Thursday, August 30, 2007

Set Dosey -- RCI Karnataka & JFI

I finally did it! 'Two birds in one stone'...:) Ok, before you guys think I have gone crazy, let me explain. Last week I decided to make dosas for the weekend as it was a really long time since I made them at home; the sole reason being, that everytime I used to forget to soak the rice and dal. But not this time...I was determined to have dosas over the weekend. But, instead of the regular dosas, I decided to make Set Dosey. At that time, I had no plan for posting this recipe for a particular event, but I had taken some pictures, just so that I would be able to post it sometime later. Then, on Monday morning, I was generally going through the link that Asha had provided for RCI Karnataka, and while reading through the information, I realized that 'Set Dosey' comes from Karnataka and that this would be a perfect entry for RCI ! And before I could pat myself on the back for such a brilliant discovery, it struck me that this was also a great entry for JFI -- Rice, hosted by Sharmi. This was really a proud moment for me...such brilliance is rare ! ;)) And so I achieved the impossible and 'Two Birds in one Stone'. :))) (How I wish blogger had some smileys....would have made a better impact!)

Karnataka is a state with a lot of diversity in culture and food. The cuisine of North Karnataka is a lot different than that found in south Karnataka. More about this beautiful state here.
What comes to my mind when I think of Karnataka?--- First of all its my dad's birth place. He was born in Bijapur, which is famous for the 'Gol Gumbaz', and the only place where I saw brown colored ice being sold on hand carts! :) How shocked was I to see this and imagine the quality of the water...but this was a long time back, when I was still in school... haven't been there since then. Apart from the water experience, its a beautiful place to visit. Foodwise, I associate Karnataka with Dharwadi pedhe (yum!), Kardantu, Mandige, Kunda, Mysore Pak, Mysore Masala Dosa, Chitranna...well, the list is quite long but I just love their cuisine :).
Coming to the recipe, I was first introduced to Set Dosey in Mysore, where I was vacationing with my family and they were the best that I have eaten till date. I also found some really good Set Dosey in one of Pune's popular Udupi Restaurant, 'Wadeshwar'. Set Dosey, are different from the regular dosey, due to their small size and their thickness. Also,
in addition to the usual Rice and Urad dal, the batter also has Thick Pohe (Flattened Rice). These dosas are generally served as a pair, hence the name. I have also seen some restaurants serving them in stacks of 3 or 5 just like Pancakes. I am not sure but I vaguely remember these dosas being served with a vegetable curry, but I just paired mine off with Sambhar and green coconut chutney, called 'Kaayi Chutney (green)'. On researching further, I found that there are numerous versions of the recipe. The recipe that I have, was taken from a neighbor back in India, who got this from another friend. This time I used Brown rice for the batter and did not use any oil while making the dosas (thanks to my Non-Stick Tawa), which made these dosas even more healthy ! Enjoy! :)
As mentioned earlier, this recipe is going to both Asha & Sharmi for the RCI event and JFI event respectively.

Ingredients: (makes about 15 dosey)
3 katoris Brown Rice or Regular White Rice
1 katori Thick Pohe
1/4 katori Urad Dal
1 tsp Methi dana (Fenugreek seeds)
A pinch of sugar (not in the original recipe but I add it because I like it)

Soak the rice, dal, pohe and methi seeds in water, separately, for at least 6-7 hours. The methi seeds can be soaked along with the urad dal. Once soaked, grind each of them separately and then mix together. The batter should be ground finely. Season with salt and leave it to ferment (preferably overnight). Normally, this takes about 12- 16 hours here in the US. To help the fermentation, preheat the oven a little and then switch it off. Then keep the batter in the oven, covered and with a big plate below to take care of any spills that might occur once the batter has fermented.

Once the batter is ready, heat a non-stick tawa (griddle) and then pour a ladle full of batter on it. Do not spread it as you would while making regular dosa. This dosa is supposed to be thick and small in size. If not using a non stick tawa, coat the tawa with a little oil before you pour the batter and then sprinkle a little oil on the sides of the dosa. Cover it with a plate and let cook for a few minutes. Make sure that the tawa is not too hot otherwise you will end up with dosas that are brown but not cooked through. Once cooked through, flip it and cook a little on the other side (I have read that these are generally cooked only on one side, so its optional to flip and cook them). Once the dosa is nice and golden brown, remove from the tawa and serve hot with chutney and sambhar.

For the Kaayi chutney:
Grind together some grated coconut (I use frozen), cilantro, 1-2 green chillies, and dalia split. I also add some cumin seeds to this.Heat some oil and then add 1/4 tsp urad dal to it. Once it starts turning reddish, add some mustard seeds. When the mustard seed start crackling adda little hing. To this, add a few curry leaves (kadhi patta) and fry for a minute. Pour this over the ground chutney and add some salt to it. Also add a little yogurt to it. Mix well and serve.

(I will post the recipe for Sambhar along with the recipe for sambhar masala in another post later)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Microwave Besan Ladoo

When Srivalli announced the 'Microwave Easy Cooking' Event, I was thrilled, not because I had a hoard of microwave recipes but just because this would give me a chance to try microwave cooking. Till date, I have mostly used my microwave to reheat food, occasionally, to cook potatoes, and then at times to defrost things and soften butter & ice cream. Somehow, the idea of cooking rice in a microwave never really appealed to me and I just love rice made in the pressure cooker, so that was out of question. I did hear a lot of people raving about how the 'Microwave' makes things so easy, but I still had my reservations. I was really looking forward to send in an entry for this month's MEC--Sweets, but I got busy and before I knew, it was the 25th, the last day for the event :( But then, dear Srivalli extended this date and so without wasting any more time, I got busy with my entry--- Microwave Besan Ladoo.

This is my absolutely favorite type of ladoo and I had heard a lot of friends say that these come out excellent in the microwave. So this was the obvious choice for me. I must confess that making Besan ladoo in the microwave was really easy and quick, plus I did not have to keep stirring vigorously, till my arm started paining. Thanks Srivalli for this event!

Ingredients: (makes about 6-7 ladoos)
1 cup Besan (Chickpea flour)
6-7 tbsp Tup (Ghee) (or as required)
3/4 cup Sugar (Powdered or the regular fine variety that is found in the US)
Cardamom powder (2-3 pods)
A handful of raisins
Microwave safe bowl

Mix the besan and tup (ghee) in a microwave safe bowl. Heat on high for 5 minutes (time may vary slightly for different microwave ovens). Stir after a minute and continue heating. Keep checking and stirring after a minute. At the end of 5 minutes, the mixture will be a nice reddish brown and will have a nice aroma to it.The mixture should not look too dry, otherwise the ladoos will not hold up their shape. Let it cool completely.

Once cooled, add the sugar, cardamom powder and raisins. Mix well and then make small round ladoos out of it. If you realize that the ghee is not sufficient once you start making the ladoos, just heat some ghee and add to the mixture. Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Ukadpendi --- Wheat Flour Meal

A few days ago, I had mentioned in my MeMe, that my blog was a secret and that my family did not know about it. Well, I finally spilled the beans...yay!! :)
Actually, it was a pretty funny sister who is an avid blog reader, somehow stumbled upon my blog one day. She called me up immediately and asked me if I had seen this particular blog. Now, I was smiling to myself and trying hard to act innocent...she was so amazed by the fact, that a lot of the recipes were exactly the same as mom's recipes and that the blogger had the same background as me :)) Finally, I could not contain myself any longer and I finally confessed to her. She was so happy and proud and couldn't believe how she did not realize it was me ;) She immediately showed my blog to my mom and dad and they were both very happy and proud. Well, thats that...a very memorable incident for me. :) Now on to the recipe...

Ukadpendi is yet another childhood favorite. Now, this was always a special treat for me as my dad did not like it and so, whenever he was out of town, touring, my mom, sister and me would have at least one meal of Ukadpendi. This one dish meal goes perfectly as breakfast, lunch or dinner, and made with wheat flour makes it pretty healthy too. This is also a good meal when you are alone for lunch/dinner. So here goes...

Ingredients: (serves 2)
1 cup Kanik (Wheat Flour/Atta)
1/2 an onion chopped
3/4 cup beaten yoghurt/buttermilk
About 2 cups of hot water (you may not need to use all the water)
A little more than 1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp Mohri (Mustard seeds)
1/2 tsp Jeere (Cumin seeds)
1/4 tsp Hinga (Asafoetida)
1/2 tsp Halad (Turmeric)
2-3 Dried red chillies
1 tsp Cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Cilantro to garnish

First, dry roast the wheat flour in a pan till it turns reddish brown. Keep stirring otherwise you will end up with burnt flour. Your nose will tell you when its ready. Keep aside. While you are doing this, start heating some water in another vessel.
Next, heat the oil in a kadhai. Add the Mohri, Jeere, Hinga and Halad to make a phodni (tadka). Next throw in the dried red chillies. Fry for a minute and then add the chopped onions. Sautee till they turn translucent. Now add the roasted wheat flour to the kadhai. Mix and then add the beaten yoghurt/buttermilk. Mix well and then add about 1 cup of the hot water (just as you would while making upma). Mix it. The wheat flour will start cooking and get fluffy. If required add more water. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Cover and cook for a few minutes. Uncover and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot.

My Bag of Awards

I am back! I had the most amazing time with my mom, though I wish I had some more time with her...I was in no mood to do anything after she left and was feeling quite lost. I am getting back into my routine now and so I decided to start off by expressing my gratitude to all my blogger friends for their concern when I just disappeared from the scene suddenly. A big thanks also to my friends who have found me worthy of some of the awards that are making the rounds these days. I really feel privileged. 4 months back, I wouldn't have imagined that I would be having so many friends and that my blog and me would get this much appreciation. Thanks to everyone...each one of you deserves this award.
So, here I proudly display, my bag of awards... :)

Thanks to Padma, Archana, & Athika for this award,

Thanks also to Archana, Laavanya, Srivalli & Richa for this award,

The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who "effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don't limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship."

Keeping with the tradition, I would like to pass on these awards, in no particular order, to,
Suganya of Tasty Palettes
Swapna of Swad
Hima of SnackORama
Jyothi of Andhra Spicy
Viji of Vcuisine
Roopa of My Chow Chow Bhath
Priyanka of Lajawaab
Manasi of A Cook @ Heart
TC of The Cooker
Asha of Foodie's Hope
Coffee of The Spice Cafe
Seec of En Samayal Arai
Sharmi of Neivedyam
Lata of La Gourmet Chef
Bhags of Crazy Curry
Thanks again for the honor !
I was going to include a recipe in this post, but that might make it too long, so I will post the recipe separately later in the day. Have a great day!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tomato Rice with Soya Chunks

Its been really busy the last couple of days as my mom is here for a really short time. I am trying to spend as much time as possible with her and trying to get some traditional recipes too :) I am really sorry if I am not able to comment on all the posts, but will be back with some great recipes next week, some that my mom made. In the mean time, I would like to repost this rice recipe for the JFI event, hosted by Sharmi, and who very sweetly allowed me to send this as an entry although it was already posted before. Thanks Sharmi!

Yesterday was a lazy day for me...for some reason I was just not in the mood for elaborate cooking, so I turned towards one of my favourite comfort foods, 'Tomato Rice'. This easy to make rice is my mom's recipe. She used to make this very often and used to add this special ingredient which I really grew to love-- 'Soya chunks'
or 'Nutrinuggets' as we used to call them. They are healthy, full of protein and go very well with rice. This rice recipe soon became a favorite with my friends too. Every time we had a sleepover and we were cooking together, 'Tomato Rice with Soya chunks' would always be on the menu. After I got married, I introduced it to my husband, and now he is also a big fan.
I normally use Nutrela for this recipe. Sometimes I find that people are not comfortable with the whole chunks in the rice. Simple solution would be to soak them, and then chop them into little pieces before adding them to the rice. Alternatively, you can use readymade Soy Granules. This is an extremely tasty and filling dish. Pair it off with some 'Boondi Raita' and you have a quick and satisfying meal for those lazy weekdays or weekends, where you just want to sit back and relax!

Ingredients: (serves 2)
Basmati rice 1 1/4 cups
Onion chopped into slices 1 medium sized
Chopped Tomato 1 big or 2 small
Garlic clove finely chopped 1
Chopped Cilantro couple of sprigs
Green chilli slit into half lengthwise 1
Soya chunks soaked in water for at least 25- 30 mins
Black peppercorns 3-4
Garam Masala 1 tsp
Cayenne Pepper 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Oil 1 tbsp
Water 2 1/2 cups


Soak the Soya chunks in water for at least 20 -25 minutes. Wash the rice and keep aside. In a pressure cooker pan, heat the oil. Once the oil is ready, add the black peppercorns to it. Fry for a minute or so and then add the chopped onions. Fry till they turn translucent and then add the chopped garlic. Next go in the chopped tomatoes and cilantro. Once the tomatoes are cooked a little, mix in the washed rice. Fry the rice till it turns slightly pinkish in colour. Make sure to keep stirring, or else it will burn. Now add water to this. To make such kind of rice/pulav, always add water exactly double the quantity of rice. This way, you will always have well cooked rice without it getting mushy due to extra water. Now add the soya chunks, salt, cayenne pepper and garam masala (You can finely mince the soya chunks and add if you don't like the texture). Throw in the green chilli halves. Mix well and put on the pressure cooker lid. Cook for 2 whistles. Enjoy hot with a raita of your choice!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Malai Kulfi

Whenever I have people over for dinner, the biggest question for me is what to make as dessert. There are always some who don't like sweet as much, some who like sweet but only specific things, and some who are totally averse to it. But when it comes to ice cream or kulfi, people generally tend to melt ;) So this time when I had some friends over for dinner, I decided to make some Malai Kulfi, just the way my mom makes it. Now, I make this from scratch, ie, I boil and reduce the milk instead of using ready made condensed milk. I feel that I can control the amount of sugar this way. It does take a little extra effort but the result is so amazing that you will not regret it one bit. :)

Ingredients:(serves 4)
1.89 L Whole milk (3.25%)--small can
1/2 pint Heavy cream
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Cardamom powder
3 tbsp Corn starch

In a heavy bottomed pan, pour the milk and add to it the heavy cream. Mix the corn starch in a little milk and add it to the rest of the milk. Start heating the milk on medium high heat. Make sure to keep stirring the milk frequently. Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat and continue heating it till it reduces to a little more than half the quantity. Keep stirring to avoid the milk from burning at the bottom of the pan. At this point, add the sugar, mix and continue reducing the milk. Once it is reduced to 1/4th of the original quantity and thick like Rabdi, turn off the heat and add the cardamom powder.
You can also add some Kesar (saffron) to the mixture. Mix well and then let it cool.
Then pass the entire milk through a blender or blend it with a hand mixer. Pour it into a freezer safe Plastic (do not use glass container) container or a Kulfi Stand and freeze till it sets. Once it has set, remove it and blend it again. If there are any ice crystals add a little more corn starch to the mixture and blend. Freeze it again and serve chilled with some dry fruits on top.

Friday, August 3, 2007

JFI--Phodnicha Bhaat

Rice -- the mere mention of it comforts me. When I was in India, I used to have rice twice a day and would not mind if there were no chapatis. But after coming here, I realized that eating so much rice did not quite agree with my body (read figure :)), and so with a lot of efforts, I reduced my intake of rice, especially White Rice. And yet, I still feel that hot rice with a dollop of homemade Tup (ghee) and salt is the ultimate comfort food! Try it if you have never tried it before, you will not regret it even one bit :). Luckily, these days, we are getting Ambemohar rice in our grocery store, which is a very aromatic and flavorful rice. Generally, this variety is also best suited for Varan- Bhaat (Plain dal with rice) and the combination is simply out of this world!!!
Having said that, sometimes I end up with leftover rice and am at a loss of ideas to finish it and not let it go waste. I also don't want to go with the usual options of curd-rice, fried rice, pulav, dal-rice (I know I am picky ;)) what do I do? Well, I turn to this simple and quick Maharashtrian recipe of jazzing up the rice which can be served as breakfast/brunch, lunch or dinner. With some yogurt and pickle on the side, you have a delicious lip-smacking one dish meal within minutes.
This is my entry for JFI - Rice which is hosted by Sharmi of 'Neivedyam'.

Ingredients:(serves 2)
1 cup cooked rice (I have used Basmati, but you can use any variety)
1/2 an onion chopped lengthwise
2-3 Dried red Chillies
2 tsp Roasted peanuts (optional)
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Mohri (Mustard seeds)
1/2 tsp Jeere (Cumin seeds)
1/4 tsp Hing (Asafoetida)
1/2 tsp Halad (Turmeric)
1 tbsp Oil
Chopped Cilantro to garnish

In a kadhai, heat the oil. Add the mohri and once it begins to pop, add the jeere. Once the jeera starts sizzling, add hing and halad. Next add the onions and fry till they turn translucent. Then add the dried red chillies and fry for a minute. At this point, throw in the peanuts if using. Finally add the rice, cayenne pepper and salt and mix well. Cover and let cook for a minute or so. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.
Here is a closer look,