Wednesday, April 30, 2014

South Indian Style vegetable Pulao with Radish Raita

I am back with not one, but two recipes this time. One is a vegetable pulao but with a variation and the other is a simple yet delicious yoghurt based side dish using radish. In short, you will have recipes  for a mouth watering combo meal. 

I learnt how to make these two dishes from two different people. The pulao recipe is from my grand mother and the recipe for the raita is from a dear friend. My grandmother, never gave out the recipe to me. But I remember, she used to make pulao this way. I have made a few changes and adapted the recipe to our taste.

This version of Pulao is slightly different from the vegetable pulao that is was posted earlier. This Pulao is slightly richer in taste and aroma. I agree it is slightly time consuming as well but then end result makes the extra effort totally worth it. I assure you, the Pulao that you will get in the end will be rich in taste and aroma. And it goes without saying, that it will be filling as well.

South Indian style vegetable Pulao and Radish raita recipe:
Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 20min
Serves- 4-6

For the Pulao:

Basmati rice- 250gms
Mixed vegetables like carrots, french beans, peas, potatoes and cauliflower- 2 cups, chopped into 1" long pieces
Oil or ghee- 3tbsps
Cumin seeds- 1tsp
Bay leaf- 1
Cinnamon- 1" piece
Cardamom- 3
Cloves- 3
Onion- 1med, cut into strips
Ginger-garlic paste- 1-1/2 tsp
Green chili- 1, slit
Salt to taste
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves to garnish
For the ground paste:
Onion- 1small, finely chopped
Poppy seeds- 1 tsp, lightly toasted
Mint leaves- 3tbsp
Fresh or frozen coconut- 3tbsp
Green chili- 1

  • Dry roast the rice till slightly browned and fragrant. Wash thoroughly, drain and keep aside.
  • Grind all the ingredients listed under the "ground paste" list, along with a little water and keep aside.
  • Heat oil or ghee in a thick bottomed pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they turn brown, add the bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom and fry till they pop Once they pop
  • Add the julienned onions and fry till it turns transcluscent. Add the slit chili, ginger garlic paste and fry for two minutes more.
  • Add the chopped vegetables, salt and turmeric fry till the vegetables are half cooked and tender.
  • Stir in the ground paste and fry for two more minutes till the raw smell goes.
  • Add the washed and drained rice and mix gently. Add 3-1/2 to 4 cups of water and garam masala and cook covered on medium flame till the rice is completely cooked.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with Raita.

For the rash raita:

Radish- 2 med, peeled and grated
Oil- 1tbspn
Mustard- 1/2 tspn
Hing or asafetida- a pinch
Chili flakes- 1/2 tspn
Kasoori methi- 1tspn
Salt- to taste
Thick yoghurt- 300ml
Coriander leaves to garnish
  • Heat oil in pan and add the mustard seeds. Once they sputter, add the asafetida and fry for a few seconds. Add the chili flakes and fry for a minute more
  • Stir in the grated radish and salt and fry till the water is completely evaporated and mixture turns dry. Add the kasoori methi, mix well take off the heat and allow the mixture to cool completely.
  • Add the yoghurt to the cooled radish mixture and mix well. Garnish with coriander leaves serve along with any ride dish of your choice.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Makai Paaka- Corn cobs in coconut sauce

I was taking look at all my previous posts and I realized that except for Mandazi, there were no African recipes on this blog. That's surprising because, East Africa, has been my home for the past seven years. Although, I have not tasted many African dishes, there are a few that I really like. Among the very few that I had tried, Makai Paaka was one of them. 

Makai Paaka is a Tanzanian dish. But it can also be found in the coastal parts of Kenya as well. This dish, I feel, sort of reflects the Tanzanian landscape.

I was introduced to Makai Paaka through a friend. I remember her mentioning this dish during a casual conversation. When I questioned her about this, she went on to say that makai paaka was nothing Corn cobs cooked in coconut milk. I was intrigued. This dish certainly sounded unique. I had asked her for the recipe and I had resolved to make this curry soon. The next day, I was busy with the usual chores when I heard the door bell ring. I opened the door to find my friend's driver holding out a box to me. I opened the box to find sliced corn cobs in a pale yellow sauce. Yes, it was actually makai Paaka. My friend not only gave out the recipe but also made the curry for me and sent it. How sweet was that?? Somehow, the thought and the gesture made the curry even more delicious.

Makai Paaka is one of those dishes that makes you ask for more. There are these sweet and tender corn chunks that are enveloped in a velvety and creamy coconut sauce. Who can get enough of that? I suggest serving this dish with piping hot steamed rice. It makes the curry taste even better. Although I have presented the dish with a spoon and fork, it's much better to eat this curry with hands as biting the tender corn kernels and gnawing on the juicy corn cobs makes the whole experience of eating makai paaka pleasurable.

Makai Paaka recipe:
Preparation time: 15mins
Cooking time: 15mins
Serves- 4

Rice flour- 2tsps
Ginger- 1"piece
Green chili- 1
Oil- 2tbsps
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsps
Onion- 1 med, chopped fine
Turmeric- 1/4tspn
Coriander powder- 1/2tsp
Salt- to taste
Corn cobs- 2 large, husk and silk removed and sliced into 1" thick pieces
Coconut milk- 1, 14 Oz can
water- 1 cup
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Coriander leaves to garnish

  • Mix the rice flour with one table spoon of water and keep aside.
  • Make a paste of the ginger and green chili and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. Once they turn brown add the ginger green chili paste and fry for a min.
  • Add the chopped onion and fry till they turn transcluscent. Stir in the turmeric, coriander powder and salt and fry for a minute more.
  • Add the corn slices and mix well. Add water and the coconut milk and cook covered till the corn cobs are tender and cooked through.
  • Add the rice flour mixture and allow the mixture to simmer for 2 more mins.
  • Garnish with lime juice and coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.
  • The rice flour can be replaced with either corn starch or gram flour.
  • This curry can be made with corn kernels instead of corn on cobs. But the cooking time will be reduced to just ten minutes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Onion and potato curry and mint coconut chutney for Pooris or dosas

If there was one curry that I hated during my growing years, then it had to be this Potato and onion curry. Alugadde irulli palya as we call it in Kannada. I really am not sure why I hated this curry so much. As this curry was a favorite with the rest of the family, this curry along with pooris, made a regular appearance on the dining table. And the moment I would see it, I would wrinkle my nose and make extremely sorry faces. I would complain incessantly and ask my mother to make the green Sagu. There were times that my poor mom made green sagu just for me. My dislike for this curry soon became a family joke. There were times when some of my relatives joked about it as well. They just couldn't understand how anybody could dislike the ubiquitous alugadde irulli palya. 

I am not sure when or how I took a liking to this curry. But whenever and however it was, I had become a convert. When I say convert, I don't mean that I like this curry with just about anything. Yes I do like this dish with Pooris and dosas. But I don't like this rava idlies. Which again S finds it very weird. 

Like my mother, even I make the potato and onion curry with pooris and yes with dosas as well. But whenever I make it with pooris, I also make the mint coconut chutney. The combination of the deep fried bread along with the humble potato curry and this aromatic chutney is just irresistible. I feel that this flavor packed dip, ups the taste quotient of any dish by a few notches. 

Back in India, this combo meal is typically served for breakfast. But we have it at just about any time of the day. Personally, I love to have pooris with alugadde irulli palya and Pudina chutney for a hearty brunch. 

I have not given the recipe for Puri because it has already been blogged before. In case you are looking for the recipe, you can check this post.

Onion and potato curry recipe:
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 10min
Serves- 4

Oil- 2tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Chana dal or bengal gram- 1-1/2 tsp
Urad dal or black gram- 1-1/2 tsp
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Asafetida- a large pinch
Onion- 1 med, finely chopped
Green chili- 1 or 2, chopped fine.
Turmeric- 1/4tsp
Salt to taste
Potatoes- 4 med, boiled peeled and coarsely mashed.
Coriander leaves to garnish

  • Heat oil in a wok and add the mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the Chana dal and urad dal and fry till they are brown.
  • Add the curry leaves and asafetida and fry for a few seconds. Stir in the chopped onions and fry  till they turn transcluscent. 
  • Add the turmeric, green chilies and salt and fry for a few seconds more. Add the mashed potatoes and mix well.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with Pooris or dosa.
Mint coriander chutney Recipe:
Preparation time: 5min
Cooking time: nil
Makes- 1 cup

Oil- 1tsp
Mint leaves- 1/3 cup, tightly packed
Green chilies- 2, chopped
Roasted gram- 2tbsp
Freshly grated Coconut- 1/2 cup, packed
Ginger- 1cm piece
Tamarind- 1cm piece
Jaggery- 1tsp
Salt to taste
For the seasoning
Mustard seeds- 1tsp
Urad dal- 1tsp
Asafetida- a pinch
Curry leaves- 5-6

  • Heat a tspn of oil and fry the mint leaves  and green chilies for a min and keep aside.
  • Add the roasted gram to the same pan and fry till it turns brown and keep aside and let it cool completely
  • In a blender jar, combine the fried ingredients along with the coconut, ginger, tamarind, jaggery, and salt. Add about quarter to half cup of water and blend till smooth.
  • For the seasoning, heat 2tspns of oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, once they pop, add the urad dal and fry till it turns brown.
  • Add the curry leaves and asafetida and fry till the curry leaves turns crisp.
  • Add the seasoning to the prepared chutney and serve immediately.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Crispy and Garlicy Oven roasted Broccoli

Broccoli is not a favored vegetable at my place. S and Purvi share a huge dislike for this green vegetable which I find very surprising because I absolutely love it. Since this vegetable is packed with healthy nutrients, I try and serve Broccoli in different avatars, hoping that at least S will take a liking to this vegetable. But this did not happen for a long time. I tried cooking this vegetable in the form of stir fries, in gravies, tried spiking it up with Indian spices, I did it all. Despite all my efforts, his dislike for this vegetable never budged. I almost gave up cooking broccoli and that is when I found this recipe on food 

I had never tried baking broccoli before and the recipe seemed way too delicious to resist. I went to work the very same day. And I must say that this incarnation of broccoli was liked by both S and Purvi as well. It was the first time that S ate this vegetable with such enthusiasm. That day I learnt that oven roasted broccoli tasted much better than steamed broccoli. Tender, green florets, tossed in olive oil (or butter),  and garlic and baked till brown and crisp and then sprinkled with some cheese. What's not to love about this? I think that this avatar of broccoli is something that will be loved  by all.

Crispy and Garlicy Oven roasted Broccoli recipe:
Preparation time: 10min
Baking time: 20min
Serves- 2

Broccoli- 1med or 200gms, separated into florets
Olive oil- 2-3tbsp
Garlic- 2 cloves, chopped fine
Fresh bread crumbs- 4tbsp
Salt- to taste
Freshly ground Pepper- 1/4tsp
Grated Parmesan cheese to garnish


  • In a large bowl, combine the broccoli florets along with the olive oil, bread crumbs, Garlic, salt and pepper and toss till the florets are coated with bread crumbs
  • Spread the florets in a single layer on a Parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 200C for 10min. Toss the florets and bake for 10min more.
  • Transfer the florets to a serving dish, garnish with grated Parmesan and serve immediately.

  • For the bread crumbs, Blend a slice of brown or white bread till fine and add the same to the broccoli.
  • Butter can also be used instead of olive oil
  • You can also add a tea spoon of lemon juice if you want a hint of citrus. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy Ugadi and a recipe for Hayagriva

Happy Ugadi and Gudi Padwa to all my friends and readers!! I want to wish you the best of everything in Jaya Naama Samvatsara.

Since it is the beginning of the new year, I thought of starting this year with a new note. Yes you can see that this space of mine has got a new new look. Although I loved my previous template, I could not ignore the problems I was facing with it. So I just decided to change it once and for all. I hope you like it.

As you all know, it is customary to make holige/obbattu for Ugadi. But this year, things got a little hectic during the weekend and I did not have time to prepare. So I chose to make this simple sweet dish to celebrate the occasion. 

Hayagriva is traditionally a north Karnataka dish. The name of the dish is synonymous with Lord Hayagriva, the Horse headed incarnation of lord Vishnu. It is said that a Goldsmith was trying to make an Idol of Lord Ganesha but each time, The Idol ended up with a horse's head. He tried melting and remolding the idol a number of times but still the idol ended up with horse's head. Ultimately he got tired of the ordeal and threw away the Idol. On the same night Lord Hayagreeva appeared Sri Vadiraja's dream, and asked him to retrieve the idol that was thrown away  by the goldsmith and worship it. Lord Hayagriva also appeared in the goldsmith's dream and asked him to become the disciple of Sri Vadiraja. Since bengal gram is a favorite with horses, SriVadiraja, made an offering of chana dal cooked with jaggery and coconut. This mixture of lentils and jaggery is actually called as maddi in Kannada. Since then, the maddi is also called as Hayagriva.

This dish is considered to be an equivalent to holige. But then is very simple to put together. Traditionally, coconut milk is not used in the recipe. But I thought that, the addition of coconut milk, increased the flavor and also gave a great texture to the dish. Give this dish a try. I assure you this recipe will never fail you.

Hayagriva recipe:
Preparation time: 15min
Cooking time: 20min
Serves- 4

Chana dal or bengal gram- 2 cups or 250gms
Jaggery- 1-1/2 cups
Thick Coconut milk- 1/4 cup
Freshly grated coconut- 2tbsp
Ghee- 2tbsp+1/2tsp
Turmeric- A pinch
Edible camphor- A pinch
Cardamom- 4-6 peeled and crushed to a fine powder
Chopped Cashews and almonds-  2 tbsp
Raisins- 2tbsp

  • Dry roast the chana dal till brown and fragrant, wash and pressure cook the lentils along with 2-1/2 cups of water, 1/2 tsp of ghee and turmeric for 4-5 whistles. Do not cook the lentils till they are mushy. The bengal gram should be cooked but still hold it's shape.
  • Allow the cooker to cool completely. Mash the dal slightly and add the coconut milk, jaggery, grated coconut and edible camphor and cook the mixture on low flame for 10min. By the end of 10mins the mixture would have thickened and would have clumped together to form a thick mass.
  • Stir in the powdered cardamom and cook for another minute before taking off the heat.
  • Heat two table spoons of ghee in a pan, add the chopped nuts, and fry till they are slightly brown. Add the raisins and fry till they bulge. 
  • Take off the heat and add the seasoning to the hayagriva and serve warm.

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