Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Its Mango time... Mango rice

March month is marching fast. One side cricket world cup, other side board exams, in between elections. Oh, the days are really running fast. The good thing about this month are the fresh mangoes. The green fresh mangoes are already in the markets.

I like to eat mangoes in all the form, fresh green mango, pulpy fruit mango, dried mango pickles, yummmm. My mother will make different variety recipes using the mangoes. Starting from March till May, almost daily we have mango in our meal. Either it will be in sambar, pickle, pachadi, rice, vatha kuzhambu, thokku, mango paruppu, etc. Living in the US for the past couple of years, I missed mangoes a lot. We do get mangoes all through the year and mangoes imported from India during the summer but it was that very rare bunch that had the taste and flavour.

Mangoes are rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidant.These comforting enzymes act as a digestive aid and can be held partially responsible for that feeling of contentment we experience during and after our daily mango ritual. An average sized mango can contain up to 40% of your daily fiber requirement. (Facts : All about Mangoes)

In this season, I bought a couple of mangoes yesterday and tried one of my favorite recipe Mango rice.

The recipe for making the rice is very simple. It is more like making lemon rice.

Ingredients :

4-5 cup -- Cooked rice
1 no -- Mango**
1 tsp -- turmeric powder
1 tsp -- Mustard seeds
1 tbsp -- Chana dal
1 tbsp -- Urad dal
1 tsp -- Jeera
3 no -- Green chillies
Salt -- To taste
2-3 tsp -- Oil

Method :
--- Wash the mango, peel off the skin and grate it.
** Select the sour mango fot this recipe, you will enjoy it better.

--- Keep a pan in the medium heat, add oil. Once the oil is hot add the mustard seed, once its popped, add jeera, chana dal and urad dal.
--- Once the dal color is fried, add the grated mango, turmeric powder and green chillies.
--- Saute the mango for 5 minutes. Since we are using grated mango, cooking will be very fast.
--- Now mango mixture it is ready to mix.
--- Add the mixture to the mixed rice. According to your taste, add salt. You can add salt either in the last stage or while you saute the mango.

--- The rice is ready to serve.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sundaikai curry

Sundaikai, Turkey Berry in English, is a very popular in Tamilnadu. Commonly prepared as vathal, dried sundaikai, this can also be cooked freshly to make curry, kootu, sambar, kuzhambu, pachadi, Thuvayal, etc..

Sundaikai contains high medicinal value and is very good for health. It is rich in Iron content and it acts like cleanser to clean our stomach. It is widely used in Siddha medicine for making chooranams, which is helpful for digestion problems. Even now most mothers feed sundaikai vathal to her daughter, after she give birth to a baby.

Earlier days, in our town almost every house had the plant in their back yards. I can recollect a lot of days when we ran out of vegetables at home and the fresh sundaikais from our (and our neighbours :-)) backyards saved the day. My mom makes sundaikai vathal at home itself. But now I am paying Rs.20 for 1/2 cup fresh sundaikai. Still its worth buying.

Last week, my mother-in-law made this wonderful curry. I never had this type of sudaikai curry before. Hope the image does justice to the wholesome taste of the curry.

Ingredients :

1 cup -- Fresh Sundaikai
1/4 cup -- Shreded coconut
1 tsp -- turmeric powder
1 tsp -- Mustard seeds
1 tbsp -- Chana dal
1 tbsp -- Urad dal
1 tsp -- Jeera
Salt -- To taste
2-3 tsp -- Oil

To fry :
1/2 cup -- Urad dal
1/4 cup -- Chana dal
2-3 tbsp -- Dania seeds
4-5 nos -- Dry chilli
2 tsp -- Pepper
Few curry leaves
1 tsp -- Asafoetida

Method :
--- We always get the sundaikai with the stem. Take the stem part, which will easily come off and wash it thoroughly.

--- After washing, take them in a zip lock bag, I prefer to put one more bag.
--- Now comes the messy part, take a small hammer and smash all the sundaikai. You no need to work hard for this, since those are very delicate, it will be smashed easily.
Before washing Sundaikai
--- Transfer the sundaikai in to a pan and wash out the seeds completely.
--- That's it, cleaning part is over. Cooking sundaikai is similar like cooking beans curry.
--- Take a pan and add all the ingredients listed below 'To fry" and fry them in the medium heat.
Fry till the dal color changes.
*** Important note - Adjust the chilli and pepper measure according to your taste. Don't blame me later :))
--- Transfer the fried mixture to a blender and let it cool for a while.
--- Keep the same pan in medium heat and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds. As soon as the seeds crackles add chana dal, urud dal and turmeric.
--- When the dal colors changes add the washed sundaikai.
--- Add little water to cook and close the pan.
--- Meanwhile grind the fried ingredients with a spoon of jeera and coconut. This is called as curry podi. You can use this for almost all the vegetables.
--- Now check the sundaikai, if cooked add the curry podi.
*** You can add the curry podi according to the taste you like. If you have some left-overs, store them in air tight container. As I said earlier, this will be good for any curry, also you can add this in sambar.
--- Add salt according to taste and cook for 3-4 minutes and turn off the heat.

Yummy Sundaikai curry is ready to serve with hot rice :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lovely Award !

Gayathri Viswanathan from 'Kitchen - The Chef's Paradise' , a good friend and a fellow blogger of mine passed this 'Lovely Blog Award' to me along with few others bloggers. I thank Gayathri, a lot for sharing this award. I am so happy and honoured. Hurray,This is my first award !

Long long ago, in the month of December, Gayathri tagged me in the 'tagging chain questionnaire'. Since I was little busy with my cake decoration classes and pongal celebrations, I totally forgot the questionnaire.I take this opportunity as a right time to answer her questions and the original questions posted by Shobha and Shanavi.

Shobha and Shanavi's Question :

1. Are you a vegetarian, or have you thought about being one?
--- Yes

2. Who inspired you to cook or bake?
--- Cooking of course from my mom, mother-in-law, Chitra mami - my aunty, Priya - sister.
--- Baking, after seeing a lovely oven in my apartment.

3. How do you celebrate a favorite holiday of your choice?
--- Any festivals or holidays I like to celebrate with my family. We cook different varieties of foods at home and chat, play and have lots of fun.

4. Do you prefer to celebrate New Year's Eve with friends and/or family, or prefer to ring in the New Year quietly, and privately, at home?
--- Quietly, I celebrate the New Year's day with my family. Early morning, we all go to a nearby temple, where we usually give for Abishegam. We all have hot chakara pongal, Sundal, Milagu vadai as prasadam as well as our breakfast. After that we call all our friends and relatives and wish them.

5. If someone were to ask you to bring dessert to a party, what would you bring? Store bought, or homemade, and if you were to make homemade, what would you make?
--- Whether its a party time or a regular days, I always go for a freshly cooked food. If I were asked to bring a dessert I will take carrot Halwa, Karthik's favorite or a nice double layer chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, my favorite.

6. How will you celebrate your next birthday?
--- This year birthday was a most memorable one. Next year wishing to be with my family.

7. Do you have a New Year's resolution-and will you be sticking to it?
--- No :)) Good girl !

Gayathri's Questions :

1.What is your take on organic food , is it a big deal for you ?
--- After seeing a documentary called Food Inc, I wanted to go more organic. I am trying to stick to that.

2. Do you time your breakfast,lunch & dinner or eat when you are hungry ?
--- When working I didn't had any timing, If I were in office at lunch time I will eat, or else I will skip. But now, everything on time.

3. What is your inspiration to write a food blog ?
--- After we moved to an apartment in US, I was very happy to have a full size kitchen. My love towards cooking made me to explore the web a lot and try many new recipes. After few days, I realized that I need to keep a log of the recipes that I am trying out. So started writing my own food blog under 'Preethibhojan'.

4. How do you get new ideas for recipes?
--- Ideas for new recipes always depends on ingredients I have in my pantry. Sometimes I will start with one recipe but the end result will be bad, that time I will do slight variation and give the recipe a new name and look. Its all in the game !

5. Name three ingredients you consciously avoid or eliminate even when the recipe calls for it ?
--- Most of the time, I will choose the recipe which is very simple and with the ingredients which I use regularly. I avoid Egg, more masala items.

6. Name three things you have to use in most recipes?
--- Turmeric, Methi seeds, cumin

7. How important is eating meals together as a family to you?
--- When we were kids, my mom taught us and insisted more on having meals together. Since we all are running crazy in the morning, we atleast have our dinner together and discuss our days experiences.
8. You do not like a particular dish at your favorite restaurant, what will you do?
--- We hardly go to restaurant. Silently avoid it and let others who might like the dish to enjoy it.