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

Cranberry Chutney ~ India Inspired

“Oh Indira!”

“Yes, Cranberry?”

“Have you read the comments on my new dosth Dal?”

“Hmm… you want to try the chutney with sesame?”

“Yep, yep….” Cranberry hopped.

OK. Here was the lineup. Cranberry, sesame, onion, garlic and red chilli. Skillet Roasted. Jaggery and salt were added, and together made into chutney.

“Sounds good enough.”

“So, how was it?”

Tart, pungent, hot and sweet. Little bit on the bitter end, but nevertheless yum when eaten with a stack of freshly made chapatis.

Skillet Roasted ~ Ingredients for Cranberry chutney
Skillet Roasted ~ Ingredients for Cranberry Chutney

Cranberry Chutney ~ India Inspired:
(Makes about two cups)

Cranberries – 1 cup
Sesame seeds – ¼ cup
Red onion, cut pieces – about a cup
Dried red chilli – about ¼ cup pieces
Garlic, plump – about two, chopped
Jaggery, crushed – about three tablespoons
Salt – ¾ teaspoon or to taste

Heat a cast-iron skillet. Add and toast sesame seeds to fragrance. Take them in a mixer.

In the same skillet, add a tablespoon of oil. Add and roast to pale brown. First start with garlic, next dried red chilli pieces, then onion and at the end cranberries. Continue roasting and when cranberries start to collapse, turn off the heat. Let the contents of the skillet cool.

Grind the sesame to fine paste. To it, add the skillet contents. Also jaggery, salt and about quarter cup of water. Grind to fine consistency.

Remove to a cup. Enjoy the chutney with rice, chapati or bread.

Cranberry chutney
Cranberry Chutney with Sesame

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Cranberries (Friday January 9, 2009 at 2:53 pm- permalink)
Comments (30)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Greens Beans~Sesame Kura

Green beans are available year-round here in frozen section, but they cannot compete with farm-fresh green beans of early summer time. Bright green and crisp textured, garden-fresh green beans still have that youth essence we cherish so much and I feel that this is the best time to cook/curry them.

The following is one of my favorite green bean recipes from maa amma (my mother). Relatively inexpensive, easy to prepare, green beans~sesame kura captures the spirit of traditional Andhra Summer menus.

Fresh Green Beans and Sesame Seeds


Fresh green beans: Ends removed and cut into half-inch length pieces, about 3 cups.
Onion - finely chopped, about half cup
2 Green chillies - finely chopped
Popu or tadka Ingredients:
½ tsp each- minced garlic, cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves
Sesame powder:
Powder together, ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds and ½ tsp each- chilli powder, salt and sugar

In a wide skillet, heat about a teaspoon of oil. Add and toast popu or tadka ingredients listed above. When mustard seeds start to splutter add the onion and saute to soft.

Add green beans and green chilli. Cook covered, until they soften little bit, for about five minutes. At this stage, sprinkle sesame powder and a pinch of turmeric. Mix thoroughly, cook uncovered, mixing in-between. (Have a taste and add salt if needed.) Take care not to over-cook and turn off the heat when there is still some crunch left in green beans. Serve warm with chapatis or with sorghum rotis.

I have also added a fistful of steam-cooked black chickpea sprouts from yesterday to this curry. Coated with sesame-spice powder and in combination of green beans, they tasted quite good.

Green Beans~Sesame Kura with Chapatis ~ Dinner Today

Kura (Telugu) = Curry (English)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Green Beans, Amma & Authentic Andhra (Tuesday June 5, 2007 at 9:08 pm- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Green Garbanzo and Paneer

Chana Masala with Green Garbanzo and Paneer

Green Garbanzo and Paneer Curry with Chapati ~ Our Meal Today

The last few days have been wonderfully pleasant here. The kind of weather that warms the heart and pulls us away from the spell of blank-screen bewitching ways. I took a break from routine house/blog chores and went out for shopping. Among other things, I also bought supplies needed to set up the container garden. I had to leave my neat garden setup when we moved from Ohio to Seattle last fall. Time for fresh start again. The planters, the potting soil and of course the plants. 4 cherry tomatoes, mint, a yellow rose and some marigolds. Peas and methi plants that I started from seed last month are now about 8 inches tall. I transferred all of them to the new and freshly filled big containers. I passed on planting cilantro this year. We get two to three bunches for a dollar anyway, so the loss will not be missed at all. New thing I am trying out this summer is growing lemon grass and taro plant for nutritious leaves. That’s my garden log for summer 07.

One another thing I did was, I shopped at Pike Place Market after a long time. Guess what I found there - green garbanzos in pods. I bought about 4 pounds. Freshly shelled from the pods, the lively green garbanzos were a treat. I divided them to two portions. One for the timeless classic, guggllu type preparation and with the second portion I’ve prepared the chana masala style curry for today’s lunch. Green garbanzos and creamy paneer cooked in garbanzo-sesame sauce. A fresh tasting paneer chole with chapatis, good meal!

Green Garbanzo and Paneer Cubes


1 onion - finely chopped
2 cups fresh green garbanzos (chickpeas, dubba sanagalu)
½ cup paneer, cubed to bite sized pieces

2 tablespoons - chana masala powder (readymade or homemade)
1 tablespoon -Amchur powder or tamarind juice (acts as souring agent)
1 tablespoon - jaggery/sugar (brings sweetness)
½ teaspoon each -salt, chilli powder and turmeric (the much needed spices)

For Garbanzo-Sesame Sauce:
In a blender, take about
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds - grind to fine paste. To it, add
½ cup green garbanzo
3 tomatoes and 1 inch sized ginger - finely chopped
Add about a cup of water and grind to smooth consistency.


In a saucepan, heat about a teaspoon of oil. Add and saute onions to golden. Add the garbanzo-sesame sauce.

Stir in green garbanzo, chana masala powder, amchur powder, jaggery, salt, chilli powder and turmeric. Stir in about a cup of water. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring in-between.

When the sauce starts to thicken, add the paneer cubes. Simmer another 5 to 10 minutes on low heat so that paneer could absorb the sauce.

Serve warm with chapati/paratha or with rice.

Green Garbanzo and Paneer Curry

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Paneer, Sesame Seeds, Hara Chana(Green Chickpeas) (Wednesday May 16, 2007 at 6:52 pm- permalink)
Comments (31)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Bottle Gourd in Sesame (Sorakaya-Nuvvula Kura)

Few months ago, I wrote about my mother’s recipe of bottle gourd. It is a standard, no fuss kind of recipe with minimum ingredients. I like the taste of that curry and played around with the recipe little bit and came up with this one. It is also a simple no-nonsense recipe and supplies carbos (bottle gourd), protein (black chana) and fat (sesame seeds). I love the taste and also the ease with which it can be prepared.

Bottle gourd Pieces (Sorakaya, Lauki)
Bottle Gourd (Sorakaya, Dudhi) - Peeled, Cut into Cubes


Prep Work:
One cup of black chickpeas (kala chana) soaked in water overnight.
Half of medium-sized bottle gourd (sora kaya, dudhi), peeled and cut into half-inch pieces (about 2 cups)

Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil. Toast a teaspoon of cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves (for tadka).
Add the bottle gourd pieces and soaked kala chana. Saut? for few minutes on medium heat. Add about a cup of water and close the lid and cook.

Sesame-Dalia paste:
Meanwhile prepare the curry thickener. Grind in a blender:
3 tablespoons of each - sesame seeds and dalia
½ tablespoon of each - tamarind juice and powdered jaggery
1 teaspoon of each - coriander seeds (dhania), cumin and red chilli powder
½ teaspoon of salt or to taste
Grind them to smooth paste by adding about one cup of water.

Add the sesame-dalia paste to the curry. Stir in half teaspoon of turmeric. Mix and on medium heat, simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the curry reaches the consistency you desire.
Tastes great with chapatis/naans and with sorghum rotis.

Bottle gourd curry with chapatis
Bottle gourd curry with chapatis

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Jaggery, Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia) (Tuesday July 18, 2006 at 7:21 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Stuffed Bell Peppers (Capsicums)

Capsicum (Bell Pepper)

Hollywood often portrays the pretty blonds as cute and dumb. The same role in vegetable world is filled by bell peppers or capsicums. I think.

Bell peppers are colorful! Look so pretty, cute and also would bring that much needed (in some eyes) color and attraction when added to a dish. They are popular mainly for that reason and they have hollow insides, giving the impression of empty pretty heads just like the blond stereotype. No wonder we are tempted to fill them up. Almost every cuisine has several stuffed recipes for bell peppers. Rice, meat, lentils, nuts and cheese, every other thing in food world is used to stuff the bell peppers. Even other vegetables,… aah, the humiliation. The bell peppers must feel mortified when we fill them up with other veggies. But graceful they are, they won’t show it. They stand our mistreat and still look pretty. Such graciousness always invites strong reaction; people would hate or love them. But few could resist their charms.

One such charming, capsicum recipe is from India. Here the bell peppers are stuffed with spiced mashed potatoes and cooked to brown and then placed in peanut-sesame sauce. Served with rice or chapati, this is a meal fit for a rani (queen). Though the recipe makes us work like kitchen helpers in a rani’s kitchen, once you wipe off the sweat from the brow, once it’s plated, you would feel like a rani. Worth the effort, that’s what I am saying.:)

Capsicums Stuffed With Potato Curry - Ready For Browning


Potato Stuffing:
Good quality potatoes (red or baby alu) - 3 or 6, Pressure-cook or boil them in water, until tender. Remove the skins, mash them to smooth paste.
In a pan, heat a teaspoon of oil, do the tadka (toast ¼ tsp each - mustard seeds, cumin and curry leaves). Saute finely chopped pieces of one onion, 4 green chillies and a fistful of fresh peas. Add the mashed potato. Stir in salt, turmeric and one teaspoon of clove-cinnamon-cumin-coriander seed powder (garam masala). Mix them all well. Cook covered on medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes - That’s our potato stuffing for bell peppers.

Bell peppers (Capsicums):
Pick 6 small sized, fresh and firm bell peppers - any color (green, red, yellow or orange) or color combination is fine. This curry is all about appearance and size matters. Small sized capsicums are perfect for this curry. Jumbo regular grocery (US) type are too big and the curry won’t look good when prepared with them. (Local farmers markets here in US, often carry small sized ones during summer time.)

Cut the tops off. Remove the seeds and membranes inside and make a hollow. Fill them up with potato curry to the top.

In a big iron skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon of peanut oil. Place the stuffed bell peppers neatly in a circle and cook them covered on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes. Turn them to sides in-between so that they could get brown evenly on all sides. (You could also cook these stuffed bell peppers in oven - baking and broiling at 375 F until they are soft and tender to touch.)

Stuffed and Cooked Capsicums in Peanut-Sesame Sauce

Peanut-Sesame Sauce:
Toast quarter cup each - peanuts and sesame seeds to golden color. Take them in a grinder, add 2 cloves and 2 one-inch pieces of cinnamon, half teaspoon each - chilli powder and salt and a tablespoon of tamarind juice and powdered jaggery . Grind them to smooth paste.

Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil in a big pan. Add the peanut-sesame sauce and about a half cup to one cup of water. Mix well. Simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Have a taste and adjust salt, sweet and sour levels to your liking.

Add the stuffed capsicums to the thickened sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes on medium heat, covered. Serve with rice or with chapatis.

Stuffed Capsicum Curry with Rice

Traditional North- Indian recipe does not inlclude the gravy, and cooking the stuffed peppers in peanut-sesame sauce is my version. Adding little bit Andhra touch.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Bell Pepper, Sesame Seeds (Monday July 17, 2006 at 2:04 pm- permalink)
Comments (36)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Mango~Sesame Curry (Mamidi~nuvvula kura)

Before moving to US, we lived for about 2 years in Hyderabad, India. The capital city of my home state, Andhra Pradesh, lately known as Hi-Tech city, Hyderabad, has its own unique cuisine. A mishmash, a culinary amalgam influenced by people who migrated to this city from small villages, towns all over Andhra and from out of states on jobs, business and to work in political bureaucracy. Foodwise, you can get everything and anything there, almost:). Strong personalities and strong flavors are needed to survive in that city.

One such bold flavored recipe that I learned from a Hyderabad native, is this mango~sesame curry. Unripe mangoes are cooked in jaggery flavored sesame sauce. 3 strong flavors, unbeatable taste, perfect side dish for subtly bland naans/chapatis and puris.

Jaggery, Roasted Sesame Seeds, Unripe Mango
Jaggery, Roasted Sesame Seeds, Unripe Mango ~ Three Strong Flavors


2 green, unripe mangoes - peeled, seed removed and cubed into bite sized pieces
1 cup sesame seeds - lightly roasted and powdered
¼ cup of jaggery - powdered
1 teaspoon of each - red chilli powder, salt and turmeric
For popu or tadka:
1 teaspoon of peanut oil
½ teaspoon of each mustard seeds, cumin and few curry leaves.

1 Heat peanut oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add and toast cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves.

2 Add mango cubes to the pan, stir in sesame powder, jaggery, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Add about 2 cups of water and mix thoroughly.

3 Cover with lid and cook on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the mango pieces soften and the sesame sauce comes together into medium-thick mass. Have a taste and adjust the salt, sweet, spicy levels to your taste. Cook for another couple of minutes and turn off the heat.

Serve warm with chapatis/naans or with puris and enjoy this unique curry of zinging taste.

Mango sesame curry with puris
Mango-Sesame Curry with Puris

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Jaggery, Mamidikaya (Green Mango) (Monday May 22, 2006 at 6:20 pm- permalink)
Comments (19)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Sesame Buns

Yay… spring has definitely sprung here! Plenty of sunshine days have arrived finally. Even the yeast is ready for some action. When I mixed a packet of yeast with warm water, zoom… it rose to the sky as if it was trying to kiss the sunshine. See.

Yeast in action
Yeast in Action

Recipes that need good fermentation like preparing bread, idlies, dosas and yogurt, are going to be easy from now on. Last weekend, I tried a recipe for sesame buns from my recipe book. I used to note down the western bread and cake recipes that caught my fancy in a notebook. That was before I knew about the foodblogs. I wasn’t even aware of copyrights etc., at that time, so I’m not sure where I got this recipe from, but definitely from a cookbook, or might be from TV. I am not sure. Whatever the origin, I am very fond of this recipe. Adding a bundle of sesame, gives the bread that nutty taste I like and the buns are great with soups, salads or for homemade simple sandwiches.

(Makes about 8 to 10 medium sized buns)

3 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup quick oats
½ cup watermelon seeds (My addition)
1 tsp of salt and honey to your taste or ½ cup
Warm milk or water for mixing the dough into a ball
¼ ounce packet of active, dry ‘quick rise’ yeast or 2 tsp
Take 2 tablespoons of water in a cup, stir in a pinch of sugar. Pour the contents of yeast packet and stir. Keep it in a warm place and wait for it to turn bubbly, usually 5 to 10 minutes.

The dough at '0' hour The dough after one hour

The dough is shaped into buns is ready to go into the oven

Method: Take all the above ingredients in a big bowl and mix them thoroughly. Knead the dough for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Cover and let it rise. Takes about at least one hour. I’ve kept it for about 3 hours.

Take the dough out and on a clean board, sprinkle in some flour, and deflate and knead the dough again. Do it for at least 2 to 5 minutes. Divide the dough into small balls, shape them into buns. Place them on a greased baking pan; leave space for them to expand. Wait for another 30 minutes for them to rise.

While the shaped buns are rising, preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the baking pans with buns in the oven and bake at 350 F for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool.

Sesame Bun Sandwich
Sesame bun and dried soya chunks-eggs omelet sandwich.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Whole Wheat Flour (Monday April 17, 2006 at 9:34 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Methi Chutney (Fenugreek Chutney)

I was watching David Letterman show on a Monday night few days ago. He was making jokes about Winter Olympics… about Bode Miller, his poor performance and how Germany won the No.1 spot in medal count beating the US etc., He also made a joke about German victory celebrations - “Germany celebrated the No.1 spot in Winter Olympics with a victory parade. It started in Berlin and ended in Poland“. He was of course referring to German occupation of Poland under Hitler. I got the joke, but couldn’t laugh because I was thinking how could he make jokes about Germany, when his own country is committing war crimes, occupying and killing thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Talk about projection. Dave is the most cynical and sharp one in late night circuit, I was surprised at his pretense that Nazi Germany is worse than current US behaviour. US is following the pattern, aren’t they?

Well, anyway, back to cooking, today it’s methi chutney.:) People back in India may wonder how come methi is so popular in Mahanandi’s world? Methi, spinach, and occasionally gongura (ambari) are the only familiar green leafy vegetables available year round in Indian grocery shops here in US. Reason for the methi’s frequent appearance.

Methi Leaves

Methi chutney is completely an acquired taste. Sauteed methi and sesame combined with other ingredients, taste little bit bitter, sour and spicy. If you are going to prepare it from my recipe, first check the list of ingredients, imagine the taste, see if you like the combination, then attempt it. Please don’t nag me if it doesn’t turn out to your expectations in a typical mother-in-law fashion. Some people would say that I didn’t add this, I didn’t do that, or I didn’t cook their way etc., I might have accepted these if I were their daughter-in-law, but I am not :-) .


3 cups of fresh methi leaves (one small bunch)
¼ cup of sesame seeds
8 dried red chillies or more
(This chutney needs a little bit of extra hotness, so don’t skimp on chillies)
2 teaspoons tamarind juice
½ teaspoon urad dal
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon of peanut oil

In a kadai, heat half teaspoon of peanut oil. First add and toast dried red chillies, then sesame seeds and urad dal, until golden. Remove them. In the same kadai heat another half teaspoon of oil and sauté methi leaves for few minutes. Take them all in a plate, wait to cool. Whenever you make these kinds of chutneys always wait for the ingredients to cool, never blend when they are hot. If you do this, the change in taste will be significant.

When they are cool enough to touch, take them in a blender, add tamarind juice and salt. Puree them to smooth paste. If necessary add few tablespoons of water for smooth blending. (Don’t make it too watery.) Remove and serve this chutney with upma or with rice and dal.

 Semolina Upma and Methi Chutney
Semolina Upma with Methi Chutney

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Menthi Kura(Fenugreek) (Thursday March 16, 2006 at 2:17 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Tindora In Sesame Sauce (Dondakaya-Nuvvula Kura)

Another recipe with tindora (ivy gourd, dondakaya, Kovakku), this time with a sauce. Sauce is prepared from roasted sesame seeds, fresh coconut and dried chillies, sweetened with little bit of jaggery. Usually sesame sauce calls for the addition of tamarind, but in this case, slightly sour taste of tindora cancels the need for tamarind.

A different recipe, sweet and sour - because of jaggery and tindoras, nutty and nourishing due to sesame-coconut combination. A must try, for those of you who are interested in cooking up something new with tindoras.

Tindora slices, Onion, jaggery, Sesame Seeds, Dried Red chillies, Fresh Coconut


20 fresh tindoras - each, cut crosswise into rounds (3 to 5),
1 medium sized onion - finely chopped
½ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup powdered coconut - I used fresh coconut-oven dried
4 to 6 dried red chillies
1 tablespoon powdered jaggery (or to your taste)
½ teaspoon salt and turmeric
Popu or tadka ingredients


In an iron skillet, lightly toast sesame seeds, powdered coconut and dried red chillies. Cool and take them in a blender or food processor and make a smooth paste.

In a pan, heat one teaspoon of peanut oil, do the popu or tadka i.e. toasting one teaspoon each of mustard seeds, cumin, minced garlic and curry leaves

Add onion, saute a little bit, and then add round slices of tindora. Mix them once, cover and cook, stirring in between for 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat. Allow cooking tindora in its own moisture, sort of steam-saute.

When they are tender and giving off wonderful smell, add the sesame-coconut paste, jaggery, salt and turmeric. Add half glass of water. Stir to mix and cook them covered, until the sauce thickens. Serve warm with rice or chapati.

I have to say this curry tastes great with chapati/roti than with rice.

Tindora in Sesame Sauce with Chapatis
Tindora Curry with chapatis ~ Our lunch today.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Dondakaya(Tindora), Coconut (Fresh) (Tuesday January 10, 2006 at 2:24 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Murukulu (Janthikalu, Chakli)

We created our own winter holiday custom; making murukulu, our favorite savory snacks. Vijay’s birthday comes during this month, and he loves murukulu more than anything. So, I make them in large quantity for his b’day and also for us, to snack all throughout the month of December, the traditional holiday season here.

Murukulu and hot tea, South Indian style, under the gorgeous golden rays of wintry Sunset.

Murukulu and Tea, served in a traditional Andhra way, on one fine evening

For the uninitiated, murukulu are India’s snack food. They are made with spiced up rice and lentil flour dough, pressed using a mold into beautiful round coils, then deep-fried in oil. Krum. karum is the sound they make when munched. Indian grocery shops usually carry several varieties of these snacks, try them out first, before trying out the recipe. For who know, love and want to try making murukulu at home, here is the recipe.


2 cups - Rice flour
1/2 cup - Gram flour (Besan)
1/2 cup - Moong flour (Pesara Pindi)

1/4 cup - sesame seeds
1 teaspoon each - cumin and ajwan/vaamu (carom seeds)
1/2 teaspoon each- red chilli powder and salt
Pinch of baking powder

Cooked Potato, Moong flour, Rice flour, Gram flour (besan), sesame seeds, Molds to make different shape murukulu and on the plate Red chilli powder, Ajwan seeds, baking powder, salt and Cumin

Some tips for good quality murukulu:

1. Boiled and Mashed Potato - a tip from my attamma for soft yet crunchy murukulu. One small potato will do for the above measurements. To make the dough more easy to work with, and as emulsifier, she substituted the ghee with the boiled and mashed potato paste. It is a great tip that works.

2. Peanut oil for deep frying - I find it that murukulu tastes great when deep-fried in peanut oil. I tried canola, corn oil… They go rancid only after 15 minutes on high heat and murukulu also taste almost bitter.

Muruku maker with discs - You can buy it in almost all major Indian grocery/appliance shops here in US, or you can try online stores. Cookie press like Sawa or Cookie guns are also good for muruku making.

Prepared dough for murukulu making cylinder shaped log with the dough and dropping it into the muruku maker


Sieve and mix together the flours. Add the sesame seeds, pureed potato paste, red chilli powder, baking powder, salt, cumin and ajwan seeds. Make a soft dough by adding the water gradually. Dough shouldn’t be too stiff. Take small portion of dough and make a cylindrical shaped log and drop it into the muruku mold, like shown in the photo above.

Pressing the dough into muruku shape using muruku maker into hot oil Making of Murukulu- after 5 minutes in hot oil

Deep Frying:

In a wok like deep, sturdy vessel, heat the peanut oil to hot. With your hands, press the muruku mold over the hot oil, making concentric circles, so that the coils of dough come out and drop into the hot oil in circle shape. When you are practiced at making them, you can get two to three circles of dough coils, successfully. My level of expertise at making these beautiful circles is a hit and miss. Anyway you make them, they will turn out, one tasty, crunchy snack, so don’t stress out too much about circles and technique, I don’t.

Fry both sides till golden, and then remove. It takes approximately 5 minutes to fry one batch. Repeat till all the dough is used. Let them cool and store in an airtight container.

During frying, always keep the stove heat on very high. Just by changing the discs, one can make several different shaped murukulu. Shammi of Food in the Main, made recently ribbon shaped muruku for Diwali. I usually use medium round holes disc and star shaped holes disc. The ones photographed here are made using the star shaped holes disc.

Golden Murukulu - Photo taken in evening Sun light
A plate of Murukulu

Recipe Source: Attamma (MIL)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Gram Flour (Besan), Rice Flour, Moong Flour (Monday December 5, 2005 at 2:28 am- permalink)
Comments (53)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Gutti Vankaaya Kura (Stuffed Brinjal Curry)

From Telugu to English, The literal translation of Gutti vankaaya is ‘bouquet of brinjals’. As its name suggests stuffed brinjal curry is not only an Andhra classic, it is also very pretty to look at and the taste is pure fiery heaven. Greenish white brinjals are perfect for this curry. I make this curry only with this particular variety of brinjal. Unlike the purple brinjals, the green ones have a very delicate skin, cook very easily and taste great.

First part of the recipe is selecting the right brinjals:
If you are going to try this recipe with green brinjals like me, for two people, buy at least 15 to 20 very fresh looking, small size, and perfectly round green brinjals. The brinjals should look shiny without any blemishes, or holes and the stem that they are attached to should be in lively green without having that dried, black look. The tender the green brinjals are, the tastier the end result is. The ones with black seeds are very mature (at least half of your pick will be like this), don’t even bother to cook them, they taste bitter. Because they mature very rapidly, cook them on the same or on next day. Trying to keep them fresh and young in the refrigerator, it’s useless.

It takes at least 30 to 45 minutes to prepare the ingredients and another 30 minutes to cook the curry so attempt this curry only when you have the freshest green brinjals.

Second part is preparing the stuffing:
Ingredients for the stuffing change from home to home. Every home has their own recipe for stuffing. I can make five different kinds stuffing. The one I am going to post today is the family recipe.

Roasted Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, Red Dry Chillies, Coriander seeds, cumin, cloves, cinnamon.

Dry roast:

1 cup peanuts - roast them, when they are cooled, rub and remove the skins
1 cup sesame seeds - dry roast them

8 to 10 dried red chillies
One tablespoon of coriander seeds
Half teaspoon of cumin
4 cloves, one small piece of cinnamon stick
5 to 6 fenugreek seeds (menthulu)(They taste bitter so limit the number)
1 teaspoon of salt
Soak key-lime size tamarind in half cup of water and microwave it for about 15 to 30 seconds. Let the water cool down and squeeze the tamarind to get the paste.

Make a tight paste: Grind all of the above ingredients to a fine, smooth paste. You have to stuff this paste into brinjals so while grinding, under any circumstances, do not add water. Take this paste onto a plate and divide it into two portions. One is for stuffing and the other half is for sauce/gravy.

Brinjals stuffed with peanut, sesame paste

Thoroughly wash and dry the green brinjals. Even the freshest ones are not so fresh here, so I depart from the norm and remove the stems of brinjals. If you want, keep the stems. Take each green brinjal and on the end, opposite of stem, make a plus shape slit towards stem side but not all the way through (one vertical and one horizontal slit).

Fill up the plus shape slit (gap) with stuffing. Using your left hand fingers separate the quarters gently, push the stuffing inside with right hand fingers, again gently. Filling up all the slit green brinjals takes time, so have a seat, keep the stuffing and brinjals in front of you. Do it patiently and slowly without breaking the beautiful brinjals. If you do, you won’t get a bouquet but only the petals.:)- So have patience and treat them like a fragile art project.

Just placed stuffed brinjals in Pressure cooker Stuffed brinjal curry in pressure cooker after one whistle


How I cook them again is different from that of home. Here I use a pressure cooker. What? I know.. my method may be new to you but the results are way better. Pressure cooker makes it fast with less oil and the green brinjals are cooked thoroughly, you can’t find not one hard uncooked piece of brinjal, cooked in this way.

Do the popu or tadka(toasting the black mustard seeds and cumin in one teaspoon of oil). Add half of the peanut-sesame paste that was kept aside and half to one glass of water and one teaspoon of turmeric. Mix them up thoroughly without any lumps. Make the gravy/sauce more on the thin side or watery. Taste it, add salt, red chilli powder and tamarind paste if needed. I also add jaggery, very tiny amount to the gravy (making it mildly sweet). Arrange the stuffed brinjals neatly in the gravy, slit side up. Cover and cook them until the green brinjals are very tender to touch.
I pressure-cook them until one whistle on medium low heat. After the whistle sound, I immediately and slowly release the pressure from the valve by lifting the weight. Resulting in very wholesome, thoroughly cooked stuffed green brinjals.

To serve, with a big spoon gently lift the stuffed brinjals, place them on a plate and pour the sauce around. Tastes great with rice or roti.

Stuffed Brinjal Curry(Gutti Vankaaya Kura) with Rice

Stuffed brinjal curry (Gutti Vankaaya Kura) with rice.

Recipe Source:Amma

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I am going to write it down four other types of stuffings that I know for this cury. The proportions of the ingredients are not specified because there are no hard and fast rules and people at home add a little of this, little of that. So feel free to try various proportions as per your taste.

Type 1:
Dry red chillies + dry or fresh coconut+ chana dal & urad dal + cumin, coriander, fenugreek seeds and salt. Sauté and make a paste of them without adding water. Add cashews to make it rich.

Besan or gram flour+onions+green chillies+ginger garlic paste+dry coconut powder+coriander powder and salt, make a paste by adding little bit of water.

Type 3:
red onions + dried red chillies roasted in oil then make a paste of them.

Fresh coconut+ roasted peanuts+ roasted sesame seeds+dried red chillies+Coriander seeds+Cumin seeds+cloves+cinnamon stick+ chana dal+ urad dal+tamarind +jaggery and salt. This is my favorite of all.

Before me, some other Indian food bloggers also posted their recipes for this curry. More choices from three other fabulous blogs… always a good thing.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Sesame Seeds, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Vankaya (Brinjal) (Monday October 24, 2005 at 11:31 pm- permalink)
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Chocolate Covered Sweet Sesame Spheres (Nuvvula Mudda)

Sweet sesame spheres or Nuvvula mudda as we call them in Telugu, are powerhouse of sweets, full of body building nutrients. Prepared with love and lot of manual work, they are especially made for pregnant women, children and people who are convalescing. We also prepare them traditionally for a festival called Naagula Chavithi. These kinds of sweets are very difficult to prepare without a stone mortar. That’s why from my recent trip to India, I brought a medium sized stone mortar and pestle from my hometown, Nandyala. I wanted it more than anything and I felt that it is more valuable and needed than the usual stuff that I bring from India, like dresses, sarees etc., Of 120 pounds of luggage that we are allowed to bring to this country, 30 pounds went to this thing. Changed priorities.:-)

Nuvvula Mudda:

5 cups -sesame seeds, powdered
2 cups - jaggery, powdered
1 cup -dry coconut, powdered
1/2 cup- lightly roasted cashews, finely chopped

Sesame seeds made into powder, cashews, dry coconut powder, jaggery

Traditionally, in our home in India, above ingredients are powdered manually, using a stone mortar and pestle. What I did here was, I used a food processor to coarsely powder the sesame seeds and dry coconut. And used a hammer for jaggery.

Then, I pounded these i.e. coarsely powdered sesame seeds, dry coconut and jaggery together for about 30 minutes using the stone mortar and pestle. This pounding process brings out the oils and real tastes of sesame seeds, coconut and jaggery, which is not possible if this was done in a food processor. Also a good strength workout for upper body.

Pounding the ingredients together in stone mortar at my house

I removed this finely pounded mix from the mortar onto a plate and sprinkled the cashews, mixed them all together. Shaped this mixture tightly with hands into medium sized spheres.

Making of Sweet Sesame spheres (Nuvvula Mudda)

Viola.. first time making the nuvvala muddalu on my own is a sweet success. I am so happy for finally making these at my home, here in US.

Sweet Sesame Spheres (Nuvvula Mudda)

The thing that prompted me do all this is this month’s SHF. For one year anniversary celebration of SHF event, the lovely Kelli of Lovescool chose dark chocolate. She also challenged us to come up with something new and interesting with dark chocolate. So I envisioned the idea of dark chocolate covered sweet sesame spheres. Traditional Indian sweet meets this South American & Western treasure, resulting in wonderful, very delicious and healthy dessert. I think these are very original and are not already created by chocolatiers. Please correct me if my assumption is wrong.

Dark chocolate coating is very easy. I used Lindt’s brand dark chocolate bar. Melted the bar and some ghee in microwave oven and dipped the sweet sesame spheres in melted chocolate. Then refrigerated them for about one hour.

Dark Chocolate Covered Sweet Sesame Spheres (Nuvvula Muddalu)
Something new - Dark chocolate covered sweet sesame spheres (Nuvvula Mudda).

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Sesame Seeds, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Jaggery, Naivedyam(Festival Sweets), Cashews, Chocolate, Indian Sweets 101 (Friday October 21, 2005 at 6:44 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Portabellas in Sesame Sauce

I don’t cook mushrooms that often. They are Vijay’s (my husband’s) division. He likes all types of mushrooms and often cooks them himself. He usually grills or dry sautés mushrooms but when he is in a mood to spend an extra 5 minutes in the kitchen, he whips up a sesame sauce to go along with his grilled mushrooms. He got this recipe from a Korean website. This sesame sauce is like an Indian version of one of the curry sauces but without the onions and other extras. I like the sauce so when he makes this, it’s a win-win for both us as I don’t eat mushrooms. Preparing this sauce is such an easy and quick task and he makes this himself most of the times without me setting foot in the kitchen.


Portabella mushrooms - Quickly rinse or wipe of portabellas with a paper towel. Remove the roots and make +(plus shape) cuts on them. After lightly covering them with sesame oil, stir-fry or grill them until they are golden and sprinkle with some salt and remove. When sautéing in a pan, leave space around the mushrooms, so that they brown evenly.

Sauce - Toast half cup of sesame seeds and 4 to 6 red chilli peppers. Make a fine paste of them by adding a small piece of ginger, salt and molasses or sugar, half teaspoon each or to your taste.

Portabellas, Sesame Seeds, Red Chilli Peppers and Molasses….Grilled Portabella Mushrooms


Heat a teaspoon of peanut oil in a pan. Add sesame sauce to the pan and also half cup of water. Simmer on medium-low heat for about five minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

Plate a grilled portabella on a serving plate. Pour a tablespoon of sesame sauce over it. Enjoy the portabella with sesame sauce.

Grilled Portabellas in Sesame Sauce, Lentil Soup and Rice

Our meal - Rice with Portabellas in Sesame Sauce and Chappidi Pappu (Plain Lentil soup).

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Mushrooms, Sesame Seeds (Wednesday July 6, 2005 at 12:54 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Capsicum(Bell Pepper) Curry

Like chillies, bell peppers are also members of the capsicum family. They range in color from green through to orange, yellow, red and now the latest fancy color in US markets is purple.

The most common varity we see in Nandyala region is green bell peppers. They have refreshing juicy flesh and crisp texture. And unlike mature bell peppers yellow and red, they do not have sweet flesh, which suit the curry preparations.

The following is a traditional recipe with green bell peppers from Nandyala, India. In peanut sweet and sour sauce, this beloved bell pepper curry is easy to prepare and tastes quite good.

Capsicum-Peanut Curry Ingredients
Green Capsicum, Tomato and Onion

3 green bell peppers (capsicums)
1 small onion
1 big, ripe tomato
Cut the above vegetables into bite-sized pieces.

For gravy:
1 cup of roasted, unsalted peanuts, skins removed
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tbsps of tamarind juice
2 tbsps of crushed jaggery or cane sugar
2 cloves, 1-inch cinnamon stick, 1 tsp cumin (jeera)
1/2 tsp of salt.
Grind all the above into a smooth paste by adding half cup of water.
Sometimes I substitute peanuts with toasted sesame seeds and sometimes I combine both peanuts and sesame seeds for different tastes.

Gravy Ingredients Peanut Paste

Sauteeing the bell pepper Curry Cooking


In a pan, add one teaspoon of oil, when it is hot, add pinch each -jeera (cumin) and mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the cut vegetables. Saute until they are half cooked. Stir in the prepared peanut paste and half cup of water. Mix well, taste the gravy and add jaggery, salt and red chilli powder if needed. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on medium flame, covered, stirring occasionally, till the bell peppers become tender and gravy thickens.

This capsicum curry tastes great with rice and with chapati.

Capsicum-Peanut Curry with Rice
Capsicum in peanut sauce with rice ~ Our meal today.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Bell Pepper, Sesame Seeds (Tuesday April 26, 2005 at 1:41 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: