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 πŸ˜‰

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 sautΓ© 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. sautΓ© 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? πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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

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 πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

Light, filling and delicious

Light, filling and delicious

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 πŸ™‚ ). 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.

Pongal

The husband gave up food 3 days back. Unusual weight gain was the culprit. As luck would have it, I’ve landed myself with a case of excessive extremism. My objection was deemed, un supportive, so I shut my case. I let nature take it’s course.
But 3 days without food was enough to put the hungry back into track. He asked for something to “eat”. I silently heaved a sigh of relief, careful not to belittle his accomplishment, I suggested various healthy alternatives to break the fast.
After careful deliberation, he whispered, “pongal”.

An ideal breakfast

An ideal breakfast

Pongal is a south indian rice and lentil porridge or khichdi. It is minimally spiced smeared with the goodness of ghee. Being light on the digestive tract, it’s usually fed to all age groups, be it a 6 month old baby or an ailing 80 year old. Hing or asafoetida imparts a wonderful flavour to this soft slightly mashed, highly nutritious tamilian breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup raw rice, washed, and soaked
  • 1/2 cup split yellow mung dal
  • 3 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp of ghee
  • 10 to 15 of whole peppercorns
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • Hing – 1 pinch
  • Cashew nuts – 10 to 15 broken
  • Ginger – 1 teaspoons finely minced
  • Curry leaves – 5-7 leaves
  • 2-3 dry red chilies
  • Salt
  • 1 medium sized piece of coconut, grated
  • Garnish: Chopped coriander

Method

Firstly, wipe the mung dal with a cloth. In a pan, heat ghee. Once hot, throw in the cumin seeds, red chilies, curry leaves, asafoetida, whole peppercorns and the dry wiped mung dal. Saute till the dal turns into a slightly darker shade of yellow. Now add the grated coconut, rice, water and salt. Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. Else, cook in a pan, till it is of mashable consistency. Once done, remove in a bowl, garnish with chopped coriander and top it again with ghee.

Roast the cashew nuts in slight ghee or just toast them. Use it as a garnish or throw in the pongal and mix well.

To serve: you could serve it with coconut chutney or with cucumber raitha or simply with a bowl of curds.

Healthy, Light and Yummy. Ideal for breakfasts. It’s filling and gives you enough energy to last a good couple of hours.

It gives me inexplicable satisfaction to see my family well fed and well taken care of. When wholesome food like a simple humble pongal makes way into the systems of my loved ones, I relax and repose. At least for some time. Let my worries, worry me later.

A South Indian Delicacy

A South Indian Delicacy

Red amaranth leaves with channa dal

December to march is the best time to feast on the freshest produce available. Tis my favorite time of the year.
The fruits and vegetables have a different color and flavour in them!

Abundantly available at this time of the year is Red amaranth leaves. Amaranth leaves are similar in taste to spinach but with a stronger flavor and cook very easily. In terms of nutrition, amaranth has a higher concentrations of calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamins.

One of my neighbor friend, who is a Tamilian Brahmin, made this wonderful leaf with channa dal(split bengal gram lentil). I just loved it. After a couple of tries, I finally got this dried curry, right. With a blend of grated coconut and a hint of garlic, it’s a recipe to be shared and tried.

The red color camouflage the rest.

The red color camouflages the rest.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch amaranth leaves, washed, chopped.
  • 1 small cup split bengal gram, soaked for at least 2-3 hours
  • 1 medium sized onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 green chili, minced
  • 1 big piece of fresh coconut, grated
  • 2 dried red chilies
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder(haldi)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp oil

Method

In a pan, heat oil. When its hot enough, add mustard seeds. Let it splutter. Now throw in the garlic, onions, green chilis and red chilis. Saute till pinkish. Then add the soaked channa dal, along with salt and turmeric powder. Fry till the lentils are 1/2 cooked. Now add the chopped amaranth leaves. Mix well. Cover and cook. Keep checking on it as you have not added any water, and you would not want to burn it down.
Keep stirring till all the water released from the leaves has dried. When it’s almost done, you throw in the grated coconut. Give it a good mix. Stir till all the water has evaporated. The result should be a dry, not too mashed vegetable.
Remove into a bowl, and serve hot with rice and ghee or with chappathis/rotis.

The day I made this, did not feel like eating rotis or rice. So I made plain cracked wheat porridge/dalia. A combination of porridge, yoghurt and this super healthy curry. Wow. I felt like a harbinger of good health;)

Souled out

Souled out

Quick Tomato Rasam

On cold, chilly evenings, when you crave for something spicy, light and filling – this tomato rasam is your knight in shining armour. Its ready in a jiffy, and you really dont need many ingredients to make this. The lesser you throw in, the better the result. Plain white soft rice, a pappad, pickle and your family is all that you need as an accompaniment to this tangy soup.

Tomatoes, Tangy and Tasty.

Tomatoes, Tangy and Tasty.

Ingredients –

  • 4-5 ripe red round tomatoes, chopped finely.
  • 3-4 whole dried red chilies
  • 1 tiny onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste, 1/2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp of lime juice
  • To Garnish: chopped coriander.

Method –

In a kadai, heat oil. Add the onions, fry them till they turn pinkish.Throw in the red chilies. Now add the chopped tomatoes.
A little word on the kind of tomatoes to be used: I took the fat round juicy ones, called the “desi” tomatoes. They are more tangy, flavourful and they cook faster as they are super fleshy on the insides. You can use the plum tomato variety, if these are not available.

So, back to the method, along with the tomatoes, add salt and red chili powder. Mix well, cover and cook for almost 15 minutes, till the tomato has reduced to a pulpy state. I mean, you need to saute it real well. It should be like a chutney. Now to this add (150-200) ml of water. Give it a boil. Add grated garlic from top. Mix once. Turn off the flame, add lime juice and coriander. Serve it as a soup or with rice, papad, pickle and potato fries.

Super easy, isnt it? No dal, no grinding, no heavy masalas. Simple flavourful and yummy.

Ideal for chilly evenings.

Ideal for chilly evenings.

The day I made this rasam, I even prepared the potato fries. The complete ensemble is for you to drool over:

Complete south indian meal.

Complete south indian meal.