Monday, December 31, 2007

Another year is drawing to a close.........
Every time we are at this juncture, Iam usually left wondering how fast the year has gone by. This year is no exception.
For the first time in my life, Iam actually going to make some new year resolutions.......and hopefully I will keep atleast a few of them.
I have discovered several wonderful blogs and talented bloggers this year. Here are a few dishes that made their way from these blogs to my kitchen.

Two things I absolutely love are yogurt and spinach. I have never actually tasted a dish that combines these two ingredients, though. So, when I saw Sagari's recipe for Dahi Palak, I knew I just had to try it out. I made no changes except for the quantities....just stuck to her original recipe.....The result was lip-smackingly delicious.

I have always thought of dal as something to be eaten with Parathas.......Meera's recipe that uses dal in a paratha had me reaching out for the rolling pin. I did make a couple of minor changes......left out some ingredients.......added a few others that i like.......the end-product was a wholesome, comforting meal.

Moong dal parathas served with dahi palak

Two other recipes that I tried and loved are Revathi's ragi idli and Seema's Mallige idli. I came across Revathi's recipe at the right time 'coz I am now trying to increase my daughter's iron intake. It tastes just like a good old regular idli but the ragi is definitely helping me out in my pursuit of higher haemoglobin levels.
Seema's Mallige idli is spot lives up to its name. The entire family loved the idlis........this is one recipe that I know Iam going to keep going back to over and over again.

Thank you, dear bloggers for sharing your wonderful recipes.......

Here's wishing all my blogger buddies a Fantastic New Year.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Iam spending a blissful week with my parents....eating good food, sleeping and catching up with old friends and relatives. The little girl(check out what she is up to here) is being fussed over by several people....and she is loving every single minute of it. I am loving it too...'coz that leaves me free to catch up on soooo many things.

Here are a few snaps from the ayyapan vilakku celebrated in my hometown on the 16th.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Pavakka(bittergourd) pitlai

You either like bitter gourd or you don't....there's no grey area between the two. I think this is partly because of the name......when there's "sweet"potatoes, "french" beans, "pearl" onions and other such nice sounding veggies, who on earth wants to eat something that proclaims itself to be a "bitter" gourd???
That's not to say that the bitter gourd is totally without its takers. I for one have always liked it. Pavakka (the Malayalam & Tamil name for bitter gourd) Pitlai is a wholesome, nutritious curry that incorporates a lot of flavours - it has the bitterness of pavakka, tanginess of tamarind, sweetness of coconut and spiciness of chillies....and of course it gets the power of proteins from tuar dal.

Here's what you need to make it:
Bitter gourd - 1 medium sized
Tamarind - lemon sized ball soaked in hot water for 15 minutes
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Tuar dal - 3/4 cup
Fresh grated coconut - 3/4 cup
Chana dal - 2 tsp
Red chilli - 2 (modify according to your level of spice tolerance)

For seasoning:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Split urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few sprigs

What to do:
  • Cook tuar dal. Mash well and set aside.
  • Heat a tsp of oil in a pan. Fry chana dal and red chillies in this. Add a pinch of asafoetida and switch off the heat. Once this cools, grind it to a smooth paste along with grated coconut.
  • Extract the juice from tamarind. If you are using ready made tamarind extract, use about 3/4 tsp.
  • Slice bitter gourd into thin round slices and deseed it.
  • Cook bitter gourd slices in tamarind water to which turmeric powder and salt has been added.
  • Once it is cooked, add the ground mixture to this. Boil for 4-5 minutes.
  • Then add the cooked tuar dal. Mix well and heat for a minute or two. If you feel the curry is too thick at this stage, add a little bit of water.
  • Heat a tsp of oil. Season it with mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds pop, pour this over the pitlai.
  • Serve hot with rice, dosa or idli.

Dosa served with pitlai

Iam taking a bowlful of this pitlai over to Linda at Out of the Garden for JFI-Toor dal.

Edited to add: This also goes to Pooja for her Veggie of the Week event featuring bittergourd this week.

Monday, December 03, 2007

The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--
and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

-from Lewis Carroll's Walrus and the Carpenter-

It's time for us today to talk cabbage.....
My little girl loves fact, any veggie that she doesn't know the name of is promptly named cabbage. If I serve her rice and cabbage on a plate I can be pretty sure that she'll do a better job than an industrial grade separator in separating the two and eating just the cabbage. Well, for now, Iam just happy that something is going into that little tummy of hers.

Cabbage milagoottal is a simple and nutritious dish that goes well with rice/rotis.

Here's what you need to make it:
Cabbage - 1 cup finely chopped
Tuar dal - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - a little
Grind together:
Fresh grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
Red chilli - 3 (adjust to your taste)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
For seasoning:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds
Urad dal
Curry leaves

How you make it:
Cook tuar dal with enough water. Mash and set aside.

Take the cabbage in a pan. Add some water, turmeric powder and salt to it and heat until the cabbage is cooked. Add the ground mixture to this. Stir well and boil for a few minutes until the raw smell is gone. Stir in the cooked tuar dal and heat for a minute or two.
Heat a tsp of oil(I use coconut oil). Add mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves to it. Wait until the seeds pop and then pour this over the milagoottal.

Njoy hot with rice or chapatis.

Instead of tuar dal, you can use black eyed beans, or green peas or a mixture of either with tuar dal.
Carrots and potatoes can also be added along with cabbage.

This is my entry to JFI-Toor dal hosted by Linda of Out of the Garden.