March 13, 2008

ARUSUVAI AND A KARELA STIR-FRY

Latha N from "The YUM blog" started the "Arusuvai Friendship Chain" in India and Latha from "Masala Magic" continued the Arusuvai friendship chain in USA. Mandira from "Ahaar" passed on the friendship chain to me. It was very nice to receive a "Arusuvai Surprise" from her. Thank you for thinking of me Mandira, I welcome and cherish your friendship as always!:)


Arusuvai:
Arusuvai, as Latha N says "is about sending along a surprise ingredient as a gift to your friends, for them to prepare something tasty with it, share the recipe, and pass on other surprise ingredients to more people.
Arusuvai
means six tastes (aru=six, suvai=taste) in Tamizh and is used to refer for Tasty preparation with six tastes - inippu/ thithippu (sweet), orappu/ karam (hot), kassappu (bitter) , pulippu (sour), uppu(salt), tuvarpu (tastes that one gets in raw leaves)".
Beautiful, isn't it? My thanks to both Latha N and Latha for starting and continuing this wonderful friendship chain in India and USA, hope it spreads to Europe and Africa too! :)

My Arusuvai surprise:
We had just come home exhausted from the usual Saturday shopping but on a very unusual rainy, windy day last week and there was this package from Mandira waiting for me which made me smile instantly. I was so thrilled to see the envelope although I knew it was in the mail and was expecting it soon! :)
She has sent me a beautiful card, a pack of most delicious Badam Halwa (Almond Halwa) which gave me a pleasant sugar high for a while and a very fragrant pack of "mystery" masala!
Are you curious to know what it is now or can you guess the powder just by looking at the rice dish? If you have no clue, then click on the link below to find out! ;D
Thank you so much Mandira. We loved the badam halwa and aromatic Mystery powder too. I made a Paneer-rice dish and a egg gravy from your mystery masala, both are yummy as you can see. Hugs to you my friend, my kids say thanks to you as well!
Little note: I had to say "No, thanks" to few blogger friends few months ago when they offered me "Amish bread starter friendship chain", only because I had just gone thru' LASIK surgery and didn't feel up to it since I couldn't focus on nearer thing for the first few weeks. Thanks for thinking of me girls. You will always be my friends regardless, you know that! :)

Here is my Arusuvai "Mystery masala" from Mandira of "Ahaar":

Egg curry with mystery powder:

To make simple but aromatic Egg curry:
Hard boil about 8 eggs, peel and slash each on one side to open slightly. Keep them aside.
This dish serves 4.
1. Heat 2 tbsp oil and 2 tsp of butter, fry 1 large onion, ground to coarse paste for 3 mins, until transculent. Add 2 tsp ground ginger paste, stir fry for a minute, until oil shows on top.
2. Add 1 tbsp or more of "mystery" powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp paprika or Kashmiri chilli pd, salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric. Stir for few seconds.
3. Pour in 2 cups of Tomato sauce, 1 cup of water or chicken stock. Let it simmer on low heat gently until sauce thickens slightly for 15-20 mins. Adjust the salt and heat.
3. When done, add 3 tbsp chopped cilantro and eggs. It tastes better the next day. Serve with rice and salad on the side.

For this rice dish; I followed the same method as Mandira has made it in her blog but added Paneer instead of Fish. For the recipe, check out here.

Delicious "Mystery" Paneer-Saffron Basmati "layered" rice dish! Can you guess the name of this dish now? Okay, it's Paneer Biryani!! :)


Being layered or should I say I "tried" to layer the rice and masala! :D

Aroma was divine in the kitchen while I was making it, thanks Mandira.

Mandira's Biryani Masala:
1" cinnamon, 4 cloves, 3 green cardamoms, 1 black cardamom, 1 Bay leaf, 1 tsp fennel seeds, 1 tsp coriander seeds, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 1-2 dry red chilli, 1/4 nutmeg, grated. Roast and powder.

Passing on the Arusuvai:
I have extended my Arusuvai friendship chain to two of my dear blog friends, Maheswari and Vanamala. Thank you for accepting Arusuvai from me girls, hugs to both of you and hope you enjoy my "surprises" too! :)

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Karela stir-fry
is my contribution to Pooja of "creative Pooja" blog's "Vegetable of the week" event although it has become monthly event now. She has chosen the yummy "Bitter Gourd/Karela" as her vegetable for this month. Thank you for hosting Pooja!:))



A quick and delicious Bitter gourd stir-fry:


To stir-fry Bitter gourd:
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a non-stick pan and 1 tbsp butter or ghee. Add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, few curry leaves, 1-2 dry red chillies.
2. When they are reddish, add in 1 medium finely chopped onion, stir fry until soft, for 2 mins, add in 2-3 garlic, finely chopped.
3. After a minute, put in 2 cups of Bitter gourd or two of them, cleaned and peeled the outer skin slightly, seeded and cut in to 1/2" cubes.Stir this until they are reddish without adding any water.
4. When it's cooked 3/4th way, add 2 tbsp tamarind juice, 1 tbsp Coriander seeds powder, salt, 1 tsp or more chilli pd, 1 tbsp or more Jaggery or brown sugar. Keep stirring until you see the oil on top.
5. Adjust the taste. When done, it should be hot, sweet, tangy and slightly bitter in the end, a perfect marriage of Arusuvai taste with all flavors explained above!!:)

This stir-fry tastes great with Parathas, dosas or rice rottis. Hope you try.

"Dosa Mela" and another Bitter gourd dish next! Yes, I am rushing with posts so I can squeeze in 2 more before the 20th!! ;D

71 comments:

Altoid said...

I loooooooooooooooooove badam halwa. The one in the picture looks divine!
I want some NOW *pout/whine*

:-)

Asha said...

Haha!!! I am the lucky one to receive that yummy! I should ask her to post the recipe for us!:))

Srivalli said...

wow, as usual the dishes look great..thats a great masala to cook with...and whose event have you cooked it for???..oh yeah Pooja...right...I remember she saying she is deciding on the next one after discussing with you..great asha...

and I am looking forward for my mela..good good..:)

Sia said...

is it biriyani masala? and i must say mandira's badam halwa looks delicious...
and what r u? yesterday it was RCI and today u posted the recipe even before the announcement!!!!!!!!!!
he he he...
have a wonderful break ashakka... when r u leaving? tom?

Vanamala said...

Wow!! wonderful.....

lovely photograph asha....
Thank you:)

Seema said...

Wow! You finally got the arusuvai package! Great Badam burfi sounds yum... we love it too :-) The Egg curry & Pulav looks yum! Sure your family enjoyed this yummy meal! Karela stir fry looks heavenly - I am a big Karela fan....Will try it out!

Mandira said...

wow asha, the egg curry and the paneer biryani look fabulous. Now I have to try some of that biryani! Glad you enjoyed and thank you for playing along. Enjoy the spring break!

Kalai said...

Lucky you, Ashakka! The packet looks so good and the dishes you've made sound awesome! :)

TBC said...

I do not participate in most of the announced events and here u are participating in one that is not even announced! :-)

bee said...

i know who's gonna pick karela :D her name starts with p, doesn't it?

sowmya said...

I love karela and stir fry looks yummy.thanks for the recipe..

DEEPA said...

wow!!Ashaji !!Awesome one !!!I love the rice !!Excellent pics!!!

Asha said...

Sri, YES!!! That's who!!! Clever girl!:D

Sia, yes it is! :)
I do Marathon cooking when I have time and keep the posts in draft, waiting to be typed and published! Hahaha! I have got two more to publish here, I am not going anywhere until the 20th!:)

You are welcome Vanamala, enjoy your's too!:)

Asha said...

Seema, try it, it's yummy and so simple!:

Mandira, everybody is asking for Badam halwa now, you have got to post the recipe!;D
Thank you for Arusuvai.

Kalai, thanks.That Biryani pd is really good, she has posted it if you want to try!:)

Asha said...

tbc, Pooja said she would announce it later, but I had post it sooner to save time! ;D

Yes it is Bee!:D
Btw, baking a celebration bread as we speak for next week's last post.

Try it Sowmya, Arvind liked it!:)

Purnima said...

The egg curry n karela look very tasty and beautiful color! Whoa, these sure r quick posts!Asha, am waiting for your post on Dosa Mela...surely would b a huge spread!!:D

Happy cook said...

Yummy dishes i love the edd dish it looks so good.
You are indeed in a hurry for posting before your break, i too will go on a break from end of next week.
I had a offer for the arusivai chain but o told her i will be going for a break and then my sister is comming here for a month etc... so told her will tak it in september ....

Namratha said...

Ohhh halwa, awesome! All dishes are good.. :) not a fan of Karela though... :( Was it Tandoori Masala or Biryani Masala...good creations!

Asha said...

Deepa, Biryani masala did the trick, try t!:)

Haha! Purnima, yes. Dosa mela post good. Sri told me it's okay to send my old posts but I did way better than that!:D

Asha said...

F, have a great time with your sister, blogging can wait. I have 2 birthday parties arranged this Sat, Trisha is 17 and Tushar is 13, there will be many teenagers at home. I jusu wanted to post this before I get too busy!:)

Nams, me too, I don;t like it that much but when you fry and balance spice,it does taste great with akki rotti. Try the Biryani, paneer tastes great with it!:))

Cham said...

So yummy all of them , in arusuvai i love the Paneer biryani & the color . The Karela is awesome , cannot wait and see ur other post :)

Uma said...

Wow, those all are so yummy! lovely pictures. You are a great cook Asha! very nice use of the mystery ingredient! Mmm. so mouth-watering.

TheCooker said...

Two birthdays in a month....it is a lot of work. I know from my own experience.
So you are getting ready to bake chocolate and vanilla cakes?

Anonymous said...

Hi Asha,
the egg curry looks inviting.enjoy ur break.

shalini

Asha said...

Thanks Cham and Uma. Biryani masala was really very fragrant and Badam halwa makes everything come together!:))

Asha said...

TC, yes girl! LOT of work tomorrow. That's why I posted this today in a hurry. In fact, we are doing both birthdays in one day this Saturday. Tushar's birthday is tomorrow and Trisha's is on Sunday!Phew!
Pizza, cakes, brownies etc. It's exhausting just think of all that!:D
Oh well.. dosas are coming on Monday anyway, it's ready!:P

Thanks Shalini. I used Biryani pd in the gravy, worked very well!:))

Jayashree said...

Lovely dishes.....that badam halwa looks so delicious....lucky you :-))

Pooja said...

OMG !!! You created wonder dish with Goda Masala.
And double OMG to see your dish for next VOW :) .
Even More OMG to see whats going on in the comment section here :D. These smart ladies around here I can see are clever enough to smell everything going on around :))

@ Srivalli , you knew it already ha !

@ Bee, now I know what you know :)) , Until now I was thinking its me only who read all comments of where I post my comment too :)) . Now It seems I am not alone at all. there are many :D .

So all you lovely ladies around here , Consider this as an unofficial announcement of next VoW-Karela :) .

Asha, will send you logo in email before announcement on my blog- which I plan to announce with the round of Brinjal , Monday probably. So that you can put it here. You are such a lovely friend I have through blog :) .

Many many Happy returns of the day to Tushar(if I am not wrong it's today only, right ? ) and to Trisha too in Advance . 13 and 17 both are the special birthdays in the life of a Teenager :)
Hugs to you for this lovely entry with Karela.

Pooja V said...

All your food in this post rocks..jst like you. Its just amazing.

Asha said...

Jaya, t was very delcious, bug her for recipe over there!:D

Pooja, thanks girl. I do my best, glad you all appreciate my hard work. That's what blogging is all about. All of us are great cooks, need to be appreciated!:))

lol! Pooja, I thought I will be "chup chupke" post until you announce but they immediately guessed it!! Clever indeed.
Yes, I will put the logo and then link it as soon as I get it, may be tomorrow, got one more Karela for you!
Tushar's 13th b'day is tomorrow, party is Sat. That's why I am finishing up everything today,so I get time tomorrow to bake and prepare!:)

AnuSriram said...

Looks awesome... Gr8 pics... Lovely entries..

Mansi Desai said...

You are on a roll girl!! successfully cramped in loads of delicious dishes for us before your break! hehehe:)

man, I would never be able to know what goes in that mystery masala!! they all look the same!!:)D

Asha said...

Thanks Anu, they were delcious with her masala enhancing the taste!:)

Mansi, I am not done yet, 2 more posts to go! Hahaha!
Yeah, if I didn't know what's coming in the powder form,I would be stumped too, but she told me before!:)
Have a great weekend Mansi.

Divya Vikram said...

The paneer rice and the egg curry look really tempting as usual..Nice to see more of ur posts this week

Asha said...

I will be around until 20th DV, then I will disappear!:D
Busy weekend ahead for me. Paneer Biryani was great, hope you try!:)

Richa said...

hey, i like the paneer biryani, anything with paneer gets my approval :)
karela is a fav too, yum!

Revathi said...

You are my super hero Asha.. How come you manage 2 teens, read books, blog dot every week, first to comment on all blogs and participating in most of the blog events !!! Oh my my....

Laavanya said...

badam halwa, paneer biryani and egg curry - no wonder your kids are thankful! :)
If you weren't already the only blogger who has a post for all events, you've surpassed yourself and started to post entries before the events are announced! :D

Maya said...

Just hadn't got over the wonderful Bengali spread you made, and now another great one..My God Asha, I know now you eat the same food as all of us, but where does tht extra energy come from ?? Just kept scrolling down and the dishes got even better..Wonderful, all dishes are superb !!! Happy Birthday to your kids and good luck to you organising and cooking!!

kamala said...

Ashaji
Though i didnt comment on ur blog these long days i visit ur blog regulary.The egg curry and colourful rice looks delicious.I start my blog yesterday.Pls visit me if u find time

Red Chillies said...

Oh dear girl, please don't kill me with all these dishes. I could dive into that bitter gourd stir fry and then eat the badam halwa, then the rice with curry and then think of the "mystery" :-)
Hey, could not help but read that it is Tushar's birthday tomorrow. Birthday wishes to the young man! Wishing him best for years to come.

arundati said...

wow!! that's some spread....and i love the bowl in which the yummy egg curry is.... :)....

ANJALI JOSHI said...

hey asha, ur paneer saffron rice looks delicious..

Nags said...

ohhh. the karela fry looks so yummy! but i am not a fan at all! anything bitter is a strict no-no! :D

Srivalli said...

I am so eager to check out your dosa spread...for you anything asha..so sweet...and wish your kiddos my hearty birthday wishes to them. We surely will expect to see the spread you prepared for them...

easycrafts said...

Paneer biriyani looks mouthwatering

Asha said...

Thank you Richa, Revathi and Laavanya.

Haha! Laavanya, I suggested Bitter gourd to Pooja 2 weeks ago since nobody has chosen that veg before. I had to post it early so I can get thru' 2 more events here and then I am off for a long break. Glad I could contribute to her event, Pooja is a sweetheart!:)

Asha said...

Maya, Kamala (will check your blog today) and RC, I appreciate your birthday wishes, thank you.
I need that support today, there will be 6 teenagers at home tomorrow for 4 hrs, not including mine!!AHH...!!!:D

Asha said...

Thanks Arundati, Anjali, EC, Nags (me too don't it much but eat a few spoons!:D) and Srivalli. I will try and send you few photos Sri!:)

Enjoy your weekend, try the Biryani girls, really tasty. I will see you all on Monday.

Pravs said...

Nice dishes out of the masala powder.A different recipe to try with karela..thank for letting me know about the Veggie for VoM :)

Asha said...

You are welcome Pravs, do send it. I got advance notice on Karela! ;D

sra said...

As I was skimming the post, I thought it was something to do with bisibelebath, because the stuff in the foil looked like it - anyway, I know better now. Happy b'days to Trisha and Tushar

RAKS KITCHEN said...

Nice looking paneer briyani and lucky u to enjoy badam halwa from Mandira;)

Asha said...

Wish somebody would send me BBB sra, thought of it makes me drool!:D
Thank you, I just came back from shopping for their birthday, they will have fun!:)

Raks, Almond halwa was really delicious, we need to get the recipe from her NOW!!:D

Have a great weekend both of you, see you on Monday!:)

krystyna said...

OMG!
First, I have to tell you, Asha, that, whenever I came here "OMG" and "open mouth" are from my start of reading to the end of it.
You are not only talented but hard working too. That beautiful job (and you are mother) takes a lot of time and HEART! I see your heart here!
Congratulations!!!!
and
Big Thanks!!!

krystyna said...

Tank you for yummy recipes.
I will be try "Paneer Biryani" as a first.
Have a wonderful, happy time!
All the best to you and your family!

Asha said...

Thank you Krystyna, you are such a sweet heart!:)

You know, every time I try to open your blog, it won't let me in. I will try again. Have a wonderful weekend, hugs to you. Try the Biryani, it does have lot of spices!

musical said...

Ashakka, i love the title of this post. its very sing-song :). And love the surprises you received.

Oh, and i am totally in love with this karela stir-fry. Gotta' get some karelas soon :).

Have a great weekend,

hugs,
musical.

Deepak Gopi said...

I wish I had the talent and patience to make these delicious dishes.
How are you and family ?Enjoy a nice weekend
@deepak- ur right :):).I had a beard also.As a process of documenting each and every moment of my life I have taken the pics with beard also.I will post it soon .
Good day take care

Mona said...

Karela, again my favorite dish!

I love onion stuffed Karelas with a lot of spices!

But your recipe here is new to me & I must try it!

Asha said...

Musie, that Badami halwas so good, got to bug her for the recipe!:)

Deepak, thanks. We are doing well, got 2 birthdays today, getting ready roght now.
Looking forward to Beard and all, see you on Monday! ;D

Mona, this is easiest stir-fry, hope you try. Have a great weekend friend!:)

Lapa said...

taste.

Sagari said...

paaneer biryani looks delecious ashaji

Asha said...

Thanks Lapa and Sagari, hope you are having a wonderful weekend girls!:)

Annu said...

Badam halwa my faviourt,the picture is sooooooo yummy,and bitter gourd is my faviourt veggi.Both looks sooooo colourful ashaji.

Sig said...

Oh wow, lots of mystery dishes here :) And bittergourd is the veg of the month, wow, that is my favorite... your stir fry looks great Asha... Waiting for more bittergourd posts...

Asha said...

Annu and Sig, bitter gourd it is next, I just had to post in advance so I can go on break. Enjoy, see you later!:)

Dhivya said...

wow!asha all dishes look awesome....great way u've used the ingredients

Asha said...

Biryani masala was great in gravy dish too, I loved the flavor. Enjoy!::)

Linda said...

Oh weren't we lucky, Asha, to have a taste of that halwa! ;)

Your mystery masala made gorgeous paneer biryani! And you have given me an idea, hmm.... even though you are going on break you are still inspiring me! :)

Asha said...

Oh, Halwa was wonderful Linda, a bit too sweet for us but that's how Indian sweets are made! It was yum!
Biryani masala can be used in gravy too. I know people think it is used only in rice, I thought differently. Enjoy your Arusuvai too!:)