Wish you all a very Happy Ugadi!!!
Mint-the word itself is very refreshing. As a kid I always use to dislike mint, but slowly I developed tasted for it and now I enjoy it using in many different ways. Mint pulao is a very easy dish where nothing can go wrong. On a busy day I always go for one pot meals . Rice dishes are really easy to make, just throw all the ingredients in one pot mix, stir and let the rice cooker do the job and I get time to relax. I love the aroma when it cooks .
2 cups basmati rice
2 bay leaves
3 no’s cardamom
3 no’s cloves
1 inch cinnamon stick
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
3 medium onions sliced
¼ cup green peas (fresh/frozen)
1/4th cup soy chunks (soak for 15 mins in water/ optional)
Juice of 1/2 lemon/lime
2 tbsp cashew nuts
2-3 tbsp ghee/butter
Salt to taste
4 cups water
1 big bunch of mint & 3-4 green chillies (separate the stems from leaves, wash and clean ) Grind mint leaves and green chilles into a semi coarse paste and keep it aside ( add little water if needed around 1 tbsp)
In a heavy bottom sauce pan add ghee fry cashews until light golden brown , now add bay leaves, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and fry light, add ginger garlic paste, sliced onions and fry until the raw smell disappears. Now add garam masala and fry for a minute. Now stir in mint paste and sauté for 4-5 minutes, add rice , green peas and soy chunks. Mix well; turn the heat to low and sauté the mixture for 2-3 minutes. Now shift the rice mixture into rice cooker, add water lemon juice, salt and mix well. Turn on the rice cooker and wait for the beep!!
Alternative you can use pressure cooker/pressure pan instead of rice cooker and cook for 3 whistles on high. Wait till the pressure releases, open the lid and light mix the rice using a fork. Do not over mix.
Serve with raita or any gravy side dish.
To make raita
1 cup plain yogurt (homemade or store bought)
1 medium tomato (finely chopped)
1/4th cup finely chopped cucumber (peel and chop. it’s around ½ cucumber, I use the remaining in salad )
1 small onion finely chopped
2-3 green chillies
1 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Water to thin yogurt (around 1/4th cup)
Beat yogurt with little water add salt, pepper and chopped vegetables mix well, adjust the taste and garnish with coriander leaves and serve, if you are not using immediately I would recommend to put it back in the fridge until needed.
Notes and Tips
You can add coconut milk (1 cup), cubed potatoes, carrots, pretty much whatever is available and you like.
Fresh and juicy tomatoes are an essential part of my everyday cooking and the sweet-tangy flavor of the fresh tomatoes are irresistible. Almost every day tomatoes are used in my cooking right from breakfast to dinner, it can be Indian or any other cuisine. South Indians are very fond of chutney (pachadi) and no South Indian meal is completed without a chutney (pachadi).
There are zillion different varieties tomato chutney from instant which needs refrigeration, to avakaya or ooragaya (pickle) where sun dried tomatoes are grinded along with spices and preserved with out refrigeration for year long or more. My mil always sends me pickled version while I make the instant ones here. Both my mom and mil have taught me different ways of doing instant chutney which can be served with South Indian breakfast (like dosa, idly and upma) even as a spread or a dip or as a side dish with rice and dal. This is my mom’s recipe, simple to make and you can still taste the tomatoes without overpowering the taste of spices and anything else.
10-12 large tomatoes
Tamarind (lemon ball size)
1/4th cup vegetable/ peanut oil
Salt to taste
2 tbsp mustard seeds
1/4th tsp methi/ fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
Red chilli powder, according to taste
10-12 small garlic cloves (peeled)
1/4th tsp hing
Fistful of curry leaves
Clean and chop tomatoes, heat oil in a heavy bottomed deep skillet (pan/pot) on medium heat, add chopped tomatoes, tamarind and keep cooking, do not put the lid at this point. Keep stirring in the middle to avoid burning the bottom of the pot. After 25-30 minutes the tomatoes will start to bubble. Reduce the heat to low-medium, partially cover the pot and simmer until the mixture cooks down to 1/3rd and looks thick (oil will start to float on the top of mixture, it takes 1-1 ½ hr to reach between sauce and jam consistency.) Now add salt and cook for 10 more minutes. Check the taste and add anything needed at this point. Turn off the heat and let the tomato mixture rest.
My mom uses the oil from the cooked tomato mixture to fry the seasoning. You can do the same or you use extra oil (around 2 tbsp).
Heat oil in a small pan/ skillet on medium heat, add garlic, mustard seeds and fry till garlic turns golden brown and mustard seeds pop. Now add hing and curry leaves and fry of a minute. Add red chilli powder, powdered methi & mustard seeds mixture, stir once and turn of the heat. Make sure not to burn the mixture (if brunt throw the mixture, clean the pan and fry again).
Now mix the seasoning into the tomato mixture, cool down completely and shift into container. Keep refrigerator. Stays fresh for 2-3 months.
You can enjoy this delicious chutney with all different kinds of dishes.
Pic #1: @00.00 minutes
Pic #2: @25-30 minutes
Pic #3: @1-1 1/2 hrs
Notes and Tips.
You can use dried red chilli instead of chilli powder. But first you have to dry roast red chillies along with methi and mustard seeds and grind.
I always grind extra powder and store it in the freezer. It always comes handy for me. You can skip the garlic if you don’t like and also can add lentils (urad dal, channa dal) for the seasoning.
Mamidikaya Menthi Mukkalu (Raw mango with spicy methi masala)
My FIL: Are any of your friends traveling to USA in the next month?
My hubby: Yes, but why??
My FIL: For the obvious reasons. We started preparations for the pickles. Other than the usual, your grandmother is also preparing gongura and tomato chutneys. So we would like you to get them as soon as possible.
My hubby: I will let my friend know that you are preparing a big packet for him to carry.:)
My MIL: Do you want Menthi Mukkalu or any other instant pickles?
My hubby: “P” has become an expertise in making menthi mukkalu so don’t worry about it.:D
This is the standard conversion that happens during April and May months.
“Menthi mukkalu” is one of the instant green mango pickles from Andhra. Consider this instant pickle as a starting step to a wide variety of pickles that will come from India. Crunchy sour raw mango pieces are marinated over night with spicy chilli, methi and mustard mixture.
2 raw mangoes
6-8 dried red Chillies
½ tbsp methi seeds
1 tbsp mustard seeds
½ tsp hing
Salt to taste
4 tbsp oil
Wash, remove the seed/pit and cut the mangoes into small pieces along with the skin. With ½ tbsp of oil in a kadai, fry methi, mustard seeds, red chillies and hing till the mustard seeds splutter. Powder them when cool. Add this powder, salt and remaining oil to the raw mango pieces and mix well. Shift the mixture into a clean jar and marinate overnight or at least 10-12 hrs and serve. This pickle will last for 1-2 weeks in room temperature and 3-4 weeks in refridgerator.
We usually eat with hot rice, mudda pappu and ghee .
Notes and Tips
You can add jaggery to sweeten a little. You can also dry roast the seasoning instead of frying in oil. If you are dry roasting then heat oil separately and add hing and cool the hing oil completely and then add to the mango mixture. You can use chilli powder instead of whole red chillies.
K for Kobbirikaya (Coconut and Raw Mango Chutney)
Kobbarikaya mamidikaya pachadi has a special place in traditional Andhra’s raw cuisine. Sweet coconut and sour mango blend superbly. The spice from chillies and seasoning add an extra layer of flavor. Except for seasoning, all the ingredients used in this dish (pachadi) are raw. This is a simple, yet very tasty and easy to prepare dish. This is my family’s all time favorite pachadi.
1-1 1/2 cup coconut (fresh)
1 small raw mango (sour)
6-8 whole red chillies or green chillies
Salt to taste
Pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4th tsp methi seeds
1 tsp Oil
Cut the coconut into small pieces or grate. Peel the mango and cut into small pieces. In small pan heat oil, add mustard seeds, methi seeds, red chillies, hing. Allow the seeds to sputter, now add the curry leaves and remove from heat. Keep them aside. Grind coconut, mango pieces along with fried red chilles / green chilles, salt and turmeric; grind the mixture coarsely by adding water little into a paste. Adjust the taste, if needed add little mango for sourness. Shift the mixture into serving bowl. Add the fried seasoning and curry leaves and mix well.
Serve with rice and ghee along with perugu merapakyalu.
Notes and Tips
You can use frozen coconut instead of fresh. Defrost the coconut and then use. Use red chillies or green chilles. Mango should be sour. If the mango is too sour use little less or add coconut vice versa.
This is my entry for Nupur’s A-Z vegetables.
Beerakaya (Telugu) also know as Ridge gourd or turiya in India which is commonly known as Chinese Okra in other countries (popular in Asia & Africa), is an easy to grow vegetable .Botanical name for this spongy vegetable is “Luffa Acutangula” or Loofah. This awesome vegetable is low in Saturated Fat, and Cholesterol, high in Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Zinc, Thiamin, Iron, Magnesium and Manganese. This versatile vegetable is mildly sweet in taste, which adds a new dimension to the vegetarian cuisine, but sometimes it does taste very bitter. So you might have to check the taste before cooking. Beerakaya is used a lot in Andhra cooking. .Either can be cooked with dal or even made into chutney & curries. Most common dishes made with beerakaya are (beerakaya with senagapappu, tomato, potatoes, stuffed with home made curry powder, onion masala), pappu (cooked with lentils), pachadi (very famous and favorite at my place) and also podi with the peels.
2 fresh beerakaya’s (clean and finely chopped)
2 broken dry red chillies
3-4 green chillies
1 tsp urad dal
½ tsp channa dal
½ tsp mustard seeds
Big pinch of methi seeds
Pinch of hing
Tamarind according to taste
Salt to taste
1 tsp oil
Fist full of coriander leaves
Heat ½ tsp oil in a small pan add urad dal, channa dal, dry chillies and fry till light golden brown, add mustard seeds, methi seeds and allow them to sputter. Add hing and turn of the heat. Keep stirring otherwise popu will burn.
Heat the reaming oil in a pan on medium-low heat and add chopped beerakaya cook till soft, keep stirring in the middle turn of heat and cool.
Grind popu, green chillies, tamarind, salt and cooked beerakaya (slightly chunky), adjust the seasoning, and add if anything needed at this point. Now add coriander leaves and pulse couple of times and shift the chutney into serving bowl.
We usually eat with rice; I love it as a spread on my bread. It tastes delicious and also as dip.
Notes and Tips
Ripened fruit will be good for making chutneys. Peel the ridges lightly and leave the skin for making chutney. In general beerakaya flesh is very tender and tastes delicious. You can even add fresh coconut.
In traditional andhra cooking dosakai is used a lot. Dosakai pappu, Dosakai sambar, pachadi and avakaya are popular varities made at my place. Dosakai Avakaya is most popular dish and has a unique place in my cooking. This pickle is very easy to prepare and can be served the next day. Its mixed with spices and needs to be marinated overnight. This crunchy pickle is often served with mudda pappu. Only Indian cucumber (Nakka dosakai) will suite this recipe as its skin is thick and the flesh is crunchy. Other cucumbers would spoil fast as they have thinner skin and looses lots of water when pickled.
1 medium dosakai
3-4 tbsp mustard seeds
3-4 tbsp red chilli powder
2-3 tbsp salt
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp oil
Wash and cut dosakai and remove the seeds. Pat to dry and cut into bite size peices (1/4 inch). Grind all the dry ingredients (mustard seeds, chilli powder and salt). Take a dry container and put the chopped dosakai pieces. Add 3/4th of the spice mixture lime juice and oil and mix well. Now add 1/2 of the remaning mixture and mix well. Taste the pickle and adjust the seasoning as needed. Cover it and leave it in room temperature over night. The dosakai will start absorbing all the flavors from the spices. Refridgerate the container. You can serve this pickle the next day.
This can be served with rice/idly, dosa and upma or your choice of meal. Keep refridgerate it will last for 6-8 weeks. On room temperature it last for 3-4 weeks.