Friday, February 12, 2010

Godi Tari Uppma - Broken Wheat Savoury Cereal



My husband's uncle once mentioned that they used to cook wheat and rice together(they had named it as whrice!!)during war time, when there was shortage of rice. Hence my mother-in-law who was already used to eating wheat, did not find it difficult to adjust to broken wheat as a substitute to rice, when she was diagnosed as a diabetic.
The wheat "rice" has a chewy and flat taste and it is capable of subduing the taste of even the spiciest of kozhambus. Pongal made out of it ends up as a gooey lump. "Curd rice" made with broken wheat is a good dish. But broken wheat uppma is the family's favourite.

Broken wheat - 1 glass

Tamarind - one plum size (soak in 1/4 cup of warm water and extract juice)
Salt - 1.5 tsp
Turmeric powder -1 pinch
Mustard seeds -1/4 tsp
Split black gram dal - 1 tsp
Split bengal gram dal - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Coriander leaves - a few
Onion- 1 small (Chopped finely)
Carrot -1 (chopped)
Cauli flower (broken into small florets) - 1 tbsp
Green chillies - 2 ( chopped)
Fresh ginger - 1" piece (grated)
Tomato - 1 (Chopped)
Boiled Green peas or frozen peas - 1/2 cup
Cooking oil - 2 tbsps

1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan and roast the broken wheat until the grains pop up(most of the grains become white in colour) giving out a pleasant aroma.Remove it onto a plate.
2. Heat he remaining oil in the same vessel add mustard seeds.

3. When mustard seeds splutter, add asafoetida and the dals and roast till golden in colour.
4. Add the finely chopped onion and fry till brown and crisp .
5. Add chopped green chillies , grated ginger, turmeric powder and curry leaves.
6. Add all the chopped vegetables (except tomato and peas) and saute for three minutes, add 1/4 cup of water and cover and cook till the water is absorbed.
7. Add 2.5 cups of water, salt, tamarind extract, chopped tomatoes and peas into the vessel with the seasoning, and bring it to a boil.
8. Add the roasted broken wheat and stir well.
9. When the whole mixture starts boiling decrease flame and cook on low fire, covering the vessel with a lid.
10. Open and stir after ten minutes, cover and cook for ten more minutes and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Relish the hot godi tari uppma with a scoop of thick and cool curd.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Pachai Milagai Tokku - Green Chilly Pickle


Urugais and Tokkus (Pickles) are an integral part of a South Indian kitchen. Most of the pickles are prepared in large scale during the season with the seasonal ingredients and stored for the whole year. Pachai milagai or green chilly is a widely used every day ingredient in almost all homes and a tokku using the same can be prepared whenever desired.
We recently got to taste this delicious tokku at a dinner party at our cousin's home at Sydney. My daughter fell head over heels in love with this spicy tokku and we not only brought back some tokku, but also jotted down the recipe from our cousin's mother who had prepared the same.
My daughter has prepared this tokku giving it a few of her own touches and we are happily relishing it with ever meal.
Green chillies - 250 gms (We have used a long green chilli variety that we found in Sydney. It is not as hot as the typical Indian chillies, but nevertheless packs in quite a punch !)
Corriander leaves - 2 or 3 stalks
Tamarind - one small ball the size of a lime
Salt - 2 tbsps
Til (Sesame) oil - 1/2 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Taurmeric powder - 1 pinch
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Powdered jaggery - 1 level tsp

METHOD1. Clean the coriander and green chillies.
2. Soak tamarind till soft in little water.
3. Grind green chillies, coriander leaves, tamarind, salt and jaggery into a smooth paste.
4. Heat oil in a kadai and add mustard seeds.
5. When mustard splutters, add asafoetida and turmeric powder. (Reduce the flame if required, so that the turmeric does not burn.)
6. Now add the ground chilly paste and stir.
7. Keep stirring until all the moisture evaporates, and the oil separates out of the tokku. It took us about 25 minutes for all the moisture to evaporate and the oil to come out.
8. Cool and store in a clean dry jar.

If well prepared and stored without any traces of moisture, this tokku can last for a long time like any other pickle. Remember to use a dry spoon.
The tokku prepared with only green chillies can turn out to be very hot. You can add as much coriander leaves as you want to subdue the sting of the chilly.

Relish the pachai milagai tokku with plain steamed rice, curd rice, idlis, dosas, chapatis etc. It also makes a tasty bread spread. Mix a little with curd or sour cream for a very tasty dip. We even spooned in some into pastas, soups and other western dishes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Vella Dosai (Jaggery Pancake) and Austrian Pancakes in Australia!

Vella Dosai (Jaggery Pancake) and Austrian Pancakes in Australia!

Nearly two thousand kilometers, over 3 days in a mega trip to the highest point in Aussie, as well as the beaches south of Sydney! On Day 2 morning, enroute to Snowy Mountains from Cooma, we were still excitedly chatting about the herd of kangaroos, that we had encountered the previous evening, when we passed a very interesting looking signboard "Heidi's Tea House" on an old horse carriage pointing towards the wilderness.

We decided to check the place and turned around back into the narrow curvy trail that led to the top of the tiny hill - Mt Gladstone.

What greeted us was a look out where we were surrounded by the snowy mountains ranges.

Closeby we found a quaint and cozy log cabin. The neat, pretty wooden interiors, old paintings, the cuckoo clock, and the fire place transported us into a fairy tale world.

We were warmly greeted by none other than Ms Heidi herself.

Ms Heidi told us that while there were a number of dishes available, her pancakes were pretty famous, and had appeared on The Getaway Show on Channel 9. She suggested we try her fresh berry pancakes. Heidi busied herself in the kicthen, while Linda another gracious lady chatted with us, and told us all about how the tea house was set up nearly 40 years ago, when Ms Heidi, her husband and few others migrated to Australia from Germany.

The pancakes and apple strudel we had asked for were straight out of a fairy tale book too! The mouthwatering luscious hot pancakes were filled with fresh berries compote, liberally sprinkled with dusting sugar, and served with a scoop of ice cream and blob of fresh cream. Same with the delicious serving of apple strudel.

A fulfilled smile lit up Linda’s face as we ooh-ed and aah-ed the dishes, and gorged the exotic creations, relishing every bit of it. She then told us, to tell everybody back at home that we had just had "Real AUSTRIAN pancakes in Australia", and everybody would be surprised! She then inquired whether we prepared pancakes in India. My mind raced back to the long forgotten hot sweet VELLA DOSAIS topped with fresh home made butter which we had often relished in our childhood days.
Upon our return, I decided to try out the Vella Dosai, even as my daughter was proclaiming that no long forgotten Indian sweet pancake can beat the 'real pancake' we had had at Heidis. I watched, quite amused, when she later emptied the pile to a finger-licking finish!!

Whole wheat flour - 1 glass
Rice flour - 1 tbsp
Powdered jaggery - 3/4 glass
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
Ghee - for cooking
optional - a pinch of ginger powder, and a pinch of salt can be added for additional flavour
1. Dissolve jaggery in one glass of warm water and filter.
2. Mix in the wheat flour and rice flour little by little in the cooled jaggery water.
3. Add more water little at a time as you blend the dough till it reaches a pouring dosa batter consistency.
4. Mix in the cardamom powder and optionally the ginger powder and salt.
5. Grease a tava with ghee and heat it.
6. Pour a ladle of dough and swirl it holding the handle,so that the dough spreads evenly on the tava.
7. Dribble ghee all around and cook till it is done.
8. Since the dosai contains jaggery, it will be a little sticky. Use a non-stick tava and an appropriate ladel, and carefully flip over, else the dosai can tear.
9. Cook the other side for a few seconds and remove the Vella Dosai from the tava.
10. Allow the dosai to cool a few seconds before serving. This will let the caramelized jaggery to cool and the dosai will 'set'. Its best taken warm, while the sides of the dosai are still crispy.

Relish the vella dosais by topping with a big blob of white unsalted butter.