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UPMA KOZHUKATTAI (Steamed rice dumplings)

Rice is a staple in the South of India. Traditionally steamed rice is eaten for lunch and dinner. For breakfast and evening snacks, rice is used in different forms to make scrumptious snacks. Some of the most common and well-known food items are idlis, dosas and appam. Dumplings are made in different ways, for example, modak or kadubu (filled dumpling – both savory and sweet, usually made during Ganesh Chaturthi), Coorgi kadubu (round dumplings made with rice flour and eaten with a veg, chicken or pork curry). But one of my favorite dumplings is upma kozhukattai. Eaten with chutney or sambar makes it a wholesome meal. I even eat it plain at any time of the day.

Recipe

Ingredients

Idli rava (rice rava)* – 2 cups

grated coconut – 3/4 cup

water -4 cups

salt to taste

To temper

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tbsp channa dal (split chickpea lentil)

1 tbsp urad dal (split black gram lentil)

asafoetida 1 pinch

dried red chillies 3-4, broken into pieces

curry leaves 1 tsp

Method:

Heat oil in a pan, add mustard and when they crackle, add all the other ingredients for tempering and fry till the lentils are golden brown.

Add water and salt and let it boil.

Add coconut and rice and keep stirring to avoid lumps. Keep stirring till all the water evaporates and it comes together. (It has the consistency of upma)

Let it cool for a few minutes.

Dip your hand in cold water, take a spoonful of the upma in your palms and form into oblong shapes. Place in a steamer plate. Do this with all the upma.

Steam the kozhukattais for 10 -15 minutes. You could use a regular steamer or the idli plates in a pressure cooker.

Serve hot with coconut chutney or sambar.

*Idli rava – Traditionally to make rice rava at home, wash and strain rice, spread on a muslin cloth and let dry. In a mixer, pulse the rice till coarse and use. Now, idli rava is sold which saves time.

tiffin – a snack or a light meal

 

 

 

 

 

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Badanekai ennegai (stuffed baby eggplants) An aubergine by any other name contd..

Stuffed eggplants are made all over India with a slight variation of spices and called by different name. This is a favourite in Karnataka and is usually served with jolada rotti (sorghum bread). I remember my mother making it when we had relatives visiting from out of town.

Many many years ago, when we visited Kamat Yatri Nivas, which is famous for this dish, we asked the chef there, an old man who looked atleast 80 and who said he has been making this dish forever shared his recipe with us. Unfortunately, I did not write it down, but it tastes good when I make it.

This is a healthier version, less oil. It has a long list of ingredients but don’t get deterred by it. It is really worth the effort!

Ingredients:

6 baby eggplants

1.5 tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp curry leaves

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

salt to taste

1 large onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

5 cloves garlic

1 inch piece ginger

1/4 tsp tamarind paste

For the masala:

2 tsp coriander seeds

2 red chillies

1/2 cup fresh coconut (frozen grated coconut is also good)

2 tbsp peanuts

2 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp cumin

Method:

Slit eggplants and sprinkle some salt on it. Leave it a colander for 20 minutes and wash. This will remove the bitterness from the eggplant.

Dry roast ingredients for masala. Keep aside.

In a pan, heat 1 tsp oil, add onions and fry till golden brown. Add tomatoes, garlic and ginger and fry till tomatoes are well cooked. Grind this mixture with the roasted ingredients in a blender. Add some water to get a fine paste.

Stuff the eggplants with the paste

In a pan, heat the rest of the oil. Add mustard, curry leaves and turmeric powder. When mustards start to splutter, add the eggplants, any extra paste, tamarind paste, salt and cook on a low flame for 20 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and continue cooking till the eggplants are cooked.

Serve hot with roti or rice.

 

 

 

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Baingan Bharta and Baba Ghanoush An aubergine by any other name would taste as good…

Aubergine, brinjal, eggplant, baingan, katrikkai, badanekai – All names for the same vegetable. This is one of my husband’s favourite vegetable and will always order it at any restaurant- indian, chinese or italian.

In the next few posts I plan to post a few eggplant recipes. Posting this recipe for eggplant dips. Both starts with ‘B’, both are roasted and have a smoky flavour, one is indian and the other middle eastern.

Baingan Bharta

This is a north indian dish usually served with roti but i served it as a dip with pita bread and it was really good.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 large eggplants

2 large onions, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 green chilli, chopped finely

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 inch piece ginger, chopped finely

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp garam masala

salt to taste

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp coriander leaves, chopped

Method:

Roast eggplant on a gas stove. I stick a knife into the eggplant and roast. (I have a knife I use just for this). You could also roast it in an oven if you don’t have a gas stove. Once roasted (skin gets black), wash under cold water and remove skin.

In a pan heat oil. Add onions and fry till golden brown. Then add the tomatoes, green chilli, garlic and ginger. When tomatoes are well cooked add spices and mashed eggplant. (If you want it to be creamy, you could blend eggplant). Add lemon juice and mix.

Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with rotis as a side dish or with pita as an appetizer.

Baba Ganoush

(Will post a picture soon)

Ingredients

1 large eggplant

2-3 cloves of garlic

1 tsp oilve oil

2 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)

1 lemon, juiced

salt to taste

1/2 tsp cumin powder

Method:

Roast eggplants and remove skin. (as described above)

In a pan heat oil and fry garlic. (Usually you use raw garlic but I prefer to fry it a bit)

In a blender, blend the  eggplant, garlic and tahini.

Add the lemon juice and salt and mix.

Sprinkle some cumin powder and serve with pita.

 

 

 

 

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Beetroot Daal (Beetroot with lentils)

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Beetroot is a vegetable which people either love or don’t  like. I like it and this is one of my favourite recipe.

This is one of my mother’s recipe. I am not sure where she got this one but she made it quite a lot when I was growing up. This is something I make for a quick dinner and can be eaten with chappati, bread or rice. The other day, I made it for a  dinner party and was well liked.

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

1 cup tur daal (you could use red lentils too)

1 big beetroot, (chopped into 1 cm pieces)

1 tomato chopped

2 cups water

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

1 tsp chilli powder

coconut (1/4 cup)

1 dried red chilli

1 tsp mustard

1 tsp oil

1 tsp curry leaves (optional)

6-7 cloves of garlic (more if you like garlic)

salt to taste

Method:

Wash daal. Cook daal, beetroot, tomatoes and 2 cloves garlic with water in a sauce pan or a pressure cooker till the daal is well cooked and mushy.

Grind coconut to a paste with some water. (You can use fresh coconut or frozen grated coconut)

Add paste to the daal.Also add salt, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and cook for a few minutes.

In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard, red chilli and curry leaves. When the mustard splutters, add the garlic and fry(don’t burn). Pour over the daal and serve.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vegan Elaneer Payasam (Tender Coconut Payasam)

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Elaneer (Tender coconut) is a very refreshing drink rich in minerals and electrolytes.

A couple of years ago, I came across this payasam in a restaurant but it had milk and therefore could not drink it. I came home and looked up the recipes and all of the ones I came across had condensed milk in it. This is my version of a vegan payasam. This can be served in glasses as a cooler. It is mildly sweet, very refreshing and extremely easy to make.

If you are buying fresh tender coconut (there are cartons and cans available now), ask for the ones with some flesh in it.

Ingredients:

2 cups coconut milk

2 cups tender coconut water (2 tender coconuts)

1/2 to 1 cup flesh of the tender coconut

1/4 cup sugar (add more if you want it sweeter)

1/4 tsp cardamom powder

saffron (optional)

Method:

Boil coconut milk for 5 to 10 mins on low flame.

Add sugar and mix well till it dissolves.

Add cardamom powder and saffron to the mixture.

Let it cool for 5 mins.

In the meantime, use a blender to blend the coconut flesh and coconut water.

Add to coconut milk and mix.

Refrigerate and serve it chilled.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

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Chitranna (Lemon Rice) An ode to rice contd….

Lemon rice is a very easy to make and popular south Indian dish.  The tanginess from the lemon, the spice from the green chillies, the crunch from the peanuts and the yellow colour from the turmeric make the dish an irresistible one.

This was one of my favourite lunch to take to school. It had to have lots of peanuts and every spoon of rice had to have at least a few peanuts. This would be a dish you could make for picnics or potluck and would look good on an Easter table. This dish is usually made with cold rice and a good way to use your leftover rice.

Ingredients

2 cups rice cooked and cooled (leftover rice works well)

2 tbsp lemon juice

salt to taste

4 tbsp raw peanuts (if you want to make it fancy, add cashew nuts instead) – if using roasted peanuts add to the end

1 – 2 green chillies chopped

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 tsp coriander (cilantro) leaves chopped

1-inch ginger chopped

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tbsp oil

1 tsp urad dal

1 tsp channa dal

1 tsp mustard seeds

a pinch asafoetida

1 tsp curry leaves

Method

Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida, urad dal, channa dal, mustard seeds and wait for it to splutter.

Add curry leaves and raw peanuts and fry for a few minutes on a medium flame.

Add onions, chillies and ginger and stir-fry until golden brown.

Mix the lemon juice, turmeric powder and salt in a small bowl.

Add the lemon juice mixture.

Add rice and mix well. Sprinkle cilantro. If using roasted peanuts, add peanuts and mix well.

Serve with papad or potato chips, raitha (recipe in the previous post) or pickle or yoghurt or just eat it plain.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thayir Sadam and Mangai Inji (Yoghurt Rice and Mango ginger pickle)

Curd Rice or Yoghurt rice is a very simple dish eaten at the end of a meal. After a fiery hot meal with a medley of spices, curd rice cools the system. You have to eat it to experience the feeling. It is comfort food for most south Indians. In the summer months, this is the usually packed for school lunches or picnics.

Usually, at the end of the meal rice is mixed with some yoghurt and salt right on the plate and eaten. It can be as simple as that or made more ‘fancy’ by tempering it with mustard seeds and red chillies or adding pomegranate or grapes. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can add any or all of the ingredients, of course, rice, yoghurt and salt is a must. This recipe is written especially for my friend’s son Rishaad who loves his ‘curd rice’ and for his mom to make it for him.

Mango ginger is from the ginger family but is milder and tastes of raw mango. I have included a recipe for a simple pickle. My friend Mrudul gave me this fresh mango ginger from her garden and I could not resist making this pickle and have begun eating it even though it needs to sit for a few days.

Yoghurt (Curd) Rice

2 cups cooked rice

2 cups plain yoghurt

salt to taste

1 tsp coriander leaves (cilantro)

2 tbsp pomegranate

Tempering:

2 tsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

1-2 red chillies

1 tsp curry leaves

1 tsp urad dal

1 tsp channa dal

1 pinch asafoetida

Method

Mix rice, yoghurt and salt together.

Heat oil, add the ingredients for tempering when oil is hot.

When the mustard starts to splutter, add the mixture to the rice and mix. Add coriander leaves and pomegranate and serve.

Tip: If the yoghurt is very sour add some water or milk and mix to reduce the sourness.

Recipe for Mangai Inji 

Ingredients

1 cup Mango ginger

2 green chillies

2 limes

salt to taste

Method

Scrape skin off ginger, wash and pat dry

Slice or cut chillies into small pieces

Use the juice of 2 limes and mix all of the above

Store in a dry sterilized glass bottle. Let it sit for a day or two to absorb all the flavours of the lime, chillies and salt. (If you can resist)

Store in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.

 

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Vegetable Pulao and Raita

 

Rice is a staple of India, especially in the south. It is very versatile. Plain cooked rice has no flavour and takes the flavours of the curries you add to it. In the south, there are variations of gravies like sambar, rasam, vathakuzhambu, molagootal etc. Some of them are flavoured with tamarind to give a spicy and sour mouthwatering dish with lentils and vegetables. Added to plain cooked rice, you have a complete meal. Rice tastes different when flavoured with lemon, mango(recipe in previous posts), coconut or curds (yoghurt). A meal is ended with a bowl of refreshing curd rice which clears your palate and cools your system (other rice recipes in following blog posts)

Biryani comes in different forms. Every city in the country has a version of biryani. The Persian / afghani influenced pilau using basmati rice to the fiery spicy Andhra biryani to the more local Dindigul and  Donne biryani using short grained rice. They all are different but they all are scrumptious. Just writing this is making my mouth water and longing for a plate of biryani.

Vegetarian Pulao and Raita

This recipe is long overdue and written especially for Lisa Wilson.

Ingredients:

1 cup Basmati rice

1cup vegetables (carrot, beans, potato, cauliflower, mushrooms, peas, capsicum) – at least two of them – cut into pieces onion – 2 thinly sliced

1 tomato – chopped

6 cloves garlic – minced

2 inches ginger – minced

2 tbsp mint leaves 

2 tbsp coriander leaves (cilantro)

2 bay leaf

4cloves

1 stick cinnamon

2 cardamom whole 

1 tsp chilli powder – (can increase if you want it spicier)

1 tsp cumin powder

2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp nutmeg powder

1 tsp garam masala

3 tbsp oil

2 cups water or stock

salt to taste

1 tbsp cashew nuts or almonds  – fried in a tsp of oil or ghee

(I sometimes cheat and use biryani masala powder which substitutes all the dry powders. If using use 3 tsp) – available in Indian stores)

Also use you can substitute vegetables and use a protein like chicken, shrimp or lamb. if using meat, marinate in a tbsp of yoghurt and half the spice powder for an hour or two to increase the flavours. This is optional.

Method

Soak basmati rice in water for 1/2 hour and then strain and keep aside.

Heat oil in a broad heavy pan. Add dry spices (bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves) and fry for a few seconds. Add sliced onions, garlic and ginger and stir fry till golden brown. Now add the tomatoes and continue to fry till well cooked. Now add vegetables and stir fry till they are about half cooked.

Add chopped coriander and mint, if using. Add the spices and stir-fry for a minute or two. Add salt.

Add drained rice and stir fry till the rice is well coated with the spices. (At this point, you can transfer vegetable and rice mixture into an electric rice cooker.)

Then add boiling water or stock to the pan, cover and let cook on low flame. When rice is cooked, sprinkle fried nuts and serve hot with raita.

Raita

Ingredients

1 onion chopped (If you like raw onions, you can add more, else less. I am not a big fan of raw onions, so I add very little or not)

1 tomato chopped

1 cucumber chopped finely or grated

1 tsp coriander leaves (cilantro)

1 green chilli chopped optional

1/2 tsp cumin powder (optional)

1 cup yoghurt

salt to taste

Method

Mix all of the above and sprinkle cumin powder and serve.

Raita can be served with any rice or rotis as an accompaniment.