Thakali Rasam & Tested and tried Sandhya's Coriander Roti

Another lazy Sunday.. Another round of thinking what to do for Brunch....

So, I was sipping my coffee and staring out from my window at the Alps when I heard some rattling from the kitchen. Rest assured that I don't own cats, I took a peek and was surprised to see my darling hubby playing around with tomatoes and tamarind. A smile! and I understood that he had taken the responsibility of the day's cooking. What more could make you as happy as to see your loved one cooking for you! :)

So this rasam was prepared by none other than my loving V. For most of my blogger buddies, this recipe is a breeze and probably a "Is this a recipe at all?" question has already popped up. I am posting this for the benefit of absolute beginners and bachelors.

Here we go!!

Thakali Rasam
Serves 2
What we need:
Tomato, medium sized - 1
Tamarind extract - made from a marble sized tamarind ball
Rasam Powder - 2 tbsp.
Asafoetida - 2 pinch
Salt - as needed
Water - as needed
Coriander - for garnishing

For tempering:
Mustard - 1 tsp.
Cumin (Jeera) - 1tsp.
Ghee - 1 tbsp.
Asafoetida - a pinch
Curry leaves - a sprig

How to do:
1. Chop the tomatoes. Prepare the tamarind extract by squeezing the tamarind using a cup of warm water.
2. In a deep bottomed vessel, put the chopped tomatoes, tamarind extract, rasam powder, salt, asafoetida and stir well.
3. Keep in this medium-high flame, till it comes to a boil. Remove from flame and set aside.
4. In a small pan, heat ghee and add mustard. When it starts to pop, add cumin, asafoetida and curry leaves.
5. Add this tempering to the rasam and garnish with coriander.

Note: The most important thing about Rasam is the flavor. Do not let the rasam boil for more than once. It is the secret to retain the flavor.
Another secret to a lip-smacking rasam is Coriander and Asafoetida. Both these ingredients increase the flavor and taste by many-folds.

Tested and Tried:
Sandhya's Coriander Roti
Last Sunday, I tried out the Coriander Roti from Sandhya's Kitchen . The only change I did was to omit the green chillies and add Jeera instead of Ajwain. It was definitely worth the try and was a welcome change to an otherwise normal roti. As Sandhya had posted, it was also an effective way to use up all the drying Coriander. :)

Thanks again Sandhya , for sharing it with us! For the original recipe, please click here.

Rasam Podi

This is the rasam powder mix my mom and grandma makes. They have been following the ratio to book for years. All the measurements are rough and approximate, because we never measure it with a scale. Everything is "கை அளவு கண் அளவு" (Taken in hand, measured with eyes!!)But I sure can vouch for the taste, because it has come this way over a few years! :)

Rasam Powder
Basic Spice powder to make Rasam

What we need:
Red Chilli - 100g
Dhania - 50g
Peppercorn - 50g
Jeera - 50g
Fenugreek (Vendhayam) - 25g
Mustard - 2 tbsp.
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp.
Asafoetida - 1 tsp.
Curry leaves - a few sprigs

How to do:
1. Dry roast the mustard till it starts to pop. Remove and set aside.
2. Dry roast the fenugreek seends till it turns dark red. Remove and set aside.
3. Dry roast the dhania seeds till it starts emiting out a nice aroma. set aside.
4. Now add all the remaining ingredients (except turmeric powder and asafoetida) to the pan and roast well.
5. In a mixie, grind together all of them with turmeric powder and asafoetida to a fine powder.

Note: 1. It is important to roast Mustard and Fenugreek well (as in Step 1 and 2). Otherwise the rasam will taste bitter.
2. In order to make large batches, increase the quantity of ingredients propotionately.
3. Storing in an air-tight container preserves this powder along with its flavor for upto an year. You can use upto 2 tbsp. of this rasam powder to make 2 servings. Please do refer to my Thakali Rasam recipe for the procedure.

Panakam and Neer Mor - Neivedhyam

Neer Mor (Diluted Buttermilk) and Paanagam (Jaggery Juice) are definite Neivedhyam for Rama Navami.

Ram Navami or राम नवमी is celebrated marking the birth of Lord Rama, son of King Dasharatha of Ayodhya, and a divine figure in Hinduism believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The day also known as Sri Rama Navami, falls on the Navami, ninth day of the Chaitra month of Hindu lunar year in 'Shukla paksha' or waxing moon, thus named Chaitra Masa Suklapaksha Navami, and marks the end of nine-day Chaitra-Navratri celebrations.
Source: Wikipedia
This version of Neer mor is my favorite. It has a good cooling effect on the body. Probably that is the reason why it is served during Rama Navami festival that falls in April, which is the on-set of summer in India.

Source: Wikipedia
Panakam is the drink made from Jaggery seasoned with cardamom, ginger and pepper powder. It has high medicinal values too. So, these 2 are those refreshing drinks I would like to have in anytime of the year!

Neer Mor
Diluted Buttermilk
Serves 2
What we need:
Curd - 5 to 6 tbsp.
Water - 1 cup
Milk - 1/2 cup
Asafoetida - 2 pinch
Green Chilli - 2 or 3 tbsp., minced
Coriander - 3 to 4 tbsp.,minced
Grated ginger - 2 tbsp.
Salt - as needed
Grated Mango - 2 to 3 tbsp. Optional

How to do:
In a bowl, add curd, water, milk and whip well. Add all other ingredients, mix well and serve chilled. Stir well before drinking.

If you do not want to pick out the chillies, coriander or ginger, grind together all these ingredients and mix it with the buttermilk.

Spiced Jaggery Water
Serves 2

Trying to capture the reflection of Lord Rama in the panakam

What we need:
Jaggery powder - 5 to 6 tbsp. (or you can also grate pieces of Jaggery)
Pepper powder - 2 pinch
Cardamom powder - 1 tsp.
Grated Ginger or Dry Ginger powder (Chukku podi) - 3 tbsp.
Water - 2 cups

How to do:
In about half a cup of water, dissolve the jaggery. Drain to remove any impurities. Add water and mix all other ingredients. Serve chilled.

Now coming to the event part, this is the first event I am participating since I started blogging. Sending this entry to WYF: Festive Treat Event at Simple Indian Food

Buttermilk is lower in fat and calories than regular milk because the fat
from buttermilk has already been removed to make butter. It is high in
potassium, vitamin B12 and calcium. Buttermilk is more easily digestible
than whole milk and it also contains more lactic acid than skim milk.

Pori Upma / Mor moraalu Upma

It was one of those lazy monday morning when my mom-in-law and I were sitting across the dining table, in comfortable silence, sipping our morning coffee.

Me: What for breakfast ma?
MIL: Hmm... Shall I make Pori upma?
Me: Pori?? Oh, you mean Aval upma?
MIL: No, I mean Pori upma. I saw the packet of Pori you bought for Bhel Puri. I'll make Upma with that.
Me: Oh, I have never heard of it!! Err... Can I take a picture of it?
It was then I came to know this typical Andhra dish made with Pori (Tamil) or Bhel (Hindi) or Mora moraalu (Telugu) as it is called. Commonly known as Puffed rice, Pori is a staple food in many parts of North Karnataka, Bengal and Bangladesh.

Pori Upma
Puffed rice Upma
Serves 2

What we need:
Pori - 2 cups
Onion, medium sized - 1
Green Chilli - 1, minced
Potato, medium sized - 1, diced into small cubes
Ground nuts - a handful
Chana dal - 1 tbsp.
Mustard - 1 tbsp.
Cumin (Jeera) Seeds - 1 tbsp.
Curry leaves - 1 or 2 sprigs
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - 2 tbsp.
Coriander - for garnishing
Water - to sprinkle

How to do:
1. Heat oil in a pan, and add mustard and turmeric powder. When mustard starts to pop, add cumin and chana dal and groundnuts.
2. Whent the chana dal starts brown, add the onions, green chilli, and curry leaves. Add salt.
3. Cook till the onion turn soft. Now sprinkle some water in the bowl of Pori and mix well with your hand. Do not add too much water or else pori will become soggy.
4. Add the pori to the pan and mix well.
5. Remove from flame and garnish with fresh coriander.

This is a very light meal and doesn't need any side dish at all. But you can serve it with little yoghurt as an accompaniment.

Simple Mushroom Garlic Pasta

This is the dish I can't make anyone in my family eat. I don't know if it is Mushroom or the odd shape of pasta (!) that does the trick. Rarely have I come across vegetarians, who like Mushroom. Of late, as if making a survey, I have started questioning every vegetarian friend I meet, if he/she likes mushroom. I invariably end up with no company! So whenever I go to restaurants, I just can't order any mushroom dish for the sake of my companion. Phew! So much rambling for this little umbrella-shaped veggie, right?

Ever since I had tasted this pasta in Pizza Corner, I wanted to try it out at home but didn't know the recipe though. So what? I once again transformed my avatar (into a Chef!) and experimented. The result was worth it too!

Mushroom Garlic Pasta
Pasta cooked in White Mushroom Garlic sauce
Makes 1 Portion

What we need:
Pasta (Fussilli, Macaroni or Spaghetti) - 2 cups
Mushroom - 100 g
Onion, medium sized- 1, finely chopped
Garlic - 2 to 3 pods, minced
Pepper powder - 2 tbsp.
Salt - as needed
Fresh (heavy) cream - 3 to 4 tbsp.
Flour - 1 tbsp., heaped
Water - as needed
Butter/Oil - 2 tbsp.

How to do:
1. Cook the pasta according to instructions on the packet. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat oil in a wok or pan. Add the onions, garlic and half of the salt.
3. When the onions turn soft, throw in some pepper powder and mix well.
4. Dissolve a tbsp of flour in 2 tbsp of water. Whip well to dissolve all the lumps. Add the flour paste and half a cup of water to the pan.
5. Mix well. When it starts to boil, add the pasta and salt as needed.
6. Keep stirring to coat the pasta with the mixture. Now add the cream.
7. Stir well and let it sit on low flame for 2 to 3 minutes.

Suggested serving: With Garlic bread.

Thakali Thokku

I have clearly been smitten by the Tomato Bug. Yeah, in a week's time, I have made both tomato chuntey and thokku and here I am, blogging the same.

Those big ripe tomatoes in the fresh produce section always leaves me buying about 1 kg everytime. And in the home of 2, 1 kg of tomato lasts forever......! And tomato is not a clear winner in V's palates. So thsi time, instead of finding its way to the trash, all those ripe tomatoes got themselves chopped and made into Thokku, which luckily could be kept for 3 to 4 days in fridge. This is my mom's version and utterly delicious.

Thakali Thokku
Tomato chutney (Pickle style)

What we need:
Ripe Tomatoes - 3 to 4
Salt - as needed
Mustard - 1 tbsp.
Chana dal (Kadalai paruppu) - 2 tbsp.
Cumin (Jeera) - 1 tbsp.
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Sesame (Gingely) Oil - 4 to 5 tbsp.

How to do:
1. Wash and roughly chop the tomatoes. Heat oil in a kadai and drop in the mustard and asafoetida.
2. When it starts to crackle, add cumin and chana dal.
3. Once they are done, add the chopped tomatoes. Add salt, chilli powder and turmeric powder.
4. Keep mixing occasionally. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes for the tomatoes to get cooked.
5. When the oil starts to separate, remove from flame.

Serve with Idlis, Dosa, Chapati. You can store this in refridgerator for upto a week.

Spicy Tangy Tomato Chutney

There are numerous ways of making tomato chutney - with onions, garlic, tamarind, coconut, coriander... every twist is a new taste.

This Chutney is a combo with rice, but it makes a good partner with idlis and dosas as well. My MIL makes this often and it is always my favorite. 2 reasons.. One because of the simplicity. It hardly takes 10 minutes to make this. Second, I like the raw taste of tomato. Yes, the reason being tomato is cooked as whole.. No cutting or chopping!! So if you can't stand the raw smell of tomato, I am afraid, this chutney will be a disappointment. Of course, you can add variations like grinding a pod of garlic or a few red chillies. But please do not chop the tomato or you'll miss the authentic taste of this lip-smacking recipe. When I say lip-smacking, I bet you'll!!

Spicy Tangy Tomato Chutney
Serves 2

What we need:
Tomato, big - 1
Green chilli - 1
Salt - as needed
Oil - 2 tbsp.
Broken Urad dal - 1 tsp.
Cumin (Jeera) seeds - 1 tsp.
Mustard - 1 tsp.

How to do:
1. Break the green chilli into 2 pieces.
2. Heat a tbsp of oil in a kadai. Drop the tomato and green chilli into the kadai. Pour hot oil from the kadai over the tomato. Close with a lid
3. Let it cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the tomato to other side and leave it again for 3 to 4 minutes.
4. Remove from flame and let this cool for a while. Coarsely blend them together with salt.
5. Heat oil in a smaller pan and add mustard. When it starts to pop, add cumin and broken urad dal. Add the tempering to the chutney.

Serve with rice and papad or with dosa and idly.

Peas Pulav

While Potatoes top the charts in my home, Peas comes next. A pod that never lets me down, a pod that never fails!! It was yet another time of scratching the brain for a dinner menu when the packet of frozen peas came to rescue. Now since I don't have a story to ramble on, we go directly to our recipe

Peas Pulav
Basmati rice cooked with peas and mild spices
Serves 2

What we need:
Peas - 1 cup
Basmati Rice - 1.5 cups
Onion, medium sized - 1, finely chopped
Green chilli - 1 or 2, minced
Garlic - 2 or 3 pods, minced
Peppercorn - 1 tbsp.
Cumin (Jeera) -1 tbsp.
Oil - 3 to 4 tbsp.
Coriander - for garnishing
Salt - as needed
Water - 2 cups

How to do:
1. Wash and soak the rice for about 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan, and add the pepper corn and cumin. When they sizzle, add onion, green chilli, garlic and salt.
2. Fry till the onion turn soft. Now add water; when it starts boiling, drain and add the soaked rice.
3. Cover and cook for about 8 to 9 minutes. When the rice is about half-done, add the frozen peas and mix gently.
5. Let this cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Check by mixing with a wooden spatula.
6. Once the rice is done, remove from flame and garnish with coriander.

Generally peas pulav is bland on its own; so instead of raitha, you can combine it with any gravy like Paneer Butter Masala or Dal Makhani.

Dal Makhani

Dal Makhani always meant extravagance to me. Yes, having seen a tiny caption in the menu card of every restaurant "Black Urad dal and Red Kidney Beans slow cooked in a rich gravy overnight"... I had decided that this is one recipe I'd leave it to the chefs! Until my last birthday..

A good friend of mine rang me to tell that she had made Dal Makhani and wanted to give me some. As usual, my hubby dear was made the messenger and he picked it up on the way home. Needless to say, it was recreated to perfection and we actually fought for the last spoonful!

Now it has become a regular visitor to our dining tables. But I must admit that though I try to copy the recipe to book, I am still reminded of my first experience of home-made Dal Makhani by my friend.. Just like everyone remembers their first date! ;)

Dal Makhani
Black Urad dal and Red Kidney beans in a rich cream gravy
Serves 2

What we need:
Black urad dal - 1 cup
Rajma (Red Kidney beans) - 1/4 cup
Tomato puree - 1 cup
Ginger-garlic paste - 1 tbsp.
Green Chillies - 1 or 2, minced
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Asafoetida - a pinch
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp.
Garam masala - a pinch
Cumin (Jeera) seeds - 1 tbsp.
Oil/Butter - 2 tbsp.
Fresh heavy cream - 2 to 3 tbsp.
Kasoori methi - 2 to 3 tsp.
Salt - as needed
Water - as needed
Coriander - for garnishing

How to do:
1. Wash and soak the dals overnight. Change the water and cook them in a pressure cooker for 4 to 5 whistles or till they are done.
2. Heat oil or butter in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida.
3. When the cumin starts to sizzle, add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry till they emit a nice aroma and add tomato puree.
4. Stir in the turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt. Cook till oil starts to separate.
5. Now add the cooked dal and water. Reduce the flame and let this cook for 10 to 15 minutes on low flame.
6. Add the kasoori methi (gently crush it before adding)
7. Drizzle in 2 to 3 tbsp. of cream and mix well. Remove from flame.

Serve with naan, roti or paratha.

Egg Masala Dry

Now I don't have a story to go with this, we are going directly to our recipe. I can almost hear some of you jumping with joy because of the escape from my boring rants! :)

Egg Masala Dry
Serves 2

What we need:
Boiled eggs - 2 to 3
Onion, medium sized - 1, finely chopped
Tomato, medium sized - 1, finely chopped
Coriander, finely chopped - 3 to 4 spoons
Green chilli - 1 or 2, minced
Garlic - 2 to 3 pods, minced
Cumin (Jeera) seeds - 1 tbsp.
Cumin Powder - 1 tbsp.
Coriander (Dhania) Powder - 1 tbsp.
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Garam Masala - a pinch Optional
Kasoori Methi - 2 tbsp, crushed
Mint leaves, chopped - 8 to 10 leaves
Salt - as needed
Oil - 3 tbsp.

How to do:
1. Boil the eggs, remove the shell and cut them into quarters.
2. Heat oil and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add onions and salt.
3. Fry till the onions turn soft, and add turmeric powder, green chilli and garlic. Once they are done, add tomatoes and mint leaves.
4. In 2 or 3 minutes, tomatoes will be done and will start to pulp out. Then throw in the dry spice powders (Cumin, Dhania, a pinch of Garam masala). Sprinkle little water to avoid burning.
5. When the mixture starts to get lumpy texture, add the boiled eggs. Mix slowly and carefully to coat them with the masala.
6. Let this sit for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the crushed Kasoori Methi and remove from flame.
Garnish with coriander. Goes well with Rotis, Naan as dry side-dish. Try this also with Sambar rice, or rasam rice.
I always add a few mint leaves to most of the egg-based dishes, because I don't like the smell of egg when it starts cooling down and the overwhelming flavor of mint covers it.

Paneer-liciously Yours!!!

I know, by now the title should have suggested my love for Paneer...! So is the case with my dear hubby. As I has said in my previous post, I have started trying out different varieties with this yummy dairy product and the results are always edible!

But Paneer Bhurji was one recipe that didn't come up to my expectation. Because when I grate and add paneer, I feel that oil starts coming out of the dish, and in the end, I end up having more oil in my plate that what I had actually added. Maybe it is my mistake in the way of doing it.

So I have started chopping Paneer into fine small pieces (yes, of course a lot of work, but really worth the effort!). Now I see that it is no more oily as it used to be. And yes, the texture of the dish is too good, as the pleasure of biting into chunky paneer pieces is definitely INCREDIBLE!

Quick Paneer Bites
Indian cottage cheese snack
Serves 2
What we need:
Paneer - 150 g, chopped into small fine pieces
Onion, medium sized - 1, finely chopped
Tomato, medium sized - 1, finely chopped
Green chillies - 1 or 2, minced
Ginger - 1", grated
Garlic - 2 to 3 pods, minced
Chilli powder - 1 tbsp.
Cumin (Jeera) powder - 1 tbsp.
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Cumin (Jeera) seeds - 1 tbsp.
Kasoori Methi (Dried Fenugreek) - 2 tbsp.
Salt - as needed
Oil - 1 tbsp.
Chopped Coriander - for garnishing

How to do:
1. Heat oil in a pan, and add the cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add onion and salt.
2. Fry till the onions turn soft. Add green chillies, ginger, garlic. (You can also use a tbsp. of ginger-garlic paste).
3. Once they are done, add the tomato and dry powders (chilli, turmeric, jeera powders). Stir and mix well till the tomatoes are soft.
4. Now half of the kasoori methi (crush gently before adding) and the paneer. Mix well, and coat the paneer pieces with the masala.
5. Reduce the flame and let this sit for 3 to 4 minutes.
6. When the paneer starts turning brown, add the remaining kasoori methi and remove fro flame.

Garnish with fresh chopped coriander and serve as a snack. It also goes well with rotis and naan as a dry side dish.