Puliogre (Tamarind Rice)

Ingredients:

11/2 white rice
3 cups of water
1/4 cup seeded tamarind pulp
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp raw sesame seeds
4 tbsp grated dried coconut
3 tsp masala powder
salt according to taste
2 tbsp jaggery
Asafetida(Hing) - 1/2 tsp
3-4 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 tbsp raw peanuts
8-10 small curry leaves

Rasam powder:

1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 cup whole coriander seeds
6 whole dried hot red chillies
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
11/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
a pinch of turmeric
a pinch of asafetida
5-6 curry leaves

1. Wash, drain and dry the rice
Boil 3 cups of water in a 3 litre thick bottom cooking pot. Add rice. Stir and allow it to boil for about 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to a simmer, put on a tight fitting lid and leave undisturbed for 5-10 minutes or until rice is dry and tender. Remove the rice from the heat and set aside, covered for 15 minutes then spread out the rice on a plate to cool it down so that the rice doesn't get mushy for mixing with tamarind syrup.

2. Meanwhile, combine the tamarind pulp with 1/4 cup of hot water and leave to soak.

3. Dry roast cumin seeds, black peppercorns, fenugreek and sesame seeds in a small heavy pan over moderately low heat. Stir constantly for about 3-4 minutes until the spices become aromatic and darken a few shades. Remove the seeds and spices from the pan and allow them to cool. Grind them in a small blender until they are powdered. Combine them with grated dried coconut and mix well.

4. For making the rasam powder heat the oil in a heavy pan over moderate heat. Saute the mustard seeds until they crackle. Add all other ingredients and stir well. Reduce the heat and roast all the spices until they are brown(for about 3 mins). Remove the spices from the pan, spread on a plate and allow them to cool. Grind them to a powder.

5. Strain the tamarind pulp through a strainer. Squeeze and scape the underside of the strainer, collecting the juice and discarding the pulp. Combine the thick tamarind juice with the rasam powder, salt, jaggery and simmer the mixture over moderate heat in a small heavy bottomed sauce pan until it is concentrated. Remove from the heat.

6. Pour the grounded spices and coconut mixture to the tamarind syrup and mix well.

7. Pour the coconut oil into a small pan in which you roasted the spices. Place over moderate heat. when the oil is hot add the peanuts and stir fry until they are golden brown (about 2 mins). Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. Continue heating remaining oil and add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When the seeds crackle pour the tamarind syrup into the pan and stir well for about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.

8. Mix the rice with the spicy tamarind syrup. Then add the roasted peanuts to the rice. Mix well and serve immediately.

Important tips:

The original color of puliyogare is dark brown hence darker the tamarind the darker the colour.

Red chillies - Chillies play a important role as some chillies are more hot and spicy and give out less colour and some of them have a totally different taste so check for spiciness of chillies at home and then reduce or increase their number. The chillies used here are less spicy and gives more colour.
We are trying to get a combination of tanginess, spiciness and sweetness so depending upon the taste add enough chili powder or salt or jaggery.

Sesame seeds - Make sure the sesame seeds are fresh because if it is old and slightly smelly it could ruin the puliyogare. If you are using black sesame seeds taste it before you use as sometimes they can be bitter.

Vada & Chutney

Ingredients:

11/2 cups urad dal
1/2 tsp of baking soda
3 tbsp fresh coriander
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
salt to taste
2 hot green chillies, minced
2 tsp grated fresh coconut
1/2 tsp black peppercorns, crushed
Coconut oil for deep frying

1. Wash and soak the urad dal in water for about 7-8 hours
2. Drain all the water and grind to a smooth paste. Add water little by little while grinding as the consistency should be a thick paste.
3. Pour the dal paste into a bowl. Then add crushed pepper, coconut, ginger, green chillies, fresh coriander, salt, baking soda and mix well.
4. Keep ready a bowl of water, before starting the frying.
5. Heat the oil in a 3 inch deep frying pan till the oil is pipping hot. Reduce the flame to medium.
6. Meanwhile you can start preparing to shape the vada.
Before shaping the vada place a thin wet cloth on a flat surface or you can also use a greased banana leaf. Dip your hand in the water bowl. Pick a lemon sized ball of batter and pour it on the wet cloth. Make your fingers wet again, then make a hole in the center of the batter with your forefinger. Note: Wet your hands every time you shape batter into vada as the batter will be very sticky.
5. Now slowly drop the vada into the hot oil and fry it on both sides on a medium flame to a golden brown color. Deep fry 5-6 vadas per batch depending on the size of the vessel.

Important Tips:

a. If urad dal is soaked for over 7-8 hours, the vadas absorb less oil and are tastier than the vadas prepared from dal soaked for only 2 hours.
b. The consistency of the batter is important. It should be a fine paste without grains and make sure you do not add too much water to the batter as you will not be able to shape the vadas
c. Make sure the oil is not too hot for frying as it might burn the vadas and also the vadas may not cook properly inside

Coconut Chutney:

Ingredients

1 cup grated fresh coconut
2 tbsp fried/roasted gram dal
2 tbsp fresh coriander, minced
1 green chilly
water as needed
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp coconut oil for seasoning
3-4 curry leaves
salt to taste

1. Grind fresh coconut, gram dal, fresh coriander, green chilly, salt with water to a smooth paste. Add more water if required after grinding.
2. Heat oil in a small frying pan and drop in the mustard seeds, curry leaves and a pinch of asafoetida. Once the mustard seeds start to splutter remove from the heat and add it to the chutney.
Note: with the same procedure you can make mint chutney. Just replace coriander leaves with mint leaves

Kosambari (Moong dal Salad)

Ingredients:

1 cup yellow moong dal
1 cucumber peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut
salt to taste
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves(cilantro)
2 tbsp grated carrot (optional)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 lemon squeezed (2 tsp)
2 hot green chillies, minced
a pinch of asafoetida

1. Soak the dal in water for about an hour. Then drain all the water and pour it into a mixing bowl.
2. To this add fresh coconut, cilantro, cucumber and mix well
3. Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add mustard seeds and asafetida. Once the seeds splutter add the green chillies and fry for about 15 seconds.
4. Pour it over the dal mixture. Add salt and lemon juice. Mix well and serve
Note: With the same procedure, you can make salad (kosambari) with chana dal (Bengal gram), sprouted green gram .

Tip:

Add cucumber just before serving as cucumber when mixed with salt makes the salad watery.

Bele Holige (sweet paratha)

Ingredients:

11/2 cups Maida or allpurpose flour
1/4 tsp turmeric
3-4 tsp ghee or vegetable oil
1 cup toor daal
11/2 cups grated fresh coconut
4-5 cardamom crushed and powdered
1 cup jaggery
ghee for frying
oil for soaking
Milk for serving

1. First make the dough by mixing maida, turmeric, oil with warm water. The dough should be little more softer than a chapati dough. Soak the dough in oil for at least 5-6 hours to make it stretchable and elastic. Knead once again and divide the dough into 8 balls.
2. To make the filling, cook the toor daal in a pressure cooker(3 whistles). If you are not using pressure cooker soak the daal in water overnight and then cook in water till it is soft and tender. Once cooked drain the water and keep the daal aside.
3. Grind the daal in a mixer or a food processor to make it very smooth.
4. Add jaggery powder, coconut, cardamom. The jaggery makes the daal little watery, so it need to be continuously stirred on a low heat, till it reaches a consistency, enough to make a ball. Allow it to cool for about 15 mins.
5. Divide the filling into 8 portions. On a greased banana leaf roll out a ball of dough with a rolling pin (you can use your hand also to spread out the dough) about 10 cm wide. Place one portion of the filling in the centre of the rolled dough and cover it completely by folding on all the sides.(like we do for aloo paratha). Gently pat to flatten it and roll it with a rolling pin into about 8-10 inches circles.
6. Follow the same procedure for rest of the dough. Place each holige on non-stick frying pan on a low heat, to avoid burning. Transfer the holige along with banana leaf onto the frying pan and then peel off the leaf slowly leaving the rolled dough on the pan. Apply ghee to both sides of the holige while frying. Fry until it gets dark brown on both sides.
Serve it hot with ghee and warm milk.

Tips:
Do not overcook the daal as it makes the filling too watery.

Gasagase Payasam(Poppy seeds khir)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup poppy seeds
1 tbsp white rice, uncooked
1 cup grated fresh coconut
1/4 cup dry coconut
1/4 cup jaggery
1/2 cup milk
2 cups water
4-5 cardamom, powdered
4-5 strands of saffron(optional)
10-12 cashews (optional)
Ghee for tempering

1. Dry roast poppy seeds and rice until they are crisp and change color lightly
2. Finely powder the roasted poppy seeds and rice in a blender without adding any water
3. Add grated fresh coconut, dry coconut, some water and grind to a smooth paste. Using a strainer squeeze out the liquid from this paste to a small bowl and keep it aside. Repeat the process 2-3 times.
4. Boil 1/4 cup water add jaggery, allow to dissolve. When fully dissolved, remove from the fire , strain the syrup to remove any grit.
5. Place a heavy bottomed sauce pan on a medium flame and pour in the strained liquid from the paste. Add the jaggery syrup, cardamom and water and boil for 20-25 mins. Keep on stirring to avoid burning. Finally add warm milk and mix well. Boil for another 10 mins.
5. Fry cashews in a small frying pan in ghee and pour the fried cashews into the khir.

Panaka

Ingredients:

6 cups water
1 cup jaggery
4 cardamom
1 tsp black peppercorns
2-3 tsp grated ginger

Mix cardamom, black pepper and grated ginger. Grind them to a paste with little water.
Dissolve jaggery in 6 cups of water for about half an hour
Strain the paste to the mixture of water and jaggery and mix well.
Strain the overall panaka through a finely perforated strainer so filter out any dirt.