May 21, 2015

Ragi Ambli | Finger Millet Malt

Ragi also known as Nachni or Finger Millet is one of the most staple & common grains in Karnataka  It is a nutrition powerhouse. Besides being Gluten Free, it is a very rich source of calcium.

Now that half the world is going crazy over Millets, This humble grain is back in spotlight. One of the most common ways of consuming Ragi is in the form of  a cooked dumpling called Ragi Mudde and is eaten with a lentil based gravy

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Another favorite way of consuming Ragi is a buttermilk based drink called Ambli. It has a thin porridge like consistency & is flavored using a hint of green chilli (opional ) and onion. It makes a very filling drink & can be had for breakfast if you are short on time & yes, It is very Healthy

Ragi Ambli Ingredients


How To:

Mix 1 tbsp of Ragi Flour in about 1/4 cup of water. Whisk well to form a smooth paste without any lumps. Roughly chop the onion & blend it into a paste & add it to the ragi flour mixture In a saucepan, cook this paste on low flame for about 2 mins till it gets cooked. keep stirring at regular intervals.

Once done, turn of the heat & allow it to cool. In a blender, blend together the cooked Ragi mixture & Buttermilk together along with some salt.

In a small pan, heat Ghee, splutter mustard & cumin seeds along with curry leaves. Add it to the drink Pour the drink into tall glasses and Garnish with finely chopped coriander


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You can also add half a green chili while grinding the onion but I usually give it a skip. 1 glass of this in the morning, I am good to go. You can also have this as a post workout drink. I even have this for dinner sometimes when I feel too lazy to cook a meal for myself

There is also a sweeter version of this usually made with milk which I will be posting in sometime. Meanwhile, enjoy this one !!

May 13, 2015

Indian Spiced Popcorn

Who doesn't love Popcorn? As kids, movie outings meant a huge bucket of butter popcorn as flavored ones were not such a big thing back then. Though, I am a huge fan of the good old plain butter popcorn, I have also begun to love the flavored ones

I love making flavored popcorn at home. There are so many variations one could try. They are such a hit with kids & adults alike.

I recently tried this Indian Flavored popcorn for a get together & it was such a big hit ,, Guess what the flavor was?? I used Pav Bhaji Masala & it was just amazing 

Indian Spiced Popcorn



How To:
  • 1/2 cup Pop Corn
  • 2 tbsp neutral cooking Oil - I used Sunflower oil  
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Pav Bhaji Masala 
  • 1 tsp Nigella seeds/Kallonji
  • A sprig of Curry Leaves
  • Salt as per taste

How To:

In a Heavy bottomed Pan or a Pressure cooker, Add 2 tbsp cooking oil. Once hot, Add the corn kernels & cover with a lid.When the corn starts popping, give the pan a shake and continue to cook until all the kernels have popped. Once you don't hear the popping sound anymore, remove from the heat & pour popcorn into a large bowl

In the same pan, heat Butter. Splutter nigella seeds & add curry leaves. On very low flame, add turmeric powder, red chilli powder & pav bhaji masala. Give it a gentle stir & cook for about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat. Add the popcorn & some salt & toss well until the popcorn is coated well with the spice mixture.

Pour spiced popcorn into a huge bowl & enjoy with your family/friends

The variations you can make with this is just endless. If you are keen on using Indian flavours, keep it subtle & do not use too many spices at once.

May 6, 2015

Chickpea & Raw Mango Salad


Building a Salad is a lot of fun. There is no recipe involved .. Its all about what you love & you can play with so many combinations that you will go crazy. Making a salad doesn't actually take that much time but you will need to do a bit of prepping.

Sometimes, I'd love to eat a Big bowl of colorful, hearty Salad for a meal.. But my laziness gets the better of me on some days & I end up eating a carb-heavy meal. I was determined to eat a healthy lunch yesterday so I soaked some chickpeas in the morning & made this easy peasy Chickpea & Raw Mango Salad for lunch.

Chickpea & Raw Mango Salad


I haven't really cooked anything much with raw mangoes this summer. I had a couple of raw mangoes sitting in the fridge since long so I decided to use it up in this nice tangy salad with a good dose of chickpeas

I love using Indian flavors in salad dressings. They not only add a lovely flavor but also makes me feel as though I am eating a big bowl of Chaat. The ingredients used here are nothing fancy & are usually pantry staples.

Chickpea & Raw Mango Salad Ingredients

How To:

Soak Chickpeas overnight or for 5-6 hours, Pressure cook with a bit of salt. Drain & set aside for use. Finely chop the onions & Tomatoes & set aside.

For the dressing, In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients mentioned in the list & set aside. I used store bought Tamarind & dates chutney.

To assemble the salad, In a large wide bowl, add Chickpeas, chopped onions & tomatoes & the dressing & mix well. Add chopped coriander & mint & check for salt. Allow the salad to sit atleast for 20 mins before serving, Sprinkle a generous amount of Sev before serving

If you are a health freak, This salad makes a great lunch box option. It also works as a healthy starter for parties. You could also add crushed Papdi ( Deep Fried Indian Crackers made with All Purpose Flour ) for a bit of crunch. 

April 13, 2015

Sabut Masoor Ki Dal

The weather in Bangalore is again back to its gorgeous self. After a couple of weeks of intense heat, it has been raining since a couple of days much to our relief. Though the Sun will be back with full force in a couple of days, we Bangaloreans are making the most of this lovely weather while it lasts

Last evening we enjoyed some nice & crisp Onion Pakodas while watching the rains along with the customary Masala Chai. This evening I made a big bowl of warm Sabut Masoor Ki Dal to be had along with steamed Rice. This is a regular no fancy dish but the creaminess of Masoor Dal lends it a nice buttey taste

Sabut Masoor Ki Dal 


You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Sabut Masoor Dal
  • 1 onion - finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree or 2 big tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 green chillies - slit
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Kasuri Methi
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tsp + 1 tbsp Desi Ghee 
  • Fresh Coriander for garnish
  • A couple of dry red chillies
  • A pinch of Asafoetida
  • Onion Slices to Serve
How To:

Wash the Dal in several changes of water & pressure cook for a couple of whistles until soft. Set aside for the pressure to drop

In a heavy bottomed Kadhai, Heat Desi Ghee, Splutter cumin seeds, add green chillies,  ginger-garlic paste & saute for about 30 secs. Add onions & fry until they turn slightly pink. Add the tomatoes or tomato puree & all the dry powders one by one. Add some salt & simmer for 5-8 mins until the raw smell disappears,

Add the dal, 1 - 1.5 cups of water some salt & give it a good stir, gently mash the dal with the back of a ladle, Gently simmer for about 10 mins, If the dal is too thick, add some more water to adjust the consistency. Check for salt & turn off the heat.

Heat 1 tsp Desi Ghee, Temper asafoetida & Dry Red chillies & some cumin seeds Pour over Dal

Garnish with fresh coriander & serve warm with sliced onions along with Warm rice, Jeera Rice or Peas Pulao

Note:

You can also add a few tablespoons of fresh cream while the dal is simmering but I mostly avoid it as the creaminess of the lentils more than makes up for it. 

February 11, 2015

Peas Pulao

For a very long time, I struggled to make the perfect Peas Pulao, like the ones you get in restaurants. Perfect white & Grainy. I used to cook this as a one pot meal, all cooked together in a pressure cooker until I discovered the method of cooking Rice separately & then mixing it along with other ingredients. Now, My Peas Pulao turns out really well. White & Grainy just the way I like it

This really is very easy to put together and it makes for a quick meal if you have some guests over. Just pair it with a nice Dal or a curry & you are done,

Peas Pulao 

 You Will Need:
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 3/4th  cup Fresh/ Frozen Green Peas (I used fresh)
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 3 green chilies - slit
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • A few cloves
  • 1 tsp crushed Kasuri Methi
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tbsp desi ghee
  • A handful of cashew nuts 

How To:

Clean Basmati Rice in several changes of water. Drain & set aside for about 30 mins. In a small Pressure cooker, heat a tbsp desi ghee, add basmati rice & fry for a couple of minutes on low flame until aromatic. Add some salt & add about 1 1/2 cups of water & pressure cook.

Meanwhile, boil green peas with a bit of salt & set aside. Once the pressure releases, gently transfer the rice onto a wide plate or bowl & set aside to cool. Allow rice to cool completely

In a heavy bottomed Kadhai, Heat Ghee. Splutter cumin seeds, Add the green chillies, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, cashew nuts & ginger garlic paste. Fry gently for half a minute. Add cooked green peas along with Kasuri Methi & give it a mix. Next, add the cooked rice & some salt & on a very low flame, give it a gentle mix. Let it stand on low flame for about a minute or so. 

Serve Warm with a nice curry on the side, I usually like to pair it up with a wholesome dal or a mixed vegetable curry

Note:

You may skip adding Kasuri Methi & I don't think its traditionally added here. But I like the flavour of Kasuri Methi so I add it to most of my dishes

If using frozen peas, there is no need to boil the peas separately. Add them directly to the Kadhai as Frozen Peas get cooked real fast

The 1: 1.5 Ratio of Rice:Water works well for me. A lot of people use the 1:2 ratio but somehow I end up with slightly mushy rice. Experiment with the ratio & couple of times & see what works for you. It also depends on the brand of Basmati Rice you use

February 9, 2015

Microwave Crisped Bitter Gourd Rings


As a Kid, I disliked Bitter Gourd while the rest of the family loved it. But somewhere along the line, I grew quite fond of it & I don't even remember since when did I start eating it, We kannadigas mostly make Gojju out of it & I recently learnt how to make a mean Bitter Gourd Sambhar from one of my Aunts :) Believe me, It is quite tasty 

I came across these Microwave Crisped Bitter Gourd Rings from a random website & I tried them almost immediately & they turned out very delicious. They make for a great Tea Time snack or munch a few along with yiur mid morning dose of Green Tea, Much better than those cookies I tell you


Microwave Oven Crisped Bitter Gourd Rings

 These chips stay crisp for about a couple of days & can be stored in a air tight jar for about 2 days I think. Mine have never lasted beyond that, It will only take you about 15 mins from start to finish & you will end up with a bowl full of crispy low fat chips

You Will Need:
  1. 1 large Bitter Gourd
  2. 2 tbsp cooking oil
  3. 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  4. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  5. Salt as per taste
How To:

Wash the Bitter gourd & pat dry. With the help of a knife, slice the bitter gourd into thin rounds, The thinner the discs, the crispier it will be.

In a  bowl, whisk together 1 tbsp cooking oil along with red chilli powder, salt, turmeric. Add the bitter gourd discs & mix well so that the discs get coated with the spice mixture

Grease a large Microwaveable Glass Tray, arrange the discs next to one another, Do not stack the discs or overlap them. Place in the microwave for about 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, take out the tray & give it a shake so that the discs do not stick to the tray, Microwave for another 2 minutes

After 2 minutes, flip the discs & add another tbsp of oil & microwave for another 2 mins, Continue doing this until the bitter gourd discs have crisped well. 

It takes about 10-12 minutes for them to crisp up, depending on your microwave.

Once done, allow them to cool & serve it as a snack of as a side along with Dal & Rice. Enjoi !!!

December 18, 2014

Spiced Turmeric Milk

The Weather in Bangalore is now so pleasant, just the way I like it :)  It's cold early mornings & there is a bit of sunshine later in the day, And, it again gets cold at night. Chill enough to snuggle under a warm blanket.

 I love everything about winter especially the food, Waking up to some nice & hot Masala chai to warm soups, Maggi & some good old Pakoras. But winter does bring it share of woes. One does catch a cold very easily especially in a place like Bangalore. The child is down with a runny nose & a bad cough, We are off on a holiday next week & I do hope that he recovers by then


Spiced Turmeric Milk

So, there's the World Famous Haldi Wala Doodh a,k.a Spiced Turmeric Milk for such days. Turmeric is known for its medicinal properties & is widely used in everyday Indian cooking. And, this Spiced Turmeric Milk does bring some relief to sore thoats & runny noses. It's tried & tested :)

The recipe is a no brainer anyways, I am going to document it :) The usage of saffron is optional but it does bring a nice hue & taste to the milk. I used milk with 2 % fat, You can use skimmed milk or even full fat milk. Shankar's Granny use 1 part milk & 1 part water. It's entirely up to you 

You Will Need
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp good quality Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • A small piece of cinnamon
  • A few strands of saffron
  • Sugar as per taste

How To:

In a sauce pan, Pour milk, Add all the ingredients mentioned one by one except saffron, Allow the milk to boil. Turn off the stove

Strain out the cinnamon stick & ginger. Add saffron & mix well. Pour into a glass & serve Hot