Spinach chutney with rice flour roti

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.

SPINACH CHUTNEY

INGREDIENTS

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

METHOD..

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, AND20170820_150639 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

INGREDIENTS

1 CUP FINE RICE FLOUR

1 CUP WATER

1 TSP OIL

1/2 TSP SALT

METHOD

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.20170820_150816

 

 

Coconut Dal

The indian comfort food which we all have grown up with is Dal and chawal, right from  the time when we are babies, we are fed dal and khicadi, wholesome food and protein packed. Dal or lentils, as it is known in the west is a must at almost every meal in India. It is the source of protein for most vegetarians. There being a vast variety of lentils, each having a different texture after being cooked , gives options to the home makers in giving a varied menu to her family,. Of course each region or for that matter home, will surely have their own favourite dal. The south indians, love their sambhars and rasams both made of Tur dal or split pigeon peas, but having a different texture, while a sambhar is thick , rasams are like a thin spicy broth. The north Indians love the whole moong dal , which is cooked to a creamy thick consistency and  served in the Gurudwara at langars, which is a community kitchen where meals are served free of charge.And so on, the ways of cooking the humble lentils differ from state to state, in some parts of India, dal is cooked on a charcoal flame or sigris, for a few hours gently simmering away to give a beautiful aromatic and creamy result.  Dal is mostly eaten with rice or sometimes with some indian flat bread like chappatis or parathas. The Indians love their dal, to the extent of incorporating it into their desserts like the maharashtrain puran poli, which is an Indian flatbread stuffed with a boiled and mashed chana dal which has jaggery and cardamon powder added to it, when well made it literally melts in the mouth. And the Bengal moong daaler payesh which has a creamy consistency and is made with milk, moong dal and jaggery.

Dal in the sindhi home which has received world wide fame is  the Dal Pakwan,  a dish of simple boiled chana dal topped with a sweet and sour chutney and onion relish or kechumbo as its called in sindhi and served with a pakwan which is a cummin flavoured flat bread deep fried to a crunchy crispness. The pleasure derived in every bite of the contrasting textures is what  has made this breakfast dish so popular. Today I will share with you a simple coconut dal recipe, It is a recipe given in our cooking group, by our group member Neetu. I have tweaked the recipe a little and made a few changes. Do try this amazing dal, which can be eaten with rice or phulkas. The addition of coconut  cream takes its texture to a new level..

Coconut Dal

Ingredients.

1/2 cup yellow moong dal, soaked and boiled to a mushy consistency.

6 tbsps of fresh grated coconut

4 dry red chillies, broken into pieces

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

3 tbsps coconut cream [ I used kara]

2 tbsps coconut oil

Ingredients for tempering

1 sliced big onion

3  whole dry red chillies

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cummin seeds

1/4 tsp hing or asafoetida

A sprig of curry leaves

1 tbsp of ghee

Method..

Boil and mash the dal, keep on a simmer.

In another pan,add coconut oil and grated coconut.. saute for a while and add the broken red chillie and garlic, saute till fragrant. grind this mixture with a little water till smooth and add to the dal along with the turmeric powder,IMG-20170812-WA0053 season to taste with salt.

At this point, your dal will be a pretty peach colour., simmer for abt 5 mins more.

Add coconut cream, check the consistency  of the dal which should not be watery .

Next, heat ghee in a seperate small pan and add mustard and cummin seeds to the hot ghee, also add the sliced onions, curry leaves, hing and whole red chillies.. saute till fragrant and add  this tempering to the simmering dal.

Serve dal with rice or phulkas.. enjoy.

 

 

Beetroot Halwa

Awesome rainy weather calls for food which is rich, sweet and hot. Watching the rains pitter pattering from the comfort of our home gives all of us a warm comfortable feeling, of course childhood  days of running around in the rains, deliberately jumping into puddles of rain water just for the fun of it are treasured and fun filled memories.

Foods which are energy giving are of course preferred during winters and monsoons, which brings us to the recipe I will be sharing today with you, beetroot halwa. This dish was never cooked at home maybe because mummy normally stuck to sindhi cuisine, of which she was master chef. But beetroot was definitely served in the form of salad, be it the simple garden salad which consisted of boiled beet cut into circles, topped with grated carrot, sliced red onion and dressed with salt, pepper and a squirt of lime juice and garnished with freshly cut corriander leaves, or in a boiled vegetable salad tossed with homemade mayonnaise, to which it imparted a lovely pink colour. Those were the basic salads which were served at home while we were kids, simplicity being the norm in the good old days. The other form of beetroot which I personally love to this day , is the beetroot cutlet served at the Priya restaurant , main street.. Pune. No visit to Pune is complete without me eating this wholesome cutlet, still served exactly the same way it was served in the early seventies, deep fried crispy goodness enclosing a soft sticky beetroot mixture, slightly sweet, topped with shredded lettuce leaves, and sweet tomato sauce and spicy green chutney, the balance of flavours is amazing.This amazing root is full of vitamins and is a super healthy vegetable,  advised by doctors to consume on a regular basis, 20160722_122300especially for those who are anemic  Back to the recipe of beetroot halwa, I came across this simple recipe while browsing the net , changed it to my liking, made it and loved it. It is unbelievably simple to make. Best had chilled, and in small servings. Do try this delicious recipe .

Beetroot Halwa

Ingredients

250 gms peeled and grated beetroot

1 cup milk

2 tbsps ghee

3 tbsps sugar or to taste

2 tbsps condensed milk

1/4 cup of coarsely chopped nuts( cashew nuts, almonds and some pistas)

extra nuts finely chopped for garnish

1 tsp poppy seeds for garnish

1/2 tsp cardamon powder

Method

1.. Heat one tbsp of ghee in a non stick pan and add grated beetroot.

2.. Saute till  moisture starts evaporating and ghee separates from the beet.

3.. Add the milk and cook on a medium flame till it reduces and thickens.

4.. Add sugar at this point and the condensed milk, stir frequently till the liquid reduces totally, and  the halwa starts leaving the sides of the pan..

5.. In a separate pan, heat one tbsp of ghee and add the coarsely chopped nuts and saute till light golden brown. Add the nuts along with the ghee to the halwa. mix well and add the cardamon powder.

6.. Halwa ready to be served .

7.. Dust with the finely chopped nuts and poppy seeds.

Stuffed Tomato Tikki (cutlet)

20170601_134242The versatile potato, loved by one and all over the world. It is rare to find a person who does not like potato. From french fries to roast baby potatoes sprinkled with italian herbs or the baked potato oozing with melted cheese and herbs in the western part of the world, to the poshto aaloo in Bengal , aaloo parathas of Punjab or the Pao wada which is nothing but a ball of spiced potato dunked in a golden chickpea batter and fried. The favourite street food of maharashtra. This humble root is comfort food.

As a young bride I soon learnt that sunday brunch at my new home, every week without fail  was khichdi and potato sabji , always accompanied with fried papad. and a bowl of yogurt. Potato is used as the base for many indian snacks, like samosas, tikki, chaats, as a filler in dosas etc. But the tikki is a favourite in any sindhi household,  it was a must on sundays in our home in Pune. my mother prepared the tikki in the most basic manner, boiled the potaoes, peeled mashed and added some dry spices and bread to bind the potato, shaped and of course deep fried the tikkis , served them with bread slices and chutney… the famous sindhi tikki dabroti. This snack was served during the interval of sunday movies run on doordarshan. The good old days.

Tikkis are also a popular chaat item sold as ragda pattice, which is a heart shaped potato cutlet, pan fried till crisp, and served with a tangy chickpea gravy and accompanied by slices of onion marinated in lime juice, a tamarind sauce and fresh green chutney.. oh so delicious. the recipe I will share with you today is a fusion version of the tikki, tiny cherry tomatoes hollowed out, filled with a green paneer filling and engulfed with potato, breaded and deep fried till crisp,its tasty as well as easy on the eyes.. do try it out.

Stuffed tomato tikki

Ingredients for the potato covering

1 kg boiled, peeled and grated potato

3 slices grated bread

Red chilli powder to taste, about 1 tsp should be enough

1 tsp caraway seeds. ( shah jeeri)

Salt to taste

Method for potato covering..

Mix everything together and divide into 15 balls and keep aside.

We also need 15 cherry tomatoes, preferably oval in shape, cut off the top and reserve it. now scoop out the pulp with a tiny teaspoon and use this pulp to make the filling. keep the tomatoes upside down to drain any liquid remaining.

Ingredients for tomato stuffing

Tomato pulp from cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup corriander leaves

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 green chillie

1 tsp corriander powder

1 tsp cummin seeds

A little turmeric powder and salt to taste

1/2 cup grated paneer..( cottage cheese)

Method..

Grind together corriander leaves, garlic and green chillie.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a pan and add cummin seeds and green paste.. also add corriander powder, salt, and turmeric.

Mix well and add grated paneer.. shut the flame.

Assembling..

Fill the paneer mixture into the cherry tomatoes and cover with top of tomato.

Take a ball of potato mixture in your hand and hollow it out to form a bowl.Put the stuffed tomato into the bowl in and upright position and gently cover the whole tomato , pressing to make it tight.

Dip each tikki into a medium thick  batter made with flour and water and roll in fine breadcrumbs. Keep refrigerated until needed.

To serve, deep fry in hot oil till golden brown. Cut into two pieces and serve.