April 30, 2009

Vegetable Kurma

About 12 years ago, I packed my bags and set out on this journey. I left the comfort and the protection that my parents' home offered and moved to a beach resort. Only, this beach resort had a slightly non-resort like name: Pondicherry University. Well, it was on the beach. You could see the Bay of Bengal from the hostel rooms and balconies. You could even see the beach from our classrooms. I think I hit the beach almost every evening for the two years that I was there. Maybe not the water everyday, but Puru's definitely.

Puru's is the name we gave this shack right opposite the University gate. The owner's name was Purushottam and hence we always called this place "Puru's". This place was famous for tea and parottas. At the time, you could get a cup of tea for Rs. 1.50 and a plate of parottas cost Rs. 6. That plate had not two, but four parottas. Quite a meal. And very easy on the pocket too. Puru's was a life saver. When the hostel seemed a little too far to trudge to for lunch (and one that wasn't exactly worth it) and the cafeteria was too crowded, we landed at Puru's for our meal.

This kurma isn't exactly how Puru made it. I wasn't into cooking all that much back then, even though we cooked big meals everyday for 2 weeks every semester until the mess opened. So, this is mostly from memory.

2 cups Mixed Vegetable
s, diced and cooked(I used potatoes, peas, carrots, beans and cauliflower)

2 Tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp Oil
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
Salt to taste

Grind to a paste:

1 Onion, chopped

2 Green Chillies

1" piece Ginger

3-4 pods Garlic

1 tsp Coriander Seeds

1 tsp Cumin Seeds

1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

1/2 tsp Chilli Powder

2-3 tbsp Coconut, scraped

Heat the oil in a pressure pan. Add the fennel seeds and the paste. Fry the paste for 2-3 minutes. Add the chopped tomato along with the diced vegetables. Add the salt and about half a cup of water. Pressure cook for a whistle.

My favourite way to eat this vegetable kurma is with parottas. And before you ask, my parottas came from a bag of Sumeru's frozen Malabar Paratha. The other absolute favourite is kurma with idiyappam. I order this almost each time we go out for a meal when I visit Madras. It doesn't come close to food from a beloved shack called Puru's, but in a pinch, it will more than just do. I left the Pondicherry University exactly ten years ago and it has been a while since I last "chilled out" at Puru's. So when I want to take a trip down the memory lane, I make myself a plate of vegetable kurma and prepare to be magically transported to the sandy coconut groves of Pondicherry.

April 29, 2009

Coconut Chutney Gobhi Matar

This is yet another side dish that celebrates the wonderful combination of cauliflower and peas. These two vegetables are available in plenty during the winter months. I am usually anywhere between 2 and 6 months late in posting recipes. There are exceptions. On some days, I might make a dish and blog about it the same day, or within 24 hours. Sometimes the dishes take about a year to make it to the blog. Some dishes don't ever make it. So, although this dish was made in the peak of winter, I'm talking about it here right in the middle of summer.

1 cup Cauliflower florets, steamed

1 cup Peas, cooked

1 tsp Oil

Salt to taste

To be ground to a paste:

1/4 cup Coconut

1" piece Ginger

2-3 Green Chillies

1/4 cup Coriander Leaves

Heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the paste and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the cauliflower, peas and salt. Add a little water. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.

This is very easy to make and is a great side for chapattis. We also enjoy it with hot rice and some dali-saar. One more of Amma's keeper recipes shared with all of you.

April 27, 2009

Tori Saar Upkari

There are cookbooks and there are cookbooks. And then there are mothers who are treasure troves of recipes. This time around when my parents visited us, I made it a point to specifically ask for some dishes and made note of the recipes. I found that Amma's style of amchi cooking isn't exactly the way Rasachandrika has it. There are minor tweaks here and there. This saar-upkari is a great example.

I've made two kinds of saar-upkari before. This one feels like a saar-upkari with a twist in the tale.

1 cup Pigeon Peas
4 Red Chillies
1 tbsp Tamarind Paste
2 tbsp Coconut
1 tbsp Jaggery
Salt to taste

For the seasoning:
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
7-8 Curry Leaves

For the Upkari:

Cooked Pigeon Peas(from recipe above)
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
4-5 Curry Leaves
Salt to taste

Pressure cook the pigeon peas with 4-5 cups of water. Drain the liquid into a vessel. Keep the pigeon peas for the upkari.

Grind together about 2 tbsp of cooked pigeon peas with the coconut, coriander seeds, tamarind paste, and red chillies. Add some of this paste to the liquid in the vessel. Add the salt and bring to a boil. In a frying ladle, heat the oil and add the mustard seeds and the asafoetida. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves. Add this to the saar.


In a kadhai, heat the oil. Add the mustard, red chillies and the curry leaves. When the mustard splutters, add the cooked pigeon peas, salt and jaggery and the ground paste. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.

This is my idea of a super sunday!

April 25, 2009

Mushroom Peas Masala

When mushrooms are in "season", you can always find a packet in my fridge. By season, I mean when a packet costs between Rs. 15 and Rs. 25 for 200g. During the summer months, the price shoots up to Rs. 250 a kilo and I miraculously manage to do without them. Somehow, even when my fridge is full of mushrooms, I rarely think beyond my tried and tested recipes. Soup or pasta is usually where the mushrooms land up. On rare occasions, I make breakfast or a snack using mushrooms. I do have a few Indian recipes that we both enjoy, but somehow I don't always look at a bag of mushrooms and go "Indian".

1 cup Mushrooms, diced

1/2 cup Peas, cooked
1 Onion, chopped finely
1 Tomato, chopped finely
1 tsp Ginger Paste
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Kitchen King Masala
1 tsp Oil
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the onions and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the ginger paste along with the turmeric, coriander and chilli powders. Add the Kitchen King Masala, salt and the tomato and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the peas with about 1/4 cup of water. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.

This dish is ready in very short while and tastes great with chapattis. I am not so sure about rice, but you could give it a shot. With the tang of tomatoes and the sweetness of peas, I'm sending this loaded dish to this month's FIC: Red and Green.

April 23, 2009

Milk Vegetable Soup

This soup is one of the staples at my parents' place. Since we had soup for dinner almost every night, Amma had to ensure that there was enough variety. What I love about this particular soup is that Amma always put in alphabet pasta. I made this soup minus the pasta as I don't even know where to look for alphabet or soup pasta here. But I've figured that this soup tastes divine even without the pasta. Since I have chopped vegetables in the freezer, this soup comes together in a jiffy.

1 cup Mixed Vegetables, finely chopped (I used carrot, beans and peas)

1 Onion, finely chopped

1 tsp Garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp Chilli flakes

1 tsp Basil

1 tsp Parsley

2 tbsp Alphabet Pasta (optional)

2 tbsp Cheese, grated

1 cup Milk

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 tsp Oil

Heat the oil in a pressure pan. Add the garlic and the onions. Fry for a minute or two. Add the chopped vegetables and pasta, if using, along with the chilli flakes, basil and parsley. Add the salt and fry for a minute. Add about 1 cup of water and pressure cook for 3 whistles (approx. ten minutes).

Add the milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the cheese, season with salt and pepper and enjoy your meal. This soup tastes great with some garlic bread or mushroom melts. I like to have it as it is.

April 21, 2009

Mixed Fruit Bran Pancakes

I love pancakes, but I'm not sure I could eat them everyday. Not for breakfast at least. 9 out of 10 times, I'd vote for a savoury breakfast. I eat salted oats porridge with a sprinkle of molaga podi, much to the surprise of my colleagues who cannot imagine eating a porridge that isn't sweet. But I like jam on toast and pancakes with syrup as a sweet variation.

1/2 cup Flour

1/2 cup Wheat Flour

1/4 cup Wheat Bran
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 cup Milk
1/4 cup Mixed Dry Fruits
½ tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Butter
A pinch of Salt
½ tsp Butter for frying

To Serve:
Maple Syrup/Fruit Cocoktail/Fresh Fruit

Beat the egg and then add milk. Gradually add the flour, wheat flour, wheat bran and the baking powder while continuing to blend. Add the sugar, salt, and butter and mix well. Blend in the dry fruit.

Heat the pan and add the butter. Coat the entire pan with the melted butter. Pour a ladleful of the batter onto the pan. Do not spread it with the ladle. Allow the batter to flow and form a circle. Cook for a minute and turn over. Cook on the other side for about half a minute and then transfer to a plate.

Repeat with the remaining batter. Stack the pancakes on a plate and serve hot with maple syrup or fruit cocktail. I had a can of fruit fiesta cocktail that my friend brought for me. The combination of these pancakes and the fruit cocktail was very nice. S had his stack with maple syrup and I'm certain he enjoyed every bite.

April 19, 2009

Zucchini Tomato Soup

This may not look like the most appetizing of soups. Especially, given the lovely colour of most soups I've made this winter. But since I tried it out and since it was a nice nourishing soup which we really liked, I had to share it with all of you. This is a nice way to use up zucchini after making all those lasagne and stir fries.

2 Zucchinis, diced

4 Tomatoes, chopped

2 Onions, chopped

1 tsp Garlic, chopped

1 tsp Oil

1 tbsp Mixed Herbs (Parsley, Basil, Oregano)

1/4 tsp Nutmeg Powder

Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a pressure pan. Add the onions and garlic and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes and zucchini and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the herbs and the nutmeg powder. Add 2-3 cups of water and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.

Blend in a liquidizer and pour the contents into a pan. Bring the soup to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Close your eyes and enjoy the soup while it is still hot.

April 17, 2009

Italian Style Paneer

There's this little shop in Gurgaon that sells all sorts of milk products. It was on my first trip there that I discovered masala paneer. I thought it was a great idea and bought some. I just cut the paneer into slices and toasted them. Then Arundathi wrote about dressing up paneer in this post. Inspired by all of this, I decided to make herbed paneer, Italian style.

1 litre Milk

1 tbsp Lime Juice

1 tsp Garlic, chopped

1 tsp Chilli Flakes

1 tsp Mixed Herbs (Basil, Parsley and Oregano)

1/2 tsp Salt

Bring the milk to a boil. As it starts boiling, add the garlic, chilli flakes, herbs and salt. Add the lime juice and allow the mixture to curdle.

Drain the solids into a cheesecloth and keep it under a heavy object so the liquid drains. Alternatively, you could use a paneer maker that is available in the market these days.

Cut the resultant block into cubes and add it to pasta salads or pasta dishes. I am sure it would be great in sandwiches and as a pizza topping.

April 15, 2009

Aloo Kofta

Kofta! For the longest time, I hunted for a good malai kofta. In fact, for a while, I ordered it each time we went to an Indian restaurant. For some reason, most places here serve malai kofta in a sweetish white gravy. The koftas always seem to have raisins in them. Now, I firmly believe that north indian food served in some restaurants in south india are just the way I like them. For instance, I love the chhole bhature you get at Shiv Sagar in Bangalore much more than what they serve at a Bikanerwala in Gurgaon. In fact, sometimes I crave "south indian style" north indian food. And no, I don't mean curry leaves laden gravies. There's this place that I went to called Verdhan (a Bangalore based chain) in Gurgaon. As always, I ordered malai kofta. I quickly checked what colour the gravy was. The guy said, 'Brown'. I was so thrilled. I haven't ordered malai kofta since even when we've been to Indian restaurants. I'll savour that taste for some time to come.

I decided to make some aloo kofta to take for lunch. Somehow, my colleagues didn't seem to know that such a dish even exists. They've only heard of malai kofta and lauki kofta. I've had both these and have also also had potato kofta. Since I very rarely make anything with potatoes and even more rarely fry food, this had to be a treat.

For the Kofta:

1 cup Potato, cooked, peeled and mashed

1 tsp Green Chilli paste

1 tsp Ginger Paste

1 tsp Garlic Paste

1 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped

1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder

1/4 tsp Chilli Powder

1 tbsp Flour, mixed in 2 tbsp water

Salt to taste

For the gravy:

1 Onion, chopped

2 tbsp Cashews

1 tsp Poppy Seeds

2 Red chillies

1 tsp Ginger Paste

1 tsp Garlic Paste

1 tsp Cumin Seeds

1 tsp Coriander Seeds

1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder

2 tbsp Oil

1/2 cup Milk

Salt to taste

Coriander Leaves for garnish

Grind the ingredients for the gravy in a mixer using a little water if necessary.

Mix all the ingredients for the kofta (except the flour-water mixture) and shape into small balls. Heat the appey pan and put a few drops of oil in each mould. Dip each ball in the flour-water mixture and place it in the moulds. Cook until each ball is golden brown, turning every minute or so. Remove from the pan and drain on absorbent paper.

Heat a tablespoon of oil and add the ground paste. Fry this for a few minutes until the oil separates from the paste. Add the salt and fry for a minute. Add the milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the koftas and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

This recipe is a keeper. I remembered the recipe for the koftas from Amma's koftas. But I just went with whatever I could lay my hands on when it came to the gravy. It is a very rich and creamy dish that gives you the feeling of "rich food". Thank heavens it comes without that much guilt.

I'm sending this to Let's Go Nuts: Cashews, being hosted by Poornima of Tasty Treats.

April 14, 2009

Bisi Bele Huli Anna

Almost everytime I visit my parents, I ask for this dish. On some days, I get potato roast. On some, I get pachadi. On some days I get both. This picture doesn't capture the essence of this dish. But it is easily my favourite one pot meal. And a very tasty one at that. No trip home is complete without a meal that comprises the well know Bisi Bele Huli Anna. This is a recipe that is very sacred to me. I don't know for how long it has been in my family. I now share it with you.

1/2 cup Toor Dal

1/2 cup Rice

1 cup Mixed Vegetables (Carrot, Beans, Peas, Ash gourd)

1/4 cup Peanuts

2 tbsp Tamarind Paste

Salt to taste

For the masala:

1/4 tsp Asafoetida

4 Red Chillies

1 tsp Urad Dal

1 tsp Chana Dal

1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds

1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds

1 tbsp Peppercorns

2 tsp Coriander Seeds

1/4 cup Coconut or Copra, roasted

1 tsp Oil

For the tempering:

1 tsp Ghee or Oil

1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds

1/4 tsp Asafoetida

7-8 Curry Leaves

Coriander Leaves for garnish

Pressure cook the rice, dal, vegetables and peanuts. When done, mash the rice and dal well.

In a small kadhai, heat the teaspoon of oil. Add the asafoetida and the red chillies and fry until the red chillies turn bright. Add the urad and chana dals, cumin, coriander, peppercorns and fenugreek seeds. Add the roasted coconut (or Copra) and take off the flame. Grind to a chutney like consistency.

In a large vessel, heat the ghee and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard splutters, add the asafoetida and the curry leaves. Add the vegetables, peanuts, salt, ground paste and tamarind paste. Add about a cup of water. Mix well. Add the mashed rice and dal to this mixture. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

This is the perfect Sunday meal. I'd call it the south Indian's answer to the Rajma rice tradition. This is my way of celebrating the New Year. Happy New Year folks! Happy Vishu, Bihu, Baisakhi and Poila Baishakh (and any other festival that I am missing out). Iniya Puttandu Nalvazhtukkal.

April 13, 2009

Methi Chana

This wasn't really a dish that I had planned on making. I'd soaked some black chickpeas in the hope of making sundal for our snack one day. When I opened the fridge for something that morning, I found a bag of cleaned methi leaves. It seemed like my experimenter's hat came and plonked itself on my head just then. I had this crazy idea that I eventually tried out that morning. The fact that I am blogging about it here simply means that we enjoyed our lunch that afternoon.

1 cup Black Chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked

1 cup Fenugreek Leaves, chopped

1 Onion, chopped finely

1 tsp Green Chilli paste

1 tsp Ginger Paste

1/2 tsp Chilli Powder

1 tsp Cumin-Coriander Powder

1 tsp Oil

1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds

1/4 tsp Asafoetida

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the cumin seeds and the asafoetida. When the cumin crackles, add the onion and fry for a minute. Add the green chilli and ginger pastes and fry for another minute. Add the cumin-coriander powder, chilli powder and salt. Add the fenugreek leaves and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the cooked chickpeas and mix well. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.

This was great as a dry side dish for rotis. I'm certain it would be great for those post lunch hunger pangs as well. A sundal like snack with greens. It doesn't get better than this, does it?

April 11, 2009

Tandoori Mushroom Stuffed Buns

It had been ages since I made anything with yeast. I don't fear yeast that much anymore, but I do have to keep the weather in mind. I think I'm fairly certain now it is hot enough. We had a hailstorm earlier this week and it felt like February in April. I had a holiday yesterday and decided to make good use of it by starting my yeast baking for 2009. I was extremely happy with the results of my experiment. All 8 buns disappeared within 4 hours of my having made them. And there were only two of us at home.

For the dough:

3/4 cup Flour

3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 1/2 tbsp Oil
1 1/2 tbsp Yeast
1 1/2 tbsp Sugar

1 tsp Salt

1/4 cup Boiling water

1/4 cup Milk
1/4 cup Coriander Leaves, chopped
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Chilli Powder

For the filling:

1/2 cup Mushrooms, finely chopped

1 Onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup Capsicum, finely chopped

1 tbsp Oil

1 tsp Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Paneer Tikka Masala

Salt to taste

Take a huge mixing bowl and place the oil, salt and sugar in it. Add boiling water and mix until the sugar dissolves. Add the milk now to bring the mixture to room temperature. Add the yeast and mix well. Add the flours, coriander leaves, turmeric and chilli powders and knead into a dough. Place the dough in a greased vessel and cover it with a damp muslin cloth. Allow to rise until double in size (roughly 45-50 minutes, though I guess it was cooler than I thought in Gurgaon, mine took 2 hours.)

Knead the dough for a minute and then divide into 8 equal portions.

For the filling:

Heat the oil and add the chopped onions and fry for a minute before adding the other capsicum. When the onion and capsicum are fried, add the mushroom, salt, chilli, turmeric and paneer tikka masala powders. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.

To Proceed:

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Take a portion of the dough and spread it on to your palm. Place some stuffing in the centre and bring the edges and seal. Place on a greased baking sheet or tray. Repeat with the other portions.

Allow to rise for 50-60 minutes and then bake for 12-15 minutes.

If you can make small buns out of this mixture, I'd say they would make a fantastic starter. What I really loved about these buns was the flavour. The stuffing was great and the bread was tasty too. Together, they were almost magical. I know I'll be making these more often.

April 9, 2009

Pooshnikkai Mochai Kootu

This was really my very first attempt at making kootu. I had some chopped ash gourd in my freezer. I also had some soaked and cooked hyacinth beans (rangoon mochai/avro) in the freezer. Even though I try not to use up my frozen goods on a weekend, sometimes I am my laziest best on a weekend. A quick call to Amma and I had the recipe for this kootu. It turned out to be a slight disaster as the consistency wasn't really close to that of a kootu. A real kootu should look more like this. But we still enjoyed it with some rice and yelai paruppu.

1 cup Ash Gourd, cubed

1 cup Hyacinth Beans, soaked and cooked

2 tbsp Chana Dal + 1 tsp Chana Dal

1/2 tsp Asafoetida

1 tsp Udad Dal

1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds

1 tsp Cumin

1/2 tsp Pepper

2 tbsp Coconut, scraped

1 tsp Oil

Salt to taste

For the tempering:

1 tsp Oil

1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds

7-8 Curry Leaves

Pressure cook the ash gourd with 2 tablespoons of chana dal. Add the hyacinth beans. Add the asafoetida to this.

In a frying ladle, heat a teaspoon of oil. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, pepper, along with the udad and chana dals. Fry for a minute. Grind this along with the coconut to a fine paste.

Add this paste to the ash gourd-bean mixture along with some salt and mix well.

In a frying ladle, heat another teaspoon of oil and add the mustard to it. When the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves. Add this tempering to the kootu.

You have great tasting comfort food on the table. Enjoy this with rice and paruppu and when you're done with lunch, settle down in front of the TV and doze maybe?

April 7, 2009

Yelai Paruppu

This dish isn't really a dish. I mean, it doesn't classify as a dish. But many meals would be incomplete if this little dish didn't make an appearance. Mixed with rice and ghee, this becomes the staple food of thousands of little children. In fact, at my parents' home, mor kuzhambu, menthi kuzhambu, avial and kootu are never made without this little sidekick. This is just plain old Yelai Paruppu.

Since I talk about this a lot, I decided to share the "recipe" with you.

1 cup Red Gram Dal (Toor Dal)

Salt to Taste

Pressure cook the dal with 2-3 cups of water. Drain the water and keep aside. You could use it to make rasam.

Mash the dal and add some salt. The "dish" is ready.

We usually mix some of this yelai paruppu with some rice and then eat it with mor kuzhambu. You could enjoy this whichever way you like.

April 5, 2009

Spicy Crackers

There's a limit to the number of fried snacks you can eat or serve at a party. Pop corn is a good idea as is Bhel Puri. I found that these crackers are great with drinks. They're crisp (sort of like thin thattais) and they're baked, not fried. I found the recipe for this in The Cookie Book and modified it. (The recipe called for curry powder which I don't have. Read this for curry powder related amusement.)

1/2 cup Flour

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp Sambar Powder

1/4 tsp Chilli Powder

2 tbsp Coriander, chopped

2 tbsp Water

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Mix all the ingredients to make a firm dough. Knead well and then allow to sit for 5-10 minutes. Divide the dough into 15-20 small balls. Roll out each ball thinly, using a little flour if necessary. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, turning them once when they are halfway through.

These crackers taste great with some salsa on the side. I'm quite sure you could play around with the spices to get different flavours each time. This time, since my crackers have chilli powder and coriander leaves, I'm sending this to FIC: Red and Green. I'm also sending these to JFI: Cilantro.

April 3, 2009

Moong Kosumbari (Yugadi /Rama Navami Pachadi)

This is a very simple dish that is made on Yugadi as well as Rama Navami. It has a nice tang from green mangoes which is probably the reason I enjoy this the most. (Please note that this is not the Ugadi Pachadi that is made in Andhra Pradesh.)

I made this in bulk last week to take to a slightly belated Yugadi celebration at the New Delhi Konkani Sabha on Sunday. I made this for 70 people. I expected to bring back a lot of it. I even joked to S that we could take a box each to work the next day. As it turned out, we did have lots left when people began leaving. Just when I started to close my boxes, a lady walked up to me and said, "If you don't mind, I'd like to take some of this home." I was thrilled. I emptied all the contents of one box into her container. She eyed the next box. I quickly emptied that as well. She said, "I came back quickly because I definitely wasn't going back without the pachadi." I said, "Thanks, I'm honoured." She looked at me and her expression was one of complete surprise. I probably didn't look like one of those people who could (and would) have anything to do cooking. But hey, I was thrilled.

Such encounters always take me back to this topic. But it could just be me. People who know me also know how lazy I can be. Considering I commute from Gurgaon to NOIDA and back everyday, they probably expect that I would not lift a finger. In a way, I'd like for people to think that of me. (The lower the expectations, the happier they'll be with anything I do.)

Coming to my "nearly award winning" recipe:

2-3 tbsp Cucumber, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup Moong Dal, washed and soaked for an hour
2 tbsp scraped Coconut
1 tsp Green Chilli-Ginger paste
1 small Raw Mango, grated (or juice of 1 Lime)
Salt to Taste
Coriander leaves for garnish

For the tempering:
1 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp Asafoetida
7-8 Curry Leaves

Grind the coconut along with the chilli-ginger paste and make a rough chutney like paste.

Place the soaked moong dal in a large bowl. Add the ground paste, cucumber, raw mango, salt and mix well. In a small kadhai or frying ladle, heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and asafoetida, and when the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves. Add this to the cucumber mixture.

Your pachadi is ready. Go ahead and make this on Rama Navami and get ready to get appreciation by the truck load. This is the last of the three part series on Rama Navami. I think I have finally gotten around to at least cooking and posting about things festive.

April 2, 2009


As a continuation to yesterday's post, I present another drink that is traditionally made on Rama Navami at my place. Panakam. During all my growing up years, I must say I preferred this drink over Neer Mor. Today, I think I've moved from sweet to savoury. I wonder if it is me or my waistline.

1/4 cup Jaggery

2 cups Water

1/4 tsp Cardamom Powder

1 tsp Dry Ginger Powder

Dissolve the jaggery in a little water. Strain this mixture. Add the remaining water, ginger powder and cardamom powder.
Serve chilled.

As a variation, you could add the freshly squeezed juice from 1 lime. A friend of mine brought me some panakam around 4-5 years ago. That was when I was introduced to the "lime juice in panakam" concept. Last year, I made two batches of panakam, one with lime juice and one without. I loved both.

April 1, 2009

Neer Mor

As you must have noticed, I am not the best when it comes to celebrating festivals or cooking festival related food. I shared with all of you my first Gowri-Ganesha celebration. And since then, I have tried to do what Amma did during festivals. I worry that my "celebrations" will soon be limited to cooking alone. Some part of me tells me that there's nothing wrong with that.

Last year, I was alone during Rama Navami. I didn't want to cook a feast for one person. I made two drinks that Amma makes every year on Rama Navami. This year, I hope to make those two along with some of the other things that are traditionally made.

Sitting in my drafts for a year now, I bring to you this simple recipe. Customary on Sri Rama Navami but welcome at any time during the long summer months is this spiced buttermilk: Neer Mor.

1 cup Curd

4 cups Water

2-3 Green Chillies, chopped finely

1 tsp Ginger Paste

3-4 tbsp Coriander Leaves, chopped finely

Salt to taste

Beat the curd until smooth. Blend with the water. Add the salt, coriander leaves, ginger paste and green chillies. Mix well. Serve cold.

I don't wait for this festival to make this drink, but it seemed apt to share this with all of you when the festival is just round the corner.