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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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Aavani avittam or Upaakarma falls on the Poornima(full moon day) in the month of Aavani (mid august to mid september). The Star Avittam also rises on the same day every year.

On this day all men and boys change their sacred thread (Poonal). For Thalai Aavani Avittam or the first festival after the upanayanam of the boys, Homa is performed using 1008 peepul twigs (samithu) reciting the Kamo karshi japam. Generally the changing of thread is performed in a common place in a locality which is usually a hall in the temple.

After a breakfast of Idli and Appam the boys(Brahmacharis) and men go to the temple where the sasthrigal or vadhiyar (priest) help them by teaching the mantras. Usually the men perform this ritual with out eating anything.

For lunch an elaborate menu is followed as this is the only festival exclusively for men.

I am planning the following Menu. Click on links to get the recipes. Some are posted below.

Pictures will be posted after neivedyam.

Beans parrupusali

Beans Parrupusali

Ingredients

  • Beans – 1/4 kg
  • Toor dal – 1 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Red chilli – 1 no
  • Hing – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Oil – 3 table spoons
  • Channa dal – 1 teaspoon
  • Urad dal 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste

Method

  1. Wash and soak the toor dal for 1/2 hour in warm water.
  2. Grind to a thick paste adding red chilli, hing and salt.
  3. Wash and cut the beans to small pieces.
  4. Add hing, turmeric powder and 1 table spoon oil and micro high for 6 minutes.
  5. Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds.
  6. When it crackles add urad dal and channa dal and fry till golden.
  7. Add the ground dal care fully and stir well. Cook on a medium flame stirring occasionally it the dal cooks.
  8. Add the boiled beans and mix well.
  9. Cook for 3 more minutes and put off the flame.

Inji thengai pachadi
Ingredients

  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Grated coconut 1/2 cup
  • green chilli – 1 no
  • salt to taste
  • Fresh curds – 1 cup
  • Oil – 1 teaspoon
  • Urad dal – 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig ( finely chopped)

Method

  1. Wash and chop the ginger, add coconut, green chilli, salt and grind to a fine paste .
  2. Mix with curd in a serving bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a kadai,add mustard seeds. when it crackles add the urad dal and fry till golden.
  4. Add the curry leaves and pour on the ginger pachadi.

Elumichai saathamudu( lemon rasam)
Rasam

Ingredients

  • Toor dal – 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
  • Tomato – 1 no
  • Lemon – 1 no
  • Curry leaves -1 twig
  • Coriander seeds 1/2 teaspoon
  • Grated coconut – 1 tablespoon
  • Channa dal 1/2 teaspoon
  • Hing – a small piece(Powder is also ok)
  • blackpeppercorns 1/2 teaspoon
  • Jeera – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chilli – 1 no
  • Ghee – 2 teaspoons
  • Salt to taste
  1. Wash and pressure cook the Toor dal adding a pinch of turmeric powder.
  2. Cut tomato into small pieces and in a micro safe container micro for 1/2 minute.
  3. Fry the coriander seeds, channa dal, jeera red chilli, hing and pepper in 1 teaspoon ghee it golden.
  4. Add coconut to the fried items and grind to a smooth paste.
  5. Add dal, salt and 1 cup water to the tomatoes and micro high for 2 minutes.
  6. Add the ground paste and 1 more cup water and micro high for 3 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a serving bowl and add juice extracted from 1 lemon.
  8. Fry the curry leaves in 1 teaspoon ghee and add to the prepared rasam.

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This rasam is so soothing on a rainy day. Helps in digestion.

Ingredients :

  • Ginger – 2 inch piece.
  • Tomato – 1 no (optional)Cut into 8 pieces
  • Bengal Gram dal – 1 tea spoon
  • Pepper corns – 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
  • Tamarind – small lemon sized
  • Rasam podi – tea spoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry leaves – 1 twig
  • Oil – 1 teaspoon
  • Ghee – 1 teaspoon

Method

  1. Soak tamarind in warm water and squeeze the pulp adding 1 cup water.
  2. Add rasam podi, Tomato and salt and bring to boil.Simmer till the tamarind smell goes.
  3. Roast bengalgram, pepper corns and corriander seeds in 1 teaspoon oil and grind it with grated ginger.
  4. Add the ground pate and 1 cup water to the simmering rasam and bring to boil.
  5. Garnish it with curry leaves fried in ghee.
  6. Serve hot with rice or in mugs.

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The Neem tree (Veepa maram) has an important place in the south indian life style. Neem tree is generally grown in the front yard of the house. In the evenings when all the members of the family generally gather for a chat on the Thinnai(Permanent seats constructed in the front yard), a gentle breeze carrying a sweet aroma of the neem touches our face. This is such a pleasant experience.

Before the advent of tooth brushes Indians used the neem twigs for brushing the teeth. Even to this day we can see people in country side massaging their gums with the neem twigs.

The neem leaf has medicinal properties to cure skin diseases. Now a days soap and tooth paste manufacturers use these in their products.

The neem flower is used in cooking and is a good medicine for stomach aches and indigesion. Clean white cloth is tied to the branches to collect the flowers. The flowers known as “veepampoo” are sun dried and used for cooking.

More about neem tomorrow.

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You return home late and feel like having a hot southindian rasam? Then this one is for you!

Cooking time 6 minutes.

Serves 2.

Ingredients

Tomato -2 nos.

Sambhar podi – 2teaspoons.

Salt -to taste.

For the powder

1. Toor dal – 1 tea spoon.

2. Jeera -1 tea spoon.

3. pepper – 1 tea spoon.

For garnishing

Chopped coriander leaves 2 twigs,

1/2 teaspoon mustard seed,

1 teaspoon ghee.

Method

Dry roast the ingredients for the powder and grind to a smooth powder.

Cut tomato into small pieces put in 2 cups of water, add Sambhar podi, salt and bring to boil. Boil till tomato is cooked. Add the grinded powder and 1/2 cup water and bring to boil. Garnish it with coriander leaves and mustard seeds fried in ghee.

Microwave method

In a microwave safe container place the chopped tomatoes and micro high for a minute. Add 2 cups water, sambhar powder and salt. micro high for 4 minutes. Add the powder and micro high for 1 more minute. Garnish with corianderleaves and mustard seeds fried in ghee.

Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot with rice or in mugs.

Note

The powder can be prepared in larger quantities ( say a cup full of each ingredient) and can be added almost to all south indian rasam before garnishing. So that it will give a special taste to all rasams.

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This rasam is prepared by Iyengars who migrated to Mysore during Tippu’s rule.

Ingredients

Toor dal 1/4 cup .

Turmeric powder 1/4 teaspoon.

Tamarind – Lime sized

Tomato – 1

Asafoetida – asmallpiece.

Salt to taste.

To roast and grind

1. Gram dal – 1 table spoon

2. Black pepper corns- 8.

3. Coriander seeds 1 tablespoon.

4. Red chillies -4

5. sesame oil 1 teaspoon

6. Grated coconut 1 tablespoon

For garnishing

1/2 teaspoon mustardseeds, 1 teaspoon ghee,

Coriander leaves 2 twigs.

Method

Wash and pressure cook the toor dal with turmeric powder and 1 cup water. Mash well.

Soak the tamarind in warm water and squeeze the juice adding 2 cups water.. Cut tomato into small pieces and put it in the tamarind water. Add raw asafoetida and salt. Boil in medium flame till tomato is cooked. Add the mashed dal.
Roast the ingredients for the paste (except coconut) in 1 teaspoon oil till golden. Allow to cool and grind to a paste adding little water and coconut.

Add the paste to the boiling rasam and allow it to boil for 3 minutes in medium flame.Transfer to a serving bowl.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and mustard seeds fried in ghee.

Serve hot with rice or in mugs.

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Festivals in tamizh culture are associated with the different stages of agriculture, from sowing to harvesting.

After the tamizh new year or Varusha paruppu, aadi or the first day of the tamizh month aadi ,is the first festival , after a gap of 3 months ,celebrated to welcome the rains.We can prepare the following on aadi pandigai.

Aadi paal.

Avial.

Lady finger sambhar.

Lemon rasam. (Saathamudhu).

Cabbage poriyal.

Tomato pacchdi (dip)

Thayir vadai (curd vada).

Fried papad.

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