Sunday, June 30, 2013

Alaambe Aambat(Thunder Mushroom Ghashi)

GSBs just love Alaambe Aambat. This is a bland sweetish curry with or without added Yellow Cucumber. Adding Yellow Cucumber gives the curry added taste and flavour. Every GSB house hold that prepares alaambe in the season goes for this curry which is liked by all age groups. This is also a monsoon time delicacy and goes well with rice and rasam or daalithoi, congi, idlis and chapathis.
Alaambe Aambat
Alaambe - 1 KG washed cleaned and shelled
Yellow Cucumber - 100Gm piece peeled and chopped into small bits.
Grated coconut - 2 cups
Roasted red chillies - 4
Tamarind - A small ball
Onion - 2 medium
Salt - To taste
Coconut oil - 2 tsp
Raw Alaambe
Peeled Alaambe
Grind roasted chillies and tamarind along with grated coconut to a fine paste.
Cook the chopped yellow cucumber and the chopped onions with very little water.
Add the ground masala and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil and cook for 2-3 mins.
Now add the alaambe and cook for another 2 mins.
Switch off the flame.
Heat oil and add the remaining chopped onions.
Fry till golden brown and pour this seasoning over the curry.
Serve hot.
Alaambe Aambat ready for serving
Alaambe Aambat with Paan Pole

Alaambe Bhutthi(Thunder Mushroom Bhutthi)

Alaambe bhutthi is typical GSB curry with the goodness of coriander seeds in a coconut based gravy. This again is a monsoon favourite and tastes fantastic with rice and daalithoi, congi, idlis and chapathis. I also eat this with bread or paav bun sometimes.

For shelled alaambe picture click here.
Alaambe Bhutthi
Alaambe - 1 KG washed cleaned and shelled
Grated coconut - 2 cups
Coriander seeds - 1 Tbsp
Roasted red chillies - 4-5
Tamarind - A small ball
Onion - 1 big chopped
Salt - To taste
Coconut oil - 2 tsp
Raw Alaambe
Grind coriander seeds, roasted chillies and tamarind along with grated coconut to a coarse paste.
Heat oil in a kadai.
Add chopped onion and fry till golden
Add the ground masala and salt to taste. Fry well till the raw smell disappears and oil leaves the sides.
If you want, add little water.
Now add the alaambe and mix. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Switch off the flame, cover the kadai and keep for 5 mins.
Serve hot.
Alaambe Bhutthi ready for serving

Alaambe Phannaupkari(Thunder Mushroom Song)

The monsoon specialty Gud Gud Alaambe(Laamb in Tulu) is also known as 'Thunder Mushroom'. It emerges from the ground amidst decaying foliage when the thunder showers hit the hilly regions of undivided Dakshina Kannada district and is available for a month or so. Locals crefully pick them, wash them and pack them to be sent to the surrounding cities and towns, also to distant Bangalore. Starting with a high price of Rs.400/- plus per kilo, in the hig season they are available at almost Rs.250/- per kilo. That's not the end.

Peeling(rather shelling) them is a laborious process. GSBs mostly relish these alaambes and they painstakingly remove the outer shell with a toothpick, a sharp knife or fork and collect the white spongy core, cook them with spices and prepare delicacies like Phannaupkari(song), Aambat and Bhutthi. GSBs also make Sannapolo(Savoury dosa) and Bhujias that tickle the taste buds when eaten with steaming red rice congi. Some modern generation people also make North Indian curries and Manchurian with alaambe. After cleaning alaambe, you may get hardly 200Gms of the core.

Garam Tawa is starting the monsoon specialties with Alaambe Phannaupkari, a simple but tasty spicy tangy curry that goes well with rice and daalithoi, congi, idlis(moode, khottige), shevai and chapathis(pooris and phulkas included). Please remember that alaambes grow on decayed foliage and they need thorough washing and cleaning. Unlike potato song or fish phannaupkari, the amount of chilli powder used should not be too much.
Alaambe Phannaupkari
Alaambe - 1 KG washed thoroughly and shelled.
Onions - 2 medium chopped
Tomato - 1 medium chopped(Optional)
Red Chilli powder - 2-3 Tsp
Tamarind - A small ball soaked in 1/2 cup water
Salt - To taste
Coconut Oil - 2 Tsp

Raw alaambe

Alaambe being shelled
Alaambe core after shelling
Heat oil in a kadai.
Add a handful of chopped onions and fry till golden.
Add the remaining onion and fry till soft and transparent.
Add optional chopped tomato and fry till mushy.
Now add the red chilli powder and fry till raw smell disappears.
Add tamarind extract and alaambe.
Bring to a boil, add extra water if necessary.
Add salt to taste and cook for 2 mins.
Switch off the flame and cover the phannaupkari, keep for 5 mins and then serve hot.

Alaambe Phannaupkari ready for serving
A wholesome meal with Alaambe Phannaupkari, Paalak Paneer and Phulkas

Tarkari Biryani

Tarkari Biryani is nothing but vegetable biryani. I named the dish thus, because we used left over vegetables and made this. When you have very small quantities of mixed veggies, paneer and mushroom, you can prepare this.

Biryani is necessarily a curried rice dish. Many spices and pastes go into this to make it succulent and tasty. Freshly ground spices and herbs add to the aroma and the availability of modern kitchen gadgets has simplified the cooking process otherwise elaborate four decades ago!

You should be careful while selecting the basmati rice. We used India Gate long grain basmati which is old and takes longer time and more water to cook. Each grain of rice looks like broken noodle and tastes superb. So, I recommend India Gate or any basmati rice above that.

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Water - 4 Cups
Salt - To Taste
Chopped Mixed vegetables such as Carrots, peas, beans, cauliflower, paneer, mushroom - 1 and 1/2 cup
Ginger - A small piece
Garlic - 6-8 flakes
Coriander leaves - A handful chopped
Green Chillies - 2
Tomato - 1 chopped
Peppercorns - 1/4 Tsp
Clove - 2
Cinnamon - A small piece
Cardamom - 1
Bay leaf - 1
Turmeric powder - A pinch
Curd - 2 Tsp
Brown Onion paste - 1 Tbsp
Fried onions - 1 Tbsp
Fried cashew nuts - 1 Tbsp
Oil - 2 Tsp
Ghee - 2+1 Tsp

Grind Ginger, garlic, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns, coriander leaves, green chillies and tomatoes into a paste.
Wash and soak basmati rice in water for 20 mins. Drain and keep aside.
Boil 4 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil.
Add the bay leaf, salt to taste, ghee and soaked basmati rice.
Cover and cook on slow heat till the rice is undercooked and all the water has been absorbed. Allow to cool.
Heat oil in a pan. Fry the ground paste till raw smell disappears.
Add the brown onion paste, turmeric powder and salt to taste.
Fry well till oil leaves the sides.
Now add the chopped vegetables and stir fry on high flame till cooked.
Add the curd, mix well, cover and simmer for 5 mins.
Cover the veg gravy with the steamed basmati rice, drizzle one tsp ghee, cover and simmer for 5-10 min.
Alternatively you can arrange the veg gravy and rice in a microwave proof box and keep it for 1-2 mins.
Garnish with fried onions and cashew nuts and serve with raita of your choice.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Eggless Chocolate Cake with Whole Wheat Flour

This is a wholesome cake for the calorie conscious vegetarians, as it does not contain eggs or butter. The use of whole wheat flour is a good fiber supplement. Tastes like any other chocolate cake and can be served as a dessert topped with any plain flavoured ice cream. You can also finish this with your choice of frosting. I like this with a cup of hot strong filter coffee!

We found this recipe in a traditional baking recipe collection passed on by a friend, a hotel management graduate who was running restaurant in Bangalore along with many others that are followed by even 5 star hotels!
1. Whole Wheat Flour - 175Gms
2. Plain Sugar -  75Gms
3. Brown Sugar or Demerara Sugar - 50Gms(To get that dark colour)
4. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder - 3 Tbsp
5. Plain Curd - 200Gms
6. Vanilla essence - 1/2 Tsp
7. Refined Vegetable Oil - 4Tbsp
8. Baking Powder - 1 1/4 Tsp
9. Baking Soda - 1/2 Tsp
10. Salt - 1/2 Tsp
11. Milk - QS(Optional)
Powder both the sugars.
Beat curd with powdered sugar and salt.
Add baking powder, soda and mix well.
Leave aside for 2-3 mins.
Now add the flour and cocoa powder. Beat well with the cake mixer.
Add vanilla essence.
Add oil and mix gently. Don't beat.
If you want, you may add little milk to get the right consistency, maximum 1/2 cup.
Grease the cake mould and preheat the oven at 180° C or 350° F.
Pour the dough into the mould and bake for 30mins or in a microwave oven for 6 mins.
Once baked and done(Test with a toothpick), transfer to the wire tray and allow to cool.
Slice thin and top with a slice of any plain flavoured ice cream topped with chocolate sauce and serve as a dessert.
Slice horizontally and apply chocolate sauce over the cut surface, place the upper half and then cut into wedges.
Alternately, sprinkle powdered sugar, cut into wedges and serve.
Chocolate Sauce:
Heat 250Gm Dark Chocolate with 100ML fresh whole cream in the microwave for 1-2 Mins.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Nuchchinunde(Lentil Dumplings)

This is a protein rich low fat steamed dumpling containing two or more lentils and a few herbs and spices. Very popular in old Mysore province of Karnataka State. Meena tried this with Tuvar Daal, Moong Daal and Chana Daal. Conventional Nuchchinunde has added Dill(Sabbasige soppu) but I prefer just Coriander leaves and she obliged me by not adding Dill leaves. Besides, she didn't have stock of Dill leaves in the first place!

Try these healthy tasty dumplings. Green or white coconut based chutney goes well with these. The same batter can be used for making vadas but you may need to add some rice flour to achieve the crispness.
1. Tuvar Daal - 1/2 cup
2. Chana Daal - 1/2 cup
3. Moong Daal - 1/2 cup
4. Salt - To taste
5. Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
6. Green Chillies - 3-4 minced
7. Ginger - 1" piece minced
8. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 Tsp
9. Coriander leaves - A handful chopped
10. Dill(or Methi) leaves - A handful chopped
11. Coconut bits(Chopped) - A handful optional
Soak the daals for 2-3 hours.
Grind grated coconut, ginger and green chillies to a chutney.
Add the soaked lentils and grind coarsely.
Add chopped greens, optional coconut bits and salt to taste.
This batter should be thick.
Shape into oval dumplings and steam for 10-15 mins.
Serve with chutney of your choice or with plain curds.

Magge Idli(Sauthe Kaayi Kadubu) with Horse Gram Chutney

A tasty and healthy non oily breakfast snack that will be liked by all. This is much tastier than cucumber idlis. The recipe is from a local Kannada TV channel. I whacked  6m idlis at a go and the Horse gram chutney is finger licking good! Same chutney can be eaten for lunch or with congi for dinner.
Ingredients for the Idlis:
1. Grated Magge(Chinese Cucumber) - 1 and 1/2 cup
2. Rice(Idli) Rava - 1 cup
3. Curd - 3 Tbsp
4. Salt - To taste

Coarsely Grind:
5. Grated Coconut - 3 Tbsp
6. Green Chillies - 5-6
7. Cumin Seeds - 1/2 Tsp
8. Coriander Seeds - 1/2 Tsp
9. Asafotoeda - A pinch

Mix in the ground masala with rice rava ans grated magge, add curd and salt and combine well.
Keep idli steamer on the flame, grease the idli moulds/cups with little oil and drop a handful of batter in each mould.
Steam for 10-15 mins.

Ingredients for the Horse Gram Chutney:
1. Horse Gram(KuLithu/Huruli) - 3 Tsp
2. Urad Daal - 2 Tsp
3. Cumin Seeds - 1/4 Tsp
4. Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
5. Red Chillies - 2-3 short and 1 long
6. Tamarind - A pinch
7. Salt - To taste

Roast Horse gram, Urad daal, Cumin seeds and red chillies.
Grind along with grated coconut, tamarind and salt to taste to a thick dry paste, adding little water if necessary.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Prawn Achari(Prawns in Pickled Masala)

When I talk about Achari, this has nothing to do with carpenters, sculptors or goldsmiths who are known as Acharis! This is a spicy tangy preparation with a pickle as base. Achar in Hindi means pickle and North Indian cuisine has Achari Ghost, Achari Murg and so on.

I came out with an idea of making something when it rains outside and the temperature has dropped down to a pleasant level, necessitating the consumption of hot and spicy dishes.

Prawn Pickle is available in the South but that's got a spicy tangy masala with vinegar as the preservative. Here, I have used the Spicy Raw Mango Chutney, which is also a kind of pickle that can be preserved in the fridge for a week or little more. Last week I had prepared this chutney and thought, why not make an instant prawn preparation with that!

So here it is, Prawn Achari, the spicy tangy treat for the monsoon season. All you have to do is add little salt and little oil while shallow frying the prawns and then use this chutney in calculated amount, add little water to make it slightly wet and infiltrate the prawns. Goes well with fish curry rice or just rice and rasam. You can also serve this as a starter.

Jumbo Prawns - 500Gms
Spicy Raw Mango Chutney - 4-5 Tsp
Coconut Oil - 2 Tsp
Salt - 1/2 Tsp or to taste
Water - QS

Shell, devein and wash prawns. Apply salt and keep aside for 15 mins.
Heat oil in a shallow pan.
Add the mango chutney and sprinkle water sufficient to make a wet masala.
Add the prawns and fry till the masala is well coated.
Cover and cook for 5-7 mins.
When the prawns have cooked and the masala is thick, switch off the flame.
Serve with onion slices and lemon wedge.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Banana Curd by Uma Shenoi

This is a healthy dessert fit for summer. Tastes good and leaves the diner contented. For kids, this is a wholesome food. Easy to make but little homework is necessary as this is done with a cold process. Gelatin is added to set the curd to an ice cream like consistency, since we are using plain curd here.
If you use hung curd, gelatin is not required. Any left over ice cream with nutty flavour or just plain vanilla flavour is suited for this in case you don't have condensed milk. Sugar is added to sweeten, if you use fresh cream.

1. Unsweetened curd - 400Gms
2. Ripe Bananas - 2 medium or 1/2 cup pulp(100Gms)
3. Condensed Milk/Ice Cream/Fresh Cream - 1/2 cup
4. Sugar(Optional) - 4-5 tsp
5. Gelatin - 2 Tsp
6. Raisins - A hanful(Optional)
Peel and mash bananas to a smooth pulp.
Heat 1/2 cup water in a double boiler and dissolve gelatin by slowly stirring.
Add the banana pulp, dissolved gelatin, condensed milk or substitutes(and optional sugar if you are using cream) to the curd.
Beat well in the mixie.
Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for at least 6-8 hours to set.
Serve chilled, topped with raisins/fresh fruit chunks or as it is.
You may substitute banana pulp with any other fruit pulp like mango, strawberry, peach, avocado, lychee or chikoo.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Anda Laal Masala

A modified version of Masala Fried Egg, this has the North Indian touch. This was adapted by Meena from Murg Laal Masala and the result was too good. We ate this with phulkas and tomato rice. You can also eat this with white rice, ghee rice, dosas aapams and idlis.
Hard boiled eggs - 4
Red Chilli paste - 4 Tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1 Tsp
Tamarind extract - A small ball in 30Ml water
Kasoori Methi - A pinch(Optional)
Coriander powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - A pinch
Garam Masala Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Salt - To Taste
Oil - 2 Tsp
Curry leaves - 1/2  sprig
Coriander leaves - To garnish
Peel and cut the hard boiled eggs into halves.
Heat oil in a pan and fry curry leaves followed by ginger garlic paste and red chilli paste.
Add salt to taste, optional Kasoori methi, all the powders and tamarind extract.
Fry well till raw smell disappears and oil leaves the sides.
Sprinkle little water to keep the masala thick but moist.
Finally arrange the egg halves with cut side up and cover with the masala.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Red Chilli paste:
Soak 30-40 red long chillies in hot water for 30 mins.
Grind with little salt and vinegar to a smooth thick paste.
Store in a fridge and after two days, transfer to freezer.
This paste can be used in many Indian and Chinese preparations.


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