Monday, November 23, 2009

Dates Pickle

The whole final week of September, was spent in Dubai with my brother.In spite of being ardent ‘Date-haters’ the amazing choice of ‘em simply tempted us to buy some. So our boxes back to India generously allowed space for these black beauties to sit in pretty comfortably. :).

A few exotic packets(chocolate wrapped, almond and cashew stuffed) were given away to dear and near and one small pack remained on my counter which was smiling at me…unconsumed even after a month and a half! :)
As a matter of fact, many(like my inlaws, husband and children) dislike, any touch of sweetness in curries or pickles, except for certain special ones like me(my sis, brother and mom too) who would vouch unlike ;)..(Warm welcome to join our team if anyone out there …plzzz) ;)!!...(((V is just around counting the number of my team mates! ;) ))

Since I knew I would be the one finishing the whole thing, I opted to try making a lesser amount, with just less than a dozen dates.They tasted awesome and I ended up eating the pickle with steamed rice,chapathis, dosa and with almost all main stuff I prepared for the past two weeks….so I'm really not sure about the shelf life of this preserve ;)!..

So, here’s how I pickled them up..

Dates – 10 nos
Green chillies finely minced-2 (I avoided this)
Ginger – a one inch piece- julienned
Garlic - 4 cloves- julienned
White vinegar-1-2 tbsps(according to the preffered sourness)
Sugar – ½ tsp


Oil – ½ cup
Curry leaves – a sprig
Mustard seeds-1/2tsp

Let me put all the powders together here :)

Chilly powder-1 tbsp(I used a tbsp of roasted red chillies powdered coarsely)
Asafoetida/Kayam - 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek/Uluva-Roasted and powdered finely– 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder- a fat pinch
Salt - As needed

  • Deseed the dates and cut each into 4 pieces.
  • Heat oil in a pan.Throw in green chillies, ginger, garlic bits and curry leaves.Saute for a few seconds.
  • Add dates.Now be careful with flame.Keep it to minimum or just put off and add the all the powders. Ensure they are mixed up and heated well enough,rather than getting over fried/charred.
  • Add vinegar(I added a little water, just enough to make the pickle a little saucy-as I love that way :)..though addition of water is strictly 'Not' recommended as in any pickles).Adjust the flame and bring the sauce to a boil.
  • Add salt and sugar.Mix well.
  • Store the dates pickle in a ceramic jar or glass bottle.

Because the addition of water, I refrigerated, till it got over, for the safer side.Otherwise it has a longer shelf life, in room temperature.

Dates pickle is an excellent combination with any Non vegetarian Biriyani..(Sigh!! :().. err compliments Vegetable Biriyanis well enough too :) !!..

Thank You Swapna, for making this post possible!.
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Friday, November 20, 2009

CabbageThoran- Shredded Cabbage cooked with Coconut and Spices.

The first drop of rain hits the ground.. few more …many!…the fresh smell of the soil!...the dry ground quenches its thirst…a shower after a long long summer!..

We have rains, at last, in T.N :)..showers paving way to stagnant water pools, everywhere, floods...[Alas! We still continue to have power shutdown a couple of hours a day, the timings which get re-scheduled every month…bah!..:( ]

The smell of the fresh soil with the rain gets me back to those care free teen days, lazily curled up on a couch with a book, some favourite music flowing in the room, the mingled aroma of coconut oil, spices and vegetables that spreads and lingers the whole place.

.....on a note, back home I try hard to experience the same, but can’t simply be relaxed, wondering, amma still around in the kitchen? high heat? is the thoran burning?...and I rush to the stove :)…

Cabbage thoran is one such dish, mingled with memories..

and now, for the recipe,

Mix together:

Shredded cabbage –as thin and fine as possible- 3 cups
Freshly grated coconut- 1/4 cup, loosely filled
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Shallots-4-5 –minced
Green Chilly - one small, sliced to thin round circles. (not more than a tsp, loosely filled)
Jeera powder-two fat pinches
Curry leaves-2 sprigs
Salt-to taste

To Temper:

Coconut oil- a tbsp
Mustard seeds and Urad dal-1/4tsp each

  • Mix together the list of ingredients above. Let it stand for 10- 20 minutes.This is to help the spices seep in the raw, fine threads of the shredded cabbage.
  • Heat coconut oil in a thick bottomed, wide kadai(Iron wok is the best option :))splutter mustard seeds, brown the urad dal.
  • Immediately transfer the above vegetable mixture into the wok and mix well.The vegetable would have given out some water which would be enough at this stage.Close the pan with a lid.Keep the flame to the lowest and see to it that the lid doesn’t let out steam from the slowly cooking vegetable.For that real taste, it 'should' get cooked this way :)!.
  • Open the lid once in every 3 minutes.Give a stir and sprinkle water if needed.Check salt and turn off the stove as soon as the cabbage is cooked just right (not too mushy).Let the thoran be a little moist and not too dry.
  • Serve Cabbage Thoran warm with steamed rice and curry :)!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Godhumai Appam with Jaggery-The soft n sweet Meteorites!

I haven’t come across Unniappams or Neyyappams in T.N and eventually realized them as the 'copyrighted products' of God’s own country! :).

Having grown up with them, Unniappams being an all time favourite, I get hit with that natural craving now and then.V, kids and my inlaws are never fans of sweets, and I seldom make the sweet appams at home.

Godhumai Vella (jaggery) Appam is a simple recipe from V’s Ammayi(granma) - a quick to make appam that’s again, cousins of my favourites above ;)..and yeah!! satisfies the craving really well.
Ammayi ; the best cook at home, not much mobile without support at present, unfortunately doesn’t follow exact measurements when it comes to cooking and just gave a short narration of how to go with it.I tried this when I was with her last month.

Here’s her version- (for my patient readers who can read and follow Tamil typed in English ;))

Oru kinniyile ¼ padi thalai thatti godhumai mavu edu.Oru ‘ara urundai’ vellam nalla thatti athula podu.Romba koncham arisi mavu.Thengai oru kaippidi, soda uppu, uppu oru sittikai ( rombavum pottudathe, vellathula uppu irukkum), vasanaikku yela thool.Thanni vittu ellam nalla onna serthu pesanchukko.Idly mavu mathiri irukkanum. Aduppula ney allathu ennai oothi kayavidu.Yendal karandiyile onnu onna mondu oothu.Venthathum thiruppu.Ennai koncham izhukkathan seyyum,atheypathi romba kavala padathe.Ennaikko oru nal seyrom, avvalavu than.

I couldn’t wait any longer, rushed to the kitchen to work with-

  • Wheat flour-one cup, heaped
  • Crushed Jaggery- 1/2-3/4 cup
  • Raw Rice flour-a tbsp
  • Freshly grated coconut-a tbsp
  • Cardamom powder-to flavour
  • Salt and cooking soda- one pinch, each
  • Water- just enough to combine the ingredients to form a batter (that resembles Idly batter)
  • Ghee/oil- to fry

If you feel the presence of sand particles in jaggery, it's always safe to melt the lumps using minimum water.Cool to room temperature and mix in to prepare the batter.
The batter need not stand to ferment.

Heat ghee or oil in a pan. Using a flat spoon, pour in the batter carefully, moving aside a little towards one side to form the circular shape.
Take care not to move the ladle in a circular way.The shape gets distorted.(Sorry, the pan is not that great looking :)..but I do admire him for being a patient soul to all my 'tortures' for the past 15 years! ;))

Turn over carefully when cooked. Fry one by one.

The above measurement yielded around 8-10 medium sized appams that tasted Heaven!..

Well, Ammayi who is highly diabetic :), having her share of two from me, was with her beaming proud smiles when I went ahead to pick up my camera.

"Seri seri modhalla sooda sappidu mmaa…appram eduthukkalam, photo ellam…enna?" she voiced at me, affectionately, munching the soft appams, relishing every bit, still lying on her bed.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Easy n Spicy Peas Biriyani

While in a mood to make just a mixed rice, with not much of chopping vegetables, this biriyani is my primary option.

Let the spices seep in the long aromatic grains and make even more a delicious meal ; this makes a perfect packed lunch too…

My children, who hate to pick up the cardamom, clove or cinnamon I use in regular Biriyanis, suggested me to use garam masala, instead. So this, absolutely is kid friendly :).

Serves -2 hungry adults :)

You need:

Cooked long grain Basmati rice- 4 cups (Let the grains be firm)
Fresh/frozen Green Peas- ¾-cup
Finely sliced big onion- 1 large
Ripe red tomatoes-2 (pulp/puree can also be used)

To grind to a paste:

Green chillies- 4-5 (according to your spice level)
Red chillies-5-6 (again, as your spice level)
Ginger- a one inch piece
Garlic- 4-5 cloves

Oil-1/3 cup
Garam masala-1/4 tsp
Cilantro-finely chopped-to garnish


  • Cool the cooked rice to room temperature. Cook green peas.
  • Pulse and puree the tomatoes.Remove and grind the masala, mentioned in the list with just enough water to make a smooth paste. Keep these aside separately.
  • Heat oil in a wide non stick kadai. Sauté the onions for a few seconds and add the masala.Lower the flame. Sauté till the raw smell is off. Mix in the garam masala followed by the tomato pulp.Stir well, bring to boil and add the cooked peas and salt.Keep the pan closed, as the curry might splutter.After a few minutes while the gravy thickens. Switch off the flame and allow to cool.
  • Slowly mix in the gravy to the cooked rice alternating both, until well blended.Check salt and the spice level while doing so.You might have some rice or gravy, left over, after mixing.
  • Transfer mixed rice back to the kadai, used to make the gravy. Heat the biriyani in slow fire with the lid. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Serve hot with onion or cucumber raitha.

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Friday, November 6, 2009

All these days...

Two months, I was with my inlaws as ma in law had been away for a break, back to
joint family, commitments, responsibilities, …
Feeling- Proud! A sense of self satisfaction!.
Lesson- You feel Great, to be a 'responsible-ma-in- law-cum-daughter-in-law'!.;) esp while people around admire the way you handle things with ease. (whew!but you know how you juggle) ;)

When you mediate a wedding proposal?.
Oh yeah!. One of V’s Cousin’s son and my cousin’s daughter got engaged last week.And I was supposed to be the one mediating the alignment right from the start...since past 6 months!..
Feeling- Great!.
Lesson- Nothing wrong.It’s pure fun!..!...a fine new experience yet, wise to be careful with words, actions, might get into trouble at times.:)

V gives me a pleasant surprise, plans a short holiday with my older brother, who lives in the Middle East..first visit, after a decade, many fun filled and cherishable moments!!
Feeling-Recharged-A pampered sister; got back to those childhood days!
Lesson- Caring husband, esp these days.;) …holidaying had always/mostly with/to my inlaws(’), ever since!..;)

You are a part of a social networking site.
Well, you opt to update a decent and a generalised proverb, in your profile.One of your contacts feel it’s targetted to him(possibly your enemy;)) and responds with a sharper proverb (??!!)..shooting at you…dishyoom!!!;)
Feeling- Strange!.
Lesson- Have pity on such people.They are obviously suffering from low self esteem or strong sense of guilt or at least some sort of (serious) complex! not hesitate to continue with your say.You may even preach what you may not practise ;)…You know yourself, right?! :)

Son, who's still in high school badly wants to go for a month’s trekking camp, far North, organised by the NCC.Remote place,mobile not reachable, no electricity, camps on mountains, forests, war front, controversial area,…still you are brave enough to pack him off, coz he’s daring…soon he informs, sick!!, too late to discontinue…
Feeling- Strong!
Lesson-Pampering kids doesn’t help.World is rough!.Let them Face!.

Daughter, getting ready for the publics, still not clear about the higher studies option, feels parents should be the guiding light, not ambitious as such!!..
Feeling- Under Pressure!.
Lesson-Watch out!.. all the trust in you, guide her right.She might accuse you in future!!.
It’s great if children are ambitious by themselves..less pressure for the parents!. ;)

Obviously you have all the above reasons for not blogging, all these days ;), still you blog hop, and leave a comment in one of those amazing blogs, and win a prize!.. :)
Feeling- Elated!
Lesson- It’s taking part that matters, not winning.
Don’t forget to shout, YAAY, if lucky enough to win! ;)

The 'commemorative' Apron ;) with the neatly embroidered logo, from Cook’s Cottage, for winning her cute One Million Clicks Contest.Tight hugs to you, Girl!.
Wishing you many more lovely clicks and posts!.

P.S- I’ll be seeing you soon with a recipe post!
Feeling- Lazy ;)
Lesson- Sporadic bloggers do not deserve to be in the blogosphere.
But again… it’s your space… your mood!...;)
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