Lloyds Tea House, Chennai, India

The next time I am out on a CFG Showcase I am ensuring to pop in at least two pills of H2 receptor inhibitors. Else I am sure to die of breaks in the tissue linings of my stomach.  The delay in serving was understandable, though.

 

The sound of Lloyd’s Tea House gave me an impression that the entire place is gonna be filled with Tea leaves from diversities and to match my belief, it did.

For those of us who are immune to the taste of Indian tea, there wouldn’t be many takers for the kind of range they sell. I got to taste two types of teas and both were out of the world. Forgot their names, dammmit.

 

It all began with a nice shoot around the place. The ambience is a super hit. They have tried to pull out of their old Aristocrat and VIP luggage boxes from their home, must be from their siblings too, and jack it up in place on the wall. Perhaps they would have emptied the cash in it to build this illustrious “talk of the town” restaurant. Want to relax on a warm evening..then this is the place to be.

The food was awesome – they over stuffed us in fact.

Spicy Garlic Toast to begin with and followed by Crisp Chilly herb bread..
Roasted Vegetable Pizza was great – but lowering the olive oil portion will help.

(here is when I realized I needed a 150mg dosage of Ranitidine Hydrochloride to arrest my stomach acids from releasing and then growling for want of food)

 

I am letting my images speak a little bit. ..and will leave the rest of the restaurants to gloat ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

 

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Jeera Kashaayam – Traditional, Magical Cure

Kashaayams are medicinal drinks that are simple to make and sensational in providing relief to minor ailments without any side effects. All that it requires is a few simple ingredients available in the kitchen. At times extra ingredients will have to be procured. But these are available in plenty in the local ‘Naattu Marundhu Kadai’ [ strores selling herbs ]

Anything from a common cold to nausea to indigestion can be cured easily by these kashaayams. These recipes are passed down in each family from one generation to another, to cure common ailments and avoid visiting the doctor unless when required.Since no sweet or additives are generally added there is a misconception that Kashaayams are always bitter and difficult to consume.

Jeera

Cumin or Jeera or jeeragam is said to be excellent for digestion and helps to flush out toxins in the body.

It is rich in iron and highly beneficial for pregnant and lactating mothers. It offers an ideal cure for morning sickness.

Jeera’s antiseptic properties helps in combatting cold and fever.

Jeera bolied in water is called Jeera water and when consumed not only refreshes the body but also helps you retain excellent skin tone since it is rich in Vitamin – E.

A mix of Jeera & and Ginger powder can cure sore throat.

A ripened banana + a teaspoon of jeera + followed by a cup of jeera water is said to help people suffering from insomnia.

Ingredients:

Jeera – 2 tsps

Water – 2 cups

Jaggery or palm sugar [ optional] – as per taste

Ginger powder [ optional] – as per taste

Method:

In a kadai dry roast jeera in medium flame. It should not get blackened. So take care to see that it is evenly roasted. A nice aroma and spluttering of the jeera are indicative of this. Add water to this and let it boil for a few minutes till the liquid reduces to half a cup.

Strain and consume it when it is lukewarm.

Tips:
For those who don’t find this palatable add a little bit of jaggery or panangkalkandu or any other sweetening agent while you boil the water.
On a daily basis you can boil water with a little bit of jeera and drink this in lieu of ordinary water. This has tremendous health benefits.

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.

Akaara Vadisal

Akaara Vadisal or Sweet Milk Pongal is a very famous dish among the Vaishnavites in the South. Made with milk it is extremely delicious and loved by one and all.

Ingredients
Rice – 1 Cup
Milk – 5 Cups
Green gram dal – 1/3 Cup
White jaggery – 11/4 Cups
Water – 2 Cup
Ghee – 3 tlbs
Cashewnuts – a few
Raisins – a few
Saffron – A few strands [optional]
Cardamom power – ½ tsp

Method:
Boil Milk and water in a heavy bottomed pan. Set aside two cups of this hot milk.
Reduce flame and add rice to milk and let it cook on low flame. Stir constantly.
Cook dal till it is soft and keep aside. When the rice is three fourth done add the dal and mix well.
If the rice mix thickens add the 2 cups of milk set aside earlier and stir well.
When the rice is fully cooked add powdered jaggery little by little till it is dissolved and comes to a thick consistency.
Remove from stove. Heat ghee and fry Cashewnuts and raisins. Add this to Akara Vadisal along with cardamom powder. If using saffron, soak a few strands to warm milk and add in the end.
Mix well and serve hot.

Tips:
Akaara Vadisal can be made with Basmathi rice too. Gives a very different and wonderful flavor.
Always use light color jaggery. Acchu Vellam is the best option.
Ensure that there are no impurities in the jaggery before you add it to the pongal.

Sliced Banana Delight – [Nendram Pazham cooked and sautéed in sugar & ghee]

This recipe is close to every Keralite’s heart and is one their favourite delicacies. Amazingly easy to make and extremely appealing to the palate, this is the perfect one to try if you have a sweet tooth – just for its simplicity.

Ingredients:
Rip yet firm Nendram Pazham – 1large
Sugar – ½ cup
Ghee – 3 tlbsp
Water as required

Method:

Peel and slice the banana into slices – 1cm thick.
In a thick bottomed pan place the banana slices and pour enough water to cover it and cook on low flame till they are soft.
Add sugar and 2 tlbsp ghee and toss the slices without mashing them.
Once the sugar melts and the moisture is absorbed add the rest of the ghee and toss lightly. Remove from the stove and transfer to a serving dish.

Tips:

The amount of water to be used will depend on the quality of the banana. Some may take a longer time to turn soft. Use your judgement here.
Towards the end do not panic if the slices tend to stick to the bottom of the pan and turn a light brown in color. This slightly browned flavor will only add to the taste of the dish.

Savory – Kaara Adai

Ingredients:

Rice Flour – 1 Cup
Water – 1 ¼ Cup
Salt – to taste
Chopped Green Chillies- 2
Oil – 2 tlbs
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Grated Coconut – ¼ cup [optional]
Karamani [dried Cowpeas] – 1 tlbsp
Curry Leaves

Preparation:
Soak the dried karamani for 5 to 6 hours and cook and keep aside.

Method:
Roast the rice flour well in a dry kadai till it gives out a good smell. However do not roast till it turns red. Remove from Kadai.

Heat the kadai (FRYING PAN) and add oil and mustard seeds.

When the mustard seed splutters add chopped chillies and curry leaves. Toss for a few seconds.

Pour water in the kadai and bring it to a boil. Reduce flame and add rice flour and mix well.

Add karamani, grated coconut, 1 tlbs of oil and required salt and blend well till a nice thick paste is formed.

Take it off the heat and allow to cool.

Grease your palm with oil or use a small plantain leaf. Roll the dough into balls and flatten them to about ¼ inch thickness. Make a small hole or dent in the centre to allow it to cook evenly.

Grease idly plates and steam the adais [adai – a dish that has a thin spread of batter/dough] till done [roughly 8 to 10 mins].

Serve with a fresh blob of butter.

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

Steamed Nonbu Adai – Sweet & Savory.

Kaaradaiyaan Nonbu, is a very special function observed by people in the Southern states. This Nonbu or Savithri vrat is observed during the last day of the Tamil month of Maasi and the beginning of the month of Panguni. The Nonbu is observed by all unmarried and married women and celebrates the victory of Savithri, a mythical character, in bringing back her husband Sathyavan to life from the jaws of death [from Yama], the Undertaker of the Hindu Religion. The married women pray for the longevity of their husband and the unmarried girls pray in order to get an ideal husband. Sweet adais are offered as prasadam, considered offering of God, during the pooja.

Sweet Adai

Rice flour – 1 cup
Jaggery syrup – 1 ¼ cup
Karamani [dried cowpeas] – 1 tlbs
Grated or finely chopped coconut – ½ cup
Elaichi Powder – 1 tsp
Ghee – 1 or 2 tlbs>/span>

Preparation:
Soak the dried karamani (Snake bean or Chinese Long Bean) for 5 to 6 hours and cook and keep aside.

Method:
Roast the rice flour well in a dry kadai till it gives out a good smell. However do not roast till it turns red. Remove from Kadai (heating Pan).

Pour jaggery syrup and bring it to a boil. Reduce flame and add rice flour to the syrup and mix well.

Add karamani, grated coconut, 1 tlbs of ghee (Clarified Butter) and cardamom powder and blend well till a nice thick paste is formed.

Take it off the heat and allow to cool.

Grease your palm with ghee or use a small plantain leaf. Roll the dough into balls and flatten them to about ¼ inch thickness. Make a small hole in the centre to allow it to cook evenly.

Grease idly plates and steam the adais till done [roughly 8 to 10 mins].

Serve with a fresh blob of butter.

Tips:
Amount of jaggery used will depend on the sweetness and quality of the jaggery. So pay attention.
If the adais are undercooked or have too much jaggery then they tend to be sticky in the mouth. If overcooked they will become hard

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