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Showing posts with label EVENTS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EVENTS. Show all posts

Thursday, June 4, 2009



Agathi Keerai is classified under the green leafy vegetables category. For those who are not familiar with this green, Agathi Keerai is also known as;

Hummingbird Tree Leaves or West Indian pea tree.

Botanical Name: Sesbania grandiflora

Agathi keerai is used in cooking in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam , mainly in the South east Asia pacific regions wherein its widely grown and eaten.

There are two kinds of West Indian Pea tree - one with red flowers and the other with white flowers. It’s the white flower West Indian Pea Tree that’s suitable for cooking.

My grandma used to say that Agathi keerai which is also known as “Aathu keerai” at my home has cooling properties and she used to insist on eating our greens without making a fuss when we were kids.

Eating Agathi keerai has a lot of benefits -

It is a tonic

It is cooling

It helps in digestion

It will cure ulcers in the stomach

It is a laxative

It balances pitta and kapha

It is an antidote for poisons

It is good for fever

It cures insanity

It is a very satvic food

Crushed leaves are applied to sprains and bruises of all kinds.

A tea made from the leaves is believed to have antibiotic, anti-thelmintic(a medication capable of causing the evacuation of parasitic intestinal worms), antitumour and contraceptive properties.

The principal medicinal effects are due to the trees’ astringency, hence it is used against inflammation, venom and other poisons, bacterial infections and tumors.

The bark is considered as a tonic and an antipyretic, a remedy for gastric troubles, colic with diarrhoea and dysentery.

A bark decoction is taken orally to treat fever and diabetes.

Juice of flowers put in the eyes is said to relieve dimness of vision.

The leaves also have medicinal value and are reported to cure night blindness in cattle.

In India, all plant parts are reputed to cure night blindness.

The root is a well-known medicine for malaria.

Root juices are used for poultices and the leaves are applied for rheumatism, swellings, bruises and itching.

For systemic disorders, decoctions are taken internally.

Root resin, mixed with honey, is taken orally for phlegm and root juices are taken as an expectorant.

Sinus congestion is reduced by taking a flower decoction.

Agathi keerai is very good when mixed with milk and boiled and then made into curd and that made into buttermilk if taken twice a day all female related problems like white discharge, vaginal discharge with odour, over heat etc.can be solved.

This is not advised during medication, since it will reduce the power of medicine.

You can read more about the benefits by clicking on the link below.

Although its bitter in taste, don’t you think we need to eat this occasionally considering the health benefits associated with it.

Here is a wonderful Kerala recipe of the

“Aathu Keerai” / “Agathi Keerai”


Agathi Keerai – 1 bunch

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

Udad dal - 1 tsp

Green chillies – 2-3

Red chillies – 1 broken into 2 halves

Turmeric -1/4 tsp

Asafetida (Hing) - a small pinch

Cooked Toor dal – 2 tbsps

Freshly grated Coconut – 1-2 tbsps

Cooking oil - 1 tbsp (Prefer coconut oil)

Salt as per taste.


Remove the Agathi leaves from its stem. There’s one easy way to do this. Hold the stem between your thumb and index finger and slide down de-stemming the leaves. Rinse well under running water in a colander. Chop the leaves into small pieces. Keep aside

In a Kadhai (wok), Add 1 tbsp of coconut oil, when it is hot, Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle, Add udad dal and the red chillies, when the udad dal becomes slightly pink, add the green chillies and fry well, Add the chopped Agathi keerai leaves. Add turmeric, asafetida and salt, stir and close with lid and cook on low flame till it is cooked. Once it’s cooked add in the 2 tbsps of cooked tuvar dal, stir well, wait until the water drains completely and then add in the freshly grated coconut and stir fry till everything is mixed well.

Serve hot with Rice and Rasam.

I would like to send this dish to SWC-Cooking with greens event hosted by my blogger friend Sowmya.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009




The last time I made Puran Poli was during Ganesh Chaturthi and then I had promised to share with everyone the recipe of Katachi Amti. This is a by-product of Puran poli and hence becomes as precious as the main dish. Maharashtrians make Puran poli on Holi day. I would like to share with you’ll about Holi in Maharashtra.

Holi In Maharashtra

Holi is known as Shimga or Rangpanchami in Maharashtra. People of Maharashtra have their own grand style of celebrating Holi. The day they celebrate with colors is known as Ranga Panchami and comes five days after Phalgun Poornima.

One day before Ranga Panchami, a huge bonfire is made and an effigy of Holika with child Prahlad in her lap is kept on the logs. Usually, Holika's effigy is made of combustible materials, whereas, Prahlad's effigy is made of non-combustible one. Almost 40 days before the Holi Festival. People go on throwing twigs, dried leaves, branches of trees left through the winter besides any other combustible material they can spare, on to that log which gradually grows into a sizable heap.

On the day of Holika Dahan which usually falls on the night of Phalguna Purnima, the effigy is set alight. Next morning the ashes from the bonfire are collected as prasad and smeared on the limbs of the body. If spared by the fire coconuts are also collected and eaten.

Metaphorically though, the fire is meant to signify the destruction of evil - the burning of the 'Holika' - a mythological character and the triumph of good as symbolized by Prahlad. However, the heat from the fire also depicts that winter is behind and the hot summer days are ahead.

Dhuli Vandan, is an important festival in Maharashtra and it coincides with the Holi festival. It is celebrated on the day after Holika Dahan in Phalguna month. The festival is of great importance to farmers and agriculturalists. The ashes of Holika burned on the previous night and soil are worshipped by the farmers for a good harvest. In 2009, the date of Dhulivandan is March 11.

Dhuli Vandan is observed in Maharashtra when the rest of the country plays holi with colors. Nowadays, Dhulivandan in its strict traditional sense is limited to rural areas. In cities most people play Holi with colors on the day.

Historic significance of Holi in Maharashtra

During the Maratha regime this festival was celebrated with great pomp and grandeur. It was on a Holi festival day that five-year-old Jijabhai, daughter of Lakhooji Jadhav innocently splashed coloured water and threw gulal on young Shahaji, son of Malajirao Bhowale. Taking it as an auspicious event, the two children's engagement was announced that very day. Soon they were married. Later, Jijabhai gave birth to Shivaji, the founder of great Maratha empire.

Festival and Food

Festivals are always marked with good food and Maharashtrians usually make Puran Poli Besides people drink sugarcane juice and feed children with watermelons that are in season.


As promised in my previous post on Puran Poli during Ganesh Chaturthi, I am blogging here the recipe of katachi aamti. Katachi Aamti is very popular in my marital home at Pune. They love it so much that they drink little bowls(vatis) full of it. The amti has a hot-sweet taste. I don’t like the sweet taste though, so I add less jaggery, so that the jaggery just enhances the flavor but doesn’t sweeten my amti too much. Katachi Amti is prepared using the water from the chana dal that is boiled for preparing the puran. Yo’s Kaku (Father’s brother’s wife) who lives in Barshi, Solapur, prepares this with lot of enthusiasm and love. She was telling me that it is known as “yelavni” in the solapur region. I think what changes the dynamics of the taste to this amti is using chana dal water.I didn’t use goda masala in my amti as I didn’t have it and I feel that goda masala has a very strong flavor which doesn’t suit my palate too much, but the original recipe has goda masala.


Katache Pani – 1 and ½ cups

Mashed Chana Dal – 1 ½ tbsps

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

Cumin Seeds - 3 tsps

Cinnamon - 1 piece

Bay leaves - 2

Curry leaves -8-10

Garam Masala - 2 tsps

Goda Masala – 2 tsps (optional)

Red Chilli Powder – 2 tsps

Asafetida - a pinch

Tamarind paste - ½ tsp

Grated Jaggery – 1 tsp

Grated coconut - 3 tbsps

Salt as per taste

Coriander leaves for garnish

Oil – 1 tbsp


Take 2 teaspoons of Cumin seeds and dry roast it till it crackles. Keep aside. Now dry roast 3 tablespoons of grated coconut and roast until faint pink color and aromatic. Now run both in a blender to make a fine paste. Keep aside.

In a wok, add oil, when its hot, add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, then add mustard seeds and cumin seeds, when the mustard seeds start to crackle add in the curry leaves to it, then add a pinch of asafetida, now pour the katache pani (water from the boiled chana dal), add the mashed dal, then add, red chili powder, garam masala, goda masala, tamarind, jaggery, and salt to it. Bring this to boil and then add coconut paste. Boil for some time, add water if it’s too thick. Mix well and let it boil for about 10 minutes.

Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve hot with puran poli.


This is the same recipe as blogged before, the only difference being that the refined flour has been replaced with wheat flour. Wheat is a healthy option and doesn’t alter the taste too much and the Puran poli tastes yummy anyways.


Bengal gram (chana dal) - 2 cups,

Jaggery - 2 cups

Wheat flour -2 cups

Oil - 3 tbsp

Salt – ½ tsp

Cardamom powder -1 tsp

Nutmeg powder 1/4th tsp

Dry ginger powder(soonth) -1/4th tsp

Ghee as required


Grate the jaggery, keep aside. Soak the Bengal gram for about 2-3 hours. Then add water enough to immerse the dal completely and a bit on top. Cook chana dal in a pressure cooker for 5 whistles till it turns soft. Drain out excess water until the dal is absolutely dry. You can retain this water to make Katachi Amti (I will blog this recipe later). Mash the chana dal into a paste. In a wok, Add one tablespoon of ghee, then add the cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and dry ginger powder(soonth), Now add the grated jaggery, when the grated jaggery melts, add the chana dal paste and blend both well, and cook further. You will notice that the mix has become watery, which scared me out of my wites, thinking that this attempt is going to fail too. So I urgently called my mother-in-law in Pune and asked her what to do, she said don’t worry, it is like that, “Don’t cook for too long in the wok, the chana dal paste will harden and you don’t want it to get hard. She said, immediately switch off the gas and wait for the mix to cool down, then put it in the mixie and blend twice till you see it is completely mixed up, this mix, we must add in the wok and cook it on a low flame till it comes to a dough like consistency, which happens very soon, like 2-3 minutes time. Once you see it has come to a dough like consistency put off the gas and Allow the mix to cool so you can make balls out of the mixture. Make 20 balls out of it and keep aside

Mix wheat flour, a pinch of salt, oil and water and knead the dough.

The dough will be very soft and sticky dough. Keep this aside for about half an hour till it sets. Then knead again, by punching it and folding it. You can remove all your frustrations on the dough…Imagine the joys of cooking….

Knead well and divide the dough into 20 equal portions.

With greased palms, take one portion of the dough and flatten it into a disc of the size of the palm. Place a ball of "chana jaggery" paste in the centre and fold the disc from all sides to cover the paste completely.

On a well-floured board, gently roll out each poli with the help of a rolling pin into a 6 inches disc. This can get tricky as the paste does try to slide out. Use a little flour if that happens.

Roast each poli on a hot, dry girdle.Add a teaspoon of ghee around the poli , once you see some spots on the backside flip over, you will see your Puran polis puff up. Once done, Remove on a plate. Serve hot with a dollop of ghee or a bowl of warm milk and with steaming hot Katachi Amti.

I would also like to send Wheat Puran Polis and Katachi Amti to Purva of "Purva's Dawat" for "Festive Food-Holi" event.

Wheat Puran Polis, go to Roma of "Roma's space", who is guest hosting "JFI-Wheat" this month, an event started by Indira.

I would also like to send this to PJ’s Tasty Bites for Toddlers event

Tuesday, March 10, 2009




Iam living in Singapore since 8 years and have been quite fascinated with the Singapore cuisine. One thing that I realized is that there are many similarities in various cuisines across Asia. Some recipes that are very similar to the ones made in India, the only variation being the flour used or the way it is eaten (I mean, the accompaniments). One such dish that I was fascinated with is the “Goreng Pisang” (“Pisang” means banana and “Goreng” means to fry), there is some controversy to the name though as the Malaysians and Indonesians call it Pisang Goreng which means fried banana. Anyways controversies apart I would like to share with all of you’ll the recipe of Ripe Banana Bajji(which is the Goreng Pisang of India), Bajji made with Ripe Bananas. This is a hot favorite with my husband. It’s very important what kind of banana you choose. The bananas shouldn’t be over-ripe or semi-ripe, they should be just right to eat. It shouldn’t be cut too thin else it will literally melt into the batter while frying. It should be cut into 11/2 inch lengths before frying. The batter shouldn’t be too watery, it should be thick enough to cover the banana completely, if the batter is watery the banana will get directly fried in the oil and the result will be very oily.


Bananas – 2 ripe ones

Bengal gram flour / Besan flour – 1 cup

Rice flour – 1 tbsp

Soda bi-carb – a pinch (optional)

Red chilly powder - 2 tsps

Salt as per taste

Oil – for deep frying


Peel the Bananas and cut into chunks. Keep aside. In a bowl, Add Besan flour, rice flour, a pinch of soda bi-carb, red chilly powder and salt as per taste. Add water and make a thick paste first, this ensures that the lumps get dissolved. Then add more water till it comes to the dosa better consistency. Keep aside. Now take a deep frying pan, Add oil for frying.

Take a chunk of banana and dip it into the batter, the banana should be coated well with the batter else it will come in direct contact with the oil and absorb too much oil. Drop the coated banana chunks into hot oil and deep fry until golden brown. Once you remove from oil place on kitchen towel to drain the excess oil. Serve hot. You can eat it just like that. Just bite into one and a riot of flavors explode into your mouth, ranging from hot, sweet, salty and crispy outside and the soft and gooey banana inside. Enjoy this delightful snack on a cold winter or rainy day.


I would like to share with you’ll the recipe of Goreng Pisang, wherein Rice flour, salt, sugar are mixed with water to form a batter like consistency and then Bananas(not over ripe usually the “Pisang Raja” variety available in this part of the world ) are dipped into this batter and deep fried. Sometimes, glutinous rice flour is also added to the batter and sometimes a bit of ginger powder is added to give that extra flavor to the batter. Then the bananas are dipped in the batter and deep fried until golden brown and served hot with a dash of cinnamon powder and some fresh cream.

I saw a beautiful rainbow outside and I thought I must capture it in my camera. There is a pot

of gold at the end of the rainbow. I thought this signifies the recession we are going through and the optimistic th

ought that it will end and things will brighten up as I believe that there is light at the end of a tunnel and we will find that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

I would like to send this wonderful dish to my blogger friend Purva for the “ Festive Food – Holi” event that she is hosting.

I would also like to send this to PJ’s Tasty Bites for Toddlers event

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


We were used to snacking in the evenings and every evening Amma used to rustle up some tiffin for us, but sometimes we used to get bored with the usual fare and then amma used to make Pori (Click on the link to know more about Pori )Uppuma for us, which is not only nutritious but tasty and kids love the softness and guess what a lot of vegetables used to go in along with it and the dish is so colorful so kids completely adore it. I kind of forgot about this dish, but, one day after I was married and moved into Singapore, while I was pondering over what to make for nashta (evening snack or tiffin as it is called), I remembered the Pori Uppuma, so I made it. I served it to my husband(who happens to be a Maharashtrian, by the way) with a dash of lime and he told me they make it too and it’s called “Sushila” I kind of felt weird about the name, sounds like the name of a girl….Its called Pori Uppuma down south….what the heck, call the dish by any name it still tastes the same, there is some variation from one state to another, but I still call it my Amma’s signature dish. So here’s a low fat and nutritious dish that you can rustle up for your loved ones.
Puffed Rice(Pori/ Kurmura) - 400 gms (2 Packet)
Peanuts – 2-3 tbsps
Onion-1(finely chopped)
Potato – 1 (peeled and chopped into cubes)
Tomato – 1 (chopped into cubes)
Green Chillies-2 -3
Grated ginger – 2 tsps
Mustard Seeds -1 tbsp
Bengal gram (Chana dal) l-1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Asafetida – a pinch
Salt as per taste
Oil – 2 tbsps
Curry leaves – A sprig
Coriander leaves for garnish
Lemon – ½ a lemon
In a wok, heat 2 tbsps of oil, Fry the peanuts until u see them cracking and slightly brown, keep aside. In the same oil put in the mustard seeds and chana dal and when the mustard seeds start to splutter, add in the green chillies, ginger paste and curry leaves and fry for a minute. Now add Onion and fry until transparent, then add in the tomatoes and potatoes, add salt as per taste, turmeric and a pinch of asafetida. Add in the fried peanuts.
Wash the puffed rice (pori) in a colander and soak for about 5 minutes, you can do this while the vegetables are getting cooked. Once, the potatoes are soft and cooked. Add in the soaked puffed rice. Mix well and cook covered for 5 minutes, then switch off the flame and keep it covered for another 5 minutes. Squeeze lime, mix well and serve hot.

Puffed Rice Uppuma, has got Tomato as one of the ingredients and I believe that tomato adds zest and color to this dish, therefore this dish goes to Sanghi of "Sanghi's Tasty Bites" for her blog's new event

Since Pori Uppuma has so many vegetables and peanuts and is nutritious to eat and kids would love to eat it because its soft, colorful and got potatoes which most kids love, I would love to send this to Deepa of "Simple Home cooking" for the event "Cooking for kids-P
otato", this event is started by Sharmi.
I would also like to send Pori Uppuma to Purva of "Purva's Dawat" for "Festive Food-Holi" event, as it is so colorful and festive looking.

I would also love to send Pori Uppuma to Srivalli’s Monthly Mingle 31 – Kid’s lunches originally started by Meeta as kids simply enjoy the color and softness of this dish and it is healthy and nutritious

I would also like to send this to PJ’s Tasty Bites for Toddlers event.This can be fed to ages 3 and up.

Saturday, February 14, 2009



Sojji is a simple, easy to make and very enjoyable sweet. Easy to make is an under statement, as if the proportion of the ingredients is not correct the Kesari will come out either too pasty or too dry. If the flame is too strong the sojji wont come out well. So, here’s the recipe for a perfect kesari (sojji)if followed exactly as it is here. I had earlier blogged in the recipe of Strawberry kesari /sheera in my blog (Click on the link to check it out.)
Here I would like to mention the Sheera made by the Maharashtrian Brahmins for Prasad for the Satyanarayan Pooja ceremony. It will always be so perfect wherever you go, whichever Satyanarayana Pooja you go to, not so pasty, separate and rich and exotic with loads of ghee. When we had the Satyanarayana pooja at home, I asked the Brahmin who made it how we does and he said that we take 1 ¼ cup of Semolina, ghee and sugar. I did want to try it but when it came to pouring the ghee I didn’t have the heart to pour so much, thinking of the calories and how many kilometers I will have to walk to burn it. So I sacrificed on the ghee and the result was a disaster.

Since my daughter is a huge Sojji / Kesari / Sheera fan, I searched and searched for the perfect recipe that would make my daughter compliment me and tell me that I make the best Kesari. She always compliments my downstairs neighbor’s Kesari and come what may she says I can’t match up to it. I asked Anita(my downstairs neighbor) for the recipe, even got it done from her, she makes fantastic Kesari, but, the same problem, oodles of ghee (Fat!!!! Calories!!! Weight!!!!) and my knees would turn to jelly. Every person I asked said, “Kesari wouldn’t be Kesari if there is no ghee”. But this recipe doesn’t have as much ghee and still tastes good. Here is a no-fail recipe, if followed properly as per the measurements given here and the procedure followed here. Make this Kesari and enjoy the compliments.

Cream of wheat (rava/ semolina) - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 - 1.5 cups

Clarified Butter (Ghee) - 3-4 tbsp
Cardamoms (de-skinned and crushe
d) - 3-4

Golden Raisins (kismis) - 8-10
Orange food color (kesari) -1tsp

Add 1 tbsp ghee in a wok with a thick bottom, when its hot add the raisins and de-skinned and crushed cardamoms, once the raisins become plump, Add the semolina and roast in the ghee along with the raisins and cardamom till the rava gets a faint pink color. Keep aside. Now in the same wok, add 3 cups of water, add the color and let it boil. When it comes to boiling point, add the semolina slowly, constantly stirring, and mix well. Allow the semolina to be cooked at medium heat. The trick is that the semolina has to cook well. Keep covered and cook for a while. When it is fully cooked, add the sugar and stir well. The sugar makes it watery, so stir well. When the sugar is fully dissolved, add the remaining ghee. Keep stirring until the semolina starts leaving the sides of the pan. Your Kesari/Sheera/Sojji is ready. Check the close up snap of the Kesari, it shows how moist and well cooked it is. Serve warm, dunk in with a spoon and enjoy it.

I would like to send my Aparna’s FIC Orange Event which was initially started by Sunshinemom

I would also like to send this toAlka's Sindhi Rasoi and since it is Valentines Day today and this is a Valentine event, this goes out to my 5 year old who loves this dish very much.

Sojji also goes to Priyanka of Asankhana who is hosting the event Cooking with luv for luv

Iam also sending this lovely dessert to Recipes for the rest of us-Dessert event started by Ramki of One page cook books and hosted by Varsha of Willo the Wisp

Priti has bestowed upon me the Lemonade Award, Thank you Priti for the lovely award.

I would also like to send this to PJ’s Tasty Bites for Toddlers event


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