Mahanandi

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

Flavors of Life ~ Chillies and Lemons

Chillies and Lemons
Chillies and Lemons ~ Sketch by Sree
Ink and watercolor, 5″x6″

Chillies and lemons are often hung as a talisman at the entrance of shops, houses etc in India to ward off the ‘evil eye’ or drishti (as we say it).

By Sree

Flavors of Life: A variety.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies, Sree (Saturday May 3, 2008 at 1:00 am- permalink)
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Presents from Pooja

Arusuvai Friendship Package from Pooja

“Oh my! She shouldn’t have to” I thought while opening the parcel.

Aachari, garam and jaljeera - three types of masala powders, all homemade. Hazelnut chocolates. Stainless steel pepper mill and saltshaker. And a greeting card.

When I first started food blogging, I knew it was something I would enjoy, but I had no idea how much fun it could be. Neither a sweet talker nor a social butterfly, essentially a social hermit and a solitude seeker, I have never expected neither attention nor affection. But that’s exactly what food blogging has brought to my life. It has been an Arusuvai kind of experience. (Arusuvai means six tastes in Tamil and refer to theepu-sweet, karam-hot, kassappu-bitter, pulupu-sour, uppu-salt, tuvarpu- like umami, a special taste that one gets from raw vegetables and herbs.)

Without a doubt, one of the best aspects of this arusuvai experience has been the surprise gifts that led to special relationships. It happened again last week. Pooja of My Creative Ideas has sent me a friendship package. I’ve been following Pooja’s writings since she started her blog. Cheerful personality, creative nature with childlike innocence. It’s impossible not to be charmed by Pooja’s passionate flair and delightful exuberance.

Thank you dear Pooja, for this special arusuvai friendship package!

Here is what I have come up with Pooja’s Aachari masala (pickle masala powder). I’ve put together six tastes in an attempt to create an Arusuvai experience, and it has turned out to be a memorable success.

Cucumber-Mint Relish
Cucumber-Mint Relish with Pooja’s Aachari Masala
~ A Convergence of Arusuvai Friendship

Recipe:

1 palm-length cucumber (Moroccan/Indian variety), cut to thin rings
2 sprigs fresh mint – leaves plucked
¼ cup - kokum water
¼ cup - limejuice
1 tablespoon - jaggery gratings
½ teaspoon - Aachari (Pickle) masala
¼ teaspoon - salt

In a cup, take kokum water, limejuice, jaggery, aachari masala and salt. Mix with a spoon for few minutes until jaggery dissolves.

In a shallow serving bowl, place cucumber rounds and mint leaves in layers. Pour the juice. Top with mint leaves. Refrigerate or place in a cool area for about ten minutes. Serve as a light snack or as a side dish to main meal. Munch on a piece of cucumber and mint. Then sip a teaspoon of juice. Sweet, sour, bitter and spicy with some tuvarpu (umami), this cucumber relish will be truly an arusuvai experience.

Kitchen Notes:
Aachari Masala (R/C Pooja) - Dried red chilli, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, Nigella seeds and garlic. Skillet roast in few drops of oil. Add salt and powder them together to fine.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal), Limes/Lemons, Mint, Cucumbers, Kokum (Amsool) (Friday April 18, 2008 at 10:31 pm- permalink)
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Jihva for Sweet Lemon Syrup

Sweet Lemon and Rock Sugar
Mitha Nimboo and Kalkand
(Sweet Lemon and Rock Sugar)

Citrus scent and sweet juice.

Completely non-acidic, no tartness whatsoever.

That is sweet lemon. Also known as Mitha Nimboo in Hindi.

Sweet lemon juice, sweetened with kalkand and chilled in earthen pot is a favorite summer drink of my childhood.

Today, I simmered the juice with rock sugar and cardamom powder. The thick, flavorful and fragrant syrup tasted like a pleasant food blog uncomplicated with acidic notes.

I will be using the syrup to sweeten my tea. May be I will add the syrup to toss the cut fruits like apples and pears.

I think this sweet lemon syrup with non-acidic properties would make an ideal sweetener for people who crave that exquisite lemony scent , but are going through painful acid reflux and heartburn.

Sweet Lemon Syrup
Sweet Lemon Syrup ~ for the Spice Cafe’s Lemon Jihva

Recipe:
Cut sweet lemons to four pieces. Squeeze juice in to a cup.
Filter out the seeds.
Break rock sugar in a mortar using a pestle into tiny pieces.
Powder cardamom seeds to fine.

For one cup sweet lemon juice, add two tablespoons of rock sugar and quarter teaspoon of cardamom. Take them in a pot, simmer on low heat, stirring in-between, until the juice thickens and coats the spoon. Remove from heat to cool. Filter again if you like, then bottle. Add spoonful to sweeten the tea, coffee, or on cut fruits, coffee-cakes, scones etc.

Note to Metronaturals:
Sweet lemons are available at DK Market (previously Lenny’s Market, behind Wal-mart) at Renton. Rock sugar at Viet-wah. Cardamom at Apna Bazar.:)

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Indian Ingredients, Sugar, Jihva For Ingredients, Mitha Nimboo(Sweet Lemon), Citrus Family (Thursday February 28, 2008 at 3:40 pm- permalink)
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Lemons and Limes

Lemons and Limes
Lemon, Key Lime, Sweet Lemon and Lime (Clockwise from 11 o’ Clock )
Jihva for Citrus ~ for this Week’s Indian Kitchen

Acidic and Tart - Lemon, Key Lime and Lime
Non-Acidic and Sweet - Sweet Lemon (Mitha Nimboo, Karinaaranga)
Sweet Lemons for sale in Chennai, Bharath
Lemons and Limes ~ for Optimal Health
Lime Topi for a Cat

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen, Citrus Family (Sunday February 24, 2008 at 12:22 pm- permalink)
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Mitha Nimboo Chutney (Sweet Lemons Pickle)

Mitha Nimboo (Sweet Lemons, Karinaaranga)
Mitha Nimboo (Sweet Lemons, Karinaaranga)

Nandyala is closer than ever here in Seattle for me. I am able to find all kinds of vegetables and fruits, which I’d normally find in India, without looking hard. Even in winter. Example is these sweet lemons or mitha nimboo. We purchased them last week from a grocery store named Lenny’s Market. I’ve never thought I’d see this type of lemons outside of India, but here they are, for sale in Seattle, unbelievably fresh and at low prices.

Usually, we prepare lemonade with sweet lemons. The lemonade tastes like plain, flat sugary water without the acidity and perfume of lemons. The juice is naturally very sweet, similar to kalkand water. Prepared mainly for children during hot summer months of Andhra. That’s only thing we do with them but LG of Ginger and Mango recently wrote a Kerala recipe with sweet lemons called “Karinaaranga Curry” (Lemon Curry) - combination of curry and pickle. I had to try.

Unlike the regular lemon pickle, there is no mandatory 2-week waiting for this one. Preparation method is also different. Here we steam-cook the sweet lemons as whole. Then cut and simmer them with pickle masala powder, salt, little bit of tamarind and jaggery. Curry leaves touch of tempering. That’s it. It’d be ready to have immediately with rice, and with breakfast items like upma, dosa etc. Mildly hot and spicy, little bit sour and bitter without the characteristic lemony puckering effect. Metha Nimboo pickle is definitely different from the regular pickle and worth a try. This is my first time; still it came out good and tasty. All because of Dear Inji Pennu’s neat recipe instructions. Thanks Inji Pennu and a very Merry Happy New Year to you!

Steam-Cooked Mitha Nimboo/Sweet Lemons ~ Ready for Pickling
Steam-Cooked Mitha Nimboo/Sweet Lemons ~ Ready for Pickling

Recipe:

Prep work:

1. Soak lemon-sized tamarind in warm water for about 30 minutes to soften. Squeeze juice and keep it aside.

2. Fill a big pot with water and bring it to a boil. Insert the perforated vessel suitable to steam cook. Drop 4 sweet lemons in it. Cover the pot and cook them for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the firm skin softens a bit (like shown in the photo above). Remove them from the vessel. Cut - half and half and then quarter them to small pieces. Remove seeds.

3. Meanwhile prepare the pickle masala. Roast and grind following items:

1 tablespoon each - urad dal, chana dal, raw rice, coriander seeds
1 teaspoon - fenugreek seeds (menthulu)
8-10 each - dried red chillies and curry leaves
Roast them in an iron skillet one by one or all together to gold color.
Grind them all to smooth powder in a grinder or spice mill.

Preparing the Pickle:

In a non-reactive saucepan, combine tamarind juice and pickle masala. Stir in 2 cups of water and a tablespoon each- powdered jaggery and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently. Add the cut, steam-cooked sweet lemon pieces. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring in-between, until the mixture becomes thick. Keep the heat as low as possible to prevent burning.

Just before when you turn off the heat. Do the popu or tadka. In a small pan, heat a tablespoon of peanut or sesame oil. Add a teaspoon each - dried red chilli pieces, curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds. Toast them to red and when mustard seeds start to dance around - add the whole thing to the pickle and mix thoroughly.

When the pickle is cool enough, transfer it to clean, dry glass/ceramic jar with non-reactive airtight lid. I’ve prepared this pickle last week and kept in the refrigerator. It’s good stuff.

Mitha Nimboo Chutney (Pickle with Sweet Lemons)
Mitha Nimboo Chutney (Pickle with Sweet Lemons)

Recipe source: Karinaaranga Curry (Lemon Curry) from Inji Pennu of “Ginger and Mango”
sweet lemons for sale in Chennai
More about sweet lemons - here
Mitha = sweet, Nimboo= lemon/lime

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Mitha Nimboo(Sweet Lemon) (Monday January 8, 2007 at 6:11 pm- permalink)
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sweet lime (Sweet Lemon, Mitha Nimboo)

Sweet Lime (Mitha Nimboo, Limetta), Lime and Small Lime (Key Lime)

Sweet Lime (Mitha Nimboo, Limetta), Lime and Small Lime (Key Lime)
~ For this week’s Indian Kitchen

“Sweet lime (C. limetta) is a fruit that resembles lemons in every respect, except it does not have the mouth-puckering taste. Its mild, sweet juice tastes like home-made lemonade without the hard work or sugar. There are three varieties of limettas, all having the characteristic nipple on one end with a furrow round it. Grown mainly in Italy and California. It is also grown on a small scale in India and around the Mediterranean.”
- From Limes and Types.

- Photo of Sweet Lemons for Sale in Chennai, India.

Jihva News:

Wonderful tribute to the Almighty Coconut - By Ahswini of Food for Thought.

Rosie from Scotland is hosting Febraury edition of Jihva.
She mentions that she is nervous.
Let’s gingerly overwhelm her with fabulous Ginger entries.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Indian Ingredients, Indian Kitchen (Sunday January 7, 2007 at 7:11 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Chitrannam (Lemon Rice)

Nimmakaya Pulihora:

Prasadam in temples, part of festival feast, or simple lunch - Chitrannam or lemon rice plays an important part of South Indian meal. Our celebratory feasts are not complete without this particular dish. The tangy rice prepared with lemon juice refreshes the palate after the sweet beginnings, as you may already know it is an Indian tradition to serve the sweet first. I think serving these two, traditional Indian sweet and chitrannam together, is our elders way of reminding us to appreciate life moments, both sweet and sour. That is why, I think the temple prasadam or the celebratory food in all moments of our lives includes chitrannam.

People, who know the taste, crave this lemony rice. Even though the recipe is so simple to make, there is always one expert in the family who prepares the best chitrannam. In my home, I can manage an edible one, but Vijay prepares the ‘can’t get enough’ version. We do use the same ingredients and methods; still I don’t know how his version always turns out so exceptional. I am sure it is true in every other south Indian family too. Only chosen few are blessed by Annapurna, the Goddess of Food, to prepare this favorite food of Gods. It is one of those recipes, where either you have it or you don’t. And I am sorry to say that even though I know the authentic recipe, follow all the tricks and tips still the end result in my case always turns out mediocre. There is no magic in my hand.:)

What about you, are you the chosen one? Try it out, if you have not already done so.

Recipe:
(Serves two)

Limes, cashews, peanuts, majjiga mirapakaayalu, vertically slit green chillies, mustard seeds, cumin, red chilli, curry leaves, soaked chana dal, urad dal, cubed potato

Rice:
4 cups of freshly cooked rice. (Any kind of white rice is ok for this recipe, but I prefer ‘Sona Masuri’. Cook it like for pulao or fried rice but not like pongal or risotto.
Limes and Chillies
2 to 3 juicy limes - cut and juice to a cup
6 to 8 green chillies, Indian or Thai variety - slit vertically
(Chitrannam needs spicy punch from chillies. So, add one or two chillies (of any variety) more than your normal tolerance of chillies. Otherwise the dish falls apart, and lime juice dominates the taste.)
Seasoning
¼ cup - Chana dal (senaga pappu), pre-soaked in water at least half an hour before.
2 tablespoons - urad dal (minapa pappu)
1 teaspoon each - salt and turmeric
2 tablespoons -ghee, Or oil for calorie-consicous.
For popu or tadka
1/2 tsp each - mustard seeds, cumin, and red dry chilli pieces.
12- 15 fresh curry leaves. Don’t forget to add the fresh curry leaves. Chitrannam is not authentic or complete without the curry leaves.

You can prepare decent, basic version of chitrannam with the above items. But for special occasions, and if you want to impress guests or family, then you need the following items too.

Nuts
Quarter cup - cashews
Quarter cup - peanuts
Veggies
Quarter cup vegetables - I usually add potato, finely cubed, sometimes Indian type brinjal and shredded carrot too.
5 to 6 majjiga mirapa kaayalu (Green chillies soaked in buttermilk and completely dried in sun, a specialty of Andhra), deep fried in oil.

Method:

In a skillet, heat one tablespoon of ghee. First add peanuts, fry them until they turn light brown. Remove. Add and fry cashews next. Remove from the pan to a plate, keep them aside.

Now in the same skillet, add another tablespoon of ghee. Heat. Add and fry the curry leaves first. Then cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to splutter, add the split green chillies, chana dal, urad dal, and cubed potatoes. Saute them till golden and crisp. In the end, sprinkle half teaspoon turmeric for that golden yellow color. Mix and then saute for another one to two minutes.

cashews and peanuts saut�ing in ghee  saut�ing the Chitrannam/lemon rice ingredients in ghee
Sauteing the cashews and Peanuts…… Sauteing the veggies and dals

Mixing turmeric Mixing saut�ed ingredients with rice along with lime juice
Stirring in turmeric………. Squeezing some lime juice over rice and sauteed ingredients

Add the sauteed ingredients of skillet, and also the toasted peanuts and cashews to the cooked rice. Stir in salt and sprinkle the limejuice. Combine thoroughly and delicately (without breaking the rice grains) with your hand or using a big slotted spoon.

Have a taste, it should zing or shock your taste buds like sucking on a fresh lime wedge. If not, add some more limejuice and salt. Mix again. And keep in mind that rice absorbs the limejuice, and the tanginess you feel during the preparation reduces in intensity after sometime.

Serve with fried majjiga mirapakaayalu (buttermilk soaked, dried green chillies) and a cup of yogurt for a nice meal.

Lemon Rice and Pickled Green Chilli (Chitrannam and Majjiga Mirapa kaayalu)
chitrannam(Lemon Rice) with majjiga mirapa kaayalu.

Chitrannam, the English translation of this Telugu word is chitra= wonderful, magical, Annam= rice. This Refreshing lemony rice is all that and more, and tastes great when served hot or cold.

Recipe Source:Attamma(MIL)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice), Peanuts, Limes/Lemons, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Cashews, Sona Masuri Rice (Friday October 7, 2005 at 2:07 pm- permalink)
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Lime Pickle

We Indians make pickle out of almost everything from mangoes to fish. “Even if we don’t have anything to eat, we can survive on pickle and rice” is the common dialogue in our Telugu movies between love struck hero and heroine. Father of the heroine always cautions her against hero, “If you marry him, you know what will happen to you, you have to live on pickles”. Pickles are that common in our household.

Lime pickle is particularly good because it is tangy and hot at the same time. Tastes good with dal, rasam and sambhar and on boiled eggs.

My version of lime pickle:

Lime Pickle

Take 12 limes. Wash and pat them dry. Take 4 out of them, cut them and squeeze the juice in a cup, keep aside. Cut the remaining 8 limes into 4 or 8 wedges depending on their size.

Mix the cut pieces with 6 teaspoons iodine free salt, and lime juice. Mix thoroughly. Take them in a clean, dry glass or porcelain jar with tight lid. Keep them tightly covered for about 4 days.

On 5th day - dry roast 1 tsp each of cumin, mustard and fenugreek (methi) seeds grind them to fine powder. Add this powder into the jar along with pinch of turmeric and 5 tsp of red chilli powder; mix thoroughly with a clean dry spoon.

Keep the lid tight for another 3 days, so that the lime wedges can absorb all the flavors and soften. (This time period depends on the thickness of lime rinds. If they are thin, they will soften up within a week and if they are thick, they would take atleast a month. My recipe is prepared with thin skinned, juicy limes and they changed from hard to firmly-soft in a short time.)

After that time period and just before serving the pickle:
Heat 4 tsp of oil, toast one teaspoon of mustard seeds in oil until they start to crackle and then turn off the heat. Bring this seasoned oil to room temperature and then add this oil to the pickle. Mix well and thouroughly. Serve and enjoy with rice, dal and ghee.

Pickling is like making jam. Take extra precaution in using the dry utensils, jar, spoons and your hands. Using the wet or damp things is a sure way to spoil the pickle.

I’d like to contribute something to SHF but I don’t know any sugary dishes with citrus except lemon juice with honey. So this is my hot not sugary citrus contribution to SHF. Thanks Stephanie for the suggestion.

To clear the confusion, Lemon in India = Lime in US.

Added on June 06:

Thin skinned and juicy limes are preferred for this type of pickle.

If you find them still firm even after 15 days - keep them undisturbed for one to two months -they will sure get softened. And you need to see that sufficient limejuice and salt is avialble for softening process. The pickle should never look dried out at any stage. Traditionally at our homes in India, minimum two months are given for pickles to soften and juiced up.

Usually finely ground pickle masala (cumin, mustard and fenugreek (methi) and red chilli powder) is added. And you can adjust the amount of this ground spice pickle masala to suit your taste.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Limes/Lemons, Amma & Authentic Andhra (Friday May 20, 2005 at 10:58 am- permalink)
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