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Parathas are the latest craze in our home. Soft pliable roti wrapping softer cheese leaves you with lingering taste of spices and creaminess.

I am not a fan of store brought paneer, but prefer the firmness of the cubes for kurmas. However, for parathas, you need soft cheese that will work with you as you knead the stuffing. Home made paneer is the best way to get soft cheese.

In making paneer, there were several attempts to reserve the white cloth I use for making paneer to ‘keep’ it as paneer cloth. Either, it will end as craft cloth for my kids, or even worse cleaning cloth for my maid. :(

I thought to give the paneer cloth an ‘identity’..also it should serve the purpose of filtering the whey water in a more elegant way.

Surukku pai/ string bag:

My grandma had this all the time, where she kept coins and her tobacco. The coins bearing a ‘signature’ smell that shall laugh at us with a jingle will make us plead her for buying candies. The ‘santa’s’ bag well tucked in my grandma’s Saree was my inspiration for this little diy project.

Cut a circular piece of white cloth, about 12 inch radius. Cut two inch wide strips of cloth on the bias , length should equal the perimeter of the circle. (Use your calculators :-) )

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If you are joining multiple patches like me, make sure to cut the edges in a 45 degree angle and patch. Sew the both sides of the strip on the edge, run a chord inside the channel. The surukku pai/ cheese cloth bag is now ready.

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Spread this over a strainer, pour in your curdled milk, pull the string, pour chill water over if you want to arrest the cooking, knead as you like, hang it wherever you like. Wash and reuse the bag as many times you want, it is all yours :-)

Enjoy a diy time !

 

 

 

 

 

The Monsoon in Chennai is doing amazing things to the weather. All is wet and well. It is a promise to the dry lands and vegetation. Enjoy some clicks  I took just after the rain .  For me , they are like babies who just had a bath ….

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Have a great monsoon !

Friday Morning, I had made breakfast at home , yet had no time to eat. I had to rush out of the door..I had Poori and masala for breakfast in Saravan Bhavan in my office cafeteria. I felt like Prakash Raj in ‘Un Samayalariyil‘ Love this song, by the way!

That night , at dinner , I described how delicious the poori was to my kids and I saw my son drooling :)

He requested right away , ‘Mommy, can we have poori and masala for tomorrow’s breakfast??’.

“Sure” said I, delighted to have a ‘Neyar virupam’.

Thats how I got to make this Poori , and I wanted to share the secrets to you all as well.

Ssshhh… Did I say secrets of a non greasy puffed poori ?

Here we go, we all may know , for making poori, you knead atta with little salt. Press them in to rounds and fry them in oil.

But , the tricks are ..

1. Add a tablespoon of rava (sooji) to 2 cups of atta to get the fluff and to retain it. The more rawa you add, it will be more crispy and will retain longer. I serve them to my kids right away , hence , I added 1 tablespoon .

2. Adding little sugar while kneading.Kneading should be very minimal as you don’t want the gluten to form (like you would make a pie crust – No Kneading ). Stop adding water when the flour is crumbly and use minimal water to bring in the binding. Dough for chapati , on the contrast , needs more water and needs to be kneaded longer.

3. Try to make dough right when you are planning to fry. Making the dough ahead of time, results in absorption of oil.

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4. Use oil to help in kneading , no flour please. This will pollute the frying oil and the burnt flour will start sticking to the pooris.

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5. Knead a bit thicker than for roti.

6. Use ample oil. Heat the oil long enough . If the oil is not hot enough , the poor is will be soaking in oil and soggy. If it is too hot, pooris will get burnt , adjust accordingly.

7. Cook on one side for 2-3 seconds, as soon as it fluffs, turn it around. The other side is bit thicker , and requires about 5-8 sec to cook. Ladle out and space them well not to disturb the puffiness. :)

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If you have done all right, you wouldn’t need a tissue paper to soak the extra oil . :)

Serve them hot with aloo masala.

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Keerai masiyal

It is Sunday noon, when I get to cook leisurely. I wanted to try baking the yellow cupcakes, doing so, it was already past noon.

As a gratitude for the cupcakes, my little helpers offered to cook  potato for side dish . So there were two little chefs peeling and cooking potatoes along with me.

I chose to cook the recipe my sister-in-law shared with me. It was a different way than I normally do, it tasted heavenly especially when sis- in-law made it. Here are the details:

Ingredients:
One medium sized onion
Ten small size garlic pods
Five green chillies
Arai keerai -one bunch
Tamarind – lemon size

Oil -2 table spoon
Vadagam- 1 table spoon
Curry leaves

Ingredients for masiyal

Ingredients for masiyal

Arai Keerai

Arai Keerai

Chop onion , peel garlic pods. Clean the greens. Heat one table spoon of oil in a deep pan, when hot, saute onion, garlic and green chillies. When the onion is translucent, add the greens. Cook until the greens are tender. Switch off the stove, add salt and tamarind. Let it cool till it reaches room temperature. Blend it to a puree using a hand blender. If you are lucky to have one, use the maththu and chatti to puree.

Heat oil in another pan,  splutter vadagam, and add curry leaves at the end. Add the thalippu to the masiyal.

For those who have no vadagam, can substitute with mustard seeds, cumin, urad, finely chopped onion and garlic.

Those who love ghee, can increase the green chilli count and add a tab of ghee when mixing with rice.

For those who are wondering what is cooking on the other burner, :-) , here is the recipe my kids ended up following.
http://saffrontrail.blogspot.in/2012/11/the-secret-to-absolutely-delicious.html?m=1

The small twist I suggested which they graciously took is that to add crushed kasuri methi at the end. The taste, aroma and texture of  the aloo was a perfect match for the masiyal.

We enjoyed truly  a family lunch, we wish you the same.

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As much as the sun scorches in Chennai, so are sold the nature’s gifts to quench the thirst.

Tender coconuts, nungu are toppers in the list.

Nungu is also called ice apple. The shell is kind of sticky, but it is totally worth getting messy with your hands shelling these jewels. When you’re shelling these, make sure you don’t puncture the jelly inside, as it houses the tasty cool water which is quite close to tender coconut water. (I still remember the days when my mom keeps me near by when she does, so just in case, it ruptures, she pours it down my throat. :-) )

If you are a mom like me, you might want to leave one unshelled like shown to have one left for yourself, ;) else it all disappears in a minute. :-)

Moving back Home

Many things may change, the  utensils , the appliances,  the stove…. even the whole  kitchen may look different.

However…

There are things that constant and evergreen in your memories, like my memories of the  taste of food my grandma and my mom cooks. My grandma’s food tasted great when she cooked with a  viragu aduppu and with a gas stove.

It does  not matter  what is prepared and where it is prepared, it is the care taken while preparing  and how it is executed.  I look forward to post many other recipes I cherish/experiment from Singara Chennai. Keep visiting till then…

Meanwhile, here are few pictures from spring

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Strawberry shortcake

Coming soon, strawberry shortcake…Image

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