Kuruvepilai Podi

Spring season is the right time to prune the curry leaves plant and I pruned my curry leaf plant so it can grow bushy during the summer months. Due to the pruning, I was able to harvest fresh curry leaves. With the harvested curry leaves I tried the karuvepilai podi recipe which turned out amazing.

Ingredients

Curry leaves – ½ cup

Urad Dal – ½ cup

Cumin seeds – 1 tablespoon

Whole black pepper – 1 tablespoon

Salt – To taste

Procedure

STEP 1: Wash the curry leaves and let it dry on a towel for 6 – 8 hours.

STEP 2: Heat a pan and dry roast the urad dal until it is golden brown.

STEP 3: Dry roast the curry leaves until they turn crispy (Should not be burnt. Make sure the green colour is retained)

STEP 4: Dry roast the pepper until the pepper starts spluttering.

STEP 5: Dry roast the cumin seeds until it turns golden brown and fragrant. Add the salt to the roasted cumin and cook for a minute

STEP 6: Once the roasted ingredients are at room temperature, add the ingredients to a blender and make a slightly coarse powder.

Recipe idea:

  • Add a teaspoon of karuvepilai powder and a teaspoon of ghee or gingelly oil to 1/4 cup of cooked rice, mix well, and serve.
  • Cook 1 cup rice with salt. Add a teaspoon of oil to the cooked rice, mix well and let it cool down. Heat 2 tablespoons of Gingelly oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, urad dal and peanuts. Wait till the peanuts turn golden brown and turn off the heat. Add the rice and 7 – 8 teaspoons (or to taste) of the karuvepilai podi and mix well. Karuvepilai rice ready to serve.

Vegetable Fried Rice

PREP TIME: 15 Minutes

COOKING TIME: 20 Minutes (including the time to cook rice)

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Vegetable fried rice!!! I am sure most people know the recipe for fried rice but here is my version of the fried rice. Our family being vegetarians we try to include as much vegetables as possible. With all 3 of us staying at home due to the social distancing practices I have been cooking a lot these days. With my son being a picky eater, I must make recipes that he enjoys and at the same time nutritious. With the limited time available to make lunch (especially during a busy workday😏) this recipe comes in handy. It is simple to make yet has a good portion of vegetables. The rice can be cooked ahead of time, may be in the morning and it is just vegetables chopping and mixing them all together with a little seasoning. If you use a food processor it takes less than 5 minutes to chop all the vegetables.

Ingredients

Basmati rice – 1.5 cups

Green onions – 4 chopped

Onion – 1 sliced

Carrot – 1 (Julienne cut)

Cabbage – 1 cup finely sliced

Frozen Edamame – 1 cup (250 ml)

Salt – as per taste

Pepper – ½ teaspoon (you can add more if needed)

Soya sauce – ½ teaspoon

Tomato Ketchup – ½ teaspoon

Oil – 3 tablespoons of oil

Procedure

STEP 1: Cook the rice with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon of olive oil. I used instant pot to cook the rice, so I do not have to babysit the cooker. The rice should not get mushy. For 1.5 cups of rice I added 2 cups of water and used the pressure cook mode set to 3 minutes (I used aged basmati rice, so it took 3 minutes to get the right consistency and natural pressure release)

STEP 2: Chop all the vegetables. Add the edamame and enough water to cover the edamame to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. (You could also follow the instructions on the package to cook the edamame)

STEP 3: Once the vegetables are ready and the rice is cooked and cooled down, heat oil in a skillet.

STEP 4: Add the white portion of the green onions, sliced onions, carrots, cabbage and edamame.

STEP 5: Cook on medium to high heat for 2 minutes. The vegetables should be crunchy.

STEP 6: Add salt, pepper, soya sauce, ketchup and the cooked rice. Mix well and add more seasoning if needed.

STEP 7: Cook the rice and vegetables on high heat for about 3 minutes by constantly stirring and turn off the heat. Throw in the green onions and serve.

Veggie Fried Rice ready to serve😋

Tip: The edamame can be replaced with green peas. Other vegetable options – sweet corn, mushroom broccoli and bell peppers.

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Mango Pulp Fruit Salad

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PREP TIME: 10 Minutes

COOKING TIME: No cooking!!!!!!!!!

Simple yet healthy (may be not completely healthy but who cares😂) mango pulp fruit salad is easy to put together if you are looking for a last-minute dessert. There is so many different varieties of mangoes that we can get during the mango season in India but here in Canada we do not get fresh sweet mangoes all the time. We do get it during summer but this year with the lock down we are not able to find sweet mangoes. I had a can of kesar mango pulp lying around in my pantry for while so decided to make this salad (the main reason being, the best before date was May 2020 so had to use it up). This would a super delicious treat for mango lovers or rather anyone🤩🥭

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Ingredients

Pear – 1 cup

Pineapple – 1 cup

Grapes – 25 to 30

Strawberries – 15 to 20 quartered

Mango pulp – 450 ml

Cashews – 10 (for garnish – optional)

Saffron strands – 1 pinch (for garnish – optional)

Procedure

STEP 1: Wash and cut all the fruits.

STEP 2: Add in the mango pulp and mix so the mango pulp gets evenly coated on all the fruit pieces.

STEP 3: Refrigerate for a couple of hours. Before serving garnish with few saffron strands and cashews or any nuts of your choice and serve

Delicious mango pulp fruit salad ready to serve!!! Enjoy!!!!

Tip: Any fruit can be used but adding different colored fruits make the salad look more colorful and appetizing

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Donuts

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PREP TIME: 15 Minutes

COOKING TIME: 10 Minutes

PROOFING Time: 3 hours

Donuts!!!!Yay!!!

I love donuts but avoid eating them often just so I do not look like a donut myself (A moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips…HaHaHa😄). We watched a cooking show on Netflix a couple of weeks ago “The great Canadian baking show” and since then we have been watching a lot of cooking videos especially baking recipes. In one of the episodes, the contestants had to make donuts so we saw a few recipes on making donuts so wanted to give it a try. I was not sure if it will come out good but still wanted to give it a shot and surprisingly it came out well. At least it looked nice, it was moist and tasted like the store-bought donuts (Not that I am boasting 😜)

Ingredients

All purpose Flour – 2 cups (470 ml)

Dry Yeast – 1 Teaspoon (5 ml)

Milk – ½ cup (120 ml)

Sugar – ¼ cup (60 ml) + 1 teaspoon (for yeast activation)

Salt – 1 pinch

Butter – 2 tablespoons (30 ml at room temperature)

Egg – 1

Ingredients – Sugar glaze

Icing Sugar – 2 teaspoons (10 ml)

Milk – 1 teaspoon (5 ml)

Ingredients – Chocolate topping

White chocolate chips – 30 chips

Dark chocolate – 30 chips

Sprinkles/coloured sugar – as required

Procedure

STEP 1: Add the yeast and sugar to lukewarm milk, mix well and keep it aside for 5 minutes for the yeast to activate. If the milk is too hot or cold the yeast will not activate, and the yeast activation is the key to get the right dough for donuts. I microwaved the milk for 30 seconds and that was sufficient for me to get the right temperature.

STEP 2: The yeast will turn foamy in 5 minutes like in the picture below.

STEP 3: In a mixing bowl add the flour, sugar, salt, butter and egg and mix. Once combined add in the milk-yeast-sugar mixture and knead well. The dough will be slightly stick and that is how it should be (if the dough is too dry, you can add little milk). I used the food processor, dough mode for 2 minutes to achieve the right consistency. See picture below. If kneading with hand, knead for about 7 – 10 minutes by stretching the dough.

STEP 4: Grease a large bowl with oil and add little oil on the dough so the dough does not get dry. Cover with a paper towel or lid and let it rest for about 2 hours or until the dough comes to double the size.

STEP 5: Once the proofing is complete, roll out the dough and cut into donut shapes. I used a container lid for the outer circle and the back of a piping nozzle for the inner circle. You could also use different sized cookie cutters.

STEP 6: Place all the donut dough in a tray and let it rest for about 15 – 20 minutes. This is the second level of dough proofing.

STEP 7: Heat oil in a pan and start frying the donuts in medium heat until it turns golden brown.

STEP 8: For the sugar glaze topping, mix the icing sugar and milk and dip the top of the donuts and place it on a plate.

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STEP 9: For the chocolate topping, in a microwave safe bowl add chocolate chips and microwave for 30 seconds or until the chocolate chips are completely melted. Dip one side of the donut in the melted chocolate and sprinkle with colored sugar, multicolored sprinkles, or chocolate chips. You can get creative here. I made a pattern on one of the donuts with white and dark chocolate.

Tip: For the effect in the below picture, coat with dark chocolate first and make 2 concentric circles with melted white chocolate on top and with a toothpick just make vertical lines/streaks from the middle of the donut to the outer edge of the donut.

Black Glutinous Rice Kheer – Kavanarisi Payasam (A Chettinad Delicacy)

PREP TIME: 5 Minutes

COOKING TIME: 20 Minutes

SOAKING TIME: 4 Hours

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Kavanarisi/Black glutinous rice is typically used to make desserts. Kavanarisi has a very special place in the breakfast menu in most Chettinad weddings and festivals. They use the rice to make a recipe like a pudding. The rich purple colour pudding gives a contrast in color and texture amongst other deep-fried savoury delicacies (a.k.a vellai paniyaram, kandharappam, masala cheeyam, etc. all high calorie, irresistible Chettinad dishes😉) in any festive menu. My mom used to make the kavanarisi payasam often. I tried making this recipe a few years ago, but was a flop. I was an amateur cook then (not that I am a professional now😉) and did not use the right proportion of rice to milk to achieve the desired consistency. I never attempted to try the recipe again until this Tamil New Year. As it was quarantine time, I wanted to try some new dessert and picked kavanarisi payasam. YAY!!!

I am glad I made this recipe. We loved it so much that we had so much of the dessert and skipped dinner that day (I served dessert before the meal😊)

Ingredients

Kavanarisi/Black Glutinous rice – 100 grams

Milk – 1 litre (I used whole milk)

Jaggery – 200 grams

Cardamom – 1

Cashews – 10 broken into small pieces

Salt – 1 pinch

Procedure

STEP 1: Wash and soak the rice for 4 hours. If you forgot to soak the rice, not to worry soak in hot water for 1.5 to 2 hours and pressure cook for additional 2 whistles. If using instant pot, add the soaked rice + 300 ml water. Use pressure cook mode and set to 3 minutes. Wait for natural pressure release (may take upto 15 minutes) or can immediately release the pressure.

STEP 2: Pressure cook the rice until soft (3 whistles, even if the rice is not too mushy it is okay as we will grind the rice). If using instant pot, skip this step.

STEP 3: Add the milk to a thick bottom pan and let the milk boil for about 10 minutes in medium heat. In the meantime, grind the cooked rice to a fine paste.

STEP 4: Add the ¾ of the rice paste to the milk and mix well.

STEP 5: Microwave the jaggery with 60 ml water for 5 minutes. Filter the melted jaggery, add the ¼ remaining cooked rice paste to the jaggery and add to the milk.

STEP 6: Let the rice-milk mixture cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the cashews, cardamom and salt. The payasam should not be too thick so turn off the heat when the payasam is still in a liquid consistency. If not, when the payasam cools down the consistency can be thick and gooey.

Enjoy this Chettinad treat 😊

Tip: Add ghee fried cashews instead of plain roasted cashews. Also, the jaggery can be replaced with 1/2 cup sugar as this recipe is typically made using sugar.

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Restaurant Style Kadaai Paneer

PREP TIME: 10 Minutes

COOKING TIME: 25 Minutes

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Now that we are practicing social distancing, the privilege of eating out has become impossible. We are craving for dishes on the restaurant menu. So, I have been trying at least 2 new recipes every week. Before the quarantine, the only elaborate meal used to be dinner (mostly Idli, dosa, chapathi or the max would be noodles or pasta). Making dinner would be more like a chore after a long day at work. Now that there are no time constraints and with everyone at home, the ability to try out new, non-routine recipes is super exciting. Even though it is more work, I enjoy cooking as I feel it to be therapeutic (and of course the appreciation from family members is more brownie points 😊 and keeps me motivated)

This week I made 2 paneer dishes as we got a large pack of paneer from Costco before the lockdown and wanted to use it all up before it goes bad.

Ingredients

Paneer – 350 Grams

Onion – 2 cubed

Tomato – 1 roughly chopped

Bell Pepper – 1 cubed (I used Green but colored bell peppers should be okay too)

Garlic – 3 cloves

Ginger – 1/2-inch piece

Cashews – 10

Garam Masala Powder – ½ teaspoon (Store bought “Super garam masala”)

Garam Masala powder (optional – preparation process in step 1) – ½ teaspoon

Plain dry red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon

Turmeric Powder – ¼ teaspoon

Sugar – ½ teaspoon

Salt – As required

Kasoori Meethi – 1/4 teaspoon

Olive oil – 2 teaspoons

Butter – 1 teaspoon

Homemade garam masala powder recipe (my version of garam masala for kadaai paneer)

STEP 1: Dry roast 1/2 teaspoon each of peppercorns, cumin and coriander seeds + 1 large bay leaf, 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick & 3 dry red chillies. This is an optional step so you could skip this process by just increasing the regular garam masala quantity to 1 teaspoon.

Procedure

STEP 2: Cut the onions into cubes and separate the pieces as shown in the picture. Heat oil in a pan and add half the quantity of cut onion and cook till the onions turn translucent.

STEP 3: Add the cubed bell peppers and cook for 2 – 3 minutes on high heat. The bell peppers should still be crunchy. Transfer the onion and bell peppers to a plate.

STEP 4: In the left-over oil from cooking onion and bell pepper, add in the cubed paneer and fry for 5 minutes. Do not overcook as the paneer will turn chewy. This step can be skipped, and the paneer can be added directly to the gravy. I like it this way so fried the paneer in oil.

STEP 5: Add oil, cubed onion, chopped tomato, ginger, garlic and cashews and cook till the onion and tomato turns mushy and the oils starts to separate from the masala.

STEP 6: Add in the garam masala powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder, sugar and salt. Cook on low heat till the raw flavours of the spice powders is completely gone. Let the mixture cool down and make a fine paste using a blender.

STEP 7: Once the masala is ready, add butter in a pan and pour in the masala paste with one 250 ml of water.

STEP 8: Once the gravy comes to a boil add in the fried onion, bell pepper and paneer. Cover and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. The gravy does not have to cook for too long as the masala is already well cooked.

STEP 9: Add some crushed kasoori meethi, saffron strands and broken cashews on top (for the aroma, color and the nutty crunch) and serve.

Tip: Garnish with fresh cream on top for restaurant style plating/serving.

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Roasted Potato Mushroom Protein Salad

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PREP TIME: 15 Minutes

COOKING TIME: 30 Minutes

We have been eating a lot of junk food lately, so I am trying to squeeze in at least one salad lunch menu during the week. Our salad recipe always had carrots and quinoa but today I did not want to have quinoa (I made quinoa Adai last night – thought it will be quinoa overload 😉). Had red potatoes and mushrooms so wanted to try oven roasted potatoes and mushrooms. As potato and Mushroom has different cook times, I had to bake each separately, but it was worth it. The potatoes with the garlic tasted so good and the mushrooms were a hit with my son as he loves mushrooms. He is not a big fan of spicy food, so I seasoned it with just dried basil and salt. You could add crushed black pepper for a spicier version.

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Ingredients – Roasted Potatoes

Potato – 2 (250 grams)

Garlic – 3 cloves finely chopped

Salt – As required

Crushed black pepper – ½ teaspoon

Olive oil – 2 teaspoons

Ingredients – Roasted Mushrooms

Mushroom – 15 (washed & quartered)

Salt – As required

Dried Basil – 1/4 teaspoon

Olive oil – 2 teaspoons

Ingredients – Other

Cooked Chickpeas – 300 grams

Cooked Edamame – 200 grams

Beetroot – 1 chopped

Tomato – 1 chopped

Olives – 15 chopped (I used almond stuffed Olives)

Salt & Pepper – to taste

Procedure – Oven roasted garlic potatoes

STEP 1: Preheat the over to 400 degrees F

STEP 2: Peel and cut the potatoes (better if there is consistency in size for evenly baked potatoes). Toss in the chopped garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix well so the salt and pepper are coated well.

STEP 3: Prepare the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread out the potatoes in the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 17 minutes by flipping the tray at about 10 minutes. It took 17 minutes for me to achieve the consistency in the picture.

Procedure – Oven roasted mushrooms

STEP 1: Preheat the over to 400 degrees F

STEP 2: Wash and cut the mushrooms into quarters. Add in the olive oil, salt and basil. Mix well so the salt and dried basil are coated well on all the mushroom pieces.

STEP 3: Prepare the baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread out the mushrooms in the baking sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes by flipping the tray at about 5 minutes. It took 12 minutes for me to achieve the consistency in the picture.

Procedure

STEP 1: Soak the chickpeas for 6 hours and pressure cook for 2 whistles. I only soaked the chickpeas for 3 hours so used the instant pot pressure cook mode and set the time to 7 minutes.

STEP 2: Chop the beetroot, tomato and olives.

STEP 3: Cook the edamame in the microwave or stove top. I used the stove to cook the frozen edamame and it took me about 10 minutes.

STEP 4: All done!!! In a serving bowl add in all the vegetables, salt and crushed pepper.

Bon Appétit 😊

Tip: You could also add a teaspoon of lemon juice//cayenne pepper or roasted cumin powder//chopped coriander leaves//a teaspoon of maple syrup for enhanced flavors (maple syrup for the luxurious flavor a.k.a sugar dose for the day😉)

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Almond Drink – Badam Kheer

PREP TIME: 5 Mins for chopping nuts + Almonds soaking time 5 hours

COOKING TIME: 30 Minutes

 

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Ingredients

Almonds – ¼ cup or 30 soaked almonds (soak almonds for 5 hours or overnight)

Whole Milk – 1.25 liters

Sugar – ½ cup

Saffron – 15 strands

Chopped pistachios – 2 teaspoons

Chopped Almonds – 2 teaspoons

Salt – 1 pinch

Procedure

STEP 1: Boil the milk in a heavy bottom saucepan in low heat until it reduces to ½ the quantity. Keep stirring often so the milk doesn’t get burnt. This took about 25 minutes.

STEP 2: Peel the soaked almonds, add 2 tablespoons of the boiled milk and grind to a fine paste.

STEP 3: Add in the almond paste to the milk and mix well.

STEP 4: Now add sugar and saffron strands and cook for 5 more minutes. Add a pinch of salt and turn off the heat. Add very finely chopped/crushed pistachios and almonds.

STEP 5: Let the kheer cool down completely and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (This can be served warm but the kheer tastes better when served cold😉)

STEP 6: Garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios on the top before serving.

TIP: Add cardamom powder to the mixture if you enjoy cardamom flavor.

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Peanut Salad

PREP TIME: 10 Mins

COOKING TIME: Yay!!!! No cooking time😊

This is a very quick, simple, easy to make yet tasty salad recipe. The ingredients are readily available in most of the time. It is a nutritious, super delicious and protein rich salad.

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Ingredients

Roasted peanuts – 1 cup (I used store bought roasted and salted peanuts)

Carrot – ½ cup grated carrot

Cucumber – ½ cup finely chopped

Onion – ½ cup finely chopped

Tomato – ½ cup finely chopped

Coriander leaves – 2 teaspoons finely chopped

Lemon Juice – 1 teaspoon

Crushed black pepper – ¼ teaspoon

Cayenne pepper – ½ teaspoon

Salt – per taste

Procedure

STEP 1: Mix peanuts, carrot, cucumber, onion, tomato, coriander leaves, salt, crushed black pepper, cayenne pepper and lemon juice.

STEP 2: All Done!!! Grab a spoon and enjoy the yummy salad 😊

TIP: Add finely chopped or grated raw mango for tangy/sweet flavor.

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Valor flat beans and Long beans Stir-fry

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PREP TIME: 10 Mins

COOKING TIME: 12 – 15 Mins

This stir-fry is very quick, simple, easy to make yet tasty recipe. The ingredients are minimal. It can be served with sambar rice or variety rice but may not go well with yogurt rice as this is a non-spicy dish.

Ingredients

Valor flat beans/Avaraikai – 15

Long beans/Karamani – 15

Dry red chili – 2

Mustard – 1/2 teaspoon

Urad daal – 1/2 teaspoon

Curry Leaves – 10

Asefoetida – 1/4 teaspoon

Salt – per taste

Oil – ½ teaspoon

Procedure

STEP 1: Wash the beans thoroughly and cut both the ends of the beans. Cut the beans into 1/2 inch pieces.

STEP 2: Heat oil in a pan, add mustard, wait to splutter. Add urad dal, curry leaves, asefoetida, and red chili.

STEP 3: Add the cut beans and salt. Mix well and cook in low heat for 5 minutes.

STEP 4: Add 200 ml of water, cover and cook on low heat for 7 minutes. The mixture should be dry and beans should be cooked soft. If not add, 1/4 cup of water and cook for 3 more minutes.

TIP: Add 2 teaspoons of grated coconut after turning off the heat for more flavor and texture😋

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