Mahanandi

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

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)
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Majjiga Mirapa (Dahi Mirchi, Yogurt Chillies)

Chilli, Mirchi, mirapa kaayalu

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

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

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

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

Recipe:

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

Some foods I cook for healthy body and some for mental health. Mirchi bajji belongs to later category for me. Cravings and nostalgia motivate me to cook this deliciously hot recipe. Hyderabad, the capital city of my home state Andhra Pradesh has a unique recipe for stuffed bajjis. I have already blogged about mirchi bajjis with different stuffing’s from different regions in India but thought this famous Hyderabadi style mirchi bajji deserves one more post dedicated to it.

Chilli bajjis, the popular street food are incredibly easy to prepare at home and make an excellent way to begin almost any special meal or they can be served as a light meal/snack on busy days. Because we remove the middle thick white vein that carries the seeds, these chilli bajjis are surprisingly mild and not that hot at all.


Reducing the spice kick of chillies by removing the white vein with seeds.

Recipe:
(for 20 chillies)

Preparing the filling to stuff the chillies:
Sesame seeds - 3 tablespoons
Dried coconut powder - 3 tablespoons
Coriander seeds (dhania) - 1 teaspoon (dry roast these 3 to pale gold color)
Salt - ¼ teaspoon
Tamarind juice - 1 tablespoon
Take them all in a blender or spice mill - make a smooth paste without adding water. Remove to a cup.

Mirchi (Chillies) Preparation:
Pick 20 straight, plump, healthy looking chillies. Wash and dry them in a kitchen towel. With a sharp knife make a vertical slit in the middle of chilli on one side. Keep the ends intact (see the photo above). Insert the knife tip and pluck the thick white vein in the middle along with the seeds. Usually it will come off nicely with a sharp knife. After preparing all chillies in this way, start stuffing. Fill the gap with the sesame filling nice and evenly one by one and keep them aside on a plate.

Preparing the batter to dip stuffed chillies:
Besan (gram flour) - 2 cups, sieved
Rice flour - ¼ cup, sieved
Salt, cumin and ajwan (vaamu) - ½ tsp each
Take them all in a vessel, mix to combine. Adding water, prepare medium thick batter of thick buttermilk consistency.

Deep-frying:
Take about 3 to 4 cups of peanut oil in a deep bottomed skillet or kadai. Heat the oil on medium-high. One by one dip the bajjis in batter and gently drop from the sides of kadai into hot oil and deep fry until golden. Remove to a paper towel covered plate and let cool a minute or two. Serve with some limejuice sprinkled and finely sliced onions and tomatoes on the side.
(I’ve dipped the bajjis in batter again and double fried them for that true taste.)


Mirchi Bajjis with Chickpea Guggullu and Watermelon Granita (Ice) with Cherries
Our Comforting Meal and My Entries to
Santhi’s JFI~Flour and also to Revathi’s FMR~Comfort Foods

Watermelon Granita with Cherries
Watermelon juice, limejuice mixed and frozen for about 4 hours. The ice is crushed (gently with a hammer) and cut cherries are added before serving

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Flour(Pindi), Gram Flour (Besan), Rice Flour, Cherries, Peppers, Jihva For Ingredients (Monday July 31, 2006 at 3:18 pm- permalink)
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Bottle Gourd in Yogurt

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Sorakaya(Dudhi,Lauki), Yogurt, Coconut (Fresh) (Wednesday July 19, 2006 at 3:07 pm- permalink)
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Coconut Chutney ~ Andhra Style Raw Cuisine

This is another type of chutney (pacchadi) that we prepare with fresh coconut. Young, fresh coconut, red onion and green chillies, little bit of salt and tamarind juice - all pounded together in a stone mortar for about 10 minutes. The result is dynamite stuff and a completely raw food item. Sweet flesh of fresh coconut mixed together with hot, tangy flavors is a taste worth 10 minutes of my time and energy.

Dry Coconut Chutney and Sambhar Rice
Coconut chutney with rice and shallot sambhar ~ Our lunch today.

Recipe Source: Amma

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Coconut (Fresh) (Friday February 17, 2006 at 1:45 pm- permalink)
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Ragi Dosa & Orange-Banana Smoothie

After 3 days of heavy meals because of Deepavali, I wanted to try something new, easy to make and somewhat light on stomach kind of meal. Two of VKN’s, My Dhaba recipes - Ragi Dosa and Orange-banana yogurt&honey drink (HOBIY) have caught my eye.

I have all the ingredients including fresh coconut (puja offering) and oranges. So I tried out these two recipes today for lunch and they turned out spectacular tastewise.

I Loved the chewy taste of ragi dosa and the smell is incredible; it’s like the smell of earth when it is raining. I had the fresh ragi flour, perhaps that may be the reason for the incredible aroma.
(You can find ragi flour in almost all Indian grocery shops here in US. Ragi (finger millet) is one of the ancient grains and very healthy source of Calcium. )

Ragi Flour, Onion, Green Chilli, Fresh Coconut and Cilantro - Ingredients for Ragi Dosa or Utappam

Recipe:

3 cups a href=”http://www.patelbrothersusa.com/show_item_details.asp?item_id=163″>ragi flour
1 cup coconut- fresh and finely grated
Onions, green chillies and cilantro - finely chopped, to taste
Salt to taste

I mixed all of the above ingredients with water in a bowl, thoroughly (like dosa/pancake batter consistency) and poured ladleful of batter onto a hot griddle. Adding few drops of oil, cooked the dosa on both sides till brown and crispy. I made four of these dosas (utappams). We had them with coconut chutney.

I also made the HOBIY. When I first read about this drink, I was little bit skeptical. First of all it’s orange and banana, then it’s yogurt. I wondered about the combination. Vijay often makes himself a drink with soya milk, banana and honey. Thinking, he may like this new drink, I prepared the VKN’s signatory HOBIY drink, by blending half cup of home made yogurt, freshly squeezed juice of one naval orange, one small banana and two tablespoons of honey and few ice cubes. Again, turned out to be one refreshing drink. There was no overpowering smell of banana. Orange juice and yogurt completely masked the smell and taste of banana. I, who normally don’t like the taste of banana in drink form, also enjoyed it.

Ragi Dosa, Coconut Chutney and Banana-Orange Yogurt Drink
Our meal today ~ Ragi Dosa with Coconut Chutney and Banana-Orange Yogurt Smoothie.

Thanks VKN for sharing these two wonderful, traditional, tasty family recipes with us.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Ragi, Green Chillies, Flour(Pindi), Ragi Flour, Bananas (Thursday November 3, 2005 at 5:20 pm- permalink)
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Stuffed Green Chilli Bajjis (Mirapakaya Bajjilu)

Stuffed green chilli bajjis - whole green chillies are filled with different kinds of mixtures then dipped in gram flour batter and deep fried in oil. They are often served as accompaniment to a main meal in South India, but they are delicious as an appetizer/first course with a cup of yogurt on the side or with a glass of water:)-.

Besan Batter, Slit and deseeded green chillies floating in salted water, 3 different stuffings and green chillies filled with stuffing

Recipe:
(For 10 to 15 green chillies)

Green chillies - Special type of green chillies are used to make stuffed bajjis. You can find them usually in Indian grocery shops. Select straight green chillies, wash and dry them first. Take a green chilli, make a slit lengthwise in the middle, keeping the ends intact. With a knife or a spoon remove the seeds, clean the insides and make space for stuffing. Put these slit, cleaned green chillies in bowl of salted water. If you are sensitive to green chillies, it’s better to wear gloves, take heed of Mrs D and Chopper Dave advise.

Stuffing: I’ve prepared three different kinds of stuffing. (I’ve had them already in my kitchen, what I did was just put them together).

First one is my favorite, traditional Raayala Seema fare that my mother prepares at home:

Half cup of roasted chana dal(dalia), 2 tablespoons of dry coconut powder and tamarind juice, 1 tsp of cumin, 1/4 tsp of salt - powder them together.

The second type of stuffing is what one can find in bajjis from street side stalls in Hyderabad. Very famous and long lines in front of these stalls for bajjis, particularly during monsoon season.

Half cup of sesame seeds, 1 tsp each of coriander seeds and cumin (all three roasted), 3 tablespoons of coconut powder and tamarind juice - mixed and made into thick paste.

The third variety is more of a North Indian fare, learned from a friend.

I had some leftover potato curry - (Fried potato and onions seasoned with garam masala powder) - I reheated the curry in microwave and mashed the potatoes into thick paste.

Batter: One cup of gram flour (besan), quarter cup of rice flour, pinch of baking soda, salt to taste and half to one glass of water - mix them all thoroughly into thick batter (more like dosa/pancake batter consistency).

Oil - Peanut oil for deep-frying.

green chillies filled with different types of stuffing - all ready for a dip in the batter and fry in hot oil
Green chillies filled with 3 different kinds of stuffing

Fill up the gap with stuffing of all the green chillies one by one and keep them on a plate. Again, one by one, dip them into the batter, drop them gently into hot oil, deep-fry them until golden, turning frequently. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain well on absorbent paper towels.

If you want your bajjis more like street stall bajjis, what you have to do is, first dip each green chilli into batter fully, slide the side opposite of slit side onto edge of vessel, so that side of green chilli has no batter covering it and will be in direct contact with the hot oil, when deep fried. That exposed green chilli will taste crunchy.

But for an authentic taste of street food, double dip and fry again. (Dip the fried green chillibajjis in batter, this time coating them all around and deep fry in hot oil till golden. You can see both varieties in the picture below.)

Stuffed Green Chilli Bajjis (Mirchi Bajjis)
Stuffed green chilli bajjis - both, single and double dipped and fried.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Gram Flour (Besan), Rice Flour, Peppers (Wednesday November 2, 2005 at 8:44 pm- permalink)
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Green Chilli (Mirchi, Mirapa Kaayalu)

Chilli, Mirchi, mirapa kaayalu Perfect for bajji
Green Chillies ~ Perfect for stuffed mirchi bajjis

Recipe for Stuffed green chilli bajji is here.

For this weekend herb blogging, It’s Rosemary at kalyn’s Kitchen and her signatory, published recipe in Salt lake Tribune. That’s impressive.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Indian Ingredients, Peppers (Sunday October 30, 2005 at 7:38 pm- permalink)
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Bajji(Pakora, Bhajjia)

Festival feast without bajjis - no way

Bajji Platter- Potato Slices, Red Onion slices, Green Chillies slit in the middle

Dipped them in a batter, prepared with gram flour(besan), red chilli powder, salt, baking soda, ajwain seeds(Vaamu) and water. (Check out this post for ingredients photo.) Then deep fried them in hot oil.

Bajji (Pakoras, Bhajjias) Platter - Potato, Green Chilli and Onion Bajjis
Platefull of Chilli-Onion-Potato Bajjis

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Potato, Green Chillies, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Gram Flour (Besan), Onions (Friday October 14, 2005 at 10:12 am- permalink)
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Hot Stuffed Cherry Peppers

It’s been a while since I bought cherry peppers. I believe it was in Houston about 4 years ago. Last weekend I found them again at a price I like to pay, here in Ohio at a nearby grocery shop called Rulli Brothers. This local Italian grocery shop is old, located in a 60 to 70 year old building. I gathered from reading the local newspaper Vindicator that because of some family financial problems, the brothers closed this shop for several years and recently reopened it for business. I think this also contributed to the whole dilapidated look and feel of the shop.

At first being new to this area, not knowing the history, we were hesitant to try this shop. After a while we came to know that they sell mainly local produce and meat. After seeing how busy the parking lot always was, one fine day, we braved, liked what we saw, now regularly shop at this local grocery. Every week, I would find something interesting to buy at an affordable rate and last weekend I eyed cherry peppers and other varieties of peppers priced at 50 cents per pound. Needless to say I came home as a happy person with lots of peppers.

Cherry Peppers

First I wanted to stuff them with potato filling and dip them in besan batter and deep-fry them in oil like egg pakora. But these past few days it has been very hot here with temperatures touching almost 90° F. The idea of oily food didn’t appeal to me. So I prepared stuffed, roasted cherry peppers.

Recipe:

Ingredients for stuffing
1 cup of roasted chana dal
Half cup of cut dry coconut pieces
Small marble sized tamarind
4 red chillies
1 tsp of cumin seeds
1/4 tsp of salt

Powder them all together in a Sumeet mixie jar or in a food processor. This is your filling.

Roasted Chana dal,  Dry Coconut Pieces, Tamarind, Red Chilli, Cumin Seeds Powder of Coconut, redchilli, tamarind, cumin, salt and roasted chana dal

Stuffed Cherry Peppers Stuffed Cherry Peppers after 30 minutes of cooking

Preparation:

Wash the cherry peppers and dry them with a towel. Cut the top off and remove the seeds from inside of each pepper. Fill the well in each pepper to the top with the roasted chanadal-coconut powder prepared earlier.

In an iron skillet, take about one tablespoon of oil, when it is hot, gently place the stuffed peppers. Leave space around them so that they will cook evenly. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the skillet with a lid and leave them like that undisturbed for about 30 to 40 minutes. By the end of cooking, the bottoms will be brown, and the sides and top are cooked in their own moisture.

Even though they are feared as hot ones, they are surprisingly mild and sweet cooked in this way and also because of the filling. No upset stomachs with this recipe, I can guarantee you that.

Roasted Cherry Pepper stuffed with Chana Dal Powder, on the background Spinach dal  & Rice
Stuffed cherry peppers with spinach dal and rice.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Green Chillies, Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia) (Wednesday September 14, 2005 at 9:13 am- permalink)
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