Sandwiches are easy to make and offer great scope for variety and improvisation in terms of flavor, fillings, taste and cooking methods. Here are a few tips that might come in handy to make better sandwiches.
Always use fresh bread. Never compromise on quality. For fancy sandwiches it is better if the bread is a day old or refrigerated for a few hours. Ensure the slices are thinly cut.
Experiment using variety of breads – Milk / Wheat / Fruit Loaves / Brown & Whole Wheat Bread.
Always ensure that the butter is at room temperature. It helps in spreading evenly. You can also mix it in a small bowl before spreading it on the slice.
If the crusts / edges are too thick or crisp cut them out.
Always cut finished sandwiches with a sharp or serrated knife.
Ensure butter , mayonnaise and other fillings are spread till the edges.
When you are making multi – layered sandwiches hold them in place by means of tooth picks or skewers.
When a variety of sandwiches are being made wrap them separately in aluminium foil to avoid mixing up aromas and flavours.
Fold the foil or wax paper well at the edges to keep them fresh and nice.
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.
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
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.
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.
Another delicacy from God’s own country – Kerala. This payasam is made using rice flakes which are specially made at home for this purpose. But now a days good quality ready – to – use rice flakes are available in all departmental stores. Extremely delicious, this payasam is part of any big celebration or feast in a Kerala household.
Ingredients: Rice Adai – 1/4th cup
Thick Milk – 2 ½ cups
Sugar – 1/4th cup
Ghee – 2 tsp
Cardamom Powder – ¼ tsp
Fried Cashewnuts – optional
Condensed milk – 1/3 rd cup
Soak Rice adai in boiling hot water for 15 mins.
Drain and rinse in cold water.
In a pressure cooker add adai + milk and pressure cook till you get one whistle.
Switch off the stove. Heat a heavy bottomed pan [or retain the cooker itself] and transfer contents to it and place it on medium flame to thicken and reduce further.
Keep it on the stove till the milk is reduced considerably and the payasam takes on a pinkish tinge.
Add Condensed milk and stir well for 5 mins.
Add sugar and cardamom powder, stir till sugar dissolves completely and switch off the heat. Roast the cashew in ghee and add if required.
Tips: If you do not have too much time on hand to reduce and thicken the milk, more of condensed milk can be added. If you do so, remember to use less sugar than mentioned otherwise you will land up with a dish that is too sweet to consume.
Always remember to add sugar carefully to boiling milk since it is likely to curdle. So always switch off the stove after sugar is added.
Adding sugar will also dilute the payasam. So thicken it first to the maximum and then add sugar.
Words will not suffice to extol the goodness and benefits of Turmeric. Apart from being a staple ingredient in Indian cooking, it is perhaps one of the earliest known herbal remedies with records dating back its existence to as early as 600BC.
Curcumin found in the root of the turmeric is said to have amazing healing qualities. Apart from adding color and flavor to food, turmeric acts as an antiseptic and it perhaps knows its powers that Indians have made it an integral part of their everyday cooking.
Turmeric soothes the liver and cures indigestion.
Lowers Cholesterol and is an effective antibiotic.
Cures irritable bowel syndrome and is best recommended to get rid of hang over.
Blood is purified with the intake of juice of raw turmeric
Turmeric has great cosmetic value. Regular use is said to make skin, soft, smooth and fair and reduce the growth of facial hair.
The presence of turmeric plants around the house is said to ward of snakes and leaves of turmeric plant are said to be good mosquito repellants.
Spicy Turmeric Milk
An ideal concoction to relieve cold, cough and chest congestion. Best had before going to bed at night.
Method: Mix all ingredients and heat milk on low flame till it is very hot. Stir well and have it as hot as you can. Add ½ tsp of sugar for children who may fuss a bit to have the turmeric milk as it is.