Saturday, December 7, 2019

Rajma Masala - Red Kidney Beans in a Spicy Gravy

RAJMA MASALA
My dear grand children, nephews and niece have all grown up now and are scattered all over the globe each following his/her own path of life. They always shared a very close bond with me. We loved to watch movies, share stories, cook together or eat out and fool around in general during their childhood days. Now that they are all far far away chats and video calls when time permits keep our strong bonding intact. Chitra Amma's Kitchen is playing a vital role in this regard. I am touched when they tell me how the dish they prepared following a recipe in the blog turned out so good. One of them called up to remind me after lot of searching that I had not posted the recipe of Rajma Masala. Here comes your favourite Rajma Masala dear A ! Enjoy!

                                                               
INGREDIENTS
Rajma / Red kidney beans - 2 cups ( Soaked overnight)
Onion - 1 big ( Chopped)
Fresh ginger - One fat 2'' piece ( Peeled and chopped)
Garlic  - 6 segments ( Peeled and chopped)
Medium size Tomatoes ( Red, ripe and juicy ) - 6 ( Chopped and blended)
Cooking oil - 3 tbsps
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cinnamon - 2  one inch pieces
Cardamom - 4
Cloves - 6
Chilly powder - 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder / Dania powder - 3/4 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
METHOD
1. Drain the soaked Rajma , add 6 cups of fresh water, one small piece of cinnamon and a pinch of salt and pressure cook until three whistles.



2. Blend the chopped onion, ginger and garlic together into a smooth paste.
3. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the cumin seeds followed by Cinnamon, Cardamom and Cloves.
4. When the spices are fried giving out a very pleasant aroma add the onion paste.
5. Keep stirring till the raw smell disappears and the paste is well fried.
6. Add Chilly powder and Dania powder and stir well. ( I added 1 1/2 tsps of my Sambar powder)
7. Stir in the tomato juice and let it cook till it thickens and the oil seeps out.



8. Blend a table spoon of cooked Rajma into a paste.
8. Retain the water and add only the rest of the Rajma , the Rajma paste and salt  into the masala and stir well .
9. Finally add the retained water (in which Rajma was cooked) and let it cook on medium flame till all the flavours blend well.
10. When the gravy reaches the required consistency switch off flame and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.



Enjoy the Rajma Masala with steaming hot rotis or steaming hot rice.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Pudina Tokku - Mint Leaves Relish

PUDINA TOKKU
South Indian kitchens were always armed with huge jars of Pickles and Relishes to last for an entire year. In my younger days I could not relish even Sambar and rice without a Pickle or Tokku on the side. Some times the 'side' became the 'main' when I decided to enjoy Pickle or Tokku  mixed with rice! Times have changed. The huge Pickle Jars of ancient days have become show pieces of antique value. Umpteen varieties of Pickles and Tokkus are available in various food stores. Once when I came across a store bought Pudina Tokku bottle at a friend's place I could not contain the urge to prepare it immediately!

                                                         
INGREDIENTS                                                                            
                                                                                         
 Mint leaves / Pudina - 1 big bunch
Tamarind  - A small plum size ball ( Soaked in little warm water )
Salt - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 6 ( Broken )
Jaggery - A small plum size piece
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp ( Dry roasted and powdered )
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Sesame oil - 3 tbsps
METHOD
1. Wash the mint leaves thoroughly retaining only the tender stalks.
2. Heat 1/2 tsp of sesame oil and fry the red chillies till they turn crisp.
3. Add the mint leaves and keep stirring till the leaves wilt and then switch off flame.



4. Grind the fried red chillies, mint leaves, soaked tamarind and salt together into a smooth paste adding little water if required.
5. Heat the remaining sesame oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds.
6. Add asafoetida and turmeric powder followed by the ground mint paste.
7. Add jaggery and cook on low flame stirring all the time.
8. When the Tokku thickens and the oil comes out, mix in the roasted and powdered fenugreek seeds.
Allow it to cool down and store the Pudina Tokku in a clean dry jar.  Stays fresh for a longer period of time when refrigerated.

                                                          
Enjoy any meal with Pudina Tokku on the side. Or enjoy Pudina Tokku Rice by mixing half a teaspoon of Tokku with one cup of steaming hot rice.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Pumpkin Soup - A Baby Friendly Soup for one and all

PUMPKIN SOUP
My youngest grand daughter was three months old when we visited her at Portland during the Pumpkin Fest season. We cooked pumpkins every other day and enjoyed many spicy as well as sweet dishes ranging from Sambar to Halwa making the best use of the season. My little grand daughter's happy face as she relished the simple Pumpkin Soup with a click of her tongue after every spoonful will always remain fresh in my mind.

                                                                      
INGREDIENTS
Pumpkin - 1 Small ( To make 4 cups when chopped )
Fresh ginger ( finely chopped ) - 1 tsp
Garlic - ( Peeled and chopped ) -1 tsp
Salt  - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon ( Optional ) - 1'' piece
Olive oil or Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
METHOD 
1. Wash, peel and chop Pumpkin into cubes.

                                                                             
2. Heat oil  - I like using Sesame oil - add cinnamon, ginger and garlic and saute till it emanates a pleasant aroma.
3. Stir in the Pumpkin cubes and roast for two or three minutes till a few pieces acquire reddish brown patches here and there.

                                                                             
4. Cover the pumpkin cubes with water and cook on medium flame till the vegetable becomes mushy.

                                                                                  
5. Remove the cinnamon stick after the vegetable cools down , and blend the mushy pumpkin adding enough water depending on the consistency required. I added 5 cups of water to obtain a thick soup.
6. Add salt and cook the thick soup and switch off flame when it is about to boil.

                                                                                 
Garnish with a dash of pepper powder and the Baby Friendly Pumpkin Soup is ready to serve.

                                                                     
Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds for older children and adults.

                                                                                 
 The crunch you get now and then lends an interesting texture to the smooth and silky thick soup.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Bengaluru Baragu Idlies - Proso Millet Idlies

BENGALURU BARAGU IDLY 
Idlies  are making news headlines around the world. Food delivery platforms have rated Idly as the most ordered breakfast food in India  according to a survey. Bengaluru gets the honour of being the Idly capital of India as it is the top Idly ordering city in the country !
 Millets - the ancient food grains - have gained popularity because of the nutritional and health benefits they offer to the health and fitness conscious people of today. Karnataka is one of the leading producers and consumers of Millets in India, and is heading towards becoming the Millet Capital of India.
 The nutritious protein rich BENGALURU BARAGU IDLY gets its name inspired by the above stated facts.

                                                              
INGREDIENTS


Proso Millet / Baragu - 3 cups
Split black gram dal   - 1 cup
Beaten rice - 2 tbsps
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
METHOD
1. Wash the Millets, Black gram dal, Beaten rice, Bengal gram dal and Fenugreek seeds together and soak them for two hours.

                                                                                                  
2. Drain and grind the soaked ingredients adding enough water to make a smooth and fluffy batter.
3. Add salt and sugar to the batter and mix thoroughly using your hand.

                                                                                              
4. Cover and leave the batter overnight in a warm place.
5. The batter will ferment and double up in the morning.

                                                                                               
6. If the batter is too thick, add little water to give it a flowing consistency.
7. Grease the Idly moulds, pour one ladle of batter into each pit and steam the Idlies for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker without the weight.
Allow the Bengaluru Baragu Idlies to set for about 10 minutes and then remove them from the Idly plates.

                                                                                        
Enjoy the nutty aroma and relish the hot and soft Bengaluru Baragu Idlies with Podi, Chutney and Sambar.

                                                                                                     
The same batter can be used to prepare delicious BARAGU DOSAS too.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Sambar Rava

SAMBAR RAVA
In the process of changing the diet to suit the change in life styles many of us have been dropping white rice from our meals . We can still enjoy the traditional taste and flavours of a rice based meal by simply substituting rice with other suitable ingredients . Here is a quick and easy to prepare Sambar Rava with traditional flavours intact, to satiate your craving for Sambar Sadam .



INGREDIENTS
Semolina / Rava - 1 cup
Split pigeon pea / Tuvar dal - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - A plum size ball
Sambar Powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Salt - 2 tsps
Sesame oil - 3 tbsps
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Red chillies - 2 ( Broken)
Curry leaves - a few
Onion  - 1 big ( Chopped)
Tomatoes ( Chopped) - 1/2 cup
Carrots ( Chopped ) - 1 cup
Cashew nuts - a few
METHOD
1. Wash and pressure cook the dal adding one cup of water and turmeric powder.
2. Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract one cup of tamarind juice.
3. Add tamarind juice, Sambar powder, salt, cooked and mashed dal and chopped tomatoes to three cups of water and set it to boil on the stove.
4. Heat oil in a thick bottomed kadai on the second burner of the stove, while the Sambar water boils on the other side.
5. Splutter mustard seeds in the kadai and add asafoetida followed by broken red chillies, cashew nuts and curry leaves.
6. Add chopped onion saute until it becomes glassy, followed by chopped carrots and saute till half done .



7. Finally add the Rava / Semolina and roast till it emanates a flavoursome aroma on low flame.
8. Switch off flame on the other burner,  remove the boiling Sambar water and gently pour it into the seasoned and  roasted Rava/ Semolina.

                                                        

9. Blend well using a spatula and cook on low flame till done, stirring now and then.
10.Switch off flame when the Sambar Rava is well cooked and reaches a porridge like consistency.



Enjoy the hot and flavoursome Sambar Rava with salad, pickle or a cup of curd .

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Nugge Soppu Rotti / Murungai Keerai Rotti - Flat Bread with Moringa Leaves

NUGGE SOPPU ROTTI/ MURUNGAI KEERAI ROTTI
Rotti / Bread has been the staple food of mankind world over since time immemorial. India with its diverse culture has been producing numerous types of Rottis / Breads using the ingredients pertaining to the respective regions. The origin of Rotti or the Indian Breads have been traced back to the ancient times of Harappan Civilization. Mukul and Shilpa Gupta take us on an arm chair tour through out India for a traditional Rotti treat of every region via their elaborate article 'The Art of Breaking Bread' published in Sunday Herald.
Here is a Rotti recipe using the super ingredients Ragi hittu (ragi flour) and Nugge soppu ( Moringa leaves) abundantly grown in namma Karnataka. Adding chickpea flour/ Besan to the dough makes this Rotti a wonderful super food. 


INGREDIENTS
Ragi flour - 1 cup
Chickpea flour / Besan - 1 cup
Moringa leaves / Nugge Soppu / Murungai keerai - 1 cup


Onion ( finely chopped) - 1
Grated fresh ginger - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Sambar powder - 3/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

METHOD
1. Remove the Moringa leaves from the stalk and wash thoroughly.
2. Combine Ragi flour, Besan, salt and sambar powder in a bowl.


3. Add the grated ginger, chopped onion, cumin seeds and washed Moringa leaves to the flour mixture and mix well.


4. Add water and knead into a soft and spreadable dough.


5. Heat a greased tava.
6. Take a ball of the Rotti dough and pat it into a moderately thick Rotti on the tava.


7. Dribble oil all around, cover and cook till the top is done as seen in the picture.


8. Flip the Rotti and cook the other side dribbling little oil once again.


9. Remove the hot hot Nugge Soppu Rotti / Murungai Keerai Rotti on to a plate.
Enjoy the delicious and nutritious gluten - free vegan Rotti with chutney, pickle, sambar or any other side dish of your choice.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Coconut Laddoo - Coconut and Jaggery Balls

COCONUT LADDOO 
Interestingly a lump of Pooranam / Hoorana (coconut cooked with jaggery) was served along with other Prasadams during a Durga Pooja festival which I attended years ago. Later I learnt that the sweet lump was a festive Bengali sweet called Coconut Laddoo. The Laddoo had collapsed into a lump as it was under-cooked.
Coconut Laddoo is a delicious sweet prepared using only grated fresh coconut and jaggery. It can be prepared easily even by a novice without worrying about the end product. Pooranam/Hoorana is obtained when the ingredients are slightly under-cooked. When it is overcooked it becomes a chewy coconut and jaggery candy. Any which way it is a delicious sweet which can be enjoyed in any consistency. Practice makes one perfect. Relish and enjoy the 'imperfect delicacies' until you get a perfect and scrumptious Coconut Laddoo!


INGREDIENTS
Fresh coconut gratings - 1 cup
Powdered jaggery  - 1 cup
Powdered cardamom - 1 pinch
METHOD
1. Dissolve jaggery in one cup of warm water and filter out the impurities.
2. In a heavy bottomed pan combine coconut gratings, filtered jaggery water and cardamom powder.
3. Keep stirring and cook till the mixture becomes thick and sticky.


4. Keep cooking till the jaggery starts to caramelize and switch off flame.


5. Transfer to a plate and allow it to cool.
6. Take a scoop of the mixture at a time and form plum sized laddoos while it is still warm.


7. Make a bed of Coconut sugar on a plate.


8. Roll the Laddoos on the sugar so that they do not stick together while storing.


9. Pick one and pop it into your mouth.


 Enjoy the pure bliss!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Molake Menthya Huli / Mulai Kattiya Vendaya Kuzhambu - Tamarind Gravy with Sprouted Fenugreek Seeds

MOLAKE MENTHYA HULI / MULAI KATTIYA VENDAYA KUZHAMBU
Fenugreek seeds / Menthya / Vendayam are an integral part of a South Indian Spice box since ancient times. The nutritious spice is used in every day cooking to season dals and kuzhambus. Fenugreek seeds lend a unique aroma to curry powders and pickles. Like all other spices these seeds also have their own health benefits. They aid in digestion and alleviate flatulence. One teaspoon of Fenugreek seeds soaked overnight and administered with one cup of warm water as the first drink in the morning is said to be beneficial for people with diabetes. The seeds have been in use in the preparation of postpartum diets for its lactogenic properties. Like all other sprouts, sprouted Fenugreek seeds are  highly nutritious. 


SPROUTING THE FENUGREEK SEEDS
1. Wash and soak 1/2 a cup of Fenugreek Seeds for 12 hours. 
2.  Drain the soaked seeds and store them in an air tight container.
3. Leave it in a warm place overnight.
4. You can see the sprouts the next morning.
5. If you need longer sprouts, close the lid and shake the container and leave it aside for a longer time.


This will yield one cup of sprouted seeds.
INGREDIENTS TO MAKE HULI / KUZHAMBU
Sprouted Fenugreek Seeds - 1 cup
Tamarind - 1 plum size ball
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
Sambar powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Powdered jaggery - 1 tbsp
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Split pigeon peas / Tur dal - 2tsps
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Red chilly ( broken) - 2
Curry leaves - a few
Rice flour - 1 tsp
METHOD
1. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice adding water as required to make one and a half glasses of juice.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.
3. When the mustard seeds splutter add fenugreek seeds and tur dal.
4. When the seasoning emanates a pleasant aroma and the dal turns golden in colour add asafoetida followed by broken red chillies.
5. Add curry leaves and the sprouts and saute till the moisture evaporates.


6. Stir in the Sambar powder.


7. Add the tamarind juice, salt and jaggery powder.
8. Let the Huli/ Kuzhambu boil till it reduces to half its quantity emanating a very pleasant aroma.


9. Add little water to rice flour to make a paste, and stir it into the boiling gravy.
10. Switch off flame as soon as the gravy thickens.


Enjoy the Molake Menthya Huli/ Mulai Kattiya Vendaya Kuzhambu  with steaming hot rice. Or savour the sweet and spicy gravy with Idlies and Dosas.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Green Koottu - Mildly Spiced Green Vegetables

GREEN KOOTTU
Green vegetables are packed with nutrients and fiber and are an essential part of a healthy diet. Vegetables help in good digestion. They help in boosting immunity. Vegetables help to detoxify the liver and cleanse the system. A South Indian menu consists of numerous vegetable preparations which are delicious and healthy. Vegetable Koottu is one of the dishes served in a full meal. Go green with this Green Koottu that also looks green in colour !



INGREDIENTS
Snake Gourd ( Chopped)  - 2 cups
Carrots ( Chopped)  - 1 cup
Peanuts  - 1/2 cup
Spinach / Palak  - 1 bunch
Fresh coconut gratings - 2 tbsps
Green chillies   - 2 or 3
Cumin seeds   - 1 tsp
Rice flour - 1 tsp
Salt -  1 tsp
Asafoetida   - 1 pinch
Sesame oil  -  1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Split Black gram dal - 1 tsp
Red chilly ( Broken) - 1
Curry leaves - a few
METHOD
1. Cook chopped Snake Gourd and Carrots together using very little water.
2. Soak the Peanuts in hot water till they swell and become soft. Drain and keep aside.
3. Wash and blanch Spinach / Palak and allow to cool.
4. Drain and blend the Spinach/Palak in a mixer without adding water and keep it aside.
5. Grind coconut gratings, green chillies, cumin seeds and rice flour into a smooth paste adding little water.
6. Take the cooked vegetables, blended Spinach/Palak and soaked Peanuts in a vessel.
7. Add asafoetida and salt and cook them together.
8. When it starts to boil stir in the ground coconut paste and cook till the Green Koottu thickens to the required consistency.
9. Heat oil in a seasoning ladle and add mustard seeds.
10. When the mustard seeds splutter add split black gram dal and fry till it turns golden in colour.
11. Add broken red chilly and curry leaves and pour the seasoning on the Green Koottu.



Enjoy the healthy Green Koottu with rotis or rice along with your meal.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Millet Aval Upma - Foxtail Millet Flakes Upma

MILLET AVAL UPMA
Beaten Rice has to be presoaked for at least twenty minutes before preparing Aval Upma. Making Aval Upma is very easy even for beginners and it needs very less cooking time. A delicious and highly nutritious Upma can be prepared in a jiffy by using Foxtail Millet Flakes. Wash and season ! That's all ! And a simple Foxtail Millet Aval Upma - virtually a 'two minute'dish - is ready to savour! 



INGREDIENTS
Foxtail Millet Flakes - 2 cups


Sesame oil      -  2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds   -  1/4 tsp
Split Black gram dal - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida           - 1 pinch
Green chilly        - 1 ( Chopped)
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Grated carrot       - 1 cup
Curry leaves        - a few
Salt                      -  3/4 tsp
Juice of 1/2 lime
METHOD
1. Wash the Millet Flakes two times, drain carefully and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.
3. When the mustard seeds splutter add cumin seeds and split black gram dal.
4. When the dal turns golden in colour add asafoetida, green chillies and curry leaves followed by grated carrot.
5. Lightly saute the carrot and then add turmeric powder and salt.
6. Add the washed Millet Flakes and stir well.
7. Keep the Upma covered for a few seconds and switch off flame.
The Flakes will soften in its own steam. 


Enjoy the nutritious Foxtail Millet Flakes Upma as it is or with a cup of curd.