From the Garden ~ Zing Zing Zinnia

Homegrown Zinnia
Homegrown Zinnia Bouquet

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On summer break. Will be back in August.
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Gongura Adugula Pappu

My gongura love has many avatars. One that frequently appears on Mahanandi is amma’s beloved gongura pappu. Today’s gongura avatar is from my mother-in-law’s kitchen, a Nandyala standard and Vijay’s all-time favorite. It’s a simple mélange of familiar toor dal and fresh gongura, does not use lot of ingredients, but relies on slow cooking for a rich and satisfying flavor. The key for this recipe is toor dal should not be overcooked, and it should hold its shape. Back in the old days, the dal is placed on the bottom, topped with gongura and simmered in earthen-ware pots on firebricks. Bottom is adugu in Telugu, so the name “adugula pappu“. This pride of Nandyala is an artisan food. I feel fortunate to prepare it at home with garden-fresh gongura and share it today on Mahanandi.

Garden Fresh Gongura
Garden-fresh Gongura

Gongura Adugula Pappu
(for 2 or 4, for 2 to 1 meal)

Ingredients:

    Fresh gongura leaves, coarsely chopped, about 6 cups, tightly packed
    1/2 cup, toor dal (kandi pappu)
    1 medium sized, red onion or shallot, chopped to chunks, about a cup
    6 to 8 green chilli, Indian or Thai variety, about 3-inch length each, finely chopped
    1/4 teaspoon, turmeric
    1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

    For Hing Tadka:
    2 tablespoons, peanut oil
    10 to 12, fresh curry leaves
    1/2 teaspoon each – chana dal and urad dal
    Pinch each – cumin and mustard seeds
    1/8 teaspoon, hing (inguva)

Method:
1. Soak toor dal in two cups of water for one hour. Drain.

2. In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil over medium heat. Add the onion and green chilli. Saute until soft and translucent, about five minutes. Add the gongura leaves. Saute the leaves until they collapse.

3. Add the soaked toor dal to gongura. Sprinkle turmeric and salt. Mix well with a whisk or sturdy spoon. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the toor dal is tender for about 15 to 20 minutes. Moisture from fresh gongura is enough to cook the toor dal to tender, and adding extra water is not necessary. But if there is a need, add little. The key for this recipe is toor dal should not be overcooked, and it should hold its shape.

4. Do the hing tadka. In a small pot, heat peanut oil. When oil is hot, add curry leaves, chana dal, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds, one after another, and toast to fragrance. When mustard seeds start to pop, add hing. Stir for couple of seconds. Add the gongura-toor dal mix to this hing tadka. Gently mix well.

5. Serve gongura adugula pappu hot with rice and some ghee for a taste of tradition.

Gongura Adugula Pappu with Rice and Masala Vada
Gongura Adugula Pappu with Masuri Rice and Masala Vada ~ Meal on a Summer Day

Summer Fruit Harvest ~ Fresh Figs (Medi Pandlu)

Ripe Fig

Ripe Figs (Medi Pandlu) from My Garden

Fresh, Ripe Figs

We planted a small fig plant (Celeste) last March. It survived the unseasonably snowy winter last year and has grown into a healthy looking bush with plenty of branches. Thanks to the pleasant spring season we had this year.

The branches are filled with fruit now and I see at least 40 to 50 figs in various stages of development. They started to ripen since June last week. Everyday I would see 6 to 7 ripe figs for the past one week. I leave one or two ripe fruits for the birds, and pluck the remaining for us.

We are eating them raw right away, because these luscious ripe figs are tasty, delicate and juicy. They have soft skin that splits with ripeness emitting a fruity aroma and sweet honey like nectar. I had the pleasure of eating fresh figs at my grandparents home in Nandikotkur when I was little. But never thought it would be possible here. This happy occasion reminds me of our Yogi Vemana Padyalu recitals of childhood.


మేడి పండు చూడ మేలిమైయుండు
పొట్ట విప్పి చూడ పురుగులుండు
పిరికివాని మదిని బింకమీలాగురా
విశ్వదాభిరామ వినుర వేమ.


Vemana Padyalu by Precious Babygirl Naina.

Home as a Hobby ~ Lily Bouquet

Peruvian lilies (Alstroemeria)
Floral Expressions with Peruvian lilies (Alstroemeria)

Peruvian lilies or Lilies of Inca are pretty flowers. They are inexpensive here in Houston, and I buy them sometimes. I like how they instantly bring spring sunshine like warmth to the home.

Happy, flower filled July 4th weekend!

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Support Mahanandi and Shop Amazon through this link.

Special Book Sale

Wanted: Food writers for Indiaphile website.

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My deepest condolences to Dr.Sinha’s family. May God bless him and his family during this time and always.

Mango~Carrot Pulihora

No people have been more appreciative of the culinary possibilities of rice than the people from India. Biryani, bhats, pongal and pulao are some of the many well known rice preparations. Then there is Pulihora.

Pulihora is a celebration of the south-Indian penchant for rather sour flavors. In pulihora, the rice says no to baser onion, garlic and garam masala, and gets bridal. The aromatic, individually cooked rice grains are adorned with turmeric tadka in attractive yellow -the traditional symbol of joy and happiness, and absorbed in sourly sweet agents from nature. This flavorful dish is a must have on south Indian festival days and special occasions. There are several variations of pulihora depending on the sour agent. Common and crowd favorites are pulihoras prepared with grated unripe mango, tamarind pulp and lemon juice.

Today’s recipe is inspired by mango pulihora. I added little bit of carrot for sweet touch. Mango and carrot with rice, it was a delicious levels of flavor. This is the mango season. Just the right time for pulihora.

Grated Unripe Mango
Grated, Unripe Mango

Mango-Carrot Pulihora
(for 2 to 4, for 2 to 1 meal)

Recipe:
2 cups sona masuri or basmati rice
1 firm, unripe mango
1 small carrot
Wash the rice in water, then soak in 4 cups of water for at least 15 minutes.
Lightly peel the skins of mango and carrot. Grate with a grater or in a food processor. We need about two cups of grated unripe mango and a cup of grated carrot.

For Turmeric Tadka:
2 tablespoons, peanut oil
1 tablespoon, chana dal and urad dal
1 tablespoon, finely chopped green chilli
1 sprig of fresh curry leaves (10 to 12 curry leaves)
2 tablespoons, roasted, unsalted shelled peanuts (or cashews)
1/4 teaspoon, turmeric
Pinch each – cumin seeds, mustard seeds and hing

1. In a large, heavy pan, add the rice and the water it soaked in. On medium heat, cook until the rice is tender but still firm, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

2. In a large, heavy wide pan, heat peanut oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add one after another, from big to small, the ingredients listed in turmeric tadka in that order. Constantly stirring toast them to red and to fragrance. When you see mustard seeds pop, then add the mango and carrot gratings to the skillet. Sprinkle half teaspoon of salt or to taste. Stir and saute for about five minutes on medium-low heat. This is done to remove the mango and carrot rawness.

3. Add mango-carrot mixture to cooked rice. Gently mix well. Serve warm. Sour and sweet, mango-carrot pulihora makes a tasty one-dish meal.

Mango-Carrot Pulihora
Mango~Carrot Pulihora ~ Meal on a Rainy Day

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