My morning starts off with 2 pieces of wheat bread toast, spread with some fruit jam on it (usually strawberry) along with a cup of tea. I eat this at work, so it keeps me full for about 2 hours and manages to get me until lunch.
Late Sunday afternoon I realized that we were out of jam and we had already finished the grocery for that week. I did not feel like going to the grocery again and decided on the next best thing which was to prepare it myself! I did not have strawberries at home, but did have some mangoes and so decided to make jam from it. The great advantage of making it at home, is we control the amount of sugar and there is no addition of preservatives or pectin.
This was the first time that I tried my hand at making Mango Jam, but based on experience of making preserves I knew that the preparation was going to be easy. After the fruit pulp is extracted and set on a pot it does not require constant stirring or monitoring and is very forgiving. More sugar can be added any time during the process to enhance sweetness etc. It is one of those few recipes where in you could go wrong with.
At first I did not add the lemon juice as I was not sure if adding tartness to this was a good idea. But then half way through I was checking for taste and realized that it had something missing. So then I added the lemon juice and the taste was complete. So please do not skip on the lemon juice. Once prepared the taste, color and texture are worth dying for. J
Please note that this recipe of Mango Jam is more of a guideline so use it and change it as per individual requirements. I say that because the size of the mangoes, the sweetness or tartness, the juice content can vary. I used 2 mangoes that were juicy and sweet.
Continue reading →
DH quite recently had to go to India for his office work and on his return brought back lots of munchies and goodies. Without any surprise MIL, my parents fondly sent back stuff that would last for almost 6 months. While unpacking the goodies, I also saw this big packet of Spiced Lentil Powder sent by my mother.
The Spiced Lentil powder called as MethKoot/Methi Coot (Marathi/Konkani), Menthe Hittu (Kannada) is basically roasted Lentil, spiced with roasted cumin seeds, fenugreek, ginger, pepper etc and ground to fine powder. Methi or Menthe refers to Fenugreek seeds. Just by itself this is a spicy dry powder with no taste of its own, but once it is mixed with hot rice, dollop of ghee/oil and pinch of salt magic happens and the taste is simply divine.
Growing up, we always used to have this powder stacked up in a yellow green container. For me and my brother it used to be our go-to meal whenever we did not find food to our liking. We would eat it during those mid-afternoon cravings or when we wanted something light. Because of the presence of lentils, even small quantity fills up the stomach pretty fast.
This is my Mother’s recipe for making the powder. In fact, the powder in the picture is also of the one she sent me. The ‘dutiful’ daughter that I am promptly took the picture and intend to save the recipe for future reference.
Thank you very much for the recipe dear Aayi, Baba I hope to cherish this forever.
2 cups cup bengal gram/chana daal
1 cup black gram/urad daal
1 cup Hurigadale(Roasted and puffed Bengal gram)
1 tsp Cummin seeds
1 to 1 ½ Tbsp Black Pepper
Small piece dry ginger
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi seeds)
4 to 5 dried red chillies
1/2 tsp asafoetida
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Dry roast all the ingredients separately in a heavy bottom pan(except the turmeric, Hurigadala, Ginger and salt).
Roast until the lentils get a light brown color, do not over roast or burn it. The roasting part requires plenty of patience.
Grind everything to a fine powder. (Do not add water to this).
This powder lasts for weeks and even months without problem. Make sure to store it in an air tight container.
Serving Instructions: Take a cup full of hot rice, put in a dollop of ghee (clarified butter)/oil , 1 Tbsp of this Spiced Powder, salt and mix well with hand so that the spiced powder gets evenly coated on the rice. Eat immediately, instant heaven J
Note: If you do not want to use ghee/oil, then by all means use yogurt, buttermilk. But the difference in taste is day and night.
Wishing you all a very happy Ganesha Chaturthi and hope you all had a blessed and a wonderful day. This festival is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi or Vinayaka Chavithi and as Chavath) in Konkani.
Growing up in Bangalore this was a very important festival for us. Every year on this day of Chavath, all our relatives and family would gather at my Uncle’s place and celebrate the festival in a grand way. The festivities would go on for 3 or more days starting with Gowri Pooja, Ganesha Pooja and then finally the Ganesha Visarjan. Gowri Pooja was the day when the married women did the “Vaina Pooja”/Coconut Pooja and also fasted on that day. When we were younger as kids it was fun, playing with cousins, new clothes, good food, no school activities etc.
But as we grew older we got a glimpse of the tradition, our culture and the importance of Satvik Cooking offered to the Lord during the time of the Pooja.
I feel blessed to have witnessed and be a part of that tradition. I can continue to pass this tradition to my son albeit a small way. As a part of the Parbe Jevan (Festive food) I had prepared Lemon Chitranna, Cucumber Kosambari, Daali thoy, Onion Pakodas, Potato Curry and this Rava Kesari/ Rava Sheera (Sweet Semolina pudding)
This recipe of Suji Halwa/ Kesari Bath is my MILS’s speciality and she prepares this extremely well. While preparing this please be sure to be liberal while using the Ghee, otherwise the Halwa might have a dry taste. Using oil as substitute for Ghee might not have the desired taste. This Sheera is usually prepared during SatyaNarayan Pooja and offered as Prasad.
- 1 cup Rava/Semolina/Sooji (fine)
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup ghee (clarified butter)
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powdered
- 1.5 cup milk
- Saffron (a pinch)
- 2-3 cloves
- Raisins, cashews (broken into pieces)
- oil (optional though Ghee is preferred)
- Roast the Rava/ Sooji/Semolina on low flame in 1 Tbsp of Ghee until the toasted aroma of Semolina waffles through. Transfer it to a plate.
- Soak the saffron threads in about 1 Tbsp of warm milk.
- Fry the raisins and cashews in about 2 tsp of Ghee and set aside. Make sure the raisins plump up and the cashews obtain light brown color.
- Take a heavy bottom pan and boil milk along with 2 cups of water .
- Add the roasted Rava/Semolina in small batches and stir in between. (Do not put all the rava at once in the boiling liquid otherwise lumps will be formed).
- Put in the saffron milk, which now acquires a beautiful yellow color.
- Add in the sugar and stir once and cover this with lid and turn the flame to medium.
- After a while the liquid gets completely absorbed and the rava/semolina plumps up. Now add the ghee is small batches and stir in between on low flame.
- After a while the ghee starts leaving the sides of the pan. Now add the cardamom powder and mix well.
- Finally garnish with roasted cashews and raisins. Serve warm!