April 22, 2019

Milagu Aval Upma | Pepper flavoured Poha | GF and Vegan

One of the challenges faced by the bloggers today is a problem of plenty. Too many foodies, too many eat out / dine in options, too many cuisines to cook / eat and too many critics (at home too!). What if we take up the challenge one notch higher and need to cook dishes with just ONE SPICE ? 

That's exactly what our host Sasmita at #FoodieMondayBlogHop has given us for week #192 with #1spiceIngredient Challenge. I was deciding between Ginger (Inji) and Milagu (Black pepper) as the stand out spices I love in my pantry, and Milagu won it hands down. We have Poha (flattened rice) atleast once a week for breakfast with the following on a rotation. 
 and this was a great addition to that list. 

The pics could have been better, but Sunday mornings and growling tummies can't wait a minute longer. So, cooked -clicked- posted is what happened although I am sure to make this again and update with better pics (and some semblance of styling too :p). 

For now, the flavours won our hearts. This recipe was adapted from my blogger friend, Suma whose cooking style and recipes are very close to my heart and I have tried many dishes from her blog, and loved ALL of them :)

Let's get to today's recipe now - Milagu Aval - GF and Vegan Dish (Pepper Poha)

Prep time - 10 mins, Cook time - 10 mins, Serves - 2

What you need:
Poha / Thick variety flattened rice / Aval  - 1 cup
Oil - 2 tsp
Milagu / Black pepper - 1 tsp - crushed coarsely
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - few
Broken Cashewnuts - few
Fresh / frozen Grated coconut - 2 tsp (to tone down the spice - opt.)


How to:
Wash and soak the thick poha for 2 mins. Drain in a colander and cover and keep. 
In a pan, add oil, splutter cumin, Urad dal, curry leaves & cashew nuts (till the nuts turns golden brown). Add the crushed pepper salt and mix well. 
Now add the drained poha and mix well. Adjust salt and spices and finish with coconut. 
Serve hot.


April 20, 2019

Rava Kichadi | Masala Sooji Upma

Khichdi. Kichadi : make no mistake - these are two different dishes, made entirely in different ways, although I am presuming one has influenced the other. While shortlisting the dishes, somehow I was stuck on Rice and then slowly moved to millets. 

Towards the fag end of the prep period in March when I had given up on doing this BM, Valli reminded (me) on our whatsapp group that Pongal, Upma were also 'khichdi' in their own way as they used grains ! 

Oh boy, that was truly a turning point although I should have read the clause in detail (which Valli so cleverly camouflages, but it takes a clever student to decipher the underlying codes and turn it to one's advantage :p) and use it !

Nevertheless, Rava Kichadi in Tamil cuisine means a simple upma with some unique spices and veggies. For us at home, we have ALWAYS been adding veggies in the everyday Upma  and even for Avarekaalu Akki Thari Uppittu (Field Beans Upma with Broken Rice) we use Field beans / Avarekaalu. 

And then we have Rava Vangibhath (Upma with Vangibhath powder with or without veggies) or even the Kharabhath. So, for me personally I had to make this with Bansi Rava (broken wheat rava - fine quality) and present it specially for the BM.  This dish can be served for Breakfast or Tiffin (evening), but I have seen my aunt make this or even Godhuma Rava Thakkali Upma for their evening dinner too, when they want to skip eating rice or rotis at night. 

Prep time - 15 mins, Cook time - 10 mins, serves - 2

You need:

Bansi Rava (fine Durum wheat rava) - 1 cup
Ghee / Oil - 3 TBSP (skip ghee for vegan)
Chopped veggies - 1 cup (generally carrots + beans + peas are used)
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp (opt.)
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch
Tempering : Mustard seeds 1/2 tsp, Urad dal 1/2 tsp, curry leaves, Chopped green chillies (2), Broken red chillies - 2 
Onion - 1 medium (opt.)
Tomato - 1 medium
Chopped coriander leaves & lemon juice - for garnish
Ginger - 1/2 tsp grated 


How to:

Dry roast Rava for 2 mins till aromatic, keep aside. Steam chopped veggies (except onions and tomatoes) either in microwave or steamer till 80% done   
In the same pan, add oil, make the tempering. Now add the cinnamon, grated ginger, turmeric, onion and tomatoes. Saute till onions are translucent and tomatoes are slightly mushy. Add 2 cups of water and let it come to a rolling boil. 
Now add the roasted rava and gently mix till there are no lumps. 
Cook and cover till rava is done. Gently mix, finish with lemon juice and coriander and serve hot.
It tastes as it is. I served it with Coconut chutney. 

BMLogo Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99

April 19, 2019

Qabooli Veg Biryani | Chickpeas Biryani | GF

Having wanting to tackle the difficult alphabets first, this was one of the first dishes I cooked for the Mega Blogging marathon on this blog. 

Qabooli Biryani is a rich, inviting dish that makes parties or potlucks more inviting.. I have posted 2 pulav varieties with Chickpeas (Kabuli Channa / Garbanzo beans) : Achari Channa Methi Pulao, Kabuli Channa Pulao.  This dish can be made entirely with rice and chickpeas, but I chose to add veggies as well 

This biryani is a layered one and was part of a Sunday brunch (when I cook slightly elaborate meals that the whole family enjoys). Personally, I would have added a Roti / bread as well to this Thali, but it was too hot to stand and make them. Next time perhaps , although we bloggers know we hardly repeat the dishes  especially for Thalis :-) 

Do make this at home and let me know what is usually part of your Sunday brunch / lunch.

Prep time - 20 mins, Cook time - 30 to 45 mins, Serves - 4 generously 
Qabooli Biryani (GF, can be vegan) 
Main course, Indian
Spice level - medium to high

Long grain basmati rice - 1 cup (240 ml)
Cooked Chickpeas - 1 cup
Salt - to taste
Ghee / Oil - 3 TBSP (divided use)~  (skip ghee for vegan)
Whole spices - black cardamom 2, green cardamom 2, cloves 4, Bay leaf 2-3,  black pepper - 1/2 tsp
Vegetables - 1 cup ( I used french beans, Potato and carrots) 
Yoghurt - 1 cup (200 ml)
Spice powders - Garam Masala 2 tsp, Coriander powder 1 TBSP 


Masala paste:
Onions - 1 large
Green chillies - 3 to 4
Ginger - 2 inch piece
Garlic - 3 to 4 pods

Saffron strands (few) - soaked in 4 TBSP milk
Mint leaves - 1 handful
Fried Onions
Prep Work:
Wash and drain rice several times till most of the starch is washed away and soak it in clear water for 20-25 mins. Drain and cook with a pinch of salt, 1 tsp oil, whole spices till 70% done. Fluff with a fork and keep aside. 
Make a paste of all the masala ingredients and keep aside.

How to make:
In a thick bottomed pan / Kadai, add rest of the ghee / oil.  Add the sliced onions, masala paste and sautè for 6-7 mins till oil separates. Now add the spice powders and yoghurt and mix well till the tomatoes soften, add the chickpeas now. and mix gently. Remove 2/3 of this filling and keep aside.
In the same pan, add 1/3 of the partially cooked rice evenly over the chickpeas masala paste. top with a third of the saffron milk and a few mint leaves. Repeat this layer twice over. Sprinkle a few tsp of water, cover and cook till rice is done fully but not mushy.

Serve with salad, papad, raita for a filling meal.  

BMLogo Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99

April 18, 2019

Palak Brown Rice Khichdi | Spinach and Lentil dish - Gluten Free and Vegan

Palak Brown Rice Khichdi was my husband’s contribution to the ongoing mega BM. No, he didn’t cook it, but suggested the combo. As mentioned earlier, both of us are major Khichdi fans and he would gladly dig into a well made Moong Dal Khichdi even on his business / personal trips, while I would scour the buffet for some unknown gems :p 

As we make the transition from white polished rice into other grains, Brown rice is one substitute that we enjoyed both for the nutty flavour. It was interesting to read here the difference between brown and white rice, and how important that transition could be.

That said, this dish is a comfort one when not only time , but also taste is paramount. Some of the palak Khichdi dishes I saw online blanched and pureed the palak and used it with the rice , but somehow w preferred it plain. 

Add some veggies and you have a complete carb-protein balanced dish that’s perfect for lazy weekend cooking or rushed weekday lunch/brunch/dinner.  With some raita or plain curd + pickle, this is a great dish to dig into.

Other dishes with Brown Rice you may like on the blog:

Prep time - 10 mins, Soak time (for brown rice)- 30 mins, Cook time - 15 mins ; 
Serves : 2 generously 

Palak Brown Rice Khichdi - Spinach and Brown Rice+ lentil  One Pot meal (Gluten free and Vegan)

What you need:
Brown Basmati Rice - 1 cup
(Red Lentils) Masoor Dal - 1/4 cup
(Split green gram) Moong Dal - 1/4 cup
Spinach / Palak - 2 cups (packed) 
Salt - to taste
Ghee / Oil - 1 TBSP
Cumin seeds / Jeera - 1/2 TBSP
Tomato - 1 medium (opt.)
Veggies : Carrot - 1/2 (cubed), french beans handful chopped fine, Sweet Corn - 2 handfuls
Whole spices - cinnamon 1 inch,  Cloves - 2 
Garlic - 2 pods (I didn’t add)
Ginger - 1 inch 

How to:
Wash and soak brown basmati rice for minimum 20-30 minutes. Similarly, soak the masoor in another bowl with 1/2 cup water.  Blitz the tomato slightly into chunks and keep aside
Wash, prep spinach, shred and keep aside. 
In a pressure cooker, add oil. Splutter jeera and whole spices , Add the spinach, veggies, tomato and saute for 2-3 mins on low flame till the spinach wilts a bit. 
Now add the soaked masoor along with water, Add the soaked and drained rice. mix well and add salt. 
Add 1/2 cup more water (or as required) - pls note spinach and tomato also release water while cooking , so add accordingly.
Pressure cook for just 2 whistles and let the pressure come down on its own
Serve hot with curd/  raita / pickle.  We loved the spicy, tangy khichdi as is :)   

BMLogo Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99

April 17, 2019

Oats Masala Khichdi | Vegan One Pot Meals | Diabetic Friendly meals

Oats Masala Khichdi is adapted from Harini’s Sambhar Oats which I had bookmarked a while ago. Thanks to her, I started using Oats in a lot of recipes - including Oats Masala Chaas, Oats Pongal etc. The importance of a soluble fibre like Oats is understated in today's age. Oats is great for diabetics and is versatile to adapt into Indian dishes as well. 

This is again a one-pot meal (and made for just myself) as I wanted to be sure that the kids would love it as much as I did.  I had previously cooked Lauki dal (with tempering intact) so, that reduced the cook time drastically. 

Either way, it doesnt take more than 15 mins to put together this rather yummy khichdi (I had my expectations really low as I wasn’t sure I would like it). Goes great with a simple boondi raita / onion - cucumber raita for  lunch / brunch on hot summery days like these :)

Prep time: 15 mins, cook time - 10 mins, Serves  - 1

Cooked Lauki Moong dal (you can simply soak and cook 1/4 cup of plain yellow moong dal for 1 whistle) - 1/2 cup
Oats - 1/2 cup - I used plain rolled oats
Salt - to taste
Sambhar powder - 1 TBSP
Any veggies - carrots / beans / peas - about 1/4 cup - I used 1 medium tomato and 1/2 cup of broccoli 
Garam Masala - 1/2 TBSP
Oil - 1 tsp
Tempering : Cumin seeds, chopped green chillies (2), diced ginger 1/2 inch

How to:
Dry Roast Oats till slightly warm. Remove. 
In a pan, add oil, splutter cumin, ginger and chopped chillies. Add broccoli  and tomato, Saute till slightly soft. Add the cooked moong dal (or lauki dal in my case) and simmer for 2 mins. Add garam masala and sambhar powder + salt to taste. Now add the roasted oats and mix well. Add a little more water if required. cook and cover for 5-8 mins or till you get a Khichdi kind of consistency.  Serve hot with pickle / papad or any raita. 

 Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99

April 16, 2019

Navratan Pulao | How to make Navaratan Pulao

Navratan Pulao was one of the first dishes I listed down for this BM, and it didn’t change till I cooked it (although I did waver out thinking I would make Nasi Goreng with millets, but that didn’t happen). 

As mentioned during this Mega Marathon and earlier too, my little one loves pulao and I was very sure she would love this non-spicy Navratan pulao too ! and she did :) and so did we all. The surprise was my elder one asking for a second helping as she's not into pulao or any rice for that matter :-)

PS - this is the FIRST ever video made exclusively by my elder one - full marks to her.. :) I hope you would watch the video and encourage us (her!) to make more for the blog :)  

Like many more dishes on this blog, my dad introduced me to this while dining out during our monthly restaurant outing. We have had lovely memories of eating this (rather sweet-ish) pulao with some yummy vegetable gravy and Naan / Roti when North Indian food had started making its entry slowly but surely into Bangalore’s Udupi-dominated kitchens.

This is a rich and slightly time taking pulao, but the ingredients are simple and available everyday. Do make this for your next party / potluck. The seemingly easy pulao would surely be the star of the occasion. Pair this with any spicy gravy like Shahi Paneer Masala / Mughlai dish / Nargisi Kofta Curry (raita would not work well) and you have a winner  !

Prep time - 15 mins, Cook time - 20 mins, 
Serves - 3 generously.

What you need:
Basmati rice - 1 cup
Ghee - 2 tsp (divided use)
Saffron strands - few
Warm milk - 3 tsp
Nuts (all mixed 2 tsp) - Almonds sliced, raisins, cashewnuts
Apple (I used red delicious) - 1/2 (Cubed medium)
Onions - 2 large (divided use) - sliced thin
Ginger - 1 inch (pounded / grated)
Boiled and peeled potato cubes - 1/2 cup
Veggies (all 1 cup together) - carrots, beans, peas (may add cauliflower too)
Salt - to taste
Whole spices - black cardamom 1, bay leaf 1 or 2, cloves 2 or 3, whole black pepper 1/2 tsp, cinnamon 1 inch stick
Jeera / cumin - 1/2 tsp

Check out the video here and leave your valuable comments on the video too ! 

How to:
Wash and Soak Basmati rice for 15 mins. Soak the saffron in warm milk for 10 mins
Meanwhile, wash, chop and steam / microwave the veggies till al dente.
In a microwave proof dish, grease with little ghee, add the soaked rice, whole spices, 2 cups of warm water, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1 tsp of oil and cook till rice is 80% done (about 8 mins on 900W microwave). Once done , Fluff them and keep aside. 
In a non stick, add half he ghee, roast the nuts one by one till golden brown. Take it out with the slotted spoon. Simialrly saute the cubed apples and take it out. 
Now, add half the sliced onion, sprinkle some salt and saute the onions till they get brown and crisp (on a low flame, this should take 3-5 mins). Take the crispy onion slices out. SAute the steamed veggies for 2 mins along with the boiled potato slices till the potato is slightly crispy on the outer side. Remove from pan.  
In the same pan, add the remaining ghee, splutter jeera and the ginger. Add the remaining onions, salt and  fry till they turn translucent . Now add sautéed veggies, sauteed apples, half of the nuts, cooked rice and mix well without breaking the grains. 
Add the saffron milk and gently toss. Adjust spice and salt. 
Top with remaining nuts, crisped onions and serve warm. 

 Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99


April 15, 2019

Moong Aur Sama ki Chaashwali Khichdi | GF Millet Dishes

Moong little millet khichdi is again adapted from Suma's blog where she had posted it as Hare moong ki chaashwali khichdi . I simply subbed the rice with millet and after a great success with little milet pongal posted earlier, I was confident the millet would work here too, and it did .

As it’s scorching hot right now and being in the kitchen for more than 20 mins is not feasible, this is again a life saver kind of meal where dump it all and cook works brilliantly. Suma’s recipe had a lot of Masala and veggies , but I toned it down as it was to be quick meal. It’s also Satvik (free of onion-garlic) and am sure to make it in larger quantities as the husband also would relish this.

So far in the A-Z Grains Mega Blogging Marathon all April, I have dished the following 12 recipes over the past 2 weeks. Do take a quick look if you have missed the series:

A quick GF khichdi recipe made with buttermilk, let’s see how to make it 

What you need:
Samai / Little millet - 1/2 cup
Ghee / oil - 1/2 tsp
Jeera / cumin - 1 tsp 
Buttermilk - 2 cups
Soaked / cooked whole green moong - 2 handfuls
Tomatoes - 1 medium (I didn’t use)
Salt to taste
Broken red chillies - 1~2 
Slit green chillies - 1 or 2 
Crushed black pepper - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Grated ginger - 1/4 tsp (optional)
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Veggies - carrot cubed 1/2 cup (you may add potatoes, green peas, french Beans etc)
Chopped greens - 1/4 cup (I used amaranth/chawli/arakeerai)-optional 


How to:
Wash and rinse samai (soak for 5 mins while the veggies are getting chopped) 
In a pressure cooker, add ghee or oil. Splutter jeera, both the chillies. Add the carrots and chopped greens, sauté for 1/2 mins. 
Add salt, Turmeric, ginger , black pepper and sauté for further 2 mins 
Now add the soaked and drained Samai, soaked moong (moong needs to be soaked for at least 6-8 hours or overnight, at this stage if you have previously cooked moong, you can add it too) and mix thoroughly. 
Add buttermilk and pressure cook for exactly 2 whistles. 
Let the pressure drop on its own. Mix / mash up a bit. Serve hot.

  1. Use slightly sour buttermilk if you are not using tomatoes. 
  2. Little millet can be subbed with any millet or rice with varying cook time and water / liquid proportions

BMLogo Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99
An InLinkz Link-up

No Fry Dahi Bhalle , and a perfect antidote to scorching summers !

Summers can be unbelievably fantastic and draining all at the same time ! Most days Yoghurt is a life saver during these  summer months. Filled with healthy probiotics, this cure promotes healthy gut flora. 

Although of late, I am slightly reducing the curd consumption for myself (owing to being partly vegan), the Tambrahm In me refuses to let go of the Curd Rice that sees many takers beyond the South Indian community, especially during summers. The husband however is a big fan of Iyengar Thayirvadai (South Indian Style Dahi vada) that we keep making often.

When Priya Iyer - our host for this week - suggested the theme #dahidelights for this edition of #191foodiemondaybloghop, it was the right time for one of my favourites to appear on the blog. 

Dahi Bhalla was also chosen as I have been paired with Swaty for RecipeSwapChallenge for this Month. Swaty has lived in most parts of North India and that cuisine features mostly on her blog too ! She has a plethora of North Indian dishes as well as some
Delectable bakes so I have bookmarked it many now :) 

So it’s a joint post for both the events - recipe swap challenge + foodiemondaybloghop and am sure you would all agree this is a lip smacking dish, irrespective of any weather or culinary blogging event. Personally, my admiration for this dish went up high whenever my neighbor sent over these melt in the mouth dahi ballad that are frequently made at her place 

I have adapted Swaty’s recipe to make it NO DEEP FRY with a few changes . Make sure you make the Khatta-Meetha imli/dates chutney and the teekha green chat chutney beforehand. 

Other quick recipes with Curd that you might like to make this summer:

and 15+ varieties of Raita and more....

Prep time - 15 mins . Soak time & grind time - 6-8 hours , 
Makes - approx 15-20 servings 

To make the bhalla:
Moong dal / split green gram - 1/2 cup
Urad Dal / split black gram - 1/2 cup
Jeera - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Cooking soda - 1/8 tsp
Ginger - 1 tsp
Oil to deep fry / shallow fry - as required 

To soak the bhalla 
Warm to hot water - 2 cups
Salt to taste 
Hing - 1/6 tsp

To serve
Beaten curd with a pinch of sugar - Approx. 1.5 cups
Spices - Roasted cumin powder , red chilly powder 
Chopped coriander leaves - a handful 
Pomogranate arils 

How to:
Wash and soak both the Dals for over 4 hours. Drain and grind with jeera, ginger and very minimal water to a smooth paste  .
In a large bowl, add the batter, salt , soda and whisk well for 8-10 mins till the batter fluffs up. 
Now heat up the oil in a kadai if you are deep frying ( I greased up my cast iron paniyaram pan/abelskiver pan). Drop spoonful of the batter into the hot oil or fill 3/4 of each dimple of the paniyAram pan. Drizzle a few drops of oil into the pan, Cook and cover till golden brown on all sides 
If deep frying, fry on medium flame till golden brown. 
Drain on absorbent kitchen towels. While still hot, drop in Large vessel (water mixed with salt and hing) and soak for 30-35 mins. Gently swueeze out the water and refrigerate till use 
Just before serving, whisk thick sweet curd with a pinch of kala Namak and sugar. To serve, take all the soaked vadas in a deep platter or in individual serving bowls , top with whisked yoghurt, top with both the chutneys, spice powders, chopped coriander leaves and serve chilled. 

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