Sunday, February 26, 2006

Pattani Sundal - Made with dried Green Peas

Sundal is a protein packed snack, that children love. I remember the days, when I used to blackmail my brother, with the Sundal Prasadham, they give in the temple, to drag him to the temple. :) I swear, he used to come with me only for those Sundals! Ofcourse, the temple sundals are without garlic, ginger and onions. Sundal can be made with any kind of dried beans; the most common being - dried peas, black channa, white garbanzo beans, broken channa dal, green mung dal, even with yellow mung dal. And it is so easy to make. Dear Husband loves Sundals made of any kind of beans. So, in the month of love, I made his favourite Sundal and he was very happy! So, this is my contribution to Meena's 'From My Rasoi' event. Hope I'm not too late.

Here's my recipe for the yummy Sundal!

Dried green peas - 1 cup, soaked overnight and boiled till tender
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Red chilli - 1, broken in half
Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp
Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cummin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Broken white Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp

Heat oil in a cast iron pan (or any thick bottomed pan) and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the cummin seeds and asafoetida. After the cummin seeds turn golden brown, add the broken white urad dal. When it is roasted, add the onions, currly leaves and red chillies and saute for a few minutes. Add the ginger paste and garlic paste and saute till the raw smell leaves. Add the boiled dried green peas and salt. Sprinkle about 2-3 tbsp water and saute for 2 mins. Cover this and cook at low heat for 2 more mins. Add the grated coconut and saute for another minute. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Announcements galore!

I shy away from Anouncements. So, I put them off as far as I can. But I guess, now I'm ready to share some of my joy with my blog friends.

I'm pregnant! Third month of the first trimester. - Yep, nasty morning sickness and all those usual stuff. Been craving junk food, that's why this month finds me with less home-cooked stuff.

Other announcement is because of Indira. She was telling so much about Toronto and how we get Indian gooseberries and guavas and all those Indian stuff in Toronto. So, I pestered hubby until he agreed to move to Toronto. So, we are moving to Toronto by end of March. Well, I was just kidding. :) We are moving to Toronto, yes, but No!, not because of Indira! (sorry, dear!) We've been thinking about this for a long time and think, now is the right time to move (for some personal reasons).
So, any tips on getting through pregnancy or moving to Canada is very much welcome!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Senai kilangu fry (ofcourse, with 1 tbsp oil)

Senai kilangu (Tamil) / Suran (Hindi/Marathi) / Elephant Yam(English)- whatever you call it and however you cook it, it tastes just delicious! Usually it is made into a crisp varuval (fry) as a side dish. Some people half-boil it and then deep fry it with masalas. I've seen some Keralite dishes use this yam in their kootu curries. Backhome, My mother makes a yummy Senaikilangu Varuval (fry). You might wonder why I keep writing about my mom, often. Yes, I love my mom's food and got this love for cooking from her. She's the one, who turned me into a foodie. That's why you keep seeing a lot of my mom's recipes here. Though my mom's recipe for Senaikilangu is the tastiest (No, she doesnt deep fry! She grinds some wet masala and adds it to the Suran and still get a very dry result in the end!), I just can't seem to replicate it. So, I tried to work around and concocted a simple recipe myself. I haven't seen fresh Elephant yam in US, so I just have to satisfy my tastebuds with the frozen ones at Indian grocery stores. This recipe is very simple and tasty. With fresh ones, it tastes even better!

Frozen Suran - 1 packet
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Boil 3 cups of water with the turmeric powder and add the frozen Suran. Half cook the Suran and drain this water. (I feel some of the nutrients are drained off when we drain this water, but then if I boil it with less water, which doesnt require draining, then the vegetable kind of irritates the taste buds on the tongue. So I boil the yam with lesser water and drain the water.)

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan or a nonstick pan, and add the suran pieces. Add the salt and chilli powder and stir slightly, coating the suran pieces with the masala. On reduced heat, cook the suran pieces till they turn golden brown.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Methi Mutter Pulao - An easy version

Pulaos are rice dishes which are wonderful to have with curries. I think, Pulaos are Indian versions of Persian Pilafs. While Biryanis and Pulaos look similar, the cooking method differs. Also the Biryanis are more spicier than Pulaos. My mother makes an yummy Pulao made of freshly extracted coconut milk and serves it with her delicious egg curry or spicy kurmas. I'll probably, make a separate post about it sometime. I like all kinds of Pulaos - Methi Mutter pulao, Tomato Pulao, Spinach Pulao, Mushroom Pulao, etc (Not Paneer Pulao though, I eat only a selected few paneer dishes). Traditionally, Methi-mutter Pualo is made with fresh fenugreek leaves and fresh peas and the rice cooked along with the peas and leaves and some spices. Now, here's a quick version (lazy version?) of Methi Mutter Pulao.

Cooked rice - 2 cups (left over rice is fine, make sure the rice doesnt stick to each other)
Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) - 3-4 tbsp
Frozen green peas - 1 cup
Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Cummin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Badshah Pulao masala - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Olive oil - 1 tbsp

Heat oil and add cummin seeds. When they turn golden brown, add the onions and saute the onions till they turn golden brown. Add the green peas and saute for a few mins, till they are cooked. Add the kasoori methi leaves and saute for a few mins. Add salt and the cooked rice and saute for a few mins. Add the Pulao masala and stir well. Serve hot.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Pickling with Indira's recipe - Lemon pickle

I love pickles and have been known to eat an entire cup of small amla pickles in one go while watching TV, when I was a kid. Well, not anymore, I've turned down the heat in my cooking and the food I eat, but I still love good pickles - my mother's tomato pickle was the best, then came mango pickles and amla pickles (both small and big gooseberries) and lemon pickles, in the same order. These days, I've been craving for lemon pickles. And I hate those store bought pickles - full of oil and chilli powder and preservatives and salt! Hate them! So, Obviously, when I found Indira's Lemon pickle, I was delighted and wanted to try it right away, but didnt have fresh limes as she suggested. I had some green limes and yellow lemons in the fridge and didn't have the patience to wait till the next grocery shopping. So, decided to try it with the yellow lemons anyway. Lemons aren't very sour, so I needed the lime juice for that tanginess. I washed the limes and lemons and put them on the kitchen counter for a day. Then, wiped them clean and tried this pickle exactly as she suggested except for the addition of a pinch of asafoetida. I wanted to make a small batch to test my pickle making skills, so I experimented with 4 lemons and used half the amount of ingredients mentioned in her recipe.
I cut the four lemons and put them in a clean glass jar. I extracted the juice from 4-6 limes (enough to get about 3/4rth cup of lemon jucie) and poured over these lemon wedges. I added 3-4 tsps of salt and mixed thoroughly with a clean, dry spatula and covered the bottle and put it in a undisturbed corner. Everyday, morning and evening, I shook the bottle up and down to make sure that all the lemon wedges soaked well in the juice. After 4-5 days, the lemons were looking ready for the masala.
I dry roasted about 1/2 tsp each of cummin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds in the cast iron pan and powdered them when they cooled down to room temperature. I heated up about 6 tsp oil and added about 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds and allowed them to splutter. I removed it from the stove top and added a dash of asafoetida. After the oil came down to room temperature, I added this oil and the powdered pickle masala powder and about 2 tsp of red chilli powder to the bottle of lemon wedges and stirred with the long spatula. I tasted a bit and it was different and tasty. I left the bottle unopened for another 5 days to allow the flavors to be absorbed by the lemon wedges.
And when I taste it now, it is yummmmmmmmm........ The thick skin of the yellow lemons have absorbed the flavors very nicely and is very soft and the taste is just delicious! And very Authentic! My Mom and Grandma would be proud of me! Thank you very much, Indira!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Tomato Kurma

Amma makes this delicious Tomato Kurma (Thakkali Kurma) for breakfast. I don't know where she got this recipe from. When I think of it, it's always been there, when we grew up. It is wonderful to have this with idlis and dosas. She makes Potato Kurma is the same way, substituting boiled potatoes for tomatoes. Sometimes with cauliflower and fresh green peas. These kurmas taste the best, when had with dosas, but with idlis, it is no less tasty!
This recipe, traditionally calls for some more coconut, but to avoid too much of coconut for health reasons, my mother adds the roasted channa dal and poppy seeds which can thicken and dish and also give the rich flavor. I can honestly say, I don't miss the coconut when I add the roasted channa dal and poppy seeds. (Btw, I store poppy seeds in the refrigerator to prevent rancidity.) This dish doesnt taste good with rice though. If you are making this to go along with rice, skip the roasted channa dal and add some more coconut.

Ripe tomatoes - 4-5, finely chopped
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig, chopped
Wet Masala:
Garlic - 3 cloves
Ginger - 1 inch
Roasted channa dal/Pottu kadalai - 1 tbsp
Poppy seeds / khuskhus - 1 tsp
Coconut - 1 tbsp (dry/frozen is fine, but fresh is ideal)
Cinnamon - 1 small piece
Clove - 1
Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
Green chillies - 2 (you can add more to make it more hot)

Make a fine paste of the wet masala ingedients using some water and a pinch of salt. Green chillies when ground to a paste sometimes, turn slightly bitter. The pinch of salt is added to the wet masala while grinding to prevent this.

Heat oil in a sauce pan and add the onions and curry leaves. Saute till the onions turn translucent. Add the tomatoes and sprinkle some salt to help the tomatoes cook faster. When the tomatoes are done, add the turmeric powder, ground masala and some more salt. Add about 2 cups of water and cover the sauce pan. simmer for about 15-20 mins. Garnish with some coriander leaves and serve hot with hot dosas or idlis.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Mystery vegetable in our kootu curry!

I made kootu curry recently and I used a mystery vegetable in it. I'm not talking about the broccoli on the side. There is a vegetable in the kootu curry. Yes, this is a part of my new year's resolution to try new vegetables. This is 2 of 12 new food stuff to try this year.

So, what is this mystery vegetable? Can anybody take a guess? (Click on the picture to see an enlarged version)

The mystery vegetable contest ends!!! It was yellow squash, also called as summer squash that I used in the kootu curry.

Recipe for the Squash Kootu Curry: This is a lazy version of the traditional kootu curry, but it had the same great taste. Traditionally, the wet masala is made of coconut, cummin seeds and green chillies. I decided to forego the making of the masala and added the ingredients, without grinding them, in the curry. Heat oil and add some cummin seeds and roast them. Add chopped onions, green chillies (slit lengthwise) and some curry leaves. After the onions turn translucent, add channa dal (pre-soaked for 1/2 hr) and yellow squash (skin removed and chopped). Add a dash of tumeric powder and 2-3 tbsp of dry grated coconut powder (available in Indian stores). Saute for a few minutes. Add 2 cups of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Wait till the pressure has been released and then add salt. simmer for 5-10 mins. Serve hot with rice.

Priya is the winner of the guessgame! I mailed you a copy of my collection, that I gathered from helpful souls, over the internet. It was fun having the guess game. Thanks for everybody who participated in this fun.