Saturday, May 23, 2015

TOMATO DOSA

I am a lover of colors, particularly more on the brighter side.  When it comes to food, I try to make the food more colorful in a natural way.  Most of my preparations would be of mixed colors with different combination of veggies.  Most of the times, while serving the food, I can hear from the people in the dining table "Ah, it's very colorful, increases my craving".  Studies says it has lot of health benefits too.  Every one of your meal need not be multicolored, in practical it is not possible too to have multicolored foods every time but we can try our best to add colors in a natural way as much as can.

Coming to today's recipe, it is about tomato dosa.  Dosa is a typical south Indian crispy and savory pancake made from fermented batter prepared from rice and lentils.  There are many variations of dosa, the normal ones are just plain dosa which would be white/brown in color.  Being a lover of colors, I prepare different varieties of dosa in different colors.   One such variety is tomato dosa.  This is easy to prepare and does not require any fermentation.  Addition of tomatoes to the regular dosa batter brings a vibrant color to the dish and the subtle tanginess imparts an extra "zing" flavor to this dish.  


Ingredients:
Idly rice - 2 cups
Urad dhal - 1/4 cup
Fenugreek - 1/4 tsp
Tomatoes - 4-5
Red chilly - 6
Salt - To taste

To Temper:
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few

Preparation:
1. Soak idly rice + Urad dhal and fenugreek separately for 3 hours
2. Wash the tomatoes and cut into half.  In the mixer, grind the urad dhal and fenugreek mixture along with tomatoes, red chillies and salt.  Transfer the contents into a vessel.
3. Grind the soaked rice separately.  Add this batter to the already ground mixture and mix well.
4. Heat a kadai with little oil, add the tempering items and add to the batter.
5. In the nonstick dosa pan, pour a ladle of batter and spread in circular shape.  Add little oil on the sides to make it crispy.  Once it has become golden brown, flip it on the other side to cook it evenly.

6. Serve the dosa with your favorite side dish. 



Sunday, May 17, 2015

AN EASY COMFORT MEAL - VEGETABLE FRIED RICE IN INDIAN STYLE

Last week, one of my colleagues was complaining about her kids not taking vegetables.  I insisted her to try out different dishes, mostly colorful so that it would attract the kids to try it out.  We had a lengthy chat of how veggies can be incorporated in various dishes.  I suggested her to try out this simple recipe and she was so surprised without addition of sauces.  She was saying that for her, fried rice is prepared with sauces and she does not like to use sauces in her home.  I replied her it is same with me, I try to minimize the usage of sauces in my kitchen.  Also I told her there is no restrictions and straight-cut rule in cooking that any dish has to be prepared like this.  Next day, I prepared this dish and had her tasted this and she was very much delighted upon the outcome and was more willing to prepare this at home for her kids. 

For Jr.H, I always make sure that he eats at least one fruit and one vegetable a day.  The school lunches would always be composed of rice mixed majorly with any vegetable and snacks will be filled with nuts and fruits. 

This dish, I learnt from a neighborhood chat place which majorly serves the north Indian chat varieties.  I once tasted this when my cousin ordered this simple meal.  I could make out the ingredients and tried at home immediately.  Jr. H is very much fond of this meal and he says his school friends too liked it.  I am so happy that my cooking serves a purpose; providing healthy and nutritious food to my people.


Ingredients:

Cooked Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Mixed vegetables of choice - 2 cups (Preferably cabbage, carrot, capsicum, beans, onion/spring onion)
Crushed garlic - 4 pods
Salt - To taste
Pepper powder - 3 tsp
Ghee - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
Cinnamon stick - 1" 

Preparation:

1.  Cook Basmati rice with 1:2 water, adding a tsp of olive oil/cooking oil.  Adding a tsp of oil will separate the grains.  Let it cool for half an hour.   


2. Cut the vegetables as shown below.


3. In a wide bottomed pan (i used my pressure cooker as i had to prepare in larger quantity), add oil.  When the oil is hot, throw in a piece of cinnamon stick. Add onions immediately after that.  It is better to use spring onions for fried rice, but I could not find spring onions in market place, hence used the normal ones.  If you are using spring onions, add the base as an alternate to regular onions.

 4. Once the onions have become brown, throw in the crushed garlic pods and vegetables.  Make sure the flame is on higher end.  Add salt and mix well.  In 5-7 minutes, the vegetables would have crunchy cooked.  If you are using spring onion, add the greenish stem part now and keep in flame for minutes.  Lastly, add the pepper powder at last and mix well. 

5.  Add the cooled cooked rice, add a tsp of ghee, and mix well.  Keep in flame for a minute or two and switch of the flame.  

 6.  Serve hot with spicy vegetable curry/gravy. 



Saturday, May 9, 2015

POORI BHAJI

Pooris are flat Indian breads made from whole wheat flour which are deep fried and aloo bhaji is a potato vegetable.  There are many different versions of Poori Bhaji.  Basically, the term “bhaji” is derived from North India.  In southern part of India, this is called as “Poori Kizhangu” which means Poori accompanied with potato masala.   

I have never got a chance to visit Northern part of India so far and I have heard about various street foods of Mumbai. I hope I would make it happen one day.  Poori Bhaji is quite a popular street food in Mumbai. This is usually served for breakfast or dinner in southern part of India whereas in Northern part this is taken for lunch along with some variety rice.  When I have just finished my college, I got to join a computer center where I got a Gujarati friend.  She is basically a Jain who follows a strict vegetarian food like me.  She invited me to her home one day for lunch.  I was amazed by different varieties of food that has been served for lunch.  I learnt this Aloo bhaji from her Mom.  I have made this many times since then whenever guests visit home and I have always got applauds for this.


Ingredients:
Potato – 500 g
Onion – 2 (sliced thin)
Tomato – 3 (cut into cubes)
Ginger and garlic (Crushed) – little
Chilly Powder – 1-2 tsp
Salt – as desired
Oil – 1 tsp

To Temper:
Jeera – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Red chilly – 1
Green chilly – 1-2 (Optional)
Curry leaves - few

Preparation
1. Wash and pressure cook potatoes with skin.  Peel the skin and mash it.


2. Cut onion and tomatoes as described above. In a pan, add some oil, add the tempering items one by one


3. Add onions, when the onions have turned brown, add tomatoes and required salt.


4. When the tomatoes have become mushy and blend together with onions, add the mashed cooked potato, chilly powder.  Add little water to get the gravy consistency.  Let this boil for 3 minutes


5. Garnish with coriander leaves/cilantro and serve with hot puffed pooris.  I like the flavor of mint, so i added few mint leaves.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

KATHIRIKKAI KOSTHU- PURPLE EGGPLANT GRAVY

Over the last one year, I have been travelling quite frequently to many places on business assignments. Being a pure vegetarian, as always, I prefer to eat home cooked food.   There would be very limited options for me to choose from the outside World as I don't take eggs too.  I have a small cooking travel kit with me which includes a small electric cooker, small plate, utensil, ladle, spoon, etc.  I carry with me the essential spice powders and rice.  Most of the times, I do a very limited cooking and manage with that. 

One such lifesaver dish is this eggplant gravy.  I always found big sized eggplants in the super markets in the places I have visited.  Usually, tamarind is added to this dish to give a tangy taste but I skipped tamarind and added tomatoes as I wanted to make it simple and cook with the available ingredients but I must say it is equivalently tasty. The picture shown below is taken at home.  In India, we get smaller size eggplant as shown in the picture which we call as "brinjal".  


Ingredients:
Eggplant/Brinjal - 1/2 kg (In India we get smaller eggplants as shown above in pic)
Onions - 2
Tomatoes - 3 (Big size)
Vangibhath Powder - 3 tsp (Refer below step to make vangibath powder)
Turmeric powder -1 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp

To Temper:
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves 
Green chilies - 1 (Optional)

To make the Vangibath Powder:  

Dry roast the below ingredients and powder it.  Can be stored for a month. This can be brought in Indian store as well.
Asafoetida – a small piece
Red chilies – 8-10 (adjust according to your spiciness level)
Bengal gram – 4 tsp
Urad dal – 2 tsp 
Coriander seeds/dhaniya – 3 tsp

Preparation:
1.  Cut onion, tomatoes, and eggplant in small cube size, 
2.  Prepare the powder as narrated above.  I always prepare this and store in air tight container.  Can be used for a month.

3. In a pan, heat oil, add the tempering ingredients one by one.  Add onion and tomatoes.
 4. Add turmeric powder and required salt.

5. When the tomatoes have turned slightly mushy, add the brinjal to that. Mix well.
6.  When everything blends together, transfer the contents to a vessel, add water, and pressure cook for 4-5 whistles. If this is done on an electric cooker, add water, close the lid, and cook until the brinjal is cooked well.

7. Once the pressure is released, add the ground powder and mix well.  Let this boil for 2-3 minutes until the powder blends with the vegetable.

8.  Serve this as an accompaniment to rice.  Can be served as an accompaniment to idly, dosa, appam, pongal too.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

BISEBELABATH – SAMBAR RICE

This is one of my signature dish which has always been a hit at home.  I prepared this as one of my friend asked me to post this recipe.  This is one of the specialty dishes of the neighborhood state, Karnataka.


I first tasted this recipe when I was in high school.   I learnt this recipe from one of my brother’s wife.  I copied the recipe in a notebook and was preserving the notes until I master myself in this recipe.  


Ingredients:
Raw rice – 1 cup
Toor dhal – 0.5 cup
Salt – as needed
Tamarind – 1 gooseberry sized (soaked in water)
Onion – 1 cup
Green peas – 1 small cup (Optional)
Mixed vegetables (Beans, Carrot, Potato) – 1 cup
Oil – as needed
Ghee – 3 tsp

To roast and grind:                                                                                             
Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
Bengal gram – 2 tsp
Urad dhal – 1 tsp
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Pepper – 1/4 tsp
Grated coconut – 1 small cup

Preparation:

1. Soak tamarind in water for 15 minutes.  It is best if this is done at first to manage the cooking time.  Tamarind paste can also be used as an alternate to this.

 2. In a pressure cooker, cook Rice+Toor dhal with little salt.  Water should be added in such a way the rice and dhal combi should be cooked slightly mushy.  I usually add 3.5 cups of water to 1 cup of raw rice.  Since I cook toor dhal along with it, I added 4.5 cups of water. 


3.  If you have a small cooker, cook the mixed vegetables adding required salt.  This is an optional step as you can also directly cook the vegetables in tamarind water, but this step would definitely bring down the cooking time.   Take care not to overcook the vegetables.  


4.  Roast the items given in the “To roast and grind” list and grind it smoothly in mixer.  Grated coconut should be added only at the last state of roasting to enhance the flavor.


5. Extract 3 cups of tamarind water from the soaked tamarind pulp.  To know how to make tamarind water; squeeze the soaked tamarind and extract the juice.  Add some more water and squeeze the tamarind pump and extract the water.  Repeat this process until no further thick juice can be extracted.  If you are using tamarind paste, add 3 cups of water to 2 tsp of paste.
6. In a wide bottomed pan, add little oil, add the small onion and green peas.  Add required salt.  After sometime, say for 5 minutes, the small onions must have become brown.  

7. Add the cooked vegetables, turmeric powder, and tamarind water.  Let it boil for sometime until the raw smell of tamarind goes off.  If you are skipping step 3, you can add the vegetables at this stage and cook the vegetables along with onion. But this process would take much time, hence I prefer to cook the vegetables separately.

8. Meanwhile, grind the roasted items into a smooth paste.  

9. Now add the paste into the boiling tamarind water.  Take care to avoid forming of lumps.  Mix well.  Let this boil for another 5 minutes.  Adjust for salt, if needed.  This would get thicker in time, so add little water if needed. 


10. Add the gravy/sambar to the cooked rice-dhal mixture.  Add few teaspoons of ghee and mix well. 


11. Yummy bisebelabath is now ready to get served with fryums/chips/pappads.