Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving wishes and prayers

Wishing all my readers, friends and family a blessed , prosperous and happy Thanks giving!

Thanksgiving Pictures, Comments, Images, Graphics

Thanksgiving Pictures Comments - Photobucket

Thanksgiving Pictures, Comments, Images, Graphics

Thanksgiving Pictures Comments - Photobucket

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our walks of life, for your comfort, your companionship, your guidance, your love, and your presence. Thank you for safeguarding us and protecting us. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, family,  health and your grace. May we live this and every day thankful for all that has been given to us.
(Prayer inspired by American Catholic website).

Happy Thanks giving and thank you all!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving treats !

Thanksgiving is an 'all American' festival, just like Diwali or Pongal of India. Thanksgiving day is a day of abundance and conveying thanks to God, family and friends. Here we symbolize the day with whole baked turkey, pumpkins, cranberry, pomegranate, sweet potato, breads, abundant fruits, pies, cakes , pretty tables, family gatherings, hosting dinners etc. I fuse Indian and American views to celebrate thanksgiving every year. Instead of the enormous turkey (more than enough for us) I make a turkey briyani or whole roasted chicken. Also some desserts based on carrot, pumpkins will be in my menu. I strongly encourage anyone from any country to celebrate this beautiful festival with the best dishes from their country. True thanksgiving day lies on the way we thank God and everything else is a gift from God!
If you are looking for some interesting recipes to celebrate Thanksgiving with an Indian touch, here are some ideas to try.
Happy Thanksgiving !
Pumpkin pancake
Thanksgiving breakfast...pumpkin pumpkin everywhere !

Whole chicken fry
Fried chicken a best alternative for baked turkey.
 Baked chicken

Whole fried fish

Garlic bread

Sweet potato fries

Turkey biriyani
Turkey curry

Pomegranate pilaf


Carrot halwa

Carrot cake

Cranberry pickle

Monday, November 25, 2013

Pumpkin pancake

Here is  a pancake we recently tried and enjoyed very much. I got the recipe and hints from this website and thanks to the author, I could make a flavorful pancake for our weekend.Try this and fall in love with this Thanksgiving recipe forever:)

Pumpkin pancakes with maple syrup.
Electric griddle favorite, which I got from last year's Thanksgiving sale:)
AP flour - 1 cup
Milk - 3/4 cup
Egg -1
Pumpkin puree - 1/2 cup
vinegar / yogurt - 1 tbsp
brown sugar - 2 tbsp
butter (soften) - 1 tbsp
baking powder - 1 tsp
baking soda - 1/2 tsp
All spice powder - 1/2 tsp
cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
ginger powder - 1/2 tsp
salt - 1/4 tsp
Also we may need:
Approx 1 tbsp butter - for making all the pancakes
maple syrup - as per need

Sift the All purpose flour (maida), salt, baking soda, baking powder together twice. This makes the pancakes very spongy and airy. Add all the other items in a mixie or blender and mix well.
Then add the sifted flour and blend again , till its a very smooth batter. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
Heat a frying pan or electric griddle (to 350 deg F). Smear some butter on the pan.
Pour 1/4 cup of batter and let it spread itself. Flip and cook both sides till golden brown.

Serving suggestions:
Serve warm with maple syrup or honey topped with fresh fruits.

The recipe may give about 9 pancakes (made with 1/4 cup batter).
We can refrigerate , freeze , reheat and use the leftover pancakes.
I save some pumpkin pieces while making curry. Then cook them in little water, puree and freeze it. I measure and label them before freezing (1 cup, 2 cup ). This homemade pumpkin puree is very handy just like a can of store bought one.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Baked ribbon pakoda

Some months back I wanted to make some 'spicy snacks sans oil'.  It would be very hard to make one spicy crunchy snack without deep frying. So I baked my ribbon pakoda (look for my original ribbon pakoda recipe, for the variation in ingredients) and got a satisfactory snack. Hope you all like it too.

besan flour - 2 cups
rice flour - 1 cup
red chilly powder - 3 tsp
hing - 1/4 tsp
salt - 2 tsp
butter - 2 tbsp
Ajwain (omam) - 1 tbsp (crushed)
sesame seeds - 2 tbsp
cumin - 1 tsp

Mix salt with one cup water.
In a mixing bowl put chilli powder, asafoetida (hing), ajwain , sesame, cumin , rice flour and besan flour thoroughly.
Then add salt water little by little  and make a dough like chapathi dough. Also add molten butter while making the dough.

Preheat the oven to 350 deg C.
Line an aluminum foil over the baking sheet (cookie sheet).
Slightly brush some oil , so that it comes off easily after baking.

Fit the ribbon pakoda maker in the "Murukku maker" and squeeze long strands of dough.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Take the cookie sheets out, turn the pakodas and bake again for 7 - 10 minutes (depending upon the oven). The pakora should not get red or mild red. They should stay yellow, but crispy. So check it often.
Let them cool and store in airtight containers.

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot as evening snack along with tea / coffee.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mixed veggie chicken soup

As the weather gets chiller and chiller my craving for hot soups will soar incredibly. Even though I like to make fresh soups,  I keep in hand some cans of soup as backup also. On the other day I had a couple of cream style corn soup cans and knorr chicken cubes.  I wanted to infuse them in my regular soup and here is a comforting soup for you all from my kitchen!

Vegetable soup with corn, chicken and rice.

cream style sweet corn soup - 1 can
chicken soup cubes -1
chicken thigh with bone - 1 (optional)
frozen peas - 1/2 cup
carrot - 1
green beans - 10
basmati rice - 2 tbsp
barley - 1 tbsp
Bring to boil 2 cups of water. Rinse rice , barley and add to the boiling water. If using fresh chicken piece, then chop it into small pieces and add now.  Let it be cooking in stove-top. In the meantime chop the carrot,  beans and add to the rice, barley. Also add the frozen peas and cook them all till tender. It will take nearly 30 minutes to cook.  We can pressure cook too...but I do in stovetop.  In the same time prepare the below in a separate vessel.

For tempering:
Shallot - 3
garlic - 4 cloves
cinnamon - 1 tiny bit
bay leaf - 1
tomato - 2
Jalapeno - 1
butter - 2 tbsp

While the above soup is getting cooked, in a separate vessel melt 2 tbsp butter. Add shallot, cinnamon, bay leaves and saute till onion gets soft. Then add the crushed garlic and saute for few seconds. Then add finely chopped tomato, jalapeno and cook till tomato gets mushy. Now add this to the cooked vegetables soup, can of sweet corn soup, chicken stock cube, salt. Sim and cook till everything gets very soft.

Ginger - 2 inch
cilantro - few leaves
Grind the ginger and extract juice. Add this to the soup and bring to a boil. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.Switch off.
Mixed vegetable chicken soup is ready !

Serving suggestion:
Serve with warm bread.
If needed add black pepper powder while serving.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Coconut onion chutney

'Shallot should be included in our daily menu in some form or other'... this is one of the basis of Tamilnadu cuisine. Here goes a chutney with raw shallot and I am sure every Indian food lover will like this.
Vengaya thengaai chutney with idli....the perfect pair always
To grind:
Fresh grated coconut - 1/2 cup
shallot - 3 or 4
Puffed channa dhal (pori kadalai / pottu kadalai)- 1/4 cup
dry red chillies - 4.
tamarind - 2 inch bit.
salt- 1/2 tsp.

To garnish:
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp,
Urid dhal - 1 tsp.
curry leaves - 1 sprig.
dry red chilli -1 or 2
shallot onion (small onion)- 1 .(chopped)
oil- 1 tbsp.

Put all the items given 'for grind' in a small jar of the mixer.Close the lid. First run the mixer without adding water. Then after a second add 1/2 cup water and grind the chutney in to a fine thick paste. Add some more water (1/2 cup).
Heat a frying pan. Add urid dhal and mustard seeds. wait to hear the cracking sound of mustard. Add chopped onions , red chilli and curry leaves. Put off the flame. Then add the chutney (while pan is hot, but switched OFF). Mix well.
Then transfer it to the serving bowl.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish for Dosa, Idly, Vada, Pongal etc.

Instead of pori kadalai, we can use roasted groundnut too.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bottlegourd spinach dal

Bottlegourd - lauki / surakkai / sorakkai (Tamil) , spinach - pasali keerai , dal - a curry or koottu made of lentils.
Lauki dal with spinach.

This is the spinach I grew this year. Most common variety in USA.


Toor dal (lentil) - 1/2 cup
bottle gourd - 1 (very small)
spinach -  20 leaves
curry leaf - 1 sprig
mustard seed - 1/2 tsp
urad dal - 1 tsp
coconut oil - 1 tbsp
tomato - 1 (optional)
salt - to taste

To grind:
shallot - 3
coconut - 2 tbsp
dry red chilly - 3
garlic - 3
cumin - 1 tsp

Rinse the dal (lentils) . Pressure cook the  dal with 1 1/2 cup water, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/8 tsp of asafoetida (hing), garlic - 5 cloves. Bring to one whistle, reduce heat and let it get cooked in medium heat for 10 minutes, then switch off. After the pressure is released , mash the dal and keep aside. (This is how I cook the dal always, but we can do it in stove-top too).

Grind the items mentioned to a fine paste and keep aside.

Chop the bottle-gourd to small cubes. Also rinse and chop the spinach.
Heat  oil in a vessel, add mustard , urad dal and let the mustard crackle. Then add the curry leaves, finely chopped tomato and cook till tomato gets mushy. Now add the bottlegourd and cook covered with a handful of water. After it is almost done, add the spinach, salt and saute. Then add the cooked dal, prepared masala. Keep in rolling boil for 1 minute. Switch off.

Lauki spinach dal is ready !

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with chapati.
Sometimes I mix this curry with rice for lunch pack.
Serve as curry over rice along with appalam (pappad) and malli thogayal (cilantro chutney)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Capsicum rice

This is a South Indian version of capsicum rice. Capsicum rice is like a pulav in North Indian cooking. Also some people would make a different spice powder solely for capsicum rice. But I always make a very easy version of capsicum rice with sambar powder and curry masala powder. Hope you all like it!
Capsicum rice with chicken kebab slices

Bell pepper rice / Capsicum rice

Red and green Capsicum - 1/2 cup each
mustard seed - 1tsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
urad dal - 1 tsp
oil - 1 tsp
ghee - 1tsp
onion - 1
ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
tomato - 1
lemon - 1/2
curry masala powder - 1tsp
sambar powder - 1tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

cooked rice - 2 cups
salt - to taste

Heat oil in a wok, let the mustard splutter. Then add urad dal, cumin and saute for few seconds. Then add finely chopped onion and let it get golden color. Then add ginger garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes. Add finely chopped tomato and cook till it gets mushy. Now put the curry / garam masala powder, turmeric powder, sambar powder, salt and cook till raw smell goes.
Now add capsicum slices, 2 tbsp water and cook covered for 5 minutes.
After switching off, add the ghee and mix well.
Now mix this capsicum masala with the cooked rice. If needed add  a few tsp of lemon juice and mix.
Capsicum rice is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve as main course for lunch or dinner or lunchbox food.
The best side dish could be any raita, omelet.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy Deepavali

Wishing all my readers, friends and family a very happy and prosperous Deepavali,
May the festival of light brings joy and peace to all of us,
Happy Deepavali,
Viki Xavier
Happy Deepavali
Jangiri for hubby's office Diwali party and my homemade diya lamps

A small rangoli made along with our neighbor aunty

                                      HAPPY DEEPAVALI

Perfect Traditional Adai Dosai

Perfect traditional Adai dosai. To grind: Idly rice / any rice - 1cup Raw rice (Basmati) - 1 cup Thoor dhal - 1/4 cup Channa dhal - 1/2 cup ...