Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Dry Fruit and Nut Payasam/Harira - Milk Beverage With Dry Fruits And Nuts

The news paper supplement was loaded with various recipes for the Ramadan festival. The milk drink savoured to break the fast at dusk, seemed rich delicious and festive. Harira is a nourishing drink with almonds, cashew nuts and dry coconut paste boiled along with milk and sugar. It boosts up the energy level after the fast. 
Here is the recipe for Dry Fruit and Nut payasam which is my version of Harira. 

Milk - 4 cups 
Almonds - 12 
Cashew nuts - 1 tbsp 
Fresh coconut gratings or coconut pieces - 1 tbsp 
Dry dates ( pitted) - 1 tbsp 
Raisins - 1 tbsp 

Rice flour - 1 tsp 
Powdered palm jaggery or Powdered palm candy - 2 tbsps 
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch 
Saffron strands - 1 pinch 

1. Cover the almonds, cashew nuts, dates and raisins in warm water and soak for an hour. 
2. Peel the skin of almonds.

3. Grind the blanched almonds, cashew nuts, coconut, dates, raisins and the rice flour into a fine paste adding little water.The addition of rice flour will prevent the milk from curdling. 
4. Boil milk in a heavy bottomed vessel and gently add the ground paste to it. 

5. Keep stirring gently to avoid lumps and burning. 
6. Add the powdered palm jaggery or the palm candy and continue to cook for two more minutes.Palm jaggery and palm candy have many health benefits, besides relieving dry coughs,
 and colds. 

7. Add the powdered cardamom and the saffron strands. 

 Enjoy the hot glass of Dry Fruit And Nut Payasam garnished with a few blanched almond slivers.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kadale Kaalu Chutney - Hummus

The monsoon season in Bangalore is heavenly. I feel like hibernating the whole day with a cozy rug pulled up over my feet. A book in hand and a good supply of delicious snacks is all that is needed to celebrate the season. Roasted papads or grilled vegetables with a bowl of healthy and filling Kadale Kaalu Chutney/Hummus are 'any time' snacks for this cold weather.

Chick peas/ Kadale Kaalu / Chana( soaked)- 1 cup 
White sesame seeds - 4 tbsps 
Onion - 1 medium size (Chopped) 
Red chillies - 2 
Tamarind - the size of a small marble ( Soaked) 
Fresh coriander leaves - a fistful 
Garlic cloves - 4 (Peeled) 
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps 
Salt - 1/2 tsp 

1. Soak the Kadale Kaalu/ Chick peas/Chana overnight, and pressure cook without adding water. 

2. Dry roast the sesame seeds and keep aside.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add the red chillies. 
4. When the chillies turn crisp add the chopped onion and saute till it becomes transparent. 

5. Grind together the cooked kadale kaalu/chick peas/chana, sauteed onion along with the oil and the red chillies, soaked tamarind, fresh coriander leaves, peeled garlic, salt and half of the roasted sesame seeds. 
6. Add water little by little and blend the chutney until it becomes smooth and fluffy. 
7. Scoop it out into a bowl and shower the remaining roasted sesame seeds over the chutney.

The tasty Kadale Kaalu Chutney/ Hummus with the crunch and flavour of roasted sesame seeds is an ideal dip for your monsoon snacks. Relish it with soft and steaming hot rice for a full meal.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tomato Halwa

The freshly bought red ripe tomatoes reminded me of the delicious Tomato Halwa which my aunt prepared for us, long long long ago. I immediately decided to make the long forgotten delicious dessert for my grand son who joined us for lunch today. 

Tomatoes ( Firm, red and ripe medium size tomatoes) - 4 
Cashew nuts - 10 + few for garnishing 
Ghee - 2 tbsps 
Sugar - 1 cup 
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch 

1.Grease individual cups (or a plate)with ghee, line the base with a few cashew nuts and keep them ready before starting to cook. 
2. Wash and chop the tomatoes into cubes. 

3. Heat two tsps of ghee in a pan and stir in the chopped tomatoes. 
4. Cover and cook on low flame till the tomatoes become soft, and allow to cool. 
5. Grind the cooked tomatoes and the cashew nuts together into a smooth paste without adding water. Do not bother if it is juicy and watery. 
6. Pour back the paste - which will measure up to one cup - into the same pan and add one cup of sugar. 

7. Keep stirring and cook till the Halwa thickens and becomes like jelly. 
8. Add cardamom powder and ghee, and cook for a few more minutes. 
9. Remove before it crystalizes. 
10. Pour the halwa into the greased cups (or a plate). 

 When the halwa is set, loosen around the edges using a knife and invert the cup on to a plate. 

Remove the cup and enjoy the 'sweet' smiling Tomato Halwa with children.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Bendekai Mild Masala Palya - Ladies Finger In A Mild Spicy Gravy

Eat out or take away, my grand children always have one standard dish in their list when they order for food. Bhendi Masala is the dish they are never tired of. I prepare their favourite Bendekai Palya interlaced with a mild masala when they visit me for 'Chitra amma's saapaad'. That is how they lovingly mention the meals cooked by me

Ladies fingers/ Bendekai - 1/2 kg 
Tomatoes ( Chopped) - 2 cups 
Onion ( Chopped ) - 1 cup 
Green chillies(chopped) - 2tsps 
Ginger (peeled and chopped)- 1 tsp 
Pepper - 1/4 tsp 
Cashew nuts - 2 tbsps 
Sambar powder - 1 1/2 tsps 
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp 
Cinnamon - 1 small piece 
Salt - 1 1/2 tsps 
Sugar - 1 pinch 
Sesame oil - 3 tbsps 
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp +1/2tsp 

1.Grind onion, green chillies, ginger, pepper, cashew nuts, sambar powder, turmeric powder, cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds together, into a smooth paste adding little water and keep aside. 
2. Wash, dry and cut the ladies fingers/bendekai into on inch long  pieces. 
3. Heat 1tbsp oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. 
4. When the cumin seeds splutter stir in the chopped ladies fingers/bendekai.  
5. Stir in one pinch of salt, and cover and cook for three or four minutes on low flame. 

6. Remove the lid and saute the vegetable till al dente and remove into a plate. 
7. Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and add the ground masala paste. 
8. Fry till the masala gives out a very pleasant aroma and till the oil separates. 

9. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and salt, and cover and cook till the tomatoes turn to a pulp. 

10. When the gravy is smooth and thick stir in the sauteed ladies fingers/bendekai, cover and cook for a few more minutes on low flame. 

Switch off flame and enjoy the hot and flavoursome Bendekai Mild Masala Palya with hot rice or Chapaties.