No Fuss Spicy Tomato Rasam

Tangy Tomato Rasam

Tangy Tomato Rasam

She lies squinting in the afternoon sun. Looking up at the blazing ball of fire, she defies the curly strand resolutely falling her way. She wonders if hell was right in the middle of the sun. Would she go? Go to hell, that is. Umm.. she has her chances. Spilling milk, tearing pages off a school book or rather any book and stuffing ones mouth with heapfull of sugar does make one go straight to hell. For sure, thought she.
But then like how it is with most six-year olds, her thoughts jump from dreary to the quixotic in no time, wondering if the sun is made of honey or lime or both. The dreamy spell is broken by shrill cries of mother. Lengths of the roof covered in leaps and bounds, spirals of stairs run in twos and threes, the little girl runs blind, her curls flying behind her like a short cape. Huffs and pants, she stands erect and stares straight. A little sentinel to attention.

Flavored with garlic

Flavored with garlic

Mother hid a smile. She knew she was being appeased. Propitiated for those tight hugs and extra kisses, and for those moments when the curls would be delicately touched and taken behind a ear only to fall right back into an eye. For those special moments mother was being assuaged. Mother knew it. And she knew she knew it.

Well today no matter what, lunch will be eaten in peace sans objections, sans tantrums and grimaces, clever mother put out a plate which would have been shunned on any other day. But not today. Not after a morning of mess and shenanigans. And the little sentinel ate silently. The one with the largest sweet tooth, the stuffer of anything saccharine, sugar stealer, ingenious chocolate hider. That one, battled her candied tongue and slurped spicy tangy tomato rasam that day. Quietly. Obediently. Fully unaware that her runny nose needed all that pepper and spice. I know now for sure, coz she is me.

Choose fat, ripe and juicy ones

Choose fat, ripe and juicy ones

Cut to present day. And I war with my seven-year old to stop slurping the tangy South Indian soup. It has pepper and garlic and red chiles and its hot and medicinal. I mean, she is supposed to dislike it. All kids do. But here is mine. Sprawled on the floor, demanding more ghee and more rasam in her bowl of soft white rice. It’s close to eight years now, and I still stare at my girl in disbelief. She is so unlike me. Gone on the father, I mutter. Both have an unbelievable palette for spicy tangy tart stuff.

white rice is the best

white rice is the best

Saccharine love has diminished over the years, and rasam which was once gulped like venin, is now savoured with abundant paraphernalia.

Rasam is a South Indian tangy drink usually served with rice and other interesting sides. And if you are ever caught nursing a bad cold or a sore throat then this peppery drink will surely be guzzled down your food pipe… hot 😉

Lentils, lemon, beets are used to make a variety of rasam. But the most common and easiest and popular one is the tomato rasam. The method I use is handed over to me by my brother in laws wife, and it has never been easier to make it since. One of my most favourite ways lately.

that very essential dollop of ghee!

that very essential dollop of ghee!

Make sure you have a potful of hot boiled rice, white or brown. Some ghee to serve. And I usually accompany the meal with some vegetable side like the one shown below. A cabbage carrot beans melange. Dry sauté with a tempering of curry leaves, green chilies and garnished with grated coconut and cilantro.

keep it light and simple

keep it light and simple

I have no idea about the science behind this, but I am making this statement – Food, especially, Indian Food tastes better when you eat with your hands. Its more intimate, more comforting. I can’t explain. It just is. So try it. Learning to use chopsticks was hard?! try scooping off watery rasam from a flat plate with your fingers. That’s art too.

Tastes better when you dip your fingers in the bowl

Tastes better when you dip your fingers in the bowl

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 5-6 red ripe tomatoes, washed and chopped.
  • 1/2 tbsp of ghee
  • 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig of curry leaf
  • 1 whole dried red chili
  • 1 small onion or few baby onions/shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tsp red chili powder or as per your taste
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, grated – optional.
  • coriander leaves to garnish.

Method

In a thick bottomed pan, heat ghee. Splutter mustard seeds. sauté red chili, curry leaves and sliced onions till pink. Throw in chopped tomatoes along with salt, turmeric and red chili powder. cover and cook till the tomatoes become mushy and fat leaves the sides. Approx 10 minutes. Once that is done, add 1 glassful of water. Give it a boil. Grate garlic and sprinkle pepper powder – give it another boil. Switch the flame off, mix in juice of 1/2 a lime and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot!

Life's good

Life’s good

Note: Quantity of water can be increased or decreased according to the consistency you prefer. I like mine thin and runny, so I usually add more than a glassful.

Note: Tamarind, boiled lentils, rasam powder are all variations. You can try different types by adding these accordingly.

Note: For those who do not like to use onion and garlic, you can skip both, and flavour the soup with a bit of asofoetida or hing.

Eat it hot!

Eat it hot!

Its been one amazing year for Angie and her wonderful co hosts who throw this weekly visual potluck parties. So we are all celebrating! Thanks to the growing popularity and contribution to the event, the celebrations are extended for a two week program. Though I was unable to contribute to the last week’s appetiser and drink event, I make it up with another main course! So please run over to Angie’s First-Fiesta-Friday Anniversary and check out the various mouth watering link ups.

Oats Pongal

My first post of this year and hopefully I will blog more, photograph more and eat less. Wishful thinking or new year resolve? 😉

Oats Pongal

Oats Pongal

Now Oats Pongal seems like an apt recipe to start your year with. While embarking on something new or long, usually the zeal is fresh, spirits high and your resolutions loud and clear. It’s the time of the year when you will exercise, because you just resolved to, you will watch what you eat because you just drew up that cheeky crazy diet plan to be diligently followed from January 2nd. It’s the time of the year when you do things that you want to do the entire year but really don’t do it 🙂

So while you’re still on that rickety I-will-follow-all-my-resolutions ride, try this wonderful totally healthier version of the humble rice pongal made with oats and moong dal. Oooh so warm and comforting to hold a bowl full of this on a nice cold winter morning.

Skip the rice and use your oats

Skip the rice and use your oats

I am not fond of oatmeal. We Indians, usually like to kick start our day with something savoury… give us idlis, dosas, poha, upma, sandwich and we lick our plates clean and head out smiley and strong! Try putting sweet porridge in front of us and we crinkle our noses and take an hour to finish that bowl. But Oats has to be adopted. Its good, Its heart healthy, It watches your weight…ring in my ear persistently, and I find ways to make this grain savoury 🙂

Pongal is a warm mushy South Indian rice dish, seasoned with black peppercorns, cumin and a bit of asafoetida. This version, skips the rice and substitutes it with oats. So those who have given the rice a miss, this meal is tasty, filling and totally guilt free!

A big bowl fills up all

A big bowl fills up all

The Recipe:

Ingredients

1/2 cup yellow split moong dal
3/4 cup quick cooking oats (I used Quakers)
salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
water – 5/6 cups

Tempering:

1 tsp ghee or butter
5/6 chopped cashewnuts
3 curry leaves
1 green chili, slit – optional
6-7 whole peppercorns
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
a pinch of asafoetida

Garnish – 1/2 tsp each of coriander leaves and grated coconut

Method

Wash and soak moong dal for an hour or so. If you don’t have time to soak, use as it is.

In a wide pan, dry roast the oats for 4 minutes. Once done, remove and keep aside. Remove all the water from the dal, in the same pan, roast the soaked moong dal for a couple of minutes.

Now, in a heavy bottomed sauce pan, boil the dal with 3 cups of water, season with turmeric and salt. Cook till mushy. At this stage add oats along with 1 cup water. Cook till the oats and moong dal mix and come together. Add more water as per your desired consistency. Give it a boil or two and switch of the flame and keep the pan covered.

For the tempering, heat ghee, roast cashews till they turn golden. Keep aside. Then crackle cumin, add asafoetida, add curry leaves, green chilies, pepper corns. Saute for a minute. Pour this tempering on the pongal. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and grated coconut.

Serve with curd or green chutney or raita.

Break your fast with a big bowl

Break your fast with a big bowl

Note: Oats absorb a lot of water and tend to thicken quickly. For soft mushy pongal, add water in intervals and check for consistency.

Note: Feel free to add chopped vegetables like spinach, peas, carrot. You can add the vegetables after cooking the moong dal and before throwing in the oats.

Healthy eating

Healthy eating

Wishing you a very Happy New Year! Hope you get all that you wish for 🙂

Appams and Vegetable Stew

My eyes widened with surprise. ‘They have an english name?! Really? Oh wow’.
Hoppers, he said.
‘Hoppers? So funny’, I was skeptical. He didn’t bother to elaborate and I googled an hour later 🙂

Lacy Hoppers is the anglicized name given to these lacy soft delicious pancakes made with rice and coconut milk. A speciality of a state tucked away in the south west corner of India. Kerala.

Vegetable Stew and Appams, a Kerala Speciality

Vegetable Stew and Appams, a Kerala Speciality

Kerala, commonly referred to as ‘God’s own Country’ is dotted with majestic hills, serene backwaters and palm fringed beaches. Along with its incredible beauty, highest literacy in a state, the place boasts of many gastronomical surprises. Kerala cuisine has a multitude of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes prepared using fish, poultry and red meat. Since coconuts grow in abundance, the keralites use them in and on everything. Literally.

Creamy coconut gravy

Creamy coconut gravy

A thin vegetable stew simmered in coconut milk, flavored with whole spices like cinnamon and bay leaf and garnished with a tempering of curry leaves. Sounds good? Yes, even better with soft lacy pancakes. I used to make them so often earlier. And then in between I just stopped. I don’t know why. Maybe we got bored and then I simply forgot about them. Well, the husband reminded me and out came the aching desire to eat these hoppers with a runny stew.

Appams are bowl-shaped thin pancakes made from fermented rice flour. They take their shape from the small Appachatti in which they are cooked. They are fairly neutral in taste and mostly served with some spicy condiment or curry. These hoppers are made from a batter using rice, yeast, salt and a little sugar. After the mixture has stood for a couple of hours, it can be fried in the appachatti with a little oil. It is mostly served with Kadala (Chickpea) curry, mutton or vegetable stew or egg roast.

PLAIN HOPPERS/AAPPAMS

In an appam chatti

In an appa chatti

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked rice, soaked. I used normal kolam rice.
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup fresh coconut pieces
  • coconut water to grind, optional.
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • little oil to make the appams.

Method

Soak the rice for at least 3/4 hours. Grind the soaked rice, cooked rice and coconut using coconut water to a smooth paste. Add salt and sugar. Let it stand for at least 6 hours.

Before using the batter, add baking soda. Mix well. Now heat an appa chatti or a you can use any non stick small wok. Add just nne drop of oil to ensure that the batter doesn’t stick. Now drop a ladlefull of batter. Pick up the appa chatti in your hands, twirl it, so that the batter forms a lace around the middle portion. Place back on flame, cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or till the sides start to leave the pan.

Serve with any curry, or stew or any non vegetarian curry of your choice.

Note: The batter though fermented is not one bit sour. Maybe because of the natural mild sweetness from the coconuts and the addition of 1/4 tsp of sugar.

Thin soft delicious

Soft Lacy Delicious

VEGETABLE STEW

Simple flavorful curry

Simple flavorful curry

Ingredients

  • 1 cup assorted vegetables, I used carrots, beans, cauliflower, potatoes, peas and capsicum – chopped.
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger garlic, minced
  • 3/4 green chilies, minced – optional
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 big bay leaf
  • 2 cardamoms
  • 4-5 pods of black pepper
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 cups coconut milk, I used store brought.
  • Tempering: 1 tsp oil, 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and few sprigs of curry leaves.

Method

In a pot, heat coconut oil. Saute the whole spices till fragrant. Now add the ginger garlic, green chilies and onions. Saute till they just turn pink. Add all the chopped vegetables, along with salt. Pour half the coconut milk along with 1/4 cup water. Mix, cover and let it simmer till the vegetables are almost done.

Now stir in the rest of the coconut milk and let it boil for a minute or two. Make a tempering of oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Pour over the stew.

Serve hot with appams or plain rice or dosas.

Note: Since coconut milk is used generously, the stew needs to be spiced in order to be enjoyed with lacy appams. So I would suggest up the heat from the green chilies and peppers according to your taste.

Add any vegetable of your choice

Add any vegetable of your choice

Radish leaves Stir Fry, South Indian Style

Radish leaves stir fry with coconut

Radish leaves stir fry with coconut

Bargaining at the local produce market is a classic case of being penny wise pound foolish, according to the ever critical husband. But I do what I do. It’s a matter of self-satisfaction. The okra doesn’t just taste as good if not bought a rupee less. He calls me Cheapo. I take a bow.

Well, it was in this very situation, when I was haggling for a few drumsticks to be sold a penny cheaper, that a very chic lookin lady caught my eye. She came haughtily to the stall I was sweetly squabbling at.

‘Mooli chaiye, jaldi do’ she seemed in a hurry. Give me radish. Quickly.

The intimidated vendor dashes a pair of handsome radish, fresh as dew drop with glistening green leaves. Oh! yumm.. I must buy some too .. were my immediate thoughts. What she did next was so startling that both the guy and me were dumbstruck for a few seconds.

The lady tears those beautiful leaves with such fervor and tosses them aside, dishes into her purse, flashes a 10 buck and literally throws them at the vegetable seller’s face. With only the radish neatly tucked under her arms, she vanishes as soon as she appeared.

Oh! I sigh, the vendor regains his composure and we both look at each other. The first thing I do is pick up those beautiful green leaves and announce that I am taking these – for FREE 🙂 He laughs. Hard. I bought some radishes too. I paid for them, don’t worry.
We cannot really change the world, but a few smiles here and there, just because of you seems like a life worth living.

Tossing the greens aside is like the most stupidest thing to do. Radish leaves have more of Iron, Calcium, Vitamin C, phosphorous than the radish itself. The leaves of radish are diuretic, antiscorbutic and have a laxative effect. But maybe the poor lady didn’t know, lets give her the benefit of doubt.

The ingredients

The ingredients

Mother makes the greens in a typical north Indian style. She calls it mooli ki bhurji. I did not really care for it then, but now as we turn more aware and conscious of what we put in our mouth, the leaves take their place back in on our plates.
But dinner that night was rice and simple drumstick dal made the south Indian way. So I decided to try the leaves in a different style.

Taste best with rice and ghee

Taste best with rice and ghee

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped radish leaves
  • 10-12 sambhar onions/shallots or 1 big onion chopped
  • 4 pods of minced garlic
  • a tiny piece of grated ginger
  • 2-3 green chilies, minced
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh coconut
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp urad dal
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • salt to taste

Method

In a pan, heat oil. When slightly hot, add the urad dal and fry till they turn orange. At this stage add mustard seeds, curry leaves, garlic, ginger, green chilies and chopped onions. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Now add the radish leaves along with salt. Stir fry on medium heat till the leaves wilt and combine with the rest of ingredients into a soggy type mass.

Switch the flame off. Sprinkle grated coconut. Enjoy over a bed of rice and some fresh home-made ghee… ah so yumm!

Just a hint of ginger garlic

Just a hint of ginger garlic

Note: Shallots taste best in south Indian curries, although other onions would work well. But I like my kootus/poriyals etc with the shallots.

Note: You can have the stir fry just as a salad on its own, incase you are avoiding rice or other carbs.

Healthy and yummy!

Healthy and yummy!

I was on a Go green mission with my daughter the entire march, and using these leaves for my best out of waste dinner seemed just perfect for me. What do you think?

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

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.

Beetroot Poriyal/Stir Fry

The one which your mom and grandmom goaded you to eat. The one which your doctor prescribed you when your iron dropped low. The one which health articles glorify n coax to adopt in your diet plan. The one where your friends misled spinning tall tales of cheeks turning red if you eat the root.
A vegetable that is an antidote for anemia, fatigue, stamina and cancer is naturally a must include in your daily diet.

That. That plain old humble Beetroot is what we are talking about.

Beetroot Stir Fry/Poriyal

Beetroot Stir Fry/Poriyal

My love for South Indian Stir fries must be familiar to you(no? well.. you know it now 🙂 ). Simply sauteed veggies in minimal oil, seasoned with curry leaves, lentils and garnished with loads of coriander and coconut – I DIGGG!

If you are not a fan of Beet’s earthy taste, you will be surprised how just 1-2 cloves of garlic and some curry leaves can camouflage the rawness and infuse amazing flavors to the dish.

Almost a Salad

Almost a Salad

This stir fry is very versatile. Husband likes tangy rasam, ghee and soft white rice with it, where as the child relishes the vegetable with her curd-rice. Me? Well, I had mine plain(I’m trying to lose some weight…shhh)

Grated Beetroot

Grated Beetroot

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grated beetroot, depending on the size, you may need 2-3.
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small tiny piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • 4-5 fresh green curry leaves
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds and mustard seeds mixed
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut, or as much as you desire
  • salt to taste
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • coriander leaves to garnish.

Method

In a wok, heat oil. Saute the urad dal. Once reddish, splutter the cumin and mustard seeds. Throw in the garlic, ginger, green chili and curry leaves. Fry just for a minute or so. Quickly add the grated beetroot. Add salt. Now stir fry on medium flame for not more than 5 minutes. Switch the flame off. Mix in the coconut and lime juice. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Thats it.
Serve hot or cold.

Enjoy it with rice or rotis or simply as a salad, your call.

Simple, healthy and delicious

Simple, healthy and delicious

Not a fan of garlic? Skip it, and add asafetida/hing when tempering. My mom tells me not to mix garlic and asafetida ever. If you are using garlic, then skip the hing and vice versa. Don’t ask me why though.
They all(mom’s grandmom’s) have amazing age old tips which work although most refuse to give any proper rhyme or reason.

Gone in no time!

Gone in no time!

Losing weight sure is a monumental task. It makes me think of food all the time.. just so defying the idea of avoiding food… Ah! And they say when you are hungry, everything tastes good.
So here I polished my bit in no time, so does it mean the saute was actually not that yumm as I believed it to be?
Well, you try and let me know.

Carrot Beans Stir fry Salad / Poriyal

Carrot beans poriyal

Carrot beans poriyal

Simple vegetable stir fry seasoned with chana dal and mustard seeds flavored with coconut and coriander is PORIYAL in Tamil. Poriyals can be made with any vegetable of your choice. It is inanely simple to prepare and delicious with hot soft white rice(SIN!!).

Settled in Mumbai for the past 5 years has not diminished my love for South Indian food. Infact, since I am not in Bangalore anymore where ever increasing in number Darshinis(self service South Indian restaurants) serve awesome authentic Karnataka/Tamil food, I try to make as much of it at home.

Almost a salad!

Almost a salad!

These simple poriyals have fresh diced veggies in minimal spices and oil with just a wee bit of tempering. SO, its almost a salad. Most of the time you will find yourself eating it all by itself sans the sinful rice. Along with a big bowl of lentil soup(Daal), it accomplishes to make a complete meal for those weight watchers.

Great alternative to those chewy boring salads.

Great alternative to those chewy boring salads.

A list of different vegetables that can make a yummy poriyal awaits for you at the end. But for now, its the recipe in queue:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped french beans
  • 1 spoon oil
  • 2 tbsp channa dal, split bengal gram
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 pinches asafetida
  • 3-4 curry leaves, torn
  • 2 green chilies, slit lenghtwise – use accordingly
  • 1 tiny piece of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp grated fresh coconut – reduce the quantity if you don’t like the taste
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves to garnish

Method

In a pan, heat oil. Roast channa dal on medium heat till light brown. Splutter mustard seeds at this stage. Sprinkle asafetida. Next goes in the curry leaves, green chilies and ginger and the diced veggies. Sprinkle salt and turmeric powder. Cover and cook till almost done. I like some bite to the veggies, so I leave it at 3/4 th done. But I personally know many who like their vegetables fully cooked. So, your call.

Once done, sprinkle coconut, lime juice and coriander. Mix well. Turn the flame off.
Serve with hot rice or chappathis or enjoy them on their own.
This is one dish that need not be reheated. It tastes yumm even when cold( and I don’t mean, straight out from the fridge).

Orange and Green... reminds me of our Indian Flag.

Orange and Green… reminds me of our Indian Flag.

Note:
If you want your veggies to reflect the natural bright color, don’t cover and cook. Let the veggies be done without the lid and stir frying in between so as not to burn the contents.
Chances are your mom would scold you for doing this. The nutrients vanish in thin air .. literally, but when we lidd the contents, the goodness doesnt go away. So they say.

But, what I do is: When Im having guests over, and if this is on the menu, I let the colors shine, as presentation and colors should appeal to my guests. But when I make it regularly at home, I retain the goodness.
PS: For the pictures that you see… you know what I did..;)

I like some crunch!

I like some crunch!

Vegetables that you can use:
1. Single vegetable can be made from using only carrot/beans/beetroot/cabbage/bottle gourd/potato/radishes/pumpkin
2. Combination of two – carrot-beans / carrot-beets / carrot-cabbage / beans- potato / beans cabbage
3. Boiled chickpeas can be used, and the dish is called “Sundal”, for this you skip the fried bengal gram.
4. Boiled peanuts made into a poriyal make a very tasty and healthy snack.

If you know of any more combinations, do drop me a line.

Regular fare in any South Indian Home

Regular fare in any South Indian Home

Mung Lentil Cucumber Salad / Mung Dal Kosambari

My entry to Vardhini’s(Cook Joy) Dish It Out – Lentils/Legumes and Vegetable Event.

Dishing it Out!

Dishing it Out!

The husband went to detox in a naturopathy center for a few days. Spoilt silly with organic home-grown produce. Body toned with innumerable varied massages, system cleansed with assorted therapies like colon and the soul enriched with meditation and yoga. Yea, I know. Wow! He comes back all de-stressed, reenergized, rejoiced and renewed. And fussy about what he puts in his mouth.

Mung lentil cucumber salad/kosambari

Mung lentil cucumber salad/kosambari

The yogi now wants all things satvic. Less oil. Less salt. Less spice. No bread. No this. Less that. Phew! More headache- For me.
But, in an attempt to be supportive, I indulge the new (hopefully temporary) ascetic.
Hence, along with the usual fare, my to-make list now includes, salads and soups and other fresh eats.

Earthy and Healthy!

Earthy and Healthy!

Kosambari is a South Indian salad, where usually raw split lentil and a salad vegetable is combined and seasoned with asafetida and mustard seeds, garnished with coconut and coriander leaves. Sounds Good? Trust me, its earthy, rustic, flavorful and a wonderful deviation from the usual salads.

It’s so simple to make and with all the ingredients readily available in any indian kitchen, it’s a quick tasty surprise!!

The recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup split yellow mung dal/mung lentil, washed and soaked for at least 3 hours
  • 1 medium sized cucumber, diced
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • salt to taste
  • Optional: juice of 1/2 a lime.

For the Tempering:

  • 1/2 spoon of olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 pinches asafetida
  • 3-4 curry leaves, torn
  • 1-2 green chilies, slit – vary according to your taste
  • 1 red chili, broken

Method

Wash your pre soaked mung lentil again, drain all the water. Add diced cucumbers, coconut, coriander leaves and salt. Keep aside.
Make a tempering by heating oil. Splutter mustard seeds, asafoetida. Throw in the curry leaves, green chilies and broken red chili. Saute for a minute or two. Pour this seasoning on your cucumber mung lentil amalgam. If using lime juice, mix it now. Give a good mix to all the ingredients.
Chill for 30 minutes.
Enjoy with a glass of flavored spiced butter milk. Oh so yumm!

Down south, this simple salad is eaten with rice, rasam and a vegetable dish. Its a must serve in traditional south indian weddings, especially in Karnataka.

Aromatic Tempering of asafoetida and spices

Aromatic Tempering of asafoetida and spices

Consumption of this highly nutritious simple salad assuages the bickering between the husband wife duo. Both call it a day and retire peacefully to start another morning with more teasing, more demands, more nagging and more trivial arguments, but… food mitigates the disagreements and laces it with humor and affection.
Such is life. Such is my Life. 🙂

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