Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mysore Rasam-Comfort Food for the Soul.

Rasam is a staple at home.This best part about this tasty tangy broth is that it goes well with any side dish and even a papad.So rasam essentially is an all rounder and a part and parcel of the South Indian Psyche!Best remedy for the sniffles and a comfort food for me.This rasam has the lovely taste and aroma of coriander seeds wafting around in the house once made.Now for the recipe

Cooked toor dal-1/2 a cup
Tamarind-a lemon size
Curry leaves-a sprig
Coriander leaves-a bunch
Asafoetida-a pinch
Jaggery-a small lump
Pepper-4 0r 5
Salt to taste

To grind
Coriander seeds-1 1/2 tablespoon
Bengalgram dal-2 teaspoons
Red Chillies-2
Oil-2 tsp for frying
Add the raw pepper without frying to be ground

To temper
Ghee-1 tsp
mustard-1 tsp

Method-Pressure cook toor dal with a pinch of turmeric and cool.Soak tamarind in water and mash well to extract tamarind water.Take a vessel,add the tamarind water,salt,cut tomatoes,curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida.Let this mixture boil well.Add the cooked dhal mashed up well.Do not throw away the water,add this to the broth as well.Mix this well and add the magic potion which has been ground and kept aside.Let it bubble well till done.Add the jaggery to this mixture to enhance the flavour.Temper the mustard seeds with ghee.This step will make the rasam aromatic.So do not forget this step.While using tomatoes for this recipe,make sure  to use less tamarind.Finally garnish the rasam with coriander leaves.I have adapted this rasam recipe from the book Cook and See by Meenakshi Ammal.Go ahead make it your own.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Let there be light

Three magic words,ISO,Aperture and Shutter Speed,never knew that they would put a spell on me.All thanks to the creative confluence of Chennai Food Guide,Prohive and Crimson Chakra. who conducted a lovely photography workshop.  The Principle Photographer Kunal Daswani,seemed like a wizard with his food photography shots.The first question he popped his audience was whether we still shot pictures in the automatic mode.I think I was one of the few people in the affirmative .His audience itself was a very well informed and erudite one!Well Kunal did drill the basics of food photography inside my head the key points being the importance of light and the exposure triangle.Thank you for taking time off from your busy schedule and mentoring us.Very magnanimous of you.

Kunal Daswani with a participant

I loved the locale Crimson Chakra.Just loved the decor at this place with the antique camphor boxes and the eclectic collection of paintings.Thank you Nikhil for accommodating us.You played a great host by personally being there and cheering us on.The plated food was art by itself.Loved the way the food was styled and presented to us.
Bliss@Crimson Chakra

A cool camphor box sitting pretty,my best  blogger buddy  in the background.The pic is a little dark though.

Mohamed Ali from the Chennai Food guide was one of the most friendly and open minded people I have met in a workshop@Chennai.Thank you for coming up with such a unique database for food from Chennai.Awesome initiative.He was walking up to every individual and checking for inputs and feedback.Thank you for the warmth and concern you showed.Much appreciated.Let the horn of plenty smile on you!
Sriram Gopal,thank you for being so patient and taking time to explain Nikon settings to me.Your analogy for the aperture and shutter speed with a tap and bucket of water clearly helped.Looking forward to your workshop soon.Prohive is another great initiative for the multitudes with a creative streak to show case their portfolio at this unique space.

The hand that rocks the cradle!!

On the whole a very satisfying session,with food for thought,tempered with gastronomic delights,and amazing set of informed people sharing the same passion photography.This was my first photography workshops at Chennai and one of the best.

Do take a look at some of the food shots I took.My maiden attempt.

A cake puddle Volcano!

 Thank you Priya for being such a wonderful blogging mate and offline friend.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

ICC-Suruttai Poli

I have been wanting to join ICC for a long time now.I spent half the time just thinking about it.Finally I decided to join the group.This is my first entry to the event.And what a sweet way to start.Srivalli challenged us with a recipe called Suruttai Poli suggested by Nithya's mom.This reminded me of Karjikai a sweet preparation in Karnataka.I had lots of queries regarding this recipe.Finally I told myself I will have my answers to all  the queries only if i give it a go.And so I did.

Ingredients for stuffing
1 cup -roasted gram
1 cup sugar
Cardamom-1 tsp
Grated coconut-1 tbsp
Cashew Nuts-20

Ingredients for poori
1 cup-Maida Flour
A pinch of salt
Water for kneading
Oil-for frying


Put in a cup of Maida flour and knead with required amount of water to make a dough.Set it aside for 30 minutes.Powder sugar and roasted gram till smooth.I also added whole cardamoms to this flour.The aroma was so heavenly.Even the ants lined up on the table!Put in the ghee and fry cashew till light brown,add in the grated coconut and fry.Put this mixture into the sugar and roasted gram flour and mix well.Keep aside.Keep some kitchen towels ready,roll out thin pooris with a 10cm diameter and place it on them for ten minutes.Take a pan,pour in the oil,when ready fry these discs,this is the tricky part,if the pooris are over cooked they will puff up and become brittle.They should be put in the pan and taken out in jiffy when just done and largely white in colour.Put in on top of the kitchen towel,so that the excess oil gets drained.Add the filling in the corner of the poori and roll.The pooris have to be flexible to be able to roll. Put in a plate with the smooth side facing up.Enjoy the tasty poli when your hunger pang strikes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Jack fruit seed Vathal Kozhambu

This combination of Pongal and tangy tamarind side dish is a staple at home.At the drop of hat I prepare pongal,the rice and lentil combination because it is healthier than plain rice.Now for the recipe.

Jackfruit Seed Vethal Kozhambu

Jackfruit seeds-I used 6-7
Tamarind - a lemon sized ball
mustard seeds
Bengal gram dal-1 tsp
curry leaves -a sprig
Jaggery-a piece
Rice flour for thickening
Salt to taste
Asafoetida powder-a pinch
Sambar powder-1 or 2 tsp depending on the spice factor


Soak the jack fruit seeds for a while in water.Pressure cook them and de-skin it and keep aside.Soak the lemon sized tamarind ball in water.Extract the pulp.Take a pan splutter mustard seeds,add the bengal gram dal,let it become a little brown.Add the curry leaves and saute well,now add the onion and let it turn transparent.Now the basic mixture for the tangy sauce is ready.Add in the tamarind,pour some water.Add the jack fruit seeds.Add in the asafoetida,salt and sambar powder.I also added a little bit of coriander powder for a nice aroma.Let this broth simmer and cook well.Add in a small piece of jaggery for the dish to be enhanced further.Take some rice flour in a cup add water and mix without lumps.Add this to the bubbling cauldron!!!.Wait for kozhambu to thicken.Add in coriander leaves as a garnish.The tasty side kick to a south Indian main course is ready to go.  

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Womens Day and an easy instant recipe-Karacha Maavu Dosai

This is an instant dosa variety and very simple to make.Very useful for a Sunday evening hunger pang.

Wheat flour-1 cup
Rava-1 cup
Rice flour-1 cup
Salt to taste
Onions-2or3Jeera-1 tbsp
Pepper-1 tsp
Coriander leaves-a handfull
Curry leaves-one or two sprigs
Ginger-a small piece finely cut

For spluttering
Mustard-1 tsp
Green chillies-2
Method:Take a bowl,add in the wheat flour,rava and rice flour.Pour water and make a thin paste. Cut onions into tiny pieces,add in the coriander leaf,curry leaf and ginger.Add jeera and pepper.Add salt.Mix well.Now you have to add in the spluttered mustard and green chillies.Mix well,proceed to cook on the pan.Take a ladle swish on the left and then in the right.It will form a lovely porous pancake.Add in the oil in the edge.And the lovely instant dosais ready to devour.When the ready made idly batter is out of stock,this recipe comes to the rescue.This can be had with a whole lot of side dishes.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Plantain pith and Coconut medley

Vazhai Thandu Mor Kootu is on of the yummy ways to eat this healthy pith.The fibre reserves in this is ideal for weight loss.   

Banana Stem-2 cups
Buttermilk-1 cup
Salt to taste

For grinding
Coconut-1/4 cup                 
Green chili-1
Cumin seeds-1tsp

For tempering
Coconut oil-1tsp
Mustard seeds-1/2tsp
Curry leaves-1 sprig

Cut the outer covers of the stem and dice the inner core into bits.You can rub your hands with oil to prevent stickiness and stain.While dicing the bits remove the fibre from the pith.The aruvamane(vegetable knife) is the best tool for this.  I have cut them up into roundels because I fancied it that way!Take curd and water churn to make watery buttermilk.Add the pith pieces and salt.Pressure cook this.In a mixer add the ingredients to be ground.Add this to the buttermilk.Now comes the tricky part.You have to careful while adding curd into this mixture.You have to reduce the flame and stir in the curd in high heat the curd will break.To temper the ingredients you can use coconut oil to give it a nice flavour.Add in the tempered ingredients and enjoy.

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