Friday, November 9

Delicious Andhra Vindu on Diwali

When I was a kid, I use to be scared of Diwali festival, well, I must say that I use to hate it. As opposed to me, my dad loves diwali. The reason for both was crackers. He use to buy hell lot of bombs, of all kinds. Double sound, triple sound, lakshmi, the king of all hydrogen bombs and many more. I use to go hide in the kitchen closing my ears for about 3 to 4 hours until everyone are tired and gone into their houses. Unbelievable right!! but thats true.

I think when I was about 7 to 8 years, my dad came into kitchen took me outside and forced me to lit a flowerpot (chichubuddi). I was under the impression that it is also bomb and closed my one side ear with one hand and the other hand I was trying to lit the flowerpot. I was not even looking at it. It started burning and I was still there with my hand close to it. What else to say, I burned my hand and was yet more scared of this festival. Only after I turned around 13 to 14 years, I started liking this festival. I love ladis, 1000 vala, 100 vala. Lit just once and feel that you burnt so many crackers.

And coming to food, my mom use to make so many varieties of pindi vantalu (Long lasting sweets and hots) like laddus, mixture, karappusa etc., On the day of festival she again makes some sweets and hots like pulihora, bajjis, payasam, kesari etc., I attempted to make some of them and was successful. Here is my neivedyam plate on diwali:

Roasted Melon Cucumber chutney, Kesari, Spinach Dal, Brinjal Curry, White Rice, Pulihora, Eggplant bajjis

Palakura Pappu/Spinach dal
Vankaya podi vesina kura/Brinjal with curry powder
Dosakaya kalesina pachadi/Roasted Melon cucumber chutney
Chintapandu Pulihora/Tamarind Pulihora
Vankaya bajjilu/Eggplant Bajjis

Recipe for Spinach Dal:

1/2 cup Toor dal
3/4 cup Spinach
Salt as per taste
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
a pinch Turmeric powder
a small lime size Tamarind ball

For Tempering:

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
one red chilli torn into pieces
a dash of hing
1 tsp oil

1. Wash and soak tamarind in some hot water. Wash and pressure cook toor dal with spinach upto 3 whistles. Let the cooker cool.

2. Now add turmeric, salt and red chilli powder. Extract tamarind pulp and add to the dal. Cook on low flame for about 15 minutes.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add the tempering ingredients. Once they splutter, add it to the cooked dal.

Recipe for Brinjal with curry powder:

12 small round brinjals
1 tomatillo
salt as per taste
a pinch of turmeric
2 tbsp oil

For curry powder:
1 tbsp chana dal
2 tsp urad dal
2 tsp coriander seeds/dhaniyalu
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeelakarra
1/2 tsp mustard seeds/aavalu
few curry leaves
1 tsp oil

1. Heat oil and add the curry powder ingredients. Fry them until the dals turn golden brown. Take them into a blender

2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in the same pan and add the chopped brinjals. Add salt and turmeric powder. Mix together, cover and cook on medium flame for about 10 minutes.

3. Thinly slice tomatillo and add to the pan. Cover and cook until the brinjal and tomatillo is tender. Grind the curry powder ingredients to a fine powder.

4. Add the powder to the curry and mix together to blend them all together. Cover and cook for a minute on low flame.

Most of the andhra brahmin houses has this dish made on festivals or any special occassions.

Recipe for Roasted Melon Cucumber Chutney:

1 medium melon cucumber
salt as per taste
one small lime size tamarind ball soaked a bit in some hot water
1 tsp oil
2 tsp urad dal
1 tsp fenugreek seeds/menthulu
1 tsp mustard seeds/aavalu
a dash of hing
3 to 4 red chillies
4 to5 small green chillies

1. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and add urad dal, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, red and green chillies and hing. When the dals turn golden brown color take them into a blender.

2. Wash, coat the melon cucumber with little oil and set into the broiler and let it roast on all sides. When done it should be slightly tender. Let it cool.

3. Remove tamarind from the water and add to the blender. Also add salt and turmeric powder. Grind to a coarse mixture.

4. Peel the cucumber and put it into blender. Blend along with the mixture to make it a nice chutney.

You may serve this with hot rice with a tsp of ghee/oil which tastes excellent.

With ginger there are endless recipes that you can make. But can you think of Pulihora or Bajjis, it gives a different taste and makes them taste excellent.

Recipe for Pulihora:

5 cups cooked White Rice
1 big lemon size tamarind soaked in hot water
Salt as per taste

For tempering:

2 tsp chana dal
2 tsp urad dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
8 small green chillies sliced into half length wise
1" piece ginger chopped very very finely
4 to 5 dry red chillies slit into half
1 to 2 tbsp peanuts
a dash of hing
few curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 cup oil

1. Heat oil in a big wide pan and the rest of the ingredients. Let them fry until the dals turn golden brown colour.

2. Extract tamarind pulp and add to the tempering, also add some salt, turmeric. Cook until the tamarind pulp thickens slightly and leaves oil. Remove from heat.

3. Now add the rice and little more salt. Mix them all together so that rice is evenly coated with tamarind mixture.

You may serve it hot or cold. If you make it in the morning it taste better in the evening as the rice gets marinated in the the tamarind pulp. The ginger in this enhances the flavour and makes it the best.

Recipe for Eggplant Bajjis:

1 Medium size Eggplant (You can use any eggplant)
1 1/2 cups Gram flour/Senagapindi
1 tsp ajwain seeds
a pinch of turmeric
4 to5 small green chilies
1" piece ginger
salt as per taste
a pinch of soda bi-carb
Oil to deep fry

1. Grind the ajwain, green chillies and ginger to a smooth paste. It need not be too smooth just ensure that the chillies and ginger are grinded well.

2. Add the mixture to the gram flour, add some salt and turmeric powder. Mix it with some water to make it little thick pouring consistency.

3. Slice the eggplant into 1/4" circles. Drop them into the flour mixture. The mixture should be at the consistency that it should coat the eggplant nicely.

4. Heat oil on medium-high heat and drop the flour coated eggplant slices. Fry them on both sides until they turn golden brown in colour.

You can find the recipe for Kesari here, just eliminate the fresh fruits from the recipe. The rest is same.

A close look at the Thali

Hope you enjoyed the recipes as much as I had making and having them. This thali is going to JFS:Diwali hosted by Vee of Past,Present and Me.

Tuesday, November 6

Flaky French Toast & Crispy Pancakes

Cornflakes are my favorite breakfast everyday morning. Yes, true, I said everyday morning. I can't enough of those nice crispy honey bunches of oats with almonds. Ah! heaven! with some fat free milk and a fruit in it.

The honey bunches of oats with almonds and their ingredients information

The reasons I came up with this french toast and pancakes:

1. The bread was getting spoiled and its expiry date is 8th of november. So I need to hurry up to complete them.
2. Bananas are riped and will get spoiled soon. So I had to use them off.
3. Bisquick which I bought a while ago is still there in refrigerator.
4. Cornflakes being my favorite breakfast, Nags has asked us to come up with a breakfast for this month.

I thought perfect, how would it be if I can use all these and make a breakfast, so that is the reason for the birth of Flaky French Toast. So here is the recipe:
A plate of French Toast with fat free whipping cream

1/2 ripe banana
1 cup bisquick
1/4 cup fat free milk and more as required
2 tsp honey (optional)
a dash of cinnamon (optional)
butter spray
2 Whole grain light bread (40 calorie bread)
1 cup cornflakes (I used honey bunches of oats which has cornflakes, whatflakes, oats and almonds)

1. Mash banana with fork in a bowl, to that add the bisquick, milk and honey. Whisk until they combine together. Add cinnamon and combine.

2. Take little portion of the above batter add some more milk to that and make a little pouring consistency of the batter.

3. Toast couple of bread slices in the toaster until it becomes slightly crispy. Mash the cornflakes with your hands. Make sure you do not make a soft powder of it. They should be somewhere like oats size.

4. Take the bread out, dip one by one in the batter first and then toss them in the flakes.

5. Heat a non-stick pan, spray some non-stick spray in the pan preferably butter flavour. Set these bread slices in the pan and fry on both sides on medium heat until they are done.

6. Serve them with maple syrup and a dollop of fat free whipping cream.

A plate of Crispy Pancakes

The remaining batter can be used to make pancakes. Spray the pan with butter spray and pour a ladle full of batter, sprinkle the crushed cornflakes on the top of the pancake. When you see the pancake is brown on the first side very carefully turn them onto second side. When the second side is also golden brown in colour, remove from the pan into a plate. Hot hot crispy pancakes are ready. Serve them hot with any syrup of your choice. My daughter half of the pancake without a break in between. Now that is what I want!!!

Isn't it a perfect breakfast? You have banana, pancake mix, bread and cereal. It is a perfect combination of all the breakfasts into one.

These two plates are going to WBB #17 event hosted by Nags of For The Cook In Me.

Monday, November 5

Chickpea Burger

After making masala vadas with chickpeas, I was left with about 1 cup of soaked chickpeas. I took them out, kept in moist cloth for two days so that it sprouted. I used those sprouted chickpeas to make these wonderful burger patties. Good source of protein and you will be full with just one burger believe me. This was our sunday night dinner.

A picture of sprouted chickpeas

Sprouted Chickpea Burger

1 cup Sprouted Chickpeas
1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
1 tsp Chaat masala
2 small Green chillies minced finely
few chopped Mint leaves
Salt as per taste
a pinch Turmeric powder
1/4 tsp Red chilli powder
1/4 cup Plain bread crumbs

1. Wash and cook chickpeas until they become tender.

2. Drain and take them into blender and blend them until they are coarse grain.

3. Add the rest of the ingredients. If you find the mixture to be very dry, use the water in which the chickpeas are cooked to bring them all together. In case it is too loose add some bread crumbs.

4. Make into equal patties. The above mixture should yield approximately 3 jumbo size patties.

5. Heat a tsp of oil in a non-stick pan, put the pattie and fry until it turns golden brown on both sides. Fry them on medium heat.

6. To assemble the burger I used 2 7 Whole grain light bread slightly toasted, 2 butter lettuce leaves, tomato slices and some coriander chutney and tamarind chutney applied to the bread slices. Take a bread slice apply the chutneys, put lettuce, tomato and then pattie, then tomato, lettuce and cover with bread slice that as chutneys applied.

A closer look at the Chickpea Burger

You may add some chopped onion also to the mixture. If you eat egg then you may use one egg also to bind the mixture together.

It tasted really good. I am sure you will all enjoy it. It is a good combination of protein and starch.

Sunday, November 4

Sunday Meals #12 - Simple Andhra Bhojanam

This weekend after too much of deep frying I decided to make a very simple andhra bhojanam. So here are the items that I made:

Goruchikkudu patoli, vankaya kothimeera karam kura, magaya pachadi and white rice

Goruchikkudu (Guvar) patoli
Vankaya kothimeera karam kura/Brinjal with coriander curry
Magayi pachadi (Pickled mango chutney)

Recipe for Goruchikkudu patoli:

1 cup chopped Goruchikkudu/Guvar
1/2 cup Chana dal
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 tbsp dry Coconut powder
3-4 dry Red chillies
Salt as per taste
2 to 3 tbsp oil

1. Wash and soak chana dal for 4-5 hours. Drain the water and take dal into blender. Add cumin seeds, red chillies, coconut powder and salt. Blend them together without adding any water until the chana dal is finely grinded. The mixture should not be pouring consistency at all. No problem even if chana dal is little grainy.

2. Wash and cook guvar in plenty of salted water until it becomes tender.

3. Heat the oil in a pan and add the above blended mixture. Cover and fry on low flame stirring occasionally. When you see the mixture is becoming dry and nicely fried, add the cooked guvar. This will add little moisture to the fried mixture. Wait for a minute and turn off the stove. Patolis almost look like paruppusili.

Recipe for Vankaya kothimeera karam kura:

12 to 13 small brinjals cut into cubes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
1" piece ginger
3-4 green chillies/as per your spice level
salt as per taste
a pinch of turmeric

For tempering:

1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp urad dal
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp oil

1. Make a fine paste of cilantro, ginger and green chillies.

2. Heat oil in a pan, add the tempering ingredients. When they turn golden brown in colour add the brinjal, turmeric and salt. Mix them all together, cover and cook until brinjal is half cooked.

3. Add the cilantro paste, mix them to blend all together. Cover and cook until the brinjal is completely cooked.

Recipe for Magayi pachadi:

Magayi is a traditional pickle in andhra pradesh. It is made with mango and spices like red chilli powder, fenugreek seeds powder, turmeric etc., This chutney that I made uses that pickle. This has a funny story attached to its origin at my home. When we lived in Proddatur, Cuddapah Dt. my made magayi with the mangoes that we get there. The mangoes are supposed to become tender in couple of days but she saw that the mangoes were so stiff and stubborn that they din't want to become tender at all. Then she learned about this chutney and made it by blending them in the blender. Couple of times our blender got spoiled too, as the mango pieces were so strong like wood. I must say with normal magayi uragayi, this will taste fabulous. You can serve it with hot rice, idlis or dosas anything. We even pair it with wheat rava upma. It tastes excellent.

2/3 cup packed Magayi
1/4 cup curds/yogurt
1 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
1 small onion
2-3 green chillies

For tempering:

1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp oil
a dash of hing/asafoetida

1. Blend all those except for the tempering ingredients into a fine paste.

2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and hing. When mustard seeds splutter add them to the chutney.

Hope you all liked the dishes this week too.

Saturday, November 3

Chickpea Masala Vada & Allam Thokku/Ginger Pickle

Chickpea Masala Vada, sounds interesting right. Well, there are many reasons for why did I make masala vada with chickpeas. You can call it Indianised Falafel or Mediterraneanised Masala vada. The other day my husband saw Emeril Live in which emeril was making falafel. I too heard a lot about it but never tasted them before. And my husband is a very big fan of Masala vada so do I. And I have been thinking a while that if I had to live in this country without an Indian store at all. How would it be!! The basic idea itself scares me. I sincerely thank god that he did not throw me away in to such a remote place. Though I bitch about the indian stores here for not getting many items. Still I am glad that I get atleast the basic items like dals, flours, Masalas etc., I also remember my mom making Vadas with kale chane (the small black chickpeas). So putting all together, I came up with this. You will not have to make a trip to indian groceries store to make these I promise you.

1 1/2 cups Chickpeas/Gorbanzo beans (if using fresh, measure it after soaking for 24 hrs in water/canned chickpeas will also do)
1/2" piece of ginger/as per taste
1 big Jalapeno/1-2 small serrano peppers
few chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds (if you don't find them you may use ground cumin too)
1 small onion chopped finely
Salt as per taste
Oil to deep fry

1. Take all the ingredients except for oil and onion into a blender/food processor and blend them together without adding any water. It should not be smooth paste and you should not even see whole chickpea. Just see that it is coarsely grinded.

2. Add chopped onion to the mixture and mix them together.

3. Heat enough oil in a deep frying pan. Now make the batter into small size patties and drop them carefully into the hot oil. Fry them on both sides until they turn golden brown colour.

Serve them with any chutney or sauce of your like. I served with some Tomato Ketchup. Enjoy.

Allam Thokku/Ginger Pickle: Did you ever taste the Ginger pickle of Priya products. I like it. It goes well with hot hot rice or dosas or idlis. The moment I saw Think spice this month being Ginger, I decided to make it. I don't know if you noticed or not, I have been submitting pickles or chutneys for this event except for saffron. I submitted Melon Cucumber Pickle/Dosavakayi for mustard seeds and Toor dal chutney/kandi pachadi for cumin seeds. I wanted to continue the trend and made this pickle for this month spice - Ginger. I remember one of my ex-colleague in my previous work place use to bring this pickle with dosas and I loved it. I failed to get recipe from her so, I put my imagination into work and made it and you know what I nailed it. It was the same and tasted excellent with idlis as well as with hot rice. Dosa batter is waiting to get accompanied. Here is the recipe :

40 grms Ginger
80 grms Tamarind
70 grms Jaggery/Brown sugar (what every you have/get)
1/4 cup Salt
1/4 cup Red chilli powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
2 tbsp Fenugreek seeds powder (Roast some methi seeds in a pan and grind them to fine powder in a blender)

For tempering/tadka:
1 tsp mustard seeds
3 tbsp oil
a dash of hing/asafoetida

1. Wash and soak tamarind in hot water for about 4 to 5 hours. Wash, pat dry and soak chopped ginger also in the tamarind water.

2. Remove any seeds/pits from the tamarind and them into a blender. Add grated jaggery, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and fenugreek powder. Blend them together until it forms into a fine paste.

3. Heat 3 tbsp oil, add mustard seeds and hing. Let them splutter and add to the pickle. Mix them all together and let the pickle stay for a night before you use. By next day all the spices blend together and taste good.

Chickpea Masala vadas and Allam thokku are my contribution to Think Spice..Think Ginger hosted by Sunita of Sunita's World.

Friday, November 2

Palli Pachadi/Peanut/Ground nut Chutney

My husband is nuts about peanuts. He likes it in all forms. Peanut butter, peanut bars, peanut butter cookies, chikki (indian peanut bars), salted peanuts and peanut chutney. My mom use to make this chutney but only for Dosas and for idlis we usually make with dalia/fried chana dal. Well, that is what you usually get in restaurants/tiffin centers, as far as I know. He claims that restaurants serve peanut chutney for everything and he never ate dalia chutney at all. Now that is extreme!!! so to satisfy him, I made this chutney with idlis on last sunday breakfast. He was so happy, he took them to office for breakfast twice this week. He did not forget to call and tell me thanks for making them. Hehe, that is so sweet of him!! If there are any peanut admirers out there then here is the recipe:

1/2 cup Peanuts roasted and skin removed
1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
1 big Jalapeno or 3-4 green chillies
1 small lime size tamarind soaked in some water
Salt as per taste

For tadka:

1/2 tsp urad dal/Black gram dal (minappappu)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds (Aavalu)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeelakarra)
1 red chilli cut into small pieces (endu mirapakayalu)
few curry leaves (karivepaku)
a dash of hing/asafoetida (inguva)

Take the roasted de-skinned peanuts, coconut, tamarind, green chillies and salt into blender. Grind it into a fine paste by adding little by little water. Then heat a tsp of oil in a pan and add the tadka ingredients. When they turn golden brown in colour, add them to the chutney .

Serve it with hot dosas/idlis/vadas. It goes well with any snack too like mysore bonda, masala vada etc., Enjoy!!

For idlis:

1/2 cup urad dal/Black gram dal
1 cup idli rava
Salt as per taste

Wash and soak urad dal and rava in water separately for 6 hours. Grind urad dal with little water to a fine paste. Squeeze out the water and add rava to the urad dal paste. Add some salt and mix them together so that they are blended well. Cover and set it aside in a warm place overnight to let it ferment. It should ferment thoroughly to get soft idlis. Next day grease the idli pans with little oil, pour this batter into each idli plate and pressure cook without whistle for 20 minutes on medium high heat. Let the cooker cool a bit take out the idlis from the plate and serve them peanut chutney or dalia chutney(You can make dalia chutney the same way by replacing roasted peanuts with dalia). Enjoy.

Thursday, November 1


I miss India, hyderabad and my place Sainikpuri. I love Samosa, Veg. puffs, Mysore Bajji, Chaats... man none of these I find here in San antonio at all. So bad!!

So I started making them at home myself. Though I do not make them often (scared of oil and butter) but once in blue moon I do make them. Luckily my husband also loves them. He dies for chaats. Well I actually made these because I was left with some dough after making these. So I used those dough balls and made just 6 small samosas. So here is my version.

3 small dough balls left from making Somasi

For Stuffing:

3 medium size potatoes
1 medium onion
a pinch turmeric powder
salt as per taste

For Masala:

2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
4-5 small dry red chillies

For Tempering:

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp chana dal
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
few curry leaves

1. Wash, peel and cube bite size pieces of potatoes. Add some water to cover them and boil them with some salt.

2. In a pan heat a tsp of oil add coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies. Once they turn golden brown colour, remove from heat and take them into a blender. Blend them to a fine powder.

3. In the same pan heat a tsp of oil and add the tempering ingredients. Once they turn golden brown colour, add chopped onion and saute until it turns transluscent.

4. Add the boiled potatoes and add the masala powder that we made above. Add some salt, turmeric powder and mix them together until the masala is well blended. Heat on low heat for just a second and remove from heat.

This curry tastes awesome in samosas or curry puffs or even in the potato bonda. The fresh roasted and powdered masala taste just heavenly. You may add green peas to the curry, I did not have them in hand.

5. Now roll each ball into a thin puri. Cut into half. Rub the edges with little water and fold it into a triangular pocket. Stuff the curry and seal the edges from the other end.

6. Heat the oil in a pan and fry these samosas on medium heat until they turn golden brown. Do not fry them on high heat as they tend to become soggy.

Serve them hot with any sauce of your choice. I liked them eating as they are. Enjoy.

For the dough this is what I usually use:

1 cup Plain flour/All purpose flour
2 tbsp warm oil
Salt as per taste
water to knead dough

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