Saturday, October 7, 2017

Idiyaapam and Tengai Flavoured Paal - String Hoppers with Coconut flavoured Milk

Deepavali is not only a festival of lights but also a festival of sweets! This is the time when even the dieters set aside their routine and indulge in the numerous sweets loaded with sugar, flour and ghee! Savouring a simple breakfast consisting of steamed dishes before binging on the festive sweets and  savoury snacks helps to keep the digestive system less taxed and in good condition. Idiyaapam is an easily digestible steamed dish and here is an easy method to make the festive breakfast dish for Deepavali. 
Rice flour (store bought rice flour) - 1 tall glass
Salt - 1 pinch
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
1. Boil 1 1/2 tall glasses of water adding salt and sesame oil.
2. When the water starts to boil decrease flame, add the rice flour stirring all the time to avoid lumps. 
3. Keep stirring till the dough comes together in a mass.
4. Switch off flame and cover it with a lid.
5. When it cools down to a comfortable temperature knead the dough thoroughly.
6. Shape a handful of dough into cylindrical roll. Make more rolls using up the entire dough.
7. Press the dough roll using a chakli press on to the greased idly plates making a circular movement of the hand.
8. When the pressed Idiyaapams are ready steam them for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker.
 Milk - 2 tall glasses
 Fresh coconut gratings - 1 cup
 Powdered jaggery - 4 tbsps
 Rice flour - 1 tsp
 Cardamoms (Peeled) - 4
1. Grind fresh coconut gratings, jaggery powder, cardamom and rice flour into a smooth paste adding little water if necessary.
2. Boil milk and blend the coconut paste into it.
3. Keep stirring and cook till the jaggery blends well with milk and switch off flame.

Enjoy the Idiyaapam and Tengai Flavoured Paal for breakfast on the festive occasion of Deepavali.






Monday, September 25, 2017

Kadale Bele Payasa AKA Yele Kone Payasa - Split Bengal Gram Sweet Porridge

The first dish to be served on auspicious occasions in a Banana Leaf Meal / Bale Yele Oota/ Vazhai Elai Virundhu is Bele Payasa or Paruppu Payasam (Lentil Porridge). Even when the menu comprises of other exotic sweets a Yele Kone Payasa is a must in traditional feasts. Kadale Bele Payasa /Kadalai Paruppu Payasam prepared using split Bengal gram is a flavoursome festive Payasa/Payasam which can also be relished hot or cold as a dessert after a full meal. This delicious lentil pudding is served on the right hand corner of the bottom half of the banana leaf. Hence it is known as Yele Kone Payasa (roughly translates to leaf corner Porridge). At the start of the meal the thick porridgy Payasa/Payasam is swiped off the leaf using four fingers excepting the thumb and then relished by licking it off the fingers, virtually making it a finger licking dish!

Split Bengal gram dal - 1 cup
Powdered jaggery - 1 cup
Fresh coconut gratings - 2 cups
Rice flour - 1 tsp
Cardamom (2 numbers) and edible camphor(the size of a pin head) powdered together
Cashew nuts/almonds and raisins - 2 tbsps
Ghee - 1 tbsp

1. Pressure cook Bengal gram dal adding two cups of water until three whistles.
2. Melt jaggery in 1 cup of warm water and filter it.
3. Grind coconut gratings with rice flour into a very smooth paste adding water.
4. Cook the filtered jaggery water and the cooked dal together until it thickens emanating a very pleasant aroma.
5. Add the coconut and rice flour paste and cook till it blends well with the Payasam. The consistency should be thick enough, so that it is not runny when served on the banana leaf.
6. Add the powdered cardamom and edible camphor, and switch off flame.
7. Garnish with ghee fried cashew nuts/almonds
and raisins.

Enjoy the Kadalebele Payasa / Kadalai Paruppu Payasam as a dessert or as a mid morning energy booster!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Pulicha Keerai Masial/Kadaisal And Gongura Sadam - Mashed Roselle And A Tangy Roselle Rice

Gongura season (Pulicha keerai in Tamil/ Pundi soppu in Kannada) is here! The only dish I prepare during every Gongura season is Gongura Tokku! My house help Gowri not only buys Gongura for me during the season but also gives me simple instructions on how to cook it. I tried out this simple masial/kadaisal recipe of hers which we relished. Gongura Sadam prepared using the masial was also a big hit!


Gongura - 2 big bundles
Onion - 1 big (Chopped)
Garlic - 12 cloves (Peeled)
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1 1/2 tsps
Red chillies - 8 (Broken)
Sesame oil - 1/4 cup
1. Separate the gongura leaves from the stalk and thoroughly wash three or four times.
2. Drain the leaves and spread them out on a kitchen towel.
3. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds.
4. When the mustard seeds splutter add the chopped onion and garlic, and fry till they turn golden in colour.
5. Add the red chillies and saute for a couple of minutes.

6. Add the gongura leaves a handful at a time and keep sauteing.
7. Add more leaves as the previous batch wilts and sinks into the kadai.
8. Keep stirring and mashing the leaves using the back of a ladle.

9. When the leaves come together into a mass stir in salt and switch off flame after it blends well with the masial.
10. Allow to cool and grind half of the mixture in a blender, pour it back into the remaining masial and mix well.

Enjoy the Gongura Masial / Kadaisal with steaming hot rice or relish it as a side dish with dosa, chapati, ragi rotti or jolada rotti.
1. Take a cup of cooked rice and break the lumps. 
2. Add one spoon of sesame oil or ghee and coat the rice so that they do not clump together. 
3. Add one table spoon or more of the Gongura masial / Kadaisal depending on your taste and mix gently till the rice is evenly coated with the masial.

4. Enjoy the spicy and tangy Gongura Rice with any cool raita of your choice.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hituku Bele Payasa - Fresh Deskinned Field Beans Porridge

A few decades ago my mother-in-law used to obtain Hituku bele from Avare Kaalu (Field Beans) by first soaking the beans for at least six hours. The soaked kaalus (beans) were patiently pinched and squeezed one at a time so that the Hituku bele  literally jumped out of its skin! You can very well imagine the number of hours she put in to give a decent serving of the Hituku Bele delicacy she would patiently prepare for every member of our large family! Thanks to HOPCOMS, nowadays ready to use Hituku Bele is easily available during the season.
I had tasted Hituku Bele Payasa for the first time at the Avarekai Mela  a few years ago. Since then I have been planning to try it out at home and some how it was getting postponed. I tried out  Hituku Bele Payasa today for the first time and it turned out delicious.

Hituku Bele/ Deskinned fresh field beans - 1 cup
Milk - 2 1/2 cups
Fresh coconut gratings - 2 tbsps
Powdered jaggery - 4 tbsps
Powdered cardamom - 1 pinch
1. Wash and cook Hituku Bele in two cups of milk till it is done and remove two table spoons of the cooked bele and set aside for garnishing.
2. Blend together fresh coconut gratings, powdered jaggery, cardamom powder and the cooked Hituku Bele adding the milk used for cooking.
3. Mix the blend with the remaining milk and cook the Payasa till it thickens.
4. Garnish with the two table spoons of Hituku Bele which was set aside.

Enjoy the sweet creamy Payasa and a few delicious bites of Hituku Bele you are sure to come across! 
A garnish with ghee fried raisins and cashew nuts is optional.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Knol Khol Milagu Kuzhambu - Kohlrabi In A Tangy And Peppery Gravy

We have celebrated festivals back to back through out the month of August. Now it is time to rest our system for a while and get ready to handle the next set of festivals starting from Navaratri. Owing to continuous indulgence in festive food we tend to lose appetite. The specific ingredients used in the preparation of Milagu Kuzhambu induce hunger, alleviate biliousness, activate the taste buds and help in good digestion. Normally Milagu Kuzhambu is served in a small quantity as a digestive relish similar to other relishes or chutneys along with a meal. One morsel of rice with this kuzhambu at the beginning of a meal is sufficient to give one a detoxed feeling. Instead of  Sambar, Milagu Kuzhambu can be served with rice topped with ghee or sesame oil as the main course in a full meal when vegetables are added to it. Here I have added Knol Khol to this recipe. Incidentally Knol Khol is high in anti oxidant and is also useful in relieving indigestion. 


Knol Khol / Kohlrabi ( Chopped) - 1 cup
Tamarind (Soaked) - The size of a small lime
Salt - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Tur dal - 1 tbsp
Pepper - 2 tsps
Cumin seeds - 2 tsps
Red chillies (broken) - 1
Curry leaves - 1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Black gram dal - 1 tsp
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
1. Wash, peel and chop the knol khol, pressure cook and keep aside.
2. Heat 1/4 tsp of oil in a kadai and add tur dal, coriander seeds, pepper, cumin seeds and red chillies and fry on low flame till the colour changes  emanating a very pleasant aroma.
3. When the pepper starts cracking add curry leaves, fry for a minute and switch off flame and allow to cool.

4. When the roasted ingredients are cooled grind them into a fine powder.
5. Add the soaked tamarind and grind together into a paste adding enough water.
6. Heat the remaining oil in the kadai and splutter mustard seeds.
7. Add the black gram dal and roast till it becomes golden brown in colour.
8. Add the cooked knol khol, the ground pepper paste, salt and a tall glass of water.

9. Let the Milagu Kuzhambu boil until it thickens and emanates a very pleasant aroma.
Enjoy the Knol Khol Milagu Kuzhambu with hot rice topped with a spoon of fresh ghee.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Beetroot and Kadalai Thoran - Beetroot and Black Chick Pea Dry Curry

Beetroot was taboo in our kitchen during our childhood days. May be the bright red colour put off the elders who cooked for the family. Now a days I use beetroot to prepare Porial/Thoran, Halwa, Salad (kosumalli), Thair PachadiCutlets and even Adais! I still have a mind block when it comes to preparing Beetroot and Green gram dal  Koottu which is my sister-in-law's favourute. I instantaneously fell for the Beetroot and Black Chana/Kadalai curry that I relished at a restaurant and now it has become one of the regular  menu items at home.

Beetroot - 2 big ones
Black Chick Peas / Kadalai /Black Chana - 1cup ( soak overnight)
Salt - 1 tsp
Sesame oil or Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Black gram dal - 1 tsp
Red chillies (broken) - 2
Curry leaves - a few
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Finely chopped onion - 2 tbsps
Fresh grated coconut - 4 tbsps
1. Drain the soaked Black Chick Peas/Kadalai, sprinkle a handful of fresh water and keep it in a separator in the pressure cooker.
2. Thoroughly wash and cut the Beetroots into half and place them in another separator, and set it on top of the previous separator with Kadalai.
3. Pressure cook until three whistles, switch off flame and allow it to cool.
4. Peel the pressure cooked Beets and chop them into small cubes.
5. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds.
6. When the mustard seeds splutter add black gram dal and fry till it turns into a golden colour.
7. Add asafoetida and broken red chillies followed by curry leaves and finely chopped onion.
8.When the onion turns glassy add the chopped beet root and the pressure cooked Chick Peas/Kadalai.
9. Add salt and stir and cook till all the water evaporates
10. Garnish the dry Thoran with grated coconut.

Include the delicious Beetroot and Kadalai Thoran in your happy Onam Sadhya.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Morkuzambu Bonda - Fried Black Gram Dal Dumpling in Curd Gravy

Whenever there is a lunch party at home I love to serve hot and spicy Bisibele Bath as the main dish. Tahir Vadai is another special dish - especially during Summer - which goes very well with the spicy Bisibele Bath. Today being a cold and rainy day I decided to substitute the cold Thair Vadais with a warm and spicy Morkuzhambu Bonda for our special guests who turned up for lunch. We could  only get the picture of the finished dish as the guests were expected any moment!

Black gram dal - 1 cup
Fresh ginger - 1 inch piece
Salt - 1 pinch
Oil  - for frying
Thin butter milk with one pinch of salt for soaking 
1. Soak the black gram dal for an hour.
2. Drain, and grind with ginger and salt adding water little by little into a thick, smooth and fluffy batter.
3. Keep the thin butter milk ready.
4. Heat oil in a kadai.
5. Beat the batter well and drop a small scoop of batter into the hot oil and fry till it turns golden brown in colour. A batch of 4 or 5 Bondas can be fried at a time.
6. Drain the Bondas well and immediately immerse them in the salted butter milk.
7. Remove the soaked Bondas into a bowl before immersing the second batch.
Bengal gram dal - 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 pinch
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
1.(Soak all the above ingredients for at least half an hour till the dal becomes soft.)
Green chillies - 3
Fresh coconut gratings - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Rice flour - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
2.(Grind all the ingredients along with the soaked ingredients into a smooth paste and keep aside.)
Curds - 2 cups
3. Blend all the ground ingredients with curds.
Sesame oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 pinch
Broken Red chillies - 2
Curry leaves - a few
4. Heat oil in a seasoning ladle and add mustard seeds.
5. When the mustard seeds splutter add fenugreek seeds and fry till they are golden brown.
6.Add the broken red chillies and fry till they are crisp.
7. Finally add the curry leaves and pour the seasoning into the curd mixture.
8. Cook the mixture till it starts foaming and switch off flame.
9. Pour the hot Morkuzhambu over the soaked Bondas and garnish with coriander leaves.

Morkuzhambu Bondas can be relished as snacks as they are.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Karida Kadubu / Somasi - Samosas with Dry Coconut and Sugar Filling

The city is geared up to celebrate Ganesha Chaturti in full swing! Every home is busy preparing sweets and savouries to be offered to the Divine Charmer - Ganesha. Every year the Maha Ganapathi Temple at Malleswaram, Bangalore celebrates a ten day festival for Lord Ganesha during Ganesha Chaturti. Every day Ganesha is decked up in different alankaras. Decorations using fruits, dry fruits and vegetables are a grand feast for the eyes. Garlands strung with Vades, Kodubales, Chakkulis, Kajjayas and Karida Kadubu which adorn the Lord during pooja is later distributed to the devotees as prasadam.

Here is Ganesha's favourite Karida Kadubu / Somasi for Ganesha Chaturti.

Fine semolina ( Peni Rave) - 1 cup
Salt - 1/2 a pinch
Ghee /  oil - 2 tbsps
1. Mix fine semolina/peni rave with salt in a bowl.
2. Heat ghee / oil and pour it all over the semolina/rave.
3. Mix thoroughly.
4. Add very little water at a time and knead into a stiff pliable dough.
5. Cover and keep it aside for at least an hour. 

Grated copra (dry coconut gratings) - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cardamom (Peeled) 2
Blend all the ingredients together in a mixer.

1. Once again knead the dough well.
2. Pinch out a ball of dough and roll it out into a thin palm size circle. Dusting with flour is not needed as the dough will be greasy enough to be easily rolled out.
3. Place a heaped table spoon of the filling on one side of the circle.
4. Fold the circle into half over the filling and press the edges firmly together, sealing the filling inside. 
5. Mark the pressed edge with striations using the back of a spoon or a blunt knife.

6. Heat oil in a kadai and slide a Kadubu / Somasi into it.
7. Decrease flame to medium and gently fry the Kadubu till it bloats up.
8. Flip it and fry till both sides turn into a golden brown colour.
9. Remove the Karida Kadubu / Somasi when it becomes crisp using a perforated ladle and drain on a paper towel.
10. Fry all Kadubus/Somasis similarly and allow to cool thoroughly before storing.

Offer the KARIDA KADUBU / SOMASI to Lord Ganesha and share the prasadam with one and all. 


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Kadlekai Unde - Peanut and Jaggery Balls

That was the time in my life when I was totally engrossed in books regarding Mahatma Gandhi's life and the freedom movement of India. I often shared few mini Gandhi Thata stories with my two year old talkative daughter. After the story session I made it a point to make her answer a few questions to test her comprehension. When she was posed with a question as to what Gandhi Thata ate, pat came the reply: "Kadlekai!"  "Aattu Paal (goat's milk)!" she reverted with great enthusiasm even before I could finish my next question regarding his drink! She had to repeat her performance many times when the circle of audience started growing!  Kadlekai/Peanuts was my little tot's favourite snack especially when it was made into undes. Roasted or boiled Kadlekai/Peanuts (also known as Badavara Badami, meaning poor man's almonds) are nutritious snacks by themselves. It is also savoured in Sambars, Sundals and chutneys. Starting from Super Markets, the local grocery stores to the small Petti Angadis (Miscellaneous shops) the ubiquitous Kadlekai Unde (Peanut Laddus) are sold everywhere.
Kadlekai Unde is a healthy sweet which can be savoured as a snack or as a dessert or even in between meals!

Peanuts/Kadlekai - 1 glass
Powdered jaggery - 1 glass
1. Roast the peanuts in a heavy bottomed kadai on medium flame till the skins are loosened.
2. Allow to cool and rub the nuts in between your palms to separate the husk.

3. Clean the peanuts and break them into chunks using a mixer.

4. Dissolve jaggery in one cup of warm water and filter.
5. Boil the filtered jaggery water in a thick bottomed kadai till it becomes thick and sticky.


(Drop little of the syrup in cold water. If the drop does not disintegrate, and if you are able to roll it into a ball using your thumb and forefinger the syrup is ready.)

 6. Switch off flame and blend the prepared kadlekai/ peanuts into the syrup.

7. When it cools down a little and is comfortable to touch, it is ready to be shaped into undes/balls.
8. Grease your palms, scoop out a small portion of the mixture and shape it into an unde/ball.
9. Similarly shape more undes/balls using up the entire mixture. Place them apart till they are thoroughly cooled so that they do not stick together

10. The mixture might harden and lose stickiness towards the end. In that case heat the remaining mixture on low flame till the jaggery starts melting. Switch off flame and then shape the remaining undes/balls.

Allow the Kadlekai Undes / Peanut Balls to cool and then store them in a clean dry jar.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Pottu Kadalai Laddurundai - Roasted Gram Laddus - Sattu Laddus

Our family had the opportunity to enjoy the delicious Sattu Laddus from Kolkatta recently. When I took a bite of the sweet I realized that it was the very same Pottukadalai laddu/Maa Laadu, a traditional sweet prepared in South Indian homes.The beautifully packaged Sattu Laddus with Silver Vark makeover have now become one of my  family's favourite sweets.

Pottu Kadalai (Roasted Gram) known as Hurigadale or Putani in Kannada is a healthy snack by itself since it is rich in protein and dietary fiber. Those were the days when we siblings were a bunch of hyper active kids who loved to loot the garden or store room to find some nibbles all the time.We did not even spare the drums in which the Pottu Kadalai (Roasted Gram) husk was stocked for feeding our cows! We literally dived into the drums and foraged for the meager Pottu Kadalais which still stuck to some of the husks! We enjoyed munching the handful of  Pottu Kadalais thus collected as we played in the garden!
Pottu Kadalai Urundai can be prepared in two methods. Roasted gram can be mixed with sticky jaggery syrup and then shaped into delicious balls / laddus. The second method of making the Pottukadalai Laddurundai is by using the Pottu Kadalai in its flour form. This is also known as Maa or Maavu Laadoo (Flour Laddu) in Tamil. I have used organic jaggery powder for its blood purifying properties and its mineral content which in turn enhances the nutritional value of the Pottu Kadalai Laddurundai.

Roasted Gram / Pottu Kadalai - 1 glass
Organic jaggery powder - 1 glass
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
Edible camphor - 1/2 a pinch
Ghee or Olive oil - 1 cup
1. Grind the roasted gram (Pottu Kadalai) into a fine and smooth powder.

2. Add cardamom, jaggery powder and edible camphor and blend them together once again.

3. Take the ground mixture in a bowl and add hot ghee/olive oil to it and mix thoroughly.

4.  Take a scoop of the warm mixture and shape it into a Laddurundai (laddu balls).
5. Make Laddus similarly using all the flour and jaggery mixture while still warm.

6. If the mixture cools down or does not hold the shape, mix in little more hot ghee or olive oil and continue shaping the laddus.

Enjoy the nutritious Pottu Kadalai Laddurundai as when you crave for a sweet!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Vegetable Ragi Soup - Finger Millet Soup with Vegetables

Restaurants serving millet based food are on the rise today.  Most of the eateries in Karnataka have always been serving Ragi Muddae Oota since a long time. After the rise of the millets in the urban scene Ragi Soup has become the in- thing in food courts of corporate offices. Traditional Ragi Kanji turns into a nutritious Ragi Soup with the addition of vegetables! 

Ragi flour - 2 tbsps
Finely chopped vegetables - 1/2 cup
Onion (Slivered) - 1 tbsp
Crushed ginger and garlic - 1 tsp
Crushed pepper - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Olive oil or sesame oil - 1 tbsp
Water - 2 glasses 
1. Steam cook the finely chopped vegetables till al dante.
2. Heat oil in a pan and fry the onion slivers till they turn golden brown.
3. Add crushed ginger and garlic and fry till it gives out a pleasant aroma.
4. Add the steamed vegetables and saute for two minutes.

5. Pour the two glasses of water into the pan and bring it to a boil.

6. Mix Ragi flour with little water to make a paste and stir it into the boiling water.
7. Stir and cook till it turns shiny and reaches a thin soup consistency.
8. Mix in salt and turn off flame.
 Garnish with crushed pepper and enjoy the Vegetable Ragi Soup while it is hot. 

You may add a dash of Tomato Sauce or Chilly Sauce if you wish to. Thin Vegetable Ragi Soup with the crunch of crushed pepper is a healthy and appetizing starter.Where as a thick soup becomes a healthy meal in itself.