Monday, July 31, 2006

Ragi Halwa

Ragi Halwa with Roasted Cashewnuts
This is my entry for the JFI - Flour blog event hosted by Santhi of Me and My Kitchen. Ragi is a wonderful cereal packed with nutrients. Ragi is rich in methonine, which is an aminoacid lacking in most of the other cereals. It also contains a high amount of calcium (344 mg per 100 gms) and is a good source of fiber.
Apart from dosas, sangati and other savory dishes made from ragi, my favorite is ragi halwa, which has been in my family for long. My aunt who lives in Bangalore is an expert at this. The best part of this sweet dish is that it needs just a bit of ghee and derives most of its flavour and texture from ragi.

Here goes the recipe:

Ingredients:

Ragi Flour : 1/2 Cup
Water : 2.5 Cups
Grated Coconut : 1/4 Cup
Milk : 1/2 Cup
Jaggery or Brown Sugar: 1/2 Cup
Cardamom Powder : 1 Teaspoon
Ghee - 2 Teaspoons

For Garnishing:
Almonds - 10 (Blanched and skinned)

Procedure:

Soak ragi flour with water for 1/2 hour. Grind with coconut and strain using a fine strainer. Discard the pulp. Add milk to the ragi+coconut liquid. Stir in the jaggery/brown sugar till its completely dissolved. Put it on the stove on a low heat and keep stirring. Within 5 minutes, the mixture would have thickened. Add the cardamom powder to it and keep stirring. Continue so till the mixture reaches a semi solid consistency. Add a teaspoon of ghee and stir it once again. Remove to a greased plate and garnish with almonds. Cut into pieces when cool.

Roasted Cashews

Roasted Cashews
Hmm...Comfort food...Any food which makes us feel good and gives a sense of wellbeing is comfort food. It is food which is simple to prepare and is typically associated with childhood or home cooking memories. My comfort food list is pretty long with cheese and macaroni, potato soup, chocolate, cake, cashews and a lot more....

Today I made roasted cashews, a very simple snack, but very comforting. And this is my entry for From My Rasoi blog event hosted by Revathi of En Ulagam.

Roasted Cashews bring back memories of my home....Vivid, happy memories.... My mom used to make this on Sundays when everyone was at home... By the time, the cashews came out from the kitchen to the dining table, my little sister would have gobbled down most of it! :-)
Ah! Those funny moments.....Can revel in them all day long... Well, lets get back to work..

Recipe:

Cashewnuts - Whole or spilt - 1 cup
Ghee - 1 teaspoon
Salt - As per taste
Chilli Powder - 1 teaspoon
Ground Black Pepper - 1/4 teaspoon

Fry cashewnuts in ghee over a low flame till they are golden in color. Take care not to burn the cashewnuts. Add salt, chilli powder and ground black pepper and fry the nuts for a minute. Remove from heat.

Happy Snacking.

Lemon Rice & Kiwi Milkshake

Kiwi Fruit

The sun was as usual at its zenith yesterday and our hopes of a cool drizzle to quench our parched bodies were wasted. I was not in a mood for an elaborate lunch, so Sai and I settled in for lemon rice with peanut chutney, along with a glass of kiwi milkshake.

I tasted the kiwi fruit in US, for the very first time. I cannot say that I was thrilled by its taste. It tasted more or less like a berry. We had bought a dozen at our local farmer's market last weekend and after a couple of tastings, they were forgotten in the recesses of my refrigerator, till Sai reminded me of Kiwi Milkshake.


Here goes the recipe:

Kiwi Milkshake:

Ingredients:

Kiwi - 2
Milk - 1 Cup
Sugar - 1 Teaspoon
Vanilla Extract - 1 Teaspoon
Vanilla Icecream - 1 Scoop

Peel the kiwis and blend with the rest of the ingredients till smooth. Hmm..Lip Smacking!!

Lemon Rice:

Ingredients:

Cooked Rice - 1 Cup
Green Chillies - 4 - 5
SplitGinger - 1 inch piece Crushed
Raw Groundnuts - 3 Tablespoons
Curry Leaves - 10
Urad Dal - 1 Teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1 Teaspoon
Channa dal - 1 Teaspoon
Lemon - 1
Oil - 2 Tablespoons
Turmeric - A pinch.
Coriander (Finely Chopped) - 1 Tablespoon

Juice the lemon and mix the juice with the rice along with salt. In a skillet, heat the oil and add mustard seeds, urad dal, channa dal and the curry leaves. After the mustard seeds splutter, add green chillies and ginger. Fry for a minute. Add the groundnuts and fry till they turn golden brown. Add a pinch of turmeric and toss in the rice. Mix well and garnish with coriander.

Serve with groundnut chutney.

Groundnut/Peanut Chutney:

Ingredients:

Groundnuts - 1 Cup
Garlic Flakes - 3
Green Chillies - 3
Tamarind - a cherry sized ball
Jeera - 1 Teaspoon
Water - 1/2 Cup

Seasoning:
Oil - 1 Tablespoon
Mustard Seeds - 1 Teaspoon
Curry Leaves - 5

Fry groundnuts without oil till light brown. Grind with the rest of the ingredients till smooth. Finish off with a seasoning of mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Simple Toor Dal Gravy : Pappu Pulusu


I never knew I was a foodie, till I left home to pursue a career. Being away from home and from homemade food made me realise, like all others before me, how much I loved and missed homemade Indian food.

I have started this blog in an attempt to share the recipes which I have gathered, tried and tested and learnt from my mom and mom-in-law.

Born in Tamil Nadu, brought up in Karnataka, married to a wonderful person from Vijayawada, and currently living in US has given me immense opportunities to taste different cusines. Each as diverse as the culture from which it comes from......

Let me start with a simple dal recipe which has been in my family for ages....

Toor Dal - 1 cup
Dry Red Chillies - 4 to 5
Tomato - 1 small one cut into small cubes
Onion - 1 small one cut into small cubes
Garlic - 4 medium flakes
Tamarind - Appr. half a lemon size
Turmeric - a pinch
Water - 2 1/3 cups
Oil - A couple of tablespoons
For Seasoning, Curry leaves + Vadiyam(Vadagam) or Mustard seeds and Jeera

Pressure cook Toor dal, Dry Red Chillies, Tomato, Onion, Garlic with a pinch of Turmeric and a drop of oil. Add tamarind water and let the curry simmer for 5 minutes. Finish off with a seasoning of curry leaves , mustard leaves and jeera or use vadiyam(vadagam).
This recipe is so simple and so comforting on a rainy day. To me, its more than just a simple dal curry, its a concotion of warm, loving memories.