Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Brahmi Tambuli

Tambuli is a kind of raita prepared generally using a medicinal herb. It requires very few ingredients and is very easy to make, with high medicinal values. One of the types of tambuli is made from Brahmi or Vandalaga as it is called in Kannada.

Brahmi / Bacopa monnieri / Thyme-leafed gratiola is a long treasured herb, possessing antioxidant properties, and having the amazing ability to facilitate learning and enhance memory and concentration. It is a pacifier of all the three doshas — mainly kapha and vata. Brahmi is not only a memory-booster and intellect-promoting herb; it is also a tranquillizer, a muscle relaxant, an anti-convulsant, a blood purifier, and an anti-pyretic, carminative and digestive agent.

Brahmi is known for its salutary effect in anxiety, depression, hypertension, sleeplessness, mental retardation, insanity, hysteria and epilepsy. Ancient texts describe the use of Brahmi in a number of other disorders like biliousness, ulcers, asthma, skin diseases and in general and senile debility.
Brahmi Tambuli

Preparation time : 5 min
Cooking time : 5 min
Serves : 4-5

Brahmi leaves - 1 cup
Ghee - 1 Tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 Tsp
Pepper - 1 Tsp
Red chili - 1
Coconut - 2 Tbsp, grated
Salt - ½ Tsp or as per taste
Curd - ½ cup

For tempering:
Ghee - 1 Tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 Tsp

• In a skillet, heat ghee and roast cumin seeds, pepper and red chili
• Once the spices are roasted, add washed Brahmi leaves and sauté till they wilt, for a minute or two
• Grind the above mixture with grated coconut into a fairly smooth paste
• Transfer it to a bowl and mix in salt and curd
• In a skillet, heat ghee and add cumin seeds and curry leaves and allow to splutter
• Transfer the tempering to the Tambuli and serve with hot rice

• Other herbs like Doddapatre, ginger, etc can be used in place of Brahmi

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Menasina Saru / Black Pepper Rasam

A very simple and easy to make variety of rasam, made with pepper as a main ingredient. It is best suited for a cold and rainy day, with a bowl of piping hot rice. Nothing else can beat this rasam. Also makes a great meal if you’re just about recovering from cold, cough or fever, adding the health benefit of pepper and cumin seeds, and soothing the throat.

Menasina Saru / Black Pepper Rasam

Preparation time : 5 min
Cooking time : 10 min
Serves : 5-6

Black pepper - 2 Tsp
Cumin seeds - 3 Tsp
Urad dal - 3 Tsp
Channa dal - 1 Tsp
Red Chili - 1
Curry leaves - 10-12
Coconut - 2 Tbsp, grated
Salt - ½ Tsp or as per taste
Water - 4 Cups, change acc to consistency
Milk - ½ Cup

For tempering:
Cumin seeds - 1 Tsp
Ghee - 1 Tsp

• In a skillet / kadai, roast pepper, Cumin seeds, Urad dal, Channa dal, Red Chili and Curry leaves till the lentils turn golden brown
• Let it cool slightly
• Grind the roasted mixture with coconut and water if needed to make a very fine paste
• Transfer the ground paste to a larger vessel, add enough water to get rasam-like consistency
• Add salt and allow to boil for 5-8 minutes
• Add milk and put off the heat
• Heat ghee in a small skillet
• Add cumin seeds and allow it to sputter
• Add this crispy garnishing to the menasina saru just before serving
• Serve hot with piping hot rice and a spoon of ghee

Tips n Tricks:
• Make sure to grind the ingredients into a very smooth paste, which will add to the taste

• Dry coconut can be added instead of fresh coconut, but nothing can beat the taste of fresh coconut

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Badam Puri - A layered, soft-yet-crispy sweet

At lunch table, when we were discussing about what sweet dish to prepare for Deepavali, someone suggested Badam Puri. And immediately the memories of my first birthday after marriage came up. MIL had prepared a very tasty meal of Peas Pulav and Badam Puris for me. I had happily hogged all that I could.

I remembered that and decided that Badam Puri would be the sweet for one of the days of Deepavali. I just couldn’t resist my temptation to have those slightly crisp, golden colored, sugar coated melting sweet, but I had no choice but to wait till the festival. This sweet is generally made in weddings, but I bet home-made version cannot just beat the taste and is also healthier, mainly because we use ghee at home instead of vanaspathi (dalda).
I learnt making it from my MIL, and it did come out very well.
Here’s the recipe...
Badam Puri

Preparation time : 20 min
Cooking time : 20-25 min
Makes : ~20

All Purpose Flour (Maida) – 2 Cups
Ghee – 1 ½ Tbsp
Baking Powder – ½ teaspoon, optional
Food color – 1 pinch/drop, preferably saffron or yellow
Salt – a small pinch
Cooking oil for deep frying

For Sugar Syrup:
Sugar – 1 Cup
Water 1 Cup

• In a bowl, add ghee, baking powder, salt and food color and beat it for 5-10 minutes continuously with your fingers
• Once the ghee forms a very smooth paste, add flour and mix thoroughly
• Add a little water and form a soft dough, neither too tight nor too loose
• Knead the dough for at least 8-10 minutes ensuring there are no cracks in it
Sugar Syrup:
• Meanwhile in another vessel mix water and sugar and boil it
• Food essence may be optionally added for enhanced aroma
• A pinch of color can be added as well for attractive color
Badam Puris:
• Now make small TT-ball sized balls out of the dough
• Roll out puris of about 4” diameter
• Fold it first into half and then again, making it 4 layered
• Slightly press it, using the rolling pin so that the layers are held closely
• Heat oil in a frying pan and fry these rolled and folded puris one by one in medium low flame till golden brown. The puris puff up and increase in size when fried.
• Drain excess oil by spreading it on a kitchen towel / tissue
• Drop the puris one by one as they are fried into the sugar syrup prepared
• After 5-6 minutes take out the sugar soaked puris from the syrup, in the order that they were dipped, and spread them out on a dry plate.
• The coated syrup is absorbed and the Badam-puris become dry in sometime
Serve it immediately when still hot or after cooling

Tips n Tricks:
• Knead the dough enough to get a uniform texture
• The sugar syrup should be thicker than that for Gulab Jamuns, so that the puris do retain crispiness, yet absorb the sweetness
• Do not wait for too long after the syrup is made, as the syrup starts solidifying when cooled

Monday, November 2, 2009

Eggless Banana Muffins

Don’t want to make a full fledged cake, yet want to bake something?
Don’t want to spend a lot of time, yet come up with some yummy mini-cakes?
Don’t want to take risk with baking and want a sure-success recipe?
Don’t want to waste the left over ripe bananas, and make something ‘fruitful’ out of it?
Then here’s a simple, easy, no-risk recipe for banana muffins..... It just cannot go bad, so try it out without any hesitation..... Jump start to baking with this irresistible muffins...

Banana Muffins

Preparation time : 15 min
Baking time : 20-25 min
Makes : 12 muffins

Ripe Bananas – 4, medium sized
All Purpose Flour – 1 ½ Cups
Sugar – ¾ Cup
Melted Unsalted Butter – 1/3 Cup
Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon
Baking Soda – 1 teaspoon
Raisins - Half Cup, or Walnuts, Finely Chopped

• Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F
• Line the Muffin tray with the Muffin Liner Paper Cups. I simply greased and dusted the muffin tray
• Mash the Bananas in a bowl
• Add the Melted Butter and mix well using a spatula
• Add in the sugar and stir well. Keep this bowl aside till needed.
• Take another bowl, preferably Large. Add the Flour. Mix in the Baking Powder and Baking Soda. Sieve the mixture a couple of times for uniform mixing.
• Mix in the wet and dry mixtures together. Do not over mix. Mix only for a minute or two. Do not use any kind of Electric Hand Mixers.
• Keep aside 1 tablespoon of raisins and stir in the remaining raisins in the batter.
• Fill ¾ of the Muffin Cups. Use a Spoon to fill the Cups. Sprinkle the remaining raisins on the top
• Bake it in the Oven for about 20 -25 minutes, until the Muffins are golden brown.
• Cool the Muffins completely before serving.

Tips n Tricks:
• Do not over mix the mixture. Let it remain crumbly.

• Chopped walnuts can be added in place of raisins
• One beaten egg can be added to get smoother muffins, but even eggless tastes almost the same