Friday, August 24, 2012

"Raagi Halwa" A fond memory of one of the most favorite persons in my life

                                         Memories still fresh, I still cannot come to terms with my Grand Mother’s demise. It is always hard to let go of the sorrow you feel when a loved one passes on despite the hard fact that we all have to someday leave everything and everyone and that we are just another creature in the universe that is bound to leave its premises one day. And yet that time has come to bid her goodbye for ever.

                                          It only seems like yesterday that I used to pester her for stories, and more stories from her early life, her childhood, how many kids she had, why was it that my mom did not  have a sister, did she tie her hair into a "koppu" or did she wear a plait?  So many questions and she had answers to each one of them every time.Not one time would she be bored of repeating the same stories again and again, how my grand pa gifted her with a kilo of gold at the time of her wedding, how she foolishly gave her expensive waist belt to some one she really did not know to get it repaired, afraid to tell someone at home,  and so on. She was some one who would never differentiate between her own grand kids and not hers. She would still wake up in the middle of the night to accompany us to the rest room which would by the village rules be out side the house, with out ever showing the slightest frustration. And I look at myself now, how I react to my own kids' constant pestering. I am sure every one out there would definitely have a similar story to tell about their grandma. But it sure is a pleasure to keep reminding myself of what a wonderful childhood I had, and feel sad at the same time to know all the fun my kids are missing.
                                      And what a good cook she was, her " Baanam Buvva" AKA "Palannam" which she made with the freshest milk from the house cows, was to die for. How ever there is one dessert that she was a pro, and one probably most of you would have never heard of " RAAGI HALWA". One of the coolest, healthier, yummylicious dessert that would be forgotten just like other traditional dishes from the region. Raagi/ FInger Millet used to be one of the region's most grown crop. Back when rice was a luxury, Raagi was fed to infants as a Malt, to hungry workers as a cheap, filling yet wholesome food "Sangati". And "Raagi Halwa" is just one such heavenly dish made from the grain either by finely powdering it after soaking overnight, and drying it for couple of hours. Or being in the US you can go for the easier approach, soak the grains and grind it into a paste and filter through a muslin cloth. But beware this is no less arduous and time taking process, for you still have to soak, grind and then use your hand on the muslin cloth to filter the liquid.
                                   Hmm I will try to make the Halwa this week end and post the recipe with the pictures. And this will be another sweet memory of my loving grandmother

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day to you dearest mom and to you all  my dear reader Mothers out there who are always there for their kids whether rain or shine !


Saturday, January 14, 2012

A very Happy Sankranthi/Pongal/Ellu Bella/Makara Vilakku to you all

Each one of us calls it by a different name, yet its significance is no different at all.  Harvest equals to happiness, and bounty and Sankranthi is everything about celebration. Thanks to renovations, my sweet home is a complete mess, and celebrations at home were not a possibility this time. Well, we can still visit the temple, and celebrate the rest of the festival. I hope you might have had a lot of fun this Sankranthi!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Spicy, Tangy, and heavenly Mamidikaya Chitrannam/Mango Pulihora

Most of you would have heard about Lemon Rice ( Chitrannam/ Nimmakaya pulihora), Tamarind rice (Pulihora), and even Mango Pulihora too. Chitrannam, or chitramaina annam, in english traslated as Amazing or Wonderful Rice. Very aptly named it is I feel. This particular Mamidikaya Chitrannam is favorite among the others because of its spicy, tangy and yet yummy taste.   In my regio back home, we add mustard seeds for that extra flavor. So here is the list of things you would need

Grated mango...aha my mouth is watering!
1. Raw mango, washed and grated. I donot peel the skin, like to see the different shades of green.
For the paste:
 2tbsps of coconut
10 green chillies
1tsp mustard seeds
some salt

Grind these ingredients into a fine paste without adding water.

Now boil rice in a separate cooker/vessel whatever you usually boil in. spread the rice in another mixing bowl to let dry a bit.

Meanwhile prepare for the popu/seasoning for the chitrannam mixture.
2tbspns vegetable oil
mustard seeds for seasoning
10-12 curryleaves
Raw peanuts
3-4 dry red chillies
Let the oil heat up add mustard seeds, followed by curryleaves, redchillies and then the coconut+chilli+mustard paste that we prepared earlier. Fry it for about 5 minutes until the raw smell is gone. Add a teaspoon of turmeric as you do for other chitrannam/pulihora. Just before you turn off the heat add the grated raw mango and give it a mix. Now mix the raw mango mixture to the rice well, and taste the chitrannam. If you have time make urlagadda talimpu/potato masala or just some pappu  or you can just eat it alone. Donot forget to eat curd with the chitrannam at the end.
I made it yesterday night as dear hubby is a big fan of chitrannam , and it turned out just like I wanted it to be. Delicious chitrannam with tomato pappu ( not many tomatoes, will tell you the recipe another time), fried majjiga mirapakayalu and fried saggubiyyam/sabudana papads made the dinner nothing less memorable.
 I believe the mustard paste gives an extra kick to the recipe. Bye now and I will see you with another interesting dessert that my both my grandmoms used to make, and ofcourse my mom always was in the line. It is called "RAGI HALWA". I am telling the name out just for my sake, because I have never tried making it myself until now. But of all the desserts out there I place it in the top of the list.  And I do want to challenge myself into making it (I speed up things when I say them out ) without any delays. Ciao people. By the way here are some more pics of the "Chitrannam".
Green chilli+Mustard+Coconut paste
The seasoned Mixture ready for the rice!


Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year 2012 once again !

Wishing you all my dear readers, friends, and family a cheerful New Year 2012, contrary to what financial analysts, astrologists, and others say. I hope with all my heart that it will not be another Great Depression, like the UN says, rather let us wish that some miracle happens that will make things turn the other way around. OOh am I sounding like someone who has drunk a big bottle of optimism, too young to be a pessimist.  Resilience is human nature, and hopefully the inanimate market takes the same path too. Nonculinary things aside, let me give you the recipe for the new Year cake that I made.
Well to being with there is a brief history behind my madness towards learning to make this cake. Madness I say because, it is " The honey cake", guess the quotes made it already special. I donot know about you guys, but growing up I had this fascination for honey cake, the one that was sold at the bakeries. Ofcourse Mom's special Birthday cake was always special, but this was the fancy-shmancy pastry piece that could be bought. And guess what after all these years together, I got to know that dear hubby was and still is a big fan of "Da Cake". What was even more surprising was that there are a lot of fans for it. While I did make the cake the first time for my Christmas party at home by using a ready made yellow cake mix, and the honey syrup recipe I had searched for in a number of Indian cooking blogs (guess mostly south Indian), one caught my attention because of the details. Since I could not make the cake from scratch, I felt it would be not so special to post it. Well  New year's eve was the perfect occasion to make it one more time, this time all home made. And the result was an irresistible delicacy. Irresistible because, I love to cook, and bake but not eat on par with my food addict hubby. But this was an exception, I couldnot believe that I did complete justice (In my hubby's foodie language :-) ) to the cake, and finished it up by the next day.  Here is the recipe.

For the Cake

1.  6 large eggs. Separate the yolks as we will use only whites
2. 2 Cups all purpose flour
3. 1 1/2 cups sugar
4. 1 1/2 sticks butter
5. 2 tsp  Vanilla essence
6. 1/4 tsp kosher salt
7. 3/4 cup milk
8. 2 tsp baking powder
8. 13 X 9 inch pan for baking
While the eggs are still cold separate the whites from the yolk, and let them come to room temperature. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together into a mixing bowl. Mean while beat the sugar and butter which should be now at room temperature  until light and fluffy. When the eggs come to the room temperature mix the vanilla, milk into the whites and beat for about a minute.  Now mix the flour and the egg mixture and alternating with flour and eggs+milk so that you would end up with the flour at the end. Pour into the greased and floured pan and bake it in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 35-40 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted into the cake. Take it out and while it is warm pour the honey syrup onto it. This is what makes the cake exceptionally delicious.

" Da Syrup"

1. 1/2 cup sugar
2. 1/2 cup honey
3. 1/2 cup water
4. 1/2 cup finely shredded coconut ( dont use the sweetened one)
5. 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
Boil the water and sugar, and honey, coconut for about  15 minutes, take it off the heat and add the cardamom powder. Pour the syrup onto the baked cake while both are warm still. let the syrup seep into all the corners of the cake, and wait for a day if you can. Savour it the  next day you will be hit " da Spot" and if you can't wait you will still hit it. I chose to wait and relived my bakery memories from back home.  Here is the link to the blog that I visited to search for the syrup recipe. I added less water than mentioned in paru's blog. Thanks to Paru's

Well you guys tell me if you did hit "da spot". Are you annoyed by the indiscriminate usage of "da", well I have been watching ZNMD (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) a zillion times, and one of the scenes where Abhay and Farhan call Hrithik  "da mentalist" is so funny that I want to use it wherever I can. An absolutely cool, still emotionally touching movie that will definitely strike a chord with everyone who has friends, and I guess that is every body.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A very Happy New Year to You all!

My delicious New Year Coconut topped White Honey Cake!
Wish you all a Very Happy New Year 2012, that will be a much cheerful, successful, sweet, spicy and tangy Year than the one that passed !

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to you all!

Our Christmas tree this year!
Happy Christmas from my family to yours! See you all in a day or so with delicious treats!