Monday, October 25, 2010

Simple Khichidi -2

This is an extremely easy and delicious khichidi recipe I tried recently. Consuming seeds and nuts like til or sesame seeds, flax, peanuts, almonds etc is good during the winter season. This khichidi is extremely light on the tummy and yet good for the cold winters as it uses sesame powder. Vegetables can be optionally used in this khichidi.This is a good upwas recipe as it doesn't use ginger, garlic or onions.

1 cup basmati rice
1 cup moong dal
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
2 tablespoon til or sesame seeds
1/2 cup cut vegetables (choose from potato, carrot,  peas, corn, beans)
1 tablespoon coriander-cumin powder (dhania jeera powder)
1/2 teaspoon garam masala or goda masala powder (omit if you desire less spicier version)
1 teaspoon gur(jaggery or mollases) or sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon chili powder or as per taste
pinch of asafoetida
1 tablespoon oil
2 tablespoon grated coconut for garnishing
salt for taste

Wash the dal and rice and drain the water. Keep aside. Roast the sesame seeds till crisp and grind them into a fine powder. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they start popping add sesame seed powder. Fry for a minute and add dhania-jeera powder, asafoetida, chili powder and turmeric powder. Add curry leaves and ginger. Stir a few times and add the vegetables and cardamom powder. Fry for 3-4 minutes and add the washed rice and moong dal. Saute till the spices blend completely with the rice. Saute on low flame for 5-8 minutes. Add 4 cups of boiling hot water and salt for taste. Cook on low flame till the rice and dal are well cooked. Garnish with ghee, coconut and coriander leaves.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pathrado / Konkani Patra / Colocasia or Taro Leaf rolls

Patrado is a Konkani delicacy made with Taro leaves or Patharade paan. It is found in abundance during the rainy season and is grown in backyard kitchen gardens in south India. People in Hawaii also consume  lot of taro leaves and the leaves grow there in abundance all year round due to the unique climate.In Bay area you can find taro leaves occasionally at Indian stores. Taro leaves are available year round at the San Francisco farmer's market and at King's Seafood in Sunnyvale. 

There are various different recipes for making pathrado. I use 100% moong dal for the stuffing. Other variations are 1) 100 % whole moong 2) 75% whole moong or moong dal and 25 % rice 3) 50 % toor dal and 50 % rice 4) 50 % chana dal and 50% rice 5) 25 % chana dal 25 % moong dal and 50 % rice. My mom would prepare it with chana dal and rice in the past but of late she prepares it with moong dal and rice as moong is much lighter on the tummy than chana dal. 

Taro leaves can cause itching in the hands while handling them due to the calcium oxalate. This can be avoided by rubbing hands with tamarind juice before handling taro leaves. I didn't get any itching while handling the ones from King's Seafood though I cannot say the same about the ones we get in India. Pathrado is also garnished with coconut oil to prevent itching in the throat. The secret to tasty pathrado also lies in using tender or young taro leaves as opposed to larger taro leaves.

Pathrado makes a great combination with rice and bland dal or dalitoy. When I was a kid I would relish it with "duddh-sheet" (milk mixed with rice in Konkani). These are the photos from when my mom made pathrado during my last India trip. 

10-15 patra leaves
2 cups moong dal or use the pulse and rice combination mentioned above
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate or half lemon sized piece of tamarind
1 tablespoon jaggery or gur
1 cup grated coconut
pinch of asafoetida
10-15 byadgi red chilies or as per taste
salt for taste
coconut oil for garnishing

Wash and soak moong dal or the desired pulse-rice combination for 4-5 hours. Roast the red chilies on slow flame till crisp. Take care not to burn the chilies. Wash and clean the taro leaves. Gently remove the veins found on back of these leaves with a sharp knife. 

Drain the soaked moong dal  or the pulse-rice combination you are using, and grind it into a smooth paste with jaggery, tamarind, coconut, asafoetida and red chilies.  use as little water as possible to make a paste of thicker consistency. Add salt as per taste.

To make the pathrado take the pathrado leaf and keep it back side up on a plate or "taat" in Konkani. Spread the paste on the leaf.

 If the leaf is small you can keep two leaves side by side.

Keep adding leaves and spreading the mixture until you have around 6-8 leaves depending on the size. The idea is to use as many leaves as possible, but also keep room to fold the leaves into a roll.

When the second set of leaves are added on the lower set place them upside down (see the above photo and the one below). It helps to roll the leaves with ease.

 When the mixture has been spread on the leaves it is time to roll the pathrado. First roll the sides towards the center.


Then roll it from bottom to top.

 Place the roll in a steamer (Pedavan in Konkani) or the pathrado can be steamed in a pressure cooker without using the weigh.

Steam it for around 25-30 minutes till it is well cooked. Undercooked pathrado can cause itching in the throat. Cut the roll into 1/2 inch slices and garnish well with coconut oil. 

Remaining pathrado can be shallow fried the next day with rice powder mixed with chili powder. This makes great pathrado phodi.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Italian Prune Jam

Recently we bought a pack of Italian prunes from Costco. The prunes were tart and sweet and had a deeper flavor than the regular plums. It was a 3 pound pack and I was wondering how I could use the rest of them. Both of us are not great fans of cakes and cookies, so I made jam out of the remaining prunes. It turned out to be excellent and there is another jam recipe in my kitty. It takes around 1- 1/2 hours to prepare this jam, so plan in advance.

2 pounds prunes
1 pound sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1/2 teaspoon clove powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
juice of one lemon
2 tablespoon rind of lemon

De-seed the prunes and quarter the prunes. Put the prunes in a heavy bottomed pan and cook on low flame for around 15-30 minutes. Add sugar and all the spices, lemon juice and lemon rind and cook for 1 hour or till the prunes are well cooked. The mixture should achieve the consistency of jam. Cool and put it in bottles. Spread on top of hot buttered bread.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mangalore Goli Baje

Goli Baje is another of traditional Mangalorean speciality equivalent to Kanda baje in Maharashtra and pakode in North India. Hence it is very popular in Udupi region which has many temples. Goli Baje does not contain rice, onion and garlic and yet tastes great.  It can also be considered upwas or fast food. Goli baje like any fried snacks, should be consumed immediately when it is hot or else it becomes soggy and loses its crispiness. I serve it with coconut chutney and the recipe follows after the goli baje recipe.

1 cup maida or all purpose flour
1 tablespoon besan or chick pea flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2-3 green chilies or as per taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1/2 cup curd or yogurt
1 tablespoon sugar or as per taste ( I like them a little sweeter)
1/2 teaspoon jeera or cumin powder
4 tablespoon finely chopped coriander leaves or cilantro
pinch of pepper powder
4-5 curry leaves
salt as per taste
oil for frying

Sieve the flour, besan, salt and baking soda. Add ginger, chopped green chilies, curry leaves , cumin powder, and sugar to the yogurt and give it a pulse or two in the blender. Take care not to make a smooth paste of all the ingredients mixed in the yogurt. Mix the yogurt paste with the flour. Add water if required to make a thick paste. The consistency should be thinner than roti dough and thicker than the idli batter. Add coriander leaves, pepper powder and adjust salt and sugar. Heat oil in a pan and drop "grape-sized" batter in the hot oil. Fry till golden brown on both sides. Serve hot with coconut chutney.

Coconut Chutney
1/2 cup sliced or grated coconut
1/2 teaspoon tamarind concentrate or small piece of tamarind
1 tablespoon sugar
pea sized piece of ginger
3 green chilies or as desired
salt for taste

Add as little water as possible to the above ingredients to make a smooth paste.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Spring Onion Stirfry/ Zhunka

Zhunka can be prepared with many vegetables like methi or fenugreek, cabbage, carrots, spring onions and onions. I got a couple of bundles of spring onion from my local grocery store and planned to make this dish. The base is made of besan or chick pea flour which is rich in protein. The process involves partially cooking the vegetables and then coating them well with chickpea flour. The vegetables are then cooked to perfection along with the chick pea flour. In Maharashtra it is also called poor man's dish as the ingredients are readily available at low cost and the nutrition content is also very high. It goes very well with roti, but traditionally people have it with bhaktri or millet (Jowar/Bajri) rotis. 

I also use non-stick utensils to make zunka as it is easier to cook chick pea flour. If cooked in traditional iron or steel pans the chick pea flour sticks to the bottom and gets burnt and the flour on the top half doesn't cook well. 

3 cups chopped spring onions
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
4-5 cloves of garlic (around 3 tablespoons)
4 finely chopped green chillies or as per taste
1 cup besan or chick pea flour
1 tablespoon jaggery
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
pinch of asafoetida
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves or karipatta 
salt for taste
1 tablespoon oil

Fry the chick pea flour on low flame for 4-8 minutes or till the raw smell goes away. Keep aside to cool down. Crush the ginger and garlic to make a fine paste and keep aside. 
 Heat oil in a non stick pan and add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter, add curry leaves and asafoetida. Coat the curry leaves well in oil and then add garlic and ginger paste. Fry on low flame till the raw smell goes away and then add chopped green chilies. Cook the chilies for a minute and add chopped onions and saute it for 4-5 minutes. Add the spring onions and cook uncovered for 4-8 minutes till the spring onions are half cooked. and the raw smell is gone. Salt the vegetables as per taste. Add jaggery, red chili powder and turmeric powder and mix well. 
 Now sprinkle the besan in 2-3 batches on the vegetable mixing well each time. Sprinkle few handful of water or as required to make the besan a little moist. Cook covered stirring occasionally to avoid big lumps on besan from forming.