Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Instant Oats Idlis

Oats idli is a simple and tasty means of incorporating healthy oats into one’s diet. I found this recipe long time back in some magazine …. Had jotted it down as a must try recipe and then forgotten all about it till recently.
When I thought of having oats daily for breakfast the idea of having oatmeal everyday was not very appealing and that is when I thought about trying out this recipe. The result was these wonderfully tasty and spongy idlis …they were an instant hit with the whole family :) . Now we have this version of idli more often that the rava idli or the traditional rice idlis .
The fact that I can make the idli mix and store it for later use makes it a convenient breakfast option for a busy morning. :)

Ingredients –

Idli mix

Oat – 3 cups (I use the rolled oats)
Sooji / Rava/ Semolina – 1 ½ cups
Curry leaves – 7-8
Cashew nuts – 2 tb sp (optional)
Mustard seeds – 1 tb sp
Urad dal – 1 tb sp
Chana dal – 1 tsp
Ginger – 1 tsp (finely chopped)
Green chilies – 3-4 (finely chopped)
Oil – 1 tb sp

Dry roast the oats and then grind them into a coarse powder. Keep aside .
Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Once hot add the mustard seeds, once they stop spluttering add the curry leaves, urad dal and chana dal followed by ginger and green chilies. Then add the sooji /rava and roast till a nice aroma comes from it and it changes color. Switch off the flame and let it cool. Then add the oats and mix well. The idli mix is ready. It can be stored in an airtight container for up to a month.

For making the idlis

Idli mix – 1 cup
Yogurt – 1 cup
Salt – as per taste
Baking soda – ¼ tsp
Water – as required

When ready to make idlis, mix the yogurt and salt into the idli mix. Add water to make a thickish paste. Keep aside for 15-20 mins . Add more water later as the oats and sooji will soak up the water added earlier.
Just before pouring into the idli moulds add the baking soda. Make sure that you have applied oil to the idli moulds beforehand; this would ensure that the idlis come out easily later. Steam the idlis at high flame for 8-10 mins . Check whether cooked by inserting a toothpick/ knife if it comes out clean then the idlis are well cooked.

Take out from the idli moulds and serve hot with coconut chutney / tomato ketchup / sambar.

P.S. have not managed to save any idlis for click ..they usually vanish before that . Hopefully the next time I make them I will be able to click them and post it :)

Monday, June 21, 2010

My Little Darling !!!

This is the reason why I have been away for so !

My precious bundle of joy .... Shivank Chawla !
We welcomed him with loads of love on 27th Jan'10 .

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Here's wishing all my readers and fellow bloggers a very happy and prosperous new year !!

Throughout the coming year ...
May each day be blessed with ......
peace, health, prosperity and happiness too :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Doi Ilish - Begali style Fish Curry in yogurt and mustard gravy

I love fish ….. I would prefer a fish preparation to chicken or any other non-vegetarian preparation any day. Maybe this love for fish is a result of the years spent in the eastern part of the country, where fish is abundantly available and abundantly loved too :) . I have a number of Bengali friends whose mom’s treated me to various fish preparations and hence I am familiar with a number of Bengali and Oriya dishes. I introduced my husband to fish during our courtship period…. he had never tasted fish before that, and it was important for me that he also develops a taste for it . He took some time to get used to the “fishy” smell, but over the years he has also started to enjoy fish.

Now we usually eat the Thai versions of fish or the fish masala or fish curry. But I had not introduced one of my favourite Doi Ilish to him, mainly because of his aversion to anything with the smell of mustard. “Fishy smell + mustard” – might be just too much for him. …and hence I would stop at just mentioning the name of the dish …but never dared to make him try it . This was until one of our Bengali friends married and his sweet wife “A” came to Singapore. Now I had someone to discuss the wonderful Bengali dishes, the fact that she is a very good cook whose food my husband loved…..gave me courage to request her to make doi ilish for us. She sweetly agreed to prepare the same and the next time we went to their place , she served it to us . I waited with bated breath while hubby dear took his first morsel …and I was hugely relieved when he said he loved it ;). I promptly requested “A” to share the recipe so that I can try it. Then one day while we were chatting she told me she was making doi ilish …I got the brilliant idea of asking her to share her recipe on this blog .

Much to my delight she agreed and sent the photograph with the recipe ….. These days she is back in India …enjoying herself I hear J and I hope that she comes back with a lot of lovely recipes to share with me .
Here’s the recipe as described by her –

Ingredients :

  • Hilsa/Ilish ~ 1 Kg
  • Yogurt ~ ¾ cup
  • Mustard Paste (a wet paste of mustard & green chilies) ~ 4 tsp
  • Ginger Paste ~ 1 tsp of fresh ginger paste
  • Green Chillies ~ 4 or more
  • Kalo Jeera/Kalonji/Nigella Seeds (for tempering) ~ ¾ tsp loosely packed
  • Turmeric powder ~ 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard Oil ~ preferred for a fish like Hilsa. , you can use any cooking oil though
  • Salt – as per taste

Method :

Wash the fish well, pat dry and rub the pieces with about ½ tsp of turmeric powder a little salt and keep aside.Heat oil in a Deep Frying Pan/Wok. When the oil is piping hot reduce the heat and slowly slide the fish pieces into the oil. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan, as the fish needs to be fried from the sides also. Fry all the pieces on high heat. Do not fry too much and you can avoid frying as well (though she fried the fish for us, as she said we might not like the smell too much) .
Heat a little oil and put kalonji/ nigella seeds and green chilies and wait for the spices to pop. Add the fresh ginger paste. Lower the heat and put yogurt- mustard sauce. [This can be prepared without yogurt as well] .
Add salt and let it simmer for a couple or minutes and add water (about 1 cup). Add the fish pieces and let the gravy simmer and reduce to desired consistency.
Cook till you get gravy of the right thickness, not watery, add a little mustard oil on top and serve with hot white rice.

One variation is to add longitudinally cut potatoes pieces before adding to mustard paste, fry and let them get semi cooked. Then add the mustard paste and then the fish.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Aloo -Gajar-Matar ki Subzi

It is getting very hot these days, wonder whether it’s a result of the global warming phenomenon … some people say that the Swine flu –pandemic is a result of this global warming. The flu virus is supposed to be able to mutate better and faster in the hot weather. Wonder what the world is coming to …. All the panic that is happening all around us…the news is full of headlines about people being quarantined just because they happen to be of a certain nationality …widespread culling of pigs in spite the fact that there is no scientific proof that the flu is being transmitted through these animals ….it all reminds me of some sad futuristic movie showing a paranoid world in 2050, where people are living the lives of animals and worse. I wonder whether all this “progress” is actually leading us to that stage. I sincerely do hope not, I hope that people come to their senses and start respecting nature and the world around them. I do try to do my bit, by trying to reduce, reuse and recycle. I hope it does make a difference somewhere :-)

Coming back to the heat all around …. This hot weather makes me lose my appetite and as a result we are consuming lots of cold fruits and salads, but then a person needs something more substantial than fruit salad to sustain himself/herself and therein comes these simple dishes which need simple ingredients and less time to cook. They are healthy, nutritious and easy to make.

One of our favorite side dish is Aloo-gajar-matar ki Subzi . Although most of the ingredients in this dish are traditionally associated with winter season in India and that is when it is usually made back home, I have the benefit of getting great frozen /fresh vegetables and hence we have it almost through out the year. Serve it with hot chapattis and cool cool cucumber raita and you are ready to beat the heat :-)

Ingredients: -

Aloo/ potato – 2 medium sized, chopped into squares
Gajar / Carrot – 1 big or 2 medium sized, chopped into half circles or cubes
Matar / peas – ½ cup
Ginger – 1.5 inch piece, chopped finely
Green chili – 1-2 as per taste, chopped finely
Oil – 2 tb sp
Turmeric powder – ½ t sp
Red chili powder – ½ t sp
Garam masala powder – ¼ t sp
Salt- as per taste
Chopped coriander – 2 tb sp for garnishing

Wash, peel and chop the potatoes and carrots, keep aside. In a thick-bottomed pan, heat the oil, once slightly hot add the chopped ginger and chilies. Sauté for a minute, till it becomes fragrant. Then add the potatoes and carrot, stir and add the peas. Add all the seasonings except garam masala powder and turmeric powder. Lower the flame to minimum and cover the pan. Let is cook for 8-10 mins till the vegetables are cooked and soft. Uncover and sauté till all water evaporates and the vegetables become glossy with the oil . Add the garam masala powder (I add this only for the fragrance and flavor hence the small quantity, if you want you can add more). Garnish with coriander leaves and serve as accompaniment with roti/parantha/rice.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A reason to celebrate with Blueberry Yogurt Cake and Besan ke Paranthe

I RAN MY FIRST MARATHON !! :) :) and I am so proud of it ....

Many of you who would be regular runners might be thinking what is the big deal .... But it is a BIG Deal for someone who would wait for the next bus rather than run to catch the one leaving. I did it not because of any medical conditions or because I could not ...but just because I did not feel like running. But all that has changed over the last few months.

This year I made only one new year resolution..unlike the previous years wherein my resolution list would run for at least a mile :) .

My resolution was to do all that which I have never done before ,..but would have liked to do and experience. Running a marathon was one such thing . I had a mental block about running , I could never imagine myself running all those regular runners and joggers who would pass by me during my walks . I wanted to experience the "runners high" i kept reading about in various magazines . It helped that one of my colleagues wanted to restart running after having a baby and when she asked me whether I would be interested in joining her for post-office runs , I grabbed the offer with both hands. Initially it was painful and humiliating ....a person who could walk for hours could not run for more than ten minutes ...but we persevered and set up a challenge of completing a 10km run in march . The Suburban Run run was on 15th March'09 and we completed the whole 10Km in spite of the energy sapping heat ...... now I intend to keep running :) and to do something new in the coming months.

Hubby dear was very very supportive of this decision to run and he was more excited and proud about my completing the 10km than me . We celebrated this small achievement with a blueberry yogurt cake and simple besan aur pyaaz ke paranthe . I followed the recipe given by Clotilde of chocolateandzucchini . The cake turned out perfect . I forgot to take picture of the slices :) as we were too busy gorging on those .

The recipe for Besan aur pyaaz ke paranhte ( Indian Gram flour and onion bread) is -

Ingredients :-
Gram flour - 1 cup
Wheat flour - 1 cup
Onion - 1 large sized one , finely chopped
Finely chopped green chili - 2-3 as per taste
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - as per taste
Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
Water - as much as required

Mix the gram flour and wheat flour. Add all the spices and mix well . Add about 3 tb sp oil and mix well so that the oil gets well incorporated into the dry ingredients. Now add the chopped onion and green chili . Add water and prepare a stiff dough.

Divide the dough into golf ball sized balls . Make into round balls and roll out each ball separately into circular shape.
Cook over a hot skillet , apply oil on both sides and cook till small brown specks appear .

Serve with butter, yogurt and pickles

This is another popular travel food as it lasts for up to 2-3 days. Hence this is my second entry for SWC-Meals on wheels hosted by LG of tasteofmysore.

Bharwan Karela - Stuffed bittergourd

Bitter - is one of the five basic tastes , the other four being sour, salty, sweet and savory. We love karela or bitter gourd, but the time it takes to prepare it is the main reason for us not having it as often as we would like to. When LG of Tasteofmysore announced SWC-Meals on wheels I knew I had to take out the time and make these . I still have memories of train travels which would last for a couple of days and we would eat the stuffed karela packed by my grandmothers . These do not get spoilt for 3-4 days and thus are perfect as food for travels.
I made these after a long time yesterday and here goes the recipe for them -

Ingredients -
Karela / bitter gourd - 6-7 medium sized ones
Onion - 2 sliced
Nigella seeds / kalaunji - 1 tsp
Fennel seeds / saunf - 1 tsp
Fenugreek /methi - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1.5 tsp
Dry mango / Amchur powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder/ haldi - 0.5 tsp
Red chili powder/ laal mirch - 0.5 tsp
Salt to taste
2 tbsp mustard oil
2 tbsp tamarind/ imli pulp (soak imli in half a bowl of water and use the residue )
Thread - as much as required

Peel the bitter gourd with a light hand , slit them vertically and take out all the seeds to create a pocket. Rub lots of salt and keep aside for at least 4-5 hours . Apply salt to the outer peel also and keep aside.
After 4-5 hours squeeze out all the fluid from the bitter gourd and the peels and wash with water.
In a pan heat about 1 tbsp of mustard oil, add the nigella seeds and fennel seeds. Heat till they become aromatic, then add the sliced onions . Saute till the onions become translucent. Then add the squeezed out bitter gourd peel and saute for a minute. Then add all the other spices. Saute for 2-3 minutes then add the tamarind pulp with some water . Saute the mixture till oil starts separating from it.
Now with the help of a spoon, stuff this prepared filling into the bitter gourd. Once well stuffed wrap a thread around the bitter gourd to ensure that the filling does not come out. Once all the bitter gourds are filled and wrapped , shallow fry them till well cooked.

Serve with roti/parantha /rice :)
This is my entry for SWC-Meals on wheels and I hope LG accepts it.