October 14, 2021

Bonda Morkuzhambu | Festive lunch platter - Ayudha Pooja Special Thali #5


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 Mor kuzhambu is a typical South Indian curry prepared using yogurt and coconut paste and vegetables like pumpkin,  ladies finger, chayote /chou chou.  Recipes for Poosnikaai (Ash gourd) Morkuzhambu and Vendakkai (Ladies finger) Mor Kuzhambu is already there on the blog .

Bonda Morkuzhambu  is a Tambrahm speciality and is part of wedding feast.  Bondas are small vadas made using udad dhall and then dunked into the freshly prepared Morkuzhambu. 

Bonda Morkuzhambu can be called as a close cousin of Kadhi Pakora which is a North Indian delicacy.  



Bonda Mor kozhambu comes in very handy when we are out of veggies or want a break from the usual menu .Normally at my home,we make Bonda Morkuzhambu on festive occasions or when we are having guests over for lunch or dinner . 

I make the vada batter a little spicy so that when it is dunked in the yogurt gravy ,it absorbs all the flavors well and tastes good when we take a bite . 

Today being, Ayudha Pooja or Saraswathi Pooja ,I have prepared Bonda Morkuzhambu as part of my festival menu .  For lunch we are going to feast on

Bonda Morkuzhambu  (scroll down for recipe

Rasam vadai 

Kondakadalai Sundal 

Plain Vadas

Arisi Kadala Paruppu Payasam 

Rice + Ghee 



Preparation Time - 3 hrs
Cooking Time - 30 mins
Complexity - Medium 
Serves - 2 to 3 

Ingredients 

250ml thick yogurt 
100 ml water 
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard 
1/2 tsp methi /fenugreek seeds
2 to 3 dry red chillies 
fresh curry leaves 
pinch of turmeric 
Pinch of asafoetida 
salt

To grind

 6 to 7 tbsp  fresh grated coconut 
1/2 tsp jeera/cumin 
3 to 4 green chillies 
1 tsp channa dhall /bengal gram
2 tsp dhaniya /corriander seeds
Small piece ginger 

For the Vadas / Bondas 

1/2 cup udad dhall 
2 green chillies 
Few curry leaves 
Fresh corriander 
Salt as needed 

Method 

To make the bondas 
  • Wash and soak the udad dhall in water for 3 hrs .
  • Drain the water and add it to the blender and using very little water grind into a smooth paste .
  • Transfer it to a mixing bowl and add salt ,chopped green chillies,  curry leaves and fresh corriander. 
  • Whisk it well using a spoon or whisk for atleast 10 mins . This will make the batter fluffy and aerated. 
  • Heat oil and pinch out small roundels of this vada batter and fry on medium flame until it is crisp and golden brown. 
Preparation of Mor Kozhambu
  • Soak all the ingredients under the "to grind" section in water for 10 to 15 mins and grind into a fine paste.
  • Whisk the yogurt until is creamy and smooth. 
  • Add in the ground spice paste to the whisked yogurt along with salt and turmeric powder and mix well with water mentioned . Donot add too much water , else the mor kuzhambu will be runny and will split on boiling.  
  • Cook on medium flame until the mixture starts frothing up . 
  • Remember to turn it off at this stage..continuing to cook further will end up in splitting the yogurt..we donot want that to happen. 
  • Prepare a tempering of mustard seeds , methi  Curry leaves and dry chillies in hot oil and pour it over the mor kuzhambu.  You can use coconut oil for tempering for added taste and flavor. 
Assembling Bonda Morkuzhambu 
  • Add the fried bondas to the Mor Kozhambu and mix well .
  • Let it rest for 10 15 mins before serving so that the bondas absorb all the flavors of the mor kuzhambu nicely .
  • Make sure the mor kozhambu is hot while you add the bondas else they won't turn soft and spongy.  
  • Both bondas and the mor Morkuzhambu have to be freshly made. 
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October 11, 2021

Paayesh | Payesh - Durgapuja Special Sweet


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Payesh /Paayesh is a traditional Bengali style kheer made from fragrant Gobindo bhog rice . The rice is cooked in simmering milk flavored with cardamom powder and topped with lots of chopped cashews,badams and pistas .  If Gobindo Bhog rice is unavailable you can use Basmati rice . The mild natural fragrance from the rice adds up to the taste of the Kheer .

If you thought Bengali sweets are limited to Roshogollas, Shondeshs, Rasmalai and cham cham ,you are mistaken.  There is a whole lot of delicious sweets which are made from the traditional Nolen Gur and also steamed sweets which are healthy as well as tasty .

My blogger friends Sasmita and Sujata ji have an amazing collection of Bengali sweet recipes on their blog . I have bookmarked the delicious Jaggery Roshogollas from Sujata ji's blog to try out . Sasmita has recently posted a yumm special Bhoger Khichuri which is offered as Bhog during Durgashtami.  

Bengalis and their love for sweet is very well known.  I have had the good fortune of mixing and interacting with Bengalis since my childhood . My mom's best friend K aunty is a Bengali and amma has told me stories about how warm and affectionate their family has been and the yummy goodies that she has savored and relished at her home. 

I also have had my share of Bengali acquaintances at my workplace and savored all the yumm delicacies they would get for us when they come back after the Durga Pooja holidays . Bengalis are very pious and God fearing . Their love for literature , arts and poetry is unmatched . 

The city of Kolkatta bears a festive look during the Durga Pooja season and exquisitie and magnificient Pandals are erected at various places all over the city . Durga Ma idols are installed and worshipped with lot of pomp and fervor . I have been waiting for a chance to visit Kolkatta during the Durga Pooja sometime in future to experience the Divine Vibes that the city exhuberates .



Preparation Time - 15 mins
Cooking Time - 30 mins
Complexity - Simple
Serves - 2 to 3

Ingredients
1/4 cup rice  (Gobindo Bhog / Basmati)
1 litre milk
sugar as needed
chopped nuts 
pinch of cardamom powder
2 tsp ghee

Method
  • Wash and soak the rice in water for 15 mins. Drain the water and mix ghee to the rice.
  • Heat milk in a thick bottomed pan and let it come to a boil, reduce the flame and keep simmering.
  • While the milk to about to boil I parboiled the rice in water until it was 1/2 done. This helps speed up the process of making the Payesh .
  • Drain the water from this parboiled rice and add it to the simmering milk and cook on low flame with regular stirring until the rice is well cooked and soft .
  • Add the cardamom powder and chopped nuts . Add sugar very carefully and keep stirring until the sugar mixes well with the kheer .
  • Simmer for 2 to 3 mins and then turn off the stove.
  • While serving add some more chopped nuts over the Paayesh.
Notes:
  • You can cook the rice entirely in milk . This will take a little longer and you have to be very careful so as to not let the rice and milk burn.
  • Some people add a bay leaf to the kheer . You may add that too if you like the smell of bay leaf.

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October 10, 2021

Badam Elaichi Shrikhand | बादाम इलायची श्रीखंड


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 Shrikand needs no introduction. Traditional dessert made from hung curd in various flavors is a must have accompaniment during a festive meal in states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.  

Needless to say, having grown up in the cosmopolitan, buzzling city of Bombay, shrikand has always been a part of my life . Me and my dad love to have hot puris or fluffy fulkas with creamy shrikand . Mum on the other hand was not a great fan of shrikand and I must say hubby too doesn't relish sweets as much and shrikand is a big No for him .  So shrikand makes a rare appearance these days at my home . 

Kesar Pista Shrikand is already on the blog and now it is time for Badam Elaichi Shrikand . The chopped bits of almonds/badams hidden inside the shrikand are  great to bite into. I also add some cardamom seeds as is to shrikand along with fine cardamom powder . 

Shrikand is a royal treat to serve your guests or even make it as a prasad during Ganesh Chaturthi or Navaratri. 

Pre Preparation time - 2 to 5 hrs 

Cooking Time - Nil 

Actual Preparation - 5 mins 

Serves - 2 to 3


Ingredients 

400ml thick yogurt or dahi or curd

1/2 tsp cardamom powder 

1 - 2 whole cardamoms

4 to 5 strands saffron /kesar 

2 to 3 tablespoons chopped unsalted badam /almonds 

3 tbsp powdered  sugar 

Preparation of Hung curd

Take a wide mixing bowl and place a strainer over it lined with a muslin cloth/ cotton cloth and pour the curd into the cloth . I have used shop bought thick curd for an even consistency. 

Bring the ends of the cloth together, squeeze it once and tie it very tightly . Place a heavy object over the tied cloth and leave the colander over the mixing bowl so that all the whey water will get collected in it . Keep squeezing the cloth occasionally to drain the excess water . 


After about 2 to 3 hrs , you can see all the whey collected in the bowl below and when you open the cloth all that is left is thick creamy mass which is hung curd . Squeeze it once again before removing it from the cloth to ensure there is no water content left.  When you touch the hung curd , it should appear thick and creamy without any excess water.  If you find it watery, leave it for somemore time in  the cloth with the weight on . 

Donot waste the collected whey, you can use it while kneading the dough for rotis or even to prepare buttermilk or Chaas


Preparation of Shrikhand

  • Transfer the hung curd to a wide mixing bowl .Add in the powdered sugar , chopped almonds. Saffron strands ,cardamom powder and the cardamom seeds.
  • Mix well with a spoon until all the ingredients blend well . Keep it in the refrigerator for it to set well . 
  • Take it off the refrigerator just before serving.