Mango - The King of Fruit!

Exotic tropical fruit, Mango, is called the King of fruit owing to the delicious quality and it's richness in vitamins and minerals. The mango is indigenous to the Indian Sub-continent and the love affair with this velvety fruit needs no special mention.

A ripe mango is sweet, with a unique taste that varies from variety to variety, size and color. When ripe, the unpeeled mango will smell fairly fruity on the stem end. In its center is a single flat oblong seed that can be fibrous.

Good-quality Mangoes will yield slightly to gentle pressure when ripe.A mango should have a shelf life of 1 to 2 weeks. The best way to ripen a mango is at room temperature, on the kitchen counter and if you wish to accelerate the process place in a paper bag overnight.

Mango is one of the most extensively exploited fruits for food, its juice, flavor; fragrance and color make it a common ingredient in more foods.

Eaten as a dessert fruit, which can be eaten as is, or in a fruit salad, they are also used to produce juice, jam or jelly and ice cream.

Mango lassi -mango pulp mixed with fresh yogurt and cream is a very popular drink.
Mango fruit bar - Mamidithandra (dried and layered thick mango juice) is an all time special for Telugu people. These day’s something similar to it is available as dried mango peels.

Pieces of mango can be mashed and used as a topping on ice cream or blended with milk and cream, ice as milkshakes and smoothies.

Nutritional Profile

This fruit is high in dietary fiber, Vitamin C and has essential nutrients such as potassium, copper and amino acids.

The edible mango peel has considerable value as a source of fiber and antioxidant pigments.

Can we have an ant guard a Mango?!

Zucchini Koora

4 Medium Zucchini
2 Onions
2 Tomatoes
3 Green Chilies
3 tsp Kura Podi – Curry Powder (From my previous blog in Podis/Powders)
½ tsp Tamarind paste

Chop Zucchini into 1” pieces and onions and tomatoes into small pieces.
Take 3 tsp of oil in a skillet and make tadka with ½ tsp jeera, ½ tsp mustard seeds and hing. Add chopped onions and green chilies and fry till the onion turns translucent.

Then add chopped Zucchini, salt, turmeric and cook in medium flame for 4 minutes till the vegetables half cooked, then, add chopped tomatoes and cook till all of them are soft. Then add 3 tsp of kura podi/ curry powder, ½ tsp of tamarind paste and mix gently. Do not overcook or mix too much, this will make the vegetable all mushy and the shape will be lost.

Taste for salt and seasonings and adjust accordingly. Garnish with coriander.
This can be eaten with rice or rotis/chapatti.

Pachi Pulusu

2 Onions
4 – 5 Green Chilies
Small lemon sized Tamarind
Few Curry Leaves
1 tsp Sesame Powder
½ tsp Jaggery: Optional

Chop onions into small pieces and using water make tamarind juice with the tamarind.
Dry fry sesame seeds and make powder. This is sesame powder.

Pick long, thin green chilies from what you have and coat them with oil using the tips your finger. Roast them on low/medium flame, turning them on all sides using the stem of the chilies or tongs. Remove, let cool and mash them with your hands (remove seeds if you don’t like it spicy). Suite you taste accordingly.

Take 3 tsp of oil in a small skillet and make tadka with ½ tsp jeera, ½ tsp mustard seeds, few fenugreek seeds, hing, and red chili and curry leaves. Once it is done, add chopped onions and fry till the onion turns translucent. Then add a tsp of sesame powder and fry for a few minutes.
In a vessel take the tamarind juice (raw) add the above tadka, smashed green chilies, salt, turmeric, jaggery and add chopped coriander liberally. Mix well, preferably using hands and squeezing the taste of all the items into the tamarind juice.

Normally this pulusu will have roasted brinjal as the main ingredient. The roasted chilies, tamarind juice, soft flavor of sesame powder, sweet of jaggery all combine to form an excellent taste.

This is an excellent side dish with rice and appadam, specially rice and kandi podi (from my previous blog in Podis/Powders) and oil.

Dondakaye - Tindora Fry

Wash and cut Tindora (Dondakaye) in desired shape and size (long, circles, 1/2" pieces).

Dondakaye by itself takes a long time to fry, by cooking in pressure cooker with water and salt, reduces cooking time by half. Cook and drain water.

Take 3 -4 tsp of oil in a skillet and heat it. Once oil is hot add the chopped vegetable and fry for a few minutes on medium flame. If desired add chopped onions and fry for a few more minutes and add salt.

Once the vegetables are crunchy or completely cooked add red chili powder and sometimes as in the case of dondakaye add a tsp of besan, fry for a few minutes and remove from flame. Serve hot with rice when the vegetable is crispy and crunchy.

Or completely fry the vegetable; do not add red chili powder. Just before serving add a tsp of oil and fry on high flame and serve hot.

Allam Pachadi - Ginger Chutney

3" Ginger
1 tsp Urad dal –Minnapappu
½ tsp Jeera
½ tsp Mustard seeds
4 - 5 Red Chilies
Few Curry Leaves
1 tsp Jaggery
Small Lemon sized Tamarind

Peel and cut ginger. Soak tamarind in hot water.

Take 4 tsp of oil in a small skillet and when oil is heated add urad dal, jeera, mustard seeds, hing, red chilies and curry leaves. (Remove some tadka and curry leaves for garnish). Add cut ginger and fry for a few minutes. Add add tamarind paste, jaggery, salt and turmeric.

Let cool. Transfer the tadka into a blender jar and grind to a smooth paste (add water as required in small amounts). Taste for salt and adjust seasonings.

Allam pachadi is a good side dish for garelu or as a side with pesarapappu (moong dal) and rice.

The spicy and fragrant essential oils of ginger, heat of red chilies, tart of tamarind, sweet of jaggery all combine to form a perfect dish called Allam pachadi.

Annam paravanam - Rice Pudding

1 cup Basmati Rice - any Raw Rice
1.5 cups grated Jaggery
2" Butter stick or Ghee
¼ tsp Elachi powder
4 cups Milk
1 cup half-half : Optional
Cashew nuts, Almonds and Raisins

In a small skillet add 2 tsp of ghee and fry cashew nuts, almonds and raisins till they are nicely roasted.

In a medium sauce pan wash and drain water. Add 2 cups water and cook on low/medium flame mixing well.

When the water and rice starts to boil add milk and cook until the rice becomes soft. Water or milk can be added as needed. Keep mixing so that it will not burn. Add elachi powder and butter stick (or ghee can be added according to taste). Half -half can be added just 2 minutes before removing from the flame, this gives a very rich taste to the dish. Add a pinch of pacha-karpuram (camphor) {Not the regular arati camphor, this is edible}, this gives any sweet dish, temple prasadam taste.

Remove from flame and after 2 minutes add grated jaggery and mix well. Do not cook after adding jaggery, this will break the milk. The heat in the mixture will make the jaggery melt and mix evenly.

Garnish with fried nuts, raisins and serve hot.

Garelu - Meduvada

Garelu with allam pachadi and nuvu pachadi.
2 cups Urad dal
Chili-ginger paste - Optional
Oil to fry

Soak urad dal in water for 2 – 3 hours. Drain water and grind to a smooth batter. Add salt to the dal while grinding by adding it later the dough will become soggy and watery. Add as less water as possible while grinding. Solid dough gives a good shape to the garelu.

For spicy or karam garelu add chili-ginger paste to the dough. Also add chopped onions if you like onion garelu (ulli-garelu).

Heat oil in a kadai (I personally prefer a traditional concave shape kadai for maximum usage of space with less oil) and never let the oil be screaming hot! It burns the first batch.

Wet hands and take small lemon size dough and place it on a wax paper or Aluminum foil (it can be done in the palm of a wet hand also), flatten it into a nice circle and then make a small hole with a finger in the middle. Gently slide this into oil without disturbing its shape.

Let fry for a few seconds and then keep turning back and forth so it will not burn.

Once garelu turn to golden yellow, it’s time to remove from the oil. Place them on paper towels so the excess oil is absorbed.

Ginger (allam) or sesame (nuvu) chutney compliments garelu.

Special Bhojanam

We had a function at home today.

Items in the thali are dondakaye kura, artikaye kura, pesarappu, charu, garelu, allam pachadi, nuvu pachadi, paravanam, magiga mirapakaye, vadiyam, perugu and fresh mango.

Dosa with Idli-batter

1 cup Urad dal
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
4 cups Boiled rice
1 cup Raw rice

Add fenugreek to the urad dal and mix the raw rice and boiled rice. Soak them separately over night.

Grind urad dal and the rice mix to a smooth batter. This should be done separately, once rice and urad dal mixes, texture of the batter will change.

Then they can be mixed together, add salt and mix well and set aside to ferment for 6 - 8 hrs. Yeast or cooking soda can be added for fermentation. Keep in a warm place or in the oven.

Water can be added to the batter as required to make dosa.

Grease a dosa pan with oil and pour the batter spreading evenly with the ladle.
Add a tsp of oil so that dosa can be removed easily. Turn the other side and let roast.

Same batter can be used to make uttappam. Pour the batter a little thick on the skillet sprinkle chopped onion, green chili and ginger on the batter.

Serve it hot with chutney.

Pav Bhaji

3 Potatoes
2 Carrots
1/2 Medium Cabbage
6 - 8 Florets of Cauliflower
2 hand full Beans
2 cups Peas
1 cup Chickpeas - Kabuli chenna
3 Onions
4 Tomatoes or 1 Small can diced Tomatoes
2 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
4 Green Chilies
3 tsp Pav-Bhaji Masala
1 tsp Amchur Powder
1 tsp Cumin-Coriander Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chili Flakes

Peel and cut potatoes and carrots. Cut all the other vegetables.

Place vegetables in this order in a vessel that can be placed in a pressure cooker.
Potatoes, carrots, chick peas, beans, peas, cabbage and on the top cauliflower.
Add enough salt and water and cook in a pressure cooker longer time so the vegetables are all very soft.

Drain the vegetables (do not throw the water away) and using a masher, mash them well so all the vegetables become an even paste. (It is difficult to mash the vegetables with the water.)

In a low bottom non stick pan, take 4 tsp of oil and fry green chilies and onions till they caramelize. Then add the cut tomatoes or tomato paste and cook till done. Then add the mashed vegetables. Add 3 tsp of Pav-bhaji masala, 1 tsp amchur, 1 tsp cumin-coriander powder, 1/2 tsp red chili flakes, turmeric, salt and 2" butter. Add the drained water and bring to a boil, mixing well. Add more water if the bhaji is getting thick.

Check for salt and adjust seasonings accordingly. Garnish with chopped raw onions, coriander and lemon juice.

Serve with toasted bread, pav or any kind of bread or dinner rolls.

Place between bread as a sandwich.