Nelli Chettu Saaru( Dried Gooseberry Rasam)

 

The four month chaturmasya vrata started last week.  All information about this can be found here- http://www.uttaradimath.org/web/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1172&Itemid=376

And here for those who can read Kannada

http://www.udayavani.com/news/158892L15-%E0%B2%B6-%E0%B2%B0-%E0%B2%95-%E0%B2%B7-%E0%B2%A3%E0%B2%AE%E0%B2%A0%E0%B2%A6%E0%B2%B2-%E0%B2%B2–%E0%B2%9A-%E0%B2%A4-%E0%B2%B0-%E0%B2%AE-%E0%B2%B8-%E0%B2%AF%E0%B2%B5-%E0%B2%B0%E0%B2%A4-%E0%B2%86%E0%B2%B9-%E0%B2%B0.html

The recipes for the Vrata are like comfort food and taste wonderful. Even though the choice of ingredients is limited, there is no compromise on the taste.  I will add a few recipes for Vrata in the coming days. For People who are doing the chaturmasya, each Madhwa mutt has their own list of ingredients that are allowed, so it is better to check before following my recipe. For others looking for a change of taste, these recipes are very simple, quick and different.
Nelli Chettu is the sun dried fruit of the Indian Gooseberry. The medicinal benefits of the Indian Gooseberry can be found by searching the internet. It is a very commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. This is the main ingredient of our ‘Nelli Chettu Saaru’ recipe.

Ingredients- 

1. Dried Gooseberry pieces- about 10
2. Black Pepper( Whole)- 1 Tsp
3. Raw Rice- 1 Tbsp( Rice is for thickening, but is optional)
4. Ghee- For tempering
5. Grated fresh coconut- 1/2 cup
6. Salt- To taste
7. Jeera/cumin- 1/2 Tsp
8. Water- 4 cups
9. Asafoetida- A pinch
10. Jaggery- a small piece
I also used a few Curry leaves in the tempering.

Method- 
Roast the Gooseberry pieces, pepper and Rice in a few drops of ghee, till the rice turns white and the Gooseberry pieces puff up. Grind the roasted ingredients with the coconut and very little water to a fine paste. Add about 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Season with salt and add the jaggery. Make a tempering of the Jeera and asafoetida in ghee and add it to the Saaru. Serve piping hot with rice. This make a wonderful soup for cold winters also.

Haalu Menasina Saaru- Pepper Rasam with Milk

Its almost the end of fall here in the north east US. The temperatures are falling, trees are changing colors and shedding fast. Its time for everything warm and comforting. Talking of comforting, one of the best comfort foods(next to regular Saaru), I simply love is piping hot ‘Menasina Saaru’ .

Pepper is such a wonderful spice. It has several uses in home remedies, especially in making ‘Kashaya’ for coughs and colds. Pepper-jeera powder is used most extensively at our place in the winter months. It is a very important spice mixture for cooking during the last month of the Chaturmasya Vratha, that follows after Vijayadashami. The reason could be because, pepper is thought to increase body heat, which is really helpful in the cold months of winter, which is when the Vratha is done.  Pepper contains a compound ‘ Piperine’ which acts as a thermogenic.

This recipe is super easy, and wonderfully delicious, and has to enjoyed piping hot.

Ingredients-

1. Urad Dal- 2 tsp

2. Jeera- 1 tsp

3. Black pepper- 3/4 tsp

4. Fresh coconut grated- 1/4 cup

5. Milk- 2 cups

6. Ghee- 1 tbsp

7. Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp

7. Curry leaves- 1 sprig

8. Asafetida- 2 big pinches

9. Salt- to taste

Method-

Dry roast the Urad dal, jeera, pepper, and a pinch of asafetida. Cool and powder them. Grind the powder with the coconut and a little water to make a very smooth paste. Heat ghee in a pan, add the mustard seeds. After they splutter, add the asafetida and curry leaves, add the paste and immediately add a cup of water to avoid burning the paste. Add the salt and milk. Stir well, to stop the paste from forming lumps. The liquid thickens slightly as it comes to a boil. This saaru, can either be eaten hot with rice with a tiny dollop of ghee, or savored as a soup.