Thursday 22 February 2024

Royal Falooda

Summer is approaching. As the temperature soars, we long to enjoy ice creams, coolers and other cold desserts. Today, let us make a special cold dessert called falooda, a Mughalai dessert of Persian origin. Several variations are found in different Asian countries. I have made the common Indian version of falooda. Let us get on with the recipe.

Ingredients:  
Full cream milk - 250 ml, boiled, cooled
Rose mix - 10 drops
Strawberry jelly powder - ⅓ of 90 gm pack
Vermicelli, thin variety or Falooda sev - 2 tablespoons, boiled, drained
Sugar - 2 tablespoons
Sabja seeds - 2 teaspoons*
Strawberry syrup - as needed**
Almond, pistachio - 3 each, sliced
Vanilla ice cream - 2 large scoops
Pomegranate seeds - 2 tablespoons 

* Sabja seeds also known as sweet basil seeds, puff up and become translucent when soaked.  
** Rose syrup may be used instead of strawberry syrup.


Method: Falooda is made by adding different ingredients in layers one on top of the other as outlined below. 
  • Coat 2 tall glasses with strawberry syrup and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Take 2 teaspoons of sabja seeds in a tea strainer and wash in running water. Transfer to a bowl. Add 100 ml of lukewarm water and allow it soak for 20-30 minutes. These seeds puff up to approximately three times the volume of dry seeds. Soaked seeds have a translucent grey outer layer with a black center. 
  • Mix rose mix and sugar thoroughly in milk and refrigerate. 
  • Prepare one pack of strawberry jelly as per instructions provided on the pack and allow it to set. You will need ⅓ of this quantity. I used Weikfield Strawberry Jelly crystals though any commercial brand can be used. 
  • In one of the glasses coated with strawberry syrup, first add half the quantity of puffed up sabja seeds, after draining excess water if needed. Top it with half the quantity of boiled vermicelli/falooda sev and 1 tablespoon of strawberry syrup. Now add 2 tablespoons of strawberry jelly. Gently pour half the quantity chilled rose milk. Top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Layer it with strawberry syrup and garnish with pomegranate seeds and sliced nuts. Repeat the process and fill the remaining glass. Serve chilled.

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Sunday 18 February 2024

Brinjal Peanut Masala (கத்தரிக்காய் நிலக்கடலை மசாலா)

Overtime, I have shared several recipes of brinjal or eggplant on my blog. But, this recipe has a rich, spicy taste that you would love. Let's proceed with the preparation.

Ingredients: 

Purple brinjals - ½ kg, cut into cubes

Oil - 1 tablespoon

Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon

Split urad dhal - ½ teaspoon

Turmeric powder - ½ teaspoon

Curry leaves - a few

Salt - to taste

For masala powder:

Roasted peanuts - 2 tablespoons

Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon

Cumin seeds/ jeera - ½ teaspoon

Fenugreek/ methi seeds - ¼ teaspoon

Asafoetida - ⅛ teaspoon

Kashmiri chili - 3 no

Coconut - grated, 3 tablespoon

Tamarind - a small bit


Method: Heat  1 teaspoon of oil in a kadai. Add red chilies and fry for 10 seconds. Add in coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds. Fry till the coriander seeds turn light brown in color and masala gives out a nice aroma. Transfer the fried items to a bowl. Now fry the grated coconut till it turns light brown. Add in asafoetida powder. Saute a few times and transfer to the bowl. Powder all the fried items along with peanuts and tamarind in a mixer-grinder into a coarse powder. Keep aside.

Transfer the remaining oil to the kadai. Add in mustard seeds and when they start to sputter, add urad dhal. Fry till the dhal turns golden brown. Now add cut brinjal, turmeric powder and required salt. Mix well. Cover and cook on low flame till the vegetable is almost cooked. Sprinkle the ground masala on top and stir gently to coat the vegetable with masala. Garnish with curry leaves and saute on low flame for five minutes. Serve hot with rice and sambar/dhal/rasam. 

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Friday 16 February 2024

Kodo Millet Rice (வரகரிசி சாதம்)

Millets are ancient grains that are rich in fiber and minerals, and were consumed by our ancestors as staple foods for centuries. Kodo millet (வரகு) is a type of little millet that is rich in dietary fiber and minerals like calcium and iron. Nutritional content of Kodo millet is outlined below.

Kodo Millet - Nutrition per 100 gms 

Energy

302 Kcal

Protein

8.3 gm

Carbohydrate

69.9 gm

Fiber

8.5 gm

Calcium

22 mg

Iron

9.9 mg

You can cook kodo millet as you would cook white rice and consume it instead of rice. Let us proceed with making kodo-millet rice (வரகரிசி சாதம்) using an electric rice cooker.


Ingredients:

Kodo millet - 1 cup

Water - 2½ cups

Method: Millets have more impurities than rice and they need to be cleaned thoroughly before cooking. Wash kodo millet several times with water till the draining water is clear. Pour enough water to cover the millet and allow it to soak for 30 minutes. Drain the water and transfer the soaked millet to the rice cooker pan. Add 2½ cups of fresh water and cover with the rice cooker lid. Switch on the rice cooker and set the switch to "Cook" mode. Kodo millet cooks faster than rice. Once cooked, the switch automatically moves to "Warm" mode. Let it stay in the "Warm" mode for 10 minutes before serving the millet rice. You can serve millet rice with sambar or rasam along with poriyal or kootu.

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Tuesday 13 February 2024

Omapodi (ஓமப்பொடி)

Omapodi (ஓமப்பொடி) is a basic item used for making many savories such as the quintessential "mixture". It is also used widely as a topping or essential ingredient for many chat items. It is called omapodi because omam (ஓமம்) or caraway seeds or ajwain is used to add flavor to this savory. Traditionally, omapodi is deep fried in oil, but I bake it with minimal oil using the air fryer. Let us see how to make it.

Ingredients:

Bengal gram flour or besan - 120 ml measure
Rice flour - 60 ml measure
Salt - ¼ teaspoon or to taste
Red chili powder - ¼ teaspoon
Ajwain or omam - ⅛ teaspoon, crushed 
Coconut oil - 1 tablespoon
Method: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Add enough water to make a pliable dough and divide it into 2 equal parts. keep aside.

Smear the baking tray with oil. Choose the sieve with small holes and fix it to the bottom of  the kitchen press (as shown in the image below); place a dough ball in the outer part of kitchen press and using the inner part press the dough through the sieve holding the handles with your hands on either side and move your hands in circles over the baking tray. 


Air fry at 180℃ for 6 minutes. Take out the tray, turn the omapodi over and bake for another 6 minutes or till the omapodi is light brown in color. Transfer the baked omapodi to a tray and allow it to cool. 

Pass the remaining dough ball through the kitchen press and bake the omapodi in the same manner. Cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container.

You can crush the omapodi into smaller pieces and use it to make chats. Alternatively you can serve omapodi as a snack with tea or coffee.

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Wednesday 7 February 2024

White Corn Idly & Dosa (வெள்ளை சோள இட்லி & தோசை)

White corn (வெள்ளை சோளம்) is a major millet and is also known as Great Millet, Jowar and Sorghum. It  is rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamins C & B6, iron and magnesium. We can use this millet to make traditional breakfast items such as idly and dosa. We can also incorporate this millet in our menu as pongal, upma, kichadi or roti. Today, let us see how to make idly and dosa using white corn.

Ingredients for the batter:

White corn - 2 teacups

Idly rice - 2 teacups

Whole urad dhal - 1 teacup

Fenugreek seeds - 1 tablespoon

Salt - to taste

Sesame oil - for making dosa and for smearing idly moulds



Method: 

How to prepare the batter: Wash and soak idly rice and white corn separately. You may have to wash white corn several times till the water runs clear. Wash and soak urad dhal and fenugreek seeds together. Let all the ingredients soak for 4-5 hours. Drain the water and grind urad dhal and fenugreek seeds using a wet grinder or a mixer-grinder into a spongy mass. Transfer to a large vessel. Now grind the soaked idly rice and white corn into a smooth paste. This way you can make both idly and dosa with the same batter. However, if you want to make only idly you can remove the rice and corn paste when the consistency is slightly coarse. Alternatively if you want to make only dosa, you can grind the paste to a very fine consistency. After grinding to the desired consistency, transfer the rice-corn paste to the same vessel on top of the urad dhal paste. Add required salt and mix both the pastes very well. Cover and allow it to ferment for 8 hours. 

Note: Use a larger container to hold the batter overnight, as the batter will rise when fermented.

How to prepare idlies: Mix the batter well before using. Smear the idly moulds with sesame oil. Pour batter up to the brim in each mould. Pour 300 ml of water in a pressure cooker or rice cooker. Steam the idlies for 5-7 minutes. Once the idlies are cooked, the steam will smell of idly flavor. Switch off the stove and remove the idly mould. Allow the idlies to cool for a minute or two. Remove the idlies from the mould using a knife or flat spoon, and transfer to a hot case. Serve hot with chutney and sambar.

Note: You may test if the idlies are cooked by using a wooden tooth pick. Wet the tooth pick and drive it through the idly in the mould. If the idly is cooked, the tooth pick will come out smoothly with no batter sticking on it.

How to prepare dosas: Mix the batter well before using. Add water, if required, to make the batter into pouring consistency. Heat the tava on medium flame. Once ready, spread the batter evenly on the tava. You may make the dosa slightly thick or thin and crisp. Add oil around the dosa and allow it to cook for a minute. When cooked, bubbles appear on the surface of a thick dosa. If you are spreading the batter thin, wait for the dosa to become golden brown. Turn the dosa over and cook for short while. Remove from the tava and serve hot with chutney and sambar.

Note: You may refrigerate the batter and use it make idlies and dosas as needed. Idlies are preferably made on the first two days. Beyond two days the batter may start to sour and idlies will not taste good.

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