21 June 2019

Morkeerai

There are many ways of cooking greens, especially in the Indian cuisine. Two methods that are my favourite from Mom's kitchen are - Masicha Keerai or Mashed Greens and MorKeerai, literally greens cooked in Buttermilk.
Featured here - MorKeerai, literally greens in buttermilk.
A simple, yummy and healthy recipe that can be prepared using almost any variety of greens, Spinach or variants of Amaranth.

There are many ways of making this, here's a simple method from my mom's repertoire..
MORKEERAI

Ingredients:
Greens of choice (Spinach, Arai keerai, Mulai keerai) - 1 medium bunch
Whisked yogurt - 1 cup
Green chili - 1 -2 medium
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

Tempering:
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Black gram - 1/4 tsp
Dry red chili - 1 medium

Method:
1. Blanch a medium bunch of greens with salt and turmeric pwd. Cool and mash or coarsely grind.
2. Slit 1-2 green chilies and add to the mashed greens. Cook on low flame.
3. Add 1/4 tsp rice flour to whisked yogurt and add to the mix. Let simmer but take care not to let it boil.
4. Check for salt and remove from flame.
5. Temper by heating 1/4 tsp sesame oil, add mustard seeds, black gram and 1 small dry red chili.
Serve as is. Best part, it can be served at room temperature and as a raita too.

20 June 2019

Sooji Halwa (using Jaggery)

As we look to move away more and more from refined foods, it's high time to go back to roots and use what our ancestors did. White sugar for one is not used in my home anymore. We prefer jaggery in its whole or powdered form, or honey and cane sugar.
This Halwa comes out absolutely superb using jaggery and a must, must try..

SOOJI HALWA USING JAGGERY

Ingredients:
Ghee (Clarified butter) -¼ cup
Sooji / Semolina – ½ cup
Jaggery (roughly powdered) – 1 cup
Elaichi powder – a pinch
Salt – a pinch (optional)
Water – 2 cups
Cashews and raisins, roasted in ghee

Method:
1. Heat water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Heat ghee in a non-stick wok. Add sooji and roast till you get a nice aroma.
3. Add the boiled water and stir quickly to avoid lumps.
4. Stir well till sooji absorbs all the water and is well cooked.
5. Add the jaggery and stir on low flame till jaggery dissolves and mixes well.
6. Add the roasted dry nuts and cardamom powder. Stir again for 3-4 minutes and remove from flame.
Serve hot.

10 June 2019

Mango Kadhi

Come summer and we start experimenting with mangoes in every way we can. From Aamras to pickles, to raitas, to desserts, innumerable possibilities.
Using Mangoes in savoury dishes is an interesting pairing. Slightly sweet, tangy, this Mango Kadhi is a recipe my mom learnt from her mom. Here it is for you all to try :)
MANGO KADHI


Ingredients:
3 cups beaten yogurt (slightly sour)
1 ripe Mango (not too ripe, fibreless variety works best)
1 1/2 Green chilies
1/2 inch Ginger
2 tbsps Grated Coconut
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Seasoning:
1 tsp Sesame Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 medium Red Chili
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds
Curry leaves, a few
Method:
1. Grind coconut, green chilies and cumin seeds to a fine paste using a little water.
2. Quarter the mango and cook in very little water, only till the skin is tender. Take care not to overcook.
3. Whisk together the yogurt, salt, ground paste.
4. Add the semi-cooked mango quarters and let simmer on low flame, stirring continuously but not vigorously.
5. After about 5-7 minutes, check for salt and remove from flame.
6. For tempering, heat oil, add mustard seeds and let splutter.
7. Add the red chili, curry leaves and finally the fenugreek seeds. Let brown slightly and add to the kadhi.
Serve hot with rice, rotis, Indian String hoppers, dosas or Adais. The list is endless :)

7 June 2019

Sweet Pongal

SWEET PONGAL

Ingredients:
Rice - 1 cup
Split Green gram - 1/4 cup
Milk - 1 cup
Jaggery or sugar - 1 1/2 cup (Jaggery best)
Cashews and raisins - a few
Cardamom pwd - 1/4 tsp
Clarified butter( Ghee) - 2 tbsps
Method:
1. Heat a pan and dry roast the green gram for just a minute. Transfer to a clean dish.
2. Wash rice and pressure cook along with the roasted green gram, milk and 3 cups water. Let cook upto 4-5 whistles. Reduce flame and let be for 5 mins more. Turn off flame. Basically we need it mashy.
3. Once pressure subsides, mash the mixture while still hot.
4. Add jaggery/sugar to a large wok and 1.5 tbsps water and let dissolve on low flame. Let simmer till you get a sticky consistency. When you test the syrup between fingers it should be sticky like melted toffee, but no string.
5. Now add the mashed rice mix little by little and stir well with the jaggery/sugar syrup.
6. Heat ghee in another pan, roast the cashews and raisins till golden brown. Add to the pongal mix along with cardamom powder. Stir on low till it starts to thicken.
Remove from flame and serve hot. An extra dollop of ghee when serving is absolutely recommended 

Carrot Bhaat

A very simple, healthy and wholesome dessert that you can whip up quickly.

CARROT BHAAT
Ingredients:
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup well-cooked rice
3 cups full fat milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom pwd
1 tbsp clarified butter(Indian ghee) for roasting dry nuts
Sliced dry nuts of choice
Method:
1. Cook carrots in 3 cups milk till they are cooked and milk reduces to half the volume.

2. Mash the cooked rice and add to the milk mixture.
Stir well leaving no lumps.

3. Add sugar, stir again. Let simmer till the mixture thickens

4. Add cardamom pwd, dry nuts(roasted in ghee). Remove from flame and serve hot.

3 January 2019

Kathirikkai Rasa Vangi

Now this is quite an interesting dish..
The main dish is done Sambhaar style (baby eggplants dropped in whole with just a quarterway slit), left to settle for a bit and then the thin surface liquid is removed and used as Rasam. 
Basically a 2 in 1 dish! Amazing isnt it?!

KATHIRIKKAI RASAM VANGI
Ingredients:
Eggplants (preferably baby ones) - 5 to 6
Toor dal - 3/4 cup
Tamarind - small lemon size (juice extracted)
Curry leaves
Salt to taste
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp

Spice powder:
Dry red chilies - 6
Coriander seeds - 2 tsps
Bengal gram (chana dal) 1 1/2 tsps
Grated coconut- 1/2 cup
Sesame oil - 1/2 tsp

Tempering:
Sesame oil - 2 tsps
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dry red chili - 1 small
Hing pwd - 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method:
1. Heat 1/ 2 tsp oil in a small pan and roast the spices listed under spice mix till golden brown. Take care not to let them darken.
Let cool, then dry grind to a coarse powder and keep aside.

2. Wash and remove stem from the eggplants. If using the baby ones, simple make a cross quarter way through. If using the normal size ones, cut them into quarters.

3. Pressure cook toor dal with little turmeric powder till done.

4. Heat 1/4 tsp sesame oil in a saucepan and give the eggplants a quick toss.

5. Add the tamarind extract, salt and let simmer on medium till the raw aroma of tamarind leaves and eggplants are half-cooked.

6. Reduce flame, add the cooked dal and simmer for 5 mins more.

7. Now add the ground spice powder as per taste and check for salt. Add torn curry leaves as well.
Let simmer for just 2 -3 mins more.

8. Remove from flame and add chopped coriander leaves.

9. For the tempering, heat 2 tsps sesame oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, red chilli and hing. Pour over the sambhar.

10. Stir and let settle for a bit till the thinner 'rasam' is left on top and dal settles at the bottom.
Gently transfer the rasam to another vessel and voila, 2 dishes from one!
Serve hot.

31 December 2018

Whole Wheat Banana Eggless Cake

Baked something after a really long time and was super happy with the soft cake that came out. Plus, I used Jaggery in this instead of sugar. Totally amazing and a must try..

WHEAT BANANA JAGGERY CAKE

Ingredients:
3/4th cup + 1 tsp Whole wheat flour
1/3 cup Cocoa powder
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
A pinch of salt
2 ripe Bananas
A pinch Clove powder (Or ginger powder)
A pinch Cinnamon powder
1/4 cup Light cooking oil
1/3 cup Jaggery (run it in the mixer once to remove lumps)
2 tbsps yogurt
Assorted dry fruits and nuts

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Microwave the bananas with the skin for about 3 mins on high. The skin will brown and the pulp will soften. De-skin and mash the bananas well.

2. Sieve together the wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and a pinch of salt. As we are using whole wheat flour, sieve at least twice or thrice to loosen up the flour.

3. In another bowl, whisk together oil and jaggery till well blended. Add the mashed bananas and whisk again. Now add 1 tbsp yogurt and mix.

4. Gradually add the dry flour mix in batches, cut and fold gently, repeat till all the flour is added in. Gently mix till no loose flour is visible and leave no lumps. If the batter is thick add the the remaining 1 tbsp yogurt as well.

5. Quickly toss 3/4th of the dry fruits and nuts in the 1 tsp loose flour till well-coated. Add to the batter and mix in. Coating the nuts in flour will prevent them from sinking in the batter.

6. Transfer to a greased loaf/cake tin. Sprinkle remaining dry nuts (non-flour coated) on top.

7. Bake at 180 deg C for about 30 mins. I used the microwave, and mine doesnt have 180 deg C. So I baked at 170 C for 6 mins. (Or till toothpick comes out clean)

8. Remove and let cool for about 5-7 minutes. Transfer to the serving dish. Serve warm or cold.

Karunai Kizhangu Masiyal

We call this Karunai Kizhangu (tuber) or Pidi Karunai. Karunai Kizhangu Masiyal (or literally, Yam Mash) is the most common and one of our favourite recipes that we prepare with this tuber. It takes very basic spices.
KARUNAI KIZHANGU MASIYAL (YAM MASH)

Ingredients :
Mini Yam/Karunai Kizhangu - 4 to 5
Green chili - 1, slit
Ginger - 1 inch piece, chopped
Tamarind - half lemon size, juice extracted
Lemon - 1 medium
Salt to taste

For tempering:
Sesame Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Split Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Hing pwd - 1/ 4 tsp
Curry leaves, a few

Method:
1. Peel, wash and leave the yam (halved) in some rice water to remove the itchiness.
2. Wash again, cut into thick slices and pressure cook upto 3 whistles. Remove and mash while still hot.
3. Transfer to a thick bottom saucepan along with the tamarind juice.
4. Add the slit green chili, ginger and salt and let simmer on low for 4-5 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally.
5. Remove from flame. Prepare tempering by heating oil, adding the rai, urad dal, hing and curry leaves. Pour over the Masiyal/mash and serve hot with rice.

16 December 2018

Gajar Strawberry halwa

Here we go...Gajar-Strawberry Halwa :) Perfect for a winter evening and pressure-cooked.

GAJAR STRAWBERRY HALWA

Ingredients:
2 cups grated carrots (Dark Red ones better)
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 cup Full fat milk (yes,full fat, trust me on this one )
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsps Ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
A few dry nuts roasted in ghee

Method:
1. Add carrot, milk, sugar and ghee to a 2-3 litre pressure cooker.
2. Cook upto 1 whistle, remove from flame and let the pressure subside naturally.
3. Place back on medium flame , add strawberries and keep stirring till it starts to thicken.
4. Once it becomes sticky, add the roasted nuts, give it a stir, remove off flame and let cool a bit.
Serve hot and try pairing with vanilla ice cream.

5 November 2018

Diwali Legiyam

So for us, Diwali is on Narak Chaturdashi (tomorrow) , typically on Choti Diwali. This is practised in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa, as far as I know.
We get up before Sunrise, have an oil bath (specially prepared oil - pic coming up) and the first thing given to everyone is the Diwali medicine. It preps the stomach for the festive food ahead.
Here is the Diwali Legiyam/Marunthu (medicine) pic and recipe..
DIWALI MARUNTHU/LEGIYAM
Ingredients:
(Makes legiyam about a small coconut size)
Black peppercorns - 2 tsps
Cumin seeds(jeera) - 2.5 tsps
Coriander seeds (dhaniya) - 2.5 tsps
Carrom seeds (Ajwain) - 1.5 tbsps
Kanda Thippili (pippali - dried root of long pepper plant) - 10 x 1inch sticks
Rice Thippili (dried long pepper) - 5 to 6
Dry ginger powder (saunth) - 1 tbsp
Green Cardamom (elaichi) - 2
Clarified butter (Ghee) - 4 tbsps
Jaggery - 2 cups (roughly powdered)

(Long peppers are available on Amazon. Search for Pippali Mool or long pepper root and Pippali or long pepper)
Method:
1. Dry grind ajwain to a fine powder. Add other dry spices and grind them too.
2. Transfer to a bowl, add water just upto the level of the powder and let soak for 10-15 minutes.
3. Re-grind this soaked mix with the same water to a fine paste.
4. Heat a thick-bottomed pan and add the ground paste to it. Stir on low flame till it starts to thicken.
5. Add jaggery at this point and stir till it ia dissolved.
6. Now start adding ghee a little at a time till the mixture leaves the sidea of the pan and comes together like halwa.
Switch off flame and let cool. Store in a clean, air-tight container.