July 29, 2008

Palak/Spinach soup

Palak soup is one of the commonly prepared soups at home. Even though, palak features mostly in gravies in our lunch menu, the soup is relished by everyone at home. In microwave, it takes less than 10 minutes to be made.

Palak - 1 bunch

Onion - 1

Butter - 1 tspn

Water- 2 cups

Pepper - 1 tspn

Milk - 1/2 cup

Salt to taste

Chop the palak and onions roughly. Take a microwave safe bowl. Add a teaspoon of butter and MW for 30 secs. Add chopped onions and MW for 2 minutes, till the onions brown. Add chopped palak and 2 cups of water. MW for 4 minutes. Make a puree of the whole mixture. Add milk, salt and pepper to the puree. Adjust the quanitity of milk according to the desired thickness. Adding milk is optional , instead can add water to adjust the consistency. MW for 1 minute.

Garnish with cream or grated cheese and serve hot. I like without any garnish.

I am sending this to Srivalli's MEC - Soups and Stews.

P.S Srivalli is compiling a food blog list featuring on its cuisine/specialty. If your blog is not already listed there and would love to be part of that list, leave her a comment here.

July 27, 2008

Honey Muffins

The title Healthy honey cake caught my attention when I was glancing through TOI. When I saw Roma's Honey cake recipe, the first thing I noticed the absence of eggs in the list. That got me interested. Added to that, the ingredients were all healthy. So went straight to the kitchen tried it.

I followed her recipe with few variations
  • I used jaggery instead of brown sugar. In spite of increasing by another tablespoon, I found the muffins to be very less sweet.

  • Added 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg powder. That gave a unique flavor to the muffins.

Every one loved the muffins. For those who found the sweet to be too less, I served honey. Next time, I will increase both jaggery and honey quantities.

This healthy muffins goes to Aparna, who is the host of the month for the Think Spice, originally started by Sunitha.

Paneer Pakoda

Pakodas or Pakoras is always a welcome snack with a steaming cup of cofee/tea. As monsoon arrives, it is bajji time at home. Other than the usual onion/vazhakkai(raw banana) bajjis, I occasionally prepare these pakodas. It is so tasty that it disappears in minutes, every time I make this.

Paneer - 100 gms cut into cubes
Gram flour (Besan )- 2 cups
Rice flour - 2 tbspn
Cooking soda - a pinch
Chilli powder - 1 tspn
Garam masala - 1 tspn
salt to taste
oil for frying.

Mix the paneer pieces with a teaspoon of garam masala and salt and keep aside for 10 minutes. This will enhance the flavor of paneer. This step is optional.

Mix all the ingredients together except oil.

Add little water so that the batter is thick and coats all the paneer pieces.

Slightly crumble the paneer while mixing.
Heat oil in a kadai. Put a drop of batter into the oil, if it sizzles and rise to the top, the oil is ready for frying.
Drop dollops of the batter into the oil. After it rises to the top, slightly turn them and fry till golden.

Drain on absorbent tissues and serve hot with a cup of coffee/tea

I am sending this to Rushina for the Pakora contest
The pakodas also joins Vandana's Paneer - A delicacy event

July 24, 2008

Aloo Tikki for MBP-Less is More

When Nupur announced MBP-theme, the event started by Coffee, I had the post ready with me. It was intended for the previous MBP. But could not post it then. I tried Aloo Tikki from Sindhi Rasoi. You can visit Alka's website for some mouth-watering Sindhi recipes.

I followed her recipe except that I shallow fried the tikkis. It was no less tastier than the deep fried ones. Here is the recipe that I tried

1) 3 Potatoes
2) 2 Bread slices

3) 1 tspn red chilli powder (Original - Green chilly)
4)1/2 tspn Cumin powder ( Replaced cumin seeds)
5) few finely chopped coriander leaves

salt to taste
Oil for frying

According to the rules of MBP, oil and salt are not counted. Also I could have combined the last three as one , as part of seasoning. Anyways, it adds upto 5.

Pressure cook potatoes. Peel them and mash lightly.Crumble the bread slices in a mixer grinder. Mix mashed potatoes, bread crumbs, cumin powder, salt, finely chopped coriander leaves together. Take lemon sized balls of the mixture and shape into tikki.

Heat a tawa. Spray some oil. Arrange the tikkis. Cook both sides till golden brown. Add few drops of oil when you turn the tikkis.

Serve with ketchup or any chutney of your choice.

July 22, 2008

Raagi Idiyappam & tomato masala curry

Idiyappam/Rice noodles is a favorite of both me and my hubby. As a child, I had always looked forward to the idiyappams prepared by my neighbor, V aunty. She used to send me few. At my home, it was always Sevai, which is also rice noodles but cooked in a different way. I shall shortly post Sevai too.

Post marriage, I found DH also very fond of this. So I learnt to make those. Got myself the idiyappam press and steaming plates & stand specifically for idiyappam. Here I am giving the recipe for Raagi Idiyappam, which is equally tasty like the rice variation.

Some nutrition facts on Raagi

Raagi contains about 6.7 % protein. Raagi protein is reported to be a good quality. Ragi is rich in methionine, which is an amino acid lacking in most of the other cereals. Raagi is also found to have liberal amount of calcium. Raagi has been traditionally used in infant feeding.

Sprouting of Food Grains increases their digestibility and nutritive value. The vitamins content in food grains, like riboflavin, nicotinic acid and pyridoxine and phosphorus increase appreciably during sprouting.
(Source: bawarchi)

Raagi flour - 2 cup
Rice flour - 1/4 cup
hot water - 2 cups
I used store bought sprouted raagi flour. Steam cook the raagi flour by tying it in a cheese cloth for 10 minutes.

Mix rice flour and salt to the steamed raagi flour. Keep mixing the flour while adding the hot water. You may require little more than 2 cups of water. Adjust the water to get a soft dough.

Pinch a golf ball size dough and with the help of a idiyappam press, press on to idli/idiyappam moulds. Steam cook for 10 minutes.

Serve with chutney/kurma/stew. Any coconut based gravy will suit idiyappam.

I served with tomato masala. The recipe is adapted from Mallika badrinath's Tomato masala kootu. I tweaked it to suit the ingredients in my pantry.
Onions - 2 nos

tomatoes - 4 big

turmeric powder

salt to taste


oil - 2 tblspn

mustard seeds

urad dhal - 1 tsp

red chilli powder - 1 tsp

curry leaves - few

Grind together

grated fresh coconut -1/2 cup

poppy seeds- 1 1/2 tblspns soaked in hot water for 10 minutes

green chilly - 4

cumin powder - 1/2 tsp

mustard powder - 1/4 tspn
Chop onions finely and tomatoes into 1 inch cubes. Heat oil and add mustard urad dhal, curry leaves. When it splutters, add chopped onions and fry till crisp. Add chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and ground paste. Cook till you can smell the aroma of the cooked gravy. Finally add tomato pieces and enough water. Cook till gravy thickens.

I am sending the idiyappam to Mansi for her Healthy Cooking event.
As per the rules, these are the facts I think the 'healthy' tag suits my recipe.
1. I have replaced rice with raagi , where rice is being used commonly
2. Sprouted raagi flour is used.
3. The dish is steam cooked.
4. Oil free.

July 18, 2008

Yam Kofta Curry

While one thinks of preparing kofta curry, there are lot of option to prepare koftas with. Here is a recipe using the not so common kofta ingredient - elephant foot yam. In my house, yam/chenai is often cooked as mezhukkuparatti ( cooked and stir fried in oil), mostly along with raw banana or sometimes its only yam. Occasionally it features in arachukalaki and in porichakozhambu where cow peas, yam and raw banana are used and its almost like sambhar but taste differs because of the vegetables and grinding ingredients used. When I saw this recipe of Mallika Badrinath, I was happy that I could cook the very common chenai in a different form. This photos were languishing in my drafts folder for a very long time. At last, it has to wait for our dear Valli to announce the Curry mela to come out.

Here are some nutrient information of yam.

Yam is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese. The tubers are believed to have blood purifier property.

Now have a look at the plant.

Another closer look.

Lets get on to the recipe now.

For koftas

Elephant yam - 1/4 kg
chutney dal/pottukadalai - 2 tblspn
cinnamon - a small piece
cloves -2
red chilly - 4
salt to taste
bengal gram flour- 2 tblspn
finely cut onions - 2 tblspn
oil for deep frying

For gravy

Chopped onion - 1 cup
tomato paste - 1 cup
turmeric powder - 1 1/2 tspn
red chilly powder - 1 tspn
dhaniya powder - 1 tblspn
jeera powder - 1 tspn
garam masala powder - 1 tsp

Grind together

1 onion
2 green chillies
1 inch ginger
1 tbl spn poopy seeds soaked in hot water for 10 mts

Preparing koftas

Remove outer skin of the yam. Wash and slice yam into thin broad pieces

Heat water in a broad vessel. When it stars boiling, drop yam pieces and remove from fire. Keep closed for 10 minutes. Strain and spread the pieces over a kitchen towel to dry up.

Grind red chillies, pottukadalai, spices for the kofta, together to a powdery consistency in mixie.Finally add salt and yam pieces. Grind to a coarse paste. Keep aside 2 tblspn of this paste to add to the gravy for thickness. Mix chopped onions and bengal gram flour to the remaining yam paste. Prepare small balls and deep fry till dark brown and keep aside.

Gravy prepration

Heat oil in a broad kadai and fry onion till crisp and brown. Add ground paste and stir till oil separates. Add salt and all the powders mentioned for the gravy. Saute for a minute and stir in the tomato paste. Cook for few minutes. Add yam paste and enough water and cook till gravy thickens.

Arrange fried koftas in serving dish ,pour hot gravy on top. Serve hot with chapattis or puris.

You can prepare the dish in two parts. Mixture for the koftas can be prepared and refrigerated for later use. Gravy and frying the koftas can be done together, later.

July 15, 2008

Cowpea leaves stir fry - Payaru elai chundal

When Sangeeth announced this month's theme for Eat Healthy event, I was googling to find the protein chart of vegetarian foods. I came across this link , where in cow pea leaf tops the chart with highest content of protein. Also refer here for the detailed nutritional facts. It turns out that the plant’s leaves are more protein-rich than its bean. Then I decided what to cook for the event. Luckily, I had the cow pea plant with some new leaves, after the rains, in my garden. In summer I was about to pull it off, but since it had some peas hanging on to it to be matured, thought will do it later. Anyhow it survived summer. After the brief monsoon we had, there were fresh tender leaves. We do cook the leaves when ever we have fresh supplies at home. This is a simple stir fry which is very tasty too. Now after reading all the nutrient info on the leaves, there is a new found love for that. I have reserved some mature seeds for the next season, mainly for the fresh leaves.

Have a look at the leaves

The leaves appear in three's

Separate the leaves from the stalk before chopping.
Washed and finely chopped cow pea leaves - 3 cup

moong dal - 1/4 cup

turmeric powder - 1/4 tspn

green chilly - 2

fresh grated coconut - 2 tblspn



mustard seeds

red chilly - 1 no broken

Pressure cook the chopped leaves, moong dal with turmeric and salt. Add about 1/2 cup of water for the dal to cook. The leaves are not the soft kind, so will not turn mushy on pressure cooking.

Heat a kadai and do the seasoning. Add the cooked leaves and dal (Drain the excess water). Grind coconut and chillies together. Stir in the ground paste. Cook for a minute or two. The leaves after cooking will not turn very soft. Serve as side for rice with sambhar/morkootan.

July 12, 2008

Broken wheat kichadi

I had two packets of broken wheat to be used. I remembered reading a pongal recipe using the same. I tried making pongal with some veggies added. It was very bland. So next time decided to make it in the lines of Pongal's counterpart ie. Kichadi. This is a spicier version of Ven-pongal - (rice+ moong dal+cumin+pepper)

broken wheat - 2 cup
moong daal - 1/2 cup
water - 5 cups
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
chili powder - 1 tspn
cumin powder - 1 tspn
black peppercorn - 5nos
cumin seeds - 1 tspn
cinnamon - 1 "
crushed cloves - 3 nos
green chili chopped - 2 nos
Finely chopped veggies - 1 cup
I used onion,carrot and bell pepper. You can use any available veggie.
salt to taste
ghee -1 tblspn

Wash broken wheat and dal together. Take a pressure cooker. Heat a tablespoon of ghee. Add cumin seeds, peppercorn,cinnamon, crushed cloves and green chilli. When cumin seeds splutters, add the chopped veggies. Saute for 3 minutes till onion turns translucent. Add rest of the ingredients - broken wheat, moong dal, turmeric powder, chilli powder, cumin powder. Stir in water. Add salt to taste. Mix well.
Pressure cook for 3 whistles and cook for 5 minutes lowering the flame. Open the cooker, when the pressure is released. Mash with a spatula.
While serving add a dollop of ghee and serve with papad or raita.

Note: Next time, I will increase the turmeric quantity to get a better visual appeal. But for that, it was very tasty and filling.

This complete meal is heading to One Dish Meal Event hosted by Archana

July 10, 2008

Corn meal kozhakkattai

Upma kozhakkattai features in my breakfast menu at least once in 10 days. I usually prepare the required rice rava the previous day. Occasionally, I prepare using the idli rava, when I get supplies from my co-sis at Bangalore. On one such occasion, I decided to prepare using idly rava. Just before the preparation, I found the quantity was not enough to serve four. I didn't have time to change the menu. I had stored both idly rava and corn meal packets in the same box. Needless to say, used the corn meal to make up for the deficient quantity. But I was happy with the result. It turned out well and very tasty too. Later I tried using only cornmeal. It was also good. Refer here for preparing the steamed rice balls.

My amma usually prepares a simple coconut-curd chutney as dip to go with the rice balls. Here is the chutney recipe -
Coconut - 1/2 cup

Green chillies - 3

Beaten curd or thick buttermilk - 1 cup



oil - 1 tspn

mustard seeds - 1 tspn

hing powder

Grind together coconut, green chillies and salt to a smooth paste. Take a skillet and do the seasonings. Add the seasonings to the ground paste. Pour the buttermilk to the hot skillet and stir into the mixture. Yummy dip is ready.

July 7, 2008

Maanga Sadam (Mango Rice)

Come mango season, this is one dish that features in our menu regularly. This is ideal for lunch box too. Everyone in our family loves this. You can prepare the base mixture before hand and mix the cooked rice when required.

For preparing the base mix for the rice
Grated raw mango - 1 cup ( Select mangoes which are not very sour)

For grinding
Grated coconut - 2 tblspn
green chilly - 2 nos
Dry grind the coconut and chilly together and keep it aside.

Gingely oil - 2 tblspn
mustard seeds
chana dal - 1 tspn
red chilly - 2 broken
turmeric powder - 1/2 tspn
curry leaves - few



Take a skillet. Heat oil and do the seasonings. Add the grated mango and saute for few minutes,
till it is cooked. Make sure the grated mangoes retain the shape and not get mashed into a paste. The grated pieces gives a crunchiness while eating the rice.

Stir in the grounded coconut-chilly and mix well. Saute for a minute and remove from fire.
The base mix is ready.

Take 3 cups of cooked basmati rice and leave it to cool. Stir in the base mix to the rice and
carefully mix with a spatula with out mashing the rice.
Serve with roasted papad.

If the mangoes are too sour, add a tablespoon of grated jaggery along with the mango to saute. It will offset the sourness.
During my blogging break, Sunshinemom has given me a virtual bear hug and the official friendship tag. Thanks for the warm hug and the official title.

I pass the virtual hug to my fellow bloggers Sagari, Prema,Kalai

July 1, 2008

My Father-in-Love(Law) is no more with us. He passed away peacefully on 17th of June. He was indeed a father to me and had always treated me as daughter. On my husband's side, they are three brothers. When any one asks about his children, my FIL used to reply he has 3 sons and 3 daughters.

Though he was not keeping well for the past two months, his passing away was the least expected. Till March, he was very active. From April, he developed various problems one after the other, which led to a month of hospitalisation. After a month in the hospital, when he was back home. We hoped, slowly he will get back to his normal routine. I think God just wanted to gave him the chance to spend few days at home before taking him to HIS abode. I was fortunate enough to be his side during the last moments. Even now I am not able to come in terms with his passing away. That is true for all our family members too. And Time is the best healer.

This is the reason, I was away from blogging from some time before and for the past few days. Now all ceremonies are over. Relatives have left. The rest of us at home are slowly getting back to routine.