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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spinach - Tomato Rice

During one of the previous marathons, Valli had asked the marathoners to create a facebook page for their blogs if they haven't done it already. Somehow I did not create one though I have a facebook account. I did it this week at last. Feel free to like it. :) :)
Today is the last day of blogging marathon#10. I chose "preparing ready mixes" for the first week and "lunchbox" theme for the second week. Here is a recap of what I posted so far during this marathon.

Mix for Pesara Sunnundalu / Moongdal Laddu
Instant Homemade Vermicelli Kheer Mix
Instant Homemade Sambhar Mix
Instant Homemade Idli Mix
Instant Homemade Upma Mix
Instant Homemade Dosa Mix
Instant Homemade Rasam Mix

Tomato Bhath
Avocado Rotis-Lauki Subzi
Quinoa-Masoordal Soup
Mixed Vegetable-Soy Chunks Curry
Spinach - Chickpea Wraps
Beans Koora & Palakoora Pappu

I started with a tomato rice recipe for this week's lunchbox theme and ending it with another tomato rice recipe. It may seem like too much in one week but trust me, they are entirely two different recipes and the two dishes are delicious in their own way.  One of my aunts prepares yummy rice dishes using koora podi (can be loosely translated as curry powder but not the one synonymous with Indian cuisine in the western world.) and I based this dish on that. Since the tomatoes are ground to a paste and fried, this dish is more like a spinach rice in tomato base. You can entirely leave out spinach if you wish and prepare it as a tomato rice and that tastes fabulous as well.

Ingredients: (6 servings)
2 cups rice (preferably sona masuri)
10 oz frozen spinach / Chopped leaves from a bunch of fresh spinach
4 tomatoes
2 onions
Salt to taste
For tadka:
3 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp peanuts
2 tsp mustard seeds
2  tsp chana dal / Bengal gram
2 tsp urad dal / split black gram
few curry leaves
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
To toast and powder: (Dry toast the ingredients, cool and powder them.)
2 Tbsp chana dal
2 Tbsp urad dal
1 tbsp coriander seeds
a few pinches of fenugreek / methi seeds
2 Tbsp grated, dried coconut
6 dried red chillies

* Cook rice adding about 4 cups of water.
* Thaw spinach if using frozen one.
* Grind the tomatoes and onions to a fine paste without adding water.
 Heat oil for tadka. Add peanuts, chanadal, urad dal and mustard seeds. When peanuts start turning golden brown, add turmeric and curry leaves. Then add the tomato - onion paste and fry until the mixture becomes a thick mass.
* Add spinach and cook for a few minutes. Then add the powder from C and salt as needed. Cook for a couple of minutes more and turn off the stove. Add the cooked rice and mix well.
* Serve warm with papad / chips.

Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Beans Koora & Palakoora Pappu

Here is a typical Andhra style lunchbox for day 6 of BM#10. Though I don't pack a desi style lunchbox to any of the family members, I do cook a dal and subzi most of the days. I therefore thought why not a pack a lunch in the 3 boxed tiffin carrier (that's what we call them) at least for the blog sake with my most favorite food. :) And so here we go with a spinach dal from Andhra and beans curry. I had carried a few similar lunchboxes all the way from India, from my mother's collection. My daughter who had never seen a 3 step lunchbox got excited and had her lunch from the box, at home of course. :)
Beans Koora / Beans Curry:
Call it koora, palya, thoran or poriyal depending upon where you live, the basic vegetable preparation from South India goes on similar lines. A vegetable is stir fried along with a seasoning and fresh, grated coconut is added at the end.
For popu / tadka: 1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp of chanadal / Bengal gram, 1 tsp urad dal / split black gram, 1 tsp cumin seeds, few curry leaves, a pinch of turmeric powder, 6 red dried chillies
3 cups chopped beans
2 - 3 Tbsp grated, fresh coconut
1.5 tsp salt

Heat oil in a saute pan and add all the tadka ingredients. When mustard seeds start popping and chanadal starts turning golden brown, add the veggies and salt. Cook covered on low flame and keep stirring in between until the beans are done. Then add the coconut and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes more and turn off the heat. Serve warm with steamed rice / rotis.

Palakoora Pappu / Andhra style Spinach Dal:
Ingredients: (8 - 10 servings)

1.5 cup toordal
10 oz frozen spinach / leaves from a fresh bunch of spinach
2 onions, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 cup thick tamarind juice
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp salt or to taste
For tadka: 2 -3 tsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida powder and few curry leaves
* Cook toordal along with vegetables and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker / sauce pan adding water as needed and keep aside. Remember that the final dish should be not runny like sambhar
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add asafoetida, and curry leaves.
* Next add the cooked dal, tamarind, chili powder and salt to the tadka and mix well. Cook for a few minutes so that all the flavors mingle and turn off the stove.
* Serve with hot rice and ghee.

This goes to Susan's MLLA, guesthosted this month by Simona.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Spinach - Chickpea Wraps

My kids, especially my daughter loves vegetable wraps and sandwiches and so when Pavani posted these wraps in one of the earlier blogging marathons, I bookmarked them and tried immediately. She showed how these wraps were picnic friendly and so obviously I feel that they are opt ones for lunchbox as well. These wraps have a chickpea curry + a salad blend filling and are nutritious and yummy ones. The only thing to remember is to prepare a very dry filling. My filling was a little on the wet side since I made them for a weekend lunch. :)

Tortillas (I used spinach ones. Even rotis can be substituted.)
A blend of lettuce, julienned carrot, sliced red onions

For chickpea filling:
2 cups chickpeas
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes
Salt & chili powder to taste
1/2 tsp chana masala

Preparing the filling:
* Soak chickpeas in water overnight and pressure cook until tender. Keep aside.
* Heat oil in a sauté pan, add cumin seeds and ginger. Once the seeds start to splutter add turmeric and onions. Sauté until they soften; next add tomato and cook until done.
* Then add the cooked chickpeas, channa masala, red chili powder, salt and mix well.
* Cook until the curry is almost dry. Take care that the curry is not watery since the wraps are going to be soggy.

Assembling the wraps:
* Microwave each tortilla for a minute.
*  Place chickpea curry filling and the salad mixture on the bottom half of the tortilla and fold the ends over the filling, roll and wrap to make the sandwich.

This is my Day 5 entry for the blogging marathon#10, with the "lunchbox" theme. Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking. This goes to Susan's MLLA, guesthosted this month by Simona.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mixed Vegetable - Soy Chunks Curry

On the fourth day of blogging marathon # 10, here is a nutritious and yummy mixed vegetable - soy chunks curry. It is my husband's most favorite sidedish to pair with rotis and fits my "lunchbox" theme.
Ingredients: ( yield 6 - 8 generous servings. The recipe can be halved.)
For tadka: 1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
2 onions - chopped
2 tomatoes - chopped
2 small carrots, peeled and cubed or cut into strips
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup of beans cut into 1 inch pieces
1 small cauliflower - chopped as preferred (I like to retain the floret shape.)
1/2 to 3/4 cup soy chunks - Washed and soaked in water for about 10 to 15 minutes
2 Tbsp sieved besan (optional)
Salt & chili powder to taste
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp coriander powder
Minced cilantro to garnish

Heat oil in a kadai or a sturdy pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add the turmeric powder and onions. Saute until the onion softens and then add the tomatoes and cook until mushy. Then add the beans, carrot and potato. Add water as needed to cook. When the vegetables are half done, add the cauliflower florets, soy chunks and salt. Cook until the vegetables turn tender. Then add the besan and cook for a couple of minutes more. Next add the spice powders as preferred. Simmer for a couple of minutes and turn off the stove. You can mash some of the potato cubes if needed. Garnish with cilantro.

This goes to Susan's MLLA, guesthosted this month by Simona and Vardhini's Dish it Out - Soy & Tomatoes event.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Quinoa - Masoor Dal Soup

I wondered whether I need to post a full course meal each day if I choose "lunchbox" theme in this marathon and bombarded Valli with emails. Valli in her usual, flexible style told to go easy. A "three course meal" kind of lunchbox sounds so whimsical in this fast paced world. However it was a "typical norm" in India for a generation before us. The women had the patience, energy and dedication to deliver such meals to the head of the household. I have neither cooked a full course meal for my husband's lunchbox till date nor planning to cook one in the future. However, he is sure to find a fulfilling, homemade, fresh food each day when he opens his lunchbox. 
My husband likes to carry a single item in a microwaveable box since he enjoys his food hot. Breakfast dishes / rice items / soups are some of his favorite lunch items and particularly the latter one seems so fuss free to me as a cook. And so, sometimes I pack just a soup. However, if not pairing with a salad / sandwich, I try to make it a wholesome and fulfilling one by going with a grain-bean-veggie combination. Today's "lunchbox" idea for BM#10 revolves around the same theme yielding a nutritious, guilt free lunch. I don't follow a particular recipe when it comes to soups but I stick with those ingredients that seem to work in a recipe.

Ingredients: (For 3-4 servings)
1 Tbsp olive oil / butter
1 onion, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 cups chopped vegetables (I used celery, beans, carrot)
1 vegetable bouillon cube
1/4 cup quinoa and/or millet
1/4 cup masoor dal 
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oil and add onion, garlic and celery. Fry until onion softens and then add the veggies. Saute for a couple of minutes more.
Add about 5 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Then add the vegetable bouillon cube, masoor dal, quinoa/millet and salt. Cook until the dal and quinoa/millet are done.
To quicken the process, the entire contents can be transferred to a pressure cooker and cooked up to 3 whistles. Season with pepper and serve hot.

The soup would be not be as thick as the one in the image. I purposely added less water to show the contents.

Check here to find out what the other marathoners are cooking.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Avocado Rotis and Simple Lauki Subzi

When packing a lunch box, rotis / rice is undoubtedly the first choice for Indians. We are so used to it that probably the idea of a roti / rice sounds hassle free for us while the rest of the world may find it a tedious or daunting task. :) Probably the various combinations one can create while preparing rice dishes / rotis make them more interesting and appealing to both cooks and picky eaters.
For today's "lunch box" idea in blogging marathon # 10, I have avocado rotis and a quick and simple curry prepared with bottle gourd. Check what other marathoners are cooking here.
I have been making these avocado rotis for years now and sometimes I use it in combination with other veggies too. Today's post is similar to the soy flour - avocado ones that I posted earlier. The addition of avocado to atta result in rotis that stay softer for longer.

Ingredients needed for about a dozen rotis:
2 cups wheat flour / atta
1 avocado - peeled, seed removed and mashed
Salt to taste
Oil to toast the rotis

Making rotis:
* Combine all the ingredients except oil in a mixing bowl. Add water and prepare a firm, pliable dough. Knead it for a couple of minutes and allow it to rest for an hour or more.
* Divide the dough into 10 - 12 portions. Shape each of them into a ball. Take one dough ball, flatten it on your palm and roll into a thin circle of about 6 - 7 inches diametered one. Or you can roll out into 3 inch diametered one and add a few drops of oil on the rolled out circle. Fold into half and again half to form a triangle. Then roll out thinly. Use flour if needed  for dusting.
Keep the rest of the dough covered while you are working on one portion.
* Heat a shallow pan / tawa and toast the rolled out dough circle / triangle flipping in between and adding 1/4 tsp along the edges. Toast until it appears cooked and there are brown spots on either side.
* Repeat the same with the remaining dough.

This sorakaya koora / lauki subzi is a very simple preparation that goes well with rotis.

For tadka:
3 -4 tsp oil, 1 tsp chanadal / Bengal gram, 1 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1/8 tsp turmeric powder, few curry leaves
2 onions - chopped
2 tomatoes - chopped
1 bottle gourd / lauki - peeled, quartered, seeds removed and cubed (about 2 cups)
Salt to taste
Sambhar powder - 1/2 tsp (or to taste)
Red Chili powder - 1/2 tsp (or to taste)

Heat oil in a pan and add the tadka ingredients. When chana dal starts to turn red and mustard seeds start to pop, add onion. Fry on low flame until translucent and then add tomatoes. Cook until mushy and add lauki. Add water if needed and cook until lauki is done. Add salt, sambhar powder and chilli powder as needed. You can totally omit the chili powder and use only sambhar powder as much as you prefer. Cook for a couple of minutes more and turn off the stove. Garnish with cilantro.

If you are not preparing the rotis after resting period then the dough can be refrigerated for a maximum of two days. When you want to use it, just cover and zap it in the microwave for about 20 - 30 seconds and use it immediately. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tomato Bhath for Siri

I don't know why but some recipes that are so regular on our menu, that are family favorites or the ones that get me praises or just the ubiquitous ones in the blogosphere take very long to appear here, on veggiplatter. For instance, take this tomato bhath. I prepare 3 -4 versions of A+ kind tomato bhath (tomato rice) regularly at my home but I never thought of posting it even once, in the past five years of my blogging. My sister has been trying for the past decade to get this particular recipe from me. :) After I started blogging, I just kept telling her that I would post it for the record and the time seems to have come now at last. My sister had eaten this tomato bhath once at my SIL's house and liked it so much that she kept asking me for the recipe. In turn, I had to learn it from my SIL when she visited us. I have mastered it over the years so much that my husband is sure to be delighted to find it in his lunchbox. :)
My theme for the second week of Blogging Marathon #10 is "Lunchbox" based and this post fits it fabulously. Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking, here.
Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients. More than half of them go to grinding and tadka. And also the original recipe contains garlic (in B).

Ingredients: (for 6 servings)
1.5 cups Basmati Rice
3 - 4 tomatoes - finely chopped
1 onion - finely chopped
Salt to taste
1 tsp Chili powder (Optional if you prefer less spicy food. Or taste and adjust the quantity.)
(B)Ingredients to grind:
1 onion
2 green chillies
a small piece of ginger
2 - 3 Tbsp grated fresh coconut (This one is optional too.)
6 cloves
2 one inch cinnamon pieces
2 pieces of dagad phool / raathi puvvu (optional)
Ingredients for tadka:
2-3 Tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
few curry leaves
1/8 tsp turmeric powder

1. Grind all the ingredients under the list B to a paste, adding a little water if needed.
2. Heat oil in a pan or directly in a pressure cooker and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add curry leaves and turmeric.
3. Next add chopped onion (from A) and fry until translucent. Then add the ground paste and fry. Then add the tomatoes and fry for a few minutes (or until done if you are directly adding the cooked rice).
4. Rinse the rice, add it to the pan and fry for a couple of minutes.
5. Add about 3 cups of water, salt and chili powder. Lower the heat, cover and cook until done.
6. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

If you are not comfortable with cooking rice directly in a pan then you can follow any one of the following steps.
1) After adding water, you can add the whole mixture to a rice cooker and cook just like you cook the regular rice.
2) Wash and cook rice adding 3 cups of water. Spread on a plate, fluff and set aside. After cooking tomatoes in step 3, add salt and chili powder if using. Cook for a minute more, add the cooked rice and mix well.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Homemade Instant Rasam Mix

My regular version rasam recipe is well appreciated in our family / friends circle and so, I was sceptical to go ahead with this instant mix that I tried recently. My husband however said that he actually enjoyed it more than the regular version since it was sinus - clearing spicy. :) And so this is going to be my "Homemade Instant Food Mixes" themed final post of blogging marathon # 10,  for the group 1.

(I have reduced the spice level in the below recipe.)
5 - 6 Tbsp toordal
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 - 1/2 tsp peppercorns
1 - 2 red, dried chillies
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
Tamarind to taste (I forgot to note down the quantity I used. Will update it next time.)
Jaggery to taste (optional)
Salt to taste
For tadka: 1 Tbsp oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp cumin seeds, a pinch of asafoetida powder and few curry leaves

1. Toast toordal in a pan until it starts to change the color. Add coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, chillies to the same pan and toast until the coriander seeds start to change color. Add tamarind to it and turn off the stove. Let cool.
2. Grind the toasted ingredients along with turmeric powder, salt and jaggery (if using) into a fine powder.
3. Heat the oil in a small pan and add the tadka ingredients. When the mustard seeds start to pop, turn off the stove. Cool and add it to the ground mixture. Store in an airtight jar.

When rasam needs to be made, add water to mix and boil. For a cup of water use about a Tbsp of mix or accordingly.
Cooked tomato cubes and minced cilantro can be added to further enhance the flavor of rasam.

Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking, here.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Homemade Instant Mix for Dosas

(Instant, unfermented dosas)

This dosa mix was an experiment that turned successful, almost a decade ago. My blender / mixer was broken and before I got the replacement, we were craving for dosas one day. I just made the batter using the following mix and fermented as usual. I got pretty decent dosas, almost similar to the regular ground, fermented batter. I have made this dosa several times over the years and naturally, fermented version tastes better than the unfermented version. However, the batter doesn't raise as much as the regular version even after fermenting.
If in a hurry, add water to the mix and prepare dosas without fermenting. And of course, the dosas would taste like the instant kind. :)

4 measures rice flour (brown rice flour is a better substitute.)
1 measure urad dal flour / black gram flour
Salt to taste
(I sometimes add a little besan flour and fenugreek seeds powder too.)

Mix everything and keep it in a closed container / jar.
When dosas need to prepared, add water to the mix and make a batter of dosa (pourable but not too thin) consistency. Let it ferment overnight before preparing dosas or make dosas immediately.

This is my Day 6 entry for blogging marathon # 10. Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking, here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Homemade Instant Mix for Upma

The instant mix for upma comes in very handy when you need to come up with something in a jiffy.The first time I came across this instant mix was about 15 years ago, at my in laws place. We, a party of around 30 had decided to visit our family deity at Penchalakona and spend a night there. The facilities the temple provided at the time were just the basic ones. The devotees would get rooms to stay and if any one decided to cook, the temple would just provide the cooking vessels. That was it. The only food available was the simple breakfast sold at a couple of places around the temple that were nothing but just some thatched roof huts with a couple of wooden tables laid in them. The place was kind of remote (then) and so we decided to carry instant kind food that can be cooked in a jiffy once we reached there. While my SILs were busy preparing the pulihora gojju and other savories, my BIL jumped in and said that he would take care of one of the meals and prepared this instant mix for upma. Once we reached there, all we did was boil water, add this mix, cook and enjoy a savory upma.

4 - 6 Tbsp oil
A handful of peanuts / cashews
2 tsp grated ginger
6 - 8 finely chopped green chillies (I used Serrano peppers. Adjust the quantity depending upon the heat of chillies used.)
1 Tbsp chana dal / split Bengal gram
1 Tbsp urad dal / split, skinned black gram
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
Few curry leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 cup grated, dry coconut (optional. Omit it if using fresh coconut at the time of upma making.)
Semolina / rava - 3 cups
Salt to taste

Preparation of Instant mix for Upma:
Heat oil in a pan and add ginger and chillies. Saute it until ginger turns golden brown. Then add the peanuts, chana dal, urad dal, mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When peanuts and dals turn golden brown, add curry leaves, coconut, turmeric and saute for a few seconds. Then add the semolina and roast on low flame until it starts changing color. Add salt and mix well. Cool and store it in airtight jar.

When upma needs to be made, boil water and add the upma mix slowly. Mix well, cover and cook until done. Use about 1 & 3/4 cup of water for each cup of semolina used.
Frozen veggies / fresh coconut (instead of dry coconut in the mix)can be added to the water while boiling.

This is my Day 5 entry for blogging marathon # 10. Check what my fellow marathoners are cooking, here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Homemade Instant Idli Mix

For fourth day of blogging Marathon # 10, here is a homemade instant mix for idlis. To be honest, I don't prefer to use store brought instant mixes especially for idlis since I know how to make amazing idlis from scratch. (No bragging there, I do make awesome idlis being a south Indian. :)) However I assure you that this homemade recipe works though I would not call it a substitute for regular fermented batter idlis. It is a very convenient one for novice cooks, bachelors and other busy bodies. The idlis come out good and are pretty decent ones compared to commercial brands.

Urad dal flour - 1 measure
Idli rava - 2 measures
Salt to taste
Baking soda, as needed

Mix everything and store it in a jar.
When you plan to make idlis, add water to the mix and prepare a slightly thick batter (regular idli batter consistency.) Leave it to rest for 5 minutes and then prepare idlis using the batter as usual.

Check what other marathoners are cooking, here.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Homemade Instant Sambhar Mix

My husband keeps buying the commercial brand instant sambhar mix frequently, to serve as a quick side dish along with idlis / dosas. I have been therefore contemplating to prepare it at home from a long time now. This blogging Marathon # 10 seemed like a perfect occasion to try it since I am cooking based on "homemade instant mixes" theme. And so here comes homemade instant sambhar mix on the third day of blogging marathon. It goes well with south Indian breakfast dishes like idlis / dosas / upma and pongal or even rice. And BTW, my husband was praising this home made version and said it tasted a lot better than the store bought one. :)

1/2 cup toor dal
2 Tbs chana dal
3-4 Tbsp coriander seeds
Red chillies / chilli powder as per taste (Use byadagi chillies if you prefer a red colored sambhar mix.)
A pinch of fenugreek seeds / methi seeds
1/4 cup grated dried coconut
2 Tbsp rice
Tamarind to taste (or about 3 - 4 Tbsp)
Jaggery to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder 
Salt to taste
For tadka: 2 Tbsp oil, 1.5 tsp mustard seeds, 1.5 tsp cumin seeds, few curry leaves, few pinches of asafoetida powder 

How to prepare the instant sambhar mix:
1. Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When mustard seeds start to pop, add the asafoetida powder and curry leaves. Turn off the stove and let the tadka cool.
2. Toast toordal and chanadal in another pan until slightly golden brown. Add coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds and red chillies if using. Saute until coriander seeds start changing color. Turn off the stove and to the pan, add the remaining ingredients that were not toasted in steps 1 or 2. Let cool.
3. Add toordal, chanadal, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, rice, coconut, tamarind, jaggery, salt, chili powder / red chillies and turmeric powder to a mixer / blender and grind to a fine powder.
4. Add the tadka to the ground powder and mix well.
5. Store it in an airtight container.

Making sambhar:
Add about 2 - 3 Tbsp sambhar mix to each cup of water added and bring to a rolling boil. Garnish with cilantro if preferred.
Frozen veggies / tomatoes / onions can be cooked and added to this to make a more flavorful sambhar.

The above mix can be added to about 9 - 10 cups of water. (American standard size cup)

Check what other marathoners are cooking, here.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Homemade Vermicelli Kheer Instant Mix

I always wondered about those guys who buy the commercial brand vermicelli kheer mix. It is not that there is anything wrong with that since vermicelli kheer is undeniably an yummy dessert from the Indian subcontinent. However I feel that one doesn't buy it unless that person falls in the category of a bachelor or a busy body, a novice cook or unfamiliar with Indian cuisine since the kheer is so easy and quick to prepare.
Since I am doing "Ready to use - Prepacked foods" this time in blogging marathon #10, I thought why not prepare this vermicelli kheer mix at home and see for my self how this works.  A pretty easy one as you may have guessed and saves time when you are doing a big batch of kheer.
Check what other marathoners are cooking, here.

What are needed:
Vermicelli - 1 measure
Sugar - 1 measure
Cardamom powder as preferred
Raisins and cashews - a handful
A pinch of saffron strands (very optional)

* Toast the vermicelli / semya on low flame until golden brown. No need to add any ghee to toast vermicelli. Keep aside and let cool.
* If preferred, dry toast the cashews as well.
* Add the sugar, cardamom, saffron, raisins and cashews to toasted vermicelli and store in an airtight container.

Kheer preparation:
Heat 6 measures of milk and add the vermicelli kheer instant mix. Stir well to avoid vermicelli from clumping. Cook until the vermicelli is done.  Addition of a few Tbsp of condensed milk at the end further enhances the flavor of the kheer but is optional.

1. Milk powder can be added to this mix as well to make it more instant kind. 
2. Add sugar if you are planning to use the whole vermicelli mix at one time.
If you are planning to use the vermicelli mix in batches, don't add the sugar to the mix. The sugar settles at the bottom and it is hard to use the appropriate amount of sugar in the recipe. Measure the quantity of vermicelli you are going to use and use equal amount of sugar while preparing the kheer.
3. For 1 measure of vermicelli, 6 measures of milk is needed to prepare the kheer.
4. I have not added any ghee in the mix.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pesara Sunnundalu ~ Moongdal Laddus

Blogging Marathon # 10 starts from today and I have chosen "Ready to use, Prepacked food" as my theme for this week. This means that there are going to be recipes for the "Instant kind" dishes this week at my space. 
I could plan and prepare what I needed to post for this week's marathon ahead this time. However at the last minute, I decided to go with a different one that happens to be a favorite of mine, the classic sunnundalu from Andhra.

Andhra grannies have been making these instant kind, nutritious and very delicious laddus for ages now, long before these "dump from a box - cook instant" kind dishes were made popular by the commercial brands. I have already posted my absolute favorite blackgram sunnundalu here and the green gram version here. This time, it is going to be moongdal (yellow ones) or the skinned, split green gram ones. The laddu mix can be prepared ahead and stored in airtight containers to stay longer. All you do when you need to eat laddus is adding melted ghee to the mixture and shape it into laddus. Easy enough, right? However be conscious of the calories. :)
And check what my fellow marathoners are cooking during this session, here.

Moong dal
(Take equal measures of moongdal and sugar. Toasted cashews can also be added at the time of laddu making.)

Toast moong dal on low flame until the dal starts to turn reddish. Don't let it burn. Cool and grind the dal along with sugar. Store it in an airtight container. The mixture can be ground finely or a tad coarsely depending upon the texture preferred.

This goes to 
Susan's MLLA, guesthosted this month by Simona.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sindhi Cuisine ~ Majoon for ICC

Majoon - a Sindhi delicacy from Mrs. Sabnani's blog has been this month's Indian Cooking Challenge theme. I kept contemplating until the end to go with it or not since it is a calorie laden sweet dish and only two of us at home like sweet stuff. I so enquired my son actually showed the recipe to my son and asked him whether he would like to have it. I started making it only after he assured me that he would try it. :)
Vaishaliji mentions that majoon is a winter special dish. Sindhis usually prepare it in bulk quantities and store it to last thru the winter months. It can be stored for up to six months if it doesn't come in contact with any trace of moisture. It is served as breakfast in small quantities, each day during winter. :) And newly wed daughters and married daughters receive it from their mothers during this season. 
This dish is simple in terms of preparation but takes longer since the milk and other ingredients have to reduce to a solid mass. And majoon is like embellished paalkova. It tastes fabulous as it's SouthIndian counterpart but is full of other yummy additions like poppy seeds and nuts.
I usually pick a time to cook dishes of this nature when I need to take care of things in the kitchen so that I can keep an eye on the dish instead of constantly hovering over it. This time I was cleaning in the kitchen and helping my daughter with her homework while the dish almost took care of itself. It was a lot easier since I cooked the whole time on simmer mode and didn't have to check quite often.

Ingredients: (Make about 1 & 1/4 cups)
2 cups milk (I used a cup of each - full fat milk and skim milk.)
6 Tbsp sugar (I like my sweet dishes not overtly sweet. Sugar quantity can be increased if more sweetness preferred.)
1/2 cup khoya (Another half cup can be added if preferred.)
2 Tbsp poppy seeds / khus khus
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
10 dried dates - coarsely chopped (I added pitted dates.)
3/4 cup coarsely chopped nuts - almonds, pistachios and cashews (I just pulsed them in food processor. Vaishaliji has mentioned to avoid walnuts if preparing the majoon in larger quantities.)
3 Tbsp ghee (I omitted it and still found the dish to be rich.)

When I have to deal with milk dishes and the recipe involves simmering and stirring for longer times, I usually go with a non stick saucepan. It makes the cooking job a hell lot easier and after cleanup is a cinch.
Heat milk in a nonstick pan and when it starts to boil, add everything except nuts. Cook on slow flame until it reduces to half the original quantity. Leave a spoon or a ladle in the pan so that the milk would not boil over (and so automatically your time to babysit that dish is considerably reduced. :)) Then add the nuts and ghee into the mixture and stir well. Continue to cook until the mixture turns into a thick mass and ghee starts floating over the surface.

How to serve:
Heat about  2 - 4 Tbsp of majoon with 2 tsp of milk in a microwave and serve piping hot.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Aloo Rotis

I was chatting with my son and absentmindedly added cooked potatoes along with the water to a food processor and blended it. Immediately after, I realised that I was not intending to do that as I was about to use them in ragda patties. And so of course the mashed potatoes went into the refrigerator while I made the patties with a fresh batch of potatoes.
I later used the potatoes to make these yummy rotis - a great one not only for the kids but adults too. The potatoes naturally add the softness to rotis and a great one for novice cooks who have yet to master the aloo parathas.

3 cups wheat flour / atta + extra for dusting
1 cup mashed potatoes
Salt to taste
1/8 tsp turmeric powder (optional)
Oil to toast the rotis
(Additional ingredients like garam masala / green chillies / chili powder can be added if serving adults.)

* Mix everything except oil in a food processor or with bare hands in a bowl. Add water as needed to form a firm, pliable dough. Cover and rest for about 30 minutes.
* Pinch about a lemon sized ball, flatten it and roll out into a thin circle of about 6 - 7 inches diametered one. Use flour to dusting if needed.
* Heat a shallow pan / tawa and toast the rolled out dough circle flipping in between and adding 1/4 tsp along the edges. Toast until it  appears cooked and there are brown spots on either side.
* Repeat the same with the remaining dough. Serve with some spicy curry.

They are going to Srivalli's "Kid's Delight" event - hosted by Harini - Jaya this month with the theme "Dressing up Leftovers".


Friday, November 11, 2011

MLLA - 40 Roundup and The Winner

The weather around here is really depressing. It was continuously drizzling for two days and then surprisingly yesterday we even had a brief snow shower. While this untypical weather is not helping in anyway to lift up my spirits, the colorful entries I received for "My Legume Love Affair" event certainly are cheering me up. Yes, the MLLA - 40 round up is here. It is a beautiful array of vibrant, delectable dishes ranging from healthy breakfasts to scrumptious desserts.
I would like to thank Susan for giving me the opportunity to host this popular event for October. And naturally I owe a big thanks to my fellow bloggers who made this event a productive one with their enthusiasm and participation. I greatly appreciate the efforts and time went behind each one of these entries. 
And now for the much awaited part of the event - the lucky winner of this edition's giveaway.  Denny of "Oh Taste N See" has won the following prizes by random drawing.  
1. The New Food Lover's Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst.
2. Hurst Bean Box - A case of six bags of the winner's choice of Hurst Bean products, suitable for every diet, sponsored by Hurst Bean.

I have grouped the posts in sections for easy browsing. Just scroll down, click on the links and enjoy.


This month's guest post has been this mouth watering  White Bean and Red Curry Soup in Coconut Milk by Courtney. 

Harini-Jaya's Mung Dal Soup

Harini-Jaya's Red Chori Bean Soup

Harini-Jaya's Black Eyed Peas Soup

Susan's Miso Shirataki Noodle Soup with Shichimi Togarashi Seasoning

Harini-Jaya's Kidney Bean Salad



My Navy Beans Curry

Kalyani's Kale Masoor ki Dal

Priya Suresh's Kakarakaya/Bittergourd Pappu

Sowjanya's Masoor Matki

Kalyani's Poricha Rasam

Tadka Pasta's Urad Raita


Nivedita's Tofu Paratha

Vidhya's Bean Pulao


Denny's Vadai 

Srivalli's Pesara Karapusa

Srivalli's Chandrakanthalu

Srivalli's Moong Dal Laddu

Srivalli's Besan Ki Burfi

Priya Suresh's Rice Moongdal Kheer

Kaveri's Ukkarai

I just have to leave out a couple of entries since the main ingredient used was not a legume. In case if I have left out any eligible entry by mistake, please let me know so that I can include it here immediately.