Ela Neer Payasam (Tender Coconut Cooler) – Sadya Special

Ela Neer Payasam or Tender Coconut Cooler

Ela Neer Payasam or Tender Coconut Cooler

Ever since I first had Ela Neer Payasam, I have been wanting to try it at home. Since today is Vishu, New Year for Hindus in Kerala, I thought I would give it a try. As it turned out, I could not make a better decision.

Ela Neer Payasam is mildly sweet and loaded with flavours of tender coconut meat and coconut milk. It is quite unlike any of the other payasams and also serves as a cooling drink in Summer. The best part about it is that you can make it in a jiffy and if you omit the milk, you get a vegan version.

Time: 30 Mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  1. Tender Coconut Meat – 1 Cup
  2. Tender Coconut Water – 2 Cups
  3. Milk – 2 Cups
  4. Thick Coconut Milk – 1/2 Cup (1 Cups in the Vegan Version)
  5. Sugar – 4 tbsp
  6. Green Cardamom – 4
  7. Saffron – A Few Strands (optional)

Method

  1. Peel and crush the cardamom seeds to a fine powder.
  2. In a mixer, pulse the tender coconut meat to a coarse paste.
  3. Boil the milk and sugar together till the milk is reduce to 1/2 the quantity.
  4. Turn down the heat to low.
  5. Add the coconut milk and cardamom powder.
  6. Turn the heat up to medium and bring to a gentle simmer.
  7. Turn off the heat and let cool.
  8. Add the coconut water and coconut meat.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Chill for 2 hours.
  11. Serve chilled.

For the Vegan Version

  • Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water instead of milk.
  • Mix together the coconut water, coconut cream, cardamom powder, and coconut meat paste.
  • Serve chilled.

Tips for a No-Cook Version

  • You could use 1/3 cup of sweetened condensed milk instead of reducing the milk.
  • In such a case, there is no cooking involved. Just mix together all the ingredients.

General Tips

  • Do not grind the coconut meat into a fine paste. A coarse paste adds a degree of crunch to this payasam.
  • While I have added a strand of saffron to the photo, avoid it as it can overpower the flavour of the tender coconut. This drink is best served “unadulterated” by non-essentials such as saffron or dry fruits!

 

Lauki Kofta Or Dudhi Kofta

Lauki Kofta or Dudhi Kofta

Lauki Kofta or Dudhi Kofta

Bottle Gourd, Lauki or Dudhi is a staple in our home. We use it in Mukkala Pulusu, Majjiga Pulusu, assorted Aaku Koora Pulusulu (stews made with green leaf vegetables), or then use it in simple curries. One day recently, we got two bottle gourds and so came about the idea of making lauki kofta as we wanted to eat “something different” for dinner!

Lauki Kofta was something my mom made very well and as a treat for us; so we have very fond memories associated with it. :-) We did not realise it but we had not made Lauki Kofta since Amma passed away and that was almost 10 years ago.

I am glad we made it this time because it brought back so many memories of working with her in the kitchen.

Time: 45 Minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients
  1. Lauki, Dudhi, or Bottle Gourd – 1 Kg
  2. Onion – 2 Large
  3. Tomato – 2 Medium
  4. Besan or Gram Flour – 3 tbsp
  5. Green Chilli Paste – 1/2 tsp
  6. Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
  7. Garam Masala – 3/4 tsp
  8. Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  9. Coriander Powder – 1/2 tsp
  10. Roasted Cumin Powder – 1/2 tsp
  11. Bread Crumbs – 1/4 cup (optional)
  12. Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  13. Salt to Taste
  14. Oil for Deep Frying

Method to Make Koftas

  1. Peel the bottle gourd.
  2. Cut in half vertically.
  3. Scoop out the seeds and the fluffy middle section if any.
  4. Grate the bottle gourd.
  5. Add 1/2 tsp salt to the grated gourd and mix well.
  6. Set aside in a colander for 10 minutes so that the water begins to drain. Save the drained water.
  7. Squeeze the grated bottle gourd hard so that all excess water is drained. Save the drained water.
  8. To the grated, squeezed bottle gourd, add the besan, bread crumbs, and green chilli paste.
  9. Mix well and divide into 10-12  equal sized balls. You could flatten the koftas, if you so wish.
  10. Heat about 1 Cup oil.
  11. Add a pinch of the gourd mix to the oil to test if it is hot. If the oil is hot enough, the bottle gourd mix will immediately float to the top.
  12. When the oil is hot enough, deep fry the lauki koftas till golden brown.
  13. Set aside the koftas.

Method to Make the Gravy

  1. Peel and chop the onion into 1/2″ pieces.
  2. Grind the onion pieces into a smooth paste.
  3. Chop the tomato into 1/2″ pieces.
  4. Grind the tomato pieces into a smooth puree.
  5. In a wok or kadai, heat 2 tbsp oil. You can use leftover oil from frying the koftas.
  6. Add the onion paste and stir-fry till the paste starts to brown.
  7. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir fry for 1 minute.
  8. Add the tomato puree and stir-fry till the mix till the raw tomato smell/taste disappears.
  9. Add turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, and red chilli powders.
  10. Mix well and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.
  11. Add the water squeezed over from the lauki to form a thick gravy.
  12. Add more water, if required.
  13. Taste and add salt. Mix well. Remember that the water from the lauki has some salt in it.
  14. Cook till the gravy starts to simmer.

Putting It All Together

  1. Just before eating, heat the gravy.
  2. Add the koftas to gravy.
  3. Serve immediately with rotis or parathas.

Tips

  • Do not add the koftas to the gravy till you are ready to eat. They have a tendency to turn soggy.
  • Be sure to squeeze as much of the the liquid as possible from the bottle gourd as possible. Otherwise, the koftas will disintegrate when you fry them.
  • Bread crumbs are entirely optional. They just add a crunch to the koftas.
  • You could also shape the koftas into flat pattices and shallow fry them.

 

Kanda Koora (Yam Mash Curry or Senai Masiyal)

Kanda Koora or Yam Mashed Curry or Senai Masiyal

Kanda Koora or Yam Mashed Curry or Senai Masiyal

Kanda, as elephant yam is known in Andhra Pradesh,  is very popular in our home. We make it in a variety of ways; as yam fry or Kanda Vepudu, with mustard paste or Kanda Ava Pettina Koora, or then with Malabar spinach as Kanda Bachali Koora.

 This version of kanda koora is just seasoned with some lemon juice and tastes great with curd rice.

Whichever way you make it, the most important thing about kanda (known as Suran in Hindi) is that it is well-cooked. Under-cooked yam tends to cause allergies and itchy reactions.

Ingredients

  1. Kanda, Suran, Senai, or Yam – 1/2 kg
  2. Minapappu, Udad Dal or Husked Black Gram – 1 tbsp
  3. Senaga Pappu, Chana Dal, or Husked Bengal Gram – 1 tbsp
  4. Avalu, Rai, or Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  5. Red Chillies – 3 or 4
  6. Lemon Juice - 3 tbsp
  7. Oil – 1 tsp
  8. Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
  9. Curry Leaves – A Few
  10. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Clean, peel and chop yam into largish pieces.
  2. Put the pieces in a vessel and add enough water to cover the pieces.
  3. Pressure cook the yam for about 4 whistles or till the yam is soft enough to be completely mashed.
  4. Drain the water from the yam. Save some of the water.
  5. Mash the boiled yam to a smooth paste.
  6. Add salt and mix well.
  7. In a kadai/wok, heat the oil.
  8. Add the mustard seeds.
  9. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the udad dal and chanal dal.
  10. Fry till the dals turn golden brown.
  11. Split the red chillies, turmeric, and curry leaves to the oil.
  12. Fry for a minute.
  13. Add the mashed yam to the oil.
  14. Mix well. Add some of the water retained earlier, if required.
  15. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice.
  16. Mix well.
  17. Serve hot with steamed rice or curd rice.

Tips

  • This koora is like a thick paste and not solid, so add water appropriately.
  • Always serve this koora hot. When cold, it has a starchy taste because of the yam.

If you like yam or this recipe, you may also enjoy:

Methi Tamatar Pulav (Fenugreek and Tomato Spiced Rice)

Methi Tamatar Biryani or Fenugreek and Tomato Spiced Rice

Methi Tamatar Biryani or Fenugreek and Tomato Spiced Rice

By now, you must have realised that I like one-pot dishes; they are lifesavers on weekdays. Here is one more in the series of one dish meals; one which combines fresh fenugreek leaves with tomatoes in a wonderful mix of tastes.

Serves: 4

Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  1. Basmati Rice – 1.25 Cups
  2. Fresh Fenugreek Leaves – 2 Packed Cups
  3. Tomato – 2 Large
  4. Onion – 1 Large
  5. Cloves - 2
  6. Cinnamon – 1 ” Piece
  7. Star Anise – 1
  8. Black Cardamom – 1
  9. Cumin – 1 tsp
  10. Bay Leaf – 1
  11. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  12. Garam Masala or Kitchen King Masala – 1 tsp
  13. Ghee or Oil – 1 tsp
  14. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Wash the basmati rice and soak in 2 cups water for 10 minutes.
  2. Add 1/2 tsp salt and pressure cook for two releases of pressure (2 whistles).
  3. When the pressure cooker cools, spread the rice on a plate to cool and dry a bit.
  4. Peel and chop the onion into 1/2″ pieces.
  5. Chop the tomato into 1/2″ pieces.
  6. In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat the oil or ghee.
  7. Add cumin, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, black cardamom, and bay leaf.
  8. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add onion and sauté till the onion is transparent.
  10. Add the fenugreek leaves and sauté till they wilt.
  11. Add the tomato pieces and sauté till the pieces are well-stewed.
  12. Add turmeric and garam masala/kitchen king masala.
  13. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
  14. Add the cooked rice and salt.
  15. Mix with a gentle hand.
  16. Serve hot with boondi raita or kakdi raita, and papad.

If you like this recipe, you may also like:

 

 

Rama Navami Naivedyam – Panakam and Vada Pappu

Ramaya!
Rama Bhadraya!
Ramachandraaya Namaha!!

Rama Navami is celebrated on the final day of Chaitra Navaratri. The birthday of Lord Rama, Rama Navami is celebrated with great fervour in India. In Andhra Pradesh, the Seetha Ramaswamy Temple at Bhadrachalam is the epicentre of all celebrations.

Read more about Rama Navami at Wikipedia.

Leading up to Rama Navami, my music teacher will always teach us some exquisite Kriti on Rama. This year it was Brova Samayamu Idey Ramayya in Gowri Manohari.

You can hear Chinamaya Sisters sing this kriti.

Of course, then there are any number of kritis by Bhadrachala Ramadasu and Tyagaraja.

Traditional naivedyam on Rama Navami is spartan includes:

  • Panakam – A cooling drink made out of jaggery, dried ginger, black pepper, and green cardamon.
  • Vada Pappu – Soaked moong dal and cucumber garnished with grated coconut and green chillies.
  • Neer More – Simple buttermilk with ginger and coriander.

 

Punjabi Dum Aloo (Baby Potatoes in Onion-Tomato Gravy)

Punjabi Dum Aloo

Punjabi Dum Aloo

Middle of last week, I was talking to my brother on what we should have for dinner, when he suddenly asked me if we have baby potatoes at home. Stange question to ask because ours is a traditional South Indian home where baby potatoes have not too much of a role to play.

Turns out he wanted to eat Dum Aloo. :-) So off he went to get some baby potatoes from the market. The next request was could we try a different recipe from the normal Kashmiri Dum Aloo that we make. So out came the iPad and the usual internet search.

The result is this recipe which is a mix-n-match of assorted recipes found on the Net.

I have deep fried the baby potatoes. You may parboil them and saute lightly in oil, but that is not as much fun. :-( It is OK to live it up once in a while!

Time: 45 Minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  1. Baby Potatoes – 15-20
  2. Tomato – 1 Large
  3. Onion – 2 Large
  4. Yoghurt – 1/3 Cup
    or
    Almonds - 8 (Vegan option)
  5. Ginger – 1″ knob
  6. Garlic – 4 Large Cloves
  7. Black Cardamom - 1
  8. Cinnamon – 1″ piece
  9. Cloves – 1
  10. Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  11. Coriander Seeds – 2 tsp
  12. Fennel Seeds – 1 tsp
  13. Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
  14. Punjabi Garam Masala – 1 tsp
  15. Turmeric – 1/3 tsp
  16. Oil – 1 Cup
  17. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. If you are using almonds:
    • Soak them in warm water for 20 minutes. Add just enough water to cover the almonds.
    • Peel the almonds.
    • Grind the soaked almonds along with the water into a smooth paste.
  2. If you are using yoghurt, beat it to a smooth consistency.
  3. Heat a heavy pan.
  4. Dry roast the cumin seeds for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  5. Dry roast the fennel seeds for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Grind the coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds into a fine powder.
  7. Peel and chop the onion into large pieces.
  8. Peel and chop the tomato into large pieces.
  9. Grind the onion, garlic pods, and ginger together into a fine paste. Set aside.
  10. Grind the tomato into a fine paste. Set aside.
  11. Wash and scrub the potatoes clean. Leave the skin on.
  12. Cut the baby potatoes in half.
  13. In a wok or kadai, heat the oil.
  14. In batches, fry the potato pieces till they start to turn brown. Set aside.
  15. Retain just 2 tbsp oil in the kadai. Discard the rest of the oil.
  16. Add the clove, cinnamon, and black cardamom.
  17. Stir fry for 1 minute.
  18. Add the onion paste and stir-fry till it turns brown.
  19. Add the tomato puree and stir-fry till the paste turns brown.
  20. Add the garam masala, chilli, turmeric, and coriander-cumin-fennel powders.
  21. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell of the masalas disappears.
  22. Add the yoghurt or almond paste. Mix well.
  23. Add 1 cup water and salt.
  24. Mix well.
  25. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  26. Add the fried baby potatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes till the potatoes just begin to soften.
  27. Serve hot with phulkas or parathas.
Punjabi Dum Aloo

Punjabi Dum Aloo

Nimmakaya Majjiga (Buttermilk with Lemon)

Nimmakaya Majjiga or Buttermilk with Lemon

Nimmakaya Majjiga or Buttermilk with Lemon

Summer is here and how! Mumbai is a scorching 40°C at the start of summer.  Who know what heights of temperature we will scale in the days to come?

We always drink a lot of Majjiga (Chaas/Buttermilk) to stay cool. Given that summer stretches for four long months, we have variations of majjiga that add spice to life and keep stave off boredom.

Nimmakaya Majjiga is a personal favourite of mine! 

Time: 10 Minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  1. Curd – 1.5 Cups
  2. Water – 3 Cups
  3. Lemon Juice - 4 tbsp
  4. Grated Ginger – 1 tsp
  5. Curry Leaves – A Few
  6. Fresh Coriander – A Little
  7. Salt to Taste

Method

  1. Blend curd and water together to make a smooth liquid.
  2. Add lemon juice, grated ginger, torn curry leaves, slightly crushed coriander leaves and salt.
  3. Mix well.
  4. Serve chilled.

Simple as that!!

Tips

  1. Preferably use rock salt.
  2. Use black salt (kala namak) instead of sea salt and taste the difference. Be warned, black salt has a distinct sulfurous taste. :-)

Poornam Boorelu

Poornam Boorelu or Poornalu

Poornam Boorelu or Poornalu

While I like Bobbattu (Obbattu/Puran Poli), I love Poornam Boorelu. Crisp and savoury on the outside, soft and sweet on the outside, Boorelu just melt in your mouth.

Truth be told, I guess I like Boorelu better than Bobbattlu, because it is the taste of Poornam I love. When I was a child, Amma would always save a small portion of Poornam for me to enjoy!

I alternate between Boorelu and Bobbattlu for various festivals. This time for Ugadi, I made both!

Ingredients

  1. Chana Dal – 1 Cup
  2. Grated Jaggery or Sugar – 1 Cup
  3. Cardamom Powder – 1/2 tsp
  4. Grated Coconut – 1/2 Cup
  5. Udad dal - 3/4 Cups
  6. Rice - 2 tbsp
  7. Oil for deep-frying – 1.5 Cups
  8. Salt – 1/4 tsp
  9. Ghee - 1 tbsp
  10. Water

Method

To make Poornam/Puran:

  1. Pressure cook Chana Dal with 1.5 Cups of Water for 3 whistles.
  2. Drain the dal completely for about 1 hour. There should be no water.
  3. When the dal is drained of water, grind it along with grated jaggery/sugar and cardamom powder.
  4. In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat the ghee and the Chana dal paste to it.
  5. Over medium heat, cook the paste while stirring constantly.
  6. Cook the paste till:
    • it is transparent and golden brown.
    • the excess water has evaporated.
  7. Set aside to cool completely.

You will know the Poornam is ready when it starts to form a crust at the bottom. :-)

To make the dough:

  1. Soak Udad dal and rice in water for about 4 hours.
  2. Drain the water completely.
  3. With a little water, grind into a thick batter.
  4. Add salt to the mix.

To make Boorelu:

  1. Make 1.5″ balls of the Poornam.
  2. Heat oil till it is hot.
  3. Dip Poornam balls in the batter.
  4. Ensure the Poornam is completely covered.
  5. Gently drop into hot oil.
  6. Fry till golden brown.

Tips

  • The Udad dal batter should be thicker than a dosa batter, but slightly thinner than Idli batter. I hope that is clear. :-).
  • If the batter is thin, the Boorelu will disintegrate. :-(
  • Fry the Boorelu in hot oil, otherwise the batter will absorb a lot oil.
  • To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a few drops of the batter in it. The batter drops should immediately rise to the top and sizzle.

 

Poornam Boorelu or Poornalu - 2

Poornam Boorelu or Poornalu

Ugadi – The Telugu New Year

Toran

ఉగాది శుభాకాంక్షలు! Ugadi Shubhakankshalu! 

 

 

Ugadi, the Telugu New Year, is a time of celebration with family and friends. Here are a few recipes for dishes traditionally prepared on Ugadi:

Mammidikaya Pulihora (Raw Mango Rice) – Ugadi Special

Mammidikaya Pulihora or Raw Mango Rice - Andhra Recipe

Mammidikaya Pulihora or Raw Mango Rice

Ugadi, the Telugu New Year, is round the corner. It is also new year for Kannadigas (Yugadi), Maharashtrians (Gudi Padwa), Sindhis (Cheti Chand) and Kashmiri Hindus (Navreh).

As with all Indian festivals, food is an integral part of the Ugadi celebrations. While Ugadi Pachadi takes centrestage on this day, no Andhra celebration is ever complete without Pulihora. You can make Pulihora with many a sour ingredient; tamarind, lemon, or even Gongura.

With summer upon us, there are raw mangoes all around and I decided to make Mammidikaya Pulihora; te variation of pulihora that uses raw mangoes. :-)

Time: 45 Minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  1. Rice – 1 Cup
  2. Raw Mango - 1 Large
  3. Rai/Mustard Seeds - ½ tsp
  4. Udad Dal/Split Black Gram - ½ tsp
  5. Chana Dal/Split Green Gram - ½ tsp
  6. Peanuts - ¼ cup
  7. Turmeric - ½ tsp
  8. Curry Leaves - 10-12
  9. Red Chillies - 4 to 5
  10. Salt - To taste
  11. Til/Gingelly Oil - 2 tbsp

Method

  1. Cook rice as usual.
  2. Spread warm rice out in a plate.
  3. Drizzle about 1 tbsp oil on the rice.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Add salt, turmeric, and curry leaves to the rice.
  6. Mix well.
  7. Peel and grate the mango.
  8. Heat the remaining oil till it is medium hot.
  9. Add mustard seeds to it.
  10. When the mustard seed sputter, add Udad dal and Chana dal.
  11. Fry till light brown.
  12. Add peanuts and fry till they start to split.
  13. Add split red chillies and fry for a few seconds.
  14. Add the grated mango and fry for about a minute.
  15. Add to the rice and mix well.
  16. Serve warm.

Tips:

  • The mango must be khatta/tangy.
  • Do not fry the grated mango too much or it will lose its flavour.
  • If you like your food spicy, crush the fried red chillies before mixing in rice.