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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Seemavankaya Pappu / Andhra Style Lentils with Chayote

'Pappu' is a lentil aka dal dish from the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The dish is on a thicker side compared to sambhar, a signature lentil dish from south India and also doesn't need sambhar powder. Green mango, greens, cuke, okra, tomato, and some of the gourds are the commonly used vegetables to prepare this style of dal. Chayote also works well in a pappu recipe though it is not used traditionally. The lentils can be pressure cooked adding the vegetable of your choice, green chili and even the tamarind, making it a quick and easy preparation. The seasoning of mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida makes the dal flavorful. The delicious dal is served with rice, drizzling with ghee.
Ingredients needed for pappu:
1 cup pigeon peas / toor dal
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1 small chayote - peeled, seeded and chopped into cubes (I had about a cup.)
1 spicy green chili, slit lengthwise
Salt to taste (I added about 1 & 3/4 tsp. salt.)
1/2 tsp. spicy chili powder or as needed

Thick tamarind puree (I used somewhere about 3 - 4 tbsp. See note below.)
Ingredients for seasoning / popu: 
2 tsp oil 
1 tsp. mustard seeds 
1 tsp. cumin seeds (optional)
A pinch of fenugreek seeds (optional)
2 pinches of asafoetida
Few curry leaves

* Wash pigeon peas / toor dal with water twice and throw away the cloudy water. Pressure cook the dal adding chayote cubes, green chili, turmeric powder and 
2 cups of water for 3 whistles or until done. (I cooked chayote separately. The dal can be cooked in a thick bottomed pan on stove top in lieu of a pressure cooker. Soak dal for a couple of hours in that case to fasten the cooking process. Cook until the dal softens adding water as needed.)
* When the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid. Slightly mash the cooked dal with the back of a ladle and keep aside.
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add asafoetida and curry leaves. Then add the mashed dal, salt, chili powder and tamarind. Mix all the ingredients well with the ladle. Add extra water if the dal appears thicker. Check the taste and adjust any seasonings if needed. Bring the dal to a boil and lower the heat setting. Let the dal simmer for 3 to  4 minutes for all the flavors to mingle and turn off the stove.
How to serve:
Serve this with a small mound of rice and a tsp of ghee. Serve along with a pickle, koora (a vegetable preparation), and yogurt for Andhra style lunch.

1. Soak about 1/4 cup of tamarind in water for about an hour or microwave for about 3 minutes adding water. Squeeze thick tamarind puree using your fingers or passing through a sieve. Discard the seeds and fibre. Use the puree as needed and refrigerate the rest. The amount of tamarind puree used depends upon how much tartness is preferred in the dal. It must balance the salt and chili powder used in the recipe. If using ready made tamarind paste, the quantity mentioned above varies.
2. Chili powder can be entirely omitted from the recipe and green chillies can be used accordingly. Or only green chilies can be used in the recipe.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon under the theme 'Regional Side dishes'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Aratikaaya Koora / Andhra Style Plantain Curry

(This was originally published on 3/18/2008.)

'Aratikaya' is plantain and 'koora' is curry in Telugu, a south Indian language. This aratikaya koora or plantain curry is a traditional version, common in the south Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a simple and easy preparation, with a balance of sweet, sour and spicy flavors. The souring agent used here can be lime / lemon juice or tamarind puree and the sweetener added is usually jaggery. The flavors should be subtle and well balanced for the curry to taste delicious. The preparation is meant to be dry and usually served with  hot rice and ghee. 
Ingredients needed: 
2 cups peeled and cubed plantain
A pinch of turmeric powder
1.5 tbsp. oil 
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp split chickpeas / chana dal
1 tsp. skinned black gram / urad dal
A sprig of curry leaves
A pinch of ground asafoetida
1/4 cup fresh / frozen shredded coconut
Salt to taste
Chili powder to taste (I added about 3/4 tsp.) 
1 tbsp. jaggery or to taste
Lemon / lime juice to taste (I added about 1.5 tsp juice.)
1. Peel the skin of plantains, quarter lengthwise and chop into small cubes. Add plantain and turmeric to a bowl and add enough water to cover them.
2. Pressure cook the plantain cubes for 3 whistles. Alternatively, put the cubes in a pot and add enough water so that the cubes are well immersed in water. Cook till the cubes are done. When done, you must be able to mash the cubes with the back of a spoon. Drain the water saving a tbsp. or two if needed in case.
* Thaw the coconut in microwave if using frozen coconut.
3. Heat oil in a pan / kadai and add mustard seeds, split chickpeas and black gram. When the lentils start to turn slightly reddish, add curry leaves and asafoetida and stir.
4. Next add the cooked and drained plantain cubes, coconut, chili powder, jaggery and salt. (Now is the time to add tamarind pulp if it is being used instead of lemon). Mash the plantain lightly and and mix well to combine. Taste and adjust the quantities of seasonings if needed. Add a few tbsp. of water saved from cooking plantain / water if the curry appears dry.
* Cook for a couple of minutes and turn off the stove.
* Add lemon juice / lime juice at the end and stir well.
* Serve it warm with steamed rice and ghee.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon under the theme 'Regional Side dishes'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Bihari Ghugni / Bihari Aloo Chana

I had prepared this delicious and nutritious ghugni as part of the Bihari thaali I posted a while ago. Ghugni happens to be a popular dish in Bihar and as well as in some of the neighboring states such as Asaam, Bengal and Odisha where it is enjoyed as a snack. The preparation of course varies from region to region. This spicy ghugni when made into a gravy, can be served as a side dish to go with roti, poori or even rice whereas the street version usually happens to be a dry one. Ghugni can also be prepared using white chickpeas, dried yellow peas or split chickpeas.

The onion and tomato mixture can be cooked directly in a pressure cooker and soaked chickpeas and potatoes can then be added and pressure cooked. For a quicker version, I cooked chick peas and potatoes individually and added to the cooked onion - tomato mixture that got cooked in a pan at the end.
1.5 soaked and cooked black chick peas / kala chana
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed (About a cup)
1 tbsp. mustard oil, preferably for authentic taste
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
2 green chili, sliced lengthwise
2 onions, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped / 1/4 tsp. garlic paste (I omitted it.)
1/2 inch ginger, finely grated / 1/4 tsp. ginger paste
1 big sized tomato, finely chopped
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. red chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. chole masala
1/2 tsp. garam masala

* Soak chickpeas overnight or at least 8 hours with adequate water to soak. Let the container be big enough to hold the chickpeas which expand while soaking. Drain the water used to soak and pressure cook the chickpeas adding water as needed. 
* Cook the potatoes until tender and keep aside.
* Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds and bay leaf.  Immediately add green chili, onion and grated ginger. Sauté until onions turn golden brown. 
* Next add the tomatoes and cook until they turn mush. Add turmeric, salt, red chili powder, cumin and coriander powder, garam masala and chole masala. Cook for a minute.
* Add cooked chickpeas and cooked potato cubes and simmer for about five minutes. Mash some of the potatoes if the gravy needs to be thicker.
* Serve it with Indian style breads / rice.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon under the theme 'Regional Side dishes'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

A - Z Idli Series ~ U for Uddina Idli

Uddina bele is black gram / urad dal in Kannada. The idlis I am posting today are made with skinned black gram and hence the name. Like many of the idlis I have posted in this series, these delicious idlis also come from the south Indian state of Karnataka. They are popular in Mysore region and are instant kind idlis though grinding is involved. These idlis can be made without any advance planning as no fermentation is required though the ingredients need to be soaked for a couple of hours.

Black gram and idli rava are soaked and ground and are instantly made into idlis without fermenting the batter. The idlis are flavored with the addition of coconut, chilis and dill leaves to the batter. Minced onions can also be added if preferred. The idlis come out soft even without the addition of any leavening agents or fermentation.

These vegan and gluten-free idlis don't need any elaborate side dishes. A simple coconut chutney will be a perfect accompaniment or they are eaten even plain when made spicier. The leftovers can be refrigerated. They freeze well and when needed, just remove them from the freezer and microwave them covered in a glass bowl for few minutes and you will have hot piping idlis to serve.

Ingredients: (Yield about 12 idlis)
1/2 cup skinned black gram / urad dal
1 cup idli rava / cream of rice
2 to 3 tbsp. split chickpeas / chanadal / Bengal gram
Salt to taste
A handful of minced dill leaves (I didn't use it.)
2 tbsp. minced cilantro
1 tbsp. minced curry leaves
3/4 grated fresh coconut 
1 or 2 spicy green chili, finely chopped 
Oil to grease idli plates
(Minced onions can be added if preferred.)
1. Wash black gram / urad dal thoroughly with water by rubbing  between fingers and drain. Soak it in water for a couple of hours.
* Rinse and soak idli rava in water in another bowl.
* Soak Bengal gram in water for a couple of hours or until dal can be broken when pressed between thumb and forefinger. Drain the water used to soak the Bengal gram. (One can soak the ingredients the previous night and refrigerate to use it in the morning.)
2. Drain the water used to soak the black gram. 
3. Grind it in a blender adding water as needed to form a thick, smooth batter. 
4. Squeeze out all the water from the idli rava completely and add it to a bowl. 
5. Add the ground black gram batter to the soaked idli rava.
6. Also add the soaked Bengal gram, coconut, salt, minced dill, cilantro, chopped curry leaves and green chili to the batter.
7. Mix the batter well with a ladle. (Add a tbsp. or two of water to the bowl if the mixture appears too thick).
* Heat water in a idli cooker / pressure cooker / steamer base on medium heat.
8. Grease the idli plates and spoon the batter into the molds.
* Place the idli stand in the steamer and close the lid. Don't use the pressure valve if using pressure cooker.
* On low medium flame, steam for about 15 - 20 minutes or until when the surface of the idlis don't stick when touched with moist fingers. 
* Turn off the stove and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
* Run a sharp spoon around the edges of idlis and remove the idlis.
* Serve them warm with ghee if desired and coconut chutney.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon under the theme 'A - Z' theme. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

T for Thatte Idli / Bidadi Thatte Idli

For the uninitiated, idli happens to be a traditional and popular breakfast item from south India. Idlis are basically steamed dumplings prepared using a fermented batter that uses rice and black gram. The batter is poured into special molds meant for the purpose called an idli stand, that can hold up to 2 dozen idlis. The commercial versions at eateries and restaurants across the region of course are meant to handle on a larger scale. The traditional, eco- friendly versions in some parts of the state of Karnataka have been leaves of banana, jack fruit, teak, or turmeric trees that are fashioned into pockets to hold the batter. 

Today's version thatte idli comes from the south Indian state of Karnataka, thatte referring to the plates that are used to steam the idlis. This locally popular idli variety has it's origins in Bidadi, an industrial suburb outside of Bangalore enroute Mysore. The route which is also famous for Maddur vade has eateries through out to dish out these thatte idli for the hungry travelers and the locals. The plates yield bigger size idlis than the standard concave shaped ones and almost equal to three of the regular idlis. Eating one idli would almost make you full and so these plate idlis in a way save your time in terms of cooking and cleaning. 
The plates used at eateries are similar to the one shown above though usually larger. It is hard to stack if using these kind of plates at home and I use the plate idli stand shown in the pictures.We add flattened rice to our regular idli recipe to make these thatte idli which come out super soft and easily breakable kind. Some use sago / sabbakki instead. I have seen videos where Bidadi eatery owners mentioning that they use only kusubalakki (parboiled rice) and uddina bele (skinned black gram) in 4:1 ratio, which hasn't worked for me and I stick to our recipe for these idlis. These idlis are vegan, gluten free and guilt free and make a wholesome, filling breakfast / brunch. They are usually served with a dollop of butter, along with chutney and sambhar. The butter can be skipped if vegan.
Ingredients: (Yield - 8 idlis)
2 cups idli rice / Selam akki
1/2 cup / skinned black gram / urad dal / uddina bele
3/4 cup flattened rice / poha / avalakki
Water to grind (I used about 1 & 1/4 cups.)
2 tsp. salt or to taste

1. Rinse idli rice, skinned black gram, and flattened rice together and drain. Repeat the step one more time. Soak them together in water in a bowl for about 3 to 4 hours and drain the water used to soak completely.
2. Grind them together adding salt and water as needed to grind them into a smooth and thick batter. (The salt can be added just before making idlis if living in a warm climate. I add it while grinding since I live in a cold climate and the batter takes longer to ferment.)
3. Transfer the batter to a container that is big enough to allow the batter to raise during fermentation. (Compare the pictures 3 and 4 to see the volume of the batter increasing after fermentation). Cover the container and allow it to ferment overnight (if the batter was ground in the evening) or for about 10 - 12 hours in a warm place. If living in a cold climate, leaving the batter in an oven with the lights on (without turning on the oven) helps. Or use yogurt setting in an instant pot.
4. The fermented batter should rise well and be fluffy but not turn sour.
* The fermented batter looks like above in the picture - thicker than when grounded, airy, and slightly sour smelling. 
* Heat about 2 cups of water in a idli cooker base or a idli cooker or a steamer on medium heat. 
* Grease the idli moulds with ghee / oil. 
* Gently stir the batter a couple of times with a ladle. 
5 & 6. Ladle the batter into the idli plates carefully without spilling.
 Place the idli stand in the prepared cooker / steamer and close the lid. Don't use the valve for the lid if using a pressure cooker.
7. Steam the idlis on medium heat setting for about 15 - 20 minutes or until done. (The idlis should not stick when touched with moist fingers.) Check the water level in the steamer base and add extra if needed.
8. Wait for about 10 minutes and then remove the idlis from idli stand. Remove the idlis by running a spoon around the edges.
Serving the idlis:
Drizzle butter over the idlis and serve them with a chutney, and sambhar if preferred. Mine were served with roasted gram chutney and sambhar.

What to do with leftover idlis:
1. Refrigerate the left over idlis and use in a day or two. 
2. Or they can be cooled down immediately after preparation and frozen to use later. Nuke them in a microwave, covered and enjoy hot, piping idlis when needed. 
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Friday, September 10, 2021

A - Z Idli Series ~ S for Sabbakki Idli / Sabudana Idli / Saggubiyyam Idli / Sago Idli

There is an instant version sabbakki / tapioca pearls idli in Karnataka cuisine which is made with the tiny sized tapioca pearls soaked in yogurt. The idlis prepared with the batter are usually thinner than the standard version that are made with skinned black gram and rice. The idea to these idlis came after a conversation with my mother where we wondered whether tapioca pearls can be added to the regular idli batter. I experimented adding them to idli batter, without changing the proportions of rice and black gram. I found those idlis slightly on the dry side and so replaced a portion of rice with tapioca pearls instead. 
These soft and fluffy idli look cute with the tapioca pearls studded like tiny pearls through out. They make a great breakfast or brunch item when served with chutney and / or sambhar. These idlis are obviously vegan, gluten free and also are fatfree. 
So far in this series -
Ingredients: (Yield - 16 idlis)
1 cup idli rice / idli rava
1/2 cup skinned black gram / urad dal
1/2 cup sago / tapioca pearls / sabudana / sabbakki
2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup water
Ghee / oil to grease the idli moulds

1. Add black gram and idli rice to a bowl.  
2. Rinse idli rice and skinned black gram with water, rubbing between fingers and drain. Soak them together in water for about 4 - 5 hours. (If using idli rava instead of idli rice, soak it and black gram separately). 
3 & 4. Rinse and soak tapioca pearls in water in another bowl.
5. Drain the water from rice - black gram mixture and add them to a grinder / blender. Grind the mixture adding salt and enough water to a smooth and thick batter with pourable consistency. (Grind black gram first if using idli rava. Then add the soaked and drained idli rava and mix well. There is no need to grind the idli rava. Salt can be added just before making idlis if the local weather is warmer. )
* Transfer the mixture to a container, big enough to allow some space for the batter to rise during fermentation. 
6. Drain the water that was used to soak tapioca pearls as well, squeezing them gently if needed. Add these tapioca pearls to the ground batter and mix well. 
7. Cover and leave the mixture to ferment overnight, in a warm place especially if the weather is cooler. 
8. The batter may take anywhere between 8 to 16 hours to ferment, depending upon the local weather. 
* Grease the idli moulds with ghee / oil.  Fill the moulds with batter.
* Place the idli stand in the prepared cooker / steamer and close the lid. Don't use the valve for the lid if using a pressure cooker.
7. Steam the idlis on low heat setting until done. (The idlis should not stick when touched with moist fingers.) Check the water level in the steamer base and add extra if needed.
* Wait for about 10 minutes and then remove the idlis by running a spoon around the edges.
* Drizzle melted ghee over the idlis and serve them with a chutney and /or sambhar. Mine were served with peanut chutney and sambhar.
* Refrigerate any left over idlis and use in a day or two. Or they can be cooled down immediately after preparation and frozen to use later. Just nuke them in a microwave, covered and enjoy hot, piping idlis when needed. 
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Dahi Aloo ~ Potatoes in Spicy Yogurt Gravy

Today's recipe 'dahi aloo' is a quick and easy side dish that has it's roots in the North Indian cuisine. As the name indicates, the two main ingredients of this recipe are dahi and aloo which are yogurt and potatoes and the rest of the ingredients used are a few spices / spice powders, which are all staples of an Indian kitchen. The dish can be cooked under 15 minutes if one has cooked potatoes handy.  

Dahi aloo is prepared in the north Indian states with minor variations. The preparation is along similar lines of a 'kadhi' sans chickpea flour. Using onions and tomatoes in the dish is optional. Garam masala / kasuri methi can be added as well for flavoring if preferred. The cooked potatoes are roughly mashed and used in the recipe. The potatoes are neither completely mashed into a mush nor cooked as in a potato fry recipe. The whisked yogurt along with spices is added and cooked on a low heat setting. The flavors used in the recipe are quite basic ones and this dish is a perfect example of  a 'home cooked meal' where simple flavors shine through. 

Use yogurt which is slightly on the sour side or add some amchur / lemon juice to the dish for some tanginess. One of the things to keep in mind while cooking dahi aloo is not to curdle the yogurt. Avoid adding yogurt to the hot pot since chances of it curdling are high if done so. Whisking a tsp. of chickpea flour / rice flour / corn starch, along with yogurt also helps. I have added some tips in the recipe directions below, that I use to avoid curdling yogurt when making these kind of dishes.

Ingredients: (yield 2 servings)
2 big potatoes / 4 small ones
2 tsp. ghee / oil
1 tsp minced / grated ginger
1 green chili, finely chopped
A pinch of asafoetida
1/2 cup yogurt 
1 cup or slightly more water
1 tsp. chickpea flour / besan
Salt to taste
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. coriander powder to taste
1/4 tsp. chili powder or to taste
Minced cilantro to garnish

* Peel and cut potatoes into big cubes. Pressure cook them for 2 or 3 whistles adding enough water. Or alternatively, they can be cooked in a pot on stove top or in a microwave until fork tender. Add the potatoes to a colander and drain. Run cold water over them. (I do this to keep everything at room temperature when adding the yogurt to avoid it from curdling.)
* Add ghee / oil to a pan and heat it. Don't bring it to a smoking point. Add cumin seeds and when they start to brown, add chilies and ginger. Saute for 30 to 40 seconds and add asafoetida powder. Stir well once and turn off the stove. 
* Transfer the pan to another burner which is not hot or place on a trivet and add the cold, drained potatoes and 1/4 cup water to it. It is to make sure that the pan is not hot while adding the yogurt to it. 
* Whisk yogurt, remaining water and chickpea flour together. (I use a blender for a homogeneous mixture.) 
* Now add yogurt mixture, salt, turmeric, coriander powder to the pan. Stir well and taste. Next add chili powder as needed.
* Turn on the heat and put the pan on stove. Cook on low flame, stirring quite often. If the heat used to cook is high, the yogurt mixture starts to curdle. Cook until the mixture slightly thickens, about 10 - 12 minutes. Taste and cook longer if needed.  Also note that the mixture thickens slightly after cooling.
* Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rotis / pooris / rice.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check what other marathoners are cooking, clicking at the link.


Saturday, September 4, 2021

Potlakaaya Koora ~ South Indian Style Snake Gourd Curry

Here is a simple curry prepared with snake gourd that is usually served with steamed rice as part of a south Indian meal. The cooking method used here is a common preparation across homes in south India and the snake gourd in this recipe can be replaced with other vegetables. The cooking time depends upon the quality of the gourd that is being used. It cooks quicker if the gourd is tender and may take more time if the gourd is mature. Snake gourd can also be used in simple lentil preparations like this dal and raita or in pindi miriyam from Andhra like the versions I have posted here and here.

2 snake gourds, chopped (about 5 cups)
1 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. split peas / chana dal
1 tsp. skinned black gram / urad dal
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
3 or 4 dried red chili broken into bits or to taste
A sprig of curry leaves
A pinch of turmeric powder
1 & 3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup. shredded fresh / frozen coconut 

*  Trim the edges of snake gourd. If the gourds are long, chop them into two pieces. The gourd can be cut into thin circles if preferred. I cut them lengthwise into two and chopped them thinly. Discard the seeds if they are mature. 
* Heat oil and add split peas, black gram, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When split peas and black gram starts to turn reddish add red chilis and curry leaves. Stir them for few seconds.
* Next add the cut snake gourd pieces, salt and turmeric and mix them well. Cover and cook on low flame, stirring in between until the snake gourd pieces soften. (The cooking time depends upon the tenderness of the vegetable.)
* Finally add the shredded coconut and stir. Cook for a couple of minutes and turn off the stove.
* Serve the curry with steamed rice, drizzling a little ghee over it.


This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Tomato - Onion chutney

This tomato and onion based chutney makes a tasty side dish to go with south Indian style breakfast dishes like idli, dosa and paniyaram. It also goes great with vegetable based parathas. Use juicy variety tomatoes with some tartness for a flavorful chutney. Use tamarind if the tomatoes are not sour enough or skip it totally if using sour variety tomatoes. Garlic can be added for extra flavor. A reader had requested for this chutney recipe when I paired it with mallige idli and here it is.
2 tbsp. oil 
1 tbsp. skinned black gram / urad dal
3 dried red chillies or to taste
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 tomatoes, cut into big chunks
A pinch of ground turmeric 
1 tsp. sized tamarind piece *
Salt to taste
Ingredients for seasoning:
1/4 tsp. mustard seeds
1 small sprig of curry leaves

* Adjust the tamarind quantity as needed. Skip it if the tomatoes used are sour.

1. Heat oil in a pan and add black garm / urad dal, Stir until the dal turns reddish. Next add red chillies and onion to the pan. Sauté on low flame until they are cooked /  lightly browned.

2.  Next add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric, salt and tamarind to the pan.
3. Cover and continue cooking on low flame until tomatoes turn mushy. 
4. Turn off the stove and let the mixture cool down. Grind the mixture, slightly coarsely if preferred.
5. Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. Add curry leaves when they start to splutter and turn off the stove. Add this to the ground chutney and mix well.
6. Serve the chutney with Indian style breakfast dishes like idli, dosa or vegetable based parathas. 

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Thursday, August 26, 2021


Maduros are fried sweet plantains that are prepared throughout Latin America and Caribbean regions. Basically ripe plantains are sliced and fried in oil until golden and cooked through and are served as a side dish. These are made with very ripened plantains but not the firm green colored plantains and are very delicious to snack on. The unripe, green ones are more suited to make yummy chips or one more yummy snack, the twice fried tostones / patacones

In case ripened plantains are not readily available at your local stores, buy green plantains and leave them outside refrigerator a few days to ripen. Plantains soften and develop more sugar as they turn yellow and then black eventually. Plantain that has a dull yellow color with black patches / spots or almost black are used to make maduros. Very ripe plantains yield really sweet maduros but I used that have not yet turned dark which yield a little starchy and not too sweet maduros.

Ripened plantains 
Neutral oil to fry (I used canola oil.)
Salt (optional) 

* Chop the ends of the plantain and cut a slit along the length of plantain, avoiding cutting into the flesh. Remove the peel by pulling it sideways than lengthwise. Or use a peeler instead if not comfortable using a knife to peel. Chop plantains into one inch thick diagonal slices.

* Heat about 1/8 inch oil in a wide pan / skillet over medium heat. There is no need to bring the oil to a smoking point. Gently drop a plantain piece and see whether it bubbles vigorously. If it does then the oil is ready to fry. Otherwise, heat the oil some more. Once the oil is ready, add the plantain slices, as many as the pan can fit without overcrowding.

* Fry the plantain pieces until they start to lightly brown. Lower the heat and continue to cook, turning them occasionally, until they turn deep golden brown. (Lowering the heat is important since the plantains can burn / brown quickly without getting properly cooked.)

* Transfer them to a paper towel lined plate / tray. Sprinkle with salt / sugar if desired and serve them warm.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.