Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Coconut Chutney

Coconut chutney is a famous  south Indian vegetarian recipe.Its effortless making and healthy attributes makes it very popular.Coconut in English as we know now, was first mentioned in English print in 1555, this word comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word coco, which means "monkey face." Spanish and Portuguese explorers found a resemblance to a monkey's face in the three round indented markings or "eyes" found at the base of the coconut.In Sanskrit, the coconut palm is known as kalpa vriksha, meaning "tree which gives all that is necessary for living," because nearly all parts of the tree can be used in some manner or another.

There have been mentions of coconut in Sanskrit literature, dating back to the 4th century BC. On the Nicobar Islands of the Indian Ocean, whole coconuts were used as currency for the purchase of goods until the early part of the twentieth century.Even today, India is the third largest producer of coconuts in the world.
This is one among the recipes i learnt from Mom as a child (6th grade)
Coconut - 1 cup
Green chillies - 2 small
Roasted split gram(daria dal) - 2 tablespoons
Salt as per taste
For Tempering
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red chili - 1
Urud Dal - /4 tsp
Curry leaves - 2-3
Oil - 1 tsp
1)Put the coconut, green chillies,roasted split gram and salt in a blender with a little water and grind to make a fine paste(Add water according to your desired consistency).Keep aside.
2)Prepare the tempering by heating the oil and adding the Urud dal, mustard seeds, red chili and curry leaves respectively and stirring till the mustard seeds crackle. Pour this tempering over the chutney and mix well.

1)You can also have the chutney without tempering.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Peanut Chutney

Chutneys are a delicious Indian condiment. The word “chutney” is actually a British term derived from the Hindi word “chatni”, meaning, “to crush”.Chutneys come in a wide range of bold and exciting flavors ranging from spicy to sweet, savory, tangy and even sour. They also vary in textures depending upon the ingredients used and their preparation. There are two main types of chutneys: fresh and preserved and they can either be wet or dry in nature.The first Indian chutneys to reach the West appeared as luxury imports in England and France during the late 1600s. They were mostly mango chutneys put up in sticky syrups and shipped in ceramic pots.Here I am going to share with you the recipe of an very easy Peanut chutney.Yes you heard me right,he is a good cook himself and my husband always says his signature dish is puliyodarai rice.To mention a few facts about peanuts,India is the second largest producer of peanuts in the world after China.Peanuts account for two-thirds of all snack nuts consumed in the USA and Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter.
Peanuts - 1 cup
Red chillies - 2-3
Salt as per taste
Walnut-sized ball of tamarind
Oil - 2 tsps
1)Heat a griddle till it is hot,on a medium flame. Roast the peanuts and dry red chillies (stirring frequently) on this griddle with 2 tsps of oil till they give off a gentle cooked aroma.
2)Allow to cool completely and then grind the peanuts,chillies with salt and tamarind to a coarse paste.Add enough water so that you get the desired consistency.

1)Take care to use seedless tamarind or remove the seeds.Another option is soak the tamarind in a bowl just covered with hot water. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes or till soft. Then squeeze the tamarind (while still in the water) with your fingers,to release the pulp from it. Squeeze till you get most of the pulp off and into the water. Now strain the liquid to remove pith and any seeds. Tamarind juice is now ready to use.
2)Peanut Chutney tastes especially good with Idlis (steamed South Indian rice cakes) and Dosas (crispy savory South Indian rice pancakes).
3)To check if the peanuts are done just tap them and they should break open.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Vegetable Salad

"Salad, a term derived from the Latin sal (salt), which yielded the form salata, 'salted things' such as the raw vegetables in classical times with a dressing of oil, vinegar or salt. The word turns up in Old French as salade and then in late 14th century English as salad or sallet."salad also includes other than fresh vegetables and fruits such as egg salad,cookie salad,pasta salad etc.They include a mixture of cold and hot, often including raw vegetables and/or fruits.Here is a very delicious recipe for a vege Salad.Here I am listing the quantity needed for a small tray,but i have done two small and a big tray for a get-together.
Lettuce,cut into 1 inch pieces - 5 cups
Bell Pepper,deseeded and thinly sliced - 3 nos
Cherry tomatoes,quartered - 2 1/2 cups
Olives - 1 cup
Sliced Almonds - 1/2 cup
Cucumber sliced - 1 nos
Carrot grated - 2 nos
Onion big - 1 no

1)Wash and pat dry all of your vegetables.
2)Arrange the lettuce leaves on your tray,covering the entire bottom of the tray.
3)Take your prepared vegetables and arrange them around the tray in sections.Try to keep your colors separated and spread out the green colored vegetables.I like to use a green vegetable,then a colored vegetable and then another green vegetable and so forth as I go around my tray.I have followed this order of arrangement-Lettuce,Bell pepper,Cucumber,Carrots,Onions,Tomatoes,Olives and Almonds.
4)Repeating the layer atleast twice would make the salad very delicious.

1)If you are hosting a party, you will need to create a presentably appealing vegetable tray.One of my Chef friend has told me "Research says 90% of food liking is for visual appeal and only 10% is for taste"
2)Creating a veggie tray is really easy if you plan ahead and gather everything that you will need before you begin to assemble your tray.
3)Try to get different coloured Bell peppers for a more appealing look.
4)Use of Onions can be limited or avoided in case the tray has to be served a while after it's done.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Celery Chutney

Celery is valuable in weight-loss diets, where it provides low-calorie dietary fiber bulk.Celery contains vitamin C and several other active compounds that promote health, including phthalides, which may help lower cholesterol, and coumarins, that may be useful in cancer prevention.Choose celery that looks crisp and snaps easily when pulled apart. It should be relatively tight and compact and not have stalks that splay out. The leaves should be pale to bright green in color and free from yellow or brown patches.The celery that we know today was derived from wild celery. While thought to have its origins in the Mediterranean regions of northern Africa and southern Europe, it was also native to areas extending east to the Himalayas. Wild celery differed a bit from its modern day counterpart in that it featured less stalks and more leaves.This is a vey simple recipe to make with celery as the main ingredient,Celery Chutney.My husband being a very strict critic has also liked this recipe.Enjoy!!

Garlic - 2
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Green chillies - 2-3
Corriander leaves - 1/2 Cup
Mustard - 1 tsp
Oil - 1/4 cup
Salt as per taste
Celery Stick - 5
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 Tsp
Asafoetida (hing) powder - 1/4 tsp
1.Heat 2 tsp of oil a wide pan.Add the chopped celery and corriander leaves.Saute for 8-10 mins.Keep aside.
2.Take another tsp oil and add methi,chopped green chillies,ginger and garlic.Keep stirring for 3-4 minutes.
3.Grind both celery with ginger and garlic mixture nicely.
4.Pour the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds.Once they splutter add the asafoetida and the turmeric powder.Then quickly add the celery paste and mix well.
5.Add salt and cook the tokku on low to medium heat till the oil leaves the sides.
6.Goes well with rice,chapaties and also for sandwiches.
1.Cut celery into small pieces to lesen the time for cooking.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chikki/Peanut Burfi

Chikki is a traditional Indian sweet usually made from nuts and jaggery/sugar.Each chikki is named depending upon the ingredients used. Usually, ingredients such as puffed/roasted bengal gram, sesame, puffed rice, beaten rice,Kopra (desiccated coconut),cashews,skinned almonds and pista are used.It is also extremely popular in Brazil, where it is known as pé-de-moleque.Here is a very simple recipe.

Peanuts - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 cup
Ghee - 2 tsp
1.Roast groundnut in a pan over low heat and then switch off the flame.Allow the nuts to cool and then peel  its skin.
2.Crush the peanuts coarsely with the chapathi roll.
3.Keep a pan on fire,drop the sugar and add 1 tsp of ghee.
4.Keep stirring,till the sugar melts and the syrup is brown in colour.
5.Then add the peanuts and mix well.
6.Pour the mixture into a greased plate immediately .
7.Spread it evenly with the back of spatula.
8.Cool and store in airtight container.

1.Keep the greased plate ready even before you start.
2.The sugar should not be heated for long. Once it melts down,the peanut should be added.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Aviyal is a traditional Kerala dish,practically a cooked salad with different veggies,coconut,cumin,yogurt and coconut oil.All vegetables go in it, except perhaps,some mushy vegetables.
There is a legend about this dish. The Maharaja of Travencore used to perform Murajapam every year (The word murajapam signifies a course of prayer.Mura,literally "a course of recitation" each taking eight days to go through,and japam meaning " prayer or chating of vedic hymns".The Murajapam thus instituted consists of seven courses and lasts for fifty six days,closing with the grand illimunation of the temple called lakshadipam). One year it so happened that there was no vegetables left on the last day of the Murajapam.Only few pieces of various vegetables left over from the previous days were available. The cook cut all the left overs into long thin pieces and prepared "Aviyal." The king liked the dish so much and presented him with a gold bracelet and ordered that this dish be served every year since then.
The traditional aviyal generally uses common vegetables like
Raw Green plantain
Elephant yam
Chembu (colocasia)
Snake gourd (Trichosanthes Anguina)
Ash gourd
Avarakkai(Broad Beans)
Chow Chow
Green mango (raw)
Raw jackfruit
A small quantity of bitter gourd can be used to give a tinge of bitterness
Shelled Peas
Long String Beans

250 grams of any combinaton of the above vegetables peeled(long thin 2" pieces)
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Curry leaves Few
Salt as per taste
Coconut Paste - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 6-7 nos
Cummin seeds - 1 tsp
Curds 3-4 tbsp lightly sour (if using raw mango, do not use curds)
1.Boil the vegetables until just done, with turmeric powder and salt (cover and cook). One should be careful not to overcook the vegetables.They should remain crisp.
2.Grind together the coconut, green chillies and cummin seeds to make a fine paste, adding very little water.Mix the curd to the ground paste and keep aside.
3.Add the paste to the vegetables and gently toss for few minutes, until all the vegetables are coated with the paste.If using a spoon, be careful not to mash the vegetables.Add fresh curry leaves, coconut oi and mix well.Switch of the stove and serve hot with rice,chapathi etc.

1.If you do not like coconut oil,you can exclude that and the avial is still very tasty.
2.You can also microven the vegetables with turmeric and salt.
3.Avial has to sit a while for its flavours to deepen.
4.Add Pumpkin and squash after the other vegetables are half done because they tend to cook faster.
5.Add litte water because avial is a dish of thick consistency.
6.Close the avial once cooked,not to lose the flavour.
7.If you are adding raw mango there is no need for curd as the mango will provide the sourness.Mango should also be added after the other vegetables are half done.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Mustard Greens Daal

Mustard Greens add a peppery, pungent flavor to recipes in which they are featured.They provide excellent amounts of 9 vitamins, 7 minerals, dietary fiber and protein.They help promote lung and cardiovascular system health.They also provide a vital role in woman's health in the phase of menopause.
Mustard greens originated in the Himalayan region of India and have been grown and consumed for more than 5,000 years.While India, Nepal, China and Japan are among the leading producers of mustard greens, a significant amount of mustard greens are grown in the United States as well.This is a very simple yet tasty recipe of Mustard Greens Daal.
Mustard greens finely chopped - 1 bunch
Green gram Dal - 1 cup
Asafoetida powder - 1/4 tsp
Onion finely chopped- 1
Curry leaves - 5 leaves
Garlic fnely chopped - 3 cloves
Tomato finely diced- 1/2
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli - 1
Red chilli powder -1/2 tsp
Mustard - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Salt as per taste
Oil - 4 tsp

1.Soak Green gram dal overnight and pressure cook them and keep aside.
2.Heat oil in a deep sauce pan and splutter mustard, dry red chillies,asafoetida powder, jeera and curry leaves.
3.Next add onions and garlic and fry them nicely.
4.Now add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, little salt,water and Mustard Greens.To this add chilli powder.Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes.
5.Then add the dal and cook for another 10 minutes.Add more water if needed.
1.Goes well with chapathi and rice.
2.Can also be made with Moong dal.