Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kaarthigai Deepam & Puffed Rice Snacks

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Wish you all a very happy Kaarthigai :)

Kaarthigai Deepam is a festival of lights, celebrated in the Tamil month of Kaarthigai.

It is celebrated in a special manner in Thiruvannamalai. It is believed that Lord Shiva takes the form of a jothi on the hill of Thiruvannamali. Therefore, this festival is also known as Annamalai Deepam. Here, a special torch is lighted on the zenith of the hill and it is believed that Lord Shiva's jothi will be visible on this day.

On this day, people clean their houses. In the evening, they draw kolams (rangoli) in the front of the house and also place some lamps on it. The lamps glow all over the streets on this day. In this way, people of TamilNadu celebrate Kaarthigai Deepam for three days.

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As ever, I was extremely excited about the festival and wanted to try my hand on many new varieties of puffed rice(Pori) snacks.

Experiments were successful and are tasting awesome too :)

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Puffed Rice Sugar Balls

Ingredients:

Sugar - 1/4 cup
Puffed rice - 2 cups (depends on how it incorporates)
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp

Method:

Take a dry pan and add the sugar to it. Heat it until it completely melts and caramelizes into a light brown syrup. Switch off the stove immediately and add the puffed rice and cardamom powder. Stir quickly until the sugar coats the puffed rice completely.

Immediately pour it on a greased plate and flatten them. Cut out squares while the mixture is still hot.

Allow it to cool for a while and store in air tight container.

This quantity would make 12 medium sized squares.

Enjoy the crispy crunchy caramelized sugar bars :)

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Puffed Rice Honey Balls

Ingredients:

Puffed rice - 2 cups
Honey - 1/4 cup
Water - 1/4 cup
Cardamom - a pinch

Method:

Take the honey and water in a pan. Boil until the honey reaches 1 string consistency. Once it reaches, simmer the stove and add the cardamom and puffed rice immediately. Stir well until the puffed rice is coated well with the syrup. Take it off the flame and allow it to cool for few mins.

Now grease your hands with ghee and roll out balls. Store them in air tight container.

Crispy and yummy puffed rice honey balls are ready :)

This quantity would make 12 medium sized balls.

Enjoy making :)

Kaarthigai

Puffed Rice Marsh-mellow Balls

Ingredients:

Puffed rice - 1 cup
Marsh mellows - 1 cup
Butter - 1 tblsp

Method:

Melt the butter in a pan and add the marsh mellows to it. Stir continuously until it melts totally. Add the puffed rice immediately and mix in until it gets coated well. Switch off the stove and allow it to cool for ten mins.

Roll them into balls and store in air tight container.

This quantity makes 7 medium sized balls. I made flat balls to make a difference :)

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The recipe for this puffed rice jaggery balls were posted last year. Check out the recipe here.

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The recipe for spicy puffed rice was posted previously. Checkout for the recipe here.

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Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chow Chow Thuvayal / Chayote Dip

Chow Chow Thuvayal2

Chow chow or Chayote is mostly a neutral squash. Its not hated by many and its not a favorite of all too. I am not an exception to what I said, until I tasted a thuvayal/ dip made with it. :)

Wait wait, don't conclude!! I meant I have started falling in love with it :P

Chow chow thuvayal is pretty simple to make yet damn yummy. It goes well with rice as well as Chapathi. This versatility made me get really impressed with it. Had it with rice in the afternoon and it became a dip for the night ;)

Chow Chow Thuvayal

Ingredients:

Chow chow - 1
Green chillies - 2
Onion - 1
Urad dhall - 1 tsp
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Coconut scrappings - 2 tbl sp
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp
Salt - for taste

Chow chow thuvayal4

Method:

Chop chow chow, green chilly and onion roughly.

Take a pan and add two tsp of oil and crackle mustard, urad dhall. Add the chopped chow chow, green chillies and onion to it and fry till the raw smell goes. Allow it to cool.

Now grind it along with coconut, tamarind paste and salt.

Chow chow thogayal is ready to eat.

Serve it with hot rice or chapathi.

Enjoy eating :)

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Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Corn & Capsicum Subzi

Corn and capsicum subzi

Corn and capsicum both stand as my favorite vegetables. Corn for its slight sweetness and capsicum for its special aroma. When both come together in the form of subzi, no wonder I would love it to the core.

The thick gravy made of coconut milk and poppy seeds top the dish and make it really rich and yummy :)

No wonder if this corn and capsicum subzi makes roti a sought-after dinner :)

Corn and capsicum subzi1

Ingredients:

Corn - 2 cobs
Capsicum - 1
Onion - 2
Coconut milk - from 1/2 coconut
Oil - 4 tbl sp
Salt - for taste

To grind:

Poppy seeds - 2 tsp
Coriander seeds(dhaniya) - 1 tsp
Garlic - 5 pods
Green chillies - 2
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch piece
Cloves - 2


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Method:

Chop onions and capsicum finely. Boil the corn in pressure cooker and remove the kernels and keep it aside.

Grind together poppy seeds, coriander seeds, garlic, green chillies, cinnamon and cloves into a smooth paste by adding some water to it.

Extract coconut milk from the scrapped coconut.

Heat oil in a wok and fry onions & capsicum till they turn light brown, add the ground masala paste and fry well in low flame. Now add corn kernels and then pour the coconut extract along with salt and allow it to boil for few mins.

Remove from fire and serve hot with parathas.

Enjoy making :) happy eating :)

Corn

Note:

I usually prefer my vegetables to blend along with the gravy. Hence I mixed a tsp of corn flour with a tsp of water and added to the gravy when it was boiling. This would make the gravy a little thick and blend along with the vegetables well.

Corn and capsicum subzi2

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Onion Pickle / Shallot Pickle

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After all the posh and rich delicacies for diwali, lets get into some simple food :)

Pickle! they are the best accompaniments with lots of our dishes and can make "any" dish delicious with its taste.

By any, I even mean Pazhaya sadam(left over rice). If asked about pazhaya sadam, I would be a person who would not sulk to it. Its of course delicious and very healthy.

A bowl of pazhya sadam mixed with some neer moar(butter milk) and onion pickle along with it can easily beat any dish. Its so yummy and filling. :)

Read on to know about the magical onion pickle that makes the simplest of food into an extremely delicious one :)

Onion pickle1


Ingredients:

Small onions(shallots) - 1/4 kg
Tamarind - 2 lemon sized balls
Jaggery - 6 tsp
Chilly powder - 3 tsp
Salt - 2 tsp
Gingely oil - 75 gms
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves
Fenugreek(Vendhayam) - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds(Jeeragam) - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida(Perungayam) - 1/4 tsp

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Method:

Peel the onions and chop them into small pieces.

Extract the pulp from tamarind.

Fry fenugreek, cumin and asafoetida in a dry pan and powder it finely.

Heat the oil in a wok and crackle mustard and drop in the curry leaves too. Add the chopped onions to it and fry till it turns transparent. Then add the tamarind paste, jaggery, salt and chilly powder to it and mix well until it becomes thick(pickle consistency). Finally add the powdered masala and mix well and cook for just two minutes.

Aromatic onion pickle is ready to eat :)

Serve it with curd rice or mix it along with plain rice and eat :)

It also goes well with murukku and dosas :)

You can preserve this in the refrigerator for around 6 months.

Note:

Keep in mind that the oil should cover a thin layer on top of the pickle after it is transferred to the bottle. This will prevent the pickle from getting spoilt. This goes for all pickles.

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To make pazhaya sadam - soak the left over rice in water over night. Drain the water and mix it along with butter milk. You can add some salt to the drained water and have it as well. Its high in carbohydrates. :)

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Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beetroot Pulao

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Its universally known fact that Girls love Pink and Boys love blue. :)

Of course it goes more for kids. As kids most of the girls love pink and in due course the favorite color changes. Mine was initially pink too and later it kept changing that by now I have named almost all the colors as my favorite sometime of my life :P

What so ever! Pink was my first favorite color and I still love it :) Anything in pink makes me feel girly girly and soft.

So a freaking pink rice can never be denied by me or any kids ;) isn't it?

The subtle taste of saunf and the light sweetness of beets makes this rice so yummy :)

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Ingredients:

Rice - 1 cup
Beetroot - 2
Onion - 1 large
Green chillies - 2
Saunf/fennel/sombu - 1 tsp
Salt - for taste
Curry leaves

Beets pulao3

Method:

Wash, peel and cook the beets in microwave or pressure pan. Once cooked, grate and keep it aside.

Chop onion finely.

Wash and soak rice for half an hour. Pressure cook with two cups of water. Once done allow it to cool on a plate. Add a tsp of ghee to the rice and separate the grains.

Take a pan and add a tsp of oil, drop in the curry leaves and saunf followed by chopped onions and split chillies. Fry till the onion turns golden brown. Now add the grated beets along with some salt and fry just for few mins.

Now mix in the rice along with the vegetables thoroughly.

Yummy, simple and pinky betts pulao is ready to eat :)

Enjoy making :) Freak your kids with pinky pink rice :)

Beets pulao

Note:

You can add gharam masala powder or the spices(bay leaf,cloves and cinnamon) directly as well to give it additional flavoring.

You can powder the saunf and add it to avoid kids removing it from the rice.

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Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Diwali Dhamaka #5 - Celebration

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Wish you all a very happy Diwali.

May this year bring more of joy and prosperity to you and your family :)

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My celebration this morning started with a hot oil bath followed by pooja to god.

Then dressed up in new clothes and burst the crackers. The best part of diwali is to call up and receive calls from all our friends and relatives :) My call list exceeded 30 today :)

The last but not the least was sharing diwali sweets and savories. I distributed the dishes to our neighbors and got lots in return too :)

My diwali was fantastic. :) How was yours???

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Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Diwali Dhamaka #4 - Alo Jilo / Elo Jhelo

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Diwali, as you all know is the festival of lights. Its an occasion to enjoy and celebrate.

We had seen about the Hindu's belief of the festival as well as the Jain's reason for celebration in the previous posts. Now lets know a little about the celebration by the Sikhs. :)

Diwali is particularly important for the Sikhs because it celebrates the release from prison of the sixth guru, Guru Hargobind Ji and 52 other princes from the Gwalior Fort in 1619. This occasion is also called "Bandi Chorr Devas".

The Mughal Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned Guru Har Gobind and 52 other Hindu princes fearing the Guru's growing power. The Emperor was asked to release Guru Har Gobind which he agreed to do. However, Guru Har Gobind requested that the Hindu princes to be released, too. The Emperor agreed, but said only those who could hold onto his cloak tail would be allowed to leave the prison. This was in order to limit the number of prisoners who could leave.

However, Guru Har Gobind had made a cloak with 52 tassels and so each King was able to hold onto one tassel and leave the prison.

The Sikhs celebrated the return of Guru Har Gobind by lighting the Golden Temple and this tradition continues even today. :)

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Alo Jilo!!! Yup, I know the name sounds funny :) I am still trying to track the origin of the name ;)

Got reminded of this sweet when I visited my friend, Lakshmi aunty for Golu. Since then I have been waiting to make it at home :)

Just like its cute name, the dish is as such cute looking and extremely yummy :)

The shape makes it very interesting for the kids and ofcourse young hearted grownups like me love it too :P

Enjoy this diwali with delicious, crispy and crunchy Alo Jilo :)

Alo Jilo

Ingredients:

Maida(All purpose flour) - 2 cups
Vanaspati(Dalada) - 2 tblsp
Salt - a pinch
Cooking soda - 1/4 tsp
Powered Sugar - 1 cup
Oil - to fry

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Method:

In a broad basin rub vanaspathi and soda together till it forms a frothy paste. Mix flour to this and blend well with finger tips till the mixture become crumbly.

Now add water little by little and kneed into a dough. leave it alone for ten mins.

Then, roll small balls of dough and flatten it out like roti. Now make around 5 slits on the roti using a sharp knife leaving alone a centimeter on the top and bottom. Carefully fold it twice and twist both the ends using your fingers. Hope the picture on top helps you to understand the pattern.

Make such pattern with all the dough you have made and leave them on a plastic sheet.

Now take oil in a pan and once it is medium hot, drop the alo jilo into the oil and fry them until they turn light brown on both the sides.

Spread powdered sugar on a flat plate. Drop the fried alo jilo on the powdered sugar and coat them with sugar on both the sides. Do this as soon as you take it out of the oil.

Alo jilo is ready to eat :)

Store it in an air tight box.

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Alternative:

You can replace powdered sugar with sugar syrup.

Take 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a pan and allow it to boil till one string consistency.

Drop the alo jilo into the sugar syrup and coat it allover with syrup. Then remove it and keep it aside on a plate for a while. Alo jilo is ready :)

The quantity mentioned above gave me around 70 of them. :)

Happy making :)

Alo Jilo4

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Diwali Dhamaka #3 - Cashew Murukku

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Diwali reminds me of fireworks as the first thing. The next would be new dresses, savories and sweets. :)

This time I decided not to burst much of crackers. I am not sure if its a kind of maturity or lack of interest on them. I still remember good old days when I wouldn't even sleep the night before diwali just because of the immense interest I had in bursting crackers. I even used to be an early bird to burst the first one and wake others in the apartment. But, things have drastically changed now :) I have grown up :P(isn't it a good reason to hide my fear for them?! :P )

Coming to the savory of the day,"Cashew murukku" is definitely a different and rich murukku that we can ever imagine. If you are a person who likes roasted cashews, then this murukku is definitely a treat to you :) Its so flavorful and crunchy :)

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Other than Hindus, Jains and Sikhs also celebrate Diwali in a grand manner for their own reason. Lets look into the Jain way of diwali today.

Diwali has a very special significance in Jainism. It is said to be the day when Lord Mahavira, the last of the Jain Tirthankaras, attained Nirvana or Moksha.

The Jain year commences with pratipada subsequent to Diwali. Hence Jain businessmen conventionally launch their accounting year from Diwali.

The way Jains celebrate Diwali is different in many respects. There is a note of asceticism in whatever the Jains do, and the celebration of Diwali is not an exception. They celebrate Diwali during the month of Kartik for three days. During this period, devoted Jains observe fasting and chant the Uttaradhyayan Sutra, which contains the final pravachans of Lord Mahavira, and meditate upon him. Some Jains visit Pavapuri in Bihar where he attained Nirvan.

cashew murukku5

Ingredients:

Rice flour - 2 cups
Cashew - 1/2 cup

Ghee - 2 tblsp

Chilly powder - 1 tsp

Salt - for taste

Oil - for deep frying


Cashew murukku
Method:

Soak cashews in water for 15 mins and grind it into smooth paste by adding some water to it. Take the paste, rice flour, chilly powder and salt in a bowl and mix well. Slightly heat the ghee and add it to the mixture and mix well. Now add water little by little and mix until it forms into a dough.

Heat oil in a wok. Now fill the dough in the muruku maker and squeeze it directly in the oil and fry till it becomes crisp. Maintain moderate flame throughout the process to get evenly cooked murukku.


Cashew murukku is ready to eat :)


Happy making :)

Cashew murukku2
Note:

You can skip using chilly powder and make it as classic salt murukku.

Cashew murukku3

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here.

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