Friday, December 8, 2017

Nellikkai Chutney And Nellikkai Chitranna - Indian Gooseberry relish And Rice

Nellikkai / Amla tree is one of the sacred trees of India.  Lord Krishna is said to reside in the Amla/Gooseberry tree. Gooseberry is also known as Dhatri. A special Pooja known as Dhatri Pooja is performed  during the month of Kartika ( Mid November - Mid December) under the Dhatri Tree (Gooseberry Tree), and a community feast - Vana Bhojana meaning feast in a forest - is served under the tree. It is considered auspicious to light lamps using gooseberries during this month. Gooseberries have been part of  our Saativk diet  since ancient times. It was believed that it promoted overall good health and prevented aging. Researches have proved that the benefits attributed to the divine Berry to be true. Gooseberry removes toxins from the blood and helps in improving anemic conditions. It is rich in Vitamin C which is an important nutrient to boost immunity. It activates the digestive juices thus helping to maintain a healthy digestive system.The high level of antioxidants found in the berry prevents premature aging. In Ayurveda Gooseberries are used in the preparation of various health tonics. It is said that the anti inflammatory properties of the wonder berry help in healing mouth ulcers, joint pains and swellings. During the season Gooseberries are pickled or sun dried and preserved for future use. Lip smacking Chutney, Pachadi, Gojju and Chitranna are prepared using fresh berries during the season. 
Gooseberries/Nellikkai - 300 gms (About 16 numbers)
Green chillies - 6
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dry roasted and ground Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
1. Wash the Nellikkais thoroughly and steam cook for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker or in any other steamer.

2. The segments of the berries will fall apart when steamed and the seeds can be removed easily.
3. Once the berries have cooled down grind them together with green chillies, turmeric powder, salt and asafoetida into a slightly coarse paste.

4. Heat sesame oil and splutter the mustard seeds.
5. Add the ground Nellikkai paste and keep stirring till the oil comes out.
6. Mix in the roasted and ground fenugreek powder.
7. Store in a clean and dry jar.

Enjoy the tongue tickling chutney with any dish of your choice.
A quick and easy Chitranna can be prepared by mixing Nellikkai chutney with rice and adding a splutter of seasoning.
Cooked rice - 1 cup
Sesame oil - 2tsps
Mustard - one pinch
Black gram dal - 1/2 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 1/2 tsp
Peanuts - a few
Curry leaves - a few
1. Fluff up the cooked rice using a fork so that each grain is separated.
2. Heat sesame oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds.
3. Add the dals and roast till they turn golden in colour.
4. Add peanuts and roast till they crack followed by curry leaves.
5. Pour the seasoning over the rice and mix well. The oil in the seasoning helps in keeping each grain of rice separate while mixing.
6. Add two table spoons of Nellikkai Chutney and mix with the seasoned rice using a spatula till each and every grain of rice is coated with the tangy chutney.

Relish the Nellikkai Chitranna as it is or with a roasted papad.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Sweet and Savoury Godumai Appam - Sweet and Savoury Fried Wheat Dumplings

All set to celebrate Kartigai Deepam with Vella Pori and Appam. Since children crave for a savoury snack after indulging in sweet Pori and sweet Appams a savoury version of Appam is also prepared soon after the Prasadams are ready.
Wheat flour - 1 glass
Rice flour - 2 tbsps glass
Ripe banana - 1(Mashed)
Powdered jaggery - 1/2 glass (Dissolved in 1/2 a glass of warm water and filtered)
Powdered cardamom - 1 pinch
Oil for frying
1. Mix the flours, mashed banana and cardamom powder together. 
2. Add the jaggery water (I used Palm jaggey) little by little and blend it into a batter.
3. Add more water if necessary to make a thick and smooth batter of pouring consistency.
4. Pour oil into all the pits of a appam making vessel known as Appa Kuzhi.
5. Heat the oil and pour one scoop of batter in each kuzhi/pit.
6. When the Appams start turning reddish brown in colour they will start floating.

7. Flip them into the oil pits using a spoon and cook for two more minutes.
8. Remove one by one and drain them on a kitchen towel when done.

Offer them to the Lord along with Kartigai Pori and share the Prasadam with your dear ones.
Wheat flour - 1 glass
Rice flour - 2 tbsps
Curds - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Chopped green chillies - 1 tsp
Chopped ginger - 1 tsp
Chopped coriander leaves - 2 tsps
Minced fresh coconut - 2 tbsps
Minced carrots - 2 tbsps
Minced onions - 2 tbsps (Optional)
1. Mix all the ingredients into a smooth and thick batter adding the required amount of water.
2. I also added two table spoons of M.T.R. Instant Rava Idly Mix which gave a nice texture to the  Appam.
3. Heat oil in the Appa Kuzhi as before.
4. Pour a scoop of batter into each pit.
5. Cook until the Appams turn golden brown in colour.
6. Flip and cook if necessary.
7. Remove them one by one on to a kitchen towel.

Enjoy with tomato sauce or coconut chutney.