Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu

 

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Post after a longtime! Felt good while drafting this:-) Thank you all for stopping by, and noticing my absence and asking me. I feel blessed to have such sweet people around me:-)

This is special post for two reasons – One, a post after 10 days, and this is also a guest post for my dear friend Swayampurna Mishra from LA’ Petit Chef.

Swayampurna has amused me with her delicious recipes and mind blowing pics. She has a wide variety of recipes and I love the way she writes about the recipes.

Pls visit her page : http://lapetitchef.blogspot.in/?m=1

FB page :  https://m.facebook.com/Spicesnme

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu is a traditional dish prepared with lentils.  Whenever we get bored of sambar, vatha kuzhambu, moor kuzhambu, milagu kuzhambu etc., my mom prepares this. Takes little extra time when compared to other Kuzhambu, but after tasting the dish we won’t mind spending the extra time. Yet another recipe from my Amma’s cookbook.

Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu

Preparation Time : 10 minutes | Soaking time – 2 hours | Cooking Time : 30 mins | Serves : 4

Ingredients:

For lentil Balls:

Toor dal – 1/2 cup

Channa dal  – 1/4 cup

Fennel Seeds – 1/4 tsp

Red Chilli – 2 (Adjust according to your taste)

Ginger – 1/4 tsp

Kuzhambu (Gravy):

Onion – 1

Garlic – 3 pods, finely chopped

Tomato – 1

Tamarind – 1 lemon sized ball

Coconut grated (optional) – 3 tbsp

Sambar powder/ chilli powder – 1 tsp ( I used Sambar powder)

Salt – to taste

To temper:

Sesame Oil – 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

Fenugreek – 1/8 tsp

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Method:

  • Soak the dal and red chilli for 2 hours and strain the water. Add ginger and fennel seeds to the dal, and grind them into coarse mixture without adding water. Add onion and required salt to the mixture and combine well. Make marble sized balls out of it and keep aside.

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  • Soak tamarind in 1 cup of luke warm water and keep aside for 5 – 10 minutes, and extract the juice
  • Add oil to the pan. When oil is hot add ‘to temper’ ingredients and let them splutter. Add garlic and onion and sauté till the onion is translucent. Add tomato and cook till becomes mushy

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  • Add sambar powder and give a quick stir. Add the tamrind juice, 1 cup of water, salt  and cook till the raw smell goes off

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  • From the side, gently add the lentil balls one by one and cover with lid. Lentil balls initially sink, and float after cooking

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  • Avoid sauting till the lentil balls are cooked, to prevent them from breaking. Add grated coconut and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes and switch off

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My Notes:

  • While lentil balls are cooking avoid sauting, as the  balls may get mushy
  • Can grind and add coconut
  • Instead of cooking lentil balls directly in gravy, can also steam them and add it to the gravy
  • Gravy thickens overtime, so switch off before it comes to gravy consistency
  • Can also saute and grind (onion and tomatoes) instead of adding directly
  • Can also grind lentil into fine paste

Gobi 65 – Baked

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Ever since I had this dish for the first time, I have been having a big question in my mind – why is it named 65?. As I mentioned in Cauliflower Peas Masala, cauliflower is my sister’s favorite veggie, and this is her default order in most restaurants.  First time when I tried baking cauliflower, it was total flopshow. Invited Hubby’s friends for dinner and  thought of baking this. That day I added yellow corn meal. I marinated cauliflower for 2 hours, it was soggy and I didn’t get proper fries, then I did some gimmick and managed. Again I wanted to try this with white corn flour, and reduce my marination time, and finally succeeded!

Gobi 65 – Baked

Preparation Time : 10 mins | Standing time – 15 minutes | Cooking Time : 20 – 25 mins

Recipe Category: Snack

Ingredients:

Cauliflower -1 medium sized flower

Cornflour – 1/4 cup

Rice flour/ All purpose flour – 2 tbsp (I used rice flour)

Ginger Garlic paste – 1/4 tsp

Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp (Adjust according to your taste)

Garam Masala – 1/8 tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Turmeric powder – a pinch

Salt – to taste

Oil/Cooking spray – to grease (I used Pam olive oil spray)

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Method:

  • Parboil cauliflower and strain them

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  • Preheat the oven to 400 degree Fahrenhait and place the baking paper (I used Aluminum foil) on baking tray and grease

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  • Combine all spice powder and mix well. Add cornflour and rice flour and mix well, and if required sprinkle some water (I used around 1 tsp) and let it marinate for 15 minutes

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  •  Place the marinated cauliflower and bake them for 10 – 15 minutes and broil for 13 -18 minutes, turning in between

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My Notes :

  • Broil helps to get the fry texture so don’t skip it. Can broil for some more minutes if you need it crispier
  • After turning the oven to broil, keep monitoring frequently to avoid burnt texture
  • Avoid overlapping for even cooking
  • If there is excess moisture, they turn out to be sticky. So avoid adding much water, also grease the foil throughout to avoid sticking
  • Alternatively, you can also deep fry them in oil
  • Ajwain can be added while marinating cauliflower
  • Chat Masala or any spice powder can be added for taste

Sugarless Tomato Jam

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Having a sweet tooth, I always prefer to have a little sugar in my plate while having breakfast. Seeing this, my mother in law used to prepare tomato jam exclusively for my breakfast purposes! I became so addictive to that and learnt the recipe from her. But seeing the sugar addition, I was alarmed, and so thought of trying Jam with honey instead of Sugar, like I did for Eggless Dry fruit and nut cake. My friend Lori was my inspiration in cooking with honey. We liked the taste of this jam, and I didn’t find any difference in taste between honey and sugar. This has now become my new way of preparing jam!

Ingredients:

Firm and ripe Tomatoes – 10

Water – 3 tbsp

Honey – 3/4 cup (Adjust according to your sweetness)

Cardamom powder – 1/8 tsp (Optional)

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Method:

  • Add  honey and water to the pan and cook for a minute.

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  • Add the tomato puree to the honey syrup and stir it occasionally, till it thickens

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  • Cook till moisture is completely observed. Tomato and water should not run separately. If the jam is taken in a spoon, it should flow as a paste

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  • Allow the jam to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container

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 My Notes:

  • Sugar (White/Brown) can also be used instead of honey. Add sugar and water in a pan and cook till sugar melts completely
  • Jam stays good upto a month
  • Can  also boil tomatoes and then blend that
  • Agave nectar can be used instead of honey

Baked Rice Cracker

 

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Yesterday being a weekend evening, felt like having some quick snack. I fist thought of doing Baked Besan Bonda/ Baked Onion Pakoda, but I didn’t have enough Besan flour. I also didn’t have enough patience to soak and do anything. Suddenly I noticed I had some leftover rice.  One of my friends had once told me that her mom makes Vathal (Fryums) with leftover rice. My mom prepares Vadam with rice flour and tapioca sago, dries them in sun for 2 days and it is deep fried in oil. OMG, I love it.  I wanted to try something similar to my friend’s mom version.  I won’t say it was as crispy as fried version, but soft and a bit chewy snack.

Baked Rice Cracker

Preparation Time : 5 mins | Cooking Time : 20 – 25 mins

Recipe Category: Snack

Ingredients:

Cooked Rice – 1 cup (I used Brown rice, any rice can be used)

Lemon juice – 1 tbsp

Coriander powder – 1/4 tsp

Garlic Powder – 1/8 esp

Salt – as needed

Oil/ Cooking spray – to grease (I used cooking spray )

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Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit. Place baking paper on baking tray and grease it
  • Add cooked rice, lemon juice, garlic powder, coriander powder and salt, and Combine well

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  • Add water if required and make a dough. Make some balls (Marble size). Gently press them to flat thin circles ( around1/8 inch approximately)
  • Bake them for 20 – 25 minutes, turning sides

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My Notes:

  • Try to make small flat crackers, else the edges will dry out while the centers remain too moist
  • Instead of garlic powder, you can add chilli powder, onion powder, cumin powder etc.
  • Can make the dough flat and cut with cookie cutter
  • Over cooking may tend to dry out the rice completely

Spinach Corn Gravy (Zero Oil/Butter)

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Spinach corn gravy is something I regularly cook, but for a change tried without using Oil/ butter, and I am surprised with the outcome. Hubby couldn’t believe I didn’t use oil! Infact he ate some extra gravy appreciating the taste:-)  I have to thank my Co-bloggers for inspiring me to try Oil free cooking.  For Tofu Butter Masala I had cooked onion and tomato before grinding. I remember I didn’t taste raw smell, so I followed similar procedure and prepared this gravy. No after taste (raw smell).

Spinach Corn Gravy

Preparation Time : 10 min | Cooking Time : 25 mins | Serves : 3

Recipe Category: Side dish

Ingredients:

Spinach –  2 cups

Frozen Corn – 1 cup

Onion – 1 big

Cashew – 7

Ginger garlic paste – 1/2 tsp

Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp

Green Chilli – 1 ( Adjust according to your spice level)

Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp

Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp

Salt – as needed

Sugar –  generous pinch

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Method:

  • Boil onion and cashew in hot water till the raw smell in onion goes off. Strain the water. When it comes to room temperature, blend them into fine paste without adding water

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  • Rinse the spinach well in water. Boil water with pinch of sugar and salt. Add the spinach to the boiling water. Cook and switch off the flame, after 3-5 mins drain and quickly pour cold water over the spinach. Transfer them into a blender and make fine paste, with green chilli

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  • Heat the non stick pan/heavy bottomed/andoized pan in medium heat and add ginger garlic paste and 1 tsp of water.  Sauté till the water is absorbed and raw smell goes off. If water evaporated before raw smell goes spinkle some more water

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  • Add Onion and cashew puree and cook for 3-4 minutes  keep stirring occasionally

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  •  Add spinach puree, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and allow it to cook for 2-3 mins

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  • Add corn and combine well and cook for 2-3 minutes

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My Notes:

  • I have used frozen corn so I didn’t steam them. If you are using fresh corn, steam them before adding
  • Add water if you think the gravy is too thick
  • Sugar helps to retain the green color in spinach
  • Green peas, tofu/ paneer can also be added
  • Can add milk/fresh cream/coconut milk to the gravy
  • Whole spices (bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom etc) can be added
  • This gravy goes well with any variety rice like fried rice/ pulao as well as with naan/rotis
  • Butter can be added for flavour
  • Tomatoes can be added while cooking onion

Baked Healthy Mixture

 

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Mixture is my sister’s favorite snack. My sis had a peculiar habit of eating mixture when she was young, She would soak the mixture in water and eat it. Till today I couldn’t figure out the reason;-) As a teatime snack or a side for rice, Mixture is a winner. I couldn’t get the Indian Mixture here, so I started to eat Hunter mix and loved it. I tell myself its kettle roasted, so guilt free snack;-) wanted to avoid eating that and make a healthy homemade alternative. Traditional mixture recipe is bit lengthy, though it tastes yummy. A lazy cook like me wanted to make it quick and simple. I frequently do Puffed Rice Mixtute for teatime snack. Baking fever (that’s how hubby calls my addiction to baking) told me to try mixture with puffed and flattened rice, and with nuts. I have baked Honey Glazed Almonds, but had second thoughts to bake flattened rice. I saw my friend Chitra’s oats poha granola post and confidently tried mixture, and it was a big hit at home. This is a simple and easy mixture. Need to try my luck with some more ingredients next time.

Baked Healthy Mixture:

Preparation Time : 5 mins | Cooking Time : 15 – 20 mins

Recipe Category: Snack

Ingredients:

Puffed Rice / Pori – 1 cup

Thin Flattened Rice/  Poha (White/ Red) – 1 cup (I used white)

Walnuts – 3 tbsp ( cut into big pieces)

Peanuts – 4 tbsp

Almonds – 3 tbsp

Sunflower seeds – 4 tbsp

Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp

Coriander powder – 1/4 tsp

Chilli Powder – 1/4 tsp (Adjust according to your spice level)

Asafoetida/Hing – a generous pinch

Oil – 1/2 tsp

Salt – as needed

Cooking Spray/ Oil – to grease (I used cooking spray)

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Method

  • Pre-heat the oven to 150 degree Fahrenhait. Line the baking tray with aliminium foil (or any Baking paper) and grease with cooking spray
  • Combine puffed and flattened rice along with nuts and mix well

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  • Add the spice powder (Turmeric, Chilli etc.) and oil to the mixture. Combine everything well

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  • Spread the mixture on a foil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 mins

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  • Check for the seasoning and add if required. Store in a Airtight container to maintain the freshness

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My Notes:

  • Can add Fried gram, cashew nut, curry leaves, raisin or any other Nuts of your choice
  • Instead of baking, you can also deep fry flattened rice, and shallow fry puffed rice and nuts. Combine everything together
  • My oven took around 17 minutes but watch out after 15 minutes
  • Can also use thick poha but it takes extra cooking time
  • Can also microwave poha for 2 minutes instead deep frying

Pulikaichal (Puliyodharai)

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Pulikaichal is a classic traditional recipe.  When mixed with rice, tangy variety rice is ready (Puliyodarai). It also goes well with dosa/ Idli tiffin variety, and acts as a yummy pickle to curd rice.  It is a great travel recipe too, also a festive recipe prepared during kannum pongal and aadi perukku. It stays good even for a month (when refrigerated) or upto a week (outside),  if stored in an air tight container and accessed with a clean dry spoon. This is one of the most favorite prasadam in temples. It’s good to have Thakkali Thokku/Pulikaichal in fridge, and during busy days these two pastes help a lot.

Pulikaichal (Puliyodharai)

Preparation Time : 10 mins | Cooking Time : 30 mins

Recipe Category: Pickle/Side Dish and Entrée

Ingredients:

Cooked Rice – 2 cup

For the pulikaichal:

Tamarind – big lemon size

Powdered Jaggery – 1 tbsp

Turmeric Powder – 1/8 tsp

Asafoetida – a generous pinch

Salt – as needed

Sesame oil – 3 tbsp

Roasted Peanuts – 1/4 cup (approximately) I generally add handful

To temper:

Mustard Seeds – 1/4 tsp

Channa Dal – 1 tbsp

Dried Red chillies – 2

Curry Leaves – few

Spice Powder:

Channa Dal – 1  tbsp

Coriander Seeds – 1 tbsp

Dried Red Chillies – 4 (Adjust according to your spice)

Fenugreek Seeds(Venthyam) – 1/4 tsp

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Method:

  • Dry roast the ingredients under ‘Spice powder’. Allow them to cool and grind it to a fine powder without adding water, and keep asideP1040965
  • Soak tamrind in luke warm water for 10 – 15 mins. Extract the juice and keep aside
  • Add sesame oil in a pan, and when the oil is hot add the ingredients under ‘to temper’ and let them splutter. Add the tamarind extract and allow it to boil

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  • When the raw smell starts to go away, add the powder, peanuts, salt and jaggery. Mix well and continue cooking

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  • Keep stirring ocaassionally. When oil begins to seperate and the mixture becomes a thick paste (and raw smell goes off completely), switch off.

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  • Take the cooked rice spread it in a wide bowl, drizzle a tsp of sesame oil, add 1/2 cup of pulikaichal, and mix well without mushing up the rice.  Adjust the quantity of pulikaichal and add salt, if required. Allow it to rest atleast for 30 – 45 mins before you serve. Serve with Aviyal/Potato Chips/Appalam/Fry

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My Notes:

  • Always use a wide pan while cooking pulikaichal as they tends to spit spills outside
  • Sesame oil make it stay good for longer days
  • Generally for puliyodarai I use normal rice but basmati rice can also be used
  • Rice tastes better sometime after it has been mixed
  • Can add 1/2 tsp of sesame seed, 1 tbsp of urad Dal and 1/2 tsp of pepper powder while preparing spice powder. My friend’s mom coos with these ingredients, and it tastes good too. As both my mom and mother in law won’t add these spices, I haven’t added
  • First day it tastes spicy but over a period of time it tastes less spicy
  • Adding jaggery is optional but it gives a sweet tangy taste which we like
  • I have used roasted peanuts so I added them at the end. If you are using unroasted add it after tempering
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