Thengai [ Coconut] Thogayal

Ingredients:

Grated Coconut – 1 cup
Red Chillies – 2 [depending on spice levels]
Salt – To taste
Tamarind – A small piece
Urad Dal – 1 1/2 tablespoons
Mustard – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 2 tsp

Method:

Heat oil in a pan. Add urad dal + red chillies and fry well till the urad dal turns golden brown. Drain & keep aside.Allow to cool.
In the left over oil add mustard and switch off the stove when it splutters.
Add grated coconut , salt, tamarind, salt along with the fried dal and chillies and grind to a smooth paste in a mixer, adding little water. The consistency should be semi – solid.
Add mustard as seasoning.
Thengai Thogayal can be mixed with plain rice or had as a side dish too.

Tips

Coconut is the main ingredient of this thogayal. Hence the tamarind or chilly flavors should not be over powering.
A little bit of the fried urad dal [ about 1/2 tsp] can be retained and used along with the mustard as seasoning.
A pinch of asafoetida may also be added while grinding to give that extra flavor.

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Fillings for Sandwiches

Sweet fillings:

For sweet sandwiches the normal everyday fillings include butter, jam and marmalade [ all flavors]
You could try adding dry fruits like chopped dates, walnuts, grated badam and kismis to the sweet sandwiches to add nutritional value.
Honey makes a wonderful sandwich spread for those who want to cut out on sugar and would like to experiment.
For those of you who like fruits you can also try placing soft fruits like thinly sliced kiwi, lichis and strawberries after coating the slices with honey.
Run out of jam and your kid insists on having sandwiches? Your saviour could be Milkmaid. Just apply a good coating of milkmaid on to the slices and watch them being devoured.

Savory Filling

Sliced vegetables like tomato, cucumber, onion and grated carrot make for great sandwich fillings. Coat two slices of bread with butter, place a slice of cheese on one and cover with vegetables. Sprinkle with pepper powder and cover with the second slice.your veggie sandwich is ready to be consumed. Add salt if required only, since the cheese slice would have a good amount of salt.

Mayonnaise, mustard and cheese are other ingredients that are commonly used as sandwich spreads.

Indian Chutneys are a hot favorite as sandwich fillings. Spicy chutneys can serve as a good base to make the sandwiches flavorful and tasty.

Mint Chutney
Mint + green chillies + salt + lime juice ground together as a thick paste makes an excellent base.
Mint can be substituted with Coriander too.

Tomato Chutney:
Fry finely chopped onions till they are translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and a little bit of saunf and saute for a while. A garlic pod is optional and can be added to get he extra flavour.Add salt and chilli powder as per requirement. Cool and grind together into a fine paste without adding water and your filling is ready.

Potato Filling:
Boil and mash potatoes. Chop onions finely and fry till translucent. Add mashed potatoes, salt, garam masala powder and chilli powder and mix well. Garnish with finely chopped coriander. Take a slice of bread and coat it thinly with butter. Spread the potato mash on this and place the second slice covering this. Gently press and toast it. Or place on a hot tawa, add a blob of butter and turn it carefully around on low flame till becomes golden brown. Slice into pieces and serve hot with tomato sauce.

Onion fry:
Slice onions thinly lengthwise. Chop garlic finely. Heat oil add onion + garlic + salt + chilli powder and fry in low flame till the onions become golden brown and shrink in quantity. Need to ensure that the onions do not burn. Lightly butter bread slices and place this filling in between to get real spicy and differently tasting sandwiches.

Quick Fix filling:
Unacceptable as it may sound pickles at home make great fillers when you run short of regular spreads. Toast bread slices,coat them with a thin layer of butter and spread a nice layer of any pickle [ that is smooth without too many chunky pieces to it] on two slices. Press them together, dip in tomato sauce and bite into one of the yummiest sandwiches you have ever made.

Tips for Presentation:
Always coat the slices with a thin layer of butter and then spread your filling. This prevents the sandwiches from turning too soggy.
Always butter the sandwiches till the edges.
Always trim the crusts after the filling is done and before you cut it into required portions, squares or triangles.
Always ensure that the finished sandwiches are wrapped well to keep them fresh & prevent them from drying and crumbling.

Raw Mango Chutney

Ingredients:

Raw Mango – 1 cup grated
Green Chillies – 3
Grated Coconut – 1/2 cup
Ginger – a small piece
Mustard – 1 tsp
Urad Dal – 1/2 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Salt – as per taste
Curry leaves – a few
Roasted Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp optional

Method:

Add grated mango, coconut, green chillies, salt and ginger and grind to a smooth paste.
Heat oil and add mustard. When it splutters add Urad dal and wait till turns brown.
Switch off the stove and add curry leaves.
Pour this over the chutney. Mix and serve.
Those who like the taste of roasted cumin powder may add it while grinding to a paste.

Tips:
Grated coconut can be replaced with onions and garlic to give a different taste.
Fry a few small onions in oil along with a few pods of garlic in a pan. Grind with rest of the ingredients as mentioned above.
Number of chillies to be added will vary according to your spice levels.

By: Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

Quick Fix Chutneys – Spicy Besan Chutney

Generally the term Chutney conjures up images of something ground to a paste to be served as a side dish or accompaniment to some main dish. This dish made of besan is extremely easy to make especially when you are loaded with guests without notice. Serves as a fantastic side dish for both Pooris and Chapatthis.

Ingredients:

Besan – 1 cup
Water – 3 cups
Onion – 1 small, finely chopped
Tomato – 1 small, finely chopped
Green chillies – 4 Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Mustard – 1 tsp
Urad Dal – 1 tsp
Chilli Powder – ½ tsp
Finely Chopped Ginger – 1 tlbsp
Oil – 2 tlbsp
Curry Leaves
Salt to taste
Half a lime

Method:

 In a pan heat oil and add Mustard seeds. When it splutters add urad dal & green chillies.Saute till the dal is brown.
 Add Onions & turmeric powder and fry till translucent.
 Add chopped tomatoes and sauté for a couple of minutes.
 Mix besan with water to form a smooth batter.
 Add the batter to the tomato + onion mix and mix with a ladle in low flame.
 Add Chilli powder and salt to taste. Stir continuously till it cooks well and the raw smell of besan disappears. Add some water if required.
 The batter with soon turn into a thick paste. Consistency should be like chutney where it can be scooped and placed on a plate.
 Remove from stove. Add lime juice and mix.
 Garnish with curry or coriander leaves.
 Serve it with hot pooris

Tips:
Depending the spice content in the green chillies you can add or reduce the quantity of Chilli powder. But ensure that it is spicy overall
The same with Lime juice. Add according to your taste

By Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

Rava Idly

Ingredients

Rava – I cup

Thick Curds – 2 ½ cups

Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp

Channa Dal –  ½ tsp

Green Chillies – 2

Chopped Cashew – 1 tlbsp

Fruit Salt – 1 tsp

Salt

Curry Leaves

Oil

 Variation [Optional]

Finely chopped onions – 1 small

Grated Carrot – 2 tlbsp heaped

Finely chopped tomato – 1 tbsp

Finely chopped ginger – 1tsp

Fry onions till golden brown. Add the rest of the ingredients and sauté for a minute. Add to batter and mix well.

Method

Pour 2tlbsp oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. When it splutters add Channa Dal and green chilies.

When Channa dal is golden brown add Rava and fry in low flame till well roasted. Switch off stove and cool.

Add half the curds and salt and mix well. Let is rest for 10 minutes.

Add rest of the curds and the vegetable mix [Given above as ;Variation’. This is optional] to the batter and mix well. Add fruit salt and mix. Check for salt.

Grease Idly plates and pour the batter and steam for 5 to 7 mins or till it is done.

Serve hot with chutney of your choice.

Tanjavur Mess, West Mambalam, Chennai, India – Review by Archana Srinivasan

Although a very famous eatout situated at a very good place in West-mambalam, we had quite a bit of a difficulty finding it out. Its quite close to the Mambalam Railway station and is put up at Subbu street (Subba Rao Street), off Lake view road. Only when we were quite close to the place, we stopped to take directions and everyone in that area knew about it.

My husband enlightens me a bit about west mambalam being one of the hot-spots for mansions hosting a lot of bachelors. I found the same crowd in the mess when I entered. No family crowd at all.

There were only benches and stools laid out with the quintessential banana leaf or vazha elai. I feel this is the best way to serve customers in hotel. One neednt waste water to clean plates or waste electricity to sterilize spoons. Only leaves have to be chopped off the banana tree and is biodegradable too. Ambiance was also typical like a mess, where you sit, eat and get going.

We did not want a heavy breakfast, so ordered 2 idlys + 1 vadai each. Items are served by hand, which I found quite normal in such places. One just has to ignore such trivialities in life. Immediately we were served with the items together with unlimited chutney (coconut & tomato-onion) and hot sambar. It was pure yumminess. They keep refilling the chutney and sambar till you finish. Still not satiated, we ordered 1 saadha dosa and 1 kal-dosa. Both were really good, again served with unlimited sambar n chutney.

We returned home with our stomachs full & smiling and wallet happy (cos the same items at HSB would have costed us double the bill). And we are definitely going to come back with better planning for a heavy breakfast may be on a sunday and skip lunch that day