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Thursday, August 30, 2007


Paalakaayalu - the tiny, crunchy balls made out of rice flour and the right amount of seasonings is a traditinal snack from Andhra pradesh. Though they are a hit with the kids, I must admit adults show the same excitement and fervor towards them. Keep a big bowl of these nibblers in front of your family / guests, they would be devoured in no time.
If your family can pitch in to make those tiny balls out of the dough, your major share of work is done in no time. You can prepare them in large quantity and store in an air tight container.
These are especially made for SriKrishnastami in Andhra pradesh.

Rice flour - 2 Cups
Fresh grated coconut - 1 cup
Chili powder - 2 tsp
Salt - 1 & 1/2 tsp
A few pinches of asafoetida (hing)
Hot water to make the dough (I had to use 3/4 cup of water)
Oil to fry

Making Paalakaayalu:

  • Mix all the ingredients and make a firm dough as you do for rice flour rottis.
    Then make very small balls out of the dough and let them air dry for atleast 30 minutes. (Balls should be of around one cm diameter / should fit in a 1/2 tsp. Though mine seem to be of a jamoon size, they were really tiny. If the balls are fried immediately, without allowing to rest for the period mentioned, there are chances that the balls would explode).

  • Heat enough oil in a deep pan. Drop a pea sized dough into the oil. If the dough sizzles and comes to the surface of the oil, then the temperature of the oil is perfect for frying paalakaayalu. Then turn down the stove to the lowest heat setting and fry the dough balls in batches with out over crowding the oil.
    Don't rush and fry the balls on high heat. They will brown fast and won't be crunchy. Instead fry them on low heat flipping them in between till they turn slightly brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on a plate covered with paper towel.

  • Let them cool and store them in an airtight container.

This goes to JFI - Rice, hosted by Sharmi of Neivedyam. The creator of JFI is Indira of Mahanandi.

Thanks to Mamatha. Also sending this to 'Sri Jayanthi' event hosted by Latha of 'The Yum Blog'.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Puffed Bread and Two Curries From Orissa

RCI has become an exciting event which is introducing me to various, great cuisines from colorful states of India. It has opened up an opportunity to explore and experiment new cuisines in my kitchen. Compared to the previous RCI events, this time it was little different. I knew the geographic location of Orissa on Indian map and some points of interest in the state and nothing more than that. I had no idea about Odiya cuisine or had never seen any oriyan fare served at restaurants. There are some good websites featuring oriyan cuisine and with that help and minor changes, I prepared 'Luchis', 'Alu posta' and 'Ghuguni' for the RCI - Orissa event.


Many oriyan delicacies got incorporated into the Bengali kitchens because of the Oriyan Brahmin cooks employed at the time of Bengal Renaissance in rich Bengali house holds. Orissa and West Bengal also because of their proximity factor have many common dishes. Luchi, a deep-fried puffed bread made of all purpose flour / maida is such a dish, typical of Oriya and Bengal cuisines.
Most of the south Indians get to eat luchis at restaurants even with out their knowledge. Luchis are served in the name of pooris because they remain puffed, all the way from the stove to customers' plates. I have seen people prefer making pooris (luchis to be exact) with all purpose flour because they remain puffed longer than the ones made with atta.

Maida / All purpose flour - 2 cups
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 1 or 2 Tbsps
Water to form the dough
Oil to fry luchis

Combine the flour, salt and oil in a mixing bowl and rub together well. Then gradually add the water and form a firm dough. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes more until it springs back when touched lightly. Cover it and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into equal portions and shape each into a small ball. Work with each portion at a time, keeping the rest covered. Take a ball, flatten it a little with your fingers and roll it into a thin circle, 4 -6 inches in diameter. Rolling out perfect circles using luchi dough is little hard because of the dough's elasticity. If you can not make perfect circles, just roll out the dough and cut into circles using a cutter or a small cup. You can roll out all the dough before frying or keep rolling and frying simultaneously.
If not using the dough immediately, you can refrigerate it for a couple of days. When you are ready to use it, just take out the dough from the refrigerator and pop it in the microwave for about 40 seconds. Remove the dough and roll out the luchis as usual.
Heat sufficient oil in a deep frying pan. Drop a pea sized dough into the oil and if it sizzles and immediately comes to the surface of the oil, then the temperature of the oil is the right one to fry the luchis. Carefully slide a rolled out circle into the oil and press the edges lightly with a slotted spoon until the circle puffs well. Gently flip it without piercing the surface and cook the second side as well for a few seconds. Remove it with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining circles.


I fell in love with 'Alu posta' because of it's simplicity. This was like a fresh breath of air with subtle flavors and simple spices. Quite different from the spicy, garam masala laden curries. Next time, the only change I would prefer to make is addition of tomatoes for the tang.

3 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup of poppy seeds
4 Green Chillies (I used Serrano peppers)
1/4 tsp of Turmeric powder
1 tsp of Cumin seeds
Oil - Salt to taste

Make a smooth paste of poppy seeds and green chillies with water using a mixer or grinder. (I soaked the poppy seeds before grinding and it became harder to grind them in my blender because of the little quantity. Next time, poppy seeds will be dry ground into a fine powder)
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and turmeric powder. When cumin seeds start to turn brown, add the potato and saute for a couple of minutes.
Then add the green chillies & poppy seed paste and add a cup of water to the pan. Cook potatoes till they are done and coated well with the paste.


Ghuguni is a Oriyan side dish prepared using dried peas, potatoes and tomatoes flavored with the right amount of spices.

1/4 cup of dried green peas soaked in water for at least 4 hours and cooked
A large potato peeled, chopped into cubes and cooked till fork tender
A big tomato chopped
One onion
A small piece of ginger
Green chillies - 2 (I have used Serrano)
Turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, chili powder and garam masala - 1/2 tsp each
Clove & cardamom - 2 each
Cinnamon - 3 - 4 one inch pieces
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 Tbsp
A tbsp of finely chopped cilantro for garnish.

This dish has also garlic, which I omitted.

The Cooking Part:
Grind the onion, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom with enough water into a fine paste using a blender.
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds turn brown, add the green chillies and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the ground paste and saute for a couple of minutes.
Then add the tomato, salt and all the dry masala powders and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
Now add the cooked potatoes, peas and a little water and let it simmer for about five minutes so that vegetables absorb the flavors.
Garnish with cilantro and serve with rotis / pooris.

This is my entry for RCI - Orissa hosted by Swapna of Swad. The person behind the RCI event is LakshmiK.

Source of information - Wiki, Lokpriya

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Friday, August 24, 2007

A Subzi, A Snack & A Dessert

For the past few days, my busy life has kept me away from the computer and I am unaware of the happenings in Blogosphere.
I wanted to participate in some of the events hosted by fellow bloggers and I see most of them end by this 25 th. Hence I thought of doing a 3 in 1 kind of post - posting for three events in a single post. So, here we go in an alphabetical order.


Condensed milk halwa is a hit with my guests and always brings compliments, when served. The halwa has an exquisite grainy appearance with melt in your mouth kind of texture. It tastes similar to the pala khova, sold by Andhra sweet sellers. Every time I serve this, people think it is khova and I might have toiled for hours in the kitchen stirring the milk to prepare it.

This rich halwa surprisingly needs a few ingredients and can be prepared in short time, in 12 minutes, to be exact. The best part is it is prepared in a microwave. So, you can be ready with a delightful dessert under 15 minutes.

Add 14 oz / 400 gm sweetened Condensed Milk , 3 Tbsp Yogurt and 1 Tbsp Ghee to a microwavable bowl and put it in the MW. Cook for twelve minutes on high. Take the bowl outside and stir the contents once, every three minutes. The mixture would have reached the halwa consistency around 12 minutes. If it has not, cook more for a minute or two.
I usually use condensed milk and yogurt, both fat free.

This one goes to 'Microwave easy cooking event' hosted by Srivalli of 'Cooking 4 for all seasons'.



Potato is one vegetable that is prepared in numerous styles and with lot of variations because of it's wide usage. Here is a simple and yet delicious potato subzi flavored with cumin seeds. Toasted cumin seeds and cilantro add a wonderful aroma to the dish and this goes well with both rice and rotis.

Ingredients needed:
Big sized potatoes - 3
Cumin seeds, Grated ginger, Chili powder & Coriander powder - 1 tsp each
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro to garnish - 2 Tbsp
Oil - 2 Tbsp
Lemon / Lime juice - 1 Tbsp or more

Peel the potatoes and chop them into small cubes. If you prefer, chop the potatoes with skin.
Cook them with enough water in a sauce pan till fork tender. Don't over cook the potatoes. Drain all the water used to cook.
Heat oil in a pan and add ginger. When it starts to brown add cumin seeds and turmeric powder. When cumin start to turn brown, add potatoes, chili powder, coriander powder and salt. Adjust the seasonings if required. Mix well so that the potatoes are coated well with the spices. Add a Tbsp or two of water, if required. Saute for a minute or so and add the chopped coriander and toss well. Turn off the stove. Drizzle with lemon juice and serve.

This one goes to
'Think Spice - Cumin' event hosted by Sunita of Sunita's World.



Among the few things I prepare with plantains, this snack is our favorite. It is a great alternative to potato chips. Chips prepared from a plantain would serve two as a snack and takes around 15 minutes to prepare them.

The process is really simple.
  • Take half a tsp each of chili powder & salt and few pinches of asafoetida in a small bowl. Mix them well and keep them aside. You can increase the quantities of salt and chili powders to suit your taste.
  • Chop the ends, peel the plantain and slice it into very thin circles. (Use mandoline / slicer for an easy job).
  • On medium flame, heat enough oil (around 2 cups) in a deep, small pan. Drop plantain slices in the hot oil with out over crowding. If plantain slices are sticking to one another, separate them before dropping into oil. Fry the plantain slices in batches and sprinkle them with the above spice mixture immediately. I usually fry them till they turn a shade yellow. Once they are done, drain on paper towels.

This one goes to 'Favorite Snack' event, hosted by SnackOrama's Hima.

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Celebrating Poori - Bhaji

Celebrating Poori Bhaji

Anita of A Mad Tea Party has asked us to enjoy poori - bhaji declaring it as the national favorite. I second that, with no guilt. In spite of being a greasy item, the puffed, fried bread tempts every Indian from little tykes to old ones. (If you do avoid pooris, to be healthy, then GOOD for you).

Poori has been a favorite food, all my life. From my student days - to this day, my love for these puffed balls has remained unchanged. During my student days, I used to eagerly wait with my mouth watering for the lunch period when I had a box of pooris and also remember very well how I hated to share that yummy stuff with my friends. Now, my little one shares the same enthusiasm. When I am preparing the pooris, my little one peeks into the kitchen and asks with an anticipation 'Mama, what are you doing? Pooris ?'. When I give answer affirmatively, she goes with the next one 'For me, mama?'. I nod and she immediately hugs me and thanks me, which she really means. :)

My kasoori methi pooris and potato bhaji are ready for the party.


Kasoori Methi Poori

Note: Indian wheat flour sold under the name chapathi / roti atta at Indian grocery shops works best for most of the Indian breads including this poori. We generally knead dough by hand, but a food processor can also be used. The quantity of water added to make the dough also depends upon the flour used. While making the dough, never add the water to the flour at once. Instead go adding water little by little till you reach the required consistency. Also allow the dough to rest at least for half an hour. Pooris are generally smaller in size compared to rotis. They are deep fried in hot oil till they puff up into small balls. They are quite soft when eaten and taste best when hot. They are usually fried in a karhai - Indian version of a wok. If you don't have one, use a deep sauce pan.

Atta (wheat flour) - 2 cups
Kasoori methi (Dried, crushed fenugreek leaves)- 1 Tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 Tbsp (Optional)
About a cup of water (for an idea)

Oil to fry the pooris

Preparing dough and cooking:
Combine the flour, kasoori methi, salt and oil in a mixing bowl and rub together well. Then gradually add the water and form a firm dough. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes more until it springs back when touched lightly. Cover it and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Divide the dough into equal portions and shape each into a small ball. Work with each portion at a time, keeping the rest covered. Take a ball, flatten it a little with your fingers and roll it into a thin circle, 4 -6 inches in diameter. To prevent sticking while rolling, lightly dust the circle with flour. I usually keep rolling and frying at the same time. Beginners can roll all the circles, spread them on a work surface / counter and cover them and then fry them.
Heat sufficient oil in a deep frying pan. Drop a pea sized dough into the oil and if it sizzles and immediately comes to the surface of the oil, then the temperature of the oil is the right one to fry the pooris. Carefully slide a circle into the oil and keep submerged lightly with a slotted spoon until the circle puffs well, rises to surface of the oil and is golden brown underneath. Gently turn the circle without piercing surface and cook second side until it turns golden brown as well. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining circles.


Potato Koora

This is one of my favorite versions of potato curry which goes well with pooris and as stuffing for masala dosas as well. There used to be a fast food center in my husband's hometown Kadapa (formerly Cuddapah in Andhrapradesh) near the main bus stand. That was a new establishment then and those fellows used to serve this koora (Telugu word for bhaji) when you ordered poori, masaladosa or ravadosa. I liked this new version, flavored with tomatoes, carrots and peas more than the poori palya (kannada poori bhaji) served at the Bangalore restaurants and started to prepare at home.

Ingredients for the potato koora:
4-5 large potatoes
Chopped onions and tomatoes - One cup each
Green peas (Fresh or frozen) - 1/4 cup
Carrot peeled and grated - 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds and Chanadal - One Tsp each
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Green chillies - 6 ( I used Serrano peppers. Depending upon the spiciness preferred and the chillies used, this quantity need to be adjusted).
Oil - 2-3 Tbsp
Cilantro for garnish (Optional)

Peel the potatoes. Cut each potato lengthwise into four pieces and then chop them crosswise twice or thrice so that you end up with big chunks of potatoes. Put them in a pressure cooker with turmeric powder and sufficient water and cook them till you hear two or three whistles. When the valve pressure is gone, drain all the water and keep aside the potatoes.
Mean while, heat the oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and chanadal. When chanadal turns red, add green chillies and curry leaves. Saute the green chillies for 30 seconds and add the onions. Fry them till they turn translucent and then add tomatoes, carrot and peas. Cook till the tomatoes turn almost into a mush. Then add the potatoes, lightly mash them with back of the spoon and add the required amount of salt and mix well. If the curry appears to be very dry, you can add one or two Tbsp of water. Let it remain for a couple of minutes more on the flame and then turn off the stove. Garnish with cilantro.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Beetroot Sambhar

Everyone may have umpteen number of favorite vegetables to pair with sambhar, but probably not beets. Beets and sambhar - the combination is somewhat out of the norm. A red sambhar? That's what I thought when I first encountered it. Though very unusual, my MIL prepares beetroot sambhar, which I must admit is delectable. Beetroot generously lends it's color to the dish and hence we end up with a red -maroonish hued sambhar. Serve this beet sambhar with rice and a dash of ghee, for an irresistable dish.

Toor dal - 1 cup
Beetroot, peeled and chopped into cubes - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili powder - 2 tsp
Sambhar powder - 1 tsp, heaped
Jaggery powdered - 1 Tbsp (optional)
Tamarind juice - 1/4 cup (tamarind soaked in water and juice extracted)

For tadka:
Oil - 1 or 2 tsp
Mustard and cumin seeds - 1 tsp each
A few pinches of asafoetida and a few curry leaves

Cook dal, beetroot and turmeric powder with sufficient water in a pressure cooker till you hear two or three whistles. (Alternatively, you can cook them in a sauce pan until the dal reaches fall apart stage). Turn off the stove and wait till all the valve pressure is gone. Then remove the lid and add tamarind, chili and sambhar powders, salt and jaggery. Add needed (around 2 cups) water for the dal to reach sambhar consistency and adjust the spices, if required. Turn on the stove and then let the sambhar come to a rolling boil and leave it for a couple of minutes more. Turn off the stove.
Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves to it. When mustard seeds start to pop, turn off the stove and add this tadka mixture to the sambhar and mix well.
Serve hot with rice and a tsp of ghee or rotis.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Paneer Methi Pulao

This fragrant pulao is a well balanced meal and a perfect dish when you are under time crunches. Including the preparatory work, this dish can be put together in less than 30 minutes. Melt in your mouth kind of home made paneer and peas give you the protein punch needed where as the veggies tomato, kasoori methi and onion adequately contribute their flavor and fragrance to this simple yet delicious dish.

Ingredients to serve at least three:
Cooked rice - 3 cups
Paneer cubes - 1 cup
Tomato - 2
Chopped onion - 1 cup
Frozen green peas - 1/2 cup
Kasoori methi - one heaped Tbsp
Cashews - 1 Tbsp
Clove, Bay leaf, whole cardamom, one inch cinnamon stick - one each
Cumin powder, Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp each
Pepper powder, Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp each
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 2 tsp
Oil - 2 -3 Tbsp

The Cooking part:
Heat the oil in a skillet and add paneer cubes to it. Fry them till they get just brown specs and remove them with a slotted spoon and keep them aside.
Add cashews, cumin seeds. clove, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf in this order to the same oil. When cashews turn golden brown, add chopped onion and saute them till they turn translucent. It would take around 5 minutes.
Mean while, cook the frozen peas with little water in a MW for a minute. Chop the tomatoes into big chunks and puree them in a blender.
Add the puree to the sauteed onions and fry on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Then add kasoori methi, cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder, pepper powder, turmeric powder and salt to the onion and tomato mixture. Cook for few more minutes till all the moisture has evaporated from the tomatoes and the oil appears on the sides. (You can cook on high to speed up the process but be around and keep stirring the mixture so that tomato mixture doesn't stick to the bottom of the skillet). Turn off the stove.
Now add the cooked peas, fried panner and rice to the above mixture and stir well so that rice is properly coated with the spices.
Serve this yummy pulao with a cup of yogurt and some chips.

You can either use basmati rice or the sona masuri variety. 3/4 cup of sona masuri rice will give you 3 cups of cooked rice. Cook rice while the vegetables are frying or use any left over rice. You can add garlic to the above recipe.

This one goes to Mallugirl's Summer Express Cooking event and to Jihva - Rice, hosted by Sharmi of Neivedyam.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Dondakaya Vepudu & A Tornado Warning

Before writing about the recipe, let me tell you about something that happened today.
After a lazy, late breakfast today, I prepared lunch and was eagerly waiting for the sun to come out of the cloud wraps. For the past two days, it was hot and humid as it could be and today the sun was behind the clouds when I wanted to take my blog pictures. Soon it started to rain and it was almost past two. I quit and took some pictures in that poor light.
The rain stopped in few minutes, every thing was clear and suddenly,a noisy siren began to blow. We knew what it meant. The first time we heard it was last year. It scared the hell out of us and outside it was raining cats and dogs that day. It was a Tornado Warning.
This year though it was not that frightening, a funnel was spotted some where closer to our area. We had to take a shelter as we don't have a basement. We dressed up hurriedly and drove over towards our big, public library. A siren was blowing in that area too and so the staff gathered all the public in the basement, which was atleast 2 floors down. The warning lasted for 30 minutes.
After these two experiences of just alarms, I could not imagine how and what people go through, who have to face the deadly twisters year after year.

Now, time for today's recipe Dondakaya vepudu or Tindora fry.

Wash the dondakaya / tindoras well and chop the ends of each tindora. Vertically slit into four pieces and then chop them crosswise so that you end up with finely chopped tindora.
Chop a big onion finely.

2 cups of chopped tindora
Finely chopped onion
Oil - 1.5 to 2 Tbsp
Chili powder - 1/2 - 3/4 tsp
Salt - accordingly
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

Heat oil in a wok and add musatrd seeds. When they start to pop, add turmeric powder and onions. Saute onions on medium flame till they turn translucent and then add chopped tindora. Stir it well and cover the wok with a lid. Turn the flame to low and cook the tindora till done. Then fry the tindora for a couple of minutes more on high. Add salt and chili powder to it and mix it well. Let it sit for a couple of minutes more, mix it once again and turn off the stove.
Serve hot with rice and ghee.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Sprouting In The Dark

Sprouting is a way of increasing the nutrient value and digestability of beans, seeds and nuts. Sprouts are the most nutrient dense food on earth. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, proteins and phytochemicals, as these are necessary for a germinating plant to grow. They are also rich in nutrients essential for human health. On wikipedia, there is a long list of seeds, beans and nuts, which can be sprouted. Kidney bean sprouts however are toxic and so, should be avoided.(source: wiki)

I have been following the method of sprouting in the dark, from the past few years and enjoy the crunchy sprouts all through the year. I usually sprout green gram (mung beans), garbanzo beans (chana), red chori beans, which are my favorites.

For 1/4 cup of green gram soaked, you will have about a cup of sprouts. Here is (an example of) how I do the sprouting.

  • Sunday night: Before you go to sleep, soak the mung beans in plenty of water in a bowl.
  • Monday morning: Throw away the water used to soak the beans. Sprouting would have already started. Wash the beans with fresh water twice or thrice without rubbing the beans much. Drain all the water and cover the bowl and keep it in a dark, warm place such as an oven (turned off).

Soaked green gram by morning. Sprouting already started.

  • Monday night: Take out the bowl from the oven and add water to the beans and drain it. Again cover the bowl and put it back in the dark place.
  • Tuesday morning: Your sprouts would be ready.

Sprouted green gram

Note: For red chori beans, follow the above process but it will take a few hours more. So on tuesday morning, add water, drain and again put them back in the oven (or a dark place). You will have your sprouts ready by evening. Also the broiler burner we have may be playing an active part in the sprouting process.

Refrigerate the sprouts and use as required.

Sprouted red chori beans

Recipes with sprouts will be posted soon.

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Zimikand Halwa & Zucchini - Tomato Pappu

As all good things in life, Nupur's A-Z Indian vegetable series is also coming to an end. I wish there had been more letters in the English alphabet. I have been a vegetarian all my life and so, this event became my 'favorite' one. Sending recipes every week, was like a self made commitment, though initially planned things were never executed. Planned 'V' entry vangibhath became vergodalas dal, 'S' for saagu became spinach rice and in a similar fashion, majority of the planned things became different and something else depending upon my time and availability of ingredients. Still I managed to get acquainted with some 'new' veggies in the process.
For the final letter 'Z' of the series, 'Zimikand Halwa' & 'Zucchini - Tomato Pappu' are my entries.

Thank you Nupur for such a wonderful event, which I really enjoyed. You ARE a gracious hostess. :)

Zimikand Halwa

Zucchini - Tomato Pappu


Zimikand Halwa

I had a feeling that I could not pull off a dry zunka and it was planned that zucchini would come into picture only if I could not find any other 'Z' alternatives. When I was going through the hindi words for veggies, I came across 'Zimikand'. After some web surfing, I concluded that it has to be suran or ratalu, the purple yams.

I must admit, I have never encountered these 'Indian Yams' in and around the region, I grew up. I therefore went yesterday and bought two bags of frozen ratalu. The picture on the bag had beautiful purple discs of chopped ratalu. When I opened them, it was a sheer disappointment. Half of them were brown rotten things. I had to throw more than half of them into the garbage. The remaining purple things were enough to cheer me up. I would like to see some real fresh stuff in the future and enjoy it in it's true form.

Somehow, I did not wish to see the purple hue lost to some spices and other veggies added in the dish. Unlike some colorful root vegetables, these yams were on the bland side. Still, their rich color tempted me to try a sweet dish. I thawed them for a while, grated them, added milk and sugar, cooked it and ended up with a yummy dessert. I have a hunch that probably the halwa would be rich purple in color, if I had access to the fresh stuff.
Coming to this lilac colored dessert, it was just heavenly. Unlike carrots & lauki, this vegetable almost becomes a mush when cooked and will have a melt in your mouth kind of creaminess to it. If you have ratalu available at a grocery store near you, I would recommend you to try this dish. I was so glad that I did not try to cook it into one more sabji. I am so excited with this new found veggie and am looking forward to try some more desserts with it.

Grated zimikand - 1 cup
Milk - less than 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 2 Tbsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp

Cooking part:
Add grated zimikand, milk, sugar and ghee to a pan and cook on low flame. The mixture tends to get a little sticky at the initial stages but keep stirring in between. When the mixture turns to almost halwa consistency, add cardamom powder and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes more and turn off the stove. Refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve.


Zucchini - Tomato Pappu (Dal)

I could not resist the fresh zucchinis at the grocery store and brought some. I made delicious, dal adding some tomatoes along with it today.

Toor dal - 1 Cup
Zucchini - Peeled, ends cut and chopped into medium sized cubes - 1 Cup
Small sized tomatoes - 2
2 Serrano peppers (or green chillies), vertically slit into 4 pieces
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind extract - 1/4 cup
Chilli powder - 2 to 2 & 1/2 tsp
Salt -2 & 1/2 tsp

For tadka / seasoning, you need:
Oil - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
A few pinches of asafoetida
Few curry leaves

Cooking pappu:
Cook toordal with tomatoes (whole), green chillies, turmeric powder adding 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker until you hear one or two whistles.
Mean while, cook the zucchini with a little amount of water in a MW. Let it be cooked till tender, (not turning them into a mush).
When the valve pressure is gone, remove the cooker's lid. Mash the tomatoes well along with the dal and add cooked zucchini, tamarind extract, chilli powder, salt to the dal mixture.
Turn on the stove and let the dal simmer on low - medium flame for about five minutes.
Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves in that order. When mustard seeds start to pop, turn off the stove and add the mixture to the cooked dal and mix well.
Serve hot with rice and ghee or rotis.


Previously On A - Z series

D - Daikon Chutney
E - Eggplants, Stuffed
F - French beans & Indian Beans In a Sabji
G - Gajar Ka Kheer
H - Hagalakayi (Bitter gourd) Gojju
I - Idli Upma
I - Imli Ke Paththon Ka Dal
J - Jalapenos – Mirchi Ka Salan
K - Kosumbari
L - Lauki Ka Halwa
M - Mirapakaya – Aloo Koora
N - Nuggekayi Palya
O - Okra dal
P - Patoli
Q - Quick Mango chutney
R - Rajma - Aloo
S - Spinach Rice
T - Tomato Gojju
U - Urlagadda – Menthaku Koora
V - Vergodalas Dal
W - Whole, White Potatoes In Spinach Gravy
X - Xacuti Masala Rice
X - Xacuti, Vegetarian
Y - Yogurt With Snakegourd

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Thank You and Pineapple Sheera

Thank you, dear visitor

Veggie Platter has hit the '100' mark. Yes, I have completed 101 posts (including this), since I started blogging from last December. I would have reached this tiny milestone months ago, if I had maintained the consistency and vigor of my initial blogging days. Nevertheless, here I am after seven months of blogging.

I would love to thank you all for visiting my blog and I really appreciate you and your valuable time spent here. Hope you continue to visit and enjoy my blog.
Ending on a sweet note, here is a recipe for pineapple sheera.

What you need:
Pineapple fruit chopped into small cubes- 1/2 cup
Semolina / Rava - 1/2 cup

Sugar - 1 cup
Ghee - 1 Tbsp
Raisins & Cashews - 1 tbsp
Cardamom Powder - 1/4 Tsp

Pineapple essence - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Yellow food color - a little (optional)

Cooking part:
Cook pineapple in 3/4 cup of water in a MW.
Mean while, dry fry the semolina on low flame with constant stirring, till it starts to turn light brown. Keep it aside.
Boil a cup of water in a saucepan or a small wok. Add sugar, cardamom powder, food color and the essence to it and stir once or twice till the sugar completely melts. Then turn down the stove to low and add the cooked pineapple and the semolina. Stir the mixture well so that there are no lumps and there is a homogeneous mixture. Cook till the semolina is done.

Heat ghee in a small pan and add cashews and raisins. Toast them till cashews turn golden brown and raisins turn plump. This step takes less than a minute.
Add this mixture to the cooked semolina - pineapple sheera and mix well.
Serve warm.

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