evenings.

Memories :I will always remember the 'bajji treat' made by my friend Archana's mom....It was a pleasant surprise for us to see almost all the varieties of bajjis in one place, that too made in front of us , while we were enjoying her tea and waiting to roam(!) around that pool. Thank you Nalini aunty! whenever I make bajji, your treat goes as the main topic in our home :).

Urulai kilangu bajji served with tomato ketchup.
Ingredients (for 10 pieces) :
Potato (big and round) - 1
Besan flour (kadalai mavu) - 3/4 cup
dosa batter - 1/4 cup
(or) rice flour - 2 tbsp
salt - to taste
red chilly powder - 1 tbsp
hing (asafoetida)- 1/8 tsp
baking soda - 1/10 tsp
garlic - 2 pieces (finely ground)
red food color - a pinch (optional)
oil - to deep fry (200 ml)

Wash the potato, scrub and remove the skin. Slice it into thin (2mm approx) round pieces, using a knife and cutting board. Don't use a chips maker, if it has nonadjustable blades. We may need the slices to be more thick than the potato chips.

Mix all the above with 1/4 cup water to a thick batter. Add more water if needed, but keep the batter like idly batter ,otherwise the bajjis will absorb more oil.

Heat oil in a wok. As it gets smoky hot, reduce flame and keep in medium flame.

Dip the potato slices in the batter and put it on the hot oil. Flip and fry both sides. Drain oil and take out.

Potato bajji is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot as snack along with hot coffee or tea during rainy / winter season.
Coconut chutney or tomato ketchup are good side dishes for these fries.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cabbage carrot poriyal

A big ball of cabbage sitting in the refrigerator is a great comfort for me when that week's grocery shopping got postponed unavoidably. Cabbage side dishes are plenty in my draft and here is one.

Recipe courtesy / memories: My sulochana aachi . I remember her telling mom to prepare this cabbage poriyal, whenever they both arrange for some family get-together.  Indian ThaLi meal (platter) may need  'n' number of side dishes.  So if we can prepare a delicious cabbage poriyal, then it will become an inexhaustible side dish resource for that day, even if you run out of a few dishes :) I like her views,  social skills, home management techniques very much. So no wonder, her favorite cabbage became my favorite too:)

cabbage  - 150 gm
carrot (1) - 50 gm
channa dhal - 2 tbsp
mustard - 1/2 tsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
onion - 1/2
salt - to taste
oil - 1 tsp
cumin- 1/2 tsp
freshly shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
green chilly - 1
ginger - 1/2 inch

Soak the channa dhal for sometime and cook it by putting in boiling water.
(or) Microwave it for 2 minutes along with 1/4 cup water.
Finely chop the onion, chilly, ginger, curry leaf and keep aside.
Finely chop the cabbage and carrot (tiny squares). Keep aside.
Heat a wok with a tsp of oil and let the mustard crackle. Then add the chopped onion, chilly, ginger, curry leaf and stir well. Let the onion wilt (1 minute).Immediately add the finely chopped cabbage, carrot and stir well. Add the cooked channa dhal along with any left over water(not much) and cook covered (3 minutes). Don't let it brown. Let all the water evaporate. Finally add required salt, cumin, shredded coconut, mix well and switch off.

Cabbage carrot poriyal is ready!

Serving suggestions:
serve as side dish with sambar rice or any rice or roti.
Serves 3 people.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ghee rice

Nei choru / Neychoru or ghee rice is the Indian form of fried rice served during special occasions, when one cannot prepare the traditional biryani. Ghee rice is a much flavorful and non-spicy variety rice, always accompanied by some spicy curry like dum aloo or paneer masala for vegetarians and Mutton / chicken masala fry for non vegetarians. It is a common dish / one of the main courses in 'Tamil, Kerala and Islam' cuisine.

Neychoru served with lamb curry and onion pachadi.

Basmati rice - 2 cup
(3/4 cup for 1 adult )
water - 3 cups
water measurement for open vessel cooking and rice cooker :(number of cups of rice x 2) - 1 = (2x2)-1 = 3
ghee - 3 tbsp
salt - 1/2 tsp
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp

bay leaf - 2
clove - 4
cardamom - 2
cinnamon - 1 inch
star aniseed - 1
nutmeg (jathi kai) - a small shaving
mace (jathi pathiri) - a small piece

onion (thinly sliced)- 1 cup
ghee / oil - 2 tbsp
cashew - 10
raisin - 10
mint leaf - a handful
cilantro - few sprigs

Wash the rice thrice and drain excess water. Let it remain for 10 minutes.
Slice the onions into thin long pieces.
In a wok, heat 2 tbsp oil / ghee and fry the onion till they get golden brown. Keep aside. In the remaining ghee sticking to the pan, add the cashew , raisins and fry separately.Take them out and keep aside.
Finely chop the mint leaf + cilantro and keep everything for garnishing.

Start boiling some water in a separate pan.
Heat the remaining ghee in a wok and add the spices listed above.
After a few seconds, add the ginger garlic paste and saute well.
If needed add one more tbsp of ghee.
To this add the soaked, drained rice and saute well till it starts puffing.
Add salt and pour the boiling water just to completely immerse the rice.
Cover with a tight lid and keep the flame in minimum.
Now we will see small holes all over the rice. Continue cooking in low heat. If needed sprinkle a handful of hot water and stir once very carefully without breaking the rice.
After the rice gets cooked (but should be stiff, straight and long.....not mushy), switch off, keep closed and leave for 10 minutes.
Add the fried onions, chopped cilantro, mint leaves, cashew, raisins and mix once.

Ghee rice is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot as main course with any spicy curry.
If needed reheat by microwave or by placing over a hot tawa.
While measuring the rice, consider taking more rice for this kind of ghee rice, as we won't cook the rice completely like the regular day and we may need more quantity to serve.

Vazhaikkai Poriyal (Plantain stir fry)

This vazhaikai poriyal was a staple in our house as we had some (lot) of banana trees in our backyard. I have seen amma running there to pic...