This is a story about a little girl who learnt about the value of money and the value of affection at the age of 7 when she was yet a toddler in the ROAD of life.
It was Diwali time and she and her two other friends were talking seriously about the new dress they are planning to get for the festival. All the three of various financial status planned to buy a “Salwar set” (too early for that age). This little girl when came home the family is ready to out for a shopping to buy Diwali dresses. Appa has just got his Diwali bonus. Amma selected a gorgeous chamki work Georgette skirt. Having the idea of the salwar kameez, the girl could not open her mouth and say no (actually she liked that skirt too :)) . Nice dresses for her younger sis and brother too were taken (why would kids ever worry about Diwali dresses for Amma and Appa) and the family came home happy, tired and sleepy.
As soon as they entered home, this little girl whispered into her Appa’s ears about her friends plan. She never knew that Appa and Amma were skipping new dresses for Diwali. Appa was not well and having a dry cough. He never bothered about anything and said to Amma that he’s taking me out and we will be back home soon. The puzzled Amma said yes.
Appa took this girl to a nice showroom in Pondy bazar and took her a red color salwar set with white flowers sprinkled. The little girl liked this dress more than the gorgeous skirt. Coming out he bought her favorite sweet “Soan Papdi”. Munching it she started walking to the bus stop happily slinging to her Appa’s hands. Appa was coughing hard but was talking to her joyously. Suddenly the little girl felt very sad instead of happy. She remembered Amma and Appa did not bu anything for themselves. Apart from her brother and sister, she is getting one more dress just for the sake of her rich friends. And Appa was coughing hard often smiling at her.
She felt very bad about herself. Why should she be very selfish? Why she never worry about her father coughing hard? She suddenly felt shameful to be so self centered and with that to show off her new dress to her friends. That moment she decided never to bother her loving Appa asking for anything. She decided to accept whatever he offered her with utmost affection. She decided to give her Amma and Appa all the luxuries she could when she grow up to a big girl.
And then she learnt the lesson of giving to loved ones from her dearest Appa.
This happened almost 37 years before but she could remember every moment so very perfectly. As today her dearest Appa is not with her she is lingering her good old memories.
After shifting to this new place I got introduced to all small grains (siru dhaanya vagaigal) of Tamilnadu. Myself and Amma have tried a set of recipes and now have tried them with Varagu (Kod millet), Saamai (little millet), Thinai (Fox tail Millet) and Kudhirai Vaali.
All these grains were available in almost all grocery shops in the southern part of Tamilnadu. People are used to eat it as rice with different Gravies/Kulambus. But I did found them more blonde and hence they need a much spicy kulambu to eat with. Hence I started trying out other type of recipes. Long back I have added a sweet fritter with Fox tail millet.
Now I have added a Kozhukattai (steamed dumpling) with Saamai arisi and surprisingly it tasted very nice and almost equivalent to the rice kozhukattai. Only slight variation to the method and amount of water.
I would now post a series of all my successful attempts under “Siru Dhaanya Samayal” category.
Saamai arisi kozhukattai / Little millet steamed dumplings
Saamai arisi / Little millet – 1 Cup (Use the one with the skin removed)
Onions chopped – 3/4 Cup
Green chillies chopped – 1 Table spoon
To Season :
Peanut oil – 3 Table spoon
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tea spoon
Chana dal – 1/4 Cup
Urad dal – 1 Table spoon
Asafoetida – 1/2 teaspoon (powdered)
How to make ?
Wash the Saamai arisi in 2 changes of water. Don’t wash it until the water runs clear as it removes the essential nutrients. Soak this for 1/2 hour. Grind it to a coarse paste. Add 1 Cup of water and mix well. Keep this aside.
Heat a thick bottomed kadai and add the oil. Add the items under “To season” in the same order and fry till the dals get golden. Now add the chopped onions and chillies and saute in low flame till the onions turn translucent. Sprinkle 1/2 tea spoon of salt and mix well. Now pour the saamai arisi batter and cook in low flame with constant stirring. Just turn the contents for 1 minute and the batter would turn a dim white color. One you do not see white streaks switch off the stove and cool it under a fan. Once the dough is warm enough to touch apply little oil in your palms and make small balls (size of a ping-pong ball). Once you make balls of all the dough (Until you do this keep the dough covered so that it does not become dry) arrange them in an oiled plate and steam cook them for 20-25 minutes.
Serve them warm with a chutney or you can eat them as it is. It tastes great!
I love pumpkins but love the baby pumpkins (the skin would still be a dark green) more because of the soft texture and the sweetness. When my neighbour S told about this sweet kootu I wanted to try immediately but the vegetable markets always sell the big orange skinned pumpkins. In Tamil, the baby pumpkin is called “Parangi kottai”.
Check this post for baby pumpkin pics.
I waited and found a nice green cute pumpkin and tried this recipe. I loved it but actually could not match it with any dish because of its sweetness. I had it as it is but my friend said it would go well with a spicy adai.
Jjumping to the recipe…
Pranagi kottai paal kootu
Baby pumpkin (the skin should be dark green) (skinned, center soft part with seeds removed and chopped to bite size pieces) – 2 Cups
Coconut milk (thick, first milk) – 1 Cup
Sugar / Jaggery (I had used sugar but Jaggery would be more authentic) – 1/2 Cup
To season :
Ghee – 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds – 1 pinch
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Dry red chilly – 1 (broken)
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
How to cook ?
In a thick bottomed vessel add the chopped pumpkin and 1/4 Cup of water. Cover and cook in low flame until fork tender. Add the Coconut milk and sugar or jaggery and stir well. Add a pinch of salt now. Keep the flame low and let it start simmering. Meanwhile in another small kadai add the ghee and when its hot add all the other ingredients under seasoning. When the seeds start spluttering add it to the simmering gravy. Mix well and switch off the stove. The gravy is ready. You can have it with rotis or as it is. A spicy adai also would go well with this.
Glad to share a news about my food blog mentioned in The Hindu
Thanks to Sra who conveyed the news to me !
And thanks to my still favorite childhood delight “The evergreen kamarkat”
Have never seen fresh mushroom until I lived in the metro. The cute village where we live now has lot more natural treasures that take our pallettes to next levels.
As there were thunderstorms recently one of our friend brought home this mushroom. They call it locally as “Ambu Kaalaan” as the shape is similar to an arrow (a blunt arrow :)).
As it was fresh from the soil I sprinkled some All purpose flour and mixed well with my fingers. After leaving it for 10 mins I rinsed it in running water in a colander. After cleaning the milky white mushrooms in the colander were a treat to the eyes. I planned to make a curry as per my friend’s recipe and for that I need to cut it into 2 inch pieces. But when I tried to cut it in my vegetable cutter the juice inside the stem spurted out. Then I did not want to waste it and hence took a larger vessel and using a kitchen scissor cut the mushrooms holding it above the vessel so that all the juice gets collected in the vessel. It was a tedious process but the curry turned to be absolutely delicious and equated all the hard work.
Jumping to the recipe…
Ambu Kaalaan recipe
Arrow headed mushrooms (cleaned and cut as described above ) – 4 Cups
Ginger garlic paste – 1 Table spoon
Chopped Onion – 1 Cup
Chopped Tomato – 1 Cup
Black pepper – 2 Table spoons
Jeera – 1 Table spoon
Coriander seeds – 1 Table spoon
Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
Peanut oil – 2 Table spoon
Salt – as per taste
How to make ?
In a thick bottomed wide vessel heat the peanut oil. Once hot add the ginger garlic paste and saute till they turn pinkish. Add the onions and saute till they turn translucent. Add the tomatoes and saute till they turn mushy. Now add the mushrooms and saute well for five minutes. Add the turmeric and mix well. Now transfer the contents to another vessel which will fit into a pressure cooker and cook it for 3 to 4 whistles. Meanwhile dry roast the Coriander seeds, pepper and jeera and powder it coarsely in a sumeet style mixie.
Once the pressure cooker cools down again transfer the contents to the wide vessel and heat it. The gravy would start sizzling. Now add the salt. Mix well. The mushrooms give out lot of juice and hence need not add water. Sprinkle the ground spice powder and mix well. Let the gravy boil for a minute. Switch off the stove and serve hot with roti or piping hot rice. Enjoy!
Note : You can make this type of gravy with all type of mushrooms. But many mushrooms does not need pressure cooking as they gets cooked very fast just during saute time.