August 29, 2011

Jowar Laddu

Here is another quick and easy recipe using jowar grains. I remembered the laddu posted by Srivalli and checked it and found it suits my BM theme of cooking with five or less ingredients. Noted the recipe and went to the kitchen straight away and the laddus were ready in 15 minutes.  It makes a very healthy snack for kids and adults alike. There is very little ghee used in the recipe and is sweetened with jaggery.  This fits the bill as a nutritious sweet for your after meal dessert.

Time Taken : 15 minutes
Yields : 11 nos

You need

  • Jowar grains - 1/2 cup
  • Grated jaggery - 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom - a pinch
  • Ghee - 1 tablespoon
  • Cashew - 5 nos, coarsely ground

To prepare this laddu, jowar pops is ground and mixed with jaggery. Ghee is the binding agent.  First the pops are to be made. Heat a pan. When it is hot, add the jowar grains. Keep stirring it. After 2-3 minutes, the grains will start pop. For me, not even half of the grains popped and I stopped roasting further in the fear of  burning the grains.  

Pulse the jowar pops in the mixer grinder. Don't grind it to a fine powder. Add the grated jaggery to it. Pulse it further so that it makes a homogeneous mix. Take the mix to a bowl. Add cashews, cardamom powder and warm ghee to the mix. Mix well.  The mix may look dry but you will be able to make balls out of it. Make lemon sized balls. Press it tight so that it stays together. It is very tasty that its difficult to stop with one.

Check out what my fellow blogging marathoners have cooked for the last day of the marathon.

August 28, 2011

Jowar Idli using jowar grains

Food blogging has introduced me to many new grains/flours which  are not part of  my native Palakkad Iyer cuisine. During my grocery shopping, I tend to pick up new grain/flour to try in my kitchen. Most of the time, I will not have recipe in my mind. I had a big packet of jowar grains which I had picked during one of the shopping trips. I relied on Google to throw some recipe links on jowar grains. Most of the recipes used jowar flour. I decided to try idli starting with my usual idli recipe as the base recipe. I was very apprehensive of the outcome. Jowar is an new grain to me and its gluten free. I thought if the idli attempt do not meet success, there is always dosa to look forward.  After 10 minutes of steaming, I was surprised seeing very soft, off white idlis. 

You need

Jowar grains - 1 cup
Idli rice/parboiled rice - 1 cup
Urad dal - 1/2 cup
Methi seeds - 1/2 tspn

Wash jowar, rice and urad dal separately. Soak jowar, rice and methi seeds together. Soak urad dal separately. I soaked it overnight. Jowar requires more soaking time than rice. Soak two hours more than what  you do for the regular rice for idli. 

Grind dal first till fluffy. Remove and grind jowar, rice and methi till it is ground fine. Mix the grain and dal batter with salt. Leave it to ferment for 5-7 hours, based on the weather in your place. 

Take the idli plates. Smear the depression with sesame oil. Spoon the batter and steam cook in a pressure cooker or idli steamer for 10 minutes. 

Remove the cooked idlis and serve with podi/sambhar or chutney.

I love to eat idlis dunked in a bowl of sambhar.

Check out what my blogging marathon friends have cooked for the day.

August 27, 2011

Rajgira Aloo Tikki

Rajgira flour is generally preferred as a fasting food since it is a non-cereal flour. The flour is prepared from the amaranth seeds. Mostly this flour is made as parathas. Being gluten free, it is suitable for gluten intolerant people.  I tried making tikkis with this flour. Used some mashed potatoes for binding. Very easy to make if you have cooked potatoes in hand.

Yield - 9 nos
Time Taken - 15 minutes

You need
  • Rajgira flour - 1 cup
  • Cooked and mashed potatoes - 1 cup ( I used 2 big potatoes)
  • Ginger,green chilly paste - 1 tspn
  • Seasoning ingredients - Salt, lemon juice, hing and chopped coriander
  • Oil to shallow fry


Take all the ingredients except oil in a bowl. Mix well. No need to add water. The moisture from potatoes will help to bind the mixture.  Pinch off lime sized dough and shape into tikkis.  If you want some crunch, you can roll the tikkis in sesame seeds. This step is optional.

Heat a tawa. Place the tikkis. Drizzle oil on the tikkis. When the bottom gets cooked, flip and cook the other side. Enjoy hot with some ketchup or chutney.

I am sending this tikkis to the Fasting Food event by MomChef at Sizzling Tastebuds.

Check out what my blogging marathon buddies have cooked for the day

August 26, 2011

Golpapdi - Wheat flour sweetened with jaggery

A quick look at my recipe index or the labels, will tell you my love for sweets. I have a special affinity to jaggery based sweets. I feel jaggery based sweets are generally healthy compared to the sugar ones. Jaggery is rich source of iron and sweets with this, doesn't call for loads of fat. Golpapdi is one sweet that caught my attention for the simple ingredients and the easier method of preparation. I have tried it few times and not once the jaggery melted from the heat of the flour mix. And every time, I will put the pan back to stove and melt it and then proceed further. The result was still good though it may not come close to the actual golpapdi.

Cut back to January and news paper carried articles on Makarashankaranthi festival and various delicious treats specially made for the festive season. In one of such articles, I read about a variety of jaggery which is soft and suits for til/ellu ladoo. It then dawned on me that such kind of jaggery is required to make golpapdi too.  I found that the jaggery block which I had purchased then was the soft kind. I had casually picked it from the grocery shop and did not find any difference. Then I tried again and finally met success. I followed Tarla Dalal's recipe. 

You need

Whole wheat flour/Atta - 1 cup
Grated Jaggery - 3/4 cup
Ghee - 4 tbspn
Poppy seeds - 1 tspn
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tspn

Heat the ghee in  a pan/kadai. Add the wheat flour to the melted ghee. Keep stirring till the wheat flour turns into a brown color and the aroma of roasted wheat flour in ghee will fill your entire kitchen. Make sure, you don't burn the flour. Remove the pan from fire. The rest of the steps doesn't require any more cooking. Quickly add the grated jaggery and cardamom powder to the roasted wheat flour mix. Keep stirring.The jaggery will melt and it will comes to semi solid mass. Transfer the mix to a greased plate, sprinkled with poppy seeds.  Press and spread the mix evenly with a flat based cup/katori. Mark squares while warm. When cool, store in air tight container.

Please check what my blogging marathon buddies have cooked for the day.


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August 25, 2011

Bittergourd/Parikkai Chips using Microwave ~ Crisp & Low Fat

When there are so many varieties of chips to choose from, why would any one think of chips out of bitter gourd. The name itself might bring unpleasant taste to many. I first tasted these chips when my co-sister got this from A1 chips, Coimbatore. It was very tasty that the bitterness could easily given a pass. I do make sun dried bitter gourd to use in vatha kuzhambu or deep fry them as occasional sides.  But its chips avatar really bowled me over. 
I have been thinking of trying it in microwave in the same way as masala peanuts is done. Every time I buy the bitter gourds, I remind myself that I should try with at least one. The theme of blogging marathon gave the final nudge and I made it yesterday. It came out very crisp and it was all done in 12 minutes.

You need
Bitter gourd, medium sized - 3 nos
Rice flour - 3 tspn
Red chilly powder - 1/4 tspn
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tspn


Wash and slice the bitter gourd into thin circles. Remove the seeds. If you find removing the seeds after slicing a bit tedious, you can cut the gourd into two halves, vertically. Remove the seeds and slice. Spread it on a newspaper for an hour or so. So it will dry out by then.

In a bowl, take rice flour, red chilli powder, salt and oil. Mix well. Add the sliced bitter gourd to the flour mix. Sprinkle few drops of water so that the masala coats all the pieces well.

Arrange the bitter gourd pieces on a microwave safe plate, in a single layer. Microwave high for 4 minutes. Take the plate out and flip the pieces. Microwave for 5 minutes. Check if it is crisp. Else MW in steps of 1 minute. After 10 minutes, you can drizzle few drops of oil and cook further.  It took 12 minutes for me. The time may vary according to the quantity and thickness of the slice. Store in an airtight container. It stays crisp for a long time.

Enjoy with your cup of tea/coffee or as a side for curd rice.

1) You can use sambhar powder or any other spicy podi
2) Add sesame seeds for crunch
3)Increase the amount of rice flour to get a batter fried effect

I am taking this to the MEC-Potluck hosted by Srivalli.

Do check out what my blogging marathon buddies have cooked for the day.

August 24, 2011

Theratti Pal - Made easy in Microwave

Theratti pal is a traditional sweet which is prepared with two ingredients - milk and sugar. The milk is boiled over low flame till it is reduced to a curdled mixture and is sweetened with sugar. Its an integral part of bhakshanam for any ritual in a Brahmin household, especially marriage. In the olden days, it was considered an exotic sweet and a tiffin box of this home made theratti pal will be invariably given to the daughter by the mother when she goes back to her in-laws home after her first visit to her maternal home post marriage. I guess the sweet is held in such high esteem, because of the patience and effort involved.  Now, what I am posting here is an instant version, which gets done in 5 minutes, in a microwave oven. 

You need

  • Milkmaid - 1 tin (400 gm)
  • Curd - 2 tspn
  • Ghee - 1 tspn

Take all the ingredients in a  microwave safe bowl. Make sure you take a big bowl else it might spill over while cooking. I used 1.5 litre bowl and it almost reached the brim . Microwave high for 5 minutes. After every two minutes, give it a stir. This will ensure it doesn't spill over. At this stage, you may find some liquid. 

But after a standing time of 3 minutes, it will set well. Scoop and enjoy the delicious sweet.

I am taking this to the MEC-Potluck hosted by Srivalli.

Check out what my fellow marathoners have cooked for Day 2

August 23, 2011

Modakam with sweetened jackfruit filling / Chakka Pooranam Kozhakkattai

Its time for another edition of Blogging Marathon, which is the brain child of Srivalli. The theme I have chosen for this week is cooking with five or less ingredients. I thought this will be interesting to showcase recipes with few ingredients, yet very tasty.  Hope you all enjoy this series along with me.

During Vishu, I managed to get a small piece of jack fruit to keep for the Vishu Kani. For the same price, I could get two big fruits at Palakkad. Before buying, husband confirmed if he should buy for that price. And since it was for the kani, I did not want to compromise. Once I cleaned, all I could get was around 10 fruit bulbs from it. I asked my husband's suggestion as to what should I make with that. He gave a simple and easy one - just eat it as it is. I had toyed with various options of making a chakka curry or payasam or ela adai. The images of ela adai made me salivate and I decided its ela adai. I set out to make the filling and then I realized that I don't have the elai/banana leaf at home. And its not easily available near my home. Its then this kozhakkattai/modakam idea clicked and I set out to make it.  I got around 8 nos with the filling I had and was happy with the result. I did not measure any ingredients, just added on the go. So what I give is an approximate measurement. 

You need
For the filling

  1. Ripe jack fruit bulbs - 10 nos
  2. Powdered jaggery - 1/2 cup
  3. Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
 For the outer cover
  1. Rice flour - 1 cup
  2. Salt - a pinch, oil - 1 tspn, water - 1 cup

Chop the jack fruit into bite sized pieces. Take jaggery with a tablespoon of water in a kadai. When the jaggery melts completely, add the jack fruit pieces and grated coconut. The moisture from the fruit and coconut will make the mixture more watery. Continue cooking till the mixture comes together. Don't cook too long that it becomes hard. It should be soft and moist. 

In another kadai, take 1 cup of water with a teaspoon of oil and a pinch of salt. Bring it to boil. Slowly add the rice flour and mix well. Cook till the mixture becomes dry and is well cooked. Remove it to a plate and leave to cool. Knead the dough to make it smooth. 

Pinch a lemon sized ball from the dough and flatten it to a small disc. Keep a tablespoon of the filling in the center.

Gather the edges of the dough and  seal it at the top. 

 Prepare modaks the same with the rest of the dough and filling. Steam them for 10 minutes in a pressure cooker or a steamer.  You can check if it is done from its appearance. It must have turned to a pale white with a shiny appearance. Enjoy while it is warm.

Do drop in at the Blogging Marathon page, to check out what my friends have cooked for the day.

August 15, 2011

Godhumai halwa/ Thirunelveli Halwa

For the month of July, the Indian Cooking Challenge is visiting the halwa town of South India - Thirunelveli.  The Thirunelveli halwa is very soft, loaded with ghee, which will slide down your tongue, so effortlessly, that will leave you asking for more.  The halwa is truly irresistible that you will forget all the calories loaded in each spoon fulls that you consume.

Srivalli gave various recipes from fellow bloggers to try from. I chose to do from Latakka. For me, Thirunelveli halwa is always the scoop able type and not in the form of pieces.  It took  a solid one hour to get the glossy, soft halwa. The effort was worth it.

You need

Whole wheat grains - 1 cup
Sugar - 3 cups ( I used 2 1/2 cups)
Water - 3 cup +1 cup
Ghee - 1 cup
Cardamom powder - 1 tspn
Cashew- 10 nos
Food Color - a pinch


Preparing the wheat milk

Wash and soak the wheat grains in enough water for around 20 hours or a day. Grind the wheat in a mixer grinder or wet grinder. Strain the ground wheat to extract the milk.  If you are grinding in the mixer, add some water and grind again to extract the milk. You can repeat this once more if you feel there is some milk left. I ground in the wet grinder. So it was ground to almost fine paste. So got all the milk at once. 

Leave the milk to stand for a minimum of 5 hours. Drain the water which floats on top of the milk so that you are left with the thick milk which gets collected at the bottom. I got 1 cup of  milk.

Making the halwa

Add 3 cups of water to the 1 cup of milk. Take a heavy bottom vessel or kadai. Take 3 cups of sugar with 1 cup of water. Bring the syrup to one string consistency. Add a pinch of color to the syrup. Then add the diluted milk to the sugar syrup. Mix well. From this stage, its non stop stirring for 45 minutes. Another pair of 
helping hands will be good too.  When the mixture thickens, you can start adding the ghee at intervals.

When the ghee is added, it will float initially. Later, it will be absorbed. 

As it gets cooked, it will turn glossy and thick. It will not stick to the bottom of the pan. When you tilt the vessel, the halwa would come together and slide easily.  Add the cardamom powder and roasted cashews to it.

 Scoop and enjoy hot halwa. On cooling the halwa will turn thick but will be soft. 

I added 2 1/2 cups of sugar. It was sweet enough for us. If you want it it be really sweet, I will suggest adding 3 cups. I am sure if my Dad tasted it, he would have told its not sweet enough.  If you want to make into pieces, transfer the halwa to a greased plate. Smooth the top and leave it to cool and slice it. I added very little color to make it look close to the Thirunelveli halwa, which has a brown color. 

August 5, 2011

Peach Cobbler

Cobbler is a baked fruit dessert and is so named because of the "cobbled" look of the topping. It can be made with any fruit or fruit filling. Cobbler consists of a fruit or savoury filling poured into a large baking dish and covered with a batter, biscuit, or pie crust before being baked. Unlike a pie, cobbler never contains a bottom crust.  (Source-Internet)

The first time I read about cobbler was at Aparna's space. Then on, I noticed in various blogs and wanted to try it. The sight of fresh peaches in the market made me think of cobbler and I'm glad I tried it. I adapted the recipe for the biscuit dough from JoyOfBaking. I took the points for the fruit filling and went with what I had in my pantry.

You need

  • Peach, skinned, stoned and sliced - 2 cups
  • Sugar - 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom powder - 1 tspn
  • Corn flour - 1 tblspn

For Biscuit dough

  • Maida/All purpose Flour - 1 1/3 cup
  • Salt - 1/4 tspn
  • Baking powder - 1 1/2 tspn
  • Sugar -1/4 cup
  • Ghee/Butter - 4 tblspn
  • Fresh cream - 1/2 cup (or milk)

Removing the skin of the peach is optional. I felt the skin very thick and peeled it. Cut the peach into thick wedges. Remove the stone. Take a buttered baking dish. Arrange the wedges. Mix sugar, corn flour and cardamom. Spread on top of the arranged peach. 

The peaches were not very sweet. Later after tasting I felt, it would have been better if the wedges were tossed in the sugar cornflour mix rather than just spreading on the top.

In another bowl take all the ingredients for the biscuit dough, except cream. Mix with a fork or spoon to resemble bread crumbs. Add the cream and gather the dough. Don't knead. Work lightly. 

Roll the dough into 1/2 inch thickness. Cut into circles or squares and place it on top of the fruit. Don't cover it entirely. Leave some gap between the biscuits. On baking, the biscuits expand. Instead of rolling the dough, you can drop spoonfuls of the dough on top of the fruit.

I had some ghee to be used up. So decided to try it in place of butter. I used solidified ghee. I got very flaky biscuits. If you are using salted butter, then omit the 1/4 tspn of salt.  In place of cardamom, you can cinnamon or nutmeg or any of your favorite fruit spice. 

Bake at 200 C for 40 minutes or till the top browns and the fruit under is bubbly. In my oven, the top doesn't brown well. So I switch to grill mode in the last 3-5  minutes.