Sheera (from Rava/Suji)

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About Sheera

This is a favorite dish of both my brothers. It is an easy recipe and can be ready in a span of 30 minutes and as such is a common breakfast item. Other than breakfast, it is also prepared as prasadam for poojas in India such as Laxmi pooja, the Sathyanarayana pooja etc. The prasad prepared for Sathya narayana pooja is called Sapatha. It is prepared from both Bombay rava as well as Bansi rava. Actually preparing from Bombay Rava turns out better since the Bansi (wheat) Rava swells on boiling and the whole dish turns out to be rather thick. One may infact use a still thinner variety of Rava known as Chiroti rava.

What you need to have:

Ingredients of Sheera

                                                             Ingredients of sheera

1. Bombay sujee (semolina 1 cup

2. Pure Ghee –   1/4  Cup

3. Sugar –   3/4  Cup

4. Water –   1 and 1/4  Cup

5. Sliced almonds – 10

6. Kishmish – 15

7. Cashew pieces – 15-20

8. Few Saffron strings

What you do with what you have:

1. In a broad based vessel, fry Kishmish, Cashews in Ghee. In left over ghee, fry Semolina until you get a pleasant aroma.

2. Get the water up to boil.

3. Add boiling water to the fried semolina and let it cook till smooth/fine on a low flame.

4. Add sugar to boiled semolina and keep stiring till it mixes and does not form lumps.

5. Add fried kishmish, cashews and sliced almonds to the above mixture.

sheera spread in a plateto cut

Sheera mixture being cut into pieces

5. Dissolve saffron in a teaspoon of milk and add it to the mixture.

Sheera is ready to be spread onto a plate/vessel and cut into pieces. Cardamom also can be added for aroma instead of saffron.

What it looks like:

Ready to serve Sheera

Ready to eat sheera pieces

Note:

  • Do ensure that the semolina is fried well so as to avoid the smell of raw rava.
  • When it is prepared as prasad for Sathyanarayana pooja we add milk instead of water and in addition also add ripe bananas.

How long it takes: 30 minutes

Number of pieces: 15-20

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Sankashti Dates for 2008

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Sankashti always falls on exactly the fourth day after the full moon day of every month. Many of us follow it by fasting the whole day in various ways to suit one’s convenience. Many of them follow only that Sankashti which falls on Tuesdays, it is Lord Ganapathi’s day. There is a belief that if a person follows Tuesday’s Sankashti, it is as good as having followed 21 Sankashtis.

In this post I am putting up the exact dates and days on which Sankashti falls each month in the coming year. If there are any changes, I will update this post. I have also mentioned moon-rise times for those days since people have their dinner only after the moon rise. In this year, there is only one Tuesday Sankashti, which falls in March 2008.

See a list of other Hindu festivals here.

Date Moon rise
Friday, January 25 9.18 pm
Sunday , February 24 10.06 pm
Tuesday, March 25 9.43 pm
Thursday, April 24 10.08 pm
Friday, May 23 9.40 pm
Sunday, June 22 9.05 pm
Monday, July 21 9.21 pm
Wednesday, August 20 9.25 pm
Thursday, September 18 8.57 pm
Friday, October 17 8.30 pm
Sunday, November 16 9.17 pm
Monday, December 15 9.05 pm

Hindu festivals for 2008

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There are a host of Hindu festivals which fall at different points in the coming year. I would like to put up a list of these for the convenience of those of you who live abroad and will not be able to keep track of them. I will keep up dating if any changes are there. All these dates are according to the Udayavani Diary for 2008.

Meanwhile, I wish you all a very

Happy New Year 2008.

Date Festival
January 8 Ellu Amavasya
January 14 Makara sankaramana/Pongal/Paryaya in Udipi
March 6 Maha shivarathri
March 21 Holi
April 6 Ugadi/Gudi padva
April 14 Soura ugadi/Ram Navmi
April 20 Hanuman Jayanthi
May 18 Narasimha Jayanthi
August 6 Nagar Panchami
August 15 Varamahalaxmi Pooja (Also Independence Day)
August 16 Upakarma/Raksha Bandhan
August 23 Krishna janmashtami
September 2 Gowri thrathiya
September 3 Ganesh chathurthi
September 14 Anantha vritha (Nopi)
September 29 Mahalaya amavasya
October 7 Durgashtami
October 8 Mahanavami
October 9 Vijaya Dasami
October 27 Deepavali
October 28 Lakshmi pooja
October 30 Bhagini Grahe bhojanam
November 10 Uthana Dwadashi (Tulasi pooja)
December 4 Subramanya sashti
December 27 Ellu Amavasya

Aside from these, there are also festivals that recur at regular intervals. Sankashti is an example ; I have a separate post with the dates listed here.

Capsicum Sukkhe (Capsium in Coconut gravy)

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About Capsicum Sukkhe

I learnt this dish from my mom (although she prepared it without potatoes). Over the years though I found that adding potatochanges not only the form of the dish but also the taste. Capsicum Sukkhe is a side-dish for lunch either with rice or with rotis. Since capsicums are now available in 2 or three varieties, make sure you use the big variety (they are less spicy). During our stay in the US earlier this year, I saw a variety of capsicums (although they call it pepper), both in terms of size and color. Another dish made from this variety of capsicum is capsicum bajje – dipped in besan (chana atta) and deep fried.

What you need to have:

Capsicum (big) – 200 grams

Potato – 100 grams

Onions – 100 grams

Ingredients of the dish
Basic ingredients

Ingredient for Masala/Gravy:

Grated coconut – 50 grams

Red chilli – 3 in number

Tamarind pulp – 1/2 teaspoon

Corriander seeds – 1 teaspoon

Fenugreek seeds – 5-6

Jaggery(optional)

Ingredients of the Masala

Ingredients of the Masala

What you do with what you have:

1. Wash capcicum and potato (pealed) length-wise.

2. Cut onions lengthwise.

3. Fry red chilli, corriander seeds, fenugreek in a spoon in oil seperately and keep aside.

4. Prepare masala by grinding grated coconut, fried coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, tamarind pulp and red chilli in the mixer to a medium coarse consistency by adjusting the water.

5. Place a broad based bowl on gas and fry onions in 3 teaspoons of cooking oil until they are transparent.

6. Add ground masala from Step 4 to it and let it cook for a while.

7. Add cut vegetables and salt to it and allow it to cook until the vegetables have boiled well on medium flame. If you are adding jaggery, you may do so at this point. Keep the bowl/pan closed throughout.

What it looks like:

Ready to serve Capsicum Masala

Relish Sukkhe with either rice and dal or even rottis.

How long it takes: 30 minutes

Number of servings: 4

Hurikadle Chutney Powder

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About Hurikadle Chutney powder

For a long time we have prepared a variety of dry chutney powders at home mainly as alternatives to freshly prepared (wet) chutney or other side-dishes. If we are busy and run short of time (as it used to be in my school days when there was no mixer at home either), then dry chutney powder comes in handy. Idli, Dosa and even rottis can be enjoyed with dry chutney powder.

We make more than 6 varieties of Chutney powder and here I am putting up the first of those, made from Hurikadle ( Roasted Bengal Gram Dal). It may be prepared with or without Copra(dry coconut)

What you need to have:

Ingredients of Hurikadle chutney powder
Ingredients of Chutney powder

Hurikadle – 100 grams

Grated copra – 125 grams

Chilli powder(Byadgi) – 50 grams

Asafoetida Paste(smooth) – 1″piece

Tamarind – 1″piece

Curry leaves (fresh & tender) – a handful

 

What you do with what you have:

1. Place a broad based bowl on gas and roast Hurikadle till crispy but do not burn.

2. Roast grated copra till you get a pleasant aroma and until crispy. As it turns light brown, add chili powder, switch off the flame and stir .

3. Roast curry leaves till crispy on low flame. Over doing this will cause the leaves to lose color, so stay by the gas all the time. (You may use the stem of curry leaves if they are tender.)

4. Place a spatula containing 1 teaspoon cooking oil on gas and fry asafoetida(Hing) in it till it becomes brown and crispy.

5. Mix all the ingredients fried/roasted into the copra-chili mixture (from step 2). Add tamarind, salt, a pinch of sugar and allow it to cool. At this point, the mixture looks as below.

Roasted /fried ingredients

Roasted/Fried ingredients

6. Grind the mixture in dry blender/mixer to a medium coarse consistency as shown in the image below.

What it looks like:

Ready chutney powder

Ready chutney powder

Store chutney powder in airtight container to ensure that it remains fresh for 3-4 months.

Note: The consistency of the chutney powder depends on the quality of Copra – sometimes copra itself being less oily (more dry) means the chutney power is dry. If the powder is too try, then you have to have it with ghee/butter so that it does not get stuck in the throat. If asafoetida paste is not available, then even powder can be used . But make sure it is fried in a little cooking oil , else it may give a raw flavour to the chutney powder.  Please DONOT use Desicated coconut powder.  The powder may turn out too dry.

How long it takes: 45 minutes

Dry fruit biscuits

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About dry fruit biscuit

Branded biscuits are available in plenty in the market. But this biscuit is different. Its made from dry fruits, not maida and oil. I borrowed this recipe from my sister; its a favorite of my nephew’s. The preparation is easy and can be ready in a span of only 20 minutes, but since you have to freeze them for 2 hours before they are ready to eat, give yourself about 3 hours in all. These days I prepare it quite often since it can be served as a snack during tea.

What you need to have:

Seedless Dates – 250 grams

Almonds – 15

Cashews – 15

Marie Biscuits – 4 or 5

Pure butter – 2 teaspoons

Sugar – 1-2 teaspoon

 

Ingredients of seedless Date Biscuit

Ingredients of Dates Biscuit

What you do with what you have:

1. Slice almonds, cashews separately and keep aside.

2.Place a broad based bowl on medium/low flame with 2 teaspoons of butter in it.  On melting add seedless dates and 2 teaspoons of sugar to it. Use a wooden spatula  to stir this mixture to make it a smooth paste.

3. On heating, the dates turn smooth. At this point add cashews and almonds from step 1 and stir well.

4. Lastly add Marie biscuit pieces and switch off the flame.

5. Without any delay, roll this mixture applying a little butter or ghee to your palm. The roll is as shown in the image.

 

Ready Biscuit roll

Ready Biscuit roll

 

5. Wrap the roll in an aluminum foil and push it into the deep freezer for about 1-2 hours.

 

Mixture ready to be rolled in alumini um foil

6. Remove from the freezer and cut into required size and thickness. Tear the foil and enjoy the tasty biscuits.

What it looks like:

 

Ready to serve biscuits so yummy

Yummy pieces of Biscuits

Store them in airtight container in the fridge (but not in the deep freezer.)

How long it takes: 20 minutes (other than freezing)

Number of servings: 15 medium-thin biscuits

Note:You may add any dry fruits of your choice other than Kishmish. Just make sure they are indeed dry and not damp. Pista can be added for extra flavor.

Tomato Burfi

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About Tomato Burfi

In my childhood days there was a fancy for burfies . Although several varieties of burfies were available in most shops, tomato burfi was only available in one particular shop. I liked tomato burfi since it was not too sweet and as one would expect had a sour tinge to it. I knew the shopkeeper well and this ensured that whenever a new stock of tomato burfi came in, I would have the chance to purchase some. Of course, my mom prepared them at home but it was not quite the same.

Several years later I thought I would as well give a try and since it turned out well, I am putting this up on the blog in order to share with my readers. It is an easy recipe and can be prepared it within 35-40 minutes. One or 2 pieces can be served for kids in their lunch box.

What you need to have:

Tomatoes (pulpy) – 250grams

Fresh grated coconut – 50 grams

Sugar – 350 grams

Cardamom – 10

Ghee – 1 teaspoon

Ingredients of Tomato Burfi

Ingredients of Tomato Burfi

What you do with what you have:

1.Wash, cut tomatoes into pieces and grind it in the mixer to a smooth consistency. Use a strainer to discard the skin.

2. Powder cardamom and keep it aside.

3. Crush sugar, grated coconut and tomato juice from step 1 in the mixer /blender together to a smooth consistency.

Tomato juice crushed with coconut & sugar

Tomato Juice crushed with coconut & sugar

3. Place a broad based bowl with the above mixture on a medium /high flame. Keep stirring until it turns thick (like chapathi dough) and does not stick to the side of the bowl.

4. Add cardamom powder and switch off the flame.

5. Pour the thick mixture on a piece of log. Apply a little pure ghee to the chapathi roller and roll it to the required thickness. Cut into required shape and size.

What they look like:

Ready to serve Tomato Burfi

Ready to serve Burfies

What to remember:

1. While crushing tomatoes please do not add water to it.

2. While stirring the mixture be careful to see that it doesn’t get burnt (and bitter). To check whether burfi is ready or not apply a little ghee to your finger tips and check if the batter can roll over it . It consumes exactly 30 minutes if adjusted flame between high & medium.

3. As with burfis, cut the mixture as soon as you take it off the gas.

As far as possible please use only pulpy tomatoes instead of the juicy ones. Buy baby tomatoes which are pulpy ones as shown in the image. (Oval shape)

How long it takes: 30 minutes

No of pieces: 25