Chow Chow Pachadi (Raita)

Here is a very simple recipe with chayote squash (chow chow or bangalore Kathrikai as we call it back home). I never thought this vegetable in raita, until I saw this recipe in one of the cookery shows and definitely wanted to give it a a try. It really came out very well.


Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 3-4 
Ingredient:
1. Chow Chow (Chayote Squash) - 1
2. Grated Coconut - 3 tablespoon
3. Red chilies - 3
4. Cumin seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
5. Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
6. Curry leaves - 2 to 3
7. Curd - 4-5 tablespoon
8. Turmeric powder - a pinch
9. Oil - 1 tablespoon
10. Salt - to taste
11. Curry leaves - 3 to 4




Preparation:
1. Peel the skin and grate the squash finely.
2. Cook it with little water for 6-8 minutes in the microwave or stove
3. Meanwhile, make a fine paste of coconut, red chilies and cumin seeds and little water.
4. Add this paste to the cooked squash and cook it again for 4-5 minutes in microwave or stove.
5. Add the required salt and curd.
6. Season it with mustard seeds, turmeric powder and curry leaves.


Serve it with any rice. It would be a nice combination with any pulav and briyani as a variation from regular onion raita.

Wheat Halwa (கோதுமை ஹல்வா)

Godhumai Halwa (Wheat Halwa)... the only sweet I crave for anytime. My avva (grandma) prepares this sweet for me every year on my birthday. She makes it finger licking good and any guest to our house for whom we have served this sweet, has definitely packed it too when they left :) Of course the main ingredient of this recipe is whole lot of love, affection and patience to prepare the dish with the most care. I had been carving for this sweet sometime now, and took the recipe from her and tried it for the first time..voilà... It turned out as yummy as I wanted it to be... but definitely missing my grandma's love in it.
Try this recipe yourself and enjoy the delicious sweet. You will need lots of patience and slow cooking process to make this dish a success.  


Preparation Time : 1 hour


Ingredients:
1. Wheat Flour - 1 cup
2. Sugar - 1 1/2 cups (if your sugar is not so sweet, you can use 2 cups of sugar)
3. Ghee - as required
4. Cashews/Almonds/Pista - chopped 2 -3 tablespoons
5. Kesari Colour - small pinch
6. Saffron - few strands
7. Cardamom - 3 to 4 (powdered)






Preparation:
1. Add colour to the wheat flour and prepare a batter by mixing with water. Do not make it watery, keep the consistency of Bajji batter. 
2. Dissolve the sugar in 1/2 cup of water and bring it to boil. Keep stirring until it forms a thick syrup. To determine if you reached the right consistency drop some syrup in cold water and it should float without sticking to the water.
3. Now add the batter you prepared earlier to the syrup with continuous stirring. Reduce the flame to low.
4. From this step is where your patience is very important :). You need to frequently stir and never leave from your stove. 
5. As you see the flour gets cooked and turns into solid consistency,  start adding Ghee - 2 tablespoons at a time, and keep stirring. You will have to keep adding more as it becomes dry.
6. You will now see the halwa coming out well without sticking to the pan and leaving the ghee around. 
7. Now its time to add the garnish. Fry the chopped nuts in a tablespoon of ghee, and add it to the halwa along with saffron strands and the powdered cardamom.
I added 2 more tablespoons of ghee finally, to give it enough moisture. You can reduce ghee as per your like.
Yummy yummy halwa is ready... 


Tips:
1. This sweet tastes richer and better only if you let it rest for atleast couple of hours. Believe me, it becomes so delicious on the second day :)
2. Store the halwa in air tight container in the refrigerator and just heat it for couple of minutes before you serve. The frozen ghee will leave the halwa give it an appealing look and finger licking taste. It will stay good for 7 - 10 days if refrigerated. 
3. If you have added more water when preparing the batter, and the halwa remains watery, you can sprinkle some flour as you keep stirring to bring it back to the consistency.
4. In this preparation, I had to use Atta flour, and the taste was as good as using the whole wheat flour. 

Paneer Egg Masala

It was a Sunday afternoon with just egg and paneer at home. I wanted to make something different, yet tasty and simple and decided to marry the egg and paneer for a spicy dish :) Here is the recipe for the hot dish.

Preparation Time: 30 mins

Quantity for 4 servings
Ingredients:
1. Paneer - 250 gms
2. Egg - 4
3. Onions - 1 finely chopped
4. Tomato - 1 finely chopped
5. Red chilly powder - 1 tablespoon
6. Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tablespoon
7. Ginger/garlic paste - 1/2 tablespoon
8. Garam masala - 1 teaspoon (Optional)
9. Oil - 3 tablesoon
10. Salt - to taste
11. Coriander - for garnishing 



Preparation:
1. Chop onions and tomatoes into fine pieces and cut paneer into small cubes
2. Break the eggs in a bowl and beat it.
3. Heat oil in a pan, add onions and fry well. Add ginger garlic paste and fry well until raw smell goes
4. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook well.
5. Now add the powders one by one - red chilly powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt and cook for 2 minutes. 
6. Add the egg mixture and mix well to form scrambled egg mixture for 2 minutes. 
7. Its time to add the paneer cubes to the pan and stir well to cook along with the spices in low flame for 5-7 minutes until paneer becomes soft. 
8. Hot and spicy paneer egg masala is ready. Garnish with coriander leaves.


I served it with hot  Simple Rasam  for the afternoon and it was a perfect combination. We also had it with roti for dinner. 

Mushroom Coriander masala

Here is a simple and tasty dish from the marriage of coriander and mushroom :) It was a very good combination with rice and also will go well with rotis/chapathis/dosa/idly.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Quantity given is for 4 servings. 
Ingredients:
1. Mushroom - 250 gms
2. Onion - 1 medium
3. Tomato - 1 medium
4. Red chilly powder - 1 1/2 tablespoon
5. Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
6. Turmeric powder - a pinch
7. Fennel seeds - 1/2 tablespoon
8. Oil
9. Salt to taste


For masala
1. Coriander leaves - 2 handful
2. Ginger - 1/2 inch
3. Garlic - 2 cloves
4. Fennel seeds - 1/2 tablespoon




Preparation:
1. Wash the mushrooms, dry and cut them into pieces. Chop onions and tomatoes into fine pieces
2. Prepare a wet paste with the ingredients given for masala. If you prefer to use green chilies instead of red chilly powder, you can grind it with the other ingredients.
3. Heat oil in a pan and when hot, add fennel seeds and onions and fry until it turns golden brown.
4. Add tomatoes and saute well. Add turmeric powder, red chilly powder, coriander powder and cook for couple of minutes
5. Now add the mushrooms and mix well. Let it cook for 5 minutes in a medium flame. 
6. When the mushrooms are half done, add salt and the ground mixture and stir well.
7. Close with a lid and cook for another 5-7 minutes in low flame
8. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.


Tips:
1. You can vary this recipe with other vegetables like potato/cauliflower and also with chicken/mutton.
2. Add some roasted coconut when you grind the masala for an enhanced flavor.