Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Gasa Gasa Payasam | GasaGase Kheer | Poppy Seed Kheer

Gasa Gasa Payasam, a delicious and creamy sweet made with poppy seeds, coconut and jaggery as main ingredients. It's one of the yummiest desserts made with very few ingredients.

This Payasam was totally new to me until i tried on my own. Never had this before anywhere. A few years back, i came to know about this payasam from a fellow blogger when i was a part of a blogging group. 

Instantly i found this payasam recipe interesting and tried it a couple of days after. It was so creamy and delicious even without any milk and it became our favorite payasam. Often i prepare this payasam for various festive occasions.

Though i make this regularly at home, somehow it didn't show up here in my blog this long. As Gokulashtami/Janmashtami and Vinayaga/Ganesh Charthuti festivals are just around the corner, I thought sharing this  payasam would be helpful for those who looking for easy to make sweets for prasadam. 

As i said earlier, poppy seeds, coconut and jaggery are the key ingredients to make this payasam. In addition i have used a little bit of rice, it helps to thicken the payasam. But you can make this payasam without rice too.

Lastly, if you're looking for a vegan sweet /dessert, then just ignore the ghee and dry roast the cashews and add into this payasam. A delicious vegan payasam is ready ! 
Before checking out the recipe, let me answer the few FAQs
What type of poppy seed to use in this Gasa Gasa Payasam?
White poppy seeds are extensively used in Indian Cooking and the black ones have almost zero contribution in Indian Cuisine. So here i have used white poppy seeds commonly known as "Gasa Gasa" or Gasagase. 

Can i use the frozen coconut in the Gasa Gasa Payasam?
Yes, of course. It also tastes as good as fresh coconut.

Any other tips for beginners? 
Sure ! There are a few tips to make it delicious and vibrant.
  1. The color of the payasam depends on the color of the jaggery. So in this recipe recipe, i have used the combination of yellow jaggery and dark brown jaggery to get that caramel color. If you're using only the yellow jaggery, the color might differ.
  2. This Payasam tends to thicken as cooled down, so remove from the heat just before the consistency you prefer.
Ok, now let's check out on how to make this delicious payasam.

Gasa Gasa Payasam | GasaGase Kheer

Preparation Time : 10 mins | Cooking Time : 20 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Sweets | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Gasa Gasa Payasam, GasaGase Kheer, Poppy Seed Kheer, Payasam recipe, Indian Payasam, Indian Kheer, Sweet, Gasa Gasa Payasam, a delicious and creamy sweet made with poppy seeds, coconut and jaggery as main ingredients. It's one of the yummiest desserts made with very few ingredients.
Gasa Gasa / Poppy Seeds - 2 tbsp
Rice - 1/2 tbsp
Grated Coconut - 1/3 cup
Jaggery - 1/2 cup
Water - 2 cups
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Ghee - 2 tsp
Cashews - 10 

First dry roast the needed ingredients. Heat a small pan, add the gasa gasa/poppy seeds and the rice, roast them till the poppy seeds are fragrant. No need to change the color of the ingredients.

Let them cool a bit. In a mixie/blender jar, add the grated coconut  and the roasted ingredients and grind them into smooth paste by adding water little by little.
Next in a sauce pan, add the jaggery and the 2 cups of water. 
Let the jaggery melts completely( If it has any impurities, strain the jaggery juice and pour into the sauce pan again).Then add the coconut & gasa gasa paste.
Mix it well and let it comes to boil. Once it starts to boil, keep the flame in low medium and cook for 10-12 mins. By the time, it thickens a bit or cook for more time till the consistency you prefer. 
Next add the cardamom powder into the payasam. Roast the cashews in the ghee and add it also into the payasam.Mix it all well together. 
Lip smacking delicious payasam is ready to serve ! 
  • This Payasam thickens a little bit when it's cooled down, so switch off the flame a little earlier before the preferred consistency.
  • You can make this payasam as spoonable or drinkable in consistency as you like.
  • Depends on the consistency of the payasam, you may need more or less of jaggery. So adjust the sweetness if you add more or less water than the recipe called for.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Keerai Kuzhambu | Keerai Puli Kuzhambu

Keerai Kuzhambu / Keerai Puli Kuzhambu, a spicy  and delicious tamarind based curry with spinach puree. It's one of my favourite curries and often make it for our lunch long with steamed rice and an accompaniment. 

This curry preparation is more or less similar to the puli kuzhambu/kara kuzhambu, but the addition of spinach puree gives a unique taste and it's indeed finger licking delicious.
In our home, ST is more fond of spicy masala food hence the keerai kootu and keerai kadaiyal are some of his least favourite dishes and claim them as very bland.  In general, most of the South Indian dishes made with spinach are very mild in terms of flavor and spices. 

So he prefers this keerai kuzhambu more than any other dishes made with spinach! if you're one of the person who likes your food as spicy and flavorful, then this curry is definitely for you !

Keerai Kuzhambu | Keerai Puli Kuzhambu

Preparation Time : 20 mins | Cooking Time : 20 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Curry | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Keerai Kuzhambu,Spinach Puli Kuzhambu, Keerai Puli Kuzhambu Keerai Kuzhambu / Keerai Puli Kuzhambu, a spicy and delicious tamarind based curry with spinach puree.
Spinach - 1 cup (tightly packed)
Tamarind - a gooseberry size
Pearl onion - 4
Garlic - 8 pods
Tomato(small) - 1 
Curry leaves - few
Fenugreek Seed - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1& 1/2 tbsp
Mustard & urad dal - 1/4 tsp
Jaggery - a small piece

First measure and take the spinach. Heat a pot of water and blanch the spinach. Just when it starts to shrink, remove from the hot water and run it under cool water & keep it aside.
Peel the onion & garlic and chop them roughly into pieces and also tomato into small pieces. Soak the tamarind in a 1/2 cup of water for 20 mins. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan.
Add the fenugreek seed, mustard & urad dal, let the mustard splutter, then add the onion, garlic and curry leaves.Saute till the onions become translucent.
Then add the tomatoes and give a quick stir. Next keep the flame in low and then add the spices(turmeric, red chili & sambar powder) and salt ,saute them in the oil for few mins.
Extract the tamarind juice from the soaked tamarind and add into it. Cover it with lid and cook till the curry is little thick.
In the meantime, puree the blanched spinach and add it into the curry.
Mix it well and then finally add a piece of jaggery. Boil the curry till the oil separates on the sides.
Tasty Keerai Kuzhambu is ready ! Serve it with steamed rice and your favorite curry. We had it along with potato podimas, beetroot poriyal and tempered toor dal.

Related : How to make Keerai Kootu

  • Keep the flame in low when adding the spices, otherwise it will be burnt easily.
  • Adding the spices in the oil gives enhanced flavor to the kuzhambu.
  • Sambar powder that i have used here is home made and haven't had any chilies in it. If your sambar powder has chili in it, reduce the chili powder and adjust to your taste.
  • Boil the curry till the consistency you prefer.
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Monday, July 18, 2022

How to make Hibiscus Tea from fresh flowers | Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus Tea , a healthy drink made from the fresh hibiscus flower petals infused in the water. It's a healthy alternative for morning coffee or evening chai but it can be served on any time of the day !  

The hibiscus plant that we have for the last three years, blooms a lot every summer. This year it was massive and it has more than 20 flowers and buds at any time. 

I knew that hibiscus flowers are a good conditioner for the hair and often used as a hair mask. But recently i came to know that the hibiscus flowers are edible and it has so many healthy benefits.

The hibiscus flower is  rich in Vitamin C and especially it's really helpful to reduce anxiousness & blood pressure.

[Disclaimer :I'm not a nutritional expert and all this information is from google search.]

Hibiscus Tea

Here in today's recipe, I have used pink hibiscus flowers because that's what we have at our home. But you can use the common red colour hibiscus flower too in this tea and it doesn't make any difference.

The tea has a wonderful pink colour when lemon juice is added into it and it's so refreshing to have it. It tastes mostly like lemon water with a hint of floral taste & aroma. So if you're looking for a healthy tea to give it a try, then you must try this hibiscus tea !   

Pink Hibiscus Flower

How to make Hibiscus Tea from fresh flowers

Preparation Time : 1 min | Cooking Time : 5 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Tea | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
How to make Hibiscus Tea from fresh flowers,Hibiscus Tea,Healthy Tea,Herbal Tea Hibiscus Tea , a healthy drink made from the fresh hibiscus flower petals infused in the water.
Hibiscus flower - 1 
Lemon Juice - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1/2 cup
Honey - 1/2 tsp tsp(optional)

Hibiscus Tea
Pick a fresh hibiscus flower and pull all the petals from the flower. In a sauce pan, add the water and heat it.

Wash the hibiscus petals well and add into the water.
Once the water comes to boil,  cover the pan with lid and switch off the flame. Let it steep for 2-3 mins and then drain the water.
Discard the petals and the water would be in light pink color.
Next squeeze the lemon juice and see the magic. The water would turned into dark pink color. Then if needed add honey , mix it well.
Healthy Hibiscus Tea is ready to enjoy!

Related: How to make Chia Seed Lemon Drink

Hibiscus Tea
  • I have used pink hibiscus flowers here but you can use red flowers also
  • Honey is totally optional.
Hibiscus Flower

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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Ven Pongal | Kara Pongal | Uthiri Pongal

Ven pongal / Kara Pongal / Uthiri Pongal, a delicious South Indian breakfast made from rice, dal and tempered with aromatic Indian Spices. It's usually served with sambar and/or chutneys.

The recipe that i'm sharing today is for soft and fluffy pongal not the mushy one that is usually available in restaurants. Though mushy pongal tastes great when served hot, it doesn't taste the same when it's cold. 

So, In South Tamilnadu, when pongal is prepared in large quantities for temple festivals or marriage feast to feed many people, usually it's not mushy because that's when even the last serving has the same taste as the first serving.
Kara Pongal

For this pongal, raw ponni rice is used generally for its small grain size and the taste. But seeraga samba rice/biryani rice  also taste equally good for this pongal with enhanced flavor.

As in this pongal recipe, the rice and dal is cooked along with the tempering, the flavor is intense even without a lot of ghee and makes you want to eat more & more ! That's why it's our family favorite.

Now let's check out on how to make this delicious pongal.
Kara Pongal

Ven Pongal | Kara Pongal | Uthiri Pongal

Preparation Time : 30 mins | Cooking Time : 20 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Breakfast | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Ven Pongal, Kara Pongal, Uthiri Pongal Ven pongal / Kara Pongal / Uthiri Pongal, a delicious South Indian breakfast made from the rice, dal and tempered with aromatic Indian Spices.
Seeraga Samba rice / Raw Ponni rice - 1/2 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Water - 1 & 1/2  cups
Salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Oil - 2 tsp
Ghee - 2 tsp
To Temper
Cumin Seed - 1  tsp
Pepper Corns - 1 tsp
Ginger - 1 tbsp(minced)
Curry leaves - few
Cashew - 6 to 8
Asafoetida powder - 1/4 tsp

Ven Pongal
First in a bowl, add the rice and dal, wash it well and then soak it in the water for 30 mins.

Next take all the ingredients for tempering and then heat a pressure cooker with oil and 1 tsp of ghee, add all the tempering ingredients one by one.
Saute till they are aromatic and then add the water. 
Next add the turmeric powder and salt. Bring the water into boil.
Drain the water from the soaked rice and dal and add into the pressure cooker. Give a quick stir and then cover the pressure cooker with lid and put a whistle. Cook it for 3 whistles.
Once the pressure is released from the pressure cooker, open it and add the remaining 1 tsp of ghee, give a gentle mix. 
Tada, Tasty and fluffy Ven Pongal is ready. Serve it with sambar and/or chutneys.

Related: How to make Crispy Rava Dosai

  • Instead of whole pepper corns, crushed pepper corns can also be used. 
  • Adding good amount of ginger truly elevates the flavor and taste of the pongal.Pongal

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Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Apple Mango Smoothie | Breakfast Smoothie Recipe

Apple Mango Smoothie, a delicious and refreshing smoothie made from the Apples and Mangoes. This Smoothie is so easy to make and very fulfilling too, so it can be served as breakfast smoothie too! 

In today's recipe, I used the store bought mango pulp for making this smoothie. However fresh mangoes also taste great for this smoothie ! I have tried making this smoothie with both fresh mangoes and canned mango pulp. Both are equally good.

When you're using canned mango pulp, make sure to add less sweetener because most of them already have added sugar in it. 

Now let's see how to make this creamy delicious Apple Mango Smoothie ! 

Apple Mango Smoothie

Preparation Time : 5 mins | Cooking Time : 0 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Smoothie | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Apple Mango Smoothie, Breakfast Smoothie Apple Mango Smoothie, a delicious and refreshing smoothie made from the Apples and Mangoes.
Apple -1 
Mango - 1 (1/2 cup mango puree)
Milk -1/2 cup
Vanilla Extract -1/2 tsp(optional)
Maple syrup/ Any Sweetener - as needed

Chop the apple into small cubes. Put it in the blender jar and then add the mango puree and milk. If you're using fresh mangoes, remove the skin and cut/scoop out the mango flesh into the blender jar.

Next add the vanilla extract(if using) and maple syrup. Blend them into smooth puree.
That's it, Delicious and refreshing Apple Mango Smoothie is ready.

Related : How to make Mango Kiwi Popsicle

  • Using less fibrous mango tastes great for this smoothie.
  • Depends on the sweetness of the apple , mango and your preference, add more or less of any sweetener.
  • I have used 2% milk for this smoothie.
  • I have used boiled and chilled milk out of habit.

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