Sunday, April 22, 2018

Tondekai Bath - Spicy Ivy Gourd Rice

Cooked rice is usually referred to as Bath. A particular 'Variety Rice', Kalanda Sadam or Chitraanna gets its name depending on the ingredients cooked along with rice. When rice is cooked with bele/dal and spice it is called Bisibelebath. Cooked with Eggplant/Brinjals and spice it becomes Vangi Bath. Plain rice turns into Tomato Bath when cooked with tomatoes and spice.The spice powder used  makes a huge difference when it comes to the taste and flavour of different varieties of Baths. Here Tondekai/Ivy gourd is combined with rice and spice to make a delicious and flavoursome Tondekai Bath.

Rice - 2 cups 
Ivy Gourd/Tondekai - 500 gms
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Salt - 1 1/2 tsps
Lime - 1 small
Coriander leaves
Cashew nuts - 10 (Roasted)
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Bengal gram dal/Chana dal - 1/2 tbsp
Black gram dal/Urad dal - 1/2 tbsp
Red chillies - 8 to 10 
Cinnamon - 1'' stick
Cardamom - 1
Cloves - 4
Dry coconut gratings (Copra) - 1 tbsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
Sesame oil - 1/4 tsp

1. Heat oil and add cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.
2. When the cloves and cardamom bloat up add the coriander seeds, dals, fenugreek seeds and red chillies and roast till they emanate a pleasant aroma.
3. Add asafoetida, fry for a second and switch off flame.
4. When the roasted spice are completely cooled blend them into a smooth powder using a mixer.
5. Add the copra gratings and blend once again.
1. Cook rice with four cups of water and spread it out on a plate to cool.
2. Cut Ivy Gourd/ Tondekai into lengthwise strips.

3. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds.
4. Add asafoetida, curry leaves and turmeric powder followed by chopped Tondekai/Ivy Gourd.
5. Stir in the salt and cover and cook till the vegetable is al dente.
6. Add the spice powder and stir well.
7. Switch off flame, squeeze in the lime juice and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Tondekai Curry is ready to be mixed with rice. This Curry can also be relished with rotis or chapatis.
8. Break the lumps and fluff up the rice so that each grain stands separate.
9. Add the Tondekai Curry to the rice and mix gently till each grain is evenly coated with spice. Add little more oil or a spoon of ghee if you feel that the Curry is too dry to be mixed.

 Add the Curry little by little as much as required and adjust the taste of the Bath to your liking.
10. Finally mix in the roasted cashew nuts.

Relish the delicious and flavoursome Tondekai Bath/ Ivy Gourd Rice with a bowl of cool mixed vegetable Raita and a crunchy Papad.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Semia Bakalabath - Curd Vermicelli

Eating curds mixed with rice is always the last course in a South Indian meal without which a meal is never complete. In my school days my siblings and I had our meal consisting of dal, rice,vegetable and curd at 9.30 A.M. before we left for school. During lunch break at 1.30 in the afternoon we had Curd Rice from our steel tiffin carriers with or without pickles. Eating Curd Rice in the afternoon for 'rendaam velai'  meaning second time was mandatory even on holidays, especially during Summer. Curd Rice was and is a cool and soothing any time comfort food for children and adults alike. The simple mixture of curd and rice is dressed up with different garnishes and seasonings for special occasions.The garnishes vary from fruits like grapes and pomegranate to cool vegetables like cucumber, carrots and even raw mangoes along with chopped coriander leaves. The seasoning comprises of mustard seeds, black gram dal, chana dal, green chillies, red chillies, ginger, asafoetida, curry leaves, raisins, cumin seeds and cashew nuts in different permutations and combinations. The 'dressed up' curd rice thus transformed is popularly known as Bakalabath (pronounced Bakaalabaath) in Karnataka. Bakalabath has a special place in buffets at restaurants and at dinners in wedding receptions. Bakalabath with different flavours and textures can be prepared by replacing rice with other ingredients like Broken Wheat, Vermicelli, Sago, Millets, Beaten rice or Quinoa.
Here is an easy and tasty recipe of Semia Bakalabath  using Vermicelli.

Vermicelli/Semia - 1 cup
Thick curds/ yogurt - 3 cups
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Grated carrot - 1/4 cup
Finely minced cucumber - 1/4 cup
Chopped coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Ghee  - 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 pinch
Split black gram dal - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 a pinch
Cashew nuts - as many as you wish
Chopped green chilly - 1
Curry leaves - a few
1. Dry roast Vermicelli/ Semia till it turns reddish in colour.  Ready to use roasted Vermicelli can also be used. 

2. Cook the roasted Vermicelli/Semia in 1 1/2 cups of water till done.
3. Thoroughly cool the cooked Vermicelli/Semia and fluff it up using a fork.

4. Mix in salt, grated carrot, minced cucumber and chopped coriander leaves.

5. Gently combine curds and the prepared Vermicelli/Semia taking care not to mash it up.
6. Heat ghee in a seasoning ladle and add mustard seeds.
7. When the mustard seeds splutter add the split black gram dal.
8. When the dal turns into a light brown colour add the cashew nuts and fry till it turns golden in colour.
9. Add asafoetida followed by green chillies and curry leaves.
10. Pour the seasoning over the Semia Bakalabath (Curd Vermicelli) and chill.

Relish the flavoursome, cool and tasty Semia Bakalabath at any meal time.