Monday, 27 November 2017

Cucumber Idli / Southe Idli



Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves: 20 idlis

Ingredients:
Dosa Rice – 2 cups
Cucumber (Yellow or green) – 2 cups (pieces)
Salt – to taste

Method:

Wash and soak dosa rice for 4-6 hours. If you are using yellow or ripe cucumber, peel off the skin and core out the seeds. No need of peeling and removing seeds if it is a tender, green cucumber. You may use it right away. Wash and chop the cucumber finely or grate. Mix a tsp of salt and keep aside for 5 minutes. Collect its juice by squeezing. Now wash the soaked rice, drain water completely. Grind to smooth batter adding required salt and collected cucumber juice. Do not make it watery or runny. Mix the cucumber gratings/pieces to this batter and adjust the consistency to that of idli batter. Keep water to boil in the steamer or idli cooker. Grease the idli plates and keep them ready. Pour a ladle of batter in each idli mould. Steam cook for 20 minutes in a steamer or in a cooker without weight (Whistle). Serve with coconut chutney and/or jaggery syrup. 



Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Kaalu Sambar / Curry made of Pulses

Pulses are great sources of protein. We use them in the form of dal or as whole. They supply  major portion of daily requirement of protein for vegetarians. They are also rich in dietary fiber, Vitamins & Minerals. Here is a recipe to prepare sambar out of them. I used combination of Lobia & black chick peas here. It is a good accomplishment for Idli/ Dosa/ Rice.

Preparation Time: 6 hours (Soaking)
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients:
Kaalu/ Pulse of your choice (Lobia/ Chick peas, fresh peas…)  – 1 Cup
Tomato – 1 large
Tamarind – ¼ tsp
Jaggery – ½ tsp (optional or as per taste)
Sambar powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Coriander/ Curry leaves

Method:

  • Soak pulses overnight (6-8 hours minimum). Wash and pressure cook with about 3 cups of water and turmeric powder. 
  • Roughly chop tomato and fry with few drops of oil until tomatoes are cooked. 
  • Grind coconut, cooked tomato, tamarind, sambar powder together to smooth paste. 
  • Once pressure settles down, open the cooker. Add the ground paste, salt if required, jaggery, red chilli powder and allow boiling. 
  • Add water if necessary to adjust the consistency of the sambar. 
  • Temper mustard in oil, add curry leaves and season the sambar with it. 
  • Serve healthy and tasty sambar hot. 



Surinam Cherry/ Pitanga Juice

We have a plant, which we bought as cherry and planted about 3 years back. Plant started flowering in a time span of 1 year after planting it. We did not know what to name it and how to use it other than eating fresh fruit. The edible berries taste very different, which are combination of all the tastes sour, bitter and sweet! It has a strong aroma which may create discomfort in sensitive individuals. Then I did little research on this searching in google and found the name and bit of information on this. It is Surinam cherry and sources say the fruit is rich in Vitamin C and A. Fruits are used as flavouring agent in jam & jellies.
Botanical name: Eugenia uniflora
Other names: Brazilian cherry, Cayenne cherry...
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugenia_uniflora


Here is the recipe for fresh juice.

Ingredients:
Well ripe Surinam Cherry/ Pitanga – 4
Water – 1 glass
Honey – 2 tsp

Method:
Wash the cherries carefully and squeeze the delicate fruits well to collect the pulp in a bowl. Add a glass of water and strain the juice with a strainer to the serving glass. Press the pulp while straining to get the juice completely. Add honey to the juice and mix well. Serve with ice cubes.





Friday, 17 November 2017

Plantain Stem/ Banana Stem Chutney

Including Banana Stem in diet is very healthy habit as it is good source of dietary fibre and vitamins. One of the best and easiest way to use it in the form of chutney as there is no work of fine chopping or frying or cooking. Time required to prepare it is very less if all the ingredients are in place. And the chutney goes well with south Indian breakfasts such as dosa, idli or even it can be a quick side dish for rice, especially with Ganji oota (Boiled rice with starch). Click here for the Banana stem Bajji (Podi) recipe.

Ingredients:
Plantain Stem/ Banana Stem – ½ cup (pieces)
Grated coconut – ¼ cup
Red Chillis – 2
Tamarind – ¼ tsp
Garlic – 12 cloves
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1 tsp
Mustard – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 strand

Method:

Clean and chop Banana Stem roughly. Get about half cup of pieces. Grate coconut. Fry red chillis, 6 garlic cloves in few drops of Oil until you get nice aroma and garlic turn golden brown. Grind coconut, banana stem pieces, fried chilli and garlic, tamarind, salt in a mixer to smooth paste. Heat oil in a tadka (tempering) pan, add garlic and mustard and allow spluttering. Add curry leaves to it and season the chutney with it. Yummy & healthy chutney is ready to serve.


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Pomegranate fresh Juice

Serves: 2

Ingredients:
Pomegranate seeds – 1 cup
Water – 2 glasses
Sugar – 4 tsp (Adjust as per taste)

Method:
Peel off Pomegranate and get about 1 cup of seeds. Grind pomegranate seeds in a mixer jar or juicer with 1 glass of water and sugar. Strain in a juice strainer. Put the pulp back to the mixer jar and grind again with 1 more glass of water. Strain it to the earlier collected juice. Serve this healthy juice with added ice cubes.


Ripe Banana Soup

Yes, you heard it right. It is banana ‘soup’. Even I had the notion that banana can be used only as fruit not in soups. We have grown up eating varieties of dishes prepared from ripe banana such as banana rasayana, payasa, halwa, buns, guliyappa (suttavu) and so on. But in 2008, the time we were living in Germany, visited a friend in Austria. We stayed in the house of an elderly German couple who’s the retired professor of Bremen University. A week well spent with them tasting amazing western cuisines including Banana soup, Avocado soup and many more. The lunch at ‘Salat Bar’ (literal translation is Salad Bar) of Graz, Austria is an unforgettable experience. I am sharing the recipe for Banana Soup in this post.

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
Ripe Banana – 2 small/ 1 medium
Milk – 2 cups
Nutmeg powder - ¼ tsp
Pepper powder – ¼ tsp (As per taste)
Salt – to taste
Chopped Almond, cashews – 1 tsp
Lemon juice – ¼ tsp
Dried basil powder – ¼ tsp (optional)

Method:
Peel Banana and puree it with the help of a mixer grinder. Mix it with 2 cups of milk and bring to boil. Add pepper and nutmeg powder and allow boiling. Switch off the stove once the soup boils well. Add lemon juice, salt and mix well. Sprinkle basil powder. Dry roast almond, cashew pieces and garnish the soup with it before serving.


Monday, 13 November 2017

Tindora Ennegai/ Tondekai Ennegai

Ennegai is a North Karnataka special side dish which goes well with Jowar roti, chapathi, rice, akki rotti. Usually it is prepared with brinjal or capsicum. I tried it with Tindora or Ivy gourd which is my favourite vegetable. Ennegai recipe was borrowed from my friend from Raichur. It worked out well. Here, the process I followed, in which oil usage is minimal.

Ingredients:
Ivy gourd/ Tindora – 20
Peanuts – 2 tbsp (30 gms)
Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp (half the measure of peanuts)
* Sambar powder – 1tsp
Tamarind pulp – ½ tsp
Jaggery – small lemon sized piece (1 tsp powder)
Grated coconut/ desiccated coconut – 4 tsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp (30ml)

* Ingredients for Sambar powder, if you are not using readymade:
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Cumin – ½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 8-10
Dry red chillis – 2
Gram Dal – 1 tsp
Urad Dal – ½ tsp
Cinnamon – a small piece
Cloves - 2

Method:
Soak tamarind pulp in ¼ cup of water. Wash Ivy gourd clean and allow drying for few minutes. Slit them lengthwise (like a +) without cutting completely. Each Tindora will look like a flower with 4 petals. Keep aside. 



Stuffing preparation:
Switch on the stove. Dry roast peanuts in a pan until they turn brownish and you get a nice aroma. Keep aside to cool down. Remove the skin of peanuts as much as possible. Meanwhile, dry roast sesame seeds till they splutter or leaves nice aroma. If not using readymade sambar powder, fry all the ingredients for sambar powder with few drops of oil until they turn color to light brown and you get a fried aroma. In a dry mixer jar, mix all the roasted ingredients like peanuts, sesame, sambar powder (or fried ingredients), coconut gratings, turmeric powder and dry grind to get the powder. Mix salt to taste.
Now it is the process of stuffing the masala to tindora. Take tindora one by one, stuff little masala inside each tindora with the help of a spoon. Keep them in a large bowl, mixing little masala on all of them.

Switch on the stove. In a cooker, heat 2 tbsp of oil. Add the stuffed tindoras to the heated oil and sauté for couple of minutes. Add tamarind extract (soaked tamarind), and jaggery to the cooker. Add the left over masala after stuffing. Add little water if it is too dry. Let it pressure cook for 2-3 whistle. Serve hot with roti/ chapathi/ rice, once pressure settles down. 


Indian Borage – Sesame Sweet Chutney/ Dodda Patre - Ellu Sihi Chutney

Dodda patre/ Indian borage is a great herb to have in one’s garden. It is easy to grow in pot/ small space in a kitchen garden. It has tremendous health benefits. Here is a way to consume it as Chutney. It tastes good when fresh. 

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
Indian Borage/ Mexican mint/ Dodda Patre leaves – 12 -15
Sesame seeds / Black ellu / Til – 1 tsp
Red Chillis – 2 (As per taste)
Grated coconut – ¼ cup
Tamarind Pulp – ¼ tsp
Jaggery – 1 tsp (adjust as per taste)
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1tsp
Ghee – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves

Method:

Wash Dodda patre leaves in running water. Dry roast sesame seeds until they release nice aroma and starts spluttering. Fry red chillis & Dodda Patre leaves in a pan with ½ tsp of Ghee until a nice aroma. Take grated coconut, fried leaves, chilli, sesame, salt, tamarind & jaggery in a mixer jar. Grind them to a smooth paste. In a tadka pan, heat remaining ghee and oil, add mustards and allow spluttering. Add curry leaves at the end. Season ground chutney with this tempered mustards. Serve fresh with Rice/ Dosa/ Chapathi. 


Indian Borage Tea/ Dodda Patre Extract

This is a well-known home remedy for common cold. Indian Borage is being used for many years in treating cold & cough. The fresh leaves can be crushed and the juice can be applied on forehead and around nostrils in case of mild headache and nasal blockage.  The extract is a good remedy especially for children.


Ingredients:
Dodda patre/ Indian Borage leaves – 10
Honey – 1tsp

Method:
Pick fresh Dodda patre/ Indian Borage/ Mexican mint leaves. Wash these leaves clean in running water. Take a tadka pan or any clean small pan and heat the leaves until all of them get wilted. Switch off the stove and allow cooling down. Now crush the leaves with clean fingers and squeeze to get the juice of it. 1-2 tsp juice can be extracted from it. Collect the juice in a bowl. Add equal amount of honey to the dodda patre juice. Mix well. Consuming this tea 2 times a day is quick remedy for common cold, cough & fever. Do this on initial days of catching cold.

Dosage:
* Infants of 6 months to 1 year – ¼ tsp
1 - 3 years – ½ tsp
3 - 6 years – 1 tsp
Above 6 years – 5 – 10 ml


*Take precautions and monitor if any side effects such as constipation due to consumption. 

Doddapatre/ Indian borage/ Saambrani

The post focuses on a common herb found in many Indian gardens. It is being referred by various names such as Indian Borage, Mexican Mint, Dodda patre (Kannada)... Scientific name is Plectranthus amboinicus. This herbal wonder is a must have in any kitchen garden or herbal garden. It is very easy to grow this in a pot from stem cutting. It is known for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties.
This plant was known to me since my childhood days as it is a common plant in any of south canara home garden. Still I did not know much about the medicinal properties except it was known as a good cough remedy and also applied on skin problems such as itching and rashes. I remember the juice being applied on whole body in case of lice bite.



I was astonished by the use when my 5 years old son had fungal infection due to antibiotic side effect. My neighbour asked me to prepare Tambuli (recipe here) of doddapatre leaves to him every day. It helped him along with the non-oral allopathic medicine taken. It works as an antifungal and not to specify probiotic effect when taken with curds/yogurt.


Then I started little research on it. Every time, my son/daughter had common cold, it went off just with this Indian borage leaf tea/ Extract(recipe here) consumed with honey. One should remember to give it as a first home medicine before anything else. It is very effective by eating fresh leaves directly with salt (for elders). Children may not eat directly the leaves because of its strong bitter like, acrid, bit strong pungent taste.



The conditions, Indian borage leaves can be used to treat:
Kindly consult a Physician in case of emergency or if you are sensitive.
  •  Common cold & Cough
Consume the juice/ extract with honey. Look for recipe here
  •  Diarrhea
Consume 1-2 Indian borage leaves crushed and mixed in curds or chew two leaves directly and   drink warm water.
  •  Indigestion & stomach cramps
Consume 1-2 Indian borage leaves crushed and mixed in curds or chew two leaves directly and drink warm water 2 to 3 times a day and once before sleep.
  •  Skin problems – Insect bites
Crush leaves of Doddapatre (Indian borage), extract juice and apply on the affected area.
  • Skin problems – Fungal infections
Crush leaves of Doddapatre (Indian borage), extract juice and apply on the affected area. Consume 1-2 Indian borage leaves crushed and mixed in curds.

Note: Please consult Doctor before giving any home medicine to the patients if they are in special conditions such as Pregnancy, Infants... The remedies I write here are tested on few cases and may not be scientifically studied.

Indian Borage/ Dodda Patre Tambuli

Indian borage with curds is a good home remedy for Indigestion and other conditions of skin problems. So here is the recipe for tambuli.

Ingredients:
Indian Borage/ Dodda patre/ Mexican Mint leaves – 10 -12
Grated fresh coconut – ¼ cup
Pepper – 4-6 seeds
Salt – to taste
Curds/ Butter milk – ½ cup
Ghee/ Butter – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 6 leaves

Method:
Wash the Indian Borage leaves clean in running water. Wilt the leaves with ½ tsp of ghee/ butter. Grind grated coconut, wilted Dodda patre leaves, pepper and salt to smooth paste. Transfer to serving bowl. Add curds/ butter milk, mix well. Add mustard & curry leaves to heated ghee/ butter and allow spluttering. Add this to the tambuli. Serve tambuli with rice or drink as masala buttermilk.

Click here for a post on Indian Borage.


Tindora Chutney/ Tondekai Chutney

Ivy gourd or Tindora or Tondekai (Kannada) is a common green vegetable available India. It is a climber plant which can be cultivated in a small place available in kitchen gardens which needs a support to grow and regular water supply. Vine of this spreads easily over trees, fence or any other dedicated support. The fruit and leaves are used in cooking. Fruits are good sources of Vitamins, protein, dietary fibre, anti-oxidants. They are good to normalize blood sugar level, promotes health of skin. Leaves have cooling property which is used in treating mouth ulcers.
Ivy gourd is one among my favourite vegetables. It can be used in preparing Sambar, Majjige huli, Palya and many other items. Last year, we harvested lot of them in our small garden. Usually we consider tender ones and throw off the ripe Tindoras while cooking. But I got a recipe for the chutney in which we can use the ripe ones as well, this is really delicious.

Find the recipe here.
Ingredients:
Tindora (Tender/Ripe)– 12-15
Grated coconut – 4 teaspoon
Onion – 1 (small)
Garlic – 6 cloves
Red chillis – 2
Green chilli – 1 (Adjust as per taste)
Tamarind – 1/4 teaspoon
Jaggery – ½ teaspoon
Salt – to taste
Oil – 4 teaspoon
Mustard – ½ teaspoon
Curry leaves -1 strand

Method:
Wash Tindora / Ivy gourds clean. Cut them into thin slices. Chop Onions, peel off Garlic. Keep all these separately.

Dry roast red chillis and keep aside. Heat 2-3 spoons of oil in a wok/ pan. Add chopped onions and sauté for 2 mins. Add garlic, green chillis and sliced tindora to the same. Sprinkle required salt (About 1/2tsp). Fry until tindora is cooked soft without adding water. Add grated coconut and sauté once at the end. Remove from heat. Allow to cool down. Once cooled, add to a mixer jar. Add tamarind and grind coarsely. Transfer to the serving bowl. Temper mustard in oil, add curry leaves and add this seasoning to the chutney. Tasty chutney is ready to serve as a side dish for chapathi/ roti or with rice.


Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Mudde palya/ Muddi palya

This is a North Karnataka side dish which is very healthy and tasty loaded with protein, iron & vitamins. This dish is nothing but palya/ gravy prepared with cooked lentils (Tur dal) with green of choice. It can go well with rice, chapathi, roti… I got this recipe from a good friend and neighbour who hails from Raichur.
To list nutritional fact, Tur dal is good source of protein, folic acid. Add it to the diet at least 3-4 times a week to manage sugar level, cholesterol better. It supplies adequate amount of necessary proteins. It improves immunity.
Most green leafy vegetables are loaded with iron, calcium. They are good to improve immunity power. Specifically Moringa (or drumstick leaves), menthe (fenugreek) soppu are among them.

Preparation time: 20 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
Tur dal – 1 cup
Leafy green (methi/ palak/ Moringa) – 1-2 cups
Green chillis – 2 (as per taste)
Salt – to taste
For tempering:
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Dry red chilli – 1

Method:
Wash and pressure cook tur dal very soft. Allow to release the pressure. Meanwhile choose tender green leaves of your choice. Clean green leaves and wash well, drain water and chop them. Discard hard stem. I used Moringa or drumstick leaves here.

In a pan, take 2 spoons of oil, add mustard and pieced red chillis. Heat and allow spluttering. Add chopped leaves and fry until raw smell goes off. Leaves will be cooked by then. Sprinkle salt while doing this. When leaves are tender, add the cooked dal to it. Mash dal with a spatula before adding to the cooked leaves. Mix well. If it is very dry, add little water and bring to boil. Switch off the stove. Serve hot!

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Raw banana-rice dumplings/ Balekai pakoda

I had about 1 cup of raw banana dosa batter. I thought of converting it to this crispy snack to munch during evening tea. This was the snack my mother used to prepare in my childhood days. It can be done with raw jackfruit during jackfruit season.



Ingredients:
Raw banana (Robusta/ Elakki) – 3-4 small/ 1 large
Rice – 1 cup
Maida/ gram flour – ¼ cup, if using gram flour, use little less 
Onion – 1 big
Green chillis – 2 (as per taste)
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Curry leaves - 1-2 strands
Salt – to taste
Cooking soda - a pinch (optional)
Oil – for deep frying

Method:
  • Wash and soak rice for 4 hours. 
  • Peel off raw banana, cut into pieces and dip in water for 5 minutes. Drain water. 
  • Wash soaked rice. Grind rice, banana and ginger to smooth paste by adding little water. 
  • Add salt to taste. 
  • Chop onions, green chillis, curry leaves finely. Add these to the rice – raw banana batter.
  • Add maida/ gram flour and mix well. Adjust the consistency (to drop) which should be thicker than idli batter (neither too watery, nor solid).
  • Pour oil to a frying pan, heat it up. To check the readiness, drop a bit of batter to oil which should float. 
  • When done, take about a spoonful of dough in hand, give a round shape and slide into oil. 
  • Fry until golden brown.
  • Serve these with tomato sauce or ‘Mint Yogurt’. 
  • Enjoy the snack with hot tea or coffee.
Click here for the ‘Mint Yogurt’ recipe. 


Menthe/ Methi / Fenugreek seeds tambuli

Menthe or Fenugreek has cooling property. Adding this in diet cools body and it is very good during dry, winter days as well as summer. It is a good remedy for mouth ulcers. Look for my post on Home remedies for mouth ulcers. Menthe brings down glucose level in blood. Jaggery can be removed from the ingredients for diabetics. Taste will become little bitter in that case.

Ingredients:
Fenugreek seeds/ methi beeja – 1 teaspoon
Grated coconut – ¼ cup
Jaggery – lemon sized piece
Salt – to taste
Curds/ Buttemilk – 1 cup
Ghee – 1 teaspoon
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds – ¼ spoon
Dry red chilli – 1
Curry leaves – 5-6

Method:
Fry fenugreek seeds with 1 teaspoon ghee till you get nice aroma and it turns brown. Take fried fenugreek, grated coconut, jiggery, salt in a mixer jar. Grind to smooth paste adding little water. Transfer to a serving bowl. Add curds or buttermilk to it and mix well. Temper mustard, red chilli in oil, add curry leaves and season the tambuli with this. Sweetish cool tambuli is ready to serve.





Eggless Cucumber Muffins/ Cupcakes

I am from a place where we receive heavy rainfall from June till September. Varieties of vegetables are grown during this season, in the space available in front of every house. Cucumbers are among them. We harvest ripe yellow cucumbers during the season and store it for long period. Good quality cucumbers last for 8 – 10 months. They blend well with dishes such as dosa, idli, kadubu, curries, suttavu (Guli appa), Kheer and many more. This is a recipe for cupcakes using cucumber.


Preparation time: 10mins
Baking time – 20-25 mins
Yields – 8 - 10 medium muffins

Ingredients:
Grated cucumber – 1 cup
Whole wheat flour – ¾ cup
All-purpose flour (Maida) – 1 cup
Fine Semolina/ Small Rava – ¼ cup
Sugar – ¾ - 1 cup (as per taste)
Cocoa powder – 1tbsp (optional), I used Bournvita powder
Curds – ¼ cup
Milk – 20-30 ml, 2 tbsp
Oil/Butter/Ghee – ¼ cup
Baking soda – ½ tsp
Baking powder – ½ tsp
Cinnamon powder – ¼ tsp
Nutmeg powder – ¼ tsp
Salt – a pinch
Chopped nuts (Cashew/ Almond) – 2 spoons

Yellow cucumber looks like this:




Method:
Peel off the skin and remove the seeds of cucumber. If you don’t have yellow cucumber, then choose tender one (In this case, you need not remove seeds). Grate it. Take these gratings in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and mix well so that it shall dissolve. Add dry ingredients – wheat flour, maida, rava, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg powders. Fold well with a flat spoon once. Add oil and mix well. Add curds little by little looking at the consistency. If cucumbers are juicy, then requirement of curd quantity shall be less. If batter is looking dry, add little milk to make the batter of dropping consistency, which is little thicker than idli batter. Adjust accordingly. Add little flour if it is too watery or add little milk if it is too dry. Add chopped nuts and mix again thoroughly.
Preheat the oven to 180deg Celsius. 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.

Notes: Do not beat the mix too fast while preparing for muffins.