Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Coconut Custard

Milk - 3 cups
Custard Pwd. (Strawberry flavor) - 3 tbsp heaped
Sugar- 3-4 tbsp (or to taste)
Coconut - 1 cup grated (do not pack into cup)
Cashewnuts - 1/2 cup
Raisins - 1/2 cup
Ghee or butter - 2 tbsp

Method of Preparation:
1. Take 3 tbsp out of the 3 cups of  milk and mix it with the custard powder to get a smooth paste.
2. Boil the rest of the milk with sugar. After one boil put off heat.
3. Stirring continuously, add the custard paste into the milk. Put on heat again and keep stirring to avoid lumps. Stir till you see bubbles spurting out(boiling) and the whole mixture has become thick.(about 5 mins.)
Put off heat and continue to stir for about a minute.
4. Heat a kadai and add 1/2 tbsp ghee. Keep on low heat. Add the cashewnuts and fry untill golden. Drain with a slotted spoon. Next add raisins and fry for a few seconds. Remove from heat immediately.
5. Add the rest of the ghee and keep on medium heat. Put in the grated coconut and fry untill the coconut turns golden brown. Keep aside to cool.
6. Add the fried cashewnuts and raisins (reserving a few for garnishing) to the warm custard and mix well. Add half of the coconut and mix well.
7. Pour the custard into your serving bowl. Cover with the rest of the grated coconut, nuts and raisins. Serve chilled.


Coconut Chutney

My recipe makes a mildly spicy chutney. If you like a more fiery taste you may a 1/2 or 1 chilly more.

Coconut - 1 cup(grated and firmly packed into the cup)
Green chilly - 1
Tamarind paste - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 4 nos

Method of Preparation:
1. Put all the ingredients for the chutney in a mixer grinder and grind to a smooth paste with 3/4 cup water.
2. Pour the chutney into a bowl.
3. Heat the oil in a small tempering pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Put off from heat and immediately add the curry leaves. Pour over the chutney. Mix well and Serve.

Notes: 1 For some more flavour, you may also add about 1/2 tsp of chana dal and 1 broken long red chilli into your tempering.
2. For a more green color, you may add about 1/2 cup of corriander leaves into your coconut mix and then grind it all together.
3. If you want you're chutney thick and stiff( to serve with bonda's and vada's), reduce the quantity of water to only 1/4th cup.
4. If you want a more liquid chutney, you may add the required quantity of water after you have ground the chutney.

Mangalore Buns

These soft, fluffy buns are a staple Mangalore morning breakfast. Although they are eaten more often at restaurants than at home, they are quite easy to prepare. They have a slight banana sweet taste and are contrarily served with spicy coconut chilli chutney. Enjoy them warm for breakfast or tea!

Makes 10 bun's

Banana - 1 ( the Cavandish variety is best)
Curd(yoghurt) along with whey - 3/4 cup ( if you're curds are thick then you may add 2 tbsp water)
Sugar - 6 tbsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Baking Soda- 1/2 tsp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Maida(Plain Flour) - 2 cups + 2 tbsp
Oil for deep frying.

Method of Preparation:
1. Put all ingredients except maida into a blender and whisk untill smooth.
2. Pour the blended mixture into a big bowl. Add 2 cups of maida and mix well. Add more maida to make a soft, smooth dough. Knead well for atleast 10- 15 mins. Make into a big ball, cover with a damp cloth and leave overnight.
3. Next morning, divide the dough into 10 equal balls. Apply a little oil on your rolling pin and board. Roll out the balls into small round buns approximately 2" in diameter. Roll out all the bun's just before frying.
4. Heat oil in a kadai on medium heat. Gently drop in the buns and fry on both sides untill brown in colour and puffed up.
5.Serve warm with coconut chutney

Notes: 1. Roll out all the bun's just before you fry them. If they are rolled out much earlier the dough tends to get soft and limp and you will have to roll them all over again. This applies to all breads like puri's, kachori's, chapathi's.
2. After you put in the bun's in hot oil, gently press them down with a slotted spoon. This will make the buns rise and puff up!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Prawns 5 Star-ter !

7.00 P.M. yesterday.- I was just about to make prawn curry when someone rang the doorbell. It was husband dear...................... and his gang of friends!!!
Party !!!- they said and out came Jack Daniels.... and a BIG smile on hubby's face. Then he very sweetly comes into the kitchen and asks    "Whats for starters?"
........Thats when Prawns 5 Star-ter was born!
This starter is so easy and yummy and quick that you should just not miss trying it!

Serves 4

Prawns - 1/2 Kg, shelled, veins removed and cleaned
Refined Oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
Garlic - 8 cloves, chopped
Onions - 1no. small, chopped fine
Green Chillies- 2 nos, slit vertically
Vinegar- 1 tbsp
Turmeric Pwd - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste.

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat oil in a pan on medium and add mustard seeds. Let them splutter.
2. Add curry leaves and garlic. Fry till the garlic turns golden in color.
3. Add th chopped onion and green chillies. Fry till onions are golden brown.
4. Lower heat and add turmeric pwd and salt. Mix well.
5. Add prawns and vinegar. Mix well and fry prawns on medium heat  untill it is cooked and well coated with the other ingredients. (about 7-10 mins). Serve Hot.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Chickdee/ Broken Red Rice, Lentil & Chicken Khichdee

There are times in the year.... when one season changes to another, ....when leaves burnt red from summer fall graciously on earth,.... when you see people change their wardrobes and bring out their woolens and when you hear the first sneeze! You know winter is approaching and you also know that this drastic change in weather is going to bring our favorite enemy....the common cold. Well, then there are rounds of home remedies like ginger and pepper kashayam or the usual coldarin's, anacin's, vicks vaporubs coming out of your shelf. Try as much as u will but our temporary guest just loves his host.
So, if cant beat it then join it. That's exactly what i thought when i was down with my first bout of cold after marriage. I was just so tired of having the usual chicken soup and kanji (gruel made from red boiled rice popular in south india) and pickle and wanted a desperate change from boring food. As you see desperation became the mother of invention in my case and i put everything together with some dal(lentils) and that was the beginning of "Chickdee", the chicken version of khichdee. It's made with broken red boiled rice which is the ideal food while you are ill, dal gives it that extra protien and the chicken made in the similar way you would make clear soup is great for your cold. Cooked together, all these ingredients makes a steaming broth which is so dense, that it just refuses to go cold in its bowl, even on a wintry day. So even your last spoonful will be warm and that is the best thing you could ask for when its cold. I always top my plate with freshly grated pepper, which really soothes my throat when this warm, mushy and delicious chickdee goes down it.

Serves 6

Chicken - 600gms (about half a chicken cut into medium size peices, use the pieces with bones)
Toor Dal - 1/2 cup, washed
Broken Boiled Red Rice - 1 cup, washed(if you cant find broken rice read tip at the end of recipe)
Ghee - 2 tbsp
Onions - 2 medium size, chopped fine
Tomato - 1 medium size, chopped
Cloves - 3 nos
Cinnamom - 1/2 " piece
Cardamom - 3 nos.
Bay leaf - 1no.
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli pwd - 1 tsp
Freshly grated pepper - 1 tbsp + more while serving
Salt to taste
Water - 4 cups
Corriander leaves for garnishing

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat 2 tbsp of ghee in a pressure cooker pan. Add cloves, cinnamom, cardamom and bay leaves.
2. When the spices pop add the chopped onions. Fry on high heat untill brown. (about 5 mins)
3. Lower heat and add tomatoes. Add turmeric pwd and red chilli pwd. Fry untill the tomatoes are soft.
4. Add the chicken and saute for a minute.
5. Add dal and rice and mix well untill combined.
6. Add 4 cups water, salt to taste and 1 tbsp freshly grated pepper. Mix well. Close the cooker lid and bring to full pressure. ( on high heat untill you hear 1 whistle) Lower heat to medium and cook for 5 mins. Let the pressure release on its own.
7. Once the pressure has come down completely, open the lid. If you like your chickdee like a porridge add 1 cup water. (This dish has the ability to absorb a lot of water, so every time you reheat it you will have to add more water.)
8. Pour onto your bowl. Garnish with chopped corriander leaves and sprinkle with freshly grated pepper to your taste. Eat Warm and be Happy!

P.S. : If you cannot find broken boiled rice you will have to par boil boiled rice. I usually put the rice in  P.C.  with 5 times the quantity of water. Bring P.C. to full pressure on high heat(1st whistle). Lower heat to medium-low and cook untill 3 whistles. Let pressure come down on its own. Use this half cooked rice and you may also add the broth.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Red Fish Fry

Fish pieces - 10 nos (you may use any fish)
Red Chilli pwd - 2 tsp.
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp.
Salt to taste - about 1 tsp
Water - 3tsp
Refined Oil - 5 tbsp

Method of Preparation:
1. Mix Chilli pwd, salt and turmeric pwd with water to make a smooth paste.
2. Coat the fish pieces with the paste. Do not apply paste thickly as the extra masala tends to get burnt while frying.
3. Heat oil in a shallow flat pan. Fry fish on both sides for about 10 mins on medium heat or until well cooked on both sides. Serve hot.

Green Fish Fry

Great to have along with drinks, you may also serve this crunchy spicy fish with rice and curry.

Serves 10

Pomfret Fish slices - 10 nos.
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Vinegar - 1tsp
Rice flour - 1tsp
Fine Semolina (sooji) - 1tsp
Salt to taste
Refined Oil - 6 tbsp
Corriander leaves - 1/2 bunch ( roughly chopped about a cup)
Green Chillies - 2 nos
Ginger - 1/2 " piece
Garlic - 4 cloves
Grind the above to a smooth paste with 1/4 cup water.

Method of Preparation:
1. Put the ground masala into a flat plate. If there is any excess water , drain it out by tilting the plate gently.
2. Add all the other ingredients except fish and oil and mix untill well combined.
3. Take a flat pan and heat on medium. Pour the oil and let it get warm.
4. Now coat the fish pieces evenly with masala on the top and sides.
5. Place it on the pan when the oil is warm with the coated side down. Now spoon extra masala on top.
6. Fry for about 5 mins. on medium heat and then turn over.
7. Cook until both sides are golden brown. Enjoy hot Green Fish Fry with Salads.

Aaloo Mutter / Potato Peas Curry

A North Indian dish, Aaloo Mutter is good to have with both chapathi as well as rice. The recipe i'm giving you is for a thick gravy. If you would like to have a thin gravy then you may increase the quantity of water by about 1/2 a cup. My recipe is made with dry peas which are easily available in grocery stores throughout the year and i'm cooking it in the pressure cooker.

Serves 6

Dry Peas - 1 cup ( wash and soak in water overnight)
Potato - 1 large ( wash, peel and cut into big cubesand soak in water for 5 mins to remove starch, keep them big or else they will disintegrate in the p.c.)
Jeera - 1 tsp
Onions - 4 nos. large, slice thinly
Tomato - 1 no. small size, well ripened and soft, chopped roughly
Corriander leaves for garnishing
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Chilli pwd - 1/2 tsp
Corriander pwd - 4 tsp(heaped)
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Green Chilli - 2 nos
Ginger - 1" piece
Garlic - 5 cloves
Water - 3 tsp
Grind the above ingredients to a fine paste.

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat oil in the P.C. and add jeera seeds.
2. When they splutter add sliced onions and fry till transparent.
3. When the onions have turned transparent all the ground paste and fry for 5 mins on high heat or until the raw smell goes.
4. Lower heat and add turmeric, chilli and corriander pwds. Fry for just a minute.
5. Add tomatoes and mix well. Fry on medium heat for 2- 3 mins.
6. Drain the water in which you have soaked the potaoes and peas and add it to the masala. Mix well.
Add salt to taste.
7. Add water just enough to cover the peas. Close lid of the P.C. with weight on and look on medium heat untill you hear 2 whistles. If you are using the time method, first bring to full pressure on high heat and then cook for about 15- 20 min on medium heat untill you get the 2nd whistle. Let the pressure come down on its own.
8.Open the P.C. lid only after the pressure has gone completely( about 15-20 mins). Pour onto your serving bowl and garnish with chopped corriander leaves. Serve hot.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Mutton Fugad

Mutton Fugad is the meat version of Chicken Sukka, a traditional Mangalorean recipe. It is best to serve it hot with boiled rice.

Serves 8

Mutton - 750 gms
Water - 1/2 cup
Onion - 1 no., sliced
Tomato - 1/2 medium size, roughly chopped
Coconut - 1/2 cup grated
Cashewnuts - 1/2 cup, washed.
Ghee for frying  - 1tbsp +1tbsp for seasoning
Salt to taste
Onion - 2 nos - finely chopped
Garlic - 8 pods, crushed
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Long Red Chillies - 10 nos.
Corriander seeds - 1 tsbp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pwd. - 1/2 tsp
Khus -khus -1 tsp
Cloves- 2 nos
Cinnamom - 1/2 " piece
Cardamom- 2 nos.
Garlic- 6 cloves
Make a paste of the above Ingredients with 1/2 cup water.

Method of Preparation:
1. Put cleaned and washed mutton into a pressure cooker along with sliced onion, tomato, salt to taste and water. Bring to full pressure on high heat, (i.e. 1 whistle). then lower heat to medium- low and cook till you hear 4 whistles. Let the pressure drop on its own.
2. Heat ghee in a kadai and add the ground masala and fry for 5 mins on medium heat untill the oil separates.
3. Add the cooked mutton with the left over stock and washed cashewnuts. Cook untill most of the water has evaporated.
4. Coarsely grind the coconut in a grinder and add it to the mutton.
5. Heat ghee in a pan and fry curry leaves, crushed garlic and chopped onions till they turn golden brown. Add this to the mutton. Mix well and put off heat. Serve hot.

Chettinadu Mushroom Masala

This tangy and hot curry is my version of Chettinadu masala. It goes very well with chapathi's and parantha's especially potato parantha. Since its quite sour and hot it can easily pass off as a chutney and you may serve raitha along with it to tone down the heat in your food.

Serves 4

Mushrooms: 500 gms (2 packs), washed and chopped into quarters
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Long dry red Chillies- 2
Curry Leaves - 1 sprig

Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Peppercorns- 4 nos.
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Chana Dal - 1 1/2 tbsp
Corriander Seeds- 1 tbsp
Round dry red Chillies - 5 nos.
Garam Masala Pwd- 1/2 tsp

Roast the above ingredients with 1/2 tsp oil on low heat. Cool and make into a paste with:
 1/2 cup water
 1 tbsp of Tamarind paste (yes, you need lots of tamarind and that what gives this dish the "tang".)
 1/2 tsp Turmeric Pwd.

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, lower heat and add long dry red chillies and curry leaves. Saute for a minute.
2.Put in the mushrooms and fry untill well coated with oil.
3. Add the ground masala and salt. Mix well.
4. Add about 1/2 cup water and let the curry boil. Do not cover.
5.After 1 boil, lower heat and simmer untill the gravy become thick.
6. Serve hot with chapathi, roti or parantha's.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Aaloo ke Paranthe / Potato stuffed indian bread

Aaloo ke paranthe topped with warm desi ghee ......hmmm.....  That's the taste of rugged India... No calorie counting here.
A classical North Indian dish , it is usually served with pickle and raitha. My weekend favorite, I have also tried pudhina (mint) chutney and a mushroom pickle with it and trust me...any one of these two just takes the parantha to a different level. No matter what you serve with the parantha, a raitha is a must. You may also serve it plain, especially to children.

Makes 6 Parantha's.

Basic Dough:
Whole Wheat flour (Atta) + All Purpose Flour(Maida) - 1 1/2 +1 1/2 cups = total 3 cups
Water - little less than 1 1/2 cups (dissolve 1 tsp salt in it)
Ghee - 1 tbsp for kneading  and 1 tsp to fry each parantha.
Potato - 2 medium size
Onion - 1 chopped
Green Chillies - 2 nos chopped
Ginger - 1/2 " piece grated
Corriander leaves - 1/2 bunch, finely chopped
Turmeric pwd. - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Water - 1/4 cup only if required.

Method of Preparation:
Basic Dough
1. In a deep bowl, put in your flour. Add 1 cup of water and mix with your fingers. Now add the rest of the water little by little. You will need a little less than 1/2 cup. Keep mixing with fingers untill all the flour is damp. Once all your flour forms into a ball, but still dry add 1 tbsp water(no tmore than that). Your dough should be slightly sticky, this will give you soft parantha's. In any case if you have added more water you may add more wheat flour.
2. Add 1 tbsp ghee and knead the dough. The more you knead, the softer parantha's you'll have. When your dough looks smooth, roll into a cylinder between your palms and take out 6 equal sized parts.
3. Knead these parts again and shape into balls by rolling them in between your palms. Cover and keep aside.
1.Wash potatoes well in running water and boil with skin until cooked. I usually put it into the pressure cooker with enough water to cover the potatoes and cook it on medium heat until one whistle. Once the pressure come down on its own i remove them from the cooker and then peel them.
2. Mash the peeled potatoes until there are no lumps.
3. Heat oil in a kadai and fry onions, green chillies and ginger untill onions turn transparent.
4. Add salt and turmeric pwd.
5. Add the mashed potaoes and mix well.
6. If there are lumps in the potaotes then you may add 1/4 cup water and mash with masher untill there are no lumps.
7. Cook until the mixture is dry. Cool. Make 6 equal sized balls.
1. Roll the dough in a little wheat flour and flatten with roller to about 3" diameter.
2. Place the potato ball in the center of the dough.

3. Bring up the sides of the dough, close the potato ball completely with dough.
4. Flatten with you palm and roll into some flour.
5. Now lightly roll into parantha's.

6. Heat a tava/griddle on medium heat.
7. Place the parantha and cook untill you see whitish spots all over the parantha.
8. Turn over and cook for 2 minutes. Now spread 1/2 tsp ghee over the surface and turn over. Spread another 1/2 tsp ghee on the other side too. Press down and fry untill you see small brown spots all over the parantha.  Serve hot.

P.S.: 1. If you like spice, you may also add 1/2 tsp chilli pwd, 1/2 tsp jeera pwd and 1 tbsp aamchur(dry mango) pwd to your potato stuffing.
2. For best results, while rolling out the parantha's try not to press it down hard. Roll very lightly.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Chicken Pepper Masala

From the land of spices, comes this simple yet sophisticated Chicken dish that is very easy to prepare and yet a great hit at many parties. This dish has few ingredients and simple cooking methods. To get best results use only fresh whole spices and avoid pre-ground powders, except for turmeric.

Serves 5

Chicken - 10 medium sized pieces, cleaned and washed with salt and turmeric
Onions - 3 medium size, sliced
Ginger- Garlic paste - 1 tbsp, freshly ground
Cloves- 2 nos.
Cardamom- 2 nos.
Cinnamom - 1/2" piece
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Pepper- 1 tbsp (roasted and coarsely ground)
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp (roasted and coarsely ground)
Oil- 3 tbsp
Turmeric pwd - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water - 1 cup.
Coriander leaves -  finely chopped for garnishing
Lime wedges to serve along.

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat oil in a kadai and put in the cloves, cardamom and cinnamom.
2. When the spices pop, put in the sliced onions and fry till transparent.
3. When onions are transparent, add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the raw smell goes. Add curry leaves and fry for a minute.
4. Put in chicken pieces and freshly ground pepper and coriander. Fry until the chicken turns golden brown on the outside.
5. Add 1 cup of water, salt and turmeric pwd. Cook covered on medium heat for about 20-30 mins till chicken is done.
6. When the chicken is cooked remove from cover and cook uncovered untill the masala is dry.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with lime wedges.

P.S.: If you want to use store bought ginger- garlic paste use only 1 1/2 tsp of it. You will also need to put in lesser amount of salt as the ginger -garlic paste will contain salt in it.

Carrot Burfi

A colorful tasty Indian Sweet!

Makes 15 burfi's.

Carrots - 3 cups (grated and packed into cup)
Ghee - 1 1/2  cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Sliced Almonds for garnish.

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat Ghee in a kadai. Add grated carrots and cook till all the moisture evaporates and the raw smell goes.
2. Add sugar. Mix well with the carrots and keep stirring on medium heat for about 8-10 mins.
3. Keep a plate aside and put half tsp. of the mixture on the plate. Allow to cool. Now try to roll the mixture into a ball with your fingers. If it forms a soft ball then your barfi is ready. If it does not and water separates out from the carrots it means it still needs cooking.
4. As soon as the burfi is ready pour it onto a plate and cut into shapes while warm. decorate with sliced almonds or any other crushed nuts. Tilt the plate to drain the extra ghee. You may use this ghee for cooking any other sweet or while making chapathi's.
5. Remove them from the plate after it has cooled and serve. This burfi will stay fresh for about a week in an air-tight container.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Bread Pudding

The easiest of all Puddings. A great for beginer's. Enjoy!

Serves 8

Milk - 2 cups
Eggs- 2
Sugar - 8 - 10 tbsp
Bread - 6 slices or more
Butter - 2 tbsp
Cinnamom- (grated) a pinch
Nutmeg- (grated) a pinch
Nuts and Raisins of your choice- about 1/4 cup each
Vanilla essence(optional) - 1/2 tsp

Method of Preparation:
1. In a large bowl, break the eggs and lightly beat them.
2.Add warm milk and stir well untill well blended.
3.Add butter and sugar and stir to dissolve.
4. Break bread slices into the milk. Stir well. Add more broken bread if desired. The whole mixture should look like a watery batter.
5. Add spices and nuts and raisins. If you are too lazy to grate the spices and opt out of it then the vanilla essence is a must.
6. Pour into a bake proof dish.
7. Place the dish in a shallow pan half filled with water and bake at 150 degC. for about 1 1/2 hour or untill a knife pierced into it comes out clean.
8. Serve cold.

Tips: Your bread pudding will turn out best if you use soft, fluffy and porous bread. Thats what gives air in your pudding and makes it light. The more dense your bread , the more dense your pudding will be. So try to avoid dense bread.

Theen Pulao

Multi -Tasking is the key to everything in today's world and it holds good for this recipe im giving you. If you read the recipe, it is very long. Dont get frightened though because all i have done is detailed out every task so that its easy for beginer's.
One day in all the early morning office hurry, i came up with this recipe of pulao with vegetables. My husband a non-veg food freak liked it so much he kept asking me to prepare it again. Made with all that was there in the fridge and with no interest in cutting and crying over onions, this pulao is made with 3 coloured pastes and 3 types of vegetables. Thats why the name "theen" = 3 pulao.Im giving you the recipe in exactly the same sequence that i did to save on time. So follow it carefully, especially the instructions on the heat for cooking. This will avoid burning your food !!!The key is to keep your veggies crunchy, so dont overcook them. The gravy in which you cook your rice and veggies is a rich sauce like consistency and that gives this pulao a unique flavour. So enjoy your "theen pulao".

Serves 6
Basmati Rice - 1cup
Baby corn- 8 nos, sliced into coins
Carrot - 1 no., cut into cubes
Beans- 12-15 nos. cut into 1/2 "
Refined Oil- 3 tbsp
Salt to taste.
1. White Paste
Onions- 3 medium size
Garlic- 5 pods
Ginger- 1"
2. Green Paste
Corriander leaves- 1/2 bunch
Capsicum - 1 no.
Green chilli- 1 no.
3. Red Paste
Tomato- 1 medium size
Turmeric Pwd- 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli Pwd- 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala Pwd - 1/2 tsp
Corriander Pwd- 1 tbsp
You may substitute garam masala and corriander pwd with 1 tbsp chicken masala pwd.

Method of Preparation:
1. Cut all veggies and keep them ready. Its always better to do this before hand and refrigerate them.
2. Wash rice and soak in water.
3. Put all the ingredients for the white paste and mix in a blender till fine.
4. Heat oil in a kadai and pour in the onion paste. Fry on low medium heat.
5. Put all ingredients for the green paste and mix in the blender till fine.
6. Increase heat and let the white paste turns golden. Then add the green paste and fry again on low.
7.Meanwhile put your red paste ingredients into the blender and mix to a fine paste.
8. Increase heat and fry till the raw smell goes.
9. Add the red paste. Fry on medium heat for about 3-4 mins.
10. Add the chopped vegetables and mix untill well coated with masala.
11. Drain the water for the rice completely and add. Mix well and fry till the rice is well coated with the masala.

12. Add 2 cups of water and salt to taste. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 mins or untill rice is done.
13. Garnich with finely chopped onions, tomato and greens of spring onions.
14. Serve hot with raita or a wedge of lime.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Saada Pallya - Beans

Saada Pallya literally means Plain Vegetables. It is vegetables cooked in a minimum amount of water and then seasoned with oil. Simple, tasty, home cooked food, you may serve it as a side dish along with dal, sambhar or any curry and rice.

serves 6

Beans- 2 cups (cut into small pieces excluding the ends)
Onion- 2 tbsp chopped fine
Coconut(grated)- 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds- 1/2 tsp
Long red chillies- 4
Curry leaves-4

Method of Preparation:
1. Wash the beans well in salted water.
2. Put in the onions and beans in a kadai, add salt to taste and water.(water should be a cm. less than the level of your beans. This avoids overcooking and keeps your veggies crunchy.) Cook covered on medium heat for about 10 mins till or untill the beans seem done. Cook on low heat untill the water has evaporated.
3. Heat oil in a small pan for seasoning. When hot add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Put off heat and add the rest of the ingredients. Pour over the cooked beans. Mix well and put off heat.
4. Add in the grated coconut. Mix well and serve hot.

Tips:. This is a common recipe that can be made with many other vegetables like cabbage, carrot, beetroot,long beans,snake gourd, green gram and even cashew nuts. My favourites are cashewnuts,cabbage and beans!

Monday, 26 October 2009

Rava Laddu

A great Diwali sweet, Rava Laddu's are quick and easy to prepare. Enjoy them fresh as they wont last long. A week in a air-tight container is the maximum time they'll last, although you dont have to worry much as they'll disappear much before that.

makes about 20-25 laddu's

Rava/fine semolina - 2 cups
Powdered sugar - 1 1/2 cups
Fresh shredded Coconut - 1/4 th (use only the white)
Milk - 1/4 cup (cold)
Ghee - 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder- 3 pods
Raisins - 1/4 cup
Cashewnuts - 1/4 cup

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a kadai. Put in the cashewnuts and roast for a min untill golden. Drain onto a tissue paper. Do the same with the raisins.
2. Pour the rest of the ghee into the kadai. Keep the heat on low. Add the fine rava and roast untill you get a fragrant aroma. Keep turning with a spoon to avoid the rava from becoming brown. Put off from heat and keep aside to cool.
3. Meanwhile in a large bowl mix powdered sugar with the fresh coconut and cardamom powder. Add the nuts and raisins. Add the roasted rava. Mix untill all the ingredeints are well blended.
4. Add cold milk, just enough for binding (about a tablespoon a time) to small potions of the rava mix and make big lime size balls.
5. Serve fresh.

Tips: Always use fine Semolina, also called as Bombay Rava.
If you're coconut contains too much water you may refrigerate it for about an hour before preparation.
If you like you're sweets really sweet,taste you're mix before adding milk to make laddu's and you may increase the quantity of sugar to your liking.

Thursday, 22 October 2009


Festival of Lights
All the things that come to my mind when i think of my favorite festival:

Diyas - small clay lamps lit with wickers dipped in oil
Sweets and Snacks
New Clothes and Jewelery

Well, thats just a glance on Deepavali, one of the most awaited Hindu festival. Although clebrated for only 3 days or 5 days in some places, preparations for Deepavali starts long before it begins. Even though every Hindu festival has its own religious significance with elaborate rituals and practices, I have always been fascinated by the social significance these festivals are to mundane life.

In every Hindu household Deepavali is preceeded with weeks of preparations. First of all begins the cleaning of homes. Each and every nook and corner of the house is cleared up, dusted and washed. A few generations back when instead of our latest long lasting paints, walls were painted with whitewash, every Deepavali would see a fresh coat. This would mean that literally every part of the house, from under our cots, to behind the wardrobes, in the attic and store rooms were clean. It is said that Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and prosperity resides only in clean places and all this thorough cleaning is done to invite her into our homes with the hope that she would be pleased to reside here. What a novel way to bring in cleanliness in our surroundings...... Psychologically it also removes the routine monotony from our lives. Bringing about a lot of activity, giving up laziness and increasing interactions with loved ones, it is also a festival that highlights the importance of work be it household chores or accounts and businesses.

Once the cleaning of the house is done, comes the shopping sprees......! We shop for new clothes, jewelry,fire crackers, flowers, sweetmeats, diya's... the list can be endless. Sweets and snacks are prepared at home or bought from shops and kept ready for distribution. Homes are decorated with torana's (garland of flowers and mango leaves) at the main door and rangoli (intricate artwork done on the floor using colored powders and flowers). Everything around the house begins to smell fresh with the flowers and tempting with all the food around.

The first day of Deepavali is called Naraka Chaturdashi. This is the day when Narakaasura, a demon was killed by Lord Krishna's wife Satyabhama. This day also heralds the season of winter in India, and so it is a ritual to wake up early morning, before sunrise, apply warm coconut oil on your whole body and have a good bath. After bath we put on new clothes, puja is performed to God and the first firecracker is burst signifying the start of deepavali.

The day before Naraka Chaturdashi is called Dhan Teras and is
considered a very auspicious day to buy new utensils, clothes or
jewellery. Before we had electric heater and over head water storage tanks, water for daily use would be stored in big copper vessels called manda's in bathrooms. At the base of it would be a wood fire stove to heat the water. The day before Naraka Chaturdashi, this pot would be cleaned thoroughly inside out, decorated with kumkum or vermillion with signs like Om or the Swastika and the mouth of the pot strung with mango leaves and flowers. The pot is filled with fresh water drawn out of the wells from our courtyards. Before the oil bath the next day, puja is performed to the element of water, with arathi( worship with fire), and bells ringing. This is called as Ganga Puje. Ganga literally meaning the holy ganges water. I see it as a way to remember that water is an important element of life, should be revered and protected and preserved.

The second day of deepavali is the day of Lakshmi Puja. It is also the first day of the new Hindu financial year. This day new account books are opened by businessmen and puja is offered in all shops. A visit to shops on this day and you'll come with free sweets and snacks that are distributed to all visitors. In homes Lakshmi puja is performed at dusk, as they say that this is the time when the Goddess visits households. A lamp is lit in front of the main entrance door with flowers, fruits and sweets displayed artistically invoking Goddess Lakshmi. Sweets are distributed among friends and relatives, diya's lit and booms of the the firecrackes resound the air.

The third and last day of deepavali is called as Bali Padyami. http://www.freeindia.org/biographies/greatdevotees/bali/index.htm
Click on the link above to read an interesting fable about Balipadyami and the famous King Bali.
In the northern states of India the day after Bali Padyami is celebrated as Bhai Duj. This day clebrates the love and bond between brothers and sisters. That brings a close to this years Deepavali essay with the hope that next year i can bring you some more insights of this festival and others that we celebrate in India.
***************SHUBH DEEPAVALI ***************

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Rava Puttu

Puttu is a breakfast dish prepared in most Kerala and Mangalore households. It is basically powdered rice or rava/semolina steamed in a special mold. You can have it sweet with mashed plantains and sugar or savory with kadala curry. I'm sharing my recipe of wheat rava or semolina puttu with you.

Makes 5 servings

fine Rava/ Semolina - 1 cup
Coconut - 1/4th grated
Water - 1 cup ( add 1/2 tsp salt)

Method of Preparation:
1. Keep a pan or kadai(wok) on medium heat. Roast rava in the pan untill the raw smell goes.(10-15 mins).
Spread the roasted rava on butter paper to cool.
(Ideally its better to do this process on the night before you intend to make puttu.)
Before proceeding to the next step the rava MUST be thoroughly cool.
2. Put the cool rava into a large bowl. Take a tablespoon of water and pour it over the rava. Mix fast and thoroughly to get a lump-free dough.
Repeat 5-6 times. Each time you add water, mix the rava thoroughly untill it is dry (rava has the abilitly to saok up water fast). Your dough is ready when your mixture is moist enough to hold shape when pressed gently in your hands. When pressed it should crumble easily into a powder.

3. Add 1 tbsp of grated coconut and mix again.
4. If you have a puttu vessel pour water into the bottom portion of the vessel and bring it to a boil. If using a pressure cooker pour water into the cooker and close lid without the weight. Keep on high heat untill you see steam releasing from the pressure vent. Lower heat to medium.
5. Meanwhile take your puttu cone and put a heaped tablespoon of grated coconut on the perforated base plate. Spread it evenly to cover the base. Carefully put 1/5 th of the rava mixture into the cone. Over this add another tablespoon of grated coconut and spread evenly. Repeat untill the cone is full. Top with grated coconut. Close the lid of the puttu cone and place over puttu vessel or over the pressure cooker vent if using a pressure cooker.

6. Steam for 15- 20 mins. (see to it that the steam does not escape from the base of the puttu cone. If it does cover it with a thick cloth to prevent the escape of steam).
7. Push a stick through the base plate of the puttu cone to release the puttu onto a plate.
8. Serve topped with sugar and plantain.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Tomato Rasam

Serves 8

Tomatoes - 2 nos. (chopped)
Tuvar dal - 1/2 cup
Green chilli - 1 nos.(slit)
Corriander leaves - 1 stem
Tamarind - 1 1/2 marble size (soaked in 1/4 cup of water)
Jaggery -1/2 tsp
Hing - 1/4 tsp
Turmeric pwd - 1/4 tsp
Rasam pwd. - 1 heaped tbsp.
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste.
Oil - 1tsp.
Long Red Chilli - 1 no.(broken into 3 pieces)
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 5 nos.

Method of Preparation:
1. Boil Tuvar dal in 2 cups of water along with oil and turmeric pwd. in a pressure cooker for 2 whistles.
(When well cooked you will not see the individual pieces of dal, it will be well dissolved with the water.)
2. Once the dal is cooked add tomatoes, green chillies, hing and salt. Boil till the tomatoes are cooked.
3. Add strained tamarind juice, jaggery and four cups of water. Boil for 3-4 mins.
4. Add Rasam Pwd.(recipe given in another post) and corriander leaves. Boil of 1 mins and remove from heat.
5. Seasoning: Heat oil in a small vessel. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, let them splutter. Put off heat. Now add the red chillies and curry leaves. turn the vessel around to coat the chillies and curry leaves with oil. Pour over rasam.

Serve Hot !

Rasam Powder

Kashmiri Long Red Chillies - 20 nos.(remove stem)
Corriander seeds - 3 tsp.
Jeera seeds - 1 tsp.
Methi seeds -1/2 tsp.
Curry leaves - 10 nos.
Vegetable oil - 1tsp.

Method of Preparation:
1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. Roast all the ingredients in oil over low heat, untill you get the aroma of the spices.
( The curry leaves will turn crisp. Do not let the red chillies brown. This process should not take you more than 5 mins.) Leave to cool.
3. When cool Put it into a dry mixer and powder it fine.
4. Store in an airtight bottle.

P.S. This powder can also be used for a variety of vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian recipes.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Neer Dosa

Neer Dosa is a type of rice pancake made in Mangalore. Neer in Tulu (a local dialect of Mangalore) means water and it is literally a dosa made out of a very watery paste of rice and coconut. These dosa's are so soft and thin that they are usually folded into quarters and served. You can serve them with any spicy curry, chutneys or sambhar.

Makes 10 dosa's

Rice (Dosa rice is the best, you can also use any white rice) - 1 cup
Coconut (grated) - 2 tbsp
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Sesame oil for frying
Salt to taste.

Method of Preparation:
1. Wash rice and soak it in water for 8hrs. before your preparation time. I usually soak the rice the previous night to make them the next morning.

2. Drain rice from water and put into the mixie jar. Add the grated coconut. Add 1/2 cup water and grind. Once it is smooth add the rest of the water in batches. The batter will have the consistency of milk.

3. Heat a flat cast iron griddle or non-stick pan with 1/2 tsp oil and spread it around the tava.
( the best way to do this is to cut a small onion into half and poke a fork into it. the flat side is used to spread oil evenly on the tava to make dosa's.)
When the tava is hot splash a ladle full of batter on the tava and turn the tava swiftly to spread the batter evenly. Lower heat and cook covered for a minute.
When the dosa is done peel it from one end of the tava and fold into half. Fold again into a quarter.
Serve hot for breakfast with chutney or as a meal with curries.

P.S.: Since this dosa is of a watery consistency you cannot spread it on the tava with a ladle as is done for other dosa's.
Neer dosa cooks quickly as it is very thin, so there is no need to turn it over and fry.