Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Milagai bajji

Here is an entire article of all kinds of capsicum pakora I tried:)

Capsicum bajji / capsicum fries / mirchi pakora.

When it comes to milagai bajji, I tasted my very first (long back) when we visited Kuttallam along with my Tuticorin aachi and family. Thatha (grandpa) fondly bought us this spiciest bajji while all were hungry after taking bath in the waterfalls. At that time I could eat the fried batter in the outside leaving behind the capsicum, as I thought it would be spicy.Though everybody told me it won't be spicy, I didn't believe:) I started following this trick till I grew up until I found that this capsicum is nothing but a pepper with spicy smell only. Then it became my most favorite bajji. Another place I used to see this bajji was in the annual exhibition in our Tirunelveli Town. The mirichi pakora vendors would tie those garlands of non-spicy capsicums around their stall. The flavor of these bajjis and Delhi appalam would drag the crowd. Exhibitions were the only mass-entertainment there at that time ,other than cinema theaters:). The lights, circus, rides, exhibits, the shopping (YES) and the north Indian foods that were rare at that time for us would make the entire population of Tirunelveli and surrounding villages to long for that fair. When hubby took me to this fair , there he learned that I am not a fan of those challenging rides.....except my favorite merry go round / carousel:) On seeing my enthusiasm for carnivals, he started taking me to all the fairs around. Here also, the carnivals in USA shows us more entertainments and delicious foods like funnel cake, pizza. But the common thing I see in Tirunelveli exhibitions and USA carnivals is the happiness that catches up all the people of all ages, once they enter the fair grounds.  So whenever I want to add some more happiness in our weekends, I will make some foods with glad memories. No wonder these capsicum bajjis ranks high in our home:) Enjoy this mirchi pakora with your family and tell me how you like it:)

Jalapeno, my favorite... use this only if you can tolerate its  high spice level. This is not Indian bajji milagai.

I coat some tomato sauce inside jalapeno, after removing the seeds to make it less spicy.

Ingredients : 
Non spicy long peppers (Bajji milagai) - 10
Besan flour (kadalai mavu) - 3/4 cup
dosa batter - 1/4 cup
(or) rice flour - 2 tbsp
salt - to taste
red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
hing (asafoetida)- 1/8 tsp
baking soda - 1/2 tsp
garlic - 2 pieces (finely ground)
ajwain (omam / bishop weed) - 1/4 tsp

oil - to deep fry (200 ml)

Rinse the peppers. Slit open and remove all the seeds. We can slice it in lengthwise into two or three pieces too. Apply some tomato sauce inside the jalapeno (if using jalapeno only) to reduce the heat of pepper.
While using bajji-milagai (non spicy peppers), there is no need to slice them. But simply slit and use it whole. ..(see pictures below)
For bell peppers, I slice them in rounds...(see pictures below)

Grind the garlic and ajwain to a fine paste with 1 tsp water. Mix all the above (except oil) along with 1/4 cup water to a thick batter. Add more water if needed, but keep the batter like thick idly batter ,otherwise the bajjis will absorb more oil.

Heat oil in a wok. Before it gets smoky hot, reduce flame and keep in medium flame.

Dip the pepper slices in the batter and put it on the hot oil.  Do not clutter. Flip and fry both sides. Drain oil and take out.

Milagai bajji / fritter is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve hot as snack along with hot coffee or tea during rainy / winter season.
Tomato ketchup is a good side dish

Other forms of milagai bajji I tried:
Indian bajji milagai (Indian long pepper) ,given by my neighbor aunty Manjula. I used it to get the real taste once.
Bajji with green bell pepper (kudai milagai bajji).

Bell pepper and onion slices , before making bajji.
*It is always a good idea to make onion bajji or some other bajji along with capsicum bajji , for guests, as everyone can't taste the spiciest bajjis.
*Using Jalapeno in bajji is my favorite part only. For non spicy versions, go for bell peppers.
*The bajji milagai (peppers used for making bajji) are usually yellowish green in color. Longer than jalapeno and softer too. They won't have any spicy taste , but smells like green chilly. I have never seen them in USA and I don't know the exact English name for that pepper too. But google may help you to see how it looks:)

Enjoy my other bajjis also:)
Sweet bajji
Vazhaikkai (plantain) bajji
Potato bajji
Cauliflower bajji
Onion bajji
Kathirikkai bajji

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Mango popsicle

Everyone knows how to make a popsicle. I too wanted to note down my version. I can call this as Indian version of mango popsicle because of its flavor. Here is another quick dessert from my kitchen to yours. Come let's make the kids happy with these popsicles and enjoy a cool summer !
Mango popsicle

Lovely mangoes

Mango - 1 (big)
whole milk - 1 cup
sugar - 4 tsp
cardamom - 2 large pinch

Peel and puree the mango in a blender along with milk, sugar, cardamom.
Pour in popsicle moulds or in small cups. see a less expensive mould idea here.
Close the top of popsicle using the stick provided in the popsicle kit or insert a small wooden stick in the cups. Keep refrigerated for 3 to 4 hours.
Before serving, show the back of the popsicle in running water and remove the mango ice popsicle.
Serve as dessert or a cool snack.
Makes 4 standard US size popsicles.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tangy spicy puli kuzhambu

Some months ago, my friend Brindha shared this tongue tickling kara kulambu with me and from that day I became an absolute fan of this curry. Thanks to her, I learned a very delicious curry that can stay long and can satisfy anyone's taste buds. This kara kulambu is very different from the  puli kulambu or Chennai kara kulambu I usually make. The main focus on this gravy is on tangy tamarind , reminding me of tamarind rice (puli saatham). This is a very simple version of kara kulambu (or) puli kulambu with lot of tamarind. So a few drops of this curry would be enough to mix with a cup of rice. This kara kulambu can be made for a week and kept refrigerated for further use. Try and enjoy this tangy kara kulambu of Chennai.

Tamarind - 1 big lemon size
Sesame oil - 4 tbsp
red onion - 1 (small)
curry leaves - few
garlic - handful
red chilly powder - 2 tsp
salt - to taste
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
hing - 1/8 tsp

Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract juice using 2 - 3 cups of water. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a wok, add mustard, methi seeds. Let it splutter. Then add curry leaves, finely chopped onion, garlic and saute till onion gets golden brown.
Then add red chilly powder , turmeric powder, hing and fry for a few seconds.
Immediately add the tamarind extract, salt and bring to a boil.
Reduce flame and let it get thicken by partially covering the vessel with a lid.
It may take nearly 15 - 20 minutes to reduce the curry to a thick one and oil will float on top.
Switch off. Tangy kara kulambu is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Serve over hot rice as main course meal.
Good side dishes for this rice , curry is appalam or any poriyal (stir fry).

Instead of red chilly powder, we can add sambar powder also. But the taste will vary.
To know about benefits of here.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Kambu koozh

Kambu - pearl millet / bajra  , koozh - a simple porridge served as main course meal.
Though I belong to  a south Indian small town, I actually started liking this kambu koozh after tasting it in Chennai only. Hubby dear introduced me this yummy koozh near koyambedu market and I totally enjoyed drinking that koozh out of an earthen vessel:) After drinking this koozh or the spicy buttermilk in a summer, we won't feel the heat....this koozh is one of the natural cooling foods prepared in Tamilnadu during summer. Preparing the kambu koozh at home is not only easy but also a beautiful process. Afterwards I learned that this simple dish invented by our ancestors is a probiotic rich food and it would be more delicious if made at home. I am noting down both the traditional and simple recipes I use. Try this and enjoy a cool summer.

Whole kambu grain - 2 cups
Kambu koozh

kambu  balls soaked in water overnight.

kambu saatham made into balls.

Cooking the pearl millet / kambu grains.

Method 1:
Rinse the pearl millet grains in water  twice or thrice and drain water completely. Spread it on a plate or kitchen towel and dry for 30 minutes.
Dry grind the pearl millet in an Indian mixie to a fine to coarse texture.
(Many years back this grinding step was used to be done in a hand mortar - ural , ulakkai )
Sieve and remove any husk. (While the husk goes to the cattle, the millet becomes the meal of the family:)
Heat 5 cups of water in a vessel with 1 tsp salt and add the powdered kambu.
Cook till it gets soft (nearly 20 minutes). Switch off and let the millet absorb all the water.
This is called kambu saatham (kambu rice meal), which can be served with any spicy curry.
The remaining kambu saatham should be made into small balls of palm size. Put these kambu balls in an earthen vessel or any vessel and pour enough water to stand above the balls. 

Serving suggestion:
For one glass of kambu koozh: The next morning, take a ball of kambu, along with a 1/2 cup of soaked water. Mash it gently and add 1/2 cup curd or buttermilk. Garnish with finely chopped shallot onion, green chillies (optional), curry leaves, cumin.  Serve as breakfast or refreshing drink.

Always keep the kambu balls well immersed in water.
This kambu balls soaked in water can stay up to 2 days in countertop at room temperature.

Method 2:
readymade kambu flour - 1 cup
Mix 1 cup of pearl millet flour with 2 cups of water and add 1/2 tsp salt.
Bring this to a boil in a medium heat and stir continuously .
After it gets cooked completely (5 minutes), add enough water to cover the porridge and let it sit overnight.
Then next morning scoop a laddle of cooked flour along with some water above. Mix with curd or buttermilk and serve with onion.
This is one of the easiest versions of kambu koozh.

Try both traditional and easy koozh and let me know how you liked it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Carrot paratha

I always look for ways to sneak some vegetables in our regular meals. Carrot sambar, poriyal, carrot uthappam, carrot kuzhi paniyaram, carrot cake ,carrot raitha,carrot orange juice, carrot halwa are some of the delicious recipes for carrot. Likewise carrot filled paratha is a very easy recipe to help include another serving of vegetable. I am sure many of us are having a happy summer. Here I am back to the blogging world with this paratha. Hope you all like it!

Whole wheat flour - 1 1/2 cup
salt - 1/4 tsp
Extra virgin olive oil - few tsp

carrot - 2
red onion - 2 tbsp (chopped)
green chilly - 1 (chopped)
salt - to taste
cumin - 1 tsp
Peel , wash and shred the carrot. Shred it as small as possible. Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok. Add cumin, chopped onion, chilly and saute till onion gets soft. Then add the shredded carrot and saute well. Cook covered in minimum heat after adding salt. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes only. Switch off.

Knead the wheat flour , salt using regular water to a chapathi dough stage. Apply 1 tsp olive oil and knead again. Wrap it using a wet cloth or 'cling wrap' and keep aside.
Take a small lime size ball of dough (12 balls). Flatten it to palm size round chapati. Place a tbsp of carrot stuffing inside and close it as shown in figure (by bringing all the edges together).
Dust the chapati rolling board with tbsp of wheat flour and place the stuffed bundle in such a way that
knot like portion touches the board. Using a rolling pin , flatten it to a thin paratha.
Heat a tawa and place the rolled paratha on it. After few seconds, flip it and drizzle some oil around the paratha. Flip again and cook both sides.
Take out and keep warm inside a casserole or airtight vessel.
Likewise make the entire batch.
Carrot paratha is ready!

Serving suggestions:
Makes 12 parathas.
Serve with any pickle or raitha or side dish.