What sets Indian cuisine apart from a lot of others is the spices. In fact, it is for these spices, the traders from all over the world came to India. Spices is what makes the Indian cuisine special. All the same you just don’t douse the food with spices. Which spice to add and how much is the essence of Indian cooking.
For the poor souls like me who don’t know all the spice proportions or don’t have time to prepare fresh spices every time, there is still hope. Unlike Vasco da Gama or those European traders we don’t have to cross the seven seas. Just go around the corner to the nearby store. In my case I simply had to reply to a review request for spice mixes by Eastern Condiments. And the spices landed at my door step.
Puliyogare/ಪುಳಿಯೋಗರೆ/tamarind rice is a traditional South-Indian recipe. The mixture can be prepared and stored for a long time and mixed with rice while eating. And if you don’t know how to prepare the mixture. Here is a super-quick way to make it.
- Heat about 2 & 1/2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
- Add 4 tablespoons of Eastern Puliogare.
- Stir for about 2 mins.
- Add about 600 gms of rice and mix thoroughly.
You may or may not relish brinjal but Vangi Bhath/Brinjal Rice is surely a dish you will relish. Again the method is simple.
- Fry Brinjal and other vegetables of your choice with a pinch of turmeric in cooking oil and keep aside.
- For the tempering, to heated cooking oil add mustard seeds, gram dal, green chilli, hing and cashew nuts.
- To this add and stir fry about 3 & 1/2 teaspoons of Eastern Vangi Bhath powder, tamarind extract, shredded coconut(optional) , salt and jaggery.
- Add the veggies and brinjal.
- Add uncooked rice and mix them well.
- Now add required amount of water for rice and let the rice cook.
Vangi Bhath/ Brinjal Rice
While neither of these need any side-dishes, you can eat it with some nice hot papad or pickle. My mom prefers it with thin Majjige Saaru and I like it with thin coconut chutney.
Hope you try them out and love the dishes too 🙂 Thanks to Eastern Condiments for the spices. Made my long weekend at home a tasty one!
Dhamargava/Tuppahirekai/ತುಪ್ಪಹೀರೇಕಾಯಿ/Sponge Gourd or what is referred to as tirprikai in colloquial Kannada is a vegetable that belongs to ridge gourd family. Looks like a ridge gourd but it is without ridges. Since it is slightly unheard of for most people I spoke to, I am giving the names in different languages from web. Plus the pic is there to see and recognize 🙂
Marathi – Ghosale
Kannada – Tuppahirekai
Hindi – Ghiatorui/Gilki
The subzi can be made very similar to a Turai subzi but the interesting twist here is this is used to make a bhajji/pakoda. Monsoons are just beginning and what better way to enjoy a rainy evening. So here goes the recipe
- Besan/chickpea flour – 1/2 cup
- Sponge-gourd – 1 medium(peeled and cut into round slices)
- Hing – a pinch
- Soda – If you wish to. I don’t add any
- Ajwain – as per taste
- Jeera/cumin – as per taste
- Salt – as per taste
- Red Chilli powder – as per taste
- White sesame seeds – as per taste
- Turmeric – a pinch
- Coriander – finely chopped – again as per taste
- Oil for frying and a tsp in the mix/batter
- Water for preparing the mix
- Peel, wash, dry and cut the sponge-gourd into round slices. Keep aside.
- Add all the other above dry ingredients and mix.
- Add a tsp of oil to the mixture.
- Now gradually add water to the mixture to prepare the batter. Caution: Do not make the batter thin. Since sponge-gourd is high in water content if not coated properly oil splutters.
- Heat oil for frying.
- Now take a slice of the veggie, coat it with batter and deep fry to get nice bhajiyas 🙂
- Eat it with any chutney/sauce you like.
I didn’t know how this is going to turn out but the moment I tasted the pakoras I knew I was on the money 🙂
Banana is a staple in this part of the world. A fruit available for all the 12 months of the year. And even most of our festival rituals include giving away fruits and mostly banana and betel leaves. On numerous such occasions where everyone is buying and giving away bananas one tend to go bananas wondering what to do with them. Here is nice way of including them in your food. This one will be relished by even those who normally don’t like banana.
The fruit has numerous health benefits ranging from providing vital micro-nutrients, aiding digestion, providing energy, improving mood, strengthen your bones, blood, hair,skin etc. Most people avoid it as it is fattening/high in sugar, a fact they conveniently forget while eating sweets and junk food.
Anyway here is the quick & simple recipe for Banana dosa/ಬಾಳೆಹಣ್ಣು ದೋಸೆ without any more ‘gyan’.
- Banana – 4 medium ones(ripe)
- Rice – 1 cup
- Water – for batter
- Oil/Ghee – for frying
- Salt – as per taste
- Soak rice for about an hour
- After it is soaked, grind the rice to make a coarse paste
- Now add the bananas and grind again to make a fine paste
- Once you are done, the batter for banana dosa is ready
- Pour some oil/ghee on a hot flat tawa and spread the batter for delicious dosa.
Spread dosa batter
You can have this with any traditional dosa accompaniments or with some yumm sabzi, chutney and curd like we did.
Banana Dosa/Balehannu dose
Hirekai/ಹೀರೇಕಾಯಿ/Ridge gourd is supposed to contain loads of nutrients. Just like the vegetable, the skin/peel also has its benefits but we throw it away. Not any more. Here is a nice way to utilize that.
Ridge gourd peel
- Hirekai/Ridge gourd peel – I have taken peels from three medium-sized gourds
- Garlic – 2-3 pods(optional)
- Onions – 1/2 small(optional)
- Dry/desiccated coconut powder – a little
- White sesame seeds – 1/2 tbsp
- Jeera – 1/2 tbsp
- Salt – as per taste
- Green Chilli – 1 & 1/2
- Curry leaves
- Oil – 1 tbsp – for frying
- Jaggery/sugar – optional
- Lemon – 1/2 big
- Heat oil in a kadhai. Add the ridge gourd peel, onion, garlic, curry leaves and coriander and sauté for 7-8 minutes on a medium flame.
- Towards the end, add all the other ingredients except salt and lemon and take it off the heat.
- Once the mixture cools down, grind it to a coarse paste along with salt, water and lemon.
- You can add tempering to the chutney to give it more taste. I haven’t in this case.
- Also you can add roasted groundnut powder instead of coconut powder. That works beautifully too.
Tasted best with roti of any kind 🙂
I was done with my morning dose of the Internet and was getting up to prepare breakfast when I saw this comment by GVji on my earlier poha recipe. That reminded me I haven’t been trying out the different poha recipes for a while and started on this. A great breakfast option for the summer.
- Poha/Beaten rice/Avalakki/ಅವಲಕ್ಕಿ – 2 cups (take the medium or thick variety)
- Beaten Curd – 2 cups
- Ginger – finely chopped – 1/4 tsp
- Jeera – for tempering
- Green chilli – 1 large
- Salt – to taste
- Mustard seeds – for tempering
- Asafoetida/Hing – for tempering
- Coriander leaves/Cilantro – finely chopped
- Onion – finely chopped
- Curry leaves – finely chopped
- Sugar – 1/4 tsp
- Oil – for tempering
- Ground nuts – roasted and peeled
- Beat the curd, add salt,sugar and keep it aside.
- Soak the poha and drain it immediately. Using a sieve works out best for this.
- Temper with oil, mustard seeds, jeera, hing, curry leaves, green chilli, ginger.
- Add the poha, tempering mixture and curd. To this add onions, groundnut and coriander and serve.
mosaravalakki / curd poha
Note: Mix the poha and curd only when you are ready to serve else it absorbs all the curd and becomes dry.
Summer has just started and we are already seeing the Sun shine in full glory. Air-conditioner is no respite in a small town India where power cuts everyday are a norm and not an exception. The best way to beat the heat then is summer foods. The one that tops the list in our family is “Ragi Ambali/ರಾಗಿ ಅಂಬಲಿ” or what is more popularly known as ragi malt. I won’t go into the health benefits of ragi. This gluten-free millet is now known widely among the health freaks and rightly so.
This can be served as breakfast or after lunch/dinner or can even act as a meal substitute esp in the afternoons when you don’t feel like eating anything.
- Ragi flour/ರಾಗಿ ಹಿಟ್ಟು – 2 tablespoons
- Water – 1 – 1/2 cups(varies according to how thick or thin you want it to be)
- Buttermilk – 1 cup(you can even use curd in place of buttermilk)
- Salt – as required
- Cilantro – for garnishing
- Garlic – 3-4 pods
- Onion – 1/2 small finely chopped
- Jeera – powdered/crushed
- Mix ragi flour in water ensuring no lumps are formed.
- Simmer the mixture for about 5-7 mins/Till you see the mixture boil. Keep stirring continuously. Also ensure you boil it properly else it tastes like flour while having the drink.
- Once you see it start boiling, add the salt, garlic and jeera. And take it off the stove once the mixture boils properly.
- Don’t worry if it is too thick/thin. It can be adjusted to your taste while serving.
- Once the mixture cools down put it in a refrigerator(optional step but preferred as this is best served when chilled).
- While serving add the buttermilk/curd and garnish it with cilantro and finely chopped onions. Omit the onions if you don’t like the raw onions.
Optional – you can also add some Jowar flour along with ragi flour. Although in this recipe I haven’t added, it is commonly added in North-Karnataka recipes.
Whenever I try introducing ragi to my friends(esp the ones from the North), they run away from it on seeing the colour. But guys trust me, it tastes great and this is one occasion where you need to see content over colour. It isn’t fair but lovely for sure. 🙂
Yummy Matar ki dal
When my room-mate Rajni said matar ki dal I assumed it is a dish with green peas in some yellow dal. But this turned out to be a recipe I have never heard of. A dal made of green peas and cauliflower and no lentils. It is a recipe from Northern Uttar Pradesh(a region in Northern India). It tastes yummier than it sounds and very healthy too. And the recipe is very easy too. So I am posting it here for you guys to try and enjoy. This dish is prepared by my roomie Rajni. I am just the photographer and the helper here.
- Green Peas – 250 gms
- Cauliflower – 250 gms
- Onion – 1 big
- Tomato – 1 medium
- Garlic – 3-4 cloves
- Fresh Coriander/Cilantro – quantity as desired
- Ginger – a small knob
- Green chilli- 2 medium
- Dry Mango Powder – a pinch
- Turmeric powder – a pinch
- Bay leaf – 1 leaf
- Cloves – 2-3
- Black Cardamom – 1
- Cinnamon – a small stick
- jeera – for tadka
- Salt – to taste
- Mustard Oil – for frying
- Blanch the peas and cauliflower. Set some peas aside and make the rest into a fine paste.
- Make a paste of other ingredients as well i.e. Onion, tomato, chillies, garlic, ginger, cilantro.
Fresh ingredients. Replace the frozen peas with fresh ones for better taste
Boil the peas for 2-3 mins.
Blanch the cauliflowers
Make a paste of the green peas
- In a frying pan, heat mustard oil, add jeera and the garam masala i.e. cloves, bay leaf, cinnamon and black cardamom.
- Then add the onion paste and sauté for a minute or two. Add the green peas paste now and sauté for another minute.
- Now add the rest of the peas and the cauliflower and fry for some time.
- Add turmeric powder, salt, dry mango powder and any other dry masala that you’d like to add to this.
Fry all the pastes before adding the peas and cauliflower
- Add water to this and close the cooker. Let it cook for about 3-4 whistles.
Add peas and cauliflowers and fry. Then add desired amount of water.
After the pressure is released, you have your hot dal ready to be served. Garnish it with fresh coriander leaves and serve it with hot rice.
Serve the hot dal with some hot basmati rice, fresh salad and some hot-n-tangy chutney
I hope you like trying this recipe and eating it as much as we did.