Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Random thoughts - 8/30/06
Wonder why North Indian food is more popular outside India than South Indian cuisine???
Go to any major restaurant in the US and you will see that the major share of the menu(if not all of it) is hogged by nans, curries from the north....if there is anything remotely south indian listed on the menu, more than likely, it will be idli, sambar or dosa.
Now, don't get me wrong....I do love chole bature just as much as I love puttu and kadala curry(though u won't find it on the menu)....but is there a reason why one is preferred over the other outside of India?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Aloo Pudina Baath (Potato mint rice)

Being a vegetarian, Iam often asked, "So what is it that you eat...just vegetables???". Well, not exactly....I also eat roots and leaves. Hey, that was just my attempt at humour :-))
Anyways, take a look at what I've does have leaves in a root vegetable...potato.

Mint plays a major role in Indian cuisine. It is recognised by Ayurveda practitioners to have several health benefits and has been used for ages in treating muscle and joint pains.
I love it for its aroma....there's nothing that compares to the crisp, refreshing scent of fresh mint leaves.
The recipe itself is very simple as far as the making goes....

What you need:
Mint leaves - 1 small bunch
Potato - 1, peeled and chopped
Ginger - a small piece
Garlic - 1 clove
Green chillies - 2 or 3(adjust to your taste)
Coconut - 1/4 cup
Rice - 1 cup
Lemon juice(optional)

Cook rice and keep aside. Grind mint, coconut, green chillies, ginger and garlic to a smooth paste. Heat some oil in a pan. Add diced potatoes and stir on medium heat until potatoes are golden brown. Now add the ground paste and salt. Stir for a minute or two until moisture is absorbed. Now add the cooked rice. Mix everything together until the rice is completely coated with the mixture. Add a few drops of lemon juice. Stir and serve hot.

This is my entry to Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging hosted this week by Genie of The Inadvertent Gardener.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Today has been a rainy day. Right from the time I woke up in the morning, the downpour has been relentless.
What better way to enjoy the rain than with a hot cup of tea and some steaming hot and crunchy parippu vada!!!

What you need:
Tuar dal - 1 cup
Red chillies - 2 or 3
Onion - 1 small
Curry leaves - a few
Oil - for deep frying.

Soak tuar dal in water for 30 - 45 minutes. Drain and grind coarsely along with red chillies. Add as little water as you possibly can while grinding. Do not make the batter very smooth. You may notice some whole dal in the batter. That is only makes the vada tastier and that much more crunchy. Add the minced onion,curry leaves,salt and asafoetida to the batter. Mix well.
Heat oil. Take a little bit of the batter. Flatten with your hand. Fry it in the hot oil until brown and crisp. You can fry 5 or 6 vadas at a time depending on the size of your container. Repeat this until all the batter is used up.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Of mangoes and more

The word mango immediately turns my brain to reminiscence mode. I am taken back to the terrace of my childhood, my brother and cousins on the sunshade, and on top of the chimney, reaching out and plucking tender, green mangoes. My grandma and mother used to warn us of dire consequences....."You'll fall down and break your leg","Your stomach is going to hurt"....but all this fell on deaf ears.
One of us would have invariably smuggled up some chilli powder and salt. Biting into the crunchy green mango coated with spice....this was happiness in its purest form.
The only thing that could beat this taste was throwing stones at the neighbour's mango tree and jumping over the wall to fetch the loot before he found out.( bad). Don't know why...but mangoes always tasted better when there was some adventure involved in getting them.
Mangoes also meant amazing of my all time favourites in thokku. It's real easy to make and lip-smacking good!!!

What you need:
Raw mango - 2
Oil - 1/3 cup(Preferably gingely oil)
Mustard seeds(optional)
Red chilli powder - 1 and 1/4 tsp (adjust to suit your palate)
Salt - to taste
Jaggery - a little (optional)

Peel and grate the mangoes. Alternatively, you can slice them into thin pieces. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When the seeds pop, add the grated mango, red chilli powder and salt. Reduce the heat and let it cook, stirring occasionally until the oil leaves the sides of the vessel and the mangoes are done. Add jaggery. Stir and cook for a few more minutes.
Enjoy with your favourite foods.
I love to eat this with literally everything that I make - rice, roti, idli, dosa.....

Monday, August 14, 2006

Tri-colour rotini pasta a la desi style

A couple of days ago I bought a box of tri-coloured rotini. The orange, green and cream spirals looked real pretty and were pretty much calling out to me to pick them up and take them home. Well, today I decided to spice up the pasta with some very Indian ingredients.

What u need:

Tri colour rotini - half a box
Onion - 1 small, chopped fine
Tomato - 1, diced
Green chillies - minced
Mixed vegetables - a handful(I used frozen)
Red chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Italian seasoning - a little
Olive oil - 2 tsp

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling water for about 10 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
Heat the oil in a pan. Add the seasoning and stir for a minute. Then add the green chillies,and onion. Saute until onions turn brown. Then add the tomatoes,red chilli powder, garam masala and salt. Stir for a few minutes. Add veggies and stir until moisture evaporates.
Now add the cooked pasta. Toss until everything is mixed well. Serve with Pasta sauce.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I was all set to make Pushpa's banana butter cake but just when I had all the ingredients laid out in front of me, I couldn't find my loaf pan. I searched all over the place, but for the life of me I couldn't remember where I'd put it. I must have put it away somewhere safe during one of my cleaning and rearranging sprees!!! Yeah, well, it is safe from me, I guess :-))
Well, now that I had peeled and mashed the bananas, I had to use them. So, with a few tweaks...throwing in some extra's what I came up with:

Banana Raisin muffins

You'll need:

All purpose flour - 2 cups
Egg - 1
Oil - 1/4 cup
Brown sugar - 1/4 cup
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Freshly ground cinnamon - a little(optional)
Very,very ripe bananas - 3
Raisins - a large handful

Preheat oven to 350 degree Farenheit. Peel bananas and mash them with an electric hand blender until smooth. Add the egg,sugar and oil to this and blend well. Now add cinnamon powder, flour,baking soda, and baking powder and mix until smooth. Stir in the raisins.
Line muffin pan with paper liners or grease it really well with oil or non-stick cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup until it is two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sabudana kichdi

Sabudana is used in the South mainly in the form of crispies which can be fried in oil and then eaten with rice. This is the only form in which I'd come across it before. However, post marriage, my SIL's husband who is from Gujarat told me about this Khichdi. Now, I haven't eaten this anywhere else. I prepare it based on the instructions that he gave me along with a few variations that I like. So I have no idea if this is how the "authentic" version tastes.

What you need:

Sabu dana/Sago - 1 cup
Green chillies - 2-3,minced
Onion - 1 small, chopped
Potato - 1 small, peeled,cooked and chopped
Ginger - a small piece
Asafoetida - a little(optional)
Peanuts - a handful
Curry leaves, jeera,mustard seeds -for seasoning

Soak sago in water for about 10-15 min. Drain water and keep aside.
Roast peanuts without any oil and powder them.

Heat some oil in a pan. Add jeera and mustard seeds,fry for a few seconds. Then throw in the green chillies,sliced ginger,onion and curry leaves. Stir for a minute or two. Now add asafoetida. Stir well. And then add sabudana and salt. Keep stirring well or it will turn into a glutinous lumpy mass. When the sago looks glossy and transparent, add the peanut powder, mix well and remove from heat.
Serve hot!!!

This is my entry to Nandita's Weekend Breakfast Blogging event.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Hubby decided to play chef a couple of days back.....and he asked me what I wanted for dinner. Not one to miss out on an opportunity like this, I gushed, Ashwini's masale bhaat.
I printed the recipe out for him and took my baby out for a stroll. When I came back, the first thing that hit me is the wonderful aroma of a blend of spices. The rice itself was delicious and had just the right amount of all the ingredients. A few minor variations from Ashwini's recipe include adding a chopped onion, and using brinjals.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Look what I found at the local farmers market today.....

I was so happy and excited to see a bag of freshly plucked chundakka (iam not sure what it is called in english)....back home it was my task to pluck chundakka from the plant in our backyard for sambar or to soak in curd and then dry in the sun so it could be fried and used in various dishes. I have never seen it here before.....and it feels like its been ages since I had it.
I will be posting some recipes soon.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Random thought -8/3/06

I am my own worst critic. Everyone else may tell me I've done something well, but a lot of times I'll be like....Yeah, but if I'd done it a certain other way it may have been just a teeny bit better.