Mixed Vegetable Pickle

An inspiration from the pickle served at Pittsburgh. I love that pickle so much I eat with everything I eat there. Ginger and Green chilies was a good addition. I used the long cayenne peppers, which are lovely to look at and are not that really hot.
12 Green Limes
3 Carrots
1/2 lb Long Green Chilies
Few Curry Leaves
1/4 cup Red Chili Powder
1/4 cup Fenugreek seeds – Menthulu
A little less than 1/4 cup Mustard seeds
½ cup Salt
1 cup Oil – preferably Sesame/Gingerly oil
1 tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Asetifodia /Hing – preferably crystal hing for more aroma

Wash, wipe and let air dry the vegetables for some time before working on them. This method needs an approximate eye balling; depending on the size of the lime, the spices should be adjusted. The spicey/karam of pickle normally reduces in a few days. Prepare the spice mix only after sun drying the vegetables. The quantity of the pieces will shrink after drying. Use spice mix according to personal taste.

We would need half and half of lime pieces and juice. so, divide the lime into 2 halves. Cut the edges and make small pieces of one half of the limes and squeeze juice from the other half, remove seeds if any and mix both in a glass bowl.

Peel and cut carrots into strips. Cut green chilies also of same length. Peel and cut ginger into small strips.

All all the vegetables in a glass bowl add salt, turmeric and mix well and store in a warm place for 2 – 3 days. Once a day, mix well and store it back. If you taste a piece, it will be really salty, do not worry, it will settle when the other spices are added.

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/cover and the juice/oota in a bowl. Dry them till the pieces become dry for about 1 - 2 days. Meanwhile the oota/juice will become concentrated and salt will sediment on the side of the bowl.

Do not start mixing the pickle when the slices are hot from the sun, let them come to room temperature.

In a skillet heat 1 cup of oil on low/medium flame and when hot add 1 tsp of mustard seeds and a handful of broken/split red chilies and few curry leaves. 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 vegetable pieces. Once that is all thoroughly mixed then add the previously made oil tadka and mix well. Leave it 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.

A good side dish with plain rice and curd rice. It can also be used as a side dish with roti and chapati. Use dry hands and keep away from water for a good shelf life.

Onion Pakodi

4 Onions
10 - 12 Green Chilies -Optional
Ginger-Garlic-Chili paste
2 scoops Besan -Senaga pindi
3/4 scoop Rice flour
Few curry leaves

Chop onions length wise. Add chili-ginger-garlic paste, curry leaves and salt and let it sit with a closed lid for 7-10 min. By doing this onions sweat the water out and excess water is not required to mix the flours. Also the pakodi will absorb less oil.

Then add besan, rice flour and cashews and mix thoroughly. Chopped green chilies can be added for spicy lovers!

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 (gullaga). A pinch of cooking or baking soda can also be used.

Pick a hand full of batter in the hand and gently drop in smaller amounts in the oil. Wait for 2 minutes before the batch hardens and then turn back and forth so that they 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.

Potato Perugupachadi - Boiled Potato in Yogurt

3 Red Potatoes
2 Green Chilies
1” Ginger
Few Curry Leaves
4 cups Curd

Boil potatoes with salt. Peel the skin and mash them well. Keep aside.

Take 2 tsp of ghee in a small skillet. Add ½ tsp mustard seeds and let splutter, and then add ½ jeera, ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds, ¼ tsp vammu, hing and 1 red chili. Fry till all items are roasted well and a nice aroma fills the room. Then add chopped chilies, ginger and curry leaves.

Transfer tadka alone from the skillet and add the mashed potato in the skillet and mix well, add water if the paste is very thick. Remove from flame in 2 minutes.

In a vessel take curd and beat is nicely without adding water. Add turmeric, salt, chopped coriander and the previously made tadka- poppu. Then add cooked potato mash and mix well.

This is a good side dish with hot rice or with any podi rice.

Other vegetables that can be used to make Perugu Pachadi are: Fresh grated coconut, roasted brinjal (brinjal has to roasted on fire) and cucumber (raw chopped). Procedure is same with the curd part of the preparation.

Sunnundalu - Sweet Balls

A very easy and fast sweet, that will make you crave for more! We basically grew up eating these, they would mark each special occasion. My grandmother used to make these every year with out fail for my birthday, they have a special place in my heart for ever. I would suggest sweet sweet lovers to give it a try, its all worth it.
2 cups Urad dal - Minnapappu
2 cups finely grated Jaggery
1 cup melted Ghee
1/2 tsp Elachi powder
Cashew nuts
Almonds - Optional

Soak Almonds in warm water for 5 – 6 hrs and remove the peel and cut into slices.
Take 2 tsp of ghee in a skillet and fry cashew nuts, almonds and raisins till they are nicely done. Remove from the skillet into a glass bowl.

Dry fry urad dal on medium heat till nicely roasted and remove from flame. Let cool and make a smooth powder using a mixee. Add elachi powder to the urad dal powder.

Grate jaggery very finely without any lumps. Melt ghee in a bowl of warm water to a clear liquid. Make sure ghee is slightly warm when mixing with the powder, it binds well then.

Transfer the urad dal powder into the glass bowl, add grated jaggery and fried nuts and mix well using your hands. Then add ghee slowly in small quantities mixing the mixture mixing using the palm of the hand and making into a round ball pressing tight.

If the mixture is taking the form of a ball, it has enough ghee, else add some more ghee. Stop when you are able to form a ball. Using both your hands tighten the ball with hands so that it will not fall apart.

Grease your hands with ghee and press in between hands while transferring them one by one into an air tight box. Store at room temperature. It has good shelf life.

Nuts and raisins are optional. A dry treat after a meal. Easy to carry while travelling.