Aloo Raita| Potato Raita

Aloo Raita refers to a condiment made with potatoes and curd, with a few spices added in. This might feel like a weird combination of ingredients to some but, let me tell you, it tastes absolutely lovely!

All of us in our family are big fans of raita. Come summer, and raita of different sorts begin to make an appearance on our lunch table more frequently than ever. They are super cooling and very refreshing, after all.

Aloo Raita is a relatively lesser known variety of the dish. It goes very well as a side with rotis and pulav/biryani. Let’s see how to prepare it, the way it is done in my family!

Aloo Raita| Potato Raita

But first, what is a raita?

Raita‘, for the uninitiated, means a side dish prepared with different fruits and/or vegetables and curd, an integral part of Indian meals.

There are a vast number of raita prepared across the length and breadth of India, with variations from one place to another. Check out the recipes for Boondi Raita, Methi Raita and Dangar Pachadi (a forgotten Urad Dal Raita from Tamilnadu) on my blog.

What is called ‘raita‘ in most of the northern parts of India becomes ‘Thayir Pachadi‘ in Tamilnadu and ‘Mosaru Oggarne‘ in Karnataka. The ‘Arachu Kalakki‘ of Kerala, ‘Dahi Ki Chutney‘ of Andhra Pradesh, and ‘Kichadi‘ of Kerala are also types of raita.

Like I was saying earier, Aloo Raita is a comparatively lesser known type of raita.

Ingredients used in Aloo Raita

Potatoes and curd are the two major ingredients used in Aloo Raita. Potatoes are cooked first, then peeled and chopped, after which they are mixed into whisked curd.

Apart from regular table salt, some roasted cumin (jeera) powder, red chilli powder, black salt and powdered sugar are also used in this raita, for flavour.

The tempering for this Aloo Raita is simple – just some mustard seeds and asafoetida in oil.

Finely chopped fresh coriander is used to garnish the raita.

How to make Aloo Raita

Please find the detailed proceedure below.

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Below top right and bottom right: Steps 4 and 5, Bottom centre and left: Steps 6 and 7

Ingredients (serves 2-4):

1. 2 medium-sized potatoes

2. 1/4 teaspoon black salt

3. Salt to taste

4. Red chilli powder to taste

5. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin (jeera) powder

6. 3/4 teaspoon powdered sugar

7. 1 cup thick curd

8. 1 tablespoon finely chopped coriander

9. 1/2 tablespoon oil

10. 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

11. 2 pinches of asafoetida

Method:

1. Wash the potatoes well under running water, to remove all the dirt from them. Cut them into halves and transfer them to a wide vessel. Add in enough water to cover the potatoes fully. Place the vessel in a pressure cooker. Pressure cook on high flame for 2 whistles. Let the pressure come down naturally.

2. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, get the potatoes out. Drain out all the water. Let the potatoes cool down fully, then peel and chop them into cubes. Take the potato cubes in a large mixing bowl.

3. To the potatoes, add black salt, salt, red chilli powder, roasted cumin powder and powdered sugar. Mix gently to ensure that all the potato pieces are evenly coated in the spice powders.

4. Whisk the curd along with a little water, to make it smooth.

5. Add the whisked curd to the potatoes in the mixing bowl.

6. Add in the finely chopped coriander.

7. Now, we will prepare the tempering. Heat the oil in a small tempering pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Then add in the asafoetida and switch off the gas. Add this tempering to the mixing bowl. Mix all the ingredients in the bowl gently. Your Aloo Raita is ready to serve.

Dietary guidelines

This Aloo Raita recipe is completely vegetarian. There is a small amount of oil and powdered sugar used here.

This raita is free of onion and garlic.

It is not vegan because of the use of dairy-based curd and, hence, not suitable to those following a plant-based diet. I think you could make this with plant-based curd as well, though I have not tried that out.

To make this dish gluten-free, simply skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida contain wheat flour, so it is best to avoid them when one is following a gluten-free diet. However, if you can find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, do go ahead and use it.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use curd that is slightly sour, but not overly so, for best results.

2. Adjust the quantity of water depending upon the consistency of the raita that you require.

3. Adjust the quantities of red chilli powder, salt, powdered sugar and roasted cumin powder as per personal taste preferences.

4. Do not overcook the potatoes. They should be cooked through but not overly mushy.

5. Do not skip the sugar. It adds a lovely flavour to the raita.

6. You can crumble the cooked potatoes and add them to the raita too. I prefer chopping them into cubes, the way I have done here.

7. This Aloo Raita is best made fresh and consumed immediately after preparation.

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

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Apple Kachumbar| Indian Apple Salad

Apple Kachumbar is a spin on the regular kachumbar salad that is typically a part of Gujarati thalis. The fruits added to this version add freshness to the salad, at the same time making it incredibly colourful, pretty and flavourful.

This salad came about, some time ago, because I happened to have a few green apples lying around at home, thanks to the bub. The bub has this habit of adding any new veggies or fruits she comes across to my basket while shopping – almost always, she never eats them and I end up trying to figure out innovative ways to use them up. 🙂 It polishes my recipe development skills, for sure, and many of these ‘trials’ have gone on to become favourites at home.

So, here’s presenting Apple Kachumbar, a delicious salad that has now become an almost weekly fixture at our dining table. It is just the perfect summer salad, I say.

Apple Kachumbar or Indian Apple Salad

Apple Kachumbar – Ingredients Used

Apple salad is mostly made with cheese and walnuts/almonds, but this kachumbar is different. It is big on Indian flavours!

I like using green apples in Apple Kachumbar, fresh and juicy ones that are a good mix of tart and sweet. I also add in some pomegranate arils, apart from the usual suspects in a kachumbar like cucumber, coriander, carrot and onion.

The Apple Kachumbar is flavoured with salt, roasted cumin powder, a dash of lemon juice, red chilli powder and a bit of jaggery powder. It’s an explosion of tastes, honestly.

How to make Apple Kachumbar| Indian Apple Salad

Making Apple Kachumbar is incredibly easy. It takes just a few minutes to whip it up, once you have the ingredients prepped and ready.

Here’s how to put the salad together.

Ingredients (serves 2):

1. 1 medium-sized green apple

2. Juice from 1/2 lemon or to taste

3. 1 small cucumber

4. 1 small onion

5. Arils from a small pomegranate

6. 1 small carrot

7. A handful of fresh coriander

8. Salt to taste

9. 1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder

10. 1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin (jeera) powder

11. 3/4 teaspoon jaggery powder or to taste

Method:

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left, centre and right: Steps 4, 5 and 6

1. Cut the green apple and remove the core. Chop finely. Transfer the chopped apple to a large mixing bowl.

2. Add a dash of lemon juice to the apple and mix well. This will stop the apple pieces from getting brown.

3. Chop the cucumber and onion finely and add to the mixing bowl. Add the pomegranate arils too.

4. Peel the carrot and grate it medium-thick. Chop the coriander finely. Add these to the mixing bowl as well.

5. Add in salt to taste, red chilli powder, roasted cumin powder and jaggery powder. Mix well.

6. Taste and adjust the lemon juice as needed. Mix up all the ingredients well. Your Apple Kachumbar is ready. Serve immediately.

Dietary guidelines

This Apple Kachumbar recipe is completely vegetarian.

It is also vegan, suitable to people following a plant-based diet.

It is gluten-free as well.

There is no oil used in this salad, but there is a small amount of jaggery powder included. You may omit the jaggery powder in case you have dietary restrictions – check the Tips and Tricks section of this post for details.

Tips & Tricks

1. I have used a nice, juicy green apple here. If you don’t have one, you can use a red apple instead. Use a crisp variety of apple that is a good mix of sweet and sour, like Royal Gala or Pink Lady.

2. Sometimes, apples tend to be quite sour. In that case, adjust the quantity of lemon juice and jaggery powder accordingly. You may omit the jaggery powder altogether if the apple is not too sour.

3. Jaggery powder is nothing but powdered jaggery, which is commonly available in several departmental stores here in Bangalore. Alternatively, you could use powdered sugar. Honey can also be used as a substitute for the jaggery – however, avoid this if you would like to make the salad vegan.

4. Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder and salt as per personal taste preferences. You can add a dash of chaat masala and/or black salt too, which will make the salad taste more like a chaat. Green chillies can be used in place of the red chilli powder, but I prefer the latter.

5. Use the freshest of ingredients in the salad, for the best texture and taste.

6. I have not peeled the apple and cucumber here. You may do so if you prefer it that way, but I personally think that keeping the skin on adds a beautiful texture to the salad.

7. To make the roasted cumin powder – dry roast a handful of cumin seeds on a hot pan, on medium flame, till they get nice and fragrant. Make sure they do not get burnt. When done, transfer them to a plate and allow them to cool down completely. Then, grind the cumin seeds coarsely in a small mixer jar. I make this roasted cumin powder periodically in small batches, store it in a dry air-tight bottle, and use it as needed.

8. You may add other fruits and vegetables of your preference to this Apple Kachumbar. Tomatoes and seedless grapes would make great additions, for instance. We prefer adding only the ingredients in the recipe mentioned above.

9. Use a cucumber with very few seeds, for best results. This kind of cucumber is also referred to as ‘English cucumber’ or ‘seedless cucumber’ in local parlance.

10. Do make sure you serve the Apple Kachumbar immediately after preparing it. The apples tend to darken slightly if you keep the salad lying around for some time.

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

Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki| Amla Raita

Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki is a unique dish made using gooseberries (amla) and curd, from the city of Palakkad in Kerala. It is a side dish which is the specialty of the Palakkad Iyers residing in this region. I learnt this recipe from my mother-in-law and, in today’s post, am going to share with you all how to go about making it.

This is a simple but beautiful dish, though I must say the taste takes a little getting used to. My husband and I adore it! I love relishing it with tiffin items like dosa or upma, while the husband likes having it with plain, hot rice. It can also be served as part of an elaborate meal, especially along with other Palakkad Iyer specials like Molagootal and Poduthuval.

Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki or Amla Raita

Arachu Kalakki trivia

Arachu Kalakki‘ is a classic Palakkad Iyer dish, which can be made using a few different types of fruits and vegetables. Gooseberries, elephant-foot yam (‘suran‘ in Hindi, ‘senaikizhangu‘ in Tamil), and raw mango are the most commonly used.

‘Arachu Kalakki‘ is Palakkad Tamil for ‘grind and mix’, which is exactly how this dish is prepared. The preparation of arachu kalakki involves very little cooking, which makes it the perfect side dish for the hot months of summer – you don’t have to stand in front of the gas stove for long hours, cooking. It is delicious, super cooling and refreshing too!

Either fresh or preserved fruits/vegetables can be used to make arachu kalakki. In traditional Palakkad homes, seasonal fruits like gooseberries and small raw mangoes are preserved in salted water (brine) – they stay well for a long time when stored this way, and can be used as needed. My mother-in-law sometimes uses gooseberries preserved in brine to make Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki, but I almost always use the raw ones whenever they are readily available in the markets.

Ingredients used in Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki

So, the gooseberries (preserved or fresh) are ground to a slightly coarse puree, along with coconut and green chillies, and mixed with curd to make Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki. If you are using fresh gooseberries, they need to be cooked before using them, while the preserved ones can be used as is. This arachu kalakki is full of the natural goodness of gooseberries, whichever way you use them.

A simple tempering of mustard seeds, asafoetida and curry leaves in coconut oil is added to the Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki, once it is ready.

This method of preparation is similar to the making of raita. It would, therefore, not be wrong to call Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki as Nelikkai Thayir Pachadi (Tamil for ‘Amla Raita‘).

How to make Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki

Different families have their own little touches in the making of arachu kalakki, but the base ingredients remain more or less the same. Here’s how I make the Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki, a la my mother-in-law.

Ingredients (serves 4-5):

1. 4 medium-sized gooseberries (amla)

2. 1/4 cup fresh coconut slivers

3. 2 green chillies or as per taste

4. 1-1/2 cups fresh thick curd or as per taste

5. Salt to taste

To temper:

1. 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

2. 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

3. 2 pinches of asafoetida

4. A sprig of curry leaves

Method:

Top left, centre and right: Steps 1, 2 and 3, Bottom left: Step 4, Bottom centre and right: Step 5

1. Wash the gooseberries well under running water. Pat dry using a cotton cloth.

2. Place the gooseberries in a wide vessel. Do not add in any water. Take about a cup of water in a pressure cooker bottom and place it on a high flame. Place the vessel with the gooseberries inside the pressure cooker. Close the cooker and put the whistle on. Allow the gooseberries to cook on high flame for 4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally.

3. When the pressure from the cooker has completely gone down, open it and get the gooseberries out. Allow them to cool down enough to handle.

4. When the gooseberries have completely cooled down, press them gently and separate the segments. The segments will get separated very easily. Remove and discard the seed.

5. Place the gooseberry segments in a mixer jar. Add in the coconut slivers. Chop up the green chillies roughly and add them to the mixer jar too. Grind everything together to an almost smooth puree, using a little water.

Top left and right: Step 6, Bottom right: Step 7, Bottom left: Step 8

6. Take the gooseberry puree in a large mixing bowl. Add in the curd and salt to taste. Add about 1/2 cup water or as needed.

7. Mix everything up well.

8. Now, we will prepare the tempering. Heat the oil in a small tempering pan. Add in the mustard seeds, and allow them to sputter. Then, add in the asafoetida and curry leaves. Allow them to stay in for a couple of seconds. Pour the tempering into the gooseberry-curd mixture. Mix well. Your Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki is ready – serve it as an accompaniment to rice/upma/dosas or as part of an elaborate meal spread.

Dietary guidelines

This dish is completely vegetarian, made using very little oil.

It is NOT vegan because of the use of dairy-based curd. You could try making it using vegan (plant-based) curd, but I have never tried that out.

To make this Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki gluten-free, skip the asafoetida used in the tempering. Most Indian brands of asafoetida do contain wheat flour and are, therefore, best avoided when one is following a gluten-free diet. If you do find 100% gluten-free asafoetida, however, you can definitely go ahead and use it.

Tips & Tricks

1. Use fresh gooseberries (amla), which are firm and without any blemishes.

2. You can use amla that has been soaked in brine, as is commonly done in many parts of India. In case the amla has soaked well and is quite soft, you can grind it as is – there’s no need to cook it. In this case, you would need to be cautious while adding salt as the amla would be a bit salty anyways.

3. Do not add any water to the amla while pressure-cooking it. 4 whistles in the pressure cooker, and it’s perfectly done – not overcooked, just right.

4. Adjust the quantity of green chillies, salt and coconut as per personal taste preferences.

5. For best results, use fresh curd that is not very sour.

6. Adjust the amount of water you use depending upon the consistency of the Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki that you require. It is supposed to be thick but not overly so, runny but not too watery.

7. You may add a small piece of ginger while grinding the cooked gooseberries, coconut and green chillies. I usually don’t do so.

8. Use coconut oil for the tempering – it adds a beautiful flavour to the Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki.

9. Do not grind the gooseberries, coconut and green chillies too finely. Let the puree be slightly coarse, for best results.

10. This Nelikkai Arachu Kalakki is best prepared and consumed fresh. However, any leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in a clean, dry, air-tight refrigerator for a day.

Looking for other recipes using gooseberries?

Check out these posts on my blog:

Arinelikkai Thokku| Instant Star Gooseberry Pickle

Nelikkai Urugai| Spicy Gooseberry Pickle

Nelikkai Sadam| Gooseberry Rice

Nelikkai Sweet Urugai| Sweet Gooseberry Pickle

Gajar Amla Salad| Tangy Carrot Salad With Gooseberry

I’m hugely intrigued by this Nellikai (gooseberry) Chutney Pudi from my friend Preethi’s recipe blog too – can’t wait to try it out!

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

Mambazha Payasam| Aam Ki Kheer

Mambazha Payasam is a delicious kheer made using ripe mangoes, one of the best ways to use the fruit in the summer months. It is an easy-peasy dessert to make, too.

The season for mangoes is here, and I plan to use the ‘King of Fruits’ in as many dishes as possible. Mambazha Payasam (Tamil) or Aam Ki Kheer (Hindi) is one of my most favourite desserts using mangoes. Today, let me share with you all the recipe for this kheer, the way I make it.

Do try it out for the upcoming Tamil New Year or Vishu. I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

Mambazha Payasam or Mango kheer
Mambazha Payasam or Aam Ki Kheer

I have shared several other delightful recipes with ripe mangoes on my blog so far. You might want to take a look at them too.

Mambazha Pulissery| Mambazha Sambar| Fajeto| Mango Kesari| Ripe Mango Dip| Chilli & Mango Grilled Cheese Sandwich| Stuffed Mango Kulfi| Mango & Hung Curd Parfait| Mango Bruschetta| Ripe Mango Hummus With Sriracha| Mango Lassi| Fruit Custard

Kalyani’s Thai Yellow Mango Curry sounds so very delicious, I’m surely going to try it out this summer!

A look at the ingredients used

Mambazha Payasam is made by cooking milk till it reduces and thickens, after which ripe mangoes are mixed into it. Check the detailed recipe given below to understand how to go about this without the milk splitting.

Milk and mangoes are the two major ingredients in this payasam. Full-fat, dairy-based milk is preferred. The slow cooking of the milk renders it creamy and delicious and, along with ripe mango, it makes for a heavenly summer dessert.

Regular refined sugar is used to sweeten the payasam. A bit of saffron is added in for colour, as well as cardamom powder for flavouring.

Mambazha Payasam Recipe

I prepare the Mambazha Payasam on the lines of the Kheer Komola i.e. Bengali Orange Kheer that I had shared some time ago. That is another beautiful fruit-based payasam, you all!

The detailed recipe for Mambazha Payasam follows.

Ingredients (serves 4-6):

1. 1 litre full-fat milk

2. 6 tablespoons sugar or to taste

3. A pinch of saffron

4. 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

5. 2 medium-sized ripe mangoes

Method:

How to make Mambazha Payasam
Top left and right: Steps 1 and 2, Below top right: Step 3, Bottom right: Step 4, Bottom left: Step 5

1. Take the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Place it on high flame.

2. Allow the milk to come to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.

3. Add in the sugar. Mix well.

4. Drop in the saffron strands into the milk.

5. Continue to cook on medium heat till the milk reduces in volume to about half. You will need to stir intermittently to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Scrape down the cream that forms on the sides of the pan, using a spatula, back into the milk. In 15-20 minutes, the milk would have reduced. Switch off gas at this stage.

How to make Mambazha Payasam
Top left: Step 6, Top centre and right, bottom left and centre: Step 7, Bottom right: Step 8

6. Mix in the cardamom powder. Now, allow the milk mixture to cool down completely.

7. When the milk mixture has cooled down fully, peel the 2 ripe mangoes. Chop the flesh of one into small pieces and add it to the milk. Chop the flesh of the other mango to pieces, grind coarsely in a mixer jar (or use your hands to make a rough puree) and add this to the milk too. Mix well. Your Mambazha Payasam or Aam Ki Kheer is ready.

8. Chill the kheer for at least a couple of hours in the refrigerator before serving.

Dietary guidelines

This kheer is made using milk from the dairy and is, therefore, NOT vegan. Vegans can use plant-based milk instead, I think, though I have never tried that out in this recipe.

This Mambazha Payasam is naturally gluten-free.

It uses refined sugar and is a high-calorie dessert, and is meant for occasional consumption in small amounts only, especially for people with diabetes and weight-watchers. I have not tried making this particular dessert with any alternative sweetener.

Tips & Tricks

1. Adjust the quantity of sugar you use depending upon how sweet the mangoes are.

2. Use mangoes that are completely ripe, sweet, fragrant and juicy. Do not use fibrous varieties of mango. Banganapalli and Kesar are my favourite varieties to use in this kheer.

3. The Aam Ki Kheer will thicken up upon cooling, so make sure you switch off the flame when it is still on the runnier side.

4. If the kheer gets too thick, you may dilute it using some boiled and cooled milk.

5. Use full-fat milk for best results. I have used Nandini full-cream milk here.

6. You can use a mixer to puree one mango or do the same using your hands. For best results, make a coarse puree – do not make a fine paste.

7. This Aam Ki Kheer is best prepared fresh and consumed on the same day of preparation.

8. Make sure you use a heavy-bottomed pan to cook the kheer.

9. This kheer tastes best after chilling for at least a couple of hours. Please plan ahead and schedule the preparation accordingly.

10. Allow the milk mixture to cool down completely before adding the mango to it, otherwise it might split.

11. I prefer using fresh ripe mangoes when in season. However, if you don’t have access to fresh mangoes where you live, you can use canned.

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