Saturday, September 20, 2008

Simple Pepper Rasam with pleasant aroma

  • Take 3 cups of tamarind extract (prepared out of a lemon sized ball of tamarind and water) in a vessel.
  • Add 2 tsp of pepper powder, 2 tsp of cumin seed powder, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 4 cloves of smashed garlic and salt to it.
  • Squeeze a tomato and mix with the liquid.
  • Add a cup chopped coriander/cilantro leaves and keep aside.
  • Keep a sauce pot on the stove and add 2 tsp of oil.
  • Heat it under medium flame.
  • Add 1 tsp of mustard, 1 tsp of cumin seeds, 1 red chilly, a pinch of asafetida, and a few curry leaves one by one.
  • When the mustard starts popping, add the tamarind extract mixture.
  • Reduce the flame to low.
  • At the initial stage of boiling, and appearance of foam, switch off the stove and cover the sause pot using a lid.
  • Serve hot this tasty rasam having great aroma with cooked rice.

    Glossary
    Tamarind - Imli / Imly / Puli
    Pepper – Kali mirch / Milagu
    Cumin seed - Jeera / Jeeragam
    Turmeric – Haldi / Manjal
    Garlic – Lasoon / Poondu
    Coriander leaves – Dhania pattha / Kotthu malli thazhai
    Mustard – Rai / Kadugu
    Asafetida – hing / PerungayamCurry leaves – Kary patha / Kariveppilai
    Sauce pot - kadhai / Iruppuchchatti

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sambar powder / Sambhar podi / Kuzhambu (Kulambu) thool

Roast the following separately and evenly under low flame.
  • Red chili / Red chilli (Vara milakai / Lal mirchi)-250 gm
  • Coriander seeds (Malli / Dhania)-250 gm
  • Split gram (Tuvaram paruppu / Toor dal / Arhar dal)-100gm
  • Bengal gram (Kadalai paruppu / Channa dal)-100gm
  • Husked black gram (Ulundham paruppu / Urad dal)-25gm
  • Cumin Seeds (jeeragam / Jeera)-75gm
  • Black Pepper (Milagu / Kali Mirch)-50gm
  • Mustard (Kadugu / Rai / Sarson)-25gm
  • Rice- 50 gm
  • Turmeric (Manjal / Haldi)-40 gm
  • Fenugreek (Vendhayam / Methi)-40gm
  • Asafoetida / Asafetida (Perungayam / Hing) - 2 tsp
Mix, spread and allow them to cool.


Grind to powder, allow it to cool and store airtight.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Vathakkulambu / Vattha kuzhambu / Vatral kuzhamboo ; a vegetarian gravy for rice, (Vatha kulambu or vatthal kolambu)

  • Prepare about 2 cups of tamarind extract from a lemon sized ball of tamarind.
  • Roast 1 tsp each of coriander seeds, Bengal gram, Split gram, and fenugreek seeds until golden color and grind fine to powder (masala).
  • Prepare rice milk by mixing 1 tbsp of rice flour and a little water.
  • Cut 2 eggplants (brinjal) and fry soft in oil.
  • Fry 1 tsp each of mustard seed and Split Black gram in oil until brown. Add a few curry leaves, followed by a red chili, about 5 cloves of garlic, and a chopped onion. Continue frying until the garlic becomes soft. Add 1 tbsp of chili powder and fry.
  • Add the tamarind extract and fried eggplant and boil.
  • Add powdered masala and salt to taste.
  • Add rice milk and ½ to 1 cup of water.
  • Continue boiling under low flame for about 15 minutes.
  • Serve hot with rice, papad (appalam), and mango pickle.

    Glossary:
    Bengal gram is Kadalai paruppu in Tamil and Channa dal in Hindi.
    Split gram or Pigeon peas is Tuvaram paruppu in Tamil and Tuwar dal or Arhar dal in Hindi.
    Split Black gram is Uluttham paruppu in Tamil and Urad dal in Hindi.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cooking tips

  • Arrange all the items used for cooking, so as to be easily accessible.
  • Label the containers for quick reference.
  • Wash vegetables before cutting to avoid loss of soluble vitamins and minerals.
  • Peel vegetables as thinly as possible to preserve the minerals and vitamins.
    Do not throw the water used to boil vegetables.
  • Soak onion in water before peeling it.
  • Soak rice for a while before cooking.
  • The order of preference of food should be steamed, boiled followed by fried.
  • To obtain maximum juice from lemon, soak it in luke warm water for a while before cutting.
  • To reduce fat in the chicken, remove the skin before marinating it.
  • The thicker the fish, the longer is the duration of cooking it.
  • Don’t overcook fish if you don’t want to lose its flavor and texture.
  • During non-season of tomatoes, tomato puree, ketchup or sauce can be used in gravies.
  • Use thick bottom vessels to avoid burning.
  • Before boiling milk, pour a little water in the empty vessel. This prevents sticking.
  • Add a pinch of salt on oil while deep frying to have less oil consumption.
  • To remove stains from cooking utensils, rub with a little salt while washing.
  • To prepare crisp, golden dosai (Dosa), add a teaspoonful of fenugreek while grinding for it.
  • To prepare soft dosai, add some old cooked rice while grinding for it.
  • Add a few drops of lemon juice and a tsp of oil while boiling rice to separate one another.
  • To remove the shell easy from boiled eggs, keep them in cold water for about 5 minutes.
  • Don’t keep stainless steel spoons permanently with pickles.
  • To Peel garlic easy, heat them for a while.
  • To store green chilies longer, remove stems from them before storing them.
  • To remove excessive salt in the dish being prepared, add a few pieces of potato.
  • To retain the green color of spinach while cooking, add a pinch of sugar.
  • To separate noodles immediately after boiling, put them in cold water.
  • To prevent foaming and spilling over of oil while deep frying, add a small piece of tamarind to the oil.
  • Keep your kitchen clean. It is essential to keep food safe. Otherwise bacteria can grow and spread.
  • Always wash worktops before you start preparing food.
  • Wash and dry kitchen cloths and sponges regularly and keep different cloths for different jobs.
  • Wash knives, spoons, tongs, etc. thoroughly after using them with raw meat.
    Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before starting to prepare food.
  • While boiling egg, add a little salt to prevent egg shells from cracking.
  • Rubbing a slice of raw potato will take food stains off your hands.
  • Carrots with green tops may be avoided as they are bitter to taste.
  • Add fresh or leftover cauliflower to soups or stews.
  • If soup is more salty, add small pieces of potato.
  • For long time preservation of pickle, Use dry container and dry spoon only.
  • To avoid wasting left over idlies and to have them later, cut them into pieces, fry in oil (Idly fry).
  • Slice watermelon thin to separate seeds easily.
  • To test whether honey is adulterated, take a glass of water, and add a few drops of honey. If the honey dissolves quickly, it is impure. Pure honey settles on the base of the glass.