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Thursday, October 28, 2010

MULTINUTS CHIKKI / MIXED NUTS CHIKKI

The signature recipe of my MIL is cashew chikkis using jaggery for karthigai. My memories go 25 years back when I first made it for thalai karthigai. Though I knew cooking, I was novice in making chikkis. My husband told me about cashew chikkis, and the method. I was not able to shape it due to lack of knowledge, poor consistency of the jaggery syrup, to shape into rounds while hot etc. My tension level rose to unlimited levels. Then, I called upon my neighbour maami and she helped me in making cashew urundais. From then till now, I was suffering from a phobia of making this. After making this, the PHOBIA POYE POCHU.

Coming to the recipe.... I was having lots of dry fruits in my refrigerator and was planning to make LONAVLA TYPE CHIKKIS for diwali. Very easy one and need not worry about the sugar syrup consistency etc. It came out perfect, crispy and was melting in my mouth. So decided to make these lonavla type chikkis for Diwali.

INGREDIENTS:

Mixed nuts (cashew, badam and pista) - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Ghee - 1 tablespoon

METHOD:
Crush the nuts slightly (as shown in the picture). I used a stone crusher. You may not get perfect shapes if the nuts are big. Warm them in a kadai.(DO NOT DRY ROAST).

Grease a wooden plank and a roller pin (chapathi roller) with ghee and keep it ready.






















Heat a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and when melted, swirl it on all sides, add the sugar and saute till it caramelises to a light brown colour. Now, add the crushed nuts. Switch off the stove and mix it quickly. Transfer the mixture to the wooden plank. Flatten out to a uniform medium sized layer using the rolling pin. Cut into desired shapes when warm and break into pieces when cool. Store in an air-tight container. I got 15 - 20 medium sized chikkis.

Monday, October 25, 2010

BOILED PEANUTS / AVICHA VERKADALAI

Who would not love to snack on this? Its hard to stop eating them. An awesome snack, especially on rainy days with a hot cup of tea.

INGREDIENTS:

Raw peanuts - 1/4 kg.
OR groundnuts with shells - 1/2 kg.
Salt - as per taste

NOTE: Generally a fistful of rock salt for 1 kg. is wise. In this case, it is 1/4th of a fistful. Some like it salty and some like it with less salt. Calculate according to your requirements. 1/4 kg. of peanuts will cater two persons.

Soak the peanuts(either raw or with shell) in water for 1 1/2 hours. Pressure cook for 3 whistles alongwith salt and the soaked water. Let them sit in the salt water even after it is cooked. Drain the desired amount of peanuts from the salt water and eat it one by one, with hot tea. It will become more tastier when staying in salt water.

Monday, October 18, 2010

MASAL DOSAI / MASALA DOSA

INGREDIENTS FOR THE DOSA:

Idli rice- 1 1/2 cups
Raw rice - 1 cup
Whole white urad dhal- 1/2 cup
Salt - as per taste ( generally I put 1 level tsp. for 1 cup of rice.This will be fine. Here, it is 2 1/2 tsps.)

METHOD:

Soak rice and dhal separately for 3-4 hours. Grind rice and dhal separately. Add salt , mix the batter and allow the batter to ferment for 7-8 hours.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE MASAL:

Potatoes – 3
Big onion - 1
Green Chillies - 3 or 4
Ginger - a small piece (optional)
Turmeric Powder - a pinch
Hing
Curry Leaves - few
Coriander leaves finely chopped - 2 tablespoons
Salt
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp.
Oil- 2 tsp.

METHOD:

Pressure cook potatoes for two whistles. Peel the skin and cut into big cubes. Chop onions into lengthy strips. Slit green chillies vertically.

In a kadai, heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add urad dhal and fry till golden brown. Now add turmeric powder, hing, onions and curry leaves and fry till the onions are translucent. Add the potatoes and salt. Slightly mash the potatoes. Add coriander leaves, mix well and keep it aside for spreading on the dosa.

HOW TO SPREAD: Spread the dosa batter in a dosa pan. Sprinkle some oil on all the sides and when one side is cooked, flip it to the other side. Leave it for 15 - 20 seconds. Again, flip it to the first side. Place a ladle of masal and spread only on one half of the dosa and fold the other half to cover it OR place the masal in the centre and fold it on both sides as shown in the picture. Serve hot with any chutney or sambhar or your choice.

NOTE: For spreading in the dosa , the masal should be semi-solid.
This masal can also be used as a side dish with pooris and chappathis.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

EASY SWEET CORN DELIGHTS - 7 VARIETIES

NOTES ON COOKING CORN: I have used fresh American corn kernels. If using American corn, Microwave high for 3 minutes. Add salt to taste, mix well and again Microwave high for 1 minute. Frozen corn can be substituted instead of american corn. If using frozen corn, put it in a bowl of water for 5 minutes, drain the water and then microwave the corns. If using the regular indian variety of corn, boil it in water till tender. All the recipes will taste better when served HOT.

1. BUTTERY CORN:

American sweet corn - 2 cups
Salt - 1/4 tsp.
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp.
Butter - 2 tsp.

METHOD:

Wash the corn kernels and transfer it to a microwave proof bowl. Microwave high for 3 minutes. Add salt to taste and again Microwave high for 1 minute. When hot add the butter and pepper powder. Serve hot.

2. CHEESY CORN:

Boiled/Microwaved corn - 2 cups
Chat masala - 1/2 tsp.
Chilli powder OR pepper powder - 1/4 tsp.
Salt - 1/4 tsp.
Grated cheese - 2 tablespoons

METHOD: Mix all the ingredients when the corn is hot. Serve hot.

3. SPICY CORN:

Boiled/Microwaved corn - 2 cups
Chat masala - 1/2 tsp.
Kala namak(Black salt) - a pinch
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp.
Dhania powder - 1/4 tsp.
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp.
Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp.
Salt - a pinch ( as already the boiled corn has salt in it)
Butter - 2 teaspoons
Lime juice - 1 tsp.

METHOD: Mix all the ingredients and serve hot.

4. MASALA CORN:

Boiled/Microwaved corn - 2 cups
Grated carrot - 1 tablespoon
Chopped tomato - 1 tablespoon
Chopped onion - 1 tablespoon
Chopped cucumber - 1 tablespoon
Chopped green chillies - 1 tsp.
Chopped coriander leaves - 2 tsps.
Salt - a pinch
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp.
Lime juice - 1 tsp.

METHOD: Mix all the ingredients and serve hot.

5. CORN BHEL:

Boiled/Microwaved corn - 2 cups
Boiled potato - 1
Grated carrot - 1 tablespoon
Chopped tomato - 1 tablespoon
Chopped onion - 1 tablespoon
Chopped cucumber - 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp.
Chat masala - 1/2 tsp.
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp.
Chopped coriander leaves - 2 tsps.
Lime juice - 1 tsp.
Salt - a pinch
Sweet chutney - 1 tsp.
Green chutney - 1 tsp.
Sev - 2 tablespoons

METHOD: Mix all the ingredients(except sev). Top it with sev and serve.

6. CORN DELITE:

Boiled/Microwaved corn - 2 cups
Olive oil - 1 tsp.
Oregano - 1 tsp.
Basil(fresh or dried) - 1 tsp.
Finely chopped cilantro - 2 tsps.
Lime juice - 1 tsp.
Salt - a pinch

METHOD: Mix all the ingredients and serve hot.

7. CORN SUNDAL:

Boiled /Microwaved corn - 2 cups

FOR THE TEMPERING:

Oil - 1 tsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Chopped green chillies - 1/2 tsp.
Scraped coconut - 2 tablespoons
Hing

METHOD: Heat oil and temper with the given ingredients. Add corn, mix well and serve hot.

Monday, October 11, 2010

PALAK PANEER - 2 VERSIONS

I made the jain gravy version some days back and while tasting this nobody at home could make it out. It was like regular palak paneer.
NOTE: If health conscious,
fresh cream can be substituted with milk. Adding milk gives a creamy texture to the gravy. I would prefer to have this gravy without using ginger .

INGREDIENTS:

Palak - 2 bunches
Paneer - 200 gms
Crushed Kasuri methi - 1/2 tsp. (optional)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Salt - as per taste
Butter or Oil - 2 tablespoons
Fresh cream - 2 tablespoons OR boiled milk - 1/4 cup
Garam masala - 1 tsp.
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon

VERSION - 1
FOR THE JAIN GRAVY:

Grated Pumpkin (yellow) - 1 cup
Green chillies - 3 or 4
Grated ginger - 1/4 tsp.(optional)

VERSION - 2
FOR THE REGULAR GRAVY :

Onion - 1
Garlic - 3 pods
Green chillies - 3 or 4
Grated ginger - 1/4 tsp.(optional)


METHOD:

Clean the palak and take out the leaves. Discard the stem. Blanch(Put in hot boiling water for 2 minutes, drain completely and run under cold water) the palak and grind it to a puree.

Grind the items given for the gravy (JAIN OR REGULAR) to a fine paste. Heat butter, and temper with cumin seeds add the ground paste and saute till the raw smell is diffused. Now add the palak puree, coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well and saute for 2 or 3 minutes.

Wash the paneer and dice them into medium-sized cubes. Soak it in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain completely and add it to the palak. Saute in low flame for 5 minutes. Add crushed kasuri methi. Pour in fresh cream or boiled milk and give it JUST ONE BOIL. Serve hot with any Indian flat bread.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

POTATO CARROT SOUP


INGREDIENTS:

Potato - 2(medium-sized)
Carrot - 3
Tomato - 1
Onion - 1
Garlic - 2 pods
Celery - 1 stick
Pepper - 1/4 tsp.
Corn flour - 2 tablespoons
Butter - 2 tablespoons
Salt - as per taste
White/Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp.


METHOD:

Peel and dice the vegetables to big cubes. Chop the onions. Crush garlic.

Heat butter in a pressure pan, add pepper. When it crackles, add onions and garlic and saute till translucent. Now add the corn flour and saute for 1 minute. Add in the tomato, potato and carrot. Saute for 2 minutes . Pour in 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 1 whistle.

When cool, blend it in a mixie and strain through a soup strainer. Reheat and serve hot. Sprinkle some white/black pepper powder while serving.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

NAVARATHRI SPECIALS

SCROLL DOWN TO THE END OF THIS POST FOR SALT SUNDAL, SWEET SUNDAL AND THE RECIPE LINKS FOR THE ABOVE COLLAGE.

HAPPY NAVARATHRI. This year, Navarathri starts on 8th Oct 2010 and ends with Vijayadasami on 17th Oct 2010. What is the significance of Navarathri?


Navarathri reminds all women, who are the guardians of the family, culture, and integrity, to guide the family towards the path of justice, love, and divinity. Navarathri is celebrated all over India, Nepal and also Mauritius. Also known as Vijayadasami, Dasara, Dussehra in India & Mauritius and Dashain in Nepal. It is celebrated as “victory of good over evil”

"Nava" means nine and "Rathri" means night. And Navaratri is"nine nights". Goddess Durga is worshipped on the first three days of the festival. The next three days Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped and then Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on the last three days. The tenth day is "Vijayadasami". Vijaya means "victory", the victory over our own minds which comes when we worship these three goddesses Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. Thus, Navarathri signifies our spiritual awakening.

Coming to the celebrations in South India, the interesting part is arranging Kolu for the festival. Steps made of wood or Readymade steps are arranged in the order 3, 5, 7 or 9 and the "Kolu Bommais" (earthen dolls) are arranged on the steps in a specific order. Kolams are drawn on mornings and evenings.

Daily pooja is conducted in the morning with chanting of slokas. In the evening many ladies are invited and will be offered "thamboolam". The prasadam or offering is in the evening, mostly sundal and ends in the night with "Arathi". "Saraswathi Pooja" and "Ayudha Pooja" is celebrated on the 9th day. Books, tools and musical instruments are kept in Pooja on "Saraswathi Pooja" day. Poojas are done for the vehicles at our home as it plays an important role in our daily life. Vijayadasami day is very auspicious for new ventures. Kids are enrolled in music classes, games classes etc. People gift their gurus with "vasthram"(clothes) and get their blessings.

The best part is the "Naivedhyam" and mostly the menu is Sundal(Sweet or Salt). Puttu is made on a Friday of Navarathri. Kondakadalai (Black chana dhal) sundal and appam is made on Saraswathi Pooja day. Some make kadalai urundai also. Payasam is also made daily.

SALT SUNDAL:
INGREDIENTS:
Any pulse of your choice- 1/4 kg.

TEMPERINGS:
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Turmeric powder- a pinch.
Urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Dry red chillies - 1 0r 2
Scraped coconut - 1/4 cup
Hing
Salt - as per taste
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 1 teaspoon

METHOD: Cook the pulses as said here and temper with the given ingredients.

SWEET SUNDAL: This is made only with Karamani(cow peas) or Pachaipayaru(green gram)

Karamani or Pachaipayaru - 1 cup
Crushed jaggery - 3 teaspoon

TEMPERINGS:
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Dry red chilly - 1
Scraped coconut - 1/4 cup

METHOD:

Cook the pulses as said here, drain the water completely. Heat a teaspoon of oil and temper with mustard seeds and dry red chilly. add the cooked pulse, a pinch of salt and jaggery. When thick add coconut and mix well.

LINKS FOR LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST OF NAVARATHRI MENU:

TIPS ON COOKING PULSES FOR SUNDAL
AAMA VADAI
PUTTU
PAYASAMS
KADALAI URUNDAI
APPAM (TANJORE STYLE)
APPAM (NEIYAPPAM)
KONDAKADALAI(BLACK CHENNA SUNDAL)
KABUL CHENNA SUNDAL
GROUNDNUT SUNDAL

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

TIPS FOR CLEANING COPPER AND BRASS ARTICLES

After my post on tips for cleaning silver artiles, many friends asked me about cleaning the copper and brass items. Traditional way of cleaning, especially during karthigai festival, involves lot of time using tamarind, salt and lemon peels and also it is rough of your hands. This is a quick method of cleaning copper and brass items in bulk (sans shoulder and hand pain) and cheaper too. 

THINGS REQUIRED:

NON FRUIT VINEGAR
SALT

METHOD OF CLEANING:

Make a solution from NON-FRUIT VINEGAR and salt. Allow the salt to dissolve. You can also use table salt. Immerse the brass or copper items. While immersing, the colour will start changing. Leave it for a while. Take out and wash with a dishwash liquid and scrub. For bigger vessels, dab the scrub with the solution and wash as usual.

NOTE: For 1 cup of vinegar, 1 tablespoon of salt will be best. The quantity can be increased or decreased depending on the number of items you clean. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

BABY CORN FRITTERS


INGREDIENTS:

Baby corn - 10 nos.
Oil - to deep fry

For the batter:

Corn flour - 3 tablespoons
Maida - 1 tablespoon
Rice flour - 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp.
Salt - as per taste
Soya sauce - 1 tsp. (optional)
Curd - 1 tablespoon
Tomato red food colour - 1/4 tsp.
Kesari powder - 1/4 tsp.

NOTE: You can also use orange food colour instead of Tomato red colour and kesari powder. As I had these two ingredients, I have used it to get the desired colour. If you do not have a MW oven, you can cook the baby corns in boiling water for 3 minutes and drain the water.

METHOD:

Peel the skin and take off the fibres from the baby corn. Wash well, cut into two and Microwave High(uncovered) for 2 minutes.

Make a medium - thin batter with the given ingredients adding little water, just enough to cover the baby corns. Mix it well without any lumps. Marinate the microwaved baby corns for 10 minutes in this batter.

Deep fry in oil,(ensure even coating on all sides) till golden and crispy. Serve hot with tomato - ketchup and chilli sauce. Perfect and tasty tea time snack. Goes well with fried rice and also with phulkas as a dry curry.