Friday, December 16, 2016

Majjige Hulli





This morning, I was browsing for some new recipes, and found my own blog, when I was searching! Its been a year now, since I blogged!  Not that I did not want to blog or connect with my readers, but life went upside down this year and still not able to cope up with the things that happened!  My blog says "Welcome to my place, Ammana Adige and Bengaluru Samachara"! Those who cannot understand the language, it means "Welcome to my place, mom's cooking and Bengaluru(city) news"!

This blog mainly has my mom's recipes and this blog is dedicated to my mom, who taught me cooking and who was a amazing cook herself!  I wrote "who was...."! Yes, she passed away 6 months ago, leaving me shattered, heart broken and sad! I just cannot believe myself that, I wrote she passed away!  Did she really go? I could not come to terms with this question and I wonder each day, did she really go!?

Six months, is a long time for me! I used to call her every single day, from past 6 years, it was part of my day and day would not have completed without talking to her. And 6 months, I haven't spoken to her, nor heard her voice and it's total blank, void, silence and loneliness, grief, sadness filled in!

There is not a single moment in a day has passed without thinking of her....!  I am eating/sleeping/talking/watching TV/doing all my chores and days are passing by and I really wonder and feel weird and strange that, I am doing all these without her! I wonder myself sometimes, how I am doing all these without her!  She was not living with me, she was some 8,351 miles far away from me! But never felt that way, never felt she was far away! We used to talk every day and my Dad had gifted her Ipad for her birthday couple of years ago and she used to chat with me, send message to me everyday and that was the first thing in the morning I would read, her message!

Everyday from past 6 months, I keep looking at the messages in the morning, to see, if she ever write to me! Really she is gone! Now also I call every day thinking that, she might pick up the phone....! She used to wait for my call everyday...and today my Dad waits for my call....!  These little moments, matters so much in life, you won't realize until you loose them! I just feel scared and want to hold on to time, not to move forward, since I feel she is going far far away from me! Well, she has really gone away!

Now every single day, I do keep remembering the olden days, the golden days of my childhood, where Amma was a multi talented, multi tasking, awesome, loving, caring mother, wife, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, friend, cousin and many more.....! She had a very awesome voice and always used to sing and hum songs! She used to write short stories and poems, that was her passion! Writing and singing was her passion, but she never developed nor gave importance to her talent! She was a really an amazing cook, she used to learn and try out new recipes and inspire others to do so. She learnt baking(in those times it was a big thing to buy oven and do baking at home), used to do concentrated juices of all seasonal fruits, fill into some 20 juice bottles and share it with her sisters!

She was a role model, mentor and mother to her sisters and brothers!  The day she passed away, all her sisters and brothers, paid tribute by singing the Bhajans(Devotional songs), which my mom had taught them and that was everyday routine, that all 6 sisters and 4 brothers have to be in the family room, at 6 in the evening, to sing those bhajans with her, when they were young!

There were always guests at home and she was an awesome host! I never remember her saying "I am tired today"!  She used to wake up at 4.30 in the morning every day and her day used to end at 10.30 in the night! She was religious and followed all the customs and traditions and every festival...now I can say, was done like a wedding!  I meant, with so much traditions, very colorful, dedication, grand and auspicious! That's the reason, now when I look back, I feel it was like a wedding! So much of preparations, she used to do, effortlessly, she had so much passion, dedication, in what ever she did!

She was a strict mom, but never tried to control us!  She always used to have open discussions and listen to us and very generous. I really really wonder, how and where so much of energy, passion, dedication she had in all the things....! That's incredible!

She learnt Piano at the age of 75!! And she was on a advance level and the "Teacher", was amazed and used to give example of my mom to others when it comes to learning, discipline and dedication! Playing Piano became like a second nature to her!

That smile on her face, the abundance of kindness and forgiving nature she had, I guess it's hard to find! The same Amma(mom)......from past one year, suffered with pain and gone through a lot, but still never gave up mentally, she was strong! Before she left to the hospital, two days before, she passed away, she folded her night dress and her towel, put it in the right place and said "Bye" to my Dad and everybody and left....!

Every body from my Dad's side, my mom's side, came when she passed away and me and brother were over whelmed by hearing and seeing, the response of all, how much everybody loved, respected, cared my mom! That's how great, influential she was, well she is!!!!

One of my cousins rightly said, when all the sisters and brothers were singing, to pay her tribute that, "Can you imagine, she meant, valued, influenced so much in all their lives that today they are all singing for her"!!!!

So this post is a tribute to my Amma, who was and is everything to me, in every way. I bow her with respect, love, gratitude and affection! I miss Amma!  The recipe I am sharing now, is Amma's and today I had made and thought of sharing with you all!  I keep writing, sharing, connecting with you all dear blog readers and thanks for reading my post! Happy New Year filled with tons of happiness and good health to all of you!

Ingredients:

Ash gourd - 1/2, peel the skin and cut into cubes
Green chillies - according to taste
Cumin - 1/2 tea spoon
Channa dal - 4 table spoons
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Yogurt - 3 table spoons
Turmeric - 1/2 tea spoon
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tea spoon
Oil - 1/2 tea spoon
Salt to taste

Method:

Soak Channa dal, in water for about an hour or two.  Grind soaked channa dal, cumin, green chillies, coconut, turmeric to a fine paste.  Cook, cut ash gourd pieces in water, until soft, add little salt and then add the grounded paste, and more salt to adjust to taste and water to desired consistency.  Since its Channa dal, it becomes thick, so you can add water, to a desired consistency. While its boiling, in a small pan, add oil and mustard seeds and when it crackles, add to the majjige hulli and turn it off. After turning off the heat, add yogurt and mix well.  Serve with hot rice and happla and sandige(Papad) and enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Paddu or Gundponglu or Panyiaram





Hope all my blog readers and well wishers are doing good!  Don't know why I am bit sad today!  There was nothing to watch on TV while having my lunch today!  It was so much part of my day, and looking forward to that moment, where I used to watch this Regional Television serial and got attached and went little beyond "liking" that serial!  I went to India, in January this year and there my mom and everybody in family were watching that show, which used to come in 7.30 PM and thats how I got hooked on to that! It's a Kannada(one of the South Indian language) serial,  and it had started from last October and I could easily catch up, since my mom told the story!

After coming back from India, I continued watching the serial here, where I have an option of watching "video on demand", any time I want.  So I choose to watch at my lunch time, since I hate to eat alone, at least TV is a good companion!  Both my kids and husband would not be around at my lunch time, which is kind of peaceful time for me to watch my show!! 

For me to watch a TV serial, the story, the characters, acting, dialogue, expressions....to put it in one word, it has to be "perfect"!  And it should create "chemistry" between me and the characters!  And I am sure you will be thinking, it's hard to find "perfect" one like that!  Hmm....I agree to some extent, but there are very few serials which really meet that "perfect" title!  And this Kannada serial, I can say, was one of them!  And the main characters were new, fresh, young and all the senior actors, were well known actors!  The language and acting was brilliant, as well as the plot and the story was very unique!  Many scenes I would just feel, oh it has happened my house also and it was so natural! 

Well, I think I created quite a curiosity for my readers as to what it could be!  So let me try to put the whole story, in couple of paragraphs, and see if that shows some justice to the whole one year length of serial!!??

The hero of the story, comes from a rich family who has a mom,dad and grandfather,  and he is a journalist and very passion about what he does and very fun, full of life, enthusiastic!  He meets a girl, and falls in love with her, for her simplicity and decides to marry her!  She is 5 years older to him, and comes from a poor family with mom, 2 sisters and dad who had left them when they were young and comes back after 20 years!!  She would be struggling hard working as a teacher to take care of the family and not interested in anything in life, since she has a past!! She liked a guy 8 years ago and got pregnant and the guy would have refused to marry her saying his career was important!  She would have decided to have baby, and when the baby was born, it was a girl born without one leg, handicap!  So the mother of the girl decides to hide the fact of the baby being alive, and admit the baby in orphanage and tells the girl that her baby was dead when it was born!

So thats the reason she would not be interested in anything and the "hero" and refuse to marry him!  But the hero's dad, would convince her to marry,then she tells her story, still then he wants her to marry, his son and asks her not to tell the story to him!!!!!  She is being forced to get into this marriage, unable to tell the truth to her husband, who loves her like crazy and to an extent of not even he cares to know whether she loves him or not! He assumes she loves him!! There are many twists and turn to the story, where society and the Hero's mom would refuse her initial to accept her, since she is elder to him and she also struggles with her past story, haunting her, making her guilty all the time! Then comes the guy whom she had loved 8 years ago, into her life, well not directly! He becomes, Minister for the state and becomes close friend with her husband!! She avoids and struggles not to meet him, when ever her husband wanted to introduce to the "minister"! And her daughter who is in orphanage, comes to her city, looking for her and her mom tries and struggles hard, that daughter does not meet the girl! The minister adopts the girl, but still always wants to meet her mother! Well, this is the main story, but there are many other plots and characters, who have their stories, which are connected to the main story!

When the whole serial was running nicely, and story was in the peak, with lot of emotions, complications, unsolved or never can solve kind of issues......with awesome meaningful songs, awesome acting,expressions, language......suddenly there came a news one fine day, that the serial is going to end!!!!!!!! What!!!!!! That was the expression, every viewer had!

This is an era of technology, well let me put it this way, this is an era of Facebook!!!! Hahaha, everybody on this earth are on Facebook!  So all our favorite television actors and updates about the serial was all over the Facebook and there is lot of fan following, commenting on the serial....which I used to read it and as well follow their comments and views and felt OMG people have taken it so seriously and appreciates the serial so very much! But neither the Channel guys or the responsible people of the serial, like Director/story writer said a word about why the serial is going to end, abruptly of course!

But the girl, "Heroin" of the serial, wrote about the issues going on from a long time, with the production house, not treating the actors/technicians properly, she decided to quit the serial because of the unprofessional behavior!!  And she decided to quit, guess, they changed the whole story to an bizarre ending of killing the main character, the heroin of serial, then not showing the justice to the other characters, ending it, without any meaning to the whole thing, they started off, not even showing how the heroin was killed and why was she killed!!

So the weekend was the last episode!  And thats how today I was bit sad and had nothing to watch while eating my lunch!! Well, for Indian culture and Society, marrying an older girl, having baby before marriage, is all kind of revolutionary and still our society do not accept whole heartedly, though many things have changed!  And this was a bold step in showing that kind of revolutionary thing and people were accepting the things they were showing....even my mom's generation, the way they used to react and feel sorry for the girl's situation, was incredible!!!! The message was so effective and highly influential in narrating the whole thing and giving a whole new perspective about marriage and the situations, which we unknowingly fall into.....!  But suddenly ending without any meaning or justice to the characters....is unbelievable! Its sad that how these Directors and Producers play with people's emotions and time!!

Anyways....thanks for reading the whole thing, bit long, but had to write it, else you would not understand what I am expressing here! Okay lets move on!  I would like to share the recipe of "Paddu"or "Gundponglu"or "paniyaram"!!  To be honest with you, let me google and find out what that means, since its a new thing to me, I had not eaten when I was a kid! But the recipe is my aunt's(my mom's sister), who is expert in finding all the new recipes and sharing with all of us and she has motivated me many times to cook new things!  So this is her recipe, which I tried over the weekend, after watching my favorite serial last episode, which had a sad ending, but Paddu came out good and so my evening was a happy ending!  Well, google says that, its a South Indian dish, when kids used to get bored or complained of eating dosas, they found a new way to make kids eat, which was called as "Paddu or Gundponglu or Paniyaram"!  Its typically the same dosa batter but its steamed and cooked differently!

But my aunt gave me a different recipe to make, which is made of "Sabudana or Sago"! Sabudana or Sago is made from Tapioca root, which has a long history in Indian traditional medicine and is very low in fat content!

Sabudana or Sago Payasa is very famous and it was one of my favorite dessert when I was a kid!!  So after so many years I was hearing about Sabudana Paddu, sounded very interesting and thought of trying it out!  My husband loved it but my kids just gave a try for the first round and when asked for the second time they said "I am good, thanks amma"!! Well, Sabudana or Sago is an acquired taste, if you like sticky spongy kind of texture then you would love Sabudana!! Ultimately me and my husband finished off the whole thing!

Here goes the recipe, give it a try, whether you are a fan of Sabudana or not, no harm in it!!

Ingredients:

Sabudana/Sago 1 cup
Rice flour - 1 Table spoon
Yogurt/curds  as required
Green chiles as per taste
Salt as per taste
Onions 3 small or 2 medium
Coriander and Curry leaves


Method:

Soak Sabudana/Sago in yogurt/curds for 8 hours.  Let it not be on the liquid side while soaking.  After 8 hours add rice flour, finely chopped green chillies, finely chopped onions, salt, finely chopped coriander and curry leaves, with water, to a Idli consistency! Not too on runny side!

Grease the "Paddu" Tava,( you get a different kind of tava for that, as you seen in my above picture)  and as soon as the lava gets warm, put spoon full of the batter and close the lid and cook on a medium heat slowly! When the bottom gets brown, turn them to the other side and cook well!  Enjoy with spicy chutney!  I had made coriander chutney! 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lettuce Salad with Walnut Dressing





Garden/Lettuce Salad

Good morning folks!  Well, it's morning in my part of the world!  Hope life is treating you fairly well....!  There was (is) a term called "appropriate age" to know and learn, as we grew up!  At least I thought and believed that way, until now!  In fact I (we) have been brought up that way, the appropriateness of knowing and learning things, have happened naturally, over the course of years!  Learnt many things, now know lot of things, and not every single thing I learnt or known is through personal experience, though!

This I am writing in context of my observation of my 10 year old kid, who is currently learning in school about "Drugs/addiction/prescription and non-prescription drugs/diabetes/asthma"!! She had a "Health" test,  (well, they have a subject as "Health", where they study all these) last week and she has a habit of studying out loud and reading it to me, which she thinks, she can understand better!

And she pop with a question, "Amma,(mom) what is the meaning of "high""!! I freaked out, but I am good in hiding a volcano inside and putting up a cool face!  So I just managed to put up the same cool face and said "Drugs are really harmful and dangerous substances and one must not even think in that direction, I am glad you are learning about these stuff in school"!!

No, I am not glad her knowing about these stuff at this age and still I did not give an direct answer for her question, "high"!  Being a conservative person and brought up in a similar atmosphere, I do strongly believe and feel that, kids at this age should not know all those stuff, its not required!

I have spoken to many parents and even my husband, feels that it's better to educate them on these stuff, so if they know that it's bad or harmful, they won't fall prey for the bad things!

But my theory or argument would be, just because you say it's harmful or dangerous, kids won't buy it, they may want to test it, experience it, they will get a curiosity in knowing about it further or may even want to try and see how it is....!  So why bother in telling them, that there is such a thing, existing out there!  They are young, tender, still not able to incorporate and understand each and every aspect of life and they are vulnerable.

We should leave them innocent, ignorant at this point!  I never knew in and out about drugs/prescription, non-prescription drugs etc, until I got married and until my husband mentioned about it, while watching a movie!  All I knew was it's a dangerous and harmful thing, which can ruin one's life!  But I did not know in detail about the "high"s or what ever.....! Neither I had curiosity about knowing it.  I never learnt anything about it in my school and all my generation guys would have the same experience!

Exposure!!!! Is it necessary??  Can we not leave our kids innocent,ignorant and push them more to play outside,  as parents spend more quality time with kids, by listening to them, giving them a chance to express anything and everything, playing with them, teaching them.......!?

Well, taking me as an example, what did I miss or left out or felt OMG I should have known this before or left behind, by not knowing all the stuff, as a kid!! It did not or has not affected me in any way, by not knowing stuff when I was a kid!

I feel more level headed and matured, I read a lot of stuff and have enlightened myself and gained lot of knowledge now, but still believe in our system, where there was restriction to exposure of many things and parents/society/school/teachers thought, a "appropriate age" will come and then we are fine to know the stuff!  I still believe and respect that thought and want kids to remain innocent and ignorant, until the "appropriate age"!!

Well, that was my thoughts!  Yeah, I said I am conservative but it does not mean that I don't explore new things!  I do, now that I can differentiate, compare, think, evaluate, analyze which is good and bad....!!   My husband loves Thai food, and I have my own choices and likings about that cuisine!  One of them is "Salad"!  You give me anytime, any day or every day, I can eat!!  That's how much I like!  I started to make Salads at home, which is actually fun, interesting and surprisingly kids and husband love it!  It's a great way to make your kids eat and love veggies and as well as fruits!

There are numerous ways of making Salad and Salad without a dressing it bit hard to eat, especially for kids, and it would be great and healthy if you can make home made dressings, it's simple and easy to make!

There is no specific recipe for a Salad or dressing, but I will share mine, which I often make.  You can be very creative, flexible with Salads and dressings.  Yesterday I had made lettuce and mixed veggies Salad, with Walnut dressing, so I hope you will also try to incorporate Salad in your day to day life and be healthy and keep your family healthy and happy!

There is no specific kind you need to stick with, it's your flavor and like of veggies/fruits/dry fruits and nuts you can use.  Yesterday I had only few choices of veggies, as you can see in the picture above, usually, I ALSO put, colored small peppers, fresh grapes, almonds, raisins, sprouts(moong sprouts)...! And as I said, if you do not have all or certain ingredients, you can substitute with what you have, like, if you do not have maple syrup you can use honey instead, or instead walnuts, use almonds!

Ingredients:

Lettuce (Small Romanian hearts(organic), 3, large portions enough for 4-6 people)
Carrots
Cucumbers
Corn
Apples

Dressing:

1/2 cup Walnuts
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1/4 cup Vinegear
Garlic
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp Canola oil or Olive oil

Method:

Wash all the veggies before cutting, thoroughly!  Cut lettuce into small bite size pieces. Cut cucumbers,carrots,apples into small bite sizes, mix them all and put them in fridge, if you like it crisp and cold Salad.  I put only lettuce after cutting, in fridge and the rest of the veggies and fruits I leave them at room temperature!

Blend all the ingredients in the dressing to the desired consistency, if it is very thick, add little water and adjust the salt and pepper according to taste!

While serving, mix all the cut veggies and fruits and nuts, add dressing and mix well! Enjoy Lettuce Salad with walnut dressing!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bread Uppittu
















Blogging on the last day of the year, is sort of exciting! New year, new hopes, new resolutions is all exciting to look forward! So thought of sharing my warm memories with you all and wishing you a very prosperous, filled with good health and good luck new year!

It's always hard when it comes to generation gap or it's always a struggle to convince or make our elders understand us, our thought process and the time changes, which brings lot of new things, we need to adopt, adjust and accustom! It's always hard and challenging with our elders to make them understand what we are up to and what our thought process is.

But I never felt that way with my Grand Father, my mom's Dad! He was so understanding, curious,  open minded and broad minded person, that what ever you do, he would appreciate and try to understand you! Though there was a huge age difference, but I  never felt it that way! He was always fun, cool, smiling, understanding and above all appreciative and recognized even it was a small thing I did! He is no more with us, but I am sure, if he was here now, he would have understood and adopted and liked the technology and the gadgets we have and would have made an effort to understand what we are going through!

When it comes to food, our older generation would never like our way of cooking or smell or taste and let alone try a new cuisine! But my grand father was not like that! It was that time of my life, when I had completed my post graduation and looking for a job and while hunting for the job...my mom suggested me to learn cooking!! And what ever my mom does, it's always methodical and with lot of dedication! So she got me a book to write down the recipes and taught me everything, even how to cut the veggies, which would make a difference in taste! And as I started to cook, I was so excited to learn new stuff!

In those days there were only few magazines which would have a small space for new recipe posts and I used to curiously go through it and once I came across this recipe called "Bread Uppittu"! The magazine was called as "Sudha", it still published, but unfortunately only few people buy, because of our technology, there are only few people who still buy magazine to read...! Seeing the ingredients and method, it sounded very easy and thought I could try and surprise my mom! And fortunately my Grand Father was with us, he was with us for couple of months and thought will make an impression on him also, as he was always supportive and very encouraging!

And I did the Bread Uppittu one evening and it came out so good and my Grand Father was so happy and proud that I did, looking at a recipe, that was a big deal and a proud thing for him! He told every body who came that, his grand daughter cooked on her own, looking at a recipe! And later when I got married and the second thing I tried to do and impress was Bread Uppittu in my inlaw's house! I was very nervous since, I was not sure if they would like it or not, but it was a hit there too!

And now after 15 years, my husband was asking to do it from past couple of days, since he wants to go on a diet, as a new year resolution and he was telling if you do before 31st I will eat! And it's 15 years since I did Bread Uppitu and thought this morning is the good time to make it for the breakfast and I had made it for the breakfast....my little girls helped me in cutting the bread and they also liked it too! Time has flown......years have passed by....my Grand Father is no more......my girls have grown up and now appreciates my cooking as my Grand Father did, years ago......and Bread Uppittu made me go memories down the lane....which gave me little tears remembering my dear Grand Father, but happy to have such cool, warm memories and happy,proud and lucky to have such a Grand Father!

And I would like to share today the recipe of Bread Uppittu, hoping that you will enjoy as much as my family did and wishing you once again a very Happy New Year!

Ingredients:

Bread - 2 loafs (4-6 people)
Onions - 2 medium size
Potatoes - 3-4 medium size
Green Chillies - according to taste
Red chilly powder- according to taste
Ginger
Curry leaves/Coriander leaves
Oil for seasoning
Mustard
Urad dal/Channa dal
Dry coconut grated
Salt to taste
Ghee to fry bread

Method:

Cut the bread into small squares and keep aside. Cut onions as you would cut for regular Uppittu. Boil potatoes and peel them and mash them and keep aside. Cut green chillies,ginger and coriander leaves and keep aside.

In a deep pan, warm up the ghee and fry the bread squares, you can do it in batches, do it on a medium heat until the bread becomes crispy and changes the color to dark brown, but make sure it will not get burnt and keep it aside.

In a deep,wide pan, add oil and once its warm, add mustard seeds and when it splutters, add urad dal,channa dal and once its done, add green chillies, ginger, curry leaves and onions. Fry until the onions are cooked and then add potatoes, red chilly powder, salt and dry coconut and mix well.

Now add the bread and mix thoroughly and garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately! Since this has to be eaten hot, else bread will become soggy! Enjoy Bread Uppittu with a cup of hot coffee!



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lemon Pickle







Blog! I do not give or actually have a reason for not blogging all these months....! I am on a quest or journey of finding myself, what I like to do in life! Yes, I am a mother, daughter, sister, wife.....and many more.....but some where deep inside me, seems to be restless and trying to find "that something", which might give the fullest satisfaction about this life and make me or completes me as a person or as a individual! And I wonder what it is!? I actually panic why and how these things are coming up to me!

All these years I was happy, content and very busy doing all the roles and to be frank, I came out in flying colors and many times my own people wondered and admired me "that I am very good, kind, caring, warm, generous person"!! Which made me proud of myself and in turn, I pushed myself more, beyond my capacities, to perform all the duties and responsibilities and felt good and content about it!!

Well, really? I wonder today! Many times I got hurt when I pushed myself beyond the capacities, ignoring myself, when my mind,body, heart and emotions, was trying to drag attention and tried to speak up, I just tend to ignore or suppress, and continued to do what I was doing, pleasing people beyond my capacities, for which I had to sacrifice, my ego, my emotions, my physical capacities...!

I thought everything is going good, since I was ignoring myself....but suddenly from past few months or nearly an year now...I started to feel, well is this what you wanted to do in life?? And started to listen to all those things about myself, which I had ignored all these years...and now I am discovering myself....!

Well, this does not mean in any way, that what I was doing and am doing I am not enjoying or will leave or end what I am doing now! No way, I will keep going myself and let the things go as it is going and do all the stuff I am doing now, but I guess I might start recognizing and start to hear what my body,heart,mind and emotions says...I will start to give chance for all those things to speak up to me, without suppressing or ignoring!!??

Hmm.....hope I did not bore you by writing something head scratching?  It's winter, it's cold, but so far so good, as long as there is no snow storm, guess cold and chills are fine! I always share recipes and today for this cold winter, you might want a spicy Rasam, with hot rice, papad and pickles on side!!

Pickles! I bet no one on this earth would not like pickle, at least I have not heard anybody who said "I do not like pickle"! Pickle is done in many different ways, around the world! Some are really easy ways and some are complicated! And you would have a notion sometimes, just hearing about some "names", would make you feel, oh! its difficult or impossible to make at home! And one of them is pickle! But actually it's not, it's the easiest recipe but need to be careful while it comes to storing the pickle making sure that pickle does not come in contact with water!

Today I like to share, one of the popular, simpler and yummy recipe of lemon pickle, which you can get in every South Indian house! Yogurt rice (curd rice,as we call), lemon pickle is a great,actually I call it as a deadly yummy combination to end a meal! Pickle is like a life saver! You don't have time to make curry but if you have pickle, it goes well with anything and everything! With chapatis/rice/dosa/idlis......or if any of your dishes turn out to be bland, and not enough spicy, just add pickle on the side, I bet you would have eaten more, than you wanted!!

So today I am sharing the lemon pickle recipe, which of course is my mom's recipe! She is the best pickle maker, I can say! She knows lot of methods and different kinds of pickles and I don't remember a day without a pickle in my house, which was made by my mom! Even today she has a passion to make pickles and I enjoy when I visit India!

I made up my mind to learn from her how to make lemon pickle, which is the simple and easy to make! It came out really good and my husband and my kids love them, and my friends love them too!   And when my mom certified it was good, then I got confidence that I can share it with you!

An important tip or suggestion is, usually we think pickle can be "salty" and not good for people with high Blood pressures, but I have tried with less salt also, but it tastes equally good and you no longer be deprived of pickle,so please try it at home and enjoy!

Ingredients:

Lemons - 6-8 (Since lemons are very big here, I use 6-8)
Salt according to taste
Fenugreek (methi seeds) - 2 Tbsp
Red chillies - according to taste or spice level
Asafoetida (Hing)

Method:

Before starting to make, clean the counter area and make sure there is no water or any moist on the surface of the kitchen counter. The knife, cutting board you use, should also be very dry. It's always best to use a glass bottle to store the pickles but if you can get the traditional "jaadi"( we call it in our language as Jaadi, which is jar), which is a special kind of jar used to store pickles and I guess its made of clay, am not sure, I tried to google but was not able to find answers, will ask my mom and get back to you soon.  So the glass bottle should be totally dry without any moist or any traces of water.

Dry roast Fenugreek seeds, add a drop of oil and when it's warm enough, add asafetida and red chillies and fry for few secs, until you get the aroma of red chillies and once all the ingredients are cool, dry grind into a fine powder, in the mixer and keep it aside.

Wash lemons and dry it out fully, with out any moisture! Cut into small pieces,well I cut them small,but if you prefer big,you can do so. (Since my kids like to taste them, and sometimes, it tend to get waste in the plate, so I cut them small. )

I add one layer of cut lemon pieces and then add 1-2 spoons of salt and then add another layer of lemons and then again salt. Once you are done with all the lemon pieces, close it air tight and put it aside.

Next day open the bottle and stir with a dry spoon and mix well the salt and the lemon and by this time the salt would have started melting and lemon and you can see lemon juice! Do this for two days and then add the dry powder and mix well.

I usually use it immediately but if you keep it for couple of days, every day stirring with a dry spoon, the lemons becomes soft and blends well with the powder! Keep the bottle in a dry place or you can store in refrigerator also for months!

But if you use it immediately the lemons will not be soft, and I like that taste also! And once you are ready to use the pickles, mix it nicely and take out some and put it in a different dry container. In a small pan heat up one spoon of oil and add mustard seeds and when it splutters add a pinch of hing and add them to the pickle and it's ready to eat!

Enjoy with yogurt rice/chapathi/dosa/idli/pongal.......! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Donuts with cardamom and dry coconut powder



You must be surprised to see my blog again......! Well, this is what,  happens, when your kids and husband are home, if it is snowing, the temperature has dropped down to single digit and it's super cold outside, you get stuck at home,  and you land up cooking and eating!

That's exactly happened in our house, well, to be honest with you, we cook a lot in our house, compared to any of our friends here!  Recently one of my friend introduced to her friend and when we were having a conversation about food and recipes....,my friend said, "Well, Bindu has lot of motivation to cook and also her husband is a enthusiastic chef himself...."!!

I was thinking about that conversation...and felt that it is so true!  Yeah, my husband is a good cook and also feels very happy not just, if the food served is good,  but if it has varieties, if it is different and the presentation is good, he will be very impressed and happy! I know, between you and me, it's lot of work and patience you need to have!

Initially it was hard for me and used to feel stressed out....but over 15 long years...I have gotten used to it and now I want to cook for the family, which is actually rewarding and makes me content when my family admires my cooking!

As I told you in my previous blog that I started to watch cooking shows and got motivated...and today also I got some inspiration to make Donuts from scratch, which I saw on this show. It's really awesome to know that people come up with the ideas to make all the stuff at home, which we think, it's impossible to do, for example, this Donut, which we feel that, OK, it's not possible to make it at home, but actually it's simple and no rocket science!

Since Donuts is kids, the most favorite dessert, I thought let me give it a try today! New year has started off slow...kids went to school yesterday and today it's snow storm and schools are closed, so they are home, husband is also home, and the weather channel guys are saying that the temperature is going to drop down to some -2 degrees this evening and all the extra curricular activities are cancelled and forced everybody to stay home, made me to keep the family little interesting trying out a new recipe and made all of them involve in the process of making Donuts, which was fun and exciting for them!

I did not expect that it would come out so nice, since I did not had couple of ingredients but I substituted with what I had, since it's not possible to go out and get it in this weather conditions. Still it came out nice, but I would suggest for you to use, the ingredients which are in the recipe. So here goes the Donut recipe, hope you will enjoy as much as we did, with a cup of hot cardamom tea or coffee on a cold winter evening! Nothing can beat home made, fresh, warm donut! (With snowman!)

Ingredients:

Maida/All purpose Flour - 2 cups(Sieve the flour)
Powdered Sugar - 1 Cup
Dry coconut powder - 2 Tbsp
Baking Soda - 1/2 Tsp
Vegetable shortening or Vanaspathi - 100 grams
Eggs - 2
Vanilla Essence - 1/2 Tsp
Pinch of salt
Oil for deep frying

Method:

Mix eggs and vanilla essence and keep aside. (Please note, you do NOT need to beat eggs).  In a big bowl add all purpose flour,powdered sugar,dry coconut powder,baking soda,pinch of salt,vanaspathi or vegetable shortening and the eggs and mix it to make it a firm dough. Keep aside for 5 hours.

After five hours, spread the dough gently on a aluminum foil or on the kitchen counter and make donut shapes with cookie cutter (I do not have cookie cutter so I used a cup). Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and deep fry the donuts golden brown on both sides. While the donuts are still hot coat the powdered sugar on top of it and enjoy warm donuts!

Note: Since I was running out of vanilla essence and I did not had Vegetable shortening or Vanaspathi at home, I put cardamom powder for flavor and put ghee instead of vanaspathi! Still it came out yummy!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Kaju Barfi



A very happy new year to all my dear blog readers and friends! Today I like to share a desert recipe, since it's new year and like to start new year with sweetness in mouth as well in our lives to continue all year long...!

I started to watch food channel, when I came to this country, until then there was not much cooking shows in India, or as far as I remember there was no cooking shows on TV! But here it was hard to find vegetarian cooking shows and I was not comfortable watching non-vegetarian cooking shows.  But I used to admire and learn many small things from these shows....and it's so nice to see the beautiful, colorful pots and pan, and all co-ordinated well, the background kitchen, the chef's efficient ways of cooking.....it's all fun to watch, which really gives a lot of motivation to cook.

These shows definitely gives you motivation and ideas to cook!  My husband used to watch these shows regularly and that's how I got used to watch these and appreciate cooking more! And now I see that every other channel you turn on, there is a cooking show, in India too!  That's really a good news for people like me, who are hardcore vegetarians!

When my mother-in-law comes here, we have Indian channels subscribed and we used to unsubscribe Indian channels when she went back to India, but this time even after she left, we still have Indian channels coming, since the package deal was to subscribe for one year! So we land up watching some movies or shows on weekend.....and I got interested in cooking show, which comes for one hour.

This particular show is not just about sharing recipes, they have doctors, dietitians who comes on the show and explain and share the nutritional value of the ingredients and the purpose of eating a healthy meal every day! But, of course, everything cannot be always about healthy eating and diet, now and then it's OK to sneak on desserts/fat/deep fried foods!  So yesterday I happened to come across this recipe which is called as "Kaju Barfi", which is made with cashew nuts, Kaju in hindi means Cashew nuts.  This recipe they showed was very simple, very easy and will take less than 10 mins, if you follow the recipe as it is, according to the chef! And cashew nuts are very expensive in India and this desert is also expensive if you have to buy it!

And I wanted to try it out immediately since this is my daughter's favorite desert!  So to start the new year, this morning I tried making Kaju Barfi, which came out awesome and both my kids and husband loved it. My mother, who watches the same show in India, also tried the same recipe and she said it came out very yummy! So today I love to share this recipe with you, and wishing you all once again happy new year and hoping the year will be as sweet as Kaju Barfi!

Ingredients:

Cashew nuts - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Ghee - 2 Tbsp
Cardamom - 3-4

Method:

Make a fine powder of cashew nuts in the mixer. Make a fine powder of cardamom and keep it aside. Grease aluminum foil with ghee and keep it aside.  In a non-stick pan (I suggest to use a non-stick dish), add sugar and 3 Tbsp of water on a medium flame, keep stirring until you see the sugar is dissolved and it starts to boil, with bubbles, and you see that it becomes thick and sticky, immediately add powdered cashew nuts, ghee and cardamom and keep stirring thoroughly until it leaves the sides and becomes little thick in consistency.

Immediately pour on the greased aluminum foil and spread it evenly with the rolling pin and cut into diamond shapes with the pizza cutter or knife.

Enjoy Kaju Barfi with your family and friends, which does not take too much of time nor money!


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