Green Beans Palya

We are a big vegetable loving family! My gut is happy when I load it with Veggies.. Same with all my folks.I need at least 2 lbs / 1 kg of vegetable for Palya alone.So my effective weekly vegetable shopping means 7 * 2lb of vegetables.  Also we like our vegetables tender crisp, not soggy and shapeless. Therefore our option is limited to either Palya or Salads. So here is one of the most sought after Palya of our family. I used organic Green Beans and it was fantastic

Serves 6 || Per serving Calories| total 148 | Protein 4 |  fat 8.3 || Fiber 7 gm |

Green Beans  2 lbs
Expeller pressed Peanut Oil  2 tbsp
Urad Dal                1 tbsp
Channa Dal             1 tbsp
Hing                 a dash
Mustard Seeds    1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds      1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies (Byadagi)     4-5
Fresh grated coconut  1/2 cup

Salt to taste
Lemon Juice to taste

  • Wash and clean the Green Beans. Trim the ends and chop it. Set it aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok. Toss the mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing. Once the spices crackle throw in the chillies, Urad dal, Channa dal. Toast till the dal is golden brown. 
  • Throw in the Green Beans. Add about 1/4 cup of water. Cover and steam till the beans almost tender but still crisp.
  • Toss in the coconut. Adjust salt and lemon juice. Cook for a few more minutes. Serve with hot rice.

Herekai Palya / Curried Ridge Gourd

It was Sriram Navami a couple of days back. As much as I remember Lord Rama on the occasion of his birthday, it is all about Panaka, Majjige and Kosambari. We did not celebrate the festival this time because my Grandmother was operated upon that day. We reserve the celebration for tomorrow. Thanks to Lord Rama my Grandmother is recuperating.

Back to Ramanavami. For me this occasion somehow brings back my school days. It was around Ramanavami that the results of Final exam would be announced. Many a years it would be right on the day of Ramanavami. On such days, we did set out to bring our Report Cards and en-route munch on Kosambari served ubiquitously by devotees of Lord Rama on the roadside, at temples etc . There would be tonnes of Kosambari, and liters of Panaka /Maggige. Some would taste soggy and sad, some bright, happy and a sheer delight to our senses. Eating the cold salad right under the early summer sun had a charm of its own. Ah! Wonder years, they were.
My Grandfather has a practice of taking us kids, his own and all the kids in the neighborhood, basically, who ever wanted to walk a milk to hear his stories and eat all the goodies he gave, to his farmland. There was a Banni tree and he did arrange for Kosambari-Panaka-Majjige routine there. The specialty of course was his story telling session. He was an expert and well loved story teller. So we kids would trek all the way to the farmland and listen to his stories, mostly related to Lord Rama and eat Kosambari served in 'Donne' a bowl make of dried leaves and drink utterly sweet Panaka and Buttermilk in stainless steel glasses. Of course there were no disposable plastic ware to choke our farms and farm animals!  After all the eating we did linger around trying to siphon off the end of the season 'Elachi kayi' / Ber fruit...By then all the 'Avarekai' would have gone, and we did wait for Mangoes. There were a few mango trees right next to the 'Banni' tree. It was my favorite place to hang out. I did climb one of the smaller trees and hoist myself on its lowest branch. (That would probably be about 7-8 feet from the ground!) I did be in heaven till the big-bad-red-ant got me!! The 'Raspuri' Mangoes from that tree used to be so sweet, so juicy, never had anything like that after the tree died.  Yes, it did after my Grandfather......

Now for some Herekai Palya...

We will need,

Herekai/ Ridge Gourd  1 big (about 1 lb)
Onion        1 small diced
Expeller pressed Peanut oil  1 tbsp
Hulipudi / Sambar Powder  1 tsp
Green Chillies  2 slit
Mustard Seeds   1/4 tsp
Cumin  Seeds 1/2 tsp
Hing a dash
Fennel Seeds  a generous Pinch
Salt to taste
Lime juice to taste

  • Wash and clean Herekai. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the ridges and discard the same. Chop the Ridge Gourd set it aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok, throw the mustard seeds. One they pop, follow with cumin and fennel seeds. After 5 second, throw in the Hing.
  • Now add the diced onions and green chillies. Saute till the onions are soft.
  • Throw in the Ridge gourd, a little salt and the Huli-Pudi. Cover and cook on low.
  • Once the Ridge gourd is cooked, adjust salt and lime juice and remove from heat. serve it with rice or Chapatis.

Vegetable / Panner Biriyani

I love Fridays. Something magical about not having to prep break fast the following morning, wake up early morning the next day and pack lunch box etc etc. The very thought of not having to do all that means its a Friday. So Fridays put me in the mood to make something luxurious but not too laborious. What better than Biriyani! We love it so much that two of us end up finishing a potful meant for four! I keep kidding Honey that the minute we see Biriyani, the flexible sack our stomach is, grows bottomless.

We will need, (yields 2 servings)

Basmati rice  3/4 C
Onion      1 medium chopped
Fresh Mint / Fenugreek   1 generous cup
Tomato   1 medium chopped
Green chillies   3-4 slit
Red chilly powder 1 tsp
Dhania 1 tbsp
Cloves  4
Cinnamon 1/2 "
Garlic 3 cloves
Ginger 1/2 " piece
Ghee  3 tbsp
coriander chopped 
Choice of mixed vegetable, panner  -1- 2 cups  (I prefer 2 cups, but not many people like vegetables in every spoon of biriyani)

For the oggarane:
Fennel Seeds   1/2 tsp
Jeera 1/2 tsp
Mint leaves a handful
Cardamon  3-4
Marat Moggu 2-3
Star Anise 2
Kalhuvu  ( I do not know what it is called in English it is kind of a fungus) a small piece
Bay leaf 1

  • Wash rice in multiple change of water, drain and soak it in 2 cups of water. Set it aside for at least 20 minutes.
  • Combine red chilly powder, Dhania powder, cloves  cinnamon garlic ginger and coriander in a food processor and pulse till smooth. Set it aside.
  • Heat ghee in a Handi or a thick bottomed pot. Throw in all the ingredients listed under Oggarane.
  • Once the spices sizzle and are fragrant,throw in the onions, fresh mint/ fenugreek and green chillies. Saute till the onions are golden
  • Throw in the tomatoes and cook till tomatoes are mushy and oil separates from the mixture.
  • Stir in the ginger-garlic spice paste.Cook on low flame till the mixture is fragrant and oil separates from the mixture.
  • Now stir in the other vegetables and cook for scant minute or two. Pour about 1.5 to 2 cups of water depending on the quality of rice. Increase heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Adjust salt and add lemon juice. 
  • Drain the rice and gently add the rice to the vegetable mixture. Stir gently for a brief second. Cover and cook till the rice is done about 20 minutes.
  • If using panner, open the rice mixture 15 minutes through the cooking.Toss the panner and cook the last 5-10 minutes on low heat

Shavige Payasa and Ugadi 2011

Ugadi 2011 was good. After a long long time, we had been to the temple on Ugadi had the 'Bevu-Bella' prasada there.  The cherry on the pie was the nice weather. So got to wear nice silk Saree and my little one got to wear his new Sherwani!
Food wise it was a toned down affair. We just had Carrot Palya, Beans Palya, sprouted Moon beans Kosambari, Chitranna, Payasa, Tovve and Tili Saaru...

Here is the recipe for Shavige Payasa...

Shavige /Vermicelli   1/4 Cup
Whole Milk    3 Cups
Ghee     2 tsp
Raisins  a handful
Cashews a handful
Saffron   a pinch
Cardamon 1/2 a pod
Sugar 1/4 cup  - more or less depending on your taste  (I used sugar on the raw)

  •  Heat a teaspoon of ghee in a non-stick pot. Throw in the Vermicelli. Toast till golden.Set it aside. 
  • Warm 1/4 cup of milk, throw in the saffron and let it soak for a while. 
  • Once the vermicelli is slightly cooler, pour in the warm milk. Stir and set it on low flame. Stir frequently making sure the creamy film does not form on top.
  • Once the milk is creamy and the Payasa is thicker, stir in the saffron, sugar and crushed cardamon. 
  • Simmer till the Payasa is thick almost reduce to about 1.5 cups. Turn off the heat. Serve it at room temperature or chilled.