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Hi Supermoms,

Curd rice/Thayir Sadam is an integral part of our lunch menu. A South Indian lunch is complete only when we finish it with  curd rice. Home made pickles like the Pesaru Mangai/Raw Mango Pickle , Nellikai/Gooseberry Thokku and Mor Milagai are the most favourite accompaniments. 

During my childhood, I have seen my mother make these at home during summer. They store well for upto a year. As we all love it so much, my mother always prepares them in large batch. Last summer, when I went to Chennai, I captured my mother making this traditional side dish. 

My Mother Prabha

Sun dried vegetables , fruits , seeds have been in our culinary tradition for ages. It is so handy and is a blessing on a rainy day. I am thrilled to share the authentic process to make this traditional dish.

As I am posting this after a year, the batch of Mor Milagai that my mother made is over. I made a fresh batch and shot the final images for the post. You can use any variety of green chillies to make them . In South India, the chillies are shorter , plump and are most ideal to make the mor milagai . 

Mor Milagai literally means 'Buttermilk Chillies'. Fresh green chillies are soaked in salted sour buttermilk and then sun dried . When they are completely dry and crisp, they are stored in an air tight container. As an when required, you can take a handful of chillies and deep fry on low flame till they turn dark brown/black and enjoyed along with curd rice. 

When you break the fried mor milagai, it should crumble beautifully. That is the sign of a perfectly made mor milagai. Rightly salted and so delicious. Do not be intimidated by the process. Keep trying small batches and I am sure you will get the perfect taste and texture. 

However, you can use the variety that is available in your city/country. 


Recipe Courtesy : Mrs. Prabha

Mor Milagai | Sundried Chillies :

Preparation time : 20 minutes
Total Duration : 4-5 days ( will change depending upon the heat )
Storage : Keeps good for upto 1 year when stored in an odour free, clean and dry container .

Ingredients :

500 gm green chillies 
1 cup thick curd ( it would be ideal if it is sour)
1 cup water
salt ( to taste)

Method:

1. Make a small slit/incision on the side of each chilli.
Chef tip : This step makes sure that the chillies absorb the buttermilk.
2. In an earthen pot or ceramic jar, add the thick curd and whisk well.
3. Add water, salt and make buttermilk.
Chef tip: You can adjust the water quantity. The chillies should be completely immersed in buttermilk. 

4. Soak the chillies for 24 hours. 
5. Remove the chillies from the buttermilk and spread them out in a clean muslin cloth and sun dry them for a few hours.

Chef tip : You can close the chillies with a muslin cloth to prevent dust .
6. At the end of the day, put them back into the buttermilk and allow it to soak overnight.
7. Again, remove the chillies the next day and sun dry them. 
8. Repeat the process till the entire amount of buttermilk is absorbed by the chillies .
9. Once the buttermilk is completely absorbed, you can sun dry the chillies till they are completely dry . 
10. You can store them in a clean, dry container.
11. Heat oil and fry them on low flame (only) till they turn dark brown/black. 

Your Authentic and tasty homemade Mor Milagai is now ready to be enjoyed along with your meal. Try making it this summer. 


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom









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Hi Supermoms,

Food is an expression of sincere love and devotion. 

I made this simple and delicious payasam/kheer yesterday as neivedyam/prashad/offering to my Guru. The recipe was shared by my favourite Shanthi didi some time ago and I have been wanting to make it . This recipe is a Thaipoosam special dish. 

Once the rice and moong dal is cooked, it hardly takes time to make this payasam. You can make it vegan by using coconut milk and substituting coconut oil instead of ghee. You can use all your favourite dry fruits for garnishing . Instead of rice, you can use millets.

You can add powdered jaggery directly into the rice mixture or you can dissolve the jaggery in 1/2 cup hot water, filter and then add it. 

The aroma of dry ginger, cardamom and fried coconut pieces makes this payasam unique and so tasty. 



Saravana Payasam | Thaipoosam Special Recipe :

Preparation time : 5 minutes
Cooking time : 30 minutes
Serves : 4
1 cup = 250 ml cup

Ingredients :

1/2 cup raw rice ( Sona masoori /Ponni)
1 tablespoon moong dal/husked and split green gram 
1/2 cup powdered jaggery ( add extra if you like it more sweet)
1 tablespoon dry ginger powder ( mixed with 1 tablespoon water)
3-4 green cardamom ( powdered)
1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces ( finely chopped)  
1 teaspoon dry fruits of your choice ( I used chirongi)( optional)
2 teaspoons ghee /clarified butter 
1/2 cup milk ( adjust according to your taste)


Method :

1. Wash rice and moongdal.
2. Add 2 & 1/2 cups of water and pressure cook for upto 4 whistles on low/medium flame.
3. Once the pressure releases, open the cooker and place it back on low flame.
4. Add the powdered jaggery and keep stirring and cooking till the jaggery melts completely.
5. Add the dry ginger powder and cardamom and cook for a minute and switch off. 
6. In parallel, heat ghee in a small pan and fry the coconut pieces .
7. Pour it over the payasam.
8. Add toasted chirongi and switch off.
9. Once the mixture is warm, add hot milk and mix well.
Note: You can cook the mixture with milk again for a minute if you like. 

Your delicious Saravana Payasam is now ready for the special occasion. 



Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom






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Hi Supermoms,

"The tastiest dishes are made of few ingredients and simple recipes".

A great example to prove this statement is the recipe I am going to share today. Thanjavur 'Keerai Kadanchathu', a family favourite. I was introduced to this dish by my Mother-In- Law. In our home, a small portion of spinach is made almost every day. Keerai Kadanchathu is a perfect accompaniment to any dish. It can be had along with a spicy curry rice , sambar or any variety rice. 

This dish is so healthy and hardly takes time to cook. Though I must confess, it took me many years of continuous practise to get the taste and consistency of the Keerai Kadayal that my MIL makes. Every time I used to make this dish, my children will taste and immediately share, "Amma, it is good but not as great as Paati's(grandma's)". That motivated me to watch my MIL make the spinach kadayal closely and learn all her tips and tricks to get this dish right. I am happy to share that I have passed the taste test successfully.  

I also try and cook spinach in my iron kadai/wok  that makes it more iron rich and also tasty. You can add a pinch of baking soda/cooking soda or sugar to spinach, if you like that vibrant green colour. I usually avoid it. As spinach reduces in quantity so much once it cooks, be careful of the salt quantity. It is always better to add only little in the beginning. Once it cooks, you can taste and add if required. You can cover the vessel/wok with a lid or a heavy vessel with water on the top if you do not want to add any water to the spinach. 

The most important step is to finely chop spinach. That really gives a great texture to Keerai Kadanchathu. Traditionally we use a wooden hand whisk called 'Matthu' to mash/whisk the spinach . The 'whisking' action is called 'Kadayal' and thus the name of the dish. 

The Keerai Kadanchathu regularly features in my Lunch Thalis . Some other regular spinach dishes that I make are Keerai Mor Kootu, Keerai Sambar, Keerai Thayir Pachadi . You can make this recipe to cook any fresh seasonal spinach/amaranth variety available in your locality.



Thanjavur Style Keerai Kadanchathu: 

Preparation time : 10 minutes
Cooking time : 20 minutes
Serves : 2-3
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Ingredients :

4 cups spinach ( finely chopped)
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon rice flour
rock salt to taste

For tempering :

1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds ( or cumin seeds)
1/4 teaspoon urad dal ( optional)
1-2 dry red chillies ( halved)
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method:

1. Wash and add spinach to an iron kadai.

2. Place the kadai over low/medium flame.
3. Add salt ,water and allow it to cook for 7-8 minutes.
Note : The time will vary depending upon the freshness of the spinach that you are using.
4. Use a hand whisk ( matthu) to mash the spinach.


5. Add rice flour and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or till the time they look like a smooth curry. 
6. Switch off.
7. Temper with ingredients given for the same.

Your traditional, simple and healthy Keerai Kadanchathu is now ready to be served. 


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom







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Hi Supermoms,

There are a few tips that I learnt from my Mother-in-Law and Mother to make bitter gourd taste less bitter. I try and follow those tips every time I make a bitter gourd dish. 

Sharing some pointers to keep in mind while cooking bitter gourd:

1. Slightly peel/scrape the skin of bitter gourd before chopping it.
2. After chopping, marinate them in freshly squeezed lemon juice and half teaspoon salt for at least 10 minutes.
3. Wash them well before you cook. 
4. Adding sugar/jaggery balances the bitterness.
5. Adding tomatoes adds to the tanginess of the dish and masks the bitterness. 
6. Using  coconut oil makes the kuzhambu flavourful and also reduces the heat of the dish. 
7. You can steam the bitter gourd for 7-8 minutes before you add it to the kuzhambu. This reduces the cooking time and the bitter gourd is much softer.

Today's Pavakkai aka bitter gourd spicy curry has all the six flavours making it most delicious. This kuzhambu can be stored upto 3 days in the refrigerator and it actually tastes even better the next day. 


Pavakkai Masala Kara Kuzhambu :

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time : 40 minutes
Serves : 4-5 
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Ingredients :

250 gm bitter gourd ( de-seeded, finely chopped)( steam for 7-8 minutes)
3 tomatoes ( finely chopped, grated or processed )
1 onion ( finely chopped)( you can use 10 sambar onions/shallots for great taste)
5 garlic cloves ( roughly mashed using mortar and pestle)
small gooseberry size tamarind ( soak in 1/2 cup warm water and extract juice)
1 teaspoon jaggery 
1 teaspoon rice flour ( optional)
salt to taste

Spice powders:

2 teaspoons red chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder 
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

For tempering :

1/4 cup coconut oil or sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds 
pinch of asafoetida
1 sprig curry leaves ( add whole)

Method : 

1. Heat a heavy bottom kadai with oil and temper with ingredients given under 'For tempering'.
2. Once the mustard seeds crackle, add garlic and fry till they turn light brown.
3. Add onions and tomatoes together.
4.  Add all the spice powders, salt and mix well.
5. Let this mixture cook over low flame till the tomatoes break down, change colour and the excess water is absorbed .
6. Now add the steamed bitter gourd and the extracted tamarind juice. 
7. Add 2 cups of water, partially close the kadai or pan and allow it to cook for another 10 minutes .
8. Open the lid, add jaggery , taste and adjust salt.
9. The kuzhambu has to be thick in consistency. If the Kuzhambu is still watery, you can mix 1 teaspoon rice flour with 2 teaspoons of water and add it to the kuzhambu.
10. Allow it to cook for another 5 minutes , add a teaspoon of ghee or coconut oil on top of the kuzhambu and switch off. 

Your yummy Pavakkai Masala Kara Kuzhambu is now ready !

If you like bitter gourd, here are a few more recipes you can try :






Happy Cooking !

Masterchefmom










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Hi Supermoms,

Hope you are well.

I have been tied up with some important projects and truly missed sharing my recipes with all of you. Thank you for all your heartwarming messages and motivation. I am back to sharing the recipes that you have been requesting . 

There are so many dishes that I cooked the past few months and I am more than excited to share all of them . Though I would love to share the back stories to all recipes, I am unable to do so due to the time factor. Will re-visit and update you all with many interesting snippets around creating these delicious dishes. 

'Lasooni Raita' literally translates into 'Garlic Raita'. A simple recipe with just few steps but takes your Biryani experience to a different level. You will find popular Biryani chains serving this raita along with their Vegetarian and Non- vegetarian Biryanis. 

This recipe is slightly different from the regular Onion Raita. Last Sunday, I made my family favourite, my signature  Quick Biryani and served it with this Lasooni Raita and Achaari Tomato Raita

It was one deliciously memorable meal. 


Lasooni Raita:

Total time : 10 minutes
Serves : 2
1 cup = 250 ml cup 

Ingredients :

1/4 cup curd ( thick)
1 medium size onion ( red)( finely chopped)
2 large garlic cloves ( crush well using mortar and pestle)
1-2 teaspoon cilantro/coriander leaves ( finely chopped)( optional)
salt to taste

Method :

1. Take a wide serving bowl and add the curd.
2. Whisk well without any lumps.
3. Add 1 cup of water and whisk again.
4. Add the crushed garlic pieces, chopped onions and mix well.
5. Finally, add the cilantro leaves and salt.
6. You can store it in the refrigerator till you serve. 

Delicious Lasooni raita is ready in minutes. 

Chef tips :

1. You can use fresh mint leaves instead of cilantro leaves .
2. You can chop the garlic clove and add then crush them using the mortar and pestle.
3. Increase/decrease the amount of garlic according to taste.
4. You can add finely chopped green chillies (one or two) if you are serving it to adults who love spice. 
5. Finely chopping the onions is the main step in this recipe.
6. This raita should not be thick. It should be a little watery. 


I am sure you are going to make this raita for your next Biryani meal. Do tag @masterchefmom  and hashtag #masterchefmomrecipes on instagram and facebook and proudly share your creation. 


Happy Cooking !

With love,

Masterchefmom

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MASTERCHEFMOM by Masterchefmom - 1M ago

 Hi Supermoms,

“Always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody says distract you from your goals. There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish “ - Michelle Obama.

This year Women’s Day is a special one. I was invited by Ariel India for the special screening of Marvel’s Latest and the very First Female Led Super Hero movie ‘Captain Marvel.  I was so excited to watch Carol Danvers; the first Marvel Woman Superhero transform into Captain Marvel. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that this movie is co-directed by a woman, Anna Boden. Well, another first for Marvel and a great progress for womenkind as a whole. For me, Anna is also a super hero.



The screening was organised in PVR Saket Mall. When I reached the mall, I saw the Team Ariel set up a big stage on the ground floor. The #sharetheload is a novel initiative by Ariel India. There were some Television celebrities Ravi Dubey and Sargun Mehta who had also come for the screening and took the promise to #sharetheload not only on Women’s Day but every day. I could see people cheering and watching them from various levels of the mall. There was also a special booth set up for men to record a message for the special woman in their life. 

After clicking a few pictures there, I was led by the Ariel team to the screening auditorium. And there was a huge surprise waiting for me. There was an Anti-gravity booth set up just outside the theatre that gave an illusion of outer space. I had fun clicking my picture inside the booth. 



The movie was filled with moments of breathtaking action scenes, witty one-liners and inspiring every woman, ‘that no matter what one tells you, be yourself. You fall, only to stand up stronger’. Captain Marvel embodies lot of positives which should act as an inspiration for today’s women. I can’t wait to see her in the next Avengers film. I am going to be cheering for her.



Some of them that stand out for me are her “never say die” attitude, the tenacity and self-belief, leading by example, the confidence with which she approaches every task.  It matched the sentiment that Ariel shared that for centuries women have been stereotyped in doing certain chores.

#ShareTheLoad asks “Are we teaching our sons what we have been teaching our daughters?" - Ariel - YouTube


To know more, click here

 It is time for men to step up and #sharetheload. 

With love,

Masterchefmom

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