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Asoka Halwa is very famous in Tanjavur(Especially in Thiruvaiyaru) and in rest of tamil nadu and this is one of the sweet which will be made for most of the occassions in some of the brahmin familes. Usually the food colour powder will be added to get a halwa in attractive colour, but i didn't add it and i prefer not to add the artificial colouring.  There are couple of methods to make this dish, but I prefer the below way where in i am preparing the sugar syrup with one string consistency which helps me to make this halwa quickly when compared to other methods.  Let me start the recipe with few cautions

1. Preparing halwa needs lots of patience as  our hands will cry of pain. (Halwana summava ;-).
2. You should be very careful and stir it continuously otherwise the halwa get burnt and spoil your dish !
3. We should be generous in using the ghee. Anti-Calorie people should forgive me for publishing this. The Halwa should be smooth and melt in your mouth and this can be possible only with the help of Ghee.

Servings4
Preparation Time-
Cooking Time60 mins
Asoka Halwa
Asoka Halwa

Ingredients:

Moong Dal1/2 Cup
Wheat Flour1/2 Cup
Sugar1 Cup
Ghee1/2 Cup
Cashews15

Asoka Halwa

Method:
  1. Take a heavy bottomed pan, add the moong dal to fry it. 
  2. Dry fry the moong dal till it turns light red in color. The reason we fry the moong dal is that, the dal will cook easiliy and quickly with little water. Also the aroma will be very good.

  3. Take the fried dal in a vessel and pour water till the dals are soaked and allow for 3-4 whistles in pressure cooker

  4. After we are able to open the pressure cooker, take the dal and smash it nicely. 

  5. (Optional) If the dal is not smashed nicely in the previous step, then get it smashed to a thick paste using the blender/Mixer. Take the cooked moong dal in a blender and grind it to a thick paste without adding water.

  6. Meanwhile, heat the kadai and add 1 tablespoon of ghee and fry the cashews till they turn golden brown color. Take the fried cashews in a plate and keep it aside

  7. In the same pan use the ghee that we used for frying the cashews for frying the wheat flour. Add the wheat flour and fry it till it turns light brown color. We don't need to fry it too much till it turns red color. The ghee after frying the cashews is enough for frying the wheat flour. Take the fried wheat flour in a plate and keep it aside

  8. Now lets start making the sugar syrup. Add sugar to the pan and add water till the sugar is soaked(I poured 1/2 cup of water)

  9. Keep stirring till the sugar gets dissolved and we get a thin 1 string consistency. If you take a drop of sugar syrup and rub it between the fingers it should form like a string.

  10. Now add the fried wheat flour and keep stirring

  11. When the wheat flour mixture gets thicker in the sugar syrup, add the moong dal smashed paste and break the dough evenly without forming lumps. If the mixture gets very thick, then you can add little milk and stir continiously.

  12. Keep stirring the halwa. Whenever the mixture  stick more on the pan, add ghee and start stirring again. We need to keep on stirring continuously in a medium flame though we feel pain in our hands :(. Atleast we need to stir for 30 minutes to make the halwa cook completely and becomes thicker

  13. Add ghee in regular intervals and keep stirring, till the ghee oozes out of halwa and the halwa rolls like a ball without sticking on the sides of pan. Add cashews and mix well

  14. Finally add the remaining ghee and switch off the flame.

  15. The delicious Asoka Halwa is ready to serve. We can store in a air tight container and whenever we need to serve, we can reheat the halwa to melt the ghee and then we can serve
Asoka Halwa

Tips:
  • We can use Samba wheat flour which gives very good flavour when compared to normal wheat flour
  • We can also use all purpose flour. But wheat flour has its own flavour and brings a unique taste to the halwa
  • The cooked moong dal should not have any water. If we are not able to smash nicely, we can grind it in a mixer to a thick paste without adding water
  • If the sugar dissolved in water is dirty, then we can add 1 tablespoon of milk which will make the dirt in the sugar syrup raises up in the water and we can easily remove the dust
  • We can add kesar powder after we add the smashed and cooked moong dal and we stir completely and break all the lumps.
  • We can also mix the kesar powder, saffron threads in little milk and mix with the halwa to get lighter color rather than adding the color directly which will make the color very bright
  • We can also grate/chop the badams and fry it in ghee and add it to the halwa
  • Immediately after adding the smashed dal, if the mixture becomes very thick, add little milk and stir continuously 

Aloo Gobi Masala is usually made as a gravy but here we are going to try the dry curry version. This goes very well with Roti / Rice. Kids love potato. Potato with cauliflower is a very wonderful combination. A very easy to make wonderful delight for roti. Cauliflower cook so quickly compared to potato. Toss the cauliflower and potato in the onion-tomato-masala and cook in low flame till the potatoes are tender and here you go the yummy Aloo Gobi Masala Curry ready to serve! For most of the gravies, we enrich with butter, cream or cashew paste but this curry is veggie rich and healthy. Try this Aloo Gobi Masala and you will love it!

Chakli, a crispy snack usually we make during festival seasons. Chalki with a cup of tea, a great combination for a wonderful evening. There are many different ways we can prepare this chakli. There are different varieties of chakli. We can prepare butter chakli, spicy chakli, sweet murukku and many more. Generally for many of these varieties rice flour, urdal flour forms the main ingredients.


Ingredients:
Rice flour 2 Cups
Urdal powder2 teaspoon
Gram flour1/2 Cup
SaltTo taste
Moong dal flour1/2 Cup
Butter2 tablespoon
Hing1/2 teaspoon

Method:

  • Take all the flours in a big bowl along with salt, hing and butter


  • Slowly add water and knead the flours nicely into a shiny dough. The dough should not be so hard because if it is very dry then when we try to make chakli, it will split the dough and we cannot get a good shape


  • Now take a plastic paper. Grease the plastic paper with oil/butter. Take the star mould and fill the press with the kneaded chakli flour. Gently press and rotate the press to get a good round shaped chakli. We can make any number of circles as per our choice.


  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, When the oil is hot enough, gently remove the spirals from the plastic paper and gently drop in the hot oil. Deep fry the chaklis and remove from flame and place it in a paper towel to drain excess oil


  • The yummy crispy chakli is ready to serve


Tips:

  • The chakli dough we need should not be more watery. Because it will make the chakli to fry longer time and the chaklis will be more red and if we try to remove it earlier, then chaklis will be crispy outside and not fried inside. So the dough should be shiny but not watery and should be too dry 
  • We can  use only rice flour and urdal flour alone to make chaklis. Gram flour and moong dal flour add more flavour to chaklis
  • We can add red chilli powder and make spicy chaklis
  • We can add pepper powder and cumin seeds to get more tastier chaklis

Dal Fry a rich flavour of dal with ghee. We always wonder what is the difference between Tadka dal and dal fry when we see both these receipes in restaraunt. But both these recipes have unique taste and flavour. The main difference is in DAL FRY, we use thoor dal/channa dal where the dal is boiled first. Then masala is prepared with onions, tomatoes and spieces in oil and then added to dal cook further.

For Dal tadka, dal is cooked along with onions, tomatoes and spices. Finally temering(tadka) is prepared and added to dal and seve immediately.

Dal fry is so delicious if you are generous in using ghee. Thur dal with masala and ghee a wonderful delight for chapatis/rotis

OK lets see the procedure to prepare dal fry now.

Dal Fry
Dal Fry
Ingredients:
Thur dal/Moong dal1 Cup
Jeera (Cumin Seeds)1 teaspoon
Grated Ginger1 teaspoon
SaltTo taste
Green Chillies2
Grated Garlic1 teaspoon
Onion2
Tomato 2
Turmeric powder1/2 teaspoon
Mustard seeds1 teaspoon
Ghee2 tablespoon

Method:

  • Wash the dal thoroughly and then soak in water for 2 hours. Finely chop the onions and tomatoes and keep aside

  • After 2 hours, wash the dal again and drain the water. Add 2 cups of fresh water. Along with this add turmeric, chopped green chillies, grated ginger and garlic. Add necessary salt and pressure cook the dal. Allow for 4 to 5 whistles to cook the dal nicely so that if we mix the dal with spatula/ladle, it should be smashed completely


  • Now, the dal is cooked completely in cooker. Smash the dal nicely with a ladle/spatula and keep it ready


  • Take a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee. 


  • When the ghee is hot(bubbles will come if ghee gets heated), add cumin seeds and allow it to sputter


  • Add chopped onions and add a pinch of salt. Adding salt helps to fry the onions evenly, and also after cooking of dal, crunching of onions will have a wonderful taste. But be careful to add only a pinch as we have already added the required salt along with the dal


  • Now add the chopped tomatoes and mix well


  • Add little water and allow the tomatoes to cook competely


  • Now add smashed dal and mix well. Add water if necessary and allow the dal to boil for 5 minutes in low flame. Switch off the flame. Heat another pan, add some ghee and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds starts to sputter, add whole red chilli and fry for 30 seconds. Add this to the cooked dal fry. 


  • Garnish with coriander leaves. The mouth-watering dal fry is ready to serve hot with rice/chapati

Dal Fry

Tips:

  • We can use channa dal. Many North Indians like to use Masoor dal(dark brown lentils)
  • If needed, we can add coriander powder and garam masala to the cooked onion-tomato mixture and allow to fry for 2 minutes. 
  • Extra tempering at the end is optional. It just adds an extra flavour while serving

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