Secret of Perfect Pooris

Ever wondered why your pooris went flat when you wanted to present your guests with the perfect looking ones?
For getting those round puffed up pooris, the trick is to add some yogurt and sugar to the dough !

Ingredients:
Wholewheat flour – 1 1/2 Cup
Fine semolina – 1 tlbsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Yogurt – 1 tlbsp
Warmed oil . – 1 tlbsp

Method:
Mix all ingredients and knead into a very firm dough with lukewarm water.
Cover and keep in a cool place till ready to be fried. [ Usually for about an hour]
Never use dry flour to roll out pooris .
It burns black in the heated oil and coats the pooris .
A little touch of oil usually is enough to roll out the pooris .
Fry in hot oil till puffed up and golden brown in color.

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Amrakhand or Mango Shrikhand

Shrikhand is a very popular sweet dish made of thick Yogurt, that is an intrinsic part of Gujarathi & Maharastrian Cuisine. It is a very popular dessert which is a must at all festivities. It is also served as an accompaniment for main dishes like poori & roti.There are variations to this dish. When mango pulp is added it is called Amrakhand. Some prefer to add fresh fruits to the yogurt and it is popularly know as Matho.

Ingredients:
Thick Yogurt or home made curds – 2 cups
Mango Pulp – 1 cup
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp

To garnish
Sliced Pistachios – 1 tblsp

Method:

Strain the yogurt or curds till all the water is drained. This is traditionally done by straining it through a clean muslin cloth by tying it up and leaving it to hang over night.
Similarly ensure that the mango pulp is also thick devoid of any water.
Blend all ingredients in a blender till thick in consistency.
Pour in individual cups and garnish with chopped pistachio slices.
Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours
Serve Chilled.

Tips:

A few strands of saffron soaked in warm milk can also be added to the mix.
Some like to add a few pieces of mango to the shrikhand.
After blending you can add the mango pieces and then chill in individual bowls.

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

Aam Panna

Aam Panna or Panha is a very popular and sought after drink in Northern India especially during the summer months. Made from raw mangoes and spruced up with spices and fresh mint this drink is refreshingly tasty and healthy too. It can be made both by roasting raw mango over an open flame to give that distinct smoky flavor or by boiling chunks of raw mango in water, although the former method is preferred by most people. For most people living in North of India a glass of this tasty beverage is a must everyday.


Ingredients:

Green / Raw Mangoes – 2
Water – 4 cups
Roasted Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Sugar – As per taste
Black salt/ rock salt / kala namak – 1/2 tsp or as required
Crushed Ice – Optional
Mint leaves – To garnish

Method:
Wash and towel dry the mangoes.
Heat over direct flame till the skin is charred. After it cools peel the skin and squeeze out the pulp.
Or alternatively cut the mangoes into large chunks and pressure cook them for 5 to 8 mins. Or boil them till they are soft.
Remove and cool. Blend the mango pulp in a blender along with roasted cumin powder, sugar, rock salt and a little water.
Sugar and salt need to be added in stages according to taste.
Strain the blended pulp if needed and add rest of the water and crushed ice. Mix well.
Serve chilled garnished with a sprig of mint.

Tips:

You can also get creative and add other spices and herbs to try new variations.
Ajwain [ roasted & crushed] and green pepper are a few other suggested options

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.

TIPS FOR BETTER COOKING – PART IV

1.Dry roast fenugreek in a pan, powder it finely and store. A couple of spoons added to your dosa batter will make them very tasty

2.When you have indigestion problem and you feel like having dosa, just mix a spoon of ‘Chukku’ powder [dried ginger] to the batter and make dosas. It is tasty and aids in digestion.

3.When big gooseberries are in season supplement them for tamarind in chutneys. It not only adds to the taste but adds to the nutritive value too.

4.Having guests coming over and need to get the chapathi dough [INDIAN BREAD] well kneaded. No worries. Mix the dough by hand to form a lump. If you have a grinder at home, remove the grinder stone and place the dough in the vessel. Place the stone back on the dough and run the grinder for a couple of minutes. Stop the grinder reverse the dough and follow same procedure as before. You will get soft dough from which you can make excellent chapathis.

5.To get crisp pakodas add corn flour and a tsp of oil to the batter along with besan.

6.To make crisp samosas take a thin dry piece of cotton cloth and place the flour in it and tie it. Place this in a pressure cooker and steam for a few minutes. Use this flour to make the dough.

7.Have too much rice left over? Boil a few potatoes and carrots. Add salt, garam masala powder, turmeric powder to it and mash well. Mix this with rice and add salt o taste. Add a little corn flour and make them into nice round balls. Fry it in hot oil to get an instant tasty snack.

8.If coconut is used in ground masala do not fry it for long.

9.Remove the stems of green chilies before storing them. They will last long.

10.Little sugar added to any gravy makes it tasty.

TIPS BY: Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com

TIPS FOR BETTER COOKING – PART – III

1.To get nicely roasted Colocasia or Seppankizhangu mix a little bit of Besan
[Kadalai Maavu] with sour curd and coat the curry to get the crispiness.

2.If you want the ladies finger pieces to be separate in a subji add a table spoon of curd or tamarind water while sautéing.

3.When you realize there is excessive salt in a dish that has to be reduced you can try any of the three following options: Add a tsp of sugar or a few pieces of potatoes or add a few pieces of raw papaya.

4.When you are left with excessive coffee decoction store the same after adding some sugar to it. It will be as good as new the next day.

5.If the holes in the coffee filter are clogged, clean and wipe the filter dry and show the pores over the gas flame for a few seconds. Tap the filter upside down and all the powder stuck in the holes will fall off, clearing the clogs.

6.While melting butter to get ghee add a little bit fenugreek towards the end will add an extra aroma & flavor to the ghee.

7.A piece of jaggery added to ghee will help preserve it longer.

8.While frying chips or other snacks if there is a danger of the oil spilling over it can be prevented by dropping a few curry leaves or a bit of tamarind into the oil.

9.During winter for quick setting of curds, you can add a small ball of tamarind along with a spoon of curd to the milk for speeding up the process.

10.If your idly or dosa batter has turned too sour just pour two or three tumblers of water to it and wait. After a while drain the water that accumulates on top and then use the batter.

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

TIPS FOR BETTER COOKING – PART – I

1.Add salt to water while cooking greens [Keerai] to help retain the color.

2.A few drops of lime added to rice while cooking helps in making it look brighter and White.

4.Having problems in cooking Tur Dal? At times we will find certain varieties of Tur dal requiring longer time to cook and we would discover this only after a couple of days of trial by which time it will be too late to return the dal to the store. Add a small piece of coconut to the dal and cook to see the difference.

5.Add a piece of ginger while cooking cabbage or cauliflower to avoid the strong aroma that it emanates normally.

6.While mixing dough for Pooris add sugar to get puffed Pooris that stay crisp for a while.

7.Adding a few pepper corns to oil will help in keeping it fresh for a longer duration.

8.Soaking / immersing Cauliflower in salt water half an hour before cooking [after removing the leaves and stem] will help in getting rid of small germs or worms.

9.Wash onions after peeling the skin off to avoid eye irritation and watering.

10.Idli or Dosa batter will not go sour if you add a few dry chillies to it.

Tips by Mrs. Mira Balachandran; mira.balachandran@gmail.com