January 30, 2011

Mixed flour Instant Dosa (Karicha Maavu Dosa)

The dosa is a fermented crepe or pancake made from rice flour and black lentils.It is a typical dish in South Indian cuisine, eaten for breakfast or dinner, and is rich in carbohydrates and protein. Dosa is a day to day diet for people in present day Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Karnataka and to some extent Kerala also.

The origins of Dosa has been widely discussed in various literatures and books: First reference to Dosa occurs in the Tamil Sangam Literature from around 6th century AD. The Sanskrit classic Manasollasa written in 1051 AD by Western Chalukya king Somesvara III describes Dosai. English food writer Pat Chapman, Lisa Raynor and Indian writer Thangappan Nair state in their books that Dosa originated in Udupi, Karnataka, but they do not mention its reference in Tamil sangam literature.

Whatever the origins,  Dosas are also made in instant (unfermented) forms too.. It’s called “Dhideer Dosa” (Instant Dosa) or Karicha Maavu Dosa (Dosa made by mixing flours), which is presented today. I fondly remember my grandmom making this batter in huge quantities to feed all of us for the evening snack when we were back from school – often we lost track how much each one of us devoured. Instant Dosa / Karicha maavu Dosa tastes heavenly with Molagapudi (red chilly Powder) soaked with til oil J slurp ! Although optional, this dosa might be served with Chutney / sambhar..

The important point to note for this dosa is to get the proportion of the ingredients right, and also the temperature of the tava (skillet). Also critical is not to let the batter sit overnight (in the fridge / open) else the dosa might turn black ! After all, Instant is truly Instant !

Update:  Am sending this post to two events:

a) Jothikaa's "B for breakfast" event


b) RC's Dosa Month

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking time (per Dosa) : 1 -2 mins max
Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • Maida – 1 cup
  • Rice Flour – 1 cup
  • Atta – 1 cup
  • Rava / Semolina – 3 tbsp
  • Salt
  • Oil – to fry / cook the dosa.

For tempering

  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Urad Dal – ½ tsp
  • Red chillies / green chilles (broken / slit) – 2 (optional)
  • Curry leaves & Coriander – chopped – 2 tbsp
  • Hing – ½ tsp

1)      Mix all the flours well and add salt.
2)      Prepare the tempering with the oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, hing, chillies , curry leaves , coriander and hing.
3)      Pour the tempering into the dry flour
4)      Now add as much water as required to make a flowing batter. It shouldn't be too watery or too thick - just as much as milkshake consistency.
5)      Heat the skillet. Sprinkle water and douse the excess heat. Rub the tava / skillet with one half of an onion to remove stickiness.
6)      Grease the skillet with a teaspoon of oil now.
7)      Pour the batter (do not spread it with the back of the spoon like you would do with other dosas). Let the dosa make an amoeba like shape.
8)      Drizzle oil over the dosa and the edge till it turns crispy. Do not cover the dosa.
9)      Flip over once the edges are slightly browned and cook on the other side till crispy and golden brown
10)  Serve hot


·         This dosa is to be served hot off the skillet. Usually turns messy and sticky when cold.
·         Monitor the temperature of the dosa tava / skillet. Usually non stick works best.
·         Sprinkle few drops of water after every dosa and rub with half of an onion (cut along the rings) to avoid sticking and overheating.

 N.B: References of Dosa origin - wikipedia

January 29, 2011

Beetroot palya / poriyal

Poriyal (Tamil / Malayalam) or Palya (Kannada) refers to a side dish for rice prepared from one or more vegetables with little oil stirred, with daal half boiled and coconut / mustard seeds. It is also called Karumadhu colloquially in Tamil. While traditionally palya is served along with the main meal, it is usually steamed or tossed or sometimes cooked in oil. Badanekaayi ennegai (or brinjal curry) is one such dish which is cooked in oil, with very little water. The palyas served / made in Karnataka and Tamilnadu cuisine are kind of similar, but the vegetables used are generally different. While Tamilnadu relies heavily on tubers/ kazhangu (yam / colocasia/taro root etc), English vegetables like Carrot, French beans, cabbage are more prominent in Karnataka cuisine, probably because of availability- this is just my theory and experience of last 3 decades of eating / cooking and serving food J - that my dad used to and S (both from Tamilnadu background) still prefers potato / colocasia to a beans / carrot is quite distinctive. Some of the palyas come with cooked / steamed / semi cooked dal added to them, and are called usuli-the most famous of them being kothavuranga / beans paruppu usuli.
The basic ingredients for tempering though for South Indian Palya or poriyal would remain the same (mustard , urad dahl, curry leaves, hing) but of course having due corrections in each household based on practice / convenience/ health or a combination of all of these. Most of the vegetables (except brinjal / capsicum etc) can be steamed, and are healthy options. In my experience, not more than 1 – 2 tsp of oil is even required to temper most poriyals if the vegetables are steamed wholly / partially.
  I present here Beetroot palya / poriyal . Beetroots are a rich source of potent antioxidants and nutrients, including magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C, and betaine, which is important for cardiovascular health. Beetroot juice has been shown to lower blood pressure and thus help prevent cardiovascular problems. 
Nutritional value per 100g is as follows : Energy : 180 kJ (43 kcal) ; Carbohydrates :  9.96 g ; Sugars - 7.96 g ; Dietary fiber - 2.0 g ;  Fat - 0.18 g ; Protein - 1.68 g.

Ingredients (serves 3)
Beetroot – washed, peeled and diced into small pieces – 2 cups
Salt – to taste
Fresh coconut grated – ½ tbsp (optional)
Curry leaves and coriander  - finely chopped for garnish
For tempering:
Oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Channa dal – ½ tsp  (optional)
Slit green chillies – 1 or 2  (optional)
Curry leaves and coriander
1)      Steam the beetroot in a separate vessel with ample water till tender. Drain the coloured water. If required, pour extra water (3 – 4 tbsp) to the cooked vegetable and drain off the liquid. This is important. (Most households do not cook beetroot because of the pinkish stain it leaves on the plate)
2)      In a skillet, add the oil. Once hot, add mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal and chillies. Once the mustard splutters and the dals are golden brown, add the cooked beetroot. Add salt to taste. Stir. Add curry leaves, coriander and coconut. Stir once more.
3)      Transfer to serving bowl. Serve with rice + rasam / sambhar.
a)      To save time in the morning for lunch box preparation etc , boil whole, washed & unpeeled beetroot overnight in the cooker. Store in the refrigerator. In the morning, simply peel them off, chop and add the tempering. Saves major time !!
b)      I have seen Mumbai Sandwichwallahs adding a thick slice of steamed & peeled beetroot in the staple vegetable sandwich (that’s almost the lifeline of the city) along with cucumber, onions, tomatoes. Makes an interesting combo J

January 28, 2011

Pal Payasam

This recipe today is based on umpteen requests from friends – both mine and hubby’s ! So, Ankur and all of you out there- here’s one for you.
Pal Payasam (Pal= milk, payasam = kheer) has its origins in Tamilnadu and Kerala Cuisines. It does not figure in the original avatar in Karnataka / Andhra menus, but probably over time has metamorphosed into the “Elai thudhi Paayasa” (payasam served at the beginning of a traditional Karnataka meal) in some other form. In fact, I remember having my first ever pal payasam several decades ago in my aunt’s house in Chennai, not Bangalore J
Just the way most popular Indian sweets, esp Gajar Halwa, Coconut barfi, Sevai Kheer etc are made in a hundred different versions, each catering to the family’s sweet and health quotient, Pal Payasam of today is a quicker version, thanks to the advent of Condensed milk. Traditionally, milk used to be reduced to 1/6 or 1/8 of its original volume by simmering it continuously over low heat, the rice grains cooking nicely and giving it a texture akin to a semi pudding like consistency.  Garnish for Pal Payasam is optional, and most people I know prefer the sweetness of this dish to be a little more than they are usually used to. Like they say, different strokes, different folks

Update : Sending this to Priya's lovely "Sweets with Rice" event originally started by Nivedita (Nivedita's Announcement Page)

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients: (serves 4)
·         Milk – ½ litre (use full fat milk if preferred – skimmed milk doesn’t quite give the texture)
·         Condensed milk – ½ tin
·         Raw rice – a fistful
·         Cardamom powder – ¼  tsp
·         Vanilla essence (optional)
·         Few strands of saffron  - soaked in 2 tbsp of warm milk (optional)
For Garnish:
·         1 tbsp ghee
·         Raisins and Cashew – ½ tbsp each
1)      In a thick bottomed pan, pour milk and heat on medium-low heat.
2)      After 1 or two minutes, add the raw rice (if you prefer, coarsely break it to speeden up the process)
3)      Boil the milk continuously on low –medium heat till the rice is fully cooked. You may add the saffron strands now.
4)      Once the rice is fully cooked and the texture of the payasam begins to thicken, add cardamom powder. Boil for 2 – 3 minutes more. Now cool slightly and add condensed milk.
5)      Do not over boil after adding condensed milk. If you are using essence, add it now. Stir and cool. 
6)      For garnish, heat ghee. When slightly hot, add broken cashews and raisins. Fry for a minute till slightly golden brown. Pout this mixture into the kheer and stir once more.
7)      Transfer to a serving dish and serve chilled or warm.

January 26, 2011

Noodles Pani Puri

Kids’ food is based on their mood and needs and wants  - all three being mutually exclusive J But one favourite which never fails to cheer kids and adults alike is Pani Puri. Probably has its origins in Mumbai and is known by different names – Puchka, Golgappa, etc. Pani Puri is  delightful for the tangy sauces it goes with. For lunch today (yes, lunch) on Republic day, we decided to have Pani Puri for lunch, and I fondly recall the gleam in my daughter’s eyes when I brought it all to the table !
But it was Pani puri with a twist – Noodles Pani Puri !! Something that combines two kids favourites into one – pani puri + Maggi noodles, the feeling and ecstacy akin to watching George Clooney & Brad Pitt together onscreen :D

Delightfully simple to make, the ingredients are as follows:
  • Mini Pani Puris – 25  (I used the mini version as kids generally can gulp it one go)
  • Sweet Date Chutney – 1 bowl
  • Kala Namak ( black salt) – ¼ tsp
  • Amchur (Dry Mango powder) – ½ tsp
  • Dry Pudina Powder – 1/8 tsp
  • Maggi Noodles (or any other instant brand) – prepared – 1 cup
  1. Prepare the noodles as per the packet instructions. You may or may not wish to add any veggies to this. I added good old Panneer to increase the protein quotient.
  2. To the date chutney, add Kala Namak, Amchur, Dry pudina powder and mix well.
  3. Gently tap the pani puri with a small fork, spoon the prepared noodles into it and add the chutney.
  4. Serve immediately.
a)      As it was a kids only meal, I did not add the green chutney (mint-green chilly) . For a party, you may serve this with both. Ensure you add the noodles just before serving ,else it may turn soggy.
b)      Add 1 or 2 ice cubes to chill the date Chutney – it increases the slurp quotient manifold J


Pudina Curd Raitha

Mint on Foodista

Pudina, or mint, imparts great flavour to Indian cuisine. Mint chutney is a tangy accompaniment to most snacks. It is prepared with or without coconut, sans garlic too  ! Mint descends from the Latin word mentha, which is rooted in the Greek word minthe, personified in Greek mythology as Minthe, a nymph who was transformed into a mint plant.

Presenting Mint curd raitha (Thayir pachadi in Tamil / Mosaru Bajji in Kannada) - easy to make in a jiffy. This goes well with paratha, roti or even rice. The flavours come together with curd, and is one of the eternal favourites of my family. It is quick and fast and tasty too, and can be quickly assembled as an extra dish for unexpected guests too !

Update : Am so excited in sending this post to Padmajha's "Herbs and Flowers in My platter" event :-)

Ingredients (Serves 3)

  • Pudina leaves – cleaned , washed and sorted  - 1 ½ cups
  • Urad dal – ½ tsp
  • Jeera / cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Methi / fenugreek seeds – 1/8 tsp
  • Slightly sour curd – 1 cup
  • Freshly grated coconut –2 tbsp
  • Dry red chillies – 1 no.
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
 For tempering:

  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Hing / Asafoetida – ½ tsp
  • Curry leaves - few


1.    In a skillet, heat oil (1 tbsp). Add methi, jeera, urad dal and fry till dal is slightly browned.
2.    To this add red chilly and pudina leaves. Toss till the leaves wilt upto 90% and turn slightly crisp. Cool
3.    Add this mixture, add coconut and grind to a smooth paste. Add water as necessary taking care that the resulting mixture is not too runny.
4.    Whisk the curd well with salt.
5.    Add this mint leaf mixture into the curd.
6.    For tempering, heat oil, splutter mustard, add curry leaves and hing.
7.    Add this tempering to the curd mixture.
8.    Serve chilled !

  1. Tastes best with thick, chilled curd
  2. Dry extra pudina leaves in the sun and use as a garnish for pizzas for an Indian touch :-)

Mint Raitha

January 25, 2011

Chow chow poriyal / Palya

Chow-Chow or "seeme badhane kaayi" in Kannada - this is one favourite vegetable of my entire family :) Very versatile, it lends both volume and texture to various dishes - kootu, curry, thogayal (chutney), kurma etc. Simple to make, presenting below a simple Chow Chow Poriyal / palya that can be cooked in under 15 mins.

        Preparation time : 10 minutes

Cooking time : 5 – 7 mins

Ingredients: (serves 4)

·         Chow-chow (or Chayote )- peeled and chopped – 2 cups.
·         Oil – 1 tbsp
·         Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
·         Urad dal – 1 tsp
·         Channa Dal – 1 tsp
·         Dry Red chillies – broken – 2
·         Curry leaves- 1 sprig + fresh coriander
·         Asafoetida – ½ tsp
·         Salt to taste
·         Fresh Coconut – optional – 2 tsp.
a)      Boil the chopped chow chow in water in a covered vessel till ¾ cooked. If you are using a pressure cooker, wait only for 1 whistle.
b)      In a skillet, add oil. When hot, add mustard seeds and hing + curry leaves. When  mustard stops spluttering, add the dals one by one and stir till dals are slightly browned.
c)       Now add  boiled Chow chow vegetable. Toss slightly. Stir in coriander and add salt. Do not over cook / mash up the vegetable. Add the coconut and turn off the stove.
d)      Transfer into a serving dish. Tastes best when hot !


Mocha Cinnamon Oats Cake

Adapting from Sanjeetha's blog, I made this Eggless Mocha Cinnamon Cake and the reviews were fabulous. Substituted half the Maida/ APF with wholewheat atta and Oats was a welcome change both in terms of texture and taste ! A great recipe for the sweet toothed , it doesn’t require icing as well, thereby eliminating hundreds of more calories. Hope you make this and enjoy too !

  • Maida / All Purpose Flour(APF) – ¾ cup
  • Quick rolled Oats  - ¼ cup ( I used Quaker)
  • Wholewheat Atta – ½ cup
  • White sugar and Demerera Sugar – ½ cup each, powdered
  • Vegetable oil – 6tbsp
  • Instant Mocha Coffee Powder – 1 ¼ tsp ( I used a Kenyan brand called Robert Timms)
  • Cinnamon Powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda – 1 tsp
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
  • Sour curd – ½ cup (ensure its thick, not watery)
  • Strong coffee decoction – ½ cup
  • Choco chips – 2 tbsp (optional)
  • Preheat oven to 180 Degrees C and grease the pan
  • Sift flours , baking soda, coffee powder, cinnamon powder, salt. Once fully mixed, add oats and choco chips. Mix well and rest. Reserve some choco chips for topping.
  • Beat sugar powders with oil for 3 mins. Now blend the curd, coffee decoction, essence and mix well into a pouring consistency.
  • Make a well like depression in the flour-oats mixture and pour the above sugar mixture into it and fold gently. Do not use an electric beater for this. The resulting mixture should be a thick brown glazing mixture.
  • Pour into the greased pan and top with the remaining choco chips.
  • Bake for 20 mins. Cool and serve !

Vazhai Thandu Moar Kootu

One of the advantages of Indian Cooking is most of the ingredients have medicinal / curative properties too ! One such ingredient is the banana stem – loaded with fibre and easy on the tummy too ! Banana is a versatile plant whose use is enormous –cooking, storing and eating on..  Having an ubiquitous presence in most South Indian homes, the humble banana comes in many varieties – nendhra pazham, elakki, rasathaali (or rasa baale in Karnataka), chukke (means slightly dotted). It is eaten in both raw and cooked forms. Banana Chips is a favourite snack across travellers ex-Kerala ! Presenting here is a healthy and light “Vazhai thandu Moar Kootu”. For the linguistically challenged, this simply means “Banana stem in curd gravy
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • Banana Stem – peeled from outer layer & chopped finely removing the fibers in between (yes yes I know this is painstaking, but like they say, no pain no gain!) – 2 cups
  • Slightly sour thick curd – 1 cup
  • Salt to taste
           For the masala:
  • Grated fresh coconut – 2 tbsp (yes, dry copra / dessicated coconut will do, but the flavor would change)
  • Cumin seeds (Jeera) – ½  tsp
  • Dry methi / fenugreek seeds – 1/8 tsp
  • Channa dal – ½ tsp
  • Green chilly – 1 (opt)
  • Red dry chillies – 2 long
  • Hing – pinch
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp (opt)
  • Dry Coriander seeds (dhania) –3/4 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
For the seasoning / tadka:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves & Coriander – few sprigs – cleaned and chopped
  • Hing/ asafetida
a)      Wash and clean the chopped banana stems. Boil them in slightly salted water till al dente/ slightly soft. Alternately pressure cook them for 2 whistles. Cool completely.
b)      In a skillet, add ¼ tsp of oil. When slightly hot, add methi, cumin , channa dal, coriander seeds, dry chillies, red chillies, hing, turmeric one after another and roast till the dal slightly browns. Do not burn. Cool.
c)       Dry grind the masala with coconut. Once completely dry, add a little water to make a thick paste (consistency of milk shake).
d)      Add this mixture to the curd. Whisk well. Add salt as required. Add 2 – 3 tbsp of water if you feel its too thick.
e)      In another pan, add oil, make the tempering. When the mustard stops spluttering, add the curd masala (in step above) on LOW heat. After 2 mins, add the boiled banana stems, and cook slightly for 1 -2 more mins. Do not over boil as the curd may give way and curdle.
f)       Serve hot with rice or phulkas / rotis.
a) You may preserve the cooked banana stems in an airtight box for 1 day in the refrigerator. Else, before cooking, also soak them in buttermilk to avoid discolouration.
b) If you are not using green chilly, add one more dry red chilly to the masala paste.
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