Tuesday, June 26, 2012

South Indian "Rasam"

I almost always have Rasam in the fridge, for many reasons-- This is the Indian dish that my son loves the most. He likes it best with slightly smashed white rice, drizzled with a tsp of Ghee and plenty of Rasam, topped with scrambled eggs.. I love to drink it on rainy days and when my tummy needs helps with digestion. Or when I am sick and my taste buds yearns for a little tang. Rasam has it all. Seasoning it with  "Sun-dried Seasoning ball" (Picture posted with a little history here) takes the taste and smell to a whole new level. Now, that is my kind of rasam (and my family's too)!
  • 1/4 to 1/3 Cup Mashed Split-Pigeon Peas/Tuvar Dhal
  • Marble-sized Tamarind -> 1-1/2 Cups Tamarind Extract
  • 4-1/2 Cups Water
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp MTR Rasam Powder
  • 2 Campari Tomatoes
  • 4-5 Garlic Cloves with Skin
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Peppercorns
  • 1 Stalk Curry Leaves
  • 2-3 Green Chilies, poked at several place
  • Several Stalk Coriander Leaves
For Seasoning/Tempering:
  • 3 Dry Red Chilies
  • 1 Tbsp Crushed pieces from the Seasoning Ball "Vadagam"
  • Few pinches of Asafoetida ( I use LG brand powder)
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Oil
  • Prick the tomatoes in several places. Microwave the tamarind, tomatoes in a cup of water for about 2 minutes. This softens the tamarind to facilitate easy extract of juice/pulp from it.
  • Crush the softened tomatoes and add it to a deep sauce pan. Roughly smash garlic cloves with skin, peppercorns, cumin seeds in a mortar and pestle.Add it to the sauce pan.
  • Follow-up with the smashed dhal, tamarind juice, turmeric powder, MTR rasam powder, curry leaves and green chilies.
  • Add salt and check for taste. Stir well to incorporate. Place it on the stove and bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, keep the asofoetida, red chili and few pieces of the seasoning ball. Clean and chop the cilantro.
  • Once the mixture boils and bubbles which takes about 10 minutes or so, reduce the flame and let it cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  • In a small shallow pan, temper the ingredients under "tempering" and pour it over the bubbling mixture in the saucepan.
  • Add the finely chopped Cilantro.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Banana, Mixed Sun-dried Fruits and Whey Protein Milkshake

A nice fiber and protein packed milkshake that is healthy and scrumptious.
  • 6-8 Tunisian Deglet Noor Dates
  • 2-4 Sun-maid California Mission Figs
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Sun-maid Cape-Cod Cranberries
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Sun-maid Zante Currants
  • 1 Ripe Chiquita Banana
  • 1 to 1-1/2 Scoop(s) Whey Protein 
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1 to 1-1/2 Cups Skimmed Milk
  • Crushed Ice, as needed
  • Gather all the ingredients.

  • Cook the sun-dried fruits in 1/3 Cup of water for 3-4 minutes.
  • Remove it from heat, lid the pan and let is rest for 15-20 minutes.
  • Add all the soaked fruits, whey protein, milk and blend.Then add the cut banana, crushed ice and blend until the milkshake is thick and creamy.
  • Serve cold.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Khichiya Papad And Lentil Curry

This is a divine curry that tastes awesome with Lime Rice or Plain Rice. I had a whole packet of these sun-dried papad that prompted me to make this curry which is somewhat similar to my mom's and MIL's "Appala Poo Kootu". This is for the theme "Cooking with Sun-dried foods"
  • 25-30 Sun-dried Khichiya Papad/Papadam/Appalam
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Small Roma Tomato
  • 1/2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3/4 Cup Split Chick Pea/Bengal Gram, cooked/pressure cooked
  • 1-1/2 Tsp Ginger/Garlic Paste
  • 1 Tsp Chili Powder or more/less
  • 1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Corn Oil, for deep frying the Papad
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Cilantro
For tempering:
  • 1/2 Tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Split Black Gram
  • 1-2 Stalk Curry Leaf
  • Pick 23-30 Papad and set aside.
  • Deep fry them for a minute per side. They shouldn't over brown.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Coarsely crush the fennel seeds and set aside.
  • In a Kadai, heat the Olive Oil and add the Tempering ingredients along with the coarsely crushed fennel seeds. Once the black gram browns and the mustard seeds start sputtering, add the chopped onions. Once the onions turn translucent, add the ginger/garlic paste. A few minutes later add "half" of the chopped Cilantro saving some for Garnish.
  • Add 80% of the pressure cooked bengal gram to the Kadai. Mash the remaining 20% slightly and add to the pan.
  • Add 3-4 Cups water or more(the papad absorbs all the water and thickens the curry) and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Add chili powder and salt. Check for taste. Add more of chili or salt if needed.
  • Halve a few of the fried papad and dump all of them into the curry.
  • Cook for 5 more minutes and switch off the stove. The papad continues to absorb the water and it turns out into a sort of gravy.Transfer this to a serving dish and garnish with remaining chopped Cilantro. Delicious with Ghee Rice, Lemon Rice or plain rice.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ratnapuri Sweet-Potato Kheer "Ratnapuri Gadda Payasam" With Quinoa

I had to do something memorable with the last batch of Sweet Potatoes that I bought from the Grocery last month. As I was pondering what I could do, I recalled that I had bookmarked this recipe a while back. I had some leftover cooked Quinoa that ended up into the pot at the very last minute. How's that for an interesting twist? Lovely way to down the Quinoa if you ask me. I personally don't like the look of little curly worms! But this Kheer makes it irresistible and tastes Yum!

Before I go ahead with the recipe here is what I posted for the Theme "Indian Sweets" (Ode to Ghee, Sugar and everything Sweet)
  • 1-1/4 Cups Pureed Sweet Potato (Pureed with 1/2 Cup Milk) Or more
  • 3 Cups Skimmed Milk
  • 1/2 Cup + 1 Tsp Sugar
  • 2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
  • 5-6 Cardamom Pods
  • Smash the Cardamom pods in a mortar with pestle. Discard the shell. Powder the cardamom with little sugar.
  • Bring the skimmed milk and the cardamom powder to a boil.
  • When the milk bubbles over, add the sweet potato puree, sugar and stir. 
  • Follow-up with Quinoa.
  • Simmer for 4-5 minutes and switch off.
  • Chill for atleast 4 hours.
  • Serve cold.

A few Indian Sweets/Desserts:
Almond Halwa:

Ghee, Nut and Maida Flour Halwa - 

Pumpkin And Sago Pudding-

Carrot And Saffron Kheer:
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Monday, June 18, 2012

Beet Halwa, just like Mom's

I borrowed this recipe from Mom and slightly modified it. Made this for potluck at hubby's workplace.

Ingredients(~25 Servings):
  • 4 to 4-1/2 Cups Shredded Beet
  • 1 Cup Skimmed Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk (Mom uses sweetened condensed Milk)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Cup  + 1 Tsp Granulated Sugar
  • 5 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 1/4 Cup + 1 Tbsp Ghee/Clarified Butter
  • 1/3 Cup "Halved" Cashews
  • 1/8 Cup Golden Raisins
  • In a thick bottomed pan, bring the skimmed milk and evaporated milk to a bubbling boil.
  • Add the grated beet and mix it in. Pressure cook for 2 whistles/ 10 minutes.
  • The shredded beet would be fully cooked with plenty of liquid in the pot, depending on how long it took for those 2 whistles.
  • Smash the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle and discard the seeds. Add a tsp of sugar to it and make a fine powder.  Add the sugar and sugar+cardamom powder to the pan and stir.
  • In a non-stick skillet, add a tbsp of Ghee and fry the halved cashews and raisins. Remove from heat. Reserve 25 halves of cashew and break the remaining ones. 
  • When the liquid has almost evaporated from the pan, add the Ghee and the broken cashews and raisins. Stir until the mixture is sticky and start leaving the sides of the pan. It takes nearly an hour from  start to this point.
  • Once warm, transfer to a pan. It can be served warm or cold. 
  • Using a small ice-cream scoop divide the mixture into ~25 even portions. Garnish with the reserved fried cashews. And savor.

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