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Tropical Mango Pineapple Smoothie


It's been a while since I posted a smoothie recipe here on the blog. The weather hasn't been that great to enjoy a glass of smoothie. The past winter in Melbourne has been super cold, windy and raining most of the days. But it's officially spring now and slowly the weather has started to warm up a bit. Spring is one of my favorite seasons and it's also the season of my favorite fruit - mango! I can't think of anyone who doesn't love a juicy ripe mango.

Kensington Pride, Calypso, R2E2 and Honey Gold are some of the mango varieties in Australia, with Kensington Pride being one of the most popular one. Mangoes are quite expensive too - after all it's the king of all fruits!!! On most Saturdays, we go to our local market to stock up the vegetables and fruits for the week. I got a box of mangoes which was heaps cheaper. I'm hoping to post some mango recipes unless we end up snacking all the mangoes!


Last Sunday the weather was beautiful. I made this tropical smoothie with mango, pineapple, Greek yogurt, orange juice and coconut water. It was so delicious and refreshing. Kids will definitely enjoy this healthy s smoothie. I don't follow any particular recipe for smoothie. Just throw the ingredients into the blender, adjust and taste as you go. Usually I add banana to smoothies to make it thick and creamy. This time I added mango and passion fruit flavored Greek yogurt; you can use plain yogurt. To thin out the smoothie I added coconut water and some orange juice. The sweetness in the fruit was enough for us. If you feel you need more sweetness, add some raw honey or other natural sweeteners. Try this smoothie when mango and pineapple are in season for your family.

TROPICAL MANGO PINEAPPLE SMOOTHIE
Serves 3

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup mango chunks
1 cup pineapple chunks
150 ml thick yogurt
1/2 cup coconut water
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tbsp raw honey or as required

Method:

1. Add the mango, pineapple, yogurt, honey into a blender and blend until smooth.

2. Add the coconut water, orange juice and blend until combined. Pour into glass and serve immediately.


Notes and Tips

You can use frozen mango and pineapple if fresh fruit is not available.
If you are planning to make this smoothie for breakfast, you can add 3 tablespoon of oats.
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Chow Chow Poriyal | Chayote Coconut Stir Fry


Chayote is a low calorie vegetable which is a good source of folate, vitamin C and dietary fibre. It's not so popular when compared to other squash/gourd varieties. Though we use chayote squash as a vegetable, it's actually a fruit. It is often referred to as vegetable pear because of it's shape and pale green colour. In South India it is known by various names like chow chow or Bangalore kathrikka (in Tamil),  sheema kathrikka (in Malayalam), seema vankaya or Bengaluru vankaaya (in Telugu) and Seeme badanekayi (in Kannada). Chayote is mostly used in curries and stir fry's in South Indian cuisine.

Last week I had some guests for lunch and I had bought some chayote's (chow chow) for making kootu. I didn't end up making the kootu so was planing to make chow chow kootu for lunch this weekend. During a casual call with mom, she suggested to make chow chow poriyal (stir fry with coconut). Normally poriyal is made with mixing the steamed vegetable with coconut and tempered with mustard seeds, urad dal (split and dehusked black gram), asafoetida, green chillies and curry leaves. Since chayote has a very mild flavour, I thought poriyal would be boring and bland. But mom said this recipe is quite different from the normal poriyal recipes as we are going to roast and grind fresh spices to give more flavour to this stir fry.  Sounded different, so I thought to give a go. Mom's recipes never go wrong!

The freshly roasted spice blend of coriander seeds, roasted gram (pottukadalai) and dried red chillies paired well with the subtle sweetness of chow chow, lifting the flavours of this humble poriyal. This spice blend can also be added to other vegetable poriyals to add a different taste. My grandma makes this spice blend with urad dal (split black gram) instead of roasted gram. As chayote has a slight sweet flavour, I used 4 dried red chillies to have that extra kick of spice. So adjust the amount of red chillies depending on the spice level you can take in. The chow chow has to be cooked just enough so that retains the shape but is still soft. Since chow chow or chayote does not take much time to cook, I prefer to cook in a pan with a lid with very little water. You can also steam it or pressure cook for 1 whistle.


I loved eating this stir fry just like that because it is so delicious!!! We had the chow chow poriyal with drumstick (murungaikkai) sambar, appalam, fried bittergourd (pavakkai) chips and yogurt. Yum! This poriyal does not take much time to prep and cook, so makes a healthy and quick side dish for sambar / kuzhambu (curries). This is a no-onion no-garlic recipe, ideal to make on festival or vrat (fasting) days. Also check out my chow chow kadalai paruppu kootu recipe.

CHAYOTE / CHOW CHOW PORIYAL RECIPE

Ingredients:

2 medium-size chayote / chow chow
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

For the spice blend:
4 dried red chillies
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 tsp roasted gram / pottukadalai

To temper:
2 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dried red chillies
1 tsp split white urad dal
1/4 tsp asafoetida / hing / perungayam
Few curry leaves

3 tbsp grated coconut
Salt to taste

Method:

1. Peel the skin of chow chow and cut into half. Remove the seed and chop into small cubes.

2. In a pan add the chow chow, turmeric powder, salt and 1/4 cup water. Cover with a lid and cook in low heat until the vegetable is soft.

3. In a small pan, fry the dried red chillies, coriander seeds and roasted gram for about 2 minutes. Cool and grind to a coarse powder.

4. Heat a pan with coconut oil and add the mustard seeds. When it pops add the dried red chillies urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves and fry till dal turns golden.

5. Add the chow chow, coconut, ground spice powder, salt if required and mix well to combine. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.


Notes and Tips:

Adjust the amount of dry red chillies according to your spice preference.
Make sure the chow chow is not over cooked, otherwise it will turn into a mush.
The spices should be roasted just enough to warm them and you start getting the nice aroma.
If you want to add garlic, add 2 minced garlic after the tempering.
You can add 1 tsp urad dal instead of roasted gram.

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Corn Flour Halwa | Bombay Karachi Halwa



Happy Diwali to all of you. May the divine light of Diwali spread into your life, peace, prosperity, happiness and good health.

Corn flour halwa also known as Bombay Karachi halwa is an easy last minute sweet you can prepare for Diwali. It's very easy to make this halwa compared to barfi as we do not have to look for any sugar syrup consistency. Try this easy halwa for this Diwali. Adapted from here.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup corn flour
1 1/2 cup + 3/4 cup water
1/4 cup cashews, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup sugar
Few drops color
3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Method:

1. In a bowl add corn flour and 1 1/2 cup water and mix using whisk,. There should be no lumps.

2. In a pan, add sugar and 3/4 cup water. Allow to boil till sugar dissolves and becomes slightly thick and sticky.

3. Turn the heat to low and whisk the corn flour mixture again and add to sugar syrup. Add the food color.

4. Keep stirring and add 1/2 tbsp ghee in beween. When it starts to thicken, add cardamom, cashews and remaining ghee.

5. When it starts to leave sides and becomes ghee, pour into a greased tray. Allow to set for 1 hour before cutting into pieces.

Notes:

I fried the cashews in 1/2 tsp ghee first. This is optional.



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Omapodi | Plain Sev


Festivals are the time when families get together and have lots of fun, and food which is always the integral part. Being in abroad we miss the actual spirit of festivals. Even though there are different communities celebrating our festivals, nothing comes to close celebrating with family. Diwali falls on 19th of October this year. I'm trying my hand on different snacks and sweets and will share my successful experiments here.

Today I'm sharing a easy and really quick snack recipe - omapodi. Omapodi is nothing but plain sev made with chickpea flour (besan), rice flour and carom seeds, alias omam in Tamil and ajwain in Hindi. Carom seeds have a slightly bitter taste, so do not use more than the quantity mentioned. The dough is pretty easy and since it is squeezed so thin it does no take much time to cook. You can have it as such or use them for chaat recipes. Off to the recipe now.

OMAPODI RECIPE

{ Deep fried snack with chickpea flour, rice flour and carom seeds }


Ingredients:

1 cup besan / chickpea flour
2 tbsp rice flour
1 tsp ajwain / omam / carom seeds
1 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp asafoetida / hing
1 tbsp butter, softened
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Method:

1. Powder the carom seeds and soak in 2 tbsp warm water. Set aside for 10 minutes. Using a coffee strainer, filter the water.

2. In a large bowl, add besan, rice flour, red chilly powder, asafoetida, salt and mix well. Add the butter, ajwain water and mix with hands to incorporate the butter.

3. Add water little by little to form a soft non-sticky dough. Keep the dough covered with wet cloth to avoid drying.

4. Heat oil for deep frying. To check if the oil has reached right temperature, drop a small piece of dough into the oil. If the dough sinks and then comes to the top, it means the dough is ready.

5. Take the sev press and put the disc with small holes. Fill it with 3/4 of the dough. Turn the heat to low and press into the hot oil making circles starting from the outer side.

6. Flip and cook both sides. Once the bubbles cease, remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat for remaining dough.

7. Once the sev has cooled, break them and store in an airtight container.

Notes and Tips

  • The carom seeds will be slightly coarse when grinding, which is fine.
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