Tuesday, April 22, 2014

சத்து மாவு / How to make Ragi Malt powder at home / Sprouted grains porridge for kids

      Ragi malt is a  mixture of different grains, which are sprouted first, dried, roasted and then milled to a fine powder. This process may tend to be lengthy, but it is worth the pain. My mom is making this powder for the past 20 + years. Every time, she makes, I smell the same aroma and same taste. Nothing has changed, its her "Kai Pakkuvam", means her experience.We grew, drinking this drink and now our kids are drinking this tasty and healthy drink. Since, the grains are sprouted and powdered, it is very healthy. She used to dry them in our terrace, where we get lot of sunlight. This strict drying process, ensures us to have a clean and secure ragi malt ,which can be stored for months. 
       Whenever ,I go for vacation, I pack this wonderfull powder and use it   6 months - 1 year for  sure, here in US. When I went to vacation last year, clicked these pictures, while my mom was busy processing. Unfortunately, didn't take the pictures of the grains. Next time, when I go to India, will take complete pictures and update this space. I always see this ragi malt powder, which packed with nutrition and love from my mother. I always wonder about her hard work. When summer arrives, she will prepare vathal,vadagam,lemon pickles,tomato pickle, mango pickle and store it for the entire year. Everything ,from start to finish , within 2 months ( April - May). I am nothing ,compared to my mom. She does everything from scratch, no short cuts. I just documented this wonderfull recipe, for my future use or my next generation to adapt and follow. Since our ancestors ,didn't document so many rare recipes, we are left out with so many junk foods.This blog is a documentation of  "What I enjoyed eating" and "What, I enjoyed cooking". Hope this helps my next generation .



In Tamil 


Green Gram
Roasted  gram
Pearl Millet
Cardamom pods

பச்சை பயறு
பொட்டு கடலை

1 Kg
1/2 Kg
1/4 Kg
1/4 Kg
1/4 Kg
1/4 Kg
1/4 Kg
1/4 Kg
100 gm
100 gm
25 gm
100 gm 

* Start the preparation in the morning of Day 1. Wash ragi,wheat,green gram,millet and pearl millet well. Soak these grains in water in separate bowls. 
* At the end of the day (night), take the grains out of water and tie them separately in clean wet towels .The wet towels help, the grains to sprout. Tie the towels using separate threads and hang them . This will make the excess water to drain from the towel. 
* When we open the towel in the morning of day 2, the grains would have sprouted well. Take them out and dry them on clean towels in open space . The grains should be dry . During summer, the grains will dry quickly .
*  Now start roasting the sprouted grains one  by one. Dry roast the rice,roasted gram,almonds,cashews,sago ,peanuts separately.
* Combine all the grains and nuts . Let them cool completely. The grains should not be hot, while grinding.Powder them well in a Flour Mill. Let the powdered ragi malt, cool completely. Store them in air tight containers.

* The sprouted grains should be dry ,while roasting it. If not it will not stay fresh for longer time. Always dry them in hot and dry place , under direct sunlight.
* We can add some pistachios also, its optional.
* Cardamom pods has to be added very less, as it has strong flavour.
* Ragi malt powder has to be stored in clean containers, if not bugs will infest them.
* Don't skip the sprouting process, as it increases the nutritious values of the powder.
* We can also try to powder them using mixie, but it may not pulse it well.

                                                     To make Ragi malt for kids !!!

1.Ragi malt powder          -        2 tsp
2.Milk                              -        1/2 cup
3.Water                            -        1 cup or as needed
4.Sugar                             -         1 tsp
5.Salt                                -         a pinch

* Take a bowl, add ragi malt powder and water. Let the ragi malt powder combine well with the water .We can alter the consistancy ,by adding more or less water. Cook the mixture in medium heat , mixing them in between.
* When the ragi malt is cooked well, it thickens. Turn off the stove ,add milk, sugar and salt.
* Serve these healthy ragi malt for all ages. 
* We can also skip sugar and serve these for adults too. A power packed breakfast for all.

Linking this to "Tamizhar Samayal Tuesday" started by "Nalini Suresh"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Morgh Zereshk Polo - Barberry Chicken Rice - Persian Cuisine.

Morgh Polo is a traditional rice of Persian Cuisne. Here the  Zeresh or the bar berries are widely used in thier cuisine. Its a sweet and savoury rice. The berries contribute the sweetness. The rice is flavoured by saffron. Saffron and turmeric are two main spices of Persian cuisine. Bar berries are available in persian super markets.I couldn't find those, so replaced it with dried cranberries. We can also use pomegranate seeds to this rice.

Recipe : http://www.persian-recipes.com/persianrecipes/2010/03/16/morgh-polo-chicken-rice/
500 grams Chicken –you can lesson the amount of chicken if you wish
1 small onion - finely chopped up
100 grams barberries (zereshk) or dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds
3-4 cups rice
1-2 teaspoon zireh (cumin)
1 teaspoon liquid saffron
2-3 tablespoons sugar

* Wash and soak the basmati rice with little salt for about 1/2 an hour.  Wash and clean the chicken well. Take a pan,heat oil, add chopped onion and garlic pods. When they give out nice aroma, add the chicken pieces.Add some turmeric powder, salt and pepper now.  Saute the chicken, for a while and add enough water . Cook the chicken ,covered for about 15 - 20 minutes in low flame or until the chicken is juicy and moist.
* Once the chicken is cooked , strain the water and reserve it for cooking the rice. Take a pot, add the chicken broth and bring it to boil. Now add the soaked basmati rice to the pot. If the broth is not enough, add some more water, so that the rice has enough water to cook. Rice has to cook just 50 %.

* Strain the rice using a colander. Wash it once, by running under a cold water pipe. This will stop the cooking process of the rice ,also ,it helps the rice to remain non sticky. Now take a pan, layer the chicken pieces. 

 * Spread the half cooked rice on top. Sprinkle some cumin seeds on top of the rice. Some people love to use some bay leaf to the rice, which will give a very good aroma to the rice.Add very little oil and salt at this point.Close the pan with a hand towel and cook on low flame for about 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked.
 * Mean while, we will prepare the zereshk or dried cranberries,when we are ready to serve the rice.. Wash the dried cranberries and soak for   15 minutes. Take a pan, add little oil, sauté the cranberries and add sugar to it. Let it get blended well. Turn off the stove and add saffron . While serving, take half of the rice and mix with cranberries . Serve the plain rice and then top it with the cranberry rice.
Serve the ricw with any spicy chicken curry . As this rice is milder in taste, goes very well with any spicy curry. 

* If we don't have liquid saffron, we can use saffron strands. Just dissolve it in warm milk for 10 minutes.
* Barberries are found in Iraninan shops. If you don't get ,then replace it with any kind of dried fruits.
* The rice has mild flavor, which is equallent to jeera rice.
* I have given the authentic version. You can substitute with the spices of your taste.
* Instead of cooking the rice in chicken broth, we can cook in normal water.This way the rice doesn't have light yellow colour.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Carrot Orange Cake - Baking Partner's Challenge

      This month, for Baking Partner's Challenge, Tamy of "Three Sides of Crazy"  throwed this yummy challenge. Enjoyed completely with the results. The cake was yummy and moist.I have skipped the frosting. Had the cake as such. 

  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp spice powder
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups finely shredded carrots
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 - 11 ounce can mandarin orange sections, drained WELL and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup - orange juice.
* Pre heat oven +350 Degrees  Farenhiet.Grease a 6 inch cake pan and flour it, line a muffin tray with liners.. Since I have quartered the recipe, I got one 6 inch cake and 3 muffins.Soak the raisins in orange juice for atleast an hour. Sift flour, baking powder,baking soda,spice powder ,orange peel and salt. Strain the juice from the raisins.Take some flour in a bowl and toss the soaked raisins,chopped orange pieces . This will prevent the fruits from settling down in the pan.
* Take eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat it till foamy and fluffy. The more you beat it, the more fluffier the cake. Add vanilla, oil to the egg mixture. Add flour and fruit juice, which we stratined from the raisins alternatively.Add shredded carrot and mix.

* Pour the batter to the pan and tap it, for the air to escape. Bake the cake in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or untill the toothpick comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack , let it sit there for 5 minutes. Invert the pan and let the cake cool completely. Once cooled, run through the knife and remove from the pan. The cake was moist and fluffy. But I felt that the sugar was less, so increased the recipe to 1/4 cup.
* I have skipped the shredded coconut in this recipe.
* I didn't use rum, instead used orange juice to soak the raisins.
* Spice powder is nothing but, little cinnamon,little cloves and dry ginger pounded in a mortar and pestel, gives a very good flavour to the cake.

Linking this to Swathi Iyer's " Baking Partner's event.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chennai Special Chicken Curry - Quick Pressure Cooker Chicken Curry - Batchelor's recipe

          Chennai is a metropolitan city, with diverse culture and food habit. Its one of the busiest city in India. Working ladies are more   in Chennai, then any other city in TN. So there will always no time to grind masalas from scratch and cook. Everything is ready made there. Still there is no compromise on the taste. This is an express  chicken recipe, which can be cooked under 30 minutes. The taste is equalent to the curries, which are prepared using grounded masalas.The ingredients are so simple, but the procedure is little bit different. This is my friend's recipe, where we enjoyed her cooking during our B.sc days.Usually, coconut is added at the end of the curry, but in this curry, coconut is added in the beginning. I know, you would be thinking me wierd. The reason, is coconut should be added at the end, so that it doesn't curdle. But, in this curry, coconut is added at the beginning, but it will not curdle. Thats the interesting part of the curry. Though, we add little oil, the fat from the coconut and chicken ,will beautifully float on top of the curry, after it is cooked. Ok, enough of bragging, try it and let me know the feed back.

Check my other chicken curries.
1. Naatu kozhi kuzhambu
2. Chicken Salna
3. Chettinadu Chicken Kuzhambu

Preparing time : 10 minutes
Cooking time  :  20 minutes
Serves            :  4



       Coconut pieces 
       Curry powder 
       Coriander powder
       Turmeric powder
        Fennel seeds
        Curry leaves 
          Ginger Garlic paste
          Green chillies

        1 lb
         1 big
          2 tbsp
           1 tbsp
            1/4 tsp
            1 tsp
             2 tbsp
             as needed
             as needed
             1 tsp 
              for garnish

* Wash the chicken 4 to 5 times. For the last time, add little turmeric powder and wash. This will take away the raw smell of the chicken. Take a bowl, add turmeric powder, 1 tbsp of curry powder and little coriander powder . Mix it well and add the chicken pieces to the marinade . Let it sit for atleast 15 minutes.Take a pressure pan, add oil and splutter with fennel seeds and curry leaves.Finely chop the onion and add it to the pan.
* Saute the onion, till it becomes translucent. Add ginger garlic paste and saute it.Grind coconut pieces, with little fennel seeds and green chillies ,to a fine paste.Now dump the grinded coconut paste to the pan and saute it a little bit.Now drop the marinated chicken pieces to the pan and saute, The chicken should be cooked 80 %.
* Now add the remaining curry powder,coriander powder and mix it. When the raw smell of the masala gets vanished, add water to the pan. Adjust the thickness of the curry according to our wish. Add salt to taste. Close the pan with a lid and cook the chicken in medium flame for a whistle. Let the whistle releases on its own. Open the chicken, oil should float on top of the curry.
* Though, we add little oil, the fat from the chicken combines with the oil and comes out .A perfectly cooked curry will have oil floating on its surface. We can also cook the chicken without giving a whistle. But the flame should be brought to low at the last 5 minutes. This will make the curry to give out oil .Serve this curry with rice or roti.

* This curry doesn't need tomatoes.
*  Coconut can be added at the end, but this particular recipe calls for the addition at the beginning.
* If we don't have time to marinate the chicken, just dump the chicken as such.
* Don't add too much coconut,then the curry will not have the desired spice level.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mango Pachadi - Tamiil New Year Special - Version 2

    In India, April, May are the peak months for harvesting mangoes. So we used to get lot of mangoes in the market. Mango sambar, mango pachadi, mango chutney, mango pickle will always be in our home , in these days. I will be waiting for the month , to relish my favourite mangoes.Nothing can beat the mangoes, we used to get from "Salem". My mom makes the best mango pickle. This particular mango pachadi, is my MIL's recipe. She prepares this for "Tamil New Year", every year. The reason behind this, is the coming year should be a mixed of sweet,sour,bitterness i.e a balanced year. The bitterness comes from the neem flower, which is added to the pachadi. I have not added neem flower.Check this simple recipe and try for new year.



        Grated Mango
        Grated jaggery
         Green chillies   
         Urad dal 
         Mustard seeds   
         Curry leaves 
          Turmeric powder 
   1/2 cup
   3/4 cup
   2 tbsp
   1 tsp
   1/2 tsp
    To sprinkle
    To taste
    a pinch

* Wash and pat dry the mangoes well. Grate it in the big holes. If  we grate the mango very finely, then the mangoes will become mushy.Take a pan, add oil , splutter with mustard seeds and urad dal.
* Slice the onions, slit the green chilly. Add it to the pan and saute till the onion turns translucent. Now dump the grated mango to the pan and saute. Sprinkle little salt and turmeric powder to the mango . When the mango is cooked, add the jaggery . It will melt and make a saucy pachadi. If we want we can add some water and make the pachadi, like a gravy. Adjust salt to taste.

Serve with curd rice. Mango pachadi, stays good for atleast a week in the fridge. Try my other version of Mango Pachadi here.

* We can add some dried neem flower at the end.
* Adjust the amount of jaggery according to our taste.
* Grate the mango , into big chunks.
* Adjust the amount of water according to our consistancy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Paal Poli -பால் போளி - Stuffed pooris- Tamil New Year recipes

     Wishing all my friends ,bloggers and well wishers a "Happy Tamilk New year" in advance.This dish , I discovered recently, due to some accident in my kitchen. I was preparing paal gova , but unfortunately, it was hard and become like mawa. I didn't want to waste it, as it tasted yumm. When I was googling some recipes with mawa stuffing, because, I know these mawa can be stuffed inside rotis. Stumbled upon Aart's space. It had the exact dish, which I was looking for. Without any delay, prepared theses pooris and indulged in its taste.This dish is prepared authentically for any festival. Actually, these pooris are served as such without filling. But it tasted heavenly with the filling. I also stuffed these sweetened mawa in rotis , it was too good . I served these stuffed rotis without the rabdi, kids loved it.

Preparation time:  10 mins
Cooking time     :  10 mins
Yield                  :  10

1.Maida                 -         1 cup
2.Rava                   -          2 tbsp
3.Baking soda         -          a pinch
4.Sugar                   -          1 tbsp
5.Sweetened mawa -         1/4 cup
6.Oil                        -         1 tsp + more for frying
7.Salt                       -        as needed
8.Water                   -         as needed
9.Nuts                      -      for garnishing

For Rabdi :
1.Whole milk        -        3 cups
2.Sugar                 -         3 tbsp
3.Cardamom pwdr-         a pinch

* First let us prepare the rabdi. Take milk in a bowl, bring it to boil. Now turn the heat to low and let the milk reduces to half. At last add sugar and cardamom powder. Check the sugar and adjust it according to your taste. Keep this ready.
* Take a mixing bowl, add all the ingredients except mawa. Knead it well and set it aside for 10 minutes. Roll it on a dusted flour , into thin rotis. Use a big cookie cutter and cut out thin pooris.
* Take the sweetend mawa, place each teaspoon on the poori. Leave out some space in the outer edge. Wet the edges of the poori with little water.Take another rolled poori and stick  it on top of the poori. Seal it properly, if  not the filling will come out, while frying it.We can also use a fork and press the edges slightly to give it a design.
* Fry the pooris in medium hot oil. Drain them  well on a paper towel. When the pooris are still hot, drop them in the rabdi. Let it soaked for atleast 10 minutes. Garnish them with some nuts and serve them chilled.

* The pooris has to be sealed well, if not the filling will come out ,while frying.
* We can also stuff the filling on rotis and give it as sweet rotis to kids. They will love it.
* The pooris has to be soaked well ,before serving.
* Rabdi should be in pouring consistancy.
* We can also stuff with any filling like dry fruits,paal gouva.
* These pooris can be stored in fridge for atleast a day.
* When soaking the pooris, either one should be hot, either the rabdi or the poori. Both should not be hot, then the pooris will become soggy.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Buttermilk Chicken - Prepared using brining process - Step by step

    Buttermilk chicken  is a succulent, juicy chicken ,which is prepared  by a process called "Brining". This is a process, where chefs make it in thier restaurants ,to make the chicken juicy and succulent. Uusually, this process is not revealed by the chefs , to anyone . The process is so simple though. I was watching Food network channel. One of the chefs  was explaining about the recipe. I noted it down . The process is so simple . Chicken is first brined in a bowl filled with salt water, for 24 hours , in the fridge. Then it is marinated (brined) in buttermilk for another 24 hours . On the third day, the chicken is dusted in flour mixture and deep fried. The chicken was too good . We enjoyed it thoroughly. 

1.Boneless.Chicken thighs                 -           4
2.Yogurt                                           -            1/4 cup
3.All purpose flour                             -           1/2 cup
4.Chilli pwdr                                      -            1 tsp
5.Pepper powder                               -            1/2 tsp
6.Crushed basil leaves                         -            a pinch
7.Salt                                                  -           as needed
8.Baking powder                                 -           a pinch
9.Oil                                                    -           for deep frying
10.Water                                              -           as needed

* Wash and clean the chicken well. Take a mixing bowl , add water and salt . Mix it well and place the chicken inside the bowl. Marinate it for 24 hours or a whole day in the refrigerator.This is called "brining" Brining, makes the meat so tender and succulent. This salt water will make the pores in the chicken to open up, so that it easily absorbs the flavours.

* After a day, take out the water and mix it with the yogurt . The mixture should be a thin  buttermilk. Again refrigerate the chicken for another day. The buttermilk should not be too sour.

* Take a plate, add flour,salt,baking powder,chilli powder,crushed basil leaves and pepper powder. Mix it with a fork. Add less salt, as it was brined with salt water before.

Mean while we can also dip the chicken in egg wash and coat it with bread crumbs. I didn't do that. I was ok with one dip.

* Now , on the third day, take the chicken out and dust it on the flour mixture , on bot the sides. Keep it for 5 minutes on a plate. For the coating to set , properly.

* Take a pan, pour oil and heat it well. Drop the chicken into the oil. Now reduce the flame  to medium low.
Cook the chicken till it is golden brown on both the sides, for atleast 5 minutes. Don't cook for longer time, then the outer covering will become crispy.
 * Drain the chicken on a paper towel . Serve with ketchup or any dip.

* Always, keep the chicken in the refrigerator, after it is brined.
* I have just dipped the chicken with flour mixture. We can also give the chicken a eggwash and dip it in the bread crumbs. And then deep fry them.
* We can also bake the chicken , instead of deep frying.
* The spices can be altered according to our taste.
* Be cautious ,while adding salt to the coating, as the chicken is brined with salt water.
* Adding baking powder, makes the outer covering flaky.

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