15 March 2012

Stuffed Parval curry

Ingredients :
Parval (Pointed Gourd) - 1/4 kg
Tomatoes - 2 (medium)
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Green Chillies - 6 (ground to a paste)
Onion - 1 big (ground to a paste along with ginger)
Grated Paneer - 50 gms
Boiled & mashed Potatoes - 1 cup
Cornflour - 2 tbsps
Dhaniya pwd - 1 tsp
Haldi - 1/2 tsp
Curd - 1 cup
Bay leaves - 2
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Cardamom - 4
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp

Method :
1. Lightly boil the parval for about 10 mins. Cut in half and chop off the ends. Scoop off the insides

2. Combine paneer, potatoes, salt, green chilli paste and mix well.

3. Stuff the parval with this mix. Make a semi-thick paste using the flour and little bit of water. Dip the parval in this mix and shallow fry till golden brown.

4. Heat oil in a pan. Add dhaniya pwd, chilli pwd (if needed), cardamom, bay leaves and cloves. Add the onion-ginger paste. Fry for a bit till raw smell leaves the gravy.

5. Add curds, garam masala and simmer on low heat. Add water to adjust consistency if required.

6. Now drop in the fried parval pieces one by one and simmer for 5-7 minutes more. Serve hot.

Naarthanga Kuzhambu

Narthangai, also known as Bitter Orange or Seville Orange is commonly used in South Indian cooking especially for preparing pickles and pachadi (South Indian equivalent of Raita)


Ingredients :

Naarthanga or country lemon - 2 (medium)
Green chillies - 5 to 6
Tamarind - lemon size (juice extracted)
Salt and hing (asafoetida) to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Methi seeds powder- 1/4 tsp
Jaggery - a small piece
Oil - 3 tbsps


Method :

1. Cut naarthanga into small cubes. Cut green chillies into 1/2 inch long pieces

2. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan, add mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the cut chillies and saute for a bit

3. Add hing, haldi, followed by the cut narthanga pieces. Again saute for about 2 minutes.

4. Pour in the tamarind extract and salt. Let simmer till the consistency is slightly but not too thick.

5. Once done, add little jaggery to taste. Please note:If it is desired to have a sweeter kuzhambu like a pachadi, more jaggery can be added.

6. Heat a seasoning ladle for about 2 minutes and turn off the heat. Very lightly fry the methi powder, for just about a minute and add to the kuzhambu. Let simmer for a few minutes more, then remove from fire.
Serve as desired with rice. Goes best with curd rice !!!!

8 February 2012

Ragi adai

Ragi or finger millet is extremely rich in iron and calcium, but low on fat and calories. In many rural areas, ragi porridge, made with ragi flour, buttermilk and salt is consumed as breakfast which provides immense and instant energy for the day !!! Ragi is a source of heat energy, hence adding buttermilk equalizes this effect.
Ragi adai is a perfect dish for the health conscious, but that said, does not compromise on taste either!!!

Ingredients :
Urad dal - 1/4 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Chana dal - 1/4 cup
Ragi flour - 1/4 cup
Rice flour - 1/4 cup
Curry leaves
Salt - to taste
Green chillies - 2

Method :
1. Soak the lentils together for about 3 hours.

2. Grind to a coarse paste, along with curry leaves and green chillies.

3. Add ragi and rice flour, salt and grind a little more, but not finely.

4. Add water to adjust consistency. Prepare crispy adais, just like dosas, but slightly thicker. Serve hot with curd, pickle or chutney.

TIP : You can add your desired variations to this, such as fresh chopped methi (fenugreek) leaves, drumstick leaves, etc.

Parval gravy

Parval/Parwal or Pointed gourd makes for an interesting accompaniment for several dishes and goes well with other vegetables such as potato, etc.
It's a rich source of Vitamin A & C, plus carbohydrates.
This is a gravy dish that my mother made at home and was perfect as a side-dish for chapatis.


Ingredients :

Parval - 500 gms
Tomato - 1
Small onions - 2
Curds - 1/2 cup
Mawa - 100 gms
Red chillies - 2
Haldi - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Chilli pwd - 1 tsp
Ginger - 1" piece
Ghee - 2 tsps
Salt to taste
Water - 1 cup

Method :

1. Wash, peel and slice parval lengthwise.

2. Grind onions and ginger to a paste. Puree tomato.

3. Heat oil and/or ghee in a pan, Add the onion-ginger paste, whole red chillies and cook till light brown.

4. Add parval, curds and fry for a while

5. Add tomato puree, chilli powder, salt and haldi. Cook till parval becomes tender.

6. Add boiling water, top with mawa and garam masala. Transfer this mix to a pressure cooker and cook with whistle on, just till full pressure is built up, but the whistle does not go off. Reduce flame and leave for 4-5 mins, then remove.

7. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Okkaarai / Ukkarai

A well-known sweet dish down south, especially prepared for Diwali in several places. It's quite easy to prepare and tastes absolutely marvelous.

Ukkaarai or Okkaarai is a traditional sweet that is associated with Diwali in most homes in Tamil Nadu.
It's a simple fare prepared with Bengal gram and jaggery, with cardamom enhancing its richness.


Ingredients :

Chana dal - 1 cup
Jaggery - 1.5 cups
Ghee - 2 tbsps
Cardamom (elaichi) pwd - 1/2 tsp
Chopped cashews for garnishing

Method :

1. Heat a kadhai, dry roast chana dal in it just till you start getting an aroma. Remove from fire. and soak in enough water for 1/2 hour.

2. Drain water and wrap the dal in a muslin cloth. Steam cook for about 15-20 mins in a cooker. Remove from fire and cool

3. Grind the steam-cooked dal in a mixer just to break it down into morsels. Do not grind too finely.

4. Melt jaggery in a thick-bottomed panusing just 1/4 cup water. Boil till a pearl consistency, i.e, if you place a drop of the syrup in a bowl of water, you should be able to roll the syrup into a ball, it should not dissolve or be stretchy.

5. Add the broken dal to the jaggery syrup aong with elaichi powder and broken cashewnuts. Stir well and serve as desired.
Tastes best when served slightly warm.

18 January 2012

Mysore Rasam

A delicious rasam variant popular in Karnataka, as is obvious from the name. What differentiates it from the staple rasam of Tamil Nadu is the typical use of coriander seed, red chillies and just the right touch of pepper, asafoetida and chana dal. If made with little less arahar dal, this can be served as a soup as well.


Ingredients :

Red chillies - 2 medium
Jeera - 1 tsp
Dhaniya seeds - 2 tsps
Tamarind (Imli) - 1 lemon size ball
Chana dal (Bengal gram) - 1 tsp
Arahar dal (split red gram) - 1/4 cup
Pepper corns - 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Hing (asafoetida powder) - 1/4 tsp
Curry and coriander leaves

Method :

1. Lightly fry all ingredients except tamarind, arahar dal, salt and the leaves in a pan, for about 2-3 minutes, just to make them moisture-free.

2. Let cool and dry grind a mixer.

3. Cook arahar dal separately in a cooker.

4. Soak tamarind in warm water for about 5 minutes. Now squeeze out as much extract as possible adding more water after each extraction.

5. Pour this extract in a vessel, add salt to taste, hing and curry leaves. Let boil till raw smell leaves the imli extract.

6. Add the cooked arahar dal followed by the ground powder.

7. Adjust taste by adding more water so the rasam tastes spicy enough, add salt if required.

8. Garnish with coriander leaves and season with mustard seeds fried in 1/2 tsp ghee.