Monday, November 28, 2011

Mullangi Khaara Koottu - Daikon / White Radish In Spicy Tamarind Gravy

I cooked Mullangi / Daikon/ White Radish occasionally only when my husband was not at home. He always complained about the unpleasant smell that permeated the whole building while cooking the vegetable. Not that he disliked it in sambar or koottu. But he was too worried about the discomfort the strong odour could cause to our neighbours.
My friend shared a secret about an ingredient which would control the strong smell that hung around while cooking mullangi. I found it really useful.Now we enjoy mullangi sambar and mullangi koottu without the guilt of causing nuisance to the neighbours !

Tender white radish / Mullangi ( Daikon ) - 4
Pea nuts - 2 tbsp
Tamarind - the size of a small marble
Salt - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1 pinch
Crushed fresh ginger - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tbsp
Black gram dal - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 pinch
asafoetida - 1 pinch
Red chillies - 3
Fresh coconut gratings - 2 tbsps
Sesame oil - 2 tsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
1. Soak peanuts in hot water till they swell, drain and keep  aside.
2. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.
3. Wash, peel and chop the radish into lengthwise pieces.
4. Peel and crush the fresh ginger.
5.Heat a drop of oil in a pan and roast coriander seeds, bengalgram dal, blackgram dal , fenugreek seeds and red chillies together till they start changing colour.
6.Add cumin seeds and roast till it gives out a pleasant aroma.
7.Finally add asafoetida and roast for a few seconds, and switch off flame. Let it cool down.
8.Grind the roasted ingredients into a smooth powder.
9.Add fresh coconut gratings and grind again adding little water if necessary.
10.Cook the chopped mullangi and the soaked peanuts in tamarind juice adding turmeric powder , salt and the crushed ginger.

11.When the vegetable becomes tender but not mushy, add the ground paste and cook for two more minutes.If you find the koottu still watery add a spoon of paste made with rice flour and water to thicken the koottu, cook for another two  minutes and switch off flame.

12. Heat the oil in a seasoning ladle and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add curry leaves and pour the seasoning on the khaara koottu.

Enjoy the delicious Mullangi Khaara Koottu with steaming hot rice and a spoon of fresh ghee or with crisp hot parotas.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Togari Kaalu Bhaaji Palya - A Spicy Pigeon Peas And Amaranth Mash

Every season Togari kaalu ( Pigeon Peas ) never fails to bring with it the nostalgic memories of my childhood. As children we siblings plucked, peeled and munched on the togari kaalu as we monkeyed around in our garden.
I love to cook this kaalu in as many dishes as possible as long as the season lasts.
Here is a recipe of a simple dish known as Bhaaji Palya using Togari kaalu ( Pigeon Peas ) and Dantina soppu ( Amaranth).

Togari kaalu ( Pigeon peas ) - 2 cups
Tur dal - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

PREPARE by washing and pressure cooking the kaalu and dal together with turmeric powder adding 1 cup of water. Keep aside.
Dantina soppu ( Amaranth ) - 1 bunch

PREPARE by washing and chopping the amaranth along with the tender stems and keep aside. Cook the chopped amaranth adding a pinch of salt in a heavy bottomed pan without adding water. Cover and cook on low flame so that the amaranth cooks in its own juice. Once it is cooked remove lid and cook on high flame so that the excess liquid evaporates. Use the back of a ladle and mash the cooked amaranth and keep aside.
Green chillies - 2
Garlic pearls - 2
Fresh ginger peeled and chopped - 2 tbsps
Coriander leaves chopped - 4 tbsps
Tamarind softened by soaking in very little warm water - one small marble size
PREPARE a paste by grinding all of these ingredients together and keep aside.
Salt - 1 1/2 tsps
Oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Cumin seeds - 1 pinch
Broken red chillies - 2
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Finely chopped onions - 4 tbsps
Curry leaves - a few
1. Heat the oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
2. When the mustard seeds splutter add the cumin seeds, broken red chillies. curry leaves and asafoetida.
3. Reduce flame and add chopped onion and saute till it becomes transparent .
4. Add the ground chilly paste and saute till it gives out a very pleasant aroma.
5. Stir in the mashed amaranth.
6. Use the back of the ladle and gently mash the cooked dal and pigeon peas mixture. Only the dal should become mushy.The cooked pigeon peas can remain as they are. Add this mixture to the seasoned amaranth.

7. Add salt and cook till all the ingredients blend well. If the bhaaji is too dry add very little water to enable uniform blending of all the ingredients. The consistency of Bhaaji Palya should be in between the consistency of a dry curry and a thick gravy.

Switch off flame and enjoy the delicious Togarikaalu Bhaaji Palya with chapaties.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Naartangai Gojju / Heralekai Gojju - Citron In A Spicy Tamarind Sauce

Sweet, sour, hot ( spicy ), salty, bitter and astringent are the six types of tastes that our taste buds can perceive. According to Ayurveda each of these tastes ingested through the food  plays a significant role in keeping our system balanced and in good condition.
The taste buds are numbed by all the sweets, savouries and other delicacies after indulging in grand feasts. The fresh and bitter tang of naartangai / heralekai / citron tickles and sharpens the taste buds. The bitter sour Citron is good for a heavy stomach and it stimulates and refreshes the entire digestive system.
My mother always stores a bottle of "uppu naartangai' ( Salted and dried citron pieces ) in a jar. She loves to chew a small piece after her meal even if it is a simple one.

Naartangai / Heralekai / Citron - 1
Tamarind - one small lime size
Jaggery ( powdered ) - 1 tbsp
Salt - 2 tsps
Sambar Powder - 2 tsps
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - one pinch
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tbsp
Rad chillies ( broken ) - 2
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Slit green chillies - 2
Chopped fresh ginger - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Dry roasted and coarsely powdered sesame seeds - 2 tbsps
1. Wash and cut naartangai / heralekai / citron into medium size pieces.
2. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract a thick juice.
3. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
4. When the mustard seeds splutter add the fenugreek seeds and the bengal gram dal.
5. When the seasoning turns golden in colour emanating a pleasant aroma, add the broken red chillies.
5. Add slit green chillies, ginger and the curry leaves.
6. Turn down the flame to medium and add asafoetida and turmeric powder.
7. Immediately add the naartangai /heralekai/citron pieces and stir well.


8.Cover and cook on medium heat for two or three minutes.
9. When the citron pieces soften a little add the tamarind extract, salt, jaggery and sambar powder.
10. Cover and cook till the citron becomes soft, stirring now and then.
11. When the gojju is fragrant and the oil separates add the roasted and powdered sesame seeds and switch off  the flame immediately.                                     
( If you prefer a liquidy gojju , make a paste with a spoon of rice flour and water and add it to the boiling gojju when it is still in a liquid state as soon as the citron is cooked and the raw smell is gone. When the gojju thickens a little add the sesame powder.)


Enjoy with hot steaming rice topped with a spoon of fresh ghee.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jayasree Satish

We virtually met Jayasree Satish via our food blogging, over 4 years back. We know her as the happy, cheerful Jayasree from the blog Experiments in Kailas Kitchen, posting some awesome Palakkad Iyer recipes from Pune. She would always leave  comments promptly on our posts. 

Two years ago, we connected on Facebook, and it was great to put a face to the name, and she looked every bit cheerful as she sounded. With few folks, even if you never meet them, you develop an instant rapport and friendship.  We were very sure we would have met up sometime in life, to exchange some laughter over good food!

Very shockingly, just yesterday we suddenly found bloggers leaving tributes for Jayasree. We rushed to her Facebook Page, and confirmed our worst horrors. Its  been a month now that she's been gone. It was very shocking and heart wrenching to see her smiling face, and loads of condolences on her page.

Our deepest condolences to her family, and we pray for her soul, and hope she continues to smile wherever she is.