Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tamarind Poha/Rice Flakes (Huli Avalakki)

Tamarind Poha is a slightly modified version of the regular poha. I would like to refer to it as the sister of Tamarind rice-I find this tastier though. Recollect eating it for the first time when my High School friend had brought it in her lunch box. Having loved its taste, I had then remarked that it must be a really exotic thing and difficult to prepare. However, its recipe is so simple that, if you are wondering what to prepare for breakfast/snack with time constraint, this could be one option. Tried it out recently by listening to a friend's 'mooh bola' version of it and trusting my cooking instincts. Thankfully, it came out really well.

Serves about 2-3 people

Time Taken: 20 minutes

Cooking Tip: Not required here.

Ingredients Required:

For soaking the Poha:
1 cup Poha/rice flakes
Half a cup Tamarind water(you could use Tamarind paste also to prepare this)
One Inch size of jaggery piece (sugar could be used if jaggery is not available, but it isn't as tasty)
1 tsp Rasam powder
a pinch of turmeric powder
Half a tsp chilly powder/ Red chillies.
Salt to taste.

For Seasoning:

2 tsps of oil
Half a tsp Chana dal
Half a tsp Urad dal
A pinch of asafoetida or Hing(some keep it optional)
1 tsp. mustard seeds
One handful of peanuts(groundnuts)
a few curry leaves

Method of Preparation:

Grate the jaggery/ powder it so that it easily dissolves in the tamarind water. Add the rasam powder, turmeric powder, chilly powder(omit Chilly powder if you are using red chillies in the seasoning) and salt to it. Check the exactness of the taste now itself because you will not be able to change it later. Basically, the mix should have a mix of spicy, sweet and tangy taste with optimum salt.
Coarsely dry grind the poha in a mixer and soak it in this spicy cum tangy water for about 15 minutes. By this time, the entire mix would have soaked up all the water and become puffy. If you try tasting a little bit of it at this point of time, it should not be crunchy. Ensure that you do not add too much of water because that would make it too soggy.
In a kadai/frying pan, take the oil. Sputter mustard seeds along with the curry leaves in it. Add peanuts, chana dal and urad dal. Sprinkle a pinch of hing/asafoetida also. Stir for 2 minutes until the dal slightly changes its colour. Add red chillies too if you haven't used the chilly powder in the tamarind water mix. Mix this seasoning with the soaked tamarind poha. Eat it cold. No need to cook further. The best thing about this preparation is that it could be kept for 2-3 days without getting it stale.
Some people like to add grated coconut to this item. This however reduces its shelf life.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Philly Veggie Sandwich

Philly Veggie Sandwich is something that I first tried out at a mall here in the USA. We liked it so much that, everytime we visit this mall, we make it a point to not come out before grabbing a biiig bite of it. It is very filling. Since the cook out there prepares it right in front of us, we get to see how it is made and this is now being made public so that, those of you who find it tempting enough could try out. Happy eating!!

Serves about 2 people.

Preparation Time: 15 Minutes.

Cooking Tip: While the stuffing is being prepared, one could get the buns/subs ready for the stuffing..that could save a few more minutes.

Ingredients Required:

2 subs-foot long (Indians could use burger buns, but it tastes better with subs)
Two onions
Quarter bell pepper(Capsicum)
One tomato
10 mushroom slices
15 pickled slices of jalapeno(In India, if jalapenos are not available, maybe 2-3 chillies+salt could help)
15 sweet peppers(we like to replace it with small pieces of pineapple)
4 slices of cheese
Mayonnaise (you decide the fat content and the variety of cheese/mayo you want to use)

Method of Preparation:

Chop onions, capsicum, mushrooms and tomato lengthwise(thin) into half an inch long pieces(ref the pic provided). Toss them into a flat based pan(preferably) which is heated and leave for three minutes. No oil is required. When the veggies catch some heat, add the jalapenos, sweet peppers(or pineapple pieces) and olives. Stir for a while giving a minute before every stir, until the veggies become cooked enough and yet have that crunchy feel(not golden brown ). Then, add the cheese slices on this mix and allow to melt (refer pic). In the meanwhile, spit each sub horizontally and spread a layer of mayo along the base of the sub. One the veggies are fried, fill in the sub. Decorate with two or three slices of tomatoes. You could spread in some fresh chopped lettuce too. Your Philly veggie Sandwich is ready to devour.

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