Monday, October 30, 2017

Indian curd yogurt

What is that , 'an Indian yogurt' ? . It is simply called as curd,  dahi , thayir (தயிர்) and by many many words in Indian languages. But however it is called, it is one of the major food items in an Indian household. Even in abroad, we all take pride and enjoy making this yogurt at home in surplus quantities, because store bought Indian curd is comparatively expensive than the homemade versions and it is needed in all of our houses for everyday consumption.

Indian curd is very easy to prepare, if and only if we are having a starter fermentation curd. Not all store bought yogurts have the same culture as Indian curd. But we have to look for labels like 'live culture'  'probiotic culture' in yogurts in Indian stores. I found that DEEP BRAND is the one of the best as a starter. That too for first two or three times, the yogurt may look little different, but we have to proceed with the same homemade yogurt  everytime (and the base culture improvises after a few times). So a good cook would be very cautious in preserving the basic culture by keeping at least a few tbsp of curd at fridge all the time.

There are a few rules to make good curd and here I am listing what I follow.
Boiling the milk


Let it ferment.

creamy Indian curd is ready !

Ingredients:
Whole milk  - 1 cup
starter curd with active cultures - 1 tbsp for every cup of milk

Method:
Boil the milk until frothy. My mom would say 'let it rise 5 times to remove the raw smell ' 😄. So I too do like that.
While boiling the milk stir well using a whisk to make it little more creamy and frothy (secret of more yumminess).
Let it cool. The perfect cooled temperature should be something like lukewarm.
Add 1 tbsp curd for 1 cup of milk.
Whisk well or pour it back and forth between two cups (like making Indian tea) till frothy.
Close and keep in warm place.
🌷(Sometimes a casserole / hot box or an Indian cooker with warm water, can give necessary warmth if we are in cold countries. And also by this way we can get the fermented curd within 4 hours).
🌷(During colder weather , I preheat oven to 200 for 10 minutes and keep the milk for fermentation inside warm oven. It takes almost 10 hours for me to get a good quality curd by this oven method).
🌷(During summer the room temperature is enough to prepare curd. While in Chennai I used to start making curd / உறை ஊற்றுவது only after preparing morning tea and the curd would be ready for lunch ).
After serving the curd, always save a few tbsp of curd (culture) for next day's fermentation. This is the key for perfect homemade curd.

Uses:
Indian yogurt is poured over rice to make curd rice.
It is also consumed as dipping along with some parathas.
Plain yogurt (dahi / thayir) is used to prepare many kinds of raithas, used in marinations in popular recipes like tandoori chicken , chiken 65 and in most chicken recipes.
It is also used in Indian cooldrinks like lassi, spicy buttermilk.
Indian platter meals would always include a cup for dahi (it is very good for health).

Note:
Most of the store bought Indian yogurts are more yummier and creamier than homemade versions in reality. The creamy texture is got by adding some corn starch and/or cream while manufacturing it.
So it is a good idea to buy those curds when we want something more special or for preparing a thick quick raitha.
I use fat-free milk to prepare curd on most days. But whole milk yogurt tastes more delicious.


Friday, October 20, 2017

Deepavali

Deepavali is an Indian festival of lights and I love this festival very much.  I try my best to decorate our house with many lights and I will make one or two special foods. My hubby dear always encourages me to do everything that keeps me happy. Here are some photos from our Deepavali day !
Happy Deepavali :)

floating candles on water with homegrown flowers. This is a glass bowl for indoor succulents from walmart ($ 4.5)

The candles I bought from walmart - LED candles (almost $5 a pack) for outdoors and floating candles for flower decor (almost $4 /pk)
Vegetable briyani and raitha for lunch

Festival of lights , the lovely Deepavali

Deepavali in our apartments, we can see lights in most windows ...beautiful ! We walked around and enjoyed the lights !
Sweet Boli from my neighbor aunty. Soft and flaky ...yummy ! She puts a lot of effort to celebrate all festivals including Christmas and she inspires me to celebrate every moment :)

I made Ulunthu vadai for Deepavali. It is our native tradition to prepare some fried snacks for this festival. 

,

We celebrate our wedding anniversary almost on every day of our life :) That too when it comes to October , we do something nice for us. While hubby showers me with gifts and restaurant dinners , I too prepare his favorite foods along with a homemade cake. This year , additionally we went on a Chinese bus tour (Take tours) and we visited some spectacular tourist spots in Wyoming (Yellow stone national park) , South Dakota (Mt.Rushmore) and Utah (Salt Lake).


Thai Basil restaurant, Piscataway NJ, on the eve.

Roti shana resembles our parotta salna...yumm !

Roti shana 

We both like this 'Veg Pad kee mao'  💕

Vegetarian Pad Kee Mao
Dinner buffet at  Teppanyaki Grill :
egg roll, honey chicken, edamame , calamari fry, grilled octopus - my plate , I tried many stuffs :)  .
garlic bread, fries, edamame , lemon,  - Xav's plate

Rainbow Sushi, wasabi , ginger relish, noodles, fried rice, shrimp - my plate :)  

Tso's chicken, noodle, fried rice - my hubby's choice 

Wonton soup ...yummy !

We take all desserts and share to taste them...I liked this coconut rice cake ....(sitting on that cupcake liner) (like our kolukattai) very much. The fruit custard was amazing.  other than that I liked the chocolate cake also.

My hubby took a tiny serving of each and every ice cream...I didn't taste any of these, as the weather was already very cold on that day (the truth is I felt full...very full).

some more desserts ...jelly and rice pudding.
I made this cake for our wedding anniversary.

"As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love"  from Bible 1 corinthians 

These are some moments from our anniversary celebrations, Thanks be to God :)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Strawberry lemonade

Nowadays I prepare juices very rarely. When I need one, I always look for lemonade, as it is my favorite and an easy one too. The word lemonade entered my world only after we started visiting carnivals in USA. Before that I used to call it as lemon juice or  by whatever fruit it is made of.  In India , lemon juice is like an everyday affair, as it is an easy one for guests. I jazzed it up with some strawberries and here is an amazing drink for all.

If looking for some advanced preparation, I make a syrup style lemonade (which I learned many years back from my amma).  The below syrup can be made with strawberry or pineapple or just as plain lemon syrup. The plain syrup can be added with 'nannari syrup'  while serving too.
I have given that traditional method here along with an easy version (which comes handy most of the time) also.
Fresh Strawberry lemonade (homestyle)


Ingredients: (for 14 servings)
Lemon - 2  (large)
strawberry - 10 to 15
water - 1 cup
white sugar - 2  cup
ice cubes - 2 cup

for mixing:
water - 12 cups
(or) water - 6 cups + plain sparkling soda - 6 cups
lemon - 1 (for garnish)

Syrup:
Puree strawberry. If needed filter to remove seeds. Bring to a boil along with 1 cup water and 2 cups sugar. Bring to a boil. Make it a syrup. Let the raw smell vanish.  Let it cool. Squeeze lemon and add it to syrup. Save in fridge. We can do this syrup and keep in fridge 2-3 days.

Serving suggestion:
While making the lemonade, slice one lemon into small cubes.
Put 1 lemon wedge in each glass.
Add cold water and soda (optional) equally up to 3/4 th and start adding the syrup as per need. Put an cube for each glass.
If needed adjust sugar too.

Strawberry lemonade is ready.

Note:
The above is the perfect recipe which I use sometimes with or without strawberry for making lemonade. I am not sure of the recipe about the carnival style lemonde, but this recipe tastes closest :)
        🍓🍓🍋🍓🍋🍓🍋🍓🍋🍓🍋🍓🍋🍓🍓
Alternate homely method:
(for 6 cups)
In a mixie / blender , add 6 strawberry, sugar - 1 cup, squeezed lemon - 1.
Blend well.
Add required cold water and transfer to a serving jar.
Keep refrigerated. Mix well using a tall spoon and pour to glasses with ice cubes.
This is a quick and easy to make strawberry lemonade in homestyle.

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