Thursday, March 30, 2006

Vyayanama Samvatsara Ugaadi Subhakankshalu

A very happy Ugaadi to all. Yet another year comes to an end. Lots of things happened last year. Most of them good and some not so good. That is the whole concept of life. I am getting way too philisophical here. Back to Ugadi talk. One thing that is made across all the households in Andhra on this day is "Ugadi Pachadi". Ugadi pachahdi signifies life as it is. Each ingredient that goes in has a meaning. All the flavors signify the Importance of the flavors in Life. "Jeevitam shadruchula sammelanam". Loosely translated it means " life is a mixture of all six varieties of tastes". This is the first thing that’s eaten after the puja is over and before the festival feast begins. Ingredients for Ugadi Pachadi Raw Mango/Mamidi Kaya - Pulupu/Sour Tamarind -Pulupu/Sour Neem Flowers - Chedu/Bitter Jaggery -Teepi/Sweet Fresh Sugarcane-Teepi/Sweet Coconut -Vagaru Green chilli -Karam/Hot Salt -Uppu Method Mango and coconut are grated. Pulp is taken out of tamarind. Green chillis are chopped into small pieces. Sugarcane is chopped into pieces. And then all the ingredients are mixed well. I used to substitute neem leaves with bitter melon juice.This year I am lucky to have neem flowers. Thank you very much Shyamala for mailing it all the way from New Jersy and Thank you Kavita for sharing it with me. If you have read so far, you should remember the festival feast I spoke about. :) Mamidikaya pulihora Oligalu/Bobbatlu/Bhakshalu/PooranPoli Alugadda vankaya koora/ Potato brinjal curry Vadiyalu/Papad. These are some of things that are the part of traditional meal. Today is a working day. Just made pulihora for lunch. May be I will cook a feast for the dinner. :):) Once again A very Happy Ugaadi to you all.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fave Five Snacks - 1 and 2. Mirchi Bajjis and Spicy puffed Rice

Rainy evenings and mirchi bajjis go hand in hand. This post is two birds in one shot. Two snack recipes for my Favourite Five series. Spicy Puffedrice/Karam borugulu and Mirchi Bajjis sit right in the top one and two slots of my Favourite snacks. Nothing like hot spicy mirchi bajjis on a rainy evening. Yesterday was an extremely wet day in LosAngeles. It rained non-stop. And all I could think of was mirchi bajjis the whole day. They actually popped up on my monitor at work!!!!!! The only way I could get them off my mind was to make and EAT them. :) In most of rayalaseema households mirchi bajjis and some kind of puffed rice/borugulu/maramaralu are spoken in the same breath. It could be plain puffed rice, Uggani or Spicy Puffedrice/Karam borugulu. We were in a mood for Karam borugulu. That’s what we had on a gloomy rainy evening. Ingredients for Bajji Yellow Chilli pepper - 6 Besan/Senaga pindi - 1.5 cups Jeera/Cummin seeds - 1 Tea spoon Onion- Chopped into small pieces Lemon wedges Salt to taste. Oil for deep frying. Method Heat one tea spoon oil in a pan. Add 2 table spoons of besan and crushed jeera and let them fry till the mixture is nice and brown. Slit the mirchis and deseed if you think its going to too hot. Else you leave the seeds in for the kick. Use the mixture for stuffing the mirchis. Add a little salt to besan and mix it with water. It should not be too watery nor too hard. The mixture should be thick enough to be able to drop in dollops. Heat the oil in a pan. Coat the mirchis well with besan and deep fry. Cool a little. Make a slit in the center. Stuff onions into it. Add few drops of lemon. Take a bite and you are sure to forget the gloomy weather. :):). Ingredients for Karam Borugulu puffed rice/borugulu/maramaralu. Peanuts Curry leaves Veinchina senagapappu/Dalia Karam/Redchilli Powder Chopped Garlic -Optional Salt Oil Method Heat oil in a pan. Add garlic and curry leaves. Add peanuts and let them fry. Add dalia and fry for few more minutes. Add salt and chilli powder and Immediately add puffed rice. Chilli powder will burn if you let it stay long. Mix well and enjoy with bajjis or just as is.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Salad & Sandwich - Entry for Make it in 30 Minutes

I have been meaning to do this post for the past three days. It has been a crazy weekend. Lots of things going on at work and at home too. But i REALLY REALLY wanted to do something for "Make it in 30 Minutes" And this is such a last minute entry. I am glad I am actually able to do it. I am totally waiting to check of the entries to this because as much as I love cooking, I would like to cook it in as less time as possible. Its achallege I pose to myself sometimes. How much of multi tasking can I do in the kitchen with out messing up things? I can multi-task resonably well but I think there is always more to learn. What can I cook in 30 minutes? That was the first question. I did spend sometime pondering over it and finally decided on sandwich and salad. I quite like open grilled sandwiches. My entry going to be " Grilled Cottage cheese and Bell pepper sandwiches and Simple Salad". Ingredients for sandwich Whole wheat bread Red, Green and Yellow bell peppers Yellow cilli pepper Paneer/ Cottage cheese. Tomatoes salt Olive Oil. Cut all the peppers. Crumble paneer. Heat oil in a pan and add all the peppers. wait for two minutes and add crumbles panner and salt. Saute for two more minutes. Cut tomatoes into round slices. Place them on the bread and arrange the pepper & paneer mix on it. Broil in the over for five minutes for a regular toast. I Like my toast burnt. So I put for seven minutes. Ingredients for simple salad. Romaine Lettuce Tomatoes Cucumbers Ranch Dressing. Method. Tear the lettuce. Chop tomatoes. Cut cucumber into round slices. Mix all of them well with ranch dressing in a bowl. The whole process will need a little multi tasking. Let me give you the detail of how I went through the process. Start heating the oil and the cut the peppers. Crumble paneer while peppers are being sauted. Cut tomatoes while waiting for the pepper/Paneer mixture. And the Make the salad while waiting for the sandwich. I am sure you will enjoy it if you decide to give it a shot. Tagged with: +

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Favorite Five -1.Non Vegetarian- Methi Keema

Did you guys think I was going to do five breakfasts before I move on?? Well that was the plan. How many of the best laid plans ever get converted into best actions? Very few and I speak from experience. Excuses, excuses for not getting doing things right. How many of you are thinking that right now? Who ever said yes got it RIGHT!!!!!!!! Are you surprised that you got it right?? I most definitely am not.:) That was the plan initially. But then, it means waiting for couple more days for the next breakfast item and I did not want to do that. I am ready with something else that falls into favorite category and I thought this needs to be posted, better today than tomorrow. :):) I am a non vegetarian. And I like my non- veg food, a lot. I have met a lot of vegetarians who respect my food habits I have had the opportunity to live a vegetarian roomie in school. Thankfully she was not a fussy person and it was OK with her to cook non- veg fare in our kitchen. I have also met my share people whose reactions range from wrinkling of their noses to pure HORROR when I say I am a non-vegetarian. Initially that would provoke me into getting into an argument. Over a period of time as I grew up (There are few people around who have their own doubts about my growing up part:))) I have learned to live with the fact that such people will always be around and I do not owe any sort of explanation to them about what I eat. It is a very personal choice, which does not require any approval from them.

What provoked this piece from me the posting of garam masala. Go ahead and read it here. The first non- veg item in this series is methi keema. The plate does look inviting right? This one is an absolute favorite in my home. Bribing Chapati/Paratha and methi keema as a meal, I can get a quite a number of things done at home :) This is the first time I used organic keema, one of the purchases from my organic store visit. And I found a remarkable difference in taste. To the recipe now. Ingredients Ground Lamb - 1 pound 1 Medium Red Onion chopped into small pieces Ginger Garlic Paste- 1 Table spoon Fresh methi - 1 bunch, take the leaves out Green chillies- 2, chopped into tiny pieces Oil- 1 Table spoon Salt, red chilli powder, garam masala to taste Method. Heat oil in a pan. Add methi leaves. Let them fry for about 2 minutes. Add onions and green chillies. Once onion looses its rawness, add ginger garlic paste and let them fry till onion gets a nice brown color. Crumble keema and add it to the onion mixture and mix well. Make sure no lumps are left. Cover and let it cook on a slow heat. Once it is half done, add salt and chilli powder. Mix well and let it cook completely. Add garam masala and leave it on for few more minutes on slow heat. Is this not a simple recipe? Had this with Spinach-cottage cheese roti, recipe courtesy SaffronHut.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Organic vs. Non-Organic- Would love to hear what you all think

Why am I asking this?? Well there is a reason. There is always a reason for everything right?:) Well, I visited an organic food store with the purpose of taking a look at things that they sell for the first time. I go to Trader Joes on and off but never really noticed stuff. The store that I went to is Wholefood Market. It’s a chain. It took us 15 minutes to find parking and the parking is exclusively for the store and I could not believe my eyes when I walked into the store. It was SWAMPED. There was so much crowd that we had to wait in a line to move between aisles. And this on a week day, during lunch time!!!!! I went out of curiosity, and after seeing the crowd, my curiosity multiplied many folds. Do you guys use organic food. If you do, do you find a difference in the usual food and organic? Do you have preference for certain kind of organic food? Do you think organic is way too over priced? These are just a few questions. Please fell free to say what you all think on this. I would really like to get your opinions.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Follow up on Ponganalu

Looks like ponganalu have their own share of faithful following. This is for people who want to make them but have no pan. Thanks Krishnaarjuna for letting me know that they are available here in US, but with just a different name. They are called aebleskiver pan. You can find the cast iron pan in target. You guys can take a look at it here. More Information about aebleskiver and its history is here. Hope this information is helpful to people who want to make this authentic dish.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Favourite Five Breakfasts2 - Uggani

Uggani, Borugula Tiragamatha/Puffed Rice Upma. Mouth wateringly delicious. Anyone wondering what Uggani is? It is an upma kind of preparation made with puffed rice. This I am pretty sure is typical to Rayalaseema and karnataka. There are a few different ways of making it. Different households make it differently, using one of the following lemon, tamarid or tomatos. In our house its usually made using tamarind. There is a small story behind how I make it though. I never made it while I lived in India. The very first time I wanted to make it after coming to US of A, I was expecting Sahithi and was craving Uggani like crazy. Like everyone else, I called home to get the recipe for mom. I knew all the ingredients. I had them all ready before I called. Daddy picks up the phone and tells me that mom went out. I cant put it in words how disappointed I was. So, he pacifies me and says "Its no big deal. I will tell you how to make it". This coming from my daddy, who never ever made it in his life. I asked him how will you know? He replies "I ate it enough number of times" and gave me the recipe of how he thought it should me made. I followed it exactly and LOVED it. Till date, its his recipe that I follow to make the FAVOURITE breakfast in our home. Ingredients Puffed rice - 7 OZ 1 big Onion- chopped into big squares Tamarind- size of a lime Curry Leaves green chillies Jeera/Cummin seeds Avalu/rai/Mustard seeds Garilc-2 big pods fistful of putlanlu/dalia/roasted chickpeas, finely powdered. Salt Oil Method Soak puffed rice in water for few minutes and then take all the water out. They become nice and soft after soaking in the water Soak tamarind in water and the take the pulp out Heat the oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. Once they start spluttering add curry leaves and onions. Make a paste of chillies, jeera,garlic and salt. Once onion starts browing, add the paste. Let it fry a little and the add the tamarind pulp. let it cook for few minutes . Onion soaks in some of the tamarind, add the soaked puffed rice. Mix well and add powered putnalu and let it be on the heat for few minutes. Putnalu power is very very important as it makes uggani dry and gives a unique taste. Please do not skip this, if you make it. Traditional way of eating uggani is with mirchi bajji. We were not patient enough to make bajjis. Uggani was tempting on its own. This is one recipe that I have made for quiten a few of my friends and they all really really liked it. Hope you guys will enjoy it too.


Please bear with me while I am trying to fix the side bar so that the navigation will be made easy on this site. Not all the drop down may work currently. I am in the process of making it better. Thank You all.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Favourite Five Series

I am back. Was not well past couple of weeks. Absolutely no energy to do anything. Now feeling much better. I did not realize how much I will miss blogging. :) This will be kickoff of a series of recipes. "Favorite Five". Thanks Indira for suggesting the name. Like I promised I will start off with "Favorite Five Breakfasts" These favorite things are in no order of preference at all. Now having said that it is time to kick off.

Favourite Five Breakfasts1-GuntaPonganalu

Today's breakfast item is "Gunta Ponganalu/Punugulu". Ponganalu are very typical to Rayalaseema. I have friends from other regions of Andhra but none of them are aware of "ponganalu". A special pan called "gunta ponganala patra" is used to make these, with main ingredient being leftover dosa batter.

In some other regions of Andhra, pretty similar recipe is made, but the batter is deep fried in oil and they are called "punugulu". As far as I know, making "Gunta ponganalu" in a pan is unique to rayalaseema and may be some parts of Karnataka.. Anyone reading this, please correct me if I am wrong. Now to the recipe with no further delay. Ingredients Leftover Dosa batter Chana dal Urad dal Onion - finely chopped Cilantro/Kottimera- finely chopped Curry Leaves Green chillies Cumin seeds/Jeera-1 tea spoon Oli - 1/2 Table spoon. Heat oil in a pan. Add jeera, chana dal, urad dal and curry leaves. Add chopped green chilli and onions. Once the onions loose the raw smell add this to the dosa batter along with chopped cilantro. We have the batter ready now. Heat the pan and put a spoonful of batter into each hole. Add one drop of oil on the batter. Let them cook on slow heat. Once they cook turn them over to the other side and let them cook completely. Seven can be made out of each batch. They are good to eat on their own because of the chilli and salt and other things that we have added. But the perfect thing to eat them with is the peanut chutney. Recipe for the chutney will be in a future post.

I remember standing in the kitchen with a plate in my hand waiting for mom to take them out of the pan directly into the plate and being warned of them being too hot to eat right away. ADDENDUM This is going to be my entry to Stephanie's Blogparty#8 Here is the followup on the availability of this pan in US of A

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Theme for my blog

I have been thinking about having a theme for my blog. I have been doing random recipes so far and thought it would be nice to have a theme in place and this is what I came up with. I call it "Five Things" because I lack in imagination. Thats all I could come up with. Now what are these "Five Things"? They would be a series of varieties of food like snacks, breakfasts, curries, rotis etc in fives. They would be south indian and I will try my level best to focus on food from rayalaseema. What do you guys think? I am hoping to start off with 5 breakfasts first. I would really appreciate any one visting this blog letting me know of what they think about this.

The art of Baking

I have tremendous amount of respect for people who can bake well. Baking is some thing that I have not explored and would like to. Everytime when Sahithi's birthday is around the corner, I go into this "I HAVE to learn to bake" mood. and then the phase goes away. I blame it on Eddie's Pastry shop. I dont know if I can ever ever come anywhere close to what they make in the looks and taste. Here is the sample of how they look. Pictures from Sahithi's birthday.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Filter Coffee

Coffee. How many agree with me that this is a synonym for elixir? I am sure at least a few would. to There are probably millions out there for who the day does not start with out their first cup of coffee. I used to be one of them. I was a coffeeholic. It took me a while to cut down my coffee consumption to what it is today which is 1 cup. And the cup I enjoy the most is not a capuccino, not any of the flavors available at work, not a cup of Java freshly brewed in starbucks, but steaming cup of frothy filter coffee. Coffee brings back so many memories. Back in India, mummy wakes up and the first thing she does is make the decoction for coffee. By the time we finished brushing, decoction is ready. She would make 2 cups one for her and one for me and we would sit in the balcony and talk about all the things. I would tell her about what happened in school/college, who fought with who, who is going steady with who and she would tell me about what's happening with her work. And some days we would just sit there and imagine what it would be like, a few years from that day. This routine never changed as long as I was home. This used to be the most relaxing time of the whole daya for both of us. Just sit there, sipping freshly made filter coffee,share, imagine and dream. This was one thing i TERRIBLY miss after coming to US. And I know she misses it too. This post is for you ma. Most of you would know what's in the picture. For people who dont, this is a coffee filter. Are you guys thinking how is coffee made in this thing?? Can you make it out that there are 2 parts to the filter? Ground coffee is spooned into the the top part which is perforated and the plunger is put and then boiling hot water is poured into it. In few minutes the brew collects in the bottom part. Milk and sugar are added to this brew and heated on stove top. It tossed a couple of time and then divinely aromatic, frothy filter coffee is ready. Its best had a steel glass. Not that it is going to taste any different in a cup, but somehow drinking it a steel glass just makes it taste better. Here is another picture of the filter.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Carrot Halwa/Gajar ka Halwa

I had lots of carrots in the fridge. My vegetable shopping is never complete with out buying some carrots as Sahithi is very fond carrots in both cooked and un cooked form. Guess i just bought too many over a couple of shopping trips and now too many carrots in the fridge. Had two options make carrot fry or carrot halwa. As usual hubby dear voted for carrot halwa. He has the sweet tooth. And then I have not made carrot halwa in probably more than a year. Takes too much effort to grate them. I know I can use the food processor, but some how that does not seem right to me. :) Finally finished grating carrots, made the halwa and finished eating the whole thing, and now is the time to blog (brag) about it. :):). Most of the recipes use milk in the making of halwa. I am usually a big fan of dairy products, but i like my halwa with out the milk. It takes a little longer for it cook, but its worth the few extra minutes for the taste. Now to the recipe with out any further ado. Ingredients Grated carrots - 3 cups Sugar - 1.5 cups, Can use more if you like it sweeter. unsalted butter - 1/2 cup cardamom cashewnuts raisins. Method Heat unsalted butter in a heavy bottem pan. Add the grated carrots once the butter melts. Now is the waiting part. Let the carrots cook on slow heat. Keep stirring it every few minutes. Once the carrots are 3/4 cooked, add sugar, mix well and let the carrots cook complelty. Add crushed cardamom. Granish with roasted cashewnuts and raisins. My favourite way to eat is hot carrot halwa and cold vanilla icecream together in a bowl. Sadly no icecream for anyone at home as all of us cought cold. So garam garam gajar ka halwa it was for the dessert.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Spinach with Soychunks

This is for the curry mela hosted by Tony of Anthony's kitchen. Spinach is something that I can never wrong with. I don’t mean it in a sense that I cook spinach well, which of course I do, but in a sense that Spinach can rarely not taste good. Palak dal Palak paneer Palak aloo Palak rice and the list can go on. This particular recipe is from my friend sweta. I ate it at her place a few months and was promptly bowled over by the taste. It tasted spinach alright, but it also had some thing very different, a very appealing flavor , the kind that fills you with a satisfaction to say "aaaaaaaaaaaaha" and then ask for more after the first bite. It is fresh methi leaves/fenu greek leaves. The combination of Spinach, methi and soy chunks can blow you away into a land of great smells and greater flavors and tastes. Now to the recipe with out any further delay. :) This will be a first from me. Posting the pictures as I go along and not just the end product.

Ingredients Spinach - 3 Big bunches, wash and chop Fresh methi/fenu greek - bunch, wash Soy chunks - 1.5 cups, boil in water for 5 minutes or microwave until soft Onion - 1 small chop into small pieces Ginger&Garlic paste -1/2 table spoon Oil, turmeric, Salt chilli powder accordingly Thanks to Indira for her tip on photography. Method. Heal oil in pan. Add onions. Once onions start browning add ginger&gralic paste. Leave it on for few minutes and then add methi leaves. You can smell methi being cooked. Add salt and turmeric Now's the time to add cooked soy chunks. I usually cut them into bite sized pieces . Let them cook for few minutes and then add spinach. Cover and cook. Once spinach is half done, add chilli powder, cover and cook completely. Spinach really shrinks in size and the quantity will go down quite a lot. I made it yesterday night in the same proportions and now I have very little left over after dinner. This will probably be enough for three people if eating with roti.

Sorry for posting pictures late. Had a little trouble with blogger today.