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 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!

 

 

 

Posted in Recipes

Healthy Granola

dream

The other day, I was shopping at an organic grocery store. In one of the aisles, they were selling granola. The jars of granola beckoned me. I was more fascinated by the jars than the granola itself. I checked the price, enthusiastically, and read the contents. I felt it was exorbitantly priced, but I suppose you are paying for the bottle too. I came home wanting to make granola.

As usual, I go to the chef I admire, Alton Brown. The nice things about granola and granola bars (recipe posted earlier) are that you don’t have to be precise with the ingredients. I tried making them healthier and with less sugar. The recipe (adapted from Alton Brown) follows:

Ingredients:

3 cups oats

1 cup cashew nuts 

1 cup almonds

3/4 cup shredded desiccated coconut

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

1 tbsp brown sugar (can add more if you want it sweeter)

1/4 cup honey

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped dates

Directions:

Preheat oven to 150 degree Celsius.

In a large bowl, add first six ingredients and mix well.

In another bowl, mix the oil, honey, salt and vanilla.

Pour the oil – honey mixture with the dry ingredients and mix.

Pour onto a sheet pan and bake for about an hour. Keep stirring to get an even colour. Be careful not to burn the granola.

Remove from the oven, pour into a bowl and add the raisins and dates. Mix well. Cool and transfer to a dry container and store in a cool place.

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Posted in Recipes

Spring Rolls, for dinner?

spring-rolls

The last few days have been cold and dreary. All I wanted to do was roll up in bed with a good book, some hot tea and something fried. This is the perfect weather to eat samosas, pakodas and all things fried. Today I decided to make some spring rolls and served it with some homemade jalapeno jelly. You could use any sweet and sour sauce.

Ingredients

1 packet spring rolls sheets

2 cups shredded cabbage

1 onion chopped

2 carrots, shredded or julienned

1/2 cup bean sprouts

1/2 cup spring onions, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1-inch ginger, chopped

(I made vegetarian spring rolls, but chicken or shrimp can be added)

2 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp chilli sauce

salt to taste

pepper to taste

vegetable oil

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Method

In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp oil. Add onions and fry for a few minutes. Add all vegetables except the spring onions and bean sprouts.

Once the vegetables are almost cooked, add the spring onions and bean sprouts. Add salt, pepper, soy sauce and chilli sauce. Taste for salt and spices. Let it cook for a few minutes. Take it off heat and cool, preferably on a plate.

Make sure the spring roll sheets are thawed.

Take one sheet and place on flat surface. Add a tbsp of the filling on one side of the sheet. Fold on both sides and roll tightly. Wet the end with water to seal. Keep sheets covered with a moist cloth. Make all the spring rolls.

Heat oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, add spring rolls and fry till golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper. Serve hot with sauce of your choice.

Enjoy!