Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Snow peas poriyal

Snow-peas can be compared with Indian broad beans /avarakkai (Tamil) / chikkudukaya (Telugu) / sem (Hindi) / avara (Malayalam).

Snow peas come in peak season during summer here. Mostly it is steam cooked with little salt and consumed as a snack or appetizer. But most of the Indian women I know would prefer making a spicy stir-fry like mine :) Have a look at my spicy avarakkai fry too.
Our fist place in US was Missouri. We were in a cozy little town called Ofallon. That place really looked like a hallmark greetings or Thomas kinkade painting for me. That beautiful little town we lived had only one Indian grocery store (named Suvidha). At that time, they would bring fresh vegetables and groceries on only one evening in a week and that would get sold in minutes. Also the prices would look huge for anyone who had just relocated to USA from India. We were also one among those who would do multiplication  on looking at the dollars. Students and newbies think like that and I am sure there is nothing wrong in thinking of saving.  So we would go to the local American grocery stores like Schnucks or Shop and save or mostly Aldi to buy vegetables. In the beginning , we all wouldn't fuss much to get typical Indian vegetables like brinjal, gourds etc and rejoiced on seeing beans and carrots there :) (In our native we always wanted vegetables from cooler zones).
After few months, everyone would start looking for more nostalgic tastes. At that time we found this vegetable. It was like a sweet medley of avarakka and crispy cucumber. I started cooking this after that day and we like this poriyal very much. Enjoy !
Fresh snow peas 

snow peas poriyal

snow peas - 1/2 lb
shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
cumin - 1 tsp
salt - to taste.
To Temper:
onion - 1/2 cup (chopped)
green chili - 2
mustard - 1/2 tsp
urid dal - 1/2 tsp
coconut oil / olive oil - 2 tsp

Chop the snow peas into small pieces.
Slit the green chilli into two (or) chop finely.
Heat oil in a wok. Add mustard, urid dal and let the mustard crack.
Then add the chopped onion and saute till it gets tender.
Then add the chopped chillies, snow peas and Saute well.
Sprinkle a handful of water and cook covered for 5 minutes in medium heat.
Then add required salt. Open and let it get dry
It will get cooked in almost 10 minutes in medium heat.
Then add the shredded coconut, cumin and stir well for a  minute.
Switch off.
Snow peas poriyal is ready!

Serving suggestion:
Serve as side dish with rice and any curry like sambar, puli kuzhambu.
Try this with my favorite sweet mango sambar and enjoy !

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tamilnadu's village style mixture

Mixture / namkeen  / மிக்ஸர் is a popular spicy snack of India. Just as the name says, the snack mixture is a mix of various snacks like omapodi, kaara boonthi, nuts, spices etc.
The North Indian namkeen mixtures are made with thin sev and we can see this trend in Chennai mixture too. Most of those namkeens contain a hint of sweetness.  But there is one more mixture variety from my native place, which may not be much popular, but I like it very much. I have seen this kind of mixture in Kerala too. This mixture should be made with thick sev and the spice level should be high. We call it as 'Thisayanvilai mixture'. One of our good relatives, AnnaPazham paatti used to buy this for us. This mixture would be packed in palm leaf containers (olai petti) and that adds more glamour to it.
I tried to create it at home and it turned out to be a great success. Should I say hubby dear and me enjoyed this mixture throughout that weekend with tea!
Tamilnadu's village style mixture

Omapodi and kaara poonthi 
plantain chips
soaked channa dal

frying the channa dal

fried peanut, curry leaf, channa dal

Every goodness in one bowl together, the MIXTURE

After mixing the snacks together...
Fruit of my work ♥ Mixture stored in airtight container.....for snack time !

Omapodi (thick sev) - 1/4 kg  (or) crushed - 2 cups
kara boondi - 1/4 kg (or) 2 cups
banana chips - from one plantain  (or) 100 gms
peanut  (ver kadalai)- 1 cup (or) fried masala peanut - 1 cup
channa dal (kadalai paruppu) - 1/2 cup
murukku -  1 or 2 (optional)
curry leaf - few
garlic - 4 cloves
red chili powder -  1 tbsp
hing - 1/2 tsp
salt - to taste
oil - for deep frying

1.Prepare the omapodi, boondi, chips ahead. I suggest making them a day ahead. Buying them from store is also a good option. Gently crush the omapodi into medium size pieces.
Put them all together in a wide mixing bowl.
2.Soak the channa dal for 4 to 5 hours. Drain water. Pat dry in a fresh kitchen towel. Let it dry in room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat oil to deep fry in a wok. Deep fry the channa dal.
Add this to the bowl.
3. Fry the masala peanuts. My recipe would be for baking, but use the same ingredients and deep fry them for mixture. Put this with other items in the bowl. We can simply fry the peanuts too (like me).  If we add masala peanuts, then it gets the touch of kovilpatti mixture.
4. In the same hot wok, fry a handful of curry leaves to crispy. Put that to the mixing bowl.
5. Peel and crush coarsely few cloves of garlic. Fry till crispy. Add to the bowl.
6. Now add some crushed murukku to the bowl.
7. Then add chili powder, hing , salt to all those items in the mixing bowl. Mix well using a spatula or hands. Check and add salt little by little as many already contain salt.
8.Let cool and store in air tight containers.
Village style mixture is ready !

Serving suggestion:
Serve as snack with coffee or tea.
In my house, we enjoy this with sambar rice too.

*The difficult to make ingredients like sev (omapodi), kara poonthi, chips, fried peanut can be bought as readymade from any Indian grocery store and this snack can be made in a jiffy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Sapota ice cream

Chickoo fruit / sappotte / sapota / sappotta
The Indian sapota (Manilkara zapota) tree is a beautiful short tree. I would say Indian sapotta is more sweeter but smaller than many varieties.  My relationship with this tree started during my childhood. My grandma (dad's mom's sister) had two big shady sapotta trees in her front yard and her house used to be one of my favorite places because of her and these fruits :) So whenever I see sapotta fruits, the only thing I remember is her pretty smiling face !
Click to see my sapote mikshake too.

Coming to ice cream, the secret behind a creamy rich ice cream is butter and eggs with heavy cream milk. With the invention of ice cream churners, low calorie versions starts showing up, and that makes ice cream good for most people.  Making ice cream using pudding or custard (custard has egg while pudding won't) is one of the traditional methods. But this ice cream recipe is my very own version. I learned the basic ice cream from the kitchenaid ice cream maker manual and developed a lower calorie version (still soft and tastes like rich ice cream).
Sapote is a common fruit in India, whereas it costs around $4.99 / lb in USA. But Indian grocery stores here sell frozen sapote for around $2 per pack (340 gm). Also that frozen sapote is extremely sweeter and lovable than fresh ones (fresh ones never ripe in my house....I don't know much about other's experiences. May be I am not picking up the right ones). So I always go for this frozen one.
Here goes the recipe for sapote ice cream.
Chikoo ice cream in Kitchenaid Ice cream maker ♥ 
Frozen fruit pack from Indian grocery store
Grind the fruit to a fine paste.

Homemade custard (simple version).

Attach the ice cream maker to stand mixer and start at speed 1.

Pour the mixture and keep churning at speed 1 for 10 to 15 minutes

keep churning till the ice cream starts thicken.

Immediately take it out 

Keep in a serving bowl and enjoy immediately or keep it frozen till we need.

A big bowl of sapota ice cream :)

half and half milk (or) whole milk - 1 1/2 cup
egg - 1
butter - 1 tbsp
sugar - 1/ 2 cup
chicku fruit (sappotta) - 4 ( puree 1 3/4 cup)
(or) a 340 gm pack from frozen aisle.
cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp

Keep the kitchenaid mixer's ice cream attachment in freezer overnight (more than 12 hours). I would suggest keeping it in freezer always, as we can make an ice cream or sorbet, whenever we wish.
Keep the fruit in water for few minutes to defrost.

Whisk egg thoroughly. Add to milk , butter and start heating  slowly. Cook in very little heat , till it reaches little thick stage (coats the back of spoon). Let cool. (This is not traditional custard, but a quick version to make my recipe easier).
Peel the sappota fruit, remove seeds. In a blender, grind together the fruit and sugar to a fine paste.
Add everything to the ice cream maker along with pinch of salt and cardamom powder.
Keep the setting to speed 1. Churn for nearly 10 - 15 minutes . Slow churning is the best. By this time, it will get thicker ice cream consistency. In kitchenaid mixer it takes 15 minutes.
Take it out and serve immediately as soft ice cream.
Or keep in freezer for 2-4 hours for a more firm ice cream.
Keep the left over in freezer.

Note: (Ice cream using mixie and freezer).
*This ice cream can be made without ice cream maker too. For that we have to do these steps:
1. In the above method, do everything till I mentioned 'add to ice cream maker'....then skip that step.
Put the prepared ice cream mix in a tight container. Keep frozen for 2 hours. Take out, beat / run in a blender ( or Indian mixie) for 1 minute. Then transfer this to the same box and keep frozen for 2 more hours. Again , take it out and beat in a blender. Keep frozen. repeat another time and keep frozen for 1 hour before serving.
* In this recipe, we can replace whole milk with fat free milk and it would taste closer.
*while using an ice cream maker, I start the process just before serving, as soft ice creams taste incredible and won't need much fat.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as dessert.
Makes 4  1/2 cup ice cream.
I think this would be enough to make 9 medium size servings.

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