Saturday, April 30, 2016

Potato (Urulai Kizhangu) Podimas ~ Day 107


Potato podimas is a mildly flavored mashed potato dish, spiced with green chilies, ginger and splashed with a hint of lemon juice.  This delicious South Indian recipe is so comforting and goes well with any rice dish.  

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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
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Ingredients:
  • Potatoes - 3, large
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Urad dal - 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Green chilies - 3, chopped
  • Ginger - 1-inch piece, finely chopped
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Ground black pepper - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few, chopped
  • Salt - to taste
  • Lemon juice - 2 tsp

Method:
  1. Boil the potatoes until soft. Peel and crumble roughly and keep it aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet.  Splutter mustard seeds.  Fry urad dal and cumin seeds until golden brown. 
  3. Add green chiles, ginger, turmeric powder, curry leaves, and asafoetida.  Saute for 10 seconds.
  4. Add the potatoes, ground black pepper, and salt.  Stir to combine.  Cook for 2 minutes, stirring gently.
  5. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice.  Mix well.
  6. Serve as a side dish with sambar, rasam, and hot steamed rice

Friday, April 29, 2016

Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie ~ Day 106



Two minutes is all you need to make this creamy, super healthy, super nutritious smoothie.   This luscious, protein-packed smoothie tastes like dessert and is perfect for a quick breakfast or snack.

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Ingredients: 
  • Natural peanut butter - 2 tbsp
  • Chocolate or vanilla Protein powder - 1 scoop
  • Banana - 1
  • Avacado - 1/2
  • Any kind of milk (almond, soy, coconut or 1%) or water - 1 cup
  • Ice cubes - 3 or 4

Method:
  1. Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add more water or milk, if needed.
  2. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Semiya (Vermicelli) Oats Idli ~ Day 105


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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yields: 12 Idlis
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Ingredients:
  • Semiya (Vermicelli) - 1 cup
  • Quick Oats - 1 cup ( I used Trader Joes's Organic Multigrain Hot Cereal, which contains rye, barley, oats, and wheat)
  • Yogurt / Kefir / Buttermilk - 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Ghee / Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Chana dal - 2 tsp
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Green chilies - 2, finely chopped
  • Ginger - 2 tsp, finely chopped
  • Curry leaves - few, finely chopped
  • Green pepper - 1/2, finely chopped
  • Grated carrot - 1/2 cup
  • Coriander leaves / Cilantro - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
  • Baking soda or Eno fruit salt - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste

Method:
  1. Heat 2 tsp ghee in a large skillet.  Add the semiya / vermicelli and roast until light golden brown.
  2. Transfer it to a bowl and in the same skillet, roast the oats for 30 seconds.
  3. Soak the semiya in 1 cup of yogurt or buttermilk for 10 minutes.  After soaking, add the oats and mix well.
  4. Heat the rest of the ghee in a skillet.  Splutter mustard seeds.  Add chana dal, urad dal, and asafoetida.  Fry until golden brown.  Add green chilies, ginger, and chopped veggies.  Saute for a minute.  Remove and let it slightly. Prepare the steamer and grease the idli plates.
  5. Add the veggies to the soaked vermicelli oats mixture along with 1/2 cup of buttermilk.  Add cilantro, salt, and the baking soda or Eno fruit salt.
  6. Mix well and immediately fill the idly plates.  Steam cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Serve hot with your choice of chutney or milagai podi (spicy dal powder).

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Whole Wheat Couscous Pilaf with Fruits and Nuts ~ Day 104


A refreshing and flavorful couscous pilaf tossed with fruits and nuts.  This quick, healthy, and delicious recipe takes only 15 minutes to put together and is a perfect option for a busy weekday dinner.  

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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
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Ingredients: 
  • Couscous - 1 cup ( I used whole wheat Couscous)
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Saffron - few strands, soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Raisins - 1/4 cup
  • Mixed nuts - 1/2 cup, roughly chopped (Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios)
  • Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
  • Cinnamon stick - 1
  • Cloves - 5
  • Cardamom - 2
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Onion - 1, thinly sliced
  • Green chilies - 2, slit
  • Ginger - 1 tbsp, grated
  • Mixed fruit - 1 cup, diced (apple, pineapple, grapes and, or pomegranates)
  • Salt and pepper - to taste

Method:
  1. In a large saucepan, combine 1 cup water, 2 tbsp butter, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring it to a boil.  Remove from the heat and pour 1 cup dry couscous into the water.  Stir well, cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a deep skillet.  Add the raisins and fry until puffy.  Add the nuts and fry for 30 seconds.  Transfer it to a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the same skillet, heat 1 tbsp ghee.  Add the fennel seeds,cinnamon. cloves, cardamom, and bay leaf. Fry for 15 seconds.  Add the onion, green chiles, and ginger.  Saute until soft.
  4. Add the fruits and saute for a minute.  Add the couscous along with soaked saffron, fried raisins and nuts.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.
  5. Serve warm with your choice of raita.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ragi Malt (Sweetened Finger Millet Porridge) ~ Day 103



Ragi or finger millet is one of the most healthy and nutritious cereals.  Finger millet is rich in calcium, iron, protein, fiber, and other minerals and also gluten-free.  Start your day with this simple, healthy, and easy to make delicious porridge.  
  
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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2
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Ingredients:
  • Ragi / Finger millet Flour - 1/4 cup
  • Jaggery, Palm sugar (Panam Kalkandu) or Regular sugar - 2 to 4 tbsp
  • Milk - 3/4 cup
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Cardamom powder - a pinch
  • Dry ginger powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)
  • Chopped nuts - for garnishing

Method:
  1. If using jaggery or palm sugar, melt in 1/4 cup of hot water and strain.  Keep it aside.
  2. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan.  Add the ragi flour and whisk without any lumps.
  3. Add the jaggery / palm sugar syrup or regular sugar.  Cook over low heat for a minute, whisking constantly.
  4. Add milk, cardamom powder, and the dry ginger powder.  Mix well and cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly.
  5. Serve warm, topped with chopped nuts.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Sauteed Sugar Snap Peas (South Indian Style) ~ Day 102


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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
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Ingredients:
  • Sugar snap peas - 1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp
  • Sambar powder - 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Salt - to taste
  • Roasted gram / pottu kadalai - 2 tbsp, coarsely ground


Method:
  1. Wash the snow peas and remove the tough strings on both ends of the pod.  Slit the peas into halves with a knife.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet.  Splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds.  Add urad dal and asafoetida.  Fry until golden brown.
  3. Add the sugar snap peas and stir.  Add sambar powder, turmeric powder, and salt.  Mix well, cover and cook until soft, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add the ground roasted gram and mix well.  Cook, uncovered for 2 minutes.
  5. Serve as a side dish with steamed rice.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Greek Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt Dip) ~ Day 101


Tzatziki, pronounced 'zat-zee-key', is a delicious Greek dish made of Greek yogurt, cucumber, dill, and garlic.  It goes great with falafel, flat bread, pita bread, sandwiches, or as a dip for fresh vegetables.

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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Yields: 1 cup
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Ingredients:
  • Greek yogurt (Full fat, 2%, fat-free) - 1 cup
  • English cucumber - 1/4 cup, grated + 2 tbsp, seeded & finely chopped 
  • Fresh dill - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
  • Garlic - 1 clove, finely grated
  • Lemon zest - 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice - 1 tbsp, freshly squeezed 
  • Salt and Pepper - to taste

Method:
  1. Squeeze out as much as juice from the cucumber with a fine mesh strainer or with your hand.  
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl along with the cucumber.
  3. Chill and serve with pita, vegetables, or crackers.  This goes well with Indian dishes as well.
Drained juice can be used in making smoothies or soup.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Carrot Halwa Blondie Bars ~ Day 100


Celebrating 100 days of blogging with these divine Carrot Halwa Blondie Bars.  This winning recipe (in the Indian category on Cooking Channel's Perfect 3 program) was created by my blogger friend, Niv Mani of Panfusine.  Thank You Niv for this amazing and keeper recipe.

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Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yields:: 25 to 30 bars
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Ingredients:
  • All-purpose flour - 2 cups
  • Baking powder - 3 tbsp, leveled
  • Shredded carrots - 2 cups
  • Raisins - 1/2 cup
  • Sugar - 5 tbsp
  • Sweetened condensed milk - one 14-ounce can
  • Whole milk - 1/2 cup
  • Unsalted butter - 8 tbsp, melted
  • Ground nutmeg - 1/8 tsp
  • Cardamom pods - 5 to 7, seeds removed and finely crushed
  • Slivered almonds - 1/2 cup



Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl.  Set it aside.
  3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the carrots, raisins, sugar, whole milk, and the condensed milk.  Mix well and microwave for 5 to 7 minutes, until soft and have lost their raw taste.
  4. Stir in the melted butter, cardamom and nutmeg.
  5. Pour the carrot mixture into the center of the bowl with the flour.  Fold in the carrots gently, working from the sides in towards the center, taking care not to over mix (this can cause the gluten to bind together, resulting in a tough and leathery texture).
  6. Spread evenly onto the baking tray (I used a 9 x 11 baking pan) and sprinkle with slivered almonds.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top, is golden brown. Cool completely, cut into squares and serve.
  7. These bars freeze well and will keep for up to a month in the freezer.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Saamai Pidi (Upma) Kozhukattai / Savory Little Millet Dumplings ~ Day 99


This is a healthy, quick and delicious snack to make and is one of my favorite comfort food.  Little millet is available in Indian stores and it is called  Indian Sawa Millet.  Below is a picture of the Upvas brand that I used.

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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Yields: 25 Kozhukattais (Dumplings)
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Ingredients:
  • Little millet / Saamai - 3/4 cup
  • Cream of rice - 1/2 cup
  • Water - 3 cups
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Urad dal - 2 tsp
  • Green chilies - 4, finely chopped
  • Ginger - 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  • Grated coconut or coconut pieces - 2 tbsp
  • Curry leaves - few,  finely chopped


Method:
  1. Heat oil in a deep pan and splutter mustard seeds.  Add urad dal and asafoetida, fry until golden brown.  Add the green chilies, ginger and curry leaves.  Saute for 10 seconds.
  2. Add 3 cups of water along with the salt and coconut.  Bring it to a boil.  Add the millet.  
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the millet absorbs 75 % of the water.  Now add the cream of rice and cook until all the water is absorbed and the mixture is dry.  Let it cool to the touch.
  4. Prepare a steamer.  Take a lemon sized millet mixture and make a dumpling out of it by pressing between your palm.  Place the dumplings in the steamer and steam cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve with coconut chutney or by itself.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Banana Stem (Vaazhai Thandu) Stir-Fry with Moong Dal ~ Day 98



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Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
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Ingredients:
  • Banana stem - 1, large, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • Split moong dal - 1/2 cups
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp
  • Dry red chilies - 4
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Grated fresh coconut - 2 tbsp (optional)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Coconut oil - 2 tsp
  • Yogurt / buttermilk - 2 tbsp
  • Water - for soaking the stem 


Method:
  1. Wash and soak moong dal in enough water for 1/2 hour.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt and water.  Keep it aside.
  3. Score (cut) and remove the outer layer of the banana stem and discard.
  4. Cut the inner portion into thin discs.  Remove the fibrous strands with your index finger as much as possible.  
  5. Stack the discs and cut into strips.  Immediately soak in buttermilk water to prevent them from turning browning.
  6. Drain the moong dal and the chopped banana stem.  
  7. Heat oil in a skillet and splutter mustard seeds.  Add urad dal and red chilies.  Fry until golden brown.
  8. Add curry leaves and asafoetida.  Add the moong dal, turmeric powder and 2 tbsp water.  Cook until the dal is 3/4 cooked, not mushy but firm.  Add the banana stem and salt.  Mix well.  Cover and cook until soft.   
  9. To speed up the process, I mixed the dal and the stem in a bowl and pressure cooked for 1 whistle and added to the tempering.
  10. Serve with steamed rice.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Eggless Banana Coconut Muffins with Chia Seeds ~ Day 97


Have some over-ripe bananas sitting on the counter top?  Transform them into this moist and delicious coconut flavored muffins.   They are so easy to bake and are perfect for on the go breakfast.

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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes
Yields: 12 muffins
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Ingredients:
  • All purpose flour  - 1 and 1/2 cups (I used Trader Joe's Multigrain Baking Mix)
  • Organic unsweetened coconut flakes - 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp for topping
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Brown sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Baking powder - 2 tsp (1 tsp if using baking mix)
  • Baking soda - 1/2 tsp
  • Flax seed powder - 1 tbsp
  • Chia seeds -  2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Milk - 3/4 cup
  • Melted butter - 2 tbsp
  • Ripe banana - 2, large, mashed
  • Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
  • Chopped Walnuts - 3/4 cup


Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a muffin tray with liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, coconut, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, flax powder, chia seeds, and salt.
  3. Add milk, butter, vanilla extract, and the mashed banana.  Mix well.  Fold in the chopped walnuts into the batter.  
  4. Fill the batter into the muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.  Top with extra coconut.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.
  6. Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then cool them on a wire rack.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Spring Onion and Drumstick Leaves (Murungai Keerai) Sambar ~ Day 96


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Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 6
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Ingredients:
  • Toor dal - 3/4 cup
  • Tamarind - a golf ball-sized
  • Spring onion - 1 bunch, trimmed and chopped
  • Drumstick leaves (Moringa) - 1 cup, packed, roughly chopped
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Red chilies - 3
  • Sambar powder - 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Salt - to taste
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Oil - 1 to 2 tbsp


Method:
  1. Soak tamarind in hot water for 15 minutes.  Squeeze the juice out, about 1 and 1/2 cups, and discard the pulp.  
  2. In a pressure cooker, cook toor dal with enough water,  for 4 to 5 whistles or until soft and mushy.
  3. Heat oil in a pan.  Splutter mustard seeds.  Add red chillies and saute for 5 seconds.
  4. Add the chopped spring onion and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the drumstick leaves and curry leaves.  Saute for 5 minutes.
  5. Add sambar powder, turmeric powder, asafoetida, and salt.  Mix well.
  6. Add the tamarind pulp and 2 cups of water.  Boil for 10 minutes on medium heat.
  7. Add the cooked, mashed toor dal.  Stir and bring it to a boil.  Remove from the heat.
  8. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Homemade Garam Masala Powder ~ Day 95


Garam masala is a quintessential spice blend used in North Indian cooking.  It is a mix of more than 10 to 15 aromatic spices, which are slightly roasted and blend into a smooth powder.  It is extremely easy to make at home and tastes so much better than a store bought powder.  You should be able to get all the spices used in this recipe, in any Indian store or online.

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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Yields: 1/2 cup

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Ingredients:
  • Coriander seeds - 1/4 cup
  • Cumin seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Black peppercorns - 2 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Cinnamon sticks - 2
  • Cloves - 6
  • Green cardamom - 6
  • Black cardamom - 2
  • Mace - 3
  • Bay leaves (dried) - 2
  • Freshly grated Nutmeg powder - 1 tsp

Method:
  1. Dry roast all the ingredients (except nutmeg powder) in a skillet, over low heat for 2 minutes.  Let cool.
  2. Grind into a smooth powder along with nutmeg powder, using a coffee grinder or a blender.
  3. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Buttery Garlic Breadsticks ~ Day 94


These soft, buttery, garlic breadsticks were super easy to make and turned out absolutely delicious.  And it is a breeze to make the dough in a stand mixer.  So, if you don't own one, it is time to invest in one and start baking.  You will love it.

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 Preparation time: 10 minutes + 2 1/2 hours (for proofing)
Cooking time: 12 to 15 minutes
Yields: 12 
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Recipe source: The Comfort of Cooking

Ingredients:
For the dough:
  • Bread flour - 3 cups
  • Warm Water - 1 and 1/4 cup
  • Instant yeast - 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Granulated Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Sea salt - 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Melted butter - 3 tbsp

For the garlic butter:
  • Melted butter - 3 tbsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Italian seasoning - 1 tsp ( I used Trader Joe's 21 seasoning Salute)
  • Garlic powder - 1 tsp
  • I also used 1/2 tsp each dried oregano and basil


Method:
  1. Place all the ingredients for the dough (except the flour), in a stand mixer with a dough hook attached.
  2. Start on low speed and a gradually add the flour.  Once combined, knead the dough on medium speed for 7 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
  3. Remove the dough and lightly oil the mixing bowl.  Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with a dry towel.  Let it rise for 1 and 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
  4. If you don't have a stand mixer, place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Slowly add the flour and combine.  Knead the dough by hand for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.  Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let it rise for 1 and 1/2 hours.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions.  Roll each piece of dough into a 7-inch log.  Place the logs on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.  Cover the tray and let it rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Preheat the over to 400 degrees F.  Bake the breadsticks for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Bake six at a time or divide the logs into two trays.
  7. Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the garlic butter.  Remove breadsticks from the oven and immediately brush with  butter mixture.
  8. Serve warm.


Friday, April 15, 2016

Bombay Chutney / Chickpea Flour Chutney ~ Day 93



Bombay chutney or besan (gram flour) chutney is a simple and quick to prepare side dish and a perfect combination for poori or chapati.  

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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves: 2
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Ingredients:
  • Besan (gram flour) / Garbanzo flour - 1/2 cup
  • Water - 2 to 3 cups
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Ginger - 1 tbsp, chopped
  • Green chilies - 3. finely chopped
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Cilantro / Coriander leaves - 2 springs, chopped
  • Lemon juice - 2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 2 tsp

Method:
  1. Mix the flour, turmeric powder, and salt.  Add 2 cups of water and whisk without any lumps.  Keep it aside.
  2. Heat oil in a deep pan.  Splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  3. Add ginger, chilies, curry leaves, and asafoetida.  Saute for 10 seconds.
  4. Add the flour mixture.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly.  When the mixture starts to thicken, remove from the heat.  Add cilantro and mix. When Slightly cool, add the lemon juice and mix.
  5. The chutney should be semi-solid in consistency.  If the chutney is too thick, add some hot water and mix.
  6. Serve hot with poori or chapati.  

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Neer mor, Panagam and Vada Paruppu (Sri Rama Navami Recipes) ~ Day 92


Sri Rama Navami is a Hindu festival, celebrating the birth of Lord Rama.  The following recipes are traditionally prepared on that day and offered to Lord Rama.
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Ingredients:

For the Neer Mor:
  • Yogurt - 1/4 cup
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Lemon juice - 2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger - 1 tsp, finely grated
  • Green chili - 1, chopped
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Oil - 1 tsp



Method:
  1. Whisk the yogurt in 2 cups of water along with lemon juice and salt.
  2. Heat oil in a small skillet.  Splutter mustard seeds.  Add the ginger, asafoetida, and curry leaves.
  3. Add it to the buttermilk and whisk to combine.

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For the Panagam:
  • Jaggery powder - 1/2 cup
  • Water - 2 cups
  • Dry ginger powder / Sukku podi - 1/4 tsp
  • Cardamom powder - 1/8 tsp
  • Lemon juice - 1 tbsp


 Method:
  1. Soak the jaggery in water for 10 minutes.  Once the jaggery is melted, strain to remove impurities.
  2. Add the lemon juice, ginger powder, and cardamom powder.  Mix well.

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For the Vada Paruppu:
  • Split moong dal - 1 cup
  • Green mango - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
  • Cucumber - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
  • Green chilies - 3, chopped
  • Grated fresh coconut - 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Coriander leaves / Cilantro for garnishing


Method:
  1. Soak split moong dal in enough water for 1 hour. Drain well.
  2. Add the green chilies, green mango, cucumber,  grated coconut, lemon juice, coriander leaves,and salt.  Mix well.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet and splutter mustard seeds.  Add curry leaves and asafoetida.
  4. Add it to the moong dal mixture and mix well.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Aama Vadai / Paruppu Vadai ~ Day 91


அனைவருக்கும்  இனிய  தமிழ் புத்தாண்டு  நல்வாழ்த்துக்ககள்!!

Happy Tamil New Year!!

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Preparation time: 3 hours for soaking and 10 minutes for grinding
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Yields: 25 to 30 vadais
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Ingredients:
  • Toor dal - 3/4 cup
  • Chana dal - 3/4 cup
  • Urad dal - 1/4 cup
  • Red chilies - 5 or to taste
  • Green chilies - 3
  • Ginger - 1-inch piece
  • Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - 2 springs
  • Cilantro / Coriander leaves - a handful
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - for frying

Method:
  1. Soak all the dals in enough water for 3 hours.  Drain well.
  2. In a food processor, place the red and green chilies, ginger and handful of dal and pulse until chilies are coarsely ground.
  3. Add rest of the dal and grind coarsely without adding any water.  Lastly, add the curry leaves and coriander leaves and pulse to combine.
  4. Transfer the ground mixer into a bowl.  Add salt and asafoetida.  Mix well.
  5. Heat oil in a deep pan / kadai.  Take a golf ball sized dal mixture and flatten into round patties.   Drop it gently into the hot oil and fry over medium-low heat, until golden brown and crisp.  Add 5 to 6 patties at a time.  Drain on paper towel.  
  6. Serve hot.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Thengai (Coconut) Thogayal ~ Day 90



Thogayal / Thuvayal is a South Indian comfort food, which is made of coarsely ground, fried dal and spices along with coconut.  You can add any vegetable to the dal mixture to make different varieties of thogayal.  It goes very well with hot steamed rice or with any South Indian tiffins, like Idli, dosai or even chapati.

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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Yields: 2 cups
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Ingredients:
  • Grated coconut (fresh or frozen) - 1 cup 
  • Urad dal - 1/2 cup
  • Dried red chilies - 6 or to taste
  • Tamarind - marble sized
  • Black peppercorns - 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger - a small piece (optional)
  • Asafoetida - a generous pinch
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Water - for grinding 

Method:
  1. If using frozen coconut, thaw it in a microwave for 30 seconds.  
  2. Heat oil in skillet.  Add urad dal, red chilies, tamarind, peppercorns, ginger, curry leaves, and salt.
  3. Fry, over low heat, until the dal turns golden brown.  Add asafoetida and stir.  Cool slightly.
  4. Place the dal mixture in a blender and add a little water and grind to a coarse paste.  
  5. Add the coconut and some more water and grind into a thick paste.  The ground paste should be thick in consistency.  So don't add too much water while grinding.  
  6. Serve with hot steamed rice and dollop of ghee

Friday, April 8, 2016

Vegetable Lemon Rice ~ Day 89


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 Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
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Ingredients:
  • Cooked Rice - 2 cups
  • Green pepper - 1, finely chopped
  • Red pepper - 1 finely chopped
  • Carrot - 2, shredded
  • Dill leaves - 1/2 cup, finely chopped (optional)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Lemon juice - from 2 lemons or to taste
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
For tempering:
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Urad dal - 2 tsp
  • Chana dal- 2 tsp
  • Raw peanuts - 1/4 cup
  • Green chilies - 3, slit
  • Ginger - 1-inch piece, finely grated
  • Turmeric powder - 3/4 tsp
  • Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Coriander leaves / Cilantro - for garnishing

Method:
  1. Heat oil in a wide skillet.  Splutter mustard seeds.  Add peanuts, urad dal, and chana dal.  Fry until golden brown.
  2. Add the slit green chilies, ginger and asafoetida.  Saute fro 10 seconds.  
  3. Add the turmeric powder, chopped veggies, dill leaves, and curry leaves.  Saute for 7 to 8 minutes over low heat.
  4. Add the rice and salt. Mix well to coat.  Remove from the heat.
  5. Let it cool slightly and add the lemon juice and cilantro.  Mix thoroughly.
  6. Serve with your choice of raita, appalam / papad or chips.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Amaranth (Rajkira) Mango Phrini ~ Day 88


Happy Ugadi / Gudi Padwa to all who celebrate!
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Amaranth seeds are, seeds from the amaranth plant (Mulai Keerai / Thandu Keerai).  It is easily available in most of the Indian stores here in the U.S.A.  
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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6
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Ingredients:
  • Amaranth seeds - 1/2 cup
  • Milk - 2 and 1/2 cups
  • Mango pulp - 1/2 cup
  • Sugar - 1/4 cup or to taste
  • Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Saffron strands - a pinch
  • Chopped nuts - for garnishing

Method:
  1. Rinse and soak amaranth seeds for 1 hour.  Drain and keep it aside.
  2. Place the milk in a heavy bottom sauce pan and bring it to a boil.  Add the drained amaranth and cook over low heat, until soft, stirring constantly.
  3. Add sugar and stir until dissolved.  Add cardamom powder, mix well. Remove from the heat.  Add the mango pulp and stir.
  4. Serve with chopped nuts.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Guava Chutney ~ Day 87


With a perfect balance of sweet and spicy flavors, this guava chutney is a delicious accompaniment to any dish. 

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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4
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Slightly modified recipe from: YouTube

Ingredients:
Guava - 4 big or 10 small, seeds removed and chopped
Jaggery powder - 1/4 cup
Ginger - 1 tbsp, chopped
Green chilies - 2, slit
Red chilies - 2, broken
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Nigella / kalonji / onion seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 2 tbsp



Method:
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Splutter mustard seeds.  Add ginger, green and red chilies, nigella / kalongi, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves.  Saute for 10 seconds. 
  2. Add the guava and stir to combine.  Add enough water to cover the guava pieces.  Cook until soft.
  3. Add jaggery powder, red chili powder and salt.  Let the jaggery melts, simmer and continue cooking until the chutney thickens, about 5 minutes.
  4. Serve with steamed rice, roti or just about anything.  My favorite choice is with the good old thayir sadam / yogurt rice.  Yumm!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Arrabbiata Sauce with Roasted Red Pepper ~ Day 86


Simple, spicy, and delicious pasta sauce made with fresh ingredients.  We had this lip-smacking sauce with spaghetti and we loved it.  

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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Yields: 3 cups
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Ingredients:
  • Tomatoes - 3, large
  • Red peppers - 2
  • Shallots - 2, large
  • Garlic - 3 cloves
  • Red pepper flakes - 1 tbsp or to taste
  • Dried oregano - 1 tsp
  • Dried basil - 1 tsp
  • Ground Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar - 1/2 tbsp
  • Fresh basil - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Salt - to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil - 1/4 cup

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Wash and pat dry the tomatoes and red peppers.  Roughly chop the shallots.   
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Coat the vegetables (tomatoes and red peppers) with olive oil and place them on the baking sheet.  Bake until soft and charred on both sides.  Let cool and remove the skin and seeds (from the red pepper).  Chop roughly.
  4. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a sauce pan.  Add the shallots and garlic.  Saute until soft.  Remove and transfer it to a blender, along with the roasted vegetables.  Puree until slightly coarse.
  5. Heat rest of the oil in the same sauce pan.  Add the ground sauce, and the spices (except fresh basil).  Stir well, cover (to prevent splattering), and cook over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from the heat and add the fresh basil.
  6. Cool completely and store in clean glass jar.  Use it over any type of pasta or spaghetti.   
  7. The sauce can be refrigerated for a week or 10 days.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sorakkai / Lauki Kurma with Sprouted Vendayam (Methi/Fenugreek Seeds) ~ Day 85


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Preparation time: 10 minutes 
+
 Sprouting time for Fenugreek Seeds (3 days)
Cooking time: 20 Minutes
Serves: 4
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Ingredients:
  • Sorakkai / Lauki / Bottle Gourd /Opo squash - 1, large, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • Sprouted Methi / Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 cup
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Green chili - 2, slit
  • Ginger - 1 tbsp, minced
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Sugar - 2 tsp (optional) to balance out the bitterness of the sprouts
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Coriander leaves / cilantro - for garnishing

To grind:

  • Tomato -1, medium
  • Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
  • Cashews - 1 tbsp
  • Poppy seeds - 1/2 tbsp
  • Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
  • Green chili - 2
  • Cinnamon - 1/2-inch stick
  • Cloves - 3
  • Green Cardamom - 1



To make sprouts:  Soak 1/2 cup fenugreek seeds in enough water for 8 to 12 hours.  Drain and rinse using a colander. Keep it in the colander, covered with a wet kitchen towel for 3 days, rinsing once a day.  Once sprouted, refrigerate and use as needed.

Method:
  1. Soak cashews and poppy seeds in warm water for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a deep skillet / pan.  Splutter mustard and cumin seeds.  Add the green chili, ginger and curry leaves.
  3. Add the cubed sorakkai / lauki, sprouts, and turmeric powder.  Add enough water to cover the vegetable and cook until soft, over medium-low heat.
  4. Meanwhile, grind all the ingredients in the grind list to a smooth paste.
  5. Add the ground paste and salt.  Cook for 5 minutes, over low heat. 
  6. Remove from the heat and garnish with coriander leaves.
  7. Serve hot with chapati, roti or steamed rice.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Spicy Onion Rings ~ Day 84


Today is the last day of spring break and the kiddo was doing a project with his friend.  These crispy and crunchy onion rings were their treats for finishing the project (finally).  Initially, I was going to make a baked version but then decided to fry it since it's for the kids (they had only five each).  They thoroughly enjoyed it with hot sauce.  The spices that go into the batter are all up to your choice.  If you want to add an egg to the batter, just omit flax seed powder, and mix it with the buttermilk.

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Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yields: 12 to 15 rings
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Ingredients:
  • Onion - 1, large
  • Buttermilk - 3/4 cup
  • All-purpose flour - 1/2 cup
  • Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Ground black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Dried oregano - 1/2 tsp
  • Flax seed powder - 1 tbsp (to replace 1 egg)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Chat masala and kasoori methi (optional)
  • Panko bread crumbs - for coating
  • Oil - for frying


Method:
  1. Cut the onions into 1/4 inch slices.  Separate the rings carefully and set it aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine AP flour, baking powder, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, flax powder, chat masala (if using), and salt.  Coat the rings in flour and keep aside.
  3. In the same flour, add buttermilk and whisk until smooth.  If using kasoori methi, add it to the bread crumbs and set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a deep skillet.  Dip the onion rings one at a time in the batter and coat it with bread crumbs.  Slide the ring in hot oil and fry until golden brown on both sides. Fry 3 or 5 rings at a time.  Drain on a paper towel.
  5. Serve hot with your choice of dip or ketchup.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Mini Samosa Bites ~ Day 83

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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Yields: 15 
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Ingredients: 

  • Potatoes - 2, boiled and mashed
  • Mixed vegetables (peas, carrot and corn) - 3/4 cup
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Ginger - 1/2 tbsp, minced
  • Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Anardana (pomegranate) powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Cilantro - 2 tsp, finely chopped
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 2 tsp
  • Green and sweet chutney
  • Mini fillo cups - 1 box





Method:
  1. Heat oil in a skillet.  Add cumin seeds ad ginger.  Saute for 10 seconds.
  2. Add the mixed vegetables, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, red chili, and anardana powders along with salt.  Stir well and cook the vegetables until soft.  Add the mashed potatoes and cilantro.  Mix well.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the fillo cups in a baking tray and bake it for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Fill fillo cups with the potato mixture.
  5. Serve with sweet and spicy chutney or ketchup.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Masala Chai Mug Cake ~ Day 82































This scrumptious, light and fluffy mug cake is for all the chai / tea lovers out there.  It's sugar and spice and everything nice.
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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 50 seconds to 1:10 minutes
Serves: 1
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Ingredients:
Milk - 2 1/2 tbsp
Tea bag - 1
Tea masala - 1/2 tsp
AP flour - 2 tbsp
Sugar - 2 tbsp
Melted Butter or oil - 3/4 tbsp
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Vanilla extract - 1/4 tsp
Salt - a pinch

Method:
  1. Heat milk in a microwave safe mug for 30 seconds.  Dip the tea bag in milk and let it seep for 30 seconds. Discard the tea bag.
  2. Add the melted butter or oil, sugar, vanilla extract, and tea masala.  Mix well.
  3. Add the flour, baking power, and salt.  Whisk well to combine.
  4. Lightly butter your favorite mug and transfer the cake mixture.  Microwave for 50 seconds, then 10 second intervals until the cake is done.  Mine took only 50 seconds to cook.  The timing depends on the powder of the microwave.  
  5. Dig in and enjoy the warm cake drizzled with caramel or chocolate sauce or topped with a dollop of whipped cream.