Hing _ The Adopted Child of Spices


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know your ingredient

 

The asafetida or the Hing as it is known in most of India happens to be a happy by product of the silk route. Long, long ago when Arab merchants traded with our continent, they enslaved our olfactory senses and taste buds to the gummy resin. Ever since we adopted this alien spice as our own and incorporated it into our choicest dishes to make them more eclectic.

Given its numerous therapeutic and curative powers, this spice is also referred to as the ‘Food of the Gods’.  Or it is known as  devil’s dung avoided by people who adhere to satvik food.

You can buy this resin these days off the shelf in three different forms. Though it is essentially the same ingredient and is used in more or less the same way for the same purposes, if you pay attention to the way it should be used, it can give optimal results.

The solid form is the best for it retains the flavour intact. There are two ways to use it. You can soak it in hot water and use the syrup to knead it into the dough.

One of the ground rules of using Hing is to strictly avoid using the ingredient if the dish uses onion or garlic mandatorily.

The granulated form of Hing can bestow its best  on liquid foods like buttermilk, rasams etc or semi solid foods like Sambhar, gravy, vegetable kootu etc taste best when granulated Hing is added to the seasoning of the recipe at the very end.

The powdered form of Hing can give optimal results when added as additional flavoring in salads, kosambari , raitha, pachadi etc. Heat a little oil or ghee and toss powdered hing into it before adding it to the dish.

Munch on the Jack of all Seeds


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Jackfruit seeds are potent with proteins and micro nutrients and can be an antidote to a host of conditions like anemia, skin problems, varicose veins and poor eyesight when ingested on a regular basis. One of the easiest ways to consume them would be to roast or boil them like peanuts and eat them as a snack.  Or you could add them to your Sambhar like other vegetables. The more elaborate way would be to turn them into some delectable dishes.

NOTE: When using jackfruit seeds for cooking ensure that you wash the seeds and dry them in the shade for a couple of days. The outer skin will start flaking making it easier to peel them and also to get rid of the fruity smell that has gone bad. Soak the peeled seeds in hot ater for ten to fifteen minutes before cooking it.

 

Jackfruit Seeds Baath

Ingredients

Jackfruit seeds 20

Washed and cut methi 2 cups,

Grated coconut 1 cup,

Tomato puree 1 cup

Soaked moong dhal 1 cup

Coriander seeds 3 teaspoons

Cumin seeds 2 teaspoons

Channa dhal 2 teaspoons

Lime juice 2 tablespoons

Turmeric powder 1 teaspoon

Red Chilli 6

Mustard 1 teaspoon

Hing 1/2 teaspoon

Cooking oil 2 teaspoons

Fresh coriander 2 sprays

Curry leaves

Salt 2 teaspoons

Method

  • Pressure cook the jackfruit seeds using very little water allow them to cool, skin them and dice them.
  • Roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, channa dhal and red chillies using very little oil and grind them into a fine powder.
  • Heat two tablespoons of oil in a pan and add the mustard and hing till they spatter.
  • Add the washed and cut coriander spray, curry leaves to the seasoning.
  • Add some more oil and then add the cooked and diced seeds, cut methi leaves, grated coconut, tomato puree, soaked moong dhal, turmeric and salt to the pan and cook well.
  • Remove the pan from the fire and add the lime juice to the same.
  • You can mix this mixture with pre-cooked rice. You could add a dollop of ghee to improve the flavour.
  • Jackfruit seeds baath can be served with pacchadi and pappad.

 

 

 Jackfruit seeds Podimas

Ingredients

Raw Jackfruit seeds 12

Turmeric powder 1 teaspoon

Salt 2 Teaspoons

Hing– ½ teaspoon

Red chillies  4

Curry Leaves 1 Spray

Channa Dal 1 teaspoon

Toor Dal 1teaspoon

Urad dal 1 Teaspoon

Cooking Oil 1 Tablespoon

 

Method

 

  • Pressure cook the Jackfruit seeds with minimal water, wait for it to cool and peel off the skin.
  • Heat the oil and roast the Hing channa dal, urad dal , toor dal and red chilies.
  • Grind the roasted ingredients very coarsely, toss in the cooked Jackfruit seeds and the rest of the ingredients and run it for a minute in the food processor.
  • Remove the contents and help it to disintegrate with a blunt ladle.
  • Serve Podimas with hot rice and a raitha of your choice.

 

Jackfruit seeds Curry

Ingredients

Raw Jackfruit seeds 12

Grated Coconut 1 cup

Tamarind extract 1 table spoon

Turmeric powder 1 teaspoon

Salt 2 Teaspoons

Hing– ½ teaspoon

Red chillies 4

Garlic 4 (optional)

Curry Leaves 1 Spray

Channa Dal 1 teaspoon

Urad dal 1 Teaspoon

Coriander seeds 1 tablespoon

Cumin seeds 1 teaspoon

Mustard 1 teaspoon

Cooking Oil 2 Tablespoons

Method

  • Skin the Jackfruit seeds pressure cook using very little water and slice them.
  • Marinate the cooked Jackfruit seeds in tamarind extract mixed with salt, turmeric powder and Hing for ten minutes.
  • Fry the channa dal, urad dal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, red chillies, garlic and curry leaves with very little oil and grind the

ingredients finely.

  • Take a heavy weight pan, add a tablespoon of oil and heat the same and spatter the mustard in it.
  • Add the marinated Jackfruit seeds to the pan and sauté it for a while.
  • Add the ground ingredients and sauté the same with the rest of the oil.

 

  • When the curry appears golden brown, add the grated coconut and mix it well before turning off the fire.
  • This curry can be served as a side dish with rice or roti.

 

Jackfruit Seeds Gravy

Ingredients

Jackfruit seeds 12

Washed and cut green chillies 100 grams

Peeled and cut ginger 100 grams

Tamarind 50 grams

Channa dal 50 grams

Sesame seeds 25  grams

Methi seeds 25  grams

Black pepper 1 teaspoon

Mustard 1 teaspoon

Hing 1 teaspoon

Turmeric powder ½ teaspoon

Cooking oil 3 tablespoons

 

Salt 2 teaspoons

 

Method

  • Pressure cook the jackfruit seeds using very little water allow them to cool, skin them and dice them.
  • Soak the tamarind in warm water for an hour and extract a thick juice.
  • Roast the sesame seeds and the methi seeds separately till they become golden brown without adding any oil. Then grind them into a fine powder.
  • Heat oil in a large pan and add the mustard, channa dal, turmeric powder and Hing.
  • Add the cut chillies and ginger in the pan and fry them for a minute or so on slow fire.
  • Add some more oil and sauté the cooked and diced seeds
  • Pour the tamarind extract into the contents of the pan and add salt.
  • Allow the mixture to simmer and then pour the sesame powder and the methi powder into the gravy.
  • Attend to the ingredients in the pan from time to time, to prevent it from burning at the bottom.
  • Once the ingredients are cooked well, allow the gravy to cool and store it in an air-tight container.
  • This gravy can be served as a side dish like any other pickle.

 

 

 

 

Curious about Carom?


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Carom seeds

Carom seeds

The carom seeds, popularly known as ajwain, have been a part of Indian cuisine from times immemorial. Southeast Asian countries have consciously included these aromatic seeds in some of their common and exclusive dishes. The spice lends a tinge of heat and freshness to any dish to which it is added.

Since ajwain has its own distinct flavour, it is best not to combine it with other spices. It is particularly useful in curing digestive disorders. The spice has a magical way of lending diverse genres of flavours when employed differently.

If you are planning to use ajwain as a seasoning, then heat some ghee or any cooking oil of your choice and toss the spice when the fat is hot. When the spice inflates, turn off the heat and toss it into your dish. You can give your dosas, salads and buttermilk a twist by adding a dash of ajwain.

While baking some breads and buns or Indian snacks using besan flour as base, make sure that you add raw ajwain to the dough. If you don’t like biting into the spice unexpectedly, then consider adding a pinch of coarse or fine ajwain powder to the dough.

If you want an uniform and all encompassing flavour then make sure that you use a decoction of the spice. Toss a teaspoonful of the seeds into quarter litre of water and allow it to boil down to about 200 ml, add a pinch of table salt and crystal sugar to the decoction before taking it off the heat. Use this decoction while preparing dough for breads, chapatis or paranthas. This decoction can be cooled and stored in the refrigerator and administered a spoonful or two after every meal to overcome flatulence or indigestion.

Bread Fruit Recipes


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Get a taste of the tropics

breadfruitbreadfruit

Breadfruit Podimas

Ingredients: Two raw breadfruits; 1 tsp of turmeric powder; 2 tsps of salt; ½ tsp of hing; 4 red chillies; a sprig of curry leaves; 1 tsp of channa dal; 1 tsp of urad dal and 1 tbsp of cooking oil.
Method: Turn on the stove and place the raw breadfruit on it. Turn it around frequently to cook it evenly on all sides. The skin will carbonise, it but will conduct heat to cook the insides and protect them from getting burnt. Once cooked, wait for it to cool and peel off the burnt skin. Heat oil in a pan and fry the channa dal, urad dal and red chillies with hing. Grind the fried ingredients coarsely, toss the cooked breadfruit with the ground spices and run it for a minute in the food processor. Now crumble the mixture with a blunt ladle. Serve the podimas with hot rice and a raita of your choice.

Breadfruit  & Coconut Curry

Ingredients: Two raw breadfruits; a cup of grated coconut; 1 tbsp of tamarind extract; 1 tsp of turmeric powder; 2 tsps of salt; ½ tsp of hing; 4 red chillies; 4 garlic pods (optional); 1 sprig of curry leaves; 1 tsp of channa dal; 1 tsp of urad dal; 1 tbsp of coriander seeds; 1 tsp of cumin seeds; 1 tsp of mustard seeds and 2 tbsps of cooking oil.
Method: Skin the breadfruit, dice it and pressure cook it using little water. Marinate the cooked breadfruit in tamarind extract mixed with salt, turmeric powder and hing for 10 minutes. Fry the channa dal, urad dal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, red chillies, garlic and curry leaves in little oil and grind the ingredients finely. Take a heavy-bottomed pan, add a tbsp of oil and add mustard seeds to it. Add the marinated breadfruit to the pan and sauté it for a while. Add the ground ingredients and sauté the same. When the curry appears golden brown, add the grated coconut and mix it well before turning off the heat. Serve as a side dish for rice or roti.

Breadfruit Roast

Ingredients: Two raw breadfruits; 1 tbsp of tamarind extract; 1 tsp of turmeric powder; 2 tsps of salt; ½ tsp of hing; 1 tbsp of red chilli powder; a sprig of curry leaves and half a cup of cooking oil.
Method: Skin the breadfruits and slice them into thin wafers. Marinate the breadfruit slices in tamarind extract mixed with chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder and hing for an hour or so. Take a heavy-bottomed pan, add a tablespoon of oil and heat the same and spatter the mustard in it. Add the marinated breadfruit and curry leaves to the pan and sauté it for a while. Add oil from time to time to the pan and attend to the vegetable till it turns into a fine roast. This roast can be served as a side dish with rice or simply eaten as a snack.
Note: You can even deep fry the marinated the breadfruits and eat them as chips.

Feast on Festival Delights -Seedai


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Radha Prathi Aug 12 2017, 0:28 IST

Radha Prathi gives us some lip-smacking seedai recipes for the festive occasion.

No Indian festival can be complete without offering the choicest of sweets and savouries to our deities. Krishna Janmashtami takes the cake as our populace from different part of the country have come up with their creative and unique recipes which they think will please their lord the most. The Vaishnavites of Southern India and the Tamilian population in particular indulge baby Krishna with a scrumptious crispy dish called the Seedai. These little round marble like delicacies have been always been made during the festival. The making of these snacks take some time, effort and patience for each ingredient has to be processed differently.

 

Vella seedai or Sweet Seedai

Ingredients:

Rice flour 2 small cups

Wash the raw rice under running water, spread it on a clean piece of cloth and grind it into fine flour when it still retains the last bit of moisture. Then roast the flour till it loses its moisture and allow the flour to cool before putting it to use.

Urad dal flour 1 table spoon

Roast the Urad dal before grinding it into flour.

Grated coconut 1 small cup

Ghee 1 table spoon

Melt the ghee before adding it t the dough

Jaggery  1 ½ cups

Sesame seeds 1 table spoon

Cardamom 4

Cloves 2

Dry ginger powder

Nutmeg 1/2

Roast the white sesame seeds till they are a golden brown

Salt ½ teaspoon

Oil/ ghee ½ litre for frying

Procedure:

  • Roast the Cardamom, Cloves, Dry ginger powder and Nutmeg and grind them into a fine powder.
  • You must make syrup of the jaggery in the given manner. Take a large pan, pour one litre of water into it and bring it to a boil. Add the crushed jaggery to the water and keep stirring it till it melts completely. Keep stirring the mixture till it condenses to a semi liquid form. You will know that your syrup is ready when your jaggery drops as strings from your ladle. You must turn off the heat before the jaggery starts caramelising.
  • Even when the jaggery syrup is hot, toss in the rice flour, urad dal flour, ghee, powder of the spices, sesame seeds and salt.
  • Mix the ingredients well, add hot water little by little and knead the mixture into fine dough so that there are no lumps.
  • The dough should be firm like the dough of bread or roti.
  • Apply rice flour on your palms and pinch out a little dough and roll it into a cylinder which has the thickness of two of your fingers put together.
  • Pinch out the dough from this cylindrical dough and roll them into large marbles. Note make sure that you do not press the dough or shape them into perfectly smooth balls for they will tend to burst when they are being fried. It is also mandatory for all the balls in each batch to be of more or less the same size for the to fry deeply and well.
  • Spread a clean cloth or use a clean tray which can be used for making the seedai.
  • It will be convenient to make little batches of seven to ten seedais depending on the size of your pan.
  • You can roll out all the batches before frying them.
  • Heat oil. Once the oil starts emanating fumes, drop the seedais allow them to cook well in the oil, till they turn a golden brown.
  • Make sure that the heat is consistent on a low fire till they are fried completely.
  • Remove them from the oil and drop them on a plate laden with fresh tissues so that the excess oil can be absorbed.
  • You can fry a batch of them in ghee for improved taste and longevity. When you remove them from the ghee and drop them on a plate filled partially with wheat flour laden so that the excess ghee can be absorbed. The flour can be later on used to make dough for rotis.
  • Once the seedais cool down they can be stored in an airtight container and used from time to time as a snack.

Here is a little tip to keep your savouries fresh and crisp till the last one is used up. Drop in a two cardamoms, a few peppercorns and a piece of edible camphor in the container in which you store them.

 

 

Uppu or Salted  and spicy Seedai

 Ingredients:

Rice flour 2 small cups

Wash the raw rice under running water, spread it on a clean piece of cloth and grind it into fine flour when it still retains the last bit of moisture. Then roast the flour till it loses its moisture and allow the flour to cool before putting it to use.

Urad dal flour 1 table spoon

Roast the Urad dal before grinding it into flour.

Grated coconut 1 small cup

Ghee 1 table spoon

Melt the ghee before adding it to the dough

Channa Dal 1 small cup

Soak the Channa dal for an hour or so before adding it to the dough.

Sesame seeds 1 table spoon

Roast the white sesame seeds till they are a golden brown

Red Chilli powder 1tablespoon

Roast ten to twelve red chillies without using oil and grind it immediately into a fine powder.

Hing  ½ inch of the solidified variety

Soak the hing in hot water before adding it  to the dough.

Water

Use cold water for obtaining best results.

Oil ½ litre for frying

Toss a pinch of tamarind into the oil, just in case you are using coconut oil to prevent it from boiling over while frying.

Procedure:

  • Take a large pan and toss in the rice flour, urad dal flour, soaked channa dal, ghee, red chilli powder, sesame seeds and salt.
  • Mix the ingredients well, when dry.
  • Add cold water little by little and knead the mixture into a fine dough so that there are no lumps and the dough is firm.
  • Apply rice flour on your palms and pinch out a little dough and roll it into a cylinder which has the thickness of your little finger.
  • Pinch out the dough from this cylindrical dough and roll them into little marbles. Note make sure that you do not press the dough or shape them into perfectly smooth balls for they will tend to burst when they are being fried.
  • Spread a clean cloth or use a clean tray which can be used for making the seedai.
  • It will be convenient to make little batches of thirty to forty seedais depending on the size of your pan. It is also mandatory for all the balls in each batch to be of more or less the same size for the to fry deeply and well.
  • You can roll out all the batches before frying them.
  • Heat oil. Once the oil starts emanating fumes, drop the seedais allow them to cook well in the oil, till they turn a golden brown. Keep the heat high on a low flame for the best results.
  • Remove them from the oil and drop them on a plate laden with fresh tissues so that the excess oil can be absorbed.
  • Once the seedais cool down they can be stored in an airtight container and used from time to time as a snack.

Here is a little tip to keep your savouries fresh and crisp till the last one is used up. Drop in a  piece of hing in the container in which you store them.

 

 Rava seedai

Ingredients:

Semolina 2 small cups

Roast the semolina on a slow fire till it is a golden brown. Adding a teaspoon of ghee while roasting it can make your snack crispier.

Ghee 1 table spoon

Melt the ghee before adding it to the dough

Pepper  powder 1tablespoon

Roast the peppers without using oil and grind it immediately into a fine powder.

Hing  ½ inch of the solidified variety

Soak the hing in hot water before adding it  to the dough.

Oil ½ litre for frying

Toss a pinch of tamarind into the salt to prevent it from boiling over while frying.

 Procedure:

  • Take a large pan and toss in semolina, ghee, hing, pepper powder, and salt.
  • Mix the ingredients well, when dry.
  • Add boiling hot water little by little and knead the mixture into a fine dough so that there are no lumps and knead it well till the dough becomes firm.
  • Apply rice flour on your palms and pinch out a little dough and roll it into a cylinder which has the thickness of your little finger.
  • Pinch out the dough from this cylindrical dough and roll them into little marbles. Note make sure that you do not press the dough or shape them into perfectly smooth balls for they will tend to burst when they are being fried.
  • Spread a clean cloth or use a clean tray which can be used for making the seedai.
  • It will be convenient to make little batches of thirty to forty seedais depending on the size of your pan. It is also mandatory for all the balls in each batch to be of more or less the same size for the to fry deeply and well.
  • You can roll out all the batches before frying them.
  • Heat oil. Once the oil starts emanating fumes, drop the seedais allow them to cook well in the oil, till they turn a golden brown.
  • Remove them from the oil and drop them on a plate laden with fresh tissues so that the excess oil can be absorbed.
  • Once the seedais cool down they can be stored in an airtight container and used from time to time as a snack.

Here is a little tip to keep your savouries fresh and crisp till the last one is used up. Drop in a  piece of hing in the container in which you store them.

NOTE : you can alter the taste of the rava seedai by flavouring it with red chilli powder instead of pepper.

Red Chilli powder 1tablespoon

Roast ten to twelve red chillies without using oil and grind it immediately into a fine powder.

Vennai seedai or Butter  Seedai

 Ingredients:

Rice flour 2 small cups

Wash the raw rice under running water, spread it on a clean piece of cloth and grind it into fine flour when it still retains the last bit of moisture. Then roast the flour till it loses its moisture and allow the flour to cool before putting it to use.

Urad dal flour 1 table spoon

Roast the Urad dal before grinding it into flour.

Fresh butter 1 table spoon

Melt the ghee before adding it to the dough

Hing  ½ inch of the solidified variety

Soak the hing in hot water before adding it to the dough.

Water

Use cold water for obtaining best results.

Ghee ½ litre for frying

Procedure:

  • Take a large pan and toss in the rice flour, urad dal flour, hing and salt.
  • Mix the ingredients well, when dry.
  • Add water little by little and knead the mixture into a fine dough so that there are no lumps.
  • Apply rice flour on your palms and pinch out a little dough and roll it into a cylinder which has the thickness of your little finger.
  • Pinch out the dough from this cylindrical dough and roll them into little marbles. Note make sure that you do not press the dough or shape them into perfectly smooth balls for they will tend to burst when they are being fried.
  • Spread a clean cloth or use a clean tray which can be used for making the seedai.
  • It will be convenient to make little batches of thirty to forty seedais depending on the size of your pan. It is also mandatory for all the balls in each batch to be of more or less the same size for the to fry deeply and well.
  • You can roll out all the batches before frying them.
  • Heat Ghee. Once the ghee starts emanating fumes, drop the seedais allow them to cook well in the oil, till they turn a golden brown.
  • Remove them from the ghee and drop them on a plate filled partially with wheat flour laden so that the excess ghee can be absorbed. The flour can be later on used to make dough for rotis.
  • Once the seedais cool down they can be stored in a airtight container and used from time to time as a snack.

Here is a little tip to keep your savouries fresh and crisp till the last one is used up. Drop in a  piece of hing in the container in which you store them.

NOTE

Since the shape of the dish has the propensity to choke when accidently swallowed by little children, our tradition always makes one third of the portion of the dough in the form of a cheepi (that which can be sucked). The same dough is kneaded lightly into little thick sticks and fried so that they can be given to very small children.

 

 

Amazing Curry Leaves


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Know your ingredient

The number of tales and proverbs revolving around the humble curry leaf can make an interesting volume. No cook worth his or her salt can ever claim to have completed cooking unless the spicy delicacies are garnished or seasoned with a spray of curry leaves.

The unique flavour and colour of the leaf which seemed to deliver the nourishment, taste and aesthetic appeal of gourmet were certainly not missed by our ancestors.

The leaves were incorporated into the daily menu as the quintessential seasoning and sometimes as the main ingredient in chutneys and exclusive kozhambus. The fact that the curry leaves have traveled halfway across the world for more or less similar uses gives little room for speculation about its necessity to make dishes exclusive.

A good cook will optimize the use of these leaves by judging their freshness. The young sprays of a lighter green taste best when added to salads or garnished freshly on food and in buttermilk. The
mature leaves have the ability to release their essence entirely when boiled along, fried, ground or used when seasoning is the first step of the chosen recipe.

Drying or dried leaves can be allowed to dry completely in the shade and powdered and can be tossed into curries, gravies, sambar and rasam among other such foods when you run out of fresh leaves or happen to live in places that cannot grow this herb.

Rage for Radishes


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Well-being

Radish, red or white, is definitely not an all-time favourite veggie of most people. Yet the pungent root cannot be wished away, for it is a repository of nutritional and therapeutic values. The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of the vegetable can go a long way in boosting immunity. The presence of vitamin C, potassium, sodium and traces of other minerals besides vitamins and fibre has elevated its medicinal value.

Radish can bestow a world of good when eaten raw in the form of a salad. If it is cooked, ensure that it is cooked with minimum water, and take care not to drain the water in which it is cooked, so that the goodness is not wasted away. Here are some benefits:

Radish is very good for the liver and stomach. Those of you who are recuperating from jaundice will find yourself healing faster if you have a helping of radish every day.

Radish is a rich source of roughage, which is indigestible carbohydrate. This facilitates digestion, helps in retaining water and curing constipation, thus providing relief in piles. When consumed as juice on an empty stomach for two months, it can detoxify the digestive system entirely and cure piles.

Radish is a diuretic, and thus helps in increasing urine production. The juice of radish helps in treating inflammation and the burning feeling during urination. Hence, it is very helpful in treating urinary disorders.

Radish is a very good source of dietary fibre. When eaten as a salad regularly, it can aid in natural weight-loss.

Since the root is a rich source of vitamin C and lycopenes, it helps to contain many kinds of cancers, particularly those related to the intestines, stomach, colon and prostate.

Dab pure radish juice with a ball of cotton over the uneven skin tones of your body. And wash off after an hour or so. This will lighten your skin and make it glow.