Monday, July 23, 2012

Tinai Paruppu Paayasam For Varamahaalakshmi Pooja - Foxtail Millet And Gram Dal Porridge


Millet is making a great come back with all grandeur. Consumers are being enlightened about the health benefits of these tiny grains. Farmers are being encouraged to grow them abundantly,with a promise of a profitable market. Millet Melas are becoming a great success in all Metros. 
Here I have used the tiny nutritional wonder called Foxtail millet (Tinai in Tamil and Navane in Kannada) with Bengal gram dal to prepare a delicious Paayasam for Varamahaalakshmi Pooja.


 Foxtail millet (dehusked) - 1/2 cup 
Bengal gram dal - 1/2 cup 
Crushed jaggery - 1 cup 
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp 
Ghee - 1 tbsp 
Cashew nuts - a few 
Raisins - a few 
Milk - 1 1/2 cups 


1.Wash Tinai and Bengal gram dal and carefully decant the water.The grains are so small that they tend to run away with the water used for washing. 
2. Add three cups of water and pressure cook the washed millet and dal like you cook rice and let it cool. 

3. Dissolve jaggery in one cup of warm water and filter it. 
4. Boil the jaggery water till it becomes slightly thick. 
5. Add the cooked millet and dal and keep cooking till it blends with the jaggery syrup giving out a very pleasant aroma. 

6. Switch off flame and blend in the cardamom powder and milk. 
7. Fry cashew nuts and raisins in ghee and pour over the paayasam

Offer the Tinai Paruppu Paayasam to Varamahaalakshmi and savour the flavoursome prasaadam.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

GOING BANANAS - Vaazhaipazha Kozhukattai For Varamahaalakshmi Pooja - Banana Dumplings


Idlies, Kozhukattais, Vadaes, Chitraanna and Paayasam are the five traditional prasaadams we prepare for the Varamahaalakshmi Pooja every year. This year since we are 'GOING BANANAS!', I want to offer a banana dish to the Goddess on the auspicious day. 


Ripe bananas - 2 
Crushed jaggery - 1/2 cup 
Ghee - 1 tbsp 
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch 
1. Peel and slice the bananas. 
2. Heat a pan and add ghee, sliced bananas and the crushed jaggery.

3. Cook on low flame stirring now and then till the whole sweet mass comes together. 

4. Mix in the cardamom powder and allow to cool. 
Rice flour - 3/4 cup 
Water - 1 cup 
Salt - 1 pinch 
Gingelly oil - 1 tsp 
1. Boil water with salt and oil. 
2. Add the rice flour gently into the boiling water  stirring continuously. 
3. Decrease flame and stir till the dough is cooked. 
4. When the dough comes together into a ball, switch off flame and tightly cover with a lid. 
5. Let the steam subside. 
6. When the dough is still warm but cool enough to handle, remove it into a bowl and knead it well into a smooth ball. 
7. Take a small lime size ball from the dough, knead and shape it into a cup.
 8. Place a spoon of the sweet banana filling inside the cup.

9. Fold the edges of the dough cup over the filling, press them together and seal the kozhukattai
10. Make all the kozhukattais similarly using the entire filling and the dough. 
11. Arrange the koozhukattais in a greased steamer and steam in a pressure cooker for fifteen minutes without using the weight. 

 Offer the steaming hot Vaazhaipazha Kozhukattais to Varamahaalakshmi and savour the prasaadam with your near and dear ones.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

GOING BANANAS - Vazhaikkai Urundai Masala kuzhambu - Banana Kofta Curry

My granddaughter loves to help me cook and she loves to eat koftas. I wanted to prepare a raw banana dish for the next banana post. And a bulb flashed in my head!  'Banana Koftas!' Wow! 'One stone two mangoes!'  The next minute granddaughter and grandmother were busy raising a storm in the kitchen ! And here is Vaazhaikkai Urundai Masala Kuzhambu! 

Onion - 1 
Tomatoes - 4 
 Oil - 2 tbsps 
Ginger - 1 small piece 
Garlic - 2 pearls 
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp 
Cinnamon - 1 small piece 
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Sambar Powder - 2 tsps 
 Sugar - a pinch
Salt - 2 tsps 
Milk - 1 cup 
Coriander leaves 

1. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces and keep aside. 
2. Peel and chop the onion into chunks. 
3. Grind the chopped onion with peeled ginger, peeled garlic, 1 tsp cumin seeds, turmeric powder and cinnamon into a coarse paste. 
4. Heat oil in a kadai and add half tsp of cumin seeds. 
5.When the cumin seeds splutter add the coarsely ground onion paste and keep stirring. 
6. Let the paste become golden in colour  emanating a pleasant aroma. 

7. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, sambar powder, salt and sugar. 

8. Cover and cook on low flame stirring now and then. 
9. When the tomato disintegrates into a slushy paste add milk. 

10. Cook till the gravy turns bright red in colour and switch off flame. 

Raw bananas - 2 
Salt - 1/2 tsp 
Sambar powder - 1/2 tsp 
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp 
Oil - for frying 
1. Cut the raw bananas into two or three pieces along with the peel. 

2. Immerse in water and boil till the banana pieces are just cooked. 
3. Drain and cool well. 
4. Grate the cooked and cooled  bananas.

5. Add salt, sambar powder and cumin seeds.

6. Mix gently,


 and form into small lemon size balls without pressing hard. 

7. Heat oil in a kadai and fry the vaazhaikkai urundais / koftas gently till they become golden in colour. 

8. Drain them well. 
9. Drop the urundais / koftas into the hot masala kuzhambu / gravy and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 

Enjoy the hot Vaazhaikkai Urundai Masala Kuzhambu with your favourite rice or roti.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

GOING BANANAS - Poricha Pazham - Fried Bananas / Banana Fritters



 The term Pazham in Tamil and Malayalam specifically refers to ripe banana, though the direct translation of Pazham in English is Fruit. 
 Ripe Bananas are an integral part of all cultural and religious activities in South India. The versatile Banana is most exploited by the kitchens in Kerala, where a number of mouth watering dishes are prepared using Ripe Bananas as the main ingredient. 
Poricha Pazham can be prepared in a jiffy. The taste of this filling snack will make one crave for more and more.


Sweet and firm, ripe Bananas - 2 
 Plain flour / Maida - 1 cup 
Powdered jaggery - 2 tbsps 
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch 
Salt - 1/2 pinch 
Oil - for frying 


1. Mix plain flour, salt, powdered jaggery and cardamom powder in a bowl.
2. Add water little by little and make a thick batter with the ingredients. 
3. Peel and cut the ripe bananas into two or three pieces. 
4. Heat oil in a pan. 
5. When the oil is hot remove one table spoon of oil and pour it on the batter and mix well. 
6. Coat one piece of banana with the prepared batter and gently drop it into the hot oil.

7. Reduce heat and gently fry the pazham turning now and then, till it becomes golden brown in colour on all sides. 

8. Remove using a perforated ladle and drain on a paper towel. 

9. Increase heat and fry the next piece. 

Enjoy the Poricha Pazham while hot. The crisp outer coat and the soft and sweet banana inside is totally an out of the world  experience.

Monday, July 9, 2012

GOING BANANAS - Vaazhaikkai Roast - Raw Banana Roasted Curry

There is usually a huge fanfare for  Urulaikizhangu / potato roast which tops the list of  all time favourite roasted curries. But I am sure that any one who tastes Vaazhaikkai roast is sure to fall for the texture and delicious taste of this yummy curry with a difference! 

Raw Bananas - 4 
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch 
Tamarind - the size of a marble 
Gingelly oil - 3 tbsps 
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp 
Black gram dal - 1/2 tsp 
Curry leaves - a few 
Sambar powder - 3tsps 
Salt - 2 1/2 tsps 
1. Peel and chop the bananas into big cubes. 
2. Cover with just enough water and cook along with tamarind and turmeric powder. The tamarind will disintegrate while cooking.

3. Drain the cooked banana if there is excess water and remove the tamarind fibers.
4. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds. 
5. When it splutters add the black gram dal. 
6. When the dal turns into a golden colour add the curry leaves. 
7. Add the cooked banana cubes and stir well.


8. Stir in the sambar powder and salt. 

9. Roast on low flame stirring now and then. 

10. Switch off flame when the banana is roasted well  to your satisfaction.

Enjoy the sizzling Vaazhaikkai Roast with any rice or roti of your choice and do not forget the fresh ghee !

Sunday, July 1, 2012

GOING BANANAS - Banana Nut Chocolate

Banana halwa, banana paayasam and panchaamrutam are some of the banana sweets which we usually prepare at home. This time I wanted to make a 'cut and dry' sweet using ripe banana. 
Irrespective of age, every one in our family is a chocoholic! Hence I decided to make  banana chocolate, of course with a nutty sprinkle. 


Mashed ripe banana - 1/2 cup 
Coarsely powdered mixed nuts - 1/2 cup 
Sugar - 1 1/2 cups 
Cocoa powder - 2 tbsps 
Ghee - 2 tbsps 
1. Peel, dice and roughly mash bananas using the back of a ladle. 
2. Grind the nuts ( I have used almonds and walnuts ) into a coarse powder. 
3. Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a kadai and add the mashed bananas. 
4. Stir and cook till the banana pulp becomes dry and remove it on to a plate. 
5. Mix sugar with one cup of water and boil it in the same kadai
6. When the syrup reaches one string consistency add the banana pulp, coarsely powdered nuts and the cocoa powder.


7. Stir all the ingredients together and cook on medium flame. 

8. Keep stirring till it becomes thick. The cooking chocolate should immediately harden when a drop comes in contact with cold water.  
9. At this stage stir in the remaining one tablespoon of ghee, and immediately pour the molten chocolate on to a greased plate. 

10. Mark into bars or squares using a sharp knife before it sets.

Cut out the 'cut and dry' Banana Nut Chocolate when it becomes hard and experience bliss as it melts in your mouth.