Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Usiri Avakaya | Nellikai Urugai | Amla Achar | Gooseberry Pickle

Our family is a big fan of pickles and we like both South Indian and North Indian varieties.We are very particular about the flavor and taste of pickles and ensure that we pair a north indian one with roti and a south indian variety with rice.
I have various south Indian variety of Mango pickles like Andhra Avakay, Allam Avakay, Pesara Avakay, Bellam Avakay,Palli Avakay,Nuvvu Avakay, Magaya, Mukkala pacchadi, No Oil Mango Pickle , in my blog. These are prepared using Raw mangoes. We absolutely love all the varieties and I do make a point to get these prepared by my MIL, but in limited quantities, so that we can enjoy the other kind of pickles which she prepares during winters.During winters, she prepares pickles with  fresh vegetables, red chillies and gooseberries.I love Usiri avakaya (Andhra style Gooseberry pickle) more than the regular Avakay made up of mango as gooseberries lend a nice taste and flavor to the pickle.The process of making this gooseberry pickles is not complicated,hence you can make small batches and enjoy with your curd rice or you can even mix it with hot rice,dal podi and ghee.If it is prepared carefully, the shelf life is longer for this pickle,hence if you want you. can even make it in larger batches and store it.
Gooseberry Pickle | Usiri Avakaya :
shelf life: upto 1-2 months

Ingredients:
20 big sized Gooseberries/Amla
1/2 cup Red chili powder*
1/3 cup Mustard powder
1 tsp Fenugreek powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 cup +  1tbsp Salt( to taste)
1 1/4 cups Sesame oil

Method:
  • Wash and wipe the gooseberries and let them dry on a kitchen towel for 2-3 hrs.
  • Heat sesame oil in a thick heavy bottomed kadai/pan and add dried amlas and fry them for a couple of minutes.Cover it with a deep lid and add pour some water(1/2 cup) on the lid,this process creates steam cooking but ensure that you take the lid always carefully so that water does not splutter on the amlas, otherwise the pickle will get spoilt.
  • Reduce the flame and let the amlas cook on low flame for 12-15 mins until they are slightly soft.Stir once or twice in between by lifting the lid carefully.If the water evaporates in the lid add some water on to the plate.Some might even crackle which indicates that they are completely done.
  • Remove the lid and let them cool completely.
  • Meanwhile grind a tsp of fenugreek seeds to a fine powder in the mixer.
  • I used a less spicy variety of red chili powder for the pickle,if you are using more spicy one reduce the quantity of chili powder by 2-3 tbsp in the recipe.
  • Add the fenugreek and mustard powder,turmeric powder,red chili powder,salt to the cooled amlas and mix nicely.
  • Check the taste of the mixed mixture,it should be salty now.If it is less salty add another tbsp of salt. If the salt is less in the pickle,it will get spoilt soon.
  • Carefully transfer this to a clean and sterilized glass bottle and cover it.
  • After 3 days the oil should float on top of the pickle.If it does not float add heated and cooled sesame oil(1/3 cup) to the pickle and mix well.
  • Let the pickle stand for a week before using so that the pickle get marinated and flavors blend nicely.You can store it outside but I suggest you to refrigerate the pickle.
Serve it with Curd rice or you can even mix it with hot rice,dal powder and ghee.
Notes:
  1. Use red chili powder which is specially used for pickles as this variety gives a nice and bright red color to the pickle and also it is not very spicy.My MIL brought a brand called 'Three Mangoes' which is good for pickles.It is not very spicy and also gives beautiful bright red color to pickle giving a fiery look.I used less spicy one,if you are using more spicy one reduce the quantity by 2-3 tbsp in the recipe.
  2. Always transfer a small portion of pickle into a small jar and use a clean and dry spoon.
  3. Increase the amount of sesame oil as required in the recipe.The basic thumb rule is to make the oil float over the pickle after 3 days.So feel free to add extra sesame oil.
  4. In general it is said if the pickle is prepared well it would stay good for long time like 5-6 months or upto an year.I am not sure about the shelf life for that long as I always make it in small quantities and finish it in 2-3 weeks time.
  5. You can avoid mustard powder in the recipe to make simple Amla pickle.Follow the same process and avoid mustard powder in the recipe.  
  6. You can pressure cook gooseberries by placing them in a vessel with out adding any water to it for 1 whistle.
  7. My mom usually adds lemon juice at the end to the pickle.She says it enhances the taste of it and also the shelf life of the pickle.In this case you can add about 1/4 cup to the pickle.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Avarekalu Akki Tari Uppittu | Rice Rava Upma with Flat Beans

During Avarekai season, my mom prepares various varieties ranging from simple snacks to sweets, and uses it in many breakfast and lunch varieties (Usli,saaru, curry, dal, rotti, upma etc.).Not everyone would like these beans for the first time. Its an acquired taste and it was the same with me. I never liked it as a child but now I like it and do not miss preparing a few favorite varieties with them during the season.
We do get good Avarekaalu even in Mumbai and during the season I buy them in large quantities and try to store them in a freezer for later use.I use them in various recipes if I want to add some extra flavor to it.These beans lends a different flavor and taste to the dish if added in moderate amounts.I usually add them in upma,rotti and sometime pair it up with brinjal or aloo. I am sharing a simple Upma recipe today using rice rava and these hyacinth beans.
Avarekalu Akki Tari Uppittu Recipe:
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:
1 cup Rice Rava
2 cups Water
1/3 cup tender Hyacinth beans(avarekalu)
1/4 cup grated Fresh Coconut
1 medium Onion,sliced(optional)
3-4 Green chillies,slit
4-5 Pepper corns,slightly crushed
8-10 Curry leaves
1 tsp Urad dal
1 tsp Chana dal
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tbsp Oil
1 tbsp Ghee

Method:
  • Pressure cook the tender hyacinth beans for 2-3 whistles with salt until they are cooked.Drain them and keep them aside.
  • Dry roast rice rawa for 2-3 mins ,it does not need to change its color.
  • Heat oil and ghee in a kadai and crackle mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Add chana dal,urad dal and fry until they turn bit red in color.
  • Add slit green chillies,curry leaves,crushed pepper corns and fry until the green chillies wilt.
  • If you are using onions,add sliced onions at this stage and fry them well.
  • Add cooked and drained hyacinth beans to it and fry well.
  • Add 2 cups of water and cover it with lid and let it come to a boil.
  • Add enough salt and roasted rice rava and stir it nicely and cover it and cook for 4-5 mins until the water is absorbed.
  • Add grated coconut at the end and give a nice stir.
Serve it hot with Lemon Pickle /Avakai /Mango Thokku /Podi and sliced cucumber/chips.

Notes:
  1. The addition of onion is entirely optional,I like to add onions in upma and hence I added.It is your personal choice.
  2. You can even skip the addition of chana dal and urad dal in the recipe and just give simple tempering of mustard and cumin seeds.
  3. Green chillies can be replaced by red chillies or you can use both the chillies in the recipe.It is your wish.
  4. You can add chopped dill leaves for additional flavor.If you are adding them you need to saute them in oil before you add water to it.
  5. The quantity of hyacinth beans can be increased even to 3/4th cup- 1 cup which depends on your choice.
  6. You can follow the same recipe and replace rice rava with normal sooji or bansi rava and make regular upma.You can increase the water quantity to 2 1/2 cups if you want a soft upma.
Also check out other Avarekalu recipes in my blog here.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sambar Powder Recipe | Andhra style Sambar Powder

Sambar is a very common accompaniment for Rice in south India and every state has a different version of it. The recipe for sambar powder also varies from state to state which is what makes the taste differentt.My mom makes sambar powder in large quantity which lasts for an year and given the quantity, we usually get it done in a flour mill. I plan to post this version later.
Today, I am posting a Sambar powder recipe which is typical Andhra style, the way my MIL prepares.However, do note that there would be a slight variation in the ingredients across homes.
Andhra Style Sambar Powder recipe:
(shelf life: upto 1-2 months)

Ingredients:
1 cup Coriander seeds
15-20 Red chillies
1/3 cup Chana dal
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp Cumin seeds

Method:
  • In a kadai dry roast coriander seeds until they turn brown and fragrant and keep them aside.
  • Dry roast chana dal in the same kadai over low to medium flame until they turn red in color and keep it aside.
  • Dry roast fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds separately until they turn brown and keep them aside.
  • Once all the ingredients cool down grind them to a fine powder.
  • Store it in airtight container.You can store it for 1-2 months.
You can use it in making various sambars like Radish sambar, Red Pumpkin sambar, Drumstick sambar or any other sambar variety.This sambar powder is perfect for Tiffin sambar.

Notes:
  1. Store it in airtight container and use a clean spoon.
  2. Always make this powder in a small quantity as it looses its freshness after long.
  3. You can add a tsp of peppercorns in the recipe if you wish. Do roast them and grind with the rest of the spices.
 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mango Ginger Pickle | Mamidi Allam Urugai | Easy Instant Pickles

I have been posting many pickle recipes these days and you would see many more pickle recipes in my blog.I have recently posted Mango Ginger Chutney(Maa Inji Chutney) which can be served with Idli,Dosa and also can be stored for long time.Mango ginger is neither a variety of mango nor ginger,it is a kind of turmeric and hence it is even called as 'Ambe Haldi' but it has strong flavor of ginger and taste of mango and probably that is the reason it is called 'Mango Ginger'.It looks like Ginger roots but when you try to peel the skin it has slight yellowish flesh unlike ginger.I had bought a large quantity of Mango ginger and I have turned half the portion to this simple Mango Ginger pickle and the other half to that delicious tongue tickling Mango Ginger Chutney.
Today's post is an easy Instant pickle recipe which hardly takes any time to prepare but is packed with lot of flavors.If you get hold of mango ginger,do give this pickle recipe a try.It tastes very delicious with Curd rice.

Mango Ginger Pickle Recipe:
shelf life:8-10 days if refrigerated

Ingredients:
200 gms Mango Ginger/Maa Inji/Mamidi allam
8-10 light colored Green Chillies
3 Lemons
1/8 tsp Turmeric powder(optional)
Salt to taste 

to temper:
2 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
a sprig of Curry leaves(optional)
a pinch of Asafoetida

Method:
  • Wash and peel the skin of mango ginger and wipe it with a dry cloth.Thinly slice them or cut them into fine pieces,do not slice them thick as they do not get marinated quickly.I like the look of thin slices and hence I cut them into slices.
  • Slit and cut green chillies length wise into 1/2" pieces if you are cutting the mango ginger into slices.If you cut the mango ginger into fine pieces,you even cut the green chillies into fine pieces.You should cut both of them uniformly so that they marinate well at the same time.
  • Take juice of lemons and add enough salt to it and mix well.
  • Add turmeric powder and chopped ginger and green chilli pieces and mix nicely.
  • Heat oil in a small pan and crackle mustard seeds and add curry leaves and asafoetida and fry and switch off the flame.
  • Add the tempering to the pickle and give a stir and let it marinate for a day.You can either keep it outside or in the refrigerator for marination.Mix it in between so that it marinates well.
  • Once it is marinated you can keep it refrigerated for 8-10 days.
Serve it with Curd rice or even with sambar rice/parathas.

Notes:
  1. My mom adds the tempering to this pickle while my MIL does not.It is your wish to add the tempering to it,but I like the addition of tempering which adds extra flavor to the pickle.
  2. The addition of turmeric powder is optional,I like to add it as it gives a nice color to the pickle.
  3. I used light green colored green chillies as they are less spicy and tastes nice when marinated.It is your wish to use the spicy green chillies or less spicy green chillies.So adjust the quantity accordingly as well.
Check out the recipe for Mango Ginger Chutney which goes very well with Idli,Dosa,Pesarattu and other breakfast items here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

IDLI UPMA | Idli Upma Recipe with left over Idlis

 
Idli and Dosa are very common breakfast items in many south Indian house holds. Most of the times we prepare idli, we end up having some extra ones and one can be creative with what to do with these extra idlis. Some dishes one can prepare include Masala Idli fries, Seeyali,Masala Cocktail Idlis, Milagai Podi Idlis,Fried Idli,Chily Idli, Idli Manchurian and this simple Idli upma.
We usually know how many idlis to prepare for a breakfast so technically, chances of having left overs are less but in order to plan for an evening snack , i usually prepare a few extra ones. Infact I like these snacks more than the standard plain Idlis by itself. I think this idli upma is the easiest of all these snacks as it hardly takes any time to prepare.If you have'nt tried it before do give it a try - am sure you would want to make it again.
Idli Upma Recipe:
(serves 2)

Ingredients:
5-6 big sized Idlis,leftover/fresh
2 Onions,roughly chopped
1 tbsp Coriander leaves,chopped
4-5 Green Chillies,slit
1 tbsp Chana dal
1 tsp Urad dal
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsp Oil

Method:
  • Crumble the Idlis to get a coarse rava type of powder and keep them ready.
  • Heat oil in a kadai and crackle mustard seeds.
  • Add chana dal and urad dal and fry them.
  • Add slit green chillies and fry them well.
  • Add chopped onions and curry leaves and fry them until they turn pink.
  • Add turmeric powder,salt and crumbled Idlis and mix well.
  • Garnish with coriander.
Serve it hot as it is or with some sev on top.
Notes:
  1. You can add a bit of lemon juice at the end if you want.
  2. Green chillies can be replaced by garlic chili powder or curd chillies or red chillies in the recipe for a different flavor.
  3. You can even cut the idlis into fine pieces instead of crumbling them and follow the same recipe.
  4. You can sprinkle few spoons of water if you feel the idlis are dried when you crumble them.
  5. You can add 2-3 tbsp grated fresh coconut at the end.It adds nice taste too. 
 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Mixed Vegetable Achar - North Indian Style | Mixed Vegetable Pickle

 
We spent a large part of the last month in preparing pickles as we always prefer home made pickles. The key source of the pickles in our house is my MIL who  usually makes several varieties of pickles during the mango season. Check them here. These last for a long time but she also makes another batch of pickles in the winter season which lasts for us until the next mango season. 
"Mixed Vegetable Achar", is a must in winter as we get really fresh and various varieties of vegetables in this season.I like the taste of Mixed Vegetables in this pickle, as they retain their crunch even after a few months of pickling. Apart from Mixed Vegetable Achar she also prepares other varieties like Gooseberry(Amla) pickle and Red chili pickle ,the recipes which I will post soon.
This North Indian style Mixed Vegetable Achar goes extremely well with parathas/rotis. I have shared this pickle with many of my friends & family and they absolutely loved it and requested me for the recipe.So here is my MIL's famous Mixed Vegetable Achar for all those who requested for it.
PS: I plan to post another spicy version of mixed vegetable pickle later.This version while a mild variation from the current one , does taste well too.
Mixed Vegetable Achar Recipe:
shelf life: upto 1 year

Ingredients:

3 tbsp Nigella Seeds(Kalonji)
1/4 cup Vinegar
1 liter Mustard Oil

Vegetables (16 cups of  cut vegetables):
4-5 Carrots,peeled and cut into 1" thin long pieces
1 medium Cauliflower,separate and cut into small florets
3-4 Radish,peeled and cut into 1" thin long pieces
250 gms French Beans,remove the strings and cut into 1" thin long pieces
10-12 Lemons,cut into 8 pieces length wise
20-22 Gooseberry,cut into 6-8 pieces length wise(remove the seeds)
250 gms light colored Green chillies,cut into 2 pieces
2 whole Garlic pods,separate into pods and remove the skin
250 gms Ginger or Mango Ginger,peeled and cut into 1" thin strips

Powders:
4 cups Mustard powder,preferably Yellow mustard
3/4 cup Yellow Mustard tukda(you can avoid this if you do not get it)
3 1/2 cups Salt
1 tbsp Fenugreek powder
100 gms Amchur(Dried mango) powder
100 gms Fennel seeds(Saunf) powder,ground to a very coarse powder
2 tbsp Turmeric powder

Method:

Cleaning,Cutting and drying the Vegetables:
  • Wash and wipe all the vegetables with a dry cloth.Cut various vegetables as per the instructions I mentioned above.Take care that you cut all the vegetables into a similar length and sized pieces.
  • Spread them over a dry cloth in sun and let them dry completely.You should take care that the vegetables are dry with out any moisture content in it.If you have really good sun it should take half day otherwise you can keep it in shade up to a day.
for making pickle:
  • Keep ready the sterilized and sun dried jars ready before you start pickling.
  • Grind fenugreek seeds to a fine powder.
  • Grind saunf in whipper mode until coarse powder.Do not run it for long time just run it for 2-3 times until you get coarse powder.
  • Now take a big bowl and mix the saunf and fenugreek powder,mustard powder,salt,kalonji seeds,mustard tukda and turmeric powder until everything is mixed well.
  • Now take another wide small bowl and take 1 cup of mixed powders and add sufficient mustard oil until the mixture is wet completely and mix with hands.
  • Take 2 cups of vegetable pieces at a time and apply the mixture all over the mixed vegetable pieces with your hands.Using your hands for this step is better than mixing it up with ladle.
  • Put the masala coated vegetable pieces in a big bowl and repeat the process of coating the vegetable pieces in small portions and put them in a big bowl.
  • Once all the vegetable pieces are mixed,add vinegar and remaining pickle masala and mix well again.
  • Carefully fill the sterilized jars with the vegetable pieces and pour the remaining oil over it.
  • Cover the jar with lid and keep it aside for 3 days.
  • On day-1 check it some oil might have started floating over the pickle.Do not panic if the oil does not float on day-1,if not on day-1 you will see oil floating on day-2.
  • Mix with a clean and dry ladle all over and repeat the same process on day-3.
  • Now taste the masala mixture in the pickle,it should be perfect and slightly salty as the pickle has to be yet marinated for atleast one week before its usage.But if you feel the salt is less add a tsp or 2tsps of salt to it and mix well.I don't think it would be necessary if you follow the measurements accurate.
  • On the day-3 if you see the oil is floating on the pickle up to an 1/2" height then it is perfect.Otherwise add extra mustard oil over the top until the oil floats on top.
  • Store it in air-tight tupper ware container or glass bottles.This way your pickle stores for long with freshness in it and even the vegetable pieces do not get soft.
Serve it with piping hot Parathas/Theplas or it can be served with Rotis/Naans/Kulchas/Pulavs. 
Other Vegetable Options:
  • Shalgum(Turnip),Lotus Stem(Kamal Kakdi/Bhein),Raw Mangoes can also be added to the pickle according to the availability of them.
Variations:  
  • This pickle is not spicy but it is a real burst of flavors.If you want it spicy add 2 cups red chili powder while mixing the masala.But I strongly recommend not to use red chili powder for this pickle.
 Notes:
  • Always transfer a small portion of pickle into a small jar and use a clean and dry spoon.
  • Increase the amount of mustard oil as required in the recipe.The basic thumb rule is to make the oil float over the pickle after 3 days.So feel free to add extra mustard oil.
  • Do not replace or remove any of the ingredients in the recipe,all the ingredients are must to get a tasty Vegetable achaar in North Indian style.
  • This pickle stays good for an year.It might turn slightly sour after 5-6 months but it is good to eat with hot hot parathas and curd.
  • You can easily halve the recipe,the basic rule is to use 4 cups of vegetable pieces with 1cup salt and 1 cup mustard powder.
  • You can add a tsp of the pickle masala(in the pickle) while making methi theplas,it really adds a nice taste to the thepla. 

Check out other North Indian Pickle recipes in my blog.
  1. North Indian style Stuffed  Mirch ka Achar(Green Chili pickle) 
  2. North Indian style Aam ka Achar(Mango Pickle).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Flax Seeds Podi (Powder) | Alsi Pudi for Rice

I have been experimenting with new recipes only after I started my own blog. There were many ingredients for which I wasn't aware of the usage and flax seeds is one of them. Though I knew that Flax seeds are rich in Omega 3 Fatty acids, I wasn't sure of the ways to include them in my diet. Only after I started blogging, I tried using it in various recipes like Oats & Dry Fruits Laddu, Daily Oats Porridge, Granola Bars, Muesli , Flax Seeds Chutney Pudi for Idli/Dosa, Flax seeds Podi for Rice etc...the options are endless. I have even mixed powdered flax seeds in my chapati dough for a healthy and nutty roti.
I always stock a variety of powders/podis which can be mixed with rice and they come to the rescue when I am not in a mood to cook anything or at times it serves as an extra item in my daily meal.  Flax seeds powder is a favorite at my place as it has got that unique nutty texture.We usually prefer mixing it with hot steamed rice, extra virgin olive oil and  finely chopped onions.I must say that this combination is truly delicious. You can use ghee instead of olive oil to mix with rice.

On another note, I recently got to know about CupoNation,a website which offers amazing deals from various retailers such as Dominos, Ekstop, Jabong, Myntra, Pepperfry, Zovi etc.I even purchased a few cookbooks from Flipkart, some bakeware and my monthly groceries from Fkstop using their coupons. I must say I got very nice deals. If you are looking out for good discounts,Cuponation would serve as a one stop destination for you.
Flax Seeds Podi (Powder) for Rice:
Shelf life: upto a month
recipe adapted from: Veg Inspirations

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Flax seeds
1/3 cup Groundnuts
1/4 cup Sesame seeds
1/4 cup Fried(roasted) Gram(chutney dalia)
2 tbsp grated Dry Coconut
8-10 Red chillies
20-25 Curry leaves
3-4 Garlic pods,with skin
1/2 tsp Sugar(optional)
half a gooseberry sized Tamarind
Salt to taste

Method:
  • Dry roast groundnuts in the kadai/pan until they turn brown and the skin starts peeling off.Once they are cooled you can remove the skin or leave them as they are.Keep them aside.
  • Dry roast sesame seeds until they start popping and keep them aside.
  • Dry roast flax seeds until they get roasted and they try to pop up once they are roasted nicely.It gets a nice shine when they are roasted.Keep them aside.
  • Dry roast grated coconut slightly and keep it aside.
  • Dry roast red chillies until they turn crisp and keep them aside.
  • Spread the curry leaves on the microwave plate and microwave it for 2-3 mins depends on the microwave powder.They would turn crisp or alternatively you can dry roast them in the kadai/pan until they turn crisp,keep them aside
  • While the kadai is hot add tamarind at the end and just warm it a bit.
  • Once all the ingredients are cooled down to a room temperature,grind red chillies with salt to a powder.
  • Add the roasted flax seeds, groundnuts, sesame seeds, grated dry coconut, curry leaves, sugar, tamarind and grind to a slight coarse powder.Do not grind it to a fine powder,it tastes best if it is coarse.Taste the powder now and add more salt if required.
  • Add garlic pods at the end and run the mixer again for few seconds.
  • Store it in air tight container.
Serve it with hot steamed rice and a dollop of ghee with cut raw onions.You can even sprinkle on dosa or you can even mix with melted ghee or sesame oil and smear the idlis with it.
Notes:
  1. I like to eat it with hot rice mixed with extra virgin olive oil and finely chopped onions.Its your choice you can use even sesame oil or ghee to mix it with rice.
  2. You can increase or decrease the quantity of red chillies in the recipe according to your requirements. I like it medium spicy.
  3. The amount of grated dry coconut can be increased to 1/4 cup,also adjust the salt,red chillies and tamarind accordingly.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

SUN DRIED TOMATO PESTO PASTA | EASY PASTA RECIPES

We usually prefer Pastas for our weekend dinners and both of us love the simpler versions of pastas or the pesto based ones more than the tomato or cheese loaded ones.Our most favorite pasta being the Basil pesto pasta and the next comes this Sundried Tomato Pesto Pasta.
The preparation process of the Pesto sauce is quite simple as we just need to grind the ingredients to a coarse paste.You can toss the cooked pasta in a good amount of Olive oil with the pesto sauce for a quick pasta,but I love to add some crunch to the pasta and hence I always saute few bell peppers,babycorns,broccoli etc as I like to bite into the crunchy vegetables in pasta.
Sun dried Tomato Pesto Pasta Recipe:

Ingredients:

To prepare Sun dried Tomato pesto:
1 cup Sundried Tomatoes
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Basil
1/4 cup Extra virgin olive oil(EVOO) + 3 tbsp oil from Sundried tomatoes
1/3 cup Pine nuts or Walnuts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese(optional)
4-5 Garlic pods
1/2 tsp ground Pepper
1/2 tsp Red chili flakes
Salt to taste

To prepare Pasta:
10-12 blocks Fettucini pasta(or any other pasta-2 cups)
1/2 cup Sundried Tomato Pesto Sauce
1 Onion,sliced
3-4 Garlic pods,sliced
1 cup chopped Vegetables(Bellpeppers, Capsicum,Babycorn,Mushrooms)
1 tsp mixed herbs
1/2 tsp Chili flakes
1/2 tsp ground Pepper
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese(optional)
8-10 Basil leaves,torn
2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
Salt to taste

Method:

To prepare Sun dried tomato Pesto:
  • In a mixer add sun dried tomatoes, basil leaves,pine nuts/walnuts,garlic pods,pepper,add half the quantity of olive oil,parmesan cheese,red chili flakes,salt and ground to a medium coarse paste.Add the remaining olive oil in stages in between to ease the process of grinding.Do not add water to grind it,the EVOO is enough to grind into a slight coarse and uniform paste.
  • Now check for the taste and adjust the salt for the pesto.
To Cook Pasta:
  • Cook the pasts according to the instructions of your package or follow this procedure:
  • Bring water to boil in a big pot (filled to its half) and add salt,1 tsp olive oil and pasta and cook over medium flame for 10-12 mins until al dente(cooked and tender to teeth).
  • Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of water for later usage.you can even give a cold bath to the pasta by running it under fresh tap water which helps in keeping the pasta separate.
To prepare Sundried tomato Pesto Pasta:
  • Heat olive oil in a wide bottomed pan and fry sliced garlic until slight brown and crisp and add thinly sliced onions and fry until they are pink and soft.
  • Now add sliced vegetables and saute them for few minutes.
  • Add the sun dried tomato pesto sauce and mix well.Add 4-5 tbsp of reserved pasta liquid if required add more to get a medium sauce consistency.
  • Add cooked pasta and mix well until all the pasta is covered with the sauce and is warm.Now add red chili flakes,Italian herbs,basil leaves,salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Dish it out to the serving platter and sprinkle some cheese over it.Garnish with basil.
Serve it hot or warm with Raspberry Soda or drink of your choice.
 Notes:
  1. You can add more Parmesan cheese while preparing sauce in the above recipe to make pasta more cheesy.
  2. You can replace fettucini pasta with any of the pasta like penne,spiral,macaroni ,farfelle or any other pasta of your choice.
  3. You can add finely chopped carrot,blanched broccoli,thinly sliced mushrooms,blanched asparagus,zucchini to the pasta
  4. You can even fill the pasta in a baking dish and cover with grated Parmesan cheese(1/4-1/2 cup) and cover it with a foil and bake it in oven @ 160 degrees for 20 mins until the cheese melts.Serve it hot right from the oven.This would be a exclusive dish for parties especially or for special romantic dinners.
  5. For a Vegan version avoid parmesan cheese while making pesto,it tastes even delicious without cheese in it.

You can check out the other pesto versions of various Pasta varieties here - Basil Pesto Pasta and Spinach Pesto Pasta.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cabbage Pesarapappu Podi Kura | Cabbage Moongdal Dry Curry

I prepare various dry curries to go with rice for our lunch and this Cabbage-Pesarapappu podi kura(dry curry) is one of my favorites which I prepare quite often.If you do not like cabbage do give this combination a try,the addition of moong dal and coconut makes this curry extremely delicious and pairs well with rice or roti.You can find a similar version of podi kura with amaranth leaves here, Thotakura Pesarapappu Podi kura which is again my personal favorite.
Cabbage Pesarapappu Podi Kura | Cabbage Moong dal Dry Curry:
(serves 2)

Ingredients:
1 small Cabbage,shredded or finely chopped
1/3 cup Moong dal(yellow lentils),soaked
1/3 cup grated fresh Coconut
5-6 Green Chillies
a pinch of Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Chana dal
1 tsp Urad dal
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
a sprig of Curry leaves
Salt to taste
2 tbsp Oil

Method:
  • Soak moong dal overnight or for 1-2 hrs.
  • Heat oil in a kadai and crackle mustard seeds.
  • Add chana dal,urad dal and curry leaves and fry well.
  • Add curry soaked moong dal,shredded/finely chopped cabbage and turmeric powder and fry well for 2-3 minutes.
  • Cover it with a deep lid and pour water over it which enables steam cooking for the vegetable to get cooked.Keep it on low flame for 12-15 mins until the cabbage and moong dal is cooked.It would be a dry curry with slight moisture.Cook for another couple of minutes if needed.
  • Meanwhile grind grated coconut with salt and green chillies in a mixer to a coarse paste.
  • Once the cabbage moong dal is cooked add the ground coconut mixture and mix well and stir fry for 2 minutes.
Serve it hot with steamed rice/roti/chapati.

Variations:
  1. You can add grated carrots along with cabbage and follow the same recipe.
  2. You can substitute cabbage with grated carrots or grated beetroots in the recipe.The cooking time may vary accordingly.
  3. Moong dal can be substituted with Chana dal and follow the same recipe,even this tastes nice.
 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How to make Green Chilli Paste | Kitchen Basics

There are few items like Ginger-Garlic paste,Green chili paste,Green Chutney,Meetha Chutney which are home made and I always keep in my refrigerator as they are very handy while cooking.These are all the basic recipes and I am sure most of us would be preparing on regular basis.However I am posting these basic recipes which might help those who are new to cooking.We use this green chili paste in many of the breakfast and snack varieties like Gunta Ponganalu, Mosaru Kodubale, Kharada Onion Dosa, Onion Masala Idli, Rava Dosa, Akki rotti, Ragi Rotti, Punugulu, Sago bonda etc,it is very handy to use them instead of chopped green chillies in these recipes.

Green Chilli Paste:
Shelf life: upto a month when refrigerated

Ingredients:
100 gms Green chillies
Salt to taste( 3/4 to 1 tsp approx)

Method:

  • Wash and dry the green chillies on the kitchen napkin for 2-3 hrs until they are completely dry with out any water droplets.
  • Grind the green chillies with salt to a coarse paste.Do not grind it to fine paste,the paste should should be very coarse which will increase the shelf life of the paste.
  • Remove the paste and store it in an air tight container or glass bottle and keep it refrigerated.You can use this paste up to a month or more.
Notes:
  1. The green chillies should be completely dry with out any water droplets.
  2. Adding salt will increase the shelf life,so do not add less in it.
  3. Always use a clean spoon while taking out the paste from the container.
  4. You can use it for a month or more when refrigerated.
  5. You can use this in various recipes like Gunta Ponganalu, Mosaru Kodubale, Kharada Onion Dosa, Onion Masala Idli, Rava Dosa, Akki rotti, Ragi Rotti, Punugulu, Sago bonda etc where we add green chili paste instead of green chillies.It eases the work.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Mango Ginger Chutney | Mamidi Allam Pachadi | Maa Inji Thokku

When ever I see mango ginger(mamidi allam/maa inji) in the market I cannot resist myself without buying it.Both of us love the simple marinated version of pickle with it which goes very well with curd rice.This time I bought them in a larger quantity to make this chutney/thokku which can be preserved for longer and comes handy to serve with breakfast items like Idli/Dosa when we want.When needed we just need to mix water with the required amount of thokku to get the chutney consistency,it is ready to serve.

Mamidi Allam Niluva Pachadi | Ambe Haldi Chutney:

Ingredients:
250 gms Mango Ginger/Mamidi Allam
200-250 gms Tamarind
200-250 gms Jaggery,grated
3-4 tbsp Red chili powder
Salt to taste

to temper:
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
a fat pinch of Asafoetida(hing)

Method:
  • Soak tamarind in little hot water until it softens.Let it cool completely.
  • Wash and scrape the skin of mango ginger and cut them into pieces roughly.
  • Grind mango ginger with tamarind,grated jaggery,red chili powder and salt to a fine paste.Do not add water while grinding,use little water in which the tamarind is soaked.
  • Check the taste now and adjust salt and chili powder if required.if you want it more tangy or more sweeter adjust the chutney as per your taste buds at this point.
  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed kadai and crackle mustard seeds and add asafoetida to it and add the ground mixture and fry it over low-medium flame until it leaves the oil in the edges.It takes 15-20 minutes approximately.The water content in the chutney/pickle should evaporate completely and the oil should float in the edges and top.This way the shelf life of the pickle would be longer.
  • Cool the pickle completely and store it in a glass bottle or air tight container.It stays up to an year if prepared carefully.
  • When required scoop out some portion and add a couple of tbsp of water to it and mix well.
Serve it with Idli/Dosa/Bajji/Punugulu/Bonda/Pesarattu/Gunta Ponganalu/Adai.You can even serve it with rice.

Notes:
  1. You can use regular ginger instead of mango ginger and follow the same recipe to make regular ginger pickle.It comes handy to serve with Idli,dosa and other breakfast varieties. 
  2. This pickle really tickles your taste buds as it is loaded with burst of flavors.
  3. Feel free to adjust the tangyness,sweetness,salt and spicyness according to your requirements after grinding the chutney.
 
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