Friday, 28 June 2013

Beetroot vegetable(Indian Savory Of Beet Root)


Beet Root Vegetable

Beet root like any other underground vegetable is very rich in Vitamin A. It has its own sugar content which gives it a sweet taste. It is a very healthy vegetable which makes the salads, pickles colorful and tasty. I love beet root boiled and cut to slices, with a pinch of salt. But one preparation I had in house boat in Kerela is one of the best preparations. This is very simple to make, has least amount of oil and absolutely delicious.

Preparation Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min
Servings: 4 Medium Servings

Ingredients Required For making Beet Root vegetable:
  • 250 gm. Beet root
  • 2-3 Green chilies
  • 1/2teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1/2Teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 Pinch Asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 1 ml. Olive oil / any cooking oil
Directions For making Beet Root Vegetable:
  • Wash and boil whole beet root till it is tender. (5 min. in cooker after pressure is built in cooker / 15-20 min. in open vessel)
  • Remove the seeds from green chilies and cut them finely.
  • Cool the boiled beet root.
  • Peel and grate the boiled beet root.
Boiled,Peeled and Grated Beet Root
  • Heat oil in a wok till oil is smoking hot.
  • Add
    • Mustard seeds
    • Cumin seeds
    • Finely cut green chilies
    • Asafoetida
Seasoning (Tadka) for Beet Root Vegetable
  • Let the seeds splutter. (it will take 30-40 sec.)
  • Add grated beet root and mix nicely.
  • Add salt and mix.
  • Cover and cook on low flame for 5 min with stirring two /three time in between.
  • Remove the wok from heat and add lemon juice and mix. Cover and keep for 2-3 min. This will ensure the mixing of lemon juice in the beet root.
Beet Root Vegetable Ready to be Served
  • Take out in a serving bowl and garnish with mint/cilantro.
Beet Root Vegetable
  • Serve with hot rice / roti / Appam.
Tips:
  • Beet root does not become soft like potato when boiled. The texture and hardness of beet root changes once it is boiled. Do not fear if it is boiled for slightly longer or lesser time.
  • Lemon juice should be added once the vegetable is cooked. Lemon juice if cooked it turns bitter.
Suggested Variations:
  • Boiled beet root can be cut to thin slices and then cooked.
  • Amchur can be added instead of lemon juice. If amchur is added then it should be added along with salt.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

How to Make Good Dhaniya Powder (Coriander Seeds Powder)


Coriander Seeds Powder (Dhaniya Powder)

Indian kitchen is a power house of herbs, and spices which not only add color, flavor and taste to the food but also have immense medicinal values. Dhaniya (Coriander seeds) is one of those many condiments. It keeps check on body heat, Its water is cooling for tired eyes, and when boiled in excess of water and the water is used for gargling or drunk when having sore throat is extremely soothing and alleviates the problem. Biggest challenge is to get absolutely unadulterated Dhaniya powder. If the Dhaniya powder is adulterated then it will do more harm than good. This is the reason I prefer to make my own spices powder at home. Making Dhaniya powder is not difficult or time taking. Little effort will pay great dividend in the form of good health and great taste.
Coriander seeds are available in different colors ranging from light green to light brown color. All are good. The color and size of the seeds depends on the soil, temperature and other climatic condition of the place where it is being grown.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 250 gm. of Dhaniya powder (Approximately)
Ingredients Required For making Dhaniya Powder:
  • 250 gm. Dhaniya
  • 10 gm. crystalline salt
Directions For making Dhaniya Powder:
  • While making the spices powder the spices should be dry and crisp. Therefore to make Dhaniya (Coriander Seeds) powder they should be crisp and dry. To make the seeds dry and crisp they can be kept under sun for 5-6 hrs.
Sun Dried Dhaniya (Coriander seeds)
  • Since it is not possible to have the bright sun light and high temperature everywhere and always thus to make the coriander seeds crisp and dry roast them on low flame till the color just starts changing (Just one shade above the original one).
Dhaniya (Coriander seeds) roasted to one shade darker than their original color
  • Let the roasted crisp seeds cool in open.
  • Add salt and grind to finer powder.
Coriander Powder (Dhaniya powder)
  • Sieve and keep the powder in an airtight container.
  • Do not waste the little amount of the coarse particles left on the sieve. Make them paste with onion, garlic and ginger and use for making curry.
  • Dhaniya powder made at home can be stored in airtight container for one yeas also. So it is better that when it is harvesting season of coriander seeds then make the powder and store in dry place in airtight container.
Tips:
  • Do not roast the seeds to darker color as we do for making cumin seeds powder. If done so the color and flavor of Dhaniya powder will change. Dhaniya powder for any gravy should have the original Dhaniya flavor not roasted flavor.
  • Adding salt makes the powder smoother.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Sweet Corn Soup

Sweet Corn Soup
Sweet Corn Soup with Vegetables and Celery

Fresh sweet corn can be added to the diet in different form. Roasted corn on the cob has that smoky sweet flavor which tickles the taste buds, Sprinkle some lemon juice, salt, pepper just after roasting it on fire and you have a wonderful healthy snack ready. Boiled sweet corn / Corn on cob with a dash of lemon juice, salt tastes superb so does the vegetable made from sweet corn. Corn soup accompanied with stir fried vegetables/ chicken / pan fried fish and crisp toast, become full meal having all nutrient and variety of taste to satiate the taste buds. Corn soup becomes a weekly guest on the dining table in my house once the fresh corn starts makes appearance in the market. Children love it for the sweetness of the soup.
Sweet corn usually comes in two varieties having white and yellow corn both are suitable for making soup.

Preparation Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 20 min
Servings: 5 Large servings (1 Lt. Soup)

Ingredients For making Corn Soup:
  • 2 Medium size fresh sweet corn on cob / 2 teacups full fresh sweet corn
Fresh Sweet Corn  on Cob (White and Yellow Variety)
  • Water 750 ml.
  • Salt to taste
  • Black / white pepper powder
  • Fruit base vinegar2-3 Stalks of Celery / Parsley/Mint
Direction For Making Sweet Corn Soup:
  • Remove the corn from the cob and give them a good wash with flowing water.
Fresh Sweet Corn
  • Keep 1/4Tea cup corn aside.
  • Grind rest of the  fresh sweet corn from the cob to fine paste using as little water as possible.
Paste of Fresh Sweet Corn
  • Take the paste of fresh corn in a thick bottom pan / cooking vessel and add 500 ml. water.
  • Stir nicely to mix water and corn paste.
  • Add the corn which was kept aside (Not made to paste)
  • Cook the mixture of sweet corn paste and water on high flame with continuous stirring.
  • When the soup come to boil lower the flame and cook for 4-5 minutes with occasional stirring.
Cooked Paste of sweet Corn
  • Add 100
    ml. milk. Cook on medium flame with continuous stirring give just one boil.
Corn Soup Ready for Salt, Pepper,Vinegar to be added
  • Remove from heat and add salt to taste.
  • Pour the soup in a glass / soup bowl add 1 ml. vinegar mix.
  • Sprinkle little pepper powder and mix.
  • Remove tender leaf of parsley/celery place it on hot soup and serve this hot sweet corn soup with bread croutons.
Sweet Corn Soup from Corn of White color
Sweet Corn Soup from Fresh Sweet Corn of Yellow Color

Tips:
  • Washing after the corn has been removed from the cob is must to remove all flaky material and corn hair.
  • Making fine paste will make the soup smooth and nice.
  • Make sure that the sweet corn is soft and tender otherwise the soup will not taste good at all.
  • If the sweet corn is of white color then soup will be of white color, if the sweet corn is yellowish in color then the soup will be yellowish in color. Taste will not change.
Suggested Variations:
  • Finely cut beans and carrots 3-4 teaspoon each can be added along with milk, and cooked. This will make the corn soup not only more tasty but healthy and nutritious also.
Sweet corn Soup with Vegetables and Celery

  • Instead of talking 500 ml. pure water 500 ml. vegetable stock can be taken this will make the soup healthier and variation in the taste can be made by taking different combination of vegetables for making stock. ( Bean /Beans+ carrots/ carrots can be taken for making vegetable stock.)
  • Mushroom can be made to paste and added to the soup along with milk, and then the corn-mushroom mixture can be cooked for 2-3 minutes more.
  • Fresh cream can be added to the soup just before serving.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Appam (Egg less Pan Cakes Made Of Rice Flour)

Appam
Appam with Fish Moli

Appam is a type of pan cake made from fermented rice flour batter. If made on non-stick wok / Appachatti then not a drop of oil is required, thus absolutely oil / fat free Appam can be made. It is a specialty of Kerela, India. Some times in 2008 we visited Kerela and my friend suggested I should eat Appam with fish there, I never regretted following her advice. One of the tastiest dishes of Kerela are Appam. I wanted to learn how to make Appam but somehow or other could not do so for last 5 years. One day in Ethiopia my young friend Sheeba called us for her children birthday and there again I got to eat those white, fluffy, soft Appam. This time I did not miss the chance and requested her to teach me how to make Appam. I share the recipe with all due thankfulness to Sheeba.

Preparation Time: 10-11 hrs. (Soaking and fermenting time included)
Cooking Time: 2-3 min. / Appam
Servings: 12 Medium size Appam

Ingredients required for making Appam:
  • 250 Gm. Rice
  • 50gm. Coconut powder/ 150 ml. Thick Coconut milk
Dry Coconut Powder
  • 1 ½  Tea spoon Dry Yeast
Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tea spoon Sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Water
Directions For making Appam:
  • Wash rice and soak it excess water for minimum 3-4 hours.
Soaked Rice
  • Drain the water and grind the soaked rice to thick fine paste.
Unfermented Rice batter of soaked rice
  • Take 2 teaspoon of thick rice paste and add one cup (150ml.) water.
Rice batter to be cooked with water to make Pav
  • Cook the water and rice paste mixture on high flame with continuous and vigorous stirring for 2-3 minutes. The mixture will become thick and transparent.
Pav (Cooked batter if rice)
  • This is called pav in Kerela. Remove from heat, cover and allow it to cool.
  • In a cup / bowl take yeast and 20 ml. Luke warm water and dissolve the yeast in water.
  • Make thick paste of the dry coconut powder if you are using the coconut powder.
  • To the paste of soaked rice add
    • Coconut paste/Thick coconut milk
    • Dissolved yeast
    • Sugar
    • Salt
    • Pav
  • Mix nicely and cover.
Yeast, Coconut paste,salt,Sugar added to Rice batter for making Appam Batter
  • Keep for 6-hrs. Time required for fermentation is 3-4 hours if the temperature is 40-45o C.
  • Stir the fermented batter nicely. The consistency of the batter should be like batter for pancake/ Pakodas.
Appam Batter ready after 6 hours of fermentation
  • Heat a small Non-stick shallow wok / Appachatti on oh high flame.
Appachatti being heated on high flame
  • When the wok is smoking hot pour one ladle full of batter (100-120 ml.)
Batter in the hot wok 
  • Rotate the wok with batter in swirling motion once, so that the batter gets coated on the sides.
Sheeba rotating the Appachatti with Appam batter
  • Let some batter fall to the center of the wok. Appam are supposed to be thick at the center.
  • Cover and cook on high flame for 2 minutes. Check the Appam it should leave the edges of wok.
Appam being cooked for 2 min.
Appam leaving the edges of Appachatti
  • Pick the Appam from the edges and it will easily get peeled from the wok.
Sheeba taking out Appam from the Appachatti by picking with the edges
My friend Sheeba with Soft, White, Yummy Appam
  • Repeat the same with rest of the batter for the number of Appam you want to make.
  • Rest of the batter can be kept in fridge for 24 hours.
  • Appam can be easily stored for 24 hours at room temperature in a covered container.
  • Enjoy soft, luscious, tasty Yummy Appam with Vegetarian/ non-vegetarian Indian savory.
  • Appam and fish (Fish Moli made in Kerela) is an absolute winner for me.
Appam with Fish Moli
  • Vegetarians can enjoy Appam with Sambhar or chole with mixed vegetable / potato vegetable as side dish.
Tips:
  • The batter of Appam should not be too thick or thin its consistency is very important to be maintained for the Appam to be soft and tasty.
  • Do always add Pav (Cooked paste of rice) else the Appam will come out hard and chewy.
  • The cooking is always done on high flame.
  • Appam are supposed to be white so please do not wait till they become golden brown like dosa.
  • The paste of soaked rice should be absolutely fine and thick not watery.
  • While grinding the soaked rice add water in little portions as and when required too much of water will cause the grinding of rice difficult.
  • The fermented batter can be kept in a container for months together as yeast culture and used by adding luke warm water and keeping at room temperature for 1-11/2 hours instead of fresh yeast. 4-5 teaspoons of this yeast culture is enough for fermenting batter of 250 gm. rice.
Suggested variations:
  • Fresh half coconut can be ground to thick paste. Then this thick paste can be squeezed to take out one cup thick milk. Water in little amount can be used. This thick fresh coconut milk can be used instead of coconut powder or canned coconut milk.
  • Toddy (Sap of the trunk of coconut tree) can be used instead of coconut paste/milk.
  • If you do not have Appachatti/ Non-stick wok then 1/2 teaspoon oil will have to be used per Appam before putting batter in the wok/Appachatti.

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