Onion Bajji

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Onion Bajji or Ulli bajji is something that’s perfect when some unexpected guests come home and you are in a fix about what to make. Most of our homes will have a stock of onions. And this one is a quick snack that you could serve with tea.

The tricky part about onion bajji though is about getting it crispy. I love bajjis when eaten from thattukada or roadside stalls πŸ™‚ It has a different taste altogether. The main thing is, it should be eaten fresh. Bajji tastes best when hot and crisp. I have put couple of tips below to help you to get perfectly crisp bajjis and not soggy soft ones πŸ˜› Enjoy this snack with tea!!

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INGREDIENTS:

Onion – 1 no. small sized
Gram flour – 2 tbsp
Rice flour – 2 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Asafetida – 2 pinches
Salt – to taste(apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Coriander leaves – 4-5 strands, chopped
Water – as needed(apprx. 3 fistful)

METHOD:

1. Meanwhile mix all the ingredients(but oil) together and try to bind them by sprinkling water little by little.
2. The batter shouldn’t be very loose/watery. When you take a handful of the onions, it should stay together. Use as less water as possible to achieve that kind of binding.
Note: More water will make the bajji oily and soggy. Also remember that the onion will leave out some water after some time. So add water accordingly.
3. Heat oil in a kadai/deep pan. To check if the oil is hot, drop one onion slice into the oil. It should go down and rise to the top immediately.
4. Once the oil is heated, take spoonful(tsp) of bajji mix and drop into oil. You could put 4-5 bajji’s at a time for frying. Fry till it turns brown.
5. Strain the oil and put on a kitchen towel to drain extra oil and immediately transfer to a plate.

Serve with ketchup πŸ™‚

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Sambaram(Flavored Buttermilk)

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Sambaram or Morumvellam, as we call it, is a perfect drink on a hot summer day. Sambaram is nothing but seasoned buttermilk. There is nothing like tender coconut water or buttermilk that can cool down your body in summer. And both of these things are very commonly found in Kerala. I remember when we were kids, we would buy the sambaram pouches that was supplied by β€˜Milma’ on our way back from school πŸ˜€

Samabaram or moru can also be used to mix with rice when you don’t wanna make any curry specifically. For any feast(served for occassions like onam, weddings or b’day), there is an order followed for the dishes served on the leaf. Parippu/Dal followed by Sambar is given in the 1st serving. Rasam followed by sambaram is usually the 2nd serving. Usually since both rasam and sambaram are good for digestion and is very liquidy, people tend to take it in glass and drink it at the end of the meal. Try sambaram this onam and end your meal with this cooling agent πŸ™‚

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Yogurt – 1/2 cup
Or
Buttermilk – 2 cups
Green chilli – 1 no
Ginger – 1/4 inch
Curry leaves – 4-5 leaves
Shallots – 2 nos
Salt – 1/2 tsp

METHOD:

1. If using yogurt: Mix the yougurt and 1.5 cups water in a bowl and whisk it well. It shouldn’t have any lumps. Else, take the buttermilk in a bowl. Add salt to this and mix well.
2. In a mixie/blender, pulse the remaining ingredients couple of times.
3. Put this in the buttermilk and mix well.
4. While serving, you could strain the sambaram, to filter out the solid ingredients πŸ™‚

Rava Kesari

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Kesari or Rava halwa as we call it in our homes, is one of the most common sweets made in most Indian homes. I hadn’t made it in quite some time at home. But when you go to South Indian restaurants and order thali, mostly the dessert served would be Kesari.

Whenever I have it from restaurants, is when I realize how much I like this thing πŸ˜› Specially in restaurants, they add a looot of ghee/oil to make it very very soft. I made it at home last week, but I couldn’t go beyond 8 tbsp of ghee. My brain started analyzing how much unhealthy it is when I was adding more and more ghee πŸ˜€ So to be peaceful while relishing the dessert, I restricted the amount of ghee I put. But for restaurant style kesari, I would suggest you put more ghee so that it gets that texture and consistency!! Having said that, I didn’t miss the kesari immersed in ghee while I was having my home made version πŸ˜›

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Fine Sooji/Semolina/Rava – 1 cup
Sugar – 1.25 cups(I put only 3/4th cup since I don’t have a sweet tooth)
Ghee/Clarified butter – 1 cup
Cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
Water – 1 cup
Food Color(Yellow)(Optional) – 1 pinch

METHOD:

1. Heat ghee in a saucepan and lightly roast sooji/semolina.
2. Meanwhile heat the water in microwave, ready to be poured into the saucepan once the semolina is roasted.
3. Pour the hot water slowly into the saucepan and keep stirring well so that semolina doesn’t form lumps.
4. Add food color, sugar and cardamom powder and mix it well.
5. Continue to stir and be careful as the semolina mix can splutter. Keep stirring till rava cooks well.
6. Once the sugar melts and the rava doesn’t stick to your hands/fingers/pan anymore, remove it from stove.
7. Transfer it to a greased flat plate and give the Semolina halwa/Kesri the shape you desire. Using a knife draw diagonal lines to make it diamond shaped.

Olan(Cowpeas ‘N Pumpkin stew)

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Olan is one of those dishes that you should make when you absolutely want no spices or masala. It is a simple dish made with the most simple ingredients and yet is a wholesome dish. Another easy dish that has a definite spot in your Onam sadya leaf πŸ™‚ I love the color of this dish. The color itself is an indication of the simplicity of this dish. Usually this is made using pumpkin, but you could use squash instead.

INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Squash/Pumpkin – 100 gm/1 cup
Cowpeas – 1/2 cup
Green chilli – 3 nos, slit
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coconut milk – 5 tbsp
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste(approx. 1/4 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Soak cowpeas in water for 8 hours or overnight. Boil it using little salted water in a cooker(give about 5-6 whistles).
2. In a pan, put little water(approx. 1 cup), sliced squash/pumpkin, slit green chillies, curry leaves, coconut milk and salt. Boil these in medium flame.
3. Add the cowpeas when the pumpkin/squash is half cooked. Cook covered till the vegetable cooks through. Add water if needed.
4. Remove from heat and pour coconut oil and give a good mix.

Serve with rice!

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Potato Kootu Curry(Coconut milk based potato gravy)

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Potato kootu curry is NOT one of the most popular kootu curry for onam sadya. In most homes, kootu curry is made of either raw banana or yam or black chana/kadala. The preparation of these kootu curry will also be very similar to any other preparation using coconut and jeera paste. However, I stick to this kootu curry when it comes to sadya/feasts since that would be a different taste from the other dishes. This is a preparation style of southern most Kerala bordering Nagercoil. My mom introduced this dish to one of our sadyas back in our school days and ever since I have loved this side dish.

I was thinking it will go well only for a rice combo plate. But last time I made it, we had this curry with poori and we liked it quite good. This is a very simple dish and gets ready in no time. Try this for your onam sadya this time and enjoy the difference πŸ™‚

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INGREDIENTS:
Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Potato – 1 no. medium sized, cubed
Onion – 1/2 of a medium sized, cubed
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Cloves – 3 nos
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Cardamom – 1 no
Coconut milk – 3 tbsp
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Coconut oil – 1.5 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Dry red chilli – 1 no
Salt – to taste(approx. 1/2 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Take some water(little over 1 cup) in a pan. Put cubed potatoes, cubed onions, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, half of curry leaves and salt in it.
2. Let it boil. Cook covered in medium flame till the potatoes cook through. Add water if needed.
3. Reduce the flame and put coconut milk and give a good stir. Cook for 3-4 mins and remove from stove.
4. In a pan, heat coconut oil. Put mustard seeds and once it splutters, add broken dry red chilli and remaining curry leaves. Saute till dry red chillies turn slightly brown.
5. Pour this onto the potato gravy kept aside and give a good mix.

Mint Rice/Pudina Sadam

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Mint rice or Pudina sadam is something that I usually make 1-2 days after making biryani. Biryani recipe calls for only very few strands of mint leaves and usually you get a bunch of mint leaves from the grocery store. I realized that mint rice is a good way of consuming the mint leaves. It is a very refreshing flavored rice and is very easy to prepare also.

This time I made a tangy cucumber salad along with mint rice. It was a superb combination. Even as I write this, I am craving that combination :- D Next time for sure, I am buying mint leaves, explicitly for making pudina sadam ;- )

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INGREDIENTS:

Note: Cup used for measurement is US measurement cup, 1 cup = 237 ml

Raw rice – 1 cup
Mint leaves – 1 bunch
Coriander leaves – 1 handful
Green chilli – 1
Tamarind – a gooseberry seed sized ball
Ginger – 1 inch
Garlic – 3 pods
Chana dal/Bengal gram – 1 tbsp
Urad dal/Black gram – 1 tsp
Asafetida – 2 pinch
Dry red chilli – 1
Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste(approx. 1 tsp)

METHOD:

1. Cook rice and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add chana dal/Bengal gram and sautΓ© till it starts to turn light brown. Then add broken urad dal/ black gram. When both dals become slightly brown, add cumin seeds, asafetida and broken dry red chilli.
3. Then add chopped ginger, chopped garlic, chopped green chilli and sautΓ© till the raw smell goes off.
4. Then add mint leaves and coriander leaves. Saute for apprx. 2 mins till they turn pale.
5. Remove from heat and allow it to cool.
6. Grind it along with tamarind and salt into a fine paste and mix with cooked rice.

Serve with cucumber salad! I loved this combination.

Tangy Cucumber Salad

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Making salads with cucumber is a very common practice in India. But usually all the salads call for sliced cucumbers and its most served without much seasoning/dressing.

I loved this salad coz of the tangyness that the lime juice was bringing to this dish. I made mint rice the other day and I didn’t know what would go well with it, as a side. I had some cucumber at home. I had other plans with the cucumber(basically to make sandwiches). But then I decided to make a salad with cucumber. And I am soo glad I made this. I am a person who gives importance to ‘combinations’ of food. I can’t eat random stuff with just another random stuff(for which DD calls me very picky :-P). But people who enjoy eating would understand where I am coming from πŸ˜‰ This combination of mint rice and cucumber salad is definitely something that I am having again!

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INGREDIENTS:

Cucumber – 1 no(s), diced
Onion – 1/4th of a small sized one, thinly sliced
Lime juice – of 1/2 a lime
Green chilli – 1 no, chopped
Salt – to taste( apprx. 1 tsp)
Coriander leaves – 2 strands, chopped

METHOD:

1. Mix diced cucumber, thinly sliced onion, chopped green chilli, lime juice and salt well.
2. Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper before serving.

Enjoy with Mint rice or any flavored rice πŸ™‚