Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Mixed Vegetable Soup - Easiest Way!

We, I and my husband, have 2 cups each of mixed vegetable soup  a couple of phulka rotis with some subji or a couple of slices of bread, at night, nowadays.  The soup is very easy to prepare.   Just try this soup sometime and tell me if you like it!

Ingredients for 4 medium sized bowls of soup:

1. 3-4 Beans
2. 2 Medium sized carrots (washed and peeled)
3. Some green peas
4. 1 Baby corn kernel 
5. 1/2 slice of capsicum for flavour (Optional)
6. 4-5 Badams/almonds for the creamy taste
7. A pinch of sugar

You can add anyother vegetable also. Anyway you will grind everything together! 

For garnishing:

1. 1/2 slice of onions, chopped finely
2. 1/2 tsp. of ginger garlic paste or half tsp. of finely chopped ginger, garlic
3. 1/2 tsp. butter
4. 1/4 tsp. of jeera/cumin seeds
5. 1/2 tsp. of chat masala
6. 1/2 tsp. of pepper powder
7. Salt to taste

Method:

I cook all the vegetables/badam/sugar etc. with some water in a vessel in the cooker along with rice/dhal in the morning itself. Then keep it in the fridge.  If the vegetables are cooked in cooker, they will become very very soft.

Then grind it well with more water, which is the first step.  Place a heavy bottomed vessel/pan on the stove.  Heat the butter. As soon as it melts, add cumin seeds. Leave for a second, then add onions.  Mix for a few seconds until it is transparent.  Add the ginger garlic paste.  Mix for another second.  Pour water.  On the whole 4 cups of soup should be there.  Add chat masala, pepper powder and salt.  Bring it to a boil.  Just let the foam form on top of the soup.  Switch off the stove.

Your swaadhisht soup is ready! Take it a bit watery or slightly thick also! Whichever way you like.  After a couple of times, you will know to adjust the taste of pepper salt, masala etc.



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Kaaradai - Sweet and Salty (Rice Flour Vada With Black-eyed Bean)


Kaaradaiyaan nonbu...sweet and salty kaaradai.
Tamilians celebrate a festival/nonbu/vrat on every March 14th, i.e. the day when the Tamil month Maasi ends and Panguni starts.  It always falls on 14th March.  This is like the 'karvaa chauth' festival/vrat of the northern India. This is celebrated for the well being of the husband!

We make this Kaaradai (Kaaraamani adai - Black eyed peas vada, you can say!) which is in the above picture. We make both sweet and salty adais.  No frying business for this, just steaming.  So, is very good for our health.  The nutrition value of Kaaraamani is here!

We make sweet and salty kaaradais. Let me tell you how to do it now:

Ingredients:
Kaaramani/cow peas/lobia


Now, let me give the recipe separately for Vella adai (sweet adai with jaggery) and Uppadai (salty adai). 

First, let me tell you how to make Uppadai/salty adai:

1.  2 cups rice flour
2.  50gms. Kaaraamani seeds
3.  4 cups water
4.  Salt as needed (2tsp.)
5.  4-5 Green chillies, chopped
6.  1" piece of ginger, chopped
7.  Curry leaves, chopped
8.  5 tbsp.Chopped coconut (or grated)
9.  1/2 tsp. or less Hing/Asofotida powder
10. A little coconut oil
11. Mustard seeds and Urad dhal for garnishing.

Method: 

Common steps for both Uppadai and Vella adai:

First, dry roast the kaaraamani seeds (all 100 gms together)  in a small kadai. Take a cup of water, boil it and put the roasted seeds into it.  Enough water should be there to cover the beans.  After it gets half cooked, add half tsp. of salt, bring it to a boil and keep aside.  

Grate/chop one half of coconut and keep aside.

Dry roast the rice floor (I use 2 cups for sweet adai and 2 cups for salty adai) and keep aside in two plates - 2 cups in each plate.  Roasting for 2 mts. is enough. We draw lines with the flour to check...it should not be sticky or wet!


Uppadai:


Pour 2 tsp. of coconut oil in a kadai. Add 1/2 tsp. of mustard seeds and 1 tsp. of urad dhal (black gram dhal).  After the mustard seeds flutter, add the chopped curry leaves, ginger and green chilli pieces.  Fry a little and add hing. 

Then pour 4 cups of water and a tsp. of salt. Add 50% of coconut and 50% of cooked beans.  Let it boil well.  Reduce the flame and pour the flour slowly into the boiling water, mixing it constantly with a ladel.  You can see how it looks in the picture.  The consistency should be like a paste - not very watery or very solid.  No lumps should be there. If you notice some, mash them with the ladle. Imagine that you are preparing the dough for cutlet! 

Uppadai water is boiling.  Flour is added to this now.

Dough for Uppadai
After the dough cools down a bit, make small small balls and flatten it like it is shown in the first picture. Place them in the idly plates.

Boil water in the idly making vessel and keep the idly stand with adais.  Water should boil first! Let it get cooked for 5-7 mts.  Open and see if a glaze has formed. It means, it is cooked.  Arrange in a basin.  Clean the idly stand and use it for making sweet adais!

Ingredients for Vella adai:

Rice flour, beans and coconut are common for both the adais.  Jaggery and cardomom powder (Ingredients for the cardamom powder are here) are used for vella adai (sweet adai).

1. 2 cups of rice flour
2. 4 cups of water
3. 1/4 tsp. salt
4. 3/4 cup to 1 cup of grated/mashed jaggery
5. 1/2 tsp. of cardomom powder
6. 1 tsp. of ghee (for flavour)

Method:
Pour 4 cups of water in a heavy bottomed kadai/vessel. Let it boil and add mashed/powdered jaggery. Let the jaggery dissolve in the water.  Pour the water in a tea filter so that the sand or other things in the jaggery is removed.  You can dissolve jaggery in one or two cups of boiling water and filter it, which will be easier and then add the rest of the water.  Let it boil again. Add a tsp. of ghee and salt.  Ghee will give flavour for the sweet and helps the four from getting into lumps.
Add the rest of the coconut pieces and kaaraamani seeds.  Let it boil again.  Slow down the fire and add the roasted rice flour into it slowly.  Mix properly with the ladle for 5 mts.  Remove, let it cool and make adais.  

Jaggery and coconut water is boiling for Vella adai.  Add flour now!
Mix for Vella adai

Vella adai! Apply some coconut oil on the palm and make adais like this!

 
Ready to steam!

Cook/steam them in the idly vessel for 5 to 7 mts.  Check for the glaze and remove.  Let it cool for a few mts. Remove them from the idly plates.
TIP:  Remember to swab the idly plates with coconut oil so that the adais don't stick to them. Keep some oil in a small cup, touch your fingers (3 must be OK!) and apply on the plates! 
This post might look long, but the recipe is easy to make.  Since not much oil is used, this is a good, healthy snack for the children.  You do it twice and you will become a pro, the third time.  

According to the custom, we have to eat it with butter, which is optional during normal days (the adais taste better with butter - wink!).  One more custom is we, ladies eat first from the banana leaf after making the pooja and tying the thread (husband can tie if he is there or we ourselves do it!). One thread is placed on any goddess's photo after pooja.  If daughters are there, we place one more serving in front of the god and then tie the thread in the daughter's neck. 

Then we women eat while husband watches! We can give him after we taste it! Fun, right?!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stuffed Parathas...Carrot, Baby Corn, Sweet Potato And Potato/Aloo suffings - Part II

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This is the II part of the Stuffed Paraatha recipes.  Please read the steps in the first recipe in the I part for preparing the stuffings for these paraathas.  This post is just variations of that recipe...Cauliflower recipe.

Carrot Stuffed Paraathas: 

 In this recipe, I have tried to do some variations in the stuffings.  Cutting carrots into tiny pieces and microwaving them is the same.  I am adding some raisins/date pieces, cashew nut pieces here.  Add saambaar powder and see if you like it! Rest of the steps are same!

Capsicum is optional in all the recipes.  I love the flavour of capsicum and so you see capsicum everywhere!

Carrot stuffed paratha
Carrot paraatha stuffing ingredients.
Carrot paraatha stuffing is ready/


Baby Corn Stuffed Paraathas:

This stuffing is just like the Cauliflower stuffing.  Microwave baby corn pieces first. You can follow rest of the recipe to the dot!


Baby corn paratha


Sweet Potato Stuffed Paraathas:

This recipe is the same like the above recipe.  Boil the sweet potato in the cooker (when you cook rice!). Peel the skin, mash and add. Other steps are the same!


Sweet potato stuffing ingredients

Sweet potato stuffing


Aloo/potato Paraathas...King of Paraathas!

The recipe is the same like the Cauliflower paraatha.  Cook the potatoes in cooker, peel and add the rest of the ingredients and make the stuffing. Add more butter while cooking on the tava and you can taste the Punjabi Paraathas.

Add some coriander leaves in the stuffing and it tastes 'different'!


Aloo/potato paratha
Hope you like these paraathas.  You can make crushed paneer paraathas in the same manner.  If any curry remains, you just add the stuffing ingredients to them and make paraathas...remember to add less salt and chilli powder accordingly.  I did paraatha out of Seppankizhangu (arbi/colocasia) curry with onions and other ingredients and it was a hit!

Tell me if you like these recipes!

Stuffed Paraathas...Chapaathi Dough, Cauliflower, Mooli And Little Gourd Stuffings- Part I


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I am writing these posts for the beginners...in cooking! So, let me start this post about 'Stuffed Paraathas' from the first step...preparing the dough!

Ingredients:

1. 4 cups of Wheat flour
2. 2 cups of water
3. 1/2 tsp. sugar
4. 1 1/2 tsp. salt
5. 2 tbs. cooking oil/refined oil

Method: 

Take 2 cups of water in a vessel or basin as shown in the picture.
Add sugar, salt and a tbs. of oil. 
Mix with hand.  Then add the wheat flour and start mixing slowly.  Mix well.  The dough should be soft to the hand.  Sprinkle more water or flour if needed and mix well. If you press it with a finger, it should go in softly and a mark should be there.  Take the remaining oil and apply all over the dough.  Cover and keep it aside for minimum one hour so that it becomes very soft and is able to pull it without breaking to cover the stuffing.

For Poori dough, you should use Ghee instead of oil! The dough should be stiff, not soft and should not soak for such a long time! 

Water, salt, sugar and oil for Chapaathi. 
Chapaathi dough is ready! Close with a lid and keep aside for half to one hour.
1. Cauliflower stuffed paraatha:

Ingredients:

1. 1/2 cup Cauliflower florets soaked in turmeric powder and salt water
for 15-20 mts. (to kill the worms which are found in this vegetable often...1/2 tsp. turmeric powder and 2 tsp. salt) and then cut into tiny pieces as shown in the picture.

2. 1 Small onion cut into tiny pieces
3. 3-4 Green chillies, cut into tiny pieces (according to taste!)
4. 1" Ginger, cut into tiny pieces
5. 3-4 pods of garlic, cut into tiny pieces
6. 1/4 cup cut pieces of capsicum.
7. Oil for using on the tava for cooking. (Keep half cup of oil with a tsp.of ghee in a cup for using while making chapaathis!)
8. 1/4 tsp. sugar
9. Salt to taste (1/2 tsp.)
10. 1 tsp. oil, 1 tsp. butter (butter to give taste!)
11. 1/2 tsp. Jeera/cumin seeds
12. 1 tsp. Red Chilli powder
13. 1/2 tsp. Garam masala powder  

 Method:

Keep all the ingredients ready nearby in small cups...at least until you become used to cooking!

First, microwave the cauliflower pieces for 2 mts. and keep aside.

Take a small pan. Medium flame. Pour a oil/butter. Add jeera. Let it flutter a bit.

Add the cut onion, green chillies, garlic and ginger pieces. Add butter, sugar and salt.  Fry for a minute or till the onion becomes transparent. Salt helps to bring onion get cooked faster!

Add the capsicum pieces. Add cauliflower pieces.  Mix well.  Add the other ingredients like chilli powder, garam masala etc. Mix well for a minute.  Taste it. Add salt if needed. Salt can be a bit on the high side since it will be covered by chapaathi dough. Mix again.  The stuffing is ready!

Take a double lemon sized ball of dough.  Roll well and press it into a cup shape using your fingers ... press in the middle with your thumb.  Place a tbs. of stuffing into it and stick/join the edges. No gaps should be there.  If you find any and if the dough is not enough to cover, take a bit more dough and repair the hole!

Now, roll it into chapaathi using some dry flour while rolling.  If the stuffing is visible a little, no problem.  See to it that the edges are not thick. Check in the picture.  Put it on a hot tava.  Medium flame. Turn it after a minute with a sharp edged ladle (dosai thiruppi, we call it!).  Cut them into four pieces or two pieces as per your wish.  You have to do this step when the chapaathi is still half cooked! Otherwise it would be difficult to cut evenly.  Press the edges if they are thick. Now, apply a tsp. of oil mixed with a little ghee (we keep this mixture in a small container always). After turning apply more  oil.  Let it become brown on both sides. We can't compromise on oil in paraathas!

Punjabis add just butter, a lot of butter, instead of oil/ghee mixture...so their paraathas are tastier.  I can't imagine using so much butter!  When the paraathas are ready keep them on a tissue paper or steel rings so that they don't become wet with steam.  Place a couple of tissues or cloth in the container in which you are planning to keep the paraathas.  Close it with cloth/tissue and then place the lid.  It will be hot for a long time.

This is the basic recipe for making paraathas.  After you do them 3-4 times, you will know to do the 'adjustments' and become an expert... You can stuff anything as per your imagination.  I have given some!


Cauliflower stuffed paraatha...Keep the vegetables ready like this. Cut the vegetables to the tiniest pieces!

Stuffing...

Close the mouth without any gap.  If gap is there, take some dough and close it, then it will be easy to roll into paraathas.

Paraatha is ready to cook! Turn this paratha after a minute and then slice into pieces if you want, with your ladle (dosai thiruppi!) immediately.  If you wait, it will be difficult to cut. Press the edges if they are thick.


Cauliflower paraatha is ready!


Mooli Stuffed Paraatha:

The basic method is the same as above.  Very tiny pieces of mooli/Radish/daikon)
are used instead of Cauliflower.  You can add some saambaar powder instead of normal chilli powder for variation.


Stuffing for Mooli stuffed paraatha


 Brinjal/Egg plant Stuffed Paraatha:

Tiny pieces of brinjal/egg plant is used here. Microwave as usual.  Follow the first method. Use Curry powder here instead of chilli powder and half tsp. of dri tam ( Tamarind powder) also to enhance the taste. It is OK if you don't have it too. Capsicum can be avoided.  Rest of the steps are same.

Brinjal stuffing is getting ready!

Stuffing for Brinjal stuffed paraatha


Kovakkai/Little gourd Stuffed Paraatha:

Cut the vegetable into tiny pieces, microwave and the rest of the steps are the same as in the first recipe.  The vegetable should be very tender and green.


This picture has not come out well, sorry! Kovakkai/little gourd paraatha Stuffing.

Kovakkai paratha


Tips: Always add a bit of salt while frying onions.  It makes the onion get cooked faster.

Adding a little sugar, blends the taste in the subji.

Stuffing should be a bit strong, with more chillies and salt because we will be covering it with chapaathi dough.  OK, not too salty too!!

Please try this and tell me if you find the steps easy to follow.  If you need any help/explanation also, write in the comment section.

This looks a bit elaborate because I want the new chefs (!), girl or boy, to find it easy to follow! All the best! Enjoy cooking and eating good, home-made food!

More paraathas in the next part! Here!


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More Kuzhambu/Majjige Huli, A South Indian Recipe

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Southekai/Malabar Vellari/Cucumber More kuzhambu/Majjige huli
This is my son's favourite more kuzhambu! This recipe is Udupi's (Karnataka) version.  Tamilnadu recipe varies slightly.  Let me write the recipe first:

Ingredients:

1. 1 Southekai/Malabar vellari/a variety of cucumber, cut into pieces.
2. 1/2 tsp. Turmeric/haldi powder
3. 1/2 tsp. Sugar
4. 1/2 tsp. Salt
5. A small piece of hing/asafoetida.  Even powder is OK.

For grinding:

6. 1/2 coconut cut into pieces or grated (small coconut means 1 full coconut)
7. 6-7 Green chillies
8. 1" Ginger piece
9. 2-3 Red chillies
10. 1 tsp. Dhania seeds/coriander seeds
11. 2 tsp. Jeera/cumin seeds
12. 6-7 Cashew pieces
13. 1 cup curd...if you like sour taste, add sour curd or else normal curd.

For garnishing:

14. 1/2 tsp. Methi seeds/Fenugreek seeds
15. 1/2 tsp. Kadugu/Mustard/rai seeds
16. 1 tbs. Coconut oil
17. Curry leaves cut into small pieces
18. Capsicum, a small piece cut into slices (this is just for flavour, so, optional)

Method:

First cook the 5 ingredients in 2 cups of water.
Grind the no. 6 to 13 ingredients with some water (Grind it without water first, after all pieces are crushed, add water and grind.  This is fast grinding!).  Grind nicely.  In the last round add the curd and just do one 'drrrr'!
After the vegetable becomes soft, add the ground paste.
Add some more salt. Mix well.
Don't wait till it boils..switch off as soon as the top is covered with bubbles/foamy cover. If you leave it to boil, water and coconut will stay separated and taste will not be good.

Take coconut oil in a garnishing ladle/karandi.  Add mustard and methi.  After the mustard flutters, add the cut pieces of curry leaves. Add capsicum.  Mix with a spoon and leave on the stove for half a minute.  Garnish....chooooin...! Finished. More Kuzhambu is ready.  More kuzhambu or Moar Kuzhambu?!!!

I remove the skin and use it for chutney.  This is very good for health.  It can be done like we do Peerkkangai thogaiyal.  You can see how we cut vegetables sitting down on the ground, using this cutter (arivaal manai).  Some people cut the vegetable along with the skin and eat it.

The cut vegetable with the other ingredients, ready for boiling.

Ingredients for grinding.

These are for garnishing.

Arbi/saeppankizhangu.  We can boil it, remove the peel and use it instead of Southekai.  This will also be tasty.

You can use Arbi, bhindi/okra, brinjal, Ash gourd/vellai poosani etc. in place of southekai.  This can be had with rice, chapaathi, pongal, adai, mixed rice, etc.

In Tamilnadu, soaked tuvar dhaal is used instead of cashew while grinding.  Or rice flour.  Some people use only jeera and not dhania seeds.  Taste will vary but will be good. 

TIPS: Remember this kuzhambu should not be boiled...just remove from fire once foam collects on the top. 


P.S.: When you use Bhindi, you have to fry it with the garnishing ingredients.  First take a bit more oil, put the mustard.  After it flutters, add the curry leaves, cut bhindi pieces and half tsp.salt.  Fry till it is nearly dark brown (it has to get cooked). Add methi seeds in the end and fry a bit. It should not get burnt. Then put this mixture in the vessel, add the ground paste with curd.  Add water to the required consistency and boil with some more salt! Done! I am asking you to add salt twice since bhindi should absorb the required salt and then the coconut masala should need more salts! Once you get used to this type of cooking, you will never forget!

Please tell me if this recipe was helpful to you!