Badam for Breakfast (Almonds for Breakfast)

Wake up. Get ready. Pack lunch for Vijay. Have some breakfast – A fistful of badam and a full glass of ragi malt. Then leave home – Vijay to his work and me to gym for aerobic and yoga classes.

This has been our routine for the past few months. Of all the breakfast options we enjoyed over the years, we are finding this badam breakfast a no hassle, tasty delight, and a good fit for our current weekday lifestyle. Particularly when we came to know that badams (almonds) are concentrated with protein. A quarter-cup contains 7.62 grams-more protein than that is provided by a typical egg. Fortunately, although one-quarter cup of badam contains about 18 grams of fat, most of it is heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. They are also very good source of vitamin E, vitamin B2 and manganese. And one ounce of shelled badam (about 22) gives only 170 calories.

With all this information on hand, I can surely say that Badam for Breakfast is a good alternative to sugar packed, commercial breakfast cereal for a morning rush.

Almonds
Almonds in Water

Badam for Breakfast (Almonds for Breakfast)
(for two)

2 fistfuls of shelled almonds
2 cups of water

Soak almonds in water overnight. Drain the water in the morning. Your ready to eat breakfast will be ready. Enjoy the divine almonds with some ragi malt .

I find that soaking in water makes almonds soft and sweeter.

Badam (Almonds) for Breakfast
Badam for Breakfast Today, and for
Jihva-Breakfast at Lovely Suma’s Veggie Platter

Notes:
Almonds Nutritional Profile Source : WH Foods
Badam (Telugu) = Almonds

Chanadal Chaaru (Sanagabedala Rasam)

As I get older, like many of you, I am becoming thankful for our culinary heritage. I think our cuisine is the best kind diet out there, simply because it doesn’t need or depend on farm-raised animal and ultra-processed products for flavor and sustenance. Natural plant based ingredients have divine powers and most of the Indian recipes are based on that valuable khajana. Example is the following recipe. This lentil based chaaru is a frequent guest at family table, and all it needs is a fistful of chana dal, few vegetables and good, old spices. Chana dal is known to reduce and maintain blood sugar levels, plus it is a low calorie lentil. For those of you who are on diet, trying to control sugar levels or thinking of some new rasam, this chana dal chaaru is the best fit for a filling stomach.

Chana Dal (Sanaga Bedalu)
Chana Dal (Sanaga Bedalu)

Chana dal Chaaru
(for 4 to 6 servings)

Ingredients:
1/3 cup of chana dal
1 small shallot or red onion, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 small ripe tomato, cut to small pieces
2 tablespoons – tamarind pulp or lemon juice
1 tablespoon, rasam or garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon each – chilli powder and salt
1/4 teaspoon – turmeric
For Hing tadka: a tablespoon of peanut oil, one sprig of fresh curry leaves, pinch each – asafetida (hing), cumin and mustard seeds

Method:
1. Take chana dal in a pressure cooker. Rinse and add about 2 cups of water. Pressure cook the dal the soft. Mash the dal to smooth with a wood masher.
2. Add onion, tomato and tamarind to the mashed dal. Stir in rasam powder, chilli powder, salt and turmeric. Add about half cup of water. Partially cover the pot and simmer the chaaru for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat.
3. At the end, do the hing tadka and add it to the rasam. For hing tadka, heat peanut oil in a small pan or vessel. Add and toast curry leaves, hing, cumin and mustard seeds in that order. Stirring, toast to fragrance. Add this hing tadka to the simmering chana chaaru. Mix well.
4. Serve hot or warm over cooked rice with some papad or pickle. Or good as it is to sip like soopa.

Chana Dal Chaaru
Good for Diabetics, Chana Dal Chaaru for Meal Today and for
Home Remedies Event at Talented Ruchika Cooks

Mahanandi is 5

White Camellia for Mahanandi 5th Birthday
White Camellia for Mahanandi 5th Birthday

Mahanandi has always been a place of cherished memories, experiences and love. I am grateful for the enthusiasm and energy that surrounds Mahanandi from around the world. Thank you for being a part of this tranquil experience.

Happy 5th anniversary to my beloved Mahanandi!

Sri Rama Navami Naivedyam

Sri Rama Navami Naivedyam
Phuspam, Phalam, Panakam and Vadapappu ~ Naivedyam on Sri Ramanavami

Panakam Prasadam
(for a chembu or two glasses of Panakam)

2 tablespoons of Jaggery pieces
2 glasses of cold water
Pinch of sonti powder

Add jaggery and sonti to water. Mix until jaggery disssolves completely in water. Offer to Bhagavan and then enjoy the refreshing taste of Panakam Prasadam with family and friends.

Rama Bhajana On Sri Rama Navami



Sweet and Peaceful Rama Bhajana on Sri Rama Navami

Pesara + Attu = Pesarattu

Aficionados of Andhra restaurants are passionate about pesarattus. The golden, crispy texture and the creamy upma filling make the pesarattu a favorite breakfast item to many. It’s easy to understand the name Pesarattu if you are familiar with Telugu language. You see, moong beans are called Pesara and the other name for dosa is Attu in Telugu. When you put the two together, Pesara + Attu = Pesarattu. When you spell it out loud, the name has a nice lyrical quality to it. It’s a good name.

Pesarattus are mainly three types depending on the moong beans (pesalu).

1. Pesarattu with sprouted moong beans: Super nutritious, supreme in taste and my favorite.
2. Pesarattu with split moong beans: The official pesarattu of Andhra. Excellent taste.
3. Pesarattu with yellow moong dal: Golden in color and good taste.

Depending on the filling, pesarattu can be made to our wish and nutritional needs. Traditionally, upma, ginger pickle and spicy powders are applied to the pesarattu just before the pesarattu is fold over. Or simply, cut onions and few cumin seeds are sprinkled over the pesarattu just before it is removed from the skillet. However, we can also fill them with anything we like. For variety, in recent months, I started experimenting by adding different fillings, for example, some minced herbs like mint, methi or dill, steamed or sautéed vegetables and fruit preserve or honey. There are so many combinations; it is really easy to start your own taste of tradition with pesarattu.

Today’s recipe is with yellow moong dal. Warm, golden hued and in good flavor, topped with cumin seeds, these pesarattus are easy to prepare, make a filling meal for those of us who are on diet and can add some variety to routine weekday fare.

pesara bedalu
Pesara Bedalu (Yellow Moong Dal)

Pesarattu with Pesara Bedalu:
(for 10 to 12 Pesarattus)

Ingredients:
2 cups, yellow moong dal
2 tablespoons, rice (uncooked, any variety will do)
4 green chillies (Indian or Thai variety)
1-inch piece of fresh ginger, skin peeled and coarsely chopped
We also need a well-seasoned dosa skillet, quarter cup oil or ghee and a tablespoon of cumin seeds to prepare pesarattu.

Method:
1. Clean the dal and rice. Take them in a big vessel and cover with water. Soak for at least six hours. When it is time to prepare pesarattu, pour the soaked the dal and rice over a colander and drain water.

2. Take the soaked dal and rice in a mixer or food processor. Add salt, green chillies and ginger. Blend the ingredients to silky- smooth batter. In between, mix and add about a cup of water for easy blending. Remove to a vessel. This is pesarattu batter.

3. Place a dosa skillet over stovetop. Heat over medium-high heat. Rub the skillet surface lightly with half-cut onion or oil. When the skillet is hot, pour a ladleful of batter and spread it thinly into a circle. Sprinkle half teaspoon oil or ghee, and few pinches of cumin seeds over the pesarattu. As the bottom starts to get red, gently lift up the edges with a spatula and turn to the other side. Cook for couple of seconds and turn it over again. Fold to half and remove to a plate.

4. Serve it right away when it is still hot with some chutney, curry or pickle.

pesarattu
Pesarattu with Peanut Chutney, Red Chilli Pickle and Almonds ~ for Meal Today, and for
JFI-Breakfast at Talented Suma Gandlur’s Veggie Platter

Weekend Houston ~ Ugadi Festivities at Meenakshi Temple

Yesterday, we went to see Ugadi celebrations at Sri Meenakshi Temple, Houston. The program started with Pooja and Panchanga Shravanam, followed by dance and singing performances by very talented Houstonians. Traditional Ugadi meal including Ugadi pacchadi was served at the end. The festivities were organized by Telugu association of Houston and they really put together a nice event. We had great time meeting and mingling with friends.

Here are some photos and one video we have taken at the Ugadi Celebrations.

Meenakshi Temple, Houston
Sri Meenakshi Temple, Houston

Ugadi at Meenakshi Temple, Houston
Program Co-ordinators- Sridhar and Sarada

Meenakshi Temple, Houston
Lord Vishnu Dance by Talented Children

Meenakshi Temple, Houston
Classical Dance by Talented Children


Ugadi Song by Houston’s Great Singer, Srimati Sarada Akunuri

Udipi Pineapple Curry

It is just not Thai but India also has a rich tradition of several, crowd pleasing pineapple preparations. For example, during our last India trip, we had this delicious pineapple curry at an Udipi restaurant. The curry looked like a beautiful lotus pond with golden pineapple pieces floating in thin coconut masala water, and tasted excellent with that memorable sweet-spice combination. Vijay and I liked it so much, I often prepare it at home now. This Udipi style pineapple curry is different from Thai version. No canned coconut milk, but we add fresh coconut masala paste that is typical to South Indian cooking. The recipe is simple, cooks quickly and it tastes great on its own or when served over rice/chapati.

Pineapple
Fresh Pineapple Pieces

Udipi Style Pineapple Curry
(for 2 to 4 for 2 to 1 meals)

Step 1: Start the preparation by making coconut masala first.
In a blender or mixer, take about 3 tablespoons of fresh coconut gratings. Add 6 cloves, one inch piece of cinnamon stick, seeds from one cardamom pod, 6 to 8 fresh or dried red chillies, quarter teaspoon of salt, and one inch piece of peeled, fresh ginger. Blend the ingredients, adding few tablespoons of water if necessary, until you have extremely smooth paste in the consistency of katuka or cream cheese.

Step 2: Prepare the fruit (pineapple) and vegetables (carrots and onions).
Peel, core and cut pineapple into 1×1/2 inch pieces. We need about 2 cups. Peel and dice carrot to half inch cubes, about a cup is required. Slice shallot or red onion lengthwise thinly, about half cup. I also add other vegetables like bell peppers and potatoes on some days or make it with only pineapple. It’s all good.

Step 3: Cook the Curry.
Heat a pan. Add a teaspoon of peanut oil and when it is hot, add a sprig of fresh curry leaves and a pinch each cumin, mustard seeds and asafetida. Toast to fragrance.
Add onions and cook to soft. Add carrots and coconut masala paste. Sauté, stirring frequently and when coconut paste starts to brown a bit, add about one to two cups of water. Also, quarter teaspoon turmeric, a tablespoon of grated jaggery and salt to taste. Mix and cover the pan, simmer on moderate heat for about fifteen minutes.
At the end, add pineapple pieces and cook for another five minutes on low heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves if you wish, and serve the pineapple curry hot or lukewarm with rice or chapati.

Udipi Pineapple Curry
Upidi Pineapple Curry with Chapati ~ For Meal Today

Ugadi Naivedyam

Ugadi Naivedyam 2010
Ugadi Naivedyam

We have invited couple of our friends for lunch to celebrate the Ugadi festival today. And for the Bhakthi ending with the bhukthi, I have prepared the traditional Ugadi naivedyam:

భక్షాలు (Bobbatlu, Puran Poli)
మామిడికాయ పులిహొర (Mango Pulihora)
ఉల్లిపాయ మరియు ఆలు బజ్జిలు (Bajji)
అన్నము (Sona Masuri Rice)
మామిడి-బీరకాయ పప్పు (Mango-Turai Dal)
బీరకాయ పొడి కుర (Turai with no onion)
ఆలుగడ్డ పొడి కూర (Festival Day Alu Preparation)
భక్షాల చారు (Bhakshala Rasam)
పెరుగు (Yogurt)
అరటి మరియు పియర్ పoడ్లు (Banana and Pear Fruits)

Hope you too had a wonderful day. You know how food tastes so good when shared with others. Would you like to share what you have made for meal today?

Ugadi Shubhakankshalu

Green Mango (Maamidi Kaaya)
Dear family, friends and the readers – Ugadi Shubhakankshalu and Happy Gudi Padwa!

New Year during spring always gives a fresh refreshing start. Best wishes for a wonderful and successful year to you all.

Usher in the Ugadi with Yellow Jasmine

Carolina Jasmine (Yellow Jasmine) from Our Garden
Yellow Jasmine in Bloom ~ A Warm Welcome to Spring

Masala Vada

Vada’s exquisite flavor and deep aroma brought to perfection over the centuries, evoke and accentuate the subtlest nuances of taste. Its warm appeal have long been celebrated in a cuisine which demands that the eye as well as the palate find satisfaction. Its gritty, yielding texture has been prized for being addictive in nature and gentle on the tongue. Vada varieties are many in South India, and masala vada is one of the most popular and my favorite. Composed of chana dal and spices, grounded and fried, held with the fingers, vadas are eaten like a snack or part of the main meal with much gusto.

There are several versions of masala vada and the following is from my home, a basic vada recipe without onions.

Chana Dal

Masala Vada
(for about 16 to 18 vadas)

Ingredients:
2 cups, Chana dal (sanaga bedalu)
6 dried red chilli, about 2-inches long each
1/2 teaspoon each- cumin and ajwan (vaamu)
1 teaspoon, salt
1 or 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves
1×1 inch piece of fresh ginger, skin peeled, coarsely chopped
Peanut oil, about 3 cups to deep-fry the vadas

Method:
1. Soak chana dal in water for at least 4 hours. Strain dal to remove water. In a clean cloth or kitchen towel, spread the dal to air-dry for about 30 minutes. This helps to make the masala vadas properly and they absorb very little of oil in which they are fried.

2. Keep a fistful of chana dal on the side. Take the remaining dal in a blender or food processor or in a mortar. Add dried chilli, cumin, ajwan, salt, curry leaves and ginger pieces. Process the ingredients until they form a coarse mixture. Don’t grind too smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Add fistful of chana dal we kept aside to the mix and combine well. Coarse texture and intact chana dal are the two essential elements in a memorable vada experience. (The batter can be made in advance and refrigerated before frying.)

3. On your clean palm (hand), shape the mixture into one to two inch round patties of about half-inch thickness. Heat oil suitable for frying. Gently add the vadas to hot oil and and fry to golden color in batches. This is traditional method. Alternatively, fry the vadas on a lightly oiled skillet until they are lightly browned on both sides.

Serve the vadas hot as a tasty snack or part of the vindu bhojanam. They stay good for a week when refrigerated.

Masala Vadas
Masala Vada for Manchi(u) Roju

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