Thursday, January 31, 2008

Kal Dosa with Ulavala Charu ~ 101 Dosa Varieties

Kal Dosa with Ulavala charu is a die for combination. Ulavala Charu is prepared from Ulaval or Horse Gram. Ulaval Charu is what Amma makes during Shivarathri and few other Festival season. When I was a kid, I used to eat this with Jaggary. Amma used to specially grind the ulaval with jaggary in the rubburai (the stone used for grinding food) The taste that comes out is heavenly. I remember many ardent days spent eating this. She makes Ulaval Belam Mudda, which is made by grinding Cooked Horse Gram with jaggary without adding water. It forms a mass which very sweet and God, thinking about it makes me want to get back to those lovely days. I wish I indulge my kids the same way with these wonderful dishes. Alas, I don't have a grinding stone nor think they might enjoy them at this age. Charu is made from the water that's drained after boiling the Horse Gram.Amma at times makes this some hours before, because that's how it tastes best. Mostly she makes the charu in the previous night and lets it soak. She mostly serves this with Kal dosa for breakfast the next day. Thinking of Kal dosa, reminds me of Dad. He is so fond of Kal Dosa. Amma always takes extra special care with serving food for Dad. She makes sure she makes the dosa for Dad, even if I was making for others.

Its not just Dad, who loves Kal Dosa, but all of us too. Though hubby dear does not like this with Ulaval Charu. I just love the combi. Kal Dosa is something that gets cooked only on one side. After pouring the batter on to the tawa, a hood is placed over it, to obtain the steaming effect and which in turn will have holes formed on the top. I came to know that in olden days, these dosas were made with very little oil, mainly for taking as a packed snack for journeys. Kal dosa is also soft and plumper. Amma even otherwise, makes soft dosas for side dishes like Ulaval Charu or Pithiki Pappu Kura.

In my Pithiki Pappu Kura, many wanted to know how it looks. So here's a picture of the process.

The other day, as this pappu is in season now, we have been having this often for breakfast. Athamma had prepared Ulaval Charu the previous night and I was feeling bad that I couldn't take a shot of it. So we made it again the next day. Having it after so many years reminded me of my many wonderful memories associated with that as a kid. I long for that Ulaval Belam Mudda. Wish I will get around doing that again.

Kal Dosa

Ingredients Needed

Parboiled Rice - 1
Raw Rice - 2
Urud Dal - 1
Methi or Fenugreek Seeds - 1/2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Clean and soak the rice as you do for regular Dosa batter. Grind to smooth paste and let it ferment overnight or minimum 6 to 8 hrs.

Heat the tawa and grease oil over it. Pour a ladleful of batter and spread it as you do the usual way, but take care not to spread too thin one. Sprinkle little oil and cover with a lid.

Put it to medium and cook for 1 -2 mins. Remove the lid, to see if all the parts are cooked. You should not turn over.

Nice holes will be formed on the top and the dosa will be really soft.

Ulaval Charu or Horse Gram Charu.

It was funny seeing charu being mentioned as soup. I guess for want of a better word, this was associated. Anyway, this is a lovely recipe which is Amma's signature one. This has always tasted the same whenever I tasted. Of course, the taste of this comes with age.

Ingredients Needed

Horse Gram or Ulaval - 1 & 1/2 cup
Tamarind - small lemon size
Salt to taste

To be ground
Red chilli i - 5 nos
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 1"
Cloves - 2-3
Poppy seeds/ Gus Gus - 1 tsp
Garlic - 5 pods
Small Onions - 3-4


Onion- 1 small
Mustard + Urud dal - 3/4 tsp
Curry leaves few

Method to prepare:

Soak Horse Gram for min 6 hrs. Pressure cook it for 5 - 6 whistles. Once the pressure is down, cook on direct flame for more juice to get into the water. Drain the water from the horse gram. We use just the water and about a tsp of cooked gram in the charu. The boiled horse gram is either eaten with jaggary or seasoned.

Soak tamarind and extract pulp.

Dry roast all the ingredients from Red Chillies to Poppy seeds. Once its cool, grind it along with 1 tsp cooked horse gram.and small onions along with garlic

In bowl, take the tamarind, the ground paste and add required water with salt. Mix well. The amount of water depends on how much charu you want.

Heat a pan with 1 tsp oil. Add mustard seeds, Urud dal and curry leaves. Once it splutters, add the chopped onions. Sauté well till its brown. Then add the mixed liquid and bring to boil.

Cook for 5 mins and remove.

Rest of the cooked Ulaval can be seasoned and eaten or can be ground with Jaggary and enjoyed.

Enjoy this Andhra Specialty with Tamilian one!

There is this incident that happened last evening. I have been wondering on plagiarism and stuff. I had seen few sites use my content, but I never bothered on that before, but something made me change my feed to short. I was pleasantly surprised to get a comment from a reader who had felt sad that I changed to short feed, which makes it difficult for them to read.. I hadn't really thought much on this when I was changing it. So on seeing that comment, I promptly changed it back to full feed. Yes there is this issue with plagiarism. I wish people take proper note on this and not just copy what is not theirs. But give proper credit to the source. At the same time, I don't want my readers to suffer. After all, I get headed and this is going on the encouragement that I get from all. What I publish is publicly accessible, so how they reach it doesn't matter. Still I feel it will be good to receive feedback on what I write. I was very happy to get that note though. Thank you!

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Chapati Recipe | How to make Chapati | Indian Flatbread with Step by Step Recipe

Dinner for us has always been Chapatis for a long time. I remember Amma rolling out these hot for dinner since my high school days. Those days I remember eating right off the tawa sitting in the kitchen. Then came a period when I started helping her in making the chapatis. Back then, Amma used to get whole grains, them ground and store in bulk. Now we mostly buy ready to use flour. Chappatis for us mean, goduma pindi (atta) mixed with just salt and water, if they are to be consumed right away.

If it's for lunch, Amma would use other things to make them soft. During college days, Amma started preparing stuffed chapatis for lunch. Other times, I preferred carrying Chapatis with Subjis. Chapatis were always hassle free and no mess to handle. Moreover I never really preferred to carry rice for lunch. When we got introduced to North Indian cuisine, we saw they referred few things as Roti and rest as paranthas. The difference was in how they make. For us, it means all the same. This can be called Chapatis or Rotis or Parathas. In South, we call all these by one name Chapati.

The way and on what utensil these chapatis are prepared, gives it an unique taste. One sterling chapati eating incident I will always remember, was eating at our family friend's place. That day we stayed late and aunty compelled us for dinner. Boy, was I happy that I stayed back. What we ate that night will always remain fresh in mind. She made real thick chapatis. Must have been the size of 3 to 4 regular chappatis rolled out as one. But each one was well roasted and cooked and to top, it had many layers. It was so wonderful. I have been planning to try the same from memory, never got around it. Though I will always remember the taste and feel of those thick chapatis. Whenever I carry chappatis for lunch, everybody loves and says it so soft even after 5 hrs. 

In the early years, whenever I speak to my North Indian friends, I would be asked questions if it was a roti or paratha or whatever they could think of, in their language. I figured I ought to understand what they mean. After a search on internet, I came across this description which fits everything I have been thinking.

Chapati or chapatti or Chappati is a type of roti or Indian bread. It is made from a dough of atta flour (whole grain durum wheat), water and salt by rolling the dough out into discs of approximately twelve centimeters in diameter and browning the discs on both sides on a very hot, dry tava or frying pan (preferably not one coated with Teflon or other nonstick material). If the chapati is held for about half a second directly into an open flame, causing it to puff up with steam like a balloon, it becomes the Gujrathi and Punjabi phulka. The steaming (ballooning) step can also be achieved by placing the chapati in a microwave oven for five to ten seconds. However, because microwave cooking can cause the chapati to become soggy, a heated grill or open gas flame is recommended.

Often, the finished chapatis are brushed with ghee (clarified butter). Variations include replacing part of the wheat flour with pearl millet (bajra) or maize (makka) or (jowar) flour. The chapatis are then referred to in Hindi as bajra roti or makke ki roti and in Marathi bhakri. When a mixture of pearl millet, maize and gram flour is used, the chapati is called a missi roti. In the southern and eastern parts, one cannot have that option for all the terms roti, chapati, paratha or kulcha would imply majorly, if not exclusively maida contents. In some parts of Maharashtra, chapati is called poli. In Gujarat and Punjab it is called rotli or phulka.
- source Wikipedia

Since I am always asked how the chapatis I carry are always soft chapatis, I used to tell them how my Amma makes. She is known to have used few other ingredients also. Depending on the situation, she adds milk or ghee / oil / curds. All these aid in getting the chapatis soft. However, even without adding any of these you can still get soft chapatis, if you cook them right. When you hard press on the chapatis while cooking, it tends to get hard.

Chapati Recipe / How to make Basic Roti

Ingredients Needed

Wheat Flour / Atta - 3 cups
Salt to taste
Curds - 2 tbsp
Water - 1/2 glass
Ghee - 1/2 tsp (opt)

Makes about 8 Chapatis.

What's required!

Cast Iron concave griddle 8-12 inches in diameter called tawa
Shallow mixing bowl
A rolling pin
Clean floor or a base or large plate for dusting the dough while rolling it out

Making the dough:

Take the flour in a large bowl. Add Curds, Salt and Ghee. Crumble well so that the flour is well mixed with all these.

Then slowly add the water and using hand mix the flour and water in a rotating motion to gather all the flour. Continue mixing until all the flour is mixed into a mass. The dough is ready when it become a non sticky, knead able dough. When the dough is kneaded, it will be elastic and smooth.

For more soft rotis, kneading it well gets the effect. Let it rest for sometime. If you are using anything like curds, milk, oil or ghee, you can let it rest for 10 mins, else it can be kept for some 30 mins.

If you want crispy chapatis, you can cook these immediately. But if you will have to consume right away. Another trick to soft ones, is to cover the dough with moist cloth.

Divide into equal balls of lemon sized ones. On a lightly floured surface, flatten one ball of dough with your hand. Using a rolling-pin, roll out the dough into a thin, round discs, about 5 inches in diameter.

Once the dough is rolled out and brushed with ghee or oil, fold it as a triangle shaped. Dust with flour again and roll out evenly

Cooking a Chappati:

Preheat a cast-iron tawa over medium heat and grease it with oil. Gently lift the rolled out chappati and flip on the tawa.

When you find bubble appearing on top, turn it over. Let it bubble again. Turn it over and then brush oil over the surface of the Chappati and turn it over. Repeat the process of brushing the chapati on the other side.

Lightly press on the sides, so that the sides get well cooked.

The whole process takes about 1 -2 mins. If you want to store them soft and not moisten with water, cover the cooked chappatis with either tissue paper or towel.

Storing these in hot boxes, will make them soft with its own stream going down.

Other Indian FlatBread that are worth a try:

Leftover Rice Parathas
Jonna Rotti

Biyam Rotti ~ Rice Flour Roti
Stuffed Paneer Parathas
Layered Parotta

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Saga of making of Paneer ~ Indian Cottage Cheese at home!

Well I know many out there know hot to make Paneer at home. Of course, I have heard many say what's the big deal that Indian Cottage Cheese gets so much prominence when Indian cooking is addressed. Still I can't deny the appeal this has to many and I can still remember those days when Amma used to say she made Paneer. And even now, if I tell Konda, that I am making a dish with Paneer, her face just lights up. Just last night, I made Paneer Butter Masala for her. She has been asking me for couple of days and I felt bad that I have been postponing. So got down making it, the moment I got home. She came back home and without entering the kitchen, asked me what I was doing. I said naturally cooking dinner. She immediately started, I wanted paneer Butter Masala!!, you are still not doing that!. I asked her to come in and she came in grumbling with a scorn which turned to excitement when she saw what I was making. That's worth all the efforts.

I made Paneer on Saturday and had time to take more pictures of the full process. Though this post has been sitting in the draft for more than 8 months, this was supposed to go for RCI Punjabi, but missed it. So when I saw hubby dear roaming jobless around, I thought I will make best use of his expertise. Amma always had a special muslin cloth especially for making paneer. Before leaving to Calcutta, she infact gave me that cloth! I know its funny, but that's the way it is. Athamma too, gives lot of reverence if its from Amma.

I finally got around to this post after few requests landed my side. I thought well I might as well chronicle my adventures with this paneer the fatal! These days its Athamma who normally makes it in a jiffy. Extra Milk on hand, it ends up as Paneer. Because we have quite a few paneer fanatics at home!

Ingredients needed:

Milk - 1 liter
Ripe Lemon/Lime Juice - 1 full

Boil Milk as usual

Lemon Juice for curdling the milk

Milk boiling over

Lemon juice to the boiled Milk and its all started curdling. Stir well so that it completes the curdling.

Strain it to a muslin cloth. Water left out can be used to make chappatis.

Squeeze down real tight so that all lingering extra water comes out.

Hang it down for a while. Then keep a heavy object over it. You can use either Chappati roller or Pressure cooker with water filled in.

Paneer will all be set within some 4 hrs time. Its all ready to use now.

Wash and Cut to pieces for frying.

When are you done cutting. Heat a pan with ghee or butter and fry them golden brown.

Notes: If Lemon is not available, Use 1 tsp of Vinegar for curdling. If you think you have have excess sour curds / yogurt and not sure what to do or bored with Mor Kolambu, then think of Paneer!

If you want your Paneer to be little coloured, add turmeric to the milk before straining or else sprinkle turmeric and soak paneer in hot water for 5 mins. Colourful Paneer is ready!

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Weekend Cooking ~ Our Sunday Lunch!

After a long time, I found myself wondering about the Sunday lunch. I think its been some weeks that I indulged myself in this activity. I find myself getting all excited by Friday evening, ask hubby some 10 times on what he wants. He normally says as you wish, but also it depends on how the kids treat us. Sundays are normally hectic as we don't have any nanny coming that day and we are left the whole day to enjoy them. But since they are their usual charming self and as expected they become too naughty to handle. Being a Sunday, I decided to prepare poori with pesarapappu kura. I guess with our recent fancy to appam, poori has taken a back seat. And I find myself preparing Pooris after few weeks. But imagine having breakfast at bunch time. So I was wondering when I will get the lunch done on the way. Also hubby dear asked for Ragi Mudda or Sangati, though he normally likes it along with Mutton Pulusu, he wanted me to prepare something in gojju.

All this had me thinking on the many cookbooks on hand and delightful visits to them. I love glancing through each page and wondering how it will be, to be preparing from them. Thoughts of these led me to the pile of books that I have recently unearthed. On my way to and fro to the kitchen, I would gingerly glance at them and feel happy. I wish I could pick up something from that. Not my last glance through few led me know that there aren't any gojju recipe that I can try off hand. Still it was joy seeing them on the table top. Konda was happily playing them. She loves going through these books. Many times, when I end up with way too many pictures and left confused, I call her to pick the best. She will ask me to line them in thumbnails and she will select from there. At times, thinking she isn't around, would ask Athamma. No sooner I do, she will come running and say I will pick I will select. I am done, if by some misfortune, I happen to finalised on Athamma's choice. Konda will grumble that her's is not finalised.

Recently I happened to fish out Amma's dairy and other books of mine. So imagine my surprise and merry when I glanced through my mother's hand written book and saw few more recipes going by the name Paneer Butter Masala. This dairy was something we kept during my college days. She had mostly written in telugu. After I realised that she had written in telugu, I asked her to write in English so that I can read. Unfortunate it is, but I can't read my own language. If its something that I have to learn, it is one day learn to read my language. I have written few in english. For the recipes in telugu, I have written the name so that I could always ask hubby to read out. I completely forgot that Amma didn't take this dairy with her to Calcutta. It was wonderful glancing through those pages. It was Dad's dairy and I saw his beautiful hand written scripts in many pages, that I had preserved. For a doctor, or even otherwise. he writes beautifully. All my life I have strived hard to imitate him in all aspects. My painful moments have been, when I thought my hand writing is not as beautiful as his. And my most happiest moments have been, when few kind friends appreciated that mine was good too. I know they were kind! Amma's hand writing will look like a baby's and Dad's look more artistic and aristocratic, more defining like the Leo that he is. He has always been a leader and a great mentor to many. I know I have still so much to learn from them.

Well, coming back to the dairy. Amma had written all her tried and tested and loved recipes in that dairy. So its obvious that, it had many delicious recipes noted down. So I am excited to prepare from that book. But today's dishes aren't from there. Ragi Mudda is a classic dish to go with non-veg. So I planned for a Mutton Gojju and Menthiayakku Pappu. I finally explained hubby dear on how Methi leaves look and he was happy to note he has seen it enough to know to get it.

Mutton Gojju

Mutton - 500 gms
Onions - 2 big
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Mutton Masala - 1 & 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Mint leaves - few
Coriander leaves - few
Water - 2 cups

Method to prepare

Clean and cut mutton to required size. Cook it in a pressure cooker along with a pinch of salt, turmeric and 1/2 ginger garlic paste with 2 cups of water. Put it on for 4 whistles or till the meat gets cooked.

Chop onions into julienne and tomatoes to fine pieces. Heat a pan or a kadai with Oil. Sauté the onions till its really brown. Then add ginger garlic paste, cook for 2 mins till its brown.

Add the tomatoes and the meat masala. Cook till the tomatoes are soft. Then drain the water from the meat and add just the cooked mutton pieces. Add the pint leaves and cook on high flame for 5 mins.

Finally add the water and cook on high flame till the water has evaporated. The gravy should thicken and the meat should be nicely coated. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Though hubby quite wanted a more gojju type, this came little more dry than expected. Blame it on Hara, who came running at that exact moment for me to get distracted. But hubby dear said the taste was good to go along with Ragi Mudda

Will be back tomorrow with Menthi Dal.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Andhra Chicken Fry

Andhra chicken Fry is a classic and simple chicken fry to prepare. Hubby loves all authentic Andhra methods and always prefers simple dishes prepared with just few items. Yet, its amazing how delicious it turns out. And he loves the non veg dishes that his sisters prepare. He says those are devoid of all modern influence. Infact, his second brother in law is good at making non veg dishes. I always wanted to see how he prepares but never gets a chance, as I will be busy with kids. This time when my sil came down, hubby was particular that she prepares something for him. So she got into action and Chicken Fry got done in a jiffy.

I requested hubby to take a snap of this dish. When I got back to import the snaps, the elder one saw his pictures and both of the twins came running to the computer. Hara, the elder one seeing his picture, showed that it was himself on the screen. He just wouldn't move and kept on saying "Nane Nane" in telugu (Its me). It was so cute seeing him say that. They now can understand everything that we say to them. When we say "Ram Ram sita Ram, Govinda", on hearing Govinda, Hara takes his hands over his head and says something. So finally with great difficulty uploaded this picture.

Ingredients Needed

Chicken pieces - 200 gms
Onion - 1 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Pepper powder - 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Coriander leaves few

Method to prepare:

Clean chicken and cut to small pieces.

Heat a pan with oil. Once its hot, add the sliced onions and fry till its brown. Add ginger garlic paste and fry till raw smell leaves.

Add chicken pieces to the pan. Add the chilli pw, coriander pw, turmeric powder and salt. Cover and cook on high flame for 5 mins.
Then simmer for 15 mins, till the chicken is cooked. The stream that comes out is enough to cook the chicken.

Remove cover and add the pepper powder. Mix well and garnish with coriander leaves.


This week in Tom & Jenny Love story sees a twist in the life of Jenny. Catch the action in the latest edition.

Have a great Sunday!

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Spicy Andhra Paneer!

This is fusion cooking at its best! Paneer or Indian cottage Cheese, is my most favorite food item, ditto for my daughter too. Since I was introduced to Paneer during my colleague days, there has been no looking back. Those were the days, we frequented lot of restaurants. I have already spoke in large on my paneer fancy in my most favorite Paneer Butter Masala. Even though my original recipe is a keeper, after many trials, I have come out with the most yummy version of this Paneer Butter Masala. We frequent the restaurant in our social club and the master dishes up a nice variety of this dish. The club is run by the officers committee and Dad was the President for a term. The restaurant was opened during his term, and I got my way to the heart of the place and enjoyed myself with the happenings. As expected, the caterers were changed many times and so did this dish with the change in management. Finally we have one caterer, who has been able to withstand and has been on the roll for quite sometime, but his master keeps changing.

Their Paneer Butter Masalas was quite delicious. As I am always curious on the ingredients, I asked the manager what went in. As reluctant he was, he just said something something but never got around disclosing anything clearly. Of course, I told him that we have our own recipe, which tastes great. Still he wasn't so forthcoming. Andhra Paneer, a typical fusion dish came from their kitchen and it is still the most sought out dish on all days. They first tried this out with Chicken and since we can always replace Paneer for all chicken recipes, I guess they landed up with the same ingredients being tried for paneer. Whatever it is, the dish is just too yummy. I have been asking the manager on this recipe. And I saw again that he was reluctant. One evening, when I reminded him that he is still escaping from disclosing the recipe. He thought I was asking about Paneer Butter Masala and said "Madam, its better you don't try because you wont" get the dish taste like that". I was quite surprised but before could say anything, hubby dear said "Madam prepares Paneer Butter Masala better than your master. Infact you should come home, to enjoy the Paneer Butter Masala and Naan that Madame prepares for us" The manager was really taken aback and dually apologized. Though I was upset on this incident, I was trilled by hubby dear's compliment. Though he has always appreciated, this unexpected complement came as a morel boost!

I decided I will not ask for the recipe again. I mostly can decipher the ingredients by eating. And this dish, I must've had so many times. All I wanted was to confirm if I was correct. But since they were so reluctant to share, I thought I would just go ahead experiment myself. I made paneer last Saturday and have since been planning to prepare. But never got around this, finally I decided I should get over wth it. In the time I got, with hubby dear shuttling between bringing Athamma home and dropping his sister to station, I prepared this and it got over in flat 5 mins. Yes, it really was only 5 mins that it took for everybody to attack the plate. Imagine, my twins loved it too. The first batch was not so spicy, so the kids loved it. I had just time enough to take few pictures. I always wish I could take the pictures during day light but alas, I always end up with a new dish during night. So the pictures aren't so glamorous as I wanted them to be. Still I think they can pass. Konda just loved it and of course, I couldn't save some for hubby dear. So will be doing it again soon

Ingredients Needed
Paneer - 250 gms
All purpose flour / Maida - 2 tbsp
Corn flour - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Red colour powder a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp

For seasoning
Curds/ Yogurt - 2 tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Green Chillies - 4 nos
Garlic pods - 4
Curry leaves few

Method to prepare

Dice the paneer to small cubes. Mix the flours with salt and colour. Add water to the flour and mix well to get a thick batter. Add the paneer cubes and mix well. It should get well coated.

Heat a pan with oil. Once its hot, let the paneer cubes deep fried. Remove them to a plate once all are fried.

Chop green chilies, fry them in oil along with curry leaves. Remove them to a plate.

To the remaining oil in the pan, add curds along with chilli powder and salt. Once it starts cooking, add the paneer cubes and the chilies and curry leaves. Fry for a while, till the pieces are well coated.

Alternatively we can try marinating the paneer with curds and then frying with the flours. will be trying this way next time.

This dish has to be really hot as in chillies. I guess they added the prefix to Andhra just for its hot! So add more chillies and enjoy!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Coconut Chutney for Chapati!

There are days when we get bugged on what to cook for dinner. All of us think what to cook and think of all options left to us. It happens to best of us, no doubt. And there are days like planning for dinner on a Sunday night. After the heavy Sunday lunch, you wouldn't know what to prepare. When I think of such incident, I remember what my twins did the day before. We made both of them sit in the dining table for their dinner. I had their bowl all ready and told them that they are now ready to eat. 

Both of them immediately showed the hot boxes on the table with our food and signed that they wanted to be fed from that! Imagine the surprise and sweetness of that. We rolled down laughing because they won't stop after that. They kept on showing that they want the food from the box. So if babies that young, get bored with their routine food, what about us?

Those the saver for us during those days is this coconut chutney that Athamma makes. Its the simple chutney but the way it is made is different. For many days, Amma used to make dal chutney which goes very well with rice and then for a while, we used to prepare Pappu Chaaru. But now, when we feel that we don't know what to prepare or if we had heavy lunch, then its coconut chutney for us. This goes very well with chappatis.

Ingredients needed

Fresh Coconut - 1 cup
Red chillies - 4
Garlic - 2 pods
Onion - 1 small
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:

Clean and chop coconut into small pieces.

In a mixer or food processor, take all the ingredients except onions. Grind to a coarse paste.

Finally add the onions and just run once. The onions should not get mixed or ground.

Important thing to note in this, is to ensure you don't run the onions to paste. The unique taste in this chutney is the onion chunks present in the chutney

If you prefer, you can season this with Mustard and curry leaves.

Serve this for chapatis.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Crispy Paper Roast Dosa with Tomato Chutney!

The best dosa type in plain dosa, is thin paper roast ones. That is, if I can say that, other than Kal dosas. Actually it depends on what side dish you have and for that what dosa to make. Amma follows quite a number of proportions. But you get to enjoy those really crispy thin ones, roasted in ghee and served. Konda likes the crispy ones. So whenever a dosa gets fried, little too crispy I save that for her. Amma spreads out really thin ones, that there will not be any extra batter on the pan. But I sometimes have extra batter at few places which will be spongy and in most areas you will have those crispy areas which are roasted in oil. These are the things, that my daughter loves. She will sit and keep eating only that and not even bother about the side dishes that's been served.

So I remembered this variety that Amma used to make and asked for the proportion. These really came out as thin as you want! In restaurants, you get served these as cones or as big ones. I remember when VIP Golden Beach was getting lot of attention because of its specialty dosas, sold in its restaurants. They were having these big family dosas, which will be enough for 10 people. Imagine sitting at a table and eating at the same dosa with your family. I used to think it was so funny but never had an opportunity to experience this. Two to four people used to bring this to the table and serve it for the customers. And the different chutneys that gets served. Yummy. I still find the red chutney that's served at Chains of restaurants like Sangeetha and Saravana Bhavan, very tasty. Its onion, tomatoes and red chili chutney but they have an unique taste to it. I haven't attempted reproducing it at home. My variety of tomatoes chutney comes out quite well. Infact, hubby dear got so bugged with Ground nut chutney that for quite sometime, it was only these onion or tomato chutneys that I was preparing.

This tomato chutney recipe was given to my mom by her sister, who lived in Vizag for a decade. Not sure if its from Vizag but I got to know from my cousin, when she visited us, that this chutney is their favorite and that they eat with Rice too. I have never tried with Rice, though I love with crispy dosas.

Crispy Paper Dosa

For basic details on dosa can be found here.

Boiled Rice - 3 cups
Raw Rice - 2 cups
Urud Dal - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds - 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:

Wash and clean the rice and soak for 6 hrs. Grind to smooth batter and let it ferment overnight. Its enough to add 3 4ths quarter of Fenugreek seeds as more of this will make the dosa look more brown.

Few hrs before using, mix the batter again so that the salt gets mixed well.

Heat a dosa tawa and spread a ladle ful of batter, as thin as possible. The consistency is such that you can get very thin ones.

Sprinkle little oil or ghee for more taste.

Tomato Chutney

Ingredients needed

Tomatoes - 4
Onions - 2
Red chilies - 5 (adjust to your taste)
Curry few - 5 nos
Coriander leaves - 1/4 packed cup
Salt to taste
Garlic - 2 pods
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp

Mustard seeds + urud dal + Curry leaves

Method to prepare

Chop onions and tomatoes. Heat a pan with oil. Roast all the ingredients in oil. Once its cool, grind to smooth paste.

Temper this with the seasoning.

Serve this with crispy dosas.

My next dosa type in this series is Kal dosa! Anyone with explanations on what is Kal Dosa? Would love to hear them.

Today is my dear friend's very special day. Lets wish her a very Happy Birthday! May all your dreams come true Bharathy!

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Semiya Payasam ~ My Liquid delight!

I know few people who don't like Semiya Payasam. I really don't know how they can't love this! For me, this was a special treat while growing up. Pal Payasam or Semiya Payasam always reminds of festivals and other occasions that are special. If there is something to celebrate, then its delicious semiya payasam that gets prepared in a jiffy! And of course I love the payasam that Amma makes. Since I don't like cashew nor eat them, she uses Badam always, just for me. The other times, when she uses cashew for reasons, my family members are happy because they don't have to look out for cashew, for sure all of them would've landed in my bowl and I will give them. Amma makes some naivedyam everyday. And Saturday was mostly semiya payasam and I used to love walking around the house, with the fragrance of simmering payasam sneaking out. I always love payasam piping hot, so its always right after the moment it is offered to God.

During childhood, I remember those long vermicelli being sold and Amma used to buy them in bulk. Just before preparing, she would break them down into pieces. I used to help her in this process and it used to be fun crackling them down with hands to break them into small pieces. These days I hardly find semiya or vermicelli like that. There is not much fun now! The greatness and sweetness of this is in boiling the milk a little longer and adding little water to get that watery consistency. Amma adds the sugar in the right amount but I add little extra. I always believe sweet has to be sweetest! And also I let the semiya to be little raw which gives that glittering and chaka taste. I really don't like the semiya to be overcooked. Konda got a liking to this because Amma makes it every week. But its been a while I had prepared it.

My sil and my niece are visiting us. As I said, its usually kesari bath the first day during their visit.But this trip I couldn't prepare it. So when I got back home, the kids were playing and I called my niece to ask what she wants to be prepared. She said she wants Pal kova. I was hesitant as it takes long time and a constant vigilance near the stove. So I asked her the next best shot. She said payasam. For me, payasam has always been semiya payasam. Paal payasam is something that's not so frequently done at home as I prefer semiya. And also semiya payasam is something that can get done in flat 15 mins. So it was semiya payasam that was done. I took a moment to indulge, for it reminds me of the many Saturdays that Amma used to make and I basked in its liquid delight once again.

Since Bee and Jai asked us to show Liquid comforts, I am sending this to them, as this is my most comforting liquid.

Ingredients Needed

Milk - 500 ml
Semiya - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 & 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Cashew Nuts - 10 whole
Raisins - 15
Ghee - 2 tsp

Method to prepare:

Heat a pan with ghee. Toast the raisins till they become balloons. Then the cashew nuts to golden brown. They become crispy. Remove to plate and then roast the semiya or vermicelli. Remove to plate.

In the pan, pour Milk and bring to boil. Simmer for 2 mins. Add little water if needed.

Then sugar and let it dissolve. Then add the roasted semiya and mix well and simmer for 10 mins. Finally add the cashew nuts and raisins.

For a more visual treat of Semiya Payasam, hop on to Indira's Semiya Payasam. It was a picture perfect and I was looking at it for a longer time as I was reminded of my Amma's.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

A nostalgic trip down for a Kurma ~ Tomato Kurma!

When I think of Tomato Kurma, I am taken on a flight down the memory lane! Oh what a journey its been. Though this is something that's quite often prepared at home and its something so simple, I never got around this. I have other pictures of this dish, but right now, I think I find the recent picture with the appam looks more appealing than anything else. I did the same thing with appams too. I had taken pictures of it long back but it was more interesting and attractive, presenting it along with its friends in crime! I think the appeal to something, gets more prominent, if we showcase it with its accompanying culprits. Each dish for me brings back many memories and I find it extremely difficult to pen them all in one go! I think for each one, we should do a revisiting post with which we can cover all that we feel at that point of posting. For me, this dish brings more of Amma's touch to mind and with its my many days of ardent involvement in indulging my most favorite things.

I used to pack lunch for school, though our house was only a walkable distance. I simply loved the idea of carrying a packed lunch and eating out with friends. Just remembering those days transports me back to those childhood days. All of us would be waiting patiently for the bell to go. The moment it does, we all just run out, not bothered to check if the teacher had left or not. During few classes, I remember eating in the class room. Then, we didn't have the concept of a pantry or cafeteria. Infact even now, not many schools have one. And the other classes that I remember, we used to go to the open ground, to eat under the trees. The cool breeze blowing by, during hot summer was just an excuse to eat out in the open. Each of us would spread the napkin and have the box over it. And gingerly look into the box to check what goody waits for us. Of course, I knew what it used to be. But still, its was a trill to wonder and ponder a while. Few students had the habit of covering their boxes while they ate. I used to always wonder why they did that. At that age, we were not into sharing our lunch boxes nor was I willing to dig into my friends boxes. To say I was being an ardent fan of Amma's cooking, is saying little. I was never willing to share with others what I got. I know I sounded so selfish but that was because I simply loved what I packed! But I think its more to the point that my school friends were mostly south indians and they didn't bring anything new that I might want to try. And moreover, I had my favorite things getting packed like Idli with Podi and Dosa with Tomato Kurma.

It was only during college, I started sharing my lunch boxes with my friends. But while at school it was more a case of being a part of the gang and not to be left out. During those days, Amma used to prepare only breakfast and Dad's lunch was prepared and packed hot and sent later during the day. So it used to be just me who packs lunch. Well I never wanted to trouble Amma on this (read I love Tiffin more than rice.:D), so I used to pack whatever she makes for breakfast. Tomato Kurma was something that she used to prepare for Dosas then. Amma would feel bad that I had to pack only dosa with the kurma. But she never knew how much I used to love that. Dosas packed in a steel dabba with piping hot tomato kurma poured over it. Amma used to ask if it wouldn't get soaked and all soggy. But that's the fun part. Dosa being all soaked in tomato kurma was something that's was so heavenly for me. Days changed, with that habits too. We slowly changed the Dosa combination with Tomato Kurma to Appam with Tomato Kurma. This combi was so much in vogue at home, that Dad finally declared that he didn't want this combination anymore. Poor Amma, then had to prepare two side dishes whenever she made Appam. I had even more of a dilemma because I love coconut milk too. She used to prepare Veg Istew for Dad and Tomato Kurma for us and Coconut Milk for me!. Now I find hubby dear too is a fan of this Tomato Kurma and I prepare coconut milk for Konda.

I have seen many others who have prepared it and I have myself prepared it many times But like in the movie Ratatouille, when Rémy prepares ratatouille, Ego relives childhood memories of his mother after one bite, I long to relive it each time I do this.

Ingredients Needed;

Tomatoes - 250 gms
Onion - 150 gms
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1"
Coriander leaves - for garnish
Coconut paste - 2 tbsp
Fennel Seeds - 3/4 tsp

Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves few.

Method to prepare:

Chop Onions and Tomatoes very finely.

Heat a pan with oil. Splutter mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Then add onions along with cloves and cinnamon. Sauté well till it becomes brown. Add tomatoes, turmeric and salt. Cover and cook till tomatoes are really soft and mushy.

Make a paste of coconut along with fennel seeds.

Once the tomatoes are well cooked, add chillie powder and coriander powder. Cook on high for 2 mins stirring to ensure it doesn't get burnt.

Then add required water along with coconut paste. Bring to boil. Simmer for 10 mins till its gets to the consistency of a thick gravy.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Note: Cloves and cinnamon can be ground with coconut to get more aromatic flovour. Tomatoes should be really well cooked. You shouldn't be having chunks of tomatoes in the gravy.


For weekend reading, check out the latest story at Tom & Jenny ~ A Love Story!

Have a great weekend! Let me see if I get around trying out something new this sunday!

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Lunch Box Series : LBS#22

Ok, so you saw the two gaint Brinjals I put up yesterday?. I used only one for the Nune Vankaya and saved up the second. What I did with the second one? Nice question, because we got up one day and wondered what to cook for Dad's lunch and we remembered the second brinjal. This is a very favorite dish that we make often. Brinjal dry curry or Vankaya Veppudu. There have been many nights that I remember as a kid, that Amma used to make this for us. We normally like to have this with Chappatis but it goes well with Rice too. This is a delicacy for us as we enjoy the deep fried effect the brinjal gets during preparation. After marriage, I stopped making this for chappatis as hubby dear does not prefer dry curries for rotis. So this got back to being made as poriyals. But as I had said, Dad loves brinjal, so any form this takes, he takes delight. There was once a song in a telugu movie about Brinjal and its different varieties that Andharites indulge in. Every time we get to watch that song, Dad says "wow wow, so many delicious treats from Brinjal". So today's lunch box series again has Dad's dabba in focus.

Today's Lunch Box had

Brinjal Subji ~ Vankaya Vepudu

Ingredients Needed:

Brinjal - 250 gms
Onions - 2 medium
Garlic - 4 pods
Chilli powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder -1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Curry leaves few
Ground nut powder - 2 tsp

Mustard seeds + Urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves few

Method to prepare:

Clean and cut brinjals into quarter pieces. Soak them in water so that they don't turn blank.

Chop onions into fine pieces. Crush the garlic pods

Heat oil in a pan. Let the mustard seeds splutter. Then add the curry leaves, garlic. Fry for 1 min.

Then add finely chopped onions. Fry till its brown. Drain the water from the brinjals and add to the pan. Sprinkle turmeric powder, salt. Cover with lid and simmer for 5 mins.

Then add the chili powder, coriander powder. Adjust the salt. Cover and cook again for 10 - 15 mins, till the brinjal is well cooked.

Once its cooked, remove the lid and add the ground nut powder. Mix well.

Its ready to serve with chappatis.

Note: Adding more onions to this adds taste. Garlic should be crushed and not chopped. And the stream that comes out of the lid should be let into the vegetable for it to cook. Water should not be added, brinjal gets cooked with its own stream.

If you are not bothered about oil, you can add 2 - 3 tsp else 1 or 2 tsp is enough to get this to super duper taste!

Enjoy and have a great weekend. Will be back with something tomorrow along with my Tom and Jerry Story!

Sending this Lunchbox to Margot who is hosting an event on Wholesome Lunchbox.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Nune Vankai ~ Revisited

Guthi Vankai or Nune Vankaya was my first post. When I started this blog, I didn't post any for quite sometime. Everyday I would log in and wonder what's the plan? I wanted to focus on Andhra cuisine but basically it would mean the cooking that happens in my kitchen. Its more of a blend of Tamilian and Andhra mixed. You can call it typical Madrasi, if you are particular for a name! I am a proud madrasian and though I have traveled to different parts of India, I have always felt that the influence of other cuisine and invasion of all of them happens freely in Madras. Maybe the authenticity of each cuisine might vary, still you can't say you don't find a particular dish here. Throughout my growing up years I was introduced to many such new cuisines just as the city was. First came the cable channels with its numerous programs on cooking. Then came khanna kazana. With that came about many such wonderful cooking programs and viewers were introduced to many new cuisines right there in their living room.

Growing up with such environment, tends to make you more interested in cooking and experimenting new things. Still things that are close to your heart never fades. One such dish for us, is this delicious dish made with Brinjal / Eggplant / Vankaya. Andhra is known for Nune Vankai and we have see many such adaptations to this. Each state may claim its own original recipes. Still we hold this close to heart as there is nothing to cheer us on a rainy day to boost our sprits up. When I showed my Dad and Mom, my first post with pictures, they both loved it so much. Dad was all excited because it was about Andhra food. He said I should put up all rare and specialty dishes that Amma prepares. I have been trying my best to heed to his words. Since my first post, I had prepare Nune Vankai many times. But I had really given much attention to this, when my daughter said she loved it. There are many dishes that I like and prepare often. But if that something is oked by Kutty, it moves to a different level.

So when we visited my parents during December, I was telling Amma that Konda loves Nune Vankai. She was happy knowing that because Dad loves it too. Not just this, but anything with Brinjal, he will love to eat. Amma asked me to dig into the fridge and I was for a shock. I took out the biggest Brinjal I have ever seen. It was so huge and beautiful. I asked how on earth are we going to prepare Nune Vankaya with this giant of a Brinjal. She said she did in a different way, though with the same masala. It came out so well that she wanted to prepare it again for us. Well I thought why not try it in a different method. Got just one brinjal and went ahead with the preparations. It came out do delicious and wonderful for a nice dinner.

The recipe was same as the usual method. Just the difference was, we chopped it to big chunks and deep fried it before adding it to the Masala. The frying of brinjal gave it an added taste.

Amma had this cute looking sieve and I was happy using it very often.

These were the fried Brinjal pieces.

Of course the brinjal is not so clearly visible in that rich masala, but believe me, it was so tasty!

Revisiting things from past gives such a wonderful feeling, I did just that by remembering the story I used to tell my daughter about Laurel and Hardy adventures. The pictures of Laurel and hardy are pencil sketches and story is a fig of my imagination. Check them out yourself!

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Anytime for Garlic Bread with Cheese!

Garlic is an wonderful spice, I feel. I just love garlic and have even eaten it as such. I can never understand why I like garlic so much and in the same breath not prefer ginger! I love all those dishes that require whole garlic to be used. We especially use crushed garlic or chopped ones most for our dals. You should be around when Athamma is doing the tadka for her signature dals. My, you will swoon no doubt, I have infact, you know! Hubby dear has infact teased me many times to learn as how Athamma prepares. I say, what's the big deal, you just have to burn the garlic to get the effect. But in fact its much more than that, I know. One of these days I am going to try out my most fav dish that I eat in one of our restaurants. Its called Andra Paneer. I have spent many times trying to decipher what's gone into it. I have hit on the bull's eye, just need to find time enough to conjure that up! That has delicious chopped and fried garlic in it. It gives such wonderful taste to paneer!

Well, as you know from the title this is not to do with any Dal or paneer. But my all time favorite bread items. Garlic Bread topped with Cheese! Aroma coming out of the oven when baking this is incomparable. We normally order this along with Pizza when we go to have pizzas. This looked like a restaurant item until I did at home. Very simple to prepare yet so filling. When I had the urge to eat this, I thought why not prepare it at home, than lingering around Pizza hut. But I was dismayed to find that there wasn't one bakery shop in neighbourhood that sold whole loaf without slicing. And slicing they do, as thin as you can imagine! I must've climbed up and down some 10 bakery shops literally that I thought I could've baked a loaf myself much easier than trying to get one. Finally I managed to find one that could fit the size I had in mind and eagerly set out to make this. Which was done in flat 10 mins. Believe me!

Ingredients needed:

Bread - 4 buns/ 4" slices
Butter - 2 tbsp
Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Cheese - 100 gms

Method to prepare:

Peel and crush the garlic to paste. This can be either done with hand or in a mixie. Take soft butter, not melted one. Mix this with garlic paste to get a smooth paste.

Toast Bread to get crispy base. Spread the garlic butter paste on the bread.

Sprinkle grated cheese on the top. Baked in microwave for a min or until the cheese melts.

Top it with Tomato Sauce. I know my decoration hasn't turned out well. I wanted to try out a design but it went out of hand...:D

Since this is a such a fun dish to munch on, and easy to prepare, sending this to Mansi for her "Game Night Party" event and to Sunita's Think Spice..Thick Garlic.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Ever Green Appam!

Well sorry my appams are white as a pristine! To say I am fond of Appam is saying too little. My attachment to Kerala and its delights started very early, as we were introduced to Kerala feasts on many visits to the different places in Kerala during our vacations. Most were reproducible with equal taste and texture except this Appam. Amma tried many tasted and tested recipes, but none came close to the ones we tasted and enjoyed. Added to that, I had many Mullu friends. But each gave different recipes, still nothing satisfied us.

In one of my friend's place, I used to see a big thermocoil box which was used to store these appams. Not sure what purpose they served. But I saw them placed in that box on many occasions. When we don't make Puris for Sunday breakfast, its always because its Appam. That was our passion to this dish. Still we were far from our cheese like texture that comes to the perfect Appam. Finally Amma came up with the perfect recipe! It was such a treat. And now every other sunday, its Appam that I make for Sunday morning. We always make Tomato Kurma for this but once I wanted to try something different that I liked. But hubby dear didn't like it much. So its back to Tomato Kurma. And sweeten coconut Milk for Konda.

Previous to non stick appam pans, we used to struggle with iron Kadai. Amma used to coat it with Oil early morning, so that the appam comes out well. Now we get non stick pans and you dont' even know when you had those troubles.

This post had been in my draft for so long, because I wanted to make this special for RCI: Kerala. Then I thought I should go with new pictures, so the old one which I took during last april are lost forever. These are new ones and they rock too me thinks.

Now to the recipe that works out so well for us

Ingredients Needed:

Raw Rice - 2 cups
Boiled Rice - 1 cup
Urad Dal - 1 medium level ladle spoon ful (app 100 gms)
Methi / Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Coconut water & sugar - 1 glass
Salt to taste

Method to prepare

Soak the rices for minimum 10 hrs atleast.

Soak the coconut water with sugar for 10 hrs.

Grind the rices to smooth batter. Mix the coconut water to the batter and let it ferment over night.

Next day, before using add a pinch of soda.

Heat the Appam pan. Take a ladle full of batter and pour into the appam chatti. Make swirling movement so that the batter gets coated around the chatti. cover with lid and cook in sim.

It will be done in 2 mins.

Serve with tomato kurma or Stew.

This is my contribution to Regional Cuisine of India, which is started by Lakshmi from "veggie cuisine" and Jyotsna from "Curry Bazaar" is hosting this event this month showcasing the beautiful state of Kerala.

Since this is my most favorite comfort food, this goes to Meeta for her Monthly Mingle which is Comfort foods this month.

Happy Sanskranthi!

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Memories of Attu ~ Pesarattu!

Never knew one simple dish can dish up so many wonderful memories related to it in your mind. Pesarattu is one such dish for me. Each place is known more by its food and what it means to the people living there. For me, its more like I hear it from my parents who lived in Andhra all their childhood and moved over here because of job and have made this their native. Still seeing them recollect things related to each dish and its importance in their life, makes me wonder if its all in their mind or was it really like that then. Dad, for a very long time, had cherished a dream to go back to his home town to settle down once he retires. But as I said its only a dream. Living in an another city which is far more advanced and more familiar holds lot more than a memory. When I see and hear these things, I wonder how it must be for people who leave their home land and make something else their place to live and grow.

Whenever I think of this, I am reminded of my dad's dear NRI friend. Till a decade back, he used to send his children to India every summer. The elder one was of my age, still I could see so much difference in culture and social behaviour that we had. All of them were very well mannered and behaved kids. But I used to feel bad because they were forced to accept something they don't feel tuned. Imagine, living in a country so different from this, yet you are forced to learn and act as an Indian as in India. We get what we see everyday and thinking gets to be so. Culture is something that's there to know and heritage is something that we should be proud of, But beyond that if we force anybody to embrace, it looses its meaning. What is required for every kid, is to learn good things to grow to be a good human being, void of evil thinking. If he/she can contribute something good to this world, its most welcome, else if they can just enjoy life and not harm anybody or anything in process is more that what they can do to this place. Why I referred to this, is because for a person like me, for whom its only a matter of few kilometers away, still its so much of a culture and importance. Just wondering for people who live so far away.

I always remember the wonderful pesarattu I got to eat on a visit to Tirupati's Bhima's. It was morning that we landed in tirupati, and before leaving to Tirumala, we went to have our breakfast in Bhima's. The place was only then waking up and the hotel was still kind of dark. We sat down to eat and lazy and drowsy waiters were roaming around. One very hesitantly came to take the order. I think he was more cursing us for disturbing his standing sleep. I ordered Rava dosa and pesarattu.Rava dosa is another fav of mine. But let me talk about Attu. It was very deliciously roasted served with coconut chutney. What stands back in memory is that, I was reluctant to gobble it as we had to hurry back.

The other times, it has been Dad asking Amma for Pesarattu. He always wanted Upma to be accompanied.Infact Pesarattu Upma was my second post on this blog. I was asked questions on this strange combination. I religiously questioned Amma back on the same. But she didn't have an idea. Dad said, that somebody must've tried this combi and must've felt it goes well. Even he wasn't sure of the origin of this strange combination. There are things like MLA Pesarattu and Attu. Maybe on another day I will try to enrich myself with google. For now, I just would like to go ahead sharing my Pesarattu Upma as a dish my family most enjoys.

During our visit to my parents home, this is what we enjoyed one of the mornings. I forgot to soak the moong dal and Amma had to get up early to soak and keep the batter ready for breakfast. Since the morning was chill, I wasn't sure if it would come up well. But it came out beautifully well roast, crispy and tasty. I topped it with finely chopped onions and Cumin seeds and sprinkling with little ghee for real homely taste. I ensured I served parents real hot from tawa and in the way I make it. So was really very glad when Dad, seeing the plate asked me if I had clicked! I thought why not, this makes a wonderful remembrance of a memory that would always live alive till my last breath! I wish that day comes sooner, when I can again share another Pesarattu with them.

Be sure to check out my paintings in the latest story that has unfolded in the sad life of Jenny in Tom & Jenny ~ A Love Story part 5!

Happy Sanskranthi, may the light dawn on all and let all old and bad thoughts get cleaned away from all our minds. Essentially that's what I think is the meaning of Sanskranthi~ a new beginning!

Will be back on Monday, till then happy weekend.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Lunch Box Series : LBS#21

Its been nearly 3 weeks since I got back to this series. Basically its because I found I wasn't doing anything other than Sambar with the same set of vegetables along with dry curries with the same set of vegetables or dals with fries with the same few vegetables... *yawn*. I wonder why its become so monotonous! It wasn't like this some months back. Then I used to make Sambar only twice a week for lunch, now its almost like every other day we are having it. I wonder what I was cooking on the other days! I think its high time I plan my menus as I used to do. But god kiddos have become more naughty! Went home last evening, to see both of them have not eaten their evening meal. I believe both refused and Athamma was in ends of her thither to make them eat. Elder one wanted me to carry him, I said please atleast give me time to wash my hands. He shook his head to say no no. I convinced the nanny to take him out. The younger one was running around, so took the bowl to him and he waves his hand to say he doesn't want! My younger one is so smart. He understands every word we say. The other day after switching off the lights, I was asking Konda to get me a pillow, suddenly I was showered with pillows. When I saw who it was, I really so surprised. Chinnu got up to get two pillows and threw on me. Ask for one, you get many! Amma was trying to reach us and the phone I believe was going on ringing without any answer. She was wondering what happened. Well nothing, her two little cubs found the telephone instrument very appealing, so its they plaything now!

So unconsciously before leaving for my vacation, I posted something else on Friday. Only on thinking back I realised that I was supposed to post LBS!. Well visiting my parents ensured I have a change in this series. Dad doesn't like rice to be packed for lunch. Infact his dabba is so small, more like my daughter's. Everyday whatever Amma sends, he will come back home and complain that she had packed him more. So finally she decided that chappatis are the best for him. He will not have much excuse to say it was too much. Since few years its been chappatis for him with Subjis. Since I was cooking this time, wanted to make something dramatic, but Amma decided on a much simpler dish and warned me that if I am to send more, then I will get properly back in the evening!

So, here comes a change to this series in form of chappatis, showcasing my Dad's lunchbox with just rotis along with subjis. No rasam or curd rice for him, he would prefer to spend that extra time looking after his patients!

Today's Lunch Box had

Mixed Vegetable Subji
Mixed Vegetable Subji

Ingredients Needed:

Mixed vegetables - 2 cups (I used Carrots, Beans, Peas, Cauliflower)
Onion - 1 medium
Tomatoes - 2 medium
Chilli powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/4 tsp
Roasted Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water - 1/4 cup
Oil - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method to prepare:

Cut all the vegetables to 1 inch size. Clean the cauliflower and split into florets. Soak in warm water along with salt.

Drain the water from cauliflower and pressure cook all the vegetables for 1 whistle.

Chop the onions and tomatoes. If you have roasted cumin seeds, its fine. Else dry roast the cumin and powder it when its cool.

Heat a pan with oil. Add onions and fry till its brown. Then add in tomatoes. Cook till its soft and mashy. Add chilli pw, coriander pw and turmeric pw along with salt. Cook for 2 mins.

Once done add in the cooked vergetables. Cook on high and sprinkle the roasted cumin and garam masala. Add little water to make it soft and all the masalas to get mixed. Finally add the coriander leaves.

Serve with chappatis.

Note: The roasted cumin powder is something thats always ready. But fresh powder adds more flavour!
This can be sukhi or dry curry too, but by afternoon it might be little hard to eat, so little water is added.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Spicy Peas n Potato Kurma

Winter season is when we get all fresh Peas and Fresh Anapakayallu or Mocha (Hyacinth Beans). I completely forgot about this and almost a month has passed without us cooking our most favorite dish of all. I have addressed this by buying as much as we could eat in a week. The next couple of weeks, I will be cooking only this curry for dosa. Having said this, peas is another legume that we consume a lot. As I have already said, Athamma is so fond of using peas in most of our cooking. But we always end up using the dried ones. Knowing that she loves fresh peas, I remembered this during our visit to parents and had the help get fresh peas. We planned to prepare Mutter paneer but fresh paneer was not available. And hubby dear likes it better when we make it south Indian style.

The unshelled peas was lying around for the whole day, and finally the twins got hold of them. The mess they did with this, my god. I finally had to search so many places to gather all of them in the end. Most of the bulk was found in the water bottle containers. They had tried to tilt it down, which resulted in the peas being soaked in water. So before the peas could disappear, I thought I should shell them out. I got about 2 cups of them. But Kurma with just Peas was not very appealing, so added few potatoes to make it complete!

Ingredients Needed:

Fresh Peas (if you live that parts of the world where fresh is not available, then dry ones please!) - 2 cups
Potatoes - 2 small
Onion -2 medium
Tomatoes - 4 medium
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Coconut - 4 tbsp
Cashew Nuts - 5 whole nos
Salt to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder a pinch
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves for garnish

Method to prepare:

Boil the peas and potatoes for 1 whistle in a pressure cooker. Once its cooled, cube potatoes into medium size pieces.

Chop Onions and tomatoes roughly and make a paste separately. Make a smooth paste of coconut and cashew nuts together.

Heat Oil in a pan, add the onion paste. Fry till its little brownish. Then add the ginger garlic paste and sauté well, till its nicely blended.

Then add the tomatoe puree, fry well for 2 mins. Then add all the powders and simmer for 5 mins. Add the cooked peas and potatoes at this stage. Saute well for 2 mins.

Finally add the coconut-cashew paste. Add required water. Bring to boil and simmer for 2 mins with lid covered.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

This kurma is quite spicy as we added 1 tsp of garam masala and ginger garlic paste. Reduce it for milder kurma.

This goes excellent with chappatis and Ghee rice.

This is my entry for Susan's Legume Love affair! Thanks for hosting such a wonderful event on legumes Susan!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Curry leaves chutney or Karivepaaku pachchadi ~ Andhra Special!

Athamma is known for her expertise in making chutneys. And Dad is very fond of chutneys. Of course, Andhra is known for its chutneys or pachchadi. So there is no denying fact that an Andhrite loves pachachdi. Infact, my aunt who lived in Vijayawada for a decade became more of a Telangana than a Rayalaseema born. We normally don't eat podi annam or pachchadi annam for daily meals, though we are very fond of it. But we do have these in stock for rainy days! But Dad is a passionate lover of the different chutneys that Amma makes. And when he came to know that my Athamma makes these, it became mandatory that we prepare these every week for him. So when Athamma used to visit us, she used to prepare only pachchadis for us. Talk of a vegetable and she will make a chutney out of it. Infact, Dad used to say she is Chutney queen.

When I started this blog, Dad was telling me that I should make Athamma prepare all the chutneys and post it. He is very keen on anything Andhra and its specialties. So when he saw that I wasn't posting anything in that line, he asked me to address this. And when we visited them, the first thing that Amma asked us was, for Athamma to prepare some chutney especially Curry leaves chutney or Karivepaaku pachchadi. Karivepaku pacchadi is very tasty and a sure way to intake the goodness of Curry leaves. Curry leaves or Karivepali as in Tamil is normally used for Tadka or tempering and removed while eating. So Amma makes Karivepaaku podi often for eating with Rice. That's another wonderful podi to eat with hot rice and ghee. That's just amazing. So this pachchadi is something that goes great with Rice.

So Athamma got down preparing it and since we weren't storing it for the next day she added onions. If you want to store, then prepare minus the onions. She normally selects the tender leaves as these are the best candidates for this chutney or pachchadi. All her chutneys, she normally roasts, so she as an iron tawa or skillet just for this. I think infact that gives a unique flavour to the chutney too. Amma used to have the "Rubrayyi" or the flat stone that we used to have in the olden days for grinding chutneys. Pachchadis made from that tastes great! Even now hubby dear asks for chutneys made in that fashion. The ingredients are not very smoothly ground and you can kind of feel all the ingredients as you eat, unlike the smooth paste that we end up, while using a mixie. Since we decided that its going to be curry leaves chutney, I got my camera in action. For once, I was able to get the ingredients before getting ground!

Parents just loved the chutney, moreso because they were eating something authentic andhra after few months! I believe Curry leaves are not abundantly available in there or maybe they haven't found the right place. So just for this chutney they had to search far and wide. But the search brought in smiles to all who had this wonderful Karivepaku pachchadi

Ingredients Needed:

Tender curry leaves - about handful or about a cup
Tamarind - 2" size (If you have paste, then about quarter tsp)
Red chillies - 5 - 6 nos
Garlic - 4 pods
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Onion - 1 small
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tsp

Mustard seeds + Urud dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves

Method to prepare

Wash curry leaves and let them dry for a while. Soak tamarind in water to extract pulp from it.

Chop onions and peel garlic

In a hot tawa, add 1 tsp oil, and roast all the dry ingredients separately. Let it cool. Meanwhile extract the pulp from tamarind.

Once its cool, all everything half of onions. Run for two rounds until its kind of simi smooth paste. Then add the remaining onions and ensure it doesn't get all ground. Chunks of onions gives a zing to the chutney.

Finally give a tempering of mustard seeds along with whole curry leaves.

If you want to store this, don't use onion.
Adjust the tamarind according to your taste. We don't normally eat too sour.
And the consistency of the chutney should not be a smooth paste.

Serve this with hot rice and ghee, you won't want anything else after that!

Curry leaves are known for its excellent curative properties, taking this in some form or the other is very important. It is said to prevent hair loss and helps in new hair follicle growth and also in controlling diabetics. So having it as a chutney gives lot of curry dose!

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