Jan 31, 2013

LEMON VERMICELLI / LEMON SEVAI


         Sevai is the most easiest tiffins now a days. That too with the instant sevais coming up. We just soak them in hot water and do the necessary tempering. But once in a while when we are out of the instant varieties, we can still prepare the sevai with the original vermicelli also. Here goes the recipe.





Ingredients :
(Serves two)

Roasted Vermicelli (Anil or Bambino) – 150gms(close to 2 cups)
Water – 5 cups
Oil – 2tsp
Peanuts – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Chana dal – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1tsp
Red chillies - 3
Lemon Juice – 2tsp
Curry leaves/Cilantro for garnish

Method :


  1. Add the vermicelli in a deep bottomed dish with 5 cups of water. Add salt and turmeric to the water itself.
  2. As soon as water starts boiling and the semiya tends to keep jumping from bottom. Now drain out the water. Be careful that it should not get overcooked. This step takes 7 – 8 mins only.
  3. Now let the vermicelli cool down.
  4. Now add oil in a wide pan and add mustard seeds. After they pop, add peanuts, chana dal and urad dal. Now add red chillies. Fry them for a minute.
  5. Add the cooked vermicelli and curry leaves or cilantro as per taste.
  6. Toss them for a little while and switch off the stove. Now add lemon juice.
  7. Serve it with chutney or sambar.

My Notes :


  • Check the cooking instructions on the packet. Sometimes it would be specified to cook only for 3 or 4 minutes. Follow accordingly.
  •  You can also used this cooked semiya for vegetable sevai or coconut sevai as well.
  • While cooking vermicelli, see that you remove it form the stove before it is sticky. This doesn't really need oil. It just needs the correct time.
  • I prefer the Anil brand as it is very thin and gets cooked very soon.


Jan 28, 2013

CORIANDER RICE/ KOTHAMALLI SADAM



         This is an easy rice variety rice and common in most of the houses. The same procedure can be repeated for Spinach or Min for a variation. This can be made as one of the Lunch box Recipes.


Ingredients :

 Cilantro or coriander – half a bunch
Onion – 1
Green chillies – 2
Ginger – few pieces
Garam masala – ½ tsp
Cooked rice – 1 cup
Oil – 2tsp
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Jeera – 1 tsp


Method:

Cook rice and keep it ready.

Grind coriander, Onion, green chillies and ginger in a mixie to a fine paste.

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds and let them pop. Now add jeera.

Once it starts changing colour, add the grinded paste. Fry this paste till it looses its raw smell. Now add salt, garam masala.

Add cooked rice and mix well. Serve it hot with raita.




Jan 27, 2013

RAGI OATS DOSA


            Ragi and Oats are known to be the best fibre foods and a combination of these both would result in a most nutritious dish and easy to digest. It is an instant dosa and very simple to make. I have taken it as a Reference from Kranthi’s Kitchen  and made small modifications as per my taste.




Ingredients :

Ragi flour - ½ cup
Instant Oats – ½ cup
Onion – 1
Green chillies – 1
Jeera – 1tsp
Hing – a pinch
Salt
Coriander or Curry leaves

Method :

Grind the quick oats to a fine powder.

Mix powdered oats along with all the other ingredients to make dosa batter.

The batter consistency should be like dosa batter neither too thick nor too thin.

Now pour the a ladle full of batter over a non stick pan and spread it around.

After 2 mins, flip it over. As soon as the second side also gets cooked, serve it with chutney or sambar.



My Notes :

Chop the onions to a very fine size so that it helps in spreading the batter easily.

If you feel the dosa is not yet cooked, try closing the dosa with a frying pan’s lid.

Sending this to HITS – Diabetic friendly and HITS page

Jan 25, 2013

PORI UPMA/ PUFFED RICE UPMA

    One of my Uncles was a very good cook and this one was his best dish. It was our all time favorite  Though it was very simple, we never get such a taste in that dish. We all  cousins used to enjoy it in our childhood days. After I got married as and when I prepare this dish, I always think off him. Now he is very busy in his office, I don’t think he is getting any time to even peep into the kitchen  :D 




Ingredients :

Puffed rice – 2 cups (150 gms)
Onion – 1
Tomato – 2
A pinch of Turmeric powder
Coriander leaves
Salt as desired
Oil – 2tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dal – ½ tsp
Chana dal - ½ tsp
Peanuts – ½ tsp
Green chillies -2

Method :

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard  seeds and allow them to crackle.

Now add chana dal, urad dal and peanuts for tempering. Once these are fried, add green chillies.

Add onions and fry them till golden brown. Add tomatoes and fry them till they are mushy. Add salt and turmeric powder.

Meanwhile wash the puffed rice in running water. Make sure it is not soaked in water for a very long time. We do this to clean the puffed rice of any smell.

Now add this puffed rice to the pan. Mix it well and switch off the stove.


Garnish with coriander and serve with tomato sauce.

Notes :

Make sure you filter out all the water from the puffed rice before adding it to the pan or else the dish might become soggy.

If you don't have tomatoes, you can even try this with onions and add lime juice for the sour flavor.




Jan 24, 2013

BHINDI / LADIES FINGER CURRY

           Lady’s Finger is also called as Bhindi in Hindi ,Vendakkai in Tamil , Bendakai in Telugu and Okra in US.I never thought about it, but I was getting confused when I started writing this blog. When I did a Google on it, I found many answers. Some of them saying Lady’s fingers, some said Ladies fingers and some said it is Ladies’ fingers. Whatever is the spelling or pronunciation in English is but I like this curry J . So coming to the recipe,



Ingredients:

Onion – 1
Tomato – 2
Lady’s finger or Bindi – 150gms (12 to 15 in count)
Mint – half a bunch finely chopped
Coconut – 1tsp
Curd or yogurt – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp

 Method :

Wash the ladies finger long before. Dry them and keep it ready.

Sauté Onions in a pan.

Add tomatoes to this.

Now add finely chopped mint leaves to get a nice aroma of mint.

Add the chopped lady’s finger. Add 1 tsp of yogurt.

It will get cooked soon within 5 mins. Keep stirring and take care that the bindi does not get mushier.

Add salt and coconut and red chilli powder.

Fry it for 2 more mins and Serve it hot with sambar or any gravy.

This curry and curd rice is also a great combination.

Notes :

 Ladies finger will be sticky in the beginning, but it will lose that property as it gets cooked. Adding curd and tomato helps them to lose its sticky nature.

Also you can add tamarind juice if you don’t like to add curd or tomato. This gives a tangy taste and is yummy :)

I did not have mint today, but adding it gives a great taste to the dish.



Jan 23, 2013

NUTRITIOUS CORIANDER / KOTHAMALLI / CILANTRO CHUTNEY


    This is a different variety of chutney because I use different dals for this one. Mostly I don’t garnish the chutneys. I do this because I try to avoid oil wherever there is not much of a taste difference. In some particular dishes like potato fry we cannot completely avoid oil. That won’t taste good. Whereas we would not notice any difference in chutneys. So I prefer avoiding oil wherever possible. Hence you won’t see seasoning in most of my dishes. But there is nothing wrong if you like the taste of mustard and curry leaves in seasoning, you can add them as well J


Ingredients :

Chana dal – 1tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Peanuts – 1 tsp
Coconut – 1 tsp
Red chillies – 2
Coriander – half a bunch
Half a piece of Tomato

Method :

Dry roast the dals together.

Add these roasted dals, coconut, red chillies and salt to a coarse paste.

Now add coriander and tomato to this mixture.

Grind them to a smooth paste.

Healthy coriander chutney is ready to be served with idli or dosa.

My Notes:

I generally use raw coconut and raw coriander leaves to retain its nutrition value.
You can do it according to your taste. 
I have added a piece of tomato for the sour taste. You can also add tamarind instead.

Jan 22, 2013

CAPSICUM RICE / BELL PEPPER RICE

    I love bell peppers just as it is. Either cooked or raw or in whichever recipe it is. There is no week at home without cooking capsicum  at least once. I just love the crunchier taste when it is raw and the softer one when it is cooked. Overall I just love this vegetable irrespective of the taste of the dish :)

This time I made Capsicum Rice which is generally as a part of our Sunday Special Dishes...


Ingredients:

Basmati rice – 1 cup
Capsicum or Green Bell Pepper cut lengthwise– 2
Onion cut lengthwise– 1
Green peas – ¼ cup
Green chillies – 3 or 4
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Coriander powder or Dhaniya powder – 1 tsp (optional)
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Jeera – 1 tsp
Cashew nuts – 2tsp


Method :

Soak green peas overnight. Cook them and keep them ready. Alternatively you cna also use fresh or frozen peas.

Cook Basmati rice seperately. Check How to cook basmati rice. Keep it aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. Once it splutters, add jeera and cashew nuts. Fry them for a minute and then add green chillies.

Now add onions and sauté them.

As soon as onions turn golden brown, add cooked green peas. Add salt.

Now add the chopped bell peppers. Fry them for around 5 mins. Make sure they don’t get mushier. They need to be crunchy.

Add turmeric powder, garam masala and coriander powder.

After the masala looses its raw flavour, add the cooked rice and mix well.

Garnish it with Chopped cilantro. I also added walnuts while garnishing.

Capsicum Rice is ready to be serve it with raita or any gravy. 

HOW TO COOK BASMATI RICE


   A very common question for the beginners (just like me :P ). How to Cook Basmati rice long and tender just as it hotels?
     The aroma of raw basmati rice itself is so tempting that I have always been wondering how to cook it because it tends to get overcooked easily. Basmati rice needs to fluffy and we have to be careful that the grain doesn’t break off. I generally cook basmati rice in three ways.






In a Pressure Cooker:

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice – 1 cup
Water – 1.5cups

Method:

Wash the basmati rice.
Soak it in 1.5 cups of water just for 10 mins.
Add this rice to pressure cooker along with water. Add a pinch of salt and oil to this. This helps prevent rice from getting over cooked.
Allow it for 1 whistle.
Let the pressure subside and let the rice cool down. Dont use a  spatula immediately. 

Fluff it with a fork.

Basmati rice is ready to be served.
  
Directly on Stove Top:

I generally prefer this method of cooking as it the safest and the best method to get basmati rice fluffy. Also it doesn’t take more than 10 mins.

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice – 1 cup
Water – 2 cups

Method:

Wash the basmati rice. This doesn’t need soaking of rice.
Add 2 cups of water in a wide bowl. Allow it to boil.



Now add the rice to boiling water.


Keep stirring occasionally. After 7 to 10 mins, you can find all the moisture getting evaporated.

Switch off the stove at this point. You might feel the rice is little wet. Once it gets cooled, the moisture will be lost.

 Now fluff it with a fork. The grains would be separate and tender and long just as in restaurants.


In my opinion this is the best and foolproof method to cook rice. You need not worry about rice getting overcooked at all.

  
In  a rice cooker:

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice – 1 cup
Water – 1.5cups



Method:

Wash the basmati rice.
There is no soaking required here.
Add 1 cup of basmati rice in the rice cooker.
Add 1.5 cups of water.
Put the rice cooker in ‘Cook’ mode.
Switch off the rice cooker, once it reaches ‘Keep warm’ mode.

Allow the rice to cool and Serve it.

Jan 18, 2013

CABBAGE GOTHSU OR CABBAGE GRAVY

       
               Sounds different right ? Gothsu is nothing but a gravier dish which can used for rice or chaapthi. In Tamilnadus it is made as a side dish for pongal. And the most traditional one is made of brinjal or eggplant.. But instead of brinjal I have used cabbage for a variation. I learned this recipe from my Mother-in-law. Also this can be used as a side dish for roti or chapathi.  Generally cabbage is used either as kootu or porial. But this one is the gravier version and can be had with chapathis.

Ingredients:
(Serves two)

Cabbage – 1 cup
Moong dal or pasi paruppu – ¼ cup
Onion – 1
Tomato – 2
Green chillies – 4
Chopped Ginger – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Hing – a pinch
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Jeera - 1 tsp
Curry leaves – a few
Coriander for garnish

Method - 1:

Add moong dal, cabbage, onion tomato, green chillies and chopped ginger layer by layer into a pressure cooker with salt and turmeric powder.

Allow 2 whistles for the cooker.

Once pressure subsides, add curry leaves and coriander for garnishing.

Additionally we can season the curry with mustard seeds, jeera and a pinch of hing. Add this seasoning to the cabbage gravy. Serve hot with rotis.

I skipped this step of seasoning to go Healthy and Oil free :)

This method is very convenient as it doesn't need any extra effort other than cutting the veggies.

Method -2

Add moong dal and cabbage in a pressure cooker . Cook it for 2 whistles.

Heat oil in a skillet. Add mustard seeds , let them crackle. Then add jeera, green chillies , chopped ginger and a pinch of hing.

Sauté chopped onions. Once it turns golden brown, add chopped tomatoes.
Fry for five minutes until the tomato gets cooked.

Add salt and turmeric powder.  At this stage add the cooked cabbage and dal mixture. Red chilli powder can be added to get more spice.

This doesn’t need to boil much as it is cooked already. Garnish with curry leaves or coriander as per choice.

This method would be tastier as the onions and tomatoes would be crunchier than the first method.

It can be served it with any Indian bread varieties.

Jan 16, 2013

CARROT RICE

         This is my first post on Rice Varieties. Generally I make a lot of rice varieties especially on weekends when we have very few vegetables and less time for our hunger !! For our fast paced lifestyle today, most of us prefer brunch that is easy and simple over the weekends. So this is just the right dish which just needs very few items. I also make it as a lunch box recipe as it is very easy to make. 

Ingredients :
Serves two

Carrots - 2 Grated
Peanuts - 2tsp
Green chillies - 3 or 4 
Cooked Rice - 2 cups
chopped Ginger - 1tsp
Powdered pepper - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Coriander to garnish





Method :


Dry roast peanuts in a separate pan. Let it cool.

Grind the peanuts to a  coarse paste. Keep it aside.

Cook raw rice separately in a pressure cooker .


Heat little oil in a pan. Crackle mustard seeds and add jeera.

Add chopped ginger and green chillies.

Now add grated carrot. Fry the carrots for a few mins. It gets cooked very soon.

Add the peanut powder to the carrots. 

Add salt and turmeric powder. Add the powdered pepper.

Mix it with the cooked rice.

Garnish with Cilantro.

This rice can be had as is or with any raita.

My Notes:

We can also use Basmati rice instead of the usual rice. I prefer the normal one for this recipe.

I add pepper reduce the sweet taste of carrot. You can also avoid or adjust it according to your taste.

Adding peanut powder is purely optional, but it enhances the taste.

Jan 15, 2013

VEN PONGAL WITH BROWN RICE

   It is Pongal and everyone is busy either posting the festival recipes or atleast checking the web for new recipes. I did not post any as I had the same old sakkara pongal and ven pongal recipes. Nothing different from usual. 

But suddenly it struck to me that I could make pongal more healthier by adding Brown Rice instead of white rice. So gave it a try today. 
       The secret is that we need not inform hubby or kids that it is made of brown rice because, then they may not taste it. Since rice has to mashed up, we will not know the difference at all. 
So first let them have it and then disclose it. " Tada!! What you  have had today is a much healthier version than the usual.. " That is what I generally do :) . I am a little late in posting pongal recipes but still we can do this for any breakfast or dinner items.


Here are some facts about Brown Rice : One cup of brown rice has just 2 grams of fat, including omegas-3 and 6 fatty acids. Brown rice also has no cholesterol and just 10mg of sodium so you can be sure you’re getting nothing but nutrients with every spoonful. So people with Diabetics can have this guilt free rice made purely out of Brown Rice.





Ingredients :
(Serves two)

Brown Rice - 1cup
Moong Dal - ¼ cup
Water – 4 cups

To Temper:

Ghee - 2tsp
Jeera - 1tsp
Peppercorns  - 2 tsp (powdered or as a whole)
Cashew nuts - 8 to 10
Finely chopped Ginger - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder
A few Curry leaves

Method :

Soak Brown Rice in 4 cups of water for 30 to 40 mins. This is an important step. Do not throw away this water. We can use this to cook rice.

Dry roast moong dal till it turns golden brown. After it cools down, wash it with water because it doesn't get mashed well along with rice.

 Add rice along with water in a pressure cooker. Add dal to this  mixture. Add salt as desired and cook it in a pressure cooker for 4-5 whistles.

Heat ghee in a seperate pan. Add jeera, ginger, peppercorn , cashew nuts, curry leaves and turmeric powder. 


Add the cooked rice and dal to this pan. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve hot with coconut chutney or sambar or gothsu .
  
My Notes :

Adding turmeric powder purely optional. I did it so that it gives some color This will help you hide that the main ingredient is brown rice ;)

The water in which brown rice is soaked has lot of nutrients. So wash the rice first and soak it with the amount of water required to cook it.

Sending this to HITS – Diabetic friendly and HITS page

Jan 14, 2013

STUFFED CHIILI BAJJI / MIRCHI BAJJI / MOLAGA BAJJI



   I guess all the Hyderabadis would be knowing very well about a Mirchi bajji. It is a very famous snack in Andhra Pradesh. But I have not seen much of a stuffed chilli bajji in Chennai. So as soon as I made it at home, it came as surprise for everyone.
      Also I have seen the chillies very big and long that we can easily make 2 bajjis from a single chilli. From my experience (that is very low :D but still) I guess the bigger the chillies, the less spicier they are. So I think we can use the normal ones which we get in the grocery store itself for this recipe. The Recipe is as follows.





 Ingredients :

Filling for the chillies :

4 Green chillies  long and thick
¼ cup chana dal
¼ cup urad dal
¼ cup peanuts
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup roasted gram or chutney dal
3 to 4 red chillies
Half a tomato - Optional


For the Bajji batter:

¼ cup Gram Flour
½ cup Rice flour  
Salt as per taste
Red chilli powder
A pinch of hing


Method :

Dry Roast the Chana dal, urad dal, sesame seeds , roasted gram and the red chillies separately. Let them cool. I dry roasted them, you can roast them in little oil too.

Grind these dals  along with half piece of a tomato in a mixer with little water.

Slit the Chillies length wise. If they are long you can cut it into two horizontally also. My chillies were too long to fit in the pan. So I cut them into two.




Remove the seeds from the chillies. If you like them to be spicy you need not remove the seeds. I did that.


Now fill the chillies with the grounded mixture and keep it ready.


Make the batter with all the ingredients and very little water to get a thick paste.

Dip the filled chillies into the batter and deep fry them in oil until golden brown.


Serve them with any chutney.

My Notes :



I added chana dal and urad dal as I needed more stuffing for the big chillies. You could omit them.

I added tomato for the sour taste as a substitute for tamarind.

I prefer adding a pinch of hing to any bajji batter because we add gram flour which may not be easily digestible for everyone. Hing helps in digestion. 

Sending to What is with my cuppa and Nupur's page




Jan 12, 2013

UPMA KOZHUKATTAI/ STEAMED RICE DUMPLINGS


      The most famous snack item of  Hotel Saravana Bhavan in Tamil Nadu.
I have seen my relatives buying this particular dish whenever they pass through the streets of Saravana Bhavan. So thought of putting this up with step by step pictures for easy understanding.
 It is very common tiffin item made at my mother’s place.
Hope you too enjoy making it and relish the taste.





Ingredients:
1 cup raw rice.
2 tsp chana dal
2 tsp shredded coconut
8 to 10 red chillies.
1.5 cups of water

For Seasoning
1 tsp oil
Mustard seeds
1 tsp peanuts
Few curry leaves.

Method:

Soak the rice and chana dal for 2 hours.Drain the water completely 


Grind the soaked rice, chana dal, red chillies and salt together to a coarse paste.




 Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. Once it splutters add raw peanuts.



Add 1.5 cups of water. Chop curry leaves finely at this step and add them in water so that they don’t get fried in oil. Also add grated coconut.



 As water begins to boil, add the coarse rice paste. Stir it for 5 mins until the water evaporates. At this stage we can see that the mixture leaves the pan and comes as a whole.




Now keep the pressure cooker with water ready. Start making dumpings or balls from the rice mixture.



Steam it for 12 mins.

Hot Steamed Rice dumplings or Upma Kozhukattai are ready to be served. Have it with Chutney or sambar.




My Notes:

I prefer adding curry leaves by chopping them so that they we tend to eat them without our notice. Kids would not pick it up and put it aside while having them.

Don’t wait until the rice mixture is completely cooled down as this hardens the kozhukattai.