Monday, August 7, 2017

Athirasam using KitchenAid grain mill attachment (cup measurement)

Athirasam is an Indian sweet that tastes something like ginger bread cookies fried in oil (more sweeter than the cookies). This definition is not necessary for any South Indian, but thought it may help others to understand the taste.

 In this athirasam recipe , I have used kitchenAid grain mill attachment to powder the rice. The grain mill attachment has various settings from finest to coarse  that can be used to prepare wheat flour or any kind of flours and cracked wheat like stuff.  Many stores offer cash back deals and offers on KitchenAid. I used Kohl's cash back offers and a 30% discount coupon.  I am sure KitchenAid is a boon for all who love to cook from scratch.

Even though, athirasam is quite a simple snack with only a few ingredients, it needs lot of concentration while preparing the dough. For the first try in my grainmill attachment , I wanted a solid recipe with cup measurements on small scale .   I came across this Athirasam Video by Tamil virunthu and it has very good tips.  Thanks to her detailed video I could improvise mine.   My traditional athirasam recipe calls for kg measurements while this video has shown it in cup measures.  This time I bought an authentic ponni pacharisi (Lakshmi brand). Earlier I was using the basmati rice (which is less expensive here), and I found that the pacharisi is better for all kinds of palagarams :) (reinvented the wheel 😀 ).

This is one of my most favorite snacks and my memories with athirasam would revolve around my  Deepavalis. Then after marriage, I too started making it by myself in Chennai.  We had a rice mill near our house and so these kind of snacks were easy for me then. There Sandhya amma and her family and friends (every household in neighborhood) would bring me athirasam and murukku during Deepavali.  That's a traditional snack there in Chennai. Should I say, my hubby dear loves these festival days to munch these goodies  🤗  ! Also he loves traditional sweets better than my "experimental recipes " .
So here is a successful recipe for athirasam using cup measures. Try this and enjoy !

It should be soft inside but cooked well

Soaking the rice for 2 - 3 hours

Bought this towel on sale for 75 cents from walmart ....just for drying the rice 😏

Air dried rice

 KitchenAid with grain mill attachment 😄

Grain mill for Indian recipes too !

Powdered rice

(Or) Use an Indian mixer. Powder the cardamom and dry ginger first.

Put the dried rice in mixie

Powder it to a fine stage. Add sesame, powdered cardamom, poppy and keep ready.

This is the jaggery I used. It is called as soft jaggery and it tastes good.

Melt the jaggery in water till it gets rolling consistency (sticky stage)

Mix with powdered rice and it should not be like a chapati dough, it should be little runny.

Let cool, keep it in a container for 3 days.

On a plastic sheet and flatten the dough

fry it in oil

Try to remove as much oil as possible by pressing it with paper towels

Athirasam with hole 
Chennai style 'hole-less' athirasam

raw Rice - 1 1/4 cup (pacharisi)
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
poppy seed (kasakasa) - 1/2 tsp
jaggery - 3/4 cup
water - 3/4 cup
ghee - 1 tbsp
sesame - 1 tsp
dry ginger powder (sukku) - 1/4 tsp
oil - to deep fry (in small batches)

Soak rice for 2-3 hours.
(One time I used Everest brand daily Basmati rice as I didn't buy real raw rice / pacharisi. Then I used Lakshmi brand Ponni pacharisi and found that this one is the best for Tamil recipes)
Drain water and spread over clean cloth / plastic sheet for 1 hour under fan.
In a mixie grind to fine powder along with cardamom. Though we should try for a fine powder, I could get a medium fine (little coarse) powder only. If needed use a sieve and sort out coarse rice and grind again.
Bring water to boil. Dissolve jaggery. (Filter and remove any dust or sand, if needed).
(I bought 'Taste of India - soft jaggery of Gujarat'. It is almost same as paahu vellam of Tamilnadu).
Boil the jaggery solution till it gets thicker (just before uruttu patham / soft rollable stage).
Take the jaggery out of heat immediately and mix with ghee, rice powder, sesame, ginger powder.
Mix well. (see photo for the consistency of dough. It should not be hard. It should be pourable but not runny).
Keep this dough in an airtight container. for 3 days in room temperature.

Smudge a drop of oil on a plastic sheet (I used a small ziplock cover).
Divide the athirasam mavu (dough) into 10 - 12 of  amla size balls.
Place one ball over the plastic sheet. Press with hand to a flat (1/4 inch thickness) disc.
Just like this prepare 5 to 6 athirasam as per need or do the whole batch.

Heat corn oil / sesame oil / ghee (?) to medium heat (not smoking hot).
Fry a pinch and test , if it rises suddenly.

Put the flattened dough into hot oil. It will start rising like tiny poori. Flip within 10 seconds. Let it cook both sides for less than 35 seconds. Take out and press carefully between two spatula to remove excess oil. Keep it over paper towel and start frying the next one.

Let cool and store in airtight container or consume immediately :)

Serving suggestion:
Let the athirasam cool a little bit before serving .
The dough stays good at room temperature for up to a week.
Counting : Makes 12 medium size athirasam

KitchenAid grain mill attachment can be used to powder rice, wheat and any cereals.
We should not use the grains with more moisture.
I have air dried the rice (under fan) for nearly 3 hours before grinding it to a powder.
I have set it in setting 3 (setting 1 is for finest).

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Barbecue party !

Last weekend, our friends Mr.Raghu and Mrs. Uma Raghu invited us for a barbecue party at their house.  We were all excited to see each other again on that beautiful evening. I was wondering how they were going to arrange this event along with both of their busy schedules and kids. So I felt like bringing some dessert to help a little bit. I made some carrot halwa and ice cream, while Shaila had brought Baklava.  But before that , Uma had prepared everything with lots of care and love. I love the way she has planned and prepared a vast number of starter dishes like Indian lemonade, chaat salad, chips spread, a flavorful veg pulav , an yummy raitha (recipe below) , kadalai curry and that amazing jigarthanda with native touch .....not only the cooking part, I admire the way she talked and played with Sunish's  kids and hers in between :) . Her husband Raghu did the barbecue. Raghu prepared a juicy tandoori chicken on barbecue and I would say that is the best I have ever had. Hot dogs and garlic bread on grill were also great and Uma's avocado spread was also delicious. To my surprise, they prepared Malaysian parotta over the grill and it was more flakier than tawa version.
Shaila and myself along with Sunish and my hubby enjoyed spending the evening with that beautiful couple.
On the way home, we both felt happy for that fun filled evening that rejoiced both our palates as well as our minds.

The Menu:
Chat salad
Nimbu paani (lemonade)
chips and dip
bite size pizza
garlic bread with homemade guacamole
hot dogs
grilled tandoori chicken
Vegetable pulav
Tempered Raitha (recipe below)
Grilled parotta
Channa curry
sprouted bean salad
Jigarthanda (recipe below)
Tandoori chicken on grill

Barbecued tandoori chicken

Bite size pizza, nimbu paani, avocado topped garlic bread

Also that yummy chaat salad !

Grilled parotta !

Jill Jill Jigarthanda !

Recipe for tempered raitha: (my guessing) 
Indian curd - 1 cup
Shredded carrot - 1
onion - 1
brinjal - 1
oil - 1 tsp
mustard seed - 1/2 tsp
salt , curry leaf, cilantro - as per need
chili powder -  a pinch

Heat oil in a wok. Let mustard crackle, then add sliced onion, hing, curry leaf, cilantro and saute well. Add finely sliced brinjal and carrot. Cook covered with required salt and tbsp of water. Add pinch of chili powder. Switch off and let cool. Add curd , salt and mix well.
Yummy raitha is ready !

Recipe for a quick Jigarthand :
Rose syrup - homemade
(Sugar syrup mixed with rose essence and pink food color or traditionally prepared using rose petals)
Vanilla ice cream
Badam pisin (a tiny piece for each cup)
(soak it in water overnight for next day's use)

In a glass tumbler, put a tbsp of soaked badam pisin, add little rose syrup. Top it with a scoop of ice cream and then top it with some more rose syrup.
Jigarthanda is ready !

Thank you Uma and Raghu, for this nice dinner party ! We had an amazing evening.