HOME        |        ABOUT        |        COPYRIGHT        |        CONTACT        |         RECIPE INDEX        |         INDIAN THAALIS        |         MILLET RECIPES        |        EVENTS' ROUNDUP        

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Ganesh Chaturthi

Our wishes to everyone who is celebrating Vinayaka Chavithi tomorrow!!

My computer is still behaving erratically and so occasionally I am using my husband's laptop to post here. I have no privilege of bloghopping until the computer gets fixed and in the meantime, I may have to miss all those wonderful posts from my fellow bloggers . :(

Monday, August 29, 2011

Millet Upma

When I went for my 'quinoa' shopping recently, M bagged some millet from the bulk bins of whole foods market. I had read somewhere earlier that millet is a whole grain like quinoa and has been grown even before rice was. It is rich in magnesium and is a vitamin B source and said to be good for heart patients and diabetics. Enough reasons to try a grain for the first time, I thought and so brought home some.

I was contemplating whether to cook it as rice or prepare a spicy khichdi but finally settled with this upma. It goes along the same lines as quinoa version but to quicken the process, I used a pressure pan today. Ours was served with a spicy sambhar for a wholesome meal.

1 cup millet
2 small onions - finely chopped
1 tomato - chopped
Salt to taste (about 1.5 tsp)
For tadka:
1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp chana dal, 1 tsp urad dal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 3 Serrano peppers, and few curry leaves

1. Toast millet on medium flame for 3 - 4 minutes and keep aside. 
2. Heat oil directly in a small pressure cooker / pressure pan. Add the dals, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the dals turn reddish, add chillies and curry leaves. Saute for few seconds and add onion. Fry on medium flame until they turn translucent. Next add tomatoes and cook until mush. 
3. Add about 1 & 3/4 cups of water to the mixture and bring it to a rolling boil. Add salt and the millet. 
4. Stir once and cover the cooker lid with the whistle on. Pressure cook until 3 whistles. After the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid, fluff and serve.

1. I used my pressure pan to cook this upma and this method is simple and quicker.
2. After step 3, the contents can be transferred to and cooked in a rice cooker.
3. The upma can be prepared in a regular sauce pan but it takes longer to cook millet (about 20 minutes).

My effort to focus only on the image in the background. :)

This is going to be my last day post of BM#8 with the theme "Cooking with five or less ingredients". Check what my fellow marathoners have come up with during this marathon. 

If you have missed any of my posts in this series, here is a recap.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sambhar Powder

Sambhar powder is a mandatory pantry item of any south Indian kitchen. It is a blend of ground roasted spices that lend a unique flavor to sambhar - the split pigeon peas stew that appears on daily menus of majority homes. There is no standard recipe for sambhar powder and each family follows its own "favorite recipe", probably handed down from generations gone by. A sambhar powder / masala can use many ingredients or can be as simple as this one, from my mother's kitchen.
I like trying various versions of sambhar powder and make it a point to copy down any recipe that catches my attention. However the two recipes mostly I follow happens to be the one I posted earlier and this one which is perfectly apt for my "cooking with five ingredients or less" themed BM#8 post for today.
Check what my fellow marathoners have posted for today.  

Ingredients: (for 1 cup)
1/4 cup chanadal
3 Tbsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsp skinned black gram / urad dal
1/2 cup grated, dried coconut
8 red, dried chillies

* Toast chanadal and urad dal individually on medium flame until they turn reddish. Remove them onto a plate and add the coriander seeds and red chillies to the same pan and toast until they start changing color and you start to smell the aroma of the coriander. Let cool all the toasted ingredients.
* Finely grind the toasted ingredients and coconut together. Store in an airtight container.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Quick & Easy Peanut - Coconut Laddu

My "cooking with five or less ingredients" themed post for today in BM#8 is going to be these yummy laddus that can be prepared in a jiffy. I used to follow the Indian cooking website 'Bawarchi' almost religiously in my initial days of cooking. Not just following but used to try the recipes that caught my attention. Some of the recipes I learnt thus have found a permanent place in my kitchen. This delicious peanut laddu learnt a dozen years ago is one such recipe though I stay away from it now just because of the calories. :) It is simple and quick compared to the traditional version and just perfect one for a novice cook.
Ingredients: (For 15 small sized laddus)
1 cup roasted and skinned peanuts
1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh, grated coconut
1/2 cup jaggery powder

Combine all the ingredients and grind into a coarse mixture using a food processor. Take a fistful of ground mixture and shape it into a laddu (a round ball). Repeat the step with the remaining mixture.

Check what my fellow marathoners have come up with for today.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Easy Breezy Green Mango Rice ~ Mamidikaya Pulihora

On the fourth day of BM#8, here is a simple, tangy rice dish bursting with the unripe mango flavor. Green mango rice is commonly prepared in south India during the summer months when the mangoes are abundantly available. Cooked rice mixed with grated unripe mango and the crunchy tadka is surely a delightful meal on its own.
Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking today.

Ingredients: (4 - 6 servings)
2 cups rice (I used sonamasuri.)
2 green mangoes, peeled and grated (I had about 2.5 cups grated mango. Or adjust according to the tartness preferred.)
For tadka: 2 - 3 Tbsp oil, 1/4 cup peanuts, 2 tsp chanadal, 1 tsp skinned black dal / urad dal, 1 tsp mustard seeds, a pinch of asafoetida, few curry leaves, 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and 4 green chillies (I used large Serrano peppers. Adjust the quantity as needed. Dried red chillies can be substituted for the green ones.)
Salt as needed (about 2.5 tsp)

* Wash the rice in several changes of water and drain. Cook adding about 4 cups of water. Take care that the grains are intact after cooking. Spread the rice in a wide plate or a bowl. Let cool.
* In the meanwhile, do the tadka in a sauté pan. Heat oil and add the peanuts. Fry them for a few seconds and then add the chana dal, urad dal and mustard seeds. When the dals turn reddish, add the curry leaves, asafoetida, turmeric powder and chillies. Sauté for a minute and then add the grated mango and salt. Mix well and turn off the stove. There is no need to cook the mango.
* Add this tadka to the rice and mix well.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Aamrakhand / Mango Shrikhand

For the uninitiated, shrikhand is a simple, no fuss dessert that is mostly popular in the Indian states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. The thick, creamy yogurt (obtained after straining) is sweetened with sugar and flavored with cardamom / saffron. It is then chilled and garnished with nuts before serving. A simple delight on a hot summer day. :) Apart from this plain Jane kind, there are fruity versions that are more flavorful, colorful and delicious like this aamrakhand aka mango shrikhand, where mango pulp is added to shrikhand.
I used homemade yogurt to make this aamrakhand. If you are in a hurry, use Greek yogurt instead which makes the preparation further simpler. And for people who are wondering how to prepare hung yogurt, this is how we go. Line a colander / sieve with a cheesecloth or a very thin cotton cloth. Place it over a bowl to catch the dripping whey. Pour the set yogurt into it and bring the ends of the cloth together and form a knot. Put the colander along with the bowl underneath, in the refrigerator overnight or until all the whey has been removed. This is the hung yogurt or the strained one that we are going to use to make shrikhand. Or skip this step and use Greek yogurt instead as I mentioned earlier.
Feel free to use your favorite fruits and  create new shrikhand versions as this peach shrikhand.

Ingredients: (for 2 servings)
1 cup hung yogurt / Greek yogurt
1/2 to 3/4 cup mango pulp (I used Kesar mango pulp.)
Powdered sugar to taste (The quantity depends upon the sweetness of the mango pulp. It is not mandatory to use powdered sugar but I use it since it melts quicker.)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder / saffron 
Crushed pistachios / sliced almonds to garnish 

If using saffron, just soak 1/4 tsp saffron in a tsp of milk for about 15 minutes and add. I omitted the cardamom since I had to use 5 ingredients and just sprinkled some saffron for the photographic purpose.

Place all the ingredients except the pistachios / almonds in a bowl and whisk them together until a creamy texture is attained and everything is well combined. Chill for an hour or two before serving. Serve the chilled aamrakhand in individual bowls and garnish with pistachios / almonds. This can be served as a dessert or along with hot puris (or parathas) as they do in Gujarat.

This is my 3rd day BM#8 entry with the theme "cooking with five ingredients or less". Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking today.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Authentic Andhra ~ Chukkakoora Pappu

I think chukkakoora is 'an unheard entity' outside Andhra. As the famous gongura, these leafy greens are exclusive to that state, have a characteristic sourness to them and taste delicious. This pappu has become a rare treat for us since chukkakoora is not available locally. Fortunately, M remembered to get the seeds last time when he visited India and we could grow/enjoy our own chukkaku this summer. I used them to prepare this yummy pappu last week.
This authentic and quintessential Andhra dish is going to be my second day entry of BM#8 with the theme "cooking with five or less ingredients". Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking.

Ingredients:(For 3 - 4 servings)
1/2 cup toordal
1.5 cup chukkakoora leaves, washed and roughly chopped
1 Onion, minced
1 tsp Chilli powder
Salt to taste
For tadka: 2 -3 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida powder and 1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1. Tadka / Seasoning + Salt together are considered as one ingredient according to the marathon rules.
2. Chukkakoora leaves are usually sour as gongura and so tamarind is not added usually while preparing this dal. Green chillies can be added, if preferred.

* Cook toordal in a pressure cooker / sauce pan and keep aside.
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add asafoetida, turmeric powder and onion.
* Fry until onion turns translucent and then add the chukkakoora leaves. Saute until the leaves are cooked.
* Next add the cooked dal, chili powder and salt to the cooked greens and mix well. Simmer for a couple of minutes more and turn off the stove.
* Serve with hot rice and ghee.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Broccoli Parathas

Another round of BM#8 starts from today and among the various interesting themes given, I chose to go with "Cooking with five or less ingredients" this week. That means the recipes I am going to post for the next seven days contain five or less ingredients. Srivalli however has given a concession that the seasonings / salt together can be considered as one ingredient. My first post under the above said theme is going to be broccoli parathas. And check what the other marathoners are cooking today.

My son has always been an easy going kid and so before I had my daughter, I thought raising kids was child's play. :) Oh boy, my daughter showed me practically how wrong I was. Everything turns into a fuss when dealing with her and of course it's more obvious when it comes to food. If anyone chooses to start a "picky eater club", my daughter would be the perfect president for it. She prefers to go hungry instead of eating something that is not appealing to her. Whenever she has to eat something, she has some standard lines to say - "I am not hungry" or "this looks gross / weird" or "I don't like it" or "I asked for that, not this" or "this is not my favorite" or "I asked for rotis" (particularly when I don't have dough handy) or "I will eat later" and the list goes on. I like the roti excuse more since I can sneak in whatever veggies I like and I know that she is going to like and eat some healthy food in the process. Over the years, my daughter has taught me that if a kid doesn't like any particular veggie / fruit, sneaking it in other forms works better than presenting it in the most obvious fashion. These parathas are one such example. No steamed broccoli / broccoli soup suits her and so I puree the broccoli and add it to the roti dough. Any faint smell that broccoli rotis have is masked by the side dish that goes along with them. I thank God that she likes rotis or otherwise it would have been a different story altogether. :)

Ingredients (for 20 parathas):
3 cups atta / wheat flour + extra for dusting
1.5 cup broccoli puree (Broccoli florets lightly cooked in microwave and pureed.)
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp oil (optional) + Oil to make rotis
(Green chilli - ginger paste can be added if preferred.)

* Combine atta, broccoli puree, salt and a Tbsp of oil in a mixing bowl. Gradually add water as needed to form a firm, pliable dough. If the dough becomes too sticky, add some extra flour. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and shape it into a ball. Cover and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least an hour.
* Place a cast iron skillet or a low rim frying pan over medium heat. While the skillet is heating up, knead the rested dough for a minute. Divide the dough into 20 equal portions, roll each portion into a ball and flatten it between your palms. Take a flattened dough ball and keep the remaining ones covered. Dip both sides of the flattened dough ball into loose flour, place it on a flat rolling surface. Roll it into a thin circle of about 4 - 5 inches diameter.
* Place the rolled out circle on the hot skillet, cook for about 30 - 40 seconds and flip it using a spatula. There should be brown spots on the flipped side. Cook for another 30 seconds and flip again. Spread 1/4 tsp oil around the edges if desired. Press down on the bread with spatula while cooking to allow the bread to puff up. Remove it after it puffs up and you see brown spots on both sides.
Repeat the steps with the remaining dough.

If not using immediately, the dough may be refrigerated for a couple of days. Just remember to bring it back to room temperature. Or put in the microwave covered, for about 30 - 60 seconds depending upon the quantity of the dough.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Microwave Version ~ Borugula Upma / Puffed Rice Upma / Mandakki Uppittu

Today happens to be the last day of the first session of BM#8. Check what other marathoners have been cooking so far.
I tried to come up with a menu during this marathon with the theme "Microwave Cooking" and I posted so far

I was not ready with today's post and had to cook and draft the post after returning home from my vacation. This marathon thing gets surely addictive. :) Puffed rice upma is one of the quickest and yummy breakfast / snack item that can be prepared and using a microwave surely cuts down the time.

Ingredients: (2 - 3 servings)
1-2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp peanuts
1 tsp chana dal
1 tsp mustard seeds
few curry leaves
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
3 green chillies finely minced (I used Serrano Peppers)
1 onion, finely minced
7 cups puffed rice
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a microwave safe bowl, about two minutes. Add the peanuts, chana dal, mustard seeds and curry leaves. When peanuts turn golden brown, add chillies and turmeric powder and cook for a minute more. Then add the onion and mix well. Cook till it turns translucent.
In the mean time, wash the puffed rice in a colander and drain well. Add this puffed rice and salt to the cooked onion mixture. Continue to cook, covered for about 4 -5 minutes. Remove the bowl and serve hot.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Simple and Quick Subzis ~ Asafoetida Flavored Potato

I never had to bother about cooking while I was in India as my mother / mother in law mostly took care of the kitchen. I was well fed and didn't worry about 'behind the scenes". However somehow, I have never been a disastrous cook though I had had my share of hilarious experiences as a novice one. One such incident happened one day when I had to babysit my MIL's asafoetida flavored potato subzi that happens to be a family favorite. My MIL was in the midst of cooking this subzi one day and some unexpected guests dropped by. She asked me to look after it and forgot about it until serving time. At lunch time, my FIL began to wonder why he had been served breakfast. It was all my doing of course; the potato curry has turned into a mush and my FIL confused it to upma. To this day, I can not replicate my MIL's curry in flavor, texture or color and I have settled to this version which has become our favorite. It tastes good with rice.

BTW, I managed to erase the picture I was planning to post and did not have access to the original image. I am on a vacation since this marathon started and have been managing to remember to post from hotel room each night, after a tiresome day. As soon as I get home, I need to update the images for this post.  
This is going to be my sixth day "microwave cooking" entry of BM#8Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking.

Ingredients: (4 servings)
3 big potatoes (2 cups chopped peeled and cubed)
1.5 - 2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chanadal
a pinch of asafoetida or as preferred
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
few curry leaves
Salt to taste
Chili powder

Cook the potato cubes along with water in a microwave safe bowl. It takes around 8 - 10 minutes depending upon the size of the potato cubes. Keep an eye and cook fork-tender. Don't cook them mushy.
Heat oil in a microwave safe bowl, about 2 minutes. Then add the chanadal, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, asafoetida and curry leaves. Let the dal turn reddish and mustard to splutter. Add chili powder and salt. Mix well and cook for a minute or so. Serve with rice.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vermicelli - Almond Milk Kheer

My post for today is a dessert in a jiffy ~ Vermicelli toasted until golden brown and cooked in almond milk using a microwave. The almond milk gives different flavor to the kheer than the regular version all together and the badam mix added accentuates the almond flavor additionally.
Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking during this BM#8.

Ingredients (for 2 servings):
1/4 cup roasted vermicelli
1/2 cup + 1 cup almond milk
1 - 2 Tbsp MTR badam mix
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Nuts and dry fruits to garnish

Heat 1/2 cup almond milk in a microwave safe bowl for about 30 seconds. Then add the toasted vermicelli to the milk and cook until done, about 4 minutes. Keep stirring in between to avoid vermicelli. clumping. Then add the badam mix, sugar, cardamom and the remaining cup of milk to the cooked vermicelli. Put the bowl back to the microwave and cook for a minute more. Garnish with nuts / dry fruits before serving.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Simple and Comforting Meals ~ Khichdi

Khichdi / Kitchri happens to be a nutritious rice - lentil porridge dish that can be cooked in a jiffy (especially if using a rice cooker) and also a comforting cure for all those feeling under weather. It is not overtly spicy, gentle on stomach and hence a great choice when one is recovering from an upset stomach or when serving babies or elderly. 

This simple, comforting khichdi is going to be my fourth day "microwave cooking" entry of BM#8Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking.

1/2 cup rice
1/4 to 1/2 cup split, skinned moong dal
2 -3 tsp oil / ghee
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp salt

Note: I have kept this recipe to the minimum basics but feel free to add turmeric, asafoetida and your choice of veggies.

Wash rice and dal thoroughly and drain.
Add rice, dal and sufficient water to a microwave safe bowl and cook until the desired consistency is reached. If needed, keep adding water as the cooking progresses. The consistency can be thick or watery depending upon one's preference but the rice and dal must be cooked soft. Add salt and mix well.
Heat the ghee in a small microwave safe bowl and add the cumin seeds. When they brown, remove and add it to the khichdi.
Serve khichdi with yogurt and a spicy pickle for a complete meal.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Simple & Quick Subzis ~ Cucumber Subzi / Kheera Koora / Southekayi Palya

This simple, south Indian style preparation uses the regular, green cucumbers and is going to be my third day "microwave cooking" entry of BM#8.  Needless to say this one is quick, delicious and goes great with rice.
Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking.

For tadka: 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp urad dal, 1 tsp chana dal, 4 red chillies broken into bits and few curry leaves
2 cups peeled and cubed cucumber
Salt to taste
1/4 - 1/2 cup grated fresh / frozen coconut
(1/8 tsp of turmeric powder may also be added while cooking cucumbers.)

Heat the oil in a microwave safe bowl and add the tadka ingredients. When the dals turn reddish, add the cucumber and continue to cook until done. Then add the salt and coconut to the cooked cucumber and mix well. Cook for  a couple of minutes more and remove the bowl. Serve with hot rice.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Microwave Cooking ~ Masoor Dal - Chayote Sambhar

A quick and tasty sambhar prepared in microwave for my "microwave cooking" theme in BM#8. Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking today.

Ingredients: (4 -5 servings)
1/2 cup masoordal
1/2 cup peeled and cubed chayote
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
3/4 to 1 tsp chili powder
Jaggery to taste (optional)
Tamarind paste / puree as needed
For tadka: 2 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida, 1 red chillie and few curry leaves
Minced cilantro for garnish

* Wash masoor dal in two exchanges of water. Add the washed dal, chayote, turmeric powder and 1 cup of water to a microwave safe bowl. Cook it in the microwave until the dal is done, about 10 minutes. 
* Now add sambhar powder, chili powder, salt, tamarind and jaggery to the cooked dal. Add extra water to bring to sambhar consistency, about 2 cups. Mix well, taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Put it back in the microwave and bring it to a rolling boil. It may take around 8 - 10 minutes.
* Heat oil in a small microwave safe bowl for two minutes. Then add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asofoetida, chili and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, remove the bowl. Add this tadka to the cooked sambhar and mix well. Garnish with cilantro.
Serve hot with rice / rotis.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Microwave Tomato Cilantro Chutney ~ Tomato Kothimeera Pachadi

A couple of weeks ago, both the computers at home crashed, partly because of me. I decided to spare M's laptop and so took a forced blogging break. M fixed one computer over the weekend but I would have continued the break if not for Srivalli's BM#8. It was so tempting that I could not let go even when I am leaving on a weeklong vacation tomorrow. :) As usual, Valli gave us several interesting themes to choose from and I am going ahead with "Microwave Cooking" theme this week.
I thought of preparing a full course meal using microwave during this session and hoping to achieve it amidst my haywire schedule. I am starting today with a lip smacking, spicy chutney prepared with tangy tomatoes and aromatic cilantro.

2-3 tsp oil
2 tsp urad dal / skinned, split black gram
1 tsp mustard seeds
8 - 10 fenugreek seeds / methi seeds
5 green chillies (I used Serrano peppers. Adjust the quantity if needed.)
2 tomatoes / 1 cup chopped cubes
1 cup packed, cilantro leaves
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
a pinch of asafoetida powder
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a microwave safe bowl for two minutes and then add the black gram, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Heat them again for a couple of minutes until the black gram turns reddish and mustard starts to splutter. Then add the green chillies and fry for about 30 seconds. Then add the tomatoes and cook (stirring in between) until it appears done, about 6 - 8 minutes. Then add the cilantro, turmeric powder and asafoetida powder to the tomato mixture and cook for one more minute. Remove the bowl and let cool. Grind the mixture to a coarse paste adding salt as needed.
Serve it along with rice or any Indian breakfast dishes.

Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking.