Sunday, December 30, 2018

Hitukavare Masala - A Spicy Curry using Skinned Field Beans

The long awaited season is here! The all-encompassing aroma of Avrekaalu / Field Beans hangs thick in the air. Every home is churning out Avarekai dishes to celebrate the season. Hitukavare or Hitukubele is a delicacy and is a connoisseur's delight. Field beans is soaked and then squeezed out or pinched one at a time and the 'raw lentil' thus obtained is called Hitukavare or Hitukubele. Here is a recipe for a hot and spicy Hitukavare Masala which is an ideal dish suitable for winter. Tastes delicious on a golden toast.

Hitukavare/ Hitukubele - 2 cups
Onion (Finely chopped) - 1 cup
Tomatoes (Finely Chopped) - 1 cup
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fresh ginger (grated) - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Sambar powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Juice of half lime
Coriander leaves - for garnishing
1. Boil the Hitukavare/Hitukubele (skinned field beans) adding turmeric powder till it is cooked.
2. Heat oil in a pan and splutter the cumin seeds.
3. Add ginger and onion and fry till the onion becomes golden in colour.
4. Add tomatoes, sambar powder and salt and stir well.
5. Cover and cook on low flame till the tomatoes become mushy.
6. When the oil separates stir in the cooked and drained Hitukavare.
7. Slightly mash the Hitukavare Masala using the back of the ladle, cover and cook on low flame till the spice combines well with the bean and switch off flame.
8. Mix in the lime juice and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 

Enjoy the hot and spicy Hitukavare Masala on toast. It goes well with dosas and poories. It can also be served as a side dish with any meal.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Pottu Kadalai Marzipan - Roasted Gram Marzipan


Marzipan is usually prepared by kneading together powdered almond and sugar until it reaches a play dough consistency. The sweet dough can be shaped into any shape like small marzipan animals or fruits. Addition of the required food colours make them more attractive. Some times cashew nuts, soy, semolina and other nuts are also used in the making of the sweet treat. Today I tried making Marzipan using Pottu Kadalai - Roasted Gram. Since Pottu Kadalai is a dry ingredient a little quantity of melted butter or olive oil had to be used for binding. 

Pottu Kadalai/ Roasted Gram - 1 cup
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder or any essence of your choice for flavouring
Melted butter or Olive oil - as required
Rainbow sugar balls - for decoration
1. Dry grind Pottu Kadalai/ Roasted Gram into a smooth powder.
2. Grind sugar into a smooth powder.

3. Blend the powders, two table spoons of melted butter/olive oil and essence/cardamom powder together in a mixer.

4. Take the blended mixture in a bowl and knead thoroughly into a  soft and smooth dough adding more butter / olive oil if required.

5. Pat the kneaded dough into a tray and refrigerate until the marzipan becomes firm.

6. Take out the set marzipan on a plate and cut it into desired shapes.

7. Marzipan can be made to look attractive by shaping it like cookies and showering the 'Marzipan Cookies' with rainbow sugar balls.

8. Keep them refrigerated and enjoy the chilled sweets with children and family. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Pavakkai Gojju - Bitter Gourd in Sweet and Spicy Tamarind Gravy

A combination of Gojju and steaming hot rice topped with a spoon of ghee is one of the best finger-licking meals suitable for a cold day. Pavakkai/Bitter gourd activates the digestive juices resulting in good digestion. Ginger, chillies, sesame seeds and tamarind used in its preparation have heat generating properties which are important for improving metabolism and keeping the body warm. The spice, the tang and the sweetness of jaggery  help to camouflage the bitter taste of the healthy vegetable.

Bitter gourd/ Pavakkai - 2
Tamarind - 1 lemon size ball
Salt - 2 tsps
Sambar powder - 2 tsps
Jaggery ( powdered) - 2 tbsp
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tsp
Peanuts - 2 tbsps
Red chillies - 2 ( broken)
Green chillies - 2 (slit)
Fresh ginger - 1'' piece (chopped lengthwise)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Roasted and powdered sesame seeds - 2 tbsps
1. Wash and chop Pavakkai/ Bitter gourd into small pieces.
2. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice and keep aside.
3. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds.
4. When the mustard seeds splutter add fenugreek seeds and Bengal gram dal.
5. When the dal starts to turn golden in colour add the peanuts and stir till they crack.
6. Turn down the heat and add red chillies, followed by slit green chillies and ginger.
7. Add asafoetida, turmeric powder and curry leaves.
8. Stir the seasoning well, increase flame and add the chopped bitter gourd.

9. Stir fry for five minutes and then add the tamarind juice, salt, sambar powder and powdered jaggery.

10. Cover and cook on medium heat till the gojju becomes thick emanating a very pleasant aroma.
11. See that the vegetable is cooked and then add the roasted and powdered sesame seeds.

12. If you do not need a very thick gravy, make a paste with one teaspoon of rice flour and water and blend it into the gojju  while still watery as soon as the vegetable is done.
Enjoy the bitter- sweet, spicy - sour Pavakkai Gojju with rice or relish it with dosas or chapaties.