Tangy and Tasty

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.

Spices

Spices

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.
Puliogare/Tamarind Rice

Puliogare/Tamarind Rice

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

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!

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Tuppahirekai/Ghosale/Gilki/Sponge Gourd bhajji

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

Tuppahirekayi

Tuppahirekayi

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  • 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 🙂
Tiprikai bhajji

Tiprikai bhajji

  • 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 Dosa/Balehannu dose

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’.

Ingredients:

  • Banana – 4 medium ones(ripe)
  • Rice – 1 cup
  • Water – for batter
  • Oil/Ghee – for frying
  • Salt – as per taste

Method:

  • 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

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

Banana Dosa/Balehannu dose

Hirekai/Ridge Gourd peel chutney

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

Ridge gourd peel

Ingredients:

  • 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
  • Coriander/Cilantro
  • Oil – 1 tbsp – for frying
  • Jaggery/sugar – optional
  • Lemon – 1/2 big
chutney ingredients

chutney ingredients

Method:

  • 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.
Hirekai Chutney

Hirekai Chutney

  • 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 🙂

Mosaravalakki/Curd Poha – Recipe

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.

Ingredients:

ingredients

ingredients

  • 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

Method:

  • 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.
Ingredients

Ingredients

mosaravalakki / curd poha

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.

Ragi Malt/Ambali

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.

Ragi Malt/Ambali

Ragi Malt/Ambali

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.

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

  • 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.
Ragi Malt_2

Ragi Malt_2

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. 🙂

How to make Jowar Roti

Jowar/Sorghum

Jowar/Sorghum

Millets have been a part of Indian diet for thousands of years and the health benefits are well-known. If you didn’t here are a few benefits for you.

    • Gluten-free and non-allergic
    • Higher in nutritional value than wheat, especially phosphorus and iron
    • Non-acidic or alkaline and easy to digest
    • Jowar is a rich source of Vitamin B-complex
    • High protein content from 9% to 13% ( For all the meat-eaters who wonder where do vegetarians get protein from)
    • Improved calcium retention as compared to rice
    • Easier to digest
    • Sorghum is rich in phytochemicals including tannins, phenolic acids and anthocyanins. Studies have shown that sorghum can reduce the risk of certain types of cancer in humans. The phytochemical levels are so high in this millet that they have shown potential usefulness in reducing obesity as well.
    • So heart-healthy as well 🙂

Apart from jowar/sorghum/ಜೋಳ, the other popular millets found in India include pearl millet(bajra)/ಸಜ್ಜಿ and ragi/ರಾಗಿ. There is also foxtail millet/ನವಣಿ which isn’t that popular but healthy nonetheless.

Jowar roti/ಜೋಳದ ರೊಟ್ಟಿ/ಬಿಳಿ ಜೋಳದ ರೊಟ್ಟಿ  is a staple food in North-Karnataka and parts of Maharashtra. Jowar roti is unleavened flat bread made from jowar/sorghum. This doesn’t need any oil adding to the benefits above. It requires some skill( a little more than my skill level) to make soft and even rotis. So I happily clicked away while my Mom made them.

Ingredients:

Jowar flour – 1 cup
Water – to knead
salt – to taste

Method:

  • In a small vessel take about 1/2 cup water and bring it to boil. Make sure the water is boiling and not just warm. Not sure if you can see the bubbles rising in the pic.
Boiling water

Boiling water

  • In a shallow wide pan, take the flour and mix salt. Keep it ready to mix water as shown below
Flour in the pan

Flour in the pan

  • Now add the hot water into the dough. Do not add all the water at once. Add only about half and keep adding as you knead. Also, use a spoon to mix the flour as you will be adding hot water. Hot water is required as there is no gluten in jowar. This is known as jigatu/ಜಿಗಟು in kannada.
Adding hot water to knead

Adding hot water to knead

  • Once you have mixed it you can start using your hands to knead and add more water at room temperature if you need to add more. The dough will look something like this.
Jowar roti dough

Jowar roti dough

  • This does not need to be kept aside for settling. In fact, the rotis need to be made right away else you might have difficulty rolling them out later. Now pinch a round big ball sized dough to prepare rotis.
dough balls ready to be flattened

dough balls ready to be flattened

  • To make the roti you should press/beat the circular dough with the palm of your hand on a flat surface such as the rolling board or your kitchen platform. Initially use the right hand to beat it in the form of a circle and use the left hand to maintain a circle. Once it becomes big you can use both hands to beat it to make it thinner. You could also a rolling pin but make sure you roll it out lightly. Traditionally it is made with hands.
Making the roti

Using the hands to make roti

Thin Roti ready to be put on tawa

Thin Roti ready to be put on tawa

  • Heat the tawa well and put the roti on the tawa. In the next few seconds, as the roti gets a little dry, use a clean muslin cloth and apply a thin layer of water on the upper surface.
Applying a thin coating of water

Applying a thin coating of water

  • Let it remain till water evaporates a little and flip it over and press slightly with a soft cloth to make sure it is done properly on all sides.
Jowar roti

Jowar roti

This can be served with any dry/gravy vegetables. The favorite traditional combinations though are Jhunka,stuffed eggplant/brinjal,hesaru kaalu/green moong pallya, shenga hindi and kosambari. Had to take this pic from the Internet as I forgot to take a pic before serving. Very soon I will replace this with one at home.

Jolada rotti with side dishes

Jolada rotti with side dishes

The thali shown above with rice is a complete meal. It is called as rotti meals or Joalda rotti thali here.