Flax seed Idly Podi | ஆளி விதை இட்லி பொடி | Avisa Ginjala Podi

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Flax seed idly podi or Flax seed chutney podi or Flax seeds spice powder is a very good healthy condiment for idly, dosa and rice.

Flax seeds are high in protein, dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. It also helps in reducing the sugar levels for diabetes and reduces the risk of cancer, high blood pressure and heat diseases. The mixture of 100 gram ground flax seed and 10 grams of ground cloves will kill the parasites in our stomach if any. One has to drink plenty of water while consuming flax seed.

It is one of the cheap yet very healthy seed available in the market. One can gain it's health benefits entirely when it is in the ground form.

There are many ways to include flax seeds in our diet. We can add it in water, or sprinkle over salad, mix the ground flax seeds with cereals or sprinkle it over yogurt or add them while baking a cookie, bread or muffins.

I have personally added ground flax seeds while making indian snacks like thukkada, seedai and added while making paratha, roti. I used to make 2 min muffins in a mug which is my favorite one. The options are endless to include it in our diet.

Flax seeds is called as Aali vidhai in Tamil, avisa ginjalu in Telugu, agase in Kannada and alsi ka beej in Hindi.

This spice powder can be stored in air tight container for 2 weeks in room temperature. If you want to keep it for very long period, then roast all the ingredients perfectly and store it in refrigerator.
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Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Makes: approximately1 cup

Ingredients:
Flax Seeds powder – ½ cup
Urad dal – 1/3 cup
Channa Dal – 3 tbsp
Dry red chillies – 12
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Garlic – 2
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Salt – to taste

Video Recipe:

Method with step wise pictures:

1) Dry roast the flax seeds till it changes the colour and crackle. Transfer to a plate.
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2) Dry roast the urad dal, channa dal till it become golden brown.
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3) Dry roast the dry red chillies and curry leaves. Fry till both become crisp. If you are using thick bottom kadai, turn off the flame. The heat in the pan itself enough to fry the dry red chillies and curry leaves.
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4) Transfer all the ingredients in a plate and cool down to room temperature.
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5) Transfer the cooled ingredients to a dry mixie jar and grind it. Towards the end of the grinding, add garlic, asafoetida and salt.
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6) Grind it to a coarse powder.
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Serving suggestions:
1) Mix a tablespoon flax seed powder with a tablespoon of gingelly oil and serve with Hot idlies or dosas.
2) Sprinkle the powder over hot steamed rice and add a dollop of ghee to serve as a main course or for lunch.
3) Add a teaspoon of this powder along with onion while making oothappams.
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Notes:
1) Adjust the dry red chillies according to the taste.
2) If you are using rock salt, dry roast that and add it for grinding.
3) Addition of garlic is optional but it gives nice flavor to the podi.

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Vendhaya Keerai Kootu / Methi Dal Kootu / Vendhaya Keerai Paruppu Kadayal

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Never thought of a week without kootu in our household. My mom makes this kootu completely in a different way whereas my MIL makes it exactly how she learnt it from the neighbor maami who taught her cooking during the initial days of her marriage. So most of my MIL's cooking resembles tamil brahmin's way of cooking. Today's recipe is from her but she never used methi leaves, instead she uses other green varieties.

Some use freshly ground masala while some use only sambar masala that is available in every household. Today I followed my MIL's recipe using the sambar masala. Kootu can be prepared using either toor dal or moong dal. Seasoning can be done in the beginning itself or after preparing the kootu. Some call this as keerai kulambu and some call this as keerai kootu. Instead of vendhaya keerai, one can use any other greens - arai keerai, thandu keerai, mulai keerai, paruppu keerai etc...

Whatever the name is, it tastes heaven when eaten with hot rice and a dollop of ghee and perfectly fried raw banana. I personally love to eat kootu with ghee. But kootu goes well with both ghee and coconut oil. One can use coconut oil and also ghee or simply a vegetable oil for making this kootu.

I have used methi leaves which are very good for lowering the blood sugar, increases the milk production for new mothers, reduces the cholesterol level and packed with antioxidants. Methi leaves are easy to grow as well. both very tender or matured leaves can be used for making this kootu. If the leaves are matured and big then chop it roughly before adding it to the kootu.
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Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:
Fenugreek leaves – 1 and ½ cups
Moong dal – ¼ cup
On1/4ion- ½ cup, finely chopped
Tomato – ½ cup, finely chopped
Coconut – ¼ cup, grated
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Garlic – 3, finely chopped
Salt – to taste
Sambar powder – 1 tsp
Green chilli – 1, slit
Turmeric powder –tsp
Water – ¾ cup or as required

Video Recipe:

Method with step wise pictures:
1) Soak the 1/4 cup moong dal for 10 minutes and pressure cook it by adding 3/4 cup water. Clean the methi leaves. Just pluck the leaves from the stem and wash it thoroughly. Chop onion, tomato and garlic.grind 1/4 cup of coconut into a fine paste by adding 1 or 2 tbsp water.
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2) In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow it to crackle.
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3) Add green chilli and finely chopped garlic. fry it well.
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4) Add onion and saute till it becomes soft and translucent.
5) Add tomato and let it become mushy.
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6) Add methi leaves. If the methi leaves are big and matured, chop it roughly before adding it to the pan. I had medium size tender methi leaves. so I have added as such.
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7) Saute till the methi leaves becomes soft and cooked well.
8) Once the methi leaves are cooked well, add the cooked dal, ground coconut, sambar powder, turmeric powder and salt to taste.
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9) Add 3/4 cup water and mix well. Adjust the water quantity according to your needs.
10) Let the kootu boil well and then turn off the flame.

Serving Suggestions:
1) Kootu generally goes well with white steamed rice and millets.
2) Serve kootu as a side dish for lunch along with spicy dry curries.
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Notes:
1) Adjust the water quantity according to your preference.
2) If preferred, add a tbsp of ghee towards the end for additional flavor.
3) Make sure the moong dal is cooked well and mash it before adding to the kootu.
4) Tender methi leaves tastes good with this kootu.
5) You can also add everything together in a pressure cooker and pressure cook it for 4 whistles and add the seasoning at the end. I prefer to do this method when I run out of time.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

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Last month we went for the local farm visit for fruits and vegetable picking. I got fresh, good bunch of zucchini during that time. I made use of it for making the Indian style fritters and still I left with few. I used them for making this delicious zucchini bread from here . This recipe calls very simple ingredients that are available in every household.

I used home made yogurt for making this bread. It has to be very thick and do not compromise on it. I have added vegetable oil and one can substitute it with any flavorless oil and make sure to all the ingredients are in room temperature.
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Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time 45 to 60 minutes
Serves: 1 loaf

Ingredients:
Zucchini – 1 cup, grated
Vegetable Oil – 1/3 cup
Yogurt – ¼ cup
Egg – 1, large size
Sugar – ¾ cup
All purpose flour – 1 and ¼ cup
Cocoa powder – ½ cup, unsweetened
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Salt – a big pinch
Dark chocolate chips – ½ cup

Video Recipe:

Method with step by step pictures:

1) Grate the zucchini and keep it aside for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease the loaf pan with butter and dust it with all purpose flour.
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2) After 15 minutes, squeeze out the excess water, measure 1 cup and add it to the bowl.
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3) Add vegetable oil, yogurt and egg. Whisk well till you get creamy kind of texture.
4) Add sugar and whisk till it dissolves.
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5) Add all purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking power, baking soda and a pinch of salt. Mix it using the spatula.
6) Towards the end, add 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips. fold it well.
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7) Transfer this batter to a loaf pan. pat it well.
8) Sprinkle the remaining dark chocolate chips on top of it.
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9) Bake it for 45 to 60 minutes in a preheated oven.
10) Once done, insert a skewer and check if it comes out clean.
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11) Cool down the loaf pan for 10 minutes and then invert the bread out.
12) Slice and serve.

Serving suggestions:
1) Serve it as a evening snack or snack for travel.
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Notes:
1) Make sure to have all the ingredients in the room temperature.
2) Do not over beat the batter after adding the dry ingredients.
3) Keep an eye on the oven after 45 minutes to check if the bread is done.
4) Cool down the bread in a loaf pan itself for 10 minutes. Remove the bread only after cooling down. Otherwise the bread may breakdown.

Cauliflower 65 / Gobi 65

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Cauliflower 65 or Gobi 65 is a snack that is very famous in Chennai but has many interesting histories behind it. yes. you read it right.  many says many reasons why it got this name correlating it with chicken 65. Like it's name the preparation of gobi 65 is also differs region to region.

I personally like this verion of gobi 65 which is widely prepared in Chennai street sides and in beaches. The crispy, spicy and sour cauliflowers are very addictive and one can not stop eating it with just one piece. Gobi 65 is a vegetarian variant for the chicken 65.

I have not blanched cauliflower in this recipe, instead I kept them immersed in very hot salted water for 15 minutes to remove any worms and dusts. After that washed the florets in a running water two or three times before adding masala.

I skipped the food colour in this recipes, instead I have added kashmiri red chilli powder. Generally the kashmiri red chilli powder tastes less spicy but gives nice colour. So i have added 3 teaspoons of it to get balanced spicy levels. If you are adding the usual red chilli powder, please add it according to its spicy level. You may food colour if preferred. Do not skip the lemon juice which gives the unique taste to this recipe. Instead of lemon juice, amchoor(dry mango powder) can also be added.

Deep fried curry leaves add extra flavor and crisp to this recipe. If you like the extreme hot gobi 65, fry some slit green chillies along with curry leaves and mix it with gobi 65 while serving.
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Basic Information:

Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 to 30 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:

Cauliflower – 30 florets
Maida – ¼ cup
Cornstarch – 2 tbsp
Kashmiri red chilli powder – 3 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Lemon juice – from half lemon
Water – little less than ½ cup or as required
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Video Recipe:

Method with step by step pictures:

1) Cut the cauliflower into 30 florets. Make sure all florets are almost uniform in size. I picked 1 inch size florets.
2) Keep the florets in a wide bowl. Pour very hot water in it along with salt. mix it well and keep it aside for 15 minutes.
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3) After 15 minutes, drain the water. rinse two or three times.
4) Take the drained cauliflower in a bowl, add maida, cornstarch, kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, salt and lemon juice.
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5) Start mixing it without adding water. once the masala coated well with the florets, add water little at a time.
6) I added 4 handful of water which came approximately little less than 1/2 cup. The masala coats well with cauliflower at the same it should not be runny.
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7) Deep fry it oil. Deep fry 8 to 10 florets at a time.
8) Stir gently in between to avoid the florets sticking to each other.
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 9) Once the bubble sound reduces and the cauliflower becomes crisp, drain the excess oil and transfer to a plate. Repeat this step with the remaining florets.
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10) when all the cauliflower florets are fried, turn off the stove. Then very carefully add curry leaves. Once the curry leaves are fried well, drain the excess oil, then transfer to the plate.
11) Mix both fried cauliflower and curry leaves.
12) Serve hot.

Serving Suggestions:
1) It is a snack. It can be served as an evening tiffin and as after school snack.
2) It can be served along with mint chutney / tomato ketchup / buttermilk ranch.
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Notes:
1) I have added kashmiri red chilli powder to avoid food colour. if you do not have kashmiri red chilli powder, add red chilli powder according to it's spicy level and add a pinch of red food colour. This gives a nice red colour.
2) Instead of lemon juice, add amchoor masala for slight tanginess.
3) Make sure to add water correctly. add very little water at a time and mix the masala and florets.

Kantola Fry / Kakrol Fry / Spine Gourd Fry / Teasle gourd

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Found this fresh kantola in the market. When I inquired what is it, the shop keeper explained it's name and happily said how to cook it in layman terms. So, I purchased it in a small quantity to try at home. It is also called as spine gourd and kakrol and teasle gourd. Interested to learn that it is called as "mezhuku pakal" in tamil. It has a slight bitter taste but I didn't feel the bitterness much after cooking. The husband doesn't eat bitter gourd or bitter taste dishes but he liked the taste of kantola. So after this first try and being liked by all, whenever I find it in a market, I happily buy it.

It is available during monsoon season in India. Kantola is rich in proteins and iron and low in calorie. It helps for easy digestion and hence controls constipation.

While buying the kantola, make sure it is fresh and has full green outer skin. Slightly pale colored green skin is also acceptable for cooking but make sure it is tender. Just remove the top stem part and bottom tail part alone and then slice it. No need to rub the rough green outer part and no need to remove the seeds as well.

I prepared kantola fry just exactly how I used to prepare tindora fry/Kovakkai Fry. I have added sambar masala for spicy taste. Red chilli powder can also be substituted instead of sambar masala. I used 3 tbsp oil for sauteing it. Oil can be added while seasoning itself or it can be added in uniform interval for uniform cooking.
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Basic Information:
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Oil - 3 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Kantola / Kakrol / Spine gourd - 8, sliced lengthwise
Sambar masala - 1 tbsp or to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste

Method with step by step pictures:
1) Wash the kantole well in running water. Remove the top and bottom portion of it. Slice it as shown in the picture.
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2) Heat oil in a wide pan. Add mustard seeds and allow it to crackle. Throw curry leaves and it it become crisp.
3) Add sliced kantola. Give a stir.
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4) Add sambar masala, turmeric powder and salt to taste.
5) Stir well so that the masala coats well with all the kantola slices.
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6) Let it cook covered for 2 to 3 minutes in low flame.
7) Uncover the pan and stir gently to cook it uniformly.
8) Continue to cook, till it becomes nice brown and crisp.
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9) Serve hot with rice.

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Serving Suggestions:

1) It is a stir fry, goes well with rice and chapathi.
2) It can be served as a side dish for rice for lunch or side dish for chapathi for dinner.
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Notes:
1) Make sure to cook the kantola in low flame.
2) Uniformly slice the kantola so that it cooks uniformly. You can also cut them into round shapes.

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