Sunday, July 24, 2011

Spinach/Palak and Moong gravy

This one is another of my mom’s recipe that she used to make as an accompaniment to pooris and sometimes chapathis. Recently when I was there, I asked her to make it again for pooris. She had also made her version of Ghee rice and loved the combination. She even packed it for me to take back home, so that I didn’t have to cook again in the night!

Very simple to make, filled with healthy ingredients like Whole green gram. Spinach and very little oil, this makes a good gravy as side dish. It is easy breezy to make too...

Spinach/Palak and Moong gravy
Preparation time : 10 min
Cooking time : 30 min, including cooking Moong
Serves : 4-5


Fresh spinach - 2-3 medium sized bunches
Moong (Green gram) - 1 ½ cups
Onion - 2 medium sized, chopped
Tomatoes - 2 -3 medium sized
Coconut - 2 Tbsp, grated
Coriander leaves - 1 Tbsp, chopped
Cooking oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Salt - ½ tsp or as per taste
Green chilies - 4-5, vary depending on taste
Ginger - ½” cube, grated

• Pick and wash palak, thoroughly, chop it
• In a pressure cooker, cook green gram and palak and tomatoes, for about 2-3 whistles. Make sure the gram is neither too hard nor overcooked
• Meanwhile, chop onions, slit green chilies
• After the cooker cools, remove the cooked tomatoes, grind it to a paste, along with half of the onions, coconut, coriander leaves and green chilies
• In a pan, heat oil, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter.
• Add the remaining chopped onion and grated ginger, and sauté till the onions turn translucent
• Add the ground paste, and bring to a gentle boil
• Now add the cooked green gram and palak, add salt and let it boil well, for a few minutes, till the raw smell of onion disappears
• Serve with a chapathis / pooris / rice

• Ensure the raw small of onion is gone.
• Be sure not to over cook or under cook the green gram
• One cooked potato can be chopped and added too

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ghee Rice

This is my mom’s version of ghee rice. I remember taking this to college in my lunch box and really relishing on it. And sometimes on holidays or in the evenings it would be a one pot meal, that all of us would enjoy hot. She uses grated coconut in this recipe which adds a nice texture and taste to the dish. Very simple to make, yet tastes amazingly good, cold or hot.

It was a long long time since I had it and this time when I was there, she made it for me on two consecutive days and I thoroughly enjoyed it in 4 meals continuously!!

Here’s the recipe...

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

Rice - 2 cups, Basmati variety
Water - 3 cups
Green chilies - 5-6, as per taste
Cooking oil - 1 Tbsp
Ghee - 1-2 Tbsp
Pepper corns - 1 tsp, optional (adjust as per your taste)
Cumin seeds (jeera) - 2 tsp
Coconut - 1/3 cup, grated
Ginger - 1 tsp, chopped fine
Onion - 2 medium sized, chopped length wise
Salt - 1 ½ tsp or as per taste
Coriander leaves - for garnishing

• Wash and soak rice for 15 minutes.
• In a pressure cooker, heat oil and ghee and add cumin seeds and pepper corns, allow to sizzle
• Add slit green chilies, chopped onion, ginger and sauté till the onion is translucent
• When almost done, drain the soaked rice, add and mix well, frying it slightly
• Mix in the coconut, salt
• After a minute, add water and bring it to boil
• Close the lid of the pressure cooker and cook for one or two whistles, depending on your cooker
• When the pressure has come down, open the lid and lightly mix, add the chopped coriander and serve as is or with a gravy or raita
• Enjoy maaDi!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Banana Choco-chips Bread

Bananas over ripening on the kitchen counter, no one even touches it once the peel has started blackening. And that includes me as well! Most of the time if it is just one or two, it is promptly fed to the cows that come grazing around. Don’t be surprised, we live in outskirts of Bangalore and still there are cows that are left to graze around which do come close to home for such ripe bananas or other vegetable peels or so that my MIL feed them.

But this time around, I was waiting for over ripe bananas, so that I could make quick bread out of it in my new loaf pans that I got as gift from mom. Had quite a few of them and made this lovely bread out of it. This was again baked in the late evening after work on a week day. That shows again how it is not all that difficult to bake even with a fully tight schedule! I’m glad I’ve started baking!!

Now a days, whenever I take up some after-work project like this, niece Hima is ever-ready to ‘help’ me out. Help as in taking out the items that I need from the fridge, patiently waiting till I measure out the ingredients and ask her to sieve the flours, then trying to lick her finger for the taste of sugar and exclaiming it is good, then me asking her to wash her hands and come before she continues in the kitchen and then mixing the final batter/dough too.

Then she stands in front of the oven reading the count down timer aloud, a revision of backward counting she is taught at school! And she even knows that I need to insert a knife into the baked goodie to do the toothpick test. She is so impatient to wait till the timer hits zero! And finally when the oven beeps, she wants her share of the goodie for taste-testing immediately, not even allowing it to cool!

Of course she instructs me and her grand mother to keep a piece of it in her snack box for school the next day!

Okay, back to the recipe, it is an easy to make, half whole wheat flour recipe. Makes a good snack bread, or even for breakfast. We all loved it and I’m planning to make it again this week.

Banana Bread

Recipe Source: Champa’s Versatile Kitchen

Whole Wheat flour - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 1 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 cup (Can use brown sugar; Add 2 Tbsp more for a sweeter bread)
Baking Powder - 1 ½ tsp
Baking soda - 1 tsp
Salt - ¼ tsp
Vegetable Oil - 1/3 cup
Banana - mashed and measured 2 cups (about 4 large ripe ones)
Vanilla - 2 tsp
Flax seed powder - 2 Tbsp mixed in 6Tbsp warm water
Choco chips - 1/3 cup (use more if you like)


• In a bowl, whisk together flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, sugar. Set aside.
• Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F (170 deg C or 325 F if using darker or glass pan).
• Grease and dust a 9 X 5 loaf pan with vegetable oil and set aside. I used two smaller loaf pans - greased and dusted one and lined the other with parchment paper to see the difference :)
• In another bowl, take the flax meal, warm water mixture. Add oil, mashed bananas, vanilla. Whisk again.
• Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet and stir until just moist and no streaks of flour is seen.
• Dust the choco chips with a little flour and mix in. Do not over mix.
• Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 55 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
• After 45 minutes, take out the pan from the oven, loosely tent with aluminum foil and then continue to bake to prevent over browning. - I didn’t do this; my greased loaf was done at 57 min and the one with parchment was done at 60 min
• Let it cool on wire rack for 10 minutes in the pan and then out of pan till it is completely cool. Slice only after it is cool.

• I, D and our little niece Hima didn’t have any patience to wait that long, so we made ugly slices off one of the loaves and happily gorged upon it! I even got out of the bed in the night and came to the kitchen to have another bite!!!
• And the other one sliced beautifully when cut on the next day, but of course I didn’t do a good job in making even sized slices.

• Original recipe was with eggs and I made it eggless using flax meal as suggested by Champa; also added choco chips, which we loved.
• 1/3 cup of choco chips was just enough for us; if you want it more chocolatey, you can add more
• Can add about half a cup of toasted walnuts or even raisins
• I used 1 and ¼ cups of sugar which was a little too sweet; so next time I’ll use 1cup + 1 Tbsp

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mini Dosas for Kids' Delight

Don’t you agree that kids are the most difficult ones to convince in terms of food? They would like to eat something only if they feel like it and when they feel like it!

My niece Hima, now 5, who stays with us have given me this experience! Though it is generally her grand parents who struggle to feed her day in and day out, sometimes the task does come to me too. And when it does, she is the most delighted, coz she knows that me, her atte, does something innovative to feed her. It could be a story, or an animated description of a petty event from my childhood or a small game to deceive her to finish off her portion of meal, the ‘eating time’ reduces to less than half with me, and sometimes less than a quarter of the usual time.

And at other times when I don’t want to spend my energy with these tricks, it’ll be some attractive presentation of the same food that’ll make her eat it herself in less time! One such would be to simply make smaller versions of the usual food - chapathi or dosa or rotti... And with it also comes one micky-mouse or a pussy-cat shaped one, which goes into her tummy even faster!!

I guess in case of my kids, I’ll never be running behind them trying to feed them. I better make them learn to eat themselves, and at most I can make may such attractive foods for them to eat!

You can try this with your kids too, and see how the food just vanishes!

How to:
For dosas, use the same dosa batter, but make little ones on the same big tawa, by dropping just spoonfuls at a time. And for the mickey mouse or pussy cat or so, draw the shapes with the batter. Once the dosa is ready, drop jam / chutney or whatever your kid likes as eyes, nose and mouth. You can do it much better than the ones in pictures here, but since I was in a rush in the morning hour, this is all I managed.

For chapathis, you can try cookie cutter and cut out different shapes and make multiple mini-chapathis. You can even put up a competition on how many your kid eats...

I have used multi-flour, quick fix dosa batter here, but you can use any variety of dosa batter.

Sending this to Srivalli's Kids' Delight event hosted this time by Champa. Round up for the same can be found here.