Mar 29, 2014

Hesaru Kalu and Sabsige Soppu Palya

A Happy Ugadi to all readers. Wishing plenty of good health, happiness and laughter in all your homes. All who celebrate must be busy with the shopping and cooking of the special Ugadi feast. Ugadi, Yugadi, Gudi Padwa are different names to the New Year Celebrations across Karnataka, Andhra and Maharashtra. As part of festivities, I bring to you an extremely flavourful and healthy dish from the North Karnataka region.
If the name of the dish sounds tongue twisting to non-Kannadigas,  I apologise. Do not let the long name fool you. It just means ‘a curry with mung bean and dill leaves’.The dish itself is quite easy to put together. A North Karnataka special recipe, I was introduced to this super aromatic and healthy dish at my dear friend Deepa’s place. Deepa’s enthusiasm for life and generous nature is so infectious. I do have a feeling that she is so high on life because she makes and shares dishes like these, which are so nutritious and lip-smacking tasty at the same time.
Dill leaves are used in several cuisines around the world. What’s good about dill leaves? This amazing aromatic green is very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of 1.Dietary Fiber, and a very good source of 2. Vitamins - Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Niacin as well as 3. Minerals - Phosphorus, Zinc and Copper, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.
To those not familiar with the flavour, it does take some time to accept. To be honest with you, my family was not so welcoming of the dill flavour when I made it first. At the next attempt, I reduced the quantity of dill leaves to half that of the mung beans. This then, found appreciation among my ‘testers and tasters’ - (read family).
Dill leaves and Mung bean
You Need
  1. Mung Bean – uncooked, 1 cup
  2. Dill leaves – pick leaves, discard thick stem and measure 1/2 cup packed
  3. Onion – diced, 1/4 cup
  4. Oil – 1 tbsp
  5. Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
  6. Green chilli – 4-5 chopped fine
  7. Salt – 1 level tsp or less
To Assemble
  1. Rinse the mung beans well, pressure cook them in just enough water for only 2 whistles or till just cooked but not mushy.
  2. Was the picked dill leaves under several changes of water, chop fine and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard to crackle, pour in the chopped green chilli and diced onion. Toss well till light brown. Saute onion in oil
  4. Add the dill leaves, sauté on high heat, stirring briskly. Add chopped dill leaves
  5. When the leaves have been tossing for a couple of minutes, add the cooked mung beans, add salt to taste. If there is extra water from the cooked beans, add only if required to the pan at this point. The curry should be moist but not ‘gravy–ish’. Add cooked mung bean
  6. Stir on high heat for 2 more minutes, switch off flame, cover and set aside for flavours to blend well. Ready to serve after half an hour with Steamed rice or Jowar Roti.
Palya ready! Don't you like the red hot chili?
Hesaru kalu sabsige soppu palya - Happy Ugadi

Mar 16, 2014

Thandai Panna cotta


Wishing all readers a very colourful and happy Holi. The season is filled with fun, happiness, spring and a riot of colours. I find all food sites, blogs filled with recipes for the special festival menu. Mawa gujiya, samosa, kachori, and several other delicacies.

Festive Dessert Platter

My dessert is inspired by the flavours of the festival too. I had tried out a Thandai mousse last year. Somehow, I’m surprised it has not found it’s way to the blog. So it had to be panna cotta this time. I have kept the cream to milk ratio at 1/2:1, thereby reducing on the fat content. I plan to try it out with skim milk alone the next time.

Initially, I was quite worried about getting the consistency, flavour and proportions right. After making a mental map of the procedure, and after discussing the recipe with two of my great friends, Deepa and Sreelatha, I decided to go ahead and test it out. Quite happy with the outcome, even if I say it myself. But then, unless you try it out and fill me in, I wouldn't know for sure.

For the main flavouring, I followed Tarla Dalal's recipe to make the thandai paste. For the Panna cotta, here is what you need -

  1. Home made or store bought Thandai paste – 2 level tbsp
  2. Skim milk – 1 cup
  3. Fresh cream – 1/2 cup ( I used Amul )
  4. Sugar – 5 tsp
  5. Agar agar – 7 gm
  6. Water – 1/2 cup
  7. Butter or vegetable oil – 1/4 tsp, for greasing

Optional – 2 tbsp Khus Syrup as a top layer for the panna cotta. I used store bought syrup.

Scooped out deliciousness!

To Assemble

  1. Combine the skim milk, fresh cream, sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan, and set on heat. Keep over medium flame and stir constantly.
  2. In a separate smaller saucepan, heat the 1/2 cup water, and stir in the agar agar. Set this over a low flame too and keep stirring to mix well and to avoid burning. If you cannot manage to stir both at the same time, get the milk mixture boiled first and then proceed with the agar agar.
  3. When  the milk mixture reaches a boil, add the thandai paste and simmer for a minute, and keep stirring again. After a minute, set aside. Be alert to the milk mixture, it can boil over quite suddenly. Strain through a mesh sieve into a suitable bowl.
  4. If you have not started on the agar agar + water boiling as yet, go ahead with it now. You may need to simmer it for 5-7 minutes over low flame until it has blended into a homogenous jelly like texture. Pour through a sieve or tea filter directly into the milk mixture. Mix well, and return the milk to heat. Simmer again for a minute, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  5. Grease 6 dessert bowls / katoris / cups with the butter/oil. Divide the mixture into the bowls. Cover with cling film / lids and refrigerate for an hour or two.
  6. To unmould, run a wet sharp knife through the sides of the panna cotta and invert into serving plate. You may serve directly from the bowls too.
  7. Optional toppings include some khus syrup drizzled,  or few strands of saffron, or some cardamom powder sprinkled, or rose petals for garnish!
  8. Happy Holi and enjoy your wonderful Panna cotta.

Happy Holi with Thandai Panna cotta