Drumstick Sambar (Moringa Seed pods in spicy lentil curry)

Drumstick Sambar (Moringa Seed pods in spicy lentil curry)

Almost all Indians are familiar with the ‘Drumstick Tree’ (Moringa Tree) and it’s leaves and seed pods (called Drumsticks) are used from ancient times not just as food but as cure or prevention of many diseases in Ayurveda. The small rounded leaves that are packed with an incredible amount of nutrition: protein, iron, calcium, vitamins, A,C , potassium,  essential amino acids.

The drumsticks of the Moringa oleifera tree are used in cooking and contain vitamins, fibre and minerals. Here is a simple recipe with lentils that is commonly made in most South Indian homes: Drumstick Sambar.

Ingredients for Drumstick Sambar: Serves 4-6

  • Drumstick -3-4 (Cut drumstick into 2 or 3 inch pieces, remove the hard green outer skin)
  • Tur dal -1/3 cup
  • Onion: 1 medium (thinly sliced)
  • Tomato: 1 no.
  • Tamarind paste- 1/2 tsp (or small gooseberry sized ball)
  • Sambar Powder: 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves: 2 tbsp chopped (for garnish)
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

For the seasoning :

  • Oil -2 tsp
  • Mustard seeds -1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds -1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida/hing – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 10-12nos. ( I love using lots of curry leaves 🙂

Method:

  1. Pressure cook dal (use 1 1/2 cup water) along with the turmeric powder, and the whole tomato for 3 whistles. Once the pressure subsides, remove the whole tomato and keep aside. Mash the dal well (you can use an egg beater) and keep it aside.
  2. If using tamarind ball, soak it in 1 cup of hot water, extract the juice and discard the pulp.
  3. Heat oil, add the sliced onions and saute till they become slightly translucent.Then add drumstick pieces and saute for 2 seconds.
  4. Add sambar powder, salt needed, turmeric powder and saute for 2-3 seconds. Add water (around 3/4 cup) and cook the drumstick.
  5. Once the drumsticks are half cooked,add cooked and mashed dal, 1/2 cup of water and simmer for 5-6 minutes(add more water if the sambar is too thick).Switch off.
  6. Heat a little oil in a small tadka pan, add the mustard seeds, when mustard splutters, add fenugreek seeds, hing and curry leaves. Add the tempering to the cooked sambar, mix and cover and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice.

 


Zoodles in a Quick Chicken Pho (Zucchini noodles in a Vietnamese soup)

Have you tried PHO (prounched as “FUH”)??
Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup. The authentic soup is more like a broth(clear) made with a meat/ poultry as it’s base (with bones), spices and with herb and vegetable garnishes. Here is a LOW-CARB version!! In this recipe, we have replaced the NOODLES with ZOODLES 🙂

Wondering what ‘ZOODLES’ are??  Zoodles= Zucchini noodles, or in other words noodles made by spiralizing zucchini (using a vegetable spiralizer). The resulting zoodles is a great low-carb substitute for any recipe that calls for noodles, pasta/spaghetti (or even rice)! You can even make zucchini sheets and use them instead of lasagna sheets. If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer then use your vegetable peeler to make sheets, then cut the sheets into strips.

Zucchini sheets for lasagna/salads or cutting into noodles

Zoodles are a low-carb substitute for noodles/pasta if you are on a low-carb diet, low-calorie diet or just want to increase your vegetable intake. Zucchini is a member of the gourd family and is low in calorie, high in fibre, also rich in flavonoid antioxidants (mostly found in the skin), B-complex vitamins, folate, B6, B1, B2, B3, and choline, as well as minerals like potassium, zinc and magnesium.

This is great dish when you are feeling a little under the weather or need something warm or on a cold winter’s day or when you are feeling lazy to make an elaborate meal. It’s a one pot dish which will keep you full for a long time.

Ingredients for Quick Chicken Pho with Zoodles: (Serves 4)

  • Chicken: 500 gms cut into small pieces (with bone makes it tastier, but you can use boneless too)
  • Zucchinis: 3 large (spiralized )
  • Chicken stock/broth: 8 cups
  • Onion: 1 large (sliced)
  • Ginger: 3″ julienned
  • Star anise: 1no.
  • Cloves: 4
  • Pepper corns: 4nos
  • Fish sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Pepper powder: 1tsp
  • Green chillies/jalapeño (optional): 1-2nos (thinly sliced)
  • Bok choy: 2 heads
  • Bean/Moong sprouts- 1 cup
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves: 1 small bunch (chopped)
  • Basil: 1 sprig
  • Lime: 1 no. cut into wedges
  • Spring onions/ Scallions: 2 (sliced)
  • Sriracha/hot sauce(optional): to taste
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat 1-2 teaspoon of oil in a large pot, add the star anise, peppercorns, cloves and ginger strips. After a minute, add the sliced onions and saute till they are translucent. (this is an optional step as I find sauteing the onions and ginger adds a better flavour to the pho rather than boiling it all in the stock).
  2. Add the stock, the chicken, fish sauce, salt, black pepper and to the stock and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat and let it simmer for 20-25 mins.(if you don’t want to saute the onions and ginger, then you need to add it directly to the stock along with the whole spices).
  3. Add the bok choy and cook till it wilts. (If you have used chicken with bones, you can take them out, remove the bones and put the chicken pieces back)
  4. Divide the zucchini noodles into 4 bowls.
  5. Ladle the piping hot soup into bowls and top with spring onion, bean/moong sprouts, basil, cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over, and hot sauce, extra fish sauce and sliced chilli to add to taste.

 

 


Appam ( Fermented Rice Pancakes)

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Ingredients for Appam (without yeast):

  • Raw Rice : 2 cups
  • Coconut: 1 cup grated
  • Salt to taste
  • Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp(traditionally made using toddy or yeast)
  • Water as needed for grinding
  • Oil for greasing pan

Method:

  1. Wash and soak the rice for 5-6 hours (you can soak it in the morning, then grind it in the evening).
  2. Grind it in a mixie along with the coconut and water till you get a smooth paste.
  3. Let it ferment overnight. In the morning add some salt, baking soda and some water and make it into a smooth batter.
  4. Heat a non stick appam chatti ( or a mini wok) on medium heat. Pour a ladle of batter in the center, then swirl the pan to spread the batter on the sides of the pan (the centre should be a little thicker than the sides)
  5. Cover and cook for about a minute.
  6. Uncover, add a little oil along the sides of the chatti/wok.
  7. Remove the appam (if you want it crisper, cook a little longer till the edges start browning) and serve along with stew (veg/chicken) or chutney or curry (chicken/ goat/ egg).

 

 

 

 


Spaghetti Squash (and a Low-carb dish)

So what’s so great about me putting up a photo of a plate of spaghetti??
Look more closely-that’s not your regular spaghetti-it’s a SQUASH!!!!! A couple of weeks back when I was chatting with my brother, he had mentioned that he had recently tried spaghetti squash and that got me intrigued and I quickly put it on my shopping list. I found it quite easily,but I wasn’t too sure if it was the right one as it looked no different from the rest of the squash where it was kept( I guess I was expecting something which at least vaguely resembled spaghetti),but the label on it very clearly said “Spaghetti Squash” and also had cooking instructions (thank you very much).

The instructions said that I could either bake it or microwave it-I microwaved it on high for about 7-8 minutes(after piercing the rind) and let it cool for sometime before cutting it open-and voila, there was the spaghetti just staring at me-beautiful!!!

Spaghetti squash

I hadn’t even thought of what to do with it. I could make spaghetti(after all it was named after it) or I could use it as noodles. Since this was the first time,I settled with a simple spaghetti dish with sauteed vegetables along with grated Parmesan cheese (you could try adding chicken, meatballs).  The result was a nice crunchy dish( and it was all vegetables!!) which was very filling.

Spaghetti Squash

Next time I’m going to be a little more adventurous and try out something new-maybe a salad, or maybe a stir-fry dish,or use it as noodles. Any suggestions??

Question: How would you like to try out Spaghetti squash?


Collard Upkari (a Mangalorean style stir-fry)

LoveToTakePhotos / Pixabay

Collard Greens

“Upkari”(or stir-fry) is a very simple vegetarian dish which is a regular in most Mangalorean households. You can make ‘upkari’ with any vegetable (cabbage,beans,radish, string beans,etc) or with any green leafy vegetable. ‘Upkari’s’ are traditionally made by adding the chopped vegetable/leaves to the tempering along with one or two slit green chillies and cooked till done. At the end, a garnish of freshly grated coconut(Mangalore is a coastal town in Southern India and has an abundance of coconut trees,and hence the use of coconut in almost every dish) is added which gives it the characteristic flavor.
I’ve modified the recipe for the collard upkari by adding some chopped onions, and a pinch of asafoetida(hing) as I like the flavor it adds to the dish.

Ingredients for Collard upkari:

  • Collard leaves (or any green leafy vegetable) : 1 bunch (chopped)
  • Green chilly:1-2(slit length wise)
  • Onion-1/2 medium (finely chopped) optional
  • Coconut: 2-3 tbsp(freshly grated/frozen)
  • Salt to taste

For the tempering:

  • Oil: 1tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Urad dal: 1tsp
  • Asafoetida/hing: a pinch(optional)
  • Curry leaves: 3-4 (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and urad dal.
  2. When the mustard starts to pop, add the asafoetida and the curry leaves.
  3. Add the chopped ginger,slit green chillies and onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  4. Add the chopped collard (or any of the other vegetables/green leafy vegetables) and stir-fry for 10mins.
  5. Then add a little water, salt to taste and cover and cook till done.
  6. Garnish the collard upkari with the coconut scrapings. Serve hot with a dash of lime (goes well with dal and rice).
Note: You can add 1/2 cup of split moong(wash and soak for 15 mins-add at step 5 with the water) or cooked pulses(kabuli channa) to add some protein to the dish.

Q. Which is your favorite recipe with greens?


Pineapple Rasam (Pineapple Mulligatawny Soup)

Pineapple is rich in fibre ,vitamin C and manganese.  Bromelain is an enzyme that is found in pineapple that can be helpful in healing tissues, reducing inflammation, and treating cancer because it helps restore the immune system. 

There are so many versions of the famous “Mulligatawny Soup” (the literal Tamil translation being just “pepper water” ) that I decided to add my own version-a pineapple  flavoured mulligatawny soup. The addition of the pineapple makes this soup a perfect soup for summer or winter.
Ingredients for Pineapple Rasam:

  • Pineapple: 1 cup (chopped)
  • Onion: 1/2 medium (finely chopped)
  • Garlic:2 cloves(crushed)
  • Ginger:1/2 ” piece(finely chopped)
  • Pepper: 1-2 teaspoon(freshly ground)
  • Turmeric: a pinch
  • Curry powder or Sambar/rasam powder:1/2 to 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies:1-2(slit lengthwise)
  • Water/vegetable broth/dal water: 2 cups
  • Oil: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste
  • Jaggery (gur): 1 teaspoon(optional)

For tempering:

  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Zeera/Cumin seeds-1 teaspoon
  • Peppercorns:3-4 nos.
  • Curry leaves:2-3 nos.
  • Hing/Asafoetida: a pinch (optional)

Method:

  1. Puree half the quantity of the pineapple into a fine paste and keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the mustard seeds,cumin seeds and peppercorns.
  3. When the mustard starts to sputter,add the curry leaves,turmeric and the asafoetida/hing(optional).
  4. Add the chopped ginger and the crushed garlic and stir-fry till slightly brown.
  5. Then,add the chopped onions,green chillies and salt and saute till the onions are golden brown.
  6. Add the pineapple puree along with the rest of the chopped pineapple pieces,curry or sambar/rasam powder,sugar/jaggery(optional) and stir continuously for about 5-6 minutes on medium heat.
  7. Add about 2 cups of water/vegetable broth (or you could also use the water after boiling dal) and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
  8. Serve hot with a dash of freshly ground pepper.

Question: What is your favorite “summer” soup?


Palak Paneer- Creamy, Healthy version (Cottage cheese in Spinach gravy)

Here’s a healthy version of Creamy Palak Paneer:
Ingredients for Palak Paneer (low calorie version):

  • Palak: 4 big cups or 250 gms
  • Tomatoes: 2 big
  • Garlic: 4nos.
  • Ginger: 1″piece
  • Green chilies: 2-3 (or according to taste)
  • Paneer: 250gms (cut into cubes)
  • Skim milk: 1 1/2 cups
  • Cumin seeds: 1tsp
  • Hing(asafoetida): a pinch
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2tsp (or 1 tsp curry powder)
  • Coriander powder: 2tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 3tsp
Method:
  1. Puree the tomato along with the garlic and ginger.
  2. Bring some water to boil and then blanch the palak leaves for 3-5 minutes. Take out the leaves and puree when cool.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the bay leaf and cumin seeds, when they start to brown add the hing.
  4. Then add the tomato puree, garam masala, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric/curry powder and stir fry till you see the oil separating out.
  5. Then add the palak puree and mix well.
  6. Cover and cook for 10 minutes stirring in between.Add salt to taste.
  7. Lower the flame and add in the milk . Mix well and then cover and cook for about 5mins.
  8. Add the paneer pieces and mix. Cover and cook for another 5-6 minutes while stirring gently in between.
Serve the creamy palak paneer with phulkas or plain rice and dal.

Neer Dosa (Lacy Rice Crepes- A Mangalorean delicacy)

Neer Dosa (neer=water and dosa=crepe) is a no-ferment dosa which is a specialty of Manglorean cuisine. The name “Neer Dosa”is derived from the fact that the batter is almost of the consistency of water which is unlike other dosa batters. The resulting thin lace-like dosas (nick-named “lace dosas” by an aunt of mine) is eaten with relish in all Manglorean homes.
Made from rice, the rice grains are soaked in water for about 2 hours, then ground to a fine thin(water-like) batter. Once the batter is ready it is poured onto a hot round iron griddle(most Manglorean houses have a separate griddle kept aside for neer dosas). The sizzle on the pan creates the craters or lace-like appearance.

Ingredients for Neer Dosa: Makes 15-20 dosas
Rice: 2 cups
Water: enough to make a thin (water-like) batter
Oil: 1tbsp
Salt: to taste

(Note: you can also add some freshly grated coconut if you want when grinding)

Method:
1)Soak the rice in water for at least 2 hours.
2)Grind to a fine,thin consistency.Add a little salt and mix well.
3)Heat the iron griddle till it’s really,really hot.
4)Spread a little oil. Usually an onion is cut into half and dipped into the oil and used as a brush to spread the oil (this is believed to make the pan non-stick).
5)Pour a ladle full of batter into the center of the griddle and let it spread by itself (do not spread)on the griddle (add extra if needed where required to make a perfect circular dosa).
6)Cover and let it cook (do not flip the dosa over)
7)When done, remove the neer dosa gently with a spatula.
8)Serve the with neer dosa with chutney, honey or kori gussi (chicken curry).

How to make Neer Dosa


Besan Dosa/ Besan Chila (How to make chickpea flour crepes/pancakes)

Besan Dosa/ Besan Chila (Chickpea Flour Crepes)

Besan or chickpea flour or gram flour is a great source of fiber, is GLUTEN FREE and can be helpful in lowering cholesterol and blood sugars.

When I was growing up in Bombay,Besan dosa was a very popular dish in most Udupi restaurants and was even sometimes called “Vegetarian Omelet”. Besan dosa was also sold as a filling inside sandwiches which were named “Veggie omelet sandwich”! Funnily enough,I hated them at that time and preferred my regular ‘egg omelet’ to the veggie omelet. Finally,one day I tried it out and to my amazement, loved it(thankfully it was appreciated by hubby and little brat) and so now it’s a regular feature at home. Make sure you use a good non-stick pan when you make this-that way,you won’t need to use a lot of oil.

Besan or Chickpea flour is a high fibre, high protein, gluten free flour which is made from garbanzo/chickpeas. Being high in fibre, it can be helpful for lowering blood sugar levels and cholesterol.

Here is a quick and easy recipe that can be had for breakfast or even lunch/dinner:

Ingredients for Besan Dosa/Chila (Chickpea flour crepes):Serves 4

  • Besan/Gramflour/Chickpea flour: 2 cups
  • Rice flour: 2 tbsp (optional)
  • Onion:1/2 small(finely chopped)
  • Tomatoes:1 small(finely chopped)
  • Green chillies:1-2(finely chopped)
  • Corriander leaves/Cilantro: 2 tablespoon,finely chopped
  • Grated zucchini/ bottlegourd: 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
  • Turmeric powder: 1/4th teaspoon
  • Jeera/Cummin seeds:1/2 tsp
  • Baking soda: 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Salt:to taste
  • Oil/Butter/Ghee: to grease the pan

Method:

  1. Mix all the ingredients.
  2. Add enough water to make a batter of dosa/pancake consistency. If adding zucchini/bottlegourd, you may need less water as the bottlegourd/zucchini will leave some of its moisture.
  3. Spread the oil on a non-stick pan on medium flame.
  4. Pour a ladle of the batter and spread like a dosa. Cover for a 3-4 minutes.
  5. Then,flip the dosa over to the other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes.Make sure not to burn them.
  6. Serve the besan dosa hot with mint,ketchup or a spicy chutney.

Indian Dietitian Online