Monday, April 13, 2015

Chakka Pradhaman - Vishu Sadya



I am really happy to be sharing my 400th post with you all. My  blogging journey so far has been a very memorable one. It has been almost 4 years now since I started blogging. It wouldn't have been possible without all you wonderful readers, friends and family. So a big Thank you to one and all. A special thanks to the readers who take the time to leave their valuble feedback here. But for the sweet and encouraging words from you readers, I couldn't have come this far.

Now to today's recipe, Chakka Pradhaman is a very delicious and easy payasam that is usually prepared for Vishu Sadhya as Chakka/Jackfruit are in season during this time. You can prepare the Pradhaman using fresh fruit or prepare it with Chakka Varatti or Jackfruit Preserve. Here, I am sharing the recipe of Chakka Pradhaman using Chakka Varatti.




What you'll need
Serves 3 - 4
  1. Chakka Varatti - 1 cup, tightly packed
  2. Jaggery - 1/4 cup, powdered
  3. Thin Coconut Milk - 1.5 cup* (See Notes)
  4. Thick Coconut Milk - 1/2 cup*
  5. Dry Ginger Powder - 1/2 tsp
  6. Coconut - 2 tbsp, cut into small pieces
  7. Ghee - 1 tbsp
Method
  1. Dissolve the jaggery in 1/2 cup of water and strain for impurities.
  2. Bring this jaggery syrup to a boil. Let it boil for 3 to 4 minutes on medium flame.
  3. Add the chakka varatti to this jaggery syrup and let mix it well, until the varatti dissolves and mixes well with the syrup. 
  4. Now add the thin coconut milk and let everything boil for 6 to 7 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add the thick coconut milk. Mix well. 
  6. Add the dry ginger powder and mix.
  7. Heat a small frying pan with ghee and fry the coconut pieces till they turn brown.
  8. Add this to the pradhaman.
Delicious Chakka Pradhaman is ready.
Serve warm.




Note:
  1. I used readymade canned coconut milk. For the thin coconut milk, I took 1/2 cup of the readymade milk and added 1 cup of water to it, that made 1.5 cup of thin coconut milk.
  2. If you are using refrigerated chakka varatti, keep it outside for 2 to 3 hours before preparing the pradhaman. 
  3. Also, if using store bought varatti, check for fibres from the fruit in the varatti. If you feel that the varatti has fibres, you can add the varatti to the thin coconut milk and squeeze the varatti with your hands and remove the fibres. Then add this varatti and coconut milk mixture to the boiling jaggery syrup.
  4. Add and adjust the quantity of jaggery depending on the sweetness of the varatti.
  5. You can also fry cashewnuts and raisins along with coconut pieces if you like.
  6. Cardamom is usually not added to this Pradhaman as it will overpower the flavor of jackfruit.




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Puli Inji



Puli Inji is tangy spicy condiment in which the main ingredients are ginger, green chillies and tamarind. It is one of the main items served in a sadhya along with the pickles. It can be stored for 20 days when refrigerated and handled with care. 

Puli inji is one of my favorite items on the sadhya menu. Though it is a delicacy prepared during a feast, but really, you don't need any special occasion to prepare this. Puli Inji pairs beautifully with molagootal and curd rice. 

The Puli Inji recipe, differs from region to region and family to family. This is the way both my mother and MIL prepare. Do try and let me know. Check out my Sadhya Recipes page for more recipes.



What you'll need
Makes one small cup
  1. Ginger – ¼ cup, very finely chopped
  2. Green Chillies – 8 to 10
  3. Tamarind – a lemon sized ball
  4. Jaggery – same amount as tamarind
  5. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Gingely Oil/Nalla Ennai – 3 tbsp
  8. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  9. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  10. Curry Leaves – few torn

Method
  1. Soak the tamarind in a cup of hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Squeeze and extract the juice and keep aside.
  2. Wash and peel the ginger, chop it very finely. Also finely chop the green chillies.
  3. Heat a heavy bottomed kadai with oil, temper with mustard seeds, once it crackles, add the curry leaves.
  4. Now add the chopped ginger, and green chillies, and fry it on medium flame. Keep stirring.
  5. Fry till the ginger turns golden brown. Take care not to burn the ginger else the whole taste will change.
  6. Now add the tamarind juice, turmeric powder, asafetida powder, and salt to taste.
  7. Let this boil for 3 to 4 minutes on medium flame. Now add the jaggery and allow to boil till the oil starts floating on top and the consistency becomes thick and saucy.
  8. Remove from heat and let it cool. Serve as an accompaniment with curd rice.




Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu



Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu or Uruandai kuzhambu is a tangy tamarind based gravy with lentil balls. This is one of my favorite kuzhambus, though it gets made only very rarely. (that is when I have no stock of vegetables). I have seen so many recipes for this kuzhambu, some with onions, some with ground coconut and even some with coconut milk. The recipe I am sharing today is my mother’s recipe. It is a no onion no garlic recipe and does not make use of coconut also. But still it comes out very delicious.

Some steam the urundais/balls in idly plates and then add them to the kuzhambu at the end, but somehow I have got used to adding the balls directly into the kuzhambu. Follow the method given below and I am sure you will get the perfect kuzhambu. I made it after a long time on this weekend and we all enjoyed it.



What you’ll need
Serves – 2 to 3
Makes around 8 small urundais
For the Paruppu Urundai
  1. Tuar Dal – 2/3 cup
  2. Dried Red Chillies – 2 or 3
  3. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  4. Curry Leaves few
  5. Rice flour – 2 tsp

For the Kuzhambu
  1. Tamarind – a big gooseberry sized ball
  2. Sambar Powder – 1.5 tbsp
  3. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  4. Jaggery – 1 tsp (optional)
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Coriander Leaves - few for garnishing

For Tempering
  1. Gingely oil/Nalla Ennai – 1.5 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Jeera – ½ tsp
  4. Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ tsp
  5. Channa Dal – 1 tsp
  6. Curry Leaves – few

Method
  1. Soak the tuar dal and red chillies in water for 1 hour. Drain the water completely and grind coarsely along with salt, asafetida and few curry leaves. Do not add water while grinding.
  2. Soak the tamarind in a cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Squeeze and take out the extract. Keep aside.
  3. Heat a Kadai or heavy bottomed vessel with oil, temper with mustard, jeera, channa dal, methi seeds and fry till dal turn golden.
  4. Add curry leaves, lower the flame and add the sambar powder, fry it for about 30 secs. Take care not to burn it.
  5. Now add the tamarind extract, along with 2 cups of water, turmeric powder, salt, asafetida and jaggery.
  6. Let this come to a boil, and let it boil for 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. In the meanwhile, make small balls from the ground dal paste, dredge it in riceflour and carefully add the balls one by one into the boiling kuzhambu. Reduce the heat to low while adding the balls.
  8. After you add the balls, don’t stir the kuzhambu. Once the balls are cooked, they will float on the kuzhambu.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves and remove from flame. Keep covered until serving. Tastes best after a couple of hours.

That’s it, delicious urundai kuzhambu is ready. Serve with hot rice and a poriyal of your choice.



Notes:
  1. The tamarind water should be dilute, that is around 3 cups or little more, cos after adding the balls, the kuzhambu will become thicker.
  2. Don’t add any water while grinding the dals.
  3. Remember to lower the flame before adding the balls, add them gently one by one.
  4. Don’t stir the kuzhambu after adding the balls, until they float up.
  5. You can sauté a sliced onion after tempering and then add the tamarind extract.
  6. You could also add some fennel seeds/sompu in the dal mixture while grinding. It gives a good flavor.




Monday, March 23, 2015

Tiffin Sambar


Idly and dosa are the most common breakfast or tiffin items in a south Indian household, and it is no different at my home as well. Once I grind the batter for idly/dosa, I feel as if a big task is done – the task of thinking what to prepare for dinner. Yes we usually have it for dinner. Though the main item is gets decided, but what do you serve it with? I usually end up making either the coconut chutney, tomato chutney or  Sambar. This Tiffin Sambar is loved by all at home and my kids end up eating an extra idly or dosa. What more can I ask for?

The recipe for this sambar is quite similar to the Archuvitta Sambar, with a few extra ingredients in the spice paste. Also the amount of tamarind used is very little in this. The slight variations in the spice mix, does give a very different flavour to the Sambar and makes it perfect  as a side dish for idly/Dosa or Pongal. In the recipe I have mentioned cooking a few pieces of pumpkin along with the dal. I learnt this from one of the TV shows, and it gives that very slight sweetness, which balances all the flavours. It also gives a little thickness to the sambar. If you don’t have pumpkin, or forget to cook along with dal, use a tsp of powdered jaggery.



What you’ll need
Serves – 4
  1. Tuar Dal – 1/3 cup
  2. Tomatoes – 2 big
  3. Chinna Vengayam – 10 or replace with 1 – medium sized onion
  4. Pumpkin – ½ cup, chopped into cubes
  5. Vegetables of your choice – like Carrots, potatoes, and drumstick. I used only drumstick
  6. Tamarind – a marble sized ball
  7. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  8. Asafoetida Powder – a generous pinch
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Curry Leaves – few
  11. Coriander Leaves – a few sprigs

To roast and grind
  1. Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp
  2. Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu – ½ tbsp
  3. Urad Dal/Ulutham Paruppu – ½ tbsp
  4. Cumin Seeds/Jeeragam – 1 tsp
  5. Dry Red Chillies – 3 to 4
  6. Coconut – 2 tbsp

For tempering
  1. Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp

Method
  1. Pressure cook the dal along with the pumpkin pieces, little turmeric powder and a spoon of oil. Once cooked, mash well and keep aside.
  2. Soak the tamarind in a cup of hot water. Squeeze and extract the juice and keep aside.
  3. Heat a heavy bottomed vessel with oil, add mustard seeds, once it splutters, add curry leaves.
  4. Next add the chopped onions and sauté a few minutes, until the onions turn translucent.
  5. Now add the chopped tomatoes and sauté until it turns mushy.
  6. Add the tamarind extract along with the vegetables, turmeric powder, asafoetida, salt to taste. Also add another cup of water.
  7. Let this boil until the raw smell of the tamarind disappears, for about 7 to 8 minutes.
  8. In the meanwhile, heat a small pan, with a tsp of oil, add the Kadala paruppu and roast, for a minute, next add the ulutham paruppu, and fry, once the dals start changing color, add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies. Lastly, add the coconut and fry on till the coconut changes to a light brown color. Do the entire frying on a low to medium heat. Take care not to burn any of the ingredients else the entire taste of the sambar will change.
  9. Grind this into a fine paste using a little water.
  10. Once the vegetables are cooked and the raw smell disappears, add the mashed dal and let it for 2 to 3 minutes, finally add the ground paste, add some water to adjust the consistency. Let it come to a boil. 
  11. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Remove from heat, cover and keep until use.
Serve hot as an accompaniment with idly/dosa/Pongal. Drizzle some melted ghee on top of the Sambar before serving.



Note:
  1. Use vegetables of your choice, like mentioned above, carrots, potatoes, drumstick. But don’t use too much. I personally prefer drumstick as it gives a good flavour.
  2. Prepare the sambar at least 2 to 3 hours before serving to allow all the flavours to mingle well.
  3. If you miss out on the pumpkin, don’t miss the jaggery.
  4. Also a drizzle of ghee before serving enhances the taste and flavour a lot.





Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Eggless Spinach Feta Muffins


It has been a long time since I posted any bakes here. This time when Priya suggested Savory bakes for the HomeBaker’s Challenge, I didn’t want to miss it. I love trying out savory bakes and these spinach and feta muffins were simply delicious. The next time I would surely like to add in some spicy kick to these muffins by adding some ground green chillies. They taste great immediately out of the oven, but were equally good on warming in the microwave for a minute the next day.



Recipe Adapted from here
Makes - around 18 muffins
What you’ll need
  1. Maida/All Purpose Flour – 2.5 cups
  2. Spinach Leaves – 2 cups, finely chopped
  3. Feta Cheese – ¾ cup, crumbled
  4. Tomatoes – ¾ cup, finely chopped
  5. Baking Powder – 2 tsp
  6. Salt – 1 tsp
  7. Milk – 1 1/3 cup at room temperature
  8. Buttter – 6 tbsp
  9. Plain Curd/Yogurt – 3 tbsp at room temperature
  10. 2 tbsp of mozzarella

Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 200C. Line a muffin tray with liners and set aside.
  2. In a wide bowl, add the all purpose flour, salt, baking powder and mix well.
  3. Next add the chopped spinach leaves, feta, tomatoes and mix well.
  4. Melt the butter in the microwave. To this add the milk and curd and whisk well.
  5. Pour this mixture to the other spinach flour mixture and combine well.
  6. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tray until ¾ filled. Top with grated mozzarella.
  7. Bake for around 20 minutes or until the top turn golden brown. Insert a toothpick and make sure there is no unbaked dough.
  8. Remove and cool.

Serve warm.




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