Mahanandi

Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

New Home for the Website

Mahanandi is moving to a new web location, www.themahanandi.org on its fourth anniversary. The website grew in content and visitors and needed a dedicated domain.

New content will be posted on the new site, www.themahanandi.org from now on. The old location, www.nandyala.org/mahanandi will continue to exist at its present location.

Welcome to the new home: www.themahanandi.org . I look forward to seeing you there.


My New Website: www.themahanandi.org

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday March 22, 2009 at 2:27 pm- permalink)
Comments (42)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Lunch Thread

Mid-day meal: A bowl of rice and turai dal. Small cup of yogurt and a mandarin orange.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Monday February 23, 2009 at 2:09 pm- permalink)
Comments (47)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Hearty Chole Cheddar

Chickpea is sitting there looking relaxed, refreshed and ready to rumble.

“Would you like some cheddar cheese company?”

“I know it’s Jihva and you are looking for some new ideas. But, what in the world…?”

“Think about it. I will add some vegetables too. It will be a nice combination and a wholesome meal in a bowl.”

“Are you going to add my favorite seasoning, chana masala powder?”

“Yep, I’ll.”

“Chole cheddar! I am game. Cover me with that gooey cheddar…”


Chickpea and Cheddar

Hearty Chole Cheddar
(for two or four, for two to one meal)

1 teaspoon oil
1 tsp each - cumin and minced garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup each - diced carrots and potatoes (1/2-inch thick)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon each - red chilli powder and turmeric
1 tablespoon - chana masala powder
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 cups water
2 cups chickpeas (Canned or pressure-cooked)
1/3 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add and toast cumin and garlic to fragrance.

Add the vegetables and cook, stirring often until vegetables soften, about 15 minutes.

Add the seasoning - chilli powder, turmeric, chana masala powder and salt. Also 2 cups of water. To thicken the soup, mash about quarter cup of chickpeas to fine paste in a mixer and add the paste along with the remaining chickpeas. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about ten minutes. Add ¼ cup cheddar cheese and stir.

Ladle into bowls; sprinkle the remaining cheese. Enjoy with paratha or bread.


Chole Cheddar with Ciabatta
Lunch today and for ms’s Jihva Chickpeas


Chole = Chana Masala = Hearty Chickpea Soup

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chickpeas, Cheese, Jihva For Ingredients (Friday January 30, 2009 at 12:18 pm- permalink)
Comments (35)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Houston

Fruit Tree Sale at Urban Harvest
Fruit Tree Sale Today at Urban Harvest

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Houston (Saturday January 17, 2009 at 7:38 am- permalink)
Comments (8)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Cranberry Chutney ~ India Inspired

“Oh Indira!”

“Yes, Cranberry?”

“Have you read the comments on my new dosth Dal?”

“Hmm… you want to try the chutney with sesame?”

“Yep, yep….” Cranberry hopped.

OK. Here was the lineup. Cranberry, sesame, onion, garlic and red chilli. Skillet Roasted. Jaggery and salt were added, and together made into chutney.

“Sounds good enough.”

“So, how was it?”

Tart, pungent, hot and sweet. Little bit on the bitter end, but nevertheless yum when eaten with a stack of freshly made chapatis.

Skillet Roasted ~ Ingredients for Cranberry chutney
Skillet Roasted ~ Ingredients for Cranberry Chutney

Cranberry Chutney ~ India Inspired:
(Makes about two cups)

Cranberries – 1 cup
Sesame seeds – ¼ cup
Red onion, cut pieces – about a cup
Dried red chilli – about ¼ cup pieces
Garlic, plump – about two, chopped
Jaggery, crushed – about three tablespoons
Salt – ¾ teaspoon or to taste

Heat a cast-iron skillet. Add and toast sesame seeds to fragrance. Take them in a mixer.

In the same skillet, add a tablespoon of oil. Add and roast to pale brown. First start with garlic, next dried red chilli pieces, then onion and at the end cranberries. Continue roasting and when cranberries start to collapse, turn off the heat. Let the contents of the skillet cool.

Grind the sesame to fine paste. To it, add the skillet contents. Also jaggery, salt and about quarter cup of water. Grind to fine consistency.

Remove to a cup. Enjoy the chutney with rice, chapati or bread.

Cranberry chutney
Cranberry Chutney with Sesame

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Cranberries (Friday January 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm- permalink)
Comments (30)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Cranberry Dal

“Jam, jelly, or marmalade?”

“No sugar, please.”

“How about pairing with dal?”

“Hmm… I need change. Ok. Let’s try that” said the cranberry.

Cranberries, toor dal, green chillies and onion - pressure-cooked together, and flavored with tadka seasoning.

“So, how was the experience?”

“I was skeptical about this idea. But change is good. Toor dal is my new dosth. Alvida to the clingy sugar” beamed the cranberry.

Just because cranberries are tart, we tend to suffocate them and us by adding bucket loads of sugar for any cranberry preparation. But cranberries are versatile. I found out by trying out this dal recipe. It’s definitely a different taste but a decent one. Give it a try.

Cranberries and Toordal
Cranberries and Toor Dal

Cranberry Dal:
(For two or four, for two to one meal)

Toor dal - 3/4 cup
Fresh cranberries - 1/2 cup, about 20 to 25 berries
Red onion, cut pieces - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 10 (small, Indian variety), cut to small pieces

Take them all in a pressure cooker. Add a quarter teaspoon of turmeric and three cups of water. Mix. Close the lid and cook until the dal cooks to soft, mushy stage.

Remove the lid. Add about half teaspoon of salt to the cooked dal. With a whisk or masher, mash the dal to smooth consistency.

Heat a teaspoon of oil or ghee in a small pan. Do the tadka and add it to the dal.

Enjoy the cranberry dal with rice, chapati or bread.

Cranberry Dal with Bread
Cranberry Dal with Bread ~ for Lunch Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Cranberries (Tuesday January 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm- permalink)
Comments (28)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Moong Sprouts Kosambari with Pomegranate

Moong sprouts, pomegranate kernels
Fresh Moong Sprouts and Pomegranate Kernels

I wanted something light for my mid-day meal today. I had some moong sprouts and a pomegranate. Shelled some pomegranate kernels, added some moong sprouts, added yogurt and sprinkled little bit of salt and pepper. Mixed all these lightly and had a spoonful. “Wow” was the reaction.

Pomegranate kernels’ sweet juice combined with moong sprouts’ raw earthy flavor, together with yogurt – it was refreshing and filling. I loved the sprouts-pomegranate combination.

Recipe:
(for two, for one light meal/snack)

Fresh moong sprouts - 1 cup
Pomegranate kernels - 1 cup
Fresh yogurt - 1 cup
Salt and black pepper - 1/4 teaspoon or to taste

Take yogurt in a bowl. Add salt and black pepper. Mix with a spoon. Add moong sprouts and pomegranate kernels. Combine gently. Serve.


Moong Sprouts with Pomegranate~for Jihva Sprouts

Kosambari (India) ≈ Salad (English)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Jihva For Ingredients, Pomegranate, Sprouts (Molakalu), Moong Sprouts (Monday January 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm- permalink)
Comments (13)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Peanut Podi (Palleela Podi)

Flavorful and spicy, peanut podi is a neat alternative to chutneys. Sprinkle few teaspoons of podi on breakfast items like upma, pongal, idly and dosa. Or, apply it on warm chapati or mix with rice. With Peanut podi ready on hand, it is easy to have decent meals during time-starved days. I used to live on jars of peanut podi during college days. Whenever busy days are ahead I make it at home too.

Peanuts, Chilli and Cumin
Peanuts, Chilli and Cumin

2 cups shelled peanuts
12- finger length dried red chilli (from Indian grocery)
1-teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Roast peanuts to pale brown color. Cool. Rub to remove peanut skins.
Dry roast red chilli and cumin to fragrance. Cool.

Take peanuts, red chilli and cumin in a Sumeet style mixer or in a food processor. Add salt. Pulse few times to fine sand like consistency. Store the podi in a clean, dry jar. Stays fresh for about at least a month or two.

Sometimes I also add garlic. Tastes excellent but garlic moisture reduces the shelf life of podi to a week.

Peanut Podi
Peanut Podi

From Telugu to English:
Podi = Powder

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Dried Red Chillies (Friday January 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm- permalink)
Comments (25)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

2009

New Home, Houston

Hello, dear friends. I know I have gone missing from the blogosphere for the past few months. It’s just that a lot is happening in real life. Things are settling down and I am getting back to a routine. Thanks to friends and readers who have been inquiring about us. I apologize for not responding individually to all the emails that you have been sending me. As always, I thank you for your support.

What passes for normal blogging ought to resume shortly.

Bye bye 2008. Hello 2009. Happy New Year!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Wednesday December 31, 2008 at 8:49 pm- permalink)
Comments (42)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Shubha Deepavali

Wish you all the glow of harmony, prosperity and festivity.
Shubha Deepavali to dear family, friends and visitors of this blog.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Monday October 27, 2008 at 9:08 am- permalink)
Comments (31)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

On The Move


Bye Chief


Hello Sam

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Friday July 11, 2008 at 8:14 am- permalink)
Comments (41)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Chocolate Cherry Cake for July 4th

Chocolate and Cherry

Warm and juicy cherries from farmers market. Unsweetened Chocovic baking chocolate from Trader Joe’s. Hazelnuts from last winter. Combined with all-purpose flour and baked together. This cherry chocolate cake has strong bitter taste. Almost like medicine, and I love that kind of choco-potency. A rare extravagance that puts in a mood for an equally decadent holiday weekend.

A chocolate cake shouldn’t be cloyingly sweet. That is the manthram I applied when I put together the following ingredients. It’s an easy recipe and the results are very bakery like.

Chocolate Cherry Cake:

8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (Chocovic)
2 cups - fresh, sweet cherries
1 cup - all purpose flour
½ cup - sugar
¼ teaspoon each - baking soda & baking powder
¼ to ½ cup - melted ghee
¼ teaspoon - finely crushed cardamom
¼ cup - hazelnuts, finely chopped
9-inch loaf pan

Chocolate: I broke the chocolate bar to small pieces and placed them in a bowl in a microwave oven. Heated the chocolate until it melted to smooth lava like. It took about two minutes of microwave heat and two stirrings for lump-free consistency. (The chocolate can also be melted by double boiler method on stovetop setting.)

Cherries and Hazelnuts: While chocolate is cooling, I removed the pits from cherries using fingers. Cherries were very ripe, so it was quick with fingers, and I didn’t have to use knife or special gizmos like cherry pitter.

Baking Time: Kept the oven at 350 F to preheat. Lined the loaf pan with parchment paper. While oven was getting hot, flour got sifted into a vessel. To the flour, I added sugar, baking soda and baking powder. After stirring with a spoon, I added ghee, melted chocolate, and cardamom powder and combined them well together with a sturdy spoon. Pitted cherries and hazel nuts went in next. Mixing one more time, and then poured the whole thing into baking pan. The batter was fairly dense (see the images below), but manageable.

Placed the pan in preheated oven and baked the cake at 350 F for about 45 minutes. When a fork inserted in the middle of the cake came out clean, I turned off the oven and removed the pan to cool the cake. After the photography session, I finally took a break and had a small piece. Loved the bittersweet experience.


Melted Chocolate and Pitted Cherries…. Dense Choco-Cherry Cake Batter, Ready for Baking


Cooling off - Cake and Kittaya…… Reversed and Ready to Slice - Baked Cake Loaf

Chocolate Cherry Cake with Hazelnuts
Chocolate-Cherry Cake with Hazelnuts ~ for Chocolate Craving

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Cherries, Chocolate (Thursday July 3, 2008 at 10:00 am- permalink)
Comments (33)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Tamarind Popcorn

Tamarind (Chintapandu, Imli)
Tamarind (Chintapandu, Imli)

Native to India, tamarind is prized for its intense sweet and sour flavor. A pantry staple, tamarind is added to dals, rasams, and sambars. Tamarind based pulusu and rice are lip smackingly good. For chutneys and pacchadis, tamarind is a must. Then there is tamarind-jaggery-cumin candy, a childhood favorite lollipop. I grew up having tamarind in different avatars. I love and prepare all the above tamarind-based preparations regularly at my home.

To celebrate Jihva-Tamarind, I wanted to try something new and unique. Constant thinking about it led to this tamarind flavored popcorn idea. Tamarind, salt, chilli powder, and for sweetness I added dates. Blend the ingredients together and simmer to concentrate the flavor. Coat the corn kernels with thick syrup and then microwave. Pop, pop, pop… Like the Polar skies lit with Aurora Borealis, the Tamarindus Indica seem to ignite a sublimely spectacular ruchi in popcorn. All natural and no nasty additives, and tasty. A date with tamarind popcorn is a must try for flavor-popcorn fans. I totally recommend.

Tamarind Syrup and Corn Kernels
Tamarind Syrup and Corn Kernels

Tamarind Popcorn

Plain corn kernels suitable for popcorn - about a quarter cup
Ping-Pong ball sized tamarind pulp, 6 dates, quarter teaspoon each - chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Take them all in a blender. Add about a cup of water. Puree to smooth.

Take the syrup in a thick-bottomed vessel and simmer until the volume reduces to half. This helps to concentrate the flavor. Cool. Lightly coat the corn kernels with syrup. Place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover the bowl with another bowl. Microwave to pop the corn. Have a taste, and if required sprinkle salt and some chilli powder to taste. Toss and enjoy.

Tamarind Popcorn
Tamarind Popcorn and Sugarcane Juice
For JFI-Tamarind Event, Hosted by Lovely Sig of Live to Eat

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Jihva For Ingredients, Corn - Fresh, Chintapandu(Tamarind) (Monday June 30, 2008 at 1:20 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Karam Jeedipappu (Masala Cashews)

Jeedipappu (Cashews, Kaju)
Cashews ~ Imported from India

I feel like I am also an expert in cooking. But I rarely get a chance to make something and post on this website. I have few favorites, and karam jeedipappu (can also be called masala cashews) is one of them. The process seems simple, but one has to do it a few times to get perfection.

Needed ingredients:
1. 1 lb cashews
2. 1/2 cup ghee
3. 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
6. 1 pinch powdered pepper

Needed utensils:
1 thick bottom skillet
1 vessel to mix masala
1 wide plate to spread cashews and sprinkle masala

Recipe:
Take cashews in a clean, wide plate.
Remove any small pieces or broken bits of cashews.
Heat the ghee in a wide, thick bottom skillet to medium-high heat.
Take half of the cashews and roast by continuously stirring to pale red.
Remove the cashews immediately from the skillet into a wide vessel.
Sprinkle a quarter of the masala powder on the hot cashews and shake the vessel well to spread the masala evenly on all the cashews.
Next, spread the cashews into a wide plate and sprinkle another quarter of the masala evenly on the cashews.
Repeat the process for the other half of the cashews.
Let the masala cashews cool for about an hour. Enjoy!

Notes:
Frying of cashews in ghee must be done in two batches, as the ghee would not be sufficient to roast all cashews. Care must be taken not to burn/black the cashews.
The reason why I have added masala in two stages:
When masala powder is sprinkled and tossed in the vessel first time, masala powder and all excess ghee sticks to the surface of the vessel. When cashews are spread in a wide plate and masala is sprinkled on them, masala gets coated well to the cashews.

Masala Jeedipappu (Masala Cashews)
Masala Cashew ~ A Portrait

~ By Vijay Singari

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Cashews, Vijay Singari (Wednesday June 25, 2008 at 5:31 pm- permalink)
Comments (23)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Gongura Pappu (Gongura Dal)

Fresh Gongura
Gongura

These fresh gongura leaves came all the way from Houston, Texas. Lovingly picked and packed from their backyard garden by our dear friends. I have been longing to get such fresh gongura for a while now and I felt like my prayers were answered. Yes, I love the tangy taste of gongura that much.

The following is one of my favorite gongura preparations. Gongura, toor dal and green chilli, my mother’s recipe, pure gongura love.

Gongura Pappu
(for two or four people, for four to two meals)

Toor dal -3/4 cup
Fresh gongura leaves - about 4 cups, tightly packed
Indian variety, small green chillies - 8 to 10
Shallot or red onion - cut to big chunks, about half cup
Turmeric - ½ teaspoon

Rinse toor dal. Take them in a vessel or pressure-cooker. Add gongura, green chilli and shallot. Also turmeric and two cups of water. Close the lid. Cook the dal, until it reaches fall-apart stage. Add about half teaspoon of salt and gently mash the cooked ingredients together to smooth consistency. Now, infuse the dal with tarka or talimpu, where natural ingredients that are good for well-being are added in small quantity. Daily vitamin dose, Indian way.

1-tablespoon ghee
2 sprigs curry leaves, 2 garlic cloves, slivered,
4 dried red chilli pieces, ½ teaspoon chana dal and urad dal each
¼ teaspoon each - cumin and mustard seeds

Heat ghee in a vessel until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Lower the heat to medium. Add the curry leaves, garlic, dried red chilli, chana dal and urad dal, in the order listed. Toast to pale brown. Then add the cumin and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add the gongura dal. Mix. Serve hot. Great on its own, and also with rice or roti for anytime of the day.

Gongura Pappu and Mango
Andhra Love ~ Gongura Pappu and Mango

Notes:
Gongura is available at Indian grocery shops during summer season.
This dal doesn’t need tamarind or lemon because of gongura’s potent tangy taste.
If you try this recipe, join and share your photos of gongura pappu at Mahanandi Flickr Pool.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Gongura(Sour Greens), Amma & Authentic Andhra (Monday June 23, 2008 at 6:25 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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