Punjabi Wadi Kadhi

Punjabi Wadi Kadhi

Kadhi is a yoghurt based gravy just like the South Indian Morkuzhambu. Morekuzhambu uses a paste of cumin, mustard, green chillies and coconut. Unlike Kadhi there is no garlic or onion in morekuzhambu. I frequently prepare morekuzhambu but I still love all yoghurt based gravies.

The other day during my usual grocery shopping at an Indian store, I found a pack of ‘Punjabi Wadis’. Without an idea of what they were, I just picked it up. A few weeks later, on a Friday evening when my refrigerator was almost depleted, the usual topic of ‘What’s for dinner’ had started. With no onions and tomatoes in hand, I suddenly remembered the humble kadhi I tried a few years ago. I had tried Gujarati Kadhi and Bihari Kadhi not the Kadhi with pakodas. This time I decided to use up the Punjabi wadis instead of pakodis and prepare the Pakodi Kadhi. Or should I call the ‘Punjabi Wadi’ Kadhi?

Punjabi Wadi Kadhi

Ingredients: 

1. Store bought Punjabi Wadi – 6

2. Sour Yoghurt – 2 Cups

3. Besan or Gram Flour – 2 tbspn

4. Salt to taste

5. Green chili and garlic paste – 1/4 tsp

6. Coriander Leaf to garnish

To Temper: 

1. Oil

2. Cumin Seeds – 1/4 tsp

3. Cinnamon stick – 1

4. Curry Leaf – 1 spring

Preparation:

1. I used my Aebleskiver Pan to fry the punjabi wadis. You can break them and shallow fry as well

2. In a deep bowl, mix gram flour with 1/4 cup of water and mix it well and make sure there are no lumps. I used a hand blender

3. Next add the yoghurt and 1 cup water to the bowl. Followed by turmeric powder, salt and garlic-green chilli paste. Blend well

4. In a sauce pan, heat oil. Temper cumin seeds, cinnamon stick and curry leaves. Lower the flame and pour in the yoghurt mixture. Taste test and add salt if needed. The Kadhi should not boil.

5. Switch off, add the punjabi wadis to the kadhi and let it sit for 30 minutes. Warm the kadhi just before serving and garnish with finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

Rainbow Carrot Kosumalli

Rainbow Carrot Kosumalli

Carrot Kosumalli is our family recipe that my maternal grandmother passed on to my mom and she in turn passed it on to me. Its very simple to put together and tastes so great.

Don’t skip adding the lemon juice – The mild sweetness from the carrots blends in with the moong dal and the fresh lemon juice.

Last weekend, I found these colorful ‘Rainbow Carrots’ at a local Whole Foods store and immediately got them. We prepare traditional Kosumalli with common orange carrots. This time I prepared with the rainbow carrots and it looked and tasted great

Rainbow Carrot Kosumalli

Ingredients:

1. Rainbow Carrots – 3

2. Moong Dal – 1/4 cup

3. Salt to taste

4. To temper in hot oil – Mustard seeds – 1 tsp , asafoetida – 1 small pinch, 1 green chilli

5. juice of one small lemon

6. Coriander leaves – 1 handful

Preparation:

1. Wash and shred rainbow carrots

2. Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, temper mustard seeds, asafoetida and 1 green chilli

3. Add the shredded carrots and add required salt

4. Wash moong dal and add it to the carrots

5. Mix moong dal and carrots well with a ladle. Add finely chopped coriander leaves.

6. Add water and let the carrots and moong dal cook for 5 minutes or till the water is completely evaporated

7. Switch off flame and transfer kosumalli to a serving dish

8. Now add fresh lemon juice and mix it well

Tasty kosumalli is ready and can be served with Rice and Sambhar or kuzhambu

Looking for kuzhambu recipes? Check out some recipes I have posted in my blog:

https://saranyas.wordpress.com/category/recipe-sambhars-kuzhambu/

Pongal – Cooking with Instant Pot electric cooker

Pongal

Ven Pongal

Pongal is an ultimate comfort food. Its made of rice and moong dal (payatham paruppu) along with cumin seeds and pepper corns. Its a satisfying breakfast or brunch recipe. Pair it with kathirikai gosthu and you have a winner. I had been making pongal and never thought of posting this recipe. Making pongal is a wee but tedious in my household due to the amount of cleaning involved afterwards. I usually prepare it in my pressure cooker and end up with the tough task of cleaning the pressure cooker. Way back in Chennai, I’ve seen my Mom and Mil keep a vessel inside their big pressure cooker and cook pongal inside the vessel. Thereby they don’t go thru the tedious process of cleaning the pressure cooker. Here in the US I don’t have my big cooker. Plus I am not for the process the moving the heavy cooker up and down the range.

Recently I found a great solution to all my problems. The genie is called ‘Instant Pot‘. Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker. It does all that a pressure cooker can do without the hassle. Read no sound, no mess and no standing near. Now as my favorite pongal is getting cooked, I am drafting a blog post ;-)

I am no way compensated by Instant Pot to write this post. I am just writing this as it will be useful for others and also for me when I refer few years later.

So today I am going to explain how to make that mushy tasty pongal.

Ingredients for Pongal 

White Rice – 1 cup

Moong dal – 1/4 cup

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp

Pepper corns – 1/4 tsp (around 10 – 12)

Asafoetida – 1 pinch

Ginger – 1/4 inch finely chopped

Curry Leaves – 3 or 4

Water – 4 cups

Salt – to taste

Preparation:

Electric cooker method: 

1. Coarsely grind pepper, cumin in a mortar pestle

2. Turn on Instant pot pressure cooker’s saute function. Add oil to the vessel. After a minute add coarsely ground pepper, cumin seeds. Saute for 1 minute. Add cashew, ginger, curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric powder

3. Add washed rice and moong dal. Saute well. Add water, salt

4. Close the electric cooker. Select ‘Beans’. If you want to delay the start, you can press adjust and add hours. I usually keep my cooker assembled at night and program it to start cooking by 7 AM.

5. If you don’t prefer to delay, just press beans and it will cook the pongal for 30 mins right away

Alternatively, you might add 1 and a half glass water to the electric cooker and place the ingredients for pongal in a separate vessel inside the cooker. This way you can cook veggies, dal or rice alongside pongal.

The pongal made in the electric cooker was very well cooked but not mushy once done. I had to give it a stir to achieve the consistency

Pressure Cooker Method:

If you don’t own an electric cooker, you can still prepare this tasty pongal in a pressure cooker

1. Coarsely grind pepper, cumin in a mortar pestle

2. Heat oil in a pan. After a minute add coarsely ground pepper, cumin seeds. Saute for 1 minute. Add cashew, ginger, curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric powder

3. Add washed moong dal,rice and salt and mix well

4. Transfer the contents of the pan to a vessel which can be kept inside the pressure cooker. Add water to the contents. Pressure cook for 3 whistles.

Serve this pongal with Kathrikai Gosthu

 

Vegetable Manchurian

Vegetable Manchurian

We love Indo-Chinese but due to its high oil preparation, we keep it at bay. After several months, I prepared ‘Vegetable Manchurian’ yesterday. Like other Indo Chinese recipes, it is very easy to make. This time though, instead of deep frying the manchurian balls, I used a Kuzhi Paniyaram (குழிப்பணியாரம்) pan ( Nonstick Æbleskiver Pan). With this pan, i was able to fry the vegetable balls with minimal oil. I used avocado oil this time for frying. Avocado Oil has the highest smoking point thereby making  it conducive for Indo-Chinese cooking and deep frying.

Vegetables used: You can get creative and add or omit veggies except for carrots and beans which aren’t optional. Add green capsicum, red capsicum, yellow capsicum, Paneer. I personally think sweet corn is a must.

Vegetable Manchurian

Ingredients:

Manchurian Balls: 

1. Carrot shredded -1 big

2. Beans finely chopped – almost 20

3. Cabbage finely chopped – 1/4 of a cabbage

4. Green chilli – 1 deseeded

5. Salt to taste

6. Tomato Sauce – 2 tsp

7. Rice flour for binding – almost 4 tsp

Manchurian Sauce:

1. Oil to Saute

2. finely chopped spring onions – 1 -3

3. Finely chopped Garlic – 7 to 8 flakes

4. Finely chopped Ginger – 1 inch

5. Finely chopped Green Chillies – 2

6. Finely cut cabbage – 1/4 of a cabbage

7. Tomato sauce – 1 cup

8. Soy sauce – 2 tbspn

9. salt and pepper to taste

10. Sugar – 1 tsp

11. Rice flour – 1 tbspn

Preparation:

1. In a bowl, add shredded carrots, finely chopped beans, green chilli, cabbage, salt, tomato sauce and rice flour

2. Mix well. If needed add 1 tsp of water. Mix it into a dough and make 15 mid sized balls

3. Heat the Æbleskiver pan (kuzhi paniyaram pan). Drizzle oil and place the vegetable Manchurian balls in the pan once the oil is hot. Turn the balls over after 2 mins and make sure it darkens evenly

Preparation of Manchurian sauce

1. Heat oil in a wok. Keep the temp in med high

2.When oil is hot, add spring onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies and saute till they are brown

3. Add finely cut cabbage

4. Saute well. Add 1 cup tomato sauce and 2 tbspn water

5. Add 2tbsp soy sauce

6. Add salt if needed.

7. Add pepper powder, sugar and mix well. When the sauce boils, add almost 1 tbspn rice flour while stirring constantly. Rice flour is used to thicken the gravy. You might use corn flour instead as well

8. Switch off the flame and transfer the sauce to a serving bowl

9. Right before serving place the Manchurian balls on the Manchurian sauce

Serve with Indo Chinese fried rice.

 

Rosogolla

Rosogolla

Rosogolla

Hello readers! I am back from a week long break with a recipe that is my personal favorite! 

‘Rosogulla’ or ‘Rasgulla’ or ‘Rasagolla’ is popular from the Bengali cuisine. It is well known for its soft and chewy texture where every bite juices cold sugary syrup… bliss! In Madras, most people I know seem to prefer ‘Rasmalai’ over ‘Rosogulla’, unlike me. Here are some lesser known facts that I found out about Rosogullas. I never knew that thy were from Odisha and that they were popular in Mauritius!

Source: Wikipedia

      Rasgulla is a cheese-based, syrupy dessert popular in the Indian subcontinent and Mauritius. The dish originated in Odisha centuries ago, while a whitish spongy variant (“Bengali Rasgulla”) became popular in Bengal in the 19th century.

      The rasgulla probably originated in the present-day Odisha, as khirmohana. In the mid-19th century, a Kolkata-based confectioner named Nobin Chandra Das modified the recipe to produce the less perishable spongy white Rosogolla variant that is widespread today. The K.C. Das Grandsons chain of sweet stores is named after his son. Bhagwan Das Bagla, a Marwari businessman and a customer of Das, popularized Das’ Rosgolla variant beyond the shop’s locality by ordering huge amounts. In 1930, the introduction of vacuum packing led to the availability of canned Rasgullas, which made the dessert popular outside Kolkata, and subsequently, outside India.

       Today, canned rasgullas are available throughout India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as in South Asian grocery stores outside the subcontinent. In Nepal, Rasgulla became popular under the name Rasbari.

I never knew that making Rosogullas from scratch was so easy and have for the most part assumed that it is a magic dish that only a confectioner can conjure for us lesser mortals, in metal tins.

A few things to remember :

  • Always let the paneer stand for at least 60 mins so that the water is completely drained.
  • Never forget to rinse the paneer to remove the lemon flavor.
  • Kneading the paneer is very important too.
  • Pressure Pan is better used instead of a pressure cooker, so that the shape of the rosogullas is retained.

Ingredients:

1. Milk – 4 Cups

2. Lemon juice – 2 to 3 spoons

3. Sugar – 1 Cup

4. Water – 2 and a 1/2 Cup

Preparation:

1. Boil milk in a wide vessel. When milk comes to a roaring boil, add lemon juice. When milk curdles, switch off flame

Rasgulla Step 1

2. Strain the whey out using a tea filter and retain the paneer. Wash the Paneer in running water to remove the lemon flavor. Now place the paneer in a cheese cloth, tie the cloth and let it stay for an hour so that all the moisture drains out. After an hour, the paneer will look dry and be non sticky to touch

Rasgulla - Paneer

Rasgulla Paneer

3. Knead the paneer for 10 minutes to a soft dough. After 5 mins, this is how it looked

Rasgulla Paneer

4. After kneading for 10 mins, this is how the dough looks

Rasagulla Paneer Dough

5. Make 10 to 12 balls. Meanwhile mix 1 cup sugar in 2 and a half cup water and let it boil in a pressure cooker. when the water boils, add the rosogulla balls and cover the cooker and steam till 1 whistle or 10 mins whichever is earlier

Rasgulla balls

6. After the whistle, move the pressure cooker off flame and let the steam release on its own (almost 5 minutes). When  you open the cooker, you will notice that the rosogullas have doubled in size. Transfer to a container along with the sugar syrup and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours. Serve chilled.

Rosogolla

Milagu Kuzhambu With Garlic

Milagu Kuzhambu With Garlic 

I prepared this Milagu Kuzhambu couple weeks ago when my whole family was down with cold and flu. This is from Chef ‘Menu Rani’ Chellam’s ‘Dhinapadi Samayal’ cookbook (translates to everyday cooking). You can serve this along with Milagu Rasam, Paruppu Thugayal, Rice and Appalam 

Milagu Kuzhambu

Ingredients:

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Tamarind juice from a gooseberry sized tamarind ball
Curry Leaves – 1 spring
Garlic – 15 to 20 flakes

Spices to roast and grind:

Pepper – 1 tsp
Bengal Gram Dal – 2 tsp
Urad Dal – 2 tsp
Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds – 1/2 tsp

 Preparation:

1. Dry roast all spices and grind them along with curry leaf
2. In a pan, heat ghee
3. Add curry leaves, garlic, mustard seeds and cumin seeds
4. Then add tamarind juice
5. Add salt and the ground paste
6. Let it boil for 5 mins and transfer to a serving bowl
7. Serve with white rice and appalam

Kaju Masala (Cashewnut Masala) Ver 2

Kaju Masala (Cashewnut Masala)

Kaju Masala

I grew up in Chennai (Madras) aka Vegetarian food heaven :-) We Chennaites love our food. When I grew up there were so many food joints that served local fare and almost all of them served ‘North Indian’ food too, which was kind of exotic back then. Kids when taken to a restaurant would order chapathis (those days, chapathis came with chef’s choice of side dishes and we didn’t have to scratch our head abut what to order along to go with them). Years later I realized that none of these places served up authentic North Indian food but only, South Indianized versions of them – atleast the places I had been to. Yet we loved those South Indianized versions so much that most of us prefer it to the authentic one.

Another thing synonymous with Chennai is ‘Hotel Saravana Bhavan’. This place was/is quite popular in and well known for its quality, taste and price. Families go to HSB for special occasions.  Our family had this tradition of going there for every celebration from Birthdays to Wedding days. It is here, my mom introduced me to Kaju Masala. The dish was served after a short while – a small bowl of hot steamy, creamy, rich spicy looking masala with cashews all over. It was very rich. Not only that, it tasted so good, that I can still remember the taste. I am not sure whether HSB served an authentic version but I loved the dish so much from there on.

Time passed.. I got married and being the new bride, I cooked everything I could ever think of. One day, I tried my hand at Kaju Masala hoping to get close to the HSB version. That was version 1 that I posted here. It tasted great but nothing like the original. Recently, I found a cashew Masala recipe on Chef Mallika Badrinath’s 100 delicious curries book and tried her way after tweaking it a bit. It turned out so well and was almost like HSB’s. So here is Chef Mallika Badronath’s recipe that I tweaked. This is from Chef Mallika Badrinath’s 100 Delicious Vegetarian Curries

Chennai celebrates its 375th Bday. Wishing Chennai a ‘Happy Madras Day’. My dear Madras, wherever I am, my heart is still with u. You can take the me out of Madras but not the Madras out of Me

Note: This is not the exact recipe of the HSB Kaju Masala. To try the original, you have to just head there.

Ingredients:

Onion 1 big
Cashew nut 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Mustard seeds 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder 1 pinch
Vinegar 1 tsp
Red chillies 2 – 4
Garlic 6 cloves
Milk 1 cup &
Coconut 1/4 cup
Or
Coconut milk 1 cup
Tamarind juice from a small pinch of tamarind
Jaggery 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil to saute

Preparation:
1. Grind together cumin, mustard, garlic, red chillies, turmeric powder along with vinegar
2. In a saucepan, heat oil. Once oil is hot, add finely chopped onion and saute till its golden
3. Add the ground Masala, jaggery and saute for 3 mins or till the onions are completely coated with the Masala
4. Grind the onions and the Masala together. The original recipe didn’t grind the onions but I prefer it this way.
5. Pour the ground mixture back into the saucepan. Add cashews , salt and 1 cup milk and coconut powder. Let it boil till the cashews are soft. You may notice that the cashews have enlarged in size. The original recipe used coconut milk instead of milk and coconut.
6. Add tamarind water and let the Masala boil in med low heat for 5 mins
7. Serve by garnishing with coriander leaves along with chapathis or rice

Shahi Vegetable Kurma

Shahi Vegetable Kurma

When I got married, my SIL passed on a cook book to me called 100 Delicious Vegetarian Curries
by Chef Mallika Badrinath. In my busy schedule, I totally forgot about the book. Three weeks ago, when my mom was making chapathis for dinner, we came across the usual weekly problem – “Whats the side dish”. That’s when I opened this cookbook. After shortlisting a few recipes based on what was available in the pantry and fridge, we finally zeroed in on this “Shahi Vegetable Kurma” . My mom made it and it tasted so heavenly! It was so yum that we have been preparing this dish every week since then. The best part was my son loved to have this chapathis with this dish. So here is the recipe..

Shahi Vegetable Kurma

Ingredients:

Mixed vegetables (Potato, Carrots, Peas, beans) – diced 3 cups. Please note: The original recipe suggests more veggies such as turnip, chow chow (chayote) etc

Kashmiri Chilli Powder – 1 tsp

Grated Onions – 1/2 cup

Oil for frying (The original recipe suggests using ghee and butter for frying)

Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 tsp

Saffron – a pinch

Whipped Curds – 1 and a 1/2 cups

Bay leaf – 1

Cinnamon, cloves, cardamom – few

To grind together 

Blanched almonds – 10

Cashew – 10

Poppy Seeds – 1 tsp

Preparation

1. As a first step, cut all veggies and steam or microwave cook them till they are done. Grind almonds, cashews and poppy seeds and keep them aside

2. Heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add whole spices such as  cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaf. Followed by grated onions and ginger garlic paste

3. Add a pinch of salt and saute till onion becomes golden

4. Add chilli powder, whipped yogurt and salt and stir the gravy in medium flame. you will notice that the oil starts to float on top

5. Add the ground paste, cooked veggies to the gravy

6. Add little bit of water and let the kurma cook till it becomes thick. Garnish with coriander leaves

7. Tasty Shahi Vegetable Kurma is ready to be served with chapathis

Mint Tea

Mint Tea

Last year my Gujarati housekeeper noticed me stocking fresh mint leaves. She was curious as how we use it in our South Indian cooking. I explained to her my favorite pudhina thogayal, mint chutney that’s served with idlies. In exchange she provided me this easy and tasty mint tea. It was very new to me and my family has been enjoying it since then. 

Mint Tea

Ingredients: (Serves 2) 

Milk – 1 cup

Water – 1/2 cup

Mint Leaves – 1 spring or more if you prefer a stronger tea 

Sugar – 2 tsp per cup 

Tea – 1 heaped spoon 

Preparation:

1. In a sauce pan, boil water and add mint leaves and tea powder 

2. When it boils, add milk and let the tea boil

3. Strain tea into a cup and add sugar. Stir well.Serve hot with biscuits

Milagu Rasam – Version 2

Milagu Rasam

Its festive time in India! Here in the USA, the flu season seems to have started even before the leaves turn yellow. My household is not an exception. Everyone from DH to LO have gotten cold, fever and congestion. This has given a dull start to our holiday celebration. Undeterred, I still made up some goodies to celebrate Varalakshmi Nombu. Do checkout Pal Payasam and Semiya Kesari

Before indulging in holiday goodies, I prepared this milagu Rasam to cleanse and provide relief from cold. I have already put a version of milagu rasam from my mom’s notes. This version is from a cookbook called ‘Dhinapadi Samayal’ by Menu Rani Chellam. I prefer to buy cookery books in Tamil so that I don’t miss reading my mother tongue here in the US. So here is the recipe. Do serve it with ‘Milagu Kuzhambu’, ‘ Paruppu Thugayal’ and ‘Appalam’. 

Milagu Rasam

Ingredients:

Crushed Peppercorns -½  tsp

Cumin seeds – ½ tsp

Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp

Red Chilli – 1

Tamarind Water

Salt to taste

Curry Leaves – 1 spring

Ghee – 1 tbspn

Preparation:

1. Heat ghee in a saucepan on low heat

2. Add mustard seeds. Once the mustard splutters, add cumin seeds, coarsely crushed peppercorns, red chilli and curry leaves.Saute for a minute

3. Add Tamarind water, salt and let it boil till the rasam reduces to half the quantity

4. Add water up to half of the sauce pan

5. Now, the rasam  should not boil but just get frothy. Switch off flame. Serve with hot rice