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Friday, August 27, 2010

Cabbage Majjiga Pulusu & Munagakaya Charu

Majjiga pulusu is a classical example of our ancestors' frugality and also to prove that nothing is wasted in an Indian kitchen. Known by different regional names, majjiga pulusu happens to be a beloved side dish to many and is prepared using a day old perugu (yogurt) or majjiga (buttermilk) that has gone sour. 
This popular dish happens to be my favorite one too. I have three versions of majjiga pulusu preparations, each one coming from my near and dear ones' kitchens. This particular recipe is my mother's and I must say the usage of cabbage in a majjiga pulusu preparation is also not common. Most popular choices are winter melon, cucumber and chayote.

Ingredients for 6 -8 servings:
1 cup chopped cabbage
2 cups homemade yogurt (slightly sour one works best)
Salt and turmeric powder to taste
For grinding:
One handful of rice and a handful of toordal (both soaked in water for at least an hour, for easy grinding)
2 -3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
6-8 chillies (I used Serrano peppers. If using other variety, use as many needed)
1/4 cup grated fresh coconut
A small piece of ginger (optional)
For tadka:
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
Few curry leaves
A pinch of asafoetida

Cook the cabbage adding a few Tbsp of water in a pressure cooker / microwave or on stovetop.
Grind all the ingredients (mentioned under 'for grinding') into a smooth paste adding a little water if needed.
Churn / beat the yogurt to get a uniform consistency as in buttermilk / majjiga.
To this churned yogurt, add the cooked cabbage (along with the water used to cook it), ground paste, turmeric powder and salt. If you feel the ground paste is spicier, add it in small quantities and check the taste. Mix thoroughly and add some water. If you ladle it, you must be able to pour it. It gets thicker when cooked and so add water accordingly.  
Turn on the stove and start cooking it on low - medium flame with constant stirring. When it comes to a rolling boil, turn down the heat and cook for a couple of minutes more.
Heat a small sauté pan and add the tadka ingredients. When mustard seeds start to splutter, turn off the stove. Add this to the cooked majjiga pulusu and stir well.
Serve with warm rice and mudda pappu (plain dal) or rotis.
Usually, majjigapulusu stays good for a couple of days even  unrefrigerated.

Munagakaya Charu:

A delightful variation of the classical charu / rasam recipe is here. Use frozen drumsticks if you have no access to fresh ones.

Ingredients for 4 servings:
1/4 cup cooked toordal (optional)
1 or 2 drumsticks cut into 2 inch pieces or 10 to 12 pieces if using precut frozen variety
1.5 Tbsp rasam powder (homemade or store-bought)
Tamarind to taste (a small lime sized one soaked in water and squeezed to get the puree)
Salt to taste
A pinch of turmeric powder
1 Tbsp of minced cilantro
For tadka: 1 - 2 tsp of ghee / oil, a pinch of asafoetida powder, few curry leaves, 1 tsp each - mustard seeds & cumin seeds

Cook the drumstick pieces in a pressure cooker or on stovetop till done.
Mash the toordal with the back of a ladle.
Add tamarind, salt, rasam powder, turmeric powder, cilantro and about 1 to 1.5 cups of water to the dal and drumsticks. Bring it to a rolling boil.
Heat ghee / oil in a small sauté pan and add the tadka ingredients. Toast them and turn off the stove. Add this tadka to the boiling charu/rasam and turn off the stove.

They are going to be a part of my 'Indian Side dishes other than  Subzi / Dals' event.

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trials & Triumphs ~ Aava Pettina Arartikaaya Koora

(Aava pettina aratikaya koora ~ Plantain - Mustard Curry)
'Aava pettina koora' - The addition of mustard paste to a vegetable preparation is popular in the Andhra region. Thanks to the flavor lend by the mustard seeds, a simple subzi preparation can turn into a special one.
The mustard paste can be a basic one made using mustard seeds, green chilies and salt as in my grandmothers' kitchens or a tasty  combination of several ingredients as in this version. Pedatha's recipe, Indira's description and images were so captivating and interesting that I have been planning to prepare this ever since Indira posted about this in her blog.
I am glad that I tried this delicious aava pettina aratikaaya koora, today. The combination of pungent mustard seeds, sweet coconut, spicy chilies and ginger, fragrant cilantro made this particular plantain curry pleasantly delightful.

Ingredients for 6 - 8 servings:
2 Plantains/ Aratikaya (peeled & cut into cubes - I got about 4 cups)
Salt and turmeric to taste
For popu or tadka:
1  - 2 Tbsp of oil
1 tsp each - urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds
4 red chilies broken into bits 
Few curry leaves 
A pinch of asafetida powder
For mustard seed - coconut paste:
Grind the following ingredients to a smooth paste adding little water if needed.
2 teaspoons mustard seeds and 4 tsp rice (I soaked in warm water for 30 minutes so that they can grind well)
¼ cup of fresh grated coconut
3 big sized Serrano peppers (or as needed)

1 inch piece of ginger
A handful of fresh cilantro leaves

Cook plantain cubes and turmeric powder in water just until tender & drain them.
Heat the oil in a kadai or sauté pan. Add urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to splutter and urad dal starts to turn reddish, add the other tadka ingredients and toast for a few seconds. Add the ground mustard paste and sauté on low - medium flame till the raw smell disappears. Then add the boiled plantain cubes, salt and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle two Tbsp of water and cook covered for about 10 minutes stirring in-between.

This goes to
1. 'Blog Bites - 6' hosted by Nupur 
2. 'Dish name starts with A' hosted by Akila.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Egg Less Blueberry Muffins

The little one at home tries to help out whenever I am baking since she happens to love the process. She exhibits the same enthusiasm while baking and relishing on those goodies. She feels very 'responsible' repeating the recipe instructions, putting together the ingredients and sieving the flour while helping herself with the edible stuff in front of her.
Though I try to stay away from butter / sugar calories, I happen to bake for the kids and especially based on her suggestions & interests. Most of the time, her vote is for chocolate chips and very rarely her preference changes. Today it happened to be berries and so these delectable, eggless blueberry muffins / cupcakes were made.

Ingredients for 12 muffins or a cake that fits 8x8 inch pan:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp sugar (If making cupcakes / cake increase the quantity by 2 Tbsp)
1/2 to 3/4 cup blueberries
6 Tbsp melted butter / ghee
2 bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
2 -3 Tbsp milk if needed

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Place the liners in the muffin cups.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Then mix in the banana, oil, vanilla. If the mixture is dry, add milk as needed to form a batter of dropping consistency. Stir in the blueberries and divide the batter among the muffin cups.
3. Bake for about 35 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes clean.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Drakshi Gojju

Indian cuisine is full of surprises to everyone and anyone, including Indians for that matter. This is not in reference to the so-called Indian food sold at the Indian restaurants worldwide but I am talking about the regional cuisine, the everyday food cooked at homes through out that country. The local food can woo and amaze us with a wide variety of flavorful food choices than a typical restaurant menu.
Gojju from Karnataka state happens to fall under the same category and hence do not appear on any restaurant menu. This spicy - tangy - sweet stew happens to be one of the commonly prepared dishes in that state and particularly, the pineapple gojju happens to be one of the celebrated choices during special occasions at Brahmin households.
I wanted to post at least one gojju recipe for my ongoing event Indian side dishes other than subzi / dals and I chose the less familiar one, drakshi gojju - gojju prepared with grapes. The sweet - sour grapes compliment well with the other ingredients of this dish to produce a lip smacking gojju that goes well with rice/ rotis. 

Ingredients needed for about 6 servings:
Approximately about a cup of grapes (washed and halved)
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp jaggery powder
2 -3 Tbsp tamarind juice or as needed (tamarind soaked in water and squeezed)
A pinch of turmeric powder
For tadka: 2 -3 tsp oil, 1 tsp chanadal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, little asafoetida powder, a red chili broken into bits
 For gojju powder:
1/4 cup grated dry coconut (copra)
2 Tbsp chanadal
1 Tbsp uraddal
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp white sesame seeds
A pinch of methi seeds
8 red chilies (I used 4 hot variety and 4 byadagi chilies)

Preparing Gojju Pudi / Powder:
Toast chanadal and uraddal in a sauté pan on low - medium flame. When they start to turn reddish, add coriander seeds, sesame seeds, methi seeds and chilies to the same pan. Keep sautéing on low flame till they turn a few shades darker. Cool the toasted ingredients. Add coconut to them and grind into a fine powder.
Gojju pudi can be prepared in large batches and can be stored in an airtight container and used whenever needed.

Preparing Gojju:
Heat the oil in a kadai or a pan and add chanadal and mustard seeds. When the dal start to turn reddish, add the red chili, asafoetida powder and turmeric powder. Then add the grapes, gojju powder, tamarind, jaggery, salt and water (I added about 2.5 cups) as needed. Check the flavor and adjust the seasonings, if any needed. Cook till the gojju thickens. By the time, the grapes would soak up all the flavors and gojju would turn delectable.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bread Machine Baking: Barley - Raisin Bread

We grew up with the notion that barley is a diuretic (and it is) and is used only when the need arose. :) Neither any of our family members nor I therefore never ventured into the barley world so far.
When Kiran asked me whether I could contribute to her event, I gathered online info about this grain. This multipurpose, cereal grain dates back to the Stoneage. It has been a source of food for both humans and animals in Europe and Asia from thousands of years besides being used in production of certain alcoholic beverages. The barley berries look like wheat berries and are slightly smaller in size and lighter in color. While berries are used to prepare soups / stews, the flour is used to make breads.
I just had a vague idea about the barley java (soup) that some consume and I bought pearled barley with the intention of preparing something based on it. However, I ended up grinding the berries into nice flour and added it to the raisin bread I regularly bake. Barley flour has a slightly sweet taste, soft texture and has to be used in combination with wheat flour to bake breads because of  low gluten content. This bread tasted almost like my regular raisin bread but was a tad denser. This can be toasted or used in PBJ sandwiches.

Ingredients for 1 lb loaf:
3/4 cup water
1 & 1/3 cups bread flour / all purpose flour
2/3 cup barley flour *
2 Tbsp sugar
2/3 tsp salt
3 Tbsp butter
1.5 tsp rapid rise yeast
1/2 cup raisins
* For raisin bread, barley flour can be eliminated from the recipe and replaced with bread flour / all purpose flour. Then, totally 2 cups of flour is needed to make a 1 lb loaf.

1. Precisely measure the ingredients and add them all except the raisins into the baking pan in the order listed above or as your bread machine manual suggests. Make sure the yeast does not touch any liquid and to sprinkle it on the center of the flour.
Raisins can be added later when the indicator beeps or at the end of the first kneading. If added at the beginning, they would be well blended into the flour mixture.
2. Select the 'quick baking' course (or the equivalent on your machine.).
According to my bread machine manual, the rapid rise yeast need to be replaced with about 1 tsp of active dry yeast in this recipe if 'quick baking' setting is not selected. 
3. Bake according to the manual instructions.

This goes to
1. Kiran's CWF-Whole Grains : Barley.
2. Champa's Bake - off event

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Chayote Raita / Seemavankaya Perugu Pachadi

This simple yet delicious perugu pachadi can be put together under 10 minutes, for a quick side dish or snacking. We usually serve perugu pachadi along with rice and plain dal combo or with rotis.

2 cups homemade yogurt (even fat free will do)
1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped chayote
Salt to taste
For grinding: A handful of cilantro leaves, 3 -4 Serrano peppers, 2 Tbsp of fresh coconut
For tadka: 1 - 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida powder and a few curry leaves

1. Cook chayote cubes adding a few Tbsp of water in microwave for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, grind cilantro, pepper and coconut into a fine paste adding a few Tbsp of yogurt if needed.
Heat oil in a small pan and add tadka ingredients. When mustard seeds start to pop, turn off the stove. Let it cool.
3. Beat the yogurt lightly for a uniform consistency. Add the chayote cubes (sans the cooking water), ground paste, salt and the tadka ingredients and mix well.

This goes to my Indian Side dishes other than dal / subzi event.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

'Healing Foods - Carrots' Event Roundup

The roundup of Healing foods - Carrot event is here. I thank Siri for giving me the opportunity to host this wonderful event and appreciate the participation of fellow foodies who have sent in their 'delicious' entries.
As the title suggests, I chose healthy and colorful carrots as the theme and thanks to blogger friends, this roundup happens to be a blend of classic and novel recipes using colorful, healthy carrots. Hope you would find this roundup useful and interesting as I did.

Breakfasts / Snacks:

Sanyukta's Gajar Ka Paratha

Kalva's Chekka Idly

Niloufer Riyaz's Soccerball Idly

Niloufer Riyaz's Crispy Veggie Sago Vadai

Supriya's Carrot Milkshake

Priyadarshini Gokhale's Carrot Raisin Muffins



Sanyukta's Carrot Halwa

Smita's Gajar Halwa

Priya Yallapantula Mitharwal's Gajar aur Mawa ka Halwa

Umm Mymoonah's Carrot Almond Kulfi

Srivalli's Carrot Halwa

Satyasree's Carrot Malai Kulfi

Nandini's Carrot Cake

Salad / Soup

My Microwave Carrot - Ginger Soup

Spicy Stuff

Priya Mitharwal's Gajar ki Launji

Srividhya Ravikumar's Carrot Pulao

Supriya's Carrot Sabzi

Nivedita's Carrot Rice

For other carrot recipes at veggieplatter, click here.

Please let me know if I have left out any entries or haven't provided correct links.

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