Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Besan ladoo

I really like besan and Rava ladoo more than regular big boondi ladoo. I do like the motichur ladoos though :). This is a simple recipe I use to make these at home.

Besan/ Chickpea Flour - 1 cup
Ghee - 1/4 cup
Powdered Sugar - 3/4 to 1 cup
Cardamom - 3 to 4

You can make powdered sugar in the coffee mill / blender at home. Add the cardamom after removing the shell and powder along with the sugar until the sugar is fine.

Dry roast besan in a saute pan for five minutes. Add the ghee to the power and saute until the ghee melts and the besan starts to brown. This will get rid of the raw taste of besan. Remove from heat and cool until it is comfortable to handle the mix add the powdered sugar and combine well. Then take small fistfuls of the mix and shape in balls to the size of your like.

I like these plain, but if you want you can add slivered pistachios, or raisins or fried cashews to garnish or add to the mixture before you roll the mix into balls.

The ladoos will harden once it cools.

Thayir Sadam / Yogurt Rice / Thayir Choru

Thayir Sadam - This dish needs no introduction, almost every family in the south as a simple variation to this lip smacking dish. So here's the version that I cook at my home.

Basmathi Rice or any long grain rice - 2 cups cooked and cooled
Yogurt- 1 1/2 cup
Ginger - 1 tbsp finely chopped
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Channa dal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 8 to 10
Asafoetida - a pinch
Green Thai chili - 2 sliced
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves - a few chopped

Green grapes

In a mixing bowl combine rice and yogurt and salt, mash some of the rice. If the yogurt is too sour add milk. In a saute pan heat oil on low to medium heat and then add the mustard seeds. Once the seeds splutter add urad dal, chana dal then the green chilies, ginger, curry leaves and asafoetida. After a minute or two pour this blend over the rice and mix weel. Add the grapes if you want at this point and combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled based on your preference. If you think the yogurt rice is too thick then add some more yogurt and milk just before serving. Adjust salt.

Serve with pickles or when I have it at lunch I have it with poriyals like Okra, Kovakkai, potatoes etc. Any poriyal will go well this rice.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Besan / Chickpea Flour Pancakes and Parathas

I was wondering what to cook for lunch, I was not in the mood for rice or the regular roti and yet wanted something that was easy for me to make. I remembered having heavenly Pudla (Bihari/ Gujurati besan pancakes) a long time ago and thought maybe I should try that. Pudla is simply put a spicy chickpea flour pancake. So here is a mishmash of the recipe based mainly on Madhur Jaffery's Pudla recipe, I liked the idea of peas in Pudla. I have added, modified - you can say basically killed her recipe to make two versions of the same mix. I can't call the recipe authentic Pudla, so I am sticking to the generic name of Besan Pancakes and Parathas. These are the measurements I used.

Chickpea Flour/ Besan - 1 1/4 cup
Shelled Green peas - 1/2 cup (I used frozen)
Red Pearl Onion - 1 to 2 finely chopped
Wheat Flour - 1/2 cup
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 2 pinches
Chili Powder 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste -1 tsp
Coriander Leaves - a fistful finely chopped

Microwave bowl of 1 cup of water and peas for 6 minutes. In another mixing bowl combine the 1 cup of Besan, turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder, coriander leaves, salt, ginger garlic paste, chopped onion. Once the peas are done, mash them in the same bowl with the water and then transfer just the mashed peas to the mixing bowl.Combine well and then separate the mix in two bowls. One will be used for the pancake and the other will be used for the parathas.

So in the bowl you want to make pancake batter add the rest of the water from the bowl that the peas were cooked in. Then add 1 more cup of plain water and make a loose batter. Let the batter sit for at least 1/2 hr.

In the bowl that you want to make the parathas dough knead in the wheat flour and the rest of the Besan you had saved earlier little by little. You won't need to add any more water as the peas would have made it soggy enough. Knead the dough well and add 1 tsp of oil, knead once more and leave it to rest for 15 minutes.

For the pancakes..
On a flat griddle with a handle over a medium-high heat, drizzle in a little oil. When the griddle is hot, pour in a ladle of the besan batter, tilt the griddle around to spread the batter, to let it cook for 2 minutes. They should be golden underneath and start crisping on the edges. Drizzle the uncooked side with another drop of oil before flipping and cooking for a further 2 minutes. Remove and serve hot. You can have it as is or with a side of yogurt and pickles.

For the parathas..
Divide the dough into balls the size of golf balls. Dust the balls first with a little wheat flour and then apply oil to roll them out using a rolling pin into 4" diameter discs. You would need the oil to make sure the dough don't stick nor become too dry from the flour.Heat a tawa or a non stick pan on medium to high, and place the paratha carefully in it. Turn it after 3 - 4 minutes when you see the underside slightly browning. Add 2 to 3 drops of oil on the flipped side and flip it back again. Then add couple more drops of oil on the other side. Remove from heat when both the sides are golden and well cooked. This should only take up to 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately with plain yogurt and pickles.

For both the pancake and the paratha don't worry too much about the shape, they taste great just the same. If you are adamant about the shape use a cutter for the paratha to get the size or shape you want. I used the Appam chatti( a small shallow wok - see pic) uncovered for pancakes to make it thin and crispy. Either way these two dishes are simply delicious.

My entry for JFI:Chickpea

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mango-Saffron Shake

I firmly believe that more the mango drips as you squeeze and direct it to your mouth the tastier it is! You just can't beat the taste or the feeling of being totally involved in the process of relishing a mango as the juices flow down your throat, never mind you might end up needing to have a shower after the indulgence.
Anyway, I love mangoes but it been years since I have been so mesmerized by mangoes.

It frankly doesn't matter to me how I eat the mango, I love it as is, sweet, sour or spicy, in a dish or as pickles...any day is a good mango day.Well, I bought some mangoes last weekend thinking they were sweet and since the first one I tried was not very sweet, I thought I will wait for it to get ripe and sweeten (you see my mind had already fantasized about the non existent sweetness), but that doesn't seems to happen. So I decided to make some shake adding sugar to sweeten it. Here is the result.

This recipe also goes perfectly for sunshinemom's 'Food In Colors - Yellow' event.

Mango - 1 large
Milk - 2 1/2 cups
Sugar - 5 tsp
Saffron - few strands
Ginger Powder / Chukku podi- 2 tsp
Grated Nutmeg - a pinch

The recipe itself is very simple. In a blender add chopped mango slices. Add milk, you can add low fat or full, I used full. You can also use portion of water instead of milk but you might be giving up on the richness of the drink. Again if you want you can also add ice cubes in the blender along with the rest, if you want it .
chilled. Add more or less milk according to the thickness of the drink you desire. Add sugar, increase or reduce according to the sweetness of the mango, mine wasn't very sweet. Add a couple of saffron strands, ginger powder and blend until smooth. You can leave it a little chunky if you like bits of mango in your drink.
Once done pour into glasses and garnish with the remain strands of saffron and the grated nutmeg.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Colors of Taste - Powders: Podi's for Rasams and Sambhars

Even though I had not announced the theme for this month for the event COT-Powders and there is a full month to go, I have already started receiving entries from couple of lovely bloggers ...Thank you all for being so proactive and supportive in launching this maiden attempt on my part.... and as they have sent similar entries I have decided I will follow their lead and announce the theme for this month

Podi's for Rasams and Sambhars

They could have not pushed me towards a better theme to kick off this event. I am sure I am going to be pleasantly surprised with all the entries of these heavenly dishes that your wonderful kitchens are going to churn out!!
This theme for the event runs from Jan 26th to the Feb 26th.

The rules are simple :
This is a once a month event. So you get almost a month to submit your entry from the date of announcement of the theme of the month, which would be in last week of the month. Please feel free to use the Event Logo in your post for the event.
1. Post about it on your blog with picture during the relevant deadline. Past entries are gladly accepted, please make sure you edit the entry to mention the event and link back to the event.
2.You must provide a link to this post and the COT-Powders page in your entry post.
3. Your creation must be prepared for the Colors Of Taste - Powders event and cannot be submitted to any other blog event.
4. All entries must be vegetarian...sorry about that.
5. No need to add picture, I will pull it out from your post.

Once you have posted your dish, send an email with "Colors Of Taste - Powders: Podi's for Rasams and Sambhars" in the subject line and send to kadumangacolors(at) gmail (dot) com within the deadline.

Include the following details in your mail:
Name of the dish:
Name of the Blog:
Link to the dish entered in the event:
Your Name:

If you do not have a blog, just email the recipe and a picture.



Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kathrikai Gotsu / Eggplant Gravy

The first time I had Kathrikai Gotsu was last year when I went to India. One day when my mil said let's make Gotsu with Pongal, I knew I was still new to Tamil cuisine, I kinda stared blindly, quite not sure what she was talking about...so then she showed me how to make it(I even had her spell it out to me!!), and apparently it is very easy.I can't believe I did not know such a dish existed. The funny thing is once I came back to Chicago, I found this gotsu everywhere .. at lunches, potlucks, dinners, you name it and there it was. So here is my dear amma's recipe .. and yes she is a fabulous cook... I can't wait to see my hubby's parents ...they are coming to CA in march.. very cool people.
As you can imagine other than the main measurements ...most are eyeballed so ...the eggplant quantity is what I use ... the rest of it is her measurements.
I like it a little thick feel free to add water until it reaches the consistency you prefer.

Passi Parippu / Split Mung Dal - 1/2 cup
Small Bringal/ eggplant - 4 to 5 cut into small cubes
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp (couple of pinches)
Thick Puli Vellam (tamarind juice) - 1/2 cup
Salt to Taste

Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Dried Red Chili - 1
Jeerakam - 1 tsp
Onion - 1/2 cup Finely chopped

In a pressure cooker put /12 cup of washed passi parippu & the cubed bringal. Add water just above the level of the veggies. Add salt, turmeric powder, chii powder, coriander powder. Cook on sim for up to 2 whistles. Let it then cool. Once all the steam has been released add the puli vellam and boil again for 10 minutes. Add one cup of water if the gravy becomes too thick.
In a separate saute pan heat the oil and add the mustard seeds, urad dal, red chili, jeerakam and the chopped onion. Cook until the onions are soft. Add this mixture to the bringal gravy.

Serve hot with pongal.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sabudana- Potato vada / Tapioca Pearl - Potato Fritters

Another simple but simply delicious snack is the Sabudana-Potato vada. A Maharashtrian delicacy made commonly during fasting, this is a sure winner any time of the year....
Sabudana/Tapioca pearls are very versatile, from savory to sweet, from the simple kichidi to cool cool cold coffee, these tiny gems enhance any dish they grace. Now, I am not even thinking about all the tantalizing dishes made from using tapioca/ kollikazhange/ kappa itself. That would need a totally separate post dedicated to itself.

The following recipe is based on the quantities I used to make these fritters. I normally make smaller batches of these fried munchies as we seem to lose count most of the time.

Sabudana / Tapioca pearls - 1/4 cup
Potatoes - 2 small sized cubed
Green chili - 1 small copped
Peanuts - 10 to 12
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp
coriander leaves - a few
Salt to taste,

So as usual we will speed up this making process.Soak sabudana in cold water for 1/2 hr(just enough to soak it) for the amount I have used that was enough. In the meantime, boil the cubed potatoes for 6 minutes in the microwave. While the microwave toast/roast the peanuts for 3 to 4 minutes, and grind to a coarse powder. Mix the peanuts,chili, coriander leaves, cumin seeds, lemon juice, and salt. Cool the potatoes and mash, then add to the mixture. Mix well and finally add the sabudana and gently mix.
make small discs of the mixture, and deep fry in hot oil. Remove when golden in color and crispy.

Sometimes instead of deep frying I like to make it like the aloo tikki, i.e. pan fry with very little oil.. for that you need to heat 1 tsp. oil in a non-stick pan over a very low heat. Once the oil is hot, slowly place in the couple of vadas, and pan-fry on both sides till crisp golden brown, adding couple of drops of oil if required. All fried food taste so much better when you don't have oil oozing out of it ...and it is healthier too.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Colors Of Taste - Powders

It is with pleasure and anticipation that I introduce a new theme based event that I am calling Colors Of Taste - Powders.

pow·der (poudr)
A substance consisting of ground, pulverized, or otherwise finely dispersed solid particles.

I have always been intrigued with the powdery concoctions of the culinary world, the profusion of taste and aromas that that comes out a simple blend of spices and ingredients. They evoke a sense of mysticism. That secret ingredient made our grandmother's dish famous far and wide...
This event honors all those magical powders - masalas, Podi, Marinade mixes, spice rubs, good on their own powders like the rice flour, All purpose Flour etc.,from the simple to the complicated...each one unique. Any powdered ingredient in the kitchen is a worthy to stand on it's own in this event.
This event would be too wide without streamlining the topic, and for that I thought we could start with themes ranging from regions, specific types of powders, dishes made from specific powder mixes etc . I am still working on the details....but that should not stop us from beginning on this wonderful journey of discovering the colorful world of Powdered Love. Suggestions and comments are welcome.

The rules are simple
This is a once a month event. So you get almost a month to submit your entry from the date of announcement of the theme of the month, which would be in last week of the month. Please feel free to use the Event Logo in your post for the event.
1. Post about it on your blog with picture during the relevant deadline. Past entries are gladly accepted, please make sure you edit the entry to mention the event and link back to the event.
2.You must provide a link to this post and/or the announcement post in your entry post.
3. Your creation must be prepared for the Colors Of Taste - Powders event and cannot be submitted to any other blog event.
4. All entries must be vegetarian...sorry about that.
5. Please do not Repost.
6. No need to add picture, I will pull it out from your post.

Once you have posted your dish, send an email with the "Colors Of Taste - Powders: [current theme]" in the subject line and send to kadumangacolors(at) gmail (dot) com within the deadline.

Include the following details in your mail:
Name of the dish:
Name of the Blog:
Link to the dish entered in the event:
Your Name:

If you do not have a blog, just email the recipe and a picture.

COTS: Powders Calendar

UPDATE: Colors of Taste - Rice Flour


Parippu Podi / Channa Dal Powder

I was introduced to the various podi's /powders found in a kitchen after getting married. Yes ...that includes all the regular powders except chili powder, turmeric powder and coriander powder...that tells you how much of connection I had with the working of a kitchen before I had to manage my own. But that doesn't mean I didn't go to the kitchen... of course i was always in the kitchen ... only to check out what cooking and what to eat. How anything was made wasn't too much on my mind those days... I just loved to be in the kitchen for the aromas and the tasty dishes that magically came out at a regular basis and landed on my plate...
Even just before getting married I was only pretending to listen....:)...I learned cooking right after I got married like many of you already nodding in agreement with me :)

Of all the regular powders I came across, I knew the idli/ dosa podi which we often had at home but I was introduced to a whole world of podis in a Tamilian kitchen after I got married...there seems to be a podi for everything made of everything... Parippu Podi, Kootu Podi, Karuveppelai Podi, Thogayal Podi etc..etc ... along with the regular sambhar podi & rasam podi...
Now this list doesn't include the plethora of podi's churned out of an Andra kitchen...

So now one thing you will always find at my home is a container of Parippu Podi or Dal Powder. This simple powder that you can make in no time, goes very well with Steaming hot rice with Ghee or Sesame seed oil/ Gingelly Oil.

Pottukadalai/Split roasted gram/Channa Dal/Dhalia - 1 cup
dried Red Chili - 2 Fried
Whole Pepper - 3 to 4
Dried Coconut /Copra - 2 tsp (Optional)
Salt to Taste

Garlic - 2-3 pods or Asafoetida / Hing - pinch.Use either one not both.
I make mine using garlic most of the time.

Lightly fry the red Chili in couple of drops of oil. Then place it along with all the other ingredients in a blender and powder them. You can leave it lightly coarse. I normally blend a little more...
Thats it. Transfer to an airtight container.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Aloo Methi Sabzi

Another one of the simple super fast recipes to whip up is the Aloo Methi Sabzi or Potato - Methi Leaves Dry Stir fry. Goes very well with roti or with rice and plain yogurt.
There are days when I find I have couple of veggies that are neither here nor there in terms of quantity and the next grocery/ produce visit is almost round the corner. When I started cooking I often found myself not buying something because I have it at home and only to be stuck middle of the week in front of the fridge looking for some veggie that was not enough for the recipe I wanted it for.
Oh, how quickly we learn from our past follies!!! These days just before the next trip to the produce section is due I try to make sure I have used up all those one off veggies. So if you find yourself stuck with a potato or two and a handful of Methi leaves and wondering what to do or want to try something different and not go back to the baked potato trick ...this one might just be for you, and even if you are that perfectly stocked pantry type of gal/guy (I still have to hit that level of perfection!!) and just want to try something new you too are at the right place!

These are the amounts I used, Please feel free to add or reduce the quantities. Just remember Methi is a bitter leaf so you don't want to over do it.

Potatoes - 2 medium sized, large cubes
Cherry Tomato - 3 - 4 sliced into halves (Thats right, remember the ones sitting in the back 'coz you are done with salads for the year)
Methi leaves - 1 cups
Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 pinch
Coriander powder - 1/3 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt to Taste

You can do this the normal way on top of the stove or speed it up like I did by microwaving the potatoes. Thats the only thing here that is going to take time.
So now let's speed this up. Put the cubed potatoes in glass bowl with enough water to cover and salt. Move it to the microwave and let it go for 5 to 6 minutes. While that is cooking heat your pan on low. Wash Methi leaves, and remove excess water. Slice the cherry tomatoes. Once the pan is hot add oil followed by Cumin seeds. Then add the cherry tomatoes and the Methi leaves. Make sure that the stove is still on very low heat. Fry for 2-3 minutes and add the chili powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Stir for another minute and then strain and add the potatoes that are now done. Mix well. Now increase the heat to low-medium and almost fry the potatoes until you see it slightly browning. You might want to check the salt, I did not need to add any more. Remove from heat, serve hot. The potatoes would be soft yet crunchy.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Chickpea Salad with Cumin Dressing and Yogurt Sauce

One of the celebrity chef who's recipes I like to try out are by Ellie Krieger. Especially as they are very healthy and easy to tweak to satisfy my palate. The Chickpea Salad with Cumin Dressing and Yogurt Sauce recipe below is a very simple salad and can be made in a jiffy. I have modified the recipe a little this time as I was out of fresh spinach and orange zest. I have also substituted the parsley with coriander leaves as I am not a very big fan of parsley. I have also made minor adujustments to the measurements to accomodate my requirements.

This salad is also my entry for the event "Chef Spotlight Dinners: Health Concious Chefs" hosted by Joelen's Culinary Adventures

Chickpeas cooked /can - 2 cups
Coriander leaves - 1/4 cup chopped
Red Onion - 1/3 cup chopped
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp
Lemon Juice - 2 tsp
Lemon Zest -1/3 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cayenne Pepper - 1/8 tsp
Salt and Pepper
Yogurt - 1/4 cup low fat
Orange Juice - 1 tbsp
1/3 teaspoon honey
Fresh mint leaves - Few Coarsely Chopped

Combine the chickpeas, onions and coriander leave . In a small bowl mix the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the chickpea mixture and toss to combine. In a separate small bowl mix the yogurt, orange juice and honey. Move the chickpeas to a serving dish and top with the yogurt sauce and a sprinkle of mint.

I like a little more zing so I added a pinch of black salt. That gives it a very distinct flavor and tang. Sometimes when I make this I also add 1/2 tsp chat masala. Just cannot resist :).

Monday, January 05, 2009

Beans and Mung Dal Toran

Another healthy and very simple dish I make is the Beans and Mung Dal Toran. With very little oil this is a sure winner when trying to eat healthy.

French cut Beans - 2 cups (I used freshly frozen ones)
Mung Dal - 4 tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 pinch
Dried red chili - 1 to 2 according to preference
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad Dal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Oil - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Wash mung Dal and keep ready with 2 cups of water.
In a saute pan heat oil and splutter the Mustard seeds, then add the urad dal, dried red chili and curry leaves. After a few seconds add the mung dal, water and salt and boil on low heat covered for 8 minutes.
Then add the cut beans, cover and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes until the dal is soft on touch yet firm enough to hold its shape. Add a few drops of water if all the water has evaporated, normally the condensing water is enough. or if you think that there is still lot of water remove the cover and let the water evaporate on very low heat.

Serve hot with Rice. I served it with Rice, lemon Rasam, Beetroot Poriyal and chips

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Muringya Ela/ Drumstick Leaves Kuzhambu

In all the years I lived in the windy city I was never able to lay my hands on the elusive muringya ela/ Drumstick leaves. I would substitute it with collard greens which surprisingly had a very similar texture when cooked. So imagine my happiness when I finally held high in my hands a bunch of leaves that caused many around me to wonder if I had just lost some vital instrument high above my shoulders. Well, I guess this simple muringya ela is more commonly available in Indian grocery stores in the California. So now you know what is soon going to be a staple at my place.

This is a very simple recipe that is very easy make and tastes heavenly.


Tuvaram Parippu/ Tuar Dal - 1/2 cup
Drumstick leaves - 1 1/2 cups
Onion - 1/2 cup chopped
Tomato - 1 medium sized chopped
Garlic - 2 pods sliced into halves
Chili powder -1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 heaped tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Puli vellam / tamarind Juice - from lime sized puli

Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Venthiyam/ ulluva / Fenugreek seeds - few seeds
Jeera - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt to taste

Make tamarind juice out of 1 cup of lukewarm water and a lime sized ball of tamarind. If you have tamarind paste, add 1 tsp to the water.

This whole dish can be made in a regular heavy bottom pan, but for speed and convenience I cook it in a pressure cooker.

To make the whole dish in a pressure cooker, heat your pressure cooker and add 1 tsp of oil. Once the oil is hot add the onions, garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Then the dry ingredients like chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder. After 2 minutes add the washed Tuar Dal and the drumstick leaves and add water enough to cover the leaves and Dal, about 2 cups. Close the lid and cook on low heat for up to 4 whistles. Switch off the heat and let it cool until all the steam has dissipated and you can open the cooker.
Now nicely mash the Dal and the leaves. The put it back on the stove on low flame and add the tomato, salt and tamarind juice. Let it boil for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are soft. Remove from heat.
To add the tempering in a separate saute pan add 1 tsp of oil and splutter the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, urad dal and jeera and then pour it over the kuzhambu.
Serve hot with rice and ghee.

If you are making the dish in a pan instead of a pressure cooker the recipe is the same except you would need to cook the Dal either separately until soft and mashable or you can cook it in the same pan but the time will be considerably longer. I would definitely recommend pressure cook the Dal. If you are pressure cooking the Dal and the leaves separately then make sure you boil the leaves with the onions for at least 1/2 on low heat. Once that is done add the cooked Dal and follow the rest of the recipe similar to above.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Methi Paratha

One of my favorite ways of making roti is by adding methi / fenugreek leaves in the dough.In Indian kitchens you will see fenugreek as seeds, fresh or dried leaves. Used in different forms in both north Indian and south Indian cooking this bitter spice or herb is definitely here to stay.

Wheat flour - 1 cup
Fresh Methi Leaves - 1 cup
Salt to taste

To start making the dough, in a shallow wide container mix the wheat flour, washed methi leaves, 1/2 tsp of oil and salt. Slowly add about 3/4 cup of lukewarm water, just enough to form a firm dough (very similar to the puri dough) and knead till smooth. Pour 1/2 tsp of oil over the dough and knead the dough one final time. Cover, let rest at 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into balls the size of golf balls. Roll them out using a rolling pin into 6" diameter discs. You can use some flour for dusting so that the dough does not stick. Try to use minimum flour for dusting as this dries the rotis.
Heat a tawa or a non stick pan on medium to high, and place the paratha carefully in it. Turn it after 3 - 4 minutes when you see the underside slightly browning. Add a drop of oil on the flipped side and flip it back again. Then add another drop of oil on the other side. Remove from heat when both the sides are golden and well cooked. This should only take up to 5-6 minutes.Remove from heat and serve with plain yogurt or with any gravy. I made an eggplant gravy to go with it.
To keep roti warm transfer to a container lined with a cloth napkin. cover the rotis with the edges of the napkin. This will keep the rotis both warm and moist for a longer time.

You can find methi leaves in most Indian groceries or in produce markets like fresh farms / Valli.


Another one of my favorite quick fixes....I totally love Poha, can't say the same for hubby dear but slowly but surely he is becoming a convert. Mainly had for breakfast/ brunch, I sometimes make it for a light dinner too....

This recipe is also my entry for the "Recipes for the rest of us" event started by Ramki. All the measurements can be modified to your requirement.

Beaten Rice (White)/ Poha - 3 cups
Potato - 2 medium or 4 small (You can add more if you like potatoes like me - but stick to this number if you are having this Poha for Dinner)
Onion - 1 cup chopped small
Lemon - 1 small or 1 1/2 tbsp of Lemon juice
Ginger - 1" piece
Green Chili - 2 sliced
Turmeric Powder - 2 tsp
Raisins - 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves - a small bunch
Jeera /Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

In a saute pan heat oil and add the jeera, ginger, onion and fry till the onions sweat and become pink in color and start to brown. Add salt, turmeric powder, green chili, potatoes and cover and cook till the potatoes are done on low heat.I normally speed up this process by first getting the potatoes done in the microwave while the onions are getting brown, I also put salt with the potatoes. Make sure that the potatoes are cooked just right that they are still soft yet firm enough that they don't crumble on touch.
While this is being done wash the beaten rice and squeeze out the water without crumbling them. Don't leave the rice in water for long - they will disintegrate - 2 quick rinses and you are done.
After the potatoes are done (or in my case ready from the microwave, I drain the potatoes and add) remove the cover and add the beaten rice, raisins and mix well, cover and cook for 1 minute. If you prefer don't cover but make sure you continue to stir until you see the Poha has reduced to less than 1/2 its original size.
Add the lemon juice, stirring at the same time.When you add lemon juice while the Poha is still cooking you will lose some of the juice's sting and also it will help keep the Poha from getting too soggy. Remove from heat and garnish with the coriander leaves.
Serve with a piece of lemon and some lime pickle.

You can also add fried okra slices instead of potatoes.
Generally mustard, urad dal and curry leaves are added as tempering but we just add jeera. Add one or the other ...don't add both.

Poha is available at any Indian grocery store. Look for the white poha...not the translucent one.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Bringal Curry / Eggplant gravy

There are some dishes that are very versatile in the sense they can be had in various ways. Like there are some gravies that go best with rice and not so great with roti or any other type of bread. similarly there are those gravies that go extremely well with roti/chappatis but just don't hit off well with rice. This bringal/ eggplant gravy is a dream come true for any cook who is like me always trying to get the maximum use out of all hard work put in to make a dish :). But not only is it versatile enough for two separate meals, it is a breeze to make; making it very appealing during time crunches I almost always find myself in.

Small bringal - 1 1/2 cups sliced
Tomato - 1 chopped
Red Onion - finely chopped 1/2 cup
Ginger - 1"
Curry leaves - a few
Green chilli - 1 to 2 depending on preference
Puli vellam / tamarind - lime sized ball or 1 tsp of tamarind paste
Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
Malli podi/Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 2 pinches

Gingelly Oil - 1 1/2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Channa dal - 1/2 tsp
Venthiyam/ fenugreek seeds - 3 to 4 seeds
Salt to taste

Wash and slice bringal and put it in salt water and let it remain there until it is ready to be moved to the pan.
Add puli to 3/4 cup of lukewarm water. If you are using tamarind paste you are all set otherwise you will need to soak the tamarind ball for 10 minutes (to speed up microwave for 30 seconds)and then strain the juice.
using a motar and pestle crush the onions, ginger, green chilli & curry leaves. You can also use a grinder and run a single pulse to coarsely crush the four ingredients. Heat a saute pan and add 1 tbsp of gingelly oil to it. It take a little more time to heat up the oil than regular canola oil. Once that is done add the crushed paste to it and saute for a few minutes until the onions start to sweat, about 5 minutes.
Then add the sliced bringal to the pan and fry it for about 5 to 9 minutes. By this time the bringal will be half cooked. Make sure your heat it on low to medium during this time. Once the bringal is half cooked add the chilli powder, malli podi and turmeric powder.
Stir for 2 minutes and add the chopped tomato and salt. After another 2 minutes add the puli vellam and cover and let it boil on low heat. Once it has started to boil and bubble remove the cover and cook it for another 5 minutes until there is very little water left and the gravy becomes thick.
Remove from heat and transfer to serving bowl.
Add the remaining oil to the pan. Once the oil is hot, it should be very quick as the pan is already hot and there is very little oil, splutter the mustard seeds and add the venthiyam, urad dal and channa dal. Remove and pour over the gravy.

This dish can be had with roti and it goes very well with hot rice too. Have with potato chips or vattal.

Gingelly oil also know as ellu enna/ or til oil is Sesame seed oil. It has a very distinctive taste and add a lot of flavor on their own to dishes.

The goodness of Eggplant
The goodness of Sesame Seeds