No Need of Onions!!! · Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Milagu Kuzhambu (Pepper Gravy simmered in tamarind and spices cooked with baby brinjals)

Delicious Pepper Kuzhambu with whole brinjals.
Delicious Pepper Kuzhambu with whole brinjals.

I remember the first time I ever had it in my Mom in law`s place in Srirangam….She had made her special dishes, as we were visiting and when I had it, my senses simply shot up. It was all the more tantalising as she had used teeny tiny whole brinjals, to float and take in the flavours of the gravy. That trip I told her that I simpy had to have the recipe and she more than generously passed it on to me. Since then its been a favourite of mine, as it can be made as a spicy side for Pongal, to mix with rice, or  simply in its thicker form to take with delicious “thayir sadam”…I usually make a lot of it ahead so it is an inclusion to my husband`s plate almost everyday.

To all my friends in Enclave, here it is…to look up and try, whenever….

INGREDIENTS:

Black Pepper          – 1 spoon

Bengal Gram           – 1 spoon

Red Chillis                – 3

Dhania                       – 3/4 spoon

Coconut                    – 3 spoons

Hing

Tamarind                 – Ball sized soaked or eqv Tamarind Paste.

Brinjals                     –  4 – 5 small ones washed and cleaned.

Curry Leaves, Salt.

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PREPARATION:

  • First saute the pepper alone in a spoon of ghee and set aside to cool in the mixer jar.
  • Fry the remaining ingredients in oil, ie,  bengal gram, dhania, red chilli and finally add the coconut in the end just for a few seconds.
  • Add a  little water and grind all this  is to smooth paste.
  • Take a container, and add the required quantity of the tamarind paste and dilute. Optionally extract the tamarind juice and keep.
  • Add the ground paste, salt, turmeric, hing, curry leaves to the tamarind juice and keep on stove.
  • Slowly add whole small brinjals along with stalk in to the vessel.
  • Keep the kuzhambu on medium low and allow to simmer enough to reduce by one third.
  • Delicious Milagu Kuzhambu is ready to be eaten with rice or as a side for Venn Pongal.

Sending this delicious home made preparation to Think Spice Think Pepper – hosted by Dil Se of Divya Vikram and started by Sunita.

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Eggless Cakes

Eggless Vanilla-Choclate-Orange Marble Cake.

Eggless Vanilla-Choclate-Orange Marble Cake.
Eggless Vanilla-Choclate-Orange Marble Cake.

One of the best things that I love about eggless cake is the ability to feast on it without any fear of day or occassion. I always seemed to run out of ideas for a sweet as a Naivedhyam on Fridays and for other gatherings. This is a great option for those quick last minute addition to picnics or parties…

INGREDIENTS:

All purpose flour     – 2 cups

Whole Milk             – 2 cups

Sugar                      – 1 1/4 cups

Oil                          – 1/2 cup

Vanilla Essence       – 1 – 2 Tsp

Cocoa Powder        – 1/4 cup. (Optionally you could use Bournvita too, but watch out for your sugar proportions!)

Orange zest             – From one whole orange.

Baking soda            – 1 Tsp

Baking Powder        – 1 Tsp

Orange food color   – A pinch

PREPARATION:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F and keep the baking tray all ready by spraying it with butter spray or lining it with parchment paper.
  • Measure out the milk, and add the oil, pure vanilla extract and sugar and whisk  to dissolve any clumps.
  • Take another dry mixing bowl and measure out the 2 cups of  flour. The measure should be levelled and exact and not heaped.
  • To this add the baking soda and baking powder and mix lightly.
  • Slowly incorporate the dry mixture little by little in to the wet mix and whisk lightly taking caution not to overmix as this might remove all the air and rob the cake of the sponginess.
  • This your base cake batter. Remove two small portions to incorporate the orange and the choclate flavour.
  • To one portion add the bournvita/cocoa powder and mix well.
  • To the second portion of batter add a pinch of orange food colour and all of the orange zest.
  • Now take a heavy 9″ pan and pour out the plain vanilla batter.
  • Take the chocolate batter and randomly pour it in the cake pan.
  • Now repeat the process with the orange portion.
  • With a butter knife/toothpick in any direction to create a marble effect.
Marble Cake
Marble Cake
  • Pop the cake pan and allow 35 – 40 mins for the cake to get done.Make sure by inserting a tooth pick to see if it comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool and enjoy heavenly scented cake afloat with the aromas from the orange zest and vanilla.
Kerala / Palakkad Recipes. · No Need of Onions!!! · Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Keerai Molagootal – Spinach ground with coconut and spices and cooked with dal.

Keerai-molagootal

Keerai Molagootal has of course our “keerai” or spinach as the main ingredient. Spinach being known as a rich source of iron and calcium would figure in our menu at least twice a week. Whenever Amma used to make it she would be sure that there would be no problems as my sister and me loved it so much.  Madurai amma would get the keerai from the vendor fresh that morning and she would not hear of me getting it ahead of time from the freezer in FoodWorld. She would take the previous week`s newspaper, spread it all over the dining table and painstakingly seperate the weeds from the “keerai” and then the next process would be to wash it in the huge collander.She would wash it and then hand it over to me to chop it roughly.as they were anyway getting ground.  Here all I need to do is to open the box of Organic Baby Spinach leaves and hey pronto!!! We would do it in Madras with the “molai keerai” or the “are keerai”, but I replicate this recipe with collard greens. spinach or even broccolli.   When I was pregnant with S, my amma and patti would make keerai for me almost every alternate day. But one never gets bored as there are so many sides to go with it!!!

Keerai Molagootal is best served with “Chenai Arachu Kalakki”, or Vendekkai Thayir Pachadi, or Vendekkai/Kathirikkai Puli Pachadi, or Kadu Manga Arachu Kalakki or Inji Pulikachal or plain Lemon Pickle!!! Its the most versatile, easy, delicious and satvik preparation of spinach. .In fact many of my non-tamil  friends here swear by it.. Of course they have found a way to rehash it with lots more red chillis, buy hey…to each his own!!! Here is the recipe for you to try and relish.

INGREDIENTS:

Spinach          – A bunch/A box. Can also use the aforementioned “keerais” or the collard greens too!)

Toor Dal         – Cooked and mashed – 1/2 cup

Salt                   – To Taste.

Jeera               – A spoon

Coconut           – 5 Tbsps

Frying:

Broken Urad Dhal   – 2 Tsp

Red Chillis                  – 3 -4

PREPARATION:

  • Clean the spinach and cook in the microwave/stove with a few drops of water for 4 mins and grind to a fine paste.
  • Clean and cook the toor dhal so its mushy.
  • Roast the urad dhal and red chillis in a spoon of oil till the urad browns and set aside to cool.
  • Grind the urad dhal and red chilli with the coconut and jeera with a little water to a fine paste.
  • Take the kadai and simply pour the spinach paste, add salt and allow to cook.
  • Slowly stir in the ground coconut paste and mix well.
  • After a few minutes add the mushy toor dhal along with the water. Mix well now with a ladle and make sure that the whole mixture has a sambar like pouring consistency.
  • Season in a spoon of coconut oil (optional) with mustard and broken urad dhal.
  • Serve HOT with Vadu Maanga or Vendekkai Pachadi. or Nelikkai Oorga.
  • Hint:

Since there is a lot of caution on using coconuts, please feel free to vary this recipe by slightly increasing the toor dhal and reducing the coconut to that extent. The consistency has to be maintained as this is not as free flowing as rasam.

Keerai Molagootal & Nelikkai Oorga.
Keerai Molagootal & Nelikkai Oorga.

Snacks & Tiffin Items

Pidi Kozhukattai – Steamed rice dumplings.

Pidi Kohakattai with Tomato Gravy.
Pidi Kohakattai with Tomato Gravy.

Pidi Kozhukattai is one of the oldest tiffin items that I remember my grandmother Maduraiamma making for me when I would come from school all hungry and ravenous. I would be waiting to eat the lovely white steaming hot balls of rice, smelling of hing and coconut and  smother it well with her delicious  Molagai Podi dripping with Idhayam gingely oil. YUM!!!  Of course Madurai amma was always liberal with her use of coconut oil and coconut, but what I use is a definitely calorie scaled down version of the same. It`s very fast and simple and needs very little time for preperation. This is her recipe which she passed on to me through my amma, and here it goes for all of you…:)

INGREDIENTS:

Boiled Rice          -2 cups

Coconut               – 1/4 cup

Salt, Hing.

Seasoning:

Urad Dhal, Bengal Gram, Mustard, Curry Leaves,  Red Chillis.

PREPARATION:

  • Soak boiled rice for two hours along with 2 green chillis.
  • Grind coarsely in the mixie along with salt and green chiilis adding only adequate water.
  • Add 2-3 spoons of oil to a kadai. Then slowly add the urad dhal and  bengal gram and allow to wallow for a few seconds. When you begin to see them browning, add quickly the mustard and allow to splutter and finally add  the curry leaves, red chillis and hing.
  • Immediately add the ground rice mixture and the dessicated coconut to the seasoning in the kadai. Keep stirring for a few minutes till you see the rice mixture slowly getting cooked and growing harder.
  • When you find it comes to a soft “upma” consistency, switch off the stove.
Dumplings rolled and ready to be steamed.
Dumplings rolled and ready to be steamed.
  • Grease the idli plates and shape this “upma”  in to balls with your palms. Arrange the balls on the plates and stack the plates one above the other.
  • Steam the kozhukattais in the cooker just like the idlis – Switch on the stove on max till you see full steam and then simmer for 8 mins.
  • Switch off and allow to cool for 2-3 mins as the steam may harm your fingers.
  • Remove from plates and serve HOT with molagai podi or tomato chutney or hot tomato gravy.

Hint: This could be made more healthier by additionally soaking 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats along with the rice.  The oats does not alter the taste but you also get your daily dose of fibre. Another option is to add “Flax Seed” or Powdered Flax.

This is another of my entry to Monthly Mingle – Ravishing Rice started by Meetha.