July 24, 2014

Thenkuzhal | Krishna Jayanthi Snacks | Festival Recipes...

Krishna Jayanthi. Sri Jayanthi. Gokulashtami - call it by whatever name. Its one of my favourite festivals, both on the food aspect as well as the nostalgia it brings forth. For it brings forth my grandmom and mom dishing out close to 21 special dishes, all particular to this occassion. 

If not 21, I thought I would present atleast three of them this BM for special festival theme. Pardon me if this is a longish post : I have distinct memories of this particular festival being celebrated in all glory for so many years, its impossible not to document them somewhere for posterity :) Nowadays, most of this stuff is available in the nearest store, but there is no substitute for home made stuff right, even though we may be making just a handful of thesee goodies every year...

Krishna is decked up with lots of finery, and the puja for the Lord begins late evening. Birthdays being birthdays, why not go all out for the Lord ? Navaneetham (Sugared white butter), Kodubale (rice - gram glour rings),Seedai, Mosaru Avalakki (Poha in curd)Murukku (Chakli), Jaggery PohaKarjikai /Karigadubu (somas), Thenkuzhal, Nipattu (Thattai), Therattipaal, Rava Ladoo, Maa Ladoo, Porulungai Urundai (all tongue twisters) and so many many more bhakshanams (dry snacks basically) are made as offering to the Lord (aka Naivedyam). If you are keen to know the significance of this festival a little more, head here
Decked up Krishna at home from yester year's celebrations 
The process during my grandmom's time was so long, it used to last days and days with pesky kids like us shooed away from the kitchen, and mom and grandmom locking themselves away in the rather dark kitchen. Rice flour and other flours could not be store bought, so was made from scratch. The aroma wafting from the kitchen was enough to keep us guessing the item being made that day. 

Late in the evening on the Ashtami (the 8th day of the Aavani (or sharvan) month) and on the Rohini , the puja would be an elaborate affair. I still remember to this day my grandpa and dad reciting the hymns while we kids eyed the boxes of goodies that made their appearance from some mysterious hiding place :-))

Puja over, we would wait like wolves wantin got feast on the prey (devilish isnt it ? :-)) LoL ! my grandmom would distribute the stuff amongst us kids , and while we feasted, the rest of the snacks would go back to the mysterious hiding place (she made sure the place was shifted frequently to keep us away from devouring them right away)

Such memories.... hopefully I can recreate some of those for my girls this year (the festival falls on 15th Sep this year). Till then enjoy the series for Krishna Jayanthi goodies :)

Coming to today's recipe, its one of my favourites too - Thenkuzhal (literally translated as honey - flutes). but strange coz there is neither honey nor can you play the flute :D .. be it as it may, its a wonderful snack to have it during the festival, but can also be made anytime for a perfect tea time snack.

The recipes / proportions for most of these bhakshanams vary from household to household, sometime even between generations. This is how mom makes it - I shall update the post with step by step pics the next time I make it. For now enjoy , while it makes its way to BM # 42 and Gayatri's event Down Memory Lane

Prep time : 15 mins | Frying time : 15 mins | Makes : Approx 300 grams. 
Keeps well for 10-12 days without refrigeration

  • Rice flour - 4 cups
  • Urad dal flour - 1 cup
  • Salt - to taste
  • White unsalted butter - 3 to 4 TBSP
  • Cumin Seeds / Jeera - 1 tsp
  • Hing / Asafoetida - a generous pinch

  1. Dry roast both the flours. If you are making urad dal flour at home, dry roast the dal on a low flame, cool and powder. You can use store bought or homemade rice flour. 
  2. In a large bowl, sieve both the flours together. Add butter and rub into the flour to resemble bread crumbs. Now add salt, hing, jeera and mix again. Add water little by little to make a soft dough. Rest for 5 mins (it should be a semi soft dough)
  3. Heat oil for frying (about 3 cups), to check if its good enough, pinch a small dough and roll it into the oil, if the dough comes up moderately fast to the surface its ready, too fast and the oil is hot, and too slow and its not right (yes yes, like most bhakshanams, this too comes with a whole lot of practice, says mom :-))
  4. Now divide the dough into equal portions, Press a portion into the thenkuzhal dough (with the right nozzle) and press it gently into the hot oil. If you cant press directly into the oil, press it first on a oiled flat ladle and gently immerse it into the oil. 
  5. Fry on medium flame on both sides till the hissing sounds reduce- the dish would be ivory white, but dont let it get too red (it means it has burnt)
  6. Drain on absorbent paper. Repeat for remaining dough. Store them in airtight containers and enjoy a couple with a hot cuppa or tea ! 

July 21, 2014

Round up of Kids Delight - Iron Rich Foods, and winner of the Giveaway !

Its always heartening to see fellow bloggers supporting an event close to your heart.. When I chose to host Valli's Kids Delight, I wanted a theme that was healthy as well as kid friendly, so chose Iron Rich Themes. 

Thank you friends for your support. We have so many (almost 50) entries - I thank each one of you for your support. Take a look at the wonderful entries in the round up as below. If any entry has been missed out inadvertently, please ping me on momchef77@gmail.com and I shall update the list :)

But before that, the winner of the giveaway picked randomly - Kavita Deepan . Kavita - have emailed you, please confirm if you are based in India. Shall mail the gift to you ! Congratulations :) If kavita doesnt respond in 3 days, will choose another winner from India.

The round up link as follows...

Thanks once again to Valli for a great opportunity :) . My event on healthy food - My health, my way - Fibre Rich Foods is being guest hosted by Soumya. Please check out and link your Fibre rich foods. Appreciate your support :)


July 12, 2014

Masala Vadai | Easy Tea Time Snacks

After Cabbage Dhokla and Microwave Poha Chiwda, its time for some indulgence. Crazy weather here - its deciding in July whether to rain or not, and it finally rained a bit last two days ! Its ok to deep fry once in a while, and these fritters like Bhajia or Pakoras are best eaten without any side dish - just as it is.. Its Saturday and its raining - you dont need a better excuse to indulge in these yummy Masala Vadai hot off the frying pan.

I have teamed it up with Coconut Chutney and all that you need after this is a hot cup of tea to savour the indulgence further. By the time I could get my cup of tea, the vadas had disappeared, therefore they appear with just the coconut chutney :)) LoL !! 

Masala Vadai is probably a very popular deep fried delight sold on the roadside too, and the heady aroma of spices would compel one to buy them whenever you pass by the vendor. Similar to Aama Vadai or Paruppu Vadai yet different like Maddur Vade, this has many versions floating around in each household.Today is my version. You can also make the batter ahead and freeze it (without salt). Bring it to room temperature, add salt,onions - mix and fry. So, thats a great Party Idea as well :)

Before we get to the vadas, recipe for Basic Coconut Chutney:

Grind 1/2 cup Grated coconut with 3 tsp fried dal (dalia), 2 small green chillies, little tamarind and 2 pods of garlic with 3-4 TBSP of water to a smooth paste. Add a pinch of salt. Temper with mustard if required.

Prep time : 15 mins + 2 hrs soaking time | Cook time : 15 mins | Makes : Approx 12-15 vadas

  • Moong dal - 1/2 cup
  • Urad Dal - a handful
  • Channa Dal - 3/4 cup
  • Oil - for deep frying
  • Onions - 2 medium - finely chopped
  • Coriander & curry leaves - few
  • Salt - to taste
Masala paste : 
  • Coconut grated - 1/4 cup
  • Saunf / fennel seeds - 1 TBSP
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Green chillies - 3 nos (Adjust spice)
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Garlic - 3 pods

  1. Wash and soak all dals separately for 2 hours. Drain and grind to a smooth paste (use the soaked water to occasionally wet the batter, but dont use more than 3 TBSP). This batter is similar to the Urad Dal vada batter.
  2. Grind all ingredients under Masala paste to a smooth paste with very minimal water.
  3. Add this masala paste to the ground lentil paste. Mix well.
  4. Now if making immediately, add salt and onions and curry leaves and coriander. Else refrigerate and add these later on.
  5. Mix the batter lightly after adding the onions, we want to retain the fluffiness of the batter.
  6. Meanwhile heat oil for frying. When it reaches the right temperature, flatten out a small portion of these vadas and deep fry on medium heat till golden brown.
  7. Use the rest of the batter to make Vadai. Drain on absorbent towels.
  8. Serve immediately with Coconut Chutney and/ or hot coffee or Tea for a yummy late noon snack

July 11, 2014

Microwave Poha Chivda | Guilt free snack

4-5 pm is where most diets go for a toss, even if you eat healthy through the day. Fruits may not be appealing most of the while, and time may not permit you to have a full snack / tiffin especially if you are working. For those who are at home - Puli Aval or Gojjavalakki (Tamarind Poha Upma) , corn chaat, masoor salad, Fruit Chaat may be made instantly. Today's dish - Microwave Poha Chiwda (guilt free flattened rice snack) help quell those hunger pangs - whether you are at home or working. Poha (or Aval in Tamil / Avalakki in Kannada) is rich in fortified calcium and B12 making it an easy way to absorb those vitamins. We make Curry leaf Poha Upma regularly for breakfast.

As with most people I used the Microwave initially to just reheat food or steam veggies, till I started using it more efficiently. I have another Poha Chivda recipe(deep fried version)..

In this dish, the thicker Poha is used (you may use thin variety also, but the taste greatly varies). I have followed Madhura's recipe to make this. It doesnt consume too much oil. The copra and peanuts are optional, but adds to the crunch - dont skip it.

Make a large batch of this, and you can find yourself digging into it more often than you think. Also sending this dish to BM # 42 under quick tiffins and my own event - Calcium rich recipes hosted by PJ. 

Prep time : 15 min | Microwave time : 10 mins (depends on the model) 
Makes : Approx 200 gm of Chiwda
Skill level : Beginners
Cuisine : Snack, Indian

  • Thick Poha - 2 cup
  • Oil - 2 TBSP
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, Hing, Turmeric powder, Red chillies Curry leaves
  • Peanuts-  2 fistfuls
  • Salt - to taste
  • Copra - grated or thinly sliced
  • Optional add-ons : Daliya (fried gram), powdered Sugar, Jeera, Green chillies, Chilli powder

In a microwave safe bowl, heat oil for 2 mins, add mustard seeds, red chillies, curry leaves and micro for 1.5 mins in spurts.
Add peanuts and micro for 3 mins, stirring after every minute.
Add hing, Turmeric powder and again microwave for 1 more minute
Add grated copra and micro for 30 secs (take care not to burn the copra)
Now add Poha , mix well and micro for 3 more mins in a gap of every 1 minute, stir well and micro again.
Once done, cool slightly, add salt, spices and sugar (if using, I added a tsp of powdered sugar)
Toss well, and store in an airtight container.

July 10, 2014

Cabbage Dhokla | Fuss free Low cal snacks

A typical day at the supermarket / vegetable mandi. : Capsicum - first picked. Tomatoes - picked. Onions and Potatoes - done. Greens- picked. Brinjal - ummm, not so good, but do summers have any other vegetable?

And then comes the dreaded cabbage-  Mind says dont pick, but budget demands otherwise. We are not much of a cabbage fans,ourselves, and S often declares the cabbage sabji as Pullu (Pullu in Tamil is grass!), fit to be eaten by cows and other such animals. Sigh! With the mercury soaring (its almost July and the rains are peeking here and there) and the household budgets doing an unhealthy trip to the skies, I sometimes wonder how our parents used to beat inflation. 

Not that we dont like Cabbage Vadai (recipe soon!), but deep fry in my house is restricted to max once a month, that too if its warranted. So, the workable vegetables in my refrigerator were onions and cabbage, and the clock ticked away declaring the arrival of the little one from school. 

We prefer simple fuss free snacks to munch on in the evenings, and this was one such idea that hit me from Santosh's blog that I had bookmarked about 2 years ago. I made a few tweaks here and there, and arrived at a simple fuss free snack that kiddo and me enjoyed with some tomato ketchup. Am sure like the Instant Khaman Dhokla, this too was liked by all - thanks to budget or otherwise :)

This goes to Blogging Marathon # 42, and do check out the fellow marathoners here.
Prep time - 10 mins
Fermenting time - as for Idli batter
Cook time - 10 mins
Serves - 2
Serving Suggestions : Tomato Pachadi
Difficulty level : Easy 
  • Idli Batter - 1 cups*
  • Chopped Cabbage - 1/2 cup (I had some boiled veggies like carrot and beans so added them too)
  • Onions - 1/2 medium (optional)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Turmeric - a pinch
  • Cooking soda - 1/4 tsp
  • Green chillies - deseeded and minced - 1 or 2
  • Oil - 2 tsp
  • Tempering : Mustard seeds, sesame seeds, Asafoetida, grated coconut
*If you are using Dosa batter by any chance, add 4-6 TBSP of roasted suji (semolina) and then proceed. Also increase the steaming time by another 4 mins on medium. As you are adding Suji also to the batter, increase soda by a pinch and slightly increase salt by half a pinch

1) In a pan, heat 1 tsp of oil and saute shredded cabbage and onions with a pinch of salt till they turn slightly soft.
2) Cool the veggies and add to the batter. Adjust salt, chillies. Add soda and mix the batter to pouring consistency.
3) Grease a medium shallow plate, and pour the batter. Steam in an Idli steamer for 10 - 12 mins till done.
4) Cut to desired shapes.
5) Prepare the tempering with oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida and sesame seeds. Cool and add to the cooled dhokla.
6) Serve warm with Tomato Pachadi or just Ketchup.

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