Thursday, December 24, 2015

Phirni - A Traditional Rice Custard

 Though rice and milk are  common ingredients used in preparing various sweets and desserts, each one has its own texture, flavour and taste. A creamy, smooth and silky traditional Rice Custard called Phirni  is prepared using rice and milk. The joyful experience when a scoop of the richly flavoured Phirni  slides down one's palate can not be described in mere words!

Rice - 1/4 cup
Milk - 4 cups
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Cashew nuts - 6
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
Chopped nuts, raisins and saffron strands for garnishing
1. Wash and soak rice for at least 2 hours.
2. Grind the soaked rice, cashew nuts and cardamom powder together into a very smooth paste adding little water if required.
3. Blend sugar and the rice and cashew paste together.
4. Boil 3 cups of milk in a thick bottomed vessel.
5. Lower the flame and blend the paste into the boiling milk stirring continuously so that no lumps are formed.
6. Cook the mixture till  it thickens and becomes shiny.
7. Add the 4th cup of milk and stir well and cook for another one minute.
8. Switch off flame and allow the custard to cool down to room temperature.
9. Pour the custard into a blender and whisk till it becomes smooth and light, for about 30 seconds.
10. Pour back the custard into a bowl and refrigerate for four hours.
11. Soak saffron strands in one teaspoon of warm milk and pour over the now set custard / Phirni along with the milk used for soaking.
12. Soak raisins in warm water to plump them up. Top the Phirni with plumped up raisins and chopped nuts.

Enjoy the creamy, smooth and silky Phirni / Rice Custard  with the Christmas feast.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Shenga Chutney Pudi - Spicy Peanut Powder


Listening to grand father's funny stories, singing together nursery rhymes, playing Antakshari, competing to get the cool drink bottles from the crates piled up in the isle of the bus, eating crunchy munchies prepared by aunts, enjoying the timely jokes cracked by uncles, sight seeing, shopping, learning the local History and Geography on father's insistence, peacekeeping between the squabbling children! Our family trip of four generations to Uttara Karnataka was filled with fun and adventure.  It was meal time when we reached Gulbarga where my cousin and his wife were stationed. We unanimously decided to finish our meals before we visited them since we did not want to invade their peaceful home  as a hungry army of  four generations! 
The couple insisted that we ate at least some  Chivda as we had visited them for the first time. We were amazed by the way my cousin's wife presented  the Chivda ! Bowls of Chivda with curds  topped with Shenga Chutney Pudi, which  tasted crunchy, creamy, sweetish, salty and spicy, all at the same time! It was a most welcome  dessert that  we enjoyed on that hot sunny day! My cousin's wife was very happy to share the recipe with us.
Peanuts/ Shenga / Kadalekai - 1 cup
Chickpeas/Chana dal - 2 tbsps
Fresh coconut gratings - 2 tbsps
Red chillies - 6
Curry leaves - 2 twigs
Tamarnid - a small marble size ball shredded
Garlic - two cloves (Or more if preferred) chopped
Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp
1. Dry roast peanuts in a heavy bottomed pan on low flame till the nuts crack, and keep aside.
2. Dry roast coconut gratings similarly till it turns dry and keep aside.
3. Heat oil in the same pan and add Chana dal and red chillies and roast till the dal turns slightly red in colour.
4. Add garlic and curry leaves and roast till the curry leaves become crisp. The chick peas would have turned into a golden brown colour by now.
5. Add the shredded tamarind and roast for a few more minutes. The entire roasting should be done on low flame.
6. Add the asafoetida powder and roast till it gives out a pleasant aroma, and switch off flame.
7. Cool all the ingredients thoroughly.
8. Grind the ingredients roasted in sesame oil together into a powder.
9. Now add the roasted peanuts, roasted coconut gratings and salt, and blend only for a few seconds. You can add 1/4 tsp of jaggery powder at this stage which is optional.Stir the contents in the mixer and pulse for another 2 seconds till you get a delicious and coarse Shenga Chutney Pudi.
Relish the versatile and flavoursome Shenga Chutney Pudy with idlies, dosas and rotis. It can be relished with hot rice and ghee. You can use the spicy Pudi  as a topping for your curd or raita bowl or you can sprinkle it on the salad.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sabudana Wada - Sago Fritters

Our recent pilgrimage to Maharashtra doubled up as a food pilgrimage too as we had the opportunity to savour the most delicious Maharashtrian food. We enjoyed a hot, delicious and sumptuous meal on a highway hotel and were too stuffed to eat the Sabudana Wadas which arrived later. Hence we got them parceled so that we could have them during our tea break. The warmth of the parcel and the flavour that emanated from it were so irresistible, that we found ourselves munching them away as soon as the car took off to continue our journey! The crispy outside and  the soft interior with the unique crunch of peanuts was something out of the world! 
I am posting this recipe to celebrate  Kadkekai Parishe (Annual Groundnut Fair) happening at Bangalore today. I prepared the Wada dough before hand and left it in the refrigerator to set. Later shaped them into Wadas and fried them for the evening tea.
Sago / Sabudana/ Javvarisi - 2 cups
Potatoes ( Medium size) - 4
Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Onion ( Finely minced ) - 1/4 cup
Green chillies (minced) - 2 tsps.
Ginger (Minced) - 1tsp
Curry leaves ( minced) - 2 tbsps
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Oil - for frying
1. Wash and cover sago with water and allow to soak for 2 hours and then drain in a colander.
2. Pressure cook potatoes and allow them to cool.
3. Blend the peanuts coarsely using a mixer.
4. Peal the potatoes and grate them. Grating helps the Wada dough to have an even texture without any lumps.
5. Squeeze the sago and add it to the grated potatoes.
6. Add the peanuts, minced onion, green chillies, ginger, curry leaves and salt.
7. Mix all the ingredients together by gently kneading till they come together into a ball. 
8. Rest the Wada dough in the refrigerator.
9. Pinch out lemon size balls from the dough and shape them into Wadas.
10.Heat oil in a kadai and drop the Wadas gently in hot oil. Splash hot oil carefully on top of the Wadas using the ladle. Allow to cook for some time till the Wadas become stable and then flip to the other side. Cook till the Wadas become golden in colour. Cook them in small batches of threes or fours so that they do not stick together.
11.Remove the Sabudana Wadas using a perforated ladle and drain them on a colander or a tissue paper.
Enjoy the delicious Sabudana Wadas with mint or coriander chutney.