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¤ DIWALI | DEEPAVALI SPECIAl ¤

Deepavali – Festival of lights and feasts!

Mornings show streaks of red in the Eastern sky and night glows with a golden hue from thousands of lamps, as everyone revels in festivities. Dry spells are filled with glittering and intense booming fireworks. Incessant rains cannot dampen the pervading festive spirit.

However this year, as of now, it is all sun and skies!

Various stories for celebrating Diwali are

  • Goddess Lakshmi’s birthday
  • Victory of Rama over Ravaana
  • Krishna killed the demon Narakaasur
  • Vamana, Vishnu in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the tyrant Bali
  • Return of the Pandavas
  • Worship of Kali Ma and Ganesha
  • Nirvana of Lord Mahavira
  • The Sikh Guru Hargobind Ji, freed from imprisonment

In all interpretations, one common thread rings true—the festival marks the triumph of good over evil and celebration of life!

In South India, on Deepavali, people wake up early in the morning and take an oil bath, wear new clothes, light fireworks and eat sweets and savouries. They greet one another asking, “Have you had your ‘Ganga snanam’?” referring to the morning oil bath, symbolising a dip in the purifying holy Ganges.

Click on the links below for Diwali Special homemade recipes, you may want to try out this year

 

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♧ MENTHI KUZHAMBU | VENDAYA KUZHAMBU| VATRAL KUZHAMBU | VEGETABLES IN TAMARIND STEW ♧

Hello from the other side!!! 🎼 Hello from the outside!!!🎵🎶

Can’t greet any other way, thanks to my girls! For this is all I have being hearing, played on the loop, ever since the album released! Oh yeah, Adele has slayed it!

It is Fall season. Halloween and Thanksgiving are round the corner. Social media and the seasonal vegetable pumpkin posts, rampant on the net, make sure I stay well informed! Keeping up with the spirits, I toooooh, am sharing a Pumpkin recipe, the way we love our pumpkin the most!

Menthi Kuzhambu is a traditional tamarind based stew cooked with fenugreek seeds. Fresh vegetables are cooked in tamarind juice or to the cooked and reduced tamarind juice, vatral | dry, salted vegetables like Manaithakkali , Sundaikkai are added in the end. This pumpkin endeavour has an indelible taste – piquant, tangy, tarty, spicy and gets better with age, like fine wine. Menthi khuzhambu – mention of this food muse, is enough to make us drool but for some it may be an acquired taste. It is served hot with steamed rice, paruppu | pressure cooked red gram lentils and dry vegetable curry. Happy eating!

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DROOOOOOOOOOOOOL! Pumpkin Menthi kuzhambu

Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time : 30 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • A big lime size lump of Tamarind (preferably old – older the tartier stew)
  • 250 gms yellow pumpkin
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp bengal gram lentils | channa dal
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds | methi seeds
  •  2 – 3 whole red chilies
  • 1 –  1 1/2 tsp Sambar powder
  • 1/ 2 tsp jaggery
  • 1 tsp rice flour
  • a stem of curry leaves
  • 2 – 3 tbsps of sesame oil
  • powdered rock salt to taste

My Modus Operandi :

  1. Soak the tamarind in a cup of warm water for 15 mins. Squeeze out all the juice and strain out the pulp with a strainer. Set aside the clear tamarind juice, so obtained.
  2. Peel and chop the pumpkins into 1 inch rectangular or square pieces.
  3. Heat oil in a wok | bandli. Season with mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, bengal gram lentils, whole red chilies broken into halves and curry leaves. Add the pumpkins, sambar powder and scald till reddish brown about 1 – 2 mins. Now add the extracted tamarind juice and 5 cups of water. Boil on slow flame, till it reduces to about   4 – 41/2 cups of tamarind juice. Mix rice flour with about a tbsp of water till no lumps are formed and add it to the kuzhambu | broth for thickening. Add jaggery and salt. Check seasoning and the pumpkins, which need to be soft and cooked. Let it come to a boil and then switch of the heat.
  4. Serve hot with steamed rice, paruppu | pressure cooked red gram lentils and curry.

Variations :

  1. Vegetables like ladies finger, brinjal, capsicum, onions and shallots work wonderfully in this kuzhambu. Onions must be peeled and the vegetables chopped length wise. They must be scalded well, till lightly brown and then the sambar podi followed by the tamarind juice must be added.
  2. Sweet potatoes, drumstick, yam,carrot and potatoes also taste excellent in Menthi kuzhambu | tamarind stew.
  3. Instead of fresh vegetables, salted and dried Vatrals like Manaithakkali, Sundakkai, Kuzhambu Curryvadams (crispies) are also added to this kuzhambu but at the end, to maintain their crispiness, after the tamarind juice is cooked and reduced. Since the Vatrals are already salted, the Menthi kuzhambu | tamarind stew will need less salt.

♧ MUNG BEAN SALAD ♧

Mung Bean sprouts / Green gram lentil sprouts are low on calories and high in fiber and vitamins, especially Vitamin B. Raw Mung Bean Salad is a powerhouse of energy, packed with goodness of nutrients and works wonders in a weight loss diet.

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Raw Mung Bean Salad

Initially, sprouting the Mung Bean seemed a daunting challenge, until I discovered a very easy way to do it. Let me get down straight, to sharing, this sure fire technique and the Raw Mung Bean Salad recipe (on popular demand from my daughter’s friends) with one and all.

 Sprouted Mung Beans

Wash, rinse and soak a cup of Mung Beans with sufficient amount of water for about 5 – 7 hours till the Mung Beans swell to double their size. Drain the water completely and then wrap it around a kitchen turkey towel, which tends to hold on to moisture. Keep it in a bowl, inside the oven ( or any warm place) for another 7-9 hours and then voila, you will be gushing at the sight of, these germinated, sprouted, beautiful Mung Beanie babies.

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Voila, Gushing over my Sprouted beautiful Mung beanie babies

Mung Bean Salad

Prep time : 15 mins; Serves : 4

Ingredients :

  • Sprouted Mung Beans – 1 cup
  • Onions – 2
  • Tomatoes – 2
  • Green Chilly (deseeded) – 1
  • Capsicum (deseeded) – 1
  • Green Mango – 2 inch piece
  • Lemon – 1/2
  • Red Chilly powder / Paprika powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Dry Mango powder / Amchur powder / Chat masala powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Coconut Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Curry leaves – 3 – 4
  • Coriander leaves / cilantro leaves – 3 sprigs
  • Himalayan Pink Rock Salt  powder – to taste

Method : 

1. Finely chop the onions, tomatoes, green chilly, capsicum, green mango,coriander leaves, curry leaves and add them to sprouted mung beans. Take in a a large bowl, to facilitate mixing.

2. Season with red chilly powder, dry mango powder or chat masala powder, coconut oil, lemon juice from half a lemon and salt.

Vibrant and delicious Raw Mung Bean Salad ready to charge an energizer bunny!
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