Friday, 22 July 2016

Aadi Paal | Thengai Paal Payasam Recipe

Today is Aadi Velli, a very auspicious day.. Aadi month, which falls in the middle of July and August [ mid July- mid August] is the 4th month in the Tamil calendar.Veeli means Friday. And today is the first Friday of the Aadi month!!

During this month religious observances take a prominent places especially to the Goddess related to Nature / water forces. Prayers are offered to protect them from in-auspiciousness and also to gaurd/protect them from natural forces in future.The whole of this month is dedicated to auspicious things like prayers and pujas so all other activities like weddings and other ceremonies are not performed during Aadi month.

Due to the festivities, a lot of delicacies are prepared that are a highlight of the month. One such dish is the Aadi Paal or Thengai Paal Payasam. It is a delicious concoction of coconut milk and jaggery and is very, very easy to prepare.

I read that this payasam is prepared on the first day of Aadi to celebrate the beginning of the new month also called Aadi pandigai.

We generally don't celebrate this festival as it is not a part of our custom but since we have been in Tamil Nadu long enough, their culture and customs have seeped into ours. And being a food blogger , I have this interest to record the dishes that go with each festival / function from around here.

I used:
Adapted from : Shanthi Krishnakumar's cookbook
Serves - 2

Coconut - 1/2 a small one
Jaggery - 3 tablespoons
Cashews- 5, broken into bits
Raisins- 10
Ghee - 1 teaspoon [Use oil for a vegan version]
Cardamom powder- a small pinch
Water as needed

Grate coconut and add hot water ,a little over 3/4 cup and let it sit for a minute. Grind it in a mixie.Pass it through a sieve and using the back of a spoon squeeze out as much milk as possible. This is the first extract. Keep it aside.

To the same coconut meal / ground coconut, add 1/4-1/2 cup of hot water and let it sit for a minute.Give it a go in the mixie,pass it through a sieve and using the back of a spoon squeeze out as much milk as possible. This is the second extract. Keep it aside.

In a vessel take the jaggery and add a little water till the jaggery submerges.mash out the lumps and filter. Keep aside. This should be around 1/4 cup. Else make it up to a 1/4 cup adding water.

Heat ghee [or oil for a vegan version] and fry the cashew till golden brown.Drain and remove to a plate.To the same pan add raisins and remove from pan once they puff up. Keep aside.

Take the jaggery syrup in a pan and bring it to a boil. Let it thickens to a honey like consistency, but not thicker than that. Add the second extract of the coconut milk and simmer.

Once it comes to a boil, switch off the flame and add the first extract of the coconut milk.Mix well. Add the cardamom powder and the fried cashews and raisins.

Serve warm / chilled. Tastes good both ways...

  • I used 3/4 cup of first extract and around 1/4 cup of the second extract.
  • Do not heat the kheer after adding the first coconut milk extract. It will curdle.
  • You can also add a few threads of saffron dissolved in milk , a pinch of edible camphor along with the cardamom powder.
  • The sweetness was just right. Adjust the jaggery to suit your taste.
I am planning to post some other special dishes that are made during the Aadi month.So stay tuned....

Bon Appetit...

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Recipes with Pineapple

Pineapple is a tropical fruit that beautifully balances a sweet and tart taste.This tropical plant belongs to the Bromeliaceae family.

 Here are some of the health benefits / nutritional aspects of this delicious fruit...
  • It is low in calories providing approximately 50 calories / 100 grams of fresh fruit.
  • Though it has fewer calories, it is a store house of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are essential for a healthy body.
  • Pineapple has a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain, which has anti inflammatory, anti cancer and anti clotting properties. It helps in the breakdown of proteins, thereby aiding in digestion.
  • It is an excellent source of Vitamin C
  • Pineapple also has a small amount of Vitamin A
  • Apart from this, it is rich in B complex Vitamins,Potassium, Manganese and Copper.
  • It is zero cholesterol / saturated fats.
  • It is rich in dietary fiber.

Here are some recipes to try .....

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Sheer Khurma | Sheer Korma Recipe

Sheer Khurma / Sheer Korma is a rich Mughalai dessert that is made on festive days like Eid ul-fitr/ Ramzan. This tasty dessert has been in my list for a long time and somehow I have kept putting it off.

Last night out of the blue, Lil Angel suddenly mentioned that it has be ages since she ate Semiya payasam [vermicelli Kheer].And that's when I remembered this dish. I promised to make it for her and she was so happy to hear about the variation I was going to make.So this was served with lunch today and Lil Angel ate it to her hearts content.

Though this is a vermicelli based dessery and looks like the regular vemicelli kheer, it is a lot richer due to the addition of dried fruits and nuts. Also rose water is added which enhances the flavor further.

I added my little twist here by replacing sugar with unrefined cane sugar / karumbu sakkarai. Hence the color of the kheer is a little on the brown shade. It looks really beautiful and tasted great too.

I used:

Thin Vermicelli- 1/2 cup
Milk-2 cups or more [see the update in notes section]
Unrefined cane sugar- 3 teaspoons
Chopped mixed dry fruits and nuts- 1/8 cups[I used almonds,pistachio,dates, melon seeds, raisins]
Ghee - 2 teaspoons ,divided
Rose water- a few drops
A few nuts for garnishing

Heat a teaspoon of ghee and fry the fruit and nut mixture till fragrant. Remove from pan and keep aside.

Heat the remaining ghee and add the vermicelli and roast till golden brown.

Add a cup of milk to the pan and bring to boil. The milk will reduce and the vermicelli will get cooked.

Now add more milk and simmer till it thickens a bit. Put in the roasted fruit and nut mixture, rose water, unrefined cane sugar. Mix well and remove from heat after a couple of minutes.

Serve warm / chilled garnished with a few nuts...

  • Use thin vermicelli. That is the one which is traditionally used.
  • You can use sugar instead of unrefined cane sugar.
  • The nuts and fruits can be used according to your taste
  • The Kheer thickens after a while so remove from heat before the milk thickens too much.
  • Add more milk if required while cooking.
  • To make it even more richer, add a tablespoon of fresh cream towards to end.
  • Also condensed milk can be added to enhance the flavor but be sure to reduce the sweetener  
  • Updated: One of our family friend who has been making this for ages, tells me to use coconut milk instead of milk. It will turn out all the more creamier!!
Until next post...

PJ ...