Mahanandi

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

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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Steelers Pizza

Steelers Logo from www.seatseek.comI consider Pittsburgh as my hometown in US because it was where we arrived in US from India. We spent three wonderful years full of firsts; first snow fall, first snow storm, first time assembling the furniture for our house from Ikea, first of lot of things.
And Pittsburgh is a sports town, Steelers is THE team, they all route for. Naturally we couldn’t escape the enthusiasm of locals and now we are also turned into full-fledged, The Terrible Towel waving, Steelers flag in front of the house kind of fans.

Last year was particularly exciting for us Steelers fans. The rookie quarterback brought the team almost to the finals. I could have prepared ‘Roethlis-berger’ in his honor for last years wonderful play, alas I am not a meat eater.

So instead I prepared our favorite game party food - Pizza, for this month’s sport theme party hosted by lovely Stephanie of Dispensing Happiness. Not any pizza but a pizza resembling the Steelers logo and wishing for a season of Steelers super bowl.

Steelers Pizza with Mozzarella and goat cheese with yellow, red bell peppers and olives as toppings

Steelers Pizza:

This Pizza is made with a basic white dough base, flavored with tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella and goat cheese and also roasted yellow and red bell peppers and olives.

Our lunch today:)-

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in All-Purpose Flour(Maida), Goduma (Wheat), Bell Pepper, Cheese (Thursday October 20, 2005 at 3:01 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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Capsicum with Pappula Podi

Green Bell Peppers with Spicy Chickpea Powder:

Green Bell Peppers (Capsicum or Bangalore Mirchi)

My favorite way to cook green bell peppers is this very easy, 15 minutes from start to finish capsicum curry. The special ingredient which makes it the absolute favorite of people who tried this curry is the spicy roasted chickpea powder. Mildly sweet and spicy chickpea powder and hot bell peppers compliment each other, and the prepared curry is a tasty delight.

Recipe:

3 bell peppers, sliced thinly lengthwise, then halved crosswise
3 tablespoons of pappula podi (spicy chickpea powder)
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
For popu or tadka:
1 tablespoon of peanut oil
¼ teaspoon each - curry leaves, chopped garlic, cumin and mustard seeds

Bell Peppers

Preparation:

Place a wide skillet on stove top. Add and heat peanut oil. When oil is hot, add the curry leaves, garlic toast to pale gold. Then add the cumin and mustard seeds. When seeds start to pop, add the bell peppers.

On high heat, cook for few minutes, until the excessive moisture evaporates from them. Then reduce the heat, cover the pan partially, and cook for another five minutes.

When bell peppers are tender to touch, add the seasoning. Sprinkle the spicy chickpea powder, turmeric and salt. Mix and cook for about five more minutes. Turn off the heat. Serve the curry hot, over steamed rice and dal, or with chapatis.

Capsicum Curry with Rice and Spinach Dal Capsicum curry with rice, spinach dal and yogurt - our meal today.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Bell Pepper, Peppers (Tuesday September 6, 2005 at 2:25 pm- permalink)
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Pappula Podi (Putnala/Bhuna Chana Powder) (Spicy Roasted Chickpea Powder)

Roasted Chickpeas, Pappulu, Putnala Pappulu, Dalia - 4 pounds for $4.99, purchased at Subji Mandi, NJ

Pappulu, Putnala pappulu or Dalia are prepared from chickpeas. Not the regular, white chickpeas but from a special variety of chickpeas specific to India and commonly sold under the name “Kala Chana or Black Chickpeas”.

The preparation of pappulu (dalia) is a fascinating process. First, the black chickpeas get soaked in water for several hours, and then after draining, chickpeas are roasted in big caldrons under controlled low fire for several hours. Until the chickpeas turn to crisp. Once the roasting process is completed, the hulls of chickpeas will be removed and each chickpea will be split into two equal pieces. This whole soaking-roasting process intensifies the chickpea flavor, and also changes them to light yellow, mildly sweet pappulu or Dalia. This process is done in special places called Bhattis. Almost every town in Andhra Pradesh would have a bhatti. People go there to buy the freshly prepared pappulu and also the puffed rice There were couple of bhattis near our home in Nandyala and we were used to buy them fresh and hot from those places.

Among all the lentil types available in an Indian store, pappulu are the only one which you can just open the packet and pop them into mouth. As kids and even now, we love to eat them as they are or mixed with murmura. They are a snack item for us, like popcorn. If you are from South India, I assume you already know the pappula taste. For those of you who don’t, you must try them at least once. They are usually sold in Indian grocery shops under the label “Dalia” in lentil section. They are really great tasting, guilt free snack.

Pappulu, Dry Red chillies, Cumin, Salt and Dry Coconut

Pappula Podi is a famous Andhra preparation. In some parts of Andhra this is also called gunpowder. We add it to season the curries and also to prepare chutneys and to spread on dosas, idly, pongali and upma. Pappula Podi not only spices but also adds a mild sweetness to the preparation. This following recipe is from my mother’s and my most valued one. If you are used to besan (gram flour) preparations, try this one instead. You will be delighted, I promise.

Pappula Podi:

1 cup - Pappulu
6 to 8 - dried red chillies, Indian variety
2 tablespoons - grated coconut or dried coconut pieces
1 tablespoon - cumin
½ teaspoon - salt or to taste
4 garlic cloves (this is optional, even without garlic this powder tastes great.)

Take pappulu, chillies, coconut, cumin, garlic and salt in a clean and dry mixer jar or food processor. Grind to fine powder. This is a dry preparation and do not add water. Store the powder in a clean, dry, airtight container. This will stay fresh as long as it remains dry.

The following are the most common ways I enjoy the Pappula Podi:

1. Add a tablespoon of Podi to fistful of cooked rice. Add a teaspoon of ghee. Mix and make small rounds. Eat.

2. Add a tablespoon of Podi to cooked rice and dal (tomato or spinach etc). Add a teaspoon of ghee. Mix and eat.

3. Prepare dosas and spread the pappula Podi on the dosa for Masala Dosa. Yum!

4. Dunk and coat the Idly, Upma and pongal morsels in Pappula Podi, and eat. My new favorite is Pappula Podi and oatmeal upma combination.

5. I also add pappula Podi to vegetable curries. Cabbage, bell pepper, green beans and Indian variety broad beans (Chikkudu kaya), the sauté style curries with these vegetables taste great spiced with pappula Podi. I usually sprinkle one tablespoon of this powder before turning off the heat.)

6. Add roasted onion, garlic and few branches of fresh cilantro to Pappula Podi, along with about half glass of water. Grind to smooth to make an instant chutney.

Pappula Podi (Spicy Roasted Chickpea powder, Putnala pappula powder, Dalia Powder)
Pappula Podi

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra, Chana Dal-Roasted (Dalia), Dried Red Chillies (Thursday July 7, 2005 at 5:53 pm- permalink)
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Kadai Paneer (Paneer Jalfrezi)

I prepared a big block of paneer this weekend. Half of it went into the palak paneer and with the remaining half, I prepared this tasty kadai paneer, today.

Ingredients:
Three ripe juicy tomatoes, 4 bell peppers, small onion - all cut into small pieces
Half tsp of ginger- garlic-cilantro paste
Cumin-coriander powder, salt and red chilli powder~ each half tsp or as per your taste
10 to 15 paneer cubes.

Kadai Paneer Ingredients

Preparation:
Cooking all the Ingredients - Kadai Paneer in making
Just like the regular curry, first fry the onions in 1 tsp of oil, then add g-g-c paste and c-c powder, sauté them little bit, then add salt, red chilly powder, tomatoes and bell peppers. Cook them for few minutes until the gravy (juice from tomatoes) thickens, then add paneer cubes. Simmer them for few more minutes in the gravy.

Kadai paneer and chapati- that’s one good and filling combination

Chapati and Kadai Paneer(Paneer Jalfrezi)

You can always substitute paneer with very firm tofu. I often make paneer curries with tofu. Different taste, but after knowing how they obtain milk here, I cautiously use milk and its products.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Paneer, Bell Pepper, Peppers (Tuesday June 7, 2005 at 8:21 pm- permalink)
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Red chilli garlic powder

Pure fire.

Garlic-Chilli Powder

My Mother in law sent me this powder. I tried to make the powder here, but the garlic available in US markets is too moist and mild, lack the sharp burning taste of Indian variety.

Few garlic cloves, lots of dried red chillies and salt pounded in a stone mortar into fine powder, adding just one teaspoon gives a kick to bland vegetable curries. Rice, dal and ghee mixed together with this powder, that’s home and comfort food to me.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in The Essentials, Amma & Authentic Andhra, Peppers, Dried Red Chillies (Friday June 3, 2005 at 11:05 am- permalink)
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Capsicum(Bell Pepper) Curry

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

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

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

Capsicum-Peanut Curry Ingredients
Green Capsicum, Tomato and Onion

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

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

Gravy Ingredients Peanut Paste

Sauteeing the bell pepper Curry Cooking

Preparation:

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

This capsicum curry tastes great with rice and with chapati.

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

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