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. 


October 08, 2021

Kadhamba (Mixed) Sundal - Navaratri Special


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 Kadhambam or Kadambam in Tamil means assorted or mixed. Sundal needs no special introduction ,but for those who are reading it first time ,sundal is a south indian delicacy prepared using various legumes or lentils and garnished with fresh coconut.  

Kadhamba Sundal is prepared using a mix of various legumes and lentils .The choice of lentils is left to you . In this recipe ,I have used brown chickpeas (karuppu kondakadalai) , white chickpeas (vella Kondakadalai) , green peas (pachhai pattani) and Moong Dhall (payatham paruppu).


To prepare this kadamba sundal ,you will need to soak the brown and white chick peas over night or if you have the cooked beans frozen ,you can use them as well.

As I am preparing this recipe as part of Navratri Prasad ,I prefer to soak the beans afresh and use them rather than the pre cooked ones .

The moong dhall and fresh/frozen peas can be cooked together in an open pot . Do not pressure cook the moong dhall as it will get mushy and too soft. Soaking the moong dhall for 15 minutes before hand helps in faster cooking.  

Other Sundal Varieties on the blog for your reference 










Soaking Time - 6 to 8 hrs
Preparation Time - 10 mins
Cooking Time - 5 mins
Serves - 3 to 4 
Complexity - simple 

Ingredients 
1/4 cup white chickpeas 
1/4 cup brown chickpeas
Handful of frozen peas 
1/4 cup moong dhall 
3 tbsp fresh coconut 
2 dry red chillies 
1/2 tsp jeera
Few curry leaves 
Small piece ginger  (skip for Jain variant)
2 tsp oil 
1/4 tsp mustard 
Pinch of asafoetida 
Salt as needed

Method 



  • Wash and soak both the chickpeas overnight. 
  • Pressure cook the chickpeas until soft with a little salt .
  • Soak the moong dhall in water for 10 mins,drain the water and cook in an open pot with 1 cup water and little salt until it is well cooked . If you press a dhall between your finger it should be firm at the same time must get mashed too. In this same pot cook the peas as well . 
  • Dry grind the coconut, red chillies ,jeera,ginger and curry leaves using the pulse mode . 
  • Drain the water from all the cooked beans and lentils through a colander .
  • Heat oil in a pan , splutter the mustard seeds and asafoetida. 
  • Lightly fry the coconut paste in this oil and add the cooked lentils and mix well.
  • Adjust salt if needed and cook for 1 or 2 mins until the coconut gets blend with the lentils .
  • Turn off and serve.

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October 05, 2021

Basic Mahalaya Amavasai Thaligai ( Samayal) & Vazhakkai Podimaas


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 Pitru Paksha / Mahalaya Paksha is in veneration of our deceased ancestors.  In my earlier post of Payatham Paruppu Payasam, I have given an elaborate explanation regarding Pitru Paksha.

Pitru Paksha starts on a Pournami /Full Moon Day and Culminates on Amavasya / New Moon Day. This New moon day is known as Mahalaya Amavasya or Sarva Pitru Amavasya ; considered to be very auspicious as it is believed that even if we are unable to pay obeisance to our deceased fore fathers all round the year, offering our oblation on this particular day will please their souls and we shall be blessed abundantly.  

Vazhakkai Kariamudhu / Vazhakkai Podimaas / Vazhakkai Curry,amavasai thaligai,amavasai samayal,sarva pitru amavasya, tambrahm amavasai samayal, iyengar thaligai , mahalaya thaligai , Mahalaya amavasay samayal

This year Mahalaya Amavasya is on 6th October 2021 . Another speciality of Mahalaya Amavasya is that the Holy Festival of Navratri commences from the day after Amavasya . 

Each family has a different way of offering bhog to the ancestors depending on the family tradition and culture .

In this post,I am going to share on how Mahalaya Bhog is prepared and offered in a Tamil Brahmin Family . There may be slight variations, but the basic menu remains the same .  This is the simplest bhog /samayal /thaligai one can prepare and offer to the ancestors.  You can follow this menu for all the Amavasai / New Moons that fall round the year if you have elders at home who offer Shraadh / Tharpanam on Amavasya. 

Unlike regular days ,we cannot use all vegetables and lentils for preparing an Amavasya meal . There are specifications to be followed  . Now a days it is not possible to sit and make such an elaborate spread on working days,so we can follow as much as we can to keep up our traditions rather than give up completely. 

  • Bittergourd (Pavakkai) & Vazhakkai ( Raw Banana) atleast must be included . Other vegetables that can be included are cucumber,  yam, sweet potato (sakkaraivelli kizhangu) , clustered beans(kothavarangai),  flat beans (avarakkai), taro root(arbi /seppankizhangu)
  • Moong Dhall /Payatham Paruppu and Udad dhall /Ulutham Paruppu are the only lentils that are used . 
  • Jaggery to be used for sweetening the paysam. 
  • Coconuts ,dry red chilli, green chillies ,pepper ,mustard ,ginger are to be used for seasoning and as spice agents .
  • Ghee / Nei to be served alongside rice without fail.

Vazhakkai Kariamudhu / Vazhakkai Podimaas / Vazhakkai Curry,amavasai thaligai,amavasai samayal,sarva pitru amavasya, tambrahm amavasai samayal, iyengar thaligai , mahalaya thaligai , Mahalaya amavasay samayal

In this basic Amavasya platter ,I have prepared a very simple and easy menu option which can be prepared without much stress and strain .

The 2 main mandatory vegetables bitter gourd and raw banana are part of the lunch menu.

Click on the individual recipe names to follow the recipe. 

Pavakkai Kuzhambu / Pavakkai Pitla / Haagalkai huli 

Payatham Paruppu Payasam / Moong Dhal Kheer/ Hessrubele Payasa

Ulundhu Vadai / Uddhina Vade / Medhu Vada 


Vazhakkai Kariamudhu / Vazhakkai Podimaas / Vazhakkai Curry 

Vazhakkai Kariamudhu / Vazhakkai Podimaas / Vazhakkai Curry,amavasai thaligai,amavasai samayal,sarva pitru amavasya, tambrahm amavasai samayal, iyengar thaligai , mahalaya thaligai , Mahalaya amavasay samayal


Preparation Time - 15 mins
Cooking Time - 8 to 10 mins
Complexity - easy
Serves - 2 to 3

Ingredients 

3 medium sized raw banana / kaccha kela / vazhakkai 
2 tsp curry powder / kariamudhu podi
Few curry leaves 
2 tbsp fresh grated coconut 
2 dry red chillies 
1 tbsp oil 
1/2 tsp mustard seeds 
Salt as needed 

Method 

  • Peel the raw bananas and roughly chop them into big cubes .
  • Take sufficient water in a pan and boil the chopped raw banana with some salt . The pieces should be well cooked but firm to touch . This may take about 6 to 7 mins.
  • Drain the water and let the bananas cool a bit.
  • In a pan heat the oil and temper the mustard seeds,curry leaves and red chillies. 
  • Add the boiled banana ,saute it well and sprinkle the curry podi over . Toss it well and lightly mash the bananas like how we do for potato curry. 
  • Close a lid and continue to cook for a minute or two . 
  • Finally garnish with fresh coconut and serve .





September 30, 2021

Coconut Veg Pulao | Coconut Pulav - Pressure cooker method


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 Anyone who follows my blog regularly will for sure know my love for pulaos and the many variations I have tried and posted on my blog .

You all may laugh if I say , I prefer pulao over biryani . I feel pulao is mildly spiced and does not have over powering spices and flavors as is the case with Biryani. I always prefer mild seasoning and spices as part of my meal and that is what suits my palate too .

Today's coconut veg pulao was my mom's speciality and she would make it quite frequently at home . The addition of coconut paste with corriander, mint and few other spices adds a natural creamy and sweet taste to the pulao.  Adding veggies and corn makes it a full meal and can be easily packed for lunch or pot lucks . 

This coconut veg pulao comes handy and is sumptuous to make a full meal by itself on  days when  you are pressed for time and unable to prepare a full fledged meal . I normally pair it with some Ginger Raita or Boondi Raita and some chips for the crunchy element.  

This coconut veg pulao is saatvik which means Onion and Garlic are not used in the recipe ,hence this can be prepared and served on festive days too .


This month we are exploring varities of Biryanis and Pulaos suggested by Swaty in our food group "Shhh cooking secretly challenge" . Swaty has an amazing collection of Pulaos on her blog and this Jodhpuri Pulao in particular has drawn my attention to bookmarking it to make it soon.

I was paired with the talented and super cool Shobha aunty of Shoba's food Maaza for this month theme and we exchanged our secret ingredients and came up with exotic recipes. My secret ingredients to aunty were green chillies and Biryani Masala while she gave me fresh coconut and ghee.
Aunty has prepared a yummy Chole Pulao from Sindhi Cuisine which is so  very inviting and I am waiting to try it soon.



Some more Pulao varieties on my blog for you all to try 

Moti Pulao

Masala Peas Pulao

Chutney Pulao

Aloo Mutter Pulao 

Rajma Pulao

Channa Pulao


Preparation Time - 15 mins
Cooking Time - 20 mins
Complexity - Medium
Serves - 2 to 3 

Ingredients

Assorted Vegetables chopped in to small cubes ( beans , carrot, fresh corn, peas )
2 cups rice
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp ghee
fresh corriander for garnish
handful of cashewnuts
salt as needed
pinch of sugar
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp biryani / pulao masala

whole spices  
small stick Cinnamon,
2 cardamoms
1 tsp jeera 
3 cloves
2 bay leaves

To grind

1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
2 green chillies
few mint leaves
handful fresh corriander
small piece of ginger
1/4 tsp saunf/fennel seeds

** skip carrot and ginger for Jain version
**skip ghee for vegan version

Method


  • Wash the rice and soak it for 10 mins in water and then drain it through a colander and keep aside.
  • Take all the ingredients mentioned under the To Grind section and grind to a fine paste with sufficient water.
  • In a pressure pan or pressure cooker, heat the oil and ghee and splutter all the whole spices one by one on very low flame until you get a fragrant aroma.
  • Saute all the chopped veggies with a little salt , turmeric and then add the ground coconut paste with 1/2 cup water along with the biryani masala and let the masala cook for 3 to 4 mins.
  • Depending on the variety of rice you have taken add the water ( If basmati then for 1 cup rice add 1.5 cups water) . I used 4.5 cups water for the quantity of rice I took . I used thin grained Sona Masuri rice for making the Pulao.
  • Let the water boil nicely , adjust salt and spices at this stage. Add the drained rice to this boiling water with pinch of sugar and 2 tsp lime juice ,mix well and pressure cook for 2 whistles on medium flame.
  • Let the pressure release naturally . Open the lid and fluff the rice with fork taking care not to break the rice .
  • Garnish with fresh corriander and roasted cashew nuts just before serving.

September 28, 2021

Inji Thayir Pachadi | Ginger yogurt dip | Adraki Raita


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 Inji Thayir Pachadi also known as Inji thayir is frequently made in a Tambrahm home and also a part of Sadhya menu in Kerala .  Whenever there is an elaborate festive  spread ,then inji thayir will definitely be a part of the menu.

Thick yogurt /curd is whipped well and to this is added a finely ground paste of ginger,coconut, green chillies and curry leaves  along with salt and tempered with mustard .

Puli Inji is a lipsmacking dip from Kerala cuisine and Inji Karvepillai Thogayal (ginger curry leaves chutney)from Tamil Nadu  compliment the quint essential thayir saadham ( curd rice )  especially during hot summers

Ginger - the Magic Spice

Ginger is widely used in India and world over across cuisines.  We can see that ginger will be a mandatory ingredient as part of cooking be it vegetarian or meat based recipes.  The reason for the wide spread use of ginger /adrak/inji is the refreshing strong flavor and the immense medicinal value it exhibits.

 Ginger is a wonder herb which aids in digestion,  relieves mild colic pain ,immunity booster and aids in improving metabolism. Ginger is also anti inflammatory ,eases cough and cold .Ginger also plays a very major role in Ayurveda .

In North Indian cuisine ginger is used in various types of gravies ,dhalls, sabjis , biryanis and pulao in combination with garlic while in south indian cooking, we use it in chutneys,  thogayals, pachadi a.k.a raita variety.

Ginger Tea flavored with cardamom is a very popular and refreshing drink in India and we all love to sip on it regularly.  



Preparation Time - 5 mins
Cooking Time - nil
Complexity  - easy 
Serves - 2 to 3 

Ingredients 
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut 
2 medium green chillies 
1/4 inch of fresh ginger 
Few curry leaves 
Salt to taste
2 cups thick yogurt/dahi/curd 
1 tsp oil 
Few mustard seeds 
Few udad dhall 
1 dry red chilli 

Method 



  • Whip the curd in a mixing bowl and keep ready.
  • In a blender grind the coconut ,green chillies, ginger and curry leaves to a fine paste with little water.
  • Add this paste to the whipped curd and mix well by adding required amount of salt. 
  • Prepare a tempering of mustard seeds , udad dhall,  red chillies and curry leaves in hot oil . Once this seasoning cools down ,pour it over the curd .  If you pour hot tempering over the curd,there is a tendency for the curd to get sour if you are not going to eat immediately. 
  • Serve this flavorful and delicious inji thayir with your regular meal or even with a spicy biryani or pulao too.



September 27, 2021

Bread Upma - Quick Breakfast (Bachelor's cooking)


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Bread Upma is a quick recipe that can be put together in very less time ,to be precise just 10 to 15 mins and you will have a sumptuous and filling snack ready . 

Bread upma is the best way to use up left over bread or on days when you have no patience to cook up an elaborate breakfast,this is a perfect savior.  I would call bread upma as a bachelor friendly recipe, since this doesn't require any fancy equipment, special cooking  or cutting skills.  


As a school going kid, this used to be my favorite lunch box item after sandwiches. I am a die hard fan of bread and can eat bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  

You can add some veggies to this upma if you are packing it up for kids' tiffin  box . I generally add some boiled potatoes, carrots and beans to make the breakfast filling and sumptuous. 

I prefer to use a day old bread because it is easy to crumble it and there is not much moisture left in the bread that will make the upma soggy.


Preparation Time - 5 mins
Cooking Time - 15 mins
Complexity  - easy 
Serves - 2 to 3 

Ingredients 

8 to 10 slices of bread
2 green chillies
Few curry leaves 
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric 
Pinch of sugar
Salt as needed 
2 to 3 tbsp oil 
1/2 tsp mustard seeds 

Method 


  • Crumble the bread  or roughly tear up the bread slices and keep ready. 
  • Heat oil in a deep pan and splutter the mustard seeds ,curry leaves and green chillies. 
  • Add in the tomatoes little salt and turmeric powder and saute it. Cook until the tomatoes turn mushy . 
  • Add in the crumbled bread to the tomato mixture , mix it well till the bread is coated well with the tomatoes. 
  • Sprinkle some water and cook covered for 2 to 3 mins .
  • Garnish with fresh corriander and serve hot .

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September 25, 2021

South Indian Lunch (Saatvik) - Thali #4


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 Weekends are leisure time when the whole family gets to have a peaceful sit down meal over some chit chat and banter.  It had been a long time since I prepared and served an elaborate meal for my family.

This morning too as always I dint have this thali planned on my cards ,but as I went about cooking it just happened and by the time I finished cooking, I was elated with the outcome. 

The items on the thaali are very simple to make and did not need any special ingredients.  All the veggies needed were sitting right in my vegetable basket and so my job became a lot simpler.   

Every recipe on the thali is already on my blog,so all you have to do is click on the individual names below on the menu and viola,you shall be redirected to the detailed recipe post . 


Carrot Kosambri 

Aloo Capsicum Sambar 

Chou Chou Carrot Curry 

Tomato Rasam 

Carrot Payasam 



September 21, 2021

Payatham Paruppu Payasam | Moong dhall kheer - Mahalaya / Amavasaya Special


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 In Hindu Tradition,  Amavasya(New Moon Day) / Amavasai / Amavaas(अमावस्या) is considered very important day to pay obeisance to all the departed souls in the family.  The forefathers are called  as "Pithrus" and the oblation ritual is called "Shraadh/ Tharpanam" . There is a mild difference in the way the shraadh is offered in North and South  India . When I say difference, the difference is in terms of the Prasad offered and also the way the ritual is performed.  In my post ,I will quickly describe the way Tharpanam is done in a typical South Indian Brahmin household .

Black sesame seeds (karuppu ellu ) and water are offered as oblation to the forefathers.  The oblation is offered to Father ,grandfather, great grandfather likewise ,mother,grandmother and great grandmother.  The oblation dates back to 3 generations .  Devout and traditional Brahmins perform this Amavasya Tharapanam every month all round the year .

If one is unable to do it every month ,there is a rule that he must perform the shraadh atleast  on Mahalaya Amavasya, during the Mahalaya Paksha / Pithru Paksha which is a period of 15 days starting from Full Moon to New Moon . This special fortnight falls in the month of September- October and generally corresponds to the Tamil Month of Purataasi.  This year in 2021 Mahalaya Paksham has started on 21 /9/2021. 

Mahalaya Amavasya also known as Sarva Pithru Amavasya will be observed on 06/10/2021.

An elaborate meal which is very satvik in nature (sans Onion and Garlic)  using basic native  vegetables will be prepared and offered to the fore fathers .

Moong Dhall / Split yellow lentils are used while cooking a Shraadh meal and native vegetables like cucumber ,arbi(taro root) , snake gourd (podalangai /padwal) , raw banana (vazhakkai),cluster beans(kothavarangai/gawar) , broad beans (avarekkai/paapdi) , bitter gourd (karela/pavakkai) , ginger ,curry leaves ,coconut are used . Jaggery is used for making sweets and not sugar.  The Amavasya meal is more or less  standard in every household with some minute changes here and there . Jeera/cumin,Pepper and dry red chillies are the only spices which are used .Turmeric is avoided in most homes but some families use fresh root turmeric and not turmeric powder. Mustard seeds and Udad dhall are used for seasoning along with asafoetida.

Today I shall share a very simple but tasty kheer or paysam made using moong dhall .In my home,this payasam is made only during the days when we offer obeisance to Pithrus. On other special occasions we prepare other payasams or kheer . It is customary to prepare Medhu Vada and Moong dhall paysam along with Vazhakkai (Raw Banana) Curry  on every Amavasya even if one is unable to prepare an elaborate spread.


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

Ingredients 
1/2 cup moong dhall/payatham paruppu 
1/2 cup powdered jaggery .
5 to 6 tablespoons grated coconut 
1-2 pods elaichi /cardamom 
1 tsp ghee (skip if vegan) 

**you can increase the quantity of jaggery depending on the level of sweetness you like .

Method 


  • Grind the coconut and cardamom with some water to a fine paste and keep aside .
  • Wash the moong dhall and pressure cook with sufficient water for 3 to 4 whistles or until mushy.  Release the pressure and mash it well with a ladle .
  • In a thick heavy bottomed vessel ,melt the jaggery with 1/2 cup water . If you see any impurities , filter it through the sieve .
  • To this melted jaggery add the coconut paste ,1/2 cup water and cook until the raw flavor of coconut is lost . Keep stirring as the coconut has the tendency to stick to the bottom .
  • Now add the boiled and mashed moong dhall to the above and mix it well . The dhall should blend well with the jaggery coconut decoction. 
  • Continue cooking on medium flame with occasional stirring until it comes to a rolling boil.
  • Turn off the stove and add the ghee . Delicious paasi paruppu /hessaru bele payasam is ready .

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September 20, 2021

Carrot Sambol | Easy Carrot Salad - Vegan Srilankan Recipe


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 Carrots are my favorite vegetable when it comes to eating raw . I love adding carrots to my meal as a salad or as raita . The subtle sweetness from the carrot and crispness ,gives the salad a nice crunch .

Gajar Koshimbir / Carrot Kosambri  is the Indian version of carrot salad where grated carrots are seasoned with tempered mustard seeds, udad dhall , red chillies and garnished with fresh coconut . Likewise, Carrot Sambol from Srilanka is a close cousin of the Indian Kosambari . 

In Srilanka, carrot sambol is served as a part of breakfast with Sevai /String hoppers and some stew . Many a times, lunch also has this healthy sambol as part of the menu .  

Carrot Sambol is very easy to make and can be prepared in a jiffy . Except for pepper powder and chopped green chillies ,there is no other spice element . The overall salad is crunchy and mildly spiced garnished with fresh coconut and mixed with tomatoes and onions.  While I was reading up about Srilankan cuisine, I found out another variant of Carrot Sambol ,prepared in the Jaffna region of Lanka. In that version, some amount of yogurt is added to the salad which resembles the Carrot Raita from Indian Cuisine.

Carrot Sambol/Sambal is a vegan salad from Srilankan Cuisine . Flavorful and healthy served during breakfast and lunch. Sambol,Sambal , carrot Sambol, simple recipe from Srilankan cuisine, can we make sambol without onions? , what is carrot sambol? is carrot sambal and carrot sambol one and the same?

Carrots are a powerhouse of nutrients and there will seldom be anyone who would hate carrots . From the childhood we have been told that , carrots are a good source of vit A and regular consumption of carrots help in preventing the deficiency of vit A . The orange color of carrot is got from Beta Carotene which is metabolised into Vit A . It addition to vitamin A , carrot is also a rich source of vit K and Vit B complex which are very much essential for our overall growth and health.

Carrots are widely used across cuisine all over the globe . Indian and Asian cuisine also make use of carrots widely in many recipes like stir fries, salads, fried rice , desserts , soups etc .  

Come winters;Gajar Halwa & Carrot Kheer are the most popular never to miss seasonal desserts that every household will dish out and serve . The warm serving of Halwa or kheer is perfect for the chill winter days.

Thai Style Carrot Salad is another lipsmacking and refreshing salad option I have bookmarked from Priya's blog "the world through my eyes" .

Carrot Sambol/Sambal is a vegan salad from Srilankan Cuisine . Flavorful and healthy served during breakfast and lunch. Sambol,Sambal , carrot Sambol, simple recipe from Srilankan cuisine, can we make sambol without onions? , what is carrot sambol? is carrot sambal and carrot sambol one and the same?

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : Nil
Complexity - easy
Serves : 2 to 3

Ingredients

3 - 4 orange carrots
2 green chillies
2 tsp pepper powder
3 to 4 tbsp fresh coconut
salt to taste
2 medium sized tomatoes 
1 small onion 
1/2 fresh lemon

**Can be made as a saatvik / No onion No garlic version by skipping the Onions.

Method

  • Peel the carrots and grate them using a grater or food processor.
  • De seed the tomatoes and chop them into small cubes
  • Chop the onions.
  • Mix the carrots,onion and tomato in a wide mixing bowl along with coconut,pepper powder and green chillies .
  • Add the lemon juice and salt just before serving. Toss it lightly and serve immediately.

Tip : Never add the salt and lime juice before hand in any salad, as it will tend to release the juices and the salad will turn soggy and lose the crunch.


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Carrot Sambol/Sambal is a vegan salad from Srilankan Cuisine . Flavorful and healthy served during breakfast and lunch. Sambol,Sambal , carrot Sambol, simple recipe from Srilankan cuisine, can we make sambol without onions? , what is carrot sambol? is carrot sambal and carrot sambol one and the same?



September 14, 2021

Poosanikai (Ash gourd ) Mor Kootu | Pooshanikai Mor Kootu


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Mor Kootu is a traditional recipe from the South Indian Cuisine, to be precise it is very common in the Tambrahm households . A simple, yet flavorful gravy prepared using yogurt/curd and coconut chilli paste . 

Unlike the other kootu variety, mor kootu doesn't make use of cooked dal /lentil.  Mor kootu can be called as a close cousin of Aviyal but it is way much lighter on the stomach as it is prepared using just 1 vegetable as the  main ingredient .

Mor kootu can be prepared with vegetables like White Pumpkin (Ash gourd) , Chayote / Chou Chou , Vazhaithandu/ Banana Stem . Some even make use of cucumbers as well in the mor kootu

Mor Kootu is a traditional recipe from the South Indian Cuisine.it can be prepared with veg like White Pumpkin (pooshanikai) ,chayote & banana stem, pooshanikaai mor koot, pumpkin mor kootu, poosnikaai pachadi,pooshanikai pachadi , kumbalkaai pachadi, poosanikkai more kootu

Mor kootu is served as an accompaniment to sambar or vathakuzhambu along with a stir fry ,but I love to mix mor kootu with rice and enjoy with some papads. For me mor kootu is a perfect wholesome meal after heavy binging . It is really very easy to prepare Mor kootu and can be put together in less than 20 mins .

If you are really famished, all you have to do is prepare rice on one burner and get ready to make mor kootu  on another burner and your lunch will be ready in less than 30 mins . A spicy kadalai paruppu thogayal is a perfect combination if you want to have mor kootu with rice . Just lipsmacking and trust me, you will end up eating a little more than usual .

I prefer using fresh curd/yogurt to prepare Poosnikaai Mor Kootu but if you have a liking for a tangy /sour flavor you can use mildly sour yogurt too . 

Donot forget to temper mustard and curry leaves in coconut oil as that is the main highlight of the recipe which enhances the taste and flavor of the curry .

Mor Kootu is a traditional recipe from the South Indian Cuisine.it can be prepared with veg like White Pumpkin (pooshanikai) ,chayote & banana stem, pooshanikaai mor koot, pumpkin mor kootu, poosnikaai pachadi,pooshanikai pachadi , kumbalkaai pachadi, poosanikkai more kootu

Preparation Time - 5 mins
Cooking Time - 20 mins
Complexity - easy 
Serves - 2 to 3 

Ingredients 
250 gms white pumpkin/ash gourd/pooshnikaai 
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut 
1/2 cup thick curd/yogurt 
2 green chillies
1 tsp jeera/cumin
2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1-2 dry red chillies
Few fresh curry leaves 

Method 

Mor Kootu is a traditional recipe from the South Indian Cuisine.it can be prepared with veg like White Pumpkin (pooshanikai) ,chayote & banana stem, pooshanikaai mor koot, pumpkin mor kootu, poosnikaai pachadi,pooshanikai pachadi , kumbalkaai pachadi, poosanikkai more kootu

  • In a blender ,add the coconut, yogurt,green chili, few curry leaves ,cumin and grind into a fine paste. The water from the curd is enough to grind,in case you find it difficult you can add a few spoons of water to ease the grinding. 
  • Peel the skin and cut the ash gourd into small cubes and cook it with salt and water until it is soft but firm ..donot over cook as it will turn mushy.  The pumpkin must hold shape yet be soft.
  • Add the ground coconut paste to the cooked pumpkin and mix it well .Adjust salt if needed and let it come to a rolling boil and turn off. Keep stirring as curd and coconut paste will tend to get stuck to the bottom of the vessel and get burnt .
  • Prepare tempering of mustard seeds,  dry red chillies and curry leaves in coconut oil and pour it over the mor kootu. Donot close the lid over the mor kootu while it is hot .Let it cool down and become warm,then you can close it with a lid. 

Some more traditional South Indian recipes using yogurt /curd 

Poosnikaai Mor Kuzhambu (ash gourd in yogurt gravy)

Kumbalkai Majjigehuli  (udupi style yogurt gravy)

Vendakkai Mor Kuzhambu (Ladies finger in yogurt gravy) 

Sweet Potato Pachadi / Raita

Kaalan (Kerala style yogurt gravy)

Mambazha Pulissery  (Mango in yogurt gravy)


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Mor Kootu is a traditional recipe from the South Indian Cuisine.it can be prepared with veg like White Pumpkin (pooshanikai) ,chayote & banana stem, pooshanikaai mor koot, pumpkin mor kootu, poosnikaai pachadi,pooshanikai pachadi , kumbalkaai pachadi, poosanikkai more kootu






September 13, 2021

Kozhukkattai | Modakam | Modak


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Lovingly as Ganesha is called "Modaka Priya" meaning a lover of Modakams , have you ever thought ,how this name stuck to him ? Well ,then read on to find out .... 

 Kozhukkattai or Modak are Lord Ganesha's favorite and we offer these incredibly delicious offering made from rice flour and jaggery on Ganesh Chaturthi and also during the monthly Sankashti Chaturthi.  

Kozhukkattai is also offered to Devi Varamahalaxmi during the Varalakshmi Viratham observed in the month of August. 

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A small story ......

Baby Ganesha  used to love ladooos a lot and he would go on eating them but never felt satiated. Once Devi Parvati  was out of ladoos and that's when she  came up with this idea of stuffing coconut and jaggery in rice flour dumplings and serve it to Ganesha ,to see if his hunger is satisfied.  The moment Ganesha ate this Modakam,he developed an instant liking and also declared that he felt full after eating these Kozhukkattais. Hence , devi Parvati mentioned that any devotee who offers these kozhukattai or Modakams to Her son  Vinayaka they would be blessed abundantly and all their wishes would be fulfilled. 

 Isn't it a nice myth behind Modaka being an eternal favorite of Ganesha  and he being referred as Modaka Priya?

Since we spoke of ladoos also being Lord Vinayaka's favorite, panchakajjaya ladoo is a traditional prasadam from Udupi cuisine which is offered during the festive season . My friend Preethi has detailed the process of making these traditional panchakajjaya  ladoo seem like a child's play . 

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Kozhukkattai or Kozhukkata ,as easy as it may sound ,the tricky part is making the outer cover from rice. Once we master the art of getting the dough right,then making the Kozhukkattai is a breeze .

 There are 3 main steps involved in making the Kozhukkattai 

  • Preparing the rice flour dough for the outer covering. 
  • Jaggery coconut mixture for stuffing in the modakam
  • Steaming the prepared modakam.

I have been following this recipe of making kozhukkatai for last 4 or 5 years and it has never failed me . This recipe was taught to me by Bageerathy Aunty who gave me the confidence that making modakam is not as hard as it may seem . 

Do follow this recipe to the T and you won't fail at all . Initially there might be some hiccups when you shape the modakm ,but as it is said practice makes one perfect, if you take the lord's name and keep preparing 3 or 4 times you can easily master this wonderful art of making kozhukkatai. 

 Kozhukkattai is Lord Ganesha's favorite .we offer these incredibly delicious offering made from rice flour &jaggery on Ganesh Chaturthi & sankashti, modaka priyan, thenga poorna kozhukkata, how to make kozhukkatai without rice flours,  easy kozhukkatai recipe, varamahalakshmi habba kadubu , modaka , ukadiche modak , why does ganesha love modaks , rice flour steamed dumplings, rice flour dumpling with jaggery stuffing

Soaking Time - 3 hrs 
Preparation Time - 45 mins
Steaming Time - 7 to 8 mins
Makes - 10 to 12 modaks

Ingredients 

For the outer cover 
1 cup rice 
2 cups water 
Pinch of salt 
1 tsp oil 

Pre Preparation for the Rice flour dough
Wash and soak the rice in sufficient water for  3 to 4 hrs .

For the stuffing 
1 cup fresh grated coconut 
3/4 cup powdered jaggery
1tsp cardamom powder /elaichi powder 

Method 

Jaggery Stuffing 

  • Melt the powdered jaggery in 1/4 cup water. 
  • Let it come to a rolling boil or until all the jaggery is dissolved .
  • To this, add the grated coconut ,elaichi powder and mix it well .
  •  Cook on slow flame until you get a nice glossy mixture .Turn off the stove and transfer this mixture to a plate and let it cool . 

Outer covering for Modakam

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  • Transfer the soaked rice to a blender with 2 cups of water and grind to a very fine paste. 
  • The batter will be runny and that is how it has to be.  Incase you happen  to add extra water ,donot worry ,it can be handled while cooking the dough .
  • Strain this rice flour batter through a strainer to remove any rice grits that may have remained while grinding .
  • To the strained batter add a pinch of salt and oil and mix well.
  • Heat a heavy bottomed fry pan or vessel and transfer this batter to it . Reduce the flame to medium.
  • Go on stirring the batter and you will observe the batter begins to thicken and starts forming lumps.
  • Keep stirring and breaking the lumps until all the batter is well cooked and it appears lumpy. 
  • To see if the batter is cooked well ,touch with your fingers and the dough must not stick on the fingers.  If it sticks continue cooking for 1 more min. 
  • Turn off the stove and close the dough with a lid . The dough will further get cooked on this heat
  •  Once the dough is warm enough to handle ,transfer it to a large plate ,grease your palm with some ghee or oil and knead the dough for 5 to 6 mins until you get a soft ,crack free and smooth dough . 
  • Pinch out a portion of the dough and you should be able to roll into a smooth ball without cracks . This is the right consistency of the dough . If you are getting cracks while rolling ,the sprinkle a little hot water and continue to knead further till you get the desired consistency.  
  • Cover this with a damp cotton cloth until use.

Shaping the Modakam 

Kozhukkattai is Lord Ganesha's favorite .we offer these incredibly delicious offering made from rice flour &jaggery on Ganesh Chaturthi & sankashti, modaka priyan, thenga poorna kozhukkata, how to make kozhukkatai without rice flours,  easy kozhukkatai recipe, varamahalakshmi habba kadubu , modaka , ukadiche modak , why does ganesha love modaks , rice flour steamed dumplings, rice flour dumpling with jaggery stuffing


Kozhukkattai is Lord Ganesha's favorite .we offer these incredibly delicious offering made from rice flour &jaggery on Ganesh Chaturthi & sankashti, modaka priyan, thenga poorna kozhukkata, how to make kozhukkatai without rice flours,  easy kozhukkatai recipe, varamahalakshmi habba kadubu , modaka , ukadiche modak , why does ganesha love modaks , rice flour steamed dumplings, rice flour dumpling with jaggery stuffing

  • Grease your palms and  pinch out a small lemon sized portion of the dough.  Roll it into a smooth ,crackfree ball.
  • Make a dent in the center of the dough with your thumb .
  • Starting from the center ,start flattening the dough towards the outer circumference till you get a nice base to put in the stuffing. 
  • (This process is similar to how we roll and shape the wheat flour into a cup to stuff the filling for aloo paratha) 
  • Take a spoonful of the stuffing and place it in the center and then bring in all the sides of the outer cover to the top shaping it like a cone . 
  • If you are finding it difficult to shape it like a modak ,you can also shape it like a semi circle.  (Refer to the second image) 
  • Continue this process for the entire set of dough and filling and keep the modaks ready .
  • Prepare a steamer as we do for idlis and place these modaks inside the steamer and steam for 6 to 7 mins . You can see the jaggery syrup slightly oozing out and the outer cover will appear glossy . This is an indication that the modaks have been steamed to perfection. 
  • Donot over steam as the outer cover will become hard. 
  • Once the modaks have been steamed,let it cool down for a while before offering to the lord.

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Kozhukkattai is Lord Ganesha's favorite .we offer these incredibly delicious offering made from rice flour &jaggery on Ganesh Chaturthi & sankashti, modaka priyan, thenga poorna kozhukkata, how to make kozhukkatai without rice flours,  easy kozhukkatai recipe, varamahalakshmi habba kadubu , modaka , ukadiche modak , why does ganesha love modaks , rice flour steamed dumplings, rice flour dumpling with jaggery stuffing