Oct 30, 2006

Bitter Gourd Rings(karate poDi)

Bitter Gourd Fry

Bitter Gourd or Karela or Karate in konkani is a vegetable very bitter in taste as the name specifies. The Bitter Gourd available in India is a little more crisp and strong in flavour than the bitter melon available in the local American produce.

Some people do not like bitter gourd because of its taste. But try this recipe, you are sure to like it. Karate poDi is a traditional konkani dish prepared during any special occasions or on festivals.

2-3 bitter gourds
1 cup rice flour
1 tsp chilli powder
1 chickpea or chana size hing
salt to taste
oil to fry

Wash and rinse whole bitter gourd. Slice into rounds of 0.5 Cm's thick. You can make it very thin if you want to avoid the bitter taste totally. Sprinkle a little salt over the bitter gourd slices and set aside.

Dissolve hing in a tsp of water. Mix chilli powder, rice flour, hing and salt. Be careful with salt because you have already sprinkled a few on the bitter gourd. Add a little water and make a thick paste. Add the bitter gourd slices and mix well so that the paste is coated on the slices. Adjust water if the paste becomes too dry. Add rice flour if the paste is too thin.

Heat oil in a kadai/wok to about 300-350F temperature. Put one slice of bitter gourd and check if the oil sizzles and the slice floats in the oil. If not wait for sometime and check again. Add the slices one by one to the oil. Do not crowd the wok, the slices will stick to each other and you do not get rings separate. Turn the slices upside down and fry till both the sides get dark red colour.

If you do not prefer a little bitterness in the taste, then remove the poDi/rings from the oil before they tum brown. If you like the rings crispy throughout then fry till they are dark brown on both the sides. Drian all the oil on a paper towel.

Serve with rice and dal or as an appetizer.

You can poDis out of kantola or paagiLa in konkani, raw bananas, suran, drumsticks in the same way.

Oct 26, 2006

Mangalore Chicken Curry

Mangalore Chicken Curry with Parboiled Rice

This is one of the recipes I learnt from my Mother-in-law. She got this recipe many years back from a friend in Mangalore. This curry has no garam masala or any strong pungent flavor. The spicy and savory taste comes from freshly roasted spices and the coconut.

Here is the ingredient list
1/2 kg chicken, preferably with bones
3 medium sized onions
1/2 tsp jeera
1 coconut, shredded
3tsp oil

Ingredients for the Masala
8-12 Hot red chillies
3 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp jeera
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
5 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric
10 seeds of methi
6 peppercorns

Roast the ingredients listed for the masala in a tsp of oil. Let it cool. Grind into a smooth paste. Now chop 1 onion and grind along with the spices to a paste. Set aside.

Grind the shredded coconut and 1/2 tsp jeera into a smooth paste and keep set aside.

Remove the skin from the chicken pieces and discard the skin. Clean the chicken and keep it ready. In a saucepan add chicken, water and the ground spices and salt. Chop another onion and add to the chicken. Bring it to a boil, cover and cook on allow flame for 20 minutes.Add the coconut paste to the chicken and simmer for another 10 minutes.

Chop the remaining 1 onion finely, fry it in 1 tsp oil until golden brown and add to the chicken.

Serve with rice.

Dill Curry


Dill is a aromatic herb with a distinct smell and pungent flavour of its own kind. Dill is known as Suva bhaji or Sabsige soppu in Kannada. Dill can be used for garnishing soups, dals, sambars or rasam. A few sprigs of dill are enough to fill your sambar with its strong flavour. I was amazed when my friend Seema bought few bunches of Dill at the Indian Supermarket. This is the recipe I got from her.

Dill Curry
Dill Curry with chapati

2 bunch dill leaves
5 green chillies
1/2 tsp mustard
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp mung dal

Soak mung dal in water for 30mins. Drain the water and set aside the dal. Clean and rinse dill leaves in water. Drain the water and chop the leaves. Set aside.

Heat oil in a kadai, splutter mustard seeds, add green chillies, add mung dal and fry till it gets light dark colour. Now add dill leaves. Add very little water. Add little salt and cover the kadai. Cook on low flame. The dill leaves on cooking wilt and the quantity reduces a lot, so be careful with the amount of salt you add. Cook for 5 minutes. Put it on a high flame to evaporate all the water.

Serve with chapati. Do not worry about the little quantity of the curry that a bunch of dill yields, the curry is very aromatic and it eats like pickle.

Tofu Burji

Sometime back I bought a big packet of extra firm tofu from a warehouse club. It was at a amazingly low price compared to what I buy at supermarkets. I got 4 cubes of tofu for the price of 1. But the problem was that all 4 cubes were in the same tub and the instructions said 'once opened consume within 4-5 days. So I thought of freezing a few cubes. When I defrosted the cubes, the texture of the tofu had completely changed. It was no more silky and white. The colour turned light yellow and texture become spongy and grainy. I immediately turned to the Internet to see if it was ok to consume it. Many websites said its perfectly good to consume frozen tofu.

I did make some curry using thawed tofu, but it would break easily and crumble. So I tried making burji out of it, just like how you would do with eggs.

Tofu Burji
Tofu Burji

1 cube frozen and thawed tofu
2 whole eggs or egg whites, optional
1 onion
1 tomato
4 green chillies
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garam masala, optional
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp jeera
1 tsp oil
few sprigs cilantro/coriander leaves

Freeze the tofu cube for about a day or more. Thaw the tofu, bring it to room temperature. Squeeze out the extra water and break into crumbs. Keep aside.

Finely chop onions, tomatoes and green chillies. Heat oil in a kadai, add jeera when it splutters add curry leaves and green chillies. Add onions and fry till its translucent. Now add garam masala and turmeric powder. Add tomatoes, mix well, cover and cook on a low flame. Cook till the tomatoes get mashed and blend well into the masala. If you choose to use eggs, add eggs now. As its cooking stir well so that the eggs scramble well. When the eggs are solid and cooked add crumbled tofu. Add salt. Stir well and cook on allow flame for 5 minutes.

Garnish with cilantro/coriander leaves.

It is very important to freeze and defrost the tofu, otherwise you wont get a crumbly tofu that resembles scrambled eggs.
Frozen Tofu
Frozen Tofu

You can make Burji with only eggs or only tofu or both. I use 2 egg whites and 1 cube tofu, the eggs add the egg flavour to the burji that once wont find out there is tofu mixed with it. I like to keep my dished low in cholesterol, hence I use only the egg whites. You can use whole eggs too.

Oct 23, 2006


Tomato Rasam

My mother-in-law makes different kinds of rasams. The following is a recipe for dal rasam with tomatoes. You can make rasam with only tamarind, only tomatoes or using both. In the same recipe if you skip tuvar dal, it becomes tomato saaru.

1/4 cup tuvar dal
2 ripe tomatoes
2 tsp rasam powder
2 green chillies
1 tsp jaggery, optional
4 sprigs cilantro/coriander leaves, optional
1/2 inch cube tamarind, optional

for seasoning
1 sprig curry leaves
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp jeera
1 clove garlic, optional

Cook tuvar dal in a pressure cooker. Transfer the ingredients to a sauce pan. Chop tomatoes; Slit green chillies and add to the dal. Add salt, Bring it to a boil. Stir in the rasam powder, tamarind pulp and jaggery. Keep boiling until the tomatoes and cooked. Add chopped cilantro.

Heat oil in a kadai, splutter mustard seeds and jeera. Add finely chopped garlic fry till its golden brown, add curry leaves. Add the seasoning to the rasam.

Use any leftovers to make Vegetable Soup

Rasam Powder

Rasam Powder Ingredients
I like to try making my own Spice Mixes. By making spice powders at home I can control the hotness of the chili powder and add a little more of my favorite spice.

I got this recipe for Rasam Powder from my cousin sister Shyamala from Mysore. She gave me measures in gms and kgs. I converted them to tsp and tbsp with my own instinct. I don't know whether mine and her rasams taste the same. Mine came out good so I will stick to it. I will mention both the measures you can follow any one.

coriander seeds 1/4 kg or 10 tbsp
red chillies 1/4 kg or 15 nos
cumin seeds 25gm or 2 tsp
methi seeds 25gm or 2 tsp
mustard seeds 25gm or 2 tsp
peppercorns 25gm or 2 tsp
turmeric 25gm or 2 tsp
hing 5gm or 2 chickpea size

Dry roast all the ingredients separately. Roast the spices till they are aromatic. Spread on a plate or paper, let them cool completely. Grind all the spices to a smooth powder and store them in a jar.

Prawns Masala (sungaTa paNNa upkari)

paNNa upkari is a popular konkani side dish. Its same to like batate song, but when made with seafood, its called paNNa upkari. I donno why. It usually made very spicy and tangy with a good balance between red chillies and tamarind which are the only spice ingredients in the dish.

paNNa upkari can be made with fresh or dried prawns, small fishes or pomfrets too. Sardine paNNa upkari is the best. This time made it dried prawns.

Prawns Masala
Dried Prawns Panna upkari

The first time I had dried prawns was at my cousins place. She had made a pulav which was more like ghee rice. And the pulav was served with a prawns paNNa upakri. It was a wonderful combination. Dried prawns have a typical smell, very unpleasant to the beginners.

2 medium onions
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 inch cube tamarind
2 tsp oil
1 cup dried prawns
1 tbsp coconut, optional

Clean the dried prawns. Konkani people usually do like to remove the head and tail of the prawn. That leaves behind only a tiny amount of prawns left behind. You can leave the head and tail intact of you wish to. That will not a difference in the end result. The trimming job can take a good 1 hr hence its good to clean the prawns ahead and store.

Wash the dried prawns in water. Soak it in water for 10-15 minutes. Rub the prawns between fingers, this will wash away any sand particles in the prawns. Rinse till all the sand particles are washed away.

Soak tamarind in half a cup of water. Squeeze out the fibers and keep the pulp ready.

Heat oil in a kadai. Stir in the onions and keep frying till all the onions are turned golden brown. Its very important to get the onions fried evenly to golden brown. Do it on a low flame for a better result.

Frying onions

Add prawns and fry till they turn pink. Add coconut and fry for 5 minutes. Add red chilli powder and fry till its aromatic. Add tamarind pulp and salt. Simmer on low flame till the prawns are cooked.
The dish should not be completely dry. Keep some liquid.

Serve with plain rice or ghee rice or jeera rice.

Oct 18, 2006


My mom cooks only Konkani cuisine. Hence Dalitoy was the only Dal I knew until I started eating out. I tried making varieties of North Indian or Punjabi dals but I haven't mastered any so far. This is a version of Dal I learnt from a good friend of mine, Seema. The garlic and hing in this Dal takes all the credit for the taste.

1 cup tuvar dal
1/4 tsp turmeric
4 green chilies
1 sprig curry leaves
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp jeera
4 cloves garlic
4-5 sprig cilantro/coriander leaves
pinch of hing powder

Cook tuvar dal in a pressure cooker, see to it that the dal does not get mashed. Transfer the cooked dal to a sauce pan, add turmeric and salt. Add water and bring to the desired consistency. Bring to a boil.

Finely chop green chilies, garlic and cilantro. For the seasoning, heat 2 tsp of oil, splutter mustard seeds, jeera. Add green chilies and fry until it is cooked. Add garlic and fry until it is golden brown. Add curry leaves and stir. Add hing powder to the oil, fry till its aromatic. Add it to the dal.

Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves.

Serve with plain rice, Ghee Rice or Jeera rice

Make a vegetable soup out of any leftovers

Oct 17, 2006

Carrot Kosumbari

Carrot Kosumbari

Kosumbari is a traditional salad made out of raw veggies. Sometimes they do have a seasoning, just to perk up the taste. I learnt this from my sister. The first time I had it I was amazed, the lemon and the seasoning really gives a different taste to carrots.

2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp oil
pinch of mustard, urad dal, jeera
1 green chilli
1 sprig curry leaves
1 tbsp shredded coconut, optional
2-3 sprigs cilantro/coriander leaves
juice of lime

Wash, peel and grate the carrots. Finely chop green chillies. Heat oil, splutter mustard seeds, jeera, add urad dal. Add green chillies and fry till its cooked. Add curry leaves. Add the seasoning to the carrots. Squeeze a juice of lime/lemon. Add salt and mix thoroughly. Garnish with coconut and cilantro

You can substitute carrots with beetroots too. Use it raw or just microwave or steam cook it before using.

Corn Mixture

Corn Chuda
Corn mixture

Corn Mixture is very easy to prepare from the scratch at home. Yes It tastes as good as the one you buy from the bakery. I learnt to make Corn Mixture from my close friend Seema.

The main ingredient you will need is Raw Corn poha. It is available in most of the Indian stores, usually kept next to the poha and murmura. It looks like poha but little tougher and yellow as shown in the picture here.

Raw Corn poha
Corn poha before frying

200 gm corn poha
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 sprig curry leaves, optional
2-3 tsp groundnut, optional
1 tsp cashew, optional
1 tsp raisins, optional
oil for frying

Mix red chili powder, salt and sugar in a small cup and set aside.

Heat oil in a deep fry wok. If you use deep fry thermometer, bring it to 300-350F or 150-175C. Add a few corn poha and see if it puffs up and remain crisp. You can eat a few and test that they are fully fried and crispy throughout. If the oil isn't hot enough, the poha remains hard inside and also it absorbs more oil.

Now add a handful of poha into the oil. Add only a little, they puff up and occupy a large area on the oil surface. Do not crowd the oil by adding too much of poha at a time. Remove the poha from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle the chili-salt-sugar mixture on top of the hot poha. Continue frying another batch of poha and do the same until you are done with all the poha.

If using raw nuts, take a tsp of hot oil in a small wok, roast the nuts and add it to the poha. In the same oil roast curry leaves until it is crispy, drain on a paper towel and add to the poha. Add raisins. Mix well.

Let it cool. Store in a air tight container.

Bean Soup (Sarupkari)

Sarupkari is a kind of dal made by the konkani people. Unlike other dals, dried beans are used here rather than the dals/lentils. The name sarupkari comes from saaru i.e the liquid dish and and upkari i.e palya/stir fry. So sarupkari is two in one. One can make sarupkari out of any kind of dried beans.

I often make with black beans, rajma, red beans, kidney beans, white beans, whole tuvar or togari in kannada, black eyed peas or green beans/mung beans.

Black Eyed Peas Sarupkari
Black eyed peas Sarupkari

3/4 cups any dried beans of your choice
1 potato, optional
7-8 cloves of garlic
3-4 dried red chilies
2 green chillies, optional

Soak beans overnight or for 12 hrs. It is very important to soak beans. It cooks faster, becomes more tastier and also soaking removes flatulence from the beans. Rinse the soaked beans in water 2 times and drain. Add enough water so that beans are covered. Add diced potatoes. Cook the beans in a pressure cooker. Cook until the beans are well cooked. Its better if the beans are broken and looks a little mashed. This brings some thickness to the sauce. Now transfer the cooked beans to a sauce pan, add salt and slit green chilies. Boil for 5 minutes.

For the seasoning heat a tsp of oil, fry crushed garlic cloves until golden brown. Switch off the flame and add broken red chilies. Fry for a minute and add to the beans. Bring it to a boil and switch off the flame and cover the pot.

Serve with rice.

If you do not develop a taste for the sarupkari with rice, you can simply savor on the sarupakri like a bean soup.

Make a Vegetable Soup out of any leftovers

Oct 16, 2006

Onion Tomato Dosa

Onion Tomato Dosa is one of those wonderful things I learnt from my Mom-in-law, MIL for short. My MIL has lots of wonderful ideas to make rejuvenate leftovers. By leftovers I do not mean old and stale things that have been lying in the fridge for days, just the things that are left after the previous meal.

Onion Tomato Dosa

To make Onion Tomato Dosa, the dosa batter is same as the Idli batter. So every time I grind for the Idli, I make a little more batter and use it for the Onion Tomato dosa the next day.
1/2 cup urad dal
1 cup Idli rava
3 onion
3 tomato
1 bunch coriander leaves/cilantro
5 green chilies
pinch of hing

Soak urad dal for 3-4 hrs. Wash and drain the soaked dal, grind to a smooth paste. Transfer the paste to a big vessel. Clean the grinder with 1 cup water and soak idli rava in that water. You may use clean water too. I just like to catch any tiny bit of urad paste left in nooks and crannies of the grinder. Soak Idli rava for an hour. Mix thoroughly Idli rava and salt with the urad paste. Keep overnight or for 8-12 hrs in a warm place.

The batter will raise to double due to fermentation. Now finely chop onion, tomato, green chilies, cilantro and add to the batter. Dissolve hing in a tsp of water and add. The batter should be a little thinner than the Idli batter.

To make Dosas, heat a griddle or iron skillet. Drop a tsp of oil and spread a big spoonful of the dosa batter. Let it cook on low flame. Cover the dosa. When the upper surface looks cooked, i.e. there should not be any raw batter on the surface, now turn the dosa upside down and roast the other side.

Serve with Sambarand chutney.

Oct 13, 2006

Avocado and Guacamole

Guacamole served with tortilla chips

Avocado/butter fruit or beNNe haNNu in Kannada is a dark/bright green fruit which softens when ripe. It has a big hard seed inside and a soft light green pulp. The pulp is very creamy and hence the name butter fruit. My friend who is from Coorg/Madikeri used to get a lot of these fruits to my hostel during the college days. We didn't knew any recipes out of it then. We used to squeeze the pulp out, mix sugar and eat it for dessert. Now I have 2 recipes.

Heath benefits : As quoted in Wikipedia 'the fruit does have a markedly higher fat content than most other fruits, most of the fat in avocados is mono-unsaturated fat, which is considered healthy in the human diet. A whole medium avocado contains approximately 25% of the recommended daily amount of saturated fat. Avocados also have 60% more potassium than bananas. They are also rich in B vitamins, as well as vitamin E and K'. Also see WhFoods for more info.

This is the most easiest way to relish an avocado. Mash the pulp with the back of the spoon and mix it with sugar and simply eat it. Delicious! Its like mixing homemade butter with sugar.Yummy..

The second recipe is a spicy chutney that can be used as a dip for chips or as a spread for sandwich. I even like to eat it with chapati. Yes I am talking about Guacamole. This is a very popular Mexican chutney. There are many different recipes for this chutney on the Internet. I tried & tested this one.
Guacamole served with Chips

1 avocado, mashed
1/2 tsp freshly crushed jeera
1-2 green chillies
1/4 bunch cilantro/coriander leaves
1-2 cloves garlic
juice of 1 lime
1/2 onion, optional

Finely chop green chillies, cilantro. Mince the garlic. Coarsely crush the jeera. Alternately you may also coarsely grind the green chillies, garlic, jeera and cilantro in the mixer/food processor, but not necessary.
Mix in some finely chopped onion. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly along with the mashed avocado pulp. Adjust salt. Squeeze juice of 1 lime and mix. Keep it closed, it may get dark colored if exposed to air for long. To avoid this add few drops of lime juice on the top, this helps to preserve the bright green color.Let it rest for 2 hrs in the fridge.
Serve with chips or as a spread for sandwich or chapati or Dosa

I watch a lot of cooking shows. This is how I learnt to open an avocado without any hassle.

Opening the AvocadoMake a vertical slit around the pit of the avocado.

Opening the AvocadoTwist the two hemispheres and open it.

Opening the AvocadoHit the knife into the seed and pop it out. Discard the pit.

Opening the AvocadoWith a small knife make vertical and horizontal slits on the pulp. Scoop up the pulp with a spoon.
Transfer into a bowl and mash with the back of a fork.
You can retain the shells and serve the avocado dishes right on the shells.

Oct 12, 2006

Roasted Garlic Vegetable Soup

Vegetable Soup
Soups are the best ways to eat variety of good fresh healthy vegetables. I often make soups from the scratch at home. The base for my soups are usually leftover dal's or any cooked bean. I always have frozen corn and peas in the freezer. Corn kernels and peas are very high in fiber and easily blend in in any soup. But you can make soups without corn, peas, cooked beans and dals too.

2 tbsp corn kernels, frozen or fresh
2 tbsp tender peas, frozen or fresh
1/2 cup carrot, diced
6-7 cauliflower florets
1/2 capsicum, diced
pinch of dried or fresh herbs- basil, oregano, parsley- all or any
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1/2 tsp pepper flakes or red chillies broken
2 tbsp leftover dal or any cooked beans, optional

Boil 1 cup water and cook carrots. When they are tender add corn, peas, cauliflower, capsicum and bring it to a boil. Add the herbs, Chop them if fresh. If using dried herbs just rub/crush them between your palms to release flavour.
If you wish to add left over dals or cooked beans, remove any chillies or curry leaves and add them to the soup. Add salt to taste. You can use garlic salt or any other flavoured salt of your choice instead.

Season the soup with roasted garlic and pepper flakes. For this heat very little oil, just enough to fry the garlic till light golden colour. Switch off the flame and stir in the pepper flakes in the oil. Add the seasoning to the soup.

If you do not wish to fry the garlic, you may add it to the soup without roasting. But roasted garlic gives good flavour to the soup.

Serve with croutons on top.

Oct 11, 2006

KoLambo (Sambar)

Every household in South India has its version of Sambar. The Sambar in the Fast food Darshinis of Bangalore greatly differs from the Sambar in Chennai. My version of sambar called koLambo(konkani name)is made in the Konkani households in Mangalore. It tastes more closer to the Chennai Sambar.

Most of the households make Sambar powder in a large volume and store. But in the konkani households Sambar is made from the scratch each time by frying spices in oil. Believe me, its not tough to make it from the scratch every time. You get a yummy Sambar.

Here is how I learnt to make Sambar from my Mom.

Here is the ingredients list
2 cups of Mixed vegetables of your choice. Below is the list if veggies I usually use
6-7 Drumsticks pieces(not chicken drumsticks!)
1 Potato
1 Egg plant
1 Carrot
10-12 French beans
1/2 Onions
6-7 Cauliflower florets
2 Tomatoes- this is a must

Spices for Sambar Masala
2 tsp urad dal
1 tsp corainder seeds
1/2 tsp Jeera
1/8 tsp or a pinch of methi seeds
4-5 peppercorns
1/2 inch turmeric root or 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
5 hot red chillies
2 mild byadagi chillies, optional- this gives dark red colour
1 chick pea sized hing

For seasoning
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
2 tbsp chopped cilantro, optional

Cook 1/2 cup tuvar dal in the pressure cooker.
Soak 1 inch cube size tamarind in water.

Make the Sambar masala by roasting spices in oil.
Heat 2 tsp of oil in a round bottomed kadai. You can use the small wok or your seasoning pan/spoon. Add urad dal and fry, when it gets light golden brown add coriander seeds. Fry for a minute, when it gets little darker add jeera, methi, peppercorns and turmeric. Fry for 30 seconds, switch off the flame. Add red chillies and hing, keep frying for a minute. Let it cool.

Grind the roasted spices along with tamarind into a smooth paste.

Chop a variety of vegetables of your choice. I always use tomato. Tomato gives a good taste, helps to bring out the sour-tangy taste in the Sambar. Cook the vegetables in water except cauliflower. Cauliflower takes less time to cook, so add it at the end. When the vegetables are tender add cooked dal and the sambar paste. Add salt. Bring it to a boil. If you are using cauliflower add them now.Continue boiling for another 3-5 minutes.

Make a seasoning of mustard seeds and curry leaves and add to the Sambar. Sprinkle cilantro on top.

Serve with plain rice or Idli

Idli with Sambar

idli Sambar
Idli is one of my favorite breakfast. Idli served with a zesty Chutney and Sambar makes a perfect breakfast. When I had just started cooking I thought Idli was very tedious job. But once I had made it, I realized its not tough as I thought. Its not so tough to get a agreeable result, but making a perfect soft Idli is really a talent that can only be achieved through experience.

To make Idli you need
1 cup Urad dal
2-2.5 cups Idli rava/rice rava

Soak urad dal for 4 hours. After 4 hrs wash the urad dal 2-3 times and drain water. Grind it into a smooth paste. Do not add more water. You want it to be as thick as you can. It is important that you do not over heat the paste when grinding. Use cold ice water if your grinder/mixer/blender becomes overheated.

Soak Idli rava with just enough water for the rava to soak. You can soak rava upto 2 hrs. You can mix the rava without soaking too. But soaking the rava makes idli softer. I use the water from cleaning the grinder after grinding the urad dal to soak Idli rava, so that any tiny bit of urad paste is not lost.

Mix the soaked Idli rava and urad paste in a big vessel, preferably more than double the size of the total volume of the batter. Add 1 tsp salt and mix well.

Keep the batter in a warm place. During the winter I keep the batter in the oven. I have a gas range, the oven beneath is always warm. If your oven isn't warm just preheat the oven to 100 deg F and switch off before you place the batter.

Let the batter stand for 8 hrs. By this time the batter will be fermented and raised to double. Mix the batter gently. Do not over beat it.

To make Idli's - You can grease the Idli moulds with a tiny drop of oil. Keep water in a big vessel with a fitted lid and a tiny opening for the steam to escape. Pour a spoonfuls of batter into the Idli moulds. Place the lid and steam the idli's for 15- 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Serve with Sambar or Chutney or both.

Oct 10, 2006

Vegetable Tandoori

Vegetable Tandoori

You can choose different vegetables of your choice to make Vegetable Tandoori. I used firm tofu, mushrooms, green and red bell peppers, potato and cauliflower. You can even use onions, zucchini, egg plants and other vegetables of your choice.

16 ounce water packed firm tofu
10-15 cauliflower florets
1 red and green bell peppers
10-12 mushrooms
1 big potato

Drain water from tofu, cut into 16 cubes. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Arrange the cubes in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes. The tofu will release water and turn light golden.

Dice potatoes into 1 inch into cubes. Boil water in a big sauce pan. Drop potatoes into the boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes. Remove the potatoes and plunge into cold water containing ice cubes to stop the cooking process.

Separate cauliflower into big florets. Drop them into boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove the florets and plunge into cold water containing ice cubes to stop the cooking process.

Now to make the tandoori marinade mix in the following ingredients in a bowl.
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp oil
1/2 cup yogurt
1/4 cup vinegar or lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
whisk in all the ingredients in a bowl.

Now mix the prepared vegetables, mushrooms and the marinade. Marinate for 8-12 hours in the refrigerator. I did not marinade the bell peppers.

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for 2 hrs. Dice bell peppers and onions into 1 inch cubes. When ready to make tandoori, thread in the vegetables and two skewers. Using 2 skewers just gives more control over the veggies when turning on the grill. The veggies tend to dance around the skewer if only one is used.

When you are done with threading all the veggies onto the skewer, prepare the grill. I do not have a grill, so I used the broiler beneath the oven on my gas stove range. Place the skewers on the grill and spray with cooking oil. Grill for 5 minutes on each side and continue till the veggies get crispy.

Serve with a wedge of lemon on the side.

Instead of making the marinate at home you can buy Shaan Tandoori Chicken BBQ masala and follow the instructions on the the packet. I have tried making Chicken tandoori with the Shaan mix, its yummy. This time I did not have enough of the Shaan tandoori mix at home, so I made the marinade of my own and added 1 tsp of tandoori mix too. Thats how I got the deep red colour on my tandoori.

Cabbage Pakora(Cabbaga ambaDo)

Cabbage Pakora

3-4 cups chopped cabbage
1-2 cups chopped onions
2 tsp coarsely crushed coriander seeds
7-8 finely chopped green chillies
2 tsp red chilli powder
oil for frying.

Chop cabbage and rinse it with cold water. Shake it and let all the water drain. Corasely crush the coriander seeds. Its enough if you manage to break all the seeds into two. Do not use coriander powder. I use a mortar and pestle. Mix cabbage, onions, crushed coriander seeds, chopped green chillies and salt. Keep this mixture ready.

To the cabbage-onion mix, add 1-2 cup besan and red chilli powder and mix. Add little water and mix thoroughly. It should just form a lump. Try to add less and just enough water such that when you take a tablespoon of the mix and make a ball it holds the shape.

Heat oil in a wok/kadai. Heat it till it reaches 300-350F. Make small balls out of the mix and add it to the hot oil. Fry for 5mins till the raw besan on the upper side gets little darker. Turn the pakoras upside down and fry for another 5mins. Keep turning upside down till the pakoras turn golden brown. Remove the pakoras from the oil and drain excess oil on a paper towel. Serve with Ketchup.

I do keep the cabbage-onion mixture in a separate bowl and mix the cabbage-onion mixture to the besan before frying each batch of pakora. This keeps the batter tough and helps the pakoras to hold the shape. If you are making a large quantities of pakora, the batter just keeps becoming thin by the time you are done frying with 2-3 batches.

My friends do like this pakora a lot. A medium sized cabbage hardly satisfies 4 people!

Oct 7, 2006

Konkani Dal (daLitoy)

Konkani Dal

Dalitoy is a konkani daal. No konkani meal is complete without Dalitoy. Its been hailed as the Kuladeva of The Konkanis. The best Dalitoy comes from the Gowda Saraswat Brahmin or the konkani temples surrounding Mangalore. The meals are fed on the banana leaves and the devotees savour on just the Dalitoy.

1 cup Tuvar Dal
4 green chilies
4 red chilies
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 sprig curry leaves
chick pea sized hing
salt to taste

Boil Tuvar Dal in a pressure cooker. Do not worry if the dal gets mashed totally. Transfer the cooked dal to a sauce pan and Bring it to a boil. Add slit green chilies and salt. Keep it on low flame, Let it boil till the hotness of the chilies is tasted in the dal. Taste the dal and adjust salt. For the seasoning, heat 1 tsp of oil, add mustard seeds. When the splutter, Switch of the flame, immediately add broken red chilies and curry leaves. Let the curry leaves impart the flavor in the oil. Take care not to burn the red chilies. Add it to the boiling dal. You can pour a spoonful of dal to the pan that contained the seasoning and add it again to the saucepan, thereby cleaning the seasoning pan. This makes a huge sizzle, so be careful . Dissolve hing in a tsp of water and add it to the dal.

Do not add hing to the seasoning. Do not add cilantro/coriander leaves either. The traditional konkani Dal, daLitoy does not have cilantro or turmeric in it.

Dalitoy can be thick or thin. Each of it has a huge fan base and konkani people often enjoy debating how the dalitoy should be made. The consistency of the dal is purely your choice. Thick Dalitoy is called daaT daaLitoy in konkani which abbreviated as D.D.T for fun.

Oct 4, 2006

Kuleeth dosa (kuleetha ramnaN)

Kuleeth or kulthi, also called Horse gram in english is a legume. It looks like whole masoor or brown lentil. Kuleeth was the staple food fed for horses in India, and hence its English name. The cooked kuleeth was fed to horses and the liquid after cooking kuleeth was drained, used to make saar. I will post this recipe some other day.

Kuleeth or Horse gram

This recipe for Kuleeth Dosa, called kuleetha ramnaN in konkani, is from the authentic Konkani Cookbook, "Oota Upahara" published in Kannada and "amgele kaaNa jevaN" in konkani by Jaya V Shenoy. The book has been around nearly past 20 years and is a popular cookbook in the Mangalorean Konkani households.

1 cup kuleeth/horse gram
1 cup urad dal
1.5 cup rice/idli rava

To make the batter
Soak kuleeth and urad together. If using rice, soak it separately. Soak time approx 2 hrs. Rinse and clean the above. Grind kuleeth and urad to a smooth paste. Grind rice coarsely to the consistency of idli rava. Batter should be of idli batter consistency. Mix all the batter and add salt. (If using idli rava mix it with kuleeth and urad batter now). The batter can be used immediately, does not need to be fermented.

Now to make ramnaN. ramnaN can be made in 2 different ways

You can steam cook the batter like idli. Traditionally its cooked in a round metal plate with 1 inch depth like the cake tins/dokla stand called vaTTe in konkani

Kuleeth Dosa
Kuleeth dosa or kuleetha ramnaN

The other way to make is in a round bottomed wok or kadai. Heat 1 tsp of oil in a kadai and splutter a few mustard seeds. Add 2 serving spoonfuls of batter. Place the lid and cook on low flame till the bottom side gets crispy and brown and upper side is cooked. You can turn the ramnaN and roast other side. This turns out like Idli hidden inside a crispy Dosa!

Serve with Sambar or Rasam or Chutney.

Check out the recipe for Kuleeth Saaru and Stir Fry

Oct 2, 2006

Flax Seeds

Whole Flax seeds
Whole Flax seeds

Flax Seeds are high in Omega3 Fatty acids. Whole Flax seeds are not digested and hence you need to grind it to be consumed. The ground flax seed becomes oxidized if kept exposed to air for long time. So it should be ground freshly at home. You can use a coffee grinder or the chutney jar of the mixer to grind it. It lasts upto 30 days when stored in an air tight jar.

Ground Flax seeds
Ground flax seeds

Ways to eat ground flax seed
You can mix the ground flax seed with your breakfast cereal, oat meal or even in milk. You will hardly notice its taste. I tried mixing a tablespoon of ground flax seed in the atta to make chapati. The chapati comes out very soft.

Flax seed chapathi
Flax seed chapati with gherkins

You can find more flax seed recipes here
Indian recipes with Flax Seed
Baking with Flax Seed

Apple and Avocado Fruit Salsa

Fruit Salsa

You need
1 apple, variety of your choice
1 avocado
10-15 grapes
1 lime/lemon
1 jalapeno pepper
3 sprig cilantro
3 onions, could be green onion or any other

Wash and core the apple. Slice into small bite size pieces. Chop onion, jalapeno and cilantro.

Cut avocado into pieces. Here is an easy and clean way to chop avocados. Slit avocado along the center line of the avocado i.e all around the pit. Turn or twist the 2 halves in different directions. The upper half just pops out, leaving the pit in the lower one. With a single stroke beat your knife into the pit and twist it. The pit comes out with your knife. Now with a small knife make vertical and horizontal cuts on the pulp of the avocado when it is still inside the shell. Do not cut the shell. Spoon out the pulp, the small pieces fall out.

In a bowl mix chopped apple, avocado, grapes, onions, jalapeno and cilantro. Squeeze the juice of a lemon, add a pinch of salt. Fruit salsa is ready to be served. This recipe serves 2 people