Mahanandi

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

Weekend Seattle


Neighborhood Snapshot ~ First Hill, Seattle

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday July 15, 2007 at 9:06 pm- permalink)
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Weekend Kittaya Blogging


Kittaya Enjoying an Evening

Food Blog Talent:

Adhi Potoba ~ Food From Pune, from Applebee’s Country

Amma’s Special ~ Nirmala from Chennai

Escapades ~ by Arundati Rao

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday July 14, 2007 at 9:13 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

The art of Tomato Pacchadi


Sun~Kissed Tomatoes of Summer


Sliced to Chunks


Simmering with Spices


Reduced and Ready to Bottle


Tomato Pacchadi (Tomato Pickle)

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Thanks all for your interest in tomato pickle. Here is the Recipe:
The Art of Making Tomato Pacchadi

If you think you have benefited in some way, by using any of Mahanandi’s recipes and you want to show your appreciation by donating some money, here is Mahanandi’s Cause.
“Provide the Seeds to Sow”. Spread the word and donate.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Amma & Authentic Andhra (Thursday July 12, 2007 at 9:09 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Chilled Cherry Yogurt

Diminished appetite and constant need for something cool, it’s that kind of hot day here in Seattle.

To revive the sweltering spirits, I had to prepare something pleasant. Sweet and juicy, in rich mahogany color, Washington state’s own beautiful bing cherries came to the rescue. Few cherries halved, pitted and mixed with yogurt, then refrigerated for half an hour. Preparing chilled cherry yogurt at home is a simple process with delightful results.

Yesterday’s ratatouille reheated with pasta and freshened with mint, plus chilled cherry yogurt ~ Our meal today

Recipe:
(for two)
2 cups fresh homemade yogurt
15 cherry fruits
Salt and Sugar ~ a pinch each
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Rinse and cut the cherries in half. Twist, separate the halves and pullout the pit.
Add salt and sugar to yogurt. Whisk the yogurt to smooth or buzz in a blender.
Stir in the cherries. Refrigerate for about half an hour. Enjoy the chilled cherry treat!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Fruits, Cherries, Yogurt (Wednesday July 11, 2007 at 9:05 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Ratatouille ~ India Inspired

Cheeseless and Cheerful, India Inspired Ratatouille
Cheeseless and Cheerful ~ India Inspired Ratatouille

When it comes to international cuisine, French cuisine ranks among our favorites. Then again, we are devotees of Tibetan, Thai, Mexican and Italian … well you get the picture. But back to French food, if we may. So delighted are we of the new Pixar animated movie, we decided to recreate one of our favorite French recipes at home. Cheeseless and cheerful ~ The Ratatouille.

Dictionary defines Ratatouille as “A vegetable stew, usually made with eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and onions, seasoned with herbs and garlic”. Ratatouille, Pulusu, Kurma or Subzi …different names in different languages but the underlying wisdom is the same. Isn’t it? When vibrant and fresh looking vegetables are available, the recipe served will make happy people happier and comforts those who aren’t. Really, we don’t have to do much in order to make a miraculous meal.

The India inspiration is addition of poppy seeds. When added to bobbling vegetables in the pot, the powdered poppy seeds will bring sweet aroma and subtly enriches the ratatouille in a typical Indian way.

Cheeseless and Cheerful, India Inspired Ratatouille
Farm Fresh Vegetables from Pike Place Market for Ratatouille ~ Round Zucchinis, Red and Green Capsicum, Shallots, Purple Garlic, Baby Carrots, Fresh Peas, Tomatoes & Green Brinjals (Total Cost $8).

Recipe:
1 teaspoon peanut oil
¼ tsp each - cumin, mustard seeds and 6 curry leaves
4 garlic cloves and 2 shallots - finely chopped
6 each - tomatoes, brinjals, carrots & 2 each - zucchinis, capsicums ~ cut to chunks
Half cup each - freshly shelled peas and finely chopped coriander leaves
Quarter cup poppy seeds - powdered fine in a spice grinder
¼ tsp red chilli powder, salt and turmeric or to taste
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In a big saucepan, heat the oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Lower the heat to medium. Add the curry leaves and toast to pale brown. Toss in cumin, mustard seeds. When seeds start to jump, add the garlic and shallots. Stir fry few minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and peas. Cook, covered for about ten minutes. The vegetables start to get tender and you will see lot of water in the pot. At this stage stir in poppy seed paste, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Sprinkle coriander leaves, mix and simmer another ten minutes, until the sauce becomes thick but pourable.
Serve warm with rice/chapati/bread or pasta.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Vankaya (Brinjal), Poppy Seeds, Zucchini (Tuesday July 10, 2007 at 9:06 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Dazzling Dals ~ Sprouted Masoor Dal


Masoor Dal Sprouts

Whole masoor dal is quick to sprout. Just few hours soak-time in water and few hours hang-time in a cotton cloth under the warm rays of the sun. That’s about it. Like the sensitive student that staunchly strives to deliver a stellar performance, masoor dal swiftly transforms itself from drab brown to dazzling shade of orange-brown within a day. Truly impressive.

This is the first time I did the sprouting thing with whole masoor and I found the process undemanding and the sprouts pleasant tasting. I remember from science classes that the sprouting process turns the starches in lentils and legumes into more digestible sugars. Whole masoor dal provides a textbook example. Prominently perceptible sweet taste, crisp texture, delicate and a delight, masoor dal sprouts are a must try for sprouts connoisseurs. I totally recommend.


Sprouted Masoor Dal Stew

This is what I’ve prepared with sprouted masoor dal. A light and easy, low-calorie stew with a taste that humbles even the contrived sprouts-cynic. That’s how I felt after the meal.

Recipe:

1 teaspoon peanut oil
2 each - curry leaf sprigs and garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
¼ tsp each - cumin, mustard seeds and asafetida(inguva)
1 onion, 2 tomatoes and 3 green chillies - finely chopped
2 cups sprouted masoor dal
¼ tsp each - turmeric and salt, or to taste
1 lime - juice squeezed
Few Springs of Fresh Coriander

In a big saucepan, heat the oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Lower the heat to medium. Add the curry leaves and the garlic to cook to pale brown. Toss in cumin, mustard seeds and asafetida. When seeds start to jump, add the onions, tomatoes and chillies. saute for few minutes until they soften.

Stir in sprouted masoor dal, turmeric and salt. Add about a cup of water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat and simmer until the dal reaches fall-apart stage, about 10-15 minutes. Add lime juice and few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves. Mix and serve warm. It tastes good on its own. No rice or chapati is needed to enjoy the sprouted masoor dal and that makes it a perfect meal for calorie-conscious.


Sprouted Masoor Dal with Farm Fresh Carrots and Cherries ~ Humble Meal on a Hot Day

Notes:
Whole masoor dal (brown) and Split masoor dal (Red) can be bought at Indian groceries and also at natural food stores in bulk bins here at US.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Masoor Dal (Red Lentils), Sprouts (Molakalu) (Monday July 9, 2007 at 9:09 pm- permalink)
Comments (18)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Series of Sprouts ~ Masoor Dal


Masoor Dal ~ Whole


Masoor Dal: Outer Brown Skins Removed and Split


Masoor Dal Sprouts

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Masoor Dal (Red Lentils), Sprouts (Molakalu) (Sunday July 8, 2007 at 9:02 pm- permalink)
Comments (9)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Garden ~ Pea Flower

Pea Flower
Pretty and Frail ~ Pea Flower

English Peas, Green Pea Vine

Flowers in Food Blog World:

A Rosie Delight ~ Gulkhand
Mango Flowers and More ~ From Bharat
Onion Flowers
Radish Flowers

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peas (Bataani) (Saturday July 7, 2007 at 7:07 pm- permalink)
Comments (9)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Paneer Kadhi ~ for Summer Days

Unusual and distinctive, paneer kadhi has much potential. At the beginning it may seem undefined and unclear, but at the end, it assumes clear and unmistakable identity that is fascinating and enchanting.

Dried mango powder (Amchur), ginger powder (sonti) and kasoori methi adds to the mystique, giving a deeply memorable taste to paneer kadhi.


Homemade Yogurt, Dried Ginger, Kasoori Methi and Paneer

Recipe:

In a small sauce pan, heat a teaspoon of oil.

Add and saute the following ingredients in the order mentioned:

Urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds - half teaspoon each
Green chillies, slit in the middle - 4
Finely chopped onions and fresh green peas - half cup each
Dried mango (amchur), ginger(sonti) & kasoori methi- half tsp each
Turmeric, sugar and salt to taste or quarter teaspoon each
Small, bite-sized paneer cubes, about 12 to 15

At the end, add about two cups of fresh homemade yogurt. Whisk the yogurt, thoroughly mixing with sautéed spices. Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves and serve warm with chapatis or rice for a delightful meal.


Paneer Kadhi with Chapatis and Pickled Cucumber ~ Our Meal Today

Thank you Musical for suggesting Paneer Kadhi name to this recipe.
Recipe Adapted from Annita’s “My Pleasure and My Treasure”
Yogurt is prepared with 2% milk (so, the thin watery like consistency on whisking).

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What brought on this paneer craving, you might ask?

Party at a restaurant. A platter of most delectable paneer pakoras. Slim pickings, thus born a paneer state of mind.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Paneer, Yogurt, Ginger & Sonti (Thursday July 5, 2007 at 9:23 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Pudina Paneer for Picnic


Pudina (Mint) from our Patio Garden

Pudina Paneer has the perfect punch to serve with pulaos and parathas on a picnic party. It’s good with grilled chicken and fish too.

Recipe is easy to execute. Involves grilling and grinding.

Grilling :
On stove-top or on a hot grill, place a slab of paneer and grill each side for a minute. Remove, cool and slice the paneer slab to bite sized cubes.
On stove-top or on a grill, place an iron skillet and heat the oil until it’s very hot. Add and saute Pudina leaves till they wilt. Remove to a plate.
In the same skillet, place onions, tomatoes, garlic and green chillies. Grill to brown.

Grinding:
In a food processor or mixer, take roasted peanuts. Grind to fine consistency.
Add the sautéed Pudina leaves, grilled onions, tomatoes, garlic and green chillies. Also tamarind, salt and two cups of water. Process the whole thing to smooth paste. Remove to a cup. Stir in grilled paneer cubes and serve with pulao or parathas.


Pudina Paneer ~ for Picnic Party

Ingredients
Palm sized, one-inch thick slab of paneer (about 15 to 20 cubes)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 bunches of Pudina (mint) - about 4 cups of leaves
1 big red onion
2 semi ripe tomatoes
6 to 8 green chillies
1 small garlic bulb - about 4-6 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
½ cup roasted peanuts
½ tsp salt or to taste

Recipe source: My own creation

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Paneer, Mint (Wednesday July 4, 2007 at 9:32 pm- permalink)
Comments (19)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Savory Treats ~ Ponganalu

In our homes, whenever relatives from other regions of Andhra or from other states visit us for holidays, out comes the “ponganala Pennam”(ponganala skillet). Round, golden colored ponganalu, hot off from the skillet, always elicits oohh… aahh… from our relatives and from their weird offspring (are there any other kind?:) ). Because they are unique to our region, preparing them is our showoff kind of thing to out of staters who were related to us by marriages etc.

Preparing ponganalu, it’s all in the skillet . Right kind of skillet delivers or breaks a ‘ponganam’. Nothing can beat an old world style, well seasoned iron skillet. They are the best and the place where you can buy is of course India. I’ve seen some non-stick skillets here in US in some Indian shops lately. They are also fine, if you don’t mind the non-stick coating.

Recipe:
For 3 to 4 batches of Ponganalu

Ponganala batter:
1 cup rice
½ cup urad dal

Soak rice and urad dal in water for about 6 hours. Drain (reserve the water) and grind them into smooth batter adding just enough water (add the drained water that was kept aside). The consistency of the batter must be thick, like idli batter or like condensed milk (commercial kind). Take the batter into a big vessel, cover and let it sit overnight in a warm area for fermentation.
(Sour and dayold dosa batter is perfect to prepare ponganalu.)

Ingredients to prepare ponganalu
Rice-Urad Dal Batter and Ingredients ~ to Prepare Ponganalu

Seasoning (Add to the overnight fermented batter):
1 big red onion or 6 shallots - finely chopped
(Because we mix them in the batter raw, avoid yellow onion for its smell & awful rawtaste)
4 green chillies - finely chopped
Few springs of cilantro - finely chopped
A fistful of chana dal (soaked overnight)
1 teaspoon of cumin
½ teaspoon of turmeric and salt
Add all these ingredients to the batter and mix thoroughly.
Also prepare peanut or coconut chutney.

Cooking: Place the ponganala skillet on medium heat. Add few drops of peanut oil into each impression. With a spoon or with a piece of paper towel, rub oil around, to season the skillet. When the skillet is hot and ready, proceed like this, following the images.


Pour a ladleful of batter into each impression.


Once all impressions are filled, cover the skillet with a lid and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes undisturbed.


Remove the lid; The batter will be set by now. Gently lift the ponganalu with a “ponganala lifter” or with a spoon. If properly cooked, they should come out easily without sticking to the skillet. If not, cook them for few more minutes.


Turn each one to opposite side to cook.


Cook them another 5 minutes on medium heat undisturbed. Gently lift them from out of the skillet. When properly cooked they should come out easily without sticking to the skillet. If not, cook for few more minutes and remove all to a plate. Season the skillet with oil, and repeat the steps again to cook another batch. Medium heat is the key.(Cooking them on high heat in a hurry or on too low heat won’t work- usually the outcome will be messy, sticky ponganalu instead of golden rounds.)


Ponganalu with peanut chutney - Breakfast worth getting up early for.


This recipe was originally published on March 20th, 2006 on Mahanandi.

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Ponganalu ~ Sweet and Savory
Ponganalu - Sweet Treats Ponganalu with Spinach and Sara Pappu

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Revisiting Old Recipes (Tuesday July 3, 2007 at 9:28 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Chinese Spinach Curry (Thotakura)

Thotakura Palakura Tomato Kura:

The summer season for vegetables is coming into full swing here in Seattle. It’s overwhelming to see so many American as well as Asian vegetable varieties and it is getting impossible not to lose mind and money. The choice is endless and I love to be greedy. But, how many and how much one can buy, cook and eat? So, I am trying very hard to keep my cool at farmers’ markets and pick only the ingredients I’ve known from my childhood days that speak to my heart.

One fresh vegetable that I am enjoying to the fullest along with green brinjals is fresh amaranth. (Thotakura in Telugu). The label at the local farmers’ market says Chinese spinach or red spinach and one bunch is usually priced at one dollar. I have been buying this vegetable almost every week since May simply because I love the fresh amaranth taste. It is one of those “looks simple and yet yields results far outweighing the effort” kind of vegetable. In today’s recipe, another Nandyala classic, the fresh amaranth is paired with spinach and tomatoes. A stellar combination and a scrumptious curry!

Chinese Spinach, Red Spinach, Fresh Amaranth, Thotakura
Bunch of Fresh Chinese Spinach/Red Spinach/Amaranth/Thotakura ~ From Local Farmers Market

Recipe:

1 teaspoon peanut oil
¼ teaspoon each -cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves
1 big onion - finely sliced, about one cup
2 tomatoes - finely chopped, about one cup
5 green chillies -finely chopped
1 teaspoon - ginger garlic paste
½ tsp each- turmeric and salt
1 bunch fresh amaranth (leaves and tender stems) - finely chopped, about 5 cups
1 bunch fresh spinach - finely chopped, about 5 cups
I have also added about ½ cup chori/adzuki beans (pre soaked in water overnight). This is my choice and optional. Chickpeas, kala chana etc also taste good.

Heat peanut oil in a wide skillet. Add cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves and let them sizzle a moment before adding the sliced onion, tomato, green chillies and red beans. Also stir in the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric and salt.

Let everything stew together for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the whole thing comes together into cooked soft mass with tender chori (adzuki) beans.

Now add the fresh amaranth and spinach. Stir to mix and cook covered on medium-high for about five minutes until the leaves wilt. Remove the lid and cook another five minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the curry sit for few minutes so that the flavors could mix well.

Serve the curry warm with chapatis or sorghum roti and a cup of yogurt plus fresh fruit for a complete meal.


Chapatis with Fresh Amaranth-Spinach-Tomato Curry

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Spinach, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Red Beans (Chori), Thotakura (Amaranth) (Monday July 2, 2007 at 9:12 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Green Brinjals with Cumin

Vankaya with Jeelakarra Karam:

“Let’s consider a situation when you are all alone at home. You are hungry and would like to satisfy your cravings. What will you cook if you want to cook for yourself?”

Asks talented foodblogger Live2Cook.

Just like her, if brinjals are in my vegetable stash, instead of indulging in junk food, I would be motivated enough to prepare a decent meal. I enjoy brinjals that much. Particularly green brinjals which we call Poluru Vankayalu in Telugu. I am one of those people with a passion for green brinjals.

Meal is for myself, so I would go for simple ten-minute preparations like brinjal with ginger or today’s recipe, “Brinjal with Cumin”. This little-known but worth-knowing cumin flavored brinjal curry is a delight to the senses and a must try for green brinjal fans.


Green Brinjals (Poluru Vankayalu)

Recipe:

Aromatic Cumin Powder (Jeelakarra Karam):
Take 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 roughly chopped plump garlic clove, 4 red chillies and a pinch of salt in a grinder. Grind to smooth without adding water.

Green Brinjals (Poluru Vankaya):
Pick 15 young and firm green brinjals. Remove the stem end and wash. Finely slice brinjals lengthwise like shown in the picture above.

Cooking the Curry (Kura):
Heat a wide skillet. Add a teaspoon of peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add a pinch each - cumin, mustard seeds and five each - curry leaves and roughly chopped garlic pieces. When they start to turn to gold, add the brinjal pieces.

Saute on medium-high heat, mixing in-between. Green brinjals cook fast, so be ready with aromatic cumin powder. Sprinkle the cumin powder and also turmeric and salt to taste. Toss to mix well and cook few more minutes, until the brinjal pieces are just tender but still green. Serve hot.

Cumin flavored green brinjal curry tastes great with rice/chapati, toasted bread/bagel or with papad.


Cumin Flavored Green Brinjal Curry on a Papad ~ Meal for Myself
For JFI~Eggplant Event Hosted by Lovely Sangeeta of Ghar Ka Khana

Recipe source: Amma, Nandyala

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How many of you know that green brinjals are cultivated in India and they are named after a village called “Poluru” near Nandyala region, Andhra Pradesh?

More Green Brinjal (Poluru Vankaya) Recipes:
Stuffed Brinjal Curry (Gutti Vankaya Kura)
Brinjal-Potato Curry
Green Brinjal-Fresh Amaranth Curry

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal), Jihva For Ingredients, Cumin (Jeelakarra) (Sunday July 1, 2007 at 1:00 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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