Welcome aboard!

Indian cuisine is a riot of colours, flavours, and spices. Every state has its own unique culture- ingrained taste bud. And, to many of us staying within familiar tastes is a sacrosanct act. Of course an occasional trip to a speciality restaurant that serves another fare is ok. But, as a matter of routine ...at home...NO!

One of the benefits of being born to parents who dared an interstate marriage (am talking about India of the 70's) was being able to widen a regional taste bud to accept, experiment and, relish eclectic cuisines :-)

I love food! Be it traditional or fusion, cooking is all about turning out fare that is tasty and healthy.I welcome all lovers of good food to come on aboard and share your kitchen adventures.

If you like what you see, do leave a comment. If you don't, please leave a suggestion to help me make this better.

You can also request for any recipe you want. Just leave a note in a comment box.

Happy cooking!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Vinayaka Chathurthi Kozhukkattai, money purse modkam, and easy sukhiyan

Vinayaka Chathurthi celebrates the benevolent elephant faced god, Vinayaka (Ganesha). I've always enjoyed collecting Vinayaka idols and figurines. While staying at Chennai, vinayaka chathurthi used to give me the perfect opportunity to collect beautiful and unique Ganesh figurines. Though it's customary to immerse the idol into a water source after the festival, I've never been able to do so. I love the happy god with his very humane ways. Symbolically, it is said, Ganesha represents the concept of perfection in imperfection. With his elephant head and overfilled tummy tied around with a snake to prevent it from bursting, he seems full of physical imperfections. Yet it is Ganesha who is believed, by all Hindus, to be the harbinger of all things good. Any religious or social, if it is to be successful, is begun by an invocation of Ganesha.
Here is my foodie offering to the lovable Ganesha...

Kozhukattai/ Modak/Stuffed Rice dumpling

This steam cooked dish is considered a favourite of Ganesha. The white, round dish in the middle of the picture is Kozhukattai.
For the dough
Raw rice flour - 200 gms
Cumin seeds (jeera) - 1 teaspoon
Hot water - sufficient for kneading
Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
Place the rice flour, cumin and salt in a vessal and add in the water bit by bit. Use a sturdy ladle to mix in the water. Finally when the dough is a little cool , use your hands to knead mixture into a soft but firm dough. This is a slightly flaccid version of the chappathi dough.

For the filling (pooranam)
Freshly grated coconut - 2 cups
Jaggery (indian cane sugar) - 100 gms
Cardamom - 5 Nos
Water - 1 cup
Boil water and dissolve jaggery in it. Filter out scum. Pour back into a thick bottomed vessel and simmer cook. When it reaches syrupy consistency, add in the coconut and crushed cardamom seeds. Keep stirring till coconut absorbs all water. Cool.

Take a golf ball sized portion of the dough, shape it into a round, and placing it on your palm flatten it in the middle to cause a depression. Now place a teaspoon of the filling in the middle and reshape into a ball. Repeat procedure with the rest of the dough. In an Idli steamer or any other steamer, place the balls and steam cook for about 10 minutes. If you do not have a steamer, you could line a large, steel colander with muslin/cotton cloth and place over a vessel of boiling water. Cook covered.
Money purse modak

The tiny, cream coloured items on the right side of the picture are money purse modaks. These resemble the shape of string pouches (purses) used by our grandmothers and hence the name.

The dough and filling is the same as kozhukattai. Here you take small goosberry sized balls of the dough and place a teeny amount of the filling in it. Dampen your fingers and shape the ball to resemble a string purse. Deep fry and leave on a kitchen tissue to drain excess oil.

Easy Sukhiyan

Sukhiyan is a Kerala deep fried sweet dish made out of green gram (moong) , jaggery, and maida (all purpose flour). Decided to adapt this to suit my Vinayaka chathurthi fare. The brown item on the left of the picture is sukhiyan.

Whole green gram (moong) - 100 gms
Jaggery (Indian cane sugar) - 50 gms
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Cardamom - 3 Nos
Rice flour - 1 cup

Pressure cook moong for about 3 whistles on low flame. Crudely crush with a fork. Dissolve jaggery in half a cup of water and filter scum. Powder cardamom. Mix with the moong. Stir fry in a skillet for a few minutes. Cool and knead in the rice flour. The consistency should be soft and you should be able to drop tiny knobs of the mixture into hot oil using your fingers.

Heat oil and gently and carefully drop dollops of the mixture into it. Fry till all sides are browned well.
This is my entry to Purva's festive food series - Krishna and Ganesh Chathurthi. The event is on at http://purvasdaawat.blogspot.com/2008/08/announcing-krishna-and-ganesh-chaturthi.html

This is also making its way to Paajaka Recipe's Sweet series - Deep fried or steam cooked sweets event. The event is on at http://www.paajaka.com/2008/09/announcing-sweet-series-deep-fried-or.html

My blogger buddy EC of simpleindianfood has passed me the Good Job award. Thanks a bunch EC.

I, in turn, would be delighted to pass this on to Vidhya of My Recipes (iyercooks); and Usha of veginspirations. I will be passing this on to 4 more deserving blogs in a couple of days.


Priti said...

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to U too dear..am fine how abt U? Hope you are enjoying your day...and everything looks so yummy..I'm really missing chennai now (for all the goodies )...nice spread there and thanks for the wonderful entry :)

sowmya said...

lovely modakams..liked the money purse modaks and sukhiyan recipe is good!!will try sukhiyan!!

LG said...

Happy Ganesha Chaturthi to you 2 ..lovely spread :)

Dibs said...

Hello Dersana - Thanks for visiting. I agree with you on expanding taste buds. Paanch Phoron, Asafotida, Radhuni, jeera, biryani leaf and curry leaf co -exist peacefully in my kitchen! Sundays breafast would be dosa and omlette, lunch would be bibelebath and mutton biryani...but dinner is signed off with molagu rasam! :-)))

modak recipes are delicious. I have posted modaks today too. Suhiyon is something I should try!

Priti said...

Hey thanks for adding me in your blogroll :)

Purva Desai said...

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi!!
Thank you for the wonderful entry...
Modak purse looks soo cute and sukhiyan looks delicious too

Priti said...

Added your in my blogroll too :)

Usha said...

Congratulations on your award and thank you so much for passing it on to me...I am touched...Happy Ganesh chathurthi to you too..everything looks delicious...

Sireesha said...

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi dear...

Awesome and yummy modakams......LOVELY SPREAD.
First time at ur blog u have nice and lovely blog.......

Kitchen Flavours said...

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Vaishali said...

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi, Dershana, and what a lovely spread you have here! I just love modaks, and yours look super-special.
Thanks for adding me to your blogroll.

srikars kitchen said...

Happy Ganesh Chathuthi!!!!

kozhukkattai looks yummy & Delicious...

nice entry..

Vidhya said...

Thanks Dershana for the award. You made my day. Sorry I took more time to collect it.

Annarasa said...

Thanks for visiting my blog Dershana. Best wishes for Onam!!Love your Ganesh Chaturthi recipes. As for the laddoos - yes I do brown the flour more - this helps it get a really rich fragrance and enhances the taste of the laddoos.


Blog Blog