Saturday, November 27, 2010

Vella Kozhakattai / Steamed Dumplings

Vella Kozhakattai is made especially on Ganesh Chathurthi. This is said to be the most liked dish of lord Ganesha. Hence even on Sankata Hara Chuthurthi some people have the practice of making this sweet dish and offering to lord Ganesha.

My MIL was out of town on a Sunday and it happened to be Sankata Hara Chaturthi (Also known as Sankashti). So she was worried that she was not making Kozhakattai that day. I assured her i will prepare and offer to Lord Ganesha. So my experiment on Kozhakattai to Lord Ganesha. (I had prepared along with her, but had not tried it alone)

Ingredients :
For the outer Cover (mel Maavu)
Rice Floor - 1 Cup (Preferebly home made from rice soaked in Water, drained well & ground to a powder consistency)
Oil - 3 spoons
Water - 1 1/4 cups

For the filling (Poornam)
Jaggery - 3/4 Cup
Coconut - Grated - 1 cup
Cardomom Powder - Little

Preparation :

First we can do the filling. Heat Kadai. Add jaggery , cardomom & coconut to the kadai. In low heat Saute till Jaggery melts and mixes well with the coconut and the mixture comes to a considerable thick consistency (so as to make round balls. But should not be too thick).

While it is still warm, make small balls of it.
Tips : To avoid the poornam from sticking to your hands apply ghee in ur hand.

Preparing the outer cover :
Traditionally raw rice is soaked for few hours in water, the water is drained very well and then ground nicely into rice flour. It has to be seived a number of times to avoid any lumps in the batter. This flour is used to make this recipe. Alternatively we can use ready rice floor to save time. But for religious occations like Varalakshmi Pooja etc., the traditional method has to be adopted.
Even for readily available rice floor it is better to sift it 2 - 3 times to avoid debris.
Mix rice floow with water to make a smooth consistancy. Now heat kadai, add oil and add this mixed batter. Stir well using a wooden laddle or a hard spoon. Keep Stirring to ensure no lumps are formed. When it is well mixed, switch off the heat close it with a tight lid. It will get cooked in that heat itself.
After sometime, open lid and mix it well with your hands. The better the batter is pressed and mixed, the better chances for the round shape of the Kozhakattais without breakage.
Now make medium sized balls with that mixture. Make a cup Shape out of the Balls as shown in the picture.

Now Fill the Sweet balls inside this and close it from all sides making the shape of a kozhakattai as shown in picture below. the bottom should be round and the top portion should be in the shape of a beak. Keep it in idly pot and steam them for 7 - 8 minutes.

You can know that it is done when the color of the kozhakattai changes to a little brown color and the top layer gets a little transparent.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Veg Brinji rice

Brinji - as it is popularly known in Chennai is nothing but a mix veg rice with added masalas. I make this atleast once a week since it has a good mix of all vegetables and is a healthly option for lunch box.

This Receipe i learnt from my friend 'S'. She makes it v well.

I sometimes add paneer to this only because my son loves it. Otherwise it is optional.

Main difference between this dish & Pulav is that in Brinji we do not add garam masala powder and it is made with normal rice. If we make it with Basmathi rice and add Garam Masala and skip tomato, this will be Veg.Pulav.


Onion - 2
Tomato - 5
cinnamon stick - 1
Bay leaf - 1
Rice - 1 cup
Water - 2 Cups

Chopped Vegetables ::
Carrot - 2
Beans - 200 Gms
Potato - 3
Peas - 100 Gms
Capsicum - 1

Can also add other vegetables that may be available in your fridge.

Grind together ::

Pudina leaves - 1/2 bunch ,Clove - 1, cinnamon - 1 stick , ginger - little, Garlic - 4 pods, grated coconut (2 spoons),green chillies (4)

Preparation Method ::

Soak Rice separately for 20 minutes.

In pressure cooker add 2 spoons oil and add cinnamon stick & Bay leaf. Then fry onion till translucent . Add tomato and fry till the raw smell goes and it is blended well. Now add the cut vegetables and cook for 5 minutes. Add little tumeric powder and salt.

Add the ground masala to the vegetables and stir for 5 min.

Add water and let the water boil. When the water starts boiling add rice and close the lid and keep for 2 whistles.

When done garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with Onion, Tomato or Cucumber raitha…

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Eggless Banana Bread


Frankly speaking, i took this receipe from the internet only. But i have done some improvization to the original for my satisfaction.

It was in May 2009 that i first tried this receipe. It was my FIL's Bday and thought of giving him a surprise. Made this after all had slept at night. Morning when he woke up, he was really surprised and happy. I felt happy too. Isnt it a great feeling!!

Ingredients ::

1 1/2 cups All purpose flour (Maida) or Wheat flour (for diet concious people)

3/4 cups of powdered sugar

Less than 1/4 spoon salt

1.5 spoon baking powder

1/4 cups butter (melted)

1 cup curd

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup mashed banana (green one will suit best)

1/4 cup cut Almonds


Seive the Maida and mix with Sugar. Then add all other ingredients and mix well. Beating them with a blender would give a smooth texture to the bread and also enhance the taste.

Preheat microwave to 180 Degrees. If Oven you can use directly without pre-heating.

Greese the microwave safe dish in which you are going to bake.

Transfer the well mixed mixture to this tray and bake for 35 - 40 minutes. You may keep a watch every 10 minutes to ensure that the bread is not burnt. The Baking time will vary from oven to oven. So to know when the bread is done, insert a toothpick into the bread. If it comes out clean without sticking, it means the bread is ready.

This can be had as a weekend evening snack or packed for kids as a snack.

Pasta - The Indian Style

Pasta - The Indionized version also called the Upma Pasta

Pasta has always been a favourite dish for me. But making it with Cheese and milk was making me very guilty so i was avoiding making Pasta altogether. One day my friend 'R' suggested we can make Pasta without cheese or with less cheese. It doesnt taste Italian though. But believe me, it tastes v good and is a good tiffin receipe. Me and my son love this dish. Hope u like it too :)

Ingredients :
Pasta - 1 packet (I have used Penne here, Macroni tastes even better and comes much crispier)
Onion - 2 - Cut into thin strips
Tomato - 2 Cut into small cubes
Carrot - 2 Shredded
Capsicum - 2 (can add green / red / yellow, atleast 2 colors would make it more colorful)
Peas - 1 cup
Cheese - as reqd
Ginger Onion paste - if reqd
Garam Masala / Chilly Powder / Salt / butter - as reqd

In a big vessel add water and let it boil. When the water boils add 3 - 4 drops of oil and add the pasta. Let it cook for 5 - 7 minutes. Do not over cook. When 3/4th cooked, transfer to a strainer and keep under running cold water. This helps the pasta from sticking. Keep this aside.
In a Kadai, add butter and add ginger garlic paste(not a must), then add onion and fry till it is golden brown. now add peas and let it cook for sometime. Then add carrot and capsicum. When it is little cooked, add little garam masala, salt, 1/2 spoon chilly powder and fry for sometime.
Now when the vegetables are cooked, add the pasta and stir. Make sure that the pasta does not stick too much.
Now add some grated cheese on top and mix. Your Pasta is ready. Serve hot.
p.s : Pasta tastes better when had hot.
Capsicum should never be overcooked in the dish.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Veg Fried Rice

According to me this is a Dish thats v easy, common yet v tasty. This can be prepared with Onion or without Onion as a Jain receipe also.

Ingredients ::

Long Grain Basmathi Rice - 2 cups

Carrot - 2

Capcisum - 1

Cabbage - 500 Gms

Peas - one cup

Beans - 100 Gms

Onion - 2

Spring Onion - One Bunch

Soya Sause - 2 Spoons

Aginomotto - 1 Teaspoon

Ghee / Salt / Sugar/oil / pepper - As reqd

Preparation ::

Wash rice and leave it for 10 minutes. Heat Kadai and add ghee. Add the rice and fry for few minutes. Then transfer the contents to a pressure cooker, add 1:1 water and cook for one whistle. Keep it aside

In the Kadai now add oil, add onion and fry till golden brown. Then add the cabbage, carrot, Peas & Beans and fry for sometime. Then add little water for it to cook and close the kadai with a lid. When the vegetables are half cooked, add spring onion & Capsicum. Now cook the vegetables for 10 minutes without covering the Lid. (as Capsicum should not be over cooked).

Now add salt, Soya Sause, Aginomotto, Pepper powder & little sugar.

Now the vegetables are ready. Add the rice which we have prepared seperately to this and mix well. Tasty fried rice is ready. Tastes best with some gravy subzi like matter paneer etc.,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Chatpata Babycorn Paneer

Paneer has always been my favourite dish for a starter. Had some panner & Babycorn in my fridge. Paneer with baby corn was a delicious combination. So wanted to try out something. Tried this new dish.
Tastes good as a starter or as a side dish for Fried Rice...Hope you like it too!

BabyCorn - 4
Paneer - 200 gms
Capsicum - 1 medium sized
Onion - 2
Jeera - half spooon
Garam Masala , chilly powder, coriander powder, Salt - as reqd
Heat a Kadai and add oil. Then add some jeera. When it turns brown add onion and fry till golden brown. Now add some salt, Garam Masala, red chilly powder, coriander powder and fry well. Now add the baby corn and let it cook for sometime in the oil. (Alternatively to make the dish faster you may cook babycorn seperately in oven for 3 - 4 minutes and then add to the kadai)
once baby corn is half cooked, add capsicum and fry. cut paneer into cubes and add to this when the capsicum is half cooked. Be cautious not not overcook babycorn or capsicum. Keep frying on and off so that it does not stick to the kadai.
Garnish with coriander leaves(optional) and serve hot.
This can be prepared as a good starter for a Sunday lunch....mmmm...yummy!!