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Some of the visitors wanted the recipe for simple bitter gourd curry. I prepare this curryatleast twice in a month.

Ingredients

  • Bitter gourd (Karela or Pavakkai) – 1/2 kg
  • Oil – 2 tbs
  • Grated Coconut – 3 tbs
  • Tamarind – lemon sized ball
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 tsp salt for marinating*.

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Method

  1. Cut the bitter gourd into half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and cut into thin slices.
  2. Add 2 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp salt and leave to marinate for 1/2 hour. Squeeze the slices well to remove bitterness.
  3. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract around 2 tablespoons of thick pulp.
  4. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds. When it crackles add the bitter gourd slices.
  5. Add turmeric, salt and saute well. Saute on medium flame for 5 minutes. Add the tamarind pulp and cook for some time till the juice dries up.
  6. Saute on a low flame till the slices are golden.Add chili powder and  grated coconut and saute for  2 more  minutes.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve as a side dish with rice or chapathi.

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*Marinating is optional.

Bitter gourd can also be prepared as pavakkai pitlai, Kuzhambu etc.

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Potato podimas is usually prepared on festival days. It can be prepared quickly with just a teaspoon of oil.

Ingredients

  • Potatoes – 1/2 kg
  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Coconut – 2 tbs grated
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig
  • Coriander leaves – 1 tbs chopped
  • Green chili – 1no
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Cashew – 4 to 5 chopped ( Optional)
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbs ( optional)
  • Salt – to taste

 

Method

  1. Wash and pressure cook the potatoes. Peel the cooked potatoes and mash well.
  2. Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds. When it crackles add urad dal and cashew.
  3. Saute till golden. Add chopped curry leaves and green chili.
  4. Saute for a minute and add the mashed potatoes. Mix well.
  5. Add salt and coconut and mix well.Take off the heat.
  6. Add lemon juice and mix well.( Optional)
  7. Decorate with chopped coriander leaves.

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Amma used to prepare pachadi almost everyday. All raitas or pachadis are very simple and can be prepared quickly.  Kothamalli pachadi is simple as well.

Ingredients

  • Kothamalli(Coriander leaves) – 6 twigs
  • Coconut grated – 2 tbs
  • Thick curd – 1 cup
  • Green chili – 1 no
  • Salt – to taste

For the seasoning

  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Oil – 1 tsp

 

Method

  1. Wash the coriander leaves and drain.
  2. Grind coconut, coriander,green chili and salt to a fine paste.
  3. Beat the curd well. Mix curd and ground paste well.Transfer to a serving bowl.
  4. Heat oil in a kadai add mustard seeds. When it crackles add urad dal and fry till golden.
  5. Add to the coriander pachadi.
  6. Serve as a side dish.

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I prepared a simple lunch for aadivelli this year. Manja pongal recipe is already posted and others will be posted soon.

Venthaya Kuzhambu

Venthaya kuzhambu is a great side dish for Manja Pongal. Vegetables like Okra, yellow pumpkin, brinjal and tomato  can be used for the kuzhambu.

Ingredients

  • Tamarind – Lemon size ball
  • *Fresh bean seeds – 1/2 cup
  • Tomato – 4 medium sized
  • Sambhar powder – 2 teaspoons
  • Red chili – 2 nos
  • Curry leaves – a few
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
  • Hing – a small piece
  • Til Oil – 1 tbs
  • Rice flour – 2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste

Method

  1. Soak tamarind in hot water for some time. Extract tamarind pulp adding 2 cups water.
  2. Cut tomato into small pieces. Heat til oil in a heavy bottomed pan, add mustard seeds.
  3. When mustard seeds crackle add hing, fenugreek seeds and red chili and saute till fenugreek is brown.
  4. Add tomato, beans and curry leaves and saute . Cover and cook on a low flame for 3 minutes.
  5. Add sambar powder and mix well. Add the tamarind extract and salt. Allow to boil for 5 minutes.
  6. Mix the rice flour in 1 tbs water and add to the venthaya kuzhambu.Boil for a minute and transfer to a serving bowl.
  7. Serve hot with manja pongal.

*A variety of fresh beans like avarai thuvarai etc are available during this season. I have used fresh kaaramani.

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Harvesting tomatoes that were never sown!

Around five years back, I suddenly planned a  face lift for our small garden area. After cleaning up the garden I bought a nice pot to be used as compost pit. We collected the vegetable and fruit waste in this pot and used it as manure. I used to throw the rotten tomatoes as well.

In our new duplex home we made planters on the compound wall and the parapet wall. My hubby mixed soil with the compost we had collected over the years  and planted some rose cuttings. After around two weeks the planters were filled with tomato plants. We re potted them and have harvested over 100 tomatoes till now. Another hundred can be plucked in a week:).

Thakkali Koottu (Tomato koottu )

Cooking with home grown vegetables is very satisfying and you know there are no artificial fertilizers or pesticides. The aroma of freshly plucked vegetables is heavenly.

Ingredients

  • Raw tomatoes – 6 to 8
  • Moong dal – 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – to taste

For the paste

  • Grated coconut – 1 tbs
  • Coriander seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Channa dal – 1 tsp
  • Hing – a small piece
  • Red-chili –  1 no
  • Oil – 1 tsp

For  the seasoning

  • Ghee – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 5 nos
  • Red chilli – 1 no

Method

  1. Slice the tomatoes into long pieces.Place in a MW safe bowl and mix with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder. MW high for 5 minutes
  2. Pressure cook the moong dal with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder.
  3. Roast the ingredients for the paste except coconut in 1 tsp oil, add coconut and grind to a smooth paste.
  4. Add cooked moong dal, ground paste and salt to the tomatoes and mix well.Add a little water to get Koottu consistency.
  5. Mw high for 2 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  6. Cut the red chili into small pieces.
  7. Heat 1 tsp ghee and add the mustard seeds and red chili; when the mustard crackles add the curry leaves. Add  the seasoning to the koottu.

Serve as a side dish for rotis,phulkas or rice.

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balakrishna.gif

Tanjore Painting of Lord Bala Krishna made by Latha Narasimhan (me!!) Update: Thanks SeeC, for suggesting that I put a web optimized image with a copyright.

This year (update: refers to year 2007) Srijayanthi also known as Gokulashtami/Janmashtami/Krishnashtami falls on 4th September.As always I am posting the details and important recipes (prasaadams or offerings) of Krishna jayathi or Janmashtami or Gokulashtami, a few days ahead of the festival. This is for people who come here looking for these recipes.

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The following recipes have been posted on The Yum Blog, click through for the recipes.

  1. Navaneetham
  2. Sukkuvellam
  3. Thattai
  4. Seedai
  5. Vellaseedai
  6. Kodubale
  7. Paal cake

Lord Krishna’s Birthday is celebrated by Hindus all over the world! In the North this is celebrated as Janmashtami. In the South, the Iyers call this festival Janmashtami or Gokulashtami and the Iyengars celebrate as Srijayanthi or Krisnajayanthi.

In Karnataka, Iyengars place the idol of Lord Krishna in a mandapam and decorate him with the Bhakshanam (Snacks and Sweets in Tamil) they prepare for the festival. Garlands and thoranams are made out of Murrukus and Kodubales!

Kodubale

A few decades earlier back the children in the household used to decorate a chaparam(mandapam that can be carried on your shoulders), place the image of Lord Krishna in it and carry it around the streets. As a child I remember we too built these chaparams for the lord. My father as usual performed a Aaradanai (a poojai performed for Saligramam which is a divine stone considered to be a manifestation of Lord Vishnu) and a variety of Bhakshanams(sweets and snacks) were offered as prasaadam. These days children do a lot of craft work for their school project, but there is no inclination to build a chaparam for the lord.

Paal Cake

For children Srijayanthi definitely means a lot of snacking and jolly time for the sweet tooth. Snacks prepared usually have rice flour as main ingredient. Minimum five varieties of fresh fruits are offered. Naval pazham (Syzygium cumini , Skeels, Myrtaceae) the lords favourite fruit is definitely included. To know the medicinal properties of this fruit please visit this link.

Navaneetham

Sukku Vellam
Navaneetham and Sukkuvellam are two items that are prepared only for this festival.

The pooja is performed in the late evening as Krishna was born at midnight. Generally most of the sweets and savouries are prepared on that day only. The front yard is decorated by drawing a kolam (rice flour drawings on ground), called ezhakoolam. This is done using soaked rice ground to a fine paste and mixed with lot of water. A white cloth is used to soak the paste and make the drawing. Krishna’s feet is drawn from the front yard to the pooja room, indicating that the lord is entering our home. In my home my son has been performing the pooja for the last 5 years. We do the Srikrishna Ashtothra Naamavali (chanting of 108 names of Lord Krishna) for the Pooja.

We are hosting a virtual food event for the festival, and I am sure all my blogger friends will send their entries in great numbers. So while I prepare a huge array of sweets and snacks, I will post only a few in the coming days. My blogger friends will bring out the best of their culinary skills and post other great recipes which are prepared for this festival. :). Click here for details of the event.

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