March 31, 2009

Bisi Bele Baath - The Authentic Way

I am doing so much better with my finger injury. It has now completely healed & Iam back to my old routine now. Thanks so much for your concern people, I really did mean a lot to me. I am going to be a million times more careful next time I grate something :D

Just the other day, one of my readers, Hema asked me for the authentic Bisi Bele Baath (BBB) recipe. It then struck me that I still hadn't posted the recipe for BBB. I googled a bit to check out other versions of BBB, but I was taken by surprise to find out that there are very few versions out there that are authentic. That's when I decided to post my very own family recipe for Bisi Bele Baath - The Authentic Way.

Bisi Bele Baath is a signature dish of the Kannadigas, BBB is undoubtedly my favorite amongst all karnataka dishes. For, its quite simple to make, it has a rich flavour to tickle your taste buds & is very very healthy.

The recipe out here is more common in the Bangalore-Mysore regions of Karnataka. You will probably find most households around this region, preparing BBB in this way more or less.

I learnt this from my Grand Mom who in turn learnt it from her Grand Mom, so this one is a family recipe & a very authentic one at that.

Here it is,

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup Toor Dal
  • 1/2 cup Rice ( I used Sona Masuri )
  • 2 tomatoes - chopped
  • 1 cup french beans - chopped
  • 1 potato - cubed
  • 1 carrot - cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper - cubed
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • A handful of double beans ( optional)
  • A handful of green peas - fresh/frozen
  • A few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafoetida/Hing
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 3 tsp desi ghee
  • Salt as per taste
  • 5-6 cashewnuts

To grind:

  • 2 tbsp grated coconut - fresh/frozen
  • 10 - 12 dry red chillies ( I used Byadagi )
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 inch stick of cinnamon
  • 6 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp dagad phool/rock flower/Kallu Hoovu
  • A small lemon sized ball of tamarind soaked in water

Method:

  • Pressure cook toor dal until completely cooked & set aside
  • Meanwhile, roast all the ingredients mentioned in the 'to-grind' list except coconut & tamarind, with a tsp of oil until fragrant. Grind along with grated coconut & tamarind into a smooth paste.
  • Take a pressure cooker, Add cooked toor dal. Along with it, add carrots, beans & potatoes & double beans. bring it to a boil.
  • To this mixture, add the ground paste & bring it to a boil again. Add a tsp of ghee at this point to avoid the bottom of the cooker from getting burnt. Keep stirring at regular intervals. Boil this mixture on low flame for about 5 minutes.
  • Wash rice in several changes of water & add it to the boiling mixture, give it a gentle stir.
  • Add the remaining vegetables & add about 3 cups of water. Adjust salt as per taste. Add 2 tsp of ghee/oil & close the lid & let it cook completely.
  • Once the cooker releases pressure, open the lid. Temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves, cashewnuts, turmeric & asafoetida.

Mix well & serve HOT with a dollop of ghee on top & Raita . . . Enjoi !!!



NOTE:
  • The consistency of BBB should be rather watery. Once complelely cooked, if you find the dish slightly thick, add some water & boil the mixture. This dish is very forgiving that way.
  • The whole idea of cooking toor dal twice is to prevent the dish from getting hard once it cools down. But if you ensure that the dal is twice cooked, the baath will retain its watery consistency
  • DO NOT add onions while making BBB. I often find a lot of people adding onions to this dish. Addition of onions gives this dish 'a sambar' like taste, since the ingredients used in sambar are more or less same. So remember, NO onions.
  • Replace Tamarind with 3 tsp of lime juice for a slightly different taste.

We had this for our Ugadi lunch along with cucumber raita & potato chips. We were really close to licking our plates.
This dish is very close to my heart. Hope you guys like this too.

March 22, 2009

Chana Dal Tadka

Ever since I've hurt my finger, I am getting showered with attention. I am enjoying this quite a bit. Getting hurt doesn't suck so much after all :D

I haven't been doing much in the kitchen lately. Shankar made this lip smacking Dal Tadka for me yesterday & he insisted that I post it. So, here I am typing with just one finger.

I was never such a big fan of Chana Dal. I barely experiment with it. I had Chana Dal Tadka for the first time at an Indian restaurant in Paris.

While we were holidaying in Paris, we were starved beyond words, & were craving for some authentic Indian stuff. For how long can you eat Croissants & Baguettes afterall? When, we found a nice little Indian restaurant & I just couldn't wait to lay my hands on some lovely Rice & Dal Tadka. The restaurant had limited options for the vegetarians & they only served only chana dal. I had no choice but to opt for it & thought I wasn't going to like it one bit.

When the waiter served, Dal Tadka, It looked really bland & had no traces of either onions or tomatoes or any other seasoning.
(I gave him a stare as though I am the Czarina of Indian Cuisine, implying that one can't just whip up something in an alien country & serve it as authentic Indian Stuff. )

But I was sooo terribly wrong. The dal tasted great & had an amazing texture. It was actually more than perfect. Yes, I ate one of the best Dal Tadkas in Paris. And, I knew that I was going to recreate this at home some day.

We got together to guessing what all might have gone into the Dal & I think we got most of it.

Here's how it was made,

You Will Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups Chana Dal
  • 1 red onion - chopped
  • 2 tomatoes - chopped
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 2 cloves
  • A small stick of cinnamon
  • A handful of cashewnuts
  • A small piece of ginger
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 dry red chilli - broken
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • cilantro for garnish
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp desi ghee

Method:

  • Soak chana dal in water for about 15 minutes & pressure cook the dal until completely cooked. See to it that the dal does not get mushy & retains its shape
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan & add slit green chillies, cardamoms, cloves & cinnamon. Saute for about 20 seconds.
  • Add chopped onions & saute till they turn transpatent. Add turmeric, red chilli powder & tomatoes & cook until oil separates & tomatoes turn pulpy
  • Switch off the stove & allow it to cool. Once cool, grind this along with ginger & cashewnuts.
  • Heat oil in a pan & add cooked chana dal & the ground paste & bring it to a boil. Add water to get the desired consistency. Add salt as per taste.
  • Temper with cumin seeds & broken red chilli. Garnish with finely chopped cilantro.

Serve Hot with Rotis/Rice. Enjoy !!!

This one was really close to the one we had in Paris & enjoyed it quite a bit. The spices were mild & cashews added their bit of sweetness & gave a nice creamy consistency to the dal. I loved the texture & taste of chana dal too.

All the credit goes to Shankar for patiently listening to me on how to got about the whole thing & creating some lovely comfort food.

Hope you guys are going to try this too.

NOTE: While grinding the ingredients, we let a few rustic pieces of onions & tomatoes remain, since we like biting into tiny bits of veggies. But you could grind it into a smooth paste as well.

March 7, 2009

Radish Raita - Summer Cooler

Summer has begun in our part of the world. I detest summer as much as I detest cockroaches, ( such a silly comparison :P ) . . I know a lot of people who love this season for the sunshine it brings on, But I have been the types who has always enjoyed winters, rainy days & pleseant weathers . .

While I already see the tempratures soaring, I look forward to eating something light & comforting for lunch. This raita is something that we make frequently during summers & it does have a cooling effect on your body. And, this is sure to surprise all 'Radish-Haters' & a few like me who love this yucky-smelling vegetable, this recipe is for keeps ..


You Will Need:
  • 1 colored radish - grated
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut - fresh/frozen
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 -3 green chillies
  • 1 broken red chilli
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 4 - 5 curry leaves
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tsp desi ghee

How To:

  • Heat 1 tsp ghee in a small wok & saute grated radish till the raw smell disappears. This takes about 2-3 minutes. DO NOT cook completely. See to it that radish retains its crunch
  • Grind together green chillies, cumin seeds & grated coconut with very little water into a smooth paste.
  • Beat yogurt with salt, mix in sauteed radish, ground paste. adjust salt as per taste
  • Temper with mustard seeds, curry leaves & broken red chilli

Serve with HOT steamed rice .. Enjoi !!!

We had ours with some Tomato Saaru, Rice & spiced buttermilk for a complete meal.

NOTE:

  • You could even use raw grated radish in this. But those of you who dislike the taste of raw raidsh, make sure you saute it before you proceed with the recipe.
  • You could use daikon radish too. But, red radish is much milder in taste
  • Enjoy as a Cold Soup too