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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Elai Adai

Elai Adai is a delicious sweet dish exclusive to Kerala that is made out of Jackfruit Jam, Coconut, Rice Flour and Jaggery. The preparation is unique in that it is a two – layer steamed dish that has the banana leaf as the base. A bit elaborate to make, it is worth every bit of the effort and once made gets devoured in no time.

The most important ingredient is the jackfruit jam. Since jack fruit is not available through out the year the jam can be made and preserved during the season time so that it can be used any time of the year. However many shops now sell ready made jam which can be bought and used. The taste of the dish is further enhanced by the aroma of the banana leaf on which is it placed and steamed.

In olden days [ and even now in some homes in Kerala] the preparation of the jam by itself is a huge ritual. A whole jack fruit is sometimes used in the making of the jam in hugely populated households. The jam is so tasty it can eaten plain too. In fact the jam is used in the preparation of another delicacy ‘ Chakka Payasam ‘ or Chakka Pradaman’ [ refer earlier posts]. Will comne up with a separate post on preparing the jam.

Ingredients:

Jack fruit jam – 1 cup
Grated jaggery – 3/4 cup
Grated Coconut – 2 cups
Raw rice – 3/4 cup
Boiled Rice – 1 cup
Gingely Oil – 1 tlbsp
Salt – Pinch

Base :
Banana Leaves – One per piece of adai. Cut them into squares depending on the size of your steamer.

Method:

For the filling:
Melt jaggery with little water and strain.
In a heavy bottomed pan pour melted jaggery and add the jack fruit jam.
Stir well so that the jam mixes well to a paste like consistency without any lumps.
Added grated coconut and mix well till it again reaches a jam – like consistency and all the moisture is gone.

For the paste:
Soak rice up to 8 hours and grind to a smooth paste.
Add salt and gingely oil and mix well.
The paste should be very thick – of spreading consistency.

Raw banana leaves are bound to tear and have to be seasoned in order to be used here. Hold each piece of leave over the flame in the stove and flip each side over for a minute. Alternatively you can steam the leaves too for a few minutes.

When all the above three components are ready:

Take a banana leaf and spread a thin layer pf rice flour over it. Cover only 3/4 th of the leaf.
Now spread the jam over the rice flour mix again ensuring that you stop just before the edges [ of the rice flour paste in this case]
Fold the leaf into half quickly and fold the edges to seal them.
Place in a steamer and steam on medium flame for about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the number of pieces placed in the steamer.
You will know it is done once the adai comes off the leaf.
The adai can be had straight from the leaf or gently removed and placed on a plate.

Tips:
The adai can be made in a round or square shape as per your comfort levels.
The banana leaf has to be carefully handled once the filling is done while transferring it to the steamer.
Last heard that even stores in the US stock frozen banana leaves that can be used for Elai Adai.

Paanagam or Paanakam – A traditional Health Drink

Paanagam in Sanskrit means Sweet Drink. It is offered as ‘neivedhyam’ or ‘prasaad’ to Lord Rama on his birthday – Raama Navami, that is celebrated on the 9th day [ Navami ] of the Chaithra Month of the hindus.
It can be made very quickly in easy steps [ just add & stir] and devoured even more quickly [ sip,sip,sip…]. Paanagam has great health benefits and tastes divine. Jaggery is rich in mineral salts and iron which help in strengthening the nervous system and preventing anemia.
Dried ginger powder or sukku as it is known in Tamil Nadu aids in digestion and its intake benefits people of all ages.

On the whole a very soothing and refreshing drink for summer.

Ingredients:

Jaggery – 1/2 Cup grated
Dried Ginger Powder – 1/2 tsp
Cardamon – 1/4 tsp
Salt – a Pinch
Lime – 1/2
Pachai Karpooram/ edible camphor. – a small pinch
Water – 3 cups

Method :
Add jaggery to water with rest of the ingredients.
Squeeze in the Lime.
Stir continuously till jaggery dissolves completely.
Strain and serve chill.

Tips:
Adjust quantity of lime and jaggery to suit your taste buds, depending on how sweet you want it to be.
If you feel the jaggery is not clean enough, you can mix it with water bring it to a boil, strain and mix rest of the ingredients after cooling.

Potato Bhaaji

This potato bhaaji is extremely flavorful yet quick to make. Makes an ideal side dish for Pooris.The amount of seasoning you add will depend on the quantity of potatoes needed and the spice levels that you require.

Method:
Boil and cube potatoes .
Heat oil in a thick bottom pan and temper with mustard seeds , asafoetida , dried red chillies , curry leaves ,turmeric powder .
Add the potato cubes and keep turning over to coat all cubes with the seasoning.
Add some ginger paste , a touch of red chilli powder and salt to taste.
Serve warm, garnished with freshly grated coconut and finely chopped fresh coriander.

By: Mrs. Shubha Nafrey; http://facebook.com/shubha.nafrey

Quick Cucumber salad

Healthy and delicious this simple salad can be had as a snack or as an accompaniment with a lunch or dinner menu.

Method:
Grate cucumbers
Add coarsely ground roasted peanuts , finely chopped coriander leaves,and some green chillies (if you like)
Add the following to taste : lemon juice, roasted cumin powder, salt and a pinch of sugar
Heat about a tablespoon of oil, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter
Turn off the stove and add curry leaves and pieces of red chilli and a sprinkle of asafoetida
Pour over the cucumber mixture
To be served at room temperature

By: Mrs. Shubha Nafrey; http://facebook.com/shubha.nafrey

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

Mixed Vegetable Pickle

Ingredients:

Chopped vegetables – 4 cups
This can include Cauliflower, Carrot, Peas, Bitter Gourd, Lime, Capsicum, Raw Mango, Beet root, Beans & Lime.
Small onions – 10 nos optional.
Garlic – 10 pods
Ginger – 50 gms
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
Powdered Fenugreek – 2 tsp
Chili Powder – as per spice requirement
Sesame Oil – 1 cup
Lime juice – 4 big lemons
Asafeoetida – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste

Method:

Wash all vegetables thoroughly and pat them dry. Dry it under the fan for a while to get rid of moisture if any.
Cut into small cubes. Carrots and beetroot can be gated too.
Heat oil in pan and add Mustard. When it splutters add the small onions, ginger and garlic.
Fry for a while and add Asafoetida.
Add rest of the vegetables and all other ingredients and fry in low flame for a couple of minutes to remove moisture completely.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Add lime juice after it has cooled down and mix well.
Transfer to a dry jar and store inside the refrigerator.

Tips:
If you add plenty of Raw Mango you can reduce quantity of lime juice.
Ensure there is sufficient oil to cover the pickle. This helps preserve it longer.
Vegetables should be totally dry before using them.