Italian Cuisine.

Pasta Sauce….

Many of my friends who try out my italian want to know whats the best pasta sauce that should be used ? Should it be made from scratch? Or should it be store bought? Well, I feel that there is no comparison to making your own pasta sauce from scratch. I love making my own pesto and marinara sauces. But basil is a litte hard to come by in this season. I normally buy a box of fresh organic basil from Trader Joe`s for the best pesto sauce. In times of non-availability, the store bought one should do…

Mezzetta - Napa Valley Bistro - Roasted Arrabita.

These days Walmart stocks a variety of pasta sauces – Emeril, Newman etc. But my favourite is the Mezzetta Naps Valley Bistro`s sauces in my vegetarian flavours – Mediterranenan Olive, Homemade Style Marinara & Roasted Arrabiata. The Pesto sauce from Trader Joe`s is also a personal favourite.

Bon Appetit!!!

Poriyals / Kootu Varieties.

Cabbage & Peas Poriyal.

Cabbage & Peas Poriyal
Cabbage & Peas Poriyal

Cabbage,as a vegetable  is an excellent source of Vitamin C. It also contains significant amounts of glutamine, an amino acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties, and an excellent source of dietary fibre. Cabbage as a vegetable was very common in my household. Probably thats why I was not a great fan of it. To make it a little more interesting my mami would add peas to the cabbage liberally. I am posting this as part of “Everyday Samayal”.

INGREDIENTS:

Cabbage          –  1/2 sliced and chopped in to small pieces.

Peas                   –  1/4 cup.

Coconut           – 2 spoons

Green Chilli    – 1 or 2

Salt, Hing.

Seasoning:

Urad Dhal, Mustard, Curry Leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Place a kadai on the stove. Add 2 spoons of oil and when warm, slowly add urad dhal.  When it starts to brown, add the mustard and curry leaves.
  • Slowly add the cabbage and the peas and stir in well. Add salt, hing.
  • Cover and cook for ten mins or as long as the cabbage is well cooked.
  • Quickly pulse in the mixer 2 green chillis and coconut.
  • Add to the cabbage and mix in well.
  • Serve HOT with Drumstick sambar or Pavakkai Pitlae.
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Life Outside…

This morning was a little choatic after a lovely day home with my daughter yesterday as the schools here were closed on account of snow. Its always a little more difficult when you get a day off from daily routine, during the midweek….Anyways, S showered and dressed and grudgingly drank up her Ragimalt.  She does have a bone with the Ragimalt drink. She wants Bournvita every single tme she drinks her milk!!!

Outside my patio...
Outside my patio...

When dad and daughter left for school, I stole a minute to go to the patio to drink in the beauty of the morning. Still, around me, not even a whisper of wind…White..Even the lake ahead of my patio, had some how gotten drawn in to the cold of the morning and frozen!  Lovely moment, me and the white of the snow. …Should I take a walk there? I was wildly contemplating, when S called to say that schools were closed and they were on the way home…oh well…its another day !

Kerala / Palakkad Recipes. · Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Pavakkai Pitlae.

Pavakkai-pitlae

Definitely an acquired taste, bitter gourd (Latin Momordica charantia) is also called Balsam pear or bitter melon. Young immature bitter gourds are the best for cooking: the skin is bright green in color, the flesh inside is white, and the seeds are small and tender.Bitter gourd contains vitamin A, B1, B2, and C. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper and potassium.It helps purify blood tissue, enhances digestion, and stimulates the liver.

When I was a small girl, I used to watch my grandfather have his daily dose of this bitter vegetable and wonder why he would even want to try?? He was a diabetic, but a very strict person in his diet. You could not tempt him to eat anything that he did not want to. As a rule, there were no exclusions for any of us, kids to avoid any vegetables. No matter what is cooked, had to partaken by all of us. That way, I would also get a small dash of the pavakkai from my mami, as she had to play with the rules. Nevertheless, I knew she would just dollop a little as she knew how much I hated it. As days went by, I actually started liking this vegetable..Although Madurai appa left us in 1995, I still remember him everytime I eat this vegetable, in whatever form I make it.

Today as I had saved a little after making the Pavakka fry, I decided to make the Pitlae. I am guessing this is the “Pal Brahm” way of doing it, but I can never be too sure. It`s simple and easy and very good for health.

INGREDIENTS:

Bitter Gourd          – 1/2 de-seeded and chopped.

Tamarind              – 11/2 cups of juice extracted.

Toor Dhal              – Cooked 1/4 cup

Turmeric               – A pinch.

Salt, Hing, Curry Leaves

To Roast in Oil:

Bengal Gram          – 2 spoons

Pepper                 – 8-10

Red Chillis             – 3-4.

Coconut                – 1/4 cup.

PREPARATION:

  • Take a kadai and pour a spoon of oil, when warm add mustard and allow to splutter.
  • Add curry leaves and immediately the chopped bitter-gourd and allow to saute for 3-4 mins.
  • We do this to get a better flavour as well as to slightly tone down the bitterness of the bitter-gourd.
  • Now add the extracted tamarind juice.
  • Add sufficient salt, hing, and turmeric and allow to boil on medium heat.
  • Roast the aforementioned ingredients in oil and grind to a smooth paste with water and set aside.
  • When the tamarind mixture along with the vegetable is reduced by 1/3`rd, and when you feel that the raw smell is done with, add the ground paste, along with the cooked toor dhal.
  • Stir well and allow to boil. Finally add curry leaves and a chopped cilantro.
  • Serve Hot with your favourite side dish or Cabbage Poduthuval.