April 30, 2019

Zaffrani Little Millet Apple Phirni | Little millet and apple sweet Pudding | Gluten Free

To end on a sweet note !

Zafrani Little Millet Apple Phrini is the last dish in the A-Z Grains marathon that concludes today. From doubting myself gravely to finishing off this with barely hyperventilating (like the previous mega BMs), this has been a very satisfying ride for me, personally. The history of Phirni is largely unknown although according to this interesting link, it may have originated during the Mughal Empire. 

Little Millet was a new found winner in my kitchen, thanks largely to this series. I had bought a huge packet last month not knowing what to make (apart from Idli / Dosa, Khichdi,which also we made :p). but today I can confidently say that this millet is as versatile as foxtail (Thinai) which is more popular as a rice substitute. The Pongal made from this was my favourite in the entire series :-)  

When I had planned to make Zaffrani Phirni (saffron in Persian) for this, adding apple and subbing the rice with phirni happened perchance and I am so glad to have this on my Indian Sweets tick marked list. Needless to say, the chilled Phirni that accompanied a punjabi meal (thali) last Sunday was the toast, with even the husband (who’s totally sweet agnostic) giving a thumbs up ! Mom and the elder kid loved it a lot, and I had a portion whittled away for the blog shot :-)

So, let’s make this and I hope you have enjoyed the journey with me on this Grains BM as much as I did !

Prep time - 15 mins , Cook time - 20-25 mins, Serves - 4 generously 

What you need:
Little Millet - 1/3 cup (1 cup = 200 ml)
Full fat milk - 1 litre 
Homemade Badam Mix - 3 heaped tablespoon
Red / Cooking Apple - 1/2 (diced fine) 
Zaffrani / Saffron - a generous pinch
Castor Sugar - approx 1/2 cup (adjust to taste)
Powdered cardamom powder - 1/2 tsp (optional but recommended)
Toasted almonds - for garnish (opt.)

How to:
Wash and soak the little millet for 20-30 mins. Soak the saffron  in 3 tsp of warm milk.
In the meanwhile, in a deep bottomed non stick pan, boil the milk on low flame, stirring often to prevent scalding, and let the milk reduce to half. Now add the homemade badam powder and the soaked (and drained samai / little millet) and slowly mix. 
Cook and cover for 15-20 mins (stirring once in a while). Keep an eye for any milk spills. Now when the millet is almost cooked, add the castor sugar and the saffron soaked along with the milk. 
Let it slowly simmer and the millet will help thicken the Phirni. Once it comes to a porridge consistency, switch off the flame and add the apples (do not add the apples while its on the flame lest the milk would split). Add the cardamom powder if using. 
Fold the diced apple gently into the phirni. Top with sliced and toasted almonds and add any 
Chill well for 2-3 hours and serve. 

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

April 29, 2019

Yellina Chitranna from Karnataka | Sesame flavoured rice - GF and Vegan

Yellina Chitranna or sesame (in Kannada , Yellu means til/ sesame) flavoured tangy rice is something I have been wanting to post for a long time. As we grew up in Bangalore, both nimbe gojju Chitranna (citron pickle flavoured rice) and kai sasive Chitranna (coconut (mustard paste flavoured rice) were standard fare at weddings / religious functions. 

I personally loved today’s dish - Yellina Chitranna - as my neighbour used to send a large portion over either for Sankranti (when using TIL / Ellu is considered suspicious) or Ugadi (Kannada new year) and we simply exchanged it for a bowl of puliogarai made at our house. Things were much simpler then, no fuss and we kids played and ate endlessly at our neighbours’ before play dates and sleepovers became fashionable. 

I have tried to recreate the flavours as I remember them and had some help from Amma too. This was part of a Karnataka mini Thali (yes, strike three for April 2020 :p) and we enjoyed the whole platter. 

We are almost at the finale of the A-z grains marathon and this is for alphabet Y. Hope you enjoyed the marathon so far. 

Similar rice-based satvik, GF dishes (made for festivals) in South India are:

Prep time - 15 Mins , cook time - 15 Mins ; serves - 4 adults 

Short grained rice - 1 cup
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp 
Oil - 4 tbsp 
Peanuts - 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Tempering - mustard seeds 1 tsp , curry leaves - few
Lemon juice - juice of 1/2 lemon (large) or 1 medium sized

Masala paste (to grind):
Fresh coconut - 1/4 cup 
*Roasted* Yellu/sesame seeds - 3 tsp
Green chillies - 2-3 (blister it in a hot pan for 15/20 seconds till it turns white)



The flavours take about 30-45 mins to seep in so, you can make this ahead of your meal preps. Keeps upto 3 days under refrigeration. 

How to :
Wash and cook rice as per your preferred method. Fluff in a large plate. Add 1/2 tbsp of oil + turmeric and spread till cooled throughly. I Cook the rice the previous late night and simply let it stand on the kitchen counter, covered (unless it’s too humid!)
Grind all ingredients of the masala to a smooth paste without adding too much water. 
In a pan, add remaining oil, fry the peanuts and take them out with a slotted spoon once browned and crisp. In the same oil, splutter all tempering ingredients. Add the masala paste , fry till all moisture disappears and you get a thick paste that oozes oil (takes 4-5 mins on low flame). 
Switch off the stove , add the cooked rice , salt, chopped coriander and lemon juice . Mix well with a wooden spoon. 
Adjust salt and spice. Top with roasted peanuts and serve warm. 

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Niramish Kichuri with Alu Pulkopir Bhaja- Bengali Combo Meal

Bengali cuisine for me is more than the roshogollas and Sandesh. As a staunch vegetarian, it means Ghugni, Rasamalai (my fav!!) and Begun Bhaja and the ubiquitous Kichuri of course ! Our team member Sujata Roy has suggested Bengali cuisine this week for #foodiemondaybloghop and I had bookmarked two dishes that I had eaten as a combo during my stay at a friend’s house at Kolkata a few years ago. Along with Bengali cuisine, Sujata also has some wonderful and healthy bakes on her blog and that always has me in awe :-) 

Panchphoron (a mix of 5 spices) is a lifeline ingredient as is mustard oil. I had the former but not the latter. And as much as I wanted to make a slightly larger spread, last week had been hectic and this week the summer vacations officially begin for the kids, which leaves very little time for myself . 

This Combo Meal from Bengal today - Niramish Kichuri with Alu Phulkopir Bhaja (Vegan and GF) is very low on fat, but high on nutrition and protein. Without much ado, let’s begin to make this. I made just one portion of each for myself , but the quantities can be easily doubled / tripled. For the quantities below, a child and an adult can easily finish their lunch so plan accordingly. 

A) Niramish Kichuri - Niramish in Bengali means without any meat. This Kichuri is light on the stomach and perfect for Summery days like these when you don’t want to be spending hours in the kitchen. Govindobhog rice is primarily used here, but Basmati is recommended as a substitute. Its a quick & great meal to put together for bachelors too !

 You would need:
Spilt yellow dal - 1/4 cup
Soaked govindabhog / basmati rice -2/3 cup
Veggies - 1/2 cup (I used 1 carrot, 6-8 french beans and a handful of fresh green peas)
Tomato - 1 (I didn’t add)
Oil - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/3 tsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp (skip for vegan , I didn’t add) 
Ginger - 1 inch , cut into juliennes 
Tempering -cumin seeds, broken green chillies, Bay leaf, Kalonji (onion seeds)
Salt to taste 
Turmeric - 1/8 tsp

How to:
Soak the rice and dal separately for 20-30 mins . In a pan, add the soaked dal along with water, turmeric, veggies , ginger and 2 cups of water and let it Cook till the veggies are 80% done and the dal is cooked fully. Don’t add any salt while the dal is cooking, it will slow down the process (a pressure cooker is NOT recommended for this dish).
Meanwhile par boil the rice with a pinch of salt till 80% done 
While the dal has cooked, add the parboiled basmati rice and a little more water 1/4 cup and let the rice and dal cook fully. 
In a tempering pan, add the ghee and oil. Splitter cumin seeds, split green and red chillies and bay leaf, switch off and add cumin powder along with a tsp of water so the spices don’t burn. Add this tempering to the khichdi along with salt now to taste, mix well. Serve hot with papad or any fry sauté. I served it with Alu phulkopir bhaja

B) Alu phulkopir bhaja - serves 1

You need:
Cauliflower florets - medium - 1/2 cup
One medium potato - peeled and cubed 
Oil - 1 tsp
Panchphoron- 1/2 tsp
Onions -1/2 medium (sliced thin) - optional
Salt - to taste 
Turmeric -1/8 tsp

How to:
Par boil potato and cauliflower separately with little water and a pinch of salt and turmeric (I microwaved them for 4 mins each)
In a pan, add oil and temper with 1 slit green chilli and panchphoron. Sauté the onions till slightly translucent. 

Add the par boiled veggies, salt & sprinkle 2-3 tsp of water. Cook covered till veggies are soft. Serve with Luchi (Bengali puffed breads) or any bhaat and dal

April 28, 2019

Killu Milagai Rasam : Guest Post by Priya | Guest Post series #17

Very pleased to have another guest blogger for our monthly edition of Guestposts. Priya Srinivasan or Priya Sri (as we know her) is a versatile blogger at "I Camp in my Kitchen" combining healthy bakes and traditional dishes for her family. 

A great photography enthusiast, she has been a very good acquaintance via the blogging world. Our kids are almost similar ages, and I can relate to her stories on the blog of them growing up. I so look forward to meeting her soon at the BM meet, slated this July. Thank you, Priya for doing this guestpost.. Its been a pleasure to feature you on this series ! 

For this guestpost, Priya has a wonderful recipe from her family's heirloom treasure.. Let's move over to Priya and the lipsmacking Rasam recipe that she's prepared in her own words... I am looking forward to making this dish for the Rasam enthusiasts at home (my kids!) and am very sure they would love it ! 

I feel very happy to be a part of this Guest post series happening @ Kalyani's space. Though i haven't personally met her yet, we are connected through this blogging spirit. Hoping to meet her during this summer. 

We always admire Kalyani's effort in creating healthy recipes, and her interest in traditional dishes. I was elated when she asked me to do a traditional recipe that runs in the family. Usually we have many such recipes, which we make it often at  home, but as a food blogger, these recipes never reach the blog, it is not that we don't want to, but we make it during such time that clicking a photo of is almost impossible or we are super lazy to setup the table for a decent click.

I usually post a lot of  traditional recipes when I am in Chennai, on my vacation. That is when my mom cooks and i just sit, eat and enjoy. I make a list of recipes for her to make for me so, i can click for the blog too. During those days, this killu milagai rasam is a must. Killu milagai, literally meaning pinched chilli, that is how we do chilies when we temper our food, we pinch and separate them.  
My mom's killu milagai rasam is a bit different than her mom's rasam. My mom uses tomato in her recipe, whereas my grandmom doesn't use even tomato. You might think, what is in a rasam without tomatoes, but this rasam doesnt even have any other spice powder apart from the red chilies and cumin used in tempering, but even then this is one of the best rasam you would taste on a tiring day. 

Particularly when you constantly have outside food or out on a vacation to a far off place and longing for homemade food, a hot steaming plate of rice and a jug of this rasam will make you cry happy tears!
This rasam tastes better as it rests, so i make a little extra and enjoy the next day too. Do try and let me know how you liked this rasam.

25 grams tamarind (a big gooseberry size)
5 cups of water
1 tsp salt or to taste

1-2 tsp ghee/oil of your choice
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
5 nos red chilies
1/4 tsp hing/asofoetida
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
a sprig of curry leaf

Soak tamarind in 5 cups of water for 30 minutes and extract the water. You can soak them in 2 cups also, but while extracting, make sure you have 5 cups of water, for the above measurement of tamarind, 5 cups would be of the correct palate, anything less would be more sour and more would be bland.
In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, add cumin, add red chilies and curry leaves. Sauté it quickly. Now pour the tamarind extract to this tempering. Add hing, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well.
Let this boil for 8-10 minutes. Once done, take it off the stove. Serve it warm over steaming hot rice and dollop of ghee. 

April 27, 2019

Xacuti Masala Veg Pulav with Brown Rice | Gluten Free, Vegan One Pot meal

Having bookmarked Valli's recipe for Xacuti masala spice powder, I made a simple veg pulav with this spice mix and Brown Rice for the kids on a weekday dinner. The aroma of the Goan masala powder was terrific and I am sure to make this in a slightly more quantity and store for making the curry masala. This Pulav comes together in less than 15 mins with prep work done the previous night and can easily be cooked even on a weekday rushed morning for the school / office lunchbox. Let's get straight to the recipe. 

If you are following the month long Blogging Marathon, we have been blogging dishes A-Z. So far the journey has been immensely satisfying to me and I would have never gotten this far without the camaraderie that this blogging group offers.

A quick recap of the dishes so far on this marathon:

Achari Methi Chole Pulao
Brocolli Veg Pulao
Cabbage Khichdi (with millets)
Dalia Bisibelebhath (no onion, no garlic)
Elakkai Badam Paal Rava Kesari
Fried Rice (Veg)

Gatte ka Pulao
Hara Pulav
Iyengar Chakkara pongal with Brown Rice
Jalapeno Mexican Fried Rice
Karivepaaku Mamidiyakaya Chitrannam
Little Millet Pongal (Samai Pongal)

Moong aur Sama ki Chaashwali Khichdi
Navratan Pulao
Oats Masala Khichdi
Palak Brown Rice Khichdi
Qabooli Veg Biryani
Rava Kichadi

Sabudana Khichdi with veggies
Tehri (Veg Tehri)
Uluva Chaaru Biryani
Varagu Upma
Walnut Broccoli Rice with Sesame
Xacuti Masala Veg Pulav

Prep time - 15 mins, Cook time (excluding soak time) - 15 mins, serves - 2

What you need:
Brown Basmati Rice - 1/2 cup
Xacuti Masala - 1 TBSP (recipe soon!)
Veggies - Potato 1 medium, carrot 1, french beans 4-5 - cut into thick batons
Salt - to taste
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp 
Whole spices - bay leaf 1, black cardamom 1
Mint leaves - few
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Onion - 1 medium (sliced thin) 
Oil - 2 tsp


How to:
Wash and soak Basmati Rice for 60 mins at least. In the meanwhile, prep the veggies and make the Xacuti masala (a small fresh batch works best here)
In a thick bottomed pressure pan, add oil and the whole spices, add the onions , salt and  ginger garlic paste. Saute till raw smell disappears and the onions brown a bit. Add half of the mint leaves now and the veggies. Mix well. Add the Xacuti masala and the red chilli powder and let the masala coat the veggies thoroughly. Wait till the oil separates a bit, about 2-3 mins. Add 1-2 TBSP water at this time. As we are not adding tomatoes or any liquid, there are chances the pan could be scorched a bit.
Add the rice and mix well. Add the rest of the mint leaves, 1 cup + 2 TBSP of water and pressure cook for 2 whistles. Once the pressure drops on its own, fluff up. Adjust salt and spices.  Serve with any raita of your choice. 
We ate this with Onion Raita

BMLogo Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#99
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April 26, 2019

Walnut Broccoli Rice with Sesame and Caramelised Garlic | Gluten Free Dish (Can be Vegan too!)

Though the initial plan was to make the Gujarati waghareli khichri, the kids voted against any more khichdis for the month (can’t really blame them 😜) . So, I had to save that dish (and the slightly elaborate Gujarati Thali that Vaishali had so kindly suggested) to be made for another day, as I made today's dish for Sunday dinner this Easter . 

This dish with an ultra short prep time and the flavour of butter is a great crowd pleaser and even the picky broccoli eaters at home liked the nuttiness from the veggie .The husband and the elder kid (the anti-broccoli team :p) actually asked for seconds which is when I felt I had made too little a portion! The little one at home - a true blue broccoli lover (like me) wiped her bowl clean :-)

The little one was happy but personally having got used to moderately spicy food, this was quite bland by itself (just as veg fried rice is ) and would do well with a side of spicy gravy or spicy sauce based stir fried veggies / tofu 

Adapted from “Taste of Home 

Walnut broccoli Rice - GF One Pot meal, can be vegan too ! 
Prep time - 10 mins, Cook time - 10 mins. Serves - 2

What you need:
White Basmati- 2/3 cup (Cooked) 
Butter - 2 tsp  ( I used olive oil and butter in equal ratio) 
Broccoli - 1/2 cup
Garlic powder - 1/2 tsp (I used finely minced fresh garlic 1 tsp)
Onions - 1 medium ( white onions are preferred) 
Broccoli florets - 1/2 cup
Sesame seeds / Til  - 1 tbsp 
Soy sauce - 1 tsp ( you can opt out this and make it soy free, like I did)
Walnuts - 1/4 cup (chopped medium) 
Salt and pepper to taste 


How to:
In a pan, add butter+ oil. Sauté the garlic and onion till translucent. Now splutter the sesame and broccoli florets . Toss a pinch of salt and saute for 2-3 mins till slightly crunchy.  Now add the cooked rice, soya sauce, salt, pepper and toss well. Tip in the tossed broccoli and serve immediately.  

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

April 25, 2019

Varagu Upma | Kodo Millet Upma - GF, Vegan

Varagu Upma was another experiment that went well. I followed the method of cooking the millet and thoroughly cooling them immediately after cooking. You could also toast the millets and Cook them directly in the pan like the normal rava upma.  

I enjoyed this as a plain , low spice upma , but do feel free to add any more veggies / more chillies as desired. I made just one serving as I wasn’t sure it would turn out well. This is a satvik, onion free recipe so pls feel to customise as you please.

Prep time - 10 Mins , Cook time - 10 mins , Serves - 1

Varagu (Tamil) / Kodo millet (English) / Arikelu (Telugu) / Arka (Kannada) - 1/2 cup (100 ml)
Oil - 1 TBSP
Tempering - mustard seeds 1/2 tsp, Urad Dal 1/2 tsp, green chillies chopped 1/2 tsp, curry leaves few
Steamed veggies - Carrots, French beans - 1/4 cup
Bell pepper - 1/2 cup (chopped fine)
Vangibhath Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste 
Coconut grated + chopped coriander - 1 tbsp each (for garnish, optional but recommended)
Lemon juice - 1 tsp (opt.) 


How to:
Clean and wash the millet throughly. Soak for 20 mins. Drain & Cook in an open pan till done (it took about 15 mins). Cool slightly and spread on a flat plate, fluff them up and proceed.
In a pan, heat oil and make the tempering with the ingredients. Add the bell pepper, saute for 1 min till crunchy. Now tip in the steamed veggies and mix lightly. 
Once done, add the cooked millet, salt , coriander and coriander leaves. Mix well and serve hot . 
Tastes best when served immediately with yoghurt or a cup of steaming coffee ! 

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

April 24, 2019

Uluva Chaaru Biryani | Horsegram Biryani | Vegan, GF

Uluva Charu biryani or biryani made cooked with the stock of horse gram rasam was a rare find for me, personally speaking. I was stuck on Urad Dal and didn’t want to make khichdi again this week.  Uluva chaaru aka Kollu rasam or horse gram rasam is something I love to sip especially on rainy / winter days when it’s not just soothing but also therapeutic. 

I made a batch of kollu rasam on a weekday and then let it sediment for a day in the refrigerator to get maximum extract. While I saw Vidhya’s recipe ( from where I adapted this) with the cooked gram also added on top, I puréed it and added it back to the stock. 

And as with most food experiments, I didn’t reveal that it was horsegram. I got mixed reviews for this - surprisingly my elder one liked it (mostly coz of the heat and spice) but the husband gave it a thumbs down (mostly coz of the lack of veggies here - his favourite part of any meal are the veggies). But it’s a good thing that I could cook this (and although the pics could be better), the dim light in the evening dinner time gives me an opportunity to make this again with better set up and pics .

This is not a layered biryani as with most North Indian / Middle Eastern / Persian biryani recipes but the rice is cooked in the broth / stock and so the favours are more pronounced  like a South Indian biryani / pulav.  I served it with onion - tomato raita.

Let’s get to it. 
Uluva chaaru biryani - GF and vegan dish. Andhra special. 
Prep time - 15 Mins , cook time - 15 Mins, serves - 3

Raw basmati rice - 1 cup
Salt - to taste 
Onions - 1 large
curry leaves - 1 sprig
Whole spices - black cardamom 1, bay leaf 2, elaichi (green cardamom) 2
Whole green chillies - slit lengthwise - 2 nos.
Dry spice powders - coriander powder 2 tsp, chilli powder 1 tsp, jeera 1 tsp, Garam Masala 1 tsp
Oil- 2 tbsp


Prep work - 
Make kollu rasam with the recipe given here. Grind the cooked horsegram along with half of the rasam and mix well. Store overnight in the fridge . Before making the biryani mix well, filter and keep the stock ready. We don’t add any water to be biryani other than this stock so make sure you make this the previous day.

How to:
Wash basmati rice in several changes till the water runs clean. Soak for 20-25 mins. 
Meanwhile in a pressure cooker / pressure pan, add 1 TBSP of oil and sauté half the onions (sliced thin) with a sprinkle of salt till they turn slightly crisp. Keep aside.
In the same pan, add remaining oil and add the whole spices and the remaining onions, curry leaves, slit green chillies. Sauté well. Add the spice powders, salt and the broth. Let it come
To a simmer. Now add soaked and drained rice. Adjust salt and spices and pressure cook for 2 whistles. 
Fluff once pressure releases.
Serve with curd / raita + roasted papad 

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