Hurray!! My first post in 2007!:D
Thank you for all your wishes and comments.I had only 3 days of access to the Internet in FL so I couldn't visit or thank you all!Our vacation was exhilarating but VERY exhausting!I don't even want to SAY "Theme Parks" for the next 3 yrs!!:D We came home a day late and I am still too tired to start the routine(the dreaded unpacking!)Kids went back to school today!So my buddies,at last I have some time to visit all of you this week!:)
I was thinking what would be the great way to start my first post in 2007 besides recipes.I thought why not show all of you where I live, cook and dine with my family and a sample of what I did on my vacation.
Here it is! Welcome to my home!(Updated photo!) Let me show you a little bit of my life! Are you ready for a long post?!:)
This is a very typical "Southern Colonial Design" brick home with 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 3 garage in a 'Cul De Sac' with a living room and a family room, quite a big front yard, back yard with white fence. It's built in 1991, that explains big space and a quiet older neighborhood! Oak Hollow Lake is just a block away! Newer homes have hardly any space, built like match boxes, pop up everywhere within 3 months with no privacy at all!
My beloved Kitchen! (Update: Old kitchen I must say, it's been demolished and a brand new kitchen has been replaced!)
I have one too many gadgets,so I had to take some off of my counter but I usually like them all within my reach!They all went back promptly after I took this photo!The chair you see is a breakfast nook with a Dinette and a big Baker's Rack which I love with lot of house plants on it!
Again,it's a typical "Southern White Kitchen" which most Carolinians LOVE! Whiter the kitchen, faster the house sells! It was little odd for us to see so much white when we bought this house but now I understand why they want it white.When the Sun hits the kitchen and dining room every morning,it glows like you are literally in Heaven with all white cabinets lit up in white light!Infact,I had to wait until 7pm to take this photo with lights even on a cloudy day bcos it was too bright! No winter depression here folks!:D
That door you see leads to dining room.
Our Dining room! (Update: No more Wall paper! It's been stripped and painted with a beautiful luxurious red paint)
This was hardest room to photograph,it was too bright even at 5pm.With it's rectangle shape although it is a quite a big room,it was hard to capture that in this picture!You see the family room with sofa leading to the dining room.Other door on the right leads to the Kitchen.
Here is my recipe for Theeyal this week! Vacation goodies I bought are at the end:)
Theeyal is a classic south Indian/Kerala dish which is a gravy made with Pearl onions and ground coconut with delicious combination of spices.This particular recipe I had it for long time was from a Kerala info web site which I cannot find it anymore but you can find a similar recipe and others here too as this is a very common dish with similar ingredients.
Delicious Pearl Onion Theeyal as I made it:
You can use any other vegetable in this gravy but I have always used Pearl onions and nothing else.You can also skip red chillis and use sweet paprika.But Theeyal should have little "heat" from the red chillies to taste good with rice.I love the soft texture and sweet flavor of sauteed Pearl onions in spicy coconut sauce. Served with plain rice and few side dishes, papads,pickles and a chilled glass of south Indian style spiced Buttermilk, a major YUM factor!!:)
To make Theeyal, you need:
Peel the skin and keep them whole.Take 6-8 Pearl onions if they are big like here, or 15-20 if they are very small,Cilantro,1-2 Tomatoes.Heat oil and butter,saute onions until they almost cooked,reddish all over.Sprinkle some salt and keep aside.Take a small lump of tamarind and squeeze the juice out with little hot water.Discard the solids.
To make ground masala: Heat 1 tsp oil,saute all these:1/4 cup Coconut grated,2 whole Red Chillies,1 tbsp.Coriander seeds,1/4 tsp. Cumin seeds,5-6 Peppercorns,,1/2tsp fenugreek seeds one by one until golden brown.Grind these with 1/4 tsp turmeric pd,1/4 tsp each salt and sugar(optional) and 2 tomatoes,few cilatro until smooth with enough water.
Heat 1 tsp oil, add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds,1 dry chilli, few curry leaves,pinch of hing or Asafoetida.When splutters,add onions, 1 cup of water,ground masala, tamarind water and simmer until little oil shows on top.Adjust the salt and add chopped cilantro.
That's it! Wasn't that easy?!
Here is how I serve a typical south Indian Theeyal for lunch or dinner with rice ,a yogurt salad or raita and a green bell pepper stir-fry along with some papads and a delicious spiced buttermilk to wash it all down:
Green Bell Pepper Stir-fry and a Cucumber-Carrot-Onion-Yoghurt Raita :
To make Green Bell Pepper Stir-Fry:
Chop 2 Bell peppers and 1/2 onion into 1/2" cubes,keep aside.Heat 2 tsp canola oil,add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and cumin seeds,1 tsp Chana dal, urad dal,2 green or dry red chillies chopped,fry for 1 minute.Add onion,stir-fry for 2 mins until reddish,add in bell peppers and salt.Stir-fry until soft for 2-3 mins.When little soft,add cilantro,1tbsp dry dessicated coconut and mix well.Serve with any rice and gravy dish. Or with freshly made chapatis.
Chop 1 cucumber peeled and seeded, 1/2 red sweet or white onion, 1-2 carrots to a uniform size ie 1/2" cubes.Place them all in a bowl.Add 1 cup plain yoghurt,salt, pepper, chopped cilantro and mix well.You can squeeze some lemon juice if you like but not necessary.
Variation: Add 1 chopped tomato as well into this and season.Instead of adding pepper, Heat 1 tsp oil,add 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds,1 chopped green chilly or red chilli flakes for little heat,few curry leaves.When it splutters,add to yoghurt Raita and mix.
Here is how to make Spiced Buttermilk, my style!:)
Here is how to make it:
1 cup Fat-free plain yogurt,1 cup water,2 tbsp minced onion,1 small peeled minced garlic,a small slice of ginger and salt.(I forgot to add ginger in the picture!)
Heat 1tsp oil,add 1/4 tsp mustard,1/2 tsp cumin seeds,2 curry leaves,few cilantro leaves,1/4 tsp minced Jalapeño.Stir until reddish and take it off the heat.
Add yogurt etc in the first list and all the seasoning and 3-4 cubes of ice to a blender and blend well until frothy.Strain in to a tall glass,discard the solids and serve.It makes a tasty refreshing chilled buttermilk drink for a summer day as well.You can replace Jalapeño with pepper pd if you like but fried green chilli imparts a smoky taste to this buttermilk.
NOTE: My grandmother's makes her buttermilk this way:
1. Pound ginger and garlic with little water,squeeze out the juice and add to the buttermilk.Add seasoning(made as above)and add minced raw onion in to buttermilk.
2. Mix well with a whisk.No blender is involved,can be eaten with rice with a crunch of raw onion bits.Tastes sooo good with rice!
But granny's way is little hard to drink as a beverage,don't you think with all those chunky bits?:D Then you have to do it my style to get all the flavors but no bits of spices to chew!
Now, your delicious typical South Indian lunch/dinner Thali/plate is ready to serve.
Here are some of fellow Bloggers delicious recipes I tried last month and loved, which go very well with rice:
Vani of Mysoorean's yummy Mixed Vegetable Kootu :
Do you see my newly discovered veg., Zucchini pieces there?!:D
3 Cups Mixed Vegetables (boiled),2 cups Toor Dal (cooked),1 cup water,Salt.
1 tsp Jeera,1 tsp Mustard seeds,1 tsp coriander seeds,4-5 dry red chillies,3 Tbsp shredded coconut,2 Tbsp rice(uncooked) ,1/2 tsp turmeric,1/8 tsp hing.
1/2 tsp urad dal,1/2 tsp chana dal,1 tsp ghee.
How To: Grind the above ingredients,no need to fry.Mix the cooked dal, vegetables, ground paste ,salt and water together and bring to a boil.Season and add to the Kootu.
Menu Today's delicious Kollu Rasam (Kulith):
Kollu 1/4 cup (soaked overnight and cooked)Huruli,Horse Gram,Tamarind water 1 cup,Rasam Powder 1-1/2 tsp,Turmeric Powder 1/4 tsp,Curry leaves,Coriander leaves,Garlic one pod,Salt,Mustard seeds,Cumin seeds,Ghee,Hing.
1. Boil Tamarind water by adding Salt, Turmeric, Hing and Curry leaves.
2. When the raw smell of Tamarind goes add cooked Kollu a little.
3. Grind the remaining Kollu with one garlic pod.
4. Dilute this Kollu paste with cooked water or water pour on boiling Tamarind water.
5. Add Coriander leave, when the Rasam is about to boil.
6. Temper the Mustard, Cumin and pour over Rasam.
Coriander seeds : 3 cups, Pepper ½ cup,Jeera (Cumin)1 cup,Dried red chilles ½ cup,Red gram dal 1 cup,Fenugreek seeds ½ tsp,
How To:Dry roast the above ingredients separately ,cool it powder it.Powder should not be very fine.Store.
Some goodies I bought in Florida:)
We stayed in 'Caribe Royale' Hotel which I recommend to anyone who is visiting FL.It has the most beautiful swimming pools and a choice of villas, rooms and suites to suit your family.A 5-10 mins drive to all Theme parks.
From Prime Outlet Mall in Orlando,I found what else but a "Le Gourmet Chef" kitchen store!:D I bought(while Arvind waited outside as usual!)a jar of Wasabi,New Orleans "Death" Chilli sauce with garlic,Mango Butter,Pineapple-Coconut Marmalade,few soup bowls,cute butter knives,two piece Microplane fine and coarse grating tool,Palm veg Peeler,Texas Champagne sauce and my fav, a stainless steel Pestle and Mortar!!:))
From St.Augustine we visited on the way back home,a historical and beautiful town; I bought beautiful Mexican Sun clay artifacts for kids' bedroom and Mexican clay pot which goes in to my Curio in the family room.
From Indian River Native American store: This was a very pretty hand made shell Chandelier which I love.I can imagine how much effort and time goes in to making these which is much more than what we pay for!
An Indian Spider-Man!! Next to super duper Spider-Man ride in 'Island of Adventures' at Universal Studios Theme Park,there is Marvel Comic store where you can find all the marvel comics.When I saw this Indian Spiderman,I screamed with delight! His name is Pavitr Prabhakar(Peter Parker)a village boy who wears Dhoti and pointy Rajastani pumps,and protects Mumbai!MJ is Meera Jain(who dresses like Brittany Spears btw),aunt Maya(Mary)and Uncle Bhim(Ben)and the bad guy is Nalin Oberoi!(Norman Osborne!):D
He calls his enemy a "bhaijaan", ( Mumbai Don!) "Jaaneman" ,"sala" ,"thakeley" and "mere ujde chaman, bechaare degchi ke dhakkan" and says words like "abbey", "badmash" etc!:D:D
My kids didn't like it and gave up reading after the 3rd page! It is geared for Indian kids in India I guess bcos of all the Hindi slangs they use. I enjoyed it though! Buy it if you can in your cities!I don't think this book that rare in US but to me it was a great fun find in FL!:))
Last but not least! A Orlando Science Museum show: "Our Body" The Universe Within!!!
This is a real deal! Not made of wax or plastic but REAL bodies preserved and dissected vertically and horizontally every 3" apart from head to toes.A amazing mobile Museum which goes to Science Museums in major cities for few weeks.We are not allowed to touch or photographed these bodies. What you see above here was a real picture of a real body with skull open to reveal the brains on a fridge magnet.It might come to your city,make sure you don't miss it, if you are not a faint hearted soul that is:)
It's a great display and very helpful to science or Anatomy and Physiology students.My kids loved it! To my surprise,these bodies are all of Chinese people,I do not know why!!They even have a Pre-Natal section!Human body is sooo amazing,every nerve and muscle are split apart and displayed as it is,as they are in our male,and female bodies.One guy has a hanger with his own whole body skin completely stripped in one piece hung on it and holding it in his own hand!! WHOA!!!Are you still there?!!:D
Museum also mentions that the earliest surgeries were done and a surgical book was written in India called "Susruta Samhita"(in Sanskrit) around 200 BC! But after some time, when Hindus started believing that when you cut up the bodies their souls will be eternally wandering,they stopped the surgeries and stopped learning about the human bodies!THANK GOD our brilliant Indian surgeons got over that belief quickly!:D
Enjoy all of these and have a great weekend:)
January 03, 2007
Hurray!! My first post in 2007!:D