Mahanandi

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

Brinjal with Blackeyed Beans ~ for Jihva

Pedatha Avva (My grandmother)
Jigyasa and Pratibha’s Pedatha …………… My Avva (Grandmother)

In my unremarkable childhood, the only remarkable thing was the summer holidays I used to spend at my grandmother’s home at Nandikotkur every year. My grandmother, a mother of four daughters and four sons is a ritubidda (farmer’s daughter), and a saint like person. She was my guru and a friend growing up, and I learned devotion from her.

Like Jigyasa and Pratibha’s Pedatha, my grandmother is also from a “do one thing at a time” generation. This philosophy was more evident in the kitchen than anywhere else. Cooking was an unconsciously clever and creative act, and done in a unhurried manner to everyone’s satisfaction. One of my favorite recipes from my grandmother is brinjal with black-eyed peas. Seasoned with ginger and green chillies, and served with sorghum roti, this simple preparation with heavenly aroma was a daily breakfast for us. Science has shown that our sense of smell is the first one to be associated with memory. I have to agree, and I still associate ginger flavored brinjal smell to my grandmother’s kitchen. The same recipe has also been featured in the award winning Pedatha’s cookbook.

I prepared this dish with reverence to my beloved avva and in memory of Pedatha.

“From food all creatures are produced. And all creatures that dwell on earth, by food they live and into food they finally pass. Food is the chief among being. Verily he obtains all good who worships the Divine as food.”
-from Upanishads

Brinjal and Blackeyed Beans (Vankaya , Alasanda) Vankaya Alasanda Kura, Photo Taken Before our Lunch today

Alasanda Vankaya (Brinjal with Black-eyed Beans)
(for Jihva Love ~ A Tribute to Tradition)

10 -12 round variety green or purple brinjals, cut to thin pieces lengthwise
Half cup black-eyed peas. Soaked in water overnight, and cooked to tender
4 small variety Indian green chillies and one inch piece of ginger - coarsely grind
¼ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon peanut oil and tadka ingredients

Place a wide skillet on stovetop. Add and heat peanut oil. Add and toast tadka ingredients (garlic, cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves) to golden. Add the brinjal pieces to skillet. Cover the skillet. The round variety brinjals cook to tender within minutes. After about five minutes of cooking time, remove the lid. Add the black-eyed peas and green chilli-ginger paste. Also turmeric and salt. Mix. Sauté on medium heat for another five to ten minutes. Serve hot with sorghum roti or chapati, for a filling meal.

******
Busy days. See you again on Sunday.
******

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Blackeye Beans, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal), Ginger & Sonti, Jihva For Ingredients (Monday April 28, 2008 at 5:27 pm- permalink)
Comments (34)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Pamper ~ Avocado Face Freshener

Avocado, Gram Flour and Turmeric
Avocado, Besan and Turmeric

Face fresheners are fun thing I used to do with my sisters, when summer was as long as a lifetime and a month could pass without me ever knowing what days of the week it was. It has been ages since I applied one and I miss the laughter and lazy talk of facemask days.

Traditional teenage face-freshener consists of besan, turmeric, yogurt and honey. They are mixed together and applied to the face. Besan is a soothing skin-scrub and turmeric is known for it’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Yogurt and honey, the calming moisturizers make the mask more palatable.:) Buttery avocados are good in place of yogurt, and facemask puts the avocados to great use, particularly when avocados are two for one dollar.

Avocado Face Freshener:
(for two faces, for one rinse)

Avocado pulp - about 3 to 4 tablespoons
Besan (gram flour) - about a tablespoon
Turmeric - about half teaspoon

Take avocado pulp in a small cup. With a sturdy spoon mash to smooth. Add besan and turmeric. Combine thoroughly without any lumps. Apply on your face generously. Stay green for about 15 to 30 minutes and then rinse for a happy glow. Relaxing thing to do on a lazy weekend or after a costly trip to Indian grocery.:)

Avocado Face Mask with Turmeric
Avocado Face Mask with Turmeric ~ for Sowmya

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Gram Flour (Besan), Avocado, Turmeric (Pasupu) (Sunday April 27, 2008 at 10:25 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Rice Shortage

Matta Rice
Matta Rice (Red Rice from Kerala&Konkani Regions of India)

Is it for real?

The hype, is this due to low production, or an election year, market-induced scam? What do you think?

Right now, I have only about three pounds of Kerala matta rice at home. No basmati and not even Sona Masuri. Planning to buy one bag each this weekend.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Friday April 25, 2008 at 5:21 pm- permalink)
Comments (37)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Lobia and Sarson with Matta Rice

Black-eyed peas, Mustard Greens with Matta Rice:

There are only few American dishes that I enjoy. One of them is Hopping’ John (black-eyed peas, greens and rice). This is an African-American dish that has made it to the “Hara’s Tara”. I like the combination, but the underlying flavor melancholy is inescapable. How to add a cheerful tone to blue notes. Well, how about a mrudangam beat. These thoughts led to a new recipe, which is an amalgam of both ingredients and method.

Black-eyed peas, mustard greens and Kerala matta rice cooked together with onions and tomatoes. And the dish is flavored with fresh coconut, peppercorn and nutmeg. Though it started out like musical elements spontaneously assembled during a play, the south-Indian improvisational context imparted an orchestra effect to good old African American tradition. Mine was a solo performance, and when the single audience showed up with a serving bowl saying “encore please”, some hopping smiles sure happened.


Lobia and Sarson with Matta Rice:
(for two adults for two meals)

1-cup black-eyed peas - soaked in water overnight, and cooked to tender
1-cup matta rice (or brown rice) - soaked in 3 cups of water for 3 hours
1 bunch mustard greens - leaves and tender stems, finely chopped
1 onion, and two ripe tomatoes - finely chopped
2 garlic cloves - finely chopped

For seasoning:
2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut,
1 teaspoon black peppercorn (this dish needs some heat)
½ teaspoon each - cumin and grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon each - turmeric and salt
½ inch piece of ginger
2 tablespoons of crushed jaggery
Take them all in a Mixer. Pulse few times, first. Then add half cup of water. Blend to smooth paste.

Heat a tablespoon of peanut oil in a big pot. Add and sauté garlic and onion to pale-red. Add tomatoes and sauté to soft. Add the mustard greens and cook until leaves start to collapse. Add the rice and the water it soaked in. Cover the pot and on medium heat, cook the rice until it’s al-dente or just tender. Now add the precooked black-eyed peas. And also the spice paste. Stir-in another cup of water if the dish looks too dry. Mix. Have a taste and adjust salt to your liking. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot with papadums on the side. Makes a great tasting one-pot meal.

Vegetarian Hopping John
India Inspired Hopping John ~ Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Blackeye Beans, Rosematta Rice, Sarson (Mustard Greens) (Thursday April 24, 2008 at 5:40 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Aachar Avocado

Avocado, Key Lime, and Tomato

I enjoy avocados. It hadn’t been always that way. My avocado experience began with facemask, then expanded to salsa, chapatis, avocado annam. And the latest is this aachar avocado, a new recipe I have come up with. A variation on a classic guacamole, in aachar avocado, the creamy avocados are spiced up with aachar masala powder. Light and clean, but with enough punch, it’s a good twist on the old classic. Also, we can avoid dealing with raw jalapeno pepper. Aachar avocado makes a good side dish to chapatis or rotis.

Aachar Avocado:
(for two, for one meal)

2 avocados, ripe but firm
8 cherry tomatoes
1 small shallot (erra ulligadda)
2 key limes
2 sprigs fresh cilantro
1-teaspoon aachar masala powder
½ teaspoon salt or to taste

Halve the avocados and remove the pits. Scoop out the flesh into a mortar. Mash the avocado to a consistency of your liking. Chop shallot, tomatoes and cilantro finely, and add them to mortar. Sprinkle the aachar masala powder and salt. With a pestle, coarsely mash the ingredients. Squeeze limejuice and mix. Serve right away with hot chapati or roti. Makes a quick and filling breakfast or light lunch.

Achar Avocado
Aachar Avocado, Getting Ready For Brunch Today

Aachar Masala Powder (R/C Pooja):
Dried red chillies, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, nigella seeds and garlic. Skillet roast in few drops of oil. Add salt and powder them together to fine.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Avocado (Wednesday April 23, 2008 at 12:19 pm- permalink)
Comments (15)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Bhojanam Burps

Meal Today
Meal on a Sleepy Day

Samosa, Mandira’s almond-walnut chikki, Apple-mint yogurt kosambari, Ragi malt.

Your turn. Share your bhojanam burps. :)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Monday April 21, 2008 at 3:07 pm- permalink)
Comments (28)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Food Art ~ Mango Manthram

Green, Unripe Mango
Green Mango (Maamidikaya) through My Camera Lens

I love and enjoy food art greatly. Food described through pen and lens is nice. But, food related sketches, embroidery, knitting and jewelry - there is a special charm to these types of food depictions. How wonderful it would be if we celebrate Mother Earth’s bounty through food art. That thought led to this event idea. Here are the details. Let’s see if I can put together coherently.:)

Food Art: Mango Manthram

I would like to start the Food Art series with my favorite fruit, mango. The color and shape of the mango are an artist’s dream. Mango tree, mango leaves, mango fruit in various stages of development, and the scrumptious dishes we can prepare with mango - the magic of mangoes is a timeless tradition that is steeped in art, history and romance.

Bring your own touch, and interpret your mango memories and experiences through Food Art. The field is wide open.

Illustrations, cartoons, sketches, paintings of all types, cross-stitch, stitching, embroidery, knitting, kolam (muggulu), henna designs, jewelry (beads) - all are welcome on mango theme.

To participate:

Create a mango art piece using any of the media above.
Publish it on your website on the last Saturday of May (31st).
Mail me a picture of your creation in 150 x 200 pixel size. Include your name, blog name and a link to your post. Forward the details to mailfoodart@gmail.com
I will also participate with my own creation, and publish all the Mango Manthram collection in a neat art gallery on Mahanandi, on May last weekend.

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday April 20, 2008 at 12:57 pm- permalink)
Comments (23)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Flavors of Life ~ Melon Mela

Melon Mela - Sketch by Sree of Sree's Canvas
Flavors of Life: Melon Mela ~ Painting by Sree
(Ink and colored pencils on paper 6×8)

Bangalore is a heaven for fruit lovers. Seasonal fruit carts and vendors fill the streets all round the year. Be it grapes, mangoes, (which seem to be scarce this year) and of course melons.

I have noticed that watermelonwallas are beginning to vanish. The guy in front of our home is gone. And I haven’t eaten a single one yet! I was too busy hogging muskmelons, which are my favorite. So I am off to find a sweet, red juicy one. :)

~ by Sree
(Sree also writes at Sree’s Canvas)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Fruits, Watermelon, Sree (Saturday April 19, 2008 at 9:09 am- permalink)
Comments (12)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Presents from Pooja

Arusuvai Friendship Package from Pooja

“Oh my! She shouldn’t have to” I thought while opening the parcel.

Aachari, garam and jaljeera - three types of masala powders, all homemade. Hazelnut chocolates. Stainless steel pepper mill and saltshaker. And a greeting card.

When I first started food blogging, I knew it was something I would enjoy, but I had no idea how much fun it could be. Neither a sweet talker nor a social butterfly, essentially a social hermit and a solitude seeker, I have never expected neither attention nor affection. But that’s exactly what food blogging has brought to my life. It has been an Arusuvai kind of experience. (Arusuvai means six tastes in Tamil and refer to theepu-sweet, karam-hot, kassappu-bitter, pulupu-sour, uppu-salt, tuvarpu- like umami, a special taste that one gets from raw vegetables and herbs.)

Without a doubt, one of the best aspects of this arusuvai experience has been the surprise gifts that led to special relationships. It happened again last week. Pooja of My Creative Ideas has sent me a friendship package. I’ve been following Pooja’s writings since she started her blog. Cheerful personality, creative nature with childlike innocence. It’s impossible not to be charmed by Pooja’s passionate flair and delightful exuberance.

Thank you dear Pooja, for this special arusuvai friendship package!

Here is what I have come up with Pooja’s Aachari masala (pickle masala powder). I’ve put together six tastes in an attempt to create an Arusuvai experience, and it has turned out to be a memorable success.

Cucumber-Mint Relish
Cucumber-Mint Relish with Pooja’s Aachari Masala
~ A Convergence of Arusuvai Friendship

Recipe:

1 palm-length cucumber (Moroccan/Indian variety), cut to thin rings
2 sprigs fresh mint – leaves plucked
¼ cup - kokum water
¼ cup - limejuice
1 tablespoon - jaggery gratings
½ teaspoon - Aachari (Pickle) masala
¼ teaspoon - salt

In a cup, take kokum water, limejuice, jaggery, aachari masala and salt. Mix with a spoon for few minutes until jaggery dissolves.

In a shallow serving bowl, place cucumber rounds and mint leaves in layers. Pour the juice. Top with mint leaves. Refrigerate or place in a cool area for about ten minutes. Serve as a light snack or as a side dish to main meal. Munch on a piece of cucumber and mint. Then sip a teaspoon of juice. Sweet, sour, bitter and spicy with some tuvarpu (umami), this cucumber relish will be truly an arusuvai experience.

Kitchen Notes:
Aachari Masala (R/C Pooja) - Dried red chilli, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, Nigella seeds and garlic. Skillet roast in few drops of oil. Add salt and powder them together to fine.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Limes/Lemons, Mint, Cucumbers, Kokum (Amsool) (Friday April 18, 2008 at 10:31 pm- permalink)
Comments (12)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Clove (Laung, Lavanga)

Cloves (Lavanga) - Photo by Anjali Damerla

During the 16th and 17th centuries, Portuguese, French and Dutch, all fought to control the trade of this amazing spice. The Arabs tried to keep the origins of their cloves cargo a closely guarded secret. Columbus sailed west in search of this aromatic spice and found the West Indies. Few years later, Vasco da Gama sailed around Cape Good Hope to India searching for this same spice.

That’s the power of cloves.

Cloves are unopened flower buds of a very attractive evergreen tree. Clove buds are picked when they reach the full size and just about to turn pink. Once picked, the buds are dried in the Sun, at which point they turn reddish brown in color. Cloves derive their name from Latin “clavus” meaning “toenail”. To me it looks more like an engagement ring with some clasps. In Sanskrit, it is aptly called “DevaKusuma”, meaning divine flower.

Cloves work as an astringent, a stimulant, a rejuvenator and an aid to digestion. They help to reduce nausea and hiccups. Cloves increase blood circulation and known to relieve stomach pains.

One of the famous Ayurvedic medicines Lavangadi Vati is mainly made of cloves and is used to cure colds, cough and sooth sore throat. Cloves are well known for their antiseptic properties and are essential in toothpaste, tooth powder and mouthwash preparations.

Clove tea is great as a stress buster and for treatment of depression. Steep some cloves in hot water to make Clove tea. This aromatic and warming tea is used to get relief from nausea during travel and it also encourages the body to sweat, which is helpful in fever. Clove tea compress can relieve sore muscle aches.

One of most attractive avatar of cloves is Pomanders (also called Clove Oranges). It’s the most aromatic, easiest and natural potpourri that one can make in 15 minutes. It is a nice project for kids, a perfect gift for many occasions.

Neem-Clove Tooth Powder - Photo by Indira SingariPomander - Photo by Anjali Damerla
Neem-Clove Tooth Powder ………………… Pomander

How about using cloves in dessert? Cloves are added to Apple pie, Pumpkin pie and Apple cider. Another interesting and simple dessert is Poached Pears with Cloves and Cinnamon.

Recipe:

3 Pears (choose ripe but firm ones)
4 cups water
7-8 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
Zest and juice of 1 orange
¾ cup sugar

Boil water with cloves, cinnamon, orange zest. Once water starts boiling, add orange juice. Peel the pears and place them in the water. Cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes. Take the pears out and boil the water for another 15 minutes until it concentrates to thick and syrupy.

Serve poached pears with some syrup drizzled over it and some ice cream on the side.

Cloves are an essential ingredient in many masala powders and used as whole or ground in traditional Indian recipes. Bechamel sauce, one of the mother sauces in French cuisine, is made with something called Onion pique (pee-kay). Onion pique is a peeled, raw onion that is studded with bay leaves and cloves. Onion pique is a simple way to flavor the sauces and the soups. This cute website even has a song on onion pique.

It is amazing how much flavor and aroma Mother Nature has packed in this tiny, unopened flower. Mother Nature sure is very humbling and awe-inspiring.

Onion PiquePoached Pear in Clove Syrup
Onion Pique ……………. Poached Pear in Clove-Sugar Syrup
~ for Think:Spice-Cloves at Canela and Comino

by Anjali Damerla

Health Notes:
Cloves: Nutritional Profile

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Fruits, Herbs and Spices, Anjali Damerla, Cloves(Lavangam) (Thursday April 17, 2008 at 12:31 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Vadapappu Kosambari

Vadapappu
Vadapappu Kosambari

This kosambari with yellow moong dal (Vadapappu) is an ideal Upavaasa food. They would take a while to eat, giving the body a chance to register its satisfaction and that in turn would prevent hunger pangs and overeating. Completely raw, this traditional kosambari makes a decent, light meal for health and weight-conscious people.

Recipe:
(for two, for one meal)

Half cup yellow moong dal - Soaked in water for about 4 hours.
1 palm-length cucumber
1 green chilli, Indian or Thai variety
2 sprigs of fresh coriander
1 tablespoon - fresh coconut gratings
Pinch of salt, or to taste

Drain and rinse moong dal. Take them in a bowl.
Finely chop cucumber, chilli and coriander leaves. Add them to moong dal.
Sprinkle salt and coconut gratings.
I also added fresh juice from a small mandarin orange for the sweet note.
Combine and serve. Enjoy with a glass of buttermilk for a light meal.

Recipe Notes:
Traditional India - Vegan, Raw and Upavaasa Food
Diet-friendly and protein rich.
Upavaasa = Fasting

If anyone decides to make this Upavaasa food, I would love to hear how you like it taste/flavorwise.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Moong Dal (Washed), Cucumbers (Wednesday April 16, 2008 at 5:32 pm- permalink)
Comments (24)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Vadapappu (వడపప్పు)

Vadapappu
Ethereal Vadapappu

With only one ingredient, this has to be the easiest neivedyam one could prepare on a festival day. A Sri Rama Navami original classic, rehydrated yellow moong dal is a delight and goes by a special name Vadapappu.

The surprising good taste comes from the simplicity of the preparation. No cooking involved. No spices, no oil and not even salt or sugar. Just soak the moong dal in water overnight. Half cup would be enough for two people. Drain. Rinse once, and consume. The taste will be extra good when prepared with split moong dal. Follow the same principle. Soak overnight, rinse the dal in several changes of water to remove the green coverings. Like mini yellow roses peeking from a rose bush, the revealed moong dal in pale yellow color will take the breath away with simple beauty.

Vadapappu may look innocent and inconspicuous but it’s a protein powerhouse, easily digestible, and nourishing to human body.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Moong Dal (Split), Moong Dal (Washed), Traditions (Tuesday April 15, 2008 at 7:48 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

FAHC~Nandyala : A Foodblogs~Family Project

This is an update on FAHC fundraising conducted on last October. The money raised through the fund-drive on Mahanandi went directly to the parent organization, VK Narayanan’s (VKN) - “Feed A Hungry Child(FAHC)”.

During November 07, VKN emailed us enquiring about opening a new FAHC chapter. I replied with details about our Nandyala school and the work we are doing. My husband, Vijay who manages the school showed interest. VKN and Vijay started talking. We also consulted my father-in-law who is a trustee of the Nandyala school. This is what happened next.

My father-in-law, Sri Venkata Subbaiah traveled to Kerala on November 16th, 07 to meet and see the good work FAHC doing. From Nandyala, he went to Palakkad and from there to Pattenchery village, FAHC location and VKN’s ancestral home.


My FIL, Sri Venkata Subbaiah with VKN’s guruji, Sri Vijayasekharan
at Pattenchery home, Kerala.


Greeting with gifts for FAHC-children, Pattenchery.


Sharing a meal with FAHC team, Pattenchery.


My Father-in-Law with FAHC Trustees and Team at Pattenchery.

Impressed with the FAHC work at Pattenchery, my father-in-law gave us the green signal. More talks about what, when, and how. Things started to come together, and during December 2007, ten children were selected from our school. Met with their parents and consent was taken. On January 26th 2008, on the Republic Day weekend, VKN, his wife and three sons, and FAHC team from Pattenchery, Kerala visited Nandyala, Andhra Pradesh.


VKN and FAHC Team with my father-in-law at Nandyala School.
(There are 10 children, but only 9 were present for the photo)


FAHC Kerala team, meeting with children and family members at Nandyala.


Eggs, Chana dal, Moong dal, Toor dal, Rice, Wheat Flour and Cooking oil ~ Food to be given to FAHC children’s family members, along with milk, fruits and vegetables.


FAHC ~ Nandyala: A Foodblogs~Family Project
Sharing food and smiles with children and family members.

FAHC Nandyala unit is providing essential groceries and food grains every month, starting from January 2008 to a total of ten children. The children are also getting good education at our school via the scholarship program we sponsor. The plan is to support the children until they finish their high school education.

This was possible only because of community effort by the wonderful food bloggers and the food blog readers. We thank you all for your generous contributions and support shown. I also thank my family members for their unconditional and wholehearted support and efforts. We hope to do this on a larger scale next year.

Happy Sri Rama Navami and Happy Vishu!

Note:
The money raised through the fund-drive on Mahanandi went directly to the parent organization, FAHC. All the transactions and expenditures are properly accounted, monitored and audited by the trust board established by FAHC. Before starting the dedicated unit at Nandyala, the trust members had personally visited and met with the children and their families to identify the genuinely needy children. All the expenses, payments and distribution process are properly documented and transparently maintained. For further details, please contact VK Narayanan at FAHC.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday April 13, 2008 at 9:58 pm- permalink)
Comments (30)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Weekend Kittaya

Kittaya
Kittaya

Weekend Reads:

I Eat Food ~ A Tutorial

Happiness, The Real One

Stages of Ageing

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Kittaya (Saturday April 12, 2008 at 9:30 am- permalink)
Comments (8)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Claypot Cooking: Poha Payasam with Almond Milk

అటుకుల పాయసము

Claypot
Claypot Cooking: Poha Payasam with Almond Milk

I had been looking for a decent clay pot for cooking for a long time. Last weekend, I have come across one at a local grocery shop called Apna Bazar. The clay pot is from India, very well crafted and decorated with pretty floral design. The size is good and it also has a well-fitted lid. Price $12.

I brought the clay pot home, prepped it by soaking in water and then simmering the water for few times, half an hour each time. Simmering was done on stovetop following the clay-pot cooking principles. First warm the pot on low heat and then gradually increase the heat to medium level. I never tried high heat setting fearing that it might crack. Although it was on electric stovetop, this method has worked very well. Like the iron box on steam setting, the clay pot hissed every time, but absorbed this newbie trails kindly. I felt confident enough to try out the real deal and did the opening ceremony with payasam preparation yesterday. The sweetness that comes with clay pot cooking, combined with sweetness of the payasam, it was a good experience.

The following poha payasam with almond milk is very easy to make. And I think, it has a taste that delights most everyone. If you prefer, semiya or sabudana can be substituted for poha.


Toasted Poha, Golden Raisins and Chironji Nuts

Recipe:
(for two to four people, for one meal)

3 cups almond milk (badam paalu)
½ cup maple syrup (or sugar to taste)

1-tablespoon ghee
2- tablespoons golden raisins
1-tablespoon chironji (Saarapappu or charoli)
1-cup poha (atukulu, rice flakes)
1 teaspoon freshly crushed cardamom

1. Place almond milk in a wide pot on stovetop. Add maple syrup. Slowly, on medium-low heat, simmer for about 20 minutes, until three cups have reduced to about two and half cups.

2. While almond milk is simmering, in a small kadai or wok, take ghee. On medium heat, warm the ghee. Add golden raisins and saute, constantly stirring. Wait until they puff up like round balloons. It’s a beautiful sight and worth the wait. With a slotted spoon, remove the balloons to a plate.
Add chironji nuts to the kadai. Toast them to pale red. Take them out and add poha. Toast for couple of minutes just until they are warm to touch. Together, they will look like shown in the photo above.

3. Add the toasted poha, golden balloons and chironji nuts to simmering almond milk. Sprinkle the crushed cardamom. Mix. Turn off the heat immediately. Cover the pot and let the poha absorb the almond milk. Poha is like cereal flakes, softens quickly.

Serve hot or at room temperature. Just before serving, drizzle a tablespoon of maple syrup. This poha paysam with almond milk is as nutritious as it is tasty and makes a comforting dessert for people who fear the hormonal effects of regular milk and soymilk.

Claypot
Claypot Cooking: Poha (Atukula) Payasam with Almond Milk

*****
Slow connection, server problems. Sorry for the inconvenience.
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Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Almonds, Poha (Atukulu), Indian Sweets 101 (Thursday April 10, 2008 at 2:26 pm- permalink)
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