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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Easy Breezy Carrot - Kohlrabi Subzi



I had a few kohlrabi bulbs from our summer harvest that was tucked away in the refrigerator for the past four months. Somehow surprisingly, they stayed fresh with out rotting. I combined them with a few carrots to prepare this subzi yesterday. These vegetables  cook fast and flavorwise complement each other well in this simple yet tasty subzi. Serve it with either rotis or rice.

 Ingredients for 3 servings:
1 kohlrabi bulb + 2 -3 carrots (About 2 cups peeled and grated kohlrabi & carrot together)
1/4 cup fresh shredded coconut (thaw if using frozen)
Salt to taste
For tadka: 1 -2 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp each - mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal & cumin seeds, 6 red chillies, few curry leaves

The cooking part:
Heat oil in a kadai/pan. Add the mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal and cumin seeds. When the dals start to turn reddish, add the chillies and the curry leaves. Sauté them for a few seconds and then add the carrot - kohlrabi gratings and salt. Mix well and cook covered on low flame, till the vegetables turn tender. Then add the coconut, again mix and cook for a few minutes more. Turn off the stove.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Simple & Quick Subzis ~ Vankaya Muddha Koora

Vankaya = Eggplant / Brinjal in Telugu

I feel that eggplants and potatoes are two vegetables in Indian cuisine that can be prepared with myriad variations, each one being equally delectable. Eggplants particularly happen to be a favored one in a traditional Andhra kitchen and this recipe follows that style of cooking. Eggplants are cooked almost but not mushy (hence the name muddha) and then the flavorful besan goes in. From prep work to finish, it took me less than 15 minutes for this subzi and an apt one to appear in this series of 'simple and quick subzis'.

Ingredients for 2-3 servings:
1 big eggplant - about 2 cups chopped cubes
2 -3 Tbsp Besan / Senaga pindi
Salt and chili powder to taste
For tadka: 3 -4 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp each mustard seeds, chana dal and urad dal, few curry leaves, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

The cooking part:
Heat oil in a sauté pan and add the chana dal, urad dal and mustard seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop and the dals start to turn reddish, add the curry leaves, turmeric powder and the eggplant cubes. Cook on low flame till the eggplants turn just tender, keeping the lid covered. Then add the besan, chili powder and salt to the cooked eggplant and mix well. Taste and adjust their quantities if needed. Cook a few minutes more till the raw smell of besan disappears. If the mixture appears too dry, a little oil can be added. Turn off the stove.

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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Simple & Quick Subzis ~ Capsicum with Coconut



As I mentioned a few times in my earlier posts, what garlic is to me is coconut to my husband. He can't even stand the smell of coconut and so this curry never happens at my home. Usually capsicum is cooked either this or this way. In my mother's kitchen, it is all together a different story. Any thing coconut is appreciated and all most all koora - pulusus (subzi / dals) are usually laden with coconut for that sweet flavor. And this is the only way my mother cooks capsicum, that also happens to be my father's favorite version. I had prepared this capsicum - coconut koora when my parents were visiting us, last summer.

Ingredients:
2 small sized green capsicum / about 1.5 cup deseeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh coconut (thaw if using frozen)
1 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste
For tadka: 2 - 3 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds and 1 tsp chana dal

The cooking:
Heat oil in a kadai or a non stick pan, add the dal and mustard seeds and sauté for a few seconds. When the dal turns reddish and the mustard seeds start to pop, add the chopped capsicum. Stir well once and cook the capsicum on low flame, covered. Keep stirring in between till the capsicum turns tender. Then add the coconut, chili powder and salt to the cooked capsicum and mix well. Heat for 2 -3 minutes more and turn off the stove.
Serve with rice or rotis.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Prasadams ~ Savory Cracked Wheat Pongal / Godhuma Nooka Pongali

A ladle of cracked wheat pongal

Somehow for the past three months or so, I have been on a rice free diet for no reason. During lunches, my regular dal - subzi are being eaten with a small quantity of cooked cracked wheat (godhuma annam) or quinoa. From years now, I have been using cracked wheat to prepare bisibele bhath and pongal and so in a way I am used to cracked wheat. So far, no cravings for rice that has been a mandatory item on my lunch plate, all my life.
Here is the savory version of cracked wheat pongal that I had prepared for today's prasadam that was my midday meal as well. It tastes as delicious as the rice pongal and one wouldn't miss the rice in this dish. The pongal with the goodness of the wheat - moong combo paired with the rich creaminess of milk and subtly spiced with pepper and ginger is sure a treat for the gods and the human palates.

For 2 servings:
Cracked wheat - 1/2 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Milk / Water - 6 cups (I used 3 cups milk and 3 cups of water)
Salt to taste
Peppercorns - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
For tadka: 2 Tbsp (or more) ghee, 1 tsp peeled & grated ginger, 1/4 tsp crushed pepper, 1 tsp cumin seeds, few cashews, few curry leaves

Method:
Roast the moongdal on low flame for a couple of minutes and remove from fire. Add the cracked wheat, moong dal, turmeric powder and peppercorns to a sturdy pot and also add about 3 cups of milk (or water) and keep cooking on medium flame. Keep stirring in between and also add the remaining water as needed while the cooking progresses. Cook till the dal is done and add salt.
Or to quicken the process, cook the dal and wheat in a pressure cooker adding the liquid as needed.
Now heat ghee in a small pan and add the grated ginger. When it starts to turn brown, add the remaining tadka ingredients and sauté for a few more seconds. Remove from heat, add it to the cooked pongal and mix well.


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Simple & Quick Subzis ~ Black Radish - Peas Subzi / Mullangi Bataani Koora


I have been eyeing these radishes for years now in our local grocery store but never thought of trying them. Mainly because I would get the regular radish / daikon at half the price and didn't want to shell out the extra bucks for the black peel that would end up in the garbage. Last weekend, however I was in a generous mood I guess and brought home some.
Black radishes - well, as the name suggests are another variety of radishes with a black skin. They are about the size of turnips / kohlrabis. They smell and taste similar to the regular white radishes, the tiny pink ones or the daikons. I used some in the methi mooli rotis and some to prepare this koora today. Any radish / daikon can be used to prepare this simple and quick curry. And here is the recipe for radish lovers.


Ingredients for about 2 servings:
1 cup peeled and grated radish
1 Tbsp green peas
2 (or 3) finely chopped green chillies
Salt to taste
1 - 2 Tbsp oil
For tadka:
1/2 tsp each - chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds & mustard seeds, few curry leaves, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Subzi making:
Heat oil in a small kadai / a non-stick pan. Add the tadka ingredients in the order mentioned except the turmeric. When the dals turn reddish, add the green chillies and turmeric. Stir for a few seconds and then add radish and peas, if they are fresh. Turn the heat to low setting and cook covered, stirring in between. Sprinkle a few Tbsps of water if the mixture appears very dry. If adding frozen peas, do so almost at the end of the cooking. Add salt and mix well.  Turn off the heat.



Serve with rotis / rice.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Methi - Mooli Rotis / Fenugreek Greens - Black Radish Flatbread


For the past few weeks, my daughter's favorite lunch box item has been 'colorful rotis'. I am trying to keep them interesting and nutritional as well since lunch box is being brought home empty. Touch wood. I however don't know how long this 'favorite' is going to last. I am trying to sneak in vegetables in the dough itself since she goes 'I need plain rotis and no koora' (no subzi). It was methi -mooli turn today. I had bought some black radishes last week and used one of those. White / pink radish or daikon can be substituted for the black radish. Even with a cup of plain yogurt, these rotis make a complete meal.

Ingredients for 10 rotis:
2 cups atta + some extra for dusting*
1 cup washed and coarsely chopped methi / fenugreek greens
1/2 cup peeled and grated radish
1/2 tsp Chili powder (optional. Or substitute finely chopped / paste of green chillies & ginger)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste
Milk / water as needed to make a firm dough (I used 3/4 cup fat free milk)
A few Tbsp oil to make rotis
* Whole wheat flour sold at Indian grocers

Preparing the dough:
Combine the atta, salt, chili powder, turmeric powder and cumin seeds in a mixing bowl. Mix in the methi leaves and grated mooli / radish. Gradually add the milk / water as needed to form a firm but pliable dough. Allow it to rest for a couple of hours. If rotis are not being made at this point, the dough can be refrigerated for 2 -3 days. When it need to be used, place it covered in a microwave for about 15 - 20 seconds and it would be ready.

Making rotis:
* Pinch a lime sized portion of the dough. Flatten it into a disc and roll it into a thin circle using a rolling pin. Use some atta for dusting, if needed. 
* Heat a tawa / shallow pan. Place the rolled out roti on the pan. Cook till both sides are done, adding 1/2 tsp of oil along the edges and flipping in between.
* Repeat with the remaining dough. Simultaneously the dough can be rolled out and toasted at the same time.



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Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Virtual Sankranthi Tambula(m)

Happy Sankranthi / Pongal to all my readers.
Sankranthi happens to be a very popular festival in our home state Andhra that is meant to celebrate the harvest of the new crop and in turn the new life. :)
According to this year's Telugu calendar, bhogi falls on the 14th, sankranthi on 15th and kanuma on 16th of January. 


Now a virtual tambula to my readers. This platter contains a typical Sankranthi tambula distributed by young girls around their neighborhoods in Bangalore. Ellu-bella*, sakkare atchu (sugar figurines), bananas, sugarcane and kumkum.

* Though ellu - bella means sesame seeds - jaggery literally, the mixture also contain roasted and skinned peanuts, roasted chana, copra pieces and sugar coated, colored cumin.

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Friday, January 7, 2011

Simple & Quick Subzis ~ Goru Chikkudukaaya Koora

Cluster beans / Gawar / Goru chiikudukaaya / Matikkaya / Chavali kayi

A simple curry and dal are what my idea of a (part of :)) decent meal and today it was the turn of this hassle free cluster beans subzi. The subzi prepared in a typical South Indian style is yummier with the added sweetness of coconut and the aromatic curry leaves. It goes well with rice / rotis.

Ingredients:
2 cups chopped goruchikkudukayalu
1/4 cup shredded fresh coconut
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp chilli powder
For tadka: 2 tsp oil, few curry leaves, 1/8 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp each - mustard seeds, chana dal, cumin seeds, urad dal



The cooking part:
* Trim the ends and string the beans, if necessary and chop them into about 1/8-inch pieces.
* Heat oil in a kadai or a sauté pan and add mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
* When the dals turn reddish, add the cluster beans, turmeric powder and salt. Stir them, cover the pan and cook on low - medium heat till the beans turn tender. Keep stirring once or twice in between.
* Then add the coconut and chilli powder and mix well. Turn off the stove after a couple of minutes.


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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mixed Vegetable Upma

Mixed vegetable upma - A quick, easy and substantial breakfast from a South Indian kitchen.



When I was going through breakfast recipes at Veggieplatter recently, I realized that many breakfasts that appear regularly in my mother's kitchen which are my favorites haven't made their way yet here. Vegetable upma happens to be one of them and my mom is well known in our family circles for her special upma where each semolina particle stands out separate.

Ingredients for 6 servings:
2 cups semolina / rava / sooji
2 cups prepared and finely chopped vegetables - I used 2 onions, 1 small carrot, 1 potato, 20 green beans, 2 Tbsp of green peas
Serrano peppers - 6
Salt to taste (I used 2 & 3/4 tsp)
For tadka: 4- 5 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp chana dal, 1 tsp cumin seeds, few curry leaves
4 cups water


Method:
* Dry fry the rava on medium flame till the rava turns light brown.
* Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan / kadai. Add mustard seeds, chana dal and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to splutter and the dals turn red, add chillies and curry leaves. Sauté for a few seconds and add the chopped vegetables. Cook on low flame, covered until the vegetables turn softer, for about 10 minutes. 
* Now add water and salt to the pan. Set the stove to highest setting and let the water come to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, lower the flame. Add rava slowly in a steady stream, holding the rava container in your left hand while stirring with your right hand to avoid the lumps.  Stir properly and cover the pan. Again continue to cook for a few minutes till the semolina is cooked, stirring in between once or twice. 
Serve hot with chutney or chutney powder or daliya powder.



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