Saturday, May 13, 2006

I Moved.

I moved to a different place. Now I can be found at www.santhiskitchen.com. I am still trying to take baby steps in my new home. I hope that you will be along with me while I try to graduate from crawling to baby steps to walk. Please try to be patient with me while I try to improve the way my new home looks. And dont forget to change my address if you have me linked. Thank You all and see you at Santhi's.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Green chana salad.

I bought green chana for the first time. Soaked over night and boiled them and they looked exactly like black chana. Absolutly no difference. This is our lunch today. Chanadal salad and refreshing glass of waatermelon juice. Ingredients 2 cups green/black chana, soaked and boiled with salt. Onion - chopped tomatoes - chopped Cilantro/Kothimeera chopped. 1 Lemon Chat masala - 1/2 table spoon. Method Mix them all well together and Enjoy. That was simple right. I know there is a lot of cilantro. I like the flavor and taste of it and then this was one of my purchases from the farm. It was actually very delicious. May be I could have added more veggies like red radish and cucumber. Will do that next time.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Fave Drink 2 - Badam Milk

Continuing with my fave series, this is the second most favorite drink after filter coffee. Badam milk is simple to make and filled with nutrition. Nothing like a nice chilled glass of badam milk in summer heat. Straight to the recipe. Ingredients Milk - 1/2 gallon Almonds/Badam - 30-35 Sugar - According to taste Saffron - 5-6 strands. Powdered Cardamom/Elachi - 3 Method Blanch almonds and remove the peel. Make a fine paste of it with some milk. Boil milk. And let it reduce till it becomes 3/4 of the quantity. If you are in a hurry to make, you use one part of milk and one part of half and half. It will reduce the boiling time of the milk.] Add almond paste and sugar and cardamom. Dissolve saffron in 3 table spoons of milk and add it to the mixture. Mix well. Leave on low heat for few more minutes. Chill and serve. Here is Sailu's verson of Badam Kheer I personally like to have this after a meal, more like dessert.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fun at a Farm - vegetable picking

Summer is here in Los Angeles. It has been bright and sunny for few days now. Come summer lots of things to do here. And now Sahithi is old enough to pick an activity to do.:). She has been making plans saying that we should "go here" and "do this". According to her it is time to do "Some activity". All this talking Thanks to daycare.

strawberry flower and plant

The first summer activity we decided to do was "strawberry picking". Googled and found a farm where we could do it. Less than 30 miles from where we live. We drove there and were so totally surprised to see it. It was not for just strawberry picking but a completely working farm, complete with farm animals and a lot of vegetables being grown with a small shop where they we selling their produce. It was totally awesome. They has a show with all the farm animals explaining to the kids about how useful the animals are on the farm. And there were sooooo many kids. Sahithi thoroughly enjoyed herself and did a great job of picking ripe strawberries.

Sahithi picking berries

Sahithi Displaying the berry she picked

I am completely city bought up. Have not been on many farms and the only picking I ever did was in a peanut field. This was such a novel and beautiful experience. There were rows and rows of strawberry plants. This is the first time I ever saw one and was surprised to see how small they actually are. About 3/4 of a foot. The farm grows all kinds of vegetables. And they let you pick from the farm!!!!!!!!!!!.

Sahithi and I picking Spinach

I saw the plants for carrots, radish, five different kinds of beets, all kinds of lettuce, blue berries for the first time. I picked spinach, cilantro, radish and beets from the fields. Bought carrots from their shop.

All the veggies from the farm

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Fave vegetable 1 Bendakaya/Okra

I know I know I have not paying much attention to my fave series. And I have told myself this will have be rectified ASAP. Bendakaya/Okra is my most favourite vegetable. I like it in any form but the best is simple fry. Do you guys remember being told that "Eat lot of bendakaya and then you will be a wiz in math"?? Every adult I knew would tell me this when I was a child and I would totally believe it. I never liked math, don't like it much (Imagine what kind of an Engineer I am). And I would wonder, how come this is my fave veggie and I dont like math. It was and is a big mystery. Another intresting this about okra is that it is called "Ladies finger" in India. I dont the reason but like to think that it is so because the vegetable is long and slightly curved and beautiful to look at, like the fingers of a Lady. WOuld like to know what you guys think about it being called "Ladies finger" The plate full of food you are looking at is my most favourite meal in the WHOLE world. Spinach dal, okra fry with a side of vadiyalu and tomato pickle. I would pick this one over any other food any day. He is the simple recipe for okra fry. Ingredients Bendakaya/okra - 1 pound, chopped into bite sizex pieces. 1 big Onion - sliced lengthwise 4 green chillis - chopped lenght wise salt Dhania/coriander powder. Oil -1 table spoon Method Heat 1 table spoon of oil in a pan. Add the okra and salt let It fry till it is well cooked. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in another pan. Add onions and chillis and fry till they are nicely browned. Add little more salt, mix well and add okra along with a little dhania powder. Mix very very gently and let cook on a low heat for few more minutes. Enjoy as a side dish with rice or roti or if you are like me eat it by itself. :) Tip: Try to the curb the instinct that keeps telling it needs more stirring, because okra is very deliacte it tends to break if handled too much. When buying fresh okra, try to break the tip. If it breaks easily, it is a tender one and is good to use.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Ridge Gourd/ Beerakaya-Tomato Curry

Made this curry and got the pictures a couple of weeks ago. They just remained, ignored till now. Ridge gourd/Chinese okra is one vegetable which i did not like very much when I was back home. It was very tolerable, I could eat it once in a while, without making faces. But now I really really like it. I like it enough to make chutney out of the peel of ridge gourd. There will be a different post for it, There are so many nice recipes that can be made this vegetable. This is just one of them. Simple, easy to make, minimum ingredients and mostly DELICIOUS.

Here comes the recipe.

Ingredients.

Ridge Gourd/Chinese Okra/Beerakaya/Turia - 2, peeled and cubed Tomatoes - 2 Chopped Onion - 1 big, chopped Turmeric Salt Red chilli powder Curry leaves - 4 (Optional) Oil- 1 Table spoon

Method Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and curry leaves and saute. Add turmeric. Mix well and add chopped ridge gourd. Cover and cook a little. Add chopped tomatoes, salt, chilli powder. Cover and cook till everything is cooked well. There is no need to add water as water from tomatoes will be enough to cook.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Disaster from my kitchen - Care to take a guess?

Did you guys think I always dish out nice food. How I wish that it was the case.:) This one is the worst disaster in a very very long time though. Can you guys take a guess what it could be? One clue I am going to give is that the main ingredient that has been used is completly out of shape.

So, here comes the story about the fish. We went to a chinese store over the weekend with the single purpose of buying fresh unfrozen fish. We have been planning for a couple of months and the plan finally materialized. It was such a huge store. Took us a few minutes to find seafood section. There was such a wide variety of fish. I did not know most of them. The only two kinds I am familiar with are cat fish and tilapia. I looked and looked but was not brave enough to buy any other kind. Tilapia it was going to be. I aksed the guy at the counter about fifteen times, if he would clean it and make it ready to cook and he kept saying "yes ofcourse, it’s a service we provide FREE OF COST". I picked one and he said it would be a 10 minute wait. The store being so huge and with so many kinds of veggies, calling me to inspect them, I could not wait there for 10 minutes. So told him I will be back to pick it up. According to my husband, bought quite a lot of stuff in 10 minutes :):):). Went back to the counter and the guy had neatly packed fish ready for us. Both of us were majorly thrilled with the purchase and went home, thinking and talking about the delicious dinner we were going to have. Hot rice and tangy fish pulusu. My mouth is watering as I type the word "fish pulusu" We go home. I put away everything else. Soaked tamarind. Cut onions and did all the prep work. I opened the packet and literally SCREAMED, Scaring Madhu and Sahithi. They thought I hurt myself in the kitchen. But alas, it was the content of the package. There were four HUGE pieces of fish. All the cleaning that had been done was to remove the scales and it had been chopped in 4 HUGE pieces, bones and all. I don’t know how the guy at the counter could call It ready to cook. There was no way I was going to do anything, I mean ANYTHING with those. The task fell upon Madhu. After two hours which included a lot of yelling and screaming, he declared he did his best to make it "cooking worthy". What I had on hand to work with was a mushy mass with some tiny pieces seen here and there. After all the work he did, I did not have the heart to say "No, I won't cook it". And the mushy mass you see in the picture was the end result. What a sad end to all the plans. And the craving for fish pulusu has magnifed many folds after this debacle.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Fave Chutney 1 & Second Entry for JFI - Mamidikaya Putnalu Pachadi

I wanted to be able to do two entries for JFI, one with ripe mango and one with raw mango. Did not know if I could. But then "where there is a will there is a way". So here comes my entry-II with Raw mango. And this is special because I got this Raw Mango all the way from INDIA. I have been saving the mango for a week and what could be more special than the first JFI to use it. And also this happens to be one of my favorite chutneys. Ingredients Raw Mango -1, chopped into pieces Putnala Pappu/Dalia/Roasted Chana Dal - Fistful Jaggery/Bellam - Handful Whole red chillis -3 Garlic - 3 pods. Salt to taste For tempering Oil - 1 Table spoon, I used Mustard oil Avalu/Rai/Mustard seeds - 1 tea spoon Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1 tea spoon Curry leaves - 5 Who red chillis -2 Blend all the ingredients in the first list. Heat oil in pan, add all the ingredients in second list and add to the cutney. Its as simple as that.