Friday, April 30, 2010

Avial


There are multiple stories associated with the origin of Avial. The most popular is regarding Bheema, the strongest of the Pandavas. He worked as a cook in the kitchen of Kingdom of Virata, during when the Pandavas spent in disguise. The King there did not want to waste any of the vegetables and Bheema used all the left over vegetables and curd to prepare a new dish; which we now call as Avial.

This is an inevitable dish for a sadhya. This is made of a number of vegetables. Any veggies of your choice and availability can be added in this. It is always good to have raw plantain, drumsticks and elephant yam, so that these leave few firm pieces in the dish.

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Ingredients:

Elephant Yam                              --   around 200 gm
Vazhakkaya / Raw Plantain      --   ½ of a medium size
Carrot                                           --   1
Drumstick                                    --   1
Cucumber                                     --   ½ of a medium size
Achinga Payar/ Long beans       --   4 - 5
Pumpkin                                       --   a small piece
Potato                                           --   1
Green Chillies                              --   3 - 5
Turmeric powder                        --    ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds                                 --    ½ tsp
Curry Leaves                               --   few
Shredded coconut                       --   ¼ cup
Curd                                              --   ¼ cup
Coconut Oil                                   --   2 tbsp
Salt                                                 --   to taste

Preparation of Avial:

Cut the vegetables into thin long equally sized pieces. Add turmeric powder and 2 green chillies slit, and cook them till they are tender. Coarsely grind the coconut with rest of the green chillies, cumin seeds and curd.

 

Add the ground mixture to the cooked vegetables. Make sure that you don’t break up the veggies. Add more curd if you need more gravy. I love it to have with a little gravy than dry.


Let it boil and turn off the fire. Garnish with curry leaves and coconut oil. Close it with a lid so that the flavor of curry leaves and the coconut oil blends into it without leaving out the aroma.
 
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Recipe Courtesy: Amma


Cherupayar – Vazhakkaya / Moong Dal – Raw Plantain Curry



This curry reminds me of our school vacations. There my grandmother used to prepare this curry in a manchatti (flat earthen pot) and on a viraku-aduppu (stove made of clay and wood for fire) which would give the dish a slight flavor of smoke. The taste of that curry was awesome.

As per Hindu beliefs, there are some special days when ladies don’t take rice food at all or take them only once a day. On these days a thicker version of this dish is prepared as a main dish with more proportion of raw plantain. Also at times raw plantain is replaced by tapioca.



Ingredients:

Cherupayar / Moong Dal       --    ½ cup
Vazhakkaya / Raw Plantain  --   ½ of a medium size
Green Chillies                      --   3 - 4
Turmeric powder                  --   ¼ tsp
Chilly powder                       --    1 tsp
Shallots/Pearl onions           --    2 medium size
Mustard seeds                    --    ½ tsp
Curry Leaves                       --   few
Shredded coconut                --   ¼ cup
Oil                                      --   2 tbsp
Salt                                    --   to taste

Preparation of Curry:

Cook the dal and raw plantain with turmeric powder and chilly powder in a pressure cooker. Normally it takes 3 – 4 whistles to get this cooked. You can also go for slow cooking as it is tastier as always. At times when I have time, I go for slow cooking. Since moong dal takes a long time to get cooked, you can soak them in water for a hour or so before going for slow cooking.


Grind the shredded coconut with a pinch of turmeric. Crush the pearl onions. Add these to the cooked dal and let it boil.



Heat oil in another pan and add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add curry leaves. Garnish the curry.


Submitting this recipe to the veggie platter's event Delicious Dals.


Recipe Courtesy: Amma

Monday, April 26, 2010

Rasagulla


This is a famous Bengali Sweet. I’ve heard from my brother that in Bengal, rasagullas are preserved in earthen pots which is the best way of preservation and gives the ultimate taste .  Though known as a Bengali sweet, history says that this great sweet originated from Orissa.

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Ingredients:

Milk                                         --    4 cups
Lemon Juice/ Vinegar          --    2 tbsp
Sugar                                      --   1 ½ cup
Cardamom Powder               --   ½ tsp
Preparation of Rasagulla:
Boil the milk in a pan, stirring occasionally. When the milk comes to boil, add the lemon juice / vinegar and continue stirring. You can see the milk solids getting separated from the whey.
Turn of the fire and drain the water, using a muslin cloth; to get the milk solids. The milk solid left over is called Chenna. Wash the chenna in cold water and squeeze well. This will help to remove the traces of lemon / vinegar.

 

Squeeze out as much as water as possible. Knead the chenna into smooth dough. This is a long process and it may take around 10 – 15 minutes. You can also use a food processor to make it easier. Make small smooth balls out of the dough with the palms.
Combine sugar, 4 cups of water and cardamom powder in a pressure cooker and bring it to boil. Add these balls into the syrup and pressure cook them for 1 whistle. Let the cooker cool before opening it.

Refrigerate the rasagullas with the syrup and serve chill. If you want the syrup to be thicker, take out the balls and then boil the syrup to the required consistency. Then return the balls into the syrup and refrigerate.

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Recipe Courtesy: Showmethecurry

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Uzhunnu Vada


Uzhunnu vada is my hubby's all time favorite dish. He likes to have it in any form like sambar vada, dahi vada or simply with the chutney. I tried it out once and though it did not give me a smooth shape, it came out good.






Ingredients:

Urad dal                            --   2 cups
Green chillies                   --   4 -5
Onion                                --    ½ of a medium sized
Ginger                              --    1 inch piece
Curry leaves                    --    1 branch
Whole pepper                  --    15 - 20
Baking soda                     --    ½ tsp (optional)
Oil                                     --    to fry
Salt                                   --    to taste
           
Preparation of the Vada:

Soak the Urad dal in water for 5 -6 hours. Drain it and grind it without adding water. Add water in a tsp if the mixer feels it too hard to grind.

Chop the onion, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves into small pieces.

Mix them with the ground urad dal. Add salt. Thoroughly beat the mix with you hand so that it is very well aerated and become fluffy. Drop a small piece of the dough in a cup of water and the piece should float on water. This will help the vada to be very soft.


Wet your hands, make a ball with the dough and make a hole in the center. Drop them into hot oil and deep fry until they are golden brown.


Serve it with chutney or sambar.



Recipe Courtesy: Vahrehvah

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Malabar Mutton Biriyani


Biriyani.... The first thing to come into the minds of any one from Malabar during any special occasion. This is a blend of rice and either of fish/prawns/chicken/mutton. 







Ingredients – Rice:

Basmati Rice / Jeera Rice    --   ½ kg
Water                               --   1 ½ times that of rice. (Measure the rice in a glass and take the double amount of water. The measurement is important.)
Lemon                              --   1 medium
Cloves                              --   3 - 4
Cardamom                        --   1 - 2
Cinnamon                         --   1 medium piece
Bay leaves                        --   2 leaves
Ghee                                --   2 tbsp
Salt                                  --   1 tbsp (Check the taste though)


Ingredients – Marinade:

Tomato                                  --    1 – 2 medium sized
Turmeric powder                --    ¼ tsp
Chilly powder                       --    ½ tsp
Coriander powder               --    1 tsp
Garam Masala                     --    2 - 3 tsp
Curd                                       --    ½ cup
Coriander leaves                  --   A bunch (around 10 – 12 stem)
Mint leaves                           --   A bunch (around 10 – 12 stem)
Green chillies                       --    6 – 7 
Garlic                                    --    1 pod – medium sized
Ginger                                   --    2 inch piece
Cloves                                   --   6
Cardamom                           --   3 – 4 if green / 1 if black
Cinnamon                             --    1 inch piece
Aniseed                                 --   1
Nutmeg                                 --   ½
Mace                                     --   2 -3
Fennel seeds                        --   1 tsp
Cashews/KhusKhus           --    4 -5 / 1 tsp
Salt                                        --   to taste


 


Ingredients – Gravy:

Mutton                                 --   ½ kg
Finely Chopped Onions     --   1 – 2 medium sized
Oil                                         --   2 tbsp
Salt                                       --   to taste

Ingredients – Garnishing:

Finely Chopped Onions     --   ½ medium sized
Cashews                              --   a handful
Raisins                                 --   a handful (I don’t use this as )
Coriander leaves                --   a bunch
Garam Masala                   --   2 tsp

Preparation of Gravy:

Grind green chillies, garlic, ginger, cloves, cardamom, aniseed, cashews, fennel seeds, nutmeg, mace and cinnamon to a fine paste. I had to sacrifice nutmeg and mace this time.

Marinate the mutton with the ground paste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, chilly powder, garam masala, chopped tomatoes, chopped coriander leaves, chopped mint leaves, curd and salt. Keep it aside for an hour.


Saute the chopped onions in oil until they are translucent. Add the marinated mutton and cook it on a low flame.  Since it takes a long time to cook mutton, you can also pressure cook it for around 1 -2 whistles. And then cook on a low flame until the mutton is well cooked and the gravy is of the required consistency.


 

Do not add water. Water will ooze out from the meat and the curd and onions. Keep the gravy aside.

Preparation of Rice:

Wash the rice thoroughly and soak in cold water for 15 – 20 minutes.

Add 2 tbsp of ghee to a vessel and fry the finely chopped onion until its golden brown in colour and keep aside. Onions cook even after taking it out, so make sure that you do not burn them. Fry the cashews and keep aside.

Now fry cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, cardamom whole pepper and aniseed. Add more ghee if required. Once the raw smell goes off, add the drained rice and fry for 10 minutes.


 

Meanwhile, keep the water on another stove and let it boil. Add the boiling water to the fried rice. Once the rice starts boiling, add the lemon juice from a lemon (strained juice -> this helps the rice to be non-sticky). Cook the rice with the vessel closed with a lid. Also stir in between to make sure that the rice does not stick on the bottom of the vessel. Once the rice is cooked (It would be only 90% cooked by the time the water evaporates. If not drain the rice while it is 90% cooked. This can vary on the quality/type of the rice.), empty this into another vessel, preferably other flat vessel/plates and let it cool.

Mix the biriyani:

Spread 1 tbsp of ghee in a big vessel (Oven safe, if baking in oven). Spread some rice in the vessel, garnish with the chopped coriander leaves, fried onions, cashew nuts and raisins. Also sprinkle some garam masala. Then spread a layer of mutton gravy.

  


Repeat this layering until you are done with a layer of rice and the garnishing at the top. Cover this tightly with a foil paper and keep in a pre-heated oven at 250 F for 10 minutes.

Mix the rice and the mutton pieces and serve hot with raitha, pappadam and chammanthi.



Recipe Courtesy: Amma


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

The first time when I wanted to bake a cake, I asked my dear friend for a recipe. She gave me this one and since I was a novice at that time, I didn't wanna try a special one, though this is very easy. This sounded so yummy and I wanted to try this the next time. I even did wake up my dearie early in the morning to confirm the steps. Thank you dearie for this yummy recipe...






Ingredients:

All purpose flour              --    1 cup
Baking powder                 --    2 ½ tsp
Ripe Pineapple                 --    ½ of medium size
Pineapple juice                --    ½ cup (extracted from the left over part of the pineapple - optional)
Eggs                                   --    6 big eggs
Powdered Sugar              --    ¾ cup
Vanilla Essence                --    1 tsp
Pineapple Essence           --    1 tsp
Sugar                                 --   ½ cup (For Caramel, preferably brown sugar)
Butter                                --    3 tbsp (Optional)

Preparation of Cake:

Mix the flour and baking powder. Sift the mix 4 -5 times. This helps to mix the baking powder thoroughly in the flour. Keep it aside.

Beat the egg yolks well. Add the powdered sugar to it and mix well.

Keep on mixing and add the flour spoon by spoon. Make sure that the flour is mixed well in the mixture before adding the next set.

Beat the egg white well to foam up and add it into the cake mix slowly. Add vanilla essence and pineapple essence.

If the mixture is very thick, add pineapple juice to make it the required consistency. 



Prepare the caramel with the sugar and pour it into the prepared baking tray. Optionally you can use the butter while preparing the caramel. Melt the butter first and add the sugar into it and let it caramelize. Spread it all around. Keep a pineapple ring in the centre and the chunks around the tray. Pour the dough into the tray. 

If the pineapple is sour, cook it in sugar syrup for 5 minutes or soak in sugar syrup for 1 hour.






Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree Celsius (300 F) for 70 to 80 minutes. Check if a tooth pick comes out neat and pour the pineapple juice over it.


Place the cake upside down. You can also pour the juice after turning the cake upside down. The cake gets soaked in the juice and gives you a good pineapple flavor. Keep in fridge for 2 -3 hours and serve chill. Cool cake with ice cream is a great combination.

 


Recipe Courtesy: Smrithy

Friday, April 16, 2010

Meen Pathiri (Fish in Rice flour pan cake)



Pathiri comes in different varieties like meen pathiri, erachi pathiri, chatti pathiri etc.  Its during the Ramzan time  we see these different varieties of pathiri in almost all bakery in Calicut. But the Zain's Restaurant near the beach will have the special dish all round the year. We go there to get different muslim special delicacies like these pathiris, ari kadukka etc..

By chance it was a Saturday, we went to COSTCO, the day on which they serve us with different varieties of food samples. We tried out almost every item served there. As almost all of those were pure American dishes, we liked only a very few of them. One among them was canned tuna mixed with mayonnaise and served on a salt biscuit. That was really good and we being pure non-vegetarians, thought of trying it out and got a whole pack of 8 cans. I did not have much idea on what can be done with it. We tried it out with Pasta, fish cutlet etc. Then came the idea of meen pathiri






Ingredients for Pathiri:

Rice Flour                              --   1 cup
Water                                     --   2 cups
Oil                                           --   2 tsp
Salt                                         --    to taste

Ingredients for filling:


Shredded fish                         --   1 can (I used canned tuna)
Onion                                       --   1 medium
Green Chillies                         --   3 -4
Tomato                                  --    ½ of a medium sized
Ginger Garlic paste              --    1 tsp
Turmeric Powder                --    ¼ tsp
Chilly Powder                       --    ½ tsp
Pepper Powder                    --    ¼ tsp
Garam Masala                     --    ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds                          --    ½ tsp
Oil                                           --    2 tbsp
Salt                                         --    to taste

Preparation:

Add oil into the pan and fry chopped onions, thinly chopped green chillies and ginger garlic paste until the onions become translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and fry well. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder, pepper powder, garam masala and cumin seeds. Fry them until the raw smell goes off. Then add the shredded fish.Mix it well and keep aside.
If using canned fish, you can add it as such. If not, cook the fish with a pinch of turmeric and salt in water and then shred it with a fork or your hands.   




Prepare the dough for the pathiri as mentioned in the previous post – Pathiri. Roll it out in a press pan or with the hand in a piece of banana leaf / foil paper. Do not add rice flour while rolling. If sticky rub your hands/press pan with oil.

Divide the fish filling into equal portions for the number of pathiris rolled out. Spread the filling on one half of the rolled out pathiri and fold the pathiri as shown.



You can also spread the filling on one whole pathiri and close it with another. This depends on the size of the steamer you have. Keep it on an idly cooker/any kind of steamer and let it cook for 8 – 10 minutes.



Once cooked, take it out and serve hot.


Recipe Courtesy: Amma