Saturday, May 26, 2018

Mavinakayi Gojju/ Menaskai - A Sweet, Tangy and Spicy Raw Mango Relish

MAVINAKAYI GOJJU ALSO KNOWN AS MENASKAI
Gojju or Menaskai is a sweet, tangy and spicy relish which originated in the traditional kitchens of Udupi. The widely acclaimed relish is included in all festive lunches through out Karnataka. The unique combination of spices used in its preparation makes the simple dish into an exotic finger licking relish. Pineapple Gojju and Mango Menskai  are highly relished and most popular. Here is a recipe for a delicious Mavinakayi Gojju/Menskai in keeping with the season.


INGREDIENTS
Raw mangoes - 2
Jaggery - 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
Salt - 2 tsps
TO BE ROASTED AND GROUND
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp
Black gram dal - 2 tsps
Bengal gram dal - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/8 tsp
Red chillies - 2 or 3 ( Preferably Byadagi chillies for its rich color)
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Sesame seeds - 2 tbsps
Copra / Dried coconut ( grated) - 2 tbsps
FOR SEASONING
Sesame oil or Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - a few.
METHOD
1. Wash and cut mangoes into cubes. Retain a layer of flesh on the seeds since they will also be going into the cooking pot.


2. Cover the cut mango cubes and the seeds with water.
3. Add turmeric powder and jaggery and cook till soft.


4. Dry roast sesame seeds and keep aside.
5. Heat 1/4 spoon of sesame oil and roast together Black gram dal, Bengal gram dal, fenugreek seeds, red chillies, cumin seeds and asafoetida till the dals turn golden in colour.
6. Cool the roasted ingredients and grind them together with roasted sesame seeds and copra into a fine powder.
7. Add little water and once again grind it to get a thick paste.
8. Add the ground spice paste and salt to the cooked mangoes and stir well.


9. Cook the Mavinakayi Gojju/Menaskai till it thickens emanating a very pleasant aroma. If it gets too thick add some more water and cook for another two minutes.


10. Heat oil and splutter mustard seeds and curry leaves, and pour the seasoning over the gojju.



Mavinakayi Gojju/Menskai goes very well with rice, dosas and rotis. But it can also be relished as it is, literally to a finger licking finish. The mango seeds are a bonus for connoisseurs who like to slurp and relish the sweet, tangy and spicy pulp still sticking on to them!
Mavinakayi Gojju / Menaskai is best eaten with your hands - Indian style - for highest satisfaction!
Here are two steps to eat Mavinakaui Gojju/Menaskai with your hand - Indian Style!
1. Use your forefinger and middle finger together to swipe up little bit of the relish from the plate and lick it off your fingers.


2. Hold the seed in your hand and suck the seed dry finishing off the sweet, tangy and spicy flesh still sticking all around the seed!
And that is what we call pure bliss!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Pachai Sundaikkai Porial - Fresh Turkey Berry Dry Curry

PACHAI SUNDAIKKAI PORIAL
Turkey Berry
Botanical Name: Solanum Torvum 
Health Benefits:
Good for digestion.
Eliminates worms from the system.
Alleviates colds and chest infections.
Purifies blood, is diabetes friendly, et cetera, et cetera!
We are overwhelmed by the flood of information provided by the internet regarding the health benefits of the bitter berry called Sundaikkai. My grandmother packed the 'information deluge' in one simple sentence when she uttered, 'Sundaikkai is good for health'! That was that! No questions were asked when the berry was cooked and served as kozhambus or porials! We dutifully gobbled up the 'health food' with slight reluctance though! Grandmother used certain tricks to tone down the bitterness of the berries while cooking, which gave no chance for any complaints from any quarter! You will have to just cultivate the taste and savour it with all the health benefits in mind.Then you are sure to enjoy it.
Here is a simple recipe to prepare Pachai Sundaikkai Porial. I am also sharing the trick taught by grandmother to make the Porial delicious and less bitter.


INGREDIENTS


Fresh Sunndaikkai / Turkey Berry - 2 cups
Tamarind - 1 marble size ball 
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Powdered jaggery - 2 tbsps 
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Salt - 1 tsp
Sesame oil - 2 tsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Split black gram dal/ Urad dal - 1 tsp
Red chillies (broken) - 2
Curry leaves - a few
DRY ROAST AND POWDER :
Split pigeon peas/Tur dal - 4 tbsp
Pepper corns - 6
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Red chilly - 1
Salt - 1 pinch
METHOD
1. Remove the fresh pea size Sundaikkais from stalk and wash them thoroughly.


2. Cover the Sundaikkais with water.
3. Add turmeric powder, asafoetida and tamarind which will disintegrate while cooking. 


4. Cook till the Sundaikkais are almost done.
5. Add salt and cook till the water evaporates.
6. Drain if there is excess water.
7. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds.
8. Add the Blackgram dal and roast till it becomes golden in colour.
9. Add broken red chillies and roast till they become crisp.
10. Saute the curry leaves with the seasoning and add the cooked Sundaikkais.


10. Stir in the roasted and powdered ingredients and blend well.(Instead you may use two tablespoons of Paruppu Podi or Chutney Podi). 


11. Switch off flame when the Sundaikkai Porial emanates a pleasant aroma.


Enjoy the Pachai Sundaikkai Porial mixed with steaming hot rice topped with a spoon of ghee. You may also relish it as a side dish with your meal. 
NOTE Grandmother's trick: 
Cooking Sundaikkais with tamarind juice and jaggery tones down its bitterness considerably.The addition of the spicy Paruppu podi used to camouflage the left over bitterness also enhances the aroma and taste of the Porial. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Sutta Vazhaikkai Podi - Grilled Raw Banana Spicy Crumble

SUTTA VAZHAIKKAI PODI
Whenever my Mami and I get together our conversation veers in all directions and finally culminates in our one and only indulgence : cooking! Vazhaikkai Podi is a spicy curry which has to be crumbly as the name itself suggests. I usually cut the Raw Banana/ Vazhaikkai along with the peel and then boil it till done. Then I cool it, peel it, crumble it and then mix it with the spice powder to make this delicious dish. If the vegetable is slightly overcooked the Vazhaikkai Podi (Raw Banana Crumble) is sure to turn into Vazhaikkai Masial (Raw Banana Mash)! Mami taught me a traditional method to cook Raw  Banana/Vazhaikkai wherein it would remain dry and crumbly even after cooking. Here is the traditional method to make a delicious and crumbly Vazhaikkai Podi.


INGREDIENTS
Raw Banana/Vazhaikkai - 1 
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Black gram dal/Urad dal - 1 tbsp
Bengal gram dal/Chana dal - 1 tbsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Broken red chillies - 3
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - 1 small marble size ball
METHOD
1. Wash and wipe the Raw Banana/Vazhaikkai and place it on live flame.


2. Hold the stalk and turn it now and then so that it is uniformly grilled.


3. Allow the skin to char on all sides.
4. The sharp edge of a knife can be easily inserted into the Banana/Vazhaikkai when it is done.


5. Allow the grilled Raw Banana/Vazhaikkai to cool down completely.
6. Scrape off the charred peel using a knife.


7. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the tamarind till crisp and keep aside.
8. Add the dals, red chillies and mustard seeds into the same oil and roast till the dals turn golden in coliour.
9. Add asfoetida and switch off fame.
10. Cool the roasted ingredients and grind them coarsely adding the fried tamarind and salt.


11. Cut the grilled and peeled Raw Banana/Vazhaikkai into four pieces and add to the mixer.
12. Just give it one swish so that it crumbles and blends with the spice. 
One extra swish will make the Podi mushy. Safest method is to crumble the grilled Raw banana/ sutta Vazhaikkai using your hand.


 The powdered spice can be gently worked into the crumbled vegetable.


Enjoy the Sutta Vazhaikkai Podi mixed with plain rice or relish it as a side dish with your meal.