Sunday, December 16, 2007

Idlis with a Twist

We love South Indian food .......and Idlis are the most favorite of all .....simple to make, non -fatty .... we all have our reasons for loving these delicate beauties .

The only problem I used to have was that the preparation required before you get to the stage of steaming them ...... what if you wanted to have idlis one fine morning ...and you do not have the batter ready with you ......believe me this can be a BIG problem in a north Indian household like mine......then one fine day I saw my mother-in-law making these beauties without any preparation in advance ......and I had to learn this recipe ...I did learn and now I am sharing the recipe with you all ...

The beauty of this recipe is not only the fact that it is INSTANT ...but also that it allows me to add some nutrition to idlis making them more healthy isn't that a great twist !!!

These idlis are made of rava ( sooji, cream of wheat) and I add a healthy dose of veggies ..all this makes them a perfect healthy breakfast or snack for me .

Rava idlis ( 12)

Sooji/Rava/ Cream of wheat - 1 cup

Curd/yoghurt - 1/2 cup

Baking soda - 1/2 t sp.

Salt - as per taste

Water - as required

Idli stand

For the tadka -

Oil- 1 tb sp

Rai / Mustard seeds - 1 t sp

1 small onion - sliced lengthwise

Green chilli- 1

Carrot - 1/2 roughly grated

Capsicum - 1/4 finely sliced

Salt- as per taste

Red chilli powder - 1/2 t sp

Take the sooji/rava , mix the curd and salt to it to make a paste . Add a little water if required to get the required consistency. Drop 1 tbsp of the mixture on each cup of the idli maker ( ensure that you have smeared some oil on the cups beforehand). Steam the idlis for 8-10 minutes.

Take the stand out and let it cool a little before removing the idlis .

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil for the tadka , add the mustard seeds . Heat till they add spluttering, add the onion . Saute for a minute then add the chopped green chilli , then add the carrot . Add the salt and red chilli powder . Let the carrot and onion cook for 2-3 minutes then add the capsicum . When the capsicum is semi cooked , add the idlis ......turn them carefully so that they do not break . Let the idlis fry a little so that the color and flavors are imbibed by the idlis. Cook for 3-4 minutes .

Serve these idlis with coconut chutney or tomato sauce ....or just have them by themselves ...they taste yummy every way.

Its movie time folks.......

Yes !! it is movie time ....after a long time I could get the time to sit and actually watch a complete movie uninterrupted ........ All the activity before and after the India trip ....meant that I missed out on all the movies released in the last couple of months .

Usually we are the first show ( well maybe not the first show ) but definitely the first week audience for any movie that we have decided is worth watching . I am not ashamed to say that movies are our favorite to dos for the weekends ...the whole excitement of rushing to get the tickets ..the smell of popcorn and hot samsoas ...the well dressed crowd ....... movie theatre in Singapore is the 2nd place where I get to see so many Indian faces ...and all that somehow makes me feel a little more close to the country ...

Well since I missed out on the whole lot of pre-diwali and diwali releases ...I decided to catch up by having a show all for myself at ....where else but Home sweet home ......the DVD was set , the lights were dimmed ....the phones switched off ....but wait can we watch a movie without the all important POPCORN.......this time around hubby dear was in his sweet and benevolent mood ....not ignoring the fact that he is the popcorn expert of the home and so he made a whole lot of hot and enticing popcorn for me ...and we happily watched the movie ......but obviously not before I clicked a few photos of the same :-)

Popcorn ( just enough for 2 popcorn loving people )

Dried corn kernels - 1 cup
Butter - 1-2 tb sp.

Take a heavy bottomed pan ( with a cover) ( I use my irreplaceable pressure cooker) , put it on medium flame . Now add the butter and a little salt ....When the butter starts melting ...add the corn kernels and mix the whole thing nicely.

Keep stirring the mix for a few minutes cover the pan ( ensure that it is partially open ) . Keep the flame medium ...after about 2-3 minutes the corn would start popping . Keep it on the flame till the time the popping continues ....It would take 3-4 minutes . Now switch off the flame and serve the popcorn after tossing it with a little more salt.

Popcorn is ready to be enjoyed....................

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Killing three birds with a stone - That's what its all about

Isn't it great when we can prepare three absolutely different dishes , while making effort for just one .....

Today I am sharing with you no actually three such ways of utilising / consuming one simple Moong daal pakodas . It has been raining cats and dogs here since the last couple of days .....perfect season for a plate of hot sizzling pakodas with a steaming cup of tea . Yesterday I made Moong dal pakodas ..and as always I made a whole lot of pakodas ( you will soon know why ).

Moong dal pakodas take a little planning in terms of having to soak the split moong dal ( yellow one) for atleast 30- 60 minutes before hand . But once you have done it can sit back and relax as you can have these pakodas as starters , main dish or a very good accompaniment.

Let's start with the pakodas first , I made a whole lot of these , but here I am giving you the recipe for about 10 - 12 medium size pakodas -

Moong dal pakodas

Split moong dal ( yellow one) - 1/2 cup

Green Chillies - 2-3 ( depending on how hot you want the pakodas to be )

Ginger - 1/2 inch , chopped fine

Salt - as per taste

Baking soda - 1/2 t sp.

Red chili powder - as per taste

Oil for deep frying

Soak the moong dal in sufficient water for about an hour . Then rinse it well with water and grind in the blender with about 1 tbsp of water ( you can add a couple of green chillies and ginger while grinding also , however I like to add them later) . Grind the dal to a batter , which is grainy when you feel the texture of the batter , it should not be absolutely fine. Now pour the batter in a relatively bigger vessel and add the salt, chili powder , green chili , ginger and the baking soda . Whisk the batter briskly with hand or a flat spoon so that it becomes a little fluffy . This would make the pakodas soft and light . Heat the oil in a deep wok and once it is hot spoon the batter carefully into the oil. The pakodas would immediately rise up . Keep frying them till they become a lovely golden color . Take them out of oil and drain the excess oil by keeping them over tissue paper / kitchen towels.

Serve them hot with tomato ketchup / coriander chutney or any other sauce of you liking.

Chances are that you wouldn't be left with any left overs , but just in case you do have some pakodas left do no fret can use them to make either of these two dishes .

Moong dal pakoda Curry

Dahi pakodi

I always make a lot of pakodas when I get the chance ( this happens rarely because of the concerns about getting over weight etc etc) . I make some pakodas with salt and some without salt as I use the salt less pakodas to make a wonderful curry and I find it easier to adjust the salt levels .

Moong dal pakoda Curry

Moong dal pakodas - 10-15

Onion , large - 1

Ginger - 1 inch piece

Garlic - 8-9 small pods

Green chili - 2-3

Curd - 1/2 cup

Turmeric - 1/2 t sp

Red chili powder - 1 tsp

Garam masala - 1/2 t sp

Cumin seeds - 3/4 tsp

Tomato - 1 large

Salt - as per taste

Oil - 1 tb sp

Water - as required

Grind the onion, ginger,green chillies and garlic to a paste in a blender . Keep them aside.

Then grind the tomato to a paste also.

Then heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan . Once hot add the cumin seeds . As the cumin seeds splutter add the onion,ginger,green chillies and garlic paste and saute the same till it becomes translucent. Then add the turmeric and red chili powder , saute for 2 minutes till the water in the paste almost dries up . Add the tomato paste and keep sauteing till the oil starts to separate from the masala . Then slowly add the beaten curd into the masala , 1 tbsp at a time . Mix the curd well into the masala and keep sauteing the masala at low flame till oil starts to separate from it. Then add about 1 cup water to it and cover the pan. Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes over low flame till the gravy is well cooked ( keep the gravy a little thin . because when we add the pakodas , they soak up some water ) . Then add the garam masala and salt to the gravy .

( if you are using pakodas with salt then add a little less salt to the gravy and in case you are using unsalted pakodas then add a little more salt as the pakodas would soak up some salt).

While the gravy is cooking , soak the pakodas in hot water for 5-10 minutes ( this makes the pakodas soft and also helps in taking out some oil from them) . After 10 minutes , drain the pakodas and squeeze them lightly between the palms before adding them to the ready gravy .

Let the pakodas soak in the hot curry for about 15 minutes before serving .

You can garnish the curry with coriander leaves . This tastes amazing with roti/ parantas .

And last but not the least a great accompaniment to a meal ......Dahi pakodi...

This is one of my favorite ways of having the pakodas .... even after 2-3 days of refrigeration ....just dunk the pakodas in warm water and let them soak for 5-10 minutes . In the meanwhile prepare the yogurt ....take about 2 cups of yogurt ( curd) , beat it well ,add salt , red chilli powder , roasted ground cumin powder , a little black salt ( all as per taste) ....mix it all well . I even add a pinch of sugar ( I think it makes the taste interesting) . Take out the pakodas ( about 6), squeeze them lightly between your palms and soak them in the ready curd mix. Garnish with red chili powder , cumin powder , coriander leaves . Serve them as an accompaniment or separately as chaat or snack ...they taste great !! ;-) and the best part is that no one would complain about being served left overs ;-)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I am back now ....

There has been a long - long break from blogging for me .....No this was not an intentional one by any means ...... let's just say life happened to move too fast around me and I got caught up in its whirlwind . Guests at home , bouts of illness for both me and hubby dear , maximum work load at office , our annual India trip and my only brother-in-law's wedding ( loved every minute of it ) ...all this happened during this break and I am still catching my breath after all this ;-)

But now I am back and I promise to be more regular than I have been till now .....I just came back from my annual India trip and I am loaded with recipes of yummy food ;-) ....and I cannot just wait to post them all here .....But I am still getting the house and office in order and as soon as I get a grip on both of them I shall share all those recipes with all of you .

Till than take care and keep those cooking pots boiling and the stoves burning . :-)