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

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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.

Tips to Tackle Tight Spots

Simple ingredients in your kitchen that can be used to make life easy.

Having ants all over your kitchen? Keep the peel of cucumbers wherever you see them. Ants do not like them and will disappear.

To get clean and clear ice boil the water before freezing.

To make your mirrors shine clean them with spirit or wipe them clean with tea decoction.

Sat on a chewing gum by mistake and stuck with it? Keep the fabric inside the freezer for a few minutes and pull it out.

Soaking white clothes in a bucket of hot water with a some lime slices for about half an hour will help in making them sparkling white.

Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the last rinse to make hair shiny.

Chew gum while chopping onions to avoid tears.

While cooking cabbage the smell that emanates puts off a lot of people. Drop a piece of bread into the pan and the smell will disappear.

Sprinkle black pepper in places frequented by rats and you will see the last of them.

To remove ink stains rub the affected part with a generous dose of toothpaste and let it dry fully. Then wash thoroughly.

To peal the skin off sweet potatoes in a jiffy soak in cold water after boiling.

Chakka Varatti or Jack Fruit Jam

Jack fruit is an excellent source of vitamins and potassium and has good health benefits. Each piece of the fruit or ‘cholai’ as it is referred to is of a beautiful yellow color and can be eaten plain or soaked in honey.The fruit gives out a strong aroma which is not liked by a few. On the contrary the very mention of the fruit and the smell can be so intoxicating, as to tempt you to wards non-stop consumption of the fruit. This jam or Chakka Varatti that is made out of ripened jack fruit forms the core ingredient in making delicious jack fruit based dishes like Elai Adai and Chakka Pradaman [ Payasam]. Refer earlier posts for these recipes.

Ingredients
Ripe Jackfruit Cholais [deseeded & cleaned] – 4 cups
Powdered Jaggery – 2 cups
Ghee – 1 cup
Water – as required

Optional
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Dried ginger powder a pinch

Method:

Pressure cook the jackfruit with just enough water till they are tender and soft. 3 – 4 whistles should do.

Cool and mash well. Grind to a smooth paste in a blender.

Melt jaggery with just enough water and strain.

Take a heavy bottomed kadai and pour the melted jaggery into it. Let it come to a boil.

Reduce heat completely and slowly add the jack fruit paste, stirring all the time.

Mix thoroughly and add ghee little by little. The mix should come together to form a thick paste, that is dark brown in color.

It is ready when most the moisture is absorbed and it gets a jam like consistency.

Remove and cool. Store in clean dry, air tight containers and refrigerate. Use when required but ensure that you use a dry spoon at all times.

Tips:

Continuous stirring is required during the making of the jam. The mix is likely to splutter out of the container. Hence ensure your hands are protected from getting bunrt by the hot paste.

The jam makes an excellent side dish for Rotis and Bread varieties.

Add dry ginger powder and cardamom only if required. Some prefer to retain the original flavor.

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.

ABC – The Miracle Drink

With the onset of summer constant consumption of liquids is a must to keep the body hydrated. Fruit juices without additives like sugar or preservatives is most ideal. Given below is the recipe that promises you the best of health and taste.The ABC drink – a flavorful concoction of Apple, Beetroot & Carrot juice.

Health Benefits:
Researchers claim that constant intake of this juice will help prevent cancer, blood pressure and diseases of the kidney and liver.
Improves eyesight and helps relieve bad breath.
Helps strengthen Immune system
Eliminates Constipation
Helps to achieve healthy and glowing skin.

Ingredients:
Apple – 1
Carrot – 1
Beetroot – 1 small
Honey – to taste
Pepper powder – as required
Salt – a pinch
Crushed Ice

Method:
Peel the skin off the carrot & and beetroot and cut them into small pieces.
Combine these with sliced apple and blend well in a mixer to get a smooth liquid. Add water if required
Strain and add honey, salt & pepper powder as per taste.
Add crushed ice and serve.

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