Sweet Dalia Pongal


Sweet Pongal is a South Indian traditional dish made with the combination of rice, jaggery and moong daal. It is like a thick porridge with gooey consistency.  This along with the spicy khichdi/ Khara Pongal is prepared during special occasions and also during the festival of Pongal/Sankranthi . This sweet pongal is something that is adored in our family.

During festivals, I mostly prepare this dish using the traditional method of rice and moong daal. However I had some broken wheat/dalia that I wanted to use and so decided to try this sweet, by substituting rice with dalia.

 I had tried the spicy pongal using dalia before and loved the taste. So trying out the sweet version seemed like an obvious next step. I love the texture of cooked broken wheat in this khichidi. Even though it is soft, you can feel its mild presence while eating it. Taste wise there is no difference compared to the rice based khichidi/pongal.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup broken wheat/dalia
  • 1/4 cup moong daal (split)
  • 1.5 cup jaggery
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup dry coconut [use regular coconut if dry not available]
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 5-10 raisins
  • 2 tsp Ghee (clarified butter)
  • 5-10 cashews pieces

 Method:

  •  Cook the dalia along with the moong daal by adding 1.5 cups water and 1 cup milk. This should be mushy and soft. (I use the pressure cooker for this). Keep aside.
  • Heat a heavy bottom pan, and melt the jaggery along with little water (1/4 cup).
  • After it is hot and bubbly, add the cooked dalia+ daal mixture and stir well.
  • Continue stirring in intervals until the water evaporates and the mixture thickens up.
  • Then add the dry coconut mixture and continue to stir. If this is too dry, add little more milk to this.
  • When it has reached the desired consistency, add the cardamom powder, 2 tsp ghee, mix well, close the lid and switch off the gas.
  • In a separate pan heat ghee and add the raisins and cashews. Stir until the raisins plump and cashews get a brown color.
  • Add to the sweet dalia mixture, stir and close the lid. Serve warm.

Kothimbir Vadi / Savory Coriander snack


Kothimbir Vadi is a popular starter / snack from Maharashtra. Kothimbir means coriander leaves in Marathi and vadi means wedges. 

Coriander is chopped and steamed along with prepared chickpea flour and other spices. After it is steamed it is cut into desired shapes. At this point it can be eaten as is. But I like it when it is shallow fried in some oil. The lightly crisped edges along with toasted sesame seeds, take it to a whole new level. It tastes very good when eaten along with green chutney, or tamarind chutney or even ketchup. 

It is a great way to use up the bunch of coriander leaves waiting in the refrigerator to be used up. Since it is steamed, it is low fat and nutritious too. A quick and easy snack, great for afternoon snack and tea times too.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped coriander leaves (cleaned and stems removed)
  • 1 cup chickpea flour / besan
  • 2 tbsp rice flour
  • 3-4 green chilies paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander/dhaniya powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • salt (per taste)
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp Oil

Method

  • Take a circular container that fits into a cooker, grease it and keep it ready.
  • Grind together ginger and green chillies and make a paste (without adding water).
  • Take a bowl and add the besan, rice flour and mix well. Now add all the remaining ingredients (except sesame seeds) including the ginger-green chilli paste and mix well.
  • Check for seasonings and add water to make a thick batter. Little bit thicker than the dosa batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared greased container and transfer to the cooker. Sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly over the top.
  • Steam for about 20 minutes till a knife inserted in the middle comes clean.
  • Allow it to cool then unmold it over to a plate. Cut into desired shapes.
  • Shallow Fry: Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the slices till crispy and golden. Serve hot with tamarind chutney or ketchup.

Easy Apple Kheer


Every time, I visit the produce section in the local grocery, the wide varieties of apples there on display catches my attention. With different sizes and colors they are a treat for the eyes. This time around the grocery had a sale on red delicious apples and I splurged and brought more than necessary. 

I had a good bit of apples left in the pantry and with some I made the easy Apple crisp. And with the remaining ones I had idea of making either apple halwa or apple kheer. I finally settled for the kheer as it seemed much easier than making the halwa. 

I made slight changes to the Sago Kheer and by adding apples, made a fruity kheer.

A change from the usual Rice Kheer and the Sago Kheer, the presence of apple yields a bit of tang to this delicious sweet pudding. Tastes good when it is served chilled and garnished with slivered dry fruits like almonds, pistas.

Ingredients  

  • 1 apple  (about 1 cup of grated apple) (peeled & grated)
  • 2 cups milk ( I used 2% milk)
  • 3/4 cup condensed milk
  • ¼ cup soaked sago pearls(sabudana)
  • Sugar (optional) [ I did not use extra sugar as condensed milk was sweet enough]
  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • A few strands of saffron
  • 2 tsp ghee/butter
  • Slivered almonds/pistas/cashews 

Method: 

  • Soak the sabudana in water for about 1 hour. This gives some thickness to the kheer.
  • In 1 Tbsp of lukewarm water soak the saffron strands and keep aside.
  • Note: When you are ready to make the kheer, have everything handy and peel the apple at the last minute, else it will brown up pretty fast. Also make sure the gratings of the apple are thick.
  • Heat a big sauce pan on medium heat and melt the ghee/butter. Add the grated apples to this and cook until the moisture of the apple has evaporated.
  • After this add the condensed milk and stir so that it does not stick to the bottom.
  • Note: If you add milk first, then it might curdle as the apple has mild acidic content. So I add the condensed milk first. (You might still notice little bit of curdling).
  • Add the milk, soaked sabudana and continue to boil stirring in between.
  • Add the saffron milk to this and stir well.
  • Finally add the cardamom powder and give it a good stir. Switch off the heat and let it reach room temperature.
  • Store it in the refrigerator and garnish with chopped almonds/ pistas before serving. Serve chilled.