KOVAKKAI ( IVY GOURD )

The botanical name of Kovakkai is Coccinia and it is known by different names in  the Southern states of India. Besides, it is commonly cooked and consumed as an unripe fruit.  Throughout the year this vegetable is available in the market .  Also, it is a rich source of beta-carotene.
Kovakkai
Kovakkai
COOKING TIME :  45 minutes
SERVINGS  : 4

INGREDIENTS :

1. Kovakkai ( Coccinia ) :  300 grams
2. Onion : 2  ( 100 grams)
3. Tomato :  2 ( 100 grams )
4. Turmeric Powder : 0.5 Teaspoon
5. Chili Powder :  1 Teaspoon
6.  Salt :  1 Teaspoon
7.  Oil  :  2  Tablespoon

METHOD

Wash the vegetable thoroughly in water and chop each one vertically into 5, 6 thin slices. In addition, slice the Onion and Tomato similarly.  Keep a skillet with oil over medium flame and add the sliced vegetables along with Onion and Tomato.  Cover it with a lid and cook for ten minutes stirring it often.  When it is half cooked, add the Turmeric powder with Chili powder.  Cook  for another ten minutes reducing the flame.  When it is cooked well and tender, sprinkle the salt.  Once done, remove from fire and serve along with rice as side dish.
Tips  : Before cooking make sure that the kovakkai is fresh and firm to touch.

Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun

Hot or cold Gulab Jamun can be consumed at all times and is relished by many people, not only in the southern India but across the country. The ingredients are milk solids and sugar mainly. Though readily available packed gulab jamun mix is there in the market, making them at home with your own choice of milk products has its own taste and sweetness.! It can be made with milk powder or milk solid known as “khoa” which is available in market.

Gulab Jamun
Gulab Jamun

COOKING TIME : 1 hour
NO OF sweets : 45 of Medium size

INGREDIENTS :

1. Khoa (unsweetend) : 250 grams
2. Maida ( Refined wheat flour) : 75 grams
3. Thick Curd : 1 tablespoon
4. Soda bi-carb ( Cooking soda ) : a pinch
5. Water : 0.25 Cup
6. Cashew and Pista : 25 no
7. Ghee (clarified butter) : 500 grams

INGREDIENTS FOR MAKING SUGAR SYRUP

1. Refined Sugar : 2.5 Cup ( 5oo grams )
2. WAter : 3 Cups ( 600 ml )
3. Rose Essence : 1.5 Teaspoon

METHOD :

Keep a bowl over medium flame and boil the sugar with water for 5 minutes and you will get one thread consistency. Remove from flame and remove the scum using a strainer. Add the Rose essence to it and keep it aside. Sieve the maida and the soda bi-carb and keep. In a bowl put the khoa and mash it with hands gently so that there are no hard lumps in it. Add the sieved maida with curd to the khoa and knead it gently. Keep the dough aside for 15 minutes.

Break the nuts into small pieces. Make round small balls out of the kneaded dough and place 3,4 chopped nuts in them. Take care to make smooth same size balls out of the dough. Keep a frying pan with ghee (clarified butter) over low flame and fry the balls 5 or 6 at a time. Fry the balls evenly by turning them gently. Take them out and put them in the hot sugar syrup. Keep them in the sugar syrup for an hour or two because it takes time for the fried balls to absorb the sugar syrup and become soft and sweet.

Jamun Sweet
Jamun Sweet

Tips : Cardamom powder or saffron can be replaced with Rose essence. If you plan to make Khoa at home, boil milk with fat for an hour over slow flame stirring constantly to get the final product of solid milk content called “khoa”.

MUTTON FRY WITH BABY POTATOES

Mutton Fry With Potatoes

Most of the non vegetarians relish a meal with mutton fry with potatoes. Any simple meal becomes a delicious one with this side dish of fried mutton with baby potatoes. This mutton fry is a good accompaniment for any rice based meal and it is easy to make too.

Mutton Fry With Potatoes
Mutton Fry With Potatoes

COOKING TIME: 40 minutes

SERVINGS: 3

INGREDIENTS:

1. Mutton : 500 grams
2. Baby potatoes : 200 grams
3. Shallots: 75 grams
4. Onion : 1 (50 grams)
5. Tomato : 2 (100 grams)
6. Ginger : 1.5″ piece one
7. Turmeric powder : 0.5 Teaspoon
8. Chili powder : 1.5 Teaspoon
9. Pepper powder : 0.5 Teaspoon
10. Cumin Powder : 0.5 Teaspoon
11. Aniseed : 0.5 Teaspoon
12. Curry leaves : 3 sprigs
13. Oil : 2 Tablespoon
14. Salt : 1 Teaspoon
15. Water : 1 Cup

Mutton And Potatoes Fry
Mutton And Potatoes Fry

METHOD:

Wash mutton pieces and peel the skin from baby potatoes. Chop the shallots, onions and tomatoes. Clean the ginger piece and mash it and keep aside. Keep a pressure cooker with oil over medium flame. First add aniseed and then curry leaves. Then put the chopped shallots, onion, tomatoes and ginger and saute. Finally add the mutton pieces along with Turmeric powder, Chili powder, Pepper powder, Cumin powder and salt. Close the lid and cook for 7 to 8 minutes adding a cup of water. Open the lid ( when it is cool) and add the baby potatoes and pressure cook again for another 5 minutes. Keep stirring the gravy without closing the lid over low flame till you get the dry mutton potato fry of your choice.

BAJJI (BANANA – ONION )

BAJJI

Any occasion and any time is suitable to have the snacks like Bajji, Bonda, Vada and Pakoda. Though “Bajji” is an oily dish, it is a filling snack which can be consumed along with either a cup of coffee or tea. One is sure to find them in every tea shop in any street in Tamil Nadu. Before the advent of the introduction of fast food items like noodles, burgers and pizzas, these tiffen items like vada, Bajji etc were made as evening snacks at households for the kids who returned from school.

Bhajji
Bajji

SERVINGS : 5
COOKING TIME : 20 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS :

1. Bengal gram Flour ( Besan or kadalai maavu ) : 2 Cups ( 200 grams)
2. Rice Flour : 2 Tablespoon
3. Salt : 1 Teaspoon
4. Chili Powder : 2 Teaspoon
5. Asafoetida : 0.25 Teaspoon
6. Soda Bi-carb (Cooking soda ): A pinch
7. Water : 2 Cups ( 400 ml )
8. Oil ( any refined oil) : 1.5 Cup ( 300 ml)
9. Veg ( Raw Banana of “monthan variety “, Onion -1, Brinjal-2 , potato, other vegetables like g chili called Bajji chili and even bread slices are also used for making “Bajji”.

METHOD:

Take 2 or 3 vegetables of your choice. Potato, Onion and Raw Banana need their skin to be peeled. Chop them to medium size ( neither too thin nor too thick) slices and keep aside. Both asafoetida and salt can be added to the water. Use a sieve to clean up the gram flour and add Baking soda. Now mix the gram flour with chili powder and water to a smooth consistency. The batter should be like dosa batter. Heat up oil over high flame and dip the vegetable slices 3 or 4 at a time in the batter and slide into thehot oil. The sliced vegetables should be evenly coated with the batter. Turn the Bajji pieces to the otherside so that they are cooked evenly.

Tips : Drain the oil on the Bajji on tissue papers and serve it with Coconut chutney.

Fish Cutlet

Fish Cutlet

Fish cutlet is a favorite item of almost every one.   It can be relished along with rice based meals either for lunch or dinner or eaten just like that as a snack item along with either coffee or tea at any time of the day.  The making of it takes a longer time as it involves removing the bones completely from the fish.   But the delicacy of the fish cutlet overcomes the difficulty in making it.!
Fish Cutlet
Fish Cutlet
Cooking Time: 1.5 hours
Pieces :  25 Cutlets

INGREDIENTS:

1. Fish ( fish like mackeral, seer fish etc without much bones) : 1.25 kg
2. Onion: 3 ( approximate 200 grams)
3. G. Chili : 6
4. Ginger : 2 ” piece one
5. Garlic : 15 Cloves
6. Coriander and Curry leaves : 1 small bunch
7. Aniseed : 1 Teaspoon
8. Coconut gratings : 0.5 Cup
9. Potato : 350 Grams ( 3 no approximate)
10. Turmeric Powder : 1 .5 Teaspoon
11. Red Chili Powder : 1 Teaspoon
12. Oil :  1.5 Cup ( 300 ml)
13. Eggs : 2
14. Salt : 1.5 Tablespoon

METHOD:

Wash and cut the fish into big pieces.  Boil them with minimum water ( 0.25 cup) along with 0.5 tablespoon salt and turmeric powder.  Fish should be boiled in five minutes and all the water should be absorbed.  Remove the bones and the skin completely and mash the fish and keep aside. After removal of the bones and the skin of the fish, you will get approximately 1 kg of mashed fish.   Boil the potatoes for 10 minutes in pressure cooker and mash them well and keep aside. Chop the onions, g. chili, ginger and garlic cloves  into fine pieces.
Take a  big frying pan and keep over medium flame. Pour first  0.25 cup oil  for frying. First add the aniseed and onion and after onion turns translucent, add the chopped green chili, ginger and garlic pieces.  After frying them well, add the coriander, curry leaves, coconut gratings with red chili powder.  Finally the boiled, mashed fish with mashed potatoes should be mixed well.  The remaining salt should be mixed with it.
Take from stove and add the beaten eggs to it .  Make small lime sized balls and shape them of your choice.  After making the fish cutlets, keep a frying pan with the rest of the oil over medium flame.  Fry the cutlets 6 to 7 at a time and turn them to the other side for them to get cooked well.  when the cutlets turn golden brown,  take them out.
Fish Cutlets
Fish Cutlets
Tips :  If you want fish cutlets to be crisp, you can dip the cutlets first in beaten egg white  and then dip them in bread crumbs before frying. This is optional