September 30, 2009

Murukku ~ Indian Cooking Challenge # 3

Srivalli chose murukku for the September Challenge.  For me, murukku means the kai murukku, which needs some expertise to make. My amma is an expert on that. More on that murukku in a later post. I must admit, this month's ICC was a breeze for me. It must have been a real challenge, if she had chosen the kai murukku. Though I make muthusaram, the recipe given by Valli was different from what I make. I found this recipe simpler with few ingredients.

Srivalli had given the ratio of Rice to Urad dal as 4:1. Since I had ground more quanity of rice, I measured 2 cups of rice flour and proceeded with the making. Proportinaly I took urad dal flour too. For those of you who are not starting from scratch, this measurement might be useful. Apart from this, I followed her recipe. When ever I make murukku of this kind, I directly press into the oil. This time I wanted to try making the concentric circles kind and tried my hand at that. It was easy, but time consuming. After making around 10 numbers that way, I felt back to my old ways.

2 cups of rice flour - Soaked, shade dried and powdered

1/3 cup f urad dal flour - Roasted and powdered

1 1/2 tblspn of butter

Cumin seeds - 1/2 tspn

Sesame seeds - 1/2 tspn

Hing - a small piece soaked in water

Water to make the dough

Take both rice and urad dal flour in a wide vessel.  Add salt, butter, cumin and sesame seeds. Mix well. I used the solid hing. So I soak it in water for half an hour . Add the hing water. Gather everything well to get a crumbly mix. Slowly add water to get a soft dough. If too much water is added, then you will have trouble pressing into oil. The dough will keep breaking while you press.

Heat oil in a kadai and when the oil is hot, press into the oil and cook over medium flame. Gently turn the murkkus with a slotted spoon and cook till it is golden in color. Drain on absorbent paper and when cool, store in airtight container.  If you have both the flours ready, then its really easy to make. The only problem with this murukku is that it gets over in the same speed its made.

September 23, 2009

Navaratri Day 2 ~ Besan Payasam & Kosumalli

Day 2

Besan Payasam

Besan/gram flour/ kadalamavu is roasted in ghee and cooked in milk and finally sweetend with sugar. Its that simple. It requires very less time to make.  A simple, yet exotic dessert is ready in flat 15 minutes. The ingredients are always available in our pantry. 

Besan/Bengal Gram flour/Kadalamvu - 2 tblspn

Boiled milk - 1/2 litre

Sugar - 3 tblspn

Ghee - 1 tspn

Heat ghee in a pan and add besan. Roast the flour till nice aroma comes through. Leave it to cool. Add cool milk to the roasted flour and slowly mix to form a paste avoiding lumps. Stir in the paste to the remaining boiled milk. Boil the milk+besan mix and let it simmer for 5 minutes. The milk will start thickening. Stir in sugar. The sugar will melt and dilute the mix. When it boils again, remove from fire. The payasam will have a creamy consistency and will taste like mysurpa. You can adjust the sugar according to your taste. This will taste good when served warm or chill for few hours and serve like pudding.

Optionaly you can add some roasted cashewnuts too for extra richness. This will serve two people sufficiently When you have unexpected guests and don't know what to make for dessert, this will come quite handy. A very forgiving recipe except that you need to take care that besan doesn't turn lumpy when added to milk.

Kosumalli - Kadalapruppu Sundal

Bengal gram - 1 cup

Turmeric - a pinch

Salt to taste

Grated coconut - 2 tblspn


Coconut oil - 2 tblspn

Mustard seeds - 1 tspn

Green chilli - 2 nos

Red chilly - 1 no

Finely chopped ginger - 1/2 tspn

Curry leaves

Pressure cook kadalapruppu with turmeric till it is soft yet firm. Care should be taken while cooking so that it doesn't turn mushy. If it is not cooked well on pressure cooking, you can cook it for some more time on stove top.Then you will know when to stop. Drain the cooked dal and leave it on the colander for few minutes for the water to drain out completely. Also on cooling, it will firm up. So it doesn't turny mushy on the next step of preparation.

Heat oil preferably coconut oil(or vegetable oil ). Add mustard seeds, red chilli-broken into two, chopped green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. Add salt and the cooked and drained dal. Gently mix with a flat spatula, taking care not to make it mushy. Cook on low fire for 5 minutes for the dal to absorb the flavors and salt. Finally add fresh grated coconut and remove from fire.

Navaratri Day 1 ~ Neipayasam & Vella Avil

I make  payasam for nivedhyam, after the pooja in the morning, during Navarathri. Sundals are for evening. So it is two prasadom at home for the nine days. This time I decided to make different payasams on all the nine days. Else it used to be vella payasam ( jaggery and rice payasam) on most of the days.

Day ~1
Neipayasam  & Vella Avil

I have already posted the recipe for Neipayasam .

Vella Avil  ~  Beaten rice flakes cooked in jaggery syrup

Avil/Beaten rice flakes - 2 cups

Powdered jaggery - 1 1/2 cup

Water -1/2 cup

Ghee - 2 tablespoon

Fresh grated coconut - 3 tblspn

Powdered cardamom/elaichi - 1 tspn

Thick variety of avil is usually used for making.. If you can get the matta/brown avil , all the more better. Wash and soak in enough water for 10 minutes. Drain and squeeze the water out of the avil. Leave it on the colander for 5 minutes.

Melt jaggery in 1/2 cup water. Strain to remove impurities if any. Heat the syrup to one thread conistency. check the consistency by dropping little syrup in a tablespoon of water. You should be able to roll it into a smooth ball. Stir in the soaked avil. Gently mix. Continue cooking till all the moisture dries up. Add ghee, grated coconut and cardamom and mix well. It might look sticky and goeey. When it comes to room temperature, avil will look separate and firm.

September 19, 2009

Navarathri Golu 2009 Pictures

Here are few pics of the golu at my home. I keep Golu inside my pooja room. I have make shift golu padis made to suit the room.

Decoration above the golu

Chettiyar with arisi and paruppu (Rice & Dal)

We don't have practise of Varalakshmi nombu. And my MIL wanted to deck up Devi and keep for the Golu. This is our first attempt. In the process, we got the hang of it. So next year may be we can better ourselves. We planned to keep it as part of the Golu. But it did not match the height of the Golu padis. So decided to keep Devi just outside the Pooja room. To match that, moved Chettiyar and his wares to the other end.

Every day morning, I make a payasam to be offered after the pooja and sundals are reserved for the evening bhakshanam. Today is neipayasam.

My sister at Gurgaon has sent her golu pic. This is the first time she has kept Golu.

September 18, 2009

Pollavadai ~ Navarathri Special

Tomorrow, Navarathri begins. Its celebration time for the next 10 days. In my home, we follow the tradition of keeping golu. Evenings are busy with everyone visiting Golus in the neighborhood. Ladies visit only once to a house where as the children of the neighborhood are the privileged lot who visits all nine days,to all the houses where Golus are kept . The different kind of prasadoms make their dinner. I too had similar days during my childhood. There are four temples in our neighborhood. Prasadoms are distributed in all those temples after the night Aarti, during navarathri days, irrespective of whether it is a Devi temple or not. The first one to start was at the temple very near my house. After our golu visits, we proceed to temple hopping to collect prasadoms before it gets over. The last day at the temple, will be grand with as many as 8 prasadoms ranging from sundals, sweets like laddoo, mysurpa etc.

I am giving the recipe for Pollavadai, which is a popular Golu bhakshanam. Its similar to Thattai, but smaller in size.

You need
Rice flour - 11/2 cups
Chana dal - 1/4 cup
Tuvar dal - 1/4 cup
Urad dal - 1 tblspn
Red chilly - 3 nos
Hing powder - few shakes
Curry leaves - 2 stalks
Salt to taste
Oil to deep fry

Wash and soak the dals together in enough water for an hour. Drain. Grind to a coarse paste along wit red chilly, hing, curry leaves and salt. Don't add water. Mix in the rice flour to the ground dal mix and prepare the dough, similar to chappati dough. Take gooseberry/marble sized dough and press it down into flat thin discs with your fingers. You can use oiled ziplock covers or banana leaves. Meanwhile heat oil in a kadai. When the oil is smoking hot, slowly drop the flattened discs into the oil. Lightly press it down with the perforated ladle. The puffed discs will come up to the oil. Gently turn them and remove when it is golden brown. Drain on kitchen towels and store in airtight containers. This will stay crisp for a day or two unlike thattais. This is mostly made as an evening tea time snack and not for storing for a long period.

Happy Navarathri to you all. Enjoy the 9 days of festivity.

After my vacation, except for the Onam post, my blog is mainly dormant. Call it blogger's block or sheer laziness on my part, I somehow couldn't bring myself to blog. Finally the arrival of long festive days have brought me here. Hope to continue posting as usual. I had the pleasure of meeting Harini and her son during my vacation. True to her blog avatar, Sunshinemom, she indeed has a radiant personality.

September 2, 2009

Happy Onam 2009

Wishing you all a very Happy ONAM 2009.

I am back home after a short vacation. Thanks to my maid who stocked up my fridge with the necessary veggies, I could prepare Onam Sadhya. In the morning, I thought rain will play the spoil sport, but it stopped by 9 A.M so that everyone could make pookalm without fearing of it getting washed away. I managed to make a small one with the flowers from my garden. Since we reached only yesterday late evening, could not buy flowers. And I prefer making pookalam with my garden flowers. Just finished our heavy lunch and I thought I will wish you all and say that I am back. For the time being, its just photos and no recipes.

Image of Bhagavathy drawn using flowers in our nearby temple

Pookalam at my home

Onasadhya - 2009