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 🙂

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Mixed Sprouts Curry

Mixed Sprouts Sabzi/Vegetable

Mixed Sprouts Sabzi/Vegetable

We joined the race. Long back though. But in order to revive the spirit of the so-called rat race I plunged again into a foray of ‘healthy food’. So I make greens one day, sprouts the next. Give porridge for dinner to sulky faces and sell squash soup as ‘the tastiest’ thing on earth. Yes, God gave them all a good mind of their own. Who am I trying to fool? sigh! I think I am just convincing myself that if I cook healthy, my family would be far from disease, pain and suffering. Ah, well.

So in those times when I go manic with my cooking, the family sorts out the yummy from the yucky. Some of the healthier stuff actually does taste good (please ask Elaine of foodbod.. she eats healthy ALL the time! I envy you Elaine 🙂 ), like this sprouts curry I made the other day.

Sprouted and ready

Sprouted and ready

I mostly always mix all my beans/lentils to sprout. Its never only mung beans or only dew beans. A handful of mung, some dew beans(mat/moth), throw in some small black chick pea, a bit of dried white peas or anything you like! Soak overnight. Drain the water. Tie them all in a muslin cloth, sprinkle water over the tied cloth basket. Keep it for a day or two and let them germinate!

Mixed Sprouts

Mixed Sprouts

You can have them raw or cooked. I go the mid way usually. Cooking them a little bit till the raw smell and taste disappears but retaining the crunch. If you want to know more about sprouts, read here.

With Chappathis, pickle and salad

With Chappathis, pickle and salad

The Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup mixed sprouts
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • a piece of ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chopped green chilies – optional
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder or as desired
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • juice of 1/2 a lime, salt to taste
  • coriander leaves to garnish

Method

In a wok/kadai, heat oil. Splutter cumin seeds. Throw in the garlic, onions, ginger and green chilies. Saute till the onions turn translucent. Now add the tomatoes along with all the said spices. cover and cook till the oil starts to leave the sides of the wok. This may take about 10 minutes or so. Now add the sprouted lentils. sprinkle 2-3 tsp of water. Cover and cook till the sprouts are half done. I like mine not very mushy, so I add the sprouts in the end, but you could add it earlier in case you like them fully cooked.

Switch the flame off. Sprinkle lime juice and garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve as a salad or with chappathis or with any pulao or simple plain hot steaming rice.

Simple Nutritious lunch

Simple Nutritious lunch

Now for a note of caution:
Germinated raw food does not usually suit everyone. People suffering from gastric problems can get very uncomfortable after a small bowl of sprouts. Cooking the beans is easier to digest.

I suffer from migraine, and whenever I eat sprouts for dinner or raw, I end up with a splitting headache. Whereas, cooking the grains, having them during the day and combining them with garlic and ginger helps me get the best of everything that they have to offer 🙂

Try a bite

Try a bite

This curry passed the acid test with my family’s taste buds. You try it too and if they don’t like it… well, I have some other recipes up my sleeve to include these wonder beans in your daily diet. 😉

Creamy Broccoli and Lentil Soup

A bowl full of health.

A bowl full of health.

Ingredients –

  • a cup full of broccoli florets
  • a fistful of yellow split mung dal
  • a fistful of orange masur dal
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 sprigs of green garlic
  • 1/2 a tsp of olive oil
  • pepper powder and salt to taste
  • A tbsp of chopped spring onion leaves
  • optional – 2 tablespoons of minced mixed veggies like carrot, beans and green bell pepper

Method –

In a pot, heat oil, fry the onions and chopped garlic, along with its aromatic stems. Then throw in the broccoli, along with the lentils. Fry for another minute. Add 4 cups of water and salt. I, transferred the pot into a pressure cooker, and whistled it for about 5 whistles. Once the soup is out of the cooker, run a blender through it. The result is a creamy frothy slightly green liquid. Yumm!

Add your freshly grounded pepper powder. Garnish with chopped spring onion leaves.

If u need a little bite with your soup( like, how my husband does), add semi sautéed mixture of minced veggies. There! You’re done. Along with toasted garlic bread, this super healthy soup tastes simply divine!

Add minced veggies for that extra bite.

Add minced veggies for that extra bite.