Dadpe Pohe| Beaten Rice (Poha) Salad

The husband and I absolutely love poha. We make many different versions of poha (aka beaten rice, flattened rice or rice flakes, aval in Tamil), for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Yes, that’s how much we love it!

I’m always on the lookout for new styles in which to cook poha, so I got all intrigued when I read about Dadpe Pohe recently. Dadpe Pohe is basically a Maharashtrian specialty, and is consumed in some parts of Goa as well. The unique thing about this dish is that it is uncooked – except for the tempering that goes into it. This makes it a poha salad, eh?

The term ‘dadpe‘ means ‘weighing down’. Typically, this dish is prepared and placed in a bowl, covered with a small plate, with a weight (maybe a bag of beans or a pestle or a couple of large potatoes) is placed on top of it. The lid presses down on the various ingredients, releasing juices from them, allowing the poha to soak them in and become flavourful.

Inspired by an online recipe, I went on to prepare dadpe pohe too and, my, just how beautiful it turned out! We are amazed at just how a dish can be so, so, so easy to make and so delicious too!

Here’s how I made the dadpe pohe.

Recipe Source: Vadani Kaval Gheta

Ingredients (serves 3):

  1. 2 cups thin poha or rice flakes
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 1 small onion
  5. A few stalks of fresh coriander leaves
  6. 1 green chilli
  7. 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  8. 1 small carrot
  9. 1 tablespoon oil
  10. 1/4 cup groundnuts
  11. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  12. A pinch of asafoetida
  13. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  14. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
  15. 2 tablespoons jaggery or to taste

Method:

  1. Chop the onion, green chilli and coriander finely. Grate the carrot finely. Keep aside.
  2. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame, till they get crispy. Transfer to a plate and keep aside.
  3. Wash the poha under running water a couple of times. Place in a colander and allow all the excess water to drain out. When the drained poha is moist but not soggy, add the salt and turmeric powder to it. Mix well, gently. Transfer the poha to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Now, add the asafoetida, cumin seeds and groundnuts, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Add the chopped onion, green chilli and coriander, the grated carrot and coconut, jaggery and lemon juice to taste to the mixing bowl. Add in the mustard-asafoetida-cumin-groudnuts tempering to the mixing bowl, too. Mix well, gently.
  6. Close the mixing bowl with a lid, and let it rest for just about 2 minutes, for the poha to absorb the flavours from the rest of the ingredients. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. There are a variety of ways to make dadpe pohe. The technique differs from one household to another. Here, I have used a method that appealed to me.
  2. Most households use sugar to make dadpe pohe. A few use jaggery instead of sugar, though. I have done the latter.
  3. Don’t let the poha sit around for too long after mixing up all the ingredients, as this will make it very soggy and alter the taste. Make sure you serve the dadpe pohe after just a couple of minutes of resting.
  4. I don’t think grated carrot is typically used in the making of dadpe pohe. I have used it here, to make it more nutritious. You can use finely chopped tomatoes, instead, too.
  5. Here, I have used thin poha from Bhagyalakshmi. This poha is slightly thicker than ‘paper poha‘ or ‘nylon poha‘ or the poha that is used to make chivda. This kind of poha needs to be washed and drained before being used in cooking. If you are using ‘paper poha‘ or ‘nylon poha‘ instead, there is no need to wash and drain it. Just mix together all the ingredients with the raw poha in that case, and let it rest just for a few seconds before serving.
  6. Some Maharashtrian households use coconut water for soaking or washing the poha, as required. I am sure that would lend a beautiful flavour to the dadpe pohe. Here, I have used just plain water to wash and drain the poha.

You like? I hope you will try this dadpe pohe too, and that you will love it as much as we did!

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This post is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge. The theme for this month is ‘Recipes from Goa’. I was paired with Anu, who writes about food at Ente Thattukada. Anu gave me two secret ingredients – jaggery and coconut – and I chose to use them to make Dadpe Pohe.

 

Around Meenakshi Amman Temple, Madurai: A Photo Story

Most everything in the town of Madurai revolves around the famous Meenakshi Amman temple. Most tourists are in the town to visit the world-famous Meenakshi Amman temple. There is an entire ecosystem built around the temple – there are shops selling everything from eatables and fruits and vegetables and vessels and flowers to clothes and wigs and cosmetics and jewellery here, for this very reason. Directions to tourists here are often given in terms of the temple – a place is almost always located straight ahead from, right or left from, or just around the Meenakshi Amman temple. The temple is the heart of the town, it’s heartbeat, rather. Walk around the roads and bylanes of Madurai, like we did on our holiday, and you will, more often than not, end up at the Meenakshi Amman temple.

The temple surroundings buzz with activity, frenetic with the comings and goings of locals and tourists alike. The place wears the look of a fair ground, especially so on the days of Indian festivals. Today, I present to you some sights we captured from around the famed Meenakshi Amman temple, on our camera.

A shop selling a variety of snacks, at the very entrance to the Meenakshi Amman temple
A short walk away from the temple is a little market, where you can spot the freshest of vegetables, among other things. We found these beautiful, beautiful little bittergourds there.
Panneer drakshe, Indian Gulabi or rose-flavoured grapes, for sale outside the Meenakshi Amman temple. Simply gorgeous, these are!
A row of tailors operating in the Pudhu Mantapam, adjacent to the Meenakshi Amman temple. These tailors stitch garments that adorn deities in temples as well as dance costumes, I believe.
There are several Muslim-owned shops around the temple that sell a variety of pooja paraphernalia. Some of these stores offer excellent freshly ground sandal.
Mounds of karupatti or palm jaggery for sale on the streets outside the Meenakshi Amman temple
A busy thoroughfare in Madurai with the Meenakshi Amman temple’s gopuram rising up majestically
Colourful, colourful bangles on offer at the shops in Pudhu Mantapam, near the temple. You get an excellent selection of colours, shapes, types and materials of bangles here!
Cast iron and iron utensils on sale at a shop inside Pudhu Mantapam. I treasure the mini idli maker and the dosa pan that I picked up here!
A tree near the temple, considered sacred and being worshipped
The famed Madurai mallige aka jasmine, being sold outside the temple by weight
Colourful old-fashioned trunks being sold in the marketplace near the Meenakshi Amman temple
This kind of shops are everywhere around the temple – they sell a variety of knick-knacks, most of them priced at just INR 10!

I hope you enjoyed this virtual journey with me! Do let me know, in your comments!

PS: The Madurai Meenakshi Amman temple was in the news earlier this month because of a fire that caught hold of some of the shops around it. A short circuit in one of the shops is believed to have caused the fire, which gutted over 50 shops. Read details here.

Fresh Fruit Platter| How To Make A Fresh Fruit Tray For A Party

Holi is just around the corner! Just a few more days to go before the festival of colours arrives!

If you are looking for an easy-peasy recipe that you can present at your Holi party, your search ends here. This fresh fruit platter is so very simple to prepare, yet so delish that it will surely win you accolades. The platter is as healthy as it gets, so you need not worry about calories either. Present the varied colours of Holi to your guests on a platter, all natural of course!

You can get as creative as you want with the arrangement of this fresh fruit platter or keep it really simple, as I have done here.

Here is how to make a fresh fruit tray for a party.

Ingredients for 1 fresh fruit platter (serves 2):

  1. 4-5 slices of pineapple, core and thorns removed
  2. 1 small Robusta banana, chopped into rounds
  3. 4-5 segments of orange, seeds and strings removed
  4. A handful of seedless green grapes
  5. 1/2 of an apple, chopped into thin slices
  6. A handful of pomegranate arils
  7. 4-5 medium-sized strawberries, cut into halves
  8. A few almonds
  9. Chaat masala, as required
  10. A dash of lemon juice
  11. Honey, as required

Method:

  1. On a wide platter, arrange all the fruits artistically.
  2. Drizzle some honey evenly over the fruits.
  3. Drizzle the lemon juice evenly over the fruits.
  4. Drizzle chaat masala evenly over it all.
  5. Arrange the almonds here and there, on the platter.
  6. Serve the fresh fruit platter platter immediately, with toothpicks on the side.

Notes:

  1. There are several ways to make a fresh fruit tray for a party, to present the cut fruits on the platter. I have kept it really simple here. You can go as creative with the arrangement as you want to.
  2. I haven’t peeled the apples here (I never do!), so I get the benefit of the beautiful red colour of the skin showing through.
  3. You can add in other fruits of your choice, mixed nuts, cheese, et al, to the fresh fruit platter. I have restricted myself to just a few Indian fruits here, and some almonds to add a crunchy effect.
  4. We like the lemon-honey-chaat masala dressing on fruits, so I have used the same in this fruit platter. You can choose any other dressing you want to.
  5. You may use slightly chilled fruits to make the platter. I have used all the fruits at room temperature here.
  6. I have used MDH chaat masala and honey from Bee Bliss to make this fresh fruit platter.
  7. You can use roasted peanuts (skins removed) for the crunch factor, instead of almonds, too.
  8. You can prepare the dressing by combining honey, lemon juice and chaat masala well together, and then drizzling it over the fresh fruit platter. I just used each of these ingredients separately.

How did you like the recipe? Do let me know in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Holi On My Platter’.

 

Maangaai Tengaai Thogayal| Raw Mango And Coconut Chutney

This manga tenga thogayal – a raw mango and coconut chutney with onion – is a recipe from my mother’s repertoire. I learnt how to make this chutney from Amma, because I love it to bits, and it is now a huge hit in my household as well.

This raw mango and coconut chutney is a burst of flavours, sweet and spicy and sour. It makes for a lovely pair with rice, dosas and idlis alike. Do try it out, and fall in love with it, too!

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Ingredients (makes about 1-1/2 cup of manga thenga thogayal):

  1. 1/2 cup chopped raw mango
  2. 1 small onion
  3. 3/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  4. Salt, to taste
  5. 4-5 dry red chillies
  6. 2 tablespoons of jaggery, or to taste
  7. 1 teaspoon + 1 teaspoon oil
  8. 2 tablespoons chana daal
  9. 2 tablespoons urad daal

Method:

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan and add in the dry red chillies, chana daal and urad daal. Fry on medium flame till the daals turn slightly brown and begin to emit a nice fragrance. Stir intermittently, and ensure that the ingredients do not burn. Transfer to a plate, and allow to cool down completely.
  2. Chop the raw mango into small cubes. Chop the onion into cubes as well. Keep the grated coconut handy.
  3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the same pan we used before, and add in the chopped raw mango, coconut and onion. Fry on medium flame till the coconut begins to turn brown. Stir intermittently, ensuring that the ingredients do not get burnt. Transfer to a plate, and allow to cool down completely.
  4. When all the ingredients have entirely cooled down, proceed to grind the chutney. Put the grated coconut, onion and raw mango in a medium-sized mixer jar, and add in salt and jaggery to taste, as well as a little water. Give it a whirr in the mixer.
  5. Now, scrape down the sides of the mixer jar, and add in the fried red chillies, coconut, urad daal and chana daal. Give it a couple more whirrs in the mixer. Done! Serve the manga thenga thogayal with steamed rice. It also makes for a lovely accompaniment to idlis and dosas.

Notes:

  1. Totapuri raw mango (‘kili mooku manga‘ in Tamil) works best for this chutney, as it has just the right level of sourness. If you want to use another variety of raw mango that is slightly more sour, you might want to reduce the quantity that you use.
  2. I have used refined oil to fry the ingredients here. You may use coconut oil, instead, too.
  3. Add in the roasted urad daal, chana daal and red chillies after the chutney has been half-ground. This will ensure that the daals get only coarsely crushed, adding to the taste of the chutney.
  4. I have used the small, round Salem Gundu chillies to make this chutney. You can use any variety of dried red chillies as you please – just adjust the quantity according to the spice levels you prefer.
  5. If you want to, you can add a tempering of curry leaves, mustard seeds and asafoetida to the manga thenga thogayal. I have skipped it.

You like? I hope you will try this raw mango and coconut chutney out too, and that you will love it as much as we do!

Broccoli & Baby Corn Khichdi

The husband and I love khichdi, and often make a meal of it. We love tucking into a bowlful of ghee-drizzled khichdi for lunch or dinner. I love experimenting with khichdi – using different ingredients, different styles – all the time. This Broccoli & Baby Corn Khichdi was one such recent experiment that turned out to be a very happy one.

This recipe was born out of sheer necessity – I had broccoli and baby corn lying around in my refrigerator and wanted to use it in something, and we were craving for khichdi. The end result was this beautiful fusion, this khichdi infused with the goodness and beautiful taste of broccoli, the baby corn lending it a nice crunch.

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Let’s now see how I made this Broccoli & Baby Corn Khichdi, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 cup rice
  2. 1/4 cup moong daal
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  6. Red chilli powder, to taste (optional)
  7. 1-1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli
  8. 5-6 pieces of baby corn, chopped into rounds
  9. 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped finely
  10. 1 small capsicum, chopped finely
  11. 1/4 cup shelled green peas
  12. 3 green chillies, slit length-wise
  13. A few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
  14. 1 tablespoon oil
  15. 1 tablespoon ghee
  16. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  17. 2-3 dry red chillies
  18. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  19. A pinch of asafoetida

Method:

  1. Wash the rice and moong daal together under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the excess water. Pressure cook the washed and drained rice and moong daal with about 5 cups of water, for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.
  2. When the pressure has released completely, remove the cooked rice and moong daal from the cooker and keep handy.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan, and add in the chopped broccoli, carrot, capsicum, baby corn and green peas. Saute on medium heat till the vegetables are cooked, but still retain some of their crunch.
  4. Now, add the cooked rice and moong daal to the pan, along with the slit green chillies, salt to taste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder (if using) and garam masala. Mix well, but gently. Cook on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently to ensure that the khichdi doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. You may add in more water if you want.
  5. While the khichdi is cooking, prepare the tempering in another pan. Heat the ghee in another pan, and add in the mustard seeds. Let them pop. Now, add in the cumin, dry red chillies and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off gas.
  6. Add the tempering to the khichdi, mix well. Switch off gas.
  7. Mix in the finely chopped coriander to the Broccoli & Baby Corn Khichdi. Serve hot with curd or raita of your choice.

Notes:

  1. I have used Sona Masoori rice here. You can use any type of rice that you prefer, to make this Broccoli & Baby Corn Khichdi.
  2. I have used ghee to make the tempering for this khichdi. You can use oil instead, or a mix of oil and ghee.
  3. You can use any other vegetables that you want to, in this khichdi. Onions, beans, tomatoes, potatoes and cauliflower would make nice additions.
  4. I have used home-made garam masala to make this Broccoli & Baby Corn Khichdi. I had to use very little, as home-made garam masala tends to be fresher and way more fragrant than store-bought versions. If you are using store-bought garam masala, you might want to increase the quantity a bit.
  5. You can add in some ginger-garlic paste while sauteeing the vegetables, too. I have skipped this.
  6. A piece of cinnamon, some cloves and cardamom can be added to the tempering as well. A few cloves of garlic, chopped finely and burnt a little in the oil, can be added too. I have skipped this.
  7. If you think the heat from the green chillies is enough, you can skip adding the red chilli powder.
  8. Here, I have cooked the rice and moong daal separately and then mixed in the sauteed veggies. This helps in keeping the vegetables crunchy, preventing them from turning mushy. If you don’t mind mushy veggies, you can pressure cook all ingredients together and then add the tempering separately. If you want to pressure cook all ingredients together, do chop the veggies slightly larger to avoid them getting overcooked.

Do try out this Broccoli & Baby Corn Khichdi, and let me know how you liked it! I’d love to read your comments!