Thursday, April 25, 2013

Breakfast Ice cream | Only 2 ingredients

Ice cream for breakfast? I know, that sounds crazy. But with the onset of summer, it is totally forgivable to have ice cream for breakfast. Not any ice cream, but this magical, guilt-free ice cream. It is not only vegan, but very low in calories. There is no sugar, butter, cream or any other sort of unhealthy add-ons in it-unless you intend to add them!

No fancy ice cream maker is required. All you need to have is a refrigerator and a blender.
Ice cream junkies, here you go!

You will need : 

2 large bananas, ripened well
1 large sweet Mango

Peel and cut the bananas and mangoes into small pieces. Put them in the freezer for about 3 hours or until they are frozen. Pulverize the frozen bananas in a blender. Add the frozen mangoes into it and continue blending till they become a smooth mixture. Transfer in a freezer safe container and freeze them overnight. Voila! Luscious Ice cream will be ready to scoop in the morning.

Spread them on french toasts for a decadent ice cream sandwich or scoop them over some pancakes or mix in nuts and dried fruits for a power breakfast or just enjoy them plain.

Mangoes are in season so I made banana-mango ice cream. You can add strawberries/avocados/pineapples instead. Banana is the KEY ingredient for this recipe. You can enrich it by folding in chocolate chips or Nutella or Peanut butter. You see, the combinations are endless :)

Hope you enjoy this super healthy ice cream treat!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pala Musu | Unripe, Tender Jackfruit stir-fry

Few years back in many tamil weddings, Pala musu will have its star presence in the wedding menu. The process of getting the tender, green jackfruit flesh from the goey-glue mess is painstaking and also the availability of this vegetable is rare. Hence, the appearance of Pala musu have considerably reduced in menus these days. I must say, it is indeed a tedious task to work with this vegetable. The white latex-like milk from the jackfruit will cause ample mess. It is important to oil the knifes and your hands while cutting this vegetable. In the end, all this mess will be totally worth it. The cooked green jackfruit will have a texture that is very similar to that of poultry meat. There is no distinct flavor/smell for this vegetable. It is lauded purely for its texture.

As far as I recall, the only person who made this dish at home is my grandma. She always tells me, "Patience is the key when it comes to cooking. A lady in kitchen should never be lazy and uninspired, else the food will never be like food ". Yet another interesting wisdom she shared with me while working with a 'Jackfruit' -A family should be like a jackfruit, the outer hard and rough skin is like the father protecting the family, the yellowish strands that bind on to the sweet fruits is like the affectionate mother nurturing the children, and the sweet, tasty fruits are like the happy children. 

This recipe is from this darling women who not only taught me to cook but also instilled values of life...

Pala Musu

Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Yield: 3-4 people

You will need:
1 small, young tender unripe jackfruit
1/2 Cup split, husked green gram lentils (Moong dal)
1/4 Cup grated fresh coconut
2 dried red chillies
1/2 tsp split, husked black gram lentils (Urad dal)
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 sprig of curry leaves
3 tsp oil
2 pinch of Asafetida/Hing
2 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste


Spread an old newspaper, oil your palm and knife. Cut the unripe jackfruit lengthwise. 

Quarter each half into four pieces. Remove the middle stem portion and the outer thorny skin using the sharp knife.Chop the flesh into smaller pieces. You don't need to chop finely. They can be irregular in size.

Collect these pieces in a large cooking vessel, add 2 tsp salt, turmeric and red chilly powder. Add water, enough to cover the jackfruit pieces.

Boil them for 15-20 minutes.

Drain the water and let it cool for few minutes.

In a food processor/ mixer, roughly mince the cooked jackfruit. Make sure not to puree them.

NOTE: If the size of the jackfruit is large ,you may end up with more jackfruit meat. Use only 1 1/2 cup for this recipe. The remaining stores well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Or it can be frozen for year long.

Boil the green gram/Moong dal with 1/2 cup of water till tender.

In a kadai/skillet, heat 3 tsp oil. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to crackle, add the asafetida and black gram/urad dal. Throw in the curry leaves and red chillies once the urad dal begins to change in color.

Add about 1 & 1/2 Cup of cooked, minced jackfruit and the cooked lentils. Saute them for 5 minutes.

Season it with salt and sugar. Stir well. Turn off heat and mix in the grated coconut.

Excellent side-dish in a south Indian meal. Especially, with sambar and rice!

The next day, I used the leftover, minced jackfruit to make a simple bhurji.

Sauteed with onions, green chillies, spices and some green peas. Wrapped them in a chapathi for lunch.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Goli Baje with Peanut Chutney | Mangalore Bajji

A very close friend of mine, shared this recipe with me yesterday. Though I am aware of this snack, I haven't given it a shot until last night. Some like to call this Mysore Bonda, but I feel 'Goli Baje' is more authentic :) It doesn't matter what you'd like to call, it is darn delicious. It pairs well with most chutneys and even ketchup. But peanut chutney with Goli Baje can make it the jodi no.1!

Goli Baje is made from a thick batter of maida, rice flour, very sour curd, tempering and  traditionally fried in coconut oil. If the curd is sour enough, you can skip the fermentation of batter. But the fermentation of the batter definitely makes a difference. I used refined oil instead of coconut oil. Goli Bajes are perfect as tea-time snack.

Goli Baje

Preparation time: 5 hours
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yields: 12-13 Goli Bajes
Calories: 50/per piece

You will need:

3/4 cup of Maida/All purpose flour
1/4 cup of Rice flour
1 cup of sour curd/yogurt
1/2 tsp of Baking soda
1 green chilly, chopped
1 small piece of Ginger, grated
1/4 cup grated/chopped coconut
Oil for frying
Salt to taste


Mix together maida, rice flour and salt. Add curd/yogurt and mix to form a smooth batter without any lumps.

Set this batter aside for 4-5 hours. Just 30 minutes before frying , mix in baking soda, green chilly, coconut and ginger.

The batter has to be in the consistency of 'ullundu/blackgram' vada's batter.

Take a spoonful of this batter and drop it in hot oil.It will puff up to a smooth round balls- 'golis'. Fry it in medium heat until golden brown.

Note: It is important to fry them in moderate heat, else they don't get cooked well inside.

Serve with spicy Peanut Chutney.

Peanut Chutney

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Yields: 1/2 Cup
Calories: 59 / tbsp

You will need:
1 handful of peanuts, dry roasted and skin removed
3 shallots
2 small cloves of garlic
1 dried red chilly
1 small piece of tamarind
1/2 tsp oil
1/4 tsp of sugar
salt to taste

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of Asafetida/ Hing
few curry leaves

Heat 1/2tsp oil in a small pan, add red chilly followed by chopped shallots, garlic and tamarind. Saute for few minutes until the raw smell goes away.

Blend together peanuts, sautéed ingredients, salt and sugar with little water.

Transfer in a serving bowl. Heat 1 tsp oil, add mustard seeds and hing. Once the mustard splutter, add curry leaves and turn off heat. Pour this tempering over the chutney.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kumbakonam Kadapa | Side-dish for Idli/Dosa

Chutneys and Sambar may be the most popular accompaniments for Idlis and Dosa. But there are many other tasty options as well like Chidambaram Kathrikkai Gothsu, Thiruvarur Kathrikkai Gothsu (a milder version ), Tomato Gothsu, Madras Vadai curry, Kumbakonam Kadapa to name a few. In fact, there are various varieties in making Kadapa itself. For example, in Chidambaram the Kadapa is mild and is made without the spices like fennel, cinnamon, cloves and coconut. While the Kumbakonam Kadapa is relatively elaborate in preparation and more flavorful. It is interesting to note how the "same" recipe varies from one locality to the other.

Here is one more interesting information on regional food practice that I am sharing - In and around Salem, they serve the previous night's Naatu Kozhi(Chicken) Kuzhambu as a side for Idli/Dosa breakfast. You may ask what is unique about this Kuzhambu... Before the days of refrigerators, they used to keep the Kozhi Kuzhambu in a mannsatti (earthern ware) and cover it with a cloth and let it rest on the rooftop overnight. The night's chillness protects the food from going bad and also imparts more flavor to the dish. This Kozhi Kuzhmabu is said to suitably compliment the piping hot idlis.

Now to the Kadapa madness :)

Preparation Time: 5-7 Minutes
Cooking Time: 30 mintues
Yield: 3-4 Persons

You will need:
1 cup moong dal (spilt and dehusked green gram)
1 medium sized Potatoes
1 green chillies
1 Onion
1/2 Tomato (Optional)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Juice of half a lime
Fresh Coriander
Salt to taste

To grind
1/4 Cup grated Coconut
1 tsp poppy seeds 
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 green chillies
1 inch piece of ginger

2 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 clove
1 small piece of cinnamon
A pinch of Asafetida
few curry leaves


Soak the poppy seeds in 2 tbsp of water. Peel and dice the potatoes to small pieces.

Cook the moong dal and potatoes together with 2 cups of water until tender and soft.

Grind the soaked poppy seeds, coconut, green chillies and ginger to a fine paste.

Chop the onions, tomatoes and coriander. Slit the green chillies.

Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, bay leaf , clove and cinnamon. 

When the spices begin to change color add the asafetida and curry leaves.

Add the onions and slit green chilly and saute for couple of minutes. 

Mix in salt and turmeric powder. Add tomatoes and ground paste cook until the raw smell disappears.

Stir in the boiled moong and potato mixture. Add 1/4 cup of water if its dry.

Bring it to a boil and turn off. Add chopped coriander and lime juice before you serve!

We had a gratifying breakfast of Dosas, Kadapa and Aval nenaichathu (Sweet aval)!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Carrot Halwa

Simple yet delectable carrot halwa!

A week ago, my sister visited me and so was I in cooking spree :) After a very long time, we had fun cooking together. Carrot Halwa is one of the many favorite desserts that our Paati (grandmother) makes. We had some serious craving for a bowl of warm carrot halwa on a late sunday afternoon. Without giving a second thought, we proceeded to the kitchen and began to shred the carrots. The secret of my Paati's carrot halwa lies in the slow cooking of the halwa until the milk turns into khoya. Some people like it rich and creamy but I like it crumbly and simple. 

Carrots are my go-to vegetable as they are so versatile. So I always have them stocked up in my fridge. I had used them to make various desserts like Carrot Phirni and Carrot Kheer.  The lovely color from carrot gives richness to the sweet at the same time the flavor being subtle. If you do have guests in short notice, you now know how to please them with a homemade dessert that is not a typical 'Payasam'.

You will need:
1/2 Kg Carrots
1.5 Cups of full fat milk
0.5 Cup Sugar
2 tbsp ghee
4 Cardamom Pods

* Optional: If desired,roasted nuts and raisins can be mixed in once the halwa is prepared.


Wash and peel the skin off the carrots.

Grate the carrots using coarse grating blades.

Heat 2 tbsp of ghee in a heavy bottomed vessel and saute the grated carrots for couple of minutes.

Pour in the milk and sugar. Slow cook till the milk gets absorbed.

Finely crush the cardamom seeds and add to the halwa.

Keep stirring till you see no liquid remaining. Serve warm.