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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Burfi - Bread Pudding

This pudding was randomly mentioned in an online article that I read sometime ago. There was no mention of the quantities of ingredients or any specific recipe though the idea of using burfis in the pudding stuck with me for years now. Burfis are Indian variety sweets that are usually nuts or flour based and are usually square shaped. This pudding can be prepared using any leftover burfi or mithais you have on hand. I used chickpea flour based burfi / besan burfi here. 
This pudding is a great way to recycle those burfis / mithais you have lying around untouched after any festival / celebration. All you need to prepare this really tasty and fuss free pudding are some left over burfis, bread slices and milk. Here is how I prepared this quick and easy dessert.

Ingredients: (Yield 2 servings)
3 burfi pieces
1 & 1/2 bread slices
1.5 cups milk
Nuts / Dry fruits to garnish

* Pulse the burfis and bread slices into a coarse mixture in a food processor. Do not grind them fine.
* Heat the milk in a sauce pan and bring it to a boil. Add the burfi - bread mixture and nuts to the milk and cook for a minute.
* Turn off the stove and bring the cooked pudding to room temperature. Chill it before serving.

This goes to Blogging marathon #74, under the theme 'Bookmarked Recipes'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Minumala Annam / Urad Dal Rice

Here is a simple and quick south Indian style rice idea using black gram / urad dal. This rice does not need even vegetables and does not involve any elaborate prep work or cooking. I saw the mention of this rice as part of a prasadam to be offered in a 'Rama Paarayan' book. To be honest, I had never heard about it before and I am still not sure if there is a standard version out there for this rice preparation. I went ahead with my own version keeping it simple and basic. I liked the rice and feel that it is a great idea when you have left over rice and looking for a quick meal option or have run out of vegetables.
2 cups cooked rice (I used sona masuri rice.)
1 tbsp. whole black gram /  sabut urad dal
1/2 tbsp. split chick peas / chana dal
1 to 2 tbsp. grated dry coconut
3 dried red chillies
Ingredients for tadka:
2 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. peanuts
1 tsp. split chickpeas / chana dal
1 tsp skinned and split black gram / urad dal
1 tsp. mustard seeds
10 - 12 curry leaves
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
3/4 tsp. salt or to taste
2 pinches of asafoetida powder

* Dry toast black gram, split chick peas, dry coconut and red chillies together on medium flame until the split chickpeas starts to change color to a reddish hue. Transfer the ingredients to a wide plate and let them cool. Grind the ingredients to a fine powder.
* Heat oil and add peanuts, split chickpeas, split black gram and mustard seeds in that order. When peanuts and split chickpeas turn golden brown, add curry leaves, turmeric and asafoetida and stir once. Turn off the stove and add the ground powder and salt. Stir well until the powder is coated with the oil and add the rice. Mix well until all the rice grains are coated well with the powder, breaking any rice lumps if present. 
* The rice can be served immediately. 
This goes to Blogging marathon #74, under the theme 'Bookmarked Recipes'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

These pancakes are literally based on the filling from left over pumpkin pie I had. My son bought a large sized pumpkin pie during Thanksgiving and left to his university soon after, leaving about 2/3rds of it unfinished. The rest of us found it too rich and cloyingly sweet for our tastes though there was nothing wrong with the pie, generally speaking. My daughter who usually doesn't volunteer to taste sweet dishes decided to try the pumpkin pie when she saw it. However she ended up sitting at the table for five minutes not knowing whether to spit or swallow the first piece of pie she put in her mouth. I had to find ways to finish off that pie and finally, the filling and base ended up in four different dishes. These fluffy and flavorful pancakes are one of those which even my daughter enjoyed without any complaints.
Ingredients: (Yield 8 pancakes)
1 egg substitute (I used Ener-G egg replacer.)
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pumpkin pie filling 
1/2 cup puree + 2 tbsp. sugar + 1 tsp. all spice
2 tbsp. butter
1 & 1/2 cups milk

* Combine 1.5 tsp. Ener-G and 2 tbsp.warm water in a small bowl and keep aside.
* Heat a griddle / non stick pan on medium heat such that a drop of water beads when dropped on it.
* Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Whisk pumpkin pie filling, melted butter and milk in another bowl. Combine dry ingredients, wet ingredients and the egg substitute. Whisk the mixture to a thick batter.
* Pour about 1/4 cup batter of batter onto the pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and the bottom side turns golden brown. Flip the pancake with a spatula and cook for about 30 - 40 seconds more. Transfer onto a serving plate. Repeat the steps with the remaining batter.
* Serve the pancakes warm with maple syrup or honey.
This goes to Blogging marathon #74, under the theme 'Bookmarked Recipes'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Pongala Payasam

Google introduced me recently to the 'Ponkala' or 'Pongala' festival when I was trying to compile a list of Indian festivals celebrated during this month. It turns out that it has nothing to do with the 'Pongal' festival of Tamil nadu though it sounds similar. The Pongala festival happens to be an important religious celebration at the Bhagavathy temple in Attukal, Trivandrum in the south Indian state of Kerala. It is celebrated for 10 days during the months of February - March to pray the presiding deity of the temple, Attukal Devi. The temple is renowned for this annual celebration where a large section of women participate to pray goddess Attukul Devi, who they believe would fulfill all their wishes. In fact, 3.5 million women participated in 2009 in the celebration, thereby setting a Guinness Book of World Record for being the single largest gathering of women for a religious activity. 

Millions of women gather around the temple and prepare 'Pongala' in the open in new earthen pots to please the Goddess. Pongala (literally means to boil over) is a ritualistic offering of the sweet rice pudding prepared in the temple premises to the Goddess. This payasam doesn't use milk or moong dal as the standard sweet pongal versions do. Wiki mentions that the pongala payasam is prepared with a special payasam rice called as puzhungalari, jaggery, coconuts, raisins, nuts and other ingredients. We prepare the standard version pongal at home using those ingredients and I got curious about 'the other ingredients' there until I came across this interesting pongla payasam version. It had bananas and bay leaves in it and I therefore decided to give it a try. I am already a fan of sweet pongal but I must say that I am sold out to this version of sweet pongal. It is hard to notice the banana flavor individually in the recipe but it lends an extra layer of sweetness to the dish. If you are looking for a new version of sweet pongal, try it out. You would be glad that you did.
It is made in earthen pots on open fire at the festival though at home, a gas stove and pressure cooker would make it a quick and fuss free preparation. In lieu of a pressure cooker, it can be cooked in a sturdy or a nonstick pot, with frequent stirring. I have given the pressure cooker method below but if using a pot to cook, the amount of water need to be adjusted accordingly. It would be more than a cup. The payasam should be on a thicker side according to the original recipe. And the color of the payasam depends upon the jaggery that have been used.

Source: Here
Ingredients: (Yield 3 - 4 servings)
1/2 cup payasam rice / regular rice (I used extra large grain.)
1/2 cup powdered jaggery
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut
1 tbsp. raisins
1 tbsp. cashew nuts
1 sweet variety small banana, cut into pieces
2 cardamom, crushed
1 bay leaf 
1 tbsp. ghee or as per taste

* Rinse the rice in two exchanges of water and drain the water. Pressure cook the rice adding a cup of water. 
* Transfer the cooked rice to a nonstick pot. Add jaggery, coconut,  ghee, and cardamom to the pot. Cook the mixture on low flame until the jaggery melts, stirring frequently.
* Tear the bay leaves into pieces and add to the mixture. Next add the banana pieces, raisins and cashews and stir well. Turn off the stove.
* It can be covered with a banana leaf, if you have access to it.
This goes to Blogging marathon #74, under the theme 'Festival recipes'. Check out the page to read what other marathoners are cooking.