Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to make Aavakaaya ?

It is the season of mangoes.. People who grow up in tropical countries know and the savour the taste of mangoes during this season. There are so many dishes that can be made incorporating raw mangoes.. mango dal, mango chutney, mango rasam, mango in avial or eat them just raw with a sprinkle of salt and red chilli powder! The addition of this little thing called mango takes a mundane dish to the next delish level - anyone else agrees ?



In an earlier post, from a long long time ago, I got a little nostalgic about Hot summers and the mango pickle. Today, I am just cutting to the chase and going to share my mother's Aavakaya(Mangoes pickled in mustard and red chilli sauce) recipe ;-) If you are making a trip to the vegetable shop/market(Indian) this weekend, do not miss the chance of picking up good quality raw mangoes and pickle them to make this spicy pickle.

Ingredients:
250g mango pieces (I used 3 avg size mangoes. Recommend using raw ones before they turn yellow. Remove the stone and cut along with the hard bit using a sharp chopping or slicing knife)
80g red chilli powder (adjust to spice level)
80g mustard powder (use ready made. alternatively powder raw mustard seeds in an Indian mixie- make sure it doesn't turn into paste )
80g salt
200-250 ml vegetable oil (recommend gingelly oil or peanut oil)
Garlic cloves from 1 whole garlic bulb ( each clove should be thin like the ones available in India, else slice lengthwise to match the Indian ones)
Methi powder -1/2tsp
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric -1/4tsp
Mustard seeds -2tsp
Cumin seeds -2tsp

Method:

1)Take all the mango pieces, wash and wipe them with a clean cloth to remove moisture. Putting them in a sunny spot for about an hour will also help to make sure no moisture creeps into the pickle.
2)Meanwhile heat the oil in a deep bottomed vessel/kadai. Be careful with this step and Before it gets too smoky toss mustard seeds and cumin seeds in the oil and switch off the heat. Leave it in a safe place to cool to room temperature.
 3)In a bowl, mix red chilli powder, mustard powder, salt and mango pieces( just like in the picture I posted) When the oil is ready to handle, mix it with the above mixture of mango pieces. Everything should mix well and there should be oil floating on the top. If not heat more oil, let it cool and add
4) also mix the methi powder, jeera powder, turmeric and garlic cloves. Mix properly, Cover and leave it to rest
5) Keep checking every now and then to see it the pickle is ok :-D. After 2 or 3 days mix thoroughly and taste. you can adjust salt and oil at this stage also it seems. move the pickle into an airtight container preferably ceramic or glass. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Love for Baking: Red Velvet Cake Etc.

My last post happened 5 years ago. In the wake of  some new events, as priorities changed and I came to terms with juggling work and home, food blogging took a back seat in my life. I kept telling myself to get back to this wonderful world, but somehow it did not happen. Life was hectic and food meant quick fixes and something for survival. Things have started to calm down a bit so I do indulge in making elaborate food for the interests of me and family :)

Baking is something I have been meaning to try for a long time. Once started, I wondered why I hadn't tried it before and learnt baking is nothing to be anxious about. My first cake was made for my little girl's first birthday, a good way to remember the milestone but I seem to have forgotten what recipe I had used then. I have experimented on a few different cakes but with a chocoholic at home haven't ventured too far :) Also never managed to venture much into the decorating/icing part. I tried store bought icing and several other decorations for my daughter's third birthday. Result as below:



Now on to the recipe. Red velvet cake is something I first had when a co-worker brought it to work in Greensboro. Simply loved it. I have been searching for a perfect recipe for a long time now and finally stumbled on this website. Pretty much followed their very popular recipe. I am still in the look out for a perfect cream cheese frosting recipe though.

Here is a warm welcome back to my blog with this nice piece of cake and a cherry on the top :)


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Diwali Wishes





Deepavali Shubhaakankshalu
Diwali Greetings
Deepavali aashamsagal
Diwali ke Shubkamnayen
HOPE YOU ALL HAD A SPARKLING & CRACKLING ONE!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vada Paav: Street food at it's best!

Last year around this time, I had Vada paav for the first time in a close friend's house. After a heavy shopping ordeal, as we chatted and chaatted through Vada pav, I heard with amusement - the snapshots of life in Mumbai. My husband has lived in Mumbai for a very short span, but, I have not been there, except, while transiting through the airports. Everyone who has lived in Mumbai or visited this great metro seem to have 'a twinkle in their eye', when they talk about this bustling city. Hope I will get a chance to visit this city at leisure, sometime in the near future.

Now, coming back to Vada Paav, it was with a thrust of amazement that I learnt this is one of THE famous street foods in Mumbai. 'Paav Bhaji' is quite popular in our place but I had not heard of Vada Paav before. However, when I tasted it at my friend's place, my amusement towards this unknown street food turned out into a feeling of refreshing and familiar comfort. Plainly not because - I have had this vada before, and also the paav; vada paav tasted more or less like a 'potato bun', I used to eat regularly at an Iyengar bakery during my college days.

Anyways, when I asked my dear friend to give me the recipe, the darling that she is, gave me a detailed step by step procedure of how to make it. Thanks Simar. All I had to do was to cook and snap it :) Hubby was extremely delighted at the output, however, I still look forward to eating this in a proper Mumbaiyaa joint :o)

Recipe:

Ingredients for the potato mixture:
Potatoes – 6 (medium size – boiled and mashed)
* Potatoes should be roughly mashed.
Onions – 1 finely chopped
Curry leaves – few
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Green chillies – 2 or 3 finely chopped
Fresh Garlic – 2 cloves (crushed)
Fresh Coriander – a handful copped
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Mango powder (Amchur) – 1 tsp
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Ingredients for making outer layer for Vadas:
Gram Flour – 4 tbsp
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
Soda bi-carb – a pinch
Water
Oil for frying the Vadas

Method:
1. Use heavy bottomed kadai for preparing the potato mixture.
2. Put oil, heat it and add mustard seeds, crushed garlic, curry leaves, onions. Fry these ingredients for 2 to 3 minutes on low to medium flame.
3. Now add all the masala’s – red chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, mango powder, salt (Fry for 2 minutes)
4. Now add mashed potatoes, coriander leaves, and green chillies. Mix all the ingredients well.
5. Now cover the kadai and let the mixture cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Switch off the stove and let the mixture cool.
6. In the meantime, prepare the paste of the outer layer of the Vada’s. Mix all the ingredients mentioned above except water. Make the paste just like for pakora’s (the consistency of this paste should be slightly ticker than that of pakora’s)
7. Once the mixture has cooled down. Make small balls from this mixture – lime size. Keep aside.
8. Heat the oil in a separate kadai – keep it ready for frying vada’s
9. Now dip these balls in the gram flour paste and deep fry them till cooked. Drain and keep them on kitchen towel/cloth

For the green chutney - grind all these into a smooth watery mixture
1 cup of coriander
Few mint leaves
1/4 onion
2-3 green chillies (adjust to your spice level)
2tbsp tamarind juice
Salt to taste

To Serve:
Paav is nothing but a 'bread roll' . Heat a skilled and melt a stick of butter. When it starts to sizzle toast the paav and keep aside
Dab the paav with the green chutney, place the vada and cover it with another piece of paav with green chutney smeared on the inner side.



This is my entry for RCI Maharasthrian Cuisine organised Nupur. Thanks Nupur for the great event and also kindly giving me extra time on request. Many thanks to Lakshmi for the idea of RCI event.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

June JFI for Jackfruit : Jack fruit seeds stir fry

Bee and Jai have chosen jackfruit to be the spotlight of the month by hosting the June Jihva for Ingredients event. Sorry! I do not mean to propagate any negative publicity for this "super-star" fruit but, my experience with it, has not been very pleasant. Its definitely not the taste, because I have hardly managed to get that far.. It is the pungent and the so-called sweet smell of jackfruit :) which repells me. My whole family adores this green giant, but I and my brother veto. Now, do not get me wrong, but I do have a few friends who hate the smell of Jasmines ;) However, I have no compliants savouring the by-products of jackfruit like it seeds.

My mother used to cook these with Vegetable Pulav and the seeds tasted delicious in the combination of fragrant rice. However, it was only after getting married and stepping into a malayalee household, I was introduced to the wide variety of dishes made with Jackfruit :) I have not dared to try much yet, but just this one. Even this recipe, I did the ground-work and my dear hubby finished it off to turn into a yummy merukuvaratti. The original source of this recipe is my mother-in-law, she had made this when she was with us here in UK, last summer.

Mind you, it is quite a consuming process to get the the seeds ready before they can be cooked. It felt like it is never going to end..but once the seeds are readily peeled and scraped, the rest is easy-breezy..



So, start with 200g of Jackfruit seeds..

First remove the the outer white-paper-like-shell. Soak the seeds in water for half-an-hour or so to easily scrape out the brown covering on the seed. Scrape the brown covering with a blunt knife and reveal the white nut inside.Rinse the seeds to discard the scrapes and skin and cut them into small slivers

Take a deep breath now, the tedious job is over.
Move the prepped jack-fruit seeds into a deep bottomed vessel, add 1/2 a cup of water. Add 1tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp red chilli powder.Cover and cook for some time. Take off the lid to stir and make sure the seeds are not sticking to the pan or over-boiled. Let the water evaporate completely and switch off.

Now take a pan - this time probably, a shallow one - do the tadka/popu with 1 tsp mustard seeds, few curry leaves and one red chilli. Toss the cooked jackfruit seeds for a few minutes, until they are crisp and crunchy. Adjust salt and spice as per taste.


The end result is rewarding, we finished half of it even before we went on to eat it with rice and sambhar..

Thanks a lot Bee and Jai for hosting this unique ingredient as the Jihva ingredient for this month. You can find more information about Jackfruit on their very informative website.

Some milestones..and a humble Thanks!

Just wanted to share with you all that Memories n' Meals has finished some teeny-tiny but, important milestones. One year ago, yesterday, I had sheepishly stepped into the blogosphere with my first post and can it be coincidence or what, on the same day 20,000 visits were marked by sitemeter statistics :)

Although, I have been one of the not-so-active bloggers like many others, I have enjoyed every moment of blogging and it has been extremely rewarding to share some treasured recipes and the memories associated with them. I am also proud to have made some very good friends here. To mark this occasion, I would like to offer my humble thanks to the below mentioned:
Indira - who is next to no one in the art of food blogging and forever an inspiration to the likes of me - with her beautifully crafted Mahanandi. Her Mahanandi's Food blog list is one of the main referrals for Memories n' Meals.

VKN of My Dhaba - many visitors have hopped from his blog to mine. Thanks VKN for this and also for initiating noble projects like Feed A Hungry Child.

Food Blog Desam - Founders Mathy and Indira have done an amazing job at putting together this RSS Feeds aggregator, which makes my life easier by not having to go to each and every blog and check out, if they have posted something new or not. Thanks to you guys, Memories n' Meals has had a lot of hits from Food blog desam, lately.

Google - I could not have survived my virtual life without google. Many people stumbled on my blog through Google.

My dear friends - Latha, Shammi, Sailu, Mythili, Asha, Pavani, Linda and all those who are linked on this blog or who have stopped by and left their comments, come rain or sunshine. (The reason I have linked people's blogs here is because either I love their food blog or we have had the comment hand-shake or both)

Last but not least, my sincere thanks to my family. My husband had to put up with me many times, while I grabbed the ready-to-eat plate and started photographing instead. I should admit that he has also taken a substantial number of pictures which, are published here on this blog. And of course, I wouldn't have been able to do this, without my mother's and mother-in-law's recipes.

So once again a heart-felt thanks and warm wishes to all those who have supported and encouraged me through this year. I shall look forward to another year filled with fun, happiness and enlightment through blogging :o) Enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Hot Summers and even hotter Mango Pickle

End of March. Children feverishly grip their text books and class notes and run back home from their half-day schools to prepare for exams. Power-cuts! When the sun is high over the head, there is not even a purr sound.. Most of the roads are empty, except for an odd vendor of tender coconuts or sugar-cane juice. Everyone forgets what it is like to feel a cool breeze. Wells dry up pretty fast, and Manjeera water becomes a scant and precious resource, showing up only once in a few days. Desperate to get away from the heat a limited amount of water is used to damp the floors to have a cool lie-down. The dampness or the coolness vanishes in a second and one is back to the old manual fans and sighs… This is a familiar scene in our part of Andhra Pradesh especially in small towns and rural areas where power is cut down erratically. With temperatures intensifying day by day it is hard to be focused or be productive. In spite of all these, people find their simple joys; take pleasure in something which is available and keep up their tempos and hydration levels..




Yes, Mangoes are one of those simple joys. Green, rich and vibrantly flavored mangoes are indeed a great respite during those horrid times.. While there is still time for the elaborate Aavakaaya, raw mangoes are eaten as is, or used to make different delicious dishes.. One such dish here:



3 Raw mangoes – washed and wiped thoroughly with no moisture; then the skin is peeled and cut into small cubes
1 whole garlic and an inch of ginger – cleaned and cut ready to be made into a paste
2 tbsp red chilli powder
¼ tbsp turmeric
Salt to taste
For the popu/tadka: 3 tbsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds and 1 red chilli

Take a mixie/spice grinder and fill it with the ginger, garlic, red chilli powder, turmeric and salt – mix well until a smooth paste is formed
Please make sure, absolutely no water to be used in this process
Then, add the raw mango pieces and turn the mixie in low-mode or in whip-mode, so that the mango cubes do not totally loose their identity and get mixed in the paste.
Now season this with the popu/tadka.
This mango pickle is fiery hot when it is freshly made, keep it for at least 3-4 days for the sourness of the mangoes to sink-in to the pickle.
Keep it moist-free and use generous amounts of oil and enough salt to preserve it for longer
Eat the pickle with plain-rice with fresh-home made ghee and pappula podi..






This is my another entry for RCI Andhra Cuisine.


Before I sign-off just a few words about Andhra cuisine. The famous and traditional recipes, right from the lovely pickles to the pesarattu, from the Hyderabadi Biriyani to Bagara Baingan, are what we Andhrites not only love and cherish from ages, but also share and feed everyone.
The variation is immense; each household has a set of traditions, having certain commonalities with respect to the region. Restaurants esp. Andhra messes serve full-meals with upto 15-20 dishes. Andhra cuisine is embraced by millions and is now being beautifully crafted as a testimonial by all the lovely food bloggers. Kudos to lovely Latha who is doing a wonderful job at organizing this event and . In spite of her busy schedule she has worked up a lot of Andhra recipes and gave the bloggers immense motivation and inspiration to blog more. Last but not least my hearty congratulations to Laskhmi who is the originator of this brilliant idea called Regional Cuisine.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Nanna's Beerakaaya Annam


During our childhood my Nanna(father) and Amma(mother) worked in shifts. Nanna used to go to work early in the morning and return by mid-afternoon. Amma went off just before noon and returned during the evening. There was a baby-sitter/helper who used to look after us for the couple of hours, when both of them were away. Nanna came back after college and we had fun times. Sometime we used to have lots of fun by sneaking away yummy things from the kitchen like Cashewnuts , Bournivita or just plain ol' sugar :) I also have a vivid memory of him making this delicious beerakaaya annam in a small brass chembu (pot). It is a very simple one pot meal, which brings back lovely memories of my childhood. Oh, I very much wish to go back to those innocent childhood days ... Well, it is not very possible to go back in time, but here I re-create the dish to work out the nostalgia.. Enjoy!
I would like to submit this recipe to the RCI Andhra cuisine organised by my dear friend Lata .



400g/2 cups - Sona masuri Rice
100g /¼ cup - Chana Dal / Sanaga Pappu/ Bengal Gram

For the seasoning/tadka/popu:
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
Few Curry leaves

4-5 Green chillies (Chop finely)
2 small onions (Chop into medium sized cubes)
1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
1 big Ridge gourd/ Beerakaaya (Peel and cut into big cubes)
Few coriander leaves

Take the rice and Bengal gram in a container, wash, drain and keep aside.
In a good sized pan, pour Oil, then do the seasoning/tadka with mustard, cumin, curry leaves.
Add chopped green chillies, onion to the seasoning/tadka and sauté until the onion looses its crispiness
Add the ginger garlic paste, fry a little longer until the raw smell of the paste is relieved..
Add the cut and washed ridge gourd and fry for two minutes, mix in the rice and bengal gram and fry for another few minutes.
Transfer to a rice cooker or a pressure cooker and cook until done. If cooking in a pressure cooker cook until 3 whistles (might differ from cooker to cooker) so please use your judgement to see if the rice is done.
Take off the heat, garnish with coriander leaves and serve with a side of pickle and raita.