Author Archives: Durai Ranganathan

Aloe Vera Oil Preparation


Aloe vera oil is known for aiding skin conditions, hair growth, wound healing etc. In our home we mainly as moisturizer and for hair growth.

Items Needed

  1. Aloe vera (Gel)– 1 Cup
  2. Virgin Coconut Oil – Cold Pressed– 1 Cup
  3. Karunjeeragam / Kalungi – 1 Tbsp (For Hair Oil only)
  4. Vendayam – 1 Tbsp (For Hair Oil only)

Steps: Aloe Vera Oil

  1. From Aloe vera – remove the white part
  2. In a blender grind the white part and make Aloe Vera juice – 1cup
  3. In a pan pour the coconut oil and start heating it in gas stove.
  4. In about 10mins coconut oil will be heated enough.
  5. Pour the Aloe vera gel from blender, very slowly into pan.
  6. While pouring oil will start splatter, but should be manageable.
  7. For about 15mins, splattering will continue until all the moisture evaporates
  8. Towards end splattering will stop & also the Aloe Vera remains will start turning into brown – this is the time to stop cooking (refer video)
  9. Keep the pan aside for cool down, about 1-2hours – then store in bottles
  10. Now Aloe vera oil is ready. Surprisingly it might smell like ghee!

Steps: Aloe Vera Hair Oil

  1. Add 1Tbsp Karunjeeragam & Vendayam into blender and grind it to powder.
  2. Once Aloe vera oil is cooled down, keep it in steel container (with lid)
  3. In a cooking pan add water and bring water to boiling stage
  4. Keep the steel container (with lid) into boil water. The coconut oil will get the heat from boiling water and start melting
  5. After 5mins we can stop

Video:

2020 – Indian Veggie Garden Calendar (SanJose, CA)


[Updated: 17/May/20]

We created this garden calendar is for our home garden & community garden in San Jose, CA.

This is our 4th year gardening in San Jose. Gardening is trial and error for beginners (like me) – especially when you are trying to plan Indian and non-local veggies. We need to understand local season, weather and ensure its right time to plant seeds indoor, transplant and harvest.

We came up with summary based on trial & error, so errors are still possible. With community help we can further optimize this calendar and make it very accurate. Please use this garden calendar with San Jose weather & season in mind. The garden calendar will vary for other states & city, as it depends on the local weather and season.

This year spring will start by 19th Mar 2020- so we need to prepare so that all plants are ready to plan outdoor.

I have started the plan and will keep this blog updated every month as possible. If you have any questions, feel free to post it in comments.

Hope this garden calendar helps! Happy Gardening!

 

Vegetables


 

Greens

 

2020 Harvest Photo Gallery





Chicken Wings


I have been trying to replicate my favorite Pizza hut Chicken wings and this is the closest I could replicate. I prefer oven baked rather than oil fried as oven baked is relatively healthier. This is a simple recipe and can be done in 30-40mins. I have used the masala powder available in our kitchen and will try to add equivalent of what I have used.

 

Items Needed:

  1. Chicken Wings – 2 Pounds
  2. Siracha – 2 Tsp
  3. Paprika – ½ Tsp
  4. Ginger Garlic Paste – 2 Tsp
  5. Aachi Fish Masala – ½ Tsp
  6. Mexican Chilli Powder / Tajin Classic Seasoning – ½ Tsp
  7. Lime – 1 No (or 2 Tsp juice)
  8. Hot Sauce – ½ Tsp
  9. Wing Sauce (Optional)– 2 Tsp
  10. Salt – 2 Tsp

     

Marination Preparation

Mix all above items in a bowl and apply marination evenly on the chicken wings. It’s recommended to keep the chicken marinated for 4hours in fridge – however if you are in hurry or planned last minute, you can keep it only for 30mins and start cooking.

 

Cooking

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F in bake mode
  2. Apply oil in cast iron griddle and place chicken wings
  3. Bake one side for 10mins and flip the chicken wings
  4. Apply/Spray oil and cook for another 10mins (total 20mins baking).
  5. After 20mins of baking, spray oil and start broil. Broil chicken 5mins each side (total 10mins broil).
  6. Sometime broiling will be done in 6-8mins depending on the moisture left, so monitor closely while broiling.
  7. Now chicken wings ready to eat as is.
  8. Optional Final step: After broiling is done, move chicken into mixing bowl and add 4Tsp of Wing sauce and mix it evenly and serve hot.

2019 Spring – Garden Calendar


 

This garden calendar is for our community garden plot in San Jose, CA. The garden calendar will vary for other states & city, as it depends on the local weather and season. You can use this garden calendar with San Jose weather & season in mind.

This year spring will start by 20th Mar 2019- so we need to prepare so that all plants are ready to plan outdoor.

I have started the plan and will keep this blog updated, every month as possible. If you have any questions, feel free to post it in comments.

For beginners (like me), gardening is trial and error – especially when you are trying to plan Indian and non-local veggies. We need to understand local season, weather and ensure its right time. I have added 2018 Garden calendar and its success rate for reference.

Hope this garden calendar helps! Happy Gardening!

 

Vegetables

Plant 

Sow Indoor 

Transplant / Direct Seed Outdoor

 

Reference 

My Garden Dates 

Reference

My Garden Dates

Tomato 

Jan 5-18

Jan 21

Mar 8-20 

 

Onion 

   

Feb 1- 3, Feb 20-22

 

Kohl Rabi 

   

Feb 4-19 

 

Egg Plant 

Dec 21-22

Jan 21

Mar 15-20, Apr 5 

 

Beans 

 

Jan 21

Mar 8- Mar 20 

 

Cabbage 

Jan 5-18

 

Feb 4-15 

 

Pepper  

Dec 21-22

Jan 21

Mar 15-20, Apr 5 

 

Bok choy 

   

Feb 1– Mar 31

 

Okra 

 

Jan 21

Mar 15-20 

 

Radishes 

   

Feb 1- 3, Feb 20-22

 

Carrots

   

Jan 25-Feb 3 

 

Tomatillo 

       

Beet Root 

   

Feb 20-Mar 5 

 

Chow Chow / Chayote

       

Avarai / Flat Beans 

 

Jan 21

   

 

Greens

Plant 

Sow Indoor 

 

Transplant / Direct Seed Outdoor

 

Reference 

My Garden Dates

Reference 

My Garden Dates 

Arai Keerai

NA

     

Red Thandu Keerai

NA

     

Mustard greens 

NA

     

Swiss Chard 

Jan 18-21

 

Feb 8-15

 

Cilantro 

NA

     

Kale 

NA

     

Meethi Greens

NA

     

Pulicha Keerai 

TBD 

Jan 21

   

Collard 

NA 

 

Feb 4-19 

 

Lettuce 

 

Jan 21

   

Spinach

   

Jan 18-21, Feb 4- 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Jose Yearly Weather

Courtesy:

https://weather.com/weather/monthly/l/USCA0993:1:US

https://www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-calendar/CA/San%20Jose

 

2018 Spring & Fall – Garden Plan (Yield & Success Rate)

Here am adding details of the success rate of last year (2018) garden plan, so that it can be used as reference. Some of the vegetables are started late, but still gave good yield. Few of them wasn’t successful for some reason, still trying to understand with trial and error method. There could be various reasons why the yield wasn’t good, whether it’s time or soil or watering or plant shock during transplant. I will try to add my observations as possible.

Vegetables – Our Garden Dates

 

Sow Indoor

Transplant or Sow Outdoor

Harvest Dates 

Yield/ Success Rate

Tomato 

26/Mar/18

 

14/Jul/18 to Nov

Excellent

Onion 

NA

     

Broccoli

   

11/Jun/18

Okay

Kohl Rabi / Nookal

   

10/Jun/18

Excellent

Egg Plant 

     

Bad

Beans 

       

Cabbage 

       

Pepper  

       

Bok choy 

       

Okra 

26/Mar/18

   

Bad

Radishes 

   

17/Jun/18

Good

Carrots

       

Tomatillo 

     

Good

Beet Root 

       

Chow Chow / Chayote

       

Avarai / Flat Beans 

       

Potatoe 

 

1- Mar

26-May-18

Good

 

Greens – Our Garden Dates

 

Sow Indoor 

Transplant or Sow Outdoor 

Harvest Dates 

Yield/ Success Rate

Arai Keerai

       

Red Thandu Keerai

   

27/May/18

Excellent

Mustard greens 

       

Swiss Chard 

       

Cilantro 

   

27/May/18

Excellent

Kale 

       

Meethi Greens

 

5/Mar 

9/Apr 

Excellent 

Pulicha Keerai 

       

Collard 

       

Lettuce 

       

Spinach

       

 

Photos from 2018 Gardening

 

 

 

 

Salmon Fish Fry – Oven Baked


Fish fry in oven baked is healthy alternative to fully oil fried and get almost same taste. Salmon has lot of health benefits – rich in Vitamin-D, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, several sources of Vitamin-B, Potassium.

Total Time: 10 Mins Prep + 30 Mins Cooking


Items Needed:

  1. Salmon Fillet – 1.5 Pounds
  2. Ginger Garlic Paste– 2 Tbsp.
  3. Siracha Sauce– 2 Tbsp.
  4. Coriander Powder– ½ Tbsp.
  5. Dried Green Chili Powder – ½ Tbsp.
  6. Aachi Fish Fry Masala – 2 Tbsp.
  7. Olive Oil – 2 Tbsp.
  8. Salt – as needed

Preparation

  1. Mix all items into bowl and prepare marination. Add half cup of water so that Marination is not so thick
  2. Marinate Fish for 2 hours (minimum 30mins)
  3. Preheat oven for 375 Degree
  4. Apply olive oil into cast iron girdle and place fish fillet
  5. In oven, cook one side for 15mins (in bake)
  6. Take out after 20mins and apply olive oil on and flip/turn the fish
  7. Cook for another 10mins
  8. Take out after total of 30mins of cooking, and apply left over marination on both sides for broiling.
  9. Broil each side for 2 or 3 mins each side, depending on your roast level preference.
  10. Note: With total cooking time of 30mins + 6mins, the fish will be ‘well-done’, if you prefer medium cooked – try reducing to 20mins+6mins broiling

 

Fish after Marination


Veggie Soup / Noodle Soup


    Veggie noodle soup is healthy recipe since lot of fresh vegetables are part of this and it’s our family favorite. The preparation is very simple. There are two variations – this can be taken as soup or with noodles depending on your preference and need. Preparation time 30-40mins.

 

Items Needed:

  1. Bok-Choy – 2 Cups
  2. Mushroom – 2 Cups
  3. Carrot – 1 Nos
  4. Beans – 2 Cups
  5. Jalapeno Chili Dried – ¼ Chili (Yes, don’t add full – just a quarter)
  6. PF Chang Hakka Noodle Packet
  7. Ginger Garlic Paste – 1 Tbsp.
  8. Spring Onions
  9. Egg Whites (Optional)
  10. Veggie Soup Mix (2 Tbsp.)
  11. Salt – as needed

     



 

Noodle Preparation

Add Noodle and salt and Boil in container for 10-15mins. Once it’s cooked strain water and add cold water so that noodle is not over cooked.

 

Veggie Soup Preparation

  1. Cut all veggies in medium size (Radish into 4, beans cut into 5-7, mushroom by 4)
  2. In container add water, veggies and salt – boil for 15mins
  3. Now add ginger garlic, dried Jalapeno and Veggie soup mix powder and boil soup for another 10mins
  4. When soup is almost done, optionally, pour egg whites directly into boiling soup and egg will cook in the soup in few mins (2-5mins)
  5. Now soup can be taken as is, or with Noodles.
  6. If you want Noodle soup, just add the prepared noodles

Grilled Lamb Chops (Oven Grilled)



Marination Preparation:

  1. Lamb or Goat Chops – 1 and ¼ Pounds
  2. Red Kashmiri Chilli Powder – ½ Tbsp
  3. Ground Paprika – ½ Tbsp
  4. Dried Parsley – 2 Tbsp
  5. Siracha Sauce – 2 Tbsp
  6. Coriander – 1 Tbsp
  7. Cumin – ½ Tbsp
  8. Ginger Garlic Paste – 2 Tbsp
  9. Lime Juice – 1 Lime Big
  10. Tabasco – 4 Drops
  11. Salt – 2 Tbsp
  12. Oil – 4 Tbsp

 

Add all powders into bowl with Lime Juice & Tabasco and mix well as paste. No need to add water. Add Lamb chops ensure paste is applied evenly thorough the meat. Keep meat in Fridge for 2hrs – 4hrs for marination.

 

Baking:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degree
  2. Apply oil in Cast Iron griddle or Baking tray and place marinated lamb chops and apply oil again on the top of the meat. I prefer Cast Iron instead of baking tray – because the heat is maintained after cooking.
  3. Bake the Lamb Chops for 20minutes
  4. Turn the meat to other side.
  5. Bake for another 15minutes
  6. Typically Lamb Chops will be done in 35minutes total, but always check before starting broiling. Cook time, depends upon the size. Thickness of Chops I used is half inch.

Broiling:

  1. Apply left over marination paste one top of the meat and apply oil.
  2. Broil one side for 3-4minutes and take it out for applying paste on other side.

    Note: Broiling time depends on the thickness of meat. Sometime will be done in 2mins, keep checking via Glass door to ensure it doesn’t burn.

  3. There will be paste on the grill/pan which is roasted well & cooked, feel free take and apply them in meat along with broil paste. Do this step only if the paste on the cooking grill is not burned.
  4. Turn all meat to other side, apply left over marination and spray oil
  5. Broil another side for 3-4minutes.
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