Sorghum and Cowpeas Sweet Salad / Cholam and Karamani Inippu Sundal


So, what are the navarathiri special recipes this year? asked my colleague during lunch break. Just realized navarathiri is fast approaching and I haven't prepared anything special for the festival. We don't have a custom of organizing golu at home, but prepare sundal on each day to offer god. My colleague's question was ringing in my mind and decided to cook something for the upcoming festival.

Later on the day, when I was speaking to my mom about it, she mentioned about the sundal we used to have when we were school going kids. As she would remember she has been eating it more than a decade and recalled the sweet memories behind it. My mom's family is big and she would tell the story of how my grandma managed to prepare a big meal for all her siblings.

During the fasting days (mainly during Tamil month 'Puratasi'), she would prepare some fasting foods and this sundal is one among them. Both sorghum and cow peas had been harvested in their field itself and that would be the one of the reasons behind this combo as my mom recollected.

She also said how my grandma managed to cook sorghum without pressure cooker and generally it takes long time to cook. My mom has always reminded me of long lost recipes. Thanks to my mom and my grand mom for this healthy no oil sundal recipe.


Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Soaking Time: 8 hours or overnight
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 2


Ingredients:

Great Millet / Sorghum / White Cholam - 1/4 heaped cup
Red black eyed beans / Cowpeas / Karamani / Thattampayar - 1/4 cup
Grated fresh cocont - 2 tablespoons
Green cardamom - 2 nos., crushed
Jaggery - 1/4 cup, grated

Method:

1) Wash sorghum and cow peas separately. Soak it in a separate bowl with a cup of water in each bowl.
2) In the next day morning, you can see both sorghum and cow peas had doubled in its size after absorbing the water.
3) Drain the water from sorghum first and transfer it to the pressure cooker. Add a cup of water and pressure cook it for 3-5 whistles. The number of whistles vary based on the cooking time of the sorghum. Few organic brands cook quickly whereas few takes long time and need more number of whistles.


4) After 3-5 whistles, turn off the stove. Let the steam suppresses well. Remove the lid and add the cow peas to it. Cover and cook again for just 3 whistles.


5) Once the steam suppresses well from pressure cooker, drain the water completely using the colander. Let it be for few minutes to drain out all the water content from it.
6) Transfer the sundal to a mixing bowl. Add greated coconut, crushed green cardamom(or cardamom powder) and grated jaggery. Mix well.


7) Easy, Healthy Sundal is ready. Serve in bowls.


Notes:

1) Sometimes, the sorghum may not have cooked even after 5 whistles. So check whether it is cooked or not, before adding the cowpeas. If it has not cooked well, allow it cook it for few more whistles and then add cow peas.
2) Do not cook more than 3 whistle after adding cow peas.

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Curryleaves Lemonade

My office has several branches across city. We, relocate from one branch another depending on the project requirements. When I joined there a few years back, I was asked to meet a person at a specific location where the joining formalities were taken care. After my documents were scrutinized, I was asked to come after lunch. I was shown a block which housed the restaurant.

As I was walking towards to it, saw a big queue till the entrance of the block. I guessed, it would be for getting food as it is the peak time for lunch. but I was little hesitant to stand in the queue without knowing the queue is what for. I moved slowly inside and found the queue was for ordering sugarcane juice and lemon soda.

I am not a great fan of carbonated drink but I was tempted to buy a glass of sugarcane juice. Here in Chennai, we can get sugarcane juice from roadside stalls where the vendor squeezes the juice from the cane by passing it through a crusher unmindful of the dust that gets into the machine from the buses and cars that pass by.


The machine that was at the office premises was neatly maintained. It was covered by green colored wooden boards on all the sides leaving just a hole to insert the cane and a pipe to bring out the juice that was pressed from the sugarcane. I went to the bill counter and paid for couple of roti's and sugarcane juice. After I was done with roti, I went to stand in the queue. My turn quickly came, but the sugarcane juice was all over by that time. I was left with no choice and had to satisfy with a lemon soda. It was the first time I ever tasted a lemon soda.

It was not bad and as I sipped the soda, I saw a banner placed nearby. It listed different types of juices for sale. I found mint and coriander leaves were used widely in many lemon based juices. I wondered why don't we add curry leaf to any juice and see how the taste would be? The thought process was implemented and the result was even liked by elders back at home. Instead of having a plain lemon juice, it is good to have it with curry leaf - a simple way of having raw curry leaves.

I prepared and clicked this drink as one of the entry to IFBM cocktail contest but after seeing Siri's post on Curry leaves Mojito, I haven't posted it to avoid duplicate entry and hence it is coming out now.


Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 10 minutes + cooling time
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Fresh curry leaves - 1/4 cup, tightly packed, few leaves for garnishing
Lemon juice - 1/4 cup
Granulated sugar - 1/3 cup
Water - 2 - 3 cups
Ice cubes - 1 cup or as required

Method:

1) Dissolve sugar in a cup of water. Boil it to make a sugar syrup. Once done, refrigerate it.
2) Mix lemon juice with sugar syrup. Keep it aside.
3) Grind curry leaves with 1 tablespoon of water. Add it to the lemonade. Mix well and keep refrigerated till you serve.
4) Just before serving, fill halfway the serving glasses with ice cubes and crushed curry leaves.
5) Fill the rest of the glasses with prepared lemonade drink. Serve chill.


Notes:

1) If you are not able to prepare sugar syrup, just mix sugar in water and stir till it dissolves well.
2) Adjust sugar and water according to the sourness of the lemon juice.

Eggless Condensed Milk Chocolate Cake


Chocolates and celebration go hand-in-hand, be it birthday or wedding or any celebration, I have never seen a event go without chocolates. During college days, I used to hate chocolates and anything that use cocoa. I remember that I never used to go for chocolate cakes during my friends birthday celebrations. Those days everyone used to wonder as how can I hate chocolate.

All this stopped when I started making my own chocolate cake. If I remember exactly, the days before my marriage, I stayed with my cousins and I used to cook food at my home everyday. Those days I had a keen interest to try out new dishes because my cousins were there to eat and praise me however good/bad the dish may be. In fact they are one of  the reasons for igniting my passion in cooking. Baking cake was one of my aspirations those days. I learnt that one can bake cake even without an oven when I spotted a Pillsbury cake mix during a grocery shopping. Words can not describe my happiness and vanilla Pillsbury cake mix got a place in my grocery list.

I started preparing my 1st cake having my sister read out the instructions in the pack and two cousins eagerly waiting and watching the process of making. It was all set and the cake went to the pressure cooker. Finger crossed and waited for 30 minutes to cross. I remember none of us hadn't do anything that time other than watching the pressure cooker. :-)


oh ho.. the time had come to open the pressure cooker. The cake came out well and it was spongy too. but the color was not appealing to eat. I latter learnt that it can happen only in a oven. I was a bit disappointed and my sister suggested that I should try a chocolate cake mix where color wouldn't play bigger role. I tried and the cake came out in the color I desired and from that day I became a fan of chocolate cakes.

If I start talking about my cooking experience, it would keep dragging and thi spage won't be enough. So, Let me stop here and come to today's recipe- Eggless condensed milk chocolate cake. Yesterday was my MIL's birthday and this is the first time I baked a cake for her. She normally doesn't prefer sweet recipes. I thought she would like this cake as it has only mild sweetness from condensed milk and moreover it can be eaten as a snack time cake without frosting. But those who like sweet, frosting is a must.

Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 1 round  8inch cake

Ingredients:

For Cake:

All pupose flour / Maida / Plain flour - 1 and 1/2 cup
Cocoa powder - 3 heaped tablespoons
Baking powder - 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Baking soda - 3/4 teaspoon
Sweetened Condensed milk - 3/4 cup
Oil - 3/4 cup
Water - 1 cup
Vanilla extract - 2 teaspoons

For Frosting:

Chocolate orea butter cream frosting - 1 heaped cup (Recipe here)
Chocolate Sauce - as required
Sprinkles - as required
Chocolate vermicelli - as required

Method:

For the Cake:

1) Preheat the oven to 180C for 15 minutes. Grease the 8inch round baking pan with butter first and the dust it with flour. Keep aside.
2) In a wide plate/mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients(All purpose flour, Cocoa powder, Baking powder and Baking Soda)  and sift it well for even mixing.


3) In another large mixing bowl, mix condensed milk, oil, water and vanilla extract.
4) Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix well. If there is any small lumps just ignore them.


5) Pour the cake batter to the prepared cake pan and bake it in the oven for 30 minutes or until the skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.


6) Keep the cake pan in a wire rack for 5-7 minutes and then invert to cool completely.

For the Frosting:

1) Once the cake is cooled completely, apply the chocolate oreo butter cream frosting on it. I applied only on the top of the cake.
2) Pour the chocolate sauce on top of it and pat it evenly.
3) Sprinkle the edible sprinkles and chocolate vermicelli. Slice and serve.


Notes:

1) Since the recipe doesn't call for sugar, good to have this as a tea time cake. But to get a balanced taste, add the frosting with more sugar.
2) You can use the full tin of condensed milk for this recipe. If using, reduce the water quantity to 3/4 cup.
3) Frosting is completely your personal preference. It can be of simple butter frosting or chocolate ganache or cream frosting.

Ellu Poorana Kozhukatttai / Sesame Seeds Stuffed Dumplings


I decided to update my blog only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I came to this decision to reduce hours spent before my PC. It is difficult to stick with the decision but atleast I try to follow it to balance my both personal and professional life.

Monday has passed and its Wednesday today and something struck my mind and alerted me that I have to post a recipe today. After a long search in my PC, I decided to post Sesame seeds stuffed dumplings (Ellu Poorana Kozhukattai or Ellu Kozhukattai) which I had prepared few months back. This post was supposed to come before Ganesh Chathurthi but since I was not satisfied with the pictures I haven't published it for quite sometime. But today I decided to go ahead and publish the recipe thinking that I can change the pictures at later point of time. Till then, excuse me for the bad pictures.

In my hometown, we don't have a custom of celebrating Ganesh Chathurthi using the idol of Lord Ganesh. However we prepare kozhukattais, offer it to Lord Ganesh and pray to him. We go to temple but in the temples of my district, we don't have large festival Ganesh deities as we see here in Chennai.The very first year after I came to chennai, I was totally surprised to see every household buy idol of Lord Ganesh does a puja for it. It was facinating to see large Ganesh statues kept in every street corner(Almost I say!).

As I recollect the phrase, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do" our family too followed the same way but after I got married, seeing my in-laws following the same procedure of celebrating festival in a very simple manner as we do at my native, I decided to stop the new ritual .Whatever different may be the ways of offering prayer, the festival dishes and their preparation methods remain the same everywhere.


Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: 20-25 approximately


Ingredients:

For Stuffing:

Ellu / sesame seeds - 1 cup
Grated Fresh coconut - 3/4 cup
Jaggery - 1 cup
Green Cardamom - 4 nos
Water - as required

For Dumplings/ Kozhukattai:

Rice flour - 2 cups
Water - 2 - 3 cups
Gingelly Oil - 1 teaspoon + as required
Salt - a small pinch

Method:

For Stuffing:

1) Wash and sun dry the sesame seeds. Remove the impurities if any. Then, dry roast it till it splutters.
2) Make coarse powder of it using the mixie. Keep aside.


3) Grate the fresh coconut and keep aside.
4) Transfer the jaggery in a wide bowl or kadai. Add water just to immerse the jaggery. I have clicked this picture when half of the jaggery melted down and so the more water.
5) Wait till the jaggery dissolves well. Add crushed green cardamom.
6) Once the jaggery completely dissolves, filter to remove impurities.


7) Bring back the dissolved jaggery to the kadai. Heat well till it bubbles well.
8) Add grated coconut and powdered sesame seeds.


9) Mix well till the stuffing leaves out the pan. And now you get a slightly thick mixture. Do not cook it for long time, the mixture might get hard.
10) Let the mixture cool down. When it cools down, it becomes even more thick. At luke warm temperature, pinch approximately 1 tablespoon sized mixture and roll it as a ball. 

For the Dumpling:

1) Boil the water with 1 teaspoon of oil.
2) In a wide mixing bowl, take rice flour and salt. Mix well.
3) Add the boiling water slowly in batches to the rice flour and mix using a strong fork or wooden spatula.


4) When you get a very moist puttu flour or lumpy consistency, stop adding the water. Keep aside for few minutes by covering it.
5) Coat your hand with oil and then form a dough from the flour mixture. Knead the dough well till it is non-sticky and make equal sized balls out of it. You can use oil to make this job easier.


6) Take one ball at a time and with the help of oil, tap it to form a circular shape.
7) Keep the prepared stuffing to it and seal the edges. You can either make kozhukattai shape or modhagam shape.


8) Arrange them in a plate till you work on the rest of the dough/balls.
9) Steam them for 7-10 minutes or until they get shiny coating outside of the kozhukattai. Make sure to watch it after 5 minutes, because over cooking may lead to cracking of out dough.


10) Transfer to a plate and server warm.


Notes:

1) I used home made rice flour which we usually and specially prepare for making kozhukattai and idiyappam.
2) If you want to go for the flour marketed in shops, try Anil Kozhukattai flour, which mostly gives nice yield and soft kozhukattai's.
3) If you are not able to make shape or pat the dough evenly, then knead it for sometime and make shape. If you still not getting and it is cracking while making the shape, then boil some(very little) water in a pan and add the dough and cook till it becomes thick by stirring well. Knead and then shape a kozhukattai.
4) When the kozhukattai's are hot the filling inside tends to ooze outside when you break it. So, cool it for some time before serving.
5) Make sure to remove any impurity from sesame seeds or use good quality sesame seeds.

Bottle Gourd Peel Chutney


My husband is someone who feels very happy if I prepare only idly or dosa for breakfast, rice & sambar for lunch and roti & kurma for dinner. Me, on the other hand would love to experience a variety of dishes. As a working woman, it is difficult for me to make two different dishes every time. So, I go by his choice all the time. Making idly or dosa in the morning is not a big deal but it really frustrates to think what to make to accompany it. My frustration and the necessity led me try different experiments. Some of them has resulted in good chutney recipes which were blogged earlier.

I got the basic idea of preparing this chutney from the Ridgegourd chutney which I posted a year ago. At a later point of time, during a random chat with a reader Radha through my facebook page, she shared couple of yummy chutney recipes using bottle gourd. Those were tried out in my kitchen for 'n' number of times and one is down here for you all. Thanks Radha for your recipe and I have slightly changed your recipe according to my family's taste and hope you all like it as we did.

I made use of the skin of bottle gourd(Surai Kai Thol in Tamil) after preparing this bottle gourd stuffed paratha.


Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4


Ingredients:

For Chutney:

Oil - 1 tablespoon
Channa dal - 1/2 tablespoon
Urad dal - 1 tablespoon
Dry red chillies - 4 nos.
Red onion - 1 no., small size, chopped
Tomato - 1 no., small size, chopped
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Curry leaves - 2 springs
Coriander leaves - 2 springs
Bottle gourd Peel - 1/2 cup
Tamarind - 1 small gooseberry size
Salt - to taste
Water - as required

For Seasoning:

Oil - 2 teaspoon
Mustard seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 1 spring

Method:

1) Use fresh, tender bottle gourd peel for this chutney.
2) In a kadai, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add channa dal and urad dal. Saute till both become golden brown and release nice aroma.
3) Towards the end of roasting, add the dry red chilli.
4) Add onion, tomato and garlic. Saute well till all the ingredients become soft.


5) Add bottle gourd peel, coriander leaves and curry leaves. Cook till it becomes tender.
6) When bottle gourd is almost cooked, add tamarind and give a nice saute.


7) Bring this mixture to cool down and grind it to a smooth paste. Add required salt and water while grinding.
8) In a seasoning pan, heat 2 teaspoons of oil and add mustard seeds and curry leaves when it is hot. Allow it to splutter and turn the flame off.


9) Transfer the ground chutney to a bowl and add prepared seasoning to it.
10) Serve with idly or dosa.


Note:

1) Don't forget to add the tamarind.
2) Use tender and fresh bottle gourd peel for making this chutney.

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