Arai Keerai Masial (Greens Curry)

Arai Keerai Masial 1

Amaranth Greens are popular in India, and a species of Amaranth, known as“Arai keerai” in Tamil, is the ingredient used in making a dish called “Keerai Masial” (literally, mashed greens). This is a good side-dish, consumed along with rice and sambar. It has a high nutritional value with high levels of minerals such as calcium and iron as well as folic acid and other vitamins.

Servings: 2

Cooking Time: 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

o    1. Arai keerai (Amaranths) : 1 big bunch
o    2. Shallots (small onions): 7
o    3. Green chilies : 2
o    4. Cumin Seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
o    5. Garlic: 4 cloves
o    6. Salt: 1/4 teaspoon

Method: Wash the greens in water, rinsing thoroughly twice or thrice. Chop the greens into small pieces, including the tender stalks. Chop onions, green chilies and garlic.

Boil 1/4 cup of water in a pan and add the chopped greens along with all the items except salt. Covering the pan with a lid, cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  When the greens are cooked, remove from stove. Using a wooden spoon, mash the cooked greens to a smooth paste and add the salt at the end as required.  You may use a blender to mash the greens into a soft pulp.

Tips: Greens should not be overcooked as this tends to lower their nutritional value. One has to also be careful with the amount of salt added, since greens have a naturally salty taste because of their high mineral content.

Optional: Fry mustard seeds in a teaspoon of cooking oil and season the masial with the spluttering oil and seeds .

Arai Keerai Masial 2

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Idly Podi – Idli Podi

Idly ir Idli is the most common breakfast item you can find in a South Indian kitchen.  It is eaten along with sauces like Sambar or accompaniments like Chutney and Idly Podi.  Idly Podi is made with roasted, powdered and seasoned dry dhals.  It is hot and spicy and normally mixed in gingelly oil and eaten with idly.

Idly Podi 1

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

1. Urad Dhal (skin removed): 1 cup or 150 grams
2. Bengalgram Dhal: 1/2 Cup or 75 grams
3. Sesame seeds ( til ) : 2 table spoon or 20 grams
4. Dry Red chili : 15 no
5. Asafoetida: Small  piece ( 0.25 teaspoon)
6. Salt: 1 teaspoon
7. Garlic : 2 pods

Method:

Roast the dhals separately without oil in a vessel till they change color turning light brown.  Roast the Sesame seeds for a few seconds, they will start spluttering soon. Then roast the dry red chili and the asafoetida .  Wait for the ingredients to cool and blend along with salt and garlic into a coarse powder.

Tips:    Adding a handful of dry roasted curry leaves is an option. This Idly Podi can be stored for months in containers.

Idly Podi 2

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Vadagam (Fryums)

Vadagam is a crisp and tasty side dish that goes well with any rice based meal, just like chips, crisps or French fries.It blends well with the main dish. It can be eaten as a snack along with coffee, tea, etc in the evenings or in-between meals.Rice vadagam is made with rice flour and sago which is called “javvarisi” in Tamil and “sabudana” in Hindi. Sago is processed from Tapioca (Cassava). Normally making vadagam is a time consuming process but here in this method I have given a simple & uncomplicated way of making this dish.

Vadagam
Vadagam

 

Cooking Time:  3 hours (over 2 days)

Ingredients:

1. Raw rice: 500 grams
2. Sago Pearls- “javvarisi” (Big variety): 100 grams
3. Lime: 1
4. Salt: 1.5 teaspoon
5. Green Chilies: 6 nos

You will need a “muruku maker” for making vadagam

Vadagam 2

Method:

Clean the rice and along with sago pearls get it ground to a smooth powder preferably in a rice flour mill. As it is a bit difficult to grind the sago in a blender to a smooth consistency, it is better to get it done in a rice flour mill. Grind the green chilies to a smooth paste. Now measure the rice, sago flour and take double the quantity of water in a big pressure cooker. When the water is boiling well, add the salt and green chili paste and remove from the stove. Now start adding the rice sago powder to the water, slowly stirring it.

After adding the entire rice, sago flour, close the cooker with the lid and weight. This mixing of water and rice sago flour can be done in the night and left overnight.  The next day early morning, squeeze the lime over the mixture and stir well. Now the dough is cold, smooth and easy for handling and pressing. Add a handful of this dough to the “muruku maker” and squeeze it over a clean plastic sheet for drying in the hot sun. This can be dried 3-4 days in the hot sun continuously and store it in airtight containers.

Tips:  Vadagams can be easily stored for a year.

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Chicken Chettinad

Chicken Chettinad was originally popular in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu, but now it is a favourite food item in most  homes and restaurants  of Tamil Nadu.

Chicken Chettinad 1

This dish is prepared using a combination of spices and it has its unique flavor and taste. We can have it for all rice based meals as side dish and it can be consumed along with Chappathi, Parotta etc also.

Cooking Time: 30 mts.

Servings:  4

INGREDIENTS:
1.  Chicken : 500 Grams
2. Shallots :  100 grams
3. Onion: 1
4. Tomato: 2 ( 50 Grams approximate)
5. Ginger Garlic Paste: 1 Teaspoon
6. Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
7. Turmeric Powder: 0.5 Teaspoon
8. Salt: 0.75 Teaspoon
9. Water: 1 Cup
10. Oil: 0.25 Cup

 

Dry roast the following spices (without Oil) in a vessel :

1. Cinnamon: 1″ piece
2. Cardamom: 1
3. Cloves: 3
4. “Kalpasi” (an Indian Chettinad spice called “phool pathar” in Hindi also called Black stone flowers ) :  a few pieces
5. Cumin :  1 Teaspoon
6. Pepper: 0.75 Teaspoon
7. Aniseed: 0.25 Teaspoon
8. Red Chili: 6
9. Coriander Seeds: 1 tablespoon
10. Coconut Gratings: 1 Cup

Method: 

In a skillet dry fry the spices without oil and grind them in a blender to a smooth powder and keep.
Take a teaspoon of oil in the same vessel and fry the shallots and grind them in the blender and keep the shallots paste aside.
Chop the Onion and tomatoes.
Cut, clean and keep the Chicken pieces.Take a skillet and heat oil in it.  Fry the chopped onion first and then add the tomato pieces with ginger and garlic paste.
Then add the chicken pieces along with Turmeric powder, Curry leaves and salt and saute for 5 minutes.  You can add water and cook for another 5 minutes over medium flame.  Keep the vessel covered.
Now  the ground spices can be added along with the ground Shallots paste to the chicken and let it simmer for another 10 minutestill the gravy thickens to the desired  consistency.

Chicken Chettinad 2

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Paruppu (Dhal) Thuvaiyal Chutney

Thuvaiyal

Thuvaiyal or Thogayal is similar to chutney but slightly more tick in texture. It is made of dhal (Tur dal) / lentils and is served with rice dishes.

Thuvaiyal
Thuvaiyal

If one wants to have a simple meal any day doing away way with elaborate cooking of vegetables etc,  “Paruppu Thuvaiyal” is prepared quickly to be mixed with plain rice and eaten.  Also  it can be consumed along with packed lunch like lime rice, tamarind rice etc or as a side dish with rice and ‘rasam” or “pulikuzhambu”. In this recipe “tur” ( Red gram) dhal is the main ingredient.

SERVINGS: 3

COOKING TIME: 15 mins

INGREDIENTS:

1. Red Gram Dhal ( Tur Dhal) :  1/2 Cup or 75 grams
2. Dry red chili: 3
3. Garlic: 2 cloves
4. Grated Coconut : 2 Tablespoons
5. Tamarind : one small piece 
6. Oil: 1 Tablespoon
7. Salt: 0.25 Teaspoon

METHOD:

Heat the oil in a skillet and fry all the above items except salt and tamarind.  Fry till the dhal  turns to a golden brown color. Remove and cool the contents. Put all the ingredients along with salt and tamarind in a blender and grind to a coarse consistency adding 1/4 cup water.

TIP:   You can replace Tur dhal with any other dhal like Bengal Gram,  Black Gram, Green Gram or Cow Pea and make it.

Paruppu Chutney 2
Thuvaiyal
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