RSS

Category Archives: Traditional cooking

Dressing up dosas

Couple of weeks back, as I was reading my daily quota of news on Google, I came across this article on dosas. I was quite surprised to see our plain old dosas getting prime-time on WSJ. The article screamed “Move over tortillas, dosas are a-coming!”.

Anyway, proud as I was of the attention our dosas were getting, I forwarded the link to friends and family. And this led to an email exchange with one of them on how the dosas morph in our kitchen. That gave me an idea and I decided to share the different avatars dosas take in my kitchen. Without counting the plain dosas with chutneys and milagai podi (although literally means chilli powder it isn’t quite that).

a) Use dosa as a wrap and stuff it with a dry roasted mixed vegetable sabji (called as “kari” – not the same as curry – by tamilians). The traditional one is, of course, made with potato and called “Masala Dosai”, but you can use any vegetable or combination of them, optionally with paneer, to make a dry sabji, with any spices of your choice, and use it as stuffing.
b) Make a mean paneer burji or even chilli paneer for a more protein filled meal.
c) Make a pizza or quesadilla out of dosa by adding cheese and jalapenos (or red chilli flakes). You can also add slightly roasted veggies to make it a complete veggie dosa-pizza. This can be either served open, like a pizza, or closed, like a quesadilla.
d) A trick that I picked from my MIL – when you have just a few ladles of batter left, add a handful or two of rava (semolina) to the batter, add chopped ginger, onion (optional), green chillies to make (onion) rava dosa. Of course, you can use this as a base and stuff veggies, paneer etc.
e) When the batter is fairly old and heavily fermented, make uthappams (thick dosas) with it. Add chopped tomatoes, chillies, onions on top for a colorful veggie uthappam.


So, now tell me, what shape and form does a dosa take in your kitchen?

 
20 Comments

Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking

 

Tags: , , , ,

Paucity makes the heart grow fonder

Ah! Curry leaves!  I grew up in an independent house(single-family home for those in the U.S.) in Chennai and where we lived coconut & mango trees are common sight.  And so was it in our house. In addition, the house also has a curry tree – yes it is a tree, over 9 feet tall and thriving.  We picked the leaves when we needed it – for tempering (thalippu) or thogayal –  and it couldn’t have gotten fresher than that.  May be it was the easy availability or abundance or the ignorance of youth, I never quite liked these greenies.  I never understood why the elders went gaga over its flavor and was also not taken in by its medicinal value.  The only use (thanks to my mom!) I had for these leaves was when they were boiled with good old coconut oil and massaged onto my hair.  The first time I missed (or rather longed) for these leaves where when I couldn’t find them.  Yes, we always miss what we can’t have and when something gets harder to get, fonder does our heart grow. Such is human nature, I guess!

When SacramentoSpice posted her curry leaf chicken recipe (yes, you read that right!) and linked Manisha’s version, I remembered that I had bookmarked Manisha’s Kadipatta Chicken a while back.  I wanted to try a vegetarian version of this and was toying with the idea of doing it with either cauliflower or potato (paneer would work well too, now that I think of it).  When a dear friend gave me a ziploc full of curry leaves, picked fresh from her parents’ home, the timing could not have been more perfect 🙂  My recipe is very close to Manisha’s version, but am posting it again to record the minor tweaks that I did. Thanks, Manisha! Onto the Kariveppilai potato-cauliflower fry (I couldn’t make up mind I decided to use both potato & cauliflower)!

Spices

1 Tsp oil
1 Tsp black pepper
1 Tsp cinnamon powder
5 cloves
2 red chillies

1 cup Curry leaves, washed & dried
1 Tbsp Tamarind Paste (1/2 golf ball sized piece, if you are using fresh)
1 Tsp turmeric powder
1 onion, chopped fine
1 small tomato, quartered
1/2 cauliflower – chopped into florets
2 medium sized potatos – cubed into 1″ pieces
1 Tsp salt

Saute the spices in a tsp of oil till they are well roasted but not burnt in a saute pan (or kadai). Add the kariveppilai to the spice mixture and saute till the leaves are fried well. Add the chopped onion, quartered tomato and salt, wait for the onion to become translucent.

Let it cool and grind it to a paste along with the tamarind. (Tip: If you want, you can stop right at this stage and use this is a chutney / thogayal to mix with rice or use as a side dish to idli / dosai. If you want to attain kariveppilai nirvana, continue).

Add the cauliflower – potato mixture to the same pot (to keep shy happy), close it with a lid and cook till the veggies are semi-tender.

At this point, add the ground paste and cook till the veggies are fork-tender.  If you want a watery dish, you can add a cup of water at this stage.  But if you are like me and prefer a dry dish, hold the water.

This is a perfect side dish with rice & dhal or with rotis.

 
7 Comments

Posted by on October 24, 2010 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Bisi Bele Bath

Now that the first step in making bisi bele bath has been completed successfully, the next step is to prepare the rice. With little preparation ahead of time, making bisi bele bath can really become a breeze. I usually have cooked rice and toor dhal in my fridge, which saves me a lot of time on weekdays, when we constantly are running short of time.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 16, 2010 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Bisi Bele Bath Powder

I have already posted about Bisi Bele Bath as I learnt from my mom. Bisi Bele Bath is a Kannadiga dish, fairly obvious given the Kannada name (Bisi = hot, bele = dhal/lentils). This is a different take on the same recipe, given by a true-blood Kannadiga and gets as authentic as it can. This post is in response to Mag of MagCreations request for this recipe, and what better time to post it than the eve of Ugadi. Happy Ugadi to all of you!
Read the rest of this entry »

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 11, 2010 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Poli Pictorial

The South Indian version of Puran Poli is known just as Poli and is served as part of the traditional feast on Bhogi and Avani Avittam or Upakarma day. It is very similar to its North Indian counter-part except for the inclusion of coconut, to give it a South Indian twist.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 26, 2010 in Cooking, Desi, Pandigai (Festival), Traditional cooking

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Payatham urundai

Payatham Urundai

Buoyed with the success of Mysore pak, M and I started thinking of the next sweet that can be made. We were totally unprepared, so it had to be something that we could make with the ingredients we had in hand (can’t go shopping at 11:00 in the night 🙂 ). After brainstorming a few potential candidates, we zeroed in on payatham Urundai (aka Moong Dhal Balls) – all it requires is payatham paruppu (split moong dhal), ghee and sugar – ingredients that are available in every desi household.

At 11 in the night, M & I started roasting payatham paruppu, as we were chatting or rather reminiscing our (childhood) memories on Deepavali. How our moms had their trademark snacks that they prepared without fail for every Deepavali (for my mom, no doubts here, it was Mysore Pak and for hers it was Chocolate cake, which I am hoping to make soon) and ended up creating their own tradition that we try to follow, tweak to make ours. It was an interesting evening with a lot of girly chatter and catching up that ended in a promise, or rather hope, that we try and do this for every Deepavali.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
19 Comments

Posted by on November 15, 2008 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking

 

Tags: , , ,

Garlicky Peppery Delicious… Rasam

The weather has definitely gone cold here and I can feel Winter fast approaching. Well, with the way temperatures have gone south, it already feels like Winter. These days, it is almost like we have only 2 seasons these days – summer and winter, whatever happened to spring and fall, I wonder! All I want to do these days is to snuggle on the couch with a throw thrown over me and vegetate like a couch potato. For a Wintery day, what is better than having lip-smacking good, peppery rasam!

Rasam is a light lentil-tamarind-tomato based South Indian dish that can be eaten as is like a soup or with rice accompanied with pappadum or a dry veggie side-dish. Rasam is usually a sour dish and its sourness mainly comes from tomato with a little help from tamarind or lemon. Rasam is the go-to dish when you are under a bout of cold or fever, as it is not as lentil-heavy as sambhar and very soothing for the throat.

Pepper Rasam

Read the rest of this entry »

 
11 Comments

Posted by on November 5, 2008 in Cooking, Desi, Traditional cooking

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,