February 5, 2016

Raw Tamarind Thokku | Hunase Thokku

Those in the South, especially from the Karnataka & Andhra region will know what Thokku is & how dear it is to them. Thokku is a semi dry chutney made with various seasonal produce like raw mangoes, Tamarind, Tomatoes, Gooseberry. They are usually made in huge batches & is meant to be stored for a long time. If stored well,  a  Thokku can stay good for a couple of years. 

Tamarind Thokku

Now that it is Tamarind season in Namma Bengalooru, I bought some nice & tender tamarind to add it to Gooseberry Pickle & the rest was used up to make this amazing Thokku. 


Raw Tamarind

You Will Need:

  • 250 grams of tender Raw Tamarind
  • 12-15 Green Chilies or Ripe Red Chilies - I used Green Chilies
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds/Methi seeds
  • Salt as per taste - Usually about 4-5 Tablespoons
  • A big pinch of Turmeric Powder
  • 4 tbsp Oil - I used Groundnut Oil
How To:

Wash & Clean Tamarind. Spread it on a kitchen towel & pat them dry. While buying tamarind, choose the ones that are tender as they can be chopped easily & will have less fibre to discard. 

Chop tamarind into tiny pieces & discard the rough outer skin. Pound the tamarind with a pestle to remove any seeds.

Heat the oil along with a pinch of turmeric & set aside to cool

In a blender, grind green chilies & fenugreek seeds into a fine paste. Add salt & chopped tamarind & grind into a slightly coarse paste. Mix well with a spatula & add oil & whizz for a couple of times.

Store in a clean & dry, air tight jar & consume as needed. I usually refrigerate the those & it stays well for almost a year

TAMARIND THOKKU

The best way to eat Thokku is to mix it with hot steamed rice & a little bit of groundnut oil. 

Unlike Chutney, this those is slightly on the spicier side & will not go well with Idli/Dosa as it. You can take a couple of spoonfuls of those & grind it with grated coconut & a little bit of water to get a chutney like consnitency. Add mustard seeds tempering & use it to go along with idli/dosa

These gorgeous planks that I have used in these photographs are given to me by Mallika. She writes a beautiful food blog called  Veg Bowl & It's always a pleasure when fellow bloggers turn into friends. She was also generous enough to send me a few other props. Only a fellow blogger will understand how thrilled I was :) Thank you Mallika. I will treasure them  

February 2, 2016

Broccoli Pesto & A Simple Pesto Pasta

Broccoli Pesto

A lot of people seem to dislike Broccoli but I am on the other side. I just love that green coloured Vegetable. I can probably eat it everyday & in the most simple manner, steamed -- with a dash of salt & pepper.

I am always on the lookout for new ways of using broccoli. Broccoli Parathas taste excellent & so does Aloo Broccoli ..  Oh and Tandoori Broccoli is divine by the way, try it 

I made a nice pesto with Broccoli & I think it is a great way to sneak in this healthy vegetable if your kids are picky eaters.

DSC_3037

You Will Need:
  • 1 large heaf of Broccoli
  • A big handful of Almonds
  • A couple of stems of Mint
  • 2 tsp chopped Garlic
  • juice of half a lime
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • Salt as per taste

How To:

Cut Broccoli into florets. Steam them for 3-4 minutes & strain. Set aside.

In a food processor, add all the ingredients & whizz for a couple of minutes till it reaches a pesto like consistency.  If you find the pesto very thick & dry, add a little EVOO
Store it in an air tight jar. Keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Use this pesto in your pasta, As a Dip, in Marinades  as a salad dressing, on toast or you could eat it by the spoonfuls. Its quite yummy that way too

DSC_2941

For the Pesto Pasta, You Will Need:

  • 1 cup cooked Pasta
  • Half a cup of Broccoli Pesto
  • A handful of cherry Tomatoes
  • Sliced Black olives
  • Fresh Basil for Garnish
  • A dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Salt if needed

How To:

Choose any pasta of your choice, I used Macaroni because it is the child's current favourite :) Cook according to package instructions. Drain & set aside.

In a wide bowl, Add the pasta, Pesto, Halved cherry tomatoes, olives  chopped Basil & EVOO .  Give it a good mix. Check if you need some salt & Add if necessary. Gently mix again. If you find the pasta too dry, add some more pesto. I love a Pesto heavy pasta

Let it stand for 10-15 minutes before serving for the flavours to infuse

NOTE:

I didn't find the need to toast the almonds. You could, if you wish to. 
You can try replacing Almonds with other nuts like Pine nuts, melon seeds, Walnuts or Pecans


January 27, 2016

Chutney Pudi Using Leftover Ellu Bella

We enjoy eating Ellu Bella for several days after Sankranti. It is quite a tasty snack & we love eating handfuls every now and then until the stock gets over.

Incase, you are left with too much Ellu Bella & don't know what to do with it, I have an easy Chutney Pudi recipe made using leftover Ellu 

Ellu Chutney Pudi2

My Grandmother has been turning Ellu Bella into this yummy Pudi since several years now. This is a brilliant way to use leftover Ellu Bella & the Chutney Pudi has good flavours since it has roasted groundnuts & sesame seeds.

It is also very easy to put together & will take about 15 minutes of effort.

Ellu Chutney Pudi

You Will Need:

  • 2 cups Ellu
  • 12 - 15 Dry Red Chilies *
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp Asafoetida/Hing
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves
  • Salt as per taste
  • A lemon sized ball of tamarind
  • 2 tsp cooking oil
How To:

In a mixer grinder, coarsely grind the Ellu mixture & set aside. In a small pan, heat a tsp of oil. Add Asafoetida, curry leaves & turmeric powder. Next, Add the red chilies & roast on low flame for 3-4 minutes until it slightly changes colour. set aside to cool

In the same pan, fry roast tamarind until it turns crisp. Add the red chilies, curry leaves & tamarind into the mixer & make a fine powder. Add this to the coarsely ground Ellu mixture & add salt as per taste.

Run in the mixer for 1-2 rounds until it gets mixed well. The powder should have a slightly coarse texture. Do not grind it into a smooth powder

Store in an airtight jar & use as needed. It stays fresh for about 3-4 months

* I used Byadagi Chilies. You can replace half of the chilies with Kashmir Red Chilies 

January 18, 2016

The Fiery Chettinad Biryani

Here is a revamped post on Chettinad Biryani. The first time, I made this recipe was way back in 2009. I made it several times after that  And, somehow I never went back to making this version again. in a long time. Although, I have a few favourites, I keep trying new versions of to improvise. 

This recipe has been well received by my readers. A few of them wrote back to me mentioning that it turned out very well for them. So, do give it a try
You will love this version of Biryani, if you have a thing for Spicy Biryani. Chettinad Cuisine is known for its Spice after all 

Chettinad Biryani


The very first time I tried this Biryani was in Goa. We were away on a little getaway & it had been a couple of days since I had eaten rice & I was really craving for a big bowl of Rice & Dal. It was late in the night & a small eat out that we went to didn't have much rice options. Chettinad Biryani was on the list & I placed an order without expecting much. Goa isn't a place for Chettinad Cuisine anyway.

I had never tried Chettinad Biryani before & this one was one of the good Biryanis I had tasted. I came back home & did my  little research  to recreate the recipe. And, this is quite close


You Will Need:

  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 1 Big Onion - sliced lengthwise
  • 2 carrots - cleaned & diced
  • 1/2 cup Green Peas - fresh/frozen
  • 1 big potato - peeled & diced
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • A handful of chopped fresh coriander
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Salt as per taste

To Roast & Grind:
  • 1 big onion 
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 5-6 cloves
  • A small stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 2 Black Cardamom
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 7-8 Dry Red chilies - I used Byadagi Chilies 
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4th tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated coconut

How To:

Clean Basmati Rice under running water until the water runs clear. Soak in ample water & set aside for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Immerse diced potatoes in water until put to use.

In a small pan, dry roast all the ingredients mentioned in the list, except Onios, tomatoes & garlic. Once the spices are aromatic & transfer into a mixie jar. In the same pan, heat a tsp of oil & add Garlic. Add onions & tomatoes & fry until they are well cooked. Allow it to cool a bit. transfer into the mixie jar & grind into a smooth paste along with ginger. Do not add any water.

In a Pressure cooker, heat Ghee. Add bay leaves. Now add sliced onions & fry till they turn pink. Now add the ground paste & give it a mix. Fry for a couple of minutes.

Now add all the vegetables one by one. Add Garam Masala, turmeric powder & mix well. Drain Basmati rice & add.

Now, add about 1 1/2 cups of water & add the salt. mix well with the spatula. Pressure cook for 1 whistle

Once the pressure drops, allow it to cool & bit. Add lime juice & garnish with coriander before serving. Fluff gently with a fork to avoid breakage.

Serve with slices of Onion & diced cucumber & a Raita of your choice.


NOTE:

Use good quality Basmati Rice. There are many brands available. I mostly use Daawat

You can make your own Biryani spice mix by dry roasting & powdering all the dry ingredients mentioned in the list. Store it in an airtight jar for later use. 

Not everyone loves a lot of spices in their Biryani. Reduce the amount of spices, if its not your liking



January 13, 2016

Sesame Laddoo | Til Laddoo | Ellu Unde

The earliest memories of Sankranti was probably when I was a Five year old girl & I remember being all excited about the whole Ellu Bella distribution. 

It would take almost a week for my mom & my grandmother to make Ellu Bella & a couple of days before Sankranti they would spend atleast half a day  making Sakkara Achchu /Sugar Candies & safely stored them away so that we kids wouldn't eat them before the festival

As kids, we loved eating Sakkare Achchu/Sugar Candies & there would be quite a bit of leftover Sakkare Achchu / Sugar Candies  post the festival, & I would carry one sugar candy in my snack box each day until the stock got over


Sesame Laddoo 

During my early School Days, we moved to Mumbai & the concept of Sankranti was a little different there. Instead of Ellu Bella Mixture,  Maharashtrians make Sesame Laddoos/Ellu Unde known as Tilgul.

'Tilgul Ghya & Goad Goad Bola' is what say while sharing these Laddoos with near & dear ones.

I love Sesame Laddoos or Ellu Unde as they are known in Kannada. Sesame is loaded with Vitamin C & since these Laddoos are jaggery based, & has no fat in them, it makes an almost guilt free indulgence. 

I have a post dinner Sweet craving these days, so instead of diving into a jar of chocolate cookies, I am going to eat these 


SESAME LADDOO


You Will Need:
  • 2 cup White Sesame Seeds
  • 1 cup Chikki Jaggery / Antu Bella in Kannada
  • 1/4th cup of Water
  • Oil to Grease your palms

How To:

In a heay bottomed pan, dry roast Sesame seeds on low flame until it turns slightly golden & is aromatic. It should take about 3-4 minutes

Sesame Seeds tend to burn quite quickly & if they are over toasted, they turn very bitter so make sure the heat is low. 
Once the Sesame seeds are toasted, transfer it to a wide plate & set aside 

In the same pan, heat about 1/4th cup of water. Bring it to a boil & add Jaggery. Once the Jaggery melts, strain for any impurities.

Add the syrup back to the the pan, once it starts boiling. Keep a bowl of water handy. To test the syrup for the right consistency, Add a drop of the syrup into the water filled bowl. It should form a solid mass & once you take it in your palms & roll it, it should form a round ball. 

Now add the toasted Sesame seeds immediately & mix well. Turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool just a little & while it is still warm but cool enough to handle, Grease your palms, quickly take a spoonful of mixture with the help of a spoon & roll them into balls.

Once you are done working with the mixture, arrange on a tray & Air them for about 4-5 hours & store them in airtight jars. 

NOTE:

You can use regular Jaggery too, But Chikki Jaggery or Antu Bella works very well. I don't know what it is known in other languages.

Make sure you work with the Laddoos while the mixture is still warm. Do not allow it to cool down completely & it will harden. You will need some practice to roll them fast. 

If making large quantities, it is always better to work in batches.

Sesame is known to increase body heat & that is the exact reason why Ellu Bella,  Sesame Laddoos  & other Sesame based goodies like Gajak  are made during winter. But too much sesame can induce a lot of body heat so be careful while you indulge in them

January 11, 2016

Fusion Food: Puliyogare Pasta

Don't have a weird look on your face as soon as you read this. I promise, this taste just awesome. I have always loved adding a little bit of Indian flavours to other cuisines. When the Brits can invent Curry Powder then Why can't we make Puliyogare Pasta 

I happened to come across this recipe on an Online Foodie Group & the picture looked really good. I made a mental note to try it out & it did turn out very well.

Puliyogare Pasta

My Little Boy loves Puliyogare, so I always save some cooked Pasta for later use & make this super easy dish. I even sent this in his snack box a couple of times & it was polished clean. The Roasted & crushed Peanuts add a nice nutty flavour to the dish which we totally love.

It makes for a great party starter & your guests will love this unique flavour. By the way, I also make a mean, Pav Bhaji flavoured pasta, & it is always a hit with kids. Will share the recipe sometime.

Now over to Puliyogare flavoured Pasta

Puliyogare Pasta
  

You Will Need:
  • 1 cup cooked Pasta - I used Macaroni
  • 1 1/2 tsp Puliyogare Powder 
  • 2 tsp edible Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp split peanuts
  • 1 tbsp Roasted & Coarsely Crushed Peanuts
  • A sprig of curry leaves

How To:

Cook Pasta according to package instructions. Drain & set aside. In a small Pan, Heat Sesame Oil. Splutter Mustard seeds. Add curry leaves & Peanuts. Fry until the peanuts are crunchy. It should take a couple of minutes.

Add Pasta & immediately add Puliyogare Powder & gently give it a mix. You can use any Home made or Store Bought Puliyogare Powder. There are many good brands available off the shelf. I mostly use MTR. Add the Roasted & crushed Peanuts. Let it stand on low heat for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat & transfer to a bowl & Serve Warm

NOTE:

You can drizzle some more sesame oil before serving.

The flavour of Puliyogare Powder is quite strong. Use only a little amount at first. You can add more later if needed


January 7, 2016

Mixed Vegetable & Coconut Milk Stew

Alright, My first post for the year 2016. We got back from our Vacation during the beginning of the week. We had a great time & we are back refreshed and ready to take on what the year has to offer

I had to do a mandatory fridge cleaning before we headed off on a break. A quick stew that I made using the bits & odds from the fridge. A few unused Veggies & a can of partially used Coconut Milk. And this stew was made. Leftovers always lead to something tasty .. Everytime 

Babycorn Curry4 

  You Will Need:

  • 10-12 Baby Corn - Cut into Rounds of 2'inch thickness
  • 1 large Potato
  • 1 large Carrot 
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 Yellow Zucchini
  • 100 ml Thick Coconut Milk
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1/2 tsp Kitchen King Masala
  • 2 tsp cooking oil

To Grind:
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 10 Cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • A pinch of turmeric
  • 5 cloves of Garlic
  • A small piece of Ginger

How To:

Dice Potato into cubes & immerse in cold water until you put it to use. Dice Carrots, Bell Pepper & Zucchini & set aside

Parboil Babycorn, Potatoes & Carrots to fasten the cooking process. I usually microwave them for about 6-8 minutes in salted water.

Roughly chop the onion & tomato. In a mixer, add all the ingredients listed under 'To Grind' list & add a tablespoon of water & grind into a smooth paste

In a cooking pan, heat oil. Add Bell Peppers & Zucchini. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the ground paste & a cup of water. Add the parboiled Babycorn, Potatoes & Carrots. Add half a teaspoon of kitchen king masala & stir. Let it come to a boil.  Add Coconut Milk & some salt. Add some water if you feel that the gravy is too thick. It will mostly likely need more water.  Gently simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Keep Stirring at regular intervals. 

Turn off the heat & serve warm with Roti/Phulka/Jeera Rice or Peas Pulao. It goes well with plain Basmati Rice too

NOTE:

You can pretty much use any vegetables that are available. Some of my other favourites that would probably go into the stew would be

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Peas - Fresh/Frozen
  • Chayote