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Quail Egg Snack – Kadai Muttai Bonda

Quail Egg Bonda : Surprisingly, I found these eggs in one of the South Indian shops here in Mumbai and immediately, I bought it, knowing the fact that it comes with loads of goodness and I planned to make a evening snack out of it, for my kid. Quail eggs are high in protein and vitamins that it is said to boost immunity and metabolism. These eggs are very small in size and have spots of black, here and there on the shell.

Kadai Muttai/quail eggs snack

I have eaten quail fry and it tastes delicious, almost similar to chicken except that it is thin and bony. My mom was saying that in those days, these eggs used to be cooked directly in the fire and eaten. That gives me another idea of heating them over the grill and I plan to try it out sooner.

The eggs were so delicate as I lifted them in hand from the package and I was really cautious while transferring them to another bowl for boiling. For the evening snack, I have boiled the eggs in water, covered each egg with spiced mashed potato, coated with spiced besan powder batter and deep fried them.

Kadai muttai bhonda/ quail egg snack tastes really good along with spiced coriander chutney.

kadai muttai bhonda

Ingredients:
7-8 quail eggs
2 big potato(boiled and mashed)
few coriander leaves(finely chopped)
few mint leaves(finely chopped)
1/2 big onion(finely chopped)
1/2  cup besan powder
1 tspn red chilly powder
pinch of turmeric powder
pinch of hinge
1/2 tspn pepper powder
1/4 tspn cummin powder
salt to taste

Method:
1. Hard boil the egg, peel the shell and keep aside.
2. Pressure cook the potatoes with water. Drain water and mash the potatoes. Add pepper powder, cummin powder, turmeric powder, coriander leaves, mint leaves, onions to the mashed potato and mix well. Keep aside the mix.
besan batter  mashed potato  
3.Add chilli powder, turmeric powder, hinge, salt to besan powder. Then add water and make it into a batter(not too thick nor too thin).Keep aside.
4. Now take some mashed potato and stuff the quail egg inside.
stuffed quail egg
5. Now dip these potato balls in besan batter and deep fry them
6. Now your hot kadai muttai(quail egg) bonda is ready to be served.
7. Serve with coriander chutney as evening snack

Happy Cooking!

Coffee with Love – Prepare your own Cappuccino!

Cappuccino at home: I’m a great coffee lover. Just the smell of coffee can make me feel light and happy. And, I have been always drawn towards the wonderful taste of Cappuccino and more than intrigued towards the art on top of it. For a long time now, I decided to try it out.

Filter coffee has been the tradition in South India and it’s way lighter than the Italian Cappuccino. And, my day starts with brewing coffee as in any other South Indian household. Being health conscious, I always use a low fat skimmed milk with added water. Now the challenge is that the coffee art requires a creamy top to hold its shape on top of the coffee.

In a friendly chat and exchange of tips over a cup of coffee, One of my friend taught me how to make a creamy latte by beating sugar, instant coffee powder and few drops of water together. And the taste of that coffee was so excellent, that I started preparing it very often and now, it has lead me to experiment with the coffee art.

cappuccino beaten coffee

This picture was taken by my kid and I felt, it was so creative than the ones that I’ve taken. While I intended to focus on the coffee, she wanted to cover all her play doh creations in her photo. It’s her idea to make the cookie jar fall and let the play doh cookies out – It was so dramatic that I thought it deserves the space here, right on the top.

Here are some of the heart shapes(as it turned out) that I tried etching(with the creamy latte) on top of my coffee which I wanted to share with the viewers.

cappuccino, beaten coffee

cappuccino, beaten coffee

cappuccino, beaten coffee

cappuccino, beaten coffee

cappuccino, beaten coffee

Ingredients:
2 tspn instant coffee powder
2 tblspn sugar
1tspn water
1 glass of boiled milk(low fat milk)

Method:

1. Add one glass of water to half a litre skimmed milk and let it boil.

2. As the milk is getting boiled, take coffee powder, sugar & water in a stainless cup and using spoon beat all the ingredients together for 10 minutes until you see the texture changing. The texture would become creamy. The colour changes from dark to light. The more faster and longer you beat the ingredients, you would achieve better creamy texture.

creamy latte, expresso   creamy latte, expresso

3. As the milk starts frothing, switch off the stove. Take one glass of the boiled milk and add slowly to the creamy latte.

4. Give a light stir with a spoon, so that a creamy layer is formed on the top. Now the coffee is ready.

5. Using the same creamy latte, you could try etching designs on the top using any sharp tools(I have used Chinese chop sticks & tooth pick).

Relish your cup of home made Cappuccino and let me know the taste.

Happy cooking!

 

Green Peas & Potato Curry – So flavourful!

Green Peas & Potato Curry : It’s a rich and an aromatic dish. I have used white poppy seeds(khus khus/kasa kasa) to get the authentic taste. Poppy seeds has been traditionally used in lot of non-veg curries in South India. My mom prepares special spice mix including the poppy seeds that could be added for all non-veg preparation as it brings out the distinct flavour, taste and thickness to the curry.

This curry tastes good with chappati, dosas and idli. It’s indeed a veg delight and a must try for the viewers

potato green peas curry

Ingredients:

3/4 cup Potatoes ( small and evenly diced)
1/2 cup green peas (fresh)
1/2 Big onion( finely chopped)
1 tblspn ginger garlic ( crushed)
2 green chillies
1/2 tspn kashmiri chilli powder
1 tspn coriander powder
Pinch of turmeric powder
1 tspn fennel seeds
1 tblspn poppy seeds
2 cloves
1/4 whole coconut( cut into small pieces)
1 Sprig of curry leaves
Few drops of lemon
Salt to taste

For Grinding:
Dry roast poppy seeds, fennel seeds and clove together without changing colour. Add water and grind the roasted spices along with coconut & green chillies. Strain the spiced coconut milk with a strainer and keep aside.

poppy seeds

Method:

1. Heat 2 tblspn oil in a pan. Add the onions and saute until golden brown.
2. Now add the crushed ginger garlic, curry leaves and saute for a minute until the raw smell goes off.
3.Then add the potatoes, green peas, salt, kashmiri chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and saute for a minute. Then add some water and cook in medium flame with closed lid for 8-10 minute.
4. Now add the spiced coconut milk and cook for 2 minutes, Switch off the stove.
5. Add few drops of lemon and serve hot with Roti/chappati/dosa/idly.

Happy Cooking!

Mushroom Pepper fry – Kalan varuval!

Mushroom Pepper Fry – Kalan Milagu Varuval: Mushroom has always been my favourite for its earthy taste and the vast nutritional benefits that it carries. It’s one of the superfood that has a high amount of antioxidant and is a good source of vitamin D.

Given these facts, I try to include mushroom atleast twice a week in my regular preparation – It could be mushroom soya chunks briyani/mushroom spinach stir fry/ mushroom paneer stir fry. Of all the combinations, mushroom pepper fry has always been the best, for its simple preparation.

With few ingredients, this dish is a great accompaniment for chappati, sambar, rasam and curd rice.

Ingredients:
8-10 large button mushroom(cut into small pieces)
1 tspn crushed ginger garlic
1/4 coriander powder
1/4 tspn cummin powder
1/2 tspn pepper powder
Pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 tspn fennel seeds
1 red chilly
curry leaves
Salt to taste

Method:

1. Heat 2 tblspn oil in a pan, add fennel seeds and red chilly in quick succession.

3. Add the crushed ginger garlic and sauté for few seconds.

4. Now add the mushroom, turmeric powder, coriander power and salt. Sprinkle some water and cook with closed lid for 3-4 minutes until the mushroom reduces in size.

5. Open the lid and sauté until all the moist in observed. Now add the pepper powder, cumin powder and fresh curry leaves. Saute for a minute in high flame.

7. Serve hot with steamed rice and sambar/curd/rasam. It tastes good with roti as well.

Note:
Cleaning is lot easy if the mushrooms are fresh otherwise it might require some patience to take of any bruises or blackish gills under the mushroom cap.

Happy Cooking!

 

Pagarkai poriyal/Bitter Gourd Stir Fry – Bitterness at its Best!

Bitter Gourd Stir Fry: I love walking through the streets with my kid beside, answering her all the way. I make it a point that I don’t do bulk purchase, so that I get to do some lil’ purchases almost everyday, a chance to increase my kid’s curiosity to know the groceries, the place, the surrounding – I find her happiness in seeing the lil’ birds chirping, butterflies & dragon flies flying beside, the lil’ kitten playing in one of the shops as we walk.

Now, I’ve shifted my purchases to supermarkets just like many other here and we miss those small vendors. I hope the demonetization mayhem clears soon and wish the small vendors see their ray of hope. Nevertheless, I walk along the streets just like my kid – with free mind, empty hand and cashless. And trying my best to use my creativity to explain her why people stand in queues in ATMs & Banks

I got these bitter gourds, from one of the small vendors atleast a week back and it stayed good in my fridge. I just got the opportunity to prepare this dish and the main highlight of this dish is that it tastes good with the bitterness intact.

pavakkai poriyal

Ingredients:
2 medium sized bitter gourds
1/2 medium sized onion(finely chopped)
1 tomato(finely chopped)
1/2 tspn mustard seeds
1/2 tspn cummin seeds
1 red chilly
1 sprig of curry leaves
pinch of turmeric
1 tspn chilly powder
salt to taste.

Method:
1. Slit the bitter gourds and remove the seeds(the hard ones). Cut the bitter gourd into pieces and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds to splutter. Then add the cummin seeds, curry leaves and the red chilly.
3. Now add the onions and stir until golden brown. Then add the tomatoes, turmeric powder, salt and saute until the tomatoes become mushy.
4. Now add the bittergourd, stir well, sprinkle some water and cook with closed lid for 5-7 minutes in low flame.
5. Once the bittergourd is almost cooked, add the chilly powder and stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes in medium to high flame unitl all the moist is absorbed.
6. Serve hot with steamed rice and sambar/puli kuzhambhu.

Happy Cooking!

Mini Thattu Vadai/Thattai – So Crispy!

Minu Thattu Vadai:  A popular snack from South India, thattu vadai is made occasionally on auspicious days in South Indian households. With few ingredients and a couple of techniques, the authentic taste of thattu vadai can be easily brought out.

I’m a great fan of mini thattu vadai and anyone from salem can’t forget the taste of thattu vadai set that comes with the combination of grated veggies and spicy mint&tomato sauce. Thattu vadai set is a famous street food in salem and there are hundreds of shops that sell it. While I reserve the thattu vadai set preparation for my future post, here is the recipe for the very base ingredient, mini thattu vadai itself.

mini thattu vadai

 

mini thattu vadai

Ingredients:
1 cup rice flour(store bought)
1 tblspn urad dal powder
1&1/2 tblspn roasted gram(chutney dal)
1 tspn chilly powder
1/4 tspn asafoetida/hing
2 tblspn butter
2 Sprig of curry leaves(finely chopped)
salt to taste

Method:
1. Dry roast the urad dal until it turns slight brown. Transfer it to a bowl and let it cool off. Now grind it in a mixer and sieve to get the fine powder. Keep aside.
2. Mix all the ingredients – rice flour, urad dal powder, roasted gram, chilly powder, asafoeatida, curry leaves and butter. Mix until the butter mixes well with the flour.
3. At this stage, add water lil-by-lil to get a really smooth dough. Keep aside
4. Now make the dough into small ball shapes. Place the them on a plastic sheet and place another plastic sheet over it such the dough balls are in-between two plastic sheets.
5. Now press the dough using a flat surfaced cup to get round shape like that of thattai. Pierce with fork in couple of places on thattai to avoid puffing.
6. Heat oil in a kadai. When the oil is hot enough, deep fry the thattai in medium flame.
7. When it turns brown, remove with a oil strainer and place them on paper towel.
8. Now your crispy mini thattu vadai is ready.

Note:
1. The dough has to be really soft enough so we get the round edges without breaking.
2. Mini thattu vadai is made lil thicker compared to the big ones and they cook easily.
3. Instead of roasted gram, you can add any nuts(crushed) of your liking.

Happy Cooking!

Pasi paruppu mullanghi sambar/Radish Moong dal Sambar – A must try!

Radish Moong Dal Sambar: South India is best known for its Idlies, Dosas and Sambar varieties. You can expect sambar preparation in every South Indian household atleast once a week. By just varying the vegetable they end up making different sambar varieties and each vegetable infuse distinct taste to the preparation.

I specifically like the combination of moong dal and radish – It’s a light and feel so good sambar. I always believe the fact that when the taste of the main ingredients dominate the preparation, the dish turns out to be very delicious. With less spice, the Radish moong dal combo makes the sambar so enticing and It’s a must try for the viewers!

Radish moong dal sambar

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Split moong dal
1 & 1/2 cup Radish(cut into round slices)
1/2 medium sized onion(finely chopped)
2 tomatoes(quartered)
1 & 1/2 inch tamarind(soaked in water and juice extracted)
1/4 tspn turmeric powder
2 tspn chilly powder
1 Red chilly
1 Green chilly
3 Garlic pods
1 tspn cummin seeds
1/2 tspn mustard seeds
1 sprig of curry leaves
pinch of hing
salt to taste
few coriander leaves

Method:
1. Dry roast the moong dal until they turn slight brown. Then rinse them twice and pressure cook along with turmeric, 1/2 tspn cummin seeds, drop of oil for 3-4 whistle until moong dal turns soft without losing shape.
2. In a tawa, spread the radish evenly and heat it in medium flame for 5 minutes. Flip sides in-between. This way the raw smell of radish goes off and its water content is also reduced.
3. Add the radish, chilly powder, chopped tomatoes to cooked moong dal and pressure cook for 1 whistle.
4. Now add the tamarind juice and let the sambar boil for 5-7 minutes in medium to high flame.
5. Side-by, prepare the seasoning. Heat 2-3 tblspn oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds to splutter. Add curry leaves, remaining 1/2 tspn cummin seeds, red chilly, hing, green chilly, garlic pods. Then add the onions and sauté until golden brown. Add this seasoning to the sambar and boil for another 2 minutes. Switch off the stove.
6. Sprinkle coriander leaves and serve hot with steamed rice/idli/dosa.

Happy Cooking!

Kadalai Mittai/Peanut chikki – An Interesting Make!

Kadalai Mittai : This is one of the most difficult posts that I’ve worked on so far. To get to this final stage of presentation, I had run into many trial and error stages and in the process, I’ve learnt the techniques to get the desired sugar syrup consistency for Kadalai Mittai and the caramel decoration.

One of the very popular and traditonal snack of South India, kadalai mittai is absolutely delicious and at the sametime nutritious. First time when I tried it, It was completely off shape without getting to the setting stage and couldn’t really lift it from the plate in which I’ve set. Next time when I tried, I got the shape and I was able to remove it from the plate but it was chewy. In both Instances, I failed making the correct sugar syrup consistency. Finally I was able to get it right with the just over soft ball sugar syrup consistency. Then I thought, its all about sugar syrup and somehow wanted to bring that concept into my kadalai mittai presentation.

Longtime back, I was fascinated by the caramel mesh presentation in the movie “no reservation” and then in Chef Vikas Khanna show. Though, I didn’t have any intention of trying it out, Kadalai mittai has inspired me to learn new techniques in caramel decoration which again involved so many sittings to get it right. Altogether, it was a tough make and I’m happy with the results.

kadalai mittai/peanut chikki

Ingredients:
1 cup peanuts
3/4 cup jaggery
1/4 cup water
2 cardamom (crushed)

Method:
1. Crush the jaggery using a pestle and soak it in 1/4 cup water. Add crushed cardamom to it and Keep aside. Give it a stir now and then. While we work on other process of peanut, jaggery should have been melted.
2. Dry roast the peanuts in low-medium flame until you get light dark spots . At this stage, you would be able to remove the husk easily when you rub it between palms. Switch off the stove and transfer it to a flat vessel for dehusking. After cooling, rub between palms to dehusk the peanuts.
3. Crush it with mortar and pestle in batches. Keep aside.
crushed peanut
4. If the jaggery is completely melted, filter it to remove impurities. Else, heat the jaggery syrup in low heat to melt them completely and then filter it.
5. Heat the filtered jaggery syrup to get the softball consistency or just over soft ball consistency. Add the crushed peanut and stir for half a minute. Switch off the stove.
6. Transfer it to the plate for setting. Using flat spatula, even it out on the top and sides. Make slight marker line on top using knife without pressing.
7. After 3-5 minutes cut deeply along the marker line. Now you would be able to get the defined shape. Let it cool off completely.
8. Now you can easily lift it from the plate and your kadalai mittai is ready.

Happy Cooking!

Note:
1. Soak the jaggery first because when you heat it directly, sometime the syrup might reach a stage where it would be diffcult to pass through the filter.
2. Focusing on the sugar syrup consistency and the preparation, I haven’t taken the pics of the jaggery syrup – I will soon do a separate posting on sugar syrup and the different string consistencies

Traditional Mysore Pak – Guest contribution from Sivakami!

Mysore Pak: My kid’s school is a great place for me to network with other mommies. We are a group now and with the lil time to catch up everyday, we discuss a lot of things that are common. With Diwali around the corner, Sivakami has shared with me her mysore pak preparation that has been passed on by her grandma to her mom.

A busy mom of two kids, Sivakami takes that extra step to give only home made snacks for her kids. Since Mysore Pak is the most sought after snack and requires bit of practice to get the right consistency, I visited her place to take a pic of her preparation. It was a great experience and felt like a real food photographer.

This preparation is more of the hard type – the traditional recipe that was popular back then as we were kids. Now-a-days we get the floating ghee soft Mysore pak. Either way its a Sinful treat!

mysore pak traditional

Ingredients:
1 cup besan flour/chickpea flour
2 cup sugar
1&1/2 cup ghee
1/2 cup water
2 cardamom(crushed and powdered)

Method:
1. Add 1 tblspn ghee to besan flour and dry roast the flour in medium flame. Let it cool off. Use hands to even out the flour and sieve it.
2. Apply ghee in a plate (for transfer the final mix), sprinkle sugar and keep aside.
3. Add sugar, crushed cardamom to water and boil it till you get a soft ball consistency(almost two string consistency). Just if you take the sugar syrup between fingers, you would be in the verge of getting two strings. Keep in low-medium flame.
4. Add this stage add the besan flour lil by lil. Keep stiring as you add the flour.
5. Keep adding ghee as you stir. At a stage where the flour thickens separating ghee, it froths a lil and doesn’t stick to the pan, switch off the stove and transfer to the greased plate.
6. Just spread gently without pressing. After a 3-5 minutes make marks with knife and cut it. Let it cool off completely.
7. Separate the pieces and relish.

Happy Cooking!

Ellu urundai/ Sesame seeds ladoo

Ellu Urundai(til/sesame seeds ladoo) – There’s lot of health benefits associated with ellu/sesame seeds. And, sesame seed oil is popular in  South Indian cuisine. Still my mom uses it in lot of tangy hot curries and as a mix for idli podi.

I remember when we were child, my mom used to religiously do hair and scalp massage for us with warmed sesame seed oil every week. It helps to reduce body heat and helps retain the hair shine. They say, every bit of sesame plant has got medicinal value and so plays an important role in ayurvedic medicines.

Coming to Ellu urandai, it’s a great nutritional snack for kids and when combined with karpatti vellam(palm sugar) it becomes a healthy sweet too. With lil effort, ellu urandai can be made in no time.

sesame seed laddoo/ ellu urandai/ til ladoo

Ingredients:
1 cup White Sesame Seed
1/2 cup jaggery( achu vellam or karupatti)
2 cardamom
pinch of salt

Method:
1. Dry roast the sesame seeds until they pop out and you start getting the sesame aroma. Dry roast in low to medium flame. Let it cool off. Keep aside.
2. Grate the jaggery or smash it with a pestle. Keep aside.
3. Now add the roasted sesame seeds, cardamom, salt in a mixer and blend it to a coarse powder. To this add the pounded jaggery and blend it to a fine moist powder.
4. Using hands, make it into small ball shapes. The oil content in the sesame seeds helps to retain the shape. Now your sesame ladoo is ready to be eaten.

Happy Cooking!

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