Bachelor-friendly, Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Indian, Snacks, Tiffin, Vegan

Sabudana Upma / Khichdi

Sabudana / sago / Javvarisi is preferred food across India during fasting and for festivals. It is also a good snack item. Sabudana is nothing but tapioca pearls and hence mostly starch / carbohydrate. Sabudana pearls cooked in a tadka of cumin seeds, chilies, boiled and roasted potatoes added, garnished with grated coconut, coriander leaves, and lemon juice make a delicious item that can be easily cooked. Although easy to prepare, you need to understand the different kinds of sabudana available in the market – big pearls, small pearls, nylon variety are some. Each requires a different cooking method to get the perfect texture. If it is normal sabudana (not the nylon variety), I recommend soaking the pearls in water overnight. If using the nylon sago variety, 1-hr soaking time is sufficient.

Preparation Time: Overnight or 1 hr (Soaking time) + 10 mins
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 2

Ingredients:
Sabudana – 1 cup
Potato – 1 medium sized
Capsicum – 1 medium sized (optional)
Oil / ghee – 1-1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 3-4
Curry leaves 1 sprig
Salt to taste

For Garnishing:
Crushed roasted peanuts (deskinned) – 1/4 cup
Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves – 2 tbsp

Method:
Rinse and wash one cup of sabudana pearls in water two to three times. If using normal sabudana (not the nylon variety), soak in two cups of water overnight. If using the nylon sago variety, fill water just enough to touch the top level of the sabudana pearls and soak for an hour.
Chop potatoes into small cubes. Cook the cubed potato in little bit of oil until well cooked and the sides turn golden color. Add salt and stir well. Remove and keep aside.
Add oil in a kadai. When heated, add cumin seeds and finely chopped green chilies. Shallow fry for a minute. Add curry leaves and chopped capsicum. Stir for a minute or so.
Add the soaked sabudana pearls into this. Stir well. Close with a lid and cook for about 5 mins. Keep stirring every 30 seconds in between. As the sabudana pearls get cooked, they start turning translucent. Check for this. If the sabudana pearls have become too dry and is undercooked, you can sprinkle water (very little).
When the capsicum gets cooked and the sabudana pearls start turning transparent and start sticking together, add salt, stir well. Add the roasted potato cubes into this and stir well. Add grated coconut and crushed roasted peanuts, finely chopped coriander leaves and stir well. Add lemon juice and serve hot.

Bachelor-friendly, Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Vegan

Milaga Pachadi (Green Chilies in Spicy Tangy Gravy)

P7113101.JPGA spicy, tangy, and mildly sweet curry that goes well with rice, idli, dosa, or even roti.

Ingredients:
Green Chilies – 12 to 15
Tamarind – a big lemon size
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Jaggery – 1 tsp
Oil – 1/2 tsp
Water as needed
Salt to taste

For Grinding:
Grated coconut – 1-1/2 cups
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

For Seasoning:
Oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tbsp
Curry Leaves – 2 sprigs

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins
Serves 4

Method:
Add half a cup of warm water to the tamarind and let it soak. This is to help extract maximum juice from the dry tamarind. Keep this aside for 10 mins.
Use a mixer to grind the grated coconut along with a teaspoon of mustard seeds to a fine paste. Keep aside.
Cut (halve) the green chilies.
Heat half a teaspoon oil in an pan. Add the split green chilies and saute until the raw smell goes away and the green side of the chilies get roasted.
Remove the pan from fire and keep a vessel containing a cup of water on fire. Add the chilies roasted in oil into the water in this vessel. Add turmeric powder and bring to boil. When the green chilies get cooked, they turn into pale green color.
Meanwhile, use your fingers to squeeze the juice out of the soaked tamarind. Strain and add to the cooked green chilies.
When the green chilies along with the tamarind water starts boiling, add the ground coconut and mustard seeds paste into it and stir.
Add the jaggery powder also. Stir and bring to boil.
Add salt and switch off the flame.
Heat oil in a pan and add half a teaspoon mustard seeds to it. When the mustard seeds crackle, turn off the fire, add curry leaves, and add this seasoning to the cooked curry. Serve hot with rice.

Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Side Dishes, Vegan

Raw Papaya Stir Fry (Thoran)

Back home we mostly cook backyard vegetables like mango, jackfruit, raw banana, banana flower and stem, amaranth leaves, drumstick, colocasia, drumstick leaves, etc. Papaya is also commonly found and used often in the kitchen. Papaya thoran (Kerala style dry subzi) is delicious and easy to make and a great side dish to serve along with rice.

Ingredients:
Raw Papaya – 1 medium sized
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Split urad dal – 1 tsp
Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Garlic – 2 cloves (optional)
Green chilies – 2 – 3
Curry leaves – a few
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Makes 2-3 cups

Method:
Wash, peel raw papaya, and grate into thin 1-inch long pieces. Keep aside.
Heat an iron skillet and add coconut oil and mustard seeds.
When mustard seeds begin to splutter, add urad dal, chopped green chilies, garlic, and curry leaves. Saute until urad dal and garlic turns golden.
Add grated papaya and turmeric powder. Mix well and close with a lid. Keep the heat on minimum. Slow cooking is ideal and retains nutrients. Do not add any water. Cook for about 7-10 mins, stirring every 1-2 mins and then closing the skillet with a lid.
When the papaya becomes soft and cooked, add salt, jeera, and grated coconut. Mix well and turn off the fire.

Bachelor-friendly, Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Snacks, Vegan

Cashew Herb Dip

You won’t believe until you taste this dip how delicious and incredibly easy it is to make a dip at home, that too without using any dairy! Quick, easy, flavorful, creamy, and vegan cashew herb dip or spread. Not only do cashew nuts have lower fat compared to other nuts, it has heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Ditch your cholesterol worries and go for it.
I have added dill leaves for more flavor. This is an optional ingredient.

Ingredients:
Cashew nut – 1 cup
Garlic – 4 cloves
Water – 1/4 cup
Coconut oil / Extra Virgin Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Lemon juice – 1/2 tsp – 1 tbsp
Rosemary / Italian Herb mix – 1/2 tsp
Peppercorns – 8-10
Black salt to taste

For Garnish:
Dill leaves – 2 tbsp (optional)

Soaking Time: 6 hours
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Makes – 1 – 1/2 cup

Method:
Soak the cashew nuts overnight or for 6 hours. Drain and rinse using a strainer. Keep aside. Put the cashew nuts in the mixer jar.
Place the garlic cloves (with the peels) on a pan on fire to roast them. You may roast them directly on fire also. Once they get roasted and soft, remove the peels. Add peeled garlic to the mixer jar.
Add the remaining ingredients; coconut oil, lemon juice, rosemary/Italian herbs, peppercorns and black salt into the mixer jar. Blend until smooth.
Transfer to a bowl.
Taste and adjust salt and seasonings.
Add finely chopped fresh dill leaves. Serve with crackers or spread on bread.

You can refrigerate the dip for a few days.

Bachelor-friendly, Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Salads, Vegan

Sprouted Moth Beans Salad

Sprouts for breakfast – one of the best ways to ensure great nutrition minus fat. Fitness experts recommend eating sprouts for breakfast for its good nutrition value and protein content. You can have this dish for breakfast, lunch, or snack. I would not advise having it for dinner as sprouts can be a little difficult for some people to digest at night. A simple but delicious dish that require very few ingredients. You can easily sprout beans at home.

The way you cook beans is very important to avoid any kind of uneasiness, gas, belching, or bloating that many people suffer after consumption of beans. Beans have been around for thousands of years and have been consumed all around the world. Traditionally beans were slow cooked which made them more digestible. Soaking / sprouting beans and then slow cooking them makes them easier on the belly and ensures proper absorption and digestion rather than cooking dry beans or cooking them on high flame.

Ingredients:
Moth/matki bean sprouts – 1 cup
Onion (finely chopped) – 2 tbsp (optional)
Oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Asafetida/Hing powder – 1/4 tsp
Green chili (finely chopped) – 1
Coriander leaves (finely chopped) – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Pomegranate seeds – 2 tbsp (Optional)
Lime juice – 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 24-36 hours of soaking and sprouting, 40 mins of steaming time
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Makes 2 cups

Method:
For making sprouts:
Soak the moth beans in water for 6-8 hours.
After 8 hours, drain the water, wash and rinse the soaked seeds and keep them on the same vessel to rest for the next 24 hours or so. Close the vessel using a thin wet cotton cloth. Within 10-12 hrs, you will notice tiny sprouts appearing. The length of the sprouts will depend on the climate and humidity in your region. In warmer climatic regions, it is enough to keep the vessel for sprouting the beans in a dark corner of the kitchen.
It is better to consume the sprouts immediately. But they can be stored in the refrigerator for about a week.
Before cooking the sprouts, ensure that you rinse them thoroughly and carefully without breaking the tender sprouts. Do not use the sprouts if they emit odor.

For making salad:
Pressure cook the sprouted moth beans. Slow cooking is ideal as this retains the nutrients and also helps easy digestion.
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. As soon as they splutter, add hing powder, turmeric powder, and finely chopped green chilies. Saute the green chilies until they change color and the raw smell goes away.
Add cooked moth beans to this. Add coriander powder and sugar. Mix well and bring to boil. Retaining some amount of moisture/water is desirable as it would be easier to eat and swallow.
Turn off the heat and add finely chopped onions (optional), salt, and coriander leaves.
Add lime juice and pomegranate seeds if desired. Serve warm.

Notes:
You can make the same with other kinds of beans such as mung bean or chickpeas.
You may add tomatoes and ginger to the salad.

Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Salads, Vegan

Simple Spinach Salad (Korean Style)

I had the pleasure of befriending a Korean couple who were visiting a friend. In return to the Indian lunch that we prepared for them, they cooked a Korean style lunch for us. Rice and sweet potato cooked together, mushroom cooked with bell peppers, spinach salad, and shallow-fried potatoes. Out of all, I liked the spinach salad the best. Sigeumchi-Namul is the Korean name for this salad. A simple and easy to make salad, nutritious, and deliciously flavorful. Delicate flavors are the best to relish and perhaps more nutritious too.

Ingredients:
Spinach – 1 bunch
Water – approximately 4 cups
Garlic – 3-4 cloves (adjust as per individual taste)
Sesame oil – 1 tsp
Sesame seeds – 1-1/2 tsp
Lime juice – 2 tsps
Black salt to taste

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 5 mins
Makes 3 servings

Method:
Clean the spinach really well. If the spinach is organically grown, one thorough wash would be enough. Otherwise, wash really well at least three times and soak in salted water for at least 10 minutes.
Bring a pot of water (approximately 4 cups) to boil.
Blanch the spinach in boiling water for less than 1 minute.
Drain the water out and collect the blanched spinach on a strainer.
Rinse the spinach in cold water. Squeeze out excess water.
Using your hands, untangle the spinach into a mixing bowl.
If the spinach is too long, use your hands to shred them into smaller size. Add crushed garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds and toss well to mix and coat the spinach with these ingredients. Crushing (not chopping) the garlic works best and brings out the flavor very well.
The original recipe calls for soya bean sauce. But I replaced this with lime juice.
Sprinkle some black salt.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like.
Korean style spinach salad is ready to be served.

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Bachelor-friendly, Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Everyday Simple Recipes, South Indian, Vegan

Ridge Gourd (Thurai) Thogayal

Thogayals are handy chutneys/accompaniments that can be used along with rice, rotis, and even dosas and idlis. They are a good ‘chakhna’ for rice gruel/kanji also. Ridge gourd may sound like a very unusual vegetable for a chutney. But, believe me, this tastes so good and you will love it.

Ingredients:
Ridge gourd deskinned and cut into piece – 3 cups
Urad dal – 3 tsbp
Whole dry red chilies – 5-6
Tamarind – 1 marble size
Asafetida – 1/4 tsp
Salt as needed
Grated coconut – 2 tbsp
Cooking oil – 1/2 tsp

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Makes 1-1/2 cups

Method:
Wash the ridge gourd thoroughly and remove the hard green skin. It is okay if small portions of the green skin remains. Cut it into long strips and then chop roughly into smaller pieces.
Place an iron wok on fire and add a oil. Add urad dal, whole dry red chilies broken into pieces, and asafetida and roast in a medium flame until urad dal changes to golden color. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
Add the chopped ridge gourd pieces into the same iron wok and cook for about 5 mins or so until the ridge gourd pieces turn tender and start oozing water. Turn off the fire and add the tamarind and let it soften in the remaining heat of the wok and lose it’s raw taste. Let it cool.
Use a mixer grinder and pulse the dry ingredients (roasted urad dal, red chilies, asafetida, and grated coconut) first to a smooth powder. Add the sauteed ridge gourd, tamarind, and salt and grind to a smooth paste. You may not need to add water while grinding as the ridge gourd has some water content. Serve along with rice or roti.

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