Mahanandi

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

Tomato Bath

JFI, an online food blogging event celebrating the natural ingredients is hosted by sweet and talented RP of My Workshop for April. The ingredient she picked for JFI is Tomatoes. What a fine choice it is to celebrate the spring season with beautiful colors and flavors of tomatoes!

The sheer number of tomato based recipes can be overwhelming and sometimes it is reassuring to go back to an old favorite. So I picked a recipe. A Tiffin box favorite from my childhood called tomato bath. Yes, you read it right. The recipe has bath in its name. In this traditional south Indian recipe, toasted semolina is generously bathed and simmered in tomato juice. Not one or two tomatoes, but a lot of tomatoes are used to prepare tomato bath. This is the main difference between regular upma and tomato bath. Because of generous tomato addition, pale wheat colored semolina changes to bright orange color and the tomato dominates the flavor profile. It’s easy to prepare and even easier to enjoy. A must try for tomato fans.


Tomato and Semolina

Recipe:

2 cups semolina or suji
4 ripe tomatoes - finely chopped (about 2 cups)
6 green chillies - finely chopped
1 small red onion - finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger - grated
¼ cup each - fresh green peas and charoli nuts (or your choice)

Seasoning: (added to bring crunchy bite and fragrance to tomato bath)
1 tablespoon oil or ghee
6 fresh curry leaves and a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh cilantro
½ tsp each - urad dal, chana dal, cumin and mustard seeds

Place an iron skillet on stove top. On medium heat, add and roast semolina/suji to pale gold color, stirring in-between.

Meanwhile, proceed with tomato bath preparation. In a wide pan, add and heat oil/ghee. Toast the ingredients listed in seasoning in the order mentioned. When mustard seeds start to jump around, add green chillies, onion and ginger. Cook for few minutes until the onions soften. Stir in chopped tomatoes and fresh green peas. Cook until tomatoes become mush.

Add about 4 cups of water along with half teaspoon of salt. Cover and bring the water to a boil. At this stage, pour in the roasted semolina/suji at a constant flow/speed, continuously stirrng. Take care not to form semolina lumps. Stir, stir and stir. Sprinkle charoli nuts. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the whole thing comes together to a moist firm mass.

Serve hot with coconut/peanut chutney or with a cup of yogurt.


Tomato Bath with Yogurt and Cucumber Slices ~ Our Weekend Brunch and
My entry to JFI: Tomatoes hosted by RP of My Work Shop

JFI Notes:
I’ve planned to invite hosts for Jihva (June 07- April 08) on April 2nd. If you are interested to host the event, please visit tomorrow to read the guidelines and pickup your time slot. Thanks.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Suji/Semolina, Jihva For Ingredients (Sunday April 1, 2007 at 11:45 am- permalink)
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Buttermilk Upma

Roasted upma rava combines especially well with buttermilk and tadka seasoning in this sensational upma breakfast of summer months. Almost any type or combination of upma ravas -like suji, semolina, broken wheat and rice rava can be used for this recipe, but the roasted varieties like this special upma rava from India provides the best texture for the dish. Silky, tangy and tasty - buttermilk upma is an acquired delight.

Roasted Upma Rava, Homemade Buttermilk, Urad Dal, Chana Dal and Curry Leaves
Roasted upma rava, Homemade Buttermilk, Urad Dal, Chana Dal and Curry Leaves

Recipe:

Take in a cup and mix:
Roasted Upma Rava - one cup
Buttermilk - one and half cups (homemade from Indian yogurt suits this recipe)
Water - one and half cups
Roasted cashews or peanuts - quarter cup
Salt - quarter teaspoon or to taste

In a wide skillet, heat and toast:
One tablespoon of ghee or oil
Add a teaspoon each - chana dal, urad dal, , broken red chilli pieces and curry leaves, in the order mentioned. Toast to golden color. Dals add crunchy bite and curry leaves bring an unforgettable aroma to the upma. I usually add one finely chopped green chilli along with curry leaves etc. Adds more flavor.

Add and cook:
Reduce the heat to medium low and add the upma rava-buttermilk-water mixture to the skillet, continuously stirring. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the rava becomes fluffy. Serve warm with chutney/spicy powders, or with a teaspoon of honey/sugar sprinkled on the top for that delightful sweet, tangy taste.

Buttermilk Upma with Cashews and Pappula Podi
Buttermilk Upma with Cashews and Pappula Podi


Roasted Upma Rava: Purchased from Indian grocery Shops
If you are going to prepare this buttermilk upma with other varieties of rice/wheat ravas - first roast them to golden color - for easy mixing, cooking and for great taste.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Goduma (Wheat), Suji/Semolina, Yogurt (Monday March 26, 2007 at 9:46 pm- permalink)
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12.Mango Halwa (Mango Flavored Ravva Kesari)

“Heavenly” - that’s how I remember Indian mangoes. “Damn…” That�s what comes out of my mouth, whenever I buy mangoes here. Mangoes available here look big and bulky and if you cut them open, there won’t be rich yellow color, there won’t be any heavenly aroma, and the less said the better about the taste. The product of poor soil and excessive fertilizer use. Well, that’s what we get here. At first, the taste was a shock, then over the time we began to ‘appreciate’ the poor taste of mangoes, of course we don’t have a choice.

Whenever I crave Indian mangoes, out comes the treasured family recipe, mango halwa. Preparing like halwa intensifies the mango flavor. In this recipe, mango puree is cooked with toasted semolina in sugar syrup. The result - rich yellow color is back, heavenly taste and aroma of mangoes that we remember from India is there. Also milk free and relatively low calorie. A little bit different than how the regular halwa is prepared, this favorite of mine is more like - mango flavored ravva kesari.

Mango Halwa
A delight to the senses - mango halwa

Recipe:

3 ripe mangoes or 6 cups of cut mango (3 Costco/Samsclub kind of mangoes)
½ cup fine semolina (Suji ravva works fine too)
¼ to ½ cup sugar (add less or more according to the mango sweetness)
1 tablespoon of melted ghee
3 cardamom pods - seeds finely powdered
1 cup of water

Ripe Mango, Cardamom, Semolina and Sugar - Ingredients for Mango Halwa

1. Peel the mangoes, cut them into cubes. Keep a quarter-cup of finely cubed mango aside. Take the remaining mango in a mixer, blend into fine, smooth puree, without adding water.

2. Heat a half tablespoon of ghee in a skillet, add and lightly toast semolina, just until it leaves raw smell. Remove and keep it aside.

3. In a thick bottomed, wide pan, take water and sugar. Heat them slowly until the sugar melts. Then increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Wait for sugar syrup to thicken a bit and stir in blended mango puree and toasted semolina. Cook the mixture, on medium heat, stirring in-between to prevent sticking, until the mixture reduces by one third. It takes at least 20 minutes. At this stage, sprinkle the cardamom powder and finely cubed mango pieces that were kept aside. Stir, stir…for 2 to 3 minutes and then turn off the heat.

4. Coat a pan or tray with melted ghee and spoon the cooked halwa into the pan. Allow it to cool (halwa thickens further as it cools) and cut into squares. Remove and serve.

Mango halwa tastes great warm or cold. This time, I spooned it into muffin cups for individual sized servings and kept the muffin pan in the refrigerator for about one hour.

Mango Halwa - in Muffin size
Celebrating spring with mango halwa ~ For this week’s Indian Sweets 101.

Makes about 6 regular sized muffin cup portions.
Recipe Source: family
Kitchen Notes: Prepare it with fresh ripe mangoes. Fresh mango puree tastes better and the fiber etc., when cooked contributes to faster thickening of halwa. For this reason avoid store bought watery and preservatives added mango concentrate to prepare this sweet.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Mango, Suji/Semolina, Indian Sweets 101 (Thursday March 23, 2006 at 2:20 pm- permalink)
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Ma’amoul (Dates & Pistachios Filled Cookies)

Chanit of My Mom’s Recipes and More left a comment on my blog last month. To return the compliments I visited her blog, and what I found was a very detailed recipe for mamoul (dates filled cookies) with photos. I knew I had to try it. What attracted me to this recipe more than anything is the use of semolina for dough. I did some googling on these famous Middle Eastern cookies to know more about them and how they are made. Next, I went and bought the ingredients: fine Tunisian pitted dates, pistachios and wooden ma’amoul mold from the only ethnic grocery store in our small town, Ghossians Mid East Bakery.

I did experiment with the recipe. First, I used ghee instead of butter because ghee is not only more flavorful and unlike butter has no unnecessary baggage. I reduced the ratio of all-purpose flour to semolina. I also complimented the dates filling by adding pistachios. Finally I skipped the eggs. One more thing is I prepped the mamoul mold with ghee so that when cookie dough pressed into the mold and reversed, it can come out easily without sticking to the mold.

The final result of my experimentation was exquisite, one of a kind sweet cookies, the one I am going to make many more times from now on. A delicious paradox, they have a mildly sweet, crisp and grainy outside because of semolina and insides are moistly sweet and tender. Thanks Chanit! It is little bit of time consuming to make these using the ma’amoul mold but I had time and so happy with the beautiful outcome.

Ma'amoul mould, Pistachios, Dates, Rose water, Semolina, All Pupose Flour (Maida)

Recipe:

Dough:
2 cups - semolina
½ cup - all purpose flour (maida)
½ cup - melted ghee
½ cup - powdered sugar ( or more if you like sweet cookie covering)
1 tablespoon - rose water
1 teaspoon - active dried yeast melted in 1 tablespoon of luke warm water
Pinch of salt

Melt the ghee and cool it to room temperature. Sift the all purpose flour(maida) and mix it with semolina and ghee. Add the yeast water, rose water, powdered sugar and salt. Mix and make a dough by adding little bit of water. Set aside for about 3 hours, covered, to rest.

Cookie Dough after 3 hours of rest and Dates-Pistachios Filling Making of Ma'amouls - Pressing the cookies dough into ma'amoul mold

Dates- Pistachios Filling:
2 cups - fresh soft-pitted dates
½ cup shelled pistachios
¼ cup - powdered cane sugar
1 teaspoon - rose water
and Ma’amoul mould to press and shape the cookies

In a food processor, take pistachios and powder to fine. Then add the dates, sugar and rose water. Blend them together into fine paste. Remove to a cup.

Ma'amouls (Dates-Nut filled Cookies) Ready for Oven Ma'amouls After 20 minutes in the Oven

Preparation:

After 3 hours of rest, knead and divide the dough into lime sized balls. Flatten each ball using your hand and lift the sides up to form a hollow. It is now ready for the filling. Place one tablespoon of dates-pistachios filling into the hollowed dough. Close the dough over the dates mixture. Press the edges to seal well. Press it into the ma’amoul mold to give it a decorated appearance. Reverse the mold; gently shake to loosen it from the mold. Prepare each one in this way and place them neatly in rows, on a greased/parchment paper lined baking tray.

Place the tray in a preheated oven at 350° F and bake for about 20 minutes. I reversed the cookies to the opposite side after 10 minutes in the oven for even baking. After 20 minutes or when they turn lightly golden, remove them from the oven and let them cool.

Ma'amouls (Dates-Pistachios Filled Cookies)

Ma’amoul (Dates-Pistachios Filled Cookies) ~ Delicate, rose flavored and naturally sweet. Our Thanksgiving treat and contribution to this month’s SHF-IMBB Cookie-Swap event.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Pistachios, Dates (kharjuram), Sugar, Jaggery and Honey, Molasses, Suji/Semolina, Ghee (Friday November 25, 2005 at 8:46 pm- permalink)
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