Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Easy Tomato Thokku / தக்காளி தொக்கு - Travel special tomato preserve for idli,dosai and chapathi - Step by step

        Tomato thokku or preserve is similar to a pickle,where in pickle making, we sun dry the tomatoes.But in making preserve, we don't dry the tomatoes. I tasted this thokku at my In-law 's place for the first time. It tasted too good.So when my MIL came to Dallas, asked her to prepare the thokku and took pictures. Unfortunately, missed the final picture. After that, I have prepared this thokku several time, but didn't took pictures. So when we planned our "Chicago" trip, this weekend, I know ,what I am going to make. Yes, my MIL's special tomato preserve. The reason, is this thokku stays fresh for atleast a week. We took some idlies,and rotis. It tasted heavenly ,with idlies and dosais. This is a fool proof recipe, I would say and also my Family's traditional recipe.

         Actually, on the final day, we were having this thokku in our car and travelling the whole day, without refrigerating. To our surprise, this thokku stayed fresh, even after, keeping it in the car. The reason is, sesame oil.It keeps the thokku fresh. Also, it should be kept in a clean container. You can prepare this thokku in bulk and use it whenever needed.My friend, who came with us ,for the trip, enjoyed the preserve very well. She insisted me to post the recipe.Hence the recipe today.Prepare this easy tomato thokku and enjoy.

Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking Time : 1 hour (approx)
Yield : 1 kg (approx)

1.Tomatoes - 10 (big) about 4 kg
2.Ginger - 1 inch
3.Garlic pods - 4 to 5
4.Cinnamon sticks - 2
5.Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
6.Chilli powder - 1 tbsp
7.Salt - to taste
8. Cooking oil + Sesame oil - 1 cup

 *  The more the tomatoes are juicier, the time to cook  , increases . So select tomatoes according to the time, you have in hand. Wash the tomato and pat it dry. Cube the tomatoes .Take a blender , add ginger,garlic pods,cinnaman sticks and fennel seeds. Grind them into a fine paste.Don't add water while grinding.
* Take a wide pan. It should be heavy bottomed. Add 3/4 cup of the oil  and heat it.Now add tomatoe cubes. Let it cook in medium flame.Sprinkle little salt, for the tomatoes to cook fast.

* After 15 minutes, the tomatoes would have been mashed well.Now add the grinded ginger garlic paste to the pan.Cook it till the raw smell dissappears.Mean while, add oil little by little.
* After half an hour, the tomato would have been cooked well. at this point, add the chilli powder. We can either use plain chilli powder or sambar powder. If we use plain chilli powder, we will get a bright red colour thokku.I mixed both chilli powder and sambar powder.It tasted good.
* Once, the raw smell of the chilli powder vanishes, turn the flame to low. Add the remaining oil to the pan.Thokku will start to shrink in its volume and oozes out oil.Adjust salt to taste. By now the tomato thokku would have shrink to 1/4 of its initial volume.Turn the stove off. Let the thokku cool completely.Store in air tight - sterlized containers.Serve for idli,dosai and chapathi. Even curd rice  goes very well.

* Always dry the tomatoes,before cooking it.
* Sesame oil will make the thokku to stay fresh for atleast 10 days ,in the refrigerator,
* We can also saute the ginger garlic paste first and then add the tomatoes. But make sure you don't burn the paste.Because, burnt ginger garlic paste,will give slight bitterness to the thokku.
* Always use clean container to store the thokku, if not it will spoiled soon.Store the thokku in refrigerator .It stays good for atleast a week in refrigerator.
* Always use a clean spoon, whenever you take the thokku.
* Don't add more ginger and garlic, then the thokku will have a strong flvour from the garlic.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Kovai Hotel Angannan special Chicken biriyani - கோவை அங்கண்ணன் ஹோட்டல் பிரியாணி - step by step

  Its been so long, I posted a recipe. Blame it on the laptop. It was broke.I was waiting for the laptop to get repaired.Mean while, I was preparing so many recipes and archiving. Had a good vacation in "Chicago". Got some time to post today, besides tiredness :)

   Recently, saw this recipe in a cooking show, by a Chef.The name grabbed my attention.The recipe, stated that the biriyani will taste good, when we use seeraga samba rice instead basmati rice. I had a small bag of seeraga samba rice - which i got from India. So used it.Samba rice will be small compared to the basmati rice, but when we cook it, the aroma is too good.It tastes too good. The biriyani is spiced up using green chillies. So alter the number of green chillies according to your taste. This biriyani doesn't need tomatoes. It is replaced by curd and lemon juice.
To grind :
1.Pearl onions  -  5 or 7
2.Green chillies -  4
3.Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
4.Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
5.Cinnamon sticks - 1/4 inch
6.Cloves - 4
7.Cardamom - 2
For biriyani :
0.Chicken - 1 kg
1.Seeraga samba rice - 2 cups
2.Big onion - 1 1/2
3.Green chillies - 4
4.Mint leaves - 1/2 cup
5.Cilantro - 1/2 cup
6.Cinnamon sticks - 1 or 2
7.Cardamom - 2
8.Cloves - 4
9.Bay leaves - 3
10.Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
11.Water - 4 cups
12.Curd - 1/4 cup
13.Salt - to taste
14.Oil - 1/4 cup
15.Ghee - 2 tbsp

* Slice the big onion thinly,chop the mint leaves and cilantro well.Take seeraga samba rice or jeera rice, wash it well and soak it for atleast 30 minutes.If you don't have samba rice, we can just replace it with basmati rice. Just use 3 cups of water instead of 4 cups.
* Take a blender, add small onions,green chillies,cinnamon sticks,cardamom,turmeric powder and ginger garlic paste. Blend them well, without any chunks. Wash the chicken well for 4 or 5 times. Finally wash it with turmeric powder. Turmeric powder will remove the raw smell of the chicken. Add the grinded paste to the chicken ,along with curd.Add little salt to the chicken.Marinate for atleast 15 minutes. If you have time, marinate it overnight.
 * Take a biriyani pan or a heavy bottomed pan.Add oil and heat it. When the oil is hot, add whole garam masala ( cinnamon sticks,cardamom,cloves and bay leaves ). Add the green chillies, it should burst out. Now add the sliced onion  ,chopped mint leaves and saute till golden brown. This is very essential to get a flavourfull biriyani.Add little salt to the onion ,for it to cook soon.When the onion is golden brown, add the marinated chicken to the pan.
* Saute the marinated chicken with the onion.When the chicken is cooked , add the soaked rice and fry it along with the chicken. We can also fry the rice separately in a pan. Frying the rice will make it to stay separated, without messing.
* Mean while , heat 4 cups of water to rolling boil. Add it to the pan. This hot water ,will make the cooking process to speeden up.If you don't wat, just add cold water. Cover the pan and cook the biriyani in medium fla.Adjust salt to taste now.Add the lime juice now.

* When the biriyani is 90% done, add chopped cilantro and turn the flame to low. Drizzle the ghee on top and cover the pan and let it cook in "dhum" for the next 10 minutes. Once the biriyani is cooked, mix it using a fork and serve with raita.

* This biriyani, doesn't use chilli powder, so try to adjust the spice level, by altering the green chillies.
* We can also use basmati rice instead of samba rice. But use less water than the samba rice.
* Using hot water to cook the biriyani is purely optional.It decreases the cooking time.
* Don't skip the marination part. Marination makes the chicken tender.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Masala Tea /Chai Masala / டீ மசாலா தூள் / Friendship 5 series / Step by step

    Tea is considered as a medicional drink rather than a recreational beverage. Because it has less caffiene compared to coffee. The masala we add to the tea can cure number of deiseases. I usually prepares the masala at home. If I don't have the masala, atleast I will crush and add some ginger and cardamom  to make it flavourfull. Whenever we feel, sick this masala chai gives a refreshment always.

India and Tea are in separable. India has lot of tea estates next to Srilanka. My brother, usually packs some tea packets when he visits us from "Assam". Recently,when I visited India, checked this beautiful tea estate in "Manjolai". The area was so cool and calm.There was only one bus, which runs up and down the mountain. Here is the picture of "Manjolai " Tea Estate.Cute ?

1.Cardamom - 4
2.Dry ginger - 1 inch piece
3.Cloves - 7
4.Cinnamon sticks - 3
5.Nutmeg - 1
6.Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
* Take all the ingredients in a blender.
* Pulse it to form a powder.
* The powder should be very fine.
* We can also use lemon grass to the powder. This is optional. I didn't get lemon grass here in US.

                                                  To make masala Chai !!!
1.Milk - 2 cups
2.Tea masala - 1 tbsp
3.Sugar - 2 tsp
4.Tea powder - 1 tbsp.

* Take milk in a pan, bring it to boil.
*  Add the tea powder and simmer the stove.
* When the tea is brewed, add the masala and turn off the stove.
* Strain the tea ,add sugar and serve.

* Add the required amount of sugar ,tea masala and tea powder.
* If you want a strong tea, then add more masala powder.

Linking this to "Friendship 5 Series " started by Geetha and me.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Chicken Masala Powder - சிக்கன் மசாலா தூள் - Friendship 5 Series - Step by step

      Chicken masala powder gives an extra flavour to the curry. Its a special blend of spices, with which we can marinate the chicken or use as a rub.We can just grind them in batches and store it in airtight containers. Whenever we need, just add a tsp or two. We can also use our normal chilli powder along with this powder. Adding curry leaves ,elevates any dish. This powder can also be used to all non veg dishes, but mainly it goes well with chicken. Keep this magic powder in your cub boards, you will not be bored of making chicken :)

Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 5 minutes
Grinding time : 2 minutes
Yield : 50 gm

1.Red chillies - 6 to 8
2.Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
3.Fennel seeds - 1 tbsp
4.Pepper corns - 1 tsp
5.Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
6.Cinnamon sticks - 3
7.Cardamom - 2
8.Curry leaves - 20
* Take all the ingredients in a plate. Make sure all the ingredients are clean ,without any weeds.

* Take a pan, dry roast the ingredients together. Saute them, till nice aroma comes out of the pan.
* Cool the ingredients completely and grind them. Store the masala in a air tight container.

* We can alter the amount of ingredients according to our taste.
* We can also add some,cloves,nutmeg .
* Curry leaves adds a magic touch to the powder. So don't miss them.

Linking this to "Friendship 5 Series" started by Geetha and Savitha

Paruppu Podi - பருப்பு பொடி - Dhal mix for rice / Step by step

      Paruppu podi is a very special powder, to mix with the rice. In Chennai, there is a very famous store called " Ambiga Appalam Depot " - T.nagar. My H is an ardant fan of that powder. Whenever ,we go for vacation, he used buy in bulk . There are days, where he or his dad will go hunt for this store in "Tambaram".  In that store, not only paruppu podi, there are appalam, instant mixes and so many powders, he will buy. I ran out if this podi, now. So started preparing my own paruppu podi now. It smells yumm, when we add the powder to the rice along with sesame oil or ghee. When we come back home , after a long day, this powder comes handy. Just rice and papad will go together. To this powder, we can also add some garlic pods and curry leaves and grind. It will give a nice aroma to the powder.

Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 5 minutes
Grinding time : 5 minutes
Yield : 100 gm approx

1.Toor dal - 1/2 cup
2.Red chillies - 4 to 5
3.Pepper corns - 1/2 tsp
4.Hing - a pinch
5.Roasted gram (pottukadalai) - 2 tbsp
6.Oil - 1 tsp
7.Salt - as needed

* Take the ingredients needed and keep it ready.
* Take a pan, add oil. When the oil is hot, add all the ingredients  . Roast them till, the dal turns golden brown. Add hing at last.
* Grind the ingredients to a fine powder. Now add the roasted gram and salt. Grind it well.

* Store this powder in air tight container and store in a cool,dark palce. Serve it with white rice ,with a dallop of oil or ghee. Pappad goes well with this podi rice.

* We can also add 2 to 4 garlic pods and some curry leaves. It will give a nice flavour and punch to the powder.
* Paruppu podi stays fresh for almost a month, when stored properly.
* We can also add some chana dal to the mix. I didn't add any.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Home made garam Masala masala powder/ கரம் மசாலா தூள் / Step by step - Friendship 5 series

        For the third day of "Friendship Series", I selected garam masala powder. This powder is a must in all "North Indian " dishes. In the beginning, I used to buy this powder from shop. But now started preparing my own powder. It is fresh, when we grind it at home. Always grind garam masala powder in small quantities. Because, it looses its aroma quickly. Nutmeg has a strong flavour, so always use it less. When we prepare a gravy, just add a tsp of garam masala at the end. One of my Senior and my blog follower, asked for this recipe long back. I was postponing this post for so long. This event made me to post the recipe. Enjoy this powder for every curry.

1.Bay leaves - 1/2 cup
2.Cinnamon sticks - 1 1/4 tbsp
3.Pepper corns - 1 1/4 tbsp
4.Cardamom - 2 tbsp
5.Cloves - 2 tbsp
6.Nutmeg - 3 
7.Cumin seeds - 2/3 cup or 3 tbsp
* Measure all the ingredients and keep it ready. Make sure all the ingredients are perfectly dry. Or just dry it under sun for half an hour. The amount of bay leaves and nutmeg can be decreased, as they have a strong flavour. 

* Transfer the ingredients to the blender and pulse it. The mixture should be fine powder. If you feel the mixture is grainy, then pulse it again. We can also sieve the mixture to a fine powder.

* Store it in air tight containers.Whenever ,we want to add, just add a tsp of garam masala.

* Don't store the masalas in glass containers. Because, the glass container can absorb the aroma of the powder.
* Always store in cool and dark place.Sunlight will easily take away the aroma.
* Always grind the garam masala in small quantities, as it may loose it freshness easily.
* For any dish, just add little garam masala,as they tend to over power the dish.

Linking this to "Friendship 5 Series " started by "Geetha" and "Savitha"

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Spicy Idli podi / பூண்டு மிளகாய் பொடி / Side dish for idli and dosa / Friendship 5 Series

   Today, for "Friendship 5 Series" under the theme " Home made powders ", I am going to post idli podi or gun powder . Idli podi has always a connection between us and our mother. When she runs out of time to prepre any side dish for idli or dosai, she strainghtaway grabs this podi and serves us. Usually, idli dosai or pongal will be our morning breakfast. It provides the necessary nutrients to our body. Idli podi comes handy, when we travel . Just aplly this podi all over the idli and pack it. It stays good for atleast 2 days, without oil.
     Idli podi is an essential asset in every South Indian household. Its a combination of dals, with red chillies. Usually my MIL will prepare it with garlic pods. This was new to me. My mom powders in a different way. Adding garlic ,gives a nice aroma to the podi and a punch. But my Mil uses less red chillies, compared to the amount given here. This podi can be served with  little sesame oil. Check my mom's version of idili podi Here .

1.Urad dal - 1 cup
2.Chana dal - 3/4 cup
3.Red chillies - 15 to 20
4.Garlic pods - 9 to 10
5.Roasted gram ( pottukadalai) - 1 tbsp
6.Curry leaves - a hand full.
7.Salt - as needed
8.Hing - a pinch
10.Oil - 1 tsp

* Take all the ingredients and keep it ready. The amount of red chillies depend upon your spice level. Since we also add garlic pods,   it will be spicy, so try to alter the number of red chillies. Take urad dal ,little more than the chana dal always. It will give very good taste to the powder.

* Add little oil to the pan. Roast the ingredients one by one,except roasted gram (pottukadalai).When we are about to turn off the stove, add hing.Let the ingredients cool completely. We can also dry the curry leaves and powder it or just roast it with all the ingredients.Add salt to the mixture.

* Grind the roasted ingredients upto 80% powdered. Now add the roasted gram to the blender and grind it finely. Store it in air tight container. Mix it with gingely oil and serve with idli or dosai.

Linking this to "Friendship 5 Series" started by Geetha and me.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Instant Badam Milk Powder - Step by step - Friendship 5 Series

    Happy to post my first entree to the "friendship 5 Series" . This is an interesting series, where we post 5 recipes per month on one theme. The thought of making some recipes will always be in our minds, but some or the other we will postponing . That particular thought made me to think about this event. So we are going to post recipes on the theme " Home made powders" this month.
      When we think of home made powders there are so many of them, we would have been buying it from shop. Though those store bought powders are good, but not too good. They are not economical too. So making at home is too good ,economical and fresh . Today's recipe instant badam milk powder is very easy, nutritious and tasty. I have tried store bought badam milk powders. They don't taste good. They have preservatives too. Its easy to prepare the badam milk powder.Badam milk can be prepared within 5 minutes for our guests, if we have this powder at home. Kids will love the flavour.
1.Almonds (Badam) - 1/4 cup or 20 pieces
2.Cashews - 10 pieces
3.Pistachios - 2 tbsp ( crushed)
4.Dried Dates - 4 (seedless)
5.Saffron - a pinch
6.Cardamom - 2

* Since I didn't have dried dates with me, just dried some fresh dates. Cut the dates into small pieces and keep in your counter top, overnight. It will dry beautifully.If you don't have time, then just dry roast them on  a  tawa.

* Take a pan, heat it well. Now turn off the heat and drop the saffron strands in it. This will make the saffron strands to toast. It will be easy for us to powder these strands.Don't try to roast the saffron strands in direct flame, then it will start to blacken quickly.
* Take 1/4 cup sugar to add it to the blender. Amount of sugar depends on how much sweet tooth you have. If you find the sugar level is les, you can add to the milk, when you are about to prepare "Badam milk".

* Now cool the saffron strands and transfer it to the blender along with almonds,pistachios,cashes, dried dates sugar and cardamom pods. Pulse them to form a smooth powder.Store this powder in a air tight container or a ziploc and store it in refrigirator .

To prepare Badam milk !!!

  When we are about to prepare the badam milk, just heat the milk very well. It should be thickened to some extent. Then add a spoon or more to the milk and stir. Adjust sugar to your taste. Serve hot or chilled. I loved both. In the below picture, the first cup is light in colour, because I added one tsp of badam milk powder. But in the second cup, I have added more than 1 tsp and hence the dark colour. So it depends how much deep colour you want your badam milk to be.

    In the below picture, the first cup is made out of 2 tsp of badam milk powder. The second glass has only 1 tsp of badam milk powder. The more we add the powder, the darker colour we get.

* We can add some dried fruits like prunes to the mix. We can alter the amount of cashew or pistachios, but make sure the amount of almonds should be more.
* The badam milk powder should be kept in refrigerator .
* We can also blanch the almonds and toast them in a pan. We can also toast the other ingredients in a pan or in a microwave.
* Add the sugar according to your taste.
* The saffron and cardamom can also be added ,while preparing the milk. 
* It stays fresh for about a month in the refrigerator.

Linking this to "Friendship 5 Series " started by me and Geetha Achal

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