How To Make Tomato Ketchup (Sauce)


HOMEMADE TOMATO KETCHUP/SAUCE

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SIMPLE INGREDIENTS  AND SO VERY EASY TO MAKE. PERFECT AS PIZZA SAUCE, FOR GRILLED CHEESE TOAST,  SPAGHETTI, LASAGNA OR EVEN AS A DIP.

I have kept the whole recipe simple and fuss-free to save on time and still achieve the desired result. The resultant ketchup is slightly on the coarser side as I did not strain it at any point. Since no preservatives are used, refrigeration is a must. It will keep well for over a month if refrigerated.

I have not indicated the quantity of the ingredients used. One needs to add and alter the quantity of the ingredients according to one`s personal taste and palate. 

INGREDIENTS

Tomatoes, Crushed Ginger, Crushed Garlic, Chilli Powder, Jaggery (Cane Sugar) or any other sweetener, Salt, Vinegar and Cornflour. Drizzle Olive Oil.

Other ingredients that can be added are Chopped or Pureed Onions, Cloves.

METHOD

1. Wash and puree the tomatoes in a blender. I pureed it with the skin on.

2. Put the puree on a low heat on the stove and get the other ingredients ready.

3. As the puree is boiling down, peel and coarsely crush ginger and garlic separately and add it to the boiling tomato puree.

4. Add chilli powder to the boiling puree. I used Kashmiri Chilli Powder as I wanted a deep, red coloured  sauce.  Add plenty of it since the vinegar, salt, cornflour and jaggery (cane sugar) would tone down the heat of the chilli.

5. Add salt and jaggery and allow the puree to boil down till fairly thick in consistency, for approximately about 45 minutes to an hour. Stir occasionally to prevent charring.

6. After the puree reaches the desired consistency, dissolve a little cornflour in vinegar and add it to the boiling puree and continue to boil on low heat for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent lumping of the cornflour and charring of the bottom of the pan. Adjust the seasonings.

7. Do not add too much cornflour or else the sauce would end up too thick and starchy. The cornflour is only to bind the whole sauce together. The sauce will thicken further on cooling.

8. Stir in olive oil at the end if you want to used it as sauce for pizza, spaghetti or lasagna.

8. Bottle the sauce while still hot. Cool it slightly and cap it tightly. Refrigerate after it completely cools down.

Malted Ragi Porridge – Weaning Food For Babies


Malted ragi cooked as a porridge with milk is the best weaning food for babies. 

HOW TO MALT RAGI

Sprouted Ragi                                          Sprouted Ragi

1. The seeds should be first soaked in water for 12 hours or overnight and then the water should be drained out completely.

2. Sprout this either tied-up in a muslin cloth or in a clean and covered stainless steel vessel for 48 to 72 hrs, sprinkling a little water if necessary, although this may be necessary only if the weather is very hot and dry. 

3. After it has sprouted fairly enough, dry it out completely by spreading it on a dry, clean cloth, preferably in the sun.

4. Then dry roast it in a hot pan till you get a light, roasted aroma and cool completely. 

5. Powder this into a fine powder in a dry mixer/blender.

6. AS A WEANING FOOD FOR BABIES, you can also powder the roasted ragi along with an equal volume of Fried Gram or Roasted Gram (also called Putana in India) for added protein and also flavour, (babies too can be pretty fussy on taste) and then pass it through a muslin cloth to get an absolutely fine powder. The leftover residue can go back into the mixer/blender and powdered again and passed through the muslin cloth again repeating the process. 

This fine powder can be cooked as a porridge with milk and water and given to babies from the age of 4 months onward as a weaning food. 

 

TO MAKE THE RAGI PORRIDGE, bring half cup of water to a boil. 

*Mix 2 tsps of the ragi or ragi-putana powder in quarter cup water and mix well and add this to the boiling water and stir it constantly to avoid forming lumps. Add more water if required. Bring it to a boil and let it cook for 1 minute. 

*Add milk to get the desired consistency. 

*It can be sweetened with a little sugar or jaggery. 

*You can vary the proportions of ragi powder, milk and water as desired. 

Ragi or Finger Millet- the humble and nutritious millet


Ragi or Finger Millet`s nutritional value was unknown to many until recently. Malted Ragi is the best weaning food for babies.                                                                                             

                          Ragi or Finger Millet Flour and Ragi Seeds

Thanks to the aggressive promotion by the Indian Government, dietitians and nutritionists, this poor man`s food now graces the rich man`s breakfast table too for it`s nutritional value. 

This once humbly priced millet is now priced on par with wheat and rice. 

Ragi, like all other millets, is not a water-intensive crop and that is why it is grown mainly in drought-prone areas providing food and nutrition to poor farmers and their families. This no-fuss, hardy millet doesn`t cost much to grow since it does not require a lot of water to grow and also it does not require a very fertile soil. 

Nutrition-wise, it is rich in calcium and iron provided, it goes without saying, that the soil has these nutrients. 

Malted ragi cooked as a porridge with milk is the best weaning food for babies. 

 

TO MALT RAGI

1. The seeds should be first soaked in water for 12 hours or overnight and then the water should be drained out completely.

2. Sprout this either tied-up in a muslin cloth or in a clean and covered stainless steel vessel for 48 to 72 hrs, sprinkling a little water if necessary, although this may be necessary only if the weather is very hot and dry. 

3. After it has sprouted fairly enough, dry it out completely by spreading it on a dry, clean cloth, preferably in the sun.

4. Then dry roast it in a hot pan till you get a light, roasted aroma and cool completely. 

5. Powder this into a fine powder in a dry mixer/blender.

6. AS A WEANING FOOD FOR BABIES, you can also powder the roasted ragi along with an equal volume of Fried Gram or Roasted Gram (also called Putana in India) for added protein and also flavour, (babies too can be pretty fussy on taste) and then pass it through a muslin cloth to get an absolutely fine powder. The leftover residue can go back into the mixer/blender and powdered again and passed through the muslin cloth again repeating the process. 

This fine powder can be cooked as a porridge with milk and water and given to babies from the age of 4 months onward as a weaning food. 

 

TO MAKE THE RAGI PORRIDGE, bring half cup of water to a boil. 

*Mix 2 tsps of the ragi or ragi-putana powder in quarter cup water and mix well and add this to the boiling water and stir it constantly to avoid forming lumps. Add more water if required. Bring it to a boil and let it cook for 1 minute. 

*Add milk to get the desired consistency. 

*It can be sweetened with a little sugar or jaggery. 

*You can vary the proportions of ragi powder, milk and water as desired. 

Stone Ground Coconut and Fresh Coriander Chutney


Stone ground chutneys or chutneys ground in the traditional mortar and pestle taste absolutely fabulous. It is a little labourious but it is really worth the effort.                                                                                  

The picture above shows the ingredients used to make this Coconut and Coriander Chutney but Jaggery, Tamarind and salt are missing in this picture and the quantity of chillies had to be increased considerably. I added these as I was grinding the chutney to balance out the taste. I added green chillies to increase the heat as I was in no mood to roast a few more dry red chillies in oil and grind it. 

The ingredients listed below is all that had gone into the chutney. 

INGREDIENTS

1.  1 tbsp Urad dal 

2.  6 Dry red chillies

3.  7 Flakes peeled garlic

4.   Fresh coriander leaves (quantity shown in the picture is after it wilted on sauteing)

5.  1 tbsp oil for sauteing 

6.  Fresh coconut (quantity as shown in the picture)

7.  Small quantity of Jaggery and Tamarind to balance out the sweet-sour taste

8.  Salt 

METHOD

* Heat oil in a pan and add urad dal and fry till light brown.

* Then add dry red chillies and fry for just a few seconds till it turns colour. 

* Then add garlic and fry for a few seconds till lightly roasted.

* Then add fresh coriander and saute till it wilts and feels slightly fried.

* Grind all this along with the remaining ingredients into a fine paste with sprinklings of water.  

The above picture is that of the chutney ground in the mortar and pestle and served with warm, cooked rice and a dollop of ghee.              

It goes well with dosas and chapatis too but I prefer to have it the typical South Indian way and that is with cooked rice. 

It keeps well for 3-4 days when refrigerated but it tastes best when eaten as soon as it is freshly ground.

I consider this as a meal in itself.  Simple and light.                                                                                         

                                         My Stone Mortar and Pestle   

Stone Ground Chutney (The Mortar and Pestle)


It is not about going back to stone-age. It is about the physics and chemistry of food.

The recently invented electrical gadgets that we use in our kitchens may have made our lives and our cooking much easier but somewhere it has robbed many flavours from our food. 

My humble Mortar and Pestle. It does not require electricity. Needs just a pair of hands. 

It is housed in my backyard and it actually belonged to my mother. I had spent quite a sum to get it transported from Hyderabad, the place I was born in and grew up, to Bangalore, where I live right now.  

The granite stone has smoothed and rounded itself over years of use.  I still remember when, as a little girl, I used to help my mother grind stuff in it. Now my daughters do it with me. Not always though. It is a fun task to do together. They do grumble to help but are finally always satisfied with the end result of the task. The chutneys have a super texture and a super, super taste. Nowhere close in taste to the ones ground in the electric mixer/grinder.     

The ingredients for the chutney.                                                                                      

First the coconut pieces are crushed a little with the heavy stone pestle in a pounding action and then taken out… 

and ground.

Then the remaining ingredients are added and ground together into a fine paste with sprinklings of water..                                                                       

using the left hand to rotate the stone pestle in an anti-clockwise motion and the right hand fingers to push the ingredients in the gap in between the two stones to press and crush it into a paste.

It takes a little practice to coordinate the motions of the two hands.    

The chutney which took about 15 minutes to grind. 

The chutney after it was diluted with a little water and seasoned.                  

 Was a good early morning exercise and felt even more good after digging into it with a piece of Ragi-Whole Wheat dosa.                                                                                                                   

   

Peanut Chutney Powder


The humblest of all nuts, the peanut is a very versatile food ingredient. It is high in protein and fiber.

This recipe of the Peanut Chutney Powder is the simplest and most basic version. It can be tweaked to suit your taste by adding and deleting any of the ingredients. You can add grated and roasted dry coconut or copra too.

The picture above shows the ingredients required for it. The proportions are as shown except that I had to add more chilli powder as this quantity was not enough.

Ingredients as shown in the picture (clockwise)

1. Roasted unsalted peanuts

2. Curry leaves fried crisp in a tsp of oil

3. Salt

4. Jaggery or palm sugar

5. Kashmiri Chilli powder

6. Tamarind

7. 2 flakes of garlic with skin, fried light brown in 1/2 tsp oil

Grind all the ingredients together into a coarse powder in a mixer/grinder in short spurts taking care not to overdo it as otherwise the oil in the peanut would turn the mixture lumpy. 

If you are in the mood for an absolutely simple but yum meal then just mix a few spoonfuls of this peanut chutney powder to warm, cooked rice. 

Bet nothing can be more simple and heartening and yet as nutritious as this on a simple and lazy afternoon.

This chutney powder goes well with idly and dosa too with an option of mixing in a spoonful of warm melted ghee or peanut oil. 

It should keep well for more than a month.