Friday, 25 May 2012

Idli (Steamed rice and pulse Puff)



Idli and Sambhar
These steamed puffs made from the fermented mixture of rice and urd dal are as wonderful to look at as they are to eat. Fluffy, light, and soft they melt in the mouth. When eaten with sambhar they make a full meal low on fat therefore best for cholesterol patients like me and all weight conscious people.
In almost whole of the southern part of India idli, dosa, Uttapa, Appam these are taken with sambhar and coconut chutney be it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack because they are delightful to the taste buds along with being healthy low on calorie and easy to make .
Those who are interested in amalgamating India in their kitchen should try it and enjoy the taste of authentic South Indian dish.

Preparation Time: 15 hrs. For making batter of idli.(Soaking, grinding, fermenting time included)
Cooking Time: 20- 30 min per batch
Servings: Makes 24-30 medium size idli

Ingredients Required for Making Idli:
  • 250 gm. Par boiled rice
  • 150 gm. Urd dal
  • Water
  • Directions for Making Batter for Idli:
  • Wash rice and urd dal and soak them separately in plenty of water for at least 5-6 hrs.
  • Drain the soaked water and grind dal and rice separately in a grinder – mixer.
Paste of Urd dal for Idli batter


Paste of Rice for Idli batter
  •   If you have a grinding stone electrically operated or manually operated then dal and rice can be ground together.
  • Water should be added while grinding.
  • Take fine paste of dal and rice in a big container and mix them thoroughly.


Unfermented batter of Urd dal and rice paste mixture
  • Cover the container and keep for 10- 12 hr. for fermenting.

Batter for Idli kept for fermentation
  • After fermenting the batter will become slightly sour, light.
  • Mix the batter nicely with a ladle.
  • Take an idli stand, oil the hollows with oil and pour the batter in the hollows till their brim.

Idli batter in idli stand

Idli stand with idli batter for 12 idli
  • Heat 250 ml. water in the container of the idli stand and when water is hot place the stand with batter in it and cover the container.
  • Put the gas on high for 5 min. and then lower the flame.
  • Cook for 20- 25 min. on low flame.
  • Puffed idli should be ready.
  • Check if the idli are cooked by poking a thin knitting needle in it or a knife in it. The needle /knife should come out dry.
  • Allow the idli in the stand to cool for 5 min. then remove them from the stand using a knife or flat spoon.
Fluffy soft Idli

  • Repeat the same with all the batter.
  • Depending on the idli stand of yours you can make 12 or more idli at a time.
  • Enjoy Idli with Sambhar (http://jyotsna-pant.blogspot.com/2012/05/sambhar-tur-dal-cooked-with-vegetables.html) and coconut chutney and of course with your family
Idli and Sambhar

Tips:
  • Idli batter can be kept in fridge for 3-4 days at least.
  • The amount of water you use for steaming idli should be enough to be just below the last idli base not touching it.
  • If the knife or the needle you use for testing the idli come out with some sticky material cook the idlies on low flame for some more time.
  • For a batch of 12 idli more than 30 min. are normally not required.
  • Do not add too much water while grinding as the batter will become thin and idli will not come out soft and fluffy.
Suggested Variations:
  • Instead rice ,idli rawa can be taken.
  • Idli rawa should be soaked but not ground, only dal needs to be made to paste and added to soaked, drained idli rawa, and kept for fermentation for 10-12 hr.
Soaked Idli rawa

Paste of Urd dal for Idli batter

  • The idli from idli rawa come out to be slightly grainy but very soft.
Idli from Idli rawa

  • Those whom urd dal does not suit can take either 50:50 mixture of urd and moong dal or replace urd dal with moong dal.
  • The batter with moong dal requires to be fermented for 4-5 hr. only.
  • The taste of idli with moong dal is absolutely different than one with urd dal.
  • Once you gain expertise in making idli then you can make stuffed idli by pouring some batter in the hollow then the filling of your choice and again some batter
  • The left over idli can be made to upama with vegetables.
  • Hot idli taste fantastic with hot ghee and sugar.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sambhar( Tur dal cooked with vegetables and spices)

Sambhar
Sambhar is broth of Tur (Arhar) dal with vegetables and special masala called Sambhar masala. Sambhar is taken with rice, idli, Dosa, Uttapa, Appam etc. When I was doing my Ph.D. in Jaipur, I used to go to a hotel 10km. away from my hostel just to eat idli-Sambhar. After my marriage I came to Pune and had a very good lady as a neighbor who taught me the how to cook South Indian food. So now I make Dosa, Idli, and Sambhar to my heart content and enjoy with my family.

Preparation Time: 10 min.
Cooking Time: 30min.
Servings: 10 large servings
Ingredients Required for Making Sambhar:
  • 100 gm. Tur dal (Arhar dal)
  • 10 gm. French beans (5-6 beans)
  • 1 Small Carrot
  • 1 Small onion
  • 2-3 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 cm. Piece of Ginger
  • 1/2teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1/2teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 4-5 Kadi patta ( curry leaves)
  • 1/2 Tea spoon Turmeric powder
  • 10-15 gm. (1 table spoon approximately) Sambhar powder
  • 10-20gm. Tamarind
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Tea spoon cooking oil
  • 300 ml water
For seasoning of Sambhar:
  • 2 Whole Red chilies
  • 1/2 Tea spoon Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 Tea spoon Mustard seeds
  • 3-4 Kadi patta ( curry leaves)
  • 1 small Pinch of Hing (asafetida)
  • 1 Tea spoon Ghee (clarified butter)
Directions for Preparing Sambhar:
  • Wash Tur dal and put it in a cooker along with salt and turmeric powder and 300 ml water.
  • Keep the cooker with dal on gas on high flame.
  • When the pressure builds in the cooker reduce the flame and cook for 10 min.
  • Allow the cooker to cool.
Tamarind pulp

  • Cut onion to small pieces.
  • Cut garlic to fine pieces.
  • Grate the ginger piece.
  • Wash and cut beans, carrot to 1/2 inch pieces.
Carrot and Beans  for sambhar

  • Take 1 tea spoon of cooking oil in a wok and heat it.
  • When the oil is hot add1/2 tea spoon of mustard seeds let them splutter.
  • Add 1/2 tea spoon of cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add 3-4 kadi patta and when the color of kadi patta changes and the wonderful aroma comes add onions to it.
  • Cook for a min. and add cut garlic and grated ginger to it and cook for a min. and add vegetables to it.
  • Cook the vegetables with regular stirring for 2-3 min.
Vegetables being cooked for sambhar
  • Add sambhar powder to the vegetable mixture and cook for a min with stirring.
Sambhar masala added to the cooked vegetables

  • Add tamarind pulp the vegetable and sambhar powder mixture and cook for 2-3 min. 
Tamarind pulp added to the vegetables and sambhar masala
  • Add the boiled dal to the mixture in the wok and give it a good stir to mix the dal and spices nicely.
Boiled dal added to the mixture of vegetables and spices

Boiled dal mixed to the vegetable and spices mixture
  • Add a tea spoon of sugar or one inch piece of jaggery to give sweet tangy spicy taste to the sambhar.
  • Give a nice boil to the sambhar.
  • If you fell that the sambhar is thick then add water according to your requirement.

  • Take out sambhar in a serving bowl.
Sambhar before seasoning
 
Seasoning of Sambhar:
  • Take 1 teaspoon ghee in a small pan and heat it.
  • When hot add 1/2 tea spoon mustard seeds, 1/2teaspoon cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add whole red chilies, and kadi patta.
  • Cook for 1/2min.
  • Add asafetida and immediately pour the seasoning mixture on the sambhar and cover the serving bowl to allow the aroma of spices to seep in the sambhar.
Sambhar
Hot spicy, Tangy sambhar with a hint of sweet taste is ready to be taken with idli (http://jyotsna-pant.blogspot.com/2012/05/idli-steamed-rice-and-pulse-puff.html),Dosa (http://jyotsna-pant.blogspot.com/2011/09/dosa-with-out-urd-dal.html),Vada, Uttapa, rice etc.
Tips:
  • Those who do not take onion and garlic may avoid it.
  • Make sure the Dal is boiled to complete softness.
  • The effect of seasoning comes best with ghee so try not to replace it with cooking oil.
  • If you want to avoid cooking oil and save on time then add vegetables, tamarind pulp, and sambhar powder to the dal while boiling only.

Suggested Variations:
  • Instead of beans any other vegetables of your choice can be taken.
  • If drum sticks / Radish/sambhar onions( small special onions which are used for pickle with vinegar) are taken for sambhar then no other vegetable is required as they leave their distinct taste and flavor.
  • For garnishing freshly grated coconut is very good instead of often used coriander leaves.
  • Sambhar for idli and Vada should be slightly on the thinner side where as for dosa, rice on the thicker side.
  • In the absence of tamarind dry mango powder / Tomatoes can be taken though the authentic taste is not there.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Chatar Patar ( Murmure ki namkin,Salted Puffed rice. A delicious low calorie snack)

  
Irresistible Chatar Patar
During festival season when lots of sweets are made and most of them fried then lots of oil is left in the wok even after emptying it in a bottle the wall and bottom of wok is full of oil. So I used to make use of that oil and make murmure ki namkin in it. The end result no wastage of oil, tasty least oily low calorie namkin and happy children as they could take bowlful with out me cribbing.This namkin is quiet popular in Maharashtra, India.It goes very well with evening tea. Very good as one of the snacks with hard drinks also. I call it chatar- patar as it is salty, spicy with a hint of sweet and is flavored with kadi patta, coconut and ground nuts.
Preparation Time : 10min.
Cooking Time : 30min.
Servings: Makes 500 gm. Chatar- Patar

Ingredients Required for Making Chatar-Patar :
  • 200 gm. Murmure(it is also known as Laiya)
  • 100 gm. Dry Coconut
  • 100 gm. Ground nut
  • 100 gm. Roasted Black gram.
  • 1 tea spoon Turmeric powder
  • 1 Tea spoon Mustard seeds
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 Tea spoon Sugar
  • 2-3 Tea spoon Red chili powder
  • 2-3 Tea spoon Amchur( dry mango powder)
  • 4-5 Green chilies
  • 10-15 Kadi Patta( curry leaves)
  • 20 ml. Cooking oil
Direction for Making Chatar-Patar:
  • Cut the coconuts to small thin flakes and keep aside.
  • Take roasted black gram and remove all hard ones and the covering from them till only yellow roasted black gram are left.
  • In a thick bottom big wok take 20ml. of cooking oil.
  • Keep the wok on high flame.
  • When the oil is hot fry ground nuts in it till they are light brown in color.
Fried Ground nut ready to be removed from the wok
  • Fry the flakes of coconut till light pinkish brown.
Dry Coconut flakes being fried

Coconut Flakes fried to pinkish brown color
  • To the remaining hot oil add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  • Add green chilies and kadi patta and cook till they change the color and become crisp.
Mustard seeds, Curry leaves and green chilies being fried
Curry leaves and green chilies fried to crispness for rest of the ingredients to be added
  • Add Turmeric powder and cook for 10 sec.
  • Add murmure (laiya) and mix nicely the whole mixture.
  • Mix continuously and cook for 2-3 min.
  • Add fried groundnuts, fried coconut flakes and cleaned roasted black gram.
Fried Coconut flakes,cleaned roasted black gram and ground nuts added to the mixture
  • Mix thoroughly while the wok is on gas.
  • Add to the murmure mixture
    • Salt
    • Sugar
    • Red chili powder
    • Amchur
Salt, Sugar,Red chili powder and Amchur added to the mixture
  •   And cook for 3-4 min with regular, thorough mixing.
  • Crisp Chatar-Patar is ready.
  • Remove the wok from gas and keep on mixing for a min. or two while the namkin is getting cooled.
  • Let the namkin cool completely.
Ready Chatar Patar being cooled before keeping it the container
  • Store it in a clean dry air tight container.
  • Enjoy with tea, cold drink or hard liquor or simply munch it whenever you feel like 
Chatar Patar
Tips:
  • Coconut and ground nuts should be fried a shade less than required as the heat and oil in it will cook it further to darker shade.
  • Keep on stirring the mixture in the whole process of making the namkin nicely else the one nearer to the bottom will get burnt.
  • Cut green chilies fine.
  • You can purchase cleaned roasted black gram from market to save the hassle of cleaning.
Suggested Variation:
  • Raisins Almonds, Cashew nut can be added but they will also add calorific value along with increased nutrition.
  • Poha( pounded, roasted rice) can be taken instead of murmure (laiya).
  • Sugar can be powdered before adding.
  • Washed and finely cut leaves of coriander can be added instead of kadi patta to change the flavor.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Pav Bhaji (Unleavened Bread With vegetable)


Bhaji for Pav bhaji

Pav Bhaji with butter and salad
Pav Bhaji is a special preparation of Maharashtra, India. It can be taken for lunch, dinner or even as evening snack. The aroma of Bhaji is heavenly and Pav (unleavened small bread) heated with butter along with reddish color Bhaji tastes yum and requires great will power to resist. My husband treated me to Pav Bhaji when I reached Pune after marriage, since then I am hooked to Pav Bhaji, and when I like something I have to learn how to cook it. One thing I learnt that when you make anything at home you can experiment and do lots of variations. I share my recipe with you all. Learn how to make and make your own variations and enjoy the delicious Pav Bhaji.

Preparation Time: 30min.
Cooking Time: 60min.
Servings: 5-6 large servings of Bhaji

Ingredients required for Making Bhaji:
  • 100 gm. Cauliflower
  • 50 gm. Cabbage
  • 10 – 20 gm. Carrot (One small size carrot)
  • 50 gm. Capsicum (Two medium size capsicums)
  • 25 gm. Red bell pepper (Lal Shimla mirchi, one medium size)                                                                                                                                                                                       
  • 150 gm. Onions
  • 200 gm. Potatoes (5-6 Medium size potatoes)
  • 200 – 250 gm. Tomatoes
  • 50 gm. Garlic – Ginger paste
  • 100 gm. Pav Bhaji masala
  • 10-15 gm. Red Kashmiri Mirch powder
  • Red chili powder to taste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 100gm. Butter
  • 8- 10 Sprigs of green coriander leaves.
  • 5 - 6 Kadi patta( curry leaves)
Directions for Making Bhaji:
  • Boil the potatoes.
  • Peel the boil potatoes.
  • Mash the boiled and peeled potatoes and keep them aside.
Boiled mashed Potatoes
  • Cut finely cauliflower, cabbage, and carrot after washing.
Finely cut vegetables
  • Cut finely capsicum and red bell pepper and keep them aside.
  • Cut finely tomatoes and keep them aside.
  • Cut onions very fine and keep them aside.
  • Wash, drain green coriander leaves and cut them finely.
  • In a cooker take finely cut cauliflower, cabbage, carrot and half of finely cut capsicum and red bell pepper.
Mixture of vegetables ready for boiling in the cooker
  • Add 1/2 Tea spoon of salt and one cup of water, put the lid of cooker and keep for boiling on high flame.
  • When pressure builds in the cooker lower the flame and cook for 10 min.
  • Remove the cooker from gas and allow it to cool.
  • Keep a thick bottom wok on gas on high flame.
  • Put 100 gm. butter in the hot wok.
Butter being melted
  • When the butter melts add kadi patta in it.
Kadi patta in melted butter
  • When kadi patta become brownish in color and the fragrance of kadi patta starts coming out add finely cut onions in it.
Onions being cooked with the seasoning of kadi patta
  • Lower the flame and cook the onions till they just start turning brown.
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and cook for a min. or so.
Stage of cooked onions with ginger - garlic paste when Tomato should be added
  • Add finely cut tomatoes and cook toll the mixture leaves the edge of wok.
  • Add boiled potatoes and mix thoroughly.
Mashed Potatoes added to the mixture of cooked onions and tomatoes
  •  Cook with regular stirring till the mixture leaves the edge of wok.
 Mixture of cooked potatoes,onion,and tomatoes
  • Add boiled vegetables with all liquid in the cooker and mix nicely.
Boiled Vegetables added to cooked onion, potato, tomato mixture
  •  Cook with stirring and mashing.
  • Keep on adding little amount of water in between.
  • Add finely cut capsicum and red bell pepper, mix and cook with regular stirring and mashing.
  • When the mixture becomes homogenous add salt to taste red chili powder, Kashmiri mirchi powder and turmeric powder and mix thoroughly.
Turmeric powder, salt, chili powder added to the mashed mix of boiled vegetable
  • Cook for a min. or two, and then add Pav bhaji masala.
Pav bhaji powder added to the mixture of mashed vegetables
  • Mix thoroughly then add 100 ml. of water and cook for 5 min. with regular stirring.
  • Bhaji should look like a paste; no vegetable pieces should be seen in the bhaji.
  • Cover and remove from heat.
  • Add 3-4 tea spoons of cut coriander leaves and mix.
  • Beautiful red color bhaji with a wonderful flavor is ready.

Bhaji ready for Pav Bhaji
  • Take the bhaji bowl/plate put a blob of butter on it, decorate it with coriander/ strawberry/cherry/ringlets of onion and tomato as per your liking.

Bhaji for Pav bhaji ready to be served
Bhaji for Pav Bhaji
  •   Serve hot bhaji with Pav, and salad and a piece of lemon.

Directions for heating Pav:
  • Heat a tawa/pan on high flame.
  • Cut Pav into two halves from the sides.
  • Put butter on the hot tawa and when the butter melts put the Pav from the exposed side on it and press with a spatula till it becomes of brownish pink color.
melted butter and Pav being heated
  • Repeat the same with all Pav.
Direction to make salad for Pav bhaji:
  • Take finely cut onions, coriander leaves, Green chilies mix them and serve.
Salad for Pav bhaji


Pav Bhaji with salad lemon and a dollop of butter
Tips:
  • Bhaji should be neither too thick nor watery in consistency.
  • Except for some red and green pieces of capsicum and red bell pepper rest of the vegetables should be homogenous paste in bhaji.
  • More the butter used better the taste of bhaji.
  • Never grind the boiled vegetables and boiled potatoes in mixture to make paste.
  • More the vegetables are cooked with regular mashing tastier the Bhaji becomes.
  • Keep on adding little amounts of water when the Bhaji is being cooked so as to maintain proper thickness of Bhaji.
Suggested Variations:
  • One tea spoon of amchur powder (dry raw mango powder) can be added to increase tangy taste.
  • French beans, beetroot can be also added to the mixture of vegetables while boiling.
  • Boiled Peas can be added to the bhaji before adding Pav bhaji masala but they should not be mashed.
  • Pieces of cottage cheese can be added to the bhaji before adding Pav bhaji masala cheese pieces should not be mashed.
  • Homemade unsalted butter can be taken for making bhaji.
  • For those who do not eat onions and garlic amount of potatoes can be increased and along with kadi patta cumin seeds can be added followed by ginger paste.


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