Monday, April 9, 2018

Semia Bakalabath - Curd Vermicelli

Eating curds mixed with rice is always the last course in a South Indian meal without which a meal is never complete. In my school days my siblings and I had our meal consisting of dal, rice,vegetable and curd at 9.30 A.M. before we left for school. During lunch break at 1.30 in the afternoon we had Curd Rice from our steel tiffin carriers with or without pickles. Eating Curd Rice in the afternoon for 'rendaam velai'  meaning second time was mandatory even on holidays, especially during Summer. Curd Rice was and is a cool and soothing any time comfort food for children and adults alike. The simple mixture of curd and rice is dressed up with different garnishes and seasonings for special occasions.The garnishes vary from fruits like grapes and pomegranate to cool vegetables like cucumber, carrots and even raw mangoes along with chopped coriander leaves. The seasoning comprises of mustard seeds, black gram dal, chana dal, green chillies, red chillies, ginger, asafoetida, curry leaves, raisins, cumin seeds and cashew nuts in different permutations and combinations. The 'dressed up' curd rice thus transformed is popularly known as Bakalabath (pronounced Bakaalabaath) in Karnataka. Bakalabath has a special place in buffets at restaurants and at dinners in wedding receptions. Bakalabath with different flavours and textures can be prepared by replacing rice with other ingredients like Broken Wheat, Vermicelli, Sago, Millets, Beaten rice or Quinoa.
Here is an easy and tasty recipe of Semia Bakalabath  using Vermicelli.

Vermicelli/Semia - 1 cup
Thick curds/ yogurt - 3 cups
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Grated carrot - 1/4 cup
Finely minced cucumber - 1/4 cup
Chopped coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Ghee  - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Split black gram dal - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 a pinch
Cashew nuts - as many as you wish
Chopped green chilly - 1
Curry leaves - a few
1. Dry roast Vermicelli/ Semia till it turns reddish in colour.  Ready to use roasted Vermicelli can also be used. 

2. Cook the roasted Vermicelli/Semia in 1 1/2 cups of water till done.
3. Thoroughly cool the cooked Vermicelli/Semia and fluff it up using a fork.

4. Mix in salt, grated carrot, minced cucumber and chopped coriander leaves.

5. Gently combine curds and the prepared Vermicelli/Semia taking care not to mash it up.
6. Heat ghee in a seasoning ladle and add mustard seeds.
7. When the mustard seeds splutter add the split black gram dal.
8. When the dal turns into a light brown colour add the cashew nuts and fry till it turns golden in colour.
9. Add asafoetida followed by green chillies and curry leaves.
10. Pour the seasoning over the Semia Bakalabath (Curd Vermicelli) and chill.

Relish the flavoursome, cool and tasty Semia Bakalabath at any meal time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Puliambazha Panagam/Hunase Hannina Panaka - Tamarindade

It is customary to make, distribute and relish Panagams/Panakas while celebrating feasts like Ugadi, Ramanavami and Tamizh Varushapirappu which always fall during the Summer months.The traditional thirst quenchers act as ORS (Oral Re hydration Solutions) and prevent dehydration while helping one to beat the sweltering heat.  Home made Panagams/Panakas are refreshing drinks with lots of health benefits without any side effects. Various types of Panagams/Panakas are prepared using different ingredients, the most common being the Indian lemonade prepared out of lime and jaggery.
Puliambazha Panagam / Hunase Hannina Panaka is a  sweet and tangy thirst quencher prepared using Tamarind and Jaggery. Both Tamarind and Jaggery are rich sources of iron and help in  Rakta Vridhi, meaning: improves the red blood cell count.This drink detoxes the system, purifies blood and is also beneficial for digestive health. Tamarindade is an easy to make healthy drink to stand up to the heat of Summer the healthy way.

Tamarind - 1 lemon size ball
Jaggery - 1 orange size ball
Fresh ginger (peeled and crushed) - 1 tbsp
Powdered cardamom - 1 pinch
Salt - 1/4 tsp
1. Boil tamarind and jaggery in 2 glasses ( 1/2 liter) of water.

2. Boil till the jaggery melts completely emanating a pleasant aroma.
3. Cool the tamarind - jaggery water and filter it.

4. Add 2 more glasses of water to make one liter of Panagam/Panaka.
5. Mix in the crushed ginger and cardamom powder.

Chill the Puliambazha Panagam / Hunase Hannina Panaka / Tamarindade and relish the sweet sour drink sip by sip.