Thursday, February 28, 2013

Paavakka Varuval - Bitter Gourd Chips


 Eating a bitter gourd preparation at the start of a meal helps to activate the digestive juices resulting in good digestion. I prepare sambar, koottu, gojju or curry using Paavakka  (bitter gourd) very often, for its various health benefits. Occasionally I love to pamper the taste buds with PaavakkaVaruval  (Bitter Gourd Chips) too.


Bitter Gourd - 4 
Salt - 1 tsp 
Sambar powder - 1 tsp 
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch 
Asafoetida - 1 pinch 
Gram flour (Besan) - 2 tsps 
Rice flour - 2 tsps 
Oil - for frying 


1. Wash, wipe and cut bitter gourd into moderately thin slices. 
2. Remove the seeds if they are hard. 
3. Spread the cut slices on a towel so that all the moisture is absorbed. 
4. Mix all the powders and the bitter gourd slices together in a dry bowl. Let this mixture be absolutely dry. 

5. Heat a table spoon of oil and mix into the bitter gourd mixture. 
6. Take a handful of the vegetable mixture and sprinkle into hot oil. 
7. Fry batch by batch on medium flame till they become crisp. 

Enjoy the spicy and mildly bitter Paavakka Varuval with a hot  meal.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bran Rice With Stir Fried Vegetables




 BRAN RICE is 'whole grain red rice' with the bran and germ intact. A product of Sanjeevanam Ayurvedic Food Products, my daughter bought it from one of the Sanjeevanam Ayurvedic restaurants at Bangalore. The rice is hard and tough and it takes longer to cook. According to the cooking instructions the Bran Rice had to be presoaked for at least four hours and then cooked in a pot with lots of water and then drained. The drained water could also be consumed. 
Though more and more people are switching over to Red Rice for health benefits  they are also wary of its anti nutrients which inhibit the digestion and absorption of the other valuable nutrients present in the rice. Studies have shown that soaking, fermenting and cooking any whole grain will counter the ill effects of the anti nutrients. 
I soaked the rice over night and cooked it in a pot of water the next day. The cooked and drained Bran Rice was soft and delicious with a nutty flavour. The cooked grains remained separate and  were not sticky. But my only concern was that it took too long - forty minutes - to get done. The next time I tried cooking one cup of soaked rice in a pressure cooker adding three cups of water, until four whistles. The cooked rice still remained separate and chewy and the excess water could be drained. 

My family enjoyed the drained Bran Rice with stir fried vegetables.

The colourful drained water was converted into 'Sukku Vallam' - by the addition of a pinch of dry ginger powder to wash down the meal.

Bran Rice - 1 cup 
Onion - 1 
Cabbage ( Chopped) - 1 cup 
Capsicum ( Chopped) - 1 cup 
Carrots ( chopped ) - 1 cup 
Beans ( chopped ) - 1/2 cup 
Green peas - 1/2 cup 
Tamarind - 1 small marble size 
Red chillies - 2
Garlic - 6 ( Crushed ) 
Black pepper ( Crushed ) - 1 tsp 
Salt - 1 tsp 
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps 

1. Wash and soak Bran Rice over night. 
2. Add three cups of water to the rice and cook in a pressure cooker until four whistles. 
3. Remove the rice when the pressure subsides and drain in a colander. 

4. Chop onion, cabbage, carrots and capsicum lengthwise. 
5. String and chop beans into small pieces. 

7. Soak tamarind and red chillies in very little warm water till soft. 
8. Grind into a smooth paste and keep aside. (Tamari Sauce can be used instead).
9. Heat sesame oil in a heavy bottomed pan. 
10. Add the crushed garlic and pepper and saute till it emanates a pleasant aroma. 
11. Add all the chopped vegetables and one pinch of salt and stir fry till al dente. 
12. Add the tamarind - chilly paste or Tamari sauce and the remaining salt and stir vigorously till dry. 
13. Decrease heat and add the cooked and drained Bran Rice and mix well and switch off flame.

Enjoy the chewy and nutty flavoured Bran Rice with the tangy and spicy stir fried vegetables.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Akki Rotti - Flat Bread With Rice Flour


Getting out of Bangalore through a bottle neck (called Mysore Road) packed with honking vehicles of all shapes and sizes, and the rubble and debris of a fly over under construction is like a great big circus. But once we get on to the high way and drive eagerly towards 'Kamath Loka Ruchi' all the fatigue and irritation vanish in a second. 
We reached there just in time for breakfast. My husband ordered for the special Akki Rotti along with the usual  Idly Vade Sambar, and the steaming hot filter coffee served in tall glasses. The Rottis were hot and soft and tasted delicious interlaced with dil and garlic which added a special aroma to the traditional dish. 
I tried preparing Akki Rotti - Loka Ruchi style - and this is how it turned out.


Rice flour - 2 Cups 
Dil leaves (Finely chopped) - 1 cup 
Coriander leaves( Finely chopped) - 1/2 cup 
Garlic (Finely chopped ) - 1 tsp 
Green chillies ( Finely chopped ) - 1 tsp 
Salt - 1/2 tsp 
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps 


1. Mix all chopped ingredients with rice flour and salt for even distribution. 
2. Now add water little by little and knead the mixture into a smooth dough. 
3. Add oil and knead again. 
4. Cover it with a lid and allow it to rest for one hour at least.  
5. Grease a silver foil or a butter paper, place a ball of the prepared dough on it and pat it into a thin Rotti. 

6. Invert the foil on to a greased hot tava, and gently peel it off the Rotti. 

7. Dribble little oil around the Rotti and cover it with a lid. 
8. Cook on low flame till the top of the Rotti is done. 
9. Flip the Rotti and dribble few more drops of oil and cook for another minute. 
10. Remove the hot Akki Rotti on to a serving plate. 

Enjoy the Akki Rotti while it is fresh and hot, with Chutney, Sambar or Ennegai. 

Remember to top it with a blob of fresh butter.