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Saturday, April 30, 2016

A - Z Andhra Recipes ~ Z for Zucchini Theeya Pappu

 
Time sure flies by and I am today drafting my final day post of this A -Z Andhra series of vegetarian recipes. The only ingredient I could think of with 'Z' was zucchini and so, I had decided that it would be a zucchini preparation for today without a second thought. There is no 'Z' sound in Telugu though the script allows it possible to write the sound. That is the beauty of Indian languages. What ever may be the sound or the word, native or not, can be written in any of the Indian languages and can be read with proper pronunciation. No guessing games on how to pronounce a word. If you know how to say a word, you can write it exactly as it needs to be written and vice versa. Now that's off my chest, let's move towards today's recipe.

Today's dish is unique to the region while the vegetable zucchini I used to prepare it is not native to India. Zucchini recently had started to appear in upscale markets in Indian cities though it is not widely available through out the country yet. I was not bothered by the fact that it is not native to the region since more than half of the popular and commonly used vegetables in India today were not local to India at some point. Potatoes and tomatoes would be perfect examples for that. 

Theeya pappu literally means sweet dal though no sweetener is used here. It is called so since this kind of lentil preparation is milder compared to pulusu / pappu, the other lentil preparations from the region. Though it should be noted that it is not baby bland and is spicier compared to some preparations from other regions in India. It is on the thicker side like a pappu preparation. The vegetables commonly used for this kind of preparation are ridge gourd (beerakaaya), snake gourd (potlakaaya) or bottle gourd (sorakaaya) which all have mild flavors. Zucchini fits the bill and so, a theeya pappu was prepared.
Ingredients:
3/4 cup toordal
1 zucchini, peeled and cubed
2 - 3 green chillies, sliced lengthwise *
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
2 pinches of asafoetida powder
Salt to taste
1 - 2 tbsp. minced cilantro
* Red chillies, each broken into 3 to 4 bits can be substituted.
 
Method:
* Wash the toordal in two exchanges of water and discard the water. Then add green chillies, turmeric powder and about 1 &1/2 cups of water. 
* Pressure cook them together (or in a sauce pan over stove top) until the lentils are softly cooked. After the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid of the cooker. Add salt to the cooked lentil mixture and stir well with the back of a ladle.
* Next heat oil in a saute pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. If green chillies were not used earlier, red chillies can be added now. When mustard seeds start to pop, add curry leaves, asfoetida and the zucchini cubes. Add a little quantity of water and cook until zucchini is done. Zucchini cooks faster and attention needs to be paid. They should be just cooked and not turn mushy. Next add the cooked lentil mixture from the above step and a small quantity of water if the mixture seems hard. Bring to a boil and turn off the stove. Garnish with minced cilantro.
* This pappu is served with some aavakaaya or fried sundried chillies. The pappu is eaten with rice, a spoon of ghee drizzled over.

The recipes published in 'A - Z' Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
D for Dondakaaya Kaarapu Kaaya
E for Endu Kobbari Podi
F for Fine Biscuits 
G for Gongura - Mamidikaya Pappu
H for Halwa Holigalu
I for Idli Karam Podi
J for Janthikalu
K for Kobbari Koora
L for Lauzu
M for Matikkaaya Kaaram Koora
N for Nimmakaaya Kaaram
O for Ottotti
P for Perugu Vadalu
Q for Qubani ka Meetha
R for Ragi Sangati
S for Satyanarayana Vrata Prasadam
T for Theepi Dibba Rotte
U for Usirikaaya Pulihora
V for Vankaya Kothimira Karam Koora
W for Wadiyala Pulusu
X for Xtra Spicy Hot Andhra Aavakaaya

Y for Yerra Gummadikaaya Pulusu 

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63.


Friday, April 29, 2016

A - Z Andhra Recipes ~ Y for Yerra Gummadikaaya Pulusu


I am doing 'Andhra Vegetarian Recipes' series this month, going in an alphabetical order, as part of the April mega marathon of our blogging marathon group. This month's challenge was called 'Journey through the Cuisines' and the recipe names were supposed to be in the regional language. Owing to the difficulty of finding recipes with regional names for certain alphabets, it was decided that we could use an exemption clause for any three alphabets of our choice and could go with English names instead. I had decided at the beginning that I would use that exemption card for the last three alphabets and so, I had cooked 'yard long beans' Andhra style curry, for today's post.

I started cooking recipes for this month series, going in a reverse order and so this week's dishes were cooked first. The problem with me is that when I cook dishes in advance, I start having second thoughts about my clicks or the recipes I choose. I always end up cooking other dishes and this marathon, I had cooked 2 to 3 dishes for many alphabets. The same happened with my initial recipe choice for today's post. I knew that the curry I was planning to post is prepared in a neighboring state as well making it not unique to the region. Besides, I wanted to see if I overlooked any vegetables that would fit my 'Y' criteria today. After giving the matter a little thought, I realized that I indeed forgot about one.
  
It was erra gummadi which happens to be pumpkin in English. I had noticed earlier, many bloggers referring to it as yerra gummadi as well and so, I had my 'Y' ingredient to work on. The reason I overlooked it in the first place is because it is never referred as so in our homes. Both ash-gourd / winter melon and pumpkin are called gummadikaya in Telugu, though with different tags. The ash gourd is called 'boodidha gummadi' where the word 'boodidha' literally means 'ash' in Telugu. Whereas pumpkin is referred to as 'theepi gummadi' (the sweet one) or 'manchi gummadi' in our homes. It seems that the same pumpkin is referred to as 'erra gummadi (also spelled as 'yerra gummadi') in some of the regions though I don't know where. It literally means the red colored one and even my mother didn't know it was called so. She was wondering why you call a fruit red one when it is of orange hue. However I noticed during this marathon that the pumpkin has the red tag in other Indian regional languages as well. And after, I realized that the word 'erra' can  be also written as 'yerra', I had other options as well to go with for my "Y' post today but I decided to stick with this yerra gummadi.

Now the next step was to decide what to prepare with it. I had already blogged about halwa and so that choice was ruled out. I had the option of preparing a koora / curry or a pulusu / stew using the pumpkin. My mother prepares curry using ash gourd but not the pumpkin. Besides, I wasn't even sure whether my husband could stand the sweet flavor in a curry and so I went with the latter choice. I prepared two versions, one using lentils and one without. The version I am posting today is without lentils and is called theeya pulusu in our homes. It is served with mudda pappu / cooked lentils in our homes, when a thinner version is made. My version today is thicker and can be served alone with rice and ghee. The pumpkin in the recipe can be replaced with green mango, sweet potato, bitter gourd, cucumber, eggplants, okra or even plain onions. This pulusu is prepared on the same lines as the wadiyala pulusu I posted earlier.
 
A pulusu is a stew from Andhra that can be prepared using lentils or without lentils. In coastal areas, a lentil and vegetable based pulusu (pappu pulusu) is one of the main dishes prepared on a daily basis in place of sambhar. It doesn't include any addition of spice paste or powders and would be a melange of balanced flavors. This is what I grew up eating and even now if I have a choice, my vote goes to pulusu among the Indian legume varieties. I wasn't used to spicy concoctions and had a really hard time adjusting to sambhar version after my marriage. When preparing a pulusu without lentils, we usually call it otti pulusu (otti means nothing and used here in reference to the absence of lentils) or theeya pulusu (sweet one) or even neella pulusu (watery stew). Theeya pulusu is prepared on death anniversaries too in some brahmin households, like my husband's for instance. However I keep the lentil less versions on a thicker side.

Whether a pulusu is prepared using lentils or without, the sweet, spicy and tangy flavors should be balanced. It may take a little experience to prepare a stew with perfectly balanced flavors. And it is hard to give perfect measurements / teach the balance through a recipe, since no two tamarind / jaggery taste the same. One can taste while preparing the stew and can adjust the seasonings as needed. I am used to this version of pulusu and kind of mastered it and my husband when bored of other dishes, asks me to prepare a pulusu.
 
Ingredients: (Yield 3 servings)
1 cup peeled and cubed pumpkin pieces
2 tsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
2 pinches of asafoetida
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
2 tbsp. chickpea flour / senaga pindi *
1&1/2 cups water
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Salt to taste
3 tbsp. tamarind juice
1 to 2 tbsp sugar / jaggery (I used 2 gm / 3/4 tsp. Splenda)
( * or a paste made with 2 tbsp. rice flour and water can be used.)

Method: 
* Soak about a big lemon sized tamarind in water until it softens or nuke the tamarind and water in a microwave for 3 minutes. Squeeze the pulp and extract thick juice.
* Cook the pumpkin pieces with little water in a microwave, without turning them mushy.
* Add chickpea flour / rice flour and a few tbsp. of water to a small cup and make a smooth paste. I added 2 tbsp. of toasted chickpea flour instead. Rice flour or chickpea flour is used to thicken the stew here since lentils are not used.
* Heat 2 tsp. oil in a sauté pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric. (If pumpkin pieces are not cooked in the microwave before, they can be added along with the water now and cooked until done.)
* Next add the cooked pumpkin pieces along with the water used to cook them, tamarind juice, jaggery, chili powder, salt, chickpea flour (or rice flour paste) and about 1&1/2 cups of water to the pan. 
* Mix everything with a ladle and check the consistency. It thickens while cooking and the final pulusu should be of pourable consistency like sambhar. Add extra water if necessary and bring the mixture to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. There must be a balance between the dominant flavors of the dish.
* Lower the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes more. 
* Serve with rice and ghee, as part of a Andhra meal.

So far on my 'A - Z' Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
D for Dondakaaya Kaarapu Kaaya
E for Endu Kobbari Podi
F for Fine Biscuits 
G for Gongura - Mamidikaya Pappu
H for Halwa Holigalu
I for Idli Karam Podi
J for Janthikalu
K for Kobbari Koora
L for Lauzu
M for Matikkaaya Kaaram Koora
N for Nimmakaaya Kaaram
O for Ottotti
P for Perugu Vadalu  
Q for Qubani ka Meetha 
R for Ragi Sangati
S for Satyanarayana Vrata Prasadam
T for Theepi Dibba Rotte
U for Usirikaaya Pulihora 
V for Vankaya Kothimira Karam Koora 
W for Wadiyala Pulusu
X for Xtra Spicy Hot Andhra Aavakaaya

Check out the >Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63.
 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

A - Z Andhra Recipes ~ X for Xtra Spicy Hot Andhra Aavakaaya

I am presenting recipes in an alphabetical order this month, based on the theme of Andhra vegetarian dishes. Today is the turn of alphabet 'X' and I am at an impasse, considering that there are no ingredients or recipes that start with 'X' in the regional language, Telugu. If I am not wrong, there are probably only two dishes in India that start with 'X', both with foreign roots. One is xacuti from Goa, which is adapted from the Portuguese cuisine while the other one, is a Christmas cake or Xmas cake in abbreviated form that is popular in areas with large Christian population.

And so I had only choices of going with abbreviations like Xtra, Xplore and as such for today's post. Initially I thought of xploring Andhra thali meals (full course meals) served on different occasions but I could not do it on time for today's post. However I have a recipe for a dish that is cherished in the state, is quintessentially Andhra and does the justice for the adjectives I have used in the title.
 
As the title suggests, today's recipe is about the spicy, hot Aavakaaya, a special green mango pickle from the region. Andhra state is known for it's spicy food and especially the spicy pickles are the pride of it's cuisine. Most of the people in Andhra start their meal with a pickle / spicy chutney. The pickles are not used to just perk up a meal but they are the starting course of the meal. A spicy pickle is mixed with rice and ghee and  eaten as the first course, followed by a koora (usually a dry curry), pulusu / pappu / sambhar (lentil based stew), chaaru (rasam) and perugu/ majjiga (yogurt/ buttermilk) all eaten with rice. That is what a normal meal course would be in Andhra brahmin households.

Summer is meant to be the season of pickle making in the state, like the rest of the country. There are varieties of pickles that are made but the green mango based ones stand out among the lot. Aavakaaya of course takes the center stage and preparation of it is usually left to the elders or the seasoned cooks of the family. Aavakaaya preparation is highly regarded and falls under the 'complex recipes' zone since a large quantity of pickle used to be made from the scratch in olden days. However it is a staright forward recipe if made in small quantities.

The word 'aavakaaya' contains two parts, 'aava' and 'kaaya'. 'Kaaya' in general refers to any unripe fruit and in this case, it is the sour, green pickling mangoes. The word 'aava' is used in reference to the mustard powder base used in the recipe. 'Aavalu' in Telugu means mustard seeds while 'aava pindi' is the mustard powder.  Besides those two ingredients, a measured quantity of chili powder, salt, and sesame oil also go into this pickle preparation. Aavakaaya is not for the faint hearted. It is fiercely spicy and has a strong mustard flavor. And people who are not acquainted with it may not appreciate the strong flavors, the first time they get to taste it. Besides, people may get shocked looking at the quantities of ingredients used in the recipe. However that chili powder and the mustard powder provide the base for aavakaaya.

Brahmin households never add garlic to the aavakaaya while other communities prepare a garlic version too. One of the variations of aavakaaya is prepared in coastal areas which contains jaggery as well and is called bellam aavakaaya. And there are other aavakaaya preparations where green mango is replaced with other vegetables. Dosavakaaya is prepared using the plump, yellow cucumber while tomatoes are used to prepare tomato aavakaaya. However they can't be stored for longer periods like the aavakaaya.

Care should be taken during the preparation of aavakaaya in keeping the work surface, the utensils/jars used and the ingredients all dry. A trace of moisture or a water drop will ruin the entire hard work. The pickle gets ruined in no time and would be fit for trash. The pickle has a long shelf life and usually at least a big ceramic jar of it is prepared in families. Whenever one feels like serving it, all they need to do is scoop out a portion and serve. Just remember to use a dry spoon and close the lid back properly. My mother ties the pickle jar tops with a thin cotton cloth and then close them with lids to ensure it is properly sealed.
Usually a lot of care goes in picking the ingredients for the pickle preparation. Firm, unripe pickling mangoes without blemishes are picked for aavakaaya making. Cutting the mangoes into pieces is a chore if a large quantity of pickle is being made. In the recent decades, the sellers offer to cut the mangoes as well for a small fee. A hot and rich colored, dried red chili powder is chosen in the preparation and nowadays the stores sell the chili powder meant for aavakaaya. My mother was telling me that she has been using the chili powder from Hyderabad in the recent years for its color and it was a news to me. When we were young, she would get the Guntur variety chillies milled and use it in the pickle. As far as the mustard powder goes, my mother sundries the black mustard seeds and grinds finely at home. And the oil base used for aavakaaya is always the sesame oil / nuvvula nune. Salt is one other important ingredient in pickle making and should be used as needed perfectly. If not sure, pickle can be tasted and adjusted accordingly. Some of the pickles get spoiled when salt is less. And the addition of black chickpeas is optional but I recommend it. The marinated chickpeas soak up the flavor of aavakaaya and also add a nice texture while eating aavakaaya annam.

The following recipe is of course from my mother and coincidentally the last time I called her that was a few days ago, she had just finished making aavakaaya. The following are the measurements she had used and I didn't try to scale down the recipe though it can be done. And luckily, I received a small parcel of homemade aavakaaya this month, thanks to my husband's SIL and that's what is pictured here. They are visiting us next week but the aavakaaya came early and on time for my today's post.

Ingredients:
15 green pickling mangoes (the big sized ones)
4 cups hot variety red chili powder
4 cups mustard powder
3 cups salt
2 kg. sesame oil
Few tbsp. of black chickpeas (optional)
(If the mangoes are smaller in size, the quantities of other ingredients used need to be scaled down.)
 

Method:
* Wash and thoroughly dry the green mangoes. Make sure that your hands, the work surface, the ingredients used and the utensils used are all dry. (This is very important for the pickle's shelf life.)
* Chop the mangoes lengthwise into two, remove and discard the seeds. Chop the mangoes into 3/4 to 1 inch pieces.
* Add mango pieces, chili powder, salt, mustard powder, oil and if using black chickpeas to a big mixing bowl. Use a big spatula and mix thoroughly.
* Pour the mixture into a ceramic or glass jar and cover with the lid properly. Leave the jar in a dry place to sit. (Always store the pickle in a non reactive jar.)
* After two days, stir the whole mixture thoroughly one more time and close the lid again.
* Leave the pickle aside for a week after the preparation. It can then be consumed. Store the pickle jar in a dry place and always handle the pickle with dry hands and dry spoons.
* The mango pieces will have a crispy texture in the starting months where as they soften after a while. Aavakaaya looses it's vibrant red color and the fresh strong flavor after some time. It's natural and no need to worry. The pickle can be consumed for at least 2 years as long as it is properly stored. However people finish it off in a year as it is freshly prepared every year and fresh aavakaaya tastes better.

So far on my 'A - Z' Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
D for Dondakaaya Kaarapu Kaaya
E for Endu Kobbari Podi
F for Fine Biscuits 
G for Gongura - Mamidikaya Pappu
H for Halwa Holigalu
I for Idli Karam Podi
J for Janthikalu
K for Kobbari Koora
L for Lauzu
M for Matikkaaya Kaaram Koora
N for Nimmakaaya Kaaram
O for Ottotti
P for Perugu Vadalu  
Q for Qubani ka Meetha 
R for Ragi Sangati
S for Satyanarayana Vrata Prasadam
T for Theepi Dibba Rotte
U for Usirikaaya Pulihora 


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A - Z Andhra Recipes ~ W for Wadiyala Pulusu


My father was complaining about the summer heat in Bangalore last week, over a phone call. It seems that they had almost hit the mark of 40 deg C (around 104 deg F), a sort of record in the recorded meteorological history of the city. Those who live in Indian cities / towns where they experience summer season all through out the year, in varying degrees may wonder what we are grumbling about. However for the local Bangaloreans, it is nothing short of a catastrophe. The city was oncecknown for it's greenery and serene, cool climate but over the years, it gradually is tipping towards the opposite side. 

Keeping the heat woes aside, there are also some great things to look forward in the summer. It is the season when the plump and luscious mangoes and fragrant jasmine flowers show up in the markets. And it is also the time for mothers / grandmothers to start making jar loads of variety of pickles and start stocking up on year load supplies of vadiyalu, appadalu, orugulu and such sun-dried stuff. Coming up to the latter stuff, vadiyalu aka sun dried crisps are made through out India during summer months and go by regional names. Appadalu or papad are made generally using black bean and are paper thin circles. Where as orugulu (in Telugu language) are sun-dried vegetables or peels. Vadiyalu which go by regional names like wadi, sandige or vadam are sundried crisps made using legumes / rice flour / tapioca pearls / beaten rice flakes / popped rice grains and such. 
I chose to go with 'wadiyalu / vadiyalu' as the star ingredient for today's recipe. Mostly we tend to use the latter spelling when talking about these summer bounty. However 'va' and 'wa' are similar sounding in Indian context and logically speaking there is no rule that vadiyalu has to be spelt in that particular way since it is not an English word. Besides, they are called 'wadi' in several Indian languages and so, I chose to go with the word 'Wadiyalu' for today's post. And did I forget to mention why this maneuvering around the spelling? There are no ingredients or recipes in Telugu language that start with the alphabet 'W'. And a pulusu / stew prepared using wadiyalu is going to be my 'W' dish today, under the A to Z Andhra vegetarian recipe series I am doing this month.

Wadiyalu / Vadiyalu are meant to perk up any meal while some are served as a side dish for rice. Minapappu wadiyalu (Black gram / urad dal wadi) / Gummadi wadiyalu (Black gram - ash gourd ones) fall under the latter category and we eat them with rice. They are also used to make curries and stews like today's post. I have been making my own supply of vadiyalu for over a decade now and I usually have a very big box full of variety of wadiyalu / sundried chips in stock through out the year. I have been to India during the past two summers and couldn't prepare wadiyalu then. However I am looking forward for a successful summer this year, in terms of wadi making.
 
The spicy minapappu wadiyalu aka black gram ones are my most favorite ones and the fried wadis are used in making this pulusu aka spicy, sweet and tangy stew. I had only a handful of minappau wadiyalu left in my stock and so I used pesarapappu ones (moong - methi wadis) instead. If using the black gram ones, they are added to the stew just before serving since they get soggy once dropped in the stew. Here is a version of that pulusu I already posted but it is prepared using lentils. However if using moong dal ones, they are cooked along with stew since they are harder and retain their structure even after cooking. This pulusu is flavorful and comes handy when one runs out of vegetables. Besides, it takes around 10 minutes from start to finish and a simple one to prepare. However attaining a right balance of the flavors is the key. It was hard to capture the dish since wadiyalu and all the seasoning including the curry leaves kept sinking into the pulusu as it doesn't provide a thick base for the stuff to stand on. There are about 30 pieces of wadiyalu in that stew and each wadiyam that can be seen in the image is stacked on about another 3 or 4 wadiyalu. :))

Here are links for some of the dishes I mentioned above.
Minapappu vadiyalu / Black gram Wadi
Pesarapappu vadiyalu / Mungori
Sundried Potato Chips
Orugulu
Vadiyala pulusu with lentils

Ingredients: (3 servings) 
Wadiyalu / Vadiyalu *
Oil for frying + 2 tsp. oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
A pinch of asafoetida
Few curry leaves
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
About 1/4 cup thick tamarind water **
2 tbsp. chickpea flour / rice flour (I used besan / chickpea flour / senaga pindi.)
1/4 tsp. chili powder (or accordingly)
Salt to taste
1 - 2 tsp. sugar / jaggery powder

* 1 cup minapappu / black gram / urad dal wadiyalu or 1/2 cup  moong / pesara pappu wadiyalu
** Soak about a big lemon sized tamarind in water until it softens or nuke the tamarind and water in a microwave for 3 minutes. Squeeze the pulp and extract thick juice.


Method:
* Heat oil and fry the wadiyalu until they turn a few shades darker. They fry very quickly and so, close attention needs to be paid not to burn them. Scoop them out using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
* Add rice flour / chickpea flour and a few tbsp. of water to a small cup and make a smooth paste. (I added 2 tbsp. of toasted chickpea flour instead.) Rice flour or chickpea flour acts as the thickening agent here since lentils are not used in the recipe.
* Heat 2 tsp. oil in a sauté pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric. 
* Next add tamarind juice, jaggery powder, chili powder, salt, rice flour paste / chickpea flour and about 1&1/2 cups of water to the pan. If using moong dal wadiyalu, add them to the pan as well at this point. The quantity of chili powder used depends upon the spiciness of the wadiyalu being used. Mine were very spicy and so a little chili powder was used. 
* Mix everything with a ladle and check the consistency. It should be of pourable consistency like sambhar and if needed, add extra water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. There must be a balance between the dominant flavors of the dish. Highlighting any one flavor ruins the dish.
* Turn down the stove and simmer for a couple of minutes more.
* If using minappapu wadiyalu / black gram wadi, add them to the stew just before eating so that the crunchiness of wadiyalu is retained.
* Serve with rice and ghee. 

So far on my 'A - Z' Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
D for Dondakaaya Kaarapu Kaaya
E for Endu Kobbari Podi
F for Fine Biscuits 
G for Gongura - Mamidikaya Pappu
H for Halwa Holigalu
I for Idli Karam Podi
J for Janthikalu
K for Kobbari Koora
L for Lauzu
M for Matikkaaya Kaaram Koora
N for Nimmakaaya Kaaram
O for Ottotti
P for Perugu Vadalu  
Q for Qubani ka Meetha 
R for Ragi Sangati
S for Satyanarayana Vrata Prasadam
T for Theepi Dibba Rotte
U for Usirikaaya Pulihora 
V for Vankaya Kothimira Karam Koora


Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A - Z Andhra Recipes ~ V for Vankaaya Kothimira Karam Koora


The first dish I cooked for this marathon has been for the alphabet 'V' but however that dish is not going to be featured today. I had prepared a traditional sweet dish called vennappalu in advance, planning to blog today. In fact, I cooked three varieties of appalu, five different times planning for my 'G', 'R' and 'V' alphabets and somehow other regional dishes took precedence like in today's case and none of those got published this month.

'V' stands for an important vegetable in Andhra cuisine which happens to be 'vankaya', the eggplants or brinjals. Along with the other local vegetables like dosakaya (yellow cucumber), gongura (sorrel greens), chukkakoora (sour greens native to the state), vankaya has a significant place in the native cooking. An eggplant preparation makes it appearance even on wedding menus in Andhra region, especially in brahmin households. Vankaya koora with koora podi (eggplant curry with spicy curry powder) was a common preparation during weddings in olden days. My A-Z Andhra recipe list would have been incomplete without including this most cherished vegetable among the locals. Several versions of pachadi (chutney), koora (curry) and pulusu / pappu (lentil based stews) are prepared using eggplants and many of them are posted on my blog. Today's post features a dry stuffed preparation of eggplants, using a spicy and flavorful cilantro based stuffing. This is a traditional dish and the recipe was shared to me years ago, by my husband's nieces.
 
Pantry ingredients that start with 'V' in Telugu language: 
Vaamu - Ajwain , Carom seeds 
Vadiyalu - Sundried crisps made with rice flour / tapioca pearls / lentils and such
Verusenaga pappu - Peanuts

Produce:
Vankaya - Eggplant / Brinjal
Velaga pandu - Wood apple
Vellulli - Garlic
Vellulli paaya - Garlic pod

Some 'V' dishes:
Vadalu / Garelu - Deep fried fritters
Vada pappu - Soaked moong dal made for RamaNavami
Vampoosa / Vampodi Kaaralu - Deep fried snack
Velaga pandu pachadi - wood apple chutney 
Vellulli karam - Instant garlic pickle
Venna - Butter 
Venna undalu & Vennappalu - Traditional sweet dishes
(And also Curries, Chutney & Dal made with eggplants)
 
Ingredients (2 servings)4 small eggplants (violet or green colored)
2 cups loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 inch piece of ginger
2 green chilies or as needed
1 to 2 tbsp. oil

Method:
* Wash cilantro leaves and pat dry. Grind cilantro leaves, ginger, green chillies and salt together to a paste, adding no water. This is used as stuffing.
* Wash eggplants, wipe them dry and chop off the stalks.
* Keeping the base intact, cut the eggplants twice vertically making a + shape. Fill eggplants with the above stuffing. You can fill as much as the eggplants can hold without spilling. If the filling gets spilled over the surface of the eggplant, wipe it clean.

* Heat oil in a pan and add the stuffed eggplants to it. Tilt the pan carefully so that the eggplants are coated well with the oil. Sprinkle a little salt over the eggplants.
* Cook covered on low flame, turning intermittently until browned on all sides and the eggplants are soft to touch. 
* Remove and serve warm with warm rice and ghee, if serving as a part of Andhra meal. 

So far on my 'A - Z' Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
D for Dondakaaya Kaarapu Kaaya
E for Endu Kobbari Podi
F for Fine Biscuits 
G for Gongura - Mamidikaya Pappu
H for Halwa Holigalu
I for Idli Karam Podi
J for Janthikalu
K for Kobbari Koora

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63.


Monday, April 25, 2016

A - Z Andhra Recipes ~ U for Usirikaaya Pulihora

 
Time sure flies by. We are already into the final week of this month long blogging marathon. I am on alphabet 'U' in my A to Z series of Andhra vegetarian recipes, going in an alphabetical order. 

The first ingredient that came to my mind when planning for 'U' dish has been usirikaaya which is 'gooseberry' in English, 'bettada nellikaayi' in Kannada and 'nellikayi' in Tamil. I wanted to post about usiri aavakaaya, a spicy Andhra gooseberry pickle in mustard and chili powder base. Meanwhile, my husband suggested another regional recipe. I had both the stuff at home and so my pictures were taken and ready. And I thought this was going to be one of the easy alphabets which involved no cooking from my side until I called my mother for the recipes and she burst my bubble of excitement. I had called her to see whether she would give me the correct quantities of ingredients that go into the dishes and she used the word 'andaajuga' to my annoyance which is like saying a novice cook to use the ingredients as much as needed. She never measures her ingredients while cooking and so it was hard for her to give me the correct quantities for my blog sake. And so I had to strike them off from my list.

Coincidentally, I happened to see usirikaaya pulihora on a Telugu T.V. show, a couple of months back. I had seen the dish earlier too on shows and over online but gave real attention to the recipe this time and noted it down. I finalized it for my today's post as I hadn't picked any of the regular rice fare for this marathon. Usually a rice dish like pulihora, a spicy and tangy dish prepared sans onion and garlic would be the main course of a festive meal in Andhra brahmin households. It may be chintapandu pulihora (tamarind rice), lemon rice (nimmakaya pulihora), mamidikaya pulihora (green mango rice) and so on.

This usirikaaya pulihora aka gooseberry rice may be not a traditional dish but definitely a tasty one. And healthy one too considering that gooseberry is rich in vitamin C and is good for one's eyes and hair. This rice is a flavorful, quick meal idea for any time or even to pack for lunch boxes. I used frozen gooseberries since I don't have access to fresh variety locally. I delegated the cleaning job of gooseberries to my husband who loves rice dishes and so, this dish got done in no time. I pulsed the prepared berries in a food processor since grating frozen gooseberries is next to impossible. If using, fresh ones, the gooseberries can be grated and refrigerated in advance to make it quicker in the morning rush hours. We loved the dish immensely and I recommend it to anyone who loves Indian variety rice dishes.
 
'U' ingredients from Pantry:
Uddipappu / Minapappu - Urad dal / Black gram
Ulavalu - Horse gram
Uppu - Salt
Uppu Mirapakaya - Sundried chillies

Produce:
Ullikaadalu - Green onion 
Ullipaaya - Onion
Urla gadda / Ulla gadda - Potato
Usiri kaaya - Amla / Gooseberry

Some 'U' dishes:
Uddi vadalu - Vada, Black gram fritterso
Ugadi Pachadi 
Uggani - Puffed rice upma
Ulava Charu - Horse gram rasam
Ulli garelu - Onion & black-gram fritters
Ulli pakodi - Onion pakoda
Ullikaram / Erra karam - Onion paste
Undrallu - Steamed semolina balls
Uppudu Pindi / Uppindi / Upma - Spicy semolina breakfast
Usiri Aavakaaya - Gooseberry Pickle in mustard base
Urumindi - A chutney is referred so in a traditional Rayalaseema kitchen

Ingredients: (Yield 6 servings)
5 cups cooked rice (I used sona masuri rice.)
1 cup grated / usirikaaya / amla / gooseberries
2 to 3 tbsp. oil
3 tbsp. peanuts
1 tbsp. split chickpeas / chana dal
1 tbsp. black gram / urad dal
1 tsp. mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies, broken into bits
2 green chillies or as needed (I used 2 long, spicy ones.)
12 to 15 curry leaves
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/8 tsp. asafoetida powder or to taste
Salt to taste
Juice from a small lime / lemon (optional)

Method:
* If using fresh gooseberries, grate them and discard the seeds. If using frozen variety, wash them and leave aside for one hour in a colander. Get rid of the skin and seeds and chop them into bits. Dry them with a paper towel if needed and pulse them in a food processor until they are crumbly / resemble grated stuff.
* Heat oil in a wide pan and add peanuts, split chick peas, black gram, mustard seeds and red chillies in that order. When the dals turn reddish, add green chillies and stir. When they start to look blistered, add curry leaves, turmeric, asafoetida and salt. Finally add the gooseberry/ usirikaaya grating and saute on low flame until the raw smell is gone. Turn off the stove.
 
 * Next add the rice to the pan and mix well with a spatula to combine. Each grain of the rice should look separate and if there any lumps, break it with the back of the spatula and  mix. Taste and add lime / lemon juice if needed and mix well.
* Let the rice sit for 10 minutes before serving so that the flavors get incorporated into rice.

So far on my 'A - Z' Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
D for Dondakaaya Kaarapu Kaaya
E for Endu Kobbari Podi
F for Fine Biscuits 
G for Gongura - Mamidikaya Pappu
H for Halwa Holigalu
I for Idli Karam Podi
J for Janthikalu
K for Kobbari Koora

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63.
 
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Saturday, April 23, 2016

A - Z Andhra Recipes ~ T for Theepi Dibba Rotte / Theepi Minapa Rotte


I have a traditional Andhra snack for today's recipe. For those who are joining me late, I have been posting Andhra recipes this month, in an alphabetical order and today is the turn for the alphabet 'T'.  

I am posting a sweet version of dibba rotte. Dibba rottes are Andhra version dense pancakes made with rice and black gram / urad dal batter. Either the fresh or fermented batter can be used to make dibba rottes. The commonly known version of dibba rotte is the savory one while there is a sweet version too which is not that popular. Jaggery and coconut are also ground into the batter in this version and it makes a great evening snack for kids. It is not overtly sweet and I enjoy this sweet rotte with chutney like the savory one. 
 
There are plenty of recipes online, referring to dibba rotte as dibba rotti or dibba roti. The correct name would be the first one since 'rotti' / 'roti' are not Telugu words. They are Kannada and Hindi words respectively. Theepi dibba rotte literally means sweet, dense pancakes / flat-breads in Telugu. 'Theepi' means sweet whereas the word 'dibba' is used in reference to the thickness of these pancakes and literally means dense. The first part 'di' in the word 'dibba' is pronounced as 'thi' in the word 'this'. And coming to the part 'rotte', 'ro' is pronounced as in the word 'rose' and 'tte' as in 'tay' with a stress on 't'. Dibba rotte are also called minapa rotte, a reference to the black gram used in the recipe. And this sweet version is also called bellam minapa rotte, because of the bellam / jaggery used in the recipe. The color of these sweet rotte depend upon the color of the jaggery used.
 
Freshly ground batter can be used to make these rotte and there is no need to ferment it, making this recipe a convenient one for it to be an evening snack. These pancakes are so dense that people, especially kids would be full eating just one or two slices. The flip side is dibba rottes are time taking even though you don't need to hover around the stove until it is time to flip the pancakes, which happens around 15 minutes mark. They are meant to be cooked leisurely on slow flame to ensure that they are cooked thoroughly through out. Because of the thickness, each rotte takes anywhere between 20 to 25 minutes to cook. Hurrying and trying shortcuts like cooking it on high flame or in shorter times only ruins the rotte. The inside would be under cooked though it appears well browned on outside. If in a hurry, the batter may be used to make thick dosas instead of the denser ones.
 
Traditionally, a banali / kadai, a round bottomed pan is used to prepare dibba rotte. Usually I go that route but I used a small sized non stick pan this time. When cooked leisurely, the rotte making wouldn't be difficult even when a iron kadai is used. Novice cooks can use a non-stick pan to ensure mess-free rottte making.

Ingredients:
1 cup rice / biyyam
1/2 cup black gram / minapappu / urad dal
1/2 cup jaggery powder / bellam
2 handfuls of shredded fresh coconut / pachi kobbari
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. water
Oil to make rottes

Preparation:
* Rinse and soak urad dal and rice together in water, for at least 3 hours.
* Drain the water. Grind urad dal, rice, jaggery and coconut together into a smooth, thick batter, adding water only as much as needed to facilitate the grinding. (I had to add a little over 1/2 cup as mentioned in the list above.) Don't make the batter runny. The batter should be very thick like idli batter. Transfer the batter to a container.

* Heat a round bottomed pan / kadai and pour about 2 tbsp oil into the middle of the pan. Next add about 2 cups of batter into it. 
 
* Cover and cook on low flame until the bottom side turns golden brown, about 15 minutes. Lift the pancake at one end with a spatula to see if it has turned golden brown on the bottom side. If it has, flip it carefully using a spatula. 
 
* Cook for a few minutes more until the other side cooks too. Remove and transfer the rotte onto a plate.
 
* Repeat the process with the remaining batter. 
* Slice into wedges and serve with your choice of sweet or savory condiment.
  
'T' Ingredients' list

From Pantry:
Telagapindi - Residue left while preparing the sesame seed oil
Thati bellam - Palm jaggery  

Produce:
Taati munjelu - Toddy palm fruit
Taati pandu -  Ripened toddy palm fruit
Tenkaaya - Coconut
Tella gaddalu - Vellulli / Garlic
Thamba kaaya - A broad and lengthy green bean variety vegetable 
Thegalu - Tender Palm shoots
Thotakoora - Amaranth greens

Some recipes that start with 'T':
Thentharlu & Thapala chekkalu - snacks
Thaati pandu kudumu - Sweet 
Thokkudu laddu / Bandaru laddu - Sweet 
Thotakoora pappu - Amaranath greens dal
Telagapindi koora - Curries using telagapindi
Theeya pulusu - Sweet and tangy vegetable stew
Theeya kooralu - Sweetened curries
Taddinam vanta - Dishes cooked on death anniversaries
Tomato charu - Tomato rasam
Tomato pachadi - Tomato chutney
Tomato pappu - Tomato dal

So far on my 'A - Z' Andhra Cuisine,
A for Alasanda Vada
B for Bellam Garelu
C for Chiyali
D for Dondakaaya Kaarapu Kaaya
E for Endu Kobbari Podi
F for Fine Biscuits 
G for Gongura - Mamidikaya Pappu
H for Halwa Holigalu
I for Idli Karam Podi
J for Janthikalu
K for Kobbari Koora

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 63.