Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tomato Pepper-Garlic Rasam

Rasam always tops my list of "easy and quick" dishes to make. This particular variety of tomato-garlic-pepper-cumin mix rasam is my favorite. I use the exact same recipe that my mom uses but I always end up feeling that I am not able to replicate the taste of amma's. Maybe that's what they call "kai pakuvam" :)
I always grind a fresh mix for rasam and do not prefer the rasam powder, that makes this an instant rasam recipe. Just a few ingredients and your rasam is ready to slurp off the plate ;)


Serves - 4
Spice Level - Moderate
Prep Time - 10 min
Cook time - 10 min

Oil - 2 Tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Tomato - 1 small, chopped roughly
Tamarind extract - 1 Tbsp (thick)
Water - 2-3 cups
Mustard seeds - 1 Tsp
Urad dal - 1 Tsp
Hing - a generous pinch
Cumin/Jeera seeds - 1 Tsp
Dry Red chilli - 1
Turmeric powder a pinch
Salt - as per need
Cumin-pepper powder mix - 1 Tsp
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup loosely packed

To grind to a puree

Tomato - 2 medium sized
Garlic - 3 cloves
Jeera/Cumin - 2 Tsp
Pepper - 1/2 Tbsp

How do you do it

1. Make a puree of the give items under "To puree". Transfer the puree to the bowl, mix in the tamarind extract, 1 cup of water and curry leaves to it. Keep aside.

2. Heat oil in a kadai. Add hing and then mustard seeds to pop, add urad dal, cumin seeds and let them brown. Break the dry red chilli and add it in.

3. Add the tomatoes now and the turmeric powder. Wait till the tomato pieces soften a little, then add the puree mix prepared in step one. Mix well

4. Add 1.5 cups of water more, and let it come to slow boil. Let the rasam boil for a few minutes until the raw taste disappears and all the flavors are soaked in. I let it boil for about 5 minutes. Add coriander leaves to the rasam and switch off stove.

5. Set aside a bowl with required salt [2 tsp], and add the pepper-cumin powder to this. Take the pot with rasam off the heat and directly pour in this bowl and mix well.

Serve this hot and soothing rasam with rice, potato curry and appalam which is our favorite combo.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

How to make the perfect Pooris

Poori Masala is a very special dish in my home and I am sure that is the case in almost all households. If Poori masala is made at home, it means we are celebrating something special and its like we earned it. I remember those days when I was small, my mom would tell me a few days in advance that the coming weekend she is planning to make poori and I would so eagerly wait for that meal. One of the other obvious reason why Poori cant be a regular breakfast is because its a deep fried dish and consumes a large quantity of oil for frying and once pooris are done we have to think of ways of using up that oil in a healthy manner without heating it again. So when I do make Pooris at home which is very very rare, I eat lots of them, more like swallow them ;).

Making Pooris seemed to look very simple to me, but when I initially made them I dint get it right.  I get really disappointed when pooris dont puff up, that's actually one of the joys of making them. Poori is also not something you can keep making it often till you get it right :). So it took me some time to figure out what went wrong each time and I have explained in detail the things to keep in mind at each step. Thanks to my dear friend Raji who showed me how to make these the right way. Whenever I stay at her place, she makes pooris and I love them :). Me and S have such fond memories of our Bangalore years most of which include our close friends K and R. Here is to the lovely Bangalore times, Pooris and K and R.

And when you make pooris, make and eat loads of them like me, you dont know when you are going to be able to make them again at home ;)


Servers - Makes about 18 pooris
Prep Time - 30 min
Cook time - 15 min 

Wheat flour - 2 cups
Water - 3/4 cup
Salt - 1 tsp
oil - 1 tsp
Oil - as required for deep frying

How do you do it.

1. There are a few things to keep in mind while making pooris. The first thing would be that poori dough is less moist and a little tighter than chapathi dough. Second - chapathi dough is rested for 30 minutes before making them , but for pooris its good to roll them out ad fry them immediately without any resting time. If you leave them around for a while, the pooris will soak up oil. Third - Dont place the rolled pooris one on the other, try to spread them out on large plates so that they dont touch each other much. Fourth - don't roll the pooris too thinly, if you do they will break up while deep frying. Fourth - The temperature of the oil needs to be right, too hot and the pooris will become brittle, and if its below the required temperature it will soak up a lot of oil.

2. Mix the wheat flour, 1 tsp oil, salt well. Add in the water slowly and form a smooth non sticky dough. Keep aside. The amount of water varies with the kind of flour you have. I used 3/4 cup of water for ashrivad atta. Use your judgement in this step and use water as required. Make sure the dough is tighter than the chapathi dough and should be less moist as well.

3. Pinch several small lemon sized balls from the dough and keep them ready. Immediately roll the pooris into small circles, dust with flour as necessary. Make sure they are not too thin.  Lay all the rolled out pooris on several plates and try to make sure they dont touch each other much. When you are rolling out the last few balls, heat a kadai with required oil for deep frying.

4. Oil must be very hot, hotter than the usual required for other deep frying items but not smoking hot. To test, drop a small pinch of dough inside it must raise like a bullet to the top. Then the oil is ready.

5. Drop one of the rolled poori [starting with the first one you rolled] gently into the hot oil, within seconds the poori will rise up and when it does use a slotted spoon to gently press down on the puffed poori and roll it over quickly to cook the other side and remove it. Drop into a paper towel lined container. Deep fry all the pooris the same way.The temperature of the oil may go down or up as you keep frying depending on the kind of cooking range you have. Make sure to get the oil to the right temperature each time while you fry.

Serve these puffed up delicious pooris with a yummy side of your choice. Our pick would be the fiery and tasty red potato curry , the recipe of which is coming soon :)

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