Sunday, April 20, 2008

Grand Snacks and Sweets, Chennai

Totally inspired by the masala (blend of spices) given to us by our Tamilian friends Lux & Moorthy, I sent a shopping list to my mom who was visiting Madras for her visa. The parcel has just reached me. YIPPEE!

Karakuzhambu paste, onion thokku, pepper rasam masala, and that tamarind thing - is it Pulikachal?

Also she has sent me a bit of sambhar and rasam powder of theirs to try out.

I don't need to cook anything other than rice for the next one month. Hahahahaha

I'm so kicked with myself. Already tasted all of them. They are awesome!

If you want to buy some yourself or get it shipped to you, the address is:
2nd Main Road,
Gandhi Nagar
Chennai - 600020

Phone: 044-24914213

Read more about Grand Snacks & Sweets in The Hindu

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Recipe : Sheera / Sweet Upma

For sweet upma,
roast 1 cup semolina in a little ghee.
Before the semolina burns, add 2 cups of hot milk then add a cup of sugar.
As the sugar is melting, you can add some cashewnuts and raisins.
Cook till the milk is all absorbed.

You can either serve it a little wet as a halwa (in a bowl with a spoon) or you can dry it out a bit, smoothen it in a greased plate and cut with cookie cutters.

In my hometown (Mangalore) this is called sheera.

A version of this is also made with pineapple. Put little chunks of pineapple with the cashewnuts and raisins.
If you are using tinned pineapples adjust the sugar to accommodate the syrup of the pineapples. You can lessen the sugar if you feel it is too sweet.

If you want to make it lighter, you can use skimmed milk or even water.

You can dust cinnamon powder or cardamom powder or nutmeg powder for flavouring when adding the milk.

Picture taken from food for Thought's Blog

Look at her site for a recipe for singhade atta ka sheera - perfect for fasting

Recipe : Rava Idlis

Idlis are pretty simple to make. They are ground rice fermented overnight and steamed.

But given the constraints of finding the right kind of rice in Egypt, I prefer to make something called rawa idlis (rawa=semolina - the stuff used to make basbousa)

This one is pretty simple:
2 cups semolina dry roast it a bit
Once it has cooled down back to room temperature, add 2 cups of yoghurt and mix thoroughly with a little salt to taste.
Add enough water to turn it to a consistency similar to griddle cakes.

Let it sit for 20 minutes, then you steam them in little containers.

In the microwave, I steam it for 3 minutes in a container that looks similar to this

I think over the stove it needs to be steamed for 15 minutes in a container that looks like this the idlis are shaped in this
I don't know what you would use as a substitute for this but if you look closely you will realise that the circular crevices in which you put the batter have little holes at their base to allow the steam to cook the batter.

I prefer to substitute 2 cups semolina with 1 cup semolina and 1 cup powdered oats.
This gives a lot more fibre content and slow breakdown of carbohydrates in the body, so keeps you feeling full for longer.

Above is the recipe for the basic batter.

You can add the following items to the batter
A few frozen peas
Some grated carrot
Chopped cilantro
Chopped chillies
A few chopped cashewnuts to make it fancy
Any herbs and spices you particularly like

If you want the idlis really puffy and light, you can add a pinch of Eno fruit Salt (unflavoured) - a mix of Sodium bicarbonate and citric acid - just before the steaming process.

Rava Idlis should turn out looking like this

Idlis can be eaten plain, with chutney, with any gravy item. The traditional accompaniments are coconut chutney and sambhar.
You can even enjoy them with a dollop of ghee on top and some chutney pudi if you have access to that.


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