Tomato Pickle

Super Yummy Tomato Pickle!!!

Rava Kesari

Easy Sweet Recipe to impress your guests !!.

Channa Sundal

Healthy Sundal For Navarathiri !!

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu

Authentic Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu !!

Hot Cocoa

Perfect Hot Drink to Pamper Yourself !!

October 30, 2013

Gulab Jamun | Gulab Jamun made with Khoya | Diwali Sweets

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun is one of the most loved Indian Dessert. Almost all the Indian restaurants in the US serve this sweet in their buffet. I have seen so many people enjoy this dessert and inquire about how it is prepared. My Mom used to prepare amazing gulab jamuns so I never bothered to try this. After marriage MK used to prepare equally good jamuns so I never tried to make it till now. But I always thought of making the jamuns the authentic way for a long time. When I made a list of sweets for this Diwali I surely made up my mind to try out this sweet.

Gulab Jamun is made with khoya or milk powder. But using khoya is the authentic method. You can either use the store bought khoya or make the khoya at home. It is easy to make the khoya at home but it is time consuming so I skipped that part and used store bought khoya. I was so satisfied with the results and it tasted like my Mom's preparation. If you still thinking on what to prepare for this Diwali you can surely try this. You will never regret !!



Preparation Time - 15 minutes

Cooking Time - 20 - 25 minutes

Soaking Time - 1 - 2 hours

Yields - 50 small sized Jamuns

Ingredients

Khoya/Mawa - 1 cup
All Purpose Flour/Maida - 1/3 cup
Cooking Soda - 1/8 tsp
Water - 8 - 9 tsps
Oil - for deep frying
Ghee - 3 tbsps

Ingredients for Sugar Syrup

Sugar - 1 1/2 cups
Water - 2 cups
Cardamom - 3 - 4 no
Saffron - 3 - 4 strands(optional)
Rose Water - 1/2 tsp (optional)

Preparation
  • The khoya should be placed in room temperature if you are using store bought khoya.
  • Crush the cardamom with little sugar into a powder.
Method
  • Crumble the khoya into fine pieces.
  • Add the all purpose flour, cooking soda to the khoya.
  • Knead the mixture by adding slowly adding water in tsps. I used 8 teaspoons of water. Using your fingers slowly knead until it turns to a smooth dough. Do not give too much pressure to make the dough that will result in hard jamuns.
  • Start making small/medium size balls. The balls must be smooth to get perfect jamuns. I made 50 small balls from the dough.
  • While you are making the balls, boil the water and sugar together. When it starts to boil add the cardamom powder, saffron and continue to boil in medium flame for about 10 minutes. Swtich off and allow it to cool.
  • Heat oil, ghee in a kadai in high flame, when the oil is hot enough reduce the flame to medium-low and drop the 4 - 5 jamuns at a time. Fry carefully until the jamuns turns brown on all sides.
  • Drain the jamuns in a kitchen tissue and immediately drop the jamuns in the warm sugar syrup.
  • Repeat process with all the balls. 
  • Add the rose water if you are using it.
  • Let the jamuns soak in sugar syrup for about 1 - 2 hours.
  • Serve the jamun warm or cold.

Notes
  • If you are using homemade khoya then the amount of water needed to make the dough will be very less as the homemade khoya will already be moist.
  • Kneading the dough smooth and making the balls smooth is very important to get perfect jamuns. If the balls have cracks on the surface they will disintegrate in the hot oil.
  • Do not apply pressure while making the dough or the balls.
  • You can also use oil and ghee in 50:50 ratio or cook the jamuns entirely in ghee.
  • Fry the jamuns in low to medium flame so that the jamuns are fully cooked. If you do it high flame the jamuns will quickly turn brown but will not be cooked in the inside.
  • The sugar syrup should be warm when you drop the jamuns.
  • I made the jamuns very small and got 50 jamuns out of the dough if you wish you can slightly bigger jamuns. 
  • As I made it small they got soaked in 1 hour so I drained the jamuns and stored the jamuns and sugar syrup separately and poured the syrup on top of the jamuns while serving.
  • I prefer to store the jamuns in refrigerator and microwave for about 10 seconds while serving.


October 26, 2013

Ribbon Pakoda | Ola Pakoda | Easy Diwali Snacks Recipe

Ribbon Pakoda

After making an array of sweets I decided to make one of my favorite Diwali Snack. My Mom would make this crunchy Ribbon Pakoda without fail for every Diwali. It has been ages since I ate this. So when I made my list of snacks to prepare for this Diwali I put this on top. The excitement of Diwali starts when Mom starts with her batches of murukku one week ahead. She will store them in big stainless containers. When we come back from school and see those containers on the counter we jump in joy and enjoy them as a evening snack.

Ribbon Pakoda is a crispy and ribbon like murukku variety made for Diwali. I do not know why it is called a pakoda as it falls in the murukku family. Normally the ribbon pakoda plate would have two slots. My kitchen press had a single thin slot and the pakoda came out exactly like ribbons. My family enjoyed it so much. I asked my kids not to enter the kitchen while I was making it so my 2 year old stood out of the kitchen and was asking Mom one more, It was very cute. I had this after a long time and enjoyed it with my cup of tea !!

Ola Pakoda


Preparation Time - 10 minutes

Cooking Time - 15 minutes

Serves - 4

Ingredients

Rice Flour - 3 cups
Besan Flour/Kadala Maavu - 1 1/2 cups
Butter - 4 tbsp
Chilly Powder - 2 tsp
Sesame Seeds - 1 tbsp
Hing/Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Water - 1 1/2 cups (approximate)
Salt - as required
Oil - for deep frying

Preparation
  • Melt the butter for 30 seconds or so.
  • Sieve the flours together.
  • Keep the kitchen press ready with the ribbon pakoda plate.
Method
  • In a wide mouthed vessel add the flours, salt, sesame seeds, hing, chilly powder and melted butter.
  • Slowly add the water to the flour mixture and mix everything together to make a smooth dough. I used 1 1/2 cups of water.
  • Take a big ball the dough and place inside the kitchen press with the ribbon pakoda plate.
  • Heat oil in a deep kadai. The hot should be very hot but not smoking hot.
  • Carefully press the dough starting from center to form a single layer. Do not make more layers as the pakoda will not get evenly cooked.
  • When the bubbles and bubbling sound ceases turn to other side cook until bubbling sound stops.
  • When both sides are cooked, remove the cooked pakoda with a slotted spoon and place it in a kitchen tissue to drain excess oil.
  • Repeat same process until all of the dough is done.
  • You can store as circles and break them into medium size pieces.
  • When it is cooled down, store in airtight container and enjoy your snack with a cup of tea.
My Notes
  • You can keep the pakoda in room temperature for about 1 week or so.
  • Cook the pakoda in hot oil, if you reduce the flame the pakoda will start to absorb oil.
  • Do not use seeds other than sesame as they will not pass through the ribbon pakoda plate.

October 22, 2013

Maaladoo | Pottukadalai Ladoo | Easy Diwali Sweets

Maaladoo

It is the time of the year when you sweets everywhere. Not only in India, even in the US all Indian Stores and even the American chains are selling all kind of Indian sweets. It was fun explaining the others about our sweets. When they see the calories per piece they go for a big ahhh. This year I had decided to make many sweets so that kids could enjoy eating them. One of them in my list was Roasted Gram Ladoo. This is a simple yet mouth watering recipe. I'm not a big fan of sweets but somehow like these kind of flour based ladoos.

Roasted Gram Ladoo hardly takes 20 minutes or so to prepare. I have seen some recipes with lots of ghee but I prefer to have the ladoo on the dry side. We do not like the Ladoo to be glossy with lots of ghee. The Ladoo tasted even better the second day when all the flavors were infused. The roasting of the pottukadalai brings in a nice nutty flavor to the ladoo. Make sure you include this quick and easy ladoo recipe in your list sweets for this Diwali and give your family the best and tasty Diwali !.


Preparation Time - 10 minutes

Cooking Time - 5 minutes

Yields - 12 - 15 ladoo

Ingredients

Pottukadalai/Roasted Gram - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 5 - 6 tbsp
Cashew - 10 - 15 no
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp

Preparation
  • Dry roast the pottukadalai/roasted gram for 3 - 4 minutes and keep aside.
  • Grind the pottukadalai/roasted gram into a fine powder.
  • Powder the sugar in a mixer until it turns into a very fine powder.
  • Fry the cashew in 1/2 tsp ghee until it turns golden brown.
  • Melt the remaining ghee.
Method
  • In a medium size bowl add the pottukadalai/roasted gram flour, sugar, cardamom powder and cashew nuts. Reserve few pieces to place on top of ladoo if you prefer.
  • Slowly add the melted ghee to the flour mixture and mix everything together.
  • Apply very little ghee onto to your hands and shape the mixture into small balls. I got about 14 ladoos.
  • Place a cashew on top when you are making the balls if you have reserved them.
  • Quick and Easy Maaladoo is ready to be served.
My Notes
  • You can keep the ladoo in room temperature for about 3 - 4 days.
  • The sugar level was perfect for us. If you prefer more sweetness increase the sugar level.
  • If you want your ladoo to be glossy then add slightly more melted ghee to the mixture.

October 19, 2013

Rasgulla | Diwali Sweet Recipe | Indian Sweet Recipe


As Diwali the Indian Festival of lights is around the corner I planned to share some sweet recipes. Rasgulla is a Bengali sweet that is loved by everyone who have tasted it. It is not like the other Indian sweets which are loaded with ghee. They are soft, spongy balls made out of Indian Cottage Cheese and soaked in sugar syrup. I'm not a big fan of sweets but really enjoy making them. This one in particular I enjoyed making it and was more excited to click pictures. Rasgulla is a famous sweet from India. When I saw rasgulla tins stocked in costco I was super excited and thought of making it at home.

Though making rasgulla sounds like a lengthy and difficult process, it is very straight forward. If you follow the recipe you are sure to get good results. Normally they use lemon juice to curdle the milk to make the chenna. I researched a lot and decided to use curd. As lemon leaves a slight trace of smell it is better to use curd. Also there is another step which involves using ice cubes to stop curdling of the milk. This is an important step to get softer rasgullas. You can also use a pressure cooker to cook the rasgulla. But I liked the method used here and wanted to try it. It came out perfect. Why wait try this super yummy sweet at home and impress everyone at home.



Preparation Time for Chenna/Paneer - 15 minutes

Sitting Time for Chenna/Paneer - 30 minutes

Cooking Time - 15 minutes

Chilling Time - 2 - 3 hours

Yields - 20 medium sized rasgullas

Ingredients

Milk - 1 litre (approximately 4 cups)
Curd - 1/2 cup
Ice cubes - 8 - 10 no
Sugar - 1 1/4 cup
Water - 3 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - 1 generous pinch
Saffron - 3 - 4 strands or Pistachios for garnish (optional)

Preparation of Chenna/Paneer
  • In a heavy bottomed vessel heat the milk.
  • When the milk starts to boil add the curd.
  • The milk will start to curdle. Stir continuously until all of the milk fat separates and the whey is clear. It takes about 6 - 8 minutes for the whey to become clear.
  • Switch off the flame and add the ice cubes. This is done to stop the curdling of the milk to retain the softness of the paneer. Wait until the ice cubes completely melts.
  • Using a cheese cloth/muslin cloth strain the paneer. bring the four corners of the cloth together and wash the paneer under running cold water. Squeeze out the excess water from the paneer.
  • Hang the cloth with the paneer for about 30 minutes. This drains remaining water.
Method for making the paneer balls
  • After 30 minutes remove the paneer from the cloth. Paneer would be crumbly in texture.
  • Knead the paneer using your palm for about 10 - 12 minutes until it turns to a smooth dough.
  • Start making small/medium size balls from the paneer. I made 20 small balls.
Vessel method for cooking Rasgullas
  • While you are making the balls, heat the water in a heavy bottomed, wide mouthed vessel.
  • When the water starts boiling add the sugar and cardamom powder and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • When the water is boiling slowly add the paneer balls one by one.
  • Simmer down for about 4 minutes. Simmering is bringing the temperature below boiling point. Still you see bubbles but they are smaller in size.
  • Reduce the flame to medium and close the vessel with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Open every 3 minutes to let the steam out.
  • After 10 minutes the rasgullas will be doubled in size. Switch off flame and allow it to cool down.
  • Once they are cooled down refrigerate for about 2 - 3 hours with the rasgullas soaked in the sugar syrup.
  • Garnish with pistachios or saffrons and serve chilled.
Pressure Cooker method for cooking Rasgullas
  • While you are making the balls, heat the water in the pressure cooker.
  • When the water starts boiling add the sugar and cardamom powder and stir until the sugar dissolves.
  • When the water is boiling slowly add the paneer balls one by one.
  • Pressure cook for one whistle.
  • Then reduce the flame and simmer for 4 minutes.
  • When the pressure releases the rasgullas will be doubled in size. Allow it to cool down.
  • Once they are cooled down refrigerate for about 2 - 3 hours with the rasgullas soaked in the sugar syrup.
  • Garnish with pistachios or saffrons and serve chilled.


Notes
  • The texture of the rasgullas depends on the method of cooking so follow steps. Both methods works fine.
  • Kneading the dough smooth helps to get the smooth and soft rasgullas.
  • Using a vessel large enough to hld the rasgullas as they double in size when cooked.
  • You can also use lemon juice to curdle the milk but as per others comments curd works best as lemon leaves a very slight trace of smell.
  • The whey collected can be used to make chappati dough which makes it softer.

October 16, 2013

Fried Vegetable Idly | Kids Lunch Box Recipe | Easy Breakfast Dinner Recipe


Fried Vegetable Idly

I think I have talked a lot about making lunch for kids. It is really a stressful job. You need to be extra cautious when you make them. It has to be healthy, kids should like it and it should look good and especially no masala. With all that being said, one can imagine how difficult is a mother's job. In the US normally we pack sandwiches, burgers, salad, fruits for kids lunch or better order from the school. Kids prefer that. But there are sometimes when they get bored of the breads and ask for something different. I normally prepare fried rice with french fries or something like that but this time I tried a recipe that my kid loved and came back with an empty tiffin box.

Idly or Rice cakes can be made in the night and left in the fridge. You can also chop all the vegetables in night. This saves a lot of your morning time. Just takes 5 minutes to saute things together. As it is colorful and different kids will surely love it. I normally do not add turmeric powder in the dishes I prepare for school as it gives a masala smell. Instead of adding chilly powder you can also add green chilly but remember to remove it before packing the lunch. If you need the recipe on how to make Idly, please refer to my earlier post How to make Idly. Do try and let me know how you liked it !!



Preparation Time - 5 - 8 minutes

Cooking Time - 5 - 7 minutes

Serves - 2

Ingredients

Idly - 3 - 4 no
Onion - 1 small
Carrot - 1 no (medium size)
Green Beans - 5 - 6 no
Green Peas - 1/4 cup
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Urad Dhal - 1/2 tsp
Chilly Powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 4 or 5 no
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt as needed

Preparation
  • Wash and chop the carrot, green beans and onions into fine pieces.
  • Cut the Idlies into bite size pieces.
Method
  • Heat oil and add the mustard and allow it to splutter.
  • Next add the onions, curry leaves, saute until onion is slightly cooked.
  • Add the chopped carrots, green beans, green peas and saute well.
  • Add required salt, chilly powder.
  • When the vegetables are 1/2 cooked add the Idly pieces.
  • Saute everything together in medium flame for about 2 - 3 minutes.
  • Transfer to a hot pack and wait for an empty lunch box.
Notes
  • You can use vegetables of your choice but the ones mentioned are the best suited.
  • Don't cook the vegetables too soft. It has to be slightly crunchy.
  • You can add turmeric powder if you wish. I have avoided as my kid does not prefer that.

October 13, 2013

Badam Halwa | Almond Halwa | Easy Diwali Sweets


This is a long weekend for us. School is closed for Columbus Day and I'm the one who is super excited. Getting them ready for school, helping her with homework makes school days hectic. We are kind of relaxed now and planned to make something to treat the kids. Badam Halwa has been in my to do list for a long time now. I wanted to make something easy and tasty and went through my drafts and selected this one. All of them at home are sweet lovers except me. The end result was perfect and everyone enjoyed it to the core.

Badam halwa is an Almond based Indian dessert made with sugar and ghee. Of course it is a high calorie sweet but it is really good once in a while. As Diwali is almost there I thought of sharing a sweet recipe that would be perfect for the occasion. It is very important to get the texture right and you get that by adding the right amount of ghee and continuously mixing the contents. It is also important to grind the almond into a smooth paste to get that smooth texture. Normally I soak the Almond for 2 - 3 hours, alternatively you can drop them in boiling water and soak for 30 minutes or so. You got to try this rich and yummy sweet for this Diwali !!


Preparation Time - 15 minutes + Soaking Time for Almonds - 2 - 3 hours

Cooking Time - 15 minutes

Serves - 2 - 4

Ingredients

Almonds - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Milk - 1/4 cup
Ghee/Clarified Butter - 1/4 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
Yellow food color - 1 pinch/ Saffron - 3 - 4 strands

Preparation
  • Wash and soak the Almonds for 2 - 3 hours.
  • Peel the skin of the Almonds.
  • Mix one pinch of the yellow food color in 1 tsp of water and keep aside or soak the saffron strands in 1 tsp of warm milk.
Method
  • Grind the peeled almonds with 1/4 cup milk into a smooth paste.
  • To a nonstick pan or a deep kadai add the sugar and 1/2 cup water and allow it to boil until the sugar dissolves.
  • Reduce the flame to medium and slowly add the almond paste and using a ladle break the lumps.
  • Add the food color mixed water or the saffron soaked milk, cardamom powder and mix well .
  • Start adding the ghee 1 tsp at regular intervals and mix well.
  • After few minutes the halwa will start leaving the sides.
  • Cook for 3 - 4 additional minutes after adding the remaining ghee until you see bubbles at the bottom.
  • Remove from heat and serve warm.
Notes
  • Make sure you grind the almond into a smooth paste to get the texture right.
  • Do not reduce the amount of ghee this amount is perfect and not too overpowering.
  • Yellow food color is the most used color for this dessert. You can also use orange color or any color of your preference.

Badam Halwa

October 10, 2013

Vendakkai Puli Kuzhambu | How to make Puli Kuzhambu | South Indian Gravy

Vendakkai Puli Kuzhambu

Climate is starting to change and it rains now and then. It is that time of the year we have to take all our jackets out of the closets. This city is very cold than I expected so we need all the extra gears. We love to make our specialty South Indian tangy gravies for this kind of climate. Simple gravies with some spicy vegetable is a awesome combination. I made this for lunch only for us and enjoyed it so much. When I had it with dosa in the night, Shweets wanted to try it and surprisingly she loved it. Normally she does not show interest in these type of tangy gravies. It was finger licking good with rice and even Idly/Dosa.

Puli Kuzhambu is a tamarind based gravy. What is the difference between Kara Kuzhambu and Puli Kuzhambu? This is a common question from newbie's. In Kara Kuzhambu we add tomatoes and considerable amount of coconut. In Puli Kuzhambu both of these are generally avoided. I added little amount of coconut paste to bring down the tangy flavor in the gravy. Using pearl onions is the highlight of this gravy. You can always substitute pearl onions with normal onions but to me it is just comprising on the taste. Okra or Brinjal and best options for this gravy.Do try this authentic gravy and let me know how it turned out.


Preparation Time - 10 minutes

Cooking Time - 15 - 20 minutes

Serves : 4 people

Ingredients

Red Pearl Onions - 10 - 15 no
Garlic flakes - 6 - 8 no
Okra/Ladies Finger/Vendakkai - 6 - 8 no
Tamarind - Lemon size
Dry red Chilly - 1 - 2 no
Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Coconut Pieces - 1 medium size piece
Fenugreek - 1/4 tsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Asafoetida/Hing - 1 pinch
Curry Leaves - 2 Sprigs
Sesame Oil - 2 tsp
Salt to taste

Preparation
  • Peel and cut the onion and garlic into fine pieces.
  • Wash and pat dry the okra/vendakkai and cut into medium size pieces.
  • Soak the tamarind for 15 minutes or microwave for 1 min and extract thick tamarind juice.
  • Grind the coconut into a smooth paste.
Method
  • Heat sesame oil in a kadai and add the mustard, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida.
  • Next add the chopped garlic, 1 sprig curry leaves, followed by the onions.
  • When the onion turns translucent add the dry red chilly and the okra/vendakkai.
  • Saute the okra/vendakkai until the oil is well coated onto the okra/vendakkai pieces.
  • Reduce the flame to low, add the chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and saute. Do not burn the powders.
  • Next add the tamarind juice, salt and mix everything well.
  • Close the kadai with a lid and cook in medium flame for about 10 minutes checking in between.
  • When the raw smell of the tamarind is gone add the coconut paste and mix well.
  • Reduce to the flame to low and cook for additional 5 minutes or so.
  • Once the oil separates, garnish with curry leaves and serve with hot rice.
Notes
  • If you do not have pearl onions you can replace it with 1 red onion but pearl onions gives the original taste.
  • Do not burn or allow the contents to be browned it spoils the taste of the gravy.
  • Adding coconut paste is a optional step if you wish you can omit it and gravy would be tangy.
  • You can also use brinjal for this gravy.


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