‘What’s for dinner? ‘
‘Idly with left over sambhar’
‘Will the sambhar be enough for all four of us?’
‘No Dear, we can have Idly podi if we run out of sambhar.’
After the dinner is ready and served on table,
‘Dear, come , let us have dinner.’
‘Why don’t you feed the kids? I am not so hungry, I will join a lil later …’
I will be chuckling as I know he IS hungry and is waiting for the sambhar to be done, so, he can have the podi.
(So will be my intention )
That is the taste of the podi that can sidetrack even a perfect tasty sambhar. Podi is usually our last resort on lazy evenings, our supplement to scarce servings. For those who are unfamiliar, it is a spiced lentil powder mixed with sesame oil used as an accompaniment for rice, idli . People dip , spread or mix it as per their style of choice.
There are many brands of store brought podis available, and are made of various ingedients, yet never can replace the home made . The base is dry roasted lentils and chilies and salt. The optional additions are toasted sesame seeds, dry coconut powder, garlic etc etc.
This is a recipe from our family friend, Salammal, a seasoned cook . This is a classic , had been our regular ‘to go ‘ recipe ever since she shared it with us.
Gram dall / Bengal gram – 1 cup
Moong dall – 1/2 cup
Urad dall- 1/2 cup
Whole coriander seeds- 1/4 cup
Dry red chillies- 10 number
Salt – 1 tsp
Hing /asfoetida – 1/8 tsp
Dry roast the lentils and chillies individually. Pulse them in a mixer grinder with salt and hing. Give it a taste , it has have to be a light high on spice level as it will subdued when adding oil . Save this and use it with oil (Sesame oil is traditionally used, sunflower/canola oil can also be used) along with idli / dosa / rice . You will start finding a chance to use it just like us.
I have baked several cookies to cakes , never had this satisfaction while serving the food this way.
Yes, You guessed right , I am talking about cake decoration class I took.
This is my latest muse, which quenches my thirst of baking as well as my thirst to express art in food.
I was a novice baker who applied store bought frosting on warm cake and was wondering what mistake I did ..:D
The greatest decoration I had ever done was to glaze some cinnamon rolls .
I knew I needed help and heard about Wilton classes from my dear friend Vahini. I signed up the very week , gathered the supplies and was like a kid who awaits to open her presents on her birthday.
The classes, I would say , was really informative. Lucky would be you if you get an instructor who does not push you to buy Wilton products .
I did buy the student kit, a 13 inch angled spatula and a cake lifter. For a turn table, I went for Ikea’s lady suzan . It is really a bang for your buck.
I googled a lot and here are my few favourite links to learn a few extra tricks.
http://www.monkeysee.com/play/980-cake-decorating-tools – A good one teaching from start to finish
Here are the few cakes I have done so far …
Please do share your experience/tips/comments.
This summer is rolling full of fun and experiments. (More on experiments later ….)
The main reason being the trip to my homeland -India. I am back with loads of memories just like the mangoes in this truck. Soo colorful and vibrant
Just like the rain drops in the tree branches after a shower, the taste of home lingers in your tongue even after months.
I sprung like a kid already, when I saw the gongura leaves in Devon – fresh and On Sale ($3.99 when even the wilted ones usually go till 6.99). I bought a bunch, came home and called my mami (Uncle’s wife). The reason is that this is very famous in Andhra and my mami lives in Tirupati, she makes this in the authentic way . She is my inspiration and the standard in our cooking lingo. Thanks Radha Mami!
well ,on to her notes
1. Gongura /pulicha keerai – 1 bunch
2. Coriander seeds- 1 tablespoon
3. Dried chillies – 15 number
4. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
5. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Snip the leaves, wash and dry them.
In a heavy bottomed pan, dry roast coriander, cumin, mustard and chillies. Powder them to a fine paste and keep aside.
In the same pan, add 1 or 2 tsp of oil and wilt the leaves till they change color and soften.
Grind the wilted leaves into a fine paste adding no water /minimum water.
Heat oil in another pan, sputter mustard and add minced garlic , followed by the leaf paste and the masala powder. Add salt to taste and turn off the heat.
This chutney goes well with any rice, roti, dosa ..My favorite is curd rice as you can see the picture. This stays good for 10-12 days provided you added ample oil to preserve it . Mine had no need for excess oil as it was done by the fifth day.
Enjoy the summer while it is there!
I don’t know about others, I love to eat local food on trains. Especially on the train from Chennai to my suburban home town, the train is busy with food vendors selling stuff ranging from samosas, butter biscuits, boiled peanuts, mangoes, etc etc. I love the smell of those nei biscuits/butter biscuits/ ghee biscuits. They would be so warm and have a great texture to them , that the vendor would sell and empty the batch he baked for that day.
After a long time, when I visited my friend’s house here, she had made those , only better. I was transported back in memories at that instant. Thanks Lakshmi!
This is a recipe that had been long followed by her friend which she shared it with me. I had tried several recipes for nan katai and had never been so perfect as this. You gotto try to believe it .
All purpose flour(APF)/ Maida – 2 cups
Butter – 1 stick (1/2 cup)
Sugar- 1 cup
Rawa/semolina- 1/4 cup
Cardamom-2-4 pieces(based on how strong is their flavor)
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Canola oil – 3/4 cup
The basic and important thing is the butter has to be at room temperature.
1. Bring the butter to room temperature.
2. Powder 1 cup of sugar in a blender.
3. Blend butter and sugar very well.
4. Add oil and blend again.
5. Powder the cardamom.(You can reserve a spoon of sugar to add to this so it will grind well)
6. Pulse the rava if it is a coarse kind.
7. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate dry bowl. Use a fork/ whisk to incorporate them well.
8. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. This should look like a wet sand.
9. Make small balls and slightly press them between your palms.
10. Place them a cooking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for 12-15 minutes.
11. The cookies are done when they are golden brown on the bottom and will be soft when hot. Don’t worry , they will finish cooking while they cool down.
Enjoy your nan katais with hot chai!
In the days when I started cooking, it was more like experimenting. My grandma eyeballs her ingredients, so is my mom. They are really good at it , though I needed a more reliable cooking steps to begin with. Mallika Badrinath’s cookery show got in my watch list slowly. Her recipes were precise and since then, I learnt the importance of measuring for beginners. Though the individual taste varies, atleast they can guide you in the happy medium, after which you can fine tune the measures.
Even after a decade of cooking , I still preserve the cooking books as precious little companions in my kitchen. Here is the first book my hubby gifted me , with a little poem on the first page.
செய்திடல் வேண்டும் – நல்ல சமையல் ,
அதில் கொள்ள வேண்டும் நல்ல மையல் ,
நளபாக நல்லாளாய் வாழ்ந்திட வேண்டும் என் தையல் !
Urad dall – 1cup
Toor dall – 1/4 cup
Coconut flakes or chopped coconut- 1 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves
Grated carrot – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 1/2 tsp
Green chillies – 5 numbers
Grated ginger – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
(Picture courtesy : My Dear Daughter)
Soak the dalls together for 2 hours. Strain the dalls and grind them in wet grinder , sprinkling just enough water to a ‘vadamavu’ consistency- It should be super smooth fluffy but not a runny sort. Add salt, just one minute before you take the dough out. Add the grated ginger, chopped deveined chillies, coriander, coconut flakes, grated carrot and cumin seeds.
Heat oil in a vessel and let the oil be deep enough to deep fry the bondas. The right amount of oil and right temperature is the key to perfect round grease-less bondas. The oil should be hot enough such that , if you drop a small ball of dough in it , it should rise to the top.
Once the oil is hot enough, wet your fingers and scoop the dough , drop to the sides of the vessel. Do not over crowd the batches. Turn the bondas carefully till they are well cooked. Drain the excess oil on a paper towel and serve hot with coconut chutney/ mint chutney/ ketchup .
Have a healthy evening snack !
Just one more day of vacation …I am ready to pack off my winter break activities and be ready for work. I made a big list of To Do’s and started working toward it only after realizing my break is gonna end. Mostly , they were about refilling the pantry and freezer supplies- Idli podi, home made ghee, home made paneer, home made pancakes, sambhar powder and snacks.
With the new year parties and movies , one can easily slip from the ambitious list of to dos
Well, better late than never, so I decided to give my list a shot and here I am with just two left in my list remaining , which I hope to finish after this post.
The top of the list was the sambhar powder.
I had enjoyed my mom’s sambhar powder so long and for the first time , I had to use the chili powder from Devon market. I was nervous basically to use it as such and it consumed so much time to assemble the individual ingredients to get the taste of mom’s sambhar. So, I decided to make a sambhar powder, which will be a great companion for cooking and as well save time.
I researched, got opinions and decided to go with the following proportions.
Reshampatti chili powder- 4 cups
Coriander seeds- roasted and ground – 4 cups
Toor dall- 1cup
Gram dall- 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds- 1/3 cup
Mustard seeds – 1/3 cup
Cumin seeds- 1/4 cup
Pepper corns – 1/4 cup
Rice – 1/4 cup
Urad dall – 1/4 cup
The optional ingredients , I left on purpose were curry leaves , turmeric and asfoetida (hing).
Dry roast the coriander seeds, cool, grind them separately and measure out 4 cups . You can add more coriander if you feel your chili is hotter than usual.
Dry roast the ingredients individually and let them cool.
Powder them in a blender, mix all in a big bowl , sieve once and regrind if needed.
You are sure to feel nostalgic about going to the mills back home. Kids are sure to ask ‘What theee smell..’
Happy new year everyone!