Bhindi Peanut Masala (Okra in peanut gravy)

Bhindi Peanut Masala (Okra in peanut gravy)

This is a gravy style bhindi masala with peanuts. The peanuts add a lovely flavour to the gravy.

Ingredients for Bhindi in Peanut Masala: Serves 4-6

  • Bhindi/ Okra: 250gms (wash well and dry completely)
  • Roasted peanuts (skinned): a big handful
  • Tomatoes: 2 diced
  • Green chilies: 1-2 nos. (depending on your spice tolerance)
  • Garlic: 4-5 cloves
  • Ginger: 1/2 ” piece
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/4 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp (use more if you like it hot)
  • Bay leaf: 1 no.
  • Cumin seeds/ jeera: 1 tsp
  • Oil: 4 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Dry the okra/bhindi and cut into one inch pieces.
  2. Heat about 3 tsp oil in a kadai and add the bhindi pieces. Stir fry till the bhindi turns a little brown. remove from flame and keep aside.
  3. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, peanuts, green chilies, garlic and ginger in a blender and blend to a fine paste (without adding water).
  4. Heat a teaspoon of oil in the same kadai, add the jeera , turmeric and the bay leaf then add the paste, salt, red chili powder, cumin powder, garam masala and coriander powder and saute till the oil leaves the sides.
  5. Then add the fried bhindi and mix well. Add about a cup of water and simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Check for salt (and spices), serve with rice and dal or with roti/phulkas.

 


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?


Sabut Masoor ki dal (Whole Pink Lentil Soup)

In a move to popularize the use and intake, 2016 was declared by the United Nations as the ‘Year of the Pulses’. The aim of this was “to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses as part of sustainable food production aimed towards food security and nutrition”.

Dals, pulses/legumes are a staple in the Indian diet for years, but it has not a popular food item internationally. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO): “In a balanced and diverse diet, the nutritious seeds can be consumed every day alongside fruit, vegetables, herbs, cereals and other fresh foods. Pulses provide an affordable alternative to animal protein. Additionally, they are rich in dietary fibre, vitamin B complex, and minerals, such as calcium, zinc, and iron.Food and nutrition education can promote the consumption of pulses.Food and nutrition education programs are crucial for teaching adequate pulse consumption in order to maximize the absorption of nutrients: For example, matching pulses with cereals to obtain a complete protein, consuming them with vitamin C (e.g. ascorbic acid) in order to increase iron absorption and avoiding to eat them with tea or coffee which, in contrast, would limit it “. Researchers have shown that eating whole pulses and lentils can lower cholesterol levels.

Ingredients for Sabut Masoor ki dal:

  • Whole pink lentil (sabut masoor): 1 cup (washed and soaked for an hour)
  • Onion: 2 medium (diced)
  • Tomatoes: 3 nos.
  • Ginger: 1 ‘ piece
  • Garlic: 3-4 nos.
  • Green chili: 1-2 (as per your heat tolerance)
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves: 3-4 tbsp chopped
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Chole Masala: 3 tsp (or as per your taste)
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Jeera/cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1no.
  • turmeric: 1tsp
  • Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, when it is hot add the jeera/cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric powder and hing.
  2. Add the onions and fry till they start turning brown. In the meanwhile, puree the tomatoes with the ginger,garlic and green chilies.
  3. When the onions start to brown, add the puree, the garam masala, chole masala, salt and stir till the oil leaves the sides.
  4. Drain the soaked sabut masoor and add them to the masala. Mix well, then add two cups of water.
  5. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for one whistle. Switch off.
  6. Let the pressure drop, then open the lid, check for spices, salt. If it’s too thick you can add a little water and simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice or rotis.

To make a soup– Follow the same method but add a cup of seasonal mixed vegetables (green beans, carrots, cauliflower, etc) and chopped spinach when you add the sabut masoor/pink lentils (Step 4). Then close and pressure cook for one whistle. When you open the cooker, add water to make it into a soup consistency  and let it simmer. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leave  and add a dash of lime. Serve hot. Makes a very filling soup.


Lima Beans curry (Double beans masala)

Lima Beans/ double beans (or butter beans) are rich in folate, thiamin as well as vitamin B6. It is also a good source of fibre, iron, manganese, potassium and magnesium.

This is a recipe using the same recipe that you would normally use for making chole (chickpeas in a tomato gravy) or rajma. You could also add cooked double beans to different sabzi’s to add a different flavour to the sabzi while also increasing the protein content of the dish. I don’t precook the double/lima beans but cook it with the gravy.

Ingredients for Lima Beans Curry:

  • Lima/Double beans: 1 cup (if using dried, then soak overnight)
  • Onion: 2 medium (diced)
  • Tomatoes: 3 nos.
  • Ginger: 1 ‘ piece
  • Garlic: 3-4 nos.
  • Green chili: 1-2 (as per your heat tolerance)
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves: 3-4 tbsp chopped
  • Garam masala: 1 tsp
  • Chole Masala: 3 tsp (or as per your taste)
  • Oil: 2tsp
  • Jeera/cumin seeds: 2 tsp
  • Bay leaf: 1no.
  • turmeric: 1tsp
  • Hing/asafoetida: a pinch
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker, when it is hot add the jeera/cumin seeds, bay leaf, turmeric powder and hing.
  2. Add the onions and fry till they start turning brown. In the meanwhile, puree the tomatoes with the ginger,garlic and green chilies.
  3. When the onions start to brown, add the puree, the garam masala, chole masala, salt and stir till the oil leaves the sides.
  4. Drain the soaked lima/ double beans and add them to the masala. Mix well, then add two cups of water.
  5. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook for one whistle. Switch off.
  6. Let the pressure drop, then open the lid, check for spices, salt. If it’s too thick you can add a little water and simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice or rotis.

Green Beans and Moong Dal sabzi

This is a simple and quick dish. Upkari is a traditional Mangalorean stir-fry wherein chopped vegetables are added to the seasoning and cooked and freshly grated coconut added at the end. Adding some moong dal to  this recipe is a great way to increase the protein content of a dish. Moong dal cooks very quickly and also adds a great flavour to this dish. This dish is called “Beans Poriyal with Moong Dal” in Tamil Nadu. You could substitute the moong dal with sprouted whole green moong or any other cooked whole pulse (kabuli channa, lobia,etc) or even cooked channa dal.

French/ Green beans are loaded with antioxidants and flavanoids. A great source of fibre, protein, vitamins A,B(including folate and Vit.B 12), and minerals like iron, calcium, manganese and potassium.

Ingredients for Beans and Moong dal sabzi

  •    Green (French) Beans: 500 grams (cut into small pieces)
  •    Moong dal: 1/2 cup (wash and soak in water)
  •    Turmeric powder: a pinch
  •    Grated coconut :3-4 tbsp
  •    Green chilli – 2 slit
  •    Salt: to taste

For tempering:

  •   Oil -2 tsp 
  •    Mustard seeds -3/4 tsp
  •    Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
  •    Red chilli – 1
  •    Asafoetida/Hing – a pinch

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds,urad dal when it splutters, add , hing, turmeric powder, curry leaves and green chilies.
  2.  Add chopped beans, saute for about 5 mins, then add salt and 1/4 cup of water.
  3. Keep the flame low and cover and cook for 10 mins.
  4.  Drain the moong dal and add to the green beans. Stir well and cover and cook for another 10 mins.
  5. Check if the beans are cooked, add some water if required .Try not to over cook the moong dal- it should still hold its shape and not be mashed up.
  6. Add grated coconut, mix well and switch off the flame.
  7. Serve it as an accompaniment with rice and dal or phulkas.

Moong Dal Payasa (Moong ki kheer- Split Mung pudding in coconut milk)

Another favorite from the family Mangalorean recipe box-the moong dal payasa is made for special occasions and festival feasts. Since I’ve been on a mission to try out (and publish on this blog) traditional Mangalorean recipes, this was undoubtedly the first thing that came to my mind as the sweet dish for this years Ganesh Chaturthi feast at home.
This is a protein- packed dessert and definitely a better sweet option for festivals than high- carb sweets like jelabis. Portion sizes should still be controlled.
Ingredients for Moong Dal Payasa:
  • Moong Dal: 1 cup
  • Jaggery: 1 1/2 cups (you could substitute with sugar,but jaggery gives the actual traditional taste)
  • Milk: 1 cup
  • Water:1 cup
  • Coconut milk: 1 cup
  • Salt:1/4th tsp
  • Saffron/Cardamom powder: a pinch (soak saffron in a little warm milk)
  • Cashews, raisins: a few(fried in a little ghee)
  • Ghee: 3tsp
Method:
  1. Roast the moong dal in a teaspoon of ghee till you get a pleasant aroma (do not let it brown).
  2. Add the milk and the water and bring it to a boil. Then simmer till the moong dal is well cooked, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once the dal is cooked add the jaggery, the saffron milk/ cardamom powder.
  4. Add the coconut milk and stir for a minute. Switch off.
  5. Serve moong dal payasa/kheer hot or a little warm garnished with the fried cahews, raisins and the remaining ghee.

NOTE: Do not add the jaggery/sugar at the beginning or else the dal will not cook (I learnt this the hard way the first time I made this!)


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?


Hearty Vegetable Soup

This is a hearty soup filled with lots of vegetables. The flavour and protein content of the soup is enhanced by the addition of moong/mung dal

  • Moong dal: 1/2 cup (wash in water, drain)
  • Celery- 1 cup chopped
  • Cauliflower- 1 cup (broken into bite sized)
  • Green beans- 1 cup (chop into about 1″)
  • Cabbage-2 cups shredded
  • Zucchini- 1 medium diced (about 2 cups)
  • Turnip- 1 medium (diced)
  • Onion- 2 medium (diced)
  • Tomato- 2 medium (diced)
  • Ginger: 1 ” piece (julienned)
  • Garlic-4 cloves finely chopped
  • Green chili: 2-3 slit
  • Palak/Spinach- 1 cup
  • Oil- 2 tsp
  • Cumin/Jeera seeds- 1tsp
  • Cloves-2 nos.
  • Cinnamon-1/2″
  • Bay leaves- 1 no.
  • Peppercorns- 3-4nos.
  • Coriander/cilantro leaves- 2 tbsp for garnish (chopped)
  • Moong/bean sprouts: 3-4 tbsp (optional)
  • salt- to taste
  • Pepper- 1/2- 1 tsp

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pot, when it’s hot add the bay leaves, jeera, cloves, cinnamon and peppercorns.
  2. Add the slit green chilies, ginger, diced onions and garlic. Stir fry till the onions turn translucent.
  3. Add the moong dal and saute for a minute, then add all the vegetables and stir fry for about 5 mins.
  4. Add about 6 cups of water, pepper, salt to taste and let it simmer for a good 25-30 mins (stir in between)
  5. Garnish with chopped coriander and sprouts, serve hot.