Sunday, September 29, 2013

Methi Matar Malai / Fenugreek leaves and Peas Creamy Curry | Indian Curry Recipes

Green leaves are the nature's bounty in its healthiest form. When I was little, I used to hate them as most other kids would do. Now I love to cook them and eat them more. I do not fail to pick up a bunch of these beautiful Methi leaves whenever I see them. I made this Methi Matar Malai for dinner to go with our chapathi the other day.

Serves - 3-4; Preparation time - 50 mins
Fenugreek leaves - 1 bunch (can substitute 3 cubes of frozen methi leaves)
Frozen Peas - 1 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Onion - thinly sliced - 1 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Tomato - 2 - blanched, skin and seeds removed - pureed (I used 1/2 cup of canned crushed tomatoes)
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Kashmiri Chilli powder - 1-1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 3/4 tsp (use 1 tsp if the garam masala powder you use is less spicy)
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Kasuri methi / Dried Fenugreek leaves - 1 tsp - crushed
Fresh cream / half & half - 1/2 cup
Group 1:
Milk - 1/2 cup
Cashew nuts - 10
Poppy seeds /khus khus - 1 tsp
Warm the milk and soak the cashew nuts and poppy seeds for 15 minutes. Make a fine paste and set aside.
Pick the leaves and place in a bowl and fill it with water. After a couple of minutes, gently scoop the leaves and discard the water. Repeat this process for a 2-3 times until all the dirt has been drained. If using frozen methi leaves, thaw (or defrost). Place in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze until all the water is out.
For fresh peas, pressure cook with water and salt for 2 whistles. Drain and set aside. If using frozen peas, wash, drain and MW for 2-3 minutes.
Making the Curry:
Heat oil in a kadai and splutter the cumin seeds. Add the sliced onions and cook until it turns soft and translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for 3 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the spice powders and continue to cook in medium heat until the mixture becomes shiny and gives out oil. Add the peas and methi leaves. Mix and saute for a while and add the ground cashew paste with 2 cups (or less) of water and salt. Allow to boil in medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle the kasuri methi and add the fresh cream. Allow to boil for about 3-5 minutes and remove from heat. Serve hot with roti / pulao / jeera rice.
Linking this up to Srivalli's Side Dish Mela; MLLA by Susan & Lisa; Kid's delight - Potluck Party.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Carrot Beans Poriyal

Carrot beans poriyal is a simple stir-fry of the south Indian food. It is one of those dishes which I make often but never thought about clicking and writing about in this space. It is a humble little dry-curry which is a perfect side for almost all of the south indian main courses, be it sambar, rasam, kulambu or even curd rice.
Serves - 4
Carrots - 3
Beans - 1/2 kg (1 lb)
Green Chilis - 2-3
Grated Coconut - 2 tsp (optional)
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Chana dhal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few

Chop the carrots and beans finely. Place the chopped carrots in a microwave safe bowl with a few tsps of water and cook for about 2-3 minutes, pausing and stirring once every minute. Repeat the same process for beans. The beans may need one or two minutes more than the carrots. The vegetables should be three-fourths cooked at this stage. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add the ingredients for tempering. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the slit green chillies. After a minute add the steamed carrots and beans and mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes in medium heat adding salt to taste. When the vegetables are fully cooked through, remove from heat and mix in the grated coconut. Serve as a side.
Linking this up to Vegan Thursdays, Vardhini's 30 minute meals and Valli's Side Dish Mela.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Jeera Rice / Ghee Rice | Indian Rice Recipes

It is truly astonishing that how some the best tasting dishes are the simplest to make. Jeera rice is one of them. It is one of the easiest forms of Pulao and does not need any preparation work. Paired with a spicy curry it is one of the best Indian meals in my opinion.
Serves - 3-4; measurements in 160 ml cup
Basmati Rice - 2 1/2 cups
Jeera / Cumin Seeds - 1-1/2 tsp
Green chillies - 2 - chopped
Salt - to taste
Water - 4-3/4 cups
Oil - 1 tsp
Ghee - 1 tbsp
Wash and soak the rice in water for 30 mins. In a heavy pan with lid (or pressure cooker), heat oil and splutter the cumin seeds and green chillies. Add the drained rice and fry for a minute in medium heat. Add water and salt and cover and cook in medium-high heat for about 15-20 minutes or until done. If cooking in a pressure cooker, cook for 2 whistles in medium-high heat. When done, add the ghee and mix gently fluffing with a fork. Serve hot with any spicy curry of your choice.
Some perfect pairings would be Methi Matar Malai

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Coconut Chutney | Side Dish for Idli Dosa

Coconut chutney is a very common side dish for South Indians. It is an all-purpose side dish for most of the south Indian dishes and goes perfectly well with idli, dosa, vada or pongal. For a perfect coconut chutney, try a ratio of 4:1 for the coconut and gram dhal. You will not go wrong. There are a lot of ways to adapt this recipe and make different types of sides. More on that coming soon.
Serves - 2
Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Dalia / Roasted gram dhal / Pottu Kadalai - 2 tbsp
Green chillies - 2
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Chana dhal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - from 1 twig
Grind the coconut, gram dhal, green chillies and salt in a mixie/blender adding little water. It should be a smooth paste. Transfer to a serving bowl and add water for desired thickness. Heat oil in a small pan and splutter the ingredients for tempering. Pour over the ground chutney and serve. I served as a side for Ven Pongal along with sambar.
Linking this up to Lets Cook with Coconut.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Radish Salad with Lemon Peanut Dressing

Salads are a refreshing accompaniment to any meal. I love my salads colorful with lots of texture. My recent love are these little red salad radishes. I also used bell peppers and snow peas for little sweet note. I would also suggest adding a cucumber for a refreshing bite. I did not have any at hand, so did not add.
Serves - 2
Red Radishes - 1 bunch - sliced to half moons
Snow Peas - 1 handful
Red Bell Pepper - 1 - julienned
Scallions/Spring onion greens - 2 tbsp
Roasted Pistachios - 15
Lime Peanut Dressing:
Peanut butter - 2 tbsp
Lime - 1 - juiced
Extra Virgin Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Mix the ingredients for dressing (except EVOO) in a blender. With the blender running, drizzle the olive oil in the blender to create a smooth dressing. Mix the red radishes, snow peas and red bell pepper. When ready to serve, drizzle required amount of dressing and garnish with green onions and pistachios. The remaining dressing if any can be refrigerated for a couple of days.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Egg Fried Rice | Indo-Chinese recipes

Lunch-out in India means a simple rice dish for me. I was not fond of the thali meals since I would not be able to finish them. My preferred go-to choice was a fried rice or noodles dish. If you are looking for a restaurant style fried rice recipe, you could try this. Add any vegetable at hand and you will have tasty and delicious fried rice in no time.
Serves - 2-3
Brown Basmati rice - 1 cup (Can substitute White Rice)
Eggs - 3
Spring onions/Scallions - 2 (mandatory)
Onion - 1/2 of a big one - sliced thin ~ 1 cup
Red Bell Pepper - 1 - chopped
Soy Sauce (Low Sodium) - 2 tsp
Red chilli paste - 1 tsp (Sriracha)
Vinegar - 1 tsp
Red pepper flakes - to taste
Salt & Pepper - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp + 1 tbsp
Cook rice and spread on a plate to cool. Mix soy sauce, Red chilli paste, vinegar and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in high heat and fry the onions until it turns light brown. Add the Red bell pepper and cook for a couple of minutes stirring continuously. Now add the sauce and cook for a minute. Add the cooked cooled rice and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Remove to a plate. Whisk the eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. In the same pan in medium heat, add 2 tsp of oil and pour the whisked eggs for scrambling. For anyone who is not an expert in scrambling eggs, like me, there is a fun way to do it. After adding the whisked eggs to the oil, count 5 mississippis. Use a wooden spoon and scrape the sides and bring it to the center. Count 5 missisippis again. Repeat until you get a slightly moist but fluffy scrambled eggs. Add the rice and mix well. Garnish with spring onion greens and serve hot. Some good pairing would be...
Kadai Mushroom and Paneer Tawa Masala.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Parfait!! with Yogurt, Homemade Granola and Glazed Peaches..

Parfait is a french word meaning "perfect". Parfaits are generally layered desserts with cream, fruits and alcohol. I made this simple yet scrumptious one with greek yogurt (yumm, I love this stuff), peaches and my homemade granola. I have already posted my home made granola recipe earlier. Peaches are in season and I bet I made a great use of it.
Serves - 2
Greek Yogurt (Low-fat/Fat-free) - 1 cup
Homemade Granola - 1 cup - Click here for the simple recipe
Peaches - 2 - ripe
Juice from 1 Orange
Agave Syrup - 1 tbsp
Butter - 1 tsp
Also needed: 2 transparent glasses
To Glaze Peaches: 
Wash, peel and pit the peaches. Cut into wedges. Heat butter in a non-stick pan and heat the orange juice and the agave. When it starts to bubble over drop in the peaches carefully and continue to heat in medium-high heat. Flip over and continue to cook until most of the juice has evaporated. Allow to cool.
Layering the Parfait glass:
Whip the yogurt in a bowl and all the leftover syrup from glazing the peaches. Take one parfait glass and start layering beginning with the peaches. Use a fork to place the peaches in the glass. Layer about 1/4th of a cup of the yogurt with a spoon and spread carefully. Top with 1/4th of a cup of home-made granola. Repeat with peaches, yogurt and granola. Follow the same method for the other cup. Serve chilled for breakfast or as a dessert. I had this for my Sunday breakfast. It was super delicious and was filling at the same time.
Notes: Try to get greek yogurt, otherwise regular yogurt or curd (dahi) also works perfectly fine. Agave Nectar can be substituted with honey or brown sugar. I used orange juice to reduce the quantity of brown sugar used to give the caramelization. Any stoned fruit can be substituted for peaches. Try Apricots or Plums for a variation.
Linking up this parfait to Healthy Breakfast; Sweet Celebration.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Brown Rice Pidi Kozhukattai / Brown Rice Dumplings | Indian Festival Recipes

No, I am still not done with the Ganesh Chaturthi recipes. I wanted to try my hands in making kozhukattai (kadubu) with brown rice and was successful this time. Even my hubby who is not a big fan of brown rice, liked it. As with most of my recipes this is a simple to make snack. This also is super healthy and tasty and now is going to feature more in my kitchen.
Serves - 2; Measurements in 160 ml cup
Brown Rice - 1 cup
Water - 3 cups
Oil - 2 tsp
Grated Coconut - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Chana Dhal - 2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
Dry Red chillies - 2

Dry roast the brown rice in a tawa in medium heat. When the rice is warm to touch and lightly changed in color, transfer to a plate and allow it to cool. Pulse in a blender until it resembles the texture of rava (or bulgar). Heat oil in a non-stick pan and splutter the items under tempering. Add grated coconut, water and salt. Cover and allow the water to boil. When the water is boiling add the broken rice and stir continuously. Cook in medium heat, while still stirring, until most of the water evaporates and the mixtures comes together. Remove from heat and allow to cool down a little. When it is still warm, take lime sized portions and press with your fingers against the palm of your hands to make impressions of the finger. Steam in idli pan / bamboo steamer for 15 minutes. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Linking these up to Kid's Delight - After School bites; Whats with my Cuppa 2 by Nupur; Healthy Breakfast.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ellu Urundai / Sesame Laddoos | Indian Festival Recipes

Sesame seeds is an integral part of any asian cuisine. So is it in south India. Yesterday was Ganesh Chaturthi and I made this sesame laddus with Kozhukattai for offering to Lord Ganesha. With only two ingredients it is a breeze to prepare and tastes really good. Trust me when I say that it gets ready in under 10 minutes. It is rich in Iron and Calcium and one of the simple and healthy snacks grandma prepares when we were kids.

Makes 8 small laddus; measurements in 160 ml cup
Black Sesame seeds - 1 cup (can use white sesame too)
Grated Jaggery - 3/4 cup - loosely packed

Heat a tawa until it is smoking hot. Drop the sesame seeds and roast in medium heat. The sesame seeds will pop. Continue to dry roast until the popping stops, about 3-5 minutes in total for me. Transfer to a plate and allow to cool. Place the cooled sesame seeds in a mixie/blender and pulse twice. Add the jaggery and pulse for about 5-7 times until the mixture comes together in clumps. Remove from the mixie and make balls of desired size. 
Linking this up to Kid's Delight - After School Bites; Whats with my Cuppa 2 by Nupur.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mini Medhu Vada / Ulundhu Vada | Indian Festival Recipes

Vadas are the deep fried delicacies which are capable of making a regular day to a festive one. These little beauties are good for entertaining or perfect for offering to god as prasadam. It is not difficult to make crispy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside vadas. Just a few key points to follow and you will have super tasty vadas. 
Makes 10-12 mini vadas; Serves - 2
Whole Urad dhal - 1/2 cup
Peppercorns - 1/4 tsp - crushed
Salt - 1/4 tsp or to taste
Oil - for deep frying
Rinse the whole urad dhal 3 times and soak in water for 2 hours. Drain well. Use the small jar of the mixie/blender and grind into a smooth paste. Mostly it wouldn't need water, but if it doesn't budge, 2 to 3 tbsps of water can be added to grind. The batter would be fairly thick, more like cookie dough consistency. That is fine and it is what we are looking for. When ready to make vadas, transfer to a wide bowl with crushed peppercorns. Beat with a spoon for about 5 minutes. This step is to make the batter soft and fluffy. Add salt just before frying. Heat oil for deep frying. Line a plate with paper towels. Have a bowl of water by the side of the batter bowl. Dip your hands in the water and take lemon sized batter and toss gently as you would with a ball. Dip your thumb again in water and make a hole in the center of the ball. Gently slide into the hot oil. Fry for about 1-2 minutes and flip over with a slotted spoon. Continue to cook and remove from the oil and place on the paper lined plate. Do not put more than 3-4 vadas in a batch. Remove the vadas when it turns golden brown. Serve hot with Coconut Chutney.
1. This ground batter mixture can be refrigerated if needed for about a day. If using refrigerated batter let it sit in room temperature before whipping. Add salt only just before frying. 
2. Curry leaves, chopped onions, coriander leaves, chopped green chillies can also be added as desired. I had decided to keep it simple for neivedyam.
Linking up to the following events - Kid's Delight - After school bites; Whats with my Cuppa by Nupur; Spotlight - Raksha Bandhan;

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Homemade Granola with Oats, Nuts and Pear Puree

When I wanted to make granola at home I had no clue as to how and where to start. But one thing I had decided was not to use sugar and definitely use a fresh fruit puree. And there began my search for the best home made granolas. The recipes I came across had a lot of ingredients (I cannot say complex) while I had sworn to keep it simple. Needless to say those recipes had a pretty good amount of sugar added which is the whole point for me to make granola at home. Then I arrived at TheKitchn's website for the granola formula. It was very simple to understand..come on I had gone through loads of website with lots of ingredients and was totally lost. So out of the blue if you give me a formula (felt like I was in my chemistry lab again) I would be pleasantly surprised and happy. I gathered the ingredients and ta-da! Simple Home made granola!
Makes 4 servings
Rolled oats - 1-1/2 cups
Almonds - 1/4 cup - chopped roughly
Pista - 1/4 cup - chopped roughly
Cinnamon - 1/4 tsp
Ground Ginger - 1/8 tsp
Ground Nutmeg - 1/8 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Pear - 1 medium sized - puree - approx 1/3 cup
Oil - 1 tbsp (any light tasting oil would work)
Agave nectar - 3 tbsp
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Mix the oats and nuts in a large bowl. Whisk the rest of the ingredients well and pour over the oats mixture. Mix well and spread on a parchment lined baking sheet (a 9x9 inch pan would be sufficient for this batch). Bake in the oven for 45 minutes mixing every 15 minutes. Allow it to cool for at least 30 mins, remember the granola hardens when it cools. So if the oats is still soft when you take it out of the oven, no worries needed as the granola becomes crispy after cooling. Serve with milk for breakfast or pack in a ziploc for a snack. Layer with fruits and yogurt for a parfait.. that is what I did!!
Linking this up for Vegan Thursdays. Also linking to Healthy Breakfast, Bake Fest by Vardhini, Srivalli's Kid's Delight - After School Bites.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Semiya Upma / Vermicelli Upma | Indian Breakfast Recipes

This semiya upma recipe is dear to my heart. You may ask what is so special about this simple semiya upma. There is! It was during our college days when I and my friends were in Bangalore for our project work. The place where we did our project had various shift timings and ours was the first in the day 7 AM - 3 PM. So most of our days we will skip breakfast and be starving and waiting for the lunch hour which was 11.30 AM. It was during weekends when we ever got a chance to cook and eat breakfast. With the minimal kitchen gadgets we had, this upma was our go to choice for Saturday breakfasts. Semiya upma and pickle (Mango Ginger was our favorite) is the delectable combination we relished to the core.

Serves - 2
Semiya / Vermicelli - 2 cups (rice cooker cup) - I used MTR brand vermicelli
Onion - 1/2 of a big one - sliced thin and halved
Green chillies - 2
Curry leaves - a few
Ginger Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Carrot - 2 - chopped
Peas - 1 handful (I used frozen)
Oil - 1 tsp + 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Chana dhal - 1 tsp
Water - 3 cups
Heat 1 tsp of oil in a non-stick pan and roast the semiya until light brown. Remove to a plate and allow to cool. Cook the vegetables in MW for about 1-2 minutes. Heat the remaining oil and splutter the mustard seeds, chana dhal, urad dhal and curry leaves. Add the slit green chillies and onion. Fry until the onions are soft and can be cut with a spoon. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a couple more minutes. Add the pre-cooked veggies, salt and water. Cover and cook until the water is boiling. Reduce the heat to medium and add the roasted semiya while continuously stirring with a big spoon. Cook until all the water has been absorbed. Serve hot with a dollop of pickle. Another crazy combination we loved was with yogurt.
I am linking this up to Vardhini's event Dish It out, happening in my space with the theme - Onions & Chillies and Friends Forever event.