Sunday, February 7, 2016

Badam Halwa / Almond Halwa – Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging


It has been 5 years since I started blogging, and it has been a wonderful experience. Blogging, which started as a hobby is now a passion. Though, I have taken quite a few breaks, few long ones too, but I could never stay completely away from the blog. I owe this to my lovely readers, friends and my family. Big thanks to one and all for all your love and support.

I wanted to do a special post to mark this milestone, in my blogging journey. What better way to celebrate than with a sweet. Badam Halwa is one of my favorite sweets. This sweet was one among my grandfather’s signature recipes. Almost every year for Diwali, he used to prepare a fairly large quantity of this halwa and me and my brother used to gorge it. This halwa is a big hit with my kids. Both my girls love it.

This halwa is mildly sweet, with a rich flavor of saffron and ghee. Ghee is a very important part of this recipe and one should not compromise on it. Do try it and let me know how it turned out.



What you’ll need
  1. Almonds/Badam – ½ cup, heaped
  2. Sugar – ½ cup, heaped
  3. Ghee – 1/3 cup
  4. Saffron – a fat pinch
  5. Milk – ½ cup enough to grind the badam and to soak the saffron
  6. Yellow food color – just a little (optional)

Method
  1. Soak the badam in hot water for 2 hours. Peel the almonds.
  2. Grind the almonds with just enough milk into a smooth paste. You can keep it slightly coarse if you like.
  3. Soak the saffron in 2 tbsp of warm milk. Keep aside.
  4. Heat a heavy bottomed kadai, or a non stick kadai, add the sugar and ¼ cup of water, let the sugar dissolve completely.
  5. Now add the ground badam paste and start stirring. Add the soaked saffron milk too. Add the food color also if using.
  6. Keep stirring on medium heat, start adding the ghee at regular intervals, whenever you feel the mixture is sticking to the bottom add the ghee.
  7. At one stage, the mixture will start leaving the sides and you will start seeing white frothy bubbles. This is the right stage to stop. Switch off the heat and keep stirring for some more time.
  8. One it cools slightly take a small portion and try to roll it, if you can make a ball then the consistency is right.
  9. Transfer to a vessel, cool and store.



Note:
  1. When the halwa is hot, it will be a little runny and sticky, once it cools, it will become thicker and non sticky.
  2. If on cooling, it doesn’t thicken enough and is still sticky then the amount of ghee added is not enough and also it requires a little more stirring. So stir for some more time.
  3. Adding food color is completely optional.
  4. To get a good texture and shiny halwa, amount of ghee is very important.



Saturday, January 30, 2016

Vazhakkai Karamani Pulingari



Pulingari is tamarind based gravy that is served along steamed rice and thoran/poriyal. I have already posted 2 variations of this pulingari which I prepare regularly at home – the Podi Podicha Pulingari and the Navarathri Pulingari. This Pulingari is different in the ground paste and also it uses Karamani.

I came across this recipe in one of the FB groups, posted by Lalitha Iyer. This tasted really good with rice. Even the kids enjoyed it. It was a welcome change from the regular kootans that I prepare. Do try it and let me know how you liked it.



Serves – 3 to 4
What you’ll need
  1. Vazhakkai – 2 cup, diced into small cubes
  2. Karamani/Thatta Payaru/Cowpeas – ½ cup
  3. Tamarind – a small lemon sized ball
  4. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  5. Jaggery – 1 tsp (optional)
  6. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Curry Leaves – 5 to 6

To Grind
  1. Coconut – ½ cup, tightly packed
  2. Dried Red Chilly – 2 or 3 (adjust according to taste)
  3. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp

To Temper
  1. Coconut Oil – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Urad Dal – ½ tsp
  4. Curry Leaves – 10 to 15 leaves

Method
  1. Soak the Karamani for about 10 mins in water and then pressure cook the karamani with just enough water.
  2. Also pressure cook or steam the vazhakkai pieces with little turmeric powder and salt. Don’t add too much water to this.
  3. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of water, squeeze and extract the pulp and discard the fibers. Add another cup of water to this and make it around 2 cups.
  4. Transfer the tamarind extract into a vessel, add turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt and jaggery, if using and few curry leaves. Once it starts boiling add the vazhakkai pieces and karamani and let it boil for 6 to 8 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind disappears.
  5. In the meantime, grind the coconut along with the red chilly and cumin seeds, into a smooth paste using about ½ cup of water.
  6. Add this ground paste to the boiling tamarind and vegetable mixture, add more water if required to adjust the consistency.  Should be slightly thicker than the Sambar. Simmer for couple of minutes.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Heat a small frying pan with oil, add mustard seeds, once they splutter add urad dal and fry till they turn golden brown, add the curry leaves and pour the tempering over the pulingari.

Delicious pulingari is ready.
Serve alongwith steamed white rice and Keerai masiyal or with any thoran/poriyal.



Note:
  1. You can cook the vazhakkai pieces in the tamarind water. I pressure cooked it.
  2. Don't use too much water to pressure cook the Karamani and vazhakkai pieces. If there is too much water, then reserve the water and add to the pulingari if required at the end, else the pulingari will become very watery.
  3. The jaggery is optional, I used it as it balances out the tang from the tamarind.
  4. Using coconut oil for tempering gives a good flavor, but you can use any regular vegetable oil too.



Monday, January 25, 2016

Sambar Sadam


I was never a fan of Sambar Sadam and rarely prepared it at home. But after tasting the Sambar Sadam which was given as prasadam in the Guruvayoorappan temple in Nanganallur, I started liking it. The prasadam we got in the temple was really delicious, spicy, with a lovely flavor of nalla ennai (gingely oil). I asked my MIL to get me the recipe for the sadam from the person who prepared it in the temple. He also shared it happily. And from then, sambar sadam has been a regular in my kitchen. Tastes best when served along with urulaikizhangu Kara Curry and some chips or vadams. Do try it and let me know how it turned out.

For regular updates from the blog, please follow me on Facebook - Palakkad Chamayal. Do share the pictures of recipes tried from the blog, would be glad to share them on my page.



What you’ll need
  1. Rice – 1 cup
  2. Tuar Dal – 1/3 cup
  3. Tamarind – a small lemon sized ball
  4. Jaggery – 2 tsp (optional)
  5. Shallots/Chinna Vengayam – ¾ cup, peeled
  6. Tomato – 1, finely chopped
  7. Carrot – 1 Medium, diced
  8. Potato – 1 Medium, diced
  9. Drumstick – 2, cut into finger sized pieces
  10. Green Peas – ¼ cup
  11. Green chilly – 1 or 2, slit

To roast and grind
  1. Channa Dal – 1 tbsp
  2. Coriander Seeds – 1.5 tbsp
  3. Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ tsp
  4. Dried Red Chilly – 2 to 3 (increase or decrease according to taste)
  5. Scraped fresh Coconut – 2 tbsp (optional)
  6. Asafoetida – a small piece
  7. Oil – 1 tsp

To temper
  1. Oil – 2 tbsp
  2. Ghee – 1 tbsp
  3. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  4. Curry Leaves - few

Method
  1. Pressure cook the rice and dal separately for 3 whistles. Mash the rice and dal lightly and keep aside.
  2. Soak the tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes. Squeeze and extract the pulp and discard the waste. The tamarind extract should be around 2.5 cups. Add water to make this quantity.
  3. Heat a Kadai with a tsp of oil, add the asafoetida, once it puffs up, add the channa dal and on medium flame, once it starts changing color, add the coriander seeds and fenugreek seeds and fry finally add the red chillies and fry till the dal has turned nice golden brown and a good aroma wafts through. Add the scraped coconut and fry for a minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Grind to a powder and keep aside. Take care not to burn the spices while frying, else the taste will change.
  4. Heat a big Kadai, with 2 tbsp oil and half of the ghee for tempering. Add the mustard seeds, once they splutter add the curry leaves and slit green chillies.
  5. Add the onions and fry till they turn translucent, then add the chopped tomatoes and sauté till they turn mushy.
  6. Add in all the vegetables, turmeric powder and sauté for a minute, cover and cook until the vegetables are partially cooked.
  7. Now add the tamarind extract, salt and jaggery. Let this boil until the vegetables are completely cooked but not mushy.
  8. Add the ground spice mixture and mix well.
  9. Now add the cooked rice and dal, check for salt and add if required. Mix well and remove from heat. Drizzle with ghee at the end and mix well.
  10. Let it be of slightly lose consistency, as the rice will thicken on cooling.

Delicious sambar sadam is ready. Serve with spicy potato curry and some fried crisps.



Note:
  1. You may use your choice of vegetables, like, beans, chow chow, brinjal etc. Highly recommend using drumstick and avarakkai, though I didn’t use avarakkai this time.
  2. Also tempering in Nalla ennai, or gingely oil gives a good flavor to the rice.
  3. Keep the consistency loose, don’t keep it on heat for a long time after adding the rice and dal, just mix well and remove from heat as this has a tendency to thicken.
  4. If you feel the rice has thickened too much add little hot water and adjust the consistency.
  5. If making for poojas skip the onions.







Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Vazhakkai Podi Curry



Vazhakkai can be cooked in many different ways. You could prepare a simple thoran, or use it in combination with yam or use it in kootu or kuzhambu. But this vegetable is not liked much by my kids, so I don’t prepare it often. This week when I went to the market I saw some really fresh vazhakkai and picked up a few of them. I remembered this curry which my mother makes using freshly ground spices. It is slightly on the spicier side but tastes great even when paired with a simple rasam.



What you’ll need
  1. Vazhakkai – 3 Cup, Chopped
  2. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  3. Salt to taste

To roast and grind
  1. Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp
  2. Channa Dal – 1.5 tbsp
  3. Dried Red Chilly – 1 or 2
  4. Whole Black Pepper – ¼ tsp
  5. Cumin – 1 tsp
  6. Asafoetida – a small piece
  7. Oil – 2 tsp

To temper
  1. Coconut Oil – 2 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  4. Curry Leaves - few

Method
  1. Heat a heavy bottomed kadai with 2 tsp oil, add the asafoetida, and fry till it puffs up.
  2. Next add the channa dal, and fry next add the black pepper and coriander seeds and finally the cumin seeds and dried red chilly. Fry everything till the dal changes to golden brown and a nice aroma starts coming.
  3. Transfer to a plate, cool and grind to a coarse powder, set aside.
  4. In the same Kadai, add the oil for tempering, temper with mustard seeds, then add the urad dal and fry till golden, add the curry leaves and the chopped Vazhakkai pieces.
  5. Add turmeric powder and salt to taste. Mix well, sprinkle some water and cook covered on low heat.
  6. Keep stirring once in a while and sprinkle more water as and when required.
  7. Once the vazhakkai is cooked, remove the lid, and fry for a few minutes on medium heat.
  8. Finally add the ground powder and mix well.

Serve warm with white rice and Mor Kuzhambu, or Rasam.



Note:
  1. Adjust the quantity of red chilly and black pepper according to your spice tolerance level
  2. Cut the vazhakkai in any desired shape, I have sliced it into pices of medium thickness. Don’t keep the pieces too thick, it may take a long time to cook. Don’t slice too thin also, as it will turn mushy.
  3. Always, keep the vazhakkai pieces immersed in water to which a spoon of buttermilk is added.



Monday, January 4, 2016

Kayum Chenayum Erissery – Easy Sadya Recipes





Erissery is a very popular and traditional dish. No feast of Sadya is complete without this dish. Erissery is a delicious blend of vegetables simmered in a ground coconut paste with the flavors of black pepper and cumin. And finally tempered in coconut oil and topped with more roasted coconut. The aroma of coconut oil, roasted coconut and curry leaves is intoxicating. I just love the aroma that wafts through my kitchen while this dish gets cooked.
Kayum Chenayum or Plantains and Yam are a popular combination of vegetables used for this erissery. Other vegetables that are commonly used are Yam alone, Jackfruit and Pumpkin in combination with Red Chowri Beans. My favorite definitely is this plantain and yam combination. The Nendrankai is preferred, but if you can’t find that then feel free to make use of the regular raw banana.



What you’ll need
  1. Yam/Chena/Suran – 1.5  cup, peeled and cut into big cubes
  2. Vazhakkai or Nendrankai – 1 Cup, peeled and cut into big cubes
  3. Fresh Scraped Coconut – 1 cup
  4. Black Pepper Powder – ½ tsp
  5. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  6. Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
  7. Salt to taste


For Tempering
  1. Fresh scraped coconut – ½ cup
  2. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  3. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  4. Dried Red Chilly – 1
  5. Curry Leaves – 8 to 10 leaves
  6. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp


Method
  1. Wash the chenai and vazhakkai  pieces well and transfer into a kadai.
  2. Add about 3 cups of water, turmeric powder, pepper powder and salt to taste. Mix well.
  3. Cook partially covered on medium heat till the vegetables are cooked.
  4. In the meanwhile, grind the coconut and cumin into a fine paste adding some water.
  5. Pour this ground paste into the yam pieces once they are cooked. Mix well and bring to boil.
  6. Remove from heat after about 2 to 3 minutes.
  7. Heat another kadai with coconut oil.
  8. Add mustard seeds, once they splutter add urad dal. Add the scraped coconut once the dal starts changing color.
  9. Fry the coconut till it becomes nice and brown. Add curry leaves and pour this tempering over the prepared erissery. Mix well.

Serve as accompaniment along with plain steamed rice.
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