Saturday, December 7, 2013

Seemebadnekayi Kootu/ Chayote Kootu

I really like vegetable and dal combo in a kootu. Especially when the dal is not all the way cooked. And especially-especially when the vegetable is something which I like, like Seemebadnekayi(Chayote). I like the mild sour taste of Chayote.. It goes well in saagu, bisi bele bath - basically any mixed vegetable dish, or in any dish that requires a mild sour taste without the use of any lemon/tamarind - like kootus and majjige hulis.

Turn the spice up a notch and enjoy this kootu with some hot rice and some coconut oil/ghee in this cold weather.

It’s a great side dish for chapathi as well.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Godi Dose/Wheat Dosa - an easy alternative for those who cannot make chapathis

are your chapathi making skills below average?
are you embarrassed to serve them to your guests?
does your chapathi dry up like papad once it comes in contact with air?

fear not! godi dose is here!

My chapathi making skills are questionable. Not getting a round shape is the least of my problems. For some reason, my chapathis come out unbelievably dry... like say, if you threw my chapathi in the air, it would fly without flapping or folding like a frisbee :)

I know, I'm exaggerating! I kid.. It's not so bad(...anymore :) ). Friends, family, all have come to my rescue - there is considerable improvement, but still it's not quite there yet. And when it does, it's going to be an eureka moment for me!

Until then, try this godi dose, or as my daughter calls it - chapathi dose. 

It’s a soft alternative to chapathis. It tastes the same, but has a soft texture, and takes less than half the time you would take to make chapathis.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Benne Biscuit/ Butter Cookies

It was time of the season again for the function at my daughter’s school. Again, I signed up for dessert for the potluck. After gaining confidence from last time, I decided to bake “benne biscuit” this time.. 

More than that, there was another reason why I wanted to try this particular recipe. I soooo wanted to put it up here for such a long time now. I was just looking for an excuse to make it. You see, this was the first thing I ever baked! I was not even into browsing through food blogs then... this was the recipe that got me hooked onto food blogs(and eventually onto cooking, for that matter).. this is a very special recipe to me. If at all I receive any award for food blogging, I would mention "this is how it all started..." in my thank you speech - that kinda special :D 

Benne bisuit has always been my favorite bakery item. This one doesn’t exactly taste like the ones available in India. This recipe uses ghee. Apparently, they use dalda in India to get that soft, powdery texture.
These cookies taste more like butter cookies. They have a crunch in them.

The procedure is fairly easy and it is a great item to take for a potluck.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Aloogadde Sasime / Potato Raita with a twist

“Sasime/Sasive” is basically a variation of raita, popular in coastal Karnataka region. It is raita flavored with some masala-coconut gravy. The addition of coconut takes ordinary raita to a whole new level.. 

I love sasime, especially the one made with potato. I think potato’s blandness gives a nice contrast to the tangy gravy. 

And it’s really, really, really easy to make..

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Ragi Dose

After having my daughter, I have suddenly transformed into a health freak. By health freak, I don’t mean I’ve become more health conscious(that’s an uphill task - a steep one at that!), just that I’m more aware of what I’m cooking for my family - healthy/junk food wise. These days whenever someone tells me about a healthy food, I always try to incorporate it in our regular menu, irrespective of our likeliness towards it. Then comes another uphill battle of convincing my daughter to eat it. Well, not “convincing” exactly, it’s more like - I put so much effort in feeding you healthy stuff, you better eat it without any ‘nakhara’. Sometimes I need to extend this “convincing” to my husband as well, that’s a different story.. :)

Anyways, when my friend Roopa told me this ragi dosa recipe, I was really excited to try it out. Even though I myself am not very fond of taste of ragi, I am willing to overlook it considering the power-pack nutrition it offers..  

But this dosa tastes good. It tastes almost like uddina dose(regular urad dal dosa). Whatever the taste, you just cannot ignore the nutrition part of raagi...  

And of course, it’s easy to make :) 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Simple Biriyani

For me planning a menu is more difficult than executing it. I’m sure this is true for many. Initially, when I was new to this “inviting guests over for dinner” thing, I would try to make everything special, right from appetizers, chapathis, curries to rice baths, sweets, and then rasam rice and what not. I would make so much and so many of them(fearing that it might not be enough) that hubby and I always ended up eating leftovers for days on end!
Now I’m experienced :) I tend to make just enough dishes in just enough quantities. Also, I try to keep it simple so that the guests are not overwhelmed and then eat only little bit of every dish in an attempt to taste everything. Nowadays, if I have an appetizer, I keep a simple main course. If I have an elaborate menu, I skip appetizer. I’ve also noticed over the years that, whenever I prepare two main courses(rice bath and chapathi), only one tends to get over, and again we get stuck with the left overs!.. So, in the process of cutting down on the leftovers and trying to keep the menu simple, I started making chapathi, two curies and then a simple rice bath which would go with the already prepared curry. This ‘Simple Biriyani’ fits perfectly in this scheme. 

Every time I prepare it, I marvel at its simplicity, and am amazed by its divine taste. I think I’ve fed it to almost every other guest who has come to our house!

This bath tastes exotic. Aromatic basmathi rice, cooked with Indian spices fills the air in the kitchen with a nice fragrance... and did I already mention that it's super duper easy to make! and it can hardly go wrong, even in my hands :) 
win-win-win-win situation :) 
Oh! I almost forgot, it doesn’t use any garlic or onion btw. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Kadlekayi Unde - a failed attempt/ Godambi Unde - a success! (Peanut and Cashew Laddoos for Ganesha Chaturthi)

Whenever I’ve tried any new dish, it has failed.... almost every time! simplest of simplest dish has failed in my hands.. somehow I thought this time would be different. Also since I was making this for Ganesha habba, I thought God will shower his grace upon me and miraculously make it a success. Actually this is not the first time I’m trying a new dish for Ganesha habba. In the past, I have had tried couple of other sweets for Ganesha habba for the first time and they’d come out pretty well. I was optimistic... but alas! God had other plans!! 
I do wonder sometimes if God is doing this on purpose? To think about it, the general trend in my dishes is ‘success after failures’. So generally, before I get anything right, I’ve tried it so many times that I know what not to do, what I need to be careful about, etc...  And surprisingly, my failures are bringing traffic to my blog!! Like if someone is googling for ‘why such and such dish failed?’, they land directly in my blog!  :) May be I’m here to give solace to those, who are as troubled as me in this area! 
So Lord Ganesha, I will not question your infinite wisdom... I had planned to put up this recipe for Ganesha habba, so I will still do it! 

Ganesha habba season also marks the anniversary of my blog!!! yay!! 1 year of blogging this time :) !!

Coming to the part why it might’ve failed - I think I overdid the 'bellada paaka'(jaggery caramelization) part,  put too much peanuts to jaggery ratio, and also didn't crush the peanuts enough. 

My second attempt to make bellada paaka for goadambi unde(cashew laddoos) was successful. But I’m not sure why it came out right. So, hopefully I’ll put a detailed post on that sometime soon with all the warnings and tips (when I discover it) :)

The procedure for making peanut and cashew unde is exactly the same. Just replace peanuts with cashews, that’s all.

Successful cashew undes
Here is the recipe - 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Badnekayi bolu huli - (Brinjal/Eggplant sambar-powder less sambar)

Udupi cuisine extensively uses coconut in almost every other dish. In fact, some sambars hardly use any toor dal, but are made with just ground coconut and sambar masala. A 'boLu huLi' neither requires coconut, nor requires sambar powder. The use of tamarind differentiates this huli from a regular tovve(dal).

Green chili, gives this huli a distinctive taste. Of course, you need to add a lot of them to  compensate for the lack of sambar masala. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sabbakki uppittu / Sabudana upma/ Sago Kichadi

Whenever I find something new and interesting to make, I end up googling for the same recipe and check for the consistency in the recipe among different bloggers... what were their experiences, their tips and tricks, and then make my own “kichadi” of those recipes picking bits and pieces I think might work for me(read - easy for me :) ). But then I don’t write it down immediately, I forget, and then beat myself up for not taking notes in time. This sabbakki kichadi recipe is thankfully consistent through many blogs. So I don’t have to worry about which one I followed or what changes I made.

Sabbakki has got to be one of the cutest foods out there... those pearly texture makes it irresistible, at least visually :)

My daughter was so drawn to it that she kept on pestering me to give it to taste even before it was cooked.. "those ball things” as she calls them. 

Apart from soaking time, everything else could be made in a jiffy. So, if you soak sabbakki overnight, then this kichadi is great for quick morning breakfasts. My little one didn’t like the taste of it though, because she thought it was chewy!! God! so many preferences!! 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Turnip Curry

I always cribbed about my inability to make North Indian curries just like North Indians do. Whenever I made any North Indian dish, it tasted more like a mix of North and South Indian cuisine. But that changed with this curry :)

I have to confess, I’d never seen turnip before in my life. My cousin introduced me to this vegetable. She had made palya with it. I was googling for newer ways of using it, when I found this one interesting recipe.

For some reason, instead of using methi seeds, I used saunf in the curry. And there it was, a pukka(this word is actually in English dictionary!) North Indian curry.. I had achieved it! The secret unraveled itself in front of me.... 

“We don't make mistakes, we just have happy accidents” - Bob Ross :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Mango Ice Cream

One thing that I miss about Indian Summers is “The King of fruits”, Mangoes!!! The smell, the taste, the color, the texture - is there anything wrong about this fruit?
I badly miss mangoes here! The fruit that is available here in Indian stores is just not the same. May be I’m not going to the right stores, I don’t know... 

There are mango trees everywhere in my native place. Eating them was the highlight of our summer vacations. During summer, anything and everything is made from mangoes over there. Mango payasa(kheer), mango panaka(juice), mango in sambar, mango payasa with dosa, mango chutney... the list just goes on.
Somewhere in my childhood, my mom learnt to make mango ice cream, and ever since it has been a regular in my house every summer! My brother and I would finish the whole batch in just one go. 

I had a big can of mango pulp in my pantry for a while. I had brought it to recreate my mom’s mango Ice cream, but somehow never got to it. Now since Father’s day was coming up, I thought why not make my little one help me make this. She was instantly ready to help(no surprises there!). 

Little Miss Grown-up didn’t want me to help her with anything! All the while my heart was in my mouth watching her handle all delicate glasswares! Nevertheless, it was fun having her in the kitchen. Moreover, she did handle everything carefully and properly.  

This ice cream is not as creamy as the store bought ones. The texture is little granular. You need to put it in the mixer many number of times to get a creamy texture. I did it only couple of times and was okay with the texture. My friend suggested to add heavy cream. I need to try it sometime. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ade Dose/Adai

Ade Dose is a highly nutritious, protein rich dose. It has four kinds of dals in it. It is also a very good way of giving protein to your child. A great dish for their lunch box too.
This dose/dosa is very familiar in Bangalore, but unheard of in Kota region. So even though I grew up in Bangalore, I never heard about this dose until I came to US.

My cousin Chethana and a friend of mine had given this recipe to me long back. But somehow when I tried it, I found the taste of dals very overpowering and never really bothered to try it again. After I had my daughter, I was on a lookout for new ways of feeding her dal. I tried this dosa again, but she didn’t like it much either. So, I had basically given up on this dosa until my friend Prathibha served this to me at her house. The taste of it simply blew me away!! It was mind blowing-ly delicious! More importantly, my daughter liked it and asked for more! I asked Prathibha for the proportions, and to my surprise it was the same I had tried before. Then she gave me a secret - that the batter should be very coarse! 

I took her advice and voila! I too started making yummy dosa!! Coarse batter makes the dosa very crunchy. Crunchiness subdues the taste of the dal. 

You can add spices to this batter and eat it without any accompaniments. But it is not necessary. You can skip spices and eat it with chutney or chutney powder. My daughter likes to eat it with sugar. 
For her lunch box, I spread some ghee and then sprinkle some sugar and then roll it like a burritto. 

This is a great, healthy, nutritional lunch box recipe. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mixed Vegetable Kootu

Tomorrow is Mother’s day! What does or should this mean to a mother? neglecting oneself and being neglected by others whole year and then being celebrated for just one day for being just that? I mean why wait for one day, let everyday be mothers’s day, right? :) Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against celebrating Mother’s day. I like being appreciated and if a day is set aside for that, I’ll gladly accept the honor :) 
But, I’m talking about the way mothers neglect themselves so much more than needed. I am not even blaming them, I blame the society which puts sacrifices that comes with the motherhood on a pedestal and glorifies it to such an extent that mother’s feel guilty to do anything for themselves!

I think the biggest lesson I can teach my daughter is to learn to value her time, her health and her body, herself.. and I can only teach her that by being an example. I don’t want her to grow up seeing a mom who puts everyone else’s needs before hers all the time... 
If my daughter wants something from my plate, I give her a little and then tell her that it’s mommy’s share and then I eat it guilt free :)... If I have to read something, or browse something I tell her clearly that it’s mommy’s time and she should not disturb.. not that she listens, but still I am showing her that my time and my needs are also important... whenever I am taking a meal, if she interrupts, I tell her that she has to wait till amma finishes her food.. because food, tea/coffee is something I want to savor every bite/sip uninterrupted :) 

So, enjoy yourself, enjoy motherhood, learn to trust your husband to take care of your child(this part is difficult, I know:) ) and take a break, buy nice things for yourself, pamper yourself before mother’s day, on mother’s day, and after mother’s day :) 

Happy Mothers Day everyone!  

Coming to the recipe, this Kootu has got to be one of the easiest things to cook.. It is soo tasty that it’s hard to believe that it’s so healthy and easy.. you just need to put all the ingredients in a cooker and let it whistle - as simple as that!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

AvarekaaLu Saaru/Surti Lilva Rasam

What is better than your Brother-in-law visiting? - having a BIL who loves to cook! what is better than having a BIL who loves to cook? - a BIL who drags your husband into the kitchen for helping and gives you a day off.. :)

My BIL, Praveen, is a wonderful cook and is an avid learner of South Canara cooking. He follows recipes authentically and what’s more, gives exact proportions of the ingredients; unlike my mother whose proportions are always half palmful, quarter palmful, small tamarind ball, one closed fist.... which I never get right most of the time :)

He cooked avareKaalu Saaru when he visited us last winter. It was so mouthwateringly delicious. And it so happened that, that day god blessed us with perfect weather - rainy and cloudy - to savor this rasam!

This spicy, garlicky rasam is a treat for any day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Veg Noodles(Malaysian Veg Noodles)

I am a sucker for noodles. Especially Indo-chinese versions. It is a delight to eat hot spicy noodles on cold rainy days. My daughter loves them too(somehow, all kids do). So much so that she doesn’t mind eating vegetables in them!! I couldn’t believe my ears when she said “I love vegetables” while eating them! Which mother wouldn’t like to hear those words, right?!  how I wish all dishes were this kid friendly... 

It is called Malaysian Veg Noodles. I don't know what makes it Malaysian.. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Simple Fried Rice

One of my cousins was asking me for some easy rice dishes that she could whip up in few minutes after coming home from work. I generally make only easy rice baths, but this recipe I got to say, beats the race for easiness. According to me, the only next easiest thing to cook is plain rice :)

It virtually has no masala, but yet is so unbelievably tasty. And it’s healthy too!! 

This recipe is for those days when you just want to chill and not bother much about cooking but still want to eat something healthy and tasty....

I got this recipe from my friend’s mother-in-law. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dal Makhani

Three things grasp my attention when I am browsing for recipes - 
  1. it has to be easy
  2. the taste should be(or claimed to be) close to restaurant style
  3. I should really, really like the dish

If any one of these is true, then I make it a point to try the recipe. But, this recipe satisfied all the three; so, I had to try. The blogger apparently took this recipe from the Oberoi hotel chef himself. 

Even otherwise, I love dal. I wouldn’t let go of any excuse to make it. Dal with some plain rice and some ghee is my ultimate comfort food. Savored with some fried papad/sandige, it’s simply awesome!!

The recipe requires lot of butter and then some heavy cream. I used milk instead of cream and used less butter, but it still came out very creamy. The only thing I was not happy about was the cooking time. I cooked it directly on the stovetop, and it took me little more than an hour to just cook the dal. It didn’t need my intervention as much(hence, I call it easy); but still I hate the idea of wasting cooking gas. Next time I’ll try to pressure cook and update here as to how it turns out. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ennegayi - Stuffed eggplant curry

Most of my friends are thinking that I am passionate about cooking, since I started a food blog and all. But the truth is far from that. I don’t like spending a lot of time cooking at all! My tendency is to cook as quickly as possible, clean, and then get out of the kitchen. But mind you, I don’t want to compromise on the taste. Any dish that tastes good with the least amount of cooking time is my type of dish. If I spend more time in the kitchen, then I get really cranky :) 
My husband, on the other hand, thinks cooking is cathartic, even though he hardly cooks! But me, no. I am happy spending the least amount of time cooking. I am obsessed with getting the taste right though. It bothers me when I cannot make the perfect pulav, or perfect chapathi.. So I end up trying it many many times, till I am satisfied with the taste.

Ennegayi is one such dish on which I have worked very hard to get the taste right. It took me a lot of effort to perfect the skill. Even though making this dish takes a lot more time than I am willing to spend in the kitchen, the taste is very well worth the effort. 

Somehow whenever I made it before, it would burn invariably. But now, I must say, I am quite comfortable making it. Now if it burns, it's only because of my over confidence :)

I make two versions of this, one as taught by my cousin Chethana, and other from the link my friend Veena suggested. Both very different, yet equally tasty.

This is the latter version. I will also post the first version sometime. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Kosu Huli/Cabbage Sambar

I only like Kosu in palya, or Chinese dishes... but in a huli, not so much. I think Kosu doesn’t go well with the taste of sambar powder. But my husband LOOOVES it!! I thought he was one of a kind loving this huli, until my cousin Archana told me that she LOVES it too!! Now two people loving this huli is not a mere coincidence :) .. I got curious and found out that she had a different recipe. I tried it and it came out good. This huli, I liked. Believe me, if a kosu huli non-liker like me has liked this huli, then anybody can.

This huli has a strong cinnamon flavor, which I think reduces the pungency of cabbage.