Friday, January 30, 2009

Chick peas - spread (like Hummus)

This is like hummus but with different ingredients.

1 cup - Soaked, cooked chickpeas
1 - clove of garlic finely minced and sauted to remove raw flavor
1/4 cup - finely chopped tomato
1/4 cup - finely chopped red onion
2 tbsp - black olives sliced
2 tbps - finely cut green pepper (saute them in few drops of oil)
Few pinches - papprika powder
To Taste - salt
1/2 tsp - Garam Masala powder(optional)
1/4 tsp - Lime juice
1 tsp - grated jest of lime
2 tbsps - fine chopped cilantro

Blend the chickpeas into a fine paste. Add the chopped garlic, tomato, onion, olives, green peppers. Mix them and add salt and jest of lime and mix to incorporate all the ingredients. Add papprika powder and garam masala powder and garnish with cilantro.

This also is great as a spread to use in bread, tortillas, tacos or to use as a dip with chips. Can refrigerate upto 3 days.

To create an easy sandwich, spread a slice with the chickpeas spread, add a layer of lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions, shredded carrots and a slice of cheese(optional) and you've got a filling breakfast and healthy too!

Avocado Veggi - Bread Spread

1 - Large Hass Avocado
1 - finely chopped ripe plum tomato
1 - finely chopped small red onion
2 tbsps - finely chopped cilantro
1 /2 or 1 - finely chopped serrano pepper
1/4 cup - boiled peas
2 tbsps - finely chopped ripe mangoes(optional)
to taste - Salt (1/2 tsp approx)
1 tbsp - Lemon juice

Scoop out avocado and mash well. Add all the chopped veggies and add the pepper, cilantro and finally add the boiled peas and mix well. Add the salt and squeeze in the lemon juice. Its done!

It can be refridgerated for upto 2 days. Use as a spread in breads or as a filler in tortillas, tacos.

BREAK the FAST - fast!!

Am trying to give a list of easy breakfast ideas that can be done in a jiffy for all the on-the-go people.

Breakfast is a real important part of maintaining health. It helps in weight management too! Sure it does keep acidity in check.

So lets's start making easy Brk-fast!!

Bread is the most common breakfast menu next to cereals and oats in recent times. So am starting with some spreads you can use on bread.

Idli & Dosa Batter

To make Idli batter(maavu)

4 Cups - Par boiled rice/Idli Rice
1 Cup - Whole urad dal
3/4 tsp - Salt

Soak rice & urad dal separately for 6- 8 hours. First grind the urad dal to a very fine paste consistency. It should not be too watery. Set aside in large vessel to be used for blending the batter. Then grind the rice to fine sooji consistency. this also should not be too watery it should be just a dropping batter.

Mix both the batters together with hand. Mix well until both are blended together. Add salt to this and again mix well for around 2 minutes. Set aside in a warm place for 12 hours atleast for the batter to ferment and rise.

Taste and add salt if necessary and prepare idlis.

To make Dosa Batter(Dosai Maavu)

1 1/2 cups - Raw rice
1 1/2 cups - Parboiled rice
1 cup - Urad dal
1 tsp - Fenugreek(methi seeds)
1 tsp - salt

Mix the rice varieties and soak them in a bowl. Soak urad dal & fenugreek seeds in a bowl. Let soak for about 6 hours. Grind ural dal alongwith the soaked fenugreek and then rice to a very fine smooth consistency and a more running batter. Add salt and mix well. Let it set and rise for atleast 8 -10 hours for a crispy blended dosa.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thiruvadirai - KALI & KARI

The festival of "Thiruvadirai" more known as "Arudra Dharshanam" is celebrated more in South India. As Lord Shiva is the god without birth, the "Tiruvadira" star of the Markazhi(Tamil month dec 15th to jan 15th)month is taken to be a vratham. It is important as this was the day Lord Shiva is said to have appeared to the saint Pathanjali & Vyaagra paadha.

According to legends once Aadhi sesha desired to see the dance of Lord Shiva and asked Maha Vishnu for a remedy. Lord Vishnu asked him to go to Chidambaram and to tapasya. Similarly the saint Vyaagra paadha also was doing the same to see Lord Shiva.

Pleased with the penance(tapasya) , Lord Shiva is said to have appeared and danced for the devottee.

A sweet dish called KALI and multi vegetable side dish "KARI" or "THALAKAM" are offered and eaten to celebrate this great joy of seeing the dance of the Lord.


Raw Rice - 1 Cup
Moong Dal - 1/4 Cup
Jaggery - 1 to 1 1/4 cups(depending on the sweetness of the jaggery)
Water - 2 1/2 cups
Cardamom - 2 powdered
Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup

Wash raw rice in hot water for 10 minutes and drain completely. Once all the water is out and the wetness is reduced, take a pan and dry roast the rice until golden brown. Let it cool. Then powder it to the consistency of (white rava/sooji).
Clean jaggery by mixing with a 1/4 cup of water and strain it. This removes all dirt from the jaggery. The total water to be used in the recipe should be inclusive of the water used for straining the jaggery too. In a cooker vessel, add the powdered rice, add the jaggery water and the remaining quantity required for the recipe.

Pressure cook for 3 whistles. let it cool.
Gently dry roast the grated coconut and add it to the cooked rice along with the powdered cardamom. Add 1 tsp of ghee(optional).


There are many recipes for this. The one am giving here is more adaptive to the ones made in Kerala.

Mixed vegetables - Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Snow Peas(Closest to Avarakai), Lima Beans, Colocasia, Indian Yam, peas, carrots, squash - around 3 lbs
Salt - to Taste
Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
Coconut - grated 1 cup
Green chillies(Serrano peppers) - 2-3(adjust according to the required level of hotness required)
Curry leaves - 5-6
Coconut oil - 1-2 Tbsp
Powdered kali powder(the powdered rice used for Kali) - 1 Tbsp
In India usually 7 varieties of root vegetables are used along with 3 varieties of plant grown vegetables to make this Kari.
Cook vegetables with turmeric powder & salt. Once vegetables are over cooked add curry leaves and let boil. Grind coconut & green chillies into a paste and add to the vegetables. Let is foam. Dont let it overboil. Add the powdered kali rice and then coconut oil and close the vessel and let it set. Adding coconut oil in the kari, infuses more flavor into it and it tastes just YUMMY.

Serve warm kali with hot kari(thalakam).
Some cultures also make one more dish called "Pulingari"/"kozhambu". The ingredients are similar mixed vegetables boiled & cooked in tamarind water, grind coconut with red chillies,channa dal, urad dal & little coriander seeds and add to the cooked vegetable mixture. This makes the Pulingari.

Have a nice "Arudhra Darshanam".

Making ghee at home

Ghee - common term used in India for clarified butter. Ghee is made by boiling butter. It is used in most indian cooking, mainly for sweets and during festivities.

Butter - 4 sticks
Vessel - a heavy bottomed, deep vessel

Put 4 sticks of butter in the vessel and keep on stove with the flame set to low. Use a wooden ladel to keep stirring. Initially the butter will bubble up and slowly once the ghee is getting formed the bubbles will lessen and the liquid will turn golden in color. The smell of ghee eminates and its the right time to switch off the stove & remove. There will be residue of impurities at the bottom, let the ghee cool down to a warm touch and then strain leaving out the residue.

Store in a tight container.

By putting a steel spoon/laddle in the vessel, we can prevent the bubbling up of the butter over the vessel.
Add a small piece of jaggery to the ghee so that it stays fresh longer. Otherwise it develops a stale smell (say after 2-3 months).