Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Vazhaipoo Masala Rice | Banana Flower Rice in Masala Vadai and Panch Phoron Flavours| Banana Blossom Rice Recipe| Gluten Free and Vegan

Vazhaipoo Masala Rice

Hi Supermoms,

Hope you are well. 

It has been such a long time since I spoke to you through my blog. This year, summer in Delhi has been very intense. I am sure many of you would have seen in the news that temperatures were consistently above 45 degrees and even touched 48 degrees. 

My Kitchen gets a lot of sunlight which is a blessing in winters . But it is quite difficult to even stand there during summers. So, I had kept my cooking to the minimum and even that drained me out completely. So, I did not have the energy to click pictures and share recipes . 

The heat has reduced and hopefully, I would get back to sharing my innovative, simple and healthy recipes with all of you . Couple of days ago, I created a new recipe using Banana Blossom/Flower. The main inspiration behind this recipe was my urge to eat Vazhaipoo Vadai, a favourite. But as every one is now counting calories at home ( with teenage children, you can imagine!), I wanted to use the masala vadai flavours and create a healthier dish. 

The addition of Bengali five spices in the masala was very instinctive and it turned out so amazing. You can even roast a handful of peanuts and add it to the masala. I have used rice but you can always mix the masala into broken wheat or millet varieties. They would taste equally delicious . 

I sincerely hope that you will enjoy cooking , serving and eating this dish. Would love to hear your family feedback. 

Vazhaipoo Masala Rice


Vazhaipoo Masala Rice

Preparation time : 15 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Serves : 2-3
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Ingredients :

2 cups cooked rice ( Sona Masoori or Basmati)
1 small banana blossom ( cleaned and chopped finely)/1 cup finely chopped banana blossom
4 small garlic cloves ( peeled and chopped)
1/2" ginger ( chopped)
1 medium size  red onion ( finely chopped)
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
3-4 curry leaves ( you can also grind it along with the masala)
1 tablespoon oil 
salt to taste

For the Ground Masala:

2 tablespoons Bengal Gram/Channa Dal
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds/kalonji
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/4 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 small dry red chillies ( I used Salem Gundu milagai)
1 teaspoon oil

Note : If you are going to try Banana Blossom for the first time, you can check out the health benefits and how to clean it by clicking here

Method :

1. Clean the banana blossom , chop and soak them in diluted buttermilk water with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes or till you fry for the masala.
2. Heat a pan or kadai with oil and fry channa dal till light golden brown.
3. Add red chillies and all other seeds and fry just for a few seconds or till the seeds splutter.
4. Allow the mixture to cool and grind it to a fine powder.
5. Drain the banana blossom and steam them for 10 minutes and set it aside.
6. Heat a kadai with oil and add the curry leaves, grated ginger, garlic and finely chopped onions. 
7. Once they are fried well, add the steam cooked banana blossom , salt and turmeric powder.
8. Once the excess water is evaporated, add the ground masala powder , mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes only and switch off.


How to prepare the rice :

1. Spread the cooked rice in a wide bowl and add a teaspoon of oil or ghee and mix well.
2. Add the banana blossom mixture and mix so that the masala is coated well.
3. You can now pack the rice for lunch box or serve during lunch. 

Vazhaipoo Masala Rice


Healthy and delicious Vazhaipoo/Banana Blossom Masala Rice is now ready !!


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom






Saturday, May 11, 2019

Mor Milagai | Sundried Chillies | How to make Mor Milagai at Home | Authentic Recipe


Hi Supermoms,

Curd rice/Thayir Sadam is an integral part of our lunch menu. A South Indian lunch is complete only when we finish it with  curd rice. Home made pickles like the Pesaru Mangai/Raw Mango Pickle , Nellikai/Gooseberry Thokku and Mor Milagai are the most favourite accompaniments. 

During my childhood, I have seen my mother make these at home during summer. They store well for upto a year. As we all love it so much, my mother always prepares them in large batch. Last summer, when I went to Chennai, I captured my mother making this traditional side dish. 

My Mother Prabha

Sun dried vegetables , fruits , seeds have been in our culinary tradition for ages. It is so handy and is a blessing on a rainy day. I am thrilled to share the authentic process to make this traditional dish.

As I am posting this after a year, the batch of Mor Milagai that my mother made is over. I made a fresh batch and shot the final images for the post. You can use any variety of green chillies to make them . In South India, the chillies are shorter , plump and are most ideal to make the mor milagai . 

Mor Milagai literally means 'Buttermilk Chillies'. Fresh green chillies are soaked in salted sour buttermilk and then sun dried . When they are completely dry and crisp, they are stored in an air tight container. As an when required, you can take a handful of chillies and deep fry on low flame till they turn dark brown/black and enjoyed along with curd rice. 

When you break the fried mor milagai, it should crumble beautifully. That is the sign of a perfectly made mor milagai. Rightly salted and so delicious. Do not be intimidated by the process. Keep trying small batches and I am sure you will get the perfect taste and texture. 

However, you can use the variety that is available in your city/country. 


Recipe Courtesy : Mrs. Prabha

Mor Milagai | Sundried Chillies :

Preparation time : 20 minutes
Total Duration : 4-5 days ( will change depending upon the heat )
Storage : Keeps good for upto 1 year when stored in an odour free, clean and dry container .

Ingredients :

500 gm green chillies 
1 cup thick curd ( it would be ideal if it is sour)
1 cup water
salt ( to taste)

Method:

1. Make a small slit/incision on the side of each chilli.
Chef tip : This step makes sure that the chillies absorb the buttermilk.
2. In an earthen pot or ceramic jar, add the thick curd and whisk well.
3. Add water, salt and make buttermilk.
Chef tip: You can adjust the water quantity. The chillies should be completely immersed in buttermilk. 

4. Soak the chillies for 24 hours. 
5. Remove the chillies from the buttermilk and spread them out in a clean muslin cloth and sun dry them for a few hours.

Chef tip : You can close the chillies with a muslin cloth to prevent dust .
6. At the end of the day, put them back into the buttermilk and allow it to soak overnight.
7. Again, remove the chillies the next day and sun dry them. 
8. Repeat the process till the entire amount of buttermilk is absorbed by the chillies .
9. Once the buttermilk is completely absorbed, you can sun dry the chillies till they are completely dry . 
10. You can store them in a clean, dry container.
11. Heat oil and fry them on low flame (only) till they turn dark brown/black. 

Your Authentic and tasty homemade Mor Milagai is now ready to be enjoyed along with your meal. Try making it this summer. 

Mor Milagai

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom









Friday, May 10, 2019

Saravana Payasam | Thaipoosam Special Recipe | Gluten Free Recipe

Saravana Payasam | Thaipoosam Special Recipe | Gluten Free Recipe

Hi Supermoms,

Food is an expression of sincere love and devotion. 

I made this simple and delicious payasam/kheer yesterday as neivedyam/prashad/offering to my Guru. The recipe was shared by my favourite Shanthi didi some time ago and I have been wanting to make it . This recipe is a Thaipoosam special dish. 

Once the rice and moong dal is cooked, it hardly takes time to make this payasam. You can make it vegan by using coconut milk and substituting coconut oil instead of ghee. You can use all your favourite dry fruits for garnishing . Instead of rice, you can use millets.

You can add powdered jaggery directly into the rice mixture or you can dissolve the jaggery in 1/2 cup hot water, filter and then add it. 

The aroma of dry ginger, cardamom and fried coconut pieces makes this payasam unique and so tasty. 


Saravana Payasam | Thaipoosam Special Recipe | Gluten Free Recipe

Recipe Courtesy : Mrs. Shanthi Ramachandran

Saravana Payasam | Thaipoosam Special Recipe :

Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

1/2 cup raw rice ( Sona masoori /Ponni)
1 tablespoon moong dal/husked and split green gram 
1/2 cup powdered jaggery ( add extra if you like it more sweet)
1 tablespoon dry ginger powder ( mixed with 1 tablespoon water)
3-4 green cardamom ( powdered)
1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces ( finely chopped)  
1 teaspoon dry fruits of your choice ( I used chirongi)( optional)
2 teaspoons ghee /clarified butter 
1/2 cup milk ( adjust according to your taste)


Method :

1. Wash rice and moongdal.
2. Add 2 & 1/2 cups of water and pressure cook for upto 4 whistles on low/medium flame.
3. Once the pressure releases, open the cooker and place it back on low flame.
4. Add the powdered jaggery and keep stirring and cooking till the jaggery melts completely.
5. Add the dry ginger powder and cardamom and cook for a minute and switch off. 
6. In parallel, heat ghee in a small pan and fry the coconut pieces .
7. Pour it over the payasam.
8. Add toasted chirongi and switch off.
9. Once the mixture is warm, add hot milk and mix well.
Note: You can cook the mixture with milk again for a minute if you like. 

Your delicious Saravana Payasam is now ready for the special occasion. 


Saravana Payasam | Thaipoosam Special Recipe

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom






Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Claypot Biryani | Manpanai Biryani| How to make Vegetable Layered Biryani in a Claypot | Manchatti Biryani Recipe


Claypot Layered Vegetable Biryani

Hi Supermoms,

Vegetable Biryani is an all time favourite dish at home. Until a few years ago, Sundays were synonymous with Biryani 😎 served with Achaari Tomato raita. My better half is  happy when I cook Biryani . He loves my signature Quick Biryani the most and always chides me if I try any experimentation with it 😉. 

But I am often tempted to try new things . Even a tiny addition to an existing recipe can impact the flavour in so many ways. The inspiration behind creating this recipe was a delicious looking chicken biryani that a blogger friend Richa had shared . Watching her add fried onions while marinating chicken, tempted me so much to try it in my vegetable biryani. 

Also, I love cooking in claypots as the flavour it imparts to the Biryani is simply amazing. One has to taste it to experience what I am sharing. I fried /roasted the onions along with garlic cloves in the oven . However, you can fry them over a stove top too. 

Making Biryani at home is quite simple and is an enjoyable process too. Marinating the vegetables for a few hours will make it more tasty. You can use vegetables of your choice. 

Not only weekends, any day can be made brighter when you cook this Biryani. 

Claypot Layered Vegetable Biryani


Claypot Layered Vegetable Biryani:

Preparation time : 2 hours 
Cooking time : 1 hour 
Serves : 4-6
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

For Fried onions and garlic:

2 onions ( sliced thinly)
10 garlic pods ( halved) 
1 tablespoon oil 
salt 


Masala For Marination ;

1/2 cup thick curd ( whisked)
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon Biryani Masala 
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
5 garlic cloves ( roasted and mashed)
1 onion ( sliced thinly and fried)
salt to taste 

Vegetables for Marination :
Note : Cut them in uniform shape

1 potato 
1 carrot
10-15 french beans
1/2 cup fresh peas 

To grind :

1 large tomato ( or 2 small tomatoes)
1 onion ( roughly chopped)
1/2" ginger
3-4 garlic cloves 
1-2 green chilli 

To temper:

1/4 cup ghee/clarified butter
1-2 bay leaves
1 star anise
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds ( coarsely powdered using mortar and pestle)
1/2" stick cinnamon 
2 cloves 

Other ingredients :

2 cups basmati rice ( soak in 2 cups water for 20 minutes )
7-8 saffron strands ( soak in 1/4 cup warm milk for at least 30 minutes)
1/2 cup loosely packed mint leaves 


Method :

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the onions and chopped garlic.
2. Drizzle oil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 30-35 minutes or till the time they are roasted uniformly.


























3. Alternatively, you can fry them in a kadai.












4. Marinate the vegetables in the mixture given under 'masala for marination'.


5. Soak the saffron in milk.
6. Grind the vegetables given under "to grind'.
7. Soak the rice in a clay pot and cook it on the same till they are almost done. 
Note : Basmati rice cooks fast. This step will take less than 15 minutes.
8. While the rice is cooking, heat another clay vessel/manchatti with ghee and add all the ingredients given under 'To temper'. 
9. Once the masalas turn fragrant, add the ground tomato mixture .
10. Let it cook till the raw smell disappears and the tomatoes get a cooked colour.

11. Add the marinated vegetables along with the curd.

12. Cook them covered till the vegetables are cooked through.
13. Open and cook till the excess water is absorbed.
Note: The masala can be a little juicy and should not be too dry. It will ensure that the flavours are absorbed well by the basmati rice.
14. You can transfer the rice from the clay pot to another wide bowl and start layering the rice.
15. Start with the vegetable gravy, then rice, fried onions and garlic, saffron milk and mint leaves.












16. Repeat for the remaining batch. 
17. Close the lid and cook the biryani on slow flame for another 10 minutes . 


Your home must  smell heavenly already. Enjoy this delicious Biryani with lasooni raita

Claypot Layered Vegetable Biryani

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom


Monday, April 8, 2019

Orange Rice | Orange Sadam | Gluten Free and Vegan | A Masterchefmom Original

Orange Rice | Orange Sadam

Hi Supermoms,

Innovating recipes that are also easy for everyone to try, makes me so happy. One such creation is my 'Orange Sadam'. I made this rice some time ago and been asked by many of you to share the recipe.  Finally got time to update the recipe .

I love to incorporate fruits in my cooking . They bring so much of freshness to the regular menu. Also, it is no secret that my children ( and myself 😁) are reluctant fruit eaters. 

I added  ripe green chillies ( it had turned into orange in colour) to give that colour effect. You can add fresh red chillies or green chillies for this recipe. I also added green peas and mint leaves and they complimented the dish without overpowering flavours. 

Tangy and mildly spicy orange rice was loved and taste approved by the family. Yes, another recipe from my kitchen to yours which is so easy to make but new and refreshing too. 

Hope you enjoy cooking and feeding this rice. Do share it with me on instagram or facebook

Will update fresh pictures when I make them next. 

Chef Tips: 
a. Dry the orange skin in sunlight for a couple of days and powder it. You can use 1/4 teaspoon of this zest to flavour the rice. 
b. Adjust spice according to the variety of orange you are using. 

Orange Rice | Orange Sadam :

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 10 minutes
Serves : 2
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

1/2 cup Sona masoori rice /Ponni ( cook 1/2 cup rice with 1 +1/4 cup water)
1/4 cup freshly extracted orange juice 
1/4 teaspoon orange zest ( you can grate the skin of the fresh orange)
1/4 cup green peas
1/4 cup carrot ( grated)(optional)
salt to taste

To temper :

2 teaspoons oil ( you can use sesame or coconut oil)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2-3 ripe chillies ( halved)

To garnish :

few mint leaves ( torn roughly)

Optional Ingredients :

You can add channa dal/bengal gram, peanuts along with tempering ingredients. You can add boiled chickpeas instead or along with green peas. 

Method :

1. Heat a kadai or a pan with oil and temper with mustard seeds and chillies.
2. Add green peas and salt.
3. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the orange zest and half of the orange juice and switch off the flame.
5. Add the cooked and fluffed rice.
6. Mix well.
7. Turn on the heat , add the remaining orange juice and stir well on high heat for a few seconds and switch off.
8. Add the mint leaves .
Chef tip : Taste and adjust the salt levels. 

This can be a lovely lunch box dish . You can make it with left over rice also.

Orange Rice | Orange Sadam

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom







Thanjavur Style Keerai Kadanchathu | Keerai Kadayal | South Indian Style Spinach Mash | Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe

Thanjavur Style Keerai Kadanchathu

Hi Supermoms,

"The tastiest dishes are made of few ingredients and simple recipes".

A great example to prove this statement is the recipe I am going to share today. Thanjavur 'Keerai Kadanchathu', a family favourite. I was introduced to this dish by my Mother-In- Law. In our home, a small portion of spinach is made almost every day. Keerai Kadanchathu is a perfect accompaniment to any dish. It can be had along with a spicy curry rice , sambar or any variety rice. 

This dish is so healthy and hardly takes time to cook. Though I must confess, it took me many years of continuous practise to get the taste and consistency of the Keerai Kadayal that my MIL makes. Every time I used to make this dish, my children will taste and immediately share, "Amma, it is good but not as great as Paati's(grandma's)". That motivated me to watch my MIL make the spinach kadayal closely and learn all her tips and tricks to get this dish right. I am happy to share that I have passed the taste test successfully.  

I also try and cook spinach in my iron kadai/wok  that makes it more iron rich and also tasty. You can add a pinch of baking soda/cooking soda or sugar to spinach, if you like that vibrant green colour. I usually avoid it. As spinach reduces in quantity so much once it cooks, be careful of the salt quantity. It is always better to add only little in the beginning. Once it cooks, you can taste and add if required. You can cover the vessel/wok with a lid or a heavy vessel with water on the top if you do not want to add any water to the spinach. 

The most important step is to finely chop spinach. That really gives a great texture to Keerai Kadanchathu. Traditionally we use a wooden hand whisk called 'Matthu' to mash/whisk the spinach . The 'whisking' action is called 'Kadayal' and thus the name of the dish. 

The Keerai Kadanchathu regularly features in my Lunch Thalis . Some other regular spinach dishes that I make are Keerai Mor Kootu, Keerai Sambar, Keerai Thayir Pachadi . You can make this recipe to cook any fresh seasonal spinach/amaranth variety available in your locality.


Thanjavur Style Keerai Kadanchathu

Thanjavur Style Keerai Kadanchathu: 

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 20 minutes
Serves : 2-3
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Ingredients :

4 cups spinach ( finely chopped)
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon rice flour
rock salt to taste

For tempering :

1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds ( or cumin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon urad dal ( optional)
1-2 dry red chillies ( halved)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method:

1. Wash and add spinach to an iron kadai.

2. Place the kadai over low/medium flame.
3. Add salt ,water and allow it to cook for 7-8 minutes.
Note : The time will vary depending upon the freshness of the spinach that you are using.
4. Use a hand whisk ( matthu) to mash the spinach.


5. Add rice flour and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or till the time they look like a smooth curry. 
6. Switch off.
7. Temper with ingredients given for the same.

Your traditional, simple and healthy Keerai Kadanchathu is now ready to be served. 

Thanjavur Style Keerai Kadanchathu

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom







Friday, April 5, 2019

Ridge Gourd Peel Thogayal With Gooseberry| Peerkangai Thol Thogayal | Gluten Free and Vegan Recipe

Ridge Gourd Peel Thogayal

Hi Supermoms,

Summer has started in full swing. I am trying my level best to finish cooking early so that I can avoid standing in the afternoon heat .

Summer months means simple and smart meals loaded with fresh cooling vegetables. But sometimes, it happens that we plan a humble meal and it becomes an elaborate fare like this one. You can read the story behind this banana leaf meal here.

Many of you messaged me asking for the ridge gourd peel thogayal recipe. This is a healthy, quick to make 'Thogayal'. Traditionally, thogayal recipes have tamarind in them. I avoided tamarind and used gooseberry and tomatoes instead. It tasted so delicious. The thogayal stays good for upto two to three days when stored in a clean, odour free air tight container .

Using Ridge Gourd peel is not new to my cooking. I have earlier shared the Ridge Gourd Chutney recipe which is so yummy. 

Now, how to eat the thogayal ? 

Thogayal is enjoyed as the first course in a meal. Add a ladle of steaming hot rice on your plate. Add half a teaspoon of the thogayal on top of the rice. Heat one teaspoon ghee or sesame oil . Pour it on top of the thogayal. Mix well and enjoy. My favourite way is to enjoy it with curd rice 😀.
When you make this thogayal, do share it with me on instagram or facebook . I would be so happy. 


Ridge Gourd Peel Thogayal :

Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 10 minutes
Serves : 6-8
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Ingredients :

2 teaspoons sesame oil ( or coconut oil)
1 cup ridge gourd peel ( chopped roughly)
2 teaspoons husked and split black gram/urad dal
1 gooseberry ( de-seeded and chopped)
2 small tomatoes ( or 1 large tomato)( chopped roughly)
4 dry red chillies ( adjust according to the spice levels and variety of chilli you are using)
1/2 teaspoon jaggery ( adjust according to taste)( optional)
salt to taste.

To garnish :

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method :

1. Heat a heavy bottom pan with oil.
2. Add urad dal and dry red chillies.
3. When they turn light brown and fragrant, add the ridge gourd peel , gooseberry and tomatoes. 
4. Cook over low/medium flame till the excess water is absorbed and the tomatoes break down. 
5. Add jaggery, salt and switch off .
6. Grind them to a coarse paste adding 1/4 cup water. 
Chef tip : Adjust water quantity. You can add 1-2 teaspoons of chopped fresh coconut while grinding for added taste. 

Your healthy and tasty Ridge Gourd Thogayal is now ready. 

Ridge Gourd Peel Thogayal


If you like this recipe, do try my Sigappu Milagai Thogayal/ Chilli Thogayal . You will love it.

Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom







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