Friday, April 26, 2013

Semiya Pulav

Semiya pulav is a very quick and yummy main course. Semiya briyani or pulao was a new food to me, till I tasted it for the first time from my colleague's tiffin box. Many years ago, I met this happy personality Mythreyi mam, a beautiful woman, can drive a car in that small town, knowledgeable and friend for most of the beginners there. Whatever clarification we would ask, she would smile as if it is easy and would show a simple yet enjoyable way. Her memories are sealed with me by this recipe she shared.  

Spring has sprung in our state now. Have a look at this beautiful tree in our apartment. We are blessed to have this tree very close to our house, and I am enjoying this view now. I love this tree very much and photograph it through all the seasonal colors it show. It is totally green in summer, brown branches n fruits in winter. As soon as the spring starts, the tree will bloom in pretty pink flowers all over the tree before getting leaves.  Just seeing this gives me a lot of cheer and hope. Hubby and me have given it a name....'thevathai maram' 'தேவதை மரம்' means 'Angelic tree' and also my 'pinky tree':) Don't get surprised, we name everything we adore:) Most of the mornings we come near our window, sniff the fresh air and enjoy our cup of tea while watching this tree and the beautiful singing birds that visit.
Pink blossom tree in full bloom. Spring has sprung!
MTR semiya - 2 cups
ghee - 1 tsp
oil - 2 tsp
water - 2 cup
bay leaf - 1
cinnamon - 1 inch
onion - 1/2
green beans - 5
carrot - 1
peas - 1/2 cup
cilantro, mint - few leaves
green chilly - 3
tomato - 1
ginger garlic paste - 1tsp
red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
curry masala powder - 1 tsp
coconut milk powder - 2 tsp
salt - to taste
lemon juice - few drops

In 1 tsp ghee fry the semiya till few pieces turn golden red. (If using a ready made roasted semiya or not, just fry it in ghee).Take it out.

Cut the beans into 1.5 inch pieces. Cut the carrot to same length thin strips.
Defrost the peas. Chop onion, tomato, mint cilantro, chilly and keep them separate.

Heat oil in the same wok and put bay leaf, cinnamon.
Immediately add finely chopped onion and fry till it turns golden.
Then add ginger garlic paste, stir for few seconds.
Add chopped tomato and cook till it is soft.

Now add the chopped vegetables, peas, green chillies, mint, cilantro, salt, powders given above except coconut milk powder. Stir well and cook covered with few tsp of water. After it is completely cooked, add 2 cups of water. Dissolve coconut milk powder. Bring everything to a boil.

Add the roasted semiya, reduce flame and cook covered till it absorbs all the moisture. Switch off , sprinkle lemon juice and fluff it using a fork without mashing.
Now it may seem a little mushy, but after a few minutes it will get fluffy.
Let it rest for 5 minutes, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve!

Semiya pulav is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as main course with any raitha (I would suggest onion raitha /vengaya pachadi).
Makes a tasty lunch pack too.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fruit and nut kulfi ice cream

Ice cream topped with jelly.

update: Fruit and nut kulfi ice cream I made for hubby's office party,  June 5 ,2013
(for a Large party tray) You can do 1/4 of this recipe for a 4 member family.

To soak and grind:
Almond - 20
cashew -20
cardamom seeds - 2 tsp
saffron - 3 strands

Other ingredients:
Almond - 10
cashew -10
pistachio - 10
Tooti frooti (dry fruits) - 1/2 cup
raisin - 1/2 cup
Sweetened Condensed Milk - 14 oz 2 cans (400 gm each)
fat free Whipped Topping 8 oz (225 gm) - 5 packs
sugar - 3/4 cup
milk - 1 cup
(prepare sugar solution, by bringing to boil 1/4 cup water and this sugar. Let cool completely)

Powder the cardamom. keep aside.
Soak the almonds overnight (or)Put it in boiling water, wait till it wrinkle, peel .
Grind immediately to a coarse paste along with milk , saffron and cardamom (elachi).
In a wok dry roast the almond, cashew, pista and chop it to very small pieces. Let it cool completely. Keep aside.
Buy the tooti fruiti pack from Indian store or use candied dry fruits like pineapple, pear etc.

The whipped topping should be kept in refrigerator till we start using.
In a mixing bowl add the almond paste, sugar solution and Condensed milk . Mix well.
Then blend in the raisin and dry fruits. (keep the chopped nuts for decoration).
Now add the whipped topping and mix gently (too much mixing will make the ice cream hard).
Immediately transfer them to a freezer-safe lidded container.
Cover and freeze for 8 hours - overnight.
After the ice cream is completely frozen, then garnish it with sliced roasted nuts.
Tooti fruity kulfi  ice cream is ready!

Always use dry fruits that won't get hard or chewy in this ice cream.
I suggest using tooti frooti from any Indian grocery shop. (I don't know the exact spelling of tooti fruity, so giving a lot of variations....LOL)
Click to see, how I make my own tooti fruity.
Little raisin and finely chopped dates can also be used. Top with any jelly of your choice and serve.


I made this nuts kulfi ice cream for Hubby's office party May  28, 2015.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wheat dosai

Wheat flour - 1/2 cup
sour dosa batter - 1/4 cup
salt - to taste
water - as per need
oil - as per need
finely chopped onion - 2 tbsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp

Put the wheat flour in a mixing bowl. Add water and make a batter of runny consistency.
Add all the other ingredients. Mix well.
Heat a thick dosa tawa (without applying oil and till hot, then reduce flame) and pour 1 ladle, spread to a fine thin circle.
Drizzle some oil , flip once, let it cook for a few seconds and take out.
Crispy wheat dosai is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve with chutney.

Soft wheat dosai for dinner:
Mix 1 cup wheat flour, salt, required water. Spread oil before pouring batter as a thicker dosai, flip and serve.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Happy Tamil New Year ,

May this wish brings all the happiness we ask,
May this wish makes us all healthy and energetic again
May this wish  grant us all peace and
May this year and all the years to come
make us praise God's love towards us
Wishing all a very happy and prosperous Tamil New Year.
(click to see image source.Thanks.)


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tomato chutney

Normally the red color chutnies we see in any average Indian food has to be very spicy. That too the street foods in Chennai offers its customers the spiciest chutnies along with idly, dosa etc. But when we go to some vegetarian restaurants like Saravana bhavan, we can get less spicy foods. I tried this tomato chutney just like Saravana bhavan with their mild sweetness and tangy taste. I made this tomato chutney with vegetable kara paniyaram (recipe: yet to publish) as breakfast.
Tomato chutney with vegetable kuli paniyaram.

Tomato - 3
red onion - 1
dry red chilly - 4
garlic - 4 cloves
channa dal - 1 tbsp
shredded coconut - 1 tbsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
tamarind - a small piece
salt - to taste
jaggery - 1 tsp
To temper:
curry leaf - few
mustard - 1/2 tsp
urad dal - 1/2 tsp
hing - pinch
coconut oil - 1 tsp

Cook the tomatoes with 1 cup water, till it is completely cooked.
Add the tamarind and let it cool.
Heat oil in a wok. Fry the channa dal till it turns mild red. Then add the sliced onion, garlic and saute till onion turns golden red. Switch off. Let it cool.
Grind everything together to a thick chutney form.
Heat oil in another wok. Add mustard and urad dal. Let the mustard splutter. Add curry leaves, hing.
Pour the fried tempering over the chutney. Mix well and serve.

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with any tiffin (a light meal - British Indian word) like idly, dosa, uthappam, karapaniyaram.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chicken koftha

Other names: Chicken meat balls , chicken kofta, chicken kheema balls, baked chicken meat balls, chicken kola urundai.
Deep fried meat balls (mutton / chicken kheema) is called kola urundai in Tamilnadu, India. Instead of frying I have baked it, as it seems quick for me. If we are following my recipe below, then baked koftha will definitely taste similar to deep fried version. If you want a deep fried kola urundai, then click to see my mutton meat ball recipe. I used chicken thigh kheema in this recipe. Chicken kheema can be bought from any halal meat shop. Kheema / minced chicken can also be made at home by grinding the chicken meat in mixer. For more tips on kheema meat and kebabs, please see my chicken sheek kebab recipe.
Chicken koftha / chicken meat balls.

Instead of baking we can deep fry them too.

Chicken kola urundai after baking. Keep them covered to retain the moisture and juicy texture.

minced chicken - 1 lb
Onions - 1
green chillies - 2
lettuce -  2 or 3 leaves (optional)
cilantro - a handful
mint leaf - a handful
minced garlic - 1 tbsp
dry ginger powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Puffed channa dhal (dalia) - 1 cup
(powder the puffed channa dhal)
Salt to taste
Oil - 4 tbsp

To powder:
dry red chilly - 2
coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
Black pepper- 1/2 tsp
fennel seed, kali jeera - 1 tsp each
cloves, cardamom - 2
cinnamon - 1 inch 
cumin - 1 tsp
garam masal powder - 1 tsp (optional)

While the mixer / blender is dry, powder the puffed channa dhal (dhalia)and keep aside (besan flour can be dry roasted and used as substitute for puffed channa dal powder).
Grind the items given above to a medium fine powder.
Put the chicken kheema in a large mixing bowl.
Finely chop the onion,lettuce, chilly, cilantro, mint using a vegetable chopper (saves time).
Add ginger powder, turmeric powder, puffed channa dal powder,finely chopped onion, chilly, lettuce, cilantro and mint, salt.
Knead well to get a thick minced meat dough.(If needed add some bread crumbs to get the consistency enough to make meat balls).
Make small lemon size balls by adding oil.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease its surface.
set the oven to 350 deg f.
Place the meat balls and bake for 12 minutes one side. Flip and bake again for 12- 15 minutes or till completely cooked.
The kheema kofta can be deep fried too (in medium heat).
Fry or bake till it turns golden red color.
Chicken kofta is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with rice or as snack.

1 pound chicken kheema with all the above ingredients will give around 28 - 30 kofthas.
 Adding lettuce will give very juicy kebabs. Finely chopped onion and cilantro can be used in more quantities as substitute for lettuce.

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...