Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vattlappam - Coconut Jaggery Egg pudding

va2 Vattlappam is a South Indian, Sri Lankan Tamil dessert. I had never tasted this when I was in India...But this so much resembles the Andhra special dessert preparation called 'Junnu'. The major difference in preparation of both these puddings is the kind of milk each use. "Junnu" is made with a special kind of milk called "junnu pal(in telugu) milked from a cow which has just delivered. Usually up to to 6 - 7 days you can get this concentrated milk from the new mummy cow. In Vattalappam we use coconut milk..People also mix evapourated milk in proportions.

So the 3 main ingredients for this pudding are Coconut milk , jaggery and eggs. Well in other combination if you replace the coconut milk with the regular milk and jaggery with sugar or brown sugar this can be the regular conventional "Egg pudding" or "caramel pudding" in simple terms.

I have tasted this in special Srilankan parties...It just took me back to those days when my mom used to make the fresh junnu, which is my favorite dessert, I literally die for it. I miss it so much. In my childhood days I used to enjoy this rare treat, when supplied with "junnu pal" by family friends who own a cow or the milk lady who supplies fresh cow milk door to door,( when the proceesed milk in packets was not so popular). Now from where will I get junnu pal in Canada. So thanks to coconut milk, which replaces junnu pal to make this pudding.

va1 Lets see the recipe now.

1 Can( 2 cups) Coconut milk (use 2 cups fresh coconut milk for best results)
1 Cup Evaporated milk
1 Cup Powered Jaggery ( depending upon how sweet you want)
4 whole Eggs plus 2 egg white
1 tsp Cardamom(Elachi) powder
A pinch of Nutmeg powder
A pinch of salt
1 tsp Black Pepper dust(optional)
2 tbsps roasted Nuts and Raisins(optional)


Whisk/beat eggs in a bowl with a hand blender.
Add coconut milk, evaporated milk, blend again.
Add powered jaggery whisk thoroughly till all the jaggery is dissolved in the milk and egg mixture. Taste for sweetness and increase if desired.
Add salt, nutmeg, elachi powder mix well.
Meanwhile boil hot water in a kettle.
Preheat the oven to 350c
Choose two deep baking trays(metal/glass) so that one easily fits into another leaving enough gap between the borders of the other.
Now pour the pudding mixture into the smaller tray and place it in the bigger one.
Fill the bigger tray with boiling hot water till the water comes half way to the tray inside.
Now sprinkle Black Pepper powder on top of the liquid mixture..(this is my addition)
Alternatively if you want you can use small ramekins to bake this pudding and place them in the hot water filled tray.
Now place all this equipment in the oven and bake for 45mins or till the pudding sets.
You can also steam this pudding in a cooker.
Arrange the fried cashew and raisins at this point on top of the pudding.
When the point of the knife comes clear when slipped into pudding, remove from the oven and let cool outside till room temperature and then transfer to the fridge for 1 or 2 hours.
When chill cut into desired shapes and serve.
To enjoy the flavours in this pudding it should not eaten be not too cold.
The coconut milk and jaggery contribute to the unique taste of this dessert.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mint or Pudina Chuntey

DSC02936Pudina or mint is one of my fav herbs...With all its medicinal values and great flavour this is one herb I wish to have in my fridge to make use off.

I use it in biriyanis, tandoori chicken, kebabs, to flavour my fruit punch, or lemonade, to make mint rice and to make chutney

Growing up always enjoyed my granny's thick spicy version with hot rice. But for upma we need a softer thinner version and also add a spoon of sugar to bring up those minty flavours which i really think go well to lift up mildness of upma.

DSC02920 Ingredients:
1 bunch Mint/Pudina leaves
1 Tbsp oil

To fry:
2 Tbsp Channa dhall
1 Tbsp Urad dhall
1 Tbsp Coriander seeds
1 Tbsp Cumin seeds
2 long Red chillies dry (increase the no. if desire spicy)
3-4 small Garlic pods skin on and crushed gently

1/4 lemon size tamarind soaked to soften
2/3 tsp sugar or powdered jaggery
Salt to taste
Enough water to grind the chutney.

Add oil to a hot saucepan, when heated add the dhalls and fry till color changes then add all the other frying ingredients and fry for 2 to 3 minutes or they turn the color.
Empty the fried ingredients onto a plate and allow them to cool.

DSC02916 Separate pudina leaves from stems and rinse them thoroughly, strain from water.
Add the leaves to tawa in which we just fried all the other ingredients.
Fry for a minute and remove from heat.
Empty these leaves onto another plate and top it with the soaked tamarind mixture to cool it fast.
Grind the fried dhal and other ingredients mixture to powder along with salt, then add the mint leaves, tamarind mixture along with sugar or jaggery and enough water to make a fine paste.
Check for enough salt, sweet and sour and add more if necessary. Add more water if the chutney is too thick and it is hard to grind.
If everything is OK, then empty into a bowl and serve with upma, idly or dosa.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Rava Upma

DSC02926 I'm sure this is one staple breakfast or tiffin all my friends from back home(especially from south India) would have had atleast once a week..

Rava upma is so widely popular in south India...Every home, restaurant or special gatherings like weddings, picnic have this in their breakfast menu...Upma has its high and low experiences...On the low side if it is not well done this could be one tasting so awful. Honestly this is one breakfast I would never wished to see in any special occasions...and on the high side if one is able to get it right this is one awesome tasty breakfast along with some chutney like coconut, ginger or mint and sambar(optional). Upma is also accompanied by one Andhra special pan crapes called "pesarrattu" and that is a famous combo breakfasts. Hope to blog about pesarattu sometime.

I too have mixed experiences with upma...I seldom used to like the upma my mom made..the slippery version...on the contrary use to love my grandma and aunt's versions with addition of small potato cubes and roasted ground nuts or cashew nuts , which used to have a smooth texture but not slippery.

Upma can be made in a number of ways....Addition of ghee enhances the flavour and the taste of upma...but in today's world we are not so fortunate to add it so generously for health reasons.

To some extent my upma has not been so bad in my ten years experience.

This weekend especially it really turned out so good that I'm forced to post it in my space here...BTW my hubby and two boys always enjoyed my upma..

Let see the recipe now...

DSC02938 Ingredients:
To Roast
2 cups fine Rava/Suji/Semolina
2 Tbsp ghee 0r oil

For Tempering
2 Tbsp ghee 0r oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp Channa dhall
12 -15 curry leaves
1 small piece ginger cut into small cubes with skin on
1 medium onion sliced
4 green chillies slit length wise
4 cups of water...increase 1/2 a cup depending upon the quality of rava
Salt to taste

1 medium potato cut into small cubes
1 medium tomato cut into small cubes
a handful of cashew or peanuts
1 more Tbsp ghee or oil
Finely chopped coriander leaves.

DSC02940 Procedure:
Heat up a deep tawa, add 2 tbsp ghee or oil and roast rava/semolina till the color changes slightly with nice aroma. Take care not to burn the rava. Empty the rava into a container and keep it separate.
Now add another 2 tbsp ghee or oil to the heated vessel and allow mustard to splutter , add the channa dhall and roast and then add the nuts and roast and finally add all the other seasoning/tempering/optional ingredients and fry them till onion, tomato and potato are cooked.
Now add 4 cups of water, salt to taste and bring this to boil.
Now simmer, and slowly fold in the roasted rava into this and keep stirring thoroughly seeing that no lumps of rava are formed.
Cover and allow to cook for 3 - 5 mins
Remove lid and add the remaining 1 tbsp of ghee or oil and mix it thoroughly.
Add finely chopped coriander if desired...
Remove from heat and let stand for 10 mints or till the heat is manageable to eat.

Enjoy with your favorite home made chutney and sambar... Check my mint chutney coming next.