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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Dahiwaali Toovar Dal

After the black gram and the split chick peas based dals, here is a dal prepared using toor dal / yellow lentils. Toor dal or pigeon peas is used in my kitchen almost on a daily basis and is a pantry staple like many households of India. In fact, for the south Indian folks who eat a rice platter served with a vegetable preparation, lentil based side dish and yogurt for their lunch and dinners, these lentils are the most commonly used ones. Today's dal however doesn't come from a south Indian kitchen and I happened to try this version from Tarla Dalal. This dal is a simple one with an unusual addition of yogurt to it. A good addition to everyday kind of dals to rotate.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup pigeon peas / toovar dal
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 cup low fat yogurt
1/2 tsp. chickpea flour / besan
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
2 tbsp. minced cilantro to garnish

Directions:
* Rinse and pressure cook pigeon peas adding a cup of water and turmeric for three whistles or until the lentils are softly cooked. When the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid and mash the lentils well.
* Whisk together yogurt and chickpea flour together in a bowl and keep aside.
* Heat oil in a non stick pan and add cumin seeds. When they start to brown, add onion. Fry until the onion turns light brown. Lower the heat and add mashed dal, salt, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and the yogurt mixture. Stir well and add about 1/4 cup of water. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes. Turn off the stove.
* Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with rice / rotis.


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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #110 under 'Dazzling Dals' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Bihari Kaddu Aur Chane Dal / Split Chickpeas - Bottle Gourd Dal


I had prepared this dal a while ago as part of a Bihari meal. This is a very common preparation in the state of Bihar and other surrounding areas. It is cooked using split chickpeas / chana dal and bottle gourd. Yes, you read it right. It is prepared with bottle gourd and not pumpkin. Surprisingly, Biharis call their bottle gourds kaddu while the other Hindi speaking areas call pumpkin as kaddu and bottle gourd as lauki. It is one of those hearty, every day kind dals prepared in Indian kitchens. It is a quick and easy dal with simple flavors.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup Bengal gram / Chana dal / Split Chickpeas
1 cup peeled and cubed bottle gourd
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 - 3 red chillies
Salt to taste
1 tsp. garam masala

Method:
* Soak split chickpeas / chana dal for a couple of hours and drain. Pressure cook split chickpeas / chana dal adding turmeric, a bay leaf and 1.5 cups of water until soft. Don't make it thinner since the dal needs to be on the thicker side. When the valve presssure is gone, remove the lid and mash the dal well or pulse in a food processor. (If the dal was not soaked in advance, pressure cook it longer.)
* Cook the bottle gourd cubes separately with enough water in a microwave.
* Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, bay leaf and red chillies.  Add the cooked dal and bottle gourd cubes, salt and garam masala. Simmer for a few minutes and turn off the stove.
* Serve warm with rotis / rice.

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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #110 under 'Dazzling Dals' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Himachali Mah Ki Dal

This mah ki dal or mash dal comes from a Himachali dham. A dham in a nutshell would be a traditional midday meal that is specifically reserved for religious and other special occasions in the state of Himachal pradesh. Each region in the state have their own set of specific dham recipes. This mash dal or the black gram gravy is a mandatory part of the dham served in the Mandi region. There are six dishes served with rice in a Mandyali dham and none of the preparations contain onion or garlic. This mah ki dal is the fifth item to be served with rice and is a simple 'satvik' preparation  unlike the Punjabi version.

Ingredients:
1 cup black gram / Sabut urad
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 inch cinnamon piece
2 green cardamom
2 black cardamom
12 peppercorns
1 tbsp. ghee / oil
2 bay leaves
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Directions:
1. Soak black gram overnight in plenty of water and drain.
2. Coarsely grind coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and peppercorns. 
3. Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add bay leaves, the crushed spice powder and saute for few seconds. Add dal, turmeric powder, salt and about 2 cups of water and close the lid. Pressure cook the dal until soft. 
4. Remove the lid when the valve pressure is gone and mix well. Mash the dal with the back of the ladle lightly if preferred. 
(I separately pressure cooked the dal in advance. I prepared the tadka from step 3 in a pan and added the dal along with 3/4 cup water. I cooked for about 10 minutes and lightly mashed the dal.)
 bmlogo

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #110 under 'Dazzling Dals' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Thursday, March 12, 2020

A - Z Karnataka Recipe Series ~ I for Iyengar Bakery Style Masala Toast


So far in my A - Z Karnataka Series
A - Akki Halbai
B - Biscuit Roti
C - Congress Kadalekayi
D - Davanagere Benne Dose
E - Ellu Pajji
F - Field Beans / Avarekalu Payasa
G - Girmit
H - Hitakida Avarekalu Huli

We move to "I' in the series which was a difficult alphabet to pull off, if I got stuck to picking a dish that started with a 'I' sounding regional name. The only options that I could think of were idlis, which were generically a south Indian breakfast dish or something from an Iyengar Bakery. I chose to go with the latter, which have been an integral part of my life, like millions across in the state. I have always enjoyed and still enjoy their delectable treats and could not miss this opportunity to include one of their dishes in the series. 

It is norm to find an Iyengar bakery in every neighborhood in and around Bangalore and for that matter, in towns around south India whether they are authentically an Iyengar bakery or not. The Iyengar bakeries, not a franchise but is an iconic chain of small food joints sell fresh and delicious baked goods. The first one, 'Bengaluru Brothers Bakery' started in the bustling Chickpet area in Bangalore and after a century and later, Iyengar bakeries dot every community in the city. You are sure to find one near most of the bus stations. People flock around to buy their iconic vegetable puffs, palya buns (curry buns), kobri biscuits (coconut biscuits), khara biscuits (spicy biscuits), dilpasand, bread and so on irrespective of the strong competition from the modern day pizza - burger joints.

This masala toast, an open sandwich with a spicy vegetable curry spread is one of their popular dishes. I wouldn't call my recipe an authentic one as the original recipes are close guarded secrets.The below recipe is an attempt to try their iconic and delicious dish. I have added capsicum and carrot to the curry but even a handful of grated cabbage can be added to the curry. Some add a tbsp. of tomato ketchup or tomato sauce in the curry but I don't think they were a part of the original version. This curry is a simple and easy preparation and can be cooked in advance. It can be refrigerated to use for breakfast in the morning which makes a quick and filling meal. I have used a whole grain bread here instead of the usual white bread. This toast can be served for breakfast or as an afternoon snack or even as a light meal.  

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 small green chillies, finely minced
1 onion, chopped finely
1/2 small sized capsicum, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 tomato, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste
1/4 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. chaat masala
Finely minced cilantro to garnish
4 Bread slices
Butter for toasting

Directions:
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to splutter add green chillies and onion. Saute and cook until onion almost turns translucent. 
* Next add capsicum, carrot and tomato. Stir well and cook until the vegetables are done.

* Add turmeric, salt, chili powder, garam masala and chaat masala to the pan. Mix well and cook for few seconds. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

* Heat a tawa / griddle. Apply butter on both sides of the bread slices. Toast each slice on medium flame until golden brown and crisp on both sides.
* Spread about 2 tbsp. vegetable filling on one side of each bread slice and serve along with a hot cup of coffee.

 bmlogo

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #110 under 'A - Z Karnataka Recipes' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

A - Z Karnataka Recipe Series ~ H For Hitakida Bele Huli


So far in my A - Z Karnataka Series
A - Akki Halbai
B - Biscuit Roti
C - Congress Kadalekayi
D - Davanagere Benne Dose
E - Ellu Pajji
F - Field Beans / Avarekalu Payasa
G - Girmit

H for hitakida bele hili or saaru. Hitakida bele huli / saaru is one of the classic dishes of Karnataka cuisine and any series on Karnataka food would be incomplete without it. Avarekalu or fresh hyacinth beans is a winter crop and an integral part of Karnataka cuisine. These beans' based dishes dominate the meal menus especially in Bangalore - Mysore region households during the season.   

Thanks to my sister in law who comes from a Kannadiga family, my 'H' recipe was ready even before I thought about doing this Karnataka food series. She had prepared a couple of dishes from the state during our last India trip, which had those star ingredients that I couldn't have sourced locally. I could present this popular and delicious dish only because of her. This huli was cooked and clicked in her kitchen and is her mother's recipe. 

'Hitakida bele' literally means skinned beans. The term huli / saaru usually refer to the gravy based bean / lentil / dal dishes. As the name of the dish indicates, hitakida bele / skinned fresh field beans are the star of the dish and lentils of any kind are not used in this preparation. The beans are first sauteed lightly in ghee to get rid of their smell and then cooked with a spicy paste made with toasted and ground ingredients like coconut, chilles, coriander and Bengal gram. This paste forms the base and gives the thickness to this yummy and flavorful gravy. This recipe has only a simple seasoning of mustard seeds, not even curry leaves or asafoetida. 

Ingredients for grinding:
2 tsp. oil
1 tbsp. Bengal gram / chana dal / kadale bele
1 tsp. rice / akki
1/2 tsp. poppy seeds / gasagase
1/2 tbsp. coriander seeds / dhaniya
4 dried red chillies or adjust as needed
1/4 cup or a little more grated dry coconut
Other ingredients:
2 tsp. ghee
1 cup hitakida avarekalu / skinned fresh field beans / hyacinth beans
Salt to taste
1 tsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds

Directions:
* Heat oil in a small and add Bengal gram and rice. When the Bengal gram starts to change color, add coriander seeds, poppy seeds, chillies and coconut. Saute until coriander starts to change color. Turn off the stove and let the ingredients cool. Grind the ingredients in a blender adding water as needed. (We had prepared more dal and so the paste quantity was more as well.)

* Add ghee to the same pan and add the beans. Saute them for a minute or so. Add water as needed and cook until they turn tender. (It will not take much time for the beans to cook but the beans should not turn mushy. Below is the picture of hitakida bele.)

* Add the ground paste and salt to the pan. Add water to the required consistency and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and cook for about 5 to 6 minutes and turn off the stove.
* Heat a tsp. of oil and add mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, remove and add it to the cooked beans mixture and stir well.

* Serve warm with rice.   

Notes:
1. The quantity of coriander seeds can be altered according to one's taste preference. It can be increased to about a tbsp. in the recipe but the flavor of the final dish would be stronger.
2. A combination of spicy and Byadagi chilli varieties can be used for color.
3. Onion and tomato can be sauteed and added while grinding the other ingredients.
4. Some versions use tamarind and jaggery in the recipe. 
 bmlogo

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #110 under 'A - Z Karnataka Recipes' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A - Z Karnataka Recipe Series ~ G for Girmit

So far in my A - Z Karnataka Series
A - Akki Halbai
B - Biscuit Roti
C - Congress Kadalekayi
D - Davanagere Benne Dose
E - Ellu Pajji
F - Field Beans / Avarekalu Payasa

Spicy, puffed rice based snack is a popular street food in India, with various regional versions thrown in. Each, popular and delicious in it's own way like the bhel puri of Mumbai, jhal muri of Bengal and so on. Girmit, my 'G' recipe of today is another regional variation and comes from the northern regions of Karnataka. It is quite a popular evening snack there and is usually eaten with menasinakayi bajji / mirchi bajji or fried green chillies. 

Preparation of this spicy, tasty and filling snack is quite easy. What makes girmit unique among the category is the addition of a cooked tangy, spicy onion mixture and ground fried gram along with the usual crunchy tidbits like some minced onion, tomato, sev, spicy, fried peanuts and fried green chillies which make it more appealing. The onion mixture can be cooked in advance and refrigerated that makes the preparation of girmit quite a simple one. Combine all the ingredients quickly and serve immediately to retain the crispiness.
 
Ingredients:
About 3 cups of puffed rice / mandakki 
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 sprig of curry leaves
2 green chillies, chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
A big lemon sized tamarind ball
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
Jaggery / sugar to taste
Salt to taste
 2 tbsp. powdered fried gram / hurigadale
Ingredients for garnishing:
2 tbsp. powdered fried gram / hurigadale
1/4 cup finely minced red onions
1/4 cup finely minced tomato (optional)
2 - 3 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro
1/4 cup sev
A handful or more of congress kadalekayi 
3 to 4 fried whole green chillies 

Directions:
* Soak tamarind in hot water for few minutes or nuke it along with water in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Squeeze tamarind pulp and collect about 1/2 cup tamarind water.
* Heat oil in a pan. Make a slit along the green chillies and fry them for a couple of minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and sprinkle some salt over them. Keep them aside and use them to garnish.
* Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the pan. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add green chillies and curry leaves. 

* Saute for few seconds. Add onion and cook until it turns transparent.

* Next add tamarind, turmeric, jaggery, powdered fried gram and salt. Cook the mixture until it turns thick. Turn off the stove and let the mixture cool.

* Add puffed rice to a mixing bowl and the ground fried gram. (If the puffed rice is stale, toast them on low flame for few minutes until crisp.)

* Add the cooked onion mixture next.

* Add onion, tomato, cilantro to the bowl and toss the bowl to combine.
 
* Sprinkle finally sev, congress kadalekayi or fried groundnuts before serving.
 
 bmlogo
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #110 under 'A - Z Karnataka Recipes' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Riz B Haleeb ~ Lebanese Rice Pudding


Rice based puddings are common all over the globe and have been cooked for ages. Rice getting cooked in a mixture of milk and sugar remains the basic theme. The additional ingredients like eggs or the slight regional variations in terms of thickeners or flavoring agents keep each one of them distinct, giving them a local flair. Today's rice pudding called 'riz b haleeb' comes from Lebanon, which literally means rice in milk. The addition of orange blossom water is what that makes this pudding Lebanese. Riz b haleeb is a yummy pudding with faint undertones of orange blossom water.
Orange blossom water is water distilled with the essence of fresh flowers from bitter orange trees. In fact it is what that prompted me to try this pudding as I had plenty of orange blossom water lying in my refrigerator. The flavor of orange blossom water in this pudding is somewhat subtle without overpowering the dessert. It is a thick, creamy dessert that is delicious and can be prepared with minimal efforts. I would recommend this dessert to rice pudding / kheer lovers.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup rice
2 cups milk
Sugar to taste
1 tbsp. corn flour
1 tsp. orange blossom water
Pistachios to garnish

Directions:
* Rinse rice with water and drain.
* Add rice and milk to a thick bottomed pot and cook on medium flame, stirring intermittently. Leave a ladle in the pot so that the milk doesn't boil over. 
* Cook until the rice softens, about 20 minutes or so. Add sugar and stir until it melts. 
* Mix corn flour with little water / milk (that is at room temperature), without any lumps.
* Next add orange blossom water and corn flour to the rice pot. Keep stirring for about five minutes or until the pudding becomes thicker. (One can add or minus the corn flour quantity depending upon the required consistency of the kheer.)
* Divide the mixture between serving cups and chill.
* Garnish with pistachios before serving.

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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #109 under 'Pudding Recipes' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Keskul / Turkish Almond Pudding

I came across this one while exploring traditional pudding versions prepared around the globe. Sutlac, muhallebi and keskul are dairy based puddings from Turkey. My version today is a quick and easy rice - almond flour based pudding called keskul and is prepared along the lines of a phirni. This version is the easiest one I came across and some versions even had eggs. This is a delicious, creamy dessert with bites of coconut and nuts that provides an interesting crunch to it. I added more ground almonds than recommended and prepared it with a thicker consistency. More milk can be added if one prefers to keep it thinner.

The original recipe had an interesting anecdote, connecting 'keskul' to Ottoman empire. A keskul is a bowl prepared with a coconut shell. Sultan's people would go around disguised as beggars, collecting money in keskul bowls. The money collected would give them an indication of the people's status. And the money then used to get distributed among the poor. 

Ingredients: (Yield - 2 small servings)
1.5 cup milk
2 tbsp. rice flour
1.5 tbsp. almond flour (I used about 3 tbsp. ground almonds)
2 tbsp. coconut flakes
Sugar to taste 

Directions:
* Whisk about 1/2 cup milk with rice flour until there are no lumps or pass the mixture through a fine sieve.
* Add this mixture, remaining milk, almond flour, coconut and sugar in a thick bottomed pot or a non stick one. Cook on low medium flame until the mixture thickens, continuously stirring. I blindly cooked the mixture for about 15 minutes in a non stick pot, stirring the mixture intermittently. Leave a ladle inside the pot to avoid the mixture from boiling over while cooking.
* Chill the pudding and distribute between bowls. Garnish with chopped almonds / pisatchios / raisins before serving.
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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #109 under 'Pudding Recipes' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Monday, February 17, 2020

Amaranth Chocolate Pudding

The three posts this week as part of the blogging marathon are going to be milk based puddings. The first one in the series is going to be this amaranth pudding with a chocolate base. I initially wanted to cook amaranth pudding, the Indian kheer style but at the end decided to change the course. I cooked amaranth in milk to a thick mass and stirred in some chocolate and sweetener which resulted in a yummy dessert. I cooked a small portion for myself but my daughter ended up eating it at her lunch. It was delicious and she didn't mind the texture of the amaranth here with chocolate playing an equal part. My daughter wanted to eat as it is but a dollop of ice cream, sauce or poached fruit may be a nice addition.
Ingredients for 1 serving:
1 and 1/4 cups milk
3 tbsp. amaranth seeds
1 oz. chocolate
Sweetener to taste (I used organic honey.)

Directions:
* Wash amaranth seeds and drain the water carefully. 
* Add the drained amaranth and milk to a pot. Cook on medium flame, stirring intermittently. (I cooked for about 40 to 45 minutes.) 
* Turn off the stove and add sweetener and chocolate after a couple of minutes. Gently stir in until the chocolate melts and serve immediately or chilled.


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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #109 under 'Pudding Recipes' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Bardoli Ki Khichdi


Khichdi, a medley of grain, lentils and vegetables is a common one pot meal prepared across Indian states. The regional variations keep this quick, humble meal interesting enough to keep it rotating in one's kitchen. Today's version supposedly comes from Bardoli, a suburb of Surat in Gujarat. The dish is a straight forward, no fuss kind prepared with the basic ingredients of an Indian kitchen. No special spices / spice powders are used here. 

Raw mango which is a summer staple of Indian kitchens is an interesting addition to this filling khichdi, which drew me to this recipe in the first place. I had a couple of raw mangoes in my refrigerator even in the middle of winter though they don't t match up to the varieties available back home in any manner. The khichdi also had onions in the recipe which I decided to leave out. The khichdi turned out to be how it should be - nutritious, wholesome and simple. Good to go with some papad / lentil wafers, a spicy pickle and drizzled with some ghee on the top.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup yellow lentils / toor dal
1 tbsp. ghee / oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 green chillies, sliced
1/2 inch ginger, chopped
A pinch of asafoetida powder 
1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 cup rice
1 big sized potato, cut into cubes
1/2 cup raw mango, peeled and cubed
A handful of green peas
Salt to taste
Red chili powder to taste
Cilantro to garnish
Directions:
1. Soak lentils for about 2 hours and drain. (It cuts down the cooking time if the khichdi is going to be cooked in a pan or if the dal cannot be cooked for three whistles in a pressure cooker. Skip this step if lentils can be cooked in a pressure cooker in 2 or 3 whistles.)
2. Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan on medium flame and add cumin seeds. When they start to brown, add chillies and ginger. Fry until ginger turns golden brown. Add asafoetida, turmeric, drained lentils and about 2 cups of water. 
3. When the lentils are half cooked, add rinsed and drained rice and potato cubes. Keep adding water if needed. Add raw mango cubes after about 10 minutes and continue to cook. After about 5 minutes, add peas and continue to cook. When the rice and lentils are completely cooked, add salt and chili powder. Check the consistency and add water if needed. Bring the mixture to a boil if water was added and if not, cook for about two minutes and turn off the stove. 
* Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

Note:
Follow this method if using a pressure cooker. Heat ghee in the cooker directly and add cumin seeds. When they start to brown, add chillies and ginger. Fry until ginger turns golden brown. Add asafoetida, turmeric, drained lentils, rinsed and drained rice, potato, raw mango pieces, peas, salt, chili powder and about 2 cups of water. Close the cooker lid and pressure cook for two / three whistles.


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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #109 under 'Rice Dishes' theme. Check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.