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Friday, November 26, 2021

'Quinoa' Maavinakayi Chitranna / Mango - Coconut Quinoa

(This was originally posted on 5 /3/2011.)

Quinoa can be incorporated into Indian cuisine effortlessly. It can be used to replace rice in most of the dishes that need it and this post happens to be one such recipe. Mango chitranna / pulihora is a simple yet delicious dish from South India that uses rice and green mango. It is prepared especially during summer times when green mangoes are available in abundance. I have replaced rice with quinoa in this popular, tongue- tickling dish and here is the method.
And don't worry about the long list of ingredients mentioned. Most of them go in the tadka / tempering.

Below are some other quinoa based dishes that I have already posted.
Quinoa Bisebele
Quinoa Khichdi
Quinoa - Masoordal Soup
Quinoa Panchkuti Dal Khichdi
Quinoa Pilaf
Quinoa Pongal
Quinoa Sweet Pongal
Quinoa Upma

Ingredients: (Yield - 3 servings)
1 cup quinoa
1 - 2 tbsp. oil
1/4 cup. peanuts
1 tbsp. Bengal gram / chana dal
1 tbsp. skinned black gram / urad dal
1 tsp. mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves 
2 green chilies (I used Serrano peppers. If using other varieties, adjust the quantity according to the spiciness preferred.)
2 -3 dried red chilies, broken into small pieces
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
A pinch of asafoetida powder
3/4 cup grated raw mango
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut (thaw if using frozen)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp mustard seeds powder +  1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
/ methi powder (optional but recommended. The quantities can be increased if preferred. Lightly toast mustard and fenugreek seeds and powder them fine.)
Minced cilantro for garnish

* Wash quinoa in several exchanges of water. Add quinoa and 1 & 3/4 cups of water to a pressure cooker and cook until done. (2 - 3 whistles). Cool and fluff.
Alternatively, it can be cooked on stovetop. Bring the water to a rolling boil and then add quinoa. Cover and cook until done, about 20 minutes. When done, the seeds become translucent and the white germ would partially detach itself, appearing like a tail.
* Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan or a kadai. Add the peanuts, Bengal gram, skinned black gram and mustard seeds. When peanuts start to turn reddish, add green & red chilies and curry leaves. Sauté for a few seconds and then add the turmeric powder, asafoetida powder, mango and coconut and stir well. Turn off the stove.
* Next add the cooked quinoa, salt, mustard and fenugreek powders to the pan and mix well to combine.
* Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Barley Khichdi / Spicy Barley - Lentil Stew

(This was originally published on 3/13/2011.)

When trying out new grains and that too when I am not sure how well our palates are going to receive the new textures, I prefer to go back to my own cuisine to borrow ideas. The south Indian cuisine, the familiar zone seems so comforting and forgiving like a mother. When I have to deal with the unfamiliar grains for the first time, I prefer to combine the typical ingredients used in my (south Indian) kitchen and add spices for more layers of flavor. This barley dish is a proof of it.

Though barley is available in India, it was never used in my mother's or any relatives' kitchens. I used barley for the first time when I prepared this barley - raisin bread. The barley I have been left with has gone in to the preparation of typical Indian style dishes.

Barley has a chewy texture when cooked that I am not very fond of. I have therefore allowed the barley to cook until it reached a fall apart stage, where you don't feel its texture at all. As I mentioned above, this dish relies on South Indian style cooking and is somewhat a cross between Karnataka's Bisibelebhath and Tamilnadu's Kadamba Saadam. I simply called it a khichdi since I didn't want to wreck my brains in search of a perfect name for this dish. This was a wholesome, healthy and hearty meal that was liked by everyone at our home.

 Ingredients: (Yield - 4 servings)
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup pigeon peas / toordal
1 cup chopped mixed veggies (I used carrots, green beans, potatoes, peas)
A pinch of ground turmeric 
Salt to taste
2 to 3 tbsp. thick tamarind juice (extracted by soaking about lemon sized tamarind in water) 
Ingredients for seasoning:
2 tsp. ghee / oil
1 tsp. mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
Ingredients for spice powder:
2 tbsp. split chickpeas / bengal gram / chanadal
1 tbsp. skinned black gram / uraddal
1 tbsp. coriander seeds
1/4. tsp fenugreek seeds / methi seeds, 
6 - 8  or to taste, dried red chilies, 
2 tbsp. grated dry coconut 
3 - 4 black stone flower / dagad phool / rathi puvvu

* Soak barley for at least an hour and this step is optional if you are using a pressure cooker. 
* Add barley, lentils, vegetables, turmeric powder and about 2 cups of water to a pressure cooker and cook until done. If you cook rice for 3 whistles, then let this go for 12 - 15 whistles.
* Meanwhile, add split chickpeas and skinned black gram to a small pan and dry toast them on medium flame. Continuously stir them , until they start to change the color. Transfer them onto a plate. Next add coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, red chilis and stone flower to the same pan and dry toast them on low flame until coriander seeds start to change a shade darker. Add the coconut and turn off the stove. Transfer them on to the plate. Once cool, grind them finely. 
* When the cooker's valve pressure is gone, remove the container, and check the barley consistency. If you wish to cook it further, add the mixture to a pan. Add water as needed and cook further until the desired consistency is reached. Also if you prefer your veggies crunchier, you can cook them separately instead of adding them to the pressure cooker.
* Add salt, tamarind puree and the spice powder to the barley mixture. Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Simmer the mixture for a couple of minutes more.
* Heat the ghee / oil in a pan. Toast the mustard seeds and curry leaves and add to the barley mixture.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Edamame - Millet Khichdi

I picked 'easy dinner ideas' as my theme for this week's marathon which required the dish to be a meal by itself or can be served as a main course. This healthy and tasty khichadi happens to be a one pot meal, prepared with millet, spinach and edamame and one that can be cooked at the last minute. It is quite a simple and easy preparation as all you do is dump everything into a cooker / pot and cook them. I cooked the khichadi directly in a small sized pressure cooker but of course it can be cooked in any sturdy pot on stove top, under 30 minutes. 
Edamame pronounced 'eh-dah-maa-may' is the Japanese term for the young soybeans that are harvested before they get ripened. They are available both in pods / shelled forms, fresh or frozen. They are great to snack on or tossing them in a stir fry or salad. I have used frozen ones here and added them along with spinach and potato to boost the nutrition factor of this khichdi. I used the yellow colored millet commonly available in US stores and threw in a handful of Basmati rice as well. Substitute any long grain / Basmati rice or a combination of rice and millets or any other quick cooking grain in place of millets. This edamame and millet khichdi is a quick, wholesome and nutritious meal that can be prepared under 30 minutes.  

2 tbsp. ghee and/or oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 cloves
2 cardamom pods
1 inch piece cinnamon
1 bay leaf
2 green chilies or according to spiciness preferred
1/2 inch piece ginger, grated and crushed
1 big onion, sliced
1 big tomato
1 potato, chopped
1/2 cup edamame (I used about a cup of edamame and that quantity seemed more.)
2 cups chopped spinach
A pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp. garam masala (optional but recommended.)
1/8 tsp. ground turmeric
Salt to taste
1/2 cup millets
1/4 cup yellow moong dal
2 cups + extra water
* Wash millets and moong dal, drain and keep aside.
* Heat ghee / oil directly in a pressure cooker and add cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf. Toast for few seconds until you start to smell fragrance of the spices.
* Add the chopped green chillies and ginger and saute for few seconds. Next add onion and saute until golden brown. After onions are done, add tomatoes and cook until they soften.
* Next add potatoes, spinach, edamame, turmeric, salt (I used about 2 tsp.), garam masala, millets, moong dal and about 2 cups of water.
* Close the lid, put the valve on and pressure cook for 3 whistles. 
* When the valve pressure is gone, remove the lid and check the consistency. Do the taste testing to check the seasonings. If needed, add salt / chili powder. If the khichdi appears too thick, add a cup of water (or as needed). Simmer for few minutes until it starts to bubble, stirring in between to avoid the khichdi sticking to the bottom of the cooker. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Kempu Chutney

Kempu chutney which literally means red chutney does not need any introduction if you have ever eaten a Mysore masale dose. This flavorful red chutney is what sets it apart from the regular masala dosas. A thin layer of this chutney smeared over dosas, stuffed with alugadde palya aka spicy potato filling, rolled and served with bowls of chutney and sambhar is a tempting meal anytime, any given day in my world. 😋 Byadagi variety chillies which are commonly used in Karnataka for their color are typically used here. Kashmiri variety chillies or any other less spicy but color lending chillies can be substituted here. I feel this chutney closely resembles the ones used in restaurants to spread the masala dosa. 

Byadagi chilies are less spicier variety but this chutney would be very spicier if eaten as a side dish because of the large quantity of chillies used here. The spice level however would be perfect if spread on a masala dosa / dose. Reduce the quantity of chilies to about 4 / 5 if not using this chutney as a spread but serving as a side dish. This chutney is quite flavorful and can stay fresh for few days if refrigerated. 

15 byadagi chillies 
1 to 2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
4 garlic cloves
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tsp. tamarind
2 tbsp. chutney dal / roasted Bengal gram 
Salt to taste 

* Wash and soak chillies in hot water for about 20 to 30 minutes and drain.
* Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they start to brown, add garlic and saute until they turn light golden. Add the chillies next and saute for few seconds. At this point, onion can be added and sauteed as well, if preferred or onion can be used raw.
* Let the mixture cool and grind them along with the remaining ingredients to a smooth paste without adding water. 
* Use it a spread for Mysore masala dose or with idlis / other dosas as a side dish.

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


Friday, November 12, 2021

A - Z Idli Series ~ A Recap

Here is a collection of 26 idli recipes that I have been posting in an alphabetic series these past few months. For the uninitiated, idlis are soft and fluffy steamed cakes prepared with a fermented batter of rice and skinned black gram. This traditional dish which originated centuries ago in south India is an iconic breakfast dish of the region and enjoyed by millions of Indians. The idlis are usually served with a savory chutney and a lentil stew called sambhar making the vegetarian combination a wholesome, and nutritious meal.

My husband loves idlis and he wouldn't get tired if I served idlis for breakfast day after day, for the rest of our lives. A casual conversation with my husband one day about the possible variety of idlis gave me idea to try this series. On the spur of the moment during that conversation, I had told him that I could probably come up with at least 50 kinds of idlis, if not 100. And indeed I could put more than 50 varieties on paper the next day and this was how this series started. In fact, I can easily start another idli series next year if I wish since I have many other varieties already cooked and clicked. 

Many idlis below are traditional ones and some with twists to the well known versions. I have been making millet idlis for years now substituting millets for a portion of rice in the recipe which I have included in the list. Green gram idli, steel cut oats idli, and navadhanya idli were experiments in my kitchen. I have tried to include as many quick, instant versions as possible sticking to the alphabet format. The others need planning as it involves soaking and grinding the ingredients and fermenting the batter. Most of the idli varieties I posted in the series are gluten-free and vegan. Some varieties like dal idli, green gram idli, uddina idli and yellow moong idli are made with just lentils and are protein rich and nutritious. Fox tail millet idli, lauki idli, ragi rava idli, wheat rava - green peas idli and also the above mentioned protein rich idlis are ideal for diabetics. Oats, quinoa, pearl millet, and sorghum idlis are also healthy variety of idlis to try. 

Hopefully there is something for every idli lover out there to try and enjoy from this series which includes 26 variety of idlis. Click on the links below to access the recipe pages of idlis. 

A for Avarekayi Idli - Instant idlis prepared using fresh field beans
B for Bajra Flour Idli - Idlis prepared using pearl millet flour
C for Cornmeal Idli - Idlis prepared with cornmeal and black gram
D for Dal Idli - Idlis prepared with black gram and moong dal
E for Elaneer Idli - Idli batter is ground with coconut water.
F for Foxtail Millet Idli - Idlis prepared with foxtail millet
G for Green Gram Idli - Instant idlis made with green gram batter
H for Halasina Hannina Idli - Idlis made with rice rava and jackfruit
I for Idli - Idlis prepared with idli rice and skinned black gram
J for Jowar Idli - Idlis prepared with sorghum flour
K for Kumbalakaayi Idli - Idlis prepared with grated pumpkin
L for Lauki Idli - Semolina and bottle gourd idlis 
M for Mallige Idli - Soft, fluffy idlis from Karnataka
N for Navadhanya Idli - Idlis prepared using nine seeds
P for Poha Idli - Idlis amde with flattened rice
Q for Quinoa Idli - Idlis made with quinoa
R for Ragi Rave Idli - Finger millet and semolina idlis
S for Sabbakki Idli / Sago Idli - Idlis made with tapioca pearls
T for Thatte Idli - Bigger sized idlis from Karnataka
U for Uddina Idli - Idlis made with only skinned black gram
V for Vendaya Idli - Idlis made with rice and fenugreek seeds
X for Xacuti Masala Aloo Stuffed Idli - Idlis with potato stuffing
Y for Yellow Moong Dal Idli - Idlis made with skinned mung beans
Z for Zucchini Idli - Idlis made with zucchini and cream of rice
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon with 'A - Z' theme and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

A - Z Idli series ~ Z for Zucchini Idli

Here is the final post of the idli series that I have been posting since February. The final 'Z' post would have been tricky if not for the vegetable zucchini and a traditional, cucumber idli recipe from the south Indian state of Karnataka. It was easy to substitute zucchini for cucumber in the recipe since they are similar in texture and ooze water when grated. These idlis are one way to incorporate zucchini in Indian cooking.

So far in this series,
The preparation of zucchini idlis is quite simple since all one needs to do is just mix the ingredients, let it sit for a while and use the mixture to make idlis. These are instant variety idlis that are are made with idli rava or cream of rice. Grated zucchini and coconut are stirred into the rava, which together would lend enough moisture for the mixture to hold the shape to prepare idlis. The usual steps of soaking the ingredients, grinding them or fermenting the batter is not needed here which makes it a fuss-free option. These idlis are of course gluten-free and lacto-vegetarian. These idlis are a great way to ease into idli making if one is intimidated about the preparation of the standard rice and black gram version. They taste great when served with coconut chutney.

Ingredients: (Yield - 6 idlis)
3/4 cup idli rava / cream of rice
Salt to taste
3/4 cup grated zucchini
1/2 cup grated fresh coconut
1 green chili finely minced
1 or 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup water

1. Add idli rava and salt to a bowl and mix to combine.
2. Next add grated zucchini and shredded coconut to the bowl.
3. Stir the ingredients well with a spoon to combine.
4. Add green chili, cilantro, yogurt and water to to the bowl.
5. Stir the mixture well and cover the bowl. Let it rest for an hour.
* Check the consistency of the batter after the resting period. The mixture should look thick but if you squeeze it, some water should come out of it.  If the mixture appears too thick, 1 or 2 tbsp. of water can be added.
6. Grease the idli plates and fill the molds with batter and press them with fingers to shape them. 
* Heat water in a idli cooker / pressure cooker / steamer base on medium heat.
* Place the idli stand in the steamer and close the lid. Don't use the pressure valve if using pressure cooker.
7. On low medium flame, steam for about 20 minutes or until when the surface of the idlis don't stick when touched with moist fingers. 
* Turn off the stove and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
8. Run a sharp spoon around the edges of idlis and remove the idlis.
* Serve them warm with ghee if desired and coconut chutney.
This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon with 'A - Z' theme and check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

A - Z Idli series ~ Y for Yellow Moong Idlis

Readers who follow my blog might have noticed that I am posting recipes as part of 'A - Z' Idli series these past few months. I am concluding the series this week and am going to post a recap of the whole series on Friday. Alphabet of the penultimate day happens to be 'Y'. Today's idlis are made only using yellow colored moong dal which are skinned mung beans (green ones). Moong dal is rich in protein like any other lentil and is easily digestible. These idlis are obviously healthy and protein rich, besides being diabetic friendly as well. These are gluten free and the recipe can be easily veganized by skipping yogurt. These idlis when served with a chutney and sambar make a wholesome meal.

The dal idlis I posted earlier in the series used both moong dal and black gram. These idlis need just moong dal as I mentioned above and do not need either rice or skinned black gram as the standard version idlis do. This idli preparation involves soaking but doesn't need fermentation of the batter, making these idlis a quick fix variety. Moong dal soak quickly and it takes about a couple of hours soaking. The dal can be soaked overnight to cut time, ground in the morning and idlis would be ready in less than an hour. I added carrots and peas to the batter for extra nutrition. Yogurt was added to lend a bit of tanginess to idlis. I added Eno's fruit salt to instantly ferment the batter as this idli batter was being used without any fermentation. 
Ingredients: (Yield - 8 idlis)
3/4 cup moong dal (Skinned mung beans / yellow colored one)
1.5 tsp. salt or to taste
2 tbsp. yogurt
1 tbsp. oil
1 tbsp. cashew pieces
1 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. Bengal gram / chana dal
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 tsp. grated ginger
1 small green chili, finely minced
1 sprig of curry leaves
2 tbsp. yogurt
3 tbsp. grated carrot
1 to 2 tbsp. frozen / fresh peas
1 tbsp. finely minced cilantro
2 tbsp. water (optional)
1/2 Eno's packet
1. Rinse moong dal with water twice and drain. Soak moong dal in enough water for about 2 hours and drain the water completely.
2. Grind together the soaked moong dal, salt and yogurt in a blender to a smooth consistency. Add a little quantity of water if needed to grind the batter. Transfer the ground batter to a bowl.
3. Heat oil in  a pan and add cashews. Toast them until golden brown, by turning them once. Transfer them into a small bowl with a slotted spoon.
* Add Bengal gram, mustard and cumin seeds to the same oil. When the lentils start to turn reddish brown, add ginger, green chilis and curry leaves. Sauté for about a minute and turn off the stove
* Transfer the above sautéed tempering, cashews, grated carrot, peas and minced cilantro to the bowl.
4. Mix well and cover the bowl. Keep it aside for about 30 minutes.
Stir the mixture well after the resting period. Add water if the mixture appears too thick at this point. 
* Grease the idli moulds with oil / ghee. 
* Heat about 2 cups of water in a idli cooker base or a idli cooker or a steamer on medium heat.
5. Add Eno's fruit salt to the batter just before making idlis.
6. Sprinkle a tbsp. of water over the fruit salt and mix well. 
7. Ladle the batter into the idli moulds. Place the idli stand in the prepared cooker / steamer and close the lid. Don't use the valve for the lid if using a pressure cooker.
* Steam the idlis on low heat setting for about 20 minutes or until done. (The idlis should not stick when touched with moist fingers or a toothpick / knife inserted in the center should come out clean.) Check the water level in the steamer base and add extra if needed.
8. Wait for about 10 minutes and then remove the idlis by running a spoon around the edges.
* Drizzle melted ghee over the idlis and serve them with a chutney / sambhar.
* Refrigerate the left over idlis and use in a day or two. Or they can be cooled down immediately after preparation and frozen to use later. Nuke them covered in a microwave, and enjoy hot, piping idlis when needed. 

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