Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cabbage thogayal

Thogayal was standard fare while I was growing up, but there were only two kinds of thogayal that we made - coconut and mango. Needless to say, those are my top two favourite thogayals. However, once I started wielding the ladle, true to the name of this blog, I started experimenting with different ingredients and now make thogayals with almost any veggie. The basic recipe is almost always the same.

What you need:
Cabbage - chopped into large chunks - 1.5 cups
Red chilli - 3 or 4 (adjust to taste)
Urad dal - 3 tsp
Tamarind - a small gooseberry sized piece soaked for 5 minutes in just enough water to cover it
Asafoetida - a little (optional)
Curry leaves - a few sprigs
Oil - 1 tsp

Take the red chillies, curry leaves and dal in a microwaveable bowl. Pour oil over it and heat on high for 2 minutes or until the dal turns reddish. Stir in the cabbage and heat for another 4 minutes. Let it cool completely. Add the other ingredients and blend adding as little water as you possibly can to a coarse paste.This goes best with rice, but can also be enjoyed with dosa/idli.

Corn pulao

What is it with schools that ask you for personal info like your monthly salary??? The application form of one of the top rated schools here asks for my husbands' and my monthly salaries, and also whether the child will reach school by car/auto/two wheeler or walk. Why does that matter? Will saying my child will walk hamper her chances of getting into that school or will they think that we are an environment friendly family??? The application process is tiring to say the least. Looking at all the children running out of their classrooms when the bell rang for their break reminded me so much of Pavlov's experiment. Is this what we hope to achieve through education??? Masses of young people trained to think alike and to obey without question??? I could go on and on, but I've already done that on my other blog.
So, let's get on with what this blog does and talk food. More specifically, let's talk about a very simple pulao that I cooked. This pulao is different from most others in that it is not heavy on spices. It uses very few ingredients and yet is satisfyingly flavourful.What you need:
Rice - 1 cup, washed and soaked in water for 10 - 15 minutes
Onion - 1 large, chopped fine
Garlic - 7 or 8 cloves
Green chilli - 3 or 4 (adjust to taste)
Corn kernels - 1.5 cups
Turmeric powder
Ghee/oil - a few tsp

Grind chillies and garlic without adding any water.
Heat oil in your pressure cooker. Add the ground paste and fry for a minute. Stir in the onions and fry until translucent. Now add all the other ingredients along with sufficient water and cook until two whistles.
Serve with raita, pickle and papad on the side.

This is my second entry to Valli's Rice Mela.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vella payaru

There are some dishes that I associate with my childhood. Eating the dish, or even the aromas that waft out of the kitchen while it is being made take me back to another time and place. Vella payaru (black eyed beans or karamani cooked with jaggery) is one such dish. This often made an appearance whenever we were hungry and wanted something in the evenings and during navaratri. Children usually love this because it is sweet (my daughter is an exception) and filling.

What you need:
Black eyed beans - 1 cup (There are two kinds of black eyed beans - white and reddish brown. I prefer the red one and that's what I've used)
Jaggery - 1/3 cup
Grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Cardamom - 4 or 5 pods, coarsely crushed

Soak the beans in plenty of water for 2 hours. Pressure cook until two whistles or until it is cooked through but not mushy. Drain off excess water.
Take the jaggery in a pan. Add a little bit of water to it and heat until the jaggery melts completely. Stir in the cooked beans and heat for a minute or two until all the moisture evaporates. Switch off the heat and mix in the grated coconut and crushed cardamom. Stir well. Serve hot or cold.

This goes to Madhavi who is hosting the Childrens Day edition of the Festive Foods event.
It is also my second entry to the 5th helping of MLLA hosted by Simona and begun by Susan.
A helping of this is also being sent to Aparna's birthday party.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rajma methi

The first time I tasted rajma was in Delhi. It was served with rice and tasted absolutely, positively divine. I am yet to find a recipe that I like to eat with rice, but whenever I make rotis and want to serve rajma curry, this is the recipe that I follow. The methi leaves are a last minute addition intended to save them from going directly from the refrigerator to the dustbin.

What you need:
Rajma (Red kidney beans) - 1 cup, soaked in plenty of water overnight and cooked
Onion - 1, large, chopped
Tomato - 2, chopped
Green chilli - 2, minced
Ginger - a small piece, chopped
Garlic - a few cloves
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - a little (optional)
Chopped methi(fenugreek) leaves - 1/2 cup or a small bunch
Oil/ghee - 2 tsp
Cumin seeds - 3/4 tsp
Kalonji seeds - 1/2 tsp

Heat oil/ghee. Add the cumin and kalonji seeds and toast for a few seconds. Stir in the chopped green chillies, ginger, garlic and onion. Saute until onions start to brown. Add the tomatoes and heat until mushy. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, sugar, garam masala and stir well to mix. Add the cooked rajma along with the water in which it was cooked. Boil for a few minutes until the gravy thickens. Add chopped methi leaves and simmer until the leaves wilt and soften. The addition of methi leaves will make the curry bitter. So skip this step if you don't like anything that tastes bitter.
Serve hot with roti/puri.

This goes to Simona who is hosting the 5th edition of My Legume Love Affair. MLLA was started by Susan of the Well Seasoned Cook.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Aval dosa (Rice flakes dosa)

What do you do when you've picked up a pack of rice flakes from the store and then, while putting away the groceries, you notice another pack that's somehow gotten lost amidst all the things in the kitchen and has been unnoticed until then???
Well, what I did is try out this recipe. It certainly has not made a dent in my rice flakes stash, but hey, the dosas turned out to be really nice, hole-y and soft. If, like me, you are under the impression that you need to use urad dal to get soft dosas, try this out and you'll definitely change your mind about that.
What you need:
Raw rice - 3 cups
Rice flakes - 1 cup (I used matta rice flakes - the reddish brown Kerala rice flakes)
Sour curd - 1 cup

Soak rice in plenty of water for 6-8 hours. Soak rice flakes in the curd for 3-4 hours. Grind both together. Add salt and let it ferment. This gets fermented much faster than normal dosa batter does.
Heat a dosa tawa. Pour a ladleful of batter. Spread it a little thick (the thickness should be somewhere between that of a regular dosa and an uttappam). Drizzle some oil over it. Turn over and cook both sides.
Serve hot with chutney/sambar.

Recipe source : Mallika Badrinath's Tiffin Varieties.
This is my entry to Valli's Rice Mela.