Luscious Plums are in season and I just couldn’t resist myself from making a Jam. No long procedures of boiling it or standing watch over it. As I was trying out a Plum jam for the first time, made do with a small quantity. Easy, simple and tasty!
250 gms Plums
6 tsps sugar
Pit the plums into a microwave bowl. Drop in the sugar and allow to stand for about 6 hours in the fridge till the sugar melts. Gently mash the plums with the back of a spoon. Set the Microwave on Power Cook for six minutes. After three minutes, remove, mix and microwave again for another three minutes. Set aside for a while to cool before bottling.
The same batter which was used for making Urad and Rava Appo can be used to make Idli. As Idli is steamed, it is easy to digest and the only oil that is used is what is used to grease the Idli moulds. It is served with Chutney and Sambhar or either of the two. Recipe Link to both the Chutney and the Sambhar are given below.
250 gms Urad Dal
500 gms Rava
16 green chillies
2 inch piece of ginger
Kidney bean sized piece of Hing /asafoetida
10 sprigs curry leaves
Oil to grease the Idli moulds.
Wash and soak the Urad Dal for four hours. Grind it in the wet grinder non stop for half an hour adding a little water at a time to a smooth batter of dropping consistency. Tip the Rava into a bowl. Add two glasses of water to it and mix it thoroughly. Drop it into the ground batter. Grind the green chillies, ginger and Hing to a coarse paste. Add it to the Urad Rava batter along with finely chopped curry leaves and salt. Mix thoroughly. Grease the Idli moulds with oil. Place them in a steamer which has been kept boiling. Steam for ten minutes. A knife inserted in the Idli should come out clean. That shows that the Idlis are done. Remove from steamer and allow to cool for five minutes. Unmould them. Serve with Chutney and Sambhar.
Urad and Rava ‘Appo’ as it is called is the batter of these two ingredients to which spices of choice are added and then roasted in a pan called ‘Appam chetti’ which is specially meant to roast them. Recipe Link to the Chutney and Sambhar given below.
250 gms Urad Dal
500 gms Rava
16 green chillies
2 inch piece of ginger
Kidney bean size piece of Hing/ asafoetida
10 sprigs of curry leaves
Wash and soak the urad dal for four hours. Grind it in the wet grinder non stop for half an hour adding a little water at a time to a smooth batter which is of dropping consistency. Remove into a vessel. Tip the Rava into a bowl. Pour two glasses of water into it and mix it. Add it to the ground batter. Make a coarse paste of green chillies, ginger and Hing. Drop it into the batter. Chop the curry leaves fine and add them to the batter along with salt. Mix well. Heat the Appam pan. Pour a little oil into the troughs followed by the batter. Cover the pan and roast on a gentle flame till it leaves the sides of the pan. Flip and roast on the other side too. Remove, and serve with Chutney and Sambhar.
This preparation is a take off on the Mango curry. It is made as the mango season ends and the tiny mangoes which are used for the curry are not available. Today I have used the huge Rajapuri variety of mango to make this dish.
1 Kg Rajapuri Mango
100 gms jaggery
6 tsps sugar
1 tbsp tamarind paste
7 green chillies
2 dry red chillies
5 tbsps Coconut oil
1 tbsp mustard
1 heaped tsp urad dal/ black gram dal
1/4 tsp Methi/ Fenugreek
A kidney bean sized piece of Hing/asafoetida
7 sprigs curry leaves.
Wash and deskin the mangoes. Keep the peel aside. Cut the mangoes into bite sized pieces. Place the peel in a bowl and pour a glass of water into it. Rub the peel to extract the mango pulp adhering to it. Repeat it twice or thrice. Drop in the jaggery salt, green chillies and sugar into the extract and boil well. Drop the chopped mango bits into it and boil for a minute. Heat oil in a pan. Drop in the mustard. After it splutters add the urad dal and methi seeds. When the urad dal turns golden brown tip in the hing, dry red chilly and curry leaves. Toss and drop in the seasoning into the boiling curry. Switch off and keep aside for about half an hour for the flavours to infuse before serving.
The Thali today is a mix of items prepared for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast was Appam and Stew, and for lunch it is Rice, Rasam, Ridge gourd Peel Chutney, Roast Pathrado, Peaches and Buttermilk. Recipe Link to the same is posted below.
Spices are some of the natural beauty products that we find in our kitchen. We tend to overlook them, as the commercially packaged ones look more attractive. Today’s post is how we can use these very spices that are found in every kitchen to our advantage.
SAFFRON – soak some saffron in milk and allow it to stand for half an hour. Make a paste and apply it on the face. Wash off after half an hour. It imparts a glow!
SUGAR AND CARDAMOM POWDER– Both work in exfoliation. Take sugar and Aloe Vera Gel and gently massage it on the face. It rids the face of dead skin. Mix Honey and Cardamom powder. Massage it in circular motion all over. This too acts as a good exfoliatior.
CLOVES AND CINNAMON– Add a couple of drops of clove oil to coconut oil and use it as a moisturiser before bath. The same holds good for cinnamon oil too. Both contain anti fungal and anti bacterial properties which help the skin in remaining healthy.
Though Ghee/clarified butter is available today at all the grocery stores, I prefer making mine at home. Nothing can beat the home made one in fragrance and the colour. Enjoy it on Parathas, dosas or even with banana and sugar.
Wash the home made butter three to four times till the water runs clear. Drain and heat it on a gentle flame, stirring in between to prevent it from overflowing. When it nears completion, a fragrant smell of the ghee emanates, accompanied by the darkening of the milk solids that form the residue. Once it has turned light brown, switch off the gas. The heat of the pan itself ensures that the ghee takes on a beautiful golden brown hue.
For those who are wary of buying the refined and processed Coconut oil in the market, here is an easy way of making it at home. Though dried coconut or Copra is used commercially for the extraction of oil, one can make it at home using mature coconuts.
3 large Coconuts
8 glasses of hot water
Sieve or Cheese cloth to extract milk
Paper towels to strain the oil.
Break the coconuts into two halves. Prise the kernel from the shell using a knife. Cut it into small pieces and tip in as much as the blender can hold. Water too depends upon the size of the blender. Take care to see the water is hot. Grind to a smooth paste. Sieve the paste. Tip the residue back into the blender. Grind again with hot water and sieve it. Take care to see that the coconut milk has been totally extracted. Refrigerate the extract for four hours. The fat will form a hard cake and float on top of the water. Gently remove it and put it in a pan. Heat it on a slow flame stirring once in a while till a brown charred residue forms at the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about ten to fifteen minutes. Use a kitchen towel to strain the oil into glass bottles. Three coconuts yield around 750ml of oil.
Apart from its use in a variety of dishes, Coconut milk can also be used to moisturise dry hair and also works wonders for the skin. Coconut is grated, ground to a fine paste with water and the milk extracted. Coconut milk sold in tetra packs or in powdered form can only be used in the preparation of food though they can never live up to the original one.
One large Coconut
Four glasses of water
Dehusk the coconut thoroughly. Wash and break it into two halves. Grate and divide the grated coconut into two portions. Tip in one portion into the blender with one glass of water and grind to a fine paste. Sieve the paste or alternatively use a wet muslin cloth to extract the milk. Similarly finish off with the second portion. This forms the first extract. Keep aside. Tip the residue back into the blender. Add two glasses of water and grind. Remove and sieve the paste. Squeeze out all the milk from the residue. This forms the second extract. Vegetables are always cooked in the second extract. After they are done, the first extract is added, boiled just for a minute and put aside for the flavours to infuse.
If using the Coconut milk for cosmetic purposes, keep five tbsps of the first extract aside in a separate container. This is to be gently massaged on the face and hands and washed off after a couple of hours. The skin feels smooth and soft to touch. Mix the remaining milk of the first extract with the second extract and use it to massage the scalp and hair. Leave it on for a couple of hours and shampoo hair. The result is silky and bouncy hair.
Best known as a curative as well as a prophylactic, Neem oil works well with scars, can be used to get rid of dandruff and also to sport a blemish free skin as it is has anti bacterial and anti fungal properties. Skin glows and hair grows with regular use.
1 litre coconut oil
A big bunch of neem leaves
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
Wash the neem leaves and dry them thoroughly.
Boil them in the coconut oil till they turn crisp and form a sediment. Allow to cool. Add the turmeric powder and store in an airtight container.