Monday, December 23, 2013

Kurumilagu Pickle | Pickled Green Peppercorns


Fresh green peppercorns are in season now. Pickle them and it can last till next season. The recipe is uber simple but the resulting pickle is so good . We even snack on them. Don't hesitate to buy when you spot them in a market. Peppercorns are mean't to contain numerous medicinal benefits and thats an another reason for you to pick this wondrous spice.
Apart from its use as a pickle for curd rice, I even use them in salads, Pastas etc.

You will need:
250 gms of Peppercorns
30 Lemons/limes
1/2 Cup Vinegar
1 liter of water
1 Cup of Rock salt
1 tsp Turmeric powder
A clean Glass Jar or Ceramic Jar



Procedure

1. Wash the peppercorns well to clean off any dirt in them

2. Boil a liter of water with half cup vinegar , turmeric powder and 2 tbsp of salt.

3. After the mixture has boiled, let it rest for a while to cool down completely.

4. Add the peppercorn into the mixture and soak for 5 minutes. If there are any tiny insects sticking to the stalk of the peppercorn, they come off easily floating in the liquid. Strain the liquid and wash once again.



5. Pat dry the peppercorns. Clean and cut the limes lengthwise as shown in picture (cutting in lengthwise helps to get rid of the bitterness when we squeeze out the juice) Discard the seeds as much as possible. Squeeze the juice from lime wedges. Reserve some wedges of lime to preserve along with the peppercorns.

6. In a clean jar, add about 2 tbsp of salt and drop in few peppercorns and lime wedges. Pour some juice. Repeat by adding another tbsp of salt, few peppercorns and juice until you are done with all peppercorns and salt. Make sure to pour all the lime juice in.

5. Cover the bottle and rest for a week. Mix the mixture once in a day to ensure they soak evenly. The pickle is ready to enjoy after a week's time.



Note: The mixture may not be completely covered with the juice of lime. Thats fine. The mixture begins to leave some water in the forth coming days.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Masala Kuzhambu



Weekend lunches are meant to be special and doze-inducing for us. Either we indulge ourselves in a rich restaurant Biryani or cook a lavish meal at home. As we don't cook meat at home, I compensate the menu with some masala rich, spicy foods. The use of poppy seeds makes this dish a mild sedative. Masaal Kuzhambu easily frequents into our sunday lunches. It tastes much like a hybrid of Kurma and Sambar. 
The key flavor profile of this dish comes from the use of 'Kalpaasi/black stone flower' and 'Fennel seeds/Sombu'.



Kal Paasi
  You will need:
1 Drum Stick
3-4 Brinjals (Small sized)
1 Cup Pearl onions, peeled
5 Garlic pods, peeled
Tamarind, gooseberry sized (soaked and extracted to 3 cups)
1 tbsp Poppy seeds, soaked in 1/4 cup warm water for 15 minutes
2 tbsp coconut, grated
A small piece of jaggery/ 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Fennel seeds/saunf/sombu
1 tbsp Sambar powder
Salt to taste

To temper
2 tbsp Gingely(Sesame) oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of Asafetida /hing
1 inch piece of cassia bark (Pattai in Tamil)
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 clove
1/2 tsp Kal paasi 
2 sprigs of curry leaves

Procedure:



1. Finely chop the pearl onions. Cut the drumstick and brinjal in equal sizes.



2. Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds, hing, cassia bark, fenugreek and Kal paasi. Let the whole spices crackle. Add the curry leaves, garlic and chopped onions



3. Fry until the onions are cooked. Add the cut vegetables and fry for few minutes.



4. Pour the tamarind extract. Add sambar powder and salt.



5. Grind together, fennel seeds, coconut and poppy seeds into a fine paste


6. Add this paste into the bubbling kuzhambu. Mix well and taste the kuzhambu at this stage. Add  more salt and jaggery/sugar as per taste. Let the gravy simmer for 8-10 minutes or till the drum sticks are tender.



Serve with steaming rice, poriyal and Appalam!


Sweet Appam | Neiappam | Inippu Paniyaram



Neiappam or Inippu Paniyaram with Bananas is an Indian equivalent to Banana Muffin. This easy recipe makes for an addictive snack. If you have over ripe bananas just stock up in your freezer . They sure come to rescue when you have to entertain some guests.
This recipe is gluten-free. Vegans can discard ghee and use coconut oil instead.

You will need:
4-5 Ripe bananas
1 Cup raw rice ,soaked for 2 hours
1/2 Cup Palm Sugar or Jaggery
A pinch of salt
2 pods of green Cardamom
2 tbsp of grated coconut
1/2 cup of ghee


Procedure:

1. Grind the rice into a paste with a little water. Add the coarsely mashed bananas to the rice paste and grind once to get it all well incorporated.

2. Dissolve Jaggery or palm sugar in 1/4 cup of boiling water. Strain for any impurities


3. Pour the dissolved jaggery/palm sugar into the rice batter. Pound the Cardamom seeds and add them along with the grated coconut into the mixture.Mix well.


4. Heat up an appam pan/ paniyaram kal / aebleskiver pan. Add about a tsp of ghee in the individual slots. Gently drop the appam batter in each slot ,filling just below the brim.


5. Cover and cook for about couple of minutes. Using a fork/skewer turn the appams and add another tsp of ghee. Remove once they are golden brown and crisp. Serve immediately.