Monday, January 31, 2011

Aval Upma / Poha Upma | Upma Recipes

Aval aka Poha is a rice flattened to light dry flakes. Aval upma is a very light, low calorie snack perfect for breakfast/dinner. The most common and known variety is Kanda poha though many varieties are still popular, like lemon flavored or tamarind flavored poha. Today's recipe is a simple aval upma flavored with roasted chana dhal and one of my MIL's specialty dishes. Trust me, this is very tasty and you would love it.

Serves - 2
Flattened Rice/ Beaten rice / Poha - 3 cups (I used the thick variety)
Roasted gram dhal / Pottu kadalai - 1/2 cup
Water - to soak
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Chana dhal - 1 tsp
Green chillies - 3 or 4 slit
Curry leaves - 4 or 5 chopped
Onion - chopped finely - 1 cup
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - 6 or 7 twigs, chopped
Grated Coconut - 2 tbsp (optional)

Wash the poha with water, drain. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt (1/2 tsp) and mix well and add enough water to soak it. Set aside for 30 mins to 1 hr. Soaking time may be adjusted according to the type of the poha (thin or thick variety).
Grind the roasted gram dhal to a fine powder. Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds, urad dhal, chana dhal, slit green chillies. We already have added chilli powder to the poha so adjust the green chillies based on your spice level. Now add the finely chopped onions and curry leaves. Saute till the onions turn translucent. Meanwhile add the gram dhal powder to the soaked poha and mix carefully so that the gram dhal is coated all over the poha. Take care not to break. Now add the poha to the kadai and mix well. Add salt according to taste. Reduce the heat to medium and mix until the poha is cooked. Garnish with coriander leaves and coconut(if using). Serve hot with chutney of your choice. I would like to enjoy this as such.

I am sending this to Healthy Recipe Hunt - Rice flakes event by Kurinji Kathambam.

I am also sending this to Anyone can cook event by Ayeesha of Taste of Pearl city.

Sending this to Srivalli's Breakfast Mela.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Spicy Potato Fry / Urulai Kaara kari

Potatoes are nevertheless the most favourite vegetable liked by kids and grown-ups equally and is rich in carbohydrates. Urulai Kaara kari is the regular way I prepare potatoes whenever I make them because we love this spicy version. 

Potato - 2 medium sized
Onion - 1 cup - finely chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 3/4 tsp or to taste
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Chana dhal - 1 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp

Boil the potatoes with salt. Peel and cut them into 1" cubes. Heat oil in a kadai and add the mustard seeds. When it splutters add the chana dhal and saute for 1 min. Adding chana dhal gives a crunchy bite to the potatoes and I love it. Add the finely chopped onions and saute them until they are golden brown color (close to caramelize). Sauteing the onions for caramelizing gives a unique taste to this fry. Add the ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell disappears. Now add the turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder and saute for 2 mins. Now add salt and the potato and mix until all the cubes are coated with onion mixture. Saute in medium heat until the potatoes turn to golden brown color, mixing carefully. If needed you can add 1 tsp of oil at this stage. Serve hot with any rice of your choice.  I would love this combo with curd rice/rasam rice.
Also check out my Fiestaa potatoes.

I am also sending to 'Veggie/fruit of the month - Potato' event by Priya of Mharo Rajasthan guest hosted by Divya.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Blueberry Dates Smoothie

I was planning to send in my smoothie entry for 'Breakfast Club- Yogurt' but I completely forgot about it. I was under the impression that the deadline was on Jan 31 but suddenly remembered it was today. I initially planned to whip up blueberry nut smoothie which would be perfect for a breakfast, now also added some dates to reduce the amount of white sugar I add and also to tweak in iron. I just made this as a single serving just for me and I loved it. It was so yummy and filling.

Blueberries (fresh or frozen) - 3 oz
Low-fat Plain/Greek Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Dates - 5 or 6
Walnuts - 2 tbsp
Sugar or honey - 1/2 tsp or according to taste

Blend all the ingredients in a blender/mixie/food processor. Add sugar/honey according to taste. Remember the dates would already have some sweetness.
Serve chilled. This can be prepared the previous day and frozen/chilled in the refrigerator and can be grabbed as a quick breakfast to-go.

Sending this to 'Breakfast Club - Yogurt' event by Sarah of Maison cupcake and Helen of Fuss free Flavors.

I am also sending this to Smita's 'Cooking with Fruits' event.

Sending this to Srivalli's Kid's Delight hosted by Nupur of UK-Rasoi, for the month of April 2012.

Breakfast Smoothies

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Paneer Green Salad with Ginger-lemon dressing

I made this green salad for lunch today and we loved this. I added cubed and marinated paneer to bring in the protein factor and make it more interesting.

Serves - 2
For the dressing:
Ginger - crushed about 2 tbsp
Lemon zest - about 2 tsp (zest of a whole lemon)
Lemon juice - 3 tbsp
Water - 1/4 cup
Salt and pepper - to taste

For the salad:
Romaine Lettuce - 8 oz
Spinach - 1 cup
Carrot - 1 cup grated
Sprouted moong bean - 3/4 cup
Paneer - 1/4 cup ~ 40 g - cut into 1/2" cubes

Pour 1/4 cup of boiling water to the crushed ginger and allow it to steep and cool. When it is cooled add the lemon zest and lemon juice with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile in a big salad mixing bowl, add the lettuce, spinach, sprouted moong bean and grated carrots.
The carrots can be julienned or shredded with the big slot of the grater.
The dressing and the veggies can be prepared earlier and put together until you serve. Before serving, add the paneer to the dressing and allow it to marinate for 5 to 10 mins.
Add the dressing with paneer to the veggies and serve.

I am sending this to 'Only - Salads' event by Pari of Foodelicious and guest hosted by Prathibha.
I am also sending this to 'Food Palette - Green' event by Torview Toronto and 'MLLA # 31' hosted by Simona, brainchild of Susan.

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salads Mela


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mixed Vegetable Soup | Soup Recipes

This veg soup is my MIL's specialty soup and she used to make this often for the mid-morning drink. This really is a great appetizer and a healthy soup with all the veggies. 

Serves: 2 to 3
Broccoli stems - 3/4 cups
String Beans - 6 - chopped
Cabbage - chopped 1 cup
Carrot - 2 medium sized - chopped
Tomato - chopped - 2 tbsp
Pearl onions - 4 - chopped
Curry leaves - about 10 - chopped
Cilantro / Coriander leaves - 6 to 8 twigs - chopped
Cumin seeds - 1/4 tsp
Pepper corns - 1/2 tsp or to taste
Salt - to taste

Add all the ingredients in a large microwave proof bowl with 3/4 cups of water and microwave for 10 to 12 mins, stirring twice in between. Mine was a 900 W MW. Adjust the time based on the power of your MW oven. When done, allow to cool and puree in a blender. Add required amount of water to the puree based on the desired thickness for the soup to the microwave proof bowl and reheat for 3 to 5 min. The soup is ready to serve hot.
Some facts:
Broccoli & Cabbage - high in Vitamin C and dietary fiber
Stringbeans - Vitamin A and C
Carrot - Vitamin A
Tomato - lycopene (antioxidant)
Curry leaves - rich in iron
Cilantro - high in magnesium, calcium, antioxidants 

I am sending this to 'Food palette - Green' event by Torview toronto and 'Show me your soup' event by Divya-dilse.
I am also sending this to 'Soup Recipes' event by My Culinary Creations.

Sending this to Srivalli's Soups and Salads Mela

Monday, January 24, 2011

Mocha Chocolate Muffins

I bookmarked this Mocha muffins from Sailusfood before a couple of weeks. She was baking those for the holidays. I immediately fell for the exquisite coffee flavor coupled with chocolate. Decided to try those last week since we were planning to visit our friends over the weekend.

Makes - about 12 medium muffins
All Purpose Flour/Maida - 2 cups
Sugar - 1 cup + 2 tbsp
Butter - 1/2 cup
Instant Coffee powder (I used Bru) - 1 tbsp + 1 tsp
Cocoa powder - 2 tbsp
Eggs - 2 (room temperature)
Milk - 2% - 2/3 cup - approx 160 ml
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Chocolate chips - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp


Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.
Line the muffin tray with muffin liners. In a big bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt using a whisk. Take a microwave safe bowl and melt the butter in microwave oven for about 25-30 seconds. Whisk in the coffee powder and the cocoa powder in the melted butter and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the eggs for 2 mins. Add the milk and vanilla and mix for another minute.
Pour the eggs mixture and the butter mixture over the flour mixture and mix with a spatula until combined. Add the chocolate chips and fold to combine. Spoon the mix into muffin liners until about two-thirds full. Bake for about 22-25 minutes until a tooth-pick inserted comes clean.
Remove the pan and cool for 5 mins. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack and cool completely. If you like it warm you can try one after 30 mins.
We loved it warm.

I am sending this to 'Bookmarked recipes - Every Tuesday event' by Aipi of US Masala and Priya of Mharo rajasthan.
Check the original recipe here from Sailu's food.

Mocha Muffins

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Toor dhal Chutney / Paruppu Chutney | Side Dish for Idli Dosa

I always look for ideas for side dishes to go with idli and dosa. This toor dhal chutney is a great combination for idlis particularly with the Fenugreek Idli. This is a subtly spiced earthy flavored chutney.

Toor dhal / Thuvaram paruppu - 3 tbsp
Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds -  1 tsp
Garlic -  3 cloves
Pearl onions - 3 or Chopped onions - 3 tsp
Red chillies - 2
Tamarind - Size of a cranberry
Salt - to taste
Grated Coconut - 3 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp
For seasoning:
Oil - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - a few

Heat oil in a kadai and roast all the ingredients, except coconut and salt in medium heat. When the dhal turns light brown, turn off the heat and add the coconut and give a quick mix. Allow it to cool and grind in a mixie/blender with salt and water. This should be of a Chutney consistency.
Heat 1 tsp oil in the same pan and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the urad dhal and curry leaves and saute for 2 mins. Pour the seasoning over the chutney and serve with Idli or dosas. This chutney is a great combo for Fenugreek Idli.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fenugreek Idli / Vendhaya Idli | Idli Dosa Recipes

Fenugreek, a staple in Indian cooking has many health benefits. It is good for controlling body heat and removing toxins. It is also the best food and medicine for managing diabetes.
Last night I made Fenugreek(Vendhayam in tamil) Idli for dinner. Fenugreek is the key ingredient in this idli which gives the color, taste and texture to this one.

Idli Rice - 4 cups (250 ml cup)
Fenugreek seeds - 2 heaped tbsp ~ a handful
Urad dhal -  1 1/2 tbsp
Salt - to taste

Wash all the ingredients and soak in water for min of 4-6 hrs. I soaked it overnight. Grind to a smooth batter with required quantity of water. When done, mix with salt, about 2 - 3 tbsp. The batter should be thicker than pouring consistency, similar to idli batter. Allow it to ferment in a warm, draft-free place until it raises up to about double its quantity. 8 hours is good for warmer countries but it might take anywhere from 16-24 hours in colder climates. When the batter is fermented, grease the idli moulds with oil and steam until done, about 10 minutes (a toothpick inserted should come out clean). Serve hot with paruppu chutney.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hawaiian Fried Rice

"Hawai'i". The name makes me feel nostalgic and takes me to those days when I lived there. I was working in Honolulu for nearly an year before I got married and moved to U.S. East Coast. The main thing I miss is the climate. Hawai'i has a tropical climate year-round, like in India. And of course I miss the beaches, bus-rides, culture and the workplace. The city of Honolulu is well connected by buses and the culture and people of Hawai'i are so genuine. The workplace was stress-free and enjoyable. Even now when I think I feel I had been so lucky to spend time there. Ok.. about my Hawaiian fried rice. It is not an authentic Hawaiian dish. I decided to name it so because it has pineapples and coconut in it.


Rice - 1 1/2 cups
Coconut milk - 1 1/2 cups
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Pineapple - chopped - 3/4 cup (I used about 6 oz of the canned pineapple)
Mixed Vegetables chopped finely - 2 1/2 cups
(I used Carrot, Green beans, Bell pepper, Cabbage, Spring onion greens)
Green chillies - 1 - slit lengthwise
Garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Fresh Ground pepper - 1/2 tsp
Sesame oil / gingelly oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste


Pressure cook the rice with a pinch of salt, drizzle of oil, mix of coconut milk and water. You may also cook on stove-top. Adding salt to the rice while cooking gives the rice a jasmine white color. When rice is done fluff it with a fork and spread on a plate and allow it to cool about 15 mins. When cool pop the plate open into the fridge and refridgerate for mininum 30 - 45 mins.
We do this because the pineapple is going to add some moisture to the rice and so the cooked rice needs to be little dry.
In a wide kadai, heat sesame oil, and when it is piping hot, add the slit green chilli and the carrots, string beans and garlic paste. Saute in high heat for 2 mins and add the cabbage and green pepper and saute until the bell peppers are lightly cooked but retain their crunch. Now add pineapple chunks and saute for 1 minute and add the rice and salt and pepper to taste. Remember we already added a green chilli and add pepper as required. Mix with the vegetables and take care not to break the rice. Garnish with scallions/spring onion greens and serve hot. The aroma of the coconut with the pineapple fills your kitchen and your soul.

I am sending this to Winter Warmers event by The Veggie Hut.

Sending this to Srivalli's Kid's Delight hosted by Nupur of UK-Rasoi, for the month of April 2012.