Friday, August 31, 2007

JFI Deadline

Dear Friends, September 1st (tomorrow) will be the last date to post your JFI-RICE entries. While you send your entries please make sure you are sending in the all the details as requested. If you don't have a picture please mention that you don't have one. This will help me do the roundup on time.
I may not be able to bloghop till the next week. Sorry about that.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Vegetable Biryani

This Biryani is made with a special kind of rice which is called the "Seeraga Samba" rice. This rice is of Tamil Nadu origin, a southern state of India. The Rice is very Aromatic by nature just like the Basmati. Since it resembles Cumin which is called "Seeragam" in Tamil, it is called Seeraga Samba. Most of the traditional biryani, may it be veg or Non-veg are made with this rice in Tamil Nadu.

I have prepared a traditional style biryani here.


2 cups Seeraga Samba rice
4 cups water
3 large red onions
2 tbsp white poppy seeds (soaked in water for 15 minutes)
1/2 cup tomato puree
1 cup of chopped, mixed vegetables (carrot, peas, beans and capsicum)
4 green chillies
1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
4 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 crushed green cardamom
1 strand of mace
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp Turmeric
4 tbsp Ghee (clarified butter)
1 tsp Biryani masala (store bought)
fresh chopped cilantro
fresh chopped mint


Grind the soaked poppy seeds along with 1 large onion into fine paste. In a wide pot add ghee and fry the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, mace, bay leaves till aroma raises. This should be done on medium low heat. To this add ginger garlic paste, green chillies and chopped onions and fry them till golden. Add the ground poppy mixture and fry well. Let the mixture separate oil

Now add yogurt and let the yogurt also separate oil out of it. To this add tomato, chopped mint, turmeric, biryani masala, salt and fry well. If required add more ghee or oil.
Finally add the vegetables and rice along with water and give a stir. The water should come to boil. Once it boils, simmer the gas and cover with lid. Do check at intervals to see if the water has evaporated. Remove from gas stove and let it cool. Don't stir while the rice it hot. It tends to break. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

This can be prepared in a rice cooker too. After adding rice and water, transfer the contents in to the rice cooker. Aromatic Biryani is ready in minutes.

Onion Raita

This biryani is relished with onion raita/ onion pachadi


1 cup thick yogurt
1/3 cup chopped onions


Mix the onions and salt to yogurt. It goes great with biryani.

This is my JFI- Rice entry.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Oriya Thali

Orissa is famous for Jagannath temple and Konark temple.

Jagannath is a Sanskrit name used to describe a deity form of Krishna. The term means master (nath) of the universe (jagat). Jagannath is considered amongst Vaishnavas to be a very merciful form of Krishna. The oldest and most famous Jagannath deity is in the city of Puri, in Orissa, India (the city is known to many as Jagannath Puri) where each year the famous Rath Yatra festival takes place.

This famed Jagannath Temple in Puri, Orissa, has one of the biggest kitchens in the country. Around 500 cooks and 300 helping hands prepare 56 different offerings known as 'Mahaprasad' or 'Abhada' for Lord Jagannath, which are served to the deity six times a day.

The kitchen has 32 rooms, 752 stoves and nine earthen pots.The meals include seven different types of rice, four types of pulses, nine types of vegetables and different items of sweet dishes. Fine molasses, instead of sugar is used for preparing sweet dishes. Potatoes, tomatoes and cauliflower are not used in the temple.
Every meal that is prepared has a name like Jagannath Ballabh, ladu, mathapuli, sarapuli and many others.

In one hour, food for one lakh (one hundred thousand) devotees can be prepared in the kitchen.Temple cooks say there is no limit to the quantity of offerings made.
It is not written in any book how much rice is to be cooked. Food is cooked for the devotees who come. Devotees consider the holy offerings as being as important as the prayers offered at the sanctum sanctorum.

The 12th century Jagannath temple is one of the holiest places for Hindus and is usually swarmed with devotees, who come to get a glimpse of it.
Lord Jagannath is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver, one of the trinity of the Hindu pantheon. The other two are Brahma, the Creator and Shiva, the Destroyer.

Lord Jagannath's idol [Deity] is carved in wood, unlike other Hindu temples where the idols [Deities] are made of granite or a combination of metals.

Konark is best known as the site of the 13th-century Konark Sun Temple, a World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Orissa. The temple takes the form of the chariot of Surya (Arka), the sun god and is decorated with exquisite stone carvings.

The Sun Temple (also known as the Black Pagoda), red sandstone (Khandolite) and black granite by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1236-1264) of the Ganga dynasty. The temple is one of the most well renowned temples in India and is a World Heritage Site.

Stone carvings of Konark Temple
Picture source : Wiki

The Gandhi Mandir is perhaps the one and only temple, where the father of our nation is worshiped as a deity. It is situated in a "Harijan" village known as Bhatra in Sambalpur.

Oriya Cuisine

A typical meal in Orissa consists of a main course and dessert. Typically breads are served as the main course for breakfast and dinner, whereas rice is eaten with lentils (dals) during lunch. The main course also includes one or more curries, vegetables and pickles. Given the fondness for sweet foods, the dessert course may include generous portions of more than a single item. Oriya desserts are made from a variety of ingredients, with milk, chhenna (a form of ricotta cheese), coconut, rice, and wheat flour being the most common.

(Source: Wiki)

Dalchini Palau/Pulao (Cinnamon Fried Rice)


2 cups Basmati rice
4 tsp ghee (Clarified butter)
2 cinnamon Stick (1 inch length each)
4 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp ground cumin
Pinch of turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
Boiling water (twice the amount of rice)


Heat a big pan on medium and add ghee.
When ghee is sufficiently hot and gives off aroma, add cumin seed, cinnamon sticks and fry for a minute. Add turmeric powder, washed rice and salt. Stir for 2 to 3 minutes.
Carefully, add boiling water and bring whole mixture to boil. Cook until all water is evaporated and rice is done. Add sugar and mix well and bring out from heat.
Cover rice with a lid for 5 minutes and serve with your favorite gravy.

Phulcobi Do Piaji (Cauliflower Subzi)


1 cup Cauliflower
1tsp Cumin powder
1tbsp chopped Ginger
1tsp garam masala
1 finely chopped Tomato or tomato puree
4 green Chillies
1 cup chopped Onion
1 tsp Panchporan
2 tbsp Oil


Cut the cauliflower into medium size pieces. Heat oil in a pan, add the panchporon, once they splutter add onions and fry well. Also add cumin powder, green chillies and ginger.
Now put the cauliflowers into the pan and cover it with tomato pieces. Add the garam masala, turmeric and salt too. Cover the lid and lower the flame until cauliflower is cooked completely.

Channa Dal of Puri Jagannath Temple (Orissa)


1 cup Channa dal (Gram dal)
1/4 Cup Coconut (grated)
2 Cinammon sticks
4 black Cardamom
4 whole Cloves
1 tsp Black pepper
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Coriander seeds
a dash of Turmeric
1 tsp Sugar

For Tempering

1 tsp Panchporan
2 tsp Ghee (clarified butter)


Pressure cook the dal in 2 1/2 cups of water, salt, sugar and turmeric. Blend together the coconut, cinammon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper,cumin and coriander seeds to form a thick paste. Combine the coconut mixture and the cooked dal and cook in medium-low heat until they combine well to form a thick gravy. Temper the dal with Panchporan and ghee and relish.

Jagannath Temple's Bhat Payasa

This is the worlds oldest rice pudding. Read more about it in Kurma Dasa's "The world's oldest pudding" and Bee and Jai's "A rice pudding from antiquity". The recipe is from cooking with Kurma.

2 tablespoons ghee or unsalted butter
3/4 cup long grained rice, washed and dried
1/2 bay leaf
2 litres milk
1/2 cup ground rock sugar, or raw sugar
1/4 cup currants
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds
one pin-head quantity of pure cooking camphor (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted nuts for garnish

Heat the ghee or butter in a heavy pot over medium heat, and toast the rice for a minute.
Add the bay leaf and milk. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally,
until reduced to half it's original volume.
Add the sweetener, currants, and cardamom, and simmer the mixture until it reaches one fourth of it's original volume, and is thick and creamy.
Stir in the optional camphor, and cool to room temperature, or refrigerate until chilled.
Serve garnished with the toasted nuts.



3 cups wheat flour
2 tsp oil
1 tsp salt
oil for frying


Mix two spoons of oil and and salt with wheat flour and then add water
to make a pliable dough. Leave the dough for 1/2 an hour, covered with lid. Make small balls and roll them into flat circles with rolling pin to medium thickness.
Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan. Fry the pooris until they puff up. Pooris are ready.

This Thali goes to dear Swapna's RCI Orissa.

Its raining pooris in the blog sphere, I am sending my Poori/cauliflower bhaji entry to A Mad Tea Party.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Strawberry Muffins

There was this sale in the library where, I could pick up any number of books that would fit a bag just for a dollar or two. I grabbed some lovely cook books. One of them is Betty Crocker's Easy Entertaining. I made the Strawberry Muffins from this book.


3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 tbsp grated orange peel
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 egg
1/4 tsp Salt


chopped pecans


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 medium muffin cups. Mix milk, oil, orange peel and egg in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in the remaining ingredients, just until moistened. Fill muffin cups . Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Some of my visitors may wonder that I have used eggs. Well eggs are very essential part of baking. For making cakes, cookies, bread, brownies, scones etc, eggs become very mandatory. I thought of starting a separate blog for my baking and use of eggs, but it would be too much of work for me. So I have started a separate option in my Recipe box to the right called the International/ Egg-etarian recipes. All my bakery stuff will be added there now on.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Independence Day!!

I wish all my Indian fellow bloggers a very Happy Independence Day.
My sweet memories of Independence day are, while I was in school. We get dressed in white n white, practice for the parade, sing the National Anthem and the best part is at the end, when we get sweet treats.

Even today we enjoy the day sitting at home , relaxing, watching TV and eating good food. Behind all this freedom, there was so much struggle, so many great people who sacrificed their lives, just to give us a better future. Every Indian should remember the struggle for Independence. That thought will make our country a better place to live, not only for us but for the future generations too.

Please share your sweet memories of Independence Day too.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Garden Harvest Recipes- Part 2

Dahi wali bhendi or Bendakaya Perugu pachadi (okra in yogurt sauce)
I came across Tomato Perugu Pachadi (yoghurt curry) in Sailu's blog and experimented it a little by adding okras to it. The results, you can see in the picture.

Bedakaya Perugu Pachadi (Okra- Yogurt based Chutney)


1 cup medium chopped Okra
1/2 cup tomatoes chopped or puree
1/2 cup chopped red onions
1 1/2 cup yogurt
2-3 green chillies
1/2 tsp turmeric
Fresh chopped cilantro

For tempering

1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp split moong dal
2-4 dry red chillies
dash of Asafoetida
2 tbsp curry leaves
2tsp oil


In a deep bottomed pan, add oil and temper with all the given ingredients. Add onions and saute till translucent. Add the chopped okra and fry along with the onions until soft. Also add turmeric, tomato, salt and green chillies. Let them get cooked for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool. Beat the yogurt and add it to this mixture. It goes great with rice.


Methi Aloo/ Fenugreek leaves with potato

3 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
1/2 cup of Methi/ fenugreek leaves
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
dash of Asafoetida


In a pan add 2 tbsp oil and splutter the cumin seeds. Also add asafoetida and onions. Fry till translucent. Add the potatoes, turmeric, chilli powder, methi leaves and salt. Cover with lid and cook for about 10 - 12 minutes on medium heat till the potatoes are done. Delicious Aloo- methi is ready.

All these going to Green Blog Project hosted by Deepz of Letz Cook.

My Many Many Thanks to Cynthia of Tastes like Home for giving me this fabulous award. I really don't know if truly deserve it.

I wanted to pass this award to Sandeepa, Sra, Sig, Viji, Asha, Sia and Shn. But since they already possess the awards, I pass it to

Sailu of Sailu's food
WokandSpoon of Wok and Spoon
Trupti of The Spice who loved me
Kajal of Kajal dreams
Anh of Food lover's Journey
Musical of Musical's Kitchen
Dear friends you truly Rock

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Garden Harvest Recipes- Part 1

When I first came across the Green Blog Project, started by Inji of Ginger and Mango, I was very thrilled by the idea and waited for the spring to come. I went and bought lot of seeds and pots. I don't have a backyard but managed to get pots which can stand on my apartment window. It feels so good to see your veggies grow. Back in India, I had a huge garden with all kinds of trees like peaches, plums, Pomegranate and banana. I also had a veggie garden. Missed all that space when I heard about the green blog project.
This time this event is hosted by Deepz of Letz Cook. Here are some recipes from my small kitchen garden

Beans Stage wise pictures

Aloo-beans ki Sukhi Subzi (stir fried veggies with beans and potato)


1 cup chopped fresh beans
1 cup potatoes diced
1tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/3 tsp cumin seeds


In a pan add 2 tsp oil and add cumin seeds. Once it splutters add beans, potatoes, turmeric, salt and chilli powder. Saute it and cover it with lid on medium heat for about 10 -12 minutes. Uncover the lid and leave it for 2-3 minutes.

Okra Flower

Masaledar Bhindi ( Spicy Okra)


1 cup chopped okra
1cup chopped onions
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp of Tava fry masala (found in the Indian grocery store)

The tava fry masala consists of the following ingredients. If you don't have one, you can use the ingredients with the given measurements.
1 tsp coriander powder
½ tsp dry mango powder
1 tsp cumin powder
½ tsp pomegranate seed powder
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp black salt
½ tsp black pepper powder
1tsp kasuri methi
2 pods of cloves
1/3 tsp cinnamon powder
1/3 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cardamom powder
½ tsp dry ginger powder
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp Sugar


The Masala is same as that of I prepared for Bharwan Karela. You can follow the same procedure for making the tomato/ onion masala. In a pan add 2bsp oil and fry the okras till slightly soft and crisp. Add the prepared masala to it and fold together. Let it cook for another 10 minutes. Masaledar bhindi is ready.

Mint Plant

Cilantro just showing up

Lot of them showing up infact

I have some more recipes from my kitchen garden which I will post in Garden Harvest Part 2