Pavakai vatha kuzhambu / Bitter gourd tamarind stew

bittergourd tamarind stew.jpg

My mom makes the best vatha kuzhambu. It is a staple in our place. What is surprising is that she doesn’t eat it all, except as a side with curd rice. But the rest of us love it. One such recipe is orange peel vatha kuzhambu, which is quite a hit among my friends. Another favorite is this bitter gourd vatha kuzhambu. This is actually a good way to get kids/ bitter gourd hating members in the family to eat it. The sourness from the tamarind, sweetness from the jaggery, salt and the bitterness from the bitter gourd balance out really well and result in this beautiful dish! You can eat it with some hot rice and papad or as a side with curd rice.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bitter gourd chopped
  • 1 lemon size tamarind, soaked in hot water
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 green chilly
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp sambar powder
  • 1/2 tsp urad dhal
  • 1/4 tsp asafoetida
  • 1 tsp jaggery
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • salt to taste

Method:

Chop the bitter gourd and add some salt and turmeric powder to it. Mix well and set it aside for 15-20 minutes. The bitter gourd will leave some water. Rinse it off and set aside. This removes the bitterness from the bitter gourd.

Soak the tamarind in hot water and extract the juice from it. Add water to it so that you get about 3 cups of tamarind water.

In a pan, add the sesame oil and once it gets hot, temper it with mustard seeds, curry leaves, green chilly, urad dhal and let the mustard pop.

Then add the turmeric powder, asafoetida and roasted fenugreek powder.Saute for 5 to 10 seconds and add the chopped bitter gourd and sambar powder and saute for a minute.

Then add the tamarind water, salt and let it boil until the raw smell of the tamarind is gone.

Once it comes to a boil and the raw smell of the tamarind is gone, add the jaggery powder. Boil for one more minute and switch off the flame. Adjust salt as needed.

Add some curry leaves extra in the end. It gives a good smell to the dish. Serve it with rice and some ghee!

pavakai-vathal-kuzhambu

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Oreo Cheesecake

oreo cheesecake wp(2)

I was not a cheesecake person until I happened to try it myself at home. After a disastrous first attempt at making mini cheesecakes couple of years back, I gave up on it completely until I tried it again few weeks back. Sally’s baking addiction is one of my favorite blogs for desserts. I have tried many of her recipes and found them simple and fool proof. I recently tried the blueberry swirl cheesecake from her blog and loved it.I tried again with this Oreo cheesecake and it came out really well. I looked at various blogs for inspirations and finally ended up on this recipe. I followed the water bath technique that sally uses in her cheesecake to give it that beautiful texture. Now to the recipe :

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 9 to 10 oreos
  • 2 tbsp butter

For the cheesecake filling:

  • 16 oz cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a pinch of salt
  • some Oreo crumbs from the base mixture

Topping:

  • around 6 to 8 Oreos (or)
  • Chocolate ganache

Method:

Pre heat oven to 350 Degrees

Line a 8 inch spring foam pan with parchment paper and set it aside

Crush the Oreos in a food processor and make a fine crumb. Mix in the melted butter to the crumbs and make a cheesecake base by pressing the crumbs to the bottom of the pan in an even layer. (Reserve 1 to 2 tbsp of the crumb for the filling)

Bake the base for 10 to 12 mins and set it aside to cool.

Now lets make the cheesecake filling. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese (at room temperature) until smooth. Then add the sugar and beat the mixture until it is smooth and creamy.

Add the eggs one at a time and beat until it is properly incorporated.

Then, add the vanilla extract, sour cream to the mixture and mix until it is combined.

Add the cheesecake filling to the pan, reserving 1/4 cup of the cream cheese filling to be used later.

Now sprinkle the oreo crumb that you have set aside on the top and add the remaining 1/4 cup filling and make any pattern of your choice. I made a swirl pattern and then mixed everything to create somewhat a messy patternšŸ™‚

Bake the cake in a water bath for 45 to 50 mins. After 45 to 50 mins, leave the oven door open and leave the cake pan inside the oven for an hour.

Once done, refrigerate it for 4 to 5 hrs or even overnight. Serve with some oreos topped on the cheese cake. You can also drizzle some chocolate ganache for extra deliciousness.

Note:

You make a water bath, by placing the spring foam pan inside a larger pan filledĀ  with hot water. The larger pan must have about 1/2 to 1 inch of hot water.

oreo cheesecake wp(1)

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