Bangalore Special – Set Dosa with Vegetable Sagu and Tomato Onion Chutney

Set Dosa with vegetable sagu and tomato onion chutney

Set Dosa with vegetable sagu and tomato onion chutney

Growin up in the cool laid back placid(not any more, though) city of Bangalore has its own share of perks. People usually dine out for lunch or dinners. Most Bangaloreans also do breakfast outside 😉

You can wake up, get fresh and walk into any of the innumerable number of darshinis and small restaurants for a heart healthy breakfast. The countless udupi tiffin rooms(small eateries) offer delicious vegetarian food. The ubiquitous Indian dish masala dosa has its origins in Udupi.
I never realized how my taste buds were being pampered until I moved from Bangalore. Work, marriage, then again work has taken us to numerous countries and cities. But each and every place had one common grouse – no good appropriate place to break our fast.

After an arduous morning run and a quick fresh cool shower all that he and me ever crave for is someone to serve us those delicious doses or rave idly along with the signature strong South Indian kaapi.

Set Dosas are soft, spongy fluffy dosas made with parboiled rice and beaten rice. They are usually served in sets of 3-4, along with a vegetable curry and some chutney. The batter though fermented is not allowed to turn sour, in fact a generous pinch of sugar is added to cut the sourness if present.

SET DOSA

Small light fluffy dosas - usually served in sets of 3-4

Small light fluffy dosas – usually served in sets of 3-4

Ingredients

  • Idli rice/Parboiled rice – 1.5 cups
  • Normal rice – 2.5 cups
  • Urad dal – 1 cup
  • Beaten Rice/Poha – 1/2 cup
  • Sugar – a generous pinch
  • Yogurt/Curd – 1/4th cup
  • salt according to taste
  • Oil or ghee to grease each dosa

Method

Wash the rice urad dal several times in water. Soak the rice dal together for 5-6 hours. Wash the beaten rice thoroughly soak it in yogurt for 5-6 hours. Blend the rice, dal beaten rice together to form a smooth batter. Cover and keep the batter aside to ferment. Should take approximately 7-8 hours.
Add salt, sugar to the batter, mix well.
Heat a flat griddle, pour a ladle full of batter on to the hot griddle & spread very little of the batter gently. Do not spread the batter more as the dosa needs to be thick and should look like a pancake. If the batter is well fermented you will have many pores on the dosa. Pour ghee or oil around the pancake. Using a big lid cover the dosa and let it cook for about 30-40 seconds. Remove the lid, flip the dosa and cook on the other side uncovered.

Ideally a set dosa is cooked only on one side, but just to ensure it is cooked well, we can also roast it from the other side.

Prepare a couple of more dosas like this, serve with chutney and sagu.

Dosas - karnataka special

Dosas – karnataka special

TOMATO ONION CHUTNEY

Tangy spicy tomato onion chutney

Tangy spicy tomato onion chutney

Ingredients

  • 1 big onion, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • a small piece of ginger
  • 3 red ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 whole red chilies
  • 1/4 cup coconut
  • 1 tsp oil
  • salt accordingly
  • For garnish: 1/2 tsp oil, 1/4 tsp mustard seeds and 2-3 curry leaves

Method

In a wok, heat oil. Saute red chilies garlic, onions till translucent. Then add tomatoes along wit salt. Cook till the tomatoes are slushy and oil leaves the sides. Cool the mixture. Along with the coconut, blend the entire onion tomato mix into a smooth paste. I like mine little bit chunky so I grind it to a coarse paste. For the seasoning: heat oil, splutter mustard seeds and add curry leaves. Pour this tempering over the chutney.
Serve!

Tangy spicy yummy dip

Tangy spicy yummy dip

VEGETABLE SAGU/CURRY

This creamy coconut based melange of vegetables has one special ingredient which makes the curry typical and delicious. Knol Khol/Kohlrabi/Nookal/Alkul/Gedde Kosu or simply gaanth Gobhi, a cross between a turnip and cabbage is preferably used to make this curry. It is mildly sweet and succulent, abundantly rich in vitamins and dietary fibre. It is low in calories(yay!) and has a good number of minerals in it.

Knol Khol/Gaanth Gobhi

Knol Khol/Gaanth Gobhi

Ideally this curry is pale cream colored, but coriander leaves and green chilies can be added to turn the color green.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of assorted diced vegetables, like potatoes, peas, carrots, beans, cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup of diced kohlrabi
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped capsicum
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil
  • To be dry roasted: 2 tsp of coriander seeds, 2 tsp of poppy seeds, 2 each cinnamom and cloves, 2-3 red chillies.
  • 2 tbsp roasted channa dal/dalia
  • 2 tbsp coconut pieces
  • Optional: green chilies, ginger and coriander leaves, if you want your curry to be green in color.

Method

PaBoil all the veggies in little water seasoned with little bit of salt. Keep aside.
Make a paste of the dry roasted masalas along with dalia and coconut. Keep aside. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat ghee or oil. Saute onions and garlic till they turn pinkish. Then add capsicum. Saute for a couple of minutes. Throw in the ground paste and cook well till oil leaves the sides. Add tomatoes and the par boiled vegetables and simmer for 6-8 minutes until all the veggies and gravy comes into a homogenous mix.
Serve hot with dosas or pooris.

Veggie Sagu

Veggie Sagu

We have stopped hunting for breakfast options here in Mumbai. Have resigned to making south indian delicacies at home but just sometimes we miss being in Bangalore so much… for its myriad breakfast options and the lip smacking super strong filter coffee 🙂

Light, filling and delicious

Light, filling and delicious

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Mung Bean Paneer Soup, Grilled Veggies and Skinny Garlic Bread – Diabetic Friendly

A complete healthy meal

A complete healthy meal

Nearing an unfinished book, catching missed episodes at 10 am in the morning, helping friends strike good deals in clothes and gifts, paying important pending social visits to cheer sullen relatives, crafting amidst incessant chatter with my 6 year old, revising tables with her, discovering the romance in watsapp with my traveling husband(the guy was totally enamored by it – 🙂 ) and among all these, failing attempts at writing a post-worthy post.

So there dear friends and foodies. I have not been doing much apart from a LOT of lazing and vacationing. And in all honesty, I did try to write. But words fell and failed me. It’s no fun to publish something without a good mean bone to feed on.

“Not many people read you know” is one constant refrain I get from the husband. Yes, true. But I still like to write, I retort. And so I do. Without a care of who is reading and who is not, I give words to my feelings and thoughts. Now, this is a personal creative high for me. Sigh! but this so called high evades me most of the times lately, leaving me groping for words and quotes.

I just needed a nudge, a push to wake me up from my trance like state. And Priya did the needful. A simple message, if I would be interested to contribute to her diabetic friendly week. Oh Yes! Interested I am!! “But I have a block”, I told myself. I can’t seem write. And Diabetes? I have no clue about that..

Kicking all the buts/ifs/hows/whys, I set to work. first I had to read up about Diabetes. So what better than Priya’s simplified illustrated theory. A must read. Her site is a diabetic’s delight.

To contribute to her fabulous Diabetic Friendly Food Week, I zeroed in on a soup, some grilled veggies and of course the favorite carb – made in a fat-free way!

Diabetic Friendly Food Week

Diabetic Friendly Food Week

Mung Bean Paneer Soup

Protein Packed

Protein Packed

Green whole mung beans have low glycemic index. Low glycemic foods promote healthy blood sugar levels. tend to have lower total body fat levels as opposed to those who consume high-glycemic foods, such as white bread and soft drinks. In recent studies, mung beans reduce blood glucose, plasma C-peptide, glucagon and blood urea nitrogen levels in non-human type-2 diabetic subjects. See #Reference.

Paneer or cottage cheese made from Cow’s milk is low in fat and contains a good amount of protein and calcium. Refrain from using “malai paneer” or the super soft melt in mouth types, as they are alarmingly high in FAT and low in nutrition. Shrewd use of this cheese for diabetics can work brilliantly for their overall health and fitness.

Simple, abundant flavors and so easy to make, you will find yourself making this soup more often than required.

Mung beans and paneer - super healthy combo

Mung beans and paneer – super healthy combo

For 2 people:

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup mung beans, preferably soaked for 3-4 hours or overnight.
  • salt, tiny piece of ginger, 2 clove of crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onions, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2-3 tbsp paneer, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime – optional
  • black and white pepper powder – as per your taste
  • Garnish: chopped coriander leaves and herbed garlic infused olive oil – optional

Method

Pressure cook the mung beans in 2 whole cups of water(yes! lots of water for very little mung beans), along with salt, garlic and ginger. If you do not have a pressure cooker and you are cooking them in a pot, then make sure your beans are preferably soaked overnight. The beans should be cooked well, almost mash like consistency.

In another pot, heat oil, crackle cumin, fry onions till they turn pink. Then add paneer. Saute for another 2-3 minutes. Slowly, pour the boiled mung beans along with all the water. Stir in pepper powders and check salt. Give it a final boil.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and little grated paneer, if using lime juice, stir it in now. A drop of chili-garlic-herb olive oil enhances the flavor, but if you do not have it ready, don’t sweat.

Sluurp this soup away with some grilled veggies and toasted bread.

Abundant Flavors

Abundant Flavors

Herbed Garlic Chili Olive Oil

This is so simple, even your little one could make it, although eating the vegetables would be a task for them 😉 A simple flavored oil does the trick. This is a usual in my house, but it never occurred to put it up on the blog. Missing the forest for a tree they say. Well, here it is:

Garlic herbed Olive Oil

Garlic herbed Olive Oil

Add 3-4 crushed minced garlic, 1 tsp chili flakes, 1 tsp mixed italian dried herbs, a wee bit of salt to 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix well. Keep aside for at least 30 minutes before using. Use as required.

Fresh Veggies marinated in Herbed garlic infused Olive oil

Fresh Veggies marinated in Herbed garlic infused Olive oil

Use the oil to marinate your vegetables.

Basket of Goodness

Basket of Goodness

Or smear it on whole grain bread.

Grilled/Roasted Vegetables and Paneer

Colorful Melange

Colorful Melange

This is a no brainer actually. Dice up any vegetable of your choice, I used carrots, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms. Paneer is added for some extra bite. Marinate your veggies in herbed garlic olive oil. Keep aside for atleast 30 minutes. Lay them on baking sheet, bake at 200 C till brown specks appear on the veggies. Alternatively you could stir fry in a thin wok on high till the vegetables are semi cooked and crunchy.

Garnish with pepper powder and rock salt if required.

Goes great with Soup

Goes great with Soup

Garlic Bread – made Fat free

We usually make garlic bread at home, by melting butter, adding all the herbs and minced garlic to it, smearing it on bread, topping with jalapenos and lot of grated cheddar cheese.

lightly smeared with Garlic infused olive oil

lightly smeared with Garlic infused olive oil

But we want a fat free version don’t we? Well, for that, use the flavored olive oil and skip the cheese. Toast your bread or roast them on a flat griddle and you have a guilt free and fat free version of the famous Garlic bread.

Note: My 6 year old girl didn’t like her garlic bread without cheese, so still using the same herbed olive oil, I grated cheese for her to enjoy. But when you’re watching your weight or struggling with diabetes, I would suggest skip the cheese.

Toast the bread, enjoy with your favorite veggies and a big bowl of Soup!

Toast the bread, enjoy with your favorite veggies and a big bowl of Soup!

Rajasthani Gourmet Delight – Dal Baati, my Skinny Version!

Rajasthani Special - Daal Baati,  Spring Onion Stir fry and Garlic Red chili Mint chutney

Rajasthani Special – Daal Baati, Spring Onion Stir fry and Garlic Red chili Mint chutney

Rajasthan literally means “Land of kings”. The largest state of India, boasts of the great Indian desert in the midst of it. Culturally rich, folk music, dance and of course food holds a special place in the heart of every Rajasthani.

Rajasthani cooking was influenced by both the war-like lifestyles of its inhabitants and the availability of ingredients in this arid region. Food that could last for several days and could be eaten without heating was preferred. Scarcity of water and fresh green vegetables have all had their effect on the cooking. But now with technology nothing is scarce any more and you get everything everywhere at any time. So although you will find excessive use of lentils and pulses in their food, fresh vegetables has found its way into their thalis too.

Now Rajasthan’s signature dish is Dal Baati.
Baati is a hard, unleavened bread prized for its long shelf life and high nutritional content and for the minimal quantity of water required for its preparation. Baati is usually mostly eaten with dal/lentil stew. Traditionally, this dish is served with loads and loads of ghee/clarified buttter. But now since no one is happy eating that much ghee, we literally make it sans the fat.

Basket of Baked bites

Basket of Baked bites

Where I have been brought up on Dal makhani, tandoori roti, Chole Bhature, Rajma chawal, the husband was served Dal Baati. I had never tasted it before my marriage, and truthfully, I didn’t care for it much after that too. But after 10 years of togetherness, we start to like each other’s favorite food. Thats what marriage does to you. Now he doesn’t wince when Chinese is mentioned and I volunteer to make Dal baati! Now thats huge on my part.. 😉

Baati

Baked to perfection

Baked to perfection

There are many ways to make the baati. The easiest is to deep fry the shaped dough in ghee till they turn golden brown and crisp. But that is also a sure shot way of clogging all your arteries and sending you to God a wee bit faster than desired.
So, we have all taken to baking them. Lot of people bake with out a traditional oven, by slow roasting on the gas using a metal sieve or a gas tandoor till the baatis have browned.

I use my regular oven and what I have learnt after many years of making horrendous mistakes is to make them small, literally bite size, so that they bake quickly and uniformly . Although shaping of the dough is actually a big pain in itself.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour/atta
  • 1/4 cup semolina/rava/sooji
  • salt to taste
  • 3-4 tbsp oil or ghee or cream/malai
  • Luke warm water to bind

Method

To the flour, add semolina, salt and the softener(ghee or oil or cream). Rub well with your palms. Now add warm water and bind into a semi hard dough. This will take some time, as you want your dough to be a bit stiff. Knead well. Keep aside covered for 30 minutes.

The smaller the better

The smaller the better

Now to make the rounds, pinch small portions out of the dough and shape into a ball, making sure that no creases or cracks are on the surface. To achieve this, you have to keep massaging the small round between your palms and shaping-reshaping them into perfect smooth round balls. Mind you this requires some time and patience, so my advice would be grab that bowl of dough, switch on the fan and put on some music, SIT and then start to make the rounds. Just makes it a little pleasant, that’s all.

Preheat your oven. Once the rounds are made, using a sharp knife, make light incisions making sure they do not go all the way to the base. This is done to ensure they are baked evenly and the insides do not remain raw. Place the rounds on a greased tray and bake for at least 30 minutes at 170C, till they brown and are cooked evenly. You can keep turning and checking on them while they are baking.

Once done, remove and keep them covered.

Serving Suggestion: While serving, coarsely crush the baati between a clean kitchen napkin using your palms. Ideally the crushed bits are topped with spoonfuls of ghee and served with dal and other sides.

Soak these beauties in a big bowl of daal

Soak these beauties in a big bowl of daal

Panchmeli Daal

This lentil stew is absolutely divine. Made with a mixture of 5 different lentils, tempered with garlic and onions, this makes for a perfect accompaniment for the royal baatis!

Panch meli Daal

Panch meli Daal

I usually eyeball the quantity of the daals/lentils and this dal is best made in ghee.

Ingredients

  • 2 fistfuls green split mung dal, chilke wali mung dal
  • 1 fistful yellow mung dal
  • 1 fistful toor/arhar dal
  • 1/2 a fistful urad dal
  • 1/2 a fisful channa dal
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 1 piece of ginger, julienned
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 big tomato, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • red chili powder – according to taste
  • salt
  • Ghee or butter – 2 tbsp
  • To garnish: 2 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped

Method

Mix all the lentils, wash and soak for at least 30 minutes.
In a pressure cooker or a pan, boil all the lentils along with turmeric powder, bay leaf, salt, julienned ginger and 2 crushed cloves of garlic.

Garlic and bay leaf lend a tantalizing aroma to the lentil mix. Once done, keep aside.

In a deep pot, heat ghee, crackle the cumin, fry minced garlic, slit green chilies and onions till they turn pink. Now add tomatoes, along with red chili powder. Cook till the fat leaves the sides and the tomato is fully mashed. This will take about 5-6 minutes. Now add the boiled dal. Mix well. Boil for a couple of more minutes till the consistency is one. Lastly, switch the flame off, stir in garam masala and chopped coriander leaves.

Serving Suggestions: You can make an added tempering of ghee, one dried whole red chili, some cumin seeds and 1/2 tsp red chili powder. Pour it over the dal, serve hot.

Spring Onion Saute

Spring Onion Saute

Spring Onion Saute

This has to be one of the easiest and tastiest saute ever.
In a wok, heat little oil, crackle cumin, fry slit green chilies, throw in the chopped spring onions, along with salt, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, red chili powder and 1/2 tsp coriander powder. Saute on high till the onions are rightly cooked, that is, not too mushy and still retaining a bite. That’s it. Serve.

Garlic Red chili Mint Chutney

Garlic Red Chili and mint Chutney

Garlic Red Chili and mint Chutney

Now this is one killer chutney! Best when made in a mortar pestle or over a stone. But a mixer would work fine as well.
Take: 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves , 1/4 cup mint leaves, 6/7 soaked dried kashmiri red chilies, 1 huge clove of garlic and some salt. Grind into a coarse paste. Mix in juice of 1/2 a lime. Serve.

Sunday Brunch

Sunday Brunch

This recipe is my entry to Vardhini’s Bake Fest #25.

Wonder Veggie Kale – in a Stew and a Salad

I had seen it numerous times. On the net, in newspapers, on other blogs, on tastespotting and other food display sites. But never at my local vegetable market or for that matter in a supermarket too. So, when the most-health-conscious-paleo-obsessed-organic-freak friend of my husband dropped a bunch at our place, I was surprised. And Happy.

Kale Leaves

Kale Leaves

Kale Leaves. The wonder plant. Recently crowned as ‘Queen of Greens’, this gorgeous green is a nutritional powerhouse.

Glorifying the innumerable benefits, we love Kale as it is low in calorie, high in fiber and has zero fat. It is high in Vitamin K, A and C and filled with powerful antioxidants. Being a fabulous anti-inflammatory food, it is also great for cardiovascular support.

The clincher:
Can you believe, per calorie kale has more iron than beef and more calcium than milk! Yea. It rendered me speechless too.

Dal.. Wholesome and Tasty

Dal.. Wholesome and Tasty

So, when our dear friend, who, by the way the husband adores and is truly our one stop search for any information on food-health and diet, got us a bunch of Kale greens, I skipped into the kitchen. 🙂

Dishing out a very Indian Daal/Lentil Stew and a more sophisticated salad was a breeze.

You treat it as how you would treat any other green like spinach, fenugreek or amaranth. It is happy to be sautéed, baked or slow-cooked in a soup or stew, all of which break down its slightly bitter, tough exterior.

But kale can also be cajoled into a surprisingly delightful exquisite salad, it just needs a little hands-on tender love to turn it from sturdy to silky. So, when eating raw, you massage the leaves gently to ensure maximum flavour and right texture.

Kale Pomegranate Toasted Almonds

Kale Pomegranate Toasted Almonds

RECIPES

KALE LENTIL STEW

Kale Lentil Stew

Kale Lentil Stew

I made this in a south Indian style daal/stew, to be eaten with hot steaming rice and some poriyal/kootu.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup toor/arhar daal, washed and soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1 bunch of Kale leaves, washed, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger julienne
  • 1 tbsp ghee or oil, I used ghee
  • 6-7 shallots or pearl onions, sliced thin
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced – optional
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds and cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp red chili powder or as per taste
  • 1 dry red chili
  • salt to taste
  • Chopped coriander leaves to garnish.

Method

I used a pressure cooker to boil the lentil. You could do that in a pot too. In the cooker, add soaked toor dal, salt, turmeric, 2 cloves of garlic and little ginger, one green chili and chopped tomato. Whistle for 3-4 counts.

Now, in a wok, heat 1 tbsp ghee. Crackle cumin and mustard seeds. Throw in the shallots, rest of the garlic, ginger and green chili. Saute till the onions turn pinkish brown. Now, throw in the chopped kale leaves. Sprinkle little salt. Mix well and cook till the leaves are almost done. Takes about 3-4 minutes. Now add the boiled dal. Mix well. give it a boil or two.

Just before serving, heat another tbsp of ghee, throw in the dried red chili and red chili powder, immediately switch the flame off. This tempering is now poured over the ready daal. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Serve hot with rice or chappathis.

If you would like to enjoy the dal as a soup, cut down the green chilies and ignore the red chili powder. What you then get is a bowl full of lentil-kale highly nutritious soup!

Tempering of Red chilies and Ghee

Tempering of Red chilies and Ghee

KALE POMEGRANATE TOASTED ALMOND SALAD

Salad

Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch fresh kale, washed and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • sea salt or rock salt according to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves, chopped or shredded
  • 1 tablespoons seeds of pumpkin and sunflower – optional
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries – optional
  • 3 tbsp toasted almonds, slivered

Method

Place your washed chopped kale leaves in a big bowl.

In a small bowl, combine garlic, pepper, salt, lemon juice, olive oil and honey. Mix well to combine and then pour over the kale.

Massage the leaves gently for 3-4 minutes, until the leaves start to soften and wilt, and no longer tastes bitter when you try it.

Sprinkle mint, seeds, pomegranate, cranberries and almonds over the top of the kale and serve.

Note: don’t omit the almonds! They add such crunch to the salad, you will be surprised.

Note: I omitted the cranberries and seeds, because I didn’t have any in hand, still the salad tasted great.

Note: Play around with the ingredients, throw in what you have, omit what you don’t. And if you have more ideas, do drop a line.

Wonder Veggie

Wonder Veggie

For those who live in India, you can buy Kale Leaves from the innumerable stores of Godrej’s Nature Basket.

Caramelized Onions with some very nutritious beet parathas!

caramelized onions and pink beet parathas.

caramelized onions and pink beet parathas.

Packing my child’s lunch box is an ordeal. Its not the work I loathe, but the myriad permutations and combinations of pabulum ravaging the morbid mind to lure my little girl. It’s a task – to think of something nutritious, something that will survive a closed box for a couple of hours, something that will invite the kid to pick, eat and relish.

Milee enjoys the food she eats, but at her own terms. She likes it fresh, slightly warm and preferably savoury. And if her will prevails, something new everyday! In an effort to appease her taste buds, tickle the pink fixation and boost her health food intake, we came up with this idea of combining caramelized onion sabzi with some pink beetroot parathas.

In her Lunch Box

In her Lunch Box

Now who deosn’t like caramelized onions! For one it is so freakin easy. And not to forget ‘quick’ and most important, so ‘tasty!’. Mildly spiced with a green chili and garnished with loads of coriander leaves, this simple humble side dish with ghee and rice is my ultimate comfort food.

Slightly charred onions with mild masalas and some coriander leaves

Slightly charred onions with mild masalas and some coriander leaves

Caramelized Onion Sabzi/Side:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups thinly sliced onions, use whatever you have, pink, red or white
  • 1-2 green chili, slit lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp jeera/cumin seeds
  • a pinch of asafetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder/haldi
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder/dhania
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of dry mango powder – optional
  • 2-3 tbsp of fresh chopped coriander leaves – to garnish

Method

Heat oil in a wok/kadai, crackle cumin seeds, add asafetida and sliced onions, green chilies, along with salt. When we add salt to any vegetable, it leaves water which helps in cooking quicker. On medium flame, saute the onions till slightly dark pink or light brown. Now they are slightly caramelized. At this stage, add the masalas. if you notice the quantity of masalas/spices is quite less. We want the dish to be mildly spiced so that the onion flavor is strong and fresh.
Saute for an additional 2-3 minutes. Switch the flame off and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with parathas, rotis, hot rice or even with bread.

Note: Caramelized onions can also be used in wraps, savoury crepes/dosas and in sandwiches.

Perfect with any bread or rice

Perfect with any bread or rice

Now for the beetroot parathas:

Beet’s health benefits need not be eulogized. It’s common knowledge that the wonder veggie is packed with immense blessings. But, try making your little fuss pot eat this super vegetable with a smiley face. Not a smiling matter. And have you noticed? grumpy elder faces equals the strength of surly sour faced kids.

Hence, we hide. We try to give the good, but away from the prying eyes of the acutely finicky consumer.

Pink Passion

Pink Passion

It’s so simple to make this, you could even change the veggie according to your choice. Substitute the beet with a squash or some carrots or maybe broccoli. They are deceptively good and so simple to make.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour/atta
  • 1 medium sized beetroot, grated – preferably a small holed grater
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/2 tsp grated garlic – optional
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • Ghee or oil – to make the parathas

Method

Combine the flour, grated beet, coriander, salt and cumin powder( and if using garlic paste, then that too). Mix well. Use little water to make a semi stiff, pliable dough. Cover with a wet muslin cloth and keep aside.

After 10 minutes, heat a flat griddle/tawa. Grab handful of dough, using extra wheat flour, roll out into thin tortillas. Carefully, pick the rolled out dough. Transfer to the hot griddle, using little oil or ghee, cook from both sides on medium flame till they tiny brown dots appear.

Serve with any raita, sabzi/vegetable side and pickle.

Quick and simple

Quick and simple

This Caramelized onion with green chili recipe is also my entry to the ‘Dish it Out‘ event hosted by Krithi’s Kitchen.

Perfect to go

Perfect to go

Thai Red Curry with Basil and Mushrooms

The monsoons are in full swing this year. Sparing no one from its fury. The thunderous roar, the relentless rain, the flashes of lightning all add more magic to this uber cool city of dreams. I love rains.

The rains makes me dream, makes me romantic, makes me stand in my balcony for longer than usual, makes me stare out of the window more times than necessary, makes me watch the sky, makes me put my hand out in the falling rain, makes me drink at least 3-4 cups of hot masala chai a day, makes me crave for something spicy and deep fried…sigh!

Serene in Sound

Serene in Sound

Overcast Skies

Overcast Skies

Wet Weekend ahead

Wet Weekend ahead

The rain, along with the niceties, also makes me dry the laundry using a hair dryer – sometimes, makes me broom the excessive water from our balcony like.. several times, makes me fight unwanted flies, makes me yell to leave dirty, muddy shoes outside, makes me squirm coz my entire house and my entire being is moist and sticky. Oh! I could go on about the monsoons.
But, now is not the time, a hot spicy amazing curry awaits its turn.

Coming your way – Mushroom Basil Thai red curry. Oh! just remembering those incredible spices makes my mouth water. This coconut based curry, flavored with lemon grass and basil is on my most fav lists. Yea, you read it right.. I have LISTS(many) of my favorite things in the world… What do I say? I am easy to please.

Thai red curry with brown rice

Thai red curry with brown rice

I had a box full of mushrooms in the refrigerator and some divine basil desperately waiting to be picked up.
So here is some mushroom basil magic with my camera:

Mushroom Basil - Magic in the monsoons

Mushroom Basil – Magic in the monsoons

Like said before, I am in love with Basil. My fav herb. See? Another favorite. The husband has to disagree with me, law of nature. He doesn’t care much for the gorgeous aromatic herb. But, I use it generously in my bowl and for others, just a slightest addition to the right plate brings a unique taste like no other.

Aromatic Basil

Aromatic Basil

Fiery red curry, with strong aromatic components is to die for. The flavors all complex and jumbled is a treat to eat on a rainy day. Complementing traditional thai jasmine rice or noodles, it serves as an excellent stew. You can add any assortment of vegetables and cheese(read: cottage or tofu). If you have red curry paste already made in your freezer, then its a matter of 15 minutes to dish up this delightful complex composition.

Fiery red chilies flavored in coconut gravy

Fiery red chilies flavored in coconut gravy

There is a lot going on with Thai cuisine. They add a host of different varied components, all coming together harmoniously for a fabulous finish. They use strong aromatic individual flavors of kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal, thai lemon basil which are not easily available else where. Most Thai dishes use fish sauce and shrimp paste, even in their vegetarian dishes.

But here I have an Indianised version of the famous red curry, made with local easily available ingredients but the taste as close to the original. This vegetarian red curry has grounded red chilies and spices, along with aromatic herbs, tossed in with assorted veggies in a milky coconut gravy, garnished with loads of fresh greens like basil.

Veggie assortment simmered in a fiery coconut curry

Veggie assortment simmered in a fiery coconut curry

Without much ado, lets start:

Ingredients

  • 5-7 tbsp Red Curry Paste or according to your level of heat
  • 1 cup of button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 cup assorted diced and parboiled veggies like carrot, cauliflower etc
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup diced bell peppers
  • 1.5 – 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp cornflour , mixed in water
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 15 basil leaves, chopped/torn
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste

Method

Mix the cornflour and coconut milk.
Heat oil in a pot, throw in onions, bell peppers. Once almost done, add mushrooms. After about a minute of sauteing, add the red curry paste and fry for a few minutes.
Add the coconut milk, salt, soya sauce, basil leaves(save some for garnishing) and all the vegetables. Simmer till veggies are nicely done. The consistency of the curry is usually not very thin to not thick at all. So, depending on your like, thicken it with cornflour or leave it little runny.
Serve hot with steamed rice or noodles.

I made brown rice, which tasted excellent with this hot saucy curry.

Rice and curry on a beautiful rainy day.

Rice and curry on a beautiful rainy day.

We like our food hot n spicy. So I added a generous amount of red curry paste. Needless to say, we were left with runny noses, but still enjoyed every mouthful.

Like it hot?! Add more curry paste.

Like it hot?! Add more curry paste.

Hot tip: You can add any vegetable or meat of your choice. Try some paneer or tofu, its the most heavenly combo of screaming red curry and cool placid paneer. Yumm! I didn’t have any today, else it would be the first thing to go into this lovely curry.

Killer Combo

Killer Combo

The red paste was made by my dear friend Sonal. We have an undefined agreement between the two of us. When ever any of us makes the paste, we send over some to the other. Sonal adds just the right amount of lemongrass and red chilies in the grounded compound, making it perfect for me to use. Hence, I rarely make it now, and enjoy the fruits of someone else’s toil… yay! Lucky me. Jokes apart, Thank you dear friend. And yep, keep making those fabulous Thai dinners and keep the treats coming.

Complex flavors

Complex flavors

Stuffed Pointed Gourd / Bharwa Parwal

Stuffed Pointed Gourd

Stuffed Pointed Gourd

Pointed Gourd or Parwal or Parval or Patol or Patola or Green Potato looks like tiny cucumbers, with tapering ends and it has light green lines along it’s length. It is a good source of vitamins and dietary fibers. I had not really eaten much of these earlier. But abundantly found in the vegetable market, I bought a few to give it one more go. Stuffed it with simple spices and a little bit of fennel seeds, and absolutely louuuuved the end result. So did the kid. Yay!

A bowl full of fresh washed parwals.

A bowl full of fresh washed parwals.

Washed the gourds and then I peeled them. If they are super tender and fresh, you need not peel but gently scrape the skin off.

Peeled parwals.

Peeled parwals.

Super quick and simple recipe:

Ingredients

  • 250 gms pointed gourds/parwals
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds

For the filling:

  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chili powder – vary the quantity according to taste
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp semi ground fennel seeds

Method

Wash the parwals. If not very tender, then peel the skin away or you could gently scrape little bit off. Now make an incision using a sharp knife from one end of the pointed gourd to another, without slicing right across it. Gently press open to see the seeds.. if the seeds are big, gently remove them and using a small spoon.

Now, take all the ingredients for the stuffing. Mix it well. Fill this masala in each gourd and gently rub the leftover spices on the parwals.

In a wide pan, heat oil. throw in the cumin seeds. Gently place the pointed gourds, as separate from each other as possible.
Cover and cook till all the sides are well roasted.

Remove from heat and serve with chappathis or rice.

Fennel seeds adds amazing flavor.

Fennel seeds adds amazing flavor.

Health Benefits:

  • Parwal is low in cholesterol and fats. Hence, it is easy to digest and recommended for patients with weak digestion and those recovering from chronic illness. It is an appetizer.
  • Pointed gourd contains vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin C. It also contains minerals like calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper and potassium.
  • It is also helpful in treating jaundice and other liver problems, blood diseases and leprosy patients. It is also beneficial in treating fever, skin infections, constipation, and healing of wounds.

Spicy Vegetable Kerala Kurma/Stew

Vegetable Stew, Kerala Style

Vegetable Stew, Kerala Style

Mixed Vegetable kurma as it is popularly known, is a stew of assorted veggies simmered in a thick spicy coconut based gravy. If you are a vegetarian with a love for varied cuisines then you must have come across this heavenly thick soup at some point of time.
A wonderful aromatic accompaniment to appams, dosais, ceylon parothas or simply plain rice, this vegetable melange calls for some real spices and loads of coconut.

Vegetable kurma with Kerala Parathas

Vegetable kurma with Kerala Parathas

We like it best paired with Appams, a fermented crepe of rice and coconut. But today, I made it with ceylon parothas( again a speciality of kerala).

Ceylon parathas are nothing but layered Indian flatbread usually stuffed with kheema or egg, but since we don’t eat meat, I made the vegetarian version. While rolling out the flatbread, layers are added along with light smears of ghee and flour, almost like a North Indian lacha paratha. It’s then roasted on a flat griddle using a good amount of ghee or butter. Here, I made the ceylon magic with minimal ghee, just a few drops, and it still was a dream on our palette.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup parboiled assorted vegetables, potatoes, peas, carrot, beans, cauliflower etc
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 capsicum, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • salt to taste
  • chopped coriander to garnish

To be ground into a paste:

  • 1 onion,
  • 3-4 green chilies – vary the quantity to your taste
  • a tiny piece of ginger
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • a small stick of cinnamon
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 5-6 whole pepper corns
  • 1/2 cup mint and coriander leaves
  • 1 piece of coconut… yea, some more wouldn’t hurt..;)

Method

In a thick bottomed pan, heat oil. Crackle mustard seeds when hot. Then saute the onions pink. Later, the chopped capsicum. Saute for a minute or two. Then pour the grounded paste. Keep stirring, to avoid burning the paste and all. After a nice aroma wafts up(after about say 5-8 minutes), add the tomatoes along with all the turmeric and coriander powder. Now, cover and let all cook for a while. Let all the ingredients come together to make a beautiful green sauce. When the oil has left sides, it signifies the melange has been sautéed well and enough. At this stage, add the parboiled veggies along with the coconut milk. Simmer to a cohesive mix.

Once done, garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves.

Serve piping hot with appams/rice/parothas!

 Green curry - Kerala Style.

Green curry – Kerala Style.

Vegetable Stew/Kurma

Vegetable Stew/Kurma

Rajma /Red kidney bean curry

Rajma Curry/Red kidney beans in a thick gravy

Rajma Curry/Red kidney beans in a thick gravy

I have fond memories of this one. Rajma Chaawal(Red kidney beans simmered in a thick gravy with white basmati rice) is my most most favorite dish. It was a regular fare in our house, made usually for sunday lunch. For years, I tried to replicate my mom’s rajma… but with little success. My mom is the most fabulous, legendary cook of our family. Coercing the poor bean to produce the same result as my mother’s hand was actually being criminal. So I made peace with the bean. Consoled myself by accepting the fact I could never match up to my mum. And there! Life tasted better and so did my rajma :).

But whenever I visit her, I skip and trip at the thought of being fed my mom’s incredible cooking.

Rajma Chawal

Rajma Chawal

It’s sad but true, the husband and daughter have no place for this amazing comfort food in their choicest menu cards. The husband was not born and brought up on a bed of rajma… he doesn’t care much for it, and the kid has taken after the father.
I say tastes can be acquired(Husband argues, “it is not beer or black coffee”), but the child is made to bear the brunt of excessive feeding of this wholesome curry down her tiny food track.
I ignore the whines and grimaces, and at every bite, exclaim “yummy no?”. No she answers.

Please dear foodies, try this recipe out and help me reaffirm the dwindling status of kingly Rajma.

Who can resist this??

Who can resist this??

Ingredients

  • 1 cup red kidney beans, washed and soaked overnight, boiled well with a bit of salt.
  • 2 spoon full of ghee — please use butter or ghee, don’t compromise the taste with oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic
  • a tiny piece of ginger
  • 1 big onion, chopped coarsely
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped coarsely
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp of chopped coriander to garnish

Method

First, make a paste of ginger, green chili, garlic and onions. Remove in a bowl, in the same pot add chopped tomatoes and make a puree out of it.
Now, in a pot, heat ghee. Once hot, add cumin seeds and the onion garlic paste. Fry well. Once pinkish, add the pureed tomatoes, along with red chili powder and turmeric powder. Cover and saute really well. This could take awhile, say approximately 15 minutes.
I haven’t used coriander powder or any garam masala. The lesser ingredients you throw in the better it tastes, well.. according to me. The key is to saute real well( be patient, try yoga before making it..:))Don’t let the rawness of onions and tomatoes spoil this heavenly dish.
Once done, stir in the boiled red kidney beans, mash a little bit with the back of your ladle. The gravy blends with the bean. It should not look like the bean is separate from the curry( this usually means, either the rajma is not cooked fully or you have had no patience with sauteing).

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve super hot with aromatic basmati rice or rotis. But rice tastes best. So, when in a mood for a treat, kick the diet plan, indulge in some white rice and this heavenly gravy!

Aromatic Rice with Rajma

Aromatic Rice with Rajma

Delicious healthy red bean curry

Delicious healthy red bean curry

Palak ki Daal/Spinach Lentil Stew

Most Indians would be amused by this post. Publishing a dal recipe is like….explaining a fish how to swim. An Indian from any corner of this multicultural diverse land has eaten and usually knows how to make daal – basic Indian lentil soup.

Palakura pappu, kirai paruppu, Dal palak, Palak aamti, palkaachi daal, Cheerayam parippum… varied names of one dish – Palak ki daal. Every state/community/caste in India has its own version. Some use channa dal, some toor, some arhar and some use mung dal.
Tempering also differs accordingly, some do it with garlic-onions, others with coconut and sambhar powder and some with just plain ghee, cumin seeds and asafoetida. The result is universal, a healthy concoction of protein rich lentils and nutrient dense spinach.

Palak ki daal

Palak ki daal

Here, I am posting, a mixed version of this humble daal. My mother made it without onions and garlic, but I have added the supremely aromatic strong roots to enhance more flavors to this simple dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup split yellow mung dal/pulse, washed and soaked for 15-30 minutes
  • 1/2 cup split green mung dal with skin, washed and soaked for 15-30 minutes
  • 1 big bunch spinach leaves, washed and chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, thinly julienned
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 big fat tomato, chopped
  • 2 spoons of ghee
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder/haldi
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 2-3 pinches of asafetida
  • salt to taste
  • chopped coriander leaves to garnish
Chopped spinach and soaked pulses.

Chopped spinach and soaked pulses.

Method

I use a pressure cooker to cook the lentils, its faster,saves resources and healthier. So, in a pressure cooker, throw in your soaked pulses, along with chopped spinach, julienned ginger, turmeric powder, salt and 1 glass water. After 2 whistles, switch the flame off.

Now, In a pot, heat ghee, add 1/4 tsp cumin seeds, saute the minced garlic and onions till they turn translucent. Now add tomatoes, along with red chili powder. Saute till water evaporates and the fat starts leaving the sides of the pot. This means, you have saute the contents really well, if you don’t want the smell of raw tomatoes invading your yummy dish.

Now to this masala, add the pressure cooked ingredients. Add chopped coriander leaves at this stage. Give it a nice mix, the consistency is semi thick, not very watery and not very thick. Give it a boil. Remove in a serving bowl. now make another tempering, of hot ghee, crackled cumin seeds and asafoetida. I also add a little bit of chili powder at this stage… hot ghee/oil brings out the redness in the chili powder.

Now pour this tempering over the stew, and enjoy with rice/rotis or as it is.

Dal Palak with puffed rotis

Dal Palak with puffed rotis

I made chappathis/rotis/phulkas(whatever you want to call) with this divine daal. Our lunch was complete, wholesome and nutritious.

Whole some lunch.

Whole some lunch.

Simple and earthy

Simple and earthy