Ras kalaan

A vegetarian dish which is simple to cook and delicious to eat, describes Ras kalaan, which originates from the southern state of Kerala, inspite of not containing any onions, garlic or ginger, is yet so pleasing to the palette.
In today’s recipe I have added drumsticks, sweet potato, broccoli and green peas. Normally it is made using tubers like yam or potatoes. I like adding different vegetables to this, and at times, have even used mushroons, babycorn etc . Do try this recipe which comes together very quickly.
KALAAN, A name which was so unfamiliar to me years ago, until I stumbled upon it by chance when south Indian food was a big mood with me, it was that particular year when I was cooking a lot of south Indian food. Having been born and brought up In India, I love the regional food which our great country has to offer.
Back to the KAALAN, which is basically a keralite preparation, made with fresh coconut and yogurt. Its fresh and tangy taste is so refreshing , making you want to make it it often. The ideal pairing for this vegetable is rice, though I prefer having it with a roti adai(rice flour roti)or paratha.
Many of us have a image about south Indian food which probably consists of Dosa, Idli, Uttapams etc. Reality is that its a vast platter of numerous dishes which delight the palette. So, on to the recipe. Feel free to replace any vegetables with your favourites.ūüėä

Ras Kalaan
Ingredients
4 drumsticks..scraped,cut into 4 to 5 pieces , and boiled.
1 small sweet potatoe, boiled and cubed
1/2 cup green peas( I used frozen)
1 cup broccoli flowerlets, par boiled.
(Roughly about 200 gms mixed vegetables)
1 cup fresh grated coconut
4 dry red chillies
2 cups fresh yogurt
1 tsp methi seeds (fenugreek)
1 tsp raw rice(washed)
2 tbsps palm sugar( gur) jaggery
1 or 2 green chillies
FOR TEMPERING
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dry red chillies, broken into pcs
1 tbsp chana dal
1 tbsp urad dal
Few curry leaves
Salt
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

Method
1. Heat 1 tsp coconut oil in a pan and add 1 tsp methi seeds and 2 dry red chillies(broken). Saute for 2 mins.
2. Grind 1 cup grated coconut, 2 cups yogurt, 2 green chillies, 1 tsp raw rice, the sauted methi seeds and dry red chillies. Grind to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
3. Heat 2 tbsps coconut oil in a pan, add 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tbsp chana dal and 1 tbsp udad dal, curry leaves. Saute for a while till fragrant.
4. Add the vegetables and coconut paste along with turmeric powder, salt, 2 tbsps palm sugar and half cup of water.
5. Cook for 5 to 10 mins. Untill oil seperates.
Serve hot with steamed rice, or parathas.

Homemade Coconut Oil

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Coconut oil to  me means memories of childhood. Most of us remember our mothers oiling our hair with coconut oil and then plaiting the hair with pretty ribbons.  My mother would sit me down after my head wash on sundays and massage my hair with coconut oil and comb it neatly into 2 plaits. Head massage was a weekly routine which was never missed, I suppose I owe my lovely thick hair partly to coconut oil massages and partly to genetics..lol.

Coconut oil plays an important role in south Indian cooking as well, this aromatic oil emparts a lovely fragrance and taste to food. I use homemade coconut oil in making all our dosas , utappas etc. Besides being healthy, making it at home ensures it being pure. Yes it does take a while to be made, but the end results are  a marvelous golden pure oil.

Today, the recipe I will share with you is pure coconut oil, the way we make it home. This
method separates the water and the cream, enabling us to save cooking time. I love using
this fragrant oil for cooking my indian food , especially south indian food. Do try it.
COCONUT OIL
1.. Grate 5 big coconuts
2… Add about 4 cups of water and Blend in a mixer.
3…. Strain thru a strainer lined with muslin cloth, twist the cloth to squeeze out all the milk.
4…Add 1 more cup of water to the grated coconut, blend and squeeze out the coconut milk
5…Now transfer all the coconut milk to a pot.
6…Refrigerate overnite, atleast 12 to 18 hours.
7..The cream of coconut will have seperated from the water, forming a thick layer, which you can cut with a knife.
8…Discard the water, put the cream into a wok, cook on medium heat for about 45 mins to an hour.Stirring in between.
9..The oil will seperate and a crunchy brown residue will be left behind.
10…Strain the pure oil.
5 coconuts will normally yield around 500 ml of coconut oil.
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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.

 

 

The tricoloured steamed cake

Cakes, we all have grown up eating cakes of various types in our childhood, and even as adults. Cakes are a symbol of celebrations,Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, engagements etc, all call for a cake to be cut. From simple sponge cakes, to the decadent fondant cakes, the world has a cake for everyone”s taste. Each country has their own popular cakes, some cakes even named after the country or region they come from, for instance the madeira cake named after a Portuguese island is a light sponge cake normally flavoured with lemon and eaten with jam. And many more, black forest cake, lamington cake to name a few. Nowadays cakes are decorated beautifully, taste fabulous, are decadent in their richness, covered with chocolate ganaches and various other delicious toppings. Top class bakeries via with each other in producing cakes par excellence. We can choose cakes as per our choice, vegan, eggless, gluten free etc.. the public is well pampered as bakeries can cater ¬†to almost all requests, and we are spoilt for choice.

Back to Pune, the city where I grew up, the cakes we ate then are the cakes we crave for today, simple cakes like the pound cakes of kayani bakery or the glass cakes from royal bakery, melt in your mouth cakes with the taste of real butter. These bakeries are still doling out the very same cakes of the same quality with the addition of mawa cakes, plum cakes etc. Till today the cakes are sold out in record time with people queuing up to buy the cakes for home consumption or even sending them to relatives in other cities.

Jakarta is a city where we can get the most amazing cakes, which are truly out of the world, I have yet to taste better, some of my own good friends and relatives can make the most amazing eggless cakes.  This country so rich in heritage and culture has been my home since 33 years, and has taught me so much. Even though baking is not exactly my forte, I do manage simple cakes mostly vegetarian,  used as bases for my desserts.. But the recipe I will share with You today is a steamed cake, commonly known as  BOLU KUKUS. This cake was made very often when my children were growing up and needed something to have for a evening snack. It contains no oil at all, and has a different texture as compared to a baked cake. This cake is light on the stomach and is delicious.

 

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TRICOLOURED STEAMED CAKE.. BOLU KUKUS

INGREDIENTS..

4 EGGS

200 GMS SUGAR

150 GMS FLOUR

65 ML OF THICK COCONUT MILK ( I USED THE TETRA PACK)

1/2 TBSP OF SP..( CAKE EMULSIFIER, AVAILABLE IN SUPERMARKETS OR AT BAKING SPECIALITY STORES)

METHOD

GREASE A MEDIUM SPRINGFORM CAKE PAN LIGHTLY

PUT  WATER IN A STEAMER AND PUT ON THE HEAT

NOW BREAK THE EGGS INTO A STEEL MIXING BOWL, ADD SUGAR AND THE SP

BEAT WELL WITH A ELECTRIC BEATER AT HIGH SPEED, UNTIL THE MIXTURE DOUBLES IN SIZE AND TURNS A PALE WHITE COLOUR .

SLOWLY ADD THE FLOUR AND COCONUT CREAM ALTERNATELY, AT THIS POINT U CAN REDUCE THE SPEED OF THE MIXER.

DIVIDE THE CAKE MIXTURE IN 3 PORTIONS EQUALLY, AND ADD 3 DIFFERENT FOOD COLOURING AND FLAVOURING FOR EACH PORTION…( I USED STRAWBERRY, LEMON AND PANDAN FLAVOURING AND COLOURING)

NOW PUT ONE PORTION OF CAKE MIXTURE INTO THE PREPARED SPRINGFORM TIN AND PUT INTO THE HOT STEAMER FOR 10 MINS.

AFTER 10 MINS , OPEN THE STEAMER, IF THE CAKE IS SPINGY TO TOUCH, POUR THE SECOND LAYER AND STEAM ONCE MORE ON HIGH HEAT FOR 10 MINS, FINALLY ADD THE THIRD LAYER, AND STEAM FOR ABOUT 20 MINS..

REMOVE THE CAKE PAN FROM THE STEAMER AND SET ASIDE FOR AN HOUR TO COOL COMPLETELY, LOOSEN THE SIDES OF THE CAKE WITH A KNIFE AND GENTLY OPEN THE SPRING FORM CAKE, READY TO SERVE.