Mahanandi

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

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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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

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

Recipe:

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

Notes:
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: www.themahanandi.org

Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Of all different colored bell peppers, I like the red ones. Red bell peppers are matured green bell peppers and when bell pepper ages, not only the color but the flavor also changes. They become sweet, which is a surprise. Usually maturing into red signals the more fierce kind of flavor in vegetables, but here they mellow.

This favorite chutney of mine is prepared by roasting red bell peppers, onion and dried red chillies and by blending them including peanuts, jaggery and tamarind juice. The result is one of the flavorful and easiest Bharath-inspired chutnies you will ever try. Tastes superb with all the breakfast items, like idly, dosa, upma and also with rice, chapati or as a spread and dip for snack items.

Red Bell Peppers, Onion, Garlic, Dried Red Chillies, Roasted Peanuts, Tamarind and Jaggery - Ingredients for Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Recipe:

Cut to big chunks:
2 big red bell peppers
1 medium sized onion
6-8 dried red chillies
2 garlic cloves

Roast:
Heat about 1 to 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a skillet.
Add and roast the cut vegetables and dried red chillies on high heat. The vegetables should be very well browned and soft. Remove them from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, Soak tamarind, and Roast Peanuts:
- Small Lime sized tamarind in half-cup of warm water for about 10 minutes. Or microwave for 30 seconds - This is to soften the tamarind, so it can grind well.
- Roast half-cup of peanuts until golden and remove skins. Store-bought un-salted, roasted peanuts are fine too.

Blend, in a blender or in a mortar using a pestle:
All the roasted vegetables
Tamarind, along with the water it soaked in.
Half cup of roasted peanuts
½ tablespoon of powdered jaggery
¼ tsp of salt or to taste
Grind them together to coarse puree, without adding any extra water.

Remove to a cup and serve with your favorite breakfast/lunch/supper items.

Red Bell Pepper Chutney and Besan Dosas
Besan Dosa and Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Recipe Source: My own creation

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Bell Pepper, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies (Tuesday June 20, 2006 at 9:21 am- permalink)
Comments (54)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Banana Pepper - Baby Potato Curry

Vegetables which are at normal prices at our local grocery store now are banana peppers and baby red potatoes. Banana peppers are mildly hot and the new crop, baby red potatoes are mildly sweet. These two are cooked in tomato gravy thickened by the addition of creamy-white, rich poppy seed (khus-khus, gasa gasalu) paste. The taste of the curry is like that of made with almond paste.

Banana Pepper, Baby Potato and Khus khus (gasa gasalu)
Banana Pepper, Baby Red Potato, Poppy Seeds(Khus Khus, Gasa Gasaalu)

Recipe:

Heat in a big saucepan, over medium-low heat:
1 teaspoon of peanut oil

Toast to do the popu or tadka:
1 teaspoon each of cumin, mustard seeds, minced garlic and few curry leaves

Add and Saut�: (listed in order)
1 onion - chopped
4 juicy tomatoes- chopped
8 baby red potatoes -peeled and cubed
4 banana peppers - cut into small rings crosswise

Stir in:
¼ cup poppy seeds(gasa gasalu)-finely powdered using a spicemill/coffee grinder
1 tsp of ginger-garlic-coriander paste
2 tsp of cumin-coriander seed-clove-cinnamon powder
1 tsp of salt
½ tsp of red chilli powder and turmeric

Add 2 cups of water and mix well. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring in-between. When the gravy reaches the consistency you desire, turn off the heat. Let the curry sit for 10 minutes and serve warm.
Tastes superb with chapatis or with rice.

Banana Pepper- Baby Alu Curry with Chapatis
Banana Pepper- Baby Alu Curry with Chapatis ~ Our meal today

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Banana Pepper, Baby Potatoes, Poppy Seeds (Friday April 21, 2006 at 2:37 pm- permalink)
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Baby Aloo in Tamarind-Chilli Sauce (Aloo Pulusu)

We lose by generalizing everything. Unity and showing strong front is important but preserving the diversity and maintaining our own uniqueness is also equally important, I think. Indian cuisine is such a broad term. Can anyone say they know all the regional food varieties of India? I guess not. If we don’t talk about our regional cuisine, who will and how would anyone know about the difference in our cooking. I see lot of new Indian food blogs coming up everyday. Generalize to your heart’s content, but don’t be shy to highlight your regional specialties. That would make the recipe more attractive to the readers and give them the feeling they are trying out something unique, in my view.

See, for example, from India - we go to Andhra Pradesh, my home state in India. Though the general term is Andhra cuisine, there are 3 regions (Rayalaseema, Kosta and Telengana) and each region has its own specialties. Lot of diversity out there, even in one state. Example is this recipe. Cooking vegetables like potatoes etc., in tamarind-chilli sauce is the specialty of Kosta (Coastal region) of Andhra. They call this Tamarind-chilli sauce “Pulusu“. It is the base sauce for all kinds of vegetables, in that region. The saying is, “give something to kosta people, particularly the Nellore district, they would find a way to add tamarind to it”.

The ‘pulusu‘ tastes like as if ‘old western’ kind of faction war happened between tamarind and dried red chillies. To compensate the sourness of tamarind, more hot chillies are added. Unbridled war wages on between these two strong tastes and there is no mediator to calm it down. Thickening agents like coconut or peanut paste are big no or rarely used. The pacifier of course is the poor vegetable that is added. How high this war can go on, which one dominates the taste of ‘pulusu‘ - it all depends on housewife’s mood that day. Imagine sucking on a lime wedge and simultaneously eating a dried red chillie - that’s how this pulusu tastes. You are alerted so prepare it at your own risk.

Boiled Baby red potatoes, Tamarind juice, tomatoes, dried red chillies, cumin and garlic

Recipe:

8 to 10 baby potatoes
1 medium sized onion and 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes - finely chopped
For sauce:
1 cup of tamarind juice - (medium thick - home made version)
6 dried red chillies+3 garlic cloves+1 teaspoon of cumin - Make a smooth paste of them.
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric and salt to taste
Popu or tadka ingredients:(1tsp of each, cumin, mustard seeds and few curry leaves)

Boil potatoes in water, just until tender. Remove them and strip the outer skin. Prick the potatoes in multiple sites with a fork so that they can absorb the sauce.

In a big pan or kadai - heat one teaspoon of peanut oil. Do the popu or tadka (toast mustard seeds, cumin, curry leaves). Saute onions and tomatoes for few minutes until they soften. Stir in red chilli paste; saute it for few minutes until it leaves the raw smell. Add the tamarind juice and another cup of water. Stir in salt and turmeric and also the pricked potatoes. Cover and simmer them for about 15 to 20 minutes on medium heat, stirring in between. Wait until the sauce reaches the consistency of thick lava. Turn off the heat, and serve the pulusu with chapatis or with rice and ghee.

Baby Potatoes in Tamarind-Chilli Sauce (urla gadda pulusu
Baby potatoes in tamarind-chilli sauce and chapatis

I’ve added a tablespoon of powdered jaggery to this curry, forgive me my dear Nellore friends and readers. I know you will sneer at me, I know it is a big no-no, adding any kind of sweetener to the curry. But my poor body won’t tolerate that kind of slow burning heat.

This is my entry to “The Spice is Right - Ancient Spices” food blog event, started and hosted by my favorite food blogger, very talented chef Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Dried Red Chillies, Baby Potatoes (Wednesday April 12, 2006 at 1:25 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)
Comments (10)

The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Red, Yellow and Green - Bell Pepper Curry

Eye catching and good looking, the 3 bell pepper curry is a flavorful, quick side dish to make.

1.Take one each of red, yellow and green bell peppers, cut each one into half. Remove the seeds inside and slice them thin lengthwise.

2.Heat one teaspoon of peanut oil in a wide pan. Toast pinch of each mustard seeds, cumin, minced garlic (popu).

3.Add and cook bell peppers, covered for about 5 minutes on medium-low.

4.Remove the lid; add pinch of turmeric, a tablespoon of spicy dalia powder (pappula podi) and salt to taste. Cook/saute them for another 5 minutes openly, on high heat, stirring often.

Serve hot with rice and dal or with chapatis.

Celebrating Steelers Superbowl Sunday with 3 Bell pepper curry.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia) (Friday February 3, 2006 at 2:29 pm- permalink)
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Pasta in Chilli, Bell Pepper and Peanut Sauce

“What Kind of Food Are You?” - I tried the fun quiz of 5 questions. I expected Indian, but I don’t think the quiz has Indian food in its list of responses. The answer was ‘Italian food’, and I was satisfied. Like Indian, I think of Italian as another no-nonsense, honest kind of food. Though here in US, a little bit over glorified. What? Have you been watching food TV (US) lately? It should be renamed ‘Italian Food TV’ with its 24-hour Italian this and Italian that programming, and its star-cooks falling over themselves proclaiming their Italian heritage. Sometimes I wonder, why am I paying money for this channel on cable, is this a foodtv or a propaganda machine for Italian cuisine. It would be understandable if majority of Americans are Italians or Italian decent, but that is not the case and further, the minority (here the minority status is determined by the skin color) means non-whites, are climbing up to almost 40%. More and more, it looks like American Food TV has decided to disregard diversity and showcase only one cuisine at the expense of others. What a sad, sad thinking!

Well, I am glad to contribute one more recipe of pasta to IMBB #22, the mother of all events and most popular one in food blogosphere, this month hosted by lovely Amy of ‘Cooking with Amy’ fame. Even though I think of my contribution an original, I am sure there is someone, somewhere already written down this version of pasta sauce. Thousands of dedicated Italian cooks, cookbooks and hundreds of fabulous food bloggers, recipe sites - millions of pasta recipes, it got to be there, somewhere. No… then I am happy to cook up millionth one recipe of pasta.:)

spaghetti, red bell pepper, Tomatoes, Roasted Peanuts, olive oil, Onions, Dried red chillies and garlic

Recipe:

Pasta: I used spaghetti, Hodgson Mills brand, whole wheat with flax seed and organic variety. Like pulao/pilaf taste depends on basmati rice, a good pasta dish needs quality pasta. So I do spend few extra bucks on a fine variety. Hodgson Mill brand without a doubt, quality products.
One fistful of spaghetti for one person - that is the measurement I use for spaghetti.

For Sauce:
1 cup of peanuts - roasted and skins removed
3 red bell peppers - deseeded, cut into big chunks
4 dried red chillies and 4 garlic cloves - halved
3 ripe, juicy tomatoes - chopped into big chunks
1 small red onion - chopped into big chunks
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tsp of each-cumin, salt and powdered jaggery/sugar
I prefer to have sauce, lots of it with my pasta, so the above quantities.

Peanut-Veggie Sauce Spaghetti in pasta sauce

Preparation:

Pasta Sauce: Roast the bell peppers, dried red chillies, tomato, onion, garlic and cumin in 1 tsp of olive oil, until they all are brown and golden. Let them cool down to room temperature.

In a food processor, first add roasted peanuts and make a fine powder of them. To it, add the roasted veggies and half teaspoon of salt. Add half cup of water and grind them into smooth paste.

In a big wide pan, heat olive oil and add the peanut-veggie paste. Add one cup of water, jaggery and salt to taste. Mix and cook covered for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat.

Pasta: While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente, usually for about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta into a colander, immediately add it to the sauce. Mix it thoroughly with pasta sauce. Cook, uncovered for about 2 minutes on low heat and serve.

The sauce can be made earlier and just before mealtime, pasta can be cooked and added. One thing I learned about pasta is, it has to be served hot, to get the best taste.
Spaghetti in Chilli-Red bell pepper- peanut sauce

Pasta in chilli-red bell pepper-peanut sauce: sweet, spicy, savory and smoky - A range of delicious flavors, all blended well together for a wholesome, hearty, filling meal ~ Our Sunday dinner and my entry to IMBB Event.

Recipe Source: My Own Creation
Tagged with: +

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peanuts, Bell Pepper, Pasta, Dried Red Chillies (Monday January 30, 2006 at 8:32 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Amla Pickle (Usirikaya Uragaya)

I bought a quite few amlas (usiri kayalu, Indian Gooseberry) at Toronto and I couldn’t resist making a small batch of pickle with them, following a recipe from Malathi Chandur’s cookbook - “Vantalu-Pindi Vantalu“. The pickle turned out to be hot, spicy good.

Amla, Usiri Kaya, Indian Gooseberry

Recipe:
For 15 amlas

15 clean, fresh looking, blemish free amlas (usiri kayalu)
½ cup peanut oil
¼ cup of salt and red chilli powder
¼ cup of mustard seeds - roasted & finely powdered (aava pindi)
½ tsp of asafoetida (inguva)

Preparation:

First wash the amlas and dry them using clean cloth, without any sign of moisture.

Heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a skillet and add the amlas and sauté them till they turn light brown. Remove and let them cool down to room temperature.

Heat the remaining oil in another pan to a smoking point. Remove it from heat, let it cool down to room temperature.

Add salt, red chilli powder, mustard powder and asafoetida to the roasted amlas. Mix them all with a clean, dry spoon. Pour and stir in the heated (now at room temperature) oil. Mix them all together, again with a clean dry spoon. Cover tightly and let it stew at least for two weeks. The more you wait, the tasty the pickle becomes and the normal waiting period is one month. I couldn’t wait that long.:)

Just before serving, do the popu or tadka. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a pan, fry red chilies, cumin and mustard seeds until they splutter, then add garlic flakes and remove from the heat. Add it to the pickle, mix thoroughly and serve with rice and dal.

Usirikaya Pacchadi, Amla Pickle

Amla Pickle (Usiri kaya Uragaya) - spicy and sour like mango pickle and quite tasty in this cold winter weather.

Recipe Source: Malathi Chandur’s Cookbook “Vantalu-Pindi Vantalu

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Dried Red Chillies, Usiri Kaya (Amla) (Tuesday January 17, 2006 at 9:43 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: www.themahanandi.org

Banana Pepper Curry

What we get here in abundance is banana peppers in all seasons. Italians, the majority of population in this small town love their banana peppers, I guess. Usually I stuff banana peppers and cook them like I did cherry peppers.
Mika, my blog friend, posted a wonderful recipe with banana peppers, last month. I tried it today and we both (Vijay & I) really liked it. It is very easy to prepare too.

Banana Peppers - Whole and Cut

Recipe:

Take four banana peppers. Wash & dry, slit them in the middle and remove the seeds. Cut them into bite-sized pieces.
In a pan, heat one teaspoon of peanut oil, do the popu or tadka (toasting cumin, mustard seeds and minced garlic). Add the cut banana pepper pieces. Cover and cook them, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until they are tender to touch. Stir in spicy dalia powder, pinch of salt and turmeric, then cook for few more minutes and serve.

Tasted real good and hot with spinach dal and rice.

Banana Pepper Curry, Rice, Spinach Dal and Rice Vadiyaalu(papad)
A Meal with Banana Pepper Curry ~ (Banana Pepper Curry, Rice, Spinach Dal and Rice Papads)

Thanks Mika for sharing this recipe, we really liked it.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Peppers, Banana Pepper (Friday November 18, 2005 at 2:30 pm- permalink)
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Idly Kaaram Podi

Idli Kaaram - Made of Roased  and Powdered -urad dal, chana dal, Red Chilli, black pepper seeds, cumin, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and tamarind,

Recipe:
½ cup Urad dal (Minapa pappu)
½ cup Chana dal (Sanaga pappu)
6 dried red chillies
6 black pepper
1 teaspoon of each - cumin, coriander seeds, mustard seeds
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of fenugreek seeds (Menthulu)
Small piece of tamarind (optional)

Toast them in one teaspoon of oil or ghee separetly or together in an iron skillet, constantly mixing. Take care not to burn them and let cool to room temperature. Powder them using a spice grinder or mixer. Store in a clean jar. Stays fresh upto 1 to 3 months.

Drizzle some melted ghee into this powder and have it with Idlis. My home state folks go crazy for this ‘Idly - kaaram podi’ combination.

Recipe Source: Attamma(MIL)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies (Friday November 11, 2005 at 4:56 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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