Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Ellu Podi and Ellorai - Spicy Sesame Powder and Rice Mixed With Sesame Powder

Ellu or Sesame seeds provide heat and energy to the body and are a power house of nutrition according to Ayurveda. They are rich in calcium and zinc which are necessary to boost bone health. It is a custom to give Ellu Urundai/ Sesame Laddus to girls going through puberty.The calcium rich Ellu strengthens their bones and prevents osteoporosis. Ellu Podi or Sesame Powder savoured with a spoon of sesame oil tastes delicious with Idlies and Dosas.
Ellorai is a traditional dish which has been an offering to the deities at ancient temples since time immemorial. It is a delicious rice prepared by mixing the Ellu Podi with cooked rice. Enjoy the delicious heat generating foods prepared with Ellu/Sesame this winter.


Black Sesame seeds - 1 cup
Split black gram dal - 1 cup
Red chillies - 4
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 3/4 tsp
1. Roast split black gram dal, red chillies and asafoetida in 1/4 tsp of hot oil.
2. When the dal becomes light golden in colour emanating a very pleasant aroma add the black sesame seeds.
3. Switch off flame and keep stirring till the seeds pop in the hot pan.
4. Allow to cool and then blend the roasted ingredients together with salt into a slightly coarse powder. One or two swishes in the blender will be sufficient. Grinding for too long will extract oil from the sesame seeds.

Ellu Podi/ Sesame Seeds Powder is ready to use. Store the powder in a clean dry bottle after it cools down.
Cooked rice - 2 cups
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Split black gram dal - 1/4 tsp
Peanuts - 2 tbsps
Curry leaves - a few
Salt - 1/2 tsp
1. Fluff up the cooked rice in a wide mouthed vessel.
2. Heat one tbsp of oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds.
3. Add split black gram dal and peanuts and roast till the dal becomes golden in colour, and till the peanuts crack.
4. Add curry leaves and pour the seasoning over the fluffed up rice and mix well.
5. Add two tbsps of Ellu Podi, salt and the remaining oil and blend well with the rice. More Ellu Podi can be added according to taste.

Enjoy the nutritious and flavoursome Ellorai as it is or with a roasted Papad. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Vegetable Noodle Dalna - Noodles In A Traditional Bengali Gravy

The youngsters in my family relish noodles very much. Whenever they have a craving for noodles or any other food they fancy for that matter, they readily order their favourites online. One fine day I decided to try my hand at making their favourite noodles at home, but of course with a South Indian touch. After much pondering the thought of combining noodles with any of the South Indian gravies seemed infeasible. I remembered about Vegetable Dalna - a traditional Vegetarian Bengali recipe which I thought would probably suit my need of the hour. That is when Vegetable Noodle Dalna - a fusion of  Bengali and Italian cuisine was born in my kitchen.

Wheat noodles - 1 packet ( 200gms)
Sesame oil - 4 tbsps
Tomatoes (blended in a mixer) - 4 to 5 cups
Cauliflower florets (blanched) - 1 cup
Potatoes (cubed) - 1 cup
Green peas  - 1 cup
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Sambar Powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Salt - 11/4 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 1'' piece
Grind them together into a fine powder and keep aside.
1. Add a teaspoon of oil and a pinch of salt to a big pot of water and bring it to a boil.
2. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook till done.
3. Drain and cool the cooked noodles and keep aside.

4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a kadai and fry the blanched cauliflower florets to a golden colour and remove to a plate.
5. Add one more tbsp of oil to the same kadai and roast the cubed potatoes to a golden colour and remove to the plate.

6. Heat the remaining oil in the same kadai and splutter cumin seeds and add the ginger paste.
7. Mix Sambar powder, turmeric powder, salt, sugar and the spice powder with little water and add this paste to the seasoning.
8. Stir well and then add the tomato juice.

9. Cook till the oil separates from the sauce and then add the fried vegetables and peas.
10. Add 1/2 a cup or more of water and cook till the vegetables are done.
11. Dalna needs to be juicy and it should have the consistency of a gravy. Add little more water if it becomes too dry. Switch off flame when it emanates a very pleasant aroma.

12. Gently mix the vegetable gravy with the cooked noodles till each and every strand of noodle gets coated with the dalna.

Watch the sparkle in the eyes of the youngsters as they slurp in the Vegetable Noodle Dalna when it is still warm and juicy.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Deepavali Special - Mundiri Paruppu Chocolate Nokkal - Chocolate Coated Cashew Nuts

Whether it is a wedding or a Deepavali celebration Mundiri Paruppu Nokkal or sugar coated cashew holds a very special place among various other delicacies. I have already posted the recipe of Nokkal for Deepavali in the year 2009. Posting the recipe of Nokkal once again, but this time it is with a chocolate coating. Indulge in these chocolaty nuts and enjoy the Deepavali season.

Whole Cashew Nuts - 2 cups
Sugar - 2 cups
Cocoa powder - 2 heaped table spoons
Lime juice - 1 tsp (to prevent crystallization of sugar syrup)
Crystal salt - 1 pinch (to enhance the taste)
Olive oil or ghee - 1 tbsp
1. Fry the whole cashew nuts in olive oil/ghee stirring them continuously on low flame till they become golden in colour.
2. Remove the golden roasted nuts into a wide mouthed vessel.

3. Dissolve sugar in two cups of water and set it on medium flame.
4. Mix cocoa powder thoroughly in 1/4 cup of warm water and add it to the sugar water.
5. Add lime juice and salt and cook the syrup till it becomes sticky and reaches one thread consistency.

6. Take a ladle of the syrup and pour over the roasted nuts and stir well.

7. Switch off flame and pour another ladle of the hot syrup all over the nuts once again. This will give a second coating to the nuts.

Keep adding the warm syrup little by little and keep stirring the nuts so that they are coated well with the chocolate syrup.

8. Do not worry if the nuts tend to clump up together. Allow the clumps to cool down a little. 
9. Gently separate them one by one by using a knife or a spoon and let them dry on a plate.

Store the  Mundiri Paruppu Chocolate Nokkal in a clean and dry jar if you are still left with some! I found that half of them had disappeared while I was still in between the 8th and 9th step!