Orange Pulav

A very different and tasty rice preparation that is quick to make and attractive to serve

Ingredients:

Basmathi Rice – 2 cups
Orange Juice [ freshly squeezed ] – 2 cups
Onions – 2 big thinly sliced
Green Chillies – 5 or 6
Peas – 1/4 cup
Ghee – 4 tlbs
Cashewnuts – About 15 whole ones
Cardamom – 1
Cinnamon – 1 piece
Cloves – 2
Water 1 1/2 cups
Salt to taste
Kissmiss – 20 [ optional]

Method:

Wash the rice and add the orange juice + water and soak for about an hour.
Add the cinnamon + cloves + cardamom + peas + salt to the soaked rice and pressure cook till cooked.Since the rice has already soaked for a while take care not to over cook.
In a pan add a little ghee and fry the cashews & Kissmiss and set aside.
Add the rest of the ghee and fry the thinly sliced onions along with the green chillies slit into two. When the onions turn golden brown add this to the rice and mix well. Garnish with the fried cashew & kissmiss.

Tips:
Tinned orange juice may not work well since it will be sweetened.So better to use fresh juice
Since the rice may not be too spicy you can serve it with a curry that is spicy
For a very beautiful presentation you can place a few Orange Slices on the finished rice

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Olan – A Kerala Delicacy

Olan is a much sought after keralite dish that is part of any festive occasion,function or wedding. Except for the strong flavor of coconut oil it does not boast of any distinct or tangy flavors yet its fame has spread far and wide and the dish is part of most Hindu weddings in Tamil Nadu as well now a days. The dried Karamani or Black eyed Peas that is added here is an excellent source of protein making this an extremely healthy dish to eat.

Easy to make and wonderfully delicious to eat!

Ingredients:
White Pumpkin [Poosanikkai] – 1 cup
Yellow Pumpkin [Maththan] – 1 cup
Green Chillies – 4
Salt – To taste
Black eyed Peas [Dried Karamani] – 1/4 cup
Coconut Oil – 2 Tlbs
Coconut Milk – 1/2 cup Optional
Green Karamani- 1/4 cup Optional
Curry Leaves
Method:
Soak the Black eyed peas overnight. In the morning pressure cook it and keep aside.
Peel skin and cut both pumkins into 3 to 4cm cubes of about 1/2cm thickness.
Wash green chillies and make a slit in each.
If using green Karamani wash and cut them into 1 inch long pieces.
In a pan cook the pumpkin + slit chillies + green karamani + salt with enough water till the vegetables are tender.
While it is cooking take a cup of grated coconut and churn it in the mixie with a little bit of water and extract thick coconut milk.
Once the vegetables are soft add the pressure cooked black eyed peas + the coconut milk and cook on very low heat till it is absorbed a bit.
Switch off the heat add coconut oil + curry leaves. Mix well, check on salt and serve.

Tips:
Since pumpkin on its own has water content do not pour too much water to cook the vegetable.
Do not over [ pressure] cook the dried karamani or they will get smashed while mixing
While coconut oil is a must coconut milk is optional.
Always pour the raw coconut oil after you remove the dish from the heat for better flavor.

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.

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

Mambhaza Pulissery

When mangoes are in season they are not spared and are eaten in many forms. Some varieties of mango although sweet are more sour to be consumed directly. These can be used in preparations like Pulissery which is a keralite’s version of the better known Mor Kozhambu. The aroma that arises while preparing this dish is so yummy that your salivary glands tend to over work. The dish has a sweet – sour taste that is amazing and goes well when mixed with plain rice.

Ingredients:

Fully ripe mangoes – 2
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Green Chillies – 2 or 3 [ depends on the spice levels]
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp [optional]
Curd – 1 1/2 cups
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup
Salt – to taste

For Seasoning:
Coconut oil – 1 Tblsp
Mustard – 1 tsp
Red Chillies – 2
Fenugreek seeds – a few
Curry Leaves – a few

Method:
Peel the shin and cut mangoes into chunks.
If the mangoes are over ripe squeeze the pulp out of the skin too.
Add water in a pan and boil the mango pieces along with turmeric powder.
Grind together grated coconut, green chillies, cumin and coriander seeds to a fine paste.
When the mangoes are tender add the ground paste and let it boil for a few minutes.
Churn the curd into thick buttermilk.
Lower the flame and add the buttermilk along with required salt .
Do not let the mixture boil because it will separate. Just let it absorb a bit of heat and switch off the stove immediately.
Heat the oil and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add the red chillies [ split into two] along with fenugreek seeds & curry leaves and switch off the stove.
Pour over the prepared pulissery.

Tips:
Over ripe mangoes can also be used to prepare pulissery.
Ensure that you squeeze all the juice and pulp out since the sweet juice will only add to the taste.
While seasoning take care to add very little of fenugreek because too much of it will make the dish bitter.
Adding coconut oil for seasoning gives an added flavour to the dish

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

Raw or Ripe – Mangoes Rock!!!

Summer season spells Mangoes – King of Fruits. India is said to be home to close to 1000 varieties of mango but only a specific few are grown for commercial purposes. Mangoes come in various asahpes, sizes, colors, taste and aroma. India exports close to Rs.160 Crore of mangoes world wide and Andhra Pradesh ranks first among the Indian states for its produce. Some of the varieties specific to certain regions are given below – courtesy APEDA

Andhra Pradesh – Banganapalli, Suvarnarekha, Neelum and Totapuri
Bihar – Bombay Green, Chausa, Dashehari, Fazli, Gulabkhas, Kishen Bhog, Himsagar, Zardalu and Langra
Gujarat – Kesar, Alphonso, Rajapuri, Jamadar, Totapuri, Neelum, Dashehari and Langra
Haryana – Chausa, Dashehari, Langra and Fazli
Himachal Pradesh – Chausa, Dashehari and Langra
Karnataka – Alphonso, Totapuri, Banganapalli, Pairi, Neelum and Mulgoa
Madhya Pradesh – Alphonso, Bombay Green, Dashehari, Fazli, Langra and Neelum
Maharashtra – Alphonso, Kesar and Pairi
Punjab – Chausa, Dashehari and Malda
Rajasthan – Bombay Green, Chausa, Dashehari and Langra
Tamil Nadu -Alphonso, Totapuri, Banganapalli and Neelum
Uttar Pradesh -Bombay Green, Chausa, Dashehari and Langra
West Bengal – Fazli, Gulabkhas, Himsagar, Kishenbhog, Langra and Bombay Green

Raw mangoes are the first to hit the market and are put to a wide variety of culinary uses.

Pickles are hot favorites. The tiny [ marble sized ones] ones are in great demand in the Southern states especially TamilNadu where they are consumed in huge numbers as a pickle called ‘Kadugu Mangai ‘ or ‘ Vadu Maangai’. Here mustard is ground and mixed with salt and chilli powder and the tiny raw mangoes are left to soak in this liquid for weeks together till thery shrink in size.
Slightly bigger ones called the ‘Kili Mooku Mangai’ [ perhaps named so since they resemble the parrot’s beak] are sliced and made into a pickle marinated in salt, chilli powder, asafoetida & oil.
Raw Mangoes of a different variety, distinct for their extremely sour taste, are chopped into chunks and made into a pickle called ‘ Aavakkai’ that is very popular in Tamil Nadu & Andhra Pradesh, especially for their high spice- levels.
Fhodd is another pickle made of raw mangoes and preserved in brine solution to which dried red chillies are added.
Miscut is a famous pickle from Goa. And so is another variety called Choonda.
Raw mangoes are used to make a refreshing and extremely popular drink called Aam Panna.
Raw mangoes can be grated and used to garnish or added to salads as an ingredient.
Down South grated mango is a ‘must-have’ ingredient while making varieties of ‘Sundal’.
Dried raw mango powder is used as Amchur Powder to add flavor to dishes.
Raw Mangoes can be used in making chutneys along with green chillies.
Raw mango pulp can be used in making rice varieties when combined with onions, chillies and ginger to delight the palate.
Raw Mangoes can also be used to make spicy, sweet & sour side jam using jaggery, that can used as accompaniment for both rice and wheat preparations[ like puri and rotis]

Raw or ripe, cooked or uncooked, flavored or plain Mangoes are a hot favorite with people of all ages!