Lite Bite http://litebite.in Light recipes for right health. Fri, 20 Mar 2015 06:24:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Recipe | Desi Health Bites – Tofu Pasanda aka Tofu in White Gravy http://litebite.in/recipe-tofu-pasanda-tofu-in-white-gravy/ http://litebite.in/recipe-tofu-pasanda-tofu-in-white-gravy/#comments Fri, 20 Mar 2015 05:19:01 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11624 Creamy, mildly spicy and an exotic recipe, Paneer Pasanda is a very elaborate Indian dish served in many hi end restaurants in India. Cottage cheese are sliced into thin triangles which are stuffed with a paste of nuts, coated with chickpea flour marinate, deep fried and then dunked into rich creamy gravy to make a delicious Paneer Pasanda.

The preferred gravy for Paneer Pasanda is deep red in colour, which comes from ground tomatoes, deep fried onions and turmeric powder.

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healthy tofu pasanda recipe, a vegetarian curry with white gravy.

Creamy, mildly spicy and an exotic recipe, Paneer Pasanda (cottage cheese curry) is a very elaborate Indian dish served in many hi-end restaurants in India. Cottage cheese are sliced into thin triangles which are stuffed with a paste of nuts, coated with chickpea flour marinate, deep fried and then dunked into rich creamy gravy to make a delicious Paneer Pasanda.

The preferred gravy for Paneer Pasanda is deep red in colour, which comes from ground tomatoes, deep fried onions and turmeric powder.

Such recipes make a rare appearance during celebrations or to entertain special guests at my home.

I keep trying to mix and match various Indian dishes to make it more convenient both in terms of time and health quotient. And this Tofu Pasanda (no, there is no deep fired stuffed Tofu sandwiches involved here) is one such recipes.

I have combined the Safeda curry (white gravies) from the royal cuisine of Rajasthan with Tofu to make this Pasanda dish.

White gravy dishes cooked with melon seeds and nuts are a hallmark of Rajput cuisine in Rajasthan, India. The Rajputs use this rich and delicate white sauce to cook the meat in it which is also referred as Safed Maas’ or white meat.

The secret of this creamy white gravy lies in the perfect blend of some aromatic spices, ginger, garlic and nutty paste. Tofu which normally has a bland taste to it, tasted good when cooked with this aromatic white gravy.

To make Tofu sandwiches follow this recipe link: Paneer Pasanda

healthy rice bran oil

Fortune rice bran oil: I started using this oil in my cooking sometime back and I am pretty pleased with the results. The fact that it’s high smoking point does not make the food sticky and help absorb less oil makes it a good deep- frying oil.

The presence of Oryzanol in it gives this oil slightly dark hue, but that does not alter the flavor or taste of the recipe.

I have been reading a lot about the benefits of rice bran oil lately. I found out that rice bran oil has good stability and is suitable for deep frying and many other cooking techniques and the oil absorption is also low.

Presence of a unique component in rice bran oil called Oryzanol makes it a special oil with many benefits.

Rice bran oil has the most balanced SMP ratio, which is, saturated fats: monounsaturated fats: polyunsaturated fats when compared to any other edible oil available in the Indian market (as read here).

You can read more informative articles about various kinds of Oils here:

Rediff

Huffington post

Tofu Pasanda aka Tofu curry in white gravy

healthy tofu pasanda recipe, a vegetarian curry with white gravy.

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 1 cup Tofu cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. Fortune Oil
  • 1 tsp. Kasuri Methi
  • 1 tsp. Cornflour
  • Salt to taste

Spices and herbs;

  • 2 onion
  • 10 Cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp. Melon seeds
  • 1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 green chilies
  • 1/2 tsp. Garam masala
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cardamom pods

healthy tofu pasanda recipe, a vegetarian curry with white gravy.

Method; Wash and dice Tofu into cubes or triangles.

Dissolve corn flour in 2 tbsp. of milk and soak cashew nuts and melon seeds in the remaining milk for 15 minutes.

Grind chopped onion and green chilly into fine paste by adding a little water in it.

Grind soaked chestnuts and melon seeds along-with the milk into fine paste. Try adding a few ground nuts for a different taste.

Take out the cashew paste in a bowl, pour yogurt into it and combine well with a whisk.

healthy tofu pasanda recipe, a vegetarian curry with white gravy.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and add cloves and cardamom in it.

You can also lightly saute the Tofu cubes in oil before adding to the gravy for better taste.

Add ginger-garlic paste, onion and green chilly paste in the wok and sauté for 2-3 minutes

Pour cashew-nut-yogurt and cornflour-milk mixture into the wok and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes on medium heat.

Add Tofu cubes, garam masala, crushed Kasuri Methi and salt into the curry and take it off the flame.

Garnish with coriander leaves and fresh cream if you wish.

Let the curry sit for a few hours before serving. This will help Tofu absorb all the flavors and sauce of the gravy. Serve this Tofu Pasanda or Tofu in white gravy with Indian flat breads.

healthy tofu pasanda recipe, a vegetarian curry with white gravy.

You can also try out these gravies and recipes with Tofu;

Green Gravy with Spinach

Charmagaz or melon seeds Garvy

Tofu Malai Koftas

Notes;

  1. Add 1-2 tablespoons of grated cottage cheese or Paneer to get richer gravy.
  2. You can shallow fry the Tofu cubes in a little oil before adding them to the gravy for better taste.
  3. For the Tofu to infuse the flavors of spices and sauce let the curry sit for 5-6 hours before serving. The best should be to prepare the Tofu recipe in morning and serve it for dinner.
  4. Dice the Tofu into small pieces so that they can absorb the sauces and spices well.
  5. At times I do poke the Tofu block with a fork before dicing it into cubes.
  6. You can add more water to the gravy to make the consistency thin and runny.
  7. Increase the green chilies in the recipe if you like spicy curry.

“This blogpost is in association with Fortune Foods as a part of their Desi Health Bites activity– The Hunt for the Best Rice Bran Oil Recipes. For more updates and healthy recipes using Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil, follow Fortune Foods on Facebook  and on Twitter @fortunefoods “.

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Recipe | Desi Health Bites – Soya Nugget Pops http://litebite.in/recipe-healthy-soya-nugget-pops/ http://litebite.in/recipe-healthy-soya-nugget-pops/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 04:37:39 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11621 Ehh..not this oil…wait a minutemom said and moved away hurriedly only to be back with another bottle of oil in her hand.

She lovingly tilted the bottle and poured a thin stream of that dark coloured oil on my steaming hot savory Baafla baatis (steamed savory buns).

Baafla Baatis must be eaten only with ‘Kachchi Ghani til ka Tel’ (cold pressed sesame oil)" she told as a matter-of-fact and sat down on the chair next to me.

Back then, I never questioned her food choices....not that I knew much about it either :)

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healthy soya nugget snacks

Ehh..not this oil…wait a minutemom said and moved away hurriedly only to be back with another bottle of oil in her hand.

She lovingly tilted the bottle and poured a thin stream of that dark coloured oil on my steaming hot savory Baafla baatis (steamed savory buns).

Baafla Baatis must be eaten only with ‘Kachchi Ghani til ka Tel’ (cold pressed sesame oil)” she told as a matter-of-fact and sat down on the chair next to me.

Back then, I never questioned her food choices….not that I knew much about it either :)

But some of her preferences started to bother me once I took independent charge of my kitchen after marriage in 1996.

Why does she prefer only ‘Kachchi Ghani’ mustard oil for all her pickles and Baingan Bharta (Brinjal mash) or uses nutty cold pressed sesame oil to savour Baatis and millet rotis.

I never understood mom’s logic of using a particular oil for her recipe until I started to blog, recreating some of her recipes at home.

The subtle differences between cold pressed or Kachchi ghani oil and high smoking oils started getting cleared by reading various online articles. And now I am able to appreciate the finer differences between various oils I use in my cooking. Here are a few pointers from some of the information I gathered over the years:

Cold pressed or virgin oil:

A cold press oil or Kachchi ghani oil is extracted mechanically by crushing the nuts or seeds and is bottled immediately for future use.

And yes, we were fortunate enough to have our own farm at my grandparents village. The farmers in the field would use the strongest bulls to rotate the Ghani (indigenous machine to take out oil manually) and take out fresh oil from mustard and sesame seeds.

I have watched the entire process with amusement many a times without even thinking what the end result was :)

Cold pressed oil retains most of the natural properties and flavors in it which gives wonderful results when added to salad as dressing.

Oil with high smoking point:

The natural oil goes thorough various processes such as bleaching to get refined oil with high smoking point which is neutral in flavor and has longer shelf-life.

Smoking point is the temperature at which oil starts breaking down releasing toxic fumes and harmful free radicals.

Hmm…in simple terms when you heat oil in a kadai and it starts releasing fumes and smoke, that’s when the oil breaks down and becomes unfit for use.

Refining is a technique to make the oil more stable at higher temperature so that it does not break down easily. The higher the smoking point for an oil, the more ways it can be used in your cooking such as sauteing, stir-frying and deep-frying.

healthy rice bran oil

Fortune rice bran oil: I started using this oil in my cooking sometime back and I am pretty pleased with the results. The fact that it’s high smoking point does not make the food sticky and help absorb less oil makes it a good deep- frying oil.

The presence of Oryzanol in it gives this oil slightly dark hue, but that does not alter the flavor or taste of the recipe.

I have been reading a lot about the benefits of rice bran oil lately. I found out that rice bran oil has good stability and is suitable for deep frying and many other cooking techniques and the oil absorption is also low.

Presence of a unique component in rice bran oil called Oryzanol makes it a special oil with many benefits.

Rice bran oil has the most balanced SMP ratio, which is, saturated fats: monounsaturated fats: polyunsaturated fats when compared to any other edible oil available in the Indian market (as read here).

You can read more informative articles about various kinds of Oils here:

Rediff

Huffington post

Healthy Soya Nugget Pops

healthy soya nugget snacks

Soya nugget or chunk is textured soya protein made with soy flour or concentrate. These high-protein and zero cholesterol nuggets have mild beany flavor and can be dehydrated before use.

These nuggets are bland in taste and easily absorb the flavors of the spices and marinate in it.

The shallow fried Soya nugget pops have a chewy bite inside and make a perfect guilt free snack recipe. I am slightly apprehensive when it comes to adding colour to the food, but you may add food grade red colour to give a more appetizing look to your Soya nuggets.

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

Soya nugget Pops 

  • 2 cups soya nuggets
  • 3 tbsp. Yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. cornflour/rice flour
  • 1 tbsp. semolina
  • 2 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • Oil to shallow fry
  • Salt

healthy soya nugget snacks
Method; Soak soya nuggets in 4-5 cups of hot water for 15 minutes.

Squeeze remove excess water from the nuggets. Soaking softens the nuggets and helps in better absorption of marinate.

healthy soya nugget snacks

Combine yogurt, red chilly powder, garam masala, semolina, cornflour or rice flour and salt in a large bowl. Add a few teaspoons of water to make it a thick batter.

Add soya nuggets in marinate and coat each nugget with the batter. Cover the bowl and let the nuggets sit in the marinate for 15-20  minutes.

healthy soya nugget snacks

Baking: Pre-heat the oven at 190°C and grease a baking tray.

Place all the marinated Soya nuggets on the tray and bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the nuggets in between baking for even cooking.

Griddle: You can also shallow fry the marinated soya nuggets in a large pan. Heat a large pan or griddle and place the nuggets on it, drizzle a little oil around all the nuggets and cook on medium heat. Turn the nuggets and repeat the same process to get crispy nuggets.

Sesame dipping sauce

healthy soya nugget snacks

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Soya sauce
  • 2 garlic pearls
  • 2 tbsp. chopped spring onion
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Cornflour
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. pepper powder
  • 1 tsp. honey or sugar
  • Water as required

Method: Combine tomato sauce, soya sauce, cornflour and one cup of water in a vessel.

Add oil in pan and add finely chopped garlic. Pour the above prepared sauce in the pan and continue cooking at low heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add pepper powder, vinegar, honey and simmer the sauce for another 2 minute and put off the flame.

Serve the healthy Soya nugget pops with the Sesame dipping sauce

healthy soya nugget snacks

These Soya nugget pops are slightly chewy in texture but makes a healthy snack and a party appetizer.

Notes;

  1. You can deep fry the marinated soya nuggets for more crispy bites.
  2. The batter coats well with the nuggets, but make sure it is not too runny or too thick to coat.
  3. Use the smaller variety of nuggets as the nuggets double in size after soaking. Large variety of nuggets will not soak batter properly and the center will remain unappetizing.

“This blogpost is in association with Fortune Foods as a part of their Desi Health Bites activity– The Hunt for the Best Rice Bran Oil Recipes. For more updates and healthy recipes using Fortune Rice Bran Health Oil, follow Fortune Foods on Facebook  and on Twitter @fortunefoods “.

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Recipes | Quick and easy breakfast cakes – Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments http://litebite.in/recipes-easy-eggless-breakfast-cakes/ http://litebite.in/recipes-easy-eggless-breakfast-cakes/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 09:29:24 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11659 “Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments”~ Rose Kennedy.
Well, well…it took almost 25 years and an article in New paper for my mom to get convinced that I am doing well in life.
I left Udaipur in 1990 for higher studies and worked for a few years before getting married & settling in Chennai for good. But then, my mom was always concerned about me leaving my job, until I got myself involved in activities related to my blog Lite Bite.
Later, whenever I called her to tell about my ...

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quick and easy healthy breakfast cakes

Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments”~ Rose Kennedy.

Well, well…it took almost 25 years and an article in New paper for my mom to get convinced that I am doing well in life.

I left Udaipur in 1990 for higher studies and worked for a few years before getting married & settling in Chennai for good. But then, my mom was always concerned about me leaving my job, until I got myself involved in activities related to my blog Lite Bite.

Later, whenever I called her to tell about my food styling projects or send her a paper cutting of Indian daily or a magazine featuring my work, her reply would be “HmmI know you were born with wings. Good that you learned to fly, though a little late in life. Keep it up, but do take care of your health also. Did you go for morning walks..don’t sit and work at one place for long…eat plenty of fruits beta (daughter)” and she would disconnect the phone. Moms will be moms.

An early morning call from mom, woke me up the other day. “Arrey beta, you are in Dainik Bhaskar today. I wanted to take a glance at the News paper before leaving for my regular morning walk when I saw your picture in it. I am so happy. I took the News paper with me during my walk and showed it to all my friends at Fateh Sagar (lake)” she continued in one breadth, barely hiding her excitement to congratulate me.

Her daughter is addressed as Lakecity ki beti (daughter of Lake city) and is featured in the News paper she has been reading for years. Her phone kept ringing the whole day, with friends and relatives asking about my work and whereabouts. And she is on cloud nine. :)

Though sitting miles away from her, I could feel the excitement in her voice and the happiness in her heart.

It is in these little moments that we live the longest, everything else is existence!

Recipes | Quick and easy breakfast cakes

The article was published in a very popular regional News paper in udaipur, featuring two women achievers from Udaipur on International women’s day.

Recipes | Quick and easy breakfast cakes

Oh yes, there was one another feature about me and my work on a popular online portal called Udaipur Times.

I am counting my blessings and thanking everyone for their unconditional love and support to me and Lite Bite.

1. Healthy Oats and banana breakfast cakes

Recipes | Quick and easy breakfast cakes

Happy day indeed, and what better than to start the day filled with childhood memories and a plate of soft breakfast cakes drizzled with honey or chocolate syrup.

Gulgule for breakfast…yes, you read it right. I was prepping for these traditional Indian delight in a different avatar.

Gulgule – these soft and mildly sweetened dumpling was  one of our favorite breakfasts at home. Mom would often treat us with these delicacies during weekends.

She used to leave for her office quite early, weekend was the only time when she could spend that extra time in kitchen and dish out some of our favorite recipes.

Over the years I have tried adding different flours, spices and various sweeteners to enhance the taste of these breakfast cakes trying to keep the nutrient quotient intact.

These breakfast cakes are not exactly similar to the traditional pancakes but they do taste good.

Years later, I found this interesting way to cook these breakfast cakes in a sandwich maker while browsing recipes on Pinterest and Pari’s blog.

Recipes | Quick and easy breakfast cakes

Ingredients;

(about 5-6 small   )

  • 1/2 cup Oats
  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • Handful of Nuts
  • A pinch of salt

Recipes | Quick and easy breakfast cakes

Method: Add peeled banana, oats and milk in a blender and make a smooth batter. Use the larger variety of  overripe banana.

Take out the batter in a large bowl and add yogurt, honey, oil, baking powder, cinnamon powder and salt into it.

Allow the batter to stand for 10-12 minutes until it thicken slightly. Check the consistency of the batter. The batter should flow freely when dropped from a ladle. Add a little milk if the batter becomes too thick.

Finely chop all the nuts.  I have used a mix of cashew nuts, almonds and walnuts. You can cook these breakfast cakes two ways:

a.Sandwich maker: Brush the sandwich maker with little oil and pre-heat it for 5 minutes.

Fill all the triangular wells of sandwich maker with the batter leaving a little space to let it expand.

Sprinkle the chopped nuts and sesame over it and close the lid and let it cook till the green light is on or for 3-4 minutes.

b. Griddle or Tawa: You can use the same batter to make pancakes if you don’t have a sandwich maker at home.

Heat a griddle and pour a ladleful of batter on it and sprinkle chopped nuts and sesame seeds over it.

Drizzle a little oil if needed and flip to the other side. Cook till brown spots appear on moth the sides.

Dust these healthy Oats and banana breakfast cakes with powdered sugar or serve them with fresh fruit compote or honey.

2. Whole-wheat raisin breakfast cakes

Recipes | Quick and easy breakfast cakes

Ingredients;

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup grated jaggery or sugar
  • 2 tbsp yogurt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Method; Soak raisins (Kishmish) in orange juice and grind it into fine paste with the juice.

Grind fennel seeds (saunf) and cardamom pods (elaichi) into fine powder.

Combine both the flours, yogurt, baking powder, fennel-peppercorn powder, oil, grated jaggery  (or sugar) and the raisin-orange juice puree in a large bowl.

a.Sandwich maker: Brush the sandwich maker with little oil and pre-heat it for 5 minutes.

Fill all the triangular wells of sandwich maker with the batter leaving a little space to let it expand.

Close the lid and let it cook till the green light is on or for 3-4 minutes.

2. Griddle or Tawa: You can use the same batter to make pancakes if you don’t have a sandwich maker at home.

Heat a griddle and pour a ladle-full of batter on it and sprinkle chopped nuts and sesame seeds over it.

Drizzle a little oil if needed and flip to the other side. Cook till brown spots appear on moth the sides.

Serve these healthy wholewheat raisin breakfast cakes with fresh fruit compote, honey or chocolate sauce.

Recipes | Quick and easy breakfast cakes

These breakfast cakes or pancakes taste best when eaten immediately after cooking and make a healthy snack recipe.

Search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in Glossary.

Notes:

  1. Replace raisins with Dates in the 2nd recipe. You can chop the Dates or raisins finely and add to the batter.
  2. Use butter in place of oil for better taste and texture.
  3. Try the recipe with almond milk or coconut milk for a different flavor.
  4. Use traditional Appam mould to make small Appams from the same batter.

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Recipe | Amaranth Flat breads with Onion-Tomato Relish – Food, a language we all speak http://litebite.in/recipe-amaranth-flat-breads-onion-tomato-relish/ http://litebite.in/recipe-amaranth-flat-breads-onion-tomato-relish/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 15:26:51 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11634 Food is an invaluable asset to connect with people across the globe and is also a perfect medium to get access to the cultural habits and cooking traditions of any region.
“Are you free for an hour or so in the day to meet, do let me know”, the mail from chef Saransh read.
What do you do when you get a mail from a celebrity chef asking you to take time out for a food walk in your city.
You count your blessings and leave every important work aside to make it ...

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health amaranth rotis with onion tomato relish

Food is an invaluable asset to connect with people across the globe and is also a perfect medium to get access to the cultural habits and cooking traditions of any region.

Are you free for an hour or so in the day to meet, do let me know”, the mail from chef Saransh read.

What do you do when you get a mail from a celebrity chef asking you to take time out for a food walk in your city.

You count your blessings and leave every important work aside to make it happen :)

A few more mails exchanged and  we zeroed in on a few local eateries around Mylapore and T. nagar in the city to visit for the day.

The idea of walking through Mylapore streets was finally dropped out as we had only a few hours at our disposal. There was one another meet scheduled at Westin hotel organized by CFG on facebook in the evening which we both were attending.

We had very little time at hand and the only option left was to take him to a place where he can taste some local delicacies of the city at one stop. And I suggested ‘The Rassa’ restaurant in T. nagar. 

I had already been there with a food blogger friend ‘Ishay‘ who visited Chennai from South Africa sometime back and was quite comfortable with the place.

The day started quite early, it was one of those hectic days when I had to pre-plan the entire day for my children at home. I prepared breakfast and lunch for my children and also baked some Brownies and French fries for a few friends of my daughter coming home for a group project.

I reached early and briefed the restaurant-in-charge and the head chef about Saransh and our purpose of the meet.

The staff extended their full support in letting us select and sample some of the authentic dishes of South Indian cuisine.

Recipe | Amaranth Flat breads with Onion-Tomato Relish

Picture credit: Chef Saransh

Saransh was completely bowled by the crispy banana flower fritters (varaipoo vada), unrefined black palm jaggery pudding (Karrupatti halwa), spicy pepper rice, creamy Mor kali (buttermilk-rice savory pudding) and some other dishes that we sampled.

Recipe | Amaranth Flat breads with Onion-Tomato Relish

I have been watching some of his shows on television and true to his TV image he is so talented yet a very simple and down-to-earth chef.

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent with the chef, sharing a few slices of life & work while tasting and talking about some of the local delicacies at the restaurant.

No wonder that people connected through food speak the same language and food is a language that can engage everyone and help build strong friendly bonds.

A quick selfie and we parted our ways only to meet again at Westin for CFG meet in the evening.

1. Amaranth flat-breads with millet

Recipe | Amaranth Flat breads with Onion-Tomato Relish

I had already prepared and refrigerated the Amaranth roti dough and onion-tomato relish a night before the meet. And it was a breeze to roll out the rotis for everyone the next day for a quick breakfast.

I grew up eating this broad red-leafy plant but did not know that it is called Amaranth then. Thanks to my online journey, now I know more about this leafy vegetable.

The leaves come in both green and purple or red variety and is called Arai keerai and Mulai keera in Tamil and chauri or chawli in Hindi.

With myriads of health benefits to boost this leafy vegetable is a nature’s gift to mankind.

I remember the frowns on our faces whenever mom served any rustic food in the name of super food. The irony is that I now often end up making these dishes at home.

A quick multi-grain Khichdi, lentil curries and millet rotis top the list of my go-to recipes.   The joys of recreating these dishes bring back the warmth and good memories of childhood days.

Fresh red Amaranth leaves or laal chawli gives a lovely dark purple hue to the rotis.

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 1 cup pearl millet flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups chopped Amaranth leaves
  • 4 tbsp yogurt or curd
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 green chilly
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

Spices:

  • 1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
  • 1 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder

Recipe | Amaranth Flat breads with Onion-Tomato Relish

Method; Wash and pat dry the Amaranth greens with a kitchen towel and chop them finely.

Peel and finely chop the onion and green chilly.

Combine both the flours, chopped Amaranth greens, onion, yogurt, kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves), chilly powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, chopped green chilies, dry mango powder (amchoor), salt in a large bowl.

The water released from Amaranth leaves should be enough to bind the dough. Use very little water if required to bind the dough.

Recipe | Amaranth Flat breads with Onion-Tomato Relish

Keep the dough slightly hard as the water released from amaranth will make it soft after sometime.

Take a little dry wheat flour in a plate for dusting the rotis while rolling.

Pinch a small ball of dough, dust it in the plate of wheat flour and make a round balls again.

Roll the ball of dough into thin circle.

Heat a griddle and place the roti over it. Check for a few bubbles on the top and flip to the other side.

Drizzle ½ tsp. of oil around the roti and cook for a minute. Flip again and drizzle a few drops of oil and cook the other side too.

Repeat the same process to make all the Amaranth flat breads or rotis.

Serve these healthy Amaranth rotis with onion-tomato relish for breakfast or any meal for the day.

2. Onion tomato relish

Recipe | Amaranth Flat breads with Onion-Tomato Relish

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 2 onions
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 2 Dates
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste

Spices:

  • 3 tsp. chilly powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/4 th spoon onion seeds
  • 1/4 th spoon fennel seeds

Recipe | Amaranth Flat breads with Onion-Tomato Relish

Method: Peel and finely chop onions.

Finely chop the tomato and Dates.

Heat oil in a skillet and add onion seeds, mustard seeds and fennel seeds in it and sauté fro a few seconds.

chopped onion and sauté for 5-6 minutes on high heat.

Add chopped tomatoes, dates, red chilly powder, salt, sugar and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.

Add about 1/4 th cup of water, cover the lid and let it cook for 5-6 minutes.

Recipe | Amaranth Flat breads with Onion-Tomato Relish

Season the relish with cumin powder and serve with the Amaranth rotis.

Search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in the recipe in the Glossary here.

Notes:

  1. Increase the amount of oil used in the relish to preserve it for more days.
  2. The relish is slightly spicy, reduce the amount of red chilly powder if you want it less spicy.
  3. Kasuri Methi added to the amaranth rotis gives it a lovely flavor to the rotis.
  4. Use any green to make these flat-breads. Spinach, fresh fenugreek leaves, coriander, mint make wonderful rotis.
  5. You can grind the relish after it is cooked completely to get a smooth and chutney like consistency.

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Recipe | Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji – Moms will always be moms http://litebite.in/recipe-foxnuts-in-spinach-gravy-aka-palak-makhane-ki-subji/ http://litebite.in/recipe-foxnuts-in-spinach-gravy-aka-palak-makhane-ki-subji/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 11:18:01 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11614 Behind all your stories is always your mother's story. Because hers is where yours begin.”~M. Albom

I preparedPanjiritoday with fresh gond & Makhane'M' got it for me from Jaisalmer” told mom during our telephonic conversation the other day.

Awee…I already miss your gond ke ladoo and Palak Makhane ki subji , big timeOkay, mom, I have got to go now" I said and disconnected the line, stuffing my washing machine with soiled clothes.

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Palak Makhana Subji aka Foxnut in Yogurt Palak gravy

Behind all your stories is always your mother’s story. Because hers is where yours begin.”~M. Albom

I preparedPanjiritoday with fresh gond & MakhaneM’ got it for me from Jaisalmer” told mom during our telephonic conversation the other day.

Awee…I already miss your gond ke ladoo and Palak Makhane ki subji , big timeOkay, mom, I have got to go now” I said and disconnected the line, stuffing my washing machine with soiled clothes.

Two days later, I received a parcel from mom. I hurriedly removed the brown paper and saw a beautiful set of peach coloured hand-embroidered pillow covers inside. There were a few neatly packed zip-lock bags of fluffy Makhane (fox nuts), translucent Gond (edible gum) crystals and some exotic dry fruits in it.

Moms will always be moms!

Hmm…I started dreaming about Palak Makhane ki subji (curry)…with a never ending to-do list on hand.

Well, spinach (palak) was missing in my pantry and I had to wait for some days before I could actually cook and gorge on my Makhane curry.

Nevertheless I roasted a few Makhane (fox-nuts) and enjoyed the quick snacks.

Recipes | Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji

These Makhane or fox nuts make a wonderful snack when dry roasted on a pan.

Mom uses powdered Makhane for thickening her gravies and desserts.

Recipes | Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji

I received a parcel from Tupperware the same week which had two colourful steamers called Steam It.

Like many others mom also follows the same method of cooking or steaming spinach, by boiling it in water, draining and then grinding the spinach to make puree.

Somehow, I never liked cooking my greens directly in boiling water which I feel may drain out the most important water-soluble vitamins from it. I normally steam my greens in pressure cooker.

Steaming is my most preferred method of cooking, as it avoids the loss of vitamins & minerals and retain the colour, texture and taste of the vegetables.

One can also minimize fat intake through steaming method and can incorporate healthy diet of steamed vegetables and greens.

And this time I tried this new gadget from Tuppreware – Steam It, to steam the greens and vegetables. I liked the fact that I could steam the green and vegetables without adding water in it, thereby saving a lot of nutrient in it.

Recipes | Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji

Ingredients:

(serve 3)

  • 2 cups Spinach puree
  • 1/2 cup Fox nuts
  • 3 tbsp. yogurt
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 2 onions
  • 2 green chilies
  • 4 garlic pearls
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tomato
  • 1’ ginger
  • Salt to taste

Spices;

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. coriander seeds
  • 4-5 peppercorns
  • 2 cloves

Recipes | Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji

Method; Wash and roughly chop spinach leaves and tomato. Peel and dice onion, ginger and garlic.

Mix chickpea flour and salt with yogurt in a small bowl.

Dry roast the Fox nuts (Makhana) in a pan for few minutes.

Make a coarse powder of peppercorns and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar.

Place all the chopped vegetables in Steam It and cover the lid.

Fill a large wok or kadai with water till the mark indicated on the Steam It and place it in the wok.

Recipes | Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji

Let it steam for 10 minuets on medium heat.

Take all the steamed vegetables out and grind into puree.

Heat oil in a pan and crackle cumin seeds in it.

Add cloves, chopped green chillies, yogurt mixture and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

Recipes | Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji

Pour the spinach puree into the pan and continue to simmer for 2 more minutes.

Add the roasted Fox nuts and sprinkle coarsely ground peppercorn & coriander powder in the gravy. I have also added cubes of Tofu in the recipe.

Recipes | Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji

Put off the flame and cover the pan with a lid.

Serve the hot Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji or curry with any Indian flat bread or plain rice.

Recipes | Foxnuts in Spinach Gravy aka Palak Makhane ki Subji

Steam It worked beautifully and helped cook my greens and vegetables for the recipe without loosing the nutrients and freshness from it.

Try these gravies with Fox-nuts or  Tofu:

Green gravy with spinach

Chaarmagaz or melon seeds gravy

The same recipe can be easily converted into a healthy fat-free dip by avoiding the last step of tempering with oil.

Notes;

  1. Adjust the consistency of gravy by adding more water.
  2. You can prepare the same gravy by avoiding yogurt and chickpea flour in the recipe and adding half a teaspoon of lemon juice in the end.
  3. Make sure to dry roast the fox nuts before adding them to the curry. Add the roasted fox nuts a few minutes before serving the dish else they tend to become soggy and mushy.
  4. Add Paneer or cottage cheese and Tofu or any other vegetables of your choice in the same green gravy.

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Recipes | Arachuvitta Sambhar and Vatha Kulambu – Indian spices and aromatic cooking http://litebite.in/recipes-arachuvitta-sambhar-vatha-kulambu-indian-spices-aromatic-cooking/ http://litebite.in/recipes-arachuvitta-sambhar-vatha-kulambu-indian-spices-aromatic-cooking/#comments Sat, 07 Feb 2015 04:45:07 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11601 But your looks, accent, mannerism…I can’t believe you are not a South Indian….you don’t look like a Rajasthani  to me from any angle” her gaze narrowed on my face.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do” I replied with a cheery grin pulling out my glasses from the box and getting ready for the interview to follow.

She nodded with a naughty smile and started the audio recorder.

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healthy vegetarian recipes, south indian spices

But your looks, accent, mannerism…I can’t believe you are not a South Indian….you don’t look like a Rajasthani  to me from any angle” her gaze narrowed on my face.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do” I replied with a cheery grin pulling out my glasses from the box and getting ready for the interview to follow.

She nodded with a naughty smile and started the audio recorder.

Some days back, Kalyan Karmakar a food blogger friend contacted me and connected me to ‘S’ from IMRB international who was looking to source out expert opinion in regional cuisine of Tamil Nadu.

We are looking to explore and try to learn about the evolution, changes and shift in culinary culture in India, specifically Delhi and Tamil Nadu. We hope to get a better understanding of the correlation between culture and cuisine. The main aim of this study is to understand the changing and current role, relevance, importance and influence of spices in Indian cuisine.” read the mail from Imrb office.

‘R’ was appointed to interview me at my residence. To my surprise, the interview which was scheduled for 45 minutes stretched for more than two hours. That is the power of food, it has that ability to comfort and I could talk about food all day.

We spoke at length about how the cuisine of Tamil Nadu is roughly categorized based upon the region, frequently used spices, taste preferences, cultural influences on food and cooking techniques.

Some of the favorite topics of discussion were the distinct features of Tamil Nadu cuisines, changes in food habits and certain unique food ingredients which are indigenous to the state. More about these in the next post.

A small snippet about the spices of South India that I shared with her:

I am not an expert to talk about Tamil cuisine. But cooking a full course TamBrahm (Tamil Brahmin) meal for my better half and staying with him for 20 years in TN should be a reason good enough to imbibe the culture and love for local food of the place.”

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian spices

That’s me…happy memories 1996…traditional marriage in Tamil Nadu

The secret of all Indian spices is knowing when to use it. Apart from adding wonderful aroma to the recipes some of these spices act as appetizers & preservatives and are also well-known for its medicinal properties.

Indian cuisine is incomplete without a medley of colorful spices and Tamil cuisine is no exception to it. A set of few basic spices is all that one needs to prepare a simple daily South Indian meal.

I read an interesting online article in which Indian spices are divided into three categories:

  1. Basic spices, are some of the most essential spices used in daily cooking such as mustard seeds, cumin (jeera), asafoetida (hing), turmeric powder (haldi), dry red chillies.
  2. Complimentary spices: Spices which compliments the basic spices and helps enhance the flavor of the dish such as fennel, carom seeds, Nigella seeds (kalongi), fenugreek seeds etc.
  3. Secondary spices: These spices are generally warm in nature and have a characteristic strong aroma such as cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, Mace, peppercorn, bayleaf, saffron etc.

My home cooking is heavily influenced by Tambrahm iyer style of food which predominantly make use of the basic Indian spices. Cumin, coriander seeds, curry leaves, coconut, dry red chillies, tamarind, ginger and coconut are some of the frequently used spices and ingredients in this style of cuisine. Garlic and onion are completely avoided during auspicious days and are less preferred on normal days of cooking.

Masala dabba in Hindi and Anjarai Petti as in Tamil is a word  used to denote a box of spices and herbs to be used in daily cooking.”

Our discussion on Indian spices continued….

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian spices

And now for the recipe…..well, when we are talking about spices of South India how far the very popular ‘Arachuvitta Sambhar’ can be.

Like many other Sambhar recipes of South India this spicy stew also has tamarind (Imli) and pigeon peas (toor daal) as the two key ingredients. But the highlight of the recipe is the freshly roasted and ground spices which take this recipe to a different level.

The coarsely ground spices thickens the gravy and perfectly compliment each other enhancing the flavor of this tangy stew.

The spicy stew can be served as a breakfast accompaniment with Idly, Dosa or as lunch

I am sharing two of my favorite South Indian Kulambu or curry recipes I learned from my MIL here, Arachuvitta Sambhar and Vatha Kulambu. If the first recipe is a medley of flavors and requires an elaborate preparation than the second recipe is a breeze to cook and make use of a very indigenous ingredient called Manatakkali or Sun berries.

Manatakkali shrubs used to grow wild all over our garden in Udaipur but we were never allowed to touch those tiny berries as it was considered toxic. I never knew that the leaves and berries are edible until I got married and tried this delicious spicy Manathakkali Vatha kulambu my MIL cooked when I visited her first time after my marriage in 1996.

1. Lentil stew with freshly ground spices aka Arachuvitta Sambhar

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian spices

Ingredients;

(serve 3)

  • 1/2 cup of boiled pigeon peas
  • 1 tsp. tamarind paste
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 2 Drumsticks
  • 2-3 cups Water
  • Salt to taste

Spices;

  • 3 tbsp. Grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp. Bengal gram
  • 1 tbsp. Coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. Fenugreek seeds
  • 1-2 Red chilies
  • 5-6 Peppercorns

Tempering;

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • A pinch of asafetida powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 2 dry red chilies
  • Few Curry leaves

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian spices

Method; Wash and soak pigeon peas or  split Toovar daal for 20 minutes.

Pressure cook or steam pigeon peas with turmeric powder and about 3 cups of water till soft (3-4 whistles in a pressure cooker). Mash the cooked lentil with a ladle or churner.

Chop the drumsticks into 2 inch pieces.

Heat a skillet or wok and dry roast Bengal gram, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, peppercorn and red chilly in it for 5-6 minutes. Add grated coconut and sauté for 2 minutes.

Take out all the roasted ingredients in a plate and let it cool for a few minutes.

Grind all the roasted ingredients into fine powder by adding a few teaspoons of water in it.

I make a ready-to-use home-made tamarind paste and refrigerate it. If you are using fresh tamarind, soak a lemon sized ball of it in a little water for 15 minutes and extract juice from it.

Take 2 cups of water in a vessel and salt, chopped drumsticks and tamarind paste or extraction in it and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer till the drumstick pieces are cooked.

Add ground spice-mix in the boiling tamarind water and continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes.

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian spices

Pour cooked and mashed lentil or daal in the above vessel, let it come to a boil and take the vessel off the flame.

Heat oil in the same wok and crackle mustard seeds in it. Add dry red chilies (preferable round variety), fenugreek seeds, asafoeitda powder, curry leaves and sauté for a minute.

Pour the tempering over the cooked Sambhar and serve it hot with Idly, Dosa, plain rice or Indian flat-breads.

2. Tangy Sun berry stew aka Manathakkali Vatha Kulambu 

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian spices

Ingredients;

(serve 2-3)

  • 3 tbsp. Sun berries or Manathakkali
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp Sambhar powder
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp jaggery/sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

Tempering;

  • 1 tbsp Bengal gram
  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 red chilly
  • Curry leaves

healthy vegetarian recipes, indian spices

Method; Soak tamarind in 1/4 th cup of warm water for 10 minutes and extract the thick paste or use pre-prepared tamarind paste if you have any.

Check a few Sambhar powder recipes using Bengal gram, balck gram and fenugreek seeds here.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and fry the Sun berries or dried Manatakkali till they turn dark brown in colour.

Take out the berries and keep it separately.

Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, Bengal gram and red chilly in the same hot oil and suate for 2 minutes.

Add salt, asafoetida powder and Sambhar powder in the wok and immediately add tamarind pulp or paste mixed in 2-3 cups of water in it.

Let the stew simmer for 3-4 minutes.

Dissolve rice flour in 2 tbsp. of water, pour it in the wok and continue to simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

Take off the wok from flame and serve the hot curry with plain rice.

This curry stays good for 4-5 days when refrigerated and can be savored with Idly, Dosa or even Indian flat breads.

Notes;

  1. Soak the lentil or Daal for 30 minutes before cooking it for the first recipe.
  2. Use any vegetable of your choice to make this Sambhar. Radish, Okra, onion, pumpkin, brinjal, carrots and colocasia (arbi) go well with the first recipe.
  3. Chop the vegetables into bite size pieces so that the vegetables hold the shapes after cooking. .
  4. Sometimes vegetables take longer time when boiled in tamarind water. To avoid this cook the vegetables in plan water first and then add them to tamarind water.

Search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in this post here in Glossary.

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Recipe | Baby Potatoes in Spices & Yogurt aka Dum Aloo – Dreams don’t work unless you do http://litebite.in/recipe-healthy-dum-aloo-curry/ http://litebite.in/recipe-healthy-dum-aloo-curry/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 04:40:46 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11583 Dreams don’t work unless you do.”~ Maxwell

A crazy week of food photo-shoot at Isha yoga center, and I am back home...finally.

With no running around carrying heavy loads of props and no more shots to plan for the days, it feels good to relax & enjoy a bowl of home-cooked ‘Poha’ and ginger tea on my swing.

Hmm… it has been 4 years since I started my first food styling shoot for Brown Tree.

I now have successfully completed more than 15 projects for well know companies and brands of India.

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healthy indian curry recipe, dum aloo

Dreams don’t work unless you do.”~ Maxwell

A crazy week of food photo-shoot at Isha Life in Chennai, and I am back home…finally.

With no more running around carrying heavy loads of props and no shots to plan for the days, it feels good to relax & enjoy a bowl of home-cooked ‘Poha’ and ginger tea on my swing.

Hmm… it has been 4 years since I started my first food styling shoot for Brown Tree.

I now have successfully completed more than 15 projects for well know companies and brands of India.

I remember how anxious and skeptical I was when I said ‘yes’ to my first commercial assignment in 2011. But then, it was probably out of the fear of not being able to manage my home, growing children and work pressure at the same time.

I am overcoming that fear with every shoot and can see the significant changes around me at home. My children are more organized and independent now while hubby is taking his household responsibilities seriously.

My confidence level has increased manifolds after working with some of the best Indian photographers, advertising agencies and production houses.

And with every successful project I learn to take bigger and better risks.

Yes, I am having so much fun experimenting and learning new ways to compose shots, style and plate the dishes.

The only concern I have is that I am slightly disconnected with world of food blogging and missing friendly chats with food bloggers…sigh..

I recently had an opportunity to work for the food product division of Isha foundation  with Disha communications in Chennai.

The center is beautifully decorated with antiques and intrinsically crafted artifacts in metal and stoneware by the volunteers at the center.

food styling and food photography

I could not resist myself clicking a few pictures of the distressed wooden tables lying all over Isha life center with my phone camera.

food styling and food photography

The wooden table looked out of the world…my phone camera did no justice to this beauty.

food styling and food photography

During a pre-production meet with the client and advertising agency, we segregated the products based on the ingredients and category. Day one was kept for rice based dishes, pickles and ready-made powders.

Cookies and health drinks were shot on the other two days.

food styling and food photography

First day of photo-shoot….

food styling and food photography

Oh..yes, I did enjoy the food served at their restaurant. It was light, rustic and perfect to keep the energy going.

I opted for their wheat and grain based ‘Thali‘ and  loved the Ragi and rice Akki rotis with a traditional curry (forgot the name)..multigrain savory porridge, fruit and vegetable salad, greens, wild rice payasam (dessert) and other dishes.

food styling and food photography

The room where the camera and lighting were set up. This was my second shoot with the very talented photographer, Manikanten Np with whom I had already worked for ‘Panasonic’ brand sometime back.

Always ready to share and suggest styling ideas for every shot that we plan, Mani and his team is a pleasure to work with.

food styling and food photography

This was one of the last shots that I worked on for their health drink. We wanted to shoot all the 12 ingredients (grains, pulses and nuts).

food styling and food photography

This shot took the maximum time to plan and style and it did come out beautiful.

The shoot was ended with a splash shot for their health drink and I reached home around 10.3o pm.

Baby potatoes in spices and yogurt aka Dum Aloo

healthy indian curry, dum aloo recipe

Back home, I had already planned and stocked ready-to-eat rotis (Indian flat-breads) and ‘Dum Aloo‘  for dinner.

I have come across many variations of this spicy, flavorful and rustic Indian potato curry. There is authentic Kashmiri dum aloo, Punjabi, Banarasi, Bengali Aloor dum, Amritsari, Lakhnawi and Muglai Dum Aloo. If Bengali version has ‘Panch phoren‘ in it, Kashmiri version has dried spices and Punjabi version has tomato and onion in it.

But this is my take on Dum aloo which is quite easy to prepare, provided you have stock of all the dry spice-mix used in the recipe.

I ground the dried spices and refrigerate it in small zip-lock bags with the marking ‘Dum Aloo spice-mix’. There is always a stock of boiled baby potatoes and many other root vegetables in my refrigerator.

During some of the busy days, all I need to do is to add ground spice-mix to yogurt and cook it with boiled and shallow fried potatoes.

Ingredients;

(serve 3-4)

  • 12-15 baby potatoes
  • 1 ½ cup Yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. Oil
  • 1/2 tsp. Sugar
  • A pinch of Asafetida powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

Spices;

  • 4 Kashmiri red chilly
  • 1/2’ Dry Ginger
  • 1 tbsp Fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. peppercorn
  • 4 Cloves
  • 2 Black cardamoms

healthy indian curry, dum aloo recipe

Method; Wash all the baby potatoes and parboil or partially cook them in a large pan of water.

Place all the parboiled potatoes in a other vessel filled with cold water and let them cool.

Peel all the potatoes and prick each potatoes lightly with a fork.

Heat a pan and dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black cardamom, peppercorn, fennel seeds and dry red chilies on high heat for about a minute.

Grind all the roasted ingredients with cloves, cardamom and dry ginger.

healthy indian curry, dum aloo recipe

Pour about 2 tbsp. of oil in a flat pan and shallow fry the potatoes till they turn golden brown in colour.

Take out the potatoes and place them on tissue paper.

Heat oil in a pan and add asafoeitda powder in it.

Pour a tablespoon of water in ground spices, pour this into the pan and cook it for 2 minutes.

Whisk the yogurt well with a fork and add it in the pan.

Add sugar (optimal) and shallow fried baby potatoes in the pan, cover with a lid and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.

Cook till the gravy thicken and oil starts floating over the pan. At this stage you can give ‘Dum‘ to the curry by placing it over a hot griddle.

Cover the pan with a lid and place it on a hot griddle and let it cook on slow heat for 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat and serve the Dum Aloo curry with plain rice or India flat breads.

Check Glossary for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in the recipe.

Notes;

  1. Mustard oil or groundnut oil gives the best result.
  2. You can prick the baby potatoes and deep fry them for better crust.
  3. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under spices list for a quick ‘Dum aloo’ treat any time.
  4. Use ‘Kashmiri‘ red chilies for bright colour but mild curry.

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Recipes | Mixed vegetable curry in freshly ground spices aka ‘Gobbi Kootu’ with coconut rice – Tradition is to feed the fire http://litebite.in/recipes-mixed-vegetable-kootu-sambhar-coconut-rice/ http://litebite.in/recipes-mixed-vegetable-kootu-sambhar-coconut-rice/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 10:37:46 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11565 Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” ~ G. Mahler

Not so long ago, Sankranti to me was all about flying kites and gorging on some delectable winter specialties.

Yes, I could not think beyond my crunchy revadis, gajak, til ladoos, Gajar halwa and sinful Panjiri when the festival of Lohri or Makar sankranti approached in mid January.

It was only after my marriage and settling down in South India I came to know that Sankranti is more than our kite flying frenzy and throwing puffed rice in bonfire.

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healthy vegetarian recipes, lemon rice

Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.” ~ G. Mahler

Not so long ago, Sankranti to me was all about flying kites and gorging on some delectable winter specialties.

Yes, I could not think beyond my crunchy revadis, gajak, til ladoos, Gajar halwa and sinful Panjiri when the festival of Lohri or Makar sankranti approached in mid January.

It was only after my marriage and settling down in South India I came to know that Sankranti is more than our kite flying frenzy and throwing puffed rice in bonfire.

Though this festival of harvest called Makar Sankranti or Lohri or Pongal is celebrated in different ways all across India, the spirit remains the same.  It is a way to thank our mother nature and celebrate its bounty.

Pongal is a four days festival in South India. It is celebrated as Bhogi pongal, Thai pongal, Mattu pongal and Kaanum pongal in Tamil Nadu.

The festival is celebrated with much funfair and religious fervor in villages than in the cities. Cows & bulls are decorated and worshiped. People light wood fire and cook Sakkarai Pongal (a sweet dish) in earthen pots outside their houses and share it with friends and family.

In cities the best that we could do is to clean our homes, make colourful patterns or Rangoli at doorsteps and cook Pongal on our gas stoves.

Every Pongal my Mil  (mother-in-law) takes out her special heavy brass pots (passed on to her by her MIL) and cleans it using thick tamarind paste. She smears the pots with sandalwood paste and ties the fresh turmeric plant around it.

The embellished pot is used to cook a delicious sweet using new rice and lentil with jaggery which is offered to God.

She also prepares a special Sambhar or ‘Gobbi Kootu’ as she calls it on Pongal day. She uses an interesting combination of certain winter root vegetables but she has no idea what does the name ‘Gobbi‘ refers to.

Anyways…whats there in a name when the recipe is so very finger-licking good… :)

1. ‘Gobbi Kootu’ or Mixed vegetable curry in freshly ground spices 

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

This recipe of  ‘Gobbi Kootu‘ is almost similar to Kadamba Sambhar  or Arachivita kootu in which a freshly ground spice paste with coconut is added to mixed vegetables and boiled to make curry.

Gobbi kootu is often paired with tangy lemon rice, coconut rice and lots of deep fried homemade poppadoms (papad).

This recipe is handed over to my MIL by her paternal grandmother from Tanjavur region of Tamil Nadu.

My sisters, cousins, mother and grandmother would eagerly wait for Pongal and would enthusiastically take part in the festive preparation at my ancestral home. We would pluck flowers and make garlands, paint and decorate our cows and spend hours giggling & making large patterns of ‘Rangoli’ with natural colours outside our house.” 

“We used to prep about 10 Kg. of vegetables during festive days to make this Gobbi Kootu which was then served to all the workers at our farm with lemon rice, coconut rice and Sakkarai pongal” recalls my mother-in-law fondly.

I remember the saying “When a tradition gathers enough strength to go on for centuries, you don’t just turn it off one day.

She still follows the tradition of cooking this delectable Gobbi Kootu recipe on festive days. Normally cooked lentil is also added to the kootu recipe but she avoids it in her recipe. “The ground lentil powder added in paste replaces the cooked lentil” says she. I like her recipe as it is much lighter on stomach.

Traditionally any local grown vegetables are preferred for this recipe but I love my vibrant carrots.

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Ingredients

(serve 4)

  • 3 cups chopped Vegetables*
  • 2 tsp. tamarind paste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

To roast and grind;

  • 3 tbsp. grated coconut
  • 3 tsp Bengal gram
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp black gram
  • 3 dry red chilies
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorn
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds

Tempering;

  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • A pinch of asafetida powder
  • Curry leaves

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Method; Wash and dice the vegetables for the recipe. Any of the following vegetables can be used for this recipe;

  • Beans
  • Drumstick
  • Pumpkin
  • Turnip (salgam)
  • Brinjal
  • Yam (suran)
  • Raw banana
  • Sweet potato (ratalu)
  • Ash gourd (white pumpkin)
  • Chayote (chow-chow)
  • Colocasia (arbi)

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Dry roast Bengal gram and black gram in a wok or kadai till it  turns golden brown in colour. Take the gram out in a plate and add coriander seeds, cumin and peppercorn in the same wok and roast for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

Add grated coconut, red chilies, and fenugreek seeds in the wok and keep roasting for 2 more minutes.

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Grind all the dry roasted ingredients into fine powder.

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Add a little water to make a fine paste.

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Steaming or pressure cooking makes the cooking easy and quick. Root vegetables will take more time to cook. Do not pressure cook drumsticks as they will split open and become mushy.

Alternatively boil the chopped vegetables in a large pan filled with 4-5 cups of water. Add tamarind paste, turmeric powder, salt in the pan and keep boiling till the vegetables become soft to touch.

Add the ground paste in the pan and let the Kootu simmer for 2-3 minutes on low heat.

Heat oil in the wok and crackle mustard seeds in it. Add curry leaves, asafoetida powder and pour this tempering over the  Gobbi Kootu.

Take the pan off the heat and serve the hot vegetable Gobbi Kootu with plain rice, lemon rice or coconut rice.

2. Coconut rice

coconut rice with mixed vegetable sambhar recipe

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste

Tempering;

  • 2 tsp. oil
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp. black gram
  • 1 tsp Bengal gram
  • A pinch of asafetida powder
  • Few cashewnuts
  • Curry leaves

Method; Spread cooked rice in a large plate and let it cool. Add salt and sugar in rice and combine well.

Heat oil in a wok or kadai and crackle mustard seeds in it.

Add Bengal gram (channa dal), black gram (urad dal), broken red chilies, grated coconut, cashew nuts and fry till they turn golden brown in colour.

Add asafoeitda powder, curry leaves and pour this tempering over the cooked rice and combine well.

Serve this scrumptious coconut rice with Gobbi Kootu.

Check the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in this recipe in the glossary, here.

Notes; 

  1. Normally onion and garlic are avoided in festive cooking.
  2. I avoid adding cooked lentil or Daal to the recipe as the addition of extra lentil makes it too heavy on stomach.
  3. Use more vegetables if you wish to savor the recipe as an accompaniment.
  4. Add fewer vegetables and increase the liquid quantity to serve it as a gravy dish similar to lentil curry or Sambhar.
  5. Grind extra paste (spices and coconut) for Gobbi kootu and refrigerate, it stays good for a week or more. You can sue the same to make Sambhar or any Indian curry with vegetables of your choice.

Grinding the spices takes a little extra time but then festivals are the times to show your love towards your near and dear ones. And what best way than to cook a scrumptious feast for them :)

Festive greetings to all!

 

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Recipes | Three Indian rustic recipes with Panchkuta – Simple flavors can work wonders http://litebite.in/recipes-ker-sangri-panchkuta-subji/ http://litebite.in/recipes-ker-sangri-panchkuta-subji/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 05:55:13 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11547 What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents” ~ M Chiarello.

I had a chance to check into my favorite shop during my recent visit to udaipur. The shop holds a good collection of some exclusive and rare rustic foods from Rajasthan. I got surprised when the amount I had to pay for a handful of dried wild berries and beans came upto 4-digits.

Madam, gone are the days when Ker-Sangri was poor man’s food. These are in vogue now and are much sought-after ingredients by many hi-end restaurants across the world. And we are the largest exporter for the same” He replied matter-of- factly while swiping my credit card.

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healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents” ~ M Chiarello.

I had a chance to check into my favorite shop during my recent visit to udaipur. The shop holds a good collection of some exclusive and rare rustic foods from Rajasthan. I got surprised when the amount I had to pay for a handful of dried wild berries and beans came upto 4-digits.

Madam, gone are the days when Ker-Sangri was poor man’s food. These are in vogue now and are much sought-after ingredients by many hi-end restaurants across the world. And we are the largest exporter for the same” He replied matter-of- factly while swiping my credit card.

Hmm…..in vogue or not…but one thing is sure that these humble ingredients of the quintessential Marwari (in Rajasthan) dish called  Panchkuta  has come a long way.” I murmured to myself, paid the bill and hurried back to home.

Back then, I had a kind of love and hate relationship with these rustic and local recipes which I grew up eating.

There was also a time when Ker sangari, methi dana, papad ki subji, daal-Dhokli were considered ‘unfashionable’. Well, I am talking about my childhood days when all those children who brought such foods to school were referred to as ‘Ghatti’ or villagers in local lingo.

Ker sangari, Makki ki roti, methidana subji and Daal dhokli were some of the frequently cooked foods at my home. But I could never muster the courage to pack these dishes in my lunch-box or to talk about the same with my friends lest I will be out-caste from the more stylish and modern paneer and kulcha eating gang :)

But over a period of time I started to like these recipes, these are the foods that keep us connected to our childhood and roots.

There are certain rustic recipes which are local to a region and community, recipes which are not common in other parts of country.

Panchkuta or a quick Indian stir-fry of dried beans and wild berries is one such recipe which completely validates the cooking mantra of ‘Simple flavors can work wonders’!

These wild berries, beans and fruits used to make Pachkuta are exclusive to desert regions of Rajasthan in India.

The arid & hot climatic regions of Rajasthan, scarcity of water and lack of fresh vegetables made Panchkuta as one of the most popular dishes in many parts of Rajasthan. Hmm…probably more out of necessity than choice, I suppose.

My frequent trips to Udaipur replenish my yearly supply of Panchkuta ingredients, but I believe these products are now readily available on many online stores.

Believing the saying that “a person’s tastes come from the food they were fed growing up” I hardly thrust any new food which my family is not comfortable with. But it feels good to see my hubby and son relish these local delicacies.

Panchkuta has a very peculiar earthy taste to it which makes you connect with the desert soil with every bite.

The dried berries and beans swell upto three times when soaked in water. I normally make the recipe in large batches and refrigerate. Cooking Panchkuta recipe is a breeze, the only laborious and time consuming work is prepping (cleaning) the ingredients.

And yes, Panchkuta is an acquired taste. If you like rustic Indian food, you sure are going to fall in love with these wild berries and beans.

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Panchkuta which literally means five ingredients, is made with Ker, sangari, kumat, gunda and mathania mirch, These ingredients are largely found in the Thar desert of Rajasthan and the recipe made has a very long shelf life.

The dried red Mathania chilly which grows only in Jodhpur region of Rajasthan gives a lovely colour and pungent taste to the recipe. Fresh red chillies are soaked in mustard oil to make a delicious pickle.

I could not get these chilies and added the normal red chilly to my recipe.

Read more about these berries and dried beans at this beautiful blog – The Earth of India.

You can try out these Indian sites for online purchase of these berries and beans;

India Mart

Marwari Foods

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

The wild berries or Ker (Capparis deciduas) which are the most expensive of all gives a wonderful flavor and tanginess to the recipe. To me these wild berries resemble ‘capers’. These tart berries are generally soaked in salt water and dried in shade to preserve.

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Sangari (Prosopis cineraria) is a kind of bean of Khejari tree, these are plucked and boiled before drying and preserving.

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Kumat (acacia Senegal) are seeds from the pods of acacia fruits.

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Gunda or gum-berries (chorda myxa) are sticky fruits which are generally used to make pickle in Rajasthan.

1. Dried wild berries and bean stir-fry or Panchkuta ki subji

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Ingredients;

(serve 5-6)

  • 1 cup Sangri (dried beans)
  • 1/4 cup Ker (dried berries)
  • 1/4 cup Kumat (dried seeds)
  • 1/4 cup dried Gunda or  gum berry
  • 2-3 small dried mango pieces
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

Spices;

  • 3-4 dried red chilly
  • 2 tsp. Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. Red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder
  • Pinch of asafetida powder

Method; Soak Ker, Sangari, Kumat, Gunda in plain water for an hour.

Rub all the ingredients soaked in water gently using your fingers and drain the water. Repeat this action for atleast 6-7 times to remove the dirt.

Soaking and cleaning makes it easy to clean the berries and beans. Soaking lets the dried fold in the beans open and makes it easy to clean.

Let the ingredients soak overnight.

Wash it again and boil the first five ingredients with 1 cup of water and a little turmeric for 10 minutes or pressure cook it for 2 whistles.

Finely chop the mango pieces and dried red chilly.

Heat oil in a kadai or wok and crackle cumin and fennel seeds in it.

Reduce the heat and add finely chopped dried red chilly, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and asafetida powder in it.

Add boiled ingredients, salt and 2-3 teaspoons of wtare in the wok and cook for a few minutes till water dries.

Serve it hot with millet flat bread or any Indian flat bread.

2. Ker-Sangri in yogurt

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

Ingredients;

(serve 5-6)

  • 1 cup Sangri (dried beans)
  • 1/4 cup Ker (dried berries)
  • 1/4 cup Kumat (dried seeds)
  • 1/4 cup dried Gunda or gum berry
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

Spices;

  • 3-4 dried red chilly
  • 2 tsp. Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. dried mango powder
  • 1 tsp. Red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric powder
  • Pinch of asafetida powder

Method; Soak Ker, Sangari, Kumat, Gunda in plain water for an hour.

Rub all the ingredients soaked in water gently using your fingers and drain the water. Repeat this action for atleast 6-7 times to remove the dirt.

Soaking and cleaning makes it easy to clean the berries and beans. Soaking lets the dried fold in the beans open and makes it easy to clean.

Let the ingredients soak overnight.

Wash it again and boil the first five ingredients with 1 cup of water and a little turmeric for 10 minutes or pressure cook it for 2 whistles.

Finely chop the mango pieces and dried red chilly.

Add coriander, turmeric, red chilly powder and salt in the yogurt and whisk well.

Heat oil in a kadai or wok and crackle cumin and fennel seeds in it.

Reduce the heat and add finely chopped dried red chilly, asafetida powder and the yogurt-spice mix in it.

Add boiled ingredients, salt and 2-3 teaspoons of wtare in the wok and cook for a few minutes till the moisture dries.

Serve it hot with millet flat bread or any Indian flat-bread.

3. Rustic Indian flat-breads or Panchkuta Rotis

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

The concept of adding Panchkuta to make rotis  clicked during a food blogger meet IFBM in Bangalore when a chef demonstrated the same in an event.

Ingredients;

(makes 8-10 small rotis)

  • 1 cups cooked panchkuta
  • 1 cup millet or wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp yogurt or curd
  • Oil to shallow fry
  • Water as required

Method; Coarsely grind cooked Pachkuta. I did not do this as I like the texture of seeds, beans and berries in the rotis.

Take a large bowl,  add flour, coarsely ground Pachkuta and yogurt in it.

Knead all the ingreidnts to make a soft dough. Use water if needed.

Pinch a small ball of dough, dust it with dry flour and roll into round circle.

Heat a griddle and place the Pachkuta roti on it, drizzle a little oil around it and let it cook for 1-2 minutes.

Flip to other side and repeat the process. You can also roast the rotis without oil.

Prepare all the Pachkuta rotis and serve with raita, plain yogurt or chutney.

healthy vegetarian recipes, ker sangri

The rotis tasted good but I would prefer my Panchkuta subji over rotis anytime.
These recipes are mainly prepared by the Jain community in Rajasthan who are vegetarian and avoid adding onion, garlic and garam masala to their recipes. You can add a pinch of garam masala and ginger-garlic paste to give that extra zing to your Panchkuta.

Check glossary to search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in cooking.

Notes;

  1. Replace dried mango pieces with dried mango powder (amchoor).
  2. Use slightly sour yogurt to make the second recipe.
  3. Add a pinch of sugar to all the recipe to balance the tartness in it.
  4. Traditionally this recipe is cooked in Mustard oil which gives a wonderful aroma to the recipe.
  5. The Panchkuta stir-fry recipe has a long shelf life if cooked in pickle form. It stays good for several months.

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Recipe | Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge – Some memorable moments of 2014 http://litebite.in/recipe-thulli-wholegrain-porridge/ http://litebite.in/recipe-thulli-wholegrain-porridge/#comments Thu, 01 Jan 2015 09:15:56 +0000 http://litebite.in/?p=11532 The year 2014 has been a whirlwind. It has gifted me with more than my fair share of perfect moments with family, friends and work life.

The year started with a hectic 2-days photo shoot for Savorit brand to doing television commercials and many Ad shoots round the year.

I met many amazing food bloggers during an exciting IFBM meet at Bangalore to doing product ideation event for Kelloggs brand in Mumbai.

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healthy vegetarian recipes, wholegrain porridge

The year 2014 has been a whirlwind. It has gifted me with more than my fair share of perfect moments with family, friends and work life.

The year started with a hectic 2-days photo shoot for Savorit brand to doing television commercials and many Ad shoots round the year.

I met many amazing food bloggers during an exciting IFBM meet at Bangalore to doing product ideation event for Kelloggs brand in Mumbai.

There was so much of learning and sharing beautiful moments with family and friends across the world. My heart is full of love and my gratitude is boundless.

Here’s to the year that was online – from food blogging to food styling, attending meets, family functions to making new friends for life.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

The year ended on a happy note with an adventurous vacation with family to a hill station.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

Hmm…never thought I could do it….successfully trekked a distance of 3000 meters to visit an old temple uphill.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

We organized a grand holy thread ceremony for my son.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

Here are some of the photo-shoots I could not manage to write a blogpost.

The one above is for Panasonic India with Manikandan.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

Food styling shoot for a Coimbatore based confectionery with Janeesh.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

Photo-shoot for a to-be-launched products of Hatsun company with Prateek Singhi.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

The year ended with yet another fun-filled pot-luck party on 31st night with some of the best friends, a ritual we are following for many years.  Here is a post about one such celebration at Charayas‘ house.

Thulli, a wholegrain soupy porridge

I cooked a simple and quick lunch on 31st afternoon to save time to cook my share of dishes for the evening.

Thulli is a comforting winter meal from Rajasthan. Cooked with loads of fresh vegetables and served with a dollop of homemade ghee, a hearty bowl of warm Thulli is the best choice for winter season.

Thulli is a close cousin of khichdi , Bisi-bhele-bhat or wholegrain porridge and is traditionally cooked with wheat or millet grits.

Traditionally Thulli is slow-cooked for hours in an earthen pot on wood fire. The consistency of Thulli is almost like a soupy porridge, unlike Khichidi which is semi-solid.

healthy vegetarian recipes

Ingredients;

(serve 2)

  • 1 cup millet or wheat grits
  • 2 cups vegetables *
  • 2 tbsp green gram
  • 2 tbsp. ghee
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1” ginger piece
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green chilly
  • Salt to taste
  • Water

Spices;

  • 3-4 cloves
  • 6-7 peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/ 4 tsp. red chilly powder

Method; Wash and soak green gram (moong daal), millet grits or wheat grits till you assemble and prep all the ingredients for the recipe.

Use dry roasted wheat grits or millet grits for best results.

Peel and finely chop onion, tomatoes and ginger. Peel and crush the piece of ginger with a pestle.

Use vegetables of your choice. I used an assortment of the following vegetables;

  • Fresh peas
  • Fresh chickpeas (Lilva)
  • Carrots
  • French beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Potato

Heat ghee in a pressure pan and add cumin seeds, cloves (laung) and peppercorns (kali mirch) in it.

Add chopped onion, crushed ginger, sliced green chilly and sauté for 2 minutes on low heat.

Add roasted grits, finely chopped vegetables, tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, salt and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.

Pour 5 cups of warm water in the pressure cooker, close the lid and let i cook for about 5-6 whistles.

Let the cooker cool before opening it.

Add more warm water if you like runny texture, give a vigorous stir to the Thulli after opening the lid to give a homogenous and creamy texture to the Thulli.

Serve the hot wholegrain and vegetable Thulli with a dollop of fresh ghee, poppadom, pickle or raita.

Notes;

  1. Use grits of any grain you wish for the recipe. Millet, barley, rice or wheat grits (coarsely ground) makes a delicious and healthy Thulli.
  2. Add water in the ratio of one part of grits to 4 (or more) parts of water for a creamy and soupy Thulli.
  3. You can omit gram (moong daal) in the recipe and make the recipe with just wholegrain grits.

A very happy and prosperous 2015 to you all !

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