Indori Poha| Authentic Indori Poha Recipe With Jeeravan Masala

This month, the talented food bloggers who are part of the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge are exploring the cuisine of Madhya Pradesh, the ‘heart of India’.

I’m not sure if you guys know, but a few years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Kanha in Madhya Pradesh. I was invited by Pugdundee Safaris, to check out their beautiful, beautiful Kanha Earth Lodge and indulge in a wildlife safari in the gorgeous Kanha National Park. This was my first and only visit to Madhya Pradesh, special in more ways than one. Spectacular as the food at the lodge was, I did not get a chance to explore the famed local food of Madhya Pradesh. Well, I was not much of a ‘food blogger’ then, and wasn’t very aware of the brilliant foods that the state has to offer. Now, I am older and better read, and definitely more aware! I think I need to go on a special trip just for hunting down some of those delectable-sounding dishes! Till then, I will make do with trying my hands at one of the state’s most well-known foods.

For the uninitiated, Madhya Pradesh has several vegetarian and non-vegetarian delights to offer. The cuisine changes in different parts of the state, depending upon its history and geographical conditions, but wheat and meat remain the staples almost everywhere. Amli Ri Kadhi, Bhutte Ka Kees, Indori Poha & Jalebi, Bedai, Gatpat, Garadu, Daal Bafla, Mawa Baati and Khoya Jalebi are some of the vegetarian dishes that you can enjoy in the state of Madhya Pradesh. For this month’s Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, I decided to make Indori Poha, a famous beaten rice dish from the streets of Indore.

The Indori Poha is not your ordinary dish of rice flakes. It is a fragrant, extremely flavourful version of poha that you have to try out to believe the beauty of. Freshly made Jeeravan Masala, the fennel seeds (saunf) that go into the tempering, the generous dose of sev, raw onions, finely chopped coriander and pomegranate arils that it is served with – all these are the hallmarks of a good plate of Indori Poha.

I made the poha with home-made, freshly ground Jeeravan Masala, and was richly rewarded for my efforts. The Indori Poha turned out lip-smackingly delicious, and was much adored by everyone at home. It makes for a beautiful breakfast option, something quite different from the usual for us. Needless to say, I’m so thrilled at having discovered this!

Traditionally, to make Indori Poha, the rice flakes aka poha are first steamed in a colander, and then the other ingredients are mixed in, one by one. I cooked this in a different way, though, in a pan, the way one would normally make Batata Poha or Kanda Poha. Like I said earlier, the taste was just awesome! I can’t wait to try making this the traditional way!

Now, let us check out the recipe for Indori Poha, shall we?

Recipe adapted from: Yummy Diaries

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 3 cups rice flakes aka poha
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  4. 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
  5. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  6. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  7. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida (hing)
  9. 1-1/2 tablespoons Jeeravan Masala, or as needed
  10. 8-10 Curry Leaves
  11. 2-3 green chillies
  12. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
  13. Pomegranate arils, as needed for garnishing
  14. 1 medium-sized onion
  15. Juice of 1 lemon
  16. Sev, as needed for garnishing
Method:
  1. Wash the poha under running water a couple of times. Place in a colander, and let all the excess water drain away.
  2. Fluff up the washed and drained poha in the colander, gently. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder and sugar. Mix well, gently, with your hands. Keep aside.
  3. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.
  4. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.
  5. Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds, and let them pop. Add in the fennel seeds, and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  6. Now, turn the flame to medium. Add the poha to the pan, along with the Jeeravan Masala, slit green chillies and curry leaves. Mix well.
  7. Cook on medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring intermittently. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Switch off the gas.
  8. Mix in the lemon juice and finely chopped coriander and onion.
  9. Serve hot, garnished with sev and pomegranate seeds as needed.

Notes:

  1. Dry red chillies have been added in the preparation of Jeeravan Masala, which gives it spiciness. You need not add red chilli powder in the preparation of the Indori Poha, as you are already using Jeeravan Masala.
  2. I have used the thin variety of poha here, so I did not need to soak it beforehand. If you are using the thicker version, you might have to soak it for a while before you begin making the Indori Poha.
  3. Adjust the quantity of green chillies, salt, Jeeravan Masala, sugar and lemon juice you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.
  4. I have used refined sunflower oil here. You may use any other type of oil you prefer.
  5. Pomegranate arils are a must in the making of Indori Poha – you can use as many or as little as you want. However, I have not used them since I did not have any on hand.
  6. Typically, thick Ratlami sev is used to garnish this poha. I did not have any of that, so I have used store-bought medium-fine sev instead. Use as much or as little sev as you prefer.
  7. Jeeravan Masala, sev, lemon juice and sugar, onion, pomegranate arils, fresh coriander and fennel seeds in the garnish – these are the essential components of Indori Poha, without which it just wouldn’t be the same. Please do try not to skip any of these ingredients when you make Indori Poha.
  8. Click here to go to the detailed recipe for Jeeravan Masala.

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

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shhh-secretly-challenge-image

This recipe is for the Ssshhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of. Every month, the participants of the group cook dishes from a particular part of India, using two secret ingredients assigned to them. This month, all of us over are cooking dishes from the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. My partner for the month, Poornima Porchelvan from Poornima’s Cook Book, gave me two secret ingredients – fennel seeds and onion – and I decided to use them in making Indori Poha.

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #249. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

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Vatana Ni Kachori Chaat| Making Chaat From Matar Kachori

Winter is, slowly but surely, settling in in Bangalore. It is bright and sunny in the daytime, but it gets nippy in the early mornings and evenings. I can smell the coming of winter in the air. And one of the things that is synonymous with winter, for me, is the piping hot, home-made lilva kachoris that I grew up eating in Ahmedabad. With a gorgeous pigeon pea (fresh tuver) and/or fresh green peas (vatana) stuffing, these kachoris had the power to brighten up a gloomy winter’s day – they still hold the same magic for me.

When the Foodie Monday Blog Hop team decided upon #ChaatsForDiwali as the theme for this week, I was utterly overjoyed. I am a passionate adorer of all things chaat, and can have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner! I instantly knew that I had to make use of the fresh green peas that have begun to appear in the markets of Bangalore. The making of green pea kachoris aka Vatana Ni Kachori, and subsequently converting them into a chaat, came naturally.

So, here’s presenting to you Vatana Ni Kachori Chaat or Matar Kachori Chaat!

Loaded with the goodness of fresh, seasonal ingredients, these delicious kachoris are a delight to gorge on, by themselves. Using them in a chaat only hikes up their deliciousness-quotient quite a few notches. Deep-fried, sinful, chatpata gorgeousness – that is this chaat for you. This beauty surely deserves to find pride of place in your Diwali party. Try it out, and I’m sure you will fall in love with it too!

Here’s the recipe.

Ingredients (makes 18-20 pieces):

For the filling:

  1. 3 cups fresh green peas
  2. 4 green chillies
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. Red chilli powder, to taste
  7. 3 tablespoons sugar or to taste
  8. 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
  9. 2 tablespoons garam masala or as needed
  10. Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
  11. 2 tablespoons raisins
  12. 8-10 almonds
  13. 1 tablespoon oil
  14. 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  15. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera) seeds
  16. 2 pinches of asafoetida powder (hing)

For the kachori shells:

  1. 3 cups whole wheat flour
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 2 tablespoons oil + more for deep frying

Ingredients for serving:

  1. Sev, as needed
  2. Fresh grated coconut, as needed
  3. Finely chopped onion, as needed
  4. Chaat masala, as needed
  5. Finely chopped coriander, as needed
  6. Sweet-sour tamarind chutney, as needed
  7. Spicy green chutney, as needed

Method:

We will first get the dough ready, to make the outer shell of the kachoris.

  1. Take the 3 cups of whole wheat flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in salt to taste.
  3. Adding water little by little, bind a soft dough similar to the one you would make for rotis.
  4. When the dough is almost ready, add in 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix into the dough.
  5. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes, and then shape it into a ball.
  6. Let the dough rest, covered, till the other preparations are done and you are ready to make the kachoris.

Now, we will prepare the filling for the kachoris.

  1. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Chop the green chillies finely. Grind both together to a paste in a mixer, using a little water. Keep aside.
  2. Take the green peas in a large mixer jar. Pulse for a couple of seconds, then stop and scrape down the sides of the mixer jar. Pulse similarly 2-3 times, for a couple of seconds each, stopping to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar. The green peas should get coarsely crushed – do not make a fine paste. Keep aside.
  3. Chop the almonds, raw, into slivers. Keep aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add in the cumin and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Now, add the coarsely crushed green peas to the pan. Cook on medium flame for a minute, by which time the peas will begin to shrink a little.
  6. To the pan, add salt to taste, turmeric powder, garam masala, the ginger-garlic paste we prepared earlier, and the sugar. Cook for a minute more on medium flame.
  7. Add the slivered almonds, fresh grated coconut and raisins to the pan. Mix well, and cook on medium flame for a minute more. Switch off gas.
  8. Add finely chopped coriander to the filling in the pan. Mix well. The filling is ready! Keep aside and let it cool down completely.

Now, we will prepare the kachoris and deep fry them.

  1. Take the oil for deep frying in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place on high flame and allow it to heat up, till it reaches smoking point.
  2. Meanwhile, take a small ball of the dough that has been resting. Place it on a flour-dusted work surface and roll it out like a small roti.
  3. Place a generous amount of the green pea stuffing we prepared earlier in the centre of the circle. Close the roti, making a semi-circular shape. Gently seal the edges.
  4. When the oil reaches smoking point, lower the flame to medium. Drop the kachori you prepared in Step 3 above into the hot oil. Deep fry on medium heat till the kachori turns brown and crisp on the outside, taking care that it is evenly cooked and that it does not get burnt.
  5. Transfer the deep-fried kachori to a serving plate.

Prepare the Vatana Ni Kachori Chaat now.

  1. Use a knife to cut the hot kachori roughly into bite-sized pieces, in the serving plate.
  2. Drizzle some sweet-sour tamarind chutney and some spicy green chutney over it.
  3. Top with some finely chopped onion and coriander, some sev and fresh grated coconut.
  4. Add a bit of chaat masala on top. Serve immediately.
  5. Prepare all the Vatana Ni Kachori in a similar manner, using it to make chaat while still hot.

Notes:

  1. You can use a mix of maida and whole wheat flour to make the outer shell for the kachoris, like I have done here. In the above recipe, I have used only whole wheat flour.
  2. You can use slivered cashewnuts in the filling instead of almonds, if you so prefer.
  3. Make sure you get the oil for deep frying nice and hot, till it reaches smoking point. Then, turn down the flame to medium. Fry the rolls on medium flame, ensuring that they are fried evenly on all sides and that they do not get burnt.
  4. You can get as imaginative as you want with the toppings you use to make the chaat. Here, I have used whatever I had on hand at the moment.
  5. You can make the filling for the kachoris without garam masala, sugar or lemon juice, but I would not recommend that. Every single ingredient used in the filling contributes towards enhancing the textures and flavours of the chaat.
  6. You can use a mix of fresh green peas and pigeon peas (tuvar lilva or fresh tuvar) to make the filling, like I have done here. In the above recipe, though, I have made the filling using only green peas.
  7. If you are using frozen green peas, ensure that you bring them to room temperature first, before using them to make the filling.
  8. Click here for my recipe for the sweet-and-sour tamarind chutney I have used in the chaat.
  9. Click here for my recipe for the spicy green chutney I have used in the chaat.
  10. I have used store-bought fine sev from Chitalebandhu and chaat masala from Ciba Taaza to make the chaat.
  11. This chaat tastes best when the kachoris are hot. So, you could deep-fry a couple of kachoris, and then use them immediately to make the chaat.

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

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is #ChaatsForDiwali, wherein members are sharing recipes for Diwali party-special chaats.

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #249. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

Paneer Masala Dosa| Dosa With Cottage Cheese Stuffing

Bored of eating the same ol’ dosa with chutney/sambar, or masala dosa? Paneer Masala Dosa is another version of dosa that you could try out.

With a protein-rich, delicious cottage cheese stuffing, Paneer Masala Dosa makes for a great snack or even a lunch/dinner option. This is quite a filling dosa that doesn’t require any accompaniment to it. If you have dosa batter on hand, making these is a breeze, too!

I tried out Paneer Masala Dosa for the first-ever time at Murugan Idli Shop in Madras, a few years ago, and fell in love with it. A few attempts at making my own version at home later, I was rewarded with success – a beautiful, delectable dosa that was much loved by everyone in the family. Do try it out too, and let me know how you liked it!

Here is how to make Paneer Masala Dosa.

Ingredients (makes 8-10 dosas):

For the filling:

  1. 100 grams paneer aka cottage cheese
  2. 4-5 cloves of garlic
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 1 small tomato
  5. 1 medium-sized onion
  6. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Red chilli powder to taste
  12. 1 tablespoon garam masala
  13. 1 tablespoon amchoor powder
  14. 1 tablespoon sugar
  15. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

For the dosas:

  1. 8-10 ladles of dosa batter
  2. 8-10 teaspoons of oil, to make the dosas

Method:

We will first prepare the filling for the Paneer Masala Dosa.

  1. Crumble the paneer, using your hands. Keep aside.
  2. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Chop the garlic finely. Grind the ginger and garlic to a paste in a small mixer jar, using a little water. Keep aside.
  3. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.
  4. Chop the tomato finely. Keep aside.
  5. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the cumin seeds and asafoetida. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds.
  6. Add the chopped onion to the pan. Saute on medium heat till the onions begin to brown.
  7. Now, add the chopped tomato to the pan, along with a little water and salt, and ginger-garlic paste. Cook on medium flame till the tomatoes turn mushy.
  8. When the tomatoes are cooked, add in the crumbled paneer, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, sugar, amchoor powder and garam masala. Mix well. Cook on medium heat for a minute. You may add a little water at this stage, if you feel the mixture is too dry. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Switch off gas when the filling is done cooking. Do not overcook the filling, as this might cause the paneer to get hard and rubbery.
  9. Mix in the finely chopped coriander into the paneer filling. Set the filling aside.

Now, we will make the Paneer Masala Dosas.

  1. Heat a thick dosa pan on high heat. When the pan is nice and hot, turn down the flame to medium.
  2. Place a ladle of the dosa batter in the centre of the pan. Spread it out to form a medium-sized dosa.
  3. Spread a teaspoon of oil around the dosa. Let the dosa cook till it gets brown on the bottom.
  4. Flip over the dosa, and let it cook on the other side for about a minute.
  5. Transfer the dosa to a serving plate, and place inside it a little of the paneer filling we prepared earlier. Close the dosa. Serve immediately.
  6. Prepare all the Paneer Masala Dosa in a similar manner.

Notes:

1. I have used home-made dosa batter here. You can use store-bought batter as well.

2. I have used paneer from ID to make these Paneer Masala Dosa. You may use home-made paneer instead, too.

3. Adjust the quantity of salt, red chilli powder, sugar, garam masala and amchoor powder that you use in the filling, depending upon personal taste preferences.

4. Be careful while adding salt to the filling, as the paneer will have some amount of salt in it too.

5. I have used store-bought amchoor powder (from Everest) and garam masala (from Ciba Taaza) to make the paneer filling.

6. You can use chana masala instead of garam masala in the filling, too. It adds a lovely, different touch to the filling.

7. You may skip the sugar in the filling, if you so prefer, but I would not recommend that. The sugar does not make the filling sweet, but rather rounds off the other flavours brilliantly and brings out their taste more effectively.

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

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This post is for the Healthy WELLthy Cuisines Facebook group that I am part of. The members of this group cook for a particular theme every fortnight. This fortnight, all of us are cooking different types of dosas.

Check out what the other members have prepared for the theme!:

Pavbhaji Dosa by Sasmita| Ragi Dosa by Shalu| Healthy Brown Rice & Quinoa Dosa by Vanitha| Sweet Cucumber Dosa by Seema| Jowar Dosa by Jayashree| Spicy Tomato Dosa by Rosy

I’m also sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #249. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

 

 

Jeeravan Masala| Indore Poha Masala

Are you looking for a lovely yet healthy way to spruce up your everyday cooking? Try your hands at making some Jeeravan Masala!

For the uninitiated, Jeeravan Masala is a special kind of spice blend from Indore, Madhya Pradesh. Typically made with over 20 carefully chosen spices, this masala is nothing short of a natural medicine. It has been known to aid digestion, and also provides warmth to the body during winters.

Apart from this, Jeeravan Masala is a fabulous taste enhancer. It is widely used in Indori Poha, an extremely delicious preparation with flattened rice or rice flakes that is popular in Madhya Pradesh. The masala elevates the humble poha to an entirely different plane, and makes it stand a class apart. Jeeravan Masala aka Indore Poha Masala is actually so versatile that it can be used to enhance any regular dish – from salads and curries to bhutte ka kees and pakodas.

Ready-made Jeeravan Masala is easily available these days, both in departmental stores and online. However, there’s nothing that matches the charm of making it at home, sans any preservatives or artificial colouring or flavouring agents. You can control what goes into it, make it in small batches, bottle it up and use it whichever way you want! I made a batch of Jeeravan Masala at home recently, and have been absolutely loving using it in my kitchen. My, is it super fragrant or what?!

This is something you must try out. Check out the recipe for Home-Made Jeeravan Masala (also called Indore Poha Masala) below.

Recipe adapted from: Yummy Diaries

Ingredients (yields about 1 cup):

  1. 6 dry red chillies
  2. 3 tablespoons amchoor aka dried mango powder
  3. 1-1/2 tablespoons dhania aka coriander seeds
  4. 3/4 tablespoon turmeric powder
  5. 3/4 tablespoon kala namak aka black salt
  6. 1 tablespoon jeera aka cumin seeds
  7. 1 tablespoon saunf aka fennel seeds
  8. 1 whole jayphal aka nutmeg, coarsely pounded with mortar and pestle
  9. 1/4 tablespoon hing aka asafoetida
  10. 1/2 tablespoon dried ginger powder
  11. 1-inch cinnamon stick
  12. 4-5 laung aka cloves
  13. 1 medium-sized tejpatta aka bayleaf
  14. 2-4 elaichi aka cardamom
  15. 2 blades of javitri aka mace
  16. 1/2 tablespoon shahjeera aka caraway seeds

Method:

1. Place all the above ingredients in a medium-sized mixer jar. Grind to a fine powder.
2. When the powder has completely cooled down, transfer to a clean, dry, air-tight jar. Use as and when needed.
Notes:
1. The above recipe yields about a cup of Jeeravan Masala. Use a couple of spoonfuls of the masala as and when needed, and the rest can be kept in a glass/steel jar at room temperature. There is no need to refrigerate it.
2. Ensure that you use only a clean, air-tight, dry container to store the masala. Use only a clean, dry spoon for it.
3. At room temperature, the masala stays well for quite a few months. However, for the sake of freshness, it is best to use it within a month of preparation.
4. As stated above, Jeeravan Masala is a lovely taste enhancer, so versatile that you can use it in everything from salads and curries to poha and pakoras. You can even use this masala sprinkled on khakras and in the famous Bhutte Ka Kees from Madhya Pradesh.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell, in your comments!
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I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #249. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

 

Poondu Rasam| Garlic Rasam

Rasam of different kinds often makes an appearance on our dining table. It is comfort food for the bub, the husband and me, and I find it it easy to whip up when I have nothing else planned for lunch or dinner. Garlic Rasam (‘Poondu Rasam‘ in Tamil) is something all of us love to bits, and I make quite regularly.

The health benefits of garlic have been talked about since decades. The root helps in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol levels, aids digestion, and helps combat common cold and flu. Garlic is also a rich source of Vitamin C and B6, as well as Manganese. It also contains a high amount of antioxidants, which aid in the warding off of ailments like Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. It also helps in improving one’s longevity. This notwithstanding, garlic smells and tastes absolutely fab, and I love adding it to all and sundry dishes!

I think Poondu Rasam is a brilliant way to use these filled-with-health-benefits garlic bulbs. The garlic infuses the humble rasam with a whole lot of flavour, taking the dish up to an entirely different level. I grind the spice mix for the Poondu Rasam fresh, as opposed to using ready-made rasam powder, which works its magic on the dish too. Give us piping hot garlic rasam, steamed rice and a dollop of ghee, and we are set – any day, any time! Honestly, this rasam turns out so lovely that it doesn’t even need an accompaniment!

Here is our family recipe for Poondu Rasam aka Garlic Rasam.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

For the spice mix:

  1. 1 teaspoon oil
  2. 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  3. 1 tablespoon coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
  4. 4-5 dry red chillies (lal mirch)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (sabut methi)
  6. 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns (kali mirch)
  7. 6-7 cloves garlic, peeled

For the tempering:

  1. 1 teaspoon ghee
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  3. 2 generous pinches asafoetida (hing)
  4. 6-7 cloves of garlic, peeled and pounded with a mortar and pestle

Other ingredients:

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

Method:

  1. Wash the toor daal a couple of times under running water. Drain out all the excess water. Add in just enough fresh water to cover the toor daal, and place it in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally. When all the pressure has come down, mash the cooked toor daal and keep aside.
  2. Soak the tamarind in boiling water for 10 minutes. When it cools down enough to handle, extract a thick juice out of the tamarind, adding very little water at a time. Keep aside.
  3. Now, we will make the spice mix needed for the garlic rasam. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Add in the 6-7 cloves of garlic, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, black peppercorns and fenugreek. Fry on medium flame till the ingredients begin to turn brown, taking care not to burn them. Transfer the fried ingredients to a plate, and allow to cool down completely.
  4. When the ingredients for the spice mix have entirely cooled down, grind them to a powder in a mixer, without adding any water. Keep aside.
  5. Now, we will proceed to make the garlic rasam. Heat a little water in a pan, and add in the finely chopped tomatoes and the curry leaves. Add in a little salt and turmeric powder. Cook on high flame till the tomatoes begin to turn mushy.
  6. Now, add the tamarind extract to the pan. Mix well. Let it cook for a couple of minutes.
  7. Add the cooked toor daal to the pan, along with the spice mix we ground earlier. Add in about 1-1/2 cups water. Mix well. Let everything cook together till the rasam begins to boil. Turn down the flame at this stage. Check and adjust seasonings, if needed.
  8. Let the rasam simmer for just a minute, then switch off gas.
  9. Now, we will prepare the tempering for the garlic rasam. For this, heat the ghee in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and let them pop. Add in the asafoetida and the crushed garlic, and let them stay in for a couple of minutes. Switch off the gas, and add this tempering to the rasam.
  10. Add the finely chopped coriander to the rasam. Cover the pan in which you prepared the rasam, and let it sit like that for at least 15 minutes. Serve the garlic rasam hot with steamed rice, ghee and curry of your choice.

Notes:

  1. The last step of covering the prepared rasam with a lid and letting it sit for 15 minutes is crucial. Don’t miss it. This helps in infusing the flavour of the garlic beautifully into the rasam.
  2. I prefer using ghee to make the tempering for garlic rasam. You can use oil instead, if you so prefer.
  3. Increase or decrease the number of dry red chillies and black peppercorns, depending upon how spicy you want the rasam to be.
  4. Adjust the quantity of toor daal and water you add to the rasam, depending upon how thick/watery you would like it to be.
  5. Don’t cook the rasam too much after adding the spice mix. Just simmer for a minute or so and switch off the gas.

Did you like the recipe? Do try out this Garlic Rasam, and let me know your thoughts on it!

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Rooting for Roots’, wherein members are cooking dishes using various root vegetables except potatoes.

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #249. The co-hosts this week are Diann @ Of Goats and Greens and Jenny @ Apply To Face Blog.

 

 

Broccoli Paratha| Flatbread Stuffed With Broccoli

At home, all of us are big fans of broccoli. Broccoli has tonnes of health benefits to it and, thankfully, we don’t really have to sneak it into dishes in our kitchen. I love adding the green veggie to stir-fries, Indian-style curries, khichdi, Thai curries and the like. Did you know that parathas are a delicious way to get all of the goodness of broccoli onto your plates? We do that, quite often!

Today, I present to you the recipe for Broccoli Parathas, the way I make them. If you don’t like broccoli, you must absolutely try these parathas out, and I’m sure you will change your mind about the vegetable. If you do love broccoli, like us, of course you need to try these parathas out! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the recipe for Broccoli Parathas, my way!

Ingredients (makes about 6 parathas):

For the filling:

  1. 1 heaped cup broccoli, very finely chopped
  2. 1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and grated medium-fine
  3. 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  4. About 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
  5. 1 tablespoon oil
  6. 2 generous pinches of asafoetida
  7. Salt, to taste
  8. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  9. 1 tablespoon chana masala or to taste
  10. 1 tablespoon amchoor powder or to taste
  11. Red chilli powder, to taste

Other ingredients:

  1. About 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour or multi-grain atta
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1 tablespoon oil + more as needed to make the parathas
  4. Salted butter, as needed to serve with the parathas (optional)

Method:

First, we will get the dough for the parathas ready. We will let it rest while we prepare the broccoli stuffing.

  1. Take the whole wheat flour or multi-grain atta in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add in salt to taste.
  3. Adding water little by little, knead into a soft, pliable dough.
  4. When the dough is almost done, add 1 tablespoon of oil. Knead for a couple of minutes more.
  5. Let the prepared dough rest, covered, till you prepare the stuffing.

Now, we will get the broccoli stuffing ready.

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pan. Now, add the asafoetida to it, along with the chopped onion, grated carrot and finely chopped broccoli. Mix well.
  2. Saute on medium heat till the vegetables start wilting, 2-3 minutes. Now, add salt to taste, turmeric powder, chana masala, chaat masala (if using) and amchoor powder. Mix well.
  3. Continue to saute on medium flame till the vegetables are completely cooked, about 2 minutes. Switch off gas, and mix in the finely chopped coriander. Keep the filling aside and allow it to cool down completely.

Now, we will prepare the broccoli parathas.

  1. Set a thick dosa pan on high heat. Allow it to get nice and hot.
  2. Get out the dough that we had kneaded and put to rest. Take a small ball of the dough and place it on a flour-dusted work surface.
  3. Roll out the dough into a thickish circle, dusting it with a little more flour as and when needed.
  4. Place a generous spoonful of the cooled broccoli stuffing inside the circle. Bring the ends of the circle together, and roll out the dough again into a paratha. Transfer the prepared paratha onto the hot dosa pan.
  5. Reduce the flame to medium. Spread a little oil around the paratha, and cook evenly on both sides. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve the Broccoli Paratha hot, with a dollop of salted butter on top (if using).
  6. Use all the dough and the broccoli filling to prepare parathas, the same way.

Notes:

  1. Here, I have chopped the broccoli really fine. Instead of that, you could separate the broccoli into large-ish pieces and run them in a mixer or food processor, to get a very fine mince.
  2. Garam masala can be used in place of chana masala. I love using chana masala in this Broccoli Paratha.
  3. A dash of chaat masala can be added to the filling, for extra flavour. I sometimes add it in, and skip it at other times.
  4. I have used home-made multi-grain atta to make these Broccoli Paratha. You can use store-bought multi-grain atta or whole wheat flour instead, too.
  5. Broccoli, carrot and onion go together beautifully in this paratha. I would not recommend skipping either the carrot or the onion.
  6. You may add ginger-garlic paste to the stuffing, if you so desire. I usually skip it.
  7. Use bright green, firm broccoli for best results. Do not buy broccoli that is yellowing or sagging.

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

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #247. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Corn Dalia Pidi Kozhukattai| Spiced Broken Corn Dumplings

A traditional steamed snack from Tamilnadu and a popular offering to Lord Ganesha on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, pidi kozhukattai is typically made using broken rice and toor daal. That is how it was always done in our family as well. However, in recent years, I began substituting the rice for different things like broken wheat, corn dalia, millets and so on, and have been really happy with the results.

Pidi kozhukattai by themselves are quite a healthy snack. There’s minimal oil used, as these dumplings are steam-cooked. They do not require soaking or any kind of pre-preparation, and can be put together easily. They are extremely filling, making them great for weekday breakfast or dinner and lovely options for school and office lunchboxes. The substitution of rice with millets or dalia makes the pidi kozhukattai all the more healthier, and enables me to create a different-tasting dumplings each time I make these. This Ganesh Chaturthi, I tried my hands at Corn Dalia Pidi Kozhukattai, and all of us at home utterly loved them!

Corn dalia aka broken corn or corn rava is easily available in several departmental stores and health shops. It adds a nice, different-from-the-usual taste to the pidi kozhukattai, and offers them a lovely texture as well. I made these slightly differently from the way I usually make pidi kozhukattai, also adding in some veggies that were languishing in my refrigerator. I must say these changes took the taste to a whole new level.

Here is how I made the Corn Dalia Pidi Kozhukattai.

Ingredients (makes 25-30 pieces):

  1. 2 cups corn dalia
  2. 4 tablespoons chana daal
  3. 6-7 dry red chillies
  4. Salt, to taste
  5. 1 medium-sized carrot
  6. A small piece of cabbage
  7. 6-7 beans
  8. 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
  9. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
  10. 1 tablespoon oil + a little more for greasing the steaming colander
  11. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  12. 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)

Method:

1. Grind the chana daal and dry red chillies to a coarse powder, using a small mixer jar. Keep aside.

2. Peel the carrot and grate medium-fine. Chop the cabbage finely. Remove strings from the beans and chop finely. Keep aside.

3. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds, and allow them to pop. Add the asafoetida and let it stay in for a couple of seconds.

4. Add the grated carrot and chopped beans and cabbage to the pan. Saute on high flame till the vegetables are half cooked.

5. Add 4 cups of water to the pan, along with salt to taste. Tear the curry leaves roughly with your hands and add them to the pan too. Keep on high flame till the water begins to come to a boil.

6. Now, reduce the flame to medium. Stirring constantly, add the corn dalia, fresh grated coconut, and the chana daal-dry red chillies powder to the water. Ensure that no lumps are formed.

7. Keep cooking on medium flame, stirring constantly, till all the water is absorbed and the corn dalia mixture becomes a bit dry, resembling upma. Use your ladle to break any lumps that might have formed. Remember not to overcook the mixture – it should be cooked just to the point where it gets dry, but not overly so. Switch off the gas and allow the mixture to cool down.

8. When the corn dalia mixture has cooled down enough to handle, make medium-sized dumplings from it. Keep covered.

9. Grease a colander with a little oil. Place 8-10 of the prepared dumplings in the colander, or as many as you can fit in without overcrowding. Keep ready.

10. Take about 1-1/2 cup of water in a pressure cooker base. Place on high flame and allow it to come to a boil. Now, place a stand inside the pressure cooker, and place the colander above it. Ensure that no water enters the colander. Close the pressure cooker and steam the dumplings for exactly 10 minutes on high flame, without putting the weight on. Switch off the gas and allow the dumplings to cool down slightly, before transferring them to a serving plate.

11. Steam all the dumplings in the same manner.

12. Serve hot or at room temperature, with chutney of your choice. Here, I have served them with a yummylicious red chutney.

Notes:

  1. I used medium-fine corn dalia aka corn rava or broken corn, to make these pidi kozhukattai. If the dalia is too large, you might want to run it through a mixer once before beginning to make the pidi kozhukattai.
  2. Adjust the quantity of coconut and dry red chillies you use, as per personal taste preferences.
  3. Gingelly oil or coconut oil works best in the making of these Corn Dalia Pidi Kozhukattai.
  4. Wheat dalia aka broken wheat can be used in place of corn dalia, as well.
  5. You can add in other veggies like broccoli, onions, cauliflower, green peas, etc. to the Corn Dalia Pidi Kozhukattai.
  6. These pidi kozhukattai are best steamed in a greased colander, which ensures even cooking.
  7. I have ground the chana daal and red chillies dry, without washing them. You could even wash the chana daal, drain out the excess water, and then soak the chana daal and red chillies together for 20-30 minutes before grinding them into a paste. Use this paste while making the pidi kozhukattai.
  8. Remember not to over-cook the corn dalia mixture – it should be cooked till all the water has been absorbed, but not overly dry. Also, steam the Corn Dalia Pidi Kozhukattai for exactly 10 minutes, without putting the pressure cooker weight on. Over-cooking will make the kozhukattai hard.
  9. I used a 5-litre pressure cooker to make these Corn Dalia Pidi Kozhukattai.
  10. Please remember to place a tall stand inside the pressure cooker base, to ensure that no water enters the colander while steaming.
  11. These Corn Dalia Pidi Kozhukattai can be prepared in advance and lightly steamed just before you want to serve them.
  12. Let the steamed Corn Dalia Pidi Kozhukattai cool down slightly before transferring them to a serving plate. Handling them immediately after steaming might cause them to break.
  13. If you are making these Corn Dalia Pidi Kozhukattai for Ganesh Chaturthi or any other festive occasion, you might want to skip adding onion to it. Also, in that case, traditionally, the dish is made without tasting. The food is partaken of only after offering it to God.

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

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #247. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Sitaphal Basundi| Custard Apple Rabdi

Do you like custard apples aka sitaphal? We love them to bits!

Custard apples are in season, this time of the year. They are all over the markets in Bangalore right about now, absolutely gorgeous fruits that fill the air with their unique perfume. While the hubby and I love eating these fruits as is, I also use them in a basundi (rabdi) when in season – one mind-blowing thing it is, let me tell you! Try it out this Navratri, and I’m sure you will love it too!

You may use condensed milk or cream to thicken the Sitaphal Basundi, but I prefer to do it the old-fashioned way – allowing full-fat milk to cook slowly on the gas, till it thickens and gets rich and creamy. I add a lot of custard apple pulp to the basundi, which has a natural sweetness of its own, thus cutting down the amount of sugar you need to a great extent.

I recently made this Sitaphal Basundi on the occasion of my dad’s birthday. He absolutely adored it, with the huge sweet tooth that he has (which he has passed on to me too!).

Want to try out this finger-lickingly delish Sitaphal Basundi? Here’s the recipe!

Ingredients (serves 6):

  1. 1 litre full-fat milk
  2. 4 big ripe custard apples
  3. 4-5 tablespoons of sugar, or as per taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon rose essence
  5. 8-10 whole almonds
  6. 3-4 threads of saffron

Method:

1. Open up the custard apples and scoop out the flesh. Discard all the seeds and retain the flesh. Keep aside.

2. Take the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place on high flame, and allow it to come to a boil.

3. Now, reduce the flame to medium. Let the milk cook on medium flame till it reduces to half its original volume and gets thicker. You will need to stir intermittently. There will be cream forming on the sides of the pan, which you should scrape back down into the pan.

4. In the meanwhile, chop the almonds into slivers. Keep them ready.

5. When the milk has reduced to half and become creamy, add in the sugar, rose essence, the saffron strands and almond slivers. Mix well and cook for a minute more.

6. Now, switch off the gas. Mix in the de-seeded custard apple pulp.

7. Allow the Sitaphal Basundi to cool down completely before placing it, in a covered container, in the refrigerator. Let it chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Notes:

  1. Using full-fat milk is a must for this recipe. Here, I have used full-cream milk from Nandini.
  2. A couple of pinches of cardamom powder can be used in place of the rose essence. You can use vanilla essence too, alternatively. Personally, though, I prefer rose essence.
  3. It is important to let the milk cook on medium flame, stirring intermittently, scraping down the cream that forms on the sides of the pan, adding it back to the pan. This helps the basundi get nice and thick and creamy.
  4. Use custard apples that are ripe and sweet, but not overly ripe either. You may use more or less custard apples as per personal taste preferences.
  5. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use, depending upon personal taste preferences. You will need to add only a limited amount of sugar because the custard apple will have a natural sweetness to it too.
  6. Cashews, chironji aka charoli, dried rose petals, etc can be added to the Sitaphal Basundi as well. Here, I have used only almond slivers.
  7. You may dry roast the almonds slightly before chopping them into slivers and adding them to the Sitaphal Basundi. I have skipped the roasting part.
  8. Use good-quality saffron in the Custard Apple Rabdi, for best results.
  9. You may use condensed milk or fresh cream to thicken the Custard Apple Rabdi, but I haven’t here. I have let the natural sweetness of the custard apple preside, and let only whole milk add thickness to the dish.
  10. Do not cook the rabdi further after adding the de-seeded custard apple pulp to it.
  11. This Custard Apple Rabdi tastes best when chilled. However, you may even serve it warm or at room temperature.

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

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #247. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Edible Rice Flour Lamp Or Maa Vilakku Recipe| Making Adhirasam From The Leftovers

The tradition of Maa Vilakku for Purattasi Sani

Purattasi, the sixth month as per the Tamil calendar, is considered highly sacred. The entire month of Purattasi is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara aka God Vishnu, and is considered highly auspicious. The month of Purattasi more or less coincides with the Navratri celebrations in India every year and, hence, the two are indistinguishable in my mind. This year, Purattasi falls between September 17 and October 17.

Saturdays during this month (known as ‘Purattasi Sani‘ in Tamil) are considered all the more important, a day on which several Tamilians observe a fast. Many Tamilian households have the custom of lighting Maa Vilakku or lamps made from rice flour on the occasion of Purattasi Sani.

Maa Vilakku or edible rice flour lamps from Tamilnadu

The significance of Maa Vilakku in Tamilnadu

Maa Vilakku‘ in Tamil literally translates to ‘lamps made from flour’. Lamps or diyas made from rice flour, sweetened with jaggery, are considered hugely auspicious in Tamilnadu. They are prepared on special occasions like Purattasi Sani, Thai Velli (Fridays in the sacred Tamil month of Thai), and Karthigai Deepam (a Tamil festival that is celebrated after Diwali). These Maa Vilakku or rice flour lamps are also believed to be a favourite of Mariamman, the very powerful Goddess. When diseases like chicken pox occur in a family, these lamps are prepared with great sanctity and offered to the Goddess, as a means to appease her.

In the olden days, these lamps were made from freshly hand-pounded rice flour, using a mortar and pestle. If you visit the ancient temples of Tamilnadu, you will still come across women pounding rice in huge mortars with huge pestles, to prepare Maa Vilakku. This is a charming sight, indeed, something from a bygone era. Click here to see an example.

In today’s times, though, many households use a mixer to grind soaked rice and then proceed to use the same in making the lamps. Some even use store-bought rice flour to make these lamps.

Different families have different ways of offering these rice flour lamps to God. Some offer a single lamp, while some make two big ones. Some place the lamps on a banana leaf, some place them on a silver plate or tray. Some place flowers around the lamps, and some deck them up with kumkum (vermilion) and manjal (turmeric). The basic ingredients used in the preparation of these lamps and the method, more or less, remain the same. Traditionally, a cotton wick is placed inside these lamps, which are lit using ghee and not oil.

Since Maa Vilakku or rice flour lamps are typically prepared as an offering to God, they are prepared without tasting. Once the lamps are done burning and are cool enough to handle, the residual rice flour is consumed.

Edible rice flour lamps or Maa Vilakku recipe

Let’s see how to make Maa Vilakku or edible rice flour lamps, the traditional way.

Ingredients (makes 2 big lamps or several small ones):

To make the lamps:

  1. 1 cup raw rice
  2. 3/4 cup powdered jaggery

Other ingredients you will need:

  1. Cotton wicks, as needed
  2. Ghee, as needed to light the lamps

Method:

  1. Soak the raw rice in just enough water to cover it, for about 30 minutes.
  2. When the rice is done soaking, transfer to a colander. Drain out all the water from it.
  3. Spread out the soaked and drained rice well on a cotton towel/napkin, and place it in direct sunlight or under the fan for a while. Pat dry using another cotton towel/napkin. In 15-20 minutes, the rice should be damp but not soaking wet – that is when it is ready to use in making the lamps.
  4. Now, take the damp rice in a mixer jar. Pulse a couple of times, for a couple of seconds each, stopping in between to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar with a spoon.
  5. Now, add the jaggery powder to the mixer jar. Again, pulse 3-4 times, for a couple of seconds each, stopping in between to scrape down the sides of the mixer jar with a spoon. At the end of this process, you should get a slightly coarse powder resembling rava, a good mix of the rice and jaggery. Transfer this to a large mixing bowl.
  6. Knead the rice-jaggery powder gently with your hands. This will make the jaggery melt slightly, and the powder will come together to form a sort of dough. If you think the dough is too dry, you may add a bit of water/milk at this stage.
  7. Shape the dough into two large lamps (diyas). If you want, you can make several small diyas out of the dough. Place the prepared lamps on a tray/plate/banana leaf.
  8. Fill each lamp with ghee, as required. Place a cotton wick in each lamp, and light them.
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Pictorial representation of the making of edible rice flour lamps or Maa Vilakku recipe. Move from left to right, first the top row, then centre and then the bottom row.

Notes:

  1. I use regular Sona Masoori or Wada Kollam rice to make these Maa Vilakku.
  2. Once the lamps stop burning, the wicks are removed, the residual ghee in the lamps (if any) is mixed into them, and the dough is consumed as prasadam. However, consuming too much of it can lead to a stomach ache, as it is raw rice flour anyway.
  3. The quantity of jaggery you will need depends upon the type and quality of jaggery you use. I use store-bought jaggery powder and the above measurements work out perfectly for me.
  4. After lighting, the Maa Vilakku dough can be kept at room temperature and consumed little by little. It stays well at room temperature for 3-4 days. Refrigeration will prolong the life of the dough further, but might make it slightly hard.
  5. Make sure all the kumkum (vermilion) and flower petals are scraped off the lamps, before you store the residual dough or consume them.
  6. Edible camphor (pacchai karpooram), dry ginger powder (sukku podi) or cardamom (elaichi) powder can be added to the dough, for extra taste. We usually skip these.

Making adhirasam from leftover Maa Vilakku dough

Don’t want to consume the leftover dough after lighting the Maa Vilakku, as is? You can use the residual dough to prepare Adhirasam, a beautiful, beautiful sweet dish!

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Adhirasam made from leftover Maa Vilakku dough

Adhirasam or athirasam is an old-time sweet dish from South India. In Tamilnadu, this is commonly made for weddings and poojas and on festive occasions like Navratri and Diwali. Traditionally, to make the adhirasam, a syrup is made with jaggery and water, to which coarse rice flour is mixed to form a dough, which is then formed into discs and deep-fried. Adhirasams are a delicacy, beautiful things that aren’t easy to get right. It is tricky to get the jaggery syrup right, and making discs that don’t disintegrate while frying is a huge task. Using leftover Maa Vilakku dough is an easier, short-cut method to make adhirasam, which more often than not yields great results, even for a beginner to Indian sweets like me.

Here’s how you can make Adhirasam from leftover Maa Vilakku dough.

Ingredients (yields 8-10 small adhirasam for the above Maa Vilakku measurements):

  1. Leftover sweet maa vilakku dough, wick removed, flower petals and kumkum scraped off
  2. Oil, as needed for deep-frying
  3. Ghee, as needed to grease palms

Method:

  1. Heat oil for deep frying in a thick-bottomed pan, till it reaches smoking point.
  2. In the meanwhile, grease your hands with a little ghee. Use your hands to make small discs of about 1/4-inch thickness from the leftover dough. If you have been refrigerating the leftover dough, bring it to room temperature first before proceeding to make the discs from it. Keep aside.
  3. When the oil is nice and hot, reduce the flame to medium. Drop in a couple of the discs into the hot oil and fry evenly, till they get brown on the outside. Drain out the oil and transfer to a plate. Take care to ensure that the discs do not get burnt. If the oil is too hot and the discs are rapidly frying up, you might want to reduce the flame further to ensure even frying.
  4. Deep fry all the discs in the same manner. The adhirasams are ready! They can be consumed straight off the stove or at room temperature. At room temperature, they stay well for 4-5 days.

Did you like this recipe? Do tell me 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 ‘Navratri Special’.

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #247. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.

Thai Green Mango Salad With Carrot & Pok Choi Microgreens

Microgreens are all the rage these days, at least in the fine dining space. Rightly so, too, because they are packed with nutrients, and help in adding a whole lot of texture and taste to various dishes. These little greens also add hugely to the visual appeal of a dish. However, microgreens are most commonly associated with fancy dishes in fancy restaurants. These days, though, they are easily available for use by home cooks as well, and can be used in a lot of everyday Indian cooking. I was recently sent a tub of pok choi microgreens by Living Food Company, and have been enjoying putting them in anything and everything!

The beautiful pok choi microgreens I was sent by Living Food Company. Can you see just how fresh they are?!

What are microgreens?

Microgreens are nothing but little shoots of vegetables, just a few inches high. Do not confuse them with ‘baby greens’ – microgreens are smaller than baby greens, and much fresher. The microgreens from Living Food Company are grown without any chemicals or pesticides and are delivered to you in an eco-friendly tub, just a few days old, very much alive! Can you imagine just how fresh they would be? Sprinkle some water over them, and they stay well for 3-5 days more. You can keep them in your kitchen or balcony, and just snip a handful of the greens to use as and when you need them!

Arugula, basil, radish, beetroot, amaranth, spinach, fenugreek, pok choi, coriander, kale, cabbage, carrot.. there is a long list of microgreens available to the cook of today.

Why microgreens?

Microgreens have a highly concentrated, very intense flavour profile as compared to regular greens. Research has shown that microgreens have an exceptionally high concenration of nutrients too, as compared to fully-grown greens or vegetables. Also, like I was saying above, they are great to add some complexity, texture, colour and flavour to food, making it look prettier too.

How to use microgreens?

  • Microgreens are known to have a short shelf life, and are best used within a week’s time of harvest.
  • If you are using a living tub of microgreens, just snip off the greens from the roots using a pair of kitchen scissors. The roots should not be consumed. The little leaves and their stems are perfectly safe for consumption.
  • Ideally, microgreens should be eaten raw or, at best, lightly stir-fried. Overcooking tampers with their nutritional content and flavour profile. This is why they are best candidates for use in sandwiches and burgers, salads or just sprinkled over cooked dishes or desserts as a garnish.
  • Different microgreens have different flavours to them. Some will be quite spicy, some slightly bitter, some with a mustard-y punch to them. Choose dishes to use them in accordingly.
  • Microgreens can very much be used in a regular Indian kitchen, and need not be restricted only to Western food preparations. There are a whole lot of dishes that are cooked in an average Indian kitchen, which can benefit from the use of microgreens. Stop being intimidated by them and thinking of them as something exotic, let your imagination run wild, and you will open yourself up to myriad possibilities in your kitchen!

Here is how I used pok choi microgreens in a Thai Green Mango & Carrot Salad

I used some of the pok choi microgreens sent to me by Living Food Company in a Thai-style salad with green mango and carrot. The slight bitterness of the greens beautifully complemented the sourness from the raw mango and the sweetness of the carrot and honey I used in it. I loved how the greens made the salad richer and all the more delish!

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Thai Green Mango Salad With Carrot & Pok Choi Microgreens

Here is how I made the Thai Green Mango Salad With Carrot and Pok Choi Microgreens.

Ingredients (makes 4 small servings):

  1. 1 medium-sized raw mango
  2. 1 medium-sized carrot
  3. 1/4 cup pok choy microgreens
  4. 1/4 cup raw peanuts
  5. About 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  6. 2 green chillies
  7. Salt to taste
  8. 3 tablespoons honey or to taste

Method:

  1. Get a pan nice and hot and add in the raw peanuts. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till they get slightly crisp, stirring intermittently to ensure that they do not burn. Switch off gas and allow the peanuts to cool down entirely.
  2. Meanwhile, peel the raw mango and carrot and julienne them. Transfer the juliennes to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add finely chopped coriander and the pok choy microgreens to the mixing bowl too.
  4. Chop the green chillies very finely. Add to the mixing bowl.
  5. When the roasted peanuts have entirely cooled down, coarsely crush them in a mixer. Add the coarsely crushed peanuts to the mixing bowl.
  6. Add salt to taste and honey. Mix well. Serve the Thai Green Mango Salad immediately.

Notes:

1. For best results, use a green mango that is semi-ripe, so it will be a bit sweet and not overly sour. A raw totapuri works beautifully in the making of this Thai Green Mango Salad.

2. Adjust the quantity of green chillies and honey you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

3. I have used an Ooty carrot here, which has a certain amount of inherent sweetness to it. If you are using any other variety of carrot, you might need to increase the quantity of honey a bit.

4. Palm sugar, powdered jaggery or brown sugar can be used in place of honey too.

5. You can add in other ingredients to this Thai Green Mango Salad, too – like finely chopped ginger, garlic, onion, cooked sweet corn, cooked moong bean sprouts and the like. I haven’t, because I was limited by what was available in my kitchen and because I wanted to keep things really simple.

6. I have used pok choy microgreens from Living Food Company to make this salad. I was sent a free sample of the microgreens by Living Food, to test in my kitchen. I loved the superb quality of the produce, and am loving using it in all and sundry dishes. The thoughts expressed about the greens here are entirely my own, entirely honest, and not influenced by anything or anyone. This is not a sponsored post.

7. You may use any other type of microgreens in this Thai Green Mango Salad, too.

8. Increase or decrease the quantity of microgreens you use in the Thai Green Mango Salad, as per personal taste preferences. The pok choy microgreens I have used had a little bitterness to them, which complemented the sourness from the raw mango, the sweetness from the honey and carrot, and the spiciness from the green chillies perfectly. The above quantities were just perfect for us.

7. I have used a julienne peeler to julienne the carrot and green mango. Julienning vegetables, as opposed to grating them, stops the salad from getting too soggy.

8. Ensure that the peanuts do not burn, while dry roasting them. Let them cool down fully before coarsely crushing them in a mixer. Remember that you need to crush them coarsely, and not make a fine powder.

9. Do not let the Thai Green Mango Salad sit out for too long after preparing it. Serve it immediately. You may roast the peanuts and keep them ready in advance, but julienne the carrots and green mango just before you plan to make the salad, for best results.

10. I washed the microgreens in running water and patted them dry with a clean kitchen towel before using them in making this salad.

I hope you found this post helpful!

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

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I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #247. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Laurena @ Life Diet Health.