Classic Sakkarai Pongal| Traditional Sweet Pongal Recipe

Hola, guys and girls!

Warm wishes from our family to you for Pongal, Lohri, Makar Sankranti and Magh Bihu! I hope all of you are enjoying the festivities in your part of the world.

Today, I’m sharing with you all the recipe for Classic Sakkarai Pongal or sweet pongal made the traditional way. Made with rice and moong daal, jaggery, loads of dry fruits and ghee, this sweet pongal surely is a lovely treat for kids and adults alike. We make the Sakkarai Pongal in a pressure cooker, and not in a pan as is done traditionally, which ensures that it gets done in a jiffy and is still every bit just as delicious!

Check out our family recipe, just in on my photo blog!

 

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Ezhu Thaan Kootu| Pongal Kootu| Thiruvathirai Kootu

Pongal is just around the corner!
 
I’m here with a Pongal-special recipe today – one for Ezhu Thaan Kootu or Pongal Kootu, a traditional recipe from Tamilnadu.
 
Ezhu Thaan Kootu is Tamil for ‘a curry with seven vegetables’. This preparation uses at least seven local, seasonal vegetables – largely raw banana, pumpkin, cluster beans, potatoes, elephant yam, sweet potato, broad beans and the like. One can add in more than seven vegetables too, but using them in odd numbers (seven, nine or eleven vegetables) is the norm.
 
This Ezhu Thaan Kootu is a thing of beauty. It is a blend of sweet, salty, tangy and spicy flavours, a great thing to prepare on festive occasions and ordinary days alike.
 
It makes for a wonderful accompaniment to Sakkarai Pongal, typically served on the day of the Pongal festival – the savoury Ezhu Thaan Kootu and the sweet Sakkarai Pongal perfect complements to each other.
 
Check out the recipe, just in on my blog!
 
 

Thippili Rasam| Long Pepper Rasam

Winter has, really and truly, set into Bangalore now. It is quite chilly throughout the day, especially so in the nights. With the cold comes body aches, sore throats, cough and cold, and a general lethargy. 🙂 The recipe I am about to share with you today – Thippili Rasam or Long Pepper Rasam – is something that will help you combat all these ills of the winter season.

Read all about the medicinal value of long pepper and get the recipe for this delicious rasam on my blog!

(Hara Chana) Choliya Kadhi| Fresh Green Chana Kadhi

Every year, I wait patiently for winter to arrive. Not because I am particularly fond of the season or anything, but because the cold months bring with them an abundance of gorgeous, fresh produce. One of the winter delights I eagerly look forward to are fresh green chickpeas, aka choliya or hara chana. They seem to scream ‘WINTER’ to me!
 
Hara Chana Kadhi or Choliya Kadhi is one of the things I most enjoy making with the shelled fresh green chickpeas. I do make a whole lot of other dishes with them, too, but this is one of my most favourite. I make the kadhi the Punjabi style, serving it with piping hot phulkas or parathas and a vegetable side dish. It tastes absolutely delicious, the green chickpeas adding a lovely texture to the kadhi. Ah, the bliss!
 
Check out my recipe, just in on the photo blog!
 
 

Menthiyakeerai Thokku| Fenugreek Greens Pickle

We, as a family, are big fans of fresh methi or fenugreek greens (‘menthiyakeerai’ in Tamil). We make it a point to consume them throughout the year, but the beautiful, big, fat, fresh bunches of these greens that are available right about now simply refuse to be ignored. In winters, I cannot resist picking up a fresh bunch of methi greens whenever I visit the vegetable vendor’s – I love adding them to just about anything I am cooking. We adore the slightly bitter taste of these leaves, the lovely flavour they impart to dishes. The most recent experiment in my kitchen with them was this Menthiyakeerai Thokku or a Fenugreek Greens Pickle, which turned out absolutely, finger-lickingly delicious.
 
Check out the recipe for Menthiyakeerai Thokku or Fenugreek Greens Pickle, just in on my blog!
 
 

Pressure Cooker Baingan Bharta| Indian Spiced Eggplant Mash

For many, I am sure the name ‘Baingan Bharta‘ conjures up images of slow-cooked, delicious, hearty meals, often prepared by a loving mother or a doting grandmother. Baingan Bharta or eggplant mash made the Indian way is comfort food for a whole lot of locals. It is, for me too, but the smell I associate with Baingan Bharta is different from the usual.
 
Let me explain. Baingan Bharta is typically cooked by char-grilling a large eggplant on the stove. A smoky flavour permeates the dish, thanks to the char-grilling. This ‘smokiness’ is what most people look forward to, in a dish of Baingan Bharta. My version, which I learnt from my mom, does away with the char-grilling – here, the eggplant is cooked in a pressure cooker, then mashed and again cooked on the stovetop. There is no smoky flavour in our Pressure Cooker Baingan Bharta, but let me assure you that it is equally delicious.
 
Check out our family recipe for Pressure Cooker Baingan Bharta, just in on my photo blog!
 
 

Thumbprint Coconut & Jam Mini Tarts

Just before New Year’s eve, I won an Instagram contest by Bhuira Jams, a brand I have come to trust and love. The good folks at Bhuira sent me a bottle of their Black Cherry Preserve, made with black cherries grown on their plant in Himachal Pradesh, with no artificial colouring or flavouring agents or preservatives. It tastes just awesome, I must say! I just had to use it immediately, and did so in some Thumbprint Coconut & Jam Mini Tarts.
 
These tarts are super easy to make, taking bare minutes to get ready. They have a certain rustic charm to them, thumbprint and all. Use good-quality jam in them, and they become delectable little treats that you can serve for parties and get-togethers. I made the base for these tarts using Unibic’s new Oatmeal Daily Digestive Cookies, adding some dried coconut in, which went beautifully with the flavours of the black cherry jam. The tarts turned out so delicious, they disappeared within minutes of the making!
 
Check out the recipe for these Thumbprint Coconut & Jam Mini Tarts, just in on my photo blog!
 
 

Gongura Pulihora| Sorrel Green Rice

Hola guys! How has the end of the year been treating you? I hope you have been having fun this holiday season!

This year, I’m using Paperless Post, a USA-based website, to send out my holiday greetings. Paperless Post believes in making online communication so much fun that you don’t miss hand-written greeting cards, flyers, invitations and other notes. They have some really lovely designs by established artists, beautiful options to choose from for various types of communication needs. You can customise the design you opt for, for your cards, as well as the envelope front and backing and the message. I’ve been enjoying creating customised cards for my friends and family, and plan to use Paperless Posts for upcoming events as well. Do check out the website, folks!

Moving on to food now, all of us at home love gongura – aka pulichakeerai, sorrel, roselle, kenaf or aambadi – the greens with a sour taste to them. Sadly, though, they are one of the least used greens in our household. We use them only occasionally to make Gongura Thokku, a spicy Andhra Pradesh-style pickle. Considering that these leaves are very rich in iron, folic acid, antioxidants and various vitamins, I wanted to use more of them in our daily diets. So, a Gongura Pulihora or sorrel-flavoured rice was made recently, which turned out to be much loved.

Today, I’m sharing the recipe for this delicious Gongura Pulihora, for you all to check out and try.

Butterfly Pea Lemonade| Colour-Changing Magic Lemonade

Today’s recipe is a magic one! Christmas time, the season of Santa Claus and fairies and unicorns and secret gifts and all that, eh? 🙂
 
Now, this is a simple lemonade recipe at heart, but a magical, colour-changing one! When served, this drink is a pretty, deep blue. Squeeze some lemon into it, and it changes colour to a gorgeous purple! Let me hasten to add that this happens very naturally, without the help of any artificial colouring agents. The secret ingredient here is butterfly pea, a beautiful blue flower that grows in several Asian countries, including parts of India.
 
Head to my blog to read more about this wondrous butterfly pea flower, and for the recipe for the colour-changing lemonade!