Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Jeelakarra Karam (Cumin and Chillies)

Jeelakarra Karam

Jeelakarra Karam is a type of highly aromatic masala powder with cumin and chillies from Andhra Pradesh, Bharath.


Quarter cup – cumin
10 to 12 red chillies – small round type shown above
2 to 4 garlic cloves – roughly chopped
Quarter teaspoon – salt

Take cumin in a spice grinder and grind to fine powder. Add red chillies, garlic and salt to powdered cumin. Grind to smooth without adding water. Remove and store in a clean jar.

Dry saute style curries with brinjals, potatoes and tindora greatly benefit by the addition of flavorful and smoky Jeelakarra Karam.

Recipe source: Amma, Nandyala.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Cumin (Jeelakarra),Dried Red Chillies,Herbs and Spices (Friday June 29, 2007 at 9:50 pm- permalink)
Comments (11)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Matar Paneer with Fresh Summer Peas

Plump and firm, fresh peas of summer are a sight to behold. Bouncing out of pods, with that smooth pearly finish in pleasant green and warm sheen, they seem fit for a necklace rather than that endless pit we call stomach.

After the classic south Indian style Guggullu, the next best recipe with freshly shelled peas is the famous north Indian specialty called “Matar Paneer”. Matar means Peas in Hindi language. There are so many different ways to prepare this recipe. Mass produced for buffet, the much-maligned style with frozen peas is sadly how most people get acquainted with matar paneer. Over-cooked in overtly-spiced sauces, poor peas and paneer would evoke pity instead of poignant piquancy. Even the hardcore buffet connoisseurs can’t help but pass the peas. Thus punished, the curry remains in the pan, to spend the night in refrigerator feeling the onion raita’s aroma, all to face another day of reheating and rejection. The sob story of restaurant style matar paneer is truly pull-at-the-heartstrings, tearjerker of bollywood.

In contrast, the home-style version is an Indian housewife’s summer romance with sweet peas. It’s a joyous celebration of nature’s bounty. Fresh cow or buffalo milk churned to paneer, a cup of peas freshly shelled from the pods, few tomatoes plucked from the vines – if you stop and think for a minute, it’s easy to imagine how the recipe originated and the reason it got so famous. A treat for dulled taste buds as well as a sight for sore eyes, fresh peas of summer make matar paneer a pleasure to savor.

Peas, Paneer, Tomatoes and Cashews ~ Ingredients for Matar Paneer


1 cup fresh shelled peas
½ cup each – paneer cubes and roasted cashews
4 tomatoes and 1 onion – finely sliced
1 tablespoon – ginger, garlic and cilantro (GGC) paste
1 tablespoon – clove,cinnamon,coriander and cumin (CCCC) powder
½ tsp each – salt and turmeric (or to taste)
¼ tsp – chilli powder (or to taste)
1 teaspoon oil

Grind roasted cashews to fine powder in a mixer or spice grinder.

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add and saute finely chopped onions till translucent. Add the GGC paste, cook for few seconds. Next, tomatoes turn. Cook them till they turn to mush when pressed with the back of spoon. After spoon-mushing tomatoe pieces, stir in cashew powder, CCCC powder, salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Also green peas and paneer cubes. Add about a cup of water. Mix and simmer covered for about five to ten minutes, until the sauce thickens.

Enjoy with rice, parathas or chapatis.

Matar Paneer with Parathas and Cucumber Raita ~ Enjoying the Goodness of Seasonal Vegetables

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Cashews,Paneer,Peas (Bataani),Tomato (Thursday June 28, 2007 at 9:02 pm- permalink)
Comments (44)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Sautéed Sprouts ~ Moong, Moth & Red Chori

Tiranga Sprouts: Moong, Moth and Red Chori Bean Sprouts

Sprouts for breakfast is still a solution for early morning hunger in Bharat’s many “long-life” rural villages, where they are considered essential to good health and longevity. One of the few people in the world to start off the day with sprouts, Bharatiya – the old world kind, point to the fact that sprouts are quick and easy to prepare. For our grandparents, the hearty ruchi of filling sprouts was as appetizing as that of bagel and bread for many of our generation. Even today, my grandparents and in-laws start the day with sprouts. Their explanation is that sprouts offer abundant nourishment, stamina and energy that last all morning. It is also well known fact that sprouts aid to digestion and assimilation.

Among all legume and lentil sprouts, the moong beans make the popular choice. Mellow and subtly sweet, freshly sprouted moong beans are easy to like and easy to digest. Equally good are moth (Matki) and red chori bean sprouts. Together, in three vibrant colors, the Tiranga sprouts make a very satisfying snack or meal.

Vijay and I, we both are big fans of Tiranga sprouts. Vijay goes for raw; I on the other hand prefer when they are lightly sautéed and sprinkled with salt and pepper. The oil-less sautéing imparts a heartwarming sweet aroma and makes them an irresistible kind of snack for me.

Sautéing the Sprouts in an Iron Skillet


Half cup each – freshly sprouted moong, moth and red chori beans
Half teaspoon each – salt and pepper
Iron Skillet and 5 minutes of your time

Heat an iron skillet or kadai on medium flame.
Place the sprouted beans.
Saute them continuously mixing for about five minutes.
Turn off the heat, when they are still soft yet crunchy.
(Avoid prolonged saute. It makes them extremely crispy, which in turn would cause hard dental workout and we don’t want that.)
Sprinkle salt and pepper. Mix and serve hot.
Lemon juice, finely chopped onions etc can be added if desired.

Sautéed Sprouts with Salt and Pepper ~ An Heartwarming Snack

Tirangā – तिरंगा (Hindi) = Tri Color (English)
Moong, Moth and Red Chori beans are available in Indian grocery.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Moong Dal (whole),Moth (Desi Chori),Red Beans (Chori),Sprouts (Molakalu) (Tuesday June 26, 2007 at 9:58 pm- permalink)
Comments (19)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Ruchira ~ Cookbook Review and Recipe Sprouted Beans Usal

Ruchira by Kamalabai Ogale

“Ruchira ~ Selected Maharashtrian Vegetarian Recipes” by Kamalabai Ogale is a sweet little cookbook that I have been using for just over a year. The cookbook is an English translation of 25-year old original by the same name “Ruchira” in Marathi language.

Ruchira is chock full of honest content. A total of 94 recipes in 11 categories, nearly all recipes are within reach of competent home cooks. Many recipes are quite simple to prepare, the instructions are easy to follow and the rewards are great. The difference is not in the dishes offered, but in the ingredients and how the Marathas use them. The text should be read first to get a feel for the Maharashtrian cooking. Then head for the kitchen to cook one of the divine recipes. Next to going to Maratha heartland, Ruchira offers a great way to treat ourselves to cooking real Marathi way.

If you are looking for a book that will teach you to cook the best Maharashtrian food, then I will definitely recommend Ruchira. It’s a precious little gem!

Sprouted Moong, Moth and Red Chori Beans

“Sprouted Beans Usal” from Ruchira cookbook has become one of my favorite recipes. What makes this recipe standout from our own Nandyala style moog bean curry recipe is the addition of kala masala, and jaggery. Subtly spiced and well balanced, I’ve become a loyal fan of sprouted beans usal.


Grind to Paste:
5 peeled garlic cloves, 8-10 green chillies (small, Indian type), 1 teaspoon cumin and two to four tablespoons of grated fresh coconut.

Heat and Simmer:
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a big saucepan.
Add one cup each – moong, moth and red chori sprouted beans.
Add about three cups of water.
Cover and simmer the beans, until they reach fall-apart stage.

Add and Mix:
To the cooked beans, add the ground paste.
Also a tablespoon each- kala masala and powdered jaggery and
Half teaspoon each – turmeric and salt.
Mix and simmer another five minutes.
If the Usal(curry) looks too dry, add about half cup of water.

Popu or Tadka Touch:
While the beans are simmering with spices, do the tadka in a small pan.
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan. Add and toast few fresh curry leaves, pinch of cumin, mustard seeds and asafetida. (This technique is called popu or tadka.)
Add the tadka to the sprouted beans. Mix and turnoff the heat.
Sprouted beans usal tastes great with chapatis/rotis/parathas.

Sprouted Beans Usal with Paratha ~ From Maratha Heartland to Our Home
My Entry to RCI~Maharashtra hosted by Nupur of One Hot Stove

Thanks for this lovely gift Veena!
I’ve prepared Kala Masala following the recipe outlined here.
Ruchira Available at
Recommend “Ruchira” to local libraries.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Moong Dal (whole),Moth (Desi Chori),Red Beans (Chori),Reviews: Cookbooks,Sprouts (Molakalu) (Monday June 25, 2007 at 7:08 pm- permalink)
Comments (30)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Moong, Moth and Red Chori Bean Sprouts

Series of Sprouts ~ Tiranga Sprouts

Moong Beans, Moth Beans and Red Chori Beans ~ for This Week’s Indian Kitchen

Moong Beans – Green colored beans
Moth Beans – Brown colored beans. Available in Indian stores.
Red Chori Beans – Reddish-brown colored beans, smaller than adzuki (chori) and Rajma beans. Available in Indian stores (packet label – “Red or Desi Chori”).

Moong, moth and red chori – three beans, three different colors, but they are similar in size and almost in taste. Very fast and reliable sprouters, they produce delightful looking sprouts that taste mellow and crisply sweet. Consumed raw, curried or dal’ed, the sprouts of moong-moth-red chori combination make a perfect meal any time of the day.

Moong, Moth and Red Chori ~ After a Day of Soaking in Water

Soak moong, moth and red chori beans in water overnight.
Drain and gather them in a loosely woven cotton cloth.
Tie a knot and hang the cloth at a kitchen window or warm area in the house.
Keep the cloth moist by spraying water at regular intervals.
Because they are similar in size, the sprouts make an appearance at the same time, usually within a day.
When the sprouts grow to the size of beans, remove and enjoy raw or curried.

Moong, Moth and Red Chori Sprouts ~ To Start the Day off Mellow

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients,Indian Kitchen,Moong Dal (whole),Moth (Desi Chori),Red Beans (Chori),Sprouts (Molakalu) (Sunday June 24, 2007 at 11:12 pm- permalink)
Comments (10)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Snoqualmie Falls ~ Weekend Seattle Blogging

Seattle and surrounding areas are studded with spectacular waterfalls. The volcanic Cascade Mountains, glaciers and year round rainfall – the result is 1266 well documented Washington state waterfalls. We wanted to see at least few that are near to us. That’s what we did during our short summer break last week.

The first one in our list was Snoqualmie Falls (map). 25 miles east of Seattle, Snoqualmie River cascades 270 feet through an impressive, “u” shaped rock gorge. This is Snoqualmie Falls, one of the Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions. It’s about a 30 minute drive from our home. We had visited the falls on a week day, still the place had a healthy amount of visitors. Weekends must attract big crowds during summer times. The falls and the surrounding area has well maintained look. Few steps from car parking lot, there is an observation platform (upper deck) that offers an outstanding view of the falls. Perched on the overlook to the falls there is a lodge, a restaurant, gift shop and few picnic tables in a small park like setting, all very near to the observation deck and car parking lot.

There is also a river trail. It’s a pleasant half-mile walk through trees and open slopes, ending with a fantastic bird’s eye view of the falls. There is a small power plant near the base and behind it is a somewhat hidden wooden walkway. Don’t miss this part of the trail and follow the signs. A short boardwalk leads to another observation platform (lower deck), which offers great views of how the thundering falls turn to roaring rapids to gentle river flow.

Snoqualmie Falls is a peaceful place to spend a summer afternoon. We very much enjoyed our visit to this falls.

Here are some photos of Snoqualmie falls and Snoqualmie valley wild flowers.

Snoqualmie Waterfalls ~ View From Upper Observation Deck

Snoqualmie Waterfalls ~ View From Lower Observation Deck

Roaring Rapids ~ Snoqualmie River

Wild Flower in Snoqualmie Valley

Pretty Flower From the Valley

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Saturday June 23, 2007 at 12:12 pm- permalink)
Comments (18)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Recipe List

This is the list of recipes that I blogged from March 26th 2005 to April 30th 2007 on Mahanandi. I hope you enjoy browsing the list while I am on a mini summer break. See you again on Saturday June 23rd. Take care!


Browsing, buying and prepping the ingredients. Planning and preparing the recipes and meals. Plating and photographing the end result. Putting it all into words and photo plus recipe editing. Publishing and people interacting. 2 years, 260 recipes and 2000 food photographs.
My hobby and my passion. My work in a list form:


Buttermilk Upma
Couscous Upma
Cracked Wheat Upma
Hominy Grits Upma
Oatmeal Upma
Puffed Rice Upma (Borugula/Murmura Buggani)
Ragi Mudda (Ragi Sankati)
Rice Ravva Upma (The Arisiupma Trilogy) ~ By Janani
Tomato Bath

Idly/Dosa/Utappam/Pancake and Some:
Besan Dosa (Besan ka Cheela, Puda or Socca)
Masala Idly
Masala Dosa
Pesarattu with Sprouted Moong Dal
Ragi Dosa (Ragi Utappam)
Wheat Flour Dosa (Goduma Dosa)
Ponganalu with Spinach and Sara Pappu(Chironji)

Kura, Vepudu, Poriyal, Thoran or Dry Curries:
(Indian Salads With Minimum Saute)

Aloo Methi
Aloo Vepudu (Potato Fry)
Amaranth-Coconut Curry (Thotakura Vepudu)
Amaranth-Green Brinjal Curry (Poluru Vankaya Thotakura)
Banana Pepper Curry
Beans Curry (Indian, French and Lima)
Beetroot Curry
Beetroot, Red Cabbage, Red Beans Curry
Beetroot & Carrots – Steamed
Bitter Gourd Curry (karela)
Bitter Gourd Chips
Boiled Peanuts with Salad Greens ~ Spring Salad Synergy
Brinjal-Ginger Curry
Brinjal (Eggplant) Curry
Brinjal with Besan (Besan Baingan)
Broadbean Curry (Chikkudu Podi Kura)
Brussels Sprouts Curry
Brussels Sprouts~Potato~Green Garbanzos Curry
Cabbage Curry
Capsicum (3 color) Saute
Capsicum Curry
Chayote Curry (Bengaluru Vankaya Kura)
Cluster Beans Curry (Matti kaayalu, Gawar Beans)
Cluster Beans Curry -2 (Matti Kaayalu, Gawar Beans)
Dondakaya Curry (Tindora Fry)
Hot Stuffed Cherry Peppers
Mango Salsa
Okra Curry (Bendi Fry)
Okra in Yogurt Sauce
Plantain (Arati Kaaya) Curry
Plantain Curry with Mustard Paste (Arati Ava Pettina Kura)
Paruppu Usli with Gawar Beans
Paruppu Usli with Green Beans
Red Radish Curry
Red Radish – Potato Curry
Ridge Gourd Curry (Beerakaya Kura)
Ridge Gourd-Dill Curry (Turai-Suwa Curry)
Ridge Gourd-Methi Curry (Beerakaya Menthi kura)
Silk Squash Curry (Neti Beerakaya Kura)
Spinach Curry

Curries With Gravy/Sauce (Kurma/Stew/Pulusu):

Home Classics ~ Scrumptious Subjis
Banana Pepper-Baby Aloo Curry
Bottle Gourd Kurma (Sorakaya-Pappula Pulusu)
Bottle Gourd in Sesame Sauce
Bottle Gourd in Yogurt
Brinjal – Potato Curry
Brinjal – Chickpeas Curry (Baingan Chole)
Brinjal – Stuffed Curry (Gutti Vankaaya Kura)
Brinjal – Stuffed Curry (Nune Vakaya Kura)
Brinjal Babies in Masala Sauce (Gutti Vankaya Kura-2)
Broadbean Curry (Chikkudu Pulusu)
Capsicum in Peanut Sauce
Capsicums – Stuffed
Chayote in Chilli Sauce (Bengaluru Vankaya Kurma)
Drumsticks Curry(Munaga Kaaya)
Kadala Curry (Black Chickpeas in Coconut Milk)
Lima Beans Curry
Mango – Sesame Curry
Masala Turnips(Shalgam)
Methi Chole (Fresh Fenugreek~Chickpeas Curry)
Methi Matar Malai
Nimona (Fresh Peas Curry)
Okra~Split Pea Stew (Afghan Inspired)
Plantain – Moong Bean Curry
Portabellas in Sesame Sauce
Potato Kurma
Potatoes in Tamarind Sauce (Aloo Pulusu)
Potato-Brinjal Curry with Punjabi Wadis
Ridge gourd Kurma (Beerakaya Pulusu)
Sarson da Saag (Mustard Greens, Spinach and Paneer)
Tindoras in Sesame Sauce (Dondakaya-Nuvvula Pulusu)
Zucchini Kurma

Restaurant Popular:
Aloo Chole (Potatoes & Chickpeas)
Aloo Dum (Potatoes in Cashew Sauce)
Aloo Gobhi (Potato & Cauliflower)
Chana Masala (Chole)
Palak Paneer
Paneer Jalfrezi (Kadai Paneer)
Paneer Naanini

egg :

Egg Kurma

Dazzling Dals: Dal~Rasam~Sambar

Dal (Pappu):
Amaranth Dal (Thotakura Pappu)
Brinjal Dal (Vankaya Pappu)
Fenugreek Dal (Menthi kura Pappu)
Gongura Pappu (Ambadi Dal)
Khatti Dal ~ Hyderabad Style
Lemon Cucumber Dal (Budamkaya/Dosakaya Pappu)
Mango Dal (Maamidi Kaya Pappu)
Ridgegourd Dal (Beerakaya Pappu)
Spinach Dal (Palakura Pappu)
Spinach – Garlic Dal
Spinach Mango Dal (Palakura Pullakura)
Spinach-Split Pea Dal
Tomato Dal (Tomato Pappu)
Tindora Dal (Dondakaya Pappu)

Moongdal Aamti with Kokum and Goda Masala
Moongdal with Ridgegourd (Beerakaya/Turai Pesara Pappu)

Rasam (Charu~Pappucharu):
Bhakshala Rasam (Puran Poli/Holige Rasam)
Pappuchaaru with Bendakaya (Bendi/okra)
Moong Dal Rasam (Pesara Chaaru)
Plain Toordal Rasam (Chappidi Pappuchaaru)
Tomato Rasam
Taro Root Rasam (Chaama Dumpala Chaaru)

Pachhi Pulusu (Cold, No-Boil Rasams):
Peanut Pachhi Pulusu (Peanut Cold Rasam)

Okra Sambar (Bendakaya Sambar)
Pacha Sambar: Sambar with Fresh Green Spices
Shallot Sambar (Ulli, Baby Onions Sambar)
White Radish Sambar (Mullangi Sambar)

Rice and Grains:

Festival Rice:
Chitrannam(Lemon Rice)
Mango Pulihora
Mango-Coconut Pulihora (Mamidi Kobbarannam)
Yogurt Rice with Mangoes (Mamidi Pandu Perugannam)

Pulagam ~ Sankranthi Tradition
Pongal (Pongali) ~ Classic Centuries-Old Recipe
Vegetable Pongal ~ A Pleasing Meal

Pulao (Masala Annam, Pilaf, Fried Rice):
Methi~Nariyal Pulao (Fresh Fenugreek-Coconut Pulao)
Mint Fried Rice (Pudina Pulao)
Red Radish Pulao
Tomato~Basmati Pulao

Otherthan White ~ Rice and Grains from India:
Rosematta Rice (Kerala Red Rice)
Millet Rice (Korrannam or Korra Buvva)

Rice Noodles:
Paneer Pad Thai with Bok Choy
Rice Noodles and Tofu in Fiery Peanut Sauce


Avocado Chapati
Punjabi Naan
Sorghum Roti (Jonna Rotte, Jowar Roti)

Chutneys/Pickles/Spicy powders:

Chutney/Pacchadi (using Rolu/Ural/Mortar & Pestle):
Brinjal~Jaggery Chutney (Vankaya-Bellam Chutney)
Coconut Chutney – Raw
Gongura Chutney (Ambadi, Sour Greens Chutney)
Onion Chutney
Ridgegourd (Beerakaya) Chutney

Chutney/Pacchadi (using mixer/blender/food processor):
Coconut Chuteny (Kobbari Pacchadi)
Coriander~Pappula Chutney
Coriander – Tomato Chutney
Methi Chutney (Fenugreek, Menthi Chutney)
Peanut Chutney (Palli, Buddala Pacchadi)
Peanut~Jaggery Chutney (Tiyya Buddala Pacchadi)
Red Bell Pepper Chutney

Pickles (Uragaya):
Amla Pickle (Usirikaya)
Crunchy Cucumber
Sweet Lemon Pickle (Mitha Nimboo Chutney)
Lime Pickle

Spicy Powders(Podulu):
Idly kaaram Podi
Red Chilli-Garlic Powder
Spicy Dalia Powder (Pappula Podi)

Snacks For a Rainy Day ~ Deep Fried & Oven Baked:

Deep Fried in Peanut Oil
Stuffed Green Chilli Bajji (Mirchi Bajji)
Mirchi Bajji ~ Hyderabad Style
Egg Bhajji

Blackeye Beans Fritters (alasanda vada)
Little Golden Parcels (Samosas with a Twist)
Plantain Chips

Oven Baked:
Egg Puffs Prepared with Parathas (Puffy P Egg)
Green Chickpea Kababs (Hare Chane Ki Seekh)
Oven-Roasted Red Potatoes
Microwave Potato Chips
Stuffed Baby Portabellas
Taro Root Chips (Chaama Dumpa/Arvi) ~ Oven Baked

Traditional Sun~Dried Snacks of India
(Vadiyam, Papadam, Appadam etc):

Majjiga Mirapa (Sundried Yogurt Chillies, Dahi Mirchi)

Traditional Indian Sweets:

Festival Sweets:
Bellam Paramannam (Jaggery Rice) ~ Sankranthi Sweet
Bhakshalu (Bobbatlu, Puran Poli, Holige) ~ Ugadi/Dasara Sweet
Chana Dal Payasam (Sanagapappu Payasamu)
Kudumulu ~ Vinayaka Chavathi Sweet
Moong Bean Payasam (Pesarapappu Payasam)
Paramannam (Sweet Rice)
Sabudana Payasam (Saggubiyyam Kheer)
Sesame Spheres (Nuvvula Mudda, Til Laddu) ~ Nagula Chavathi Sweet
Sweet Pongal (Tiyya Bellam Pongali) ~ Sankranthi Sweet


Banana Halwa (Nenthra Pazham Haluva) – By Kerala Girl
Besan-Coconut Burfi (The 7-cup Magic)
Borugula Laddu (Murmura Laddu, Rice Crispies)
Cashew Sweet (Kaju Tikki / Jeedipappu Paakam)
Cashew-Walnut Laddu (Jeedipappu-Akhrot Burfi)
Coconut Burfi (Kobbari Lauzu)
Gulab Jamuns with Sweet Potato
Jaggery~Coconut Puffs
Jaggery~Tamarind~Cumin Candy
Mango – Strawberry Popsicles
Mysore Pak
Pala Kova (Doodh Peda)
Pumpkin Halwa with Almonds
Ripe Plantain Sweet (Pazham Puzhungiyathu)
Sunnundalu (Urad Dal Laddu)
Walnut Burfi (Akhrot Laddu)

Refreshing Drinks/Ice:

Masala Chai
Pomegranate Sherbet (Anar/Danimma Sherbet)
Ragi Malt
Sonti Coffee and Sonti Tea (Dried Ginger Coffee and Tea)
Sonti Kashayam (Dried Ginger Ale)
Watermelon Granita with Cherries

How to Prepare? Some Basics:

Ganji Flavored with Curry Leaves
Ginger, Garlic, Coriander Paste (Allam Vellulli Kottimera Mudda)
Homemade Coconut Milk (Kobbari Paalu)
Homemade Ghee (Neyyi)
Homemade Neem-Clove Tooth Powder
Homemade Paneer
Homemade Yogurt (Perugu, Curd)
Jaggery (Bellam, Gur)
Popu or Tadka (Tiragamata) ~ The Technique

Yogi Diet (Food of Fasting Days):

Guggullu – Alasanda (Black Eye Beans)
Guggullu – Fresh Peas
Guggullu – Pesalu (Moong Beans)
Guggullu – Sanagalu (Chickpeas)

double_curve.gif Western Food double_curve.gif


Cornbread – Skillet Style with Okra Topping
Cornbread – Upside-Down with Cranberries
Cornmeal – Cabbage Muffins
Honey Whole Wheat Bread
Sesame Buns

Aloo Tikki Burgers
Lentil-Almond Burgers

Egg Pizza (Paratha+Frittata)
Pizza with Red Beans and Tomato Chutney
Steelers Pizza

Pasta (Noodles):
Lasagna Rolls – Indian Way
Melon Seed Pasta with Veggies
Pasta in Basil-Spinach-Cashew Sauce
Pasta in Cherry Tomato Sauce
Pasta in Red Bell Pepper Sauce
Penne Marinara with Fresh Goat Cheese

Sugary Desserts – Cakes, Cookies, Jams, Pies and Tarts:

Banana-Walnut Cake
Carrot Cake
Date Cake (Kharjuram Cake) with Honey and Walnuts
Chocolate-Chilli-Pecan Mini Cakes
Mango – Strawberry Scones

Burger and Fries – The Sweet Kind
Chestnut-Almond Cookies
Dark Chocolate Covered Sweet Sesame Spheres
Ebleskivers (Sweet Ponganalu) with Mango Sauce
Ma’amoul (Dates and Pistachios Filled Cookies)
Walnut-Coconut Caramel Toffee

Cranberry Jam
Cranberry~Clove Marmalade
Mango Jam

Cherry Clafouti
Peach Pie – Lattice Topped
Fruit Tart
Mini Custard Tarts

double_curve.gif Discoveries and Divine Prasadamsdouble_curve.gif

New Traditions:

Holiday Treats ~ Roasted Chestnuts
Oatmeal with Old~Fashioned Oats
Soymilk – Homemade
Soymilk Skins (Yuba) – Yuba Wrapped Potato Curry Rounds and Soymilk Halwa
Wild Rice

Bhakti~Bhukti (Divine and Dine Series about Temple Traditions):

Sri Venkateswara Temple ~ Pittsburgh, PA, US
Vrindaban and Krishna Prasadam ~ Wheeling, West Virginia, US

Cookbook Reviews and Interviews:

Cooking at Home With Pedatha ~ Review, Interview and a Recipe
Tandoor: The Great Indian Barbeque ~ Review, Poem and a Recipe
Grains, Greens, and Grated Coconuts ~ Review and Recipe By Veena Parrikar

double_curve.gif The Joy of Effortdouble_curve.gif

Joy in Effort ~ Personal and Team

Thumbnail Gallery of Mahanandi’s Recipes
101 Indian Sweets – Photo Gallery

Jihva For Ingredients ~ Mango
Jihva For Ingredients ~ Greens
Independence Day Food Parade ~ August 15th, 2006

Dining Hall
Food Blog Desam
Mahanandi’s Food Blog List


Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Revisiting Old Recipes,Zen (Personal) (Tuesday June 12, 2007 at 9:31 am- permalink)
Comments (25)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Pongal with Green Pearls

We, Indians could learn so much from Italians when it comes to food marketing, I think. Take for example, – they have risotto, we have pongal. There are thousands of articles, recipes written on risotto. Good, old fashioned risotto, risotto with saffron, risotto with that, risotto with this… the list goes on and on. It’s easy to apply the same thing to pongal. The basic recipe never changes but by adding fresh seasonal produce like fresh peas or asparagus etc, it’s possible to rekindle the interest in centuries-old pongal recipe. Of course we also need excellent writers, poets and photographers to create that harp effect, a swooning, spiritual experience at the mere utterance of “Pongal”. Few movie scenes where the hero adoringly feeds the heroine a spoonful of creamy pongal would also help.

We have golden recipes, excellent technique. What we lack is co-coordinated, full throttle marketing. Inspired tactics used with savvy and creativity could not only resurrect genuine interest plus prestige in the preservation and application of the food traditions, they would also benefit the farmers back in the country, in my view.

Here is my humble effort.

Green Pearls ~ Fresh Peas of Summer

Brimming with that glorious just-off-the vine sweet flavor, the fresh peas of summer make a succulent addition to the classic, creamy pongal recipe. Easy to prepare and full of flavor, pongal with fresh peas make a pleasing meal any time of the day.


1 tablespoon – ghee
1 teaspoon each – black peppercorn, cumin and cloves
8 fresh curry leaves
½ cup – yellow moong dal
1 cup – shelled fresh green peas
1 cup – Sona Masuri rice
6 cups – water
1 teaspoon – salt or to taste

Melt ghee in a big saucepan on medium heat. Coarsely crush peppercorn, cumin and cloves in a mortar or in a spice mill and add to the ghee. Also add the curry leaves. Saute them gently for a minute or so.

Add the yellow moong dal. Continuously mixing, saute the dal to pale-pink color. At this stage add fresh green peas. Cook couple of minutes. Stir in Sona Masuri rice along with water and salt.

Bring the water to a boiling point on high heat. Once the water and rice start to dance, reduce the heat, cover the pot and simmer, mixing in-between until the rice is cooked to soft.

Turn off the heat, and add a last spoonful of water (or ghee, if you can afford it healthwise).

Leave to stand for 2-3 minutes then stir. Serve hot with chutney/kurma or yogurt.

Heaven in a Plate:Pongal with Fresh Peas and Peanut Chutney ~ Weekend Supper

Recipe Notes:
All about Sona Masuri Rice – here
Pongal is good with chutneys, pickles, tomato based kurmas, coconut based curries and plain homemade yogurt.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Biyyamu (Rice),Ghee,Moong Dal (Washed),Peas (Bataani),Sona Masuri Rice (Monday June 11, 2007 at 12:31 am- permalink)
Comments (24)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Bloggers and Beans

Bloggers do give the aura of Eveready bunnies, don’t they? The high pace they maintain and the energy they radiate, you would think their voice will be there forever. But blog death does happen. I have seen plenty of bloggers, just walking away from it all – some due to emotional drain and some for personal reasons. Last weekend for the first time, a blogger that I have been following from the beginning passed away. The loss was more palpable because it happened all of a sudden without a chance to say final goodbyes.

This has made me think, “what is our responsibility towards a favorite blogger?” There are millions of voices out there, but we have chosen to follow only few. We follow them I feel not because of great insights they offer but because they correspond to knowledge that we already have. When the things they write make sense, they become part of our lives. I start to care about the well being of that person behind the blog. I’m aware that it’s never going to be returned affection, still I contribute when they ask for money and comment when I feel they need support.

What about you? I am sure you must have a list of daily blog reads. Do you care about the blogger behind the blog?

When it comes to beans, they do matter a lot in cooking. The three beans (Indian, French and Lima) curry has become a regular at my kitchen over the past year. Whenever firm fresh green beans are available, I make this curry following the recipe below.

Green Beans, Shelled Indian Beans, Baby Lima Beans
Green Beans, Shelled Indian Beans, Baby Lima Beans


Fresh Green beans – cut to half-inch length pieces, about 2 cups
Shelled Indian broad beans – ½ cup
Baby lima beans – ½ cup
Onion – 1, finely chopped
Green chillies- 4 to 6 and coconut powder – a tablespoon – made into smooth paste
Turmeric – ½ teaspoon
Salt to taste
For tadka or tiragamata:
1 tsp of peanut oil
1 tsp of mustard seeds, cumin, minced garlic and few curry leaves

Heat peanut oil in a kadai or a wide pan. Add and toast the tadka ingredients. Add and stir-fry the onions for about 2 minutes. Add the green beans, Indian beans and Lima beans. Cook, covered for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Beans will soften within 5 minutes by cooking in their own moisture, sort of steam cooking. At this stage, stir in green chilli-coconut paste, salt and turmeric. Cover and cook on medium heat for another 5-10 minutes stirring in between. Serve hot with chapatis or with rice and dal.

3-bean curry with chapatis
3-bean (Indian, French and Lima) curry with chapatis

Shelled Indian Beans (Papdi Lilva or Chikkudu Vittanalu) – at frozen section, Indian grocery shops.
Baby lima beans – at frozen section, American grocery shops.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Revisiting Old Recipes (Wednesday June 6, 2007 at 10:00 pm- permalink)
Comments (30)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Greens Beans~Sesame Kura

Green beans are available year-round here in frozen section, but they cannot compete with farm-fresh green beans of early summer time. Bright green and crisp textured, garden-fresh green beans still have that youth essence we cherish so much and I feel that this is the best time to cook/curry them.

The following is one of my favorite green bean recipes from maa amma (my mother). Relatively inexpensive, easy to prepare, green beans~sesame kura captures the spirit of traditional Andhra Summer menus.

Fresh Green Beans and Sesame Seeds


Fresh green beans: Ends removed and cut into half-inch length pieces, about 3 cups.
Onion – finely chopped, about half cup
2 Green chillies – finely chopped
Popu or tadka Ingredients:
½ tsp each- minced garlic, cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves
Sesame powder:
Powder together, ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds and ½ tsp each- chilli powder, salt and sugar

In a wide skillet, heat about a teaspoon of oil. Add and toast popu or tadka ingredients listed above. When mustard seeds start to splutter add the onion and saute to soft.

Add green beans and green chilli. Cook covered, until they soften little bit, for about five minutes. At this stage, sprinkle sesame powder and a pinch of turmeric. Mix thoroughly, cook uncovered, mixing in-between. (Have a taste and add salt if needed.) Take care not to over-cook and turn off the heat when there is still some crunch left in green beans. Serve warm with chapatis or with sorghum rotis.

I have also added a fistful of steam-cooked black chickpea sprouts from yesterday to this curry. Coated with sesame-spice powder and in combination of green beans, they tasted quite good.

Green Beans~Sesame Kura with Chapatis ~ Dinner Today

Kura (Telugu) = Curry (English)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Green Beans,Sesame Seeds (Tuesday June 5, 2007 at 9:08 pm- permalink)
Comments (16)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Series of Sprouts ~Black Chickpea sprouts

Black chickpeas~Dried ………………………………Black Chickpeas~Soaked

A ganji gudda (loosely woven cotton cloth),
Few seeds or grains,
Water and warm weather

There you go, you have everything you need to create one of the truly miracle foods of nature – the sprouts.

The warm weather during late spring and summer season suits seed sprouting. The seeds germinate quickly and easily, often within a day or two. And this type of natural sprouting process produces superior quality sprouts that taste way better than store bought stuff, I think. There won’t be any such doubts as how old are the sprouts, any chemical spraying involved, etc. After all, you are the one who assisted in the creation of precious life force.

I started this year summer sprouts series with black chickpeas (kala chana). Earthy and nutty, black chickpeas produce robust sprouts. I found that they are little bit tough to digest raw but steam-cooked, they sure make us go shabba shabba.

Black Chickpea Sprouts in Ganji Gudda

How to:

2 cups of black chickpeas (kala chana, Nalla Sanagalu)
Loosely woven cotton cloth (cheesecloth or ganji gudda)

Wash and soak black chickpeas in plenty of water, overnight. They expand considerably, so place them in a big vessel.

In a colander, spread the cheesecloth. Pour away the water and gather soaked black chickpeas. Bring the edges together and tie a knot. Hang the cloth in a windowsill.

Allow to sprout. Usually takes a day or two. Don’t let them dry completely. Remove, sprinkle water and hang again or use a sprayer to keep the cloth moist.

Incase of chickpeas, I usually let the sprouts grow only as long as the seed. Too long a sprout, the seed turn to bitter sometimes.

Remove and simmer them in salted water until they are tender or steam-cook. I usually do steam-cooking or plain stir-fry in guggllu/sundal style.

Sprouted black chickpeas make a great snack, and a good addition to curries/stews/kurmas.

Steam-Cooked Black Chickpea Sprouts ~ Our Weekend Snack

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Chickpeas-Black,Sprouts (Molakalu) (Monday June 4, 2007 at 9:45 am- permalink)
Comments (18)

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Steve Gilliard!

New Yorker, ex-dot.commer, food enthusiast and my favorite blogger Steve Gilliard has passed away yesterday. He underwent cardiac surgery recently, and complications got him. Steve was passionate and genuine. His was a unique voice and his website was a must stop for me for the last four years. It was a privilege to have read Steve’s writings.

He will be truly missed!

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Zen (Personal) (Sunday June 3, 2007 at 11:42 am- permalink)
Comments Off on Steve Gilliard!

The New Home of Mahanandi:

Tomato Flowers

Tomato Flowers
Tomato Flowers from Our Patio Garden

Flowers in Food Blog World:

Pea Flowers

Caterpillar or Mulberry?

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Tomato,Zen (Personal) (Saturday June 2, 2007 at 12:06 pm- permalink)
Comments (12)

The New Home of Mahanandi: