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Kachi's KitchenFamily Favorites from Kerala and Tamil Nadu
By ANN VINOD
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Ann Vinod
All right reserved.
Tiffin is a light meal that is more substantial than a snack. In Tamil Nadu, breakfast is usually referred to as tiffin. The word is also used for snacks between meals. To make the distinction simple, tiffins are separated from snacks in this cookbook. Items served for tiffin are frequently starch-based dishes such as noodles or pancakes.
Ada 18 Appam 18 Dosa 19 Idli 20 Kozhakatta 21 Noolputtu 21 Pachacurry (Vegetable) Puffs 22 Rava Dosa 23 Sevaka (Sevai) 23 Uppuma 24 Uthappam 24
1 cup rice 1/4 cup Bengal gram dal 1/4 cup green gram dal 1 Tbs urud dal 1/2 tsp asafetida 2 shallots, finely chopped 1/2 tsp fenugreek 4 dried red chilies 2 Tbs coconut, cut into small pieces curry leaves salt
1 Soak the rice and all the dals together overnight.
2 Grind the rice and dals with a little bit of water, the dried red chilies, fenugreek and salt in a blender until it becomes a smooth thick batter. Add asafetida, coconut, chopped shallots and a few curry leaves to the batter.
3 Heat a flat bottomed, nonstick pan on medium heat. When the pan it hot, add a half cup of the batter to the pan and spread it out evenly with a spoon. Spray a little oil on the edge of the ada. When the ada turns light brown and stiff, turn over, spray with a little more oil and cook for 5 more minutes.
Ada is tastier if it is cooked right after making the batter since fermentation is not necessary. Eat hot Ada with Nalikeram (Coconut) Chutney made with dried red chilies or green chilies, Ulli Samandhi (Hot Onion) Chutney and Sambar.
My daughter loves Appam for breakfast because it not filling. Appam is Malayalam for pancake.
2 cups long grain rice 1 tsp dry yeast 1 Tbs sugar 2 Tbs coconut, grated 1 handful cooked rice 1/2 tsp salt oil
1 Wash and soak the long grain rice in water for 6 hours.
2 Dissolve the yeast and sugar in a half cup of warm water for fermentation.
3 Grind the long grain rice in a blender with 4 cups of water. Add the coconut and cooked rice. Grind a little longer. The consistency should be a little watery (not thick). Add the fermented yeast to the batter along with salt. Cover and set aside for 4 hours.
4 After 4 hours, the batter should have risen to the top of the container. Heat a nonstick round bottom pan. Pour in a half cup of batter and rotate the pan to cover the bottom of it evenly. After 2 minutes, the appam should be done. Continue this process for the remaining appam.
Serve with Urulakizhanga Ishtu (Potato Stew) or an Omelet. Some people like Appam with a sprinkle of sugar.
My husband's favorite breakfast consists of Dosa with Nalikeram (Coconut) Chutney.
1 cup long grain rice 1/4 cup urud dal 1 tsp fenugreek seeds salt oil
1 Soak the rice, lentils and fenugreek seeds in water and allow them to soak overnight so they become lighter and fluffier.
2 Grind the mixture in a blender and stir in salt. The dosa batter should be medium thick while grinding. Add as little water as possible. Let it sit overnight for fermentation.
3 Heat a nonstick flat pan so it is very hot. Pour in some of this dosa mixture with a ladle and spread it evenly in concentric circles. Add oil or butter around the dosa to make it crisp. Flip the dosa to cook the other side until light brown.
In cold weather, fermentation will not occur easily so put the batter in a warm oven for 10 minutes, then remove the batter and let it sit at room temperature.
Serve with chutney and Sambar. Optionally, mix a tablespoon of Mulaga Podi with two tablespoons of oil for a spicy alternative.
A variation, Masala Dosa, is prepared with the same recipe above and is filled with a scoop of Potato Masala for Poori, which is made thicker without adding water, and rolled up before serving. It is one of my favorite south Indian items that I enjoy for any meal. A specialty in Tamil Nadu is the Paper Masala Dosa which is made on a huge griddle. As shown in the picture below, it is very thin and much wider than the plate!
1 cup long grain rice 1/2 cup urud dal oil 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Soak the rice and urud dal in two separate bowls for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. Drain the water and rinse.
2 In a blender, grind the dal with a quarter cup of water to a very smooth and fluffy consistency. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
3 Grind the rice with about a quarter cup of water to a coarse consistency (like cream of wheat). Transfer to the large mixing bowl.
4 Whisk the powders together for 5 minutes. This is an important step to ensure the idli are light and fluffy. Add the salt and baking soda. Stir well and keep the batter covered overnight to allow it to ferment. It should be kept in a warm place.
5 Prepare the Idli steamer (see picture below) by spraying each mold with oil.
6 Boil about 2 cups of water in the bottom of the Idli steamer. Pour the idli batter into the oiled molds and stack them in the steamer one tray above the other. Put the lid on the steamer and steam the idli for about 10 minutes. Take out and test one with a wooden toothpick. If it comes out clean, the idli are ready.
The Idli batter should be very thick when pouring it from a spoon. If you have added too much water, grind a handful of cooked rice in a blender and add it to the batter. Before starting, make sure there is enough water in the steamer.
Serve Idli with Sambar, Nalikeram (Coconut) Chutney and Mulaga Podi for an authentic south Indian meal. Optionally, mix a tablespoon of Mulaga Podi with two tablespoons of oil for a spicy alternative.
Kachi's mother, Narayani Nair, made this recipe often and it was one of her favorite dishes.
2 cups roasted rice flour 1/2 coconut, scraped salt oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds 1 tsp urud dal 4 dried red chilies
1 Put a nonstick pan on low heat and fry the rice flour for 10 minutes. Feel the powder with your fingers. If the heat is bearable, remove the roasted rice flour from the heat.
2 Mix the roasted rice flour with water to make a thick batter. Add salt. Then roll it into balls that are the size of an egg. Fill a large pot half full of water and bring to a boil. When boiling, add the balls one by one. After 15 minutes, the balls will start to float. Drain the water and cool the balls.
3 Cut the balls into 4 to 6 pieces.
4 Put oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the Seasoning ingredients. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the coconut and fry for a few minutes. Finally, add the kozhakatta pieces and stir fry. Sprinkle with salt if desired.
Serve Kozhakatta by itself or with Nalikeram (Coconut) Chutney.
1 cup rice flour 1/2 cup coconut, grated 1/4 tsp salt oil
1 Fry the rice flour lightly without adding any oil in the pan.
2 Make stiff but smooth dough by mixing the rice flour and the salt with cup of hot water.
3 Spray a bit of oil inside an Idli mold. Divide the dough into lemon sized balls. Press each ball through a pasta press with the angel hair pasta insert using a small circular motion over the Idli mold.
4 Sprinkle each mound with a bit of coconut. Steam the noodles for 5 to 10 minutes then transfer to a plate.
In Tamil Nadu, this dish is called Idiyappam. Serve with Malabar Egg Curry.
Pachacurry (Vegetable) Puffs
1/4 cup peas 1/4 cup green beans, finely chopped 1/4 cup carrots, finely diced 1 large potato, peeled and cut into small cubes 1 onion, finely sliced 1 tsp garlic, minced 1 tsp ginger, minced 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp cumin, ground 1/4 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp red chili powder 1 Tbs lemon juice 2 or 3 green chilies, chopped 1 tsp garam masala cilantro sprigs, roughly chopped oil
1 cup white flour 1 pinch salt 1 Tbs butter
1 In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the onion until translucent. Add all of the vegetables, garlic, ginger and salt. Stir to mix. Reduce heat and add the cumin, turmeric, red chili powder and lemon juice. Mix well and cook, stirring often. Sprinkle a bit of water (about 1 tablespoon) over the mixture if it is dry. Finally add the garam masala and the cilantro. Set aside.
2 If pre-made pastry sheets are not available, knead together a cup of flour, a pinch of salt, 1 to 2 tablespoons of water and butter that has been cut into small cubes to make smooth dough.
3 Make balls out of the dough and flatten each one into a 4 inch diameter circle. Place about 2 tablespoons of the filling at the center of the circles and fold them in half. Press the edges with a fork to make a good seal.
4 In a skillet, heat 2 cups of oil (about 2 inches deep) and deep fry the puffs on both sides to get a golden brown color. Remove and place them on a paper towel to absorb any oil. I have modified the traditional recipe so I can use pre-made puff pastry. Replace Steps 2 through 4 with these instructions: Defrost the dough. Roll it out on a floured pastry board as soon as it thaws. Cut each sheet into 3 inch squares. Make the puffs with 2 tablespoons of the filling. Fold in half taking care to ensure the edges are sealed. Bake in a 400? oven for about 8 minutes on each side or until they turn golden brown.
Serve with Kothamali (Cilantro) Chutney.
2 cups whole wheat flour 1 cup cream of wheat salt 4 green chilies, sliced 1 cup buttermilk oil
1 Mix the wheat flour, cream of wheat, salt and green chilies. Add water to make a thin batter. Add buttermilk. Mix and leave it for one hour.
2 Heat a nonstick pan. Spray it lightly with oil. When the pan is hot over medium heat, pour a half to a full cup of batter into the hot pan starting from the outer rim to the center. Spray oil all over the dosa. When it becomes crisp at the edges, remove the dosa and fold it into quarters.
Serve with Nalikeram (Coconut) Chutney, Sambar and Ulli Samandhi (Hot Onion) Chutney.
This simple dish is a favorite in my household for any meal. My children like it because of its mild flavor and pleasing appearance.
2 cups rice flour 1/2 coconut, grated 1 tsp mustard seeds curry leaves 4 dried red chilies 1 tsp urud dal salt oil
1 Fry the rice flour lightly without adding any oil in the pan. Remove, add salt and make the dough by adding hot water a little at a time. The dough must be thick.
2 Using a pasta press, make noodles the size of angel hair pasta.
3 Steam the noodles. When steam starts to come through the noodles, wait for 10 more minutes before removing the cooked noodles from the steamer.
4 Cool the noodles and break them.
5 In a skillet, add oil and, on medium heat, add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the urud dal, dried red chilies and curry leaves. Next, add the grated coconut. Stir well. Finally, add the broken noodles. Add salt if needed.
Serve with Nalikeram (Coconut) Chutney.
Since the main ingredient in this dish is cream of wheat, I like to make this dish for Sunday brunch.
2 cups cream of wheat oil 1/2 tsp mustard seeds 1 tsp black gram dal 1 tsp Bengal gram dal curry leaves 1 onion, finely cut 4 green chilies 1 piece ginger 1 tomato, chopped (optional) cilantro sprigs salt 1 Tbs butter, melted
1 In a hot pan, add a quarter cup of oil. When it is very hot, lower the temperature. Add the cream of wheat and fry for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
2 To make the seasoning, add 2 tablespoons of oil to a pan. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, black gram dal, Bengal gram dal and curry leaves. Add the onion. When the onion is translucent, add the tomato. Stir well and add 4 cups of water. Stir in some salt.
3 When it starts to boil, lower the heat and slowly add the fried cream of wheat. Stir without forming lumps. Cover the saucepan and turn off the heat. After 5 minutes, add the melted butter and stir. Transfer to a serving dish and smooth out the top. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Traditionally Uppuma is served with Nalikeram (Coconut) Chutney.
1 1/2 cup long grain rice 1/2 cup urud dal 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds 1/4 cup oil
1 bunch cilantro, chopped 1/2 cup grated coconut 4 green chilies, chopped 2 shallots, finely chopped 1 tomato salt
1 Soak the rice, dal and fenugreek seeds for 6 hours.
2 Grind the mixture in a blender to a smooth paste. Allow the paste to ferment overnight.
3 In a little oil, fry the Topping ingredients and set aside.
4 Grease a nonstick flat bottomed pan. When it is hot, pour in some of the batter just like you would for a Dosa but make the circle smaller and thicker. Evenly sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the Topping over the uthappam and sprinkle it with a little bit of oil. Flip to cook on both sides until light brown.
Serve with thick chutney.
Snacks are small items served between meals. Guests are offered snacks when visiting someone's home. They can be eaten with one's fingers and popped into the mouth whole.
Bonda 26 Cauliflower Bhajia 27 Medu Pokavada 27 Murukkus 1 28 Murukkus 2 29 Paruppu (Toor Dal) Vada 29 Pokavada (Cauliflower Fritters) 30 Poolakezhangu Nalikeram (Tapioca & Coconut) 30 Ribbon Pokavada 31 Thairu Vada (Yogurt Vada) 32 Uzhnu (Urud Dal) Vada 32
This snack was my husband's favorite when he was young. Balakrishnan, Kachi's husband, loves to eat this favorite snack as often as he can.
2 potatoes 1 onion, large 4 green chilies, sliced 1/2 lemon 1/4 tsp turmeric salt oil curry leaves 1/4 tsp mustard seeds 1/2 tsp urud dal
1 cup Bengal gram dal flour 1/2 tsp red chili powder 1/4 tsp salt
1 Boil the potatoes. Peel and lightly mash them.
2 Finely chop the onion.
3 In a hot pan, add 1 tablespoon of oil. After 2 minutes, add the mustard seeds, urud dal, onion, green chilies and a few curry leaves. Keep stirring. When the onion becomes translucent, add the mashed potatoes, turmeric and salt. Fry for 5 minutes and remove from heat. Add a half teaspoon of lemon juice and mix.
4 To make the Coating, add three quarters of a cup of water, red chili powder and salt to the Bengal gram dal flour to make a thick paste. Add more water if the paste is too thick.
5 Make lemon sized balls with the potato mixture.
6 Dip each ball into the flour paste until it is well coated.
7 Deep fry in hot oil until golden brown.
You should be able to make 3 or 4 Bondas at a time. Serve with your favorite chutney.
2 Tbs Bengal gram dal flour 1 Tbs rice flour 1/2 tsp red chili powder 1 pinch baking soda 1 cup cauliflower florets salt oil
1 Mix all of the ingredients, except the cauliflower, with a little bit of water to make a thick batter.
2 Dip the cauliflower florets in the batter.
3 Deep fry the cauliflower until the batter turns light brown.
4 Drain on paper towels.
Try using a handful of fresh spinach or half of a sliced onion instead of cauliflower. Just make sure you dry them well so the oil does not splatter.
Excerpted from Kachi's Kitchen by ANN VINOD Copyright © 2010 by Ann Vinod. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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