Friday, July 25, 2014

Drumstick ridgegourd koottu

Vegetables like ridge gourd (peerkan kaai) , drumstick (murungaikai) are very native to South Indian ....especially the Tamilnadu cuisine. Whenever I cook drumstick, I find it difficult for anyone to eat ....that too men and kids consider it old fashioned to eat it in front of others :) While growing up, drumstick had played an important role in our daily menu, as we had a large tree in the backyard. So instead of buying some vegetable for sambar, it would always be murungakkai sambar. My mom used to cook the drumstick and scoop out the edible portion inside drumstick and add it in many dishes. Few weeks back I saw fresh succulent drumsticks here at the rate of $ 6 / lb . I bought 2 drumsticks for $ 2 (!) and wanted to make something delicious. I added it with ridge gourd and the result was very delicious. I made it for a Saturday lunch along with ridge gourd peel chutney and served this koottu as 'curry over rice'. It was a very light and delicious meal. Hope you all try my version of this koottu in this peek drumstick , ridgegourd season and enjoy.

Mashed drumstick ridge gourd koottu

Drumstick - 2 (long)
ridge gourd - 1 (1 lb)
green gram dhal (moong dal / paasi paruppu) - 1/4 cup
turmeric - a pinch
hing - a pinch
onion - 1
green chilly - 1
curry leaves - few
oil - 1 tbsp
mustard seed - 1/2 tsp
urid dal - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste

Masala to grind:
coconut - 2 tbsp
dry roasted fennel - 1 tsp
green chilly - 2
cumin - 1/2 tsp

Cut the drumstick into two or three long pieces. 
Pressure cook dal along with drumstick, turmeric and hing.  Scoop out the edible inside portion of drumstick.
Squeeze and extract juice from outer layer too. Discard the fiber.
Peel the ridgegourd (save the peels for chutney...see the recipe for peerkan kaai thol thogaiyal).
Chop it into small pieces.
Chop onion, green chilly, curry leaves and keep aside.
Grind the masala to a coarse paste.
Heat oil in a wok. Let mustard crackle and urid dal gets mild red.
Then add chopped onion, chilly, curry leaves and stir till onion gets soft.
Then add the ridge gourd and cook covered with a handful of water.
It may take 5 minutes to get cooked.
After that, add the cooked dal, mashed drumstick, salt and masala paste.
Cook covered in medium heat for 2  to 3 more minutes or till the raw smell goes.
Switch off.  Garnish with chopped cilantro.
Ridge gourd drumstick curry is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as curry over hot rice along with pappad and a hot chutney.
Also makes a side dish for any rice or chapati.

If needed add 1 tomato while making the koottu.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Potato masala panini

Panini can be explained as a crispy grilled sandwich. If this delicious sandwich gets the fillings in Indian flavor, then it will definitely satisfy our tastebuds :) This is another recipe I got from my neighbor aunty. She calls this as Mumbai style grilled sandwich. Hubby and me absolutely love this very much. While making potato subzi for chapati, I reserve a  little for this panini or masal dosai and by this way we can save some time. Also this is a nice way to use leftover vegetable curries and also a good idea to make kids eat their vegetables:)
Also check out my capsicum panini.

sandwich bread - 6 slices
potato masala - 4 tbsp (see below for recipe)
onion - 1/4 cup
butter - 1 tsp (each)
Indian green chutney - 1/4 cup
tomato sauce - 1 tsp each sandwich

Heat the panini maker to maximum heat with the lid closed. After we see the ready button glowing, open the grill. (Read and follow the instructions carefully if it is the first time).
In the mean time place the required bread slices (3 slices) on a plate and spread 1 tbsp green chutney and few slices of onion, 1 tsp tomato sauce over the breads.
Take few more bread slices and  spread the potato masala over them. Close the green chutney covered slices with these aloo covered bread slices.

Rub a piece of butter on panini press (bottom plate) in a small area and  place the prepared sandwich.(one set at a time).
Place the lid gently (no locking) and the by the weight of the top plate the sandwich will get thin and crunchy  in one minute.
If needed apply some more butter on top of sandwich and press again gently.
Take out using a spatula, slice and serve while it is hot.
Potato masala panini is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Makes a main course meal in breakfast or dinner.
Serve with Indian chai tea or orange juice as breakfast.
I )Spicy potato masala curry:  
This is one of the best fillings I make for potato paratha, spicy masal dosai, etc. We can use the below curry as side dish for chapati too . This curry should be thick and should be spreadable. Keep this handy to amaze your loving family.

Potato masala:
Boiled potato - 3
red onion - 1/2
ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
red chilli powder - 1 tsp
cilantro - few leaves.
salt - to taste
garam masala / curry masala powder - 3/4 tsp

 Peel the boiled potatoes and mash almost finely.
Heat oil  in a wok, add fennel (sombu). As it gets red, add finely chopped onion. After the onion gets soft, add ginger garlic paste and saute till raw smell goes. Add the turmeric powder, chili powder, curry masala powder and mix for 10 seconds. Then add the mashed potatoes, salt, cilantro and cook covered with handful of water for 5 minutes.
After switching off sprinkle lemon juice and keep aside.
II) Easy potato masala for filling:
Pressure cook the potatoes. Peel and mash them as finely as possible. Add salt, garam masala powder, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and chopped cilantro. Mix well and keep refrigerated.
This is the easy version to make potato fillings in any Indian recipe.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ginger lemon juice

Here is  a very unique lemon juice I learned from my mom (handed down through generations),  which can make any one feel better immediately during summer. I am not sure of all the scientific details behind this , but I am sure this will give a lot of energy. Hubby likes this juice very much and I make this often during summer. This became my brother inlaw's favorite too and I was surprised to hear him remembering and asking for this simple juice when they visited us after many years. Also I was very glad to see our little niece Nissi enjoying this juice:) Even before seeing me, she was saying over phone that 'Periyamma (aunt) ,I am eager to see you '... I don't know how she started liking me even without seeing and also her surprising affection as soon as she met me made me very happy. She spent every moment with me when she was here with us and enjoyed whatever I cooked and fed her with smile . She climbed on the kitchen counter and sat to learn/ help with my kulfi ice cream recipe too:) .  I have never met anyone like her in that age with such an enthusiasm:)  Isn't it the crowing moment for a lady like me:) So I am happily noting down the recipe for her.

Ginger lemon juice

Lemon - 1
jaggery (Indian brown sugar) - 3/4 cup (as per taste)
coriander seed - handful
ginger - finger long
water - 5 cups

Warm 2 cups of water and dissolve the jaggery. No need to filter, as we will be serving the clear top layer only.
Peel the ginger and chop it.
Grind together whole coriander seeds and ginger using some water. Extract the juice from using a filter. Take out all the juice from coriander seed by filtering twice or thrice using 2 more cups of water.
Take this juice along with jaggery solution. Keep refrigerated or in room temperature up to 2 hours only (I prefer serving immediately in room temperature).
After 10 minutes we will see some sediments in the bottom....discard this bottom layer.
Before serving, squeeze the juice of one whole lemon mix well and adjust jaggery and lemon to taste.
Ginger lemon juice is ready!
Serving suggestions:
Makes a refreshing drink during summer.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Easy Mango Shrikhand

Making shrikhand itself is an easy breezy job for a food lover. But having this recipe in hand will make the job more easy and delectable. I tasted this mango shirkhand in my neighbor aunty's house and learned to make it from sour cream instead of curd. She is known for hosting many homely dinner parties and I help her sometimes too. I always wonder how she juggles many things at a time.  I like the way she uses all kinds of short-cuts, so that the hostess also gets some time to rest and look fresh and pretty:) Isn't her confidence amazing !
I have used real mangoes in this recipe, but aunty recommends using tinned alphonsa mangoes instead of pureeing the mangoes.

Note: This is not an authentic shrikhand recipe. But comes handy when we need to prepare a dessert without much effort.
Mango shrikhand using sour cream

Sour cream - 1 cup (fat free or whole)
Cream cheese - 2 tbsp (optional)
Powdered sugar - 1/2 cup + up to taste
cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Mango - 1 (or 1/2 cup puree)
Mango - 1/2 (chopped)

Sieve the powdered sugar to get rid off the lumps (this step is a must).
Using a fork, mix the sour cream and cream cheese separately, till they get a smooth texture.
Puree the mango. Chop another mango and take a handful for this recipe and enjoy the other half  yourself:)
Add mango puree, cardamom powder, chopped mango to the above  and mix well.
Keep refrigerated in an air tight container for almost 2 hours (or till it gets chill).
Garnish with chopped pistachios while serving.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as dessert.

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