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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Beerakaya Pappu - Ridgegourd Dal

Nurturing, nourishing dals appear in various forms across Indian kitchens everyday. Pappu, a comforting and filling one is one such dal from my home state, Andhra.
Today's recipe is beerakaya pappu - the ridgegourd dal. This dal differs from the standard papu versions and doesn't use tamarind or ground chillies. Green chilies are used for mild spiciness. This can be prepared in a cinch, if you own a pressure cooker.
Dahi mirchi is the perfect companion for these kinds of dals with sweet undertones.



List of ingredients:
1/2 cup toordal
1 cup peeled and cubed ridgegourd (remove the seeds if not tender)
4 serrano peppers (or any green chillies), slit lengthwise into 4 or 6 slices
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
Salt
Finely chopped cilantro for garnish
For tadka: 1 or 2 tsp canola oil,  1 tsp each of mustard seeds and cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida, 3 or 4 red chillies (broken into bits) and curry leaves. Also dahi mirchi* (uppu mirapakayalu) can be added.

The cooking part:
Wash the toordal in two exchanges of water and discard the water. Then add the gourd, chilies, turmeric powder and about a cup of water. Pressure cook (or in a sauce pan over stove top) till the dal is done. After the valve pressure is gone, remove the dal and add salt to it and stir well.
For the tadka, heat oil in a small saute pan and add the tadka ingredients in the order mentioned. Turn off the stove when mustard seeds start to pop and cumin starts to sizzle and gets brownish. Add the tadka to the dal and mix well.
If using dahi mirchi, heat a tsp of oil to a small saute pan and add dahi mirchi to it. When they slightly brown, remove with a slotted spoon and add to the dal.

*Dahi mirchi: Yogurt soaked, Sundried green chillies 

This is going to Susan's MLLA, where Srivalli is guest hosting the eighteenth helping.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Annamlo Podi



(Annam - cooked rice and podi - powder in Telugu.)
The name says it all. Literally, annam lo podi means the powder that goes with rice.

Powders made of legumes and/or spices have their own, unique place in Indian cuisine. Cooks in every region of this vast land use  these powders in one form or another to compliment and accentuate their local cuisine / dishes. Some powders spice up everyday humdrum meals, some go into making elaborate dishes, some lend flavor and texture while some others used as condiments.
For this month's MLLA , I thought of sending an entry where only and only the legumes take the center stage (or should I say the entire stage?). When I was thinking of such entries, this  unpretentious legume powder from Andhra popped up. I have heard from my mother that this humble podi is used to be one of the menu items at a traditional, Andhra Brahmin wedding. (I am talking about those days when pickles and powders were made at home to serve at a wedding and not the modern day menus where there are food stalls in a wedding. :)) BTW, this one is a 'must have' powder in my kitchen.
This can be served just with some hot, steamed rice and a tsp of ghee. Or try adding Andhra style pickles like gongura to this podi annam to experience a simple pleasure.

Ingredients needed for 2 cups of podi:
1/2 cup each - moongdal, urad dal, chanadal and toordal
15 red chillies
1 tsp salt

On low flame, dry roast each dal individually in a skillet / kadai till it turns slightly brown. Also dry roast the red chillies till they turn a few shades darker. Cool them.
Grind the dals, chillies along with salt into a coarse powder. Remember not to grind into a fine powder.Check the salt level and add more if needed.



This is going to Susan's MLLA, where Srivalli is guest hosting the eighteenth helping.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Moong Dal Dosas



Moongdal dosa is a nutritious, 'no ferment' kind dosa which I keep in reserve for lazy weekends. I soak moongdal the previous night and grind it in the morning. In this way, I will have ready to go batter within five minutes.

List of ingredients:
1 cup moongdal 
1 tsp salt
6 red chillies
1/2 cup fresh coconut, shredded (if using frozen variety, thaw it)
1 cup finely minced onion (optional)
Canola / peanut oil to make dosas

For extra flavor, a piece of ginger, few curry leaves and a tsp of cumin seeds can be added while grinding the batter.

Making dosas:
Soak moongdal in water for a couple of hours*. Then grind it along with other ingredients into a coarse batter, adding about a cup of water. It doesn't take much time to grind this batter. If using, add the minced onion to the batter and mix well.
Heat a tawa / shallow pan. Sprinkle a little water on the pan and if it sizzles and evaporates, then the pan is ready for dosas. Pour about 1/4 cup or a ladleful of batter at the center of the pan and spread into a thin circle. Spread 1/2 tsp of oil around the edges and roast until it turns golden brown. Then flip it, spread the oil again and let it cook on the other side as well. Repeat the same with the remaining batter.
Serve with chutney.

Photobucket

* To speed up the process of soaking, you can bring the water to a rolling boil, add the dal to it and turn off the stove.

This is going to Susan's MLLA, where Srivalli is guest hosting the eighteenth helping.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Aloo Matar

Aloo matar falls under those North Indian style simple, basic  curries which can be served along with rotis / pooris / tortillas. This tempting curry uses the most humble vegetables found in any kitchen and very easy for a novice to try. One will end up with a lip smacking curry by combining the wholesome, filling potatoes, fresh peas and tart tomatoes along with garam masala, the signature spice mix of the region. The use of cumin seeds and cilantro further accentuates the North Indian style cooking, which is quite apart from the cuisine of South where mustard seeds and curry leaves are greatly cherished.



Ingredients needed:
2 potatoes - (about 3 cups after peeling and chopping into cubes)
1 onion - (about 1 cup chopped onion)
3 tomatoes - (2 cups chopped)
Fresh / frozen green peas - 1 cup
Salt - 1.5 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
Minced cilantro for garnish (optional)

The cooking part:
 Heat oil in a deep pan or kadai and add cumin seeds. When they sizzle and turn a few shades darker, add the turmeric powder and onion. Fry it on low flame. Add tomatoes and green peas when onion turns translucent. Then keep frying till the tomatoes turn into a mush. Meanwhile, to speed up the process cook potatoes in a microwave* adding water. They need to be tender still holding their shape and not mushy after cooking.
Then add the cooked potatoes, salt, chili powder, garam masala to the onion tomato mixture. Check the taste and add the spices if needed. At this point, a little quantity of water can be added, if gravy is preferred. Let it simmer for about five minutes and then turn off the stove.
Garnish with cilantro.



* Or you can add potatoes along with tomatoes and cook adding water.

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