Passages

This blog has one purpose. It is to provide my Grandchildren a place of inspiration, a place that reminds them of their Indian ancestry. Recipes herein are a passage to India, and I trust, will journey the reader to the glorious flavors and aromas of the Andhra kitchens.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Vinayaka chaturthi

Every year, according to Indian calendar, Bhadrapada masam (a month which usually falls in September), shukla (first fortnight), chaturthi (fourth day) is an auspicious day celebrated as Vinayaka chaturthi. It is said to be the birthday of "Vinayaka" or "Ganesha", the "Elephant-head god" These are the main delicacies prepared on that day. It falls on September 7th, 2005. Ganesha's idol is brought to home and prayers are offered to it. This pooja ends after 9 days with immersion of the idol in lakes.


1. Undrallu

Take 2 cups of rice, wash it, and air dry it. After it is dry, powder it coarsely (the size of idli rava/semolina). Soak 1/4 cup of chana dal for 10 minutes.

Take a pan, put some oil (preferably peanut oil or sesame oil. Heat it and add Jeera (cumin seeds). After it turns red, add 4 cups of water to it and bring it to boil. Then add salt to taste, soaked channa dal and then powdered rice by continuously stirring. Keep stirring until it turns semi solid. Then cover it and on a slow flame cook it till done.

After it cools down to bearable level, apply little oil to hands (so that it does not stick to hands), take the cooked mixture and shape them round with hands, the size - a bit smaller than tennis ball.

This can be reheated (steam or microwave) before having.

This is usually had with "Kobbarikaya mavidikaya pachadi"

2. Kobbarikaya mavidikaya pachadi

One whole coconut, made into pieces.
One medium sized raw mango, cut into pieces.
Mustard seeds a teaspoonful
Fenugreek 1/2 teaspoonful.
7-8 Red chilies or as required.
Two pinches of asafoetida.
One tablespoon of oil.
Sugar, half a teaspoon.

Heat oil in the pan, add mustard and fenugreek seeds. Stir-fry until mustard seeds pop and fenugreek turn brown (make sure it is dark brown in color or else it will leave a bitter taste). Then add red chilies and asafoetida. Grind this with mango and coconut pieces with the sugar to paste adding little water.

This can be had with hot rice.

3. Jilledikayalu

Rice one cup, soaked, dried, and finely powdered.
One large coconut, grounded.
One-cup jaggery, powdered.
4 Cardamon powdered.

Heat a pan, add finely ground coconut and powdered jaggery. Cook until done with constant stirring. When it is done, add cardamon and remove from flame. After it cools down, make it into round balls the size of lemon. (This mixture is called laskora, and is also had as is.)

In a pan, put 1 cup of water and bring it to boil. Keep adding rice powder slowly while mixing. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to it and cover with a lid, and cook till done. Take 2 tablespoon of the mixture. This should be rolled (like chapati/indian bread) the size of palm. Place one laskora one side, bring the other side of it on top of laskora and cover it on all sides by pressing it. After all pieces have been prepared in the manner, they have to be steam-cook them for five minutes. Remove them and cool it. It is had after cooling to room temperature.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Kobbari Kai(Coconut) Pachadi


Until recently, most Indian restaurants were North Indian, and pretty much cookie-cutter in menu, décor, and ambiance. The preparations were mostly Mughlai in style. About 5 years ago restaurants started adding South Indian dishes such as sambar, idli, dosa, and coconut chutney. The idli and dosa were OK but the sambar was mostly watery dal with cayenne pepper. The coconut chutney was best left uneaten. It was watery, tasted like wood, and left an oily film in the mouth. But I was always hopeful and would order it at every new restaurant, unfortunately with the same result. However, a couple of years ago at a restaurant that was unremarkable in every respect, I ordered idli. When it came, I gingerly tasted the accompanying coconut chutney and it was an ephiphany! It brought back memories of home. I guess I had a silly grin on my face, since the owner came by and said, “First time?" I nodded yes and he said, "We use fresh coconut. It is extra work but we think it is worth it." He is right, and here is my recipe:

Ingredients:
1 fresh Coconut
4 Tb Chana Dal
2 Tb Urad Dal
1 marble sized (1” diameter) Tamarind pulp (not juice)
10 dried Cayenne Peppers
10 Thai hot or Green Cayenne Peppers
1 Tb Mustard Seeds
1 small bunch Coriander leaves
20 Curry leaves
1 Tb Safflower oil
1 Tb Salt
¼ tsp Turmeric Powder

Preparation:
Crack the coconut, remove the white meat (A sturdy screw driver works best . Reserve the liquid. Peel off the woody backsides with a potato peeler. Yes, it is a lot of work, but without it, it will taste woody. Slice in to small (1” by 1/2” )pieces.

Saute Chana dal, Urad dal, red and green Peppers, Mustard seeds, Curry leaves in the oil till the Dals turn golden brown.

Grind the Coconut pieces, sauted ingredients, Tamarind, Coconut liquid, salt in a blender or food processor with just enough water to form a coarse paste.

Best served with Dosa, Hot Rice or Nan.
Will keep for a week in a refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving (May be microwaved)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Potlakai (snake gourd) Perugu Pachadi

Yes, this is still a recipe for vegetarians! You are looking at a snake gourd on the left. I found this one at my local Indian grocery store in New Jersey. They are usually straighter because they are grown on trellises and left to hang. When I was growing up in Bombay they were a rare find because there weren't many people from Andhra and we had to travel an hour to Dadar from Colaba. They started to become more widely available in the US in the last 10 years. This recipe is a favorite of my grandson Michael. He refers to it as circle pickles.
Ingredients
Medium Potlakai (Snake gourd) about 1lb
Thai Hot Green Chile Peppers 6-10
Urad Dal 1 Tbls
Cayenne Peppers 4
Cumin Seeds 1 Tbls
Brown Mustard Seeds 1 Tbls
Small Bunch Coriander Leaves
Curry Leaves 20-30
Butter 3 Tbls
Fenugrek Seeds 4-6
Sour Cream ½ cup
Buttermilk 1 cup
Turmeric Powder ¼ tsp
Salt


Preparation

Slice potlakais into fine circles, about ¼ inch thick
In a non stick fry pan saute these using 2Tbls of butter till thoroughly cooked(they will be translucent). Slight browning adds to the flavor. Set aside.
Saute mustard seeds, cayenne peppers, fenugreek seeds, finely chopped green chilies, cumin seeds and curry leaves in the remaining butter till mustard seeds pop and green peppers wilt.
In a bowl mix sour cream, buttermilk, sauted spice mix, turmeric and potlakai. Crush the peppers. Add salt to taste. Mix thoroughly.
Serve on hot rice or nan/roti.




Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Kandi pachadi with vankaya pachipulusu

The typical lunch in an andhra family usually includes rice, curd,
> one dry vegetable (koora) or chutni (pacchadi) with liquid - pappu
> (using dal) or pulusu (using vegetables and tamarind). First the hot
> rice is had with pacchadi/koora, then rice with pappu/pulusu, and then
> rice is mixed with curd and had as last item.*
> **
> *The following is a favorite combination from coastal andhra,
**Kandi pachadi with pachipulusu. Kandipachadi is mixed with rice and morsels
> are dipped in pacchipulusu.*
>
>
*Kandipachadi*
>
>
Ingredients
> Kandipappu (Toor daal) - 1cup
> Dry red chillies - 6-9 depending on taste.
> Jeera - 1 teaspoon.
> Salt - as required
> Oil - 2 tablespoon.
> Hing - pinch.
>
> Take a pan and put that on the stove.
> Pour one cup of kandipappu (toordal in hindi) in the pan and fry until
> it is nearly bright red. Remove and keep aside.
>
> In the pan, pour a teaspoon of oil (preferably groundnut oil), put
> some red chillies (the ones that give hot taste, not color, preferably
> guntur merapakaya) and some jeelakarra (jeera). Fry till red, put
> some inguvva (hing) in it. Grind this together with the fried
> kandipappu to a fine paste, pouring water when required. Make sure it
> does not get watery. It should be of solid consistency. Then add
> salt as required for taste.
>
> Put the pan on stove again, heat a tablespoon of oil, put some
> minapappu (urad dal) and the remaining jeelakarra. Fry till dal is
> red, and add this seasoning to the ground pacchadi (mixture). Garnish
> with karvepaku.
>
> One of optional garnishing is fried garlic (should be red) which can
> be added at the end.
>
> This is best had by mixing with hot rice and adding groundnut
> oil/nuvvula nooni (sessame oil?) and bites of ooramerapakaya fried in
> oil. Ooramerapakaya is chillis marinated in sour salted curd and sun
> dried, and is prepared to last about a year.
>
> The best combination with this kandipacchadi is Vankaya Pachi pulusu.
>
>
Vankaya Pachi pulusu
>
> Ingredients
> A big Vankayya (approximately 1/2 kg in weight) (the brinjal (egg
> plant) suitable for this is a oval shaped, white in color, called
> mettavankaya)
> Green chillis 4 sliced thin
> Coriander cut finely
> Tamarind - about 25 gm, soaked in water and thick paste made from it.
> Jaggery 20 gm or sugar 2 tablespoon
> Salt as required.
> Seasoning - Oil 1 teaspoon, mustard seeds, methi (fenugreek seeds?),
> red chillis, hing.
>
> Roast the whole vankaya (egg plant) directly on the stove on slow
> flame without cutting or peeling. It should be roasted until all
> sides are completely roasted (the skin turns black and might get cut
> in places). Allow it to cool and then peel off the skin. Mash the
> pulp and add raw tamarind juice, jaggery, green chillies, and salt to
> taste.
>
> Mix all these well. Add water to make it into semi solid
> consistency. Garnish with corriander.
> For seasoning, heat the oil, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, red
> chillis, fry till mustard seed pop and fenugreek seeds turn brown, add
> hing and put off the flame. Coarsly powder the red chillis with hand
> itself and add the seasoning to the pachi pulusu. Should be had with
> hot rice.
>
> Optional garnishing: Cut onions finely. These can be added to the
> pulusu either raw or after frying it red with some oil.
>