Friday, August 15, 2014

Tomato carrot soup

The best section in any grocery store in my view is the produce (fruit and Veg) department. I try to beautify my shopping cart with colorful veggies as if it is an advertisement for veggies:). That too, if a seasonal vegetable is in sale, it would definitely come with us:) Then coming home, I would wonder how to make use of them efficiently :) Making soups is another nice way to include all those goodies and here is my version of tomato carrot soup. Hope you all enjoy this in this cool weather !
Tomato carrot soup

(for making 6 servings)
Tomato -  1/2 kg
Carrot - 2
green peas  or sweet corn - handful
turmeric powder - 1 tsp
cilantro , mint leaf - handful.
Butter - 1 tbsp
All purpose flour / corn starch - 2 tbsp
cinnamon - 1 inch
bay leaf - 1
shallot - 3
garlic - 1 whole
whole black pepper - 2 tbsp
cumin - 1 tbsp

1.Wash and keep the tomato as whole. Peel and chop carrot to small pieces.
Grind garlic, black pepper and cumin to a coarse mixture.
In a pressure cooker add whole tomato, carrot, peas / corn, turmeric powder , chopped cilantro, mint leaf, prepared garlic masala.
Pour 10 cups of water, close the pressure cooker. After 1 whistle reduce flame to medium and cook for 5 minutes. (In ordinary stockpot : cook covered till the vegetables are cooked tender).
After releasing the pressure, add salt. Take out the tomatoes and remove the skin and puree.
2. Heat 1 or 2  tbsp butter in a pan.
Put bay leaf, cinnamon and after 5 seconds. Then fry chopped shallot till it gets golden brown. Then add the all purpose flour or corn starch and fry for a few seconds till raw smell goes.
3. Pour this to the cooked vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Tomato carrot soup is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve with garlic bread.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Chennai Kaara chutney

While every city in Tamilnadu is telling tales on their own special cuisines, Chennai has it all under  one roof.  Have you ever wondered what makes those Chennai restaurant idlies more delicious? Other than the usual sambar and coconut chutney we see everywhere, they would serve you a spicy red chutney, called kaara chutney. I think it might have originated from Andhra, as they make the spiciest foods in India. If you buy a parcel of idly (carry home version) , from those small idly shops, they would tie this spicy red chutney in a small pouch along with all the other side dishes. If tomatoes are in their peak season, we can see this chutney in all shops. This is one of my most favorite chutney and here goes the recipe for that spicy kaara chutney.

Red onion - 1 medium size
Tomato - 4 (1/4 kg)
urid dhal (black gram) - 2 tbsp
Dried Red chilli - 6 to 8
tamarind - gooseberry size
oil - 1 tbsp
for tempering:
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
urid dal - 1 tsp
curry leaves - 1 sprig
sesame oil - 2 tsp
Salt - tsp
hing - a big pinch


Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan.
Fry the 2 tbsp urid dhal to red color. In the same oil fry the red chillies and keep them aside.
In the same pan add chopped onion and fry to golden brown.
Add chopped tomato and cook covered with few tbsp water till done.
While the tomato is cooking add tamarind and cook it also.
Let everything cool and grind together the onion, tomato, urid dal, tamarind, salt, dry chilly.
For tempering, heat 2 tsp oil in a separate pan.
Crackle the mustard, then add urid dal. Let it get red. Then goes the curry leaves, hing.
Pour this hot over the prepared chutney and mix well.
Chennai kaara chutney is ready!

Serving suggestions:

Serve as side dish with Idly , dosa , along with sambar and coconut chutney for a special treat.
It would be enough to serve with 25 idly.
Makes a big batch and stays good refrigerated for a week.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ragi paniyaram

Paniyaram or appam is usually prepared with rice flour. On that day I wanted  to incorporate some very ripe bananas sitting and also to stick to some miller recipes.  So I made it with ragi flour. Ragi is a gluten-free grain. It would be easier if we add some wheat flour to it , to keep the paniyarams in shape. I made this on a weekend as a tea time snack, as my hubby dear likes sweeter goodies better:)  After enjoying enough paniyarams on Saturday evening, I refrigerated the leftover batter and devoured it the next day also. I think from next time, I will be making this batter ahead for weekend.
Here is my version of ragi paniyaram and it will definitely make everyone happy:)

paniyaram without baking soda

paniyaram with baking soda

Ragi - 1 1/2 cup
whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
ripe banana - 2
milk / coconut milk - 1/2 cup
jaggery - 1 cup (crushed)
Baking soda  - 1 tsp (optional)
oil - few tbsp

Dry roast the ragi flour and wheat flour together for 5 minutes in low heat, so that it smells nice (not red).
Let it cool . Mash the bananas and add to flour. Then add cardamom powder.
Melt jaggery in little water and remove any sediments at bottom.
Add this jaggery solution also to the mixing bowl. If needed, add coconut milk or milk little by little and mix well.
Heat a paniyaram pan.
Add 1/2 tsp coconut oil in each dent (for the first time we may need 1/2 tsp oil. After that few drops will be enough).
Reduce flame to minimum and scoop the paniyaram mixture till 3/4 th in each.
Place a lid and cook covered. Check every minute and it will be ready in almost 3 minutes in the first side. Flip (using a spoon and skewer) and cook the other side uncovered for another minute.
Take out and enjoy!

This mixture can be prepared earlier and can be refrigerated for further use.
Adding baking soda (few minutes before cooking) makes the paniyaram very spongy. It is optional only.
Makes 25 paniyaram.
Using coconut oil or butter or ghee for making the paniyaram will definitely elevate it to next level:)

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