Sunday, April 25, 2010

Masal Vadai Vs Falafel

I am a big fan of Food network Channel. Particularly like the shows on  cookies, cakes, toppings, frosting, salads, soups, the list go on and on...

When I was watching a show yesterday, something very familiar caught my eye. Pleasantly surprised to see our own masal vadai in its middle eastern avatar called 'Falafel'.
A couple of our friends frequent a Italian restaurant nearby. And used to rave about the wonderful falafel they had. Very happy to see our humble beloved Vadai being adored here.

Definitely should be a connection between both recipes, either our ancient Mama, Mami's suttu-fied (copied) the recipe from Arabs or Arabs suttu-fied from our Mama, Mami's.
Personally I would like to believe that its from us :))

Anyways, here are the facts from Wikipedia

Vadai, could not find much history about the vadai. Still found some details.
The earliest Tamil writings are traced to about 300 BC, but references to edibles and food habits abound in literature between 100 BC and 300 AD (Idaicchangam). 'Dosai' and 'Vadai',were popular.

Falafel an middle eastern recipe, Falafel is an Arabic word, meaning fluffy. This food originated in Egypt first, It has been theorized to a lesser extent that falafel has origins in the Indian subcontinent where it and other chickpea-based dishes are also popular. Israelis were the first to spread falafel to Europe and the United States sometime in the 1970s.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Phyllo Pastry

I did not complete any work yesterday. There were a couple of posts still half way, sometime later I wanted to draw, after few attempts dropped it. Totally all my thoughts were jammed with too many things, so started cleaning my fridge. Had some left overs in lot of big containers. Also had small qty of Mozzarella, feta cheese, Phyllo sheets, Spinach and some vegetables.

Tadaan, idea ! Why can't I make Spanakopita triangles ??? Immediately went to Chef In You to look for the recipe. My god DK has used varieties of cheeses. I'm not having that much and moreover don't want to include that much amount of cheese, I m not a fitness freak, but still !!!

In my own style along with Spinach, i included one carrot, one small potato, 2 stems of Celery and 1/2 cup peas and made delicious Spanakopita triangles.
If you have Pastry sheet at home then you are the king, we can do any sweet or savory using it.

Ok, let see the brief history of Pasty sheet :

'Phyllo' dough originated in Greece, meaning 'Leaf', often referred to as a baked good that holds a filling to create a recipe. Still used in traditional Greek cuisine, especially in deserts and appetizers.

Its a light dough made out of flour, oil and water, commonly used as a pastry in Greek and also in Middle Eastern recipes.
Eleventh-century Turkish used an early form of it to create layered breads and with the rise of the Ottoman Empire, phyllo-based pastries became a jewel of Turkish cuisine. Machines for producing filo pastry were perfected in the 1970s,

The dough is simple enough to use in its chilled state. It is too delicate to handle, if exposed much time to open air then it will become brittle. Each sheets are to be separately greased enough to get a nice flaky pastries. Too much filling inside will become soggy and all the ingredients are to be carefully added,

Phyllo dough is easy to roll up and create layers within the food; this is one of the reasons why it is such a popular ingredient in many appetizers and desserts.
For more information, pls check the below sites :

Friday, April 16, 2010

Veppampoo (Neem Flower)

Yesterday we celebrated Tamizh New year with Traditional food, we invited some of our friends for dinner.

The main Highlight in the food was Vepampoo (neem flower) pachadi, Mango Pachadi and poli.

Vepam Poo -- Its my favorite one. I love it at anytime and every time.
Tiny little white flowers.

(Image Source - Google Images)

Earlier days in our neighboring plot we had a couple of neem tree which shed all its flowers and leaves in our back yard. My house was always filled with the aroma of neem flowers.
Still remember I used to climb over our water tank to collect the fresh flowers for doing Pachadi. Also we will always have dried flowers in stock at home. MY mom will fry it and mix with rice or will make nice rasam. I will always call that rasam as 'Katta erumbu rasam' (Big Black ant rasam)

Vepam poo pachadi - Tastes bitter, sweet and tangy also.
Surprisingly we got the dried flowers in our Indian shop.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Staple food

For the past two days, I am doing only Idlis for lunch and Noodles for dinner.Wish I could cook something different today for dinner. Though it sounds good, Its not at all satisfying.
In our cusine eating rice with more cereals for the lunch is a must. I have seen lot of people eat roti because of its dietary benefits.Even they iclude atleast a cup of rice in their lunch. We cannot imagine any party, functions without rice. All our festivals are also unique in term of food / prasadam we serve.

When i think about our food culture always wonder what a normal American will eat as a lunch. Its a big question for me and my Hubby. What they really eat ? What is their staple food ?
Do they only eat chicken, meat or some thing like that along with a salad and burgers ? I started to see the food netwok channel to find the answer for our question. And daily I am seeing the same thing.

Sometime very rarely they cook pasta, rice and Pizzas but most of the time its only Chicken, prawns and any kind of meat.

Friday, April 2, 2010


To celebrate the launch of Preethi Bhojan I did cookies and cupcakes yesterday

And also to start with a sweet entry :)

Cookies and cakes : Just by varying some ingredients in the base recipe we can do wonders in baking.
For your convenience, here's Brief History about Cookies - mostly gathered from Wikipedia.

The cookies were originated in 7th Century in Persia (now Iran).
And in 16th Century Dutch and English immigrants introduced cookies to Americans.Since people started to explore all places, cookies were the ideal food. They stayed fresh for long periods (for an year), when stored in right conditions.
In 17th and 18 th Century, due to lack of sugar and more labour cost, cookies were considered as a spl treat. In Europe to become a baker one must undergo years of training (We are so lucky in this !!!)

During 19th century cookies developed tremendously because of Industrial revolution which lead to invention of Ovens, chemicals like Sodium bi carbonate (Self raising chemical)

Each country has its own name for cookie :

-- 'Biscuits' in England and Australia,
-- 'Galletas' in Spain,
-- 'keks' or 'Plätzchen' for Christmas cookies in Germany,
-- In Italy there are several names to identify various forms of cookies including ' amaretti ' and ' biscotti ' and so on.

The name cookie is derived from the Dutch word koekje, meaning "small or little cake."
Biscuit comes from the Latin word bis coctum, which means, “twice baked"

Talking about cookies, though I bake varieties here and try out many cookies when ever I hit grocery shop, my all time favorite is Bar-bone and Good Day biscuits.
But nothing will beat my home town bakery biscuits. We will get lot of freshly baked biscuits like coconut macaroons, salt biscuit, butter biscuit, Herb biscuits and so on. They will be always fresh.
I was a regular customer of the corner bakery shop.

One of my favorite here is Mint fudge cookie. Wish I could try to bake soon :))

I would like to go on and on about cookies but will reserve rest for a later post.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Welcome to Preethi Bhojan

Me and the art of cooking have had a on and off relationship.

When in school " Hotel Management and Catering Technology " was my dream career. Fortunately or unfortunately, a middle class high school girl does not have much choice in selecting her career. I did a course in Textile Technology,loved every moment of it and did not have much time to think about anything else. Before I got married my relationship with food usually began only after it was in a plate in front of me. Not that I did not cook at all. I was a Okay cook and used to help out my mother and aunt occasionally but I was nowhere near being passionate about the art of cooking.

But now the whole world has changed :)) I love to cook a lot. A lot of great food blogs and some superb shows on the Food Network - coupled with an conventional oven in my apartment that we moved into - have kindled an interest in me and the result of my love is "PREETHI BHOJAN".

In other terms its " God's Prasadam ". My Mother-in-law always tells " whatever we are eating and cooking is all Prasadam."

"பார்த்ததும், சமைத்ததும்" literally means " what I am seeing, I am cooking "
This blog is all about that. All things about food that I enjoyed.