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Good health comes from the kitchen.

Cooking can be simple or elaborate but there are many small things we can do to be well prepared and that can avoid embarrassment in the kitchen especially when you are in a hurry or when you are back home late and tired.

Here are a few kitchen tips that are basic and important.

  1. Always keep a dry KITCHEN TOWEL ready in a hanger or a stand. It will come handy to wipe wet vessels or boxes when you are in a hurry.
  2. When your milk is on the stove don’t move away. You know how you feel when it spills. That’s why MILK COOKERS  are helpful as they whistle when done.
  3. Keep the seasoning materials like mustard, jeera, udad dal, hing open and ready to use before pouring oil into the WOK OR KADAI.
  4. Likewise also keep the garnishing box ready and open to use.
  5. It is best to grind coconut with a COCONUT SCRAPPER.   But if you are cutting pieces and using the mixer to grind it, then make sure you soak the pieces in water for sometime and then grind so that it does not remain as pieces.
  6. Likewise for tamarind also especially while making chutney.
  7. If you spill oil, add some rice flour or wheat flour to it and mix it. You can then keep it in a corner outside the house near rat holes or in a place where it would be eaten by creatures. Flour absorbs oil so well.
  8. Before putting the dishes to wash in the basin, remove all remaining food particles. Save all the curd, neatly cleaning the curd vessel. Don’t waste curd.   Also clean the rice vessel and the rice spatula with wet hands.
  9. Remember to soak the pulses that you had planned for.
  10. Don’t forget to wash the kitchen platform cleaning duster cloth with detergent.




Sankranti Sweet Recipes

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Come January,  14th or 15th every year is  a festive treat to the eyes  and the taste buds.  On one of these days, India celebrates Makar Sankranti, welcoming the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign Capricorn.  It also marks the onset of the beautiful spring season.  And the most important of all reasons to celebrate this day is the beginning of the harvest season.

Sankranti festival is of great cultural significance all over India.  We can see markets brimming with display of new and harvested vegetables and fruits, sugarcanes, groundnuts, spikes of fresh wheat, rice and jowar (sorghum) seeds.  Garlands of yellow /orange chrysanthemum and marigold flowers brighten up the market area; that marks the new beginning of yet another auspicious year.

The food attraction of the day is the special festive meals offered in pooja to the Lord.  The important thing to note is a little of all  the newly harvested grains and vegetables are used in the cooking on Sankranti Day.  No festival is complete without sweets and here we share for you, some mouth-watering  traditional  Sankranti recipes made in different parts of India.

  1. Puran Poli of Maharashtra

Bengal Gram – 1 cup
Wheat Flour – 1 cup
Maida Flour – ¼ cup
Jaggery (Gud)– 1 cup
Ground Spices from:
Cardamom Seeds – 1 spoon
Fennel Seeds – ½  spoon
Pepper – ½ spoon
Cinnamon – 1 small piece

Filling (puran) : Boil Bengal Gram (chana dal) in water. Strain the water.  Now add jaggery and boil the chana dal again until it blends well and softens. Let it cool down. Mix all the spices and grind them into a fine powder.  (you can heat them dry lightly in wok before grinding to help grind faster).  Now grind the cooled chana dal and the spice powder in a mixer to make a coarse powder filling.   Make small round balls of the filling and keep aside.

Poli (outer dough): Make normal dough by mixing wheat flour, maida flour, 1 pinch salt and water.

Make round balls out of the dough.  Roll a ball little. Give it a cup shape and put the filling inside.  Now close the filling by stretching the dough over from all sides.  Roll the ball again to make a roti.  Cook this roti both sides on the tawa by adding ghee on all sides.  Your hot and steaming Sankranti puran poli is ready.

  1. Sweet Pongal or Chakkara Pongal of TamilNadu

Rice – 1 cup
Moong Dal – 1/5 cup
Milk – 1 ltr
Jaggery – 1 cup
Ghee – ½ cup
Cardamom Powder – 1 spoon
Cashewnuts – 1 tablespoon
Raisins – 1 tablespoon

Boil milk in a bronze pot called vengala paanai in Tamil.  Put rice and moong dal in the milk and let it cook.  Keep stirring until it mashes well.  Now add the jagerry into the boiled rice and keep stirring until it blends well with the rice to give a brown colour.  Add half the ghee to the sides of the pan.  Season cashewnuts and raisins in the rest of the ghee and pour it on top of the dish.  Add cardamom powder.  Your chakkara pongal or sweet pongal is ready.

  1. Til Laddu/TilGud Chikki of Maharashtra, UttarPradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh.

Sesame seeds (Til) – 1 cup
Jaggery – 2/3 cup
Peanuts crushed – 1 table spoon
Ghee – 1 teaspoon
Dry Ginger powder – 1 pinch

Roast the sesame seeds until they pop into pinkish brown color.  Let it cool.  Boil jagerry in a pan with ½ cup water and a spoon of ghee.  Let the jagerry caramelise into hard consistency.  The test is when dropped in cold water it should harden immediately. Remove from flame.  Add this caramel to the cooled til(sesame seeds) .  Add the broken peanuts and dry ginger powder.  Mix all thoroughly .  Now apply some ghee in your hands and make small round balls of the mixture.  Your til laddu is ready.  The same mixture can also be flattened on to a plate and made into rectangular chikkis.  Make sure to cut the mixture with a divider.  Alternatively a mixture of fried peanuts, jagerry, roasted til, sugarcane pieces and puffed rice can be made which is simple and nutritious. (Ellu Bella in Karnataka)

Make your Sankranti special this year with one of these traditional recipes.

Wishing you a happy Makar Sankranti!!

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