Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Semiya Payasam | Vermicelli Kheer

A simple & easy recipe for any occasion. I have these sweet cravings at night late after 10:30PM :) I know it's weird.. But this easy peasy recipe comes to my rescue at that time. You can make it as a stove top or a microwavable version. I'm not comfortable cooking in microwave due to the radiation problems every one talk about..So today I'm sharing a stove top one here. 

1Cup Vermicelli
1/2Cup sago
2Cups Milk
1/2 Cup sugar ( Adjust accordingly)
1Tsp elachi powder
1Tbs butter
Few almonds & dry fruits

Heat a pan with butter. To that add almonds & dry fruits. Fry them for 1 min & remove them on to a plate. To the same add vermicelli & roast it lightly.Switch off heat & keep aside.

In a pan take sago with 1/2 cup milk & cook them on a low heat till they are puffy and done.
Take the butter roasted vermicelli & mix it with cooked sago. To that add the rest of milk & bring it to boil. Now add sugar & stir it. Payasam is ready so switch off heat. To that add elachi powder & dry fruits.

Serve it warm & enjoy the taste .

Monday, December 24, 2012

Mamidikaya Kobbari Pachadi | Manga Thengai Thogayal | Mango Coconut Chutney

I am digging up my archived post & attaching it a new picture to celebrate their yumminess. Not to mention that this is a very delicious recipe perfect along with rice & dosa.

1 Cup chopped coconut pieces
1 Cup chopped mango pieces
4 Green chilli's( Adjust according to your spice levels)


3 Tbs of oil
1 Tbs of mustard seeds
1 Tbs of jeera
1 Tbs of channa dal
1 Tbs of urad dal
4 Red chili's

4 Curry leaves
Pinch of hing

Heat Pan with oil. Add seasoning to pan once the mustard starts jumping remove it from heat. Allow them to cool down.

Grind the seasoning first to that add salt, mango & coconut pieces. Grind it coarsely.

Chutney is ready to serve. If you like add a little seasoning on top & serve it. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gongura Pachadi | Pulicha Keerai Thuvaiyal | Sorrel Chutney

Gongura pickle is called " Andhra Mata " and a very famous andhra recipe.This chutney is made in different ways & I'm just sharing one of the styles which we make at home. I used the red stemmed leaf which has more sourness than the green ones. This is also one of those pickles which can be stored year long & can be enjoyed when ever you like.

2 Cups dried gongura leaves
4 Tbs tamarind
1 Tbs methi seeds
12 Red chili's
1 Tbs coriander seeds
Pinch of Hing
Salt for taste
2 Tbs oil
1 Tbs urad dal
1 Tbs mustard
4 Tbs oil ( Add if you need more)
4 Pods garlic (Optional)
2 Red chili's

1. Clean gongura leaves and dry them on a cloth overnight.
2. Heat a pan and add gongura leaves along with oil.Fry them till they are cooked or till they gain soft texture & change to dark brown color.Switch off heat & allow those fried leaves to cool.
3. Add 3tbs oil to pan & add dry red chili's,methi seeds, coriander seeds & hing. Fry them for 3mins & switch off heat. 
4. Grind the fried ingredients coarsely.Later add the gongura leaves, tamarind,salt & grind them.Remove the chutney in to a bowl.
*** Now you can refrigerate this chutney in a air tight box & use it with addition of little seasoning when ever you want.

Heat a pan with oil and add the seasoning to it. Once the mustard starts jumping. Switch off heat & add it to the above chutney and mix it well.

* Serve with rice and butter.It tastes delicious. Some to enjoy it with little onion pieces & green chili's for extra heat.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Deepavali/Diwali is also known as "Festival of Lights" celebrated on the occasion of Satyabhama killing the Narakasura.This festival is celebrated for 3days starting with dhana trayodasi , naraka chaturdashi & deepavali amavasya. Deepavali is a fun filled festival to all of us. We get to have yummy homemade sweets & savories along with fire crackers. My maternal grandparents used to visit us & deepavali in my chilhood & it was always memorable.

Deepavali 2012

On dhana trayodasi we pray to Maha lakshmi devi for wealth & prosperity. There is a saying that we should purchase gold on this day. The actual thing is on this day you have to invite guest to your house & serve him nice food along with tamboolam. In which you are suppose to add at least a gram of gold & offer the tamboolam to guest.
So taking todays gold prices in to consideration I limit myself with lakshmi pooja on this day.. :)

Deepavali 2011

The day after dhana trayodasi is naraka chaturdashi. On this day we prepare sweets in the morning & at eve we take a head bath & offer the sweets to god. My parents also have a custom of "Dubbi kottadam". I don't know how to translate in english as it is typically a tradition where you hang big oily threads to a cut gongura/roselle stems & lit them in front of the house. We pat them to ground till the fire goes off. This is typically done to remove the dishti or evil eye to the house. Then later we enjoy the sweets which are offered to god & also will do some fire cracking too.

Deepavali 2009

Where I'm living we generally decorate our house day before deepavali & setup for pooja the next day. Deepavali day we do Laxminarayana pooja in the morning & in the eve we do Dhana lakshmi pooja. We offer god maha neivedyam/prasad in the morning & a sweet with besan for the evening pooja.

Deepavali 2006

In the eve after dhana lakshmi pooja we decorate out side of our house with lots of oil lamps & do the fire crackers. It is also said that you have to lit at least one fire cracker on this day to celebrate the victory of god.

Deepavali 2011

Day after deepavali on padyami the auspicious month " Karthika masa " starts & the month is a festivals to me. There are so many important festivals starting with mondays, nagula chavithi, ksheerabdhi dwadashi & karteeka pournami. At end of the month we leave floating oil lamps in a plantain stem @ a near by lake, river or at least in a bucket. 
I hope that you all have enjoyed my festive preparation series for Blogging Marathon. Staying away from home country cuts out lots of traditional possibilities while celebrating a festival. 
Have fun.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Varalakshmi Vratham

Sravanamasam, the 5th month of hindu calendar is an auspicious month. Varalakshmi vratam falls on 2 friday of this month or the friday before poornima & Maha Lakshmi Devi is worshiped as Vara lakshmi devi on this day. This pooja is performed by married & unmarried women for prosperity, wealth & happiness.

For this festival we start preparations with purchasing of any gold ornaments or at least a lakshmi roopu or lakshmi kasu a few days ahead of the festival.
Cleaning the house is common in all festivals. Apart from that the preparations start one day ahead with arranging the pooja items. Few of the must have items on the list are flowers, fruits, coconut, turmeric, kum kum, toram & prasadam for goddess.

Setting up for pooja.

On the pooja day we wake up early in the morning take head bath & will prepare for pooja. Initially we arrange the goddess with flowers, ornaments & any new jewelry bought can be kept near goddess.
Pooja starts with lighting the deepam & pooja will take around 30 to 45mins. I have a CD of pooja procedure & I'm following the same for year's.{For pooja procedure you can get a CD or a printed book that are available in Indian book stores.}

For initial prasadam we offer paanakam, vada pappu, coconut & fruits. Later for the main prasadam which will be a elaborated one includes a sweet pongal, pulihora, gaarelu, boorelu, dal, curry,rice & curd. Usage of onion and garlic is restricted for prasadam. {List of items might vary but pulihora & a sweet dish are a must.} It is believed that we should offer lakshmi devi a sweet made of channa dal on this day. Besan related sweet dishes are also good to offer as prasadam for goddess.

Preparing toram is part of the pooja. It is made of 9 threads & turmeric is applied to it. Toram should consists of 9 knots and it is kind of a 9knot garland with flowers and leaves. We perform pooja to toram & can wear it right away. 

The important part of pooja is Vaaina Daanam. I generally offer the first vaainam to goddess & then to anyone who is present at the time of pooja. Later will invite friends that evening & offer them taambulam & prasadam.

I wish everyone a Happy Vara Lakshmi Vratam & may goddess shower you with her blessings.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Vinayaka Chaviti / Ganesh Chaturthi

Vighna nivarana Vinayaka/Ganesha birthday is celebrated as Vinayaka Chaviti / Ganesha Chaturthi.Vinayaka is also know as the leader of gana's and is prayed for all success in our life. This festival which falls in month of bhadrapada masa is celebrated by Indians all around the world.This festival is celebrated for 11days & at the end we do nimarjana of ganesha.

This festival is also special to me as my grand mother whom I called "Ammaji" was born on this day.She is the grand mom no one can never ever replace.
Coming to todays post for Blogging Marathon festive preparations my Vinayaka chaviti preperations will generally start 2 to 3 days ahead of his birthday. Cleaning home is a main part of the all festivals.Generally I make Vinayaka @home with clay so to do that I have to start with dusting, cleaning & decorating the house just before the festival day. Once the house is clean I will start preparing for pooja the next day.I make Lord Ganesha @ home with clay as shown below.This year I made ganesha & styled him with crystals.

Later the important part of pooja is mandapam & paalavelli. In USA it is hard to get palavelli so I generally make it with new store bought sticks & apply turmeric to it.Later will decorate it with leaves, flowers and fruits.For mandapam many Indian households have a wooden one if not you can replace it with a wooden table which you have never used before. I get birthday caps & use them as a replacement of chatram.

Next comes the pooja items those are flowers, fruits,betel leaves,mango leaves, kum kum, turmeric, sindhoor, sandal wood powder, akshata etc..
In andhra pradesh we generally get 2 ganesha's as one is made of pure black mud (Banka matti or Putta matti) second we get a nice colored ganesha. But the main pooja goes for matti vinayaka & turmeric vinayaka. On festival day we make a tumeric vinayaka for pooja and also a small vinayaka with clay.

As we are all ready with the arrangements of pooja we look for a good time with no rahu kalam & yama gandam on the day & perform pooja to god.We keep books, resumes & laptops while doing pooja.Coming to prasadam or mahanaivedyam I mainly offer Undarallu or Kudumulu along with rice, curries,dal,curd & sweets.

In India we invite guests to house to see ganesha & offer them prasadam & tamboolam.The ganesha chaturthi pooja goes on for next 11days & then nimarjanam. For the next 11days we perform pooja to lord & offer him prasadam like fruits or home made sweets.In general you are suppose to do the nimarjana on odd days & not on tuesday & friday. So calculating according to that we do nimarjana of god. Here is USA we do nimarjanam @sea which is very near to us.The turmeric Ganesha is made to a paste and is applied to kids books & laptops.

The festive preparations may vary from one state to other but the Lord we all worship is same.

Recipe for Undarallu
Yields 11 balls

1 Cup uncooked rice
1/2 Cup channa dal 
2&1/2 Cups water
1 Tbs jeera
1 Tbs ghee
Making Broken rice
First method: To make undarallu we need broken rice. So to make that take rice & grind it coarsely.
Second method: In this method we wash the rice & dry it on  a clean cloth. Allow it to dry for 8hrs. Rice will be very delicate & it's easy to coarse grind rice.
Making Undarallu
Now take the broken rice, channa dal, jeera,water & salt in a pressure cooker. Cook on medium heat for 2 whistles. Switch off heat & allow it to cool.
Take the cooked rice mix on to a plate.(Rice mix will be very hot so be careful while handling it.).Rub little ghee to your hands & take a scoop of rice mix. Roll it in to a ball.Repeat the same with rest of rice mix.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Eggless Nutella Muffins

Other day I was watching " Extreme Makeover" on abc channel & they were building beautiful homes for veterans who are injured & suffered a lot. It was just overwhelming & I just couldn't stop thinking about the army forces who are protecting us while leaving there lives & families behind. A small tribute for this holiday season which I wanted to mention to all the army forces protecting us " Thank you guys for all your hard work.You all are in our prayers & God bless you guys".
So coming to todays post for Blogging Marathon I made this eggless nutella muffins which are just perfect..:)

5 Tbs all purpose flour
1 Tbs sliced oats
2 Tbs Nutella 
1/2 Tbs semi-sweet chocolate powder
2 & 1/2 Tbs sugar 
1/2 Tsp baking powder 
1/2 Tsp corn starch
3 Tbs Milk 
1 Tbs Yogurt

Preheat oven @350 degrees.Set cupcake pan with liners and keep aside.
In a bowl sift all purpose flour. To that add oats, chocolate, corn starch & baking powder.In another bowl take nutella, sugar, milk & yogurt. Whisk them till sugar is dissolved.
Now mix both the wet & dry ingredients.

Now scoop up a spoonful of batter in to already set cupcake pan. Fill liners half the way & leaving space so that they can rise.Top them with walnut & bake them @300degrees for 15mins or till the tooth pik comes out clean.
Once done allow them to rest on a counter & enjoy them warm.



Monday, December 10, 2012

Eggless Marble Cupcakes

Today we are on 2nd day of 2nd week's Blogging Marathon.I made these lovely marble cupcakes which & just adorable to see & yummy to eat.the recipe is kind of similar to the Chocolate Mug Cake but it's just that you have to make 2 different batters.

Serves: 4 Cup cakes 
For Chocolate batter
3 Tbs All purpose flour 
2 Tbs semi sweet coco powder 
1/4 Tsp corn starch powder
1/4 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp Vanilla essence 
2 & 1/2 Tbs fine sugar ( Add another 1/2 tbs sugar if you want it to be on a little sweeter side)
2 Tbs butter ( used olive butter)
3 Tbs milk

For Vanilla Batter
3 Tbs All purpose flour 
1/4 Tsp corn starch powder
1/4 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp Vanilla essence 
2 & 1/2 Tbs fine sugar ( Add another 1/2 tbs sugar if you want it to be on a little sweeter side)
2 Tbs butter ( used olive butter)
3 Tbs milk

Few chocolate chunks (Optional)

Preheat oven @ 350 degrees.Set your cupcake pan with liners and keep aside.
For chocolate batter:
Sift all purpose flour in a bowl & to that add the coco, baking & corn starch powder.Mix tem with a spatula & keep aside. In a different bowl take sugar, vanilla essence, milk & butter. Beat them till the sugar is disolved completely. Now mix the dry & wet ingredients to a smooth batter.  
For vanilla batter:
Sift all purpose flour in a bowl & to that add baking & corn starch powder.Mix tem with a spatula & keep aside. In a different bowl take sugar, vanilla essence, milk & butter. Beat them till the sugar is disolved completely. 
Now mix the dry & wet ingredients to a smooth batter. 

Take the cupcake pan which is already set with the liners & first add a spoon of vanilla batter and top it with a spoon of chocolate batter. Add on more spoon of vanilla batter & top it with a spoon of chocolate batter. Make sure that the liners are half filled & leaving the rest of the space to rise while baking.
Follow the above steps with rest of the batter.
Now that the cupcake pan is set & the oven is preheated bake them @300 degrees for 15mins or till a tooth pik comes out clean. Take them out & garnish them with choco chunks.Allow them to cool for some time. 
Indulge them as you want.They are just delicious.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Eggless Chocolate Mug Cake

When the theme for Blogging Marathon was eggless cakes my first to do recipe was a mug cake.It is a simple 2 min microwave recipe which can be made in little quantities & easy to finish off.
Coming to recipe this cake has a gooey deliciousness of chocolate in every bite.On the first trial it tasted like salt & baking soda.Then later I came up with some changes to recipe & it tasted yummylicious.

3 Tbs All purpose flour 
2 Tbs semi sweet coco powder 
1/4 Tsp corn starch powder
1/4 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp Vanilla essence 
2 & 1/2 Tbs fine sugar ( Add another 1/2 tbs sugar if you want it to be on a little sweeter side)
2 Tbs butter ( used olive butter)
3 Tbs milk
Few chocolate chunks (Optional)
Coffee mug buttered 

Sift all purpose flour in a bowl & to that add the coco, baking & corn starch powder.Mix tem with a spatula & keep aside. In a different bowl take sugar, vanilla essence, milk & butter. Beat them till the sugar is disolved completely. 
Now mix the dry & wet ingredients to a smooth batter. 

Take a coffee mug with butter applied & add the batter to it.Don't add the choco chunks to the batter.First microwave it for 1min on power-10 or on the highest power settings of your microwave settings.At this stage the cake would have raised perfectly.Now add the choco chunks on top & microwave it for another 1 minute.Your chocolate mug cake is ready to serve. 
Serve it warm & it tastes delicious. 

1. If you want more chocolaty flavor then add the choco chunks directly to batter & microwave it as said above.The chocolate melts in between & creates a perfect gooey texture to cake.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Vanilla Flavored Lapsi

This broken wheat pudding is a delectable dish.I made it for the 3rd day of Blogging Marathon & loved it so much. This is also a Quick & Easy one to make on a busy day.

1/2 Cup broken wheat 
1 Tsp ghee
1 Cup milk 
1/2 Tsp vanilla essence
1/2 Cup sugar ( Varies based on individual taste) 
Few rosted almonds for garnish

Heat pan with ghee & to that add the broken wheat.Fry it for 2mins & add milk & vanilla essence to the pan.Cook wheat on a medium heat which could avoid the burning of milk. Stir in between & check if the wheat is cooked. Once done add sugar to the wheat and mix it well.Cook for 5mins on medium heat.Switch off heat & garnish it with roasted almonds.   

Serve it warm.