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Category — Soul Kitchen

How to Make Mysore Rasam With Brinjal

*** I am following Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes, however I’m using shortcuts like the cooker, etc. and adding some of my own twist to the recipes. What you see here are my recipes inspired by M. Ammal’s and in no way is Ms. Ammal responsible for its outcome should you choose to try it. Though she was responsible for the brilliant outcome of my dish, so, a big thank you Ms. Ammal for writing Samaithu Par.***

A couple of weeks back I made Mysore Rasam with Drumsticks and we enjoyed it. Che especially since he likes the flavour of drumsticks but not the vegetable. So when Vidya commented and told me to try out the brinjal version, I thought why not. After all, brinjal is another vegetable Che doesn’t like 😀

Mysore Rasam with Brinjal

Ingredients –
(Serves 4 cups)
1/2 cup red gram dhal
1 lime size ball of tamarind
2 cups water
2 small size brinjals
1/8 teaspoon of asafoetida
salt to taste
curry leaves
coriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoon bengal gram dhal
6 red chillies pinched into two
6-8 raw peppers (green or dried)
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon ghee
3 teaspoon gingelly oil

Method –
1. Wash and cut brinjals into medium size cubes.

2. Wash and cook dal in a cooker with a little salt and turmeric until very soft.

3. Soak tamarind in warm water. Strain out pulp.

4. Heat 2 tsp oil and fry brinjals until golden brown. Remove from oil and keep aside.

5. In the remaining oil fry coriander seeds, bengal gram and 4 red chillies. Remove from oil and powder fine along with pepper.

6. Drain water from dhal and keep aside. Mash the dhal.

7. In a vessel add the tamarind pulp to two cups of water. Add asafoetida, salt to taste, the fried brinjals and a few bruised curry leaves. Cover and allow the mixture to boil.

8. Add mashed dhal to boiling tamarind water and stir well. Cover and boil for a few minutes before adding the dhal water. Add more water if needed to make it 4 cups quantity. 

9. Bring to a boil again and after a couple of minutes remove from fire.

10. Add the chilli and coriander powder and mix well.

11. Heat 1 tsp of oil and 1 tsp of ghee and fry mustard, 2 red chillies and curry leaves.

12. Pour over the rasam.

13. Finally garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

What other veggies have you tried for rasams? Any recommendations?

March 7, 2013   No Comments

How To Make Buttermilk Sambar

*** I am following Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes, however I’m using shortcuts like the cooker, etc. and adding some of my own twist to the recipes. What you see here are my recipes inspired by M. Ammal’s and in no way is Ms. Ammal responsible for its outcome should you choose to try it. Though she was responsible for the brilliant outcome of my dish, so, a big thank you Ms. Ammal for writing Samaithu Par.***

On Pongal day I was looking to make a nice simple traditional meal that wasn’t the usual sambar rice. Flipping pages I noticed the recipe of buttermilk sambar. As I glanced though it I thought it would be a more kuzhambu, but it wasn’t. It did seem like a sambar recipe, so decided to try it. It surprised me by tasting really good; when you think buttermilk sambar, you don’t think it’d be this tasty. (Sorry about the picture, I forgot to click before eating and that’s what the leftovers looked like 😀 )

Buttermilk Sambar

Ingredients –
(Serves 4)
3/4th cup red gram dhal
1 cup sour buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
4-6 red chillies pinched into two (based in spiciness)
4 green chillies
1/2 inch piece ginger or 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
few curry leaves
some coriander leaves
gingelly oil 3 teaspoons
salt to taste
3 medium size potatoes for seasonings*

*seasonings – I used potato but you could also use drumstick, brinjal, lady’s finger, chow chow and ash-gourds. Most other vegetables don’t go well with curd/buttermilk. Make sure to either boil or fry the vegetables before you add them to the sambar.

Method –

1. Boil the dhal in a cooker with a pinch of salt until it’s very soft. You can boil the potatoes along with the dhal.

2. Heat oil in a vessel. When the oil is hot add mustard, fenugreek, red chillies and green chillies. Add ginger and curry leaves when mustard starts to splutter and green chillies are scalded.

3. Sort the curry leaves quickly and add the buttermilk.

4. Add the seasonings. If you are using potatoes though, don’t add them just yet.

5. Drain the water from the dhal and add it to the buttermilk in the vessel. Mash the cooked dhal partially.

6. When the buttermilk boils add the dhal mash and salt to taste, mix well and let it come to a boil again while occasionally stirring.

7. Let it boil for a couple of moments, then remove from fire.

8. Chop some coriander and keep aside for garnishing.

9. Peel boiled potatoes and chop into medium sized cubes. You can also cut them smaller or larger based on what you prefer.

10. Deep fry the potatoes until they are golden brown. Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Keep aside.

11. Garnish the buttermilk sambar with potatoes and coriander before serving.

Have you made buttermilk sambar before? Have a different recipe or any tips for me?

February 26, 2013   No Comments

How to Make Sambar Without Sambar Powder

*** I am following Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes, however I’m using shortcuts like the cooker, etc. and adding some of my own twist to the recipes. What you see here are my recipes inspired by M. Ammal’s and in no way is Ms. Ammal responsible for its outcome should you choose to try it. Though she was responsible for the brilliant outcome of my dish, so, a big thank you Ms. Ammal for writing Samaithu Par.***

I wanted to make sambar but the only sambar powders I have at home are the ready made ones we don’t like much and I didn’t have the time to make a new batch of powder so I was looking for a sambar that didn’t need sambhar powder.

Seasoned Sambar

Ingredients –
(Serves 4)
3/4 cup red gram dhal
1 lime size ball of tamarind
2 carrots sliced*
5 french beans chopped in inch size pieces
6 red chillies pinched into two
1/4 teaspoon fenugeek seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard
one pinch asafoetida
2 green chillies
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons gingelly oil
curry leaves
coriander leaves
salt to taste

*Seasonings – Instead of carrot and beans, you can also use – brinjal, drumstick, lady’s finger, chow chow, pumpkin, runner beans, etc.

Method –

1. Cook the dhal in a cooker with a pinch of salt, turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon gingelly oil until soft.

2. Soak tamarind in warm water. Strain the pulp.

3. Heat the rest of the oil in a vessel and fry the mustard, fenugreek, curry leaves and red chillies until brown but not burned.

4. Add the asafoetida and green chillies. (If you like green chilly spice make a slit in the chillies.) Add a few bruised curry leaves.

5. Add carrots and beans and sort before adding tamarind water to the fried spices.

6. Add salt.

7. When vegetables are cooked, mash the dhal and add it into the vessel. Mix well and bring to a boil.

8. Boil for a few minutes and remove from fire.

9. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.

Do you know any other recipes to make sambar without sambar powder?

February 19, 2013   No Comments

How To Make Drumstick Mysore Rasam

*** I am following Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes, however I’m using shortcuts like the cooker, etc. and adding some of my own twist to the recipes. What you see here are my recipes inspired by M. Ammal’s and in no way is Ms. Ammal responsible for its outcome should you choose to try it. Though she was responsible for the brilliant outcome of my dish, so, a big thank you Ms. Ammal for writing Samaithu Par.***

I big drawback I stumbled upon was that Part one of Samaithu Par does not have a recipe to make rasam powder. This recipe is in book two and most recipes in book one for rasam need rasam powder. So I had to find a rasam that did not need rasam powder. Hence Mysore Rasam and to add the twist – drumstick.

Drumstick Mysore Rasam

Ingredients –
(Serves 4 cups)
1/2 cup red gram dhal
1 lime size ball of tamarind
2 cups water
2-3 drumsticks
a pinch of asafoetida
salt to taste
curry leaves
coriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoon bengal gram dhal
8 red chillies pinched into two
5-6 raw peppers (green or dried)
1 teaspoon mustard
1 teaspoon ghee
2 teaspoon gingelly oil

Method –

1. Wash and cut drumsticks into long pieces and cook along with the dhal and a pinch of salt in a cooker until soft.

2. Soak tamarind in warm water. Strain out pulp.

3. Heat the oil and fry coriander seeds, bengal gram and 6 red chillies. Remove from oil and powder fine along with pepper.

4. Remove drumsticks from dhal and scrape out the pulp from the boiled drumsticks and keep aside.

5. Drain water from dhal and keep aside. Mash the dhal.

6. In a vessel add the tamarind pulp to two cups of water. Add asafoetida, salt to taste, the drumstick pulp and a few bruised curry leaves. Allow the mixture to boil.

7. Add mashed dhal to boiling tamarind water and stir well. When it boils again add the dhal water.

8. Bring to a boil again and after a couple of minutes remove from fire.

9. Add the chilli and coriander powder and mix well.

10. To the oil remaining from the first time, add ghee and fry mustard, 2 red chillies and curry leaves.

11. Pour over the rasam to garnish along with chopped coriander leaves.

Note: I hadn’t mashed the drumstick and also had used just one. You need more than one to have a prominent flavour and mashing the pulp will help.

What is the major difference between the usual rasam and the Mysore rasam? I don’t see a big difference… Do you know?

February 12, 2013   3 Comments

Samaithu Par and How to Make Venn Pongal and Coconut Thuvaiyal

Samaithu Par

I come from a family of good cooks, a place where almost all the men cook a mean meal and the women are just oh-la-la! Growing up in good food meant I never saw a need to learn to cook, I just ate 😀 And since cooking runs in the family, when I did need to cook, I didn’t burn stuff often. 😛

Now 32 years later I’m learning to cook!

As a Diwali gift this year I got a copy of Samaithu Par by S. Meenakshi Ammal. This is the quintessential South Indian cooking guide that has been passed from mother to daughter at marriage for the last few decades. Its even available in 5 languages.

My south indian cooking being limited and average I thought this would be a good challenge for 2013. I am going to learn south indian cooking from Master M. Ammal. (Like that Julia and Julia thing remember, only Freya and Ammal don’t sound as good)

The book’s great but it has two short-comings. It doesn’t have photos so you don’t know what your dish will look like and the layout is confusing if you’re not well-versed in south indian cuisine. The latter I overcame thanks to a friend who patiently talked me through the book. But I still need to make visuals of the dishes listed.

Though this year I’m going to try and cook the dishes M. Ammal has listed in book one and take pictures of them. I’ll post photos and my version of the recipe here on the blog as I go along :) It’s fully Samaithu Par – Cook and See…

*** I am following Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes, however I’m using shortcuts like the cooker, etc. and adding some of my own twist to the recipes. What you see here are my recipes inspired by M. Ammal’s and in no way is Ms. Ammal responsible for its outcome should you choose to try it. Though she was responsible for the brilliant outcome of my dish, so, a big thank you Ms. Ammal for writing Samaithu Par.***

Pongal and Coconut Thuvaiyal

Venn or White Pongal
(Pongal is that soulful dish what can make any day and tummy better. Not spicy, but warm, soft and soothing, it’s easy and perfect for those days when you’re not up to it.)

Ingredients –
1 cup rice
1/2 cup green gram dal (the yellow kind called masoor)
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh or preserved green pepper
4 cups water
Salt to taste
4 teaspoon of ghee
1 1/2 teaspoon of oil
10-12 curry leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 inch piece of ginger

Method –
1. Check the dal for stones and dirt, then fry it lightly in a pan.

2. Clean the rice and add the fried dal to it before washing them together.

3. Cook the rice and dal in a cooker with 3 cups of water, salt and peppers. I usually cook it on full flame until the first whistle and then on sim for 10 minutes.

4. Bruise the cumin seeds with a mortar and pestle and finely chop the ginger.

5. Heat the oil in a vessel and add the cumin, ginger and curry leaves.

6. When the cumin starts to splutter add a portion of the cooked rice and dal mix. Add the ghee and mix well. Add a bit of water if needed. Keep mixing and adding the rice mix and water until it all mixes and has a slightly sticky texture. Make sure not to over mash it.

7. Serve hot.

Coconut Thuvaiyal
(This is a sour textured chutney that I think would go well with something that needs a hit of flavour and feel)

Ingredients –
150 gms fresh coconut
6 dried red chillies
1 lime size ball of tamarind
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 teaspoons black gram dal
1/4 or less teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
5-6 curry leaves
3 teaspoons oil

Method –
1. Soak the tamarind in a little warm water, then mash and strain to get smooth pulp.

2. Fry 4 chillies and remove from oil.

3. Grind the chillies to small flakes before adding coconut and tamarind pulp. Grind the coconut to a fine paste. Add water if necessary. When done empty into a bowl.

4. Heat the oil again and add mustard seeds, black gram dal, remaining chillies broken in two and curry leaves. When the mustard splutters add asafoetida.

5. Pour the oil and spices into the bowl and mix with the coconut.

6. Mix and add salt to taste.

If you try out these recipes do let me know how it turned out.

January 4, 2013   No Comments

My First Ever Sponge Cake – A Coffee Sponge Cake: Recipe

A few days ago I tried to make my first sponge cake. It turned out fairly well though I’d want it spongier so I guess I’ll keep experimenting until I get it right.

Here’s the steps I followed for my Coffee Sponge Cake

Ingredients –

175gms – flour
125gms – sugar
125gms – butter
2 eggs
1 tbsp – instant coffee power
½ tsp – vanilla essence

Method –

  1. Heat the oven to 180deg. C.
  2. In a bowl mix the butter and sugar. I used granulated sugar (a baker told me that works better than icing sugar). Beat it intermittently until the sugar melts. This may take a little time so you could leave the mix standing and beat it every 5 minutes until its done.
  3. Add the eggs to the mix and beat it again until it all mixes well and looks a little fluffy.
  4. Add the flour into the mix in portions while continuing to beat.
  5. Add the coffee powder and vanilla essence.
  6. Beat the mix until is has a drop consistency. To check the consistency either use the beater or a spoon. The batter should fall off the spoon in blobs, it should not drip and neither should it stick to the spoon. If it drips add more flour. If it sticks add a couple of teaspoons of milk.
  7. Prep your baking tin. To do this rub the inside of the tin with butter and then add flour and shake the tin until you have a fine layer of flour sticking to the butter. Shake off any excess flour.
  8. Pour or ladle the cake mix into the mold and gentle tap the mold to level the batter.
  9. Bake the cake for 25 minutes at 180deg. C.
  10. Check if the cake is cooked by inserting a knife into the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is cooked, else bake for a few more minutes. Baking time changes from place to place so it takes a few attempts to find the perfect time needed.
  11. Remove the cake mold and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  12. Invert the cake mold and gently tap to remove the cake and let it cool for another 10-15 minutes.
  13. Now eat and enjoy! :)

I did a few other experiments –

  1. After lining the mold with butter and flour I added a bit of sugar at the bottom before adding the cake mix so I got a cake with sugar on top.
  2. After removing the cake from the mold I added more sugar at the top and put it back in the oven. This gave the cake a caramalised top and a slightly crunchy crust with a soft center.
  3. I wanted a chocolate center so I poured half the batter in the mold, then placed a strip of dark chocolate in the center keeping away from the walls of the mold and added the remaining batter on top. Note though that when checking to see if the cake is cooked you need to insert the knife slightly off center so you don’t come away with a knife covered in chocolate.

Here are three recipes I referred to while making my cake –

Really Easy Sponge Cake – allrecipes.co.in
Sponge cake – BBC Food Recipes
Simple Sponge – BBC GoodFood

October 3, 2012   No Comments

Making Modaks For The First Time

Since it was Ganesh Chaturti yesterday I decided to try making some modaks. Ganesha is my favourite god and his favourite food is modak! This was the first time I’d made them though I’ve eaten them quite a lot at friend’s houses. 😀

Here is the recipe I followed. (Special thanks to my friend Harishri Babuji for explaining it to me.)

Ingredients –

1 cup rice flour
¾ cup water
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of ghee
1 cup of fresh grated coconut
1 cup of grated jaggery
2 cloves of elaichi

Method –

  1. Heat the water with a teaspoon of ghee until it boils.
  2. Add the flour while mixing. The mixture will be lumpy but that’s ok.
  3. Let the mixture to cool a bit. While its still warm knead the mixture to get a smooth consistency.
  4. Wrap the dough in a damp cloth and keep aside.
  5. In another pan heat a teaspoon of ghee.
  6. Add the coconut and jaggery and stir lightly.
  7. Remove the mixture from heat before the jaggery melts.
  8. Remove and powder the seeds of the elaichi. Add to the mixture.
  9. Coat your hands with a little ghee and make balls of the dough.
  10. Take a ball of dough and shape it into a little cup.
  11. Put about a teaspoon of the coconut mixture into the cup.
  12. Press the edges of the cup together and bring it together to make a pointed tip. While folding you can create a design.
  13. Take care to make sure the dough does not split and spill the mixture.
  14. Place the little bundles in a steamer and steam for 5-6 minutes.
  15. Serve :)

These proportions should make about 8-10 modaks.

Mistakes I think I made and corrections I’d like to make next time.

  1. My dough was splitting a lot. One reason may be that I left the kneaded dough to cool to long. I think it would be more pliable when a bit warm. Also rice flour absorbs water like crazy so I think I’d like to add 1 cup of water next time rather than ¾.
  2. My flour cups were quite thick. I need to make them much thinner next time.
  3. My jaggery melted before I could do anything about it. I think it would have worked better if I had added the coconut first and sorted it. Put off the heat and then added the jaggery. The mixture being googy didn’t help when I was folding the cups.

I’d always though making modaks was difficult but this was easy. Takes a bit of time to make the cups and fold them though. I look forward to making them again soon. Will keep you posted on my learnings here.

If you have any tips to help me make my modaks better next time, please let me know in the comments :)

September 20, 2012   No Comments

Week 3: Akki Roti or Rice Roti

This week had me thinking quite a bit about what to cook… Finally my tummy made the choice :)

Akki Roti (Rice Roti)


Ingredients:

3 cups rice flour
1 cup cooked rice (optional)
1 big onion
2 medium size chillies
Fist full of coriander leaves
½ tsp Jeera (cumin) powder
Salt to taste
Ghee
Textured cloth napkin or handtowel

Preparation:

Finely chop onion, chilles and coriander.

Mix  the rice flour and rice in a bowl. Add chopped onions, chilles and coriander. Add jeera powder and salt to taste.

Knead the mixture into dough. Add water slowly as not much water will be required. The dough should be soft but not sticky.

Adding rice is a trick I learnt from Mom. Cooked rice (especially when a bit old) acts as a gluing agent and gives the roti its own texture too.

Wet the textured cloth napkin or handtowel so that it is moist but not dripping. Place a ball of the dough on this and pat flat to required thickness with your fingers. Keep dipping your hands in water to make sure the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers.

Heat a girdle (tava) and add a few drops of ghee before gently but firmly flipping the roti (with cloth) onto the tava. Now slowly lift away the cloth and cover the girdle to cook the roti on a slow flame. Flip roti, add some ghee and cook until both sides are golden.

Older generations pat the roti out right on the pan. I find the cloth method easier and it lets me thin out the roti quite a bit too.

The roti’s take a while to cook so you may want to use two pans. Be careful to not over-fry as then they become very crisp.

Serve hot with pudi, chutney, pickle or curry. Serves two hungry people 😀

August 22, 2010   4 Comments

Spicy Meaty Cheesy Cutlets

Chenthil’s been away this week in Alleppey leading a Photography On The Move workshop and of course that meant a lot of quick simple food (simple = roti, curd & pickle) for me. Since he’s returning tomorrow I thought I’d try something special for him. Try it and tell what you think of it… or just ask him (@ChenthilMohan) 😀

Spicy Meaty Cheesy Cutlets

Ingredients –

5 potatoes
3 onions
2 green chillies
4 garlic cloves
1 inch ginger piece
1 tsp jeera powder (cumin)
½ tsp red chilly powder
½ tsp ginger garlic paste (optional)
1 cup powdered poha (beaten rice)
Salt to taste
½ cup boiled mince meat
Cheese slices
Wheat flour

Preparation –

Boil potatoes with a little salt. Peel and mash after cooling.

Grind onions, garlic, green chillies and ginger to fine paste.

Mix mashed potatoes and onion paste in a bowl with jeera power, red chilly powder, ginger garlic paste and mince meat. Once mixed well add the powdered poha to thicken the mixture. Add salt to taste.

Make four pieces out of each cheese slice and make big lemon size balls of the potato mixture.

Flatten each ball; add the cheese slice and fold sides in until cheese is covered uniformly. Flip the cutlet in flour and keep aside. Repeat for all balls. 😀

Shallow fry the cutlets in oil until golden brown.

Serve hot with mint sauce or tomato sauce.

Update: – Potatoes don’t always work well for holding in molten cheese. Using eggs or maida as a wrap will keep the cutlet well together. Beat eggs and flip the cutlets in it before frying or make a thin maida batter and dip cutlets in this before frying.

August 15, 2010   No Comments