Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vengaya vadai

Vadai - Deep fried Indian spicy doughnut; vengayam (Tamil) - onion.

This is another version of masal vadai with more onion. It is a popular snack in the tea stalls of Tamilnadu and Kerala.

Click to read and enjoy the old Tamil song behind:)

Channa dhal / Bengal gram lentil - 3/4 cup
Red onion - 3 (medium size)
salt - to taste
green chilies - 3 (chopped)
fresh ginger - 1 inch
curry leaves- 1 sprig
fennel seeds (peruncheeragam/ sombu)- 1/2 tbsp
dry red chillies - 3
cooking oil-250 ml. (for deep frying)

Soak the dhal for 1 hour in cold water.
Grind dhal with red chillies, salt, ginger,fennel seeds to a coarse mixture without any water.
Chop the onion finely by hand (not in chopper, as it will yield more water to batter and a dark vadai).
In a mixing bowl add the dhal mixture, chopped onions, finely chopped green chilly and curry leaves. Mix well .
Heat oil in a frying pan. Wait till it is hot.
Take a lemon size ball of the mixture, slightly flatten in the palm of your hand and then carefully put the vadai in hot oil . Keep flame in medium heat.
Deep fry on both sides to a golden brown color to mild red color.
Remove the onion vadai , drain oil by placing over a  paper towel .

Serving suggestions:
Makes 12 big size vengaya vadai.
Serve hot with Coconut chutney.
Serve with tea or coffee.

Healthy version:
Add 2 tbsp oil to the batter and shape them into thin vadai.
Bake them at 350 deg C for 15 minutes , flip and bake for 5 minutes or till done.

This batter cannot be refrigerated after adding onion (otherwise the vadai will get dark while frying).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Its awards time!

Sobha Shyam of Good food has passed me this cute award. Sobha, you have a wonderful blog and it's so sweet to get this award from you. Thanks dear.

Teena Mary of Teenz' yummy delights has shared this beautiful award with me. I am honored. Thank you dear.
Teena is hosting a lovely event for Valentine's day.. I am creating some romantic recipes for her event:)  Don't miss it!

I would like to present these to the following friends.
Chitra, Christy, Cham, Deepa, Somoo and also to all my well talented blog friends. I would like to share it with all of my blog friends, but can't type all the names now. Friends,  please feel free to grab them.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Brinjal kothsu

Brinjal - eggplant; kothsu - a curry popular among Tamil Brahmins.

I decided to prepare this kothsu, as soon as I saw this pretty big native brinjal in stop&shop. I know it would yield a lot of kothsu, so after broiling I reserved a portion for my eggplant raitha and the kothsu was handy for 3 days with my chapathi:) I prefer to make some eggplant sides while I do the beans like channa, as it is healthy for digestion. I got this authentic chidambaram kothsu recipe from Madhu of Treks and treats. It was in my bookmark for a long time and glad that I tried it. Thank you Madhu, your recipe is a treasure to me. (I have made some alterations like broiling. Noting down for my reference only).

Cute and big the size with an apple:)

Broiled eggplant.

For podi / kothsu masala powder:
Dry red chilly - 8
Coriander seeds - 3 tbsp
cumin - 1 tsp
channa dhal / bengal gram - 2 tbsp
methi seeds / fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
sesame oil - 1 tsp
Heat oil in a wok and fry the channa dhal, chillies first. Take it out and fry the others. Powder together.

Brinjal - 300 gm
shallot - 10 (or) red onion - 1
Asafoetida / hing - 1 pinch
turmeric - 1/4 tsp
tamarind - a key lime size
curry leaves - 1 sprig
sesame oil - 1/4 cup
kothsu podi - (above)
Salt - to taste

Broil the brinjal in gas stove or flame or inside oven. Peel the skin and chop / mash coarsely.
Extract juice from tamarind. Keep aside.
Heat 1/4 cup oil in a wok and fry the chopped onion till it turns soft. Put the hing powder, curry leaves.
Add the tamarind juice, turmeric powder and boil till raw smell vanishes.
Now pour the mashed brinjal and cook well with salt.
As it starts thickening, add the kothsu powder and mix well.
Bring it to a boil and switch off!

Chidambaram kothsu is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Makes a side dish with roti, chapati or rice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chayote (chowchow) kuruma

Chayote potato spicy curry / Bangalore kathirikkai Urulaikilangu kuruma / aloo chowchow subji.

Here is a kuruma for the dieters who long for the regular potato flavored kuruma.

Chayote (chow chow) - 1
potato (aloo) - 2 (medium size)
tomato - 2
channa dhal - 1/4 cup
Red onion - 1 (medium size)
coriander leaves - a handful.
mint leaves - few
curry leaves - few
curd - 1/2 cup
red chilli powder - 1 tbsp
turmeric powder - a pinch
curry masala powder - 1 tsp
salt - to taste

oil - 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
bay leaf - 1
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp

To grind:
shredded coconut - 1/4 cup
onion - 1/2 cup
green chillies - 4
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
cardamom - 4
cloves - 2

Soak the channa dhal for 30 minutes.
Grind the items mentioned along with 1 tbsp of soaked dhal.
Peel and cut the potato and chow chow in to 1 inch cubes.
Chop the onion, cilantro, mint finely.

Heat oil in a pan. fry some fennel seeds and bay leaf.
Add the chopped onion, green chillies ,curry leaves, cilantro and mint leaves. After the onion turns golden brown , add ginger garlic paste and saute well.
Now put the finely chopped tomato and cook till oil oozes out.
Put the turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder, curry powder and fry for a few seconds.
Now add the vegetables, soaked channa dhal and mix well and add 2 cups of water.
close the lid and cook all the vegetables to tender.
Add the coconut masala, curd, salt and boil for 5 more minutes to remove the raw smell.
Switch off immediately .

Chow chow kuruma is ready!

Serving suggestions:
serve hot with chapati or rice.
This is a good alternative to the regular potato kuruma as we can control the carbohydrate by adding the chayote.
Tastes just like the potato kuruma.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pongal wishes,

Happy Pongal to all my readers, friends and family ,

Pongal Greetings, pongal graphics, pongal cards

Orkut Scraps Pongal
*** - Orkut Pongal scraps, graphic and comments ! ***

May this Pongal festival brings peace, good health, cheer, prosperity and every thing we wish for.
Happy Pongal!


Friday, January 13, 2012

Pongal Puli curry

Pongal - Indian Thanks giving festival or Farmer's festival ;  Puli - Tamarind;
curry - a side dish.

Recipe source:  My mom used to do this every year during pongal. I got this yummy recipe from my Jeyasri chithi.  Jeyashri chithi prepares lot of dishes along with curry like a sambar with mixed veggies too. I love her recipes very much and practice them for my special days. 

Pongal is celebrated for 3 to 5 days in the middle of January by all people with agriculture background in India. Rice and banana are the major crops in my home town. So pongal is a big festival there. It is a season of happiness for the farmers as well as for every one who loves festivals like me:) The main celebrations include cleaning the house and farm material (Pogi day), offering thanks to Sun and God (Pongal day), celebrating the holiness of cow (mattu Pongal day). The night before Pongal day, the ladies paint big size rangoli kolam in front of the house and tie turmeric plants and sugarcanes in the doorway to welcome the prosperity. On pongal day, just like barbeque party, it is common to prepare the sweet rice Pongal in the front yard in a traditional way. The feast may include a plain rice, sweet rice pongal, avial, puli curry, dhal. It is a tradition to include at least a small piece of every vegetable in that day.
On the third day those who have cows would prepare another batch of sweet rice for the cows and themselves and pamper the cows as always. While in India, I used to befriend a beautiful cow and pamper her everyday.....happy memories :)
The next day is called kanum pongal or tour day.
So the whole January spins around pongal festival in my home town and its a colorful season there:)

Here is the recipe for the pongal puli curry.

(I used yam, potato and arbi only. But given the link to the images of various tubers in my ingredient list for reference. Thanks for the bloggers who have published these images).

Root vegetables:
Yam / elephant foot yam / senai kilangu / suran - 200 gm
potato / urulai kilangu / aloo - 1
siru kilangu / chiru kizhangu - 5
sembu / taro root/ colocasia / arbi - 5
pidi karunai kilangu / yam - 1 (small)

other ingredients:
Tamarind - 1 small lime size
Red chilli powder - 1.5 tbsp
coriander powder - 3 tbsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
water - 2 cups
salt - 2 tsp (to taste)

To grind:
shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
shallot onion - 10
cumin seeds - 1 tsp

To temper:
mustard - 1 tsp
fenugreek seeds- 1 tsp
curry leaves - 1 sprig
oil - 2 tbsp
asafoetida - 1 pinch

Wash and peel the root vegetables. Cut them into 2 inch size cubes.
(Take care while handling the yams).
Cook them together till soft (10 minutes). Discard the water and keep aside.

Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract the juice thrice with 2 cups of water.
Add the chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt to the tamarind extract and start boiling with the cooked roots.

Grind coconut, onion and cumin seeds with little water and add it to the boiling curry. let it get thick.

Heat oil in a pan. Crackle mustard seeds , add fenugreek seeds , curry leaves and asafoetida. Pour over the boiling thick curry. Switch off.

Pongal puli kulambu is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with sweet pongal.
Can be used as kulambu / curry over plain rice or with chapati.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Healthy Idly podi

An alternative to the regular idly podi / chutney podi.

Idly - Indian breakfast made of rice. Idly podi - a powdery side dish for idly and dosai.

Bengal gram - 1/2 cup
(channa dal / kadalai paruppu)
Horse gram (kollu) - 1/4 cup
flax seed - 2 tbsp
Dry red chilly - approximately 15 numbers
(Reduce chillies if you need a lesser spicy version)
Curry leaf - 2 sprig
Tamarind - 2 inch (optional)
salt - to taste (untreated sea salt is best here)
Asafoetida (hing / Perunkaayam) - 1/4 tsp

Heat a wok and dry roast the curry leaves till they turn crispy. Keep aside.

Again heat the wok. Dry roast the channa dhal till it turns mild red. Take it out immediately.
Roast the horsegram till it smells nice. Keep aside.
Roast the flax seeds for few seconds and wait till it pops. Take it out.

Now put the salt, red chillies. Dry roast till the chillies loose all the moisture and becomes crispy. Add the hing and switch off immediately.
(Adding the salt with red chillies reduces the hot flavors. Otherwise we may start sneezing:) So roast the chillies at the end along with salt).

Put the roasted chillies along with the others above and let them cool completely.

After they get cooled, grind them to a medium fine powder using a coffee grinder / mixer. Store in air tight container (even at room temperature). Holds good for more than a month or two.

Idly podi is ready!

Serving suggestions / tips:
Take a tbsp of podi, mix well with enough sesame oil / ghee and serve as side dish with Idly or dosai.
The fresh podi tastes more always. So prepare them in small batches according to need.
Idly coated with this 'podi-ennai' (podi+oil) tastes great and makes a good packed lunch. It won't get spoiled for a day.
The podi can also be mixed with cooked rice and a drop of ghee as main course meal.
We can use this podi in making side dishes like poriyal also.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vegetable salad

This is a very simple salad I prepare. I like to prepare my own vinaigrette / dressing as it is more convincing for me to avoid wastage. I  got the vinaigrette idea from a cook book 'Good food Gourmet', which I got from the local library. Here is a colorful vegetable salad with low calorie dressing from my kitchen to the bloggers:)

Lettuce - 3 leaves
purple / red cabbage - 3 leaves
carrot - 1
plum tomato -6
olives - 6
red onion - 1/2 small

white vinegar - 2 tbsp
Extra virgin olive oil - 3 tbsp
salt - little
sugar - 1/2 tsp
cilantro (or any herb) - 2 tbsp (chopped)

Mix the items given under vinaigrette and let it stand for an hour or more.
30 minutes before serving start preparing the salad to ensure the crispiness.
Wash the plum tomatoes and olives.
Slice the cabbage, lettuce, carrot, onion into small long pieces.
Add the vinaigrette and toss gently.
Cover tightly and keep refrigerated.

Vegetable salad is ready!

This salad can be used as stuffing in sandwiches too.
It can be topped with bread croutons and cheese.

Stays fresh  for lunch box or for a delicious snack.
The vinaigrette can be prepared in a bulk and kept refrigerated for a month.
Preparing the salad from fresh vegetables makes it more delicious , nutritious and economical than buying a salad bag.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Yard-long beans stir fry (Karamani poriyal)

An Indian stir fry with 'yard-long beans'

Other names for Yard-long beans : Karamani - Tamil, Chori - Hindi, Chinese long beans, asparagus beans.

Though not a difficult recipe, I like this vegetable because of the delicious seeds inside. Many years ago some vegetables like karamani, kovakkai(Ivy gourd) were not popular in my native place, (as they used to sell only the locally grown fresh veggies because of transportation costs) but available in big cities like Chennai. At that time whenever I visit my aunt Anandhi chithi (my dad's younger brother's house in the city), she would fondly prepare me these vegetable curries, which I like a lot. I admire the way she receives every guest with immense pleasure and remembers their favorites. Also she would pack a bunch of these fresh vegetables for my mom . No wonder she is a favorite aunt for all in our family.....much to learn from her:)

Karamani - 1 bunch
onion - 1
curry leaf - 1 sprig
dry red chilly - 4
cumin - 1 tsp
mustard - 1 tsp
urad dhal - 1 tsp
coconut oil - 1 tbsp
shredded coconut - 1/4 cup
salt - as per need

Select the tender long beans and if possible get the bunch with some tender seeds.
Cut the yard-long beans (Karamani) into halves, so that they fit in a big bowl. Wash thrice in cold water or till it runs clear.
Nip the ends and discard. Chop finely.
Heat oil in a wok and add mustard seeds, urad dhal. After the mustard splutters, add the chopped onion, curry leaf, red chilly and fry till onion wilts.
Slide in the chopped beans and fry for a minute. Then pour 1/2 cup water and cook covered in low heat. After 10 minutes remove the lid, add required salt and stir till it gets loose.
Before switching off add the shredded coconut, cumin , mix well.

Karamani poriyal is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with sambar rice or roti.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Orange butter cookies

I prepared these orange cookies for Christmas. I had some remainder raisin soaked orange juice while preparing the fruit cake and also some orange peels. I thought of bringing out a new kind of Christmasy cookie with my Shrewsbury butter biscuit recipe. I prepared it in round shape for Christmas. Then on Christmas morning I found this beautiful 101 cookie cutter set under our Christmas tree, which I was admiring for a long time. I am so surprised and happy to see hubby dear presenting me this, which I wished secretly. I couldn't control my eager to try new cookies and gladly prepared another batch for hubby and his friend.

Orange butter cookies for Christmas.

Xav presented me this beautiful wilton 101 cookie cutter set for Christmas.

Flower cookies.

Star cookies.

Star cookies for New year.

My version of Orange Shrewsbury biscuit / cookie:
This is an eggless cookie.

Butter - 1 stick (8 tbsp)
Icing sugar - 1/2 cup
baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Ap flour - 1 1/4 cup
salt - a pinch
orange juice - 2 tbsp
(Orange juice concentrate can also be used)
orange peel powder - 1 tsp
orange food color - 2 pinch
candied orange peel - 3 tbsp
dry ginger powder - 1 tsp

Preheat the oven to 350 degree C.
Mix butter and sugar in mixing bowl to get a creamy texture.
Sift together salt,baking powder, orange peel, ginger powder and flour.
Add everything together, knead and make a dough like chapathi dough.
Make a soft dough.The dough should be slightly sticky on your finger.
(adjust flour and sugar to get the dough consistency). Add few tsp powdered sugar if needed.
Keep in refrigerator for 15 minutes to make it easy to roll.
Place between wax paper and roll into 1/2 inch thick sheet and cut into desired shape.
Place an aluminium foil / parchment paper on a cookie tray. Arrange them on the baking tray and bake for just 6 to 8 minutes in 350 deg C.
Remove the biscuit once it starts leaving the tray. It will be soft while hot, then gets the correct rigidity after cooling.
Let it cool completely and store in air tight container.
Orange Butter biscuit is ready!

Makes 20 round or 35 (2 inch) small star cookies approximately.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Semiya Kesari

Kesari - an Indian fudge. Semiya / vermicelli - a kind of noodles / pasta.

Kesari is a dessert prepared along with breakfast during Indian festivals. The most common kesari is sooji or rava kesari, while there are some variations too.

Some years ago,  while buying a vermicelli pack I got a complimentary booklet with numerous recipes using semiya. Though it is a very small pamphlet to promote their product, all their recipes were accurate and it inspired me to collect cookbooks from that day. Here is one dish from my knowledge bank:)

Semiya - 1 cup
(I used 200 gm MTR vermicelli)
sugar - 1.5 cup
water - 2.5 cup
ghee - 3 tbsp
cashew - 10
raisin - 10
cardamom - 4
orange(Kesari) food color - a small pinch

Gently crush the semiya into small bits.

Heat 1 tbsp ghee and fry the cashews till it gets golden color. Keep aside.
Then put the raisin and wait till it puffs up. Take out.

Add 2 tbsp ghee and roast the semiya till it turns golden.
Take the semiya and keep aside.

In the same pan bring the water to boil and add orange food color powder.
Add the vermicelli and reduce flame. Cook covered till it is completely done.
Add the sugar and wait till the water evaporates.
Now put the fried nuts, raisin, powdered cardamom and stir gently without mashing.
Switch off once it starts leaving the pan.

Semiya kesari is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve warm as dessert.
It can be served along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream too

Substitute for orange food color - juice of carrot.

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...