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Tag Archives: Snack

Chilli Paneer

We are a set of 4 desis in almost adjacent houses, and we meet on various occassions, at the drop of a hat – if there is none, we create one. To cut a long story short, we have forged great friendships over the years and I am really grateful for having such great friends/neighbors. Couple of weeks ago, we decided to meet for a farewell dinner for my friend’s mom who was visiting them from Chennai. It was my turn to host and I decided on the cuisine and menu too – it was to be Chinese, or rather Desi-chinese – every true-blooded Desi that I know loves Desi-chinese and am yet to find one who doesn’t. This was to be a potluck pary and Gobi Manchurian, Chilli Paneer, Hakka Noodles and Veg. Fried Rice were on the menu. I chose to make Chilli Paneer.

This dish, a deadly combination of paneer cooked in desi-chinese style, is something that I have always liked and wanted to make. This party provided the perfect opportunity to try it out. Tarla Dalal has a great recipe for chilli paneer and I also found Sig’s Chilli Chicken recipe quite interesting. I kind of married the two and made my own recipe – don’t we all do that?
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Posted by on March 26, 2008 in Cooking, Desi Chinese

 

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Karadayar who?

Last Friday was Karadayar Nombu. Thanks to Bollywood, its North-Indian cousin, Karwa Chauth is much more popular. Karadayar Nombu typically falls at the cusp of tamil month of Maasi and Panguni and can fall at any time during the day – be it the dead of the night or right during the middle of the day. Thankfully, this year the Gods were smiling and it was right in the morning.

For me, the best part of the Nombu is the prasadam. Sweet (vella) adai is made as the offering for this nombu, and I wonder, why we don’t make this on other days! To compliment the sweet adai, a savory (Kaara) adai is also usually prepared, and as I had family over for dinner I made pidi kozhukattai with Rosematta rice as well.
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Sweet & Savory Pair

Chakkarai Pongal (Sweet Pongal) is a rice-dal based sweet dish, that is more of a snack than a dessert. It is made of rice similar to the payasam, but has the consistency of khichdi and is made using jaggery. Venn Pongal (White Pongal) has the same basic ingredient as the sweet pongal, but is its savory partner. Venn Pongal is a very popular tiffin/snack in South India. Of all the dishes that I know (or rather I can think of as I am typing this), Venn & Chakkari Pongal are two dishes that go well as a pair – a sweet one to balance the savory one.

Chakkarai Pongal

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Posted by on January 21, 2008 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking

 

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Salad or Chaat?

Like most desis, I love chaat – the quintessential street food in India. Street food (or fast food, for that matter) is seldom healthy, although always mouth-watering. When I chanced upon Raaga’s Kala chana chaat, the recipe was definitely healthy and sounded yummy, too.

I adapted the recipe based on the vegetables and spices that was available at hand, like

  • adding peas and corn (I love it for the crunch)
  • adding boiled potatoes and a pinch of chaat masala a la aloo-channa chaat
  • omitting the onions (I can’t handle raw-onions)

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Posted by on January 4, 2008 in Cooking, Desi

 

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Gokulashtami & Seedais


When I got married, and moved to the US as a new bride, my mom insisted that no matter where I am, there a few pandikai (festivals in tamil) that I should never miss. She staunchly believed that by celebrating these festivals, we carry forward our tradition and culture. Living in a faraway land, I guess that is the best way to preserve your identity and also teach / pass it on to the next generation. Even though, I don’t go the whole nine yards, I try to stick to the tradition as much as possible. To think that a few years ago, if someone said that I would be following all these traditions, I would have scoffed at them. But now, I never fail to celebrate Pongal, Karadaiyar Nombu, Gokulastami, Vinayagar Chathurthi etc. I guess age & experience can really change one 🙂
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Posted by on September 3, 2007 in Cooking, Desi, Pandigai (Festival), Traditional cooking

 

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Labor day weekend: Sojji & Bajji

As much as I love eating junkies like the bondas & bajjis, I hate deep-frying. The stench of burnt oil in the house, the oily slick that forms on the cooking range (and on the microwave that sits right on top of the range) – cleaning is a nightmare after a deep-frying session. Well, this labor day weekend, my husband and I made lofty plans of visiting the Lassen Volcanic National Park, then Napa Valley, then Mendocino – but everything fell through and we ended up doing nothing. On Saturday when we got totally bored lazing around in the house, we decided to bring out our camp stove, set it up in the backyard and make bajji & toast corn on the cob. This way, there is no oil stench and clean up is also not very difficult. Once we had a plan in place, we set about executing it to perfection. To make it a little more interesting, I threw in Semiya Kesari (Kesari is also known as Sojji).
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Posted by on September 3, 2007 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking

 

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Thengai Mangai Pattani Sundal

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear “Thengai Mangai Pattani Sundal” (Coconut Raw-mango Green-peas sundal), as a Madras-born (yes I still refuse to call it Chennai :)), is Marina Beach. The sine quo non of any Madras visit, Marina Beach never fails to bring up a smile on my face. Early morning joggers, kids playing cricket, friends hanging out, couples trying to catch some private moments and of course, small-time vendors trying to sell an assorted range of items from milagai bajji to toy watches – Marina is always buzzling with activity or should I say, drama? If you visit Marina in the evening, you will see hoards of vendors selling this sundal, masala kadalai (spiced groundnuts), oil-dripping milagai(chilli) bajji in paper packs (pottalam, for those who know tamil).
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Posted by on August 15, 2007 in Cooking

 

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