Pickles & Thokku.

Quick Pickle with Granny Smith Apples – Spicy & Tart !!!

Apple Pickle.

Mangoes are all time love for me and my sisters. Summers are never fun or complete without having juicy ripe mangoes, and  a book to read, lazing beneath the trees, on cool breezy summer afternoons. Summers have always brought back memories of mangoes, both ripe and raw – specially for making pickles and storing them in jars, for the entire year`s supply. I love making Mangaa Curry with raw mangoes  that we get from the stores. Sometimes a nice snack, for movie time would be Yummy Mango Slices sprinkled with Niceness! When we got a bunch of granny smith apples, my first option was to make a pie. When the going gets tough, then I realise its time to shift gears and change plans so I decided to make a quick pickle with the tart apples. They  have little sweetness in them and are very tart, so they make a perfect pickle to enjoy with Gujarathi Khichdi or Yoghurt Rice.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Fresh Granny Smith Apple.

1 tsp Salt.

1/8 Tsp  of Hing.

1 Tsp Heaped Red Chilli Powder.

1/4 Tsp Turmeric.

Seasoning:

Oil, Mustard seeds, curry leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Remove the core from the apples and cut them in to fine pieces and transfer to a glass container.
  • Add salt, turmeric, hing and red chilli powder to the apple slices.
  • Heat a spoon of oil in a seasoning kadai.
  • Add mustard seeds and when it pops and little hing and curry leaves.
  • Drop this seasoning on to the spiced apple slices and mix well.
  • Enjoy this delicious pickle with yoghurt rice.

 

 

Easy LunchBox Series. · Snacks & Tiffin Items

Stuffed Bread Rolls – Quick Fix Lunch Box for Kids!

 

Stuffed Breaad Rolls.

Quick fix snacks and lunch options have always been welcome everywhere and my home is no exception. A quick scan of the refrigerator and pantry is almost always the basis for deciding a side dish, a snack or sometimes even lunch options for the kids!  Every time I make a filling for a “roti” it doubles up as a stuffing in a bread or a kati roll. Sprucing up a “filling” with some spice powders almost always makes it for me. A dash of pav bhaaji masala or amchur transforms the original subzi on to a totally new avatar. This is one such idea that was borne out of a lazy monday morning and an idea in the back of my head, from whatever I could remember reading in an old Indian magazine. Its pretty much “do-your-own-thing-from-whats-in-the-pantry”  kind of a filling and it promises to be quick and easy and innovative!!!

 

INGREDIENTS:

4 Slices of Regular White Bread / Whole Wheat Bread.

1 Boiled Potatoe mashed.

Sweet Tamarind Chutney ( Use Ketchup if not available)

2 Slices of American Cheese. (Optionally use  Shredded Paneer / Cheddar Cheese ).

Pinch of salt.

Pinch of Punjabi Chaat Masala.

Cilantro to garnish.

PREPARATION:

  • Add a dash of oil in a kadai and drizzle some jeera. Immediately add the mashed alu and allow to mix well.
  • Smoosh the mix using the back of your ladle to get a smooth mixture. Now add a little salt, chaat masala and garnish with chopped cilantro. Set aside.
  • Slice out the corners from your bread slices and set them aside.
  • With the help of your rolling pin, flatten out each slice , making them stretched, soft and pliable. Sprinkle 2-3 drops of water to help if the bread is not fresh.
  • Now arrange them neatly one after the other.
  • Smear a spoon of sweet tamarind chutney on each of them to serve as a sticky base. I always have them stashed in my refrigerator for a quick dollop.
  • Use tomato ketchup if you run out of the sweet chutney.

  • Dabble the prepared alu stuffing on to the bread slices.
  • Add a lettuce leaf, and then the sliced / shredded cheese on top.
  • Slowly fold it so one edge is over the other and seal.
  • Place a tava on the stove and grease it with butter/ghee.

 

Stuffed Bread Rolls ready for getting shallow fried!
  • Saute the bread rolls on all sides until they turn a lovely golden brown.
  • Remove and serve warm with Sweet Chutney and lettuce garnish.

Chutneys / Thogayals & Podis.

Chettinad Onion Tomato Thokku – 5 Ingredients – 5 Steps!

 

Chettinad Onion Tomato Thokku

Its always a pleasure to cook with tomatoes as I love its versatility. From pasta sauces, to salsas, to pickles, to rasams,  and a strong base for so many gravies, tomatoes are a wonderful fruit. Rich in “Lycopene” there are loads of research linking Lycopene to anti cancer properties. This carotenoid found in tomatoes (and everything made from them) has been extensively studied for its antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. The antioxidant function of lycopene-its ability to help protect cells and other structures in the body from oxygen damage-has been linked in human research to the protection of DNA. Rich in anti-oxidant properties and good for your heart and an excellent anti-inflammatory properties.

This amazing onion tomato thokku was borne out an accident in my kitchen!!! Instead of adding “Rasam Powder” to my rasam which was in one stove, I added it to the kadai roasting onions and tomatoes for my chutney. The result was super yum and terrific!!!

INGREDIENTS:

1 Onion chopped.

3 Medium Tomatoes diced.

4 Dry Red Chillies.

5-6 Curry Leaves.

Salt.

1 Tsp Rasam Powder.

Seasoning:

Mustard Seeds, Broken Urad Dhal Seeds, Curry Leaves.

PREPARATION:

  • Heat oil in a kadai and when ready, add red chillies, curry leaves and the onions.
  • Saute well and then add the diced tomatoes and the 1  tsp of your favourite rasam powder  and cook until mushy.
  • Cool and grind the above ingredients in a mixer , adding required salt . Use little or no water. Set aside.
  • In the same kadai add seasoning ingredients – Mustard seeds, Broken Urad Dhal seeds and curry leaves and add the ground paste.
  • Saute until the oil seperates from the thokku and store in a glass jar. Use as chutney or pickle whichever suits you best!

Serves as an excellent side for Plain Dosa, Oats Idlis, Cracked Wheat Khichdi, Adai or even delicious curd rice. Give me thick curd rice and this pickle any day!

 

Dosa with Chettinad Onion Tomato Thokku

HINTS:

  • The ground paste itself serves as a quick chutney as its already made with roasted ingredients. Sauteing it in the oil again simply pulls out all the moisture and gives it a longer shelf life.
  • Alternatively add a handful of chopped corriander for an even better taste completely different from what you get here. But you know me, I love my tomatoes any day!
  • Similarly add  a bunch of diced mint leaves for a totally new avatar of this chutney.
Naivedhyams/ Festival Offerings. · Sweets

Badam Halwa (Dense Confection made with almonds sugar and saffron)

A high-fat food that’s good for your health? That’s not an oxymoron, its almonds. Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the same type of health-promoting fats as are found in olive oil, which have been associated with reduced risk of heart disease. In addition to their cholesterol-lowering effects, almonds’ ability to reduce heart disease risk may also be partly due to the antioxidant action of the vitamin E found in the almonds, as well as to the LDL-lowering effect of almonds’ monounsaturated fats. (LDL is the form of cholesterol that has been linked to atherosclerosis and heart disease). There is a constant need to increase the “protien” content in a vegetarian`s diet as it does NOT include chicken or fish. Well,  Almonds are concentrated in protein. A quarter-cup contains 7.62 grams-more protein than is provided by the typical egg, which contains 5.54 grams. Now how cool is that?  Munch an almond the next time you feel hungry and crave for fried snack and watch your waistline plummet.

Badam Halwa has been the most favourite sweet that we make during festivals like Deepavali. Amma makes it every year around and I love the way she makes it in the shape of little diamonds that are a little harder than my version. I love the Badam Halwa from Sree Krishna Sweets, redolent in a coral- tangerine color  with the  addition of delicate saffron strands, in a smooth scoopable consistency.  There are many interesting anecdotes with Sree krishna sweets, but that we shall keep for another day!!

INGREDIENTS

1 Cup Badam.

1 Cup Sugar.

Saffron

Water to dissolve sugar.

1/2 Cup Milk.

Vanilla Essence.

1/4 Cup Ghee.

two drops rose essence.

PREPARATION:

  • Soak a pinch of saffron strands in warm milk for a couple minutes.
  • Take a wide mouthed pan and add 3 cups of water and allow to boil.
  • Measure out one cup of almonds and add to the water. After 5-7 minutes switch off the flame and keep covered.
  • When sufficiently cooled, peel  out the almonds and puree to a smooth paste with the milk. Add the milk slowly and not at one go.
  • Use a heavy bottomed pan for making the halwa.
  • Measure out the required sugar and add just enough water to cover it and set on the stove.
  • When the sugar has just melted, add the ground almond paste, saffron with the milk it was soaked in,  and incorporate the ingredients well.
  • Maintain  the flame on medium low with an eye on the halwa. This one requires constant attention.
  • After a good ten minutes or so, keep adding a spoon of ghee now and then and allow it to get absorbed by the halwa.
  • It might splutter now and then, but stirring the halwa, immediately brings this down.
  • When you start seeing the halwa leaving the edges, switch off the heat.
  • I had it to a scooping halwa consistency for one night and the next day it had considerably solidified to a beautiful creamy pliable texture.
  • I immediately used my cookie shapers and made them in to tiny little discs and decorated the little discs with delicate saffron strands.