Saturday, April 28, 2012

Nuggekaayi Tili Saaru - A Spicy Clear Soup With Drumsticks

 We had to break our journey at a relative's place on our return trip after a great holiday. The hostess was my father's cousin and she made us very comfortable with her kind hospitality and treated us with a simple yet delicious dinner.
 The flavoursome and delicious saaru / rasam she served us  made us even more ravenous after the hectic journey.We hungrily waited for the next course, with rice already served on our plates.
 Once again the hostess plunged the ladle into the same saaru vessel. Out came the ladle with a thick nuggekaayi bele huli / sambaar which we thoroughly enjoyed with the hot steaming rice!
 It was amazing the way  the flavoursome tili saaru / rasam and the thick delicious bele huli / sambaar were cooked together in one and the same dish!
 Here is a recipe  for  Nuggekayi Tili Saaru.


Drumsticks - 2 ( cut into three inch pieces )
Tamarind - the size of a plum
Tomatoes - 2 halved
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Coconut gratings - 2 tbsps
Pepper - 1 1/2 tsps
Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1 pinch
Garlic - 2pearls
Ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Fresh coriander leaves - for garnishing
 1. Soak tamarind and the halved tomatoes in boiling water.
2. Dry roast coriander seeds,  fenugreek seeds and pepper till the pepper crackles.
3. Add cumin seeds and roast till you get a pleasant aroma.
4. Crush the dry roasted ingredients coarsely using a pestle.
5. Add the peeled garlic pearls to the coarse powder, pound together and keep it aside.
6. Squeeze the soaked tamarind and tomatoes, extract the juice and add enough water to make 2 glasses.
7. Add salt, asafoetida, curry leaves, fresh coconut gratings and the cut drumsticks to the juice and boil till the drumsticks are tender.
8. Stir in the pounded ingredients and immediately add one more glass of water in a slow stream so that a foam is formed on top of the saaru.
9. Add chopped coriander leaves, cover with a lid and allow it to simmer on low flame. 
10.Turn off flame before the saaru boils over.
11. Heat ghee and add the mustard seeds and pour the seasoning over the tili saaru when the mustard seeds crackle.

Enjoy the hot Nugge Kaayi Tili Saaru before starting your meal.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vazhai Poo Pachadi - Banana Blossom In Spicy Curd

We brought a banana sapling from our native village and  planted it in a corner in our garden. It has grown into a beautiful and sturdy banana tree without the use of  chemical fertilizers or pesticides. 
The banana tree has gifted us with a huge bunch of healthy bananas which will be ready for harvest in a few weeks.
We were happy to cook the vazhai poo / banana blossom that came along as a 'complimentary gift'  on Mother Earth Day! 
 Beat the heat of a hot Summer day as you enjoy the cold Vazhai Poo Pachadi.

Chopped banana blossom florets - 2 cups 
Fresh grated coconut - 1/2 cup 
Green chillies - 2 
Finely grated fresh ginger - 1/4 tsp 
Thick Curds - 2 cups 
Salt - 1/4 tsp 
Coconut oil - 1 tsp 
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
1. Remove the florets of the banana blossom hiding in between the bracts. 
2. Rub the tip of each floret gently and remove the stigma and the plasticky sepal. 
3. Chop the florets into small pieces and immediately immerse them in a bowl of sour butter milk. 
4. Squeeze out the chopped florets and cook them in just enough water and a pinch of salt till tender but not      mushy. Let it cool. 
5. Grind the coconut gratings and green chillies into a thick and coarse paste. 
6. Combine the coconut paste with the thick curds adding salt and grated ginger. 
7. Mix the cooked banana florets into the curd mixture.

8. Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. 
9. When the mustard seeds splutter add curry leaves and  pour the seasoning over the pachadi. 
10. Chill the Vazhai Poo Pachadi well before use.

Enjoy the chilled Vazhai Poo Pachadi as it is or along with your meal.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Paalak And Paneer Pathrodae - Spinach Rolls With Cottage Cheese And Coconut Filling

The innovative No Grain dishes my daughter makes look so delicious and healthy. Inspired by her I prepared  Pathrodae using no grains, but with a South Indian Touch. 
I had never imagined that a No Grain dish could be so filling and satisfying until I tried and tasted the Paalak And Paneer Pathrodaes
My mother aptly christened the dish 'The Enchanting Emerald Delight' !

Large paalak leaves - 6 
Home made paneer - 1/2 cup 
Fresh coconut gratings - 1/2 cup 
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch 
Red chillies - 4 
Coriander seeds - 1/4 tsp 
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp 
Tamarind - the size of a cherry 
Salt - 1/4 tsp 

1. Wash and pat the paalak leaves dry and keep them aside. 
2. Grind together coconut gratings, red chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, tamarind, salt and turmeric powder into a thick paste, adding very little water if necessary. 
3. Add the paneer and run the mixer for one or two more minutes so that it blends well with the coconut paste. 
4. Take a heaped  table spoon of the coconut - paneer mixture and spread it on a paalak leaf. 


5. Fold both sides of the leaf lengthwise over the paste and press gently. 

6. Starting from the tip, roll the folded paalak up to the base and press it down gently. 

7.  Roll all the leaves using  the filling  into individual Pathrodaes .

8. Grease a steamer and steam the Pathrodaes for fifteen minutes using a pressure cooker.

Enjoy the Paalak And Paneer Pathrodaes while they are warm.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pooshanikkai Halwa - Ash Gourd Fondant

VARUSHA PIRAPPU ( Tamil New Year's Day) 
 Here is an additional sweet which can be prepared along with the customary menu to celebrate Varusha Pirappu. 
Wish you a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Grated ash gourd - 2 cups
Milk - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 3/4 cups
Ghee - 2 tbsps
Cardamom - 2 ( Powdered with a small flake of edible camphor)
Almonds and raisins -  for garnishing

1. Remove the peel of the ash gourd piece . 
2. Grate the vegetable and squeeze out all the water.

3. Boil milk and water in a heavy bottomed pan and add the squeezed out gourd gratings.
4. Cook till the gratings are half done and almost dry.
5. Add sugar and cook till the sugar syrup becomes sticky.

6.When the halwa comes together and acquires the colour of honey, add the powdered cardamom and edible camphor, stir in one tbsp of ghee and remove from flame.
7. Blanch almonds, remove the skin and chop into thin slivers.
8. Fry almond slivers and raisins in the remaining ghee and pour over the Pooshanikkai Halwa.

Enjoy the warm Pooshanikkai Halwa with family and friends on the happy occasion.