Mahanandi

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

Peanut Podi (Palleela Podi)

Flavorful and spicy, peanut podi is a neat alternative to chutneys. Sprinkle few teaspoons of podi on breakfast items like upma, pongal, idly and dosa. Or, apply it on warm chapati or mix with rice. With Peanut podi ready on hand, it is easy to have decent meals during time-starved days. I used to live on jars of peanut podi during college days. Whenever busy days are ahead I make it at home too.

Peanuts, Chilli and Cumin
Peanuts, Chilli and Cumin

2 cups shelled peanuts
12- finger length dried red chilli (from Indian grocery)
1-teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Roast peanuts to pale brown color. Cool. Rub to remove peanut skins.
Dry roast red chilli and cumin to fragrance. Cool.

Take peanuts, red chilli and cumin in a Sumeet style mixer or in a food processor. Add salt. Pulse few times to fine sand like consistency. Store the podi in a clean, dry jar. Stays fresh for about at least a month or two.

Sometimes I also add garlic. Tastes excellent but garlic moisture reduces the shelf life of podi to a week.

Peanut Podi
Peanut Podi

From Telugu to English:
Podi = Powder

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Dried Red Chillies (Friday January 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm- permalink)
Comments (27)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Flavors I love ~ Peppers with Potatoes

Peppers with Potatoes
Green, Yellow and Red ~ For Jihva Bell Pepper Celebration

This is what I used to prepare and take in a lunch box during my 8 to ? job days. The ingredients are common and the cooking process is basic. But the taste somehow exceeds the expectations. I used to like it a lot and still do, though I rarely prepare this “curry in a hurry” now. See if this is per your taste.

Peppers with Potatoes
(makes 2 to 4 meals for 4 to 2 people)

3 bell peppers (green or any color)
8 small, new crop potatoes or 3 regular sized ones
4 tomatoes
1 onion
1-tablespoon ginger-garlic-cilantro paste
1-tablespoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon each - chilli powder and salt
½ teaspoon turmeric
oil or ghee to taste and tadka ingredients

Coarsely chop the listed vegetable to chunks. When I say coarsely, I mean really coarse, about one-inch sized pieces. Onions, tomatoes everything. The size matters here in this dish and adds extra special flavor.

Add oil to a kadai or wide skillet and heat. Add and toast cumin and mustard seeds. Add onion and sauté them to translucent. Add potatoes and tomatoes. Cover the skillet and cook for about five minutes. Moisture from tomatoes creates steamy environment for potatoes to become tender. When they are halfway done, add the bell peppers. Also the listed seasoning. Mix and cover the skillet with a tight lid. Keep the heat medium and continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes. Do not add water. When you lift the lid, what you see is soft vegetables in semi-moist consistency. (nothing should be in puddles of water). At this point you are ready to serve.

Tastes wonderful with warm chapatis or rotis and also with steamed rice.

Matta Rice with Pepper and Potatoes

Peppers and Potatoes with Rosematta Rice ~ Meal Today and for Pooja’s Jihva

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Bell Pepper, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Peppers, Baby Potatoes, Jihva For Ingredients (Wednesday May 28, 2008 at 5:37 pm- permalink)
Comments (25)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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)
Comments (8)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Tofu Jalfrezi

Jalfrezi (Jal=spicy, frezi=suitable to diet) like its name suggests, is a diet-friendly preparation. I call it company food. When friends drop by unexpectedly, if I have peppers at home, then jalfrezi it is. With rice or chapati, it makes a quick and decent meal. The vegetarian version of jalfrezi is commonly prepared with paneer, peppers, onion and tomatoes. For today’s meal, I replaced the paneer with tofu. As you may already know, tofu enjoys vibrant vegetable supporting company. And in jalfrezi, the jazzed up tofu sure tasted good.


Tofu and Bell Pepper

Recipe:

Preparation is like saying one, two, and three. That easy.

Cut a red onion, two tomatoes and one big bell pepper into chunks of one-inch size. Slit a chilli pepper lengthwise to two or four thin pieces. Cut extra-firm tofu into one-inch cubes.

In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat a teaspoon of oil. Add and toast a pinch of cumin. Add onions, tomatoes and peppers. Grate a half-inch piece of ginger over the skillet. Stir-fry for about five minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Sprinkle the turmeric, salt and garam masala powder to taste. Mix, and then add the tofu cubes. Keep the heat medium, and cook for another couple of minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves and lime juice. Serve hot with chapati or rice.


Tofu Jalfrezi with Chapati ~ Meal Today

Jalfrezi, the tech type.

~ Indira
(Busy days. See you again on Sunday.)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Tomato, Soy (Tofu, Yuba), Peppers, Red Onions (Tuesday March 4, 2008 at 6:07 pm- permalink)
Comments (9)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Vine Sweet Mini Peppers

Photo Purchase Keywords: Capsicum, Curry
(It takes money, time, effort and energy for food photography. Please don’t photosteal. Click on the links and purchase the photos legally to digital download and to print. Thanks.)

Mini Peppers

They look like peppers and they are named peppers.

They are not what you might expect. Certainly not the fiery peppers that spice up the curries, nor the bloated bell peppers that would collapse on cooking.

No, these peppers are the stuff of dreams. Like the botox-faced on-air talent, they glisten and also need PIN codes to access their emotions. A product of calculated hybrid breeding, they do not shrivel, sweat and the seeds inside rarely reproduce on Design. Other charming features - delicate skin, cooks in minutes and doesn’t become saggy on cooling. A perfect, plastic produce, alive with cloying sweetness. These are the “Vine Sweet Mini Peppers“, the 21st century vegetables.

Not knowing what they were, I brought them home. Dolts they are, taste buds seem to accept them without any hesitation.

Peppers for Figure 8
Pepper in Figure 8

Recipe:

1 tablespoon peanut oil
Pinch each - cumin and mustard seeds
20 to 25 mini peppers - ends removed and sliced to thin rings

Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add and toast cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add the peppers. Mix. Keep the heat on medium, cover the skillet and cook for about five minutes.

While peppers are cooking, prepare the pappula (dalia) podi.

3 tablespoons pappulu (dalia, bhuna chana)
1 tablespoon grated coconut
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt
2 dried red chillies, Indian variety
Take them all in a spice grinder, blend to fine powder.

Remove the lid and sprinkle this powder on peppers. Also add quarter teaspoon each - turmeric and salt. Mix. Cook, uncovered for another five minutes. Serve at once. Tastes good with chapati, roti, rice or pasta.

Mini Peppers Curry with Chapati
Mini Pepper Kura with Corn Rotis, Carrot-Okra Sambar and Pear ~ Meal Today

~ Indira

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia), Peppers (Tuesday February 19, 2008 at 4:48 pm- permalink)
Comments (5)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

It’s Chakalaka, Baby!

Chakalaka ~ South African Vegetarian Dish
Chakalaka

African food, at least here in the west, is usually restricted to East African staples like the delicious Ethiopian dosa, the Injera or entrees such as the equally delectable Moroccan chickpea stew (normally served over couscous) common to North Africa.

But what of the quintessentially South African Chakalaka?

As one examines the recipe, it’s not hard to imagine South African cooks venturing out into their vegetable garden one hot day, picking onions, red peppers, tomatoes and any other readily available seasonal produce. As the vegetables cooked, they probably craved some of the flavors they remember smelling as they walked down a street with Indian houses. Inspired, they might have thrown in a liberal dose of curry powder into the simmering vegetables in the pot. Since many variations also include tinned baked beans, hungry laborers might have adapted it as a quick and satisfying one-pot meal at the end of a hard day of slogging it in the gold mines.

With my well-equipped Indian kitchen, Chakalaka was a breeze to whip up. Indeed, the Indian influences are not surprising. Indians have been in South Africa longer than Caucasians have been in Canada! So at least for 7-8 generations. In fact, our beloved Mahatma Gandhi cut his revolutionary teeth in South Africa.

But back to Chakalaka (don’t you just love the sound of the name?)

While the jury is still out on whether Chakalaka is a chunky ketchup or a sauce or a cooked salsa (could be either); on whether it should be served as a side dish or a condiment (served as both) and if it should be eaten hot or cold (served either way), this spicy and always vegetarian concoction has now come to be identified as the definitive taste of South Africa. There’s even a restaurant in London named for this dish. Featuring a standard base of onions, tomatoes and peppers; this versatile dish is open to endless experimentation.

Other bloggers tell us that traditionally, Chakalaka is often served as a sauce with a maize porridge (Mielie Pap) that is eaten predominantly by the local black population. It’s also served with bread or the ragi-like Samp, made of maize. It can also be spotted as an accompaniment at South African barbecues called Braais (pronounced “bry”, rhyming with the word “cry”)

In the spirit of making a mean Chakalaka that is true to its African roots as well as its spirit of assimilation and innovation, my version is based on a number of recipes found online as well as one that was featured in the Toronto star.


Red, Orange and Yellow ~ Peppers in Autumn Colors

Recipe:
(Makes enough for approx 30 tablespoon servings)

2 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced
4 fresh green chillies, slit
1 big red onion, finely chopped
A pound (4 to 6) juicy tomatoes, finely chopped
3 bell peppers, chopped into 1cm X 1cm pieces
2 carrots and 2 potatoes chopped into 1cm X 1cm pieces
Curry powder - 1 heaped tablespoon.
Red beans - one cup, pre-soaked and pressure-cooked to tender
Salt - one teaspoon, or to taste
Fresh coriander for garnish

In a saucepan, heat up the oil and saute ginger, garlic, chillies and onions to soft. Add the salt and curry powder. Add the tomatoes and cook till mushy and of sauce consistency. Add peppers, carrots and potatoes. Cook till they are of a desired softness. Add the red beans and cook for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add coriander. Check seasoning levels and serve with rice or breads of your choice.

A small confession. After adding the beans, I tasted it and found the heat was a bit too much. So I caved and added a teaspoon of jaggery at the end. Unsuspecting victims, tasters of the dish said it took them to whole new levels of delayed heat which overwhelmed the palate after the initial deceptive sweetness. But they all agreed they couldn’t get enough of it!

Chakalaka with Chapatis and Pomegranate
Chakalaka with Chapatis and Pomegranate ~ Meal Today

~ Article Contributed by Janani Srinivasan
Photos by Indira Singari.

Kitchen Notes:
Other vegetables can also be added to Chakalaka - cauliflower, zucchini, string beans etc
For curry powder - if you have access to it, I recommend the fiery Sri Lankan Niru brand powder so ubiquitous in Toronto. If not, any other store-bought or homemade will do. The South African recipes recommend a local brand called “leaf masala”.
To be true to the grassroots appeal of this dish, you could use a can of baked beans from the local supermarket. Vegetarians check labels to ensure it’s free of lard or any other animal ingredients. If you can soak your own from scratch, that’s even better.
More on Chakalaka : Chakalaka 101, and Culinary Musings from Cape Town

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Red Beans (Chori), Peppers, Janani Srinivasan (Thursday October 11, 2007 at 6:30 pm- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Kobbari Kaaram


Coconut sweetness
Curry leaves aroma
Chillies divine spiciness
Chana dal and Urad dal nutty crunchiness

That is kobbari kaaram. The traditional, famous spice powder from Andhra Pradesh, India. The secret to success of this spicy powder lies in slow-roasting of ingredients to seductive gold color. As you can see, there is a lot going on in this deceptively simple spicy powder.

Some recipes make us feel defeated while also stirring in the feelings of joy. Kobbari Kaaram is one such recipe for me. It has too much amma (mother) association and attached memories to it. While standing in front of the stove, waiting for the ingredients to reach that perfect gold color, the deep longing for gentle landscape of my childhood days was too much to feel. But once I finished the preparation and started to dip the warm gheelious rice-ravva upma rounds in kobbari kaaram, I rolled back to my routine content self and began to make happy cooking plans.


Oven-Dried Coconut, Toasted Curry Leaves, Roasted Dried Chillies, Chana dal and Urad dal

Recipe:
2 cups - thinly sliced dried coconut pieces
Quarter cup each - chana dal and urad dal
20 fresh curry leaves
15 dried red chillies - Indian variety
1 teaspoon - sea salt

Break a fresh coconut. Remove the coconut from shell. Thinly slice and spread the pieces on a baking pan and bake/ovendry to pale brown color at 200 F. Or simply sun-dry the coconut pieces to golden brown, like we used to do at Nandyala.
Place an iron skillet on stove-top, on medium heat. Once the skillet is hot, reduce the heat to low and one after another, add and roast chana dal, next urad dal and finally red chillies to pale brown color. Mix frequently and take care not to black the ingredients. Remove each one to a plate. In the end, coat the skillet with a teaspoon of peanut oil. When the oil is hot, add and toast curry leaves to gold color. Remove to a plate.

Let the ingredients come down to room temperature. Both texture-wise and taste-wise, this is important. Go sit down and wait.

When they are cool enough to touch, take the coconut pieces, roasted ingredients in a Sumeet style mixie jar. Add salt and grind to fine powder. Store the kobbari kaaram in a clean glass jar. Kobbari kaaram tastes great with all types of breakfast items like upma, pongal, dosa, idly and also on stir-fried vegetables like bell peppers, potatoes, brinjals, ridge gourd and okra etc. It’s a good thing to have in the kitchen.

Kitchen Notes:
I prefer either Ballari coconut or fresh coconut for this recipe because of their superior taste.
(From Telugu to English : Kobbari=coconut, Kaaram=Chilli)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in The Essentials, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Coconut (Dry), Dried Red Chillies (Monday August 13, 2007 at 5:57 pm- permalink)
Comments (22)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Black-Eyed Bean Dip

Alasandalu

I had an another recipe in mind with black-eyed bean sprouts for today’s meal. But I accidentally over-cooked the beans to mush. Thus born the bean dip for rotis.

The beautiful pale red color of the dip is from chipotle chillies. I really love how the spicy chipotle perk up a recipe with smoky flavor. I have also added fragrant cumin and lively lime juice to the pureed beans. The dip may be a last minute solution to the mushed bean problem, but the result was attractive and had a great taste, similar to refried beans that they serve in Mexican restaurants.


Overcooked Black-Eyed Bean Sprouts and Black-Eyed Bean Dip

Recipe:

Precooked black-eyed bean sprouts or beans - 1 cup
Dried chipotle chillies - 2 (presoaked in warm water for about 30min)
cumin - half teaspoon
salt - half teaspoon or to taste
Lime juice -2 tablespoons or to taste

Take the chipotle chillies and cumin in a Sumeet style mixer or food processor. Pulse few minutes until the chillies are very smooth. Add the black-eyed bean sprouts, salt and lime juice. Process to fine puree. Remove to a cup and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the flavor develop. Serve with roti/tortillas or corn/taro root chips.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Blackeye Beans, Dried Red Chillies, Sprouts (Molakalu) (Monday August 6, 2007 at 2:48 pm- permalink)
Comments (8)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Bell Pepper Zunka

Bell Peppers with Besan:


Bell Pepper and Besan (Gram Flour or Sanaga Pindi)

This one is easy to prepare and puts the bell peppers in season to good use.

Slice the peppers, (green, red or yellow) length-wise into thin strips. Do pan-saute and season with spices and besan. The subtle sweet flavor of besan (gram flour) complements the bell peppers greatly. Lovely to look at, even lovelier to consume, bell peppers with besan also known as Bell Pepper Zunka in Marathi, is an ideal dish for bell pepper fans.

Recipe:

3 bell peppers - green, yellow and red, cut to thin strips of 1-inch length
3 tablespoons - besan (gram flour)
¼ teaspoon each - chilli powder, salt and turmeric (or to taste)
Popu or tadka ingredients:
1 teaspoon oil
Pinch each - cumin, mustard seeds, and a sprig of curry leaves

In a wide skillet, heat the oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Keep the heat to medium. Add the curry leaves and toast to pale brown. Toss in cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to splutter, add the bell peppers. Stir-fry few minutes, until bell peppers become crisp and fork-tender. Sprinkle the besan, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Mix. Sauté, stirring often. Do not cover the skillet at this stage. When the pale yellow besan starts to get pale brown, time to turn off the heat. Serve the bell pepper Zunka hot. Makes a tasty meal when eaten with chapati or rice and dal combination.


Chapati with Bell Pepper Zunka, and Cantaloupe ~ Brunch Today

Bell Pepper Recipes:
Marathi Mirchi Bhaaji ~ from Kay
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Green Bell Pepper Saute with Dalia Powder (Pappula Podi)
Red, Yellow and Green Bell Pepper Curry
Bell Pepper Masala

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Gram Flour (Besan) (Thursday August 2, 2007 at 10:38 am- permalink)
Comments (26)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Chipotle Chilli Chutney

My enthusiasm for food blogging events has been going south in recent months. I am not able to muster up much energy like before. Even my beloved event JFI, featuring an ingredient that I worship (chillies) couldn’t pepper me enough. The motivation is there, but I don’t know what’s going on with me, it’s not manifesting into actual results. Well, I guess this is another food blogging phase that I have to go through.

After observing my mental struggle, my kind husband Vijay offered some help. “Tell me what to do, I will make it and will take the pictures. But in writing and publishing the results, you are on your own buddy”, he said. How can I resist such affectionate offer? So here it is, the chipotle chilli chutney for JFI: Chillies. My recipe through Vijay’s magic hands.

Chipotle Chillies, Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic
Chipotle Chillies, Cherry Tomatoes and Garlic ~ Ingredients for Chipotle Chilli Chutney

Recipe:

Chipotle chillies - 6
Cherry tomatoes - 1 pound
Garlic cloves - 6
Sea salt and cane sugar - Half teaspoon each
Peanut oil - 1 tablespoon

Soak the Chipotles:
Take chipotle chillies in a cup. Pour and cover with hot water, about half cup. Soak until pliable about 30 minutes.

Grill the Tomatoes and Garlic:
In a wide cast-iron skillet, heat the peanut oil to smoking point. Add and brown the garlic first, then add the cherry tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are lightly browned. Turn off the heat and cool completely.

Blend:
Transfer the chipotles and the water they soaked in to a Sumeet style mixer. Pulse for few minutes. Add the roasted garlic, tomatoes, salt and sugar. Blend to smooth. Remove to a clean, glass jar.

Chipotles bring not only spiciness but also a unique smoky flavor and the chutney tastes terrific with chapatis, French fries etc.


Chapatis with Tomato Dal and Chipotle Chilli Chutney ~ Our Meal Today and
My Contribution to JFI:Chilli, Hosted by Lovely Nandita of Saffron Trail

Kitchen notes:
Chipotle chillies are mature jalapenos that have been dried and smoked, can be purchased at Mexican grocery shops. Unlike the Indian variety dried red chillies, Mexican originated chipotles have a hard bark like skin. Prior soaking in water is needed for easy, smooth blending.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies, Jihva For Ingredients (Wednesday August 1, 2007 at 2:44 pm- permalink)
Comments (17)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Vegetarian Gumbo ~ India Inspired

When we lived in Houston, one of the recipes we picked up from that region was gumbo. Okra, vegetables, beans, rice and seafood/meat, together cooked in wheat flour broth (called roux). That is gumbo in a nutshell. Vijay is a big fan of seafood gumbo and often prepares shrimp gumbo at home. Being the non-meat eater that I am, I had to develop a vegetarian version for myself. The following recipe is the result of my trials.

I’ve made few changes to the traditional recipe to suit my taste. I replaced roux with lots of okra and coconut-spice seasoning. And for today’s meal, fresh chickpea sprouts and brown basmati have joined the excellent cast of gumbo characters.

Swampland approach, but a new appeal with Southern India seasoning, my vegetarian gumbo is a delightful one-pot dish. The side effects I have noticed so far, it’d inflict a dramatic mood change. Kindlier attitude towards fellow beings, even towards themselves, which at times could be of even greater importance, may happen.

Ingredients for Vegetarian Gumbo
Red Onion, Orange Capsicum, Tomato, Sprouted Chickpeas, Brown Basmati and Okra

Recipe:

1 tablespoon ghee
2 cloves of garlic - finely chopped
1 red onion, 2 capsicums and 4 tomatoes - finely chopped
20 okra - cut to half-inch rings
1 cup sprouted chickpeas (or beans of your choice)
½ cup brown basmati rice
Turmeric and salt - half teaspoon each or to taste

Southern India Seasoning :
Two tablespoons of grated fresh coconut, 6 dried red chillies, 6 cloves, quarter teaspoon cumin, fistful of fresh cilantro leaves, and a pinch of salt - blend to smooth, adding half cup of water in a mixer.

In a heavy pot, melt the ghee over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until translucent. Add the capsicum, tomatoes, okra, chickpea sprouts and brown basmati rice. Mix and cook, occasionally stirring for about ten minutes. Add about three cups of water and also stir in the turmeric and salt. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for about another 15 minutes.

When the rice starts to get tender, stir in the coconut-spice seasoning. Mix gently and simmer another ten minutes or so. When the rice is cooked to tender, turn off the heat. Cover and let the gumbo sit for sometime. The whole thing will thicken further on cooling.

Vegetarian gumbo goes well with papadams. They are great to scoop up the gumbo.

Vegetarian Gumbo
Vegetarian Gumbo with Okra, Chickpea Sprouts and Brown Basmati, Served with Papadams ~ Our Meal

Kitchen notes:
Grated fresh coconut, Brown basmati rice and papadams of different shapes can be purchased at Indian grocery shops. (Before serving, papadams should be fried in oil until crisp.)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Benda Kaaya(Okra), Brown Basmati, Sprouts (Molakalu) (Tuesday July 31, 2007 at 12:11 am- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Ratatouille ~ India Inspired

Cheeseless and Cheerful, India Inspired Ratatouille
Cheeseless and Cheerful ~ India Inspired Ratatouille

When it comes to international cuisine, French cuisine ranks among our favorites. Then again, we are devotees of Tibetan, Thai, Mexican and Italian … well you get the picture. But back to French food, if we may. So delighted are we of the new Pixar animated movie, we decided to recreate one of our favorite French recipes at home. Cheeseless and cheerful ~ The Ratatouille.

Dictionary defines Ratatouille as “A vegetable stew, usually made with eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and onions, seasoned with herbs and garlic”. Ratatouille, Pulusu, Kurma or Subzi …different names in different languages but the underlying wisdom is the same. Isn’t it? When vibrant and fresh looking vegetables are available, the recipe served will make happy people happier and comforts those who aren’t. Really, we don’t have to do much in order to make a miraculous meal.

The India inspiration is addition of poppy seeds. When added to bobbling vegetables in the pot, the powdered poppy seeds will bring sweet aroma and subtly enriches the ratatouille in a typical Indian way.

Cheeseless and Cheerful, India Inspired Ratatouille
Farm Fresh Vegetables from Pike Place Market for Ratatouille ~ Round Zucchinis, Red and Green Capsicum, Shallots, Purple Garlic, Baby Carrots, Fresh Peas, Tomatoes & Green Brinjals (Total Cost $8).

Recipe:
1 teaspoon peanut oil
¼ tsp each - cumin, mustard seeds and 6 curry leaves
4 garlic cloves and 2 shallots - finely chopped
6 each - tomatoes, brinjals, carrots & 2 each - zucchinis, capsicums ~ cut to chunks
Half cup each - freshly shelled peas and finely chopped coriander leaves
Quarter cup poppy seeds - powdered fine in a spice grinder
¼ tsp red chilli powder, salt and turmeric or to taste
**************
In a big saucepan, heat the oil until a curry leaf tossed in it sizzles. Lower the heat to medium. Add the curry leaves and toast to pale brown. Toss in cumin, mustard seeds. When seeds start to jump, add the garlic and shallots. Stir fry few minutes. Add the remaining vegetables and peas. Cook, covered for about ten minutes. The vegetables start to get tender and you will see lot of water in the pot. At this stage stir in poppy seed paste, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Sprinkle coriander leaves, mix and simmer another ten minutes, until the sauce becomes thick but pourable.
Serve warm with rice/chapati/bread or pasta.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Vankaya (Brinjal), Poppy Seeds, Zucchini (Tuesday July 10, 2007 at 9:06 pm- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Jeelakarra Karam (Cumin and Chillies)

Jeelakarra Karam

Jeelakarra Karam is a type of highly aromatic masala powder with cumin and chillies from Andhra Pradesh, Bharath.

Recipe:

Quarter cup - cumin
10 to 12 red chillies - small round type shown above
2 to 4 garlic cloves - roughly chopped
Quarter teaspoon - salt

Take cumin in a spice grinder and grind to fine powder. Add red chillies, garlic and salt to powdered cumin. Grind to smooth without adding water. Remove and store in a clean jar.

Dry saute style curries with brinjals, potatoes and tindora greatly benefit by the addition of flavorful and smoky Jeelakarra Karam.

Recipe source: Amma, Nandyala.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Dried Red Chillies, Herbs and Spices, Cumin (Jeelakarra) (Friday June 29, 2007 at 9:50 pm- permalink)
Comments (10)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Mirchi Ka Salan from Hyderabad

Paying Salaam to Salan with Jalapenos:


Mirchi Ka Salan ~ For RCI: Andhra

Recipes with chillies are many. Pickled, stuffed, stewed, sun-dried, consumed raw or added in desserts like cakes or in ice creams - different varieties for different flavors and strengths. All of them are highly cherished by chilli enthusiasts.

One chilli recipe that stands out from the bunch is the famous Mirchi Ka Salan recipe from Hyderabad (capital city of Andhra). Whole green chillies pan-fried and simmered in sesame-peanut spicy sauce. The dish is easy to prepare and has a refreshingly pleasing taste. But if you don’t know what you are doing, the chances that it could blow your head off are high. Whether one call it pushing the limits or perspiration-inducing love affair, Mirchi ka Salan is the culinary expression of an Andhra vasi’s adventurous spirit and fun-seeking nature. Nutritious, dangerous and deeply satisfying - that is what Mirchi ka Salan is in a nutshell.


Skillet-Frying the Green Chillies

Recipe:

Mirchi (Green Chillies):

12 medium-sized jalapeno peppers
To lessen the heat: Remove the stem and slice each jalapeno lengthwise on one side, use caution not to cut into half and to keep the tail end intact. Pluck the white pitch and seeds like shown in this photo. (Wear gloves for sensitive skin.)

Salan:

½ cup peanuts - roasted and skins removed
¼ cup sesame seeds - toasted
½ cup sauteed pieces of shallots or red onion
4 dried red chillies - toasted
1 teaspoon each - coriander seeds, cumin, cinnamon and cloves, toasted lightly
Take them all in a blender and add about a teaspoon each - ginger, garlic, salt and about 4 tablespoons of tamarind juice. Pour in about a cup of water and grind to smooth paste. I usually add about 2 tablespoon of jaggery/sugar to bring a mild-sweet flavor to the dish.

Making of Mirchi ka Salan:

In a wide skillet, heat about a tablespoon of peanut oil. Bring the oil to smoking point. Add and sear mirchi (jalapenos) to sand color. Take care not to black/burn.

Add the prepared Salan paste to the seared chillies. Add about a cup of water and mix. Have a taste, adjust salt, sour(tamarind), sweet(jaggery) levels to your liking. Cover the pot and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium-low heat, stirring in-between. The color of the sesame-peanut sauce darkens and sauce thickens. Mirchi ka Salan will be ready.

Serve warm with rice/chapati/parathas. A cup of soothing saaru(chaaru/rasam), salad or yogurt on the side helps a lot. Best place to have this meal is balcony/patio’s shady spot or with windows open/fan whirring at a low speed. Cool breeze enhances the chilli experience.


Mirchi Ka Salan with Rice and Green Papaya Salad ~ Our Meal Today

More salaam to Salan:
Mirchi ka Salan - from Past, Present and Me
Mirchi ka Salan - from Elaichi et Cetera…
Mirchi ka Salan - from Hyderabadi Kitchen
Mirchi ka Salan - from Vindu

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Green Chillies, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Peppers (Thursday May 10, 2007 at 4:23 pm- permalink)
Comments (58)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Scrumptious Subjis : Chayote in Chilli Sauce (Bengaluru Vankaya Kurma)

Chayote in Chilli Sauce (Chayote Kurma)

Just a little color dabbed on the cheeks can do wonders to a pale, lifeless face. Same thing, small dose of vibrant chilli sauce can do wonders to otherwise bland, mild flavored chayote. Just add a dash of chilli and a pinch of spice. Sprinkle some tamarind juice and touch of tadka - here we go. Utterly lip-smacking yet not at all overblown. Impressively energetic but balanced with a persistent sweetness from chayote. Another traditional, savory and scrumptious sabji would be ready. We usually have this sabji with sorghum roti or with chapatis.

Cubed Chayote and Powdered Ingredients for Chilli Sauce
Cubed Chayote and Powdered Ingredients for Chilli Sauce

Recipe:

1 chayote - peel, slice to half, remove seed and dice to bite-sized cubes
1 onion - finely chopped

For chilli Sauce:
5 dried red chillies
2 tablespoons - dalia (pappulu, bhuna chana)
1 tablespoon - grated coconut (fresh or dried)
1 tablespoon each - powdered jaggery and tamarind juice
1 teaspoon - mustard seeds
½ teaspoon - cumin
¼ teaspoon each - salt and turmeric
Take all of the above and grind to smooth in a blender or spice grinder.

For popu or tadka:
1 tsp each - oil, minced garlic, curry leaves, dried red chilli pieces, cumin and mustard seeds

………

In a wide skillet, heat oil. Add and toast the popu or tadka ingredients in the order mentioned above.

When the mustard seeds start to dance, add onions and chayote cubes. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.

When the chayote starts to soften, add the powdered chilli sauce ingredients and one cup of water. Mix. Have a taste. Adjust the salt and jaggery sweetness level to your liking.

Cover and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until the chayote becomes tender and chilli sauce thickens and coats the spoon.

Serve warm with a cup of yogurt or tea on the side. Taste great with sorghum roti/chapati/naan. (Not that good with rice.)

Chayote Kurma with Naan and a Cup of Tea
Chayote Kurma with Naan and a Cup of Tea

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia), Dried Red Chillies, Chayote (Cho Cho) (Wednesday January 24, 2007 at 6:32 pm- permalink)
Comments (27)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Previous Page »