Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Beetroot Jam

Beetroot Jam is one I always enjoy since my childhood. If you are from Tamilnadu, especially from south of it, you might have tasted this Jam several times during happy occasions.. Here is the recipe.


Beetroot - 3
Sugar - 1 1/2 cup
Honey - 1/4 cup
Ghee - 3 tbs
Dates -10 (Roughly chopped)
Vanilla Essence (optional)
Nuts (optional)


Peel the skin of the beet and quarter them. Pressure cook the beet for one whistle. Purée the cooked beet in a blender. The beetroot bunch made 3 cups of Purée. Combine beetroot Purée and sugar in a deep bottomed vessel and boil over low to medium heat. Stir the Purée consistently so that it doesn't stick to the pan. You can add some ghee to avoid the puree sticking to the bottom. Add the honey to the Purée. The Purée will tend to turn again watery because of honey. Keep stirring until it has turned to thick consistency . At the end add chopped nuts and dates and give a nice stir. Allow it to cool.I didn't add any preservatives or essence. I like the flavor of beet as such.Use it as a spread for bread or crackers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Semi-Homemade Pizza

Who would ever dislike pizza, especially if made at home?. My family enjoyed the pizza that I made with the store bought dough this evening. Yes, it came out really yummizza! This is the second time I am trying with store bought dough. First time it didn't come out well. May be because I didn't let the dough sit to reach the room temperature before rolling it.


Pizza dough - 1 pack
Yellow Onion - 1 sliced in rounds
Jalapeño - 3 finely sliced in rounds
Shredded Mozzarella - 3/4 of a pack
Pizza Sauce - 1/4 cup


First roll out the pizza dough. To prevent the dough sticking to the surface, lightly dust the surface with flour. I just tried to imitate the professional pizza makers (roll out with both my hands) and I succeeded a bit. If you can't do that turn the pizza dough into a ball and using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a nice circle as you do for paratha.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease the pan with oil. Place the rolled pizza dough on the pan. Smear pizza sauce evenly on top of the dough and sprinkle the Mozzarella cheese liberally (like an extra cheese topping). Finally top it of with onions and Jalapeño peppers and bake it for 15 mts or to perfection.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Lemony Cellentani with home grown Arugula

Arugula the peppery, strong scented herb is the latest addition to my herb garden this year. Argula has slender toothed leaves that are rich in Vitamin A & C and an excellent source of folate. It also provides phyto-nutrients & beta-caratone that promotes healthy eyes, skin and immune function. Arugula is normally eaten raw in salads. It has an acquired taste meaning that you don't fall in love with the taste at the first time. But you could get used to the taste gradually. I picked the tender ones to make this dish as it has milder flavor compared to matured leaves that are very pungent.


Cellentani Pasta - 2 Cups
(corkscrew shaped)
Arugula - 1 cup
Chili Flakes - 1 tbs
Lemon Zest (grated) - 1 tbs
Lemon Juice - 1 tbs
Garlic (Minced) - 3 cloves
Sun dried tomatoes - 7
Parmesan Cheese - 2 tbs
Olive oil


Cook pasta according to package directions with 1/2 tsp of salt and a tablespoon of oil. Drain well reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Meanwhile take out the arugula leaves from their stems. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté till it becomes golden brown. Add the sun dried tomatoes, arugula leaves and sauté the leaves until wilted. Add the reserved water,lemon zest and chili flakes. Stir in pasta and cook for a minute. Pour lemon juice over pasta. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese and serve immedietly.


Sun dried tomatoes in oil tastes better than the simply dried ones. As I used latter, I soaked for a min in the water to plump it up.


I made this dish for the third time within a week as per my son's request and that shows the sure success of this dish. I altered the recipe little bit everytime. One time adding heavy cream along with the pasta water and next time adding fire roasted tomatoes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Methi(Vendhayakeerai) Paratha

It's been a very long time since I bought methi greens. We used to have methi every single week when we had Gujarati nanny at our home. She would either make methi-potato baaji or methi thepla. After she left , I would have hardly made couple of times in 2 years. Somehow I was never inclined to buy that. Something struk my mind this time to not ignore the lovely greens and I got a bunch.


Methi (fenugreek leaves) - a bunch (Triple washed and chopped finely)
Wheat Flour - 2 1/2 cups
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Chili Powder - 1 tbs
Cumin Seeds - 2 tsp
Yogurt - 3 tbs
Salt - 2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbs


In a wide bowl, mix together wheat flour, chopped methi, cumin seeds, chili powder
and salt. Add yogurt and lukewarm water to the flour. Make sure you add the water little by little , keep mixing the flour and knead it to make a nice dough. Add a tablespoon of oil to the dough while kneading it. Let the dough sit for an hour or so. (I made the dough in the night, covered and kept it at room temperature. I made the parathas in the morning.)

Make equal sized balls out of the dough. Roll each ball into a nice circle with a rolling pin. If the dough is sticky, dust it with little flour and roll. Heat the pan and fry the parathas one at a time. Flip the paratha to the other side after 30 seconds. Once you flip it, smear a tsp of oil on the top and let it cook for one more min. Take the paratha out of the pan once you see golden brown spots started appearing on the surface.

Serve hot with plain yogurt and pickle.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Vazhakai (Plantain) Puttu

This is a typical Tirunelveli recipe.


Raw Plantain - 3 (Choose Naatu Vazhakai)
Onion - 1
Green Chilies - 5-6
Freshly Grated
Coconut - 4-5 tbs
Curry Leaves - few
Mustard Seeds &
Urad shal - 1tsp


Take a deep pan or a kadai and cook the plantain with skin in enough water without the lid. Cook until the skin becomes blackish green. Peel the skin and grate the plantain. Mix the grated Plantain with coconut and salt and keep it aside. Take a tbs of oil in a skillet. Tamper the mustard seeds , add green Chilies, onions and curry leaves. Saute the onion till it become golden brown and add the grated plantain. Give a nice stir for a minute or two and switch of the flame. It becomes dry if you cook for a long time.

Serve with rice-Pulikozhambu (spicy tamarind Gravy) combo.

Notes: Use small onions instead of big to get a nice flavor.