Mahanandi

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

Homemade Almond Milk

Homemade Almond Milk
Badam Paalu

Almonds (Badam) - one cup
Water - 5 cups
Maple syrup - Half cup (or sugar to taste)

Soak almonds in water overnight or for at least four hours.
Drain the water. Rinse the almonds and take them in a blender.
Adding water gradually, puree to smooth.
Pour through a muslin cloth into a big pitcher or bowl to extract milk.
Run the pulp through blender one more time, adding water.
Strain through muslin cloth for milk, and save the pulp to add in curries.
To the almond milk, add maple syrup. Mix with a spoon.
Refrigerate for half an hour. Drink or enjoy with cereal, oatmeal or poha.

For Ugadi, I’ve prepared payasam with almond milk. Smooth, creamy with almond-maple flavor, Payasam naivedyam tasted excellent.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Almonds, Maple Syrup (Wednesday April 9, 2008 at 10:53 am- permalink)
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Ugadi Pooja Neivedyam
Ugadi Pooja Neivedyam

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Bhakthi~Bhukthi, Traditions (Monday April 7, 2008 at 2:05 pm- permalink)
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Cookery, Indic (3) ~ by Veena Parrikar


Regional Rustic Recipes
by Manipal Mahila Samaj

Published in 2007 by Manipal Mahila Samaj at Manipal, in Karnataka, India.

The cooking of our mothers and grandmothers is the bedrock of our gastronomical worlds. It feeds our memories and inspires our culinary efforts, particularly if we are separated from it by distance or, more unfortunately, death. “Just like Amma makes” is the gold standard to which most of us aspire. It is understandable, therefore, that we have forgetten a time when easy and daily access had rendered us somewhat blase about the traditional foods they prepared. We were tired of the idli breakfasts, the pumpkin koddel was boring, the maggey with jackfruit seeds was fodder for the resident comedian at family gatherings, and why, why, did we have to eat moong daal paayas on every festive occasion! What excited our palates and fired our appetites in those days were the dishes sent over by the neighboring aunties: we waited eagerly for the biryani from Salma downstairs, the fudge, marzipan, and cakes sent over by Mrs. De Souza, the sambar from Mrs. Ananthraman, the bisi bele bhaath from Mrs. Rao, the kori-rotti from Mrs. Shetty and the khakra-chunda from Mrs. Parekh. Even dishes from their failed experiments were sometimes more welcome than the daily food prepared at home. Eating out at restaurants was a luxury and street food, a surreptitious pleasure from leftover pocket money in those days, so the only way to sate our hunger for something different was the gifts from neighboring kitchens.

I was reminded of those times when I received the Manipal Mahila Samaj’s cookbook, Regional Rustic Recipes, through the good graces of a friend and old-time resident of Manipal. The Manipal Mahila Samaj publishes an annual magazine for its members; last year, they decided to compile a special issue with recipes contributed by the members. The result is a charming little cookbook with all the strengths and foibles of a homegrown production created in the spirit of community and sharing. It is a ticket to the kitchens of the neighborhood ladies of my days in India.

Back cover

The distinguishing feature of this book is the classification of recipes. Most general cookbooks, Indian or otherwise, are organized along the type or timing of the meal - breakfast, snacks, main dishes, sweets, preserves - or ingredients - rice, grains, vegetables, meat, and spices. Regional Rustic Recipes is primarily organized according to the diverse regional, religious, and linguistic backgrounds of its members. There are other cookbooks, of course, which provide recipes according to the geographical states of India. None of them, however, reflects the challenges inherent in categorizing Indian cuisines into neat boxes demarcated by simple lines of geography, religion, language, or sub-community. Thus, the book’s main chapters are organized by:

- Geography: Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Lucknow;
- Geography and language: Punjabi, Tamilian, Sindhi;
- Religion: Muslims;
- Religion and geography: Mangalore Catholics;
- Community: Goud Saraswat Brahmin; Bunt, Billava, Ganiga and Mogaveera; and
- Religious proscriptions: no onions and garlic.

Within the chapter on Goud Saraswat Brahmins, the recipes are Kerala-style, Maharashtrian, North Kanara, and South Kanara (Udupi-Mangaloreans); and within No Onions & Garlic, there are the Gujaratis, North Indian Jains, South Indian Jains, Kannadiga Brahmins and UPites (Uttar Pradesh)! Kannadigas and Gowdas sit in their own chapter, and perhaps as a nod to the mother state, there is an entire chapter on Karnataka rice items.

The recipes themselves are another strength of the book. They are tried-and-tested, authentic, and do not shy away from using exotic ingredients or difficult procedures. Make no mistake, this is a recipe exchange between cooks who have wielded the ladle for decades. Consequently, this is not a book that is intended for beginner cooks or those inexperienced in regional Indian foods. The text and layout are minimalist, and there are no photographs or sketches inside the book. Neither the contributors of the recipes nor the editors are named; I was told that this was a conscious choice because for many of the recipes, there was no way to attribute the source in an unambiguous manner. The style of writing is reminiscent of handwritten recipes with their terse instructions and use of truncated and abbreviated words such as ing, tsp, min, and pwd. Further, the errors (dagad phool and marathi moggu are said to be the same spice) do not irritate me as much as the banalities (Food is very important in Sindhi culture).

For all its minor flaws, the book is a welcome addition to the seemingly bare landscape of not-for-profit cookbooks in India. By not-for-profit, I am referring to books published by local temples or churches, community organizations, and women’s associations or other groups, with the express purpose of raising money for a social cause or spreading awareness about a particular type of diet or cuisine. I cannot explain my fascination for such cookbooks - perhaps it is the community effort, the sincerity of purpose, or the local flavours that are sprinkled in these works. Over the last year, I have managed to collect some such books by scouring used bookstores and old paper marts in India. The pickings, however, have been slim compared to the volumes of such (non-Indian) publications seen at used-book sales and stores in the United States. Granted that these types of books are typically published in single editions on a small scale with limited distribution; hence, they go out of circulation very quickly. Perhaps the U.S. systems just do a better job of retrieving old copies of such books. It is probably not a stretch, though, to say that there is room for much more activity and many more books in this sphere in India.

Recipe: Marsoppu

Adapted from Manipal Mahila Samaj’s Regional Rustic Recipes, Chapter: Kannadigas and Gowdas

Ingredients:
Green chillies - 4 to 5
Garlic - 5 to 6 cloves
Onion - 1
Tomatoes - 2
Water - ½ cup
Mixed Greens - 1 cup
Toor daal - ½ cup
Fresh grated coconut - ½ cup
Salt to taste

For Seasoning:
Oil - 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - ½ teaspoon


Mixed greens: Fenugreek (methi), spinach, dill (shepu), Malabar or Indian red spinach (basaLe)


Clockwise from 12 o’clock: toor daal, tomatoes, garlic, onions, coconut. Centre: green chillies

Method:
Cook the toor daal and set aside. Roughly chop the green chillies, garlic, onions, and tomatoes. Place in a saucepan or any other cooking vessel along with a half cup of water. Cook until the vegetables are soft (about 5-10 minutes) and remove from heat. Remove the cooked vegetables with a slotted spoon, leaving the liquid in the saucepan. Once the vegetables are cool, add the coconut and grind to a paste. Add the roughly-chopped greens to the reserved liquid, and cook the greens until wilted. Cool them and run them through a mixie just once. Mix the cooked daal, the coconut-vegetable paste, and the roughly ground greens in the same saucepan, add salt, and bring it to a boil. Remove from heat. Do the tempering as usual: heat the oil, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add this mixture to the daal-greens mix.

Notes:
I modified the original recipe by reducing all ingredients, except the greens, by half. While I have encountered several recipes with daal, greens, and vegetables, I like the separate cooking processes adopted here as it accounts for the differing cooking durations required for each ingredient. The complete absence of powdered spices also scored a few more points in my book. The original recipe made no mention of salt, which is probably an oversight.


Marsoppu served with red rice, wild tuber chips, and radish-greens chutney

Text and Photographs: Veena Parrikar

Previously in the Cookery, Indic Series:

Introduction
Salads for All Occasions - Vijaya Hiremath
Cooking with Green Leafy Vegetables - Shyamala Kallianpur

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Toor Dal, Reviews: Cookbooks, Veena Parrikar (Monday April 7, 2008 at 12:05 am- permalink)
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Bhakthi~Bhukthi: Mantralayam and Parimala Prasadam

Mantralayam Temple on Thungabadra Teeram- Photo souce: www.gruraghavendra1.org
Bhakthi ~ Mantralayam on Thungabadra Teeram

Parimala Prasadam
Bhukthi ~ Parimala Prasadam from Mantralayam

Sri Sarvadhari naama Ugadi/Gudi Padwa Shubhakankshalu!

(I thank my father-in-law for the beautiful picture of Parimala Prasadam.)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Amma & Authentic Andhra, Bhakthi~Bhukthi (Sunday April 6, 2008 at 10:37 am- permalink)
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Flavors of Life ~ Ugadi Pooja

Ugadi Pooja Sketch by Sree of Sree's Canvas
Pooja Preparation to Celebrate Ugadi
(Sketch by Sree)

*******

New (Ad)ventures from blog world:

The One ~ A Religious Experience

Mesmerizing Backwater Experience

A Stomach Churning Experience

Cakeworks:
Talented writer-artist, new mom and food blogger friend MS has recently started a pastry business from her home. She can design, bake and deliver one of a kind cakes for birthdays, weddings or any other event in the Delaware, Philadelphia, New Jersey and Baltimore regions. If you live in that area or have family and friends in that area, you could easily surprise them with a fabulous cake gift through Cakeworks. Check her site and support fellow food blogger’s new home-based venture.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Traditions, Sree (Saturday April 5, 2008 at 12:43 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Maamidi Thurumu Pacchadi

Grated, Green Mango Pacchadi

Ugadi is just around the corner. So, it’s mango time at my home and I made thurumu pacchadi in advance for festival day meal on Ugadi. The preparation took about 20 minutes. Very easy, a delight to the senses, I like this pacchadi very much.

Mango Thurumu (Grated Unripe Mango)
Maamidi Thurumu (Maamidi = Mango, Thurumu = Grate)

Preparation:
(makes about two cups of pacchadi)

Green, Unripe Mango:
Take one extremely firm, unripe mango of medium size. Wash. Lightly peel and remove the skin. Using a grater, grate the mango until you reach the seed on all sides, like shown in the photo above. Mango gratings came about two cups for me.

Methi - Mustard Seasoning:
Heat a cast-iron skillet. Add and dry-roast without oil:
one teaspoon each - methi seeds and mustard seeds to two minutes.
4 Indian variety, dried red chillies to pale brown.
Take them all in a mixer or spice grinder. Add half-teaspoon salt. Grind to fine powder.

Popu or Tadka:
In a tiny pan, heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. When oil is hot, add and toast in this order, constantly stirring:
6 half-inch pieces of dried red chillies to pale brown
8 curry leaves to golden
¼ teaspoon of urad dal to red color,
A pinch each - cumin and mustard seeds
When seeds start to pop, add a pinch of asafetida (hing, inguva)

Putting Together the Mango Turumu Pacchadi:

1. Take mango gratings in a vessel. Add the methi-mustard seasoning. Combine well.

2. Add the toasted tadka ingredients to the mango gratings. Mix thoroughly.

3. Store the pacchadi in a clean jar. Stays fresh for two to three days upto a week, and traditionally we do not refrigerate. Just don’t use wet spoons.

Mango turumu pacchadi tastes wonderful when mixed and eaten with rice and dal or sambar.

Mango Pacchadi
Mango Thurumu Pacchadi for Ugadi

Recipe Labels:
Amma, Traditional India-Vegan, Vitamin and Mineral Rich food

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Mamidikaya (Green Mango), Mustard Seeds (Aavalu), Methi, Kasuri Methi (Friday April 4, 2008 at 4:30 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Jihva 08

Peacock Sugar Sculptures

Jihvā, the online food blogging event will be two years old this April. Each month a natural, wholesome ingredient was selected and featured, and during last year over a span of 12 months, a total of about 1500 entries and recipes flew in from across the world. The year started with Green leafy vegetables and moved on to Jackfruit, Brinjal, Mirchi, Rice, Banana, Diwali Treats, Toor Dal, Cocoa/Chocolate, Onions, Lemons/Limes and ended with Garlic goodness. My sincere thanks to the hosts Bee&Jai, Sangeeta, Nandita, Sharmi, Mandira, Vee, Linda, Deepz, Radhika, Coffee and Mathy Kandasamy. Also to all the participants for investing their effort and energy to create such wonderful cookery resource through Jihvā. Great job!

For Jihva year 08, I would like to extend an invitation to fellow bloggers. If you have a natural ingredient that you feel strongly about and would like to highlight it, then this is your chance. Here is more about this event.

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

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

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

Interested to host the Jihva event?
Mail me stating your preference of month. Food bloggers with great passion for Jihva only, please. Once confirmed, your website name will appear on the calendar below.
Update: Thanks for your interest and participation. All slots are filled up for this Jihva year, and the invitation is closed at this time. No Emails please.

Congratulations to Jihva hosts!


Jihva Year 2008 Calendar
(May 08 - April 09)

May
Pedatha
September
Monsoon Spice
January
Ammalu’s Kitchen
June
My Creative Ideas
October
Tasty Palettes
February
Sometime Foodie
July
Live to Eat
November
Cooking for All Seasons
March
Paajaka
August
Soul Food
December
The Cooker
April
Roma’s Space

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Jihva For Ingredients (Thursday April 3, 2008 at 6:05 am- permalink)
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Ragi Kudumulu with Garlic Ghee

Ragi kudumulu is an old classic from Andhra Pradesh, India. Dumplings like kudumulu are prepared with ragi flour and steam-cooked in flavorful kura (curry). The main ingredient of kura in which ragi kudumulu are steamed changes with the seasons. Sometimes the kura is prepared with vegetables, sometimes with meat or a combination. Depends on the cook’s mood and the market prices. Popular in agricultural community, this protein powerhouse is a build or nourish the muscle-on-the-bone kind of one-pot meal.

For Mathy’s Jihva, I have been thinking about a new recipe using garlic-ghee. Then I thought, why not incorporate garlic-ghee into ragi dough and make kudumulu with it. When people say developing new things or techniques is like constantly rediscovering the wheel, it’s very true, indeed. Years of nutritional strategies and accumulated wisdom among cooks throughout the world before us are right to benefit us all through good times and hard times.

Ragi kudumulu is one such nutritional strategy, and here it is in a new avatar. An acquired taste, but a delight to an adventurous palate. Give it a try.

Ridge gourd and Ragi Dough
Ridge Gourd and Ragi Dough (Beerakaya mariyu Raagi Mudda)

Recipe:
(for two adults, for two meals)

Recipe happens in three steps. 1. Prepare Ragi dough for Kudumulu.
2. Prepare kura (curry or kurma) for Kudumulu. 3. Prepare kudumulu and steam-cook.

Step 1:

Take one-cup ragi flour in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of garlic-ghee puree and quarter teaspoon salt. Stir in a tablespoon of garlic infused ghee. Sprinkling few tablespoons of hot water, make soft dough. Cover and keep it aside for about 15 to 30 minutes. The dough firms up on resting.

Step 2:

While the ragi dough is resting, prepare kura for ragi kudumulu. It can be with either vegetables, (traditional choice: Indian broad beans, silk squash and ridge gourd), or meat (chicken or mutton). For my meal today, I have prepared Ridge gourd curry (beerakaya kura) for ragi kudumulu.

- - 2 ridge gourds: peel, rinse and cut into ½ inch, big pieces
- - 2 tomatoes and one onion - finely chop to small pieces

Heat a tablespoon of garlic infused ghee in a wide, deep-bottomed skillet. Add and toast a pinch each - cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add the onion. Sauté to soft. Then tomatoes. Add about a cup of water and cook the tomatoes to mush on high heat.

While tomatoes are cooking, prepare the kura masala:
For kura masala: Two tablespoons of grated coconut, 4 green chillies and an inch of peeled ginger, two cloves, one inch cinnamon, a teaspoon each - coriander seeds and cumin. Take them all in a mixer. Add a pinch of salt. Blend to fine consistency.

Tomatoes will be cooked to soft by now. Mush them by pressing with a sturdy spoon. Add the ridge gourd pieces and the masala paste to the skillet. Also half teaspoon each- turmeric and salt. Stir in another cup of water. Close the lid and simmer on medium-low heat.

Step 3:

While kura is cooking, quickly prepare Ragi kudumulu.

Take the ragi dough out onto a plate. Knead and divide into small, about key lime-sized rounds. The dough came about 16 rounds for me. Take a round on your palm, and close the fingers around the round to make a fist. The shape changes to cylindrical with conical ends. That’s what we call “Kudumu” shape in Telugu. Compared to the round shape, the kudumu shape will have more surface area exposed, and that would facilitates thorough steaming. Prepare all rounds in this way. You have to make them fast in two to three minutes.

Place them one after another neatly in simmering kura. Close the lid tightly, and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium-low heat. Ragi kudumulu have to be cooked properly inside. To test, take one out and cut into half. A well-steamed one has the color of red soil (erra mannu) that you see in moderate rainfall areas like Telengana, Andhra Pradesh. On taste, they should have the comforting texture of a well-chewed bubblegum.:) Sticky with unique ragi flavor. The size/volume also increases on steaming.

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and lime juice. Serve hot. Until serving time, cover the skillet with tight lid and keep the kura hot on low heat.

How to serve: Place four ragi kudumulu in a wide bowl or plate along with vegetable or meat pieces. Pour the tomato-masala gravy around.

How to eat: With fingers or spoon, take a portion of ragi kudumu with kura. Blow to cool for once or twice. Eat. Ragi flour has gummy properties and it would stick to the mouth roof. So don’t chew on the kudumu, just swallow. The masala gravy and vegetables or meat pieces, together they make a memorable meal experience.

Why: Ragi is rich in Iron, minerals and protein, gluten-free, and is known for it’s health benefits. Ragi is cultivated from ancient times in many parts of India, and in fact the name Ragi is a Sanskrit word. So, Ragi consumption means nourishment to the body and also nourishing the traditional agricultural practices.

Here is the preparation process in photos:


Ragi Kudumulu and Ragi Dough


Steamed Ragi Kudumulu in Ridge Gourd Kura


Ragi Kudumulu Flavored with Garlic Ghee in Ridge Gourd Kura ~
Meal today and My Contribution to Mathy’s Garlic-Jihva Event.

Notes:
Ragi flour is available in most Indian grocery shops.
Kudumu is singular and kudumulu is plural in Telugu language.
Traditional Kudumulu from other parts of Bharath:
Jonna (Corn) Kudumulu from En Ulagam
Jowar-wheat Kudumulu from My Food Court

Do you have this type of tradition where kudumulu or dumplings are steam-cooked in the stew itself?

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Ragi, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Beera kaaya(Ridge Gourd), Ragi Flour, Ghee, Garlic (Vellulli) (Tuesday April 1, 2008 at 5:45 pm- permalink)
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