ELA APPAM/ STEAMED RICE FLOUR DUMPLINGS WITH VARIED STUFFINGS

1Hey There. What I love about village life is the simplicity. Especially related to food. Modern life uses many gadgets, appliances, vessels, etc. but start of civilization began with essential few. And those were just enough. Those were healthy. Those added to the taste. Take for example mortar and pestle. Nothing can beat that taste and texture that this appliance gives to the ingredients. You may ask what I am driving at? One day my dad was plucking small aloe vera plant for me so I can grow it here in a pot. To cover the root he didn’t use newspaper or plastic cover. Instead he tore a small almost dry piece of banana leaf and wrapped it around the root. Then he tied it with another dried leaf.

This small incident left a mark in me. I felt ‘wow…that is so creative.’ My dad didn’t make use of any plastic instead he reused something from nature itself. Many of the dishes that is prepared in villages makes use of the ingredients that are available around. For example today’s ela appam or leaf appam. Rice dumplings with stuffing is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed it. Isn’t it nice and healthy?

2INGREDIENTS:

For Appam:

Rice Flour – 1 cup

Boiling water – 2 cups

Salt to taste

For Stuffing:

Fresh Grated coconut – 1 cup

Sugar – 4 tblspn (you can replace with jaggery)

Cardamom powder – a pinch

Others:

Banana leaf – place the banana leaf on flame to soften the leaf and so it doesn’t tear when folded. Cut into rectangles of equal sizes.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Boil water.
  2. In a bowl take grated coconut, sugar and cardamom and mix properly. This is your stuffing.
  3. In a bowl take rice flour. Add salt.
  4. Pour little boiling water and mix with a wooden ladle.
  5. Pour little more water till the dough comes together to form a tight rough ball.
  6. When the dough is hot enough to handle use your hand to knead the dough a little.
  7. Make small balls.
  8. Wet your hands. Take the small balls in the rectangular leaf pieces and flatten it equally.
  9. Place a spoonful of stuffing and spread it on one half of the spread dough.
  10. Close the non-filling side of the dough/leaf and place it on the steamer.
  11. Similarly prepare other appams and place it on steamer.
  12. Close the steamer and let it steam for 10-15 minutes or till the dough is cooked.
  13. Serve hot. Open the individual leaves and enjoy the natural, simple and delicious appams.

VARIATIONS FOR STUFFING:

I personally do not like eating raw coconut . Hence, I try different variations and love them. Few are listed below. Do try them too.

A. Ripe Jackfruit chopped into small pieces.

B. Ripe Mango chopped into small pieces.

C. You can add your favorite halwa as stuffing e.g rava halwa

D. Make it more healthy by adding sprouted cooked green gram with jaggery and cardamom

Note: If you don’t find banana leaf at your part of the world you can skip it and still make this dish. Instead of flat appams you can make it as round stuffed balls. But the banana leaf adds a special flavor to the appam. So try getting that. ๐Ÿ™‚ Till next time enjoy.ย 3

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COLD WATERMELON SALAD

1Hi. You know in my part of the world it is quite hot with a surprise drizzle sometimes. Hence, we try to keep ourselves hydrated and cool. Today’s recipe is a simple salad that I had in evening. There is a famous recipe of watermelon salad with feta cheese. Well I am not even sure we get feta cheese here. Anyways I wanted to have something light, refreshing and yet filling salad. So a little dressing and mix and match ingredients gave this wonderful salad.

Do try and let me know if you liked it.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Cold Watermelon pieces – 1 cup
  2. Mint leaves – 4-5
  3. Lemon Juice – juice of half a lemon
  4. Honey – 1 tblspn
  5. Black salt – a pinch
  6. Puffed rice/ Murmure – 1/4 cup
  7. Nuts – your choice (I added chopped walnuts)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Lets start with making the dressing. In a small bowl, add chopped mint leaves.
  2. Add lemon juice, honey and black salt.
  3. Whisk it well.
  4. In a salad bowl, add watermelon pieces.
  5. Pour the dressing over watermelon pieces and mix well.
  6. Garnish with puffed rice and nuts.

Enjoy.ย 2

BAKED SWEET POTATO FRIES

IMG_2421 - CopyHolla. Childhood is such a beautiful phase. Everything is so simple. You learn every minute. You surprise every second. In fact you are not scared to ask for appreciation. You forget the scoldings ย you get after few minutes and start over. You don’t hold a grudge against anyone. You smile at every passerby. You laugh out loud when tossed high in air trusting that the person will hold you and not let you fall. You can throw a tantrum for what you want and not get mad at. ย So you see, childhood is such a beautiful phase. ๐Ÿ™‚

Today’s recipe is a kid’s delight. Not that adults can’t have it. It is a very healthy snack so anyone will love it. ย Baked french fries with sweet potato.

IMG_2418 - CopyINGREDIENTS:

Sweet Potatoes – 1 cup ( cut thinly in equal sizes – french fries cut)

Mixed dried herbs – 1 tsp (Optional)

Olive oil – 1 tsp

Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 232 degree Celsius for 5 ย minutes
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment sheet.
  3. In a bowl toss together sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt and mixed dried herbs.
  4. Spread it on parchment sheet in single layer. Do not overcrowd.
  5. Bake it for 20 minutes or till the sweet potatoes are soft and cooked and crispy from outside.
  6. Cool it for 5 minutes before serving with ketchup

Enjoy. ๐Ÿ™‚

PS: Did you know sweet potatoes are sack full of goodness. They have disease preventing, cancer fighting and immune boosting benefits. So go on.Google around for sweet potatoes and know for yourself. Its perfect for kids lunch box or evening tea time hunger.ย IMG_2417 - Copy

 

 

BAIGUN BHAJA/ AUBERGINE DISCS

Hey There. I always wonder where did the vegetables get their names. I mean think of it na – Baigan or as they say in bengali – Baigun which means without any ‘gun’ or qualities. Then there is ‘Lady finger’. I mean why lady finger and why not gent finger? Then there is a range of ‘gourds’. Bitter gourd aka pavakya or karela, snake gourd aka padavalanga, ridge gourd aka turai, bottle gourd aka louki. Why “drumstick” when it is actually slender and thin and not at all drum like?

Anyways moving on to today’s recipe is this baigun bhaja. Well Brinjal needs special attention. If not used with proper spices or prepared well then this veggie is not tasty. It is said to have originated from Bengal. Brinjal is also known as ‘aubergine’ or ‘eggplant’. Phew what a name – “ahh – berrrr- gene” and “egg” + “plant”. So ideally we are eating the plant or the egg ? Did I confuse you? ๐Ÿ™‚

There are many recipes for this simple dish. You can make your own combinations and try different flavors.

IMG_2375INGREDIENTS:

Big purple brinjals – 1

Red Chilly powder – 1 tsp

Coriander Powder – 1 tsp

Lemon Juice – 1/2 tsp

Amchur powder/ Dry Mango powder – 1/4 tsp

Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp

Besan / Gram Flour – 1 tblspn

Salt to taste

Oil for shallow frying

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut the brinjal in round pieces of 1 inch thickness.
  2. Soak them in water for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove them and wipe it dry.
  4. In a plate mix well chilly, coriander, amchur, turmeric, besan, salt and lemon juice to make a smooth paste. Add little water if required.
  5. Coat the brinjal pieces with this paste and keep it aside for 10 minutes.
  6. Heat a tawa with little oil for shallow frying.
  7. Once oil is hot place the pieces of brinjal and fry them on both sides till top is crispy and insides are cooked.
  8. Remove and place on tissue paper.

Enjoy it hot as snacks or as a side for rice or roti.

IMG_2375

 

TOMATO RASAM – SOUL/COMFORT FOOD

IMG_2577Hey There. You know what is soul food? Or comfort food? The food that satisfies your soul on a tough day is known as soul/comfort food. Or the food that reminds you of your home or native is soul/comfort food. Today I am posting one such soul food. Rasam. Now there are many types of rasam and many recipes out there.

Rasam is a famous south indian dish that is known for its digestive powers. It is known for its cleansing properties. It is very good to have it as a soup or shorba when you are fighting a cold or chest congestion.

IMG_2579INGREDIENTS:

Tomatoes โ€“ 2 ripe

Coriander Seeds โ€“ 1.4 tblsp

Black Pepper corns โ€“ 8-10

Garlic โ€“ 5-6 cloves

Asafoetida powder โ€“ a pinch

Tamarind โ€“ 1 small lemon sized soaked in ยผ cup water

Dry red chilli โ€“ 2-3

Oil โ€“ 2 tblspn

Coriander Leaves โ€“ 3-4 tblspn

Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Fry red chilli in oil. Remove and take it in blender.
  2. Blend into coarse paste red chilli, coriander seeds, black pepper and garlic.
  3. Put this mixture back into oil and saute for a minute.
  4. Add asafoetida powder and mix well.
  5. Add chopped tomatoes and cook the tomatoes till soft.
  6. Add tamarind pulp and mix well.
  7. Add salt and 1.5 cups of water and bring it to a boil.
  8. Let it boil for 10 minutes.
  9. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rice or drink it as it is.IMG_2578

CHICKOO/ SAPOTA ICE CREAM

3Hello. It is so hot in this part of the world that some people wish to come to office on weekends. You tend to crave for cold food, light meals and loads of lighter moments to survive the day.

So this ice cream came to the rescue on such a hot and sunny day. It is super quick and easy recipe. Chickoo/ Sapota is in season. So go and make this ice cream at home and enjoy.

2INGREDIENTS:

  1. Chickoo pulp – 1 cup
  2. Condensed milk – 1 can

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Blend together chickoo pulp and condensed milk. Check for the sweetness.
  2. Pour the content in ice cream moulds and set it in freezer.
  3. Enjoy after 5-6 hours.

See ya till next time.ย 1

 

BANANA CHIPS

IMG_2371Hey There. It has been so many days since I last posted anything. Mainly it is because I am unable to manage my time these days. With a cranky toddler and sick season kicking in and out I am finding it very difficult to keep up my energy levels as well as time to draw up a post. However cooking never takes a back seat. So if you check my instagram or FB you will know I am pretty active with my pics of the dishes. So if you like any pic or a recipe and it is not yet posted do ping me if you need the recipe urgently.

So, today’s recipe is banana chips. These chips are a regular at my home. Mom makes the best chips in the world. She makes them when she has guests, she makes them when we wish for it, she makes it when she visits me, she makes it whenever possible.

So you will ask me is it so easy to make? When I posted the pics of these chips in my Instagram/ FB pages many of you asked for its recipe. So well here is the recipe but I must tell you although it is easy but it needs precision. The way you slice the chips, the way you fry them and the timing. So good luck and do try. Practice will make you perfect and you will make this family favorite often.

IMG_2372INGREDIENTS:

Raw Banana (Ethekya – the long variety that is originated from Kerala) – 1kg

Salt – 1 tsp

Water – 2 tblspn

Oil for deep frying

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Peel the raw banana.
  2. Using a cotton cloth rub it over the banana to remove the sap.
  3. Slice it thinly.
  4. Take a bowl with 2 tblspn water and stir in salt in it. Taste the saltiness. Adjust based on your preference.
  5. Now heat enough oil in a kadai for deep frying.
  6. When the oil is hot drop single slices of banana ( test the hotness of the oil by dropping single piece of banana. If it comes drop to the bottom and comes back on top of oil this is the right time and temperature.)
  7. Once there are enough banana slices in the kadai lower the flame and fry it turning the pieces on both sides. (Do not over crowd the kadai)
  8. Once both sides are fried add 1-2 spoons of salt water in the oil. It will make hissing sound for a minute and will gradually subside. Fry for another minute and drain on a tissue paper or kitchen towel.
  9. Once it is cooled down it will become crisp.

Enjoy with your evening tea.

CHALLENGES:

  1. ย The banana slices stick together. So it is important to drop them slice by slice slowly into hot oil.
  2. When frying the banana slices stick together. Keep separating them with slotted spoon.
  3. Be cautious when pouring in salt water in hot oil.
  4. If oil is not hot enough the chip will be soggy and absorb lots of oil.
  5. If oil is too hot then the chips will burn from outside and not cook from within.
  6. After every batch increase the flame for 30 seconds so the oil can become hot again which was cooled due to salt water.ย IMG_2373