Blogging Marathon #5 - 7 Day Marathon!

>>  Thursday, April 28, 2011

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It's time for 5th edition of Blogging Marathon!

As last time, it's going to be 7 days of Marathon for each group.

Each group will be doing the Marathon one week. Those interested can opt for multiple weeks. But please let me know ahead as I will have to work on the groups.

9th - 15th May
16th - 22nd May
23rd - 29th May

The final date to send me an email will be 4th May IST.

Mandatory rules for this Blogging Marathon are as below:

  • Will have to post on all 7 days without fail
  • Should follow the accepted theme all 7 days, meaning if you choose one topic like Rice, you should post all rice based recipes all 7 days.
  • Should link up to all the bloggers who are part of this session.
  • Should actively give feedback on others post.

Any one of the Theme that all of us can take will be:


Under 15 mins Quick Breakfast: (Pre planned batters, dough allowed but the breakfast should come in combo with serving ideas)

Curry in a Hurry under 30 mins (Can be both dry and liquid gravies)

Seven Days of Indian Sweets (Laddos, Puddings, Kheer only)

Seven Days of Regional Specials (Cook dishes specific to one region/Cuisine. Eg, if you choose Andhra, it should be only Andhra special for all 7 days)

Seven Days of Microwave Meals

Seven Days of Colorful Dishes Kid's Special

Seven Days of Summer Coolers – (Kulfi, popsicle, sorbet, ice cream, gelato, No Juices)

I hope most of you will be willing to select the tough theme and do this challenge!

Please email me spicingyourlife@gmail.com if you are interested. I will respond with the details that are required.
I will accept the participation only if you email me with your theme. As it will be very hard to plan otherwise.

Last date to email me your interest will be 4th May IST, as I will have to send the details to all the participants.

I would like to thank Suma and Champa for sharing their ideas on the Themes
Please spread the details if you want your friends to be part of this marathon.

Let's gear up for another non stop blogging!

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Mexican Rice | Cilantro Rice Mexican Style | Step By Step Recipe | Cooking for 100

>>  Sunday, April 24, 2011

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Along with the Coriander Rice that we prepared for our office staff, we also wanted to make something Mexican as our visiting colleague was good in Mexican dishes. She prepared a tasty salad with carrots and raisins. Seeing me prepare Coriander Rice, she said she would love to make their version of Rice which again uses Cilantro

First thinking she would need cooked rice, we cooked 2 kilos of rice along with the rice I needed for Coriander Rice. Later she said she would want raw rice as she wanted to make this sauteed version. Knowing that only a small portion of this rice may not be enough, we ended up making the same version in two ways and mixed it together. It blended so well. 

Our Mexican friend enjoyed her stay and loves Indian food. She was most surprised when we expressed the Mexican rice was very much similar to our way of making Rice. She made couple of other recipes that were really very tasty. I will be making those as I didn't take pictures of them, but have noted down the recipes.

Step by Step for making Mexican Rice




Making with pre cooked rice.









Mexican Rice with Cilantro




Rice - 1 cup
Coriander Leaves / Cilantro - 2 cups tightly packed
Tomato Broth - made with 1/2 kg
Purple onions - 2 medium
Thai Chilies - 6 long
Corn - 1/2 cup
String Beans / French Beans - 1 cups, chopped long
Oil - 2 tbsp
Butter - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:

Chop the onions as julienne, finely chop the coriander leaves. Make a broth of the tomatoes with water and keep it aside.

Heat a non stick pan with oil, butter add the onions, coriander leaves, saute well. Make a paste of the green chilies, add to the pan.

Then add the tomato broth, mix well. Next add the rice and combine everything well. Add 2 cups of water and cook over slow flame until done. This takes about 15 - 20 minutes to be done.

Fluff with fork to get everything nicely mixed.

When we made with the cooked rice, mix the cooked rice with rice and keep it covered.

Make a sauce of the purple onions, with coriander leaves, then add tomato broth. If you feel the spice is not enough, you can add red chili powder, mix in veg stock powder to it and add to the sauce. Cook well and finally add the tomato broth.

When everything comes done well, add to the cooked rice and mix well.

Keep it covered for a while so that it gets mixed properly.

Today is the last day of Blogging Marathon Edition 4.

Though I initially had no plans to do all the three weeks, I decided I should do all the three and somehow managed covering all the days.

For the next month, I will be announcing it shortly. Those of you interested, please be sure to sign in on time.
***************************************************************************
Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me

Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma  
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)  
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh  
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani  
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu  
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali  
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

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Macroni in Tomato Sauce, Indian Style

>>  Saturday, April 23, 2011

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Macroni often kindles memories of childhood Sunday Breakfasts at parents home. Amma pretty much had a list that went around through the weeks. And one Sunday was dedicated to macroni. That tangy Indian style Macroni in Tomato Sauce is not something that I can forget ever.

We used to make two types, one Vegetarian and the other mostly with Eggs for Dad and Brother. While we vegetarian would feast with either garlic flavoured or topped with cheese. Either ways, it used to be one enjoyable feast. As somebody said, tastes change with changing times, or rather new things replace old, this was somehow forgotten for a while.


When my daughter started going to school, I again remembered how well a macroni dish leads itself. And I devised a simple quick dish with tomato sauce for her. She used to love that. Though that is not the dish I am going to talk about. This Macroni in Tomato Sauce is made in Indian Style. With the spice level increased, one would never guess that it was supposed to be bland.

This makes a perfect meal when you quickly want to make something for yourself for lunch. Though I normally don't make this for my lunch, I send this often for my daughter. I recently found that my boys love this too. So it became quite easy that I have one dish that I can actually send all three of them!


Macroni in Tomato Sauce, Indian Style
Preparation Time : 20 mins
Serves :2


Ingredients Needed:


Macroni - 1 cup
Onion - 1 big
Tomato Sauce - 2 -3 tbsp / Tomatoes - 2 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Cheese - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish


Method to prepare:

  1. Boil a large pan of water and add the macroni to it. When it starts boiling, add few drops of oil to prevent the macroni from sticking together. Cook on high, it takes about 7 - 10 mins to get soft macronis. Drain the water and keep aside. You can again add few drops of oil.
  2. Heat a pan with oil, add finely chopped onions, sauté till its done. If you are adding Tomato Sauce, add and allow it to cook till it kind of dries. Else with tomatoes chunks, ensure you mush them really.
  3. At this stage add the salt and chili powder. Cook well. Add the cooked pasta. Combine everything well. Add the pepper powder and mix.
  4. Finally garnish with grated cheese and coriander. The cheese normally melts due to the heat, else micro it for a minute.


Notes:
  • If you are using Tomatoes, add a pinch of sugar. That will give a sweetish taste.
  • Add pepper just before switching it off.
  • Since we are adding both chili powder and pepper powder, use as per taste.

******************************************************************

Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me  
Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma  
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)  
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh  
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu  
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali  
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

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Dosakaya Pappu | Indian Lunch Box Recipes

>>  Friday, April 22, 2011

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Reading my post on Dosakaya Kootu, I realized that it's been almost 10 months since I started using Facebook regularly. Last June I seem to have done this, yet here I was thinking it's been just a while ago. And this pappu also gets done often, though somehow never came on the board. Since I have chosen to blog on 30 minutes meals, I can't but get those hidden dals that get done on a regular basis right! 

Pappu is our most favorite dish and the one that gets done in different circumstances. It's what we make when we return from a trip. It's what we make when we feel we have to revive our taste buds. Yet we keep making it often. It's like the parupu podi that Amma makes. Last night when it was fish for the rest of the family, I declined anything saying I will eat fruit for dinner. Within minutes I saw Athamma busy roasting something and tempting aroma was sneaking to the hall. I saw she had immediately made the podi for me. I was so touched. She was wondering if it tasted as good as how Amma makes, I said it surely did and had a blast. I was remembering how that podi and these dals are such must on our table.


Dosakaya Pappu

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 15 mins
Cuisine : Andhra Cuisine

Ingredients Needed

Toor Dal - 1 cup
Dosakaya / Yellow Cucumber - 1 medium
Dried Red chillies - 5-6
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 2 medium
Garlic - 4 cloves
Tamarind - small marble sized
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard, urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves few
Water for cooking
 
Method to prepare:

Clean the dal and keep aside. Chop onions and tomatoes. Crush the garlic cloves along with the skin.


Peel the dosakaya and cube into small pieces.


Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add mustard and urad dal. then curry leaves and cumin seeds. Once it splutters, sauté onions, red chillies and garlic. Once onion browns, add dal, dosakaya pieces and fry for few mins.

Then add tomatoes, tamarind, turmeric, and water for cooking. Cover it with lid and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles till the dal is cooked well.

When the pressure is off, take the dal masher or pappu guthi, mash the dal well with the red chillies. Add salt. and cook on high flame for 2 mins.

Serve with steamed Rice.


This is the same way we make most dals, only difference would be when you add the vegetable and how mushy you cook it.
************************************************************************
Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me  

Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma  
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)  
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh  
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani  
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu  
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali  
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

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Coriander Rice | Kothamalli Sadam | Step By Step Recipe | Cooking for 100

>>  Thursday, April 21, 2011

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Yes you read it right! Couple of months back when we had a visitor from our US office, I was requested to cook for the entire staff along with our guest who is a Mexican. She prepared a Mexican rice dish and a delicious salad. I once made Channa Pulao and that lead to cooking an entire meal for the staff. We are about 100 of us and planning an entire meal was really tough, not to mention scary for me. 

But with a supportive team, we got it right. This time round since it was going to be for evening, plus being just one dish, I thought I could easily manage myself. I had the cook to assist me of course. It was utterly fun. And the Mexican dishes turned out superb too. Will be sharing those two recipes soon.

Since the cooking had to be done in one shot, I had to choose something that can be cooked and simply mixed. I was planning to make Karuvapillai Sadam / Curry Leaves Rice. But it was a period even getting a twig of Curry leaves was proving to be toughest task for us. So there was no question any vendor sparing us 14 kg of those leaves.I got it confirmed with Amma on the amount of leaves I will have to use. Even if I can measure the quantity, I feel happy confirming with her. It always feels like we are planning a grand extravaganza!

I finally settled on Kothamalli Sadam, hoping we will be able to source this in bulk from the main market. I requested for those herbs to be bought ahead, fearing their unavailability. We were supposed to serve at 5 but I ended up starting the process only at about 3 pm or later. Since we had those other two dishes being prepared, time simply flew. Plus the distraction of others dropping in to check what's happening, made sure we crossed the decided time. 

Well I am talking about cooking 7 kilos of rice, that used nearly 15 huge bunches of Coriander leaves. Anyway when you cook for 4, this hardly takes time and very quick to get done.


 Coriander Rice ~ Kothamalli Sadam

 Coriander Rice, Mexican Rice and a salad - complete meal


















Please excuse the pictures as the lighting was bad in our office pantry and I was trying to manage clicking pictures with a messy hand, while stirring the pot literally!

For 100 people, I used about 7 kilo of rice, 15 Bunches of Coriander leaves, 2 bunches of Mint leaves, 500 gms of Green chilies, 250 gms of Whole Coriander Seeds, 100 gms of Whole peppercorns. I actually ended up using only 5 kgs of rice, and shared some of the coriander leaves with my colleague for her dish.

Serving for 4 you can use this measurement.


Coriander Rice

Ingredients Needed

Rice - 2 cups
Coriander leaves - 2 big bunches
Mint leaves - 1 cup tightly packed
Green chillies - 4 -5 medium
Whole Coriander seeds - - 2-3 tbsp
Whole Peppercorns- 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Roasted Cashew nuts for garnishing.

Method to prepare:

Trim and wash the leaves, let it drain aside.

Wash and soak the rice for 15 mins. Once done pan cook the rice with 4 cups of water and keep it aside.

Roast both the coriander seeds and peppercorn separately and powder to a fine texture.

Grind the leaves with using very minimal water. Since you will have to get a thick paste you should not use lot of water. Sieve to ensure you don't get the fiber. Grind Green chilies separately.

Heat a pan with 3 tsp of oil, add the paste, major amount of the chili paste. Cover it with a lid and continue cooking. It takes about 10 mins, you will have to keep stirring in middle so that the bottom doesn't get burnt.

Increase the spice if you require too. Once the paste comes out real thick, remove from flame.

Mix this paste directly to the cooked rice, add the ground coriander and pepper powder. Adjust the taste with salt.

Add some cashews to the rice and mix well. Finally garnish with roasted nuts on the top.

Serve with papad.

Notes:
Grinding the Green chilies separately is best as you can always add more if required.
Same goes for the coriander and peppercorn powder.
Rice has to be cooked as grains and mushy.


*****************************************************************
Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me

Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma  
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh  
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani  
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali  
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

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Vegetable Poha for a Quick Meal!

>>  Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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Ok I decided I will take the easy way out today with few other things coming my way. Meaning the post that I wanted to do today is not yet ready and instead I thought I will share this quick meal, rather a tiffin if you consider for an adult. But this I sent to my daughter's lunch. So I take the liberty to tag it as 30 min meal too.

Anyway this recipe is really one of those dishes that gets done in flat 10 minutes. Works out best when you want to clean up your fridge or have something for a quick bite. I am used to making the regular Poha with the thick variety of Poha where one needs to soak and cook the poha. This one needs to be added as such. Add whatever vegetable you have on hand to increase the nutrition value



Vegetable Poha for a Quick Meal

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Serves : 2
Ingredients Needed:

1 cup Flat Poha / Thin Poha / Atukulu
1 cup Finely chopped vegetables like Carrot, Capsicum, Beans
Handful of Fresh Green Peas
Onions a quarter of a medium
2 Green Chilies
Handful of Roasted Peanut
1 -2 tsp Oil
Salt to taste

Method to Prepare:
  1. Heat a non stick pan with oil and sauté onions well along with green chilies and roasted peanuts.
  2. Add finely chopped vegetables, salt and cover with a lid for 5 mins. Remove the lid and sauté again.
  3. When the vegetables are almost done, remove from heat, add the beaten rice and mix well.
  4. Since the beaten rice is very thin, it need not be cooked or soaked.
Notes:
  • When you are using the thinner type, you got to ensure you don't cook it. It gets soft with the heat that is already there in the cooked vegetables.
  • Add your vegetable of choice. This really one of those dishes that can be adapted to our liking.
  • Roasted Peanut gives such a wonderful crunchy taste to the entire dish.

Sending this to Mina who is hosting Kid's Delight, themed on Healthy Vegetarian and Colourful recipe using fruit and vegetable.


******************************************************************

Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me
Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma  
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)  
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh  
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali 
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

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Potato Broad Bean Sambar | Indian Lunch Box Recipes

>>  Tuesday, April 19, 2011

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As I was saying yesterday, I have the lunch menu planned with two days of Sambar in a week with some vegetables. Well some can say if you know one sambar, you know them all. I beg to differ in that. Of course what goes in is the same, no doubt about it. But you should also know what else can go into it right.

Like there was one person who confessed that she didn't know how to make Lady's finger Sambar or Bendakaya Sambar. Well I was actually surprised when she said that, as I always assumed you can just change the vegetable. But later realized that maybe she didn't know how to cook Bindi in a sambar. So it was very funny when I realized one day that you actually use Potatoes in a sambar. See I got my own lesson back. I mocked myself saying, see never belittle others ignorance, you got a chance to teach something, now learn something new..:)

Today's Lunch box is going to be Potato Broad Bean Sambar, Beets Poriyal and rice.
I have a Lunch Box Series going on Cooking 4 all Seasons and as per that list this is 61st in the making.
The Beets Poriyal featured here is almost same as the one I had already made but this has Bengal gram added and I used Dry Red Chilis.



Potato Broad Bean Sambar:

Ingredients Needed

Toor Dal - 1 cup
Potatoes - 2 medium
Broad Beans - 4 nos
Sambar Onions - 100 gms
Sambar Powder - 1 tsp
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Tamarind pulp - small lime size
Coriander Leaves - few chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt to Taste
Turmeric a pinch

For Seasoning

Mustard Seeds + Urud Dal + Fenugreek - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - few
Garlic - 4 pods
As I was saying yesterday if you have few things ready at hand, it becomes very simple. I always have Tamarind Extract ready, or at least soaked tamarind. Of course these days you get ready made tamarind extract, which I have never used but heard is not that good.
I have Whole Spice Blend For Tempering always ready at hand.


When you have multiple dishes like these to be done, get the first things done first. I normally use my pressure cookers for quick cooking.

Wash and Soak rice first
Wash and pressure cook Toor dal in a pressure cooker.

when the dal is getting cooked, wash and peel the beets. This goes into another small pressure cooker. This takes about 10 mins to get done, with 2 -3 whistles depending on how big or small you have chopped it.

After 15 mins, Add water and pressure the rice in a pressure cooker.

When the pressure falls down in the dal, check for doneness, remove the dal water if you are planning to make Rasam, else churn everything together.

Transfer the dal to a bowl, rinse the pan, put it on flame again.

Chop the onions, curry leaves and garlic needed for the sambar.

When the pan is hot, add oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, jeera and methi seeds. When they spulter add the onions, garlic and curry leaves. Simmer for 1 mins.

As the onions get cooked, cube potatoes and microwave for 5 mins. Broad Beans can be added directly to the pan as it will get cooked fast.

When the onions are done, add chopped tomatoes, sambar powder, tamarind extract, salt and trimmed broad beans. Cover with lid for it to get cooked fast.

Meanwhile the beets are done. Transfer to a bowl, rise the pan, wipe it clean and put it back on fire.

Add oil for the saute, add split red chillies, mustard seeds, Bengal gram, curry leaves, When the mustard spultters, add the cooked beets. Cook on high for all the water to get evoparated. This takes about 5 - 7 mins. When it is dry add grated coconut.

By this time, the tomatoes are mashed well, add the cooked potatoes, cooked dal, required water. Bring to boil. You can cover this slightly for it to get done soon.

Rice is all done in 15 minutes time.

Garnish the sambar finally with coriander leaves and your meal is ready.

Of course getting these three dishes done within 30 minutes is not a breeze as my post might convey. Conditions apply!..:)

With my kids dropping in every other moment, I tend to delay in certain areas. Having said that I have checked it myself on various times that this time is more than enough if you are prepared with all the ingredients and don't go searching for ingredients.

I added very few broad beans to the sambar as I was told that it adds flavour to a potato sambar.



*********************************************************************

Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me  

Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh  
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
Seven Days of Cakes: Priya Vasu  
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali 
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli 

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Cauliflower Peas Pulao Recipe

>>  Monday, April 18, 2011

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Time surely has no sense of time! Well the way the days have rolled into weeks, left me amazed that I am doing the 3rd group of the Blogging Marathon. And two weeks have just gone so quickly. Though I never thought I will do the rest of the weeks, somehow didn't feel good letting the group do the hard work without pinching in. 

I wanted to make things little easy for myself and decided to do 30 minutes meal for the next 7 days. Most days this is what happens at home. With me cooking the breakfast and lunch at the same go and managing it well within time for everybody to leave on time. My usual menu revolves around dals, sambars and pulaos in a week. When I make Dal or Sambar, it is the usual Rice, Vegetable side dish, Rasam and Curd Rice. When it is Pulao, if the rice is mild a vegetable curry is made, else a simple onion raitha.

Making an Indian Meal within 30 mins is surely possible when you have certain things done ahead. Also I start my cooking with the pan on the flame and then get my things ready as I cook along. There is really no time nor need to get all the ingredients ready on the table for you to start cooking. Of course that helps for a novice or if you are attempting a new recipe.

For Pulaos to get ready quickly, here are the addons that that you can consider getting done ahead.

Ginger Garlic paste
Coconut Paste
Green Chili Paste

These can be made ahead and usually stays good as mentioned in the post on their shelf life. 



Cauliflower Peas Pulao 

Ingredients Needed

Basmati Rice - 1 Cup
Fresh Peas - 1/2 Cup
Cauliflower, florets - 1/2 Cup
Onion - 1 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 3/4 tsp
Green Chilli - 2 tsp / 3 medium slit vertically
Coconut paste - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Water - 1 & 1/2
Coriander leaves,finely chopped - 2 tsp

Whole spices

Cloves - 2
Cardamoms - 2
Cinnamon - 1 stick
Bay leaf - 1
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Wash and soak the basmati rice for 10 - 15 mins.

Clean the cauliflower and soak in salted hot water for 5 mins. Shell peas if you haven't already done ahead.

Put the pressure cooker on low flame, while you chop the onions. Add oil to the pan, drop in all the whole spices.

If you are using green chili paste, add it now else, the slit pieces along with ginger garlic paste. Saute well for couple of mins.

Then add the onions, saute till it turns colour, then add the cauliflower florets and peas. Continue cooking in low flame for 2 more mins for the vegetables to get thoroughly mixed with the oil and spices.

Get the flame to high flame, saute well. Then add drained rice and saute again. Measure out 1 & 1/2 cup of water, add coconut paste, salt and cover with lid.

Pressure cook for 2 -3 whistles depending on your cooker.

Serve with Onion Raitha for a complete meal.

Note:

When you make this pulao with whole green chilies, it tends to be mild. So you may increase the spice or serve with a curry as side dish.
Else if you want to serve this spicy, add the green chili paste and make it fiery.


***************************************************************************
Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 3 BM#4 along with me  

Diabetes Diet/Management: Kamalika, Smitha, Suma  
Kid Friendly Recipes: Anusha, Cool Lassi(e)
Seven Days of Soup: Priya Suresh
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Jayasree, Pavani
Seven Days of Cakes:  Priya Vasu  
Seven Days of Preserves: Gayathri Kumar, Vaishali 
30 Minutes Meals: Priya Mahadevan, Srivalli

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Sorakaya Thokku Pachadi | Bottle Gourd Peel Chutney

>>  Sunday, April 17, 2011

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There are moments that remain fresh in memory as fresh as you experienced them. And if those relate to your childhood, it's more precious than one thinks. One such memory that remains fresh for me would be the first time I heard or rather remember Amma talk about her childhood friend. She was a year older to Amma and they used to go the same school. Amma has a framed photo of herself taken along with her two friends. The first time I ever noticed that picture was when I was maybe about 12 years or so. I don't exactly remember but the memory is quite distinct. Amma used to store her memorabilia in one metal suitcase. A chance lead me to dig into that and I discovered quite a few treasures.

One of them was this precious picture of the friends. I could see a smile breaking on Amma's face when she fondly remembers her friends and how they used to go to school and the other times they spent together. She really wished she knew what happened to them and where they were living currently. I think one of the ardent wish of hers was to meet her friend and her Uncle, who was the school Principal. She used to praise him so much, as a model teacher, a role model for students to emulate and principles to follow.

I always used to tell her that we should try to trace them and then we used to wonder how. We finally were able to trace their whereabouts and Amma finally spoke to her friend. That was one moment I can never forget. The joy I could sense in Amma's voice when she said spoke to her friend, was infectious and very content. It was almost like little girls getting back to their mischievous deeds. Her friend visited us last year and it was such a lovely moment seeing how they conversed and enjoyed reminiscing their childhood days.

Couple of months back, we had the pleasure of having them visit us. Both Aunty and her husband stayed for a day. I was so excited to be among them. It was so sweet hearing them both call each other by names. I hardly hear my Amma being called by her name, so it was musical to hears. And the wonderment I saw on their faces, talking to each other and having grandchildren around was pretty amazing. The whole day Amma planned the menu as per their liking, but for dinner Aunty wanted to make something when she saw bottlegroud. She said she makes a bottlegourd kura and a pachadi with the peel.

This was the recipe she shared with us. 

 Sorakaya Pachadi, Sorakaya Kura with Sadda Rotti

Sorakaya Thokku Pachadi | Bottle Gourd Peel chutney

Ingredients Needed:

Bottlegourd Peel / Sorakaya Tholu - 1 cup
Bottlegourd pieces / Sorakaya pieces - 1 cup
Whole Coriander / Dhaniya - 1 tbsp
Fenugreek Seeds / Methi - 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds / Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Asofoetida / Hing a pinch
Bengal Gram / Channa dal - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilies - 4 nos
Green chili - 1 no
Tamarind - small marble size
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Seasonings
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad Dals - 1/4 tsp

Method to prepare:

Wash and peel the skin from the bottle gourd. The cube the sorakaya into small pieces.

Then heat a pan with oil, add methi, coriander seeds, hing, cumin seeds, bengal gram, Then add the red chilies, green chilies, remove that aside.

Then add the peels, saute well. Then add the sorakaya pieces and saute for a while.

Remove and allow it cool.

Once it is cooled down, grid to a almost coarse paste.

Heat another pan with oil. Once it is hot, add mustard seeds and urad dal. When it splutters, pour over the ground chutney and mix well.

Serve with steaming rice.


************************************************************************
Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 2 BM#4 along with me  

Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ  
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30 Minutes Meals: Archana    
Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli

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Chutney Powder with Curry Leaves, Coriander leave and Sesame Seeds

>>  Saturday, April 16, 2011

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Today's podi is all about a mix of herbs and spice. Its a lovely combination of Coriander, Curry Leaves along with Sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are very integral part of Andhra cuisine. The most famous being the Nuvulla Pulihora. Sesame seeds take the mixed rice to a different level. I felt the same when I tasted this combination. Roasted Curry leaves leave your heady but when combined with Sesame seeds it was potent.

This can be used as chutney powder and served with Dosas too. 


Chutney Powder with Curry Leaves, Coriander Leaves & Sesame Seeds

Chutney Powder with Curry Leaves, Coriander leave and Sesame Seeds
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 10-15 mins
Makes: Around 1 cup of Chutney Powder
Shelf Life: Up to 1 month when refrigerated

Ingredients Needed:

1 cup Fresh Curry Leaves, loosely packed
1 cup Fresh Coriander Leaves, loosely packed
8-10 Dry Red Chillies, about 3 inch long and stalks removed
2 tbsp Black Sesame Seeds
5 -6 Garlic flakes
2-4 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:


Remove curry leaves from its stalk, pick the coriander leaves and rinse them clean. Wipe them dry using kitchen towel.

Heat a wide pan on medium flame and dry roast Sesame seeds till they start popping. Remove and keep aside.

In the same pan, add oil roast red chilies till its done, remove then add the dried curry leaves. Roast till the curry leaves turn crisp but retain that lovely green colour. Then roast coriander leaves till its well roasted and become soft, it takes about 3-5 mins. Keep it aside to cool.

Once all the ingredients have cooled enough, transfer them into dry mixer or food processor jar, add the peeled garlic along with all the ingredients and grind to fine or coarse powder according to your preference.

Transfer ground powder into dry and clean jar. Pop it in refrigerator for longer shelf life. You can serve this delicious Chutney Podi/Powder with Dosa, Idli or steamed rice with a dollop of ghee and enjoy.


Chutney Powder with Curry Leaves, Coriander Leaves & Sesame Seeds


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Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 2 BM#4 along with me

Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ  
Kid Friendly Recipes: Suma, Priya Suresh, Divya
Seven Days of Soup: Ila, Smita P 
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Monika,
Seven Days of Cakes:  Bhagyashri  
30 Minutes Meals: Archana  
Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli

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Vatteppam - Vattayappam | Indian Cooking Challenge for March | How to make Vattayappam Step By Step Recipe!

>>  Friday, April 15, 2011

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This month for Indian Cooking Challenge, we are traveling little further down to the state of Kerala to taste one of its unique dish Vatteppam/Vattayappam. I came to know about this dish from my colleague who is from Kerala and wanted to make this for us. When she did make it I was off and couldn't taste it. I had asked her to make it again but then we never came around.

Then after doing last month's challenge I was chatting with Jayasree when I asked her if she has anything in mind to suggest for this month's challenge from Kerala. She said she has something traditional but that might again be something very similar. Then I suddenly remembered Vatteppam and asked her if she has the perfect recipe for one. She said she remembered Shn doing this and quickly referred me to Shn's Vatteppam. Well I love Shn's pictures, though I never actually went through the recipes. Mostly because I am left gaping at the pictures that I forget that I should read the recipe.


Well finally here comes an opportunity to do just that. I immediately sent an email to Shn asking for permission to use her recipe for Indian Cooking Challenge. She promptly replied back that she will be very glad to share her recipe. I would like to thank Shn for her delicious recipe.

I attempted it during the last weekend and had it for the evening snack. It was a good experience.  I took this for a verdict from my colleague and she accepted that this tasted as it should be. Only difference is that, they don't add ghee to the batter other than greasing the pan. Well you ought to expect a variation right.


Step by Step Pictures

Soak the rice for 4+ hours
Fresh coconut which we had to grind to almost a paste.
Cooked rice to be used at the end
Rice porridge coming out really soft, yet to make sure it's completely smooth we pulsed it once.
Foaming yeast
Batter all read to be steamed. Garnished with cashews and raisins before doing it.
 After nearly 12 mins
I steamed in Idli moulds too.
If you want to decorate, remove the lid and gently drop in the saved cashews and raisins on the top.

Heart shaped Vatteppam!


Vatteppam/Vattayappam

Ingredients Needed:

To make the batter:

Idli-Ponni rice, soaked for 4 hours min - 2 cups
Freshly grated coconut - 1 & 1/2 cup
Cooked Rice - 4 tbsp
Water as required to get a thick Idli batter.
Rice porridge - 1/2 cup (Check below to know how to make this)
Salt a pinch
Proofed Yeast - 1 tsp (check below for process)

Notes
Under other climatic conditions, it is advised to soak for longer hours for 6- 8 hrs. But the hot climate that we live in, 4 hours is more than enough.

Since adding grated coconut was not anyway going to get a smooth paste, we ground it with little water to a paste.

Same with cooked rice. From previous experience we know that cooked rice never gets evenly ground when added at the last stage, so this was again ground to paste in a mixer before adding it to the batter.

Adding as little water as possible is advised as you will be adding water in other forms next

To Proof yeast:

Active Dry Yeast - 1 tsp
Lukewarm Water - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 tsp

To make the Rice porridge/ Thari Kurukku

Coarse ground batter - 2 tbsp (saved before adding the coconut.)
Water - 1/2 cup

In a non stick pan, add the coarse rice batter along with water. Cook on high flame, when it starts cooking reduce it to medium flame. Continue cooking till you get a thick porridge. It takes about  5- 7 mins.

We pulsed this porridge couple of times to get a lump less porridge.

To sweeten and flavor:

Sugar - 1 cup + some more. (still it was only mildly sweet)
Cardamom powder - 2 pinches
Whole cashews - 6 -7
Raisins - 10
Ghee - 2 tsp

Heat a pan with ghee and roast both cashew nuts and raisins. Keep it aside.


Method to prepare:

The batter:

Wash and soak the rice for 4 hrs. Drain the rice and add to the grinder. Add just enough water to get the grinder running.

If you are using a grinder, you will use less water than a mixer.

When the ground rice reaches a coarse texture, remove about 2 tbsp of ground rice aside to make the rice porridge. Check above notes to know how to make rice porridge

Next add the ground coconut to the grinder and continue grinding to a fine batter. When it is almost done, add the cooked rice. Switch off when it is all blended well.

Meanwhile take the yeast in a lukewarm water along with sugar. Cover with a lid. Within minutes it will foam up.

While the rice is getting ground, you can make the porridge. When it is cooled completely, add about 4 tbsp to the ground batter. Run it one more time for getting it mixed well.

Finally add the yeast mixture and run it one more time to blend everything well.

Transfer the batter to a big enough container and let it ferment in a warm place for about 4 -6 hrs or overnight. Make sure the vessel is big enough to hold the batter that will get almost double after fermentation.

When the batter is fermented, add sugar and let it ferment again for another an hour.

Just before steaming, heat a pan with ghee, roast the cashew nuts and raisins. Keep it aside. You can add the nuts, cardamom to the batter before steaming.
Steaming the Vatteppam

Grease the pan with ghee and pour the batter into the greased pans.

Since I used 2 cups of rice, I had quite an amount of batter. I used two cake tin, a circle and a heart shaped ones. Plus two idli plates.

Use a pressure cooker for the cake tins, make sure you keep the perforated plate on the water and then over it you place the cake tin with the batter.

This batter is steamed just as you would steam idlis in a pressure cooker, without a whistle. Steam this for 15 - 20 mins. For the first batch it took us about 20 mins. For the second batch it took little more time.

Check after 10 mins for doneness, by inserting a knife into the batter. Depending on how it comes out, you can lower the flame for 10 more minutes.

I opened up after almost 10 mins to drop in some cashews and raisins on the top.

Once the required time is over, allow it rest for a while

When it is completely cooled, gently separate the steamed cake from the pan and cut into desired pieces.

I am told that this is served with tea/coffee. Some even serve Kadala curry with it.


Notes:

  • I used Idli rice but this can be made with Raw rice as well.
  • The first batch was very porous and soft, while the second batch turned out little thick and not so porous. This happens just like the Idlis.
  • I took this to my malayali friend, who said it tasted exactly like how they make. But they don't use ghee at all. When she serves it as with spicy gravy, the vatteppam is mildly sweet. Else if you want you can increase the sweetness.
  • As I have mentioned I live in a hot place and soaking and fermenting time is very less. Depending on your climatic condition you will have to adjust. Please check Shn's post as she has given those details more clearly.
  • After the batter is fermented we could smell a sharp yeast smell. But luckily it didn't smell the same after being steamed.

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Check out my Blogging Marathoners doing Group 2 BM#4 along with me

Diabetes Diet/Management: PJ
Kid Friendly Recipes: Suma, Priya Suresh, Divya
Seven Days of Soup: Ila, Smita P 
Seven Days of Indian Bread: Monika,
Seven Days of Cakes: Bhagyashri
30 Minutes Meals: Archana
Seven days of Condiment: Kamalika, Srivalli

To all my ICC members, please link your Vattayappam post to Mr. Linky.

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