Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Aloo bonda/ Potato bonda/ Batata Vada

Aloo/ Potato a universal vegetable which is liked by almost everyone, regardless age & geography! It is used as vegetable in curries and consumed as main course. It goes well in deep fried snacks such as finger chips & bajjis/ pakoras. Here is one such evergreen Indian snack aloo bonda recipe which is a favorite evening snack of many. It can be a perfect stuffing in vada pav & burger too.
In this season of monsoon, we crave for spicy and fried snacks to munch all the time. I believe eating homemade fried snacks occasionally is good. The recipe and ingredients change person to person though basis process remains same. I am sharing my recipe here.

Aloo bonda

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves:12 – 16 medium bonda
Ingredients:
Potatoes – 6 (medium)
Onions – 2
Green peas – ¼ cup (optional), fresh or dried
Salt – 1.5 tsp, adjust to taste
Garam masala – ¼ tsp
Chat masala – ¼ tsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp + ¼ tsp, adjust to taste
Tamarind powder – ¼ tsp (optional)
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Gram dal – 1 tsp
Green chilli – 1 (optional), I haven’t used here
Gram flour – ½ cup or little less
Rice flour/ Corn flour – 2-3 tbsp
Carom seeds/ ajwain – ¼ tsp
Asafoetida – 4 pinches
Turmeric powder – 1 pinch (optional)
Oil – 2 cups (for deep frying)

Method:
  • Wash and cook whole potatoes in a pressure cooker with added water as required. Cook for 3-4 whistles. Once done, set aside until pressure releases.
  • Cook green peas with little water. To do it, you can keep it (in a bowl) in the same pressure cooker in which potato is being cooked.
  • When cooker is ready to open, takeout the cooked potatoes; peel them off and discard the skin. Mash potatoes and keep aside. Drain extra water from peas and add to the potato.
  • Remove onions skin, wash and chop finely. Chop washed green chillies (if using) and curry leaves finely.
  • Now, heat a pan. Prepare a seasoning of 2 tsp oil, cumin seeds, 2 pinches of asafoetida & gram dal. When dal turns to brown colour, add chopped onions, curry leaves and green chillies. Fry this for a while. Add about 1 tsp salt, tamarind powder, garam masala, chat masala, chilli powder.
  • Now add mashed potatoes & peas. Mix everything well, switch off the heat. Set this aside and let it cool.
  • Meanwhile, prepare batter of gram flour. Take about ¾ cup of water, dissolve asafoetida and ½ tsp salt. Add carom seeds and little chilli powder (optional), and turmeric powder.
  • Now add gram flour and rice/ corn flour to make a batter of dosa batter consistency. Adjust flour or water as required.
  • When this batter is ready, set aside. Make lemon sized balls of potato stuffing and keep on a plate.
  • Keep a plate  or bowl with tissue paper/ kitchen towel spread on it.
  • Keep oil in a thick bottomed frying pan/ kadai/ wok. Switch on the stove and keep on medium flame.
  • When oil is ready, dip potato balls in gram flour batter and drop into the oil one by one carefully. Drop only few balls (say 6-8) at a time to cook properly. Stir & turn the balls occasionally (maintain medium flame).
  • Fry until it is properly cooked, that is the hissing sound stops and bonda turns golden brown. When done, take out of oil draining oil as much as possible and transfer to the plate having tissue.
  • Finish of all the potato balls by frying in batches.
  • Serve hot & spicy bonda with strong cup of coffee or choice of tea.
Batata Vada
Notes:
  • You can add chopped other vegetables like carrot, beans, capsicum … with potato to make mixed vegetable bonda.
  • Adjust the salt and spice level to your liking. You can leave chat masala & garam masala if you don’t like.
  • You can add chopped fresh coriander.
  •  Many variations possible to make.
  • To check the readiness of oil (if it is hot enough), drop a bit of gram flour batter. If it comes & floats immediately, then the oil is ready to fry.
Potato bonda

Monday, 12 August 2019

Varsha Rutucharya/ Monsoon lifestyle

herbal teas
Herbal tea

Varsha ruthu is the first season of Dakshinayana, which is the season of rain (Monsoon), which is the time between July to September with slight variations! By the end of Greeshma Rutu (previous), digestive capacity of human being would have come to its minimum level. Hence at the beginning of varsha, it is necessary to strengthen the declined digestive capacity (Jataragni).
Food ingredients that improve digestion/ appetite need to be consumed in this season. The following food items are indicated in Ayurveda book ‘Ashtanga hrudaya’.
  • Old stored cereals/ grains (1 year) – Stored barley, wheat, rice…
  • Soups those treated/ seasoned with fat & spices such as ghee, ginger, rock salt, pepper, cumin etc…
  • Amla/ nellikai, lemon, Drumstick leaves are good to have.
  • Meat which is light by nature (I am skipping this as this is a vegetarian blog).
  • Soups of legumes specifically made of green gram or juice made of pomegranate.
  • It is suggested to intake old fermented drinks as they have digestion improving capacity.
  • Whey/ liquid portion of curds is suggested to be used in meals. Buttermilk with added salt, pepper & ginger is ideal.
  • Always better to drink boiled water.
Rainy Day

Unpleasant day (with heavy rain, wind, very cloudy)
Food to be consumed on an unpleasant day should be light with moderate usage of fat (ghee/oil), sour, salty in taste. Ex: Ganji Saaru (rice starch/ ganji combined with buttermilk with the addition of salt, pepper & seasoning of ginger, garlic).
Honey is good to combine with other food.
Dry food such as papad, khakra…
Don’ts/ Things to be avoided in Varsha ruthu:
  • River water
  • Flour made items which are mainly mixed with ghee & are semisolid
  • Day sleep
  • Heavy physical exercise
  • Sunlight exposure
Reference: Ashtanga Hrudaya, an Ayurvedic text book
This article/ post credit goes to Dr. Sowmya Bhat, M.D. (Ayu). I wrote it by taking her suggestions. Thank you Soumya!


List of recipes (from this blog) &can be followed for this season are:
Ginger Tambuli
Doddapatre tambuli
Lemongrass tea
Coriander Cumin Kashaya
Barley juice/water
Lemon rasam
Jeera pepper rasam
Lemon coriander soup
Amla/ Nellikai Stew
Dal soup (made with old dal)
Moringa rice
Neer dosa
Green gram kichdi
Moong dal roti

Monsoon vegetable: Colocasia leaves

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Green gram dokla/ whole moong dhokla

Green gram is one of the healthiest legumes, packed with nutrients. It is rich in protein, fiber, carbohydrates vitamins & minerals such as potassium, sodium, iron! If consumed with vitamin C rich food, the iron absorption is catalyzed. It is the best food, recommended for the patients with fever as it has anti-pyretic property too. It is a best food for diabetics, cholesterol management & people having heart disease risk and blood pressure imbalance. According to Ayurveda, any pulse or cereal must not be sprouted instead it should be soaked and consumed either raw or cooked. My friend & neighbor Sowmya who is an Ayurvedic doctor never suggests sprouting of food grains.
Recently I tried moong bean or green gram dokla as moong dal dokla was success & has become favorite of our family. I tried this new recipe soon after my co sister suggested and it turned out to be delicious. Dates, tamarind sweet & sour chutney makes a great combination to it. Now let us see the recipe of this green dokla!

whole moong dhokla

Preparation Time: 3-4 hours
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
Green Gram/ Whole moong – 1.5 cups
Fine semolina/ Chiroti rava – ½ cup
Green chillies – 2
Ginger – ½ inch
Salt – 1 tsp, to taste
Sugar – 1 tsp
Curds/ buttermilk – ½ - 1 cup
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Asafoetida powder – ¼ tsp
Baking soda – ¼ tsp
Coconut oil/ cooking oil – 4 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
Fresh grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Finely chopped coriander leaves – 2 tsp

Method:
  • Wash and soak green gram in water for 2 - 3 hours.
  • Drain water completely and grind green gram/ moong, 1 green chilli, ginger, a pinch of asafoetida and salt to smooth paste adding curds/ butter milk as required to make a batter of consistency of dosa batter.
  • Now transfer this to a mixing bowl. Add fine semolina, sugar and lemon juice. Add 2 tsp oil to this. Mix well to get a batter of pouring consistency (of idli batter). If it is thick, add little curds to adjust.
  • Add baking soda and mix lightly once.
  • Keep the steamer or pressure cooker with water to boil.
  • Grease a flat round dish (vessel) with few drops of oil/ ghee. Pour the prepared batter to it.
  • Keep the dish inside steamer or pressure cooker. Cook for 30 – 40 minutes, until inserted fork comes out clean.
  • Allow cooling for few minutes. Then, clear the sides using a sharp knife.
  • Invert the dokla on a flat surface like a plate.
  • Prepare a seasoning of mustard, cumin, asafoetida & chopped green chilli (optional) in oil and pour on top of the dokla evenly.
  • Garnish with chopped coriander leaves & grated coconut.
  • Cut into desired shape. Serve warm with green chutney (mint/ coriander chutney) or sweet & sour chutney.


Notes:
  • If you are using pressure cooker to steam cook, then do not use the weight.
  • Cooking time varies depending on the thickness of the batter in the dish. Mine took 40 minutes. Keep an eye after 25 minutes of cook time.
Green gram dokla

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Shahi Tukda/ Bread pudding/ Double ka meetha

This Hyderabadi sweet dish is generally made by soaking deep fried bread slices (in oil or ghee) in sweetened thick milk/ rabri/ condensed milk. Here is my trial of shahi tukda in microwave with less ghee or even no ghee which tastes great too! Also bread can be toasted on a tava/ griddle too. This sweet turns to be very delicious which makes you crave for more. The process of making it is not very complicated and hence a fresher can also make this.
This Eid special dish can be made quickly for sudden craving of sweet or any other occasion. I used whole wheat bread to make this and did not cut off the edges too. 

Bread pudding

Here you find the recipe...

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6
Ingredients:
Whole wheat bread slices – 6
Milk –2 cups, preferred full fat milk
Milk powder – 3 tbsp
Sugar – ½ cup, adjust as required
Cardamom – 2
Chopped dry fruits/ nuts (cashew, almond, pistachios) – 2 tbsp
Rose essence – 2 drops or 1 tsp of gulkand, I used homemade gulkand
Ghee – 2 tsp
Saffron – few strands (optional), I haven’t used in this

Method:
  • Take milk in a thick bottomed vessel, dissolve milk powder in it and bring to boil. On boiling, add sugar & crushed cardamom. Boil further on low flame until it thickens a bit and reduces to about 1.5 cup. Stir occasionally in order to avoid sticking of milk to bottom of the vessel.
  • Switch off the stove and add rose essence or gulkand. If you prefer saffron flavour, then add saffron while boiling milk and leave rose essence.
  • Cut the bread slices into desired shape, you can remove the edges of bread which I don’t do inorder to avoid wasting. It does not make much difference too.  Shape of pieces can be  triangular or into smaller squares or rectangles.
  • Brush each piece of bread with little ghee and place on a microwave safe baking tray spreading evenly. Keep it in the microwave oven and heat for 2 minutes.
  • Now turn each slice on the tray so that other side faces up. Heat it for one minute again.
  • If you don’t want to use microwave, then heat a griddle and roast both sides until it turns little crisp.
  • Arrange the roasted bread pieces on a tray or bowl as desired.
  • Pour the prepared milk/ rabdi/ rabri on it so that every piece of bread gets milk to absorb.
  • Garnish with roasted nuts pieces and rose petals/ saffron. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
  • You can serve it warm or chilled. Both taste great.

Notes:
  • You can prepare rabri (milk) in microwave too.
  • I suggest to use either of saffron or rose essence instead both.
  • You can also use sweet condensed milk instead milk powder. I this case add it to the milk to boil and reduce the sugar as required.
Shahi Tukda/ Shahi Tukra

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Dates, tamarind sweet & sour chutney

Chutney is a best accomplishment to any south Indian breakfast like idli, dosa… When it comes to dishes like Gujarathi dokla, samosa or chats, sweet chutney makes a great combination. I am sharing a simple & healthier sweet chutney recipe in today’s post that is nothing but dates & tamarind sweet chutney. It is rich in iron as main ingredient is dates. Tamarind, another main ingredient has number of health benefits. It is good appetizer, rich in fiber and improves hair & skin health.

Dates, tamarind sweet & sour chutney

Please check for the recipe of Moong dal dokla here. Here is another sweet chutney recipe,  which is Horse gram sweet chutney!

Preparation time: 1 hour (soaking time)
Cooking/ making time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3-4
Ingredients:
Dates – ½ cup, seedless or seeds removed
Tamarind – ¼ cup or little less
Jaggery – 2 tsp
Salt – ¼ tsp, to taste
Cumin – ½ tsp
Coriander – ½ tsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp, as needed
Water - 1 - 1.5 cups

Method:
  • Remove the seeds of dates if you aren’t using seedless.
  • Wash the dates and soak in 1/2 cup of warm water for an hour, along with tamarind.
  • Now roast cumin and coriander seeds until they turn to brown in color. (You can use ready made cumin & coriander powder after heating it for a minute).
  • Now take all the prepared ingredients together in chutney making mixer jar. Blend to get a smooth paste adding little water if needed.
  • Transfer to the serving bowl.
  • Serve fresh as side dish for dokla, chapathi, dosa or use in chats.


Dates, tamarind chutney

Notes:

  • You can use roasted dry red chilli instead of chilli powder.
  • Optionally you can prepare a seasoning with coconut oil, cumin and boil the chutney for a while to increase the shelf life.
  • Refrigerated chutney can be used for 2 days if not boiled.

sweet & sour chutney

Monday, 22 July 2019

Palak Kichdi/ Spinach kichdi/ Green pongal

If you are looking for a healthy protein rich one pot rice dish for lunch box or lunch, then my first suggestion would be Kichdi/ pongal. It is one such nutritious & easy to make dish which can be served even without side dish. A choice of pickle is good to go. Generally kids like it at the time they are initially introduced the solid food world as it is mix of mild flavors. You can make it interesting with the addition of veggies too. Today, I am sharing one such healthy recipe, that is spinach kichdi which is attractive with its green color.

Palak Kichdi


Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 3
Ingredients:
Fresh palak/ spinach leave – 2 cups, tightly packed
White rice – 1 cup
Moong dal – 1 cup
Salt – 1 tsp, adjust as required
Tamarind – ¼ tsp (optional)
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Black pepper – ½ tsp, Adjust as desired
Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Dry red chilli -1
Cooking oil/ butter/ ghee – 2 tsp + 2 tbsp additional butter/ ghee
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Cashews – 10 – 12 (optional)

Method 1 (one pot dish):
  • Initially, If you don’t have ready to use cumin and coriander powder, then make it. To prepare it, dry roast these seeds and crush using a mortar pestle or dry mixer jar.
  • Clean & wash palak/ spinach leaves. Take cleaned leaves in a mixer jar, grind to make smooth paste adding tamarind. You need not add water. Keep this puree aside.
  • Slightly crush pepper & cumin seeds just to release flavor.
  • Was rice and moong dal and keep that too ready.
  • Heat pressure cooker with 2 tsp added oil/ butter.
  • Add mustard seeds, crushed cumin & pepper and cut dry red chilli. On spluttering add curry leaves.
  • Add Cumin & coriander powder and sauté once.
  • Add the palak puree to it and sauté for couple of minutes or until raw smell goes off.
  • Now add washed dal and rice. Add salt and turmeric powder.
  • Pour in 5 cups of water. Close the lid and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
  • Wait until pressure releases. Then open the lid.
  • If it looks dry, then add water as needed and boil to get kichdi consistency.
  • Fry cashews chunks in a tea spoon of ghee and add to the kichdi.  Serve the steaming hot kichdi with preferred side dish or as it is.
Method 2 (Preparing spinach puree separate): 

In this method, all the above steps remains same except addition of spinach/ palak puree initially before pressure cooking.
  • Initially prepared seasoning, and pressure cook rice & dal with other spices adding water as needed.
  • Meanwhile, blanch or boil cleaned palak leaves with little water and make a puree of it on cooling.
  • Once the pressure settles down, add spinach puree & boil well adding required water.
  • In this method, the color remains richer.
Spinach kichdi

Notes:
  • If you like to add more flavour, then add 4 cloves of garlic & half inch ginger while grinding palak leaves.
  • If you love to enjoy plain kichdi/ khaara pongal, then just leave palak puree. Rest of the process remains same.
  • Replacing palak by tomato makes red tomato kichdi.
Green pongal

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Creamy Peanut soup/ Ground nut/ Nelakadle Soup

Peanut is a commonly found nut/ legume in every Indian kitchen. It is called by various names such as Nelakadale/ Kadle beeja (in kannada), Peanuts/ ground nuts/ monkey nut… It is considered as badavara badami (literal translation is poor men’s almond) as it is easily available and inexpensive to buy. It is not any less in terms of nutritional values. Using peanuts in cooking is not new to us, without which many of the rice items are incomplete. Fried peanuts become favourite snack for many. It goes great as sweet (chikki) by adding jaggery.
‘Peanut Soup’ may be new to many; it was to me until my husband visited Germany for a short trip a couple of years back. His German colleague prepared this delicious soup when he invited for a dinner and the recipe was the one they shared. I customized a bit with fewer ingredients change, but originally credit goes to them. This is very easy to make with just 4-5 ingredients and goes vegan as no milk in this recipe.


This resembles almond soup in taste with flavor of peanut. Now let us see the recipe of this filling, protein rich and delicious soup.

Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves - 2
Ingredients:
Peanuts – 3-4 tbsp
Water – 2.5 cups
Black pepper powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – to taste
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp

Method:
  • Wash peanuts and soak in water for an hour or two.
  • Drain water and grind in a mixer jar adding water as required. Few chunks are fine to have.
  • Transfer to a vessel, add remaining water. Add salt. Boil well until it thickens a bit. Roast cumin/ jeera in a dry pan. Crush a bit. Add pepper powder & crushed cumin powder to the soup.
  • Serve hot soup with toast or plain.
  • Optionally you can add choice of herb too.