Tuesday, June 26, 2012

GOING BANANAS - Baalekai Bhakri - Raw Banana Flatbread

 I decided to 'pat' ragi rottis after cooking all the side dishes first, so that everyone could enjoy them hot and straight from the tava. A baalekai / banana curry was also in my menu plan. As I took out the bananas there was a sudden flash! ' Why not rottis out of bananas instead of ragi?' 
After all, the banana deluge - an aftermath of our visit to our village - had not yet subsided! 
Here is how I prepared the Baalekai Bhakri which was very much relished by my family.

Raw bananas - 4 
Rice flour - 2 tbsps 
Asafoetida - 1 pinch 
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch 
Salt - 1 tsp 
Gingelly oil - 2 tbsps 
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Chopped onions - 1/2 cup 
Freshly grated coconut - 1/2 cup 
Chopped green chillies - 1 tbsp 
Freshly grated ginger - 1 tbsp 
Chopped coriander leaves - 2 tbsps 
Oil - for roasting 
1. Cut the raw bananas into two or three pieces. 
2. Cover with water and cook with the peel,till soft.  

3. Peel the cooked bananas and blend in a mixer along with turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt . 
4. Add the rice flour and oil and run the mixer for a few more seconds so that the mixture comes together like a dough. 
5. Take out the blend in a bowl and add the chopped onion, grated coconut, green chillies, ginger, cumin seeds and coriander leaves. 
6. Knead all the ingredients together and leave it covered for a while. 

7. Grease a banana leaf or a butter paper and place a ball of the banana dough on it. 
8. Wet your fingers and pat the sticky dough into a moderately thick and round bhakri

9. Invert the leaf on a greased and heated tava and gently peel it off when the bhakri sits on the tava

10. Drizzle with oil and gently cook till the bhakri is done.  


11. Flip it on the other side and cook on medium flame.

12. Pour one more spoon of oil around the edges and cook  till the bhakri gets the golden tiger stripes on both sides. 

Serve the Baalekai Bhakri immediately topped with a blob of fresh butter and your favourite vegetables.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

GOING BANANAS - Vaazhaikkai Bonda - Raw Banana Bondaas


The green or raw bananas used for cooking,  locally known as 'Mondan vaazhai' is grown in abundance in Trichy district. Apart from the banana fruits and Mondan vaazhaikkai, the broad and sturdy banana leaves (used for serving  food on festive occasions ) are also a speciality of this region. 

The magnificent show of abundance by a banana tree was intriguing when one of Mani's banana tree put forth three additional clusters of bananas along with the usual single huge cluster! 
Raw bananas - 3 big 
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch 
Sambar powder - 1 tsp 
Salt - 1 tsp 
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp 
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp 
Oil - 1 tbsp 
Lime - 1 big 
Chopped coriander leaves - 2 tbsps 
1. Cut the bananas into two or three pieces with the peel.

2. Cover with water and cook till the banana becomes soft. 
3. Cool, peel and crush the cooked bananas. 
4. Add sambar powder and turmeric powder and do not mix yet. 
5. Heat oil and splutter mustard seeds and the cumin seeds and pour the seasoning all over the spice powders. 
6. Add salt and squeeze the juice of lime, and mix the curry well. 


   7.  Mix chopped coriander leaves into the curry. 
Besan - 1 cup 
Rice flour - 2 tbsps 
Chilly powder - 1/4 tsp 
Salt - 1/4 tsp 
Asafoetida powder - 1 pinch 
Curds - 1 cup plus a little extra according to requirement

Combine all the ingredients together into a smooth and thick batter and set aside for fifteen minutes. 
1. Heat oil for frying. 
2. Pour two table spoons of hot oil into the batter and mix well using a spoon. 
3. Make plum size balls out of the prepared curry
4. Coat each curry ball with the prepared batter by dipping it into the batter. 
5. Drop one batter coated curry ball into hot oil and reduce flame. 
6. Drop more batter coated curry balls into the oil and do not disturb till the batter is cooked and the bondaas start changing colour. 
7. Increase heat and fry the batch of bondaas evenly on all sides. 
8. Fry till the bondaas become crisp and reddish brown in colour.

9. Remove the bondaas using a perforated ladle and drain on a paper towel. 

Find yourself popping the Vaazhaikkai bondaas into your mouth as and when they are done!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

GOING BANANAS - Paal Pazha Paayasam - Ripe Banana Prridge


Our native place lies on the lap of Akhanda Kaveri in a major banana growing area in Trichy district. Invariably we found ourselves loaded with bananas, bananas and bananas, after a short visit to our village. We almost went bananas when we were left with a bonanza  even after sharing the precious yield with our neighbours and near and dear ones. 
 And then - our kitchen started incessantly raining banana dishes ! 

Ripe but firm bananas - 3 
Milk - 4 cups 
Crushed jaggery - 1 1/2 cups 
Fresh coconut gratings - 1 cup 
Rice flour - 1 tbsp 
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch 
Ghee - 2 tbsps 
Cashew nuts and raisins - for garnishing 
1. Cut the ripe bananas with the peel intact into 1 inch rings. 
2. Steam the cut bananas for ten minutes in a pressure cooker. 
3. Grind coconut gratings and rice flour together into a smooth paste adding little water. 
4. Dissolve jaggery in one cup of warm water and filter. 
5. Boil the jaggery water till it slightly thickens and gives out a pleasant aroma. 
6. Peel the steamed banana rings, blend one table spoon of the fruit in milk and keep aside. 
7. Add the remaining banana rings to the jaggery syrup.

8. Stir in the coconut paste and cook for two or three minutes. 

9. Add the milk and fruit blend and switch off flame when the paayasam starts boiling.

10. Add cardamom powder, and raisins and cashew nuts fried in ghee. 

 Relish the flavoursome Paal Pazha Paayasam while it is warm.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Methi Paapad - Fenugreek Gravy With Paapads

 My children never fail to visit a 'temple' whenever they come down to Bangalore. The name of the "foodies' temple" is Rajdhani ! 
 T. R. was bowled over by the dozen or more cups of vegetables and dals which came along with steaming hot kichidi, oven fresh rotis and just puffed up poories !
We savoured the dishes one by one a little at a time, trying to guess the secret ingredients which had gone into the preparation of each and every delicacy. 
The soft tiny bits interlaced into a sabji seemed very familiar but unguessable. The bearer came with another serving of the mysterious sabji as he mumbled out its name. 
Suddenly it dawned upon us that the soft and succulent bits in the sweet and  sour sabji were nothing but shredded paapads
Here is Methi Paapad, another version of Appalam Mendhya Kozambu! 

Fenugreek seeds / Methi seeds - 2 tbsps 
Fenugreek leaves - 1 small bunch 
Small paapads - 3 
Tamarind - the size of a marble 
Salt - 1/4 tsp 
Sambar powder - 1/2 tsp 
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch 
Powdered jaggery - 1/4 tsp 
Cooking oil - 1 tbsp 
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch 
Cumin seeds - 1 pinch 
Asafoetida - 1 pinch 
1. Soak the methi seeds / fenugreek seeds overnight. 
2. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the thick juice. 
3. Wash and chop the fenugreek leaves. 
4. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds and cumin seeds. 
5. Add asafoetida. 
6. Add the chopped green fenugreek leaves and saute till all the water is gone. 
7. Drain and add the soaked fenugreek seeds. 

8. Stir till dry and add the sambar powder and turmeric powder.


9. Add the tamarind extract, salt and jaggery and cook till the fenugreek seeds are done.


10.Crush the  paapads  and cook in the gravy on low flame  till they become soft.

 Enjoy Methi Paapad with steaming hot rice or roti with a dollop of fresh ghee or butter.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Baadaami Chutney - Almond Dip

I hurried back from a late morning walk to prepare breakfast for my family. But to my great astonishment my son and daughter - in - law had already taken over the kitchen without any signs of jet lag ! I loved my daughter - in - law's exotic chutney for its novel nutty flavour and here is how she prepared it. 


Baadaami / Almonds - 1/2 cup 
Green chilly - 1 small 
Fresh ginger - one inch piece 
Salt - 1/4 tsp 
Ghee - 1/2 tsp 
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch 
Curry leaves - a few 
1. Dry roast the baadaami / almonds till it emanates a pleasant aroma. 
2. Grind the roasted nuts very coarsely with green chilly, ginger and salt. 
3. Add water little by little to get a desired consistency and run the mixer for only a few more seconds so that the chutney remains coarse. 
4. Heat ghee and splutter the mustard seeds. 

5. Add curry leaves and pour the seasoning over the Baadaami / Almond Chutney. 

Enjoy the flavoursome Baadaami Chutney with Idlies, Dosas or any other tiffin

Monday, June 4, 2012

Multigrain Atta And Palak Parotta - Multigrain And Spinach Multilayered Flat Bread

 Summer vacation is the only time when children can enjoy their favourite food served hot and fresh, straight from the hearth. Since my son and daughter- in - law had also come down for the vacation, my children and grandchildren celebrated a 'foodies' ball' all through the holidays! 
One day when every one voted for a parotta party we decided to make  power packed palak parottas using multigrain atta. With spicy chana masala as the side dish, the parottas disappeared as soon as they were flipped  out of the tava! 


Multigrain atta - 2 cups
Palak / Spinach - 1 bunch 
Chopped Green chilly - 1 tsp 
Chopped fresh ginger - 1tsp 
Salt - 1/4 tsp 
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp 
Cooking oil - 1/4 cup 
Rice flour - for dusting 
1. Wash, drain and chop the palak / spinach and keep aside. 
2. Heat one spoon of oil, add cumin seeds and stir in the chopped green chillies and ginger. 
3. Add washed palak / spinach and salt, cover and cook till done. 
4. Cool the cooked palak and blend it into a thick paste without adding water.


5. Make a well in the multigrain atta in a bowl and mix in the spinach paste little by little as per requirement and knead into a somooth chapati dough. 

6. Add one spoon of oil and knead again and make lime size balls out of the dough. 
7. Roll out a dough ball into a thin chapati

8.Spread a drop of oil all over the surface of the chapati
9. Pleat the chapati and then curl it into a circle. 

10. Shape all the dough balls into pleated circles and keep them covered. 
11. Roll out a pleated circle into a moderately thick parotta using rice flour for mild dusting. 
12. Heat a greased tava and cook the parotta  on both sides with a dribble of oil till golden spots appear.

Top the crisp Multigrain Palak Parottas with a dollop of butter and relish it with any hot and spicy side dish.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Cabbage And Paneer Momos

Summer holidays for my grand children ! The home coming of my son and daughter-in-law from the other side of the globe! It was indeed celebration time! I am not exaggerating when I say that we were in the midst of a grand food festival for the whole of three weeks! 
 We enjoyed the family time together while we relished a lot of "yummy food" (restaurant food) and "mummy food " (home food) to quote my little grand-daughter who is showing signs of becoming a future   Master Chef. 
We enjoyed cooking together and tried out many new recipes which turned out to be great hits among all the members of our family. Here is one of the delicious dishes prepared by my daughter-in-law with the assistance of my grand daughter. 

Cabbage leaves - 8 
 Milk - 1 litre 
Curd - 2 tbsps 
Finely chopped onions - 1/2 cup 
Finely chopped capsicums - 1/2 cup 
Finely chopped green chillies - 1/2 tsp 
Finely chopped fresh ginger - 1/2 tsp 
Butter - 2 tbsps 
Salt - 3/4 tsp 
Pepper powder - 1/2 tsp 

1. Separate whole cabbage leaves carefully from a huge tender cabbage.  
2. Wash and soak them in a bowl of warm water adding a pinch of salt. 

3. Boil the milk and stir in a table spoon of curd . 
4. Keep boiling until the milk curdles using the remaining curd if needed. 
5. Filter out the clear whey water using a strainer and let the paneer stand in the strainer. 

6. Heat butter and add the chopped green chillies and the ginger ( and crushed garlic if you like)
7. Add finely chopped onions and salt and saute till it becomes glassy. 
8. Add the chopped capsicum and cook till half done. 
9. Add the drained paneer and keep stirring till it becomes dry. 
10. Mix in the pepper powder and keep aside. 
11. Drain out the cabbage leaves and pat them dry. 
12. Place a heaped table spoon of the prepared paneer curry in each cabbage leaf. 

13. Fold like an envelope as shown in the following pictures. 

14. Place each momo with the folded side down in the steamer. 

15. Steam for ten minutes. 
Organic Tamari  - 2 tbsps 
Vinegar - 1 1/2 tsp 
Finely chopped onion - 1/2 cup 
Finely chopped green chillies - 1 tsp 
Roasted and coarsely crushed ground nuts - 1 tbsp 

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and relish with the 'yummy mummy' Cabbage And Paneer Momos!