Cook's Hideout: June 2006

June 26, 2006

10 Things I Miss of Mom’s Cooking - MEME

This is my very first meme and it is “the best” time for me to participate in this meme. Not being able to have any home made food, not even Indian food for that matter, makes this a perfect time to think of, not 10 but 100, of Mom’s dishes. Thank you very much Nav for tagging me.

The most important thing that I miss about my mom is the patience with which she used to cater to all the different needs of our family. Never did I hear her say I can’t do this. I wish I can have at least 50% of that patience.

I try to imitate my Mom’s cooking style and I keep asking her for recipes. Most of the time these dishes turn out good. I like everything my mom makes, but following is the list of my most favorite dishes.

Kanda bachali Kura: This is more like a dal (pappu) made with a classic combination of kanda and bachalikura. This dish is usually made for functions and special occasions. I have never tasted anything like hers anywhere.

Majjiga Pulusu (Kadi): This is like my Mom’s signature dish with sorakaya (Kaddu) and ground masala. The best part of this dish is the small chana dal vadas that she makes to put in the kadi.. Awesome.

Kandi Pachadi w/ Vankaya Pulusu (Toor dal chutney w/ Eggplant stew): Another classic combination and I can still smell the sautéed kandi pappu (Toor dal). Eggplant is my favorite vegetable and this is one of my all time favorite eggplant dish.

Vegetable Bath: Vegetables with rice and home made masala powder. Never had anything like this outside of my house.

Vankaya Banda Pachadi (Eggplant chutney): As told earlier, eggplant is my fav. veggie and this is another one of favorite. I used to help my mom (sometimes…;-) grind this chutney with mortar and pestle. I am planning to buy a mortar and pestle just to make this.

Karappusa (Sev): My sister likes the thicker kind (janthikalu) and I like the thinner version of the same thing. My mom used to make both to cater to our likings.

Boondhi Laddu: My mom’s boondhi laddu are so good that family and friends have asked her to make them for their special occasions. They are juicy and fresh even after 10days of making.

Thokkudu Laddu (Bandar Laddu): Another one of my favorite sweet. Can never get enough of them.

Masala Vada: Deep fried chana dal patties with spices. She makes them for festivals and also during sravana masam (Mangala Gowri and Vara Lakshmi vratam season).

Gongura pachadi/ Pandu mirapaya pachadi/ Pesara Avakaya: None of the bottled pickles taste like the fresh home made pickles. Just awesome.

I also want to mention two of my Mother-in-law’s dishes. She makes the best Gulab Jamuns (from scratch) using khova and sooji (semolina). They just melt in your mouth.

She also makes the best Jonna roti. Watching her make the rotis is fascinating. I don’t know how many years of practice it will take for me to learn the technique.

June 18, 2006

Trip to China

Next couple of weeks I am going to China on business. We (my manager and I) booked our tickets almost a month ago, but I froze my mind not to think about the impending trip. Honestly I am nervous and anxious to make this trip because of 2 things.

First one being 14 hours at a stretch plane journey from London to Shanghai. You might think that coming from India after taking 18-20 hr long flights, I have no right to complain and I should have got used to it. Truth is, after 18-20hr flight, you see your family who pampers you and you can take complete rest for at least two days. Now the thought of going to work right away, after almost 24hrs travel, itself makes me sick and squeamish.

Second big dilemma is you know what.. food. According to my husband who was in China two months ago, Chinese add sea food in almost all the dishes (I’m praying to god that he’s just kidding). I don’t like surprises on my plate (after 20minutes of explaining to the waiter about getting the ONLY vegetarian dish). I just hope they understand that vegetarian meal does not include eels, scallops and anything with toes that crawls/swims. I really really hope that I come back from China with a different opinion, may be all this is just stereo typing.

While I’m gone, I’m going to miss my husband very much and also talking to my sister on phone everyday. My husband has been training me about what to drink, how to keep passport, money, documents safe and other things for the past one month. He’ll miss my nagging and the food (hope he doesn’t end up getting take out everyday and completely forget about me).

I made myself a list of recipes from fellow bloggers that I should make as soon as I come back. (didn’t want to forget.)

1. Luv2cook's Ginger shortbread cookie bars – They look just yummy and delicious.

2. Giniann's Spinach koftas – They look like a really healthy alternate to the regular ones.

3. Nupur's Frankie – I meant to make this long time ago.. will definitely make it when I come back.

4. Lakshmi’s recreation of Gokul Chaat - Her picture itself was yummy and I could smell the chaat from Koti. Definitely will make it many many times after I come back.

5. Indira’s Spinach Basil Pasta – Looks healthy and appetizing.

6. LG's Egg puffs – One of my favorite Indian bakery favorite. Another one of “will make it many many times recipe”.

7. Santhi's Soybean fritters – Healthy snacks is a must try. Will try to shallow fry them.

8. Jadebeauty’s Buddha Delight – Hope to get something like this on the trip.

9. Sailu’s Butter Paneer Masala – Just looks mouth-wateringly good.

10. Gattina’s Nutty Potato & onion mini-burgers – Recipe looks simple and pics look too good not to make.

Will be back to blogging in 15 days.

Dsai Szen (Good bye in Chinese)...... for 2 weeks.

June 15, 2006

Memories and Tamarind Rice

Yesterday for some reason, I was feeling really home sick and nostalgic. I was thinking about school days, movies we watched and most importantly the food.
When I was in elementary and middle school, our school used to take us out on a picnic every year. (We joke about my sisters picnics even now be'cos they went to "Hyderbad Zoo" continuously from LKG to 5th-6th classes.. I think the whole class remembers each and every animal and where each cage is located..)
I still remember discussing and planning with friends for hours about what food and activity (frisby or a board game) we were going to bring for the picnic. We would then go back home and tell our moms to cook our menus. I would for the most part take something made with rice cos I was picky eating with fingers (my sister on the other hand always insisted on some kind of Indian bread like chapathis or puris with a curry). My mom used to make a variety of rice items like lemon rice, tamarind rice, vegetable rice, yogurt rice for picnics.
My favorite among all these is tamarind rice. Tamarind rice is just yummy and it tastes even better the next day.
Tamarind rice is also a must in our house for all the festivals.

Here is my mom’s recipe for Tamarind rice:

Cooked Rice - 2 cups
Tamarind paste- 4tbsp
Peanuts - ¼ cup
Chana dal (split bengal gram)- 1tbsp
Urad dal - 1tbsp
Red chilies - 4
Green chilies - 4
Mustard seeds - 1tsp
Curry leaves - 8
Turmeric - pinch
Asafetida - pinch
Salt - to taste

  • Heat 2tbsp oil in a pan, when hot add mustard seeds, peanuts, chana dal and urad dal, red chilies and fry till the dals turn pale brown.
  • Add green chilies, curry leaves, asafetida and turmeric. Fry for another minute.
  • Now add the tamarind paste and ¼ cup water.
  • Let the mixture simmer on low flame for about 12-15minutes till the mixture thickens.
  • Cool rice completely. Add 1tsp oil and a pinch of turmeric.
  • Add the tamarind mixture, salt and mix well. Make sure not to mush rice.

I like my tamarind rice with a dollop of yogurt. Yummy…..

June 12, 2006

Mango Custard

This is an idea my mom gave me, when I told her that I have 2 yogurt containers full of mango puree. It takes about 2 minutes to get all the ingredients together and about 15-20 minutes to cook. Very simple... very delicious

Mango puree - 1 cup (2 ripe magoes, peeled, diced and pureed)
Sugar - 1/4 cup (or according to taste)
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp
Custard powder - 4 tbsp (I used Brown and Polson custard powder)
Milk - 1/4cup
Cashews and raisins (fried in 1tbsp ghee) - optional

  • Mix custard powder with milk and stir well to make sure that there are no lumps.
  • Add mago puree, custard-milk mixture, sugar in a pan and on medium-low flame cook for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Mixture will come together into a pudding consistency. Add cardamom powder before removing from heat.
  • Add the fried cashews and raisins (if using). You can serve this warm or chilled.

Pudina Chutney

Pudina - 1 bunch cleaned
Red chilies - 4-5
Chanadal - 1tbsp
Urad dal - 1tbsp
Jeera - 1tbsp
Tamarind paste - 1tbsp
Grated cocconut - 2tbsp
Salt - to taste

  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a kadai. Add chana and urad dals, red chilies and jeera. Fry till the dals turn golden brown. Remove and cool.
  • In the same kadai, add 1tsp oil and add the cleaned pudina. Fry till the leaves completely wilt down, takes about 5 minutes. Let cool completely.
  • Grind the fried dals and pudina with tamarind paste, salt, grated coconut and little water to get to the desired consistency.
  • Pudina chutney goes well with rice & ghee and idlis and dosas too.

June 11, 2006

Sunday Meals

This sunday, we decided to do nothing but cook, eat and rest. No laundry... No shopping.. everything will have to wait until next weekend (I don't want to think about all that now...) This is our sunday meals menu..

Bachali kura pappu
Chamadumpala pulusu (Arvi pulusu)
Pudina pachadi (Mint chutney)

Afternoon Snacks:
Boiled peanuts (fresh peanuts in shells boiled with salt)
Mango Custard

Kadai Paneer (Recipe from Indira's Mahanandi - Only change I made is use green, red and yellow peppers and add Patak's Hot & Spicy curry paste)
Chamadumpala pulusu:

Chamadumpalu (arvi) - 8 medium size
Red onion - 1 medium
Green chilies - 3-4
Tamarind paste - 2tbsp
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Methi powder - little
Dhania powder - 1/2tsp
Jeera powder - 1/2tsp
Jaggery - 1tsp
Turmeric - 1/2tsp
Salt - to taste

For tempering:
Menthulu (fenugrek seeds) - 4-5 seeds
Jeera - 1 tsp

  • Boil chamadumpalu, after they become soft, remove the skin and chop into medium size chunks.
  • Heat 1tsp oil in a pan, add half the hopped onion and green chilies and fry till the onions turn transparent. Remove and grind into a smooth paste when cool.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in the same pan, when hot add menthulu and jeera and fry for a minute.
  • Add the remaining onion and fry till golden brown.
  • Add the onion-chili paste and fry for another 2-3minutes.
  • Add the boiled dumpalu, turmeric, tamarind paste, all the powders and water to bring to desired consistency.
  • Simmer the mixture on slow flame for 10-15 minutes.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice.

June 10, 2006

Undrallu & Allam Pachadi

Undrallu, savory ones, are made as naivedyam (offering to god) for Lord Vinayaka especially on Ganesh Chathurthi day. Sweet undrallu are also made and you can find Indira's delicious sweet undrallu here. But in our house, we make undrallu not only as an offering, but also as a quick snack and dinner item.
Couple of years ago, for Vinayaka chavithi, I was looking for a recipe for Undrallu.. I googled for hours and couldnt find one for savory undrallu. Then I got this authentic, tested and tried recipe from... duh.. should have asked her in the first place.. my mom.. The main principle is to make upma (porridge) with rice rawa, make them into balls and then steam them. It is quite simple and low fat (You can make them no fat too).
Rice Rawa (Biyyapu rawa) - 1/2 cup
Jeera - 1 tsp
Chana dal (Senaga pappu) - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste

  • Soak chana dal in water for atleast 10minutes.
  • Heat about 1tsp of oil in a saucepan and add jeera.
  • Add 1 cup of water (1: 2; Rawa: water ratio) to the pan and bring to a boil.
  • After the water starts boiling add salt, soaked chana dal and slowly add rawa. Stir continuously to make sure that there are no lumps.
  • Cook until the mixture comes together and looks like upma. Consistency should be neither too wet (if this is the case cook a little longer) nor too dry(add little water).
  • Let this mixture cool till it is easy to handle.
  • Make lemon size balls of the mixture and steam them for about 10-12 minutes in a pressure cooker.
  • Serve hot with any chutney. We had our undrallu with ginger chutney (allam pachadi).
Allam Pachadi (Ginger Chutney)
Ginger - 3"piece chopped into small pieces
Jaggery - 1/4cup
Tamarind - small lemon size ball
Salt - to taste

Red chilies - 3
Chana dal (senaga pappu)- 1tbsp
Urad dal (minapappu)- 1tbsp
Jeera - 1tbsp

  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a pan, add the seasoning and fry till the dals turn golden brown.
  • Turn the heat off and add ginger, tamarind and jaggery.
  • After the mixture cools completely, grind into a smooth paste adding little water and salt.
Allam pachadi is delicious with the sweetness from jaggery, tanginess from tamarind and special zing from ginger. It also goes well with idlis and dosas.

June 07, 2006

Less than 30minutes One-pot dinner

Its been raining steadily since morning here. Traffic in New Jersey is bad everyday, but when it rains it becomes worse. I sat in traffic for almost 45minutes each way today. I shouldn’t complain since my poor husband spent double that time (each way) in traffic watching rain and snail-paced traffic. What I don’t understand is the reason for slow moving traffic, no accident, and no detours. This is like a big mystery to me.

Anyway I came home late and wanted to make something quick. We bought this big box of frozen pierogies from BJ’s sometime back and I wanted to use them up. Pierogies are semicircular dumplings and are usually filled with finely chopped meat or vegetables.

I had my first pierogie almost 2years ago. My ex-colleague, a really nice Polish lady, had brought some pierogies (sautéed in butter with onions) that she made to work. They were sooo good that they melt in your mouth. According to her frozen pierogies is no match to the homemade ones. But I neither have the skill nor the patience to make them at home; so frozen ones are a good substitute.

I sautéed the pierogies (with potatoes and cheddar cheese) in little butter and olive oil with three different peppers.


Frozen pierogies – 5-6 (per person)
Green pepper – 1
Red pepper - 1
Yellow pepper – 1
Onion – 1
Red pepper flakes – ½ tsp
Butter – 1tsp
Olive oil – 1tsp
Salt and pepper – to taste


  • Heat butter & oil in a pan. Add red pepper flakes, pierogies and all the veggies (thinly sliced).
  • Sauté until the pierogies are golden brown on both sides. Takes about 8-10minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. This dish is very easy and filling too.
PS: I didnt notice until my husband was about to take the picture that the picture on the box was exacty what I made. What a coincidence!!!!!

June 06, 2006

Vegetable Pudina Pulao

Growing up, I always thought pudina (mint) was a little strong for my taste. But now I like the refreshing flavor of fresh mint. My aunt used to make vegetable pulao with mint and I tried to make it my way.

Basmati Rice – 1½ cups (soaked in water for at least ½ hr)
Potatoes – 2 small or 1 medium
Mixed vegetables (carrots, beans, peas) – ½ cup (I used frozen mixed vegetables)
Onion – 1 medium thinly sliced
Pudina (Mint) – ½ cup
Green chilies – 2-3
Chili powder – ½ tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – ½ tsp
Garam masala – ½ tsp
Salt – to taste
Cinnamon – 1” stick
Cardamom – 2-3 pods
Bay leaf – 1
Cloves – 2-3
  • Make a paste of mint and green chilies adding very little water.
  • Heat 2tbsp of oil in pressure cooker. Add all the spices and sauté for 1minute.
  • Add onions and ginger-garlic paste fry till translucent. Add all the veggies, mint-chili paste mix well.
  • After the veggies sweat out for about 5 minutes, add rice, chili powder, garam masala, salt and water. Pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  • Serve hot with onion raita and chips.

June 03, 2006

Garlic - Mistress of Spices

Mythili of Vindu is hosting Mistress of Spice event that showcases condiments and spices. I am doing a round up on the most widely used spice in the world “Garlic”.

Garlic/ Vellulli (telugu)/ Lahsun (hindi)/ Poondu (tamil)/ Bellulli (kannada) is fondly known as “the stinking-rose”. Allium Sativum is the botanical name of this perennial plant and is a member of the onion family. But it differs from onions in form as well as taste. Instead of one large bulb, garlic produces a dozen or so small ones called cloves, surrounded by a thin, papery skin.

Growing Garlic:

Garlic does not grow in the wild, and since true seeds are not produced by the garlic plant; cloves of the bulb are used for propagation. Of the 700 species of genus Allium, many are native to Central Asia.

Garlic is easy to grow and very hardy, but it performs best in milder and dry climates. Garlic is planted in the fall (in cold regions) or early spring for best development before the summer harvest season. Ample and consistent water is needed for the first five months of growth, as well as full sun. This site has information for growing garlic.

Garlic Flower

Part of the Plant:

The part of the plant that is most often consumed is an underground storage structure called a head. A head of garlic is composed of a dozen or more discrete cloves, each of which is a botanical bulb, an underground structure comprised of thickened leaf bases. The above-ground portions of the garlic plant are also sometimes consumed, particularly while immature and tender.

Kitchen Uses:

Garlic is most often used as a flavoring agent but can also be eaten as a vegetable. It is used to flavor many foods, such as salad dressings, vinaigrettes, marinades, sauces, vegetables, soups, and stews.

Green garlic is garlic that is harvested when it is immature. It has a definite garlic flavor without the bite of mature garlic. It can be eaten fresh like scallions or green onions but it can also be used in other foods the same as mature garlic.

Garlic is used in some form of the other in all of the world’s cuisines. Curiously enough, Northern Europeans seem to be the only ones who look on it with suspicion because of its strong smell, which is sometimes felt unpleasant.

Medicinal Uses:

Garlic is quite a wonderful little bulb with a reputation in folklore for preventing everything from the common cold and flu to the Plague! Garlic is used to treat flu, bronchitis and it's also an antiseptic. Garlic also helps to clear fat accumulations from the blood vessels, lower cholesterol and protect against bacterial and viral infections. It also treats athlete's foot, bug bites, earache, leukemia, malaria, and toothache.

Studies have shown garlic can suppress the growth of tumors, and is a potent antioxidant good for cardiovascular health.


  • Intensity of flavor depends on how garlic is prepared. Whole & sliced cloves have milder flavors when compared to smashed or minced cloves. Smaller the clove is chopped greater is the flavor.
  • Place garlic cloves in the microwave for 15 seconds and the skins should peel off easily.
  • Add garlic flavor to your salad by cutting a raw garlic clove in half and rubbing the inside of your bowl with the cut edge of the clove.
  • Don't throw out sprouting garlic. Instead, plant the cloves fairly close together in a pot or in the garden (if your climate is suitable at the time). The new shoots that appear will have a mild garlic flavor and can be used in the same manner as regular chives.
  • To remove the garlic odor from your hands after working with garlic, wash hands thoroughly and then use some type of stainless steel device that can be worked over and around the areas affected on fingers or hands.


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin
Blogging tips