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Friday, November 30, 2007

A Dessert, A Spread And A Side Dish

I have not been blogging lately and so, here are three entries in a single post to cover those events that I wanted to participate.

Dates and Almond Payasam

The wonderful combination of delectable dates and nutritious almonds yields this scrumptious payasam. I tweaked my mom's original recipe to come up with this rich and delicious dessert which can be prepared in around ten minutes.

Pitted dates / Dry dates - 1/4 cup
Almonds - 1/4 cup
Dry coconut grated - 1/4 cup
Candy sugar / Kalakanda/ Kallusakkare- 1 Tbsp
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Milk (already boiled and cooled) - 1/2 cup

It is really a simple preparation. Finely grind dates, almonds, coconut and candy sugar using water (or milk). Put it on the stove and let it reach the boiling stage. When it is boiling, add milk and sugar. Let it simmer till the sugar melts and turn off the stove.
This payasam can be served warm or cold.
This goes to AFAM - Dates hosted by Chandrika of AkshayaPatra.

Peanut Butter

If some one would have asked about PB&J back in India, I probably would have thought, they are talking about some new kind of pajamas. Even if they elaborated, I would have been wondering what peanut butter and jelly are. How would I have known our good, old ground nuts are peanuts in USA and they made butter out of it? I also admit unabashedly that in my sheer ignorance, I would have put jelly under the category of gels. Back in India, I strongly believed that bread is for people who got sick and Kissan brand fruit jam is a great dessert on it's own.
When I first came to know about PB&J sandwiches, I bought a bottle of peanut butter for my son. As soon as he tasted it, his expression changed and he told me not to buy it again. It happened six years ago and to this day, his love towards PB remains the same. Ditto with my daughter. I resigned thinking that like their mom, they would like to eat peanut brittles and spicy peanuts instead of peanut butter.
Recently, when my daughter started taking sandwiches to school, I knew I had to some how incorporate protein in to it and PB seemed to be one of the solutions. I therefore experimented with peanut butter and tried to infuse familiar flavors to get their approval. The experiment is a success, I proudly admit.
The recipe is quite simple. For a regular version, take a cup of peanuts and dry roast them as you do for peanut chutney. Let them cool and remove the skins. Add peanuts and about a Tbsp of oil to a food processor and grind it into a smooth paste. If you want it to be chunkier, set aside 1/4 cup of peanuts at the beginning and add after the rest is ground smooth. Process for a few seconds. If you like, You can also add a little bit of sugar or salt to the peanuts while grinding. Store it in air tight container in the refrigerator.
For my version, I added half a cup of jaggery and one tsp of cardamom powder as well to the peanuts and oil. For people who have tasted peanut and jaggery brittles, I don't have to elaborate about it's taste.
Making nut butters is easy, quick and fun. For vegans who don't prefer to consume butter, nut butters are a great alternative. Some of the other nuts that could be used to make butters are almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, hazel nuts. Also we can go ahead and experiment according to our taste preferences. To have new flavors, play along with the ingredients you have. Add cinnamon to have cinnamon butter, cayenne/ ginger to have a spicy one and so on.
One of the reasons to try this butter was also 'Vegan Ventures' hosted by Suganya of tasty Palettes and hence it goes to that event.

Cabbage Saagu

Saagu, a vegetable preparation from Karnataka is usually served with pooris and also with set dose and rava idlis at restaurants. The common practice is to cook a variety of vegetables and then flavoring with the prepared masala. One of my SILs showed me that there are some vegetables which can be used alone to prepare this saagu. Cabbage is one of them. I love preparing this as I can skip onions and don't miss them. Some times I add tomatoes and green peas as today. There are occasions when I go with cabbage alone and the saagu still tastes fabulous. For the event, I tried the microwave version today and the recipe is below.

Cabbage, finely chopped - 4 cups
One big tomato, chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
For grinding:
Dalia / Pappulu - 1/4 cup
Fresh, grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Poppy seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 2 small pieces
Mogga / Moggu - 2
Green chillies - 4 /5
For tadka:
Two tsp of oil
One tsp mustard seeds
Few curry leaves

Microwave method:
To a microwave safe bowl, add chopped cabbage, tomato, turmeric powder with about 1.5 cups of water and cook on high in the microwave till it is done. Cooking times vary depending upon the microwave used.
Grind all the ingredients mentioned above (in the grinding list) to a smooth paste with a little water. Add this paste and enough salt to the cooked veggies in the bowl and again put back it again in the microwave and cook for about five minutes.
Heat oil in a small pan on the stove top and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When mustard seeds start to pop, turn off the stove and add this to the cooked veggies and stir well.
(I usually don't do the tadka in the MW, even though it can be done in it).

Stove top method:
I usually use a cooker to prepare this. Heat oil in a cooker and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When mustard seeds start to splutter add cabbage, tomato, turmeric and enough water to cook the vegetables. Don't add water more than needed. Close the cooker lid and cook it till two to three whistles. When the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid.
Grind all the ingredients mentioned above (in the grinding list) to a smooth paste with a little water. Add this paste and enough salt to the cooked veggies and let it simmer for about five minutes. Turn off the stove.
Serve this with rotis or pooris.
This goes to MEC- Side Dish hosted by Srivalli of 'Cooking 4 all seasons'.

Post a Comment


Srivalli said...

Suma, was wondering what happened to you...so nice that you could participate for this month's theme. All your dishes are looking so yummy..eps the dates payasam. I like your cabbage saagu too. Thanks for the entry!

sunita said...

Lovely recipes...especially the pudding :-)

KayKat said...

That payasam looks *so* good! Anything with dates makes me super happy :)

KALVA said...

you rock girl!! 3 recipes in one post!! cant beat that!

TBC said...

You made your own PB!
I like peanut butter. My mom used to make it for us all the time:-)

Nupur said...

Cardamom-jaggery peanut butter! What a delicious idea, Suma!

Rajitha said...

suma...all the 3 rock!..but the color of the payasam is simply beautiful...

Suganya said...

I have always made PB with sugar. Jaggery should give that rich colour and I cannot even start to imagine how good cardamom should have tasted. Suma, Thank you very much for this entry :)

Namratha said...

Wow, look who is back with a bang! Awesome recipes, and don't worry you were not the only one in ignorance of PB&J, it was Greek to me too till I got here, now I hog it all the time :-D

Kribha said...

Dates payasam looks very delicious. But how did you get that beautiful pink color. I don't see any of your ingredients pink. Really suprised.And that scoop of peanut butter looks so tempting . Saagu looks delicious too. I too posted 3 dishes in one post as I didn't have time to post them seperately.

Suma Gandlur said...

Thank you. Actually the payasam was not pink but light brown in color due to the pitted dates I used.

Pooja said...

wow Suma, you are rocking girl with all these sweet dishes around.... :) . it looks yummy....
havent visited your blog since a long , now i am back on blogging , hope you remeber me still :) .

keep blogging and stay tuned.


Sagari said...

wow home made peanut butter wonderfull all recipes look soo good

Anonymous said...

I tried your cabbage saagu and it turned out great!
I have a question, when you say "Moggu", did you mean the "maratha moggu" or Badi elaichi? Either way, that's what I used and the saagu tasted really good. It was quick and easy too, a wonderful "weekday" recipe and a good way to get my family to eat cabbage. Thanks for the recipe! :)

Pursuit said...

Thanks for giving the recipe. I like your cabbage saagu too.