Friday, October 30, 2009

dosa with perfect pimples.....and all those freckles....


Hmmm....you think dosas are all crisp and yummy crepe's made too be savored with the hottest chutny......aaah..the chutny has to be hot and the dosa??

Well , as you can make a hot chutny with a lot of red chillies mixed with any thing looking like a vegetable........a dosa can also be made with just anything looking like a grain.....ha ha.......

This one is a normal rice and urad daal dosa ( made with 4:1 ratio of rice to daal )...so the taste is something even a 'ayyar cafe' and 'kerala cafe' fed north Indian person is grown up eating....yes i have grown up eating this white dosa as my mom made it almost every week and later on i used to go to the above said cafe's to have this favorite of mine......adais and multigrain dosas were introduced to me even later by a senior colleague who made the best of dosas, chutnys and sambars........some very good memories are refreshed thinking about all those days gone by............

Arvind was introduced to rawa dosa by me and he used to eat rawa dosa so much that i developed an aversion for that.......so i started making a pimpled dosa ( which looks like rawa dosa) with fried coconut bits in it, so that both of us can enjoy the dosa ...i knew he liked the fried coconut bits more than the rawa in that dosa....ha ha....


One ingredient of my choice was sneaked into the dosa to make the freckles , a lot of chopped curry patta........so a perfect combo of pimples n freckles to make a beautiful dosa.............

This dosa is made in very little oil and if served with this chutny made with microwaved tomatoes , garlic and red chillies with a handful of roasted peanut powder , it makes a perfect breakfast ( i can have it for any meal of the day)....i still have to learn to serve dosa with those kuruma curries...i have never tried them n i think i'd like them with this dosa the most...


To make the dosa you need to prepare the batter beforehand.......now a days ready made batter is available at some places , some powder mixes are also available ....i soaked 4 cups of white rice and 1 cup of urad daal with a tsp of methi seeds for 4 hrs and ground them all together in mixie to make a fine batter.....kept it overnight to ferment and it was ready to be used in the morning..............

To proceed ....firstly chop a lot of curry patta and fresh coconut....as much as you like.......now  heat the dosa pan with 1 tsp oil  ....throw a tbsp or more of the coconut bits and a handful of chopped currypatta leaves into the oil and fry them for  few seconds..........now pour 1/2 cup of batter on the medium hot tawa , now lift the tawa from the handle and tilt and rotate to coat the tawa with the batter.........do not use a spatula to spread the batter....wait for a while till a lot of pimples appear on the surface.........lift the dosa crefully with a flat spatula and flip over.........cook for a minute and remove to a plate ........serve hot with the chutny........as hot as you want........

one dosa is enough for a person and if you feel it's too much for you you can use a smaller tawa (so that the thickness of the dosa is retained ) and use a little quantity of batter to make the dosa......or you have the option to share the dosa with your husband........as i do....i lick all the chutny and he just picks up all the bits of coconut..............:)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

pear and grapefruit salad with pistachios


Like the other fruit salads i posted using grapefruit or chakotra , this is a refreshing salad too , it can be taken as lunch or as a mid morning salad ...and as it has lemon juice in it , you can pack it in your tiffin box too....stays fresh for a couple of hours and for 4-5 hour when refrigerated ...........


This is another salad i made with the lovely chakotra .....but that is not essential....oranges or even mosambi ( sweet lime) will be a good substitute for this salad........though it looks like a simple salad , it is full of contrasting flavors and textures.......it has crunch , it has bite and it has those juicy meltdowns of chakotra segments , the green chilly bits hit your tongue in such a way that it leaves you fresh for the day...i can have such a salad for any meal of the day ...in huge quantities....yummy..

you get the fiber, the dose of Vit.C , other antioxidants in a refreshing way....i just love it....



  make a dressing with 1tbsp of lemon juice, a tsp of sugar , salt to taste , a dash of black peppercorns and a tsp of finely chopped green chillies ...mix well and keep aside........i mix them in a large mixing bowl and start chopping the fruits right into it....first the pears and then the grapefruit segments, i used 2 pears and a cup of grapefruit filaments .........throw in a handful of chopped roasted salted pistachios and toss to mix......lovely.....add as much nuts as you want ......



 i hope i manage to make this particular salad ( or any one using grapefruit ) at least twice a week....separating the chakotra segments takes time and can be done in advance...usually one grapefruit is sufficient for making this salad 4 times.......

and don't be deterred by the poor picture quality.....the salad is fresh and yummy.....:)

enjoy...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

northeastern grapefruit salad


The grapefruit i had in my garden this season were not their best of color due to the excessive hot and dry summer...the time they were growing bigger , and seeing their shrunk size i was thinking may be they wouldn't have much flesh and juice in them....so when i had the first one drop by itself with a thud....i wasn't very excited......the skin was not shiny and fresh and somehow i thought, what it may have inside.....when i halved the first one it was a pale pink color which was again a big disappointment .....the segments looked juicy, though a bit smaller and when i tasted it......i was surprised!!!

The taste was perfectly normal....they are naturally not very sweet , but with a fresh citrus note and sweet sour taste , they are a good addition to a salad.....

I was happy and got thinking that we should learn from this fruit one thing.....whatever the whether.....do your best...so what if you don't look perfect all the time....your core values should remain the same........

Earlier i had never bought this fruit for no apparent reason , i had only tasted it with fruit salads which are sold by street vendors at touristy places .....so when this time it was growing in our garden i started using in different typed of salads.......some people told me that they are pickled too but i never tried.....tell me if you have any about it's pickle......

One of my brother's friends who is from Shillong ,was visiting my place last year and when he saw this tree in my garden he told me they use the leaves for lentil soups etc...and he made a salad with the fruit which was cooked....i had never thought of  a warm salad with this fruit.....but the taste was so yumm that i have repeated this recipe so many times after that.....

The recipe is simple .... separate the segments and the fibers of the fruit ( this is the only time taking process) , a cup of fruit segments will be enough to serve two as a side dish .....take the segments in a microwave safe bowl and pour a few drops of mustard oil into it ( mustard oil??? i thought first...but it is yummy..) you can use EVVO if you wish , 2 finely chopped green chillies , 1 tsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp of salt....mix well and microwave for just one minute on high......it can be steamed for a minute too...

it's done ....serve warm and enjoy.......this is a recipe which is repeated many times in my kitchen and we love it........the mustard oil gives it a punch and green chillies are oh so delicious when they hit your tongue....


I tried it with sweet lime and it was good too....just do not add sugar and it's almost as good as this one.........so don't worry if you do not have grapefruits available...


Chopped cucumbers and cubed apples with some chopped nuts make a nice addition to make it a stand alone lunch....it makes a happy and fresh salad always........

One more salad using this wonderful fruit is coming in my next post...stay tuned........

Sunday, October 25, 2009

mooli paratha with makki ka atta / radish flatbreads made with cornmeal



Radish is one vegetable which very few people like. Although I like radish in many forms and Arvind likes it too, there are some guests who hate the smell of radish. I guess this is because the flavor of radish is so overpowering that many people stay away from it. This mooli ka paratha surprises everyone I must tell.

The nutritional value of radish is such that all health conscious people should think about the ways to include it in their diet. It is low on calories, just 16 kcal per 100 gm which makes it very good diet food. Even when a paratha is made with it the total calorie count remains within limits.

Apart from this, radish is a good diuretic, prebiotic food, the juice of radish is considered anti bacterial and antifungal and it is very good to treat the afflictions of liver and gall bladder, in cooked form radish is good for the throat and bronchial afflictions.

I like it as salads, pickled, in sambhar or the most favored way of a north Indian to have radish. Mooli ka paratha. We make stuffed paratha from grated radish most of the times, recipe will come later as I have not photographed it despite making it regularly in winters, considering it is such a mundane recipe :)


This recipe of mooli ka paratha with makki ka atta is essentially a winter recipe as this is the time when you get fresh radish and fresh corn meal or makki ka atta. And also because this is the time of the year to eat parathas, the recipe is easier than a regular paratha or a stuffed paratha as you do not need the rolling pin to shape it and there is no need of stuffing. You just have to grate the radish manually or use your trusted food processor.
If using a food processor the paratha becomes a quick breakfast, just throw in chopped cleaned radish, chopped ginger, green chillies and some fresh coriander leaves in the processor and whiz to grate or to make a crumb like mixture. I used my chopper attachment of a hand blender.
The blend of radish, ginger, coriander leaves, green chillies and omum seeds or ajwain is very very good and works well in salads too. For a paratha it makes a fresh and flavorful mix.

you need...........

2 cups of chopped radish about 250 gm, 2 tbsp of chopped ginger, 3-4 green chillies or as per your taste, a generous handful of green coriander leaves, a tsp of omum seeds.
and about 1.5 cup or a little bit more of cornmeal or makki ka atta and salt to taste.

to proceed ......

when you are done with processing the ingredients together, mix with the corn meal without adding any water. Radish is a watery vegetable and the mixture will make a pliable dough as it is. If you need some water just sprinkle spoon by spoon so that it does not get sticky as after adding the salt the mixture starts getting more wet, so be careful...
If you are making a large quantity it is advisable not to add salt at the time of mixing. Take out the portion needed for one paratha sprinkle salt over it, mix well and shape the paratha and cook it quickly over a hot griddle.

To shape the parathas take out a tennis ball sized portion, with wet hands make them flat like a burger patty. It has to be a little thicker than a stuffed paratha, more like a patty. Now put it on the greased hot tawa, use ghee or vegetable oil to roast them both sides well. The outer side will become crisp and inside will remain soft with crunchiness of radish.


Since I need to make 4 parathas at a time only, what I do is, use a dosa tawa for roasting the parathas, all four of the parathas can be cooked in a single batch this way It will be a good idea for making large quantities as well. 

You will be able to make more of them in a few batches, easy to cook and healthy paratha I say.

Serve with plain curds or raita....or any kind of green chutney.........

Saturday, October 24, 2009

daliya poori..guilt free treat and tips to make your poori healthier



puris are considered fattening food and as they are deep fried........ they actually absorb oil but the problem is....we in India are so obsessed with poori that it is sort of a comfort food for us...........at least for my generation it is....we have grown up eating hot puffed up pooris with aaloo matar , kaddu ki sabzi or even with aam ka achaar sometimes........aaloo puri is a favorite breakfast of most north indians and there are many versions of poori for many occasions....just think ...can we do without pooris......no, i can't.....:)

when i became health conscious in my teens , i definitely started having pooris in a healthier version ...yes i had started cooking by then n was quite innovative at that......so i used to make palak wali poori and chukandar waali poori which in the later years, i found that my daughter also loved to eat....i remember the days when Mithi would hold a rolled up green or red puri in her tiny lil hands and take bits from it n smile at me......good old days are never to be forgotten..............................................
I made some adjustments in the process of making pooris so that they absorb less oil and are healthier......there are a few points i worked on and i hope they can be helpful for any new cook....

1. Always make poori with whole wheat flour and never use any flour for dusting while rolling the poori...use oil to grease the surface....any flour on the surface of poori allows it to absorb more oil during frying...
2.Do not add any shortening to the dough and make a loose dough...it is a common practice to add ghee as shortening to knead and the dough is made stiff....this is to make karari poori or crisp pooris which remain soft after cooling down.......my suggestion is, when you want to have the poori hot , make the dough stiff ...you will get crisp pooris( but that will get leathery when cold)......so i like it made with a loose dough which is soft n fluffy when hot and when it cools down , it remains soft .
3.The most important point is , fry the pooris ( or anything for that matter) in a controlled temperature.....the oil should not smoke ...as this allows harmful n sometimes toxic fatty acid chains to be formed from even the healthy oils you are using ( some people experience flatulence and heartburn due to this)....the idea is to fry the pooris at a temperature when the poori swims n dances into the oil when you slip the poori in it  ( when you slip the poori in a less hot oil , it will take more time to get cooked and will absorb more oil...will become hard too)...medium flame works best....
to test whether the oil is ready....put a pinch of dough into the oil n see if it starts dancing rapidly.....it's ready for the poori..
4.Never have pooris with high fat gravies like paneer butter masala or any creamy buttery delicacy....aaloo subzi works well when made in less oil....but the best is to have it with ras wale aaloo or kaddu ki subzi...
or ras waala kaddu , green peas ghugni , oil free chhole ....the idea is to pair it with a very low fat subzi so that the total calorie count of the meal remains limited and if it is paired with a high fiber subzi like kaddu ( pumpkin) most of the oil in the pooris may well be flushed out along with the fiber...

5. Always try to have poori as a breakfast...or for lunch and never for a dinner.......think about it, you have the answer..

In my attempt to make my poori healthier i move to the next level.....my brother had once told me that there is an eatery in Nehru Place where the poori seems to be like having daliya in it.......the idea was good n i tried it....was really tasty n guilt free.........here is how i did it.....simple and healthy idea........

ingredients for the poori..

1/2 cup of daliya or broken wheat soaked overnight or at least for 2 hrs
1.5 cup of whole wheat flour

to proceed ..........cook the daliya with a little water to one boil so it gets mushy like this.... daliya adds to the fiber content  and you get the goodness of whole wheat......cooking the daliya this way ensures the softness of poori though you get the texture of daliya which comes through in a mild way....if you add soaked , uncooked daliya to the dough, you will get crisp poori which is to be had hot...slight cooling will cause the poori to get leathery.....


now knead the dough by mixing the whole wheat flour into the cooked n cooled daliya ...
 you may need to add some water  to make a soft pliable dough or the water in the cooked daliya may suffice..

you can see the daliya grains in the dough but it will not interfere with frying....

divede the dough into small portions , roll out pooris on a greased surface and fry in medium hot oil......

i served it with kaddu ki subzi which is very flavorful and light ......you can find the recipe here , this is the kind of breakfast which makes you happy to indulge .....doesn't sit heavy on your digestive system and keeps you guilt free......

also this kind of breakfast keeps you full for many hours...though i know it is not easy to make such things in the mornings , but if you keep the subzi and your dough ready in the fridge , you can afford to have a healthy n yummy breakfast which prevents you from mid morning munching....keeps you energy level high through the day......

All said and done , this recipe and the idea of breakfast sounds like a boringly healthy sounding version of a popular Indian breakfast....but i think anybody who has tasted the poori sabzi which is sold in most old Indian cities like Banaras, Lucknow or even old Delhi....would love these pooris....as these street eateries serve the yummiest whole wheat pooris with a simple low oil subzi....much like this one....this one you can make more hygienic n healthy by using the oil of your choice.....

enjoy........                                                                                             

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

fiber rich barley dosa and a tomato and peanut chutney


A savory pancake or crepe is a perfect idea of breakfast for me and if it is a fiber rich and low GI recipe, interesting texture soft and yet a bit grainy and soaked the chutney dip really nicely. This is an improvised version of the south Indian dosa and we both love to have it for our breakfast or dinner. The chutney keeps changing, sometimes we even make a smabar or curry with it and enjoy a satisfying meal. I am yet to see a person who has tasted this and not liked it, what's more interesting is that this dosa keeps you full for hours and you don't feel like snacking before lunch. Drink lots of water when you eat such food n you are in for a daily detox. The fiber works for you wonderfully........

ingredients

whole barley hulled 3/4 cup
chana daal or split chickpeas 1/2 cup
cumin seeds1 tsp
black pepper seeds 1 tsp
ginger chopped 1 tsp
green chillies 2-3 nos.as per taste

preparation

soak the barley and split chickpeas overnight or for 3-4 hrs separately and grind them when you need to prepare the dosas.........

grind the barley first as it remains a bit grainy , just when it looks like a coarse paste add the chana daal and all the spices and salt to taste and grind again to get a smooth paste ...add water and grind again to get a thick batter........the barley in the batter will be a bit grainy till the end and will give the prepared dosa a distinct texture..........

the batter does not need any fermentation and you can make the dosa immediately or keep the batter in the fridge for further use...

heat a tawa or dosa pan and grease with oil......cool down a bit to medium heat and pour a big ladle full of batter on it........spread with the help of ladle by gently moving the ladle in a circular manner......

the dosa will be like a pancake of about 2 centimeter thickness ....wait till small holes appear on top and then flip the dosa to get the other sode browned....some oil can be added to make it crisp but i prefer just to grease the pan in the beginning , which gives one side of the dosa crisp n the other side soft.....the barley gives it a perfect soft n crisp texture.........

repeat the process to make more dosas..


serve hot with chutney of your choice...

I made a chutney of tomatoes and peanuts.. ..

microwave 3 tomatoes till soft and peel the skin........ grind a 2 tbsp of roasted peanuts with 2 garlic cloves and 2-3 whole red chilies to a fine paste , add the tomatoes and salt to taste and grind again and serve.......

I suggest having 2 chutneys with this dosa, one is this tomato based, another can be a gourd based chutney to make this meal more suitable for weight loss and daily detox.

Gluten free or minimal gluten is always good.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

simple fruit salad without dressing


it has been an abrupt break for me from blogging but i have been cooking and reading all the wonderful blogs ...it was just that i found it difficult to write here as the things were not very pleasant at my end....my daughter not being well....everything going topsy turvy for a few weeks and then finding out that i have gained a couple of kilos again in this mayhem..... nothing happened inspiring enough to communicate through my blogs , but all this while i kept cooking and taking pictures....a lot of recipes are to be shared ..... i need to start first to write here...........

so here i am with a fruit salad which we had this morning after all the mithais of diwali.we had rasgullas and i made malpuas and yam kababs which was the diwali dinner......... just the kababs for dinner...we are very very unconventional when it comes to have appropriate dishes at appropriate time..:)

the fruit salad was the first course of breakfast though as later in the morning i made the yam kababs again with the reserved mixture and the lunch will be something like slads again ...let's see.....:)

there is nothing special in the salad just some chakotra ( grapefruit) which is growing in my garden , one diced apple and half a ripe papaya cut in chunks.............all chopped up and mixed with some lengthwise slivered almonds and roughly chopped dried apricots.....

no seasoning or dressing was added to this salad as we like the natural taste of the fruits take over whenever i am using very fresh ripe fruits with bursting flavors of their own.............the slivered almonds provide a slight crunch and nuttiness , whole nuts or too many nuts added to the salad would have taken over the flavor of fruits i think.........the dried apricots provide a sweet n sour chewiness in every morsel we took.....it was truly a fresh morning after an overly polluted night of diwali............people have gone mad with crackers , as if their eyes do not burn and their ears do not hurt.....their conscience is sleeping......

wake up........and have something fresh..........