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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

POTTUKADALAI URUNDAI


INGREDIENTS:

Pottukadalai (Roasted gram) - 2 cups
Crushed Jaggery - 1 cup
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp.

Water - 1/2 cup
Ghee - to grease the hand




METHOD:

Keep pottukadalai in sun until crisp. 


Heat a pan, dissolve the crushed jaggery in water, strain without any impurities. Pour the jaggery water in the pan, and make a soft ball consistency syrup. (Check here for the sugar syrup consistency) . Add cardamom powder and pottukadalai to the syrup. Mix well. Switch off the stove. Grease your hand with ghee and shape to equal-sized balls when warm. Scoop with a tablespoon to get equal-sized balls. Crispy pottukadalai urundai is ready for offering to deepalakshmi.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

EASY AND QUICK DEEPAM ARRANGEMENTS FOR KARTHIGAI - VIDEO



For a very quick. easy and hazzle-free deepam arrangement during karthigai festival, see the above video which is self-explanatory. A quick note again.
1. Make a semi-thick paste of chandan and kumkum and keep ready. Keep 2 ear-buds ready.
2. Dip the wicks in oil, squeeze lightly and keep ready.
3. Dip ear-buds in the paste and apply chandan, kumkum for the lamps.
3. Place 2 wicks in a lamp, pour little oil in each lamp.
4. Your lamps are neatly ready to be lit without any spilling.

Some more tips:
1. Soak new earthen lamps in water for about 5 to 6 hours two days before and dry it.
2. Cut small squares from newspaper and keep under the lamps. 
3. Dry roast pori to get crispier urundais.
4. Keep butter paper between each layer of pori urundais to avoid sticking to each other.

HAPPY KARTHIGAI :)



Saturday, November 7, 2015

COCONUT LADOO

How to make coconut ladoo, coconut ladoo recipe, Coconut ladoo with condensed milk


While cleaning my book shelf, I found this easy-to-make coconut ladoo recipe. About 33 years back, I had preserved a small pamplet from milkmaid with some interesting recipes in it. This ladoo needed only 3 ingredients, dessicated coconut, milkmaid and ghee. But I added cashew powder and cardamom powder to my choice. It takes only 5 minutes to make this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

Desiccated coconut powder - 250 gms (I used grated coconut - 2 1/2 cups)
Condensed Milk (Milkmaid) - 1 tin (400 gms.)
Ghee - 1 tsp.
Cashew powder - 2 tablespoons
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp.

METHOD:

Powder cashews. Grate coconut.

Dry roast grated coconut in a kadai without browning. You can skip this if using dessicated coconut. (Reserve 2 tablespoons of this coconut, mix with cashew powder and keep aside to coat the ladoos.)

Add condensed milk and cardamom powder. Mix well. Ensure medium flame and keep stirring until it forms a dough. Switch off the stove. When warm, grease your hands with ghee and shape into equal-sized balls. Roll the balls in coconut-cashew mixture. Coconut ladoos are ready. Store in an air-tight container.

NOTE:

If the mixture cools, it will become sticky and it will be difficult to shape. So shape while warm. Grease your hands with ghee while shaping.

MICROWAVE PALKOVA / MICROWAVE THIRATTIPAL / CONDENSED MILK THERATTIPAL

MICROWAVE PALKOVA. MICROWAVE THIRATTIPAL, CONDENSED MILK THERATTIPAL
Picture courtesy: My daughter

Thirattupaal / Therattipaal is a tasty sweet passed down through generations. Some families have a tradition of making therattipaal for diwali. This is an easy way of making it with condensed milk, in a microwave oven. It will be ready within 10 minutes. The traditional method of making therattipal with step-wise instructions can be hovered in the headers. 

INGREDIENTS:

Condensed milk (Milkmaid) - 1 tin
Thick curd - 2 tablespoons
Ghee - 2 tsp
Saffron - few strands
Warm milk - 1 tsp.

METHOD:

Soak saffron in a teaspoon of warm milk.

Mix condensed milk and curd in a large microwaveable glass bowl (NOT micro-safe plastic bowls) (I use borosil bowls). Microwave high for 3 minutes. Take out stir well, add saffron with milk and ghee, mix again and MW high for another 2 minutes. Take out, stir well and MW high again for 2 minutes. Give a standing time of 5 minutes and mix well.

NOTE: The timing differs depending on one's MW oven, so the mixture becomes grainy in 1 or 2 minutes extra or soon. Stir each time you take out and MW to get the desired consistency. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

NIPPATTU

NIPPATTU, HOW TO MAKE NIPPATTU, CHEKKALU

NIPPATTU, HOW TO MAKE NIPPATTU, CHEKKALU

Nippattu is a spicy and crunchy snack of Karnataka. Rayalaseema and Karnataka are famous for Nippattu. This is slightly different from Thattai of Tamil Nadu and Chekkalu of Andhra Pradesh. There are many variations of nippattus. Try this for Deepavali and enjoy the festival.

INGREDIENTS:

Rice flour - 2 cups
Skinned peanuts - 1 tablespoon
Coarsely powdered skinned peanut - 2 tablespoons
Roasted gram (Pottukadalai) - 1 tablespoon
Powdered pottukadalai (roasted gram) - 1/3 cup
Dry red chilly (coarse flakes) - 2 tablespoons
Curry leaves - few
Asafoetida - 1/8 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Oil - to deep fry

METHOD:

Powder chillies coarsely and soak in a ladle of water. Chillies can be added according  to your spice levels.

In a wide bowl mix all the ingredients, add a spoon of  hot oil and mix well. Add water little by little and knead to form a soft pliable dough.

Shape into equal sized balls. Grease a plastic sheet with oil, place a  ball in it, cover with another greased plastic sheet and press with a flat bottomed cup. Flatten it to slightly thick circles. Do not flatten it too thin. Flatten all the balls like this. You can also flatten the balls with your hand OR roll the dough to big circle and cut with a dabba lid to get even sized nippattus. 

Heat oil in a kadai, and slide the flattened balls gently in oil. Now ensure medium heat of oil. Flip on both sides and deep fry until golden brown. Drain in a paper towel. When cool store in an airtight container. 


Spicy and crunchy Nippatus are ready. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

AVAL MIXTURE / POHA CHIVDA

AVAL MIXTURE, POHA CHIVDA, HOW TO MAKE AVAL MIXTURE, HOW TO MAKE POHA CHIVDA

Generally, the ingredients for mixture or chivda is deep fried in oil. This is a simple, guilt free, low fat version of aval mixture. Using ghee enhances the flavour. You can also use oil instead of ghee. 

INGREDIENTS:

Thick aval pori (poricha aval) - 4 cups
Roasted peanuts - 2 tablespoons

Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - a generous pinch
Curry leaves - a sprig
Salt - to taste
Ghee / Oil - 1 tablespoon

METHOD:

Buy thick aval pori (the one which you get for karthigai pori urundai). Sieve well without any sand. OR take a clean muslin cloth, put aval pori in it and slightly swing the cloth so that the mud sticks to the cloth. Remove the aval, dust the cloth and repeat until there is no mud.

Heat ghee in a pan. Add curry leaves and roast a bit. Now add peanuts, turmeric powder, chilli powder and hing. Give a quick saute and add aval pori. Simmer the stove and mix well until poricha aval / roasted poha gets coated well with all the spices and turns crisp. Crispy, light and guilt free aval mixture /poha chivda is ready. When cool, store in an airtight container.  

NOTE: Store bought sev or omapodi can also be added. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

BHEL PURI (COIMBATORE STYLE / KONGU STYLE)

HOW TO MAKE BHEL PURI RECIPE, HOW TO MAKE BHEL PURI (COIMBATORE STYLE / KONGU STYLE)

As I said earlier in my masala puri post, the chat vendors in Coimbatore / kongu region, make distinct chaat varieties. The bhel puri and masala puri is served with a ragda gravy. I am sharing this for the foodies out here and to those who miss Coimbatore chaats. 

INGREDIENTS:


For gravy:
Dried white / green peas - 1 cup
Potato - 1 medium
Ginger paste - 1 tsp.
Coriander powder - 2 tsp.
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Garam masala - 1 tsp.
Green chillies - 2
Salt - to taste


For Bhel Puri:
Mini puris - 20

Chilli powder  - a dash
Pori (puffed rice / murmura) - 3 cups
Sweet chutney - 1 teaspoon
Green chutney - 1 tablespoon
Onion - 1 (finely chopped, optional)
Tomato - 1 (finely chopped, optional)
Chopped cilantro - 3 tablespoons.
Carrot - 1 (grated)
Sev - 1/2 cup

HOW TO MAKE BHEL PURI RECIPE, HOW TO MAKE BHEL PURI (COIMBATORE STYLE / KONGU STYLE)

METHOD:

Soak dried green/white peas overnight. 

Cook potatoes separately and peel the skin. Mash lightly.
Pressure cook soaked peas alongwith salt and enough water for 3 whistles. Drain the water. Reserve a handful of cooked peas. Grind the remaining to a coarse paste alongwith green chillies. Add all other ingredients, mix well add little water and cook until the raw smell diffuses. (I used ginger paste. If using garlic, ginger-garlic paste can be used instead of ginger paste). The gravy should be semi thick. Add water to get the desired consistency. The gravy is ready.


HOW TO SERVE?: 

Keep all the ingredients ready before serving. 

Take a big, easy to mix bowl, add puffed rice, roughly crushed mini puris, a dash of chilli powder, sweet and green chutneys, a ladle of gravy and mix well. If using onion, add chopped onions also. Transfer it to a plate and again pour a ladle of gravy on top of it.  Garnish with finely chopped cilantro, grated carrot and sev. Serve hot.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

ALOO PALAK /ALOO PALAK SABZI / VRAT KE ALOO PALAK

ALOO PALAK, HOW TO MAKE ALOO PALAK,ALOO PALAK SABZI, VRAT KE ALOO PALAK

This is a simple, yet healthy subji with 
sautéed spinach and potatoes.  There are two versions of this, dry curry and gravy. The punjabi version of this recipe has onion and ginger garlic paste. But my version is a NO ONION NO GARLIC RECIPE, yet tasty and aromatic. It is an easy subji which goes well with phulka, poori and rice. 

INGREDIENTS:


Potatoes - 4 medium - sized 
Palak / Spinach - 1 bunch
Cumin seeds - 3/4 tsp.
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp.
Chilli powder- 1/2 tsp.
Coriander powder - 1 tsp.
Ginger green chilli paste - 1 tsp.
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - 2 tablespoons
Salt - to taste

METHOD:

Boil, peel and cut potatoes. Wash palak and chop roughly.

Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and when they sizzle add turmeric powder, ginger chilli paste, hing, chilli powder and coriander powder. Give a quick sauté and add the palak. When it wilts, add potato, salt and mix well. Cook covered for 5 minutes. Stir in between. Serve hot with poori, chappati or rice.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

POMEGRANATE JUICE

POMEGRANATE JUICE, HOW TO MAKE POMEGRANATE JUICE

Pomegranate juice contains high antioxidants which protects the heart and reduces cholestrol. It prevents anaemia and is extremely beneficial for pregnant women.

INGREDIENTS:

Pomegranate -  2
Chaat masala - a generous pinch 
Sugar - to taste
Honey - 1 tablespoon
Mint leaves - few 

METHOD:

Cut pomegranate into two and tap on the top with a ladle. This is an easy way of taking out the seeds. Add a cup of water and blend it in a mixie alongwith mint leaves. Strain well.  Add sugar, chat masala and honey. Mix well until the sugar dissolves. Serve chilled.

NOTE: Sugar and honey can be added to suit your tastebuds. The seeds can be dried to make anardhana. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

PALAK POORI / PALAK PURI

PALAK POORI, PALAK PURI, HOW TO MAKE PALAK POORI

INGREDIENTS:

Wheat flour (atta) - 2 cups

Palak  - 1 bunch (Approximately 3/4 -1 cup of puree)
Green chilly - 1
Salt- to taste ( I used 1/2 tsp.)

Oil - to deep fry
METHOD:

Clean 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  alongwith green chilly and salt to a puree.


Take an easy to knead bowl, put in the atta, palak puree and mix it to a stiff dough. Add very little water if necessary. Knead well. 

Make small balls out of the dough. Flatten each ball with a roller using oil, and roll it out to pooris. (Oil for frying will be very clear if the dough is flattened with oil). Alternatively you can also dust with flour, but oil will not be clear.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan and when hot, drop the rolled poori gently into it. When it puffs up, turn it to the other side. Serve hot with tomato thokku or any bhaji of your choice. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

CABBAGE MEDHU PAKODA / CABBAGE PAKODA

CABBAGE MEDHU PAKODA, CABBAGE PAKODA

A NO ONION NO GARLIC RECIPE but tastes similar to onion pakoda. Suitable for vrat days. It is crispy outside and soft inside and hence called medhu pakoda. Medhu in Tamil means soft. 

INGREDIENTS:

Cabbage - 1 cup (tightly packed)
Gram flour - 1 cup
Rice four - 1/3 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp.
Green chillies - 1 (finely chopped)
Curry leaves  - a sprig
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Hing  - a generous pinch
Oil - to deep fry

METHOD:

Chop cabbage roughly, add little salt and keep it aside. After 10 minutes, mix well and squeeze out the water. Discard the water.  Mix all other ingredients, add water little by little and make a thick batter.  Mix well. Heat oil. Take a small portion from the batter and drop it gently into the oil. Ensure medium heat of oil and put 5 or 6 in a batch. This depends on how much oil you heat. Likewise, do with the rest of the batter. Flip on all sides until golden brown. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or chutney. 


Monday, September 21, 2015

MILLETS AND OATS KARA PANIYARAM / MILLETS KARA PANIYARAM

MILLETS KARA PANIYARAM RECIPE, MILLETS KARA PANIYARAM

MILLETS KARA PANIYARAM RECIPE, MILLETS KARA PANIYARAM

INGREDIENTS:

Oats - 1/2 cup (dry roasted and powdered)
Roasted rava - 2 tablespoon
Grated ginger - 1/2 tsp.
Green chillies - 2 (Finely chopped)
Chopped cabbage - 1/4 cup
Coriander leaves - 2 tablespoons(finely chopped)

Hing - a generous pinch
Salt - to taste
Oil - to fry

To soak and grind :
Red rice aval (poha) or thick poha - 1/3 cup
Varagu OR any millet - 1/2 cup
Gram dhal - 1/4 cup
Tur dhal - 1/4 cup
Moong dhal - 1 tablespoon
Dry red chillies - 2

To temper:
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Oil - 1 tsp.
Curry leaves - 2 tsp. (
roughly chopped)


MILLETS KARA PANIYARAM RECIPE, MILLETS KARA PANIYARAM

METHOD:


Dry roast and powder oats. 

Soak together for 3 hours and coarsely grind the items given in "To soak and grind". Add all other ingredients. Temper with the given ingredients. Mix well.

Heat oil in a "paniyaram mould", pour the batter to 3/4th of the holes. Ensure medium heat. Cover with a lid for 2 minutes. When the bottom portion is light brown in colour, flip with stick or spoon to the other side and cook until golden brown on both sides. Repeat the procedure for the rest of the batter.

Serve hot with chutney or ketchup.


NOTE: Mixed vegetables and onions can also be used. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

ELLORAI

ELLORAI , HOW TO MAKE ELLORAI

INGREDIENTS:

Cooked rice - 2 cups
Ellu podi - 3 teaspoons
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Salt - as per taste
Curry leaves - few
Ghee - 2 tsp.

METHOD:


Make ellu podi as said here.


In a kadai, heat ghee add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Then add curry leaves. Add this to the cooked rice. Add salt, Ellu podi
and mix well. Ellorai is ready. This rice is made during purattasi (tamil month) saturdays and on maavilakku day.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

VAZHUKKU KOZHUKATTAI / KALLU KOZHUKATTAI / KAL KOZHUKATTAI

Forgotten food, forgotten indian  food, How to make kallu kozhukattai, How to make vazhukku kozhukattai

My grandma makes this traditional recipe. You can say this as a forgotten food, as I never came across this recipe anywhere while browsing and thought of sharing this traditional recipe with all. It is a big hit in our home. This is a spicy kozhukattai. As the name suggests, this tasty vazhukku kozhukattai will be sticky and semi gravy. 'Kal' in Tamil is stone and coloquially called 'kallu'. So, this is named as 'kallu kozhukattai' as it is stone sized and stone shaped. It is also called 'vazhukku kozhukattai' as it is sticky, slips in the mouth and easy to swallow. It is different from neer kozhukattai and kanji kozhukattai. I had asked my amma for this recipe long back and also took notes of it, but I did not make it till now. Recently my mother gave me the recipe and said, 'Un blogla idhai podu, munnellam pillaiyar chaturthikkum pannuvaa' meaning 'you post this is your blog, earlier this was done during ganesh chaturthi also'. 

INGREDIENTS: 

Idli rice - 2 cups
Toor dhal - 1/2 cup
Dry red chillies - 5 or 6
Grated coconut - 2 tablespoons
Asafoetida - sundakkai (turkey berry) size
Curry leaves - 3 sprigs
Salt - to taste
Water - 5 cups + little more

To temper:
Coconut oil - 2 tsp.
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp. 
Split urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Dry red chilli - 1
Curry leaves - few

METHOD:

Soak rice, dhal and chillies for 3 hours. Add very little water and grind to a very fine, smooth, thick paste alongwith salt and other ingredients. The batter should be as thick as possible. Anyway, little water should be added to grind fine, so wrap the batter in a clean towel to absorb excess water. The batter will now be like a dough. It should be easy to shape balls and should not stick in your hands. Pinch small balls out of the dough and keep ready. The balls need not be very perfect, shape roughly like balls. The consistency should be like the below picture.


Forgotten food, forgotten indian  food, How to make kallu kozhukattai, How to make vazhukku kozhukattaiForgotten food, forgotten indian  food, How to make kallu kozhukattai, How to make vazhukku kozhukattai
Collage pictures taken by my sister

Meanwhile, in a deep vessel or cooker, pour water and allow it to boil. Put about 10-15 balls in the boiling water for a batch. Do not put it in the same place, put it scattered in water. Initially, it goes to the bottom and when cooked it floats on top. Stir in between. Now put the next batch of 10 balls. Do not take out the previous batch of balls. Repeat the procedure until all balls are done. Keep some more hot water also ready. If necessary, you can add it. The whole mixture will become glossy and the kozhukattais when pressed will be slightly hard. This is the consistency. The kozhukattais should not be too dry or too watery. The correct consistency should be like this. Temper with the given ingredients.
Serve hot or warm. Vazhukku kozhakattai / Kallu kozhakattai is ready.

NOTE: While boiling in water the salt and spice reduces, so add little more to the batter or according to your spice levels.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A COMPLETE GUIDE ON VINAYAGA /GANESHA CHATURTHI CELEBRATION

HOW TO CELEBRATE GANESHA CHATURTHI, GANESHA CHATURTHI RECIPES, VINAYAGA CHATURTHI RECIPES

Lord Ganesha is the God of knowledge, wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Ganesha is called Vinayagar and also as Pillaiyar in Tamil Nadu. Vinayagar is worshipped by everyone, before starting any new work in any field. Vinayaga chaturthi or Pillaiyar chaturthi is an important festival of Hindu religion. The festival falls on the fourth day after new moon in the Tamil month aavani. It is celebrated to welcome Lord Ganesha on his birthday and is celebrated by Hindus around the world. This festival is celebrated in in India with great enthusiasm and devotion. This festival is also known as the Ganesha Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi. On this day Ganesh idols made of clay are worshipped in all homes. It is known as 'kaliman pillayar' in Tamil. People pray with full devotion and faith and throng to Ganesha temples and pray HIM to get knowledge and wealth and worship 'Ekadanta'. Pray Ganesha with faith and devotion and HE will remove all the obstacles in your life.

How to celebrate?

On the previous day, clean the pooja items, lamps, idols if any. Apply chandan, kumkum to the idols, lamps, wick them and keep ready.

Soak fistful of rice for 2,3 hours and grind to a fine paste. Dilute it to a semi- thick solution. This is called 'izhai kolam maavu' which we make during festivals to put kolam.


Mango leaves for thoran.

Things to purchase and arrange:

Garlands with cotton wick, a small vastram (pillaiyar towel), poonal for pillaiyar, chattar(decorative small umbrella), flowers, fruits preferably guava and vilampazham (wood apple), coconut, betel leaves, betel nuts, erukam poo OR erukam poo garlands, arungampul. These will be available in plenty in the market on the previous day. You can shop for it. Also keep ready turmeric powder, kumkum, sandal powder, camphor, incense sticks, gingelly oil or ghee for lamp. These will always be available at home. If not, shop for it too. Put 'izhai kolam' in wooden planks. Things can be arranged according to the rituals done in one's home. However, even if one cannot afford to buy and celebrate in an elaborate manner, it is enough just to chant and pray with full devotion and faith.

Some people do gowri pooja on the previous day. On the day of Vinayaga Chaturthi, wash and put kolam in the frontyard. Take head bath early in the morning, wear clean clothes, clean the pooja room or the place where the idol is to be kept, put a kolam and keep the 'kaliman pillaiyar' on wooden planks (put kolam on the plank too) or raised platforms. Put poonool and tie vastram to the earthen idol. Decorate with chandan and kumkum. Decorate with garlands, erukam poo (don't know the English name, google for it) and with "Bermuda grass" known as arugampul in Tamil. 



HOW TO CELEBRATE GANESHA CHATURTHI, GANESHA CHATURTHI RECIPES, VINAYAGA CHATURTHI RECIPES
HOW TO CELEBRATE GANESHA CHATURTHI, GANESHA CHATURTHI RECIPES, VINAYAGA CHATURTHI RECIPES

In some houses, the idol is given a bath with pure water and then decorated. Some do abishekam also. Some do Ganapathi homam. Aval pori with jaggery and coconut pieces are also made for homam and prasadam.


HOW TO CELEBRATE GANESHA CHATURTHI, GANESHA CHATURTHI RECIPES, VINAYAGA CHATURTHI RECIPES

Pray to Ganesha /Vinayaka by chanting mantras, and devotional songs. Tell vinayagar agaval, or any slokas on Ganesha and do archana with flowers and guava leaves. 

Various dishes are cooked for offerings. Modakam is known to be HIS favourite sweet and is the main dish made on this day.  Arrange neivedyams, tamboolam and fruits in pooja room. Offer Modakam, ladoo and all other neivedhyams after doing pooja to Pillaiyar and finally take aarathi.


HOW TO CELEBRATE GANESHA CHATURTHI, GANESHA CHATURTHI RECIPES, VINAYAGA CHATURTHI RECIPES

However, these are procedures done as per family traditions and many books are available in stores as to how to perform the pooja. The slokas can be googled and books are available in stores as well.


Do punarpooja the next day with a payasam and do the visarjan  in a well or river. In Tamilnadu, people take the kaliman pillayar from their homes and keep in the temple near the peepal tree vinayagar. 

For neivedhyam: Click the recipe name for  recipe links. Various dishes are cooked for offerings. In North India, Karanji, ladoo, barfi and pedas are made. In Tamil Nadu, the offerings are as follows:

Pachai arisi idli 
Aval pori with jaggery and coconut (for Homam and prasadam)
Sadham(rice)Nei(ghee), paruppu, 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

UNNIAPPAM / UNNIYAPPAM (KERALA STYLE)

HOW TO MAKE UNNIAPPAM

Unniappam has almost the same ingredients as neiyappam, with a slight variation of adding mashed ripe bananas and fried in coconut oil. It can also be deep-fried in ghee. Unniappam is a traditional kerala prasadam in temples and also offered to the Lord during festivals.

INGREDIENTS:

Rice flour - 1 1/2 cups
Small ripe bananas - 2 (I used elakki variety)
Crushed jaggery - 3/4 cup
Water - 1/4 cup (or as needed)
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
Dry ginger powder / Sukku podi - 1 tsp.
Sesame seeds (white or black) - 1 tsp. (optional)
Chopped Coconut bits - 3 tsp.
Coconut Oil / Ghee - to deep fry



HOW TO MAKE UNNIAPPAM

METHOD:


Dry roast the rice flour until hot. Heat a ladle of water, melt jaggery, strain the impurities, keep aside. Mash the bananas. Ghee fry the coconut bits. Dry roast the sesame seeds.

Mix rice powder, jaggery syrup, mashed banana and grind together to form a semi-thick, smooth batter. (Add water as and when needed). Add fried coconut bits, sesame seeds, dry ginger powder, cardamom powder and mix well. Heat coconut oil or ghee in an "appakaral"(appam mould), pour the batter to 3/4th of the holes. Ensure medium heat. When the bottom portion is light brown in colour, flip with stick or spoon to the other side and cook until golden brown on both sides. Take them out and drain in a kitchen towel. Pour some more ghee / oil while doing the next batch. Kerala unniappam is ready to offer to the Lord.

NOTE:
Do not keep the stove in high flame. Be careful not to burn the appams.
Make sure to have ghee/oil in each of the hole while making the other batches.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

AVANI AVITTAM (UPAKARMA) / AVANI AVITTAM (UPAKARMA) SPECIAL RECIPES

AVANI AVITTAM (UPAKARMA), AVANI AVITTAM (UPAKARMA) SPECIAL RECIPES
                                           
Picture courtesy: http://vedabhavan.org

Upākarma also called as "Avani Avittam" is an important ritual associated with the Brahmin community. This is an important festival for brahmin gents. The day is of great significance to Rig, Yajur, Sama Vedic Brahmins. On this day, the sacred thread (Poonool) worn by the men/boys is changed chanting mantras. The old poonal is also removed by chanting some manthras. After the gents change their sacred thread (poonal), ladies at home take aarathi and invite them into the home. On the next day, "Gayatri Japam" is observed. The first 'Avani Avittam' after the 'Upanayanam' is called as "Thalai Avani Avittam". You can ask the priests of your family about the significance of "Upākarma/Avaniavittam" or google for it. 

Click here to view the sankalpam for this year (2016) in english and tamil.
Click here to download PDF and Audio files (2016).

Avani avittam menu and recipes are as under: Please click the name of recipes for the link. Onion and garlic should be avoided.

For breakfast:
Appam (neiyappam)
Tanjore style appam
Idli

For lunch:
Sadham(rice)Nei(ghee), paruppu,
Poli 
Mor kozhambu or Sambhar
Paruppu usili
Kari amudhu(poriyal)
Kootu
Thayirpachadi
Kosumari
Vadaam or appalam(fried), 
Vadai or thayir vadai, 
Saathamudhu(Rasam)
Tirukannan amudhu(payasam)
Thayir (curd),
Oorugaai(pickle).

For dinner:
Palaharam. Any light tiffin.

Friday, August 21, 2015

RAW PAPAYA CARROT STIR FRY / RAW PAPAYA AND CARROT CURRY

HOW TO MAKE RAW PAPAYA CARROT STIR FRY, HOW TO MAKE RAW PAPAYA AND CARROT CURRY

This stir fry tastes good without garam masala and onions. However, onions, garlic and garam masala are optional.

INGREDIENTS:

Raw papaya - 1 cup (chopped)
Carrot - 1/2 cup ( chopped)
Oil - 2 tsp.
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp.
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp.
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp.
Turmeric powder - a generous pinch
Sambhar powder - 1/2 tsp.
Dry red chillies - 2
Scraped coconut - 2 tablespoons
Salt - as per taste
Curry leaves - a sprig

METHOD:

Heat oil in a pan, temper with mustard seeds, urad dhal and when they turn golden brown, add the jeera (cumin seeds), chillies and curry leaves. Give a quick saute without burning and immediately add the chopped papaya and carrot. Mix well and add salt and sambhar powder. Saute well till all the ingredients mix well uniformly, sprinkle little water and cook covered until done. Finally add coconut scrapings and mix well. Serve hot with rice, phulkas and pooris. This curry goes well as a side dish with South Indian thali.

Friday, August 7, 2015

MILLET RAJMA PATTICE / MILLET RED KIDNEY BEAN KEBAB / MILLET BEAN PATTIES

HOW TO MAKE MILLET RED KIDNEY BEAN KEBAB,HOW TO MAKE MILLET RAJMA PATTICE, HOW TO MAKE MILLET BEAN PATTIES

INGREDIENTS:

Cooked rajma - 2 cups
Cooked barnyard millet (Or any cooked millet) - 1 cup
Boiled  and mashed potato - 1
Powdered cashew - 2 tablespoon
Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp.
Red chilli powder  - 1/2 tsp.
Roasted cumin powder  - 1/4 tsp.
Pav bhaji masala OR Garam masala - 1/2 tsp.
Salt - to taste
Finely chopped coriander leaves - fistful
Oil - to shallow fry

To coat:
Corn flour - 2 tablespoons
Bread crumbs - as needed

HOW TO MAKE MILLET RED KIDNEY BEAN KEBAB, HOW TO MAKE MILLET RAJMA PATTICE, HOW TO MAKE MILLET BEAN PATTIES

METHOD:

Cook rajma alongwith salt until soft, drain water and pulse in a mixie for a few seconds alongwith powdered cashew and ginger paste. Add all ingredients, mix and knead well without any lumps. In a spoon of oil, saute this mixture for 2 minutes. When cool, divide into equal sized balls, shape to pattice or kebabs. 

Dissolve corn flour in  1/2 a cup of water. Dip the pattice in this solution, coat in bread crumbs and shallow fry until crisp on all sides. It can also be deep fried.

Healthy millet rajma patties is ready. Serve hot with tomato ketchup and tea. 

NOTE: Sauteed onions can be added to the mixture. Ginger garlic paste can be used instead of ginger paste.

Monday, July 20, 2015

PROSO MILLET VEGETABLE SEVAI / PANIVARAGU VEGETABLE SEVAI / MILLET SEVAI

HOW TO MAKE PROSO MILLET VEGETABLE SEVAI , HOW TO MAKE PANIVARAGU VEGETABLE SEVAI

 
HOW TO MAKE PROSO MILLET VEGETABLE SEVAI , HOW TO MAKE PANIVARAGU VEGETABLE SEVAI


INGREDIENTS:

Proso millet sevai OR any millet sevai - 2 cups
Carrot, shelled peas, mango finely chopped - 1 cup
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp.
Split urad dhal - 1 tsp.
Chenna dhal - 1/2 tsp.
Dry red chillies - 1 or 2

Green chilly - 1
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Coriander leaves finely chopped - 1 tablespoon
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp.

METHOD:

Wash the millet sevai well and soak in warm water for 5 minutes. Drain water completely, spread it in a colander and steam cook for another 5 minutes. 
The instructions of cooking the sevai is given in the packet, but I felt it is not soft as I want. So, I soak only in warm water which turns out to be super soft.

In a kadai, heat oil, add mustard, dhals and fry until golden brown. Now, add chillies curry leaves, hing and saute for a few seconds. Add the mixed veggies alongwith little salt and saute until done. Now, add the steam-cooked millet sevai, little salt, and mix gently. Saute in low flame for a minute. Garnish with 
coriander leaves. Proso millet vegetable sevai is ready. Serve hot with sambar or chutney.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A COMPLETE GUIDE ON AADI / AASHAADA MONTH FESTIVAL CELEBRATIONS AND RECIPES


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 thaligai, 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 neivedyams : 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 (Sri Andal's birthday) are Venn pongal and Sakkarai pongal OR Akkara adisil .

Akkaravadisal
Vennpongal


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 KozhukattaiManjal Pongal, Arisi Payasam, Pacharisi idli, appam, and vadaiLakshmi poojas are done on Aadi Fridays chanting Lakshmi Ashtotharam and slokas and doing archana with flowers or kumkum to Goddess Lakshmi.

Lakshmi pooja
As I am an iyengar, we don't observe varalakshmi vratham. This festival is observed largely by women, invoking the blessings of Lakshmi on them, their husbands and their children. It is believed that worshipping Goddess Varalakshmi on this day is equivalent to worshipping Ashtalaksmi – the eight goddesses of Wealth, Earth, Learning, Love, Fame, Peace, Pleasure, and Strength.

This procedure details were given to me by Smt. Rajeswari and photos taken by Smt. Revathi, my daughter. Many thanks to both of you.  

HOW TO OBSERVE VARALAKSHMI VRATHAM?, A COMPLETE GUIDE ON AADI / AASHAADA MONTH FESTIVAL CELEBRATIONS

-- On the day before the varalakshmi viratham 

Pooja area and house is cleaned well and a beautiful ‘kolam’ or rangoli is drawn on the intended place of puja.

1) To put in kalasam:
(7 items )
1. Raw rice (1 aazhaku + 1 pidi)
2. One spoon toor dhal
3. One lemon
4. Piece of gold (coin, ring, chain anything)
5. Piece of silver
6. Betel leaves and arecanut (Vethalai and paaku)
7. Pair of large black ear rings (called as kadhola karugamani)

In some families they just fill the kalasam with water. The items used to fill the kalasam vary from region to region and families.

1) Apply turmeric powder in a thread, put 9 knots in it and keep ready. (Elders at home tie this thread on right hand )

2) Take one coconut, apply turmeric powder completely on it and place it on this kalasam.

3) Take the mugam (silver face of the Goddess) and tie it in such a way that it covers the coconut.

4) Decorate mugam with pottu(bindhi), ma(kajal)i, eye-liner, savuri-kunjalam (hairstyle accessories), etc.. as per your wish

5) For sari.. use a normal 6 yards sari, fold it into two. Take one small kudam(water pot). Tie a scale behind it to act as a support ( like the shoulder part) . Now tie the sari( as you normally drape) over the kudam.

6) In the place where you plan to keep the kalasam, place vaazhai maram ( small plantain trees) on both sides, and decorate with mavilai (mango leaves) to form a thoranam (decorative thoran).

-- On the day of varalakshmi vratham

Wake up early in the morning on Friday and take a head bath. Draw kolam in the frontyard.

Do pooja for nilaipadi (doorstep) and tulasi plant in the morning (with manjal, kumkum, akshadhai and flower)

1) Place a mana palagai(wooden plank) at the house entrance (just before vasal padi (maindoor step), inside home). Put kolam and place the decorated kalasam on the mana palagai. On this kalasam, do abishekam with 2-3 spoons of milk and then with water

2) Then like inviting Lakshmi home, (with bhaagyadha lakshmi baaramma or lakshmi raave maa intiku songs) carry the kalasam and place it inside the mandapam..

3) Place the kalasam on top of the kudam in which the sari is tied and then adjust everything as necessary.

4) Prepare one small maalai(garland) and decorate the kalasam with garland and flowers. Also put panju maalai(cotton garland). Place a small yellow cloth on the kalasam. 5) Put 9 small kolams (Padma kolams as shown in the picture) and place it in front of the mandapam.

6) First do padma pooja (with manjal, kumkum, akshadhai and flower), on all 9 kolams ( Say lakshmi slokams )

7) Tell lakshmi ashtothram and put flowers during pooja ( lots of flowers ,different varieties, like lotus, thaazham poo, malli, mullai, jaadhi, rose, kozhi kondai , vilvam, saamandhi)

8) Karpooram, dasangam, all usual pooja things.. One nei vilaku also

9) For neivedhyam: rice, parupu, kuzhambu, rasam, kaai, kootu, 3 types of kozhukattai (parupu (parupu usuli type), ellu and vellam+thengai), parupu vadai, pachai-arisi idli.

Now, the ladies hold coconut and flower in hand and elders tie the yellow thread in the right hand.

10) Then finally take aarathi

Above has to be performed in the morning. In the evening can call guests home and give thamboolam.

-- The day after varalakshmi vratham

Next day morning: Again tell ashtothram and do punar-poojai. Make some sweet or payasam along with normal cooking.

Evening : Thamboolam to friends and relatives. Then in the night, move the kalasam a little from its place or make it lie down like we do for golu.

Next day morning, do some paal payasam, offer it to the Goddess, and keep inside some dabba and close it. The following day, you can remove it. Use the rice in kalasam for making some paayasam or sweet during avani avittam or gokulashtami which follows in a few days.

However, these are procedures done as per family traditions and many books are available in stores as to how to perform the pooja. The Lakshmi Ashtotharam and slokas  can be googled and books are available as well.

Ammini Kozhukattai

Manjal pongal

Arisi payasam

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