Sunday, 29 October 2017

Banana stem Bajji/ Baledindina Bajji/ Plantain stem pakoda

Banana stems are packed with nutrients and have amazing health benefits. To list a few, banana stem improves digestion as it is great source of dietary fibre. This eases bowel movement reducing constipation.  As water content is high, it is good for body re-hydration if consumed uncooked. Good for the people having kidney stones issues. So far I have used this only in curries, salads, palya (stir fry) or in dosa. Recently I have attended pooja in a relative’s house with my family. The bajji that I ate during the lunch was so yummy and actually I could not recognize what it was made up of. Finally I came to know that it was prepared from banana stem that too after a family member revealed it. Today I got a fresh plantain stem in our own garden and I could not resist myself from preparing this out.


Plantain stem pakoda

Here is the recipe.
Ingredients:
Banana stem – 1 foot long
Gram flour/ Kadle hittu – ½ cup
Corn flour/ Corn starch – 3 teaspoons
Red Chilli powder – 1 teaspoon (adjust according to taste)
Salt – 1 spoon (to taste)
Ajwain/ Om kalu – ¼ teaspoon
Asafoetida – A pinch
Garam masala powder – ¼ teaspoon
Oil – for deep frying

Method:


  • Remove the outer layers of banana stem that come out clean.
  • Wash and clean the innermost tube and cut into round, thin slices. Soak in water for 5 minutes and remove from water. Allow to dry.
  • Sprinkle little salt, half spoon of the red chilli powder and garam masala.
  • Toss once in order to apply the salt and chilli to all the pieces. Cover and keep aside.
  • In a vessel, take gram flour, corn flour, salt, chilli powder, ajwain/ carom seeds, and asafoetida.
  • Add little water at a time to prepare the batter. The batter should not be too watery.
  • It should form a thick cover to the vegetable.
  • When batter is done, heat the oil in a frying pan. To check the readiness, drop little batter into oil. It should float immediately without sticking to the bottom of pan.
  • When oil is ready, dip the vegetable in the batter and drop this batter covered vegetable in the oil.
  • Fry until it turns to golden brown in a medium flame. Serve hot with choice of sauce like tomato sauce.
  • Enjoy the banana stem bajji, its ideal for an evening snack or during a South/North Indian meal time.

Banana stem Bajji

Eggless Pumpkin Cake

Making of Pumpkin Cake!
It was birthday of my husband. I wanted to quickly bake a simple cake. I had a piece of tender fresh pumpkin in my refrigerator. I did not think again, just grabbed it and started working on it. It did not disappoint me as the result was that spongy, yummy golden colour cake. My husband liked this cake as much he likes this veggie! I also got a positive feedback from my sister on this. I baked my first cake 9 years back on same day. That was a carrot cake when we were in Germany!  That turned out delicious too.
 

Ingredients:
Grated pumpkin – 1 cup tightly packed
Whole wheat flour – ¾ Cup
Fine Rava/ Small Semolina– ¼ Cup
Maida/ All-purpose flour – 1 Cup
Sugar – ¾ Cup
Milk + Curds – ½ Cup, 1:1 proportion or bit more of milk
Oil/ Melted butter – ¼ cup (I used combination of Coconut oil and Ghee)
Cinnamon powder – ¼ teaspoon
Nutmeg powder – 2 pinches (optional)
Chopped Nuts (Cashew, Almonds) – 1 tbsp (optional)
Baking powder – 1/4 teaspoon
Baking soda – 1/4 teaspoon
Salt -1/4 teaspoon or a pinch

Method:
Prepare a 8x8 inch square cake tray or a 9inch round tray. Apply a teaspoon of ghee all over the bottom and sides, keep aside.
Choose tender & fresh pumpkin to yield a tastier cake. Peel off the skin of pumpkin and grate it. Take these gratings in a large mixing bowl (1 cup tightly packed). Add the dry ingredients such as wheat flour, maida, fine rava, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and the spice powders cinnamon & nutmeg to the grated pumpkin. Mix well with a flat mixing spoon.  Add Oil/Ghee and mix again. Add milk and curds mixture little at a time to adjust the consistency. It should not be too watery or runny but of dropping consistency. Add chopped nuts. Mix thoroughly the whole mixture. You need not beat it too fast.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180 deg C. Pour the prepared mix into the cake tray. Place in the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Once done, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Invert the cake on a clean plate. 


Cut and serve as plain cake. It also tastes good with peanut butter spread on it.


Notes while baking:
  1. The baking time changes from oven to oven. It also depends on the size of the cake tray (pan).
  2. In order to avoid burning, set time to 20 minutes at first. Insert a fork or toothpick. Cake is done if the fork is coming out clean and the top color is golden brown. If not baked properly, set 5-10 minutes more and bake again. 

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Ridge gourd peel/ Heerekai sippe Chutney

While preparing any dish from ridge gourd or heerekai, do not throw the hard skin which you peel off. They add value to a healthy diet with high dietary fibre and low fat & carbohydrates. They are rich in vitamins & minerals. Here is a easy way to use them as chutney which will be a good accomplishment to rice or south Indian breakfasts such as Idli/ dosa…

Ingredients:
Hard peel/ skin of ridge gourds – ½ cup (of 1-2 ridge gourds)
Grated coconut – ¼ cup
Tamarind pulp – 1/4 spoon
Green chillis – 2 (As per taste)
Garlic - 2 cloves (optional)
Salt - to taste
Seasoning:
Mustard seeds – ¼ spoon
Dry red chilli – 1
Oil – 1 spoon
Curry leaves

Method:

  • Wash and chop the ridge gourd skin coarsely. 
  • Take little water (about ¼ cup) in a vessel add ridge gourd peel and boil until cooked. Allow cooling. 
  • Grind all ingredients (except under Seasoning) - cooked ridge gourd skin, grated coconut, green chillis, garlic (roasted or raw, as you like), tamarind and salt. 
  • Make it smooth paste. 
  • Temper mustard, chilli and curry leaves in oil and add to the ground chutney.

Notes:

  • Garlic is an optional ingredient. Variations possible with this either by using raw garlic while grinding or fry with few drops of oil and then use while grinding.
  • Optional seasoning of oil fried garlic enhances the taste.
  • Roasted dry red chillis can be used instead green chillis. 

Friday, 13 October 2017

Elevarige Leaves/ Vitamin soppu Chutney

Sauropus androgynous or chakramuni leaves are shrubs grown in tropical region and being used as leafy vegetable. Freshly picked leaves are rich in vitamin B, C and minerals. Handful of these leaves can be used while preparing any vegetable stirfry (palya) or sambar.

Here you find recipe for Chutney.
Ingredients:
Elevarige/ Vitamin leaves/ Chakramuni soppu – ¼ cup
Grated fresh coconut – ¼ cup
Salt
Green chillis – 2
Tamarind pulp – ½ spoon
Mustard seeds – ¼ spoon
Oil/ Ghee – 2 spoons
Curry leaves
Red chilli - 1

Method:
Wash and clean Elevarige leaves and drain the water content completely. Fry this with a spoonful of oil/ Ghee. Do till the raw smell of the leaves goes off. Make sure that you are not burning any leaf. Keep aside until cools down. Grind this along with grated coconut, chillis, tamarind and salt in a mixer until you get a smooth paste. You can add little water and not much.
Tempering: Heat oil in a pan, add mustard, cut red chilli and curry leaves and let it splutter. Add it to the chutney.



Serve chutney with dosa/ rice.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Black Chickpeas Rasam (stew)/ Black Chana saaru

As other pulses, chickpeas are loaded with protein and they are rich sources of dietary fibre. They are good for diabetics to add in their daily diet as they have low glycaemic index.

Ingredients:
Black chickpeas – 1 cup, soaked over night
Grated coconut – 2 spoons
Tamarind – 1 spoon
Garlic – 10 cloves
Red chillis -3
Coriander seeds – 1 spoon
Oil – 2 spoons
Mustard seeds – ½ spoon
Curry leaves – a strand
Salt to taste

Method:
Wash and soak chickpeas for 6-8 hours or overnight. Pressure cook till soft. 3 whistles should be enough. Fry coriander and chillis with little oil until color of coriander changes to brown and you get a nice aroma. Do it in medium flame. Grind coconut, 3 spoons of cooked chickpeas, tamarind and fried spices to a smooth paste. Transfer this paste to a vessel. Add required amount of water (about 3 cups) or adjust the consistency as per your taste. Too thick saaru won’t taste great. It should be of watery consistency. Add salt to taste, mix and boil.


Tempering: In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard seeds and peeled garlic cloves. Fry them tossing. It is done, when mustards start spluttering and garlic browns. Switch off the stove & add this to the saaru. Serve hot saaru with rice and salads or vegetable stir-fries.



Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Pumpkin Soup

Here is a recipe for a simple, quick pumpkin soup without cream. It can be good hot treat to elder or filling food for toddler. Ingredients list is very short in fact. Hurry up, try in your kitchen.

Ingredients:
Pumpkin pieces – 1 cup
Garlic – 4-5 cloves
Milk – ½ cup
Water – 3 cups
Salt – 1/2 tbsp (or as per taste)
Pepper powder – ¼ tbsp. or as required
Corn flour – 1 spoon (optional)

Method:

Choose tender pumpkin, which will enhance the taste of the soup. Wash and cut pumpkin into pieces with the skin if tender.  Otherwise peel the hard skin and cut. In a pressure cooker, cook the pumpkin pieces and garlic cloves with 2 cups of water (1 whistle is sufficient). Once done, allow to cool. Blend this to smooth paste in a regular mixer or food processor. Add milk to this. Add water as required to adjust the consistency. It will be tastier if it is of thicker consistency (that of any creamy soup). If you are using corn flour, dissolve it in ¼ cup of water and add to the pumpkin mixture. Bring the mixture to boil. Add salt and pepper powder. Reduce pepper if you are feeding this soup to a baby. Serve this hot soup with bread/ Rusk or toast.


Raw Mango Tambuli/ Mavinakai Tambuli




Ingredients:
Raw Mango pieces (Preferred totapuri, banganpalli, Nekkare) – ¼ cup
Fresh grated Coconut - ¼ cup
Fresh Curds/ Buttermilk – 1/2 cup
Salt
Red chilli – 2, You can also use green chillis or pepper
Oil – 1 spoon
Mustard seeds - ½ spoon
Curry leaves - 1 small strand

Method:
Grind coconut, chopped mango, 1 chilli, salt together to a smooth paste.  Add curds/ buttermilk to the ground paste. Add water and adjust the consistency to that of buttermilk. In a tempering pan, heat oil, add mustard and chilli flakes. When starts spluttering, add curry leaves, switch of the stove and season the tambuli. Serve as a side dish with cooked rice.

It’s a summer specialty in Mangalore region, almost in every house. It is an appetizer because of the tanginess of mango. There will be need for extra rice than usual!


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Eggless Banana Muffins

When there is a question of how to finish over ripe bananas at home, we usually go for dosa, buns halwa and so on. This time I wanted to try muffins/ cupcakes. I baked banana muffins once in Germany that was 8 years back, and it was a super success. It did not disappoint me even now. It is pure vegetarian bake without egg.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Bake time: 20-30mins
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:
Well ripe bananas – 4 large (Robusta)/ 8-10 small bananas
Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
All-purpose flour (Maida) – 1 cup
Sugar – ½ cup or little less
Oil/Butter/Ghee – ¼ cup
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Baking powder – ¼ tsp
Nutmeg powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – a pinch
Lemon juice – 1 spoon (optional)
Chopped nuts (Cashew/ Almond) – 2 spoons
Raisins – 1 spoon

Method:
Peel banana and mash in a large mixing bowl. It is fine to have few small chunks. Add sugar and mix well. Sugar will almost be dissolved while doing so. Add Oil/ butter (I used mix of coconut oil & ghee), wheat flour, Maida, baking powder, baking soda and salt one after another. Mix well with a flat spoon or hand mixer. Do not beat too fast. The mix should be wet and of dropping consistency. That is little thicker than idli batter. Adjust accordingly. Add little flour if it is too watery or add little oil / milk if it is too dry. Then add remaining ingredients nuts, nutmeg powder, and lemon juice. Fold these ingredients into the prepared mixture to mix properly. Again do not over mix. Preheat the oven to 180degree Celsius (I use a microwave oven). Fill batter into each muffin mould (liner) equally. Leave little space for the muffins to rise while baking (fill only about ¾ th or little more in each liner). Bake for 20 mins or until inserted fork / toothpick comes out clean. Once done, allow to cool and serve warm.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Honegonne Soppu/ Sessile joyweed Palya (Stirfry)

Honegonne/ Sessile joyweed is a wild plant, which is being used as a leafy veggie. Botanical name is Alternanthera sessilis. Red variety of this is grown as ornamental plant in the home gardens.

We have lot of them growing on their own in our backyard. Today while doing little gardening work, I got plenty of Honegonne soppu. It was very fresh and tender as we had good rainfall whole last week! 
I heard that it is good for the health of eyes. So did not wait to prepare a palya which goes well with rice and chapathis.

Preparation Time: 10mins
Cook Time: 10mins
Ingredients:
Honegonne leaves (tender) – 4 cups (tightly packed)
Onions – 1 large
Green chillis – 2
Mustard seeds - ½ spoon
Gram dal – 4 spoons
Oil – 2 spoons
Salt – ½ spoon (As per taste)

Method:
Pick tender fresh leaves (tips of the braches). Remove flowers if any. Wash clean and drain. 


Chop these leaves coarsely and keep aside. Peel onions and cut into thin slices lengthwise (Do not chop too fine). Slit green chillis. In a pan, heat oil. Add mustards and Dal to temper. Allow to splutter. When done, add onions and fry until transparent. Add leaves to the same and let it cook in medium flame stirring occasionally. Do not add water. Add salt and mix well. Switch of the stove when it is dry and no water present. Take care while adding salt as quantity of leaves will be reduced to 1/4th  than initial and requirement of salt will be less like other green leaves.




Godhi Burfi/ Wheat flour Halwa

This is a simple dessert, one can prepare very quickly when there is a need. The number of items required is just 4. More than a burfi it is like pudding.
This was a frequent sweet that my mother used to prepare for us in my childhood. She used to do it in maida, whereas I prefer ‘whole wheat flour’ over maida.  Kids with sweet tooth usually love this. It can be a good evening food for toddler (with reduced sugar amount).


Time: 20 mins max
Ingredients:
Wheat flour/ Maida (All purpose flour) – 1 cup
Sugar – 1 cup (Adjust as per taste)
Milk - 1 cup (full cream)
Ghee – ¼ - ½ cup

Method:
Heat a thick bottomed pan. Add Ghee, wheat flour (Maida) and fry stirring continuously. Do it in medium flame in order to avoid burning. Color of the flour should turn to brownish and you will get nice aroma when done. It will take 8-10mins. Pour milk and stir again so that there are no lumps formed. Full cream milk will give you better tasting sweet (If already boiled, do not remove the cream). When the mixture solidifies (water is absorbed completely), add sugar and sauté until the burfi leaves the bottom of pan. Switch of the stove. Transfer to a container and serve hot. Consume within two days, or refrigerate.


Friday, 6 October 2017

Lemon-Mint (Pudina) fresh Juice

It is a favourite juice of my 6 year old son, who never liked to taste plain lemon juice.
Mint is a well-known appetizer and mouth freshener. It improves digestion. Mint extract/tea is a best remedy for gastritis, nausea & headache associated with gastritis. It is good source of iron and the vitamin C in mint improves the iron absorption too.
Similarly lemon has number of health benefits. It is an excellent source of Vitamin C and great immunity booster.
Recipe for the quick mint-lemon juice:

Time: 5 mins
Serves: 2 glasses of juice

Ingredients:
Fresh Lemon juice – 3 spoons or 1 big lemon
Mint/ Pudina leaves – 20
Sugar/ Jaggery powder – 4 spoons
Water – 2 Glasses

Method:

Cut lemon and squeeze to get juice out of it. Wash mint leaves well. Add all the ingredients in a regular mixer/ blender jar and grind once/ until sugar dissolves. Strain in a juice strainer and serve chilled with ice cubes.


Thursday, 5 October 2017

Lemongrass & Holy Basil (Tulsi) Green Tea

My mother- in-law & my sister catch cold as soon as they are exposed to cold dry weather. They start sneezing, as soon as they wake up in the morning. I prepared this kashaya/ tea and served them when they visited us. The result was impressing with great relief to them. My sister took these herbs to her home and consumed fresh green tea (with refrigerated leaves) for a week on daily basis. Here is the recipe:
Ingredients:
Lemongrass leaves (fresh or dry) – 2
Tulsi leaves – 12-15
Water – 2 cups
Honey/ Sugar – 2tsp
Pepper powder – a pinch (optional)

Method:
Wash and crush leaves. Add to water in a vessel. Boil well for 3mins. Add pepper powder while boiling. Strain the tea with a strainer. Serve a cup of hot tea with a spoon of honey/ Sugar as desired. It is a best remedy for common cold and cough. 

You can click here for the recipe of Lemongrass green tea which is as good as lemongrass-tulsi kashaya.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Passion Fruit Saaru/ Rasam

We get good number of passion fruits from a climber plant in our garden. One day, a question rose in my mind that why we can’t use these fruits for anything other than juice and cakes. I thought it can be used very similar to pineapple as tangy taste resembles one another. So very next day I had the simplest, quick recipe of passion fruit rasam in my hand. The taste was amazing and it repeated many times thereafter as it takes just 5-10 mins to prepare. It acts as a good appetizer too.

Cooking time: 5 mins
Yields: 4 bowls/ 300ml

Ingredients:
Passion Fruit – 1
Water – 3 cups
Jaggery – lemon sized piece/ 4 big spoons (if powder), Adjust according to taste
Green Chillis – 2
Chilli powder – ¼ spoon
Salt to taste
Oil – 1 spoon
Mustard – ½ spoon
Red chilli -1
Curry leaves – 1 strand
Garlic – 4 cloves (optional)

Method:

Cut passion fruit into halves and extract the pulp with seeds. In a vessel, add water, passion fruit pulp, salt, slit green chillis, jaggery, chilli powder. Boil this mixture for 4-5 mins. Temper with oil, mustard, red chilli and crushed garlics. Add curry leaves at the end. Simple saaru is ready to serve with rice and any vegetable fry. You can also enjoy this as hot soup. 

Carrot Chutney

Ingredients:
Carrots (Medium) – 2
Onion – 1
Garlic – 4-6 cloves
Grated Coconut – 6 Spoons
Green Chilli – 1
Red Chilli – 1
Tamarind Pulp - 1tsp
Salt to Taste
Tempering:
Mustard Seeds - 1tsp
Oil – 2 Spoons
Coriander Leaves/ Curry Leaves -1 -2 Strands

Method:
Wash, peel & chop carrots; keep aside. Peel onion and chop it as well. Heat a spoonful of oil in a pan and fry onions, carrots, garlic, red chilli & green chilli, until carrot is cooked and tender. Add grated coconut to the same and heat few seconds. Once done, switch of the stove and allow it to cool. In a grinder take fried items, tamarind & salt and grind to smooth paste. Transfer to the serving bowl.



Tempering: Heat 1 spoon of oil in the tempering pan, add mustard seeds. Once done (starts spluttering), switch of the stove, add curry leaves and add to the ground chutney.  Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve the chutney with Dosa, Rice or Chapathi.


Sabudana/ Sabakki/ Tapioca Pearls Kichdi

Preparation Time: 4 hours
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Sabudana/Sabakki/ Tapioca Pearls - 2 cups
Onion – 1 large
Green chillis – 2
Ginger – 1inch piece
Curry leaves
Oil – 2-3 spoons
Mustard seeds – 1 spoon
Channa Dal – 1 spoon
Red chilli – 1
Garlic - 4
Ground nuts/ Peanuts - 2 spoons
Coriander leaves – 4strands (optional)
Fresh lemon juice – 1 spoon
Salt

Method:

Wash and soak Sabakki/ Tapioca Pearls for minimum 4 hours. Drain water completely and keep aside. Peel and chop onions, Green chillis and ginger. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, dal, peanuts and red chilli pieces, allow spluttering.  Add crushed garlic, ginger, curry leaves and green chilli pieces and sauté. Add chopped onions to the same and fry until transparent. Add salt to taste while frying. To this add soaked Sabakki/ Tapioca Pearls and mix well. Heat for few minutes, for 3-4 minutes. Switch off the stove. Add lemon juice and mix again. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot.


Lemongrass Green Tea

Lemongrass is a herb belongs to the grass family. Botanical name is Cymbopogon citratus and the name lemongrass is due to its strong aroma of lemons. It is being used in the kitchens worldwide for soups, tea and even in other dishes such as rice and curries. This herb takes an entry in Ayurveda books with a long list of health benefits. It has rich anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-microbial properties. It is used to cure cold and fever, aches, throat pain…

Recipe to prepare fresh Green Tea:
Ingredients:
Lemongrass leaves (fresh/ dried) – 2
Water – 2 cups
Pepper powder – a pinch
Honey – 2 spoons

Method:
Crush lemongrass properly with fingers or with ‘mortar and pestle’ and boil it with 2 cups of water. Add a pinch of pepper powder. Boil for a minute or two.  Strain with a tea strainer. Your green tea is ready to serve with honey.

Have 1 cup of this tea in the morning before breakfast. Give approx.: 5-10ml twice a day to children of 3-6 years old. This gives you instant relief from throat irritation, cough and throat pain. It also benefits in case if you have body pain!

Note: Do not add honey to boiling water/ tea as its property changes and it may have adverse effect!