November 24, 2013

Thippili Rasam

How to make Thippili Rasam/Long Pepper Soup

         With the holidays coming up, I had other things on my mind this week & had no clue as to what I was going to post for Valli's CCChallenge this weekend. Although, I did have a few posts in the draft; I wanted to make something different. Thanks to my MIL for suggesting this Rasam; after hearing my (mild, but annoying) cough. Whether it's just a tasty treat or a homemade cure for digestive problems or the common cold, I think we should value & preserve our family recipes & techniques, before it's too late. Don't get me wrong, I agree that the modern medicine has millions of concoctions for every ailment in the book; but sometimes, the homemade cure is all you need. Note the underlining here :)

          Thippili (Tamil), Pipara/Pipli (Hindi), also known as Long pepper (Piper longum) is a precious fruit known for the welfare of the digestive and the respiratory systems. These pungent, dried pepper fruits are filled with a myriad of medicinal benefits to our body. It's believed to help in digestion, act as an exceptional expectorant, increase memory & immunity, and strengthen the nervous system. Research Scientists at the Broad Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital have found that special compounds found in the Long pepper kill cancer cells. You can find more about Thippili on the wiki. Contrary to the name, this is not spicy as you might think (on your tongue), but you can feel the mild heat (think of cloves) down your throat. I found this recipe in a Meenakshi Ammal's cookbook, that my mom bought for me to save my future hubby, just before my wedding.

How to make Thippili Rasam/Long Pepper Soup - A herbal cure for many ailments.

November 18, 2013

Cashew Wheat Appam

How to make Instant Cashew Wheat Appam

              As soon as Deepavali was over, we (as kids) used to start looking forward to Karthigai Deepam; reason being that we could repeat some of the favorite rituals again; like lighting up the house with dozens of oil lit lamps, eat some goodies & finish up what ever fireworks was left over from Deepavali. Compared to Diwali, the Karthigai Deepam was much conservative; in the sense, it didn't have the novelty or showiness of Diwali; every aspect was low key & in moderation. Yet, the images run through my mind, when I think of this festival - the purchase of new clay lamps every year, rows of oil lit lamps outside every house, every room in my house had to have a oil lit lamp (requiring frequent inspection & refills) & not to forget the time spent in front of the mirror with the lamps in hand :) Everything looks n times beautiful in candle light, you got to agree!!

               I know this post is a little late - since the Karthigai Deepam is an evening affair, I didn't have the time or privacy to do my post yesterday. If my little one sees me working on the laptop, he expresses various degrees of displeasure, until he successfully takes over & gets in control of the machine.

               The Cashews are optional, but they do add a layer of flavor, when you chew on this delicacy. You can either deep fry in oil or use the Kuzhi Paniyaram pan, if you want to cut down on oil. It tastes delicious, with a crispy outer shell & soft chewy center. There are many variations to the Appam - can be made with Rice flour, All purpose flour/Maida; can be made with sugar instead of Jaggery, etc.

Makes approximately 20 Appams


1/2 Cup Wheat flour
2 Tbsp Rice flour
2-4 Tbsp Roasted & powder Cashew nuts
3 Tbsp Fresh grated Coconut
Salt - a pinch
1/8 Tsp Cardamom powder
3/4 Cup powdered/crumbled Jaggery
Oil - 1/2 cup or less
Ghee - 4 Tbsp

November 8, 2013

Spiced Cauliflower Rice

How to make Spiced Cauliflower Rice

                While I was looking to make something, other than the usual Biryani & I stumbled into this recipe  in a collection of  variety rices book, that I had hardly peeked into.So, this is what I'm sending to the 2nd week of  CCChallenge. Although I wasn't sure how this would turn out; I took a guess based on the ingredients & decided to go ahead, putting the whole family's lunch at stake!

          I turned to check on my 2 year old, just to make sure he is not eating anything toxic, but there he was like a beautiful angel, reading a picture book. He was pointing to the pictures & saying the name of the object & what we do with it. He said Sofa - Sit, Cereal - Eat, Milk - Drink & Bed - Jump!! According to him, the bed is for jumping, but you could sleep on it as well, if you like; which reminded me of the song "5 little monkeys jumping on the bed" & i hope this mama does not need to call the doctor.

           My gamble with the lunch, paid off big time and the result was a mildly spiced, aromatic & flavorful rice with lots of veggies to nurture your family. You can serve it with a Raitha, if you like. I made Beetroot Raitha to go with it (will post that recipe shortly).

Spiced Cauliflower Rice/Pulav

November 3, 2013

Chettinaad Kathirikai Vathakal (Sauteed Brinjal)

How to make Kathirikai Vathakal/Sauteed Brinjal

                      Brinjals are one of the versatile vegetables, don't you think? Anyway you cook it, they adapt to your ingredients & method. Those are some of the reasons, why I use them a lot in my kitchen. This recipe requires no Onions or Tomatoes, so I ended up making this when I ran out of most of the groceries & had just the ingredients needed for this recipe; which i found in a book that Mom had given me. Just in time for the CCChallenge, I had signed up for! This was so good to eat by itself  that half of, what i made, got over even before our meal time. That made me think it could even be served on tooth picks :) A recipe so simple shouldn't be left out, without trying!

Chettinaad Kathirikai Vathakal (Sauteed Brinjal)

November 1, 2013

Coconut Burfi / Candied Coconut bars

How to make Coconut Burfi (with step by step pictures)

           Have you ever tried eating freshly grated Coconut with a sprinkle of Sugar on it? It is so succulent & sweet; no wonder it's used to enhance a variety of dishes like Idiyappam & Puttu etc. Now that we know it's a fail-proof combo, how can we doubt the taste of the traditional Thengai Burfi made with just a few simple ingredients at home? My Grandma is known for making this burfi so often, that we started expecting it from her every time we met her; no wonder it's my Dad's favorite sweet from childhood. I made a larger batch so I can share the joy with my friends for the festival of lights. What are you sharing with your dear ones, for this Diwali?

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