My love with my silverware started actually after coming to the US. All my silverware that was bought during my wedding was locked and stored in safe keeping, getting tarnished with age and dust. When I saw my aunt and her impressive array of little silver articles that she beautifully uses for her pooja, I decided there was really no point in allowing them to simply stay put in locked draws! I brought them out and started using them in my everyday pooja and of course for special occassions like Navarathri, Pongal, Deepavali, Ganesh Chathurthi etc.
My initial attempts at keeping my silver intact was to use the lowly Colgate Paste. I would apply it to all my silver and then wash them with the vessel detergent and wipe them off to a polish. This of course, never took off the sulphides that were glued on to the silver. Then I tried using Rooperi, but the fumes from the chemicals was way too strong for me. Then I saw blogger friend Shanthi`s post on silver polishing and cleaning and I was struck with awe at the simplicity of it all…No fumes, no chemicals, no scouring, in all no sweat.
YOU WILL NEED:
A big pot of water.
10 – 12 pieces of Aluminium Foil.
2 Tbsp Baking Soda.
Soft Clean Cloth.
Take all your silverware and remove all traces of oil, kumkum etc with a soft tissue. Place them on a dry tray.
Keep a clean soft cloth ready for later use.
Try to use a pot exclusively for this purpose as this may leave some residue on the sides.
Bring a large pot of water to boil depending on the amount and size of the silverware that has to be polished.
Add baking soda and 10 – 1 pieces of torn aluminium foil. (Take a square piece of foil say as large as your palm spread out and tear it in to little pieces.)
Adjust the quantity of foil depending on the number of vessels to be polished.
In a few minutes, you will see that the parts that are immersed are bright and clean and sparkling almost like new.
Turn them around so that all parts of the vessel are completely immersed in the boiling water.
Spread out a large soft cloth on your counter and pull out each silver article carefully using a pairof tongs/ long ladle.
If needed you could scrub your vessels again with dishwash detergent.
In my case they were all squeaky clean and sparkling.
Wipe them down to remove all trace of moisture and when completely dry, store them in tightly wrapped cling film.
The next time you take them out for an occasion or a festival, they will sparkle like new.
Repeat once a month or whenever required.
The best part of this is that you use basic items found at home, free of obvious chemicals and fumes.
Especially easy for items with intricate filigree work.
Venthaya Kuzhambu itself is a pretty awesome preparation redolent with the aroma and flavour of roasted methi seeds. In this version, we take it a step further and add ghee roasted shallots taking it to a different plane altogether. How can it not be a killer of a recipe? Combine it with a lazy sunday morning, cold winter/rainy days, hot beans poriyal or Urulai Roast and appalam, and a great flick…What more can I say??? Try it and see for yourself. And mind you, it tastes even better on monday nights sitting and marinating in the self same spices for a whole day….And yes, you are welcome!!!
1 medium red onion diced small or a cup of shallots peeled.
1 1/2 – 2 cups tamarind juice extracted.
3-4 red chillies
1 spoon of bengal gram.
1 1/2 spoons of methi seeds.
1 Tsp Vathal Kuzhambu Powder/ Sambar Powder.
Salt according to taste.
A spoon of cooked toor dhal (Optional)
A spoon of rice flour.
Take a dry kadai and d ry roast the fenugreek on a medium low flame , until you smell the aroma of the seeds. Do not allow to brown too much. Powder in the mixer to a coarse powder and set aside.
Take a kadai, add a spoon of ghee and roast the shallots / diced onions until light brown. This partakes better flavour for the gravy. Set aside.
In the same kadai, use the remaining ghee and , add bengal gram, and 3-4 red chillies and allow to roast for a couple of seconds.
Now add the mustard and when it splutters, add the crushed curry leaves and immediately the tamarind juice.
Add salt, turmeric, ground methi seeds powder, hing , the ghee roasted shallots and allow to slowly boil on a medium low flame.
After about 20 minutes or so, when the gravy has been reduced, and becomes a little thick, reduce the flame.
Mix 1/3 cup of water in the spoon of rice flour and mix briskly to dissolve clots. Also add the spoon of cooked toor dhal to bring it to a smooth homogenous consistency.
Pour this in to the kadai and mix well and allow to boil for a few more minutes. (Consistency should be as shown in the pic.)
Delicious Vengaya Venthaya Kuzhambu is ready to be served with Beans Poriyal and Appalam.
A casual visit to my good friend Swapna`s home, led the way to the posting of this Guest Post on Anubhvati. Dear S had whipped up a spread for lunch, when we had joined her one lovely summer friday morning. The fragrance of this subzi tantalised my taste buds and I told her that she must must definitely post it for me on the GUEST POST series and she gladly obliged. She was sweet enough to take the pains to measure out her ingredients, although she is a person who eyeballs her stuff….and better still to actually take so many pictures, and send them to me. Thanks Swapna for this keeper recipe! The secret to this recipe I am guessing completely lies in the preparation of the Garam Masala. It has an aroma that preludes the taste that follows. A definite must try in my kitchen as well as yours!!!
1- Cauliflower cut in to big florets.
1 Medium Onion
1/2 cup Green Peas
3-4 Green Chillies
1/4 tsp Mustard
1/4 tsp Cumin
1/4 tsp Channa Dal
1/4 tsp Urad Dal
1 tsp Corriander Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric.
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
2 tsp Oil
1 tsp Garam Masala
Chopped Cilantro for garnishing.
INGREDIENTS FOR GARAM MASALA:
1 Tsp Cloves.
1 Tsp Dry Coriander seeds.
1 Tsp Cardamom Seeds.
1 Stick Cinnamon.
1 Tsp poppy seeds/khus khus.
Roast the Garam Masala Ingredients and grind to a smooth powder. Store in air tight container.
PREPARATION OF DRY SUBZI:
Heat the pan, add oil and when its hot put mustard,when they splatter add cumin,channa dal, and urad dal.
When urad dal and channa dal turns color, add the chopped onions and chillies. Add the cauliflower and mix..cook for 1-2 mins.
Add sufficient salt to it and “cover and cook ” the kadai on low flame.
When the veggies are almost cooked, add green peasand cook for a few more minutes.
Add cumin, coriander ,turmeric and red chilli powder and mix in all the spices well.
Add the freshly roasted and ground garam masala and cook for another couple minutes.
Turn off the heat and leave it covered, on the stovetop for while.
Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with rotis or rice.
Nei Appamand Uppappam are always welcome preperations in my mothers home. Somehow there is always an extra servings for the savouries, than the sweet version. Since I have a 6 year old, I always assumed she would like the sweet version, and so had soaked for Krishna Jayanthi, some rice for grinding and making Nei Appams, but she somehow was of the opinion that she preferred the salted version and the Lord would definitely like it too, as he was getting way too many sweets!!!
This used to be a favourite evening tiffin at my grandmother`s home, when she would make it, the aroma of chillies and ginger mingled with the aromas of the oil and hing etc would be simply awesome!!!
1 Cup Raw Rice soaked for 3 hours.
1/3 Cup Whole Urad Dhal soaked for 2-3 hours.
1 Inch Ginger shredded to very small pieces.
3-4 Green Chillies slit in to small pieces.
1/4 Cup of Fresh Coconut sliced in to very small pieces.
Handful of fresh curry leaves.
Salt to taste.
Wash the soaked rice well and grind in the mixer until its a smooth batter. Transfer to a bowl.
Grind the urad dhal until its well done and you get a smooth batter. Add it to the ground rice batter. Mix well.
Add sufficient salt to taste.
Add the chopped ginger, green chillies, coconut slices, torn curry leaves and hing and whisk lightly in to the batter. The consistency should be not too runny yet not too thick.
Take the Appa Karal and pour out enough oil in to all the little depressions.
When they are hot enough ladle out enough batter which would fill 80% of the depression. If you fill it all the way, the batter would seep out when its getting cooked/fried in the oil.
Allow it to fry well on one side and tip it over using a knife and a spoon to pry it out.
When it cooks well on both sides, use a knife/skewers to remove and place on a tissue to drain out the excess oil.
Tastes wonderful when accompanied with Tomato Thokku or Coconut Chutney, but I like it plain with the flavours of the ginger and green chillies, combined with the crunchiness from the little coconut pieces.
Sometimes, leftover Appams can harden a little so I serve it up by dunking it in fresh TOmato Rasam almost like Rasa Vadai.
The Urad Dhal provides the air and the sponginess in the Uppappam so its important that the urad dhal is soaked and ground well or you might not find the desired sponginess in the Appam once they are fried.
Every time I see Bechamel Sauce or white sauce, I always rememeber my favourite restaurant,Eden in Besant Nagar, Chennai. I loved two of their dishes…One was the Corn Florentine, which was simply beds of flavoured sweet corn languished in bechamel sauce, choked with cheese and sprinkled with a little pepper as I remember it…The other all time favorite dish was called “Vegetable Risotto” which was a small mound of rice pilaf flavored with mild spices, with steamed veggies spotted with crushed pepper powder, bathed in warm flavorful bechamel sauce in the center of this mound. You had to dig in to the rice, and it would slice out that little heaven of veggies in the white sauce from within and present itself to be sampled. I have never tried to recreate this dish as I am sure, I can never actually get it right…Although I often wonder why it was called Risotto, which is a small grained rice which is extremely sticky and starchy!!! My love for this bechamel sauce started right then and there and I wanted to capture its essence in this beautiful pasta dish, which is a twist on Giada`s!!!
2 Pounds Fresh Mushrooms ( I used a combination of cremini, baby bella and white button ).
1 Medium Red/White Onion.
3 Garlic Cloves.
1 Tsp Fresh/Dried Rosemary.
1 Tsp Fresh/ Dried Thyme.
1 Tsp All Spice.
1 Tsp Pepper.
Salt to taste
Pinch of Nutmeg.
1/2 Cup Smoked/Plain Mozarella.
1/3 Cup Sharp Cheddar/ Smoked Cheddar.
Parmesan Cheese to sprinkle.
Pinch of Paprika.
1 Pound of Multi Coloured/Plain Fusili Pasta. (Any pasta of your choice).
2 Tbsp Cup Margarine.
2 Tbsp Butter.
1/3 cup All Purpose Flour.
3 Cups 2% Milk.
Pinch of Nutmeg.
Wipe down each mushroom with a clean kitchen towel. Chop it in to 4 quarters. Set aside.
Chop the onions and garlic in to fine pieces.
In a skillet add a spoon on extra virgin olive oil and allow to heat a little. Add the diced onions and allow to sweat a little. Flavour with salt and pepper.
Add the diced garlic over the onions to prevent them from burning. When you smell the aroma of the garlic, its time to pop in the diced mushrooms.
Flavour with thyme, rosemary, paprika and a little more salt.
When the mushrooms sweat in a few minutes, switch off the flame.
In a large pot filled with water, add salt and a little oil before adding the pasta. Cook al dente and switch off the flame. Drain the water after saving half cup of the water in which the pasta was cooked.
Take a pan and add butter and then the flour. Using a whisk move it briskly to bring it to a thick gravy like consistency.
Now slowly add the milk and with the flame under medium, whisk the pot to allow the sauce to thicken.
Simmer and stir continuously over medium heat and do not allow the roux to boil as this might cause it to thicken way beyond the desired consistency.
After 6 minutes or so, you will see the sauce slowy thickening and coming together.
Add a pinch or so of nutmeg and stir in well.
When you dip a ladle in to the roux and you see a creamy coating, then its time to switch off the flame.
Add the grated smoked mozarella and smoked cheddar and watch the cheeses slowly melting in to the sauce and thickening more.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a rectangular greased baking pan, add the cooked pasta, bechamel sauce and the sauteed mushrooms. Stir in well and if you feel its a little thick, add some of the salted water in which the pasta was cooked.
Top the pan with a spattering of grated mozarella cheese and cook for about 10 – 12 minutes or until the cheeses get bubbly.
When cooled slice in to the pan, for some heaven and sit back and enjoy!!!
As always mentioned, I have an eternal love affair with the jackruit. I simply love the aroma it brings and the sweetness of the fruit revealed in its aroma. Everytime I visit Chicago, I make it a point to buy these juicy bulbs and enjoy them back home, simply eating them and getting back to heaven for a fleeting instant! This time around, I wanted to make this payasam with this sweet fruit and offer it as Neivedhyam to the Lord. It is a very simple preparation that hardly takes more than ten minutes…
10 numbers of ripe jackfruit bulbs.
2 Cups Milk.
1/4 Cup Light Coconut Milk. (Optional)
2 Tsp Fresh Coconut grated.
1/4 Cup Sugar.
1 Tsp Cardamom Crushed.
Handful of broken cashews.
Pinch of Saffron Strands.
Warm 1/2 cup of milk + 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk in the microwave. Soak the cashews and saffron strands in them and let them sit.
Wash the jackfruit bulbs clean and cook them in a little water for a few minutes, over the stove top.
Grind the cooked jackfruit with a little milk. Set aside.
In the same mixer jar, add the fresh coconut and the soaked cashew pieces. Grind to a smooth paste using little milk. Take care to grind the cashew and coconut well before adding all the milk that you have used to soak the cashews. When you use that much milk to grind, it only causes spillage and does not ensure the smooth grinding of the coconut.
In a heavy kadai, add the ground cashew coconut paste, jackfruit paste, remaining milk, sugar and crushed cardamom powder and allow to boil.
If you feel that the payasam consistency is a little thick, add a little more whole/2% milk to temper it.
Switch off when it comes to a boil and serve hot or chilled.