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

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.

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.

Paruppu Thogayal

‘Thogayal’ in Tamil is equivalent to chutney, but in a more solid form and can be likened to a ‘spread’ that is so flavorful when eaten as is or when mixed with something or when had as a side dish. Down South thogayal is generally consumed mixed with plain rice and is one of the easiest dish to make, especially when you have unexpected guests landing up for lunch or dinner at short notice. There are enormous varieties of thogayals and its preparations offers tremendous scope for experimenting.

Given below is the recipe for Paruppu Thogayal – an all time favorite of most – which is considered a delicacy especially when mixed with piping hot rice accompanied by spicy ‘Vetha Kozhambu’. Paruppu in Tamil refers to ‘Dal’ and in this case – Toor Dal.It is an extremely simple yet tasty dish to make.

Paruppu Thogayal

Ingredients:
Toor Dal – 1 cup
Red Chillies – 2
Grated Coconut – 1/4th cup
Salt to taste.
Oil – 1 tlbs

Method:
In a pan heat enough oil and roast the Toor dal along with the chillies till the dal turns a lovely golden brown.
Allow to cool.
Add grated coconut & salt and grind the roasted Toor dal mix to a fine paste adding little bit of water to bring it to a semi solid form.
The thogayal is now ready to be served. It can be mixed with rice or as an accompaniment to dosai & adai.

Tips:

The flavor of the dish depends entirely on how the dal is roasted. Ensure it is roasted to a nice golden brown color.

The dominant flavor here should be of the dal . Hence all other ingredients including coconut & chillies should be mild.

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.

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.