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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Jack Fruit Halwa

My procrastination always ends me up in either sending last minute entries for the cooking events on blogosphere or totally skipping them, though I would have thought well before hand what I am going to do. This time it was different, when Bee and Jai announced Jack fruit as the ingredient for JIHVA. From the day, they announced their ingredient for Jihva to the moment when I added ingredients to the pot to come up with an entry, I was clueless.

Though we are fond of the fragrant, flavorful fruit, I had never seen my mom cooking with jack fruit, I had never eaten any jack fruit dish or never liked a fruit in savory dishes. My husband who had tasted raw jackfruit curry earlier was not interested in it either. A big thanks to Bee and Jai. Like that Poirot, after a long time, they put my grey cells to work.
Finally, I thought of experimenting for a sweet dish. I put all those ingredients that I thought would make the dish delicious, into a pot. Until the final stages, I was not sure what it is going to be. I thought if it reaches burfi stage, then I would call it burfi or else halwa. As you see, it became jack fruit halwa. By the way, it IS delicious (like any Indian sweet should be) with a hint of jackfruit flavor and I am going to make it more often.
Jack fruit (sheaths around the seeds), chopped into pieces - 1/2 cup
Besan / Gram flour- 1/2 cup
Coconut, grated - 1 /2 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Ghee - 4 or 5 Tbsp
Cardamom Powder, Powdered - 1/4 tsp
Raisins and Cashews - 2 Tbsp

Dry fry the besan on low flame in a nonstick pot, till you start to notice the aroma. It would take around a couple of minutes. Keep aside.
Grind the jack fruit pieces, coconut along with milk till all the jack fruit pieces are ground.
Add the ground mixture, sugar, 4 tbsp of ghee and cardamom powder to the besan and start to cook on low flame. Within a short time, you would notice all the mixture starting to turn into one big mass.
After the mixture starts to leave the sides of the pan and turns into a big mass, Keep stirring for about another 5 - 10 minutes and turn off the stove.
Heat a Tbsp of ghee in a small pan and add raisins and cashews to it. When cashews turn golden brown and raisins turn plump, turn off the stove. Add them to halwa and stir once.
Serve Warm or cold.

* I wanted to see if I could make burfis out of it and therefore kept stirring for another 20 minutes till my arms started aching. I am not sure whether that mixture could have reached burfi stage. So, anybody following this recipe could happily skip this part.

Jack Fruit Halwa ~ My entry for JFI - Jack fruit event hosted by Bee and Jai of Jugalbandi this month.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Gongura Pachchadi

I have reiterated the importance of pickles in Andhra cuisine on Veggieplatter, when ever I posted a pickle/chutney recipe. Undeniably, The pickles are part and parcel of Andhra cuisine. If we don't find pickle on our plates, including breakfast, we feel as if some bland, baby food has been served to us. We are the ultimate, spicy food lovers. When Latha of Masala magic has announced Andhrapradesh cuisine for the RCI event, I am not going to let go the opportunity without posting a pachchadi (pickle/chutney) recipe. Here comes Andhra special, gongura pachchadi.

Obviously as the name suggests, gongura pachchadi is prepared using the gongura leaves.Gongura comes in two varieties, the green stemmed ones (thella gongura) and the red stemmed ones (erra gongura). The red stemmed one is more sour than the green stemmed ones and hence preferred to make the gongura pachchadi. The iron rich leaves have a distinctive sourness.
In our households, gongura leaves are fried and salt is added as a preservative and stored in ceramic jars. This can be used yearlong and we are able to enjoy the pachchadi, even though we could not find fresh leaves where we live.

Storing gongura (the base for the pachchadi) :
You would need more bunches of gongura, if you wish to store. Pluck the leaves from the gongura stalks. Wash the leaves and allow them to air dry on a towel. Dry fry the leaves in a pan. In the process, water is released and so fry till all the water is evaporated. The fried leaves would have a very dark green - black shade. Remove and add sufficient amount of salt to the fried leaves. If sufficient amount of salt is not added, you would notice a layer of mold forming on the top, within a few days. Remove it and add more salt. (That's how it is done. The entire thing is not thrown away). Store it for further use.

Gongura pachchadi:
Fried gongura - 1 Cup
Peanuts - 1 /4 cup
Sesame seeds - 1/4 cup
Coriander seeds - 1 Tbsp
Red chillies - 20
Asafoetida - less than 1/4 tsp
Onion, finely chopped - 1
Oil - 1 Tbsp

Dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds individually till they turn golden brown.
Toast the red chillies slightly to facilitate easy grinding.
Grind gongura, peanuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds and red chillies into (a coarser) chutney consistency.
Heat oil in a small pan and add asafoetida and onion. Fry the onion on low to medium flame till it turns transparent. Turn off the heat. Add this to the gongura mixture and stir.
Serve with hot rice and a spoon of ghee.

This is my entry for Latha's Andhra Cuisine - RCI

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Quick Mango Pickle

Here is a recipe for an instant pickle which takes less than 10 minutes to prepare. This is a regular item on a wedding menu around Bangalore and to this day, the sour - hot 'Maavinakayi uppinakayi' (mango pickle) served at the wedding feasts, remains one of my favorites. This quicker version of mango pickle is heavenly delicious with hot rice and ghee.


Green mango, chopped into fine cubes - 1 cup
Chillie powder - 3 to 4 tsp
Hing (Asafoetida) - Half of 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

Mix together mango pieces, chillie powder and salt in a bowl.
Heat oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds and asafoetida to the hot oil. When mustard seeds start to splutter, turn off the stove and let it cool.
Add this to the bowl and mix well.
Serve this with hot rice and ghee or breakfast dishes like upma.

Though I had planned something else, due to time constraints this one is going to be my 'Q' entry for Nupur's A - Z of Indian vegetables.

Note: Additionally, 1 tsp mustard seeds powder (aavapindi) and 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds powder (menthi podi) can be added.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Red Chori Beans Dosa - 1

These dosas were created as an experiment in my kitchen. When we bought red chori beans for the first time, we had no idea they would double up in their volume. We used half of the soaked beans for the intended purpose and were still left with a huge amount of beans. These delicious dosas were therefore born with the addition of some basic ingredients and grinding into a coarser batter. Later on with some experimentation, I came up with another recipe which I am going to post soon.

Ingredients required:
Red chori beans - 1/2 cup
Rice - 1/4 cup
Red chillies - 10
Two onions, finely chopped
Oil - To make dosas

Soak chori beans and rice over night in plenty of water. These beans tend to double in their volume. This quantity makes around 10 - 12 dosas. Increase the quantity of the ingredients accordingly, if you need more dosas,.
In the morning, drain the water used to soak and wash the beans and rice thoroughly with fresh water.
Grind them into a coarse batter along with chillies and salt. Use only the amount of water required to grind the batter. Let the batter be on thicker side. It will take around a minute to grind the batter. If you wish, add the chopped onions to the batter.
To make dosas, heat a griddle or a shallow pan. When you sprinkle a few drops of water on the griddle, the water should sizzle and evaporate. This means the griddle is ready. Pour a ladle full of batter on the center of the griddle and spread it into a thin circle with the back side of the ladle. If you haven't added onion to the batter, now sprinkle some onion pieces on the dosa. Pour a tsp of oil along the edges of the dosa. Cook on medium flame till the bottom side turns brown. Flip it and again spread some oil along the edges. Let it cook on the bottom side. Then remove the dosa and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Serve hot dosas with chutney.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Vankaya Mamidikaya Pachchadi ~ Eggplant - Green Mango Chutney

Eggplant - Green Mango Chutney

Summer comes and hence the plethora of mango dishes in my MIL's kitchen. I have never come across a person so fond of green mangoes as my MIL. I came to know about many unusual Andhra style, mango preparations from her. Here is one such recipe. An unusual combination of green mango and eggplants are used to prepare this delicious chutney which goes well with rice or rotis.

Ingredients required:
Green mango,chopped into small cubes - 1/2 cup
Eggplants, round ones - 3
Red chillies - 8 or 10 (or more if you prefer more spiciness)
Fenugreek seeds (Menthulu)- 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida (Inguva)- 1/4 tsp
Oil - 2 Tbsp
Roasted Eggplants, cut mango pieces, red chillies, fenugreekseeds, salt

Wash the eggplants, remove the stalks and wipe them dry.
Cut each eggplant into four pieces.
Heat oil in a small pan. Add asafoetida, eggplant pieces to the pan. Roast the eggplants till they are done. The skins would be almost charred and the pieces would be cooked not turning mushier. Let them cool.
Dry fry fenugreek seeds and the red chillies in a pan.
Grind eggplants, fenugreek seeds, red chillies and salts into a coarse paste. Add the green mango pieces to the mixture and grind for a couple of seconds so that they are mixed well with eggplant mixture. You want the final product with a coarser texture, not a smoother one. Remove the eggplant - mango chutney into a cup.
Serve with hot rice and a tsp of ghee.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007


Patoli, a traditional Andhra dish is a protein rich koora (sabji) which tastes excellent with rice and rotis. It is a pleasant variation from the ordinary styles of preparation of vegetables and can be a big hit at parties. Patoli is prepared using chanadal (bengal gram) and a vegetable. An easier, smarter way to feed the family, the nutritious stuff.
Some of the choices for vegetables that can be used are French beans, cluster beans, onions, cabbage, methi leaves etc.

French Beans Patoli:
Chopped French (green) beans – 2 cups
Chanadal – 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Red chillies - 8 to 10 (depending upon the spiciness you prefer, medium to hot)

Salt to taste
Oil – 2 or 3 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Chana dal (Bengal gram) - 1 tsp
Urad dal (Black gram) – 1 tsp
Jeera (Cumin seeds) - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - Few
Hing (Asafoetida) – Few pinches (optional)
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp

Cook the beans.
Soak chanadal in water for atleast two hours. Coarsely grind chanadal, 2 tsp of cumin seeds and red chillies with as little as water as possible. Cook the mixture in a pressure cooker without the weight, till it is done. Let it cool for a while. Crumble the chanadal mixture, which would have become dry at this point .
Heat oil in a pan. Add chanadal, urad dal, jeera, mustard seeds, curry leaves to the hot oil. When chanadal and uraddal begin to turn reddish, add turmeric powder and the chanadal mixture to the pan and stir fry for a few minutes. Now add the cooked french beans and salt to the pan. Saute for a couple of minutes. Turn off the stove.
Serve with rice or rotis.

Cluster (Goovar) Beans Patoli: Replace French beans with cluster beans in the above recipe.
If using fresh cluster beans, follow the same method as above. If cooking with frozen cluster beans, thaw them, chop them and cook them as above. The above measurements are good for a 12 oz frozen cluster beans packet.

Menthi Koora (Methi) Patoli:
Replace French beans with methi leaves in the French beans patoli recipe and proceed.
For the above ingredients, use 2 bunches of methi leaves. Pluck all the leaves from the methi stems. Throw away the stems. Wash and chop the methi leaves. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the methi leaves till they are cooked. By the time, they would be wilted and change their color to a darker shade.

Patoli - My 'P' entry for Nupur's A - Z event and for Latha's RCI - Andhra Cuisine event.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Toordal Dosa ~ Kandi Nooka Dosa

Since my SIL's visit, we both are having a great exchange of recipes, though mostly I am at the receiving end. So far, I have posted her recipes for Pindi miriyam, Chinta chiguru pappu, Anapakaya pulusu, Errakaram dosa, Eggplants with gravy. Today it's time for a protein packed breakfast recipe. This dosa does not need rice, maida or uraddal which forms the basis for most of the Indian dosas. It is prepared using only kandi nooka or toordal rava. A nutritious and delicious breakfast. What a healthier way to start the day !!

Toordal dosas with chutney powder

Ingredients to make around a dozen dosas:
Toordal (Lentils) - 1 cup
Grated coconut - 1/4 or 1/2 cup
Red chillies - 10
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Few curry leaves
Oil - to make dosas

If you can, grind toordal to a coarser consistency resembling sooji /semolina (not the very fine version). Soak in water for atleast an hour. Grind the other ingredients using little water and add it to the soaked toordal. Adjust the water quantity as needed to make a dosa batter.
If you cannot coarsely grind toordal, then soak toordal in water for a couple of hours. Take about 1/4 th of it and grind with the remaining ingredients (except oil) till the chillies are all fine ground. Now add the remaining toordal and just run the mixer / blender only for a few seconds so the toordal is coarsely ground. Add water if needed. You don't want the batter to have a very smooth texture. The batter should not be very runny or very thick. It should be in between.
To make dosas, heat a griddle or a shallow pan. When you sprinkle a few drops of water on the griddle, the water should sizzle and evaporate. This means the griddle is ready. Pour a ladle full of batter on the center of the griddle from a little height. It will spread on it's own. Pour a tsp of oil along the edges of the dosa. Cook on medium flame till the bottom side turns brown. Flip it and again spread some oil along the edges. Let it cook on the bottom side. Then remove the dosa and repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Serve hot dosas with chutney / chutney powder / pickle.

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Saturday, May 5, 2007

Okra Dal ~ Bendakaya Pappu

'O' for Okra dal - My entry for Nupur's A - Z event.
Pappu, the traditional Andhra dal is a regular dish prepared at our homes. The usual, standard vegetables that go into our pappus are green mango / mamidikaya, cucumber/dosakaya, tomato, green leafy vegetables to name a few. My husband’s family use okra to make pappu. To me, who love okra in it’s crispiest state, this was kind of an unusual dish.
Today, to my surprise, my husband volunteered to prepare our lunch and presented me with ‘O’ dish for Nupur’s event. The following recipe is my husband’s and he has taken the liberty of a chef when it comes to the ingredients list. The optional ingredients mentioned in the recipe are not used in a traditional pappu recipe at our homes. Their addition did enhance the taste and was delicious. So, here comes my husbad’s first recipe on my blog.

Toor dal - 1 cup
Okra - 1 Lb
Green chillies - 6/8
Salt - Accordingly
Tamarind extract (obtained from soaked tamarind) - 4 Tbsp or accordingly
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 4 Tbsp
Ginger, chopped fine - 1 tsp (Optional)
Cumin powder - 1 tsp (Optional)
Garlic Powder - 1/2 tsp (Optional)

For Tempering:
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 /4 tsp
Curry leaves - A few

I used 1 Lb frozen okra packet. If using frozen okra, thaw and remove any excess water. If using fresh ones, wash them, wipe them dry and chop into circles after trimming the ends. Chop the green chillies fine.
Cook toor dal, green chillies and turmeric powder with sufficient water in a pressure cooker or in a big pot till it is cooked soft. Pappus are not watery like sambhars and therefore, the quantity of water required to make pappu is only a little more than needed to cook dal.
Heat 4 tbsp of oil to a pan and add chopped okra. Keep frying the okra till all the stickiness (if present) disappears and it is cooked. Gently rotate the okra with the spoon while frying, so that okra doesn't become mushy. Add tamarind extract, salt, cumin powder to the okra mixture and let it cook on low flame till the mixture comes to a boil. Add cooked toor dal to the pan and stir the whole mixture once with a ladle. Let it simmer for few more minutes.
Heat oil in a small pan and add ginger. when ginger starts to turn light brown, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start to pop and cumin seeds turn brownish, add asafoetida and garlic powder. Turn off the stove after a few seconds. Add to dal, stir the mixture with a ladle and close the lid. Let the dal sit for a few minutes so that all the flavors are infused.
Serve with hot rice and a spoon of ghee.

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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Anapakaya Pulusu ~ Avarekaalu Saaru

Have you lived around Bangalore during avarekaayi season? Then, you would definitely have an idea how Bangaloreans (or Kannadigas, for that matter) adore avarekaalu, the pretty green , tasty beans, which are a nutritional power house. During that season, loads of beans are bought at every house and adults and children would be feverishly working on removing the beans from their pods. Then the beans are soaked in water, to facilitate easy peeling of the skins. Again the people would be busy working on the humongous task of removing the thin skins from the beans using hands. In spite of all this prep work, kannadigas enjoy avarekalu. This is the season for avarekaayi saaru (sambhar), nippattu (a snack), rotti, uppittu (upma) to name a few.
Here, with out those hassels, I could find frozen variety, ready to use kind. They are sold under the name 'Surti Papdi Lilva'. The name suggested they might be popular in other parts of India as well. I have used those beans to prepare the delicious avarekaalu saaru. These beans are called 'anapakayalu' in Telugu.

Ingredients needed:
Toor dal - 1/4 cup
Anapakayalu (Avarekaayi /Surti papdi lilva) - 2 cups
Coriander seeds (dhaniya) - 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds (Jeera) - 1 tsp
Grated coconut (Fresh or dry) - 1/4 cup
Red chillies - 15
1" Cinnamon piece - 2
Salt - Accordingly
Tamarind extract (Thick tamarind juice) - 1 Tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Jaggery - 1 tsp (Optional)

For tempering you need:
Oil - 2tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Asafoetida (Hing) - half of 1/4 tsp

  • Wash toor dal and anapakayalu/avarekaayi thoroughly. Cook them in a pressure cooker with turmeric powder and sufficient water until you hear two or three whistles. When all the valve pressure is released, remove the lid. Alternatively cook in a big pot till both the beans are cooked well.
  • Dry fry the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, cinnamon in a pan till they start to change color and release aroma. It would take less than a minute. Remove and keep them aside. Let them cool. Add red chillies to the same pan and fry for a few seconds. Turn off the stove and leave the chillies in the pan. If you wish, you can fry the coconut as well. It is completely optional.
  • Grind the fried items with about 1/4 cup of above cooked avarekaayi in a blender into a smooth paste.
  • To the cooked toordal - avarekaayi mixture, add the ground paste, salt, jaggery, tamarind and let it cook till it comes to a rolling boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Turn off the stove.
  • For the tadka (tempering), heat the oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add hing and curry leaves. Leave for a few seconds and remove. Pour this to the above cooked dal. Cover with a lid.
  • Serve hot with rice and a spoon of ghee or rotis.

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