Archive for the ‘Karnataka’ Category

All About Dosas


2011
05.06

IMG_9337

Dosas are yummy crêpes made from fermented batter of rice and black gram. These can be made and eaten in a gazillion different forms. I plan on updating this post as and when I make the different kinds and combinations of them. That’s why the title “All About”. The basic batter for most of them can be made using the below proportions. It is eventually what else you add into this batter and how you make the crêpes that give the various forms and names to this wonderful delight.

Ghee Roast – This golden brown super thin crisp crêpe roasted to perfection in ghee and served right off the flame with mouth watering coconut chutneys is probably the most simple dosa of all and my favorite. So, obviously it goes first in my list of recipes

Ingredients

3 cups idli /parboiled rice (if you don’t have it go ahead and use raw rice)
1 cup urad dal(skinned black gram)
1 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
2 tbsp channa dal
1 tbsp mung dal
3 tbsp cooked rice(can be replaced with poha/beaten rice)
salt to taste
ghee for roasting the crepe

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Directions

  • Soak the rice, methi and the dals together in sufficient water for about 6 hours.
  • Drain the water and grind to a smooth and soft batter. Add the drained water a little at a time while grinding is necessary. 
  • Transfer the  batter to a bowl.  Add water if the batter is too thick.  Add salt and mix well.The final consistency of batter should thickly coat a spoon when dipped into it.
  • Set to ferment in a warm dark place.
  • Time to ferment depends on the room temperature. Usually take 6 – 8 hours on a warm day.
  • The quantity more than doubles upon fermentation.
  • Mix the batter well.
  • Heat a skillet at low flame and smear it with 1/2 a tsp of  ghee (I use an onion cut horizontally into half, to smear oil on the skillet. This tends to give a nice aroma to the dosas).
  • Pour batter on to the center of the hot skillet, and gently spread towards the outside in concentric circular movement using the base of the ladle to form a circular very thin crêpe.
  • Increase the flame to high.
  • When you start noticing a golden brown color on the sides and the top surface has the lost the wet look, Turn the dosa over.
  • Allow to roast for half a minute or so on this side.
  • Fold and take of the flame.
  • Reduce the flame and repeat the process to make the next dosa
  • Serve hot with coconut chutneys or sambar.
  • April 22nd – Happy Birthday Papa


    2011
    04.22

    Recently Updated1

    The heart monitor beeped steadily. The morning nurse gently tapped the half full IV bag as she checked in on my Father. She nodded and left the room. The room reeked of disinfectant. I hesitantly looked at Mom, my forehead  shrunk into a frown. “So? He looks ok, right? Why did you wake me up?” I complained, annoyed at being shaken awake in the wee hours of the morning. I’d spent the night with Mom at the hospital. My Father, Papa as we called him, lay in the post operative ward at the National Institute of Mental Sciences, Bangalore, recovering from a brain surgery performed the previous day. I hadn’t slept well and my groggy self grumbled more than usual. Mom moved closer to me. “Papa opened his eyes this morning. He asked for you – first thing,” she whispered. “Asked for me? How come?” I said shifting on my feet, my discomfort made obvious. Mom shrugged. “Ok? What do I do now?” I continued, uncertain. Mom’s gaze dropped down at him. He stirred under the white sheets. His eyes struggled open as I looked down. He gave me a wan lopsided smile and raised his hand. I diffidently reached for it and curled my fingers around his big palm. He gripped it tight. As tight as a sick man could.  His eyes swelled up in tears. I tried to control mine. Eventually I relented, pursed my lips tight, and let it flood down my cheeks. I Bent down and kissed his ashen forehead. He heaved a long sigh of relief.

    As a fall out from years of being (or thought to being) ignored  by my Old man I grew up feeling very indifferent towards him. Though on rare occasions the apathy turned 180 and churned into strong emotions of resentment and frustration, most of the time I remained smug and  complacent around him with very little interaction and totally avoiding conversations beyond a yes, no or a maybe. I simply considered my Father to be my material provider which no doubt he did a pretty good job at. He definitely made sure We, his four girls – a niece and three daughters, received adequate mental and physical stimulation. We were allowed to take as many classes as we were interested, attend as many camps as we liked, had all the sporting goods and games sufficient to engage a battalion.  But obviously, there was a problem. With my 20-20 vision of envy, I saw my Father dote a tad bit more on his first-ling, my sister Sony, saw that he had immense appreciation for his bright child, Sophie and a soft corner for his niece, Jasmine. I realized I couldn’t forgive him because he was almost exhausted when it came to me.

    That early morning, in the summer of 1999 when Papa called for me I welcomed it with greedy, wide opened hands. I was glad he had though of me first. I know I was unhealthily needy  and I’m embarrassed of admitting it too. But truth be told, I was in a really dark place and desperately could do with some healing. I so wanted to stop criticizing what I didn’t understand. In my subconscious mind I knew Papa had very little time and I didn’t want to spend the rest of it looking away when people praised his liberal thinking, graceful humility and generosity. I needed to admit he was a noble man of whom I had every reason in the world to be proud of.  And so that morning when Papa trumped me, when despite  his pain and sufferings he thought it necessary to show his deprived child that she was important, that gesture was my catharsis and at long last it brought about the much necessary change in my perception of him.

    I realize my Father was just a human being like all of us.  Born with flaws and mortality. But in his short but exemplary life he helped me see that greatness could be achieved in spite of them.

    Four years later from that day, my Father lost his battle with cancer and died leaving behind many who dearly loved and missed him. And I, was one of them.

    Ragi Roti – Spiced Finger Millet Flat bread

    IMG_9355This gluten free South Indian flatbread is made with the most healthiest of grains – Millet. Rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins Millet is worth acquiring a taste for. Apart from all the nutrition it provides it also helps maintaining those svelte curves for you ;)! ..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     Vendakka Stew – Okra in Coconut Milk Gravy

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    Coming Soon

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Ghee Roast – Plain Dosa

    IMG_9349 Coming Soon

    Ragi Roti – Finger Millet Flat Bread


    2011
    04.22

    IMG_9355

    This gluten free South Indian flat bread is made with the most healthiest of grains – Millet. Rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins Millet is worth acquiring a taste for. Apart from all the nutrition it provides, it also helps maintain those svelte curves for you ;)! Personally I love its taste. Unlike other healthy foods which I often find all so difficult to swallow, Ragi is something I don’t mind in any form. Be it in a porridge, crepe or as rotis I can make them disappear in no time. And like all foods that I like I made sure my boys acquired a taste for them too so that I can effortlessly get them to eat various forms of ragi whenever I have a craving for it :).

    Traditionally ragi rotis mainly call for onions, green chilie, curry leaves and cilantro. But I also add ginger, coconut, and any vegetables I have around like grated carrots, cooked liva beans or peas, fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves  .  This not only makes it healthier, my boys and I find it much tastier too.

    IMG_9381

    Ingredients

    1½ cups ragi/ finger millet flour
    1/2 cup rice flour (you can replace with ragi if you don’t want to use rice)
    2 tbsp finely chopped green chilies
    2 tbsp chopped curry leaves
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (the more the better) 
    1 medium onion finely chopped
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    refined oil for roasting
    2 tbsp grated fresh coconut (optional)
    2 tbsp chopped fresh baby dill (optional)
    1 tsp grated ginger (optional)
    1/2cup cooked avarai kaalu/surti papdi lilva (optional)
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Mix all the ingredients except oil together with warm water and form a semi soft dough.
  • Make fist size balls from the dough. 
  • Grease a sheet of aluminum foil with a tsp of oil, place a ball of dough at the center of the sheet and carefully spread the ball with your fingers into a circular roti as thin as you like it to be.
  • Heat a flat griddle on medium to high flame and grease it with a tsp of oil.
  • Place the foil with the roti side down on the griddle. 
  • After 3- 4 minutes remove the foil (which will easily slide of the roti now because of the steam formed) and repeat the steps to make the next roti on the same sheet.
  • Meanwhile cover the roti on the griddle for 4- 5 minutes or until it is cooked on one side.
  • Remove lid, carefully turn the roti and cook for another 2-3 minutes
  • Serve hot with chutneys
  • Ragi Roti – Finger Millet Flat Bread


    2011
    04.22

    IMG_9355

    This gluten free South Indian flat bread is made with the most healthiest of grains – Millet. Rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins Millet is worth acquiring a taste for. Apart from all the nutrition it provides, it also helps maintain those svelte curves for you ;)! Personally I love its taste. Unlike other healthy foods which I often find all so difficult to swallow, Ragi is something I don’t mind in any form. Be it in a porridge, crepe or as rotis I can make them disappear in no time. And like all foods that I like I made sure my boys acquired a taste for them too so that I can effortlessly get them to eat various forms of ragi whenever I have a craving for it :).

    Traditionally ragi rotis mainly call for onions, green chilie, curry leaves and cilantro. But I also add ginger, coconut, and any vegetables I have around like grated carrots, cooked liva beans or peas, fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves  .  This not only makes it healthier, my boys and I find it much tastier too.

    IMG_9381

    Ingredients

    1½ cups ragi/ finger millet flour
    1/2 cup rice flour (you can replace with ragi if you don’t want to use rice)
    2 tbsp finely chopped green chilies
    2 tbsp chopped curry leaves
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (the more the better) 
    1 medium onion finely chopped
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    refined oil for roasting
    2 tbsp grated fresh coconut (optional)
    2 tbsp chopped fresh baby dill (optional)
    1 tsp grated ginger (optional)
    1/2cup cooked avarai kaalu/surti papdi lilva (optional)
    salt to taste

    Directions

  • Mix all the ingredients except oil together with warm water and form a semi soft dough.
  • Make fist size balls from the dough. 
  • Grease a sheet of aluminum foil with a tsp of oil, place a ball of dough at the center of the sheet and carefully spread the ball with your fingers into a circular roti as thin as you like it to be.
  • Heat a flat griddle on medium to high flame and grease it with a tsp of oil.
  • Place the foil with the roti side down on the griddle. 
  • After 3- 4 minutes remove the foil (which will easily slide of the roti now because of the steam formed) and repeat the steps to make the next roti on the same sheet.
  • Meanwhile cover the roti on the griddle for 4- 5 minutes or until it is cooked on one side.
  • Remove lid, carefully turn the roti and cook for another 2-3 minutes
  • Serve hot with chutneys
  • Medu Vada / Uzhunnu Vada – Spicy Black Gram Dumplings


    2011
    04.11

    IMG_9319

    My Mom makes the best uzhunnu vadas I’ve eaten. Unfortunately I’ve never get to watch her make them since very rarely can we stand each other in the same room let alone a kitchen. Very often as I am gulping down some of her tasty delights, there occurs brief lapses in my senses and in the bliss of ecstasy I find my self proclaiming the usual foot-in- the-mouth/call-it-on-yourself declarations like: I’ve got to learn this from you !! And then of course I find her smirking and hear her insinuating, PRETEND under the breath remark(loud enough for the next door neighbor to hear): Oh that will need your butt to forsake the couch. Of course that sends me eating more than my stomach can handle and I walk away making sure my eyes reveal what my tongue so desperately wants to lash out, but dare not say: My ass will never leave the couch Ma and you forever will end up cooking for me ‘cause I’m going to make sure you outlive me and manipulated by me, your motherly instincts will continue to feed my greed whether you like it or not. Long story short, this IS my mothers recipe but I learnt it from my sister who, God bless her- has all the patience in the world to bear my mothers taunts.

    The two main points to remember in order for the vadas to be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside is: 1> Use as little water as possible for grinding. 2> Aerate the batter thoroughly using a fork after grinding.

    IMG_9326

    Ingredients:
    IMG_93142 cups urad dal/ black gram
    1 tsp crushed pepper 
    1 tsp grated and crushed ginger 
    2-3 green chilies finely chopped
    2- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro 
    10-12 torn curry leaves
    1 tbsp diced coconut (optional. I don’t add this my mother does) 
    1/2 cup chopped onions   
    salt to taste 
    refined oil for deep frying

     

    Directions

  • IMG_9296Soak urad dal in water for 5 –6 hours.
  • Grind it to a smooth batter without adding too much water.
  • Use a fork or a mixer and aerate the batter thoroughly.
  • Now add all the other ingredients except oil and mix well into the batter.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan.
  • Immerse the front of your palm in water and scoop a hand full of batter and shape it into a ball.
  • IMG_9305Use your thumb to make a hole at the center of the ball like a doughnut.
  • Flip your palm back side up on top of the hot oil and let the doughnut slump down smoothly on its own into the hot oil.
  • Fry each side for about a minute until deep golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  • Serve hot with sambar and coconut chutney.

     

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    Pregnancy Take 2


    2011
    03.31

    My Pictures 

    Howdy folks!! I’m sorry, I’ve been long quiet. Didn’t mean to. Thought every other day I would get back. But each of those days for reasons of their own often killed my enthusiasm for blogging. Like the title says already, we are pregnant again :). That obviously is  my pathetic excuse for the long absence. We’ve been well. The baby inside me is getting lumpy and my two boys have been the best I could  ever wish for. Over indulgent and ever ready to please me they are exactly what any woman could want. For their charming behavior and for my ‘only existent during pregnancy’ luscious mane of hair and dimples I wouldn’t mind staying pregnant and carrying this baby well into adulthood ;).

    Anywhoo, I’m back and I hope to stay. In a couple of months Mom is going to be here to help with the new baby and it would be outrageously sinful if I didn’t post all the amazing food she is going to ‘insist on’ making. Yes, she is coming to help with the baby. But while at that, on her own accord, she will take over my house, my life and my SOUL. And that’s why I’m back Internet, to prepare you for all my ramblings in the future months, For my now faithful boys, will soon shed off their adoring skins and take cover under their grandma/mil’s wings and I will be left all alone holding on to my postpartum blues for company. And I’ll have only you Internet to hear me out then and in gratitude  I shall throw in some good recipes amidst the sobbing to make it worth your while. As a overture for the future and in a desperate attempt to entice you to come back in spite of my drone here are some yum recipes.

    Vegetable Biryani – Chettinad Style

    IMG_9199Known to be the spiciest and the most aromatic cuisine of India, the Chettinad cuisine is one of my favorites. I’ve spent many glorious evenings in Chennai wiping away plates of Biryani and sucking on spicy succulent crab meat while my totally [read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Pork Fry – Coorgi Style

    IMG_8674

    Many things about the Kodava community fascinated me right from when I was a child. Their gentle and good looking men and women folk, their intriguing customs, distinctive dressing and sweet sounding language always brought [read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Navrathan Korma

    IMG_9085

    Navratan Korma, meaning a mixture of nine gems is a delicious vegetarian dish from the Mughlai cuisine. The nine gems indicate the nine veggies, fruits and nuts that go into the dish. Influenced by the imperial kitchens of the Mughal empire this is as grand and as rich as any vegetarian dish can get. [read more]

    Pork Curry– Coorgi Style


    2011
    03.31

    Many things about the Kodava community fascinated me right from when I was a child. Their gentle and good looking men and women folk, their intriguing customs, distinctive dressing and sweet sounding language always brought about great admiration in me. Even today this small community of Karnataka stirs in me great fondness for unknown reasons.   And like the community, the distinctive and exotic Coorgi cuisine has in me one of it biggest fan.

    This pork fry recipe from  coorg uses kanchampuli (thick black extract from kudampulli-dried and smoked fruit rinds of the camboge tree) and the traditional coorgi masala. The only variation I made here is I sautéed the gravy to dry ‘cause that’s how Roy likes it. You could however leave it as a thick gravy and it pairs amazingly well with Indian wheat or Rice breads. Also, if you can’t get hold of kanchampuli you can substitute it with rice wine vinegar, the taste is almost close but you of course wont get the dark intense color.

    IMG_8674 

    Ingredients

    2 lbs pork cut into 1’’ cubes, like you would do for stew.
    1  large onion finely sliced
    5 –6 shallots finely sliced (replace with one red onion if you don’t have these)
    2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    2 tbsp kanchampuli
    3 – 4 tsp coorgi pork masala (ingredients and directions mentioned below) 
    11/2 tsp red chili powder (base this on tolerable spice levels)
    1 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    2 –3 sprigs of curry leaves(optional)
    salt to taste
    2 tbsp coconut oil/ refined vegetable oil

    Ingredients/Directions for coorgi masala powder

    3 tbsp coriander seeds 
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
    1 tsp black pepper corns
    4 cloves
    1’’ of cinnamon bark  
    seeds of 1 pod of cardamom

    Dry roast all these ingredients separately to a dark brown color and  grind fine.

    Directions

  • Mix turmeric,chili powder, coorgi pork masala  with kanchampuli and salt and marinate the meat pieces with this mixture for an hour or two.
  • Add 1/4 cup water, and pressure cook. After the first whistle reduce the flame and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes (slow cooking on a low fame is the key to cook the meat tender).
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook the marinated pieces in a tightly closed pan with 1 cup of water on high for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes on low heat, till it is just about cooked.
  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan, add mustard and when they pop add in the curry leaves.
  • Add the onions and sauté until the onions are caramelized to a dark brown.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste to the onions, sauté until the oil separates.
  • Add the cooked pork to the pan till all the gravy completely dries out. If you want it with gravy cook only until the gravy thickens to the desired consistency.
  • Serve as an appetizer or with rice or rotis.
  • Pork Curry– Coorgi Style


    2011
    03.31

    Many things about the Kodava community fascinated me right from when I was a child. Their gentle and good looking men and women folk, their intriguing customs, distinctive dressing and sweet sounding language always brought about great admiration in me. Even today this small community of Karnataka stirs in me great fondness for unknown reasons.   And like the community, the distinctive and exotic Coorgi cuisine has in me one of it biggest fan.

    This pork fry recipe from  coorg uses kanchampuli (thick black extract from kudampulli-dried and smoked fruit rinds of the camboge tree) and the traditional coorgi masala. The only variation I made here is I sautéed the gravy to dry ‘cause that’s how Roy likes it. You could however leave it as a thick gravy and it pairs amazingly well with Indian wheat or Rice breads. Also, if you can’t get hold of kanchampuli you can substitute it with rice wine vinegar, the taste is almost close but you of course wont get the dark intense color.

    IMG_8674 

    Ingredients

    2 lbs pork cut into 1’’ cubes, like you would do for stew.
    1  large onion finely sliced
    5 –6 shallots finely sliced (replace with one red onion if you don’t have these)
    2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
    2 tbsp kanchampuli
    3 – 4 tsp coorgi pork masala (ingredients and directions mentioned below) 
    11/2 tsp red chili powder (base this on tolerable spice levels)
    1 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    2 –3 sprigs of curry leaves(optional)
    salt to taste
    2 tbsp coconut oil/ refined vegetable oil

    Ingredients/Directions for coorgi masala powder

    3 tbsp coriander seeds 
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
    1 tsp black pepper corns
    4 cloves
    1’’ of cinnamon bark  
    seeds of 1 pod of cardamom

    Dry roast all these ingredients separately to a dark brown color and  grind fine.

    Directions

  • Mix turmeric,chili powder, coorgi pork masala  with kanchampuli and salt and marinate the meat pieces with this mixture for an hour or two.
  • Add 1/4 cup water, and pressure cook. After the first whistle reduce the flame and let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes (slow cooking on a low fame is the key to cook the meat tender).
  • If you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook the marinated pieces in a tightly closed pan with 1 cup of water on high for 5 minutes and then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes on low heat, till it is just about cooked.
  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan, add mustard and when they pop add in the curry leaves.
  • Add the onions and sauté until the onions are caramelized to a dark brown.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste to the onions, sauté until the oil separates.
  • Add the cooked pork to the pan till all the gravy completely dries out. If you want it with gravy cook only until the gravy thickens to the desired consistency.
  • Serve as an appetizer or with rice or rotis.
  • Chutneys Galore


    2010
    10.07

    2010-08-30

    Well it is a day over a over a month since I bought my new toy and evidently I’m not yet bored with it like I thought I would be (or should be) by now. And since the Wife/Mother has shown no signs of curbing herself, the Husband and Son have stopped making efforts to hide their annoyance as well. The boys hopelessly voice out their oh-no! not again shrieks while the obsessive and unrelenting South Indian in me serves them yet another variation of a fermented crêpe or a mutant version of some fried or steamed dumpling they just had a day before.

    The only saving grace for both the parties involved have been the savory chutneys. These spicy and tangy dips always manage to get the boys excited and hence lessens the burden of guilt for me, though obviously I don’t seem as bothered as I should be ;). In any case, when I see my boys serve themselves big mounds of these chutneys, which again is so not the right way of doing it and I have had to dig my nails into the wall and eat my own hair to refrain myself from lecturing them about the correct or rather the traditionally allowed proportions, I’m glad I look less evil than what I actually am.  When your boys act like the dinner or at least a part of the dinner you served was finger licking good you definitely can pass for a good Mother/Wife. Can’t you?? 😉

    Green Chili Coconut Chutney

    IMG_8613This mildly sweet, delicately spicy, greenish tinged elegance pairs very well with dosas and idlis. This chutney is my Mom’s recipe and something that I absolutely love..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

    Shallot Chutney/ Ulli Chammanthi

    IMG_8601This is another one of those chutneys that you continue to lick off of your plate even when the dosas and idlis are long gone..[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Onion and Garlic Chutney

    IMG_8598 This chunky,mouth watering, finger licking chutney is for those who crave for that hint of sugar in every spicy bite. This is one of my most favorite chutneys. It has a really long shelf life and actually never goes stale on you[read more]

     

     

     

     

     

    Onion and Garlic Chutney


    2010
    10.07

    IMG_8598

    This chunky,mouth watering, finger licking chutney is for those who crave for that hint of sugar in every spicy bite. This is one of my favorite chutneys. It has a really long shelf life and actually never goes stale on you.

    Ingredients
    1 chopped red onions
    1 tsp red chili powder (base it on taste)  
    1tsp paprika (for color)  
    2 tbsp sliced garlic  
    1/2 cup tamarind pulp extracted from 1 lemon sized tamarind
    3 green chilies slit lengthwise
    1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
    small pinch of asafoetida 
    1 tsp jaggery shavings 
    salt to taste 
    1 spring of curry leaves 
    2-3 tsp of sesame oil (cold pressed)

    Directions

  • Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida, mustard and curry leaves.
  • Add onions, green chilies and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent
  • Add chili powder and paprika and sauté for a few minutes.
  • Pour in the tamarind pulp and bring to boil.
  • Add jaggery and salt to taste.
  • Serve with dosas or idlis.