Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Beets Labneh/Beetroot and chilies spiced Curd Cheese

Beets is  my favorite veggie, infact our favorite veggie. I love to make Beets thogayal atleast twice a month and beets lassi whenever i feel like having a chilled drink. At home, my younger one loves the beets rasam and beets pachadi. Even my elder one who  doesn't prefer beets curry much, loved the beets croquettes, which i made last week. So, while deciding dishes for the colorful dishes theme, i wanted to do this beets labneh too. Labneh is a soft cream cheese made of hung yogurt. I already have a spiced labneh in my kitchen, this beets and chili labneh is another wonderful additon. 
I served this with some chapathi to my younger one for dinner, he loved it. My elder one has asked me to make some sandwich with it for his snack tomorrow. A simple recipe, that will be ready when you are asleep, yup leave it to drain overnight in the fridge, you will have a creamy condiment for breakfast the next day.

1 small beetroot, around 80 grams
250 grams full fat  yogurt
1 green chili, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
  • Peel and cook the beets in the microwave or stove-top until soft. You can also use it raw, but since both my kids love labneh, i didnt want them to be put off by raw beets, so i cooked them soft. Do not waste the water in which the beets were cooked, use it make rasam or cook your dal.
  • Once beets cools down, grate it fine. In a bowl , take the grated beets, chopped green chili, dump the yogurt, and salt. Give it a good mix. 
  • Pour the yogurt in a cheese cloth, tie on top, place it on a sieve and let it sit overnight or atleast 6-8 hours and drain off all the whey.  Take it off the cheese cloth, and serve it along roti's, bread and your veggies.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Diwali marundhu/Diwali Legiyam/Traditional Medicine made during Diwali festival - Ayurvedic medicine

My theme for this week is colorful dishes, when the world is brings you pink, red, yellow and all possible colors, here i m giving you jet black! Dont you love black! I love black, a color that suits all. A color that is hard to achieve in food, not impossible, but little hard. But here i got this black pretty easily, the spice mixture when ground is dark green but when you add jaggery to it, it turns a wonderful black. 
Valli might think "what the heck" i told her to make colorful dishes and here she brings diwali legiyam??? Sorry valli, adjust it please!😉
Diwali marundhu/legiyam is a traditional medicine made during diwali and also exchanged with the sweets we share with our friends. This medicine is what we eat the first thing on diwali day, It helps you in digesting all the sweets and savories you are about to gorge on that day. Usually eating deep fried food causes lot of acidity and indigestion problems amongst many. During festivities, we do tend to over indulge and then run behind aerated drinks and keep burping the whole evening. But traditonal medicines like this help you naturally and make you feel better.
That doesn't mean you can eat a spoon of this everyday mornign and go about eating everything you see, moderation is the key on anyday. But when you indulge that one day, just one day, go for this marundhu first before you reach that aerated drink bottle.
Recipe inspiration : The Hindu
  1. 30 grams  Sukku/dry ginger 
  2. 20 grams Adhimathuram/liquorice root 
  3. 20 grams  Sitharathai/thai ginger 
  4. 20 grams  Kandan thippili/dried root of long pepper 
  5. 20grams Ajwain /Omam/Carom seeds
  6. 20grams Cumin/jeera
  7. 20grams Coriander seeds/Dhaniya
  8. 4 tbsp Black pepper /Milagu
  9. 20 grams Vaal milagu/tailed pepper
  10. 15grams Arisi thippili/Dried long pepper
  11. 20 grams Jaavithri /Mace
  12. 100 grams Karjuraikai/dried dates 
  13. 50 grams Raisin 
  14. 650 grams Jaggery 
  15. 250grams  Ghee 

  • Take all the ingredients from 1 to 4, measure correctly and in a large pan, dry roast them.  Take care not to burn, just dry roast to get a nice aroma of the spices. Remove from the pan and using a mortar-pestle, roughly pound them. These are big roots, if grinding them at home, they might not budge for the mixer-grinder at home. So roughly pound them and try breaking them into small pieces. Soak them in water for 6-8 hours or even overnight. The water should be immersing the spices well. It is better to soak these separately, as it is easy to grind these bigger roots separately.
  • Now dry roast the ingredients from 5-11 in the same pan until you get a nice aroma of all the spices. Now soak these again in water for 6-8 hours or even overnight. 
  • Pit the dried dates and soak it along with raisins for the same time 6-8 hours or overnight.
  • Once you have soaked for the required time, now we have to grind them all.
  • First let us grind the smaller spices (5-11). Take them along with soaked water and grind to a fine paste. Remove the ground paste to a separate bowl.
  • Next comes the monstrous looking roots. I ground them in batches. So grind in small batches to get a paste.Even then you might find lot of fiber in the paste, simply squeeze the juice out of them and discard the fiber.
  • Remove this ground paste also to the same bowl in which we have first set of paste.
  • Now grind the soaked dates and raisins and remove it to the same bowl.
  • Take jaggery in a pan, add 1 cup of water and let it melt and come to a boil. Strain the jaggery and keep aside.
Let us make the marundhu
  • Heat a large, heavy bottom pan, add 100 grams of ghee, when it is hot, add the ground paste to it and saute for 5-8 minutes. The ground paste would be in darker green in color. As you saute you feel the aroma of the traditional diwali legiyam/marundu in your kitchen.
  • After sauteing for 8 minutes, add the strained jaggery,  to it and mix well. Now start the process of stirring frequently. Reduce the flame to medium, and let this mixture boil and reduce in quantity, it took around 90 minutes for me to get the final consistency.
  • I covered the pan with a splatter guard plate from IKEA, saves you from lot of scrubbing later. Keep stirring the mixture frequently. Once it reduces to half its volume, add 100 grams of ghee to it and keep stirring. 
  • First it might look the ghee is floating on top, must as it cooks, the marundhu absorbs and ghee and turns glossy. 
  • The marundhu/legiyam/medicine will come to halwa consistency, add the remaining ghee and stir again. By now the marundhu will comes from the sides of the pan and follows the ladle whenever you stir, you can touch and roll it into a soft ball, then it is done. 
  • Let this cool down overnight completely. First when you taste straight from the stove, you might feel it is very sweet, but onces it cools and the spices mingle and marry together the taste will be right.
  • The legiyam/marundhu/medicine can be left on the kitchen counter in an air-tight container. No need to refrigerate.
  • Enjoy a spoonful of this early morning and any time you feel little indigestion or cold fuzzy feeling. The medley of spices will immeidately make you feel warm.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Mango Coconut Ladoos

Mango, the king of fruits and favorite of many. My lil one is a mango fanatic. Last month i made some mango cupcakes for my friend's bday. He loved the color and taste of them, bright sunny yellow and yumm mango taste. He was pestering me to make some more mango cupcakes from that time on.
Last week i got some tinned mango puree and it was sitting on my counter for more than 10 days. This diwali, i didn't make any sweets or snacks, usually i used to make few sweets and snacks to distribute amongst friends. Though i got some gift boxes from sweet shops for my neighbours, i couldnt do the same for my family friends. I decided to make 2 quickie treats for our get together during the Diwali weekend. At the same time, i wanted to cook something colorful for this week's BM theme : Colorful dishes. 
I remembered bookmarking sandhya's Mango coconut ladoo and with my love for them, i couldn't resist my urge to roll a ladoo with yumm mangoes! These ladoos gets done in 20 minutes. I got around 30 ladoos, the amount depends on the size you are going to make. 
These are perfect for gifting, as they are easy to make and great on taste. i have received postive comments from my friends that the ladoos are out of the world, i also made a gulkand rose ladoo along with this for them. Do try this yumm and colorful mango ladoo for your next celebrations.

1.5 cups of mango puree (homemade/tinned)
1 tin condensed milk (400 grams)
2 cups of dessicated coconut
6-8 pods of cardamom, only the seeds pounded
2 tbsp ghee
  • Heat a wide pan, measure 1 tbsp ghee, add the coconut to it and roast until the raw smell dissappears. You dont have to roast it until golden brown. Toast it for 2-3 minutes in a medium flame.
  • To this now add mango puree, condensed milk and pounded cardamom. Keep the flame medium and stir the mixture frequently.
  • Once the mixture comes together as a mass, take it off the stove and let it cool. Once it comes down and is warm to touch, divide the mixture into small balls and roll it in your palms. 
  • Roll the ladoos, on dessicated coconut and set aside. Rolling in dessicated coconut is optional, but gives a nice look to the ladoos.  
  • Store them in an air-tight box in the refrigerator, i didnt want to keep them outside as it is made of coconut.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Ragi Ribbon Murukku/Ragi Ribbon Pakoda

With Diwali tomorrow, how come, i end the week without a savory. So i decided to do a murukku using ragi flour. Ragi flour makes delicious snacks.I have made ladoos with ragi, and some years back I made ragi-moong dal murukku. When i picked the Millets theme, i decided to do a Diwali snack with ragi, here it a simple yet crunchy, munchy ribbon. 
It turned out to be delicious, my younger one is already packing it for his school snack box. The elder one is pretty grown up now to understand that these are not burnt murukku now 😁. Yeah, when i made moong dal-ragi murukku in 2013, elder one didnt touch them as he thought they were burnt murukkus, it was the lil fella who enjoyed the whole lot!!! 
1 cup ragi flour
1/4 cup besan
1/4 cup rice flour
1/2 tsp red chili powder
2 pinches of hing
1 tsp sesame seeds
3/4 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp hot oil
1/2-3/4 cup of water
Oil for frying

  • Take ragi, besan and rice flour in a large plate or a bowl and whisk it well to mix. To this add red chili powder, sesame seeds hing and salt and whisk again.
  • Add hot oil to this and mix well. Now slowly add water to make a soft pilable dough. Since the dough is made of ragi, it tends to get dry pretty fast, Keep it covered and sprinkle water and knead again everytime you take a small portion to press out in the oil.
  • Divide the dough into 4 poritons. Heat oil for deep frying, when the oil is hot, take one portion of the dough, sprinkle water and knead again to make it soft and pressable through the press.
  • Put in the murukku press with ribbon plate. Press the dough into hot oil. I did one muruku at a time, let the murukku cook on the both sides, when the oil ceases to sizzle, remove it from the oil with a slotted spoon on a plate laid with kitchen towel.
  • Repeat thesame with the rest of the dough. Once all the murukku are cool enough, store them in an air-tight container. Enjoy with your evening cup.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Beets and Samai croquettes/Beets and Little Millet croquette

I always have a confusion on a cutlet and a croquette? So while naming i read Wiki again to know the difference. What i understood is cutlet is thinly shaped, whereas a croquette is shaped like a cylinder, wiki says both are breaded. Now i haven't used bread or bread crumbs in my recipe here, so i was a bit skeptical about naming them croquettes. But them i shaped them cylindrical, so croquette it is, if you want you call it cutlet, please do so! after all what is in a name? Now let us get away from the naming confusion and get to the recipe.
A simple recipe with cooked millet mixed with veggies, binded and shallow-fried, they would vanish straight from the tava, but since i made it just after lunch kiddos were too full, so they left it for me to click in the evening, and they enjoyed it as an evening snack, after warming it up in the microwave for 20 seconds. 
They make delicious snack, and can be used as filling for wraps and sandwiches, just add some cream cheese/labneh with some greens, you will have a filling meal!!!!
1/2 cup Samai/Little millet/Samo/Vrath ke chawal
1 big beetroot
2 green chilies
2 curry leaves
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp coriander powder
3/4 tsp salt to taste 
2 -3 tsp rice flour
1/4 tsp ginger grated
1/4 tsp fresh turmeric grated (turmeric powder can also be used)
1/3 cup of oil for shallow frying
  • Take samai/little millet in a microwave safe bowl, wash it twice with water, add twice the amount of water to it and cook for 10 minutes at high. This will give you well cooked millet.
  • The millet can also be cooked on stove-top, add twice the amount of water and cook on open pot or pressure cooker. Once cooked, let it cool. 
  • Let us get the beets ready. Peel and grate the beetroot, it yielded around 1 cup tightly packed beetroot.
  • In a pan, add 1 tsp oil, add the chopped green chilies, curry leaves, grated ginger and turmeric,let it saute for a minute. 
  • Add the grated beets to it and saute for a minute. Add salt, cover and cook for 8-10 minutes in  a medium flame. We need the beets 3/4th cooked. Once done, take it off the stove and let it rest.
  • Take the cooked millet in a wide bowl/plate, add the cooked beets, to it, now add red chili powder, coriander powder, rice flour to it and make a dough.
  • The dough comes together on its own. The starch in the millet makes the binding easy. Now divide the dough into 10-12 portions. Either shape them into flat discs or in the shape of croquettes. I shaped them oval size.
  • Heat oil for frying ina shallow pan, place the croquettes 6-7 at a time, or how muchever the pan can comfortably hold, as we have to turn them after few minutes, so do not overcrowd them.
  • Once you place the croquettes in the hot oil, do not disturb them immediately. Turn them after 5 minutes, by that time, the bottom of the croquettes would be brown, cook them all sides until golden brown. 
  • Remove the cooked croquettes on to a flat plate, laid with kitchen towel. Serve them warm with tomato sauce. These can be used in wraps too with some cheese and greens for a filling meal.

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