Sunday, March 28, 2010

Huli Avalakki - Hot and Sour Beaten rice

Whenever my MIL is expecting some guests at non lunch/dinner hours, this is the most common thing that she likes to prepare. As soon as the relatives or friends call up saying they'll drop in, she starts preparing it and in just a few minutes, she'll be done with it and kept ready for serving. And the guests of course will love it and compliment her and take a second helping, making my MIL beam with joy.

And we, especially Dee and FIL will be waiting for their turn to taste it and finish off whatever is left out. The bowl will be cleaned till the last grain, irrespective of what quantity was left over :)
Simple and quick to make, yet not so common, this is a must try...
Huli Avalakki

Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : 5 min
Serves : 4 -5

Avalakki (beaten rice/poha) - 3 cups
Cooking oil - 2 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 2 Tsp
Groundnuts - 2 Tbsp
Curry leaves - 1 Tbsp
Coriander leaves - 1 Tbsp, chopped
Grated coconut - 2 Tbsp
Green chilies - 5-6, as per taste
Asafetida - a pinch
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste
Lemons - 2

• Break the avalakki into smaller pieces. This can be done by running it in a mixie in pulse mode. Or switch it on and off immediately for a few times, till it is uniformly broken. Do not make it into powder.
• Wash the broken avalakki in water, and squeeze out the water. The water that is remaining is sufficient to soak I, since it is broken.
• Keep aside for 10 minutes
• Meanwhile in a pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter
• Add groundnut seeds and fry for half a minute
• Add Bengal gram dal and urad dal and fry till golden
• Add green chilies, curry leaves and fry for a minute or two till all the ingredients are crisp
• Add turmeric and grated coconut and mix thoroughly, with the heat on
• Add this to the soaked avalakki in another pan and mix thoroughly
• Add lemon juice and garnish with chopped coriander
• Tastes best when served immediately or within a couple of hours

Tips n Tricks:
• Do not powder the avalakki while breaking it
• Do not soak the avalakki for too long

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mavinakai Chitranna - Raw Mango Rice

Mango Mania stars again!!! Who doesn’t like tangy raw mangoes! One of the reasons to look forward to the onset of summer is mangoes.... And raw mangoes come to market around Ugadi time, and Mavinakai chitranna is a must do for Ugadi in Karnataka. It’s like welcoming summer with a special dish of raw mangoes.....

Well, like many dishes, mavinakai chitranna also can be prepared in a number of ways. A little change in the ingredients, a little tweak in the method makes a number of varieties of this all time favorite rice. Here’s one simple method of raw mango rice.... Don’t miss trying it before the season ends.....
Mavinakai Chitranna

Preparation time : 10 min, excluding time to prepare rice
Cooking time : 10 min
Serves : 4

Cooked rice - 3 cups, sona masuri variety
Grated raw mango - ½ cup
Cooking oil - 2 Tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 2 tsp
Peanuts - 2 Tbsp, optional
Curry leaves - 1 Tbsp
Coriander leaves - 1 Tbsp, chopped
Grated coconut - 2 Tbsp
Green chilies - 5-6, as per taste
Fenugreek seeds - ½ tsp
Asafetida - a pinch
Turmeric - a pinch
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste

• Spread the cooked rice in a wide bowl and add a teaspoon of oil so that the grains do not stick
• Keep aside for 5 minutes to cool
• In a small skillet, roast fenugreek seeds and green chilies in a teaspoon of oil
• Grind it in a mixie with grated coconut and coriander leaves to form a coarse mixture
• In a pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter
• Add groundnut seeds and fry for half a minute
• Add Bengal gram dal and urad dal and fry till golden
• Add curry leaves and turmeric and fry for a minute or two till all the ingredients are crisp
• Add the ground mixture and mix thoroughly, with the heat on
• Mix in grated raw mango and salt and turn off the flame
• Add this to the spread rice and mix thoroughly
• Serve warm with a raita

Tips n Tricks:
• Make rice with a bit lesser water, so that the grains are separate and not sticky
• Use sour variety of raw mango. Peel off the skin if it is bitter

• Raw mango can also be ground along with other ingredients
• Instead of grinding, the ingredients can be directly added to the seasoning

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bele Obbattu

This used to be my favorite sweet. Usually, the standard Ugadi menu includes mainly Bele Obbattu and mavinkai chitranna. But since my birthday comes about a month after Ugadi, mom used to make it for my birthday for me, rather than for Ugadi....

My liking towards this special sweet was so famous that our next door aunty would not miss sending me a couple of obbattu whenever she made them. And my friends would invite me home when their moms would prepare them. I’d shamelessly go to their place and hog and come back!
Of course this still is my favorite.... the lunch caterer at office gets very soft obbattu almost every Friday and I make it a point to have it at least one Friday a month....
Actually these pics were taken last year on Ugadi, but somehow I had not posted them. Another Ugadi went by and my long pending post of Bele Obbattu is finally out.... Anyways, better late than never.... BTW, wish you all a Happy New Year...
Bele Obbattu

Preparation time : 20 min
Cooking time : 30 + 30 min
Makes : 20 - 25

For the Dough (kanaka):
Chiroti rava / Fine suji - 3/4 th cup
Maida/ All purpose flour - 1 cup
Oil - 1/2 cup

For the Filling (Hoorna):
Tur dal - ¾th cup
Channa dal - 1 cup
Jaggery - 3 medium sized blocks / roughly 1¼th cup when powdered coarsely; adjust as per you sweet taste
Cardamom - 3-4

Other ingredients
Oil for brushing


For the Dough (kanaka):
• Mix sooji and maida well in a wide basin
• Add water and make a soft dough
• Mix in oil and knead well.
• Cover it and set aside for at least an hour

For the Filling (Hoorna):
• Wash and cook dal in a heavy bottomed vessel for about 15 minutes till cooked soft. Do not use pressure cooker as it gets mushy too soon.
• Drain off the water. This water can be used to prepare rasam, which we call obbattina saru.
• In the same heavy bottomed pan, start sautéing the cooked dal
• Add jaggery and crushed cardamom. When jaggery melts, the mixture becomes a little watery
• Continuously sauté it for at least 15-20 minutes on medium/low flame till the mixture is almost dry. Take care not to let the mixture stick to the bottom of the pan.
• Allow it to cool slightly; when warm, grind it to a smooth lump in a mixie or grinder. If you're using mixie, grind it in small batches as the lump gets stuck in the jar if more quantity is used at once. Keep aside to cool completely.
• You should get an almost dry, but with good binding consistency

Making Obbattu:
• After about an hour, the oil would be separated from the dough; Knead it again for at least 10 minutes, till the oil is absorbed
• Grease your palms with oil, take marble sized ball and flatten it on your palm, leaving it a little thicker in the middle than on sides
• Place a bigger ball (lemon sized) of the filling in the middle and cover it completely, by stretching the dough. The quantity of filling should be almost double that of the dough to get soft obbattu.
• Grease a thick polythene film or a plantain leaf with oil and pat the stuffed dough slightly
• Take another thinner polythene sheet and spread it over the stuffed dough
• With your palm, smear over the second sheet applying gentle pressure, flattening the dough. Do it gently seeing to it that the filling does not come out. Make circular motion ensuring it is flattened evenly.
• Heat a thick griddle and brush a little oil
• Remove the second plastic sheet and Place the thick sheet with patted dough facing over the hot griddle.
• After a few seconds, remove the sheet, leaving the obbattu on the griddle
• Lower the flame and turn around the obbattu. Cook till golden spots appear on either side. Be sure to handle it with care, as these are quite delicate
• Take it out from the griddle and cool it slightly if storing. Else serve it hot with a dollop of ghee.
• Repeat for the rest of the obbattu.

Tips n Tricks:
• Do not overcook the dal
• Sauté it till dry, else it will not be possible to get the right consistency

• Dough can be made fully of maida instead of adding sooji

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pasta Payasa!

As I started making pasta in white sauce, my MIL started repeating that we could make payasa out of this pasta. Being a semiya payasa lover, I wanted to make it similar to semiya payasa. And off I started my experimentation. This helped me in making a second pasta dish for the event “Pasta Party”, hosted by Jyoti of 'Pasta Party' hosted by Jyoti of Here it goes, for the event.
BTW, the payasa turned out to be quite good. And in spite of Dee being averse to payasas, he did have this and said it was good :)
Pasta Payasa

Preparation time : Nil
Cooking time : 15 min
Serves : 4

Pasta - 2 handfuls / ¾ cup (I used small elbows; any other smaller variety will also do)
Milk - 2 ½ cups
Sugar - 2 Tbsp, adjust according to your taste
Ghee - 1 tsp
Raisins - 10 - 12
Cashews - 10 - 12

• Bring milk to boil in a heavy bottomed pan
• Once the milk starts boiling, add pasta into it and continue heat in medium to low flame
• Stir gently in between, and allow for pasta to cook till done. This will take about 5-7 minutes. Do not overcook the pasta
• Add sugar and stir gently
• Continue boiling for another 2 minutes. When sugar is dissolved and milk starts thickening to kheer consistency, put off the flame
• In a small skillet, heat ghee and roast cashews and raisins till they turn golden
• Mix in the cashews and raisins and serve warm or cooled.

Tips n Tricks:
• Do not overcook the pasta

• A tsp of Badam powder can be added to give a richer taste

Friday, March 5, 2010

Pasta in White Sauce

Ever since I had visited an Italian restaurant a few years ago, I had become a fan of pasta in white sauce. And later when I tried other varieties of pasta in red sauce, I was not so impressed. May be my choice was bad; but pasta in white creamy sauce was something I was drooling for. Sometime ago, when I ordered the newly introduced pasta in WS in Dominos, Dee hesitatingly tasted it first, and then later, I had to literally stop him from finishing it off, and demand my share! And finally, when leaving from there, he dropped in to their kitchen and complimented the cook for the wonderful pasta!

Whew! He too had fallen for it..... Now of course I had to learn how to prepare it myself, seeing him like it so much. The plain Bambino Macaroni that I had bought was just lying in the kitchen shelf for a few weeks. And one fine day, I decided to give it a try and browsed through some sites and as always, finally came up with my modifications and set out to prepare it.

He too got into the kitchen to help me with my new venture. He asked me at least 3 times if I am sure that I can make the white sauce myself, or should he see if it can be bought! Yeah, he hadn’t guessed how simple it was to make the white sauce. And as we started preparing, even in laws were curious and peeped into the kitchen often ;)

It was ready in just a few minutes, and when served, of course, Dee who knew about it, started licking his plate even before it was served for others. In laws too loved it, and believe me or not, both MIL and FIL asked for a second helping! After finishing it off with second helpings for everyone, when I settled down with my plate, I realized how good it was, indeed! It was very close to the taste at Dominos!

The next time I prepared it at mom’s place too, it was the same story. Even my grandma became a fan of it, and the maid, who praised it for more than 3-4 times, finally told my mom, “Akka, you too learn how to make this, from your daughter, and prepare it often!”
Pasta in White Sauce

Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : 15 min
Serves : 5-6

Macaroni Pasta - 200 gms, I used elbows
Capsicums - 1, cut into thin pieces
Onions - 1 medium sized, chopped (optional - I omitted)
Carrot - 2 medium sized, chopped into thin pieces
French beans - 10-12, slit and chopped into thin pieces
Green chilies - 1, slit (optional)
Garlic - 6-8 flakes
Olive oil - 3 tsp (or any other oil)
Butter - 3 tsp
Milk - 350 ml
All purpose flour - 1 Tbsp
Mixed Italian herbs/ Oregano / Thyme - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - 1 ½ tsp, adjust acc to taste
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste
Ginger Garlic paste - ½ tsp
Grated cheese - 1 Tbsp
• Cook pasta for 5 minutes or till cooked, in 4-5 glasses of boiling water, adding ¼ tsp of salt and a few drops of olive oil
• Drain the water completely and wash the pasta with plenty of running cold water, keep aside for draining
• Heat 1 Tsp of oil in a pan and sauté the cut vegetables with green chilly and garlic, till they are cooked but slightly crunchy
• In another pan, add butter and flour and sauté well till the flour starts to turn brown and butter starts separating out of flour
• Let it cool for 5-10 minutes
• Add half of the milk and mix the flour thoroughly, not letting lumps to form. If there are any lumps, lend it in a blender or with hand
• Bring this to gentle boil. The white sauce starts thickening.
• When boiling, add the sautéed vegetables, dried herbs, pepper powder and salt and continue stirring. Add remaining milk and water to adjust consistency to be thinner than what you require
• After a couple of minutes of boiling, add pasta and mix gently, not to break the pastas
• Mix in shredded cheese and mix well
• If the pasta appears to be too thick, add a little more boiled milk
• Garnish with more dried herbs, and serve hot.

Tips n Tricks:
• Do not overcook the vegetable, let it be slightly crispy
• I used Bambino macaroni (elbows) first time. Next time I replaced it will MTR, but found the latter too delicate. Most of the elbows were broken when cooked. My choice is bambino

• Onion, garlic and ginger garlic paste can be omitted - in fact, I had not used it in my version

P.S. - This dish is participating in the event 'Pasta Party' hosted by Jyoti of