Thursday, May 30, 2013

Onion Sambar | Quick & Easy Side Dish for Idli / Dosa

A day-to-day menu of most Indians is vegetarian and many Indians are in fact Lacto-Vegetarians. A little secret many Indians have not observed or non-Indians do not know is that Indian Food is mostly Vegan. Vegan Thursdays is a concept conceived by Priya, a well known food blogger and a dear friend. Every month, the first and last thursdays, we a group of food blogger will be posting a vegan recipe. Here I am with a simple side dish for Idli for my first entry to the Vegan Thursdays! 

If you are looking for a quick side dish for idli/dosa look no further. This is a simple and easy to make sambar with chickpea flour which is super tasty. Back home in India this sambar used to feature whenever we make idlis. Some steaming hot idlis dunked in this sambar... delicious!! 
Chickpea flour / Besan / Kadala maavu - 3 tbsp heaped
Water - 3-4 cups
Onion - 1 cup - sliced thin
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp (Use 3/4 tsp if extra hot chilli powder)
Salt - to taste
Curry leaves - a few
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - a little
For Tempering:
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
Mix besan with 1 cup of water such that there are no lumps. Add turmeric powder and set aside. Heat oil in a kadai and splutter the mustard seeds and urad dhal. When the mustard splutters add the curry leaves and asafoetida. Add the sliced onions and saute in medium high heat until the onions are soft. Now sprinkle the chilli powder and fry for a minute. Pour the besan mixture with the remaining water and allow it to come to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the raw smell of the besan disappears. Remove from heat and garnish with coriander leaves. This is a great side dish for Idli / Dosa.

I am taking a break from blogging for the next few weeks for my India trip. I have scheduled some posts though.. Keep visiting and supporting as always.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Spinach Chickpea Pulao / Palak Channa Pulav | Indian Rice Recipes

Spinach and Chickpeas are one delightful combination. Don't you think? Be it in a salad, soup, curry or this rice it tastes awesome. I had come across this simple spinach pulav somewhere in the blog world before many years. I did not bookmark it then but just made a mental note of the recipe which had potatoes in the place of chickpeas. I make this rice often and this time tried chickpeas instead of potatoes to up the protein quotient.
Serves - 3
Basmati Rice - 2 cups (rice cooker cup) - 1 1/3 in standard cup
Spinach - 3 cups - tightly packed
Chickpeas / Garbanzo beans - 1 can or approx 2 1/2 cups cooked - Click here to see how to make canned beans at home
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Onion  - 1 cup - thinly sliced
Ginger Garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Wash and soak the rice in plenty of water for 30 minutes. Heat oil in heavy bottomed pan / pressure cooker. Splutter the cumin seeds and add onion. Saute until light brown and add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for 2 minutes in medium heat. Now add the spice powders and spinach. When the spinach starts to wilt add the chickpeas and drained rice. Add 4 cups of water and salt and do a taste check. Cover and cook for 3 whistles in pressure cooker. If cooking in a pan, cover and cook in medium-high heat for 20 minutes until the rice is done. Serve hot with raitha or any curry of your choice.
Linking this delightful rice to MLLA #59 event by Susan and Lisa.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Chickpea Tropical Salad | Summer Salad Recipes

Summer is here and it calls for healthy and simple salads. What if there is something that makes you spend less time in the kitchen. Well, I would definitely go for it, especially if it is packed with goodness bursting with flavors. This is a salad with all the ingredients of summer. Warmth, Fresh and Colorful.
Serves - 2
Chickpeas - cooked - 2 cups or 1 can - Check out how I made canned chickpeas at home
Cucumber - 1 - chopped
Avocado - 1/2 chopped
Tomato - 1 - chopped
Mango - 1/2 of a big one - chopped
Cilantro - a handful
Cumin powder - 3/4 tsp
Lime juice - from 1 lime
Extra Virgin Olive oil - 3 tbsp
Salt and pepper - to taste
Reserve about 1 tsp of lime juice and whisk the remaining with olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper to make the dressing. Toss the avocado pieces with the reserved lime juice. Mix all the ingredients with the dressing and serve.

Linking this up to Jagruti's My Bowl of Salad, MLLA #59 by Susan & Lisa, Healthy Salads event by Priya.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Salmon Fry / Meen Varuval | Easy Indian Fish Recipes

This is a simple and easy recipe for a south indian style fish fry. The ingredients are those which are readily available in the pantry. A little planning and preparation for marination the previous day or earlier the same day is all the effort that is needed for this tasty fish fry. Back home grandma used to make this with king fish. I tried making the same rub for salmon. Salmon tastes great without much masala or spices. It was after making tandoori salmon once that I realised that salmon would be excellent with Indian spices.
Serves - 2
Salmon - 12 oz ~ 350 gms
Chilli powder - 1 tsp (I used 1-1/2 tsp of Kashmiri chilli powder)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Mix all the ingredients for marination in a bowl / ziploc bag. Add the salmon and mix until well coated. Keep covered in an airtight bowl for a minimum of 6 hours in the refrigerator. Heat oil in a shallow pan and add the salmon piece. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Serve.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Paruppu Rasam / Pigeon Pea Soup | Soup Recipes

Back home in India, Rasam is a must have in our daily lunch menu. After coming to US I do not make it quite often as it has to be featured in a South Indian Kitchen. The goodness of rasam / chaaru cannot be forgotten. It is a comforting soup which aids in digestion and regulates metabolism. Kavin loves rasam and so I make it very often. This paruppu rasam is a simple recipe and his favorite with ghee. As in many (okay, most) of my recipes I have used my favorite kitchen gadget, the pressure cooker.
Toor dhal / split pigeon peas - 1/3 cup
Garlic - 2 cloves
Tomato - 1 - medium sized - cut into half
Olive oil / Castor oil - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Tamarind - size of half a lime - Soak in 1 cup of water and extract juice
Rasam powder - 1 tsp - 1 1/4 tsp
Salt - to taste
Olive oil / Ghee - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - a pinch
Cumin seeds - a pinch
Curry leaves - a few
Wash and soak toor dhal for 30 minutes. Cook the dhal and garlic, tomato, oil, salt, turmeric powder with 3 times water until it is fully cooked and turns mushy when pressed with a ladle. I used my pressure cooker to cook for 3 whistles. When done, drain the water and reserve. Mash the dhal, garlic and tomato with the back of a wooden spoon or ladle until fully mashed. Return the reserved liquid back to the pan and add the tamarind extract and rasam powder. The rasam should be watery at this stage. Add half to one cup of water until desired consistency is reached. Do a taste check for salt and spice (from rasam powder) and allow it to boil in medium heat. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and continue to heat for a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. In another small pan heat ghee and add the ingredients for tempering viz. mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves. When the curry leaves splutters pour the tempering over the rasam. Serve steaming hot with steamed rice or as a soup before meal.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Beetroot Rice / Beetroot Sadham | Indian Rice Recipes

DH once recited a list of dishes and asked me if I have it in my blog. I said "no" to most of them. Those are the recipes which we make most often but never got a chance to click them. As a part of my ongoing "more rice recipes for blog pact", I thought I should try to click them whenever I can. Here I am with another simple and easy recipe which we make often. Paired with simple curry or just yogurt and pickle, it is a satisfactory meal.
Serves - 2
Beetroot - 2 small - grated
Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Onion - 1/4 cup
Green chilli - 1 or 2
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Split urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Chana dhal - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Cook rice and spread in a plate to allow it to cool. Heat oil in a non-stick kadai and splutter the mustard seeds, urad dhal and chana dhal. When the chana dhal turns light brown in color add the slit green chilli and onions. Fry until the onions are cooked and add the cumin powder and salt. Add the grated beetroot and saute for a couple of minutes. Add about 1/4 cup of water and mix well. Cover and cook in medium heat until done. This would take about 10-15 minutes. Mix occasionally to avoid burning. When the beetroot is cooked through, add the cooked cooled rice and mix well. Remove from heat and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with any curry of your choice.

Sending this to Srivalli’s Kid’s Delight event hosted by Pavani.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mambazha Pachadi / Sweet & Spicy Mango Chutney | Indian Chutney Recipes

Mango season is here and the market is overflowing with mangoes. I picked up a few to try out a few recipes and to slurp it down as such, a simple wish of a true mango lover. When we were kids spending our summer holidays in grandparents' house in the village in India, we got mangoes in abundant. Literally, abundant in big baskets. We used to eat at least a few in a day. Summer holidays were all about, eating, playing and having fun. Also featured on the menu for the holidays would be raw mango rice, mango juice and pickles. I made this easy to make pachadi yesterday as a side dish for sambar rice. It tastes great with rasam and curd rice too.
Ripe Mango - 2 large - peeled and cubed
Chilli powder - a large pinch or 1/2 tsp (based on spice level)
Salt - to taste
For tempering:
Oil - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies - 2 or 3, broken
In a saucepan add the mango pieces with salt and chilli powder. Add about 1-1/2 to 2 cups of water and cook covered in medium heat for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally by mashing the mango pieces to ensure that it doesn't stick to the bottom. When almost all of the water has evaporated, remove the lid and cook until the remaining water is vaporized. Remove from heat and allow to cool. For tempering, heat oil and splutter the mustard and cumin seeds. Add the chillies and pour this tempering over the cooled mango pachadi. Mix well and store in a dry, airtight container in the fridge. Keeps well for about a week, if it lasts that long for you.
A pinch of turmeric powder can be added if desired. I did not add because i wanted the natural color of mango.

Sending this to Srivalli’s Kid’s Delight event hosted by Pavani and to Mango Delights.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Cauliflower Peas Masala - South Indian Style | Indian Curry Recipes

I had mentioned about my MIL's handwritten recipe book in my Sundal Kulambu recipe. It is a little book containing less than 20 recipes, all DH's favorites. She gave it to him when he first came to the US and did not have any experience in cooking. I believe he didn't try many recipes but the book was very useful to me. It had all his family recipes many of which were new to me. This Cauliflower Peas Masala recipe is from that book and another one for DH's favorite.
Measurements in standard cup
Cauliflower - 1 - small - cut into florets and cleaned - approx 2 cups
Peas - 3/4 cup
Onion - 1 cup - chopped
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Oil - 2 tbsp
Make a Paste:
Red Chilli powder - 1-1/2 tsp (I used kashmiri chilli powder, if using regular chilli powder use 1 tsp)
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
Garlic - 3 cloves
Cloves - 2
Cinnamon - 1 small piece
Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
Grind the ingredients under "Make a paste" to a smooth paste. Heat oil in a wide kadai and splutter the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the chopped onions and saute until it takes a light golden shade. Add the cauliflower florets and fry for about 10 minutes. The cauliflower pieces should be half-cooked at this time and have a slight crispy outer layer. Add the peas, salt and the ground masala with about 1 cup of water. Allow it to boil in medium-high heat until the raw smell disappears and the peas and cauliflower are cooked through. Mix occasionally to prevent the masala from sticking to the pan. Serve hot with roti, rice or pulao. I did with Carrot Rice.
I used frozen peas. If using fresh peas, soak overnight and pressure cook beforehand for about 3 whistles. 
This masala can also be made with only cauliflower or only peas. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Carrot Rice | Indian Rice Recipes

When I looked back at my posts I saw I didn't have many rice dishes. After all, rice is the staple food of us South Indians. And DH cannot live without rice for more than two days. So I thought I should have more of those recipes in my space. This simple and quick Carrot Rice is my start for my "more rice recipes for blog pact". It is a great lunch box recipe too. Expect more simple rice recipes in my space.
Serves - 2
Rice - 1 1/2 cups (rice cooker cup)
Carrot - 2 medium sized - grated
Onion -chopped - 1//2 cup
Green chillies - 2 or 3 - slit
Curry leaves - a few
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Broken Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Chana dhal - 1 tsp
Cook rice as twice the amount of water. When done, spread on a plate / cookie pan to cool completely. Meanwhile heat oil in a wide kadai and splutter the mustard seeds. Add the urad dhal and chana dhal and fry until it takes a shade of light brown. Add the curry leaves and slit green chillies and fry for a minute. Onion goes next. Fry for about 3-5 minutes with a pinch of salt until it turns soft. Now add the grated carrot and fry until it is cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Now add the cooked cooled rice and mix well. Serve with any curry of your choice. A simple pickle and papad would also be great.

Sending this to Srivalli’s Kid’s Delight event hosted by Pavani.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Muttai Kulambu / Boiled Egg Curry - South Indian Style | Indian Egg Curry Recipes

There would be quite a few family recipes we all love but have forgotten. Being far away from my family and home country, certain dishes just vanish from my mind though the taste lingers in the thoughts. This is one such dish which I remembered one fine day and promptly called up grandma for the recipe. She patiently mentioned every ingredient and measurement with the steps involved. I also got a bonus recipe (another type of muttai kulambu). I followed the recipe to the T and arrived very close to the taste. I believe it was her touch that was missing :)
Serves - 4
Eggs - 4
Onions - 1/2 cup chopped
Tomato - 1 - chopped
Curry leaves - a few
Oil - 2 tsp + 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
To grind:
Coriander Seeds - 3 tbsp (heaped)
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 1" piece
Fennel seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Raw Rice - 1/2 tsp
Garlic cloves - 3 or 4
Grated Coconut - 4 tbsp (heaped)
Dry Red Chillies - 4
Boil the eggs as mentioned below and slice into two lengthwise. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a kadai and roast all the ingredients under "to grind" except coconut. Roast until the rice takes a light brown shade. Remove from heat and mix in the grated coconut. The residual heat is sufficient for the coconut to get roasted. Cool the mixture completely and grind to a smooth paste in a mixie/blender. Heat the remaining oil and splutter the mustard seeds, urad dhal and curry leaves. Add the chopped onion and saute until it turns pale. Add the chopped tomato with a pinch of salt and saute until the tomato becomes mushy. Now add the ground paste and mix in medium heat until the raw smell disappears, about 10-12 minutes. Add required quantity of water per the desired consistency and allow it to boil. When the kulambu boils, add salt, do a taste check and drop the halved eggs slowly. Simmer for about 5 minutes and remove from heat. Serve hot with steamed rice. This is also a great side dish for chapathi, idli or dosa.
How to boil eggs:
In a medium saucepan, bring 2 litres of water to boil. Drop the eggs slowly into the boiling water. Cook in medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Drain the water and fill with cold tap water. Set aside for about 5 minutes and then peel the eggs. Wash again in running tap water to remove any tiny bits of shell.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pasi Paruppu Payasam / Moong Dhal Kheer | Indian Festival Recipes

DH is not a sweet lover but still he can't say no to few of them. Gulab jamun, Carrot Halwa and this Pasiparuppu payasam are the very few sweets which he likes. I made this Pasi paruppu payasam for Tamil New Year this year. I wanted to reserve it to celebrate my 250th post. I didn't think I could make it this far but I am happy and thankful to my lovely readers. And of course my family and friends for the continued support and encouragement. This paruppu payasam has no milk or coconut milk and keeps good for a couple of days in the fridge. 
Serves - 2 to 3
Split Yellow Moong dhal / Pasi Paruppu / Hesaru Bele - 1 cup
Grated Jaggery - tightly packed - 1/2 cup
Water - 3 cups + 1.5 cups (see notes below)
Cardamom powder - a pinch
Ghee / Oil - 1 tsp
Cashew nuts - 5 - broken into little pieces
Grated Coconut - 1 tbsp
Dry roast the moong dhal in medium heat until it turns light brown in color. Pressure cook with 3 cups of water for 2 whistles (see notes below for stovetop method). Meanwhile dissolve the jaggery in the remaining water and filter. Heat with cardamom powder in a saucepan. When the dhal is done, mash slightly with the back of a spoon and mix with the heated jaggery water. Cook this dhal-jaggery mixture in medium heat. When the mixture comes to a boil remove from heat. Heat ghee in a pan and roast the cashew nuts. Remove and set aside. In the same pan roast the grated coconut in low heat until light brown. Add the roasted cashews and coconut to the dhal and serve hot. This kheer can also be served chilled.
1. If serving chill, allow the payasam to come to room temperature and then pop in the refridgerator. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours and serve.
2. The 3 cups of water I used for cooking the dhal got absorbed fully when I pressure cooked the dhal. So I had to use 1.5 cups of water to the jaggery to bring to the desired consistency. You may need more or less water.
3. The dhal can also be cooked without a pressure cooker. In a medium saucepan, boil 3 cups of water and add the roasted moong dhal. Cook in medium-high heat until the dhal is cooked through. The moong dhal tends to be frothy and boil over. So keep a close eye and stir often.The dhal should be mashable with the fingers but still hold the shape.
Check out what I made for other milestone celebrations.
100th day of blogging - Honey Brownies
100th post - Carrot Kheer
2nd blog anniversary - Paal Kozhukattai
5 lakh hits - Mocha Chocolate Ricotta Creme

Sending this to Srivalli’s Kid’s Delight event hosted by Pavani.