Mahanandi

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

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

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.

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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)
Comments (3)

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

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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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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
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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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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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)
Comments (23)

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
********
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)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Tandoor ~ The Great Indian Barbeque Cookbook Review, Poem and Recipe


Cookbook by Ranjit Rai

Seattle’s public library system has the biggest collection of cookbooks I have ever seen, and it covers a gamut of traditional and contemporary cuisines. Whenever all-day rain is in the forecast, I pack up a bag and hike to the library to spend the day. The library is spacious, vibrant, well-lit, and equipped with WiFi system. We can either browse through the bookshelves or sit in a corner and surf away on laptops. Stepping inside the library is my way of shutting out the gloom and grayness of winter, so I go.

One such day last week, I was in the cookbooks aisle, my usual hangout place at the library. Flipping the pages of various cookbooks, trying to decide which deserved the 10-minute trek back home. I usually place cookbooks into two categories. Books that are worthy of the paper they are printed on and books that would make even the docile trees of the rainforests cry. After all the sacrifice made of these gentle giants in the name of nourishing the human mind, the trash printed in the name of food and sustenance would make any decent person weep with disgust. We have to pulp the green to mint the green, I know that, but some cookbooks are truly a violation of everything that the rainforests stand for.

But I digress. So here I was in the pursuit of cookbooks worthy of my energy. The Seattle public library did not disappoint me. I found one that made me stop looking further. The book was titled “Tandoor - The Great Indian Barbeque”. It is not often that one finds a cookbook dedicated to a cooking technique as ancient as the 5000 years old tradition of tandoori. I had to pick it up. What a wonderful use of my time it was to read that book! “Tandoor” is written by Ranjit Rai of New Delhi. He had diligently detailed a manuscript on tandoor cooking, but had passed away before it could be published. His daughter and his best friend together edited and completed the publication of the book.

I can truly say that this cookbook is like the Bhagavad Gita for connoisseurs and lovers of fine cooking. Everything one would ever want to know about tandoor, the kartha, karma, kriya are described in detail. The first part of the book is dedicated to the history and different types of tandoor. Useful tips and tricks - how to construct a tandoor in your backyard, and how to adapt tandoor-style cooking to an apartment kitchen - are recited in eye-opening detail with captivating pictures. The second part of the book is about the karma, the basic work and preparation needed for tandoor cooking. Different types of tenderizers, marinades and masala powders that add special touch to tandoori dishes - what, how and why - are narrated with scientific explanations. Part three includes tandoor recipes for poultry, lamb, fish, vegetables, and breads. The book has a total of 105 recipes and each recipe is accompanied by one or two photographs of either the preparation stages or the finished product. Classic crowd-pleasers such as tandoori chicken, cocktail kababs, masala chops, tandoori jhinga, and paneer tikka along with kababs and tandoori rotis - you will find them all in this book. In spite of coming from a family with non-vegetarian food traditions, I have consciously avoided meat all these years. But even I cannot resist a masala tikka if it is cooked and served in the manner described in this book. That tempting!

Whether you are a culinary enthusiast or simply browse cookbooks as a pastime, if you ever come across this book in a bookshop or at your local library, please stop and pick it up. Mr. Ranjit Rai’s meticulousness and passion will leave you awestruck, as it did me. What a wonderful tribute to the timeless tradition of tandoor cooking! Well done! My vinamra namaskar to the father and daughter team.

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Ode To The Tandoor ~ By Ranjit Rai
(excerpt from “Tandoor”)

Fired from below Ranjit Rai (1923 - 1993)
And cascading hear from above
Made from mother earth
By gently hands of women in love
Charging the clay with strength
Thou wondrous oven
Fail-safe cooker of goodness and health

From Unknown time
Through millenniums you serve
Now underground now from above
‘Big’, aromatic, baking and roasting
Accepting grain, meat and dove
The chicken brought you fame
And now on every lip is your name

You sit burning for others
Calling bring your meal ‘bread and dough’
And stir around me ‘timber’
Warm yourself a moment
The day’s work is done
Pay homage to the world’s greatest preserver.

Sri Ranjit Rai (1923-1993)

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Hare Chane ki Seekh (Green Chickpea Kababs)
Recipe from “Tandoor”, page: 229

Like the author’s family, we too grew up with the tradition of indulging in green chickpeas (hare chane) during season. Like fresh peas of spring, green chickpeas taste wonderfully sweet with the delicate, earthy scent of the motherland. Fresh foods like these belong to a special category and the associated memories always make them irresistibly spectacular to me.

Seekhs/kababs prepared from fresh chickpeas, without a doubt are a great tandoori snack item. So here is a recipe from the “Tandoor” cookbook, adapted to my apartment’s electric-powered oven.

Fresh Chickpeas (Hare Chana, Cholia)
Fresh Chickpeas (Hare Chana, Cholia)

Ingredients and Method:
(for 7 or 8 medium sized kababs)

2 cups green chickpeas (hare chane, cholia)
1 small red onion or 2 shallots - finely chopped
1 teaspoon - cumin and quarter teaspoon - salt
1 tablespoon - peanut oil/ghee
2 tablespoons - gram flour/besan (acts as binding agent)
Half cup hung-yogurt (hang yogurt in a thin cotton cloth overnight to drain water)
6 green chillies, 4 curry leaves, 2 garlic, 1-inch ginger, 1 tablespoon grated coconut and pinch of salt - grind them together to smooth consistency in a spice grinder or in a mortar with pestle

Skewers - 3
side dish - a cup of yogurt and grilled baby onions

Hung-Yogurt, Green Chilli-Ginger Paste, Shallots
Hung-Yogurt (Yogurt Cheese), Green Chilli-Ginger Paste, Shallots

In a wide skillet, heat oil/ghee. Add and toast cumin first . Then add and saute onions plus green chilli-ginger paste. When onions are pale red, add green chickpeas. Mix. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until the chickpeas soften a bit. (Like fresh green peas, green chickpeas cook fast.)

Add hung-yogurt and salt to taste. Mix and cook on low heat, until water evaporates from yogurt. With the back of the wide, slotted spoon, mash the whole thing to coarsely smooth consistency. Sprinkle besan flour and mix. Let cool.

Mashing the Cooked Chickpea-Spice Mixture
Mashing the Cooked Chickpea-Chilli Saute

Oil and wipe the skewers. Shape the mashed chickpeas into chilli shape directly onto the skewers. Apply gentle pressure while shaping the kababs. Place skewer on a baking pan.

Chickpea Kababs Ready for Grilling
Chickpea Kababs Ready for Grilling in Oven

Once ready, place the pan in oven and broil, each side for about 4 to 5 minutes. Using a fork and fingers, carefully turn each kabab to opposite side for uniform cooking and broil to pale gold color.


Grilled (Oven-Broiled) Golden Chickpea Kababs

Serve hot with a cup of yogurt and some grilled pearl onions/small shallots.


Hare Chane ki Seekh (Green Chickpeas Kababs) with Yogurt and Grilled Onions
My Entry to “Saffron, White and Green” Event at Puja’s My Creative Ideas.

Notes:
Book Cover, Ranjit Rai photo and “Ode to the Tandoor” poem is taken from “Tandoor” cookbook (Copyright:Anuradha Ravindranath) for review purpose.
Thanks V!
Available at : Amazon, Powell’s.com, Indiaclub.com
Recommend this book to your local libraries.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Yogurt, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas), Reviews: Cookbooks (Monday January 22, 2007 at 2:03 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Okra in Yogurt Sauce (Bendakaya~Perugu Kura)


Okra in Yogurt Sauce (Dahi Bhindi)

This north Indian style curry is not a regular preparation at my home but a guest.

Though curry is quite easy to prepare and tastes soothingly smooth, I rarely make it mainly because this is not the dish that I grew up on. Okra-coconut curry and okra sambhar are what I am used to. Once in a while, like a visit from a cultural-exchange student, I do enjoy treating okra and myself in this special way.


Okra, Curry Leaves, Home-made Indian Yogurt

Recipe:

Prep the okra:
Pick 15 to 20 fresh, young looking okra (Bendakaya): Wash and wipe them dry with a clean kitchen cloth. Cut off both ends. Slice the middle portion into half-inch circular rings. (Follow the tips outlined here for clean, gum-free okra curry.)

Prep the yogurt:
1 cup of plain yogurt (I used traditional Indian home-made yogurt for this recipe). Take it in a cup and churn it for smooth consistency without any lumps.

Cook in a skillet:
Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil.
Add and toast 4 to 6 curry leaves, pinch of each - cumin and mustard seeds in that order.
When seeds start to dance around, add the okra rings.
On medium heat, cook the okra for the about 5 to 10 minutes covered until they soften little bit. Stir once or twice, more like shake the skillet and toss the okra. Leave the okra alone for spectacular crunchy results.

Final touch:
Add the silky~smooth yogurt.
Stir in turmeric, salt and red chilli powder to taste or ½ teaspoon each.
Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of each - Indian(garam) masala powder and dry coconut powder
Mix and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes on low heat.
Serve hot with rice or with roti. My personal preference is having it just plain in a cup with some more yogurt added.

Okra in Yogurt Sauce and Beetroot-Tomato Pulao
Okra in Yogurt Sauce and Beetroot-Tomato Pulao

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Benda Kaaya(Okra), Yogurt (Monday October 16, 2006 at 12:07 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Majjiga Mirapa (Dahi Mirchi, Yogurt Chillies)

Chilli, Mirchi, mirapa kaayalu

Chillies are a religion in India! And in my home state Andhra Pradesh, the leading producer of chillies in the world, the chilli religion has a cult like following. The almighty, all-powerful chillies dictate and dominate almost every food item we consume. Our tongues are trained to accept and enjoy the fiery ruchi(flavor) of chillies from early on and the non-believers in chilli power and taste are considered wimps and babies by the believers. I tried to break away from this chilli cult, but it’s tough to do and the cravings haunted me. My taste buds cried saliva for a decent flavorful meal. They couldn’t tolerate the bland, tasteless food I was consuming in the name of suave and sophistication. “We are not babies, we are not wimps. Have mercy and have a chilli”, they salivated. I bowed and accepted the chilli power with my whole heart and now at my home, there won?t be a meal without having at least one dish where chilli - dry or fresh is added. Needless to say my taste buds are now one happy bunch.

Like us, humans, chillies also have a variety. There are lean, short, tall and stout chillies. There is mildly hot variety and there is super hot variety. Names of chillies vary from state to state and from country to country, with growers making up new names all the time. For that reason, I usually write either green chillies for fresh ones and dried red chillies for dried chillies. Using fancy, foreign sounding names for chillies is not my thing.

There are also preserved chillies - Dried chilli powder is the best-known method of preserving chillis. There is one more popular way of preserving chillies, from my home state, called “majjiga mirapa? in Telugu and ‘dahi mirchi’ in Hindi. Here fresh green chillies are slit vertically keeping the ends intact and soaked in salty, sour yogurt for about 4 to 6 days, giving time for the acid in both yogurt and chillies to work its magic of preservation. As a result, the color of chillies changes from green to light-green to creamy yellow with green tinge. At this stage, they are removed and sun dried until completely moisture free. The end result is creamy-white chillies that taste mildly hot, tangy (because of soaking in yogurt) and delicious. Usually we deep-fry these mirchis and have them as ‘middle of the meal’ kind of snack along with rice and dal. Combine rice and dal and have a small round, while eating it, in-between take a bite of majjiga mirapa. That’s how we enjoy this version of chilli.

I always hear people saying how much they would like to prepare the real deal, the ultra-authentic, home-style cuisine. Well, this is your chance to do just that. If you like chillies and if you live in an area of at least one week of super hot temperatures, then this recipe is for you.

Recipe:

Chillies:
20 fresh chillies
(Long, firm body with medium-thick skin ones are perfect for this recipe)
Yogurt:
4 cups of day-old Indian homemade yogurt, add
4 teaspoons of salt and mix
Weather:
Hot weather suitable for sun-drying the chillies


Day1: Green chillies washed and slit in the middle (keep the ends intact)


Day 1: Slit green chillies are soaked in yogurt-salt mixture. Keep them like that open(without lid cover) for at least 4 days.


Day 2: Closeup of slit green chillis soaking in yogurt-salt mixture


Day 5: Remove the chillies from yogurt and arrange them neatly in rows with space in-between on a big sheet/plate/pan suitable for sun-drying. (Notice the change in green chilli color.)


Day 8: Sun-dried Majjiga Mirapa. It took 3 days here in Ohio, for them to get completely moisture free and dry. When stored in tight lid box, they can stay fresh from 6 months to a year. To cook - deepfry them in oil until they turn to golden and serve immediately.


Golden colored Majjiga Mirapa (deep-fried) with Rice and Dal - Traditional Andhra Meal for Independence Day Food Parade

Dahi Mirchi is avialable in small packets at Indian grocery shops here in US.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Yogurt, Peppers (Friday August 11, 2006 at 3:33 pm- permalink)
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Bottle Gourd in Yogurt

Dear L.G, before writing at her fabulous food blog Ginger and Mango, used to comment on ‘Mahanandi’ occasionally. Her comments were delightful and informative just like her current blog posts. In one of her comments in response to my mother’s recipe of sorakaya, she detailed a Kerala recipe of yogurt based bottle gourd curry and asked me to give it a try.

I have always wanted to visit God’s Own Country - “Kerala”. I don’t know when I am going to do that, but for now I am content to try at least Kerala cuisine. Yogurt and coconut based curries are hallmarks of Kerala cuisine and they call them “kaalan“. Here is my first attempt at bottle gourd kaalan, I hope I did justice to this traditional recipe and will be allowed to enter the God’s own country.:)


Yogurt, Bottle Gourd Cubes, Curry Leaves, Coconut-Chilli Paste

Recipe:
1 cup of cubed bottle gourd pieces
1 cup of day old, homemade Indian yogurt (sour curd)
6 green chillies and 1 tablespoon of fresh grated coconut (made into smooth paste)
½ teaspoon of each - turmeric and salt
For popu or tadka:
1 tsp of oil
1 tsp of cumin and mustard seeds, few pieces of dried red chillies and curry leaves

In a saucepan, heat oil on medium heat. Add and toast the tadka ingredients. Add the bottle gourd cubes and also green chilli-coconut paste. Stir in turmeric, salt and about quarter cup of water. Close the lid and cook on medium-low heat, until the bottle gourd pieces are tender. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the yogurt. Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan from the stove. Cover the pot with a lid and let the curry sit for about 15 minutes, for the flavors to mingle well. Serve warm with rice.

The curry tasted superb! Vijay more than me couldn’t get enough of this curry and we finished all in one setting. Thanks L.G for sharing this wonderful, traditional recipe.


Bottle Gourd in Yogurt Curry with Rice ~ Our Simple Meal Today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Yogurt, Coconut (Fresh) (Wednesday July 19, 2006 at 3:07 pm- permalink)
Comments (41)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Mango Shrikhand (Aamrakhand)

Manasa of San Jose, CA, a reader of this blog, sent me “Mango Shrikhand” recipe along with photo for JFI-Mango event. She wrote to me:

“I make Mango Shrikhand quite frequently and when I saw the “Jihva for Mangoes” event on Mahanandi, it occurred to me that I should also share this with everyone. This is one of my well tried out recipes. My whole family loves it. I even make it sugar-free (replace sugar with splenda and it still tastes fantastic).”

Manasa’s Recipe For Mango Shrikhand:
(to serve 2-4 people)

Mango pulp (sweetened kesar mango pulp) – ½ cup
Plain yogurt - 1 cup
Sour Cream (low-fat is good too) - 1 cup
Finely chopped walnuts and cashews - ½ cup (together)
Sugar (or Splenda) - ½ cup
(Less sugar is okay as the dish gets sweetened from Mango)
Cardamom powder - ½ tsp
Saffron soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk - a pinch.

1. Drain the water from the yogurt by tying it in a soft muslin cloth and hang it over the sink for at least 2 hrs.
2. Once all the water is drained from the yogurt, it automatically gets a creamy texture.
3. Mix the yogurt and sour cream thoroughly in a serving dish.
4. Mix in the mango pulp and sugar.
5. Check the sweetness and the flavor; add more sugar or mango pulp if needed.
6. Ensure that the texture of the dish remains creamy and not watery.
7. Mix in the chopped nuts, cardamom powder, and soaked saffron along with the 2 tbsp milk.
8. After mixing thoroughly, chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving.

Mango Shrikhand By Manasa
Mango Shrikhand (Aamrakhand) By Manasa

Thanks Manasa for taking part in JFI-Mango event and for this fabulous mango dessert recipe.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mango, Yogurt (Wednesday May 10, 2006 at 11:02 am- permalink)
Comments (17)

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