Archive | April, 2010

Dry Fruits Ladoo

24 Apr

dry_fruit_ladoo
Dry Fruits Ladoo.

Dried fruits like dates, raisins, apricots etc are mixed with nuts like cashews, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, pecans etc.. and formed into tight balls called ladoo. Serve these dry fruits ladoo as a tea time snack or as a energy booster through out the day.
Makes: 8 – 10 Dry Fruits Ladoo.

Ingredients:

Pitted Dates 15 – 20
Cashews 5
Pistachios 14
Almonds 7
Golden Raisins 10

Method of preparation:

Finely chop the dates and the raisins.
Soak almonds in warm water for sometime and peel of their skin.
Pat dry the almonds.

Crush the cashews, pistachios and almonds into small bits using a pestle or a quick pulse in the processor.
Alternatively, chop the nuts with help of a large knife.
Add all the prepared ingredients in a mixing bowl and press with a fork or back of a spoon to mix.
Divide the mixture into around 8 – 10 portions.
Take each portion into hand and press to form into a ball.
Store dry fruits laddu in a dry tight jar and serve as a snack.
Notes: Make sure dates are not too dried but still hold their softness for easy binding.

Suggestions: If dates are too hard, then cover and microwave for couple of seconds to soften them. All quantities are approximate, adjust them according to your preference.
Variations: You can also add various nuts like walnuts, pecans and dried fruits like apricots, grapes etc.. Sugar or jaggery can also be added for more sweetness which also helps in binding. Dessicated coconut or dried coconut can be added but it reduces the shelf life of dry fruits laddu. Cardamom powder can be added for flavor.
Other Names: Dry Fruits Ladoo, Dry Fruits Laddu, Dry Fruits Laddoo.

Plantain with Garlic and Mustard Seeds

23 Apr

plantain_garlic
Aratikaya Avala Velluli Karam.

Plantain is chopped into circles and fried in little oil till light golden in color. They can also be chopped thick and boiled in water till just soft. A ground masala is made with garlic cloves and mustard seeds. This masala is added to the fried plantain and briefly cooked. Serve this plantain fry with plain steamed rice.
Makes: around 2 Servings of Plantain with Garlic and Mustard Seeds.

Ingredients:

Plantains 2 Medium
Garlic 3 Cloves
Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp
Red Chile Powder 1/2 – 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder a big pinch
Salt to taste
Oil 1 tbsp

Method of preparation:

Remove ends, remove thick skin and slice the plantain into thin circles.
Soak the chopped plantain circles in water until necessary.
Peel and roughly chop garlic cloves.
First, grind garlic into fine paste using a spice blender.
Then add mustard seeds, red chile powder and salt.
Grind everything into fine paste and remove onto plate.

Heat oil in a pan on medium high heat, add plantain circles.
Fry plantain circles till they turn light golden in color.
Stir occasionally and cook covered for couple of minutes if plantain is not cooking properly.
Then lower the heat, stir in ground garlic and mustard seeds paste and turmeric powder.
Add a splash of water if the paste is too thick and stir to let the masala stick to the plantains.
Remove from heat and serve plantain with mustard seeds and garlic over plain steamed rice and dollop of ghee.
Notes: Make sure plantain is cooked right.

Suggestions: If the plantain is not cooking properly, add a splash or two of water and cook covered on low flame till done.
Variations: You can also add finely chopped cilantro to the masala if you wish. Seasoning with mustard seeds and cumin seeds can also be done at the beginning.
Other Names: Plantain with Garlic and Mustard Seeds, Aratikaya Avala Velluli Karam.

Crispy Dosa

22 Apr

dosa
Dosalu.

This is a crispier version of the plain dosa. Idli rice and the poha helps in the texture of the dosa. The more smoother the batter is the more thinner it forms. Fenugreek seeds helps in the color of the dosa along with the texture. The prepared batter is then fermented and made into thin and crisp dosas.
Makes: around 10 Crispy Dosa.

Ingredients:

Idli Rice 1 Cup
Urad Dal 1/3 Cup
Poha 1/2 Cup
Fenugreek Seeds 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil as required

Method of preparation:

Soak idli rice in fresh water for around 6 hours or overnight.
Soak urad dal, poha and fenugreek seeds together for around 3 hours.
Refresh the rice with fresh water and grind it into fine paste adding minimum amount of water.
Then add the remaining soaked ingredients, salt and grind again into fine smooth paste.
Take the ground dosa mixture into a bowl and keep it covered in a dark warm place to ferment for around 5 – 8 hours.
Adjust the fermented mixture into dosa batter consistency with sufficient water if required.

Heat a flat pan on medium high heat, apply half tsp of oil with back of a spoon.
When pan gets hot, pour a ladle full of dosa batter in middle of pan and spread it in circular motion with back of the ladle into thin dosa (around 7 inch diameter).
Cook covered for a minute if desired.
When edges of the dosa start to turn light brown, carefully turn the dosa on other side.
Cook on this side for a minute and turn and crisp the other side again before removing from heat.
Repeat the same with remaining dosa batter.
Serve crispy dosa with besan chutney or with any chutney of your choice.
Notes: Make sure to grind the rice into fine paste for the dosa to come out thin and crisp.

Suggestions: If the dosa doesn’t come out crisp, make sure to pan is hot all the time. Try to spread the batter on the pan as fast and as thin as possible. If the dosa doesn’t come out, make sure dosa batter is not too thin, mix in some rice flour to thicken the batter. If dosa comes thick, make sure batter is not too thick.
Variations: Rice flour can also be used in place of the idli rice. The taste and texture obviously differs in such a case. Sabunda is soaked and is also ground along with others. Cooked rice is also added at times.
Other Names: Crispy Dosa.

Eggplant and Beans with Poppy Seeds

21 Apr

brinjal_onion
Vankaya Chikkudukaya Gasa Gasala Kura.

Baby eggplants and fresh beans makes a good combination. Eggplants are chopped into chunks and fresh beans are chopped into inch long pieces. Oil is tempered and ground onion is fried before adding eggplants and beans. They are then cooked in poppy seeds paste and little milk till soft.
Makes: around 3 Servings of Vankaya Chikkudukaya Gasa Gasala Kura.

Ingredients:

Small Indian Eggplants 4 – 6 Medium
Fresh Beans 10 app.
Poppy Seeds 1 tbsp
Onion 1 Small
Green Chillies 4 – 6
Ginger 1 inch Piece
Garlic 1 Clove
Turmeric Powder a big pinch
Milk 1/2 Cup
Salt to taste

Talimpu:

Urad Dal 1/4 tsp
Cumin Seeds 1/4 tsp
Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida a pinch
Curry Leaves 10
Oil 1 tsp

Method of preparation:

Wash, snap both ends of the fresh beans and chop them into inch long pieces.
Wash, remove stems and chop brinjal into small cubes.
Remove stems, wash and roughly chop the green chiles.
Peel and roughly chop the ginger and garlic.
Peel and roughly chop the onion.
Grind the onion into coarse paste adding least amount of water.

Soak poppy seeds in few tablespoons of water for couple of hours.
Grind poppy seeds into fine paste using a spice blender.
Grind green chiles, garlic and ginger into fine paste adding enough water.

Heat oil in a pan, add all talimpu ingredients in order.
When urad dal changes color, add onion paste.
Fry till onion is cooked and then add green chile paste, chopped beans, eggplant and turmeric powder.
Fry for a minute and add milk, ground poppy seeds paste and salt.

Cook covered on medium – low flame till beans and eggplant turns soft.
Taste and adjust any seasonings required and remove from heat.
Garnish with fresh curry leaves or chopped cilantro if desired.
Serve eggplant and beans with poppy seeds over plain steamed rice and a dollop of ghee.
Notes: Make sure eggplants are cooked well.

Suggestions: For more liquid like consistency, add more poppy seeds paste or milk and cook for couple more minutes before serving.
Variations: If baby eggplants are not available, choose eggplants that hold their shape when cooked.
Other Names: Vankaya Chikkudukaya Gasa Gasala Kura, Eggplant and Beans with Poppy Seeds.

Rice Puttu

20 Apr

rice_puttu
Rice Puttu.

Puttu is a steamed rice cake from Kerala. Here, rice flour is used to make puttu. Traditionally, rice is soaked, dried in open air and then ground into fine powder. The powder is then made wet with water and filled in the puttu kutti (puttu maker). It is then steamed for the rice puttu. Alternatively, steam the rice flour in the regular idly moulds.
Makes: around a serving of Rice Puttu.

Ingredients:

Rice Flour 1 Cup
Water 3/4 Cup app.
Shredded Coconut 3 tbsps
Salt to taste

Method of preparation:

Dissolve around quarter tsp of salt into 3/4th cup of water.
Sprinkle water little by little into the rice flour and turn the rice flour into wet powder.
Divide the wet rice flour mixture into 3 portions.

Fill half of the bottom vessel of the puttu maker with water.
Take the cylindrical portion of the puttu maker.
Slide the perforated disk into the bottom part of the cylinder.
First add a tbsp of the shredded coconut to the cylinder.
Then layer it with one third of the rice flour mixture.

Add another tbsp of the shredded coconut on top of the rice flour mixture.
Repeat the layers two more times starting with the rice flour mixture.
Tap the cylindrical portion of the puttu maker couple of times if necessary.
Place the top portion of the puttu maker on the bottom vessel and cover with a perforated lid.

Place the puttu maker on medium high heat and steam for around 8 minutes.
Remove the cylindrical portion and push the perforated disk to slide the puttu onto the plate.

Alternatively, fill the idly mould with shredded coconut and then the rice flour mixture.
Steam the filled idly tray for 6 – 8 minutes.
If possible choose idly moulds that have perforations in them for better steaming.

Serve rice puttu with a gravy curry like kadala curry.
Notes: Make sure not to make the rice flour into dough by adding more water.

Suggestions: Don’t press the rice flour into the cylinder, in which case the steam doesn’t come from the top of the vessel but rather escapes from the bottom of the top part.
Variations: You can also mix the shredded coconut into the rice flour, which yields a rather loose puttu.
Other Names: Rice Puttu, Rice Flour Puttu, Puttu.