Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Ragi Otthu Shyaavige/ Idiyaappam And Vegetable Stew - Finger Millet Spring Hoppers And Vegetable Stew


Rice Shyaavige or Idiyaappam seasoned with lime and vegetables (Vegetable Sevai to be precise) is one of the  regular breakfast dishes served in feasts and other happy occasions like weddings. Shyaavige/ Idiyaappam can be prepared using the nutritious power packed Ragi too. Though Muddae Oota ( Ragi ball meal ) is available at many food joints in Bengaluru, freshly prepared Ragi Otthu Shyaavige still remains inside the thresholds of our homes.
Making this 'Holiday Special' is a fun activity for the entire family. Children love the 'pressing' part, and it gives them immense satisfaction to 'cook and eat ' food made out of their own tiny hands! My five year old grand daughter is very fond of Ragi Shyaavige. She 'pressed' the 'strings' out of the Shyaavige making Press for this post with great excitement. Her joy and laughter, and the twinkle in her eyes are greatest treasures I will cherish forever !
Ragi flour - 3/4 glass
Kala Chana flour ( Besan ) - 1/4 glass
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Water - 1 1/4 glasses
 1. Bring water to a rolling boil adding 1 tbsp of oil and salt in a heavy bottomed kadai.
 2. Decrease flame and add Ragi flour and Besan together to the boiling water, and stir continuously.
 3. Keep stirring and cook the flour mixture till it comes together into a smooth ball.
 4. Add the remaining oil , stir and switch off flame.
 5. Cover the cooked flour with a tight lid.
 6. When the temperature of the cooked flour is comfortable enough to touch, knead the dough well.
 7. Make smooth cylindrical balls out of the dough, that can fit into the container of the Shyaavige Press.
 8. Steam the balls in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes without using the weight.

9. Switch off flame and allow the steam to subside.
10. Take out a steamed Ragi ball while it is still warm and place it into the greased container of the Shyaavige Press.
11. Ask the eager children to press out the Shyaavige/Idiyaappam by turning the handle and behold  the joy and excitement in their faces as the 'strings' come out of the press !

12. Gently remove the pressed Shyaavige/Idiyaappam on to another plate. Press all the Ragi Balls into individual Shyaaviges/Idiyaappams .

Top the fresh and nutritious Ragi Otthu Shyaavige / Idiyappam with fresh coconut gratings and enjoy with a delicious Vegetable Stew.

1. Mixed vegetables ( Chopped lengthwise) - 2 cups
2. Tomatoes ( Sliced) - 1
3. Sliced onion - 1/2 cup
4. Grated fresh ginger - 1 tbsp
5. Slit green chillies - 2
6. Curry leaves
7. Cinnamon - 1'' stick
8.Cloves - 6
9. Pepper corns - 6
10. Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
11. Coconut oil - 2 tbsps
12. Coconut milk - 2 glases
Grind 4 cups of fresh coconut gratings with 2 tbsps of rice flour into a smooth paste adding enough water. Add more water to the ground paste to make 4 cups of milk . Pass the Coconut-Rice milk through a sieve and keep the filtered milk aside. The rice flour gives a smooth and silky texture to the stew while cooking.
2. Heat one tablespoon of coconut oil in a kadai and add cinnamon, cloves and  pepper corns.
3. Add the sliced ginger, onion and curry leaves and saute till the onions start to brown.
4. Add all the vegetables ( I  used tender stalks of Kale leaves, Cauliflower, Potatoes and Zucchini) and saute till they are al dente.
5. Stir in salt and add the coconut milk.
6. Cook on low flame till the stew simmers.
7. Finally add chopped tomatoes and cook for only one more minute and switch off flame.
8. Add the remaining coconut oil and cover with lid to keep the flavours intact.

Enjoy the simple but delicious Vegetable Stew with the nutritious  Ragi Otthu Shyaavige / Idiyaappam.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Seepla Vegetable Biriani - A Spicy Vegetable Rice

 As I enjoy the delicious Hyderabadi Vegetable Biriani meticulously prepared by Dibs here at the 
moment , it strikes me that I have not posted the recipe of 'Seepla Vegetable Biriani' in Chitra Amma's Kitchen till now !

'Seepla Vegetable Biriani' was our entry for the Blogger Aid Cook Book released six years ago !  Here is what Dibs wrote in our blog post dated March 4, 2009 about this special version of Biriani:
"Biryani or Biriani, is one of the most popular rice based dishes, popularized by Muslim merchants and travelers across the Middle East and South Asia. There are as many delicious adaptations as there are regions. For example, there are distinct differences between a Sindhi Biryani, a Bengali Biriyani, the Awadhi Biryani of Lucknow, or the famous Hyderabadi Biryani.

Of all the special Birianis, the one made by Rukmini from our native village Seeplaputhur, is the one we cherish most! Her dish is reminiscent of the delicious flavours and aromas of kitchens in deep interior Tamil Nadu. It is made of ingredients that are quite unusual for Biryanis! Suffice to say you would not find this kind of Biriani, anywhere in the world! We are naming this unique recipe ‘Seepla Vegetable Biriani’ after our village Seeplaputhur, and sending it for the
Rukmini’s biriany has a unique flavour . My family loves the South Indian tinge in the dish which is not available even in the best of biriani joints. The secret? She includes coconut, pepper, curry leaves, sambar powder and cumin seeds along with the other regular ingredients commonly used in its preparation. Give it a try and you may also get addicted to it. 

Both Chitra Amma, and I tried this recipe at Bangalore and Sydney respectively, with local ingredients to test out proportions and so on. Both birianis turned out delicious – the vegetables and rice were cooked just right, and every grain had absorbed the yummy masalas!

You can see Chitra Amma’s Bangalore trial here :

 This is my trial at Sydney !" 

Now here goes the recipe!
Rice – 2 tea cups
Carrots – 2
Potatoes – 2
Beans – a fistful
Curd – ½ a cup
Salt – 2 tsps
Onion – 1 big
Fresh ginger – 2” piece
Garlic - 6 pods
Green chillies – 2
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch
Sambar powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Coconut gratings – 2 tbsps
Fresh mint leaves – ¼ cup
Cumin seeds – ¼ tsp
Black pepper – ½ tsp
Cinnamon – 2” piece
Cloves – 8
Cardamom – 4
Curry leaves – a few
Fried bread pieces – a few
Onion slivers roasted into a golden colour – ¼ cup
Cooking oil – 6 tbsps
1. Grind all the ingredients given into a smooth paste and keep aside.
2. Wash rice and soak for 20 minutes.
3. Cut all the vegetables into thick and long pieces.
4. Heat 2 tsps of oil in a pan and add half of the cumin seeds.
5. When it is fried add half of the cinnamon sticks, cloves and the cardamom.
6. Add half of the slightly crushed pepper and fry.
7. Pour the seasoning into the rice and pressure cook with three and a half cups of water. Let it cool.
8. Heat the remaining oil in the pan and add the remaining cumin seeds, pepper, cinnamon, cloves , cardamom and the curry leaves.
9. Add the cut vegetables and sauté with a pinch of salt.
10. When the vegetables are crisply done add the ground masala and fry until the oil comes out.
11. Add the curd and cook until the white colour of the curd changes into a reddish colour and blends into the masala.
12. Add salt and cook for two more minutes, and remove from flame.
13. Add the cooked rice and blend with the gravy without mashing up the dish.
14. Add the fried onion slivers and blend again.
15. Put back the pan on low flame and cover with a lid.
16. Let the flavour seep into each and every grain of rice.
17. When done decorate with fried bread pieces . 

18. Blanched almonds, fried cashew nuts or fried paneer pieces are other options for garnishing. 

Keep the biriani tightly covered with a lid so that it does not lose its flavour. Let it settle down with the flavour of the seasoning for a while before you start relishing it. Warm it up in a microwave or steam it in a pressure cooker just before serving.