Sunday, October 28, 2012

Biriyani Kathirikkai - Muslim's Style / Brinjal in tangy gravy - Best accompaniment for biriyani

                 Muslim biriyani are very much adored by all. Their style in preparing biriyanis are awsome.They serve these biriyanis with a unique brinjal curry. I have tried  several recipes ,but was not satisfied.This particular recipe fulfilled my thirst of finding that brinjal recipe.My friend Saras prepared this curry at my house one day.From that day on,I am not preparing biriyani without this curry. Whenever I prepare this curry for potluck, it goes away within minutes.The original recipe didnt use jaggery,but I prefer to use it ,as it gives a tangy,sweet taste to the curry.You will also fell in love to this curry immediately.
For the curry:
1.Small eggplants   -        8
2.Tamarind extract     -    1 cup
3.Sambar pwdr  -   1 tsp
4.Turmeric powder  -   a pinch
5.pepper corns  -   1 tsp
6.Oil   -          1/4 cup
7.Jaggery    -     1 tsp
8.Salt   - to taste
9.Curry leaves   -   few
For grinding:
1.Peanut        -        1 tsp
2.Sesame seeds  -  1/2 tsp
3.Methi seeds   -    1/4 tsp
* Dry roast the peanut,methi and sesame seeds.Grind it into a powder.
* Wash and dry the brinjals.
* Slit the brinjals to have 4 cuts leaving the stems.Dont cut it fully,if not the brinjals will get mashed away.
* Take a pan,add oil and splutter with curry leaves and pepper corns.
* Add the slit brinjals and let it cook covered.
* Add the sambar pwdr,turmeric powder and turn the stove to simmer.
* Let the raw smell of the sambar powder go off.
* Now add the tamarind water and bring it to boil.
* When the curry is thickened ,add the grinded powder to the curry.Adjust salt to taste.
* Add the jaggery to the curry.
* Now turn the stove to simmer and cover the curry.
* Let the curry oozes out oil ,after 10 mins.
* Garnish with cilantro and turn off the stove.
* Serve with biriyani,kushka,pulao.
Chk the recipe for mutton biriyani here
* Adjust the thikness of the curry according to your preference.
* The spice levels an be altered acording to your taste.
* Take care not to mash the brinjals.
* Adding jaggery is purely optional,but I prefer it that way. 



Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Verkadalai Sundal / Peanut Sundal - Navarathiri special

 Happy Saraswathi pooja,Ayudha pooja to my readers,friends and family.May god bless u all with abundant health and wealth. Here is a simple sundal to celebrate this special occasion.Usualy I
will prepare any sundal for evening snack.Today I prepared this verkadalai sundal for the neivedhyam.

Neivedhyam !!!
    Peanuts are rich in nutrients,and has high antioxidants than in carrot or beetroot. It is rich in niacin also.Serving a hand full boiled peanut ,helps to fight against cardio vascular disease. So we  can have it roasted or boiled. 
I have used dry peanuts,we can also use raw peanuts,which need not be soaked.Just boil the peanuts and temper it.
* Wash and soak the peanuts for 2 hours.
* Pressure cook for 2 whistles or untill, it is cooked well.
* Take a panl,add oil and temper with mustard seeds,urad dal ,red chillies,urry leaves and hing.
* Now transfer the boiled peanuts to the pan and toss it.
* Adjust salt to taste.
* Garnish with shredded coconut .
* Serve with a cup of coffee.

* Make sure the peanuts are cooked 90 %, if not there are chances for the peanut to over  cook
* We can also cook the peanut in a saucepan,with salt.
* We can also add chilli pwdr to saute ,instead of red chillies.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Navarathri Golu - A detailed post about the custom of displaying dolls during Navarathri

    During the festival of Navratri in South Indiaa it is customary in the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, as well as in some Tamil communities within Sri Lanka, to display"Golu" .These display ,teaches kids about the custom and stories about  the god.
        When people come to a person's house to see the Kolu, usually they are given prasadam (the offering given to God that day), kumkum and a small bag of gifts. These are only given to girls and married women. In the evenings, a "kuthuvilakku" (small lamp) is lit, in the middle of a decorated "kolam", before the Kolu Kolu is displayed for 9 days (nights) ,they are called navaratri.
       On the 9th day (Saraswati Puja), special pujas are offered to Goddess Saraswati – the divine source of wisdom and enlightenment. Books and musical instruments are placed in the puja and worshipped as a source of knowledge. Also, tools are placed in the pooja as part of "Ayudha Pooja". Vehicles are washed and decorated, and puja is performed for them.
       The 10th day, "Vijayadasami" – is the most auspicious day of all. It was the day on which evil was finally destroyed by good. It marks a new and prosperous beginning. New ventures started on this day are believed to flourish and bring prosperity.  In the evening of "Vijayadasami", any one doll from the "Golu" is symbolically put to sleep and the Kalasam is moved a bit towards North to mark the end of that year's Navaratri Golu.These are the interesting facts about Kolu from wikipedia.
            Recently, we were invited for a Golu at my friend Gayathri's house.This is my first Kolu in US.So I was impressed with the theme and the display.I wanted to write a post elaborately to show and teach Rohith about the custom and story behind each god.So here is the display of all the gods .

Kalasam is the main feature of Kolu.Where it is decorated as the goddess's face and offered poojas daily.Where deeparadhanai is performed daily for this kalasam.
Here is the Kailash mountain,where Lord Shiva resides with Parvathy,Lord Ganesha and Lord Muruga.Nandhi serves for Lord Shiva.The whole family enjoying a narthanam .

  Ashtalakshmis are a group of eight Lakshmis ,who gives eight forms of wealth to people.They are Adhi Lakshmi - who is a great Lakshmi, Dhana Lakshmi - who gives money,Dhanya Lakshmi - who gives grain,Gaja Lakshmi - who gives animal wealth ,Santana Lakshmi - who gives offsprings,Veera Lakshmi - who gives courage,Vijaya Lakshmi - who gives victories, Vidya Lakshmi - who gives knowledge,Aishwarya Lakshmi - who gives riches,Saubaghya Lakshmi - who gives prosperity,Vara Lakshmi - "goddess who bestows boon"

           This particular display depicts a scene from "Rmayanam",where Lord Hanuman forms a chair for himself ,with his tail as he was not offered a chair at Ravanan's Court. Lord Hanuman, has come to talk about Sita.

Dasavatharam is the ten incarnations took by Lord Vishnu to save the world.  Here are they.
 * Matsya Avatar  - Lord vishnu ,took a fish avatar to destroy a asuran,who stole all the vedas and shastras form the pandits.
*Koorma Avatar - In this,Lord vishnu took a tortoise( Koorma) avatar ,to balance the mountain while the devas and asuras started churning the ocean to get "Amirtham"
 *Varaha Avatar - Lord vishnu took a Pig (Varaha ) avatar to save the earth ,which was hidden by the asura named "Hiranyaksha"
 *Narasimha Avatar - Lord Vishnu took this Lion avatar to save his devotee "Pragaladha " from his demon father "Hiranyakasibu"
 *Vamana Avatar - This is the fifth incarnation of Lord Vishnu ,who become like a vaman ( A dwarf ) to destroy the arrogance of "Mahaballi ".Lord vishnu,disguised as a vamana and asked 3 foot land.One foot of Badhala Logam,one foot of mel logam and mahabali gave his head for the third foot.This way,Mahaballi lost his arrogance and the wish to conquer all the world.

* Parasurama Avatar - This is the sixth avatar of Lord Vishnu,where he took that of a obedient son Parasurama.
* Rama Avatar - This avatar is also known as Dharma Avatar ,to tell the world that one should have only one wife and should also be loyal to her.
* Balarama Avatar - Balarama is the brother of Lord Krishna in Mahabaratha.
* Krishna Avatar - This is the very important avatar,where Lord Krishna destroys the Gauravas and saves Pandavas.
* Kalki Avatar - This is the last avatar,where Lord Vishnu,saves people from all sins .
     Here is Madhurai Meenakshi,enjoying the vilakku  pooja offered by Sumangalis at her temple.

   Pittuku Mann Sumandha Kadhai:
         This is very intersting story about Lord Siva at "Thiruvanaikkal Temple" . The King wanted to build a temple for Lord Shiva.He ordered all the house hold to send a man to work as a labourer.There was one lady,who was old cannot go and work.So she asked a man,who was walking near her house to go for the temple's work ,in turn he will get Pittu ( A sweet dish ) for his work.
      This man,went to the temple,and danced,slept without working.The supervisor got angry and whipped him ,immediately the pain was felt by all the people in the world.Yes the man who worked for pittu is Lord Shiva .And he came to help that old lady and to shower the blessings to the people.

 Here is the beautiful statues of Lord Rama,Lakshmana and Sita,with Lord Hanuman.

Radhe and Krishna , having good time together, swinging on a swing....

                       Here are the different kind of vinayagar statues playing the musical instruments.

         This set of dolls ,depicts the marriage ceremony of Hindu people.Where the bride and the groom are dressed in dhotis and sarees.They were seated in front of the kalasam to tie the holy thread " thaali".With friends and relatives offering blessings.

                                                This set ,displays the jungle with  lot of animals.

This set displays the park,where kids enjoy watching animals and musicians.

          These are the pictures I wanted to share with u people .While preparing for this post,I referred so many sites and learnt a lot about vedas.Its like brushing my memory .I was so happy to learn and share my knowledge about the custom of displaying Kolu.I am very much thankfull to Gayathri's family for thier invitation .We enjoyed full south Indian meal at thier house  after visiting the Golu.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tomato Soup with home made Croutons

       My Readers would have been puzzled ,why I am not posting non - veg recipes for the past 1 month .The reason is we are on a fast for the past 1 month as it is the holy month of "Purattasi" . We will not take non -veg in this month. This month is very special for " Lord Venkatesa ".And it is celebrated elaborately in his temple at Tirupathi - a holy hill in Andhra Pradesh.Rohith was asking me "Mom can't we take just chicken nuggets ? " .I cannot control my laughter hearing this.Even he was in a fast with us ,sacrifising his chucken nuggets and egg omlett. 
         Coming to the recipe,Rohith was asking me to prepare tomato soup for long. I got time now only. We can prepare tomato soup in two ways,either we can prepare it only with tomatoes or with tomato and some veges.I would love to sneak in some veges in my soup to make it more healthy.So I have added carrot and capsicum.Adding capsicum will enhance the flavour.Adding basil leaves will bring the restaurant touch to the soup.Since I did not have croutons,prepared it at home wasily.Will post the plain tomato soup soon.
For the Soup:
1.Tomatoes                 -       2 (big)
2.Onion                       -       1/2
3.Carrot                       -       1/2
4.Capsicum                 -        1/2
5.Butter                       -         2 tbsp
6.All purpose flour      -         1 tbsp
7.Basil leaves               -         1/2 tsp
8.Cumin seeds              -         1/4 tsp
9.Salt                            -          to taste
10.Pepper pwdr            -          to taste
11.Heavy Cream           -         1/4 cup
For the Croutons:
1.Bread slices                -         2
2.Olive oil                      -         2 tbsp
3.Garlic powder              -         1 tsp
Method :
Making the  Crouton:
* Take ths bread slices and cut into cubes.
* Let the bread slices be kept in the counter top for half an hour,this helps the bread to dry partly .This helps the croutons to be fried quickly with less oil.
* Take a pan,add olive oil and ,when it is hot,dump in the bread slices and toss it in medium flame .
* The bread slices will be fried evenly in all sides.
* Now add the garlic powder ,basil leaves and mix well.
If you dont have garlic powder handy,no issues.When the olive oil is hot,add some crushed garlic pods.When the garlic pods are fried well ,remove the garlic pods.As the olive oilw ould have taken the garlic flavour from the pods. And toss the bread cubes to the oil and fry.
Making the Soup :
* Take a wide pan,a tabsp of butter,add cumin seeds and chopped onion.
* When the onion turns translucent,add the cubed carrot and capsicum.
* Sprinkle some salt and toss it.
* Cover and cook it ,in medium low heat.
* When the veges are cooked partly,add the cubed tomatoes.
* Let the tomatoes get mashed well.
* When the veges are fully cooked, transfer it to a blender . Let it cool completley
*. Grind the mixture well and filter it.

* Now take another pan ,add butter .When the butter is hot,add the flour and saute it till it turns golden brown.Take care not to blacken the flour.This step is essential to make the soup a bit thicker..
* Now pour the grinded puree to the pan and bring it to boil.
* Add salt ,pepper to your taste.
* Turn off the stove and add heavy cream to the soup. Finally drizzle some basil leaves.
* Serve with croutons on the top.

* We can also fry the bread slices in ghee for a richer aroma and taste.
* We can also saute the veges in butter,which I have avoided ,as I am a weight watcher :)
* Adding basil leaves brings out the restaurant taste to the soup.
* If you want your soup to be so colourfull ,we can also add some edible red colour to it.
* Add the croutons to the soup,while serving,if not it will be soggy.
* We can also keep the bread cubes on the counter for overnight ,so it becomes dry.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Chum Chum - A bengali delicacy / Celebrating my blog's 2nd anniversary

         During the end of sep 2010 ,I started this blog,where I started posting pictures,which I took to show it to my parents,that I too can cook :) My friend Ramya,introduced me to this blogging world and taught me how to create posts. Now when I turn back through the journey, I travelled in this virtual world which  taught me a lot.Cooking and photography,both has improved a lot,because of blogging. I am not bragging, but its my confession. But after Ashwath's birth,I have contained to one post a week,as I could not find ample time to take pictures and post .Now a days,started taking pictures when H is at home and then posting them.In the midst ofheavy work,I am enjoying this hobby turned passion.Hope will not leave this passion.
         I prepared this sweet for my mom.She love it and thoroughly enjoyed this.

For the paneer
1.Milk              -             4 cups or 1 litre
2.Lemon juice  -             1/4 cup
3.Water             -             2 tsp
4.Orange colour -            few drops (optional)

For the syrup:
1.Sugar             -              2 cups
2.Water             -              5 cups

For garnishing:
1.Dessicated coconut -      2 tbsp
2.Raisins                    -       few
3.Saffron                    -       a pinch
Preparing the paneer:
* Take a heavy bottomed pan ,add milk and bring it to boil.
* Mix the lemon juice with water.
* When the milk comes to rolling boil,add the diluted lemon juice .
* Keep adding the lemon juice,untill the milk is curdled.
* The milk should be curdled completely .
* Take the curdled milk and strain it.
Washing the paneer in running water
* Now we will get the paneer in the wash cloth,with the whey separated from it.
* Wash the paneer in running water and rinse it.
* This step is essential in removing the lemon flavour from the paneer.
* Drain the paneer for half an hour ,by tying the wash cloth and hang it in a hook.

Tying the paneer in the wash cloth

* After half an hour,remove the wash cloth and place the paneer in a plate.
* Now to check the paneer is ready,take a small portion of paneer and rub in ur hand for about 10 to 15 minutes and it should form a smooth ball.This is the correct stage for paneer.

A perfect paneer!
* Now knead the paneer for about 5 minutes into a smooth soft dough,which doesn't stick to your hands. If you think that the paneer is crumbly,add few drops of water to make it perfect.* Add few drops of orange food colour to the paneer and knead it.
* Divide the paneer into 8 equal sized balls and shape them into oval.

Preparing the syrup:
* Take a wide pan,add water  and bring it to boil.Now add the sugar and stir to dissolve it well.As the chum chums will double in size,make sure we cook it in a wide mouthed pan.
* Add the paneer balls tothe syrup and bring it to boil.Then turn it to medium and cook it covered for 10 minutes.
* Now flip the chum chums and cook it for 15 more minutes in medium heat.
Check the paneer is cooked well.A perfect chum chum will have pores in it.Now turn off the heat and let the chum chums sit for 10 minutes in the syrup.
* Once the chum chums are cooled,take it out from the syrup,roll and serve it chilled.

Garnishing :
* Take dessicated coconut in a blender and pulse it .
* Once the chum chums are taken out from the syrup,roll it on the coconut and garnish with raisins.
* Sprinkle some saffron strands.

* Wash the paneer thoroughly,in running water to eliminate the sourness from the lemon juice,if not the paneer will have a tangy taste .
* Don't remove the moisture completely from the paneer.If you feel the paneer is crumbly,then go ahead and add some water.
* Adding food colour is optional.
* We can also use fresh coconut,but make sure we finish those chum chums very quickly


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