Maida Biscuits / Sweet Diamon Cuts / Shankarpali / Sharkarpara

Sweet Maida Biscuits or shankarpali or sharkarpara or sweet diamond cuts or sweet kalakala or sweet thukkada recipe with step by step pictures.

Sweet maida biscuits are famous south Indian bakery sweet. It is available in both cube shape and diamond shape with mild sweetness. It is very easy to make and even a beginner can make it with 100% perfection.

It is a popular diwali snack in our neighborhood and it can be prepared using maida and wheat flour. you can not see much difference in both the flours and here I have described the method using wheat flour.

I have added melted butter to give soft crunchy taste and it can be substituted by ghee. I sometimes use milk for making the dough depends upon how big the batch is. For small batch, I use warm milk and for large batch, I use warm water.
Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Idle time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: approximately 2 cups

Sugar – 1/3 cup
Green cardamom – 2
Wheat flour – 1 and ¼ cup
Butter – 2 tbsp, melted
Salt – a pinch
Warm water – as required
Oil – for deep frying

Video Recipe:
Method with stepwise pictures:
1) In a mixie jar, add 1/3 cup of sugar and 2 cardamom. Make a powder of it.
2) Add this powdered sugar to the bowl. Add whole wheat flour, melted butter, salt and mix well.
3) Once everything is mixed well, try to hold the flour using hand and see if the flour is able to hold as shown in the picture.
4) then, add the warm water slowly and make a smooth dough. Make sure to add very little at a time. the sugar in the flour mix tends to melt when we add warm water. So please be cautious. If the dough is watery, feel free to add more flour in order to make it as smooth dough.
5) Cover and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
6) After 30 minutes, roll the dough as a thick circular disc. The thick disk is approximately 1/2 cm to 1 cm in thickness.
7) Using a pizza cutter or knife cut into a diamond or square shape.
8) Then fry the square shapes in oil. The oil should be in medium flame until it is completely fried.
9) Stir frequently so that all the sides turn golden brown.
10) Once it is fried well and turned golden brown, transfer it to a plate.
11) Cool down and pack it in a airtight container.
Serving Suggestions:
1) Serve it along with a hot tea or coffee as an evening snack.
1) It stays good for a month if fried well and handled properly in an air tight container.
2) Oil should be in a medium flame. Then only it cooks perfectly. It takes approx. 3 to 5 minutes to cook one batch perfectly inside out.  If the oil is hot, then the outer part becomes brown fast but inside part won't cook. So make sure to keep the flame in medium.
3) Adjust the sugar quantity as per taste. The given quantity is perfect for this recipe.
4) Instead of wheat flour, all purpose flour or maida can be used.
5) A pinch of baking soda can be added to this recipe and it is an optional ingredients. If baking soda is added, it can be prepared instantly without keeping it idle for 30 minutes. 

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Raw Mango Sambar | மாங்காய் சாம்பார்

Every Southindian household prepares sambar in their own way. There are many sambar varieties available but raw mango sambar is our family favorite. When the raw mango in season, my husband never forgets to buy raw mango for making this sambar.

My MIL is expert in making perfect raw mango sambar. She adjusts the tomato and tamarind correctly according to the sourness of the mango. if you are making this sambar, make sure to taste the raw mango first and based on the sourness, adjust the tomato and tamarind quantity.

Another important ingredient in this recipe is sambar masala. My house prepares sambar masala this way. You can also use store bought plain sambar masala. it works well too.

Choose firm raw mango and do not peel the skin. Chop it into 3 inch pieces so that it retains it's shape while cooking. otherwise the flesh becomes mushy and mixed with toor dal while cooking it.

When the mango flesh cooked well, immediately add toor dal and water to boil it. I have added medium sized 5 sliced shallots or small onions or sambar onion as it is called here in local. If you do not have it, add big onion.
Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

½ cup toor dal
1 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
10 curry leaves
1 green chilli, slit
5 to 7 small onion, sliced
½ cup tomato
½ Mango, approx. 1 cup cubed
2 tsp sambar masala
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 cup tamarind water(1 marble size tamarind soaked in a cup of warm water)
2 to 2 and 1/2 cups water
1 tbsp coriander leaves
A big pinch asafoetida

Video Recipe:
Method with stepwise pictures:
1) Soak toor dal for 30 minutes. after 30 minutes, add a cup of water and pressure cook it for 3 whistles or until it is mushy.
2) Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. I took half raw mango which is very sour. So I took only 1/2 cup of chopped tomato and a marble size tamarind. based on the sourness of the raw mango, increase or decrease the tomato and tamarind quantity.
3) Soak the tamarind in a cup of warm water.
4) In a kadai, add oil. throw mustard seeds, fenugreek, curry leaves and slit greenchilli. Add 5 to 7 shallots or small onion which are sliced. If the onion is small, then add it as such without slicing.
5) Saute the onion till it is soft.
6) Add tomato and stir till it is soft and mushy.
7) Add half medium size raw mango which came approximately 1 cup when chopped. Chop the mango into 3 inch pieces  and add it to the pan.
8) Add 2 tsp sambar masala, turmeric powder and a cup of tamarind water.
9) Mix well and let it boil and wait till the mango pieces become soft and transparent.
10) Once the mango is cooked, add the mashed toor dal. Rinse the pressure cooker using a cup of water and add it to the pan. Adjust this water according to the consistency you need. so start with half cup of water and increase the water quantity if needed.
11) Mix gently and allow this to boil. when it starts to boil, add salt, chopped coriander leaves and a big pinch of asafoetida. adding coriander leaves is optional.
12) Mix gently. When the sambar is boiling well, turn off the  flame and serve hot with steamed rice.

Serving Suggestions:
1) Sambar is a southindian gravy which is served with rice or cooked millets or any southindian tiffins like idly, dosa and vada.
2) For morning breakfast, it is served with idly, dosa, pongal and vada.
3) For lunch, it is served with rice and any dry curries.
1) Adjust the tamarind and tomato quantity according to the sourness of the mango.
2) I have added 2 cups of water(1 cup for tamarind and 1 cup plain water ) to this sambar. Water used for cooking toor dal is separate. Please adjust it based on the thickness or consistency you need for your sambar. It sometimes depends on the toor dal quality you use.
3) The sambar tastes good when served immediately. if you are making it in the morning, then the sourness of sambar increases during afternoon time. so, add tomato and tamarind accordingly. I generally add half of the tamarind i usually add for the sambar.
4) If the sambar is already in correct sourness when you cook it, then remove the mango pieces from sambar and set aside till you serve. This way we can avoid the excess sourness in the sambar while serving.

Peanut Chaat / Boiled Peanut Chaat / Beach Verkadalai Sundal

Beach style Peanut chaat | Boiled Peanut Chaat | Beach verkadalai sundal | mungfali chaat | masala groundnut chaat - what ever might be the name, it is an addictive, easy to make, spicy and tangy salad that stole your heart. If the boiled peanuts are in hands, then the making of this salad will be prepared in less than 5 minutes. Chaat based salad recipes are very common and prepared across india as an evening snack.

Boiled peanut chaat is a healthy evening snacks for kids and adults. If you happen to be beach person, then you must love this peanut chaat over any deep fried dishes sold over there. The sundal or chaat that is being served in beaches uses raw mango, onion, tomato, cucumber as their main ingredients. However, one can alter it very well according to the taste.

Fresh red onion or white onion tastes good for this salad. Deseed the tomato and then chop it finely while adding it to this chaat. otherwise the chaat becomes watery. this salad can be prepared well in advance and it is perfect for picnic. Just add the spices, salt and lemon juice just before serving for best results.

Both Raw peanuts or dry peanuts works great. If it is raw peanuts it can be pressure cooked /boiled immediately. Otherwise it needs to be soaked in water for 8 hours and then it has to be pressure cooked.  Carrot can be grated or finely chopped for this salad. Raw mango is the must ingredient for this salad which gives unique tangy taste with lemon juice.
Basic Information:
Preparation Time: <5 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes for cooking peanut
Serves: 1

1 cup boiled peanut
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato, finely chopped and deseeded
¼ cup cucumber, chopped
¼ cup carrot, grated
¼ cup raw mango, chopped
1 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
Salt to taste
¼ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp chaat masala
Juice from ½ small size lemon (approx. 2 tsp)

Video Recipe:
Method with stepwise pictures:
1) Soak the peanuts over night and pressure cook it for 3 whistles by adding little water. Once cooked, drain the water and keep the peanuts aside.
2) When the peanuts are cooking, chop the vegetables needed for this salad.
3) In a mixing bowl, add peanuts, onion, tomato, cucumber, carrot, raw mango, coriander leaves.
4) Add salt to taste, red chilli powder and chaat masala. Towards the end, squeeze out of the juice from the half small size lemon.
5) Mix well and serve immediately.

Serving suggestions:
1) Perfect snack to carry for a picnic.
2) It can be served as an after school snack for kids.
3) It can be served as an evening snack along with tea.
1) If you use dry peanuts, soak it overnight. if you are getting fresh peanuts, it can be boiled immediately and used for this salad.
2) For beach sundal, generally onion, tomato, carrot, mango are the main ingredients but you can very well alter it according to your personal taste.

Ragi Rava Idly

Thanks to food blogging which gave me an opportunity to meet many like minded people. 

Jeyashri Suresh is a writer of the famous blog Jeyashri's kitchen is one among them. She is passionate about creating healthy food particularly millet based. She has published two cookbooks named "Neengalum Samaikalam Sirudhaniyam" and "Kutties kitchen". 

I have recently started a small talk series in my youtube channel and I am happy to start this series with Jeyashri and  here is the healthy millet idly shared by Jeyashri.

Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4 or 5 idlies

1/4 cup Ragi flour
1/4 cup Rava / Semolina
1/4 cup Yogurt
1/2 tsp Eno Salt
3 tsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp channa dal
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp Ginger, grated
Salt to taste
1 tsp lemon juice
Few Curry leaves
Few Coriander leaves
1 Green chillie

Method with step wise pictures:

1) In a pan add oil and add the mustard seeds. Once it splutters add the channa dal, urad dal, grated ginger and green chili (slit). Cook till the dal turns into golden brown. 
2) Add finely chopped coriander leaves and curry leaves
3) Add the ragi flour and rava. Switch off the flame.
4) Mix well and allow this to cool completely. Transfer this to a bowl.
5) I discarded the green chili, so that it won't get into the mouth while eating the idlis.
6) Add salt and lemon juice. Mix well.
7) Add yogurt to this and mix well. Add little water to this to get a thick batter consistency.
8) Add eno salt to this and mix well. The batter will get loosened after adding eno salt.
9) Ensure the eno salt is not of old stock, else it won't make the idli soft.
10) Grease the idli mould and steam the idlis for 7-8 minutes. 
11) After 2 minutes take the idlis off from the mould. 
12) Ragi rava idlis are ready to serve. Serve with your favourite chutney.
13) These idlis stay soft even after 2-3 hours.
14) So you can pack for kids lunch box too.

Serving Suggestions:
1) Serve it with your favorite chutney for breakfast or for lunch.
2) It fits well for the kid's lunchbox as well.
1) You can add 1 tbsp of grated carrots to the batter to make it healthy.
2)  Few cashew nuts can be added while adding the mustard seeds.
3) Do not over steam, else the idlis will turn hard.
4) Ensure the eno salt is not  old. We get eno fruit salt in medical shops and super markets.

Brussels Sprouts Stir fry / Indian Style Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry

Brussels sprouts belong to a cabbage family and they looks like a tiny cabbage.  It is named after they were cultivated in Belgium.  They are rich in fiber, vitamin k and antioxidants.

My dad was doing agriculture on his own interest and I got a chance to see some of the western veggies(purple cabbage, potato, Brussels sprouts, some kind of kale flower plant, asparagus,broccoli etc.,) which he had grown in ooty.

so, Grew up eating all these directly from farm when I was a kid but I almost forget it to the core when I moved to Chennai. Even with wide spread supermarkets, the availability of these vegetables is very common now a days but I was naturally inclined towards the local produce.

When I found them back here, I become very nostalgic and remembered my summer vacation days in Ooty. after two decades, making this recipe very often now and here is my way of Indian style stir fry.

While stir frying the Brussels sprouts using the method given below, it gives a mild sweetness which gives delicious taste. Slow roasting process would also bring this sweet taste. Do not over cook this vegetable otherwise the flavor might be changed and eat this vegetable in moderation to gain it's health benefits.
Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3

1 tbsp oil
½ tsp mustard seeds
2 heaped cups Brussels sprouts
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste

Video Recipe:

Method with Stepwise Pictures:

1) Wash the brussels sprouts in a running water 2 or 3 times and then slice into 2 or 4 according to its size. The brussels sprouts are very small, so I have just halved it for making this stir fry. Remove any loose leaves while slicing.
2) In a wide pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds and allow it to crackle.
3) Add 2 heaped cup of brussels sprouts.
4) Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt.
5) Mix well so that the masala coats well with the sprouts.
6) Spread it evenly and cook it covered in low flame for 5 to 10 minutes. It varies depends on the size of brussels sprouts and type of the stove you use.
7) After that, cook uncovered stirring occasionally.
8) The brussels sprouts starts to brown outside and the outside looks crisp and inside cooked completely.
9) Turn off the flame and serve hot.
Serving Suggestions:
1) Indian style Brussels sprouts can be served as a sidedsh for rice and Indian based gravy.
2) It can be served as a side dish for roti/naan.
1)  If the brussels sprouts are big in size, then sprinkle little water to it before covering it using lid for easy cooking. If you do not want to add water, increase the cooking time but make sure to keep it low flame. however, for better taste, I would not suggest to add water.
2) Instead of red chilli powder and turmeric powder, ground black pepper can be used for easy variation.


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