Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mambazha Kuzhambu - Whole Ripe Mango Sambar

This is my childhood favorite recipe adopted from my mom's kitchen.  Mom makes it during mango season.  This is nothing but the sambar made with whole ripe small mangoes.  The small mangoes are slit at the sides and cooked in extracted thin tamarind water with flavored sambar powder.  The special thing about the recipe is that you never feel the sweetness of mangoes whereas you could sense the mango flavor very much in the dish.  I made this last weekend and everyone in the family liked it very much. 
Ingredients:
Ripe small sized mangoes - 4 (the choice is yours)
Tamarind - small lemon sized
Sambar powder - 3 tsp
Toor dhal - 1 cup

For seasoning:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida powder - a pinch
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 2 tsp

Preparation:
1. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the water from it.  The extracted water could be thin, so you can extract as much as water as the pulp could give (say 3 cups).
2.  Pressure cook toor dhal until soft.

3. Slit the ripe mangoes at the sides keeping the base intact as shown in the picture.
4.  In a heavy bottomed pain, heat oil and add the seasoning items one by one.  Add the mangoes and then salt and sambar powder and mix well.

5.  Add the extracted thin tamarind water and let this boil in low to medium flame.  Once the mangoes have become soft and cooked well, the color would change.  Add the cooked toor dhal to it and let it boil for 3 more minutes and switch off the flame.  If you feel like the sambar is thin, add a tsp of rice flour before switching off the flame, however, I didn't added it to my dish.

The delectable mambazha kuzhambu is ready to be served with any curry of your choice.  We had with crispy cauliflower curry and plantain stem curry.


Usually, this kuzhambu is made with home garden mangoes of small size but we can get these type of mangoes from fruit market everywhere.  The mangoes should not be too ripe nor should be too raw, it should be ripe and firm.

The cooked mango pulp would be very tasty with mildly blended flavors of tanginess, hotness, and sweetness.  
                                     

Sunday, June 26, 2016

CABBAGE BIRYANI - A COMFORT ONE POT MEAL

DH was not at home for a weekend and refrigerator was stocked with only very few veggies.  So thought to manage with the available ones and that is how this recipe came to birth, but never imaged it would be tasting awesome.



Ingredients:
Basmati rice - 1 cup
Cabbage - 1 cup
Onion - 1
Tomato -1
Green peas - 1 cup (Optional)
Butter beans - 1 cup (Optional)
Curd - 1 tsp
Soya chunks - 2 cups
Chill powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves - few
Salt - to taste
Water - 1.5 cups
Ghee -  2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp

To grind:
Garlic pods - 4
Green chillies - 4
Ginger - 1/2" piece
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Sauf/sombu - very few 

To temper:
Bay leaf - 1
Cinnamon stick - 1/2"
Clove - 4 

Preparation:
1.  Wash and soak basmati rice for 10 minutes.
2.  Boil water in a vessel with little salt for 5 minutes and soak the soya chunks in it.  Squeeze the water from soya chunks and fry it in little oil.
3. Grind the items given in "To grind" section to smooth paste.
4.  Heat oil in pressure cooker and add bay leaf, cinnamon stick and clove.  Add onions , tomatoes, coriander leaves, green peas, shredded cabbage and butter beans and saute for few minutes.  Pour in the ground smooth paste, add salt and chilly powder to it and mix well.  Add a tsp of curd to the mixture.
5.    Add 1.5 cups of water and let it come to boiling stage, add the fried soya chunks and soaked basmati rice filtering the water. Cover and pressure cook for 1 whistle. 

 6. Open the cooker , fluff the rice and serve.  Delicious cabbage rice is ready to be served.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

MATKA KULFI

Kulfi is a very popular frozen daily desert which has similarities to ice cream in appearance, however, it is denser and creamier.  It is considered to be a traditional Indian ice cream .  Unlike other ice creams, kulfi takes longer time to melt because of its density.  The mixture of dense evaporated milk is widely popular in Indian cuisine and there are many deserts made from that.  Kulfi gets a distinctive taste by evaporated sweetened and flavored milk by slow cooking process.

We moved to this home about 2.5 years back which is inside a gated community.  There is a small park and lawn and a lot of outer space for walking.  There are some benches where we can sit relax, talk, and have our nonsense laughter.  During weekends, the home would be filled in with guests from extended family mostly and after our dinner, we go down and chit chat and have our nonsense laughter.  Sometime the chats would extend up until 1 am as there is no urge to get up early in the morning.  There is a kulfi wala who sells kulfis after 10 o'clock at night and it would be finished in no time as soon as he arrived the spot.  We buy the kulfis on weekends and have it besides our sweet family talks. 

On evening when I was coming back from work, I was thinking to surprise the family with homemade kulfis.  This is the first time I am making at home and was not sure of the outcome, so I didn't reveal this to anyone at home.  I prepared this alongside with dinner and refrigerated it silently.  I eagerly opened the kulfi pots in the morning and was tickled on the outcome.
 
I served the kulfi on our night chit chats and the whole family was very surprised and didn't believed that I prepared it.  It tasted as equivalent as to that of the kulfi bought from kulfi wala.  First time I prepared a kulfi with almond pieces and next time I variated with almond and pistachios which increased the taste furthermore.  

Ingredients:
Milk - 2 liters (serves 6 pots of kulfi)
Sugar - 3/4 cup heaped
cardamom powder - 1 tsp
Almond (Sliced or cut into small pieces) - as desired

Preparation:
1. Boil milk until it reduces to 3/4.    Keep stirring in between otherwise it will be burnt at the bottom.  I kept the milk in the induction stove in 1st flame, so it slowly boiled and got thickened and didn't get burnt as well.  
2.  Once it thickens to desired level, add cardomom powder, sugar, and later almond slices.  Mix well and boil for some more time. Switch of the flame and let it cools to normal temperature.  Pour it in kulfi molds or small pots.  Cover the matka pot with aluminum foil and refrigerate it continuously for 6-8 hours.  
3.  When serving, add some sliced almond pieces over the refrigerated kulfi which would invite you to taste it immediately.

Wanna to try a spoon of this yummylicious Kulfi :-)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

ENNAI KATHIRIKKAI KUZHAMBU - SAUTED STUFFED BRINJALS COOKED IN TAMARIND SAUCE

One of the specialty dishes from my kitchen.  The freshly roasted Indian spices are stuffed into the tiny tender brinjals and sauted in generous oil and the addition of tamarind sauce brings a lip smacking taste to the taste bud.   Whenever I come back home after an onsite business trip, I would be preparing this dish to give life to my tasteless tongue.  This stuffing varies from region to region.  Being hailed from a traditional Brahmin family, we prepare this dish with no onion and no garlic way.
  

Ingredients:
Small tender tiny brinjals - 1/4 kg
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Tamarind (lemon size) - soaked in warm water
Oil - 1/4 cup
Salt - To taste

For tempering:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few

For stuffing:
Dry roast the below ingredients and powder it.  You can make in larger quantities and store for a month. This can be brought in Indian store as well.

Asafoetida – a small piece
Red chilies – 8-10 (adjust according to your spiciness level)
Bengal gram – 4 tsp
Urad dal – 4 tsp 
Coriander seeds/dhaniya – 4 tsp
Peppercorns - few

Preparation:
1. Prepare the stuffing powder after dry roasting the ingredients above.   

2. Wash the brinjals in cool water and slit it in four as given in picture.

3.  Stuff the brinjals with the roasted ground powder.  
4.  Extract the tamarind juice from the tamarind pulp.
5.  In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil and throw in mustard seeds.  When it crackles, add the curry leaves.  Add the stuffed brinjals slowly and mix well so that oil coats on all sides.
6.  Add turmeric powder, salt, and extracted tamarind water.  

7.  Boil until you get a desired consistency.  This kuzhambu thickens over time, so switch off the stove accordingly.

This kuzhambu can be mixed with hot steamed rice with a tsp of gingelly oil. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Maavadu - Tiny tender Raw Mango Pickle

This is pickle made out of tiny tender raw mangoes which we get in summer in India.  We usually makes this in larger quantities and store for one whole year.  More than the pickle, the juice which oozes out from the mangoes gives an irreplaceable taste in mouth when accompanied with curd rice.  One best about this recipe is no oil is used to make this pickle.    

Ingredients:
Raw Mangoes - 1 kg
Castor oil - 2 tsp
Rock salt - 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/4 cup
Red chillies - 20

Preparation:
1.  Wash the tender mangoes in water thrice to remove dust from it and pat dry them completely.   It is advisable to buy the mangoes with stem.  The ones without stem will get spoilt soon.
 

2. Apply 2 tsp of castor oil and mix well with a ladle.  Ensure the oil coats over all the mangoes.  This is done to prolong the shelf life of pickle and to reduce the body heat when consuming the pickle.  
                         

3.  Add salt later and mix well.  Shake well or turn it down using a ladle daily.  Keep this mixture for 2-3 days.  The salt will dissolve and starts to ooze out water little.

4.  Grind Red chillies along with mustard seeds with little water.








5.   Add this to the mango mixture and mix well.  Keep them by turning it upside down for a week.  By this time, the mangoes will shrink and more water will be oozed out.  Around a week later, you could observe the mangoes will be immersed with 1 inch water above it.  Store the pickle in small bottle for daily use.  Generally, we don't refrigerate this and store in porcelain jar but can be used for more than a year when refrigerated.  Always use a dry spoon to take out the mangoes.  
 

Your lovable ones will ask for more serving when served with curd rice.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

PANNER CAPSICUM STUFFED MASALA DOSA - INDIAN PANCAKE STUFFED WITH INDIAN COTTAGE CHEESE

I have never tasted Paneer until two years back; for some reasons DH and myself never got an idea to taste it at least once. But Jr. H was very curious to try at home as he has tasted his friend's lunchbox at school and he started nagging me to prepare at home.  We liked it in the first attempt itself because of the taste it imparts in the dish.  Now I can make many variations of paneer dishes and this is one such convenient dish which I prepare at home during my lazy weekend dinner.
Ingredients:
Idly/Dosa batter - 2 cups

For Stuffing:
Paneer (Grated) - 1 cup
Capsicum (finely chopped) - 1
Onion (Finely chopped) - 1
Tomato (Finely chopped) - 1
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Jeera - 1 /2 tsp

Preparation for Stuffing:
1. Finely chop the required vegetables (onion, tomato, capsicum) and grate the paneer.
 

2. In a pan, add little oil and throw in jeera, when it sizzles, add the chopped onion followed by tomato and capsicum later.
 

3.  Add the required salt and turmeric powder followed by chilly powder.  Add the grated paneer lastly and mix well.
 

Preparation of Dosa:
1. In the dosa pan, spread the idly batter in a circular manner, add little oil over the edges.
2. Spread the stuffing as required and fold the dosa as desired.