Ugadi Pachadi

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My father had warned me years ago that if I watch movies at the rate I was watching, soon there would be no more movies for me to watch. I scoffed at him with all the disdain of a twenty something who knew better than her parents. But the thirties of your life teaches you how right your parents always are and so now I am actually in a situation where I have finished watching almost all Hindi and Tamil movies there are except of course the few I resolutely avoid. This happened sometime last year when I was still in Malaysia and discovered that I had watched every movie on TV. So I had two choices – either I switch to Chinese movies or Telugu movies (just to be be clear – not watching movies is not an option!). I chose the latter because they had subtitles, were comparatively easier to understand since there is a lot in common with Tamil and Hindi and the heroes look awesome. It was mostly the last reason but come on!

Since I started watching Telugu movies, I became interested in the Andhra cuisine too and started watching telugu cookery shows to improve my understanding of the language and discover the cuisine. I discovered the innumerable similarities and differences with Tamil cuisine.So this recipe today is a perfect example of similarities and differences of Andhra and Tamil cuisine. Ugadi Pachadi is made on the occasion of Ugadi which marks the beginning of the year for people in Andhra and Karnataka (two states in the south of India). This dish symbolizes life itself which is sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, sometimes bitter and sometimes spicy and so it has the mixture of ingredients of all the six tastes – sweet, salty, spicy, bitter, sour and pungent.

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The main ingredients of this dish are raw mango and jaggery. The Tamil way of making this dish is to cook the raw mango and heat the jaggery till it melts and mix the two. But I am so much in love with the much more simpler no cook Telugu version where all the ingredients are mixed and made into a slightly thick mixture.

Recipe source here.

Serves 5-6

WHAT WE NEED

Raw mango, large                     1

Jaggery, grated                           1 cup

Tamarind paste                         2 tsp

Red chilly powder                     1/2 tsp

Dried neem flowers                 1 tbsp

Salt

WHAT TO DO

  • Peeling the mango is optional. Deseed and cut the mango into small pieces which will amount to 1 cup.
  • In a large bowl, add the mango pieces, jaggery, tamarind paste, chilly powder, salt and dried neem flowers
  • Mix well to form a thick sauce like consistency. It will take some time for the mixture to come together
  • To speed it up, heat a tava till it is very hot and turn off the gas. Keep the vessel on top of a hot tava to aid the melting of the jaggery. Else keep the bowl in a large vessel of hot water for similar results
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon for the theme – Festival Recipes.

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Hayagreeva

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This week I will be posting March festival recipes i.e. recipes of dishes made for festivals that fall in the month of March. Since the most popular festivals are Gudi Padwa and Ugadi, I will be posting one recipe for Gudi Padwa, one Karnataka recipe for Ugadi and one from Andhra where Ugadi is also celebrated. These festivals mark the beginning of the year for the people from these regions and is celebrated with much pomp and splendour.

When I picked this theme, I promptly called by bestie who is a Maharashtrian married to a Kannadiga to pick her brains about what dishes they make. Her mother-in-law prepares this jaggery and bengal gram delight called Hayagreeva or Hayagreeva Maddi for Ugadi and it sounded just perfect for me to try out.

This dish from Karnataka is surprisingly simple with jaggery and Bengal gram teaming up to drive away whatever guilty feelings you might have regarding gorging on a dessert with abandon. Like any self respecting south Indian dish it has the ubiquitous coconut in it which adds a lovely crunch to the otherwise mushy delight and when it is topped with dry fruits roasted in ghee (clarified butter) you know there is no chance you are going to give this one a miss.

There is a nice story behind the dish which was mainly prepared for the deities of Udipi. Mythology says that a devotee, Sri Vadirajatirtha used to offer this dish to Lord Hayagreeva who came in the form of a white horse to devour it all. Thus the dish has been named after the Lord himself.

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Serves 3-4

Recipe from here.

WHAT WE NEED

Bengal gram / chana dal                 1 cup

Powdered jaggery                              1 cup

Ghee                                                      3-4 tbsp

Desiccated coconut                          4 tbsp

Cashew nuts                                       8-10

Raisins                                                 10-15

Almonds                                             4-5

Honey (optional)                              2 tbsp

WHAT TO DO

  • Pressure cook the bengal gram for 4 whistles and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Set aside the cooker for 20 minutes before opening it
  • Mash the bengal gram well and set aside
  • Heat a pan and add the jaggery and bengal gram to it and mix well
  • Cook on medium flame and keep stirring frequently while the jaggery melts
  • Cook till the mixture thickens which should take around 10-12 minutes
  • Add the cardamom powder, honey and 2 tbsp of ghee, mix well and turn off the gas
  • Cut the cashews and almonds into small pieces
  • Heat the remaining ghee in a small pan and add the cashews and almonds
  • Once they turn golden brown, turn off the gas and add the raisins
  • Pour this over the jaggery mixture and add the desiccated coconut
  • Mix well and serve warm
  • Enjoy!

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NOTES

  1. Adding honey is optional. I added it because my family does not like the dish to be too thick and honey helps in reducing that a bit and makes the dish a little free flowing though not much and adds a nice aroma and flavour to the dish.

 

This is my post under Festival Themes for the Blogging Marathon.

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Moong Dal Halwa 

   

Moong dal halwa is one of my favorite sweets. This time I decided to replace sugar with jaggery to give it a healthier twist. 

But I ran out of sugar as well as jaggery and so I picked the palm sugar that was waiting to be experimented with for almost 2 months. Palm sugar is healthier than regular refined sugar and supposed to be good alternative for diabetes patients. 
  

So here goes –

Recipe adapted from here.

Serves 6-8 

WHAT WE NEED

Split moong dal / yellow lentil                           1 cup

Water                                                                          1 cup

Coconut Palm sugar                                               1 cup

Ghee / clarified butter                                           1 1/2 tbsp

Cashewnuts, broken                                              10
WHAT TO DO

  • Soak the dal in water for 4 hours
  • Then pressure cook it using 1 cup of water. Once done, mash it and keep aside
  • Heat 1/2 tbsp ghee and fry the cashewnuts. Keep aside
  • Heat the palm sugar
  • Once the palm sugar is completely melted and starts thickening, add the mashed da and mix well.
  • Keep stirring regularly and let the mixture thicken.
  • Once most of the water in the mixture evaporates, add the ghee.
  • When the ghee starts leaving the sides of the pan, add the cashewnuts and switch off the flame.
  • Enjoy!

 

This is my post for th Blogging Marathon under Indian Sweets.

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Samba Rava Payasam

   

Like every year, I made a resolution to lose some weight in 2016 too and not surprisingly I have hardly done anything about it till date. But I figured that the least I could do was not put on some more. Hence the attempt to make jaggery based sweets instead of sugar based. Jaggery is definitely healthier and good for the kid as well.

So this recipe is a simple payasam / kheer. It is made with broken wheat / dalia and jaggery with milk and little clarified butter. It’s easy, quick and yummy.
  

Recipe source – Adapted from here

Serves 3-4 people

WHAT WE NEED 
   

Broken wheat                                       1/3 cup

Split moong dal                                    2 tbsp

Ghee / clarified butter                        1-2 tsp

Jaggery                                                     1 cup

Cashewnuts, broken                            8-10

Raisins                                                      8-10

Coconut, grated                                     2 tbsp

Cardamom powder                                1 tsp

Milk                                                            1 – 1 1/2 cup

WHAT TO DO  

  • Dry roast the broken wheat till it is hot to touch 
  • Dry roast the split moong dal till you get the aroma
  • Mix the two and pressure cook it with one cup of water for 3 whistles.
  • In a pan, heat 1 tsp ghee and fry the cashew nuts. Set aside. 
  • With the other tsp of ghee, fry the raisins and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add the jaggery and let it melt completely.
  • Once it starts thickening, mash and add the cooked dal and mix well.
  • Add the coconut and cardamom powder and mix well.
  • Cook on medium flame for around 6-8 minutes till the two come together.
  • Set aside to cool.
  • Once the mixture reaches room temperature, add one cup of milk and mix well.
  • Ensure the milk is also at room temperature, else it could curdle.
  • Warm it on the gas for 2-3 minutes till the milk is mixed well with the jaggery mixture.
  • Add the cashewnuts and raisins and switch off the gas.
  • Enjoy!

  

NOTES

  1. The quantity of milk depends on the consistency and sweeteness you seek. Add one cup of milk, taste it and if needed add some more.

This is my entry for the Blogging Marathon under – Indian Sweets.

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Sesame seeds Chikki

   

It feels awesome to be back after a break, albeit a short one. Chikki is a delight in many ways – it’s very easy and quick to make, it’s very healthy and nutritious and to top it all it is simply awesome to eat. 

Having lived in Mumbai, I have had more than my fair share of chikki which is very popular in the nearby vacation spot, Lonavla. It was an unwritten rule that whoever visits Lonavla would return with chikkis for all and sundry in Mumbai. 

It’s made with peanuts, dry fruits or sesame seeds. While peanuts and dry fruit chikkis usually involve more time and effort because they need to be de skinned or cut, sesame seeds chikki is a breeze. Toast them, melt the jaggery and you are done! It’s a perfect quick fix for sudden sweet cravings, especially for someone attempting weight loss (ahem! ahem!).

So here goes –

Recipe source – Adapted from here.

Makes 25 pieces

WHAT WE NEED

Sesame Seeds                     1/2 cup

Jaggery                                  3/4 cup

Ghee / clarified butter      1 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Grease a baking sheet or the back of a plate and  rolling pin. If you don’t have a rolling pin, you can use a wooden or steel spatula.
  • Keep a glass of water near the gas to test the readiness of the jaggery
  • In a pan, dry roast the sesame seeds on low medium flame while continuously tossing till it is light brown (around 3 minutes)Keep aside.
  • In the same pan, heat the ghee on low medium flame and add the jaggery.
  • Stir continuously to melt the jaggery and ensure it doesn’t get burned.
  • Pour a few drops in a glass of water. If the jaggery holds shape then it is done. It should be done in 3-4 minutes
  • Switch off the gas and add the sesame seeds and mix well.
  • Quickly pour the mixture on the greased baking sheet / plate.
  • Spread it with a rolling pin or spatula till it is about an inch in thickness.
  • Cut into pieces of desired size and let it cool. Else, you can leave it as is and break it into random shaped and siced pieces once cooled.
  • Once it is completely cooled, split the pieces of chikki and store in an air tight container.
  • Enjoy!

 
NOTES

  1. The proportion of jaggery and sesame seeds depends on the type and quality of jaggery. The usual measurement is around 3/4 cup sesame seeds to 1/2 cup jaggery. But when I tried that the resultant mixture was too dry and did not hold together. Hence I reversed the measurements and it turned out fine.
  2. If you are making it for the first time, then dry roast 3/4 cup of sesame seeds but pour only 1/2 cup into the hot jaggery. If it can take more, then add the balance sesame seeds. Else you will have sweet sesame seeds powder which will taste well but not hold shape.

   
 

This is my entry for the Blogging Marathon under Indian Sweets.

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Wheat Jaggery Cake

My mother gave me almost a kilo of jaggery the last time she visited. She expected me to make puran poli and kozhakatai for the husband. But I was very keen to try baking with jaggery. It is definitely healthier than sugar and I could bake more often without adding a teaspoon of guilt along the way.

So, I found this recipe and immediately started baking it. It tasted awesome but it was dense cake. I assume that wheat plus jaggery would not be the most airy cake. But it could serve as a good desert after dinner without the heaps of calories. Here goes –

INGREDIENTS

Jaggery                 75 gms

Wheat                 110 gms

Bananas             110 gms

Oil                          75 ml

Baking powder      1/2 tsp

Baking soda          1/2 tsp

Cinnamon              1/2 tsp

Walnuts, chopped   10

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 150C

2. Powder the jaggery, mix it with the mashed bananas and keep aside for 10-15 minutes

3. Mix the flour, baking soda and baking powder

4. Add the flour mix to the banana mix

5. Add oil and cinnamon powder

6. Add the walnuts and pour it into a greased pan

Wheat jag dough

7. Bake at 150C for 30 minutes and then at 160C for 10 minutes

Wheat jag pan

8. Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes and then unmould

Wheat jag cake

NOTES

1. The amount of jaggery would vary depending on its sweetness.

2. Very ripe bananas would be better than regular ones

3. The recipe asked for the bananas and jaggery mixture to be blended in a blender. I did not do that but the texture was good despite not blending

Happy Baking!