Monday, January 28, 2013

Pumpkin Halwa / Kasi Halwa

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Pumpkin halwa or popularly called as Kasi halwa is one traditional sweet that definitely is part of the wedding menu. I have infact only tasted them in weddings :) Its a very delicious sweet made out of a vegetable. I kind of like its texture while eating and just enjoy cup after cup. 

By the way does anyone know why its called Kasi halwa??? I dont see any connection of it to Kasi?

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Ingredients:

Pumpkin - 3 kgs
Sugar - 1/4 kg
Ghee - 4 tblp
Dried cucumber seeds
Orange food color - a pinch

Method:

Step 1: Cut the pumpkin into small pieces that are easy to handle.

Step 2: Grate the pumpkin using a grated until you reach the hard skin of the pumpkin. 

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Step 3: Pass it through a large sieve to remove excess pumpkin water. All we need is the pulp. 

Step 4: Collect the pulp in a large vessel and pressure cook it in the cooker for 4 whistles. (This step helps in reducing the cooking time)

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Step 5: Remove from cooker and transfer it to a heavy bottomed kadai and allow it to boil in medium flame until it becomes thick and transparent. Keep stirring it in between. This might take close to 30 minutes. 

Step 6: Add sugar and mix well. 

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Step 7: Pour in the ghee and cook until the ghee separates on the sides. 


Step 8: Add orange food color and the dried pumpkin seeds and mix well. 



Step 9: Once it comes to room temperature, transfer it to a air tight container and store it. 



Enjoy eating delicious pumpkin halwa.


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Written by: Nithya
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Monday, January 21, 2013

Yam Fritter

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Fritter / vada take a clean seat on the plate when it is a full meal order. It for sure adds punch to the meal and goes well with dal rice and rasam rice :) 

Inspite of not being a great fan of fried food, I still love vadas, especially when it is home made. 

I just loved this elephant foot yam fritter when mom made it a couple of weeks back since it was really very different and tasty. For a change it went really well with hot rice and ghee :)

Hubby who eats non-veg occasionally said this slightly tasted like fish fry!!! :P So vegetarians, that's a great news for you. Eat this fritters to know how a fish fry would taste!! ;P

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Ingredients:

Grated yam (Elephant foot yam) - 2 cups
Red chillies - 5 
Garlic pods - 8
Rice flour - 3 tblsp
Salt - for taste
Oil - for frying

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Method:

Wash and peel the skin of yam using a peeler and grate it. 

Grind the grated yam along with red chillies, garlic and salt into a coarse paste. 

Take the ground paste in a mixing bowl and mix in the rice flour. Now make small flat balls and fry them in hot oil until brown on both sides. 

Enjoy eating this fritter along with hot ghee rice :)

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Written by: Nithya
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gooseberry Compote / Nellikai Paagu / Usurikai Paakam

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A bite into a raw gooseberry will take you to hell first and then show you heaven !! 

Yup the sourness would bring goosebumbs and the facial expression would turn funny and then if you try to have a sip of water, it would show you the sweetness of the heaven ;) 

This fruit reminds me of my childhood days at my grandma's place. They had a big tree and all the kids at home used to enjoy throwing rocks at the berries and collecting as many or even more than what the little hands could hold. We used to eat it along with salt and chilly powder!! :) Yummmmm. The expressions on the faces and the taste can never be forgotten :)

My Aunt used to make this compote back then and I was the only soul at home who loved it and would finish the entire bottle. A bottle of gooseberry compote became the return gift from my aunt's place every holidays :) 
 
This time I happened to get some gooseberries from Hyderabad and here comes my compote reminding me the good old days :)

The berries when cooked in sugar gives you a very distinctive sweet and sour taste and the soft flesh makes it all the more delicious.

All thanks and credits to the aunt who shared the recipe with me and the aunt who lovingly gave me these berries.

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Ingredients:

Small Gooseberry - 2 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups

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Step 1: Wash and pat dry the gooseberries. They should be completely dry before making the compote.

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Step 2: Measure and take the sugar in a pan. 

Step 3: Add water to it and stir well.

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Step 4: Stir until sugar completely dissolves and the syrup starts to boil. 

Step 5: Drop in the gooseberries and simmer the stove completely. Let this boil in the syrup until they are well cooked and soft. Meanwhile the syrup would have become thick as well.

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Step 6: Just in case the berries get cooked well but the syrup is still not thick or orange in color, strain and remove all the gooseberries from the pan and allow the syrup to boil for some more time until it thickens and the color changes to orange. The color change happens due to the acidity of the gooseberries. 

Step 7: Add the gooseberries back to the syrup and once it comes to room temperature, store them in sterilized bottles.

Step 8: Store them in the fridge and use for 6 months. See to that the syrup is coating the fruit completely and is until the top of the bottle. 

Enjoy eating as it is or have them with chapathi :)

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Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Happy Pongal - Excited & Exhausted!

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Wish you all a very happy Pongal! 

I am sure you all must be gearing up for the upcoming pongal festival. I am pretty much excited and getting ready too.Went for a shopping and got all the ingredients required for pongal etc. The house is getting cleaned and a new make over for the festival :) All at home already started enjoy the long weekend holidays.. Afterall we all enjoy and wait for festivals for these reasons isnt it?!!!
This year my pongal is getting a lot more of attention! I literally mean it. A couple of years back with all josh I set up a miniature pongal set and clicked pictures of the pongal with the traditional  background etc for my blog. The effort that I took to make it is getting its recognition now :)

I was surprised to see my Pongal photograph published in leading tamil dailies Dina Tandhi and Dinakaran yesterday!!!

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It was indeed a pleasant surprise when my dad called me up and said my pongal picture has been published in news papers. I really felt proud of myself for the work and the recognition its getting but my happiness diminished when I saw that they have all been stolen without permission and have also been edited heavily to remove the water mark that I have posted on the picture :(  Plagiarism as ever.

I so really wish the editors of these papers get more ethical to ask and publish along with credits. I'm tired of fighting for credits. All I could do now is to put up the images and feel happy for the publication of the picture.

Anyways I am happy that my pongal is getting a lot more of viewers now, though they wont know its my work. 

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Below is the image of Dina Malar edition last year with my Pongal pictures as cover page of their book. 

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All thanks to more pirated links where my picture has been copied, edited, cropped and manipulated with their watermarks. I'm happy to be stolen for the first time :)

















and more and more..
 
Wish you all a very happy Boghi pongal, Sankaranthi, Maatu pongal and Kaanum pongal :)

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sweet Corn Sabzi / Curry

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Sometimes life and tummy demands for something simple to eat and quick to make. On one such demanding day I just stirred up this very simple curry to pack a lunch box. 

The sweetness of corn and crunchiness of the capsicum go just right together and the simple subtle masalas make it delicious on the whole.

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Ingredients:

Sweet corn - 1 cup
Capsicum - 1
Tomato - 1
Onion - 1
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder  - 1/2 tsp
Kasoori methi - 1 tsp
Salt - for taste

Method:

Step 1: Dice onion, capsicum and tomato into small cubes. 

Step 2: Boil the corn kernels.

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Step 3: Take a tsp of oil in a pan and add a tsp of jeera. Then add the diced vegetables and fry until well cooked. 

Step 4: Now add the corn kernels.

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Step 5: Now add chilly powder, jeera powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. 

Step 6: Finally add salt and kasoori methi and mix well. Cook in medium flame for 5 mins.

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Enjoy the taste of a simple delicious curry. 

Place some curry on a chapathi and roll it. Bite and enjoy :)

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Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Apple Soup & Announcing the winner

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Wish all my readers a very Happy New Year! :)


Hope you all celebrated the eve and new year pretty well just like me :) Oh yeah, I was away from Chennai for the first time to celebrate new year!! I partied along with my beloved Hyderabad friends and relatives this year. All thanks to my hubby and buddies out there who hosted me so well and so did the city, chill and breezy all the time, so apt for touring :) 

I'm back home right now and feeling completely fresh and new! The new year is here and I am up with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Have loads of plans for this year and resolutions made up in the mind. Just hoping to go on with the same energy :)

I was completely biased to sweets and thought my first post of the year has to be a sweet! but it so struck to me that a year should be completely balanced with all flavors and tastes and so came up with this sweet and spicy apple soup :)

Keep reading until the end to know the Kettle Tea house giveaway winner! ufff don't skip the recipe!!! :P

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Ingredients:

Apple - 2
Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch piece
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Mixed herbs - 1 tsp
Salt - for taste
Pepper - for taste

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Method:

Peel the skin of the apples. Chop them into fine pieces or grate them completely into a microwave safe bowl. 

Break the piece of cinnamon and add it to the apple. Pour in 1/2 cup of water to it and microwave it at high for 6 mins. The apple would be completely cooked by now (you can also steam cook it in your pressure cooker for 1 whistle) Allow it to cool down. 

Remove the cinnamon pieces and grind the apple into a fine puree. 

Now add enough water to make it into soup consistency and boil it for few mins. Add pepper, salt and mixed herbs. 

Serve it hot with some bread sticks. 

The soup would be sweet as well as spicy. The natural tang of the apple would make it definitely different and delicious :) 

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Coming to the winners of Kettle Tea House Give Away - 

First lucky winner - Rajani S

Second lucky winner - Sharanya Palanisshami

Third lucky winner - Hamaree Rasoi

First of all, a big BIG thanks to all my readers who enthusiastically participated in the giveaway :) You guys are the soul reason for me to go on with this blog. :)  

Congrats to all the winners :) I'm happy that you will be tasting some delicious teas soon :) 

Winners kindly email me your postal address to fourthsensesamayal@gmail.com with the subject as Kettle give away winners. 

Written by: Nithya
Send in your queries by clicking here

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