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Entries in south indian cooking (18)


Best of both worlds.. but...

Recently I felt like eating Rava dosai after coming home late at night after a yoga class.. given time constraint, decided to make upma and smear the upma around the Chatti to get a dense rava dosai roast on the vessel..

that came out pretty good.

Today I did a double at BYSJ. My MIL who is visiting joined me for the first class. When she came out, she asked me "do you want me to make you some upma or something ? I will be able to make it for you by the time you come home!"

I told her "no, it is okay.. I feel like eating Maggi noodles after class".. Nothing beats some carbs and spices after back to back yoga class for me!

Somehow in the middle of the second class, I started remembering all types of Upmas.. every upma I had ever remembered over the years etc.. it was like my brain had issued a grep command inside the memory for "upma" and presented the massive result base scroll through my wide open eyes and nose.. 

Came home and saw that MIL had kept a small cup (to tell me she would also like some Maggi)! Told her that she should not have reminded me of upma between two yoga classes.. so Plan change! Upma for dinner.

Instead of making the usual Rava Upma, decided to do this dosa-upma thing again and show her.. 

there are two issues with this.

1. I put jeera (cumin) in the upma to make the dosa come out good.

2. it does not scale very well.. Remember surface area and volume do not scale the same.. so the upma per MIL became the consistancy of Karudaththu maavu.. Felt bad.. we still ate the upma.. It was okay for my standard but did not get any thumbs up from her..

the roast on the other hand was really really good!

Lifting the roast from the chatti was... priceless! 

I have to improve on scaling the proportions and use less or no Jeeragam on the next try...


Happy Deepavali

Deepavali 2018 is almost here.. it is a bummer that it falls on a weekday but it will be celebrated, rain or shine!

San made some besan laddoo's and has a commitment to make some Gulab Jamun's.

Today I made some Omapodi.. 

San made a lot of laddoos.. but I already finished most of it in the last 24 hours.. by Deepavali night she might not have any left. 

This is not something I make every year. Was in a rush and did not grind the Chilli and Omam (Ajwain seeds) too fine. So some of them got caught in the nazhi (extruder) and I had to keep cleaning the holes to continue. Won't make that mistake again.

The end result is good. We still have two days to make more Deepavali bakshanams.

The little one comes out and tells me "we don't like oily stuff. it is mostly you and amma who are going to eat this!"

Sometimes you realize you have failed as a parent if your kids take this health stuff overboard! Deepavali comes once a year.. it is not every day that your dad labors in the kitchen to make this stuff..was going to launch myself into a lecture and decided to take the "fine.. just taste a little bit".. in hopes that the Savory Gene that has been passed on will do the trick..

Kids these days! bah! 

want to wish one and all a wonderful Deepavali! Deepavali is literally a celebration where the light of learning dispells the darkness of ignorance. 

Here's to light! 


Cashew Burfi (sweet) - A do it yourself Video

Made Cashew burfi for Deepavali sweet this year and it came out great!

Have been refining this recipe over the years with different results but we are locked into this final recipe.

Turns out the 4:3:2:1 ratio for select burfi's that my Lalli chitti taught me 20 years ago works for Cashew burfi as well!

We got a 100 pieces or so. 

Some notes before the video:

1. What you don't see in the video is that I doubled all quantities. (you see 200 grams of cashew or 2 cups of broken cashew being ground.. there was another identical batch added to the mix before heating)

2. This process is very very labor intensive. There is a lot of stirring almost 40 minutes of stirring on low heat and the last 10 minutes is extremely challenging. The thing is so thick that stirring it is difficult, but stir you must or it will start browning. 

3. It is more art than science when it comes to realizing "pour time". If you pour too early, it will be like a Halwa and will be a little gummy to eat. If you pour too late, the whole thing is hard and tastes like brittle candy or it has pieces of brittle hard stuff embedded in a matrix of the gummy stuff. That will taste good but kind of like having the almond noughats in chocholate texture.. The minute you start seeing the entire thing stick to your ladle and come off the pan as one blob, pour it! That is the secret.

The thing has to be just the right mix of crystallite stuff in an amorphous matrix..if you are a fab guy like me, think 550 C amorphous silicon! 

Here is a video explaining how to make this delicious treat! 

The ratios are 4 cups broken cashew : 3 cups sugar : ~2 cups milk (do 1 1/2 or even 1 and it will work) : ~ 1 cup Ghee which is added while heating and mixing

Think 4-3-2-1 and go easy on the milk and ghee.

Also made some thenkuzhal (did it with the right flour mix this time!) and San made some delicious Gulab Jamuns. 

The litlte one doesn't like "nuts" except when converted to burfi's or Halwa's. 

Next year we will do a Badam Halwa. 

Hope you have fun making this sweet. 


Taro (சேப்பங்கிழங்கு) Curry - Do it yourself Videoblog

The traditional way of making Taro (சேப்பங்கிழங்கு) curry that my mother taught me is by staring to boil them whole.

We used a pressure cooker to boil the root (irrespective of how ugly and muddy it was) and then remove the skin after putting it in cold water (thermal shocking the skin!). 

It would still not peel off easily like a potato and needed some delicate care during the peeling process. Otherwise most of the stuff would be thrown away with the skin. Also it was not a nice experience peeling the skin off pressure cooker boiled Taro as it was very slimy and slippery to touch. The curry was usually made with large pieces and the end product would roast on select areas but for the most part would be mushy.

Recently a  us Taro, but potato curry style. It was crisp and not goopy! The secret? Peel it like a potato and almost fry it! Had to give this a try, but this method is very very labor intensive. It takes more time to get the thing cut than to actually make the curry.

The kids and San were out of the house for an hour and that gave me a chance to try this. Given I am still moping around with the antibioitics and no painkillers, this was a good idea to take my mind off things and do something I like! 

Here is a valuable tip. Pick the Taro carefully at the Indian store. Pick well rounded large size Taro without too many cuts and crevices as it makes this approach easier. Pick ones with the highest volume for a lowest surface area.. ie., pick nice round ones! 

The end result was yummy and crispy. Hope you have fun trying this at home.. when you have a lot of time on your hands! 

ps. The same procedure pretty much applies to Okra curry (you don't have to put it in turmeric water after cutting).. and to Plantain curry (there you put the cut vegetable in water with some tamarind paste.. aka tartaric acid to prevent it from going black and sticking together). 


Kitchen fun

Getting back in the kitchen more often these days, just on a whim!

Made some "Adai" with the little one for company. 

Adai : ~18 % protein (batter made from rice and lentils)

It is good to be back!