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

Gobi Kasuri Methi with Golden Raisins

Cauliflower, Golden Raisins, Dried Fenugreek Leaves
Gobi, Golden Raisins, Kasuri Methi


Peanut oil, slivered garlic, cumin, and mustard seeds for tadka
Red onion, ripe tomatoes and fresh cauliflower
Kasuri methi, golden raisins, grated coconut, turmeric, chilli powder and salt
With puri, chapati or with rice.

Puri and Gobi Kasuri Methi with Golden Raisins
Puri and Gobi Kasuri Methi ~ for Weekend Brunch

Feel free to size up the recipe, for a sweet tasting and serenely scented Gobi Kasuri methi.
From Hindi to English, Gobi=cauliflower, Kasuri Methi=Sundried Fenugreek Leaves

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Cauliflower, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Golden Raisins, Methi, Kasuri Methi (Monday November 26, 2007 at 1:10 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Paramannam (Sweet Rice)

Paramannam Prasadam for Indian Sweets 101


6 cups of milk
2 cups of cooked rice
1 cup of sugar/powdered jaggery or to taste
¼ cup of - golden raisins and cashews together, roasted in ghee
4 cardamom pods - seeds powdered
1 tablespoon of ghee

In a large, thick-bottomed saucepan, combine milk and sugar (or jaggery). Cook until sugar melts and milk thickens (just a little bit). Add cooked rice, cashews, golden raisins, cardamom powder and ghee. Mix thoroughly and cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring in-between, until the whole thing comes together. Turn off the heat. Keep it covered for few minutes. Paramannam further thickens on cooling. Serve warm or for a cool refreshing taste, refrigerate for about one hour.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Amma & Authentic Andhra, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Cashews, Milk, Sona Masuri Rice, Golden Raisins, Indian Sweets 101 (Friday August 4, 2006 at 2:55 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Sweet Pongal, The Sankranthi Sweet


Harvest festival Sankranthi is all about celebrating rice in our part of world. Particularly in South India, rice plays an important role as the main cultivated grain and as nourishing food that people subsist on every day of their life. It’s no wonder that there is a festival dedicated to the almighty rice. Equally worshipped are the man’s best partner, the kind-hearted cow, and the elements - sun, earth and water. They make rice cultivation a success, and also add a magic touch to the rice, making the rice a cherished, beloved food of the people.

Sona Masuri Rice - Grown and Imported from Andhra, India
Sona Masuri Rice - Grown and Imported from Andhra Pradesh, India

Sweet Pongal (Tiyya Pongali):

This famous south Indian, Sankranthi sweet is traditionally made with freshly harvested rice. Very simple to make but spectacular in taste, the ordinary rice becomes mouthwateringly extraordinary in sweet pongal. The rice soaks up the milk, absorbs the jaggery, picks up the cardamom scent and takes up the generously added moong dal, cashews and golden raisins. And in this new avatar, becomes an offering to the Gods (naivedyam, we call it), and also simply irresistible to all who try it.

Some Tips:


I follow the classic recipe and don’t do or like shortcuts. Method is neat and easy and the end result is always like the prasadam offering of temples. Jaggery is the traditional sweetener of sweet pongal and my choice too, simply because sweet pongal tastes better when made with jaggery and not sugar.


The rice that I prefer is Sona Masuri. Because this variety is grown and imported from my home state Andhra Pradesh, and is the variety that I grew up on. Grain is thin, medium sized and very lightweight. Available in almost all Indian grocery shops here in US. Little bit pricey, but the taste is worth the money and farmers in my state really can use the money. Support farmers and buy this rice.


Sweet pongal is like a rice-dal porridge, consistency must be gooey thick and sticky. That means, the amount of liquid I usually add for sweet pongal recipe is more than the amount that I normally add to cook plain rice of equal measurements. Also, I always use equal amounts of water and milk for this recipe. Variations are - you can cook the rice-dal entirely in milk or in coconut milk, or if you are lactose intolerant and diet conscious, then in just plain water. Just add more liquid compared to the regular rice preparation.

Rice, Yellow Moong Dal, Cashews, Golden Raisins, Cardamom and Jaggery
Rice, Yellow Moong Dal, Cashews, Golden Raisins, Cardamom and Jaggery

For two people

1 cup - Sona Masuri rice
½ cup - yellow moong dal (pesara Pappu)
1 - 1½ cups - jaggery, crushed to fine
¼ cup each - cashews and golden raisins
¼ cup - ghee, melted
4 cardamom pods - skins removed and seeds powdered finely
3 cups each - milk and water (or 2 cups each, if you like a halwa like pongali)

Here is the 3-step method I follow to prepare sweet pongali at our home.

1.Toast and Roast:

Yellow moong dal:
Heat one teaspoon of ghee in an iron skillet. Add and roast yellow moong dal, on medium heat, until the color changes from yellow to pink. Take care not to brown. Slow-roasting freshens up and imparts a sweet smell to yellow moong dal. Remove them to a plate and keep aside.

Cashews and Golden raisins:
In the same skillet, add and heat two teaspoons of ghee. Add and fry the cashews and golden raisins till they turn to light gold. Remove and keep them aside.

Jaggery Syrup Cooked Rice-Dal Mixture is added to Jaggery Syrup
Jaggery syrup simmering…………Cooked Rice-Dal Mixture is added to Jaggery Syrup

2.Cook and melt:

Rice, moong dal and milk:

Take rice and roasted moong dal in a pot. Add water and milk. Mix well. Partially cover the pot and cook the rice and dal to tender soft. I use a pressure cooker but an electric rice cooker also works fine. Stove-top slow simmering also produces best tasting pongali.

Jaggery and water:

While the rice is cooking, in another pot, melt jaggery. Add the powdered jaggery and one cup of water. Stir and cook till jaggery melts. Bring the solution to a rolling boil. and reduce the heat and simmer for about five minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the jaggery syrup cool a bit.(Jaggery has to be cooked separately and you can’t add it directly to uncooked rice and milk. Because it prevents the rice from cooking properly and also splits the milk. Please keep this in mind.)

3. Stir and Simmer:

Adding the cooked rice: Add the cooked rice-dal pongal to jaggery syrup. Keep the heat on medium. Stir in the ghee, cashews, golden raisins and cardamom powder. With a strong laddle, stir well to combine all. Cover and simmer until the whole mixture comes together into a sticky, gooey mass. Turn off the heat. Cover and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Sweet pongal thickens further on cooling.

First offer to Gods as naivedyam (if you have this tradition), then serve it your loved ones, near and dear. Don’t forget to drizzle some ghee just before serving.

Sweet Pongal (Tiyya Pongali) - The Traditional Sweet of Sankranthi
Heavenly Sweet Pongal

For people hungering for a traditional, naivedyam kind of recipe but don’t have time or energy to make puran poli (bhakshalu), sweet pongal is The one. Speaking from experience, my suggestion is, keep your reservations aside and try it. You’ll be glad and can be proud of yourself for finally making one decent kind of naivedyam. I promise! Follow the recipe and this ancient classic delivers every time. People would ask for a second serving, diet or no diet.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Cashews, Milk, Sona Masuri Rice, Moong Dal (Washed), Ghee, Golden Raisins, Indian Sweets 101 (Monday January 16, 2006 at 3:08 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Carrot Cake

Carrots and bananas - what happens when you put the two together, you get a deliciously rich and different dessert that’s the best of both. The recipe is my own - out with the pineapple, cloves, all-spice and eggs - in goes the bananas and cardamom. They give the cake a wonderful, fruity, honeyed fragrance. The recipe is somewhat different but tastes as good, I might say, even better than the traditional carrot cake.

Recipe: Cardamom, Coconut, Golden raisins, Walnuts, Carrots and banana
2 cups of Betty Crocker pancake flour
2 cups of grated carrots
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dry unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tsp of baking soda
Mix all of the above in a big bowl.

5 cardamom pods- peel and powder the seeds inside
2 big ripe bananas- peel, mash and beat until fluffy
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup to 1 cup of brown sugar- (your wish)
In another big bowl, mix them well.

I used the pancake flour only because I want to finish off the BIG packet, purchased at Costco last winter. You can always substitute that with all-purpose flour. You can purchase dry unsweetened coconut, golden raisins and cardamom at low prices in an Indian grocery shop.

Now back to cake making - Preheat the oven to 350 F. Meanwhile fold the wet ingredients into dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly but not hard. Add some milk and combine again if the batter is too tight. Pour this mixture into a big round buttered cake pan. Bake the cake at 350 F, for about 30 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool it before applying frosting or decorating. The topping on the carrot cake is walnut-coconut caramel (see the post below for the recipe)

Carrot Cake with Walnut-Coconut Caramel Topping

Comparable to an Indian version of carrot sweet called carrot halwa, this carrot cake is simply moist, rich and delicious.

Slice of Carrot Cake

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Walnuts, Carrots, Bananas, Golden Raisins (Tuesday June 14, 2005 at 10:23 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: