Sunday, May 13, 2018

KOOZH VADAM


Vadam is a summer time traditional activity at most of the household in southern part of Tamilnadu.  It is prepared in bulk and stored for the whole year.  My mom involved me in helping her right from my 5th grade.  Nowadays, there are lot of stores who sell a variety of vadams but I always prefer to make it home as it gives me an immense pleasure and satisfaction when it is made by me.  As a working woman, I plan for this activity during my weekends.  This time, I planned in early start of the year to make it at end of April to utilize the long weekend. 

Koozh vadam is made from a mix of rice and sago flour.  As I make in larger quantity, I ground raw rice and sago mixture in flour mill (ratio of raw rice and sago is 1 kg:200 g) and make vadam in batches.  The method I follow is the traditional method followed at brahmin household which I learnt from my mom.   






INGREDIENTS:

Vadam flour - 5 cups
Green chilly - 15
Lemon juice - 10 (extracted from 10 big size lemons)
Salt - To taste
Oil - 3 tsp
Asafoetida  - a small piece of bar
Water - 12.5 cups

PREPARATION:
Mix raw rice and sago and pulse it in a mixer to a fine powder.  If making in large quantity, suggest to grind in flour mill .  The ratio of rice:sago should be 1 kg:200 g.  One kg of rice and sago mixture would yield approximately 5 cups (aazhaku) of flour.  



In a heavy bottom big vessel (I used my 10 L Pressure Cooker), add 12.5 cups of water, add 3 tsp of oil, salt, and asafoetida bar and bring it to boil.  I recommend the salt to be on the lesser side so that when we fry the vadams in oil, it would be at the optimal level.

Meanwhile, grind green chilly with little salt to a fine texture adding little bit of water.

Also extract the juice from lemons, add very little salt, and keep aside.  Recommend to do this because of the citric nature in lemons which imparts a slight bitter taste.  Adding little salt would make not turn the flavor of bitterness in lemon.  So keep in mind while adding salt in water as we also add salt in green chilly and lemon juice.

When the water starts boiling, add the ground green chilly mixture, and let it boil a minute or two.


Switch off the stove, remove the vessel from stovetop, and add the lemon juice and mix well.  Immediately, start adding vadam flour little by little and mix well with a long ladle.  Initially, it would look like there would be lumps formed while adding flour but later we can mix thoroughly.   Slowly, add the flour and stir continuously and mix all the flour in the hot boiled water and at one stage, you would end up forming a dough.  Mix well to break any lumps and form a smooth dough.  This is the basic dough for vadams.
Allow it to cool for some time.  While it is cooling, I usually make small balls out of it so that I could easily refill the dough in the press .  I do this at home before going upstairs so I would not stand in sun for a longer time.  



Take a plastic sheet and spread it the area and keep stones at the end.  Take a nada plate in the murukku press , fill the flour inside, and press a long muruku in the sheet.  
Dry in the hot sun and keep them open at home in the evening .  Let it dry for 2-3 days.  When fully dry, you can break them and store them in airtight containers.  
When required, fry in hot oil, and serve as an accompaniment for rice.




Sunday, April 1, 2018

VENDAYA DOSA


It's a short holiday time for my growing up son and his school reopens next week, it's a great feel to realize that he is moving to middle school .  Last year by this time, I was having a vague feel when Jr. H was moved to a new school and I was slightly concerned on how he would cope up and position himself in the new environment but all my panic feelings vanished when I see him quickly adopted to the new atmosphere more comfortably .  Thanks to the teachers, I see a lot of changes in him both academically and behaviorally. 

Also last week he returned us with a surprise on school annual day, he got the most promising student award for the last academic year.  Though I tell him the need to be good in academics, I always insist him on discipline and punctuality because I feel that's the most important skill to acquire for any person to be successful in anything and  I am glad that he has got the hint of my words and practicing it in his day to day life.

Along with him, I am gearing up for his new assignments in middle school, I am preparing myself to handle his preadolescence unpredictable behavior and naughtiness.   



Moving on to the recipe, this is a recipe made with fermented batter; the batter is made from soaked and ground idly rice, urad dhal and fenugreek seeds.  The ratio of the ingredients are 4:3/4:1/4.  The bitterness of fenugreek is not strongly sensed but the unique flavor is smelt in this recipe.   The healthy dosas turn out to be super soft, spongy and tastes delicious.  


INGREDIENTS:
Idly rice - 4 cups
Urad dhal - 3/4 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 cup
Salt - As required
Oil - As needed

PREPARATION:
Soak rice and dhal+Fenugreek separately for 3 hours and grind to a smooth batter.  First, grind the dhal and fenugreek together, would need to grind in butter texture, and later grind the rice, add salt and mix well.  Ferment it for 6-8 hours depending upon the climatic condition in your region.  As it is very hot here, it fermented in 7 hours and volume is doubled up.   After fermentation, you can see bubbles and holes in the batter .
Mix the batter, heat a iron cast griddle, pour a ladle of batter in the center and gently spread to a round circle from center, make it slightly thick.  Spread some oil around the edges, cover the dosa with a lid, when the base turned golden brown, remove and serve. 
Serve it with any chutney/vadacurry.  The soft, spongy healthy dosas are served with idly podi, onion-tomato chutney, coconut chutney (garlic base), and drumstick sambar...Irresistible combination isn't.




Sunday, March 11, 2018

CORIANDER MINT PULAO


The much awaited weekend would end in few hours from now and I need to prepare myself for a busy week ahead.  The weekend went too quick with hell of work at home and preparing for son's annual exams.  I am damn tired to start a week now, both physically and psychologically.  As I had foreseen much before, there were lot of changes on personal and professional front and I push myself very hard to overcome the challenges and obstacles.  I try my level best to be strong and motivated and gear up for the learning ahead.

As I said, with son's exams that piled along with lot of house work, I kept the cooking on easier stuffs over the weekend.  I prepared coriander-mint pulao and served it with roti to showcase it as an elaborate meal :-). 

INGREDIENTS:
Basmati rice -2 cups
Mint and cilantro - 1.5 cups packed tight
Onion - 1 (sliced thin)
Potato - 1 (cut as cubes)
Carrot - 1 (I cut as thick slices in jiffy)
Salt - to taste
Ghee – 3 tsp

TO TEMPER:
Cloves – 1-2
Cinnamon – 1
Bay Leaf – 1


TO GRIND:
Pudina/Mint leaves – 1 small bunch
Garlic flakes – 4
Ginger – 1 small piece
Green chilies – 5

PREPARATION:
1 Discard the mint leaves from the stem and wash in cool water twice to remove the dirt.
2. Wash coriander leaves in running cold water and finely chop with the stalks. 
3. In a mixer, grind tomato, garlic, green chilly, mint and coriander leaves. 
4. Heat oil in the pressure cooker, add the tempering spices, when it sizzles, add onions. When the onion turns golden brown, add carrot and potato, then add necessary salt and mix well. Now add the ground masala and stir well and later add the rice with double the water (1:2). Mix well. Close the lid and pressure cook for 2 vessels. Add 2-3 tsp of ghee after opening and mix well. Adding ghee at this point will give good flavor and aroma to the pulao. 

Serve with any raita of your choice.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

RADISH STUFFED PARATHA

Last week while I was going to office, I happened to cross a school bus where the children were all in smiles, singing in chorus, making fun of each other, and bringing out smile in others.  How nice the World would be had we all bring the child in us.  In today's world, people forget to be kind, expressive, forget to give a lending hand when required.  It's very rare to see people being kind to others without any benefits.  So when life throws you bad breaks and curves and takes out motivation factor from you, you have to help yourself.  No one in the current world can give you a heal other than yourself. 

The world is surrounded by  people who creates problems and later acts as a rescuer who solves the problems.  A strong woman understands about these people, acts mature and handles all these silently. 


Without putting my diversifying thoughts flooding my cerebrum into words, I move on to the recipe now.  This is a recipe made with radish.  The rotis are stuffed with cooked grated radish mixed with masala powders.  I was bit hesitant to stuff the roti with radish because of the pungent smell of radish.  The addition of ajwain gave aromatic flavor and defeated the pungent smell of radish.  Everyone at home loved parathas.  I am not an expert in making evenly shaped round parathas and in the learning mode.


INGREDIENTS:
Radish (grated) - 2 cups
Green chilly (sliced round thin) - 1
Ajwain - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Ghee/oil for cooking

PREPARATION:
1. Grate radish and sprinkle some salt and keep aside.  After 15 minutes, squeeze out the water oozed out from the grated radish.  Use this water to prepare the dough.  Dough should be prepared with whole wheat flour, salt, oozed water from radish, and 2 tsp of oil.
2. In a pan, add oil, add cumin seeds and when it sizzles, add the chopped green chilly, later grated radish.  Sprinkle some salt on it and keep in high flame.  When the water in radish evaporates, add red chilly powder, cumin powder, and sprinkle ajwain seeds at the last.   Switch off the flame and let this mixture cool. 
 3. After the dough had rest for 20 minutes, divide the mixture in equal portions, make smooth balls, flatten them in your palms, dust it in dry flour, make a small roll.  Place a small portion of stuffing in the center, gather the edges, seal it tightly and flatten it by pressing gently.  Dust it in the dry flour as needed to roll easily.  
4. Heat tawa, place the rolled paratha, apply ghee/oil.  After few seconds, there would be few brown spots that starts to appear, by that time flip, apply some oil on the sides, and cook on the other side.  Once cooked on both sides, remove it to a serving plate.
Repeat the same rolling and cooking process for the rest of the dough.  The parathas can be served with plain curd to make it light.  I served with cauliflower subzi, tomato thokku, plain yogurd.   

Sunday, February 4, 2018

MUDAKATHAAN KEERAI DOSAI (WITH SMALL ONIONS)

One of the greens which is used to treat joint pains, constipation, and has many more health benefits.  Usually on weekends, we go to market  and buy vegetables from there and stock in fridge for the upcoming week.  In the market, we get varieties for greens  - Mudakathaan, vallarai, thoodhuvalai.  These greens should not be boiled while cooking as it would lose the medicinal benefits.  So, I ground and add to the regular dosa batter and makes dosa out of it.  Mudakathan leaves are slightly bitter in taste, so to overcome the bitter taste I added small onions.  The sweetness rendered from the small onions defeated the mild bitterness from this medicinal greens.  I also sprayed some idly milagai podi to enhance the taste :-).


INGREDIENTS:
Idly/dosa batter - 3 cups
Mudakathaan greens - 1 cup
Small onion (sliced thin) - 1 cup
Idly podi (optional)

PREPARATION:
1. Remove the leaves from the stem and discard the stems.  Wash the leaves thoroughly in running cold water.  
2.  Remove the excess water by straining and grind it in mixer.  Add it to the dosa batter and mix well.
3.  Heat the dosa pan, add a ladle full of batter and gently spread with the back of the ladle.  Sprinkle the sliced small onions and spray idly milagai podi evenly on top.  Drizzle oil around the sides and top.  When one side is done, flip gently and cook on the other side.  When done, remove it and transfer to a plate. 
4. Serve hot with chutney/sambar.


5. It can also be prepared without onions as a roast like this.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

SMALL ONION THOGAIYAL

If you are a lover of spicy food, this is a dish for you, Small Onion Thogaiyal.  Thogaiyal is one of the main item in Tamil Brahmin cuisine which is served with rice for lunch.  We mix this with rice with a tsp of sesame oil and just thinking of that would make my salivary glands work extra.  The accompaniment of this would be any vegetable kootu.  Many of us get confused thogaiyal with chutney.  Thogaiyal is thick and coarse texture in nature and would be spicy; this is usually prepared with fried urad dhal, red chillies, asafoetida and ground with tamarind pulp. 


Small onion thogaiyal is a perfect accompaniment for rice and can be served as a side dish for idly/dosa.  If prepared in right way, this stays good even for a week or two if kept in refrigerator.   

INGREDIENTS:
Small Onion - 1 CUP
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind pulp - one gooseberry sized - soaked in little warm water
Salt - To taste
Oil  - 1 tsp

To Fry:
Urad dhal - 5 tsp
Red chillies - 10
Asafoetida - a small piece

PREPARATION:
1. Soak gooseberry sized tamarind pulp in little warm water for 10 minutes.
2. Fry the items given in the section "To Fry" with 1/2 tsp of oil and keep aside.
3. In the same kadai, add another half tsp of oil, throw in mustard seeds and when it sizzles, saute small onions until golden brown with little salt.
4. In mixer, grind small onion, red chillies, tamarind pulp first in whipper.  Then add the fried urad dhal to the ground mixture and give a pulse or two.   The texture should be coarse, so keep in mind and go with the whipping mode.  

5. Serve this with hot steamed rice or as a side dish for idly/dosa.  

Saturday, January 20, 2018

SOFT SPONGY MINI UTHAPPAMS

My first post in this year..With new hopes, with new challenges, new goals, new dreams, we have started this year.   

Last year was with ups and downs, more of challenging for both me and DH.   One thing we learnt together as a couple goal is to remain calm and pass the storm.   Other than that, I have started to have at least 1 hour physical activity in everyday routine and that has made significant changes in my health/physical fitness.   

Let's see what's in store for the upcoming days...

Nothing much to write for today's post, I thought I could post the pictures that I clicked for the mini uthappams for a morning breakfast some days back.  It was a drizzling Sunday morning and I felt bored early in the morning as everyone in the home were sleeping, so opted to prepare a heavy breakfast to delight family.  I prepared varieties of uthappam; carrot, tomato, mint-coriander leaves, podi, capsicum, peas and onion.  Here's the picture for you.  For the side dish, I prepared Tomato onion chutney, coconut chutney, sambar, poondu kara kuzhambu, and served along with idly podi.  I didn't capture step by step pictures in making as I was in hurry burry to prepare the elaborate breakfast and couldn't stop myself in clicking the final pictures as I felt it drooling.