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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Carrot Dosas



Here is one more veggie-based dosas from my kitchen. These carrot dosas need no fermentation and are good as breakfast or as a snack. They are spicier and hence taste good as it is, without any side dish.

Ingredients for about 8 dosas:
Rice - 1 cup (Long grain rice will do)
Grated carrot - 1 cup
Chilies - about 12 (used 6 hot variety ones & 6 byadadgi ones)
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Minced onions - 2
Minced cilantro

Dosa making:
1. Soak rice for at least 3 hours or overnight. Throw away the water used to soak the rice and wash the rice with fresh water.
2. Grind together rice, carrot, chilies, coriander seeds and salt adding sufficient water to form a coarse and thicker batter than regular dosa batter. Add minced cilantro and minced onions to the ground batter and mix well.
3.Heat a dosa pan and pour a ladle (about 1/4 cup) of batter onto it. Spread lightly into a circle with the back of the ladle and pour 1/4 tsp of oil around the dosa. Let it cook on low - medium flame, covered. When it cooks on the bottom side, flip the dosa with a spatula, spread again 1/4 tsp of oil around the dosa and let it cook for a minute. Remove the dosa when done.
Repeat the process with the remaining batter.

Some variations:
Fresh shredded coconut can be added to the batter. Yogurt or sour buttermilk can be used instead of water to grind the batter. Grated carrot can be added to the batter after grinding the rice.

They are going to be a part of Siri's Healing foods, guest hosted by me this month, with the theme Carrots.


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Friday, July 30, 2010

Payasam Prasadams ~ Saggubiyyam - Semya Payasam



Probably, one of the most common and yummiest desserts that appears in most of the south Indian homes on every celebration has to be payasam / kheer. Also because of the simple preparation, it is one of the most favored 'prasadam'* item. Though this rich and creamy dish attains different avatars depending upon what it is made of, the milk base and the sugar / jaggery sweetener remains the constant factors of the dish. Cardamom happens to be the flavoring agent and raisins / nuts toasted in ghee serve as garnish besides adding the crunch.
After rice, probably sabudana kheer was the most traditionally prepared payasam. My mother sometimes happens to add vermicelli as well to the sabudana payasam and prepares this combo payasam that is equally delicious.

Ingredients for 4 servings:
Saggubiyyam ( Sago pearls / Sabudana) - 1/4 cup
Semya (Vermicelli) - 1/4 cup
Full fat milk - 1 .5 cups
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Clarified butter / Ghee - 2 - 3 tsp
Raisins & Cashew nuts - 1 Tbsp

How I prepare this payasam:
* Fry vermicelli on low flame till it turns golden brown and keep it aside.
* (I usually) soak sabudana in water for 1 or 2 hours before cooking. Throw away the water used to soak sabudana and wash twice with fresh water. This step is entirely optional but it aids in cooking the sabudana faster.
* Cook sabudana in sufficient water (about 2 cups) till sabudana is cooked and appears transparent. Keep stirring in between so that sabudana doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. To avoid sticking and burning of sabudana, I usually use a nonstick saucepan. After the saabudana is cooked, throw away the water used to cook the sabudana.
* Add milk to the sabudana and start cooking again. When the milk becomes hot, add the fried vermicelli. If you add vermicelli to the cold milk, it would clump up. Cook till the vermicelli is done and then add the sugar and the cardamom powder. When the sugar melts, turn off the stove.
* Add ghee to a small saute pan and add the cashews and raisins. When raisins turn plump and cashews turn golden brown , turn off the stove and add them to the cooked payasam and stir once.
This payasam tastes good either cold or warm.



This goes to Priya's Cooking with Seeds - hosted this month by Niloufer with the theme 'Sago Seeds'.

* Prasadam - Food offered to God, as part of a Hindu, religious celebration

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Specials - Minapappu Vadiyalu

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Certain Indian, regional food preparations need lot of sunshine and are so meant to be done in summer. Vadiyalu / Papad / Dahi Mirchi are perfect examples that fit into this category. Vadiyalu / papad in a traditional Indian setting are probably equivalent to chips / crackers of the western world. To people who are wondering what vadiyalu are, they can be loosely translated as spicy, dried chips made out of either bean paste, cooked rice flour or sago pearls. Though the basic idea is the same, several varieties of vadiyalu are prepared depending upon what goes into them. The name of a particular vadiyam would give a hint to the ingredient that it has been prepared with. They go under different regional names like vadi / sandige.
Today's recipe minapappu vadiyalu is such a classic example from Andhra. As the name suggests, they are prepared using ground batter of minapappu / uraddal. These fabulous tasting, spicy, dried uraddal chips are a good accompaniment to rice or can be used to prepare pulusu / subzis.
Though the task sounds daunting, this particular one is a child's play if you know how to grind the batter in your grinder. The ingredients mentioned below can be used a rough guideline and can be changed according to one's taste.

Ingredients:
4 cups of uraddal
70 Green chillies (I used Serrano Peppers)*
3.5 Tbsp salt
Asafoetida

* For a kg of uraddal, 1/4 kg of green chillies is usually used. You can taste the batter while grinding, to check the spiciness. Usually the batter should be hot since vadiyalu loose some of the spiciness after drying. Also they have to be hot since they are eaten with plain rice.

Vadiyalu making process:

Soak uraddal overnight. Throw away the water used to soak and wash uraddal in two exchanges of water. Grind uraddal, green chilies, salt and asafoetida together in a grinder into a smooth and a thick batter. If the batter turns watery, it is hard to drop them. If the batter is not smooth, the final vadiyalu would turn very hard.

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Choose a spot where there would be plenty of sunshine (from morning to evening) like your backyard or terrace if in India. Spread a clean, thick plastic sheet there. Using a spoon or hand, go on dropping about 1-2 tsp quantity of batter on the sheet without overlapping, till all the batter is used.

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Dry them in full sun and get them back home during evenings. Repeat the process till they are completely dry and crisp. The process would take around 3 - 4 days. After they dry well, store them in an airtight container and use them when needed. They stay good for at least a couple of years if stored well.

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Frying:
Heat 1 - 2 cups of oil in a kadai. Add a handful of dried vadiyalu and fry them till they brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon. The process would take only a few seconds.  They burn easily if fried longer.
We usually eat them with rice and ghee, slightly crushing the vadiyalu with the hand while eating.

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Note: 
1. Vadiyalu come off easily after drying, if using a plastic sheet. Some use cloth instead of plastic sheets. In this case, the vadiyalu don't come off the cloth even after they dry. Sprinkle a little water on the backside of the cloth and remove the vadiyalu using your hands. Again dry them in sun for a few hours and then store them.
2. Adding ashgourd / gummadikaya is another variation.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Authentic Andhra: Vankaya - Kothimira Pachadi / Eggplant - Cilantro Chutney



Today's recipe is one more traditional pachadi recipe from Andhra. The favorite eggplants are paired with flavorful cilantro leaves and coarsely ground with toasted spices and chillies in this delicious side dish.
Certain Andhra style pachadis taste good when ground in a traditional stone grinder. This particular pachadi falls under the same style and my mother used my mini mortar and pestle to prepare this. Vankaya kothimira pachadi tastes good with some hot, steamed rice and ghee.

Ingredients:
12 eggplants (I used the round, green colored variety)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves
40 chillies (I used tiny, Thai chilies that were mild. If using hot variety, change the quantity)
1/2 cup tamarind puree or according to taste
Salt to taste
For tadka:  2 Tbsp oil, 1 tbsp uraddal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds, a pinch of turmeric powder and asafoetida to taste



Method:
1.Wash, trim the stalks of eggplants and thinly slice them lengthwise.
2. Heat oil in a small sauté pan and add urad dal and mustard seeds. When urad dal starts to brown, add fenugreek seeds, turmeric powder and asafoetida. Sauté for a few seconds and add the chilies and eggplants. On low heat, cook covered till the eggplants turn tender.
3. Cool the mixture. Add enough salt, tamarind and grind into a coarser paste. At final stages of grinding, add cilantro and grind such that tiny bits of cilantro are visible.



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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Paayalaku - Tomato pappu



I spotted paayalaku at one of the grocery stores when I visited Devon Avenue recently. Prior to this, I had seen them only once at our local grocery store and so, I grabbed these edible weeds instantly. This time, I cooked a slightly different version of dal than my earlier paayalaku pappu. These healthy greens are paired with tangy tomatoes in this home-style spicy, delectable dal.

Ingredients:
1 cup toordal
A bunch of paayalaku / vergodalas / purslane leaves - about 2 cups firmly packed, washed & chopped leaves
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
8 chilies, slit lengthwise (I used tiny, Thai variety) + 1 tsp chili powder*
Salt to taste
Small lime sized tamarind (soaked in water or nuked in a microwave along with 1/4 cup of water for about 3 minutes)
Tadka: 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp each mustard seeds and cumin seeds each, asafoetida and few curry leaves
* Only chili powder / green chilis can be used.

Cooking:

  • Wash toordal in two exchanges of water. Add toordal, purslane leaves, tomato, turmeric powder, chilis and about 2 cups of water to a container and place it in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook till dal is done. Alternatively, add everything to a saucepan and cook on stovetop till dal reaches fall apart stage. Keep adding water as needed.
  • Squeeze the tamarind pulp and extract the thick juice.
  • Heat oil in a kadai or a pan. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add curry leaves and asafoetida. Then add the cooked dal mixture, salt, chili powder and tamarind juice. Taste and adjust the ingredients as needed. Bring the dal / pappu to a boil and turn down the heat. Let it simmer for a few minutes more and turn off the heat.
Serve with hot rice / rotis.



This is on it's way to Susan's MLLA - 25th edition being hosted by Siri this month.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Carrot Rasam

This is a scrumptious alternative to the regular rasam recipe. Super healthy carrots form the basis to this offbeat rasam and this would be a wonderful surprise to your guests.
Serve this with hot rice or drink it as a soup.



For 6 - 8 servings:
About 1 cup peeled and cubed carrots (4 small sized carrots or 2 big sized ones)
Rasam powder (home made / store bought) - 3 tsp*
A small lime sized tamarind ball
Salt to taste
1 tsp jaggery powder / sugar (very optional)
For tadka: 2 tsp ghee / oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds, few pinches of asafoetida powder, few curry leaves, 1 slit green chili, 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
Minced cilantro

* In the absence of rasam powder, add 2 more green chilies and add pepper powder as needed.

How to do it:
1. Soak tamarind in 1/4 cup of water for about 30 minutes or nuke it in MW for 3 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind puree.
2. Cook carrot cubes in about a cup of water for 6- 8 minutes in the microwave or stovetop.
3. Grind the carrots along with water into a fine puree.
4. Heat oil in a kadai or a saucepan. Add mustard and cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the other tadka ingredients and saute for about 30 seconds.
5. Then add the carrot puree, about 3 cups of water, tamarind juice, rasam powder, salt and jaggery if using. Taste and adjust the seasonings if any needed. Add cilantro and bring the whole mixture to a boil. Turn off the stove.

This goes to Siri's Healing Foods event; guest hosted by me this month, with the theme Carrots.



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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vampoosa / Vamupodi Kaaraalu and Kara Sev for Indian Cooking Challenge



Chaklis (whether homemade or store bought :)) are undoubtedly one of the favorite snacks in most of the Indian homes. Depending upon the flour / flavorings used, chaklis attain different and delicious avatars. For this month's Indian cooking challenge, Srivalli chose Kara Sev
Depending upon the discs used to shape the sev, they can be prepared in two shapes - fine or thicker. This month's challenge probably was to prepare the thicker version but my mother and I chose to go with fine sev reminiscing my grandmother's vamu podi kaaraalu - ajwain (carom seeds) flavored chakli. We retained Srivalli's basic recipe omitting garlic and baking soda and added crushed carom seeds to prepare this savory snack.
Instead of the ladle, we chose to go by the chakli mould with fine holed disc as mentioned above.


        Vampoosa / Vamupodi kaaraalu - Ajwain flavored chaklis

Ingredients:
2.5 cups besan / chickpea flour
1 cup rice flour
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp coarsely ground carom seeds
1 Tbsp ghee (optional)
Salt to taste
4 - 6 cups of oil to fry (In India, usually peanut oil is used to fry and I have used canola.)
Special utensils needed:
Chakli mould / press with the small holes disc
A kadai (Indian wok) to fry the chaklis in
A big slotted spoon to remove the chaklis

Preparing the dough:
Sieve the flours and combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add water and make thick dough. (Almost same as or a little softer than roti dough. I used a little more than a cup of water and the cup used is the same one that has been used for dry ingredients. I am mentioning the quantity to just give an idea and use your discretion. Have to figure out how much depending upon the dough consistency.)

Another look at the ajwain flavored chakli:



Frying part:
Heat the oil in a kadai. To test whether the oil is hot enough to fry, slowly slide a pinch of dough into the oil. If it sizzles and comes to surface, then the oil is ready. If not, heat the oil a little longer.
Take a small portion of the dough and fill in the chakli press. My chakli press had two discs with holes - a big holed one and one with small holes. I used the disc with tiny holes. Using your hands, press the mould over the hot oil making circling motion so that coils of dough from the mold dropping into the oil make a circle shape. You can press as big circle as the circumference of the kadai. Fry on low - medium flame till it attains a light golden hue. They fry very fast and so be around.
Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels covered plate. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
Cool them and store in an airtight container.

Making Sev:
Since these chaklis crumble very easily, just crush them with hands and sev would be ready. Also note that ajwain needs to be omitted from the above recipe when making sev.



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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Eggless Carrot - Walnut Cake



I favor eggless cakes and so tried to convert the carrot cake recipe found in my food processor manual into an eggless one. The experiment was a huge success and everyone at my home including my parents loved it. It was a pretty decent cake sans icing (since I don't care for it.)
Actually the experiment started to get rid of the overripe bananas lying on the kitchen counter. I substituted them for eggs in the original recipe. I had to also finish off the coconut flakes bag and so dumped that as well into the batter and added some cardamom, for that awesome flavor imparted to the cake.
The awesome combination of healthy carrots & walnuts, sweet coconut, delicious raisins and aromatic cardamom make this simple, carrot - walnut cake a scrumptious one.

Ingredients
2 cups flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins (I used a combination of raisins and sweetened, dried cranberries)
1 tsp cardamom powder or vanilla flavoring 
Scant 1/2 cup melted butter / ghee / oil
2 bananas - mashed
2 small sized carrots- peeled and finely grated
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)
Few Tbsp of milk, if needed



Tried to slice it before capturing the images and then the desire to taste it grew so stronger that I had no patience to capture a piece of cake. :)

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Grease the cake pan* or line bottom with parchment paper.
2. Mix up the mashed bananas, carrot, coconut and butter in a mixing bowl. Gently add the remaining dry ingredients and mix them together. If the batter is too thick, add a few Tbsp of milk to the batter.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean, about 45 minutes.

* I used an 8x8 inch cake pan.

This goes to Siri's Healing Foods event; guest hosted by me this month, with the theme Carrots.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Vankaya Kothimira Karam



There are many traditional eggplant recipes in Andhra cuisine that have wooed spice-loving palettes over the generations and continue to enchant the present. This following koora / subzi is one such classic example of the kind.  Bursting flavors of fresh cilantro and ginger and spiciness borrowed from green chillies add new levels of charm to the plain old eggplant/ brinjal koora.
Today I added the small, round, green colored eggplants (Thai variety) to prepare koora. These eggplants are called thella vankayalu (white eggplant) in our parts, because of their pale color compared to the dark, purple colored ones. Any other variety eggplants can be substituted.
Though the cilantro paste is used to stuff the eggplants, I have chosen to chop the eggplants.

Ingredients for 4 - 6 servings:
Thai Eggplants - about 18
Cilantro leaves - 1/2 cup firmly packed
Ginger -  a small piece
Thai green chillies - about 10 (more or less depending upon the spiciness)
Salt to taste
Tadka: 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp chanadal and 1 tsp mustard seeds


          Vankaya kothimira karam & payalaku-tomato pappu served with rice.

Method:
Chop off the green stalks and then cut the eggplants lengthwise into two halves. Then go again lengthwise into thin slices.
Heat oil in a sauté pan and add the chanadal and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop and the dal start to turn reddish, add the eggplant slices. Cook on low flame till the eggplants are done, keeping the lid covered. Keep stirring in between and take care not to turn the eggplants mushy.
Meanwhile, grind the cilantro, chilies and ginger into a coarse paste. Add this paste and the salt to the cooked eggplants and mix well. Taste and adjust their quantities if needed.
Let it cook for a few minutes or until the raw smell of the chillies disappear and then turn off the stove.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Delightful Dals ~ Menthula Pappu / Fenugreek Seeds Dal

When I peeked recently at the 'dals' category in my blog, I could not stop feeling that there should have been many more there, after 3 years of blogging and I being an Indian, who eats dal (beans) in one form or another on a daily basis. I am therefore planning to showcase 'traditional' dals regularly here, from now onwards. I promise to post atleast one or two dal recipes every month.
'Dal of this month' is going to be a healthier and a rather uncommon one from Andhra, menthula pappu. As the name suggests, menthulu / fenugreek seeds is the star in this traditional recipe. It should not be confused with fenugreek greens/methi leaves dal. Unlike most of the dals, this does not require any vegetables and gives the fenugreek seeds an opportunity to shine.
The flavor and taste of the finished dal just enchants you and refreshes your taste buds. And no, the dal is not bitter because of the fenugreek seeds used.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup toordal
2 Tbsp fenugreek seeds
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
4 Tbsp tamarind juice (Soak a lemon sized tamarind ball in water for an hour or place in a microwave with little water for about 3 minutes. Then squeeze the juice adding a little if needed.)
For tadka: 1 tsp oil, 1 tsp each of mustard seeds & cumin seeds, few curry leaves (about 10) and a red chili broken into bits, a pinch of asafoetida

Cooking:
* Wash the toordal and fenugreek seeds with two exchanges of water and throw away the cloudy water. Then place the dal, fenugreek seeds and turmeric powder in a container and add about a cup of water to it. Pressure-cook it till the dal is done. 
Alternatively, cook the dal on stovetop adding water as needed till the dal turns mushy.
* Remove the dal from cooker and mash it slightly with the back of a ladle. Then add salt, chili powder & tamarind juice to it and mix well. Turn on the stove and let it cook for a couple of minutes more.
* For tadka, heat oil in a small sauté pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and red chili. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add asafoetida powder to it and turn off the stove. Add this tadka to the cooked dal and mix well.
* Serve with some hot steamed rice and a tsp of ghee.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Baking from the Book' Event Roundup

Round up of June's edition of  'Baking from the Book' event is hereI thank Champa for giving me the opportunity to host it and appreciate fellow bloggers for their participation.
I hope this new event gains popularity in the food blog world soon and wish Champa all the best.

Akheela Hisham's Cornflake Muffin






 















Niloufer Riyaz's Melting Moments












Veena KrishnaKumar's Chocolate Apple Ring

 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Carrot Pachadi

It's been a while since I posted a chutney/pachadi recipe and so today thought of posting one of my favorite pachadi recipes. This Andhra style carrot pachadi happens to be a 'not so sweet' kind, inspite of carrots being the main ingredient in the recipe. This one is on the spicy - tangy side with subdued sweetness and works well with any Indian style breakfast items or with some hot, steamed rice and a spoon of ghee.



Ingredients:
3 small sized carrots - peeled & cubed (about 1 cup)
1 tsp each - chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds
4 - 6 red chilies (depending upon the spiciness preferred.)
1 tsp tamarind flakes
2 - 3 tsp oil
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt to taste

The 'How' part:
Heat oil in a small sauté pan and add chanadal, urad dal and mustard seeds. When dals start to turn reddish, add chillies and asafoetida. Sauté for a few seconds and add the chopped carrot and tamarind. On low heat, cook covered till the carrot cubes are tender.
Cool the mixture. Add enough salt and grind into a coarser paste.

This is going to be a part of
1. My Healing Foods - Carrot, an event originally started by Siri.
2. PJ's Vegetable Marathon - Carrot, an event started by Silpa.

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