September 29, 2008

Keerai Molagootal and Nellikkai Archukalakki ~ Lunch Series #1

I have been planning a lunch series featuring the ordinary lunch menu at my home, which most of the time is traditional dishes. I took few pictures also. It ends there. I kept on procastinating the posting part. Finally I have come around to posting stage.I didnot want to stop it after 2/3 posts and leave it there. I wish to feature atleast the most common recipes in this series. Hope I will do minimum justice to it. A normal lunch consists of a gravy/kootan as referred in Palakkad Iyer lingo, upperi/dry curry, rasam(not everyday), mor/buttermilk and pickle. I had not doubt to what will be my first post in this series. What else other than Molagootal, the signature dish of Palakkad Iyers, to kick start the series.

Keerai molagootal (Spinach in dal and coconut gravy)

Arakeerai/Amaranth leaves (the one with small leaves) is the best variety for molagootal. Palak/Spinach is also good. Most of the times I end up buying palak since it is easy clean, where arakeerai takes quite some time to separate the leaves and tender stem.

Roughly chopped keerai - 3 cupssaltturmeric
Tuvar dal - 1/2 cup
Cumin Seeds/Jeers - 1 tspn
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
For roastingUrad dal - 1 tspnRed chilly - 1 no


Oil - 2 tspn

Mustard seeds - 1 tspn

Ccook the spinach leaves in 1 cup of water till the leaves are withered. Alternatively Mw for 3 minutes. Leave it to cool . Pressure cook tuvar dal till soft. Mash the dal well. Roast urad dal and red chilly in a tspn of oil till dal turns light brown.

Pulse the keerai in the mixer for few seconds. It should be pureed but not too smooth.Grind the coconut,roasted dal and chilly and jeera to a fine paste.
Coimbine spinach puree, mashed dal and ground paste. Bring to a boil. Season with mustard seeds.

The preferred sides for molagootal is puli pachadi (tamarind based), thayir pachadi(with yogurt base) thogayals (chutney) or arachukalakki.

Now I am posting the recipe for nellikkai arachukalakki. Arachukalakki literally translates as Ground and Mixed.Here it is grounded gooseberry and coconut with chilly mixed with yogurt. Chenai/yam, kanni manga (salt pickled small mangoes ) are generally used for preparing arachukalakki.

Gooseberries pickled in salt - 10 nos.

(Usually these berries would have turn soft on soaking in salt water. If you find them firm, u can steam cook/MW for few minutes to make them soft. )
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup

green chilly - 3 nos

whipped curd - 1/2 cup


oil - 2 tspn

mustard seeds - 1 tspn

red chilly - 1 no

methi seeds - 1/4 tspn
Remove the seeds from the berries. Grind together GB, coconut and green chillies.
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds, followed by red chilly broken into two. Finally add methi seeds. When methi starts turning brown, add to the ground mixture. While the pan is hot, add the whipped curd to the pan and pour over the seasoning. Mix well. Since salt in the gooseberries will be enough, additional salt will not be required. Though check if needed.

Keerai molagootal is going Sunshinemom's FIC: Green

Nellikkai Arachukalakki is my entry for AFAM:Gooseberry hosted by Illatharasi.

Oatmeal Chocolate Squares


Quick cooking oats - 2/4 cup
Cornflakes - 1/4 cup (Can use 1 cup of oats alone. I added cornflakes to give a crunch.)
Sugar -1/2 cup
Unsweetened coco powder - 2 tspn
All purpose flour/maida - 1 tspn (for binding)
Water - 2 tblspn

Take oats in a MW safe bowl and MW for a minute. Keep it aside.
Take a MW safe bowl with sugar and water. MW for 4 minutes. Sugar must be completely dissolved and syrup must be sticky. Mix maida and cocoa powder well. Stir in maida, cocoa mixture without forming lumps. Add oats and cornflakes. Mix well. MW for 2 minutes. The mixture should come together and must be moist too. Don't let it turn dry. If you feel it has dried, add a tspn of water and MW for 30 secs. Either drop spoonfuls of the mixture on a greased plate or press them down and mark squares when warm.

It was tasted by my friends who was visiting us and they enjoyed it very much. This is my entry to Srivalli's MEC-Chocolate

I am sending this to The O Foods for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month Contest. The contest seeks to raise awareness and money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund through recipes for "O Foods," foods that start or end with "O". For more info visit here.

September 23, 2008

Cheese Garlic Biscuits -MBP

My bookmarked recipes folder is ever growing and my attempt to bring the number down is not showing any results. When you have so many wonderful cooks around, dishing out equally appealing dishes, I think the only way I can clear up my bookmarked folder will be to start a new one. So I get a false joy of clearing the folder. Though I know there is a new one growing at the other drive. When the theme for MBP was announced by Siri, I knew what I was going to make, since this recipe is bookmarked ever since Cham posted it in her blog. As she says, its easy to make. I replaced all purpose flour with wheat flour/atta, since AP was out of stock. May be I would have used half and half. Except for that, I have followed her recipe.

Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
Sugar - 1 tspn
Baking powder - 1 1/2 tspn
Baking soda - 1/4 tspn
Butter - 1/4 cup
Grated cheese - 1/2 cup
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped

Buttermilk - 3/4 cup

Preheat the oven at 230 C
In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into flour to resemble crumbs. Add the garlic and cheese and stir in buttermilk to form a dough.Either roll to 1 inch thick dough with some flour and cut into any desired shape, else drop spoon full of the dough onto a cookie sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes or until top is brown.

I was in a hurry while mixing the ingredients that I forgot to add the baking powder. So mine did not rise well. It had a crisp crust but inside tasted like garlic bread. Later I popped them in MW for a minute and it was crisp in the inside too. Now I have a reason to bake it again.

September 19, 2008

Wheat in Bisibelebath and a salad

Bisibelebath with broken wheat

I use broken wheat for making pradhaman. Other than that it doesn't feature in our regular menu. So when bought for making payasam, usually there will be left over, since only a small quantity is required for the preparation. When I had some broken wheat to be used up, I was thinking of recipe where I can replace rice with wheat. I had posted pongal with wheat before. The next trial was making bisibelebath out of broken wheat. Broken wheat is not the same as wheat rava. This is coarser. Believe, broken wheat made good substitution for rice. Unless told, you cannot make out the difference. From then, I have been regularly including broken wheat in my shopping list.
Only when I searched my archived to link this to bisibelebath post, did I realise, that I haven't posted the recipe yet. So here is my recipe.

Broken wheat - 1 cup ( Usually rice is used)
Toor dal - 1/2 cup
peas(fresh/dried) -1/2 cup
chopped veggies - 1 1/2 cups (carrot/beans/potato/capsicum)
shallots/pearl onion - 15 nos
tamarind -small lemon size
sambhar powder - 1tspn (optional)
turmeric powder

mustard seeds
red chilli - 2 nos
curry leaves
For masala
red chilli - 6 nos
coriander seeds - 1 tspn
cloves - 4
cinnamon - 1" piece
hing - 1/2 tspn
grated coconut -1/4 cup(kopra is preferred.)
If fresh coconut is used, saute them till lightly brown. Grind all the ingredients for the masala to a smooth paste.
Soak tamarind in warm water for 10 minutes and extract pulp.
Wash, broken wheat,dal and peas.If dried peas is used, soak them for 5 hours.Pressure cook them together. Keep it aside
Heat oil in a pan, add the seasoning ingredients. Saute the onions till golden. Add the chopped veggies, turmeric and salt. When it is half cooked, add the tamarind pulp. When the mixture starts boiling, stir in the ground paste and mix well. Cook for 10 minutes. Mix the cooked wheat-dal mixture to the cooking masala and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes till the flavors seep in the wheat-dal combo.Heat one tablespoon of ghee in a seasoning pan. Add a teaspoon of sambhar powder and pour on top the cooking mixture. This step is optional. But it does enhances the flavor of bisibelebath. Remove from fire. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with papad.

Sprouted Wheat berry salad

I buy whole wheat to make dosa. My co-sister always sproutsome of the soaked berries. Ever since she told gave me the idea, whenever I soak berries for dosa, I keep aside a handful of the soaked berries for sprouting and use that in salad. Steam cook the berries before using for salads. These will be chewy, but very tasty. Toss in any veggies(I have used grated cucumber and carrot, onion and tomato) you have and sprinkle some salt, pepper and lime juice and teaspoon of olive oil for dressing. You can have the bowl of healthy salad as a meal by itself or use it in wraps.

Wheat berry salad is my entry to EC's : WYF- salad/soup/starter

Diet friendly bisibelebath and salad is making to Divya's Diet Food Event

September 13, 2008

Rice Wade

Rice wade / rice pooris is in my to-do list for a long time. Somehow I was skeptical about the outcome. All I knew was pooris out of wheat flour and maida. And I have not heard of this before. Nevertheless, I was tempted to try it, when I saw the recipe in Sanjeev Kapoor's Dal-Roti book.

I was not disappointed with the end result. Only thing unlike regular pooris, this cannot be rolled with a rolling pin , but each one had to patted with the fingers.

Here is the recipe

Rice flour - 2 cups

fennel seeds (saunf) - 2 tblspn

fenugreek seeds(methi) - 1 tblspn

salt to taste
water - 1 1/2 cups

Oil for deep frying

Boil 1 and half cups of water with fennel and methi seeds for about five minutes. This is to extract their flavor.Strain and reheat the water. Stir in the salt and rice flour to water. Stir continuously till it comes together and the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Transfer the dough to a bowl. If you want you can add some grated onion to the dough at this stage. I did not add. Grease you palm with oil and pinch off a lemon sized dough. Pat it to the shape of a poori , using your fingers. Heat oil in a kadai and deep fry till it is golden and cooked. Drain on absorbent paper and serve hot.

It did not puff much for me. May be on next attempt ,I will improve. It is the first time I am tasting this. I liked it with the subtle flavor of saunf and methi. Its indeed a good alternative to our regular pooris. I served with simple moong dal tempered with the usual mustard, green chilly, grated ginger. Since I had prepared on an no-onion day, there is no onion in the side too.

Rice Wade goes to Think Spice Think Fenugreek event, guest hosted by Kittie

And also to Herb Mania - Fenugreek hosted at Redchillies

On a different note:

Have a look at the pookalam done by my parents at my sister's home in Gurgaon.

September 10, 2008

Paalak Roti and Mirchi Ka Salan

I make it a point to cook leafy veggies at least once in a week. Making roti with spinach puree is one way of using them apart from preparing gravies. This roti is very soft and flavorful with chilly and ginger in the puree. You can do away with one cup of fresh curds as side.

Wheat flour - 2 cup
Oil - 1 tspn
Curd - 2 tblspn

Water to knead

For palak/spinach puree

Washed and chopped palak - 2 cups
Green chilly - 3 nos
Chopped ginger - 1 tspn

Blanch the chopped palak in hot water for 5 minutes and drain. Alternatively MW the leaves for a minute.
Make a puree of chopped spinach, green chilly and ginger in a mixer. It need not be very smooth. Mix in the puree to the wheat flour. Add oil,salt and curds. Mix well. You will not require water to make the dough. Add water only if needed. Keep it aside for 30 minutes.

Prepare rotis the usual way.

Yummy flavorful rotis are ready. As I said, simpe yogurt dip is enough to go with the rotis. I served with Mirchi ka salan. I had prepared salaan the day before as side for fried rice. But was unable to click then. Next day i served the left over with chapathis. It did make an yummy combo. So they both are here together.

Mirchi Ka Salan

On googling for RCI-Hyderabadi Cuisine, I zeroed in on this dish. When I searched for the recipe of the same, I came across many versions. Needless to say, I adopted the easiest one (that too from a Hyderabadi kitchen!!) and referred Zaiqa's too and did some minor additions.. I haven't tasted salan before and I can't say if it had the authentic taste. We liked this spicy, tangy mirchi. So here is my version

Long green chilly - 12 nos
Fairly big Onion - 1
Ginger garlic paste -1 tblspn
Mustard seeds - 1 tspn
Cloves - 5 nos
Curry leaves
Tamarind - lemon size
Oil - 4 tblspn

For the Salan paste
Grated coconut - 4 tblspn
Peanuts - 3 tblspn
coriander seeds - 1 tblspn
sesame seeds - 1 tspn
cumin seeds - 1/2 tspn
pepper corn - 5 nos
red chilly - 3 nos

Medium spice chillies are recommended for this gravy. I have used a local variety which is very much on the milder side.

Chop and grind the onion to a smooth paste.
Dry roast the ingredients for the salan paste and grind them together.
Slit the green chillies.
Soak the tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.

Heat 4 tblspn of oil in a pan and shallow fry the chillies in batches. Keep it aside.
In the same pan, splutter mustard seeds and cloves and curry leaves. Add the onion paste and saute till the raw smell disappears. Stir in the salan paste and saute for a minute. Add extracted tamarind juice along with water to get the required consistency. Let it simmer for 5 minutes or till the gravy starts thickening. Add salt and the fried green chillies to the gray and cook for a minute. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Palak roti is going to Sunshinemom's Food in Colours -Green and

Sangeeth's Eat Healthy-Calcium Rich event

Mirchi Ka Salan joins RCI -Authentic Hyderabadi Cuisine at Zaiqa's

September 5, 2008

Eggless Oats-Cocoa Cookies

Recipe source - Sailu's kitchen

I followed Sailu's recipe to the T. No modifications made. I had to bake few minutes more than what she had mentioned.


Quick cooking oats - 1 1/4 cup
Vegetable oil - 1/2 cup
Maida - 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar - 1 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder - 1 1/2 tblspn
Baking powder - 3/4 tspn
A big pinch of baking soda
Vanilla essence - 1 tspn


Sieve maida, baking powder, baking soda and cocoa powder.

Blend powdered sugar and oil, till smooth. Fold in the sieved ingredients into the sugar-oil mixture. Add vanilla essence, oats and knead to a soft dough. If you are not able to bring together, add little milk. I did not require milk. In case of adding milk, chill the dough for 5 minutes before you proceed.

Pinch off small balls from the dough and flatten them. Arrange on a greased baking tray and bake at 180 C for 15 minutes.

Crisp and melt in the mouth cookies are ready. I had sent some cookies for my friend's son. She called me to say they all liked it very much and will be happy to receive some, during my next bake. This is a keeper recipe for sure.

September 3, 2008

Corn meal methi Adai

Corn meal is one of the recent additions to my pantry. I am trying dishes with corn rava by replacing rice/wheat. I have tried kichadi and kozhukkatai with this. Both turned out well. And this is another such recipe which is inspired by the wheat rava adai. Needless to say, this also, is a winner.

Corn meal(rava texture) - 2 cups
Pearl onion(Sambhar vengayam) - 10 nos
Green chilly - 3 nos
Small wedge of ginger

Onion -1
Chopped methi leaves - 1 cup

Soak the corn meal, with just enough water to cover it, for an hour. Grind the pearl onions, green chilly,ginger and salt together. Add the soaked corn meal and buzz till everything blends well.
Add the chopped onion and methi leaves to the batter.

Take a laddle full of the batter. Lightly spread it in the form a circle. The batter is in semi sold state and corn being gluten free, it doesn't spread like our usual dosa/adai batter. Still it is spreadable. Drizzle oil on all sides. When one side is cooked , flip over to cook the other side. Its crisp on the outside and soft as you bite into it. Also it tastes good when cold too. Methi give a nice flavor to the adai. You can serve with pickle or any gravy.

I liked it with grated jaggery. Jaggery compliments well, the slight bitterness of methi.

Next time, I shall try adding dal to it , as in normal adai.

This is my entry to the current edition of WBB-Grain-In_My-Breakfast, hosted by Aparna, an event started by Nanditha.

Also this is making to the Herb Mania-Fenugreek at RedChillies.

And to JFI-Whole grains, guest hosted by Suganya of Tasty Palettes.

September 2, 2008

Idly fry - Left over magic

Usually, I count and make idlies to avoid left overs. In case of left overs, it will take the avatar of upma, as is the case in many homes. When we had many of our relatives at home, it was idly for breakfast, on most of the days. And my usual counting and making doesn't work. So invariably we used to have left overs. And my hubby's aunt (Lalitha Mami) changed the white tablets to gorgeous looking idly fry. It was an instant hit. Everyone was happy to have some left overs everyday. Thank God, nobody demanded that idly fry should be served for breakfast.

Idlis- 4 nos, quartered

For masala
Garam masala - 1 tspn

Molagapodi - 1 tspn

Cumin powder - 1 tspn


Oil - 1 tblspn

Mix all the masala ingredients together. Coat the idly pieces with the masala. Heat a kadai with 2 tblspoon of oil. Drop the masala coated idly pieces. Shallow fry on medium flame till the pieces are roasted. Enjoy with a cup of hot tea.