Sakkarai Pongal (Sweet Pongal)

A very famous sweet of TamilNadu made of rice, moong dhal and jaggery. This is a must to have sweet on Harvest Festival - known as Pongal in TamilNadu which is celebrated the same day as 'Sankaranthi' in Andhra.


Ingredients:
1. Rice - 1 cup
2. Moong dhal - 1 cup
3. Milk - 1 cup
4. Jaggery - 1 cup grated (you can vary the quantity based on the sweetness of the jaggery you use)
5. Ghee
6. Cashew
7. Dry grapes
8. Cardamom - 2

Preparation:
1. Cook rice and moong dhal in 2 cups of water.
2. When it is half cooked, add milk and continue cooking.
3. When this is cooked completely, add the grated jaggery and mix well. Make sure to add jaggery only after rice is cooked. otherwise rice will not get cooked after adding jaggery.
4. Mix them well and cook in low flame for another 10 minutes. You can add cardamom powder or crushed cardamom.
5. Now heat ghee and fry cashews and dry grapes and add it to the cooked mix.
Sweet and tasty 'Sakkarai Pongal' is ready to serve.

Vegetable puff

Vegetable puff is one of my favorite snack. But it had been a long time since I ate it and recently I found that the preparation of the puff is very simpler with the frozen pastry strip available in most of the grocery stores in US. I managed to get the pastry puff strip from Wal-mart ( found it in the frozen section) and tried this for the first time. Active preparation of the snack is around 30 minutes but make sure you bring the pastry strip to room temperature before you could use it(which generally takes 45 minutes to 1 hour). My husband and myself enjoyed the taste of the hot vegetable puff on a friday evening.



Ingredients:
1. Pastry puff strip
2. Vegetables - 2 cup This can be a mixture of vegetable of your choice finely chopped. I prefer to have carrot, beans,potato,onion, peas
3. Cumin seeds - 1 tablespoon
4. Turmeric powder -1 teaspoon
5. Red chilli powder - 1 tablespoon
6. Coriander powder - 2 tablespoon
7. Ginger garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
8. Garam masala - 2 teaspoon
9. Salt to taste
10. Oil
11. Coriander leaves




Preparation:
1. Finely chop the vegetables and half cook them in a pan by sprinkling handful of water and closing the lid.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala and saute well.
3. Add the boiled vegetables and saute for 5 mins and allow it to cool.
4. You can make the puff in any shape you like, but i prefer rectangles. Cut the strip into rectangular pieces in length of your desire.
5. Take a little vegetable mixture and place it on one half of the strip and close it with the other side. Use water to seal the edges so that it doesnt open when baked in oven.
6. Bake this in oven at 450 degrees for 6 minutes.
Hot and fluffy vegetable puff is ready to eat.

Note:

I am yet to explore the alternative when the puff strip is not available. I will post it after I try it. Also variations can be made in the stuff with chicken or some sweet mixture with coconut and sugar.

Kadappa (கடப்பா)

Kadappa - For most of them, the name of this dish would make you think about the place in Andhra Pradesh or granite in tamil (even my husband used to tease the name of the dish when he heard for the first time). But for people who are bored with the routine chutneys and sambhar with idli or dosa this dish will surely be a good alternative. It is a kind of kurma with a variation by adding dhal and is mostly served around thanjavur district in tamilnadu. I learnt this preparation my grandma.

Ingredients:
1. Moong dhal - 1 cup
2. Onion - 2 finely chopped(big onions)
3. Tomato - 1 finely chopped
4. Potato - 2 (small)
5. Garlic - 10 pods
6. Ginger garlic paste -1 teaspoon
7. Green chillies - 4
8. Cloves - 6
9. Cinnamon - 3 small pieces
10. Fennel Seeds - 2 teaspoon
11. Bay leaves - 1
12. Coconut - 1/4 cup
13. Oil
14. Salt to taste
15. Coriander leaves - for garnish


Preparation:
1. Boil potatoes and cut into small pieces.
2. Boil Moong dhal separately and smash it well.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan and fry half the amount of onions along with green chillies and ginger garlic paste till onion turns golden brown.
4. Grind the fried ingredients along with coconut, fennel seeds, 1 cinnamon piece and 3 cloves to a thick paste.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a vessel and add the remaining spices when the oil becomes hot.
6. Add the remaining onions and garlic saute them well.
7. Add tomatoes and when it is almost cooked add the boiled potatoes and mix well.
8. Add the smashed moong dhal and bring it to boil. You can add some water if it is very thick. Cook for 5 minutes.
9. Add the ground mixture and cook for another 7 to 10 minutes.
10. Garnish with coriander leaves


Karuvepilai Poondu Kuzhambu (Curry Leaves, Garlic Kuzhambu)

Curry leaves which is mostly used for seasoning and garnishing in most of the tamilnadu recipes, is the main ingredient for this recipe. Curry leaves is very good for health and also is used as herb in ayurvedic medicine. Garlic on the other hand is known well to help preventing heart disease and cancer. This recipe is made with these two great ingredients and goes well with rice, idli or dosa.


Ingredients:
Curry Leaves - 2 cups
Garlic - 25 pods
Onion - 1 finely chopped
tomato - 1 finely chopped

Tamarind juice- 1 cup
Red Chilli powder - 1 tablespoon
Coriander powder - 2 tablespoon
Turmeric powder - 2 teaspoon
Red chillies - 4
Mustard seeds - 2 teaspoon
Methi seeds - 2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 2 teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Oil


Preparation:
1. Heat 100ml of oil in a pan, fry curry leaves and remove it from oil.
2. Fry 10 pods of garlic in the same oil till it turns golden brown and remove from oil.
3. Grind the curry leaves along with garlic into a fine paste.
4. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil and when it is heated, add mustard seeds and when it splutters, add red chillies, methi and cumin seeds and fry well.
5. Add onions and saute it to golden brown and add remaining garlic and tomatoes.
6. Saute it well and add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and mix it well.
7. Add the tamarind juice and bring it to boil.
8. After 5 minutes, add the ground paste and mix it well and cook well for next 15 to 20 minutes.
9. Garnish with coriander leaves.


Tips:
- If you wish to use less oil, fry curry leaves in a dry pan without using oil.

Paneer Kofta

Ingredients:

1. Paneer - 50 gms
2. Potato - 2
3. Corn flour - 3 tablespoon
4. Onion - 2
5. Tomato - 3
6. Cashews - 20
7. Cumin Seeds - 2 teaspoon
8. Red chilli powder - 2 tablespoon
9. Garam masala - 2 teaspoon
10. Curd - 1/2 cup
11. Oil
12. Coriander leaves



Preparation:

1. Boil potatoes and mash them nicely. Grate the paneer into fine pieces.
2. Add Corn flour, 1 tablespoon of red chilli powder, and required salt and add little water and mix well.
3. Heat oil in pan. Make small balls of the mix and deep fry them till it turns golden brown.
For Gravy
1. Grind onions and tomatoes into fine paste.
2. Powder cashew and cumin seeds separately.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and add the onion/tomato paste and stir well till it is cooked and oil separates.
4. Add curd, cashew powder, cumin powder, 1 tablespoon of chilli powder, garam masala powder, salt and mix well. Add little water and cook for 5 to 8 minutes.
5. Add the balls into the gravy and garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with chapathi or Naan or Paratha and enjoy the delicious dish.






Vegetable Idly Fry

Ingredients:

Idly - 15
Onion - 3
Tomato - 3
Carrot - 2
Beans - 50 gms
Capsicum - 1
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
Kashmiri mirchi powder - 1 tablespoon
Salt - to taste
Oil
Ghee (optional)
Coriander leaves -to garnish






Preparation:
1. Cut idlies into cubes and fry them in oil or ghee.
2. Chop the vegetables and onion finely lengthwise.
3. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil and add onions and ginger garlic paste and fry well till it becomes golden brown.
4. Add tomatoes and saute for 2 minutes.
5. Add the vegetables, required salt and mirchi powder and fry them well. When it is half cooked, add 1 glass of water to cook the vegetables in low flame.
6. When the vegetables are almost cooked and little water is left, add the fried idlies and mix it without breaking and cook for another two minutes.
7 Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with raitha.

Egg bhurji

This is a simple dish made of egg referred to as Egg Podimas or Egg bhurji often.


Ingredients:

1. Eggs - 4
2. Onion - 2 (finely chopped)
3. Green chillies -2 (finely chopped)
4. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
5. Fennel seeds - 2 teaspoon
6. Oil - 2 tablespoon
7. Salt to taste
8. Coriander leaves for garnish




Preparation:

1. Break the eggs, add turmeric powder and little salt and beat it nicely.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add fennel seeds.
3. As they splutter, add onions and green chillies and fry till it is golden brown.
4. Keep the flame low, add egg mix and stir the mixture well as eggs are broken into pieces and gets cooked (not more than 3 to 4 minutes).
5. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Chow Chow Kootu

Chow chow - often referred to as 'Bengaluru Katharikai' in some parts of TamilNadu. This is called as Chayote in English. I came to know that for the first time I saw this vegetable in a Wal*Mart store and was happy to try the known basic recipes with this vegetable. Though it doesnt have a flavor and taste of its own, this goes well in sambhar and kootu. Here is one version of kootu (a dish which has dhal as an ingredient) that can be made.



Ingredients:

1. Chow chow - 250 gms
2. Moong dhal - 150 gms
3. Onions - 2 (finely chopped)
4. Green chillies - 3 (split)
5. Oil - 1 tablespoon
6. Cumin powder- 2 teaspoon
7. Mustard seeds - 2 teaspoon
8. Urud dhal - 2 teaspoon
9. Asafoetida - little
10. Salt to taste
11. Grated coconut - 3 tablespoon
12. Coriander leaves -for garnish

Preparation:

1. Bring 500 ml of water to boil and add moong dhal to it.
2. When it is cooked 1/4th, add chow chow, onions and green chillies and required amount of salt and let it cook till the vegetable and dhal is cooked.
3. Add cumin powder and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes and bring it off the stove.
4. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds when the oil is hot. When it splutters, add urud dhal and asafoetida and add this mixture to the kootu.
5. Garnish with grated coconut and coriander leaves.



Alternatively, you can grind coconut and cumin seeds and add to the vegetable when it boils. If you like it more spicy, grind green chillies along with coconut.

Kara kuzhambu (காரக்குழம்பு)

This is a spicy tamilnadu dish made with tamarind juice that goes well with rice, idli or dosa. Vegetables like Drumstick, Ladies finger, Brinjal can be used in the preparation.


Ingredients:
1. Ladies finger - 200 gms
2. Tamarind juice - 350 ml
3. Turmeric powder - a pinch
4. Garlic - 15 to 20 pods ( You can add more garlic if you like the taste of it)
5. Onion - 2 to 3 (Use small onions to make your dish taste better)
6. Tomato - 2
7. Oil - 6 to 7 tablespoon
8. Vadagam (This is a seasoning ball made of onions,garlic,curry leaves, mustard. If you dont have this ingredient, alternatively season with mustard, curry leaves, urud dhal, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds).
9. sambhar powder - 2 teaspoon
10. Salt - to taste

Preparation:
1. Heat oil in a pan and when it is heated, add vadagam (or alternatives).
2. When it splutters, add onions, garlic, tomatoes and turmeric and fry well.
3. When it is half cooked, add the ladies finger and fry. Add required amount of salt and sambhar powder.
4. As the ladies finger gets cooked, add the tamarind juice and bring it to boil.
5. Let it boil in a low flame for atleast 15 to 20 minutes till it becomes semi solid and oil separates and floats on top. Kara kuzhambu is ready.



Masala Dosa



Ingredients:

Potato - 250 gms
Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Onion - 2
Tomato - 1
Green chillies - 3
Mustard - 2 teaspoon
Urud dhal - 2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 3 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves
Curry Leaves
Dosa Dough

Preparation:

Boil the potatoes (boil it 3/4th) and smash them nicely. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter add urud dhal and chopped onions ,green chillies and curry leaves. When it turns golden brown and add finely chopped tomatoes. Now add the smashed potatoes, green peas and turmeric powder and add little water for the peas to cook. (You can add more water if you prefer masala to be in semi-solid consistency). Cook them for 7 to 10 minutes till the peas is completely cooked and garnish with coriander leaves.

Make dosa by spreading the dosa dough in a heated thawa and add oil and when the dosa turns golden brown, spread the masala in the middle and roll dosa. You can spread the batter as a thin layer and add ghee if you prefer roasted masala dosa