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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Oats Upma (Porridge - South Indian Style)

       
               Oatmeal is a very versatile cereal and can be had in many forms. One of them is as an Indian upma / porridge. The addition of onion, ginger and other spices makes it very delicious and healthy. You can go ahead and add veggies of your choice. It is a diabetic friendly cereal and also laden with fibre, so a good breakfast option.





  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp. ghee (clarified butter)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1 tbsp. chana dal (Bengal gram)
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • few fried cashew nuts / peanuts
  • coriander leaves to garnish


          Heat the ghee in a pan and roast the oats for a minute till you get a good aroma. Keep aside. Heat oil and temper with mustard seeds.

          After it stops spluttering, add the urad dal, chana dal and curry leaves. Saute till the dal changes colour. Add the onion, ginger and green chilies. Saute till light brown.

          Now add the oats, salt, turmeric powder, fried nuts and 2 1/2 cups water and cook, on a low flame till it thickens. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves.




       





Masoor Dal - Palak Soup (Red Lentil & Spinach Soup)

       
         The combination of masoor dal (red lentil) and spinach in a soup form is not only healthy and nutritious but also tasty and delicious. Loaded with iron and proteins, it is good for us and is also a one bowl of a  light meal, especially at dinner time.





  • 1/2 cup masoor dal (red lentils), soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1-2  bunches spinach, chopped
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper powder or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 3 cups water / stock
  • coriander leaves to garnish


          Heat butter in a pan and temper with the bay leaves and the cinnamon followed by the garlic and onions. Saute till they turn soft.

          Add the soaked masoor dal, spinach, salt, turmeric powder, pepper powder, garam masala powder, cumin powder and water and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles.

          When cool, discard the bay leaves and the cinnamon and blend into a puree. Just before serving, heat through and serve, garnished with coriander leaves.




       





Puishaag Chorchori (Malabar Spinach / Basella Greens) - Bengali Style

       
              This is a traditional Bengali style Puishaag / Malabar spinach cooked with veggies. As mustard is a predominant ingredient in Bengali cuisine, it is used in various forms. Here I have cooked this dish in mustard oil and finished off with mustard paste and raw mustard oil as a garnish. Bori / mangodi is used here, but for a non-veg. version, prawns or fried fish head goes well with it.




                                          (Non-Veg. Version)

  • 3 long stems of Puishaag (Malabar spinach), chopped
  • 1 potato, cubed
  • 2-3 long eggplants, cubed
  • 250 gms. red pumpkin, cubed
  • 8-10 bori / mangodi / vadials
  • 3 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 2 dry red chilies, broken
  • 1 tsp. kalonji (nigella seeds)
  • 1 tsp. ginger, grated
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander-cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp. kasundi / mustard paste
  • 1 tsp. mustard oil



          Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pan and fry the bori till golden brown. Keep aside. Heat rest of the oil and temper with kalonji and red chilies. Saute till the chilies turn dark in colour.

          Now add the ginger and fry for a few seconds. Add the potatoes, eggplants and pumpkin and fry till light brown. Add the puishaag, bori, salt, turmeric powder and coriander-cumin powder and cook, covered.

          Stir at intervals. Sprinkle water if required. Cook till all the veggies turn soft. Add the mustard paste and mustard oil. Mix well and switch off the flame. Serve with hot steamed rice.





                                         (Veg. version)
    



   

Spinach & Oats Soup

       
          Another healthy and a nutritious soup of spinach and oats to help satiate your hunger. It tastes good with some croutons and is also a boon for weight watchers.





  • 2 bunches of spinach, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oats
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp. butter / oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1" cinnamon
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper powder or to taste
  • 3 cups water / stock


          Heat butter in a pan and saute the bay leaves and cinnamon followed by the onion and garlic and fry till they are soft. Add the spinach, oats, salt, pepper and 3 cups water / stock and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles.

          When cool, discard the bay leaves and the cinnamon and blend into a puree. Just before serving, heat through and serve with a sprinkle of pepper powder. Have this hearty soup along with some croutons or bread sticks.










Monday, 29 September 2014

Green Papaya Curry - Andhra Style

       
               An easy version of the raw papaya curry cooked in Andhra style. Steam them before hand to save time and then a bit of tempering and a sprinkle of sambar powder is all that takes to dish out this wonderful delicacy.





  • 1 medium Papaya, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1-2 dry red chilies, broken
  • 1 tsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1 tbsp. chana dal (bengal gram)
  • 1 tbsp. sambar powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder


          Steam the papaya till soft and keep aside. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and temper with mustard seeds and red chilies. After it stops spluttering, add the urad dal, chana dal and curry leaves and saute till the dals changes colour.

          Add the onion and garlic and saute till light brown. Now add the papaya, salt, sambar powder and turmeric powder and saute for 2-3 minutes till well combined. Serve as a side dish with chapattis or with curd rice.




       





Piyaj Koli Aloo Torkari (Spring Onion - Potato Curry - Bengali Style)

       
                A simple and traditional Bengali style spring onion and potato stir fry. Best relished with plain steamed rice. This is a very common menu which is enjoyed in every Bengali house hold. The addition of bori / mangodi gives this dish a very crunchy effect.





  • 3-4 bunches of spring onion, chopped
  • 2 med. potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 8-10 bori / mangodi / vadials
  • 2 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1-2 dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp. kalonji (nigella seeds) / panch phoron 
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder


          Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a non-stick pan and fry the bori till golden brown in colour. Keep aside. Heat remaining oil and temper with red chilies and kalonji. Saute for a few seconds.

          Add the potatoes and fry till they turn slightly brown in colour. Now add the spring onion, salt, fried bori  and turmeric powder.  Cover and cook till dry. Serve hot with plain steamed rice.

(Panch Phoron - equal quantities of fennel, fenugreek, cumin, mustard & nigella (kalonji) seeds).














Palak Dal (Spinach Lentil - South Indian Style)


          This is a simple homemade style Palak Dal (spinach lentil) that is popular in most of the regions of India but with slight variations in the method of cooking and in the choice of ingredients. Today I bring to you the South Indian version. 

          Whatever way this dal-spinach combo is cooked, it simply tastes delicious. It is equally healthy and nutritious as it is loaded with iron and proteins which is very essential for a well balanced diet. Enjoy it with rice or chapattis for a satisfying and a wholesome meal. Please check below a step by step guide with pictures to prepares it.
          







  • 1 cup tuvar (split pigeon lentil) dal
  • 2 bunches spinach, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. asafoetida (hing)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 red chili powder (opt)
  • 1 tsp. tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, chopped





          Soak the dal for 30 minutes. Then pressure cook along with the chopped spinach and 2 cups water for 3-4 whistles. When the steam is released, give it a whisk and keep aside.

          Heat 1 tbsp. oil and temper with mustard seeds. After it stops spluttering, add the asafoetida followed by the onion and curry leaves. Saute till light brown.

         Add the boiled dal, tamarind paste, salt, turmeric powder and sambar powder. Simmer on medium flame for 2-3 minutes.

          Heat the remaining oil and fry the garlic till it changes colour. Switch off the flame and add the red chili powder. Mix well and immediately pour this tempering over the cooked dal. Serve hot with rice or chapattis.




                            Temper the oil with mustard seeds & asafoetida. Let it splutter.



                            Add the onion and curry leaves. Saute till light brown.



                           Add the boiled dal, salt, turmeric powder, tamarind paste & sambar 
                           powder. Adjust water if needed & simmer for 2-3 minutes.



                          Temper the oil with chopped garlic and saute till it changes colour. 
                          Switch off the flame and add the red chili powder. Mix well and pour 
                          this tempering on the prepared dal.






Eggplant - Rosemary Stir Fry


          This is a perfect side dish with any Indian bread. Rosemary gives a very different flavour, fragrance and taste to this everday veggie. It is a very quick and easy dish and takes very less time to prepare. It is widely used as a marinade to meat in many mediterranean cuisine.




  • 4-5 long eggplants, chopped
  • 2 onions. chopped
  • 3-4 garlic, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 2-3 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped


          Heat oil in a pan and temper with the cumin seeds. Saute for a few seconds. Add the garlic and fry till it changes colour.

          Now add the eggplants and the onion and saute, covered on low flame for 2-3 minutes. Add salt, turmeric powder and chili powder and continue to saute till the eggplants are soft.

          Sprinkle water at intervals if required. Add the rosemary and mix well. Fry for a minute or two and serve hot as a side dish.









Green Papaya & Mint Soup


          Raw Papaya is also one of those vegetables not much preferred as a soup. But this combination with mint leaves works great. It is light, healthy and refreshing as a one dish meal with or without any salad to go with it. 




  • 1/2 of a papaya, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. oats
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1" ginger, chopped
  • handful of mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tap. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander-cumin powder
  • 3-3/12 cups water / stock
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • coriander leaves and mint leaves to garnish


          Heat oil and saute the bay leaf, followed by the onion, ginger and garlic. Fry till they turn soft. Now add the chopped papaya, salt, turmeric powder, oats, coriander-cumin powder and the garam masala powder.

          Saute for 1 minute or two till everything is well combined. Add the water / stock and the mint leaves and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. When cool, discard the bay leaf and blend into a puree.

           Adjust the water according to the consistency required. Just before serving, heat through and serve, garnished with lime juice, coriander leaves and mint leaves.










Sunday, 28 September 2014

Pepper Chicken


          Chicken is cooked in different ways. Pepper chicken is one of them. It is a hot and spicy dish best had with naan, tandori roti or chapatti. Each region has their own unique ways of cooking this particular dish. Whatever the end result, it  is simply delicious.





  • 500 gms chicken on bones, curry cut
  • 2-3 onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. pepper powder or to taste
  • coriander leaves to garnish


          Grind together onions, ginger, garlic and tomatoes to a paste and keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and saute this ground paste and the tomato paste till oil separates from the sides of the pan.

          Add the chicken, salt, turmeric powder and sugar and saute on low to med. flame, covered, till  dry. Stir at intervals.

          Add 1 cup water and continue to cook, covered, till the chicken is soft and the gravy is slightly thick. Now add the pepper powder and mix well. Simmer for further 1-2 minutes. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves.










Dalia (Cracked Wheat) Soup


          Dalia or cracked wheat has become very popular at present and is often had in the form of upma or khichdi. But I tried to make a soup out of it. It turned out equally deliciously. Dalia as is well known is very nutritious and wholesome. So a simple bowl of soup can be taken any time of the day and helps satiate your hunger for long.






  • 1/2 cup dalia, soaked overnight
  • 1 lemon grass, cut into 3
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1" ginger, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper powder or to taste
  • 3 cups water / stock
  • lemon juice to taste
  • coriander leaves to garnish


          Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions, ginger and garlic till soft and translucent. Add the dalia, water, salt, lemon grass and pepper powder and pressure cook for 5-7 minutes on low flame after the first whistle.

          When cool, discard the lemon grass and blend into a puree. More water can be added according to the consistency required. Before serving, heat through and add lemon juice. Garnish with coriander leaves and pepper powder.













Rajma & Couscous Salad (Kidney Beans & Bulgur Wheat Salad)


          It is a very healthy and a nutritious salad as couscous is actually a kind of wheat commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. It is very easily available in supermarkets these days. Rajma too has a lot of health benefits as it contains fibre, vitamins and iron. So the combination of both rajma and couscous provides a balanced and a wholesome one-dish meal.
          





  • 1/2 cup rajma (red kidney beans), soaked overnight
  • 1/4 - 1/2  cup couscous (broken wheat granules)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped
  • salt tot taste
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped





          Pressure cook the rajma with enough water for 15 minutes on low flame after the first whistle. Drain when cool and keep aside.

          Pour equal quantity of hot water to the couscous and cover for 10 minutes. After it has cooled down, add with the onions, tomatoes and green chilies and set aside.

          Just before serving, add the salt, pepper powder, lemon juice, olive oil and coriander leaves and toss well.











Palong Shaag - Begun Torkari (Spinach & Eggplant Curry)


           This is a Bengali style spinach curry combined with eggplants. But you can go ahead and use potatoes, red pumpkin or radish instead. It is generally had with plain steamed rice. Vadi / dried lentil dumplings are also added depending on the availability to give this dish a crunchy effect. The tempering of dry red chilies and panch phoron gives an authentic touch to this delicacy.     







  • 2-3 bunches of spinach, washed and chopped
  • 2-3 long eggplants, cubed
  • 2 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 2 dry red chilies, broken
  • 1 tsp. panch phoron (equal quantities of fennel, cumin, mustard, fenugreek & nigella (kalonji) seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander-cumin powder





          Heat oil in a pan and temper with the red chilies and the panch phoron. After it stops spluttering, add the onion, garlic and ginger and saute till till the onions turn translucent.

          Add the eggplants and fry till light brown. Then add the chopped spinach, salt, turmeric powder and coriander-cumin powder. 

          Cook, covered on a medium flame till the moisture dries up. Serve hot with plain steamed rice.





















Rosemary Flavoured Black Chana (Chickpeas)


          A little twist can be given to the usual chana fry by adding some rosemary. It gives a completley different flavour and is a very quick and an easy recipe. As it is very healthy and nutritious, they can simply be had on its own, as a breakfast or as an evening snack. 








  • 1 cup black chana (chickpeas), soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice / 1 tsp. amchur powder
  • 2-3 sprigs rosemary, chopped


          Pressure cook the chana for 5-6 whistles. Keep aside to cool. Heat oil in a pan and temper with cumin seeds. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies.

          Saute till light brown. Now add the boiled and drained chana, salt, turmeric powder and coriander powder. Fry for 2-3 minutes on low flame till the chana is well combined with all the spices.

          When done, add the lemon juice and rosemary and mix well. Switch of the flame and serve as a breakfast or as a tea time snack.










Saturday, 27 September 2014

Suran - Paneer Stir Fry (Yam & Cottage Cheese Stir Fry)

          A rare combination of Suran (yam) cooked with paneer. A very easy to make delicious recipe of yam stir fried with a tempering of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida and finishing off with grated paneer. 

         It is a dry preparation   and goes very well as a side dish with either sambar-rice or curd-rice. It can also be had with chapattis.





  • 250 gms suran (yam)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cummin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp.  asafoetida (hing)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1 tbsp. chana dal (Bengal gram)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1" ginger, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 tsp. tomato paste
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander-cummin powder
  • 1/2 cup paneer, grated
  • 1 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped


          Boil the Yam for 1 whistle. Cool and chop them into small cubes. Keep aside.

          Heat oil in a pan and temper with the mustard and cummin seeds. After they stop spluttering add the curry leaves, asafoetida, urad dal and chana dal. Saute till light brown.

          Add the chopped onions, ginger, garlic and green chillies. Fry till light brown. Now add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato paste. Saute till well blended.

          Add the boiled yam, salt to taste, turmeric powder, coriander-cummin powder, coriander leaves and the grated paneer. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with chapattis or as a side dish with rice.









Minty Sweet Potato & Soup


           Sweet potatoes are more nutritious and healthy than plain potatoes. So it is a very good option for everyone especially diabetic patients. There can be many variations to this delicious soup. To have it in a lemony flavour, just add some lemon grass or kaffir lime leaves. You can as well add some grated ginger which in turn will give a different taste and flavour. 

          Mint can also be substituted with coriander leaves. So in this way you can dish out this amazing one-pot dish in a different avatar each day. Enjoy with some bread sticks or croutons for a healthy and light meal any time of the day.






  • 1 med. size sweet potato, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper powder or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • handful of mint leaves
  • 3 cups vegetable stock / water
  • mint leaves to garnish


          Heat olive oil in a pan add the bay leaf, followed by the garlic and saute till it changes colour. Then add the onion and fry till translucent.

          Now add the sweet potatoes, salt, pepper powder, mint leaves and 3 cups stock and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles. Cool and blend. Just before serving, heat through and serve, garnished with mint leaves.











Cabbage Kheer (Pudding)

          
          Try something different today. Make Cabbage Kheer. It may sound strange, but it simply tastes delicious. I added a little bit of sago to give some consistency to the kheer. It is very difficult to guess unless told. So why not play the guessing game with your family and friends. Good luck !!





  • 500 ml. full cream milk
  • 1 cup cabbage, finely sliced (Inside white part)
  • 2-3 tbsp. sago (sabudana), soaked overnight, preferably
  • 1 tbsp. ghee (clarified butter)
  • 4 tbsp. brown sugar or to taste
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 2-3 tbsp. cashews and almond, sliced
  • few strands of saffron
  • 1 tsp. rose water





          Heat ghee in a pan and saute the cabbage for a few seconds. Keep aside. Grind the sugar and the cardamoms and keep aside. Bring the milk to a boil in a pan.

          Add the cabbage and the sliced nuts and continue to simmer on low flame for 15-20 minutes, stirring at intervals.

          Then add the sago and the sugar and continue to simmer further for 5 minutes or till it turns slightly thick to the desired consistency.

          Remove from the flame and cool. Add the saffron and rose water. Serve chilled.















Chili-Garlic Chutney


          This is a hot, spicy and a tangy chili-garlic chutney which goes very well with any dosa, idli or upma. Increase the quantity of chilies or tamarind pulp depending on your taste buds. The addition of some peanuts gives it a nutty flavour and the tempering also adds to the taste.






  • 3-4 dry red chilies
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind pulp
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp. fried chana dal (roasted Bengal gram)
  • 1 tbsp. roasted peanuts
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. split urad dal (black gram)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves


          Heat 1 tbsp. oil and saute the red chilies and garlic till they changes colour. Remove and cool. Now grind this along with the tamarind, salt and peanuts into a smooth paste along with some water.

           Add the powdered and fried chana dal and a little more water and make a paste. Heat remaining of the oil and temper with mustard seeds.

          After it stops spluttering, add the urad dal and curry leaves and saute till the dal changes colour. Pour this over the chutney and mix well. Serve this along with the adai dosa.










Adai Dosa (Rice & Lentils Pancakes)

         
           It is another of the most popular breakfast dishes in the South. This type of Dosa is prepared with a mix of rice and lentils. The ratio of rice is more if you need crispy dosa. Similarly, soft dosa needs more of the lentils. So you need to soak the rice and lentils according to individual preference. 
          
          They are slightly on the thicker side due to the presence of lentils and are coarsely ground. They are instant as they do not require fermentation. But they are very delicious and nutritious and best had with coconut chutney, But here I tried a chili-garlic chutney to go with it.





  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 tbsp. chana dal (Bengal gram)
  • 1 tbsp. tuvar dal (split pigeon pea)
  • 1 tbsp. urad dal (split black gram)
  • 1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • 1/4 tsp. asafoetida (hing)
  • salt to taste
  • oil to shallow fry


          Soak the rice, dals, fenugreek seeds and the red chilies overnight. Drain and grind along with salt and asafoetida into a batter, of pouring consistency.

          Heat a non-stick tawa / griddle and smear it with some oil. Drizzle some water over it. After it sizzles and the water evaporates, pour a ladle of the batter.

          Spread it evenly by rotating with your ladle and fry on both the sides with 1 tsp. of oil. Make similar adai in the same way. Serve hot with chili-garlic chutney.










   

    
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