“The virtues of donations are great, because it helps the needy and at the same time it gives an opportunity to the donor to give the surplus to the people in need ” - Sama Veda

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Friday, September 12, 2014

HOW TO COOK MILLETS? / MILLETS COOKING BASICS / SAAMAI SADHAM / SAAMAI RICE

HOW TO COOK MILLETS? / MILLETS COOKING BASICS / SAAMAI SADHAM / SAAMAI RICE

What are millets?

Millets, known as Sirudaniyam in Tamil, are small seeded grains, gluten free and  non-allergic. They are rich in fiber, iron, calcium and phosphorous. Also rich in protein, amino acids, minerals and anti-oxidants.

Benefits of millets:

Highly effective in reducing weight. Controls  blood sugar level. Lowers the risk of diabetes. Repairs body tissues. Prevents constipation. Prevents ulcers. Helps in easy digestion. Reduces the risk of cancer. Good for heart. Improves stamina. Improves  body metabolism. Controls arthritis. Improves skin disorders. Improves menstrual disorders. Lowers cholestrol and triglycerides. Magnesium in millets reduce the effects of migraine. Lowers high blood pressure.

Millets can be substituted for rice and wheat in day to day cooking. However, millets should not be consumed in great quantities by those with thyroid disease.

GLOSSARY OF MILLETS

Tamil
English
Hindi
Kuthiravaali Barnyard millet Jhangora
Saamai Little millet Kutki
Varagu Kodo millet Kodra
Pani varagu Proso millet Barri
Thinai Foxtail millet Kangni
Kambu Pearl millet Bajra
Kezhvaragu / Ragi Finger millet Mandua
Cholam Sorghum Jowar

Let  us start with the basics on cooking millets. How to cook millets? You can either cook it in a vessel or  pressure cook.

HOW TO COOK MILLETS? / MILLETS COOKING BASICS / SAAMAI SADHAM / SAAMAI RICE

INGREDIENTS:

Any millet (Saamai, Kuthiravaali, Varagu or Thinai) - 1 cup
Water -  2 1/2 OR 2 3/4 cups  ( I used 2 3/4 cups)

METHOD:

Remove the grits and wash the millet well. Add water and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Serve with sambhar, rasam and  curd.

Vessel method: 

Any millet (Saamai, Kuthiravaali, Varagu or Thinai) - 1 cup
Water - 3 cups

Boil water in a pan. Remove the grits and wash the millet well. Drain the water completely. When water starts boiling, add the millet and cook  covered in medium heat until the water is absorbed and soft. Keep aside covered for 15 minutes. It will get fully cooked in the steam. Fluff with a fork. Serve with sambhar, rasam and  curd.

NOTE: If millet is cooked with less water it doesn't get cooked properly. As I prefer completely cooked millet, I use the above proportion. However,  you can adjust the water  level to suit your preference.

Friday, July 25, 2014

COMPLETE GUIDE ON AADI /AASHAADA MONTH FESTIVAL CELEBRATIONS


Tamil month Aadi is considered as an auspicious month. Aadi festival is celebrated in  the tamil month of Aadi (July - August). In Tamil there is a saying "Aadi azhaikkum" meaning the month is the start  for all festivals of the year.  All fridays in this month are  very auspicious and special for Goddesses. Doing Lakshmi Pooja, offering prasadam to Goddesses, doing poojas and offering milk to 'Naagar' (snakes), giving thamboolam to ladies, offering maavilakku, 'varalakshmi vratham and pooja' and Sri Andal's birthday "Thiruvadipooram" are some  of the celebrations in this month. 

The first day of Aadi month (Aadi pirappu) is celebrated as Aadi Pandigai. This festival is  important for the newly-weds. The son-in-law is invited on this day for food and gifted with Thengai paal  in a 'Silver tumbler' alongwith clothes and sweets. In addition to general pandigai menu, we prepare thengai paal for this pandigai instead of regular payasam. Click here for 'Thengai Paal' recipe.


The 18th day of Tamil month Aadi is also known as "Aadi perukku" or "Aadi 18" or "Padinettaam perukku". Perukku in Tamil means "in abundance". The rivers will have water in abundance now, after the monsoon rains in the previous month. This is an important pandigai of TamilNadu. On this day, people prepare mixed rice varieties also called as kalandha saadham or chitraannam. They go to the banks of the river with kith and kin and enjoy the trip with chitraannam. This is an important festival for the farmers.

Aadi 18 menu : Click the link for recipes:
Coconut riceLemon rice or PuliyodharaiSarkarai pongal and curd rice alongwith poricha appalam. Admire the tactics of our elders. Nothing will be spilt while travelling to the banks of the river and cooking is also simplified .

Chitrannam

Prasadams for Thiruvadipooram are Venn pongal and Sakkarai pongal OR Akkara adisil .

Akkaravadisal

Some  families have the tradition of  lighting the Maavilakku  on Aadi Fridays.

Maavilakku

Some other prasadams (offerings) on aadi vellikkizhamai and Varalakshmi vratham are Ammini Kozhukattai, Manjal Pongal, Arisi Payasam, Pacharisi idli, appam, and vadaiAs I am an iyengar, we don't observe this festival. I will update this post after getting details regarding of the vratham and decorated kalasam from my neighbour. However, these are procedures done as per family traditions and many books are available in stores as to how to perform the pooja. Lakshmi poojas are done on Aadi Fridays chanting Lakshmi Ashtotharam and slokas and doing archana with flowers or kumkum to Goddess Lakshmi. The Lakshmi Ashtotharam and slokas  can be googled and books are available as well. 

Lakshmi pooja

Ammini Kozhukattai

Manjal pongal

Arisi payasam

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

MUSKMELON DELIGHT / CANTALOUPE DELIGHT/ MUSKMELON SALAD / CANTALOUPE SWEET SALAD

MUSKMELON DELIGHT , CANTALOUPE DELIGHT, Cantaloupe salad, Cantaloupe sweet salad, muskmelon salad, muskmelon sweet salad

Muskmelon is beneficial for conditions like lack of appetite, urinary tract infections, constipation, acidity and ulcer. Muskmelons are rich in potassium which helps in controlling blood pressure, regulating the heart beat, relief from cramps and also prevent strokes. Musk melon reduces heat in the body, so consuming this fruit  in summer  is very beneficial. It also relieves tiredness, enhances appetite and is an effective laxative. It is a good source of Vitamins A, B, and C. 

INGREDIENTS:

Muskmelon / Cantaloupe  - 1
Crushed jaggery OR brown sugar - 3/4 cup
Honey - 2 tablespoons

METHOD:

Peel, deseed and cut muskmelon (cantaloupe) into cubes.

Add jaggery and honey. Mix well.

Cover and keep it in refrigerator for half an hour.  Serve chilled. Tastes divine with syrupy and small jaggery bites.

NOTE: Cover and keep in the fridge as muskmelon has a strong odour.