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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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!

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’.

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!

Mug Nu Pani| Moong Bean Soup

Growing up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Mug Nu Pani or a thin soup made with whole green moong beans used to be the antidote to any and every ailment.

Feeling weak? Have Mug Nu Pani.

Broken bones? Give some Mug Nu Pani to the infirm.

Recovering from a fever? Nothing like Mug Nu Pani to bring back the lost strength.

Suffering from a broken heart? Some Mug Nu Pani will comfort him/her like nothing else.

You get the drift, right? No wonder Mug Nu Pani spells out comfort food, heartiness and recovery to me!

I love Mug Nu Pani, sick or not. A Gujarati neighbour of ours taught me how to make it, years ago, and I have been hooked to it ever since. It has saved my soul several times over, growing up, and still continues to do so.

To the uninitiated, a thin moong bean soup might sound very meh and uninteresting. Let me quickly assure you that this soup is anything but meh. At least, the Gujarati style of preparation makes this soup far from bland and dull. Mug Nu Pani is, in fact, quite a delicious soup, one choc-a-bloc with nutrition. It works wonders for the aged and infirm, growing children, and those who need a pick-me-up on a gloomy day. It isn’t very difficult to make, either.

Now, let’s check out the recipe for Mug Nu Pani aka Moong Bean Soup, the way that neighbour of mine taught me to make it.

Ingredients (makes 4-5 servings):

  1. 1/2 cup whole green moong
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 1 teaspoon black pepper powder, or to taste
  4. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  5. 1 teaspoon coriander (dhania) powder, or to taste
  6. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera) powder, or to taste
  7. Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
  8. 1 tablespoon very finely chopped coriander leaves
  9. 1 teaspoons ghee
  10. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  11. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  12. 2 generous pinches asafoetida (hing)
  13. 4-5 cloves of garlic

Method:

1. Soak the moong beans for at least 8 hours or overnight, in just enough water to cover them entirely.

2. When the beans are done soaking, drain out all the water from them. Add in enough fresh water to completely cover them, and pressure cook them for 4-5 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. Meanwhile, chop the coriander finely, and keep aside. Peel the garlic and chop very finely. Keep aside.

4. When all the pressure from the cooker has gone down, get the cooked moong beans out. Mash them well with a masher.

5. Add a little fresh water to the vessel. Use your hands to mash the cooked moong beans further, extracting the flesh from them.

6. Again, add a little fresh water. Mash the cooked moong beans and extract the flesh from them. Repeat this process 3-4 times, until all the flesh from the moong beans has been extracted.

7. Now, discard the spent cooked moong beans. Strain the residual liquid using a fine strainer.

8. Take the liquid in a saucepan and place it on high heat. Add in salt and pepper powder. Allow it to come to a boil.

9. While the liquid is coming to a boil, we will prepare the tempering for the soup. For this, heat the ghee in a small pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Add in the cumin, finely chopped garlic and asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds. Add this tempering to the soup when it is about to come to a boil.

10. Add coriander powder and cumin powder to the soup at this stage. Mix well.

11. When the Moong Bean Soup comes to a boil, reduce the flame to medium. Let the soup simmer for a minute, and then switch off the heat.

12. Mix in lemon juice and finely chopped coriander. Serve the Moong Bean Soup hot.

Notes:

  1. To make the cumin powder, dry roast some cumin seeds in a pan on high flame, till they begin to emit a lovely fragrance. Ensure that they do not burn. Let them cool down entirely, and then grind into a powder in a mixer. Store in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle and use as needed. I make this powder in small batches every two weeks or so and use as and when I need it, in my daily cooking.
  2. To make the coriander powder, dry roast some coriander seeds (dhania) on high flame in a pan, till they begin to emit a nice fragrance. Ensure that they do not burn. Allow the coriander seeds to cool down completely, then grind into a powder in a mixer. This powder too can be made in small batches, and used in day-to-day cooking, as and when needed.
  3. This soup is supposed to be watery, not too watery, but definitely not thick. Use a fine strainer to remove any residual boiled green moong solids, for best results.
  4. Adjust the quantity of salt, black pepper powder, coriander powder, lemon juice and cumin powder you use in the soup, as per personal taste preferences.
  5. You may omit adding the finely chopped garlic to the soup, if you so prefer. Personally, though, I love it in the soup – I think it adds a lovely touch to it.
  6. To make the black pepper powder, just grind black peppercorns to a powder, using a mixer.
  7. Mash the cooked moong beans while they are still hot, just out of the cooker. This way, you will be able to extract maximum flesh out of them.
  8. After mashing the cooked moong beans once, you need to add fresh water to them little by little a little, 3-4 times, mashing the beans with your hands, extracting more flesh from them. In all, you’ll be adding about 1 cup of water at this stage. More than that, and the soup might get too watery.
  9. Some people pressure cook the moong beans, let them cool down, then blitz them in a mixer or hand blender, then strain the water and go on to prepare the soup as above.
  10. After extracting all the flesh from the cooked moong beans, all that remains is the husk, which you would be discarding. Hence, you need not worry about any loss of nutrition by doing so.
  11. Haven’t soaked green moong beans, but still want to make this soup? Well, you can. Just add about 1-1/2 cups of water to 1/2 cup whole moong beans, pop them in the pressure cooker, and give them 12-15 whistles – basically, blow them to smithereens. Once the pressure comes down entirely, mash the cooked moong beans and proceed to make the soup as above.

Did you like this recipe for Mug Nu Paani? Do tell me, in your comments!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for this week is ‘Bean Power’, wherein the members are cooking delicious recipes using different types of whole beans.

 

Cherupayar Curry| Kerala Green Gram Curry With Coconut Milk

I love cooking with legumes. I love making them a part of my family’s meals, regularly. I am forever looking for new ways to work with legumes like kabuli chana, rajma, double beans, whole green moong, moth beans and the like. Not only are these legumes significant sources of protein, but they are also rich in carbohydrates, dietary fibre and minerals. So, I was, naturally, thrilled to recently discover this new (to me) dish called Cherupayar Curry, which uses green gram aka whole green moong or moong beans.

The Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of is cooking recipes from Kerala, this month. I was paired with the sweet Rafeeda, who writes at The Big Sweet Tooth, for the month. She assigned me two secret ingredients – green gram and coconut – and I decided to make a Kerala-style Cherupayar Curry with them.

I loved how the Cherupayar Curry turned out – finger-lickingly delicious, hearty, and nutritious too. It paired beautifully with the rotis I served it with. Traditionally, this curry is made with fresh grated coconut, ground, but I made do with store-bought coconut milk. With that taken care of, the Cherupayar Curry was a breeze to make, a job that took me barely 15 minutes.

The little reading that I did on the Internet told me that there are various ways to make this curry, though the basic ingredients remain, more or less, the same. Different families in Kerala have different versions of the Cherupayar Curry, some made with black pepper powder, some with garam masala, some with just the basic salt, red chilli powder and turmeric. I followed this recipe from At The Corner Of Happy & Harried, substituting coconut milk for the cow’s milk the author has used.

Here is how I made this Cherupayar Curry.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 3/4 cup green gram aka whole green moong
  2. 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  3. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  4. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  5. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  6. 1 sprig curry leaves
  7. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  8. 5-6 garlic cloves
  9. 1 large tomato
  10. 2 green chillies
  11. 1 large onion
  12. Salt, to taste
  13. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  14. Red chilli powder, to taste
  15. About 1 tablespoon garam masala, or to taste
  16. 1 cup thick coconut milk
  17. A few stalks of fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Soak the whole green moong in just enough water to cover it, for at least 8-10 hours or overnight. When done, drain out all the water. Add in just enough water to cover the soaked green moong. Pressure cook for 2 whistles, and allow the pressure to come down naturally.
  2. Peel the ginger and chop finely. Peel the garlic cloves. Grind the ginger and garlic together, coarsely, using a small mixer jar. Keep aside.
  3. Chop the onion, tomato and coriander finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to pop. Add the cumin, asafoetida, curry leaves and slit green chillies. Let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  5. Now, add the chopped onions to the pan. On medium flame, saute till they begin to turn brown.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes to the pan, along with the ginger-garlic paste. On medium flame, saute till the tomatoes turn mushy. Add a little water at this stage, if needed.
  7. Add in the cooked whole green moong to the pan, along with the water it was cooked in.
  8. Add salt to taste, turmeric powder, garam masala and red chilli powder to taste. Mix well.
  9. Let the curry simmer on medium flame till it begins to thicken, 2-3 minutes.
  10. Keeping the flame on medium, mix in the thick coconut milk. Allow the Cherupayar Curry to simmer for a minute more, and then switch off gas.
  11. Mix in finely chopped coriander. Serve hot with dosa, rotis, parathas or puttu.

Notes:

  1. Coconut oil works best in the making of this Cherupayar Curry. However, you may use any other type of oil as well.
  2. You may omit the slit green chillies, if you plan to make this curry for kids.
  3. If you want to keep it really simple, you can omit the garam masala as well. Just add salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder as the seasonings.
  4. I have used a 200 ml carton of store-bought Dabur Coconut Milk. If you so wish, you can make the coconut milk at home as well.
  5. After soaking, cook the whole green moong for just 2 whistles or so. It should be just cooked, still firm, not overly mushy. Cooking times and number of whistles might vary depending upon the make of the pressure cooker.
  6. Coriander powder can be used instead of garam masala, in this Cherupayar Curry. Here, I have used store-bought Shan Garam Masala.

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This recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

shhh-secretly-challenge-image

I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #243. The co-hosts this week are Catherine @ Kunstkitchen’s Blog and Becky @ Bubbly Bee.

Midhi Pavakkai Poriyal| Baby Bitter Gourd Stir Fry

The health benefits of bitter gourd (‘pavakkai‘ in Tamil) are quite well known. They are rich in dietary fibre and Vitamin K, and low in calories. They are great for keeping one’s weight and blood sugar levels in control. Indian cuisine has a wide range of dishes that use bitter gourd, some really innovative. However, a whole lot of people shun this vegetable, thanks to its bitter taste. I used to be one of those people too, till I discovered the real beauty of the bitter gourd and made it a regular feature in my kitchen.

The last weekend, on a short holiday in Madras, I came across these lovely baby bitter gourds (‘midhi pavakkai‘ in Tamil) at a vegetable vendor’s. They looked so cute, lying there in their basket, that I absolutely had to get some back home with me to Bangalore. 😉 This delicious, delicious Baby Bitter Gourd Stir Fry aka Midhi Pavakkai Poriyal is what happened to them.

Baby bitter gourds are less bitter as compared to their regular, longer counterparts, and tastier too. Or at least I think so. 🙂 De-seeding them to make this poriyal was a bit of an uphill task, but I would say the end result was totally worth it. I served the Midhi Pavakkai Poriyal with hot rice and sambar, and the combination was nothing short of divine.

Here’s how I made the Midhi Pavakkai Poriyal aka Baby Bitter Gourd Stir Fry.

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 250 grams midhi pavakkai aka baby bitter gourds
  2. 1 large onion
  3. 2 tablespoons oil
  4. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  5. 3-4 dry red chillies
  6. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  7. 2 pinches of asafoetida
  8. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Red chilli powder to taste
  12. 2-3 tablespoons powdered jaggery, or to taste

Method:

  1. Wash the baby bitter gourds well under running water. Drain out all the water, and pat dry using a cotton cloth.
  2. Chop off any long tails that the baby bitter gourds might have, and then chop each one into half. Use a knife or your fingertips to scoop out the seeds from the bitter gourds. This will help in cutting down the bitterness of the vegetable to a large extent. Keep the prepared bitter gourds aside.
  3. Finely chop the onion, and keep aside.
  4. Heat a pan, and add in the oil. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to pop. Now, add in the cumin seeds, dry red chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida. Let these ingredients stay in for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the finely chopped onion to the pan. Turn the flame to medium, and add a little salt. Cook the onions on medium flame till they begin to brown, stirring intermittently to avoid sticking.
  6. Now, add the prepared baby bitter gourds to the pan. Add salt to taste, and continue cooking on medium flame till the bitter gourds start shrivelling. This should take 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add red chilli powder to taste, jaggery powder and turmeric powder. Mix well. Continue cooking the curry on medium flame till the bitter gourds are completely done. Keep stirring intermittently. Switch off gas when the bitter gourds are fully cooked, and the curry acquires the blackish hue of caramelisation. This should take 3-4 minutes.
  8. Serve the Baby Bitter Gourd Stir Fry hot or at room temperature. It goes really well with piping hot rice, ghee, and rasam/sambar.

Notes:

  1. For best results, choose tender baby bitter gourds that are fresh and firm, and not the yellowing, mature ones.
  2. There is no need to peel the baby bitter gourds. Remove all mature seeds from the bitter gourds. If the bitter gourds are too tiny or fresh and the seeds aren’t very mature, they can be left in.
  3. If you are not able to get hold of baby bitter gourds, the ordinary long ones can be used instead. Remove the seeds from them the same way, chop finely, and proceed to make the poriyal as in the recipe above.
  4. Once halved and de-seeded, the baby bitter gourds can be mixed with a little salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes. This will make the bitter gourds water. You need to squeeze out the water and use the bitter gourd pieces in making the poriyal, as per the proceedure outlined above. This step helps to cut down the bitterness of the gourds quite a bit, but I skipped this.
  5. Gingelly oil works best in this recipe. However, if you don’t have it, any other type of oil can be used instead.
  6. Sugar can be used in place of jaggery powder here. Adjust the quantity of sugar/jaggery powder you use, depending upon your personal taste preferences.
  7. Finely chopped coriander leaves can be used to garnish the Midhi Pavakkai Poriyal, once it is ready. Here, I haven’t.
  8. You may use more oil to make this Midhi Pavakkai Poriyal, if you so wish. I have used 2 tablespoons only.
  9. It is important to cook this Baby Bitter Gourd Stir Fry on medium heat, uncovered. Stirring intermittently is critical too, to ensure that the curry doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Also, remember not to sprinkle any water while preparing the curry. This is what will give the curry a beautiful colour and taste.
  10. You may add a spoonful of thick tamarind paste or lemon juice while making this Midhi Pavakkai Poriyal. This adds taste to the curry, and also helps in cutting down on the bitterness of the pavakkai. I haven’t used any tamarind/lemon juice here, though.

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

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #243. The co-hosts this week are Catherine @ Kunstkitchen’s Blog and Becky @ Bubbly Bee.

Upma Kozhukattai| Kara Pidi Kozhukattai

A popular offering to the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha on Ganesh Chaturthi, the Pidi Kozhukattai is also a very healthy snack. With the goodness of rice and toor daal, it is a steamed snack made with minimal oil. It is a simple thing to make, but quite delicious and filling, which makes it great as a lunchbox filler.

Pidi Kozhukattai is a traditional Tamilnadu preparation, wherein rice flour or broken rice is first cooked in boiling water along with a few other ingredients, then allowed to cool and shaped into dumplings with the hands, after which they are steamed. Fingerprint marks on the Pidi Kozhukattai are its distinguishing feature, which lend the dish a certain rustic charm. This is how the dish gets its name too – ‘pidi‘ in Tamil roughly translates into ‘hand-held’. These steamed dumplings are often also called ‘Upma Kozhukattai‘, referring to the coarse grinding of rice in the mixer that the recipe calls for, similar to the making of Rice Upma, another common Tamil Nadu snack.

These dumplings can be either sweet or savoury, with different families making big and little variations of their own. Today, I present to you the savoury version, called Kara Pidi Kozhukattai, the way my family makes it. I made these for the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in our apartment this year, and they were a huge hit.

Here is the recipe for these Kara Pidi Kozhukattai, on popular demand. 🙂

Ingredients (makes 25-28 pieces):

  1. 2 cups raw rice
  2. 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  3. 4 tablespoons toor daal
  4. 4 cups water
  5. 2 tablespoons oil + a little more for greasing the steaming plate
  6. 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  7. 3-4 pinches of asafoetida
  8. 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves
  9. 2 green chillies, chopped into large-ish pieces
  10. Salt to taste
  11. 1/4 cup fresh grated coconut

Method:

  1. Take the raw rice and toor daal together in a large mixer jar. Add in the black peppercorns. Pulse a few times, for a couple of seconds each, stopping in between to mix up the ingredients in the jar with a spoon. Stop when the ingredients are ground to a well-crushed, slightly coarse texture like rava. Keep aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a pan. Add in the mustard seeds and let them pop. Tear the curry leaves roughly with your hands and add them in. Add in the asafoetida. Let them stay in for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add 4 cups of water to the pan, along with salt to taste. Keep on high flame and bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Now, add the chopped green chillies and fresh grated coconut to the boiling water in the pan. Mix well.
  5. Keeping the flame on medium, slowly add the ground rice-black pepper-toor daal mixture to the boiling water in the pan. Stir constantly to avoid lumps forming.
  6. Keep cooking on medium flame, stirring constantly, till all the water is absorbed. Switch off the flame when the mixture comes together, and starts getting dry.
  7. Let the cooked mixture cool down considerably, covered.
  8. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, we will begin shaping pidi kozhukattai out of it. For this, make medium-sized oval dumplings out of the mixture, as shown in the picture above. Keep aside, covered.
  9. Use a little oil to grease a colander to steam the pidi kozhukattai in. Arrange as many pidi kozhukattai in the greased colander as you can, in a single line, keeping a little space between them. Keep them ready.
  10. Take about 1 cup of water in a pressure cooker base. Place a stand over the water. Place the cooker on high flame. Let the water in the base start boiling. Now, place the colander with the pidi kozhukattai over the stand, cover the cooker, and steam for 10 minutes without putting the weight on.
  11. Allow the cooked pidi kozhukattai to cool down slightly, and then gently transfer to a vessel/serving plate using a spoon. Handling them straight out of the cooker might cause them to break.
  12. Cook all the pidi kozhukattai in a similar manner. Serve hot or at room temperature, with some simple coconut chutney.

Notes:

  1. Adjust the quantity of black peppercorns you use, depending upon how spicy you want the pidi kozhukattai to be. You can even skip the green chillies altogether, and use only black peppercorns to add spiciness. If using green chillies, make sure you use slightly big pieces that can be easily spotted and not bit into accidentally.
  2. The rice and toor daal mixture can be ground as coarsely or as finely as you desire. I prefer not grinding them finely, but to a well-crushed, coarse texture that is akin to rava.
  3. Chana daal can be used in place of toor daal. Both versions are equally tasty.
  4. I use Sona Masoori raw rice to make these pidi kozhukattai. 4 cups of water for 2 cups of Sona Masoori raw rice is the rice:water ratio that works perfectly for us.
  5. Adjust the quantity of grated coconut you use in the kara upma kozhukattai, depending upon personal preferences.
  6. Here, I have ground the raw rice and toor daal without washing them. If you want to wash them, drain out all the excess water after you do so, then sun-dry them for about 10 minutes on a cotton cloth. Proceed with making the pidi kozhukattai the same way as above, once the washed rice and toor daal are completely dry.
  7. A colander works best for steaming the upma kozhukattai. This ensures even cooking.
  8. Stop cooking the rice-toor daal-black pepper mixture when it starts to come together and lose moisture. Do not overcook it, as this will cause the pidi kozhukattai to get quite dry. Keep the cooked mixture covered till you use it.
  9. Gingelly oil or coconut oil works best in the making of these upma kozhukattai.
  10. These upma kozhukattai can be made ahead and refrigerated. You can remove them from the refrigerator an hour or so before serving, then steam them well in a pressure cooker.
  11. Traditionally, when these upma kozhukattai are made for the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, they are made without tasting. They are first offered to Lord Ganesha and then partaken of.

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

I hope you will try out these Kara Pidi Kozhukattai too, and that you will love them as much as we do!

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I’m sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday #243. The co-hosts this week are Catherine @ Kunstkitchen’s Blog and Becky @ Bubbly Bee.

Multi Millet Lemon ‘Rice’

Today, I present to you the recipe for Multi-Millet Lemon ‘Rice’ – the same old traditional South Indian dish, but made with mixed millets instead of rice. This lemon ‘rice’ tastes just as delicious and is just as simple to prepare, but is a whole lot healthier.

The popularity of millets is on the rise, these days. They are full of nutritional benefits, and versatile enough to lend themselves easily to various preparations, from cakes and breads to traditional dishes like bisi bele bath, tomato bath, and curd ‘rice’. Let me hasten to add that this is a not a fad, not a modern trend that you should hastily dismiss. The people of India have been using millets for ages – especially in regions like Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka. In the course of time, millets began to be labelled as ‘poor man’s food’, and more and more people stopped using them. In today’s world, millets, with the many wonderful properties they possess, can play a significant role in reversing various lifestyle diseases. They are no longer ‘poor man’s food’, rather ‘the need of the hour’. Attending this workshop on millets by the Government of Karnataka opened my eyes to the world of millets, and I started including them in our monthly shopping list, our day-to-day cooking. I am thrilled to say that our diet is no longer heavily rice- or wheat-based, but is a good mix of different grains.

Firms like Pristine Organics’ make the usage of millets simple for the consumer of today. They offer products like millet flour, multi-millet flours and millet flakes, which make life easier for the present-day cooks. A while ago, Pristine Organics sent me a hamper including various millet-based and other products, to test and review, and I have been thrilled with their quality and ease of use. Take for instance, Pristine Organics’ Millet Organica, the multi-millet mix that I have used here, to make this lemon ‘rice’. It was so convenient to use – a mix of different types of millets, broken down into little granules, making it super easy to cook and use in a variety of dishes!

Now, without further ado, let us check out the recipe for multi-millet lemon ‘rice’, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 3-4):

  1. 1 cup Pristine Organics’ multi-millet mix
  2. 1 tablespoon oil
  3. 1/4 cup peanuts
  4. 4 green chillies
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  6. 2 sprigs fresh curry leaves
  7. 1 teaspoon mustard
  8. 2 pinches asafoetida
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. Juice of 1-1/2 lemons or to taste
  12. About 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (optional)

Method:

1. Dry roast the peanuts on medium flame till crisp. Ensure that they do not burn. Transfer to a plate and allow them to cool down completely.

2. Wash the multi millet mix a couple of times under running water. Drain out all the water. Pressure cook the mix with 2 cups of water for 3 whistles, on high flame. Let the pressure come down naturally.

3. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Separate the curry leaves. Peel the ginger and chop very finely. Keep aside.

4. When all the pressure has gone down, remove the multi millet mix from the cooker. Let it cool down completely.

5. Once cooled entirely, fluff up the cooked multi millet mix. Keep aside.

6. Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard and allow it to pop. Add the roasted peanuts, asafoetida, chopped ginger, curry leaves and slit green chillies. Let them stay in for a few seconds.

7. Now, add the cooked multi millet mix to the pan. Lower the heat to medium. Add in salt to taste and the turmeric powder. Mix well. Let everything cook together on medium flame for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently. Switch off gas.

8. Add finely chopped coriander (if using) and lemon juice to the pan. Mix well. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Notes:

  1. I have used Pristine Organics’ Millet Organica, their multi-millet mix, to make this lemon ‘rice’. It is a mix of different types of millet such as kodo millet, proso millet, amaranth, barnyard millet, little millet, foxtail millet and finger millet. You can choose to use a multi-millet mix from any other brand, too.
  2. I pressure cooked 1 cup of the multi-millet mix with 2 cups of water for 3 whistles, as specified on the package. I did not soak the millets as they were broken down into little granules, and the package did not ask me to do so either. I then allowed the cooked millets to cool down completely before fluffing them up and using them to make the lemon ‘rice’. If you are using a different brand of multi-millet mix, do carefully check the package for instructions on how they need to be cooked.
  3. Adjust the quantity of lemon and green chillies you use in this multi-millet lemon ‘rice’, depending upon personal taste preferences.
  4. I always dry roast peanuts before using them in any preparation. This lends them a nice, crispy texture.
  5. Gingelly oil or coconut oil works best in the making of this multi-millet lemon ‘rice’.
  6. Make sure you allow the cooked millets to cool down completely and then fluff them up, before using them in making the lemon ‘rice’. Otherwise, there are chances of the lemon ‘rice’ getting mushy and tasteless.
  7. You can pressure cook the millets beforehand and keep them ready, then make the lemon ‘rice’ just before serving.
  8. I received a sample of the multi-millet mix, along with some other products, from Pristine Organics to test and review. However, the views expressed herein are entirely my own, not influenced by anything or anyone.

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Foodie Monday Blog HopThis post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme this week is ‘A Lemon Affair’, wherein members will be creating various lemon-based recipes.

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #241. The co-hosts this week are Zeba @ Food For The Soul and Debanita @ Canvassed Recipes.

Pressure Cooker Chana Masala| Indian Chickpea Curry

Do you like Chana Masala?

Chana Masala is my go-to dish when I want to eat something different from the usual South Indian fare we make at home. Considering that it is a hot favourite with everyone in the family, it does find pride of place on our dining table quite often. More often than not, I make a big batch of chana masala, serving it with rotis or parathas, while I use the leftovers the next day to make chaat.

Like my mom, I make Chana Masala in a pressure cooker, which ensures that the dish is ready in a jiffy, with the least of hassle. This Pressure Cooker Chana Masala is super delish, the chickpeas absorbing the flavours from the gravy much better than those cooked in a pan. Using a pressure cooker also ensures that the chickpeas are done just right, without any over- or under-cooking.

Let’s check out the recipe for Pressure Cooker Chana Masala now, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

  1. 1-1/2 cups chickpeas aka kabuli chana
  2. 4 medium-sized tomatoes
  3. 1 large onion
  4. 5-6 cloves of garlic
  5. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  6. 1 tablespoon oil
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin (jeera)
  8. 2 pinches asafoetida (hing)
  9. Salt, to taste
  10. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  11. 1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste (optional)
  12. Red chilli powder, to taste
  13. 2-3 tablespoons of chana masala, or to taste
  14. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander
  15. 1 tablespoon kasoori methi

Method:

  1. Soak the chickpeas in just enough water to cover them, for 8-10 hours or overnight.
  2. When the chickpeas are done soaking, drain out any remaining water from them. Add in just enough fresh water to cover them, and pressure cook them for 4 whistles on high flame. Let the pressure come down naturally.
  3. Meanwhile, chop the tomatoes into quarters. Peel and chop the ginger. Peel the garlic cloves. Grind the tomatoes, ginger and garlic together into a puree. Keep aside.
  4. Chop the onion finely. Keep aside.
  5. When the pressure has released from the cooker, open it. Keep the cooked chickpeas aside. Do not discard the water.
  6. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker base. Add in the cumin and asafoetida, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.
  7. Add the chopped onions. Saute till the onions begin to turn brown.
  8. Add the tomato-ginger-garlic puree. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or till the raw smell from the tomatoes goes away and the puree thickens a little.
  9. Add in the cooked chickpeas, along with the water they were cooked in.
  10. Add salt to taste, chana masala, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and sugar. Mix well.
  11. Close pressure cooker and put the weight on. Pressure cook for 4 whistles on high flame. Switch off gas, and let the pressure release naturally.
  12. After the pressure has gone down, mix in the finely chopped coriander and kasoori methi. Serve hot, with rotis, dosas, pooris, steamed rice or parathas. Sliced onions and wedges of lemon make for great accompaniments.

Notes:

  1. Garam masala can be used in place of chana masala. I use store-bought chana masala from Eastern or Everest.
  2. I use country aka nati tomatoes to make this Pressure Cooker Chana Masala. Considering these tomatoes are quite sour, I do not add any lemon juice to the gravy. If you feel you need a bit more sourness to the gravy, you can add in a dash of lemon juice.
  3. A dash or curd or fresh cream can also be added to this Pressure Cooker Chana Masala, towards the end.
  4. I pressure cook the chickpeas first, before using them in making this Chana Masala. I then pressure cook them again, after adding all the other ingredients to them. This ensures that the chickpeas are cooked evenly, and that they absorb all the spices well.
  5. If you think the gravy is too liquidy after cooking, you may let it simmer for a couple of minutes on medium flame, before adding in the coriander and kasoori methi.
  6. If you feel the water reserved from cooking the chickpeas is too much, you can discard some of it, and add only the remaining to the gravy.
  7. You may avoid ginger and garlic in this gravy, if you want to. Personally, though, I think they add a nice fragrance to it.
  8. Adding the sugar to the Pressure Cooker Chana Masala is optional, but I would recommend you to not skip it. The sugar doesn’t make the gravy overly sweet, but rather rounds off the sourness of the tomatoes and the spiciness of the red chilli powder very well.
  9. Any leftover Pressure Cooker Chana Masala can be refrigerated and used later to make Ragda Pattice or in various types of chaat.
  10. You can add in whole spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves to the tempering, along with the cumin. I skip these, because we like the Chana Masala without these ingredients.
  11. I use a 5-litre pressure cooker to make this Pressure Cooker Chana Masala. 4 whistles + 4 whistles is just perfect for the chickpeas to cook till soft, without getting mushy. The number of whistles you need might vary, depending upon the size and make of your pressure cooker.

Did you like this recipe for Pressure Cooker Chana Masala? Do tell me, in your comments!

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A to Z Recipe Challenge

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

I’m sending this recipe to Fiesta Friday #241. The co-hosts this week are Zeba @ Food For The Soul and Debanita @ Canvassed Recipes.