Rava Uppuma (2 Servings)

Uppuma, a popular dish from the Southern belt of India that is quite popular in the western region too, is now at a global level with its popularity going all over and taking various forms as Khara Bhath when a lot of vegetables get added and some spicing with condiments happens and goes by different names depending on the region it comes from. Basically it can be considered to be a thick porridge made from roasted semolina  that gets its color and taste based on the ingredients added to it. I was not adding this post to my blog all these days as it is not a favorite of Ad and S but Ar and AS  are quite fond of it as also G more so when loads of veggies get added to it and I thought it was only apt to include it in my blog.

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Ingredients

Semolina (cream of wheat) 1 cup

Onion 2 medium-sized cut finely

Green bell pepper finely chopped 1 medium-sized

Grated ginger 1 tsp

Mix of cauliflower, beans, carrot and peas cut as shown in image  1½ cups or 2 cups

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Ghee 1 tsp

oil 1 tbsp

Curd  ½ cup

water 1½ cups

Salt 1 tsp

To temper

Oil 1 tbsp

Mustard 1 tsp

Chana dal  1 tbsp

Green chili slit 2 or paste ½ tsp

Curry leaves 2 sprigs

Freshly chopped coriander leaves 1 tbsp to garnish

Method

  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok and roast the semolina on a low flame until the aroma of the roasted sooji can be smelt. The color should be light golden; in case you are not sure on the color, add a cashew nut along with the flour and as the color of the cashew changes, it an indication to remove the flour from the flame. Transfer the sooji to a plate.
  • In the same wok heat another spoon of oil and add the mustard seeds. As it starts spluttering add chana dal. When the color turns golden add the chopped onion, chilies, and a pinch of salt. When the sauteed onion gets translucent add the chopped capsicum  and saute for a mnute or two.

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  • Add the vegetable mix and salt and saute till they are cooked to al Dante stage.
  • While the veggies are getting cooked, boil water and whipped curd in a pan so that it is bubbling by the time the vegetables are cooked. I prefer to cook the beans separately as they take more time to get cooked.
  • Add the roasted  sooji to the wok and mix well . Keep the flame low and pour the boiling water to the mix and stir continuously to avoid lumps.
  • Cover the wok with a lid and switch off the flame. Let the uppuma cook in the heat and steam to give a smooth consistency. After 10 minutes add the ghee and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot

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Chef’s Note

  • In case you want to make the uppuma spicier add ½ tsp of red chilli powder while sauteing the onions, Otherwise, fry sun-dried green chilies (mor milaga) in oil, crumble it and add it to water–curds mix
  • If you prefer tomatoes in uppuma, skip curd and add 2 cups of water. For the tangy taste squeeze half a lemon juice when adding ghee and mix well

 

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Kadai Paneer

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Been a very long time since I added any posts and perhaps it required pursuasion from interested folks for me to move into action! Ad wanted a healthy version of paneer and thought I could simplify it by adding fresh paneer without frying and also leave the option of cream to her. This dish gets its name for two reasons. Being a dish that can be stir fry or semi-gravy, it is cooked in a wok and also the spice used called kadai masala  is used for stir fry dishes in North Indian cuisine.

A typical kadai masala includes many spices (will post soon) but I preferred to make a less spicy one for paneer to retain the flavor and taste of paneer and bell pepper. Often I find posts that suggest coriander powder and chilli powder that I believe are redundant when adding fresh spices!

 

Ingredients  (for 3 servings)

  • Oil  2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder ¼ tsp
  • Paneer/Cottage Cheese  250 g (cut into cubes)
  • Green pepper (medium sized)  2 or 1 large (julienned into 1″ slices)
  • Onion (big)  1 or 2 two medium-sized ( sliced into 1″ pieces)
  • Chopped garlic 1 tsp (optional)
  • Ginger grated or julienned from 2″ piece
  • Tomato 2  large or 3 medium-sized (cut into 1″ cubes)
  • Kasuri methi  1 tbsp (crushed fine)
  • Salt  1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder 1 tsp
  • Kadai  Masala
  • Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
  • Dried red chilies 5
  • Pepper corn ½ tsp
  • Cumin seeds ½ tsp

Garnishing

  • Fresh coriander leaves  1 tbsp ( finely chopped)
  • Fresh cream 2 tbsp (optional)

Method

  • For the kadai masala dry roast all the spices  in the order chilies, coriander seeds, pepper corns and cumin seeds on   low flame and powder them  finely after cooling them.
  • Heat oil in the wok and add the cumin seeds and as they splutter, add the garlic and saute till the raw smell is gone. Add the sliced onions and saute till it starts turning translucent . At this stage add the grated ginger and  bell pepper juliennes and saute for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the turmeric powder, garam masala, salt and saute for another minute or two.
  • Add the tomato slices, place a lid on the wok and let the mix cook till the tomato softens and oozes out the juice. If need be add half-a cup of water. When nicely cooked, add the kadai masala and paneer cubes and cook for another minute or two.
  • Crush the dried methi leaves between the palms and add the fine powder to the paneer and stir well.
  • Switch off the flame and garnish with fresh coriander leaves and cream

Serve with rotis.

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Chef’s Note

  • I prefer a moist dish and do not add  much water. However, if one prefers a gravy type, add ½ cup water when the tomatoes are getting cooked.
  • Often tomato puree is used as in gravy dishes but in this dish, tomaoto cooked with bell pepper gives a nice texture and flavor.

 

Idli Uppuma

Idli uppuma

Idli … a popular and one of the healthiest dishes ever is a common household name in South India and now a very popular and much sought after cuisine globally and is enjoyed most with sambhar, coconut chutney and milagai podi. Often there are leftover idlis and the same made as uppuma makes another healthy breakfast. Anyday a favorite with all idli lovers!

Ingredients (for 2 servings)

Idli 8 numbers(leave overnight in refrigerator)

Onion  2 medium-sized diced fine

Green bell pepper  1 medium-sized, diced

Carrot 1 big (peeled and grated)

Green chili 1 (slit)

Milagai podi 1 tsp

Salt ½  tsp

Curry leaves from 2 sprigs

Oil 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Urad dal 1 tsp

 

Method

  • Refrigerate the leftover idlis or the freshly made ones for a few hours so it is easy to crumble the idlis to a coarse texture. Crumble the refrigerated idlis between the fingers to get a coarse powder.
  • Heat oil in a wok and let the mustard seeds splutter, Add the slit chili, urad dal, curry leaves and when the dal is golden brown add onion and saute till translucent. Add the diced bell pepper and saute for two minutes or so on a low flame. Add the grated carrot, milagai podi, and salt and stir fry for another two minutes.  Sprinkle a few drops of water to keep it just moist,  cover the wok .
  • Transfer the crumbled idli to the wok and mix well but not too vigorously. Switch off the flame and serve hot. Garnish with coriander leaves if you feel like.

Chef’s Note

  • Fresh idlis are soft and get gooey if you try to crumble. Ensure you refrigerate for a few hours to get a firm texture.
  • You can substitute milagai podi with half the quantity of sambhar powder but if using sambhar powder ensure it is well roasted in oil to overcome the raw feel.
  • More vegetables such as fresh peas or beans can also be added but they have to be precooked

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Chana Pulao

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Often we look for wholesome, simple dishes that can be done quickly when in a hurry or as a takeaway lunch to work.  Chana pulao is one such dish that is so packed with flavors that it does need not even need a raitha or any other side dish as it stays quite moist too. All one has to remember is to soak the chickpea overnight or keep a bowl of boiled chickpeas in the refrigerator for ready use.

      I prefer to use Basmati rice as it adds to flavor but this time  I used ponni rice to if it can work in case one were to use leftover rice from earlier cooking  and the flavor was no less.

Ingredients  (gives 4 servings)

Basmati rice  1 cup

Cooked chickpeas 1 cup (from a handful of dry legume)

Cinnamon 1″ piece

Cloves 3

Onion 1 (big) quartered and sliced to thin julienne

Tamarind  2 or 3 scales (soaked to soften)

Tomato 1 big pureed with tamarind

Grated ginger 1 tsp

Garlic paste  ½ tsp

Turmeric powder ¼ tsp

Chana masala 1 tsp (heaped)

Red chilli powder ½ tsp

Salt 1 tsp or to taste

Oil  1 tbsp

Cumin seeds 1 tsp

Water  1 cup (2 cups if using ponni or sona masuri rice)

Coriander leaves for garnishing  2 tbsp

 

Method

  • Add the cinnamon and cloves to the overnight- soaked chickpeas and pressure cook for 4 to 5 whistles.
  • While the chickpea is getting cooked wash the rice in water, drain off the excess water and leave it for 10 minutes.
  • Dice the onions, puree the tomato and tamarind and keep them ready.
  • As soon as the chickpeas are done, open the cooker, take out the bowl of cooked chickpea. Place the dry cooker on high flame and heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds to the oil and as it starts spluttering, lower the flame and add garlic paste and saute. When the color starts changing add the onion and saute on low flame for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the rice, chilli powder, and saute well for another  2 minutes.
  • Add the puree, chana masala, turmeric powder, salt, and stir well. Transfer the cooked chickpeas to the mix. Add water, mix well, and cover the cooker with the lid; add weight and cook on medium flame for two whistles.
  • Switch off the flame and leave the rice to cook in its steam for another 15  minutes. Open the cooker 15 to 20 minutes  and fluff it with a fork before transferring to a bowl.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves before serving.

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Chef’s Note

  • For those who prefer the tanginess of lemon juice to tamarind, skip tamarind and add the lemon juice before fluffing up the rice.
  • Those who love the strong flavor of mint to coriander can substitute coriander by mint leaves.
  • In case you were to be using leftover rice, make sure the rice is grainy.  Add a spoon of oil to rice, micro or warm it a bit and fluff it up. Make the gravy as instructed (skipping rice) as a thick mix. Transfer the rice to a plate, add the gravy and mix gently but well.

Pumpkin-Lentil Soup

 

 

Pumpkin SOup

 

G is at the moment on soft food and prefers mushy food that can be swallowed easily, and with his choice being limited ( a very fussy eater) I have to look for healthy and appetizing dishes.  Pumpkin is perhaps one of the softest veggies and normally the soup uses oven-roasted pumpkin, which gets caramelized but the quantity becomes less as there is loss of water and reduction. I chose to pan roast it … sauteing and  add some cooked lentil to enhance protein factor and improve the bulk of the soup. It tasted really good and G was happy to have bowls of the soup!

Ingredients  (makes 4 large bowls)

Yellow pumpkin  500 g

Onion 2 (medium-sized)

Arahar dal (pigeon pea lentil)  2 tbsp

Turmeric powder 1small pinch

Butter 1 tsp

Salt to taste (¾ tsp)

Pepper  powder ¼ tsp

Milk ½ cup

Corn flour/rice flour 1 tsp

Dried Parsley and oregano 1 pinch each

Method

  • Wash the dal well, add ¼ cup water and turmeric powder and pressure cook.
  • While the dal is getting cooked, peel the pumpkin and cut into 1 cm pieces and dice the onion also fine.  Melt the butter in a pan and saute the onions for a minute and add the pumpkin and saute for another 3 to 4 minutes till the pumpkin gets soft in texture.
  • Cool the dal and pumpkin and blend to give a smooth pulp. If you like to bites of pumpkin blend it coarse, otherwise make a silky pulp.
  • Make a smooth paste of corn flour in the milk and keep it ready.
  • Transfer the veggie-dal pulp to the pan and cook it on a simmering flame till it starts bubbling. Add salt and milk and let it cook for another 2 minutes.
  • Add herbs to the soup and enjoy it hot or cold as you like 🙂

Bread Uppuma

bread upumaUppuma has never been a favorite of Ad, and I remember the days when she used to spend hours at the table to finish whatever uppuma was served. Finally I gave up and stopped trying to persuade her to relish uppuma. However, variations such as poha, semiya uppuma, sabudana khichdi, or bread uppuma were fine with her. Ar loves all forms of uppuma and here goes one more in uppuma series.

Bread uppuma is normally made with bread cubed into small pieces. I prefer to shred it to flakes in a blender as it gives a good texture and the spices blend better.

Ingredients (for 2 Servings)

White Bread slices   preferably a day or two old  10 (shred to  flakes at low speed)

Tomato puree from 2 tomatoes (½ cup)

Chilli powder 1 tsp

Grated ginger 1 tsp

Salt  1tsp (or less as bread is already salted)

Curry leaves/coriander leaves  1 tsp

Oil 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds 1 tsp

Chana dal 1 tbsp

Asafotida ½ tsp

Turmeric powder  ¼ tsp

Coriander powder ½ tsp

Onion 2 medium-sized (diced fine)

Green bell pepper  1 medium sized    diced to julienne

Vegetable mix  1 big  cup

[Cauliflower  florets finely cut, ½” julienne of French beans, shelled peas, diced carrot, finely cubed potato]

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan and temper with mustard seeds. As it starts spluttering add chana dal and let it brown on low flame. Add onions, asafotida, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and saute till the onion color changes. Add bell pepper and saute for 2 or 3 minutes before adding the vegetable mix.
  • When the vegetables are cooked add salt and tomato puree and mix well.
  • Add bread flakes and cook on low flame, mixing well, for 5 minutes. To ensure that it does not get lumpy or dry cover the uppuma with a lid while cooking and maintain low flame.
  • Garnish with curry leaves/cilantro leaves.

Vegetable Stew (4 Servings)

veg stew

A healthy simple Keralite dish that goes well with Aappam, dosai or even idly. G prefers it with rice and I normally make it with Jeera rice or plain peas rice.

Often known as Ishtu in many parts of Kerala, this dish can be made with potatos alone.

Ingredients

Cauliflower  (cut to small florets)  2 cups

Potato  (2 medium-sized) cut to small cubes after peeling

Fresh peas  (shelled) 1 cup

Onion 2 (medium-sized)

Green chillies  3 slit

Salt 1 tsp

Sugar ½ tsp

Coconut oil 1 tbsp

Coconut milk 1 cup

Curry leaves from 2 or 3 sprigs

For the spice bag

Pepper corns crushed  1 tsp (about 15)

Cinnamon 2″ piece

Cloves 5 or 6

Ginger grated 1 tsp

Bay leaves 2

Method

  • Crush all the spices mentioned coarsely in a mortar with pestle and make a spice bag with them.
  • Add ½ cup water to pressure pan and add the salt n sugar to water. Transfer the cut vegetables to the water in the pan and place  the spice bag and chillies among the vegetables. Place a small plate on top of the vegetables and place the onions on the plate. Close the pan and pressure cook the vegetables for two whistles.
  • Mash  the cooled onions or puree as per preference. I prefer to puree them.
  • Heat oil in a pan and saute the onion puree for a minute or two. Transfer the cooked vegetables (after removing the spice bag) to the pan and add a little water if too thick. If you are using freshly extracted coconut milk, add thin coconut milk from second extraction instead of water.
  • When it starts boiling add thick coconut milk and leave on low flame for two or three minutes. As soon as it starts boiling  garnish with curry leaves and switch off the flame. DO NOT boil after adding coconut milk.

Chef’s Note  If you like other vegetables such as carrot, beans or bell pepper you can add the same to the mix of vegetables and pressur cook.

  •  Similarly if like to get the crunchy feel of onions, you can slice them thin and saute them instead of pureeing and saute in oil  before  adding veggies.