Mahanandi

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

Borugula (Murmura) laddu (Homemade Rice-Jaggery Crispy Sweet from India)


Golden Borugula Laddu under Evening Sunlight

How can one convey nostalgia? I am no wordsmith and sometimes words escape me, so I try it with my camera lens.

A nourishing and delightfully scented, not so sweet but fun kind of treat from my childhood days is murmura laddu. Also known as borugula mudda in Telugu and rice crispies in English.

During December and January months (Sankranthi time), when parents are busy with harvesting rice and sugarcane, grand parents prepare these crunchy, homely sweets for children with freshly popped murmura from rice battis and just minted 24 karat quality jaggery. Jaggery syrup is prepared and murmura are added - just these two ingredients and tiny touch of cardamom - that’s it. Magical, irresistible laddus would be ready to keep us children (mouths) busy.

I am happy that I am finally able to recreate this Sankranthi magic on Mahanandi. Though recipe looks simple, I know how difficult it is to prepare these kinds of sweets, so I measured and timed the process to make it fail proof and for decent results. Give it a try.


Preparing Jaggery Syrup for Murmura laddus

Recipe:

Murmura (borugulu, puffed rice) - one quart
Jaggery - one cup (powdered)
Water - one cup
Cardamom - 2 (seeds powdered)
To test jaggery syrup readiness - Keep a small plate with cold water ready by stove side.

In a big, sturdy, thick-bottomed vessel, add water and jaggery. Cook on medium-high heat. Jaggery melts and begins to concentrate. When it starts foaming like shown in the photo above, it reached the consistency we want for this recipe. To test, add few drops of jaggery syrup to the cold water. When pushed with fingers, if the syrup can be rolled to a round and keeps share without melting in spite of tilting the plate to different directions, it is done and the syrup is ready. This whole process takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Constantly stirring, add murmura. Also sprinkle in cardamom powder. Within one or two minutes, murmura starts to soak up the syrup and comes together in to dry mass. Turn off the heat. Remove the pot from the stovetop to countertop.

Wait for about 5 minutes for murmura-jaggery mixture to cool down and then start making laddus. Take a spoonful of mixture into hands and press gently into round shape. Keep a bowl of cold water on the side. Dip your hands in-between laddu making to keep hands unsticky and cool. Or ladle off the whole mixture into a greased pan. Press firmly and evenly. Cut into squares and let it cool. Break along the lines to separate the pieces.

Makes about 12 medium sized laddus or squares.


Hot Murmura-Jaggery Mixture and Making of Laddus


Murmura (borugulu, puffed rice) laddus and squares
Fun Jaggery-Rice Crispy Treats From India for Kay’s JFI

Kitchen Notes:
1 quart = 2 pints = 4 cups = 32 fluid ounces =.95 liter
Murmura and Jaggery are available at local Indian grocery shops.
Prepare this sweet with fresh, crunchy tasting murmura only, for best results.
One more recipe for murmura laddu - from Cooking Medley

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jaggery, Murmura (Borugulu), Indian Sweets 101 (Thursday November 30, 2006 at 10:05 pm- permalink)
Comments (55)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Brinjal~Jaggery Chutney (Vankaya Bellam Pacchadi)

Cooking is an ultimate balance act, isn’t it? Take time to learn and practice to achieve that balance, the rewards are high. Not only good health, but also a balanced mood. Some ingredients and recipes are easy to balance and master. But for some, one needs yogi’s kind of patience and sadhana. Jaggery, particularly in savory recipes, is one such ingredient that I needed to practice a lot to achieve the balance. Consistency and quantity are difficult to explain and I had to rely on my flavor senses for guidance in my beginner days of cooking. I hope you do the same when you cook with jaggery in savory recipes, like the one I am posting today, as part of my weeklong Jihva jaggery journey.

Brinjal-Jaggery chutney (Vankaya-Bellam pacchadi) is a classic Andhra (Nandyala) recipe where young brinjals, dried red chillies and ginger are first roasted and then grinded together with jaggery, tamarind and salt. The result is a mouthwatering side dish with all 5 flavors and some extra smoky flavor, usually eaten with rice, ghee and dal or sambar. If you like baingan burtha, baba ghanouj style brinjal preparations, where brinjal is grilled and mashed, then this chutney is also your style.


Brinjals, Jaggery and Dried Red Chillies

Recipe:

8 young brinjals - ends removed and sliced lengthwise
8 dried red chillies
1 rupee coin sized ginger
1 red onion or shallot - sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon each of powdered jaggery and tamarind juice
¼ teaspoon of salt or to taste

Heat two tablespoons of peanut oil in an iron skillet. Bring the oil to smoking point. Now add brinjal, onion and ginger. On high heat, grill them. Do not cook and soften but brown them -secret to tasty chutney. If you are one of those ‘gifted’ with charring or blackening all things you cook, then you need to use that gift here, my friend. Leave the care to the world and char the brinjals’ white flesh to your hearts content. Remove them to a plate. Add and grill dried red chillies for few seconds.

In a food processor or blender, take grilled brinjals, onion, ginger and dried red chillies. Add salt, tamarind juice and jaggery. Hit pulse button and coarsely puree. Remove to a cup. Traditionally popu or tadka (toasting cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves in one teaspoon of oil) is added to the chutney at the end but this step is entirely optional. Sometimes I do it, sometimes I don’t, depends on my time and patience.

Serve with rice, ghee and dal or with pappu chaaru/sambhar.


Brinjal-Jaggery chutney mixed with Rice in Pappu chaaru - Savory Jaggery Entry to Kay’s JFI

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jaggery, Vankaya (Brinjal) (Wednesday November 29, 2006 at 9:40 pm- permalink)
Comments (33)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Cranberry~Clove Marmalade

Cranberries, Orange (mandarin, battayi), Cloves, Palm Jaggery (Taati Bellam
Cranberries, Orange (mandarin, battayi), Cloves, Palm Jaggery (Taati Bellam)

Before going in to weeklong JFI jaggery journey, I would like to know and I hope you all had nice time with your family and friends during Thanksgiving holiday weekend. For us, it was a working as well as relaxing weekend. I prepared some decent meals, read a funny book called ‘Food Moods’ and Vijay was working on his assignments and required readings. We mostly stayed home because of the weather here. It was raining and snowing. Yes, snow in Seattle. I didn’t expect that, but it also snows in Seattle. What a nice surprise.

Cranberries, chestnuts, pecan pie and plum (fruit) cake - these are the things I look forward to during holiday season in US, every year. Their rich color, beauty and taste brighten up otherwise dreary cold days here. Cranberries in particular. Their bitter-tart taste is perfect antidote for too much fancy food that is common during this season.

Last weekend among other things, I also prepared marmalade with cranberries. In addition to oranges and jaggery, I have added cloves on a whim and cloves fresh, refreshing aroma brightened up not only our breath but also our otherwise mundane morning jam-bread breakfast routine.

Cooking the marmalade
Cooking the marmalade

Recipe:

Cranberries - 2 to 2½ cups (12 ounces)
Oranges - 2 cups of cut fruit (6 seedless fruits, I used mandarins (battayi) for this recipe)
Palm Jaggery - 1 cup powdered
Cloves - 6
Water - 1 cup

Wash and remove bad cranberries. Peel orange and separate into segments over a bowl (to catch the juices). Powder the jaggery and measure. Make a fine powder of cloves.

In a heavy pot, bring one cup of water to a boil. Add jaggery and wait until jaggery melts. Add cranberries and orange pieces. Cook, until the fruit breaks down, turn to mush and come together to a firm quivering mass. Takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Just before turning off the heat, sprinkle powdered cloves. Cook few more minutes and turn off the heat. Let marmalade cool completely. Store in a tight lidded, clean jar and refrigerate.

Cranberry~Clove Marmalade and Toasted Bread
Cranberry~Clove Marmalade & Toasted Bread
for JFI-Jaggery hosted by Kay of ‘Towards A Better Tomorrow’

Kitchen Notes:
Fills about 14 oz (400grams) jar.
I’ve prepared mildly sweet marmalade. Adjust jaggery quantity to suit your taste.
Recipe Source: My own creation.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Jaggery, Cranberries, Sugar, Jaggery and Honey, Citrus Family (Tuesday November 28, 2006 at 11:29 am- permalink)
Comments (30)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Jaggery (Gur, Bellam) ~ Sugarcane and Palm

Jaggery (Gur in Hindi and Bellam in Telugu) ~ Sugarcane and Palm
Sugar cane Jaggery and Palm Jaggery ~ For this week’s Indian Kitchen

Jaggery and sugar are India’s gifts to the world!

I do not know how many of you know this but ancient Bharath (India) pioneered the sugar making technique. Harold McGee, the author of entertaining and educational cookbook “The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” describes in detail how thousands of years ago, India enamored the world with the taste and technique of sugar making. This is the first ’spice’ that was exported from India. These ancient traditions still continue and along with sugar, jaggery is also prominently used in Indian cooking.

There are two types of jaggery available in India as far as I know. One is from sugarcane and the second type is from Palmyra palm tree (toddy palm or taadi chettu) . Sugarcane juice (for cane jaggery) sap (for palm jaggery) from trees is boiled down hours and hours. And the concentrated liquid is poured into molds to dry. Depending on the mold used, you would see jaggery in different shapes- cylindrical blocks, smooth round balls and half spheres etc. Depending on the sweetness level and color, the jaggery is two types. Pale gold colored one - this is what’s available in most of the Indian grocery shops here in US. This is popular mainly because of my generation’s penchant for all things pale colored. Good, decent taste, I use it regularly in my cooking. But my parents and grand parents back in India prefer the dark colored jaggery. Aging or curing the freshly prepared jaggery for sometime will result in potently sweet, distinct flavored dark colored jaggery. For them, pale colored ones are inferior in taste. I agree that there is a significant difference between those two types. Because of this fact, often in our homes for marriages and special occasions, the dark colored jaggery is preferred to prepare sweetmeats.

When it comes to taste - jaggery has a distinct taste. English language, perhaps the most powerful tool and expression of current day culture, has millions of words but none of which are really good enough I think and there is no word in English that completely serves to describe the taste of Jaggery. If you have tasted one, cooked with one, smelled one, then you know the subtle sublime scrumptiousness Jaggery brings to a recipe. Otherwise, a translation attempt ‘tastes like molasses, brown sugar or maple syrup‘ is either an incomplete and false hint, for anyone who doesn’t know the taste of jaggery, or is simply annoyingly weak and unevocative.

Jaggery stores well. Once in 3 or 4 months, I buy a big block of jaggery from Indian stores. I break it using a knife and hammer. Place the knife in the middle of the block and lightly hit it with hammer. Jaggery breaks into pieces. Further gentle tapping with hammer results in small pieces and powdered jaggery. I keep what I need in a small container in kitchen cabinet and store the remaining pieces for later use in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator. Just with 15 minutes work, I would be set for at least 3 months. I use jaggery in different traditional Indian preparations - to sweeten the curry sauces, for pappu chaaru and also to prepare sweets like payasam, kheer and cashew sweets etc. Back in home, in India, people often prepare sweets with jaggery. Particularly for naivedyam, jaggery sweets are preferred to sugar sweets. Our elders, they may not have degrees, but they do know where the ingredients come from and how they are made. They avoid sugar in naivedyam because after all sugar is processed by using dead animals bone meal.

One complaint I often hear about jaggery is presense of sand or dust particles in it. The reason for it is jaggery is still prepared in ancient way, in the fields. There will be harvesting of sugar cane going on one side and on the other end concentrating the sugar cane juice will be going on. Air carries some particles into this liquid. The farmers do filter the liquid before pouring into molds but one or two particles always find a way to join in. For some, these particles are reason why they avoid jaggery and prefer sugar. For me, I prefer sand particles to bonechar contamination anytime of the day. Atleast I know how to deal with jaggery impurities - melt and strain.

For the month of December, for Jihva - the online food blogging event, we the food bloggers are going to celebrate the goodness of Jaggery. All thanks to the new mom and the host of JFI, Kay, for her wonderful selection. Whether you are an already ordained admirer of jaggery by birth or it is your first time, join and (re)discover the subtle, sublime scrumptiousness of jaggery cooking, both in sweet and savory recipes.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jaggery, Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Sugar, Jaggery and Honey (Sunday November 26, 2006 at 8:35 pm- permalink)
Comments (308)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Kittaya Blogging

Kittaya
take me with you, pretty please.
(Kittaya’s standard pose these days, when he sees us get ready to go out.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday November 25, 2006 at 9:51 pm- permalink)
Comments (9)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Holiday Treats ~ Roasted Chestnuts

Chestnuts Prepped for Roasting
Kuri Chestnuts Prepped for Stove-Top Roasting

Yay, with thanksgiving, the season of chestnuts is here!

I have already written how I was introduced to chestnuts here in US and how much I look forward to fresh chestnuts every year. The season is short, only 3 months. November, December and January is when you see fresh chestnuts in the market here. Also it is traditional for street vendors to roast chestnuts over charcoal fires and sell them in small quantities. See the image here. If you happen to find them in local winter festival fairs, do not miss a chance to taste them. You will be hooked like I did. I can compare the experience of fresh roasted chestnuts to murmura hot off from the munta in winter exhibition fairs-India.

Although they have a nut in the name, Chestnuts are anything but classic nuts. They are not oily like other nuts and they taste good. I gathered from the web that chestnuts have the lowest fat content of all major edible nuts, contain quality protein and no cholesterol. And they are high in carbohydrates, can be compared in nutritional value to brown rice.

In an article last year, I have written about roasting chestnuts in detail. Check it out. If this is your first time with chestnuts, do not forget to make a ‘+’ cut on one side of chestnut with a sharp knife (like shown in the image above), in order to avoid bursting the shell during cooking. Also use infrequently used cast iron skillet for roasting. My two tips.

Roasted Chestnuts
Roasted Chestnuts (kuri) ~ Satisfying sweet snack to warm up winter days

How to roast chestnuts on stove-top: Method in detail
Kuri chestnuts purchased at Uwajimaya (asian grocery shop, Seattle)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chestnuts (Marrons) (Friday November 24, 2006 at 2:09 pm- permalink)
Comments (8)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Happy Thanksgiving

Mount Rainier in the distance on this cloudy Thanksgiving day.

Mount Rainier from I-90

Thanksgiving day parade - Seattle downtown, on 24th (tomorrow).

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Thursday November 23, 2006 at 9:07 am- permalink)
Comments (9)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Penne Marinara With Fresh Goat Cheese

Penne in Tomato-Basil Sauce with Goat Cheese

Penne pasta tossed in tomato-basil sauce and garnished with red chilli flavored goat cheese - this classic pasta recipe is easy to prepare and deeply satisfying on a basic, no-nonsense way. Good food to have on a rainy day like today.

I am under the impression that goat cheese is the purest cheese available in the market right now. I am hoping that I won’t find any information that would shatter my belief and prove how naive I am. Again and again, from sugar to table salt to enriched flour, everything I thought decent were proved otherwise here in US. More and more, the ingredient shopping here is becoming like a sightseeing trip to Las Vegas. (I see gondola ride, is this Venice? Nope, it’s not.) Which is genuine and which is maya (fake) - one has to dig deep to discern the difference.

For now, I am going to enjoy goat cheese - my all time favorite cheese.

Goat cheese with red chilli flakes and Penne
Goat cheese with red chilli flakes and Penne Pasta

Recipe:

Penne (a type of pasta) - 2 cups
Tomato-basil sauce (marinara) - Homemade or storebought - 3 cups
Goat cheese - ½ cup
Fresh garbanzo beans - ½ cup
Red onion and red bell pepper, 1 each - thinly sliced lengthwise
Red chilli powder, salt and turmeric - ½ tsp each or to taste.

Cook pasta to tender following instructions on the packet. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add and saut? red onions and red bell pepper to soft. Add the fresh garbanzo beans and tomato-basil sauce. Stir in red chilli powder, salt, turmeric and about a cup of water. On medium-high heat, cook for about 10 to 15 minutes stirring in-between. When the sauce starts to come together, switch off the heat. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Toss to mix and sprinkle in crumbled goat cheese. Serve hot.

Kitchen Notes:
Fresh Goat Cheese type and source: Peppadew Chevre from ‘Trader Joe’s’ (US grocery shop)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Goduma (Wheat), Cheese, Pasta, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas) (Tuesday November 21, 2006 at 3:01 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Pappu Chaaru with Bendakaya (bendi, Okra)

Cooked and Mashed Toor dal, Tamarind Extract, Jaggery
Cooked and Mashed Toor dal, Tamarind Extract, Jaggery

If toor dal, the mother of all dals, has offspring, it would have three. They would be the pappu (dal), the pappu chaaru and the sambhar. Our regular pappu (tadka dal) is like big sister, always there to feed us when we are short on time and out of meal ideas. Sambhar is the darling little one, so naturally show stopper and attention grabber. Needs all spice bling in the world (sambhar powder) to shine and of course would bring much joy to the party. Imagine a party without sambar. No way, right? Then there is the pappu chaaru, typical middle child. Some of us don’t even know it exists and some of us compare and confuse it with the first and last ones.

Pappu chaaru has same ingredients of dal (pappu) but the cooking method is different and we add jaggery to it. And looks like sambhar but doesn’t have the several special spices typical for sambhar in it. It may not be as regular or as flashy like pappu and sambhar in our homes, but pappu chaaru has many admirers and die-hard fans, sort of like underground following. When you get to know pappu chaaru, you would immediately grasp why millions of Andhra households adore this darling dish.

Typical Pappu chaaru has a consistency of fresh honey, not too watery or not too thick. Main ingredient is of course toor dal. Distinct nature comes from the addition of good quality jaggery and tamarind. In case of vegetables, constant are onions and ripe tomatoes - sometimes bendi or drumsticks are also added. Regulars - salt, red chilli powder and turmeric are added along with aqua. Curry leaves touch, that’s about it. Together they are cooked to a honey consistency and the end result does have an addictive quality like honey.

Pappu chaaru, dal and sambar, this is the order how my mother introduced us to toor dal. For that reason, pappu chaaru has always holds a special place in my heart.

Recipe:

Pressure cook:
4 fistfuls (1 cup) of toor dal in one glass of water to tender. Mash the dal to smooth.

Cut:
1 onion - finely sliced lengthwise
1 ripe tomato - finely chopped
1-inch pieces - optional and to taste - Bendakaya (okra) or drumsticks (munagakaya), about 8 to 10 cut pieces

Do the popu and cook:
In a pot, heat a teaspoon of oil. Do the popu or tadka (toast curry leaves, dried red chilli pieces, cumin and mustard seeds in one teaspoon of peanut oil).
Add onions. Saute to soft. Add tomatoes and vegetables. Cook to tender, stirring often.
Add the cooked and mashed toordal.
Stir in salt, red chilli powder and turmeric to taste or ½ tsp each.
Add 2 tablespoons each - freshly prepared tamarind juice and jaggery pieces.
Add about a big glass of water. Mix and bring to a boil on high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer the whole thing for about 10 to 15 minutes. Just before turning off the heat, sprinkle some finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves.

Let the pappu chaaru sit covered for at least 10 minutes and then serve warm with rice. Tastes extra good when it’s cold.


Okra Pappu Chaaru with Rice and Taro (Chaama Dumpa) Chips

Recipe source: Amma

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Benda Kaaya(Okra), Amma & Authentic Andhra (Monday November 20, 2006 at 2:22 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Sunday at S.U. Kitchen

Getting ready to prepare aloo chole at SU kitchen

Seattle University is hosting Thanksgiving dinner party tomorrow at the university function hall. And on request, Vijay and I had volunteered to prepare some dishes. The main attraction for us was university’s restaurant style big kitchen. Working with big burners and cooking food for people the size that would get invited to a celebrity’s wedding… it was work but we had good time today. Prepared our favorite winter comfort foods Aloo chole and chakli (murukulu) for the party.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday November 19, 2006 at 11:55 pm- permalink)
Comments (18)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Fall Blues ~ Weekend Music



matt pond Pa

Inji Pennu Is back!
Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Dear Inji!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday November 18, 2006 at 4:00 pm- permalink)
Comments (6)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Mahanandi’s Food Blog List

We food bloggers, those who practice Indian cuisine have our own language of ingredients and recipe names. Sometimes finding them on the web becomes difficult, you have to wade through page after page. Indian ingredients names can be last names of some people or an acronym of a software program. Oh, you will find all sorts of weird things with that name except of course what we are looking for. Google custom search engine, evil:) Goggle?s latest offering, really can help us out with the search. We can create our own search engines and can customize by including and excluding sites.

Very useful I thought, so created one for us, Indian food bloggers. The total number of sites came to about 95 (including Bawarchi) and I’m sure I’ve missed quite a few. Compared to when I started last year (only 3), this year has seen an incredible number of creative and talented Indian food bloggers and numerous regional recipes. With this engine we can search and find easily what we are looking for. Although the focus of the search is Indian food blogs, I haven?t excluded any sites, and you can search food blogs from all around the world easily from this search engine.

If you’d like to add custom search engine (Food Blog Search - India) to your site, here is the code: Copy and paste. Just replace “[” and “]” with “< " and ">” respectively.
(Elise of Simply Recipes has created one for all of us foodbloggers worldwide and the code for it is: here.)

Google CSE Search Box Begins
[form id=”searchbox_001213341704229786495:dqqot2dwwog” action=”http://google.com/cse”]
[input type=”hidden” name=”cx” value=”001213341704229786495:dqqot2dwwog” /]
[input name=”q” type=”text” size=”25″ /]
[input type=”submit” name=”sa” value=”Search Food Blogs-India” /]
[input type=”hidden” name=”cof” value=”FORID:1″ /]
[script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://google.com/coop/cse/brand?form=searchbox_001213341704229786495%3Adqqot2dwwog”][/script][/form]
Google CSE Search Box Ends

Search Box will look like this:






Along with the custom search engine, for the community, I have also created a comprehensive list of all food blog sites practicing Indian cuisine, under the name of ‘Mahanandi’s Food Blog List’. Check it out.

If I have missed any, please let me know and I will add the sites to the list. Thanks.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Friday November 17, 2006 at 5:16 pm- permalink)
Comments (10)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Taro Root / Arvi Chips (Chaamadumpa Vepudu)

Taro roots (chaama dumpa in Telugu, Arvi in Hindi)
Taro Roots (Chaama Dumpa in Telugu and Arvi in Hindi)

I’ve always found this dish convenient to cook, for I do not have to worry about the stickiness or falling apart at the touch - ness of taro root. Traditionally in India, boiled, sliced taro is fried in an iron skillet on stovetop. Most of times, end result would be a big, shapeless mush. Tastes good but not that appealing to the eyes. Baking and broiling really suits taro. If you haven’t tried it yet, you must now. Perfection, I tell you. Crispy and gold colored, usually forgettable taro becomes an unforgettable taste.

These oven baked chaama dumpa vepudu/fry make a satisfying and nutritious side dish when served with rice and dal/sambar/rasam or yogurt combination. Moreover, it is the ideal dish for these cool winter days. Oven cooking brings that much needed warmth to the home and also to our bellies.

Boiled and sliced taro root (chaama dumpa/arvi) chips ready for baking
Boiled and sliced taro root (chaama dumpa/arvi) chips ready for baking

Recipe:

Boil (or steam cook) taro roots in water until they become tender. Overboiling makes them extremely mushy so keep checking and remove them before they turn to mushy soft. When they are cooled enough to touch, peel the skins. Cut each, crosswise about quarter to half-inch thickness.

In a vessel, take one or one + (your wish) teaspoons of oil. Add and mix salt, red chilli-garlic powder and turmeric to taste. Add and toss the cut taro root pieces. Spread them in rows neatly on a foil covered baking tray and bake them at 350 F for about 10 minutes. Also broil each side for about 2 to 5 minutes, until they are golden-brown. Remove and serve hot.

While boiling and baking, pay attention to the time and the cooking process. Overcooking in water or overbaking may result in mushy or blackened taro root chips instead of golden, crispy perfection.

Taro root chips (chaama dumpa vepudu/ arvi fry)
Taro root (chaama dumpa/arvi) Chips

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Taro Root (Thursday November 16, 2006 at 5:26 pm- permalink)
Comments (42)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Dondakaya Pappu (Tindora Dal)

I have postponed blogging about this recipe as long as I could. A dal with Tindora (Dondakaya) and toordal - it may sound preposterous and audacious, but people do prepare it in Andhra (Nandyala), and there are some who like it. In case of me, I like it mainly because everything Indian is precious to me now.:)

If you are one of those who would cook tindoras in a pressure cooker or by adding water to the curry, then you might like this traditional Andhra tindora dal recipe as well. Tomato dal with tindora touch is what this tindora (dondakaya) pappu is.

Green Chillies, Toor dal, Tindora (dondakaya)
Green Chillies, Toor Dal, Tindora (dondakaya)

Recipe:

Cut:
10 tindoras (dondakayalu), cut thinly crosswise, like coin shape
(Discard red colored, ripe flesh ones)
10 to 12 green chillies - finely chopped
1 medium sized onion - cut into chunks
1 medium sized tomato - cut into small pieces

Pressure Cook:
In a pressure cooker, take 4 fistfuls of toor dal and wash them first. Add the cut vegetables, ¼ teaspoon of turmeric, tablespoon of tamarind pieces and 2 cups of water. Cover and pressure-cook till two or three whistles. Turn off the heat and wait for the pressure to go off. When all the valve pressure is released, open the lid. Add about ½ teaspoon of salt. With a wood masher, mash the dal to smooth consistency.

Do the popu or tadka:
In a dal-pot, heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. Add and toast 6 each-curry leaves and dried red chilli pieces, one teaspoon each of- minced garlic, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds - in the order mentioned. When mustard seeds start to dance, quickly add the mashed dal from pressure cooker and mix. Cover with a lid and let it sit for few minutes for flavors to mingle well.

Serve:
Serve a big serving spoon size rice on a plate. With similar kind of spoon, serve dal. Sprinkle one teaspoon of ghee. Mix rice, dal and ghee with hand. Shape into small ping-pong shaped rounds. Like a truffle, savor each round. A curry, pickle or papadam on the side not only enhances this experience a lot, this is how the rice-dal combo is eaten in many Andhra households.


Tindora (Dondakaya) dal mixed with rice and on the side tindora curry. A glass of tomato rasam and a glass of buttermilk (not in the picture) - Our meal today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Dondakaya(Tindora), Amma & Authentic Andhra (Tuesday November 14, 2006 at 3:06 pm- permalink)
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Methi Chole (Fenugreek~Chickpeas Curry)

“One remarkable thing about Rajasthani recipes is, without the usage of Onions and Garlic, the dishes that are prepared are remarkably tasty. One such dish which stole my heart is Methiwale Kabuli Chhole (Chick peas with fenugreek leaves). This curry is prepared both in dry and gravy version. But my suggestion is to prepare semi gravy version. If you taste this once, you would love to try this out again and again.”

- Writes cooking guru Sri Hemant Trivedi in his introduction to chickpea-fenugreek curry. As weather turned to cold and gray, kitchen and food have become my source of warmth and comfort, among other things. Chickpeas are one of my favorite winter comfort foods and I am always on the lookout for new recipes to try with this wonder legume. The methi chole recipe from Trivedi’s fabulous website sounded interesting and I gave it a try last weekend.

Of course I had to alter the recipe to suit my tastes. I have added onions, omitted ginger-garlic, and I prepared the curry with fresh green chickpeas. Trader Joe’s, the nearby grocery shop carries fresh green chickpeas in frozen section. One-pound packet was available for $1.99. Like freshly shelled peas, fresh green chickpeas taste good, and when combined with potent fenugreek, they made a great combination. Chana masala infused with fenugreek magic is methi chole. Give it a try.

 Fresh Green Chickpeas, Fresh Fenugreek (methi) Leaves, Ripe Tomato
Fresh Green Chickpeas, Fresh Fenugreek (methi) Leaves, Ripe Tomato

Recipe:

2¼ cups of green chickpeas (chana, green garbanzos)
(of which ¼ cup removed and pureed to smooth paste - to thicken the sauce)
2 cups of fresh methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)
4 big, ripe, juicy tomatoes - cut to small pieces
1 onion - finely chopped
Seasoning:
1 tablespoon of chana masala powder
Salt, chilli powder, turmeric, jaggery (or sugar) and amchur powder - to taste or ½ teaspoon each
1 teaspoon of ghee

In a big saucepan, heat ghee on medium heat.
Add and saute onions to soft.
Add fresh methi leaves and cook for about two minutes, until leaves collapse.
Add the green chickpeas and tomatoes. Stir in the pureed chickpea paste, and all the seasoning. Add about 2 cups of water.
Cover and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring in-between, on medium heat, until the chickpeas become tender. Serve the methi-chole warm with chapatis.

This recipe can also be prepared with dried chickpeas (soak and cook them to tender first and follow the recipe steps mentioned above).

Pot of Methi Chole and Chapatis on the Side
Pot of methi chole and chapatis on the side ~ Our Weekend Meal

Green Garbanzo Beans - purchased at Trader Joe’s, frozen section.
Fresh Methi (fenugreek leaves) - purchased at Indian grocery shops
Recipe source and adapted from - Sri Hemant Trivedi and from ‘Spice is Right’

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chickpeas, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek), Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas) (Monday November 13, 2006 at 12:42 pm- permalink)
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