Todays recipes are influenced by my love for south indian food, spinach cooked lightly with coconut and lentils and then ground to a paste, eaten with a dosa or as I prefer it, with soft fluffy rice flour rotis. The amazing food of dhakshin india or south India barely calls for lot of spices, the magic is created by just using very few basic ingredients. I use coconut oil when I cook south Indian food, the fragrance of the ingredients being sauted in this oil is just too heady. Of course when I talk of south India, its just a general grouping of the food.. For me the masala dosa, idli, utappas and the avials are food which I relish. Collage days breakfasts mainly consisted of idli sambhars and medhu wadas at the canteen, served with fresh coconut chutney. Even today, when I go back to Pune for my visits, I try my utmost to go to Vaishali restaurant , I have yet to eat a better dosa elsewhere, standing in the line for a seat just wets the appetite more. The SPDP or sev puri dahi puri fusion is a must have there and the horlicks milkshake is to die for… All Puneites will definitely vouch for this famous udipi restaurant.
Back to the recipe, spinach chutney has been cooked at our home since many years, a favourite of my daughters. While cooking this chutney , try not to over cook it as we want to retain its fresh green colour.his chutney can be eaten hot or at room temperature, do try both these recipes, simple home food at its best.
3 TBSPS COCONUT OIL
1 TBSP CHANA DAL
1 TBSP URAD DAL
1/4 TSP HING
6 DRY RED CHILIS BROKEN INTO PIECES
12 SLICED SHALLOTS
1 SLICED TOMATO
4 TBSPS GRATED FRESH COCONUT
2 CUPS FINELY CHOPPED SPINACH (LEAVES ONLY, DISCARD STEMS)
1 TBSP TAMARIND PASTE OR LIME JUICE
1/2 TSP TURMERIC POWDER
SALT TO TASTE
HEAT COCONUT OIL IN A PAN, ADD THE CHANA DAL AND URAD DAL.. SAUTE TILL GOLDEN BROWN.
NOW ADD THE HING, BROKEN RED CHILLIES AND SLICED SHALLOTS
SAUTE ON MEDIUM HEAT TILL ONIONS TURN A PALE GOLDEN COLOUR
NOW ADD THE SLICED TOMATO AND GRATED COCONUT AND SAUTE TILL TOMATO SOFTENS AND BLENDS WELL WITH THE ONIONS.
AT THIS POINT ADD THE SALT AND TURMERIC, TAMARIND PASTE, AND THE SPINACH
SAUTE FOR A FEW MINUTES UNTIL SPINACH WILTS AND SHUT OFF THE HEAT.
DO NOT COVER THE SPINACH AT ANY POINT
WAIT FOR A FEW MINUTES AND GRIND THE SPINACH MIXTURE TO A FINE PASTE, ADDING COLD WATER TO MAKE GRINDING EASY..
CHECK CONSISTENCY AND SERVE WITH ROTIS.
Now the rice flour roti, eaten all over India but with different names , called akki roti in the south and chawal ki roti in the north. It can be eaten plain or with some spices and chopped onions added to it. These soft white rotis are really light on the stomach.
RICE FLOUR ROTI
1 CUP FINE RICE FLOUR
1 CUP WATER
1 TSP OIL
1/2 TSP SALT
ADD WATER TO A PAN, AND BRING TO A ROLLING BOIL
ADD SALT AND OIL
NEXT ADD RICE FLOUR, THE MIXTURE WILL IMMEDIATELY BECOME LUMPY.
SHUT OFF THE HEAT AND COVER THE PAN TIGHTLY AND LET THE FLOUR COOK IN ITS OWN STEAM.
AFTER 10 MINUTES, REMOVE THE MIXTURE ONTO A PLATE AND KNEAD IT TO SMOOTH DOUGH, COVER WITH A WET NAPKIN.
HEAT THE TAVA OR FLAT GIRDLE
MAKE SMALL BALLS FROM THE DOUGH AND ROLL OUT THE ROTI.. IF YOU FIND IT STICKY, ( WHICH IT SHOULD NOT BE) JUST DIP THE BALL IN DRY RICE FLOUR AND ROLL OUT THE ROTI
PUT ONTO A HOT TAWA AND COOK ON BOTH SIDES TILL PUFFED UP AND BROWN SPOTS START APPEARING
REMOVE AND KEEP WARM IN A HOT CASSEROLE DISH.