Barley and broken wheat

Soup is considered as a comfort food and sometimes chicken soup is suggested as the best meal for fever patients. There are many varieties of soup and each has a different texture and different ingredients.  Basically most soups contain vegetables and meat or seafood.  I remember my grandma’s signature soup a cows leg soup with flavors of garlic and barley to thicken and vibrant spices. The soup was succulent and juicy with the marrow oozing out as you suck. I always loved it and my aunt has learnt from my grandma and nailed the soup perfectly exactly as my grandma.
I request her to make it for me when ever I go for lunch. I make the same soup but never attained the same flavor or taste yet my soup tasted good always.
I make it in my mums way. We generally add barley for thickening the soup. This week I decided to make goats leg soup for my grandma and prepared everything. As I started looking for barley I found out we had no barley at home. The only substitute ingredient that was available at home was broken wheat. I grabbed it and added a handful with confidence that my soup would taste good and the texture would be thick. As my grandma started having her soup she asked if I added barley and when I mentioned bromen wheat she was smiling at me and said “it doesn’t show any difference does it, I can’t believe you’ve added broken wheat instead of barley. There is no sign of a broken wheat”. She was so amazed at how well I’ve substituted barley with broken wheat.
My grandma’s smile made me happy and led me to a safe zone called deep thinking. I decided to search over the Internet for the health benefits or broken wheat and am now eager to discover more recipes using broken wheat.
The search results for broken wheat calories has surprised me. Broken wheat seems to have less carbs than rice and at the same time it seems to be an ideal comfort food ingredient for patients with cholesterol issues as broken wheat has 0 cholesterol.



Goats leg soup

4 goats leg
1/4 cup barley or broken wheat
1 tablespoon dhal
1 cup carrot sliced
1 cup cabbage shredded
2 leeks
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium potato
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chillie powder
2 teaspoon pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon thick coconut milk
Water as required


1. Clean and wash goats leg.
2. Add the goats leg, vegetables, potato, garlic, spices, salt and oil into a pot or pressure cooker.
3. Wash the dhal and barley or broken wheat and add over the vegetables.
4. Cover with sufficient water and pour the thick coconut milk.
5. Close and cook over a medium low heat until the flesh of the goats leg becomes soft and juicy. If cooking in a pressure cooker always make sure to check atleast half an hour before serving so that you’ve got time to chevk the meat and cook more.
Goats leg needs to be 99 percent cooked so that the marrow comes out soon as you tap it on a plate. The flesh needs to come off when you break with a spoon or fork. The better it’s cooked the easier it is to eat.

Poori ka magic

My cousin started discussing the magic that makes the poori puff and asked for the recipe.
She said “I wonder how poori is made, it’s so soft and crispy and I wonder how it puffs like papadam.” I poked in like a big foodie and mentioned “it’s so simple heat oil and add the pooris, and keep taking the hot oil in the pan by a spoon and pouring on top of the poori which will make it puff”. She was so in doubt if am telling the truth which made me make pooris for dinner to assure her that what I told was the truth.

How I Iearnt to make pooris and when is an old story. I used to watch sirasa good morning sri lanka 7 years ago and they had a good cookery show which demonstrated all sorts of recipes and I used to write some on a book. I never tried any recipes and thats when my addiction to food and cooking started. It’s almost 7 years now Every week I followed the programme and wrote down recipes.  Later on I wrote recipes from online sites. 
My mum used to collect recipes from newspapers and she has them all pasted in a book. I guess thats the gene and addiction I’ve adopted.
My dad love food and enjoys eating so I am literally born to foodie parents.
Getting back to my pooris, so last night I made pooris with potato curry. Here is my recipe to poori.
Many chefs and recipes complicate a simple poori recipe by adding curd or yogurt or sometimes bringing it down to one particular ingredient like ghee which they mention as irreplaceable. But trust me there is always an option and substitute when it comes down to a recipe. Am now in the hunt to list down substitutes.
Well, getting back to the subject my pooris have only one compulsory rule it is to add half and half of wheat flour and atta flour. Those two ingredients is what makes the pooris restaurant quality.

1 1/2 cup atta flour (chappati flour)
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
1 tablespoon ghee/butter/margarine/oil
1 teaspoon Salt
Water as required

Mix all ingredients and knead to a soft and smooth dough.
Make tiny balls about 1 and a half inch diameter.
Flour the work surface and roll into small flat circles.
Deep fry in hot oil turning over to cook evenly on both sides by pouring hot oil from the pan over the poori to make it puff.
Never close the pooris soon after frying as  closing will make the pooris soggy.
Serve sandwiched with hot potato curry.

Potato curry

4 large potatoes boiled
2 medium onions chopped
3 green chillies chopped
A few curry leaves
2 inch pandan leaf
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chillie powder
1 tablespoon thick coconut milk
Salt to taste
2 tablespoon oil

Temper onions, curry leaves and pandan leaf in oil.
Add mustard seeds and green chillies.
Mash in tomato and season with turmeric powder, chillie powder and salt.
Pour a tablespoon of thick coconut milk, a cup of water and mix well making sure the potatoes are not over mashed and has a quiet medium sized piece here and there.
Cook for a few minutes until it boils and take off heat.

This potato Curry is ideal for chappati as well.
Use coconut powder if you cant find coconut cream or milk.
Always make sure you serve the gravy hot.
Try sandwiching the potato curry between two pooris.
Wrap it jn a banana leaf for an Indian look and is

So am really amazed at how hot oil can make the poori puff like papadams with no raising agents.
Cooking is an art and enjoy it with your own experience. You can never becomw an expert in cooking if you don’t know the basics.


Food Story : My Home Garden

Wandering around in a 3 by 4 metre garden with a mango tree and some plants which I barely can name except the rose plant and the lime plant which now happens to be a mandarin plant.
I have never seen raw mandarins and assumed that the plant that we have in our garden is a lime plant. Well they are in small pots which is 12 inches in diameter and has a two feet height with the plant. Many mandarins have appeared yet none of us bothered to pluck it nor taste it until this day due to the busy life.  Ofcourse my sisters do take some time to water the plants and yea they are not my plants literally as my mum bought them. I love plants that provide fruits and flowers. I remember the days when I was around 12 I used to water the large mango tree that later provided us with mangoes. I used to pull the hose and water all trees that were big and small those thoughts make me think how childish I’ve been to water a fully grown mango tree.
The mango tree which started bearing mango provided us with many buckets of mango which were so delicious. 
We ate it raw as an achcharu or ripe as a fruit.  I probably have a post planned with mango in 3 ways.
Getting back to the mandarin plant I touched the tiny mandarin which had a shade of light yellow in it’s skin. I felt the soft and juicy flesh from the outside of it’s hard skin and decided to pluck it. The lemony strong and sour aroma was so similar to that of a lime or lemon that I asked my grandma and cousin if its lime that has got rotten. I soon started peeling the skin which came off easily and revealed the ingredient. It was a mandarin.  Light yellow flesh over layed beneath the thin white pip that had a spider web design protecting the pulp of the mandarin from getting sqeezed and preserving the shape of the fruit. Discovering that mandarins grow in my garden I was all smiles with happiness and ideas overflowing in my head while the first idea was to blog about the discovery.
I separated the mandarins into 6 pieces and served it with a few crystals of salt. Tasting my own home grown mandarin which was very sour and made my 5 and a half month old give a funny facial expression which is priceless while I was so enjoying the mandarin.
Above the mandarin plant
Below the mandarin peeled half.
It’s the new year and am so excited to discover more food and travel all around sri lanka before my vacation comes to a conclusion amidst my busy schedule I’ve got some exciting stuff planned keep up with my blog to learn more.
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Welcome 2014 🙂


Cooking for grandma

It’s December holidays and my parents are out of town in business while my grandma is baby sitting me, myson and my sisters along with my aunt and cousin. My grandma cooks well and her food smells good. I remember my grans house filled with aromas from the fresh curry leave plant at the back yard besides the pandan leaves tree which was so huge and my granny never had to buy pandan leaves or curry leaves which ends up in every vegetable and curry cooked while the tempering of the onions and the variety of vegetables and curries release a delicious aroma that wakes up the appetite early before lunch time. Now I’ve got a chance to cook for my grandma who has a liking for western food while some medical precautions restrict her from eating what she wants and she is now obliged to eat what is good for her health. So I’ve gotta make some soft food, unfried and sugar less naturally. She does not restrict sugar from her teas and enjoys a slice of cake or a scoop of ice cream sometimes amidst her diabetics. I decided to make some soft pittu for her to be served with some fish gravy made for lunch.
I was so happy to hear her words of satisfaction and contentment of having a good home cooked pittu dinner.

Making pittu is so easy and can be prepared for a family of 6 within an hour including all side dishes such as sambol, gravy and eggs.
Pittu is often served with a good chicken, mutton or fish curry accompanied with a very spicy onion or maldives fish sambol. You can even serve it with a milk gravy and some boiled eggs which are optional for those who are lazy to run over to groceries for missing meat and ingredients while you have an unexpected guest. Pittue is not just a dinner time meal we often have it for breakfast as well though it best suits dinner time as a heavy meal. We generally consider pittu as a festive breakfast served along with the delicious sooji porridge refer my post on porridges.
So here is how you make a pittu.
You can make it in a mould thays used for making pittu like the one in the picture below or use an idly pan. If you wanna just try it out you dont have to spend and buy anything as this can be made on a plate or even steamed on a rice cooker.
To steam on a rice cooker take a large piece of soft cloth and put the entire flour mixture and secure into a bundle and place on the steaming attachment that comes with most rice cookers and steam.

To do it on a plate you’ll need a small plate plus a large piece of cotton cloth cum a pot that has a mouth the size of your plate. Oil the plate and place the flour mixture. Wet the cloth and sqeeze out excess water. Cover the plate with the wet cloth and turn it over with the back of the plate facing upwards and wrap gently the excess cloth to cover the back of your plate. Fill the pot with half water and boil. Place the plate over the pot making sure it doesn’t touch the boiling water and is stable, reduce heat and steam for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Once done lift the cloth and place on your work top. Take off the plate using a pot holder and lift the cloth to spill the pittu on to a bowl or tray. If the mixture is perfectly cooked it will be firm and come out easily like a large idly with cracks. In case if you didn’t tap the plate or press the mixture together to level it, it might fall off into pieces as long as the color is changed and tastes cooked it is fine to serve. This pittu made on a plate is called plate pittu.

The utensil I used to make pittus which we call bamboo pittu.
The pittu mixture once done would look like this
A cooked pittu would look like

Rice cakes.

Red/white raw rice roated/unroasted Flour 3 cups
Scraped coconut or dessicated coconut 1 cup
Salt 1 teaspoon
Tap water as required

Add flour, scraped or dessicated coconut amd salt.
Mix by adding some water until tge mixture resembles flaked bread like shown in the picture above.
Once its perfectly mixed the raw flour smell with not be there so use you senses to identify the perfect texture.
Add into the pittu bamboo, a plate, idly moulds or just bundle into a cloth and steam.
It might take sometime depending on the utensil.
A pittu bamboo will take 15 minutes medium heat.
A Plate might take 15 minutes medium heat.
An idly pot time may vary depending on the size.
Bundling on a rice cooker might take 20 minutes or more as you keep the entire contents in one bundle.
Always use your own experience for perfect cooking times.
Bamboo pittus taste better than any others.
Use red or brown raw rice for a diabetic friendly meal.
Call these rice cakes if explaining pittu is tough.
For a healthier version grate and add some carrot, leeks and cabbages into the mixture and steam.