Friday, October 23, 2009

Wheat Halwa

This is a recipe from my MIL. She made this sweet for Deepavali - the Festival of lights. It is a quick and easy recipe. What I love about this recipe is the simplicity of ingredients and execution!

1. Wheat Flour - 1 cup
2. Sugar - 2 cups
3. Milk - 1 cup
4. Water - 0.5 cup
5. Saffron - 1 pinch
6. Cardamon Powder - 1 pinch
7. Chopped almonds/pista/dry fruits - for garnishing as needed

Method de Prep
1. In a vessel, mix wheat flour, sugar, milk into a loose batter. Ensure the batter is lump free and loose. You can add the saffron and cardamon powder to this loose batter
2. In a pressure cooker, cook the loose dough for two whistles
3. After the cooker cools, remove the dough and pour into a deep microwavable dish.
4. Microwave for 20 mins, but check on the dish every 3 to 4 mins. Stir now and then during intervals.
5. The dough would have become tight and chewy. While it is still hot from the microwave, it would be in a pourable form. Pour it into a open dish where you can cut it into pieces.
6. After it cools, garnish with the dry fruits and cut into servable size pieces.

The Wheat Halwa is ready! Traditionally the tedious process involves soaking wheat grains, grinding and taking out the milk, stirring on low flame etc. This is a quicker shortcut which yields great tasting result too! Enjoy!

Bon App!

Mintilicious Fusilli

I know! I'm back after aeons. My friend is visiting me this week and I wanted to show her some twists to a regular Pasta Dish. Here is one such variation I spruced up last night:
Mintilicious Fusilli

1. Mint - 1 bunch
2. Corriander leaves - 1 bunch
3. Green Chillis - 5 to 6
4. Onions - 1 medium
5. Mushroom (Optional) - 5 to 6
6. Yellow Squash - chopped 10 to 15 medium size pieces
7. Pasta - any variety - I chose Fusilli
8. Pasta Sauce - optional - readymade, any variety
9. Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
10. Salt to taste

Method de Prep:
1. Remove just the leaves from the Mint bunch
2. Chop the corriander leaves
3. On a pan, add 1 tsp of Olive Oil. Add the green chillis, mint leaves along with the corriander leaves. Allow to cook on medium flame for 2 mins or less
4. Remove from heat and let it cool aside. After it cools, grind to a coarse paste.
5. You can use the same pan, in 2 tsp of Olive Oil, cook the finely chopped onions. Once the onions turn transparent, add the chopped mushrooms to it. Cook till they brown up and the juices start showing.
6. Meanwhile, cook the yellow squash in the oven by broiling it for 4 mins. Add the cooked squash to the pan along with the mushrooms and toss lightly.
6. On another stove, cook the pasta. Pasta is cooked al dente by adding it to a pot of hot water and salt.
7. Once the pasta is cooked, drain the water and set aside.
8. In a deep vessel, heat 2 tsp of olive oil. Add the cooked pasta, mint paste, cooked mushrooms and squash with onions and toss lightly. You may add the pasta sauce to this if you like.

Your delicious Mint Pasta is ready! This is a different ring to the regular Basil based Pasta Dishes. Hope you enjoy it !
Let me know how it came out/any variations after you have tried it!

Bon App!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Puratasi Maavilaku

Today is 3rd Sat in the Tamizh Month of Puratasi. The month of Puratasi is said to be special for Lord Balaji, the lord of seven hills-Tirupati.
A special lamp of rice flour, sugar, powdered elachi is considered special for this day. To make the Maa-vilaku:
1. Rice - 1 cup + one handful
2. Sugar - 1 cup + one handful
3. Powdered Elachi

Method de Prep:
1. Soak the rice for about 30 mins in water at room temperature.
2. Remove the rice from water and let it dry on a paper towel for few mins
3. Grind dry in a blender
4. Add the sugar to the powdered rice and mix
5. Add Powdered Elachi (cardamon) and mix

To make Maavilaku spread the rice on a round plate and shape it like a small mountain with a crater. Pour ghee into the crater with a wick. Place a small Betel Nut under the wick at the lighting end to separate it from the flour. Light the lamp in the name of Lord Venkateswara

Maavilaku signifies Lord Balaji himself in the form of Jyothi Swaroopa. In the olden days, when the old, disabled and very young devotees of Lord Balaji couldn't visit him, it is said that the Lord himself visits them on this day. The lighting of the Maavilaku signifies the Lord Almighty himself visiting our home. As the lamp slowly burns down, it shows the Lord going back to his home- the seven hills. When the lamp is completely burnt out, we chant "Govinda Govinda" perform Deeparadhanai and offer prayers. The Maavilaku can then be made into sweet balls and distributed as prasadam.