Friday, October 25, 2019

Happy Deepavali,

Dear readers, friends, family,
Wishing all a very happy and prosperous Deepavali !
I made some flower arrangements and my hubby did some lights decor in the windows. Hope you all like my Deepavali  celebrations !
Flower decorations and floating candles I made for Deepavali  2019. 
Deepavali lights in our house 🙂

Masal vadai and kesari I made 

WhatsApp and Facebook image with Happy Diwali Wishes

Monday, October 7, 2019

Sarkarai Pongal in Electric pressure cooker (Instant pot pongal)

I made Sarkarai pongal in Instant pot recently. After the arrival of Instant pot (IP) the electric pressure cookers have become a normal in many households. IP is very good for all kinds of Indian foods, so it has become some stylish and 'must have' gadget like an 'apple product' in the eyes of any desi in abroad.
I too love IP, just like any other new fancy gadget....If you are my regular reader , then you will know how much I admire cooking gadgets :)  LOL !

Apart from my shopoholism , Instant pot is really a necessary gadget for people who loves cooking in a schedule. Even though it works like a stove top pressure cooker, it has its own perks. Below are the points I like the best about IP.
1.Electric cooker is much safer.
2. It has automatic ON OFF features, so it is not necessary to count the whistles just like old times.
3. There is no whistle sound , this is much important if we have to cook in a silent environment :).
4.The smells are contained inside the pot and therefore the food smells and tastes better.
5. Food gets cooked much faster and we can be sure of the results.
6. Delay timer is a good option for many schedules.

Here is my recipe for sarkarai pongal.
In this recipe I have used my 3 qt DUO Instant pot. I cooked pacharisi rice  (raw rice) and moong dal in the IP. Then added the molten jaggery solution , tadka and boiled it for few minutes. This is the shortest narration :) Still read below for measurements and time , pressure settings !

Also check out my other versions on Sarkarai pongal
1 . Pressure Cooker pongal
2.  Simple pongal 
3.  Rich sarkarai pongal
Sarkarai Pongal made in Instant pot

Ingredients: (for 4-5 people)
Raw rice (pacharisi)  or Basmati rice - 1 1/2 cup
green gram lentil (paasi paruppu)- 1/2 cup
whole milk - 2 cups
water - 3 cups
jaggery (Indian brown sugar ) - 250 gm (1/4 kg)
water - 1 cup
ghee -  1 tbsp
cashew - 5
almond - 5
raisins - 10
cardamom powder - 1 tsp
edible camphor (pachai karpooram) - a tiny pinch

In the Instant pot pressure cooker, choose the 'PRESSURE COOK' button.
Set the cooking time to 10 minutes in 'high pressure' setting.
Pour the milk and start cooking with lid open.

Meanwhile take the rice and dal together and rinse well. Add it to the milk.
Add 3 cups of water.
 Put the lid on. 
Check the weight valve and make sure that it is not in 'vent mode'.
After we place the lid , the IP will start heating and once the required pressure is achieved , we can see the safety valve rising up. It may take 5 minutes to reach this stage.
The Instant pot will automatically switch off after the set timings.
Now it may naturally release the pressure in about 20 minutes or we can manually release the pressure and open the lid.

In the meantime , put the jaggery and 1 cup water and bring to boil and let the jaggery melt.
Pour the clear jaggery solution to the cooked rice+dal in Instant pot.

Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a frying pan.
Add the chopped nuts, raising and fry for few seconds till the nuts turn mild red and the raisin puffs.
Pour this over the rice+dal+jaggery in IP.
Add the cardamom powder, edible camphor powder and mix well.

Put the lid on.
Press the 'Rice' setting and set the time to 1 minutes and low pressure.

Once it is done, release the pressure manually.

Sarkarai pongal is ready !

Serving suggestion:
Serve as breakfast on Pongal day.
Makes a dessert along with idli during a grand breakfast.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Navaratri celebrations !

This week is the Navaratri week for Indians. 
 In India, South Indians celebrate Navaratri with a lot of traditions. My amma used to prepare various sundal or kesari or sarkarai pongal on those nine days (in the evenings) and offer to God and would invite some friends / family and we all used to enjoy those snacks in the evening. We had a Golu only one time and somehow couldn't continue. I really really love kolu very much and I used to go to many of my friends' houses or to temples to see kolu , those kolams and to hear the songs along with wearing beautiful dresses. Golu is a kind of display of traditional dolls and statues (handed over through generations), depicting various puranas (ancient Hindu mythology).  It is one of the most colorful and cheerful festivals of India.   
In my father's native place area, this navaratri is celebrated every year with a lot of processions, pooja,  dinners and folk songs and folk dances along with watching some popular movies along with the whole village. In my father's ancestors house, there is a separate family temple. There the celebrations are more homely. Every family in the family tree has to contribute on one day to prepare the festive foods and all the temple traditions. All girl children below 12 years old would be invited from the family and would be considered as Devi and offered sweets , flowers and fruits with some more happy traditions. This festival revolves around women and celebrates the importance of women. And on the 10 th day the 'Devi' wins over all the negativities and blesses and fills the whole world with positive energy (Shakthi), it is called Dassara festival. Most festivals of India would emphasize on appreciating the women and the need to respect them.  So I too like this festival very much. 

This Tuesday, My friend Raji invited me to her home for  Navaratri pooja celebration.  I had a beautiful experience of participating in this amazing festival along with the best lunch prepared by her. She had prepared a fantastic lunch and had invited two friends. She had made semiya payasam, urid dal vadai, Ghee, rice, dal, Mor kulambu (buttermilk curry), rasam, green banana eggplant tamarind curry, a spicy potato fry, cucumber raitha, mango sweet pachadi, mango spicy pachadi, yogurt ... and everything was served on a traditional banana leaf (wow, wow) ! No words to explain her dedication in making that pooja food, while she was fasting and doing all chores herself on that day.  To my surprise every dish was made without onion garlic and still it tasted more yummy in my view !
We all enjoyed the food and the get together very much.
And also as a take home gift she gave us a thamboolam (betal leaf, betal nuts, banana and flower) and a beautiful glass container gift as a part of this tradition along with some payasam and vadai for our houses. 
Navaratri lunch prepared by my friend Raji.


Thanks to her and her mom's recipes and guidance we could enjoy a typical Kerala Brahmin festive food on a Navaratri pooja day ! 
We really had a wonderful girls time together and enjoyed the day!

Happy Navaratri to you all ! May God bless everyone !

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