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Posts Tagged ‘microwave’

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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After the article in The Hindu hits for the blog has increased considerably :). The sad part is that my pictures and recipes are shamelessly copied and used by other websites. Follow this link http://www.chennai.com/more_kuzambu.html I know  many other bloggers are upset just like me. But now I will write something that no one can copy, about the homes I have lived till date!

We moved into our new duplex house in February 2012. This is my 25th home.

I was born at no:3  1st street kallukuzhi Trichy. I was born at home before my mother could be hospitalized. Being a girl after three boys, the whole family was elated. I was affectionately called Ponnu (girl).A funny incident happened about which no one was aware for long. At home I was named Latha. My uncle registered my  name as Rukmani (my granny’s name). This confusion was solved by naming me as latha rukmani at school! A few months later we left for Calcutta, but we came back to the same house after 4 years.

Badam/Cashew Halwa

Cashew burfi was one of first sweets my amma prepared. My granny used to travel a lot to assist her long list of relatives for one occasion or the other. My amma and aunt would carry on with their experimental cooking, with expert advice from my grandpa :). Once as per his recipe they fried cashew in ghee and dropped them into hot, thick  sugar syrup! The cashews turned black and could not be separated from the syrup. Only thing they could do was to clean up the kitchen before my granny returned! This was one of first experiments of two great cooks :)!

Traditionally  badam is skinned for halwa. I have retained the skin as per dietitians’ advice.

Ingredients

  • Badam(almonds) /Cashew – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 1 cup
  • Cardamom – 4 nos
  • Nutmeg – a small piece
  • Saffron leaves – a few
  • Ghee – 2 tbs

Almond halwa will be cream in colour. Mine is wheatish as I have retained the skin.

Method

  1. Soak the almonds in hot water for one hour.* Peel the skin if you wish.
  2. Grind the almonds with cardamom and nutmeg to a smooth paste, adding a little water.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan mix the ground paste, sugar and ghee. Cook on a low to medium flame, stirring continuously.
  4. Cook till the halwa leaves the sides and forms into a ball when stirred.
  5. Transfer the halwa to a serving dish and decorate with saffron leaves.

Note:* The skin can be peeled easily after soaking for around 5 minutes.

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My Appa’s Microwave Aval Upma

A mini sized Mahabharat over the ownership of kitchen and cooking at home is an everyday affair between my amma and appa.  I must admit that though my appa can cook and clean very well, he’s rather unconventional in his style. Left to manage the kitchen on my own with appa for company one day when amma was travelling, I realized how difficult it was to work with him in cooking up a menu because he almost works parallely in what appears to be the opposite direction of desired results, gives too many instructions and liberally peppers the experience of cooking with too much of scientific analysis!  

That said, my appa’s fetish for kitchen experimentation does lead to yummy results. There are few dishes that both amma and I leave for appa to cook because only he can actually make them really well – we may be good cooks, but we cannot make Dumroot Halwa, Puli Upma and Aval Upma the way appa makes them.  We may follow same recipe and method and yet not get the same results. 

On a recent trip to Bangalore, I was served with the what I consider the best aval upma in the world. The recipe is straightforward, super quick and makes for a good evening snack. 

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Makes – 2 – 3 servings

Ingredients

  • Aval/ Poha (flattened rice)* – 2 cups
  • Vegetables of Choice (Onions, Carrots, Baby Corn, Capsicum etc) – 1 cup
  • Coriander – 4 to 5 twigs (finely chopped)
  • Salt to taste
  • Ghee/ Oil – 1 tsp
  • Water to soak 
  • Peanuts – 1/2 cup (roasted)

*use a thicker variety of aval/ poha

Method

  1. Soak the Aval (flattened rice) for 10 minutes in enough water. 
  2. Toss vegetables in ghee. Microwave the vegetables on high for 4 minutes until parboiled. 
  3. Drain the soaked Aval in a colander well until all the water is gone. 
  4. Toast the peanuts in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in high. 
  5. Add the well drained aval to the parboiled vegetables. Add salt and finely chopped coriander and mix well. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. Add peanuts to the upma just before serving. 

Serve with pickle/sauce of choice. 

This recipe yields an aval upma, that is fluffy and filled with the flavour of vegetables rather than spices. This is how the recipe is meant to work and taste. With additions or twists, it just isn’t the same aval upma anymore. Since the recipe depends a lot on the flavour of the vegetables, how you cut the vegetables is important. Slice the onions very thin and the rest of your vegetables can be cut in even roundels or cubes that are not too big nor too small. Any vegetable that you choose to add, needs to be cut in a way that you like to taste it in the dish best. 

Microwave Aval Upma – for the Recipe Marathon

Fellow recipe marathoners:

DKSiriSrivalliRanjiPJCurry LeafMedhaPriyaBhawnaRaajiRuchii
AnuKamalaRoopaDivya KuduaRekhaDivya MRaagaLakshmi VenkateshSripriyaVijiKamalika,Pavani

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This is my last entry for RCI Karnataka! I know all of you will be wondering , why so late! I could get the authentic recipes for these preparations only now!:)) The main ingredient used is Urali Kaalu ( horse gram)

rci-karnataka.jpg

Bas Palya

Bas Saaru

Ingredients

  • Horse gram – 1 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/8 teaspoon
  • Onion – 1 medium
  • Tamarind – 2 inch piece
  • Tomato – 1 medium
  • Garlic – 2 pods
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig
  • Pepper corn – 1 teaspoon
  • Jeera (cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Red chillies – 2 nos
  • Oil – 2 teaspoons
  • Grated coconut – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – to taste
  • Coriander leaves – 1 twig

Method

  1. Wash and pressure cook the horse gram with 2 cups water and turmeric powder.
  2. Cut the onions and tomatoes roughly. Heat oil in a kadai, fry the red chillies.
  3. Add the onions and tomatoes and keep stirring on a low flame.
  4. Add curry leaves, garlic and grated coconut and fry for 2 more minutes. Allow to cool.
  5. Grind this mixture with tamarind, peppercorns and jeera to a fine paste.
  6. Add 1 cup water to the pressure cooked horse gram. Strain the water(stock) in to a MW safe container. The whole cooked gram will be used for the palya.
  7. To the horse gram water(Stock) add salt and the ground paste and MW high for 5 minutes.
  8. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice and ghee.
  9. Bas Palya

Bas palya

Ingredients

  • Cooked horse gram after stock is strained for the saaru.
  • Onion – 1 medium Finely chopped
  • Grated coconut- 2 table spoons
  • Green chillies – 2 nos finely chopped
  • Salt- to taste
  • Oil- 2 teaspoons
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Method

  1. Heat oil in a kadai. Add mustard seeds. When it crackles add onions, green chillies and curry leaves and saute on a low flame.
  2. Add coconut and saute for 1 more minute. Add the cooked horse gram and salt and saute for 2 more minutes on a medium flame.
  3. Your bas palya is ready.

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In bangalore tomato is available throughout the year. The only problem is , the price fluctuates from Rs.5 per kg to Rs.40 per kg with in a span of three months! I buy a few kilos when it is cheap and make this paste. The paste can be stored in the freezer for more than three months, in Tupperware containers. I am giving the timings for 1 kg tomato.
Fresh Tomato

Fresh tomatoes

Method

  1. Wash the tomatoes and drain the water.
  2. In a Microwave safe container, MW at 600 watts covered for 10 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool for a few minutes and grind to a smooth paste. Pass through a strainer if required and grind again.
  4. Transfer the pulp to the same MW container and MW at 600 watts for 1/2 hour stirring once in 5 minutes.
  5. Pour this into a freezer container and allow to cool. Keep in the freezer and use as you like.
  6. Take out the pulp from the freezer 15 minutes before use. It is easy to scoop out with an ice cream scoop.

This is my entry for Srivalli’s basic MW cooking event.

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After cooking in MW for 10 minutes
After keeping for 10 mins in microwave

Tomato Paste

Storing in freezer container

You can use the pulp for Preparing

  1. Tomato thokku.
  2. All gravies for which you need tomato paste.
  3. Chutney
  4. Rasam
  5. Soup
  6. Tomato rice

Hope all of you find this preparation useful.

I have published a post on Microwave cooking tips almost 2 months back. That is my second entry for Srivallis event.

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I like to think of Vazhakkai also known as Raw Banana or Green Plaintain as the unsweetened cousin of Banana. Plaintains and Kerala are almost synonomous thanks to the fanatical devotedness of people to munching on Kerala’s various plaintain delicacies. Yet this aint a recipe from Kerala but Tamil Nadu, the other state where Plaintains are cooked up and served in all kinds of forms.

Vazhakkai Podi

Vazhakkai Podi or a mix of grated raw banana/unripe plaintain with a powder and is typically served with Rice. Me thinks this will make a superb combination with More Kuzhambu. For a change I used them to make Parathas.

Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 20 minutes, Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients

For Vazhakkai Podi (Powder)

  • Raw Banana/ Green Plaintain * 1
  • Channa Dal 1 1/2 tbsp (Bengal Gram Dal)
  • Urad Dal 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Red Chillies 2
  • Hing/ Asafoetida – a small piece
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil

*Update: Vazhakkai are Plaintains that are unripe or Green in colour not the sweet Bananas that are not yet ripe. Raw Bananas is a colloquial reference used in Madras which also appears on the bill when you pick a bunch of these green plaintains. The term “Raw” is used to refer to the “paccha” or “raw” taste of these as compared to a normal Banana. Since there seems to be some kind of confusion, I have updated to avoid misinterpretation.
For Parathas

  • Whole wheat flour 2 cups
  • Water to Knead
  • Salt
  • Ghee

Method

For Vazhakkai Podi
1. Wash and trim the ends of the Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai. Cut into two and steam in a Microwave for 3 to 4 minutes along with the skin. The Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai should be cooked about 3/4 and not very mushy. Remove and set aside for cooling.
2. Roast Channa Dal, Urad Dal and Red chillies with a drop of oil. Set aside for cooling. Make sure that you don’t add too much oil for roasting, when ground this must be dry.
3. When the parboiled Plaintain is cool, grate it finely along with the skin. Please don’t discard the skin, it is edible and very nutritious. Ensure that the banana is completely cool, else the gratings may be very mushy.
4. In a blender grind the roasted Channa Dal, Urad Dal and Red Chillies along with Hing and Salt to a fine powder.
5. Mix the grated Green Plaintain/ Vazhakkai with the ground powder. Transfer to a Bowl.

For Parathas
1. Knead the Wheat flour with water and salt into a firm elastic dough, add a drop of ghee towards the end to finish. Set aside for 20 minutes. Divide the dough into round balls. Set aside some flour to dust while rolling.
2. Roll out one ball into a round of 4 inch diameter using a belan or rolling pin using some flour to dust. Ensure that the center is thick while the sides are rolled out thin.
3. Fill in 1 1/2 tbsp of filling in the center, bring the sides together from 5 to 6 points. Press gently. This should give you a flat round with filling inside.
4. Dust both sides of this flat stuffed round with some flour and roll out into a round of 5 inch diameter.
5. Cook both sides on a tawa on medium heat until brown spots. This makes one paratha stuffed with the Raw Banana/ Vazhakkai Podi.
6. Proceed similarly with the rest of the dough.

Vazhakkai Podi Parathas

Parathas stuffed with Vazhakkai Podi for JFI: Banana hosted by Mandira from Ahaar.

jfibanana.jpg

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This nutritious oil free holige or poli is my 2nd entry for RCI Karnataka hosted by Asha of Foodie’s Hope.

rci-karnataka.jpg

I learnt this from a dear friend Nirmala Mallinath. Thanks Nirmala!

Groundnut poli

Ingredients

For the filling

  • Groundnut – 1 cup
  • Sesame seeds or til – 1 table spoon
  • Jaggery – 3/4 cup
  • Cardamom – 2 nos

For the cover

  • Maida 1 cup + 1 table spoon for rolling
  • Ghee – 2 teaspoons

Method

  1. Dry roast the ground nut in the MW for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring after every minute for even cooking.
  2. Dry roast the til for 2 minutes in a kadai(In MW til will crackle and spread all over). Grind the roasted til to a fine powder.
  3. Skin the groundnut and grind coarsely. You can grind with skin also. Powder the jaggery well.
  4. Mix the powdered Til, Groundnut, jaggery and cardamom.
  5. Sprinkle a table spoon of water, mix well and keep aside. This is used as the filling.
  6. Make a soft dough with maida, adding ghee and required amount of water. It should be like chapathi dough.
  7. Make 8 balls out of the filling and 8 balls with maida dough.
  8. Roll out the dough, place the filling, cover and roll again to a thin poli, using the flour for easy rolling.
  9. Heat a tawa on a medium flame and cook both sides of the polis, Till brown spots appear.
  10. You can serve with or with out ghee.

Karnataka Kasuti Is a famous hand embroidery of North Karnataka. Work done on my saree by my close friend Maduri Dawane can be seen in the background.

Groundnut poli

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