Mahanandi

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

All Things Mango

Mango Sauce, mango Juice, Ripe Mango Slice, Green Mango Slice, Dried Mango Pulp Cubes, Amchur Powder ~ All Things Mango

For this weeks’s Indian Kitchen:
Mango Juice
Mango Pulp
Slice of Fresh Ripe Mango
Slice of Unripe Green Mango
Dried Mango Pulp Cubes
Amchur Powder (Dried, Unripe Mango Powder)

Looking forward to receiving your entries via email, for tomorrow’s JFI ~ Mango event.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Mango, Mamidikaya (Green Mango) (Sunday April 30, 2006 at 12:54 pm- permalink)
Comments (5)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Dried Mango Pulp (Maamidi Tandra)

Dried Mango Pulp
Marvels of Mouth-Filling Pleasure ~ Maamidi Tandra or Dried Mango Pulp Bar

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Mango (Saturday April 29, 2006 at 9:22 am- permalink)
Comments (17)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Mango Jam

For some, mangoes are exotic fruits. For me, mango jam is exotic. Cooking the ripe fruit with sugar until they are mush and set, may be an age old technique of fruit preserving, but I never did that with mangoes until now. As part of JFI-Mango Event on May 1st, Ripe Mango Cubes, Sugar and Lime Juice I’ve decided to try some new recipes and feature some of my old favorites with mangoes. This is one of the recipes that I selected to write about.

Who doesn’t love jam toast in the morning? It’s quick and easy. The type of breakfast many of us here, prefer on a weekday morning for that rush hour energy boost. But, often store-bought fruit preserves are loaded with more cheap corn syrup than the fruit. Preparing jam at home means controlling the sugar quantity that is added to the fruit to our liking.

My recipe for mango jam is simple. Pick ripe mangoes, peel and cut them into small cubes. Add little bit of limejuice to give that extra acidic edge and cook the fruit with sugar until it turns mushy and comes together like firm, yet moist solidity. Store it in a clean glass jar and refrigerate. Buy or bake bread and you don’t have to worry about “what’s for breakfast?” question, at least for few days.

Recipe:
(for about 1 cup of jam)

1 big, ripe mango
(Peeled and cut into small cubes - 1½ cup of cut fruit)
¼ cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of lime juice

Take them all in a clean pot. Cook on medium heat, stirring in-between. The sugar will melt and the fruit will break down. Within 15 to 20 minutes, The soggy, watery mass will come together into solid, moist lump, like halwa or kova and set. Turn off the heat. Let it cool completely and store in a clean jar.

One cup of mango jam lasted for 4 toasts for us. We couldn’t resist the quiveringly tender, rich yellow-sapphire like mango jam and consumed half of it even before cooling.

Mango Jam


Recipe Notes:
My version is low sugar preserve.
For sweet commercial type of jam taste - increase the above sugar quantity to half cup.
Mango jam sets easily because of pectin content in mangoes. But if you are planning to prepare this jam on a big scale, adding some commercial pectin might be helpful.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mango, Sugar (Tuesday April 25, 2006 at 1:45 pm- permalink)
Comments (37)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Mango-Coconut Pulihora (Mamidi Kobbarannam)

I started out my weekend with a plan. The plan was to prepare the famous Andhra mango pickle, ‘avakaya’, for next week’s JFI. You know about pickles. To prepare and present it, you need to make it at least one week in advance. So, I went to Pittsburgh and picked out the greenest mangoes available at one of the Indian grocery stores. The mangoes were very green and hard and so I was confident that they were unripe. On Sunday, I was in full pickle making mode. Cleaned out the kitchen, dried out any signs of moisture from counter tops and prepared all the essentials - mustard seed powder and red chilli powder. I was all ready to make pickle. But alas…

As often happens with the best laid out plans, things went awry. In this case, green, hard and thought to be unripe mangoes, when cut open, were ripe inside. The flesh was pale yellow and the taste was not very sour. I had to drop my plan to make pickle. Instead of going down the path of questioning my life in US, where I can’t even prepare my favorite pickle, I picked up my spirits and quickly found a use for my not so green, not so ripe mangoes. I remembered Mika’s comment about her way of preparing mango rice with coconut and also her recently blogged mango rice recipe. I had all the ingredients, including a fresh, decent coconut. Viola… the life in US looked much better.:)

I tried out the mango pulihora with coconut and mustard powder. Between the tangy sweetness of mango+coconut and the sharp, zesty flavor of mustard+chillies, the taste of pulihora was so unique and irresistible. I was glad that I tried this recipe, this one is a keeper. Thanks Mika.

Fresh coconut, Green Unripe Mango, Mustard Seeds and Green Chillies
Fresh coconut, Green Unripe Mango, Mustard Seeds and Green Chillies

Recipe:
(steps written in order of preparation)

Cook Rice:
1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water.
(I prepared it with Sona Masuri Rice)

Finely Powder:
2 teaspoons of mustard seeds - using a spicemill or coffee grinder

Make a Paste:
1 medium sized green unripe mango - peeled and cubed
½ cup of finely chopped fresh coconut
8 to 10 small green chillies

Grinding the mango, coconut and green chillies
Grinding the mango, coconut and green chillies

Heat and Toast:
1 teaspoon of peanut oil, in a big sauté pan.
¼ cup of peanuts to golden brown color and remove.

Do the Popu or Tadka:
Add another teaspoon of oil or ghee to the same pan. Do the popu by toasting one teaspoon of each - cumin, mustard seeds, urad dal, chana dal, few pieces of dried red chillies and curry leaves.

 Sauteeing the ingredients for Mango-Coconut Pulihora
Sauteeing the ingredients

Add and Sauté:
To the popu, add the
Mustard seed powder,
Smooth mango-coconut-chilli paste,
1 teaspoon of turmeric and salt.

Stir and sauté this mixture for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat, until the mango paste leaves its raw smell. Don’t overcook, that would kill the precious mango flavor completely. Stir in the toasted peanuts that were kept aside. Switch off the heat.

To this sautéed mixture, add the cooked rice. Mix thoroughly and serve. The pulihora should taste little bit tartly because of unripe mango, sweet due to coconut, spicy strong because of chillies and mustard powder.

Mango-Coconut Pulihora
Mango-Coconut Pulihora

Mango Pulihora - Andhra Style

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mango, Coconut (Fresh), Mamidikaya (Green Mango) (Monday April 24, 2006 at 1:46 pm- permalink)
Comments (23)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Growing Menthi From Sprouts

Methi (Fenugreek) Sprouts

Menthi (Methi, Fenugreek) Sprouts (Planted on March 10th)

Methi growing in a container

Menthi growing in a container (On April 22nd)

Fresh baby methi (fenugreek) leaves

Closeup of baby menthi

I did the sprouting thing with methi to try methi sprouts salad last month and found that the salad was very bitter for my taste. I planted the leftover methi sprouts in a container. (Sprinkled the sprouts on soil and covered them loosely with soil.) Watered them daily and kept the container in direct sunlight. After a month, they are now at this size, growing healthy and in a beautiful shade of green. So pretty to look at.

I’ve plans to plant mint, coriander,tomato and peas. So what are you planning to grow this spring/summer?

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Indian Kitchen, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek) (Sunday April 23, 2006 at 12:08 pm- permalink)
Comments (42)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Cat Blogging

Kittaya enjoying the spring afternoon

Kittaya

Kittaya in our background playing in the grass

Checkout very naughty Kiri and all other cute kitties of food blogging world at Clare’s Eat Stuff.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday April 22, 2006 at 9:06 pm- permalink)
Comments (7)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Banana Pepper - Baby Potato Curry

Vegetables which are at normal prices at our local grocery store now are banana peppers and baby red potatoes. Banana peppers are mildly hot and the new crop, baby red potatoes are mildly sweet. These two are cooked in tomato gravy thickened by the addition of creamy-white, rich poppy seed (khus-khus, gasa gasalu) paste. The taste of the curry is like that of made with almond paste.

Banana Pepper, Baby Potato and Khus khus (gasa gasalu)
Banana Pepper, Baby Red Potato, Poppy Seeds(Khus Khus, Gasa Gasaalu)

Recipe:

Heat in a big saucepan, over medium-low heat:
1 teaspoon of peanut oil

Toast to do the popu or tadka:
1 teaspoon each of cumin, mustard seeds, minced garlic and few curry leaves

Add and Saut�: (listed in order)
1 onion - chopped
4 juicy tomatoes- chopped
8 baby red potatoes -peeled and cubed
4 banana peppers - cut into small rings crosswise

Stir in:
¼ cup poppy seeds(gasa gasalu)-finely powdered using a spicemill/coffee grinder
1 tsp of ginger-garlic-coriander paste
2 tsp of cumin-coriander seed-clove-cinnamon powder
1 tsp of salt
½ tsp of red chilli powder and turmeric

Add 2 cups of water and mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring in-between. When the gravy reaches the consistency you desire, turn off the heat. Let the curry sit for 10 minutes and serve warm.
Tastes superb with chapatis or with rice.

Banana Pepper- Baby Alu Curry with Chapatis
Banana Pepper- Baby Alu Curry with Chapatis ~ Our meal today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Banana Pepper, Baby Potatoes, Poppy Seeds (Friday April 21, 2006 at 2:37 pm- permalink)
Comments (15)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Sweet Potato Gulab Jamuns (Ranga Alur Puli)

Kova Gulab Jamuns with Sweet Potato

The recipe that was in my mind to be tried is Sury’s sweet potato dessert or Ranga Alur Puli. The fabulous food blogger, Sury from Delhi, not only writes about food but also studies American English. She recently published her first book “Making Out in America” on American vernacular. Congratulations Sury!

Few weeks ago, she blogged this recipe in her blog. The name of this sweet, the way it was prepared and the traditional Bengali aspect, all captured my interest. When I read her recipe, I did imagine the taste and I couldn’t wait to give it a try. Finally today I prepared this delicious sweet.

I did change the recipe little bit. Instead of adding flour and sugar to sweet potato pulp, I mixed it with gulab jamun powder. Also in addition to traditional coconut-milk-sugar fudge filling, I added some chocolate chips and butterscotch chips, just to create variety. I’ve been preparing gulab jamuns in this way, so I applied the same idea here.

Steam-Cooked Sweet Potato
Steam-cooked sweet potato (yam)

Recipe:
(for 15 pieces)
For Dough
1 medium sized sweet potato (yam)
1 packet of gulab jamun powder (100g)
For Filling
½ cup of coconut fudge (coconut-milk-sugar halwa)
¼ cup of chocolate chips - plain and butterscotch
To Deep Fry
2 cups of peanut oil or ghee
For Sugar Syrup
1 cup sugar
2 cups of water
1 teaspoon of rose water
¼ teaspoon of powdered cardamom

Sweet potato-gulab jamun dough, coconut fudge, chocolate and butterscotch chips
Chocolate Chips, Coconut Fudge, Sweet Potato-Gulab Jamun Dough & Dough balls

Preparation:
1. Cook the whole sweet potato on steam until just tender. Remove the skin and mash the sweet potato to smooth paste.

2. Take gulab jamun powder in a vessel. Mix it with sweet potato paste. The moisture of sweet potato is enough to prepare a firm dough. After a rest period of 15 minutes or so, divide the dough into big marble sized rounds.

3. Make a dimple by pressing the dough ball with your thumb. Fill the dimple with a teaspoon of coconut halwa(fudge) or with chocolate chips. Cover the hole with dough from the sides; roll into smooth round ball. Prepare all the dough balls like this and keep them ready for deep-frying.

4. Meanwhile prepare sugar syrup. Take sugar and water in a big pot. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for few minutes (5 to 10 minutes maximum on medium heat). Have a taste and add more sugar if needed. This is just plain sugar syrup, do not thicken the syrup and do not cook it for longer period. Just before turning off the heat, stir in rose water and cardamom powder.

Deep-Frying the Jamuns
Deep Frying the Jamuns

5. Heat oil in a kadai or in a saucepan. Deep-fry the jamuns until golden on medium-low heat. One tip is, keep the heat medium and do not overheat the oil. Deep-fry the jamuns, slowly. The color changes from light gold to much deeper color gradually within 3 to 4 minutes. If the colour changes to brown immediately after dropping into oil, it is a signal that the oil is too hot. In that case, reduce the heat or turn off the heat for few minutes. You need to cook these slowly on moderate heat because the dough should get cooked evenly inside also.

6. Remove the jamuns and place them on a paper towel to dry off any oil that’s attached to them. Quickly and gently drop them into sugar syrup. Take care not to spill the oil into sugar syrup.

7. Keep them soaked in syrup for about 15 to 30 minutes. Jamuns will absorb the syrup and will increase in size a little bit. I would like to serve gulab jamuns cold, so usually, I keep them in the refrigerator for one hour before serving.

Sweet Potato Gulab Jamuns (Ranga Alur Puli) with coconut halwa filling
Sweet Potato Gulab Jamuns (Ranga Alur Puli) ~ For this week’s “Indian Sweets 101

They tasted great, just like I’ve imagined, particularly the coconut halwa filled ones (shown above) and the ones filled with butterscotch chips.

This is my contribution to “Blog Party - Bite Sized Desserts” hosted by dear Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Sugar, Chocolate, Indian Sweets 101, Sweet Potato (Wednesday April 19, 2006 at 10:06 pm- permalink)
Comments (42)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Wheat Flour Dosa (Godhuma Dosa)

Goduma Dosa with Peanut Chutney
Wheat flour dosa (Godhuma Dosa) with Peanut Chutney

Easy, breezy and lacy - that’s how I’d describe wheat flour dosa. I prepare this traditional, lace like, instant dosa when I am low in appetite, ya that happens sometimes, or short on time, aren’t we always?

Recipe is really simple. Mix a cup of wheat flour (atta/chapati flour) with 2 to 3 cups of water. Stir in a teaspoon of black pepper powder and salt. Thoroughly mix the batter without any lumps. The consistency of batter must be like thick buttermilk, not too watery or not too tight. Don’t let the batter sit for long time, it will become gooey mass, and resulting dosas won’t be pretty.

To prepare dosas, lightly oil the dosa tava and rub it with a cut onion. Heat over medium-high. When the tava is hot, pour a ladleful of batter steadily from a height of 3 to 5 inches onto the tava. Allow it spread on its own in a thin lace like layer. Because wheat flour batter is very sticky, trying to shape the dosa with back of the spoon like we do for regular dosa won’t work. Please resist the temptation to shape and allow it to spread on its own. Sprinkle a half teaspoon of ghee or peanut oil and on high heat, cook. Within a minute or two, bubbles start to appear on the surface. Wait until the underside of dosa turns golden and then gently turn it to the other side. Cook for another minute or two. Remove and serve hot with peanut or coconut chutney.

Wheat flour batter spead thin in a lace like fashion on hot tava. Bubbles are appearing.
Wheat flour batter spread in a thin lace like fashion

 Turning to the other side to cook

Folding it into half to remove the dosa
With 4 plate-sized dosas like these, expect to get stuffed royally.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Wheat Flour (Durum Atta) (Tuesday April 18, 2006 at 3:24 pm- permalink)
Comments (44)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Sesame Buns

Yay… spring has definitely sprung here! Plenty of sunshine days have arrived finally. Even the yeast is ready for some action. When I mixed a packet of yeast with warm water, zoom… it rose to the sky as if it was trying to kiss the sunshine. See.

Yeast in action
Yeast in Action

Recipes that need good fermentation like preparing bread, idlies, dosas and yogurt, are going to be easy from now on. Last weekend, I tried a recipe for sesame buns from my recipe book. I used to note down the western bread and cake recipes that caught my fancy in a notebook. That was before I knew about the foodblogs. I wasn’t even aware of copyrights etc., at that time, so I’m not sure where I got this recipe from, but definitely from a cookbook, or might be from TV. I am not sure. Whatever the origin, I am very fond of this recipe. Adding a bundle of sesame, gives the bread that nutty taste I like and the buns are great with soups, salads or for homemade simple sandwiches.

Recipe:
(Makes about 8 to 10 medium sized buns)

3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup quick oats
½ cup watermelon seeds (My addition)
1 tsp of salt and honey to your taste or ½ cup
Warm milk or water for mixing the dough into a ball
Yeast:
¼ ounce packet of active, dry ‘quick rise’ yeast or 2 tsp
Take 2 tablespoons of water in a cup, stir in a pinch of sugar. Pour the contents of yeast packet and stir. Keep it in a warm place and wait for it to turn bubbly, usually 5 to 10 minutes.

The dough at '0' hour The dough after one hour

The dough is shaped into buns is ready to go into the oven

Method: Take all the above ingredients in a big bowl and mix them thoroughly. Knead the dough for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Cover and let it rise. Takes about at least one hour. I’ve kept it for about 3 hours.

Take the dough out and on a clean board, sprinkle in some flour, and deflate and knead the dough again. Do it for at least 2 to 5 minutes. Divide the dough into small balls, shape them into buns. Place them on a greased baking pan; leave space for them to expand. Wait for another 30 minutes for them to rise.

While the shaped buns are rising, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the baking pans with buns in the oven and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool.

Sesame Bun Sandwich
Sesame bun and dried soya chunks-eggs omelet sandwich.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Whole Wheat Flour (Monday April 17, 2006 at 9:34 am- permalink)
Comments (25)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Reading

Prize money is 250 dollars!
Go checkout the “VCC Q1 2006 - Appetizers” and vote for your favorite.

Passionate Food blogger - Mylinh of Khmer Krom

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday April 16, 2006 at 11:10 pm- permalink)
Comments

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Cat Blogging

Kittaya’s New Pose:
Kittaya

Checkout cute Kiri enjoying his new sleeping arrangements and also other cute kitties of food blogging world at Eat Stuff.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday April 15, 2006 at 11:26 am- permalink)
Comments (11)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Wild Rice with Eggplant-Chole

First time I tasted wild rice was at a restaurant in Houston. For main course there was an entry with wild rice. I’ve heard good things about wild rice and I wanted to give it a try. Try we did. The restaurant version of wild rice was full of butter and had some toasted pine nuts. The portion was small, but we loved it so much, decided to cook it at home. Then we found about the price; wild rice is not cheap, I can tell you that. It’s an indulgence for us and I like to cook it once in a while.

My version is very simple. For 1 cup of wild rice, usually I’d add 2 and half cups water, a quarter teaspoon of salt and ghee. I cook it just like regular rice in a rice cooker. The result is very fabulous, nutty, chewy wild rice. Though it looks like ‘Basmati gone black’, the taste of wild rice is unique. It has its own unique smell and texture. You can’t gobble up, each grain beckons you to slow down and enjoy it. Try it, if you haven’t already.

Wild Rice with Eggplant-Chickpea Curry (Brinjal-Chole)
Wild Rice with Eggplant Chole ~ Our simple lunch today.

Eggplant Chole: Recipe Replace aloo (potatoes), with jumbo eggplant cubes. I’ve got the idea of cooking eggplant-chickpeas together from Mika’s blog.
Wild Rice Nutritional information - click here.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Eggplant, Chickpeas, Wild Rice (Friday April 14, 2006 at 3:10 pm- permalink)
Comments (14)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Jihva for Ingredients ~ (A Food Blog Event)

I am sure, like me, many of you enjoy participating in food blogging events and even thought of hosting. But rotating foodblog events are very few. Actually they are only two, the popular IMBB and SHF. I wanted to host one of those events, but it seems they are booked all through this year and next year also.

This new event - “Jihvā for Ingredients (JFI)” is for me, as well as for you food bloggers who wanted to host an event once in a while. Just like IMBB and SHF, it is a rotating event, that means instead of only one host all the time, different food blogger would host the event every month. I think this type of rotating events are more interesting to participate, the hosts not only bring their own personality to it, it is also a chance for us to visit and find new blogs and bloggers. More importantly JFI is not about the themes, it is about celebrating the natural ingredients, that we use for everyday cooking - one at a time.

What is Jihvā ?
Jihvā the Sanskrit word means taste, desire and deep longing. This powerful word also represents tongue and taste buds.

What is Jihvā for Ingredients?
I believe for Jihvā to happen, it’s all in the ingredients and how they are cooked. Jihvā for Ingredients (JFI) is online monthly food event, celebrating the Ingredients and what they can do for our Jihvā.

When, what and how?
The entries have to be posted on first day of every month. The host chooses food ingredient. To participate, cook a recipe with that ingredient and post it on your blog on the first of the month. Send these entries to the host, she/he will do the roundup and showcase all your entries within a week of receiving.

What are the guidelines to host?

1. Feature any natural ingredient and there are many.
2. I’d greatly appreciate if you could pick an ingredient related to India or Indian cuisine. (Which style of cuisine that ingredient prepared is, ofcourse it’s upto the participants).
3. Announce the event on your blog by 3rd of previous month. This will give plenty of time for the participants to shop, prepare, write and post their entry.

What is the JFI for May?

Jivaha For Mangoes - An Online Food Event
For May - it’s “Jihva for Mangoes” - ripe and unripe.

1. Prepare a recipe featuring mangoes (ripe or green unripe).
2. Post the recipe on your blog on May 1st.
3. Send me via email - the link to your post and a photo of the entry in 75×75pixel size.
4. Please include the title of post and your blog name.
5. I’ll post an entry along with you on May 1st and also will do the roundup of all the entries that I received by that week’s end.
6. Nostalgic tales, paintings, and drawings, anything related to mangoes is welcome from interested general (non-food) bloggers.

Interested to host this event?
To host this event, send me an email or write a comment. Reserved on first come first basis. I will update the list below as soon as someone interested in that month.


For 2006-2007

May 1st
Mahanandi:Mangoes
JFI:Mango Recap
September 1st
Vineela’s Cuisine:Milk
JFI:Milk Recap
January 1st
Food for Thought:Coconut
JFI:Coconut Recap
June 1st
Baking Fairy:Strawberries
JFI:Strawberries Recap
October 1st
Cooking Medley:Ghee
JFI:Ghee Recap
February 1st
WTRT Jim?:Ginger
JFI:Ginger Recap
July 1st
Sailu’s Food:Dals(Lentils)
JFI:Dal Recap
NovemberOctober 21st
Vee:Special Edition
JFI:Diwali Treats
March 1st
Happy Burp:Potato
JFI:Potato Recap
August 1st
Me&My Kitchen:Flour
JFI:Flours Recap
December 1st
Better Tomorrow:Jaggery
JFI:Jaggery Recap
April 1st
My Work Shop:Tomatoes
JFI:Tomatoes Recap

My Email: mailmahanandi@gmail.com

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Jihva For Ingredients (Thursday April 13, 2006 at 2:51 pm- permalink)
Comments (37)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Baby Aloo in Tamarind-Chilli Sauce (Aloo Pulusu)

We lose by generalizing everything. Unity and showing strong front is important but preserving the diversity and maintaining our own uniqueness is also equally important, I think. Indian cuisine is such a broad term. Can anyone say they know all the regional food varieties of India? I guess not. If we don’t talk about our regional cuisine, who will and how would anyone know about the difference in our cooking. I see lot of new Indian food blogs coming up everyday. Generalize to your heart’s content, but don’t be shy to highlight your regional specialties. That would make the recipe more attractive to the readers and give them the feeling they are trying out something unique, in my view.

See, for example, from India - we go to Andhra Pradesh, my home state in India. Though the general term is Andhra cuisine, there are 3 regions (Rayalaseema, Kosta and Telengana) and each region has its own specialties. Lot of diversity out there, even in one state. Example is this recipe. Cooking vegetables like potatoes etc., in tamarind-chilli sauce is the specialty of Kosta (Coastal region) of Andhra. They call this Tamarind-chilli sauce “Pulusu“. It is the base sauce for all kinds of vegetables, in that region. The saying is, “give something to kosta people, particularly the Nellore district, they would find a way to add tamarind to it”.

The ‘pulusu‘ tastes like as if ‘old western’ kind of faction war happened between tamarind and dried red chillies. To compensate the sourness of tamarind, more hot chillies are added. Unbridled war wages on between these two strong tastes and there is no mediator to calm it down. Thickening agents like coconut or peanut paste are big no or rarely used. The pacifier of course is the poor vegetable that is added. How high this war can go on, which one dominates the taste of ‘pulusu‘ - it all depends on housewife’s mood that day. Imagine sucking on a lime wedge and simultaneously eating a dried red chillie - that’s how this pulusu tastes. You are alerted so prepare it at your own risk.

Boiled Baby red potatoes, Tamarind juice, tomatoes, dried red chillies, cumin and garlic

Recipe:

8 to 10 baby potatoes
1 medium sized onion and 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes - finely chopped
For sauce:
1 cup of tamarind juice - (medium thick - home made version)
6 dried red chillies+3 garlic cloves+1 teaspoon of cumin - Make a smooth paste of them.
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric and salt to taste
Popu or tadka ingredients:(1tsp of each, cumin, mustard seeds and few curry leaves)

Boil potatoes in water, just until tender. Remove them and strip the outer skin. Prick the potatoes in multiple sites with a fork so that they can absorb the sauce.

In a big pan or kadai - heat one teaspoon of peanut oil. Do the popu or tadka (toast mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves). Saute onions and tomatoes for few minutes until they soften. Stir in red chilli paste; saute it for few minutes until it leaves the raw smell. Add the tamarind juice and another cup of water. Stir in salt and turmeric and also the pricked potatoes. Cover and simmer them for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring in between. Wait until the sauce reaches the consistency of thick lava. Turn off the heat, and serve the pulusu with chapatis or with rice and ghee.

Baby Potatoes in Tamarind-Chilli Sauce (urla gadda pulusu
Baby potatoes in tamarind-chilli sauce and chapatis

I’ve added a tablespoon of powdered jaggery to this curry, forgive me my dear Nellore friends and readers. I know you will sneer at me, I know it is a big no-no, adding any kind of sweetener to the curry. But my poor body won’t tolerate that kind of slow burning heat.

This is my entry to “The Spice is Right - Ancient Spices” food blog event, started and hosted by my favorite food blogger, very talented chef Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Dried Red Chillies, Baby Potatoes (Wednesday April 12, 2006 at 1:25 pm- permalink)
Comments (23)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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