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February 29, 2012

INJI KUZHAMBU FOR RICE/GINGER GRAVY

I learnt this from my MIL. Lots of ginger were lying in my fridge for long time and i was thinking how to use it. I usually make ginger pachadi . But i wanted to try something new and different like a gravy kind. Then my MIl told me about this kuzhambu which tastes similar to vathakuzhambu but with ginger flavor. Ginger lovers would sure love this..It was tasting great when mixed with plain rice topped by sesame oil..With papad as accompaniment u can have a plateful of rice..Winking smileIt serves as a best accompaniment for curd rice and dal rice too.
INJI KUZHAMBU
INGREDIENTS
  • Ginger paste- Gooseberry sized ball
  • Tamarind- Lime sized ball
  • Sambhar powder – 1 –1.5 tsp  (Heaped) (i used 1 tsp heaped)
  • Salt –As required
To temper
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Methi seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera – 1 tsp
  • Toor dal –1 /2 tsp
  • Small onion – 5 nos (chopped finely)
  • Garlic cloves – 5 nos (-do)
  • Curry leaves – few (-do-)
METHOD
  • Soak tamarind in hot water for few minutes and take the extract.
  • Grind the ginger pieces to get the gooseberry sized ball by adding little water.
  • Add the ginger paste to the tamarind extract . Add sambhar powder, salt and required water.
  • In a kadai , temper all the ingredients in the same order.Then add the tamarind extract mixture.
  • Allow it to roll boil for few minutes. Boil till the oil separates. Add liitle jaggery for taste.
  • The gravy thickens . Add water if necessary.Switch off the flame..
Enjoy mixing with plain rice adding ghee / sesame oil..
NOTE:
  1. It tastes the best from next day. Its shelf life is around 10 days when kept in fridge.
  2. Can be taken for travel too..
  3. The amount of ginger paste and tamarind paste should be equal. If needed quantity of tamarind paste can be increased . All the tastes gets blended the next day .So make the changes only next day.. (ie, adding salt ,Sambhar powder or tamarind extract)
KITCHEN CLINIC
Ginger:
Ginger is a perennial plant, distinguished by the white and yellowish-greenish flowers it produces, as well as its thick and long twisting rhizoid (stem). The ginger plant is known to have originated in China, however it has since then been cultivated in many other countries, including: India, South West Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. The plant is famous for its concentrated, spicy aroma, which can be attributed to the fact that it is composed of up to 3% natural essential oils.
The rhizoid is the part of the plant which is generally sold and used today. It has been made widely available for eating and for the use of flavoring foods. It is also ground up and processed into all sorts of powders, tinctures, crystals, tonics and flavorings and then marketed in health food stores.
Below I have listed the top 10 health benefits attributed to this multi functional root:
  1. Ginger has carminative properties (anti spasmic) and can be used to calm in upset stomach, providing relief for the relief of bloating and gas.
  2. The intake of ginger helps stimulate the secretion of mucus, quieting your cough and soothing any scratchiness In your throat.
  3. Ginger has been proven (in multiple studies) to treat feelings of nausea, particularly in the form of seasickness, morning sickness, motion sickness and as a side effect of chemotherapy.
  4. Ginger contains anti viral, anti toxic, and anti fungal properties, and is used for the prevention of and treatment against the common cold.
  5. Ginger acts as an antihistamine and aids in the treatment of allergies.
  6. Ginger displays anti inflammatory properties and can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and various other muscular disorders. The chemical components of the root are instrumental in inhibiting the biosynthesis of prostaglandins which are responsible for causing inflammation. Thus the root has proven to be a highly effective form of treatment, in some cases, even more so than the NSAID's that are traditionally prescribed.
  7. Ginger contains special enzymes responsible for catalyzing the proteins in your food, thus aiding in digestion and the prevention of cramps. The ancient Greeks used to eat ginger after a large meal in order to ease the digestion process.
  8. Due to its promotion of mucus secretion, ginger protects against the development of ulcers, unwanted holes in the lining of your stomach.
  9. Ginger has proven to help lower your cholesterol levels and prevent the formation of blood clots.
  10. Ginger is often used to settle an upset stomach or treat severe stomach ailments such as dyspepsia or colic. It is frequently used today in developing countries to treat diarrhea.

 

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February 16, 2012

SORAKKAI SWEET KOOTU & PAAL KOOTU | BOTTLE GOURD KOOTU - TWO VERSIONS


I learnt this from my MIL.. We are not find of this vegetable. So i buy bottle gourd very rarely. But whenever i buy , i make only this kootu. With vathakuzhambu , it tastes divine… I’ve given a spicy version too. But my vote goes to the sweet version Winking smileLove it a lot..!!

bottle gourd kootu
INGREDIENTS
  • Bottle gourd – 1 no (small size) or half if it is big
  • Green chilly – 1 no (chopped finely)
  • Salt & water – As needed
  • Powdered Jaggery – 1/4 cup (adjust )
To grind
  • Coconut – 1/4 cup or less
  • Rice flour – 1 tsp
  • Water – as needed
To temper
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly – 1 no ( full , no need to pinch)
  • Curry leaves – a few
Milk (optional) at the end ..


METHOD

  • Wash and peel off the outer skin of bottle gourd .
  • Cut into two halves.Now remove the center portion which has seeds.
  • Finely chop it and add the green chilly pieces, salt and water.
  • Pressure cook up to one whistle.Meanwhile , grind the grated coconut with rice flour adding little water or milk.
  • Now open the cooker and add the powdered jaggery . Mix well. Let it boil for few minutes.Finally add the ground coconut mixture and allow it to thicken .. Add milk at the end if necessary ..
  • Temper all the ingredients given above in the same order. Add to kootu ..


Enjoy with Vathakulambu rice and papad !!


SORAKKAI PAAL KOOTU - SPICE VERSION


INGREDIENTS

  • Bottle gourd – 1 no (small size) or half if it is big
  • Sambar powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt & water – As needed
To grind
  • Coconut – 1/4 cup or less
  • Rice flour – 1 tsp
  • Water – as needed
To temper
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilly – 1 no ( full , no need to pinch)
  • Curry leaves – a few
MILK – LITTLE AT THE END


METHOD
  • Wash and peel off the outer skin of bottle gourd .
  • Cut into two halves.Now remove the center portion which has seeds.
  • Finely chop it and add the sambhar powder, salt and water.
  • Pressure cook up to one whistle.Meanwhile , grind the grated coconut with rice flour adding little water or milk.
  • Now open the cooker and add the ground coconut mixture and allow it to boil .. Add milk at the end if necessary ..
  • Temper all the items given above and add to kootu..
Enjoy with rice and papad !


bottle gourd kootu 1



KITCHEN CLINIC
Bottle gourd
The bottlegourd belongs to the cucumber family and originated in Africa, and is now available in most parts of the world. Also known as calabash, cucuzza, sorakaya, lauki, doodhi, and ghiya in various languages, this vegetable comes in different  shapes, the most common being the bottle-shaped (hence the name) and round.
The sizes vary from six inches in length to more than six feet.In the US, bottlegourds are available in farmer's markets, Asian grocery stores, as well as mainstream markets.
This is a popular vegetable in Indian cooking. When cooked, bottlegourd can be slightly sweet or bland, and lends itself to a variety of dishes.
Dried bottlegourds are used to make water bottles, bowls, musical instruments, and decorative ornaments.
HEALTH BENEFITS
Bottlegourd contains a lot of water - almost 96 percent is water, and as such is light and easy to digest. Bottlegourd is commonly used for treating indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea. Bottlegourd juice with a pinch of salt is also used to treat dehydration caused by diarrhea.
The water content in bottlegourd along with the high fiber content helps with constipation as well.
Low in calories (100gms has 12 calories) and low in fat, bottlegourd is a wonderful vegetable to include in any weight-loss diet.
Regular use of cooked bottlegourd is considered an effective remedy for tuberculosis, and for boosting immunity.
Bottlegourd juice mixed with sesame oil in a 50:50 ratio and applied over the scalp every night is recommended as a natural remedy for insomnia. Cooked leaves of the bottlegourd plant are also considered to be effective.
Bottlegourd has a calming influence and is effective in treating hysteria; fresh bottlegourd pulp should be applied on the forehead of the patient.
Cooking Tips
  • Select small, tender, and firm bottlegourds (light green and fresh-looking); prick the skin, and if it's thin, it's tender. You can use tender bottlegourds with the peel and tender seeds. To use mature bottlegourd, remove the peel and seeds.
  • Taste the bottlegourds before cooking, as they can sometimes be bitter.
  • Wrap in plastic and refrigerate to keep the bottlegourds fresh.
  • Use them for curries, soups, salads, chutneys, jams or desserts. Their neutral taste lends itself to a variety of dishes, both savory and sweet..


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February 1, 2012

IDLI PODI RECIPE / GUN POWDER

When i saw this recipe in Viki’s kitchen , i immediately tried it on the same day. It was very flavourful and tasted xcellent for idly / dosa.It tastes like the idly podi we make with sesame seeds.I made some little changes according to my husband’s liking. I should say its really a healthy idly podi as it contains horsegram and flax seeds. Wat more to say , lets go on to the recipe ,

healthy idly podi
INGREDIENTS

  • White round Urad dal – 1/4 CUP
  • Channa dal – 1/4 cup
  • Flax seeds – 1 fistful or 2 tbsp
  • Horsegram – 1/4 cup
  • Red chillies -  10-15 nos or less..
  • Hing / Asafetida – 2 pinches
  • Garlic cloves – 5 – 7  cloves (Optional , only for garlic lovers )
  • Salt – As needed.
  • Curry leaves – a few
METHOD
  • In a kadai , roast all the ingredients except salt & garlic given above adding a tsp of oil.
  • She told to roast one by one for uniform roasting but i did everything at the same time.
  • Roast till the flaxseeds start to pop. Also u’ll get a nice aroma and color change of all the dals.
  • Add the curry leaves at the end and toss for few minutes. Then switch off the flame. Please make sure no ingredient gets burnt. That totally changes the taste.
  • Once it cools down run it in mixie twice .Now add the chopped garlic pieces and the required salt.
  • Grind to make a fine powder or little coarse based on ur taste.
Yummy , healthy idly podi is ready to enjoy with idlis & dosas Smile.Mix with sesame oil or ghee !!

NOTES
  • Always make in small batches so that it tastes and smells fresh .
  • It can be carried for travel too. It stays good.
  • If u want to make the same for rice, add more chillies and little pepper corns too.Mix with ghee and plain rice..
  • I’ve added equal quantity of urad and channa dal as i always want the flavor of urad dal in my idly podi. But the actual recipe dint call for urad dal . She had used only channa dal.
  • My husband loves the garlic flavor in idly podi. So i added garlic cloves at the end , But its optional. U can add 2-3 pinches of hing while roasting instead of garlic..
KITCHEN CLINIC
FLAX SEEDS
It may be tiny, but it’s mighty: The flax seed carries one of the biggest nutrient payloads on the planet. And while it’s not technically a grain, it has a similar vitamin and mineral profile to grains, while the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids in flax leaves grains in the dust.
Additionally, flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. And its combination of healthy fat and high fiber content make it a great food for weight loss and maintenance -- many dieters have found that flax seed has been a key to keeping them feeling satisfied.
Flax Seed Nutrition
Yes, flax seed is high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium, and manganese, but this little seed is just getting started. There are three additional nutrient groups which flax seed has in abundance, and each has many benefits.
Flax Seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are a key force against inflammation in our bodies. Mounting evidence shows that inflammation plays a part in many chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, asthma, diabetes, and even some cancers. This inflammation is enhanced by having too little Omega-3 intake (such as in fish, flax, and walnuts), especially in relation to Omega-6 fatty acid intake (in oils such as soy and corn oil). In the quest to equalize the ratio of these two kinds of oils, flax seed can be a real help.
Most of the oil in flax seeds is alpha linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is an Omega-3 that is a precursor to the fatty acids found in salmon and other fatty cold-water fish (called EPA and DHA). Because not everyone is able to easily convert ALA into EPA and (especially) DHA, it is best not to rely solely on flax for your Omega-3 intake. However, ALA also has good effects of its own, and definitely helps in the Omega 3/6 balance.
Flax Seed is High in Fiber: You’d be hard-pressed to find a food higher in fiber -- both solubleand insoluble -- than flax. This fiber is probably mainly responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effects of flax. Fiber in the diet also helps stabilize blood sugar, and, of course, promotes proper functioning of the intestines.
Flax Seed is High in Phytochemicals: Flax seed is high in phytochemicals, including many antioxidants. It is perhaps our best source of lignans, which convert in our intestines to substances that tend to balance female hormones. There is evidence that lignans may promote fertility, reduce peri-menopausal symptoms, and possibly help prevent breast cancer. In addition, lignans may help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Note that a) flax seeds need to be ground to make the nutrients available (otherwise they just “pass through”) and b) flax seed oil alone contains neither the fiber nor the phytochemicals of whole flax seed meal.
Flax Seed Safety and Side Effects
Concerns about flax seed revolve around four potential issues. However, remember that a lot of research about the wonders of flax show little or no problems from eating it –- to the contrary, it has shown many benefits. Big Fiber Load: Since flax has such a high fiber content, it's best to start with a small amount and increase slowly; otherwise, cramping and a "laxative effect" can result. People withirritable bowel syndrome may have an especially strong reaction to it, and should be extra-careful.
Oxidation/Rancidity: The oil in flax is highly unsaturated. This means that it is very prone to oxidation (rancidity) unless it is stored correctly. The very best way is nature’s own storage system –- within the seed. Flax seeds not exposed to large amounts of heat stay safe to eat for at least a year. However, flax meal, and especially flax oil, are a different story. The meal, stored away from heat and light, will keep fresh for a few months, and the oil must be protected by refrigeration in dark containers, preferably being consumed within a few weeks of opening.
Actually, the surprising thing about flax is not that the oils go rancid, but that they don’t go rancid as quickly as we would think, considering how unsaturated they are. The oils are quite stable when the seeds are used in baked foods, for example. Researchers theorize that this is due to the high levels of antioxidants in the seeds.
Hormonal Effects: Lignans contain phytoestrogens. Although research has shown them to be beneficial so far, it is unknown what effect high doses of phytoestrogens might have.
Cyanide: Like many other foods (cashews, some beans, and others), flax contains very small amounts of cyanide compounds, especially when consumed raw. Heat, especially on dry flax seeds, breaks these compounds down. However, our bodies have a capacity to neutralize a certain amount of these compounds, and the U.S. government agencies say that 2 tablespoons of flaxseed (~3 T of flax meal) is certainly safe and is probably an “effective dose” for health purposes. Various researchers who have used up to 6 daily tablespoons of the seed in different studies indicate that the amount they were using was safe.
Flax Seed Storage
Whole flax seed should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. Many people choose to store it in the refrigerator or freezer to be on the safe side. Flax meal should be stored in the freezer and used up within a few weeks. Tips for Using Flax Seed
  • Drink plenty of water. There is so much soluble fiber in flax that it is important to drink plenty of water when eating flax products, otherwise constipation may result.
  • Remember to start slowly if you aren’t used to a high-fiber diet.
  • If you purchase the whole seeds, you need to grind them up to get the benefit.
  • Flax is often used as an egg substitute in baked goods for people who can’t or choose not to eat eggs. This is because of the soluble fiber, which adds structure to the food.
Flax Recipes and Serving Suggestions:
  • Raw or toasted: Sprinkle over cottage cheese, ricotta, yogurt, breakfast cereal; put in shakes (thickens them somewhat)
  • Cooked in a hot cereal: For example, try Hot Flax Peanut Butter Cereal or Hot Pumpkin Cereal
  • Cooked into other foods: For example, meatloaf, meatballs, or casseroles.




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