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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
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.


* 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. (Or you can add potatoes along with tomatoes and cook adding water.)
* 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 and serve with rotis.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Maddur Vade / Maddhur Vade

(The latter part of the word vade, de is pronounced as day)

As the name suggests, this popular snack item of Karnataka can be traced back to Maddhuru. Maddhuru is a small town which lies between Bangalore and Mysore, the two most popular cities of Karnataka. This Vade is frequently sold on the trains which frequent these two cities. I have always attached these vadas to our train journey since that's where I ate them though they are available in restaurants as well.
I am not great fan of deep frying. However, there are certain exceptions and this awesome vade tops that exclusive list.These crispy, delicious vadas are a great treat, enjoyed by adults and kids alike. What makes them extra special is that they can be stored for a few days unlike the other Indian vadas.
Give them a try and you would thank the guy who came up with this recipe.

 Ingredients needed to make around 20 vades:
1 cup fine semolina / rava (chiroti rave)
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour / maida
2 onions (about 1 cup, chopped)
10-15 curry leaves, finely chopped
4 tbsp finely minced cilantro
3 Serrano peppers, finely chopped (Use any other variety chilis and as many as needed)
1.5 tsp salt
About 1/4 cup water (same cup used to measure dry ingredients.)
3 - 4 cups of oil to fry (I use canola)

Making vades:
Heat the oil in a kadai / deep based pan.
Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients except the water and the oil. Add about 4 tsp of hot oil to it. Mix all together by adding water little by little, to form a firm dough.
Pinch and take about a small lime sized dough. Grease a plastic sheet and put the dough ball on the sheet. Pat it with your fingers and shape into a circle/patty as thin as you can.
To know whether the oil is hot enough, drop a pinch of dough into the oil. If it sizzles and comes to the surface, then the oil is ready. If the dough stays at the bottom, heat the oil a couple of minutes more.
Now carefully lift the patted dough circle using your fingers and gently slide it into the hot oil. You can drop a few more patted circles, taking care not to overcrowd the kadai.
Now turn down the heat to the lowest setting and deep-fry them till they turn slightly brown on both sides and are crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Repeat the process with the remaining dough. Remember to grease the plastic sheet everytime you shape the dough into thin circle. If the sheet is not greased, the patty will stick to it.
Let them cool and store them in an air tight container. This quantity would last only for a couple of days.:)
Serve with chutney or can be eaten as it is.
Another look at maddhur vades.


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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MEC - Fresh Produce Roundup, Carrot Laddu & Vegetable Poha

Microwave Easy Cooking - Fresh Produce round up is here and I thank all the bloggers who have sent their delicious entries for the event and also thank Srivalli for giving me the opportunity to host the event. Also a big thanks to my mother and sister who gave me the recipes instantly when they heard about the event in spite of not being well versed with the blogging process. Obviously, they are non bloggers and so, basically gave me the recipe. I tried their recipes, photographed and posted here. A special mention about Priya has to be made as well. She sent four entries and thank you Priya.The entries have been arranged in an alphabetical order. Go through, try and enjoy the recipes. :)


Aloo-Methi Matar by me

Avial by me

Baby Corn, Potatoes Stir Fry in Microwave by Srivalli

Carrot Chikki by Sheetal

Carrot Laddu by Lakshmi, my mother (Recipe below)

Dry Curry Leaves, The Microwave Way by PJ

Microwave Beetroot Halwa by Priya Srinivasan

Microwaved Cabbage and Carrot by Nathan Lau

Microwave Carrot Halwa by Priya

Microwave Carrot N Spinach Fried Rice by Priya

Microwave Jeera Aloo by Priya

Microwaved Spinach and Malai Kofta by Cool Lassi(e)

Microwave Spinach Stir Fry by Priya

Okra Fry by Kamala Bhoopathy

Potato - Carrot Soup by me

Raw Banana Peper Fry by Radhika Subramanian

Saunfwale Aloo Baingan by Lata Raja

Spicy Red Potatoes by me

Stuffed Tomatoes and Potatoes Salad by Lata Raja

Sweet Potato Kheer by me

Tomato - Capsicum Chutney by me

Vegetable Poha from Sirisha, my sister (Recipe below)

Now coming to the recipes for carrot laddu and vegetable poha. I must admit I was so much caught up in the act that I forgot to note the time required to make the dishes.

Carrot Laddu:

My mom said that she prepared these laddus based on a TV show. They were an absolute delight and I enjoyed them to the last bite.They are quick to prepare and are suitable candidates to impress guests and also an impossible to screw up kind of dish even for a beginner. Glad to learn this new dish. :)

Ingredients to make around 16 laddus:
Grated carrot - 1.5 cup
Unsweetened khoa/khoya, grated - 1.5 cup
Fresh, shredded coconut - 1.5 cup
Sugar - 1.5 cup (reduce if less sweetness preferred)
Milk - 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp

This can be prepared on a stove top as usual but today I am giving the MW method. Take a microwave safe bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients. Add the carrot and milk and cook/fry for 3-4 minutes. Then add the sugar and coconut and keep cooking. You have to keep an eye and stir in between till the mixture comes together. Then add the khoa and cardamom powder to the carrot mixture and keep cooking till the mixture comes closer again. Do not stop paying attention to the mixture or it may get burnt. Remove and let the mixture cool. Then make laddus. You can also roll them in dessicated coconut, if you wish.
They can be refrigerated.

Vegetable Poha

I make poha regularly but never in the microwave and also never had added vegetables before. This was a change from my routine way of making poha and we enjoyed this.

Thick variety poha - 2 cups
Onion, potato, tomato, carrot - one each and a handful of green peas
Medium hot green chillies, finely chopped - 4 or 5 (red chillies or a combo of green & red chillies can be used)
Salt to taste (about 2.5 tsp)
For seasoning - 3 or 4 Tbsp oil, a handful of peanuts, 1 Tbsp chanadal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp urad dal, curry leaves, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Chopped cilantro (Optional) - 2 Tbsp

* Wash the poha thoroughly twice with water, drain all the water and keep it covered till needed.

* Chop the veggies and green chillies.
* Heat the oil in a microwave safe bowl and add peanuts, chanadal, mustard seeds, green chillies and curry leaves. When peanuts and chanadal start to turn reddish, add the onions and turmeric powder and fry till the onion turns translucent. Then add the chopped tomatoes and fry for about a couple of minutes. Then add the rest of the vegetables and continue to cook till vegetables are done. Keep stirring in between. Then remove the bowl and add the poha, salt and cilantro. Turn around the poha mixture once so that all the ingredients are mixed well. Then cook for about five minutes or till the raw smell of the poha is gone with stirring once or twice in between.

* Stir the content gently one more time before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

My Kitchen - Maratha/Marathi Moggu

Moggu is a spice used in some of Karnataka's cherished dishes such as bisibele bhath, saagu, (Karnataka style) kootus to name a few. It is brownish in color and looks somewhat like a bigger version of a clove. I had failed to notice that it smells somewhat like shikakayi powder until today. The smell / fragrance attached to it is not that strong that one would notice it as soon as a container of moggu is opened and I guess that's the reason I missed it. (For those shampoo lovers and who don't know what it is, shikakayi powder is used in India to wash hair). It is not eaten raw but always dry fried and ground with other spices before going into a dish. It is called moggu in Kannada and mogga in Telugu which literally means a bud. Since the Kannadigas attach the tag Maratha, I am assuming it is used in Maharasthrian cuisine as well. I always get my supply of moggu from India since I could not find this in any Indian grocery shops here. I had these questions regarding this spice and if anyone knows the answer, let me know. Which plant's flower bud is this? Do you know the name of this spice in English or any other Indian languages? Is it used to make any other dishes or for any different purpose? Comments

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tadka Moongdal

Before proceeding to today's recipe, a word regarding the plagiarist who blogs at momrecipes , whom I mentioned about in my previous post. She reminds me of the plagiarist blogger (andhra mirchy if I am correct) who mainly copy pasted others' recipes a couple of years ago. The person closed the blog after the attacks by affected bloggers.
That blogger did not interact with other bloggers where as this woman has the nerve to contribute the copied recipes to events and even conducts the events on her own. After going thru her blog, I noticed that she had copy pasted many old recipes of bloggers who are here in the blogging world for some time now. The people who are visiting would not recognise her content theft. Check to see if any of your posts have been plagiarised.

The yellow colored moongdal is the skinned and split mung bean (outer green husk removed). It is one of the quickest cooking bean and needs no pre soaking or a pressure cooker. Moongdal is also said to be one of the easily digestible beans and therefore people who are stepping into the bean world for the first time can start their journey with this one. Indians who eat beans on a daily basis tend to add the spices like turmeric powder & asafoetida while cooking beans to reduce the flatulence and to aid the digestion.
Basically, this dal is a simple one accentuated by the fragrant tadka of cumin, curry leaves & asafoetida and slightly spiced by the red chillies. The quantity of red chillies I have used works even for the little ones to relish this scrumptious, creamy dal.

Cooking time: Under 30 minutes
Ingredients used to yield 2 cups of cooked dal:
1 cup moongdal
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

5 cups water (approximately)
Salt - 1.5 tsp or as needed
Minced cilantro for garnish
For tadka- 2 tsp canola or peanut oil / ghee, 1 tsp each of mustard seeds & cumin seeds, 6 red chillies broken into small pieces**, a pinch of asafoetida powder, few curry leaves
*A deep sauce pan or a thick bottomed pot are also good substitutes for a kadai, the Indian style wok.

** Green chillies can be substituted and the quantity of chillies can be increased for more spiciness.

The cooking part:
Wash the dal in two exchanges of water. Add the dal to a kadai* along with 3 cups of water & turmeric powder and cook on medium flame. Scoop away with a ladle, the froth formed during the cooking process. Cook the moong till done adding the extra water as needed and stirring in between. Add the salt and stir the dal well. The dal would cook in around 20 minutes, when the moong has almost attained a mushy texture. The final dish would be a little watery with a thicker consistency.
Now the tadka part. Heat oil in a small pan. Add the mustard & cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add the asafoetida, red chillies & curry leaves. Heat for a few seconds more and turn off the heat.
Add the tadka ingredients to the dal and mix well. Garnish with cilantro.
Serve with rotis / rice.

This one is going to be a part of
Food for 7 stages of life - Kids (4-14 yrs) hosted by Radhika and the event creator is Sudeshna.
MLLA - 17 guest hosted by Sra and the event creator is Susan.
Think Spice - Turmeric hosted by Sudeshna And the event creator is Sunita.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Plagiarism Strikes Again

Whenever someone copies my work, I feel like screaming from rooftops at the plagiarists for their thievery. I had my first taste of plagiarism when I was only a couple of months old in the blogging world. It was not fun. After three years of blogging and many similar episodes, I would love to feel that I do not care any more about these blatant, shame less acts but seems they still make me mad. One of my readers brought to my attention about a blogger named Sireesha who blogs at Momrecipes. Later today, another blogger friend forwarded an email which mentioned about the above said blogger copying the work of several other bloggers. Content (some / whole) of my pandumirapakaya pachchadi, pappula podi and tindora chutney recipes has been copied by her. There may be chances that we both have the same recipes but same words?? HELL NO!! She took pains in rearranging the sentences/writing one or two sentences of her own. Check her post URLs. http://momrecipies.blogspot.com/2008/08/pandu-mirapakaya-pachadi.html http://momrecipies.blogspot.com/2008/11/pappula-podi-spicy-roasted-chickpea.html http://momrecipies.blogspot.com/2009/11/dondakaya-pachadi-tindora-chutney.html Check the site to see if any of your posts/images have been copied. And finally, to anyone who is trying to copy from my blog, I would like to say .... I would appreciate if you respect my time and energy invested in blogging and do not try to copy my work. If you really like my work, leave a comment. If you tried & liked my recipe and want to mention it, give a link to my post and I greatly welcome and appreciate it. If you simply want to lift the content from other bloggers including mine and rearrange the sentences, that is not creative and nobody needs a duplicate blog when there is an original one. If you have any self respect, stop plagiarising.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Winter Melon Halwa / Gummadikaya Halwa - Microwave Version

Kashi halwa, dumrot, kumbalakayi halwa - few names in Kannada for the wintermelon halwa

A cheery November is here after a dreadfully, drab month. The sunny weather also brought the urge to do some back-breaking, fall clean up. After all the hectic work this week, I had some free time today. M, who doesn't care for sweets is away on an official trip and so I thought of some 'self indulgence'. I went ahead and prepared one of my favorites, wintermelon halwa.
In Bangalore (& other regions of Karnataka), the wintermelon halwa is almost a mandatory part of a decadent breakfast at most of the social gatherings, irrespective of whether the celebration is of a smaller range or enoromous. This delicous dessert has been one of my favorites since my child hood and kashi halwa was (& still is if I am in India) one of the menu items that I always look forwarded to whenever I attended any functon in Bangalore. This sinfully tasty dish has been a part of the celebrations associated with my life - Our engagement, wedding, gruhapravesham to name a few.
Both white or yellow-orange hued wintermelon flesh can be used to prepare the halwa. The wintermelon used to prepare halwa usually is of the white variety (ash gourd) in Andhra. However, the kashi halwa I grew up eating was always yellow in color and I therefore go with the yellow-orange hued one.
This time, I prepared the halwa in a microwave which is quicker than stove top method and needs less supervision & stirring.

List of Ingredients to make about 2 cups of halwa:Grated wintermelon - 5 cups
Sugar - 1/2 cup or as needed
Evaporated milk - 5 oz *
Ghee - 1 tbsp
1 Tbsp of raisins & cashews
Few saffron strands (optional)

1/4 tsp cardamom powder
* Half & half/whole milk can be substituted. Quantity of milk can be reduced.

. Begin with the usual exercise. Peel the wintermelon, remove the seeds and grate it.
. Take a microwave safe bowl which is big enough to cook the quantity of wintermelon being used. Heat the ghee in it and add the cashews and raisins to it. When rasins turn plump and cashews turn golden brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and save them to use later. Add the grated wintermelon to the same bowl with ghee and fry it for about 5 minutes. Stir once or twice in between.

. Then add the evaporated milk to the bowl and continue cooking till the wintermelon is done. The milk would be incorporated into the wintermelon and the mixture would have attained a thicker consistency by now. This would take around 15 minutes (or a couple minutes more) and need some stirrings in between.
. Then add the sugar, cardamom powder, saffron strands to the cooked wintermelon and cook for another 5 minutes (or more). It is done when the sugar has melted, and got incorporated into the cooked melon mixture and the final product, halwa is almost a solid mass.
. Add the toasted raisins and cashews and serve warm or chilled.

Kitchen tip:
Always keep an eye while cooking in a microwave. This is especally important at the final stages, when there are more chances of unsupervised food getting burnt. Also the timings mentioned above holds good for my MW and your's may take little lesser or longer since the MW strengths vary.

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Capsicum & Potato with Besan


While potatoes are a must in most of the gravy style Indian curries, they are fun to work with in dry subzis too. They gel well with other veggies as in vankaya-bangaladumpa koora or as in this one where it is paired with capsicum. Potatoes bring in extra flavor and substance to the dish. Addition of besan/ chickpea flour not only compliments the veggies but enhances the essence of this simple dish. This is easy & quick enough to be part of a substantial meal and for those 'Cook for yourself' moments.  

List of Ingredients:  
1 Capsicum - stalk & seeds removed and chopped 
2 Potatoes - peeled and cubed 
2 Tbsp of besan (gram flour) 
1 tsp each - Chili powder & salt 
For tadka: 2 Tbsp oil, turmeric powder, curry leaves, 1 tsp each of mustard seeds, chanadal, uraddal & cumin seeds  

Heat oil in a non stick saute pan and add all the tadka ingredients except the turmeric powder. Saute for a few seconds. When the dals turn reddish and the mustard seeds start to pop, add the turmeric and the potato cubes. 
Stir well once and let the potatoes cook on low flame, covered. Keep checking and stirring in between. 
When they are half done, add the capsicum and continue cooking till both the veggies are done. 
Then add the besan, chili powder and salt and stir so that the veggies are coated well with besan. 
Heat for 2 -3 minutes more till the raw smell of besan disappears and turn off the stove.  
Serve warm with rice or rotis.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Potato - Carrot Soup - Microwave Version

From what I am reading on other blogs, I have to assume that everybody is enjoying the 'Fall' 'season & things associated with it like 'the nips & chills in the air',' fall colors', 'farm Visits', 'pumpkins', 'Halloween'. While everyone (except those near mountains) is gungho over their pleasant autumn stuff, we Chicagoans are stuck with wintry & messy conditions. It seems as if somebody has fast forwarded the weather button from 'Summer' to 'Winter' with vengeance, forgetting that there is autumn in between. We have set a record this month for being one of the worst ten Octobers ever recorded for the area. We have been either freezing or drenching this whole month. Stepping out with out a jacket on is impossible. The temperatures were mostly in 40's (F) and for the past 10 days it is raining almost continuously. Weather is so cold and dreary that when everyone gets out of the house minding their business, I just want to spend my time cuddling up in front of the TV or reading a book and nothing else.With this 'wintry autumn' blues, I don't want even to be in the kitchen spot light for longer. Having a hot bowl of soup, simple yet filling seems more than enough for the moment. Today's recipe is for one of such soup, which has already been on our menu twice in this month. :) I should admit that the inspiration to this potato-carrot soup is actually one of my BIL s. A few years back, he was visiting his son in California and during a chat, told us that he had prepared potato soup in the microwave for lunch. He had used potato, onion & garlic. I have changed the ingredients to suit my taste and any one who wants to try this soup- can play with the ingredients . This cilantro flavored, simple, quick & easy soup is going to taste awesome anyway. The yellow colored soup with specs of green looked fabulous actually and I don't know why, my picture wants to represent the weather I have here right now. I have used a small onion, a carrot and two medium sized potatoes. Peel the skins of the veggies, chop them into big chunks and put them in a microwave safe bowl with a cup of water. Cook for about 8 - 10 minutes or till they are done. Puree the cooked vegetables adding a tbsp of cilantro leaves and a cup of milk (can even add skim mlk or omit it.) Remove and adjust the consistency of the soup by adding some more water. Add the salt and put it back in the microwave for 2-4 minutes. Serve with crushed pepper and croutons.

This is going to be a part of 1. MEC-Fresh produce hosted by me and the event creator is Srivalli. 2. WYF - Light Meal hosted by EC. Comments

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Aviyal - Microwave Easy Cooking

Before going to the recipe, I just wanted to remind that last date to submit entries for the Easy Microwave Cooking - Fresh Produce is 31st of this month. Keep sending the entries.

You have an idea about the regional cuisines of India if 1. you are an enthusiastic foodie who is interested / would try different regional cuisines. 2. you/your family members have lived through various parts of the country or you have friends who represent different states. 3. you have travelled extensively. 4. you spend whatever free time you have in front of a computer going through food related sites. 5. you keep buying/borrowing Indian cook books. And for zillion other reasons. :) There are as many regional cuisines as the number of states in the country and so, it was and still is hard for Indians to be familiar with all the regional cuisines unless for any of those things mentioned above. My mother, like most of the Indian women of her times, has never thought of a computer while cooking or has owned a cookbook till date. She cooked using the knowledge she gained from her mother, other family members & friends and from the recipes in the magazines that caught her attention and most importantly, the expertise she gained from almost 4 decades of cooking. In the process, however she gave prominence only to the regional cooking (and that is the case with many of our Mothers.) My parents who were from Andhra, settled in Karnataka and were tenants of a Tamil Iyer family when they were newly weds. My mom therefore soon learnt the cooking ways of the three states but never got a chance to know about Kerala cuisine. Growing up, I was therefore not familiar with Kerala's cuisine as much as I was with the rest of the South Indian states. Once, however I had a glass of a kheer at a Malayali classmate's home which I could not forget till now. The yellow puree was so fabulous that even a shy kid like me couldn't stop from asking for a second serving shamelessly. I was just a fourth grader then and didn't bother to ask what it was or for the recipe. So bad. :( :( I have started to pay more attention towards other blogs after I started blogging and I should say it is a kind of new experience knowing about the rich and varied Indian cuisines and culture. I had tried earlier a few from other states and it is time to turn towards the southern , coastal state of Kerala. The first time I tasted aviyal was at M's niece's wedding, a dozen years ago. I liked it but didn't bother about asking the recipe since I was not that much into cooking then. I later learned that Aviyal is usually one of the items present in a Kerala Sadhya - The feast. Aviyal- basically an assortment of vegetables in a mixture of coconut and yogurt is popular both in Kerala and Tamilnadu, because of it's proximity to the region. I followed the recipe which I got from one of M's SIL who has some Tamilnadu - Kerala background. I absolutely loved the aviyal with sweet undertones of coconut and yogurt since those two happen to be my most favorite things. However I have omitted the coconut oil seasoning part since we are not used to cooking with that oil. It is too much over powering when you are not used to coconut oil. I know how some feel about our avakai , gongura pickles. :) Ingredients I used: Beans, carrots, winter melon, plantain, potato, peas - 2 cups (Some of the other vegetables suggested were yams, cluster beans, drum sticks and even bittergourd can be used. Avoid sticky vegetables like okra) yogurt 1/2 cup (reduce the quantity if you wish. I added more since I love yogurt) 4 green chillies 1/2 c fresh coconut salt, curry leaves Cooking: . Cut the vegetables into thick, match stick size strips. Cook with little water in a microwave till done. (The original recipe had turmeric which I didn't use. If using, add turmeric to the veggies while cooking.) . Meanwhile, grind the coconut and green chillies in a blender. Add the coconut mixture, few curry leaves and salt to the cooked vegetables and cook for another 3 -4 minutes in the microwave. . The original recipe requires to add the yogurt to the vegetable mixture and heat lightly. Instead, I cooled the mixture and added the yogurt to prevent curdling. It stayed fresh, refrigerated for two days. I had them with my rotis. This is going to be a part of the Easy Microwave Cooking - Fresh Produce, guest hosted by me this month and Srivalli, being the event creator. Comments

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tomato - Capsicum Chutney - Microwave Version

Any one who follows my blog regularly can figure out our family's love for chutneys/pickles as I keep posting recipes for them quite often. I should say today's chutney is quite apart from my earlier chutney posts. I had coupled tomato and capsicum to come up with this tangy chutney which I had never done before. Bringing vegetables together to make chutney is not novel nor the ingredients used but what makes it unique is the use of microwave to prepare this. Prior to this, I had always used the skillet & stove method to prepare these Indian spicy chutneys but never a microwave. I am very happy with today's result as it was done in a jiffy and thought of sharing this success. Ingredients used: 2 Tomatoes 1 Small, Green capsicum Salt to taste For tadka/popu: 1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp chanadal, 2 tsp urad dal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 6-8 red chillies, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, a pinch asafoetida powder & a tsp of tamarind (optional) Method: . Remove the centre core and seeds from the capsicum and chop it. Also chop the tomatoes. . Add the oil, chana dal, urad dal and mustard seeds to a microwave safe bowl and heat for a couple of minutes. Stir once in between. The dals would have turned red by this time.Then add the turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and red chillies and again heat it for about 30 seconds. . Remove the bowl. Add the chopped capsicum, tomatoes and tamarind if using and stir once. Then cook them till the vegetables are tender. It would take around 6-8 minutes. Stir once or twice in between. Remove and let the contents of the bowl cool. . Put all the ingredients in a blender and grind it into a coarser paste adding enough salt . Collect the chutney in a bowl after done. Serve along with rice or any breakfast items.

This goes to Microwave Easy Cooking - Fresh Produce guest hosted by me and the event creator is Srivalli. This also goes to Spicy Fiery Chutneys hosted by Srivalli. Post a Comment

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Aloo Methi Matar - Microwave Version

I came up with this recipe one night when I almost had run out of vegetables, which I must say is a rare occurrence at my home. I go shopping when my refrigerator is half full. :) I was left with some potatoes and sprouted peas in the refrigerator and did not have even onions or tomatoes. I was making subzi for rotis and cooked potatoes & peas together. The curry looked simple and so I checked my pantry and added some kasuri methi & coriander powder to it. To make the gravy a little richer, I added some milk. Surprisingly, I had a good side dish that day which my family enjoyed and hence have made that later several times.
Today for the Microwave Easy Cooking event, I made this dish in the MW and also used tomato, onion and fresh methi.

Ingredients needed to serve 2:
2 Potatoes (aloo) - peeled & cubed
1 cup fenugreek leaves (methi), washed & roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh/frozen peas (matar)
Onion & tomato - one each, chopped
Milk - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp (optional)
For tadka: 2 tsp oil canola/peanut oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Method:Add oil and cumin seeds to the microwave safe bowl and heat it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. When the cumin seeds start to sizzle, remove the bowl & add the onion and turmeric to it. Stir once and heat for about 4 minutes or until onion turns translucent. Then add the tomato and cook for about 2 minutes.
Then add the potato, fenugreek leaves, peas & a little water to the bowl and cook till potatoes are done. Stir in between.
Then add the salt, chili powder, coriander powder and sugar if using to the bowl and mix well. Then finally add the milk and put it back in the microwave for a couple minutes more.
Remove and serve with rotis.

Recipe for home made coriander powder:
I feel a simple combo of coriander & chili powders is enough sometimes instead of the over powering 'concoction of spices'.
If you have run out of store bought coriander powder or want to prepare it at home, it is very simple and the recipe follows.
Dry roast the coriander seeds in a microwave or on low flame if using stove top. Remove from the heat when the seeds start to change a few shades darker and release aroma. Cool and grind it into a fine powder. Store it in an airtight container.

This is going to be a part of the Microwave Easy Cooking - Fresh Produce, guest hosted by me and the event creator is Srivalli.Also sending this to Think Spice - Think Coriander Seeds, guest hosted by priya & the event creator is Sunitha.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rajma - Aloo / Kidney Beans & Potato Curry

I am reposting this for Jihva - Rajma, guest hosted by Divya and the event creator is Indira. Irrespective of eating habits, beans are an integral part of Indian cooking. The protein rich beans are used to create a wide array of delicious dishes ranging from enchanting breakfasts to delectable dals / sambhars (Indian stews), scrumptious subjis (Curries), delightful desserts and many more. Today on VeggiePlatter, it's time for the gorgeous, red kidney beans to shine. This beans have been used to create a palate pleasing curry which goes well with rotis / pooris.

Ingredients: Rajma / kidney beans - 1 cup or substitute with canned beans. Chopped potato, onion and tomato - 1 cup each ( or two of each vegetable) Grated ginger & cumin seeds - 1 tsp each Cumin powder & coriander powder - 1/2 tsp each (optional) Chillie powder - 1 tsp Salt to taste Oil - 2 Tbsp Chopped cilantro for garnishing

Cooking Part: Wash and soak dry kidney beans in water overnight or 8-10 hours. Drain the water. Cook the beans with sufficient water in a pressure cooker till done.Throw away the water used to cook the beans. Alternatively cook in a sauce pan on stove top till the beans are soft but not mushy. Turn off the stove. If using canned beans, skip the cooking part.

Heat oil in a wok / deep pan. Add cumin seeds and fresh ginger to it. When they start to brown, add the onion and turmeric powder. Saute till onion turns translucent and then add potato & tomato to it. Cook till potatoes are done. Add a cup of water if needed. Add the cooked beans, chillie powder, salt, coriander powder and cumin powder to the onion - potato mixture. Taste and adjust the quantities of the spices if neccessary and also add some water if the curry is too thick. Let it simmer for 10 - 15 minutes on low to medium flame. Turn off the stove. Garnish with cilantro.

Originally published on May, 24 2007 as 'R' entry for Nupur's A - Z of Indian vegetable series. Comments

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Masoor Dal Sambhar

I opt for masoor dal when I need to cook a quick meal. This orange hued dal which turns yellow on cooking is one of the fastest cooking bean. It neither needs prior soaking nor a pressure cooker (to speed up the cooking process) as in the case of other beans. Besides those quick fix meals which are done in about 20 minutes, I reserve this dal even to those ocassions when I am feeling lethargic but still need a substantial meal. I usually prepare a sambhar or simple yet delicious dal tadka using masoor dal.

Though toordal is the commonly used bean to prepare sambhar, some other beans such as masoordal works well too. Sambhar - the signature South Indian vegetable - lentil stew gets its flavor and oomph from sambhar powder - the spice mixture used in the dish.
Coming to sambhar powder, there is no standard recipe as such. Probably, there are as many variations as the number of households in the region. Even in our families, everyone doesn't follow the same recipe for the sambhar powder. Each have their own cherished recipe which they follow and enjoy. The recipe which I am giving is from M's SILs which I personally like.

Sambhar Powder Recipe:
Ingredients for sambhar powder:
Chanadal - 1/4 cup
Coriander seeds - 1 cup (Quantity can be decreased / increased by 1/2 cup depending upon the spiciness preferred.)
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Shredded copra - 1/2 cup
Red Chillies - 10- 15

Dry fry the chana dal in a saute pan on low-medium flame till it turns reddish. Remove the chanadal and add the coriander seeds to the same pan and fry them. Pay attention as they burn easily. When they start to turn brownish and release aroma, add the fenugreek seeds & the red chillies. Saute them for a few seconds and turn off the stove. Cool the mixture and grind it into fine powder using a spice grinder. Store it in an airtight container.
Note: Decrease / increase the quantity of ingredients proportionately depending upon how much sambhar powder needs to be prepared.

Sambhar Recipe:
Ingredients required:
1/2 cup masoor dal
2 cups chopped veggies (I used carrots, green beans, radish, tomato & fresh soy beans)
3.5 cups water
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sambhar powder
1&1/2 tsp chili powder
Lime sized tamarind ( Soak the tamarind in a cup of water or nuke it in a microwave along with little water for about a couple of minutes. Squeeze the tamarind well with your fingers or put through a sieve and collect the thick pulp. Throw away the husks & residue.)
For tadka / popu: 1 tsp canola/peanut oil, 1 tsp each of mustard & cumin seeds, a little asafoetida and curry leaves

The cooking part:
Wash the masoordal in two changes of water. Then add it to an Indian style wok/deeper sauce pan. Add the vegetables, water and turmeric powder to it and cook it on medium - high heat till the dal is cooked.
After the dal is cooked, add the salt, chili powder, sambhar powder, 3 Tbsp tamarind puree and mix well. Taste and adjust the salt/tamarind if needed and add a little water if the sambhar is thicker. Bring it to a rolling boil, turn down the heat and let the sambhar simmer for about a couple of minutes more.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds & cumin seeds to it. When mustard seeds start to pop, add the asafoetida & curry leaves and turn off the stove.
Add this to the sambhar and mix well.
Serve this with hot, steamed rice and a tsp of ghee.

This goes to Think Spice - Think Coriander Seeds, guest hosted by Priya and the event creator is Sunitha.