Spicy Okra

My husband was wishing to have spicy okra from a near by Indian restaurant and for the past few times, they did not have it in the menu. Now I have never done a spicy okra dish before. Yet I wanted to give it a try. I just came up with my own recipe and really did not have high hopes for it. That explains the casual mobile click of the finished dish. But boy oh boy, my husband remarked "This is by far the best among all your preparations. Do not change a thing about it."
when I realized I do not have a half decent picture to feature it in the blog, well it is too late, the pan had none. Well at least I am left with the mobile click that I took to share with a good friend of mine over chat. And more importantly jotted down the recipe - else how will I honor my husband's words "Do not change a thing about it" given my infamous memory power. ;-) Okay lets cut to the chase. Let me share the recipe. Pardon the poor format - running short of time, hence the clumsy notes.

-slice okra (about 40) lengthwise in half- let it sit for 15 to 30 mins so that they dry up a little- oil + okra -> fry on medium until they wilt, sprinkle salt and cook till done (all the stickiness should be gone by now)- meanwhile, in another pan -> oil+cumin seeds+hing+1 green chilly+curry leaves+ ginger garlic paste (2 garlics+1 inch gnger) -> saute well- add 1/2 red onion finely chopped -> saute till done- add salt + turmeric powder -> saute for couple more minutes- add finely chopped tomato (1) -> saute till done- add the following mix of masala:1 tsp of red chilly powder2 tsp of dhania powder1/2 tsp of garam masala powder1/8 tsp of fennel powder1/8 tsp of cumin powder1/2 tsp of curry powder1/2 tsp of fish curry powder- saute the spices and onion-tomato mixture along with 1/2 tsp of oil till the spices are cooked and is no more smelling raw- coarse grind 2 garlic with peel, 1/2 tsp of cumin seeds, 1/2 tsp of whole pepper (must really be coarse - just 1 quick run in the mixie)- transfer the okra to a plate and in the same pan add 1/2 tsp of oil, 1/2 tsp of ghee- season it with 1 indian red chilly, 1 thai red chilly, curry leaves and the coarse ground  pepper garlic - add the onion tomato masala -> stir well- add the okra, saute for a couple more minutes so that the masala coats the okra- delicious spicy okra is ready!- serve hot or cold with chapathi or have it as a side for rasam / curd.

Easy Murungai Masaal Kulambu - no grind, no Tomato

This is a quick and easy preparation that I came up with Today rambling through the available ingredients in my pantry. I was looking to make some gravy that is void of Tomato and caters to my lazy mode (read no grinding of any sort by anything other than the mouth. ;-) ). Tada.. meet Mr. Murungai Masaal who got ready in under 30 mins. Make no mistake of equating taste to preparation time, it tastes so good and is such a versatile gravy that you can pair it with rice, roti, idly, dosai, idiyappam and appam! You can make it runny or thicker, semi dry or dry.. really you make the call, you are the boss. :-)
And for those who are looking for a preparation without Tomato or Tamarind, this is a sure candidate and a winner at that.

oil+pattai+lavangam+sombu+briyani leaf+hing+curry leaves+1 tbsp ready ginger garlic paste+1 red onion+ 15 gralic pods+ kal uppu+ frozen drumsticks about 25 pieces+1 tsp red chilly powder+1 tsp kulambu masala powder + 2 tsp coriander powder+1 tsp turmeric powder+1/2 tsp fennel powder+1/2 tsp garam masala powder+1 tsp mutton masala powder+0.5 cup of grated coconut powder+5 cups of water-> pressure cook for 20 mins on high heat.

Idiyappam in 15 minutes

Sometime back I realized that my previous entry for Idiyappam does not have the recipe. :-) Sorry about that, guess I just got carried away with all the excitements it brought about that I forgot to put out the recipe.
Better late than never, what say? Today dear husband opted for Idiyappam after I insisted so much that it is not at all difficult for me and that it would take only about 15 mins of my time. I was having a bad headache and he was concerned if this would be extra work. As planned and promised it took only about 15 minutes. Needless to mention that it was so satisfying to see him savor the dish. He added, "Of all the items that you do in a jiffy, this is Number One." Added bonus is that I can update the blog with the missing recipe as well. ;-) So here you go:

Makes 1 Large Serving:
2/3 cups of Idiyappam flour
3/4th cup + 1 to 2 Tbsp of  of hot water
1/4 tsp of Salt

  • Microwave 1 cup of water for 1 minute on high power
  • Add 1/4 tsp of salt (you may add about 1/8th of a tsp if you may prefer so)
  • Add few drops of oil
  • Pour the water little by little to the dry flour as needed
  • As you pour the water use a spoon of fork to mix the flour swiftly
  • Knead the flour to a soft pliable dough
  • Spread a few drops of oil over the dough and keep it covered
  • Quickly (yes quickly. You do not want the dough to lose its moisture) set the Idly vessel (or any steamer), add little water, cover and bring it to a boil
  • While steam is forming in the Idly vessel,  grease the steamer plate (I use a colander as shown above) and the inside of the Murukku Pidi (the mould) with little oil.
  • Fill the Murukku pidi with the dough
  • Press the pidi and make the idiyappam following a circular pattern over the steamer plate.
  • Carefully place the plate inside the idly vessel (Make sure the vessel has enough hot water to produce steam for the next 10 minutes. If not, refill with hot water)
  • Cover and cook for 10 minutes
Once the idiyappam is cooked, carefully take it out and flip it over a bowl or plate.
Gently separate the noodles.
Serve hot with any spicy side or with sweetened coconut milk.

The whole process will take about 15 minutes if you plan and multitask. :D Enjoy your dish!

Sarkarai Pongal (Inippu / Jaggery Pongal)

Rice : Moong dhal = 2/3:1/3 measure.
water: 5 and 1/2 cups
Jaggery: 2 and 1/2 cups
Soak rice and dhal in equal amt of water for 30 mins.
Pressure cook them in medium flame with 4 cups of water (plus how muchever water remaining in the soaked rice mixture) until steam comes. (You may substitute 1 or 2 cups of  milk in place of water). Then put the whistle and simmer for 15 mins.
Turn off and when pressure subsides, gently mash the cooked rice.
In pan melt jaggery in 1/2 cup of water. Strain if impurities are present.
Add the jaggery water to the mashed rice .
Add 1 tsp of ghee.
Simmer the stove for 2 mins and let the jaggery combine with rice.
Add 1/2 tsp of cardamom powder or 1 elachi crushed
Add 1/2 tsp of nutmeg powder
Optional: Add tiny  amount of edible camphor (It has a very intense flavor so add very little)
Add roasted cashews (optional raisins) (roast in ghee)
Mix the pongal well.
Serve hot or cold.

Mullangi Sambar (Radish)

oil+kadugu_ulundu+kadalai paruppu+methi+seeragam+hing+curry leaves+1 garlic thatti podanum +1 green chilly+ 5 red chillies+ 1 and 1/2 red onion slit lengthwise+salt ->saute for a min
+2 radish quartered+saute for another 2 mins
+ 1 tsp red chilly powder+ 1/2 tsp coriander powder+ 1 tsp any sambar powder+2 tsp turmeric powder-> stri well for a min
+ 6 cups of water and cover and cook for 30 mins or until; radish is almost cooked (yu should see the pieces a little transparent)
+ add tamarind juice(soak 1 gooseberry size tamarind in half a cup of water and etract the juice)
+ 1cup of cooked toor dhal
taste test for salt and spices, adjust according to taste.
cover and cook for another 10 minutes
just before swtiching off optionally add 1 tsp of sesame seed oil to the sambar.
garnish with cilantro leaves.

Carrot Berry Blend

12 oz of Red Raspberries
3 oz of Blueberries
2.5 cups of Pasteurized Carrot Juice (100% juice)
Blend the berries first and then add the juice and blend well.
"Interesting Flavor" as per my little one who is smacking the lips as I post this. :D

Cauliflower Pepper Pulao

oil+ghee+sombu+cardomom+pattai+lavangam+briyani leaves+star anise+curry leaves+green chillie 3+1/2 julienne cut red onion+sea salt+1 tsp ginger garlic paste+1 cup cauliflower+frozen peas carrot a handful+ 8 mint leaves+few cilantro+2 tsp of any briyani powder+ food color optional+1 cup water+drained water from soaked basmati rice (1 cup rice: 1 cup water - soaked ffor 30 mins) -> after water boils add rice+ stir , cover and cook on high flame till craters form+simmer in low to med flame for 15 mins.+sprinkle sea salt, 1 tsp of oil+2 tsp of pepper powder and stir gently and swtch off flame. keep it covered on hot stove till serving.

Mango Strawberry Banana Fruitee

What you see is what you get. Nothing much Nothing less just the 3 fruits blend to a smooth drink, a fruitee you may call. The juice from the amount of fruits you add is enough to make it runny enough like a fruit drink.

1 Ripe Mango
20 Large Ripe Strawberries
1 Frozen Ripe Banana (Banana must be frozen for this fruitee)

Dice all of them and blend smoothly. Thats all. Really thats all there is to it.
I told you, what you see is what you get.

Dates and Strawberry Milk Shake

Grind 6 Dates (pitted) with little cold milk to a fine paste. Add a 1 cup of milk to it and blend smoothly.
In another mixie jar grind about 20 large strawberries and 1 frozen ripe banana to a fine pulp. Add the date-milk mixture to it. Blend all to a frothy smoothie. You may add crushed ice while serving.

Banana Thin Icecream shake with Berries and Apple

Today's order from dear little one is   "A Thin Shake".

This is the same as the Strawberry Apple Banana Milk Shake previously featured. Since the order calls for 'thin' shake, I went lean on the number of berries and the size of apple. It was really thin and slim, slipping down the throat so smooth and sweet.

Used Frozen Banana and Mango Icecream this time.

1 Frozen Banana
1/2 Apple peeled
3 Strawberries
1 Scoop of Mango Icecream
1 cup of Cold 2% Milk

Blend the fruits, then add ice cream.
Blend well and then add Milk.
Serve chilled.

Carrot Strawberry Banana Smoothie

1 Ripe Banana (Frozen)
10 Strawberries
1 cup of Fresh Carrot juice
Protein Powder 1 scoop (optional)
Chia seeds, flax seeds, nuts (optional)

- Prepare a cup of Carrot juice using a juicer. You may use 100% Juice from stores if not.
- Blend the berries and banana to a fine pulp
- Add the Carrot juice and blend well
- Stir in the optional ingredients if any
- Serve immediately.

Mango Banana Yogurt Smoothie

1 Frozen Banana (Ripe)
1 Mango Pitted
1 Apple Peeled
6oz Yogurt drink (I used cultured probiotic drink)
1 scoop of Protein Mix (optional)

Blend the fruits first and add the rest. Blend well and serve.

Blueberry Banana Shake

Makes 2 large Servings.

1/2 cup of Blueberries
1 Ripe Banana
1 cup of Cold Milk
1 cup of Crushed Ice
1/4 cup of Sweetened Condensed Milk (Optional)
1 scoop of Protein Mix (Optional)

Blend the fruits first and then add the rest and blend till smooth.

Since banana sweetens the drink considerably, no need to add any sweetener. 
You may add dates or honey or Agave nectar or for that matter any sweetener of your choice if you should.

Raspberry Shake - Pink Delight

Guilty Pleasure!
A raspberry Shake sweetened with condensed milk.
Feel free to quiet the guilt by replacing condensed evil .. I mean.. milk with Raw
Unprocessed Organic Local Honey. hehe. My guilty conscience is calmed by stating the above.
My conscience is clear now. ;-)

Since Raspberries are tart as is, I felt a 55 of them will surely appreciate the company of a sweetener.
Besides, the pantry had an opened can of it in the 'use me now or hold your peace forever and throw me away' state. So succumbed to the guilty pleasure. No regrets though when I saw the Perfect Shake in Pink.
Such a delightful sight and taste.

55 Raspberries
1/2 cup of Condensed Milk
2/3 cup of Cold Milk
1 and 1/2 cup of Crushed Ice
1 scoop of Protein Powder (Optional)

Blend the berries to a fine pulp.
Add crushed ice and blend once.
Then add the milk, condensed milk and protein mix.
Blend all well.
Sprinkle with Chia / Fax seeds and/or coarsely grated nuts of your choice.
Serve immediately.

Vegetable Sevai - Indo Chinese

A swift makeover for the left over Idiyappam.

oil+peas+carrot + chilly paste+soy sauce+salt+idiyappam+lemon juice

Avocado Smoothie

When I was a child, I used to have Avocado as dessert when it was in season. It is called Butterfruit, apt name for its creamy buttery texture and taste. Just mash it with some sugar and smoothy creamy dessert is ready. It took me some time to see it as a non sweet item when I was introduced to guacamole. I am still not fully accustomed so to speak.
So when I stumbled upon the Vietnamese Avocado Shake I was drawn to it all the more excited as if I had found someone speaking my mother tongue in a foreign land. 
I could only figure out the ingredients so went with some trial and error measurements. It came out good.

1 Ripe Avocado
1/2 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup of 2% Milk
2 cups of crushed Ice

I think I have to play with the measurements a bit more though.. it was very dense. Tasty yet too rich. My little one was not excited at it. As it is he is not a fan of Avocado unlike me. I still lean towards my simple dessert of avocado and sugar. This smoothie is an evil pleasure.. I may try my hand at making a healthier version of it.. but got to wait until my avocado-hater at home forgets the taste of Today's green smoothie. For the rest of you, it is worth a try, so attempt this smoothie to decide for yourself.

Apple Banana Sorbet Shake

1 Green Apple
1 Ripe Banana
1 Scoop of Lime Sorbet (or any flavor of choice)
1/4 cup of Cold Milk
1 Scoop of Protein Powder (Optional)
1 Handful of crushed Ice

Blend the Peeled Apple and Banana to a smooth mixture.
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend to a frothy mixture.
Serve cold.

Plum Pickle - Instant

Over the weekend, my friend made instant mango pickle to savor after an eventful day of hiking. It was heavenly.
Today we just dropped by her house to hand off some Santa Rosa Plums from our backyard. Yes it is that time of the year here where Plums are plentiful. We had plucked the plums ahead of time though not fully ripe to outsmart the squirrels and Robins. Plums can ripe on counter tops so that is not a problem.
Oh the Robins are real Robinhoods robbing our fruits! So we have to resort to such tactics.

She applied the same instant mango pickle recipe to the half ripen plums and made these Plum Pickles. Heavenly again.

  • Dice the Plums to desired size. Ideal to mix few ripe ones with half ripen fruits. 
  • You may even mix some mangoes to it.
  • Sprinkle desired amount of salt and red chilly powder.
  • Squeeze a teaspoon of fresh Lemon juice.
  • Add little sugar.
  • Mix well and taste it and adjust the salt, sweet, spice, sour levels to a good balance.
  • Set the bowl aside.
  • In a hot pan, add 1 tsp of oil
  • Season it with few mustards seeds, few urad dhal. 
  • Let the seeds splutter.
  • Add few curry leaves  and a pinch of hing.
  • Pour the oil over the fruits and mix well.
  • Let the pickle sit for few minutes before serving.
The longer it sits the better.

Mulberry 65 Yogurt Smoothie

Best friend bestowed upon the friendship hundreds of Mulberries from her Backyard. Given its shorter shelf life I chose to make a smoothie out of it. This time I did not add any other fruit because the task at hand is to use as many Mulberries as possible in the drink. I added 65 of them. Why 65? hehe only then I can name the drink Mulberry 65. Thats why. :D

I added a Coconut flavored Yogurt to add some creamy texture to the drink. It was still tart so added a half a cup of Orange Juice to bring in some sweetness. All in all the smoothie was rich. But I must say that Mulberry is as it is an acquired taste. If you dare to add so many of them in one drink, you can imagine the outcome. My dear scapegoat (aka kid) did not mind but I was skeptical until I see him gulp down the drink without any complaints.

65 Mulberries
1 cup of flavored Yogurt
1/2 cup of Orange Juice

Grind the berries to fine paste and then add the yogurt and give it a whip in the blender.
Then add Juice and blend them all together. You may add crushed ice to the drink but I do not.

Nectarine Berry Protein Drink

1 Nectarine (Pitted)
4 Large STrawberries
1/2 cup of Blueberries

Blend the given fruits first.
Add 1 cup of Orange Juice and (1/4 scoop) Protein Mix next.
Blend again.
Top it with 1/4 tsp of Hemp seeds.
Serve immediately.

Luscious Mulberry Smoothie

The goodness of having a great friend with a green thumb. Fresh Mulberries right out of her gracious garden. 12 of them coupled with 12 of the Raspberrries blended together along with a cup of Orange-Mango juice... the oh so Luscious Mulberry Smoothie. 

Add a handful of Chia seeds or Hemp seeds or even ground Flax seeds to power pack it, if you may prefer so. If adding Chia, add an extra quarter cup of juice to compensate for the absorbency of the seeds just so to maintain the consistency. Especially if you are going to serve it a little later.

You may also sprinkle sliced nuts. It is your drink, take all the liberty in the world .. that is.. as much as you can handle. ;-) 

Meen Kulambu

- Marinate Cat fish with turmeric pdr, red chilly pdr, salt for 15 minutes

Oil+fennel seeds + curry leaves+ 10 pearl onions+ 1 wholle clove of garlic -> saute well
+ masala paste (saute  7 pear onions, 1/2 red onion and fine grind:with 1/4th of a whole coconut, 2tsp of fennel seeds, 2 tsp of red chilly pdr, 2 tsp of coriander pdr) + turmeric pdr +salt -> saute well
when oil separates add water to desired consistency+ tamarind paste to taste -> bring to a boil.
when curry is almost ready, add fish, cover and simmer for 7 minutes or until fish is done.

Extra Light and Fluffy Pancake - Restaurant like Albeit Healthy

Softer and Fuller than McDonalds Pancake and undeniably healthier without compromising the taste one bit. The healthier additions only enhanced the taste to one up the restaurant counterpart, so to speak.
Karthik's all time favorite! So much that he persuaded his playdate thus: "You don't like Pancakes?! That must be because you haven't tasted my mom's".
Now is that persuasion enough for you to try this recipe? ;) 

1/2 cup Pancake Mix
1 Egg
1/2 Banana  (sliced into teeny tiny bits)
1 tbsp Milk
1 tbsp Honey
1 cube Butter
1/4 cup Carbonated Drink (optional)
2 tbsp Hemp Seeds
1/4 cup Golden Raisins

Egg - beat + milk beat + hemp, honey, banana  - beat + flour beat+ drink beat+ raisins mix
butter on pan, pour batter -> cover, simmer, flip, cover.

Beetroot Leaves Kootu

Beetroot Leaves - I tasted them at my friend's place for the first time. Reluctant first, Hesitant next I tasted it after my friend's loving reassurance "You will not die. Taste it".  (yeah, she is such a lovely friend). I did not die and better yet, I liked the taste of them leaves. :D

Then Tamil bought the beets with leaves. With minor variations to her version that suited our pantry, mood, memory (as much as we can recall her recipe) and taste buds.. the new dish made it's way here. The crunch of the leaves in every bite with the sweet and spice of the beets sets it apart. Karthik's verdict: Super-a irukku. It did taste very good.

  • Buy the Beetroot bunch with the leaves and wash the leaves well
  • Finely chop beets including the leaves 
  • Heat 3 tsp of oil in a pan
  • Season the oil with 1 tsp of mustard seeds and let the seeds crackle
  • Add a spring of curry leaves
  • Add 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • Saute the onions well until translucent
  • Toss the beets and leaves
  • Stir occasionally and saute until beets is half done
  • Add 1 tsp of red chilly powder, 1/2 tsp of Turmeric powder and salt per taste
  • Continue to saute until beets is well done or al-dente
  • Sprinkle water time to time to aid with the cooking
  • While it is cooking, fine ground 3 green chillies, 1 tsp of Cumin seeds with 2 tbsp of Coconut powder
  • Just when the beets is about to be done, add the coconut powder 
  • Give it a stir, cover the pan and simmer the stove for about 5 to 7 mins
  • Delicious Beets is ready to be served 
  • Soft Oats Idli

    2 Cups of Rolled Whole Oats
    2 Cups of Idli Rice
    1.25 Cups of Whole Urad dhal
    1 tsp of Methi seeds

    Soak Oats & Rice separately
    Soak Urad and Methi separately.

    Grind the urad mix for 45 mins.
    Add the Oats mix and grind for another 30 mins.

    Ferment batter overnight.
    Make idli the usual way.

    Optional: Add Hemp / Flax seeds while making idlis.

    Brown Rice Porridge (Kanji)

    Makes 1 Serving.

    1/2 cup Brown Rice
    3 cups Water
    2 Garlic Pods with Peel
    6 Whole Pepper (Milagu)
    1/8th tsp Cumin Seeds (Seeragam)
    1/8th tsp Methi Seeds (Vendhayam)
    3 small Green Chillies
    3 Curry Leaves
    1/2 tsp Salt (per taste)

    Pressure cook all of the above for a good 3 whistles. (about 20 mins) and then simmer the flame to lowest possible and leave for another 10 minutes. Then turn off the stove.

    After the pressure releases, slightly mash the contents with the back of a ladle (Typo correction courtesy: Thx to whomsoever it may concern :-) )
    Serve hot with any chutney. Coconut chutney goes well with this. Puthina chutney, Coriander chutney anything would pair well with this comfort food. I survived on this when work was crazy busy.
    Just toss all of them in the cooker and forget till it is done. No grinding, no chopping, no frying, no stiring, heck you need not even peel the garlic. :D Just the lethargy to cook drove me into this concoction that I named Brown Rice Kanji. This tastes very closer to my favorite Kanji served during my hostel days. I tried so much to get the recipe from the hostel caterers but could not. I am so glad I could come up with this one which is a close cousin of that.

    I tried to add Quinoa to the mix but that was a failure... so I spare you all from that experiment. It tasted awful... like a glue with wooden sticks.. Why am I saying this? Welll think of that taste and compare it to this one, you will like this kanji even better by comparison. LOL Kidding. This tastes better even otherwise.

    It gives me ideas to try Ven Pongal with the same recipe. Ok Ok I get it Brown Pongal. Will post a recipe when I experiment that.

    Rice Quinoa

    Just a medley of grains. Looking for ways to include the protein packed Quinoa into everyday diet? Try this. Mix Quinoa and Rice in 1:2 ratio. The Rice to Water ratio be 1:2 and Quinoa to Water ratio be 1:1. Mix the Rice, Quinoa and Water, then pressure cook the medley of grains for a nice 1 or 2 whistles (just like you do the Rice).
    This is an easy sneaky way to get those taste buds get accustomed to the new taste of Quinoa. Rice tastes better for us this way. Especially for kids, this is very filling and not too much of a jump from one taste to another in the pretext of healthy eating.
    1 Measure White Rice
    1 Measure Quinoa
    3 Measures Water

    1 to 2 Whistles in Pressure Cooker

    The cooked rice has nice crisp bites of Quinoa to it, enhancing the taste. It is very nutritious too, now you can have white rice with less guilt. Slowly you can increase the quinoa ratio once you get used to the taste. Let us crawl before we run, shall we? ;-)
    Treat this as any white rice and serve with curries. You may even make pulavs, flavored rice etc using the same rice Quinoa base. Now that's an idea to self...Will do some in near future. :-)

    Food Processor - Black& Decker - 8 cup

    I am very pleased with this Black beauty.
    The 8-cup Black & Decker Food Processor
    So far I have sliced Okra (Vendakkai), Karela (Pagarkai), Valaikai, Chou-Chou and Beans. They all came out perfectly sliced. I grated Carrots, it was slightly harder for the machine but it did the job though. I am not planning to overload this one with carrots anymore though.. It does the job for the rest and I do not want to test it's patience. LOL

    I bought it for just $25. The price is great. The parts are not that sturdy but then you get what you pay for, so no complaints there.
    The best part is that it is easy to clean. The common complaint I hear from people is that what time you gain using food processors is spent on cleaning the number of hard to clean parts of it. But this one is a charmer. There aren't too many parts, just the bare essentials. And they are easy to clean too. No nooks and crooks with hard to reach areas, just a quick rinse the bowl and parts are cleaned. The machine comes in handy I say, go for it.
    If I were to look for any negatives, I think the chopper blade may not be that functional... not sure.. yet to test it. I just flipped some vegetables in there and used teh chopper blade but it didn't sound right, so I flipped back to slicing and grating. Overall I am very satisfied with this product. It does not occupy much space on the counter and what space it occupies, it compensates it with it's sheen beauty. So a Win-Win.

    Ennai Kathirikai Kara Kulambu - 3

    Oil+brinjal -> saute
    Oil+mustard seeds+urad dhal+cumin+methi seeds+curry leaves+hing+10 garlic+10 pearl onions+grated ginger+3 green chillies+2 red chillies+salt+turmeric pdr+3tomatoes+1tsp red chilly pdr+3 tsp coriander pdr-> saute until oil separates
    +tamarind pulp+2 cups water+brinjal+medium flame for 10 mins.

    Mushroom Pulao in 30 minutes

    • Wash and Soak 2 cups of Basmati rice in 4  cus of water for a minimum of 1 hr (I soaked it for 2 hrs)
    • In a hard bottom deep vessel (like a pressure pan), add a small cube of salted butter(you may use ghee too)
    • Add a liberal amount of oil to coat the base of the vessel well enough
    • When the oil is hot enough add 2 bay leaves, 3 cloves, 1/2 inch cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamoms, 1/4 tsp of fennel seeds and gently stir for a few seconds
    • Add 1 large onion (half of  which is finely chopped and other half into thin long slices) and saute well
    • Simmer the flame and add  2 tsp of ginger-garlic paste, saute well
    • Add about 12 button mushrooms cut in quarters
    • Add 3 green chillies slit lengthwise
    • Saute until the mushroom is half done and any water present is evaporated
    • Add 2 tsp of salt, a pinch of turmeric, 1/2 tsp of red chilly powder and stir well
    • Add 1 large ripe tomato finely chopped and saute until well done
    • Add 1/4 tsp of Garam Masala, 1/4 tsp of  any  (or Aachi) Briyani powder and stir well
    • Drain and Add the water from the soaking rice (closer to 4 cups of water )  and bring it to a boil
    • Taste test for spices and salt at this stage
    • Add the soaked Basmati rice 
    • Add a handful of cilantro leaves
    • Give it a stir and keep the flame in high
    • Cover the vessel with a tight lid (a glass id with a small vent is preferred)
    • Let it cook for about 10 minutes. You should see craters forming on the surface indicating  that almost all water is gone (A glass lid will let you sneak a peak without having to open the lid and letting the steam out)
    • Simmer  in lowest flame for another 7 minutes
    • By now the nutty aroma of mushroom should have filled your kitchen :-)
    • Turn off the flame and leave the vessel on the stove undisturbed for as long as you wish
    • Serve hot with raita or any spice curry as side
    • The whole process from chopping to serving takes just about 30 minutes

    Oats Quinoa Super Soft Idli with Hemp Filling

    2 cups Idli Rice
    1 cup Rolled Oats (Unflavored)
    1 cup Quinoa (PreWashed)
    1.25 cups Whole Urad Dhal (With or without skin)
    1 tsp Methi seeds

    Soak the Urad dhal + Methi seeds in a bowl with just enough water overnight (or a minimum 4 hrs)
    Soak the rest of the grains in another bowl with just enough water overnight (or a minimum 4 hrs)

    Grind the urad dhal mix for 45 minutes
    Add the grain mix to the urad batter and grind for another 30 minutes
    Add Kosher Salk (Kal Uppu) per taste and mix the batter to the proper consistency required for idli batter.
    (This way you need not disturb the fermented batter the next morning to bring it to the right consistency which may release the air that were trapped during fermentation. This ensures soft idlis)

    Allow the batter to ferment overnight. If fermenting is always a trouble in your location, preheat the oven for 2 minutes at 350 degrees. Turn off the oven. Place the batter in the oven overnight.

    Next Morning, grease the idli plates with gingely oil (Nallennai) and place a table spoon of batter in each idli space. Place a heap (1 tsp) of Hemp seeds at the center of each scoop of batter. Cover the hemps with little more batter on top, thus making a hemp filling inside each idli. You may skip the filling altogether or substitute with any vegetable filling like Carrot / Zuccini gratings etc) . Layer the idli plates inside a steaming idli cooker . Cover and cook the idlis for 10 minutes on Medium flame. Allow the ildis to settle down for 20 or so more minutes and scoop them on to the serving plate. Serve hot with your usual condiments!

    Vendaikkai Puli Kulambu (வெண்டைக்காய் புளி குழம்பு)

    oil+okra -> fry half way thru and set aside
    oil+mustard seeds+curry leaves+methi seeds+cumin seeds+hing+garlic (2 entire clove)+(15 pearl onions -sliced)+salt -> saute well
    +turmeric pdr -> stir
    +1 tomato finely chopped -> saute well
    +sauted okra -> stir well
    + 1 inch tamarind pulp

    +1 tsp chilly pdr
    +3 tsp dhania pdr
    + cover and cook

    + 3 cups water -> taste test

    + 1 tsp vathal kulambu pdr -> stir
    -> let it boil
    +(6 tbsp grated coconut+1/4 tsp fennel seed -> fine ground)-> stir
    + 1 tsp jaggery
    + 3 curry leaves
    -> cover and cook
    -> simmer for 7 mins


    Very Berry Chia Hemp Delight

    The goodness of Chia and Hemp seeds married to the greatness of the berries.

    5 large Strawberries
    1/2 cup of Blue berries
    1/2 cup of Orange Juice
    2 tbsp of Hemp seeds
    1 tbsp of Chia seeds

    * Grind the Hemp and Chia seeds to a fine powder. I use Mr.Coffee grinder. The seeds can be added as is too. Then why did I grind? well a picky eater called my dear son would not appreciate the seeds interrupting his sips, that's why.
    * Blend the berries to a paste in a blender
    * Add the Orange juice and give it a run
    * Finally add the seed  powder and another pulse, you got the delightful drink waiting to slip down your throat.

    Egg Sandwich

    * Toast the bread slices, just half way through
    * Use a round cookie cutter or any round vessel with sharp edges and cut the center of a slice.
    * Remove the center portion and now you got a circular hole in the bread (huh.. no rocket science. ;-) ). That is going to be the bed for the egg
    * Break an egg inside the center
    * Poke the yolk so it spreads out a little (else it will take longer to cook)
    * Sprinkle adequate salt and pepper over the egg
    * Give it a minute or two to cook
    * When you can, carefully turn the slice over so that the other side of the egg gets cooked
    * Press down on the slice a little to ensure proper cooking of eggs. The egg may spread out a little, that's OK
    * Now turn the slice again and layer it with the cut portion of the bread
    * Add a tsp of Maggi Hot and Sweet Sauce (or any sauce of your preference)
    * Add a slice of Cheese (I prefer American Singles)
    * Place the other slice of bread on top
    * Give the stack a little press down
    * Flip the sandwich carefully and let the slice of bread gets toasted to a nice golden brown
    * Serve hot with the Egg side up as shown in the picture.
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