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Monday, October 19, 2020

Proso Millet - Moong Kheer

 
Here is a millet based sweet recipe keeping the 'Navaratri' theme in mind. It is a delicious and easy kheer / payasam prepared with proso millet and moong. I  initially pressure cooked the millet and moong in water to save time and then further cooked it in milk and sugar. The millet and moong can also be cooked in a sauce pan on low heat until the mixture  reaches a soft and creamy consistency. It can be cooked in milk without the addition of water to make it more richer. Jaggery can be substituted instead of sugar in the kheer. This yummy kheer is fit to offer as a naivedyam on festive days or enjoy as a simple dessert.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup proso millet

1/4 cup yellow moong
1 & 1/2 cups of milk
3/4 cup sugar or to taste
1/8 tsp. cardamom powder
1 tbsp. ghee
1 tbsp. cashews
1 tbsp. raisins

Directions:
* Rinse proso millet and moong and pressure cook adding 1 and 1/2 cups water, for 3 whistles.
* Transfer the cooked moong - millet mixture to a pan, preferably a non-stick one. Add milk and cook until a desired consistency is reached or for about 10 - 15 minutes, frequently stirring. Add sugar and cardamom and cook further until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the stove.
* Heat ghee in a small pan and add cashews and raisins. Toast until the cashews turn golden brown  and raisins turn plump. Remove from the heat and add them to the kheer.
* Serve the kheer warm or chilled.

This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #117 under the theme 'Navaratri Special'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Navaratri Naivedya ~ Sihi Dose / Bellada Dose

Sihi dose / Bellada dose which literally means a sweet pancake or a jaggery pancake is a traditional recipe from Karnataka. These are prepared during Dasara / Navaratri, especially on 'Sarawathi Pooje' day to offer as neivedya. These dosas are made with a ground batter of rice, jaggery, coconut and cardamom. A tsp. or two of poppy seeds can also be used in the recipe. If using them, they are soaked along with rice and ground. There is also another version of sweet dosas in south India which is wheat flour based. These sihi dose are usually made smaller in size compared to the regular dose / dosas. They are not cloyingly sweet and so one can enjoy 2 or 3 dose with no problem. 

The festive display of dolls and figurines arranged in tiers is a special feature of Dasara in south Indian regions. I am not sure about other places but it was a custom during olden days where I grew up that kids would visit homes in their neighborhoods, even strangers' during the time to see this arrangement. The kids usually got a simple treat from each home they visited. Some would prepare these dose in mini sizes and give them out to the kids who visited their homes.

Ingredients: (Yield around 16 dose)
1 cup rice
3/4 to 1 cup fresh / frozen shredded coconut 
3/4 tp 1 cup jaggery (depending upon the sweetness of jaggery.)
2 cardamom pods
Ghee to make dose

Prep work:
* Rinse and soak rice in water for about 2 or 3 hours. Drain the water after soaking period.
* Thaw if using frozen coconut by heating it in a microwave for about a minute.
* The jaggery can be directly used in the recipe if it is clean. If the jaggery has any impurities, add a little water and heat it. Turn off the stove and run the jaggery water through a strainer and collect the clean liquid. (Brown sugar can be substituted for jaggery.)
* Powder the cardamom seeds finely and keep aside.

Directions:
* Add the drained rice, coconut, jaggery or the jaggery water and cardamom powder to a mixer / grinder. Grind the mixture finely to a pancake batter consistency, adding little water if needed.
* Heat a pan and pour a ladleful of batter and spread it a little to keep it slightly on a thicker side. (One can make it thinly as regular dosas if preferred but they are usually made in a smaller size.) Pour 1/4 tsp. ghee around the edges and cook until the surface is no longer wet looking. Flip and add another 1/4 tsp. ghee around the edges if preferred. Cook until the other side cooks as well. Remove it and repeat the steps to make more dose with the remaining batter.


This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #117 under the theme 'Navaratri Special'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Navaratri Naivedyam ~ Milk Rava Kesari

Semolina halwa is a delicious sweet dish prepared across India. It is popular enough to be a festive treat or a part of religious offerings and quick enough to whip up as a treat to satiate one's sweet tooth or to serve as a part of the breakfast meal. In fact, rava kesari is one of the naivedyams offered to Goddess on the sixth day of Dasara / Navratri. 
It is one of the easiest dishes to try if venturing into Indian sweet making. It is called sooji ka halwa / sheera in the north while the south Indian twist to this dish is the addition of orange food color where it is called rava kesari or kesari bhath, kesari referring to the orange color. 

Semolina is toasted in a generous amount of ghee and then cooked in water and sugar usually. My version today is made with milk which makes it richer. For a vegan version, milk can be replaced by water and the raisins and cashews can be toasted in a little oil or can be directly added to the boiling water, without toasting. The orange food color is optional as well. I have made a small portion here but the recipe can be easily doubled or mulitiplied. 

Ingredients:
2 tbsp. ghee (Add more if preferred)
1 tsp. each, raisins and cashews
1/4 cup semolina
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. milk
1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
Few drops of orange food color
1/4 cup sugar (Add 1 tbsp. more if sweeter version preferred.)
Directions:
* Pour milk into a pan and bring it to a boil on low flame, stirring occasionally. Add cardamom and food color if using to the hot milk and stir.
* Meanwhile, heat ghee in a pan and add cashews and raisins. Toast until cashews turn golden brown and raisins are plump. Remove the raisins and cashews with a slotted spoon onto a plate and keep them aside.
* Add semolina to the same ghee pan. Toast on medium flame continuously stirring until it starts to change color slightly and the aroma starts coming, about 3 - 4 minutes. 
*  Lower the heat setting to minimum and add the toasted semolina to the milk pan, continuously stirring the mixture while doing so to avoid any lumps from forming. Cover and cook until semolina is done.
* Next stir in sugar and cook until all the sugar is absorbed by the mixture. Add the toasted cashews and raisins to it and mix well.
* Serve it warm.


This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #117 under the theme 'Navaratri Special'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Monday, October 12, 2020

Khichdi Muthia

Muthia are popular dumplings from the Gujarat region that are enjoyed both as a snack and as an addition to side dishes such as  undhiyu. The word 'muthia' is a reference to the way the snack is made, where the dough is shaped into oval dumplings, molding the dough in one's fist. The dough is also fashioned into cylindrical rolls, which are then steamed and sliced. They can either eaten as it is or pan fried with a tempering of mustard seeds and white sesame seeds using a little oil which leave the outer side of muthias slightly brown and crispy. These healthy bites make a fine accompaniment to your evening tea / coffee or can be eaten as a light meal too. They go well with a spicy or sweet chutney.

Muthia fall under 'healthy' recipe category since little or no oil is used to make them. There are variations in the muthia recipe, depending upon the vegetables and the flour base used. Today's version is a recipe that uses any left over khichdi which makes it a perfect recycle recipe. Extra khichdi from the lunch is transformed into a enjoyable, guilt free evening snack. I had used some left over pongal for these crispy, delicious muthia. Khichdi which is not too  watery is preferable or the quantity of the flours need to be adjusted accordingly to form a firm dough. 

Below are the links for some of the muthias I have posted.
Methi muthia (Baked version)

Ingredients for muthia:
1.5 cup khichdi
1.5 cup chick pea flour / besan
3/4 cup semolina / sooji
1/4 cup wheat flour / atta
Salt to taste
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. chili powder
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
2 pinches of asafoetida powder
1 cup chopped spinach (I used frozen spinach after thawing.)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. oil
Ingredients for tempering:
2 - 3 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 sprig of curry leaves
Ingredients to garnish:
Minced cilantro 

 Directions:
* Add all the ingredients mentioned under 'muthia' to a bowl.
* Knead the mixture to a firm dough. If the mixture appears loose, add extra flour. 
* Add water to a steamer or a cooker base and let it come to a boil.  
* Grease a steamer tray or a high rimmed plate. Grease your palms and divide the mixture to 2 or 3 equal portions. Shape each portion into a cylindrical roll of one diameter. Place them on the greased steamer plate / plate. 
* Or they can be shaped into small, oval dumplings with a fist. 
* Close the lid and if using cooker base, don't use the whistle for the lid. Steam them until a tooth pick inserted at the center comes out clean, about 20 - 22 minutes. Below are the steamed muthia in log and dumpling forms.
 
*  Let them cool a bit and then transfer them onto a cutting board and cut into about 1/2 inch thick slices.
* Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Add mustard seeds and sesame seeds. If you prefer, add one or two sliced green chilis as well. When mustard seeds start to splutter, add curry leaves and muthia pieces. (I add the tadka later if sautéing the muthia pieces to golden brown.)
* One can just toss them for a couple of minutes and turn off the stove. Or the muthia can be sautéed until they turn slightly brown and crisp on the edges, by flipping them gently. Turn off the stove and garnish with cilantro if preferred. 
* Serve them hot with chutney or ketchup. 


This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #117 under the theme '1 ingredient - 3 courses'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

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Sunday, October 11, 2020

Besani Koki

Kokis are traditional flatbreads from Sindhi cuisine and are made with wheat flour. Here are a couple of versions I have already posted, spicy koki and koki. This besani koki is another version, obviously prepared using besan / chickpea flour. These kokis are spicier and are made with a combination of chickpea flour and wheat flour. The addition of chickpea flour makes these kokis nutritious and protein loaded. 

I have tried a few times another version from Vaishali's blog where kokis are made with chickpea flour alone which are tastier as well and is a gluten free version. I usually pat them into thicker rotis, directly on the pan as I can not roll them. I find even rolling the kokis that I am a posting today a bit difficult. The dough tends to stick to the rolling board while rolling because of the chickpea flour addition. Rolling them between two greased sheets of parchment takes care of the problem. Besani kokis are made thicker than regular rotis and can be served with a preferred curry, dal pickle, yogurt or even plain if kokis are on a spicier side.
Ingredients: (Yield 6 kokis)

For the dough:
1 cup chickpea flour / besan
1 cup wheat flour
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder
Salt to taste 
1 tsp. carom seeds / ajwain
1 onion,  finely minced
2 green chilies, finely chopped
A handful of cilantro, minced
2 tbsp. melted ghee / oil
For toasting koki:
Ghee / Oil as needed

Directions:
* Add all the ingredients mentioned under 'dough' list to a bowl and mix well to combine. 
* Add water as needed to prepare a stiff dough. (I added about 6 tbsp. water.).

* Divide the dough into 6 portions and roll them into smooth balls. 
* Lightly grease a parchment paper and place it on the rolling board or any work surface that is being used. Place the dough ball at center and cover it with another parchment sheet. Roll the ball gently between the parchment sheets into a thick circle of about 4 - 5 inches diameter. 

* Remove the top parchment sheet and gently score it with a knife, not going all the way through or prick it with a fork all over.
* Heat a griddle or a pan on medium heat. Transfer the rolled circle onto the pan, lifting away the parchment sheet.
* Toast it brushing with little ghee / oil, until brown spots appear on both sides, flipping intermittently once or twice.
* Repeat the steps with the remaining dough balls and serve them warm with your choice of side dish.



This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #117 under the theme '1 ingredient - 3 courses'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

Bhavra

I am going to post three 'chickpea flour / besan' based recipes this week and the first one is bhavra. Bhavra is a delicious chickpea flour / besan based snack from Bihar region and were a part of the Bihari thaali I posted last month. I came across this dish when I was randomly looking for regional snacks from that state and unfortunately that recipe link is no longer available online. Bhavra do not fall under the pakora / bhajiya category though a similar kind of chickpea flour based batter is used in the preparation of these tasty fritters. 

A batter of pourable consistency is prepared that includes black chickpeas as well. A ladleful of batter is poured into the hot oil and then shallow fried until it is golden brown. There is another variation that is prepared using fresh peas. These yummy bhavra can be a part of a festive meal or they make a perfect evening snack. They don't need an accompaniment to go with but can be served with some ketchup / chutney if desired.

Ingredients: (Yield 4 bhawra)
1/4 cup black chickpeas / kala chana, soaked overnight 
1/2 cup chickpea flour / gram flour / besan
2 heaped tsp. semolina / sooji (Rice flour is added traditionally.)
1/8 tsp. turmeric powder / haldi
1/2 tsp. carom seeds / ajwain 
2 tbsp. finely minced cilantro / dhaniye ke patte
1 tsp. grated or finely chopped ginger / adrak 
2 or 3 finely chopped green chillies / hari mirchi
1 small onion / pyaaz, grated or finely chopped
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

Method:
* Add all ingredients except oil to a bowl and mix to combine. 

* Add hot water as needed and form a batter with a consistency similar to almost a dosa batter. (I added about 6 tbsp. of hot water.)

* Heat oil in a pan on medium heat, for shallow frying. Pour a tiny drop of batter into hot oil and check whether it quickly swims to the surface. If it does, the oil is hot enough to fry. If not, heat the oil some more but do not bring it to a smoking point.
* Pour a ladleful of batter carefully into the hot oil. Pour the hot oil (in the pan) over the surface of the batter with a slotted spoon once or twice. Lower the heat slightly but do not go to the lowest setting as the oil needs to be hot while frying.
* When the bottom side turns brown, flip and cook until the other side turns golden brown as well.
* Remove the fried bhawra with a slotted spoon, draining as much oil as possible and transfer onto a plate covered with paper towels. Repeat the steps with the remaining batter.
* Serve them warm as it is or with ketchup or a chutney if desired. 

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This post is an entry for Blogging Marathon #117 
under the theme '1 ingredient - 3 courses'. Check the link to find out what other marathoners are cooking.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Thaalis and Platters Roundup

For those uninitiated, a thaali is an elaborate Indian meal that is served on a circular metal platter, which is also coincidentally called a thaali. I was in two minds before deciding to join this 'Thaalis and Platters' themed marathon as I wasn't sure whether I would be able to pull off this stunt, cooking at least ten thaali meals, irrespective of it's size. Doing the prep work, cooking the entire thaali, setting up the platter, clicking and doing the clean up after on my own seemed daunting. I have a back with a slipped disc that starts breaking even when I cook a couple of dishes for the blog and photograph them. This time however the theme got announced way in advance, giving plenty of time to mull over and jump in. Besides, I did not want to miss this themed marathon as I was sure that I would never ever attempt to cook a thaali on my own without the marathon group. 

I decided to try simple stuff first and see how it goes. Add an extra dish to the everyday meal and click, that kind of thing and in between a couple of festivals came and went and so, I had a few thaalis ready. 
I gained courage then to sign up for this marathon. I stuck to my plan of cooking around only 10 to 12 dishes for regional thaalis which I know pales in compression to the number of dishes served in a restaurant style thaali. I did not rush around this time to cook a complete thaali at one go as I knew that would be bad for my back. If possible, I froze some of the dishes as soon as I cooked, particularly some of my breakfast dishes. I refrigerated some of the dishes by cooking a day ahead when it came to some of the regional thaalis. This worked for me because I never have any power cuts where I live and we are used to freezing food. 

I decided to stick to only Indian themed platters for this marathon and not to deviate from it so that I could cover as many regional cuisines as possible. I covered most of the regions even if I was not able to cook meal platters from each state. Telangana and some of the north eastern regions being the exception. Even those omissions occurred because I had to redo some of my breakfast platters and flatbreads to suit the platter theme. Below is a quick look at my thaalis and platters that were cooked for this blogging marathon. Click on the links below (recipe names) for recipes.

First week - Everyday Meals
I reserved the first week for everyday meals. I cooked 4 Vegetarian Indian Thaalis, picking one each from eastern, northern, southern and western parts of India. These thaalis contain comfy, home style meals.  








Second Week - Breakfast Platters
It was breakfast platters for the second week. I had originally planned to cook breakfast platters from central, eastern, north, north- eastern, southern and western regions. I ended up doing combo dishes instead but at the last moment was able to add three regional platters. Banarasi kachori, dal pakwan. angakar roti, kailoreo were some of the dishes we tried for the first time and enjoyed while the chilka roti has become now a regular breakfast at home.

This theme was what I fretted over much, since these meals needed to be region specific and needed to be a thaali, in true sense though less in quantity compared to restaurant styled thaalis. I have two from my native state of Andhra Pradesh including a festive meal and a meal served on a taddinam / death anniversary, one each from eastern, northern, north eastern, and western parts of India.






Week 4 - Indian Flatbreads
I posted various Indian flatbreads during the fourth week. Healthy flatbreads, some new and some regular at my home. Most of the flatbread doughs can be prepared and refrigerated for a day or two. Just zap it in the microwave covered, for about 30 to 40 seconds before using it. 







Week 5 - Platters
I tried to include platters with regional relevance, two each from southern and northern parts of India.




Hope you guys enjoyed the round up as much as I had fun cooking them. The recipes can be accessed by clicking on the links.


 
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#116.

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