Category: Amma & Accha Telugu

Broad Beans with Baby Green Brinjals (Vankaya Chikkudu)

This is another dish I prepared with my winter broad bean harvest. In this recipe, I have paired the plump, proteinaceous broad beans with delicious baby green brinjals. Green brinjals should be small, with firm texture and barely-there white seeds. Recognizing these qualities in green brinjals will make this a tasty, successful dish.

Baby Green Brinjals and Broad Beans
Baby Green Brinjals and Broad Beans

Broadbeans with Baby Brinjals (Vankaya Chikkudu Kura)
(for four, for one meal)

Prepare the Ingredients:

    Take 10 small green brinjals. Wash and trim the ends off and cut lengthwise into thin slices. Add them to salted water to prevent the onset of bitterness. Shell broad beans from plump pods. We need a cup of broad beans (Chikkudu Vittanaalu or Papdi Lilva).
    Ginger-green chilli paste: Take 1×1 inch piece of fresh ginger. Peel the skin. Take it in a mortar or mixer. Add 4 green chillies and pinch of salt. Pound or grind to smooth paste.

Prepare the Kura:

    Heat a tablespoon of peanut oil in a cast-iron pan over moderate heat.
    When the oil is hot, do the hing tadka: Add a pinch each – cumin, mustard seeds and hing (asafetida) and toast for couple of seconds.
    Add brinjal pieces and broad beans. Saute until two-thirds cooked, for about ten minutes.
    Stir in the ginger-green chilli paste, quarter teaspoon of turmeric and salt to taste. Mix well and continue to cook for another five minutes. If desired, sprinkle a tablespoon of sesame powder or fresh grated coconut for some extra taste.
    Serve hot over rice or with chapati.

Broad Beans with Baby Brinjals
Vankaya Chikkudu Kura ~ for Meal Today

Chikkudu Vittanaala Kura for Sankranthi

Chikkudu (Telugu) also known as papdi lilva (Hindi) is a type of broad bean from India. The tasty pods and plump seeds are culinary delight and part of the menu on Sankrathi festival in our part of Andhra.

The photographed chikkudu are from my garden. I shelled those seeds last month just before the onset of freezing temperatures. With that hearty harvest, it was a glorious goodbye to plentiful 2010-growing season.

Broadbeans, Chikkudu Vittanaalu
Indian Broadbean Seeds (Chikkudu Vittanaalu, Papdi Lilva)

Chikkudu Vittanaala Kura (Chikkudu Seeds Kurma)
(for 2 to 4, for 2 to 1 meal)

Chikkudu Seeds: 3 cups. Bring 2 cups of water to boil. Add half teaspoon of salt to water. To the boiling water, add the chikkudu seeds. Partially cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the water and set aside the seeds.

Masala Paste: In a skillet, toast a cup of unsalted peanuts. Cool and remove the peanut skins.
In the same skillet, add 1/4 teaspoon each – cumin seeds and black peppercorn, a tablespoon of coriander seeds, 4 cloves and one inch piece of cinnamon stick. Toast to fragrance on low heat constantly stirring. Cool.
Take roasted peanuts in a mixer. Add the toasted spices and also 1×1-inch piece of fresh ginger, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of tamarind pulp and 2 tablespoons of crushed jaggery. Add quarter teaspoon of salt. Blend everything together into fine paste. Add half cup of water for easy blending.

Chikkudu Seeds Kura: In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of peanut oil. Do the cumin tadka.
Add the chikkudu seeds and masala paste. Add about a cup of water. Season with quarter teaspoon each – turmeric, chili powder and salt. Mix well. Taste for salt, spice and sweetness, and adjust to your liking. Cover and simmer the kura on medium heat for at least ten minutes, until the seeds have reached buttery texture.

Serve warm with rice or roti. For Sankrathi festive meal experience, serve the kura with pongali or sajje rotte with some ghee and pickle on the side.

Chikkudu Seeds Kura
Chikkudu Seeds Kura with Chapati and Lemon Pickle ~ Meal on a Cold Day

Indian Party Menus ~ Sankranthi Menu

Tiyya Pongali (Sweet Pongal with Jaggery)
Pulagam
Chikkudu Vittanaalu Kurma (Indian Broadbeans Kurma)
Peanut-Jaggery Pachhadi
Peanut Pacchi Pulusu
Mirchi Bajji
Ghee
Dahi

Happy Sankranthi, dear friends. What’s on the menu for Sankranthi?

Almond Burfi (Badam Burfi)

Special occasions need something sweet that is simply wonderful. Almond burfi is one such simply wonderful, quick and easy sweet that is nutritious as well. This classic Bharath mithai is a favorite of mine and one of the sweets I made and took to London. Almond burfis are the perfect dessert for the holiday indulgent mood, my sister and family enjoyed them.

Almond Meal
Fresh Almond Meal

Almond Burfi (Badam Burfi)
(for about 40, 1×1-inch square sized burfis)

Ingredients:
6 cups, whole almonds
6 cups, cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon, finely crushed cardamom seeds

Equipment:
food processor
a big, sturdy pan and ladle
a flat tray to pour the burfi mixture

Method:
1. Prepare the Almond Meal:
In a big bowl, cover the almonds with water and soak for at least 4 hours. The soaking process helps loosen up almond skin and the skin peels off easily.
One by one, peel the almond skins. When you are done with peeling, gently pat and dry the now skinless, white almonds with a clean kitchen towel.
Take almonds in one to two cup batches in a food processor. Pulse and grind to fine meal.
From 6 cups whole almonds, you will get about 8 cups of almond meal.

2. Prepare the Sugar Syrup:
Combine two cups of water and sugar in a heavy-bottomed, big vessel and place over low heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely and then raise the heat to medium and gently boil until sugar reaches softball consistency. To know the right consistency – do the cold water candy test. Take quarter cup of water in a small bowl, add a drop of sugar syrup to water. When the syrup holds its shape and doesn’t dissolve in the water (softball), then it is at the right consistency.

3. Prepare the Almond Burfi:
Add the almond meal and cardamom powder to sugar syrup when the syrup is ready. Keep the heat on medium and cook, stirring continuously to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan.
In about 10 to 15 minutes, the mixture will start to come away from the sides of pan easily – this is the signal to turnoff the heat. Immediately pour the mixture on a flat, ghee applied tray. Level it evenly with a spatula, and cut into squares. Let cool.

When the burfi is thoroughly cool, cover the tray with another tray. Reverse and gently tap to loosen the pieces. Separate the squares and store them in an airtight container. Because the burfi doesn’t have any milk products, almond burfi will stay fresh for up to a month.

Almond Burfi
Simply Wonderful ~ Almond Burfis (Badam Burfis)

To decorate the burfis, place edible silver or gold foil over cooled almond burfi, and gently press slivered almonds into each square for the festive feel.

Vinayaka Chaviti Celebrations

Vinayaka Chavithi 2010 Celebrations at My Home
Bala Ganapathi on Vinayaka Chaviti

Vinayaka Chavithi 2010 Celebrations at My Home
Purnam Kudumulu and Undrallu ~
A Virtual Vinayaka Chavithi Pandaga Bhojanam to All Our Family and Friends
Vinayaka Chavithi Subhakankshalu!

Brinjal Sesame Kura

Bigger isn’t better always. You always know that for making delicious dishes, what is needed is not a big house, even bigger multiple kitchens. Sometimes, bigger things bring bitter results. All you’d need is a tender heart that responds to love and affection to make food that touches the other hearts. I have come to know that this applies to brinjal harvest as well. When you grow your own brinjals, pick as soon as they are just big enough to eat, when their skin still has high gloss finish and inside is tender. When you slice open and find brown flesh and dark seeds, you have waited too long. Bitterness claimed the brinjal soul, and it isn’t a culinary friend any more. The younger ones with angelic pulp and barely developed seeds taste better than bigger and bulky brinjals.

Here is traditional brinjal recipe with sesame I made last weekend for Janmastami with my brinjal harvest. Brinjal and sesame are a good combination and it is just not Bharath, many other world’s cuisines favor this endearing combination. The soul is the same, the dress-up and names are different from country to country. If you have never tried brinjal sesame combination before, try it once. It’s good and tasty, worthy of festival feast.

Homegrown Brinjal from the Backyard Garden
Homegrown Brinjal

Brinjal Sesame Kura
(for 2 or 4, for 2 to 1 meals)

Brinjals: Pick 8 to 10 small, fresh looking brinjals. Wash and remove the end. Take water in a bowl. Add a teaspoon of salt. Cut brinjal into bite sized pieces and drop the pieces into salted water.
Slice one red onion or shallot thinly lengthwise.

Sesame: Place a stainless steel pot on stovetop and heat. When the pot is hot, add 6 dried red chilli, a tablespoon of coriander seeds, half teaspoon black peppercorn, quarter teaspoon cumin, 6 cloves, one-inch piece of cinnamon stick in listed order and at the end 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Constantly stirring, roast the spices to fragrance. Remove them to a plate and cool. Take them in a blender. Add a garlic clove, a tablespoon each – , chopped fresh ginger, tamarind pulp and jaggery pieces, and half cup of water. Blend the ingredients to superfine paste.

Brinjal Sesame Kura: Heat the stainless steel pot again. This time, add a tablespoon of sesame or peanut oil and when oil is hot, do the curry leaf tadka. Add and saute onions to soft. Remove the brinjal pieces from water and add them in the pot. Sprinkle half teaspoon of salt and pinch of turmeric. Cover and cook on medium heat until the brinjal pieces are tender, for about five to eight minutes. Stir in the sesame-spice paste and half cup of water. Adjust salt, sour(tamarind) and sweet(jaggery) levels according to your taste. Mix well and simmer for about 15 minutes on low heat.

Serve immediately and politely accept the applause from your guests. Sesame brinjal kura tastes great with Pongal rice and sorghum roti with some ghee and pickle on the side.

Sesame Brinjal Kura with Pongal
Brinjal Sesame Kura with Pongal and Red Chilli Pickle ~ Good Meal for a Hungry Soul

Summer Garden Harvest ~ Beerakaaya(Turai)

This is a video of the beerakaaya plant from my garden. Filled with pretty, yellow flowers and long, ribbed vegetables, beautiful beerakaaya vine is a sight to behold during peak summer time.

Beerakaaya (Turai) Harvest
Beerakaaya Harvest for this Week

The Pleasures of Festivals ~ Nagula Chavithi

I grew up in a household where every festival was and still is religiously celebrated with great bhakthi and bhukthi. I’ve been trying to recreate those traditions here at my home. Each festival has its own set of pooja procedures. I am writing what I remember here at Mahanandi. This pleasure of festival series is for me and for those of you who would like a reference point. The pooja traditions I follow are from my birthplace, Nandyala in India. You are most welcome to contribute what you know and follow.

The Pleasures of Festivals ~ Nagula Chavithi

About:
Nagula Chavithi is a festival where serpents are worshipped with great devotion. Nagula Chavithi is celebrated during the months of “Sravanam”(August) and/or in “Karthikam” (November). “Nagu” means the snake and “Chavithi” is the fourth day after every newmoon day. On this day, devotees observe fast and worship Nagamayya, the supreme snake- the Seven hooded cobra. Fresh flowers, milk, vadapappu, chalimidi, nuvvula-mudda and fresh coconut are offered as neivedyam. Thoranam is also placed infront of Nagamayya. Devotees offer milk to Naga Vigraham beneath the bodhi tree in temples and some complete the pooja at home placing an idol of a snake just for that day.

The Legend:
Legend behind Nagula Chavithi is that during the churning of the ocean by gods and demons in search of “Amrutham” (the nectar of immortality), a snake was used as rope and in the process, a terrible poison (“garalam”) emerged. The poison would have engulfed the whole world, but for Bhagavan Shiva, who swallowed it and retained it in His throat. His throat turned blue – hence, Bhagavan Shiva is called “Neelakantha”. However, a few drops spilled and to ward off the evil effects, people worship the Cobra, the king of snakes, to pacify the brood and protect themselves from any ill effects.

Pooja Preparation:
The day before:
Clean the home. Clean the bhagavan mandir.
Shopping list: Yellow moong dal, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, jaggery, cardamom, ghee, fresh milk, dry coconut and fresh coconut for pooja, cotton thread for thoranam. Fresh flowers and fruits.
Ingredients preparation: Crush or grate the jaggery to fine. Grate the dry coconut. Crush the cardamom seeds and prepare cardamom powder. Store them in clean jars.

On Nagula Chavithi Day:
Purify with a head bath. Decorate the mandir with fresh flowers.
Prepare neivedyam: Vadapappu, chalimidi, sesame laddu.

Vadapappu: Soak half cup of yellow moong dal in two cups of water for about an hour. At pooja time, drain the water and add the rehydrated moong dal to neivedyam platter. For detailed vadapappu recipe and photo -click here.

Chalimidi: soak 3/4 cup of rice grains in water for about half an hour. Drain the water and spread the rice on a clean cloth to air-dry for about 15 minutes under the sun or fan. Take the semi-dried rice in a food processor or mortar. Grind or pound to fine powder. It comes about one cup of rice powder. You could also use readymade rice powder for chalimidi for convenience. The taste won’t be the same though.
To this rice powder, add quarter cup of dry coconut powder, one cup of finely crushed jaggery, a tablespoon of white poppy seeds and a teaspoon of cardamom powder. Blend the ingredients without adding any water until well combined. Take this sweet rice mix in a bowl. Take about three tablespoons of this mixture into your hand. Press gently into round shape and some into cylindrical shape. Usually the moisture from rice and jaggery is enough to shape the mixture into rounds. If necessary, sprinkle few drops of water or melted ghee for easy shaping. This is chalimidi. Place few chalimidi on neivedyam platter.

Nuvvula Mudda (Sesame Laddu): Crush or grate jaggery to superfine mix. Take a cup of sesame seeds in a food processor or stone mortar. Add a cup of jaggery, quarter cup of rice powder, quarter cup of dry coconut powder and a teaspoon of cardamom powder. Grind or pound the ingredients well without adding any water. Sesame seeds have to reach from powder to oily mix stage. When you see the oil from sesame seeds starts separating, remove the mix to a bowl. Mix in a tablespoon of poppy seeds. Take two to three tablespoons of mixture into your hand. Press gently into round shape and some into cylindrical shape. These are nuvvula mudda. Place few nuvvula mudda on neivedyam platter.

Now the neivedyam is ready. On to the pooja.

For Nagula Chavithi Pooja:

Prepare Nagamayya: I do not have Nagamayya statue at home, so I make Nagamayya with wheat flour. Take quarter cup of wheat flour in a bowl. Sprinkle few tablespoons of water, knead and make tight dough. Roll the dough into a long, round coil. Shape the coil into a snake form and press the coil end into snake head(padaga/ hood) form. Cover the snake in turmeric and kumkum mixture. This is Nagamayya and the deity of the day is ready now. Place the Nagamayya in bhagavan mandir. Decorate with fresh oleanders and other flowers. Place a small glass of fresh milk and a spoon on the side.

Prepare the thoranam: Take a cotton thread in three rows. Apply turmeric to the thread. This is thoranam. Place it in front of Nagamayya.

Pooja Vidhanam:
Place the neivedyam platter with Vadapappu, chalimidi and nuvvula mudda in front of Nagamayya. Place fresh fruits (bananas).
Light the deepam and agarbatti.
Offer milk to Nagamayya. Take a teaspoon of milk and gently pour onto Nagamayya head.
Recite Sri Subramanya Swamy Astothharam for Nagamayya. Meditate.
Break the coconut. Offer coconut water and then mangala arathi to Nagamayya.
Take the thoranam and tie it to your right wrist. Do the same for your family members. While tying the knot, make a wish.

The pooja is finished. Leave the home and spend few minutes in front or back door. This is a tradition so that the Nagamayya can have some privacy to enjoy the neivedyam.

After few minutes outside, come inside and have neivedyam prasadam with family and friends. Usually we fast on Nagula Chavithi and have only neivedyam, milk and fruits. The next day on Naga Panchami, we prepare the feast with payasam, pulihora and vada or bajji, along with rice, dal, curry and dahi. After offering the neivedyam to bhagavan on banana leaf, the festival feast is shared with family and friends.

Mothers gift their married daughters new clothes, bangles, sesame laddus and dry whole coconuts. Elder sisters also share the gifts with younger sisters.

After evening mangala arathi, sendoff Nagamayya into woods. Place the deity on a plant or tree and leave it there for the nature.

This completes the Nagula Chavithi celebrations.

I had the pleasure of celebrating the Nagula Chavithi and Panchami last Friday and on Saturday (August 13th and 14th). I wish I had taken some photos of neivedyam for this article. Even without photos, I hope the pooja procedure is clear and easy to follow. May Nagamayya bless us all.

Semiya (Vermicelli) Upma

One of the first recipes from my beginner cooking days I was confident to cook was the utterly delicious semiya upma. Like Maggi noodles for this generation, comfort and quick college food was semiya upma for us in those days. Fry the onion, boil water and add the roasted semiya. A one dish meal with minimum utensils and effort, and a tasty end result, it’s very easy to latch on semiya upma for comfort.

Semiya is Indian vermicelli. Made with durum wheat and free of egg, it’s available very thin, broken and in packets in Indian grocery stores.

I have been craving semiya upma for some time and made it on Ekadashi. Semiya upma, aavakaaya and avocado – it was a blessed meal.

Roasted Semiya
Roasted Semiya

Semiya Upma
(for 2 to 4, for 2 to 1 meal)

    2 cups, semiya (Indian vermicelli)
    1 medium sized red onion or shallot, finely chopped
    2 fresh chillies, finely chopped
    1/4 cup fresh peas, shelled
    1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
    1/4 cup roasted, cashew pieces
    1/4 teaspoon, salt or to taste
    1 tablespoon, peanut oil
    from masala dabba, for curry leaf tadka: 10 curry leaves, and
    1/4 teaspoon each- urad dal, chana dal, mustard seeds and cumin

1. Heat a wide pan over medium heat. Add semiya. With a slotted spoon, turn the semiya over and over again and roast until the semiya is uniformly pale red. Transfer the roasted semiya to a plate. The roasting process prevents the semiya becoming a gooey mudda in the end and increases the ruchi very much.

2. In the same pan, heat peanut oil. When oil is hot, add curry leaves, urad dal, chana dal, mustard seeds and cumin. Saute the tadka ingredients to fragrance, constantly stirring. Add onion and chilli pieces. Saute to soft. Add peas and 3 cups of water. Sprinkle salt. Mix well and cover the pan with a lid. Increase the heat to high.

3. When the water comes to a rolling boil, remove the lid and constantly stirring, add the roasted semiya to water. Reduce the heat to medium. Partially cover the pan and cook the semiya till the water is all absorbed. Turn off the heat.

4.Garnish with cilantro and cashew pieces. Gently mix and leave the semiya upma for ten minutes for flavors to mingle well. Then serve the semiya upma hot with pickle, chutney or podi. Kids love it with some sugar sprinkled on the top. Tasty semiya upma can be had for breakfast, evening snack, or for meal.

Semiya Upma
Semiya Upma with Mango Aavakaaya and Avocado ~ for Meal on Ekadashi

Kitchen Notes:
for 1 cup of semiya – add one and half cups of water

Red Chilli Pickle (Pandu Mirapa Uragaaya)

Gloves and Kerchief
caution ahead

Chillies play an important role in Bharath bhojanam. Their haunting vigour is celebrated in a variety of preparations. Legendary among them is the Red chilli pickle from Andhra Pradesh. Known as Pandu Mirapa Uragaaya in Telugu, it’s ripe chillies raw glory. There is no cooking or simmering of chillies like in hot sauce. Chillies are ground and their potency is enlivened by salt, lemon juice and pungent methi. This stomach scraper’s fiery nature and daredevil attitude has a cult like following in Andhra. I was not a big fan until my thirties. Blame it on mature palate or hard life lessons digested over the years, now I am a blissed-out believer in uragaaya mahatyam. If keen on exploring this chilli extreme, you may reason that chillies are loaded with vitamin C in a chirpy, holier-than-thou healthy way.:)

Because we don’t get Guntur chillies here in Houston, I prepared the uragaaya with Mexican native Serrano Chillies. Ripe Serrano chillies are bright and biting with a delayed flavor fuse. Just the right variety for Andhra’s Pandu mirapa uragaaya.

Ripe Serrano Chillies and Juicy Limes for Red Chilli Pickle

Red Chilli Pickle (Pandu Mirapa Uragaaya) from Andhra

1. Rinse the chillies clean in plenty of water. Drain, and blot dry with a kitchen towel. Spread the chillies on a paper and air-dry for one hour under hot sun.

2. While chillies are drying, in the meantime, prepare the pickle ingredients.
- Heat a skillet. Add methi seeds and on low heat, slowly roast to light brown and fragrant. Remove from heat and when they are cool, take them in a mixer and powder to fine.
- In the same skillet, heat sesame oil on medium heat. When oil is hot, add urad dal and stirring constantly toast to red. Add mustard seeds. When seeds start to splutter, add hing and methi powder. Toast for a minute. Remove the skillet from heat and allow to cool completely.

3. Back to chillies now. Bring them inside. Wear gloves and cover your nose with a handkerchief. Remove the chilli stems. Chop. The smaller the cut, the easier it will be to blend. Place the cut chillies in a clean and dry, stone-grinder or food processor. Add sea salt. Grind to fairly smooth consistency. Do not add water. It will spoil the pickle. Moisture in ripe chillies is enough and mix with a spatula in-between for easy blending.

4. Take the ground chilli in a clean ceramic or glass bowl. Add the hing tadka and pour the lemon juice. Mix well. Keep the bowl on the countertop where air circulates freely, loosely covered for about a day.

5. On the second day, store the chilli uragaaya in a clean jar. Keep an eye on the pickle for a week. Usually enough salt and limejuice will rectify any potential spoilage.

This no-cook, raw style chilli uragaaya stays fresh from six months to a year as long as pickle precautions are taken (no wet spoons, moisture/humidity).

We can serve this pickle immediately but the pickle matures and tastes much better with age. Apply it on idly, dosa, pesarattu, spread on pav-wiches, Mix some to perk up the sauces or simply mix and eat with rice/roti. It’s good to have some chilli pickle company on those cloyingly sweet days.

Red Chilli Pickle (Pandu Mirapa Uragaaya)
Ready to Eat ~ Red Chilli Pickle (Pandu Mirapa Uragaaya)

Notes:
This pickle is also prepared with tamarind instead of limejuice.
Telugu to ingleesh: Pandu = Ripe, Mirapa = Chilli, Uragaaya = Pickle

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

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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