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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.

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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.

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Banana sooji halwa

Banana sooji halwa

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

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Mughalai Fruit Pulav 

 The festive season of Ramadan inspired me to try a Mughalai dish. So tried my hand at making this wonderfully aromatic Kashmiri fruit pulav, originally from Mughlai cuisine. Wow, what a dish it turned out to be. The flavorful long grain basmati rice tenderly cooked with milk, cream, saffron stands to give a  gorgeous pastel yellow color adding a nutty crunch from the nuts/dry fruits and pungent flavor from the garlic, infused with aroma from rose water, cardamom and cinnamon and a shot of antioxidants in each bite. Holy dish to please and tease your palate.

The fasting observed by Muslims during this holy month of Ramadan( Ramzan) really amazes me. Every day during the month of Ramadan, Muslims around the world get up before dawn to eat Sehrior Sahari. the pre-dawn meal, then they perform the prayer. They have to stop eating and drinking before the call for prayer starts until the fourth prayer of the day, Maghrib. Muslims open their fast at sunset) prayer time. They may continue to eat and drink after the sun has set until the next morning’s fajr prayer call. Then the process starts all over..

They do it with such devotion and sincerity. Some restrain themselves from water and even swallowing their saliva. It is such a cleansing process for the Body, Mind and Soul and an act of  Will power, Self control, Patience, Modesty and Spirituality. I really salute them for their dedicated fasting observances.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

  • Basmati Rice-2 cups.
  • Fruits- diced-( Pineapple, Pomegranate, Mango, Apple, Grapes and Orange)- 1 cup.
  • Vegetables- diced( Sweet peas, Sweet corn and Carrots)-1 cup.
  • Dry fruits/Nuts- Raisins, Cashew, Almonds, Tooti frooti, Walnut, Coconut scrapes( 2 tsp).
  • Dairy- Milk( 1/2 cup), Cream (1/4 cup), Ghee- (2tsp), Butter-a dollop.
  • Dry spices- Cinnamon( 2 inch piece), Bayleaves- 2, Cardomom- 3, Cloves 2, Nutmeg- a pinch.
  • Fresh spices- Ginger root- 2 inch piece, Garlic- 3 pods. Chopped White Onions-1 small.
  • Exotic spices- Khus khus- 1 tsp, Saffron- few strands. Rose water- 2tsp. Edible Rose petals for garnish.
  • Salt- to taste
  • Sugar- a pinch.
  • Turmeric powder- a pinch-optional.

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Cooking 113 

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Method:

  1. Wash basmati rice and mildly roast it with ghee.
  2. Soak the rice in water ( 1 cup rice to 2 cups water) for 10 minutes in a rice cooker.
  3. While the rice is soaking, ( done real time), add butter in a pan and roast all the above mentioned dry spices.
  4. Now add chopped onions and saute.
  5. While the onions are getting sauted, grind almonds-3, garlic, ginger and khus khus, coconut scrapes to a fine paste.
  6. Add the paste to the pan and saute. ( love the aroma at this point)
  7. Soak the saffron strands in 1 cup of warm milk.
  8. Add the contents from the pan into the rice cooker.
  9. Add milk with saffron, cream, salt, sugar, turmeric(optional), rose water and vegetables into the rice cooker.
  10. Cook until its done and keep it covered until ready to serve.
  11. Gently roast the dry fruits and nuts in ghee.
  12. Right before serving,  add the dry fruits/nuts add assorted diced fruits and give it a gentle toss.
  13. Sprinkle few drops of rose water and garnish with rose petals and serve!

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Note:

  1. Since the kashmiri pulav is a lil sweet, I made  a spicy curry to go with it. I served it with Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Saalan and wow, what an accompaniment to go with this nutty textured fruit pulav.
  2. Taking into account the milk we are adding, to reduce the water amount, so the pulav has a  nice texture and not too soft.
  3.  Please throw in your ideas and comments, just so I know, if I closely matched the original recipe.

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Pineapple Rasam

Pineapple Rasam

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rasam

Rasam is a form of soup, a must in every South Indian household. It is made with Tamarind juice, aromatic spices and tomatoes for the most part. There are at least 15 varieties of Rasam, ranging from Tomato Rasam, Lemon Rasam, Dhal Rasam, Garlic Rasam, Pepper Jeera Rasam(Milagu-Jeera), Pepper Rasam, Goddu Rasam, Mysore Rasam and a whole bunch of other exotic ones. A typical South Indian meal would be Sambar, followed by Rasam and completed with CurdRice or Yogurt rice. Rasam can be enjoyed as a soup, to increase the appetite or can be mixed with rice and eaten. Rasam also used as a digestive aid, because it has Jeera-Cumin, which aids digestion. When a person suffers an ailment and lack of appetite due to that, Rasam is given, as it is soft and easy to digest and will re kindle the taste buds, to increase the ailing person’s appetite. 

One of the interesting Rasams that is out there is Pineapple Rasam. It’s very tasty and adds a sweet punch to the Rasam.

Ingredients:                                                                                      Cooking 010

  • Pineapple pieces- 1cup.
  • Tamarind paste- 1tsp or Thin Tamarind juice-1cup.
  • Salt- to taste.
  • Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp.
  • Rasam Powder-11/2 tsp.
  • Cooked ,Mashed Thoor dhal- 1/2 cup.
  • Jaggery- 1tsp.

For Seasoning:

  • Ghee- 2tsp.
  • Mustard seeds- 1tsp.                                                           Cooking and Performance 001
  • Red chilly-1.
  • Asafoetida- a pinch.
  • Coriander leaves for garnish.

Preparation:

  1. Take 4-5 cups of water in a pan and add pineapple pieces, tamarind paste and allow it to cook.
  2. After 5 minutes, add salt, turmeric, Rasam powder, jaggery and let it cook for another 10 minutes in low heat.
  3. Now add cooked, smashed Toor dhal to the pan.
  4. Let it cook for another 5-7 minutes and when the frothy layer forms on the Rasam, turn the heat off.
  5. Keep a small seasoning pan and add ghee, mustard seeds and let it splatter.
  6. When they start splattering, add red chilly, asafoetida and put it in the Rasam.
  7. Add Cilantro-Coriander leaves and keep the Rasam covered with a lid immediately, so the aroma doesn’t escape.

Note:

  • Can be enjoyed as a soup or served with plain white rice.
  • If required, few drops of pineapple juice or essence can be added, when the Rasam is about to be done, to enhance the pineapple flavor.
  • Please refer my blog, on how to make Rasam powder.

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