Friday, August 28, 2009

Sorrel Chutney/Gongura pachadi

I was thrilled when I first saw Gongura in our local Indian grocery store in NJ. It awakens childhood memories from summers we spent back home at my Grandma's. She used to make these pickeled Gongura so well, in a large scale for her daughters (three including my mom) and send with us the years supply of roasted leaves to make a chutney (sauce) whenever we needed.
Gongura also known as Puntikura is a famous sour tasting leafy vegetable that grows abudantly in the state of Andhra Pradesh/South India. It has a sour tart taste and comes in two varieties, ones with red or green stems. They are commonly referred to in English as Red and white sorrel. It is a nutrient rich with edible leafs that are loaded with vitamins folic acid, iron and antioxidants. A variety of dishes including pappu(daal), pulusu(Soup) and pachadi(Chutney/sauce) are made with these leaves.
Find the link here for more facts.
Following is a recipe for my favorite yummy Gongura Pachadi.

2 Pounds Gongura leaves,
4-5 dried red pepper
8-10 garlic cloves
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp zeera (cumin)
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp chana daal
1 tbsp urad daal
1 tsp turmeric
5-8 curry leaves
A pinch of hing (Asafoetida)

Wash and separate the Gongura leaves from the stems. Roast them in a pan until wilted and they loose water and keep aside. In another pan heat 2 tbsp oil and add the seasoning ingredients. When the seeds start to splutter add the dried red pepper and heat till the turn slightly brown. Mix the seasoning with the leaves and grind adding enough water to make a paste. In the same pan heat rest of the oil and roast the garlic cloves till they turn golden brown, Now mix the garlic with the ground Gongura paste and pachadi is ready to serve.

Serving suggestion: Serve with rice and ghee, with sliced onion on the side or with rotis.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Chick pea (Garbanzo bean) fritters

Chick peas aka Garbanzo beans are a rich source of good fiber (the one that controls cholesterol). They are nutrient and protein rich and also good for diabetics due to their property of controlling sugar surges immediately after a meal. More nutritional information on garbanzo beans is found here.
Here is a mouth watering recipe for fritters using Garbanzo. Although this recipe involves deep frying in oil, it is still wholesome in terms of protein/ fiber content and nutritional values. Ideally one can use oil that has low or no transfats, and has a high smoke point for a healthy dish. I used canola oil here.
I am sure you will love this recipe and will like to make these time and again.

2 cups Chick peas (senagalu/garbanzo beans) soaked (or use if canned directly)
2 Green chillies chopped
8-10 curry leaves
Half a square inch grated ginger
1 big Onion chopped (optional)
Salt to taste

Soak Chick peas in water for about 3-4 hours (I personally prefer the freshly soaked ones for good consistency against canned). Grind it coarsely with green chilly, ginger and salt with as much water to form a paste consistency. Add chopped onions and curry leaves (optional).
Make small balls and put them on a plastic cover or wet palm and press with fingers to make small cutlet shaped circles
Put it into preheated oil in a pan and deep fry until they turns golden brown. You can make few at a time. Take them out onto paper towels to soak out excess oil.

Makes about 20 pieces.

Serve hot with ketchup or coconut chutney (I will cover this recipe soon, Pls check back later).

You can add chopped podina (mint) leaves or Dill for desired taste.

Chickpeas on Foodista

Monday, August 24, 2009

Minty Grilled Quesadillas

Quesadillas are my daughter’s favorite. I make these in different versions using a variety of vegetables and this is the best trick to get her to eat her daily dose of greens and veggies. This is a healthy option for snacking as well. It is quick and easy to make. I seldom use the whole wheat tortillas with lesser anount of carbs and more fibre to have it even healthier. This is on the 'hit list' of my daughters lunch box menu. Here I like to share the flavorful mint version which would capture the taste of kids and adults alike.

5 flour Tortillas
½ cup chopped spinach
1 tomato thinly sliced
1 small onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped mint
3 tbsp chopped coriander (cilantro)
A dash of garlic powder
3 tbs pitted olives sliced
5 tsp tomato paste or sauce
1 cup shredded cheese (Cheddar, Mozzarella, Monterey jack or a mixture)

Heat the Tortillas in a microwave for 2 mins
Mix the spinach, tomato, onions, mint, cilantro and olives like for a salad & stir in a dash of garlic and mix. Lay out each tortilla and first spread the tomato sauce on half of it. On top spread the above mixture. Layer it with a tbsp or more of cheese as desired.

Fold the tortilla into half and grill for 4-5 min.

Once the cheese has melted and the quesadilla turns crispy. Take off the grill and cut into wedges and serve with green coriander chutney or Ketchup.

This recipe has been presented to Cooking for kids event hosted by Divya @ Dil se and Sharmi @ Neivedyam

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rice pudding with Jaggery

Feature on Vinayaka chavithi - Ganesh Festival Special

Vinayaka chavithi is celebrated on the 4th day of bright half of Bhadrapada masam by hindu calendar. People celebrate on this day the birthday of the elephant faced God - Lord Sri Vinayaka or Vighneswara (protector from obstacles) revered by many more names as Ganesha or Ganadhipathi. With all due devotion to the Lord, today’s neivedyam is in his holy name.

Shuklaambara Dharam Vishnum
Shashi Varnam Chatur Bhujam
Prasanna Vadanam Dhyaayet
Sarva Vighna Upashaanthaye

Meaning: We worship Lord Ganesha who is adorned in white (for purity), is all pervading, with magnificent dark complexion glowing with spiritual splendor, with bright countenance and is four armed, who obliterates all our obstacles.

Bellam paravannam/ Rice pudding with Jaggery

1 cup rice
5 cups milk
1 cup jaggery
¼ cup cashew nuts
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup raisins
1 tsp cardamom powder
3 tsp ghee

Heat ghee in a kadai and fry the cashews, almonds and raisins and keep aside. Wash the rice, drain off excess water and keep aside. In a big bowl or pressure cooker boil the milk. When it starts to boil stir in the washed rice mix well and Cook with the lid closed. Once the rice is soft and cooked (or after 3 whistles if cooking in a pressure cooker) turn off flame. Once the pressure is all released open the cooker stir in the jaggery & cardamom powder and cook until well blended and the pudding turns golden brown. Garnish with the roasted nuts and raisins and serve.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits

~~~~ By a novice at baking

Yesterday afternoon my kids (seven and four) had this brilliant summer break activity idea to bake. Being a novice at baking I searched the net and looked through a lot of recipes for making homemade biscuits. I finally followed this one from Diana’s deserts and I thank her for posting this wonderful recipe. I modified it a little bit and used little more of baking powder since i didnt trust very well the one I own in my pantry.

We were all set to embark on this baking expedition and since my kiddos wanted to give it a sweet twist we also grabbed the raspberry preserve we had handy out in our refrigerator to decorate our little buddies.

What we used:

1 cup buttermilk
2 cups self rising flour
1 oz butter
1 oz margarine
½ tsp baking powder
3 tbsp raspberry preserve
Blue berries to decorate

Here’s what we did-

In a bowl mixed the flour and baking powder. Then cut in the butter and margarine using a blender. Added the buttermilk in the center and stirred till moist

Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and rolled while folding it several times and repeat rolling. We cut the biscuits using a biscuit cutter into circles or half moon shapes – per my little ones choice.

Now we baked the biscuits in a preheated 400oC oven for 18 min.

Once the baking was done and biscuits turned nice and golden brown, we let them cool for 5-6 min. was hard to wait off course! :-)

We then carefully separated 3 layers of the biscuit to spread in the raspberry preserve and put it back together.

Uumm… the experiment had a yummy output and gone were they in no time with our afternoon tea. But yes I did grab these snaps and lovely they look. Enjoy!

This recipe has been presented to Cooking for kids event hosted by Divya @ Dil se and Sharmi @ Neivedyam

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Capsicum Boats

There are many ways people make stuffed bell pepper.

Here's my version with grated vegetables and mung bean stuffing relished with Indian style yoghurt sauce.

You will need for this

3 Capsicum (green Bell pepper)
1 cup grated carrots,
1 cup grated zuchhini (cucumber)
1 potato peeled and grated
½ cup cooked rice (Optional)
1/2 cup cooked moong daal (soaked in water until soft -abt 30min) (also called mung bean or green gram)
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp Cumin (Zeera)
1 tsp garlic paste
1 cup grated cheese (Cheddar/jack, Mozarella or as preferred)
Corriander/Cilantro for garnish

Yoghurt sauce: Mix 3 tbsp yoghurt with half a teaspoon karappodi or cumin powder

Boil the bell pepper in water for 5 min

In a wok heat oil and add the zeera, garlic and when zeera start to splutter add the grated vegetables and moong daal. Let cook until they become soft. Once the vegetables are cooked add precooked rice (this is optional, it allows the vegetables to stick together) Adjust the salt to taste.

Place the boiled capsicum in a baking tray and scoop the cooked vegetable-rice-daal mixture into the boiled capsicum and add cheese repeat the same in layers. Fill up the capsicum really to the top (When you bake it the mixture will sink in).

Now bake the capsicum in a preheated 400oC Oven for 20-25 min until the cheese has melted and the capsicum is lightly browned on sides.

Remove let cool and cut each capsicum into 4 wedges (boat shaped) lay them down and garnish with chopped cilantro and drizzle some yoghurt sauce.

Serving Suggestions: Enjoy your capsicum boats with chilled lemonade on side!

Serves as a nice and colorful party side.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Rasam is a South Indian soup, kinda dish made with hot tamarind broth, toor daal and tomatoes. It is very popular in Andhra, Tamil and Karnataka cuisine. Other than tomatoes that are commonly used; vegetables that are used in special festive versions are- mulakkayalu/drumsticks. Horsegram /ulavalu, is a another classic ingredient used in this dish in traditional Andhra. The spices used in this are a very good remedy to treat colds and making it a soothing and comforting dish when suffering from a cold. Nothing compares to this soup as an excellent winter warm up. Its aroma makes it irresistible for anyone, anytime, anyways. Here’s my version of it. Try it and enjoy.

2 big tomatoes diced (or use canned diced tomatoes)
1 cup toor daal precooked
4 cups water
Tamarind Juice (made by soaking a lemon sized ball of tamarind in hot water)
2 tbsp Rasam powder
3 tbsp oil
2 red peppers
8-10 curry leaves
1 tsp ginger paste (optional)
2 tbsp grated jaggery
Salt to taste
A pinch of hing
1 twig of cilantro
For tempering:
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 teaspoons urad daal
A pinch of turmeric

Heat oil in a pan for tempering. Add the ingredients in order, followed by red pepper, and curry leaves. Add the tomatoes when urad daal is golden brown. Let cook till tender and add the cooked toor daal and 1 cup water and let cook. When the daal blends in well add the rest of water, tamrind juice, grated jaggery and rasam powder. Let cook till it starts to boil. Add hing mix and take off the flame. Garnish with cilantro

Serve hot as accompaniment with rice.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Thotakura-Senagapappu/Sauteed Amaranth with Bengal gram

Thotakura belongs to the Genus- Amaranth . Several species and varieties of this are grown worlwide. While the use of Amaranth leaves is well known in Indian/Andhra and Chinese cooking, its seeds are reported in studies to behold medicinal benefits. Here is one simple Andhra style dish using Thotakura and senagapappu as main ingredients

2 Pounds Thotakura washed and chopped
1 cup senagapappu (chana daal) soaked until soft
1 small onion chopped
2 green peppers chopped
Salt to taste
Coriander (cilantro) for garnish
2 tbs oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad daal
4-5 garlic cloves

Heat oil in a wok. Add the seasoning ingredients. When seeds splutter add the chopped green peppers, onions and senaga pappu. Cook until the pappu is tender and onions turn golden brown. Stir in the chopped thotakura and cook with the lid closed until all the thotakura is tender and cooked well. Adjust the salt, take off the flame and serve.

Serving suggestion: Serve with hot rice or chapathi

Amaranth Leaves on Foodista

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Kobbari-badam laddu/Coconut-Almond-sweet

vacanaṁ madhuraṁ caritaṁ madhuraṁ

vasanaṁ madhuraṁ valitaṁ madhuraṁ
calitaṁ madhuraṁ bhramitaṁ madhuraṁ
madhur-ādhi-pater akhilaṁ madhuraṁ
Above is part of a sanskrith verse from the Hymn "Madhurashtakam" composed by Sri Vallabhacharya in 1478 AD. In this poem of 8 verses only one word madhuram is repeated seven times in each verse. The Verse describes Lord Sri Krishna as Sweetness Personified and as "all madhuram" meaning "sweet". Todays sweet recipe in the name of Lord Sri Krishna on account of Janmashtami.

Wishing one and all a wonderful Janmastami Celebration! On this occasion I thought of making kobbari ladddu as naivedyam. I would like to share the same recipe with you all here and an image of the yummy laddus I have made. It just took me about 20 min. and hope this quick and easy sweet recipe will come handy for you too, when you like to enjoy a quick treat.

4 cups grated coconut (endu kobbari)
½ cup almonds toasted and powdered
400 g sweetened condensed milk
½ tsp elaichi powder (cardamom)

Mix the condensed milk and 3 ½ cups grated coconut and heat in a pan while constantly stirring on low flame. Slowly stir in the almond and elaichi powders and keep mixing for 5-6 mins until the mixture thickens. Take off the flame and make laddu shaped balls with palms greased with ghee. Roll the laddus in the rest of grated coconut. Laddus are ready to serve.
Makes about 20 laddus

You can add any other toasted nuts such as cashews, pistachios, walnuts etc. of your choice to combine the desired flavor.

Coconut on Foodista

Dondakaya Stir fry

As I have promised you quick easy recipes, here’s one of those easiest.… and simply- one ingredient dish that you can make when you do not want to deal with too many things. Dondakaya is referred to as Ivy guard in English. Also if you are one of those fry fans and yet have to watch your calories as I do too, you will love this one. You will not be guilty eating it, since Donadakaya is a low calorie vegetable unlike other fried vegetables like potatoes. Also it does not need too much oil to fry. It contains pretty good amount of water and so even if you use very little oil as you start frying, it leaves out water and becomes tender and crisp very quickly. The recipe follows below-

2 pounds Dondakayalu – washed and each one slit twice lengthwise leaving out the bottom to keep it as whole
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red pepper powder
1 tsp zeera
1-2 tblspn oil
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a wok. Add the zeera, when they start to splutter add the dondakayalu and fry till they become tender, lightly browning on edges and crispy while mixing occasionally. Stir in desired amount of salt and red pepper powder and take off the flame.

Serving suggestions: Serve hot with rice.
For more on Dondakaya recipes- click here

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


With the arrival of Sravana masam, the most auspicious
month per hindu calendar (that usually falls in the months of july and august), women prepare for “vrathas”- holy rituals especially on the Tuesdays and Fridays. On the Friday that comes before the full Moon day (“Sravana Pournima” or “Rakhi Pournima”) in this month is the celebration of “Varalakshmi vratham”, which is performed for the prosperity of the family. Godess Varalakshmi the eternal mother is the Godess of health, wealth and well being. Among the customary dishes prepared on this occasion as “nivedyam” - offerings are the “poornam-boorelu” and “Pulihora”. Poornam-boorelu is a classic sweet dish which is made with sweetened chana daal or moong daal coated with urad flour batter and fried. As you can see from the ingredients it is highly proteinaceous. The two versions of this dish are made either with sugar or jaggery. The jaggery version is very earthy and is my family's favorite. To prepare this elaborate dish with less effort look at the recipe and tips below. Try for yourself and enjoy!


1 cup urad flour
2 cups rice flour
3 cups water
2 cups chana daal
2 cups jaggery
1 cup grated coconut
1 tsp cardamom seeds- ground

Batter preparation: Mix the flours and water into smooth batter. Let it soak 8hr. to over night in a warm place for fermentation.
Poornam (Stuffng): Cook chana daal in a pressure cooker. Add jaggery, coconut, cardamom and mash well or blend in a food processor.
Make small balls with the chana daal-mix. Preheat oil in a frying pan while making the balls. Dip the balls in the urad-rice batter to coat fully. Drop them in oil and deep fry till they turn red. Remove from pan and place on paper towels to remove excess oil.
Serve hot or cooled with ghee added in the poornam.

Variations: This is a modified quick version. The batter can also be made according the original procedure by soaking 1:2 urad daal:Rice in water –grinding to smooth batter like dosa consistency and allowing to ferment. You can achieve the same taste with this shortcut procedure with less effort. However make sure the batter ferments well by keeping in a warm place before making poornam-boorelu.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sorakaya koora (Anapakaya/kaddu/bottle gourd)

Bottle gourd is a tropical vegetable that seems to be originated in India and Africa. Gourds in general are low in saturated fats and cholesterol. They are rich in fibre and vitamins Riboflavin, Thiamine and vit C and milnerals - Iron, Zinc, Magnesium and Manganese. It is a good candidate for a weight loss diet. It is used in traditional medicine for treating indigestion, acidity and ulcers. Learn more about bottle gourd here.
I would like to share here a andhra style recipe for very appetizing and nourishing vegetable side using bottle gourd also called Sorakaya or anapakaya in telugu
1 big sorakaya peeled and cut to small cubes
2 green peppers sliced
6-8 curry leaves,
1 tsp ginger paste
2 table spoons oil
1 tsp nutmeg
½ cup milk
3 cups water
2 tbsp maida or besan
Salt to taste
1tsp red pepper powder
For tempering:
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 teaspoons urad daal
A pinch of turmeric

Heat oil in a pan and add the tempering ingredients in order mentioned. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the red pepper, ginger paste and curry leaves. Stir in sliced green pepper and sorakaya, mix in with 2 cups of water and milk and cook until tender. Add the salt,red pepper powder and nutmeg and mix. Mix the maida or besan in one cup water and mix to prevent any lumps. Now slowly stir in this mix into the sorakaya curry and stir to avoid lumps. Cook for 5 more min. Take off the flame and serve hot.
Serves 6

Serving tips: This is a yummy vegetable side with puri or chapathi, and also can be served with rice

This dish has been presented to the Side dish event hosted by Viki's kitchen.

Viki's Kitchen.: Announcing an event ... 'Side dish for chapathi'
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