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Jul 24, 2011

Maa Vilakku


  1. Rice - 1 cup
  2. Jaggery - 3/4 cup
  3. Elachi powder - 1/2 tsp
  4. Cotton wick
  5. Ghee (fuel for lamp)





Wash and soak rice for 10 minutes. Drain. Then in a clean cloth spread it under fan to dry. In a mixer, powder it nicely. Take a plate, put the rice flour, elachi powder and 1/2 jaggery and mix it well with hands. Till you get the dough firm, keep kneading. The remaining jaggery add as per requirement as while kneading it will melt and the dough should be firm to hold the ghee when we light the lamp.

Divide the dough into two equal parts. Shape them into smooth balls and press it slightly flat. Place them on a plaintain leaf or on a clean greased plate.  Make a hollow in the centre, place a cotton wick, pour melted ghee and grease the tip of the wick. Make very little vermillion dots on both sides of the lamp (As an auspicious sign) where the wick is placed.  Place it before the pooja shelf or in pooja room before the deities and light it.

While distributing the prashad, Offer some betel leaves with betel nuts, whole turmeric, flowers, banana, coconut slices and a small portion of the vilakku dough.

When eaten with coconut, it tastes very delicious.

(ps : Maavilakku is a traditional light offered to the goddess in the tamizh month of Aadi on Fridays and Tuesdays)

Maa Villakku / மா விளக்கு

மா விளக்கு(Maa Vilakku) is a lamp that is made out of flour into which the cotton wick is placed and ghee is poured and the lamp is lit and offered to Devi followed by chanting of slokas and prayers to Devi (goddesss). This maa vilakku is offered to the Goddess on any Friday in the Tamizh month  (falls between july & august) of "Aadi" at homes and at temples, along with Coconuts, beetel leaves, betel nut, whole Turmeric and Flowers. After the lamp calms down, the portions from it is distributed along with coconut slices as prashad.

Aadi month is dedicated to the goddess and in the state of Tamizh Naadu, devotees offer Ragi Porridge (Raagi Koozh) is prepared, offered to the Goddess "Amman" and then distributed to devotees as "Prashad" (as a blessing from God). Aadi month falls in Summer time hence the porridge that is made of Raagi acts as a coolant too and reduces body heat and a very healthy drink.

During the first Friday of this year, i offered maa vilakku to Devi. Presenting it for you as a virtual prashad.


How to make Maavilakku :Click on the link for the procedure.

Jul 23, 2011

Boiled Corn / Cup Corn

When you enter a mall, you can smell the aroma of corn products floating in the air. The popcorn and the cup corn (boiled corn). Cup corn will cost you between 20-30 rupees. But if you buy whole corn from the market it will cost you that much and a whole family can have a healthy feast!

  1. Sweet Corn Pearls - 1 cup
  2. Salt & pepper to taste
  3. Lemon juice - 1/4 tsp
  4. Butter - 1/4 tsp

Boil the sweet corn pearls for three whistles in a cooker.  Add salt, pepper and lemon juice and mix well. Delicious Aromatic Cup Corn is ready. Serve Hot. .


Jul 22, 2011

Corn - How to select and remove corn from the cob

Selecting the corn : The cover should be green and the fiborous silk should be in golden brown colour. Peel the green cover on top, the corn inside should be fully formed and a good yellow colour, firm and juicy.

How to remove the corn from the cob :

1. remove the green husk and the golden fibrous silk

2. break the corn into two



3.remove two vertical rows



4. this is make it easy to remove the following vertical rows easily as shown in the picture.





Jul 20, 2011

Potato Rice / Aloo Rice

Potato is a favourite vegetable for many. The starch packed in it will give lot of energies especially to children and the yummy flavour and taste of it is enjoyed by one and all.

Ingredient : (serves-1)

  1. Potato (big) - 1 No.
  2. Curry leaves  - 5 Nos
  3. Green chillies - as required
  4. Salt to taste
  5. Cooked white rice - 1 cup
  6. Whole urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
  7. Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  8. Hing - 2 pinch
  9. Grated Coconut - 1 tbsp
  10. Coconut Oil - 3 tsp

Procedure :

  • Boil, peel the potato and dice into small cubes.
  • Chop green chillies
  • Heat oil in a kadai. Add  hing and mustard seeds. 
  • When the seeds start spluttering, add Urad dhal
  • When urad dhal turns little pleasant red colour, add curry leaves & green chillies and Grated coconut
  • Saute for 20 seconds, add salt and the cubed potatoes. Mix well. put off the flame.
  • Now mix in the cooked rice well. Potato rice is ready

Variation : you can add chopped ginger while seasoning and garnish with coriander leaves for added flavour.

Jul 12, 2011

Honey & Raisin Pan Cake (Eggless)

A good breakfast / tiffin item which can be prepared at short notice. Was searching for eggless version and this recipe turned out to be good. Don't remember the link exactly as it was taken long time back. Thought of sharing it with you all

Pan cake
  1. Plain Flour (Maida) - 1 Cup
  2. Sugar  - 1 tbsp
  3. Baking Powder - 2 tbsp
  4. Salt - 1/8 tsp
  5. Milk - 1 Cup
  6. Oil - 2 tbsp
  7. Honey - to spread on pancake
  8. Raisin - 2 tsp

  • In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Mix well. Add milk & oil and beat it well till the batter is smooth.
  • Grease a pan and heat it. Pour 1/4 cup of batter over medium heat and spread it by rotating the pan (don't use the laddle for spreading)
  • Cook till the side is done and flip it and cook the other side too till golden brown.
  • Apply a tsp of honey on the surface and serve hot

Variation :
  • Mash banana like a smooth paste and add to batter to make banana pan cake
  • Soak dates in water and grind to a nice paste or add it as it is for making dates pan cake
  • can mix any furit pulp or finely chopped fruit to make different type of pancakes making your own variations.
  • Instead of honey you can add maple syrup or anyother topping of your choice

Jul 11, 2011

Thayir Vadai / Dahi Vada / Curd Vada

Prepare 'Medhu Vadai'  and keep it ready.

For 10 vadais



Ingredients :

  1. Thick Curd - 5 tea cups
  2. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  3. Chopped Coriander Leaves - 1 tbsp
  4. Little oil for tempering
  5. Salt to taste

 Procedure :-

  • Boil water in a kadai and turn off the flame. Put the fried Medhu Vadais into it. 
  • When the vadais become little soft, press them gently with two laddles to squeeze out water without breaking the vadai. 
  • Beat the curd well. 
  • For tempering, Heat little oil, add mustard seeds. when they splutter pour it into the beaten curd and add chopped coriander leaves and salt. 
  • Mix well. 
  • Soak the vadais for some time and serve. Yummy Dahi vadai is ready.

Jul 10, 2011

Medhu Vadai / Medhu Vada

 An yummy South Indian Snack and very popular in the state of Tamizh Nadu. It is shaped in hand, the art of which will be learnt through experience.Now-a-days moulds are available in the stores to get the exact round shape with a hole in the center. The taste will make you wish for more and more forgetting the numbers. Chilli and salt can be adjusted as per taste. Some add rice/chana dhal also but the real taste of the vadai  lies in aunthentic style preparation using purely Urad (Ulundhu) and shaped in hands.

Some use Rice in this recipe for getting soft & crispy vadai and it also helps in shaping. However, traditonally we don't add rice but make it using pure urad. sharing that recipe with you.




Ingridients :-
  1. Urad (white)                        - 1 tea cup
  2. Currey Leaves crushed        - 1 sprig
  3. Green Chilli chopped           - 1 tsp
  4. Ginger chopped                   - 11/2 tsp
  5. Coriander leaves chopped   - 1 tsp
  6. Whole pepper                     - 1 tsp
  7. Salt to taste   
  8. Oil for frying  


 Procedure :-

  • Soak Urad for 40 minutes
  • Crush Curry leaves
  • Chop Green chilli, ginger, coriander leaves
  • Grind Urad to a nice paste by adding little water as the batter has to be thick and in dropping consistency. then only the shape will come properly and dropped in oil.
  • Add salt and other chopped ingredients, whole pepper to the batter and mix well.
  •  Heat oil in a kadai
  • Keep a bowl of water nearby and dip your hands in water before taking the batter to avoid stickness helping the shaped batter to drop in oil easily.
  • Take the batter in your four fingers and make a hole in the centre using the thumb or you can even shape it using a plaintain leaf or non-sticky sheet and drop it in oil
  • Deep fry and keep them on a absorbent paper to remove excess oil
  • Hot medhu vadai is ready to be served with chutney or sambar. It tastes yummy even without any accompaniment as the ingredients gives it a very nice aroma and taste.
Tips
If you find your batter watery, do no panic. Just add some Rawa (sooji/semolina) and let it rest for 5 minutes. then prepare your vada.


Variation :-
This medhu vadai preparation can be had in following ways :

1. Soak in Rasam and your Rasam Vadai is ready
2. Soaked in Curd and had as Thayir Vadai / Dahi Vada

Jul 7, 2011

Mira's Talent Gallery: Nemo Pouch

Mira's Talent Gallery: Nemo Pouch: " This fancy pouch I gifted to my Virtual Motherly Friend when i visited her recently for the first time. As it was an unplanned visit, i d..."

Nemo Pouch

 This fancy pouch I gifted to my Virtual Motherly Friend when i visited her recently for the first time. As it was an unplanned visit, i did nothing to gift her. Whatever i have crocheted these years were all given as gift or taken with love by near & dear ones. Then i remembered making this bag just few days before the visit.


Pattern Courtesy : http://www.angelfire.com/pa/ChloesCorner/MarjorieCrochets/index.blog/1294608/welcome-to-my-new-blog/

Jul 4, 2011

Beware if its nesting days of Mr. & Mrs. Crow!!

Crow raven is aggressive and lives close to the human beings and always adapt itself to the changing situations. The nesting crow pair is very aggressive and will never let any other bird or human being come close to it.

During my childhood days, there were no apartment culture in our city. Only individual houses or groundfloor row colonies were seen. So lots of bushes & trees  Tree 2 were present in the surroundings containing habitats from small insects to big birds like crows. My mother & aunts used to warn me when i go out or to the terrace "beware of the crow nest in the coconut/neem tree". That time crow was a terror bird to me. I remember how my sister got chased by the nesting crows when she was returning home from her school. smiley

We never owned a house, hence kept shifting from place to place which had different ambiance around it giving us different environment. In one such a house where we lived in 2nd floor, there was a drumstick tree which grew uipto the first floor near the bath. Our bathroom was situated outside near the open terrace. Every morning like people looking for auspicious signs, we watched the crow's mood, shielding our head with a thick towel and managed to get in. Me, my father and mother likes & follows punctuality. On  one such crow's nesting occassions, one or two days i was late to school and when i  took the excuse of the nesting crow,   I heard some giggling sounds  and many eyes stared at me wondering "From which part of the world is she from!"  for giving such a lame excuse, including the teacher till the time she was chased by a pair of crows. Experience is a great teacher - the lesson the Teacher learnt! Before that i had passed two academic years.

There was a window on the top through which we could get a clear view of the nest. I was too short as the window stood 4 times taller than me. On a sunday morning, my father lifted me to giving me a clear view of the eggs. There were 3 light green coloured eggs inside the nest. I started pestering my father every morning to show me the eggs and after few days i got fed up as most of the days a crow was sitting covering the eggs. 
courtesy : google images

Then on an evening my mother asked me whether i could hear any peculiar sound different from the regular one. I sharpened my ears but could not recognise one. When the traffic near the road was calmed a little I heard some shrill continuous cries. Yes, the eggs had hatched! It was a great scene to see the affectionate mother taking care of the young ones and yet more aggressive in protecting them.  There was a house cat which used to walk in the branches of the tree that touched the wall of the neighbouring house but luckily those chicks survived from the eyes of the cat. Crow Thanks for the protective parents they had. 

It was amazing to see a crow family - a live discovery channel going on in the neighbourhood when there were no cable channels available. But hardly i see crow nests around as there are not many trees seen in a residential area. Thanks to the concrete Jungle.

The nesting crows also gets chased by the cuckoos (koel) who also nest at the same time. Cuckoos don't build nest of their own. The male cuckoo diverts the crows away from their nest and the female cuckoo takes this chance and lay her eggs in the crow's nest. The crows bring up the cuckoo chicks along with their young ones without realising it. See the nature's play!
When we offer food, the crow calls for its pair and have its share. When one crow dies the whole crow community mourns for the death by flying restlessly around that area cawing continuously. In india Crow is considered sacred and is the vehicle (vahana) of the God Shanishwar (one of the navgraha gods).

There are hirearchy in crows. The dark black and big ones looks different & stronger than the regular crows.I am feeding rice grains to the birds and crow is one of the visitor of the morning hours. When the dark king crow comes, the ordinary crow waits patiently till the other one has its share and clear out from the place.

There are many proverbs around the world on the crows "The crow regards no egg but its own",  "The crow thinks its own chicks fairest", "jhooth bole kauwa kaate" etc. There is a famous old Tamizh Picture song on crows "Ka,ka, ka...." telling about the good charachters of the crow which a human should learn. There is an idiom "As the crow flies" to denote the shortest route between two points.

Crow is also an adaptive bird. Though they missed big trees for nesting, during my recent road travel through one of the busiest highway of the city, i saw some crows nesting on the extra cable wires that were tied to the lamp post on the dividers. Poor chicks forced to tolerate the heat & rains without a shade. Even the small birds like sparrows has no bushes left in the city except in the bushes of few gardens which were watered. Slowly the insects, birds and animals are being driven out of their homes. If they keep moving out where will they go leaving this planet? We humans are very selfish destroying the echo system with our destructive development forgetting the important roles that these fellow planet neighbours play in our life.

Jul 3, 2011

Baking Tips for Bars & Cookies

This tip i have noted down in my notebook from an old magazine some years back. Thought of sharing it here.
  • Foil the line pans for baking bars. Once bars have cooled, you can lift the foil right out and cut the bars cleanly. The pans will only need a quick rinse & dry.
  • Always bake bars on the middle rack in the oven & cookies on the top rack. If baking more than one pan at a time, place them at different angles on different racks to allow maximum circulation of heat. Alternate their placement on the racks halfway through the baking time.
  • Cool cookie sheets between batches to keep unbaked cookies from melting and thinning at the edges before they can be set by the heat of the oven.


Image courtesy : google images

Jul 1, 2011

While cooking lentil / dhal

While cooking toor dhal / arhar dhal (thuvaram Paruppu) in pressure cooker, add 3 drops of oil to it, this will prevent spillage inside during boiling and also dhal will be cooked well.

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