Frying, Drying and Making Tidbits From My Andhran Kitchen by Paradesi Bhaarya

Drying chillis in a mixture of buttermilk and corriander leaf fresh, lots of salt for several days in an earthen jar. Remove when white and put on trys in sun all day until dry. Store in a very dry place for up to 3 years if use silicon packets in container, just make sure it doesnt touch edibles. We use chillis from Guntur District in Andhra Pradesh and they are so delicious!

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Fryums are a common addition to a meal to add toast texture to dals. First we prepare a thick paste and then take old saree material and lay out flat using rocks to hold down edges. Then, we spoon on dollops of paste to saree and let dry in sun. Remove at night and then lay out again next morning until completely sun dried, about 1 week. If cracking too much the paste was not thick enough.
Pastes can be made with anytuing from chickpea flour to rice flour. Many fvorites are potato flour and tapioca flour. You will want to take 1 liter of water and bring to a boil add ground green chillis, and 4 Tablespoons of whole cumin seed and 5 to 10 tablespoons of salt. Fryums are usually very salty, so salt to taste. Once boiling add flour of choice (rice, corn, jowar, millet or ragi, besan or potato flour) Bring mixture to a boil and watch it thicken. you want it to be thick like molassas but still runny. Finish by putting on saree and setting out in sun. Do not turn or mess with them. As you see below we have put a plastic cover over them that is transparent, we do this only to keep flys or dirt from landing on them, as India is very dusty.

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To make Fryums we heat up 5 tbs oil for several minutes, then we place a few of them in oil and jiggle a little, once puffy flip and repeat. should only take 1 minute for them to fry up. Serve with dal and a vegetable curry! Enjoy!

Bitter Gourd/Bitter Melon

bittergourd-melon

Strange as it looks, the bitter gourd or bitter melon is becoming another cancer preventer like green tea. Here in South India we see this vegetable everywhere. Indians eat it for many other reasons besides preventing cancer, like diabetes. I have seen it only prepared fried in circles and can tell you I have only been able to eat 3-5 pieces ever in my life. It is very bitter and it would take a huge effort on my part to willingly consume this every day. It is definitely an acquired taste.

How to make Bitter Gourd taste less bitter:

  • In a non-metal bowl dissolve 1/3 cup water to 1 1/2 cup of water (called making a brine) and soak the Bitter Gourd cut into slices like above but remove center seeds, for 1 hour. Rinse and repeat soaking only a half hour more.
  • Rinse the pieces in cold water and on a flat surface sprinkle salt over each side and let sit another 30 minutes.
  • Rinse salt off and now time to cook or juice!

Here are links to some bitter gourd juice recipes that may help ingestion easier.

Bitter Melon Juice Indian Style

Bitter Gourd Juice For Diabetics

Benefits of Bitter Gourd:

  • Lowers blood sugar
  • It purifies blood, activates spleen and liver
  • Juice of leaves help piles, alcoholism & Cholera
  • Treating bacterial, fungal infections
  • Drinking bitter gourd juice serves as a healthy way to detox the body.

Links on Bitter Gourd:

http://www.coloradocancerblogs.org/bitter-melon-juice-prevents-pancreatic-cancer-in-mouse-models/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitter_melon

http://ethnichealthcourt.com/2013/01/25/bitter-gourd-health-benefits-and-side-effects/

Indian Cooking Basic Supplies

Living in India I am learning a lot of new things. I have always considered myself a good cook, but now I am forced into eating, preparing and learning new ways for my family. Here are some of my favorite recipes and tips on cooking Indian dishes authentically. Please feel free to comment and request dishes or techniques used you would like explained in more detail. As many of you know Blogger is LAME but its where my stuff is, so…I post all my recipes as comments. Thanks for your patience!

Firstly, a few things that are needed to make an Indian Kitchen run well:

Pressure Cooker- The pressure cooker is the life of our kitchen and tummies. We depend on it for everything as most Indians do NOT have a western stove or oven. Some don’t even have a microwave. Gas is provided a bit differently here so a gas stove is a hard to come by product. So, learning that a pressure cooker is a great way to cook will make your Indian cooking go much smoother. And for those who are afraid it will blow up….come on now we live in the 21st Century!!
Deep Pots and flat pans (called dosa pans)– Deep pots like a stock pot with a thick bottom and pancake pans are ideal. Must have to cook our favorite dishes.
Insulated container for curd to maintain 85-90 deg for 8 hours
Food Products Needed In Pantry
I suggest that when using powder you grind it from the whole spice itself. It is fresher that way!!
dried coriander seed (powder & whole)
whole cinnamon bark
whole cloves
fenugreek seeds
dried star anise with pods
cumin/jeera (powder and whole)
black mustard seed
turmeric powder
red chili powder
whole dried red chillies 
dried tamarind 
asafoetida/hing powder (never use in dishes without cooking it or get runs)
sesame seeds
dried coconut
coconut oil 
peanut oil, sunflower oil
saffron
whole cloves at least 1 large one on hand
onions- everything has onions in it
split lentils- red & yellow (be careful of eating too many red ones bad for liver)
salt (iodized and rock salt)
fresh or dried curry leafs/karivepaaku- (curry tree seeds are poisonous)
dried bengal gram/cici beans/garbonzo beans/chickpeas/chana
dried green gram/mung beans
dried black gram/urad dal/black lentil
rava/semolina coarse ground
white rice short grain
basmati rice
ghee
raw peanuts/ground nuts whole
fried gram/roasted bengal gram

If in USA please stay tuned as I will provide websites and markets for those who need to find these items. For now look for your local Indian Market (usually coupled with Pakistani Markets or Filipino Markets)
If I add anything to this list after it is updated I will put in different colors and post the date of the changes in this post.