Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2009

024

Every year during Halloween, I used to admire all those carved pumpkins adoring the doorsteps of neighbours and last year I decided to carve my own and found that was really easy and quick. Although, my pumpkin is nothing fancy, it’s a pretty basic design, I came across this event “Show your Pumpgrin” in http://chefinyou.com/ and thought I should send in my entry. My daughter and I had fun making this Jack-o-Lantern and we took it to the Pumpkin fest event in Boston.

025

Materials Needed:              016

  • Pumpkin-round one.
  • Marker pen.
  • knife.
  • Votive candle.
  • Spoon to scoop the interior.
  • A design template.

Method:

All I did was, type in google- How to carve a pumpkin and found on e how, easy step by step method to carve a pumpkin.

I followed these steps and walla, a beautiful Jack-o-Lantern it turned out to be….

http://www.ehow.com/how_3983_carve-pumpkin.html    010

The steps in e how are as follows

Step 1

Select a fresh pumpkin in a shape that pleases you. Some folks prefer their pumpkins low and round, while others like them tall and oval-shaped.

  • Step 2

    Draw a circle or hexagon on top of the pumpkin in preparation for making an opening large enough for your hand to reach through.

  • Step 3

    Cut through the stem end of the pumpkin along your outline with a sharp knife or pumpkin-carving tool. Use a back-and-forth slicing motion to cut through the thick, tough skin.

  • Step 4

    Remove the stem end, which will act as a cap, making sure you scrape off any seeds or pulp.

  • Step 5

    Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and pulp from inside the pumpkin. Hold the spoon by its bowl to get extra leverage while scooping.

  • Step 6

    Draw a pattern for the face on the clean pumpkin with a felt-tip pen, or scribe the lines into the skin using a pencil. Be sure to make the eyes, nose and mouth large enough; you’ll have a hard time cutting out tiny features when you’re using a big knife blade to saw through tough skin.

  • Step 7

    Follow your pattern as you cut all the way through the pumpkin.

  • Step 8

    Push the cut-out features gently from the inside of the pumpkin and discard the pieces.

  • Step 9

    Place a votive candle inside the pumpkin to create an eerie glow.

  •  Here’s the link for the event-http://chefinyou.com/2009/10/show-me-your-pumpgrins/

    Read Full Post »

    Banana-Rava Halwa

    Banana-Rava Halwa

    Semolina is the purified middlings of durum wheat used in making pasta; also, the coarse middlings are used for breakfast cereals and puddings. The term “Semolina” derives from the Italian word “Semola. Semolina, made from durum wheat, is known in North India as Sooji; in South India, Ravey in Kannada, Rava/Ravam/Ravai in Telugu/Tamil, In Tamilnadu, the Semolina is also made of rice. In Turkey, semolina is known as irmik. (Source-Wiki)

    I happened to read “Sundara Gaandam from Valmiki Ramayana” for 5 days over the last month. My mom brought the book from India and was reading it. She suggested it’s very good to read Ramayana, especially Sundara Gaandam. Also my cousin Divya had  sent me a beautiful handmade painting of Ram and Sita, done by her, as a present. Lot of good vibes. So, read Sundara gaandam in 5 days( about 30-45 min each day), and finished it on the the 5th day by reading Ramar Pattabhishekam( taking the throne) and Neivedhyam. I offered Banana-Rava halwa, which is done during Satyanaraya pooja-vrath.

    Cooking 089

    There are several protocols on how to read them in  3 days, 5 days 9 days etc. It was such a beautiful feeling to read how Sri Hanuman flew to Lanka as a messenger of Rama, in search of Sita, who was abducted by Ravana. Sundara Gaandam describes, how Hanuman meets Sita and convinces her that Rama is on his way to rescue her and how he conveys the message and carries the souvenir from Rama to Sita and vice versa. I would read it in the morning and in the night tell the story to my daughter. She loves listening to Ramayana. It is believed, by listening or reading Sundara Gandam, one receives the blessings of Sri Ram and Hanuman.

    Flowers in uruliRamayana is equivalent to Vedas. The word “Ra ma”is derived from the middle letter of “Om Namo Narayana” and “Namashivaya”, incorporating both Vishnu and Shiva to give Rama. While I was reading Ramayana, came across something interesting. After the pattabhishekam, Rama once asked Sita, if she liked him or his story(The Ramayana). Sita replied that she actually liked his story more than him, the reason being, Sita was leading a miserable life in Lanka after being abducted by Ravana and was starving, feeling weak, tired and had no clue why Rama did not rescue her so far. She even had suicidal thoughts and that is exactly when she heard Hanuman telling Rama’s story from a tree above. She immediately left her suicidal thoughts behind and felt happy that her husband Rama would save her. That is why she liked Rama’s story more than him.

    Banana-Rava Halwa

    Ingredients:Cooking 090

    • Banana-finely chopped-1 (medium size).
    • Rava or sooji- 1cup.
    • Milk-1cup.
    • Water-1/2cup.
    • Ghee- 2tblsp.
    • Sugar-1/2 cup.
    • Cardamom powder-little.
    • Yellow food color-a pinch-optional.
    • Raisins and nuts to decorate-optional.

    Method:

    1. In a pan, fry rava in ghee until a nice aroma comes and rava starts to turn light brown.
    2. Add  warmwater, warm milk and chopped banana pieces to the pan and cook.
    3. When banana and rava are cooked, add sugar and ghee, cardomom and food color.
    4. When mixture leaves the sides, remove from fire.

    Tip: Select a firm, ripe banana for this halwa preparation. Do not use under ripe, over ripe ones. Nendhram pazham can be used for the same.

    Presentation Tip:Tried in a dark background. Felt like it was too busy. So tried photographing against a more neutral background and the dish looked much better and the attention went to the dish instead of the background.

    Garnish: Since the halwa was of the play dough consistency, I was able to mould it to a well. Filled with ghee(obviously only for garnishing purpose) and decorated with almonds, cashews, pistachios, raisins and banana rounds.

    Cooking5

    Banana sooji halwa

    Banana sooji halwa

    Sending this to Innovative Inlaws- Nithya and Pavithra http://innovativein-laws.blogspot.com/ , garnish the dish event.

    Read Full Post »

     Navrathri_22

     In my previous posts, I wrote about  Navarathri and Saraswathi poojai-Vijayadashami and mentioned about sundals, but didn’t have a chance to write how each variety is made. When I came across the event  “My Legume Love Affair”- 15th helping in  Sia’s Monsoon spice, couldn’t resist a post dedicated to sundals. So, here it is…………

    During Navrathri we make sundals with legumes every day for 10 days and offer it to Goddess Devi and partake. Also, this can be a great protein packed evening-after school snack/tiffin for kids. It’s great for pregnant women. Also great for weight watchers diet, as it is low or no fat and high in protein content. Almost 15 types of sundals can be made with different legumes using different methods.

    Method: 1 ( This method can be used for Green chana, White chana and Black chana-Garbanzo beans. It is called Podi thoovina sundal)

    Chana Sundal

    Chana Sundal

    Ingredients:

    • Black or Green or White chana (Garbanzo)- 1cup.
    • Salt-to taste.
    • Turmeric powder- a pinch.
    • Lemon juice- few drops.

    For Seasoning:

    • Oil- 1tsp.
    • Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp.
    • Urad dhal- 1/2 tsp.
    • Curry leaves- 1 arc.
    • Green chilly-1(optional)
    • Asafoetida- a pinch.

    For Masala powder: Dry roast the below and powder them.

    • Dhania or coriander seeds- 1tsp.
    • Dry Red chillies- 2.
    • Channa Dhal-1tsp.
    • Urad dhal-1tsp.
    • Coconut scrapes- 2tsp.

    Method:

    1. Soak the chana in water for 10-12 hours.
    2. Add salt and pressure cook till 1 whistle, so that it doesn’t over cook.
    3. Keep oil in a pan and add the above mentioned seasoning one by one, in the order mentioned above and turmeric.
    4. Add the cooked chana to the pan, after draining excess water.
    5. Add the masala powder and give it a toss.
    6. Squeeze lemon juice.

    Method 2 ( This method can be used for Chana dhal(Kadala parupu- split chickpeas), Split Moong Dhal (Payatham parupu) and Kidney beans( Rajma) and Black eye peas(karamani)

    Navrathri_24 Ingredients:

    • Legume of interest- 1cup.
    • Salt-to taste.
    • Turmeric powder- a pinch.
    • Coconut scrapes- 2tsp.

    For Seasoning:

    • Oil- 1tsp.
    • Mustard seeds-1/2 tsp.
    • Urad dhal- 1/2 tsp.
    • Curry leaves- 1 arc.
    • Red chillies-3.
    • Asafoetida- a pinch.

    Method:

  • Rajma soaked in water for 10-12 hours. Karamani soaked for 1 hour. Need not soak chana dhal and moong dhal as they cook directly.
  • Pressure cook till 1whistle, with just enough water.
  • Keep oil in a pan and add the above mentioned seasoning one by one, in the order mentioned above and turmeric.
  • Add the cooked legume to the pan, after draining excess water and cook 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with coconut scrapes.
  • Method 3 ( Green patani-vatana, White patani, Groundnut-peanuts, Chora can be done in this method)

    Navrathri_23  Ingredients and Seasoning and Preparation method:

    • Same as mentioned in Method 2.
    • Instead of red chillies, green chillies are used here.
    • Lemon juice can be used in this variety.
    • Groundnuts need not be soaked, directly cooked.
    • Chora and vatana can be soaked, but cooked carefully, as they become soft easily.
    • In green vatana sundal, cut mango pieces can be added to make Thengai-maangai-patani sundal.

    Method 4: (Sweet version can be made with green gram(Paasi payaru) and Red Karamani (which is hard to find in the US)

    The idea is pretty much the same except that Jaggery(vellam), coconut, cardamom and ghee are used. Avoid seasonings mentioned above.

    Method 5: ( Green gram Masala Sundal with onions)

    If it is not used as neivedhyam, just prepared as a snack, green gram can be soaked, and allowed to sprout and method 3 can be used. But can saute chopped onions, tomatoes and a pinch of garam masala can be added.

    Tip:

    Asafoetida or Hing can be added to all the sundals, as legumes may cause gas to form in the stomach. Gas formation can be further avoided by letting the legumes sit in hot water for few minutes and draining the water. Then they can be soaked and cooked.

     Revealing my Legume love affair to the world by sending this to Sia’s Monsoon Spice , who is hosting the event for Susan of  The Well Seasoned Cook.

    MLLA15Logo375

    Read Full Post »