Friday, June 29, 2007

Lemon Pickle with garlic and green chilies

Seeing these lovely Lemon Pickle on Manisha's Indian Food Rocks and to redeem myself after DB left behind a bottle of DH's mom's lemon pickle (they are the best lemon pickle ever)back because they started to leak oil and once he left them back at the airport because of overweight(are you reading this bro?). This terrible crime (atleast in DH's mind) would not go forgiven unless amends are made, how? make some Lemon Pickle ofcourse. I found a bag of limes in the grocery store, and was all set to follow Manisha's but my mom had other ideas. She was anxious to make amends for her son's sins (well... hmmmm I am exaggerating for drama!!!) and I did not want to stand in the way. When we finally got to taste the pickle DH - I am sure completely forgave the offender(I did not check with him though!).

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Lemon Pickle with garlic and green chilies
1. 15 limes
2. 6 garlic clove chopped
3. 10 Green Chillies
4. 1/4 Cup Salt
5. 1/4 Cup Sesame Oil (nalla ennai)

To Powder
1. 1/2 Cup Red chillies
2. 2 tsp methi seeds
3. 1 tsp mustard seeds
roast 2 and 3 and combined with the dried red chillies and make a powder
1/4 Cup Pickle Masala Powder

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Cooking in the window sill

Lime Prep
1. Boil pot of water, add 3 tbsp of sugar. Remove from fire add the limes(whole) cover with a lid and let it stand for 10 minutes, it changes color from green to yellow.
2. Remove from water wait for them to cool, wipe dry and cut each into 4 pieces.

1. In a clean glass jar add the limes, garlic and chillies and salt
2. Place a cloth on the mouth and secure with a rubber band. Let it sit in the sun for 2-3 days. (the longer they stand the softer the outer skin and less bitter)
3. Set about 3 tbsp of water to boil.
4. In a Kadai (pan) heat oil, add mustard seeds and to that add the lime mixture and chilli powder and mix well.
4. Add the boiling water to this and reduce the heat to medium.
5. When the oil start to leave the edges switch off the heat.

Pickle is ready and all is well in the household again like a big happy family. It was delightful to bite into a garlic or green chilli. DB is free to visit any time now.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Brinjal and Beans in onion tomato sauce

Eversince I switched to a Bean diet(if I can call it that) I am on the lookout for new varieties of beans especially the ones I have never tasted before. The Latin section of most super markets carry a colorful array of beans and that is where I got the Dominican Red Beans, a pretty bean red with specks of white and pink. When cooked they tasted a lot like boiled peanuts. This month belongs to the beloved brinjal for the JFI event - Eggplant - JFI hosted by Sangeeta of Ghar Ka Khana. Found some long baby long eggplants and this Beans and Eggplants recipe was what was going to the JFI. Brinjal can be substituted with Bottle Gourd, Zuchinni and for the beans well the sky is the limit. But no combo tastes as good as this one.

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1. 15 brinjals split in half
2. 1 Cup of Dominican Red Beans Cooked for about 1 whistle (the beans should not fall apart)
3. 1/4 Red Onion Chopped
4. ½ inch ginger grated
5. 5-8 Garlic Cloves
6. seasonigns - methi seeds, curry leaves and mustard seeds
optional - cloves 2 , cinnamon sticks 1/4 inch
7. 1 tbsp Lemon juice.

1. 1/4 Medium Red onion + 5-6 small red onions
2. 2 Red Tomatoes
3. 1 tbsp corriander powder
4. 2 Read Chillies
5. 2 tsp cumin powder

Saute the onions till translucent and add the tomatoes and saute till soft. Add
the powders mix and blend to a paste

1. In a pan heat the oil, add methi seeds, curry leaves and mustard seeds and when mustard seeds starts to pop add the onions and saute till translucent
2. Add the garlic saute for a minute
3. Add the Brinjal and saute till it starts to turn color
4. Add the cooked beans, ground paste and salt.
5. Add a cup of water

Boil till required consistency is reached. Finish with a tbsp of squeezed lemon juice.

Serve with rice or rotis.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sambhar Powder

My first attempts at cooking always involved using Sambhar Powder. The mere fact that I had Sambhar Powder prepared by ammayi in the pantry gave me a lot of confidence! This is how my ammayi prepares it and there is a whole host of people including my mom and aunt who cannot survive without it. Linda, here it is specially for you.

1. Red Chillies - 4 Cups
2. Corriander Seeds - 1 1/2 Cups
3. Kadalai Paruppu (Chana Dal/Black Gram Dal) - 1 tbsp
4. Urad Dal (Black Gram Dal) - 1 tbsp
5. Cumin - 1/2 tbsp
6. Pepper - 1 tsp
7. Methi Seeds - 1 tbsp
8. Asfoetida - 1/2 tsp
9. Mustard seeds (black, Indian variety small ones) - 1/2 tsp
10. Curry leaves (fresh or dried) - 2 Sprigs

Tip: Dry all the ingredients in the sun for about 2 hours (optional)

Roast each of the ingredients one by one in a medium low flame, till they turn color slightly. As they get roasted they start to get a darker color, at this point stop. Do not let them turn black (have to throw away if they turn black).

If fresh, pat dry the curry leaves and then roast till brittle.

Let cool to room temperature. Mix and grind together in a blender to a powder. If using a coffee grinder, powder in small batches.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Arisim Paruppu Satham -2

I hadn't planned on blogging about Arisim Paruppu Satham again, as I had blogged about it earlier, but this one is slightly different but most of all it was cooked by my mother. She does not tend to add the mandatory Chicken Masala Powder that seem to be ever present in my recipes. I am slowly learning to avoid using them, and the dishes taste much fresher without them. I lean more favorably towards using Sambhar Powder (ingredients and method coming soon) because it is prepared by my ammayi with the freshest ingredients. I always have some in stock and did not have make it myself so far by did get the recipe from ammayi who even today supplies it for my mom and aunt.

Split Thatta Payir(Roasted Cow Peas)

Arisim Paruppu Saatham tastes out of this world when it is cooked with Split Thatta Payir. The whole Thatta Payir is first roasted and then split using Stone Grinder called Rai Kal. deccanheffalum of Cook's Cottage has a picutre and explaination of how the stone grinder works. The one used in our parts is slightly different and still used a lot by my grandma. ( I have to take a picture of it).

1. 1 Rice (Sona Masoori Rice) Water:Rice 2 ½ : 1
2. 1/2 Cup Roasted Split Thatta Payir
3. 1/2 Red Onion Chopped Roughly
4. 4 Pods Garlic Sliced
5. 1/4 inch piece ginger pounded
6. 3 Red Chillies Split and seeds removed
7. Seasonings - Curry leaves, Mustard
8. 1 tsp of Sambhar Powder
9. 1 tsp of turmeric powder
10. oil as required + ghee a little bit

To Powder
1. 1/2 Tbsp Corriander Powder
2. 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
3. 1 tsp Pepper
Microwave the above for about 10 secs and powder

1. In a pressure cooker add the oil and ghee and when hot add the mustard seeds when it pops add the curry leaves
2. Add the garlic, saute for a few minutes add the ginger, red chillies saute a little bit and then add the onions and saute till translucent
3. Now add powdered mixture and the sambhar powder mix for a few minutes till good aroma comes
4. Add the Payar and mix well.
5. Add the required amount of water and when it starts to boil add the rice, salt mix and cook till about 1/2 cooked. Cover add the weight and cook till a whistle or about 8 minutes whichever comes first.

Serve with Puzhi Kuzhambu , Vadagam with a tsp of ghee over the rice.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Deep Frying in the Patio

Who does not love Deep Fried Food? They taste good makes us feel happy but the only downside is the whole house smells of oil as there is no proper aeration in the kitchen. The job of sending out the fumes were done by chimneys in the kitchens back home and I don't remember the whole house smelling of oil and the smoke smell clinging to everything. But in the house here, when we getting ready to get it built we forgot to mention or rather did not know enough to ask the builder to have the exhaust vent outside which some of our smart neighbors have done. It is a disaster especially during the cold winter months because the smoky oil smell clings on to clothes and pretty much everything. We do have an exhaust fan but the air is circulated back into the house so there is not much help. We have devised a few ways to get around this sticky problem with 3. being the most popular.

1. We (I) cook deep fried food rarely.

2. Boil water + Distilled White Vinger (in the raio of 5 : 1)in a pot while deep frying, the oil fumes are neutralized by the Vinegar fumes to a large extent.

3. We have a propane stove, the one we use for cooking when camping. We put this on the patio and cook vadais, pooris and other deep fried delicacies. The kids love this as they get to watch the food being quicked real and close and eat it as it comes out the pan. Have to admit the adults have a lot of fun too.

4. Deep Fried food is something that takes a little bit of effort and hence encourages baking/broiling and a realization they taste just as good.

Simple Lunch 5

Have you noticed that food tastes specially good when the ingredients are from your own garden? The meal was the usual simple weekend affair but I am especially proud because the ingredients for two of the dishes came from my garden. I have never grown Swiss Chard before, but I happened on this article "Letting Leafy Greens into Your Life" at the right time, I ran to the store to get some seeds and they were in the ground the very next day. About 6 weeks later I have enough for some tasty sambhar. The other ingredient was Sugar Snap Peas whose flowers I had posted a few weeks earlier. The pods are bit more delicate and suitable for cooking, their crunchy fresh taste was something to savor. A recipe that is simple and is pretty much a regular in most of our homes.

Sugar Snap Peas, Baby Lima Beans and Peas Poriyal
1. 1 1/2 Sugar Snap Peas destring and chop
2. 1/4 Cup Peas
3. 1/4 Cup Baby Lima Peas
4. 1/2 Cup Red Onion Chopped
5. 3 Green Chillies Slit
6. Seasonings mustard, urad dal, Curry Leaves
7. 1 tbsp of fresh grated coconut

1. In a Pan (Kadai) heat oil add the urad dal when brown add the mustard and curry leaves when the mustard starts to pop
2. Add the Green Chillies and saute for a second or two
3. Add the Onions and saute till translucent
4. Add the peas, lima beans and the chopped Sugar Snap Peas, add salt cover and cook till the peas are done (5-8 minutes).
5. Open the lid let any moisture evaporate, adjust salt.
6. Switch off heat, sprinkle the coconut and mix well.

Serve with rice and sambhar or as a side for chapthis.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Spicy Masala Idli Upma

What do you do if you wanted to pack for lunch but besides a few old ildies
there were not many choices, my mother is visiting and she came
up with this tasty fare with those leftover idlies. I usually make Idli Upma with just onion and green chillies, mustard and curry leaves. This is a delicious variation with many possibilities and a complete meal.

1. 5-6 day old idlies crumbled and sprinkle a few drops of water
2. 1 Potato boiled till about 3/4 cooked and cut into cubess
Variation: mixture of green beans, carrots and peas
3. 1/4 red onion choppped fine
4. 3 cloves of garlic chopped fine
5. a smally piece of ginger grated
6. 2 green chillies slit
7. 1 red chilli broken in two seeds removed
8. 1 tsp of corriander powder
9. 1 tsp of sambhar powder
10. Curry leaves a few, mustard and urad dal
11. 1 tsp Oil

1. In a pan heat oil and add the urad dal when it starts to brown add the mustard seed when it starts to pop add the curry leaves.
2.Add the green chillies, red chilli and ginger and saute.
3.Add the onions and saute till translucent, then add the garlic and grated ginger.
4.Add the powder and required salt, saute till raw smell goes and then add a tbsp of water.
5.Now add the potatoes cover and cook till the potatoes are soft and water is evaported.
6. Add the crumbled idlies and mix well till it is coated with the masala.

This was a wonderful tasty treat for the afternoon lunch along with a cup of yogurt.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Simple Lunches - 4

Writing about Simple Lunches always gets me excited and happy. Sure the delicacies that I painstakingly cook make me happy and proud but for sustenance regularly turn to these simple dishes. Got some more Thandu keerai from the garden, enough to make a stir fry,along with this simple mango curry and a glass of rasam it was simple and delicious.

Amaranthus stir fry, Mango Curry, Moong Dal Rasam

Potato, Green Channa and Raw Mango Curry
1. 1 Raw Green Mango chopped seed removed
2. 1/2 Cup of Green Channa
3. 3 Medium size potatoes peeled and cubed
4. 1/2 red onion chopped and 5 garlic pods minced
5. 1 tomato chopped or 1 tbsp tomato sauce
6. 2 tsp cumin powder
7. 1 tbsp corriander powder
8. 1/2 tbsp sambhar powder
9. 2 tbsp of tamarind juice (if the mango is not sour)
10. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder (I forgot to add this)
11. 1 tsp oil
12. salt

1. In a pressure pan heat oil and saute the onions till soft.
2. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes
3. Add the powders and mix them well.
4. If adding tomatoes add them now and saute till soft or add the tomatoes sauce and mix.
5. Now add the Green Channa and saute for a few minutes, add the potatoes and saute for a few more minutes.
6. Add the Mango pieces salt, mix well.
7. And Pressure cook for 2 sound or 6-8 minutes.
8. Open the pressure cooker and cook with the lid open for 2-3 minutes

Serve with chapatis and tastes great with rice too.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Raw Banana Fry - Vazhakkai roast

Raw plantains are readily available in most grocery stores. While they are very similar to raw bananas but when cooked they are slightly sweeter. This recipe will work with either one of them. If raw bananas are not your thing potatoes, taro root, sweet potatoes or even beets can be used for this recipe.

Steam the raw banana in a steamer vessel, when done peel and cut into bite sized cubes.
Powder the spices and add it to the steamed banana cubes and roast till the desired color or texture is obtained.

A simple fry but jazzes up any lunch meal. If you are planning on a simple meal add this to the menu. Snack on it, that's what the kids did and loved it.

Raw Banana Roast
Preparation Time:5 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
  1. 3 Green Plantains or 3 green raw bananas, cut the ends and cut in half
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1 tbsp oil (or less)
Spice Powder
  1. 2 tbsp Dahlia
  2. 2 Red Chillies
  3. 1 tsp Pepper and Cumin (optional)
  4. Powder the above (do mine in a coffee grinder)
  1. Steam the Plantains/Raw bananas (8-10 minutes), remove the skin and cut into small cubes.(see Note:)
  2. In a Wok or Kadai heat about 3/4 th of the oil and when it is smoking hot add the plantain cubes and stir fry for a minute or two.
  3. Add salt and toss around.
  4. Add the spice powder and toss them around till all the plantain cubes are coated with the powder.
  5. Sprinkle a few more drops of oil if it looks too dry and saute till roasted. (about 8-10 minutes)
  6. Note:
  7. (Steamed the raw banana in the pressure cooker without the weight. Place the plantains/raw banana in a steamer vessel)

  8. Serve with rice or as a snack.

If you have leftover, heat them in the microwave and they are good as new but a little soft that's all.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Guessing Game 2. Revealed

What herb produces these beautiful flowers? A herb which we cannot live without.

It is Corriander!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Simple Lunches - 3 (Paruppu Keerai)

Ah! Summer! It is finally here not quiet by the calendar but the temperature says otherwise. The first things I get out of my vegetable garden is invariably Thandu Keerai (Amaranthus) mix of green and red. Don't have to sow seeds every year they come back, this year I added some red ones to the mix. Did not have a lot just enough for some Paruppu Keerai. The recipe is nothing spectacular but sure is tasty.

chappathis,curd,plaintain fry and Paruppu keerai

Paruppu Keerai
1. 1 1/2 cups of thandu Keerai washed and chopped(chop the tender stems and the leaves)
2. 1/2 Cup Moong Dal(roast till slightly brown) and Cooked with some turmeric and couple of drops of sesame oil.
3. 2 Green Chillies slit
4. 3 garlic cloves chopped
5. 1/2 onion chopped
6. 1 tsp of pepper powder
7. Seasoning: Curry Leaves, cumin, mustard, asfoetida
8. 1 tsp of ghee + oil (the ghee is what gives the amazing smell)

1. In a pan heat the oil + ghee, add the seasonings mustard last when the mustard starts to splutter add
2. the onions and saute till translucent, add the garlic and green chillies saute a little bit more.
3. Add the chopped keerai and let it cook for a few minutes.
4. Add the pepper powder and mix
5. Add the moong dal, salt and cook for a few more minutes

Serve with rice or Chappathis. Simple lunch for a lazy warm day.