Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Idli,Sambhar and Chutney

For making fluffy soft idlis you need:
4 cups idli rice
1 cup split urad dal
1\2 cup Fenugreek (methi) seeds

* Wash and soak the urad dal, idli rice and fenugreek seeds separately in water for at least 6 hours.
To Grind:
* Drain the extra water from fenugreek seeds, rice, urad dal and mix all together.

* Grind this material in mixer with adding minimum water.

* Make a smooth batter and add salt. The final batter should not be too thick or too watery.

To make idlis:
* Allow the batter to ferment for at least 12 hours.

Step 1: Heat 1 cup of water in idli cooker.
Step 2: Add the 3 tablespoons of batter in each of the idli plate and put it in idli cooker. Close the idli cooker with lid.

Step 3: Cool for about 10-12 minutes. Let stand for 1 minute and unmould.

Step 4: Serve hot with chutney of your choice and sambhar.

Cooking Tip:
* Well fermented flour will give really fluffy and soft idli’s.
* If you live in US or any cold country, try keeping the flour in a conventional oven and keep the light on inside the oven.
* Fenugreek seeds is good for health so I add this in batter.


Ingredients for sambhar masala:
2 tbsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
6 curry leaves
1\2 tbsp asafetida powder
1 tbsp urad dal
4 cloves
2 small pieces of cinnamon

Method for the sambhar masala:

Step 1: Roast all the ingredients individually in a pan.

Step 2: Grind them together in a grinder.

Step 3: Make smooth powder. If you made more than you required than you store it in an air-tight container and use it when required. I was always made fresh smabhar masala for nice aroma.

Ingredients for sambhar:
1\2 cup chopped white gourd
1\2 cup chopped carrot
2 big size drumstick (diced)
1 big size finely chopped onion
2 cups tuvar dal
3 tbsp sambhar masala
Few curry leaves
1\2 tbsp cumin seeds
1\2 tbsp mustard seeds
1\2 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp red chilli powder
A pinch of hing
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnish.

Method for the Sambhar:

Step 1: Wash the tuvar dal. Cook it in cooker with sufficent water. Grind with grinder.

Step 2: Boil the vegetables and add salt to taste.
Step 3: Drain extra water form cook vegetables.

Step 4: Heat the oil in another pan and crackle mustard seeds. Then add cumin seeds and a pinch of hing.

Step 5: Add finely chopped onion in it and fry for few minutes.

Step 6: Now add the vegetables in it and cook for one minute.

Step 7: Pour the tuvar dal and add turmeric powder, red chilli powder in it.

Step 8: Add sambhar masala and simmer over medium flame for 15 minutes.

Step 9: Turn off the flame and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with Idli and dosa.

* To ensure that the smabhar tastes fresh, do not use sambhar masala that is over two month-old.
* If you prefer your smbhar strong, then add a pinch of clove powder to tuvar dla while soaking it.
* If the smabhar is too thick, dilute milk in water and add it to the smabhar.
* If you add more water while cook the tuvar dal then can be reused to cook vegetable this will help retain the flavor and nutrition of the sambhar.

Idli Chutney


1 cup fresh/frozen coconut

½ cup dalia (Pottu Kadali/ fried gram dhal)

4 green chilis

Salt to taste

For seasoning:

2 tbsp oil

1/2 tbsp mustard seeds

1/2 tbsp urad dal

3-4 curry leaves

Step 1: Grind coconut, ½ cup dalia, salt and chilies to a smooth paste adding required amount of water.

Step 2: Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add urad dal.

Step 3: When dal turns slightly brownish, add curry leaves. Fry for a little while. Pour this seasoning over chutney.
Step 4: Mix well and serve with hot dosa or idli.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Navratri History:

The practice of goddess worship was prevalent in India since the time immemorial even before the advent of Aryans. Our ancestors have always placed Devi or Stree (as she was referred to) into the highest pedestal of the prevalent social system at that time and they worshipped her as Shakti. There are references in our Shastras which confirms the existence of such practices. There are several myths and legends associated with celebration of this Navratri Festival.
As per one legend Mahishasura the mighty demon worshipped Lord Shiva and obtained the power of eternity. So he started to kill and harass innocent people and set out to win seven lokas. Intimated by his power all the gods from swargaloka appealed to Lord Shiva to tame the demon. Then Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar (Shiva) united their supreme powers and created a divine being called Shakti or Durga the Warrior Goddess. Mahishasura who happened to see this divine beauty Durga got mesmerized by her beauty and approached her with the intention of marriage. Goddess Durga agreed to marry him but in one condition that Mahishasura should win over her in duel. Mahishasura who was proudy of his power agreed for the duel. The duel went on for 9 nights and the end of 9th night Goddess Durga beheaded Mahishasura. So the nine nights for which the war was fought is called Navrathri. The tenth day is celebrated as Vijayadashmi.

According to other legend King Daksha of Himalayas had a beautiful and Virtuos daughter Uma who had a wish to marry Lord Shiva. As a result she worshipped Lord Shiva and pleased him. Lord Shiva married Uma. Once Uma visited her parents to participate in a Yagna conducted over there, during that time King Daksha insulted Lord Shiva unable to bear the insults meted on her husband Uma decided to end her life by jumping into the agnikund where she was united with the eternity. Henceforth she was also known as Sati. Sati was reborn again and peace was restored between her and parents. In that birth also she married Lord Shiva and lived happily thereafter. It is believed that Sati comes to stay with her parents for 9 days in every year and that time is celebrated as Navarathri.

One hypothesis states that in ancient times Kshatriyas debarred themselves from participating any warlike activities during monsoon season. Once monsoons got over they found the time to start afresh with their war activities. So before the start of their war journey these Kshatriyas worshipped different aspects of Devi for 9 days which is today celebrated as the Navratri.

According to one legend Lord Rama who wanted to release Sita from the clutches of mighty demon king Ravana prayed Goddess Durga in nine aspects for nine days in order to gather the strength and power to kill Ravana. Those nine nights became to be known as Navrathri and on the tenth day Rama killed Ravana that day is called Vijayadashmi or Dashera.

Nine different manifestations of Durga are worshipped during Navratri they are:

Durga :goddess beyond reach

Bhadrakali the auspicious power of time
Amba or Jagdamba: mother of the world
Annapurna: giver of food and plenty
Sarvamangala: auspicious goddess
Bhairavi: terrible, fearful, power of death
Chandika or Handi: violent, wrathful, furious
Lalita: playful
Bhavani: giver of existence.

Navarathri Puja is done differently on the all nine days. Here is the way by which Navratri Pooja is performed traditionally (Some customs may vary from region to region)
- Kalash Sthapana
- Devata Pooja
- Sapta Sati Pooja
- Akhanda Deepa
- Mala Bandhana
- Upavasa (During day time)
- Suvasini Pooja
- Kumari Pooja
Modern Garba:
Sthrotra Mantra HomaModern Garba is also heavily influenced by Raas a dance traditionally performed by men. It is performed on 9 nights, 'Navratri' to Goddess Ambica, where women dance gracefully in circles sometimes also using, 'Bedu, Kanjari' or just 'Taali' and 'Chapti'. The word Garba is derived from the word Garba Deep meaning a lamp inside a perforated earthen pot. The light inside the perforated earthen pot symbolized the embryonic life. In this folk dance, ladies place the pot with the lamp on their heads and move in circles, singing in time measure by clapping their palms or snapping their fingers, to the accompaniment of folk instruments. Formerly associated with the legend of Krishna, Garba is now a regular feature during the Navratri puja (nine nights in honor and worship of the goddess Durga)
Raas which is supposed to belong to Kutch and Saurashtra is performed all over Gujarat. The Raas traditions are as old as the Puranic period. In various parts of the country, Raas are danced in different manners. The main feature of Raas is dancing in a circle by men and woman, to the accompaniment of musical instruments and keeping time either by clapping or beating of two sticks.

The number of dancers goes from 8, 16, and 32 up to 64 couples, who also sing the song. There are three varieties of Rasaka described. Danda Rasaka-Rasa dance where Danda or sticks and it is usually known as Dandiya Raas

This is my contribution for the JFI Special edition "Navratri Festival” hosted by Vee of Past,Present and Me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Virus everywhere.......... :((

Dear bloggers,
lately my computer was affected by Virus and IE totally
stopped working, that was the reason I could not publish
any post.

And as soon as I solved that problem , my eyes got effected
by " Viral Conjunctivitis". 
Althought its bit improving  and i am able to continue my 
daily routine normally now ,my eyes itches when i work
for more  than 10 mins on computer.
Once totally recovered  I will publish my new post soon .

So hows Navarati going on with all of you ?
My next post is going to be "Navali (full of novelty ) Navarati ".
Till then Happy Navaratri to all of you :) ...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Chori nu Saak / Chauli nu Shaak

150 gm chori or 1-2 bunches of fresh Long Beans (chauli,chawli), or known as Dow Gok In Asian Stores-chopped
1\2-tbsp mustard seeds
1\2-tbsp cumin seeds
1-tbsp garlic paste
1\2-tbsp turmeric powder
2-tbsp oil
Salt to taste
4-round cut tomato slices for decoration

Step 1: Cut the chori in to small pieces.

Step 2: Heat the oil in thick bottom pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds when the pop up then add garlic paste in it.

Step 3: Add the finely chopped chori in it and close with lid for 2 minutes.
Step 4: Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt to taste. Cook in low flame for 7 minutes, stirring in between.

Step 4: Turn off the flame and place it in serving bowl and decorate with tomato slices.

Serve with Roti and Curd..........:)