Kara Sevu is a very popular spicy fritter, which is not only a festive snack but an all time crunch partner, specially to serve guests and while travel. The spice note delivered from red chilli powder and/or black pepper can be enhanced with the addition of garlic that makes kara sevu more flavorful.
Kara Sevu/Spicy Gram Flour Fritters with a Garlic Twist
- kadalai maavu/bengal gram flour – 1 cup
- arisi maavu/rice flour – 1/2 cup
- poondu/garlic – 10 cloves
- milagai vatral podi/red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- perungaayam/asafoetida powder – 1/4 tsp
- omam/bishop’s weed or carom seeds – 1/4 tsp
- uppu/salt – 1/2 tsp
- yennai/oil – 2 tbsp
- nei/clarified butter – 1 tbsp
- thanner/water – as required
- oil – for deep frying
Method of Preparation
- Sieve gram flour and rice flour
4. Mix sieved gram flour, rice flour, garlic paste, red chilli powder, asafoetida powder, carom seeds with water, salt, oil and clarified butter with enough water into a tight dough
7. Keep enough dough into the cylindrical container and close with the kara sevu disc
8. Press Sev directly inside oil into single circular murukku/fritter
Manoharam is a traditional Tirunelveli sweet. The gram flour fritters soaked in gorgoeus golden-caramelly cane/palm jaggery syrup is a delight in every crispy bite. With healthy Bengal gram flour and no white flour as the base and Unrefined Jaggery and no white sugar caramel for the coating, this is a no nonsense fritter as well as a childhood comfort snack.
When asked about the recipe, Amma fondly remembered both me and my little brother, having plates filled with these crispy fritters as an after school snack, giving more emphasis to the filled plates. Those were the days of no botheration of putting on weight, leave alone childhood obesity. We could burn the nutritious extra calories earned from healthy millet flours and cane and palm sugars, with the crazy amounts of time we spent playing in the streets. No store bought chips or cakes, buns or pastries loaded with white flour, white sugar and salt.
Manoharam and Spanish Churros – great observation by my Little Chef
Since I didn’t have the thenkuzhal/plain murukku – fritter disc, I used the magizhampoo disc – which is a sharp edged or star shaped fritter disc. Once the fritters were done, the little chef at home exclaimed that they resembled Spanish Churros, thanks to so many cookery shows in countless channels. That observation was quite a surprise to me indeed. When I put my eyes through her thought, the traditional Manoharam did look like Churros. While Churros are made with all purpose flour and coated with cinnamon sugar, Manoharam is made with gram flour, rice flour and a pinch of salt. And instead of the chocolate sauce to dip, we coat them in jaggery syrup. Both the tastes are completely different, created with local ingredients available – yet, there seems to be a slight similarity in the concept of making and looks.
If you don’t feel so, that’s ok.. let’s move on to recipe.
For a detail look at churros, I referred http://www.justataste.com/easy-homemade-churros-chocolate-sauce-recipe/
- kadalai maavu/bengal gram flour/besan – 1 cup
- arisi maavu/rice flour – 1/2 cup
- ulundha maavu/dehusked black gram flour/urad – 2 tsp
- nei/clarified butter – 1 tbsp
- uppu/salt – a pinch
- thanneer/water – as needed
- vellam/cane jaggery – 1 cup
- thanneer/water = 1/2 cup
- yelakkai podi/cardamom powder – 1/2 tsp
- chukku podi/dry ginger powder – 1/2 tsp
Method of Preparation
Bengal gram flour and rice flour may be easily available in stores. Black gram flour should be made at home.
I. Making Black gram/Urad flour
- Heat a hard bottomed vessel or kadai
- Dry roast ulundham paruppu/urad dal – dehusked black gram till golden brown
- Grind to a fine powder in a blender
- Sieve it and keep aside
- Cool and Store in air tight container, and use when needed.
II. Making Fritters
- Sieve all three flours without lumps
3. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying
4. Use any single holed disc of a Murukku Maker to make the fritter (for details of murukku maker and single holed disc, refer – https://dosaikal.com/the-all-time-favourite-murukku/
5. Take a portion of the dough and place inside the cylindrical container of the murukku maker and press into big circles, directly inside hot oil
6. Fry both sides till golden brown
7. Remove in kitchen tissue to absorb excess oil
8. Break them into finger sized pieces
9. Keep them aside till we make the jaggery coating.
III. Making Jaggery Syrup and Coating the Fritters
- Let jaggery dissolve in water
- Filter the liquid to remove impurities
- Take a pan and pour the jaggery water
- Add cardamom powder and dry ginger powder
- Let the liquid come to a single string consistency or thick enough to roll the fritters through
- Keep the stove in sim position to judge the right syrup consistency
7. Once the liquid has become a syrup, drop all the fritters and gently mix well in the syrup
8. Let the stove be on and the thick hot syrup would coat the fritters well and reach the required crisp texture
pre-diwali and diwali delicacies
Deepavali falls on the 29th of October, 2016 in Tamilnadu. If Deepavali means lots of happiness and loads of sweets and snacks- the festivity arrived a week earlier at home.
In the earlier decades of joint families or extended families close by, or at least a few siblings to share and pick up the last bits of sweets and snacks from the thooku chatti, festivals meant making of sweets and savories literally in several kilograms if not tonnes.
Presently, with nuclear families, especially with single children or children in different destinations, the sweet and savories story isn’t a kilogram affair, but has become a ‘grammy’ indulgence. Additionally, there is no aachi-amma duo to occupy the kitchen for consecutive hours, patiently filling the big chattis with goodies. Making so many delicacies in a couple of days fit for consumption for diwali and a few days beyond has become too strenuous now, atleast for me.
But, when the most important ingredient of a good festival – the energy to make and share traditional sweets and savories was still bright and shining as the lights of Diwali, there arose a patient plan. The patience behind making several goodies gave rise to a Pre-Diwali weekend.Instead of slogging in kitchen with so many things in mind, I started off with a few last weekend. Festivity started a week earlier, yes- for the sheer temptation of making more and introducing more traditional sweets and snacks.
Cooking is a bliss when you have people around to gobble it in a jiffy. Now, I really miss the ever hungry tummy of my little brother, who let amma and aachi feel delighted to make more and more ‘norukku theeni’ aka nibblers with the same enthusiasm for years together.
Yet, I have a little nibble hunter, who is as enthusiastic to taste new palagaram/snacks as to cook a few.
These are a few of my little one’s contributions for this Diwali…
magizhampoo murukku by her
painted lamps in gorgeous colors
and this one’s already lit with imagination
For the Pre-Diwali weekend, I made
- Gulab Jamun
- murukku in two different shapes
and 3. dragonny jilebis (those first attempt jilebis which turned out off-shape)
Mid way in the week, started off with the true notion of cooking traditional sweets from the place I hail from – Tirunelveli.
Thiripagam, Manoharam and Kara Sevu passed to the top of the list. If the first two resemble names of mythical characters beyond seas, that’s merely co-incidental. Not to worry, they are sweets and the third one is a popular spicy savory, available throughout South India.
First, to the most uncommon among the three – Thiripagam.
When Amma had already started with Thiripagam – a long forgotten sweet, I just grabbed the opportunity of introducing the same here. Thanks to her, took step by step instructions to make.
I was introduced to this elegantly presented sweet in my uncle’s marriage. The feast had this different sweet, but with a very familiar taste. Was it Mysore Pak or Badam Halwa ? The former is the ghee oozing/melting in the mouth sweet with bengal gram flour and the latter is the wonder pudding with the goodness of almonds. Now, Thiripagam is somewhere between both. Kadalai Maavu or Bengal Gram Flour is the base ingredient with equal proportion of nei/clarified butter. Add the sugar and it would very well become mysore pak. This sweet has an additional inclusion of milk to the gram flour, that acts as an alternate to the almond milky flavor. These might be reasons for the resemblance of Badam Halwa and familiarity of Mysore Pak.
The pudding is shaped in rectangles or squares and wrapped in cookie sheet/butter paper. This is what aids in its elegant presentation with the distinct taste.
If made in a micro wave, this is certainly a 10 minute sweet to prepare. But since I don’t prefer micro wave cooking, I’ve done in the pan, which took about 30 minutes of stirring to reach the adequate kali/halwa consistency.
Thiripagam, – which means three parts, where the name must have come from the three core ingredients – bengal gram flour, clarified butter and milk.
Ingredients (makes 16 pieces)
- kadalai maavu/bengal gram flour (besan) – 1 cup
- nei/clarified butter (ghee) – 1 cup
- paal/milk – 1 cup
- cheeni/sugar – 3/4 cup
- kungumapoo/saffron – generous strands
Though Amma mentioned the quantity of sugar could vary between 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups, I added only 3/4th of a cup. One can alter as per their sweet preference. Another alteration I made was the deduction of pachai karpooram/edible camphor. The flavor of the sweet comes from edible camphor, but I thought saffron could be a flavorful component to this exceptional sweet.
Method of Preparation
- Sieve kadalai maavu/bengal gram flour and keep ready
- Warm milk and mix the saffron strands
- In a bowl, mix the sieved flour, sugar, 1/2 cup clarified butter and milk with saffron – without lumps
4. Having the batter without lumps is very important – I used a fork to press the few lumps that was left over in the batter
5. Keep the other 1/2 cup clarified butter to add in the end when pudding is almost done
6. Mix well till all sugar is dissolved
7. Heat the batter in a non-stick pan and let it boil
8. Keep stirring and when it starts boiling, simmer the burner
11. When the kali/halwa has become thick enough to be spread in a plate, switch off stove
12. Spread the halwa in a greased plate and cut into rectangular/square piece when warm
13. Take cookie sheets and cut into squares enough to fold the thiripagam pieces
14. Place the piece inside the cookie sheet and fold into beautiful squares
The Pomegranate and Beetroot mixture reminds me of the stories in the Pinkalicious Series of children’s book that my daughter used to read few years ago. Those are interesting stories on a child’s love for pink. This fruit-vegetable combination exhibits the same color and I hope the jam brings the same brightness to your morning breakfast bread too.
There can be numerous passions and obsessions in everyone’s life. It’s a thin line that differentiates both. And when passion turns into obsession, it sometimes becomes a burden. But let’s think otherwise… obsession clubbed with passion can certainly be a joy forever. Why not? Especially, when that obsession is concerned with the well-being of your loved ones, and aids in better life-style through effective foods – there’s no point of having negativity about the word ‘Obsession’.
Among my various passions that have turned into obsessions, is the latest one on breads and jams. Jams and Preserves with the best of simple ingredients, along with the goodness of fresh fruits are heated up in my kitchen and stored in beautiful bottles. This time, it is pomegranate and beetroot. The bright color that both these ingredients impart is no match to any artificial pink. The antioxidants preserved by nature in these both are well-known.
How have I been using them separately –
While pomegranates have been included as fresh juices, combined with sprouts for breakfast and seeds mixed with yoghurt rice for the sweet-sour flavor; beetroot has been included as a dry vegetable curry (poriyal), beetroot halwa (sweet pudding) and beetroot cakes (healthy version of red velvet).
I have been passionately incorporating a combination of beetroot and pomegranate in my salads along with cucumber and tomatoes. But when passion turned into obsession, I chose to preserve the iron-rich combo pack.
When I had a few hand-picked pomegranates fresh from the garden, the idea of making a jam came up. But with the liquid juice from the fruit might need loads of sugar and hours of time to thicken. Additionally, the pomegranate variety was white, not the blood red seeds, that would add color to the jam by itself. So, why not combine another similar colored healthy ingredient, that would economize the usage of extra sugar and also save exhaustive time, in bringing a juice to jam consistency. Beetroot came to my rescue. I also added a couple of red seeded pomegranate for my satisfaction of added color. Actually, with addition of beetroot, this was really not needed.
The usage the beetroot puree, has most importantly helped not wasting the nutrient value of the iron-rich fruit in extended cooking, plus contributing to the iron content of the end product-jam. Hence, the idea of adding beetroot puree to pomegranate juice in Jam making, has added volume and color (hope this doesn’t sound like an artificial hair color advertisement) to the wonderful preserve.
with flax-seed bread
- pomegranate – 10 no.s – juice from 10 pomegranates – little less than 1 lr (I got 980 ml app)
- beetroot – 1 kg – puree from 1 kg cooked beetroot – 550 gm (little more/little less)
- sugar – 2 cups – 300 gms
- lemon – 1/2 cup (juice of app. 8-10 small lemons)
Method of Preparation
Step I – Pomegranates
- Remove seeds of pomegranates and place in a wide bowl.
- Wash well and fill in more water to immerse the seeds.
- This helps the white fibrous layer to get separated on the water surface and seeds stay beneath.
- Strain water and extract juice; strain well for a clear liquid.
Step II – Beetroot
- Peel and wash beetroot well
- Cut random pieces and let it cook in a pressure cooker. Do not add water to the beets, instead pour water in the bottom of the cooker and place the bowl with beetroot without water and cook; close the bowl with lid.
- We are not steaming here. So, do not forget the whistle in the cooker.
- Or cook as you please – the notion is that, we don’t need any added water from cooked beets to make puree.
- Cook till done. I gave one whistle in full flame, reduced and left it for two more whistles in sim flame, and opened the cooker when all pressure was released by itself.
- Take out cooked beetroot pieces and make a puree in a blender.
Step III – Sterilize bottles
- Wash the bottles and lids to store jam very well with no food particles sticking to it.
- Take a big bowl and place the washed bottles and lids on sides.
- Fill water in the bowl immersing the bottles.
- Let the water come to a full boil.
- Close with lid and let it stay till the jam is done.
Step IV – Plate in freezer
Place a plate in the freezer and a few spoons; we need to check for consistency later by swiping the jam in the chilled plate.
Step V – Making of Jam
1.In a heavy bottomed pan/utensil, mix pomegranate juice and beetroot puree and bring to boil
2. Simmer and let cook for ten minutes. You can find a foamy layer settle on top of the boiling liquid. Gently remove foam and let it simmer.
the pinkalicious puree
3. After removal of foam, add sugar and lemon juice and cook over medium heat.
4. Once the mixture becomes thick, check for consistency : Take the plate from the freezer- place a spoonful of jam on the plate and swipe splitting into two halves. If it sets well and isn’t flowing on the plate, jam is done. Else, cook for some more time.
5. When the jam has reached the required consistency, switched off flame.
6. Pour hot jam into sterilized hot bottles directly from stove and close lid tightly.
7. Do not pour hot jam in cold bottles, otherwise the bottles would crack.
8. Leave the jam to cool by itself. Do not engage in cooling by other means. That would affect the setting of the Jam.
9. If you find the jam is less in sugar after done, place jam in pan, add more sugar to taste and boil again. If it is too thick add very little water to loosen jam and boil it back to jam consistency with added sugar.
10. Enjoy with home-made bread or bun. Also use in-between biscuits.
dough and bread
I am truly a happy home-baker today. After years of trying to bake bread that has helped my family practice yogic patience, this time my bread had the better taste of sourdough bread. It is a chunky bread, due to the whole wheat flour. I made a little compromise with 100 gms of white flour to 500 gms of whole wheat flour.
I’ve forever tried to bring in almost the same softness of white bread in my whole wheat bread, with the addition of eggs, butter, flax seeds or yoghurt. All these variants have certainly altered the texture of the bread and given unique flavors to home made 100% whole wheat bread.
A rustic bread with just 2 hours of leavening and 2 hours raising (in hot climate), has been the best ever breakfast bread that I have made. Yes, that was the best best I relished in terms of taste of rustic bread to me, but I’m not sure, it would be appreciated as a blog post. My quest for better baking, if not for the best bread has never faded. It’s still on.
But, this time I decided to become a bit more professional to strike a balance with whole wheat bread. A Big Thanks to so many bloggers out there in the world wide web, who have helped me learn so much about the process of baking bread. So, this is not my invention, but my discovery of baking good bread which has already been analayzed by so many unknown friends throughout the world.
Now, I chose to take up the two basic necessities of baking bread –
Apart from these two – the most important techniques –
1. Giving enough time for leavening – i.e. giving enough time for the leavening agent, which is yeast to grow well. This helps in softening the bread.
2. Knead the flour well – kneading dough by hand, strengthens the gluten strands that gives bread its structure.
I came across these beautiful articles on bread making very recently –
Here, I was pleasantly struck by the intricate details.
Flour, yeast, water and salt – a traditional loaf needs only four ingredients. So why are calcium propionate, amylase, chlorine dioxide and L-cysteine hydrochloride now crammed into our daily bread? Andrew Whitely, Britain’s leading organic baker, reveals how our staple foodstuff was transformed into an industrial triumph, but a nutritional and culinary disaster. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/the-shocking-truth-about-bread-413156.html,
That was a shocking revelation of the hazards of quick leavening agents used by bakers for lessening the time spent in bread preparation. That was an eye opener for sure.
Special thanks to both the bloggers for such useful information.
I chose to try the basic bread recipe suggested by www.independent.co.uk . A small change was made. I left the dough to raise overnight, instead of 2 hours suggested by the blog. I think that made a lot of difference. The yeast had sufficiently grown and the bread had beautiful pores as a result.
- whole wheat flour – 500 gms
- white flour (maida) – 100 gms
- active dry yeast – 8 gms
- sea salt – 5 gms
- olive oil – just enough to grease the bowl and bread baking tray
- warm water – 400 ml – 150 ml to soak yeast initially and extra 250 ml to knead
Method of Preparation
1.Soak yeast in 150 ml (app. 1 cup) warm water for 10 minutes. Always do this to check for its active ability. If yeast does not grow/turn foamy in warm water, might be the yeast is not in good condition for bread baking. Do not use it.
2. Measure whole wheat flour, white flour and salt in a dry bowl.
3. Mix the foamy textured yeast water and extra warm water to the dry flours and mix with spatula.
4. Transfer to a clean surface and start kneading well with hands or kneader of a food processor for about 10-15 minutes. Kneading with machine might involve less time.
5. The dough should be moist and never dry. Add more water if needed.
6. While kneading, we can feel water getting absorbed into the dough and the dough becomes softer and stiffer. Keep scrapping off sticky dough from the surface and incorporate into the dough.
7. Grease a big bowl with olive oil and place the well kneaded dough inside.
8. Cover with a moist towel, aluminium foil or plate and place in a warm room overnight.
9. The next morning you may notice the wonderful growth of yeast by raising of the dough.
10. Knock the dough back to its sticky self.
11. Sprinkle little flour on a clean surface and start making a smoother dough, by folding for a few minutes – not as long as the first procedure. (search the web for ‘folding bread’ and you’d get to know the art of it)
12. If you’d like to bake a single big loaf, fold into into one dough. If one prefers two smaller loaves, divide into two halves and roll into rectangulars.
13. Place the rolled bread in greased tins and let it raise for two hours.
14. While the bread has doubled or raised a bit (some breads tend to raise in the oven), make slits in top and sprinkle little flour to avoid drying of bread while baking.
15. Preheat oven at 230 degrees C and place the bread tin for baking.
16. After preheated, reduce the temperature to 210 degrees C and bake for 30 – 40 minutes till the bread sounds hollow while tapped. Alter temperature according to your oven.
17. I have had this problem of bread getting baked brown on top but the covered bottom area remains a bit doughish. I took out the almost done bread out of the tin and placed on a wire rack and let it bake for another 10 mins and it was done.
18. Cool it, Cut it and enjoy it. Freshly baked bread tastes wonderful just out of the oven.
the beautiful crust..
This one was certainly worth the effort!
Let’s complete the Simple Sunday Meal of Mutton Biriyani (refer – home-cook’s-pressure-cooker-mutton-biriyani ) with Mutton Fry. Having given balance to Biriyani with Salna (refer – kathirikkai-salna-brinjal-salna )– a veggie gravy/stew in the previous post, its time for Aadu Vadhakkal – spicy mutton stir fry.
Mutton fry – That’s not the best of pictures, I know. Shall update it shortly. Yet, no compromise in taste.
Aadu Vathakkal or Stir fried Mutton can be found in restaurant menus as mutton fry. It’s a spicy dry curry. And as a well known fact, the culinary secrets of Indian Cuisine differs with each family. With the basic preparations intact, modify the fry as per your taste and spice preference. With the addition of tomatoes, this might become a gravy dish.
Since I decided to make Mutton Varuval, along with biriyani, I put in the mutton pieces for both biriyani and spicy fry in the pressure cooker for initial cooking. This reduces the time in cooking mutton separately. After a kilo of mutton is cooked in the first stage, separate boneless chunks (app. 250 gms) for Vathakkal. Keep the bigger portion for Biriyani.
Otherwise, to make a separate mutton fry, pressure cook mutton pieces with water, salt and ginger for 30-40 mins. or until done. Enjoy the broth as soup with crushed pepper. Take the pieces for the vadhakkal/fry. Easy isn’t it?
- mutton – 250 gms
- garlic – 12 cloves crushed coarsely
- onions – 2 no.s sliced fine
- salt – to taste
- juice of ½ lemon
- oil – 2 tbsp
- red chilli powder – 1 tsp
- coriander powder – ½ tsp
- black/white pepper powder – 1 tsp
- turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Method of Preparation
- Cook mutton in water, with salt and ginger for 30-40 minutes or until cooked well.
- Strain the cooked broth and consume as soup.
- Use cooked mutton pieces for the fry.
- In a pan, heat oil and fry the crushed garlic.
- Add sliced onions and sauté till golden brown.
- Add turmeric, red chilli, coriander and white pepper/black pepper powders and mix well.
- Add ¼ cup cooked broth and a pinch of salt. Be cautious with salt, as salt has already been added while cooking mutton pieces.
- Cook closed in sim flame.
- After the raw smell of powders is gone, open lid, keep stove medium.
- When almost done, keep flame in full and let the water dry.
- Add the juice of lemon and transfer vathakkal to a serving dish.
- Spicy Vathakkal is ready.
Let’s continue the Mutton Biriyani recipe of the previous post, with a balance of Salna – veggie gravy/stew and complete it in the next post with Aadu Vadhakkal – spicy mutton stir fry.
‘Salna’ – a unique delicacy that is served along with Biriyani, is a simple gravy to tackle any spicy variety rice. The tanginess of the Salna strikes a balance with the aromatic Biriyani. This is a tamarind curry, thickened with peanut-fennel powder. Peanut stands as a natural variant to the usual coconut based gravies of the south. Tried for the first time and voila.. turned out to be good. No separate pans, time consuming closed cooking here. Yes, the best part is, this dish is quite simple, as everything goes into the cooker and is cooked in no time.
I concentrated so much on the making of Biriyani, that didn’t click better pictures of salna or mutton fry. Shall update with better pictures..at the earliest.
Kathirikkai Salna/Brinjal Salna
- brinjal – 6 no.s. – slit in the middle
- ginger- garlic paste – 2 tsp each
- onion – 2 no.s – coarsely ground in blender
- tomato – 2 no.s finely chopped
- tamarind – extract of a gooseberry sized piece
- jaggery syrup – 1 tsp
- water – 1 cup
- oil – 3 tsp
- sambar powder – 1 ½ tsp
- coriander powder – 1 tsp
- turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
- salt – to taste
dry roast and powder
- peanuts – 2 tsp
- fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Method of Preparation
- Wash and slit brinjal on top.
- In a cooker, fry brinjal in oil. Remove and keep aside.
- In the same oil, fry ginger garlic paste.
- Add coarsely ground onion and fry till golden in color.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and fry well.
- Add tamarind pulp and powders and mix well.
- Add 1 cup of water.
- Then add peanut – fennel seed powder and stir well.
- Add the jaggery syrup.
- Close cooker and cook in full flame for 2 whistles.
- Open the cooker once pressure is released by itself.
- Kathirikkai (Brinjal) Salna is ready to be served.