Posted in Recipes

Upma/ Uppitu -A Simple South Indian breakfast

the humble

Upma or Uppitu is a simple breakfast which can be made in a jiffy. It is a classic example of South Indian food, which is healthy, uses few simple ingredients to make a delicate, scrumptious dish. It is usually eaten for breakfast but can be eaten at any time of the day.  When we lived abroad, it was our staple Sunday breakfast which my husband made and is quite an expert at making it.

There are different variations to the simple upma.You may add vegetables if you please; I usually do, as it makes it more healthy and complete.

Ingredients

Serves 4

1 cup bansi rava (semolina/cream of wheat – look for the coarser variety)

2 tsp vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds, urad dal

1 tsp curry leaves (optional)

1 big onion, finely chopped

2 green chillies, finely chopped

½ inch ginger, finely chopped (optional)

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

½ cup chopped vegetables (carrot, beans, green peas, capsicum- you could use one or all. If you do not want vegetables, leave it out)

2 cups water

salt to taste

coriander leaves (cilantro) – to garnish

6-8 cashew nuts – to garnish

2 tsp ghee (optional) or oil

Directions:

In a saucepan, heat 2 tsp ghee or oil. Fry the cashew nuts and keep them aside. If you want to go healthy, toast the cashew nuts and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the rest of the oil and add mustard seeds, urad dal. When they splutter, add the curry leaves, onions, chillies and ginger. Fry till golden brown – keep mixing.

Then add the vegetables and cook till they are 50% cooked.

Add the tomatoes and cook for a few minutes on medium heat.

While the vegetables are cooking, heat water. (I usually have water in a kettle ready).

Add the boiling water and salt.

The next step is the tricky part. Just like when you make sauces, you need to whisk it well to avoid lumps, you have to mix continuously to avoid uncooked lumps of rava.

On low heat, slowly add the rava to the mixture and mix briskly to avoid lumps. Once well mixed, cover and let it cook for a few minutes.

Garnish with coriander, cashew nuts and ghee. Serve piping hot with pickle, chutney or plain yogurt.

Posted in Recipes, Uncategorized

Maavinkai Chitranna (Raw Mango Rice)

 

Gift Guide

This week we celebrated Ugadi, the New Year day celebrated in Karnataka and some other parts of India. Yugadi or Ugadi means New Beginnings. It is the first day after the first new moon. It is the day after the March equinox. The festival, like many other festivals in India, is celebrated with wearing new clothes. They also start the day by eating a mixture of neem leaves (which is very bitter) and jaggery (unrefined cane sugar). This signifies that in life we have both sweet and bitter experiences. As a kid, I always ate more jaggery than neem, saying that I would life to be sweet always. J All festivals in India are always celebrated with good food. Each festival has its own special food. On Ugadi, you eat holige or obbattu (my kids call it a sweet chapati, usually filled with dal or coconut) and Maavinkai Chitranna (Raw Mango rice). This is also the time when we find a lot of raw mangoes in the market.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked rice

1 raw mango, grated

2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)

¼ cup peanuts

1-2 green chillies chopped

1 tsp mustard

½ tsp turmeric

1 tsp urad dal

a pinch of asafoetida

salt to taste

6 curry leaves

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

Directions:

Cook rice and keep aside to cool. Leftover rice works well too.

In a pan, heat oil. Add asafoetida, mustard and urad dal.

When mustards splutter, add curry leaves, turmeric and peanuts and fry till peanuts for a minute. Keep mixing to avoid the peanuts to burn.

Add chillies, coconut and the mango and fry for a few minutes. Add rice and salt. Mix well and cook till rice is heated through. Garnish with cilantro and serve with raita, coconut chutney, papad or potato chips.

Note:  A more common chitranna is made with lemon. Replace mango with the juice of one lemon. For lemon chitranna or lemon rice, add one chopped onion and a tsp of chopped ginger when you add the chillies to fry. Add lemon juice just before you add the rice and mix. This is a great dish for Easter with its vibrant yellow colour.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Education

This is where I go to think…

I was just writing a blog on mindfulness and working on a MOOC course on the same topic. I have been working on assignments, reading and rereading, understanding some and trying to figure out the others (for my MA). Also, planning for classes and writing reports…

Sitting in one position the whole evening did not help with my back. So I decided to get up and stretch and put away my computer. I wanted to clear my head and start thinking afresh on timeless ways of learning and visual leadership. Sometimes sleeping on something or taking your mind off helps.

I walked around a bit and without realising, I headed to the kitchen. Some may go for a walk, some may sketch (and I have tried both), or whatever suits them. But for me, it is the kitchen. It is the place for me to muddle around and clear my head (to meditate). It does not help, that I had baked a cake this morning, waiting to be eaten. I may put on more weight, thinking and clearing my head in the kitchen, but that is my place to be! This is where my creative juices flow. Maybe, this is where I have to start my visual (experience) leadership.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Akki (Rice) Roti

akki-roti

In school, we have been talking about Karnataka and the cuisine of Karnataka. In honour of my state, I am posting a recipe for akki (rice) roti. This is usually eaten for breakfast but I made it for dinner. It is quite simple to make and makes for a quick dinner. Most of the ingredients are usually in the pantry.

Makes six rotis. This can be made in 30 minutes.

Ingredients: 

rice flour 1 1/2 cups

chopped onions (1 cup)

chopped green chillies (1 tbsp) – increase or decrease depending on how spicy you would like

chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) – 2 tbsp

grated carrot – 2 tbsp

2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)

salt to taste

water (around 1 cup)

vegetable oil

parchment paper or plastic sheet

Directions:

Place all ingredients except water in a bowl.

Add water, little by little and knead to form a soft dough. Make balls.

On a parchment paper, add a tsp of oil, press gently with moist fingers to form a round roti

To a skillet, add a tsp of oil and gently place the roti on the skillet. (Be careful so that oil does not splatter on you). Make sure skillet in on medium.

After a minute, carefully flip the roti and cook on the other side. (Sometimes it may break up, but it still tastes good)

Serve with coconut chutney or tomato chutney. Goes well with a bowl of yoghurt too.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Recipes

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Healthy, quick and really good especially when you have a craving for chips!

Earlier today, I was cutting some sweet potatoes to make some red curry. I realised I had too much, so decided to make some fries (Peeled sweet potatoes don’t keep well in the fridge).  So, I sliced them finely, tossed them in a bowl with some olive oil and

So, I sliced them finely, tossed them in a bowl with some olive oil and piri piri spices (I have also used chaat masala before or just salt and pepper). You can add whatever spices you feel. Experiment!

Spread the sweet potatoes on a prepared baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes in a preheated oven (200°C), turning them in ten minutes. Bake for around 20 minutes till they are golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes and serve. I usually delve into it when it is piping hot, just don’t burn your tongue. Enjoy!

I have been writing this post as I was eating the fries (all by myself).Since it is baked, it has much less oil but tastes as good! It was sweet and spicy, crunchy and tangy.  And, it is almost gone ….

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Posted in Recipes

Vegan Carrot halwa

 

vegan-carrot-halwa

Carrot is a very versatile vegetable. You can make stir fries or curries, salads, carrot cake or baby food. When I was a kid, I was told to eat carrots. I was told that it is good for eyesight. It is very high in Vitamin A. (For more information and health benefits check http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=21).

 I was always proud of my eyesight and always thought it was because of the carrots I ate. Unfortunately, today, even with all the carrots I eat, I need reading glasses. 😦

I love carrot halwa, but can’t eat it most time since one of the main ingredient other than carrots are milk. So, I make my own. I usually substitute milk with soy milk. Today, I have used almond milk instead. Try it and let me know, how it tastes. As I am writing this post, I am enjoying the halwa, not too sweet, just right and delicious!

Ingredients:

4 cups grated carrots (around 1 Kg)

2 cups almond milk (or soy milk)

6-7 tbsp sugar (according to taste- you could add more)

1/2 cup cashew nuts

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1 tbsp oil or ghee

Directions:

In a heavy bottom pan, add the oil or ghee. To it, add the cashew nuts and fry till golden brown. Add raisins and fry for thirty seconds. Remove and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the carrots and fry for 5-6 minutes. 

Add milk and let it cook on a slow flame till most of the liquid evaporates. Add sugar and cardamom powder mix well till the liquid evaporates. 

Add cashews and raisins and mix. Serve it hot or cold.

Enjoy!