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.

Mixed Vegetable Chutney

Tired of the usual coconut and tomato chutneys? Running out of ideas? Time to innovate.

Ingredients:

Small Onions – 100 gms
Capsicum – 1 medium
Tomato – 1 big
Grated Radish – 1/3 cup
Garlic – 5 cloves
Red chilies – 2
Green chilies – 2
Tamarind – Small piece
Urad Dal – 1 tlbsp
Mustard – ½ tsp
Oil – 2 tlbsp
Salt to taste

Method:

Heat oil in a pan and add urad dal and the chilies and fry till the dal is brown and roasted.
Add onions + garlic and fry till it is translucent or light brown in color in low heat.
Add capsicum and radish and sauté for two minutes. Add tomatoes and fry for a minute. Keep aside to cool.
Add the fried ingredients to a mixer jar and add tamarind + salt. Grind to a smooth paste.
Heat little bit of oil and add mustard. When it splutters switch off the stove and pour this over the ground chutney.


Tips:

Add or reduce chilies according to your spice requirement
You can add any other vegetable that may be available. But ensure that they blend well in terms of flavor
In case you have raw mango on hand you can substitute it for tamarind. Grate and sauté it with the vegetables

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

Chow Chow Chutney

This side dish is actually made from the skin of the Chow Chow and has a slightly sweetish taste to it.

Ingredients:
Peeled skin – 1 Chow Chow
Coconut – ¼ cup
Red Chillies – 2
Green Chillies – 1
Mustard – ½ tsp
Urad Dal – 1 tlbsp
Tamarind – a small piece
Oil – 3 tsp
Salt to taste


Method:

Peel and wash the skin of the chow chow.
Heat 1 tsp of oil and add mustard. When it splutters add Urad dal and both chillies.
Fry till the dal becomes roasted. Set aside.
Pour 2 tsp of oil and sauté the peeled skin thoroughly for 2 mins. Let it cool.
Add all ingredients to the mixer container including salt and grind to a smooth paste.
Serves as a side dish or can be mixed with rice and had too.

Tips:

Ensure that the chow chow is tender and does not have thorns on the skin

For any chutney the amount of chillies or tamarind to be added is determined by three factors –
The quantity of the chutney to be ground
The spice level preferred by your family and you
The spice level or intensity of the ingredients used. Some chillies are extremely hot when compared to some others

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

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

Poondu (Garlic) Rasam

GARLIC – The Home Medicine

The medicinal and curative power of garlic is tremendous. Garlic can clear your head of a severe cold; aids in lowering cholesterol & blood pressure; it tops on the list of Cancer – preventing foods, its serves as an anti – viral, anti bacterial for stress induced cold and infections; effective in clearing vaginal yeast infection in women; using garlic externally on skin helps in clearing up spots, acne, pimples and boils.

Are you one of those who hate to deal with garlic – breath? Eat a piece of parsley to solve this problem.

Did you know? There is even a garlic festival celebrated in Gilroy California every year.

POONDU RASAM

Ingredients

Crushed garlic – 6 to 8 pods
Small ball of tamarind – 1 [size of a big gooseberry]
Ghee – 2 tsp
Boiled tur dal – 2 tbs
Chopped tomato – 1 small
Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
Chopped coriander
Salt to taste.

To make basic Rasam Powder:

Tur Dal – 1 tbsp
Pepper – 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1/2 tsp
Dried Red Chillies – 2 or 3

Lightly dry roast the above ingredients in a pan and powder finely

Method:

Extract pulp from soaked tamarind using two cups of water.
Add ½ a cup of water to this and boil it adding turmeric powder, salt and Rasam powder.
Mash boiled tur dal nicely and mix it with 1 cup of water.
When the tamarind water is reduced a bit in quantity add chopped tomatoes, tur dal water and crushed garlic.
Lower the heat and bringing it slowly to a boil and switch off the gas when it is close to boiling point.
In a pan add ghee and mustard seeds. When it splutters add curry leaves and pour this seasoning over the Rasam. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot.

Tips: Rasam should never be allowed to boil after adding the tur dal liquid. Only then the taste is retained.
For those who like only a light taste of garlic, the crushed pods can be added a little earlier and allowed to be boiled. For those who like a stronger flavor, garlic can be added towards the end of the recipe.