Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Hesaru kalu Saru, Usli (Sprouted Greengram Rasam and Sundal)

When it comes to everyday food, a lot of consideration has to go in so as to make the menu interesting, non monotonous as well as healthy. Making the same repetitive stuff everyday makes people to just boycott it. And there should be some change in the menu and in the taste. That does not mean we can ignore the nutrition part as well.

This is one recipe which is totally different from the usual rasam and filled with protein and is loved by everyone. A rasam with whole moong and better, with sprouted ones! Keeping some sprouted moong really helps to quickly dish up these two - a rasam and a palya/usli/sundal. Make s great combo for a simple wholesome meal.

Hesaru kalu Saru / Sprouted Green gram Rasam

Preparation time : 10 min (apart from the soaking and sprouting time)
Cooking time : 30 min
Serves : 4

Green gram / Whole Moong / Hesaru kalu - 2 cups
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Coconut - 1 Tbsp, grated
Onion - 1 small, chopped into chunks
Salt - 1 tsp or as per taste
Jaggery - 1 inch cube
Tamarind pulp - 2 tsp
Coriander - A few sprigs

For spice powder:
Coriander seeds - 1 Tbsp
Dry red chilies - 8-10 (byadagi or guntur variety based on your taste buds)
Cumin seeds - 2 tsp
Fenugreek /Methi seeds - ¾ tsp
Cinnamon - one small stick
Maratha Moggu - 2

For tadka / Oggarane
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Asafetida - a small pinch

• Sprout the whole moong - soak it in water overnight, drain, cover loosely and keep aside for one day till it sprouts
• Cook it in pressure cooker along with the tomatoes with sufficient water till tender - it usually takes less than a whistle - switch off just as it starts to blow the first whistle or even earlier
• Meanwhile in a skillet, roast the spices under ‘Spice powder’ till aromatic
• Allow to cool slightly and grind to a smooth paste along with cooked tomatoes, raw onion and coconut. Add water to facilitate the mixie/blender
• Drain the cooked green gram and separate the liquid. Keep the gram aside for usli
• To the liquid, add tamarind pulp, jaggery, salt, ground paste, coriander and bring to boil.
• Adjust consistency by adding water if required. Let it boil for at least 10 minutes.
For tadka / Oggarane
• Heat the oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds and allow to splutter
• Add asafetida
• Garnish the rasam with tadka and a few coriander leaves
• Serve hot, with piping hot rice and ghee.
• It tastes great when cold too

• Cooking in open vessel takes a lot of time and gas; I prefer doing it in pressure cooker, and carefully watching over and switching off in time
• You can use the usual rasam powder instead of roasting and grinding the spices, I generally do so which is faster too
• You can use un-sprouted moong too, in which case the time required to cook would be about 3 whistles

Usli / Sundal

Cooked Green gram / Sprouted Moong - 1 1/2 cups
Coconut - 1 Tbsp, grated
Salt - 1 tsp or as per taste
Coriander - A few sprigs

For tadka / Oggarane
Cooking oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Bengal gram dal - 1 tsp
Black gram dal - 1 tsp
Green chilies - 4-5 (based on your taste buds)
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs

• Heat the oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter
• Add the dals and stir till golden brown
• Add slit green chilies, curry leaves and sauté
• Mix in the cooked gram, add salt, grated coconut and stir well
• Garnish with a few coriander leaves chopped
• Serve with rice and rasam.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Avalakki Dosa

So here is another type of dosa to make on a Sunday morning! Made out of rice and avalakki/poha, it comes out extremely fluffy and soft. Accompany it with a coconut chutney of choice and it makes a perfect weekend breakfast! To make it better, make some Mango Seekarane also and sever along with chutney and the weekend is made!

Dosa Rice - 3 cups
Avalakki / Poha - 1 ½ cups (1 cup if you want a little denser dosa)
Fenugreek / Methi seeds - 2 tsp
Curds - ¼ cup
Salt - 1 ½ tsp, or as per taste


• Soak the rice and methi in enough amount of water for 4-6 hours
• Wash avalakki and soak in curd and more water for 30 minutes
• Grind both together into a smooth paste and let it ferment overnight
• Next morning, add salt and mix well

• Heat the griddle
• When the griddle is hot, smear a few drops of oil
• Pour 1 to 1 ½ Tbsp of batter on the griddle. Spread it like a normal dosa - thick or thin as you want. The dosas come out fluffy
• Smear a few drops of oil
• Cook on medium heat, covering
• Serve hot with a coconut chutney

• Increase the amount of curd if you want a sourer tinge
• Do not cook the dosa on high flame. It’ll brown too soon

Monday, June 13, 2011

No Knead Focaccia with Whole Wheat Flour

The problem for me with baking an a weekday is lack of time. With a full time job, and the need to cook something indigenous for the family, baking generally takes a back seat with no more time or energy left. Especially for yeast breads, where you need to knead and knead and then wait till the dough doubles, shape it and again wait for the second rise, it is almost impossible for me to bake on weekday, unless I’m planning to stay awake for most of the night!
Since weekends are busier with a lot more things to do and places to go and other hobbies to spend time for, it would make me wait for that weekend over which I’m home for most part of the day, with no guests and with enough time and energy and many more conditions to be met before I actually bake! For people like me, there are these no-knead bread recipes that work equally weel, with less than half the time and almost no energy required.

Got this from Champa’s Versatile Kitchen (again! Well, I can’t still take risk otherwise!). Made this one evening after work and it required almost no special preparation or lengthy process. A simple ‘Measure and mix the ingredients - wait for the rise - bake’ formula really helps me try out more of baking often, without having to plan and wait for a suitable day to bake...
Focaccia had been something I wanted to try for a long time and I was happy I tried it. Especially since it uses more of whole wheat flour, this big bread was polished off quickly, without any guilt. I’m so happy that even the in-laws have started loving Italian flavors (first pastas and now this!) and that makes it easy for me!!

Thank you Champa for the nice easy-breezy recipe...

Preparation time : 20 min + rising time + 10 minutes
Baking time : 20 min
Makes : ~15-20
All purpose flour - 1 ½ cups
Whole wheat flour - 2 cups - 2 Tbsp
Vital Wheat Gluten - 2 Tbsp (Not in original recipe, I added)
Warm water - 1 ½ cups
Olive oil - 3 Tbsp
Salt - 1 ½ tsp
Sugar - ½ tsp (I added this; not in original recipe)
Instant yeast - 2 ¼ tsp
Chili flakes - 1 Tbsp - I used red chili powder since I didn’t have enough
Fresh ground pepper - ¼ tsp

For Topping:
Olive oil - 1-2 Tbsp
Mixed Italian herbs - 1 Tbsp
Crushed chilli flakes - 1 - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Black pepper powder - to taste

Grease a 9x13 pan or equivalent with some olive oil and set aside. I used a 10” round pan
Mix APF, WWF and gluten if using and keep aside
In a large bowl, add warm water and sugar and mix
Add in the yeast and let it proof for 5 minutes. If the yeast does not create bubbles, then it is bad
Once the yeast proofs, add olive oil, chili flakes/powder, pepper powder and salt
Mix in the flours with a wooden spoon; mix thoroughly so that there are no lumps of flour
This is a sticky dough, but since you don’t have to knead, it does not matter.
Grease you hands with some oil and pat the dough on to the prepared pan evenly, into about an inch thickness
Keep it covered in a warm place to double.
In about an hour, it doubles in volume
Pre heat the oven to 190 deg C or 375 F
By then, heat the olive oil for topping slightly and add the herbs, salt and clili flakes and/or pepper powder
Make dimples in the risen dough with your index finger and drizzle the olive oil mixture all over
Bake in the pre heated oven for about 35 minutes - mine took about 32 minutes, till, as Champa says, a golden crust is formed
Take it out of the oven and in about 2-3 min, take it out of the pan, and cool over a wire mesh
Slice when warm - mine crumbled a bit when I waited for too long...
Serve warm as is or with a bowl of soup later

I felt the water/liquid can be increased a bit, when using WWF. May be a couple of TBSP more.
Champa says it crumbles when sliced hot, but mine was the other way round - it crumbled after it was cool, where as when still warm I got better pieces

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nimbe Hannina Gojju - Lime juice gravy

There are some traditional recipes that my MIL makes I can easily say they are her signature recipes. They’re usually the tongue tickling, spicy, tasty ones. When she makes them, they’re surely going to be a hit, every time... When FIL feels his taste buds need some rejuvenation, he often asks her to make one of them.

One such is this one - it is a gravy/chutney using lime juice mainly. it makes an amazing side dish, especially for rice with all the tastes on the higher side, making you crave for more. You’ll definitely end up eating more, as you cannot simply stop!

Coming to the recipe, it has two strange ingredients - at least strange to me. I had not made this myself till now. Every time I had it, it was my MIL who had prepared the dish before I was home, so I would just savor it without bothering on the details. I had assumed that it was the usual gojju, but with lime juice. But this time when she asked me to prepare it, giving the recipe, I was surprised to know that a tablespoon each of milk and curd goes into it, along with lime juice!! I was kind of confused and rechecked with her, when she said that addition of these two items is what gives the dish that unique taste, and sure it did.

When tried without milk and curd, trust me, it did not taste as good. It’s apparently a secret that was passed on to her from her in-law and now to me and of course to you all ;)

Here’s the recipe.... Ensure you make more rice than usual when you make this side dish!

Nimbe hannina gojju - Lime juice, Coconut gravy

Preparation time : 5 min
Cooking time : 5-10 min
Makes : A bowlful of gojju

Lime - 4-5
Dry red chilies - 10 -12 (I use half of byadagi for color and the other half spicy ones)
Curry leaves - 10 - 15
Fenugreek seeds - ¾ tsp
Black Sesame seeds - 2 tsp
Urad dal - 1 ½ tsp
Coconut - 2 cups, grated
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Turmeric - a small pinch
Jaggery - 2-3 big marble sized lumps
Salt - 1 tsp, vary acc to taste
Milk - 1 Tbsp
Curd - 1 Tbsp

For tempering:
Cooking oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Black Sesame seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 15-20
Dry red chili - 1

• Squeeze out all the juice from lime and keep aside till needed
• In a small pan, roast urad dal, fenugreek seeds, red chilies and curry leaves for 1-2 minutes in a tsp of oil till they become aromatic
• Towards the end, add the sesame seeds and let it splutter
• Allow to cool slightly and grind with grated coconut, salt and jaggery, adding water if required
• To the lime juice, add the milk and curd (yeah, it sounds weird, but apparently that adds to the taste!!)
• Transfer the ground paste to the lime milk and curd mixture an mix thoroughly
• Add water if required to maintain gravy/chutney like consistency
For tempering
• Heat oil in a small skillet
• Add mustard seed and allow to splutter
• Add curry leaves and stir till they become crisp
• Add sesame seeds and switch off the flame after a few seconds; Do not allow the sesame to get overly fried
• Transfer this tempering to the gravy prepared
• Serve with rice with a tsp of oil, tastes just amazingly good

• Since the quantity of lime is more in this recipe, the jaggery, salt and chilies also need to be higher than in normal gravies to balance the taste
• This can also be served as a side dish for akki rotti or dosa, etc

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Aloo Buns - Potato stuffed buns

When I started experimenting baking with yeast, there was a request from my father-in-law to prepare Potato stuffed Buns, which he says he used to have from a bakery a couple of decades ago! He, being a foodie like all of us at home, remembers the exact taste of those buns at that bakery and said he missed them now.... whenever there is a demand from him for some food, I generally make sure I try making it, by somehow getting a recipe and trying it out. So was the case this time around too.

As always, there is Champa’s Versatile Kitchen to help me out in such times! So I promptly dug out the recipe from her archives that I had remembered reading and tried it out. It was quite good... I also sent a couple of them to mom and she too liked it. I had made 14 buns and all of it was gone on the same evening ;) What more can you ask!

Here’s the recipe

Potato Stuffed Buns
Preparation time : 30 min + rising time + 15 minutes
Baking time : 20 min
Makes : ~15-20

All purpose flour - 3 cups
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
Dry yeast - 2 1/2 tsp
Milk - 1 cup luke warm
Butter - 4 Tbsp melted
Sugar - 2 Tbsp

For Brushing:
1 Tbsp olive oil + 1 Tbsp milk

For the Filling:
Potatoes - 3-4 medium sized
Salt - ½ tsp
Oil - 1 Tbsp
Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Chana dal - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Green chilies - 4-5, depending on taste
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Coriander leaves - 1 Tbsp, chopped

• In a large bowl, add warm water and sugar and mix
• Add in the yeast and let it proof for 10 minutes. If the yeast does not create bubbles, then it is bad
• Once the yeast proofs, add oil, chopped green chilies, coriander, salt, milk, crushed garlic cumin seeds
• Mix in the flour and knead.
• This is not a sticky dough, so working with it is not difficult. Knead for 10-12 minutes.
• Coat it with some oil and keep in a warm place, covered with a clean kitchen towel. Allow to double - this might take 1 to 2 hours depending on the temperature.

• Boil, cool and peel the potatoes; Mash it coarsely
• In a pan, heat 1 Tbsp of oil
• When hot, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter
• Add chana dal, urad dal, chopped green chilies, curry leaves and sauté till done
• Add chopped onion and turmeric and sauté till the onion is translucent
• Mix in the coarsely mashed potato, add salt and mix thoroughly and continue on heat for a couple of minutes
• Cool to room temperature and divide it into about 12 lime sized balls

Making the buns:
• After the dough has doubled in volume, gently punch it down to release the air bubbles
• Grease a baking tray and keep ready
• Divide the dough into about 12 balls - I made 14
• Take each one on your greased left palm and flatten it a bit, forming a rough circle
• Place one ball of the potato filling in the middle and bring the edges together on top, sealing it completely (just like you would in case while making parathas)
• Place it on greased tray, seam side down
• Repeat for the rest of the dough and place them apart, giving room for a second rise
• Keep aside for another 30-40 minutes till double in volume again
• Pre heat the oven to 180 deg C (350 F)
• Brush the rolls with milk + oil mixture
• Bake for 18-20 minutes, till it turns a light golden brown
• Once done, turn it on to a wire rack and let cool
• Enjoy the buns hot, warm or cold!

• Let the dough rise completely, before you proceed with the next step. If you hurry up this step, the result will not be as good
• Use any variation of the filling and enjoy the buns