Archive | June, 2009

Vermicelli Bonda

24 Jun

semyaupma_bonda
Semya Bondalu

Bonda is a deep fried snack common in South India. Here is a basic version of vermicelli bonda where vermicelli acts as a stuffing. Vermicelli is boiled till soft and made into small balls. These balls are later dipped in a batter made of besan and spices. The dipped vermicelli balls are immediately dropped into hot oil to be deep fried.
Makes: around 6 Vermicelli Bonda

Ingredients:

Vermicelli 1 Cup
Besan 3/4 Cup
Red Chilli Powder 1/2 tsp
Carom Seeds / Ajwain a big pinch
Soda bi carb a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method of preparation:

Bring to boil few cups of water in a pot, add vermicelli and salt.
Boil till vermicelli is just cooked without being mushy and soft.
Strain the vermicelli and let it cool a bit.
Apply little bit of ghee or oil to the hands and shape the vermicelli into small balls.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan on medium high heat.
Mix together besan, red chile powder, ajwain, soda bi carb and salt into thick batter with sufficient water.
Dip each vermicelli ball into the thick besan batter and slowly drop into hot oil.
Deep fry the bonda on all sides till golden color and little crisp.
Remove the fried vermicelli bonda onto absorbent paper.
Repeat the same with any remaining vermicelli balls.
Serve hot vermicelli bonda with tomato or tamarind chutney.
Notes:Generally vermicelli bonda are made from leftover vermicelli upma.

Suggestions: If vermicelli is overcooked, add few drops of oil and spread it on kitchen towel and let it dry a bit before making into balls.
Variations: You can also spice up the vermicelli with chopped green chillies or red chilli flakes along with chopped onion, carrot and cilantro.
Other Names: Semya Bonda, Vermicelli Bhaji, Seviyan Bonda.

Stuffed Indian Eggplants

23 Jun

vankaya_gutthi
Podi Karam Tho Gutti Vankaya.

Indian Eggplants are most commonly used as a stuffing vegetable. Gutti vanakaya kura is quite famous in Andra. There are tens of recipes for stuffing eggplants but this is the basic and most common of them all. Some dals are roasted and ground together with other spices and stuffed into the eggplants. The eggplants can be partially cooked by deep frying first to reduce cooking time.  Or can be stuffed raw and cooked on low flame till done.
Makes: 5 Gutti Vanakaya

Ingredients:

Indian Eggplants 5
Asafoetida a pinch
Turmeric Powder a pinch
Oil as required
Salt to taste

Stuffing:

Chana Dal 1 tbsp
Urad Dal 1 tbsp
Coriander Seeds 1/2 tbsp
Fenugreek Seeds a small pinch
Whole Red Chillies 3 – 5

Method of preparation:

Heat a tsp of oil in a pan, roast all stuffing ingredients separately until aromatic or until golden brown.
Cool and grind all the roasted ingredients into fine powder along with turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt.
Add a tbsp of oil to the ground masala powder and mix thoroughly.

Wash thoroughly and pat dry eggplants.
Remove stems if you prefer and slit twice vertically keeping one end intact.

Heat a tbsp of oil in a pan, add the eggplants and cook covered turning occasionally till they soften a little.
Alternatively, deep fry the eggplants in medium hot oil for around half a minute.
Remove the softened eggplants from the pan, stuff each of them with the prepared masala stuffing.

Heat half a tsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan, arrange the stuffed eggplants.
Fry the eggplants till they cook from inside and stuffing gets crisped.
Serve stuffed Indian eggplants with plain steamed rice and dollop of ghee.
Notes: Make sure eggplants are soft and cooked from inside before removing from the pan.

Suggestions: If the insides of eggplant tastes raw, put back in the pan, sprinkle a tbsp of water and cook covered on medium flame till done.
Variations: Stuffing varies according to taste. You can also grind tamarind and garlic pods along with other stuffing ingredients.
Other Names: Bharwan Baingan, Gutti Vankaya Kura, Spices Stuffed Brinjal, Stuffed Baby Eggplant.

Tindora with Spiced Onion

22 Jun

dondakaya_ulli_karam
Dondakaya Ulli Karam.

Tindora or ivy gourd is one of the most common vegetables in India. Tindora is paired with onion in multiple ways. Here, onion is slightly warmed and ground into coarse paste along with roasted red chillies. This is added as a spicing to the fried tindora. Serve this quick tindora curry especially with roti or chapati.
Makes: 3 Servings

Ingredients:

Tindora 20 – 25
Onion 1
Whole Red Chiles 3 – 4
Salt to taste

Talimpu:

Urad Dal 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1/4 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp
Curry Leaves 6
Oil 2 tsps

Method of preparation:

Wash, remove ends and chop ivy gourd into thin circles.
Wash, peel and finely chop onion.
Remove stems, and break red chiles.

Heat half a tsp of oil in a pan, add red chillies, roast them for few seconds and remove from heat.
Then add chopped onion to the same pan and remove from heat.
Cool and grind red chiles finely and onion coarsely.

Heat oil in a pan, add all talimpu ingredients in order.
When urad dal changes color, add chopped tindora and salt.
Sprinkle a few tbsps of water and cook covered till tindora turns little soft.
Uncover, fry on medium flame till tindora starts to turn light brown around the edges.
Then add ground onion and red chile paste.
Stir fry for a minute or two until any rawness left on onion is gone and remove from heat.
Serve tindora with spiced onion over plain steamed rice or with roti.
Notes:Make sure not to grind onion into a paste and make sure onion is cooked well before removing from heat.

Suggestions: If tindora feels raw, add few tbsps of water and cook covered till done.
Variations:Other tindora recipes include Tindora with Onion, Ivy Gourd with Ginger etc…
Other Names:Tendli Fry, Kovakkai Fry.

Doodh Peda

20 Jun

doodh_peda
Paala Kowa.

Doodh peda is one of the most famous sweets all over India. Milk is boiled down till most of the moisture is evaporated and all left is a thick yellowish solid substance. It takes around 3 – 4 hours to reduce milk from 4 – 5 cups. During the final stage, sugar is added to the thickened milk and caramelized. Doodh peda or paala kova comes in various shapes, sizes and colors. But the taste depends mainly on milk being used.
Makes: around 7 doodh peda

Ingredients:

Whole Milk (Doodh) 4 Cups
Sugar 1/2 Cup or to taste
Pure Ghee 1/4 tsp

Method of preparation:

Heat a heavy bottomed wide vessel on medium – low heat, add milk and bring to boil.
Keep boiling the milk by stirring frequently to avoid scorching.
Reduce the milk till it reduces to almost 1/6th of original measure.
When milk thickens and starts to come together, stir in sugar.
Once sugar caramelizes, stir well and let the moisture from sugar evaporate (abt. 2 -3 minutes).
At this stage, add optional dry fruits and nuts or coloring.
Remove from heat and cool a bit.
When warm enough make soft balls out of the mixture and flatten them a little.
Apply ghee to the hands to avoid the mixture from sticking. Doodh peda hardens a bit once made to peda.
They are generally eaten the same day or the next day since they loose freshness quite easily.
Refrigerate to increase the shelf life for a week and microwave for around 10 seconds to warm them up.
Notes: Make sure to always keep the bottom from burning.

Suggestions: If the bottom of the pan seems burnt, remove the milk into another pot to boil. If milk is boiled longer than required, doodh peda comes rubbery. If doodh peda is not coming together, put back on stove to thicken it or add a tsp of maida to form peda.
Variations: Evaporated milk can be used to reduce the boiling time to half. Most of the times plain flour or maida is added during the end of process to bind them well. Nuts like pistachios, almonds and cashews are added for crunch. Saffron or other food colors give doodh peda a distinct color. Cardamom powder is also vastly used for taste along with rose essence. Kalakand is another variation of doodh peda made by breaking the thickened milk with camphor.
Other Names: Milk Fudge, Palakova, Milk Peda.

Crisp Betel Leaf Fritters

19 Jun

betel_pakodi
Tamalapaku Pakodi

Betel leaves are a necessity in all Indian ceremonies and most commonly used and seen leaves around every corner of the street. Though it is very rarely used in cooking, here is a simple recipe for betel fritters. Betel leaves are chopped up and mix into thick mixture of besan. This mixture is deep fried till crisp and generally eaten with pickle rice though the fritters serve as a mid day snack.
Makes: around a cup of betel leaf fritters

Ingredients:

Betel Leaves 4 – 5
Gram Flour / Besan 1 Cup
Red Chile Powder 1/2 tsp
Soda bi carb a big pinch
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method of preparation:

Clean, wash, remove hard ends and roughly chop betel leaves.
Thoroughly mix besan, red chile powder, soda bi carb and salt into smooth thick paste using sufficient water. Mix in chopped betel leaves and make sure the besan mixture sticks to the betel leaves.

Heat oil in a deep frying pan on medium high heat.
Drop small spoonfuls of betel leaf and besan mixture into hot oil.
Use all the mixture if there is enough space in the frying pan else make a second batch.
Fry the fritters till crisp and golden brown on all the sides.
Remove onto absorbent paper and repeat the same with any leftover mixture.
Serve crisp betel leaves fritters as a snack or with mango pickle rice.
Notes: Select tender betel leaves if you can for this recipe.

Suggestions: If fritters came out hard, add another pinch of soda bi carb to the mixture and try again. Make sure the besan mixture is not flowy. For fritters to be crisp, the batter needs to be tight.
Variations: Softer version of betel leaf fritters called bajji here.
Other Names: Paan Fritters, Vetrilai Fritters.