Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Chenai Masiyal/Senai Masiyal/Yam Mash



Chenai Masiyal is nothing but mashed yam, seasoned with some spices and garnished with lemon juice. It’s a perfect accompaniment with Keerai Molagootal or for that matter any Molagootal. It tasted good with even simple dal. It’s a good accompaniment with rotis too. It needs just a few ingredients. And it is the simplest thing to make. I guess I have given you enough reasons to get into your kitchen and make it right away.

This Masiyal can be made two ways, one is this way using lemon juice and the other is using tamarind. Will try to post the tamarind version too.



Serves 2 to 3
What you'll need
  1. Chenai/Yam – about 250 gms, 1.5 cups approx when chopped
  2. Ginger – a small piece
  3. Green Chilly – 1 or 2 (adjust according to taste)
  4. Lemon Juice – ½ tbsp
  5. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  6. Salt to taste

For tempering
  1. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  2. Fenugreek Seeds – ¼ tsp
  3. Dried Red Chilly – 1
  4. Curry Leaves – few
  5. Coconut oil – 1 tsp

Method
  1. Peel and roughly chop the yam into chunks. Wash well.
  2. Slit green chillies, peel and grate ginger.
  3. In a small pressure cooker, add the chopped yam pieces, green chillies, ginger, turmeric powder and salt.
  4. Add just enough water to cover the yam pieces.
  5. Cook for 3 whistles. The yam pieces should be cooked really well.
  6. Once pressure is released, Strain the water and set aside. Don’t throw it.
  7. Mash the yam pieces with a masher or back of a ladle until there are no more pieces left.
  8. Check for salt. Add the reserved water little at a time and make to a saucy consistency.
  9. Heat a small frying pan with oil, temper with mustard, fenugreek and red chillies.
  10. Remove from heat and add the curry leaves.
  11. Now pour this tempering over the mashed yam mixture.
  12. Let it cool for a while then add the lemon juice and mix well.




Serve with rice and Molagootal or even as a side to Chappathis.

Note:
Add just enough water to the yam, while pressure cooking it.
You can also cook them on stove top, but I find pressure cooking easier.
The consistency of the masiyal should be sauce like..not too thick or not too thin.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Chinna Vengaya Vatha Kuzhambu




Vatha kuzhambu or Vathal kuzhambu gets its name from the vathals or dried/preserved vegetables – Manathakkali, Chundakkai etc that are added to it. But the kuzhambu can also be made without the vathals too. The next best thing after the vathals would be to add china vengayam, which is my favourite. Other vegetables that can be added are drumstick and sometimes even pumpkin pieces.

My mother usually makes by grinding a fresh paste of some spices. I love her kuzhambu. Today I am sharing a simple method where there is no roasting or grinding just by adding Sambar powder. I will definitely share my mom’s recipe soon.

Vatha kuzhambu will be concentrated so adding a little bit to the rice will go a long way. We usually pair it up with paruppu thogayal.



Serves – 2 to 3
What you’ll need
  1. Pearl Onions/Shallots – about 20
  2. Tamarind – a gooseberry sized ball
  3. Sambar Powder – 1.5 - 2 tbsp (adjust according to your spice level)
  4. Jaggery – ½ tsp (optional)
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp

For tempering
  1. Sesame Oil – 2 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Bengal Gram Dal/Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu – 1 tsp
  4. Fenugreek Seeds/ Vendayam – ¼ tsp
  5. Curry Leaves – few

Method
  1. Peel and wash the shallots.
  2. Soak the tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes and extract the pulp by adding 2.5 to 3 cups of water.
  3. Heat a kadai with oil, splutter mustard seeds.
  4. Throw in the Channa dal and fenugreek seeds and fry till the dal turn golden.
  5. Add the curry leaves and the shallots and sauté till the shallots turn light brown.
  6. Next add the Sambar Powder and sauté for few seconds.
  7. Now add the tamarind extract, turmeric powder and salt to taste and jaggery.
  8. Allow this to come to a boil, lower heat to medium and boil for 15 to 20 minutes or till the oil floats up and the kuzhambu becomes slightly thick.



Remove from heat and serve with plain rice and paruppu thogayal with some applams.





Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Caramelized Onion Apple Mini Tarts


This month the Groovy Gourmets decided to make some delicious canapés. Canapes are small, single-bite food, that is traditionally made with a base of a small piece of bread with some sort of topping like cheese, vegetables or meat.

The base of the canapé could be anything from bread, crackers to pastry. They make a great appetizer for parties.

I was introduced to canapés not very long back by my aunt. I loved them to the core. I have posted a canapé some time back. You can check it here.

Today’s recipe has onions, apples and cheese. The original recipe called for fontina cheese. As I couldn’t find it I replaced with Cheddar. I loved the sweet, tangy and sharp taste of the three ingredients along with the crisp pastry. Do give them a try, I’m sure you will like them.


Recipe Source:lolfoodie
Makes – 16 pieces
What you’ll need
  1. Yellow Onion – 2 medium sized
  2. Green Apple – 1 big (I used Golden Delicious)
  3. Butter – 1 tbsp
  4. Cheddar cheese – 2 Slices cut into small pieces
  5. Black Pepper Powder – ¼ tsp (adjust according to taste)
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Puff Pastry Sheets – 4, Square sheets

Method
  1. Chop the onions and apples into small dices. Try to keep both of the same size.
  2. Heat a Kadai with the butter, add the onions and fry till they turn soft.
  3. Add the chopped apples and salt to taste.
  4. Fry on low to medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. Add the pepper powder mix well and cool slightly.
  6. Pre heat the oven to 200C
  7. Thaw the frozen pastry sheets and cut them into small squares. Feel free to cut them into whatever shapes you like. Some options are small triangles or even circles.
  8. Arrange them on a lined baking tray.
  9. Place a spoonful of the apple onion mixture and top with few pieces of cheese.
  10. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve warm.






Sunday, November 17, 2013

Idli Upma - Left over idli recipes



Do you usually have leftover idlis? Here is a simple and delicious way of using them up. And once you try this I'm sure you'll make some extra idlis just to have this delicious upma, just the way I do. Make sure you don't use fresh idlis for this as the crumbled idlis may turn very sticky. If you are using fresh ones, make sure you cool them well before preparing the upma.

What you'll need
  1. Idli Upma
  2. Idli – 4
  3. Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
  4. Green Chilli – 1, finely chopped
  5. Curry Leaves – few
  6. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  7. Channa Dal – 1 tsp
  8. Urad Dal – ½ tsp
  9. Dried Red Chilli – 1
  10. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  11. Salt to taste
  12. Oil – 2 tsp

Method
  1. Take the cold idlis one by one and dip them in water for 30 seconds, squeeze out the excess water and crumble the idlis with hand.
  2. Heat a Kadai with oil, temper with mustard seeds, channa dal, urad dal and red chillies. Fry till the dals turn golden.
  3. Add the curry leaves, green chilly and chopped onions, turmeric powder and sauté until the onions are light brown.
  4. Next add the crumbled idly and salt mix well until the crumbled idlis are heated through.
  5. Remove from heat and serve immediately.


Note:

You can skip the onions and prepare without it too, but onions give a nice taste to the upma.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Broken Wheat/Godhumai Rava Upma Kozhakattai - World Diabetes Day



Today is World Diabetes Day. It is a global awareness campaign of Diabetes mellitus and is held on November 14th every year. Over 30 million people in India have been diagnosed with Diabetes.
Diabetes can be kept under control with a healthy diet and good exercise. Including lot of fresh vegetables and whole grains helps to keep a check on the disease. Reduce the intake of white rice and substitute with whole grains like Wheat, Ragi, Jowar, Bajra, Oats, Barley.



My father and grandfather were diabetics and I have always seen them eat broken wheat rice instead of white rice. Broken wheat is a whole grain and is a super food for diabetes. It can be incorporated in our daily meals with ease. You can substitute your daily intake of white rice with this broken wheat.
It is easy to make delicious yet healthy food by choosing to cook with some healthy alternates. So, Exercise daily, Eat Healthy and Stay Fit.



Makes 18 Kozhakattais

What you’ll need
  1. Broken Wheat/Bulgur – 2 cup (see notes)
  2. Channa Dal/Kadalai Paruppu – ¼ cup
  3. Dried Red Chilly – 1 or 2
  4. Fresh Scraped Coconut – ¼ cup (optional)
  5. Salt to taste
  6. Water – 4 cup

For tempering
  1. Coconut oil or Any refined oil – 1 tbsp
  2. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  3. Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  4. Channa Dal – 1 tsp
  5. Asafoetida – a generous pinch
  6. Curry Leaves – few


Method
  1. Soak the channa dal and red chillies in water for half an hour.
  2. Grind into a paste by adding little water.
  3. Dry roast the broken wheat till a nice aroma comes. Transfer to a plate.
  4. In the same kadai, add oil, temper with mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal, fry till the dals turn golden.
  5. Add the asafoetida and the curry leaves.
  6. Next add 4 cups of water, add the ground paste, coconut and salt to taste.
  7. Bring to boil.
  8. Once the water starts boiling add the broken wheat and mix well.
  9. Stir till all the moisture evaporates and the whole this comes together as a mass.
  10. Remove from heat.
  11. Form balls with it when you can handle the dough. Let it not cool too much.
  12. Steam the balls in a steamer or idly stand for 8 to 10 minutes.
  13. Cool slightly.

Serve warm with sambar or chutney.



Notes:
  1. I have used Bulgur wheat/Cracked wheat, which is slightly smaller than the regular broken wheat and cooks faster too. If you are using regular broken wheat, increase quantity of water to 3 cups for 1 cup of wheat.
  2. Do not let the mixture cool too much then you may find it difficult to make balls.

Few more healthy recipes





Sunday, November 10, 2013

Vendakkai Puli/Vendakkai Puli Pachadi


Lady’s finger is our family’s favourite vegetable. We like it in Sambar, Thayir Pachadi, a simple stir fry or like this puli pachadi. This is a tangy sauce prepared using tamarind, lady’s finger and some simple spices. It tastes great with Molagootal or even with curd rice.



Serves – 3 to 4
What you’ll need
  1. Lady’s Finger - 10 to 12 Medium sized
  2. Tamarind – Gooseberry sized ball
  3. Ginger – a small piece
  4. Green Chilly – 1, slit
  5. Rasa Podi – ½ tbsp
  6. Jaggery – 1 tbsp
  7. Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Oil – 1 tsp
  10. Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
  11. Curry Leaves – few

Method
  1. Soak the tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes.
  2. Squeeze and extract the pulp with about 2 cups of water.
  3. Wash and pat dry the lady’s finger and cut into ½ inch sized pieces.
  4. Heat a Kadai with oil, temper with mustard seeds.
  5. Add the curry leaves, slit green chilly, grated ginger and sauté for a min.
  6. Add the lady’s finger, turmeric powder and sambar powder and fry on medium flame for 3 to 4 minutes.
  7. Add the 2 cups of tamarind water, Jaggery and salt to taste.
  8. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and let it boil for another 8 to 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
  9. Remove from heat.

Serve warm with Keerai Molagootal.



Note:
  1. Don’t skip the ginger and green chilly as they give a special flavour to the pachadi.
  2. You can substitute the Rasam powder with Sambar powder or ½ tsp of chilli powder.
  3. At the end if you feel the sauce is not thickened enough to your liking, you can mix a tsp of rice flour in water and add and bring to a boil. I personally don’t like to add rice flour.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Crostini with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella


The International Food Challenge took us to explore the cuisine of Campania, Italy. The recipes for the month were suggested by Priya of Priya's Versatile Recipes. All the recipes looked simple and delicious and I was left confused as to which one to pick. Finally, I decided to go with these cute looking Crostinis as I have never tried them before. 

Crositini is an Italian Appetiser, which is nothing but toasted or grilled bread usually Cibbatta topped with cheese, meat or vegetables. They are a breeze to put together and are perfect for parties. They were a great hit with my kids and these are going to be a regular in my kitchen. 

Please pardon the photographs as I was in a real hurry and also it was really dark by the time I clicked. Will update with better pics soon.




Adapated from here
What you’ll need

  1. French Bread - 1 loaf, sliced
  2. Fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced - 1 ball 
  3. Cherry tomatoes, sliced - 1 cup
  4. Butter - 2 tbsp, at room temperature
  5. Garlic - 1 clove, minced
  6. Fresh Basil - few, finely chopped


Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F / 180 degrees C.
  2. In a small bowl, mix garlic and butter. Brush both sides of sliced bread with garlic butter. Top with cheese, tomato slices and chopped basil.
  3. Bake 10 – 15 minutes until cheese is melted and serve warm.  



Sunday, November 3, 2013

Devasa Thogayal/Inji Thogayal/Puli Thogayal


Hope all are back to routine after a weekend of festivities. So here is a simple recipe that aids in digestion and is great for the taste buds after all the heavy sweets and snacks.

This Thogayal forms a part of the Devasa Chappadu (Shradha Meal) in our family. The Devasa chappadu consists of many kinds of thorans and pachadis with special vegetables like Raw Banana, Yam, Bitter gourd, Broad Beans etc. The method of preparation is also slightly different. There are different palaharams like appam, vadai, uppittu, sugiyan, ellu urundai etc. The menu and number of items differ from one household to other. Usually, the number of items is so much that it is difficult to finish the entire meal. Among all these different items my favourite is this thogyal. Like I said, each family has their own way of cooking, even my MIL’s version is different. But I like this one which my grandmother and mother make.

This thogyal is almost black in colour because of the tamarind and the curry leaves and has a tangy sweet taste with the slight kick from the ginger.

What you’ll need
  1. Tamarind – size of a lemon
  2. Ginger – 2 to 2.5 inch piece
  3. Jaggery – same amount as tamarind
  4. Fresh Curry Leaves – ¾ cup, tightly packed
  5. Scraped Coconut Fresh/frozen – 2 tbsp
  6. Salt to taste



Method
  1. Soak the Tamarind in very little hot water if the tamarind is hard. If it is soft and can be ground without soaking then no need to soak.
  2. Peel, wash and chop ginger. Wash the curry leaves and keep ready.
  3. Add the chopped ginger into the small mixie jar and grind, then add the curry leaves and give a pulse, next add the tamarind and grind until everything is combined well and resembles a paste. Try to grind without adding water.
  4. Now add the salt and jaggery and grind, until combined.
  5. Do a taste check and add salt or jaggery if required.
  6. Now heat a small kadai, with a tsp of oil, fry the scraped coconut until brown.
  7. Add the ground paste to the Kadai and mix well and just stir on medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat. Transfer to a bowl.


Serve with rice and Molagootal or with curd rice.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Badam Cake/Burfi - Almond Fudge



Tomorrow is Diwali. Hope all are geared up to celebrate this beautiful festival with new clothes, crackers and some yummy food. 
This year we are away from our country for the first time and miss it very much especially on this occasion. But we did have our share of fun here with the lots of Diwali celebrations in the town and the kids schools. I felt really proud to see people of different nationalities flock in huge numbers to the Diwali festivals here. We also got to see some fireworks. So the whole of last week was fun filled. 
Here is a simple treat that can get ready in just a few minutes. So if you are the last minute kind of person and haven't yet made your goodies, then give this one a try. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.



What you'll need

  1. Almonds- 1 cup
  2. Sugar - 1.5 cup
  3. Ghee - 1/4 cup


Method

  1. Soak the almonds in hot water for half and hour. Remove the skin.
  2. Grease a square tray and keep aside.
  3. Grind the almonds into a fine paste by adding little water or milk.
  4. In the meanwhile, place a heavy bottom kadai on heat.
  5. Add sugar and 1/2 cup water and heat on medium flame till the sugar reaches one string consistency.
  6. to check for one string consistency, wet your fingers, and take a little bit of the syrup between the thumb and index finger and take them apart, if you see a single string then the syrup is of right consistenty.
  7. Add the ground almond paste and mix without any lumps.
  8. Then add the ghee and keep stirring till the whole thing comes together as a mass and the sides start frothing.
  9. Pour into a greased plate. Cool for few minutes and mark the pieces while still warm.
  10. Cut and separate the pieces after cooling.

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