Welcome aboard!

Indian cuisine is a riot of colours, flavours, and spices. Every state has its own unique culture- ingrained taste bud. And, to many of us staying within familiar tastes is a sacrosanct act. Of course an occasional trip to a speciality restaurant that serves another fare is ok. But, as a matter of routine ...at home...NO!

One of the benefits of being born to parents who dared an interstate marriage (am talking about India of the 70's) was being able to widen a regional taste bud to accept, experiment and, relish eclectic cuisines :-)

I love food! Be it traditional or fusion, cooking is all about turning out fare that is tasty and healthy.I welcome all lovers of good food to come on aboard and share your kitchen adventures.

If you like what you see, do leave a comment. If you don't, please leave a suggestion to help me make this better.

You can also request for any recipe you want. Just leave a note in a comment box.

Happy cooking!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry X'mas

Monday, December 21, 2009

Introducing The Hunger site for those yet unaware

I speak 'food' and 'recipes' out here in my tiny nook. While we are mooting if the nutritional quotient of potatoes are inferior to sweet potatoes; if flax seeds boost heart health or the immune system more; if the more expensive, fancier grains at our neighbourhood organic stores are a better alternatives to rice and millet...pause...every 3.6 seconds a little someone dies for lack of basic sustenance.
Let's join in the fight against hunger.The Indian tradition says, 'Annadanam Mahadanam'. Translated this means, feeding the hungry is the most pious of all charitable acts.

Since, we are on the topic of food and recipes, let's do our little bit 'annadhanam'.

The Hunger Site is a valid internet campaign. The concept works this way - a number of corporate sponsors place their advertisements on the said site. Each time a visitor clicks on the "Click To Give" button on the home page , he/she is automatically navigated towards the page that has sponsor ads. Each of these clicks are counted and the sponsor pays the promoters the equivalent of 1.1 cups of food. The promoters distribute this accumulated fund to feed target needy population in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and North America.

It doesn't cost you anything, so why not click. I've been doing this for the past 2 years.

Click on Logo to reach the hunger site

The Hunger Site

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Coconut flavoured wheat halwa and a story

My husband is a november born saggitarian. Basically a nice guy and very sweet but where temperaments and habits are concerened we are poles apart. I believe and thrive on little gifts, remembering dates, candle light dinners , barefoot walks on the beach, and flowers. Hubby tries hard but still requires reminders and prodes (sometimes as blatant as, "Hey, remember tommorrow is my birthday, what about a bouquet, huh?" ).

I remember dates and go all the way out and plan! It takes effort for him to get over the "shock" err...surprise of these episodes The first birthday after we got married was the one that caught him completely unawares. I got a made to order lovely, heart shaped birthday cake, a big bouquet, loads of balloons, candles, and returned from work early to cook a full fledged four course dinner. Conspired with our landlady who lived on the first floor to lock me in so that hubby would return as usual by 7PM, open the door using his own key, and then I would surprise him by suddenly switching on the lights and giving him a magnificent display of all the goodies bought and cooked.

Everything would have gone fine except for the fact that hubby's spare key refused to turn the lock that evening. I listened to him twist and turn it for a full five minutes before switching on the lights inside. The poor guy thought we had burglars inside! By the time I tried opening from within, he was at his wits end and thought I was deliberately playing the fool and locking him outside. Anyway, in all that ruckus our landlady rushed down and saved the situation by opening the door with my key which was with her.

After this I keep my surprises a little more predicatable! This time, with Abhi around and me being stuck without a driving license, decided the simplest way would be to just cook something special. Made a coconut flavoured wheat halwa. Did not have the time to patiently stir it till it reached the consistency where it could be cut into neat blocks. It was just as fine scooped by a spoon! And, guess what! Had just bought a Luminare juice jug set and upon opening found a pretty looking ashtray along with the jug, glasses, and snack jars. Both of us don't smoke or encourage smokers in the house. To cut a long story short, decided the ash tray would make a spectacular receptacle for my halwa! And, before you ask...No, I have not lost my nuts during pregnancy...well, not all...

Broken wheat (sambha godumai/bulgar) - 2 cups

Coconut palm jaggery - 150 gms (if unavailable, just use plain jaggery)

Coconut milk - 100 ml ( I used readymade coconut milk powder)

Cardamom (Elaichi) - 5 Nos

Fresh coconut pieces - 1/4 cup

Canola oil - 1/2 cup

Soak wheat overnight. Pulverize to smooth paste adding a little warm water.Place a fine pored sieve over a deep vessal or alternatively drape a thin muslin cloth over the mouth of the vessal. Strain the wheat paste through this. If using the sieve, coax out all the milk by pressing with a ladle. If using the cloth, secure it over the top of the vessal and allow the milk to slowly trickle out. The white whey you get is wheat milk.

In a seperate vessel boil about 150 ml water and dissolve jaggery. Filter to remove scum. Pour this into a thick bottomed skillet and simmer till it reaches a thick,syrupy texture. Pour in the wheat milk and the coconut milk, simmer stir till the mixture reaches a jam like consistency.
Cut the coconut into tiny bits and fry them till golden brown. Add these, the cardamom seeds, and canola oil to the halwa mixture. Keep stirring till the oil gives a glazy coating to the wheat mixture. Voila, halwa ready!

By the way, hubby loved it, huh.

Sending this across to the Food for 7 Stages of Life - DDPI (15-24 yrs) event being hosted at Sourashtrakitchen and co-hosted by http://bengalicuisine.net/

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Simple Spinach soup

I saw an expat celebrity chef's show on TV the other day. She was making a spinach based gravy. Her method was to boil lots of water , cook the spinach in it, drain the water and dunk the leaves in cold water! "Preserves the color", she chirped! I was outraged at the sheer waste of all those fabulous nutrients. Why not preserve the nutrients instead! Greens are delicate store houses of nutrients. Treat them easy. Here's a quick n healthy spinach soup going right to Sunshine mom's TumyumTreats Monthly Mingle - Soups event. The Monthly mingle event was started by Meeta of "What's for lunch, Honey?".

Fresh Spinach (palak) - 1 medium sized bunch
Coriander leaves (cilantro) - 3 to 4 sprigs
Shallot - 1
Ginger - 1/2"piece
Green chillies - 4 Nos (more or less)
Low fat milk - 1/2 cup
Grated parmesan - enough for sprinkling over each serve
Salt to taste

Rinse the greens well. Slice up the shallot, ginger, and green chillies. Place these and the greens in a thick bottomed pan. Cover and simmer cook till the leaves wilt (3-4 minutes). Blend to smooth puree, add the milk and salt and simmer for a couple of minutes. Ladle onto serving bowls, sprinkle on grated parmesan.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ragi kool (finger millet porridge)

You see that big brown, crispy dosa (crepe) that forms the background to my blog's title? It's made of ragi (finger millet/nachani/kelvaragu/panjapullu). Apart from dosas, ragi makes wonderful adai, puttu, sevai,idli,and 'kool'(porridge).

In rural Tamil Nadu (in South India) ragi is most commonly used to make 'kool' a porridge kinda dish. When summer rages at its worst then ragi kool with buttermilk and a dash of salt is liberally consumed by villagers involved in hard, physical labour. This is said to neutralise the energy draining effects of the sun and the hard work at hand.

The sweet version of this 'kool' uses jaggery (indian unrefined sugar) and milk. Jaggery adds in essential iron to this fortifying, comfort food. When had slightly warm, this tastes like manna and used to be my instant whip up option when I was pregnant and midnight hunger pangs struck!

Ragi , a nutritional treasure trove is a great source of the essential amino acid, methionine. Methionine is essential for vitality. Ragi, especially if sprouted, goes a long way in supplementing the nutritional deficiencies caused by a diet of highly refined cereals like white rice.

Today, we had to take Abhi for inoculation early in the morning.A nice, warm bowl of ragi porridge with a few cubes of sliced pappaya made for a wonderfully nourshing, easy breezy breakfast.

For 1 serving

Ragi flour (you can buy it ready made, look for sprouted and ground varieties) - 20 gms (4 heaped teaspoonful)

Water - 2 cups

Jaggery syrup - 2 teaspoons

Milk - 1/4 cup

Mix in the ragi flour into luke warm water and set on stove top at medium heat. Keep stirring till the mixture thickens and gets a glazy appearance (about 5 minutes). Add the jaggery and milk, and stir for a couple more minutes. Take off flame and enjoy while warm.

To make Jaggery syrup

Jaggery is usually available as lumps, either golden brown or dark brown.The dark brown version is denser in minerals but the golden brown version is cleaner.Since jaggery is unrefined it can contain sediments. Boil about 250 ml water for 100 gms of jaggery. Place the lumps in and simmer to dissolve jaggery. Simmer on for an extra few minutes to allow the syrup to thicken. Filter to remove scum. Once cool, transfer into airtight containers, and refridgerate. Stays good for a month or more.

Ragi kool is off to the JFI - Ragi event on at Madhuram's Eggless cooking

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A relook at Falafel and Hummus

My favourite aunt emailed me yesterday. She wanted to know all that I remembered about Lebanon - the people, places, food et al because the new novel she was about to teach at school is set in Lebanon (she is a French teacher in a Canadian high school).Our stay at Beirut, Lebanon dates back to 2005. That's where my software hubby was catapulted to, just after our betrothal, by his parent company to work on a Middle East Airlines project. And after marriage, that's where my role of the 'trailing spouse' began

I loved the beautiful terrain. We lived in a serviced apartment a short walk from the corniche and the picturesque pigeon rocks.

Could go on about the place! But food is what matters out here
I'd earlier posted two famous Lebanese recipes along with the story behind my learning them, and I repost them now to make it easier for my athai to look up.

Falafel with Garlic labenah dip


Hummus (chickpea dip with sesame paste)


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Quick coconut laddu and rava kesari for Deepavali with baby

Helloooooooooooooooooooooooo! Back again after seven months!! Wish you all a very happy and delightful Deepavali.

I have my little girl with me now to celebrate deepavali with. She leaves me with very little time to cook or blog, but decided I just need to make a quickie something for her first deepavali. The easiest thing was to make the coconut laddu recipe that I had collected from a Nestle 'Milkmaid' condensed milk wrapper all the way back when I was at college. It takes just 10 minutes and minimal cooking to conjure them up.
In her fifth month, she is now ready to start with semi solid food, and so I also wanted to make something of which she could also take a teeny little bite. so decided on a quick fix rava kesari.

Coconut Laddu

Dessicated coconut - 150 gms (you could choose to use fresh grated coconut and toast it to perfection)
Sweetened condensed milk - 50 gms
Cardamom (elaichi)- 4 Nos

Powder the cardamom. In a thick bottomed vessel pour in the condensed milk and add the coconut. Turn down the flame to very low and stir the two together till they form a soft, pliant dough. Add the cardamom and keep stirring till a wonderful aroma emanates (all of 5-6 mts). While still warm shape lemon sized balls out of the mixture.
In another plate spread out some more dessicated coconut and roll the balls to give them a beautiful coating. Ready to eat!

Quick Rava Kesari

Roasted rava (semolina?cream of wheat) - 1 cup
Demerara sugar (you can use plain sugar) - 1/2 cup
Water - 3 cups
Ghee (clarified butter) - 1/4 cup
Raisins and nuts - a handful

Pour the ghee into a thick bottome dvessel along with all the other ingredients escept water. Let roast on low flame till the sugar starts to melt and the nuts start to roast (you will know by the smell). Add the water. Increase the flame to medium and keep stirring till the rava cooks into a gooey mixture of jam like consistency (about 7-8 minutes). Ready to go!

Take another look at the coconut laddu

Sending these over to Festive Food : Diwali Dhamaka hosted by Purva's Dawat. The event is on at http://purvasdaawat.blogspot.com/2009/10/diwali-dhamaka-announcement.html

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Just like that

I am travelling to India this Saturday. Started on my third trimester and my cut off time for flying is near! Everyone from back home tells me it's very very hot there! Not that the summers here are anywhere near mild!!!

Thought I'd spring clean the house before I leave (though not spring), but not able to do much. Thursday and friday is weekend out here and I still have some shopping and all my packing left. So friends, its tata for atleast a week now! The broadband in my little town in Kerala has it's own mood swings, so not sure how often I can get online.

Vibaas of vibaas-world.blogspot.com/ has passed me the cute circle of friends award. Thank you, Vibaas, for considering me a friend. I'd love to pass this onto all my blogger friends listed under my 'Foodie blogs I visit' list.

So, until we meet again friends...here's wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Aval dosai (Rice flakes dosa)

When I mentioned that my trip home to India for delivery was due soon, so many of you blogger friends turned up with good wishes. It felt so good to have met and made friends with so many like minded souls through blogging! Thank you all, my dear friends, for all your good wishes. Now to get to today's recipe, Aval dosai, a Tamil Nadu special.

Aval dosai has been one of my favourite tiffin items right from childhood. Growing up at my maternal grandmother's house at Salem, my childhood food preferences were greatly influenced by Tamilian cuisine. Amma, having relocated to dad's place at Kerala, has more or less given up on Tamilian fare except for when I turn up at home and ask her to make me something from grandma's kitchen. Aval dosai is one thing I make perfectly well at my kitchen but still ask amma to make for me whenever I visit her. Love it with pottu kadalai chutney (roasted gram). Here is my paatti (grandma) and amma's recipe for the yummilicious aval dosai...

Raw rice - 2 cups
Aval (Rice flakes/beaten rice/poha)- 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds (uluva/methi/vendayam) - 1 teaspoon
Sour curds (plain yoghurt)- 1 cup
For seasoning
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 2 Nos
Onion - 1 medium sized
Ginger - 1" piece
For tempering
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Dry red chillies - 2 Nos
Curry leaves - 3-4 sprigs
Bengal gram (Channa dal/ kadala paruppu)- 1 teaspoon

Wash and soak the rice and fenugreek seeds together for about 4 hours. Whisk the yoghurt with a little water to make it a little thin. Add the rice flakes to it and soak for about an hour. Add sufficient water and blend the rice and fenugreek in a mixie/food processor/wet grinder into a smooth batter. Do the same with the soaked rice flakes. Mix the two together and add salt to taste. The consistency should be like that of ordinary dosa batter (see picture). Allow to ferment overnight or for about 8 hours.

Chop the onions, ginger, and green chillies fine. Heat a teaspoon of oil and saute the bengal gram and red chillies. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to crackle. Throw in the curry leaves, chopped onions, ginger, green chillies, and coconut. Whisk in to the batter.

Heat an appa chatti (see picture) and pour out a ladleful of the batter. Cover with a lid and simmer cook till done (approx 3 minutes). The bottom should have formed a golden crust and the top should be cooked well. You need not turn this over but if you like both sides golden, you can flip and brown the other side too like I've done.

PS : An appa chatti is a shallow pan traditionally used to cook palappams (vellayappams) in. If you do not have this you can use an ordinary dosa gridle (flat pan) to make aval dosai. For more detailed pictures of the 'appa chatti' check out the Vellayappam recipe link http://thefootloosechef.blogspot.com/2008/05/vellayappam.html

Sending this over to EC's WYF : Cuisine event. The event is on at http://simpleindianfood.blogspot.com/2009/03/wyfcuisine-event-announcement.html till March 31st.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Spicy brown bread

I have two major culinary blind spots. One, I cannot make deep fried snacks that look like what they are supposed to look. Two, I cannot bake without trying to sneak in something that's wholesome and cutting down on even essential fat with the result that the end product isn't always the best textured! As a result, I stay away from both these methods of cooking most of the time.
But I took the plunge and made a spicy, wheat flour bread yesterday! All because it's almost time for me to fly back home to India for delivery because international flights don't allow you on board once you cross the 32 week mark! So, what's that got to do with baking, you might ask. Back in India, my mom's house is in a little town in Kerala where maida (AP flour) rules the roost! The buns, cakes, breads, halwas, puffs, samosas...are all made with white flour! I sure am going to miss my trips to the local bakery out here that allows me a range of freshly baked multi-grain products.Don't know if I will actually bake once am back there, but anyway thought I'd give this a try here in my very own kitchen. A couple of months ago had attempted 'masala buns with potato stuffing' in whole wheat. Made slight alterations to it this time since the buns though they tasted good enough, were a little too chewy !

Whole wheat flour - 250gms
Fortified all -purpose flour - 150 gms
Oat flour - 50 gms
Instant yeast - 10gms
Baking powder - 5 gms
Extra virgin olive oil - 50 ml
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Buttermilk - enough to make a soft dough
Egg white - 1 (to egg wash the crust to prevent it from drying up)

The spice mix

Dry red chillies - 2 large (dry roasted and hand crushed)
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon (dry roasted)
Garlic - 2 large cloves (minced and dry roasted)
Fresh Mint leaves - a generous handful (roughly chopped)

Sift the flours, baking powder, yeast, and salt a couple of times together so that they mix in well. In a deep dish, throw in the ingredients along with the olive oil. Add the buttermilk little by little and knead the mixture into a soft, pliant dough. The texture should be a little sticky and easy on the palms. Continue kneading till the dough turns smooth and stops sticking to your palms (approx 10-15 minutes of kneading). Cover with a cotton/muslin cloth and allow to rise for an hour.

After an hour you will find that the dough has almost doubled in size. Add the spice mix, a little more olive oil and knead again for 10 minutes. Place into a greased baking dish and allow to rise for another 30-40 minutes.
Whisk the egg white and brush it on liberally over the top of the dough. Use a fork to stab a few air holes into the dough.
As for the baking,I have a very basic OTG that I preheated for 10 minutes at 100°C. The actual baking took 12 minutes at 250°C and another 5 minutes at 150°C to get the bread done.

The bread tasted quite nice with a warm cup of tea and even better the next day when I used the leftovers to make a quick sandwich with light mayonnaise and cabbage shreds.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chocolate morsels

Yesterday, a friend and family invited us over for a weekday night dinner without prior information. Hubby was busy at work and I was stuck with limited mobility (a woman catching a cab by herself out here is not a very sensible choice and I don't have a gulf valid driving license!). However, we have a small supermarket at walking distance and I decided to browse around for something to take for the host's little boys. Somehow din't find the regular, off the shelf choclates attractive. Suddenly remembered a Nigella Lawson recipe that I chanced upon a long time ago on Travel and Living. A simple chocolate recipe which called for very little time, effort, and ingredients. I really don't remember the exact name or propotions the recipe called for but decided to give it a shot anyway. Turned out quite nice and I felt extra nice when the younger child, an avid choclate eater, finished an entire set, ran up to me, and very sweetly said, "Aunty, this is really very nice. thank you so much". Must I say I am still grinning

Mars choclate bars - I used up an entire 27g gms bag of mini bars
Corn flakes - 2 cups
Unsalted butter - 10 gms
Water - 1/4 cup
Roasted, almond flakes - 1/2 cup (optional)
Cup cake cases - 40-50 small ones

Roughly break up the choclate bars into a thick bottomed skillet. Add the water and simmer stir till the choclates begin to melt. Add the butter in and keep stirring till the choclate completely melts and it thickens. Add the cornfllakes and almonds and stir till the choclate completely coats the flakes. Take off flame. Line up the cup cake cases on a tray and and spoon in the mixture while still warm into the cases. Allow to set for an hour or so.

Watch your lil ones enjoy the tiny chocolate morsels.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mixed veg kurma in nutty gravy with Beetroot paratha

Yesterday was one of those low energy days. Frequent trips to attend nature's call might be a common side effect of pregnancy, it also is a sure shot way to mess up a good night's sleep! Since hubby had an early meeting to attend, there was no way I could sleep on hoping someone would cook for me. Made this as lunch and also dinner.

For kurmaMixed vegetables - 2 cups (I used beans,carrot,cauliflower,peas,potato,capsicum)
Onion - 1 medium sized
Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) - 1/4 teaspoon
Cilantro (coriander leaves) - a small bunch (10 sprigs)

To grindGarlic - 4 cloves
Ginger - 1" piece
Green chillies - 5 Nos (use less for lesser heat)

Dry masalaCinnamon - 1" stick
Cloves - 2 Nos
Coriander powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Kitchen king masala - 1/2 teaspoon (optional)

For gravy
Almonds - 10 Nos
Cashews - 10 Nos
Low-fat milk - 1 cup (150 ml)
Low-fat paneer (Indian cottage cheese) - 1/2 cup (crumbled)
Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet, add the cinnamon and cloves followed by finely chopped onion. When the onions are sauted till translucent, add the ground garlic-ginger-green chilli paste. Saute well. Add the carrot and potato pieces in along with 1/2 cup of water. Cover and simmer till almost done, add the rest of the vegetables, coriander powder, turmeric powder, kitchen king masala, kasuri methi, crumbled paneer and half the milk. Cook covered till vegetables are soft.

Boil another cup of water seperately, add the nuts in and cook well. Drain and grind to fine paste adding the rest of the milk.

Add to the cooked vegetables along with finely chopped coriander leaves and salt to taste. Simmer cook stirring occasionally till the gravy thickens. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Cover and let stay for about 15 minutes before transferring to a serving dish.

For Beetroot paratha
Wholewheat flour - 2 cups
Wheat bran - 1/4 cup (optional)
Oat flour - 1/4 cup (optional)
Beetroot - 1 large
Salt to taste

Pressure cook beetroot with the jacket on. Peel and blend to smooth puree. Mix the flours and bran in a deep bowl. Add in salt and the beetroot puree. Rub the flours well and adding water little by little knead to dough. Cover and let stay for 1/2 hour. Shape lemon sized balls out of the dough and roll out (leaven) into chappathis (tortillas). Heat a flat pan and cook the chappathi with or without a little drizzle of oil. Turn over and cook other side. When done small golden brown blisters appear over the tortillas.

If paneer (Indian cottage cheese) is not commercially available in your area, you can easily make it at home. For the method, http://thefootloosechef.blogspot.com/2008/06/learn-how-to-make-paneer-cottage.html

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bird's eye chilli (kanthari) chutney and steamed sweet potatoes

Kanthari (bird's eye chilli/thai pepper/african peri-peri) is one of the ultra-fieriest members of the chilli family.
In India, this pungent and delicious chilli is rarely used in any other region apart from Kerala (open to argument). Even in Kerala, kanthari is not something you'd find on the menu of upmarket restaurants or the vegetable racks of supermarket chains. This is something that I grew up watching my parents and now my in-laws handpick fresh from the garden and then churn out superbly simple yet extremely delicious fare.If the taste wasn't enough, kanthari is also reputed to be high on the health quotient! It's supposed to be the foody way to a more temperate blood pressure ;-)

Kanthari- 5-6 Nos (less is recommended if you are are not used to heat)
Shallots (cheriya ulli/pearl onions/scallions)- 4 Nos
Ginger - 1/2" piece
Tamarind extract - 1/4 teaspoon
Grated coconut - 1 cup
Indian curry leaves - 4-5 leaves
Salt to taste

Peel the onions. Put all ingredients into a chutney mixie/blender and grind to paste. Add water only if required since the onions are quite moist.

This chutney is perfect with the smooth sweetness of steamed sweet potatoes. To steam sweet potatoes,scrub them well, cut into pieces and either place them in a pressure cooker and steam for 4 whistles on medium heat; or, place them in a stove-top or electric steamer and cook for about 15 minutes. Stab a fork in to check if tender. Peel and your meal is ready!

Bird's eye chilli chutney and steamed sweet potatoes make their way to Asvadha's 'Made for each other' event. The event is on till the 28th of Feb at http://www.asvadha.com/2009/01/announcing-made-for-each-other.html

So why are these two 'Made for each other'?
-The spicy, macho kanthari blends beautifully with the wonderful, natural sweetness of the sweet potato.
-Both are nutritional treasure troves, check this out:
Apart from being a great source of beta carotenes, fibre, vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and iron, sweet potatoes contain a unique 'root-protien' that resemble one of our internally produced anti-oxidants and hence have dynamic anti-oxidant effects!
And now, kanthari (peri-peri) again is rich in Vitamin C, B vitamins, iron and calcium. The key ingredient 'capsaicin' helps lower cholestrol and decrease high blood pressure.

Take a closer peek:

This spicy chutney also goes to Mane Adige's Chutney/Dip mania event. The event is on at http://maneadige.blogspot.com/2009/01/inviting-entries-for-mania-event-here.html

Yasmeen has created this beautiful award and passed this onto all her blogger friends. Thank you for thinking of me too, Yasmeen!

Sathya of appetitetreats.blogspot.com has passed on the Good Chat Blog award to me. thank you so much, Sathya.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Carrot chutney with adai dosai

Made 'adai dosais' for breakfast today. Adai dosai, for those who aren't familiar, is dosa (crepe) made with a variety of lentils and a portion of raw rice. I don't like the traditional combination of 'avial' with adai and so make different veggie chutneys to go with it. Saw this colourful recipe in Mallika Badrinath's Vegetarian Curries recipe book and decided to make a go at it. It came out really good and was excellant when paired with adai.
Feeling extra good about the perfect carb-protien combo with that liberal dash of Vitamin A and beta- carotenes for accompaniment

Grated carrot - 1 1/2 cups
Roasted peanuts - 1/4 cup
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Dry red chillies - 4 Nos
Coriander powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Garlic - 1 clove
Salt to taste

For tempering
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs

Dry roast the red chillies and garlic. Add a teaspoon of oil and add the grated carrot and coriander powder. Saute till carrots are slightly done. Add in the rest of the ingredients and saute for a minute. Cool and grind to a smooth paste adding a little water. Transfer to serving bowl.

Heat a teaspoon of oil and crackle the mustard seeds and fry the curry leaves. Pour it over the chutney.

I had posted the 'adai dosa' recipe long back, for the recipe click on http://thefootloosechef.blogspot.com/2008/05/ada-dosa.html

Carrot chutney makes its way to FIC - February event. The colour this month is Orange and is hosted at My Diverse Kitchen. The event details can be had at http://mydiversekitchen.blogspot.com/2009/02/lets-paint-it-orange-this-month.html

The FIC event was launched by TongueTicklers. The original event details can be had at http://tumyumtreats.blogspot.com/2008/07/event-announcement.html

Also, sending this to Mane Adige's Chutney/Dip mania event. The event is on at http://maneadige.blogspot.com/2009/01/inviting-entries-for-mania-event-here.html

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dosa with Matta Rice - extra boost of nutrition

The other day, I was suddenly struck with a longing for the Kerala 'Chaaya kada' style dosas. Chaaya kadas or tea shops are an integral part of the Kerala countryside. Tiny one room structures with glass almirahs that display a tantalising variety of local snacks like vadas, ethakkappams (made from ripe malabar bananas), sukhiyan, and so on. Morning tiffin items, amongst others, include thick, small dosas that are served with a simple coconut chutney spiced with shallots and red chillies. The tamilian 'set dosas' look a little like these small, soft wonders but the taste of these chaaya kada dosas is something so very different from any other dosa variety.

Decided to try making these at home. But, in keeping with my current mood of adding a little extra nutritional boost to all that I make, decided to substitute one part of the usual raw rice with the Kerala Matta rice. Kerala Matta or rose matta as it is known is a reddish-brown rice variety that is unpolished and hence packs in heaps of B vitamins and fibre. The earthy, flavoursome rice forms the daily lunch staple of keralite households.

Raw rice/ idli rice - 2 1/2 cups
Rose matta rice - 1 cup
Cooked Rose matta rice - 1/2 cup
Skinned Black gram (urad dhal) - 1 cup
Fenugreek seeds (uluva/vendhayam) - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Sesame oil - 2 teaspoons

Rinse and soak the rice varieties and black gram seperately for 2 hours. Grind the black gram in a processor/grinder/mixer adding water little by little. The batter should be smooth, fluffy and thick. Next, grind the rice varieties along with the cooked rice and the soaked fenugreek seeds. The rice batter should be slightly coarser. Mix both batters together in a big bowl that allows space for fermentation and rising. Add salt to taste and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Let ferment overnight or atleast for 8-12 hours based on the weather. Colder weather calls for more fermentation time.
Next day, use a ladle to nicely whip up the batter again. Heat a flat dosa gridle, rub on a little oil and pour out a ladleful of batter. Use the back of the ladle to slightly spread out the batter. Let cook for about 2 minutes, flip and cook the other side.
Serve with any chutney of choice. I served mine with coconut chutney and a dry chicken-mushroom masala.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Steamed vada with plain coconut chutney

I'm going through this period where my internal antenna is always roving around on the look out for healthy, tasty, yet doable recipes. Patience, however, is not a strong point now and hence elaborate stuff that calls for exotic ingredients and lengthy preparation times are out! They say that women who are in the family way become mellow tempered, patient, and pleasant. I seem to have become clumsy, impatient, and cranky!!! I've even started 'channel hopping' because nothing catches or holds my fancy these days except if its a cookery show or a movie high on the 'emotional' count!!! Ok, to cut the gab, the other day saw this steamed food recipes special going on on NDTV good times. They showed a steamed, high nutrition "vada"..can you believe it??? Was sceptical about it turning into a 'kozhukattai' taste alike, but anyhow decided to give it a try. Surprise!! it actually tasted quite nice with a quick plain, coconut chutney. Mind you, have it steaming hot!

Wheat flour - 1 cup
Chickpea flour (besan/kadalai maavu, gram flour)- 1 cup
Spinach (palak) - 1 medium bunch
Coriander leaves (cilantro/kothamalli)- a handful of sprigs
Green chillies - 3 Nos (the slim Indian chilies for heat)
Ginger - 1 " piece
Cumin seeds (jeera) - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Soda bi carbonate (cooking soda) - 1/2 teaspoon
Olive oil - 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
Water as required

Sift the flours and soda together. Rinse and chop the greens fine. Grate the ginger and chop the green chillies. Now add everything together into a bowl except for water. Knead well. Since the spinach leaves quite a lot of moisture, be careful not to overdo the water and carefully sprinkle just enough to make a soft, pliable dough.

Make lemon sized dumplings out of the dough, flatten each on slightly using your palms and make a small dent in the middle (see picture) to get the 'vada' shape. Arrange in a a steamer or idli maker and steam cook for about 20 minutes. Prick with a toothpick or fork to check if its done. Serve hot with the coconut chutney recipe below!!

Plain coconut chutney
Fresh grated coconut - 1 cup
Ginger - 1/2" piece
Salt to taste

For tempering
Dry red chillies - 3 Nos
Curry leaves - quite a few!
Mustard seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Vegetable oil - 1 teaspoon

Grind the coconut and ginger into a fine paste adding very little water. Heat oil in a pan, crackle the mustard seeds, saute the red chillies and curry leaves. Add the ground mixture in, add salt to taste. Warm for a minute and transfer to serving bowl.
This recipe makes its way to the JFI - Chickpea event hosted at Sometime Foodie. The event is on at http://foodtravails.blogspot.com/2009/01/announcing-jfi-chickpea.html

Also sending this over to My Legume Love Affair, Seventh Helping which is being hosted at Cooking 4 all Seasons. The event details can be had at http://cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com/2009/01/announcing-my-legume-love-affair.html
The event was introduced by Susan of The Well -Seasoned Cook. Further details available at http://thewellseasonedcook.blogspot.com/2008/09/my-legume-love-affair-host-lineup.html

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mixed veggie fried rice with an overload of mushrooms

Like I mentioned in my previous posts, my first trimester was a period of lethargy, lack of energy, and absolutely no interest in food. Yet, I would be afflicted by pangs of guilt when I though I wasn't feeding the lil one inside. All the pregnancy guides and books that I mugged up spoke about the importance of eating and eating well...and here I was, throwing up if my neighbour cooked something strong!! This multi-coloured and hence multi-vitamin packed, mildly flavoured rice is something that my hubby made for weekend lunch to entice my appetite and it did!! I'd clicked the dish in hope that I will post it here when I got back to blogging.

Basmati rice - 1 cup
Button mushrooms - 200 gms
Beetroot - 1 small
Red bell pepper - 1
Orange bell pepper - 1
Green chillies - 3 Nos
Garlic - 2 cloves
Pepper powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Soy sauce - 1 teaspoon
Cinnamon stick - 1" piece
Cloves - 2 Nos
Olive oil - 2 teaspoons
Salt to taste
For garnish
Cashewnuts - a few
Raisins - a few

Boil three cups of water and add in the basmati rice along with the cinnamon and cloves. Cook till rice is 3/4th done, drain water and fluff up with a fork to seperate grains.
Finely chop the garlic and green chillies. Cut the veggies and mushrooms into small slices. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the garlic and green chillies. Add the veggies and saute till done. Add in the rice, soy sauce, pepper powder and salt to taste. Toss everything well together. Roast the cashews and raisins seperately and add into rice.

This dish is making its way to Padmajha's lovely, 'Who's gonna cook for me????' event. The event is on at http://seduceyourtastebuds.blogspot.com/2008/12/whos-gona-cook-for-me.html

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tangy mango dip (Maanga vella pachadi )

Maanga vella pachadi aka tangy mango dip in jaggery was introduced to my palate by mom's aunt, Valli paati. Ease of making,versatality, high nutrition count, and taste make this dip a frequent fixture in my kitchen. Out here in Muscat, even the mangoes that bear labels like, 'produce of india', `alphonso' and so on are no guarantee that the fruit is anywhere as luscious as the ones we get in India. But, vella pachadi comes out fine even when fruit by itself is a let down. But this time I struck gold in my neighbourhood mart. Found a Kenyan mango variety that surprise...surprise...not only looked luscious but also bore a close resemblance in taste to the wonderfully succulent Salem Gundu (a type of mango variety from Salem district in Tamil Nadu).

Mangoes are high in dietary fibre, B vitamins, Vitamin C, and antioxidants. Jaggery is held high by Ayurvedic medicine and is attributed several nutritive and protective properties. High in folic acid and iron, jaggery is great for pregnant women. Just a teaspoon can contribute a lot in fighting anaemia (don't gorge on sugars of any kind!).

Ripe mango - about 200 gms ( 2 cups )
Jaggery (vellam/Indian unrefined brown sugar) - 50 gms
Red chilli powder - 10 gms
Salt to taste
Water - 2 cups
Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
Oil - 2 teaspoons

Peel and cube the mangoes. Heat the oil in a skillet and crackle the mustard seeds. Add a cup of water and the mango pieces along with the chilli powder. Simmer cook with the lid on till the mangoes and are soft and mushy. Add another cup of water and add the jaggery in. Keep simmering till the jaggery melts in completely and the mixture thickens to dip like consistency. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Add salt to taste. Cool and store in an airtight container. The pachadi stays great for upto a month.
Vella pachadi tastes good as an accompaniment to curd rice, dosas, idlis and rotis.
Maanga vella pachadi makes its way to Ramya's 'Chutney/Dip Mania Event'. The event is on at http://maneadige.blogspot.com/2009/01/inviting-entries-for-mania-event-here.html
This also goes to Sunshinemom's Food in colors - January 2009 . The color of the month is Yellow and what is more yellow than mangoes . The event is on at http://tumyumtreats.blogspot.com/2009/01/announcing-food-in-colors-january-2009.html
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