Thursday, June 25, 2020

Pavakka Oorugai / Bitter Gourd Pickle

 According to Ayurveda Bitter Taste or Rasa has to be included in a diet along with the other five Tastes / Rasas to maintain a healthy body. Studies have proved that the bitter vegetable Pavakka / Bitter gourd has various health benefits. It activates the digestive juices and keeps the digestive tract clean. It expels toxins and worms from the system. It is also said to be an anti diabetic food. A popular restaurant serves a Bitter gourd dish as the first course in their Ayurvedic Thali Meal. Pavakka can be used in the preparation of  various South Indian dishes like Gojju, Chips and  Pitlai. It can also be stuffed with masala. Pavakka Oorugai is an instant Bitter gourd pickle and it can be prepared in two methods. I love to start my meal with a spoon of Pavakka Oorugai with or without rice.

Washed and finely chopped Bitter gourd - 1 cup
Chopped green chillies - 2 big
Chopped fresh ginger - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Juice of one big lime
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
1. Heat oil in a pan and splutter mustard seeds.
2. Stir in asafoetida and turmeric powder.
3. Add the chopped green chillies and ginger followed by chopped Bitter gourd.
4. Add salt and stir for two or three minutes.
5. Squeeze in the juice of lime and switch off flame.

6. Mix well, store in a clean jar after the pickle cools down and refrigerate.
Washed and finely chopped Bitter gourd - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder  - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind - a small marble size ball
Sesame oil - 2 tbsps
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
1. Take chopped Bitter gourd in a bowl.
2. Add chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt on top.
3. Dry roast fenugreek seeds till it emanates a pleasant aroma.
4. Heat 1tsp of oil and fry the tamarind till it becomes crisp and allow to cool.
5. Powder the roasted fenugreek seeds and tamarind into a fine powder.
6. Add the above powder to the ingredients in the bowl.

7. Heat the remaining oil and splutter mustard seeds.
8. Add asafoetida and pour the oil on to the Pickle ingredients in the bowl.
9. Mix well till the spice coats all the chopped pieces of Bitter gourd.
10. Cover and keep it aside for a day so that the vegetable releases all its juices.

If you feel that the pickle is dry you may add some more oil. Keep it refrigerated. Stir the pickle every day as long as it lasts. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Sihi Kumbalakayi Idly - Pumpkin Idlies

Sihi Kumbalakayi Idly is a traditional breakfast dish popular in the coastal regions of Karnataka. It is a nutritious and kid friendly food prepared using Idly Rava and pumpkin. Coarsely ground parboiled rice  is called as Idly Rava and is used in the preparation of the ubiquitous Idlies. Batter for Sihi Kumbalakayi Idlies  need no fermenting. It is almost an instant Idly which has a sweet as well as savoury version.The savoury version can be prepared using two methods as shown below.

Idly Rava - 2 cups
Cooked and mashed pumpkin paste - 2 cups ( slightly more does not matter)
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Sesame oil or coconut oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Chopped green chillies - 2
Chopped coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
1. Soak Idly Rava in lukewarm water while cooking the peeled pumpkin.

2. Grind the cooked and cooled pumpkin into a paste using a mixer.
3. Squeeze out the soaked Idly Rava and add it to the pumpkin paste.

4. Add salt and give it one more swish to blend the Idly Rava and the pumpkin paste together.
5. Heat oil and splutter mustard seeds followed by cumin seeds, green chillies and asafoetida.
6. Add the seasoning and coriander leaves to the ground paste and mix well.

7. Let the mixture which now resembles Idly batter stand for about fifteen to twenty minutes.
8. Stir and pour the batter into greased Idly plates and steam in the pressure cooker for 15 minutes.

Enjoy the super soft delicious Sihi Kumbalakayi Idlies topped with a dollop of butter.

Or enjoy the flavoursome Idlies with sambar and coconut chutney.

1. Soak two cups of Idly Rava in lukewarm water for 15 minutes.
2. Peel and grate pumpkin to get two cups of Pumpkin gratings.
3. Squeeze out the soaked Idly Rava and add it to the grated pumpkin.
4. Heat one tablespoon of sesame/ coconut oil and splutter mustard seeds.
5. Add two tablespoons of broken cashew nuts and fry till it turns golden in colour.
6. Add two teaspoons of chopped green chillies and a pinch of asafoetida, and pour it into the Idly mixture.

7. Mix well adding chopped coriander leaves.
8. Take a ball of the Idly mixture and gently pat and pack it into the greased Idly plate.

9. When entire Idly mixture is thus packed and patted into the Idly plates, steam the Idlies for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker.                                                                                                         
10. Allow the cooker to cool down a bit and remove the Sihi Kumbalakayi Idlies on to a plate.

Enjoy the soft and flavoursome Idlies with any side dish of your choice.

 Follow the same procedures as shown above. If you like you may include fresh coconut gratings in all the versions. Mix in two or three tablespoons of organic brown sugar or powdered jaggery to the Idly Mixture instead of the seasoning mentioned in the savoury version. A dash of allspice powder or cinnamon powder added to the Idly mixture will make the SWEET PUMPKIN IDLIES  appealing to the sweet tooth.