Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Elai Adai




Elai adai is a traditional kerala dish made on special occasions. Rice batter is stuffed with sweet filling of coconut, jaggery, jack fruit, folded in banana leaf and steamed to perfection.  Some people also call it "Valsan". I did not have fresh jack fruit and hence used a table spoon of chakka varatti which I got from India. You can omit this jack fruit and just do with coconut alone. I added some cashews just to give a nice texture and crunch to the poornam. You can see the display of my sweet at the contest, as I did not have time to take close up pictures.

I recently participated in a desert contest where the ingredient that need to be used was rice. I made elai adai and it came out very well and liked by many. I got this recipe from my chithi/ aunt and would like to thank her for encouraging me to do this. One can also use savory filling instead of he sweet one. I made one with sauted onions, corn and zucchini and steamed in banana leaf and it was yummy too.

Get Ready

To make  the rice batter


  • 1/2 cup raw rice ( ponni raw rice)
  • 1/2 cup parboiled rice ( puzhungal arisi)


Soak the rice in water for at least 3-4 hrs. drain the water and grind them into a very smooth batter without much water. set aside. The batter should be  like the consistency of pancake / idli batter.
Take a tbsp of the batter and add 3-4 tbsp of water in a vessel. Cook on a low flame stirring till the thin rice batter water mix becomes a thick paste or " kanji" like. See the consistency of the batter in the picture.
Let it cool completely and add it to the rice batter. whisk it well without any lumps and set aside. This step will help your outer covering of the adai stay soft for a long time. 

To make the poornam /stuffing


  • 1 cup grated jaggery/ vellam
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp  whole cashews, broken into small bite size pieces, roasted golden in ghee
  • 1 tsp ghee
In a pan add the jaggery and add water just enough to soak the jaggery.


let the jaggery melt, strain the mixture to remove any dirt.
Return the jaggery water mixture to the stove and let it come to a frothing boil and thick.


Add a drop of the frothing " paagu" to a small bowl of water, you should be able to make a small ball, which will be like the consistency of slime.


Add the coconut, cardamom, cashew pieces and ghee and cook till the stuffing is sticky but also leaves the side of the pan. Turn the heat off & set aside. you can add  1tbsp chakka varatti at this point and mix. This step is optional. Now the poornam is ready.

To make the adai

Banana leaves  rectangular pieces at least 20- 25 cm long. If the leaves are older, it is better to fold them. if you have fresh leaves, just show them on the flame of your gas stove. This is called " elaya vattaradhu". This step will make the leaves more pliable to fold.
Add a small ladle of the rice batter at the center of the banana leaf. Spread it thinly like a small dosa. This is called " maavu ezhudharadhu".


Add a spoon of the  poornam to one side of the rice batter.


 Fold the banana leaf in half. Fold the all sides and flip and keep them aside with the folded side down. 


Arrange these in a idli plate and steam in  the cooker (without weight) for 20 mins. Once steamed, the banana leaf will change color. You can see how I had folded the leaf. By this, the poornam get smeared all over the rice flour.



Once cool, open the leaf packet and enjoy the elai adai. It will taste so good with the smell of banana leaf, jaggery, coconut etc.

Here is a picture of he savory elai adai, opened.







Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cranberry Avakka/ Avakkaya




A bag of bright red/ burgundy cranberries always beckon me at the supermarket aisles. The sour, tart flavor makes me think " Hmm.. I can do something interesting with this cute little thing than make a relish!" During my recent shopping, this thought made me pick a bag of cranberries.

 My friend gave me a bottle of cranberry pickle last year. She made the pickle in avakka style I love mango avakka and could not wait to try the cranberry avakka with some curd rice. It was delectable and I instantly loved it. I have wanted to make some by myself and the recent availability of fresh cranberries in the market encouraged me to do so. I asked my friend for the recipe and she was nice to share it with me. I made it last week and it came out pretty good. So, here is the recipe for cranberry avakka.

Avakka is a delicacy from the state of Andhra. Ava means mustard seeds and kai means mangai or raw mango.

The rule of thumb for the spice mixture for avakkaya is 8 measure of cranberry, 1 measure of salt, 1 measure of red chilli powder, 1/2 measure of mustard seed powder and 1 measure of oil. I used a large ladle and measured everything with that. You can use any measuring cup you you want. Adjust salt and red chilli powder as per taste.

There is no cooking involved except for roasting the vendhayam/ fenugreek. The ground cranberries give a little more " vizhudhu" for the pickle as they do not ooze as much liquid as mangoes. This is one of the easiest pickles to make and it tastes finger licking good.



Get ready


  • 1 , 12 oz bag of fresh cranberries ( 1.5 cups)
  • Salt
  • Mustard seeds, powdered ( without roasting)
  • Red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Fenugreek seeds, roasted and powdered
  • oil ( I used canola oil, you can use gingelly or vegetable oil too)


Go


  • Wash the cranberries and let it air dry completely on a towel. You do not want any moisture. It may take 2-4 hrs for it to dry out completely.
  • Pick out those cranberries which are soft and squishy and set aside . You want firm cranberries for the pickle.

  • Cut the firm berries in half or quarter depending on the size of your berries.


  • Take the soft cranberries and pulse them in a blender for a few seconds.
  • In a bowl add the chopped cranberries, pulsed berries, salt, red chilli powder, mustard seeds powder, roasted fenugreek powder, oil and mix well.

  • The oil should be  floating on top of the berries and that is the adequate amount of oil one needs for the pickle.

  • Adjust salt per taste and transfer it to a clean air tight bottle.
Enjoy this avakka with rice, dal, molagootal and  yogurt.

If you like garlic, you can a few cloves and pulse it with the soft cranberries. It takes the taste to another yummy level.



Friday, October 21, 2016

Bell pepper rice / Capsicum Rice





Recently, I made this bell pepper rice for navarathri pooja get together. It is very simple and easy to put together. My daughter who is not a big fan of bell pepper ate this rice without much complaints.let us go straight to the recipe.

Get ready


  • 1 green bell pepper / capsicum washed and diced small
  • 2-3 table spoon oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp tamarind paste ( optional)
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds/ kadugu
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • A few sprigs of curry leaves
  •  1 cup of rice , cooked separately and cooled


To roast & grind


  • 1 table spoon dhania / coriander seeds
  • 1 table spoon Chana dal / kadalaparuppu
  • 2 dried red chili
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds / jeera
  • 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
  •  2 cloves
  • 1-2 table spoon dried coconut
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida


Go


  • Cook rice, spread it on a plate to cool and set aside.
  • In a pan add little oil and fry all the ingredients except dried coconut & asafetida.
  • Once cool, grind them into a coarse powder. To this powder add the coconut and asafetida mix and set aside.
  • In a pan, add the oil. Once hot add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the urad dal and fry till golden. Add the curry leaves and sauté for few seconds.
  • Add the diced bell pepper , salt mix and cook till the peppers are a little soft but still a little crunch.
  • Add tamarind if using, adjust salt as per your taste.
  • Once the peppers are done, add the ground powder to the peppers and cook on aloe flame till all the flavors and masala gets incorporated in the pepper.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • In a wide mouthed bowl, take the rice add 1 table spoon of oil to the rice.
  • Add the cooked bell pepper masala and toss them with the rice till every rice is coated with the masala. Mix gently so you don't make the rice mushy .
  • Garnish with cilantro if you like it.
  • Serve with raita, applam, chips and enjoy!


Friday, September 30, 2016

Oven baked Karela/ Oven baked Bitter Melon





I have posted couple of karela / pagakka recipes Stuffed karela, karela fry

This recipe was shared by my friend, and I have tried it couple of times and comes out very tasty. I have used 6 small karelas. There is no recipe as such, the addition of all masala powders are per your taste. Me and my husband really enjoyed this and.




Get ready:


  • 5-6 karelas washed


For the marinade:


  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 -2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1-2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp amchur powder (optional)
  • Juice from 1/2 lime
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


Go


  • Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush a table spoon of oil. Set this aside.

  • Scrape / peel the outer ridges of the karela. You can omit this step if you don't care for a little more bitterness. You can either discard the scrapings or use it in the marinade as well.
  • Cut the karelas in half and scoop out the seeds using a spoon.

  • Cut the karelas in thin circles.

  • In a bowl add the circular slices of karela, all the ingredients  under marinade and toss them all well with clean hands. You want the marinade to fully coat the karelas.
  • Adjust salt and spices as per taste.

  • Cover this and let it marinate on the counter for 20-30 mins
  • Spread the karelas on the lined baking sheet and bake them for 20-30 mins or until crisp.
  • Remove from the oven and serve. If you want crispier, let the karelas sit in the oven for few more minutes after you turn the oven off.


Tastes great with rice, by itself as a munching snack and with yogurt.

Try this and tell me if you like it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Peanut Chaat / Peanut Salad







I made this quick and easy salad when my best friend came over for lunch. It is full of protein and very tasty too. Me and my friend had planned some physical activity that day and this power packed salad did help us to keep going! But, this definitely is not the thing if you have peanut allergies.

A perfect snack or a meal by itself for you all to enjoy! One can add other vegetables of your choice like cucumbers, bell peppers, roasted corn, cubed and boiled potatoes. You can also add some paneer and crumbled feta if you are a cheese lover.

Get Ready


  • 1 cup raw peanuts
  • 1/2 mango peeled & diced
  • 2 carrots finely chopped
  • 3 green onions chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ginger grated
  • 1 tomato, remove pulp and chopped
  • 2 jalapeños thinly sliced ( keep seeds if you want some heat)
  • 1/2 tsp chaat masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Lots of chopped cilantro
  • Lemon/ lime wedges to serve
  • Thin sev for garnishing.


Go



  • Soak the peanuts in water for 1 hr and pressure cook with little salt for 3-4 whistles. Once the pressure cooker cools, drain the water from the peanuts and set aside.
  • Prep all your veggies. Chop them in the same size as your peanuts .
  • In a bowl, add the peanuts, chopped vegetables, salt, chaat masala and toss them well.
  • Adjust salt and chaat masala as per your taste.
  • Cover and refrigerate .
  • Before serving, squeeze a little lime juice from a wedge and garnish with sev, mint chutney or serve just like that and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Thayir Vada / Dahi vada



Thayir vadai is a classic dish of the south! I made them recently for a get together and the vadas were absolutely melt in your mouth type. It is very easy and quick to make. Try them and enjoy with your family!


Get Ready


  • 1 cup whole urad dal, washed and soaked in water for 4 hrs
  • 1 tbsp of raw rice ( soak it with the urad dal)
  • Oil to deep fry
  • A few sprigs of curry leaves
  • A bowl warm warm 

For the thayir/ dahi


  • 1-2 cups of plain yogurt ( preferably the ones that is not sour)
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated coconut or frozen grated coconut
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • 3/4 jalpeno chopped
  • salt to taste
  • Plenty of cilantro finely chopped
  •  finely grated carrots 1/4 cup
  • Nylon sev/ Bhoondhi ( store bought)


GO


  • In a blender pulse the coconut, green chilli, and ginger.
  • Add this to the yogurt with required amount of salt and whisk them well. Keep it aside.If it is too thick add a little water.

  • In a wet grinder add very little water at a time and grind the urad dal till nice and fluffy. use ice cold water while grinding the urad dal. using ice cold water is more useful if you are using a regular blender.
  • Add some asafetida, few torn curry leaves and required salt to the urad dal batter. heat oul and make them into small vadas. if you are having trouble mkaing holes in the vada, add them just like round balls and deep fry them till they are golden. Fry all the vadas and set aside.
  • Add the fried vadas to a bowl of water. Let them sit for a 5-6 secsonds. With the back of 2 spoons, squeeze the water from the vadas and arrange them in the bowl you are going to serve. use a wide pan.
  • Once all the vadas are arranged, pour the yogurt that you have mixed on top of the vadas.
  • Garnish with cilantro, carrot etc and keep refrigerated.
  • Before serving add the sev/ bhoondhi.

Let me know if you try it and like it!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Cauliflower quick sabzi





Cauliflower is a favorite vegetable in our household. Here is a very easy and quick recipe to do any time and enjoy with the family. I have made it with no onion or garlic. But, you can add onion, garlic and other vegetables like cubed potatoes, carrots and peas to the cauliflower.
Try it and let me know if you and your family liked it.

Get ready


  • 1 cauliflower washed and separated into small florets
  • 1/2 can hunt's tomato sauce ( or any tomato purée)
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger ( optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp jeera/ cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • 2 tsp coriander powder / dhaniya powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Generous amount of chopped cilantro
Go

  • In a thick bottomed pan, add the oil. When oil is hot do the tadka with the jeera and grated ginger
  • Once the jeera crackles, add the tomato puree. Be careful as it will splutter everywhere. Cover for a few seconds.
  • Open the lid, add the turmeric powder, dhaniya powder ,asfafetida, garam masala to the tomato puree and mix.

  • Cook the tomato puree covered for 3-5 mins.
  • Add the cauliflower florets, salt to taste and toss the cauliflower well in the tomato mixture till all pieces are coated.

  • Reduce flame, and cook the cauliflower covered. The florets will get cooked in the steam.

  • Open lid and stir intermittently so the cauliflower does not get burnt. If it gets too dry, sprinkle some water, cover and cook.
  • Once you cook the cauliflower to the desired consistency, open lid and cook for few more minutes
  • Add the cilantro and turn the heat off.


Serve with rice, paratha or roti and enjoy.

Cauliflower quick sabzi





Cauliflower is a favorite vegetable in our household. Here is a very easy and quick recipe to do any time and enjoy with the family. I have made it with no onion or garlic. But, you can add onion, garlic and other vegetables like cubed potatoes, carrots and peas to the cauliflower.
Try it and let me know if you and your family liked it.

Get ready


  • 1 cauliflower washed and separated into small florets
  • 1/2 can hunt's tomato sauce ( or any tomato purée)
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger ( optional)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp jeera/ cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp asafetida
  • 2 tsp coriander powder / dhaniya powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Generous amount of chopped cilantro
Go

  • In a thick bottomed pan, add the oil. When oil is hot do the tadka with the jeera and grated ginger
  • Once the jeera crackles, add the tomato puree. Be careful as it will splutter everywhere. Cover for a few seconds.
  • Open the lid, add the turmeric powder, dhaniya powder ,asfafetida, garam masala to the tomato puree and mix.

  • Cook the tomato puree covered for 3-5 mins.
  • Add the cauliflower florets, salt to taste and toss the cauliflower well in the tomato mixture till all pieces are coated.

  • Reduce flame, and cook the cauliflower covered. The florets will get cooked in the steam.

  • Open lid and stir intermittently so the cauliflower does not get burnt. If it gets too dry, sprinkle some water, cover and cook.
  • Once you cook the cauliflower to the desired consistency, open lid and cook for few more minutes
  • Add the cilantro and turn the heat off.


Serve with rice, paratha or roti and enjoy.