Monday, September 25, 2017

Kadale Bele Payasa AKA Yele Kone Payasa - Split Bengal Gram Sweet Porridge

The first dish to be served on auspicious occasions in a Banana Leaf Meal / Bale Yele Oota/ Vazhai Elai Virundhu is Bele Payasa or Paruppu Payasam (Lentil Porridge). Even when the menu comprises of other exotic sweets a Yele Kone Payasa is a must in traditional feasts. Kadale Bele Payasa /Kadalai Paruppu Payasam prepared using split Bengal gram is a flavoursome festive Payasa/Payasam which can also be relished hot or cold as a dessert after a full meal. This delicious lentil pudding is served on the right hand corner of the bottom half of the banana leaf. Hence it is known as Yele Kone Payasa (roughly translates to leaf corner Porridge). At the start of the meal the thick porridgy Payasa/Payasam is swiped off the leaf using four fingers excepting the thumb and then relished by licking it off the fingers, virtually making it a finger licking dish!

Split Bengal gram dal - 1 cup
Powdered jaggery - 1 cup
Fresh coconut gratings - 2 cups
Rice flour - 1 tsp
Cardamom (2 numbers) and edible camphor(the size of a pin head) powdered together
Cashew nuts/almonds and raisins - 2 tbsps
Ghee - 1 tbsp

1. Pressure cook Bengal gram dal adding two cups of water until three whistles.
2. Melt jaggery in 1 cup of warm water and filter it.
3. Grind coconut gratings with rice flour into a very smooth paste adding water.
4. Cook the filtered jaggery water and the cooked dal together until it thickens emanating a very pleasant aroma.
5. Add the coconut and rice flour paste and cook till it blends well with the Payasam. The consistency should be thick enough, so that it is not runny when served on the banana leaf.
6. Add the powdered cardamom and edible camphor, and switch off flame.
7. Garnish with ghee fried cashew nuts/almonds
and raisins.

Enjoy the Kadalebele Payasa / Kadalai Paruppu Payasam as a dessert or as a mid morning energy booster!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Pulicha Keerai Masial/Kadaisal And Gongura Sadam - Mashed Roselle And A Tangy Roselle Rice

Gongura season (Pulicha keerai in Tamil/ Pundi soppu in Kannada) is here! The only dish I prepare during every Gongura season is Gongura Tokku! My house help Gowri not only buys Gongura for me during the season but also gives me simple instructions on how to cook it. I tried out this simple masial/kadaisal recipe of hers which we relished. Gongura Sadam prepared using the masial was also a big hit!


Gongura - 2 big bundles
Onion - 1 big (Chopped)
Garlic - 12 cloves (Peeled)
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1 1/2 tsps
Red chillies - 8 (Broken)
Sesame oil - 1/4 cup
1. Separate the gongura leaves from the stalk and thoroughly wash three or four times.
2. Drain the leaves and spread them out on a kitchen towel.
3. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds.
4. When the mustard seeds splutter add the chopped onion and garlic, and fry till they turn golden in colour.
5. Add the red chillies and saute for a couple of minutes.

6. Add the gongura leaves a handful at a time and keep sauteing.
7. Add more leaves as the previous batch wilts and sinks into the kadai.
8. Keep stirring and mashing the leaves using the back of a ladle.

9. When the leaves come together into a mass stir in salt and switch off flame after it blends well with the masial.
10. Allow to cool and grind half of the mixture in a blender, pour it back into the remaining masial and mix well.

Enjoy the Gongura Masial / Kadaisal with steaming hot rice or relish it as a side dish with dosa, chapati, ragi rotti or jolada rotti.
1. Take a cup of cooked rice and break the lumps. 
2. Add one spoon of sesame oil or ghee and coat the rice so that they do not clump together. 
3. Add one table spoon or more of the Gongura masial / Kadaisal depending on your taste and mix gently till the rice is evenly coated with the masial.

4. Enjoy the spicy and tangy Gongura Rice with any cool raita of your choice.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hituku Bele Payasa - Fresh Deskinned Field Beans Porridge

A few decades ago my mother-in-law used to obtain Hituku bele from Avare Kaalu (Field Beans) by first soaking the beans for at least six hours. The soaked kaalus (beans) were patiently pinched and squeezed one at a time so that the Hituku bele  literally jumped out of its skin! You can very well imagine the number of hours she put in to give a decent serving of the Hituku Bele delicacy she would patiently prepare for every member of our large family! Thanks to HOPCOMS, nowadays ready to use Hituku Bele is easily available during the season.
I had tasted Hituku Bele Payasa for the first time at the Avarekai Mela  a few years ago. Since then I have been planning to try it out at home and some how it was getting postponed. I tried out  Hituku Bele Payasa today for the first time and it turned out delicious.

Hituku Bele/ Deskinned fresh field beans - 1 cup
Milk - 2 1/2 cups
Fresh coconut gratings - 2 tbsps
Powdered jaggery - 4 tbsps
Powdered cardamom - 1 pinch
1. Wash and cook Hituku Bele in two cups of milk till it is done and remove two table spoons of the cooked bele and set aside for garnishing.
2. Blend together fresh coconut gratings, powdered jaggery, cardamom powder and the cooked Hituku Bele adding the milk used for cooking.
3. Mix the blend with the remaining milk and cook the Payasa till it thickens.
4. Garnish with the two table spoons of Hituku Bele which was set aside.

Enjoy the sweet creamy Payasa and a few delicious bites of Hituku Bele you are sure to come across! 
A garnish with ghee fried raisins and cashew nuts is optional.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Knol Khol Milagu Kuzhambu - Kohlrabi In A Tangy And Peppery Gravy

We have celebrated festivals back to back through out the month of August. Now it is time to rest our system for a while and get ready to handle the next set of festivals starting from Navaratri. Owing to continuous indulgence in festive food we tend to lose appetite. The specific ingredients used in the preparation of Milagu Kuzhambu induce hunger, alleviate biliousness, activate the taste buds and help in good digestion. Normally Milagu Kuzhambu is served in a small quantity as a digestive relish similar to other relishes or chutneys along with a meal. One morsel of rice with this kuzhambu at the beginning of a meal is sufficient to give one a detoxed feeling. Instead of  Sambar, Milagu Kuzhambu can be served with rice topped with ghee or sesame oil as the main course in a full meal when vegetables are added to it. Here I have added Knol Khol to this recipe. Incidentally Knol Khol is high in anti oxidant and is also useful in relieving indigestion. 


Knol Khol / Kohlrabi ( Chopped) - 1 cup
Tamarind (Soaked) - The size of a small lime
Salt - 1 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Tur dal - 1 tbsp
Pepper - 2 tsps
Cumin seeds - 2 tsps
Red chillies (broken) - 1
Curry leaves - 1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Black gram dal - 1 tsp
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
1. Wash, peel and chop the knol khol, pressure cook and keep aside.
2. Heat 1/4 tsp of oil in a kadai and add tur dal, coriander seeds, pepper, cumin seeds and red chillies and fry on low flame till the colour changes  emanating a very pleasant aroma.
3. When the pepper starts cracking add curry leaves, fry for a minute and switch off flame and allow to cool.

4. When the roasted ingredients are cooled grind them into a fine powder.
5. Add the soaked tamarind and grind together into a paste adding enough water.
6. Heat the remaining oil in the kadai and splutter mustard seeds.
7. Add the black gram dal and roast till it becomes golden brown in colour.
8. Add the cooked knol khol, the ground pepper paste, salt and a tall glass of water.

9. Let the Milagu Kuzhambu boil until it thickens and emanates a very pleasant aroma.
Enjoy the Knol Khol Milagu Kuzhambu with hot rice topped with a spoon of fresh ghee.


Friday, September 1, 2017

Beetroot and Kadalai Thoran - Beetroot and Black Chick Pea Dry Curry

Beetroot was taboo in our kitchen during our childhood days. May be the bright red colour put off the elders who cooked for the family. Now a days I use beetroot to prepare Porial/Thoran, Halwa, Salad (kosumalli), Thair PachadiCutlets and even Adais! I still have a mind block when it comes to preparing Beetroot and Green gram dal  Koottu which is my sister-in-law's favourute. I instantaneously fell for the Beetroot and Black Chana/Kadalai curry that I relished at a restaurant and now it has become one of the regular  menu items at home.

Beetroot - 2 big ones
Black Chick Peas / Kadalai /Black Chana - 1cup ( soak overnight)
Salt - 1 tsp
Sesame oil or Coconut oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Black gram dal - 1 tsp
Red chillies (broken) - 2
Curry leaves - a few
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Finely chopped onion - 2 tbsps
Fresh grated coconut - 4 tbsps
1. Drain the soaked Black Chick Peas/Kadalai, sprinkle a handful of fresh water and keep it in a separator in the pressure cooker.
2. Thoroughly wash and cut the Beetroots into half and place them in another separator, and set it on top of the previous separator with Kadalai.
3. Pressure cook until three whistles, switch off flame and allow it to cool.
4. Peel the pressure cooked Beets and chop them into small cubes.
5. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds.
6. When the mustard seeds splutter add black gram dal and fry till it turns into a golden colour.
7. Add asafoetida and broken red chillies followed by curry leaves and finely chopped onion.
8.When the onion turns glassy add the chopped beet root and the pressure cooked Chick Peas/Kadalai.
9. Add salt and stir and cook till all the water evaporates
10. Garnish the dry Thoran with grated coconut.

Include the delicious Beetroot and Kadalai Thoran in your happy Onam Sadhya.