Mahanandi

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

2008

Tulip Balloon, Photo by Vijay Singari

“I need a fresh look.”

“OK, what do you have in mind?”

“Scrub the makeup you have layered on my face. Don’t you dare put new widget grafts, and No botox plug-ins!”

“But, the botox and skin-grafts are in vogue right now.”

“I know. I prefer my plain natural self. No makeup, no frills. Simple and clean.”

“OK. Done.”

“I feel fresh and peaceful.”

In a culinary web-world, where the latest fashion is silicone, my website Mahanandi is going back to cast-iron days. Basic, functional and durable. I call this new look enticing in an effortless manner.

Between the hubbubs of holiday hungama, we have made some time to spruce up my website. On my request, Vijay has designed a favicon to honor “Mahanandi, the temple town“. The favicon shows the first letter of Mahanandi (మహానంది) in Telugu. I think it looks nice.

I’ve updated the article and recipe index. My daily meal record has, over time, evolved into an elaborate feast, and I have tried as best I could to make it comprehensive and user-friendly. Instead of hiding behind passwords and special logins, I have kept the Index accessible to all, following the principles of Web 2.0:). Check it out, and if I missed some detail, please let me know.

With Vijay’s help, I have installed a new web site called India Cookery - Food Stock Photography.

  • The gallery has 1,400 images of food ingredients, preparation process and the scrumptious end results related to Indian cuisine.
  • A neat keyword tag feature supports “search” function, and makes it easy to browse and find the food photos. (WIP)
  • With the “purchase cart” feature, you can easily print or digital download food images in different resolutions and sizes with a simple click.

This food stock photography website is in response to frequent image theft by some desperate newspapers and webzines. I hope they stop stealing images now, and purchase the photos legally. The gallery is open to all, and you can also download and attach the food photos to your articles or in your web design for a nominal fee.

After three years of free service to the community of food lovers, I finally made Mahanandi go green in an attempt to reduce the carbon footprint it is leaving on our family income. If it becomes self-sustainable, thanks to your generous support, I promise I will cut-off the symbiotic relationship with corporate megaliths.

An avid food enthusiast and my friend, Sreemathi Veena Parrikar accepted my request to write a regular column on Mahanandi. Her exceptional knowledge and writing skills would become an excellent addition to Mahanandi tradition.

I wish you all a culinary-adventure filled 2008!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Monday December 31, 2007 at 7:42 pm- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Happy Holidays!

Flower Bouquet, My Embroidery Work in a Frame
Flower Bouquet, My Embroidery Work in a Frame


Wishing You a Happy Holiday Season!

(I am taking few days off from blogging for the holiday season. Mahanandi is also going through some changes to get a fresh look for the coming new year.)

Mahanandi from 2005-07 Mahanandi in 2008
Vibrant Old Look (2005-2007) …. A Fresh Look in Magazine Style for 08

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday December 15, 2007 at 12:36 am- permalink)
Comments (27)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Chestnuts

Chestnuts

Chestnuts, with a plus shaped cut, Chestnuts, Prepped for Roasting

Roasting Chestnuts in an Iron Skillet on Stovetop (Almost done)

Shelling the Roasted Chestnuts

Chestnuts
Roasted Chestnuts (kuri) ~ Satisfying Sweet Snack to Warm up on Cold Winter Days

How to roast chestnuts on stove-top:
Method in detail
Holiday Treats ~ Roasted Chestnuts

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chestnuts (Marrons), Revisiting Old Recipes (Thursday December 13, 2007 at 2:05 pm- permalink)
Comments (15)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Prune-Pecan Fruit Bread

Prunes
Sweet and Tart, Plump Prunes

Like many folks these days, I have gotten away from baking bread often, but when I do, I would go for a dense, deep flavored bread full of fruit and nuts. Prune-pecan bread is one such bread. The recipe is inspired by the one I have read at war-time recipe booklet, circa 1910-20. You can see how conservative the recipe methods were at that time. No dumping of butter and eggs for everything, like they are nothing. People were rational during those days, it seems. Also, if you read the bread bibles of present day, you would think that ‘yeast is west’. It doesn’t have to be yeast all the time, and also bread-baking without yeast matches our chapati/roti cookery style.

The original recipe has 4 teaspoons of baking powder, and it sounded too much to me, so I reduced the amount to one teaspoon, and mixed the dough with buttermilk. I purchased prunes, and I already have pecans and maple syrup at home. So I decided to include those ingredients along with prunes in my recipe. The bread may not look much, but it baked up great. The juicy, moist prunes, pecans and sweet maple syrup - it’s a good kind of bread.

Prune Pecan Bread
Bread Dough Ready for Baking

Recipe:

1 ½ cups barley flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup prunes, finely chopped
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup maple syrup, more if you like a sweet bread
¼ cup ghee, melted
1 cup buttermilk, at room temp. (mine was from homemade yogurt)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Warm water to mix, about half cup to one cup

Take the barley and all-purpose flour in a big vessel. Add baking powder. Mix. Then add the prunes, pecans, maple syrup and ghee. Gradually adding buttermilk and warm water, whisk the ingredients to combine well. Pour the batter into bread pans. Cover the pans, and keep them in a warm place for about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Remove and cool it for about ten minutes. Run a knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake and invert onto a plate. Let it cool completely. Slice and serve with your favorite jam.

Prune Pecan Bread
Prune-Pecan Bread

Prune Bread recipe from My Little Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Whole Wheat Flour, Maple Syrup, Pecans (Tuesday December 11, 2007 at 8:39 pm- permalink)
Comments (24)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

A Date with Cashew

Dates with Cashews

What could be a more delirious combination than a cashew encased in a sweet date. To my mind, nothing! Cashew-date is a pure, natural treat, and has particularly been a long tradition in Hyderabad region (Charminar area). A favorite at tens of small shops specializing in dates, dates with cashews is prepared by stuffing sweet, moist dates with fresh cashews. When you take a bite, first you would get the caramel like date and then the cashew, which balances and enhances the date experience. It’s a pleasant mini jugalbandi. Vijay and I, we both enjoy cashew-dates.

I think it would be refreshing to eat something uncooked, raw as it is given by the earth at the end of a meal before leaving the table. I believe that’s why fruit is served at the end of traditional meal. A date with cashew is another succulent way to conclude the meal with the sweet taste of Mother Earth.

Date with Cashew
A Date with Cashew ~ for Chandrika’s Date Event

How:
Moist and sweet dates - pits removed
cashews - whole, raw (or unsalted, roasted ones)
****
Gently push the cashew into the date, in place of pit.
If the dates are on the firm side, warm them in a oven/microwave for five seconds to soften. This will make the dates pliable and placing cashews will be easy. (This works on firm dates, trust me). Store them in a box, or wrap each one like a candy.
Natural pick-me uppers and also make a sweet gift to share with friends and family.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Dry Fruits, Nuts & Seeds, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Cashews, Dates (kharjuram) (Monday December 10, 2007 at 12:50 pm- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Date and Prune

Date and Prune
A Date with Prune ~ for this Week’s Indian Kitchen

Weekend Blog Read:

Hey, Sweetheart!

Love Song for Trader Joe’s

I Finally Said Goodbye to Food Network

Saturday Night at the Movies, The Obligatory Top Ten List

Blogging in Telugu: Tools and Tips

What’s Wrong with American Academia

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Dates (kharjuram) (Sunday December 9, 2007 at 2:42 pm- permalink)
Comments (10)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Kandula Kura

Kandulu (Whole and Dried Tuvar or Toor Beans
Kandulu (Tuvar or Toor Beans)
Dried Beans, Rehydrated Beans and Cooked Beans
(Clockwise from the bottom. Notice the color change)

Aloo Kurma with Tuvar Beans
Kandula Kura with Potatoes ~ for Jihva

Aloo Kurma is a good thing. Add the earthy, tooth-some tuvar beans, you have something even better. A fantastic Kandula Kura substantial enough to nurture an Olympic trainer.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Pumpkin (Friday December 7, 2007 at 1:12 pm- permalink)
Comments (15)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Kandulu

Kandulu (Whole Tuvar/Toor Beans - In Dried Form)
Kandulu (Tuvar or Toor Beans, in Dried Form)

Kandulu (Whole and Dried Tuvar/Toor Beans Cooked in Salted water)
Yesterday I feasted, so today I must fast.
Kandulu, Simmered in Salted Water ~ An Andhra Snack for Jihva

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jihva For Ingredients, Fresh Tuvar (Kandulu) (Thursday December 6, 2007 at 3:38 pm- permalink)
Comments (10)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Fragrant Basmati Pilaf with Fresh Tuvar

Fresh Tuvar (Toor Dal, Kandulu)
Fresh Tuvar (pacchi kandulu)

Toor dal is among the most easily digestible of all food, and can serve as central element in a meatfree diet. The nourishing toor dal starts its life as an oval-shaped bean in beautiful green, neatly tucked in a row in a tuvar pod. Each tuvar pod contains about four to six plump tuvar beans. Exquisitely dense and full of spring-flavor, fresh tuvar, like green peas and green garbanzos, is a culinary delight when lightly cooked.

At Nandyala, fresh tuvar pods appear at farmers markets for a few weeks during summer time. Streetside vendors sell boiled tuvar pods in paper packets for as little as your pocket change. At our home, we used to simmer the whole pods in salted water and then shell the pods to snack on the cooked beans. Luckily, in recent years, the local Indian grocery shops in the United States have started importing fresh tuvar from India. Already shelled and in frozen avatar, a pound is usually priced at two to three dollars. It’s a good buy.

If you haven’t tried this protein powerhouse yet, you must now. Lightly cook fresh tuvar beans in salted water for a delicious snack. Or add them whole to vegetable curries or kurmas, and to rice preparations. This lentil lifeline instantly livens up any preparation.

For today’s meal, I made basmati pulao with fresh mint and tuvar. Easy to cook, incredibly fragrant and best of all, it’s so rich in flavor because of fresh mint and tuvar, that it needs little enhancement. Imagine pasta or orzo tossed in flavorful mint pesto ; almost the same taste here, but with basmati rice.

Fresh Coconut, Mint and Tuvar
Fresh Coconut, Mint and Tuvar

Recipe:
(for four to six people)

2 cups basmati rice
1 cup fresh tuvar
¼ cup roasted cashews
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon peanut oil

To prepare masala: Take about 2 cups fresh mint leaves in a Sumeet style mixer. Add two tablespoons of fresh, grated coconut, 5 green chillies, 4 cloves and a one-inch cinnamon piece. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and blend them together to fine paste.

To prepare Mint Pulao: Heat the oil in a big pan over medium heat. Add the onion and Tuvar. Saute to tender. Next, add and cook the ground masala paste, over low heat, stirring for about five minutes, until it turns to pale green from bright green color. To the cooked masala, add the basmati rice, salt and about 5 cups of water. Mix. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until water evaporates and rice cooks to tender. At this stage, add the cashews, and fluff the rice gently with a spoon. Let it sit, covered for five minutes and serve hot.

This mint pilaf is definitely delicious enough to eat on its own, but I have prepared aloo kurma and cucumber raita to go with it. Good meal.

Mint Basmati Pilaf with Fresh Tuvar
Basmati Pilaf with Fresh Mint and Tuvar ~ for Linda’s Toor Dal Jihva

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mint, Basmati Rice, Fresh Tuvar (Kandulu) (Tuesday December 4, 2007 at 9:16 pm- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Fresh Tuvar and Turai ~ for Jihva

If you are a follower of my website, then you must be getting a vague sensation of being stalked with toor dal.:) My love for toor dal knows no boundaries and I tend to go little overboard on Mahanandi, when it comes to toor dal.

Looks like I have a company now.

Meet Linda, the fabulous food blogger from Michigan. Like me, Linda finds it impossible to resist the tantric tunes of tuvar.:) She is featuring, of all the ingredients in the world, the “Toor Dal” for Jihva December. And, on her latest post, she has written…

“Day and night, I couldn’t stop thinking about toor dal — ’till one morning I found myself wanting to toss some toor dal into a bowl of cottage cheese and sprinkle some sambhar powder, just to see how that would taste. I may be slightly obsessed.:)”

You are my toor dal dosth, dear Linda. :)

Here is another one for you. A curry with fresh tuvar and turai. Two fine Indian ingredients and one delightful dish. Perfect for chapatis, and for Jihva.

Fresh Tuvar (Toor Dal, Kandulu)
Fresh Tuvar (pacchi kandulu)

Recipe:

1 tablespoon peanut oil
Pinch each - cumin and mustard seeds, and a sprig of curry leaves
¼ cup - finely sliced onion or shallot (Erra gadda)
1 cup - fresh tuvar (Pacchi Kandulu)
2 cups - finely cut turai (ridge gourd or beerakaya)
2 tablespoons - fresh coconut, grated
1 teaspoon - finely ground green chilli
¼ teaspoon or to taste, - salt and turmeric

In a wide skillet, heat oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles.
Add and toast curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds.
Wait for the mustard seeds to splutter and then add onions and fresh tuvar.
Frequently stirring, saute them to tender.
Add the turai pieces. Sprinkle the coconut, green chilli, salt and turmeric.
Mix and cook covered for about 5-10 minutes, on medium-high, until the water leaked from turai evaporates. Serve hot with chapatis.

Tuvar and Turai Curry with Chapatis
Tuvar and Turai Subji with Chapatis, Gulab Jamun and Coconut Water ~ for Jihva-Toor Dal

Notes:
Fresh Tuvar beans (frozen) are available at Indian grocery shops. 12 oz packets, priced at 2 or 3 dollars. Check the refrigerated section.
Turai or ridge gourd, and fresh coconut are available at Indian and also at Chinese grocery.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Jihva For Ingredients, Fresh Tuvar (Kandulu) (Monday December 3, 2007 at 9:28 pm- permalink)
Comments (13)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Toor dal ~ Fresh, Dry and Split

Toor dal (Tuvar Dal, Kandi Pappu - Fresh, Dry and Split
The Most Beautiful and Flavorful Lentil ~ Toor Dal
Fresh, Dried, and Split ~ For This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen (Sunday December 2, 2007 at 5:16 pm- permalink)
Comments (14)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org