Monday, September 29, 2008

Mysore Pak

1st October is Independence day in China. So all the offices including banks have a week long off. We have decided to stay at home this time as all the places will be crowded. Even the temperature is going down and its getting colder and colder. I wanted to make some sweet as its my hubby's birthday tomo and Dasara too is round the corner. So decided on making Mysore pak. I had seen them on Shilpa's blog and even drooled ver her pic. I have followed her recipe totally. Though I did not get the texture as perfect as her's. The taste was really good, the melt in the mouth kind. I wanted the honeycomb like structure but looks like I poured it into greased plate before the actual time. I am going to make it again and keep it for longer time. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks Shilpa     

I am sending these over to Pallavi who is hosting Yummy Festival Feast - Diwali and also over to Srivalli who is hosting JFI - Nov'08 Festival Treats!

Update: Made them again for Deepavali and the result was better :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Keerlanu Mooga Ambat

The gravy based curries in Mangalore GSB cooking usually fall into 4 categories Ambat, Ghashi, Koddel and Tambli's.
Ambat means Coconut based gravy which has a seasoning of fried Onion. Ambats can be made of vegetables or grams/grains. If using grains they are usually sprouted and used.
Ghashi means simple Coconut based gravy which has Mustard and Curry leaves seasoning. 
Koddel/Bendi means Coconut based gravy which has fried Garlic seasoning.
Tamblis are usually made with Coconut and yoghurt (Plain). Though some of them may not be yoghurt based. It is usually served cold as it is not boiled.
There are some more exceptions like kadhi etc but these are main classifications. Based on different regions ambat or ghashi is used to refer to the same dish. But this is how we classify at home. 
Coming to this dish I made this few days back. Keerlanu means sprouted, Mooga ambat means green gram in Coconut based gravy with fried Onion seasoning. This is not made very spicy and is mild in taste. Here is what's needed:
2 cups sprouted Green gram washed and de-skinned. (It is better to remove the skin while washing else while cooking the skin tends to float at the top)
1 cup grated Coconut
1 small Potato cubed
6-7 fried red Chillies (Reduce if the Chillies are spicy)
Tamarind - small Gooseberry sized 
One medium sized Onion chopped finely
Oil for seasoning
Salt to taste

1) In a vessel add the cleaned Sprouts, half of the chopped Onions and cubed Potato along with enough water and boil it.
2) Meanwhile finely grind grated Coconut, red Chillies, Tamarind and Salt with little water. 
3) When the Potato is boiled and the sprouts turn slightly soft add the ground paste and let it boil. Check for salt. Add water if the gravy is too thick.
4) Let it boil for 5 mins on medium flame. Switch it off. Heat oil in a seasoning pan and add the rest of Onions and fry until golden. Pour this seasoning over the gravy. Mix and serve hot with Rice.

Variations: In North Canara while making Ambat, 1/4 tsp of Fenugreek/Methi seeds and 2 pinches of Turmeric powder are fried in little oil until methi turns slightly pink. This is added along with grated coconut, red chillies, tamarind and salt and ground fine. Take care not to burn the methi seeds or turmeric powder as it will make the gravy bitter.

There may be many other types in which Ambats are prepared but these are the 2 types that I have known so far. Please let me know if there are any variations.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Taushe - Rulanva Bhakri

What to prepare for breakfast is the biggest question that bugs me everytime. Before I even complete having the breakfast of that day I start wondering what to make the next day. Considering that we both are not very fond of cereals fixing breakfast is like a challenge to me. I am always in constant search of easy to make and healthy breakast items. One such is this. This is made of Semolina and can be made within minutes. The traditional recipe as amma makes requires banana. But when i decided making this I did not have it so replaced banana with Cucumber and it did taste great. 
It does not need any side dish as it tastes good on its own (more reasons to indulge).
Here is what's needed:
1 medium cucumber grated ( make sure that cucumber is not bitter and does not have seeds formed)
2 cups semolina
Coarse Grind:
2 tbsp grated coconut
2 green chilli's
small piece of ginger
salt and sugar to taste
Oil/Ghee to shallow fry
1) Make coarse paste of ingredients mentioned under coarse grind using mixie or mortar and pestle.
2) Add this to semolina (no need to fry it before hand). Add suffecient water. Do not make the batter watery. It shud be thick batter with just enough water to mix the ingredients well.
3) Add salt and sugar to taste. Let it sit for 10-15 mins. Semolina absorbs water so add if you feel its too dry.
4)  Heat a tawa. Take little batter and pour on tawa. Wet your hands and spread the batter until it becomes slightly thinner and round. Pour little oil from sides and on top. When the colour at the top changes slightly and it does not have sticky batter at the top flip it. Let it sit for a min. Flip over and check if it is done. If not leave for some more time
5) Serve hot.

Variations: If using ripe banana mash it properly and then add rava to it. Continue further as per the recipe. Easy way to use up the over ripe banana's.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Going Green with Pathrado

Pathrado an integral part of the traditional Konkani cuisine. Each one has different recipe to make this steamed dish. At my mom's place we generally make this spicy which has a strong aroma of Asafoetida where as at my in laws place it is generally made less spicy and more sweet. My Pijjamma (Great grandmother) used to always say " Tikkak hingu ani godshek elu" loosely meaning that for spicy dish it shud be the aroma of Hing(Asafoetida) and for sweets the aroma of Cardomom powder. It holds so true.
Back at home whenever we had our relatives (cousins,Uncles,aunts) visiting us the only request amma would get was to make Pathrado. Her pathrados come out very soft and just melt in the mouth kind but also spicy. The Pathados that my MIL makes come out really neat firm but soft to eat. They come out perfect shape to cut and also fry. I will post her recipe too sometime. Now coming to amma's recipe
What's needed:
A bunch of Colocasia leaves or Taro leaves
1/2 measure (Pav) skinned Green gram
1 fistful of Chana Dal (optional)
1 fistful of Rice (Sonamasuri or any white rice will do)
25 - 30 red chilli (Reduce if you do not like spicy)
1 Amla sized Jaggery
1 Lemon sized Tamarind
1 small coconut grated
Salt to taste
1) Soak green gram + rice + chana dal for atleast 4 hours. Clean the Leaves and remove the strong veins using a knife. This process usually leaves our hand itchy. If you feel your hands itchy apply coconut oil or tamarind juice.

2) Grind soaked dals and rice into paste. When it is almost done add grated coconut + red chillies + Tamarind. When it turns into smooth paste add Hing and salt.

3) Fill the steamer with required amount of water and let it heat. 
4) When the steamer is getting ready Take one leaf and apply the paste over it completely.

4-A) Place another leaf over that and again apply paste. 
4-B) Do this until you have a layer of ten leaves.
4-C) Slowly fold one side of the layer and then another and start rolling from the bottom into a loaf.

5) Proceed in similar fashion until all leaves are used up.Cut the loaf and place it in the steamer.

Steam until done ( The colour of the leaf turns from bright green to brownish green). Usually takes 30-40 mins. A knife inserted should come out clean.

Serve hot with coconut oil as a side to rice with Dalithoy.
These snaps were clicked at my home back in India. My Brother clicked them so that Icould make a post about it.  We do not get these leaves here. Some say that Malabar spinach (Vaali) can be used instead of Colocasia leaves. I have not tried it myself. Will definitely try it and let you know. 

Variation: Sometimes my mom makes phanna pathrado instead of steaming. Heat oil in a kadahi.Prepare a seasoning from 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp Urad Dal, 1/2 tsp methi seeds , few curry leaves,2 red chilli's torn. Place the uncooked loaf in this seasoning and pour little water and very little salt. (The Loaf already has salt remember). Cook covered until done on medium flame. It needs a little more oil compared to normal stirfry. Keep checking to avoid it from sticking to the bottom. Also keep turning it around to ensure uniform cooking. Serve hot.

1) LeftOver Pathrado can be cut into disks and shallow fried on hot tawa to make it crisy. 
2) Pathrade Upkari:
Roughly chopped Pathrado
1 medium onion chopped
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp urad dal
1 red chilli torn
1 tbsp grated coconut
salt to taste
1) Heat oil. Heat oil add mustard. When it starts spluttering add Urad dal fry until pink. Add red chilli fry it and add add onions and salt. Fry until it turns pink. Add chopped Pathrado. Mix well and fry. Garnish with grated coconut. Mix and serve hot.

A rather lengthy and tasty post!!

Finally, I am sending this Pathrado over to Deepa who is hosting "RCI:Konkan" Which is on till Sept 25.

Update: Sabithakka, Who has been constantly reading my blog has added two more ways to relish the leftover Pathrado. In her words
"Instead of Mustard seasoning you can try garlic-red chilli pieces seasoning & grated coconut. 
To shallow fry patrade, mix rice flour, chilli powder & hing powder, smear to the patrade rounds(?)/pieces and shallow fry on tava. This makes the patrade phodi crispy."

Thank you Sabithakka :)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday Breakfast - Chane upkari & Phovu

Amma was a working woman. This meant that the cooking for whole day had to be completed by ten in the morning. Inspite of this she had time to make a balanced breakfast and lunch that usually consisted of two sides and some times three as well. Coming to think of it now I really wonder as I find it difficult to fix up even one complete meal for two! We had kind of fixed menu on weekdays like dosa, upma once in two weeks, Chapathi( Yes we did have chapathi's for breakfast and not for lunch).. Fridays it was always some thing to do with Chana. I still do not know the connection between fridays and chana. Either we would have chane upkari(Stir-fry) for breakfast or chane Ghashi (Boiled chana in coconut gravy) for lunch and Kulithu(Horse gram) was made usually on saturday's. I was just thinking about Amma's chane upkari the other day and then I remembered that it had been ages since I made it. Surpisingly, the next day was friday and we had phovu and Chane upkari for Breakfast. Chane Upkari can be made in two styles if making for breakfast usually it is made slightly sweeter and if making for Lunch its made spicier. We had it for breakfast so it was a blend of sweet and spice.
What's needed:
1 Cup Black or white chana soaked overnight and boiled 
3-4 tbsp Grated coconut
1 small lemon sized Jaggery
A big pinch of Asafoetida(Hing) or 2 tsp hing water
1 small Potato or equal sized Sweet Potato boiled 
1 Green chilli's slit
Salt to taste
For seasoning:
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
6-8 Curry leaves
1 Red Chilli torn apart
1) Pressure cook chana until done (Usually takes 4 whistles and then simmer for ten minutes and then switch off. If the Chana is old then it takes more time to cook).
2) Remove excess water retaining a little to boil potato or sweet potato. Do not throw this water it can be used to make Saaru.
3) Add cubed potato/Sweet Potato,Green chilli's slit and cook until the Potato's are done. Add salt,hing and jaggery and bring it to boil. Add little water if needed.
4) Sprinkle grated coconut and mix until done. Switch off the gas.
5) Prepare seasoning by heating oil and adding mustard seeds. When they splutter add red chilli and curry leaves. Pour this seasoning over the Chana and mix well. Serve hot with Phovu.

Variation: If you do not want to add either Potato or sweet Potato you can completely skip this. Instead just mix a little besan say 1 tbsp with water and add this while adding green chilli's (Step 3). Proceed accordingly as per the recipe. If preparing this dish for lunch Raw banana can be used instead of Potato/Sweet Potato. Reduce the amount of jaggery if needed and increase the chilli's for spicyness.

P.S: The Water retained from Chana can be boiled well with green chilli with salt and small piece of jaggery to taste. Prepare seasoning by heating oil and adding few crushed garlic. Fry until golden and then add torn red chilli. Pour this over the Saaru. Serve hot with rice.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Rava Idli

Rava idli one of the most common breakfast item from Bangalore. Personally I hate Rava idli's. The reason being that it is made up of Curds. I dislike milk and milk products (Except chocolates & ice creams ofcourse!!!) I remember as kid I never used to serve anyone curds or buttermilk (Yeah i was too stubborn on this). For that matter I would not even wash the vessels that had curds in them! Everyone in my family knew it and my cousins used to tease me with that too. It so happened once that for some reason my cousin got irritated with me and he cursed me saying that the guy I marry should be a lover of curds! and looks like god was just waiting for it and he said "Tathaasthu". My hubby loves curds and so do my in-laws. Well I am glad that god did say "Tathaasthu" for I have got a wonderful family. After my mom-in-law came to know about my hatred for curds she stopped using them in curries. Even if she made some curry out of curds or salads she would first take out some portion and keep it aside for me and use a substitute like tamarind or lemon juice. Did i ever tell you that she cooks really well.. Her pulao or chutney pudi can never match anyone. I just wonder how mom's can cook so well. Well I do not know if it is a matter of practise and experience or the love for the family I always feel that I will never be able to cook like my mom's(both of them). Well things have changed now I do make curds at home but that does not mean that I eat it. But at times I do add it to Biryani or dosa. Anyways coming back to Rava idli's I made these today morning for breakfast. It is so easy to prepare and also healthy that it may often make its appearance on my breakfast table. Hubby dear was glad that I did give a try. Without further delay here is what's needed:
1 cup Rava/Semolina
1 cup curds
1 small carrot grated
2 green chilli's chopped fine
1/4 cup boiled green peas or fresh green peas
small ginger piece chopped finley
a pinch of Baking soda
chopped coriander leaves
salt to taste
For Seasoning
1 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp Urad dal(Split Black gram)
Few curry leaves
1/2 tsp Chana dal (I left them out as I did not have it in hand)
1) Dry roast the semolina on medium flame until it gives out a nice aroma. Let it cool completely.
2) Mix in the curds + salt + baking soda + veggies.
3) Prepare the seasoning by heating oil and adding in the mustard. Once it splutters and urad dal and fry until pink. Add the chana dal and fry until done. Add curry leaves and stir. Pour the seasoning onto the rava mixture. Mix well. Let it sit for 30 mins.
4) After thirty minutes check the consistency of the batter. It should be of normal idli batter consistency. If not you may add little water and mix. Place chopped cashews on each of the slots of the greased idli plate and pour the batter into them. Steam for 10 to 15 mins.
5) Serve hot with Chutney of your choice.
The rava idli's did come out very soft but I was not very sure of the texture as I had used very fine rava (Semolina) as that is the only variety available here. I would love to try this with a little bigger sized rava next time.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Riot of colours!! Fruit Bowl

Colours!! They look so interesting. Including colours(I dont mean artificial colours!!) in our daily diet is beneficial for our body. A search on Google led me to this site .
I wanted to Highlight this point so am qouting the same here " The FDA has recommended that people have at least 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables everyday. In order to get the maximum benefit, you should eat different varieties of fruits and vegetables. Eating the same foods day after day is not so exciting. So if you eat try out different fruits and vegetables everyday it can be so much fun and also you can get all the different nutrients present in each.Pick different colors and varieties as each color fruit or vegetable has different types of nutrients, so choosing a variety of different colors can ensure that you get all the vitamins and minerals present in them." With this in mind we decided to include one fruit everyday in our diet and on weekends we have decided to have one meal with only fruits. This was one such weekend lunch. Should I say we loved it... I am including it here as I stumbled upon few benefits (courtesy Google) which I wanted to share.

The fruit bowl was a combination of 
Pineapple (Pineapple is Loaded with Vitamins and minerals.The obvious benefits of pineapple are all the vitamins and minerals the fruit is loaded with. Its nutrients include calcium, potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. In addition it is low in fat and cholesterol)
Apple (Apples are a rich source of dietary fibre. Apples are rich sources of phytochemicals (compounds found in plants, fruits, and vegetables that can act as anti-oxidants). Apples and apple juices are the best source for mineral boron which helps to promote bone growth. In addition, the high fibre content helps in slow release of sugars into the body, thereby helps to maintain a steady blood sugar level.eating apples helps to reduce blood cholesterol, improve bowel function, reduce risk of stroke, prostate cancer, Type II diabetes and asthma. This is due to the fibre and phytonutrients present in the apples)
Banana (Bananas are not only a good source of B vitamins they also contain vitamin C, A and high levels of potassium. It also helps to reduce water retention, protects from Ulcers and strokes)
Mango (Mangoes are full packed with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants and contain like all fruits very few proteins, fats and calories)
Grapes (Grapes are a good source of vitamins A and C. It is also a source of vitamin B6 and Minerals like potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and selenium, as well as trace amounts of copper, manganese, and zinc) and
Plums (rich in anti oxidants) thrown in together.  We topped these fruits with a squeeze of lemon for the Extra zing and drizzled some honey for the added Flavour. This can be had as a lunch or as a Healthy Dessert. Enjoy a bowlful with a promise to good health.. Stay happy and stay healthy!!

I am sending this Healthy bowl of fruits over to Divya who is hosting Diet Foods Event.

Thank you Divya for Organizing such an interesting Event.

Friday, September 12, 2008

India trip and some pics

Its already a week since I came back to Shanghai..Feels good to be back home but miss my parents too.. The husband has quite hectic work at office that leaves me alone at home with lots of time to think about the time spent in Mangalore. The best part of being at your home town is being loved and pampered. Parents too stay close by so there is no chance of missing parents(read mom's cooking :P). Before starting from Shanghai I had loads of plans that I would eat this and eat that .. blah blah.. But believe me once I was there I did not have any interest in eating as I was busy meeting friends and cousins. Plus there were lot of functions My cousins wedding, my rakhi brother's wedding plus couple of other functions, Krishnaashtami, Gowri Pooja Ganesh Chathurthi. Glad that I could attend all the festivals which I would have missed if I was here. Here are few of the pics of the Pooja's at home
Gowri Pooja at home:
Gowri Pooja is observed by married ladies. A few coconuts are washed and cleaned well and again washed in turmeric water. Then it is decorated with kajal to represent eyes, kumkum on the forehead and sindhoor. It is considered as Gowri. We also bring a picture of Gowri stick it on a surface, place it in a mantap and Pooja is done by the head of the family. This year my father in law decorated the mantap and made the Pooja. After the Pooja the decorated coconuts called as "Vaayna" has to be given to all the married ladies in the family. The younger ladies visit the elder's house to exchange the vaayna and seek the blessings.Not every family has vaayna Pooja. It depends on certain families who observe Gowri Pooja. May be some time I will make a post about Vaayna Pooja and Choodi Pooja.We do not have Ganesh Chathurthi at home so this time I took an opportunity to go to Mumbai along with my parents. My dad's cousin's family celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi at home and I was lucky to be a part of it.

Ganesh Chaturthi : At my uncle's place in Mumbai. Ganapti brings fond memories of the times that we have always spent in Mumbai. Back in school as kids, Dad would take us to Mumbai as our family ganapthi is celebrated at my uncles house in Mumbai. Around 25 items are made on this day as a part of nievedyam and the family members cook for all the guests too. The neivedyam inlcudes Modak,nevri or karanji,Til laddoo,Panchakajjaya, Pathrode, Pattholi(a sweet made with turmeric leaves) the list goes on and on. It is said that if you make a item for ganapathi as offering that day then you need to make it every year. The first day of Ganapthi we go to Siddhi Vinay mandir. We go very early in the morning and the huge lines seems to proceed very slowly. After that we attend ganapathi pooja at my uncle's house and then we go to other places such as Wadala matt, King's Circle, Kurla Balaji mandir,Vashi to see the ganapthi's. Its a sight to see in Mumbai people dancing on the streets singing ganapthi Bappa moriya and dancing with colours. So many Idols of Lord Ganesha in different poses. One can never get tired seeing those idols and the enthusiasm of people.  

Well, on the cooking front nothing much is happening. Very simple fare as I was busy unpacking and also we were busy finishing off the orde of goodies that we got from all my loved one's ;) Feels so lucky... From now on I hope to be regular :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Back from Vacation, an Award & an Appeal

Finally am back from a 4 weeks vacation(A month sounds too long so I used 4 weeks ;) ). Had been to India to attend my cousin's wedding and then extended so that I could also be there for Gowri Pooja and attend Ganesh Chowthi in Mumbai. It was quite hectic but I enjoyed a lot. Before joining college every year my family used to go to Mumbai to attend Chowthi. Once we joined college it became difficult for all of us to go so only dad or bro attended the chowthi. This year my parents had decided to attend. Last minute I decided to go to India as surprise to my cousin on her wedding and then extended it until chowthi. So I got to be there at all festivals - Krishnashtami,Gowri Pooja, Chowthi. But the Husband could not make to it as he did not have any leaves in hand :(. So finally am back to Shanghai and also back to Blogging. Learnt a lot of  recipes when I was with parents  and in laws (Well there was so much of cooking happening I had to learn!!). Will try them out and post them :)

When I was about to leave I got a scrap from Dershana saying that I have a surprise on her blog. Boy!! was I glad when I saw what it was.. It was my first award!! Thanks a lot Dershana.

I am giving this back to you as you deserve it a lot.  I am really happy that you considered me :) All the wonderful bloggers deserve this as they help us newbies to make a place in this wide world. Sorry Dershana I took so long to publish it.

Finally , an Appeal. Srivalli is working for a cause.  She is trying to get all bloggers together to help a heart heal. It is a fundraiser for Anita Lakshmi a mother of two, who is suffering from Coronary heart disease. Kindly check Srivalli's post for details. Please donate through "Pay Pal Chip In" on Srivalli's post.Thank you!