Friday, February 28, 2014

Healthy "GO GREEN" Chapathis




I named my chapathi "GO GREEN", since its going to make us more healthy individuals like how "going green" helps our Earth. Yes! they are loaded with simple greens that are used almost everyday in every home. Curry leaves, cilantro and mint are the special trio that I used in my chapathis for a simple dinner. They are quite essential in everyday cooking without which we could lose aroma of the food cooked. Imagine all the goodness of these trio.....

  • Cilantro is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and folates, calcium and potassium
  • Curry leaves are packed with iron, calcium, fiber, vitamins A, B, C and E
  • Mint is a good source of calcium, phosphorous, vitamins C, D and E
In addition to these, they also have other nutrients which are more beneficial to us. When all these simple everyday used greens are packed in one simple roti, what more can one ask for. They also don't need long preparation, just can be whipped up in few minutes to make tasty chapathis out of it. One could simply add all the chopped leaves and make chapathis, but curry leaves sometimes tend to fall out. When you grind and add, it gives a green color (interesting and healthy for kids) and it is easier to roll.  Also you have the advantage of sneaking nutrients if you have a picky eater who doesn't like to see the leaves as such. The end result was a tasty nutritious roti. Since mint is powerful than the other two, the flavor of it was a little more savored.




Ingredients:

Whole wheat flour - 2 cups
Cilantro - 1/4 cup
Mint leaves - 1/4 cup
Curry leaves - 1/4 cup
Green chilli - 1
Salt
Water to knead - 1 cup
Oil or ghee (optional)

Method:

Grind the greens with a little water. To the whole wheat flour add the ground mixture, salt and mix. Add water little by little and knead to make a smooth and soft ball of dough.

Make lemon sized balls and roll out to approximately 7 in. diameter rounds. Heat a pan, and when it is hot enough, cook the chapathi on one side, flip and then cook. You can puff it up on a flame just like phulkas. Smear a little ghee or oil, if you wish. Even without it, the chapathis would be soft and tasty. It can be eaten with a little yogurt, pickle or any curry. This measurement makes 8 chapathis.




Notes: In this you can add methi and spinach too (I didn't have any at that time). Also could make green and nutritious chapathis with any one of these greens too.

Panneer Fruit or Rose apple

On my trip to my favorite veggie market four -five days back, I found these beauties. 



This shop has lots of fruits and veggies which are quite seasonal and also from other parts of the world too. I have not seen this fruit before with such a beautiful color and shape, intrigued, asked the salesman. This was called Panneer fruit, and it came from Ooty or Kodaikanal. He also added that it would taste like gooseberries (the sour ones). I got 4 or 5 thinking to taste. As soon as we reached home, both me and my husband attacked the bag, washed and tried. Amazingly tasty. You could taste mild flavor of gooseberries  and at the end gave a typical taste of Jamun fruit and the flesh was white in color. The initial mild tartness was definitely enjoyable, but I loved the typical jamun flavor at the end. We loved it and went yesterday to bag more of these. These are delicate and bruise easily. For the eye, I feel it is a feast to see this fruit. I mean look at the shape - bell shaped - it is just like the kozhukattai (that we do for Ganesh Chathurthi) and also the pretty color. Anybody would immediately makeup their mind to try this fruit.




I considered myself lucky to eat it and googled to know more about it. Its scientific name is Syzygium jambos, a member of Myrtaceae family. It is called Rose apple in English. The local names here include Malabar apple, Jambrosade, Water apple". It is native to Southeast Asia, but introduced in all continents except Antartica. The trees in tropical conditions only bear fruit. The fruit is a good source of vitamin C (source Wikipedia). The fruit is considered good for, brain liver and blood and it has a low glycemic index. If you eat too much, you can feel itchiness in throat, similar to gooseberry. Healthbenefitstimes gives a good history and uses of this fruit tree. 



It was definitely worth tasting.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vallarai Keerai Thogayal

My son wanted me to read "The Three Billy Goats Gruff" to him, yesterday evening. I was reading and he slowly started to go through the Magic Pot magazine. I politely told him to listen to the story and he said "I'm listening to the story". He was also eyeing on what's happening in the Potato Panic game which my daughter was playing. Slowly he asked for his favorite Chotta Bheem in POGO when my husband took the remote to watch TV. To me, this is all big NO. I told him, "if you want me to read the story why don't you listen to it, rather than doing many things, please stay focused". I felt he is getting distracted. I was losing the interest to read. He still said that he was listening to the story. This did not make me feel good, but I let it go................. Again at bedtime, he wanted me to tell the same story. I started to tell....."There were three billy goats who lived on a rocky mountain side. There was a river near by and  on the  other side of the river, there was fresh juicy green grass which the goats were longing to eat"...he stopped me and said.."Mommy, you know the words come like this in the book.."right next to the mountain ran a powerful rushing river..." I was taken aback, puzzled, surprised, amazed....whatever you can say. I started to think, he was doing many things (sometimes he does this when I read story to him, and he has listened to this story many times too). Now, I can't say that I can remember many things like this when compared to a little kid. Or I don't know how well we utilize our brain power. But to say it exactly...wow I was appreciating how efficient, powerful and amazing the brain and memory cells are. We usually say brain as tiny or phrases such as use your head, think using your brain......but in reality see the tiny little brain of a 5 yr old is way better and efficient than an adult brain which is completely grown. I smiled and at him, commented good for his listening and remembering (I am the one who always read to him. Yet, i did not even think of using those words, not even once,  to narrate to him later). 

Immediately, the thought of a pack of vallarai keerai in the fridge made me decide to make something out of it tomorrow so that all of us can get some goodness of this and enhance our memory (especially for me). The brain of little kids grow very fast. If you are able to use such natural memory promoters in your diet, probably, it will help all the kids have a great future. Well, that's my perspective, would be the same for all the moms. To make them eat it, well.....it's another chapter of a book and that's where all the mom's try out different ways to present it to kids in an appealing way. 

Ok...prologue is enough and coming back to vallarai (in Tamil) or brahmi (in sanskrit), all of us know it as memory enhancer. It is a creeper belonging to Umbelliferae family, growing along riverbanks or in wetlands. The leaves of this plant is used for medicinal purposes. When browsing more about it, read that it can grow even from nodes and can be grown hydroponically too, just now gave me the idea to get a plant or a part of it with the nodes from a vendor, and grow in my home. Will update here, once I get and grow one.




I made a very simple thogayal (kind of a pesto) with the leaves. It can be made within 10 minutes and it tastes great. 






Ingredients:

Vallarai leaves - 1 cup (medium packed), washed
Urad dhal - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies - 4
Hing - 1/8 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - 1 inch piece
Oil - 1 tsp
Jaggery - 1/8 tsp (optional)

Method:

Heat oil in a pan. Add red chillies, mustard and urad dhal. When the mustard splutters add hing and the leaves. Saute for a min, till the leaves get wilted. Cool this mixture and grind with salt, tamarind and jaggery. Adjust salt if needed. That's it, delicious thogayal is ready to eat mixed with rice and a dollop of sesame oil which brings out lots of flavor. Any thogayal rice is best accompanied by a fried papad or vadam. Wow! a tasty and fast meal is ready by the time rice gets cooked. 



Vallarai Thogayal with rice and papad.


The last time I made it, say a while ago, my husband said, it was slightly bitter. So added a little jaggery to make the kids try it. It was easy to convince my daughter, just told her the medicinal use of the leaves and she was happy to try it. She loved it and ate only this thogayal or chutney mixed with rice and papad. Well....my son...i didn't tell him, what it was.. He saw me mixing something and so immediately he expressed  his choice was to eat curd rice ONLY and nothing else. Though he showed all kinds of faces...sneaked a few bites in between his favorite curd rice. He didn't complain but ate the thogayal rice, a green signal for some sort of okay. This gave me some motivation to try out other recipes out of the brilliant plant in the future and pondering over its medicinal uses, I am going to make this often.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Vethala Valli Kizhangu Tikki




On my trip to the vegetable market, I found this yam. I have never seen this before and so asked a salesperson. She said it's vethala valli kizhangu or vetrilai valli kizhangu. So got one, after reaching home googled about it. It is called betel leaves tuber but coundn't get lot of information. It is a vine whose leaves are similar to the betel leaves and hence it got its name.



This is how it looks after you cut:



After a couple of clicks, I washed and chopped some and started to think what I could make from this. I boiled in water till cooked soft but not mushy. I dropped the idea of making any dry curry or gravy, since we had already finished our brunch. Thinking thinking.....finally decided to make a snack. Ideas is to substitute this for potato and make a tikki. Since, we have never tasted this, I decided to add some extra spices too. the end result was good. It was very tasty with our tea in the evening today. I was really surprised to get a lot of smiles from my husband and daughter for a totally new vegetable. 


Ingredients:

Vathala Valli Kizhangu tuber - 1/2 cup, chopped
Onion - 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Salt -  to taste
Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/8 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
Green chilli - 1 small, finely chopped
Cilantro - 2 tsp. chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1/4 tsp
Bread crumbs - 1/4 cup (optional)

Seasoning:

Oil - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds - a pinch
Hing - a pinch

Method:

In a pan, add 1 tsp of oil. When it is hot enough add the fennel seeds, hing. Then add the onion, ginger garlic paste and saute for 2-3 minutes it onions are cooked and the raw smell disappears. Peel and mash the tuber a little. Add this to the onions in the pan followed by salt, turmeric, chilli powder and garam masala. Mix thoroughly and cook for 2 min. and switch off the gas. Now add cilantro and 1 tbsp breadcrumb. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, make tikkis. (You can coat the tikkis with a little breadcrumbs too, or add all it, mix and make cutlets). Pan fry them with a tsp oil, flip and again let it cook with another tsp of oil. Tasty tikkis are ready!




Notes:

When I was cutting it, the texture of it gave a feel like when you cut elephant yam. I started to boil it in water, but it took almost 40 min. for 1/2 cup.  A nice idea is to peel and then boil for cooking fast and easiness.When I was peeling, I felt like  peeling colocasia. It tasted exactly like colocasia. You could also try some curry with this tuber.

Dill Rasam

After trying akki roti with dill leaves, I wanted to try something else with it. I thought of making a rasam with dill leaves for the weekend brunch and it sounded great as my husband LOVES rasam.  Hence made this simple rasam today, just the way I make pepper rasam (substituted dill leaves for curry leaves along with the spices that I grind coarsely) and it was tasty too with a mild flavor of dill.




Ingredients:

Tamarind - small lemon sized ball
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Water - 21/4 cup
Dill leaves - 2 tsp chopped, for garnish
Tomato - 1, chopped

Coarsely Grind:

Toor dhal - 1 tsp (soak for 15 min)
Cumin - 1 tsp
Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
Red chilli - 2 
Dill leaves - 1/4 cup
Coriander seeds - 1/2 tsp

Seasoning:

Oil or ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin  - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Hing - a pinch

Method:

Extract the tamarind juice with 1 cup of water. Add chopped tomatoes, turmeric, salt and boil on a medium heat for 5 min. Add the coarsely ground paste, and remining water. Adjust the salt and when the first the boil comes makes sure to take the rasam off the flame. In a separate pan, heat oil. Do the seasoning and add it to rasam. Add the chopped dill leaves for garnish. 



We had this delicious tasty rasam for our brunch. My best food critics in my home are my husband and daughter. They both said it was good. The flavor of dill leaves could be relished in the rasam. I liked it too!
Here is our weekend brunch with dill rasam.





Friday, February 21, 2014

Mixed Vegetable Kootu or Kanu Kootu





I love this "kootu" (this is in Tamil, which means a gravy made with dals and veggies). This is a kind of pulusu i.e., cooked in tamarind juice and spices, for me this is kind of like a comfort food. My husband loves this with rice. If I tell him that I am making this, immediately he will request me to fry some papad (appalam) and he calls this combination "heavenly food".




We call this puli kootu or Kanu kootu. This one is specially made on the day next to Pongal festival (we call Kanu festival), when we pray for our brothers (similar to Rakshbandan) with all the season's fresh harvest vegetables. But this is often made in our home as we all love it. Whenever, I make this, it is kind of going back in memory lane, taking me back to my childhood relishing this dish. Even now, when my mom cooks this, she makes sure she packs some of it for me and my family.

This recipe is a keeper and I exactly do how my mom does. One can make this with one vegetable alone like winter melon (white flesh pumpkin), eggplant  or with all mixed vegetables with dried beans or fresh ones (one or many types) and  peanuts. Sometimes this can be done with dried beans alone with or without peanuts. The peanuts give an extra crunchiness. This kootu can be considered as a versatile dish, as it goes with plain rice, dal rice, dosa or chapathi.



Since you use a little of many veggies, makes a good quantity and hence can easily feed up to 12 people as a side dish. One can make this ahead for get togethers and it also freezes well (Trust me, I have tried and frozen many of my dishes when my son was born) and it is very simple and easy to make.

Ingredients:

Tamarind  - small lemon size
Toor dhal - 6 tbsp
Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Potato - 1 medium
Taro or colocassia - 4 or 5
Carrot - 1
Avarakai or papdi - 4 or 5
Beans - 8 to 10
Cluster beans - 15 to 20
Bell pepper - 1 medium (mix of colors also ok)
Green peas - 1/2 cup (fresh or frozen)
Sweet potato - 1 (small one, I used the white variety)
Chayote squash (Chow chow) - 1/2 of a medium one
Snake gourd - 1/2 cup
Eggplant - 4 small ones
Pumpkin - 1/2 cup
Winter melon or white pumpkin - 1/2 cup
Garbanzo beans - 1/2 cup (soaked)
Fresh kidney beans - 1/2 cup
Fresh butter beans - 1/2 cup
Fresh lima beans - 1/2 cup
(if you don't have fresh beans, can omit or use varieties of dried beans after soaking)
Jackfruit seeds - 10 (optional)
Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Salt -1 tbsp
Water
Cilantro - 1/4 cup, chopped fine

Roast and grind:

2 tsp oil
2 tbsp chana dhal
2 tbsp urad dhal
11/2 tbsp coriander seeds
Red chilli - 6 nos.
fenugreek - 1 tsp
Coconut - 1/2 cup shredded

Seasoning:

Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Hing - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 3 sprigs

Roast all these in oil, cool and grind these to a paste with 1 tomato. You can a little add water if necessary.

Method:

Pressure cook dhal, garbanzo, peanuts, colocasia and jackfruit seeds. Chop all the vegetables to 1 in. length. Extract the tamarind juice with 3 cups of water, add the veggies to this and simmer for about 15 min. till all the veggies are cooked. Add salt, turmeric powder, pressure cooked beans, peanuts, colocasia and jackfruit seeds and simmer for 5 min. Add the ground spice paste and cooked dhal. More water can be added, if needed. Boil for a 4-5 minutes till all the flavors blend together. Adjust the salt and if needed for more hotness, add the chilli powder. In a separate pan, heat a tsp oil, add mustard seeds, uard dhal, hing and curry leaves. Once it is done spluttering add it to the kootu. Garnish with cilantro and the vegetable gravy or stew is all ready! I promise it would be amazing in taste and a wonderful meal can be easily prepared whether for your family or for a party! Enjoy.



Notes: 
I didn't have green plantains and elephant yam. If you have you can add those too.
Frozen mixed vegetable pack can also be used which saves vegetable cutting time, if you are in a hurry.
I got jackfruit the other day and so saved the seeds for later use. I have seen frozen cooked jackfruit seeds in the frozen aisle in Coconut Hill, Sunnyvale, CA. So, if you find can use it for this or sambhar or curry.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spicy Pumpkin Soup





Today morning, it was raining a little bit and it was gloomy. Sometimes I like rainy days and sometimes I would feel like "where is the Sun". Past couple of days were hot and humid and so today was ok. I was contemplating on what to cook but decided to have a steaming bowl of soup and enjoy the day. The small pumpkin sitting on the counter gave me an idea to make a spicy pumpkin soup. I immediately picked it along with potatoes, onion and green chili and started working on my soup. I thought of adding ginger but later decided not to. The creamy soup was very great topped with croutons and I loved it so much and was  a super hit. The potatoes gave extra creaminess along with the pumpkin. Usually, cream is added in pumpkin soups but this one doesn't. To describe the soup in simple wards, "awesome"!



Ingredients:

Potato - 1 (skin peeled and chopped)
Pumpkin - 1 cup (peeled and chopped)
green chilli - 1, chopped
onion - 1/4 cup, chopped
Ghee or butter - 1 tsp
salt to taste
pepper - to taste
water or broth - 3 cups
Cilantro or croutons for garnishing


Method:


Heat a pan with 1 tsp ghee or butter, saute the onions and green chilli






 Transfer this to a small bowl, add the chopped potato, pumpkin and 3/4 cup water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles. 


Cool and blend to a puree. Transfer this to the pan, add 21/4 cups water, salt and pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes and a wonderful, easy, tasty and spicy soup is all ready to be ladled into bowls. 




Garnish with cilantro and some croutons. I made my own garlic cilantro croutons and it paired well with the soup (recipe follows Notes). Enjoy!




Notes: The soup was spicy and very good. It depends on the green chilli, the hotness of which you cannot say ahead. May be if you want a little less spicy, go easy on the green chilli. Adding a carrot also gives a special taste to this soup. Next time I am going to try pumpkin carrot soup.



Garlic Cilantro Croutons




Ghee or butter - 2 tsp
Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro - 1/4 cup, chopped fine
Bread - 2 slices, cubed
a little salt and pepper to taste

Heat ghee in a pan, fry the garlic powder and cilantro for a minute. Then add the cubed bread, mix and toast it till crispy. This can be done in oven too (because of power cur, I did it in the stove)





Delicious croutons are ready to be topped in soups.



Saturday, February 15, 2014

Little Millet (Samai) Idli





Little Millet also called Samai in Tamil  is one of the minor millets which is very nutritious. There are myriad health benefits for all the millets. They are very good alternative to rice for people with diabetes. They are rich in fiber and low in carbohydrates. They have a low glycemic index when you compare them with other cereals (Glycemic index is a scale that ranks carbs by the how much amount they raise the blood glucose level and is based on the quality of the carbohydrate). Little millet is also rich in micronutrients and Vitamin B.

That's why I chose  to make something out of little millet and here is what I made - soft, fluffy, healthy and delicious IDLI. I used it as a substitute to rice in my usual measurements and always I use Udhayam brand urad dhal here in India (The best brand to use in US India's best). 




Ingredients:

Little millet - 3 cups
Urad dhal - 1 cup
salt - 2 tsp

Method:

Soak them for 5 hours and grind to smooth batter (this time I soaked the together but you cannot do it separately too, then grind and mix together). Add salt and ferment overnight. This is how it looks after fermentation:



Mix the batter thoroughly. Ladle it into idli plates and steam them for 4 min. and yummy idlies are ready to go into your tummy. I made usual big ones as well as mini ones which is my kids favorite. We had it with sambhar. What a hearty breakfast! 




They were delicious and no one was able to make out that it was not made with rice. My family members insisted me to make samai idlies regularly! When you get comments like this, you can feel as if you are flying very high (may be similar to Harry Potter in his new Firebolt......just joking) and such feelings give you the many different ideas to try out new recipes from varied sources. I am going to make many other dishes with all the millets. I encourage all of you to try this one and enjoy with your family, but don't forget to leave a comment here. Thanks!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Pudina Pulao

I love fresh mint. The aroma of this herb can energize me and I often include this in my cooking. I was thinking what to pack for my kids lunch and immediately the bag of mint came to my rescue. within the next 40 min I had a tasty pulao ready. My daughter came sniffing, "Are you making something with pudina? ..... yummy." Both my kids came back with empty lunch boxes and my son said "I liked the green rice Ma."


I make similar kinds of pulao all the time. After starting the preparations, came to know that I ran out of garlic (I prefer using freshly ground ginger and garlic for the flavor and aroma) and so used store bought ginger garlic paste. Sometimes I add coconut and sometimes I don't. Today I added a liitle of cilantro too (I had 2 bunches in hand), the end result was yummy! Back to the recipe-

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Mint / Pudina leaves - 1 cup, packed
Carrot - 1 cup, diced
Onion - 3/4 cup, thinly sliced
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Peas - 1/2 cup (fresh or frozen)
Cilantro leaves - 1/4 cup
Coconut - 1/4 cup grated
Green chilli - 2
Water - 2 cups
salt - 1/2 tsp

Seasoning:

Oil - 2tbsp
Cinnamon - 1 in. piece
Cardamom - 1
Clove - 1
Bay leaf - 1
Star anise - 1
Black cardamom - 1

Method:
Wash the rice and soak for 10-15 min. In the meantime, wash the carrots and pudina leaves. Chop the onion and carrots. Make a paste of cilantro, coconut, pudina and 1 green chilli with 1/2 cup water. Heat a pan, add the seasonings, fry them for a minute. Then add the onions,  1 green chilli slit lengthwise, ginger garlic paste and cook till onions are soft. Drain the basmati rice and fry for a min. or two till you get nice aroma. Add the veggies and salt. Now mix water with ground pudina paste, make it to 2 cups and add it to rice mixture. Mix well, check and adjust salt if needed, cover and cook on a med - low flame for 10 min. Then lower the flame to low and cook for 10 min. By now the rice and veggies are all cooked perfectly. Switch off the flame, mix thoroughly once and leave it covered for another 10 min. Steaming Pudina pulao is ready to be served.

Try my recipe and let me know!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Akki Roti with Dill Leaves and Mochai

This is my first attempt in making akki roti. My SIL is from Bangalore. She often makes this delicacy and I like it too. Three weeks back she gave us this roti made with dill leaves and fresh mochai or mochakote. We all loved in our home. Yesterday night, their family came from a trip to Bangalore and she passed me some fresh bunches of dill leaves and mochai today morning. Immediately, I got the recipe from her and made this tasty roti with onion chutney for dinner tonight. We enjoyed our dinner and my son, for whom even the looks of any dish can be a criteria to reject it, ate too.



Ingredients:

Rice flour - 21/2 cups
Dill leaves - 1 bunch (1 cup leaves)
Mochai - 2/3 cup
Onion - 2/3 cup finely chopped
Cilantro - 1/4 cup finely chopped
warm water  - to knead
salt - 3/4 tsp
Green chilli - 1 (can add 2 or 3, my kids do not like spicy hot)
grated coconut - 1/4 cup

Method:

Soak the fresh mochai in water for 2 hrs, squeeze out and peel. Boil with a pinch of salt in 1/2 cup water for 2-3 min. and drain the excess water. Wash dill and chop 1/2 cup. With the other half cup dill, add coconut, green chilli and 1/4 cup water, and grind. In a large bowl, add all the ingredients and start to knead with warm water to make a smooth, soft dough.



Take a lemon sized ball and start to press with your palm and make a thin roti. (I made it in the tawa itself and was easier, as making it in ziploc and transferring didn't work out today for me. I usually do puran poli and ragi roti with ziploc cover). Make sure to use cooler tawa to press the next roti.



Add a tsp oil, cook and flip to cook the other side for a couple of minutes.


Tasty and delicious akki roti is best eaten warm or hot hot from the pan.


It came out very tasty, just like how my SIL gave us. I am pretty sure I would make this one as well as other healthier versions soon.



Sunday, February 9, 2014

Pudina Thokku / Mint Pickle

This is the season of fresh veggies and herbs here. Wherever you go you can find vendors selling mint and cilantro – 3 or 4 bunch for Rs. 10. I just can’t resist these two aromatic herbs. I include pudina often in meal since it is more than a garnish adding a zing to any dish you make. Needless to say, it has lots of health benefits – relief from indigestion, helps reduce stress, gives you a glowing skin, helps reduce menstrual cramps. Some research studies indicate that mint shows anti-cancer properties. It is rich in carotenes and vitamin C and a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper  and  potassium. So why not include mint in our everyday food and be in mint condition!





I tried making pudina thokku  – it is kind of a pickle that you can store for a longer time and can use when  it is not the season.  It goes very well with stuffed parathas, yogurt rice as a side dish or it is just simply  great when mixed with plain rice with a dollop of sesame oil and eaten with fried papads or vadams. I love this tasty one and had to wait till I finished making this one to dig in.  Whenever I make any pickle, I use only Idhayam brand sesame oil (available all over India and in the US, you can find in any Indian stores) for its superior quality and aroma.

Ingredients:

Pudina  - 3 bunch
Dried red chillies – 20
Tamarind – small lemon sized ball
Salt -1/3 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Sesame Oil – 2 tsp
Urad dhall – 2 tsp
Hing – ¼ tsp

Seasoning:

Sesame Oil – ¼ cup
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Dried red chilli – 2
Hing – 1 pinch

Method:

Take out the pudina leaves from the stem (I had 5 cups), wash thoroughly, drain the excess water (I used my salad spinner). Later spread the leaves in a single layer on a cloth towel or paper towel till it is completely dry (without any water drops), may be 3 - 4 hrs. (after drying the amount of leaves was only 3 cups). Make sure the leaves are dry before proceeding with the pickle as moisture does not help with shelf life. If the leaves have moisture, in a couple of days the whole pickle will be full of fungus.

Heat 2 tsp oil in a kadai. Add red chillies, mustard seeds, urad dhal and hing. Once the mustard seeds splutter, add the tamarind pieces and fry for a minute and cool. 




Blend this mixture in blender till it is coarse with salt. 






Then slowly add a handful of pudina leaves at a time and blend. Repeat the process till all the leaves are completely ground with the spices. Entire house will be filled with the aroma of the spices and pudina. 





You can store this as such or further do another step for extra shelf life. Heat the pan, add 1/4 cup sesame oil, season with 2 red chillies, mustard and hing. Then add the ground mixture and cook for 3-5 min. till completely mixed and a nice aroma fills all around. Store in a airtight container, refrigerate and can be kept for up to six months (if it is there!).



Curd rice with Pudina thokku





Notes: Mine was a little spicy. If you want, may be reduce 2 chillies when you grind them all together.