Monday, September 12, 2016

Pepper n' Jeera Rasam

Pepper n' Jeera Rasam- Is a very good as a digestive n light on the tummy along with hot rice and a dash of ghee. This is non spicy but flavorful rasam. Can be had like soup as well. Rich source of protein as well as its made of toor dal.




Ingredients:

  • Toor Dal - 1 cup [appx. 50gms]
  • Tomato - 1-2
  • Jeera - 1 tbsp
  • Pepper - 15-20 [as per requirement]
  • Hing - generous pinch [mix little water with the hing paste]
  • Tamarind - watery pulp [little]
  • Mustard - for tempering
  • Ghee - 1-2 tsp for tempering
  • Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry Leaves - 1-2 sprigs
  • Salt - as per taste

How to prepare:
  • Pressure cook toor dal till it is completely mushy. Mash it well till smooth.
  • Add adequate water and turmeric to the mashed dal. Let it boil.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, tamarind pulp and hing water. Simmer it.
  • Simultaneously, take a skillet and prepare the tempering which is vital for this dish.
  • Using a mortar and pestle hand crush the jeera and pepper. It should be very coarse.
  • In a hot skillet add ghee. Add mustard and let it crackle. To this add the jeera n pepper mix. Fry for a minute. 
  • Add salt to the boiling dal.
  • Finish the dish by adding the tempering and giving it one last boil.
  • Serve hot.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Nippat / Nippattu

Nippat or Nippattu is an age old recipe passed on by grandmothers n mothers.. crisp crunchy and a quick to make savory item made of rice flour. This dish doesn't need a whole lot preparations! Its made of ingredients which are commonly used in our kitchens. Nippat is made during festivals like Krishna Janmashtami / Diwali and other festivals. It can be made in a jiffy and a perfect tea/coffee partner.



To make approximately around 30-40 nippats [depends on the size.. smaller the size more in number]

Ingredients:

  • Rice flour [500 gms]
  • Chiroti Rava or Fine Semolina [2 tbsp]
  • Ground Nuts - 50gms
  • Fried Gram - 30gms
  • Dry Copra [Finely Chopped to small bits] - 1 cup
  • Curry Leaves [dried and finely chopped, optional]
  • Red Chilli Powder - 3-4 spoons [can vary with requirement] 
  • Hing/Asafoetida - a generous pinch [if its a paste] or 1-2 tsp [if powdered]
  • White Til - 1 tbsp
  • Ghee / Clarified Butter 2 teaspoon for mixing
  • Salt to taste
  • Hot Oil - for deep frying [out of which 1-2 tbsp while mixing the dough]
How to prepare:
  • In a mixer jar, add raw ground nuts and fried gram and run it for just 2-3 seconds! Yes.. not more than that as we don't want a fine powder. Coarse mix is good to go. Set aside.
  • Heat a kadai or wok and heat oil for deep frying.
  • Take a large mixing bowl. Add the rice flour, chiroti rava, ground nut and fried gram's coarse mixture, fine bits of dry copra, dry curry leaves [optional], red chilli powder, hing, white til, ghee, salt and give it a good mix by hand. 
  • To this add heated oil about 1-2 tbsp and carefully mix. Add water occasionally  to bind the ingredients together. The dough will come together and looks and feels like chapathi atta. 
  • Take about a lemon sized ball of the dough and pat it on a parchment/butter paper or any non stick sheet. It should be even and about the size of a bangle.
  • Meanwhile the oil should be hot and ready to fry the nippat. Reduce the flame to medium low Carefully pick the dough from the sheet and slide it inside the kadai.
  • You can fry about 3-4 nippats in one go and this has to be done in low heat as it has to cook through. The colour should be golden brown and thats when its crisp.
  • Take it out on a kitchen towel and drain out the excess oil. Let it cool. [honestly... who has the patience to wait that long!! i pounce on it right away!! yummmm ;)]
  • This can be stored in air tight containers for about 10 days. Enjoy this yummilicious snack rfect for tea/coffee accompaniment.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Palak Methi aur Paneer ki Saag / Gravy

Palak Methi aur Paneer ki Saag is a calcium, minerals and protein rich gravy. Its got a very herby and fresh flavour, making it ideal to go with both roti and rice alike. This gravy is prepared along with fresh cream and paneer making it nutritious and delicious especially for expectant mothers. The usage of spices are minimal as it tends to over power the greens.




To Serve 4
Ingredients -
  • Palak / Spinach - 3 medium bunches [cleaned, blanched and pureed]
  • Methi - 1 medium bunch [separate only the leaves, cleaned and finely chopped]
  • Paneer - 200gms [Appx.]
  • Onions - 2 big [roughly chopped]
  • Green chillies - 1 or 2 [best if sparingly used]
  • Garlic - 10 pods or more! [garlicky flavor gives an edge to this dish]
  • Coriander powder - 1-2 tbsp
  • Cumin/Jeera - 2 tsp
  • Bay leaf and Elaichi/Cardamom - 1
  • Red chilli or Paprika - 1-2 tsp [as per requirement]
  • Kasuri Methi or Dried Fenu greek leaves - 1-2 tsp
  • Milk - 1 cup
  • Oil or Ghee - 1tbsp
  • Fresh Cream - 2 tbsp
  • Cashew - 10 [soak in hot water for about half hour and grind to a smooth paste]
How to prepare -
  • Blanch the Spinach and green chillies and puree it to a smooth paste.
  • Chop the fresh fenugreek leaves and set aside.
  • Heat a Kadai and add ghee or oil to it. Add cumin, bay leaf and cardamom and fry for a minute. Add the garlic and roughly chopped onions. Saute it for about 2 mins. Once the raw smell goes away, add the chilli powder and coriander powder and fry well. Turn off the heat and let it cool.
  • Grind the onion and other spices to a paste.
  • In a hot Kadai / frying pan, add the onion ground paste, blanched and pureed spinach and chopped methi. Fry well for about 2 mins.
  • Add salt, cashew paste and milk. Bring it to a boil. You can add a little water if you feel the gravy is very thick to adjust the right consistency. 
  • Add cubed paneer pieces and mix well till its nicely coated. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 5 mins. 

  • Give it a good stir and rub the Kasuri Methi or Dried Fenugreek between two palms to drop just the fine powder. You can throw away the residue. Turn off the heat. The gravy can be served with fresh cream and and a sprinkle of Kasuri methi and chilli powder [as shown in the above picture]
A mini thali with Palak Methi Paneer Saag. This thali has a combination of 2 whole wheat rotis with a little butter on top; the said gravy; ghee jeera rice; curd rice with tempering; fresh salad consisting tomatoes and onion slices :)


Goli Baje / Goli Bajji / Mangaluru Bajji

Goli Baje or Bajji also called as Mangaluru Bajji is a Karavali dish which is hugley popular everywhere. Its made of very simple ingredients and doesnt take a lot of effort but the result is just awesome. Its crisp on the out and spongy in the inside. Its flavorful and a hit with both young and old. Since the ingredients are very easily available, it can be made in large quantities like functions or parties. Its served with simple coconut chutney or tastes great with tomato ketchup or any of the sauces/dips!

For Coconut or Kayi chutney please click on this link -

To Serve 4
Ingredients -
  • Maida / All purpose flour - 300 gms [appx.]
  • Rice flour - 50 gms [appx.]
  • Soda bi Carbornate - 1/2 tsp
  • Sour curds - 1 big cup
  • Green chilli - 5-6 [depending on the vartiety and heat] finely chopped
  • Curry leaves - 3-4 sprigs finely chopped
  • Coriander leaves - a bunch finely chopped
  • Coconut - about 50gms or 1 cup very finely chopped
  • Ginger - 2 inches fresh ginger very finely chopped.
  • Cumin - Optional, about 1-2 tsp [i havent used it in this preparation]
  • Oil - for deep frying [sinful i know! ;)]
  • Salt to taste
How to prepare -
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix the Maida and Rice flour along with the salt, cooking soda and sour curds. This mixture has to set for about 2-3 hours before other ingredients are added. Make sure the mixture is not too runny as it has to be dropped in the hot oil for frying.
  • After the flours soak for about 2-3 hrs, add the rest of the above mentioned ingredients which are all finely chopped. Green chillies, curry leaves, coconut pieces, ginger. If the dough looks a little dry sprinkle some water or more curds and mix really well. 

  • Meanwhile heat oil in a kadai or fry pan and bring it to smoke point and reduce the heat to low-medium as the bajjis need to cook through. If the heat is too much then it will be undone inside or might get burnt or darker outside. For perfectly golden coloured bajjis, heat should be appropriate and preferably low-medium. 

  • Drop the mixed dough slowly into the hot oil and turn it when its done on one side. Make sure the colour is uniform and then finally take it out on a kitchen paper towel to drain any excess oil.

  • Serve it with coconut chutney or ketchup or any dips of your choice. Tastes best when served hot! 
Handy Tips:
  •  Avoid grating the ingredients as it tends to make the dish soggy and strong flavours like ginger will empower subtler ones and instead chop them finely.
  • Well soaked and elastic consistency dough will not absorb lot of oil. 
  • Also keep a check on the soda used as it tends to absorb a lot of oil. If by chance lot of oil is being absorbed, add some more maida, rice flour and a pinch of salt to balance it.  

For Coconut chutney please click on this link - 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Veggie Tomato Cream Pasta / Pink Veggie Pasta

Veggie Tomato Cream Pasta - This pasta satiates an Indian palette to the T!! It has a pleasing colour [pink] and a great creamy texture making it favorite with both elders as well as kids. Veggies like coloured bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchinis, olives added to this yummy pasta makes it a complete and filling meal.
I remember getting to know about this as a "new" dish in the early 2000 as a college student when it started making waves in India. My little sister who was a school girl and I were curious then and tried different ways to cook this versatile dish and came up with different stuff every time! Nostalgic for sure:) Today, though we get ready to eat pasta or different flavored pasta sauce off the shelf in any super market, I always prefer the home cooked simple yet tasty tried and tested sauce used in this recipe. One can be more creative by adding more ingredients to enhance the taste or the consistency of the pasta to suit tastes.


Ingredients:
To serve 4
  • Pasta variety - Fusilli  and Penne (Below is the pictorial representation of the pasta) - 250gms[dry]

            
  • Fresh cream - 1 big cup [appx. 100 ml]
  • Tomato puree - 1 medium cup [appx. 100ml]
  • Garlic - about 6-8 pods [peeled and chopped]
  • Veggies of your choice - 1 cup [like Onions, cherry tomatoes, Broccoli, Bell peppers, olives, mushrooms, zucchini]
  • All-purpose flour – 2-3 tbsp.
  • Garlic and mixed herbs flavoured butter - 30gms [OR the regular butter]
  • Milk - 200 ml
  • Olive oil - as per requirement
  • Mixed herbs - as per requirement
  • Chilli flakes - as per requirement
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil - to drizzle at the end
    How to make -
  • (a) White Sauce – Heat a fry pan and add a tsp of olive oil or any cooking oil and a about a tbsp. of butter. Before the butter completely melts and changes the colour add2-3 tbsp. all-purpose flour or Maida to it and keep stirring while it cooks. Start adding milk to the mixture and continue to stir. I use a whisk to mix so that there are no lumps and we get an even consistency. Keep stirring till it comes to almost a semi solid to a pouring kind of a consistency. Add salt, mixed herbs and chilli flakes and set aside.                                           

    (b) Pink Sauce- I simply add ready to use tomato puree to the white sauce and adjust the seasoning. To make it tangier add a tbsp. of tomato ketch up and mix well.                                                    

    (c) Pasta Al Dante – Take a big, thick bottomed vessel. To this, add sufficient water and salt. Bring it to a boil and add the fusilli and penne pastas to it. Let it cook in boiling water till its 70% cooked which in Italy is called Pasta Al Dante which means pasta cooked so as to be still firm when bitten. Soggy/Over cooked pasta is a big no-no!!                                                                

    (d) Chop all the required veggies, grate some Parmesan cheese and set aside. Since it was a quick pasta I have used just the onions, tomatoes, and olives. Broccoli, bell peppers, zucchinis and mushrooms if included adds to the taste and is healthy too. 
    (e) Bringing all the above ingredients together – Take a wok/fry pan. Heat olive oil and some butter. Immediately add chopped garlic, sauté for a minute. Before it changes colour add the veggies and sauté for a couple of minutes. We shouldn’t over cook the veggies as they tend to lose the crunch which is vital for a pasta dish. To this add the tomato pink sauce (mentioned as above) and mix well. Add the cooked pasta to the mixture. Let it come together and blend till the pasta takes in the flavours of the sauces. ­­ Check for the seasoning at this point and turn off the heat. Serve pasta in a bowl with some grated Parmesan cheese topping, chilli flakes, some fresh cream and a dash of extra virgin olive oil to finish it off. Serve hot along with some toasted garlic bread or bread sticks.
                                          

Monday, July 25, 2016

Kayi Chutney / Coconut Chutney

Coconut Chutney - as the name suggests is made of Coconut and lots of it! In regular South Indian kind of chutneys we use coconut as one of the ingredients along with other ingredients. Whereas in coconut chutney we use fresh coconut and subtly spice it and is eaten as an accompaniment for dosas/idlies/chapatis. Its also served as one of the first condiments on "BaaLe Yele Oota" i.e., the famous South Indian Plantain leaf meal. Goes very well with fried stuff like Medu Vada or  Bajjis / Bajiyas. Its generally left to the natural white colour and the use of turmeric or green chilli or red chilli is avoided to keep the taste n flavor of the coconut intact.

[Handy Tip: This dish has to be consumed immediately or stored in refrigerator for longer usage. Stays good for 2 days under good refrigeration.]



Ingredients:
  • Coconut - 2 big cups 
  • Green chillies - 3-4 
  • Ginger - 1/2 " piece [peel and chop]
  • Hing or Asofoetida - a generous pinch
  • Tamarind - a marble sized
  • Daliya or Fried gram [also called as Hurigadale] - 2 tsp used as a binding agent.
  • Salt - to taste
How to make
  • Take a Small skillet and heat the a dash of oil and add hing , ginger and chillies to it. Fry well and turn off the flame. Let it cool.
  • Take a chutney jar of the mixer grinder and grind the fried gram first and then add the coconut and run the mixer again. 
  • Once this is done, add the fried chilli hing and ginger to the jar and add tamarind [not too much] and salt to taste.
  • Run the mixer and let it come to a medium grinding. Neither too coarse nor too smooth. Consistency just as in restaurants. Check for the salt seasoning and transfer it to a serving bowl.
  • Add a pinch of hing, musturd and dry chilli tempering to the chutney for more flavor.
  • Serve it fresh along with Dosas/Idlies/Chapathis or Bajjis/Vadas.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Davangere Benne Masala Dosa

Davangere Benne Masala Dosa - Is a "masala dosa' variant where the dosa, the potato curry and the chutney is white in color and use of turmeric or coriander is minimal to nil. Its distinct taste is because of this feature and of course because of generous use of butter while making and serving the dosa. Davangere is a place in Karnataka in the southern part of India and this dish had its beginning there and became very popular.. hence the name. In restaurants where this type of dosa is served, its generally made on firewood heated large tava/stone which carries the smoky flavor when served. When  eaten along with subtly flavored coconut chutney its just out of the world! In my place we eat this dish in a brunch on a lazy Sunday as its very sumptuous and filling! Kids especially like this as its not very spicy but at the same time its very yummy :)



For this preparation 3 items are required. The Dosa batter [specifically for Davangere Benne Masala Dosa] ; The Aloo Curry for the filling and the Coconut Chutney.

                                        

To serve 4:

Ingredients to make Dosa Batter :

  • 1 cup Urad Dal
  • 2 cups Dosa Rice [thicker grains compared to the regular rice we cook for steamed rice]
  • 3/4th cup Beaten rice also called as Poha or Avalakki [soak for half an hour before grinding]
How to prepare the batter for this masala dosa:
  • Soak Urad Dal and Dosa rice for 4-5 hrs and grind to a smooth paste. 
  • Grind the soaked beaten rice or poha and mix well and let it all come together and get the same consistency. Make sure its not very runny as the dosa batter needs to be firm but at the same time good enough to spread it easily on the tava.
  • Please note i haven't added methi seeds which we generally add in dosa batters as i wanted to keep the whole dish white based.
  • Let the batter ferment and rise. You could add a pinch of soda as well. Preferably set aside overnight.
  • Mix the batter well and add salt to taste.
Ingredients to make potato/ aloo curry for this masala dosa:
  • Potatoes - 6 medium sized [boil peel and mash]
  • Onion - 2 medium sized [chopped]
  • Curry leaves - a sprig [chopped]
  • Green chillies - 3-4 [slit]
  • Salt to taste
How to make the potato / aloo curry:
  • Heat a pan and add about a tbsp cooking oil. Add a tsp of mustard and urad dal and let it crackle. Add the onions, curry leaves and chillies. Fry till translucent. You could sprinkle some water so that the onion doesn't change the color.. remember white is key for this dish! before onions caramelize and change color add the roughly mashed potatoes to the mixture and mix well. Add salt and mix. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
For Coconut chutney recipe pls click on the following link:


How to make the dosa - 
  • Heat a "cast iron" or well seasoned "iron" skillet or tava and when its evenly heated till smoke appears, reduce the flame to medium and then pour a ladle full of batter and keep spreading the batter clockwise.
  • Once the batter is spread, increase the flame to high and add a tsp of oil/ghee and let it cook. 
  • In this dosa recipe we dont flip it over and cook the other side as its done only on one side. the other side is let to get roasted as we work on the top part of the dosa. You can see holes appearing which is the sign of a well fermented batter. 
  • At this point of time, take a tsp or 2 of the coconut chutney which is also white and spread it evenly and as per taste. let it cook for a min or 2. [i have used less chutney as this dosa was for my little one :)]
  
  • take a big scoop of the potato curry and place it in the middle. By this time the dosa would have cooked through.

  • Fold the dosa to half and smear some butter on top. 
  • Serve piping hot with white coconut chutney!