Recipes | Healthy One-Pot-Meal and a Quick Indian Soup – Reflecting on our travel trails
Every travel leaves you with some unforgettable travel experiences you would want to treasure for ever. And what better way to freeze those precious moments than writing a bogpost and reflecting on your travel time with family and friends.
“We have a marriage invitation from my colleague in Metur city this weekend. Do your Google search and let me know if there are any good places nearby worth visiting.” Hubby informed me from his office last week and cut the line.
A few Google searches and I liked this small hill station Yercaud in Salem district which is located in the Shevaroys range of hills in the Eastern ghats of India.
But wait…there is more….
Every other person in the forum was advising against visiting Yercaud, as this small hill-station has nothing great to offer in terms of places of interest in the city.
Hmm…well, fortunately this was all the more better for us. We dislike visiting every nook and corner of the city we travel. Spending the entire day running from view points to museums to photographing the monuments is not our cup of tea. We had done the same during some of our earlier trips and disliked doing it.
I did not want to fall in the same trap again and booked a quiet plantation resort in Yercaud, far from the main city.
There is absolutely nothing to do in the resort except spending some quality time with family, relaxing and trying to be one with nature. And this is what exactly I wanted from my travel trail!
We planned for a non-stop travel to Yercaud and started our journey at 5 am from Chennai on a weekend to avoid the early morning traffic.
We took a diversion before Salem city and followed a different route to reach Yercaud as suggested by a friend.
This route (via Kuppanur, diversion from Salem town) is full of dense Teak forest. We enjoyed the quiet, picturesque and almost traffic free uphill journey and reached Yercaud at 12 noon.
The strong scent of thousands of citrus trees, coffee and pepper climbers planted in 100 acre property of the resort welcomed us.
More about our travel trail here.
A leisurely morning walk in the resort. The orchard is well maintained with lots of Avocado, citrus, grape orange, jack-fruit and many unusual fruity tress.
A quick trip to the botanical garden and to the local market nearby our resort.
1. Healthy One-Pot-Meal or Bisi Bele Bhat
Travel is a wonderful way to slow down and gain a new perspective of things we are doing. Returning home and back to work after a relaxing holiday was a stressful task earlier, but not anymore.
After having been to many such small vacations over last few years, we are now able to deal comfortably with post-vacation blues.
I had already pre-planned and stocked my refrigerator with necessary ingredients and vegetables for a quick meal after we are back from vacation.
And Bisi Bele Bhat is my first choice most of the times. A delightful delicacy which always reminds me of Khichdi from North India with an extra punch of some flavorful spices and loads of vegetables added to it.
Infact I coarsely ground millet, brown rice and lentils in equal proportion and store the same in an air-tight container for a quick Bisi Bele Bhat recipe.
The spice-mix required for making this healthy one-pot-meal was already prepared before leaving for the vacation. I had to just roughly chop the vegetables and dunk all the ingredients listed in the recipe together in my large pressure cooker.
And there we were, having a sumptuous meal of Bisi Bele Bhat, sipping hot garlic-lemon Rasam and reminiscing about the good times we had in Yercaud.
The ingredient list looks intimidating, but believe me this recipe is a breeze to cook, provided you have already planed for a few ingredients before.
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1/2 cup mixed lentil*
- 2 cups Mixed vegetables*
- 1 tbsp. Tamarind paste
- 2-3 tbsp. ground nuts
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp. jaggery
- Salt to taste
- 2 tbsp. coriander seeds
- 1 tbsp. black gram
- 1 tsp. Bengal gram
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp. Fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp black peppercorn
- 5 dry red chilies
- 3 cloves
- 1’ cinnamon stick
- 2 cardamoms
- 2 tbsp. oil or ghee
- 10-12 cashew nuts
- 1 tsp. black gram
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida powder
- Few curry leaves or coriander/dill leaves
Method; Pressure cooker is the easiest and quickest way to make this recipe.
Wash rice and lentil with plain water. Add rice, lentil, groundnuts and turmeric powder with about 3 cups of water in a pressure cooker.
Cook for three whistles and let the cooker cool completely.
You can add chopped vegetables along with rice and lentil, but this will make the vegetables too mushy.
Heat a flat pan and dry roast Bengal gram (chana daal), black gram (urad daal) till the colour changes to light brown, remove the lentils in a plate. Roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper in the same pan for a few seconds.
Now grind all the ingredients listed for powder along with the roasted ones into coarse powder.
Prep all the vegetables according to your choice. I have used the following vegetables for this recipe;
- Sweet potato
- Flat beans
Open the pressure cooker and add chopped vegetables, Bisi Bhele Bhaat spice-mix, tamarind paste, salt, jaggery, one cup of water and close the lid. Cook for just one more whistle and take the cooker off heat.
Tempering; Heat oil in a wok and crackle mustard seeds. Add black gram (de-skinned urad daal), cashew nuts and fry for a few seconds. Switch off the heat and add asafoetida powder and curry leaves in hot oil.
Pour this tempering over the Bisi Bhele Bhaat, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with a dollop of homemade ghee or butter, some crisp poppadom and chilled yogurt relish.
2. Quick Indian Soup or Goddu Rasam/Chaar
This instant Indian soup or ‘Goddu Rasam‘ recipe is handed over to me by my MIL which is a great time saver. No boiled and mashed lentils go into making this light and flavorful soup. Garlic and lemon are my addition to her recipe.
- 1 tbsp. Pigeon peas or Tuvar dal
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 cups water
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 1” Ginger piece
- 1 tbsp. coriander leaves
- 1 tsp. oil
- Salt to taste
- 10-12 black peppercorn
- 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp. dry coriander seeds
- A pinch of asafoetida powder
Method; Grind black peppercorn, cumin seeds and coriander seeds into coarse powder.
Wash and chop fresh coriander leaves and tomatoes. Peel garlic and ginger and crush them lightly with the back of a ladle.
Squeeze tamarind to get thick paste and add this into two cups of plain water.
Heat oil in a wok and splutter mustard and cumin seeds. Add pigeon peas or tuvar dal
and sauté for a minute.
Pour tamarind water, crushed ginger & garlic cloves, salt, asafoetida powder and bring it to boil.
Add chopped tomatoes, coarse peppercorn, cumin and coriander powder in it and simmer for another 2-3 minutes.
Put off the flame, add chopped fresh coriander leaves and lemon juice in it and serve hot with plain rice.
Check Glossary for English & Hindi names of various ingredients used in the recipe.
- Dry roast all the spices listed under the Bisi bele bhat recipe, grind it coarsely and store the same in an air tight bottle. It stays good for a month or more.
- The easiest and quickest way to make Bisi Bele Bhat is to add all the ingredients (with ground spice-mix) except the tempering into a pressure cooker and cook for 3-4 whistles.
- Prepare the spice-mix and chop and prep all the vegetables required to make BBB a day before. Just add all the ingredients listed under the recipe in a pressure cooker and cook for four whistles for a quick lunch-box recipe.
- Garnish the recipe of Bhat with fried cashew-nuts for a crunch in the recipe.
- A tablespoon of grated coconut added to the Bhat spice mix gives a wonderful taste to the recipe.
- Replace uncooked pigeon pea (tuvar dal) with cooked lentil for another version of Rasam.
- Replace rice with millet of your choice. Pearl millet grits makes a nutritious Bisi Bele Bhat.