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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Butterbeans PoriyalThis BUTTER BEANS PORIYAL is very similar to my Gobi Mutter Masala, soft butter beans cooked in a spicy coconut based curry.

Butter beans are high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Did you know that half a cup of butter beans contain the same amount of protein in one egg??! The beans are packed with vitamins and minerals especially iron, magnesium, manganese and folic acid. They also contain phytochemicals,which may play a role in cardiovascular protection and cancer prevention. One of the phytochemicals in butter beans, saponin, may have antifungal, antibacterial, cancer – fighting and cholesterol – lowering effects.

Whoa am not a dietician by profession, but thanks to “Google”…Anyway, coming back to the recipe. It’s very easy to cook and it compliments well with rice, roti or even dosa and idiyappam.

Serves 3

You Will Need:

A Cup of Butter Beans, Boiled Soft
2 Medium Sized Onions, Finely Chopped
1 Large Tomato, Roughly Chopped
Some Finely Chopped Coriander Leaves
1/2 Cup of Bean Stock / Water, A Little Less or More
Salt to Taste

For Coconut Paste:

3 tbsps Grated Coconut, Fresh / Dry
1/2 tsp of Fennel Seeds
A tsp of Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp of Turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp of Chilli Powder / Store Bought (I prefer Homemade)

For Tempering:

1/4 tsp of Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp of Cumin Seeds
Few Curry Leaves
3 tbsp Oil

The Cooking:

Blend all the ingredients together along with little water / bean stock to make a smooth paste.

Heat oil in a saucepan and crackle mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Then add the onions and sauté till they turn a golden brown followed by the chopped tomatoes. Cook for 2 – 3 mins on high and add the coconut paste, stirring well to combine. Add salt and tumble in the butter beans and add the water / stock. Cook covered on low heat for 10 – 15 mins or until the excess water has evaporated.

Finally sprinkle the coriander leaves and stir.

Serve hot with roti or hot steamed rice.


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Happy Cooking!
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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Peas CurryI am EMBARRASSED to post this picture. This PEAS CURRY was our dinner last night and by the time I finished cooking it, it was close to 7. No proper lightening so No Clicking! To be honest with you this is not the curry I intended to make in the first place. I was trying out a different recipe and something went wrong. So basically the curry was the outcome of my rectification process, & I never really planned to blog about it…Until I tasted it during dinnertime. Wow, it was just delicious. And frankly in the end, that was all left for me click. My serious apologies for blogging about “Leftovers” ;)


Serves 3

You Will Need:

A Cup of Cooked Green Peas
1 Large Onions, Finely Chopped
1 Green Chilli, Crushed
3 Large Tomatoes, Roughly Chopped
3 Cloves of Garlic
3 tbsp of Cream / A Little over 1/4 Cup of Lukewarm Milk (I Use Milk)
A tsp of Red Chilli Powder
1/2 Tsp of Coriander Powder
1/2 Tsp of Cumin Powder
A tbsp of Kasuri Methi, Crushed
A tsp of Garam Masala
1/2 – 3/4 Cup of Water (I use the water in which I cook the peas)
2 tbsp of Oil
Salt to Taste

The Cooking:

Heat oil in a heavy Saucepan. Once hot sauté the onions and green chillies till the onions turn a light brown colour. Then add the tomatoes & garlic and sauté till the tomatoes become pulpy.  Take off heat and cool completely and blend it to a smooth paste.

I don’t strain the gravy, I like to have the texture and pulp in it. Add the paste to the saucepan and sauté till the gravy is cooked well and begins to lump up and come off the bottom of the saucepan. This stage is very important, as it takes off all the raw flavours of onions and tomatoes. Now add the cream / milk. If adding milk make sure you incorporate little by little and not pouring everything at once because the chances of milk separating is high.

Now add the kasuri methi, cumin powder, garam masala, coriander powder, salt and chilli powder and cook for couple of mins in medium heat. Add the peas and Pour in the water. This needs to be cooked on medium low heat till oil separates from the gravy.

Serve hot with Roti or Naan!
Happy Cooking!
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Monday, 10 June 2013

Don’t they look like crumbled chocolate cake?! Again there are a very few health food I love to munch on. Somehow healthy food and me never go hand in hand. But this RAGI PUTTU is actually my favourite & I can eat this a day long.  Its really easy to prepare and tastes so good. Ragi digest slowly, so they keep you stuffed for a longer time cutting on excess munching. If you want lose those extra lbs, then ragi is your best friend.


Finger Millet / Ragi is a highly nutritious food grain rich in calcium, protein, iron, fibre & ZERO cholesterol. You can read about the benefits of ragi HERE.

Serves 2

 You Will Need:

A Cup of Finger Millet / Ragi Powder
Little Warm Water to Mix
1/4 Cup of Freshly Grated Coconut
2 Cardamom Pods (Bruised) / 1/2 tsp of Cardamom Powder
A tbsp of Sugar, Optional (Little or More)

The Cooking:

Place the ragi powder in a bowl and sprinkle little water just to bring everything together. Take some ragi and press it hard in your palm. It should hold its shape but at the same time you should be able to crumble it. Press down the ragi and let it sit for 15 – 20 mins.

Line the idly pate with wet cloth and get your idly steamer ready heating with required water. Now when you touch the ragi it will look as though it has hardened and set. But it will still be crumbly. So take little ragi and crumble them in your palm directly on the idly plates, don’t crumble too fine. If you think it has harden too much, put it in a food processor and just pulse couple of times. Steam this for 10 mins or until the ragi is not sticky and crumbly.

Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with grated coconut,  cardamom pods and sugar and serve.

IMPORTANT POINTERS:
  • DO NOT add too much water and turn it to a paste. If so, add little ragi powder.
  • Am not good in grating coconut. So I always pulse pieces of coconut in a food process or in a mixer for few secs. So if you are planning to grate coconut like me, then pulse the coconut along with the cardamom pods.
Happy Cooking!
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Friday, 7 June 2013

The first dish I cooked without any supervision from my mom or any adults in that matter is SAMBAR! She was out and I was asked to prepare lunch for four. Back then I didn't have my mom’s sambar recipe and I followed a recipe from a random cookbook. Well, it was edible but “not sambar”!

You may think am over exaggerating, but the most flavourful “vegetarian” dish (all meat dishes are flavourful to me ;) to me is sambar. You have so many elements playing in it, so many spices. And the taste varies for every vegetable you put in it. I have always enjoyed cooking sambar, beautiful aroma coming from it and the tempering is my most favourite part. Pssst, you make ask me what’s the “Big Deal” in this, its just sambar!  Yeah, but it is to me. Sambar originates form South Indian Tamil cuisine. Its a staple in almost every house in South India. Everyone have a variation to this, and I promise no two sambar from two houses will taste the same. Even my mom’s and my granny’s.

Best Served hot with rice and this version (My Tiffin Sambar is another version of this) also compliments well with Idly / Dosa.

Serves 4

Maangai Sambar

You Will Need:

1/2 Cup of Toor Dal, Soaked for 10 – 15 mins
2 Cups of Water + Additional of 3/4 Cup to be Added Later
1/4tsp of Turmeric Powder
A tsp of Gingelly Oil
A Cup of Shallots / Sambar Vengayam
2 Medium Sized Tomatoes
2 Long Green Chillies, Broken
1 Small Carrot, Sliced
1 Drumstick, Chopped
1/4 Cup Finely Chopped Coriander Leaves, Loosely Packed
1 Raw Mango / Maangai, Quartered
1 1/2 tsp of Sambar Powder
Salt to Taste
A tbsp of Tamarind Water (Lime Sized Tamarind Soaked in 2 tbsp of Water)

For Tempering:

A tbsp of Gingelly Oil
1/2 Tsp of Mustard Seeds
1/4 tsp of Urud Dal
Few Curry Leaves
2 Dried Red Chillies, Broken
1/4 tsp of Fenugreek Powder / Fenugreek Seeds
1/4 Tsp of Hing

The Cooking:

In a pressure cooker place the toor dal, water, oil and turmeric powder. Cook on high until 2 sounds, turn off and wait till the pressure releases.

Heat in high add the other ingredients except the raw mango. If you feel the sambar is thick you can add required water. Put the lid on and cook on high till one sound. Now turn off the heat and remove the pressure weight from the cooker. let all the pressure release from the cooker. Open the lid and add the raw mango pieces. Keep the heat on medium low and cook half covered till the raw mango pieces become soft.

For tempering, heat a kadai / wok with oil. Crackle mustard seeds, urad dal, curry leaves, dried chillies, hing and fenugreek powder. Pour half of the sambar into the tadka and stir. Then pour back into the remaining sambar and mix well before transferring to a bowl.

IMPORTANT POINTERS:
  • The reason why you shouldn't add the raw mango along with all other veggies is, raw mango cook easily. When added before itself the raw mango will just melt into the sambar and all that will be left are their skins
  • Add water according to the consistency you want the sambar to be. Sambar needs to be bit thick when you serve it with rice. For idly and dosa a bit runny.

Happy Cooking!
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Thursday, 6 June 2013

I am OBSESSED with Chaat…I can have chaat as 3 meals a day for the rest of my life. And I know there are many of you out there just like me. I can finish shopping for my cloths under 30 mins but choosing a chaat from the menu takes me forever. I like every single items on their menu and its a torture to take a pick.

KHASTA KACHORI is a Rajasthan street food that are deep fried dough with a spicy lentil filling. There are lot of fillings that can go into them; coconut, sweet fillings, potato etc etc. Whenever I visit my mom’s home, my dad buys me these amazing kachoris from an “Unknown” vendor & I make sure I take down every single one of them. Whether am eating plain or dressed in dhai & chutneys, BEWARE don’t even try to take a bite from my kachoris you really don’t wanna mess with me ;) ;P !!!

Makes 10 - 15

Kachori

You Will Need:

1 1/2 Cup of Plain Flour 
1/2 Cup of Semolina / Rava
2 tbsp of Ghee / Oil
1/2 tsp of Baking Powder
Salt to Taste
Water to Knead
Oil to Deep Fry

The Filling:

1/4 cup Moong Dal, Soaked for 3 Hrs & Ground Coarsely
1/4 Cup Urad Dal, Prepared same as Moong Dal
!/4tsp of Crushed Cumin Seeds (Preferred) / Powder
1 tsp of Ginger Chilli Paste
1/2 tsp of Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp of Crushed Coriander Seeds (Preferred) / Powder
1/4 tsp of Amchur Powder / Dry mango Powder
1.4 tsp of Fennel Powder
1 tbsp of Besan
1/2 tbsp of Oil
Salt to Taste

The Cooking:

Directions For Making the Dough:

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add ghee and mix the dough to form a fine crumble. Then add required water to make a soft non – sticky dough. Let it rest for 30 mins.

Directions for Making the Filling:

Heat a pan with oil and add the crushed cumin and hing. Sauté for a min and add the ginger chilli paste, salt, besan and spice powders. Sauté these for couple of mins and tumble in the coarsely ground dals. Cook for 7 – 8 mins and take off heat.

How to Fill and Fry:

Now make balls out of the dough and flat them out with a rolling pin. Thicker than how you would roll out a puri. Add a tbsp of the lentil filling and close it by bringing the ends together. Gently press the dough to flatten it out (Slightly thick).

Heat oil to deep fry. Once hot enough carefully drop in two kachoris at a time. Don't move around as soon as you drop them, it will come to the top on its own. And when it does splash hot oil over the kachoris to help them puff up. Fry on medium low to low heat until the kachoris turn golden brown. Once golden brown fish them our and let it sit on paper towels to get rid of those excess oil.

Serve hot with Coriander Mint Chutney!
Recipe Adapted from Sailu’s Kitchen!

Happy Cooking!


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Vazhakkai Varuval is my all time favourite, Very simple and quick to cook. These compliment amazingly well with sambar rice, one of the best combinations.

Vazhakkai Varuval

Serves 2

You Will Need:

1 Large Vazhakkai / Raw Plantain, Skinned & a Little Thickly Sliced
1/4 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
Few Curry Leaves
3 – 4 Tbsp of Oil

Spice Marinade:

1 1/2 tsp of Kuzhambu Milagai Thool (Store Bought Ones Don’t do the work)
1/2 Tsp of Turmeric Powder
Salt to Taste

The Cooking:

Place the raw plantain in a plate and sprinkle salt, turmeric powder and chilli powder. If required just sprinkle little water bring everything together.

Heat oil on a pan and once hot crackle mustard seeds, fennel seeds & curry leaves. Now place the sliced plantain on a single layer and cook on medium heat till the masala is cooked and they become a dark brown colour. Don’t stir constantly, they need time to cook & the masala will come off in the oil if you keep moving them around. But flip them occasionally to make sure they get roasted evenly.

Serve Hot with rice!

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Happy Cooking!
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Wednesday, 5 June 2013

TOMATO BIRYANI is my next favourite to the other Non – Veg biryani versions. This is my Mother’s Version of tomato biryani and she prepares this very similar to how she make a chicken biryani. To me there is only 2 things you need to be careful about in preparing this, and that makes all the difference in flavour, texture and taste. ONE the way you cook the onions and tomatoes. The onions need to be in a light brown colour, so wait till they get to that stage. If you can only wait until they are pink & translucent, then you are sure to get whole slices of onions in the end and I hate that. TWO the basmati rice. I was taught by my mother to handle them like newborns, very gentle so that the long drains stay long till it reaches the serving plate. I have given the recipe for pickled onions too, well I really don’t like raita with biryani. But you can also server with raita made with chopped onions, coriander, carrots and cucumber.

I am really sorry I could not take you through a pictorial representation. When I cook this next time, I promise to post the step by step pics. 

Serves 4 - 5

Tomato Biryani1

You Will Need:

3 Cups Basmati Rice
3 tbsp Oil
3 tbsp Ghee / Clarified Butter
3 Cinnamon Sticks
4 Green Cardamom Pods
7 Cloves
2 Bay leaves
1 Star Anise
6 Large Onions, Sliced
10 Greed Chillies, Pricked
1/2 Cup of Packed Mint Leaves, Finely Chopped
A tbsp of Ginger Garlic Paste
A tsp of Red Chilli Powder, More if Needed
3/4 Cup of Thick Curd / Yogurt
8 Large Tomatoes, Chopped
1 Carrot, Sliced
3/4 Cup of Loosely Packed Coriander Leaves, Finely Chopped
Cup of Soya Chunks
4 1/2 Cups of Water (1 1/2 cups of water for every cup of basmati rice)
Required Salt
Few drops of food colour mixed in 3 tbsp milk (Optional)

Pickled Onions:

2 Large Onion, Sliced
Juice of Half a Lime
Couple of Pinches of Salt

The Cooking:

Directions For the Biryani:

Soak the basmati rice for 25 mins, strain & keep aside. Cook the soya chunks according to the instructions given in the back of the back.

In a pressure cooker, add oil and ghee. Once hot crackle the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Now add the sliced onions & chillies and sauté on high for till the onions become a very light brown colour. Now add the mint leaves and ginger garlic paste. Keep the heat medium when you add ginger garlic paste, cos they tend to stick in the bottom of the cooker. Sauté for couple of mins and add chilli powder followed by curd / yogurt.

Tomato BiryaniSauté for couple of mins and tumble in the tomatoes and coriander leaves. Stir well and add sauté. Cover and cook on medium high heat till the tomatoes are cooked. This will take around 10 mins. Stir occasionally through out to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the cooker. At this stage the gravy will look nice and red and the tomatoes appear cooked.

Pour in the water and turn the heat high. Once the it begins to boil, taste for salt & spice. It should taste a little salty and bit spicy. If its bland, add salt and spice accordingly. Once you add the rice, you can adjust anything. So once it begins to boil evenly, add the rice. DO NOT tumble all in one go. Take a handful of rice and spread them in evenly. Give one stir around the cooker making sure the rice is mixed in the gravy. Sprinkle the food colouring on top. 

Once small bubbles start to appear, put the lid on the pressure cooker and the weight. Set in on a medium burner and Turn the heat to the lowest. The trick here is when you set the heat to the lowest the pressure cooker will not release any steam which will make sure all the flavours are intact and the rice will not stick to the bottom of the cooker.

Set the alarm for 20 mins. Turn off the heat after 20 mins and let the steam be released on its own.

When you remove the lid after the steam has escaped, you can see that all the masala are layered on top with the cooked basmati rice in the bottom.This needs to be evenly mixed before serving. So take a plate or any large thing sufficient enough to take in the quantity of the biryani. Take a flat spatula and run it around the edges of the biryani making sure it reaches the bottom. Carefully invert the cooker over the plate and let the rice tumble in. Now very gently mix the rice few times so that the masala mix with the rice.

For the Pickled Onions:

Soak the sliced onions in water for 10 mins to get rid of the spice from the onions. Strain and let all the excess water drip off. Place the onions in a bowl and add salt & lime juice. Mix well and serve with the biryani.

IMPORTANT POINTERS:
  • You can also use ghee entirely or only oil.
  • Prick the chillies,so that they don’t burst when you sauté them.
  • The onions need to cook till they are a very light brown colour, but don’t make them too brown it will change the colour of the biryani in the end.
  • If the onions are not sautéed properly they will not dissolve into the biryani.
  • The yogurt / Curd must be thick but don’t use hung curd.
  • Use Country tomatoes (nattu thakkali) not the shiny hybrid ones, as they are sour in taste and are best for all types of biryanis.
  • Use good quality basmati rice. I always use India Gate Classic / Premium or Daawat Super Basmati Rice.
  • Once the basmati rice is added don’t stir too much, the long basmati rice grains will break.

Happy Cooking!
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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Ok this is one of the simplest way you can cook a potato. Just cubed par boiled potatoes pan fried till crisp. Best eaten with rice, sambar, dal, I even have this with dosa and roti.

Serves 3

Potato fry

You Will Need:

3 Medium Sized Potatoes, Skinned & Par Boiled
Some Finely Chopped Fresh Coriander Leaves
3 - 4 tbsp of oil

Spice Marinade:

A tbsp of Chilli Powder / Store Bought Red Chilli Powder
(I prefer homemade)
1/2 tsp of Turmeric Powder
1/2 Tsp of Garam Masala
1/2 Tsp of Cumin Powder
Salt to Taste

The Cooking:

Place the par boiled potatoes in a bowl and add all the spices. No need to add excess water. The water from the potatoes will help the spices to stick on, but do sprinkle a little if the potatoes are too dry.

Heat oil in a pan and tumble in the marinated potatoes. Don’t stir immediately, the spices will come off in the oil. Keep the heat medium and cook stirring occasionally till the spices are cooked and the par boiled potatoes are fully cooked through & the potatoes are a nice golden brown in the outside. Finally sprinkle the coriander leaves and stir and cook on medium cook for few mins.

IMPORTANT POINTERS:
  • You can also add cooked peas to the potatoes.

Happy Cooking!
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