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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ellu Sadam / Sesame Seeds Rice

Being a south Indian, having a variety of easy and quick rice recipes in my repertoire always comes handy during time constraints. Though I try to include veggies and/or dal in rice dishes, there are times when I neither have patience nor the time to do the prep work. This simple, quick and delicious ellu sadam is one of the answers during that kind of scenarios. I have seen this recipe plenty of times in several blogs featuring Tamil food. I read some where that this dish is offered as neivedyam. 
Recently I tried only a small quantity to see how it is received by my family and also as I was skeptical since sesame seeds is the only key ingredient of the recipe. It was delicious and surprisingly, my husband liked it the most. To say the least, I was regretting that I made it in a small quantity. And so it was prepared again a couple of days later. :)

Ingredients: (2 servings)
1/2 cup rice or 1 cup cooked rice
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp urad dal / skinned black gram
6 dried red chillies or as needed (I used Byadagi chillies.)
For tadka:
1 Tbsp oil, 2 Tbsp peanuts, 1 tsp urad dal, few curry leaves and a generous pinch of asafoetida

* Cook rice adding double quantity of water in a pressure cooker / rice cooker.
* Add urad dal to a pan and roast on low flame. When it starts to change a shade darker, add sesame seeds and red chillies. Toast until urad dal turns slightly brown and sesame seeds start to crackle and turns a few shades darker. Let cool and grind them fine.
* Heat oil in a saute pan or a small kadai. Add peanuts and urad dal. When urad dal starts to turn reddish, add curry leaves and asafoetida. Stir the tadka mixture once and add the ground sesame powder, salt and cooked rice. Mix well and just heat through until rice is warm.

* Use preferably south Indian style rice like sona masuri.
* Black and/or white sesame seeds can be used. I used white sesame seeds. 

Check here to find out what other marathoners are cooking during blogging marathon #29.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sambhar Sadam


Sambhar sadam aka sambhar rice is an easy breezy one pot meal from Tamilnadu region and as the name suggests rice and mixed vegetable sambhar are prepared together here. However in the taste department, I put sambhar sadam a couple of levels higher than the the mundane sambhar and rice combo. It tastes delicious and can be prepared with the common ingredients found in any Indian kitchen. One can use any combination of vegetables that usually work in a sambhar dish.
I didn't know this particular dish was called sambahr sadam until a few years ago. My sister-in-law cooks this dish with masoor dal exactly the same way and calls it khichdi. Masoordal and rice cook almost at the same time and quickly. And so that version doesn't even need a pressure cooker. 
And also wanted to add that a sambhar sadam is not the bisibelebhath of Karnataka. Technically huli (as in bisibelehulianna) and sambhar are supposedly one and the same. However a sambhar sadam and bisibelebhath are not. The spice powders that go into these dishes makes them entirely different dishes. An authentic bisibelebhath dish doesn't have onions and also doesn't taste the same as sambhar sadam.  

1.5 cups rice
3/4 cup toordal
1/8 tsp turmeric powder 
2 cups chopped mixed vegetables (I used beans, carrot, potato and green peas)
1 Onion, chopped fine
2 Tbsp sambhar powder
Salt to taste 
Tamarind puree to taste (I left out the quantity on purpose since the levels of sourness preferred varies. Soak a lemon sized tamarind and extract the puree.)
Minced cilantro to garnish

Ingredients for tadka:
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
A pinch of asafoetida / hing
A sprig of curry leaves

1. Wash rice and dal separately, drain and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan or a small pressure cooker directly and add the tadka ingredients. When mustard seeds start to pop, add onion and fry until translucent. 
* At this point if using a pressure cooker, you can add vegetables, rice, dal, turmeric powder and about 5 cups of water, put the weight on and cook for upto 3 whistles. 
The dal I get locally doesn't cook at the same time as rice does and so I cook rice and dal separately in a pressure cooker.
* If you don't own a pressure cooker, you can add dal and turmeric powder to the pan adding sufficient water.When it is half cooked, add rice and vegetables and continue to cook until done, adding water intermittently as needed.

*  Whatever method you use, basically you need the rice cooked, dal cooked until mushy and the vegetables cooked but not mushy.
3. Add the cooked rice, dal, vegetables, salt, sambhar powder and tamarind paste to the onion mixture. Add water if needed and taste the mixture. adjust the seasonings if needed. Bring the mixture to a boil and turn off the stove. 
4. Garnish with cilantro and serve with papad / chips.

Check here to find out what other marathoners are cooking during blogging marathon #29.


Monday, June 10, 2013

Arisi Paruppu Sadam


For the second week of this month's blogging marathon, I went with the theme of "One State - One Course". I was supposed to pick one Indian state and cook from that region choosing a category from the assigned courses. Out of the norm, I went ahead and prepared 3 snack dishes in advance. However at the last moment I decided to prepare another set of rice dishes from Tamilnadu. My husband who is a lover of rice dishes happened to be working from home last week. Mostly he would be traveling for his work and by the time he reaches home, he would be starving for home-cooked meals, especially rice dishes and so, I tried them for a change to treat him. We enjoyed each one of them and sure are they are going to be a part of my kitchen in the future too.
The first one in the series is going to be this flavorful, simple and quick arisi - paruppu sadam aka dal bhath. This is an authentic Kongu nadu recipe, Kongu nadu being the Western parts of Tamilnadu. This recipe comes handy when you run out of vegetables or in a mood for a quick and light meal. I saw both mushy and dry kind virtual versions and decided to go with this version where grains stand apart.

Ingredients: (3 servings)
1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup toor dal
1.5 cups water
Salt to taste

For tadka:
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
3 - 4 red chillies
1 small onion, chopped or shallots as needed
3 - 4 garlic cloves
1 small tomato, chopped

* Soak toor dal and rice together for 10 - 15 minutes. Drain and keep it aside. The toor dal I get doesn't cook faster and so, I soaked it overnight.
* Heat oil in a pressure cooker directly and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chillies and curry leaves. When mustard seeds start to pop, add onion and garlic cloves. Saute until onion turns translucent and then add tomatoes. Fry until the tomato pieces turn mushy.
* Then add rice and dal and saute for a minute. This step is optional but I prefer to do it when I am not cooking mushy one pot meals.
* Add 1&1/2 cups of water and salt to the cooker. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more water if you prefer it mushy. Cover the lid, put the weight on and cook for 3-4 whistles.
* Serve warm with a drizzling of ghee.

Check here to find out what other marathoners are cooking during blogging marathon #29.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Coconut Kheer / Thengai Payasam

I tried a few recipes after going thru PJ's blog during last marathon and this yummy kheer was one among them. I prepare and have eaten coconut milk based kheers and kheers containing coconut but this sounded interesting as coconut plays the key role here and besides I am a sucker for coconut. This payasam is prepared using coconut, rice and jaggery and is a traditional fare among Tamilian households. It is prepared as a neivedyam (religious offering) on festive occasions. As all traditional kheers, this one was also delicious besides being simple to prepare. I was expecting a yellow kheer but instead surprisingly ended up with a white colored one. I guess it was because of the pale colored jaggery I used. I have no complaints and passing it as my "White" colored entry to blogging marathon.

Ingredients: (2 servings)
1 & 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup shredded fresh / frozen coconut
1/4 cup powdered jaggery
1 Tbsp rice
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tsp ghee
1 Tbsp each - cashews and raisins

* Soak rice in hot water for about 10 - 15 minutes and drain.
* Soak jaggery in 3 - 4 Tbsp of water until melted and strain to remove any impurities present.
* Meanwhile, heat milk in a sauce pan, preferably a non stick one.
* Grind coconut, soaked rice and cardamom to a fine paste adding some milk if needed.
* Gently stir the melted jaggery and the ground paste to the boiling milk.
* Simmer for about 10 minutes and turn off the stove.
* Heat ghee in a small pan and add cashews and raisins. Toast cashews until golden brown and the raisins turn plump. Add them to the kheer and stir.
* Enjoy kheer warm or serve chilled.

Check here to find out what other marathoners are cooking during blogging marathon #29.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Carrot - Urad Dal Dry Curry


I had prepared more urad dal stuffing while preparing ulundu kozhukattai a couple of weeks ago. Some of the leftover stuffing went to the ammini kozhukattai I posted last week and some went into this curry. The stuffing was somewhat prepared on the lines of patoli / paruppu usli and so I thought of using it in a vegetable preparation. The addition of urad dal stuffing makes the carrot curry extra delicious adding a protein punch. Use 1 or 2 more green chillies than the quantity mentioned in the urad dal stuffing if you are planning not to add any extra chillies or chili powder in this recipe. I absolutely loved this curry and this is going to be my "Orange" colored entry for BM #29.

3 carrots / 1.5 cup peeled and cubed carrots
Salt to taste
1/4 cup spicy urad dal stuffing 
Red chillies / chili powder (only if the urad dal mixture is not spicy enough.)
For seasoning: 
2 tsp oil
1 tsp chana dal / Bengal gram
1 tsp urad dal / skinned black gram
1 tsp mustard seeds 
1 tsp cumin seeds
A sprig of curry leaves (optional)

* Heat oil and add the seasoning / tadka ingredients. When the dals turn reddish, add carrot and salt. Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low flame until the carrot cubes are tender. 
Or for a quicker way, microwave the carrots in a microwave safe bowl adding little water and add it to the seasoning.
* Next add the spicy urad dal mix and chili powder if using. Saute for 4 -5 minutes and then turn off the stove.
* Serve warm with rotis / rice. 

Check here to find out what other marathoners are cooking during blogging marathon #29.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Mango Limeade


The weather in our neck of woods this year has been weird. Can't believe that I had made this limeade to beat the heat a couple of weeks ago when we had to endure 80 deg F and above temperatures. Now we are back to 50's and had to turn on our heaters today. Anyway though this drink it not for days like today, this fruity limeade is a perfect foil for those hot, sultry days. A quick one to put together if you don't want to toil around the kitchen preparing the sugar solution. I used the canned sweetened mango puree and if fresh fruit is being used, just run the mango flesh along with the other ingredients in a blender.

Ingredients for 2 servings:
1/2 cup sweetened mango puree
Juice from 2 limes (about 2 Tbsp lime juice)
Sugar to taste
1.5 - 2 cups of water or adjust as needed
Crushed ice as needed

* Add everything expect ice in a pitcher and stir well. Refrigerate until serving.
* Add ice just before serving to avoid the limeade getting diluted.

This refreshing thirst quencher goes to Blogging Marathon #29, under the theme "Cooking with Colors".