Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Capsicum chutney

Capsicum also called as Shimla mirch in India. There are various colours of capsicums and interestingly each one has got a unique taste. I have tried to make chutney with this by blending it with some daals, onion and yes, green chili too.

Capsicum Chutney

Capsicum - 1 large
Green chilii - 3
Onion - small 1
Coriander - Handful
Chana daal / Senagapappu - 1 tbsp
Urad daal - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp


Dry roast chana daal, urad daal and cumin seperately.
In the same pan add 1 tsp of oil and when it is warm enough, toss the capsicum chunks. Leave them as crunchy. Remove them and keep aside.
To the same pan add chopped chilli, onion and coriander one after the other.
Allow them to cook till soft.
Now bring everything to the room temperature and pulse it by adding enough salt.

Ready to pulse

Friday, 25 January 2013

Dondakaaya Pallila koora / Ivy gourd curry

Ivy Gourd - Gentleman's toes. Isn't it interesting., It has got lots of medicinal values which controls diabetes. The leaves of Ivy gourd are applied on the skin for the wounds. 

We can make lots of recipes using these little wonders. Today, I have prepared a gravy variety which can be served with either rice or chapathi. The ivy gourd is sauted and cooked in peanut sauce.

For the peanut masala

Onion chopped and  fried in oil until transparent– 1 small
Roasted and skinned Peanuts – 3 tbsp
Roasted Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
Green chilli – 3-4
Garlic – 2-3 cloves
Coriander powder
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Aamchur powder -1/4 tsp (optional)

Grind all the above into smooth paste by adding some water

Slit the ivy gourds length wise by keeping one end intact.
Fill each one with the peanut masala.

Heat a broad pan with 1 ½ tbsp of oil.
Add 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds, few curry leaves and 1 tsp of chana daal.
Add the ivy gourd and fry them for a while by adding some salt and turmeric.

If you want, you can par boil them. As I like them crunchy., I have added them directly.

When they leave the raw aroma, add the peanut masala paste and fry for a minute.
Pour 1 – 1 ½ cup of water and cook under medium flame by covering the pan.

When the oil gets separated sprinkle some chopped coriander and remove from the fire.
Leave it for a while to get it thickened by covering the pan with the lid.
You can have this with rice or roti.

Ivy gourd in peanut sauce

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Pita Boats

This is a nice way of presenting the food to the fussy kids. So simple to assemble the various nutritious vegetables in one place. 

To attain this, I chose the wholemeal Pita bread in oval shape.
Cut the Pitas into length length wise in boat shape.
Bake / toast them until bit crunchy.
Fill them with Paneer tikka, cucumber, lettuce and top them up with capsicum salsa.
Serve them warm..

Monday, 14 January 2013

Paneer Tikka

Paneer tikka is marinated in yoghurt sauce with added spices and grilled or barbecued in a traditional tandoor along with onions, tomatoes and vibrant bell peppers. I chose cherry tomatoes, green pepper and white onion each imparting a different color and taste to the paneer. The delicacy and balance of the flavours, infused in the paneer pieces along with crunchy vegetables makes paneer tikka, a delicious appetizer/starter.

You can either grill the vegetables or just include them raw. In order to get some flavours infused into them and get some good taste, I  just heat a tsp of oil and toss the vegetables with a dash of salt and lemon juice and serve them along with the paneer tikka.

2 inch paneer pieces – 200 gms
4-5 tbsp hung curds
Chili Powder – ½ tsp 
Tikka masala – 1 tsp (Or ½ tsp of garam masala)

To prepare the hung curd, strain the thick or any normal yoghurt using a muslin cloth and drain all the water by hanging the cloth to the kitchen tap. Leave it for 1 hour.

Mix hung curd, salt, chili powder and tikka masala

Marinate the paneer pieces in the above mixture for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Skewer the vegetables and paneer pieces and grill them for 5-6 minutes turning them around while its cooking to ensure they don’t burn and cook them till they are soft and attain a light golden shade.

Serve them in the bed of lettuce leaves

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Sankranthi - 2013

Makara Sankranthi is also known as Sankranthi, is one of the highly auspicious days in a Hindu calendar and the day is dedicated to the worship of Lord Surya. The Tamil year begins from this date. This festival is known as “Thai Pongal” by Tamilians. This is also celebrated as Uttarayan in Gujarat. On the same day people will celebrate Makaravilakku festival in Sabarimalai in Kerala. 

Makara Sankranthi is the day when the sun enters into the zodiac Capricorn or Makara. It is also known as Uttarayana Punyakalam and heralds the arrival of spring season.

The Bhogi is often referred as Lord Indra, the Vedic God of thunder and rain. It is also widely believed that Bhogi Pongal is the Indra Vizha festival observed during the Chola period.

Sankranthi is a festive time to have good food and indulge. This is the most auspicious harvest festival which is celebrated for 3 days in Andhra as Bhogi, Sankranthi and Kanuma. It is equally fun for all 3 days. 

Festive mood starts the day before the Bhogi by accumulating the unwanted things in the house., eg., Mats, broom sticks, wooden benches etc., On the first day all the members of the family, including the neighbourhood will gather early in the morning and set bonfire at the centre and burn the things that are of no use. A sort of cleansing ceremony…….

Next comes the Sankranthi, the main festival and the most important day and is also known as  Pongal. In Andhra Pradesh on the Sankranthi day, ‘Pongali’, a dish prepared from the recent rice harvest is offered to Sankranthi Lakshmi.

Kanuma is observed on the third day of the Sankranthi. It is believed that Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan hill to protect the people of Gokulam on this day. Mukkanuma is observed the day after Kanuma and is primarily a day of feasting and merry making.

Kanuma festival is quite similar to the Mattu Pongal observed in Tamil Nadu. The festival is dedicated to cows, bulls and other animals that are part of agrarian economy. Cattle and cattle sheds are cleaned on the day. Cows are decorated with marigold flowers and are worshipped.

Gangireddu and Hari daasu are the two important aspects of Sankranthi. Those days are gone where the cows and bulls are decorated with colourful clothes and flowers and hari daasu makes them to dance and play as per his orders. It was great fun to watch those interesting plays where the bull obeys his master's orders.
Missing all those fun now......

I am really lucky to capture this picture during my visit to India. 

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Poornam Boorelu / Sweet fritters

Poornam boorelu is a delicious treat with a golden hue, with crunchy outer texture and softer inside. A must have sweet for the South Indian festivals.

Ingredients for the batter
1/2 cup black gram /urad dal
1 cup rice
salt to taste

Ingredients for the Poornam
Channa dal/sengapappu – 1 cup
Grated jaggery – 1 cup(adjust according to your choice)
Fresh coconut pieces (optional) - 1/4 cup
Cardamom powder - 3/4th  tsp
Oil for deep frying

Wash and soak the rice and urad daal for 2 hours.

In the mean time cook chana daal with 2 cups of water. The daal should be just cooked and hold shape. Drain any left over water from the dal after its cooked. 

Continue cooking the chana daal by adding jaggery.

Once the water gets evaporated completely and it appears like a thick mixture,  use a masher to mash them together till it blends well. Allow it to cool down.

Add the chopped coconut pieces, cardamom powder and mix well. Shape small bite sized balls

Now prepare the batter by draining the water from Urad daal and rice and grind to fine paste adding very little water. It should be like a thick dosa batter. To test the thickness, dip a spoon and when we lift it, the spoon should be coated well with the batter. Add a pinch of salt and mix well. Leave aside covered.

Heat enough oil in a wide heavy bottomed vessel for deep frying the balls. Dip each ball in the batter and let it coat evenly and place in the oil and deep fry till golden brown under medium flame.
Serve warm with a stream of ghee…

.hmmm…. yummy for my tummy…my little one said…

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Capsicum salsa

This recipe is busting with flavours. The red pepper adds heat, garlic adds the unique flavour and the ginger and lime juice creates freshness. A nice companion for nachos....


Red Pepper - 1 large
Tomato - 1-2
Lemon juice - 2 -3 tbsp
Ginger - 2 inches
Garlic - 1-2 cloves

Just blend them all coarsely