Karivepaku Podi ( Curry Leaf Powder)

>> Saturday, September 20, 2008

Curry Leaf (Karivepaku/Kariveppilai) is the most commonly used herb used as seasoning in almost all the dishes especially in South India. I simply love the aroma that comes from this herb and also the taste. I know some people simply take the herb out and don't eat it. For such of those people, curry leaf is rich in its medicinal value. They help in better digestion. It also promotes better hair growth. My mother used to make sure we eat atleast 2 spoons of this powder mixed with rice and ghee.

Curry leaves - 3 cups
Coriander seeds - 11/2 cup
Cumin seeds - 2 spoons
Dry red
chilli - handful ( or more if you want it spicy)
Urad dal - 1 cup
Chana dal - 1/2
Tamarind - lemon size ball
Oil - 1/2 tsp

1. Pick the leaves from the stem, wash and dry them on a fine cloth. The leaves should be completely dry.

2. In a pan, fry the above spices individually (except curry leaves, red
chilli and tamarind) until golden brown ( you can fry all of them together, but individually is preferred) .
3. After that, in the same pan, take 2 drops of oil and fry the red chilli's, after
that, add 1 more drop of oil and fry the tamarind. In the same add few more drops of oil and fry the dried curry leaves.

4. In a blender, blend the spices first with some salt to a course powder. Then add the curry leaves and again blend to a fine powder. Adjust salt if required.

Serve this with hot rice and ghee.


Vegetable Manchurian

>> Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Vegetable Manchurian is a Indo-Chinese variety served as an appetizer. There are 2 methods for this preparation : (1) Dry version which can be served as an appetizer (2) Gravy version which can be served with fried rice as a side dish.
I am posting here the dry version.

Potato - 1
Carrot -1
Cabbage - 1/2 cup
Capsicum - 1/2 piece
Cauliflower - 1/2
Onion - 1
Green chillies - 3/4
Spring Onions
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1tsp
Cooked rice - 1 bowl ( should be cold)
Olive Oil
Soy sauce - 2/3 tsps
Chilli sauce - 3/4 tsps
Corn flour
Pepper powder
Ajinamoto - pinch

Method :
1. Grate Potato,carrot,cabbage and finely slice capsicum. ( I didn't have normal carrots, so I used the frozen carrot peas).
2. In a wide pan, take some water and bring it to a boil. Once the water starts bubbling, add all the vegetables to the water and steam cook them for 10-15mins in a medium flame.
3. Meanwhile finely chop the onions, green chillies and spring onions.
4. Once the vegetables are done, take them to a vessel and add salt. Leave it for 5-10mins until it cools down.
5. Meanwhile in a deep frying pan, add oil upto 1 inch and start heating.
6. Now, squeeze the water from the vegetable mixture by crushing with both hands tightly. Keep the liquid aside so that you can use it during the preparation. Make sure the vegetable mixture is totally dry. It should not be moist at all, otherwise you will not be able to make the balls.

NOTE : If the mixture is still moist, add to the muxture a bowl of cooked rice. This will help you make the balls without breaking.

7. Once the oil is hot (make sure it is not too hot), drop the balls one by one slowly and make sure they don't touch each other. Fry the balls until they are equally brown on all sides. Take them aside and place them on a paper towel so that it takes out excess oil.

8. In a saute pan, add 2 tbsps olive oil, add chopped onions, green chillies, ginger garlic paste and saute for few mins until the raw smell of the ginger garlic disappears. Add pinch of turmeic.
9. Add the soy sauce, chilli sauce and ajinamoto and stir for 2mins until the raw smell goes off.
10. Now add the dumplings to the sauce mixture, stir slowly for 1-2mins and turn off the gas. Now sprinkle chopped spring onions when it's still hot.

Few Tips:
1. The above is the dry version. And if anyone wants the gravy version of it, all you have to do is few more additional steps after step 10. Keep the sauce mixture in simmer in low-medium flame. Take a spoonful of cornflour, add water and make a thin paste/liquid mixture. See to it no lumps are formed. Add to the mixture chilli sauce, pepper powder, grated ginger and add this to the simmering sauce and keep stirring it until it becomes thick. Make sure that the flame/heat is low to avoid lumps of the corn flour mixture. Add water if needed and finally add the dumplings.

2. If the mixture is still moist even after mixing it with rice, just dab the balls in bread crumbs before frying. The dumplings will not break by doing so.

[ Bread Crumbs are available in any grocery store. Otherwise, you can toast the bread and crush it with your hand]


Bhindi Masala

>> Sunday, September 14, 2008

Okra is my most favorite vegetable. I still remember as a child, my mother used to tell us that if you eat this vegetable, you will be good at mathematics. I don't know how far it is true, but I simply fell in love with this vegetable also know as " Lady fingers ". My mother used to make sure she cooks this vegetable once in a week and even I got used to the same.
Bhindi masala is one dish that goes extremely well with roti,phulka,naan,parathas for that matter any Indian bread variety.

Ingredients :
Okra - 1 pound, finely chopped
Onion - 1, finely chopped
Tomato - 1big or 2 small, finely chopped
Green/Red chillies - 3,4 (small), finely chopped
Oil - 1tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - pinch
Chilli Powder - 1tsp
Amchur Powder - 1tsp
Coriander Powder - 1tsp
Cumin Powder - 1tsp
Fresh coriander
Lemon Juice - 2,3tsp

1. In a pan take oil and once it's hot, add the cumin and mustard seeds. Once they start to splutter, add the chopped onions and chillies, add turmeric.
2. Once the onions are
sauteed, add the tomatoes and the bhindi. At this point, you can add tomatoes and bhindi at the same time as bhindi takes very less time to cook. Adding together also avoids bhindi to be sticky.

3. Add salt, and cook it half covered for sometime. Keep checking now and then, and stir when needed. Do not give too much of stirring as we don't want
bhindi to stick to each other.
4. Finally when
bhindi is done ( pork with spatula), add the remaining spices ( chilli powder, cumin powder, amchur powder, coriander powder), and give a quick stir.
5. Finally, turn off the heat and sprinkle lemon juice, stir it once and garnish with fresh coriander.

NOTE : As a alternative, you can also deep fry the okra and then add to the cooked onion and tomato mixture. I like to follow this procedure as we end up using less oil.



>> Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This is one of my favorite curries that my mother prepares. My mother got this recipe from her friend. This is a very simple dish which takes less than 20mins in preparation. Not too many spices yet very tasty.
Potatoes - 1 big or 2 small
Carrots - 1big or 2 small
Chow Chow - 1
Beans - 1 cup
Green Peas - 1/2 cup

Masala :
Fresh coconut - 1 small cup
Dalia (Putnala Pappu) - 1 handful
Green Chilli - 3,4 (small)
Gasagasalu (Poppy seeds) - 2 spoons
Coriander Leaves - 1 cup
Paste: Grind the above ingredients into a smooth paste adding very little water.

1. Peel the skin and cut potatoes, carrots and chow chow into medium size cubes. Also cut the beans.
2. In a pressure cooker, add the vegetables and 1 cup water, pinch of turmeric and pressure cook them for 2 whistles.
3. In a pan, add 1tbsp oil, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and dry red chillies and hing, once they start to splutter, add the boiled vegetables along with the water. Cook it uncovered in more than medium flame.
4. After the water evaporates, add salt and the masala paste.
5. Cook on a medium flame for 5-7mins until the mixture thickens.
6. Turn off and serve hot with phulka.


Thali Special 3

>> Friday, September 5, 2008

Items on the leaf (from top left) : Undrallu, Kudumulu, Cabbage carrot peas koora, Tomato pappu, Avakai, Daddojanam , (right bottom) : Potato upma koora, Pulihora (tamarind rice), white rice, bendakai pulusu, semya payasam, beerakai pachadi


Vinayaka Chavithi

Belated Vinayaka Chavithi wishes to all of you.

"Vakratunda mahakaya surya koti samaprabha. Nirvignam kurumedeva sarvakaryeshu Sarvada"


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