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
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)

  • 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
  • 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

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

  • 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.

  • 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