Sunday, August 26, 2012

Keerai Vadai

I make many kinds of vadai and one among them is this keerai vadai. We can use any kind of greens that is easy to cook. I recommend spinach (pasali keerai),Amaranth (thandu keerai), arai keerai. But if we are using any greens like drumstick leaf, then saute them first to cook completely before adding in vada batter. I love this vadai very much and I am sure you all will like it too:)

Channa dhal (Bengal gram / kadalai paruppu) - 1 cup
Any chopped greens (Spinach) - 2 cups
salt - 1 tsp (to taste)
chilly powder - 1 tsp
garlic(chopped) - 2 tbsp
onion (chopped) - 1/2 cup
hing - pinch
cooking oil-250 ml. for frying

Soak both the dhal for 1 hour in water.
Take out a handful of soaked dhal and keep aside.(This gives a crispy texture to the vadai.)
Grind dal to a coarse finish without water.
Add chopped spinach, salt, chilly powder, onion, hing,garlic, soaked dal and mix well.
Heat oil in a wok.
Take a small ball of the mixture (in the size of a lemon), slightly flatten in the palm of your hand then place in the hot oil . Fry 4 or 5 as per the wok size without crowding the oil. Reduce to medium heat. Deep fry on both sides to a golden brown color to mild red color. Take them out.
Keerai vadai is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as snack with tea or coffee.
Coconut chutney makes it more delicious.

This vada batter can be baked instead of frying to make a healthy vadai.  If baking add few tsp of oil in batter to get the crispy baked vadai.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Harvest fruit snack bar

Yesterday I was looking for a snack for hubby to share with his friends as per plan. For a long time I wished to bake some oats snack bar and got this recipe from the quaker oats website. I made slight variations as I was using my Ashirvad whole wheat flour and old fashioned oats. The layering technique in this recipe is very easy to follow and I got very good quality snacks. These snacks smelled like Christmas cake because of the dry fruits and both of us liked it very much.

Almonds, Orange juice, banana and dry fruits.

after adding the fruit layer to crust.

Let the snack bar cool completely.

Store in refrigerator.

old fashioned oats - 1 3/4 cup
whole wheat flour - 2 cup
unsalted butter - 1 1/2 stick (3/4 cup)
brown sugar - 1 cup (tightly packed)
Raisin - 1/2 cup
banana - 1
orange juice - 1/2 cup
(2/3 cup for quick oats)
cinnamon powder / all spice powder - 1/2 tsp
chopped toasted almond - 1/2 cup
salt - 1/4 tsp
orange peel - 1 tbsp
butter - 1 tsp (for greasing the pan)

Take 2 bowls, one large another medium size. Heat oven to 375°F.

1.Dry fruits I used : Raisin, candied pineapple,cherry, orange peel.
we can also use dates, dry apples etc.
I had a banana in freezer and used it here after thawing in room temperature.
In medium bowl add the dry fruits, chopped banana, orange juice, peel. Keep aside

2.In the large bowl mix softened butter and sugar till creamy.
Add the wheat flour, oats, cinnamon powder,salt and mix well with the sugar+butter.
It should look like crumbs. Out of this mixture, reserve 3/4 cup of mixture for topping and keep it aside. Mix almonds to this 3/4 cup flour mix.

3. Grease 2 square pans (9inch) generously with 1 tsp butter.
Divide the remaining flour mixture into 2 and press it onto bottom of baking pan (the thickness of crust should be almost 3/4 inch). Bake for 15 minutes or until the sides turn golden brown.

4. Now take the pans out and spread fruit mixture along with juice evenly over crust to within 1/4 inch.Sprinkle the 3/4 cup mixture with almonds over this fruit layer. Gently pat down for it to set. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Using a sharp knife press gently and cut into bars.

Home made fruit snack bar is ready!

Makes 28 pieces (approximately).
1 bar will make us extremely satisfied because of the fiber content.
store in airtight container and keep refrigerated.

Approx calories:
1 snack bar may give 140 K cal.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sambar Rice

Sambar satham - Rice cooked in lentil soup and sambar powder.

Tamilnadu cuisine has a lot of 'variety-rice' like lemon rice, tamarind rice, pongal, coconut rice, tomato rice and the list goes on. One among them is this sambar rice. We can't just mix sambar and rice to make this rice. The procedure involves cooking the dhal (lentil), veggies and rice together to get this flavorful rice. We can get a similar food by the name sambar soup / dhal soup in some canteens in NJ. It tastes almost like our sambar satham, but in a more soupy consistency, less spices and more butter to suit the International palettes. Here I have given the authentic Indian sambar saatham recipe. This is a one pot meal and my most favorite comfort dish. Just an appalam (pappad) or thogayal (chutney) will make this homely meal more pleasant.

Rice - 1 1/2 cup
Red gram (toor dhal) - 3/4 cup
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
hing (asafoetida) - a pinch
garlic - 5 cloves
shallot / red onion - 1/2 cup
tamarind - 1 gooseberry size
salt - to taste

To grind:
shredded coconut - 2 tbsp
sambar powder - 1.5 tsp

To temper:
ghee - 2 tbsp
mustard - 1/2 tsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
whole black pepper - 1 tbsp
fenugreek (venthayam) - 1/2 tsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
cilantro - handful

Mixed vegetables : (cut into 1 inch length pieces)
beans / avarakkai (hyacinth bean)- 10 , fresh green peas - 1/2 cup, carrot-1, tomato - 1 , brinjal - 2,cauliflower - few pieces, green chilly - 2, drumstick - 1

Rinse the dhal and add 3 times water. Soak for 30 minutes in hot water (makes it easy to cook). Pour it in a thick bottom vessel (like cooking rice). Add hing, turmeric, finely chopped garlic, onion and cook in stove top.
When the dal is almost cooked (after 15 minutes) add the washed rice, cook till dhal is completely cooked. If needed add some more water. Now add the chopped vegetables,salt, tamarind extract and cook covered till every thing gets cooked.
Grind the coconut and sambar powder with some water and add to the boiling sambar rice. Heat a separate wok and fry the items given under tempering and pour over the sambar satham. Switch off! Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and serve.

Sambar satham is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as main course in lunch / brunch or dinner.
Appalam (papad), vadagam (fryum), potato fry can be served as side dish with sambar saatham.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Southern chicken curry

South Indian foods are famous for their spice level and my typical down south dishes can be ranked as highest. Non-veg dishes in my native place are very popular and it is one of the attraction for the tourists there:)One among them is the 'Nellai chicken curry'. We can get this kind of gravy like oily chicken fries in any parotta stall (street side restaurant) in Madurai, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin. The serving would be in a very small cup and it would definitely make the customer crave:) Mom used to make this with sambar and rice because this gravy would be very thick and tasty that it won't be enough to cover everyone's rice:) This is almost the first dish I prepared for hubby dear along with sambar and rice and it is one of his favorites too.

Here is that Spicy 'Tirunelveli kozhi curry varuval' from my kitchen to yours !

To marinate:
Chicken - 3/4 kg
(thighs is best. No white meat for this recipe please, as it will turn rubbery)
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 2 tsp
curry masala powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tbsp
Salt - 2 tsp
curd (plain yogurt) - 1 cup

Ginger garlic paste:
Ginger - 1 inch
garlic - 1 whole

other ingredients:
any frying oil - 1/2 cup
Red onion - 2
Tomato - 3
curry leaf - 1 sprig
Fennel seed - 1 tsp
cinnamon - 2 inch long

Wash and clean the chicken. Remove skin and fat.
Cut it into small pieces.
Add all the items given for marination and keep aside for 1 to 2  hours.

Finely chop the onion and tomato. Keep them separately.

Grind the peeled ginger and garlic to a fine paste.

Heat the oil in a wok. Add the fennel, cinnamon , curry leaf and let the fennel become red.
Then add the finely chopped onion and fry till it becomes golden brown.
Now put the ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes.
Add the finely chopped tomato and fry till oil separates.

Now add the chicken pieces along with marinade. Stir a few times and sprinkle 1/2 cup water. Cook tightly covered in VERY LOW HEAT for 45 minutes. stir once in 10 minutes. Switch off after the oil starts showing up.

Tirunelveli chicken curry is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with plain white rice + sambar or rasam.
Also tastes great with any Indian breads like chapati, naan, parotta, pav buns.
If it seems too spicy, serve with ghee rice and lots of raitha.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Garlic chutney

Poondu chutney or garlic chutney I describe here is a raw chutney. It is a native dish in my home town and it is different from the most popular garlic chutney that includes tomato. I have heard that this raw garlic chutney is very healthy for everyone and I used to make this for my dad more often. It is a custom in my home town to take an evening bath also after coming home from office. At that time we can see the mom or wife of that person starting to steam the idlies for dinner. Those were the days we used to take idly or dosa for dinner as well as breakfast, but now it has changed to oat meal for breakfast and chapati for dinner:) In my native we make many kinds of chutneys. One among them is this garlic chutney. It is the most spicy hot dish I have ever tasted. One should not generously dip the food in this chutney because of the spice level, but it will do many good things to our body if we include this dish at least once in a while.

We got a bunch of fresh garlic from hubby's friend Mr.Raynor. Thanks to him I generously added the fresh garlic in many of our dishes:)
I served this spicy garlic chutney with adai.

Garlic - 1
dry red chilly - 4
cumin - 1/4 tsp
tamarind - gooseberry size
salt - to taste (1/2 tsp)

To temper:
mustard - 1/2 tsp
sesame oil - 1 tbsp
hing / asafoetida - a pinch
curry leaf - few

Heat one drop of oil in a wok. Fry the red chillies and grind everything under ingredients. Don't add any water. Grind as finely as possible.
Now heat the wok again with 1 tbsp sesame oil and let the mustard crackle. Cover the vessel to prevent the mustard jumping all over the kitchen:)
Add the curry leaves, hing and immediately switch off.
Mix the chutney paste to this tempering.
Raw garlic chutney is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with idly, dosa,chapati, adai or curd rice.
If it is very spicy, add a few drops of sesame oil while serving.

This medicinal chutney helps in digestion and cholesterol control.
To control the garlicky breadth, chew 1/4 tsp fennel seeds after meals (again good for digestion and reduces water weight). 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Home made Garam masala powder

Difference between curry masala powder and garam masala: 
Curry masala powder contains - Turmeric, coriander seed, red chili powder.

 Indian curry powder / garam masala powder is a very important ingredient in Indian recipes. It is a must to make briyani, tandoori, kebab, curries and fries. I am sure every family has its own version. Indian foods varies with the ratio of the ingredients in this powder. That's why we can see different tastes for a same recipe in Indian cooking. Many people call it as garam masala powder and it is the popular name. But in my house we call it as curry masala powder. Amma (mom) used to make her own in the below ratio but in a larger quantity. She would sun-dry the ingredients and would ask a helping lady to grind it in a nearby mill. I like the way it smells all through the day when she prepared it. After marriage I rarely prepared my own curry masala powder, as I relayed on shakthi briyani powder or masal powders. From last year I started to make my own curry masala powder, so that I remember mom's. Though buying a readymade masala is very easy, nowadays I like to make mom's curry masala powder to bring out the same flavor. Xav prefers home made ingredients in everything and now I too feel happy that I am making my own curry powder:)

fennel seed  - 1  1/2 cup
*coriander seed - 1 cup *
cumin - 1/4 cup
black pepper - 1/4 cup
bay leaf (brinji ilai) - 4
cinnamon (pattai) - 3 long pieces
(choose the curly long cinnamon - pencil pattai)
cardamom (yelakkai) - 1/4 cup
cloves - 2 tbsp
mace (jathi patiri) -3
nutmeg (jathikkai) - 1/2 of a seed
star aniseed - 3
kal pasi - 1/2 cup
dry rose bud (roja mottu) - 5
(I haven't used it here, but gives a nice flavor)
Cashew nuts - 10 (optional)
poppy seed - 2 tbsp (optional)

Dry roast everything one by one in mild heat till they turn crispy (never red or color change) (or) sun dry everything except cashew and poppy seeds (they need to be dry roasted).
Let them cool. Powder them together. The powder should be somewhere between fine and coarse.
Cool completely and store in airtight container.
Portion and pack the curry masala powder in zip lock covers and store in freezer for extra freshness.
Storing in freezer is not mandatory.

Uses of curry masala powder:
I use it as my briyani  masala powder, egg curry masala powder, kuruma, salna and wherever there is a need for a garam masala powder.

In Tamil :

பெருஞ்சீரகம் சோம்பு  - 1  1 /2  கப்
தனியா / விதை கொத்தமல்லி  - 1 கப்
சீரகம்  - 1/4 cup
மிளகு  - 1/4 cup
பிரிஞ்சி இலை - 4
பட்டை  - 3 நீள சுருள்கள்
ஏலக்காய்  - 1/4 cup
லவங்கம் / கிராம்பு  - 2 tbsp
ஜாதி பத்திரி  - 3
ஜாதிக்காய்  -  1/2 கொட்டை
அன்னாசி பூ   - 3
கல்பாசி - 1/2 cup
உலர்ந்த ரோஜா மொட்டு  - 5
முந்திரி  - 10
கசகசா - 2 tbsp

முந்திரியை வாணலியில் வறுக்கவும்.  மேற்சொன்னவற்றில் முந்திரி தவிர அனைத்தையும் ஒரு நாள் முழுக்க வெயிலில் காய வைத்து மெசினில் / மிக்சி யில் நைசாக திரிக்கவும்.  (அல்லது) அனைத்தையும் வெறும் வாணலியில் சிறு தீயிலும் வறுக்கலாம்.
பொடி செய்யும் முன் நன்றாக ஆற விடவும். அரைத்த பின்னும் நன்கு ஆற வைத்து காற்று-புகா பாத்திரத்தில் சேமிக்கவும்.
நைசாக திரிக்காமல் கொஞ்சம் பரபர வென திரித்தால் ரொம்ப நாள் வாசனை குறையாது.
பிரிட்ஜ் இல் இந்த பொடியை வைத்தால் அதிக நாள் புதிது போல் இருக்கும்.

* No need to grind coriander seeds if we want to add coriander powder separately. My mom won't add coriander seeds in this recipe, as she use it mainly as briyani powder. But I add it sometimes.
** Kal pasi / kadal paasi (Tamil) - It is a dry flower,used as a spice in all Chettinad preparations. It can be used as whole spice while preparing veg and non veg kurma. (source)
ENGLISH - Black stone flower
HINDI - Jeevanti
TAMIL - Kalpasi
TELUGU - Kallupachi

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy celebrations !

Hi friends, Here I have three celebrations in one day.

Today is Solemnity of the 'Assumption of Mother Mary' day and it is celebrated all over the world by Christians. We celebrated an early morning mass in our nearby church.

Today is Indian Independence day. While growing up, I used to look forward for this day with lot of expectations. Though that day is a holiday in India, we used to gather for dance parties in school in beautiful dresses , enjoy the flag hoisting and share sweets. Happy memories, as always:) Wishing all a very happy Independence day!

Image courtesy : click here

Viki's kitchen has reached ONE MILLION hits today. I am sure it is possible only by the grace of God, as I know myself very well:).Just like most other bloggers, this blog means a lot to hubby and me. I love my blog as if she is a little child and pour out all our happy memories through her:) I started this blog to record my mom's recipes to remember her and to pass on the heritage. Also I record the delicious recipes I got from the people I love and admire. Hubby dear reads all my posts from the beginning and suggests me something always.  Xav's food reviews makes me cook and blog with more enthusiasm. I owe a lot to my hubby, readers, friends and family for your valuable suggestions and love. Thanks for all your well wishes, comments, suggestions and encouragement to keep me writing. Please keep visiting and let's see that billion counts too:)

Have a nice day!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Whole brinjal curry (Ennai kathirikkai for briyani)

Regular ennai kathirkkai or whole stuffed brinjal curry is a tamarind based kulambu. This curry is a regional cuisine from my native place and it is a curry masala based one. I have seen this more popular in Islam cuisine there. If you are looking for a vegetarian side dish to go with briyani, then this spicy brinjal curry will be great.
Chicken briyani with brinjal curry....a combo, every briyani lover will cherish:)
The taste lies in the quantity of oil we add ....the more the merrier:). We may need a thick bottom wok to make this thick gravy. It may seem a long processs, but worth the try. It would be easier if we are preparing this along with briyani, as we will be preparing the same kind of base masala for this. I got this recipe long back from a neighbor in my home town and I thank her every time I make this. I am sure every one will love this curry like me:)
Stuffed brinjals getting fried.

stuffed brinjal curry.

ennai kathirikkai kulambu about to be served.


Small eggplant - 12
red onion - 1
Vine tomato - 3
(tomato puree - 1/2 cup)
Sesame / corn oil - 1/2 cup
cilantro + mint leaf - 1 tbsp
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
salt - as per need
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tbsp
curry masala powder - 1 tsp
salt - 1 tsp
water - few tbsp

Select fresh tender brinjal / eggplant with stem.
Wash the brinjal and make a few slits in the bottom, with the bracts (crown) remaining intact.
In a mixing bowl add everything given for stuffing using a few tsp of water.
Divide the stuffing into half and stuff the brinjal with one half.
Heat oil in a broad wok. Put the stuffed eggplants in single layer and fry them both sides for 2 minutes.
Move the fried brinjal to one side.
In the remaining oil add the finely chopped onion and fry till it gets golden.
If needed add a few tsp oil.
Then add ginger garlic paste, saute for few seconds and add the tomato puree.
(I have used canned tomato puree. If using fresh tomato, then boil the tomato separately with 1/4 cup water till tender and puree before using in this recipe. It avoids raw smell).
Cook covered for a few minutes without stirring.
Now add the remaining stuffing along with little water and required salt.
Cover tightly and cook till oil shows up (10 minutes in low heat).
Garnish with chopped mint and cilantro leaves.
Ennai kathirikkai is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with briyani, kushka, chapati, sambar rice or curd rice.
Serve a cool raitha and lassi for this spicy brinjal curry+briyani combo.

Time taken (prep and cooking) - 40 minutes.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Semiya paal payasam

Milk kheer / paal payasam is a popular Indian dessert. The main ingredient is the milk in almost thick form. The variations are with basmati rice, semiya (vermicelli) payasam, Semiya javvarisi payasam, paal kolukkattai payasam. I have used MTR brand semiya in this recipe.

Dedicating this recipe for a good friend of mine who is blessed with a baby girl this week. Congrats Sheeba!
Also I am dedicating this yummy dessert for all my readers and friends celebrating 'Krishna Jayanthi' festival. Moreover I am happy to announce that this is my 500 th post and all praise goes to God. Happy celebrations and may everyday be a blessing for all!

Semiya paal paayasam

Vermicelli / semiya - handful
Milk - 3 cup
condensed milk - 1 tbsp
Sugar - 8 tsp
Cashew nuts - 4
Raisins / dry grapes / kismis - 5
Saffron - a pinch
Cardamom - 2
ghee - 1 1/2 tsp

Heat 1 tsp ghee and fry the cashews till golden brown. Take out and fry the raisins till they puff. Keep it aside along with cashews.
Add the remaining ghee and fry the semiya for a few seconds. keep aside.
Pour the milk and boil till it becomes 2 cup.
Then add the semiya and cook it to tender (3 minutes).
Now add the sugar, condensed milk (optional), powdered cardamom and mix well.
Switch off.
Garnish with fried nuts, raisin and saffron.
The consistency should be between thin and thick (easy to sip and drink).
Semiya paal payasam is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve hot /cold as dessert.
Cooking time : 10 minutes.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sambar mini idly

Sambar mini idly / ghee idly / nei idly/ Saravana bhavan special 14 idly with sambar.

This is a special kind of idly dish served in popular Indian restaurants like Saravana bhavan of Tamilnadu, India. In saravana bhavan they serve 14 mini idlies in a bowl with their special Saravana bhavan sambar with a generous spoon of ghee (melted butter). With the popularity of this dish, the idly vessel makers started selling these cute mini idly stands and every mother would rely on this little angel to make their kids eat the idly:)  The batter I use is the same as the regular idly batter. I always make vengaya (shallot onion) sambar just like the Saravana bavan hotel to soak those cute fluffy idlies. But we can make any kind of sambar for that.

Sweet notes:
I bought a similar idly stand while in India especially for my hubby. In the beginning I had to make very unique attractive breakfast menus for him to bring him in to that 'never skip a breakfast schedule' :). Then I couldn't bring it here just like most of my kitchen gadgets and bought one 'mini idly maker' here:)

For mini idly:
Idly batter - 1 cup
ghee - 2 tbsp
mini idly stand
idly cooker or a pot to steam the idly.
vengaya sambar - a lot:)
soup bowls and spoon.

Grease the idly plates with very little ghee.
Pour the batter in the idly holes using small spoon.
Heat the pressure cooker (idly cooker if any) with 2 cups of water and place the idly stand carefully inside.
steam the idlies for 7 to 10 minutes without keeping the pressure valve.
Then let the idly loose the heat for 10 minutes and scoop out the idlies carefully using a spoon. Keep them warm and tightly closed in a casserole till we serve.
Just before serving place 14 idlies in each bowl.
Bring the sambar to 'piping hot' stage.
Pour the sambar over the idlies.
Add a generous tsp of ghee over each bowl.
Decorate with cilantro and serve hot.
Sambar mini idly is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as breakfast or any meal.

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...