Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Beetroot Almond Soup

I suddenly realized after finishing yesterday's post that I had made a soup day before yesterday for my daughter who loves her soup-mammam, and did not post it as an entry to EasyCraft's WYF: Salad/ Starter/ Soups event. Today is the last day, and I am just in time!

Beetroot is a vegetable I love primarily for its colour, or because of the colour it imparts to any dish made with it. I do not enjoy it in salads, and prefer it cooked and spiced. I have posted only one other recipe on this blog, which features this vegetable. Beetroot rasam is something I make often, but for want of a different soup, I decided to make it into a soup this time around.

Another thing I have recently started doing in order to ensure that my daughter's diet includes almonds, is to use them in her favourite dishes. A trick, because if she feels a piece of the almond in her mouthful, she spits it immeditely. I soak the almonds overnight, and grind them into a fine paste after peeling them. This way, it gets mixed well in her bhindi subji, sambar, rasam, soup, etc. Which is exactly why this beet soup has almonds in it.

To make the Beetroot Almond soup seen in the picture, you will need:

Beetroot - 2 medium sized - cut into cubes
Almonds - 8-10 - soaked overnight, peeled, and ground into paste
Tomatoes - 2 - chopped OR Lime juice - 1/2 a lime (optional)
Onion - 1 - chopped
Ginger - 1 tbsp - peeled and pounded
Green chilly - 1 - sliced
Coriander leaves - chopped (optional)
Jeera/cumin powder - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Methi/ fenugreek seeds powder - 1 tsp
Pepper powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste

  • Pressure cook the beetroot, onion, tomatoes (if using lime, it is to be added later), green chilly, ginger for 4-5 whistles and keep aside to cool
  • Take a mixer and blend this well after it is cool along with salt, pepper, jeera, methi, and coriander powders, and the almond paste
  • Transfer this into a heavy bottomed saucepan, add water to adjust the consistency, and bring to boil while stirring continuously on low flame
  • Serve with ladle into bowls, and garnish with coriander

R and I had this with bread, with a lot more pepper. For my daughter, I served it with a spoonful of melted Amul butter on top.

You may also be interested in another soup with bottlegourd.

Note: You can use almond powder if you have it ready-to-use at home. Tomato or lime juice is used only for giving a sour/tangy flavour. If you do not wish to use it, you can follow the recipe without it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yard Long Beans Subji

The yard long bean or long beans is a regular entry in my list for vegetable shopping, and though I usually combine it with kaya (raw banana) to make the kaya-payar thoran, or use it in olan and avial, I like to make a subji exclusively with it. Amma makes the payar thoran with grated coconut, tempered with mustard and curry leaves, but I did not have coconut and decided to try something different.

To make the dish seen in the picture, you will need:

Long beans - washed and cut/broken by hand into long pieces - 250 gms (see pic below)
Onions - chopped - 2 medium sized OR 1 cup
Ginger - peeled and pounded - 1 large OR 2 tbsp
Green chilly - 1
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Jeera/ Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Curry leaves - 1 strand (optional)
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste


  • Boil the cut beans in 1 cup of water with salt, turmeric, and red chilly powder in a pan, and keep aside
  • Grind more than half of the chopped onions, ginger, and green chilly to a coarse paste
  • In another pan, heat the oil, temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves (optional), and add the remaining chopped onions
  • Fry the onions until light brown, and add the onion-ginger paste
  • Add the jeera, coriander powders and stir well
  • Mix the boiled beans into this paste and cook on low flame for 3-5minutes until semi-dry

Serve with rice/ chapathi

This dish goes to Sunshinemom's Food In Colours: Green event for this month.

Note: If you do not wish the dish to be spicy, please avoid the use of red chilly powder while boiling the vegetable. The onion paste and use of onions in the dish renders it to be only mildly hot.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


During my undesired and indefinite absence from blogging, my dear blogging friends went out of their way and passed on a few awards, and I am basking in the welcome glory. This post, which is long overdue, is dedicated to acknowledging them.

Kitchen Flavours passed the Wylde Woman Award to me here. The rules of this award are:

1.You can give it to one or one hundred or any number in between - it's up to you. Make sure you link to their site in your post.
2. Link back to this blog site http://tammyvitale.typepad.com/. Tammy can go visit all these wonderful men and women and remember the Purpose of the Award: To send love and acknowledgment to men and women, who brighten your day, teach you new things and live their lives fully with generosity and joy. It's been a blessing and an inspiration to meet all of you through your wonderful blogs.

Srilekha of Me and My Kitchen also passed the Wylde Woman Award to me here. I would love to pass this to every single food blog I have visited even once, because each and every blog has helped me learn new things, and also brightens up my day with the food photographs:D. It truly is a blessing to be able to meet and make new friends every day through their wonderful blogs.

Dershana of The Footloose Chef has passed me the Blogging Friends Forever award. Indranee of Mistress of Spices also passed the Blogging Friends Forever award.

Rules of this award:

1) Only 5 people are allowed to receive this award, 2) 4 of them followers of your blog, 3) One has to be new to your blog and live in another part of the world, and 4) You must link back to who ever gave you the award.

I would like to pass this on to: Adam, Easy Crafts, Priyanka, Valarmathi, and Anjali, who lives in Michigan.

EasyCrafts of Simple Indian Food tagged me. The rules for the tag are:
(a) List these rules on your blog.
(b) Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog.
(c) Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.

Here are the 7 facts (I am being very honest):

  1. I am short-tempered, and get angry for very silly things
  2. I am very picky and choosy about certain things, for instance, putting things back where they were taken from, cleaning up
  3. I hate being late for meetings, parties, appointments, movies
  4. I can never say NO to someone, if anyone asks for things, even if I may need it at the time, and if I ever do say NO, I start feeling guilty about it, and tend to apologize for no reason
  5. I usually pass the blame on situations or people when things go wrong, and can easily find excuses to shun responsibility
  6. I am obsessed about being perfect, doing things perfectly, and therefore, never happy with the way I do things or the way I am
  7. From all of the above, you can easily guess, that I have very few close friends!

I am tagging: Priti, Purva, Sripriya, Kitchen Flavours, Sowmya, Usha and Divya

EC also passed me the Brilliante Weblog award. I have received this before. I would love to pass this award to:

Dee, Dershana, Sunshinemom, and Sangeeth
Sireesha of Mom's Recipes passed the Good Job award. Vibaas of Delectable Vegetarian Recipes also passed the Good Job award to me.

I would love to pass this to:Deesha, Cham, Sujatha, Madhavi

Priti of Indian Khana wished me a speedy recovery and passed the Perfect Blend of Friendship Award. I would like to pass this on to:

Priti, Vaishali, Nags, Suma, and Sireesha

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My 'Freshest' Post

Normally, we prefer to have dinner between 8 and 8:30 pm, but after moving to Mumbai, dinner time is delayed 30 minutes further, and we finish eating by 9:00 pm only. Today, I had finished basic preparations for dinner before going out in the evening. There were two raw mangoes in the fridge and 4 potatoes lying unused for more than a week, and I wanted to make use of them. The easiest choice that came to my mind was raw mango chutney with aloo roti**, and plain old simple dal. I added the ingredients for the mango chutney in the mixer, pressure-cooked two cups of dal for 3-4 whistles, got the mashed potato and wheat flour dough ready, and decided to complete the dishes after returning home 'fresh'-in-time for dinner.

We are out. Phone rings. R says, "I am at a chicken shop. Shall I get a Kg?" My memory bell rings. 'Oh no. I had asked him to buy chicken if possible.' I say, "OK."

We are back home at 8 and R, by 8:15 pm, with the chicken. "So late, do you want me to make the chicken now?" My daughter A, who has recently taken to chicken, thanks to her friends, starts chanting, "I want chicken and mammam, I want chicken and mammam*" in a very familiar nursery rhyme tune. "OK. Give me an hour."

I wash the chicken with water and the '5-second lime and salt' way, as explained by Cynthia of Tastes Like Home, and proceed to marinade, stopping midway while peeling ginger with the thought - 'Why not use my raw mango mixture to marinade with curd?' - and grab fresh curd from the fridge. Well, you can read the recipes below, but I ended up making mango chicken and aloo roti** with dal for dinner.

The reason I mentioned time of dinner etc. in the beginning: While the chicken was marinad-ing(?) for 30 minutes, I made the tomato-onion-masala base for the gravy, and aloo roti, and we sat for dinner at 9:30 pm. We finished by about 10:00 pm, and I cleared up and put A to sleep by 11:00pm, and started this post, very 'fresh' from the whole unplanned-but-pleasant mango chicken curry experience. My first chicken dish prepared at home after 15 and odd months!

Mango Chicken Curry

Things you will need:
Chicken pieces - 1 kg in all
For the Mango Marinade Mixture
Raw Mangoes - 2 meidum-sized - peeled and cubed
Curd - 3 tbsp - fresh
Ginger - 2 large - peeled and cubed
Garlic cloves - 3-4 large - peeled and cubed
Green chilly - 1 large - chopped
Red chilly powder - 2 tsp
Jeera Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Methi powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 2 tsp
For the tomato-onion gravy
Tomatoes - 2 large - finely chopped
Onions - 4 large - finely chopped
Coriander powder - 2 tsp
Garam Masala powder - 2 tsp
Pepper - 1 tsp OR to taste

Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt - to taste


  • Grind the mango mixture

  • Add it to the curd and mix well
  • Mix the washed, pat-dried chicken pieces in the mango-curd mixture and leep aside for 30 minutes

  • Grind half the chopped onions and half the chopped tomatoes together into a paste
  • Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add half the chopped onions, stir well until light brown
  • Add the coriander, garam masala, pepper and salt, and mix well for a few minutes
  • Add the remaining half of the chopped tomatoes, and cook covered for 2-3 minutes
  • Add the tomato-onion paste and bring to boil
  • Add the chicken marinade and mix well

  • Keep covered and leave to cook, occasionally mixing in between
  • After 15-20 minutes adjust the salt and add more chilly/ garam masala to taste, and check if the meat is knife-tender but not breaking up
  • Remove from heat and garnish with chopped coriander leaves (I didn't have:-()

Aloo Roti**

Things you will need:

Wheat flour/ Atta - 3 cups
Potatoes - 4 medium-sized - boiled, peeled, mashed
Roasted Jeera/ Cumin seeds powder - 2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2-3 tsp
Salt - to taste


  • Knead all the ingredients together into a dough without adding water, and use oil only to ensure your hands are not sticky and keep it aside

  • When you are ready to make the rotis, make small balls out of the dough, and start rolling out with a rolling pin
  • Heat a griddle and start baking the rotis

  • When one side is done, turn the roti over and bake the other side
I served these with the Mango Chicken Curry, as below

The Mango Chicken Curry goes to Srilekha's "Chicken" event at Me a My Kitchen.

*Mammam - a term used for food or meals for children. At home, it is rice for A.
** Aloo Roti - I can never make Aloo Parathas. Because I am incapable of using the mashed potato and masala balls as a filling to a rolled out dough base and roll them out without getting the entire place messy with the filling bursting out from the sides. I prefer to knead the boiled, peeled and mashed potatoes (ensuring there is no water) into the wheat flour and prepare them the normal roti way, and therefore, call it aloo roti.

If your mangoes are sour enough, you may skip using tomatoes, and follow the recipe. If you do not like the bite of onion pieces in the gravy, use only onion paste

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Back with a Breeze"

I remember reading ages ago, while doing follow-up reading on 'Gone with the Wind,' that Margaret Mitchell retorted to requests for a sequel to her book with "What shall I call it, 'Back with a Breeze'?" Well, I felt like using the phrase for today's post title because I am back, and in great spirits!

Dear friends, I sincerely apologize for my absence from the blogosphere, and for not visiting your blogs. I was slightly indisposed and was unable to post on my blog or participate in the many wonderful events that were held the past month. I have missed reading all your blogs! I promise to visit all your blogs, catch up with the event round-ups, and also collect the awards that my blogger friends have passed as soon as I read all the comments to my previous post. I thank each and every one of you for the kind words and support you have been giving me.

Though my parents could not stay back to celebrate Onam with us, my elder brother was able to visit us on Onam day and partake of the Onam Sadya that I prepared. I would love to share the pictures of the Pookalam (flower carpet), and the Ona-Sadya, as seen below.

Inside the house, on Onam day

Outside the house, at the entrance of the main door, the day before Onam


I am so glad that I can still participate (I hope) in the Festive Food Event for Onam Celebration hosted by Priyanka of Asan Khana.

Though I prepared Puli-Inji, Cabbage Thoran, Avial, Kootu Curry, Pacchadi, Sambar, and Pappdam (I wanted to prepare Olan, Kaalan, and Erissery too, but couldn't), the recipe that I would like to submit for the Festive Food: Onam Celebration event is that of Kootu Curry. Unfortunately, I do not have separate pictures of the dishes, and have to make do with a cropped image of the Kootu Curry from the Sadya.

Things you will need:

Chena/ Yam/ Suran - 2 cups - cut into cubes
Nendra Kaya/ Plantain - 1 cup - cut into cubes (of the Nendra variety
Black Chana/ Kadala/ Chick peas - 1 1/2 cups - soaked overnight
Water - 2 cups
Ginger - 2 tbsp - peeled and pounded
Coconut - grated - 1 1/2 cups
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chilly powder- 1 tsp
Jeera/ Cumin powder - 1 tbsp - roasted
Pepper - 1 tbsp
Red Chillies - 2
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 2 strands


  • Pressue cook the cut chena and nendra kaya along with kadala and ginger (2 whistles)
  • Coarse grind 1 cup of coconut along with turmeric, red chilly, and jeera
  • Mix this into the cooked vegetable and peas mixture, and add pepper
  • Temper mustard seeds, red chillies, and curry leaves, and roast the remaining 1/2 cup coconut in this until brown
  • Season the dish with the above mixture

Serve for Sadya, or with rice and chapathi on normal days