Therattipal (Palkova)

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No festive occasion or social function among Tamilians is complete without therattipal as one of the dishes in the cuisine. A very laboriously prepared dish by simmering huge quantities of milk over low flame to reduce the bulk with constant stirring to ensure that the milk does not get burnt, this dish is quite time- consuming too. Once “Aavin” started selling this sweet it became an easily accessible sweet in our family and the effort one needs to invest was forgotten.  At one point in one of my family member’s place I happened to taste microwaved therattipal and it was quite like the traditional dish and was pleasantly surprised to learn that it takes principally just two ingredients and less than 15 minutes to prepare the sweet. In a family that loves this sweet, there couldn’t have been a better treat!

It saved the bother of full-cream milk and sweat over the steady stirring The caramelization is so perfect that it gives you the color as in traditional preparation.

The best part is that we do not have to worry about sugar proportion and the texture that depends on the milk quality. Yogurt added ensures on the grainy texture and gives a lovely feel.

Ingredients

Condensed milk  1 can (400 ml)

Thick yogurt  2  tsp

Ghee ½ tsp

Almonds (slivered)  2 tsp

Saffron strands 1 pinch (optional)  but I prefer to add them

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  • Grease a large glass bowl (1 liter or bigger) with ghee and pour the condensed milk into the bowl. Add the yogurt to the milk and mix well to blend the curd and milk.

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  • Place in the microwave at 900 W (high) for 5 minutes  and make sure to track the cooking.  Stir every 2 minutes to ensure a smooth texture. You will see the granular texture and caramelized color appearing after about 3 minutes or so.

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  • Reduce the wattage to 600 W and micro for another  minute or two until the mix looks solid and all fluid is vaporized. Add saffron strands and mix well.
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Garnish with almond slivers.

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Chef’s Note

  • Clarified butter (ghee) is not part of the dish but used to grease the bowl to avoid the grains from coating the wall.
  • Ensure the bowl is twice the size of the quantity made to avoid spill-over while cooking.
  • As the milk has a lovely taste and flavor I do not use cardamom although some may prefer to add the same.
  • Do not transfer immediately after removing from the oven as the color may be lighter. let it wait to cool to get the color.
  • For those who prefer to avoid microwave oven, the same can be done on gas flame in a heavy-bottomed wok over low flame and it may take about 15 to 20 minutes.

Sambar Powder

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I wonder whether this post is the best beginning for the year 2017. I guess what matters is to resume blogging and with something that the girls feel needed!

For a long time I used to go with the proportions based on Meenakshi Ammal and get the spices ground in the shop and manage for a few months. With the consumption being less, I realize the flavor is lost after a couple of months and I decide to scale down the quantity and pulverize the spices at home.  The texture is not as fine as commercially powdered sambar podi but the flavor is so fresh and fills the place with aroma.
I manage to make about 250 g of powder in place of 1.5 kg I used to make earlier ans find it convenient. Although the main post is for home-made podi, for those who need a larger quantity  the proportion is listed in Notes.

Often my sambar podi serves as Rasam podi too as I add cumin seeds in tempering and flavor with peep powder to avoid making separate rasam powder.

Ingredients

Dried red chili 100 g (long variety preferred)

Coriander seeds 100 g

Peppercorn 1 tbsp

Fenugreek seeds  1 tsp

Chana dal 1 tbsp

Arahar dal 2 tbsp

Turmeric powder 1 tbsp

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Procedure

  • Heat a wok and keeping it on a low flame dry roast fenugreek seeds As it starts changing color add the peppercorn and rast till the aroma starts wafting. Transfer to a plate
  • Dry roast the lentils  in the same wok till the color starts changing and transfer to the same plate.
  • roast the coriander seeds till it feels crisp but not too long and do not wait for color change. Average of two to three minutes should be good.
  • Roast the chilies now till the chilies feels dry and crisp in a minute or two
  • Blend the chilies in the mixie till they are flaky. Add the remaining ingredients at room temperature and blitz till you get the finest powder.
  • Add the turmeric powder to wards the end and blend to mix
  • Let the spice powder cool completely before transfer to airtight container.

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Chef’s Note

  • For powder in a larger quantity, I use  the rhizome of turmeric and sun dry the chilies and corinder seeds.
  • All other ingredients including turmeric are dry roasted.

Red chilies  500 g

Coriander seeds  500 g

Peppercorn 100 g

Turmeric 100 g

Fenugreek seeds 50 g

Chana dal 100 g

Arahar dal 200 g

When done commercially, you can get a fine powder.