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

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.

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

TIPS FOR BETTER COOKING – PART – II

1.To make dosas easily rub the tawa with an onion cut into two.

2.If the dosa batter gets stuck on to the tawa add salt to a little bit of oil and rub the surface with this mix. You can make the next dosa easily.

3.Immerse lime in hot water for a few minutes before extracting juice to get the maximum juice.

4.For making crisp potato chips, slice and place the potatoes in a white cloth, tie it and drop it in boiling water and immerse for five mins. Remove slices and put them in cold water to which salt has been added. Your chips will be extremely crisp.

5.Want to make crisp Pakodas? Add a bit of ghee and curds seasoned with salt and mix the batter.

6.You can also add powdered ground nuts to the besan batter to make them extra crispy.

7.Adding a pinch of salt to turmeric powder or Chilli powder will help in preserving them longer

8.If you have run short of curds to make curds, you can make use of lime juice.

9.While storing coconuts ensure the ‘kudumi’ portion is upright. It will stay good for a long time.

10.Branches of Goose Berry trees can be cut into 3 – 4 pieces and dropped inside a well with salt water. These branches remove the salt from the well water.

TIPS BY: MRS MIRA BALACHANDRAN; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

Sundal: Kondai Kadalai [White Channa / Chickpea ] Sundal

Ingredients:

White Channa / Kondai Kadalai – 200 gms

Salt – To taste

Green Chilies – 2 or 3 finely chopped

Grated Coconut – 3 heaped tlbsp

Grated raw mango – ½ cup

Oil – 2 tsp

Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp

Curry Leaves – a few

Lime juice – optional

Method:

Rinse and soak the chana in water overnight or for at least 8 hours.

Cook the soaked chana with a little water in a pressure cooker with the weight on in medium flame for 25 minutes.

Pour oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it splutters add curry leaves and green chilies and sauté for a few seconds. Then add the cooked chana along with required salt and cook on low flame till the moisture / water is fully absorbed.

Switch off the stove and add grated Mango and mix well.

When it is fully cooled add grated coconut. If required add lime juice as per your taste.

This is an any time snack that is extremely healthy

Tips:

Some do not like to bite into green chilies. In that case put pieces of coconut in a mixer, add the green chilies to it and grind coarsely. Depending on the how spicy the green chilies are add or reduce their quantity.

Magical Mint Juice

Mint or Pudina, as it is popularly known in India, at once conjures up cool and refreshing images in the mind. For centuries this herb has been used as both seasoning as well as for its medicinal properties. Right from chewing gum and mouthwash to toothpaste and ice creams Mint is a popular flavor.

A chilled glass of Mint Juice combined with a dash of lime is heavenly and gives respite from the hot, summer days. Mint juice can also be had with lime, honey and pepper topped with ice for that soothing effect. It is a naturally flavored drink that does wonders to energize a tired body. Lime juice supplies the required amount of Vitamin C

Mint Juice

Ingredients:

Pudina (Mint)  Leaves – 1 Cup [Washed and cleaned]
Sugar – 1 Cup
Water – 1 Cup
Ginger – 25 gms crushed coarsely
Lime juice – as required
Pepper Powder – optional

Method:

Heat Water and Sugar and bring to a boil.
Lower flame and let it boil till sugar completely dissolves.
Remove from stove. Add Pudina leaves and ginger to the sugar syrup.

Keep the container closed for an hour.
Strain through a fine filter. Store in refrigerator.
When required take one part of syrup and mix with two parts of water. Add lime juice as required to give a tangy taste.
Add a pinch of pepper powder if you like.

Tips:
A dash of green food color can be added to give a green tinge to the syrup. Children will love the bright green color.

This syrup should be consumed within a day or two. If you wish to make in large quantities you can add preservatives to make it last longer.