Manganem | Goan Chana Dal Sweet Dish For Diwali

Diwali the festival of lights, lives up to its name and spreads happiness in the hearts of people throughout the world. It is the one festival in India, which binds people across different states, religions and backgrounds with its bright aura of joy. Because above everything else, Diwali is about spending quality time with your loved ones.

And what better than delicious treats to make that time with family and friends, even more special? People all over are immersed in sensory goodness from delicious sweets to savory dishes. In Goa, we used to make different types of sweets and distribute it to all relatives and close friends. In a joint family like mine, preparations would start 1 week before Diwali and all the ladies would sit and prepare delicacies like Ladoos, Karanjis, Gujia, etc.

This year I will be celebrating my 9th Diwali in Bangalore and it’s a time when I really miss my old Goa life. Due to some or other reason I haven’t managed to be in Goa and celebrate the festivities with my parents. When I got married and came to Bangalore, somehow I thought I would still manage to celebrate the festival with my parents, but didn’t realize how difficult it was to manage it.

I still remember dad getting so excited to hear my home-coming plans and telling mom to cook up a fest for me. And today, while scrolling through my newsfeed, I saw a Diwali video which I couldn’t miss sharing with all of you. It made me realize just how strong my parents try to be for me, but gave me a glimpse of how they really feel and how much they want me to be with them on Diwali.

And of course, you can’t miss the lovely surprise element connected with the video. Haven’t you clicked already? If not, then hurry up, It’s already live! :) The big surprise is that you can actually be with your loved ones this Diwali – it’s a brilliant initiative by Lufthansa Airlines to connect lived ones this Diwali and at the same time give you an opportunity to help needy children through Help Alliance – super fun :)
Click HERE to send your wishes to your loved ones this Diwali.

Since I will be enjoying my Diwali with my dear mom, I thought I would also share her special recipe for the season – Manganem Or Goan Payasam made with sabudana, chana dal, grated coconut and jaggery. This recipe is special to me as this is a traditional recipe, which reminds me of all the beautiful memories I shared with my loved ones, back in Goa.

Ingredients:                                                           Prep. Time: 1 hr, Serves: 4

2 cups freshly grated coconut
1 cup chana dal / Gram dal
½ cup sabudana / Sago pearls
1 cup grated jaggery
20 cashewnuts
1 tbsp ghee

Soak the chana dal for 4 hours in water.
Wash and keep the sabudana aside.
Crush the cashewnuts into 2-3 pieces, roast it in ghee and keep them aside.

Grind the grated coconut in 2 cups water. Pass it through strainer and extract thick coconut milk. Collect the residue.
Now pass ½ cup water through the residue and extract thin coconut milk.
Mix both thick and thin coconut milk and keep aside.

Pressure cook chana dal in 5 cups water. Do not over-cook the chana dal. It should not be mashed or mashy. Drain the chana dal.

Heat a thick bottomed pan, add pressure cooked chana dal by excluding water.
Add coconut milk and sabudana and let it cook for 20 Mins on medium heat.
Add grated jaggery and mix well.
Garnish with roasted cashewnuts and serve hot.

Some people love to eat it with pooris. Some just drink it as payasam.
Add jaggery only after the sago pearls turn transparent.

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Aavryachi Bhaji | Broad Beans Stir Fry | Avarakkai Subzi

Very simple, healthy to eat is this Broad Beans Stir Fry or Aavryachi Bhaji. I got introduced to this vegetable only after coming to Bangalore. We don’t get this vegetable in Goa. But I cook this vegetable just like any other beans subzi. This is very simple and easy to cook, but sometimes it takes time to get cooked.

My kid however does not like to eat this vegetable, but we feed it to her by mixing it with rice. This is a very nutritious vegetable. There are several ways of cooking this, but I prefer making it this simple way. You can add potato to this and garam masala for taste. Hubby loves vegetables and gets different types of veggies. This vegetable has become a weekly favorite at home too.

Whenever my mom visits us, I get this vegetable. She too loves it and always says that we get varieties veges in Bangalore, just like how we get varieties of fish in Goa J
Ingredients:                                                  Prep. Time: 20 Min's, Serves: 4
3 cups broad beans chopped
1 cup onion chopped
2 tbsp. grated coconut
1 green chili
1 tsp grated jaggery
2 tbsp. oil
3 cups water
Salt to taste

Heat a kadai/wok. Add oil. When oil heats, add onion and sauté till onion turns pinkish.
Add the chopped broad beans and sauté for 2 Min’s. Add grated coconut, jaggery and green chili and mix.
Now add water, close lid and simmer till the broad beans get cooked and till water gets absorbed.
Add salt to taste.

This vegetable takes too long to get cooked. You can pressure cook the chopped vegetable and add to sautéed onion.
I prefer boiling it in water over the gas.
You can add turmeric and red chili powder too.
Addition of jaggery is important as this vegetable tastes slightly bitter at times.

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Lemon Rice | Chitraanna

Lemon rice or Chitraanna is a common one-pot meal found in South Indian homes. I was introduced to lemon rice by my South Indian friends who used to get it regularly to office. We always share lunch with each other and taste each other’s food. I found lemon rice very easy to cook as one can eat it as it is without mixing it with dal or sambar.

These days my daughter wants lemon rice in her lunch box. She tasted it from her friend’s lunch box and since then she loves to take it to school. I am more than happy to cook it as it does not require much effort. You can serve it with raita, pickle or papad. My little one loves to have it with Gujarati sweet lemon pickle. Hubby prefers to have garam garam pakodas with this.

Today’s recipe is a simple lemon rice which I learnt from colleagues. I used to prepare it and pack it for lunch at office and my colleagues kept giving improvement comments till it was perfect. Addition of chopped onion is optional and you may omit it to make it pure veg. You can also try the other type of Lemon rice recipe where I add moong dal powder.

A close friend "A" gave me some great tips for consuming lemon rice:
1) Never eat lemon rice at night as many people get heartburn due to its acidic nature. Traditional South Indian homes never cook lemon rice at night.
2) Always add lemon juice after switching off the gas, else the lemon rice will turn bitter in taste.
Ingredients:                                          Prep. Time: 30 Min's, Serves: 2
1 cup rice
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp urad dal/black gram dal
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds/methi seeds
7-10 curry leaves
Pinch of asafoetida
1 green chili
2 dry red chilies
Handful of peanuts
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 lemon
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Coriander leaves for garnishing
Salt to taste

Boil rice by pressure cooker or by the traditional method of boiling water and then adding rice to it or cook it by rice cooker.
I cooked rice by rice cooker.

Roast peanuts in a kadai. Simply, heat the kadai and roast peanuts without adding oil. Remove the roasted peanuts and keep aside.

In the same kadai, add mustard seeds and when they flutter, add asafoetida, fenugreek seeds and urad dal.
Add curry leaves, dry red chilies, green chili and roasted peanuts. Mix well.
Add chopped onion and sauté till onions turn pinkish.
Add turmeric powder and stir well. Add salt. I added 1/2 tsp salt.
Add rice and mix well. Switch of the gas.
Add lemon juice extracted from 1 lemon or add 2 tbsp. lemon juice.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Note: Addition of chopped onions is optional.
You may add grated carrots to make it healthier.
Add roasted cashewnuts along with peanuts. I did not add cashewnuts as the kid does not like them when added to rice.
Always add lemon juice after switching off the gas, else the lemon rice will turn bitter in taste.
Try out more rice varieties from here.

‘The entry is for The Urban Spice Sweet September Giveaway.’

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Varan Bhaat

The festive month is here in India and everyone has started preparing various types of sweets and savory delicacies. Tomorrow we all will be celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi and all Hindus in Goa will eat pure veg food i.e. food without onion and garlic. The otherwise fish eating Goans are very strict when the festivals are celebrated and don’t even consider keeping onions and garlic in the house. Especially during Ganesh Chaturthi, when Lord Ganesha comes home.

Different types of dishes are made and offered to Lord Ganesha as neivedyam. After offering it to the Lord, we all people in the house eat the food which is considered as Prasad or Prasadam. Ganesh Chaturthi is the biggest festival in Goa and people celebrate it very religiously. It starts from the first day i.e. Gauri Pooja and continues till the last day of Ganesh Chaturthi.

Some people keep Ganesha in house for 1 and ½ days, some for 5 days, some keep it for 11 days and finally some keep it till 21 days. Throughout this time, people perform Pooja, sing Aarthis, and offer Neivedyam 2 times a day. People even burst crackers like how they do during Diwali. 1 week before the festival starts, the ladies at home start making sweets like Nevri or Karanji, Modaks ,ladoos,Shankar Pale,Chakri,etc. Pack and send it as vajje to their daughters and sisters homes.

The recipe that I am sharing today “Varan” is an authentic Goan recipe that we make specially during festivals and other special occasions. Not all types of food can be offered as Neivedyam to God. But varan is one such recipe which can be offered as Neivedyam. Some people add curry leaves while tempering, but in my house we don’t add curry leaves to this recipe.

Ingredients:                                               Prep. Time: 20 Min's, Serves: 2
4 tbsp. toor dal
1 green chili
6 tbsp. grated coconut
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste

For Tempering:
2 tbsp. clarified butter / Desi ghee
Pinch Of Asafoetida
1 tsp cumin seeds

Pressure cook the toor dal and green chili together by adding 1 cup water.
Grind grated coconut, turmeric powder and cumin seeds by adding 1 cup water into a thin gravy.
In another kadai/wok, add clarified butter and when it heats add cumin seeds and asafoetida.
After the cumin seeds flutter, add the grinded gravy and pressure cooked dal.
Add salt to taste. Simmer for 10 Min’s.

Serve with hot steamed rice.
Some people add curry leaves while tempering. This is optional.
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Carrot Payasam | Carrot Kheer

Now that the festive season is come, many people will be trying different types of sweet dishes. Did you ever try the Carrot Kheer or Carrot Payasam? Try it out as it is extremely easy to make and is absolutely yummy. This is a simple sweet dish that you can make with grated carrots apart from the rich and delicious Carrot Halwa. Carrot halwa is a bit time consuming, but this carrot payasam is very easy to make.

I found this recipe in one of my cookbooks “Southern Flavours” by Chandra Padmanabhan. I had received this cookbook for a review some years back and since then this is one place I go to if I want to try any authentic South Indian recipe.

My kid just loved this dessert which I had made on the occasion of Janmashtami. She wanted to try it first even before it was offered as Neivedyam to Lord Krishna. The naughty little girl said to me “Mom, I am your Krishna, so I deserve to taste this first”. I had to offer another Neivedyam that is Beaten rice in coconut milk to the Lord, and this Carrot Kheer was for my little cute girl. 

You can prepare this recipe for any festive occasion as it is rich and and a super indulgent payasam.

Recipe Credits: Southern Flavours by Chandra Padmanabhan

Ingredients:                                                     Serves: 4, Prep. Time: 30 Min’s
3 cups milk
10 almonds
1 ½ cups grated carrots
¼ tsp saffron strands
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water

Soak saffron in half cup of the hot measured milk for 30 Min’s.

Blanch almonds, peel and cut them.
Take a heavy bottomed pan and heat ¼ cup water. 
Add grated carrots and cook over medium heat till they become soft and tender.
Add the remaining milk and simmer for 20 Min’s over low heat. Let the milk thicken a bit.
Add sugar and almonds and stir.
Simmer till the payasam has thick pouring consistency.
Add saffron flavoured milk and mix well.
Switch of the heat and let it cool.
Refrigerate it and serve chilled.

Note: You can use cream to garnish this payasam. I did not use it.
I did not peel the almonds as I wanted to retain the nutritional value. You can peel it before adding it to the payasam.
You can try more sweet dishes from my blog too

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Mou Taverna, Saturday Brunch At Cafe Azure, Vivanta By Taj, Yeshwanthpur

I was invited for  Saturday Brunch - Mou Taverna at Cafe Azure at Vivanta by Taj, Yeshwanthpur. My daughter also accompanied me as it was a weekend and I could not leave her alone at home. After facing the terrible Bangalore traffic at Jalahalli junction, we reached the venue and were greeted by the smiling staff at Cafe Azure.

The ambiance and service was as per Taj standards. It was a great feeling to be there. The Saturday brunch was a Mediterranean feast with exclusive wines and cocktails.

The chefs whipped up delectable spread of mezze, antipasto, legumes and desserts. There were a variety of starters like Caramelized Onion goat cheese green tart, Poached mixed exotic fruits, Crab stick, and many more.

Starters like Cigara Bouregi, Felafel with tahina molasses dip, Barbecue prawns and Dolmas vine leaves  were some authentic delicacies that they offered at the interactive counters. 

Dolmas and dishes like Fattoush, Mastokhiar, Poached Pears, Taboulleh, Muhammara were also present. I tasted a few of them.

Cold cuts and different types of salads were also served at the salad counter.

Variety of breads with different types of Humus dips were also there.

Different types of pastas were also present and the chef whipped pasta according to your choice of toppings. My kid loved the pasta and nachos. Savory chicken muffin was good and kid took a bite of it too.

The interactive counters had various delicious stuff like chicken shawarma which was served in pita breads.

Some more interactive counters were present in open air. The prawns fritters were exceptionally yummy.

Mediterranean grills like pork sausages, lamb chops and chicken were also grilled as per your order. 
Seekh kebabs were served on naans. There was a churros counter too.

Pizza was also baked live with toppings of your choice.

The main course had a variety of dishes like Avri meshwi, Grilled Vegetable briami, Savory Basboosa, Spiced artichoke sundried tomato croquette, Vegetable stuffed spinach crepes, Mushroom risotto, Lamb scallopian, Char-grilled chicken, Jamballaya, Tornados of tenderloin, Seared Himalayan Trout and Roasted Pork Belly, but I was too full with the starters and tasted only few dishes from the main course.

Grilled Vegetable Briami
I loved Mushroom risotto, but I wish they had more varieties of rice.

Jamballaya looked good, but I did not feel like eating it.

Lamb scallopian,  Tornados of tenderloin, Roasted Pork Belly
and Seared Himalayan Trout 
The dessert counter was present in a corner and I would have had missed it. There was a wide spread of desserts which consisted of cheesecakes, chocolate cakes, Lesaffi, Passion Fruit with Mascarpone cheese, Fresh fruit gateaux, Cherry cheese colli and lot more. The best part was there were sugar-free desserts too.

Apart from food a lot of items were on sale like carpets, wooden toys, organic vegetables, cheese, etc.
There was a live band too, but it was too loud and off tune. Our table was very close to the live band and we had to change our table. Accept for the live band, everything else was good.

There were many engaging activities for children like face and caricature painting and selfie clicking booth. The caricature painting was one of the best and the artists talent left me impressed.

It was a fun filled afternoon at Cafe Azure. Thanks Vivanta by Taj for being a great host.

Cost for 2: 
Rs. 1800/- AI for Alcoholic Brunch 
Rs. 1600/-  AI without Alcohol

Note: The food was purely Mediterranean.
Avoid sitting near the live music station.

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