Maddu Kool (Medicinal Rice)

thejoyofhealthycooking

In Coorg, during the monsoon we celebrate the 18th day of the month of Kakkada in August as ‘Kakkada Padinet’. This month begins in July and ends in August. This year, the 18th day was yesterday. On this day, a plant known as “maddu thoppu” (medicine leaf) in Coorg and Kurinji in Kerala, the botanical name being Justicia Wynaadensis, is believed to contain 18 varieties of herbal medicine and the plant emits a pleasant aroma.

IMG_0734 Justicia Wynaadensis

The leaves plucked on this day are boiled to yield a dark purple extract. Sweet porridge (Maddu Kool) and cakes are made using this juice. Today let’s learn to make Maddu Kool.

Ingredients

For the extract

A bunch of leaves and stems from the Justicia Wynaadensis plant

Method 1

Bruise the leaves and stems and soak overnight in enough water to cover the leaves. Boil this in the morning for half…

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Raw Jackfruit Fry (Mudi Chekke Bartad From Coorg)

 

In Coorg, as in many other parts of India, Jackfruit is eaten in both raw and ripe forms. Even its seeds are used to make a delicious chutney. In an earlier post, I had shared a recipe using ripe Jackfruit. Here is a recipe that uses tender raw Jackfruit. This recipe is a delicacy at every Coorg table and is best served for breakfast or dinner with Akki Votis or Rice Rotis.

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If you are in India, raw tender Jackfruit will be a common sight as most Jackfruit trees will be laden with fruits as shown above. It will be available in plenty at the local vegetable store. Tender raw Jackfruit is also available frozen or in tins at most stores abroad and it is equally good. Just remember to drain out the water and rinse the pieces in fresh water before using them.

Let’s see how to make this recipe.

To make Raw Jackfruit fry for 4 people, you’ll need:

1 small raw, tender Jackfruit

1/2 cup brown Chickpeas, soaked for 4-5 hours and cooked till tender

½ tsp Mustard seeds

1 medium sized Onion, finely chopped

A few curry leaves

6-8 cloves of Garlic, sliced

2 Green chillies, slit

¼ tsp Turmeric powder

½ tsp Coriander powder

½ tsp Chilli powder

½ tsp Jeera powder

½ tsp Garam Masala (Optional)

3 tbsps grated coconut

2 tsps Lime juice

Salt to taste

3 tbsp Vegetable oil

Method

 

  1. Cut the Jackfruit in half, horizontally and then vertically as shown. If you find the Jackfruit to be too sticky, rub a little cooking oil on your hands. Remove the central hard part. Peel the hard outer layer and cut into small cubes as shown in the picture. Put the cut pieces into water for 5 minutes. Drain out the water and mix the cut Jackfruit pieces with turmeric powder, chilly powder, coriander powder, jeera powder and salt. Let it sit for a few minutes.
  2. Boil the Jackfruit pieces in a little water (1/2 cup) in a pressure pan (3 whistles). When cool, gently mash the pieces so that the flesh separates.
  3. In a thick bottomed pan, heat the oil. When hot, add the mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Add the Curry leaves and the Garlic. Add the slit green chillies. Next, add the chopped onions and fry till it turns transparent.
  4. Add the cooked Jackfruit pieces and the cooked Chickpeas. Mix well. Cook on a slow flame till all the moisture evaporates. Now add the grated coconut and the garam masala and cook for another two minutes. Turn off the heat when done.
  5. Finally, mix in the lime juice.

Jackfruit Fry is ready to savor.

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Raw Jackfruit Fry (Chekke Palya)

 

 

 

Stir Fried Carrots

I believe that the simplest recipes are the best, like all other things in life!

We are all well aware of the nutritional benefits of carrot. Here is a simple recipe using carrots that is a great accompaniment with rice or chapathis.  This recipe retains all the goodness of carrots and it does not have too many spices. Just remember not to overcook the carrots else they will end up being mushy and will lose most of their nutrition.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1/4 kg carrot, washed, peeled and cut as shown in picture below

2 tbsp grated coconut

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

For the seasoning

3 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

8-10 curry leaves

1/4 tsp urad dal (black gram, split)

1 onion, peeled and sliced

1 green chilly, slit

IMG_1427

Chopped Carrots

 

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Now add the urad dal and fry for a few seconds.
  2. Next add the sliced onions, the curry leaves and the slit green chilly. Fry till the onion turns translucent.
  3. Add the sliced carrots and mix well. Add 1/4 cup of water and cook on a slow fire till done. Add the grated coconut and mix well. Fry for a few minutes till all the moisture has evaporated. Add salt to taste.

Stir fried carrot is ready to eat!

 

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Stir Fried Carrot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curry Leaves Chutney

Curry leaves (Murraya Koenigii) are an essential part of everyday South Indian cooking. It is a vital ingredient for the seasoning of most dishes. Curry leaves are very healthy and have many medicinal properties. The leaves are an excellent source of iron. They are good for digestion and are used to treat chronic cases of anemia. The juice extracted from the leaves is believed to be good for diabetes.

Here is a recipe using curry leaves that is easy to make and retains the nutritional benefits of curry leaves.

 

Ingredients

1 bundle Curry leaves

2 medium sized Onions, finely chopped

3 tbsp grated copra

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

2 red chillies

1 tbsp powdered jaggery

1 tsp salt

1 tbsp cooking oil

For the seasoning:

½ tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp oil

Method

  1. Separate the curry leaves from the stalk. Wash the leaves thoroughly and dab dry the additional water.
  2. In a thick bottomed pan, heat the oil. When hot, add the chopped onions and fry till transcluscent. Reduce the flame. Next add the red chillies and fenugreek seeds and stir for a few minutes. Remove the onions, fenugreek and red chillies and set aside.
  3. In the same oil, fry the curry leaves and the grated copra for a minute.
  4. Grind all the ingredients to a fine paste. Add salt and jaggery as per taste.
  5. Season the ground paste and allow to cook for 5-8 minutes over a low flame to reduce moisture content. Remember to keep stirring occasionally. Once all the moisture evaporates, the chutney is ready.

Notes:

  • This chutney is ideal as an accompaniment with chapathies, dosas, idlis and rice.
  • This preparation can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. Remember to use a dry spoon when you serve it.

 

Black Chickpeas Curry (Kuru Curry From Coorg)

IMG_1487

Here is a simple recipe from Coorg for black chickpeas curry. This dish is a great favorite at home and is loved by all.  This dish is very tasty and nutritious. In Coorg, it is generally served with rice, rice rotis or Akki Votti and Paputtu. It also goes very well with puris, chapathis and dosas.

Let’s learn how to make it.

Ingredients

1 cup black chickpeas (whole bengal gram) soaked overnight

2 medium sized tomatoes, finely chopped

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

½ tsp fennel (saunf)

½ tsp coriander seeds

A few sprigs of coriander, finely chopped

¼ cup oil

Grind to a fine paste

4 tbsp grated coconut

1/4” ginger

3 cloves of garlic

1/2” piece of cinnamon

2 cloves

½ tsp fennel

½ tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp chilli power

¼ tsp turmeric powder

Few sprigs of coriander, finely chopped

Few sprigs of mint, finely chopped

Method

  1. Cook the black chickpeas with ½ tsp fennel, ½ tsp whole coriander seeds and 2 cups of water till well cooked. Set aside.
  2. In a pan, heat the oil. Add the onions. When it turns transparent, add the ground masala and fry it till the oil separates (4-5 minutes). Now reduce the flame.
  3. Add the tomatoes and salt. Keep stirring till the tomatoes are well cooked.
  4. To this, add the cooked black chickpeas with its water (1/4 cup). Let the mixture boil well. Keep stirring till the gravy thickens.
  5. Adjust the seasoning and garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with puris, chapathis, dosas or rice.

Notes:

  1. If you want a thick gravy, you can limit the water added.
  2. This curry can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for 2-3 days. But, it is best when served fresh.

 

Vegetable Pulav

Here’s a recipe for a Vegetable Pulav that is light and nutritious. This is a favorite dish and is enjoyed by everyone.

Vegetable Pulav

Vegetable Pulav

For this you’ll need,
1 cup basmati rice
¼ cup each peas, beans sliced and carrot diced
2 Medium sized tomatoes, chopped finely
1 Medium sized onion, chopped finely
1 Tej patta/Bay leaf, 1 clove, 1 cardamom, 1” piece cinnamon
½ tbsp. lime juice
½ cup oil
2 tbsp. ghee
1 ¾ cups of water
Salt to taste
Grind to a fine paste: 3 green chillies, 3 garlic cloves, 1/2” piece ginger, Coriander leaves, one small bunch; pudina, one handful; 3 tbsp grated coconut; 1 big onion (chopped); 1/2” piece cinnamon, 3 cloves, ½ tsp Fennel (saunf); 1 small green cardamom

To make the Vegetable Pulav,
Wash the rice and set aside.
In a thick bottomed vessel/cooker body, heat oil. Add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and Tej patta and fry for a few seconds. Add chopped onion and fry till it becomes transparent. Add ground masala and fry for a while. When the oil separates, add the chopped tomatoes and fry till tomatoes are done. Add salt and the vegetables and stir for a few minutes. Add water, allow it to come to a boil for a few minutes. Add the rice and mix well. Next, add lime juice and adjust the salt content if required. Finally, add ghee and mix well .
Close the cooker and let the pulav cook for 3 whistles. If you are not using a cooker, allow the mixture to cook till done. Remove and mix well. Garnish with chopped coriander, croutons and fried cashews.
This Pulav is best enjoyed with a Raita. Here is a recipe for Cucumber Raita.

Ash Gourd Halwa

The first recipe I wish to share is a sweet dish that is immensely popular in our home and that is Ash Gourd Halwa. This dish is a great way to end a meal or to begin a meal.

IMG_0576

Ash Gourd Halwa


To make this halwa, you will need the following ingredients:
1 Kg Ash Gourd peeled and deseeded (results in 2 cups when grated)
1/2 cup Sugar
1″piece Cinnamon
2 Cloves
2 Cardamom
3 Tbsps Ghee
Handful of raisins and cashews
For the caramel (optional, to color the halwa)
2 Tbsps Sugar
The gourd when peeled and deseeded appears as shown below.

Ash Gourd peeled and deseeded

Ash Gourd peeled and deseeded


Grate the ash gourd fine. This will result in 2 cups of gourd as shown below.
Ash Gourd after grating

Ash Gourd after grating


Cook this in a pressure pan with the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom ( 3-4 whistles). Continue to cook the mixture. Gradually add the sugar and check for the desired level of sweetness (You could use less than the suggested amount of sugar). Keep stirring the mixture and continue to cook till all the moisture evaporates.
In another pan, heat the 2 tbsps of sugar on a low flame till it melts and turns golden brown. Take care to ensure that the sugar does not burn as then it will give a bitter taste to the halwa. Add this to the mixture to impart a brown color to the halwa.
Add three tbsps of ghee to the mixture and stir nicely till the ghee melts and merges into the mixture. Fry the dry fruits in a little ghee and add to the halwa and the halwa is ready to eat.
This will stay fresh for 2-3 days and can be served hot or cold. Enjoy!