Thursday, April 17, 2014
Sunday, April 6, 2014
My Nephew had gone to Germany to pursue his Masters degree. Being very good at differentiating between tasty food from not so tasty food, he found it difficult to cook his food everyday and that too make it tasty and wholesome. When he appealed to me for some simple recipes of South Indian food, I came up with a series of simple dishes. Here is a recipe for a Basic dal.
Toor dal / Arhar dal - 1 cup.
Tomatoes Or any other vegetables – 3 nos.
Salt – to taste
Turmeric (Haldi) - pinch
Chilli powder – ½ tsp (tea spoon)
Green chillies / red chillies – 2 nos.
Mustard seeds & cumin seeds (Rayi & jeera) – ½ tsp
Curry leaves, Coriander (Kotmir), optional– half a small bunch
Garlic pods – a few
Oil for seasoning (tadka) – 1 tbs
Onion (chopped) – 1 no.
Boil dal in 4 cups of water in the pressure cooker until 2 or 3 whistles.. After the pressure goes down, open the lid and mash the dal to a paste (If there is excess water in the dal, remove it and save it in a bowl). If you are cooking it in a open pot, make sure it is soft. Heat oil in a sauce pan (kadai), add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, green & / or red chillies, garlic pods. When they start spluttering, add chopped onion. After the onion is fried, add tomato pieces. Now put salt, turmeric powder (haldi) and chilli powder. When they are cooked, add mashed dal. Add water to the consistency you like.
Note: If other vegetables are used, add them to dal and cook in pressure cooker. Remove the vegetables and mash dal. Then put them back in the dal. Rest of the method is same as above.
You can eat this dal with rice or rotis.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Aavakaya (Spicy raw mango Pickle), Andhra style
Making mango pickle is a yearly event for us. My mother would try various recipes, and every time, the pickle would taste different (in a not-so-nice way!). Finally we all put our feet down and decided to go to the expert, ie., a neighbour, Annapurnamma, my mother’s friend. She was an expert at cooking and pickles. Every year, my mother would send me to request her to come and mix the mango pickle. After a few years, Annapurnamma suggested why don’t I learn and do it myself! It is several years since, and never once my mango pickle spoiled! This is basically her recipe; I altered the chilli proportion a bit.
Let me warn you at the outset, this pickle is very spicy. It is not for the faint hearted!
Raw mangoes, medium size, should be very sour – 25 nos.
Salt – 4 cups (heaped)
Chili powder – 5 cups (heaped)
Mustard powder – 6 cups (heaped)
Gingelly oil – 1.5 lts. (2 lts. would be better)
Hing (Asofoetida) – 15 gms.
Methi (Fenugrrek) & Chana (Bengal gram), whole grains – 50 gms. each
Haldi (Turmeric powder) – 1.5 tbs.
The mangoes have to be very firm, meaning, pickle has to be made as soon as they are plucked / bought. Keep them in a bucket of water until rest of the preparations are done. Clean them with water; wipe them dry with cloth and spread them on a cloth, in the shade. Cut them through the seed, into 1” (inch) cubes. Keep the pieces aside.
Take a big dish, add salt, chili powder, mustard powder, turmeric, fenugreek, Bengal gram, asafoetida. Mix all the dry ingredients thoroughly until it becomes a homogeneous mixture.
Put 3 handfuls of mango pieces in a separate dish, add 3 – 4 table spoons of the spice mixture to it. Mix both thoroughly with hand. Make sure all sides of all mango pieces are coated with spices. Transfer into a big dish (preferably stainless steel utensil). Repeat the process of mixing mango pieces and spice mixture in batches and transferring to the big dis.
Clean, wipe, dry the ceramic / pickle jar and keep it handy. Keep aside half a liter of gingelly oil.
From the remaining 1 liter oil, keep adding half cup of oil to 5 tbs. of mango mixture, mix well, making sure oil has coated the pieces on all sides. Transfer this to the jar. Repeat the process of mixing oil and transferring to jar.
When all the mango pieces with spices and oil has been put in the jar, tap it down, and finally pour the half liter of oil (which was kept aside), over it. Close the jar with the lid.
On the third day, mix the pickle. Wait for a week until mango pieces are well soaked in the spices, and your mango pickle is ready to eat.