Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pecan Ladoo / Pecan Urundai




Yesterday was Karthigai Deepam festival. we light lots and lots of diyas (clay lamps), pray and have a good feast along with some special treats prepared for this occasion. After prayer, we keep the diyas all over the home and outside. It is such a mesmerizing sight to see your home completely decorated with those warm lamps. And it spreads warm wishes to all. After being mesmerized under the beauty of these lamps, we enjoy the special treats. Pori urundai (puffed rice balls), kadalai urundai (peanut ladoo), thattai etc are traditionally prepared for this festival. I love the pori urundai my mom makes and it used to be your after school snack for a week.

 Thinking of all those days, I made pecan ladoo aka pecan urundai instead of peanut ladoo (shhh....this to is my favorite). Pecans are delicious and have a buttery taste. It is rich in Vitamin E and polyphenolic antioxidant like ellagic acid. So please try to include it in your diet. The ladoos, I made, came out best and it got emptied completely within a few minutes. When my son asked me, "Could I have one for my school snack tomorrow?", Oh! wow! was all my expression, as he has never asked for any ladoos before and I decided to make another batch. Okay....here is  the simple recipe.



Ingredients

Pecan - 2 cups
Jaggery - 1 cup plus 2 tbsp
Cardamom - 1
Water - 1/2 cup

Method

Toast the pecan for about 8 - 10 mins till it is crisp. Once it is cool, chop into small pieces.



In a medium sauce pan, add the jaggery and water, and simmer. Once all the jaggery is dissolved, filter to remove impurities. Return the pan with pure jaggery water simmer on a medium flame. In about 10 min, you should have a good syrup consistency that can be used to make ladoos. Add the crushed cardamom. 



Just drop a little of the syrup into a bowl with cold water. The syrup consistency is perfect if you are able to roll a soft ball with the syrup inside water. 





Switch off the flame and add it to the pecans. Mix well and when the heat is bearable start taking handfuls and roll into balls. Continue till all the ladoos are made with the pecan mixture. 







Tips

The consistency of the syrup is very important to make nut chikkis or urundais. So checking with a bowl of water is very helpful. If the consistency is not reached, the syrup will dissolve in water. If you roll a hard ball in water, then the syrup has reached a very thick consistency and cannot be used for making ladoos. the ladoos will fall apart and wont hold together if the consistency is not perfect.

Small bits of coconut can also be added after toasting to the pecans.




Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Cranberry Rice

Fall.....I love this season. Varieties of harvest vegetables,  especially, pumpkins and squashes can be seen in the markets. Varieties of apples and beans (poded) can be spotted in farmer's markets and supermarkets. Fall is filled with goodness - my very special goody is cranberries. They are very sour, but very healthy. I use fresh cranberries in many ways in my cooking. I make sambhar, gravies, pickles etc with this small sour gem. I try and use them instead of tamarind in south Indian cooking. I do make cranberry rice similar to puliyodharai (aka tamarind rice) which is one of our favorites. Cranberry cooks faster and it is very easy to make the rice, the recipe for which I am sharing here.  I tripled the recipe and in 15 -20 minutes it was ready. When you cook rice, make the cranberry mix side by side and you will finish making wonderful lunch in no time.



Ingredients

Fresh cranberries - 1 and 1/3 cups, halved
Rice - 1 cups
Water - 2 cups plus 2 tbsp 
Salt - 1 tsp
Fenugreek-turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp (refer here)
Turmeric - 1/8 tsp


Seasoning

Sesame oil - 2 -3 tbsp 
Peanuts - 2 tbsp 
Mustard seeds - 1/3 tsp
Split urad dhal - 1/4 tsp
Channa dhal - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprigs
Red chillies - 3 to 4
Green chillies - 2, (slit lengthwise -2)


Method

Cook the rice with 2 cups of water, fluff it and keep aside.

Add cranberries, 2 green chillies, 2 red chillies in a blender and run a couple of times just to chop it to a coarse mixture (do not puree). Add a couple of tablespoons of water when you grind.






In a pan, heat oil. Add the spices in the seasoning list and the remaining red and green chillies. When they are golden brown and when mustard seeds finish spluttering add the coarse cranberry mixture and saute.




Cranberries start to soften faster. Add turmeric powder, fenugreek-turmeric powder, salt and continue cooking it stirring often till the mixture cooks completely (one small indication is the oil that was initially added tends to ooze out). Switch off the flame.




Add the rice and mix thoroughly without mashing the rice.




Enjoy with a papad.



Notes

Whole cranberries can be used but measure appropriate quantity.

I used basmati rice. Please adjust water according to the type of rice used.

The chillies were spicy. Please adjust according to your spice levels. If wanted, a little chilli powder can be added.

Other nuts like cashews can also be added to enrich the flavor.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Kale Muruku




Happy Diwali to all of you folks!

Kale is a very nutririous leafy vegetable.




I used kale and made this interesting muruku which was a superhit instantly. I just changed a few ingredients for the traditional muruku and added kale - resulted in  yummy, crispy, crunchy muruku. All of us loved its taste. I am sharing this recipe today so you can make this yummy muruku for Diwali.




Ingredients

Rice flour - 1 cup
Roasted gram flour - 1/4 cup
Salt
Cumin - 1 tsp
Kale leaves - 1/2 cup, de-veined and chopped
Butter - 2 tbsp
Asafoetida - 1/8 tsp
Red chillies - 4
Water

Method

In a big bowl, add the dry ingredients. Blend kale leaves with red chillies and add to the dry ingredients. Make sure not to add too much water (just enough to make a smooth blend). Add this to the dry ingredients.





Add water little by little and make into a smooth pliable ball.



Take a small amount of the above and put inside the muruku press with star nozzle and gently squeeze one or two continuous concentric circles to form the muruku shape on a paper towel or a cloth. (I wanted to make small chaklis).




Heat oil in a pan. When it is hot enough, deep fry the squeezed muruku till golden brown on both sides, drain in paper towel.





Store in airtight container.



Notes

Sorry! Couldn't give a count of murukus, since we were constantly having those. :-)

I used star nozzle and made small concentric rounds. If you use a multi hole nozzle, you can straight away squeeze into hot oil and fry them.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Ma Ladoo / Pottukadalai urundai / Roasted Gram Ladoo




Maa ladoo (aka pottukadalai mavu urundai) is a very traditional sweet and very favorite of mine. My mom always makes this for me. This her recipe and I too enjoyed making and chomping these down with her. Nice memories! This post is my 100th one and wanted this to do a special recipe for the same. Maa ladoo, my favorite, my MOM's yummy recipe is the best to share here for the same reason. Also it is made with simple ingredients and takes less time to make. This is the easiest of all ladoos - a novice can also make it easily without going wrong. Please make sure to try this out for diwali and share with your family and friends.



Ingredients

Pottukadalai - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Cardamom - 4
Ghee - 3/4 cup
Cashews - 20, broken into tiny pieces

Method

Grind the roasted gram into flour in a blender and keep aside in a bowl. Next, powder the sugar and cardamom together and add to the bowl with gram flour. Mix thoroughly.




Heat ghee in a pan and fry the cashews till golden brown. Add it to the gram flour - sugar mixture. Mix well.






Take lemon sized portion of the mixture and make it into a ball with your hands. 




Continue making for the rest of the mixture. 



Store in airtight container.

That simple!
Enjoy!

Notes

Try to make the balls when it is warm. The warmth from the hot ghee is enough to make balls. The shelf life is up to 10 days but within a couple of days, mine gets empty.

These are very easy to make ahead and hence is easy to give in tamboolam during Navratri Golu.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Kambu Pesarattu / Pearl Millet and Whole Moong Crepe

Pesarattu is a popular breakfast in Andhra cuisine. It's like dosa but made with whole green moong. Crispier, tasty, nutririous and filling breakfast - who would say no to it. I have tried a variation of this pesarattu. It being the addition of millet - since there is no requirement of adding rice or any other cereal to it. Bajra or pearl millet is packed with proteins, fibers and minerals and hence added bajra. The end result - very yummy and crispy dosa or pesarattu. 




Ingredients

Pearl millet - 1 cup
Whole green gram - 1 cup
Ginger - 1 in, chopped
Cumin - 1 tsp
Green chilli - 1, optional
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Water

Method

Wash and soak the whole moong with pearl millet for 4 to 5 hours. Then drain the water and grind to a smooth batter with required amount of water. While grinding add chopped ginger, green chillies and cumin. The batter should be like kind of dosa - not too thick and not too thin.



Heat a griddle or dosa pan, pour a ladle of the batter and spread into a thin dosa. Spray or add a little oil. Once one side is completely cooked, flip and cook the other side for a minute. 



Then serve hot with coconut chutney or any other chutney of your choice.


Tips

Dont oversoak - pesarattu may not taste great.

If the batter is too thick, spreading into a dosa will not be easy. So while grinding make sure the batter is in correct pourable consistency.

Adjust salt and green chillies according to your taste.



Monday, April 18, 2016

Arisi Upma




Arisi upma is a very traditional tiffin in most brahmin homes. My mom makes yummy upma but I was not a big fan of that when I was young (though I eat it). But later I started missing it. This can be made in a jiffy if you have rice rava in hand. Else also just run in your blender and make rava. Some people add all the ingredients, take it to miller to be ground to rava texture and store it. My mom has a different way to make this upma - she sprinkes water and soaks the rava, then runs in blender couple of times to make uniform sized rava. Today I enjoyed making and eating this upma with her. Here is her simple recipe for the great yet simple and tasty upma. 


Ingredients

Raw rice - 1 and 1/2 cups
Toor dhal - 1 and 1/2 tbsp
Whole black pepper - 1tsp
Split yellow moong dhal - 1 tbsp
Red chilli - 2
Coconut - 2 tbsp, freshly grated
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Water - 2 and 1/2 cups plus 1/4 cup

Seasoning

Coconut oil - 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dhal - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaf - 2 sprigs

Method

In a bowl, take the rice and sprinkle 1/4 cup water. Let it soak for 30 mins or so. Run in the blender a couple if times to get uniform sized rava texture. Keep aside.




Run the toor dhal, black pepper, split moong dhal and red chilli in blender to a coarse texture, similar to the rice rava.



Heat oil in a pan. Add the seasonings and when the spluttering is all done, add the water. When it boils add the coconut and the dhal mixture.







Mix well and add the rice rava. Stir continuously to avoid lumps.



Add salt and stir till all the water is absorbed. Lower the flame and cover and cook for another 5 to 10 min, till the rice is completely cooked and the upma comes out without sticking.



It should be fluffy and flaky. All done. Serve with chutney, sambhar, gothsu or pickle.




Tips

This upma can be made with any oil. Using coconut oil gives a unusual and unique flavor different from other upmas.

Coconut is optional.

Yellow split moong dhal addition gives a unique flavor but it is optional.

Alternatively, to make this rava, all the ingredients can be mixed and rava can be made in a mill.