Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Happy Vishu ~ Kerala Varutharacha Sambar / Sambar Made with Roasted and ground coconut

Hello Everyone. Wondering it had been a long break for Cook-Ezee Haa ?
Its been a while being active in blogging, I wouldn't want to be a blabbermouth on listing the reasons for myself missing in action. We had been too busy with too many activities going on.
I hope all of my fellow Keralites had a great Vishu this year. Though a bit late Wishing everyone a Very Happy Vishu and A beautiful Year ahead.

I'm going to do the post on Kerala Style Varutharacha Sambar which had been pending in my draft from a very long time. I have grown up relishing this Varutharacha Sambar and always had Sambar this way till I left Kerala after marriage. Many of you might know I'm from Kannur and we always make sambar by roasting coconut along with roasted coriander powder and other ingredients. My grandma makes great Sambar and I never saw her using any Sambar powder for making this typical Kerala Sambar. Neither me used any kind of Sambar powder till I left my hometown Kannur. I remember one my college friend telling me 'Your Sambar exactly tastes like the Kalyana(Marriage) Sadya Sambar Whenever I make it and bring it to college. This Sambar which I make is very popular within my family and friend's. Onam/Vishu or any festival, whatever we celebrate with our friend's group here, I'm assigned for making Sambar and Pradaman and rest of the dishes is taken care by rest of the sweet ladies in the group. So by now you can understand this is a very trust worthy recipe for Varutharacha Sambar. So let's walk along the recipe. Try them and let me know the results :)

 

Ingredients:-
  1. Toor Dal - 1 Cup
  2. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  3. Salt - 1 tsp + more as required
  4. Winter Melon/Kumbalanga - 1 Cup cubed medium size
  5. Mathanga/Yellow Pumpkin - 1 Cup cubed medium size
  6. Yam - 1/2 cup cubed medium size
  7. Carrot sliced - 2
  8. Onion Sliced very thin - 1 Med Size
  9. Drumstick - 2 cut lengthwise 
  10. Potato cut into cubes - 1 Medium(optional, I use it only if I run out of other veggies)
  11. Okra/Vendakka/Bhindi - 7 nos(cut lengthwise)
  12. Tomato Sliced - 2 medium
  13. Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
 To Dry Roast: -
  1. Freshly Grated Coconut - 1 Cup
  2. Roasted coriander powder - 2 tbsp
  3. Curry leaves - 2 Sprigs
  4. Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
  5. Dry Red Chilies - 3
For Tempering:-
  1. Coocnut Oil - 1 tbsp
  2. Dry Red Chilies - 3
  3. Curry Leaves a sprig
  4. Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp(optional)
  5. Asefoetida powder -1/4 tsp

Preparation Method:-

Dry roast and grind:-
  • Heat up a Kadai/wok, keep in medium heat. Drizzle a tsp of coconut oil/oil, add curry leaves, dry red chilies, fenugreek seeds and saute for few seconds making sure they do not burn.
  • Add grated coconut and saute till coconut turn brown color making sure they don't turn into deep brown/black color and burn.
  • Add coriander powder and saute for a minute or two till it is well coated with roasted coconut. Take off the flame and let it cool down.
  • When the Roasted coconut mix reaches room temperature, grind them to a very smooth paste by adding water little by little. Set aside till the Dal-Vegetable mix is cooked enough.
Preparing the Sambar
  • Pressure cook the Toor Dal by adding salt and turmeric powder for two-three whistles. Take off the stove and let it cool down fully.
  • When the heat subsides, open the lid of the pressure cooker.
  • Add yam, drumstick, onion, carrot and potatoes to the cooked Dal. Stir well to mix in the Veggies and Dal.
  • Cover and cook in medium heat for around seven-ten minutes till Veggies are half cooked. Make sure to open the lid and stir one or two time to make sure Dal-veggies do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Now add the second set of veggies(these veggies cook faster) - Okra/Venda/Lady's finger, Tomato, Pumpkin and winter melon. Stir gently to mix all the veggies together. Cover and cook for another five-seven minutes. Check for the salt and add if required.
  • Once the veggies are cooked enough, add the ground coconut and stir well. Add water if required depending on the thickness of gravy required.
  • Bring the gravy to boil. Simmer the heat to medium and let it boil for another two-three minutes so that the spices and veggies blend well. Check for the salt and adjust. Take off the stove
  • Heat up a small pan, pour cocnout oil. When the oil gets hot, add the mustard seeds. As they start to splutter, add currry leaves, dry red chilies, fenugreek seeds & some Asefoetida powder.  Switch off the stove and pour over the Sambar. Add some more curry leaves. Keep the curry covered till ready to serve.
  • Your Super delicious Sambar is ready to Serve with Boiled Rice or Idli or Dosa.
 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Pazham Nirachathu/Stuffed Plantains - Yet Another traditional snack all the way fromThalassery/Malabar

Yet another delicious snack from my own homeland, Thalassery/Malabar - commonly known as Pazham Nirachathu/Stuffed Plantains. Pazham Nirachathu is normally served as a tea time snack and is very popular during Eid/Ifthar parties. This is little bit similar to Pazham Pori/Plantain Fritters, but has sweet filling stuffed inside.



Ingredients:
  1. Ripe Plantains – 3
  2. Grated Coconut – ¾ Cup
  3. Sugar – 4tbsp
  4. Broken Cashews few
  5. Raisins few(I didn’t have them handy, so used only cashews)
  6. Ghee – 1 tsp
  7. Cardamom powder – ¾ tsp
  8. All purpose flour – ¼ Cup 
  9. Rice flour – 2 tbsp
  10. A pinch of salt
  11. Water – ¼ cup(Just enough to make thick batter to coat the plantains)
  12. Oil to deep fry




Preparation Method:
Filling:-
  • Heat a frying pan, add ghee and fry the chopped cashew until golden color, drain them out on a paper towel.
  • Add the raisins, saute for few seconds until puffy. Remove them and set aside with the cashews.
  • Add grated coconut to the same pan and saute well till the cocnut turn golden brown and start releasing nice aroma of the coconut. Add the crushed cardamom and stir well.
  • Add sugar to this and saute tell till they blend. Set aside till ready to use.

Setting plantains:-
  • Peel the plantains. Make a long vertical slit on each bananas that reaches the center of the plantains(near black seeds).
  • With the sharp edge of the knife remove the black seeds of the bananas. Use your finger to make a proper opening to fill in the stuffing.
  • Now take the filling, stuff the filling using spoon or fingers and press them tight. Repeat the process for rest of the bananas Keep them aside.

Batter Preparation to coat the plantains:
  • In a bowl mix together, Maida/All purpose plain flour, rice flour, sugar and salt. Add water little by little and mix well using a wire whisk to make a lump free thick batter
Pictorial Process Of Making Pazham Nirachathu
Final Assembling:-
  • Heat a deep frying pan and fill it with oil.
  • Dip the plantains in the batter completely and slowly place them in the oil using tongs or very carefully with your hands.
  • When one side turns golden, turn over the plantains slowly. Fry other side also until golden brown. Drain them on kitchen towel and serve warm in slices along with tea.
Notes:
  1. At many households, the sweet filling is also made using scrambled egg and sugar instead of coconut, so you swap coconut for egg and make the filling as well.
  2. While coating the bananas you can either dip the stuffed bananas in the batter and deep fry or you can coat only the area where the slit was made to stuff the bananas. I prefer to dip the bananas in the batter and deep fry.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Happy Republic Day Wishes Dear Mother India and all Fellow Indians

Wishing All My Fellow Indians Around The World A Very Happy Republic Day


Saare Jahan Se Acha Hindustan Hamara
Hum Bulbulain hai Iski, Ye Gulsitan Hamara Hamara..


Monday, January 12, 2015

Mixed Berry Breakfast Smoothie

What is your breakfast option on weekdays? I'm a breakfast person and mostly make typical Indian breakfasts in the morning, especially for kids. But I hardly get time to sit and have my breakfast during busy morning. These smoothies are real rescuers as they are quick to blend together and sip up as I pack our tiffins/lunch. So this is for all of you, especially for the busy mom's to have great kick start of the day and pack up the energy for the entire day. Try them and Enjoy !!


Ingredients:-
  1. Frozen Organic Mixed Berries - 2 Cups
  2. Low fat Milk - 2 Cups
  3. Vanilla Ice cream - 3 scoops
                                  
Preparation Method:-
  • Blend everything together in a juice blender and serve immediately.
Note: You can replace sugar or honey for ice cream as sweetener.



Sunday, January 4, 2015

Thayir Vada - Dahi Vada

Wishing Everyone a Very Happy New Year 2015

Hope Everyone had a great New Year Celebration. Guys, New Year resolution anyone?
I took a break from blogging and many activities to get four day long weekend and be with my kids and best-est buddies. The holidays were really fun filled with New Year Celebration with our small group of close knit friends here, potluck food, dance and Masti. Kids enjoyed the most, dancing on 'Thudakkam Maangalyam' song and many more. This was followed by our very close friends visit from New Jersey, catching up with them after so long was so happy and exciting :) 

Holidays are over, kids have to get back to schools and we are looking ahead for an exciting year ahead. So here I'm wishing you all a Very Happy, Prosperous and Fulfilled New Year 2015. Let the Almighty bless everyone with peace and Happiness on Earth.

Now let us get back to today's Recipe Dahi Vada or Thayir Vada. 


I made them recently as a starter on my son's birthday party. This is pretty quick and ezee option for snack/starter for parties, the only longest time taken is the four hours soaking time for Urad Dal. 
So here is how I made it. Do give it a try and let me know the results !

Thayir Vada Aka Dahi Vada is an Indian chaat made with Urad Vada doused in thick yogurt. The deep fried Vadas are immersed in water and then transferred to thick Yogurt. Vadas remain soaked in yogurt for a couple of hours before serving to make them soft and spongy. So Make them for sure and enjoy with your loved ones :-)


For Urad Vada/Medhu Vada:- 
  1. Urad daal - 1 Cup 
  2. Whole Pepper slightly crushed  - 1 tbsp
  3. salt to taste ~ 1 tsp
  4. Oil to deep Fry 
Yogurt/Dahi Mix:-
  1. Yogurt - 2 Cups
  2. Coriander Chutney - ½ cup(** Recipe Below)
  3. Water - ¼ cup to make the yogurt Mix a little thin if it is too thick(add only if needed)
  4. Salt to taste
For Garnishing:-
  1. Chilly powder
  2. Chaat Masala - 1 tsp
  3. Coriander Chutney (** Recipe Below) -  3 tbsp
  4. Finely chopped coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Coriander chutney for garnishing: 
  1. Curry leaves few(~ 5 Leaf )
  2. Green chilies chopped  1-2 Numbers 
  3. Salt - 1/4 tsp
  4. Cumin  1 Tablespoons 
  5. Finely chopped coriander leaves  1 Bunch
For Urad Vada/Medu Vada: - 
  • Wash the Urad dal and soak them for four hours.
  • Grind it into a thick paste, add water little by little as you grind only if and as needed. Add salt and crushed black pepper, mix well with a spoon. 
  • Heat oil in a pan and drop a spoonfuls of batter. Deep fry till golden brown. Continue the procees until all the batter is done. Switch off the stove
  • Put the hot vadas in cold water, few at a time, and keep for two-three minutes. Take them off the water, squeeze out any excess water and set aside. 
Coriander Chutney For Garnishing:-
  • Add cumin, green chilies, coriander leaves, curry leaves and salt in a mixer and grind well. Set aside.
  • Divide the chutney for Garnishing and 
For Yogurt/Dahi Mix: -
Add ½ cup of Coriander Chutney and salt to the yougurt and Mix well. Set Aside till ready to serve.

Assembling and Serving: -
In a flat dish or tray, arrange the Urad Vada and pour dahi mix over them. Garnish with coriander Chutney, chilly powder, chat powder and coriander leaves. Set aside for an hour before serving. 
Move into serving dish and serve. 

Note:-
You can serve them chilled by refrigerating it no more than 30 minutes which is how I love them, but I don't prefer doing this in the cold winter here. If you live in a zone where it is not cold go ahead and serve them cold :-)


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