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A simple curry  for a normal day meals. This is totally satisfying when done in the right way. If it is slightly undercooked or when not seasoned with adequate oil, will leave you disappointed.  This is the way my grandma cooks this veggie, and it has never let me down. 

Avarakai poriyal

Ingredients 

Frozen surti papdi – 20 oz packet 

Medium onion- 1 number

Garlic – 2 pods

Dry red chilli- 3 no

Roasted and crushed  peanuts- 1 1/2 tbsp

Scraped coconut – 1 1/2 tbsp

For seasoning

Oil – 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds, urad dall, gram dall, curry leaves

Finely chop the onion.Thaw the papdi completely and devein  if neccesary. Cook the papdi well  with adequate amount of water and salt .  In a skillet, heat oil, sputter the seasonings one by one in the order listed. Add chillies  followed by onion , garlic and saute well. Add the vegetable and stir slightly till all water content has reduced. Atlast , add crushed peanut and coconut and turn the heat off. 

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When I read the word ‘endangered recipes’  in the FAHC announcement, the first dish I thought of  was ‘kali'(களி). Kali is a ball made with ragi -rice mixture and koozh (கூழ்) is the porridge form of it. 

Ragi known as finger millet is considered  the poor man’s diet. In many tamil  cinemas you can hear the hero saying his lover that ‘I will work hard and atleast earn you a  ragi porridge all my life’. (மூட்டை தூக்கியாச்சும் உனக்கு வாழ்க்கை முழுக்க கூழ் ஊத்றேன் kind of dialogues)! The reason for this is that ragi does not require much irrigation and so available for a cheaper price. (Not in US – a pound of ragi is nearly $2 , which is 5 times the price of rice sold here.)

I have heard that my grandma used to make this forour farm workers in a large scale. She used a tennis bat shaped wooden tool to make the balls and would use her other hand to shape the steam hot balls. That was a time when rice was considered to be a luxury food for the common man. So, if it is your lucky day, you get rice added in your kali or else it is just the ragi cooked and shaped as balls.(This is called the orumavu kali).

The time changes, the scenes have changed and  now even my mom does not know how to do this kali and everytime my neighbours do it for us, as we (my brothers and I ) love it. Though my mom know not how to make them, she will be always in the tug of war  with my brothers and me  to share the kali. And we purposely preserve a ball for making the ‘piece of heaven ‘ porridge, called koozh in tamil.  I learnt this dish from my husband’s athai (father’s sister)  who taught me a lighter technology  to get the same great taste.

Ragi rice balls/Kezhvaragu kali/ragi mudda :

Ingredients :

Sona masoori rice/ broken raw rice (Noi arisi)- 1 cup

Ragi flour- 1 cup

Salt to taste

 

Ragi flour heaped on cooked rice

Method:

Wash and soak the rice for 1/2 hr. In a large pot, boil about  3 cups of water, add rice and let it cook well. When it is cooked, add ragi flour as a heap with salt and cover with a lid. Let it cook for another 5 minutes. Using a wooden spoon stir continuously and vigorously, without letting any lumps to form. When the mix comes together, turn off the heat. Take a stainless silver / nonstick bowl , sprinkle a tablespoon of water (this prevents the kali sticking to the sides ), drop a big scoop of mix into. Swirl it fast to give the ball a good shape.Transfer  to the serving dish. Serve with a dallop of ghee (optional) and keerai (spinach dall – recipe follows..) /inji poondu kuzhambhu / varutha paruppu kuzhambhu.

Ragi rice balls/ kelvaragu kali

Kezhvaragu  koozh:

There are other ways of doing this, yet this is easiest , atleast to me. Soak the ragi balls (cooked as above) in water over night. The balls need to be just covered in water. In the next day morning, using your beautiful hands  homogenise (a great technique we use every day to make rasam )  the balls, adding  yogurt/ buttermilk  and salt according to your taste. Adjust the thickness to that a smoothie. This energy drink could be as such taken, but always we add some attractions  like lemon pickle/ raw pearl onion/ fresh peanuts. As fresh  peanuts were not available, I soaked the dried peanuts overnight and added to the koozh.

Kelvaragu Koozh/ ragi porridge

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Have a Break! Have a Salad!

Healthy salad

After all trials from the roundups, (WBB and festive food fair), I feel I need a break from the high calorie, but delicious, feasts. If you feel the same way, this is for you. And whenever I am late to get up  in the mornings, and when my stove top is so engaged, I call salads for rescue. I learnt a bunch of salad recipes from Isha Yoga classes and they are my  treasured recipes as they are so healthy and  more palatable than the salads I eat here in US. Now to the versatile salad..

Carrots-1 or 2 numbers. Skin and dice them into small cubes.

Iceberg Lettuce- 1/2 . Chop into fine strips.

Dry roasted peanuts- 1/2 cup

Cucumber- 1 number- skinned , cored and diced into cubes.

Tomato- 1/2 . Cored and diced into cubes.

Lime juice- 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dall, dry chillies and curry leaves – for seasoning/thallipu/thallidam

Mix all the vegetables and peanuts in a bowl with adequate salt. Leave them for 15 minutes. The salt would have done its mischeif, all water content from the vegetables would have separated. Strain the vegetables  but don’t throw away the juice, it is great for a cocktail.  Now add lime juice and mix again.

In a pan, heat oil, sputter mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dall, dry chillies and curry leaves in the order said. Remove from heat and add to the salad mix. Serve with cilantro garnishing. The chewy carrots, juicy tomato and cucumber, crunchy lettuce and the roasted nuts will entertain your  taste buds , and you  will  say good bye to your stove top.

Added on Dec 8th 2006 :

Thank you friends for the appreciation,
Try the salad and let me know. I learnt the carving from here and here. I hope you will it find as a wonderful site for Thai carving.

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