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Friday, April 30, 2010

Simple, Whole - Wheat Penne Pasta

A simple meal - Whole-wheat penne pasta and carrot - potato soup

Like soups, pasta recipes also are forgiving. We can go ahead with the ingredients we have at hand and create our own recipes with ease and satisfaction. Our meal today was one such simple, basic pasta sans cheese served along with carrot - potato soup.

For 2 servings, I had used about:
10 oz whole - wheat penne pasta
4 tsp olive oil
A garlic clove minced / garlic powder to taste
1 small tomato - diced
1 small green bell pepper - seeded & diced
8 oz tomato sauce
Salt & pepper powder for seasoning

How I did:
Heat oil in a saute pan and add minced garlic if using and fry. Then add tomato and bell pepper and sauté them till they soften. Then add the sauce and cook. Then add the seasoning and stir the mixture well.
Serve hot.

They go to Divya's 'Show me your whole grains'.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Summer Specials ~ Oorina Mirapakaya / Dahi Mirchi / Sundried, Yogurt Chilies

Oorina Mirapakaya / Uppu mirapakaya:

In Telugu, Oorina - marinated, Uppu - Salted, Mirapakaya - chili

These dried chillies are made with small sized chilies with one of their ends, just snipped off.

Last summer, I utilized the sunshine to the fullest extent possible, from a culinary point of view. The year before, when we moved to our own home, summer was almost gone. In around 80 - 85 deg F Midwest weather, I had prepared all those items my mom used to create during the hot summer days back in India - Homemade potato chips, these uppu mirapakayalu, vadiyalu (papad, loosely translated) - with uraddal, sabudana, riceflour and poha. This year, summer has not made it's presence yet and winter & spring are still tugging in our area. I am going ahead and posting the recipe now, hoping it may help any of my readers / chili lovers who wish to try them.
As the name indicates, oorina mirapakayalu are spicy chilies, marinated in yogurt and then dried till crisp in the sun. These spicy sidekicks are loved and cherished in most of the Andhra homes whose inhabitants happen to be a great chili-loving cult on Earth. Try this if you love spicy food or happen to be adventurous. :)

Here are the guidelines to prepare oorina mirapakayalu. I used
50 chilies *
3 cups home made yogurt (Yogurt gone sour is best. However fresh yogurt can be used if you do not have the sour one. If the yogurt is very thicker, you can churn it lightly, with out adding any water.)
1.5 Tbsp Salt
A pinch of turmeric powder
* Usually, the small sized chilies are chosen to prepare oorina mirapakayalu. I forgot to mention M when he went shopping and he picked the longest variety he could find. :)

How they are made:
1. Slit fresh green chilies vertically, keeping the ends intact. Also do not remove the stalks. Alternatively you can just snip off at one end (not the end holding the stalk but the opposite one. Use a scissor or a knife. Check the first image.)
2. Mix the yogurt, salt, turmeric powder in a container / wide plate and soak the chilies in the yogurt mixture for a day.
3. Next day, arrange the slit chilies in the yogurt mixture in a way that they are next to each other and not overcrowded. Put the chilies along with the yogurt mixture in the sun. (Do not throw away the yogurt mixture.) For the next few days, sun dry them till all the yogurt dries up and the chilies change their color from green- light greenish - creamy hue and turn crisp.
You have to bring back home the chilies at evenings and put them in the Sun during mornings. If you are worried about any bugs, you can cover up the container with a mesh cover that allows the sunlight through.
In my Midwest summer, it took about a week to prepare these crunchy beauties.
Store them in a tightly closed, container. They stay fresh for more than a couple of years.

A pictorial description:

1. Slit chilies soaking in salted, yogurt:

2. The yogurt has dried up and Sun soaked chilies are gradually changing color after 5-6 days.

3. Ready to use, after enough sunbathing.

How to serve:
Fry them in hot oil till they turn golden brown and serve. At our home, it is usually served along with rice and pappus, especially the milder ones like beerakaya and potlakaya. Sometimes along with tadka ingredients, these chillies are added to dals made with greens.
You don't chomp on the whole chili since it would be hot. While eating a small muddha / morsel of rice - dal mixture, you just take a bite of chili which makes the meal experience extra special.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Guntha Ponganalu

Guntha Ponganalu served with Dalia Chutney

The name says it all. Guntha = the deep impressions in the skillet and ponganalu = puffed ones.

If you have encountered guntha ponganalu earlier, you already know that it is hard to escape from their enchantment. These soft, plump, fluffed beauties are cooked in ponganalu penam - the special skillet with the moulds. Though they are popular as a breakfast item at homes, they are also sold as a street snack during evenings in Rayalaseema region and are usually served with erra karam.
My mother always prepares fresh ponganalu batter instead of using left over rice / idli batters to prepare them. I follow the same method and the recipe for our favorite breakfast is given below.
M's family got to know about these homemade plumpies through my mother and me and they instantly fell in love with them.

For 9 -10 generous servings, ingredients needed are:
3 cups rice (long grain will do)
1/2 cup uraddal
2 tbsp poha
1 & 1/2 cups yogurt to grind the batter (or as needed)
2 tsp salt
A handful of chanadal (soaked in water for a couple of hours or overnight and drained)
2 onions, finely minced

Preparing batter:
Wash and soak the rice, uraddal and poha for a minimum of 3 hours. The longer you soak, quicker & easier the grinding would be. Throw away the water used to soak.
Grind the ingredients with as little yogurt as possible into a thick, smooth batter. Add the salt and mix well. If the batter is runny, chances of making fluffy ponganalu are almost ruined.
Keep the batter to ferment overnight in a warm place. During winter, keeping the batter in a warm / lighted oven would help. Also remember, the fermented ponganalu batter would not double as idli / dosa batters.

Preparing ponganalu:
In the morning, when ponganalu needs to be prepared, add the chanadal and minced onion to the ground batter and mix well.
Heat the ponganalu skillet and add a few drops of oil in each mould. Then fill them with batter.

Cover the ponganalu skillet with a lid. Turn down the heat and cook for about 5 minutes or till the ponganalu batter doesn't appear raw.

Then flip them, add a drop or two of oil and cook till the other side lightly browns as well.

Serve with chutney or with errakaram for a Rayalaseema touch.

They are going to be a part of -
Shabitha's Celebrating Mom
Jyoti's Mother's day event.
Divya's 'Show me your whole grains'.

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Sunday, April 25, 2010

'Soup'er Sundays - Vegetarian Harira

I gather from various online sources that harira is a traditional soup of Morocco, a country of diversified cuisine. Thought it can be had any time, traditonal families usually reserve this soup for those special occasions like dinners of holy Ramadan month or feasts thrown after a wedding. The ingredients used in the soup may vary from region to region. However, the standard recipe has small amounts of meat, lentils, and garbanzo in a tomato base, with spices and herbs thrown in it.
On this chilly day, the idea of curling up on a couch with a bowl of soup seemed so invigorating and hence here is harira - the hearty, harmonius blend of chickpea and lentils. A vegan version of course.

Ingredients needed for 4 servings:
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp fresh ginger - peeled & grated
1 small onion - finely minced
1 celery stick - diced
2 tomatoes - diced (I added tomato & tomato paste)
2 Tbsp lentils (soaking for a couple of hours makes cooking faster)
A handful of garbanzo beans / chana - soaked overnight and cooked till tender or scant 1/2 cup from a can
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder or a 1" cinnamon piece
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Vegetable stock / water - About 5 to 6 cups (I added a Knorr bouillon cube when the water was boiling)
1 - 2 Tbsp flour
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice from a small lemon
Minced parsely/cilantro for garnish

Making Harira:

  • Heat the oil and add the minced ginger and fry till it turns golden brown.
  • Then add onion and fry it till it turns translucent.
  • After that, add celery and chopped tomatoes and sauté till tomatoes turn mushy.
  • Then go the lentils, turmeric powder, cinnamon, cumin powder and about 2 cups of vegetable stock / water.
  • Cook till the lentils are tender. Mix the flour with little water and make a paste with out any lumps. Add this paste and the cooked garbanzo and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes more. If using beans from a can, drain the liquid and wash them before adding. Keep adding water as needed through out the process.
  • Add salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and parsley / cilantro.
Harira is going to be a part of -
DK's AWED - Africa guest hosted @ PJ's
Susan's MLLA - 22 edition guest hosted @ Ruchika's
Vegetarian Marathon - Beans @ Silpa's

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Kulchas and Carrot & Beans in Peanut - Sesame Sauce

Long ago, I had tried home - version naans for a couple of times and felt that it is best left to restaurant chefs who own the neccessary ovens. Though skillet breads like para(n)thas and rotis can be mastered at home with experience, kulchas and naans are totally a different clan. They are usually made in the clay oven tandoor at temperatures around 700 deg F, where the dough is slapped against hot clay walls.
Recently the urge to prepare kulchas started when I noticed them on various blogs, where chefs happen to be home cooks like me. I chose and prepared DK's onion kulchas sans the stuffing. Here are those plain kulchas that I am sending over to Nupur's Blog Bites - CopyCat edition.

Ingredients to make around 12 kulchas:
3 cups Maida / Flour
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking Soda
4 Tbsp oil
1/2 cup Yogurt
1 tbsp Ghee

 Making rotis:
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Prepare a soft dough (like rotis) adding water as needed. Let the dough rest for a couple of hours or more. Then divide the dough into 12 equal portions and shape each one into a ball. Roll it out into a circle using a rolling pin. (I happened to roll them a little thicker than what I do usually.)
Fry them on a skillet on stovetop.
Serve them with melted butter and a side dish.
For dough consistency and frying any kind of roti/paratha on a skillet, check here.

My experience:
I tried both broiler and stovetop method. I feel stovetop ones were fried better (notice all those brown spots) than broiler ones. No offense, these kulchas can be tried at home but not a substitute for those tandoor baked kulchas. For the real deal, I would prefer a restaurant.

Carrot & Beans Subzi in Peanut - Sesame Sauce:
I usually go with this kind of sauce when preparing laukis but this time used for carrot - bean combo. This delicious gravy can be used for any combination of vegetables and this subzi is good with any kind of rotis.

Ingredients to serve 4:
4 tsp oil
1 tsp each - Chanadal & mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 Onion - peeled and diced
1 Tomato - diced
Green beans, stringed and cut into 1" pieces - 1 cup
1 Big carrot - peeled and diced
1 tsp Sambhar powder
1 tsp Sugar / jaggery
Salt to taste
Ingredients to powder:  In a spice grinder, grind a handful of toasted and skinned peanuts + 2 Tbsp toasted, white colored sesame seeds + 1/4 cup dry coconut + lightly toasted 8 dried red chilies (I used byadagi chilies. If using other variety, adjust the quantity.)

Making Subzi:

  • Heat oil in a pan / kadai and add chanadal and mustard seeds. When chana starts to turn reddish, add turmeric powder and onions.
  • Fry on low - medium flame till the onion turns translucent.
  • Then add tomatoes and sauté them for a couple of minutes.
  • Next add carrots, beans and cook them tender adding as much water as needed.
  • Add the powdered ingredients, sambhar powder, salt and sugar to the cooked veggies. Mix well. Adjust the ingredients and the quantity of water, if needed.
  • Let it come to a rolling boil and then turn down the heat. Simmer the subzi for about 5 minutes.
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cardamom Flavored, Egg Less Chocolate Chip Muffins

This recipe is adapted from Nava Atlas' 'The Vegetarian Family Cookbook'.
As it promises, the book has some wonderful recipes for a vegetarian family. We had earlier tried and enjoyed some soup recipes from the other cookbook of hers and so this time, brought this one.
When I was flipping through the pages, a basic egg less muffin recipe caught my attention and I immediately tried it. The first time, I added strawberries and tried making some berry muffins following the recipe. The batter appeared too dry but I went along according to the directions and it was a huge disappointment. In spite of baking them over an hour, they were half done while the tops were on the verge of burning and they ended up in trash.
I still wasn't ready to give up on the recipe and thought of trying it one more time with slight variations. This time, I increased the liquid and sugar quantity, added banana, chocolate chips and of course cardamom. They turned out good with that lovely aroma and flavor borrowed from the cardamom.
We enjoyed these muffins and our little one who loves chocolate chip muffins gave a thumps up.

Ingredients needed for 12 muffins:
(Ingredients mentioned here are what I used and in the parenthesis are the ones used / substitutes mentioned in the book)
2 cups flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
2 Tbsp ground flaxseeds (or wheat germ)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sugar (or natural granulated sugar)
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 banana, mashed
2 - 3Tbsp oil
1 cup homemade yogurt (or apple sauce / soy yogurt / vanilla yogurt)
1 cup milk or as needed (or rice milk / soy milk)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

How to make them:
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Place the liners in the muffin cups.
Mix the dry ingredients (the first six ingredients) together in a bowl.
Then mix in the banana, oil, yogurt and slowly go on adding milk as needed to form a batter of dropping consistency.
Then stir in the chocolate chips and divide the batter among the muffin cups.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes clean.

These yummy muffins go to
1. Bangalore Baker's Baking from a Book - Breakfast
2. Priya's Cooking with Seeds - Cardamom Seeds.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kohlrabi Sambhar / Knol Khol Sambhar

The delicious sambhar happens to be the comfort food in many South Indian homes from centuries. In spite of being a mandatory one on everyday menu, everyone cherishes it. It is part of a satisfying and nourishing meal to many and a major protein source to vegetarians.
Sambhar can be loosely defined as an Indian version of bean stew -cooked lentils and vegetables in a spicy, tangy broth. It is usually eaten with fresh, steamed white rice (which happens to be the staple carbohydrate of the region) and a generous drizzling of ghee. Substitutes for rice may be rotis or idlis.
Lentils / toordal is the preferred bean to prepare sambhar though masoordal can be substituted. Sambhar powder gives the sambhar its signature flavor which is nothing but a mixture of spices - toasted & ground and is very easy to prepare at home. It is hard to find a standard sambhar powder recipe since each family seems to have it's own favorite one. A good commercial brand like MTR's would be a good substitute during time crunches or if you are a novice cook.
The basic recipe of a sambhar remains the same and one thing that changes is the vegetable being used. Easily accessible, local vegetables keep rotating in the recipe and the name of the sambhar would tell us what vegetable has gone into it. For example, this kohlrabi sambhar is being prepared with kohlrabi, beetroot sambhar with beets and so on. Usually the sambhar served with idli / vadas would have shallots in it.

Ingredients for 8 - 10 servings:
1 cup toordal / lentils
1 kohlrabi (about 1 cup of cubes)
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp sambhar powder (home made or store bought)
2 tsp chili powder
2.5 tsp salt
5 - 6 Tbsp of tamarind juice
For tadka: 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp each of mustard seeds & cumin seeds, few curry leaves, a pinch of asafoetida and a red chili broken into little bits

Making sambhar:
Peel the skin of a kohlrabi and chop it into one - inch cubes.
Wash the toordal with water and throw away the cloudy water. Repeat this step once more.
Add 2 cups of water, kohlrabi cubes and turmeric powder to the dal container and place it in a pressure cooker and cook till the dal is almost mushy. Alternatively, it can be cooked on stovetop in a kadai / deep based pan adding water as needed and stirring in between.
Take a kadai / pan and add the cooked dal and vegetable. Mash it a little bit with the back of a ladle and add about 4 cups of water. Then add sambhar powder, chili powder, salt and tamarind juice. Mix well and turn on the heat. Turn down the heat to low flame when it comes to a rolling boil and allow the sambhar to simmer for a couple of minutes more.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chili and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start to sizzle, add the asafoetida powder and turn off the stove. Add this tadka to the cooked sambhar and mix well.

1. If the toordal takes longer to cook, soak it in water for about an hour before using.
2. You can add a little jaggery or sugar to the sambhar.

This goes to
1. Susan's MLLA, guest hosted by Ruchika this month.
2. Yasmeen's Health Nut Challenge - Cruciferious Veggies

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Kitchen Gallery - Albakara

I am not sure about the spelling but going by the pronunciation I know.
Albakara/Albukara is a dry fruit that is dark brownish in color and is about the size of a walnut / almond fruit. It has a soft, moist, edible flesh with a sweet, distinctive flavor. The fruit encompasses an almond colored seed that is oval shaped, smaller than an almond and is not edible.
I get my supply of albakara fruit from India. As far as I know, they are available in Andhra and even around Bangalore but not a familiar one to many. It is usually sold by vendors who specialize in selling spices.
Usually eaten when one is convalescent. It is said to bring back ruchi to taste buds / palate after an illness. Though it can be eaten anytime, I reserve it for those occasions when anyone of us seem to have lost appetite, since I bring it in small quantities from India.
Pack them in a moisture free bag / box and store them in a refrigerator for a longer shelf life.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Microwave Pineapple - Almond Kheer

When I was taking out the milk can to prepare payasam neivedyam, I noticed that M had neatly stacked 2 boxes of  leftover pineapple cubes in the refrigerator. Since I use pineapple to prepare halwa regularly, this time thought of using it in the payasam. 
I started with pineapple and along the way, some almonds went in and so the brown specks that you notice in the pic. This simple, quick kheer can be prepared in around 10 - 12 minutes in a MW.
Fruit, nut and sugar combination can never go wrong and this pineapple almond kheer when chilled made a delicious dessert.  

Ingredients needed for about 4 servings:
1/2 cup pineapple cubes
1/4 cup almonds
2 cups full fat milk or as needed
Sugar to taste
1 Tbs dried cranberries (substitute raisins)
1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Making Kheer:
* Cook the pineapple cubes with little water in a microwave safe bowl for about 7 -8 minutes.
* Grind the cooked pineapple cubes, almonds with a little milk.
* Heat the milk in the MW for about a minute. Add the ground mixture, sugar, cardamom powder, cranberries to the milk and mix well.
* Again put back the bowl in the MW and cook for 2 -3 minutes more.
* Serve warm or chilled.

For more pronounced fruit flavor, use pineapple essence instead of
cardamom powder. Also yellow food color can be used. 

This goes to
1. Priya's Cooking with Seeds - Cardamom
2. Priyanka's MEC - Kids Party Food, the event creator being Srivalli.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Indian Cooking Challenge - Saggubiyyam Murukulu / Sago Muruku / Sabudana Chakli

Pearly sabudana chakli ~ A good company to an evening cup of coffee

I am neither a novice cook nor deterred by challenging recipes that ask for my attention, time and of course labor. However I cringe and try to stay away from ones that demand frying or oodles of sugar mainly because of the health concerns and the temptations that are hard to resist which ultimately result in a growing girth. :) That's why many traditional, Indian snacks haven't appeared here yet though I know how to make most of them perfectly. And besides, I love to cook simple and faster. I know most of us prefer the same when we have to cook at least twice each day.Recently, however I noticed that my daily rut and the procrastination had made my kids not know about many traditional pindivantalu (festive foods - snacks / sweets) we enjoyed, growing up. I thought about introducing them to those amazing home cooked delicacies keeping my temptations at bay, of course. I needed some motivation and so joined Srivalli's Indian Cooking Challenge this month and chaklis happen to be my first challenge.
Chakli making is not rocket science and it is one of the easiest snacks you can prepare if you don't care about the shape. However you need some patience and strength in your hands if you are using the traditional moulds to press the chakli dough. Though I make good chaklis, the pressing job is happily passed on to beloved M since the pressing part always seems to remind me to see a rheumatologist or an occupational therapist sooner.
Frying & pressing were real challenges but not the chakli making process or eating. :)
Saggubiyyam muruku were like little jewels adorned with pearls. They were appealing to eyes besides being so to our palates. This is the first time I we made sago chaklis and were happy munching on those perfectly done crunchies.

Ingredients required for saggubiyyam chakli:
Rice Flour - 2 cups
Besan / chickpea flour - 1/2 cup
Dalia / Chutney dal - 1/2 cup
Sago / Sabudana/ Saggubiyyam - 1/2 cup
Yogurt / Curd - 1 cup
Hot oil - 4 to 5 Tbsp (About 1/4 cup or 50 gms)
Salt to taste
Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
4 - 6 cups oil to fry (In India, usually peanut oil is used to fry and I have used canola.)
Special utensils needed:
Chakli mould / press
A kadai (Indian wok) to fry the chaklis in
A big slotted spoon to remove the chaklis

And above all, about an hour of your time and a little attention are essential.

Prep work:
1. Wash and soak the sabudana in yogurt overnight. That way, you can be sure that sabudana is soaked well enough. (Srivalli had mentioned that if sago is not soaked well enough, chances of sago bursting while frying are high.)
2. Grind dalia into fine powder.

Making chakli dough:
Mix the riceflour, besan, dalia powder, salt and chili powder in a mixing bowl. Then add the soaked sabudana along with the yogurt and the hot oil into the bowl. Knead well and make firm dough similar to chapathi dough consistency. Add water if needed but have to figure out how much depending upon the dough consistency. I had to add about 1/2 cup water.

Frying part:
Heat oil in a kadai. To test whether the oil is hot enough to fry, slowly slide a pinch of dough into the oil. If it sizzles and comes to surface, then the oil is ready. If not, heat the oil a little longer.
Take a small portion of the dough and fill in the chakli press. I used star shaped disc. Using your hands, press the mould over the hot oil making circling motion so that coils of dough from the mold dropping into the oil make a circle shape. Don't freak out if you can't shape them into perfect circles. As you may have noticed from the picture, I don't worry about the shape. With out overcrowding, 4-6 chaklis can be fried at the same time depending upon the size of the kadai. Fry on low - medium flame till they are fried through out uniformly both sides and attain a golden brown hue.
Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels covered plate.
Repeat the process with the remaining dough. Cool them and store in an airtight container.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Leftovers' Magic - Masala Idly / Idli

 Masala idlies served with peanut chutney

Smart, frugal people always find ways to save and believe in the motto 'reduce, reuse and recycle'. Indian kitchens believe in the same concept, where nothing goes waste. Even leftovers are put to good use instead of trashing them. Plenty of delicacies are created from leftovers that have their own identity, flavor, fervor and sometimes even more appeal than the original dish.
In South Indian kitchens, leftover dosa / idli batters are a common ocurrence. While leftover dosa batter can be used to prepare delicious utappams - the pancakes with veggies, idli batter can create wonders. One way to use up that leftover batter is to prepare these sunshine masala idlies. Add some healthy, flavorful ingredients to the leftover or even fresh batter, prepare idlies and you have magically transformed the regular ones to something colorful and cheerful.

To make 24 idlies, we need:
5 cups of idli batter
1 carrot, peeled & grated
A handful of green peas (I used frozen)
A handful of chanadal soaked in water for a couple of hours
1 Tbsp cashew nuts (optional)
1 Tbsp finely minced cilantro
1 Tbsp finely minced curry leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp peeled & grated, fresh ginger
1 tsp 1 -2 green chilies finely minced (skip if serving kids)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Making idlies:
Add all the ingredients to idli batter and mix well. Pour the batter into greased idli moulds and steam them in a idli/pressure cooker.
For a detailed version of how to make idli batter / idlies, check here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Greengram Sprouts Raita

This is a simple raita you can put together under five minutes. Also the following recipe that I got from M's aunt is pretty basic one.  Feel free to add any other ingredients that you think are a good addition to this raita.

What you do:
Add salt (according to taste) to a cup of yogurt and slightly whisk with a fork to get a uniform consistency. Then add a handful of greengram sprouts and finely chopped tomato to it. Sprinkle some garam masala / chat masala and mix.
Home made or store bought yogurt can be used. Fat free variety will do.

This goes to
1. Susan's MLLA, guest hosted by Ruchika this month.
2. Silpa's Vegetable Marathon - Beans.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pineapple - Orange Smoothie

This sunshine smoothie is to celebrate the spring weather we are having for the past two days.

Actually the preparation of this delicious drink is so simple that it doesn't need a recipe. However I am going to mention what I did. For 3 servings, I added 2 bananas, a cup of pineapple cubes, a cup of orange juice (freshly squeezed is better) and a cup of yogurt to a blender (or a food processor) and pureed it till smooth.
This colorful, creamy smoothie can be served as breakfast or as an afternoon snack.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Kobbari Pappu / Coconut Dal for "Delicious Dals from India"

Recipe Source: Late Smt. Nandyala Gnyanamba (M's maternal grandmother)

When it comes to cooking part, our kitchen is a melting pot, a global kadai. :) We cook and enjoy vegetarian meals from around the globe. However, I happen to blog mainly about South Indian style, home cooked meals. Why? There is a reason.
As many of my readers might have already noticed, I am a Southie settled in pardes with her husband & two kids (AND as my husband pointed out recently I seem to do nothing else other than cook and blog.) :) When we moved here, Google was not born yet and blogs were not popular. I was a pampered beti / bahu who knew only basics of cooking and not much. I had to cook and in leisure time, I would search the web for some traditional Andhra recipes. There were some Indian cooking websites that would cater the needs of novice cooks like me but there was a problem. I could rarely find recipes which reminded me the food prepared back at our homes. For instance every koora/curry recipe I look into, there would be addition of coriander/cumin powder and garam masala that in no way would count as authentic Andhra cuisine.
Most of us grow up eating and loving home cooked meals, which are obviously hard to find away from our homes. We get accustomed to the flavors/tastes of food, loving prepared by our mothers / other elders so much that we use it as a standard to compare others' cooking. That's what happened in my case and the recipes I would find on the web would never be up to my standard and I had to keep calling back my mother / mother-in-law for recipes. In the process, I learnt that some recipes are forgotten over the period of time in families.

After certain time when I did gain some expertise in cooking, it struck me why not have my own cooking website where I can maintain recipe log to record my and other family members' recipes. I kept asking M for years to help me in this regard since he has the technical expertise. He kept on procrastinating for about a decade until I happened to notice food blogs 3 years ago. Then my blogging journey started and now here I am.

Usually Indian mothers don't maintain their own food catalogs and when I noticed that M's aunt did that for her daughter, I was surprised and had to go through it. She has painstakingly handwritten all the recipes she knows - North & South Indian style, neatly arranged them in categories ranging from chutneys/raitas to laborious desserts. After going through that, I felt it would be a neat gift to newly weds and told her that. While one of my SILs copied the whole catalog for her daughter, I copied some traditional recipes.
Luckily, I could get some old recipes belonging to / used by M's maternal grandmother and this kobbari pappu is one of them. I  had never heard or seen anyone preparing it, including my MIL and it is somehow a forgotten recipe in our family. When I found some recipes which M frquently mentions and me never seeing his mother making them, that catalog appeared as a 'lost and found' treasure.

This kobbari pappu was one among them. First of all, this recipe doesn't not require any vegetable, which is a staple ingredient in any pappu recipe. Go ahead and prepare it when you run out of vegetables or has to use up that extra coconut you have. Taste wise, it is not your ordinary pappu. Though the ingredients used are slightly different from the regular pappu, this one is on a different note. It takes the flavors of the coconut and coriander and somewhat goes in the majjiga pulusu (stew prepared with sour butter milk) track, flavor wise.

Ingredients to serve 3- 4:
½ cup toordal
¼ cup coconut
3 small green chillies
1 tsp coriander seeds
1.5 tsp salt
4 tbsp tamarind puree
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
For tadka: 2 tsp oil,1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida powder, curry leaves, 2 red chilies broken into small bits

The cooking part:
Cook the dal with turmeric powder in a pressure cooker adding a cup of water. After the valve pressure is gone, remove the dal container out. Mash the dal lightly with the back of a ladle.
Alternatively, dal can be cooked in a pan on stovetop, adding water as needed.  The dal should turn mushy. Take care that it is not runny and is thicker as in the picture. If it is runny, cook a little longer.
Grind the coconut, green chilies and coriander seeds into a paste adding a little water if needed.
Add this paste, salt, tamarind juice to the dal and cook on slow flame for about 10 minutes so that the raw smell of the paste disappears and the flavors mingle.
Mean while, heat oil in a small sauté pan and add the mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add the red chili pieces, curry leaves and asafetida and turn off the stove after about 10 seconds. Add this tadka to the cooked coconut dal and mix well.
Serve with hot rice and ghee.

Variation: Coconut chili paste can be cooked along with toordal.

This goes to my "Delicious Dals from India".

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jihva - Breakfast Roundup

How do you live a long life? ''Take a two-mile walk every morning before breakfast.''
Harry S Truman

I was introduced to this amazing world of food blogging and food enthusiasts through a Jihva event roundup. That in a way inspired me to start my own blog that month.  I am fond of Jihva event and therefore felt honored to host it for the month of March 2010. I am thankful to Indira for giving me this wonderful opportunity.
I thoroughly enjoyed the hosting process and all the credit for this goes to fellow food enthusiasts. They made this event a huge success with their immense interest and participation in it. They overwhelmed me, (in a pleasant way) by sending in all together 135 entries. I greatly appreciate that many bloggers sent in multiple entries and one blogger sent in as many as 9 entries.
Many bloggers have tried to stick to healthy entries and some one has made a resolution not to skip breakfast. :)  
I came to know about some traditional, unfamiliar recipes during this joyful journey and feel that some of the readers would experience the same. I wish that this small collection of breakfast recipes may offer a solution to the 'what is for breakfast?' dilemmas we all face.
Categorizing the events has been a tedious affair. As Indira warned earlier, this round up took many many hours and I am not complaining. :) I have tried to put the entries in categories and the entries appear in each category in the order I received them. There are a few egg entries that I am posting (did not omit those)  hoping that egg lovers may enjoy them.
I have checked multiple times to see that all entries I received, appear here. I happen to check even my junk folder and so, if you don't see your entries here, probably that means I haven't received them (It has happened with one entry.)  If I still messed up, I apologize. Please do contact me at toveggieplatter@hotmail.com so that I could include your post in the final roundup. Also let me know if any of the links are not working.
Click on the recipe name or the picture to get to the recipe link and to try these yummylicious breakfasts.

Sizzling affairs: (Pan fried - dosas, paniyarams & such)

Priya Srinivasan's Oat & Pea Dosa / Crepe

Priya Suresh's Pumpkin Pancakes

Umm Razeen's Rava Dosai

Vanamala Hebbar's Payaru Dose

Shabitha Karthikeyan's Vegetable Uttapam

Jaya & Harini's Mixed Legume Uthappam

Daisyblue's Horsegram Adai

Jayashree's Aapam

Priya Srinivasan's Apple Pancake

Swapna's MLA Pesarattu

Swapna's Oats Dosa

Swapna's Besan Omlette

Premalatha Aravindhan's Blackgram Masala Dosa

Manju Rajender's Adai

GoVegGo's Pesarattu

Lena Rashmin Raj's  Appam

Kanchan's Banana Pancake (Egg)

Indira's Pesarattu

Satya Sridhar’s Appam

Quick / Easy affairs: (Upmas, pohas & such)

Srilekha's Tomato Rice

Priya Ajay's Semiya Upma

Silpa's Upma

Astha Mitra's Poha

Jaya & Harini's Rice Sticks Upma

Shabitha Karthikeyan's Aloo Poha

Swapna's Simple Upma

Swapna's Sago Khichidi

Shabitha Karthikeyan's Rava Kichadi

Jyoti's Poha

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal's Pohe

Sonal's Susla

Lena Rashmin Raj's Poha

Deepa's Bread Upma

Anuradha Jayaseelan's Poha Upma

Anuradha Jayaseelan's Idly Upma

GoVegGo's Oats Upma

Mythreyee's Idli Upma

Steamy affairs:  (Idlis, adas, dhoklas & such)

Deepti Naik's Rice Dhokla

Priya Srinivasan's Aval Pidi

Swapna's Rava Idli

Jayasree Raagi Idly

Lena Rashmin Raj's Wheat Ada

Lena Rashmin Raj's Rice Ada

Hima's Oats Idly

Cooking Foodie's Khatta Dhokla

Rolling / Patting affairs - (Pan fried breads)

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal's Bread and Sooji Ka Pizza

Priya Suresh's Pumpkin Paratha

 Jagruti's Harcha Bread

Srivalli Jetti's Aloo Peas Parathas

Priya Ajay's Palak Parathas

Suparna Shaligram's Mixed Vegetable Parathas

Astha Mitra's Carrot Parantha

AshaLatha R K Prasad's Matar Bharke Parata

Lena Rashmin Raj's Rice Roti with Peas Masala

Anuradha Jayaseelan's Cauliflower Stuffed Parathas

Cooking Foodie's Rava Toast / Rock Toast

'Real Quick' affairs: (Juices, sandwiches & such)

Divya Vikram's My Humble Oatmeal

Deepti Sidana's Baadam Milk

Vidhya Ravikumar's Fruit & Milk Parfait

Simply.food's Pineapple Sundae

Anuradha Jayaseelan's Vegetable Sandwich

Lena Rashmin Raj's All Chutneys for Dosa / Idly

Hot affairs: (Baking / Out of the Oven)

Kalai's Vegetable Pancakes (Egg)

Radhika Subramanian's Mom's Sweet Muffins (Egg)

TurmericNSpice Bread and Breakfast

Bombastic affairs: (Poories, kachauries & such)

AshaLatha R K Prasad's Matar Bharke Poori

Priya (Yallapantula) Mitharwal's Aloo Matar Ki Kachauri

Aruna Manikandan's Channa Bhatura

NotYet100's Navratri Thali

Mushy affairs: (Pongals & such)

Priya Suresh's Brown Rice Pongal & Green Spring Onions Sambar

Vidhya Ravikumar's Rava Pongal

Madhavi - Anu's Rava Pongali

Satya Sridhar’s Ven Pongal

The Jihva - breakfast entries gave me an idea to celebrate India and it's vast, varied cuisine.  This time, I am planning to celebrate 'Delicious Dals of India'. I am inviting fellow foodies to join me in bringing out the traditional gems hidden in our regional cuisines. Please send me over your dal delicacies by May 31st, 2010.