Sunday, 2 May 2021

Pumpkin flower tawa fry/ Shallow fried pumpkin flower fritters

If you love nature, it never disappoints you! Hope you all agree with it. Nature gives us so much which we cannot return or repay in anyway. What we all can do is, grow little green around us in-order to save this beautiful earth for tomorrow. We can use natural resources thoughtfully to save them for our own future. Even during this toughest time of pandemic, one thing that supplies positivity is green/ plants. This way we can give back to nature in the form of oxygen that we consume to survive.

pumpkin flower

Why am I writing about nature so much today! Reason behind this is major ingredient of today’s recipe, pumpkin flower. As I said earlier edible flowers are magical in terms of their benefits. They aren’t just fancy to see on your plate but with they have numerous health benefits too.  Pumpkin flowers aren’t any less. Normally if you have couple of pumpkin vine in your garden, you will see only male flowers which don’t result in fruit for initial month. Then it is ideal use them in your cooking. They are rich source of Vitamins A, B9, C and minerals like iron, phosphorous. They are good for eye health, and they help in improving immunity. So don’t wait any more to use them in cooking if you have access to them. Culinary usage can be in the form of simple delicious chutney or in salads or like the one which I am sharing in today’s post.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

Pumpkin flowers (male flowers*) – 8-10 (as available)

Gram flour – ½ cup

Small semolina/ Chiroti rava – 2 tbsp

Rice flour/ corn flour – 2 tbsp (optional)

Salt – ½ tsp

Chilli powder – ½ tsp

Turmeric powder – a pinch

Sambhar powder / garam masala – ¼ tsp (optional, just for flavour)

Oil – 2-3 tbsp (for frying)

 

Method:

  • Collect fresh pumpkin flowers, remove stamen and stalk, discard them. Check for any bugs in the flower and if found remove them. Normally, ants love the flowers.
  • Wash the flowers carefully and pat dry to remove any extra water content.
  • Now take gram flour, semolina, salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder and sambhar powder (if using) in a wide mixing bowl. Add little water at a time to make bajji like batter. It should not be runny, you will require nearly ¼ cup of water.
  • Heat a tawa/ griddle.
  • Sprinkle little oil.
  • Dip one flower at a time in prepared batter so that it is covered well and place on hot tawa. Do the same with rest of the flower and spread on the tawa.  You can make around 5 flowers once depending on the size of the pan.
  • Cook one side for a minute on medium flame. Drizzle little oil on top and flip each flower to cook other side too. Take them out of tawa when both sides turn golden brown, which will be crispy by this time.
  • Finish off all the flowers this way and serve the fries hot with rice as a tasty side dish or as snack with your choice of sauce.

Pumpkin flower tawa fry


Notes:

  • *I mentioned male flowers to be used as they don’t give fruits and hence you can pluck them. Female flowers are also edible but plucking them results in loss of fruits.
  • Serving these fritters hot is important as they taste best and crispy when hot.
  • One can deep fry these too.
  • Many variations possible with this recipe. You can use only gram flour to coat the flowers, you can add your favorite flavors. Also many do it by coating the flowers with dry flour, not adding any water to the batter. I shared here my version of recipe.

Shallow fried pumpkin flower fritters

Monday, 26 April 2021

Kothimbir Vadi in Microwave oven/ Quick coriander vadi recipe/ Kothambari soppu vade

Kothimbir vadi/ Coriander vadi is one of the authentic savoury snacks originated from Maharastra. Vadi of Maharashtra is similar to Pathrode of our part of Karnataka/ Coastal Karnataka. Gram flour & choice of greens are combined together in batter which is steam cooked and later deep fried into crunchy snack. Kothimbir vadi, a teatime snack is not only crispy & tasty but also very flavourful and healthy as it is loaded with fresh green coriander leaves. Coriander leaves are rich sources of elemental iron & dietary fibre which is beneficial in treating anaemia and good in cases of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes… When I state it is healthy, couple of variations needed to the original recipe as it requires deep frying of them after steam cooking. Here is a better option of shallow frying these vadis after they are cooked. Idea way to cook them is in steamer or pressure cooker like how dokla is made. In this post I focus on cooking coriander vadi in microwave oven which speeds up the process of cooking. Believe me, it takes just 7-8 minutes to cook the coriander vadi in microwave oven. Now let us go to the recipe!

Kothimbir Vadi in Microwave oven

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes (includes frying time)

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

Coriander leaves – 2 cups (finely chopped)

Gram flour – 1 cup

Rice flour/ Corn flour – 2 tbsp

Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp

Roasted peanuts powder – 2 tbsp (coarse powder)

Cumin powder – ½ tsp

Coriander powder – ½ tsp

Red chilli powder – 1 tsp, adjust as per your liking

Sesame seeds – 1 tsp

Asafoetida – ¼ tsp

Sugar – 1 tsp

Baking soda – ¼ tsp

Water – ¾ cup or little more

Oil to fry – 4 tbsp (shallow frying)

 

Method:

  • Wash well, and chop coriander leaves finely. Take them in a wide mixing bowl.
  • Now, except oil and water add all the ingredients to the bowl. The ingredients are gram & rice/corn flour, salt, sugar, jeera powder, coriander powder, hing/ asafoetida sesame seeds, baking soda, chilli powder, turmeric powder, roasted peanut powder*. Oil should not go into this batter. That should be reserved for frying later.
  • Mix everything well with a spatula. Slowly add little water at a time and combine to form an evenly made batter. That is no lumps of dry flour should be found.
  • The batter should not be runny. Consistency should be that of idli batter (neither runny, nor too thick).
  • Now, grease a square or rectangular cake pan (microwave compatible) with little oil. Take smallest size tin for this measurement!
  • Pour the above prepared mix into the pan and spread evenly.
  • Cook in microwave oven for approximately 6 – 7 minutes. Or until inserted fork comes out clean. Time depends on the thickness of batter & oven.
  • Allow cooling. Later, invert the vadi on a plate and cut into desired shape and size pieces.
  • Frying part:
  • Heat a pan. Sprinkle little oil, spread the cut pieces of kothimbir vadi.
  • Sprinkle little oil on top of each piece. Invert on the pan after cooking one side and fry other side too. Both sides should turn to golden brown.
  • Serve hot kothimbir vadi with green chutney or with choice of sauce. You can serve it with lunch as well.
Quick coriander vadi recipe

                                                    After cooking in Microwave oven!


Kothimbir vadi


Notes:

  • You can deep fry these vadis after cooking for extra crunch and taste. I have avoided deep frying and did shallow frying
  • Adding moringa leaves with coriander leaves works out well too.
  • You can use 1 cup chopped coriander leaves and about ¼ - ½ cup coriander leaves paste too.
  • One can steam cook the batter if no access to microwave oven. This will take 20-30 minutes to cook.
  • You can be creative while choosing ingredients, number of variations possible here.
  • Peanut powder: Roast peanuts, remove major skin and make coarse powder using a mixer. You can make use of peanuts chutney powder too here.

Kothambari soppu vade

Monday, 19 April 2021

Raw mango Chutney/ Mavina kai chutney

Summer without mango; cannot be imagined, isn’t it? When I say this, I know focus goes on mango as fruit. It is not the case. People use raw mango in cooking as much as they do ripe mangoes right? Be it drink aam panna or raw mango spicy curries. There are varieties of pickles recipes using mango and ultimately mango rice! It is so versatile fruit & no need of mentioning its taste and how it works as appetizer.

Raw mango Chutney

Today I am sharing a recipe from coastal Karnataka/ Karavali, which is mango chutney. Again there are two variations possible - red chutney by using dry red chillis or green/white chutney using green chillis. Best option of green chillis would be jeerige menasu/ bird’s eye chillis/ gandhari menasu (smallest variety of chillis grown in malnadu & Dakshina Kannada. Mango varieties such as nekkare /wild varieties will go best. Banganpalli works best too as it has unique flavour.

I am sharing the recipe of mango chutney with green chillis today. It is so simple with minimal ingredients & except seasoning there is no fire required in making this.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Raw mango/ unripe mango – 1 small / ½ of large large (tender/ medium the better)

Freshly grated coconut - ½ cup

Green chillis – 3 – 4, adjust according to your taste

Salt – 1 tsp

Ingredients for Seasoning:*

Coconut oil – 2 tsp

Mustard seeds – ½ tsp

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

 

Method:

  • Wash raw mango clean, cut & discard stalk portion. Chop roughly after removing seed.
  • Take grated coconut, mango pieces, green chillis, salt in a mixie jar and grind to make smooth chutney with little water added.
  • Transfer to serving bowl.
  • Prepare a seasoning/ tadka (optional) of mustard seeds in coconut oil. On spluttering, add curry leaves and add to chutney. Mix well.
  • Serve this chutney with rice & a dollop of ghee (preferably matta rice ganji) or with neer dosa which works as a great combination.
Mavina kai chutney

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Unripe fig pakora/ raw fig podi/ Doddele Anjoora Bajji or fritters

Recently an article in one of whats app groups attracted me very much. It was about raw/ unripe fig pakora or bajji. I found it interesting as using raw fig in cooking wasn’t new to me. I made stir-fry & majjige huli (yogurt based gravy) already using them. Same evening we plucked 2 figs from our tree which were green & unripe. Made bajjis & we liked the taste. Only problem here is the white milk like sap released by the raw figs. Keeping figs for few hours after harvesting before using in cooking is a solution. One more point to note is, rinsing the cut fig pieces in water before making pakoras. It reduces the white sap to some extent.

Unripe fig pakora

To write little about these figs referred as elephant ear fig, it is a wonderful tree to grow for shade. Irrespective of what care one provides to this plant, a mature tree provides us lot of fruits. Out of them, only few ripe into delicious juicy fruits, rest falls off before even they mature. So it is ideal to use them in cooking in their unripe form. Here is one such recipe, Unripe fig bajji/ pakoda.

Fig tree

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Serves: 16-18 pakoras

 

Ingredients:

Unripe / raw figs (Elephant ear fig) - 2

Gram flour/ Kadle hittu – ¼ cup

Rice flour / corn flour – ¼ cup

Red Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon (adjust according to taste)

Salt – 1 spoon (to taste)

Ajwain/ Om kalu/ Carom seeds – ¼ teaspoon

Asafoetida – ¼ tsp

Oil – for deep frying, I use coconut oil

 

Method:

  • Clean the figs carefully to remove any bugs/ insects like ants & wash with clean running water. It is recommended to keep them aside for couple of hours to minimize the oozing of white sap (sticky milk) from the cut figs.
  • Scrape out the outer skin with a regular knife, wash once again. Cut into 2 halves lengthwise, then slice into about 4-5 pieces from each half. Put them into a vessel having water so that the fig slices are rinsed well to remove maximum amount of white sap. Same process we follow for raw banana.
  • Prepare a batter for bajji or fritter.
  • Take a wide vessel with 1 cup of water. Add hing/ asafoetida, salt, ajwain and chilli powder. Give a stir.
  • Add gram flour & rice/ corn flour, mix well to form a smooth batter adding enough water. This batter should not be too runny. Consistency should be such a way that, it should properly cover the jackfruit.
  • Now, take oil in a frying pan. Heat it up on medium flame.
  • When oil is ready, dip the cut figs one by one in the prepared flour batter to cover completely and drop carefully into hot oil. You can fry more number of bajjis in one batch depending on the oil in the pan.
  • Fry until done or golden brown flipping the pakora in oil frequently. The hissing noise will be stopped when it is done & bajjis turn golden color.
  • Now take the pakoda out of hot oil, draining oil completely and transfer to a plate with the tissue paper spread on it.
  • Finish off all the cut figs in above mentioned way.
  • Serve hot pakoda/ bajji with tomato sauce and a cup of tea/ coffee!

Notes:

  • This bajji can be made using only gram flour batter or only corn flour/ rice flour batter. I like the way mentioned in this post. That is 1:1 (equal measure) of rice & gram flour.  This quantity makes pakoras crispier.
  • This bajji tastes best when served hot.
  • Individuals allergic to latex or plant white sap are suggested to avoid eating such dishes. 

Doddele Anjoora Bajji or fritters

Friday, 26 March 2021

Garlic chutney/ Bellulli chutney for Ganji

Summer days in coastal Karnataka makes you ask for only light food. The temperature & humidity there makes one sweat anytime of the day. Boiled rice/ Kuchilakki anna & coconut based side dishes being staple of the place, boiled rice with the liquid starch becomes favorite of many family. Simple chutney of different flavor, pickles & curds is what anyone looks for the lunch. When I mentioned chutney, it will be generally coconut based with some added goodness of mango/ Banana flower/ mango ginger or even chutney made with basic spices like garlic or even urad dal. I am posting one such chutney recipe today – Garlic gatti chutney for Ganji!

Garlic chutney

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

Garlic cloves – 12-14

Freshly grated coconut – ½ cup

Tamarind – gooseberry sized

Dry red chillis – 4-5 , adjust to taste

Salt – 1 tsp, as per taste

Coconut oil – 3 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

 

Method:

Peel off cloves of garlic, keep them ready.

Heat a tadka pan, fry garlic & red chillis with few drops of oil. until garlics turn brown & chillis are dark red & fried well.

Take grated coconut in a mixer jar. Add fried chilli & garlics, salt, tamarind. Grind everything well with little water. Do not add too much of water. This chutney should not be runny. Grind to make smooth paste/ chutney.

Transfer to serving bowl. Prepare seasoning of mustard, minced red chilli (optional), curry leaves in coconut oil. On spluttering, add to the chutney.

Serve this chutney with hot kuchilakki ganji or kerala matta rice with starch and a dollop of ghee.

Bellulli chutney

Notes:

Garlic can be replaced by 2 tsp of Urad dal after frying till brown to make urad dal chutney.

If making raw mango chutney, add green chillis (not fried) instead of red chillis. In this case don’t add tamarind.

Ganji chutney

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Menthe kadubu Type 2/ Wheat flour dumpling & fenugreek leaves stirfry

Menthe kadubu is a traditional dish of North Karnataka which makes you to crave for more with its unique flavour of fenugreek leaves and very basic spices in any Indian kitchen. There are two types it can be made, majorly difference in the consistency! One is soupy & another is dry stir-fry type. Though both tastes great, my favourite is the dry one and I am sharing the recipe for the same in today’s post. Check out the recipe for gravy type of menthe kadubu here.

Recently I also learnt that, this dry version is generally made with jowar/ sorghum millet flour whereas the other one is with wheat flour. This tastes wonderful even if it is made with wheat flour & I am sharing the recipe using wheat flour today.

Wheat flour dumpling & fenugreek leaves stirfry

Preparation time: 20-30 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2-3

Ingredients:

For the stir-fry:

Menthe soppu/ Fenugreek leaves – 1 bunch

Onion – 1 (optional)

Garlic – 10-12 cloves

Red chilli powder – 1tsp

Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp

Salt to taste

Cooking Oil – 2-3 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Cumin seeds – ½ tsp

Kasuri methi – 1 tsp (optional), for  extra flavour

For the dumpling:

Wheat flour – ½ cup, can be replaced by jowar flour (in this case, hot water to be used)

Water – to make the dough

Salt – ½ tsp

Oil – 1.5 tsp

 

Method:

Dumpling:

  • Prepare dough of chapathi dough consistency using wheat flour, salt, water and little oil. Keep aside covered.
  • After 5-10 minutes, divide the dough into small gooseberry sized balls and press gently with fingers to make small discs. Smaller the size, better the look of menthe kadubu . It is easy to cook them if size is small.
  • Boil 3-4 cups of water in a separate vessel adding little salt and 1 tsp oil.
  • On boiling, add wheat flour dumplings prepared in the previous step to it. Boil them for 5-6 minutes. While the dumplings are boiling you can keep the greens ready & cooked following the method under stir-fry).
  • Now, Drain water completely from the wheat dumplings, set aside.

Stir-fry:

  • Clean, wash green leaves (menthe soppu). Remove hard stems & use only leaf & tender stems.
  • Chop methi/ menthe leaves finely. Keep aside.
  • Peel and chop onions fine.
  • Peel garlics & chop finely.
  • Prepare a seasoning of mustard & cumin seeds in oil. On spluttering, add minced garlic, sauté for couple of minutes till they are done & turned to golden brown.
  • Add chopped onions (if using) and fry until translucent. It will be good even without onions.
  • Add chopped fenugreek leaves. Sprinkle turmeric powder and salt to taste. Add chilli powder too.
  • Let the leaves cook for a while.
  • Add the boiled & drained dumplings to the stir-fried fenugreek leaves.
  • Sauté well so that everything is combined well. Let it cook in the spiced greens so that it blends well with the masala.
  • Optionally sprinkle kasuri methi, switch off the stove. Serve hot as starter or as an lunch accomplishment.
Menthe kadubu dry

Notes:
  • Dumpling can be made with jowar flour instead wheat flour by adding hot water to knead the dough.
  • In the above case, allow water to boil and add the flour, salt and saute till water is absorbed. On cooling, grease palm with little oil & knead the dough. Then follow the procedure same as wheat flour dumpling.
Menthe kadubu recipe

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Halakodi tambuli /kodi tambuli/ Mixed wild greens tambuli

Halakodi literally translates to multiple tender greens & tambuli is basically chutney made with greens or spices mixed with buttermilk.  Tambuli is normally prepared without boiling (hence goes to raw food category) except few cases. Kodi = tender greens (English) or chiguru (Kannada). This specific recipe needs boiling in the traditional process, where as it can be made without boiling too which I am presenting here. This recipe is originated in the villages of coastal Karnataka where these medicinal wild greens available in abundance in the hilly areas covering every house. As per my understanding, it is seasonal when there are lot of tender leaves available. In particular, spring & monsoon seasons are best when there are new leaves growing.

Halakodi tambuli


It was in my to-do list since long time to document this recipe, but due to various reasons I could not do it so far. First reason for the delay was unavailability of the greens here in Bangalore! Main required greens are of

  • Kuntu nerale/ Kuntala,
  • Geru/ Cashew leaves,
  • Seebe/ perale/ guava leaves,
  • Wild ixora leaves,
  • Engira
  • Amla/ nellikai leaves
  • Nekkarika
  • Chere/ gere/Black varnish tree leaves (Care must be taken while using this as sap/ secreted fluid of this tree causes serious allergic reaction which result in dermatitis).

I will try to document them with pictures whenever I get a chance! Foraging / search of wild food resource plays major role in food security. It also improves one’s health as each naturally grown food article supplies major nutrients in best way that is; with no added chemicals & that way it benefits well-being of every individual (human/ animals). Provided an opportunity I will always prefer natural food over commercially produced articles.

This tambuli has very importance in postnatal care as these ingredients play major role in healing & nourishing oneself physically and mentally. I agree it may not be easy & accessible in all the cases due to urbanization and living far away from the nature. Even if it is available, people fail in recognizing the benefits in the present lifestyle.

My aim is to record such treasures from our culture and carry it forward to next generation! Here in the recipe I used edible greens available in my garden which included tender leaves  of Guava, Cashew, Nerale/ Jamun, Pomegranate, passion fruit, sandalwood , ivy gourd…

It used to be so much pleasure collecting these greens climbing up small hills near home with friends!

kodi tambuli

Preparation time: 10 minutes (if greens are available easily)

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Tender wild edible greens – 1 handful (mix of Guava, Cashew, Nerale/ Jamun, Pomegranate, passion fruit, sandalwood , ivy gourd leaves)

Freshly grated coconut – 4 tbsp

Fresh buttermilk – 1 cup

Salt – to taste

Cumin seeds – ½ tsp

Pepper corns – 6

Coconut oil – 1 tsp

Mustard seeds – ½ tsp

Dry red chilli – 1 (optional for seasoning)

Curry leaves  - 1 sprig

 

Method:

  • Collect greens & wash clean with running water.
  • Boil these greens with little water & cumin seeds.
  • Grind boiled greens & cumin, coconut, pepper to smooth paste with water as required.
  • Transfer to the bowl, add salt & buttermilk. Bring to quick boil which is optional. I did not boil here.
  • Prepare a seasoning/tadka of mustard, minced red chilly in coconut oil. On spluttering, add cleaned curry leaves & add it to the tambuli.
  • Serve this tambuli with hot steamed rice.

Mixed wild greens tambuli