Monday, September 22, 2014

Vazhaipoo Paruppu Usili

I usually don't have any draft or pending posts. I always end up, cooking, clicking and posting. Somehow I had missed this post, which has been lying in my drafts for more than a year now. Infact, prepared it before leaving India. I have not been able to find this veggie after coming here to Amsterdam.
Vazhaipoo is one of my favorites, and this usili is a family favorite. Though the cleaning of this takes a lot of time, but the end result is really good and very healthy too.
Usili paired with mor kootan and rasam is one of the best combos and is loved by all at home.

What you'll need
  1. Vazhaipoo – 1 medium sized
  2. Toor Dal – 2 tbsp
  3. Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu – 2 tbsp
  4. Dried Red Chilly – 1
  5. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  6. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  7. Oil – 3 tsp
  8. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  9. Broken Urad Dal – ½ tsp
  10. Curry Leaves – few

  1. Soak the dals and the dried red chillies for 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Clean the Vazhaipoo, and finely chop the banana flower. Put the chopped vazhaipoo, in diluted buttermilk until use.
  3. Wash well and then drain the water completely. Place the chopped vazhaipoo in a cooker vessel. Add salt, and turmeric powder and toss well. Don’t add any water in the vegetable.
  4. Cover the vessel and place the vessel in the pressure cooker cook for 2 to 3 whistles.
  5. In the meanwhile, drain the dals and grind it coarsely along with red chilly, salt, curry leaves and asafoetida.
  6. Grease the idly mould, and pat the ground dal paste, in the idly mould grooves.
  7. Steam the dals, just like you do for idly for 7 to 8 minutes.
  8. Remove and allow to cool. Once cooled, crumble the steamed dal and place in a mixie jar and just give a quick pulse so that it resembles a coarse powder.
  9. Heat a Kadai with oil, splutter with mustard seeds and urad dal. Add curry  and the cooked vazhaipoo. (Strain the vazhaipoo if you feel there is lot of water)
  10. Fry this for about 4 to 5 minutes. Then add the powdered dal and fry for another 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat. Keep stirring after adding the dal.

Serve hot with rice and mor kootan and rasam.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Simit - Turkish Bread

This month the Baking Partner's challenge was this Turkish sesame ring bread. The bread was slightly hard on the outside and soft inside with the lovely crunch from the sesame seeds. 

Recipe adapted from here
Makes - 6 pieces
What you'll need
  1. Bread Flour/All Purpose Flour – 3.5 cup
  2. Instant Yeast – 2 tsp
  3. Sugar – a pinch
  4. Salt – 1 ¼ tsp
  5. Lukewarm Water – 1 cup + 2 tbsp
  6. Molasses/Jaggery/Brown Sugar – 2 tbsp dissolved in ½ cup water
  7. White Sesame Seeds – about 2 cup

  1. In a wide bowl, take the flour, yeast, salt and sugar. Mix well with hands.
  2. Now add the water and bring the dough together.
  3. Now knead the dough for about 10 minutes to form smooth non sticky dough.
  4. Cover with a cling film or a kitchen towel and rest for about an hour or until the dough has risen to double its size.
  5. Punch the dough and knead again for few minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into 12 equal sized balls.
  7. Now, roll out one of the balls into a long cylindrical shape.
  8. Similarly roll another ball the same way into a long cylindrical shape.
  9. Now, hold the two cylindrical shape logs and twist them, and make them into a circle. 
  10. Dip the prepared circles in the molasses water and coat with sesame seeds.
  11. Place on prepared baking tray. Repeat the same with other balls.
  12. Pre – Heat the oven to 230C and bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top gets brown.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Vegetable Strudel

This month International Food Challenge completes 1 year, so as an anniversary post, Saraswathi, suggested that we try one of the recipes from any of the previous months. I decided to try these strudels, which was suggested by Birju.
Typically a strudel, is a layered pastry with a sweet filling, the most common being apples. Strudel is often associated with the Austrian Cuisine. My family always prefers savoury bakes to sweet and so I chose to go with the savory strudel. It is quite easy to put together and tastes delicious.

Adapted from The Recipe File
What you'll need
For the filling
  1. Carrot – 1 medium, chopped
  2. Cabbage – 1 cup, chopped
  3. Red or Green Bell Pepper – chopped
  4. Onion – 1 Medium, chopped
  5. Garlic – 2 cloves
  6. Mozzarella Cheese – ½ cup, grated
  7. Black Pepper Powder – ½ tsp
  8. Dried Basil – ¼ tsp
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Olive Oil – 2 tsp

For the outer covering
  1. Phyllo Sheets – 6
  2. Melted Butter – about 30 gm

  1. Follow the package instructions and thaw the phyllo sheets. Keep them covered to avoid drying.
  2. Heat a pan with oil, add the chopped onions and minced garlic, sauté until the onion turn translucent.
  3. Now add the cabbage and carrots and sauté for 4 to 5 mins.
  4. Finally add the bell peppers, salt, black pepper powder and dried basil, mix well and sauté for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the grated cheese and give it a mix.
  7. Pre- heat the oven to 190C.
  8. On a work surface, lay out one of the phyllo sheets, brush  with all over with melted butter.
  9. Place the next phyllo sheet over this and brush the top with butter. Continue this for all the 6 phyllo sheets.
  10. Now place the prepared vegetable filling all over the phyllo sheets, leaving a 1 inch space on all four sides.
  11. Roll the sheets tightly along the shorter side. Place this over a baking tray with the seam side down.
  12. Now with a sharp knife make 3 or 4 cuts on the top of the roll.
  13. Brush the top with butter and bake for at 25 to 30 minutes or until the top turns golden brown.
  14. Remove from the oven.
  15. Cool a little and then cut along the previously made cuts. Serve warm.

You can use the vegetables of your choice.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kadala Paruppu Poorna Kozhukattai

Vinayagar Chathurthi is just round the corners. Think Vinayagar Chathurthi and the first thing that comes to my mind is the kozhukattais. My mother and grandmother used to prepare only the Thenga Poorna Kozhukattai and the Ulundu Kozhukattai, but after marriage, I did come to know about many other kinds. My MIL makes many different offerings like Pachha arisi idly, ellu urundai, nei appam, sundal, chakkara pongal, vadai and kozhukattais. It is usually and grand feast on this day. I really admire her patience in preparing all these different varieties of offerings. I am sure I will be making only very few of them. 
I wanted to post a Kozhukattai recipe and while talking to my MIL she told me about this one with Kadala paruppu and I decided to try it. It was very yummy. A change from the regular thenga poornam.

For the outer covering
  1. Rice Flour/Idiyappam Flour – 1 cup
  2. Water – 1 cup + ¼ cup
  3. Salt a pinch
  4. Coconut Oil – 1 tsp

For the filling
  1. Kadala Paruppu/Channa Dal – ½ cup
  2. Powdered Jaggery – ½ cup + 2 tbsp
  3. Grated Coconut – ¼ cup
  4. Cardamom Powder – as required
  5. Ghee – 2 tsp

To prepare the filling
  1. Dry roast the channa dal for 3 to 4 minutes. Wash and soak the channa dal for ½ an hour.
  2. Pressure cook the channa dal with just enough water until soft and mushy.
  3. Mash the dal well and set aside.
  4. Heat a Kadai, and add the jaggery with ¼ cup of water. Once the jaggery dissolves, strain it for impurities.
  5. Pour the jaggery syrup back into the kadai and heat till the syrup reaches one string consistency.
  6. Add the coconut and the channa dal and mix everything very well.
  7. Add the ghee and stir until all the moisture has evaporated and the mixture starts leaving the sides.
  8. Remove from heat and add the cardamom powder and mix well.
  9. Allow to cool.

To prepare the dough for the outer covering
  1. Heat a kadai with water, salt and oil, once it comes to a rolling boil, lower the heat, add the rice flour and mix well. The whole thing will come together as a mass.
  2. Remove from heat and let it cool till you can work with your hands, Knead well and make into a smooth dough. Cover and keep aside.
  3. Make small balls out of the channa dal mixture.
To prepare the kozhukattai

  1. Grease your palms and pinch out small lemon sized balls out of the dough. Flatten the dough in your palms and place a ball of filling in the center. Gather the edges and seal the filling forming a peak at the top. (just like you would do for the stuffed paratha). Prepare more kozhukattais using the remaining dough and filling.
  2. Heat a steamer, you can also use the idli stand. Place the kozhukattais one by one without touching each other and steam for 10 minutes or until the outer layer is shiny.


The quantity of water required may vary depending on the dryness of the riceflour. So always keep a cup of hot water aside and use if required.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Beetroot Thayir Pachadi/Kichadi - Easy Sadya Recipes

Beetroot is a very versatile vegetable. You can use it in a variety of dishes like thoran, molaguttal, thogayal etc. This Kichadi or thayir pachadi is yet another way to put the beets to use. My kids love beetroot in thayir pachadi. It pairs very well with molagootal and molagushiam.

What you'll need
  1. Beetroot – 1 Medium sized, peeled and grated
  2. Fresh Yogurt/curd – 1.5 cup
  3. Salt to taste

To grind
  1. Scraped Coconut – ¼ cup
  2. Green Chilly – 1 or 2
  3. Ginger – a small piece
  4. Mustard Seeds – 1/8 tsp

To temper
  1. Coconut Oil – 1 tsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Curry Leaves – few

  1. Take the grated beetroot in a vessel and add about ½ cup of water and cook it with salt till the beetroot is soft. Allow to cool.
  2. In the meanwhile, grind the coconut, green chilly, ginger, and mustard seeds. Add a little of the curd to aid in grinding.
  3. Add the ground coconut mixture to the cooked beetroot
  4. Also add the whisked yogurt and mix everything well. Adjust the salt.
  5. Heat a small frying pan with oil, and temper with mustard seeds. Remove from heat and add the curry leaves.
  6. Pour the tempering over the kichadi and mix well.

Serve as an accompaniment with rice.

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