Breakfast, Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, South Indian, Vegan

Drumstick and Potato Korma

A nutritious and tasty side dish for dosa, idli, chapati, or even with rice. Very similar to Sagu, the mixed vegetable curry.

Ingredients:
Drumstick – 2
Potato – 2 medium sized
Onion – 1 medium sized
Tomato – 2 medium sized
Green chilies – 3 (adjust to taste)
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece
Garlic – 1 clove
Bay leaf/Tej patta – 1
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 1
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coconut powder/coconut milk – 25 mg
Water – As needed
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 2

Method: Peel the potatoes and chop into small cubes. Peel the drumstick. You may just scrape to remove the green outer part. The hard shell can remain. Chop into a 2-inch long pieces.

Peel and chop the onions finely. Peel and crush the ginger, garlic, and green chilies into a coarse paste. Chop the tomato pieces finely.

Add coconut oil into a wide bottomed pan. Add the crushed ginger, garlic, green chilies paste as well as the whole spices (cardamom, bay leaf, and cloves). Saute until the raw smell disappears. You may choose to remove the whole spices after the flavors are released.

Add the finely chopped onion pieces and curry leaves. Saute.

Add chopped tomato pieces. Saute until you see oil seeping out.

Add coriander powder. Saute and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add chopped potato and drumstick pieces. Stir. Add a cup of water. Empty one packet of coconut milk powder into one cup water to make a thin coconut milk. Add this to the vegetables.

Close with a lid and cook for 10 minutes stirring occasionally until gravy thickens and potatoes and drumsticks look well cooked.

Add salt, cover and cook for 2 more minutes. If desired, you can mix another 25 gms of coconut milk powder in warm water to make a cup of thick coconut milk and add this thick coconut milk to the dish. This is optional. Remove from fire. Garnish with freshly ground pepper, if desired.

Notes: If you do not wish to have the shell of the drumstick, you may cook drumstick separately, squeeze out the pulp and use that for the korma instead of adding whole drumstick pieces.

Breakfast, Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Vegan

Mung Dal (Cheru Parippu) Curry – A Side Dish for Dosa and Idli

A dal cooked along with simple and minimal spices, a very good side dish for dosa and idli. When you are bored of sambar and chutneys along with idli and dosa, make this occasionally. Supplements you with good protein for your breakfast. This koottan (curry) is a family specialty. My mother makes it even on her father’s death anniversary because apparently my grandpa used to love this curry along with idli. The fragrance of the roasted mung dal and roasted coriander seeds is the dominant flavors of this curry.

Ingredients:
Split yellow mung dal – 200 gms
Potato – 2 medium sized
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt as needed
Water as needed

For Grinding:
Coriander seeds – 1/4 cup / 3-4 tbsp
Dry red chilies – 2-3
Grated coconut – 3-4 tbsp
Shallots – 4-5

For Seasoning:
Coconut oil – 1 tsp + 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 40 mins
Serves: 4

Method:
Dry roast mung dal in an iron wok until the raw smell goes away and the dal turns red. Keep aside.
Clean, peel, and dice the potatoes into cubes. Keep aside.
Peel the shallots. Keep aside.
Pressure cook the diced potatoes and mung dal (in separate vessels). For every cup of mung dal, add twice the amount of water for pressure cooking.
While the dal is getting cooked, in a wok, add 1/4 tsp oil. Add coriander seeds and dry red chilies and saute until you get the roasted smell of coriander seeds. Be careful not to burn them. Slow roasting is better. Just before you turn off the fire, add grated coconut. Once the roasted mixture cools down, grind the roasted mixture along with the shallots to make a fine paste. You may add small quantities of water.
In a wok, add the pressure cooked mung dal and cooked potatoes along with turmeric powder and salt. When the dal and potatoes start boiling, add the ground paste. Bring to boil. Adjust water and salt to desired levels. The consistency can be that of dal that is served along with rice.
In a small pan, heat a teaspoon of oil and add mustard seeds. When the seeds crackle, add curry leaves and pour this into the boiling dal.
Mildly spiced cheru parippu koottan is ready to be served along with idli or dosa.

Bachelor-friendly, Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Vegan

Pazhanganji – Cooked Rice Soaked Overnight – A Nutrient-Dense Breakfast

Pazhanganji / pazhaya soru / cooked rice soaked overnight in water is one of the most unlikely food item to be discussed at a buffet lunch. Yet, I found myself discussing this bland, old, but nutritionally rich food while surrounded by a variety of high-calorie food that are not necessarily healthy for the body. Pazhanganji – an item that is considered poor man’s food, unfit to be offered to guests, and reserved to be given off to the house maid. At a time when refrigerators were uncommon, pazhanganji was an inevitable item. Every night, some water would be poured over leftover rice and would be kept aside. This would get slightly fermented overnight and nutritionally rich with gut-friendly bacteria. Nowadays because every house is equipped with a refrigerator, this practice is nonexistent.

It takes foreigners (especially Americans) to research our old practices and publish papers on their benefits for us to realize the wisdom of our ancestors. Now that the American Nutrition Association says that the previous day’s soaked rice is the best for breakfast as it gets enriched with iron, potassium and calcium by several hundred percentage points, we get convinced and can get back our eating habits. What surprised me was that such rice (unpolished) soaked overnight is a source for the rare B6 and B12 vitamins. Amazing! These are not easily available, especially for vegetarians and vegans. Apart from the internal benefits, this diet also helps maintain a youthful and radiant look! Internal as well as external benefits. What more does one want?

There is no recipe for pazhanganji. Just add cooked rice to a vessel, ideally an earthenware pot. Add water to this just enough to soak the rice. Keep it closed overnight in the corner of your kitchen.
In the morning, you can add sliced shallots/onion, green chilies, or tiny pieces of ginger to this along with salt, mix well and have it. If you are using an earthenware for your pazhankanji, it would be cool to touch and taste. After you consume it, your stomach would feel cool from inside. (Unlike ice cream that is cool to touch but induces heat inside your body) You may have pazhanganji along with a pickle, thick chutney/chammanthi/thogayal, or with papad or vathal/kondattams. The right way to have pazhanganji is to use your right hand to mix the rice and water well, tilt the pot to drink the water first and then have the rice with chammanthi. Enjoy the immense health benefits of going back to the roots.

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

Paal Kozhukattai (Steamed Rice Dumplings)

A simple and easy to make dish with just three ingredients. Good option for breakfast or evening tiffin. You will love it if you like natural uncomplicated tastes, mild flavors, and the use of minimal ingredients.

Ingredients:
Raw Rice Flour (finely powdered/Idiyappam powder) – 1 cup
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Grated coconut – 1/4 cup
Hot water – 1 cup
Salt as needed

Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15-20 mins
Serves 2

Method:
Boil water in a pan.
Crush the cumin seeds lightly to bring out the flavor.
Take raw rice flour (I used raw red rice flour and hence the color difference), lightly crushed cumin seeds, grated coconut, and adequate amount of salt needed in a wide vessel. Add water (at boiling point) into this mixture.
Use a ladle to stir the mixture well. Ensure there are no lumps. You can use your hand later after a minute or two when the dough cools down. Make a smooth dough.
Take small amounts of this dough and make small gooseberry sized balls. Place on a plate and keep aside.


Add 2 cups of water in the heavy bottomed pan. Drop the rice balls into this boiling water.
Let it cook for 10 – 12 mins in medium heat.


You will notice that the water is thickening and the rice balls are becoming firmer.
Transfer into a bowl and serve along with the liquid.

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Notes:

  1. You can cook this in diluted cow’s milk also. I have not tried this. But I am definitely going to try cooking this in diluted coconut milk and jaggery and elaichi to make a sweet version.
  2. It is desirable to have it while hot and fresh. If using after a while, add half a cup of water and reheat.
  3. It is very similar to Ragi Mudde, the famous Kannada breakfast.
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, 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
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. 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, 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.

Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Millet Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Little Millet (Samai) Idli and Dosa

Little MilletMillets are one of the oldest food crop cultivated by man. Millets have much more calcium, protein, and iron than rice and wheat. These poor man’s grains are high in fiber, rich in minerals, low fat, and gluten free also. Millets are not just good for you but for the environment as well. Millets can grow in dry lands and even in poor soil quality. They need only one-fifth to one-tenth of the water that rice and wheat cultivation needs. As if these reasons werent enough, most millets are grown organically because they are naturally pest-resistant!
Yet, a word of caution. Just as too much of anything is not good, consuming too much millets is also not good for health. All millets, in general, have giotrogenic effects and hence people with thyroid related problems need to be careful about how much millet can be included in their diet. Please consult your dietitian/doctor about this.

Post World War 2, India experienced severe food scarcity. My mother still remembers having to modify their diet from the staple of rice to wheat and millets such as chama. Little millet / Chama can be used to make nutritious and tasty idli / dosa. The below recipe makes soft and fluffy idlis that remain so even after 4-5 hours.

Little millet dosa

Ingredients:
Little Millet (Same/Chama) – 2 cups
Whole Urad dal- 1/2 cup
Fenugreek seeds / vendhayam / uluva – 2 tsp
Beaten rice flakes / aval / avalakki / Poha – 1/2 cup
Water as needed
Salt to taste
Oil to grease the idli mould (I prefer sesame oil)

Preparation Time:
Soaking Time: 4-5 hours
Grinding Time: 20 mins
Steaming Time: 15 mins
Yield: About 30 idlis

Method:
Little millet idliPreparing the batter:
Wash the millet in water, drain, and soak in water overnight or for 4 to 5 hours.
Rinse, drain, and soak urad dal and 1½ teaspoon methi seeds together overnight or for 4 to 5 hours.
Five minutes prior to the grinding time, soak the beaten rice flakes in 1/2 – 3/4 cup water.

Drain the water from the soaked urad dal and methi seeds into a cup. Keep aside. You will need this while grinding.

Add the soaked urad dal and methi seeds into a mixer jar or a wet grinder. Add small quantities of the drained water from the urad dal and blend to make a smooth paste. Remove into a large deep bowl and keep aside.
Drain the water from the soaked millet. Discard the water. Add the soaked millet to the mixer/grinder. Add small quantities of water and grind to a smooth paste. Add soaked beaten rice flakes to this and grind well. Remove this mixture from the mixer and add this to the large deep bowl that contains the ground urad dal. Add adequate amount of salt. Use your right hand to mix the batter thoroughly. The batter should be neither too thin nor too thick.

Cover the bowl with a lid and keep the batter aside in a warm area for fermenting (approximately 8 hours but this may vary depending on regional temperature) If you live in colder regions, keep the area at a warm place, near a warm stove or place it inside the oven that was pre-heated to about 50 deg C and leave it overnight with the oven light on. The next morning, the batter would have risen well.

The next morning (or after 8 hours), stir the batter using a ladle and mix well.

Making idlis:
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUse a cotton cloth to grease the idli molds with oil. Pour batter into each pit. Pour water into the steamer and gently lower the idli molds with batter into the steamer and close the lid. Steam for 12 to 15 minutes.
Remove the idli mold from the steamer and place the molds on the kitchen counter for at least a minute. This is important. If you try to nudge the idlis out of the mold while it is piping hot, you will break them.
After allowing the idlis in the mold to cool off for about a minute, use a sharp edged spoon dipped in water to nudge the idlis at the edges and gently remove them from the mold.

Serve hot, soft, and fluffy idlis with chutney, sambar, or the Kerala style vegetable stew.

Notes:
1. You can use the same batter to make crisp dosas also. You may need to add a little bit more water to the batter.
2. You can make idlis only on the first day of making the batter. If you refrigerate the batter and make idlis the next day also, you may not get the same soft and fluffy texture. The next day you may use the batter to make crisp dosas.