Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Vaazhaithandu Rasam / Vaazhaithandu Mor Rasam / Banana Stem Buttermilk Rasam


As we have started getting Banana Stem quite often in our area, I wish to make us of this vegetable in my kitchen frequently. Previously I have blogged few recipes using Banana Stem in my blog. This week I wish to make some watery form of this Banana Stem. Have tried raita, curry, kootu, Mor Kootu, etc., with this banana stem already. This Mor Rasam was very tasty and it can be enjoyed with a side of Kathirikai Kara curry / Brinjal Spicy Fry , Ladies Finger Fry / Bindi Fry or any suitable curry. You can make this delicious and healthy rasam during special occasions in this simpler way and get more appreciations.!! 

Ingredients

To Grind :

Hing - 1 Dash
Fresh Coconut Flakes - 1 tbsp
Green Chillies - 4 or 5 Medium
Ginger shredded - 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 2 tsp
Curd - 1 tbsp
Water - Enough to make a paste.
Banana Stem Medium - 1

Tempering :

Oil - 1/2 tbsp
Hing - A Dash
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Channa Dal - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - 5 or 6
Dry Red Chillies - 2 or 3

Salt - To Taste
Thick Buttermilk - 1 or 2 cup Enough to have the rasam consistency.
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Water - As required.

Procedure 

  • Take out the outer covers of the Banana Stem / Vaazhaithandu completely. Chop the inner banana stem into tiny pieces and add them into a bowl of water. Add few tsps of curd into the water in order to avoid discolouration.
  • Grind all the banana stem pieces with the remaining ingredients as mentioned above and make a smooth paste.
  • In a cooking vessel, boil the grounded paste along with some turmeric powder, hing and little water till the paste cooks to a desired level. 
  • Add required amount of buttermilk and water into the vessel and bring them to the rasam consistency but not too watery like tamarind rasam. Add salt at this stage into it.
  • Let it boil for another 1 or 2 minute. Switch off the flame. 
  • Do the tempering with all the ingredients as mentioned above and pour them over the banana stem rasam. 
  • This rasam can either be enjoyed alone or can be mixed with hot rice.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Upma Kozhukattai / Upma Kozhakattai / Pidi Kozhukattai - Steamed Rice Balls


Upma Kozhukattai is one of my favourite childhood tiffin varieties. These steamed rice balls can be made in both sweet and salty taste. Its an excellent tiffin option especially for kids who refuse to enjoy upma as such.!!! Well, my mom would have tricked us and offered these balls when we were kids. I love both the versions of this upma Kozhukattai. Sweet balls can be served with few drops of melted ghee to make it more delicious whereas the salty balls can be served with a spicy chutney on its side.

Salt Upma Kozhukattai / Salt Steamed Rice Balls

Idly Rava / Broken Rice Rava - 1.5 Cup
Hing - A Dash
Salt - To Taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 2 tsp
Cumin Seeds / Jeera - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Channa Dal - 1 tsp

To Grind :
Fresh Coconut Flakes - 1 tbsp
Green Chillies - 2 Medium
Cut Ginger pieces - 1/2 tbsp
Fresh Curry Leaves - 4 or 5
Water - As required to grind and make a paste



Method 
  • You can make the broken rice rava at home start from scratch or can use the store brought Rice Rava / Idly Rava to make this upma balls.
  • This time, I tried with store brought Idly Rava only and it turned out very good and tasty. But it cannot compete with the taste made using the home made rice rava. I always vote for homemade Rice Rava.
  • Before starting, grind the paste with the ingredients as given above and keep it ready.
  • In a big kadai / cooking vessel, add oil first.  When its heated, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, channal dal in succession.
  • Then, add the grounded paste into the kadai / vessel. Stir them for a minute. 
  • Add the rice rava into the vessel and mix them well. 
  • Add 3 cups of water and required amount of salt at this stage into the vessel. 
  • Allow them to cook on medium flame with the lid on.
  • When its cooked, switch off the flame and allow them to cool down a bit.
  • When its warm enough to make balls, take a lemon size upma and make small balls and arrange them on a wide plate. 
  • Its wiser to apply a coat of oil on your hands and palms before making the balls which eases the process.
  • After making the balls with all the cooked upma, arrange the balls on a steaming plate carefully and steam them for 5- 8 minutes on medium flame.
  • You can steam them either using an Idly Steamer or any other steamer. 
  • After they are steamed properly, serve them with a side of spicy coconut chutney or any spicy chutneys of your choice. 

SWEET KOZHUKATTAI / SWEET STEAMED RICE BALLS

Ingredients

Broken Rice Rava / Idly Rava - 1 Cup
Powdered Elachi / Cardamom Powder - 1.5 tsp
Jaggery - 3/4 of a cup
Water - Enough to make the Jaggery Syrup
Ghee - 3 or 4 tsp
Grated Coconut flakes - 1 tbsp
Ghee roasted cashew flakes - 1/2 tbsp ( optional )


Method of Preparation 

  • In a cooking vessel / kadai, dry roast the idly rava on a medium flame with few drops of ghee.
  • When you get a nice aroma, add 2 cups of water into the vessel and cook them on low flame.
  • Meantime, make a jaggery syrup in a separate vessel by adding the jaggery and little water ( 1/4 cup ). The syrup is just the melted jaggery in water. So the syrup should be neither thick nor thin. It should be in melted form. Add the crushed cardamom powder and pour the jaggery syrup into the vessel and mix them thoroughly.
  • After a minute, add ghee and fresh coconut flakes, roasted cashews into the vessel.
  • Mix them well and switch off the flame.
  • After its cooled little bit, make the sweet balls as we did earlier for the salt version.
  • Steam cook them in an Idly cooker or any suitable steamer.
  • After its cooked perfectly, sprinkle some drops of ghee over the sweet balls and serve hot.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Steam the balls till you notice some sweats over the balls. I consider this as my checking point and switch off the flame. If we miss that, then the balls might get over cooked and get mushy. 
  • While making the sweet balls, apply a coat of melted ghee on your palms and apply regular oil while making salty ones.
  • I prefer to grind curry leaves, coconut flakes, green chillies everything and then add it as a paste just for my kids. Otherwise, they are patient enough to knock out every curry leaf, green chillies from the balls.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Varagu Arisi Idly / Kodo Millet Idly / Millet Idly


Wishing you all a wonderful New Year 2015. Wish to kick start the fabulous year with a healthy post as weight loss and nutrition always remain in my new year resolution list!!. Whether I achieve my goal completely or not, it motivates me every day and drives me to the right path. Recently I and my childhood Buddie Gai were talking a lot about millets and making south indian tiffin using them replacing the rice. She tried few tiffin varieties using this Kodo Millet and encouraged me to try making idlies with this millet.

Idlies made with Kodo Millet / Varagu Arisi tasted exactly the same as the ones made with Idly rice. With good accompaniments, its a healthy breakfast to the family. I served the millet idlies with garlic peanut chutney and tiffin sambar.

Kodo millets are gluten free and packed with minerals and vitamins. Due to its high protein, high antioxidant and high fiber content, its best suited for kids, diabetic people.

Ingredients

Varagu Arisi / Kodo Millet / Kodri - 3 Cups
Urad Dal / Ulutham Paruppu / Minna Pappu - 1 Cup
Fenugreek Seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - As Required
Gingelly Oil - Enough to spread over the Idly moulds.
Water - Enough to grind the Idly Batter

Method

  • Soak the Varagu / Kodo Millet  and urad dal in separate vessels in water for 3-4 hours. Add the fenugreek seeds into the urad dal vessel.
  • Grind them in a mixer grinder exactly the way you grind for making regular idly batter. First grind the millet portion and then grind the urad dal portion.This sequence helps me to scoop away the batter easily from the grinder with less efforts.
  • Store the batter in an airtight container and wait for 6-7 hours for the fermentation to complete.
  • While making the idlies, grease  gingelly oil over the idly moulds and keep them ready.
  • Mix the idly batter using a spatula and pour them over the idly moulds. Make sure that the idly batter completely fill the moulds but not overflowing.
  • Steam the idlies for around 5-6 minutes in an idly cooker or any suitable steamer you have on medium flame.
  • After its done, switch off the flame. After few minutes ( 3 to 4 ), carefully take out the idlies from the moulds and serve them with chutney and sambar. 
Tips / Suggestions
Dont grind the Kodo Millet and urad dal together. Try to grind them separately to get super soft spongy idlies.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Banana Walnut Kuzhi Paniyaram / Vella Kuzhi Paniyaram / Kuzhi Paniyaram / Sweet Paniyaram

Fully ripened bananas in the banana stand will always be sympathized and thrown away in our home. Just wanted to rescue those ripened soggy bananas, I made these yummy sweet treats called as "Banana Walnut Kuzhi Paniyaram".  Tiny round shaped muffin like Paniyarams melted in the mouth and its an excellent treat for the kids at any time. Well, I served these sweet Paniyarams for breakfast one day. Kids loved those paniyarams and more than them, my husband loved those. So, he's got into the habit of leaving 2 or 3 bananas in the stand nowadays.!!! Creativity starts once you wish to transform something in your kitchen and make an edible food item. Like that, we moms do this everyday and come out with great ideas, right. My dear bloggers, try to ignite the spark in you and share with us your thoughts and findings.

Ingredients
Fully ripened bananas - 4 or 5
Chopped walnuts - 1/2 cup
Powdered Jaggery or Brown Sugar - 1 Cup
Whole wheat flour - 1 Cup
Cardamom Powder / Elachi - 2 tsp
Water - As required to make the batter.
Ghee - Enough to brush the moulds and paniyarams.

Procedure
  • In a big mixing bowl, add the powdered jaggery first with little water. Let it completely get dissolved in the water. Then, add the other ingredients into the bowl and mix them into a thick batter. Consistency of the batter should not be too thick ( like chappathi dough ) and not too thin ( like rava dosa batter ). It should be in a medium thick consistency enough to pour them into the small round moulds. 
  • While preparing the batter, heat the Kuzhi Paniyaram pan on medium heat. Brush the rounds with little ghee.
  • When its heated enough, reduce the flame and pour the batter into the paniyaram moulds carefully. Spilling the batter or improper pouring might result in shapeless paniyarams or might spoil the round shaped treats.
  • After pouring into the moulds, slowly heat the pan on medium heat with the lid closed. Rotate the pan slightly so that the heat is spread uniformly across the entire pan. 
  • After 3 minutes, open the lid and check whether the sweet paniyarams are steamed properly. Flip the paniyarams onto the other side carefully using a thin spoon. Brush the top of the paniyarams with little ghee. 
  • After 3 minutes, check if the paniyarams are fully cooked and turned into golden brown colour. Take out the paniyarams from the moulds and repeat the process with the rest of the batter.


Tips and Suggestions
  • Make sure the flame is not high while making the paniyarams. Otherwise they might turn black very quickly.
  • You can add chopped nuts like almonds, cashewnuts, pistachios into the batter as well and make it more nutritious and tastier.
  • You can add ghee drops on the sides of the moulds if you wish to. I just brushed the moulds with little ghee and brushed the paniyarams with little ghee for flavour.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gujarathi Kadhi / Gujju Kadi / Gujarati Kadi

Gujarathi Kadhi with some pakoras in it!!
Kadhi is one the gravy food item made out of sour buttermilk and flavoured with spices. Though the basic preparation of Kadhi remains the same, each and every regions of India have a different version of Kadhi and they are unique in their own way. Punjabi Kadhis are bit thicker with pakodis in it and gujarathi kadhis are bit thinner and little sweet. We love all kinds of Kadhi and enjoy the authentic taste of the kadhisEver since we tasted the gujarathi kadhi in restaurants and at my friend's home, I wanted to try it out at home and save the recipe for future use.  After tasting this Kadi at various places including resturants, friend's home, BAPS temple, I found out that there are many versions of  Gujarathi Kadi.  Now I am blogging the version which I learnt from my gujarathi neighbour as I loved the flavour and punch of the Kadi at their home. But we would never forget the taste and warmth of the Kadhi served at my friend's home earlier and her mother in law ultimately sets a standard making us compare every gujju food with hers. But till today, we could not find any gujju platter better than hers. Her taste is unique and uncomparable though...

Ingredients

Into the Curd / Yogurt :
Sour Thick Buttermilk - 5 Cups
Grated Ginger - 1 tbsp
Grated Garlic - 1 tbsp
Salt - As Required
Sugar - 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Besan / Chick Pea Flour - 3 tbsp ( if sour ) or 2 tbsp ( if not that sour )
Cumin Powder - 3/4 th of a tsp
Yellow Split Mustard Seeds Powder - 3/4th of a tsp

Tadka ( Tempering )

Ghee - 2 tsp
Dry Red Chillies - 3
Cardamom Seeds - 2
Cinnamon Sticks - 2 or 3 small
Lavang or Cloves - 3 or 4
Green Chillies slit into halves - 3
Curry Leaves - 1 Stem
Cumin Seeds / Jeera - 1 tsp
Methi Seeds /Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Split Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp

To Garnish :
Crushed Coriander Leaves - 1 tbsp

Procedure
  • In a big cooking vessel, add the thick buttermilk first. Add all the other ingredients under the column "Into the Curd / Yogurt". Using a spatula or hand mixer, mix them thoroughly. Add little water to get the right consistency if the curd mixture is too thick. After getting the right consistency for Kadhi, allow the Kadhi to cook on medium flame.
  • Meantime, finish the tempering process in the other gas stove. Add all the ingredients under the column "Tadka/ Tempering" into the ghee and after they are tempered properly, pour them over the cooking Kadhi.
  • Keep stirring the Kadhi continuously on medium flame so that it does not get burned at the bottom. When you notice few bubbles at the top layer, switch off the gas stove.
  • Garnish the Kadhi with crushed coriander leaves and enjoy with jeera rice or plain basmati rice. 

Tips / Suggestions
  • Add some thin dal water into the Kadhi as well instead of adding regular water, it enhances the taste of the Kadhi.  My neighbour just washed the cooker in which we cooked the regular dal with some water and poured that water into the Kadhi vessel. 
  • As you can sip the Gujarathi Kadhi during the meal at any time, I prefer to make it in a consistency where its not too thick nor too watery.
  • You can avoid adding sugar to the Kadhi if your family does not vote for the sweet taste in it. Still it tastes heavenly.
  • Add more grated ginger to the curd mixture if the curd / buttermilk is too thick and sour.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Vaazhaithandu Mor Kootu / Banana Stem Mor Kootu


Banana Stem called as "Vaazhaithandu" in Tamil and "Arati Duvva" in Telugu is widely used in South Indian Cuisines. Tender Plantain stem is widely used in making dals, kootu, curry, stir fries or even in salads. Extracting the nutritious stem from the covered layers looks like a tedious process but the effort is really worthy. Inclusion of the banana stem in your daily menu prevents you from stomach related problems, prevents kidney stones and helps in weight reduction etc., Previously it was quite difficult to see Banana Stems in our Indian markets but recently I have been getting this precious stem in many Indian stores and I could not resist my hands grabbing one stem. Today I am blogging another recipe of this stem called as "Vaazhaithandu Mor Kootu".  Process of making this Mor Kootu is easier and it has a refreshing taste and it blends well with any Kara Kuzhambu or Vathal Kuzhambu in a meal.

Ingredients

1 Medium Size Banana Stem
Channa Dal - 1 tbsp
Salt - To Taste

For Ground Paste
Thick Curd - 1 tbsp
Fresh Coconut Flakes - 1 tbsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Green Chillies - 2 Medium
Rice Flour - 1/2 tsp

For Tempering
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Curry Leaves - 5 or 6
Dry Red Chillies - 2
Urad Dal - 1/2 tsp
Hing - 1 Dash

Method

  • Remove the outer covers from the banana stem and extract the inner edible stick carefully.  
  • To see how to clean and get the banana stem stick, please see the previous post of mine in the link :    Banana Stem Poriyal
  • Soak the channa dal into warm water for 15 minutes.  Grind the paste with the ingredients as mentioned above into a thick paste and keep it ready.
  • In a cooking vessel, half cook the channa dal along with some water. Add chopped banana stem pieces into the half cooked channa dal. Let them cook on medium flame till the banana stem gets completely cooked. Add little water into the vessel if required while cooking. Do not add more water for cooking as the water content in the banana stem itself would be sufficient to get them cooked.
  • After the channa dal and banana stem get cooked, add the grounded paste into the vessel along with some salt. Mix them well and allow them to cook again for 2-3 minutes on medium flame.
  • Finally do the tempering and pour them over the cooked content in the vessel. Mix them well and enjoy with good accompaniments in your meal.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pudina Tomato Chutney / Mint Tomato Chutney - For Idly, Dosas


Mint / Pudina always sit in my refrigerator and comes as a handy ingredient at times. Today I made a spicy, flavourful and super tasty chutney for my golden crisp dosas in the morning. Freshness of the pudina makes the chutney so special and it is an excellent accompaniment to dosas. Try this chutney in your kitchen with fresh mint leaves and enjoy with any south indian tiffin varieties.   

"Adding Mint / Pudina in your daily cooking is a very healthy option. It has good antioxidant properties, prevents allergies, relieves cold symptoms, helps in indigestion. "

Ingredients

Fresh Mint leaves - 2 cups
Tomato - 2 Medium
Garlic Pods - 6 Big
Green Chillies - 2 Big
Dry Red Chili - 2
Sesame Oil - 2 tsp
Hing / Asafoetida - 1 Dash
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Jeera / Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Dal / Ulutham Paruppu / Mina Pappu - 2 tsp
Channa Dal / Kadalai Paruppu / Senaga Pappu - 2 tsp
Salt - To Taste
Tamarind - 1 pinch
Jaggery - 1/2 tsp

Method
  • In a frying pan, add sesame oil first. When its heated, add hing, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, channa dal in succession. When they turn golden yellow, add garlic pods, green chillies, dry red chillies into the pan and fry them for a minute. Add the tomato pieces next and fry them till they get mushy. Finally add the mint leaves and fry for another 2 minutes. Switch off the flame.
  • After the contents cool down a bit, grind them along with other ingredients. Add salt while grinding the chutney in the blender.
  • Transfer the chutney into a serving bowl and enjoy with your dosas, idlies or any other tiffin.
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