Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sesame Laddu/Ellurundai

This is a very simple and quick recipe. Only 2 ingredients and 3 steps, thats it! I am trying this for the first time, so tried in a very limited quantity.  Now got the confidence and planning to make it in large quantity, even with variations. :)

Black sesame seeds-1/4cup

Dry roast the sesame seeds on low heat, until you get a nice aroma, let it cool completely.
Take the sesame seeds in a mixer, grind it to a coarse powder.
[Please excuse the BG..thats my furry baby waiting for the laddu's! ha..haa! ;)]

Add the powdered jaggery and pulse it again a few times.
Transfer it to a bowl..
Make into desired sized laddus.
Thats it, tasty and healthy sesame laddoos are ready! I got 3 of them as in the pictures. :)
You can make the variations such as half of white sesame seeds and half of black sesame seeds. You can add roasted peanuts, desiccated coconut, roasted gram, elaichi powder to enhance the flavor. For much healthier options, you can add some flax seeds or chia seeds with the sesame seeds. I shall try out these options and update it in the future! :)
I tried the sesame laddus with both black and white sesame seeds, peanuts and some chia seeds. You can check the detailed recipe here. Its in tamil, but I hope you can follow the recipe from the pictorial. 
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Capsicum Chutney

Chopped Capsicum-1/2cup [I have used yellow and orange capsicums]
Chopped Onion-3tablespoons
Red chilly - 3 or 4
Urad dal-2teaspoons
Tiny piece of tamarind

Heat oil in a pan, add the urad dal and fry until it turns golden in color.
Add the chopped onion and red chillies. When onion turns transparent, add the chopped capsicum and tomato and tamarind. 
Cook until the tomatoes become soft. Let the content cool completely. 
Add enough salt and grind it to a fine paste(no need to add water).
Tangy and flavorful chutney is ready. You can make the tempering with mustard, curry leaves and urad dal if you want, obviously I didn't do! :) 
..a quick and healthy dinner! 
 Capsicum Chutney with Wheat flour & Oats Dosa
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Avocado Sandwich

Whole wheat bread-2 slices
Avocado-1/2 of a ripen avocado
Cucumber slices-few
Tomato slices-few
Onion slices-few
Pickled Jalapeno pepper slices-few
Chopped cilantro-1teaspoon
Chipotle sauce
Salt & Pepper

Take a bread slices and arrange all the veggies and jalapeño..
Sprinkle salt-pepper-cilantro-and chipotle sauce. Cover it with another slice of bread, cut it diagonally.
Yummy and healthy sandwich is ready..its spicy with the chipotle and jalapeños. So adjust them according to your taste. Don't skip the cilantro, which enhances the taste of the sandwich. 
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fresh Black NightShade & Tamarind Gravy/ Manathakkaali kai Pulikuzhambu

Fresh Black Nightshades -1/4cup
Tamarind Juice(thick)-1/4cup
Vathakuzhambu masala powder-1tablespoon[I have used "Sakthi masala Vatha kuzhambu powder". Can be replaced by Chilly and Coriander powders.]
Jaggery-a tiny piece
Gingelly oil-1tablespoon
Grated Coconut-2tablespoons
Mustard seeds-1/2teaspoon
Shallots -8 (or) Red onion-1
Green chilly-1
Turmeric powder-1/8teaspoon
Few curry leaves
Black Nightshade Plant/Manathakkali chedi which is fondly called as "Sukkutti Chedi" in Coimbatore area is a common plant back home.  We get these greens in big bunches from local markets/street vendors. The leaves, fruit, unripe fruit of this plant are edible and have great medicinal properties. 

But here in US, its difficult to find this plant(at least, I thought so! ;)).  Long back, I spotted a plant during our local hike and plucked a few fruits with the hope that I can grow a plant in my patio garden.  But first time was no charm. Next time I saw the plant growing in a friend's house, whenever I go to her house,  used to bring a few fruits and sow them in the pots. But, that also didn't work.  After a long time, all of a sudden one tiny plant started growing in one of the pots. I got a strong doubt and took care of the seedling, to my surprise, its a Black Nightshade plant! :))) 

I was on cloud 9 and eagerly waiting for the fruit. The plant gave me lot of fruits and one fine day I decided to pluck all the unripe fruits and made this lip smacking pulikuzhambu/vatha kuzhambu.
Wash the black nightshade veggie well and keep it aside.
Grind the coconut with little water to a fine paste. 
Heat gingelly oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. 
Add the chopped onion, green chilly...fry till the onions become transparent. 
Now add the washed black nightshade veggie and fry till they shrink. (say 2-3 minutes on medium heat)
Add the chopped tomato, turmeric powder, enough salt and cook until the tomatoes become soft and mushy.
Add the tamarind juice and let it boil nicely.
Now add the coconut paste, vatha kuzhambu powder and adjust the water according to the desired consistency of the kuzhambu.
Reduce the heat to medium low and let the gravy thicken for 5-6 minutes or until the desired consistency is reached and the oil oozes out from the kuzhambu.
Now add the jaggery and curry leaves, put off the flame.
Tangy and slightly bitter, delicious and healthy manathakkali kai kuzhambu is ready.
This kuzhambu is a perfect pair for white rice, idli and dosa. Personally we prefer to have it with wheat dosa or normal dosa! :)
It will be difficult to get this fresh veggie even back in India! If you have a big Manathakkali plant(s) at home then you can think of this kuzhambu. But the dry vathals are always handy and you can keep the vathal in the freezer for long time. Before having the plant in my garden, I use to prepare the same kuzhambu, with dry Black Nightshades. 
Manathakkali Vatha Kuzhambu

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sweet Kozhukkattai/Inippu Kozhukkattai

There are lot of versions of sweet stuffings for kozhukkattai. For this year's Chathurthi, I prepared moong dal stuffing. Usually in our households fresh rice batter is mandatory for kozhukkattai, which makes the soft and tasty kozhukkattai.

Boiled rice/Idli rice - 1/2cup
Salt- 1/4teaspoon
Moong dal-1/4cup [I have used split moong dal with skin]
Jaggery- 1/4 cup [adjust]
Grated Coconut-2tablespoons
Oil-2 teaspoons

Wash and soak the rice for 2-3 hours.
Grind the rice with one tablespoon of coconut and little water to a coarse batter.
Heat oil in a wide pan, (keep the flame very low) and add the rice batter to the pan and mix.
After a few minutes the batter will come together, without sticking to the pan. Take it out, cover it and let it cool.
Pressure cook the moong dal for just a whistle. Open the cooker after the pressure subsides, drain the excess water and keep it aside.
Melt the jaggery with little water, drain for any impurities.
Then add the cooked dal and coconut to the jaggery.
Cook till the stuffing becomes little thick, add the elaichi powder and put off the stove.
Apply little oil/ghee on your hands, and knead the rice dough in a smooth dough, make small balls out of it. 
Flatten each ball, keep a teaspoon of stuffing in the center and make the desire shape. 
Steam the kozhukkattai's in a steamer for 7 to 8 minutes.
Soft and delicious kozhukkattais are ready. Offer them to Lord Ganesha and enjoy it! :)
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Meal Maker&Vegetable Kuruma/Soya Chunks Veggie korma

I saw the recipe in "Aval vikatan" magazine sometime back, modified here and there to suit our taste buds.
Soya chunks-1/4cup 
Mixed vegetables-1/2cup [I have used carrots,beans and potato]
Green chilly-1
Turmeric powder-1/4teaspoon
Cilantro to garnish 
For masala powder
Coriander seeds-2teaspoons
Cumin seeds-1teaspoon
Red chilly-3
Fennel seeds-1/2teaspoon
Cinnamon stick
Whole pepper corns-5
Small piece of ginger 

Dry roast the items till you get a nice aroma, let it cool and grind it into coarse powder.

Bring a cup of water to rolling boil, add the choya chunks, cook for couple of minutes and put off the flame. Let it sit for 5 more minutes, then wash the soya chunks with cold water, squeeze out the water nicely.
Combine the soya chunks, vegetables, curd, masala powder and salt in a bowl. Mix well and let it soak for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan, make the tempering with mustard seeds. Then add the chopped onion, green chilly and fry till the onions become transparent.

Add the tomatoes and cook until they become soft. Then add the marinated veggies and soya, cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add water according to your desired consistency of the kurma and let it boil nicely. I added about 11/4 cups of water.
After 5-6 minutes, reduce the heat to low, cook until the oil separates from the korma, garnish with cilantro and serve as a side dish for roti/idli & dosa.
You can use only soya chunks to make this kurma. As I had very little soya in hand, I added veggies.
You can avoid the tomato if the curd is sour.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Low fat Whole-wheat Banana-berry&Walnut Cake

This is the low fat and healthy version of the regular Banana-Walnut cake. I have used only egg whites, whole wheat flour, less sugar. Try it and you will definitely like it! :)
Whole wheat flour/Aata -11/4cup
Baking soda-1/2teaspoon
Cinnamon powder-1/2teaspoon
Vanilla extract-1/2teaspoon
Banana puree-1cup
Chopped walnut-1/2cup
Dried cranberries-2 tablespoons
Softened Butter-4tablespoons(can replace it with canola oil)
Fat free milk-1/4cup
Egg whites from 2 large eggs
Note: Separate the eggs immediately after taking them from the fridge and then bring it to room temperature. Its easy that way.

Pre heat the oven to 350F.
Sift together the whole wheat flour-baking soda-salt-cinnamon powder and keep it aside.
Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg whites with vanilla extract, mix it.
Mash the bananas with the fork and keep it ready.
Add the dry ingredients with wet ingredients. Fold it gently.
Now add the chopped walnuts-banana puree and fold it.
Finally add in the dried cranberries and fat free milk, mix everything.
Pour the cake mix in a greased loaf pan and bake it for about 50 minutes. 
Open the oven, cover the pan loosely with an aluminum foil and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes(or) the till the cake is done.
Remove the cake pan and let it cool for half an hour. Run a knife on the edges of the pan carefully and remove the cake, let it cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. 
Slice the cake and enjoy! It tastes better the next day! 

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Quinoa Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Last week I saw some Poblano peppers in the local farmers market and picked a couple of them. Had a brief discussion with the Mexican lady who was selling the peppers, and came to know that these peppers are so good for stuffing. 
Searched the internet for some mexican stuffed pepper recipe and landed here.  Usually I don't store cheese at home, so adjusted the recipe according to the ingredients I had, to our Indian taste buds of course! :) Ended up with this healthy and interesting meal.

Poblano peppers -2
Green chilly-1
Garlic cloves-2
Cumin seeds-1/2teaspoon 
Chopped bell peppers-1/2cup
Scallion/Spring onion-3
Lemon juice from half of a lemon 
Desiccated coconut-1tablespoon
Coriander powder-1/2teaspoon
Garam masala powder-1/2teaspoon
Olive oil-1tablespoon
To grind
Red chillies-2
Garlic cloves-2

Cook 1/2cup quinoa with 1 cup of water. Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium, close the pan and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. By now quinoa would have absorbed all the water and would have become soft and fluffy.

Chop the 1/2cup bell pepper(s), 1onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 3 green chillies and keep it ready.

Grind 2 tomatoes, 2 red chiles, 2 cloves of garlic with enough salt. 

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil, add 1/2teaspoon of cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add garlic, green chillies, onion, enough salt (for the veggies and quinoa) and fry for 2 minutes. Now add the chopped bell peppers, 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala powder, stir everything well and cook for 2-3 minutes. 

Reduce the heat to low, mix the quinoa, chopped coriander leaves. Once the mixture cools a bit, add  3 chopped scallions and juice form half of the lemon. 

Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350F. Pour the tomato puree in a greased baking dish. Cut chiles half lengthwise, remove the stem and seeds. Fill them with the quinoa and place them on the baking dish. Cover it with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. 

Carefully take the baking dish out, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of desiccated coconut on the chiles, and some more cilantro. 
Increase the oven temperature to 375F, and bake the chiles uncovered for about 10 to 15 minutes. 

Delicious, and spicy stuffed poblano peppers are ready to serve. Keep the chilies on the serving plate, pour the tomato puree on them and enjoy! 
Step by Step Pictorial 

We had some left over quinoa stuffing, which was just tasted like quinoa upma.  So, along with that uppuma , Hubby dear sprinkled some chia seeds on the peppers, had it with some blue berries, tomato slices and lemon wedge! 
Colorful and healthy meal! :)
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Monday, September 2, 2013

Coconut Chutney/Thenga Thogayal

Fresh Coconut - 1/4cup
Urad dal-1tablespoon
Red chilly-3
Tamarind - a tiny piece
To temper
Mustard seeds-1/2teaspoon
Urad dal-1/2teaspoon
Few curry leaves
Heat oil in a pan, add the hing and urad dal. Fry till the dal becomes nice golden color.
Add the red chillies, tamarind and fry for 30 seconds.
 Add the coconut, and keep roasting. Let the coconut becomes dry and slight brown.(take care not to burn anything)
Let it cool..grind it with little water to a thick paste.
Heat some oil in a tempering pan, make the tempering, pour it over the thogayal.
Delicious thenga thogayal is ready. You can serve this as a side dish for rice varieties, roti, idli or dosai.  It has a longer shell life than the regular coconut chutney. You can take this to trips or keep it for 1 or 2 days. Always use dry spoon to serve.
Thenga thogayal-Ven Pongal-Sambar
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