Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Pongal Fried Rice | Vegetable Fried Rice With Traditional Flavours | Tiffin Box Ideas


Pongal Fried Rice

Hi Supermoms,

I have shared with you all that I am cooking a lot of one pot dishes these days . Pongal is a favourite 'any time' meal for my better half and myself.  For all those readers who are not familiar with 'Pongal' - it is a traditional breakfast dish in South India and can be cooked in sweet and savoury versions. A wholesome dish that has the right amount of nutrition and taste.

The combination  of cumin, peppercorns and ginger in the savoury pongal known as 'Ven Pongal' is simply irresistable. It is even served as a 'Prashad/Prasadam/offering' in South Indian temples. A cup of steaming hot pongal cooked with generous amounts of ghee is soul food for many.

However, I have seen that my children do not enjoy Pongal the way we do. So , over the years, I have modified the traditional Pongal recipe in many ways to make it equally popular with the next generation πŸ˜‡ and I have shared some of them in the blog already. 

Today, I am sharing a super hit Pongal recipe that has got my family approval and will be a block buster at your home too. I really have to thank my Sister-In - Law and  Mother - In - Law for the 'name' of this dish . 

Pongal Fried Rice

Pongal Fried Rice :

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 25 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Note : I have not used onions and garlic . If you are using, you can thinly slice the onions and fry them in ghee along with finely chopped garlic  after   tempering with spices. 

Ingredients :

2 cups basmati rice 
1/2 cup moong dal/husked and split yellow mung beans
3 1/4 cups water ( adjust)
2 carrots ( finely chopped)
10 french beans ( finely chopped)
1/4 cup sweet corn 
1/4 cup green peas 
salt to taste

For the tempering :

1 tablespoon ghee/clarified butter
6-7 cashew nuts ( halved)
3 green chillies ( halved vertically)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds/jeera ( coarsely crushed using mortar and pestle)
1 teaspoon peppercorn ( coarsely crushed using mortar and pestle)
1" ginger ( roughly chopped and crushed)
1 sprig curry leaves 

Method :

1. Wash rice and dal together two to three times.
2. Add 3 cups of water, salt  ( I added 1/4 cup extra ) and pressure cook for 2 whistles only and switch off.
Chef tips to cook the rice and dal right  : 
a.  Basmati rice is very delicate, you need to take extra care to cook it fluffy. 
b.The water quantity will depend on the variety of basmati you are using.  
c. If you are pressure cooking, the water quantity is usually the exact proportion of the rice you are using ( 1:1).
d. If you are cooking in open pot, you can add 1/2 cup extra .
e. Read the instruction/water measurement that is given in the label . 
f. If you are cooking in the open pot, soak the rice and dal along with the required amount of water for at least 30 minutes. 
g. Once the pressure releases, transfer the rice mixture into a wide vessel and using a fork, gently fluff the rice . 
3. Steam the cut vegetables till they are fork tender. 
Chef tip : It takes approximately 10 minutes for this step . 
4. Heat a kadai/wok over low flame.
5. Add ghee and temper with ingredients given under ' To temper'. 


6. Add the steamed vegetables , salt ( only for the vegetables) and fry over medium flame for 2-3 minutes.
7. Add the cooked rice-dal mixture , mix and switch off. 

Chef tip : You can heat ghee and temper with cashews just before serving .

Your delicious Pongal Fried Rice is now ready. 

Pongal Fried Rice


When I shared this recipe on my instagram, so many of you loved it and have already book marked the recipe. Also, many of you sent me questions/doubts to cook the rice and dal right. I have shared tips for the same and hope you will enjoy making this Pongal fried rice just the way I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the recipe with all of you. 

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom










Sunday, May 20, 2018

Veppam Poo Kuzhambu | Authentic Village Style Neem Flowers Curry Recipe | Gluten Free Recipe

Neem Flowers  Curry

Hi Supermoms,

Summer time means simple and light meals. It also means 'smart cooking ' . By smart cooking, I mean adding seasonal vegetables , fruits and herbs that helps to build stronger immunity to face the extreme heat and also spending minimum time in the kitchen. 

In India, especially in the North, the summer temperatures can be get as high as 45 degrees C πŸ˜“. Last few days, the temperatures are hovering around  41-42 degrees C during the day time but they are followed by dust storms and light rain in the evening that reduces the night temperature. I am sure you must have read about them in the news . 

Ok, now let me share about today's recipe. I have earlier shared that Neem flowers help in digestion and they also cleanse our system . It is easy to cook the neem flowers. Frying them in ghee , accentuates the taste and also increases it's healing properties. Using neem flowers during the change of season ( onset of spring) is a tradition that has been in our food culture for the last thousands of years. 

I have earlier shared many recipes using neem flowers like the Neem Flower Pachadi, Neem Flower Rasam, Neem Flower Rice  and today I am sharing another delicious and healthy heirloom recipe from Perianayakam Palayam, North Arcot - 'Veppam Poo Kuzhambu'. 

You can use dried neem flowers to make this' kuzhambu' ( thick curry). If you are living outside India, you can find them in Asian stores . This Kuzhambu is simply delicious and is also easy to make on a week day. 

Veppam Poo Kuzhambu


Veppam Poo Kuzhambu | Village Style Neem Flowers Curry 

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutesa
Serves : 4-6
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

1/4 cup bengal gram/channa dal
1/4 cup husked and split mung beans/moong dal
small gooseberry size tamarind ( soak in 1/2 cup hot water ) OR 1 teaspoon thick tamarind paste
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 cup fresh coconut milk ( optional) 
salt to taste

To fry and grind:

1 teaspoon oil ( sesame or coconut oil)
1 teaspoon channa dal/ bengal gram
1 teaspoon urad dal /husked black gram 
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek /methi seeds
1 onion ( roughly chopped)
10 sambar onions/shallots ( peeled)
2 tomatoes ( chopped roughly) 
10 dry chillies ( I used Salem Gundu Chillies) ( adjust according to your spice preference)
1/2" ginger
10 small garlic pods ( peeled )
1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces ( if you are not adding coconut milk) 
pinch of asafoetida


To be tempered :

1/4 cup neem flowers/veppam poo flowers
2 teaspoons sesame oil (or coconut oil )
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves 

Method :

1. Mix both the dals , wash and pressure cook them with 2 cups of water and 1/8 teaspoon of  turmeric powder .
Chef tip : You can pressure cook over medium heat for 4 whistles and switch off. Alternatively, you can cook the dals in an open pot. 
2. Use a hand whisk to mash the dals and set it aside.
3. In a kadai or small wok, add all the ingredients given under " To fry and grind' in the order given.
4. Once the onions have turned transparent and the tomatoes have become mushy, you can allow them to cool. 
5. Grind them into a paste.
6. Place the kadai back on heat and add oil.
7. Add mustard seeds and when they splutter add the neem flowers and curry leaves.

8. Once the neem flowers are well fried, add the tamarind extract and allow it to cook for 5 minutes over low flame.
9. Now, add the boiled and mashed dal mixture and salt.
10. Add the ground masala and allow the kuzhambu to simmer for another 7-8 minutes.

11. Add coconut milk and mix well.
12. Switch off. 

Veppam Poo Kuzhambu


Your healthy and tasty Village Style Veppam Poo Kuzhambu is now ready to be served. 


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom


















Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Masala Idli Bonda | Idli Bonda Recipe | Masterchefmom's MIB | Gluten Free and Vegan Snack Recipe


Hi Supermoms,

I have earlier shared that whenever I make a batch of idli/dosai batter, they take different shapes and forms over course of the week πŸ˜‚. 

My latest creation from  this batter is the Masala Idli Bonda. Usually the dosai or Adai batter turns sour after 3-4 days and paniyaram or punugulu is made to make it more delicious and can hide the sourness . 

There are two things special about this snack. Firstly, Hindustan Times had featured me in their Sunday Brunch Magazine in their cover as 'India's Best Food Blogs'. I was elated and humbled .  Once again, it is only because of the love and encouragement given by all my readers that this achievement was possible. Grateful to each and every one for the loveπŸ’•. I also have to thank my family for their unconditional love and support πŸ’–.

Secondly, to celebrate this I wanted to cook a delicious brunch with a newly created dish from my kitchen.

Best Food Blog Feature

Masala Dosai is always a favourite and as the occasion was really special, I made Mysore Masala Dosai . Then, instead of vadai, used the idli/dosai batter to make a bonda mix using boiled and mashed potatoes and spices( the masala) . 

Sounds interesting ? Let me tell you, the taste was simply amazing. If you fry it in the oil with right temperature, it does not soak up oil. All the MIB's ( Masala Idli Bonda) disappeared in a jiffy. 

How can a special platter not have a sweet ? So, I made Payatham Paruppu Payasam / Moong Dal Kheer to celebrate the special Sunday Brunch Platter. 

Masala Idli Bonda:

Preparation time : 20 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4-6
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

2 cups idli or idli/dosai batter ( let the batter be thick)

For the masala:

1 large potato ( boiled, peeled and mashed roughly)
1 onion ( finely chopped)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 cup coriander leaves ( roughly chopped)
5-6 mint leaves ( roughly chopped) ( optional)
salt to taste 
oil to deep fry ( I use refined ground nut oil to fry)

For tempering : 

1 teaspoon oil ( of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 green chillies ( finely chopped) 
1 sprig curry leaves 

Method :

1. Heat a small pan or kadai with oil and temper with ingredients given for the same. 
2. Now add the chopped onion, salt , turmeric powder and fry over low flame till the onion turns transparent.
3. Add the boiled and roughly mashed potato , mix well and cook for just 2-3 minutes and switch off.
4. Add the herbs of your choice and mix again.
5. Take the batter in a wide bowl, add the potato masala and mix well.
6. Heat oil for deep frying .
Chef tip : You can also shallow fry them in Appe pans/ Appam pan / paniyaram pan. 
7.Place a wooden spoon or chop stick inside the oil to check the temperature.
Chef tip : If the oil starts to bubble immediately when you place the chop stick inside oil, then the oil is ready to fry. 
8. Spoon the batter into oil and fry them till they turn golden brown .
9. Drain the Masala Idli Bonda in a kitchen towel .
10. Repeat the same process for the remaining batch.

Your delicious Masala Idli Bonda is now ready to be served. I served it with fresh coconut chutney. So yum !!

Masala Idli Bonda

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom







Saturday, May 5, 2018

Kanchipuram Style Murungai Kootu | Authentic Tamil Nadu Village Style Drumstick Stew | Murungakai Kootu Recipe| Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe

Kanchipuram Style Murungai Kootu

Hi Supermoms,

It feels so great to be back to sharing recipes after a refreshing break. As you all know I was travelling to Singapore for a cooking experience and I am so happy to share with you that the workshop was a huge success. I must thank all my readers, fans and friends for such a warm welcome to Singapore. I have to thank the World Class Design Studio Chun Tsubaki for inviting me there to conduct the workshop.  

Sharing some pictures from the Masterclass Experience on Every Day Indian Cooking at 
Chun Tsubaki, Singapore. 

Masterchefmom Masterclass
The food that was cooked during the experience. Mixing podi with sesame oil to marinate the idli

Masterchefmom
The joy of cooking 

Sharing about theAncient Indian Spices, Herbs and Condiments that have great healing power 
Attended by very enthusiastic participants who were very keen to know more about the Indian Cuisine, the Masterclass experience was so much fun and satisfying. 

Masterchefmom in Chun Tsubaki

Now, let me share about today's recipe - Drumstick Kootu from Cheyyar, Kanchipuram District of Tamil Nadu. Unlike the usual 'Kootu' ( meaning 'mix') that involves a mixture of dal and vegetables , this kootu recipe is unique and has cooling properties . Simple to make and with just a few ingredients, this kootu beautifully comes together with a handful of ingredients. Fresh drumstick and coconut usually comes from the backyard of our home that makes this kootu even more delectable. This is a family recipe and I am so happy to share it with all of you. 

Kanchipuram Murungakkai Kootu Recipe : 

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Note : Use tender drumstick and fresh homemade coconut milk for best taste. However, you on non-availability of fresh coconut milk, you can use the store bought ones. Also, using earthen pot to cook this curry brings out more authentic flavours. 

Ingredients : 

1-2 drumsticks ( cut into 2" pieces)
1 cup coconut milk
1 sprig curry leaves
salt to taste

To grind :

1/4 cup coconut ( chopped or grated)
3-4 sambar onions/shallots 
1 teaspoon fennel seeds 
1/4 cup water

To temper :

2 teaspoons sesame oil ( or coconut oil)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies ( Salem Gundu Milagai variety is most ideal , add extra if you like it more spicy)
7-8 shallots ( halved)
4-5 curry leaves ( torn roughly)

Method :

1. Heat 1 cup water in an earthen vessel/ kadai and boil the drumsticks. 

Chef tip : Adjust water quantity depending upon the freshness of the drumstick. Fresh and tender drumstick cooks faster . 
2. While the drumsticks are cooking, extract coconut milk .
3. Grind the ingredients that are given under ' To grind'  , to a fine paste .

4. Once the drumstick is tender, add the ground paste , salt and 1/2 cup of water. 
5. Let it cook for 6-7 minutes over low flame .
6. Add the coconut milk and allow it to simmer for just 2 minutes and switch off.
7. In another small pan , heat oil and temper with ingredients given for the same.
8. Add the shallots and pinch of salt.
9. Keep stirring over low flame till they become soft and transparent.
10. Pour this into the drumstick kootu mixture .
11. Taste and adjust salt. 

Your simple, light and tasty summer kootu is ready to be served along with rice .

Kanchipuram Style Murungai Kootu

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom
























Saturday, April 21, 2018

Mamadikaya Menthi Mukkalu | Andhra Style Cut Mango Pickle Recipe | Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe

Mamadikaya Menthi Mukkalu

Hi Supermoms,

The Indian Mango Pickle needs no introduction. It is delicious and perfect to enjoy along with rice, dal and ghee or as an accompaniment to curd rice. Every home  has it's own favourite mango pickle variety. 

At our home, the Andhra Special Avakaya is most popular. When raw mangoes are in season, I make the Pesara manga oorugai ( Tamil Nadu Style Instant raw mango pickle) regularly. But learning to make authentic Andhra Style pickle was always my dream. During my recent stay at my friend Aruna's place, my dream came true 😍.

Aruna showed me the authentic way of preparing ' Mamadikaya Menthi Mukkalu' the way it has been prepared in her family for generations. The texture, colour and taste of the pickle enticed me so much. Not only the mango pieces in the pickle but the pickle masala itself was so tasty.  The mango was fresh from the tree in her garden and I felt so lucky to learn the recipe from her and share it with all of you. 

Aruna making coffee for both of us in her beautiful kitchen 


"The strong bond of friendship is not always a balanced equation; friendship is not always about giving and taking in equal shares. Instead, friendship is grounded in a feeling that you know exactly who will be there for you when you need something, no matter what or when" -Simon Sinek 

My friend Aruna is a writer, teacher, musician, researcher and wears so many more hats. Above all , a simple, warm , loving and  caring human being. I am so lucky to be blessed with a  friend like herπŸ’–. 

Mamadikaya Menthi Mukkalu


Mamadikaya Menthi Mukkalu | Andhra Style Cut Mango Pickle Recipe:

Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 10 minutes
Storage : Keeps good for upto 10 days when stored in a clean, dry and odour free container and refrigerated

Ingredients :

1 medium size raw mango
1/4 cup sesame oil ( adjust)
1 teaspoon jaggery ( grated)
salt to taste

For the pickle masala:

1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon methi seeds/ fenugreek seeds 
3 teaspoon red chilli powder ( adjust spice according to the type of chillies you are using , in this recipe byadagi chilli powder is used) 
pinch of asafoetida

Method :

1. Wash the mango and wipe it with a clean, dry cloth.
2. Cut them into uniform (small) pieces and transfer them into a clean bowl.



Chef tip : You can cut them into small cubes of approximately 1 cm in dimension.
3. Heat a pan and dry roast the mustard seeds over low flame .
4. When they start spluttering, remove and transfer it to the jar of a mixer .
5. Place the pan back on low flame and roast the fenugreek seeds till they turn fragrant.
Chef tip : Do not over do this step else the seeds might burn .
6. Transfer this to the jar of the mixer and when they have cooled down, powder them.
7. Heat the pan till it is hot, remove from flame and add the chilli powder and keep stirring for one minute. 
8. Add the chilli powder, ground mustard-fenugreek powder,  salt , asafoetida to the cut mango and mix well.
9. Add jaggery powder , sesame oil and mix again.

10. Cover and allow it to rest over night or for at least 10 hours.
This is how it looks after the resting time
Your delicious Mamadikaya Menthu Mukkalu is now ready. You can transfer it to a pickle jar or a clean, dry, odour free glass bottle . 

Serve it as a part of your meal along with rice , rotis or parathas. They taste so yum. 

Mamadikaya Menthi Mukkalu

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom






Thursday, April 19, 2018

Instant Sweet Potato Bread | Sweet Potato Sandwich | Masterchefmom's Tiffin Box Ideas 2018


Instant Sweet Potato Bread

Hi Supermoms,

New school session has started and it is time for all of us to wear our  creative hats πŸ˜‡. I always believe in packing food that is not only healthy and also eye appealing. Bread is hugely popular at home and sweet potato is not that popular. Considering how energy rich the vegetable is, I wanted to experiment with sweet potato and it turned out so delicious. 

Sweet Potato, Banana, jaggery, milk , dates and nuts all make the filling so yummy. So easy to put together and takes less than 20 minutes to pack the tiffin box.  You can be creative with the shapes if you are packing for your younger ones.  If you are packing for teenagers, you can just cut the sandwich  into wedges . 

Also, you can make a savoury or a chaat version of this bread by adding chaat masala , salt and lemon juice to the mashed sweet potato. Add in the nuts and your filling is ready. You can customise the filling according to your family preference. 

It can be a great breakfast or after school snack too. 

Instant Sweet Potato Bread


Instant Sweet Potato Bread: 

Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup 
Special Vessels/equipments : Different shape cutters , skillet

Ingredients :

6-8 slices of bread ( of your choice)

For the filling :

1 medium size sweet potato ( boiled and peeled)
1 small banana ( peeled)
4-5 almonds ( roughly chopped)
4-5 cashew nuts ( roughly chopped/broken)
2-3 dates ( de-seeded and finely chopped)
2 teaspoons jaggery ( powdered)
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon ghee/clarified butter

Method:

1. In a wide bowl add boiled sweet potato and mash using a fork.
2. Add banana and mash .
3. Now add all the other ingredients given  ' for the filling' and mix well. 

4. Cut the bread in the shapes of your choice.

5. Spread the filling inside one of the bread and close with another.


6. Spoon ghee over the bread and spread uniformly.


7. Heat a tava or skillet and place the ghee side facing the tava.
8. Spread ghee on the top layer .
9. When one side brown well, flip and cook the other side.

10. Remove and repeat the same process for the remaining batch.

Your deliciously crisp Sweet Potato Bread is ready to be packed in the tiffin box. You can cool them in a rack for 5 minutes before you pack so that they do not turn soggy. 

Instant Sweet Potato Bread

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom










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