Aug 16, 2010

Bari - Indian cooking challenge

Happy Independence Day

Because of some personal and unavoidable
work this blog remains silent for a long time..
So coming back , I missed last month's ICC
this time I am so desperate to make this challenge.
I heard this Bari from my Punjabi friend but
never made it.Thanks a lot of great tips
from Lata of making this in oven as weather
here is so unpredictable in the tamil month Aadi.
I made the bari in the oven.It took almost
2 hrs to make a crispy bari.

500 gm. urad/urd/urid or black gram dal, skinless
375 gm. petha or ash gourd. If this is not available, use same amount of cauliflower flowerets, but petha is best because of it's fibre content.
125 gm. ginger
175 gm. green chillies or more
125 gm. cleaned coriander leaves, washed and drained
50-60 gm. black cardamom seeds, coarsely ground
60 gm. whole Panch Pooran
200 gm. coarsely ground red chillies
100 gm. coarsely ground black pepper
60 gm. fennel or sonf seeds, coarsely ground
25 gm. cloves, coarsely ground or pounded
25 gm. whole cumin seeds
10 gm cumin powder
25 gm. black cumin seeds
1 tsp. mace powder
1/4 of nutmeg, freshly grated
15 gm. asafetida or hing powder
15 gm. cinnamon powder

1.    Coarsely grind urad dal in a coffee grinder.
2.    Soak in enough water to cover 1/2 inch above the dal and leave for a couple of hours. It will absorb water and become like a thick batter.
3.    Make a shallow well in the centre, by lifting out 1/2 a cup of the mix. Add asafoetida powder in the well and cover with the 1/2 cup of mix you had removed to make the well.
4.    Leave overnight in a warm place, to let it rise a little.
5.    Clean, wash and chop petha or cauliflower, grate and squeeze all water out. Keep aside.
6.    Grind ginger, green chillies and coriander leaves, all together, in a food processor.
7.    Measure all spices into the bowl with the dal.
8.    Mix all ingredients with the dal and beat vigorously. You may need to add a little water if it is too stiff. It needs to be of a stiff, dropping consistency. If you put a blob of this mix in a jug or glass of water, it should float to the surface due to trapped air. This trapped air is responsible for making the baries light.
9.    Spread a clean cloth on a clean surface, like a tray in the sun. This amount needs 2 trays. You can use trays lightly greased with oil.
10.    Place(drop) small blobs of about 1 inch diameter, like pakoras, onto the cloth.
11.    Leave them in the hot sun, until bone dry (very dry). Store in airtight containers or plastic bags. Freezer is good, if you have a large one.

Jun 16, 2010

Pani Puri -Indian Cooking Challenge

Hello Friends
 Finally I could able to post for this month's
ICC after missing out the last month mouth
watering Rasmalai.
   The most happiest news is Harish has
got 453 marks in his school exams.After
his board exams we had a short vacation.
Then the whole month of May was tiring as
we had a renovation work at our home.So finally
settled down with new kitchen.

This month ICC is a popular chat..I used to
make this using Lathamma's recipe which is
a pool proof.


For making Puri

 Rava(Semolina ) 1/2 cup
Maida ( Plain Refined Flour) 1/2 tbsp.
Cooking Soda 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil for Frying

For Spicy  Water
Chopped Mint Leaves 1 1/2 cups
Chopped Coriander Leaves 1 tbsp.
Tamarind 1/3 cup
Ginger 1"
Green Chillies 4 to 5
Ground Cumin Seed (roasted) 1 tsp.
Kala Namak (Black Salt ) 1 1/2 tsp.
Salt to taste

For Filling

Potato Filling

1. Boiled Potato, finely chopped /mashed and mixed with salt and red chilli.

Lentil Filling
Cooked Channa or Peas - 1 cup
Salt to taste
Chili powder 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder
Garam masala powder 1/4 tsp

Cook the channa or peas till tender. Then drain and cook with the masala till aroma comes out.

For Red Tamarind Chutney

Tamarind 1 cup
Jaggery 1/2 cup
Sugar 2 tbsp.
Red chilli powder 1/2 tsp
Dry Roasted cumin powder 1 tsp
Kali Mirch (Black pepper) powder 1/4 tsp.
Cloves 2
Warm water 2 cups
Oil 1 tsp.
Salt to taste

Method to prepare:
For Puri:

In a bowl take semolina, plain flour, Cooking Soda, salt, 2 tablespoons of oil and knead well to make a stiff dough, leave it bit stiffer than normal.

Cover it with a wet muslin cloth and let it rest for 15 mins.

Then pinch out very small balls and roll them into small circles.

Put the rolled out circles back under the muslin cloth while you are rolling the rest and before they can be fried.

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan, deep fry the puris

The idea is to puff them and fry them till golden brown.

Take them out and put them on kitchen paper towel, to get rid of the extra oil.

Notes: Allow the puris to cool before storing them in an airtight container. Else they will become soggy.

For making spicy water or Pani

Extract pulp from the tamarind

Add mint leaves, coriander, ginger, chillies and dry roasted cumin seed to the tamarind pulp. Add little water and blend to a smooth paste.

Add salt and black rock salt to taste.

Put it in the fridge to cool down.

Add water as required.

How to make Red Tamarind Chutney

Extract the pulp from tamarind.

In a pan dry roast the cumin seeds and the cloves. Pound them into coarse powder.

To the tamarind pulp add jaggery, sugar, red chilli powder, black pepper powder, roasted cumin powder, cloves and salt.

Put the mixture in a pan and heat for 5 minutes on medium heat.

Remove from heat and let it cool down.

This will tend to thicken up, so add warm water if it becomes too thick.

Once it cools, blend the contents in a blender to a smooth paste.

Assembling the Pani Puri

Poke a small hole in the center of the Puri

Add a tsp of mashed boiled potato / Channa in the middle of the puri. Add a little of the red tamarind Chutney. Dip it in the spicy water / pour some spicy water in it..

Apr 17, 2010

Sago / Javvarisi Murukku - Indian Cooking Challenge

This month ICC month was quiet difficult for me.It sounds
very easy while reading..The sago I got here was the total
culprit..Even after 3 hrs it didnot get soft..The result
was little explosives murukku and moreover the holes
in my murukku achu are so tiny.So it was too hard to press
the dough..But we like the taste of murukku as it is much
different from the regular ones..I will be making this often
of course wih good sago
 Rice Flour 2 cups

Besan flour 1/2 cup

Fried gram flour - 1/2 cup

Sago - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

Curd - 50 gms

Chile powder - 1/2 tsp or as per taste
Method to prepare

Soak Sago in Butter milk for 3 hrs, please ensure that you soak it enough else you may risk having the sago burst.

Mix all the flour together, heat 50 gms oil, mix to the flour along with salt and chili powder. Then add the buttermilk soaked sago slowly and knead to a chapati dough consistency

Heat oil for deep frying.In the muruku achu, add the dough. When the oil is hot, press down directly as as murukus.

Cook on medium flame to ensure the muruku is cooked well.

Mar 15, 2010

Athirasam for Indian Cooking Challenge

I like to thank all my friends for wishing Harish
for his exams.The practical exams ends out very
smoothly.Ofcourse the real testing is shecduled from
next tuesday.Ok..

This month's ICC Athirasam is a bit easy for  me.I
used to make this atleast once a month as Athirasam
is one of Harish's fav sweet.My neighbour used to say
those who are making perfect athirasams should be
given golden bangle.A little bit of error in the rice flour
and jaggery totally make athirasam collapsible.


Raw Rice - 200 gms

Paku Jaggary - 250 gms

Sesame Seeds - 2 tsp or less

Gasa gasa or Poppy Seeds - 1/4 tsp

Cardamom powder - a pinch
Method to prepare.

Soak rice for 6 hrs and then shade dry it. Meaning it should not become dry but should still have some wetness in the rice. You can either grind this to fine powder using your mixie or give to mill. The rice flour should have that texture of soft and wet feeling when you take a handful and also it should kind of retain your fist shape. Hope you understand what I am saying. This is very important because if the flour is very dry it wouldn't turn out well.
Have all the things ready when you put the jaggary for cooking.

Take water that is enough to dilute jaggary. Dissolve the jaggary. Remove any impurities that may be present. Then again cook till the pakam is ready. The consistency here is also very important. Hope you know that pakam is calculated as threads.
This is how we check the thread consistency, when the jaggary starts boiling and becomes thick, carefully take a small bit and touch it between your thumb and Index fingers. A thread will be formed when you take your fingers away from each other.

Likewise when the syrup becomes thick, you can find 3 threads being formed. So after 3 thread consistency the jaggary is really cooked well and it become thick. When you take a bit and put it in water, you should be able to make a ball of it. This is when you know the pakkam is ready.

Remove from fire, and add poppy seeds, sesame seeds and cardamom. Mix well. Then slowly add the rice flour and keep mixing well. The consistency is very important, so you need to add the flour little by little. Mix till you get a chapati dough consistency. End of this, you may still have some flour left out.

Divide into lemon size balls. Grease a plastic sheet and your fingers. Place the ball on the sheet, and pat it down to a poori size.

Heat oil for frying and slowly drop these discs into the hot oil. You can simmer for a while until you know the inside is cooked. Turn to the other side and cook till its golden in colour. If you are cooking alone, you can roll out one by one and cook. Else it might get burnt. Once done, remove and drain on a Kitchen towel.

Feb 15, 2010

Moong Dal Kachoris - Indian Cooking challenge

Hello Friends
Wishing you all Happy Valentines Day.
It is really hard for me to sit before the comp
as Harish's Board exams are nearing..Next week
he has practical examinations..

This month's ICC is quiet interesting as I never had
a chance to eat this in my place..I have tasted this
while ago at my friends place before shifting to India..
I made moong dal filling . Next time I would try this
with green peas since kids didnt love the moongdal.


Adapated from Medhaa's Aunty and Tarla Dalal

Resting Time for the Dough is app 1/2 hr - 1 hr

Frying time for the Kachoris - 20 mins for each batch app.

Soaking Time for the Filling is app. 1 hr

Cooking Time for the Filling is app 15 mins

Yields - 15

For the Dough

Ingredients Needed:

All purpose flour / Maida - 2 cups

Oil/ Ghee - 1/4 cup ,

Salt - 1/2 tsp

Water for kneading


mix the flour and salt, Add the oil/ghee and mix till you get a bread crumbs texture.

Slowly add water and make a soft dough. Knead well for about 8 minutes.

Cover and keep aside to rest for atleast half hour.

Special Tips / Notes for the dough:

Keep the dough covered at all times, if not it will dry up and not puff up when frying. If the dough is made right wet cloth can be used if not just a towel.

The dough could spring back for many reasons:

Dough is too cold (If wet cloth is used)

Dough is not soft enough.

Not kneaded for enough time.

Oil is less.

Not rested enough.


Khasta Kachori - Moong Dal Kachori

Ingredients Needed:

Split Moong Dal (yellow) - 1/2 cup

Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp

Hing / Asafoetida - a pinch

Curry Leaves - 2 tsp chopped fine (opt)

Green Chilli - Ginger paste - 1 tsp

Sauf / Fennel seeds powder - 1 tsp

Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp

Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp

Mango powder / Amchur - 1 tsp

Oil - 1 tsp

Salt to taste


1. Wask and Soak dal in water for atleast 1 hour. You can go upto 4 hours not more.

2. Drain the water well.

3. Grind the dal to a coarsely. (Will resemble Idli Rawa)

4. Heat oil in a pan.

5. Add the hing and cumin seeds.

6. Once the seeds splutter add the curry leaves.

7. Add the dal.

8. Lower the heat and keep stirring for 5 minutes till the dal stops sticking to the pan.

9. Cook for another 10 minutes on low till the dal turns slightly brown.

10. Add all the masalas.

11. Cook for few minutes till the aroma of the spices hit you.

12. Add Salt.

13. Remove from heat and keep aside to cool.

Special Tips / Notes for the filling:

The fillings have to be really dry if not when rolling they will ooze out when rolling.

Adjust the masalas according to your taste. What is given in this recipe is spicy to the extent one can still enjoy.

For idea on pressing the filled kachori, check out Manjula's method. If you try to press out using a rolling pin, the filling may come out and make holes in the kachori.

Fry the kachori's on medium low to get a crisp outer layer, that is the key. For people using electric stove, the numbers can be going from 6 to 4.

Muttar Ki Kachori from Tarla Dalal:

For green pea filling

2 cups green peas

1 teaspoon green chillies, chopped

1 teaspoon ginger, grated

1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)

2 teaspoons fennel seeds (saunf)

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon chilli powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

4 tablespoons chopped coriander

2 tablespoons oil


For the green pea filling

Corarsely grind the green peas,green chillies and ginger in a blender without using any water. Keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan,add the nigella seeds,fennel seeds,bay leaves and ground green pea mixture and saute over a very slow flame for 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the chilli powder,garam masala,coriander and salt and saute for 2 more minutes. Remove the bay leavess and discard. Divide into 12 equal portions.

Pyaz Ki Kachori

For the onion filling

2 cups onions, finely chopped

1 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)

2 teaspoons fennel seeds (saunf)

2 bay leaves

1½ teaspoons green chillies, finely chopped

2 tablespoons Bengal gram flour (besan)

2 teaspoons coriander (dhania) powder

2 teaspoons chilli powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

3 tablespoons chopped coriander

2 tablespoons oil

salt to taste

To make the onion filling

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the nigella seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves, green chillies and onions and sauté till the onions turn light brown in colour.

Add the gram flour, coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the chopped coriander and mix well. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Allow the mixture to cool completely.

Divide into 12 equal portions and keep aside.

To Make Kachori's

Make a small ball from the dough. Roll out into a 2 inch diameter circle. Or flatten the ball using your fingers having the center thick and sides little thin.

Place about 1.5 tsp of the filling in the center of the rolled dough.

Cover the filling with the dough by slowly stretching it over the filling. Seal the ends and remove excess dough. Repeat with all the balls and keep aside for 5 -7 mins.

Then using your palm, flatten the balls by lightly pressing it, as using the rolling pin will make the filling come out. (See notes below). Keep aside covered. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Meanwhile heat some oil for deep frying. The oil should not become smoking hot. Test to see if the temperature is right by dropping a tiny ball of dough and see if it is rising slowly to the top.

Drop the kachoris in batches of 3-4 gently into the oil. It should rise up slowly. If you don't want to use lot of oil, use just enough for two or three at a time and fry them.

After it rises up (about 2 minutes), turn it over.

Cook for about 6 to 10 minutes till the side down gets a golden brown color.

Turn and cook the other side for another 6 minutes or till its golden brown in color.

Remove when done, cool and store in airtight container.

Serve with coriander chutney and tamarind chutney

Special Tips / Notes for making the Kachoris:

You can fry 3 kachori's at a time.

The oil should be at a heat when you drop some dough it should come up slowly, if the dough comes up too fast the oil is too hot, if it does not come up then the oil is cold.

It will not be crisp if the oil is too hot.

Jan 9, 2010

ICC Moong Dal Halwa and Ring of Fire at my Porch

Wishing all my readers a belated Happy
New year and Pongal.
This month ICC is quiet a challenge for me.I have never
made Moong Dal Halwa..I got lot of lumps even cooking
in a low flame. So I just had to remove the kadai from
the fire and break down all the lumps using the potato
masher..and again on the heat..My hands ached seriously
since I was down with Chikungunya for about a month.
Moong Dal Halwa
Split (Yellow) Moong dhal - 1 cup Ghee - 1/2 cup Sugar - 3/4 cups to 1 cup (as per required sweetness) Milk - 1/2 cup Cashews/ raisins roasted in ghee for garnish. Method to Prepare: Soak 1 cup moong dal overnight. Next morning, grind to a paste. Heat a heavy Kadai, take initially only 1/2 of the ghee and heat it. Add the dhal and stir continuously, not allowing lumps to form. This part is very tricky as the dhal cooks really fast, irrespective of the ghee. Keep the heat at the lowest and keep stirring even after the dhal becomes thick. Add the rest of the ghee intermittently and cook the dhal until aromatic and the ghee starts oozing out. Meanwhile mix the sugar with water/ milk in a pan and bring to a boil. Add this slowly to the cooking dhal. Keep the fire low at all times and break lumps if formed while adding the sugar and water/ milk mix. Cook until the ghee surfaces. Garnish with cashews and raisins.
Yesterday people of south Tamilnadu had
a complete view of Ring of Fire Eclipse.
The complete ring appeared for for 5 minutes.
Mom called me during the eclipse and told
that they could see the ring in their porch.
The sun is reflected and we could see the
shadow of Ring of Fire at my porch..It is a
wonderful experience..