March 18, 2011

Award !

Thrilled to announce a "special  award of Excellence " for my blog from the "B for Breakfast" event by Charitha !

Happy to display my award ! Thanks Charitha :-)




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March 17, 2011

Instant Mango Pickle

Pickles and Summer. A veritable combination ! From the days of grandmom and mom making an year's supply of pickles to buying commercially made ones (with the ma-ke haath ka-khana stamp), pickles are one accompaniment that can never go wrong .


With dal rice, parathas, curd rice, dosas etc, today's Instant Mango Pickle is easy on the palate and preparation too !  I have used the kairi (raw mango) called Totapuri / Gini moothi (meaning raw mango shaped like a parrot's beak) for this pickle. I remember my school days where we drooled over slivers of quasi-ripened Totapuri mango served with a dash of red pepper bought at a vendor during lunch break or after school hours!! slurp !! :)


This pickle can be made with other varieties of raw mango too, but this one is the best, and can be served immediately too :-)


Update: Sending this to Valli's Condiment Mela

Preparation Time: 20 mins, Cooking time : nil
Makes : approx 100 gm of pickle
Keeps (with refrigeration) for a week or 10 days

Ingredients:

  • Raw mango -1 no
  • Salt - 2 tbsp
  • Red chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
  • Dry methi / fenugreek seeds - 1 tsbp
  • Dry red chillies - 3 (Kashmiri variety)
  • Lemon juice - from 1 lemon
  • Gingelly oil - 2 tbsp
  • Asafoetida - 3/4 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1.5 tsp


Method:


1) Wash, wipe the mango free of dust and water. Dice into very thin pieces (refer pic)
2) In a dry bowl, add the mango slivers, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and mix
3) In a skillet, dry roast methi seeds and mustard seeds (1 tbsp) separately and transfer to a spice grinder.
4) Heat about 1/2 tsp of oil, and fry the red chillies till slightly roasted.
5) Grind the chillies, asafoetida, methi and mustard seeds into a fine powder.
6) Transfer this powder to the mango mixture. Stir well with a dry spoon.
7) Heat the remaining oil, splutter the mustard seeds (1 tbsp) and cool this tempering.
8) Pour the cooled tempering into the mango pickle mixture and add the lemon juice now and mix well.
9) Serve immediately !


Tips:


1) The salt and spice proportions are for one mango. In case you are working with more, adjust spice accordingly, and based on your family's habits too.
2) You may add extra lemon juice if the mango is not tarty enough.
3) Once served, store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. Please avoid plastic / tupperware containers for pickles !
4) You may also make the masala powder in advance and use it for pickles like mixed vegetables or even lime pickle. Do adjust the proportions accordingly.


                              

March 16, 2011

Healthy Tomato Soup !

My daughter loves Soup, esp home-made Tomato Soup. My mom introduced it to her while she was a year and a half, and she caught up on this pretty well. Soups with croutons, soup with bread sticks, with garlic bread , with steamed veggie batons - anything goes in, as long as its soup, and more importantly if its Tomato Soup , almost like Henry Ford's declaration "any colour for a car is ok, as long as its black!" :-)

This soup is a permanent fixture in my weekend menu, which is more of continental and convenient food, yet healthy ! I try every method to make it more healthy and hearty, so I can see the smile on my kid's face as she literally slurps her way through :-)

So, presenting Healthy Tomato Soup. Its different from the normal commercial/other soups in that it contains a whole lot of veggies (yes, apart from the tomatoes), has no butter or commercial additive, including the dreaded MSG !

Update : Sending this to Sanyukta's Cooking with Whole Foods Event - Tomato originally started by Kiran (Kiran's Announcement Page)


Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time : 10 mins
Serves : 2 kids!

Ingredients:

  • Bright red tomatoes - 4
  • Carrots diced - 25 gms
  • French beans diced - 50 gms
  • Cauliflower - 50 gms
  • Potato - 1 no (peeled and cubed)
  • Capsicum chopped- 1/8 (optional)
  • Ghee - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder  - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Milk /cream - 1/2 tsp
To serve with : French bread / Toast / Soup Sticks / croutons

Method:

1) Blanch the tomatoes
2) Boil all the vegetables in a colander till soft and retain the stock (You may pressure cook for two whistles too)
3) Blend the tomatoes and veggies with a cup of water (or stock) into a thick soup.
4) Strain ensuring only the tomato seeds are filtered out and you retain all the veg fibres.
5) In a deep bottomed pan, add ghee, fry capsicum, add the above veg puree, turmeric, masala powders and salt. Adjust water or stock as necessary.
6) Once it comes to a boil, take off the heat and add a dollop of cream or a tbsp of cold milk.
7) Serve with toasted bread / soup sticks !

Tips:
1) You may make the vegetable stock the previous day (from any vegetables) and use it to only puree this veggies.
2) Use left over soup as a base for pav bhaji / wet curry the next day :-) adjust seasoning accordingly.
                                

March 11, 2011

Choco Oatmeal Cookies

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies ! A treat that eluded me so long ! Everytime I read my little one stories about cookies, I wondered when I would bake one :-) Madhuram's wonderful vegan recipe seemed just right , and voila I did try, with some personal tweaks ! I also reduced all proportions of the original recipe by 1/3 as I was on my debut here, and I ended up with 9 - 10 large Choco Oatmeal Cookies :) Having omitted the raisins , I added cocoa powder, roasted sesame seeds to the original recipe, and the texture changed tremendously :)


Preparation time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 12 - 15 mins


Ingredients:
  • Oats (Quick rolled) - 1 cup ( I used Quakers)
  • Maida / All Purpose Flour - 1/4 cup
  • Powdered Sugar - 1/3 cup
  • Butter / margarine - 1/4 cup
  • Flax seed powder - 1/3 tsp
  • Baking Soda- 1/4 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
  • Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cocoa Powder - 2 tsp
  • Roasted sesame seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Vanilla Essence - 1/2 tsp
  • Water - about 4 tbsp (a little more or less)
Method:

1) Preheat the oven to 175 C / 350 F.
2) Grease the tray and line with the baking sheets.
3) Sieve the flour with soda, salt, cinnamon powder, cocoa powder.
4) In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
5) In a blender, foam the flax seed powder with a little water till well blended.
6) To the sugar and butter mixture, add the essence and flax seeds solution.
7) To this, add half of the sesame seeds and mix well.
8) Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and fold well.
9) Now add the Oats and the result will be a thick gooey mixture
10) Spoon a tablespoonfull of this Oats mixture onto the greased sheet into roundels abt 1/2 inch apart
11) Flatten the roundels into cookies 1/2 inch thick with your hand and sprinkle the rest of the sesame seeds on them now.
12) Bake for 12 - 14 mins till they are soft at 175 deg.
13) Let the cookies cool on the sheet for a further 4 - 8 mins.
14) Cool on a wire rack and serve


Tips:


1) You may use Brown sugar instead of white.
2) Add walnuts for that extra crunch or even some choco chips !


update: Re-posting this for Vardhini's Bake Fest # 1 

March 9, 2011

Carrot Kosimbiri


Kosambari (Kannada)/Koshimir (Marathi)/Kosumalli (Tamil) is the 'salad' equivalent, well, in the South of Vindhyas. Served in soaked-dal-and-tempered or mixed-raw-veggies version, this dish is a also a stand alone option for a quick lunch/brunch fix, if one is indisposed or lazy to cook on a particular day. Bursting with vitamins and the goodness of freshly grated veggies, the Carrot Kosimbiri I made today had grated raddish too - great for the heart, a dash of lime and coconut and was super quick to make and healthy too.

Contrary to popular fads enveloping us today, a little bit of coconut is good as this link shows (What a pity , with things like these and Ayurveda /yoga / herbal products, any homegrown product gets more weightage when validated from the West !!)

Preparation time: 10 mins, Cooking time: Nil
Serves : 2

To make Carrot Kosimbiri, you need:

  • Grated Carrot- 2 cups
  • Grated Raddish - 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Fresh / frozen coconut -1 tbsp
  • Salt and lime juice - to taste
  • Coriander for garnish
Tempering
  • oil - 1/4 tsp
  • mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Red / Green chillies - 2
  • Hing / Asafoetida - a pinch
Method:
  1. Mix the grated carrot and raddish(if using) in a large bowl. Adjust salt & lime juice to taste
  2. Prepare the tempering by heating oil in a skillet, splutter mustard, hing and chillies and add to the mixture above
  3. Add fresh / frozen coconut and coriander for garnish.
  4. Mix and serve
Tips:

1) You may make this with whole moong sprouts for a completely health food option.
2) Traditionally, Koshmibir is also made with soaking moong dal (for an hour) and adding it to veggies like finely diced cucumber, carrot etc or just tempering it without veggies too. Remember to add the salt just before serving.

March 6, 2011

Beetroot Cutlet


 Cutlets are one smart way moms disguise veggies that kids loath / don't look forward to. I thought I didn't have to do this with my daughter, but with the "Lays Chips" and "Kurkure" commercials hugging the television and making their apperance in kids' lunch boxes too, this exercise was seeming mandatory, and soon enough moved to the critical  stage when veggies came back untouched in the school lunch box :)

Beetroot was one veggie that's not a popular choice even with adults due to the stain it leaves on the plate / utensil while cooking. However, its a veggie filled with nutrition as detailed in my earlier post - Beetroot poriyal. Today, I made Beetroot Cutlets with this vegetable as the main ingredient. I restrained from adding green chillies in any form and also used powdered "soup sticks / bread sticks" instead of bread crumbs, and the texture was quite different. This can be either a lunch box item or an evening snack too with Tomato Sauce  and / or "imli/tamarind chutney".

Update: Am sending this to Soumya's Toddler Breakfast Ideas & Sarah's Think Pink event (with a link to official Monthly Mingle page)

                             
Preparation time : 20 mins. Cooking time : 20 mins
Makes : 6 cutlets

Ingredients:

  • Beetroot - 1/2 (large)
  • Potato - 2 medium sized
  • Carrot - chopped -1/4 cup
  • Beans chopped - 1/4 cup
  • Peas - 1/4 cup
  • Cornflour - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Amchur / dry mango powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Jeera (Cumin) powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander - chopped.
  • Bread crumbs / Soup sticks crumble- 5 tbsp
  • Oil - 4 tbsp (to shallow fry)

Method:

1) Boil the veggies in a pressure cooker. Drain under running water
2) Mash the veggies well, add all the masala powders, salt, turmeric and coriander and mix well.
3) Make small roundels of this mixture and pat into patties in your palm.
4) Roll these roundels in bread crumbs / Soup sticks crumble and shallow fry with oil
5) Serve hot with coriander chutney / Tomato sauce / Khatta-meetha (tamarind & date) chutney

                                  

March 3, 2011

Paddu / Kuzhi Paniyaaram / Gundu Ponglu



Paddu (Kannada) / Kuzhu Paniyaaram (Tamil) / Gundu Ponglu (Telugu) is one quick snack /breakfast item that we make infrequently. Its a South Indian Dish that is made with this appliance. The batter for this dish is made exclusively for Paddu, but I use the Idli batter itself, and it turns out just superb ! These crusty golden roundels are a treat to make and eat, and is a quick snack for kids and guests too and goes well with the fiery  Onion-Tomato Khara Chutney. I have given the recipe for both the dishes - Paddu & Chutney here.

Update : Am sending this to Jothikaa's "B is for Breakfast" event :)




Preparation Time: 10 mins, Cooking time : 20 mins
Makes 24 roundels.

Ingredients:

(A) For Paddu / Kuzhi Paniyaaram:                                       

  • Idli Batter - 2 cups
  • Ginger grated - 1 tbsp
  • Green Chillies chopped- 2 finely
  • Jeera/ Cumin - 1 tsp
  • Chopped green coriander - 2 tbsp
Optional additions to batter:
Chopped onions / grated carrots / boiled veggies

(B) For Onion-Tomato Khara Chutney:

  • Onion - 2 - sliced
  • Tomatoes - 2 - quartered
  • Tamarind - 1/2 lemon sized
  • Red chillies (Kashmiri variety) - 2 nos
  • Green chillies - 1 or 2
  • Jaggery - same quantity as tamarind
  • Asafoetida - a pinch
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Oil - 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste

Method:

For Paddu:

1) Mix ingredients into the Idli batter mix well and check for salt /seasonings
2) Spoon into the greased moulds till 3/4 full.
3) Cover and cook till golden brown on a slow flame.
4) Flip slowly with a flat teaspoon and cook on the other side.
5) Serve hot with Tomato-Onion Chutney

For Tomato-Onion Khara Chutney:
1) In a pan, heat oil and saute Onions, Tomatoes till soft. Transfer to a plate & cool
2) In the same hot pan, add tamarind, turmeric, hing, red and green chillies. Saute
3) Grind these items in Steps 1 and 2 above with salt and little water till you get a thick chutney (salsa consistency)
4) This chutney can be served as it is or tempered too and goes well with Paddu, Dosa,Idli or even Akki or Ragi Rotti (rottis made of Rice / Ragi flour)

Tips:
1) If you are making this combo for kids, avoid chillies altogether. The ginger will provide enough punch.
2) Paddu is made sometimes with chopped onions. However I have not used it here
3) In case you run short of this batter with unexpected guests, add 3 tbsp of dry roasted semolina / rava to increase the volume and adjust seasonings accordingly.
4) This chutney can also be used as an Indian dip with raw veggie batons as a starter (I did and it was an instant hit !)
                                   

                                         
                                  

March 1, 2011

Badam Halwa (Almond Halwa)




Sometimes, all of us have this lets-make-this-never-before-tried-dish days ! Today was one of them, and me and M-I-L were discussing Badam Halwa. As she rattled off the recipe / ingredients, I quickly promised myself that I would make it, in fact for the first time at home, today ! It had been ages since I wanted to try it, and somehow it just clicked ! This is a super delicious and quick recipe, and thanks to my M-I-L for this !

Preparation Time: 10 mins (excluding Soaking time)
Cooking time : 15 - 20 min

Makes : ~ 20 pieces (Yes, Badam Halwa can be cut into individual servings!)

Ingredients:
·               1 cup badam / almonds
·               1 cup Powdered Sugar
·               1/4 cup Ghee (or less)
·               Saffron (soaked in milk)
·               Elaichi powder – ½ tsp
·               Almond slivers – for garnish

 
Method:

1)     Soak the almonds in slightly hot water for 4 – 5 hours.
2)     Peel them and grind them along with saffron soaked in milk & elaichi powder. If required, add extra 1 – 2 tsp of milk for grinding.
3)     In a pan, heat 2 tbsp of ghee. Add the almond paste and the powdered sugar and keep stirring on medium heat till it starts to leave the pan.
4)     Add the remaining ghee once it starts leaving oil and becomes semi dry and coarse around the edges. Stir well
5)     Transfer to a greased plate.
6)     Cool and sprinkle almond slivers. Mark the pieces with a greased knife.
7)     Cut and serve.

Tips:
  • Quantity of powdered sugar is the same amount of ground almond paste, not the raw almonds.
  • To get 'barfi' like hardened squares, increase sugar by another 1/8 cup and also add 1/4 cup more ghee and heat for extra 5 - 10 minutes.

Wikipedia tells me :" The word "almond" comes from Old French almande or alemande. While the almond is often eaten on its own, raw or toasted, it is also a component of various dishes. Almonds are available in many forms, such as whole, sliced (flaked, slivered), and as almond butter, almond milk and almond oil. These variations can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. Almonds are also a rich source of Vitamin E containing 24mg per 100 gm"

February 28, 2011

Rava Pongal (Semolina Pongal) with Gothsu / Gojju


 
About 4 years ago, while travelling from Madurai to Coimbatore on work, my car stopped at a shack-like eatery somewhere midway between these two cities at about 6am in the morning. I must confess that the Pongal I ate there was like nothing I have ever tasted till date, or will perhaps never. Gooey soft and steaming Pongal with green chilly-coconut chutney on a freshly cut banana leaf (mind you , no stainless steel plate even!) was out of this world !! I dont know which village this was at, but I would give anything to (re)learn how to make that Pongal :-)

 
Yes, Pongal also means a breakfast dish (the namesake also referring to a South Indian festival) and is usually mis-named "South Indian khichdi" ! I quite take an objection to that because although Khichdi is usually made of the same main ingredients as Pongal (Dal -Rice), it also contains veggies, which the traditional Pongal doesnt have.

 
Pongal has been a stronghold of Tamilnadu cuisine, although its poorer cousins have been tried and tested in Karnataka as Huggi. I remember at an eatery near Mayo Hall in Bangalore, it served huggi (or what was called Pongal) with Onion-Cucumber Raitha :) In fact, Pongal-vadai combo I am told is a mandatory item at any Chennai wedding these days. It goes well with both Onion kuzhambu (also called gothsu) and / or Coconut chutney.

 
While on the quest for 'coconut free' and low-carb recipes, I decided to make Rava Pongal, substituting Rava for rice and the rest of the ingredients as it is.

 
Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Serves : 3

 
Ingredients:

 
a) For Pongal:
  • Rava / Soji - 2 cups
  • Moong Dal / Split green gram - 1 cup
  • Ginger - grated - 1 tbsp
  • Ghee - 3 tbsp
  • Jeera & pepper - 1 tsp each (coarsely powdered)
  • Asafoetida - 3/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Optional garnish: Cashewnuts
b) for Onion Gothsu / Onion gojju:

 
  • Shallots - 100 gms
  • Tamarind extract - 2 cups
  • Rasam Powder - 1 tbsp
  • Jaggery - 1/2 lemon sized
  • Salt to taste
  • Turmeric- 1/2 tsp
  • For tempering: Oil-  1 tsp, Mustard seeds + curry leaves

 
Method:

 
(A) For Pongal

 
1) In a dry pan / handi pot, slightly roast rava . Transfer to a bowl.
2) Now add 1/2 tbsp oil and fry moong dal till golden brown.
3) Boil Moong dal in 3 cups of boiling water till 3/4 done. Ensure its not mashed up . Drain the dal and retain the water.
(You may also pressure cook for two whistles)
4) In a pan, heat ghee. Add the grated ginger, coarse powder mixture of Jeera-Pepper, hing, curry leaves, rava and the water from the dal. Cover and cook till Rava is cooked. 
5) Now add the boiled moong dal, adjust salt and cook covered till the moong dal and Rava incorporate into each other. Stir occasionally if you are not using a non stick utensil as it may stick to the bottom / burn slightly. Cook covered till done.
6) Garnish with Cashewnuts and 1 tbsp of ghee and serve with Gothsu (recipe below)

 
(B) For Gothsu / Gojju:
1) Heat a pan, add oil. Splutter mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add turmeric, hing (optional) and the onion shallots and stir.
2) Add 1 cup of water and cook covered till shallots are cooked till 90%.
3) Now add the tamarind extract, salt, rasam powder and jaggery. Let it boil for 5 - 6 mins.
4) If you need to thicken this, add a paste of 1 tsp Rice flour mixed with 1/2 tsp of water.
5) Serve hot with Pongal.

 
Tips:
a) You may use chopped brinjal / ladys finger instead of onions for a satvic version of gothsu.
b) You can use Red chilli powder if you run out of Rasam Powder for the Gothsu.

 
                              

February 27, 2011

Pav Bhaji

                              
Pav Bhaji needs no introduction, nor any special reason to eat them too :) The undisputed king of street food in India, Mumbai's Pav Bhaji seems to have made headlines in global cuisine. Essentially spicy veg gravy with bread, this finger-licking food turns exotic with each spoonful of butter added to make it hearty & heady.

Now I hate to do this, but the best ever Pav Bhaji seems to be from the Sukh Sagar in Jayangar 4th block (much before it was renovated).. My mom and sis used to say that I always felt hungry just passing by that restaurant.. In fact, it was the Holy Grail of our family when Dad, mom sis & me used to visit Sukh Sagar every 10th of the month just after my parents' paypacket was full, and I fondly remember this ritual ran for almost a decade and a half with eager eyes and hungry tummies for Pav Bhaji, Ragada Patties (another favourite), Special Bhel (sprinkled with freshly coconut and raw mango slivers) to end it all with Fruit Salad-Ice Cream !! Amen :) to have those days once again !

Today's Pav Bhaji was more on-the-spot decision stuff. I had all the ingredients with me, and 'S' gladly brought the Pav buns on his way home from work. I had about 40 minutes to leave home for a Classical music Concert, and this seemed the best option to eat and then fill one's senses with the music later :-)

For the food afficionados, I have also included a link here on the street way of making Mumbai Pav Bhaji.. Its quite a treat watching them make it, as much as eating it too, with dollops of butter floating and adding to your waistline. Mine today however, is a low cal version (ok relatively speaking)

Update: Sending this to Sanyukta's Cooking with Whole foods (Tomato) event originally started by Kiran (Kiran's Announcement Page)



Preparation Time: 20 mins. Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves : 4

Ingredients:

  • Mixed boiled & diced vegetables - 3 cups
  • Onions sliced - 3
  • Capsicum diced - 1 large
  • Tomatoes - 5 large
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tbsp
  • Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tbsp
  • Pav Bhaji Masala - 2 tbsp (I used Everest brand)
  • Salt - to taste
  • Oil - 3 tbsp
  • Pav Buns - 2 laadis (about 12 pieces)
  • Nutralite / Light fat butter - 1/2 stick
  • For garnish : Green coriander, lime wedges and Chopped onions

Method:

1) Wash, cut and boil the vegetables (I used carrots, beans, peas, potatoes & cauliflower). Drain and retain the water (about 3/4 cup is adequate)
2) In a skillet / shallow pan, add oil. When hot, add ginger garlic paste and fry well. Now add chopped capsicum.  Also add a paste made out of blanched tomatoes and onions and stir well till the raw smell disappears.
3) When this paste turn translucent, add turmeric, pav bhaji masala, salt and the water from the boiled vegetables and simmer for 5 - 6 minutes.
4) When the capsicum turns tender, add the boiled & mashed veggies and stir once more.
5) Check for salt / extra pav bhaji masala if required.
6) In a tava, layer the butter-smeared Pav Buns and toast till slightly crisp
7) To serve, arrange two buns on a plate. Serve Bhaji on the side garnished with green Coriander and lime wedges.

Tips:
a) To make your Pav Bhaji more healthy, add sprouted moong / green gram as well
b) Street food Pav bhaji is tasty as it is heavy on butter . However, If you are keen, you may also substitute the above mentioned butter with just a film of oil and grill them slightly in a batch.
c) If you are planning to serve Pav Bhaji for a party, you may make the Bhaji in advance and refrigerate to be thawed with a serving of butter.



February 25, 2011

Inji Thogayal (Ginger Chutney)

                               
Thogayal or Thuvayal is one distinguishable feature of South Indian cooking, more specific to Tamilnadu region. It differs from other chutneys not only in nomenclature, but also in ingredients : Although thogayal is largely coconut based, the addition of tamarind and, in some cases, dry methi seeds gives this a distinctive flavour. Also, dry red chillies are favoured additions instead of green chillies in most 'traditional cookery' homes even today for Thogayal. Most Thogayals are  vegetable based too, and I reckon it must have been one way the smart homemaker recycled the vegetable peels / other parts of the plant body, of which vegetarians largely based their recipes around.

There are many popular Thogayals viz., Inji Thogayal, Peerkangai Thogayal (ridge gourd based), Chow Chow Thogayal (made of Chow Chow - another creeper veggie), Pudina Thogayal (mint leaf based). I must however mention that Tamilnadu's Inji Thogayal is slightly different from Allam Pachadi of Andhra  Pradesh. Eaten mixed with hot rice and / or ghee at the beginning of a South Indian meal, these Thogayals differ from the North Indian Chutneys like Khatta Meetha chutney or even the Theeka Pudina Chutney etc as coconut and dals form an important ingredient in the South Indian Thogayal.

"S" loves this Thogayal mixed with hot rice and sesame oil (nallennai) and so does my daughter too and therefore, this dish features atleast once a week in my family's menu :)

Sending this to Srav's Roti-Pachadi event
Preparation Time : 15 minutes ; Cooking Time :Nil

Serves : 3

Ingredients:

  • Ginger 2 inch length (washed and peeled) - cut into flakes.
  • Channa Dal - 2 tbsp
  • Hing / Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
  • Dry red chillies - 2
  • Jaggery - 1/2 lemon sized
  • Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp
  • Tamarind - 1 lemon sized quantity
  • Salt to taste
  • For tempering: Oil - 1 tsp, Mustard seeds, Curry leaves.
Method:

1) In a skillet, heat 1/2 tsp oil. Add channa Dal, red chillies, tamarind, ginger. Fry till channa dal turns golden brown. Cool.
2) Grind together the above dal mixture with coconut, jaggery, salt and very little water. Thogayals are not runny like the normal chutneys as they are eaten with rice.
3) For the tempering: In a skillet, add the remaining 1/2 tsp of oil, splutter mustard , hing and curry leaves. Garnish the Thogayal.

Tips:

1) You may use any leftover Thogayal as a spread on bread slices for a yummy sandwich with or without veggies. You may also add this leftover Thogayal to curd for a quick raitha. Remember to adjust salt carefully.
2) For all Thogayals, grind the ingredients first without water into a dry coarse powder, and only then add enough water just to moisten it lightly.

                              

February 22, 2011

Set Dosa


Set Dosa is my all time favourite. The erstwhile 'Pavithra' restaurant in Bangalore's Jayanagar 4th block served, to my knowledge, the best ever Set Dosa. Almost bereft of oil, this silky soft Dosa was a constant treat option for the college goers around that area, and we were willing participants, come day or night ! Set Dosa generally refers to a set of two soft round dosas served with coconut chutney and kurma (veggies in spicy gravy). I don't know if they still do, but the memories of this Set Dosa is what I tried to create today.  In fact, at another restaurant called "Chutneys" in Hyderabad, a similar dosa called "Chiranjeevi Dosa" (named after the Telugu superhero) is also brilliant !

I looked around many blogs, and found one that had a resemblance to what I would like to make and eat. Thanks Lakshmi for the recipe. I have slightly modified the ingredients and made this Set Dosa today. I made this dosa today with chutney, therefore shall post the recipe for kurma shortly along with pictures :)



Update:  Am sending this post to the following events:

a) Jothikaa's "B for breakfast" event

and

b) RC's Dosa Month

Preparation : 3 hours (soaking), 12 - 14 hours (fermentation)
Makes about 30 - 35 dosas (for a family of 4)

Ingredients:

  • Idli Rice - 2 cups
  • Urad Dal - 1 cup
  • Poha / Aval / Beaten Rice - 1/4 cup
  • Sago - 1/4 cup
  • Methi / fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
  • Channa Dal - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste

Method:

1) Soak rice + methi in one vessel. Soak Urad dal + sago + poha + channa dal in another vessel for 3 - 4 hours.
2) Grind well and add salt to taste. Let the batter ferment for atleast 12 - 14 hours, preferably overnight.
3) Heat a tava / skillet. When hot. drizzle 1 tsp of oil and rub with half an onion (this prevents the batter from sticking to the tava) and pour one ladle of batter. Do not spread like the normal dosa.  Put 1/4 teaspoon oil around the dosa.
4) Cover and cook on one side. Once done, flip to the other side and cook.
5) Serve hot with chutney and / or kurma.

Tips:

1) You may skip adding sago / sabudana and increase the poha quantity by 1/4 cup.
2) If the batter is well fermented, you may make this completely oilfree.
3) Before you flip the dosa on to the other side, see the slightly big holes (in the pic) that the dosa will have to ensure thorough cooking.

                                  

February 20, 2011

Chilly Potato Stir fry

                                            
Potato - the all time comfort food : Wafers,french fries,patties, Batata wada, Burger, Pav Bhaji -all of these popular Indian dishes contain Potato as the major ingredient. The potato originated in the region of southern Peru. Potatoes were first introduced outside the Andes region four centuries ago, and have become an integral part of much of the world's cuisine. It is the world's fourth-largest food crop, following rice, wheat, and maize.

Following the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, the Spanish introduced the potato to Europe in the second half of the 16th century. The staple was subsequently conveyed by European mariners to territories and ports throughout the world. The potato was slow to be adopted by distrustful European farmers, but soon enough it became an important food staple and field crop that played a major role in the European 19th century population boom. The annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the 21st century included about 33 kg (73 lb) of potato. However, the local importance of potato is extremely variable and rapidly changing. Not surprisingly, I read somewhere that Indian cooking has some 1000+ dishes that use Potatoes. In terms of nutrition, the potato is best known for its carbohydrate content (approximately 26 grams in a medium potato). The predominant form of this carbohydrate is starch.

Now back to today's dish - Chilly Potato Stir fry. I had a bag of red Bhavnagari chillies lying in my refrigerator and I thought I would use them for the stir fry instead of the usual chilly powder or even using green chillies. This dish is quick to make and can be made in under 20 mins and uses very little oil.

Sending this to Charitha's "C for Colourful Curry's event"

Preparation : 10 mins. Cooking : 10 mins
Serves : 4

Ingredients:                                     

  • Potatoes - 1/2 kg
  • Oil - 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds  - 1 tsp
  • Jeera / Cumin - 1 tsp
  • Sliced Red chillies - 4 or 5
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Lemon juice - 1 tsp (optional)

Method:

  1. In a microwave, boil diced potatoes in 10 minutes in slightly salted water till done. Drain.
  2. In a skillet, add oil and splutter curry leaves, mustard and cumin.
  3. Add turmeric and the sliced red chillies. Toss
  4. Now add salt, the boiled potatoes and toss again.
  5. Add a dash of lemon juice, transfer to a serving dish and serve hot.

Tips:

a) Use the potatoes with the skin on to retain maximum nutrients
b) If you choose, cut the potatoes into french fries like shapes - am sure it would be a great hit with your kids.
c) Bhavnagari chillies are generally low on 'scoville (spice/ heat) scale, and can be also used as an independent curry with stuffed potatoes too :)
 

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