January 25, 2021

Grape Gooseberry cooler


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Fresh fruit Juices have always been my weakness and I love to sip on them.  I prefer to make them without added sugar and also very less water so that there is no much loss of nutrients.  Incase the juice happens to be slightly sour or bland , I prefer to add a few spoons of honey which makes it sweet . You may add jaggery too but at times it changes the taste and many may not like it ..so pls choose depending on how you like your juice/cooler to be .

Grapes Gooseberry juice is rich in vit C and acts as a natural immunity booster ..very refreshing and helps in keeping the body hydrated . Grapes juice, amla juice, grape amla juice , aavla juice, grapes aavla juice , grapes and Gooseberries cooler

This week for FMBH week 282 , Poonam wanted all of us to share delicacies made using berries .I wanted to make some Amla rice (Nellikai Saadham) or Amla murabba , but somehow due to certain other commitments I couldn't go ahead as planned . Poonam has dished out mouthwatering jaggery based Amla murabba which is a must try if you love Gooseberries. 

So for the theme it is  fresh juice from green grapes and boiled Gooseberry I.e Amla . I have boiled the amlas as it is easier to deseed them and also becomes soft to grind . I have not added any sugar as the grapes were sweet by themselves .

Nutrition Facts

  • Grapes, Amla are packed with nutrients and essential vitamins like Vit K and Vit C .
  •  Amla and Grapes also have antioxidant properties which help in dealing with chronic ailments. 
  • Amlas are a powerhouse of natural fibre , hence very useful in digestion and also eases the discomfort of Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Since grapes and amla are rich in Vit C they provide natural immunity to the body . 
  • Amla is also beneficial in controlling blood sugar as the natural soluble fibre prevents sudden spikes in sugar levels.
**these are general health benefits of grapes and amla , but pls do exercise caution in consuming these in case you have any underlying health issues which may prevent the consumption of amla and grapes . 

How to boil the Amla/Gooseberry ? 

  • Take the required quantity of Gooseberries ,wash them well and pressure cook for 1 whistle with sufficient water . 
  • The Gooseberry will become soft and the seed would have popped out on its own
  •  You can just discard the seed and use the boiled Gooseberry. 
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Grapes Gooseberry juice is rich in vit C and acts as a natural immunity booster ..very refreshing and helps in keeping the body hydrated .


Preparation Time - 15 mins

Cooking Time  - Nil 

Complexity - Easy 


Ingredients 

500gms green grapes 

2 -3 medium sized boiled amla/Gooseberry 

2 tbsp honey (optional) **skip for Vegan

1/2 cup water 

Method

  • Soak the grapes in salt water for 10 mins.
  • Wash the bunch of grapes thoroughly in water multiple times until the water appear clean and clear .
  • Drain the grapes in a colander for a few mins.
  • Add the amla and grapes to a blender or juicer and blend  well . 
  • Strain the juice for extra pulp or you may include the pulp if you like pulpy juices .
  • Stir in the honey after passing the juice through the sieve .
  • Refrigerate it and enjoy chilled. 
  • You may add some ice cubes too if you wish .

January 18, 2021

Mix Vegetable Rice - Vegan,GF& Saatvik


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 We are always on the look out for quick lunch box recipes which are filling at the same time healthy and nutritious. My to go choice for such quick recipes is always some variety of mixed rice like pulao ,biryanis or south indian style variety rice .

As much Pulaos and Biryanis are sought after delicacies in North Indian Cuisine, South Indian cuisine has a variety of flavored rice known as Chitrannam / Chitranna / Kalandha Saadham .

mix vegetable rice is very simple yet flavorful at the same time .There are no spl fancy spice mixes needed just the usual ones we have in our kitchen shelves. You can quickly prepare this flavourful rice for your lunch .it is vegan and GF friendly too.chitrannam, kalandha saadham , chitranna, kannu pandigai, kaanum pongal, aadi perukku, what is kaanum pongal , maatu pongal

If you have been following my blog regularly you would have observed I have posted most of the traditional south Indian variety rice recipes which are very popular and a must have on special occasions.  

If you haven't checked on these recipes , do click the links below and try them the next time you are pressed for choices 😉 


Festivals like Aadi Perukku and Kannu Pongal are days when we prepare an elaborate spread of variety rice .For these festivals minimum of 3 variety rice is prepared and max is about 7 or 9 varieties. 

Both these festivals are a way of expressing our gratitude to The Nature for having bestowed us with abundant natural resources which helps in fetching a good yield of crops year on year .

Kaanum Pongal / Kannu Pongal is celebrated on the day after Pongal/ Sankranti where the cattle is worshipped and farmers pay their respects.  The family then  rejoices this day with friends and relatives and they share the delicacies prepared in each home. 

Aadi Perukku is celebrated in August where in we offer our gratitude to River Kaveri which flows in full force almost overflowing and helps in providing very good irrigation for crops.  To know more details about this festival check my Aadi Perukku special post .
Also,during Navaratri ,each day a special chitrannam is prepared as Prasad for Devi Maa.


This Monday is the 281st week in our FMBH group and Narmadha is the hostess. She suggested we share variety rice dishes which are the speciality of any region barring Pulaos and Biryanis as they are a wide range by themselves.  Narmadha's Srilankan Pol Roti (Coconut Roti) is very interesting and something very unique which I would like to try .


Today's recipe of mix vegetable rice is very simple yet flavorful at the same time .There are no spl fancy spice mixes needed just the usual ones we have in our kitchen shelves . I personally love this rice very much because it is loaded with vegetables and can be paired with some chilled curd and chips . A simple cucumber raita is also a good combination for this mix veg rice. If you follow Vegan diet ,you can pair this with some simple Dal tadka or Rajma Masala.


Donot forget to pin this recipe 

mix vegetable rice is very simple yet flavorful at the same time .There are no spl fancy spice mixes needed just the usual ones we have in our kitchen shelves. You can quickly prepare this flavourful rice for your lunch .it is vegan and GF friendly too.


Preparation Time - 10 mins
Cooking Time - 20 mins
Complexity - Simple 
Serves - 2 to 3 

Ingredients 

2 cups cooked rice 
1 -2 medium sized potato
2 medium carrots
8 to 10 fresh French beans
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas 
2tbsp cooking oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
Salt as needed 
2 tsp sambar powder
1 tsp dhaniya powder 
1/2 tsp haldi 
1/2 tsp red chilli powder 
Fresh corriander finely chopped
Few curry leaves 
1 tsp sugar 
1 tsp tamarind extract 
Pinch of asafoetida (skip for GF) 

Method 

  • The rice must be well cooked at the same time fluffy and separate. Spread the rice of a wide plate and allow it cool completely before you mix it .
  • Chop all the vegetables into small cubes and keep aside 
  • In a wide pan , heat the oil and splutter mustard seeds and asafoetida followed by curry leaves.
  • Add the vegetables, salt , haldi and red chilli powder and stir it well . Sprinkle some water and cook covered with occasional stirring . 
  • Once the veggies are half cooked add the dhaniya powder , sambar powder ,fresh corriander leaves ,sprinkle some more water and continue cooking covered. 
  • After a while you can see the vegetables are well cooked .Adjust salt at this stage ,add the tamarind extract and sugar and continue to cook covered for another 2 or 3 mins until you see the vegetables releasing oil and water on its own from the sides .
  • Turn off the stove, add the cooked rice to this vegetable mixture , spread some oil and mix it carefully without breaking the rice.  
  • Donot over mix else they will turn mushy . Carefully mix the rice with the vegetable mixture so that the vegetable mixture gets evenly coated and mixed with the rice. 
  • Let it sit for 20 mins before you serve. This well help the rice absorb all the flavors nicely .
  • Warm it up a bit just before serving. Tasty and healthy vegetable rice is ready .
  • You can fry some peanuts or cashewnuts and garnish it just before serving . 


January 11, 2021

Thai Pongal / Sankranti Celebrations - Traditional recipe


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 Makar Sankranti / Pongal is an Indian Harvest Festival celebrated in the month of January . This festival marks the end of winter solstice and beginning of Summer solstice.  Invariably January 14th or 15th is the date when we celebrate Sankranti . 

Farmers all over India offer their gratitude to Sun God by performing various divine rituals and the first harvest is offered to Sun and the cattle are well fed . 

Makar Sankranti is celebrated all over India and is known by different names ;

  • Pongal in Tamilnadu
  • Uttarayan in Gujarat & Rajasthan
  • Makar Sankrant in Maharashtra , UP, Bengal , Bihar
  • Sankranti in Karnataka & Andhra 
  • Maghi in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana
  • Bihu in Assam 

Makar Sankranti / Pongal is an Indian Harvest Festival celebrated in the month of January . This festival marks the end of winter solstice and beginning of Summer solstice.  Invariably January 14th or 15th is the date when we celebrate Sankranti . Thai Pongal, how to prepare Pongal in vengala paanai , how to celebrate Pongal at home , pongal O pongal , what is thai thirunaal , pongal vazhthukkal

As per Tamil Solar Calender,the sun's movement shifts from Dhanur Rasshi (Sagittarius) to Makara Rasshi (Capricorn)  and this festival is also known as Thai Pongal . Thai is the Tamil month and Pongal means to "boil or to overflow". 

On this auspicious day the front yard of the houses are cleaned and beautiful rangolis (colored motifs) are drawn , mud pots or heavy bronze pots are decorated with flowers, fresh turmeric, sugarcane and then milk is boiled in that pot allowing it to overflow and  the family gathers around gloriously and happily shout " Pongal O Pongal"  . This sight is something to behold and indicates abundance and prosperity.  

Makar Sankranti / Pongal is an Indian Harvest Festival celebrated in the month of January . This festival marks the end of winter solstice and beginning of Summer solstice.  Invariably January 14th or 15th is the date when we celebrate Sankranti . Thai Pongal, how to prepare Pongal in vengala paanai , how to celebrate Pongal at home , pongal O pongal , what is thai thirunaal , pongal vazhthukkal




In the same pot , rice and split lentil are cooked until mushy and then fresh jaggery is added along with ghee and some dry fruits.  This is then offered to Sun God, cattle and the family then rejoices this delicacy alongwith a festive meal prepared using freshly harvested vegetables.  Either Aviyal or 7 kari kootu is prepared in most houses . Some families also make Ven Pongal along with the sakkarai Pongal (Sweet pongal) 

Traditionally,the Pongal is cooked on wooden fire in the front yard or porch but in urban lifestyle we do it on the regular stove top in our kitchens. In my house we use a traditional bronze vessel to prepare this sweet Pongal .



This week in our  280th FMBH (Foodie Monday Bloghop) we are sharing Pongal / Sankranti recipes as this is the next festival in line . Apt for the theme , I thought I must share how Thai Pongal is celebrated typically in most Tamil homes.  The pictures you see are from the Pongal celebrations in my home last year. Stay tuned to my Facebook profile to check out some interesting and traditional Sankranti special recipes by my blogger friends. 

 The paanai is decorated with fresh turmeric and sugar cane leaves and kept ready . At an auspicious time or typically at Sunrise we place the pot on the stove with milk in it and wait for it to boil and overflow . This year the auspicious time as told by our family priest is 11.50am on 14th Jan 2021.

There is a tradition of gifting the daughter with a heavy Bronze Pot (Vengala paanai) on her first Sankranti after her marriage and the Pongal is prepared in this pot.  So most homes will have atleast 2 or 3 bronze pots of different sizes which will belong to the grand mom in law, mom in law and then the daughter in law . Depending on the family size the apt bronze vessel will be used to prepare the Pongal.  

The cooking process in this traditional way is time consuming as we have to cook the rice and lentils completely in this pot and this can easily take about 1 to 1.5hrs . Though it takes a lot of time , the taste is simply out of the world .


Preparation Time - 10min
Cooking Time - 1.5 to 2 hrs
Complexity - Medium 
Serves - 3 to 4

Ingredients 

1 cup rice 
1/4 cup moong dhall/split yellow lentil / paasi paruppu /hessuru bele
1/2 litre milk 
1/2 ltr water
2 cups grated jaggery  (reduce if the jaggery is too sweet ) 
1 tsp cardamom powder 
Pinch of edible camphor 
Handful of cashews and raisins
Few strands of saffron
5 to 6 tbsp ghee/clarified butter 

Method 

  • Pour milk into the bronze vessel with the saffron strands and wait until it boils. 
  • Meanwhile wash the rice and lentils and soak it in a cup of water . This enables the rice to cook faster .
  • As soon as the milk boils add the soaked rice and lentils and keep stirring to cook it well.  Keep adjusting water as and when needed.  The rice and lentil has to cook really well and must be soft and mushy.  
  • Add the jaggery and turn the flame to low once the rice has become fully mushy, until then don't add the jaggery as the rice won't cook once we add the jaggery .
  • Be very careful after adding the jaggery as the Pongal mixture will begin to boil and splutter vigorously. Keep it on low flame and drop a wooden ladle into the pot so that the bubbling is controlled and doesn't spill over .
  • Continue cooking until the jaggery is incorporated well with the rice and lentils and you get a a nice aroma . The mixture will slowly start solidifying . Turn off at this stage and leave it on the stove.  The Pongal will further cook and solidify on its own as the bronze vessel will retain heat for a long time. 
  • Add the edible camphor, ghee and cardamom powder and mix it well .
  • Roast the cashews and raisins in ghee and pour it over the sakkara Pongal. 
  • Offer the Pongal to the God and do the pooja as per your family custom and enjoy the festive day with your near and dear ones .

Tips to keep in mind

  • Once the sakkarai Pongal has cooled down, transfer it from the bronze vessel without fail ,don't leave it for long in the pot . Milk tends to react with bronze and will have a toxic reaction if left for long. 
  • Melt the jaggery and filter it if you feel there are impurities and then use the strained jaggery water.
  • Adjust water as you are cooking the rice and keep stirring, else there are chances it will burn and stick to the pot .
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Makar Sankranti / Pongal is an Indian Harvest Festival celebrated in the month of January . This festival marks the end of winter solstice and beginning of Summer solstice.  Invariably January 14th or 15th is the date when we celebrate Sankranti . Thai Pongal, how to prepare Pongal in vengala paanai , how to celebrate Pongal at home , pongal O pongal , what is thai thirunaal , pongal vazhthukkal