Idli Upma| Leftover Idli Usili

Idli Upma is a delicious breakfast dish made using idlis, quite a common sight in a South Indian household. Whenever there are idlis left over, they are usually crumbled up and stir-fried along with a few spices and condiments – that’s Idli Upma, also known as Idli Usili, for you. Mind you, it’s quite a lovely thing to have!

Idlis are considered to be among the healthiest foods ever, and they have thousands of fans the world over. I am not a huge idli lover, though – I mean, I do eat idlis if I don’t have a choice, but that’s about it. It is not my first preference of food; it never has been. 🙂 (Yes, Tamilians who aren’t ardent lovers of idlis do exist!). If faced with the prospect of having to make idlis, I would rather convert them into Idli Upma or this delectable Idli Masala with loads of veggies.

Idli Upma or Idli Usili

#LeftoverKaMakeover At Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This recipe is brought to you in association with the Foodie Monday Blog Hop.

The Foodie Monday Blog Hop is a group of passionate food bloggers who share recipes based on a pre-determined theme, every Monday. The theme this week is #LeftoverKaMakeover, wherein participants are sharing ways to give a new avatar to leftover food. I couldn’t think of anything better than this Idli Upma to fit the theme.

Poonam, talented chef and the author of Annapurna, was the one who suggested the theme for this Monday. Her blog is a treasure trove of traditional Maharashtrian recipes, interesting recipes from around the world, and some really beautiful healthy bakes. Her Rajma Kebabs (made from leftover Rajma Masala) and Gulgule (sweet fritters made using sugar syrup leftover after making Rasgulla or Gulab Jamun) are absolutely brilliant! So is her Chilli Paratha, made from leftover parathas or chapatis.

How to make Idli Upma| Leftover Idli Usili

Idli Upma or Idli Usili has several variations, with different families making it in slightly different ways. Here, I have shared the way we make it in our family, with finely chopped onions, some home-made Dosa Milagai Podi (often also referred to as ‘gunpowder’) and a bit of jaggery.

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

1. 8-10 leftover idlis
2. 1 large onion

3. 3-4 green chillies

4. 2 sprigs of curry leaves

5. 1/2 tablespoon oil

6. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

7. 2 pinches of asafoetida

8. Salt to taste

9. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

10. 2 tablespoons Dosa Milagai Podi or to taste

11. 1/2 tablespoon jaggery or to taste (optional)

12. Red chilli powder to taste (optional)

13. 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh coriander

Method:

Top left: Step 1, Top right and centre left: Step 2, Centre right: Step 3, Bottom left and right: Step 4

1. Peel the onion and chop finely. Slit the green chillies length-wise. Keep aside.

2. Take the leftover idlis in a large bowl. Crumble them up nicely.

3. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the mustard seeds and allow them to sputter. Add the asafoetida, slit green chillies and curry leaves. Let these ingredients stay in for a few seconds.

4. Add the chopped onion to the pan at this stage. Turn the flame down to medium. Saute on medium flame till the onions are cooked and start browning.

Top left and right: Steps 5 and 6, Centre left and right: Steps 7 and 8, Bottom left: Step 9, Bottom right: Idli Upma, ready and served hot

5. Add the crumbled idlis to the pan at this stage. Turn the flame down to low-medium.

6. Add in salt to taste, turmeric powder and red chilli powder (if using).

7. Add in the Dosa Milagai Podi and jaggery powder (if using). Mix well.

8. Stirring intermittently, let everything cook together at low-medium flame for about 2 minutes. Switch off gas.

9. Mix in the finely chopped coriander. Your Idli Upma is ready. Serve hot, on its own or with a simple coconut chutney.

Is this Idli Upma vegan and gluten-free?

The above recipe is completely vegetarian and vegan, suited to those following a plant-based diet. It is not, however, gluten-free because of the use of asafoetida. The Dosa Milagai Podi I have used here also contains asafoetida. Most commercial Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour to a greater or lesser extent and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. If you want to make the Idli Upma gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering and use a gluten-free version of Dosa Milagai Podi.

Tips & Tricks

1. Leftover idlis that are a day old are best for making this Usili, as opposed to fresh ones. Cold, leftover idlis that have been at room temperature for at least 8-10 hours are easier to crumble than fresh ones, the crumbs are more even and the Usili tastes better. In case you want to use idlis cooked on the same day , keep them in the fridge for a couple of hours before starting to make the Usili. They will crumble more readily.

2. I have used home-made idlis here, which are typically smaller than those available in a restaurant. If you are using restaurant-bought idlis, you might want to use a couple less than the quantity suggested in the above recipe.

3. Be careful while adding the salt. The idlis contain some salt already, as does the Dosa Milagai Podi I have used here.

4. I have used home-made Dosa Milagai Podi here. You may use a store-bought version instead, too.

5. The home-made Dosa Milagai Podi I use is moderately hot and contains some amount of jaggery. So, I use some red chilli powder to balance the heat – if the Dosa Milagai Podi you are using is spicy enough, you may do away with the red chilli powder completely. Similarly, using the jaggery powder is optional too.

6. I prefer using sesame oil (‘nalla ennai‘ in Tamil) to make this leftover Idli Usili. However, if you don’t have it, you may use any other oil of your preference.

7. My mom adds a dash of lemon juice to this Idli Upma, once it is ready and the gas has been switched off. I mostly skip this bit.

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

Karnataka Bonda Soup Recipe

Growing up in Ahmedabad, I never knew something called Bonda Soup existed. It was the husband who introduced me to it, a while after we were wedded. We were breakfasting in a ‘Darshini‘ – the name which is commonly used to refer to little, quick-serve eateries all over Karnataka – near our place in Bangalore. I ordered my favourite masala dosa, while the husband opted for the Bonda Soup. He explained to the curious me what Bonda Soup was – deep-fried bondas made of urad daal, soaked in a slightly spicy, slightly tangy daal soup. He explained how it was a much loved snack all over Karnataka, and urged me to take a spoonful.

To be honest, the Karnataka Bonda Soup did not sound appealing at all, the first time I heard of it. It did not sound appetising at all, not something I thought I would like. One bite into it, though, and I was hooked. I fell in love with the neither thin-nor thick broth, the fragrance of the ginger, green chillies and coriander in it, the way it turned slightly tangy with the tomatoes, the way the crisp shell of the bondas soaked the broth in. Years later, I’m still in love with this beauty. Have it at the right places, and I’m sure you will fall in love with them too!

Because the husband loves Bonda Soup so very much and because I grew to love it too, I learnt to make it at home, over the years. It makes for a gorgeous snack for lazy weekends and can even double up as a weekday dinner. It is absolute comfort food on gloomy winter days and dark rainy days alike.

For this month, cuisine from the state of Karnataka was chosen as the theme for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group that I am part of. My partner for the month, Sujata Shukla, the talented blogger behind Pepper On Pizza, assigned me two secret ingredients – urad daal and ginger. I instantly knew I wanted to make Bonda Soup, and that is just what I went ahead and did.

Today, I present to you my Karnataka Bonda Soup recipe.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

For the bonda:

  1. 1/2 cup whole or split urad daal
  2. Salt to taste
  3. 2 green chillies
  4. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  5. A few slivers of fresh coconut
  6. Oil, as needed to deep-fry

For the soup:

  1. 1/2 cup split yellow moong daal
  2. 1/2 cup split orange masoor daal
  3. Salt to taste
  4. A 1-inch piece of ginger
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  6. 2 big tomatoes
  7. 3-4 green chillies
  8. 1 sprig fresh curry leaves
  9. 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
  10. Lemon juice to taste
  11. 1 tablespoon ghee
  12. 1 teaspoon mustard
  13. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  14. 2 pinches of asafoetida

Method:

Let us begin by making the batter for the bonda.

1. Soak the urad daal in just enough water to cover it, for 3-4 hours.

2.Once soaked, drain out all the water from the urad daal.

3. Grind the soaked and drained urad daal to a fine batter, along with chopped green chillies and salt to taste. Add a little water while grinding, if required.

4. Roughly tear the curry leaves with your hands, and add them to the ground batter. Add in the coconut slivers too. Mix well. The bonda batter is ready.

Now, we will prepare to fry the bondas and make the soup.

1. Wash the moong daal and masoor daal together under running water a couple of times. Drain out the excess water.

2. Add in the tomatoes (chopped), green chillies (slit) and ginger (peeled and chopped finely). Add in enough water to cover the ingredients. Pressure cook all these ingredients together for 5 whistles or till the daals are soft. Let the pressure come down naturally.

3. Heat oil for deep frying bondas in a pan, till it reaches smoking point.

Meanwhile, we will make the soup.

1. Heat the ghee in a pan. Add the mustard, and let it pop.

2. Add the cumin seeds and asafoetida, and let them stay in for a couple of seconds.

3. Reduce the flame to medium. Gently mash the moong daal, masoor daal and other ingredients we pressure cooked, and add these to the pan. Add in salt to taste, turmeric powder and about 2 cups of water. Adjust the amount of water depending upon how thick you want the soup to be. It should, ideally be runny but not too watery. Mix well.

4. Let the soup simmer on low-medium flame for about 2 minutes. Switch off the flame.

5. Mix in finely chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice to taste. The soup is now ready.

Now, we will fry the bondas.

1. When the oil reaches smoking point, reduce the flame to low-medium. Drop medium-sized balls of the batter into the hot oil. Deep fry these bondas evenly.

2. Deep fry bondas using all the batter, the same way. Keep aside.

How to serve the bonda soup

1. If needed, heat the soup mildly.

2. Add a few ladles of the soup in a serving bowl.

3. Add 2-3 bondas to the serving bowl. Serve immediately.

Notes:

1. I commonly use whole white urad daal to make the bonda.

2. You can add in some finely chopped green chillies and black peppercorns to the bonda too. I skip these, usually.

3. If the soup feels a tad bland, you can add in a bit of coriander powder and/or red chilli powder.

Did you like the Karnataka Bonda Soup recipe? I hope you will try it out too, and that you will love it as much as we do!

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shhh-secretly-challenge-image

This Karnataka Bonda Soup recipe is for the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge.

I suggested that my partner for the challenge, Sujata Shukla, use the two secret ingredients of bamboo shoots and coconut. Being the brilliant cook that she is, she whipped up an excellent Coorgi Baimbale Kari. Do head over to her blog to check the recipe out!

I’m sharing this post with Fiesta Friday #239. The co-hosts this week are Antonia @ Zoale.com and Lathi @ From Lathi’s Kitchen.

 

Beetroot Poriyal| South Indian Beetroot Stir-Fry

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

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

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

Ingredients (3-4 servings):

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

Method:

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

Note:

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

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

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A to Z Recipe Challenge

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

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

Spaghetti Aglio Olio E Peperoncino| Burnt Garlic Spaghetti

Spaghetti aglio e olio is a traditional pasta dish from the villages of Naples, Italy, a dish cooked with very, very few ingredients. Here, spaghetti is cooked with garlic and salt, in olive oil, each one of these ingredients more or less always available in the Italian countryside. Apparently, the villagers would cook this dish when the times were hard, when there would be nothing much to cook with but when one still wanted to eat a hearty meal.

Though traditionally spaghetti aglio e olio would be cooked with just these four ingredients, sometimes other things would be added in too, as and when available, to enhance the flavour of the dish. Sometimes a twist of dried herbs or some chilli flakes would go in, sometimes a rind of Pecorino or Parmesan cheese. Modern-day restaurant versions of this dish include ingredients like olives, sun-dried tomatoes and parsley. The dish has, indeed, travelled a long way – from the war- and poverty-stricken villages of Italy to the posh restaurants of India.

The husband and I love spaghetti aglio e olio, and I make it often for dinner, whenever we are in the mood for some Italian. I usually make it with some olives, sun-dried tomatoes, chilli flakes and dried herbs, which makes it aglio olio e peperoncino, as the Internet tells me.

Spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino – or burnt garlic spaghetti, if I may call it that – isn’t a tough thing to make. If you have but a few ingredients in your pantry, you can make it, in a matter of minutes.

Let’s check out the recipe, shall we?

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. 125 grams spaghetti
  2. Salt, to taste
  3. 7-8 big garlic cloves
  4. 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon of olive oil (I used sun-dried tomatoes-infused olive oil)
  5. 2 teaspoons chilli flakes, or to taste
  6. 2 teaspoons oregano, or to taste
  7. 2 tablespoons chopped preserved sun-dried tomatoes
  8. 2 tablespoons pitted and sliced olives

Method:

  1. Take about 3 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pan, place on high flame, and allow the water to come to a boil. Then, add in 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of olive oil, along with the spaghetti. Reduce the flame to medium. Cook till the pasta is done, but not overly mushy, 5-6 minutes.
  2. Immediately, transfer the cooked spaghetti to a colander. Run cold water over it. Place aside, and let all the water drain out.
  3. Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves and chop them very finely.
  4. Take the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add in the chopped garlic and place on medium flame. Stirring intermittently, saute till the garlic turns brown, taking care not to burn it too much.
  5. Add in the washed and drained spaghetti, salt to taste, chilli flakes, olives, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and oregano. Mix well.
  6. Gently stirring on an intermittent basis, let the spaghetti warm up in the pan. Ensure that it doesn’t get burnt. When it is warm enough, transfer the spaghetti to serving plates and serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Mixed Italian herbs can be added in place of oregano.
  2. Increase or decrease the quantity of chilli flakes you use, depending upon how spicy you want the spaghetti to be.
  3. Vary the quantity of garlic, olive oil and oregano you use, depending upon individual taste preferences.
  4. I used sun-dried tomato-infused olive oil to make this dish. You can use plain olive oil instead, too.
  5. Traditionally, aglio olio e peperoncino is made using just a few ingredients – spaghetti, olive oil, salt, chilli and garlic and, maybe, a few dried herbs. I added in the sun-dried tomatoes and olives for extra flavour – you can omit them if you like.
  6. You could add in grated cheese (preferably Parmesan) for added flavour. I didn’t use any.

You like? I hope you will try out this spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino aka burnt garlic spaghetti, and that you will love it as much as we do!

Semiya Rava Vegetable Dosa| Indian Vermicelli, Semolina And Vegetable Pancakes

These Indian-style pancakes aka dosas are made using roasted semolina and vermicelli, and you can load them with as many veggies as you want. They taste absolutely fantastic, and make for a hearty breakfast, a lovely change from the usual.

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I made these vermicelli and semolina vegetable pancakes recently, adapting the recipe from Chandra Padmanabhan’s cookbook, Dosai. They were much loved by everyone at home, and I know for sure that I am going to making them regularly henceforth.

Here’s how I made these vermicelli and semolina vegetable pancakes.

Ingredients (makes 6-7 pancakes):

Basic ingredients:

  1. 1/2 cup roasted fine semolina (rava)
  2. 1/2 cup roasted vermicelli
  3. Salt, to taste
  4. 2 tablespoons wheat flour
  5. 2 tablespoons rice flour

For the tadka:

  1. 1 teaspoon oil
  2. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
  3. A pinch of asafoetida (hing)

To be ground into a powder:

  1. 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  2. 2 tablespoons almonds

Other ingredients:

  1. Oil, as needed to make the dosas
  2. A few stalks of fresh coriander, finely chopped
  3. 1/2 cup sour buttermilk
  4. 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  5. 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  6. 1 green chilli, very finely chopped
  7. A few fresh curry leaves

Method:

  1. Take the roasted semolina and vermicelli, salt to taste, wheat flour and rice flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Grind the black peppercorns and almonds to a coarse powder, using a mixer. Add this powder to the ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan, and add in the mustard seeds. Allow them to splutter. Add in the asafoetida, and let it stay in for a couple of seconds. Switch off gas, and add this garnish to the ingredients in the mixing bowl.
  4. Add in the finely chopped coriander, onion, ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chilli and torn curry leaves, along with the sour buttermilk.
  5. Add in enough water to make a batter that is neither too thick nor too runny. Let the batter stand, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  6. Post 30 minutes, you can proceed to making dosas with the prepared batter. At this stage, add in more water and seasonings if the batter looks too thick.
  7. To make the dosas, heat a tawa until droplets of water dance on it. Now, lower the flame to medium, and pour a ladle of the batter in the centre of the pan. Spread it out into a thick circle. Add some oil around the dosa. Let the dosa cook till it gets brown on the bottom, uncovered, and then flip it over. Let the dosa cook on the other side till brown. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Notes:

  1. Make sure you use the fine variety of semolina, for best results.
  2. I used roasted vermicelli and semolina to make these pancakes. I am guessing it would be fine even if I had not roasted these ingredients.
  3. Other vegetables like carrots (grated) and tomato (pureed) can be added to the dosas as well.
  4. You can add a dash of garam masala and/or amchoor for flavour. I skipped them.
  5. Roasted and coarsely crushed peanuts can be added to the dosa batter, for flavour, too.
  6. Increase/decrease the quantity of green chillies you use, depending upon your taste preferences.
  7. Use buttermilk that is sour, but not overly so, for best results.
  8. The original recipe calls for grinding together 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon cashewnuts, 1 tablespoon pistachios and 1 tablespoon almonds, and then adding them to the batter. I have used just 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns and 2 tablespoons of almonds instead.
  9. If you want the dosas to be more sour, keep the batter out for a longer time after mixing. I kept some batter out for 3-4 hours, and the dosas tasted great.
  10. I am guessing you can skip adding the almond powder and pepper powder to the batter. Instead, you could just add more finely chopped green chillies.

You like? I hope you will try out these semolina and vermicelli pancakes at home, too, and that you will love them as much as we did!

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Foodie Monday Blog Hop

This post is for the Foodie Monday Blog Hop. The theme for the week is ‘Pancakes’.