Mahanandi

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

Hearty Chole Cheddar

Chickpea is sitting there looking relaxed, refreshed and ready to rumble.

“Would you like some cheddar cheese company?”

“I know it’s Jihva and you are looking for some new ideas. But, what in the world…?”

“Think about it. I will add some vegetables too. It will be a nice combination and a wholesome meal in a bowl.”

“Are you going to add my favorite seasoning, chana masala powder?”

“Yep, I’ll.”

“Chole cheddar! I am game. Cover me with that gooey cheddar…”


Chickpea and Cheddar

Hearty Chole Cheddar
(for two or four, for two to one meal)

1 teaspoon oil
1 tsp each - cumin and minced garlic
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup each - diced carrots and potatoes (1/2-inch thick)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 teaspoon each - red chilli powder and turmeric
1 tablespoon - chana masala powder
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 cups water
2 cups chickpeas (Canned or pressure-cooked)
1/3 cup finely grated sharp cheddar cheese

In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add and toast cumin and garlic to fragrance.

Add the vegetables and cook, stirring often until vegetables soften, about 15 minutes.

Add the seasoning - chilli powder, turmeric, chana masala powder and salt. Also 2 cups of water. To thicken the soup, mash about quarter cup of chickpeas to fine paste in a mixer and add the paste along with the remaining chickpeas. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about ten minutes. Add ¼ cup cheddar cheese and stir.

Ladle into bowls; sprinkle the remaining cheese. Enjoy with paratha or bread.


Chole Cheddar with Ciabatta
Lunch today and for ms’s Jihva Chickpeas


Chole = Chana Masala = Hearty Chickpea Soup

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chickpeas, Cheese, Jihva For Ingredients (Friday January 30, 2009 at 12:18 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Lassi Lullabies ~ Mango Lassi

Mango Lassi
Sweet Mango and a Glass of Mango Lassi ~ for WBB Mango Event

Lassies are soothing lullabies of my home, India. Mango lassi is a manthram like magic melody and I love it.

Mango Lassi Lullaby
(to fill two small glasses)

Mango, ripe - one
Yogurt, homemade - half cup
Sugar - 1 tablespoon (I added maple syrup)
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Blender

Peel and cut mango to small pieces. Take them in a blender. Add maple syrup and cardamom. Puree to smooth. Add yogurt and about half glass of water. Blend until well mixed. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Pour into two glasses. Enjoy the soothing mango lassi lullaby.

More with Mango from Mahanandi:
Burger and Fries with Sweet Mango
Mango Fruit Tart
Mango Halwa (Mango Ravakesari)
Mango Jam
Mango Jihva
Mango Salsa
Mango Shirkhand (Aamrakhand)
Mango Strawberry Scones
Mango Strawberry Popsicles
Pancake Ponganalu with Mango Sauce
Yogurt Rice with Sweet Mango

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Mango, Yogurt (Tuesday May 13, 2008 at 8:12 pm- permalink)
Comments (19)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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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Garlic Infused Ghee

Garlic and butter for garlic-ghee

Garlic roasted in ghee was a favorite summer time snack growing up. It was the only way I could eat garlic when I was a child. They are also specifically prepared and fed to new mothers after delivery. Garlic is well known for it’s disease-preventing properties and toasting in ghee makes garlic more palatable. So, it’s no wonder garlic-ghee combination has traditional roots. Also, garlic seems to enjoy ghee’s company. The special affinity between them is evident by the deep blush and the sweetness of garlic when ghee is around. Even the aroma changes to stimulating from another “s” type.:)

The following is a recipe that I have come up with while playing in the kitchen yesterday afternoon. I started out with the idea of preparing garlic-infused ghee, then during the process I realized I could make two types of garlic-ghee. Garlic infused ghee and garlic pureed in ghee. Both of them tasted so good and the aroma was wonderful, they have made the whole process of cooking a great adventure instead of an annoying chore. And with garlic-ghee on hand, I know miracles are possible with many savory entrées.

Recipe:

The following quantity makes about one cup of garlic-infused ghee and quarter cup garlic-ghee puree.

Unsalted butter - 4 OZ (113 grams)
Garlic cloves - 6 to 8, skins peeled
Black peppercorn - 8
Salt - a pinch

Tea or coffee strainer
Small mortar and pestle

For preparation, follow the photo pictorial below:

Garlic and butter for garlic-ghee

1. Finely slice each garlic clove into thin layers. Inside you see white or pale green stem. The pure white ones are preferable for this recipe, and discard the garlic if you see any green growth inside.

2. Place the garlic and butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Garlic simmering in ghee
The garlic and ghee will look like this in the beginning.

Garlic simmering in ghee

3. After about 20-30 minutes of slow simmering, the butter changes to crystal-clear, aromatic ghee. Pale reddish-brown sediment forms at the bottom of the pan. The garlic also changes to soft and golden. Turn off the heat now.

Straining out the sediment and garlic from ghee

4. Pour the garlic-ghee through a strainer into a cup. The golden sediment and garlic will get separated from garlic-infused ghee.

Preparing Garlic-ghee Puree

5. Take the contents of strainer in a mortar. Add peppercorn and salt. Gently mash them to coarse paste.

6. Allow the garlic-ghee puree and garlic-infused ghee to cool. Store them in clean jars.

Garlic-Ghee Puree and Garlic-Infused Ghee
Garlic-Ghee Puree and Garlic-Infused Ghee ~ for Mathy’s Garlic Jihva

Greens, vegetables, dals, meat and fish, just a teaspoon would be enough and both, the garlic puree and ghee make wonderful additions to any savory preparation.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Ghee, Jihva For Ingredients, Garlic (Vellulli) (Monday March 31, 2008 at 1:42 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Yogi Diet ~ Chestnut Kosambari

Chestnut Kosambari

During the years we lived here I ate many salads but none was better than the ones prepared at home with fresh ingredients. The homemade have crisp texture and full flavor, thanks to the no wait between kitchen and dining table.

The following is a new one I have prepared for our meal today. Roasted chestnuts, watermelon, lettuce and yogurt -pepper dressing. The taste was so special and it has made me think about a suitable title. As far as I know, Andhra meal doesn’t have a salad component. But Karnataka and Maharashtra meals have. Kosambari or Koshimbir, they call them. Usually eaten as a light snack or as a part of full course meal, Kosambari is prepared with fresh vegetables, lentils, legumes or nuts with coconut, lemon or yogurt dressing. My meal fits the profile. Why title salad for everything, when we have such beautiful sounding name “Kosambari”? My yogi diet with fresh ingredients will be Kosambari from now on.

Chestnuts, Lettuce, Yogurt and Watermelon

Chestnut Kosambari ~ Recipe
Roasted chestnuts (Snack section, Chinese grocery)
Lettuce
Watermelon
Homemade yogurt
Black pepper and salt to taste
Roughly chop chestnuts, lettuce and watermelon to bite-sized pieces.
Take them in a bowl and combine.
Whisk yogurt with pepper and salt. Pour over the chopped ingredients.
Toss and serve immediately.
Enjoy the chestnut kosambari as a light mid-day meal.

************

Previously on Yogi Diet:
Yogi diet with Alasandalu
Salad Synergy for Spring with Boiled Peanuts

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Yogurt, Chestnuts (Marrons), Lettuce greens (Tuesday March 25, 2008 at 3:37 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Perugu Pacchadi

Perugu Pacchadi
Perugu Pacchadi: Refreshing Preparation with Perugu, Onions and Popu
From Bharath for Jihva Onions at Radhi’s Kitchen

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Yogurt, Shallots, Red Onions, Jihva For Ingredients (Friday February 1, 2008 at 12:02 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Semiya Payasam

Photo Purchase Keyword: Semiya, Payasam
(Please don’t photosteal. Make a photo purchase to digital download and to print.)

From hearing the Purandaradasa’s spiritual keerthana “Rama nama payasakke“, we will know that the semiya payasam we prepare at home has at least 500+ years of history. The recipe ingredients and the method have remained unchanged all these years. That is the greatness and as well as the simplicity of this recipe. What has changed is our attitude and regard towards such honest and soulful food. But that is a topic for another time. For now, continuing the 500 plus year old tradition, here is how I prepared the semiya payasam at my home for Neivedyam.


Semiya, Sugar, Ghee, Milk, Cashews and Draksha ~ Ingredients for Payasam

Recipe:

4 cups whole milk
½ cup cane sugar, ( or to taste)
Fine semiya, one bunch, about the size that fits baby’s fist (10″ long)
2 tablespoon of ghee, melted
16 cashews and 16 golden raisins
4 cardamom pods, seeds powdered

Heat ghee in a wide pot. Add and toast golden raisins to pink balloons first, and then cashews to pale gold color. Remove them in to a plate.

In the same pot, add and toast the semiya for one to two minutes. (This is to remove the raw wheat smell of semiya and I usually do it, but this is optional.) Take the toasted semiya to a plate and keep aside.

In the same pot, add the milk and stir in sugar. Bring the milk to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat and add the semiya. Also the cashews, golden raisins and cardamom powder. Simmer on slow heat for ten minutes. The fine semiya floats like water lily stems in a pond of sweetened milk. That is the consistency we want in semiya payasam.

Serve warm or cold, and enjoy this fine, honest dessert in the name of tradition.


A Sweet 500+ year old tradition ~ Semiya Payasam

Note:
Semiya, the fine wheat noodles are a speciality of India. They are prepared with durum wheat flour and water. Semiya is egg free, and that is the major difference between western egg-laden vermicelli and Indian semiya. (Semiya is available at Indian grocery shops).

*************

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Sugar, Milk, Indian Sweets 101, Traditions, Semiya (Tuesday January 15, 2008 at 7:13 pm- permalink)
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Cookery, Indic ~ “Salads For All Occasions” by Vijaya Hiremath

Recipe: Sprouted Wheat and Spinach Salad

Salads for all Occasions by Vijaya Hiremath
Published in December 2005 by Jaico Publishing House

Traditionally, salad or koshimbir has formed a small part of main meals in India, taking its place alongside pickles and chutneys. This probably explains why preparing salads has always flummoxed me. Grains, vegetables, and lentils formed a complete meal, and salads were the step-children on my thali. I managed with the usual suspects - chopped tomatoes and onions with a splash of lemon juice and salt; grated cabbage and crushed peanuts with a splash of lemon juice and salt; steamed beetroot and grated carrot with a splash of lemon juice and salt; *yawn* and so on. I did not fare any better at the elaborate salad bars in U.S. restaurants and cafetarias. With the seemingly endless choices, one never quite knows when and where to stop piling one’s bowl. The end result was always a mishmash of ingredients, all of which I savour individually, but were disastrous together. I also have a distaste for the usual dressings, based as they are in oil and vinegar.

I was not interested in the plethora of salad books found in the American bookstores. Since our main meals at home are always Indian, I needed a book that used Indian ingredients, and produced flavours that would not clash with the other parts of our meal. I had purchased Varsha Dandekar’s Salads of India many years ago, and while it is an excellent cookbook in other respects, it is not about salads. Most of the dishes were really sukhi bhaji (dry vegetable preparations without gravy). There are other books on salads published in India, but they usually just reproduced Western salads. Vijaya Hiremath’s book, which I almost ignored at the bookstore due to the rather bland title, has ended my days of salad ennui.

The book is completely vegetarian, with over 50 salad recipes using a wide variety of easily-available ingredients. Sprouts prepared from whole grains and beans play a prominent role in many recipes, a feature which raised the book several notches in my estimation. Hiremath presents several fresh and innovative combinations of vegetables, fruit, greens, nuts, and sprouts. For example, Country Garden Salad, a jaded menu item that evokes images of limp lettuce and cottony tomatoes, appears in an elegant and attractive avtaar in this book. It is made with tender fenugreek leaves, white radish, carrot, cucumber, tomato, onion, and roasted sesame seeds and dressed with lemon juice, minced garlic, fresh grated coconut, cumin powder, and salt. The dressings are sauces prepared from fruit, vegetables, or dahi; chutneys or dry masala powders. The layout of the book is user-friendly: one recipe per page with the nutritive value for each recipe provided at the bottom. There are plenty of photos, which are mercifully devoid of Indian artifacts and fabrics cluttered around the food.

The recipes use a combination of weight and volumetric measurements, which might pose a problem for those readers used to measuring in cups and do not own a kitchen scale. The instructions are terse and lacking in nuances. For example, greens and vegetables being used in salads must be properly rid of excess water after washing them; otherwise, it dilutes the dressing. Novice cooks might not realise this and the recipes do not include such instructions. The book also suffers another deficiency that is common to some cookbooks produced in India: absence of an index, which forces you to scan the entire table of contents if you are pondering over what to prepare with a particular ingredient. Each recipe, with calories ranging from 250 to 350, is supposed to provide one meal for a single person; but, small eaters might find the quantity too large to be consumed in one sitting. All these drawbacks, however, are minor irritations and easily overlooked once you taste the delicious and nutritious salads made from this book.

Veena Parrikar


Sprouted Wheat and Spinach Salad

From: Salads for All Occasions by Vijaya Hiremath

Ingredients
100 gms wheat sprouts
100 gms carrot
100 gms tomato
100 gms cabbage
1 cup spinach leaves

Seasoning
2 flakes minced garlic
1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
150 gms thick curds (dahi)
Salt to taste

Sprouted Wheat
To prepare sprouted wheat, soak them overnight in plenty of water. Next morning, drain the wheat, and place the grains in a clean muslin cloth. Hang the muslin around your kitchen sink tap, and sprinkle the cloth with water. The wheat should sprout in two to three days in mild to warm weather. During this period, sprinkle water occasionaly if the muslin looks dry.

Centre: Spinach and sprouted wheat. Clockwise from left: carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, dahi with minced garlic and salt, roasted sesame seeds.

Method
1. Shred cabbage finely. If spinach is tender, use whole leaves; otherwise chop roughly or break into pieces with your hands.
2. Cut carrot into small pieces.
3. Quarter tomato.
4. Beat curds. Add garlic and salt and mix well.
5. Combine vegetables with sprouts.
6. Arrange spinach leaves on a flat dish.
7. Spread vegetable mixture over the spinach.
8. Pour curd mixture over the vegetables.
9. Sprinke sesame seeds before serving.

Sprouted Wheat and Spinach Salad
Sprouted Wheat and Spinach Salad

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Goduma (Wheat), Spinach, Yogurt, Reviews: Cookbooks, Sprouts (Molakalu), Veena Parrikar (Monday January 7, 2008 at 12:24 am- permalink)
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Boiled Chestnuts

Boiled Chestnuts

Due to my craving for something I have never tasted before, the chestnuts have leaped from roasting skillet into the steaming pot on New Year’s Day at my home.

The chestnuts that appear during winter season here have been a fascination for me for the last couple of years. I like roasted chestnuts. This year I ventured into boiling and cooking with chestnut territory. The boiling process is similar to how we do with fresh crop peanuts in India. But with chestnuts we have to score and then steam. Once the shell softens, drain the water. Peel the outer covering and enjoy the tender chestnut inside. Boiled chestnuts taste almost like boiled peanuts (and jackfruit seeds san the smell). Sweet, nutty and starchy, with aroma typical of boiled nuts.

For our New Year’s Day meal, I prepared a chestnut and date yogurt. Finely chopped few dates and boiled chestnuts and then added them to yogurt. A sprinkle of salt. There it is, a fine and exotic side dish welcoming the 08.

Boiled Chestnuts and Finely Chopped Dates with Yogurt
Boiled Chestnuts and Finely Chopped Dates with Yogurt

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Dates (kharjuram), Yogurt, Chestnuts (Marrons) (Wednesday January 2, 2008 at 7:44 pm- permalink)
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Pomegranate Yogurt

Pomegranate Yogurt
Pomegranate Yogurt ~ Food as Unexpected Beauty

I love fruit-flavored yogurts. I often make them at home with whatever fruit I have at hand. I cut and crush the fruit and mix with homemade yogurt. Depending on the fruit sweetness level, I usually add sugar or honey and salt to the yogurt. Takes only few minutes to prepare and offers a very cool way to end the meal. Also, no matter what time of day it is, a small cup of fruit-yogurt always has the power to cheer me up.


Homemade Yogurt ………………………..Pomegranate

Recipe:
(for two)
1 cup fresh homemade yogurt
1 pomegranate fruit, or 1 cup pomegranate seeds
Salt and Sugar ~ a pinch each, or to taste
********
Rinse, and make a shallow, vertical cut on the pomegranate. Separate the halves. Pull the fruit open and shell the seeds over a bowl. Add yogurt, also salt and sugar. Whisk the yogurt to blend well. Refrigerate for about half an hour. Serve and enjoy. The pure, sweet juice that pops out of ruby-red, gem like seedsacs combined with chilled yogurt, it’s a simple food with an extraordinary beauty.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Yogurt, Pomegranate (Wednesday November 7, 2007 at 7:02 pm- permalink)
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Ghee for Festival Sweets

Homemade Ghee from Trader Joe's Unsalted Butter
Ghee Prepared from Unsalted Butter ~ for Vinayaka Chavithi Tomorrow

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Ghee (Friday September 14, 2007 at 9:24 pm- permalink)
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Series of Sprouts ~ Mustard Seed Sprouts


Sprouted Mustard Seeds (Aavalu)

One thing I did not expect from mustard seed sprouts was spiciness. God, they are hot. I don’t know how many of you had the experience of paan-supari. The tongue tingles and burns at the same time, right? Mustard seed sprouts had the same effect. It starts with a bitter taste and then within few seconds, the whole tongue will feel like it’s on fire, ending with a chilled sensation. I liked the mustard sprouts ruchi.

The sprouting process was easy. Soak couple of teaspoons of mustard seeds in water for four hours. Drain the water and take the soaked mustard seeds in a loosely woven cotton cloth. Place it in a colander near windowsill where the Sun shines. Frequently spray water to keep the seeds and the cloth moist. Within a day, the sprouts start to appear. Wait another day for them to grow little bit. Then add them in curries, kurmas, raita and in popu or tadka. When added in moderation, mustard sprouts surely perk up a mature palate with rustic pungency.

For today’s meal, I prepared a yogurt based salad with mustard sprouts for parathas. Cucumber, carrot, mango, sweet onions, asafoetida, red pepper and salt mixed in yogurt; the poor mouth is still recovering from the flavor-jugalbandi effect.


Moong dal with Paratha and Mustard Sprouts Raita

Mustard Sprouts Raita:
2 cups yogurt
Half cup each - grated cucumber, carrot and semi-ripe mango
Quarter cup each - finely chopped red onion or shallot and cilantro
A tablespoon of sprouted mustard seeds
10 curry leaves and a pinch each- hing, sugar and red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon oil

In a bowl, take yogurt and add the cucumber, carrot, mango and onion. Combine.
In a small pan, heat oil. Add and toast curry leaves and mustard sprouts to fragrance. Stir in hing, sugar and red pepper flakes. Fry them to warm and add the toasted contents to yogurt. Mix thoroughly and serve. Tastes great as a dip or spread.

Recipes with Mustard Sprouts:
Mustard Sprouts Roti ~ from Live to Cook

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Yogurt, Sarson (Mustard Greens), Sprouts (Molakalu), Herbs and Spices, Mustard Seeds (Aavalu) (Wednesday September 12, 2007 at 7:33 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Kalakand


On Krishnatashtami, we celebrate the Bhagavan Krishna’s birthday. The scriptures portray bala (baby) Krishna as a happy and mischievous child with boundless energy and great fondness for all things milk. Milk, yogurt, buttermilk, cream, ghee, venna, and milk based sweets are lovingly offered to bala Krishna during this festival time. In our family, for pooja neivedyam we prepare venna (the cream layer from yogurt) and pala kova or kalakand.

Kalakand, an exquisite milk-based sweet preparation is an interesting process. Concentrated milk called khoya and fresh paneer called chhana are mixed and simmered together with sugar to a luxurious thick, firmness. The mixture is cooled, then cut to squares and garnished with pistachios. That is kalakand of my hometown Nandyala. As you can imagine, the kalakand has a rich taste.

Depending on the khoya-chhana ratio and sugar variety, kalakand is 2 types.
Milky-white kalakand: Three parts chhana and one part khoya together simmered slowly with white sugar for hours. Continuous stirring and low heat cooking result in a pure-white kalakand. It’s a labor intensive process and usually you will find this milky-white kalakand at Indian sweet shops.
Coral-pink kalakand. Chhana and Khoya are in 1:1 or 1:3 ratio and unprocessed, old-world style red sugar (turbinado) sweetens and colors the kalakand. This is the type we prepare at our home. Both varieties taste equally delicious, but I prefer the Coral-pink colored kalakand. Here is how I made it for Krishnashtami prasadam.

Recipe:
(takes about 2-3 hours. Makes about 18 to 20 2×2x1 square shaped Kalakand)

½ gallon whole milk and juice from one lime - to prepare chhana
½ gallon whole milk - to prepare Khoya
2 to 2½ cups - unprocessed cane sugar (turbinado)
1 cup, shelled and unsalted pistachios - coarsely crushed for garnish
Silver or gold foil to decorate the kalakand

2 big, sturdy, wide based pots
Lots of patience. Family or friends on the side definitely will help and make the process more enjoyable.


Chhana for Kalakand

1. Milk: Place the pots on stove-top and add half gallon milk to each pot to prepare chhana and khoya simultaneously.

Chhana: In one pot, once the milk starts to boil, reduce the heat. Add the limejuice (lemon juice) and stir. Within minutes, you will see small clouds like white curds floating on top. Wait till they get bigger (if they don’t, add some more limejuice and stir) and the whey below gets less milky. This process takes few minutes, so wait at least five minutes. Switch off the heat and let it stand for few more minutes. Then pour the whole thing immediately into a clean muslin or cheese-cloth in a colander, over a sink. Gather the curds by twisting the cloth into a firm lump. The fresh paneer called chhana is ready.

Milk simmering thickened milk after 1 hour on the stove
Simmering Milk ………….. Thickened milk (khoya) after 2 Simmering Hours

Khoya: In another pot, once the milk starts to boil and lower the heat and simmer, until the milk gets thick and is reduced to about one fourths of the original quantity. This is khoya. (While thickening, stir frequently. Care must be taken that milk does not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn/black.)

2. Add Sugar: To the khoya, add the freshly prepared chhana (paneer) and sugar. On low heat, cook, continuously mixing, until the khoya-chhana mixture thickens to a waterless-firm lump. This process takes about 45 minutes to one hour.

3. Decorate: Pour the firm mixture onto a plate. Level it evenly and allow to cool completely. The mixture thickens and firms up even more on cooling. With a knife, cut the cooled kalakand to squares or diamonds. Place the gold or silver foil on kalakand and sprinkle pistachios. Offer the jewel like decorated kalakand neivedyam to Bhagavan Krishna and enjoy the prasadam pieces with family and friends.

Kalakand stays fresh up to a week when refrigerated.


Kalakand Cooling


Kalakand Cut to Squares

Kalakand
Kalakand Jeweled with Pistachios ~ for Indian Sweets 101

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mitai, Paneer, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Pistachios, Milk, Indian Sweets 101 (Wednesday September 5, 2007 at 3:42 pm- permalink)
Comments (64)

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)
Comments (18)

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)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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