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

 

 

MILK SABJI/KHEERAJI BHAJI

MILK.. We are fed milk right from day one of our life, mothers milk and then weaned on to cows milk. For thousands of years human beings have grown up consuming cow milk. That is why a cow is treated like a mother in all parts of India, in fact a cow is considered very holy and sacred for all  Hindus. Milk has a very important place in all cuisines worldwide. Desserts from all over the world are mainly made from milk.. from ice creams to kulfis, mithais to toffees, cheese cakes to kalakhand. Milk is incorporated in many forms in Indian cuisine, it forms the very basis for our ghee and butter, and of course yogurt or dahi. No Indian home can function without milk, the average Indian man has at least 2 or 3 cups of milk tea or chai on a daily basis. Tea vendors can be found on most streets in India doing a roaring business at all times of the day, it is not unusual to see small groups of people holding impromptu discussions with their cuppa of chai . Most Indian households also make their own yogurt or dahi at home.

Milk also gives us Paneer or home made cottage cheese which is the strained  residue left after the milk has been curdled. Paneer based dishes are a must in most family gatherings especially amoung the sindhi, punjabi and bengali communities.Normally when the milk is curdled ,the remaining clear liquid , which is called  whey,  is discarded. Whey actually has a lot of nutrients, and there are many households who will put the whey to some use like kneading the bread or roti dough with it.

Todays recipe is based on milk which has been curdled, this easy to make dish is based on a long lost memory. Years ago milk was delivered early in the mornings by the milk man, it used to come in glass bottles. Even then the aluminium cover was an indication of low fat and full cream, the blue cover was for full cream milk and the green colour for low fat milk. I remember my grandfather collecting the milk at 5.30 am from the doorstep as he was an early riser. Baba then took the blue topped milk bottle and gently kept tilting it back and forth for a good 15 to 20 miniutes . Ater that when the bottle was opened, the milk had already separated with the fat rising to the top and forming a layer of white butter at the top, which mummy used to scoop out into a bowl for our breakfast. The remaining milk hence turned into fat free naturally.I remember once my mother was in the kitchen boiling milk and the milk happend to curdle, but she coolly went on boiling it and when the whey had reduced considerably, she added some green masala paste to it and lo behold it had turned into a delicious sabji..So based on that is todays recipe, the milk sabji or as we say in sindhi, kheeraji bhaji.. It is a very simple dish and is delicious at the same time, best eaten with phulkas and a side dish of potato sabji.

MILK sabji/ kheeraji bhaji

INGREDIENTS

2 ONIONS.. FINELY CHOPPED

3 MEDIUM TOMATOES …THINLY SLICED

1 TBSP FINELY CHOPPED GARLIC

1 TBSP GRATED GINGER

FINELY CHOPPED CORRIANDER LEAVES

12 CURRY LEAVES

2 TBSPS OF DRY KASOORI METHI

1 TBSP CUMIN SEEDS

1 TSP AJWAIN ..( CAROM SEEDS)

RED CHILIE POWDER, TURMERIC POWDER ,  GARAM MASALA AND SALT TO TASTE.

FEW DROPS OF VINEGAR

1 LITRE OF FULL CREAM MILK

METHOD..

1.. HEAT 3 TBSPS OIL IN A BROAD SAUCEPAN AND ADD THE CUMIN AND CAROM SEEDS( JEERA AND AJWAIN). WHEN THE SEEDS STOP SPLUTTERING, ADD ONIONS, GARLIC, GINGER AND CURRY LEAVES.. SAUTE TILL ONIONS START TURNING A GOLDEN BROWN, TAKE CARE NOT TO BURN THE ONIONS.

2.. ADD THE TOMATOES, RED CHILIE POWDER, TURMERIC POWDER , GARAM MASALA POWDER AND SALT . MIX GENTLY TILL EVERYTHING COMES TOGETHER AND FORMS A THICK GRAVY.. AT THIS POINT ADD THE DRY 20160911_185639 KASOORI METHI AND SOME CORRIANDER LEAVES.

3.. POUR THE MILK DIRECTLY INTO THE GRAVY AND STIR GENTLY , BRINGING IT TO A BOIL. ADD FEW DROPS OF VINEGAR AND CHECK IF THE MILK CURDLES , IF NOT ADD FEW DROPS MORE. BY THIS  TIME THE MILK SHOULD HAVE SEPARATED INTO SMALL GRAINS…

4.. KEEP THE MILK ON A ROLLING BOIL , UNCOVERED FOR ABOUT 15 MINS, AND THEN CONTINUE COOKING ON A MEDIUM FLAME UNTIL THE WHEY HAS REDUCED TOTALLY AND YOU ARE LEFT WITH A VELVETY  GRANULAR MIXTURE.. ADD SOME MORE CORRIANDER LEAVES AND SERVE HOT..