Thursday, August 31, 2017

POORI - DEEP FRIED WHEAT BREAD

Wow, what an awesome start of the day...Off to work and it's raining here.  Is there anyone who doesn't love rains.  As the day progresses, I have many personal errands to run but I stand still now to enjoy the current moment. There is nothing more comforting for me other than sitting on my favorite spot on the couch, looking outside through the balcony, watching rains, with a coffee cup in hand and of course with my favorite melodies playing on background..I was emotionally and physically tired with many things these days and this is kind of soothing relaxation.

The little girl in me find happiness in coming here for blogging.  This is a page where I could pour my random thoughts with no restrictions.  Whenever I sit for blogging, I feel relaxed, calm, creative, my mind is getting sharper...I am sure when I  get old, when I reread my posts, I would recollect and cherish the moments more than my recipes.

Let's move further on to the recipe, Poori, a very popular and lovable dish for Indians.  When I was out for a business trip last time,  I went to an Indian restaurant with one of my good International friend.  He was raising his eyebrows when this dish was served at the table next to us and was inquisitive to know about it.  He asked me if I would be able to make those puffed pooris and curiously asked me about the preparation.  Then I realized I have not posted this dish and when I made the next time, I remembered to capture the pictures for the sake of blogging. 


Poori is made from whole wheat flour, salt, and dough.  Deep fried in oil, needless to say about its calorie count :-).... Some add a tsp of sooji rava to the mixture to make it crispy, but somehow I find my pooris to be crispier and puffy without even adding it, so I never wanted  to add extra item to my preparation.  

INGREDIENTS:
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Salt - to taste
Water - 1 cup
Oil for frying 

PREPARATION:
1. In a large bowl, mix whole wheat flour, salt, add water little by little, knead well, and make a smooth dough.  Kneading to smooth dough  is the most important step to have puffed pooris.  Divide the dough into equal lemon-sized balls. 
2.   Take each dough ball, dust some flour to the rolling board, roll the dough into small circular disc.  Similarly make pooris for the remaining dough balls.
3. Heat oil for deep frying.  Drop one poori into the oil, let the poori start raising slowly, once it raises, flip it with a ladle to cook it on the other side.  During cooking on both the sides, gently touch at the corners with a ladle to puff it up.  

4. Take the poori out and similarly deep fry remaining pooris.
5.  Poori is a very versatile dish which can be served with jam, pickle, chutney, sugar or any curry.   I served with the best combination, Potato masala :-).  


Saturday, August 19, 2017

TINDORA MASALA BHAAT - KOVAIKKAI(IVY GOURD) RICE

Back home a week ago and still in the settling mode.  Right from back home, everyday is a busy day in one or the another kind.   Jr.H turned 10 years last week, I feel great about it.  Motherhood has made me to be stronger, increased my willpower, strengthened my endurance and perseverance, boosted my creativity and had helped me to shape myself as a better version.  

Last weekend went quickly on weekend mode purchases and cleaning stuffs.   Start of the week was a festive day which made me super busy at home.  We celebrated Krishna Jeyanthi on Monday and I prepared homemade traditional snacks and sweets for it.   Here's visual treat for you :-)..

With life driving me through multiple priorities both at work and personal level at the same time, I am trying my best to deal with it patiently.  I find no time to sit for blogging and many of my colleagues have already started asking for my next post. Juggling between work and personal roles and duties isn't easy.  When I return back home after long work hours and challenging work pressures, I need to charge myself fully and act immediately upon family requests.   For next few weeks, it's going to be maddening busy schedule and am preparing myself for it. 

The work is with very demanding schedules and dealing with a bigger responsibility.  In between, health is not cooperating much and kind of feeling ill and exhausted, so I took complete rest today without moving out from home. 


For lunch, I prepared one of family's favorite, Tindora Masala Bhaat - Kovaikkai Rice.  Everyone in the family like this vegetable (Ivygourd) very much.   I used homemade vangibath masala powder which enhanced the flavor to the dish.  The crunchy textured tindora blended well with masala powder and the spicy aromatic rice went well with pappads and plain curd.


Ingredients: 
Cooked Basmatic rice - 2 cups
Kovaikkai/Ivy Gourd - 300 g
Onion - 2 (sliced thin)
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Vangibhat powder - 3 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 5 tsp

For the Vangibhat Powder (dry roast and grind):
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

To Temper:

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Bengal gram - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Cinnamom - 1" inch piece
Cloves - 5-6
Curry leaves - few

Preparation:
1. Wash and cut the ivy gourds length wise and slice the onions thin.  

2. Soak basmati rice for 15 minutes in warm water and pressure cook for 2 whistles.  Allow it to cool once the pressure releases.  This can be varied with normal rice too.

3.  Dry roast the items given in the section "Dry roast and grind" and make the masala powder ready.  I usually have this ready made in my kitchen shelf.  I make in smaller quantities and use it for a week which would  help me a jiffy weekday.
4.  In a heavy bottom, throw in the tempering items one by one and lastly add the onions and little salt for the onions.  Once the onions turns slightly brown, add the cut ivy gourds (tindora vegetable) and add remaining salt, turmeric powder.  Cook in medium flame for 10 minutes turning in between, this would make the vegetable softer and crispy.
5.  Once the vegetable has cooked softly, add chilly powder and masala powder and mix well.  Keep in high flame for 3-5 minutes until the powders blend with the vegetable.
6.  Add the cooled cooked rice and mix gently.  Care must be taken not to make the rice mushy, so you have to mix gently.  Check for salt and can be added if needed.  You can reduce the masala powder to suite your family spice levels.  

7.  Masala bhaat is ready to be served.  I served with plain curd and pappads which accompanied the dish very well.  I also prepared tomato rasam and bhindi fry for lunch and it turned out to be a complete meal today.


Friday, July 28, 2017

PALAK PULAO - SPINACH RICE

One of the post from my draft.   Away from family, missing everything.   When I gaze outside through the window of my room, I could see a beautiful World.  The high rise buildings are adding a beauty to the city.  The facade of these units were lit with fancy lamps and the modern architectural design enrich the vibrancy of the city.  The whole city is moving to a delightful weekend mode and I could see a sense of relaxation in everybody's face.  Yet, I am in no mood of enjoyment.  I miss being at home, miss my little dumpling, miss my favorite comfortable spot in my couch, miss the smell of my home, miss the weekend cleaning stuffs, miss watering my tender ladies finger /spinach plants(Oh yeah! this is my latest interest, phew!!!) and above all I miss my cooking stuffs...


Without further list of missing things, I  quickly go to the recipe.  I have never tasted much of Palak recipes in my childhood and I started learning to include this greens only after my marriage.  At first, I learnt only to make Palak Paneer and slowly picked up other variation of dishes that I could do with this healthy spinach.  Now at least once in a week, I include this variety of spinach in my kitchen.  I have started growing my own spinach in my balcony terrace and it's growing much faster.  Here's the latest pic I got from home this morning.
Touching upon the recipe, this spinach rice is very easy to prepare, one pot, vegetarian meal  and quite perfect for lunch box.  To make it colorful, I have added carrots which brought very mild sweetish essence to the dish.  Also the addition of sweet corn kernels gave an attractive eye-catching look to the recipe along with sweetish delight on every bite.  Since potato is never a miss option at home, I added it as well which enhanced the taste of this meal.

INGREDIENTS:
Palak Leaves (tightly packed) - 2 cups
Carrot -2
Potato - 1
Sweet corn kernels - 1 cup
Onion - sliced thin - 1
Pudhina/Mint leaves - handful
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Oil - 3 tsp
Ghee - 2 tsp
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Salt - As desired.

To grind:
Garlic pods - 3-4
Ginger - 1" piece
Green chilly - 2
Sauté Palak leaves

To temper:
Bay leaf - 1
Cinnamon - a small stick
Cloves - 4-5

Preparation:
Discard Palak leaves from the stem separately and wash the leaves in running cold water.  Sauté in a pan for a minute until the leaves get shrunken.  Don't sauté for a longer time as the beautiful greenish color might change.  Let it cool for some time.
Meanwhile soak basmati rice in warm water for 15 minutes and drain the water completely. 
Keep the pressure cooker on medium flame and throw in the tempering items one by one.  When the tempering items sizzles, add mint leaves followed by sliced onions.  When the onions turns brown, add tomato , cut vegetables, and salt.  After a minute or two, add the ground green masala from sauté spinach leaves and mix well.  Lastly, add the chilly powder and sweet corn kernels.  Finally, pour in 3 cups of water (1:1.5 ratio) and add the drained rice and two teaspoons of ghee.  Pressure cook for one whistle.  Allow until the pressure releases, mix well, and now a healthy meal is ready to be served.


Wanna to grab a teaspoon for taste, here it is :-)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

MYSORE RASAM

While all the people at home are watching India-Pak Match, I am diving into blogging to enjoy my  "Me" time.   Already am down with Monday blues and sadly thinking about my handful of chores in my to-do list for the upcoming week.  The weekend was quite stressful as I accidentally fell yesterday while cleaning home and halfway through cooking.   Felt an excruciating pain at foot for the initial few minutes, later I managed the cooking and other house chores in slow motion but as the day progresses my entire ankle was hurting and swollen.  I was not able to walk and felt pain at every step.  DH applied all sorts of home treatment - applying oil, massaging, ointment, pain reliever spray and nothing worked out.  Finally, I was pushed to the stage of taking over-the-counter medication at night.  I slept uninterruptedly and when I woke up this morning, the pain had reduced.  I was able to walk though felt mild pain at every step.  Am getting better after the second dose of medication.


Due to the above incident, I kept the cooking on the lighter side yesterday and prepared only rasam.  For the benefit of my international friends who follows my blog, rasam is a thin soup made with tamarind and Indian spices.  It is eaten with rice and acts as a perfect appetizer.  There are many variations of rasam and I prepared Mysore Rasam yesterday.  It is a recipe from Karnataka Cuisine in which the Indian spices are roasted and ground with coconut.  The aromatic flavor fills the entire home when you prepare this rasam, stimulates your digestive system, and acts as a healthy traditional appetizer.  I do not remember exactly when I fell in love for this rasam, I would just drink it as a soup whenever I prepare this at home.


INGREDIENTS:
Tamarind water (extracted from tamarind pulp) - 2 cups
Cooked Toor dhal -  1/2 cup (small)
Tomatoes - 2
Salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Ghee - 1/2 tsp

To roast and grind:
Pepper - 1 tsp
Toor dhal - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Red chilly - 1
Coconut - 1 tsp
Jeera/Cumin - 1 tsp

To Temper:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Red chilly - 1 or 1/2
Curry leaves - few

Preparation:
1. Soak tamarind pulp in warm water for some 10 minutes and extract the juice from it.  Keep aside.
2.  Cook Toor dhal in pressure cooker adding water and mash it well.
3.  In 1/2 tsp of oil, roast the items given under section "To roast and grind" except coconut and jeera.  Add the coconut at last part of roasting and switch off the flame.  At the time of grinding, add the jeera/cumin seeds and grind it to a smooth paste adding little water.
4.  In a vessel, add tomatoes and mash it by either squeezing them using a wooden spatula /fingers, or use a blender.  Add the extracted tamarind water to it.  Add the required salt and turmeric powder to it and keep in flame.
5.  Boil for 10 minutes until the raw smell of the tamarind goes off.  Gently add the ground paste and mix well.  After a minute, add the cooked and mashed toor dhal and mix well.
6. When it starts to froth up, switch of the flame and temper it with mustard seeds, red chilly, and curry leaves in a teaspoon of ghee.  
The aromatic rasam can be mixed with steamed rice or can be taken as such as a soup. 

Below picture is taken at another instance for a special lunch..

Saturday, May 27, 2017

BEET GREENS-LENTIL MIXTURE WITH BROWNED ONIONS

Back home three weeks back after a tiring business trip.   Though I bounced back immediately into cooking, I was inching back on my another routines, hence could not sit for blogging. 

Being at home is the best feel one could have after a long, strenuous and demanding business trip.  I was returning back home on our anniversary day and DH was eagerly waiting for me at the airport to receive me.  We are entering into our 13th year of marital bliss.  I know nobody in this World would love me as much as him and tolerate my silly nonsense stuffs.  I could not find any best words to describe it.  It was surprising to see him with a bouquet of flowers .  DH never express himself much but his actions always speaks louder than his words.   I always look forward to the Airport pickups by DH and Jr. H.  I could feel the love and contentment in DH eyes.  Jr.H would run towards to me and always gives me a big hug and would melt my heart and calm my soul.

While it was only work and work when I was away home, I was eagerly looking forward to the planned personal vacation after my return.  We have planned for a vacation to Ooty, one of the most popular and gorgeous hill stations in South India.  We have been there couple of times before and this is our third trip there.  As we have seen all the sightseeing locations on our earlier trip, we planned this trip truly for leisure and have good amount of family time.  During our trip, the nature was at its best and we enjoyed the cold nights and chilled evenings.  Our long morning and evening walks rejuvenated us .   Jr. H was more excited than us and he became our photographer and clicked many pictures of this memorable trip :-).

While we were back to Chennai, I grabbed lot of native vegetables from the very famous hill station.  The freshly plucked carrots, beets, and radishes looked vibrant and colorful and seized my eyes.  The vegetables were seen with colorful leafy greens adorning their top.  We never get these vegetables with leaves here in the market.  I have heard a lot that these greens are very nutritious and wanted to try it out.  So I took care in bringing them back them.  I wrapped them in wet towel so that the leaves would not go wilt.  I was managing the kitchen for a whole week with the veggies I got from there.


I prepared the beet greens adding moong dhal and it turned out to be a hit at home instantly.  The exotic taste rendered from the beet greens were elevated with the addition of firmly cooked yellow moong dhal .  I tempered the dish with browned onions which additionally enhanced the flavor to the dish.

Ingredients: 
Beet Greens - 1 cup
Moong dhal - 1/4 cup
Garlic - 4 pods
Green chilly - 1
Salt - to taste

To Temper:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Red chilly - 1
Onion - 1 (Sliced thin)

Preparation:
1.  Remove the greens from the stem, wash it thoroughly in running cold water, and chop roughly.

2. Cook the moong dhal in pressure cooker for 2 whistles with salt 
and little water.  I like the dish to be crunchy, hence I cooked the moong dhal firmly and not mushy
3. In a vessel, add the greens, little water, salt, garlic pods, and green chilly and allow it to cook in medium flame for 5-7 minutes.  Stir in between, the greens would cook faster.  Once they become tender and cooked, add in the cooked moong dhal (skinned split mung gram) and mix well. Allow it to cook for 2 more minutes.  Switch off the flame once the dhal blends nicely with the greens.

4.  Heat oil in a pan and throw in the tempering items one by one.  Once the mustard seeds sizzles, add the urad dhal, red chilly followed by sliced onions.   Saute well in low flame until the onions are browned.  Browning of onions would take little time, so need to be patient in it.  When it is browned well, add it to the dish and mix well.

Serve it as an accompaniment with steamed rice.

We had this as an accompaniment for small red radish sambar (will post the recipe next) and garlic rasam.  

Sunday, April 30, 2017

PARUPPU URUNDAI KUZHAMBU - LENTIL BALLS COOKED IN TAMARIND SAUCE

Another post from my draft.....

One more week to go to join with family and I already started counting the days here.  This weekend is a long weekend everywhere and I badly miss being at home.   On the weekdays, I was deep diving at work here which keeps me going without missing family.  Also surrounded by some understandable soft nature colleagues who patiently listens to my nonsense stuffs and makes my days lighter.   Weekends are hard to pass by and only my long walks with no real destination are helping me to pass time on the weekends. 

Ahhhh, as I think of work now, some immediate random thoughts are flashing up on my mind now.  I could foresee some changes at work environment and I am getting prepared for it.  I really like the role that I had play and get many learning exposures while interacting with cross functional teams co-located worldwide.  The team I work with feels like a family, everyone here truly respects each other and help each other at work.  During this journey, some of my team mates have turned into good friends.  The paths have changed for some of my wonderful colleagues and I am still in touch with them.  Well, the process changes are inevitable and we should adapt ourselves.  Let's see what's in store for me next...

At home, both DH and Jr. H are enjoying the long weekend.  Home is filled with guests from DH's end, so DH is on full swing mode of enjoyment, taking them for long drives, beaches, malls, film, restaurant.  In fact, I am bit relieved that both of them are enjoying without thinking about my absence, otherwise I would go to a very moody mode worrying about them. 


Not to take too much time about the happenings, let me move further to the recipe.  There are many variations to this dish and I follow the authentic method of my family with a mild twist.  This Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu is prepared from ground dhal mixture with red chillies, asafeotida, and salt.  The lentil balls are made out of the ground mixture and cooked in tamarind sauce in slow to medium flame on stove top.  Just to add rich flavor to the dish, I roasted some Indian spices and ground it with coconut and added to the kuzhambu and it tasted out of the world.  


INGREDIENTS:
Tool Dhal:  1 cup
Bengal gram: 1/4 cup
Red chillies - 8-9
Salt - To taste
Asafoetida - a pinch
Tamarind water (Extracted from soaked tamarind pump) - 4 cups
Sambar Powder -1  tsp
Oil - 4 tsp

To roast and grind:
Asafoetida - small piece (powder could also be used as an alternate)
Red chillies - 5
Bengal gram - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
(Roast all the above items in little oil and grind with 2 tsp of coconut)

To Temper:
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few

PREPARATION:
Soak toor dhal+Bengal gram together for an hour.

Meanwhile soak tamarind in warm water for some 15 minutes and extract the tamarind juice from the pulp
Filter the water out from the dhal after an hour carefully and grind it along with red chilly, asafoetida, and salt.  Care must be taken to drain the water completely from the soaked mixture before grinding, otherwise the lentil balls would dissolve while adding to the kuzhambu.  If you feel  the mixture is very solid during grinding part, you can sprinkle little water then and there.  Kindly note the salt is to be added only for the mixture and salt for the gravy needs to be added separately later.  
In a heavy bottomed pan, add oil, throw in a tsp of mustard seeds and when it crackles, add the ground mixture carefully and mix well with a ladle.  After few mins, the mixture would come to a texture where you could sense the moisture from the mixture is left, switch off the stove, allow it to cool for sometime, and make into equal sized balls.
In the meantime, while the mixture is getting cooled, roast the items given in the section to roast and grind with little oil and grind it smoothly with 2 tsp of coconut and keep aside.

In a heavy bottomed vessel, pour in the tamarind juice, add a tsp of sambar powder and salt.  Switch on the stove and allow it to boil for 5-7 minutes until the raw smell goes off.  Lower the flame, gently add 2-3 the round shaped lentil balls one by one carefully.  When it floats on the top, slowly add the remaining balls one by one.  Do not stir immediately after adding the balls, allow it to cook.   After sometime, you would see the balls start floating at the top, which means it had cooked.  

When you see multiple lentil balls floating, add the ground mixture and stir well.  Let it boil for few more minutes.  Switch off the stove.

Temper the kuzhambu with mustard seeds and curry leaves. 

The gravy/kuzhambu can be mixed with steam rice and can be accompanied with a roasted curry.   

The lentil balls can also be taken as a side dish to the gravy.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

PUMPKIN CAPCISUM PULI KUZHAMBU - Colorful and delightful combo

Staying away from home on business assignment and having a short break from my usual activities.  

Sometimes the best therapy that you could give for yourself is to take a break from your regular routine and explore the unexplored things in life.  When I stay away from home, I definitely miss family, that is for sure and there is no doubt in it but I enjoy this solace at times.  There is no rush and compulsion involved now; be it in cooking, getting up early for the regular chores, rushing back home to attend my duties or comfort people by giving a fake smile when going through some hard time.  Here I am all alone,  there is no one to check if I am okay, no one to check how my day was, and living a life with no holds barred.   When I get back home after the short break, I have always observed that I would be fully energetic.  I would be treated special by everyone; DH would make tea for me, Jr. H would keep his books/toys arranged properly in shelf, friends would eagerly be waiting to catch up on the missed fun, family get-togethers,  and a lot and lot more tiny things which I will start seeing newly and maybe these could be some reasons I like to be distant from my routine world at times. 

DH and Jr. H are very cooperative during my travels and they are managing the house perfectly.  I was bit concerned earlier on how Jr. H would manage on settlement in his new school as I would be away from home but to my surprise my little boy is settling very well.  He is gaining popularity among teachers and students by his ever smiling nature.  He is sending me the filled in worksheets and assignments and not to miss his appreciations from teachers.  Thank God, I am quite relieved about it now. 


Moving on to today's post, this is one of a long pending post from draft which caught my eye sight today because I miss eating spicy things here.  Even at Indian restaurants, the feel the hotness is not as like at my home.  I am just satisfying my taste buds by looking at the pictures.  Pumpkin and capsicum compliments each other in color and taste.   The mild sweetness rendered from yellow pumpkin and the crunchy texture from green bellpepper goes very well when cooked in tamarind sauce with flavored spiced powder made from ground Indian spices.


Ingredients:
Pumpkin - 200 g (cut in small tiny cubes)
Capsicum/ Bellpepper  - 1 (cut in small tiny cutes)
Tomato -1
Sambar Powder - 2 tablespoon (I prepare homemade powder but can also be brought from Indian store)
Salt  To taste
Tamarind water - 2 cups (Extracted from soaked tamarind pulp)
Oil - 2 tablespoon

To Temper:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Red chillis - 3 or 4
Curry leaves -few

Preparation:
1.  Soak tamarind pulp in warm water and extract the tamarind juice.  Can also be replaced by tamarind sauce.

2. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil and throw in the tempering items one by one followed by cubed capsicum and pumpkin dices.  Later add in tomato, salt, and sambar powder and mix well.

3.  Pour in the extracted tamarind pump, mix well, and let it boil until the raw smell goes and mixture gets thickens. When it boils, mix well with a ladle once in a while so that it wouldn't be burnt at the bottom. 


Can be mixed with rice with a teaspoon of gingelly oil and it would taste yummilicious.