Sep 22, 2015

Tomato peanut Saaru

I always thought the Karnataka Saaru was something similar to our sambar, but with a slight variation in spices. Then I chanced upon a recipe for it, and found it was something entirely different. With tomatoes, garlic and peanuts, you can rarely go wrong, so I had to try it out. And it was lipsmackingly good. Next time, I'll try it with dosas. 

4 medium tomatoes
1/3 cup peanuts
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp jeera seeds
4- 6 garlic pods
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tsp sambar powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil

Blanche the tomatoes, peel and blend till you get a smooth paste. Keep aside. 
Roast the peanuts, coarsly grind and keep aside. 
Heat the oil, splutter the mustard seeds and jeera seeds. Add garlic (chopped), curry leaves, and light fry. 
Add tomato paste, haldi powder, chilli powder, sambar powder, ground peanuts and salt. Bring to a boil, and let it simmer for 5 minutes. 
Serve piping hot. 

Sep 14, 2015


Raw banana pakoras

When we moved to our new place, we inherited a banana plant, which promptly gave us a flower which developed into a few bunches of fruit. Unfortunate, we have no idea about harvesting bananas, and left the fruits on the tree to ripen. For a month and more, we waited, till I saw them starting to rot at the tips. I got the fruits in but still have no idea how to ripen them. So raw banana it is, and a fine vegetable it makes!

3 raw bananas
Green chilli paste to taste
Ginger garlic paste to taste
1/2 tsp haldi powder
Salt to taste
3 tbsp besan
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Pressure cook the raw bananas for 20 minutes after the first whistle. Remove the peel, mash and keep aside
Add green chilli paste, haldi powder and salt, and mix well. Roll into balls and flatten slightly. 
Make a batter with besan, salt and water
Heat the oil (to a temperature where a blob of batter rises slowly to the top). Dip the flattened balls in batter, and deep fry till golden on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels. 
Serve hot with tomato ketchup or mint chutney. 

Sep 11, 2015

Ragi pakora

Ragi is a healthy alternative to the regular cereals, but sometimes you want to attempt something other than the steamed stuff. I was pretty amused to find a recipe for deep fried ragi pakodas- seems almost a contradiction in terms- but they were absolutely amazing.

1 cup ragi flour
1/2 cups besan
12 large florets cauliflower
1 tsp pepper powder
2 sprig curry leaves
1 tbsp chopped cashew nuts
1 tsp sesame seeds
Salt to taste 
Oil for frying

Mix the dry ingredients well. Add water to make a partially loose batter (similar to idlis batter)
Cut the curry leaves into small pieces
Separate the florets into bite sized pieces
Add curry leaves, cashew nut and sesame seeds to the batter and mix  well. 
Heat the oil. Dip the florets in the batter and fry in the oil, turning around once so both sides are browned. 
Serve hot with a curd based dip. 

Sep 10, 2015

Besan halwa

I've always loved besan halwa, and when this one came with the additional tag of being good for a cold, I had to try it. Not sure of the effectiveness, but definitely high on taste.
For each serving:
3 tbsp besan
4 tsp ghee
2 tsp sugar
1/2 cup water
Almonds for garnish 

Heat the ghee, add besan and on a low flame, roast till lightly browned. 
Heat the water and make a syrup with the sugar. 
Add sugar syrup to the roasted besan and mix well. Turn off the flame 
Serve, garnished with chopped almonds

Dal baati

Anyone who know me I love authentic food from virtually any part of India, and when I saw a picture of the Rajasthani dal baati, I was immediately transported back to a thali lunch I had with my mother at Rajdhani. With so many available dishes, I didn't enjoy it as much that day as I should have, but more than made up for it when I cooked it myself.

For the dal:
1/4 cup moong dal (dhuli)
1/4 cup toor dal
1/4 cup chana dal
1/8 cup urad dal (dhuli)
1/8 cup green moong dal
1/2 tsp haldi powder
Salt to taste

For tempering of dal:
2-3 clove
2 bay leaves
1 green cardamon
1 inch piece cinnamon
1 tsp jeera
A pinch of hing
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 green chilli, chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp ghee

For Baati:
2 cups wholewheat flour
1 cup rawa
1/4 tsp ajwain
1/3 cup ghee
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

For dal:
Soak the dals for 2-3 hours to soften it.
Pressure cook the dals with salt and haldi powder for 20 minutes after the first whistle (or cook on an open flame, till soft).
Heat the ghee, add hing, bay leaves, connamon, cloves, jeera and let it splutter till jeera turns dark. Add chopped chillis and ginger and saute on low heat for a minute. Add chilli powder, and pour the ghee over the dal.
Cover the dal and let the flavours infuse. Bring to boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.

For baati:
Mix the dry ingredients well. And ghee and mix till crumbly. Add a little water, and knead to form a tight dough. Cover with a cloth and let it stand for 1 hour.
Make lemon sized balls, flatten slightly and make a depression in the centre.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Lightly grease a baking tray, and bake for 15-20 minutes till golden.
Flip and bake the other side.

To eat, break the baatis in half, pour ghee over them, and have with dal.

Sep 9, 2015

Cheesy brown rice with vegetables

The hubby was away for the day, and I knew the kids wouldn't want to have bhindi. So I rustled up this fried rice, and served it with fried papad.

2 bell peppers (one red, one yellow)
3 pods garlic, chopped
1/2 cup peas
1 1/2 cups brown rice
3 tbsp cheese
1 tsp butter
Salt to taste

Soak the brown rice for 1 hour and cook it with sufficient salt, till done. Drain water and keep aside.
Add grated cheese to the rice, and mix well.
Heat the butter, add garlic and saute till browned. Add chopped bell peppers and saute for 1 minute. Add peas, and saute for an additional minute.
Pour the fried vegetables over the cooked rice, and mix well.
One dish meal complete!

Sep 7, 2015

Ragi korakattai

I'm trying to mix up the cereals in our diet, and my new favourite is ragi flour. These steamed dumplings are similar to the savoury korakattai made with rice flour, and I absolutely love them because they can be rustled up in a jiffy and taste really good. 
I use only half the indicated quantity of jaggery, but this is the original recipe. 

1 cup ragi flour
1/2 cup grated coconut 
1/2 cup grated jaggery
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp water

Mix the dry ingredients together (keeping aside 1 tbsp coconut), add water gradually to make a firm dough. 
Roll into lemon sized balls and press into an oval shape. 
Steam in a steaming plate or an idli maker for 10 minutes. 
Garnish with coconut and sugar before serving. 

Sep 3, 2015

Kabuli chana with aloo tikki

I adapted the recipe I used to make a rich paneer dish, to make kabuki channa, and it tasted as yummy as the paneer dish. The leftover I had with aloo tikki, and felt I was in gastronomical heaven.

250 gms kabuki channa, soaked for 6 hours
1 bay leaf
1 inch piece cinnamon
1 badi elaichi
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1 tsp dhania powder
1/2 tsp amchur powder
1 tsp kasoori methi
Salt to taste
A pinch of nutmeg 

For gravy:
4 tomatoes, chopped
2 onions chopped
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 cup water

Pressure cook the kabuki channa with the dry spices till soft. Keep aside 
Pressure cook the ingredients listed under gravy for 20 minutes on sim after the first whistle (I cooked the channa and the gravy at the same time). Cool and grind to a fine past 
Heat oil, add bay leaves, and sauté for a minute or two
Add paste, and dry spices, and sauté on a low flame till the oil starts leaving the sides
Add cooked channa, kasoori methi, salt and cook for 5 minutes
Serve with parathas or roti. 

Sep 2, 2015

Oil free karela

Karela always uses a lot of oil, so when I saw a version of karela which didn't use any oil, I was tempted to try it out. It tasted really good, though the kids refused to eat it on principle. 
250 gms karela
2 tbsp salt
For stuffing:
2 tbsp besan 
2 tbsp grated coconut
1 tsp jaggery, grated
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp amchur powder
1/2 tsp haldi powder
1/2 tsp rock salt/ regular salt

Scrape the skin off the karela, make a longitudinal slit and remove the seeds. Coat with the salt and keep aside for 15 minutes. Squeeze the karela slightly, and scrape off the salt. 
Mix the ingredients listed under 'for stuffing' well, and stuff into the karela. If there is a bit left over, rub it on the outer surface. 
Place the stuffed karela carefully on a steaming plate, making sure the slit end is facing upwards. Steam for 10 minutes till done. 

Soya rose halwa

Many moons back, I had made a protein rich vegan dessert which we all loved. Today, I made the soya-rose halwa again, and liked it just as much.