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


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:

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.


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!


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)

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?!