Saturday, January 30, 2010

Semiya Kesari

I have a very bad case of sweet-tooth and I try really hard to avoid sweets during meals. I was doing OK all these days until my husband asked me to make something sweet for lunch today. This was all I needed to start drooling and lose my resolve.

I usually end up making sakkarai pongal or rava kesari when he asks me for a bit of sweet. However, this morning I thought of making javvarisi [sago] kesari. As a kid, this was my favourite sweet - mani sojji as I'd call it :P
Thinking about it, I realized that it had been a really long while since I had had some. So, I called up my mom to find out how to make it. It sounded fairly simple and I got down to making it. Well, it turned out to be a disaster when the javvarisi dissolved in the water and there was no mani left.

By now my sweet-tooth had reached the point of no return and I had to have something sweet. I was wondering what to make and that is when my eyes fell on the box that I store semiya [vermicelli] in. The kesari bath turned out really yummy which was bad because I hardly got three spoons full!!

I do promise to try out my favourite mani sojji and post the recipe here. In the meantime, here's the recipe for semiya kesari:

Fry a cup of semiya in a teaspoon of ghee until golden brown. Set it aside.

Add a cup of water to a cup of milk and bring to a boil.

Add the fried semiya and cook until the water has almost been absorbed.

Add 3/4th of a cup of sugar, a pinch of cooking colour and elaichi powder.

Add a tablespoon of ghee and stir well until the sugar dissolves.

Fry cashew nuts and raisins in another tablespoon of ghee and pour it over the kesari.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chow Chow Kootu

Some of the south Indian dishes are so simple to make and yet come with all the taste and goodness they can offer. A kootu is one such dish. A great accompaniment with rice and rotis, it comes packed with the wholesomeness of dal, coconut and vegetables.

Chow Chow or Bangalore Kathirikai is one vegetable that can be used to make a kootu. My mom and amma have always used dry red chilies to add spice, but I replaced it with fresh green chilies. The spiciness was much subtler and better!

Here's what you will need:
Chow chow - 1, chopped into small cubes
Moong dal - 1 small cup, pressure cooked along with turmeric powder
Grated fresh coconut - 2 tbsp

Fry the following in a teaspoon of oil and grind along with fresh coconut:
Urud dal - 2 tbsp
Channa dal - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Green chilie - 2

For the garnish:
Curry leaves - a few
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp

In a thick bottomed vessel, boil a cup of water and slip in the chopped chow chow along with salt and a pinch of turmeric powder. Allow to cook until tender.
Add the pressure cooked dal and allow to simmer for a minute.
Add the ground paste and allow to boil on a low flame, stirring occasionally.
Turn off the heat and sprinkle chopped curry leaves.
Heat the ghee, pop mustard seeds and pour this over the curry leaves.
Serve hot with rice - a simple, yet nutritious meal!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Palak Paneer

A very popular dish across all parts of India and definitely among my favourites. I have tried it out loads of times and decided I might as well put it up on my blog.

Spinach - 1 bunch
Paneer [Cottage Cheese] - 250 gms, diced
Moong dal - 1 tbsp, soaked in water
Onion - 1, diced
Finely chopped onions - 1 tbsp
Tomato - 1, diced
Green chilie - 1
Garlic pods - 2
Red chilie powder - 1 tsp
Dhania powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp

-> In a vessel,bring water to boil and add the spinach leaves and moong dal. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes
-> In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and fry garlic, green chilie, diced onion and tomatoes. Allow to cool and blend along with spinach and dal
-> Heat the remaining oil in the pan and temper cumin seeds. Fry the finely chopped onions.
-> Add dhania powder and fry for a minute. Add the blended mixture along with salt and allow to boil on a low heat.
-> Add the chilie powder and allow to simmer for few minutes.
-> Slip in the diced paneer pieces and remove from fire after 2 minutes.
-> Sprinkle garam masala powder and pour hot ghee over it. Serve hot with rotis.

Mirchi ka Salan

I am not a great fan of spicy food and am averse to trying out Andhra cuisine. However, I came across this dish while watching a popular TV show and was really tempted to try it out. This is an authentic Andhra dish, where the traditional recipe uses long green chilies. I used capsicum instead and it turned out just fine.

Capsicum - 1, diced into medium sized cubes
Onion - 1 small, diced
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Tamarind pulp - 3 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Fresh coriander leaves - a sprig

For the Salan:
Peanuts - 4 tbsp
White sesame seeds - 1 tbsp
Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Poppy Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dry red chili - 1

1. Dry roast the peanuts, sesame seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and poppy seeds.
2. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and saute the onions and red chili.
3. Without adding water, grind the roasted ingredients along with sauteed onions, red chili and coconut.
4. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan and deep fry the diced capsicum and set aside.
5. In the same pan, add ginger garlic paste followed by the ground mixture and tamarind pulp.
6. Fry well, adding a tablespoon of water now and then to prevent the paste from sticking to the pan.
7. Add fried capsicum along with a little water. Place a lid and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
8. Remove from fire and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

This tastes great with pulao, jeera rice and rotis.