How To Make Hot Lemon Tea With Honey

Hubby and I are big fans of the hot lemon tea we get here in Bangalore, in several bakeries. It is a light brew, but the lemon in it makes it so very refreshing. Most bakeries make it with sugar, and we love how the sweetness combines with the tartness of the lemon.

We often make a pit-stop at a nearby bakery to enjoy a glass of our favourite hot lemon tea, in the midst of grocery shopping or running other errands. This is just the perfect drink for us any day, but especially so on the kind of dark, rainy days that are prevalent in Bangalore right now. It is a great pick-me-up for us, a mood-changer, an energy-booster.

I have tried, several times over, to make hot lemon tea at home, but failed miserably. It continued to turn out too bitter or too bland, not at all the beautifully fragrant and flavourful brew that the Bangalore bakeries serve. Recently, though, a friend’s mother served us just the perfect hot lemon tea with honey, and I absolutely had to request her for the recipe. She taught me some great tips – when to put in the tea powder, when to add the honey, when to add the lemon, and so on. It was all so simple, but I had been doing it all wrong so far!

Now, thanks to these tips, I can make great hot lemon tea at home, whenever we feel like a cuppa! This version of hot lemon tea with honey is a healthier alternative to the one made with sugar, a relatively guilt-free drink. Taste-wise, I would say, it is close to the bakery lemon tea that we have come to love.

Here is how to make hot lemon tea with honey, my friend’s mom’s way!

Ingredients (makes 2 cups):

  1. 2-1/2 cups water
  2. 1/2 teaspoon tea powder
  3. 2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
  4. Juice of 1/2 lemon, or to taste
  5. A few fresh mint leaves

Method:

1. Heat the water in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil.

2. When the water comes to a rolling boil, add in the honey. Mix well. Switch off the gas.

3. Add the lemon juice and tea powder. Mix well.

4. Strain the lemon tea into two teacups. Serve immediately, garnished with a couple of fresh mint leaves.

Notes:

1. Add the tea powder only after the water has come to a rolling boil and the gas has been switched off. This will ensure a mild tea that isn’t very bitter in taste.

2. I use Wagh Bakri or Red Label tea powder to make this hot lemon tea with honey.

3. Adjust the quantity of honey and lemon you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

4. Don’t heat the water too much after you add the honey.

5. You can add sugar or jaggery powder in place of honey, too. Personally, I don’t like the taste of jaggery in this tea. I usually make this tea with honey rather than sugar, as this is a sort of detox drink.

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Different types of tea’.

I’m also sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #233 and to Friday Frenzy.

Arachuvitta Rasam| Rasam With Freshly Ground Spices

Freshly ground spices are magic. They transform a dish. It’s incredible how freshly ground spices elevate the taste of a dish to a whole new level, vis-a-vis using home-made or store-bought spices from a bottle. This Arachuvitta Rasam is one such dish, made with spices ground fresh, the taste heightened to the max thanks to this simple change.

The Arachuvitta Rasam is a hot favourite at home, especially with fried ragi papads and Beetroot Poriyal made South Indian-style. I love how this rasam brightens up a gloomy day, how it seems to rejuvenate the digestive system. It is comfort food for me, stuff that I make when I don’t know what else to make or when I’m feeling down in the dumps.

I make this Arachuvitta Rasam the way my grandmother used to make it, using the recipe that she passed on to my mother, who in turn taught me. Today, I present to you our family recipe for this lovely rasam. 

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 1/4 cup cooked toor daal
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. A gooseberry-sized ball of tamarind
  5. 2 medium-sized tomatoes, finely chopped
  6. 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
  7. 10-12 fresh curry leaves

For the spice mix:

  1. 1 tablespoon toor daal
  2. 4-5 dry red chillies
  3. 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi)
  5. 3/4 tablespoon coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
  6. 1 teaspoon black peppercorns (kali mirch)

For the tempering:

  1. 2 teaspoons ghee
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  3. 5-6 cloves garlic, peeled
  4. 2 pinches asafoetida (hing)
  5. 2-3 dry red chillies

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water for at least 10 minutes. When it is cool enough to handle, extract a thick paste out of the tamarind, adding a little more water if needed. Keep aside.

2. On medium flame, dry roast all the ingredients listed under the ‘spice mix’. When the ingredients start getting brown, switch off gas and transfer them to a plate. Ensure that the ingredients do not burn.

3. Once the roasted ingredients have completely cooled down, grind them together to a powder, using a mixer. Keep aside.

4. Now, we will begin preparing the Arachuvitta Rasam. Heat a little water in a heavy-bottomed pan, and add in the chopped tomatoes, curry leaves and salt. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes turn mushy.

5. Now, add the tamarind extract to the pan. Let cook on high flame for a couple of minutes, or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

6. Add the cooked toor daal to the pan, along with turmeric powder and the spice mix we prepared earlier. Add about 2 cups of water. Cook on high flame till the rasam comes to a boil, then turn down the flame to medium. Let the rasam simmer for a minute, then switch off gas.

7. We will now get the tempering for the Arachuvitta Rasam ready. Roughly crush the garlic cloves, using a mortar and pestle. Heat the ghee in a small pan, and add in the mustard seeds. Once the mustard pops, add in the asafoetida, dry red chillies and the crushed garlic cloves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds, then switch off gas. Transfer this tempering to the rasam.

8. Add the chopped coriander leaves to the rasam. Mix well. Keep the rasam covered till you are ready to serve it. When you are serving it, you may lightly heat the rasam. It goes best with piping hot rice, papad and vegetables of your choice.

Notes:

1. Make sure all impurities and seeds are removed from the tamarind, before you use the extract in the rasam. Adjust the quantity of tamarind you use, as per personal taste preferences.

2. I have used the small, round Salem Gundu dry chillies in making the spice mix and for the tempering. Adjust the quantity of chillies and black peppercorns you use, depending upon how spicy you want the rasam to be.

3. Do not cook the rasam too much after adding the spice mix. Once it comes to a boil, allow the rasam to simmer for just a couple of minutes, and then switch off the gas.

4. Adjust the quantity of cooked toor daal and water you use, depending upon how thick you want the Arachuvitta Rasam to be.

5. Don’t forget to cover the rasam and let it rest for a while, after the tempering has been added. This helps the garlic in the tempering to infuse the rasam with its flavour.

6. If you don’t consume garlic, you may leave it out of the tempering. Personally, though, I feel this Arachuvitta Rasam tastes all the better with the garlic.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

I hope you will try out this recipe, and that you will love it as much as we do!

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #232, co-hosted this week by Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

I’m also sharing this recipe for Meatless Monday, co-hosted by Deborah (Confessions of a Mother Runner) and Sarah (A Whisk & Two Wands).

 

Inji Thogayal| Ginger Chutney

Yesterday, I found some lovely tender ginger at the vegetable vendor’s, and absolutely had to pick it up. It was so fresh that the skin didn’t need to be peeled at all, a beautiful whitish tinge to it, with some pink around the edges. Even while I was buying it, I knew I wanted to make Inji Thogayal with it, a delectable South Indian-style ginger chutney. I didn’t want to keep that beautiful ginger in my fridge to use in curries or other dishes – I wanted to use up all of that goodness immediately, not letting any part of it wilt or go to waste. So, that is how Inji Thogayal happened in our kitchen this morning, delicious stuff that has been ooh-ed and aah-ed over, the rest bottled up and stored carefully for later use.

If Inji Thogayal is something new to you, and you are wondering what it would taste like, let me tell you that it is a beautiful thing. It is a medley of sweet and tangy and salty and spicy flavours, an absolute treat to the senses. Just add a spoonful of this thogayal to piping hot steamed rice, along with ghee, and you are all set – a wholesome, flavourful meal is ready! It also makes for a lovely accompaniment to idlis, dosas, upma and the like.

It is a great digestive aid too, this thogayal, especially in the kind of dark, rainy weather that is prevalent in Bangalore right now. It is not a tough thing to put together either. Even making the Inji Thogayal is a cathartic process – it fills up your home with a heavenly scent!

So, the next time you spot some gorgeous baby ginger in the market, buy it! There is at least one lovely dish you know you can make with it!

Here is our family recipe for Inji Thogayal.

Ingredients (makes about 1 mason jar):

  1. 2 cups fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  2. 1 cup fresh curry leaves
  3. A lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  4. Salt, to taste
  5. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 3/4 cup jaggery powder, or to taste
  7. 1 tablespoon gingelly oil
  8. 10 dry red chillies, or to taste
  9. 3 tablespoons urad daal
  10. 3 tablespoons chana daal
  11. 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (methi dana)

For the tempering:

  1. 2 tablespoons gingelly oil
  2. 2 teaspoons mustard
  3. 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
  4. 1 tablespoon fresh curry leaves

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in a little boiling water. Keep aside to cool down.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chana daal, urad daal, dry red chillies and fenugreek seeds. Fry on medium flame till the daals begin to turn brown.

3. Now, add the chopped ginger and the curry leaves to the pan. Fry on medium flame for 2 minutes.

4. Add salt to taste, the soaked tamarind (along with the little water it was soaked in), turmeric powder and jaggery to the pan. Mix well. Cook on medium flame for a minute. Switch off gas and allow all the fried ingredients to cool down completely.

5. Once all the fried ingredients have entirely cooled down, transfer them to a mixer jar. Grind to a paste.

6. Now, we will get the tempering ready. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add the curry leaves (for the tempering) and the asafoetida, and allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds. Now, turn the flame to medium and add in the paste we prepared in Step. 5. Mix well.

7. On medium flame, cook the paste for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan. Switch off gas, and allow the ginger pickle to cool down completely.

8. When fully cool, transfer the Inji Thogayal or Ginger Chutney to clean, dry, air-tight containers. Store refrigerated, and use only a clean, dry spoon to remove the ginger chutney.

Notes:

1. Use very fresh ginger and curry leaves, for best results.

2. Adjust the quantity of tamarind, dry red chillies and jaggery powder, depending upon personal taste preferences. I have used 10 small, round Salem Gundu red chillies here.

3. You may even add a few cloves of garlic to the Inji Thogayal, too. I have, however, skipped this.

4. Ensure that all the seeds and impurities are removed from the tamarind, before you use it in making the Inji Thogayal.

5. Gingelly oil tastes best in chutneys such as this one. However, if you don’t have it, you can use any other kind of oil that you prefer.

6. This ginger chutney stays for up to a month when stored refrigerated in a clean, dry and air-tight container, used under hygienic conditions.

7. If you are planning on using the ginger chutney quickly and not storing it for too long, you can even skip Step 7.

Did you like the recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #232, co-hosted this week by Laurena @ Life Diet Health and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

I’m also sharing this recipe for Meatless Monday, co-hosted by Deborah (Confessions of a Mother Runner) and Sarah (A Whisk & Two Wands).

Thai Yellow Vegetable Curry

Give me a well-made Thai curry with hot steamed rice any day, and I will be a very happy person!

It is no secret that I adore the Thai cuisine. I love the way it combines so many flavours – hot and tangy and salty and sweet – in such simple ways. I also love the fact that most Thai food is so very easy to prepare at home. Substitutes for some typical Thai ingredients are easily available in India, and it is not tough to put together a delish Thai meal within a matter of minutes. Check out this Thai Yellow Vegetable Curry that I recently prepared!

The recipe for this Thai Yellow Vegetable Curry comes from Cooking From Heart, a food blog I absolutely love. Indian substitutes have been used here for some Thai ingredients, cause for purists to balk, but I must say this is one of the most delicious curries I have ever had. I have made a few changes of my own to the original recipe.

I served the Thai Yellow Vegetable Curry with rice that I steamed with a little lemongrass, and it was a huge hit at home! All of us loved the curry so much that it disappeared within minutes!

Why don’t you try it out too?

Here is how I made the Thai Yellow Vegetable Curry.

Ingredients (serves 4):

For the curry paste:

  1. 7-8 shallots or small onions
  2. 7-8 cloves of garlic
  3. 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  4. 2 lemongrass stalks
  5. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  6. 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  7. 2 green chillies
  8. A 1-inch piece of ginger

Other ingredients:

  1. 5-6 button mushrooms
  2. Half of a medium-sized zucchini
  3. 1 small carrot
  4. 5 beans
  5. Half of a medium-sized capsicum
  6. 1/4 cup paneer
  7. 2-3 medium-sized florets of broccoli
  8. 4 pieces of babycorn
  9. 1 teaspoon oil
  10. 1 teaspoon soya sauce
  11. Salt to taste
  12. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  13. 1/2 teaspoon curry powder (I used sambar powder instead)
  14. 1 teaspoon sugar
  15. 1 cup thick coconut milk
  16. A few Thai basil leaves

Method:

  1. We will first prepare the curry paste. Peel the ginger, garlic and shallots. Chop the green chillies, ginger and lemongrass stalks into small pieces. Take the chopped green chillies, ginger, garlic, shallots and lemongrass stalks, lemon zest, and the coriander and cumin seeds in a small mixer jar. Grind to a smooth paste, using very little water. Keep the paste aside.
  2. Now, we will prep the veggies and paneer to make the curry. Cut the zucchini into cubes. Peel the carrot and cut into cubes. Chop the capsicum, button mushrooms, babycorn and broccoli into smaller pieces. Remove the strings from the beans and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Cut the paneer into cubes. Keep aside.
  3. Now, we will begin preparing the Thai Yellow Curry. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chopped veggies and saute on medium flame till they are cooked, but still retain a bit of a crunch. Add in salt to taste, the sugar, turmeric powder, the paneer cubes, soya sauce, the curry paste we prepared earlier and the curry powder. Saute for a minute, on medium flame.
  4. Add the coconut milk. Mix well. Cook on medium flame till the curry begins to boil. Stir intermittently. Now, turn down the flame lower, and let the curry simmer for 2 minutes. Switch off gas.
  5. Roughly tear the Thai basil leaves, and add them to the pan. Mix well.
  6. Serve the Thai Yellow Vegetable Curry hot with steamed rice.

Notes:

  1. The original recipe calls for some curry powder. I used sambar powder instead. I didn’t find any discernible difference in the taste of the Thai Yellow Vegetable Curry, as I used the sambar powder in very little quantity.
  2. If you do not have lemongrass stalks, but have leaves instead, use about 1 handful of the leaves in this recipe.
  3. Paneer can be substituted with tofu.
  4. Indian ginger and lemon zest have been used in this recipe, in place of Thai galangal and kaffir lime leaves. I didn’t find any discernible change in the taste of the curry due to these substitutions. If you are able to get hold of the original ingredients, you can use them instead.
  5. I have used ordinary Indian green chillies here, instead of Thai bird’s eye chillies. If you have the latter, though, please do go ahead and use them.
  6. Make sure you grind the curry paste smoothly, for best results.
  7. I used a 200 ml pack of Dabur Coconut Milk to make this curry, which yielded just about 1 cup of thick milk. You can use home-made coconut milk instead.
  8. You can use Italian basil in this dish, if you do not have access to Thai basil.
  9. You can add in any vegetables of your choice. I used the veggies that I had handy, to make this Thai Yellow Vegetable Curry.
  10. Do not cook the curry too much after adding the coconut milk. Once it comes to a boil, lower the flame and let the curry simmer for a couple of minutes, and that’s it!

****************Foodie Monday Blog HopThis post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Asian dishes’.

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #231. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Beetroot Poriyal| South Indian Beetroot Stir-Fry

Beetroot Poriyal is an absolute favourite in our household. We love having it with piping hot sambar or rasam and rice – often a weekend special lunch at home! 🙂

Beetroot and coconut is a match made in heaven, I think, and this South Indian-style stir-fry incorporates that very combination. The addition of curry leaves, mustard and green chillies elevates the taste of the dish to a whole new level. It is amazing how this Beetroot Poriyal uses a few ingredients, and how it can be put together so very easily, but is so delicious!

Here is how we make this easy-peas Beetroot Poriyal.

Ingredients (3-4 servings):

  1. 2 large beetroots
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 2 green chillies
  5. 1/3 cup fresh grated coconut
  6. 2 teaspoons sugar or to taste (optional)
  7. 1 teaspoon oil
  8. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  9. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  10. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves

Method:

  1. Peel the beetroot and chop finely.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Now, add the asafoetida to the pan, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds.
  3. Add the finely chopped beetroot to the pan. Add a little water, salt and turmeric powder. Cook, covered, on medium flame till the beetroot is done but still retains a bit of a crunch. Stir intermittently, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add in a bit more water if necessary. It should take about 5 minutes.
  4. In the meanwhile, chop the green chillies and add them in a mixer jar. Add the fresh grated coconut too. Pulse a couple of times or till you get a dry coconut-chilly paste. Keep aside.
  5. Separate the curry leaves from the stem. Keep aside.
  6. When the beetroot is cooked with a bit of a crunch, remove the lid. Keeping the flame on medium, add in the sugar (if using), the curry leaves and the coconut-green chilly paste to the pan. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  7. Cook the Beetroot Poriyal on medium flame, uncovered, till the bite in the beetroot is gone and it is well cooked – this should take a couple of minutes. Done!

Note:

  1. Choose beetroot that is very fresh and firm, for best results.
  2. Beetroot is naturally sweet, so there is no need to add sugar to this stir-fry, really. We are also adding fresh coconut to it, which has a sweetness of its own. Sometimes, though, the beetroot might not be sweet naturally, in which case you can add in a bit of sugar to taste.
  3. Chop the beetroot finely, into small cubes, for the curry to cook well and fast.
  4. Remember to cook the curry on medium flame, first covered and then uncovered, to prevent any burning and to ensure even cooking. Add in only a little water initially to cook the beetroot in.
  5. Adjust the quantity of green chillies and coconut you use, depending upon your personal taste preferences. You can add as much or as little of it as you want.
  6. Finely chopped fresh coriander can be added to the Beetroot Poriyal too, if you want, as can finely chopped onions and shelled green peas. I usually skip these.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!

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A to Z Recipe Challenge

This post is for the A-Z Recipe Challenge. The A to Z challenge was initiated on a Facebook Group, wherein a group of bloggers come together and we choose key ingredients alphabetically to cook and post a dish every alternate month.. This month’s Alphabet is ‘B’ and I decided to make/cook Beetroot Poriyal.

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #231. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.