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Vendakkai Thengai Puli Kuzhambu

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When I was in college my Amma was out of station and my neighbour aunt offered to give lunch for me. First I told her I will cook, but Aunty convinced me and gave this kuzhambu and potato fry for lunch. While eating I realized its different from Amma’s kuzhambu. Amma doesn’t add onions in vendakkai kuzhambu, also there is no grinding step. I got so addicted to Aunty’s preparation, till my marriage whenever she prepares this kuzhambu in home, she sends me some. My Amma learnt this recipe and started cooking at home for me, also she wrote this recipe in a notebook for my reference.

Ingredients:

Ladies Finger – 10 – 12 (depending on the size of ladies finger)

Onion – 1, chopped

Tomato – 1, chopped

Tamarind – 1 lemon sized ball

Sambar powder/ chilli powder – 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp ( I used Sambar powder)

Jaggery – 1/4 tsp (optional)

Salt – to taste

To temper:

Sesame Oil – 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

Fenugreek – 1/8 tsp

Curry leaves – 1sprigg

To grind:

Coconut grated –  1/4 cup

Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp

Onion – 2 tbsp, chopped

Tomato – 2 tbsp, chopped

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Method:

  • 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 onion and sauté till the onion is translucent. Add tomato and cook till they become mushy
  • Add ladies finger and sauté till they are cooked
  • Add sambar powder and cook for a minute
  • ladiesfingervethakuzhambuAdd the tamrind juice, 1 cup  + 1/2 cup of water, salt  and cook till the raw smell goes off

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  • Grind the items listed under “to grind” with little water. Add the grind paste and jaggery; cook for 4 – 6 minutes and switch off

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  • Serve with rice and poriyal / chips

Checkout my other rice Accompaniments,

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My Notes:

  • Brinjal can be used instead of ladies finger
  • Adjust the Kuzhambu consistency according to your desire
  • Jaggery was not in the original recipe, but I added as I got use to the jaggery flavor in puli kuzhambu
  • Though onions and tomatoes are added raw, they won’t have raw taste in Kuzhambu as they are boiled

Pineapple Rasam

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Like Kasi Halwa, Pineapple rasam is most common in our customary marriages.  Tangy and mildly sweet pineapple rasam is such a table winner recipe in any special menu. Recently when we went for grocery shopping, while crossing fruits aisle in shop, Jagadish was so tempted to eat pineapple but was having second thoughts whether we can finish if we buy a full pineapple. As soon I saw Pineapple I was so tempted to cook Pineapple rasam, since we both love it. He once told me a story “In his hometown there is particular restaurant,  they cut the pineapple, peel the lower half, remove the pulp and serve the rasam with the lower half of the pineapple”. How cool 🙂 I tried to do that but I couldn’t find a proper cutter/knife so it was a big flop show 😦 but the rasam was a biggg hit!

Checkout my other rice accompaniments,

Pineapple Rasam

Ingredients:

Toor dal  – 1/3 Cup

Pineapple Rings –  7 rings, peeled and cut into rings about 1/2 inch and chopped

Tomato – 3, chopped

Water – 3 cup

Rasam Powder – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – pinch

Coriander powder – 1/4 tsp

Pepper –  1/2  tsp

Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp

Ghee – 1/2 tbsp

Mustard Seed – 1 tsp

Asafoetida – generous pinch

Curry Leaves- few

Corainder Leaves – few (I didn’t have fresh coriander leaves so I used Dried, fresh is always preferred)

Salt – as neededPPi

Method:

  • Pressure cook the Toor Dal and smash it with ladle and keep it aside
  • Blend the pepper and cumin seeds into a coarse powder and keep aside
  • Blend the chopped pineapple and 1 tomato into a smooth puree. To the tomato – pineapple puree, add 1 cup + 1/2 cup of water, turmeric powder, coriander powder, pepper – cumin powder, rasam powder and salt; mix well

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  • Transfer the content into a pan and boil it in a medium low flame
  • In a separate pan, add ghee and when the ghee is hot,  add mustard seeds and curry leaves, let it splutter sputter. Add the chopped tomato, pineapple and asofetida; sauté for 2 – 3 minutes
  • IMG_3135Transfer the cooked tomato – pineapple, dal to the boiling rasam; mix well

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  • Add remaining water and keep the flame in medium and cook till the rasam starts frothing. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice and vathakal curry/chips

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My Notes

  • Instead of fresh pineapple, 2 cans of frozen pineapple can also used. Use the pineapple juice for rasam
  • Adjust the pepper according to your spice level
  • No tamrind in this rasam, as tomato and pineapple give the tanginess

Baked Masala Vadai

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When it comes to Vadai, Masala vadai is my all time favorite. Usually I deep fry them in oil, but my baking addiction these days told me to try a baked version. These days its snowing here and on one such days I was craving for Masala Vadai. Soaked the dal and grinded. Decided to try baked version but was little worried about the texture, so instead of making the full batch took half of the batter and started baking it. Preheated the oven and took baking tray and I realized I was out of parchment paper. I thought is this sign telling me not to bake, but I greased the tray with extra oil (compare to my usual quantity) and baked. Oh man I didn’t believe the taste. My husband didn’t believe that its baked, but after seeing the second batch from the oven he accepted:-)
Its snowing today as well and my mind has started thinking about snacks. I am sure I will end up cooking some snack today but for time being this crispy baked Masala Vadai is for my lovely readers.
Check out my other Indian baked snack
Ingredients:

Onion –  1, big finely chopped

Coriander Leaves – few, chopped

Curry leaves – few

To grind:
Channa Dal – 1 cup
Rice flour  – 1 tbsp
Fennel Seeds(Sombu) – 1 tsp

Red Chillies – 2

Garlic – 3 pods, peeled and choped

Ginger – 1 tsp, peeled and chopped

Baking soda – a pinch

Sugar – a pinch

Salt – as needed

Pam Spray/ Oil – to grease (I used Oil)

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Method:

  • Wash and soak channa dal for 2 to 3 hrs. Drain the water completely and keep aside. Grind together with other ingredients listed under “To grind” with 1 – 2 tsp of water into a coarse mixture (less water helps in crispy vadai texture. Avoid using too much water)

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  • Transfer the mixture to the mixing bowl and add onions, curry leaves, coriander leaves and mix well

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  •  Preheat the oven to 400 degree Fahrenhait. Take the baking tray and brush the oil
  • Take small portions of the mixture, and flatten them using your palm (thinner vadai yields crispy vadai)
  • Place them in the greased tray and brush  the top portion of each vadai with little oil to avoid drying out and of course for the crispy finish

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  • Bake the vadai for 11 – 15 min, till they have browned the underside (adjust time according to your oven) . Carefully flip them and bake again for another 11 – 15 minutes. Remove and serve immediately. Serve with chutney/ ketchup.  I generally love to finish them without any sides
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My Notes:

  • The key for the perfect baked vadai is batter with less moisture (water) and greasing generously with oil/ spray
  • If the vadai is thick outer portion will cook fast and inner will remain uncooked, and baking for more time may lead to to rubbery vadai
  • Just like the fried ones – these are best served the minute they are made. If can’t eat the vadai immediately, switch off the oven and keep the vadai tray back in the over till you eat. Make sure you keep the vadai back in oven after 10 minutes as the oven will still be hot. Though the crispness won’t retain for hours together but for 30 – 45 minutes it works perfect.  After that I haven’t tried
  • Instead of rice flour rava can also be used

Cornmeal Pancake

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Pancake is hubby’s favorite weekend breakfast.  I had already Posted Eggless Pancake and Eggless Whole Wheat Strawberry pancake. Had yellow cornmeal in pantry so tried pancake with yellow corn meal and whole wheat. It is healthy and yummy breakfast for adults and kids. My toddler loved this pancake.

On a different note, TraditionallyModernFood is in Sulekha:-) I was excited when sulekha approached me to post recipes in indiapulse.Sulekha.com.

Cornmeal Pancakes

Ingredients

Dry Ingredients:

Yellow Cornmeal – 3/4 cup

Whole Wheat – 3/4 cup

Baking Powder – 1 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp

Sugar – 3 tbsp (I used brown sugar) Adjust sugar according to your sweetness

Salt – 1/8 tsp

Wet Ingredients:

Milk – 1 cup + 3 tbsp

Egg – 1

Vanilla – 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp

Butter –  2 tbsp + 1tsp, melted

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Method:

  • In a bowl add all the dry Ingredients; mix well and Set aside
  • In a separate bowl beat the eggs well; add milk and vanilla extract, and whisk well

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  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir gently. Pour melted butter (microwaved for 15 secs) and stir once. Set batter aside for 10 minutes

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  • Heat an iron skillet or a non-stick pan on low to medium heat. Reduce heat to low and pour a ladle full of batter in the center of the pan. Do not spread the batter. Allow it to spread on its own. Add little butter around the edges. Cook the pancake on low medium heat for half a minute or until bubbles appear over the pancake

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  • When the pancake turns to a nice golden shade, flip it over and cook for half a minute and transfer to the serving plate
  • Serve warm, topped with butter/honey/Maple Syrup/Powdered Sugar/Caramel syrup/butterscotch syrup/Fruit syrup

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Notes:

  • All purpose flour can be used instead of wheat
  • Any extracts like almond, butterscotch etc. Can be used for flavour
  • Cinnamon powder can be added
  • Oil can be used instead of butter
  • Use 1 tbsp of flax seed powder/ 1 chia seed with 3 tbsp of water to replace egg. 1/2 cup of mashed banana/ 3 tbsp of Peanut Butter /1/4 cup of unsweetned Apple sauce can also be used to replace egg

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 aside

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  • 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 occasionally. 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

Black Bean Gravy

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Now a days Mexican cuisine has became one of our favorites. After having many Mexican dishes, I liked black bean and  knowing its health benefits, I wanted to try an Indian gravy with black bean. This  black bean gravy tastes amazing and goes well with roti, rice, bread, burrito, quesadilla.

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Black Bean Gravy:

Preparation Time : 10 min | Soaking Time : 4 hours | Cooking Time : 30 mins | Serves : 3

Recipe Category: Side dish

Ingredients:

Black bean – 1 cup + 1/2 cup

Onion – 1  finely chopped

Tomato – 1 finely chopped

Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp

Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tsp

Channa Masala – 1 tsp

Turmeric powder – a pinch

Amchur powder – 1/4 tsp (optional)

Garam masala powder – 1 tsp

Coriander leaves – 1/8 cup roughly chopped

Cardamom pods – 2

Cinnamon – 1/8 stick

Cloves – 1

Bay leaves – 1

Fennel seeds – 1/8 tsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Salt – as needed

Method:

  •  Put a pressure cooker on the stove and add oil, whole spices and ginger garlic paste, saute for 30 seconds. Add onion and saute till onion is cooked, and then add tomato
  • Once onion and tomato are cooked, add garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder, channa masala, turmeric powder and amchur powder. Allow it to cook for 3  to 5 mins

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  • Add the soaked black bean and mix well. Add required salt and 1 cup + 1/2 cup of water and cover the cooker. SwitcH off after 3 whistles. Once steam releases, open the cooker lid and garnish with coriander leaves. Black bean gravy is ready to be served.

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My Notes:

  • I soaked black bean in hot water for 4 hours. You can either follow this procedure or soak it in normal water for 7-8 hours
  • I directly cooked this gravy in cooker, instead you can also cook black bean and  masala separately, and finally add black bean to the cooked masala (same procedure can be followed for cooking rajma / channa / moong bean or any dal)
  • Since bean is directly cooked in gravy, add same quantity of water as bean to maintain gravy consistency