Monday, March 26, 2012

Chow chow carrot poriyal

This is a recipe I have recreated from the menu of one of my favorite Indian restaurants (read Udipi Dosa House). Popular for its fresh vegetarian food the menu featured poriyals, kuzhambu, sambar and chutneys that tasted like home cooked food with the right amount of spices. 
Chow chow carrot poriyal recipe

Chow chow - 2
Carrot - 3 medium sized
Onion - 1 medium sized
Fresh grated coconut - 2 tbsps (frozen grated coconut will work too)
Mustard - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 2 or 3 (adjust according to taste)
Curry leaves - a few
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp
Garlic (optional)
Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

1. Peel the skin of the chow chow and carrot and cut into small cubes. Chop the onions and set aside.
2. In a pan add the oil and mustard seeds. Once they pop add the red chillies and curry leaves. 
3. Next add the onions and saute until soft. At this stage you can add garlic if using. 
4. Add the chopped chow chow and carrot along with turmeric powder and salt. Do not add water as the veggies will release water.
5. Reduce heat to medium cover the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes stirring a couple of times. If you leave the cover on for too long the veggies will become mushy.
6. Remove the lid and add the grated coconut. Continue to cook until the veggies are done. 
7. Garnish with fresh cilantro just before serving.

1. Garlic imparts a nice taste to this recipe.
2. Serve with sambar, vathakuzhambu or rasam.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Pal payasam - Slow cooker recipe

Hi foodies 

It's been almost five years I have been away from my blog. A busy life with kids, relocating to a new city, moving to a new house et al has kept me busy all these years. It's been so much fun browsing, collecting and trying out recipes posted by all of you.

My never ending passion for food and cooking is bringing me back to blogging again. From cooking and tasting simple recipes to trying out exotic and complicated ones I have realized that my heart lies where comfort food is. Simple, home made and healthy meals with a few easy to find ingredients is just about enough to make my day. 

This blog will also feature vegetarian weight loss recipes which will be really handy if you are trying to lose weight. Over the last few months I have been taste testing semi-home made recipes which will be easy on your wallet and of course help you lose weight too. It worked for me and it can work for you as well. 

You will not see a new recipe everyday on the blog, but I will keep up my effort in posting something new and interesting as often as I can. A big note of appreciation to my fellow bloggers - sailusfood, onehotstove, talimpu, amadteaparty, aayisrecipes, akshyapatram, saffrontrail, and many more who have been active in the blogging world. I have been following your posts all along. 

The recipe I have chosen today is pal payasam/rice pudding. I made this in my slow cooker and it turned out excellent. With a few ingredients and very little effort you can make this simple dessert ahead of time. The slow cooker does all the work for you. This recipe is adapted from the cookbook - 'The Indian slow cooker' by Anupy Singla. I have made a few changes to the original recipe. A detailed post on how to use a slow cooker will follow soon.  

The ingredients mentioned below are for a 3 1/2 quart slow cooker. Double the ingredients if using a 5 quart slow cooker. Infact, you can simply use a 5 quart slow cooker for the same ingredients too.
Pal payasam - slow cooker recipe 
(makes about 6 cups) 

Basmati rice - 3 tbps (soak for atleast 30 minutes) 
Whole milk - 6 cups 
Sugar - 1/4 cup (Use less or more according to taste. For me the payasam was just right, not too sweet). 
Elaichi powder - 1/4 tsp 
Ghee - 1 tsp 
Chopped cashews - 1 tbsp 
Raisins - a few
Saffron - a few strands (soak in warm milk for a few minutes) 

1. Put the rice, sugar, cardamom and milk in the slow cooker. You can either add the raisins now or garnish at the end. 
2. The cooking time is 3 hours. Cook on low for the first hour and cook on high for the remaining 2 hours. Feel free to change the setting to low if you see the payasam bubbling away. Every slow cooker works different. (see notes) 
3. Stir the payasam every hour. (see notes) 
4. Once done set aside. Add the ghee to the pan and saute the raisins, chopped almonds and cashews and add to the payasam. 
5. Garnish with the soaked saffron milk. 

Serving tip: Spoon the payasam into small bowls and garnish with rasins, almonds, cashews and saffron. If making ahead, cover each bowl with a plastic wrap and refrigerate. This payasam can be served chilled or warm. 

1. The amount of rice in this recipe seems less, but once cooked it will be just right. 
2. I always use the slow cooker when I am at home and I can adjust the settings if required. On the contrary, slow cookers are meant to be used overnight (if making oatmeal for breakfast) or when you are away and want to get back to a home cooked meal. But if too little liquid is used for cooking it can dry out the food or if too much is used it might spill over. I personally recommend not leaving your home when using the slow cooker. I follow this rule for all the appliances in the house, mostly as a safety issue. 
3. Also peeking into the slow cooker is not allowed while cooking. It increases the cooking time. But with Indian cooking, it's good to stir the contents a couple of times, not too often though.