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Archive for October, 2007

Boondhi Laddoo

My friend Raji and I have been making Boondhi laddoo for Diwali since 8 years. The first time we ended up making a whooping 450 laddoos because we didn’t know how many laddoos we will get for each cup of flour! But the laddoos tasted great and we could call ourself experts from then on! :) I usually make these a day prior to diwali. This time I decided to make a small quantity for posting in the blog. Making small quantities is challenging too! Before you realise the syrup is ready! Menu Today is very right when she says method and measures must be right! Any sweet comes out well when you follow the correct method and measurements! :) You will get around 25 laddoos for 250 grams of flour.

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The teeny weeny laddoo in the middle is for all the fabulous kiddos we meet online like Anjana and (Sri) to the power 2 (Srivalli’s kiddos), Red chillies bundle of naughtiness, Medha (Manisha’s daughter), Kavin (Kribha’s son), Nirmala’s son Siva and her toddler, Laavanya’s baby, Hema’s lucky baby who gets a barn and a cake that looks like this and more that I might have missed.

Ingredients

  • Kadalai maavu, besan or gram flour – 1 cup
  • Rice flour – 1 table spoon
  • Sugar – 1 and 1/2 cup
  • Water for syrup – 1/2 cup
  • Cardamom – 4 nos
  • Lavang (Krambu) – 8nos
  • Cashew – 10 nos
  • Dry grapes – 10 nos
  • Ghee 2 teaspoons
  • Oil for deep frying – 250 ml
  • Saffron colour – 1 pinch

Method

  1. Mix the water and sugar in a heavy bottomed pan and heat on a medium flame.
  2. The syrup should be of one thread consistency. The syrup will be ready when all the sugar melts. Add the cardamom powder and 1/2 pinch saffron powder to the syrup and mix well.
  3. Mix the flours and divide into 2 portions. Mix one portion with a little water to form a batter slightly thicker than dosa batter.
  4. Heat oil in a pan on a high flame.To test the temperature of oil just drop a pinch of batter. If it rises immediately the oil is ready for making the bhoondis.
  5. Hold the bhoondi karandi (perforated ladle) above the oil as shown in picture. Pour a ladle full of batter and spread as you would spread dosa. Immediately reduce the flame to low.
  6. Fry well till the sound stops. Drain and add to the syrup immediately. Rise the flame to high again before you fry the next batch.
  7. Make boondhis with rest of the batter. Keep mixing the syrup with boondhi. Mix rest of the flour with water and make the boondhis.
  8. Fry cashew nuts, dry grapes and lavang in ghee and add to the boondhis. Mix well and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  9. Now you can start making balls out of the soaked boondhis. Towards end if you find it difficult, just heat on a low flame for 2 minutes stirring well.
  10. Store in airtight container. Will taste good after a few hours as the boodhis soak well.

TIPS
Laddoos are famous for getting spoilt soon. You can keep your laddoos for 10 days if you follow these tips.

  1. Use good quality sugar for all sweets.
  2. Fry the boondhis in low flame till the sound subsides.
  3. Use boiled or drinking water for the syrup and batter as it will reduce degradation due to oxidation.
  4. Store in dry airtight containers. Your hands should be clean and dry while serving the laddoos.
  5. Never use water if you are not able to get the balls. Mild heating will help you make the balls towards end.

So many of my visitors requested for this recipe. I hope all of you make great laddoos this Deepavali.

HAPPY DIWALI TO ALL!!

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Arusuvai Friendship Chain

After seeing many many posts on the Amish Friendship bread starter we have been inspired to start a friendship chain from here in India. For starters we’d like to focus locally – chain that spreads across foodies living here in India. Thanks Bhags and Bharathy for helping us come up with this.

Arusuvai Friendship Chain is about sending along a surprise ingredient as a gift to your friends for them to prepare something tasty with it, share the recipe, and pass on other surprise ingredients to more people. Arusuvai means six tastes (aru=six, suvai=taste) in Tamizh and is used to refer for Tasty preparation with six tastes – inippu/ thithippu (sweet), orappu/ karam (hot), kassappu (bitter) , pulippu (sour), uppu(salt), tuvarpu (tastes that one gets in raw leaves).
The chain will start with me passing on a “surprise” to Bharathy and Renuka, who will continue the chain. In other words, you need to wait for your turn to get a “surprise ingredient” to be a part of it. So the buck starts here :D and stops nowhere.

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Arusuvai Logo – Transparent Background

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Arusuvai Logo – white background

When you receive a package with a “surprise ingredient” as a part of Arusuvai here are the basic rules you need to follow:

  1. Prepare something tasty with it and post recipe with a picture if you are a blogger with the logo, a link to person who passed it to you and to this post if you like for reference.
  2. If you don’t blog, do share the recipe with the friend who gave it to you or post it as a guest post on someone you know who blogs.
  3. Pass on a “surprise ingredient” to two or more friends, one of whom must preferably blog. We all want to have some fun together right? :D

Since this is starting here in India we request all people in India who blog or have blogged or those who’d like to be a part of this chain to show themselves up :D – we’ll ensure you get to be part of the fun.

Wait for Bharathy and Renuka to post and pass on.

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My Fridge, a Mid name Meme and Noodles

Asha has tagged me to show my fridge.

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Top Rack:Curd, Butter, Savoury Preserves and Pickles, Middle Rack: Milk, Pulikatchal preserve, leftovers , Bottom Rack: Vegetable Tray, Coriander and Greens Case, Marmalade. Not seen in picture is a chill tray with fresh cream.

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Freezer with Grated Coconut, Copra, Fruit Pulps, Tamarind Pulp and Tomato Paste

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Savoury Preserves, Syrups, Coffee Dicoction, Flavourings

Mansi tagged me for a Mid name Meme more than a month back. I scratched my head for many many days before managing to come up with this. :D – “Ask Lakshmi to write it”. :D

Latha Rukmini is my maiden name. Since I don’t have a middle name I choose the name Rukmini.

R – Risk

I strongly believe that without risk there can be no gain. I take and have taken risks – big ones – in every aspect of my life.

U – Unabashed

I don’t feel embarassed or guilty about anything from kitchen disasters to preparing indulgent food to expressing my opinion or ignorance. I find embarassment or guilt to be emotions of no use or constructive consequence.

K – Kindness

The one characteristic that draws me most to people is Kindness.

M – Management

I place a lot of importance on effective management of time and skills. I believe that to live life to the fullest, one must use time and skills to the best extent possible.

I -Independence

I like being independent and like to give others their independence. Lakshmi says, “Well, almost”

N – Negativity

I shun negativity in all forms – negative thoughts or negative actions. I am a die hard optimist.

I – Indispensable

I believe that nothing or no one in this world is indispensable. People adapt to change and the world is driven by the sheer will of people to live well.

My daughter has been bugging me for long to post Noodles that I prepare. I find this recipe so basic and simple that I really find it pointless to publish :) . Here are my Noodles.
noodles2

Take half a pound of Noodles and cook in enough water and salt until al dente or firm and chewy. Saute 1 tsp of ginger and garlic and 2 pieces of red chillies in some oil. Add finely sliced vegetables like red peppers, cabbage, carrot, baby corn, onions and saute till they are cooked. Add 6tbsp of tomato puree, salt and basil and simmer for a few minutes. Take off gas and toss in the noodles.

I will be on a short blogging break because of a tadka that I accidently poured on my feet. See you in a while with Deepavali preparations.

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Guess where?

So where in the world, do you get to see…

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..ripples in the sand…

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…tender coconut stacks…

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…giant toes…

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….a windmill against a sunset….

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…big ben junior…

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We have already covered menu for all festivals from Aadi to Navarathiri in our previous posts. Here we are compiling a list of all to send to RCI Tamizh Festivals hosted by Viji of Vcuisine.

Menu for Varuda Pirappu
Kadambam

Recipes prepared on Sri Rama Navami
Paanagam

Kalanda Sadam recipes for Padinettam Perukku
Sakkarai Pongal

Maa Villakku and Sweets for Aadi Velli Kizhamai
Maavilakku

Akkaravadisal for Thiru Aadi Pooram
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Menu for Varalakshmi Viratham
Appam

Menu for Aavani Avittam (Upakarma)
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Treats for Sri Jayanthi
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Sundal for Navarathiri
Kabuli Channa Sundal

Godumai Halwa for Deepavali
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and the ubiquitous recipe of Perumal Theertham for all occassions
perumaltheertham1

Tamizh festival cuisine is so vast that one cannot compile an exhautive list of recipes. I have been able to cover just a small fraction of the wonderful recipes prepared during festivals. In keeping with the theme of our blog to preserve traditional recipes, we’ll share more in the coming months.

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Wicked, Wicked Chocolate

This post is a tribute to Chocoholics (not so)Anonymous because – ummm – you’ll figure why by the end of this post.

The Kitchen is in reality a well concealed battlefield. I am not talking writing off topic here, this is where the story of my adventure with chocolate begins. And so, the kitchen is a rather deceptive battlefield, it ravages war on you when you least expect it; when you are deeply mesmerized in the wonderful dishes that you’re experimenting with everyday.

No brownie points for guessing that I am going to rant about my latest (mis)adventure in the kitchen that involved a character called chocolate. Extra brownie points for guessing that din’t have anything to do with the dish – anything with chocolate can’t go wrong in terms of taste.

I have a serious chocolate addiction – each time I see the word chocolate splashed across the computer screen, I yearn to have some. I am fanatical about chocolate, so fanatical that I can order a large portion of a dessert that is dunk in oodles of chocolate and call it dinner. I specially have a weak spot for sinful brownies and all brownie based dishes. So when Kamini posted her quest for the perfect chocolate brownie and I followed this up with some reading, I had to make myself a sinful chocolatey treat.

I have been wanting to try this recipe for Warm Walnut Brownie Pudding at Epicurious for sometime and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. The recipe was perfect with no need for substitution, I had all ingredients on hand and successfully put them all together into one yummy tasting cake batter that was so eager to be baked. For a change clever prepared me also made the chocolate syrup the recipe required in advance.

And so I took the perfect batter made from a perfect recipe in a perfect baking dish to put into my beloved oven. Splash!!! I have no idea what happened – I have been scratching and scratching my head, but my memory fails me. In an instant, half of the syrup along with half the batter was all over the kitchen. The baking dish with the rest of the batter (now mixed in parts with the syrup) was still in my hand suspended between my bewildered face and the open oven.

When I say “all over the kitchen” I mean literally all over. On all the racks, on top of the oven, near the sink behind me, on the floor, on the fridge, on all the washed and drained vessels and on the ceiling (I am not kidding, I swear there was a spot). Chocolate had invaded my kitchen. It was 11 pm in the night – my perfect baking time and not so perfect cleaning time.

Here’s a left over piece of the Warm Walnut Brownie Pudding. I did bake with the rest of the batter. My other half had dug into routine chunks from the kitchen and was at work on this last piece before I begged him to stop for a precious photograph for the blog.

Update: I have edited the photograph (original is here) for brightness to prove that the object pictured¬† isn’t a piece of meteorite. See there are walnuts on top.

Not a Meteorite

As you can see the pudding turned out, errrrr, rather flat – though it was the richest, most moist chocolate bake I have ever had.

It took me three hours in total to wash all dishes and scrub the kitchen. It took another two hours to organize the kitchen. But then we all know that the adages around “hard work” are stuff that fairy tales are made of – don’t we? Sigh, I was rewarded with the sight of a few spots of chocolate near the kitchen sink today morning. I am now firmly resigned to my “kitchen with chocolate spots” destiny. It’s been four days since the disaster and I can still smell chocolate in my kitchen – not that I mind, it’s the perfect antidote for my chocolate addiction. I am off chocolates for a while now.

The story doesn’t end here though. Now that I have shared my harrowing experience in the kitchen, I tag Asha (so what if you just did a few memes, please dedicate a post to this one), Hema (trying my friend’s tactic of waking up QTOL), Padma (have you ever ever gone wrong sometime?) and Raaga (tit for tat, you tag me, I tag you) to share their worst kitchen disaster and pass on the tag. The “Nightmare in the Kitchen” tag begins.

PS: Being off chocolate and other such claims are meant to be dismissed as lies – a big bag of lies. Just writing this post makes me want to go have some chocolate.

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Preparing Godumai (Wheat) halwa on Deepavali is almost like a custom in many Iyengar households in SouthIndia. My mother (Lakshmi’s Paatti) used to prepare this every year. Although so common in Tamizh Nadu, I am preparing this Halwa for the first time. For my children halwa has always meant Badam halwa or Carrot halwa or Dumroot! They never attempted to taste Godumai halwa even when we visited my parents during Deepavali! I decided to prepare this as an entry to RCI Tamizh Festivals hosted by Viji of Vcuisine. The halwa was exactly the way my mother’s would taste and I am extremely happy that this traditional sweet will reach thousands of food lovers through my blog! :) My son loved it and now it has become one of his favourites! :)

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Ingredients

  • Whole wheat (wheat grains) – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 and 1/2 cups (You can increase to suit your taste)
  • Cardamom – 4 nos
  • Ghee – 4 tablespoons (You can increase if you like)
  • Saffron colour – 1 pinch

For garnishing – 1/2 cup chopped dry fruits like cashew, badam and pista lightly fried in 2 teaspoon ghee
Method

  1. Wash and soak the wheat for 12 hours.
  2. Grind in a mixie adding 1 cup water. Strain through a seive to get a thick milk. Grind again adding 1 more cup of water and strain again. You will be left out with only the husk in the seive. Add enough water to squeeze out all the milk.
  3. Pour the milk in to a thick bottomed pan, add sugar and cook on a low flame. Keep stirring continously.
  4. Add the ghee when the halwa starts thickenng. Add the cardamom powder and the saffron colour. Mix well.
  5. Cook till you can roll the halwa into a ball with your fingers.
  6. Add chopped dryfruits sauted in ghee. Spread on a greased plate. allow to cool and cut into desired shape.

TipsIf you want a thick halwa like what we get in sweet shops, add 2 cups sugar in place of 1 and 1/2 cups.

You can add 2 cups chopped dry fruits to get the dryfruit halwa we get in sweet shops.

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We have lived in 13 houses across 5 cities in the last 25 years – we just kept moving and moving and moving….and not all of the moving can fairly be blamed on my husband’s transferable job. We kept moving even after he quit bank to join a private concern.

13 proved to be a lucky number for us – my family’s lived in house number 13 for the last 6 years now, the longest ever in a single house. Our fellow travellers have weathered this crazy shifting business for years – furniture, kitchenware, albums, the golu bommai especially the “best out of waste” models my daughter and I made for golu.

Some of our creations like an English Fort, the Howrah bridge and the Cubbon Park (children’s park in Bangalore) din’t survive. This year I din’t keep golu but we took out the warriors who have faithfully weathered our eccentric shifts – some of these are from my college days.

Kolu4
The Indominatble village of Gaul

Those of who still haven’t read The Adventures of Asterix (!!!), please do the human race a service and pick up a copy at the earliest. The Asterix set of paper models are 27 years old.

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Asterix and Obelix warming up before they attack the pirates

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Rome and the Roman Senate

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Doll house – walls are almost crumbling

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Kitchen in the Doll House

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Bedroom in the Doll House
House8
Drawing Room in the Doll House

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Drawing Room in the doll house
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Showcase in the Doll House – the drawing in center is Raghavan’s contribution (when he was six)

Paper Village
Paper Village that Lakshmi made when she was 13 years old

Although I din’t take out my large collection this year, Lakshmi did keep a small Golu. This is the second year of Golu at her home. Some pictures of Lakshmi’s Golu

Kolu/ Golu
Golu at Lakshmi’s home – three steps made with a table and two planks resting on cardboard boxes

Marapaachi Bommai
Marapaachi Bommai

Ramar Set
Ramar, Lakshmanar, Sitai and Anjaneyar

Ashta Lakshmi
Ashta Lakshmi

Lakshmi
Lakshmi

Saraswathi
Saraswathi

Dashavataram
5 of the 10 avatars of Vishnu (Dashavataram) – Matsya, Koorma, Varaha, Narasimha, Vamana

Dashavataram 1
5 of the 10 avatars of Vishnu (Dashavataram) – Parasumrama, Rama, Balarama, Krishna, Kalki

Bala Krishnar
Bala Krishna

Musicians
Musicians

Radha Krishna
Radha Krishna

Fruits
Fruits

Horse
Horse

Saraswathi Pujai
Saraswathi Pujai

This is my entry to JFI-Festive Series hosted by Vee at Past, Present and Me.

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