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 :)

February 17, 2011

Avial


                                   
A dish that is common to Udupi, Kerala and Tamil cuisine. A dish that is believed to have been 'invented' by Bhima while he donned the role of "Ballav the cook" during the exile in the Mahabharata.. and its word also being used to denote an assortment or a mixture—this sense being derived from the way today's blogpost is cooke : Avial - a slightly tangy coconut-gravy-curd mixture filled with veggies and nutrition, and yes, a riot of colours right on ur plate. I heard from a friend's mom who once said that the real 'Sadhana' (devotion) we have towards food comes from observing the medley of colours of the dishes that are put on our plate - be it the green colour of okra, the yellow of dal, the red of rasam, the white of curd : Wonder how many of us do that even once a month / year , let alone on an everyday basis .. This is a great side dish to plain Steamed rice or even Adai Dosa (Lentil Savoury Pancakes)

Now, that's truly food for thought..

Back to today's Avial.  My family loves this loaded with veggies, therefore used 3 cups of chopped vegetables. You may increase or decrease the quantity and adjust the masala gravy accordingly.

Preparation time: 15 - 30 mins, Cooking time: 20 mins, Serves : 4

Ingredients:
  • Mixed Vegetables - Cut into 2 inch long batons {Commonly used veggies are: Drumsticks, Raw banana, arbi (Colocasia), White pumpkin,  Yellow Pumpkin , Carrots, French beans, flat beans etc } - 3 cups
  • Slightly sour thick curd - 2 cups
  • Salt to taste
For the masala: 
  • Freshly grated coconut - 3 tbsp
  • Jeera (Cumin seeds) - 1 tbsp
  • Ginger - 1 inch piece
  • Black Pepper - 4 or 5(optional)
  • Dry Red chilly - 2
  • Green chilly - 2
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tbsp
  • Green Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
For the tempering: 
  • Oil - 1 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few
  • Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Method 
1) Wash, peel and chop all veggies and boil them in water with a pinch of salt till 85% done. Drain and rest.
2) Grind all the masala ingredients into a smooth paste .
3) Beat curd well and add the masala paste and make into a smooth flowing gravy.
4) in a skillet, make the tempering, add the veggies, salt and add the masala curd paste. Simmer on a slow flame for about 3 - 4 mins, not more.
5) Serve hot with steamed rice and roasted papad.

Tips:

  • If the gravy turns too watery, mix some 2 tsp of rice flour in 1 tbsp of water, and add this to the gravy. In fact, many households grind 1 tbsp of soaked rice in the masala paste itself, thereby adding an invisible thickening agent.
  • If the curd is not sour enough, and you need some tang, add 1/4 lemon sized tamarind to the masala paste.
  • Make sure you drain the water from the boiled veggies, else you will end up with a very watery gravy which will dilute the masala and the curd mixture will lose its texture.

February 15, 2011

Nuchina Unde / Steamed Savoury Dal Cake

                          
Non-oily and high protein snacks are few and far between in South Indian Cuisine, with bajjis, bondas (fried fritters of veggies in flour covering) taking centre stage for many years. Now, with the fad of health foods, soya and Omega 3 enveloping our universe, homemakers have to re-jig their recipes and come out with flavourful, appealing, steamed snacks to appease the afternoon / evening snacktime.
Although one must admit dhoklas, khandvis and the like have been part of Gujarati cuisine and are now appearing in menus across India thanks to cross cultural alliances and job-hopping households, Samosas, Kachoris and the like have been more popular even in the Southern states. I fondly remember how the famous Samosa  of Vijaya Bakery in Bangalore’s Jayanagar 4th block shopping complex was my favourite companion on my numerous trips there, and the potato-dill filling was out of this world !

Back to today’s snack: Steamed Dal Cake or Nuchinunde ! This is a savoury  & very easy to make, and requires just under 1 tbsp of oil, or no oil at all if you so please. The only preparation required is soaking the dals 2 hours prior to making this snack. Although the original Nuchinunde is rounded, this one looks like more dhokla, and is cut into squares for ease of eating and serving.

Preparation Time: 2 hours (soaking time); Cooking time : 10 minutes; Serves : 3
Ingredients:
·         Toor Dal – 1 cup
·         Channa Dal – ½ cup
·         Moong dal – ¼ cup
·         Raw rice  - 2 tbsp (optional)
·         Dry red chillies – 4
·         Turmeric – 1 tsp
·         Salt - to taste
For Tempering:
·         Oil – 1 tbsp
·         Mustard Seeds – ¼ tsp
·         Asafoetida  / hing – 1 tsp
For garnish:

·         Curry leaves & Coriander – chopped
·         Freshly grated coconut
 
Method:
1)      Mix and wash the dals twice. Soak in room temperature water for 2 hours along with red chillies (See pic A).
2)      Grind coarsely the dals with turmeric , reserving a handful of the soaked dal mixture along with the soaked water.

Pic A
3)      To this coarse paste, add salt and reserved dals. Add half of the hing and mix well. The mixture should be thicker than normal idli / dosa batter and should be easily spreadable into the mould. Do not add extra water other than the soaked water.

Pic B

4)      In a flat & greased idli mould, pour the mixture. Do not spread the mixture too thin. Pat into a fat cake in all sides. Steam for 15 minutess without weight. If you don’t have a flat Idli pan, take a deep cake pan or any such other utensil , grease and pour the batter flattening it out.
(see Pic B).    
5)      For the tempering : In a skillet, heat oil, add mustard seeds and curry leaves and hing. Once the mustard splutter, pour onto the cooled and cut pieces.
6)      Garnish with coriander leaves and grated coconut (Pic C)
7)      Serve hot  as it is or with any ketchup / chutney of your choice
Tips:
a)      In this case, 1 cup = 60 ml.
b)      If you want to increase the nutrition content of this dish, add grated cabbage / lauki (bottle gourd) / cucumber / carrots to the dal mixture .You may also add chopped onions. It’s a great lunchbox idea too.
c)       I have not used green chillies in this dish, but if you want to, substitute one or many of the red chillies with green ones.

  
Pic C
Update: Sending this to Veggie Platter's Toor Dal Event originally hosted by Kiran
                                                        

February 13, 2011

Tutti fruity Chocolate Cake

                                    
Cakes require no introduction to a food blog, nor an excuse to bake and eat them. Of course, there are different types of cakes – tea cakes, cup cakes, 3 -tiered , frosted cakes, wedding cakes … the list just seems to go on..
Well, it was a Saturday, and the urge to bake something was getting stronger by the hour ! So, I tweaked a recipe , and added chocolate and cocoa to make Eggless Tutti fruity Chocolate Cake. As mine was an eggless version, I substituted eggs with a little more oil and added condensed milk from the original recipe. I also used 1 cup of Whole wheat  flour instead of refined / All Purpose Flour (APF) and got this amazingly moist cake, which actually didn’t require frosting ! But my daughter wouldn’t touch any cake without it, so made up this frosting more on-the-spot types, and did it work !!
Preparation Time:  10 minutes; Cooking time :35 minutes                 
Ingredients:
·         APF – 1 cup
·         Whole wheat atta / wheat flour – 1 cup
·         Baking Soda – ½ tsp
·         Baking Powder  - 2 tsp
·         Powdered Sugar – 1 ½ cups
·         Cooking Oil / Melted butter – 1/3 cup
·         Condensed Milk – ½ tin
·         Tutti fruity (Candied fruit) – ½ cup
·         Milk – ¾ cup
·         Pineapple essence – ½ tsp
·         For Frosting (optional)
o   Whipped cream – ¼ cup
o   Butter – 2 tbsp
o   Cocoa Powder  - 1 tbsp
o   Drinking Chocolate powder – 1 tsp
o   Tutti frutti – for decoration (can use cherries as well)
Method:
1)      Grease &  flour cake pan  / loaf tin
2)      Preheat Oven to 180 Deg C
3)      In a big mixing bowl, sieve flours, baking soda, baking powder. To this, add candied fruit / tutti fruity. Mix well.
4)      Cream powdered sugar with butter / oil. To this add essence and mix well.
5)      To the above mixture, add half of the flour mixture, then add milk, then remaining flour mixture. Fold. Do not over mix. Now add condensed milk and fold once more. 
6)      Pour this batter into tin, and bake for 30 – 35 minutes till toothpick comes out clean
7)      Stand on a wire rack till cool. Cut into slices and serve as it is or with frosting.
For frosting:
1)      In a bowl, beat butter and chocolate and cocoa powder. Add 1 tsp of oil / butter if required to get a pouring consistency. Now add half of the whipped cream. Mix well.
2)      Smear this cocoa-cream topping on the cake.  Decorate with remaining whipped cream and  decorate with tutti frutti.
3)      Now cut into slices and serve.

                                   

                                                              One more pic

                     

February 11, 2011

Vangibhath

                                    
First the disclaimer! Vangibhath is not “Katrikka saadam” (Tamil: Katrikka – Brinjal, saadam - rice). This ‘inadvertent declaration’  that it is, happens infrequently while I serve guests who don’t have their origins form Mysore /Karnataka , and it angers me quite a bit for a dish like this to be addressed thus. For the uninitiated, Vangibhath (Kannada : Vangi – brinjal / augerbine; bhath – cooked rice) is this preserve of Karnataka cuisine which has this aroma of freshly roasted & ground spices combined with garden fresh vegetables and cooked rice, lending to this heavenly experience of eating it hot! It forms, as in most South Indian Cuisines, a part of the menu in the mixed-with-spices or garnishing-ready-to-eat rice category , others being Lemon rice, Curd Rice, Vangibhath, bisibele bhath, kadamba saadam etc , some of which find their way to the South Indian meal as main course or as part of the traditional meal served at marriages and functions alike. In fact, there are many people I know whose meal even at home is incomplete without Curd rice J I was also told that some Maharashtrian homes also serve flavoured rice like Masale bhath in their weddings.
So, back to Vangibhath. Although its main vegetable comprises brinjals, its flavor is enchanced with the addition of veggies like capsicum, potato (diced long with the skin intact), fresh green peas ! Adding onions is entirely optional, although some households add onions to almost every dish as if on auto pilotJ Again, my mom makes the bestest Vangibhath (my MS word editor is saying ‘bestest’ is not part of the English dictionary, but I really don’t care J!) In fact, it was a ritual for years to ask mom to make loads of Vangibhath accompanied with semiya payasam(sevai kheer)  for luncheons that me and sis used to have with friends @ home – happy days those were !! hey N, hope u remember !! ??
To make Vangibhath, there’s isn’t too much preparation, unless one wants to make the spice powder ahead and store in an airtight container. My experience is that as we don’t make Vangibhath everyday, I use freshly grounded powder every time , unless of course mom happily decides to send me  a batch of readymade powder (Am missing my mom too much this morning L)


Update : Sending this to my event  HLI - Brinjal, hosted by Priya.


Preparation Time: 10 minutes; Cooking Time: 30 mins
Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • ·  Rice (Basmati or any long grained rice) - 2 cups                    
  • ·  Oil – 5 tbsp
  • ·  Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • ·  Curry leaves
  • ·  Turmeric – 1 tsp
  • ·  Hing – 1 tsp
  • ·  Jaggery – 1 lemon sized
  • ·  Amchur (Dry mango powder) – 1 tsp
  • ·  Chopped veggies ( Brinjals, Potato, Capsicum) + shelled peas – about 2 cups
  • ·  Onions – chopped lengthwise  (optional)
  • ·  Salt – to taste
  • ·  Roasted cashewnuts / peanuts – for garnish (optional)
For the spice powder:
·         Coriander seeds (dhaniya seeds)  - 4 tbsp
·         Channa Dal (Bengal gram) – 1 ½ tsp
·         Cloves – 1
·         Cinnamon – ¾ - 1 inch long
·         Marathi moggu – 1 or 2  (optional)
·         Red dry chilles – 4 nos
·         Kashmiri Mirch – 4 nos
·         Oil to fry spice – 1 tbsp
·         Dry Copra grated – 3 tbsp (optional, but greatly adds to the texture and flavor)
Method:
1)      For the spice powder: In a skillet, add oil. When hot, add channa dal, red chillies, cinnamon,clove,Marathi moggu. When dal turns slightly brown, add coriander seeds and switch off heat. Fry the coriander seeds and in the end, add Dry Coconut (grated). Cool. Grind and rest (see picture)
2)      Cook the rice and separate the grains in a large plate. Cool. Drizzle 1 tbsp of oil and a pinch of turmeric so it absorbs the flavours better ( I soaked the basmati for 20 mins, drained and cooked the rice with 3.5 cups of hot water in the rice cooker . If you are using pressure cooker, take care that the rice does not turns mashy : the cooked grains need to be separate)
3)      Heat a large pan. Add oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, turmeric , hing. When the mustard starts spluttering, add the onions, veggies (chopped lengthwise) + peas. Add salt . Sprinkle very little water. When the onions turn translucent, cover tight and cook till the brinjals and capsicum shrink about 75% and the potatoes and peas are done. It is important to use the steam of the oil and not add any extra water.
4)      Now add the jaggery, amchur, ground spice powder and mix the veggies till the powder gets coated all over the veggies. You might feel the powder is a little more than required, but it is required to coat the rice as well.
5)      Once done, add the cooked and cooled rice and toss slightly taking care not to break the grains. Check for salt once more, add if necessary.  Drizzle 1 tbsp more of oil if required to get that glossy texture to the rice.
6)      Transfer to a serving bowl, add roasted cashew nut / peanuts. Serve as it is or with raita / curd.


Tips:
1)      For best results , use fresh green capsicum and preferably long purple brinjals . The large brinjals used for ‘baingan bhartha’ are not suited for this dish. Also, frozen or fresh peas will do. Dried peas soaked in water will not be suitable.
2)      If you are left with extra sabji (vegetable), do not fret.  Stuff in chappathi / phulkas and use as rolls as a snack / breakfast item. You may even add grated cheese and lightly grill them for rolls in children’s lunch boxes.
3)      Marathi moggu is optional, but gives that high aroma and spice. If you don’t find it, increase cinnamon quantity slightly.



February 9, 2011

Puli Aval or Gojjavalakki (Tangy flattened rice)

                                    
Flattened rice (also called beaten rice) is dehusked rice which is flattened into flat light dry flakes. These flakes of rice swell when added to liquid, whether hot or cold, as they absorb water, milk or any other liquids. The thicknesses of these flakes vary between almost translucently thin (the more expensive varieties) to nearly four times thicker than a normal rice grain. It is known by a variety of names: Poha or Pauwa in Hindi, Baji in Newari, Pohe in Marathi, Chindé in Bengali, Chira in Assamese, Phovu in Konkani, Chudaa in Oriya and parts of Bihar and Jharkhand, Atukulu in Telugu, Bajeel or Bajil in Tulu, Chudwey in Urdu(Dakkani), Aval in Malayalam and Tamil, Avalakki in Kannada, Pauaa/Paunva (પૌંઆ) in Gujarati, and Chiura (चिउरा)in Nepali, Bhojpuri and Chhattisgarhi.

Soaked Poha mixed with grated jaggery and freshly coated coconut spiced lightly with elaichi  (cardamom) powder was a yummy staple food offered on Krishna Jayanthi festival at my grandma’s. Similarly savoury chivda (Poha dry roasted / fried in oil) is a favourite snack for the young and old alike !

Puli Aval (Tamil: Puli – tangy, Aval – flattened rice) OR Gojjavalakki (Kannada: gojju – tangy sauce made of tamarind, avalakki – flattened rice) is a snack that can be prepared very easily either for breakfast or evening snack. We even have this for dinner with sweet curd, and the carb requirement are well taken care of J Today, I had a green mango lying in my pantry for a long which I added in for that extra tang.

This is my mom’s recipe again, and she is a pro making this in a jiffy!

Update : Am sending this post to Jothikaa's "B for breakfast" event :-)


Preparation time: 15 mins ;  Cooking time : 10 minutes
Serves : 2

Ingredients

  • Poha / avalakki / Aval : 1 cup
  • For soaking:
  • Tamarind extract: 3 tbsp (if using readymade concentrated tamarind paste, use 1 tbsp)
  • Rasam powder – 1 tbsp
  • Jaggery – 2 tbsp (grated)
  • Salt – to taste
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp
  • Grated green mango – 1 tbsp (if using)
  • For tempering:
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Channa Dal (Bengal gram) – ½ tsp
  • Urad Dal (split black gram) – 1 tsp
  • Dry red chillies – 1 or 2
  • Hing / Asafoetida – a pinch
  • Groundnuts / Peanuts – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – a sprig

Method:

1)  Wash the Poha twice in running water to remove any dust / stones.
2) In a colander / sieved vessel, soak the poha adding water from top. That way, the poha will not get mushy at the same retaining the requisite water.  Rest for 2 – 3 mins.
3) To this soaked poha, add rasam powder, tamarind extract, turmeric, jaggery, turmeric and grated mango. Rest for 5- 10  more minutes till the flavours are well absorbed. Mix well if required rubbing the powder and the jaggery in along with the salt.
4) Now in a skillet, add the oil. When hot, add the ingredients of tempering as listed above till the curry leaves are fried slightly and the dals and the groundnut slightly brown.
5) Now add the poha into the skillet and toss for 5 mins. Add 1 or 2 tbsp water if you feel the poha is too dry. Cover and cook for 3 – 4 mins
6) Serve hot as it is or with curd / raitha.

Tips:
1) Use thick poha for this dish, the ‘paper aval’ or thinner poha will become mushy and the texture will be spoilt.
2) You may also coarsely powder this poha (like Idli Rava texture) and then use it to make the dish !



                                






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