Chegodi Bracelet with Thatai Hearts & My "Compulsive"ness-es

So Me back!!! A month of hectic sessions left me worn out and I had a very satisfying weekend to give a fitting end to the whole thing. Of course, I would be continuing the course after sometime but hey, DO WE NEED A REASON TO SHOP?? TO GET PAMPERED? :)
That's what I did! A nice relaxed pampering session at the hairstylist, then some feel-good shopping* followed by relaxed Sunday and it spilled over to Monday, Tuesday too!

* Feel-good shopping means, shopping/buying and filling up your house with things, you absolutely know, you don't need, but doing it just for the heck of it! It can range anywhere from show pieces to fashion accessories, majority of them being Clothes!

Amma (and now DH) keeps telling me that I can open my own shop with the accessories I have! ;) But still the compulsive shopper in me peeps out every time I enter the mall/shop, takes over my original personality and whenever I come to, I am standing with bags full of items that will possibly lie in the wardrobe forever...

That said, I am a compulsive packer too. Meaning, whenever we go on trips, I always end up packing twice the amount I would need. For 4 days trip, I will have 8 dresses and corresponding accessories. And DH will always wonder why my bag is always heavy. My answer would be, "Because I am a girl!" End of conversation.

Now, what has all these to do with today's recipe? Definitely, this Chegodi Bracelet with Thatai hearts are not a result of my addictive-shopping. But they were born due to the "window shopping" by Sanjana @ KO Rasoi. She wants to give away a lovely Bracelet to one of us in turn for some unique dishes that are results of inspiration from that lovely bracelet. I have been thinking about it ever since she announced the contest, and now I am with this!
Chegodi or the Ring Murukku is not at all new to us. In fact, I was supposed to do it for ICC November Challenge (For my new buddies, ICC was initiated by Srivalli), but had to drop it due to my then-India-trip. But I had it at the back of my mind that I must try it out and found all right reasons to make it now.

Thatai is also one of the famous south Indian snack and our favorite munchie. Like the majority of us, I am no exception when it comes to munching snacks all the time. (Read: Compulsive Muncher)

So here I am, presenting the "Chegodi bracelet with Thatai hearts" for MY LOVE FOR SNACKS and sending them to Sanjana's "Wear your Food" contest!.

Whoops, what a lengthy prelude! By now, you know I am a compulsive talker, a compulsive writer..! Since you are still reading this, I am awarding the title "Compulsive Reader" to you!! :D

Chegodi / Ring Murukku
This recipe is exactly what Srivalli had given us.

What we need:
Rice Flour - 1 cup
Water - 1 cup
Split Yellow Moong dal / Pesara pappu / Mung Dal / Pasiparuppu - 1 1/2 - 2 tblsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Sesame Seeds - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Ghee or oil - 1 tblsp
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

How to do:
Making the dough:
1. Soak moong dal in water for half hour to 1 hour.
2. In a deep bottom pan, boil water, then add salt, ghee and moong dal.
3. Bring it to boil, simmer and slowly add the rice flour. Using a rolling pin or the ladle, mix the flour with water by stirring it well.
4. When the flour is mixed and done, turn off the heat immediately. Cover with lid and keep aside for 10 to 15 mins.

5. Once the dough is cool, add chilli powder, sesame seeds, cumin seeds and mix well. Knead till you get a smooth dough. Adjust the salt and spice depending on your preference.

Frying the Chegodi:
1. Heat a pan with oil, enough to fry 3 -4 at time. Simmer once it gets hot. The temperature should not be smoking hot.
2. Grease your fingers with oil and pinch out a small lemon size ball and roll between your palms to form a thick rope. Bring the two ends to together and press to form a rope. Ensure the ends are firmed pressed as not to give out during frying.
3. Continue with the rest of the dough until you are done with the entire batch. You can either cover it with a plate or a cloth to prevent the dough from getting dried.
4. Check if the oil is in the correct temperature, by dropping a tiny bit into the oil. Then gently slide the rings or the chegodis in batches of 4 -5.
5. The flame has to be on high until the chegodis come up to the surface, then lower the flame to medium and cook till you get a golden colour on the chegodis.
6. When the chegodis are golden all over, using a slotted ladle, remove to a kitchen towel and cool. Store in an air tight container for longer shelf life.

Notes: Remember to turn the heat to medium to high and high to medium for getting the chakodis to golden colour and also to be cooked evenly. Only this way you get crispy chakodis. These should not be cooked on low flame as they will absorb more oil and can turn soggy also at times.

Variation: Instead of Cumin and Sesame seeds, 1 tsp of Ajwain or Omam can be used along with chili powder.

Well, I purposely didn't join the ends for a few of them, just to create a chain effect!
Oops! Where are the hooks?

Crispy Spicy Rice wafers

What we need:
Rice flour - 1 cup
Urad dal Flour - 2 tbsp.
Butter - 2 tbsp.
Salt - according to taste
Chana Dal - 2 tbsp.
Curry leaves - a sprig (I didnt add this)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp.
Asafoetida - a pinch
Oil - to deep fry
Aluminum foil/Plastic sheet - to press the thatai's

How to do:
1. Soak the chana dal for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
2. In a bowl, take the rice flour, add the Urad dal flour, salt, chilli powder, asafoetida and mix well.
3. To this add the butter and keep mixing till it is evenly incorporated.
4. Add the soaked chana dal, torn curry leaves. Add water slowly and mix till you get the chapathi dough consistency. Close with the lid and set it aside for 10 minutes.
5. Heat Oil in a pan. It should be hot, but not smoking hot.
6. Meanwhile grease the plastic sheet with oil. Take a small ball of the out of the dough, press it on the sheet and make a flat round. Repeat with the rest of the dough. (I used a cookie cutter to get the heart shapes)
7. Slide 2 or 3 at a time (depending on the size of your kadai) and cook on medium-high till the bottom side turns golden brown.
8. Turn over with a slotted spoon and cook till this side turns brown.
9. Drain on a kitchen towel and store in an air-tight container for longer shelf life.

Heart puffed up with so much love!

Hope you all enjoyed today's post. See you all soon with another interesting recipe. Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging!

Ariselu / Athirasallu / Athirasam ~ ICC Feb 2010

Oh boy!! This is the only word that comes to my mind at the end of this month's ICC. When Srivalli, who initiated Indian Cooking Challenge announced this month's challenge I was both over-whelmed and under-whelmed at the same time. Overwhelmed, because Athirasam as we call it Tamil is definitely one of my favorites. Under-whelmed, as all of us know, it is one of the difficult sweets to make. I am a great fan of the Kalyana Athirasams, the ones that come along with Murukku in the "Seer" in our marriages. In fact, Amma saved some from the Sashtiapdhapoorthy (60th Marriage day) of her sister and passed it on to me when Mom-in-law came here to visit us.. So that explains my love for this wonderful sweet :)

I immediately called up to check with Amma to get her inputs. She only asked me, "Are you sure you are going to do this?" This was enough to scare me once again and I was contemplating till last week how am I going to do this. Then finally, I decided.. Chalo, what's wrong in trying!!

First attempt was a total mishap with all the dough turning into hard bits with no scope for correction. Amma suggested that it could be because of the wrong consistency of the Jaggery and that I be a little more vigilent next time. Yes, vigilent I was, the second time. This time I took out the Jaggery at the right time, and I was finally able to make something that came close to be called Athirasam.

I made use of the second recipe given by Srivalli and found it simpler than the first one.

Ariselu / Athirasallu / Athirasam
This method yields about 8

Ingredients Needed
Rice Flour - 1 glass (standard measurement)
Jaggery - 1/2 glass
Coconut,grated - 2 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Water - 1/2 glass
Sesame seeds - 1 tbsp

Oil for deep frying.

Method to prepare:
1. Grate the Jaggery and add water just enough to cover it.
2. Cook it on high and removed the scum.
3. Then add the cardamom powder.
4. Once it starts boiling, add the grated coconut. You will see lot of bubbles coming out.
5. At this stage, add the Rice flour slowly and stir it together well. You will know when the consistency is correct, so till then you got to keep adding the flour.
This dough can be stored and used whenever you want. If it becomes too hard, just add about 2 tsp of water along with 2 tsp of sugar.
6. Get it to boil, while you keep stirring it. The mix should become soft again. When you handle it, it should come together as a soft dough. Divide it to equal balls.
7. Heat a kadai with oil to deep fry these. In a greased plastic sheet, pat them down to equal sized discs. Press down the sesame seeds over the top.
8. Once the oil is hot, gently drop these into them.
9. Fry on both sides. Since the sesame seeds are just pressed over the top, they will get into the oil. If you want to avoid this, try adding to the dough.
10. Once they are golden brown, remove and drain them on a kitchen towel. They will be soft when you remove them, will become crunchy once they are cooled.

Update: Some of my blogger buddies have passed on TOFAS which I'll update soon. Please excuse me for my laziness! :(

See you all soon with another interesting post. Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging!

Guest Post #3 : Madhurya

Before any of you could scream "LAZY" on my face, let me tell you why I am "ON" and "OFF" the blogosphere. I have joined an intensive course for my next level Deutsch and it is taking up around 5 to 6 hours of my time everyday incl. travel. So I get drop-dead tired by the time I come back. Rest of the day is taken away by household activities (those of you in Facebook, you know I am getting addicted to FV too!). So, till the end of this month, please excuse me for my untold absence from my blog and of course, yours too! I shall catch up with all your lovely posts as and when I get time!!

So, coming to today's Guest, Madhurya is a dear friend of mine. We met here in Zurich because of a mutual friend. Thanks to so many common interests we share, it didn't take much time for us to become good friends. Madhu, as I call her, is a trained carnatic music singer and violinist. I always get mesmerised listening to her divine rendition of the ever-green classical songs.

Of all, she is an amazing cook too! Her Specialty (or should I say, Uniqueness?) is she never uses Garlic and Onion in her cooking. She intelligently uses her kitchen spices to recreate an even better . Though my amma's cooking taught me to use the minimum of these 2 stuff, over years I have become used to these that I feel so handicapped without Onion or Garlic in my cabinet! Amma will be angry seeing this... *blush*

C&S: Tell us about yourself!
Madhurya: A very jolly, creative, enthusiastic & a friendly person.

C&S: What does Cooking mean to you?
Madhurya: Cooking is a beautiful art. I love to try new recipes and also to invent new recipes :D

C&S: Your inspiration/role model/favorite cook??
Madhurya: For every human being in this world, Mom's cooking is the best cooking. I'm no different... :D Next to my mom, my Grandma, My mother in-law and myself :D

C&S: Your favorite Cuisine?
Madhurya: South & north Indian, Italian cuisine

So, do visit her blog "Subhojyam" and enjoy her spread! Here we go to our recipe which is my all-time favorite!!

Raw Mango Pickle

Raw Mango – 1 (cut into small pieces)
Chilli powder – 3-4 tbsp (add according to the amount of Mango)
Salt – To taste
Refined oil – 5-6 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 2 tbsp
Jeera (cumin seeds) – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch

Preparation of Pickle:
1. Wash the cut mango pieces and keep it aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. After it crackles, reduce the flame and add jeera (cumin), fenugreek seeds. Add 1 tbsp of chilli powder and fry lightly.
3. Now add the mango pieces, rest of the chilli powder, salt, asafoetida and mix well. Cook for 1 min and remove from flame.
4. Leave the mixture outside open for 1 hour and then refrigerate.
Enjoy it with Rice varieties, especially with curd rice.

Additional Info:
This pickle will stay good for 1 week if it is refrigerated. This one is so easy and simple to make.

Hope you enjoyed today's post. See you all soon with another interesting recipe! Till then, Happy Cooking and Happy Blogging!!

Happy Birthday Nithya!

Our dear blogger pal, Nithya of 4th Sense Samayal (better known as the creative, innovative, enthusiastic blogger!!) is celebrating her birthday today! So friends, please join me in wishing her a very Happy Birthday and many many such wonderful returns of the day!
Happy Birthday Nithya!!

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