Orange Rasam Recipe| How To Make Orange Rasam

Oranges are in season now, and the markets of Bangalore are flooded with them! I recently picked up a few of the Kamala variety, also called ‘loose jacket’ oranges for the way their skin looks all loose and hanging. 🙂 They were gorgeous – slightly sour, just the right amount of sweet, bursting with fragrance and flavour. I used them to make Orange Rasam, and I can’t begin to explain just how delicious it turned out!

Check that out!

What is rasam?


Rasam is comfort food for most Tamilians, and I am no exception. It spells out ‘home’ for me, and as much as I love my Paneer Butter Masala and pizza, it is rasam and curd rice that I look forward to when I’m in need of comforting.

But what is rasam, actually? It refers to a thin broth, for lack of better words, typically made using cooked lentils and tamarind. Mildly spicy and sour, it makes for a lovely accompaniment to hot steamed rice – serve it with some poriyal, appalam (papad) and thogayal (chutney), and you have a blissful meal that will soothe one’s soul.

Rasam can be made in various ways – there are, probably, well over 100 varieties! There are traditional versions like Long Pepper Rasam, Garlic Rasam , Rasam with freshly ground spices, and Tamil Brahmin wedding rasam. And then, there are the more modern, fusion versions such as this Orange Rasam,  Strawberry Rasam and Pineapple Rasam!

About this delicious, delicious Orange Rasam

The Orange Rasam is a beautiful thing, simple but very flavourful and hearty. The natural sweetness and sourness of the oranges lent a nice touch to the rasam. The I deliberately kept the ingredients minimal, sans even rasam powder, so as to let the refreshing fragrance and taste of the oranges preside. The rasam was much loved by everyone at home, and made for a refreshing change from the usual.

I made the Orange Rasam on the same lines as the Lemon Rasam we make, with a few small variations. I kept it light, with only a little toor dal going in, so we could drink it like a soup and mix it with rice as well.

Putting together the ingredients for Orange Rasam!

This is a completely vegetarian preparation, suitable to those on a plant-based or vegan diet. However, if you prepare the tempering using ghee instead of oil, this no longer remains a vegan dish.

This Orange Rasam recipe can be made gluten-free just by omitting the asafoetida used in the tempering. This is because most asafoetida brands have some amount of wheat flour included. However, if you do manage to find a completely gluten-free version of asafoetida, you could definitely go ahead and use it.

How to make Orange Rasam

Please find below my Orange Rasam recipe.

Ingredients (serves 5-6):
  •  
  • 1. 3 tablespoons toor dal
  • 2. Juice from 4 oranges, or about 1 cup
  • 3. A small piece of tamarind
  • 4. 1-inch piece of ginger
  • 5. 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
  • 6. 2-3 green chillies
  • 7. 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 8. 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 9. Salt to taste
  • 10. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 11. A dash of red chilli powder (optional)
  • 12. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  • 13. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 14. 3-4 dry red chillies
  • 15. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  • 16. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
  •  
Method:

1. Wash the toor dal well under running water. Drain out all the water, then transfer to a wide vessel. Add in enough fresh water to cover it. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook for 6-7 whistles on high flame or till the dal is well cooked and soft. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. In the meanwhile, extract the juice from the oranges. Filter out the seeds, pulp and any pith. Keep the filtered orange juice ready.

3. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for 10-15 minutes, for it to become soft. When it is cool enough to handle, extract a thick paste out of it, adding a little more water if necessary. Keep aside.

4. Chop the tomatoes finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Keep ready.

5. Peel the garlic cloves and smash them roughly, using a mortar and pestle. Keep aside.

6. When the pressure from the cooker has gone down completely, get the cooked toor dal out. Mash it well using a buttermilk churner. Keep aside.

7. Now, take the finely chopped ginger, slit green chillies and curry leaves in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place over high flame, and add a little water. Let it cook for a minute.

8. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, along with a little salt. Add a bit of water too, if the pan has dried out. Cook on high flame for 2-3 minutes or till the tomatoes turn mushy.

9. Add the tamarind paste, along with 1/2 cup water, salt to taste, red chilli powder (if using) and turmeric powder. Let it cook on high flame for 2 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

10. Add in the cooked and mashed toor dal. Add 1 to 1-1/2 cups water to adjust the consistency of the rasam. Cook on high flame till the rasam starts bubbling, stirring intermittently. This should take 2-3 minutes.

11. In the meantime, prepare the tempering for the rasam. Heat the oil in a small pan. Add the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Add the dry red chillies, asafoetida, and smashed garlic. Saute for a few seconds, without burning the ingredients. Switch off the gas, and add this tempering to the rasam cooking in the other pan.

12. Turn flame down to medium, and let everything simmer together for a minute. Then, switch off gas.

13. Add the orange juice to the pan, along with the finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix well.

14. Keep the Orange Rasam covered for at least 10 minutes, for it to absorb all the flavours from the tempering. Then it is ready to serve, along with hot steamed rice and a curry of your choice.

Tips & Tricks


1. Adjust the quantity of tamarind you use, depending upon how sweet or sour the orange juice is.

2. Lemon juice can be used to sour the rasam, in place of the tamarind.

3. Adjust the amount of water you use, depending upon the consistency of the rasam you require.

4. The red chilli powder is optional. If you feel the heat from the green chillies and ginger is enough, the red chilli powder can be skipped completely.

5. Add the orange juice at the very end, after switching off the gas, otherwise there are chances of the rasam turning bitter.

6. Remember to keep the Orange Rasam covered for some time, once it is ready. This is an important step, which helps the flavours of the garlic get infused well into the rasam.

7. I squeezed 4 big oranges to get about 1 cup of juice, which was just perfect for the above measurements. Adjust the quantity of orange juice you use, as per personal taste preferences.

8. Squeeze the orange juice fresh, just before preparing the rasam.

9. For best results, use oranges that are a good mix of sweet and sour. I used the ‘loose jacket’ Kamala oranges that are in season now, and they were just amazing.

10. Ghee can be used in the tempering instead of oil.

11. You can skip the garlic completely, if you don’t prefer it.

12. I wanted to keep the Orange Rasam light and simple, so I have used only 3 tablespoons of toor dal. You may use more toor dal, if you so prefer.

13. Don’t reheat the Orange Rasam too much, once it is cooked and ready. Just gently heat it if it has gotten cold, but I wouldn’t suggest overdoing it.

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

Pressure Cooker Tendli Masale Bhaat| One Pot Maharashtrian Spiced Ivy Gourd Rice

Have you been acquainted with Tendli Masale Bhaat yet? If not, you definitely must, and soon! This super flavourful dish deserves to be tried out and loved.

What is Tendli Masale Bhaat?

It refers to a rice dish from the state of Maharashtra, prepared using the very nutritious ivy gourd or coccinea (‘tendli‘ or ‘tondli‘ in Marathi, ‘kundru‘ in Hindi and ‘kovakkai‘ in Tamil). It is usually a little spicy, with just a hint of sweet and tangy tastes. There is a version of Masale Bhaat made without ivy gourd too, but the one using it is hugely popular across Maharashtra.

The ‘masale’ in the name of the dish comes from the use of goda masala – a traditional Maharashtrian spice blend made using coconut, stone flower (patthar ke phool or dagad phool), dry red chillies, cinnamon, bay leaves and sesame seeds, among other ingredients. Goda masala is an absolute must in Tendli Masale Bhaat, and it is what gives the dish a unique aroma and flavour.

Tendli Masale Bhaat is an absolute delight to eat, rustic and hearty and delicious, just perfect for a winter’s day. I do have several fond memories of sitting with my family around the dining table, on chilly winter evenings in Ahmedabad, eating it, this dish that happened to be my grandma’s signature. It can be served with plain curd or with a raita of your choice. I usually do plain curd, but recently served it with a sweetish Boondi Raita, and the combination was a huge hit!

About my One Pot Tendli Masale Bhaat

I was introduced to the wonders of Tendli Masale Bhaat by my grandmother, who spent a large part of her life in a Maharashtrian colony. Her cooking had a definite Marathi touch to it, thanks to her neighbours, friends and acquaintances from the colony. Grandma, though, would make the dish in a pan, with oodles of oil and chillies. Over the years, I adapted her recipe to use less oil, a pressure cooker and limited spiciness – the way my family likes it.

Grandma would get her stash of goda masala home-made by her friends, which explains why I have never seen her making it. I used to buy goda masala whenever I spotted it in the departmental stores, which is still somewhat a rare occurrence in Bangalore. Lately, though, I have started substituting the goda masala I use in various Maharashtrian dishes with kala masala from Wandering Foodie. I absolutely love the masala, made the traditional way, without any artificial colouring or flavouring agents or preservatives. This brand of kala masala is available online, and it gives my Tendli Masale Bhaat the same gorgeous fragrance and flavour I remember from my grandma’s times.

Are goda masala and kala masala the same?

No, they aren’t. Several online recipes suggest that they are the one and the same or that one can be substituted for the other – just the way I did here – but the two spice blends are different. There are subtle differences between the two, although they might look and smell similar.

I’m not sure of the nuances, having never prepared either goda masala or kala masala. I have, however, used both extensively. There are a few differences in the ingredients used in both masalas, and the degree to which they are roasted in both cases is also different. Goda masala is brown in colour, lighter in shade than the blackish kala masala – this is because of the greater time for which ingredients are roasted in case of the latter. I believe both these masalas have traditionally been used in different regions of Maharashtra too.

However, goda masala and kala masala do have a rather similar flavour profile. I have used one in place of the other – in dishes like misal, amti and Tendli Masale Bhaat – without any noticeable change in taste. It is, according to me, anyday better than using garam masala in a quintessentially Maharashtrian dish, as some recipes suggest. Garam masala has an entirely different flavour, and I don’t think it can replace goda masala or kala masala in a dish.

Tendli Masale Bhaat for #GourdsAreBeautiful

Today, I’m going to share the way I make Tendli Masale Bhaat in a pressure cooker for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the blog hop this week is #GourdsAreBeautiful, and we are showcasing dishes made using different types of gourds. There are so many different types of gourds available in India – bottle gourd, ridge gourd, spiny gourd, bitter gourd, ivy gourd, pointed gourd and snake gourd, to name a few. However, the gourd family is oft disliked and ignored, in spite of many of them possessing various health benefits. Our aim at the Foodie Monday Blog Hop is to make sure you eat gourds, by presenting some really beautiful and delicious dishes with them. 🙂

It was Sujata ji of Batter Up With Sujata who suggested the theme this week. Her blog is a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind baked goodies, traditional Bengali curries and desserts. You should check it out, if you haven’t already. I made this Niramish Aloor Dom using Sujata ji’s recipe and all of us at home absolutely adored it. Now, I’m super eager to try out her Bengali-style Chatpata Gobhi and Chhanar Dalna!

How to make Pressure Cooker Tendli Masale Bhaat

Here’s presenting to you the way I make the Tendli Masale Bhaat, in a pressure cooker. This way, it gets cooked in just a few minutes – a lifesaver on busy weekdays and lazy weekends alike.

This is a no-onion, no-garlic recipe. It is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable to those following a plant-based diet. It can be gluten-free too, if you skip the asafoetida in the tempering. The Wandering Foodie Kala Masala I use does not contain any asafoetida in it either – make sure it is the same with whatever brand of goda masala or kala masala you are using.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 1-1/2 cups rice
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 12-15 tender ivy gourd
  4. 1 medium-sized carrot
  5. 1 medium-sized tomato
  6. 4-5 large florets of cauliflower
  7. 1-1/2 tablespoons green peas
  8. 1 medium-sized potato
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Red chilli powder to taste
  12. 1-1/2 tablespoon goda masala or kala masala or to taste
  13. 1 tablespoon jaggery powder or to taste
  14. 1 tablespoon oil
  15. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  16. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  17. 2 small bay leaves
  18. A 1-inch piece of cinnamon
  19. 3-4 cloves
  20. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander
  21. 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh grated coconut

Method:

1. The first step is to prep all the veggies needed to make this dish, and to keep them ready. Slice the tops and ends of the ivy gourd and chop them lengthwise. Peel the carrot and potato, and chop into large-ish pieces. Chop the cauliflower florets into slightly large pieces. Chop the tomato finely. Keep the shelled green peas, grated coconut and finely chopped coriander handy.

2. Wash the rice well under running water. Drain out all the water. Keep ready.

3. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker bottom, keeping the flame high. Add in the mustard, and allow it to sputter. Now, add in the asafoetida, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

4. Now, add the chopped ivy gourd, potato, carrot and cauliflower, as well as the shelled green peas to the pressure cooker. Saute on high flame for a minute.

5. Add the washed and drained rice to the pressure cooker. Saute for a minute.

6. Add the 4 cups of water to the pressure cooker, along with salt and red chilli powder to taste, jaggery powder, turmeric powder, kala masala and finely chopped tomatoes. Mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

7. Still keeping the flame high, let the water start bubbling. Close the pressure cooker at this stage, and put the weight on. Pressure cook on high flame for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

8. After the pressure has completely gone down, wait for 10-15 minutes to open the cooker. Then, gently fluff up the rice using the back of a ladle.

9. Gently mix the grated coconut and finely chopped fresh coriander into the rice. Your Tendli Masale Bhaat is now ready to serve. Serve it hot with raita of your choice or plain curd.

Tips & Tricks

1. I use Sona Masoori rice to make this. You can use any variety of rice you prefer.

2. Use only firm, fresh and tender tendli aka ivy gourd to make this dish. Overly ripe ivy gourd will alter the taste of the rice.

3. I have used 4 cups of water here for 1.5 cups of rice + some veggies, which comes to roughly 2.5 cups of water per cup of rice. Adjust the quantity of water you use, depending upon how grainy or soft you want the Tendli Masale Bhaat to be. The above measurements yield rice that is well-cooked, neither very grainy, nor overly mushy.

4. I have used a 5-litre pressure cooker to prepare this Tendli Masale Bhaat.

5. Only a few veggies work best in the making of this Tendli Masale Bhaat – green peas, pigeon peas (tuver dana) cauliflower, carrot, potato and the ivy gourd (tendli), of course. If you so prefer, you could skip all the other veggies and cook the rice using only ivy gourd.

6. Adjust the quantity of salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, jaggery powder and kala masala or goda masala, as per personal taste preferences. This rice is supposed to be spicy and fragrant with the masala, with just a hint of tanginess (from the tomatoes) and a bit of sweetness (from the jaggery).

7. Once the pressure from the cooker has fully gone down, wait for 10-15 minutes before opening it. Then, gently fluff up the rice with the back of a ladle, ensuring that the grains of rice do not break.

8. For best results, use very fresh goda masala or kala masala. Since these spice mixes contain coconut, it is important to use them before they start smelling rank.

9. Cooking times might differ, depending upon the type of rice and vegetables used, as well as the make of the pressure cooker. For the above quantities of ingredients, 4 whistles works perfectly for me. Please adjust the number of whistles or cooking time as per your preference.

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

Boondi Raita| How To Make Boondi Ka Raita

Boondi Raita makes for a wonderful accompaniment to rice dishes like pulav, biryani, bisi bele bath and khichdi. It can also be served as part of a full thali meal, along with rotis, sabzi, dal, pickle and papad. I recently served Boondi Raita with Maharashtrian Tendli Masale Bhaat, and all of us at home absolutely loved the combination. The mild sweetness and sourness made for just the perfect complement to the spicy Masale Bhaat, the boondi adding a lovely texture.

What do you mean by raita?


For the uniniatiated, raita refers to a quintessentially Indian dish made using curd. There can be several different types of additions to the curd – from okra, cooked pumpkin and roasted eggplant to foxnuts and fruits like banana, pomegranate and pineapple. The major ingredient in this raita is boondi.

Raita is made in different ways in different families, with small and big variations in the ingredients used. Cumin powder, salt, asafoetida, mustard, chaat masala, red chilli powder, sugar, mint leaves, coriander and curry leaves are some of the ingredients commonly added to raita, to give it body. A raita can range from the very simple to the elaborate, from the very healthy to the not-so-healthy.

I love trying out varieties of raita, trying to make each one different from the other.

What is boondi?


Boondi refers to little balls of spiced chickpea flour, deep-fried till crisp. There’s a sweet version of boondi too, but it is the savoury one that is used in the making of raita.

A very popular snack in India, ready-to-eat boondi is commonly available in stores everywhere. In South India, it is typically made in homes during Diwali. I usually buy my boondi from Adayar Ananda Bhavan (A2B), who do a brilliant job with it. That is precisely what I have used to make this Boondi Raita.

How I make Boondi Raita


I like my Boondi Raita to be very simple, with just a few ingredients added to it. I like it to be a bit sweet, and hence add sugar to it – with the deep-fried boondi and the sugar, it is an occasional treat at home.It is a great way to use up any leftover boondi, and tastes absolutely awesome, if I may say so myself.
I also use black salt, which gives a unique fragrance to the Boondi Raita, as well as cumin powder to give it some depth of flavour.

I usually steer clear of chopped green chillies or red chilli powder while making this raita, because I usually pair it with something spicy anyway. I don’t add any tempering to it, either, or chopped mint leaves, as I have seen being done in some restaurants.

Some people add the boondi to hot water, then squeezing it well before adding it to the curd. This is done to remove the excess oil from the boondi, and to make it soft. I don’t do this, as we rather prefer keeping the crunchiness of the boondi intact.

Boondi Raita recipe


Without further ado, let me run you through my proceedure to make Boondi Raita.

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #301, co-hosted this week with Antonia @ Zoale.com.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 2 cups thick curd
  2. About 1/4 cup water
  3. Black salt to taste
  4. 1/2 cup boondi
  5. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder or as needed
  6. 1 tablespoon sugar or to taste
  7. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

Method:
1. Take the curd in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add in the water, roasted cumin powder, sugar and black salt. Whisk well, making sure the sugar is fully dissolved and completely integrated into the curd.
3. Add the boondi and chopped coriander just before serving. Mix well.
4. Serve immediately with a rice dish or as part of a thali meal.

Tips & Tricks


1. I used thick home-made curd to make this Boondi Raita. Adjust the amount of water you use, to bring the curd to a runny, but still thick consistency. For best results, the curd used to make raita should not be too watery.

2. Black salt gives a unique fragrance and taste to the raita. Use it as per taste. If you don’t have any, you could use regular table salt instead, but I would strongly recommend using black salt.
3. I have used store-bought boondi here. You could make your own at home, if you so prefer.
4. We prefer the Boondi Raita to be a little sweetish, and hence the sugar. You could skip the sugar, if you don’t prefer it. You could use jaggery powder instead too, but that might alter the colour of the raita a bit.
5. Roasted cumin powder refers to cumin dry-roasted till fragrant, then allowed to cool down and coarsely powdered. I make this in bulk and store in an air-tight bottle, using it as needed. A store-bought version can be used instead, too.
6. You can add a tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and asafoetida, as well as chopped mint leaves and red chilli powder to this Boondi Raita. I prefer keeping it basic, as above. Moreover, the store-bought boondi I used already had some cashewnuts and curry leaves added to it. 
7. Use curd that is slightly sour – not overly so – for best results.
8. Add boondi to the curd just before serving, so as to retain its crunch. Letting the raita sit for too long after preparing will cause the boondi to go soggy.
9. Slightly chilled curd can be used to make this Boondi Raita. I make it with room-temperature curd only.
10. Make sure you use boondi that hasn’t lost its freshness and which doesn’t smell weird. Fried stuff like boondi tends to start smelling off if kept unused for too long, in which case it is best to discard it.

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

Jasmine Rice Khao Yum| Thai Rainbow Rice Salad

Want to eat the rainbow? You should try Khao Yum!

‘Eat the rainbow, eat the rainbow!’

Just how many times have we heard that being said? Studies have shown that eating different naturally coloured foods ensures that you get different types of nutrients into your system. And then, of course, there’s the leap that your heart takes when you look at all the pretty colours on your plate! The recipe that I’m about to share with you today, Khao Yum, will surely make your heart sing with joy with all its loveliness.

It’s not for nothing that Khao Yum is called Thai Rainbow Rice Salad – it is, really and truly, a rainbow on your platter. I made this some time ago for lunch as a surprise for the husband. He came home from a meeting for lunch, expecting the regular fare, and you should have seen the look on his face when he was presented with a rainbow instead. 🙂 Take a look for yourself?

Khao Yum aka Thai Rainbow Rice Salad. Ain’t it prettiness personified?

What on earth is a Rainbow Rice Salad?

It is a salad made Thai style, with rice being the main ingredient. Cooked jasmine rice is at the centre of this salad, with assorted accompaniments to go with it, a delicious dressing included. All of it is typically served separately as above, on a platter or bowl. The diners are expected to mix together the various components of the salad, as per their personal taste preferences.

Now, the Thais, being the Thais, don’t do anything by half measures. On our visits to Thailand, I have always admired how the Thais make everything look cute and pretty – from pens and soaps to clothes and hot water bottles and, of course, food! At a little Thai restaurant, you could be ordering a simple Thai Sticky Rice With Mango that’s regular fare over there, but it’ll come to your table presented so beautifully it could give five-star chefs in big metros a run for their money! This Khao Yum is no exception – the jasmine rice is, traditionally, coloured blue using the butterfly pea flower, and colourful accompaniments are laid out all around it.

The dressing served with Khao Yum is bursting with flavour, the way most Thai dishes do. It is sweet and sour and spicy, the kind of thing that will make your tastebuds wake up and take notice. I’m serious! With the dressing and the sides, this Thai Rainbow Rice Salad makes for a supremely delicious, hearty meal.

It is quite a healthy thing, too, this salad, with no artificial colours or flavours going in, with limited usage of oil.

Is Khao Yum a very difficult thing to make?


We didn’t come across this dish in any of the Thai restaurants we visited, in Bangkok and Pattaya. It was only recently, while I was reading up about the country’s cuisine that I came across this dish on Hot Thai Kitchen, a treasure trove of Thai recipes that I have come to love. I’m wondering if this salad is more of a family thing in Thailand, and hasn’t really made it to the mainstream restaurants. I’m not sure.

Anyways, Khao Yum isn’t a difficult thing to make at home, at all. If you have all the right ingredients at hand, it is super simple to put this salad together. In Thailand, I understand this is a non-vegetarian salad, with shrimp being used in the dressing as well as a side. I have, however, made a vegetarian version here.

Are the ingredients for Khao Yum tough to find in India?


Depends on where you are based in India, I would say. However, you can definitely make this salad using vegetarian ingredients commonly available in most Indian cities. Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients for you.

Many departmental stores and gourmet food stores stock jasmine rice – the heart of this salad – these days. In a pinch, basmati rice or any other fragrant variety of rice can be used, but I would really suggest hunting down some jasmine rice.

Dried butterfly pea flowers are easily available online, albeit a bit expensive. In case you have the fresh flowers – called Shankha Pushpam or Sangu Poo down South – growing somewhere around you, you could use them too. You could leave the rice plain white, too, if you so prefer, or colour it a different colour using handy stuff from your kitchen – a pinch of turmeric, maybe? I have used butterfly pea-infused jasmine rice that I picked up in Big C, Thailand, to make this salad. I just had to pressure cook the rice like we do usually, and I ended up with this naturally coloured, beautiful blue cooked rice. In this video, Pailin of Hot Thai Kitchen shows how you can achieve the same blue effect using purple cabbage and baking soda. Yes!

There are no hard and fast rules as to what accompaniments this salad should have. The rice and toasted coconut is a must, as far as I understand, as well as the dressing. There should, ideally, be a sweet-sour juicy fruit too, like pomelo, pineapple, raw mango or apple – I have used pineapple. Tofu can be used in place of the paneer I have used here. I have also used lemon wedges, sweet corn, carrot, moong sprouts and seedless cucumber as accompaniments. All of these ingredients are fairly easy to source across India.

The dressing needs ingredients like tamarind, ginger, jaggery, dry red chillies, small onions, lemongrass, soya sauce, garlic and lemon zest, which aren’t difficult to find either. I have used regular Indian tamarind, ginger and jaggery in place of the Thai tamarind, galangal and palm jaggery that typically goes into the dressing. The lemongrass came from a potted plant in my balcony, but it is commonly available in stores like Namdhari’s and MK Retail in Bangalore. I used naturally fermented soya sauce from Shoyu, a Thai brand, in the dressing. You could use a regular Indian brand or look for naturally fermented versions online or in specialty stores.

All set to make your Thai Rainbow Rice Salad? Here’s how you roll!


Please find below instructions to put together Khao Yum or Thai Rainbow Rice Salad at home. Don’t be fazed by the number of steps in there – that’s only because I have tried to explain everything in great detail. In reality, this is a very, very simple thing to make. I have adapted the original recipe from Hot Thai Kitchen to suit my family’s vegetarian preferences, tastebuds and availability of ingredients.


I’m sharing this recipe with the A-Z Recipe Challenge group that I’m part of. Every alternate month, the members of this group present recipes made from ingredients in alphabetical order. The letter for this month is J, and I chose ‘jasmine rice’ as my star ingredient.

I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #301, co-hosted this week with Antonia @ Zoale.com. Now, without further ado, over to the recipe!

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

For the salad dressing:
  1. A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind
  2. 3-4 tablespoons jaggery
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  4. 3-4 dry red chillies
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  6. 3-4 strands of lemongrass
  7. Salt to taste
  8. A small onion
  9. 1 tablespoon dark soya sauce
  10. 5-6 cloves garlic
  11. Water as needed

For the salad:
  1. 1 cup butterfly pea jasmine rice
  2. 1/3 cup peanuts
  3. 1 teaspoon + 1/2 teaspoon oil
  4. 100 grams paneer
  5. 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  6. About 2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander
  7. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut
  8. 1 medium-sized carrot
  9. 1 medium-sized cucumber
  10. 1/3 cup sweet corn kernels
  11. 1/2 cup moong bean sprouts

Method:

Let’s first make the salad dressing.

1. Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for at least 15 minutes. When it cools down enough to handle, extract a thick paste out of it. You may add a little more water if needed, to help extract the juice. Keep aside.

2. Peel the onion and ginger and chop roughly. Peel the garlic cloves. Add these to a small mixer jar.

3. Roughly chop the lemongrass strands. Add to the mixer jar.

4. Break the dry red chillies roughly using your hands. Add to the mixer jar.

5. Grind the ingredients in the mixer jar coarsely or to a smooth paste, as you prefer.

6. Transfer the ground paste to a pan, and place on high heat. Add in tamarind extract and salt to taste. Cook on high flame for 2-3 minutes or till the raw smell of the tamarind goes away.

7. Add soya sauce, lemon zest, jaggery and enough water to bring the sauce to a runny consistency. Cook on medium flame till all the ingredients are well combined together and the sauce thickens a bit. This should take about 2 minutes. Switch off gas and allow the dressing to cool down fully.

Now, we will do the prep work that is needed for the salad.

1. Cook the butterfly pea rice as per the instructions on the package. I cooked the 1 cup of butterfly pea rice I used in a pressure cooker. I added 2 cups of water and cooked for 3 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure release naturally.

2. Make sure all the thorns and cores are removed from the pineapple, and that it is chopped into bite-sized pieces.

3. Peel the carrot and grate medium-thick.

4. Chop the cucumber into batons or rounds, as you prefer.

5. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till crisp. Ensure that they do not burn.

6. Dry roast the grated coconut on medium flame till it gets brown. Ensure that it doesn’t burn.

7. Cut the lemon into wedges.

8. Chop the paneer into cubes. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan, and add in the paneer cubes. Saute gently till they turn slightly crisp and start browning.

9. You may saute or blanch the moong bean sprouts if you so prefer. I kept them raw.

10. Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil in the same pan, and add in the sweet corn kernels. Saute on medium flame till the kernels are half cooked but retain their crunch.

Now, let’s assemble the Khao Yum or Thai Rainbow Rice Salad.

1. When the pressure from the cooker has entirely gone down, get the cooked blue rice out and let it cool down a bit. Then, fill a bowl tightly with the rice and invert it in the centre of a large serving plate. Sprinkle some finely chopped coriander on top of the mound of rice.

2. Arrange some of the moong bean sprouts, roasted peanuts and coconut, sauteed sweet corn and paneer, pineapple pieces, grated carrot, lemon wedges and grated carrot attractively all around the rice. Serve immediately, with some dressing poured into a small cup. Prepare salad platters for all the diners similarly.

And you’re all set!

Tips & Tricks

1. I used a mix of the hot Salem Gundu and the not-very-spicy Bydagi dry red chillies to make the dressing. Adjust the quantity of chillies you use, depending upon personal taste preferences.

2. I grated the skin of two regular-sized lemons to get 1 teaspoon zest, for the salad dressing. If you have kaffir lime leaves, you could use two of them in place of the lemon zest.

3. Filter out the seeds and impurities from the tamarind before using them in the dressing.

4. Sugar, honey, palm jaggery or coconut sugar can be used in the dressing. Here, I have used regular jaggery powder.

5. I used home-grown lemongrass to make the dressing. If you don’t find lemongrass leaves, you can use about 2-3 inches of the bottom, bulb-like part of lemongrass. It is even more fragrant.

6. Adjust the quantity of tamarind and jaggery as per personal taste preferences. Similarly, adjust the amount of water you use, depending on how thick you want the salad dressing to be.

7. The salad dressing can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Similarly, any leftover dressing can be bottled and refrigerated for later use. However, I prefer making it fresh.

8. This salad is typically served at room temperature. Hence, you must allow all the cooked ingredients to fully cool down before you assemble the salad.

9. This is a completely vegetarian recipe. You may substitute some of the ingredients in case you wish to make a non-vegetarian version. This is a gluten-free recipe as well. Using tofu in place of the paneer here will also render it a vegan or plant-based dish.

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

Shakkariya Nu Shaak| Gujarati Sweet Potato Curry

Sweet potato, the oft ignored veggie

Sweet potatoes are, I think, a hugely ignored vegetable in the average Indian kitchen. The potato is an almost universal favourite, while the sweet potato seems to have limited, reluctant acceptance. Well, at least, that’s the case in the average Indian kitchens I know of, including mine. We don’t use much of sweet potatoes, only in the occasional tikki or undhiyu, which is rather sad considering how very nutritious they are. When I came across this new variety of sweet potato in Namdhari’s Fresh recently, I was super excited to try it out. I picked up a couple of them, which got converted into this beautiful, beautiful Shakkariya Nu Shaak or Gujarati-style curry. It was so very delectable that it instantly became a family favourite! I see myself lugging home a lot more of sweet potatoes in the near future, experimenting a whole lot more with them. The sweet potatoes I picked up at Namdhari’s, with relatively thin skin and orange-ish flesh within.

Why should we be eating more sweet potatoes?

Typically considered a winter vegetable, sweet potatoes possess several nutrients. They are a rich source of various vitamins, minerals and fibre. They are said to be great for brain health as well as gut health. If one is diabetic, though, I would suggest checking with a doctor, though, before increasing the consumption of sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are believed to be a better, healthier substitute for potatoes. Sweet potatoes can, in fact, be substituted in most dishes that call for the use of potatoes. Personally, though, I wouldn’t do that – I think there are certain dishes specifically meant for sweet potatoes, and the vegetable works best in these dishes. I wouldn’t substitute them in every single dish that requires one to use potatoes. Sweet potatoes are quite versatile, and can be used in both savoury and sweet foods. The purple variety of sweet potatoes adds a gorgeous, natural colour to food – on our holiday in Thailand, I was awed by the wide use of the purple sweet potato in cheesecakes, breads, curries, sago puddings, ice cream and what not! In the Indian context, the sweet potato goes beautifully in tikkis and undhiyu, as I was saying earlier. This Shakkariya Nu Shaak is an absolutely brilliant way to use it, too.

Shakkariya Nu Shaak, inspired by the Gujarati Undhiyu

The idea of making this curry was inspired by the bold and beautiful flavours of the Gujarati undhiyu. With loads of fresh coconut, coriander, ginger, garlic and green chillies, the sweet-spicy undhiyu has many swooning over it. I guessed the same flavours would work in a sweet potato curry, and they did! The sweetness of the vegetable was a perfect complement to the spiciness of the ginger and green chillies, and the tartness of the lemon. The coconut and coriander added a lovely texture to the curry, which turned out to be the most flavourful thing I have had in a while. I served it with phulka rotis, and it made for a wonderful accompaniment.

How to make Shakkariya Nu Shaak or Gujarati-style sweet potato curry

I share this Shakkariya Nu Shaak recipe for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop group that I am part of. Every Monday, the bloggers in the group showcase recipes as per a pre-determined theme. The theme this Monday is #WinterVeggieAffair, with all of us are presenting dishes made out of various winter-special vegetables. This theme was suggested by Sasmita, author of the lovely blog, First Timer Cook. I love Sasmita’s photography and her unique twists to regular Indian dishes – you must most definitely check out her blog for these, as well as her traditional Odia recipes. I have had my eyes on her Kabuli Chana Chilli, Pasta Chaat and Achaari Aloo Raita for quite some time now – I’ve got to try them out! I’m also sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #301, co-hosted this week with Antonia @ Zoale.com. Coming back to the Shakkariya Nu Shaak, it is a completely vegetarian and vegan preparation, suitable to those following a plant-based diet. If you want to make this gluten-free, I would suggest skipping the asafoetida used in the tempering. This is because most Indian brands of asafoetida have wheat flour mixed in. However, if you can get hold of a reliable brand of gluten-free asafoetida, you can go ahead and use it. Here’s how I made it. Ingredients (serves 4):
  1. 2 big sweet potatoes, about 2 cups when peeled and finely chopped
  2. 2-3 green chillies, as per taste
  3. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  4. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  5. 1/2 tablespoon oil
  6. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 1-1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  11. 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  12. 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
  13. Juice of 1/2 lemon or to taste
Method: 1. Wash the sweet potatoes well under running water, to get rid of any dirt that might be on them. Peel off the skin, and chop into small cubes. Keep ready. 2. Peel the garlic cloves and ginger. Chop the garlic, ginger and green chillies roughly. Grind the chopped garlic, ginger and green chillies to a paste, in a small mixer jar, using a little water. Keep aside. 3. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the mustard, and allow to sputter. Now, add the asafoetida. Allow to stay in for a couple of seconds. 4. Add the chopped sweet potatoes to the pan, along with a little water, turmeric powder and salt. Turn the heat down to low-medium. Cover and cook on low-medium heat, till the sweet potatoes are done. They should be well-cooked, but not overly mushy. This should take 4-5 minutes. In the interim, keep checking on the sweet potatoes, adding a bit more water if they start burning. 5. At this stage, add the ginger-garlic-green chilli paste. Also, add the sesame seeds, grated coconut and finely chopped coriander. Mix well. 6. Cook on low-medium heat for about 2 minutes more. Switch off gas. 7. Mix in the lemon juice. Your Shakkariya Nu Shaak is ready. Serve with rotis or alongside steamed rice and Gujarati Dal.

Tips & Tricks

1. You can add 1/2 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain) to the tempering, too. I haven’t. 2. Some coarsely crushed roasted peanuts and a dash of garam masala can also be added to this curry. I have skipped them. 3. Don’t skimp on the amount of coconut and coriander used here. These two ingredients add a whole lot of flavour to the curry. 4. Don’t pressure cook the sweet potato, as it might get mushy. Cook it covered for 4-5 minutes, on low-medium heat, and it gets cooked just right. 5. Add only a little water at a time, while cooking the sweet potatoes. Check intermittently, and add a bit more water only when the sweet potatoes get completely dry in the process of cooking. 6. In case you aren’t able to find this variety of sweet potatoes, you can make the curry using the regular version commonly found across India – the one with pinkish skin and white flesh. Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!