WATERMELON AGUA FRESCA

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The climate here is intolerable..!Though there are  some cool showers in the night time, the heat during the day time is unbearable with high humidity. I have heard from some of my friends who work outside in the site that sometimes the heat is so worse that they find slight difficulty in breathing…If I didn’t have my 3 year old boy in my life, probably I would be in the site too..working in the hot heat..Oh..I didn’t tell you right? I am actually qualified as a Civil engineer but more than that I am full time Mom to my three lovely little kids and talking straight from the heart ,I now prefer playing with my kiddos and building with Lego Toys much more that drawing plans and construction stuff at the site. And an added joy for me is I am a full time Food Blogger , which is one among my passions.

Coming to the topic…Summers are too hot here that we have to find different ways to cool our body…So why not do it the refreshing and delicious way? I have been having Watermelon juice almost EVERYDAY from the past two months. I have tried many experiments with watermelon..using mint leaves etc… but have not been satisfied …One thing I have to say I find sugar has really got that magic to elevate the taste of watermelon to shear pleasure !You know..This recipe was totally an experiment. But the results were so good. This is by far the Best Watermelon drink you will ever find! You have my word for that .I have used Club Soda here in this recipe along with lime juice.

When I prepared this drink for my husband, he was like “Is this Agua Fresca ?”He said he had the same drink a few years back in a restaurant during an official meeting and was fascinated by the name. It had a similar taste to this.

Agua Frescas are Mexican drinks which are so refreshing to beat the hot summer heat. There are both alcoholic and Non Alcoholic Versions of Agua Frescas. Mine is a non alcoholic Kids Friendly one. Here I have made a watermelon Agua Fresca. But however, you can also substitute water melon with Mango, Strawberries or Cantaloupe.

Ingredients:

  1. Water melon – 3 cups(deseeded and cubed)
  2. Water – ¼ cup
  3. Sugar – depending on the sweetness of watermelon(I added 4 tbsp)
  4. Club soda – 3 cups(chilled)
  5. Lime juice – juice of half a lime
  6. Lemon slices – to decorate

Method:

  • Blend the watermelon cubes, Water ,lime juice and  Sugar in a blender.
  • When done,add chilled Club Soda to it. Pour into glasses and decorate with lime slices.Serve and Enjoy!!!

ADA PRADHAMAN

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Ada Pradhaman or Ada Payasam is an unavoidable payasam during Onam or Vishu.It is usually served steaming hot after the traditional Sadya on Banana Leaves.But I like mine chilled.I don’t usually wait all the way till Onam to prepare Ada Payasam.I prepare it whenever Ada is available here at the stores.Though our kids prefer the “white” Semiya Payasam  more, me and my husband are one crazy Ada Payasam loving couple.

During my childhood days I remember that the Sadya was prepared usually by our Pushpalatha chechi (I don’t like to call her as our help at home, because over the years ,she is more than that..infact she is a part our family).I must mention her Kaipunyam or to be precise that ‘magical touch’ to transform even the least tastiest/bland ingredients to delicious dishes.I don’t know how she does that.Ok..coming back to the topic..she used to prepare such yummy sadyas during Onam.To top it all,there was this amazingly delicious Ada Payasam made by my maternal Grandma, whom I lovingly call Ammamma, who used to visit us during Onam. This recipe is hers. It is such a simple recipe, easy for even beginners, but the taste it imparts is really out of the world!!!Try it.

Ingredients:

  • Rice Ada /Rice Flakes – I used a 250gm packet.
  • Jaggery(sharkara) – 500 gms.
  • Thin Coconut milk (Randam Pal) – 2 ½ cup.
  • Thick Coconut milk (Onnam Pal) – 1 cup
  • Cashews and Raisins to garnish.
  • Cardamom powder – 1 tsp.
  • Dried Ginger Powder/Chukku podi – ¾ tsp
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp or as needed.

Method:

  1. Boil water in a vessel and cook the ada in it for around 20 minutes or till soft.Strain it and rinse it with cold water and keep aside.
  2. Grate the jaggery and boil and melt it in 1 ½ cups of water.Strain it and keep aside.
  3. Now in a deep pan, heat ghee. Fry the raisins and Cashews , Remove and keep aside on a kitchen Towel.
  4. In the same oil,add the cooked Ada and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes on medium to low flame.(Add more ghee if required).
  5. Now add the melted Jaggery and cook in medium heat for a few minutes until thick. Then add the thin coconut milk and bring the flame to medium and cook till it thickens. Now add the Thick Coconut Milk and mix well. Add  the Cardamom powder, Dried Ginger powder. Mix well. Cook for a minute. Turn off the flame. Garnish with Fried Cashews and Raisins. Serve hot or cold and Enjoy!!

Notes:

Along with the cashews and Raisins, you can also fry and add some Coconut slices/Thenga Kothu if needed.

CHOCOLATEY EASTER EGGS

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Easter is a time of great Joy and Celebration..It is of great significance as it is the day Lord Jesus rose up from the dead..and for children all over the world, it a time of anticipation for the Easter Bunny who brings his treasure baskets full of Chocolatey Easter eggs. And for kids like mine, they love to do the treasure hunting for Easter Chocolate eggs.So after the morning Easter service at the church and a hearty breakfast of the Easter special Appam and Chicken Stew, my job is to make a treasure map for them to search for the Easter eggs .Usually I buy Kinderjoys and hide them at different places in the garden or the house…leaving clues etc…its a lot of work, but seeing their happy faces and shrieks of joy ,it is worth the trouble.

This Easter how ever, i went a little further. I decided to make them Easter eggs and wrap them in shiny wrappers and hide them as usual. I wracked my brain thinking of ideas of making chocolate Easter eggs..it was then that i thought of making Chocolate cake Easter eggs..(I had some left over chocolate cake in my refrigerator).So i made them..And guess what..? Before I could even wrap them, they vanished ha ha..They loved it a lot…!

If you have left over chocolate cake and Buttercream frosting at hand, then these Yummilicious Easter cake Eggs are an easy to do kinda thing. No further delay…heading on to the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Left over cake crumbs – 5 cups(I used Chocolate cake)
  • Frosting of your choice – 1/2 to 1 cup(I used Butter cream Frosting)
  • Dark chocolate – 200 gms (melted over double boiler)
  • White Chocolate  – 10o gms (melted over double boiler)

Method:

  1. In a large bowl,crumble up the cake that it looks ,like coarse bread crumbs.(using clean hands)
  2. Add 1/2 a cup of frosting to start with and mix well with fingers to a consistency(If the balls fall or break apart,add more frosting) that it can be made into lemon sized balls which do not break up.
  3. Using fingers,roll into egg shape one by one and keep on a plate.Place these ‘cake eggs’ in the refrigerator and chill for 15 to 20 minutes.(This is done to harden the egg shaped balls).
  4. While the eggs are chilling in the refrigerator,melt the dark chocolate and keep aside to cool.Melt the white chocolate now and cool and pour it inti a ziploc bag and snip off its tip(a little bit) .
  5. Now place(DO NOT PIERCE) the egg shaped balls on a fork(I advise a fork because it drains off the excess chocolate after dipping) and dip into the melted dark chocolate one by one and keep on a dry plate.
  6. After 5 minutes or once the chocolate coating on the egg shaped balls are dry,make designs on the egg shaped balls with the white chocolate in the ziploc bags by gently pressing  them onto the balls.
  7. Allow to dry and then gently wrap them using shiny wrappers or you can arrange them in a box and serve and Enjoy!!

Notes:

  • You can even skip the white chocolate and top them with some sprinkles or chopped nuts.
  • You can insert lollipop sticks into the cake balls and serve them as cake pops!!

 

VATTAYAPPAM (KERALA TEA TIME SNACK)

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Vattayappam is one of the most simple yet delicious Kerala snacks. It is very easy to prepare and easily digestible. It  is loved by kids and adults alike.

Ingredients:

  1. Rice Flour – 2 cups
  2. Coconut grated – 1 cup
  3. Cooked Rice – 2 handfulls
  4. Sugar – to taste(I added ½ cup)
  5. Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp
  6. Yeast – ½ tsp
  7. Sugar(needed for yeast) – ½ tsp.
  8. Salt – a pinch
  9. Lukewarm water – ¼ glass (for yeast)
  10. Raisins – a few(for garnishing)

Method:

  • In a grinder, grind the Rice flour, Grated coconut, Cooked Rice along with a little water into a smooth batter of medium consistency.
  • Take ¼ glass of lukewarm water and add yeast and ½ tsp of sugar.Allow it to rise.
  • Add this mixture into the above batter.Mix well and keep aside for 2 to 3 hours.
  • After 3 hours, add Sugar(to taste),cardamom powder,salt and mix well.
  • Apply a little ghee/oil in a cake tin and pour the batter into it.Sprinkle a few raisins on the top and steam for 20 – 25 minutes.
  • Remove and cut into slices and Enjoy with a hot cup of tea and Enjoy!,

Notes:

I usually use 1 tsp of vanilla essence instead of Cardamom powder in vattayapam.It might sound odd but it really elevates its taste to another level.

KANJI AND CHERU PAYARU THORAN ~ GOOD FRIDAY SPECIAL

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Good Friday commemorates the day when Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross.During my childhood I remember my memories of going to church on Good Friday then having Hot steaming Kanji(Rice Gruel) wit Cherupayaru Thoran(Greengram-coconut stirfry) and Naranga Achar(Lime pickle) at home.There would be no non veg dishes on that day even for us kids.So the picture that I had in my mind was that.And one day my uncle asked me “Do you know what is Good Friday kid?” and I was like..”The day Jesus died and so  we have Kanji at home?..” You may laugh at me..but that was seriously what I thought! Childhood Innocence..!Then during my college days we had leave during the Holy week.Of that I had a clear memory..everyone in our family, we used to go to church on Good Friday. After a cup of tea in the morning,it would be fasting time for us.Then we would go to church and we would then break the fast with some Kanji payaru papadam and achar,served at church.It would be taste soooo delicious after the 5-6 hour long fast.I don’t know if all churches have that practice of serving Kanji on Good Friday…but still..I make it a point to prepare Kanji and Payaru thoran with Papadam and Achar  for Good Friday Lunch at home. Its extrememly delicious,healthy and easily digestable.And not to mention its the authentic traditional comfort food of Gods own Country – Kerala!

RECIPE OF KANJI(RICE GRUEL):

Ingredients:

  • Parboiled Rice – 1 cup
  • Water – 4 cup(You can use more water if you prefer)
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Wash and clean the rice and set aside.
  2. In a pot or a big vessel, bring water to boil.Add the washed rice and cook till the rice grains are soft.You can add more water if you want.
  3. Transfer it to a serving plate/dish, add salt to taste and Enjoy.

RECIPE OF CHERU PAYARU THORAN( GREEN GRAM –COCONUT STIR FRY):

Ingredients:

  • Cherupayaru/Green Gram/Moong beans – 1 cup
  • Onion – 1 small(Finely chopped)
  • Grated Coconut – ½ cup/
  • Garlic(Crushed with skin on) – 2  cloves.
  • Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp.
  • Crushed Black Peppercorns – 1/2 tsp.
  • Curry leaves – a sprig.
  • Coconut oil –  2 tbsp.
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste.
  • Water – just enough to cook the Cherupayaru/Green gram.

Method:

  1. Pressure cook the Cherupayaru with water and salt  for 3 whistles or till soft.If you don’t have a pressure cooker,you can cook cherupayaru in a vessel with water and salt till soft.Set aside.
  2. In a pan,heat coconut oil and add mustard. When it crackles, add curry leaves,Crushed garlic(with skin),chopped Onion, Grated coconut and turmeric powder and sauté well for 1 minute.To this add the cooked Cherupayaru and combine gently.
  3. Add Crushed Pepper and gently mix again.Add salt if needed.Transfer to a serving dish along with hot steaming Kanji ,Fried Papadams and Pickle of your choice and Enjoy!!

Notes:

  • Do not over cook the Cherupayaru/Green gram or else while sautéing,it will be totally mashed up.

DAHI BAINGAN ~ Eggplant cooked in spiced Yoghurt

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Dahi Baingan is a dish belonging to the North Indian Cuisine.It is basically an Eggplant/Brinjal dish in which the Eggplant is cooked in a spiced Yoghurt base.Frankly speaking,I have a strong dislike for Brinjals(Though I love its Purpley Violet colour),I just cant seem to like the taste of this vegetable.But when I had lots of Brinjals sitting in my refrigerator,I thought I had to make something different than the usual Brinjal Sambar or stir fry.Thats when my neighbour gave me this recipe.I tried it out and it turned out really good.To my surprise my kids loved it too .

Dahi Baingan is a creamy curry that goes really well with Steamed white Rice or even with Rotis.

Ingredients:

  • Egg plants – 4 (washed and cubed)
  • Oil – 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Onion – 1 medium (chopped)
  • Tomato – 1 (chopped)
  • Ginger (grated) – 1 tsp.
  • Kashmiri chilli powder – 1 tsp.
  • Green chillies – 2 (slit half way through)
  • Coriander powder – 1tsp.
  • Aniseed /Saunf – 1/2 tsp
  • Cilantro – 1 tbsp(Chopped)
  • Yoghurt(beaten) – 1 cup
  • Garam masala powder – 1/8 tsp
  • Kasuri Methi –  1 fat pinch
  • Salt to taste

Method:

In a bowl, mix  yogurt, chilli powder, coriander powder, saunf/aniseed, salt, coriander leaves and green chilies and  keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan, add cumin seeds,the add grated ginger and chopped onions and saute till onion turns soft. Now add turmeric powder and saute.

Now add the cubed brinjals and cook on medium high flame for 3 -4 minutes. Cover with a lid and let them cook on medium low flame for 15 minutes. Keep checking in between and stir fry to ensure the brinjals don’t burn or stick to the pan.
Add the tomatoes and saute. Cook for another 3 minutes. Add a cup of water and bring to a boil and reduce the flame. Again cover with lid and cook over low flame for 15 minutes. Add the yogurt mixture and combine. Allow the curry to cook till you achieve a thick gravy consistency. Add garam masala powder and kasuri methi and gently mix. Turn off heat.

Serve with rice or rotis and Enjoy!

 

PINK GUAVA JAM

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Homemade Jams..what can sound more comforting and Mouthwatering than this! In today’s world where everything you purchase is adulterated, making homemade jams with zero preservatives can be one among the best things you can contribute towards your family’s health.

Making jam at home is NO big deal at all..! Infact it is very easy and extremely tastier than the jams you avail from the stores. If you are a constant reader of my earlier posts, you might remember about what I had mentioned about the store bought Jams. They contain very less than 30 percentage fruit content. Buying fresh fruit and preparing jams..!Don’t they sound like a healthier option? So what are you waiting for? Buy fresh and Pink Guavas and prepare this healthy Pink Guava Jam!

Ingredients:

  • Pink Guavas – 2 cups chopped guavas (Cut off the skin and using a spoon, gently remove the seeds and then chop into tiny bits)
  • Sugar – 2 cups
  • Lime Juice – Juice of half a lime.

Method:

  • Blend the chopped guavas in a Blender and Puree .
  • Heat a pan.Add the guava puree, Sugar and the lime juice.
  • Bring to a rolling boil for 15 to 20 minutes,constantly stirring. Now the Jam will turn into a deep pink/red colour.At this point,turn out the flame.
  • Allow to cool.Then pour it into clean and dry bottles/jars.Enjoy!

Notes:

  1. Use only ripe guavas.
  2. Deseed the guava and then only use.
  3. Use clean and dry spoons to spoon out the jam from Bottles/Containers to increase the shelf life.
  4. You can use the Guava jam, upto 5 days keeping in a cool dry place and upto 15 days in the refrigerator.
  5. You can use the jam as a glaze/Topping for Icing in cakes.

For more guava recipes you can go through

Pink Guava Smoothie and Guava Popsicles