May 25, 2010

Puthucode Pulingari - A variation from the normal pulingari

Puthucode in the title is the name of a village in the district of Palakkad. The village is famous for its Anapoorneswari temple and the Navarathri celebrations. During Navarathri, feast/sadhya is there in the temple. The menu is fixed - Pulingari, Olan and Chadachadayam payasam. The pulingari served is different from the normal recipe and hence it is associated with the name of the village. To know more about this village, read Ammupatti's Thoughts.  During my childhood days, our family made it to atleast one day during the nine day celebrations. As kids, our main attraction was the sadya and the chance to taste the lip smacking pulingari. On one of our visits, we got the souvenir published as part of the festival and the recipe for the famous pulingari was given. From then on, amma made it at home too. It was reseved for special occassions. Not that its difficult to make, but to keep the novelty, its not made often as Sambhar is prepared. In olden days, the vegetable pieces added to the pulingari will be very big. Ash gourd, pumpkin and yam are the veggies added. It is told that after peeling the skin, the whole vegetable is dropped on the ground to break into pieces. The pieces, as is broken, is added to the gravy. During the time when I went, the pieces were not that big, but bigger than what we add in our homes. Just to get that feel, my amma also used to add big pieces. There is no dhanya added here and green chilli is used which is not common in pulingari. Usually pulingari will not have dal added to it. The recipe is simple and easy to make, but the taste is something different from the usual sambhar.

You need

Ash gourd/elavan/kumbalanga - 1/2 kg

Pumpkin/Mathan - 1/2 kg

Yam/chenai - 250 gms

Turmeric - 1/4 tspn

Chilli powder -1/2tspn

Salt to taste

Tamarind - lemon sized

Cooked tuvar dal - 1 cup

To roast

Raw rice -2 tblspn

Methi seed - 1 tspn

Roast raw rice and methi seeds separately till light brown. Powder them separately.

To grind

Grated coconut - 1/2 cup heaped

Green chilli - 2 nos


Oil - 1 tspn

Mustard - 1 tspn

Red chilli - 2 nos
Curry leaves


Wash and peel the vegetables. Chop them into 2 inch cubes. Add two cups of water to the cubed veggies and cook. Add turmeric and red chilli powder and half the amount of salt. The salt is added only for the veggies. The remaining salt will be added to the end. Yam takes more time to cook. You can either cook yam alone in a pressure cooker to speed up the cooking.

When the vegetables are half cooked, extract the tamarind juice and add to it. When the veggies are cooked soft in the tamarind gravy, add cooked tuvar dal and roasted and powdered rice powder.

 Grind the coconut and green chilly to a fine paste by adding enough water. Adjust the amount of chillies according to your spice tolerance.

When the gravy starts boiling, add the ground coconut paste and adjust the thickness of the gravy by adding water. The dal, coconut paste and rice powder will thicken the gravy. Add salt and let it simmer for few minutes.

Remove from fire and do the seasoning with mustard seeds and red chillies. Finally add the powdered methi powder and garnish with curry leaves. The methi powder added at the end gives a nice aroma to the dish.

Enjoy with hot rice with a vegetable side dish and papad.

May 19, 2010

Eggless Chocolate Yogurt Cake

Last week of March, I had my neice and nephew here for a week's vacation. My 10 year old nephew had his list of things he wanted me to make during their stay. He is a great fan of Naan and Paneer Butter Masala that he can have it for all 3 meals and not get bored by it. Without him telling, I knew that top the list. As with all kids, he too is a chocoholic. I was thinking of  using the zebra cake recipe and make a chocolate cake. I was surprised when he asked me if I could bake using the recipe given on the Cadbury's cocoa tin. Though I have seen it, I have not bothered to try it. I told him I haven't tried it so I can't guarantee the result. He was confident of my baking skills and told I can't go wrong. Hearing his innocent reply, I could not say no and all credit goes to him that I baked my best chocolate cake so far. The recipe was eggless so I needn't make any changes. Few measurements were given in grams which I converted to cups with help of online converter.  The measurements may not be exact and that didnot affect the cake at all. Mava was also in the ingredient list and I didnot add it. May be the addition of mava would have resulted in a rich cake.

You need

Curd - 1 cup

Rawa/semolina- 1/4 cup (50 gm)

Cooking soda- 1/2 tspn

Butter - 1/2 cup (100 gm)

Powdered sugar - 1 2/3 cup (200 gm)

Mava - 50 gm (I didnot use it)

Maida - 1 2/3 cup (200 gm)

Baking powder - 1 teaspoon

Cocoa powder - 3 tablespoon

Milk - 1 cup


Mix 1 cup curd with rawa and cooking soda. Keep aside for 10 minutes. Beat butter amd powdered sugar. Add soaked curd-rava mixture. Mix well. In a bowl, sift maida, baking powder and cocoa powder until well combined. Add the flour mix to wet mixture. Add 1 cup of milk. Mix gently. Take care not to overmix.

Pour the prepared batter into a greased and dusted tim. Bake at 180 C for 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Fudge Icing

Butter - 1/2 cup
Icing sugar - 1 cup
Cocoa powder - 3 tblspn
Milk - few drops

Mix all the ingredients till light and fluffy. Add few drops of milk to get a spreadable consistency. Spread it on the cake.

My niece wanted to add her bit to the cake. So sprinkled some powdered sugar on top of the icing and aranged some tutty fruity.

May 17, 2010

Back after the break with Chakka Curry - Jackfruit and brown chana cooked in coconut gravy

Finally back after a long break, which was not meant to be this long. A sudden trip to be with my parents and sister's family. I had planned to blog from there. But I couldnot withstand the heat of  North India, though I am used to mercury hitting 40 C in the South. For most of the days I stayed there, I wasn't keeping well . So I was in mood to sit and write for blog. On top of it I had some pending projects to be completed too. In short, I could not do any thing I planned. Except for two days of  outing, I stayed indoors. Our return trip had to be made via Bangalore for want of tickets. That meant few days of staying with my MIL, BIL and family. My nephew and niece had extracted a promise from me that I stay with them during their vacation. And they are happy that I kept my promise.

And after three weeks,we were back home. It feels good to be back home and  to the routine after a break. There are so many pics in my drafts folder to be posted.  Somehome, I was not able to get into the mood to blog after the break. I have been trying to make a post for the past one week with out much success. Hope after this initial reluctance, I will be able to post regularly.

Here is a recipe with the seasonal fruit - Jackfruit. I didnot get to eat much of jackfruit since I was away for almost a month.

You need

Semi ripe jackfruit bulbs- 20 nos

Brown chana - handful
Turmeric  - a pinch

salt to taste

chilli powder - a pinch

To roast and grind

Urad dal - 2 tspn

Red chilli - 2 nos

Cumin/jeera - 1/2 tspn

Grated coconut - 1/2 cup


Coconut oil - 1 tblspn

Mustard seeds - 1 tspn

Red chilly- 2nos, broken into two

Grated coconut - 1 tblspn


Wash and soak channa for 6 hours or overnight. Pressure cook till it is soft. You can use cow peas also in place of chana. Remove the seeds from the jackfruit bulb and chop into bite sized peices. The fruit should not be ripe and should be firm. At this semi ripe stage, the taste  will be a mix of sour and sweet. This is ideal to make chakka curry.

Cook the chopped fruit with half cup of water. Add turmeric and salt and a pinch of red chilli powder. When its almost cooked, add the cooked chana and let it cook together for 5 minutes.

Roast the urad dal and red chilli in a teaspoon of oil till dal turn light brown. Grind the roasted ingredients along with coconut and cumin to a smooth paste. Add water just enough to grind.
Add the ground coconut paste to the cooked mix and adjust the consistency by adding water if requied. The curry is semisolid. It gets thicker on cooling.  Do the seasoning along with grated coconut and fry till it turns light brown. Garnish with curry leaves. My measurement of coconut is less compared to what my Amma cooks.  If you wish, you can increase the amount of coconut in grinding and garnishing.