Kootchulu or Neeragaram is a simple, age-old recipe made from overnight fermentation of cooked rice. For over many generations, this has been a staple health drink in many parts of India. It acts as a natural body cooler, especially in summer. This unique porridge or kanji tastes slightly sour with the aroma of sesame oil and the crunchiness of onions.
Makkan Peda / Stuffed Gulab Jamun is a rich & sumptuous Arcot delicacy that is soft, juicy in texture and heavenly in taste!
How to make Makkan Peda?
The Arcot Makkan Peda has a close resemblance to Gulab Jamun but the dry fruit stuffing gives an edge to this Nawabi regal sweet. Ghee / butter is added in the dough to get soft, melt-in-the-mouth, buttery texture. And that’s why the name ‘Makkan Peda’, I believe. The jamuns are slightly flattened to give the peda effect. In the original Arcot Makkan Peda, ghee is added in the sugar syrup also, to enhance the richness of the sweet. But in my version, I have skipped adding that.
Maida – 150 gm
Khoya / Mawa – 100 gm, unsweetened
Desi Ghee – 2 tbsp
Baking Soda – a pinch
Thick Curd – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – 3/4 cup
Elaichi powder – 1/2 tsp
Food colour – 2 or 3 drops (yellow or orange)
Dry Fruits – 1/4 cup (equal amount of cashew, badam, raisin, melon seeds)
Oil for deep frying
Chop dry fruits into fine pieces. Crumble or grate the khoya to remove lumps if any.
Mix maida, khoya, desi ghee, baking soda, curd into a soft dough.
Roll a small amount of dough to check, if it cracks then add little amount of milk and give a knead. Keep it covered for 10 mins.
In a pan, add sugar and water. Boil till the sugar gets dissolved. Add a spoon of milk to the syrup.
The dirt scum gets collected at the sides. Remove the dirt using the spoon.
Add elaichi powder and food colour. Boil the syrup for 5-8 mins in low flame. Switch off the flame.
When we add the jamun pedas, the syrup has to be hot but not boiling.
Grease your hands, take small lemon sized dough.
Roll it into smooth round, stuff it with a tsp of chopped dry fruits.
Flatten the jamuns slightly. Keep it covered in a plate.
Heat oil in a kadai. Keep the flame to medium-low.
Start frying jamuns 5 or 6 at a time till it is golden in colour.
Soak it at once in the hot sugar syrup. Repeat the same for the rest of the dough.
Transfer the jamun pedas with the syrup to a flat-bottomed bowl in a single tier so that it gets soaked properly.
After 5-6 hrs of soaking, serve hot or chilled.
If the oil is very hot, inner layer of the jamun will remain uncooked. If the heat is low, jamuns would crack and the stuffing would come out. So, the right temperature of the oil should be maintained throughout while deep frying.
‘Poori Khizhangu‘ is a magical combination that instantly satisfies our taste buds. For us, it’s one of our comfort foods. It fills our tummy and soul alike. Though, there are many versions of this delectable recipe popular across India, each one is unique in its own way. One such kind is Nellai’s Poori Khizhangu.
It is one of the most sought-after breakfast menus in eateries and households in Nellai district, Tamilnadu. Silky soft pooris are served with Urulai Khizhangu (potato) side dish called ‘Masaal’ which is super delicious and rich in flavour.
How to make Nellai’s Poori Khizhangu?
The localites say, the secret ingredient of this recipe is ‘Tamirabarani’s water’, a perennial river that is the lifeline of the Nellai district. This may be true because whenever we had a chance to relish their local food, it was absolutely appetizing, scrumptious and out-of-the-world dishes that are prepared using simple, locally grown ingredients.
For over many years, I have tried replicating Nellai’s poori khizhangu recipe that I have relished many times in my native place, Kallidai Kurichi in Nellai district. Poori came out perfect in one or two trials, but I couldn’t get the exact taste of the Khizhangu like the original one. After many try-outs, l understood the proportion of onions to potatoes and the handling of onions in this recipe. Here’s the recipe that tastes similar to Nellai’s recipe…
Wheat Flour / Aata – 2 cups
Maida – 1 tbsp
Sooji – 1 tbsp
Ghee – 1/2 tbsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Mix wheat flour, maida, sooji, ghee, oil and salt.
Add water little by little and knead it to a firm dough, not too hard and also not too soft like chapathi dough.
No resting time is required for poori dough. So, we can start making poori as soon as the dough is kneaded.
Heat oil in a kadai. The oil should be hot but not smoky.
To check the temperature of the oil, just drop a small piece of the dough in the hot oil. If the dough rises to the surface immediately and puffs up, then that is the correct temperature to fry pooris.
Lower the flame slightly and start rolling the pooris.
Take a small lemon-sized amount of dough and roll it into a round shape. Roll it from one side evenly without putting any pressure on the rolling pin to get a smooth rounds without any cracks.
Slide one poori at a time in the hot oil. When it raises to the surface, press the edges gently using the back side of the spatula. This step helps poori to puff up nicely. Flip it once and fry both the sides till it is golden in colour.
Using a slotted spatula, remove it from oil and drain it in an oil absorbent napkin.
Serve hot with potato masaal / khizhangu.
Don’t knead the poori dough for a long time like chapathi dough. While kneading, the gluten content in the dough gets released and thus makes roti / chapathi /paratha soft and silky. For poori, the dough has to withhold the gluten content intact so that we get crisp, puffed up poori.
Do not fry the poori for a long time. They may become hard and dark in colour. Ensure the correct oil temperature throughout while frying. If the oil is too hot, the outer layer of the poori gets fried and the inner layer remains uncooked. If the heat is low, the poori doesn’t puff up and absorbs more oil.
Once fried, either serve the pooris immediately or store it in a wide bottomed vessel. Do not store it in a casserole as it makes the pooris to sweat and lose its crunchiness. Consume the hot pooris within 10-15 mins to enjoy the silky but puffed up poori!
For Khizhangu / Potato Masaal
Potato – 3 medium-sized
Onion – 4, large
Green Chillies – 3 to 4
Ginger – 1/2 tbsp, grated
Curry Leaves – few leaves
Oil – 2 tbsp (preferably sesame / til oil)
Mustard / Rai – 1/2 tsp
Urad Dal – 1/4 tsp
Channa Dal – 1/4 tsp
Haldi – 1/4 tsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Red Chilly Powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Besan – 2 tsp
For Khizhangu / Potato Masaal
Boil and mash the potatoes coarsely. Cube the onions, finely chop the green chillies, grate the ginger, roughly tear the curry leaves. Mix 2 tsp of besan in 1/2 cup of water and keep it aside.
In a kadai, add 2 tbsp of til oil, add mustard. When it splutters add urad dal and channa dal. Fry till it turns golden.
Add grated ginger, green chillies, curry leaves and saute for a second.
Add onions and saute till it looks translucent. Add a glass of water, haldi, salt and sugar.
The water should be just enough to immerse the onions. Cover it with a lid and give a good boil till onions are soft.
Add mashed potato and chilly powder. Mix the mashed potatoes with the onion well.
Add the besan paste and keep on stirring till the besan gets cooked. If required, we can add little more water, say 1/4 cup.
When the khizhangu looks glossy, switch off the flame.
Serve hot with Poori.
For Khizhangu / Potato Masaal
The amount of onion should be more than the qty of mashed potatoes.
Ginger and green chillies should be used adequately. It enhances the flavour.
Using sesame or til oil boosts the flavour of this recipe, but I always feel that cooking oil preferences are entirely based on one’s choice. Til oil can be substituted with any suitable refined oil.
Payasam plays an important role in South Indian Cuisine and any feast is incomplete without them. The rich, creamy payasams with delectable taste makes our celebrations remarkable. Here, ‘Oats Semiya Payasam / Kheer‘ is an interesting variation of the traditional South Indian ‘Paal Payasam’ made using oats and vermicelli.
How to make Oats Semiya Payasam | Kheer?
Just like Paal Payasam, the core ingredient is milk in this recipe. Instead of rice, I have used rolled oats and roasted Semiya, that are slowly cooked in milk with sugar to get a thick creamy texture with subtle caramelized taste in the Oats Semiyakheer. It tastes good without any garnishing too. But I have added roasted dry fruits and elaichi powder for flavour. A great option for bhog or neivedhyam during poojas or festivals like Navratri, Janmashtami and more.
Full Cream Milk – 2 ltrs
Semiya – 1/4 cup, roasted
Oats – 1/4 cup
Sugar -1/2 cup (or as per taste)
Cashew – 5 or 6, broken into pieces
Raisins – 10 to 15
Elaichi Powder – 1/4 tsp
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Roast semiya, oats, cashews, raisins in ghee separately. Keep them aside.
In a heavy bottomed kadai or vessel, boil and condense milk to half the quantity.
Add roasted semiya, oats and simmer for few mins for it to get cooked well.
Add sugar and mix well. Keep scraping the sides of the vessel to mix the malai collected on the sides with the kheer. At this point, the kheer gets even more condensed.
Add cashews, raisins, elaichi powder and mix well.