25 April 2007

Announcing Safety Moment # 2 : Kids in the Kitchen

This May, the focus of the Safety Moment will be on how safe your kitchen is for your kids. The theme for the month is Kids in the Kitchen. Meeta is hosting the Safety Moment at the Daily Tiffin.

9 April 2007

Pineapple Morukootan

Summer's arrived here and so have all the yoghurt based curries. It is somehow very enjoyable to have a yoghurt based curry with steamed rice on a warm summer noon. I had pineapple on hand and thought pineapple pulisheri. Wait a minute, we never made pulisheri at home. It was not made by any family member either. I had only heard the terms pulisheri and errissery but had no clue what it was. I was told it was made in South Kerala region. My grandma did give me a recipe for pulisheri but it was the same as morukootan. Can anyone help me with the differences between pulisheri /morukootan /errisseri /kaalan ??? Well, whatever the difference, we thoroughly enjoyed it. This is my entry to Green Blog Project hosted by Mandira. (Thanks for hosting Mandira!) No, I didn't grow pineapples, but I do grow the curry leaves which I use in tempering my curries, in chutneys etc. I do believe my home grown curry leaves have a lovely aroma than the huge store bought ones. Touchwood, it's the only plant has survived the harsh Middle East summers and always given me a steady supply of leaves.

To make the morukootan:

- Clean, chop into dices and cook 1 cup of pineapple (I added a tsp of sugar while cooking the pineapple.) You can also substitute with equal amount of mango, nendran pazham/banana, white pumkin/kumbalanga, yam/chenna or tomato.
- Grind together ¼ coconut grated, ¼ tsp cumin, 2 green chillies into a fine paste.
- Mix 1 cup curd with salt and turmeric and keep aside.
- In a pan, mix together the cooked pineapple/vegetable, coconut paste, and curd and cook till it starts boiling around the corners. Stir well and do not allow the curd to separate by over cooking. Remove from the flame.
- To temper, heat some oil and add ¼ tsp mustard seeds, ¼ tsp cumin, 2 red chillies broken and a handful of curry leaves and allow it to crackle. Pour over the morukootan and serve with steamed rice.

Here's a sneak peak at my tulsi/holy basil, methi -it died during a sandstorm :(- and this flowering plant thechi poovu –don't know the English name.

Do take a look at the Safety Moment here and leave your comments and suggestions there. I am taking a blogging break, will be back soon! See ya!

7 April 2007

Safety Moment #1 : General Safety

Safety is taken for granted. This Safety Moment series will make us aware how careless or paranoid or conscious we are about safety measures. All the information below is a compilation of words of wisdom from mothers and grandmothers, internet, fellow bloggers and first aid guides. I sincerely hope all of us learn something from the Safety Moment. First, let me thank Asha for helping me with the logo. Thankyou Asha! :) Without much ado, here are some GENERAL SAFETY pointers.
Dress it down!

How are you dressed in your kitchen? You bend to stir your soup and your long stylish chain dunks itself into the pot of soup! Aww!! Worse, those dangling sleeves of your new dress get burnt. You don't want any of that, right?
-Long dangling sleeves or loose fitting clothes can catch fire easily or get caught in appliances. Roll up your sleeves before cooking.
-Brush the hair off your face and tie it up before entering the kitchen.
-Remove jewellery that gets in the way. Bracelets are interfering and bangles get heated well enough to give you burns.
Balancing act!

Try carrying 10 or more oddly shaped grocery bags and you are left with sore fingers and aching elbows. If those bags are heavy, then your back and shoulders are going to give away and in all probability you are dragging those last few steps to your doorstep!
-To lift heavy kitchen items, plant both feet firmly on the ground, bend on both knees and lift with both hands. You should be able to balance yourself with the load.
-Lift only as much weight as you can or as many items you can hold.
-Be careful while carrying hot liquids.

Watch out for sharp objects!

-Kitchen workspace, doors, kitchen shelves and cupboards may have sharp corners and edges. Always close cabinet doors and drawers.
-Broken glass is very sharp. Protect your feet by wearing slippers. Sweep up the broken glass pieces and then mop/swab/sponge the area. Dispose off the broken glass in a separate trash bag.
-Keep knife blades and grips clean. Keep knives sharp. Sharp knives cut easily, involving minimal force. While cutting, keep the sharp edge away from your fingers and your body. Clean knives promptly after use and keep them in their storage place. Read what Asha has to say here.

Avoid the banana peel effect!

-If you spill water, soap, oil, grease, flour, or a banana peel on the kitchen floor, clean it up instantly.
-Keep pot and pan handles turned inward, out of your way.
-Remove boxes, grocery bags, footstools, kitchen rags or anything on the floor that will obstruct the path of a busy cook.
-Ensure that your kitchen flooring is not slippery.

Save your hands!

-Kitchen cleaning fluids like soaps, bleaches, drain cleaners, acids, should be used according to packaged instructions. If your hands are sensitive to the cleaning soap, discontinue its use.
-Put on gloves while cleaning, especially if you use steel wool or hard scrubs.
-Keep cleaning chemicals and pesticides on shelves away from foodstuffs and inaccessible to children and pets.

Beware of hot and cold surfaces!

-Do not place hot glass or ceramic utensils on a wet or cold surface, they will break. Place them on a wooden surface or on a cloth.
-Do not place a glass utensil on a hot burner or hot surface, it may explode!
-Do not use a damp potholder to pick up something hot, you will get steam burnt.
-Remember to use oven mittens and pot holders to pick something hot. Richa of As dear as Salt gives us some useful tips

Fire, fire…!

-Do not place tea towels, potholders, paper and plastic bags, curtains, boxes or anything that will catch fire near the stove or near hot appliances.
-Clean the stove, oven and exhaust fan regularly. If you detect any gas leakage, turn off the gas connection and call for help immediately. Open windows and allow proper ventilation.
-Beware of flammables and volatile cleaning liquids; they can easily cause fires and explosions.
-Douse cigarette butts before throwing them into the trash bin.
-Do you know to put out a small pan fire? See what Archana of Tried and Tested Recipes has to
say. There will be a separate theme on Kitchen Fires.

Down to the basics

Trinnnnggggg…..! Your phone beckons, you go away to answer it and return after half an hour. What greets you is a charred mess. It could be worse!
-Do not leave your cooking unattended. If you have to for any reason, turn off the heat.
-Do you know the emergency numbers? Write them down on a paper and stick it where it can be seen – or more importantly, where you'll remember to look in an emergency.
-Learn to use a fire extinguisher.

Watch what you eat!

Or so say our affable Bong mom Sandeepa and Swapna of Susarlas Kitchen
here and here.

And to sum up, read what Asha of Aroma and Swapna of Swad of India have to say here.

Thankyou to all who took part this time! Those who did not, hope you will join next time with your words of wisdom. The next Safety Moment will be held in May 2007. The theme is Kids In The Kitchen and it will be hosted by Meeta at the Daily Tiffin

To participate:

- There will be a theme for the month, along with the deadline for entries. Your entries should be relevant to the theme for the month. - You may provide your views/suggestions/words of caution/advise on the theme for the month, share any experience/ incident you, or someone you know, have had. - You may post an article on your blog or add a line to your regular post highlighting the safety moment, or simply mail what you have to say to the host. You are welcome to send in any sketches/pictures/cartoons too. - Mail your entry to the host along with your name, your blog name and URL before the deadline.

3 April 2007

Take a guess....

Summer's here and so are these summer coolers. Guess the main ingredients in these….

Most of you got one right!

The first one is mango! Yes, a mango milkshake with just alphonso mangoes and milk in it. No sugar, icecream and the like. Pure and natural as can be.

The second is Panakam, the secret ingredient in it is this :

I remember my grandma and grand aunt preparing panakam for some poojas at my native place in Kerala. They extracted the juice by crushing the sugarcane bits with a stone / ammikallu. Panakam prepared this way tasted heavenly! And this taste cannot be replicated by processors. To prepare panakam, I crushed 2-3 bits of sugarcane in the processor adding very little water. Seive the extract and discard the residue. Add to it 2-3 tbsp of jaggery, 2 cups of water, 2 pinches of ginger powder, a pinch of cardamom powder, 7-8 crushed peppercorns, mix and let it stand till the jaggery melts. Mix well and serve chilled.

The third is a mocktail, Sunset fizz. To make it puree 2 strawberries and pour into 2 glasses. Add 50 ml orange juice to each glass. Top with 50 ml lemonade in each glass. It should look like sunset colours – pale orange to dark orange-pink. Mine didn't quite stay that way, the strawberry floated on top and the fizz was missing too by the time I took a picture!