Beerakaye Karampeti - Stuffed Ridgegourd

2 long Ridge gourds - Beerakaye
5 – 6 tsp Kura Podi  (From my previous blog in Podis\Powders)
½ tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Tamarind Pulp
1 tsp Jeera

Take kura podi in a bowl add red chili powder, jeera, tamarind pulp, 1 tsp of oil and salt. Mix well. Taste for salt and seasonings as this cannot be corrected later.

Cut the edges and peel the hard edge of the gourd and discard. Peel the green of gourd and save it. Pachadi can be prepared with it. Wash the peeled gourd and chop into 2 “circles. Slit at the top, turn and make another slit on the opposite side. By slitting this way, the stuffing will stay inside of the vegetable well during cooking.

Peel cut and slit ridge gourd and stuff like this.
Use hand or a spoon and stuff the “menthe” on both sides of the cut gourd. (Suit your taste)

Take 4 tsp of oil in a skillet and add one piece at a time and arrange them well in the skillet. Cook in low/medium heat so all them are all cooked evenly. Do not use a stirring ladle to stir/mix it. Use a fork/spoon and move each piece individually. Cook with the skillet covered. It will take about 15mins for them to be nicely done. Beerakaye is a watery vegetable, a lot of water will be given out, let it cook in the water. Turn the flame to high when it is all cooked, so the water evaporates and the curry will come “together”.

Test one piece to see if it is done or if they are falling apart, it is time to remove from the flame.

This is a perfect side dish to go with hot rice.

Beerakaye Pachadi - Ridgegourd

This is commonly called as beerakaye pottu pachadi as it is prepared with skin of the ridge gourd.

2 Ridgegourds - Beerakaye
1 tsp Urad dal –minnapappu
½ tsp Jeera
½ tsp Mustard seeds
4- 5 Red Chilies
Few Curry Leaves
½ tsp Jaggery - Optional
Small Lemon sized Tamarind

Cut the ends and peel the spiky edges of the ridge gourd and discard them. Wash the ridge gourd and now peel the green of the gourd on all sides. Chop it into small pieces. Hand full pieces of the gourd can also be used in the pachadi.

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. Green chilies are NOT used in this pachadi. Transfer tadka into a mixer jar and to the oil in the skillet add the green of the gourd, salt, turmeric and fry for a few minutes and then add a cup of water and let cook till done. Then add tamarind paste and jaggery, cook for a few minutes and remove from flame and let cool.

Dry grind tadka first. This will make the grinding part easy. Then add cooked green of the gourd grind to a smooth paste. Taste for salt and adjust seasonings.

Beerakaye thokku/pottu pachadi is a good side dish with hot rice and tsp of oil.

Potato Upma Koora

5 Potatoes
2 Onions
3 Green Chilies
1” ginger
Few Curry Leaves
Lemon Juice

Boil potatoes with salt and turmeric, peel and cut into small cubes or mash them well.

Take 4 tsp of oil in a skillet and make tadka (poppu) with ½ tsp urad dal, ½ tsp chenna dal, ½ tsp mustard seeds, ½ tsp jerra, red chili and hing then add chopped onions, ginger, green chilies and curry leaves. Cashew nuts can also be fried in the oil along with the tadka. When onion turns translucent, add the mashed potatoes and mix well.

Check for salt and seasonings, red chili powder can be used according to taste. Squeeze lemon juice just before serving.

This is also called Potato upma kura, this is a dry curry used in Poori or as a side dish with hot rice.

Chenna dal & Vegs - Senegapappu koora

2 cups Chenna dal – Senaga pappu
3 – 4 Carrots
½ lb Beans
3 tsp Grated Coconut
½ tsp Red Chili Powder
3 Green Chilies
1” Ginger
Few Curry Leaves

Soak chenna dal in water for 1 – 2 hrs. Drain and keep aside

Peel and cut carrots into small pieces and chop beans into small pieces.

Take 4 cups of water in a skillet and add the cut vegetables and bring to boil. Once they are half done, add the soaked chenna dal, salt, turmeric and cook till they have lost the raw ness in them. Drain and keep aside.

Take 3 tsp of oil in a skillet and make tadka with ½ tsp urad dal, jeera, mustard seeds, red chili, hing, chopped green chilies, ginger and curry leaves. Then add grated coconut and fry for a minute and then add the cooked vegetable and fry for a few minutes. Add red chili powder and remove from the flame. Garnish with chopped coriander.

This is a dry variety curry. Eat as a side dish with rice and rasam.

Appadams and Vadiyams

Appadam, gummidi vadiyam, sagubiyyam vadiyam and majjiga mirapakayelu.

How about dinner with appadams, vadiyams, rasam/charu and curd with rice?

Simple dinner, when it's time to do groceries.

BTW, have to thank my daughter for teaching me to edit and enhance photos, kotha vidhya.
For quite some time now, I wanted to have borders and words on my pictures. Guess, if I sit on the idea, it won't help. She was checking my blog and thought I could use some borders, so she volunteered to help me.

Maggai - Sliced Mango Pickle

Hot summer months were "Ooragai" days in my childhood. All the people around planed their pickles, specifications like mangoes of one tree for one kinda of a pickle. Sometimes they adjusted their summer travel to suit the "right time" for the Pickle. Mangoes were brought in gunny bags and along came a specialist "a cutter" who would cut the mangoes exactly in half with the shell intact. Washing , peeling and scrapping were kids jobs I guess. All the effort that was spent for "perfect pickle" that had to last a year.

Maggai is an Andhra pickle done with raw mangoes during summer. This pickle has a shelf life up to a year.

Make this and "bye-bye" to store bought pickles. A good side dish with plain rice and curd rice. Use dry hands and keep away from water for a good shelf life.

For this pickle, pick mangoes that are really hard, green and sour. Wash, wipe and let sundry for some time before working on them. This method needs an approximate eye balling; depending on the size of the mango, sourness and etc the spices should be adjusted. The spicey/karam of pickle normally reduces in a few days. Prepare the spice mix only after the mango slices have dried. The quantity of the pieces will shrink after drying.

3 Raw Green Mangoes – about a big handful of slices after drying
2 cups Red Chili Powder
1 cup Fenugreek seeds – Menthulu
A little less than 1 cup Mustard seeds
1½ cup Salt
3 cups oil – preferably Sesame/Gingerly oil
2 tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Asetifodia /Hing – preferably crystal hing for more aroma

Peel the skin and make thin slices of the mango flesh, I use a peeler to make the slices, discard the hard shell. Add all the salt and turmeric mix well and store in a warm place for 2 – 3 days. Once a day, mix well and store it back. The juice in the mango will combine with the salt and “oota” will be formed. If you taste a piece, it will be really salty, do not worry, it will settle when the other spices are added. Please refer to photo tutorial of Maggai for pictures.

On the 3rd day, use a strainer and separate the pieces and the oota/juice, using your hand/palm to squeeze out any juice remaining. Sundry them separately. Spread the slices on a basin/plate and the juice/oota in a bowl. Dry them till the slices become dry for about 2 – 3 days. Meanwhile the oota/juice will become concentrated and salt will sediment on the side of the bowl.

On the 3 rd day, do not start mixing the pickle when the slices are hot for the sun, let them come to room temperature.

In a skillet heat 3 cups of oil on low/medium flame and when hot add 1 tsp of mustard seeds and a handful of broken/split red chilies. When mustard seeds splutter remove from flame and when oil settles down, add hing and let cool. Bring to room temperature.

Take 1 tsp of oil in a skillet and add fenugreek seeds and fry them till nicely done and then add the mustard seeds and fry till they splutter. Remove and let cool. Dry grind the mix to a smooth powder, this is called menthi powder.

Mix the dry menthi powder and red chili powder in the oota/juice and then, the dried mango slices. Once that is all thoroughly mixed then add oil and mix well. Leave in the same bowl for 1 or 2 days and keep mixing thoroughly. Then transfer into an air tight container and store in a cool place.

This is a good side dish with rice and also as a side dish with curd rice. As the pickle is getting older, instant maggai pachadi can be made by adding onions, green chili, coriander and grinding to a smooth paste. This can be used as a side dish for dosa’s and upma.

Bajji - Fritters

A fritter is any kind of food coated in batter and deep fried. A variety of fritters (Potato, Plantain, Onion, Brinjal, Chili etc)to be fried in a wok and eaten as snacks. Fritters are extremely popular as road side snacks all over India.
All memeories of Vizag beach gushed out when I was posting the Bhel mix blog and there was a rumble in my tummy for bajji's. Why? you may wonder! Cause along with the bhel mix the vendors had stuffed bajji also on their tables. Each bajji was 50paise, but all worth it!

2 Potatoes
2 scoops Besan - Senagapindi
1/4 scoop Rice flour
Chili-Ginger paste
1/4 tsp Red Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Vammu

Peel the skin of the vegetable and cut into thin slices and place them in water.
When lemon juice is added to water it reduces the oxidation of potatoes. This will help keep the color of the vegetable intact.

Mix besan, rice flour and chili-ginger paste, salt and vammu thoroughly with water. Batter should have semi solid consistency.

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.

Drop a spoon of hot oil in the mixture; this will make the fried item light. A pinch of cooking or baking soda can also be used.

Make sure to wipe the water of the vegetable. Place slices of vegetable required for 1 batch in the batter. This will quicken the process of placing in the oil before the ones in the oil will over fry.

Pick and dip each piece of vegetable in the batter and gently drop in oil. Keep turning back and forth so it will not burn.

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

The same procedure can be used for onion, brinjal and plantain/aritikaye(raw banana).

Serve by themselves or with chutney of choice or ketchup.

Chop onion and coriander very finely, add salt, red chili flakes and mix with lemon juice. Slit the fried bajji's and stuff them with this mixture. These are stuffed bajji's.

Magai : Mango Pickle - Photo Tutorial

Magai is an Andhra pickle done with raw mangoes during summer. This pickle has a shelf life up to a year if done well and not touched with wet hands.

I used 3 raw green mangoes. Wash and wipe the mangoes and air dry them for an hour before using so that they do not have moisture left on them.

Peel the mango and make thin slices using a peeler. Peel around the hard seed and discard the shell. In a glass jar mix them with 1 cup salt and 2 tsp turmeric. Let sit in the oven or in a warm place for 2 - 3 nights.

Using a drainer, separate the mango slices and the juice(oota).

Dry them in sunlight, spreading the mango slices in a basin/plate and the juice in the vessel.

Dry till the mango becomes dry and juice is concentrated for about 2- 3 days.

Get the spices ready to mix the pickle.(Procedure in the blog- Magai)

Throughly mix and let all spices soak in oil for a day or 2.

Mix with rice and oil and enjoy!

Make this and bye-bye to store bought pickles. A good side dish with plain rice and curd rice.

Bhel Mix

I can never forget those trips to Ramakrishna beach or VUDA Park, some of the best beaches in Visakhapatnam/Vizag. Even though the main attraction was to play in the beach, the main obsession was to eat the “mure-mixture” or bhel mix by the road side vendors, who would have mobile stands on their shoulders. Guess, did not worry about hygiene too much in those days. They would mix up all the items in a very skilful way, very interesting to watch. Of course on the same page I have to mention the roasted corn which will be blog for another day. For now, here is how to do bhel mix. I tweaked it a little from the beach vendors.
10 Cups Puffed Rice - Mara-mara/Murellu
1 Red Onion
1 Tomato
2 Potatoes
Few Mango pieces – Optional
2 – 3 Green Chilies
1 tsp Tamarind and Dates paste
1 tsp Jaggery
1 Lemon
1 cup Sev/Bhujia
Potato Chips
½ cup Peanuts

Dry fry peanuts and remove the skin. If puffed rice is not crispy, dry fry for a few minutes and it will become crispy again.

Soak tamarind in hot water, extract pulp. Roughly eye ball tamarind paste and equal ratio of dates and grind to make a smooth paste with a tsp of jaggery. To save this mix for future use, bring to boil in a sauce pan, let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Boil and peel potatoes and cut them into small pieces. Chop onion, tomato, green chili and coriander very finely. Cut mango into small pieces. In a vessel mix them all with salt, red chili powder, tamarind-dates paste, and lemon juice. Just before serving add the puffed rice/mara-mara, chips, sev and mix well otherwise it will become very soggy. Check for salt and adjust seasonings.

Any crunchy things and fried stuff like bajjis or pakodi can also be added. Sever immediately in paper cones or bowls.

A guilt free snack, comes in handy for a large gathering of people.

Baghare Baingan

1 lb Brinjals – Egg plants (round or long variety)
3 Onions
2 Tomatoes
3- 4 Green Chilies
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste

For the masala:
4 tsp Ground nuts
2 tsp Sesame seeds
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1 tsp Khus-khus
3 tsp grated coconut
½ tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Tamarind paste

Wash and slit brinjals lengthwise.

Take 1 tsp of oil in a skillet and add groundnuts till they are nicely done, then add coriander seeds, ½ tsp jeera, sesame seeds, khus-khus, grated coconut and fry them all till nicely done and aroma fills the room. Remove from the skillet to a mixer jar and let cool.

Add 2 tsp of oil in the skillet and add chopped onions, green chilies and ginger-garlic paste and fry till the onion turns translucent, then add cut tomatoes, salt, turmeric and tamarind paste and cook for a few minutes. Remove from flame and let cool.

Dry grind the dry masala first and add fried onion mixture and grind to a smooth paste. Add water as required.

Take 3 tsp of oil in a skillet and add ½ tsp jeera, few curry leaves, slit brinjal pieces and salt. Fry then till they are soft and well cooked. Then add the ground paste, turmeric, red chili powder and 1 cup water or as required and cook on a medium flame for 6 – 8 minutes or till the oil separates. Check for salt and adjust seasonings.

Garnish with coriander. Serve with hot rice or rotis.

A stuffed version of Baghara baingan can be done by stuffing the ground masala in small purple brinjals and cooking them till nicely done on slow flame.

Mother's Day 05/10/09

A Very Happy Mother’s Day To all my Readers and Followers.

"The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new." - Rajneesh

It’s a day for each family to honor and celebrate their Mother. “Mathru Devo bhava” – Mother is a form of God, she is also the first teacher – “pradhama guruvu”.

The values and discipline that are instilled in us help to get through the obstacles and hurdles in life. The heart of a Mother can shower unconditional love, which always gives, without expecting anything back in return and most forgiving of anything. It’s a matter of the heart, where conversations with mothers always take place in silence.

It is the most fulfilling and rewarding job is the whole world.

A well wisher, friend, critic, provider, disciplinarian, a teacher:- lot of caps that can be worn according to the situation. A Mother’s presence is comforting and her confidence is reassuring and fulfilling. A person who can put the needs of her children before hers always.

I am writing this about mothering and specially my mother. My mother had immense patience, she was cool and composed like a solid rock. Growing up, my father travelled a lot around the world; she held the fort tight for us. BTW, I am the eldest of three, have a brother and sister who are married and settled in America and parents themselves.

Later when I became a mother myself and maturing emotionally, there were many times when I felt I should have helped her out more or even said Sorry or Thankyou innumerable times and be more appreciative of her. Guess it is never too late! All the sacrifices they had to make for us to be here today.

For Zebra's to recognize their babies, because all zebra's have stripe patterns, the mom memorizes the babies stripe pattern and that way she can tell her baby from the others. A Mother’s heart has unbiased love for every child.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish my Mother, Mother-in-law, Aunts, Sister, Sister-in-law, Cousins and Friends a Very Happy Mother’s Day.

Well, as far as food blog is concerned, my kitchen was closed for the weekend, my family treated me to a super spread buffet at Rasoi in Edison.