March 31, 2020

Jain Style Oats and Amaranth leaves Chilla | Vegan and Glutenfree Oats Besan Cheela

Who does Pancake originally belong to ? America, Britain and France have various claims to it, and with it various methods too  - both with leavened and unleavened batter. The Indian pancake - Dosa (and with all its versions - Ghavan (maharashtra), Cheela/ Chilla (North and Western India), Polo (Konkani / GSB Cuisine)) have all been immortalised as Pancakes across various states. 

Pancake has essential 3-4 major components - flour, leavening agent, salt (some use eggs and some dont !). Pancakes could be sweet or savoury. I already have a GF Chocochip Pancake which my little one loves, so I was all set to make a savoury one as she's the only one who likes anything sweet for breakfast. 

This Chila / Cheela today is inspired by Renu's recipe, and am very happy that most of her flours across bakes and recipes are GF (definitely no all purpose flour in any of her recipes). Archana has asked us to serve up Pancakes as the theme for Sshhh Cooking Secret Challenge and Narmada - my paired blogger gave me Oats and Ajwain (carrom seeds) as the secret ingredients.

I have used fresh Amaranth leaves as I had access to it. You may use Dill as I made in my Quick Besan Pudla or any other green like Palak (Spinach) or Methi (fresh fenugreek) too.  My elder one is now taking after my love for Cheela. I usually make it as a 4 pm snack too when the kids are back from school for a filling snack, and it helps me sneak in lesser liked veggies (and Oats) which otherwise the kids may not prefer in the Original form. You may also add onion, garlic, tomatoes for a different variant like my Vegan and GF Tomato Omelette

More pancake ideas below. For 20+ varieties of Dosa and Uttapams, click here.

All in all, a snack / breakfast pancake that you can make in a jiffy with less than 5 mins of prep time and almost nil standing time as well. Its a nutritious, filling for post-workout as well. 

Let's get to the recipe:
Gluten Free, Vegan Oats and Amaranth leaves Cheela (Jain style)
Prep time - 5 mins, Cook time - 10 mins, Makes - 4 to 5 servings
Spice level : medium, difficulty level : easy; cuisine :Indian

1 cup = 200 ml

What you need:
Oats Powdered - 1.5 cups (Dry roast the Oats for 30-40 seconds till just warm, cool and powder)
Besan / Gramflour - 0.5 cup
Salt - to taste
Amaranth leaves (washed and chopped fine) - 2/3 cup
Green chillies - 2 to 3
Red Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp (opt.)
Ginger crushed - 1/2 tsp (opt. I didnt use as this was a Jain version)
Ajwain (carrom seeds) - 1/2 tsp (crushed) - dont skip this for a unique flavour
Turmeric - 1/8 tsp
Oil - to make the cheelas (approx 1/2 tsp for each cheela)

How to: 
In a large bowl, add both the flours, salt, spices and mix well. Add 3-4 TBSP of water to make a thickish batter. Add the leaves and 1 tsp of oil and 5-6 TBSP more water to make a flowing batter. Check for salt and spices and rest batter for 5 mins by which time the tava / skillet heats up. 
On a medium hot tava / skillet, pour 1 large ladle of the batter to a thickish pancake. Drizzle oil on and around it. Let it cook to golden brown, flip and cook again for 1/2 min till crisp. Serve hot with some pickle or chai (Indian Milky tea). It's spicy on its own, so really doesn't need a side. 


GF and vegan Chocochip Pancake

Quick Besan Pudla (GF and vegan)

Vegan and GF Tomato Omelette

March 30, 2020

Video Recipe - How to make Tomato Pulav | GF, Vegan | Easy One Pot Meals

Pulav are really quick One Pot Meals. Tomato Pulav is one such quick meal which can fit anywhere - weekend dinners, weekday meals or even office / School Lunchboxes. I had blogged earlier about the Tamilnadu variation of Tomato Rice - Thakkali Saadam here. It's one of my husband's favourite dish and I make it often

I usually add a lot of vegetables to Pulav - like Tehri (my fav pulav variant), Corn n peas (the kids love it) or just the usual Veg Pulav. If you are in an indulgent mood, one can always the Shahi Hara Pulav redolent with spices, cashew paste and a lot of veggies or the ultra luxurious and lipsmacking Navratan Pulao. Another favourite in my family is the Goan Xacuti Masala Veg Pulao made with Brown Rice. 

Other similar One Pot meals on the blog you may want to check out + 26 different varieties of Khichdis and Pulao

Today's Tomato pulav doesn't have any veggies, is super quick to make and can also be made with leftover rice. I have listed the ingredients here and the method is in the youtube video below.

Narmadha had suggested cooking with Rice - a staple in most homes - while we have the world-wide stay at home situation most of us are facing..Am eyeing her Srilankan String Hoppers dish to make sometime at home.  
Meanwhile, hope all my readers are staying safe in their homes during this Lockdown. Wishing you all good health and cheer..

Prep time - 15 mins, Cook time - 15 mins Serves - 2 ~3

Tomato Pulav - Indian Style Gluten Free and Vegan Tomato spiced Rice
Spice level - medium , Recipe level - Intermediate
Serving Suggestions - yoghurt / Salad / Papad of your choice

You would need:
Basmati Rice - 1 cup (any long grained rice would do)
Ripe juicy Tomatoes - 4 to 5 large
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 TBSP
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Shahjeera - 1/2 tsp
Cumin / Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Cashew bits - 1 tsp (skip for any nut allergy)
Spice Powders (each 2/3 tsp) : Red chilli pwdr, Garam Masala, Dhaniya (coriander) powder
Onions - 1 medium (finely minced)
Garlic - 3 to 4 pods (minced)
Mint Leaves - a handful

How to make: 
Refer the Youtube Video Embedded below and please leave your valuable comments on the channel as well as on the blog recipe. 


March 29, 2020

14 Varieties of Idli to try on World Idli Day !!

World Idli Day 2020 is celebrated on 30th March (tomorrow). Yes, we need to celebrate our Humble Idli thus :) 

Apparentlyorigin of this day can be traced to a man named Eniyavan who is a passionate idli enthusiast. He decided to dedicate a day for idli. Such day soon became a food trend in the world

Some food historians also believe that Idli originated from Indonesia while some experts say that the term idli came from the word “iddalige” which is a food made from urad dal batter. This was mentioned in a Kannada work back in 920 AD. In addition, the Sanskrit Manasollasa from the 1130 AD mentions the term “Iddarika” which is a dish made from urad dal. During the 17th century, the Tamil people first mentioned the food as “Itali”. These references all point out to the same thing: since the start, idli has been made from urad dal, rice grits, and a long fermentation and steaming process to create the fluffy and tasty idli.

Steamed, soft, mostly GF and almost always vegan, this is a perfect blend of protein, carbs and is easy to digest as well. 

Everyone in the family would love these Idlis. Both Instant and fermented Idli varieties are listed below.In case you make extra Idlis, no worries. Listed below are also 3 scrumptious snacks which can be whipped up in a jiffy with leftover Idlis.. 

Do try and let me know which of the following 14 varieties you and your family loved !

In the above picture, From extreme left, going row-wise we have:

Snacks with leftover Idlis

March 16, 2020

Mullangi Soppu Thovve | Vegan and GF Radish and Moringa leaves Dal | No onion-garlic recipe

In Kannada, Mullangi means radish, soppu means greens. Thovve in a literal sense in Kannada means dal (lentils). It also has another meaning as a dal-based dish, eaten with rice and / Chapatis in a Karnataka household.  It oozes comfort food quality and is made regularly in households. Thovve is generally thickish and has veggies and dal in almost equal proportion. 

We make thovve more in summers - its light, filling yet nutritious with a variety of gourds, mangalore cucumber, or greens. If you add a bit of ground masala and tamarind along with other spices ,it becomes Huli Thovve (huLi - tart/tangy) which is served at weddings and special occasions. HuLi Thovve however is made with very few select vegetables and no greens are added.

We use greens in a variety of dishes from Thepla, Sambhar, Podi (spice powders) Poriyal (dry saute), Dal etc. Aruna gave us #GoGreen - as the theme this week where we could make any dish with green leaves. Rich in mineral content and iron, leafy vegetables helps prevent iron deficiency. Inclusion of these greens in our everyday diet, especially for children helps build strong health. 

Today's dish is an ultra simple vegan, no onion no garlic dish made with radish leaves and fresh moringa that's flooded the markets. This dal / thovve with some cooked quinoa and a bowl of aloo-capsicum sabji made our light summer lunch recently.

Let's see how to make it in under 30 mins. 

Low cal, low carb Mullangi Soppu Thovve
Cuisine: Indian, Course: Side dish, Spice level - low
Serves: 2~3


You need:
Radish leaves - 1 large bunch - wash well and chop fine
Oil - 1 tsp
Moringa leaves - 1/4 cup (opt.) - wash well and chop
Moong dal - 1/4 cup (soaked for 30 mins in 1 cup water)
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt - to taste
Tempering : Mustard seeds 1 tsp, broken red chillies - 2
Garnish - fresh / frozen grated coconut 2 tsp

How to:
In a kadai / pan, heat the oil. Splutter the tempering, once done, add the chopped radish and moringa leaves and saute for 2-3 mins on low flame. Now add the soaked moong dal along with soaked water, add salt and turmeric and 1/4 cup more water.
Cover and cook for 15 mins till dal is cooked and mushy. check for salt and spice. Add the grated coconut and serve hot. 
You may add a dash of lemon juice to this, but we like all the thovve as is. 

March 15, 2020

Indian Style Mustard and Raw Mango Pickle | Summer Pickles | East Indian Pickles

Summer and Pickles go hand in hand. Especially the instant variety, which is much sought after at home. Although mom makes her batch of the signature Lemon-Bittergourd pickle (which my elder one loves a lot), I prefer the quick and instant varieties. The hubby, by the way, is an excellent pickle maker too - who usually indulges in making exotic (and unusual) pickles, each lasting for a week or so ! 
I had already posted a quick mango pickle here (which is usually served at south Indian wedding luncheons), but here’s a version with mustard and fenugreek powder, and had a longer shelf life as it has a little more oil and spices going in.

This tastes best when it stands for at least 1-2 hours. It needs no tempering and goes best with Curd rice / Parathas / Indian or Middle Eastern Flatbreads  

Did you know the origin of Pickles ? This very interesting article says that:

"Pickles have been around for thousands of years, dating as far back as 2030 BC when cucumbers from their native India were pickled in the Tigris Valley. The word “pickle” comes from the Dutch pekel or northern German pókel, meaning “salt” or “brine,” two very important components in the pickling process. Throughout history pickling was a necessity, as it was the best way to preserve food for a long period of time. As one of the earliest mobile foods, pickles filled the stomachs of hungry sailors and travelers, while also providing families with a source of food during the cold winter months.”

M is for Mustard and M is for Mango, and M is for March :) both ingredients are chosen for our monthly Alphabet Challenge where we cook any dish of our choice with the ingredients beginning with the english name of the alphabet. 

So, let’s get pickling :)  I have made an ultra short video here of the process as I had very little time. Knowing that the raw mango season has just started, I shall be making this pickle again with a detailed video sometime soon !

If you are a pickle-loving family like us, check out other delicious pickles here on the blog:

Prep time - 10 mins, Cook time - 10 mins,  Makes - 100 grams of the pickle

You need:
Raw Sour Mango - 2 nos (Medium) - wash, wipe well and chop into small chunks
Salt - 2 tsp
Spice powder - fenugreek seeds 1/2 tsp, Mustard seeds - 2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 TBSP
Asafoetida / Hing (skip for GF) - 1/2 tsp
Sesame Oil - 1/4 cup
Lemon juice - 6 TBSP (or large of 3 large lemons)


How to:
In a large dry bowl, add the cut mango. Air it out for 5-10 mins to let any residual moisture out. 
Heat a thick iron kadai, add the mustard seeds. let it splutter well , transfer to a plate, add fenugreek seeds (methi seeds) and let that aroma waft out (3-4 seconds), transfer to the mustard plate. Let it cool, powder fine.
In the same dry pan, fry the salt (too!!) , red chilli powder and turmeric separately. This is to ensure there is no moisture from the dry spices too (I follow this method for ALL my pickles to increase the shelf life). Add these 3 to the chopped mango pieces.
In the hot kadai, heat the sesame oil and let it smoke for 10 seconds. Switch off heat and let it remain in the hot pan.
Now mix the raw mango, spices, salt and the spice powder well. Add the spice powder in batches, adding only enough to coat. Else the fenugreek-mustard pungency can overtake the tart mango taste.
Now cool the oil well and add to the pickle. Add lemon juice in the end.
Mix well. Let it sit for 1-2 hours before serving.
Use a dry spoon whenever you access the pickle and store in an airtight glass jar and refrigerate it for further use.

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