Jun 8, 2011

Will be back

Hi everyone,
It has been an unplanned hiatus from blogging.
 A lot has happened in my life - I needed time off from several things including blogging to cope.
I plan to be back in action soon. Thanks everyone who have 'remained' followers of my 'new blog'.( I still feel new to blogging.)
I have been blog hopping though. It is so inspiring and exciting to see action in the blogworld.
I look forward to everybody's honest feedback on my posts. It helps me grow.
See you all soon.

Apr 23, 2011

Raj Conito - Arusuvai Friendship Season 2 Recipe


Arusuvai chain   Arusuvai friendship chain season II is here. Hurrah to Sayantani for reviving it. This friendship chain was kick started by Lathamma and Srivalli and Bharthi took it forward.

I received my mystery parcel from Jayashree. Thank you very much, Jayashree for the lovely hand written note and the very apt book on baking. The mystery ingredient was a pouch of flour. I had to rack my brains to find the mystery ingredient. Finally it turned out to be  Rajgira flour / Amaranth flour. I was very eager to create a recipe with this flour as I have not used it in my cookery so far. Upon searching for recipes with Rajgira in the internet, I came across several ‘farali’ (recipes used during religious fasts) recipes in the Indian cuisine and several Mexican dishes too! That’s when my brain started whizzing. So here is a recipe which I created exclusively for the Arusuvai chain.

If I have managed to arouse your curiosity about the strange title, I’m happy. This dish has to be the ultimate product of my fevered imagination… I did not want the usual roti /puri recipes. As if on cue, my daughter walked in complaining that I have not treated her in a long time to her favourite version of pizza – conizza. So a cone base, fillings, burritos ( from Mexican cuisine) – all of them swam around in my head until I came up with this potpourri. The result is here for all – please do give me your feedback on the recipe.

At a recent meet of the Indian Dietetic Association, Bangalore Chapter, Rajgira and several other millets took centre stage. Nutritionists are eager to promote the use of millets in urban diets. By creating a fun, glamorous, and healthy recipe using an age –old ingredient, I hope to do my bit to promote use of such millets in our urban diets replete with polished cereals and other low fibre foods. Without further ado, here is how you can make it too…

You needFlours, salt and chilli powder

For roti cones  

  1. Rajgira flour – 1 cup
  2. Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
  3. Salt – 1/2 tsp
  4. Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp (optional)
  5. Ajwain seeds – 1/4 tsp (optional)
  6. Fresh water – 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp
  7. Vegetable oil – 2 tsp

For filling

  1. Red lobia – 1 cup, rinsed, soaked for 4 hourscumin powder, oregano and blanched tomaotes
  2. Onion – 1 medium, chopped fine ( had 1/2 cup)
  3. Garlic – 2 small cloves, minced super fine
  4. Tomatoes – 2, blanched and pureed
  5. Vegetable oil – 1 tsp OR Butter melted – 2 tsp
  6. Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
  7. Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  8. Oregano – 1 level tsp
  9. Salt – 1 heaped tsp
  10. Sugar – 1/2 tsp

For garnish

  1. Green cucumber – peel, deseed, chopped fine – 1 cupDressed garnishes !
  2. Carrot – 1, grated
  3. Onion – 1 medium, sliced
  4. Apple cider vinegar – 3 tbsp, to soak the onion slices in
  5. Cheddar cheese - grated, 2 tbsp or more!
  6. Pitted olives – 2 tbsp (Optional)
  7. Iceberg lettuce – shredded, 1/2 cup (optional)



To assemble

For roti cones

Combine all ingredients mentioned under ‘roti cones’ into a dough. The measure of water I have used worked for the brand of whole wheat flour I had. Other brands may need lesser, so add water carefully. Knead well to activate the gluten in wheat flour. Rajgira does not have gluten. (more on that in the nutrition notes)

roti dough basking in love !

Make balls of the dough.

Roll into oblong rotis I used whole wheat flour for dusting. The oblong shape worked best for making cones later.oblong conito base

Raj conito balls !

Cook on one side until brown dots appear. Flip and cook the other side too. Smear 1/8 tsp butter / oil on each roti. Make oblong rotis with the rest of the balls, cook similarly. Wrap in a napkin and and set aside.flip over when lightly browned

from the rolling pin onto the frying pan


For garnish

Peel, rinse and slice the onion meant for garnish. Soak in 3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar. This turns the onions into a lovely pink hue and also removes the ‘bite’ of onions.

Rinse, peel carrot and grate using medium fine grater.

Rinse, peel, deseed cucumber and chop fine.

Shred cheddar cheese.

Pit olives, slice them thin. (if using)

Rinse lettuce, shred and keep immersed in ice cold water till needed. (if using)

Store each ingredient separately until required.

for garnish

For filling

I followed the recipe for refried beans from Tarla Dalal’s Mexican cookbook. I have substituted rajma with red lobia here and adapted quantities of other ingredients to taste. Here is what I did -

Rinse the soaked lobia. Pressure cook with water enough to cover the top of the lobia. I cooked for 5 minutes after the first whistle of the pressure cooker.

Rinse a couple of tomatoes, blanch and puree them.

Heat oil / butter in a pan.

ah, the aroma of garlic and onion frying  in butter

Tip in minced garlic followed by chopped onions.

When onions turn pink, pour in tomato puree.

When the puree has lost its raw flavour, add sugar, salt, red chilli powder, mix well.

sugar, salt and red chilli in

Now is the time to add the cooked lobia. Keep turning in the lobia and mash well with the back of the ladle. Take care not to burn the bottom.

add cooked lobia, mash well

Add the cumin powder, oregano, mix thoroughly. Switch off flame.

filling ready


To assemble the conito

Place a rectangular sheet of foil on a plate and place a roti on the foil as in the picture.

Turn the two ends of the roti to form a cone and wrap the foil around the cone, tuck the pointed end of the foil around the roti cone.conito under constuction !

wrap me soon, I can't wait

Place a heaped tablespoon of the lobia filling inside the cone.

Top up with shredded lettuce, olives (if using), grated carrots, cucumber and sliced onions. Don’t forget the yummy cheese !all ready with  garnishes !

filling peeping out !








What are you waiting for? Go ahead and enjoy your labour of love!!

The Raj ConitoAnother droolworthy Pic !

Nutri notes

  • By far, the greatest advantage of Rajgira flour is that it is gluten free and hence can be used by people with gluten – intolerance, Celiac disease.
  • With 2mg iron / 100gm of Rajgira and 47 mg Calcium / 100gm of flour, Rajgira is an immediate pick me up for adolescents.
  • The unique amino acid profile of Rajgira enables it to be a complete food when combined with pulses / legumes. (As in this recipe) The grain has a very high lysine content.
  • A low sodium food, hence great for hypertensive people too.
  • The flour has a dietary fibre of 9 mg / 100gm, great news for weight watchers, diabetics, cancer, heart disease and anyone with chronic constipation.
  • The flour does not contain B complex vitamins. Hence it has to be combined with fresh vegetables / fruits in a meal.
  • Rajgira is best consumed cooked as it has some inhibitors  ( substances that block absorption of nutrients on body). The flour can also be cooked into a plain porridge.
  • The flour has also been found to have significant amounts of phytoesterols,important in building defence mechanisms and improving immunity.

Apr 1, 2011

Arusuvai chain

Jayashree has sent me the mystery ingredient as part of Arusuvai chain, a wonderful chain event. Thank you Jayashree for the lovely handwritten note and the great cookbook.
Watch out for a recipe with the super mystery ingredient.

Power Pesarattu

Pesarattu is a much loved dish of Andhra or Telugu region of India. I have adapted the ingredients to suit my family’s taste. The use of sprouts and herbs in the batter create a unique power packed combination, easy and amazingly tasty.The herbs helped in masking a slight bitter flavour that sprouts develop. This dish works just right for breakfast in our home. I hope you find it great too! The measures used here serve 5-6 people.
Power Pesarattu
You need   
  1. Mung bean sprouts – 4 cups, heaped
  2. Raw rice – 1/2 cup, rinsed and soaked for 1/2 hour
  3. Ginger – 1 tbsp, chopped fine
  4. Green chillies – 2
  5. Coriander leaves – 1 cup, chopped
  6. Mint leaves – 1 cup, loosely packed
  7. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  8. Garlic – 1 pod (optional)
  9. Salt – 1 tbsp ( or more)
  10. Fresh water – 1 cup
  11. Vegetable oil / sesame oil  - 4-5 tbsp, for drizzling over dosas
mint, cumin, ginger, chillisprouts, rice, and coriander

To assemble
  1. Grind all ingredients mentioned under ‘You need’ except oil, to a real smooth batter. I used a mixer grinder. Using garlic gives a ‘kick’ to the final taste, but omitting it does not take away the pleasure either.
  2. Use water sparingly for grinding. The batter should be thinner than usual dosa batter but not too runny.smooth, frothy batter
  3. Hereon, writing the recipe is fairly simple, but creating a good dosa / pesarattu does need some practice!
  4. Heat up a dosa griddle real hot. You can see the griddle all smoked up in this picture. Season the griddle with a tsp of oil.
  5. smokin hot
  6. Dribble a ladleful of batter around the griddle, fill up the centre with more batter, and spread very gently to form a circle. Drizzle 1/2 tsp of oil around the dosa, let it sizzle.Mummy look, a green dosa!
  7. Allow to cook through and brown around the sides, ease out the dosa carefully with a sharp spatula and flip over. flip over
  8. Cook this side over medium heat, ease out and remove to a plate when done.
  9. Check the dosa for salt and flavours before proceeding with the rest of the batter. To  salvage a runny batter or too much salt, you could add up to a couple of tbsp of rice flour to the batter. Rice flour will also help the Pesarattu become more ‘flippable’ and less clingy to the dosa griddle.
I did ruin a couple of dosas before I got it right. It helped to have the griddle smoking hot, waiting for the first side to really brown before attempting to loosen it and thereon, cooking over medium heat.
Pesarattu is traditionally served with ginger chutney. I usually serve with a peanut chutney which is a great favourite with my kids.
power pesarattu
  • Soak, drain, rinse whole mung bean and tie up in a muslin cloth, leave in a moist dark place for 10-12 hours, by which time the seeds would have sprouted and you have super healthy sprouts ready.
  • Mung bean sprouts have been used in Ayurvedic approach and Chinese cuisine for several centuries.
  • Consuming raw sprouts is not advised for toddlers, pregnant women, and in any gastrointestinal disturbance. The ideal way to consume for these people would be to use home  grown sprouts, rinse well, steam or lightly stir fry them.
Nutri notes
  • The sprouting process increases the beans’ enzyme content which means, complex carbs are converted to simpler starches, proteins to amino acids and fats to simpler lipids. As a result sprouts are more easily digested.
  • Sprouting increases sodium and Vitamin C content, both of which add to protein digestibility in the body.
  • Sprouts are 'live' food. They contain active RNA, DNA, in addition to being a veritable enzymes and antioxidants storehouse. They help cell regeneration and can rightly be called ‘fountain of youth’.
  • Dry beans do not have any vitamins or minerals, but we get almost magical amounts of Vitamins A, B, C, Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Iron, Phosphorous, Manganese, from sprouts. Thus they are very handy in winters when fresh fruits or vegetables are in short supply. Sprouts can be eaten the whole year through too, for the whole host of amazing benefits.
  • Sprouts decrease the oligosacharides in the beans – this means, beans lose their gas producing quality.
  • Sprouting also increases fibre and water content of the beans, thus helping in avoiding or easing constipation.
  • For benefits of pudina and coriander, please do read up my earlier posts.

Mar 11, 2011

Cauliflower masala dosa

Calling all cauliflower lovers, all dosa lovers, all fusion food lovers and all who have not had enough of cauliflower from my last post – here is another fun masala dosa. I have created this filling with critical inputs from my kids, so I guess it will work for all of you too! I hope too, that this can join the exalted ranks of  amazing dosa fillings like palak paneer dosa or pav bhaji dosa.                 
Fusion dosa
You need
For the filling
  1. Cauliflower( what else) – 1 medium head (I got 2 heaped cups of florets)
  2. Paneer – 250gm (I used 200 gms in this recipe and found it inadequate, hence suggesting 250gms)
  3. Onions – 3-4 medium, chopped fine  ingredients
  4. Capsicum – 1, chopped
  5. Green chillies – 6-7, chopped
  6. Salt – 1tbsp
  7. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  8. Garam masala powder – 2 heaped tsp
  9. Sugar – 1 tsp (optional)
  10. Vegetable oil – 4 tsp
  11. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  12. Cumin – 1 tsp
For dosa
  1. Idli rice – 4 cups
  2. Whole skinned urad – 1 cup
  3. Water for grinding – 2-3 cups
  4. Salt – 2 heaped tsp
  5. Sesame oil – 4-5 tsp, for making dosas
I soaked rice and dal separately overnight, ground each separately and then mixed the batter with salt and left to ferment for at least 6-7 hours. You can dilute if too thick for dosa batter. Making idli or dosa batter merits a separate post. I shall post that as soon as I am able to take good pictures of my dosa batter!
To assemble
  1. Heat oil in a pan. Add seasonings (11 and12).
  2. Add green chillies, chopped onions, chopped capsicum in this order.seasonings   pink onions and green chillies
  3. Add cauliflower florets, toss well.
  4. Add turmeric powder, salt, garam masala, sugar (if using).
  5. Cover and cook for a few minutes over low flame.
  6. Crumble paneer coarsely.
  7. Once the cauliflower is cooked through, add paneer, fold gently.cauliflower and paneer filling
  8. Filling for dosa is ready. (Aha, can’t wait to dig in)
  9. Heat a skillet/ non-stick griddle/ iron dosa griddle.
  10. Grease the griddle with a tsp of sesame oil.
  11. Splatter a few drops of water on the hot griddle. When it sizzles, go ahead, attack!
  12. Pour a heaped ladle of batter in the centre, spread the batter in concentric circles using the ladle. dosa on griddle-note the lovely concentric circles
  13. Drizzle some sesame oil around the dosa. When it begins to brown, loosen the edges carefully and flip over. flip dosa over
  14. Dosa should be done in just a minute. Turn over again, spread the filling over half of the dosa, fold over and serve.fold dosa with filling I served with some coconut  chutney and more filling on the side.super yum masala dosa
  • Add boiled peas instead of paneer.
  • Use cheese spread to spread on dosa. In case you use cheese spread, omit paneer. You can smear cheese spread on flipped dosa and then spread vegetable filling.
  • The same filling can be used inside a sandwich or to make frankie rolls.
Nutri notes
  • This dish is a complete meal in itself. It combines carbohydrates and proteins from the dosa, vegetable allowance from the cauliflower, dairy protein from paneer, fats from oil, paneer and coconut (if using for chutney), fibre from vegetables, coconut.
  • Since dosa is made from fermented batter, the dish has all benefits of fermentation. These will be discussed later with my post on dosa/idli batter.

Mar 6, 2011

Mixed Vegetable Stir Fry

One dish that makes even a veggie phobe love veggies again. I learnt this from my mother in law and it has never failed to impress my guests and relatives. Most people do not realise how many vegetables have gone into it and are happy slurping it off…You can use any combination of vegetables, add and subtract according to season. This is the way I made it a few weeks ago.
veggie basket
You needchopped veggies
  1. Medium onions – 2, sliced lengthwise (2/3 cup)
  2. Capsicum (peppers) – 2, sliced lengthwise (1 cup) You can use any colour, I had green ones at home, so I used them.
  3. Cauliflower – 1 big (break into florets) The cauliflower I used, gave me 3 cups of florets.
  4. Potatoes – 1 big or 2 small, cut into French fries shaped pieces (2/3 cup)
  5. Carrots – 3-4 medium, again cut into fries shaped pieces (1 heaped cup)
  6. French beans – cut into 1 inch lengths, 1/2 cupthe magic masalas !!
  7. Fresh green peas – 1/2 cup
  8. Salt -  2 tbsp, more if you feel so
  9. Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
  10. MDH Tawa fry Bharwan masala – 2 tsp
  11. Everest Garam Masala – 1 tsp
  12. Sambar powder – 1 tsp, heaped (homemade)
For seasoning
  1. Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
  2. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  4. Saunf – 1 tsp
To assemble
  1. Heat the oil in a large wok / deep saucepan / pressure pan.
  2. Add ingredients for seasoning in order.
  3. Once the seasonings are sizzling (in under a minute), add sliced onions let fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Tip in the potatoes, toss well to coat oil evenly.
  5. Let potatoes brown a wee bit. seasonings in oil
    sliced onions yum potatoes in
  6. Throw in the crunchy carrots, toss heartily.
  7. Paint your dish pretty by adding green capsicum now ( this is when I step back and watch my tricolour curry in progress and swell with patriotic pride!).
  8. While these strike friendship with each other, go ahead and microwave the cut beans and peas for 5 minutes.
  9. Add the beans-peas to the simmering wok of curry.
  10. Once the vegetables are tossed well, add the cauliflower florets. add cauliflower florets
  11. carrots and potatoes in a happy tango    patriotic fervour! 
  12. Go ahead and dress your curry with all the fragrant powders – add salt, turmeric powder, followed by the masala powders. This dish is very forgiving and you can use any  combination of masala powders. My mother in law uses only sambar powder. In that case add some fresh curry leaves too while frying the veggies.
  13. Sprinkle some water,(about 1/2 cup) cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir every minute to let all vegetables cook evenly. This can get done quicker in the microwave but I have found that flavours and textures develop better over stovetop, what with my tending to it ever so lovingly!
  14. Mixed vegetable curry is ready to dig in with steamed rice, phulkas. I like it best over steamed rice along with tangy kadhi.
Mixed vegetable stir fry
  • Add a couple of sliced tomatoes while frying.
  • Add fresh coriander leaves to garnish.
  • Add any or all of these vegetables too - tender radish, zucchini, even bitter gourd, sweet corn kernels, cabbage, the list goes on…
  • Use only cauliflower, or in combination with peas to make cauliflower stir fry the same way.
Nutri notes
  • Cauliflower is the vegetable used most in this dish, hence I want to discuss the special nutritional benefits of this cruciferous vegetable.
  • Cruciferous vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, essential poly unsaturated fatty acids, making them important in a healthy diet.
  • According to a study by the American Dietetic Association, eating more than 4-5 servings of cruciferous vegetables per week, has shown to protect against cancer.
  • The American Institute for Cancer Research has published results which show compounds in  cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables help in stopping growth of cancer cells in all these cancers – of breast, endometrium, colon, liver, lung, cervix.
  • Good amounts of Vitamin C (56mg/100gm)  and manganese (0.10mg/100gm)  in cauliflower makes it an important source of antioxidants. Besides these, it also contains other important antioxidants such as beta carotene, beta cryptoxanthin, quercetin, ferulic acid. All these wonder compounds work to lower the oxidative stress in the body.
  • With presence of Vitamin K and omega 3 fatty acids, in addition to a compound called Indole 3 Carbinol (I3C), cauliflower has great anti inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation - of tissues or arteries in our body is a significant cause of cardiovascular diseases. I3C helps to prevent or even reverse blood vessel damage. This compound also helps stomach lining from being invaded by harmful bacteria such as H.pylori.
  • Cauliflower is a good source of purines also. Hence, people with gout or other kidney ailments may consider restricting cauliflower in their diet.
  • The vegetable also is known as a goitrogen. While it does not create any abnormal thyroid profiles in healthy people, it does help for hypothyroid people to avoid cauliflower.
  • Steaming or light stir fry would be the best method of cooking this wonder veggie in order to realise it’s health benefits.
Sending this dish to 'Only Original Recipes', ongoing event started by  Pari's  Foodeliclious and hosted now by   Nivedita's kitchen.
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Feb 20, 2011

Lemon Poha / Aval

The humble aval / avalakki / poha at its tangy best. An anytime meal / snack, kids and adults alike love the tang, the crunch of peanuts and it’s inviting colour. What I love best about this dish is the nutritive punch it delivers.
lemon poha
You need rinsed poha
  1. Medium thick poha – 2 cups, heaped
  2. Lemons – 2
  3. Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  4. Hing powder – a good pinch
  5. Salt – 1 tsp or more
  6. Sugar – 2 tsp or more (optional)
For seasoning ingredients for seasoning
  1. Vegetable oil – 2 tbsp
  2. Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  3. Urad dal – 1 tbsp
  4. Chana dal – 1 tbsp
  5. Peanuts – 2-3 tbsp
  6. Curry leaves – 7-10, torn up
  7. Green chillies – 3-4, slit lengthwise
  8. Coriander leaves – chopped, 3/4 cup
To assemble
  • Wash the poha under running water in a colander, allow the water to drain, set aside. 
rinsed poha in colander
  • Heat oil in a deep sauce pan, add ingredients for seasoning in order, save coriander leaves for later.
mustard crackling in oil  add urad dal,chana dal,peanutsadd curry leaves,chillies,hing and turmeric
  • Add the rinsed poha now, tip in sugar, salt, coriander leaves in this order and gently fold the mixture to avoid squishing the poha.
fold in poha gently
  • Now is when you can squeeze in juice of two lemons (you can increase or decrease quantity of juice as suits your taste). Fold in the mixture with a gentle hand until poha, lemon juice and seasonings are well incorporated.
Your tangy poha is ready to be gobbled down.
Tasty, tangy poha
  • This is my basic version of lemon poha. You can add any or all of these vegetables to the seasoning mixture to add variety to the dish – chopped green or any coloured capsicum (peppers), grated carrot, boiled green peas.
Nutri notes
When compared to raw rice -
  • Rice flakes /poha have twice the calcium  and three times the fibre content. 
  • Poha also has thrice the thiamin (Vitamin B1) and twice the niacin (Vitamin B ) content.
  • The absolute stunner comes from the whopping 20 times more iron than in raw rice!! Add to this the availability of copper too, poha is a nutrient storehouse.It is a valuable food for those who are – anaemic, sportspeople, teenagers, pregnant or lactating women.
  • With the presence of Copper at  0.37mg /100gm in poha, and with the addition of lemon juice (Vitamin C) in this recipe, the dish is an excellent iron source especially for vegetarians. Reason – Copper and and Vitamin C are necessary for iron absorption in the body.
  • Addition of dals and peanuts also add to the protein content of the meal, apart from adding texture.
  • The dish can be made more wholesome by adding boiled green peas (protein), boiled corn, capsicum or shredded carrots(vegetables).
I hope I have conveyed the importance of using poha in our weekly diet well enough. Do let me know what you think about the nutrition information I have given here.