Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Deepavali treat !

I am sure my readers and friends are busy preparing for Deepavali. Here are some special recipes for you all from my kitchen to yours. I have added the time taken to prepare some recipes also. Hope you all like them.

                                            SWEETS for DIWALI
Munthiri kothu (Bunch of grapes)
Total time needed - 2 hours
Tamilnadu special Munthiri kothu made of moong and jaggery.
Total time needed - 2 hours

Jangiri - a Urid dal sweet soaked in sugar syrup
Approximate duration - 3 days to soak and 1 hour to fry.
Traditional athirasam: though seems a lengthy process, it is very easy.

Time needed for 15 pieces - 1 hour
Badusha : Will definitely make the family happy:)
Semiya Javvarisi paal payasam (milk kheer)
Time needed - 30 minutes.
Thick rich kheer : great for the Diwali day.
Rava Kesari (sooji halwa):
Time needed - less than 30 minutes
Start your day with kesari for breakfast.

Time needed - 30 minutes
A quick version of mogandhal.

Badam halwa:
Cooking time - 20 minutes ; preparation time - 20 minutes

Carrot Halwa
Time needed for 5 servings - 30 minutes

Mothi Ladoo
Total time needed - 2 hours
Though seems forever, this is a very easy recipe.
Rava ladoo:
Time required - 30 minutes ; extremely easy.
Rava ladoo - surely a quick and easy recipe for beginners.
Microwave milk peda:
Time taken - 15 minutes
Easiest of all sweets , but will make the celebration a grand one.

Time needed for frying - 20 minutes ; preparation time 30 minutes
Sukiyan or susiyam or suzhiyam : Southern Tamilnadu wakes up with this sweet on most of their celebrations.

                                    SPICY SNACKS for DIWALI

 Ribbon pakoda

Easy and quick - will be ready in 20 minutes


Coconut milk murukku


Vazhaikkai bajji 

Bajji and  vadai are ideal for Diwali day's breakfast or with evening tea.

 Masal vadai 

Easiest and quick spicy snack for Diwali. Excess vadai  can be made into vada curry for next day dosai:)

Ulunthu vadai 
Urid dal vadai holds an important place in many Tamil families on Diwali.
Though it needs a more care to get a perfect shape, we can make a ulunthu bonda with this batter also.

                                               HAPPY DEEPAVALI!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Munthiri kothu

Munthiri kothu - Deep fried moong flour ladoo.  Meaning - bunch of grapes. This is one of the popular snacks made during Deepavali in Southern Tamilnadu and Kerala. This Munthiri kothu recipe is my mom's recipe and I am glad to present you all this during this festival of lights.

Green gram - 2 cup
(whole moong dal / paasi payaru / pachai payaru)
moong dhal - 1/2 cup (optional)
roasted rice flour - 2 tbsp
shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
dry ginger powder - 2 tsp
cardamom - 10
sesame - 2 tbsp
Jaggery - 2 1/2 cups
Oil - for deep frying
For outer covering:
rice flour - 1/2 cup
maida - 1/4 cup
salt - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

Dry roast the greengram till it smells good and gets crunchy (5 - 8 minutes).
Likewise  roast the split moong dal too (this gives more dal taste to the ladoos) along with cardamom.
Dry roast the coconut to  a golden red color.
Cool everything.
Grind them to a coarse fine powder (like sooji).
Sieve and remove any skin of payaru.
Separately roast the sesame and add to the powder (sesame is optional only).

In a separate vessel bring 2 cups of water to boil and add jaggery.  (The weight of jaggery and powder should be approximately equal). Bring to a boil and switch off. Let it dissolve completely.
Strain and retain the pure jaggery solution.
Mix this with prepared powder and make small balls of the size of Amla (or key lime).

In another bowl, add rice flour, salt, maida, turmeric powder and little water.
Mix well so that it can be of thin dosa batter consistency.

Heat  oil for deep frying.
Take two or three balls at a time, dip together in the rice flour mixture and  deep fry. Flip and fry for a minute till bubbles disappear.

Take out , let cool and store in air tight containers.

Munthiri kothu is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as snack.

This sweet stays good for 2 -3 weeks in room temperature.
In the dipping batter: avoid maida / AP flour if we want to keep this snack for more than 3 weeks.
We can soak and grind rice flour for outer cover and this stays good for more days.
Adding rice flour or pottu kadalai powder while making balls is also optional, but helps in getting the shape if we have added more jaggery solution.
Instead of green gram, we can use split green gram without skin also.

Sending this munthiri kothu to Priya's Deepavali delicacies event.
Happy Deepavali

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Green tomato pickle

The major thing I noted with gardening in colder regions is the need to know the harvest time. we can't wait for all the tomatoes to ripe in the vine. But we have to hurry to pick them up before the first frost hits. First few times I wondered how to ripen them at home , but Wiki helped me and I am doing better now:) Still I embrace some cooking with green unripe tomatoes too, to enjoy them fresh. Here is one pickle I made with raw unripe green tomatoes and it tasted similar to mango pickle. We finished a bottle within a month and I am planning to prepare more:)
Green tomato pickle

Our homegrown tomatoes
Unripe tomato - 5  (1/2 kg)
Sesame oil - 4 tbsp
Red hot chilly powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
hing (asafoetida) - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste (approx 1.5 tbsp)
vinegar - 2 tbsp

To powder and grind:
fenugreek (methi / venthayam) - 1 tsp
mustard - 1 tsp

Wash and clean the tomatoes. Wipe with a clean cloth and dry it in open air to remove any moisture for an hour or more.
Chop the tomatoes to small pieces.
In a wok, dry roast the mustard and methi seeds. Grind to a fine powder.
Heat the sesame oil (or any oil) in a kadai (wok). Add the mustard seeds and let them start to crackle. At the same time add hing, chopped tomato, turmeric powder and saute till it gets thick.
When the oil starts showing off the edges, add the red chilly powder and salt. Stir well till the raw smell of red chilly powder goes.
(we can add the red chilly powder in the beginning also, but it will emit a lot of hot fumes that no one can stand. So better add it this way).
Add the prepared powder, mix well and switch off.
After few minutes, add the vinegar and mix again.
Green tomato pickle is ready!

Keep refrigerated and always use a dry spoon to handle.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with curd rice.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Chocolate chip mint icecream

Some years ago, I tasted  this mint icecream in Malaysia for the first time.  While I was trying to figure out that newer taste, I could see hubby admiring it more and more. So I too thought it as good.....plain vanilla has been my favorite mostly :) After coming to USA, he started buying tubs of mint cream from ALDI. I would take only the choco chips from his bowl and that's my favorite part in it:)

After I started making icecreams at home, many a times I wanted to make chocolate chip mint icecream, but somehow intimidated to make with raw eggs as per original American version (that's another better version anyways). Then I used my quick method of condensed milk version and it tasted very delicious. I took hints from many websites on buying mint flavor (real mint juice may make the icecream slushy....I like slushy too). (Till then I thought of grinding mint leaves......which could have been more suitable for nature lovers like me....anyways I will try with caution next time ). I thought of making a very successful version at first to impress my DH and I couldn't take chances:) He totally loves this icecream and I am glad that I tried it:)

Chocolate chip mint Ice cream.

Chocolate chips before melting.

Mint icecream before adding chocolate. Mint extract and green food colors I used.

Pure mint extract - 1/2 tsp (McCormick brand)
Sweetened Condensed Milk - 14 oz can (400 gm)
Whipped Topping - 8 oz  (225 gm)
salt - 1/8 tsp
green food color - 3 drops
dark chocolate chips - 1/2 cup

Mix condensed milk, salt, mint extract, green food color in a large mixing bowl.
Then add the whipped topping and mix gently.
Transfer this to a freezer-safe container .
Cover and freeze for 1 hour.

After an hour melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
I melt the chocolate by putting the choco chips inside a zip lock cover, zip it, microwave in reheat mode for 10 second , 10 second , 10 second. Every 10 second, take out and see if it gets little softer.
Take out, make a small cut in a corner.
Squeeze and pour the chocolate into the almost frozen icecream. Mix gently without breaking the chocolate layers. Then pour all the chocolate. Keep frozen for 4-5 hours.
Then serve as dessert.
Creamy rich mint icecream is ready !

I have made a little variation by adding tooti frooti (dry fruits) instead of chocolate in a small bowl. That too tastes good. But mint and chocolate combination is perfect for us.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Masala Idly

In my native place (Tirunelveli) there is an unwritten rule among us that the breakfast on the first day of the month should include idly or dosai and sambar. The elderly would consider this idli tradition very auspicious and would request their daughters and DILs to practice this on every month beginning as well as on festive days. So we can see the ladies preparing the idly batter the previous day. I guess this is something associated with buying bulk groceries or regular pantry checking during the beginning of the month and also to bring everyone to a breakfast schedule:) So no wonder, we can see numerous idly dosa varieties in our town :)
This masala idly can be seen as an idly stuffed with potato masala , which will taste similar to masal dosai. I have used left over potato masala curry and it tastes good too. The recipe is simple and hope you all enjoy it!
Masala idly with coconut chutney

steamed idlies

Idly stuffed with potato masala.

For idli:
Idly batter (thosai mavu) - 2 cups

Filling for 8 - 10 idlies:
Potato - 2
onion - 1
tomato - 1
cumin powder, turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
red chili powder , garam masal powder - 1 tsp
besan flour - 1 tsp
minced ginger - 1 tsp
cilantro - few leaves
oil - 1 tbsp
fennel seeds (sombu) - 1 tsp
salt - to taste

Pressure cook the  potao, peel and mash it finely.
In a wok, heat a tbsp of oil and add fennel seeds.
As the fennel gets red, add the finely chopped onion, cilantro and cook till onion turns golden.
Then add finely chopped tomato and cook till it gets soft.
Add the minced ginger, mashed potato, powders mentioned above and add salt to taste.
Add little besan flour to thicken the masala , stir fry and keep aside.

Masala idli:
Grease the idli plates with few drops of ghee or oil.
Scoop 2 tbsp of idly batter to each hole.
Then put a heaped tbsp of potato masala.
Cover it with few tbsp of idly batter.
Steam cook this just like idly (inside a pressure cooker without steam valve or in idly cooker).
(Heat till we see lot of steam from nozzle, then reduce the heat and continue cooking in medium heat for 10 minutes).
Take out the plates. Let them cool for a few minutes or apply cold water at the back of idly plates and scoop out the idlies.
Masala idli is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as breakfast or dinner along with sambar or coconut chutney.

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