Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Millet Recipes, Snacks, Sweets, Tiffin, Vegan

Sweet Multigrain Dosa

This multigrain sweet dosa is similar to my previous sweet dosa post. I found a packet of wheat bran at the health store and was thinking of ways of adding this fiber to my diet. Tried mixing it with the chappathi dough. That resulted in slightly stiff rotis because of the fiber content. Maybe if you add lesser quantities of bran, rotis might turn out to be softer. But when I can use the bran to make a sweet item, why not?

Making sweet dosa is very easy and I do not stick to fixed proportions. The quantity of jaggery can be the same as the amount of flour you take. Add little portions of wheat flour, wheat bran, rice flour, and ragi flour to melted jaggery and the batter is ready. I also added some jackfruit jam. This is an optional ingredient. You can throw in anything that you think will enhance the taste of this dosa.

Ingredients:
Wheat flour – 1 cup
Ragi flour – 1/2 cup
Rice flour – 1/2 cup
Wheat flour – 1/2 cup
Jaggery – 1-1/2 cup
Water – 3 cups
Elaichi powder – 1 tsp
Ghee/cooking oil – 1 tbsp

spread batter on tawaMelt jaggery in water and strain it. Add all the flour, elaichi powder, and mix well. Wheat bran tends to thicken your batter. If the batter is very watery, the dosa may stick to the pan and you may have difficulty removing the dosa from the pan. This batter is better suited to make pancake-style dosas.

Heat a tawa on medium flame. Spread small portions of the sweet dosa batter to make slightly thick and small dosas. Drizzle ghee/cooking oil around the dosa. Let it cook for a minute. Flip using a spatula and cook the other side for around a minute. Sweet fibrous multigrain dosa is ready. If you want a pancake style dosa, you could drizzle honey on the dosa while serving although this is really not required.

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Sweets, Tiffin

Kesari Bath/Sooji Halwa

Kesari bath/sooji halwa is one of my favorite sweets. It is a common neivedyam (food offering made to God) and a sweet served along with breakfast at Palakkad Iyer weddings. It is made even when there is no special occasion but just to satisfy sweet craving or when you have unexpected guests. It can be made easily, does not consume time, and most people love it. The best kesari bath that I have had is at Iyer weddings and at the Juhu ISCKON temple. Mani’s Cafe (next to Palakkad Jn railway station) serves melt in the mouth kesari bath. Palakkad Iyers add a little bit of pacha karpooram (Borneo-Camphor/Kacha Karpoor) and this gives a nice smell and taste to the kesari bath. Yellow or red food color is also added to this recipe but I do not prefer this.

The traditional kesari is warm, greasy, soft, and has a melt in the mouth texture. It has oodles of ghee that adds to its taste yet it doesnt drip ghee. Many a times the amount of ghee is cut down in homemade variations of kesari bath. Water, ghee, and sugar proportions are critical to make the perfect kesari. Too much water, sugar, or ghee can spoil the taste and consistency of the kesari. Although I have seen my mother make this dish very often, I always get confused about the quantity of water to be used for this dish and for upma. I referred to this blog to make this recipe and my kesari came out just right.

Ingredients:
Rava (sooji/semolina) – 1 cup
Sugar – 1 cup (depending on your taste)
Ghee – 3/4 cup
Water – 2-1/2 cups (you can opt to add milk to this)
Saffron (Kesar) – 3-4 strands
Cashew/raisins/almond pieces – A few
Cardamom powder (elaichi) – 1/4 tsp
Pacha karpooram (borneo-camphor/kacha karpoor) – very little (optional)
Food color – optional

Method:
Add the saffron strands to a small cup of warm milk/water and keep aside. Add half a cup of ghee to a thick bottomed wok and let it melt in medium heat. Turn down the heat to minimum and add the cashews/raisins/almond pieces and roast until golden brown. Remove them from the ghee and keep it aside.

sooji halwaTo this ghee, add rawa and keep stirring until the rawa turns color to golden brown. This will take about 5-7 minutes. I like to roast the rawa to golden brown although it is sufficient to roast just until the rawa starts to change color. While roasting the rawa, boil water in a pan. If you are adding milk, ensure that you use 1 cup milk and 1-1/2 cups of water. Ensure that that amount of water and milk put together is not more than 3 cups. Turn down the heat and add this boiling water/milk to the rawa cautiously. Make sure that you stand a little away from the stove while doing this as it might splutter. Stir this and make sure there are no lumps. Cook this for about 2-3 minutes. When the rawa is cooked and the water/milk content reduced, add sugar and mix well. The sugar starts to melt and the mixture once again becomes a little watery. Cook until the mixture thickens and water content reduces. Add the remaining ghee and stir. Add cardamom powder, cashew/raisins/almond pieces, and saffron dissolved in milk/water.

I prefer to have kesari bath warm although you can refrigerate this and serve it cold also.

jaggery kesariP.S. (added July 14th) – I tried making kesari bath with jaggery instead of sugar and it turned out to be really nice. So had to share it with all of you. The method remains almost the same. Measuring jaggery can be slightly tricky and if you use blocks of jaggery, you will need to make a wild guess. One thing you can do is pound the jaggery blocks and measure it using the same cup you used to measure the rava. Water should be three times the quantity of rava used.

Ingredients:
Rava – 1 cup
Ghee – 3/4 cup
Jaggery – 1 cup
Water – 3 cups
Saffron (Kesar) – 3-4 strands
Cashew/raisins/almond pieces – A fistful
Cardamom powder (elaichi) – 1/4 tsp

Method:
Soak saffron in a tablespoon of warm water. Keep aside. Dissolve jaggery in three cups of water. Using a strainer, strain this mixture to remove any dirt. Keep this water-jaggery mixture on the stove on low fire. Meanwhile, pour ghee into a thick bottomed pan. Keep fire on low. Put the cashew, rasins and almond pieces into ghee and roast the dry fruits. Remove the dry fruits from ghee when they turn golden brown and keep aside. Note that if you are using almonds, you will need to either soak them in water for 3-4 hours or blanch them and then peel and cut into smaller pieces.

In the same thick bottomed pan, to the melted ghee, add rava and roast on low fire for 4-5 minutes until rava changes color to light brown. When the rava has lost its raw smell and you start getting a finely roasted smell, add the jaggery water mixture which is kept on low fire in the next stove. Stir and add the hot jaggery-water mixture. The mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Add the soaked saffron. Keep stirring until moisture content reduces and the mixture starts to leave the sides. At this stage, you could add one more tablespoon of ghee. This is entirely optional and adds more sin, glaze, and taste to the kesari bath. Add cardamom powder and roasted dry fruits. Mix well. Jaggery kesari bath is ready. This is slightly more healthier as compared to the sugar version.

Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Sweets, Tiffin

Pazham Nurukku/Jaggery Coated Plantain/Steamed Plantain

Plantains are an integral part of Onam, the harvest festival of Kerala. Malayalis cannot think of an Onam without plantains. Keralites leverage plantain in all its forms and age. Raw plantains are deep fried and salted or jaggery coated to make chips, or used to make mezhukkupuratti (dry vegetable dish), erisseri, kalan etc. The ripe ones are steamed, cooked in jaggery, used to make payasam (kheer/sweet pudding), or eaten as is. The flower and the shoot (after peeling layers) are used to make dry vegetable dish. The peeled layers are used as binding ropes or for stringing garlands. Plantain leaves are used as plate to serve food and to make ela ada. In places with waterways, the shoots of a plantain are tied together to make a platform and used as a country boat.

Semi-ripe nenthra pazham

A very ripe plantain can be eaten as is without cooking. But semi ripe plantains should preferably be steamed or baked. I will share 4 simple recipes of ripe plantain here. One using overripe plantain and the other three using medium ripe plantain. Choose ripe yet firm plantain for steamed plantain. Slightly overripe plantains are best suited to make the jaggery coated plantain. This goes well with items like puttu or upma. It is also a healthy snack by itself.

Sweet banana cooked in jaggeryMethod 1:
Ingredients
Ripe Plantain – 2
Jaggery – 2 pieces
Water – 1/2 cup
Ghee – 1 tsp (optional)
Elaichi/cardamom powder – 1/4 tsp (optional)

Peel the plantain and remove the ends and the peel. Cut into two-inch round pieces. In a pan, pour water and add the jaggery pieces and heat until the jaggery melts. Strain to remove dirt if any. Put the ripe plantain pieces into this melted jaggery, cover with a lid, and cook for 5-7 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in between to ensure that the bananas do not stick to the bottom of the pan. When the water content reduces, the jaggery syrup thickens, and plantain pieces become tender, add ghee and elaichi powder. Turn off the fire and serve hot. You can even serve it cold. If you use firm plantain, they turn hard when cooked in jaggery. So make sure that you use ripe or overripe plantains. Note: I used organic jaggery and hence the dark color. Jaggery available in the market are heavily treated with chemicals which reduces the natural intense color.

Method 2:
Ripe Plantain – 1

Peel the plantain and remove the ends. Do not remove the peel. Cut into two inch round pieces. Steam them in an idli tray for 10 minutes until the plantain becomes tender. This is served with ela ada and fried papad for breakfast on the Thiruvonam day especially in the Malabar region. Plantains are fibrous and have high starch content. Steamed plantain is easily digestible especially for kids and the elderly and instantly boost energy levels.

Method 3:
Ripe Plantain – 1
Sugar – 1 tsp
Ghee (clarified butter) – 1 tbsp

This is a sinfully yummy shallow fried treat. Peel the skin and cut the plantain into thin vertical slices. Smear ghee on the hot griddle and place the plantain slices on ghee.

Frying bananas

Cook for a minute in medium to low fire. Flip when you notice the bottom of the plantain is turning golden brown. Sprinkle sugar.

Flip over

Remove from fire when the other side is sufficiently fried/cooked.

caramelized sugar on banana

Cooked

Method 4:
Ripe Plantain – 1

Another method of cooking plantain is to bake it in charcoal. Traditionally when meals were cooked using firewood, the coal would be hot even a couple of hours after all the cooking is done. Put the ripe plantains (with their skin) in between the hot coal. Make sure the plantains are fully embedded in the coal pieces. Take out after 5 minutes and smoky chargrilled plantains are ready.

I saw yet another interesting variety here. Truly yummy variation. Check it out.

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

Paniyaram

What your mother cooks for you always holds a special place in your heart. Everyone has a long list of items that they love about their mother’s cooking. I have my list of items too, right from the jeeraka vellam (jeera/cumin seeds flavored water) that she makes to unni appam, elai ada, avilu vilayichathu (sweet beaten rice), ada dosa, uluva dosa, uthappam, sambar, and the list grows. She has a very bad sweet tooth which she has passed on to me. So when making evening snacks, mostly she would stick to something sweet and she has ample support from me.

My mom’s sweet unni appam is well known among the friends and family circle. She had a salt equivalent to the sweet unniappam. This used to be made when she had exhausted options/ingredients. She would mix a little bit of churned curd to leftover idli batter, add some chopped onions, some garnish of curry leaves and coriander and fry this batter in oil. For lack of a better word, we used to call it morappam. Morappams had long been forgotten after I moved out of my parents’ home. It took me a trip to Chennai to revive the morappam memories.

The best thing about visiting a new place is getting the feel and taste of the local culture and cuisine. During my recent trip to Chennai, I gorged on fried paniyarams (the humble household morappam), Vazhappoo Vadai (Banana flower vadai), adai and avial, and other local specialities. Well, adai and avial has already been posted in Samagni. Adai and avial as a combination was new to me. When I thought about it, I realized it is a very clever combination of vegetables, dal, and carbs, a wholesome meal.

I tasted 2 varieties of paniyaram – one plain and the other spicy. I am told there are sweet paniyarams as well. Somebody please share the recipe for sweet paniyaram and vazhapoo vadai please!

Paniyarams are made in a frying pan that has pits. Batter is poured into these pits and steamed or fried. Made out of idli/dosa batter with or without extra ingredients, they taste great by themselves or when eaten with spicy chutney. They are a perfect monsoon snack and quick and easy to make.

Spongy Paniyaram

Ingredients
Idli batter – 250 gms
Onion – 1 big (finely chopped)
Green chilies – 2 (finely chopped)
Coriander – a bunch (finely chopped)
Curry leaves – 2 stalks (finely chopped)
Tomato – 1 (finely chopped) This is optional

Method
Add a teaspoon of oil in a small kadai. When the oil gets heated, add mustard seeds. Once they crackle, add the finely chopped green chilies and shallots. Sauté for 2-3 mins.
Turn off the fire and let it cool a bit.
Once this seasoning cools down, add it to the idli batter along with chopped curry leaves and coriander leaves. Mix well.

Refer here for idli batter recipe.

Pour half a teaspoon oil into the paniyaram mold pits. Mix the batter well and pour small quantities of batter into the mold pits.

Cook them in a paniyaram mold

Cook in medium heat for a minute or more. When the sides turn brown, flip over using a wooden/steel stick. Ensure that both sides are cooked properly. Remove from fire. Serve hot with chutney.

This is the steamed variety hence healthier. If you would like your paniyarams deep fried, you could fill the paniyaram mold pits with oil and deep fry the batter. This is tastier and crispier.

Crunchy Paniyaram made from adai batter

I tried making paniyaram with adai batter and it turned out to be excellent. While paniyarams made with idli batter are spongy, adai batter paniyarams are crunchy and crispy. Do try them out or else make a trip to Chennai.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Sweets, Tiffin, Vegan

Ela Ada (Sweet Parcels)

Ela ada and steamed plantain

Ela in Malayalam means leaf (in this case banana leaf) and ada means thick flat bread. Back home at Palakkad, ela ada is a  must item on the day of Thiruvonam (harvest festival in Kerala) and sure shot on the menu when special people visit home. Ela ada, although a little time consuming, is a fairly easy dish to make. Nothing can go wrong with an ela ada. A mix of coconut and jaggery cannot be anything short of yummy. Simply coat this with a rice paste and steam it, and these sweet parcels are ready.

Elai adai

The ela ada filling offers a lot of room for creativity. My mother makes three versions, to be precise 4. One with the jaggery and coconut filling; another with jaggery, coconut, and jackfruit jam filling; another with coconut and sugar filling; and the one with coconut and salt filling. I have heard that in other parts of Kerala ela ada is made with beaten rice, jaggery, and banana pieces as fillings. Although I have never had this, it definitely sounds interesting.

Another reason ela ada is so unique is because they are steamed and contain no oil. One can eat them without feeling guilty although diabetics need to watch out for all that jaggery! Still, its better than sugar intake.

On a day my mother decides to make ela ada, all of us are in high spirits. We split the chores and participate in all the tasks, especially hunting for the banana leaves, cleaning the leaves and tearing them into appropriate pieces, adequately drying them in the sun, grating the coconut, and spreading the rice batter on the leaves. The filling is irresistibly tasty and as soon as it is made, a good portion of it disappears quickly into our tummies. Enough ranting about the ela ada. Let’s look at how to make these wrapped up irresistibles.

Ingredients for filling:

Coconut – 1 (medium size)
Jaggery – 250 gms
Jack fruit jam/Chakka Varatti – 1 cup (optional)
Cardamom/Elaichi powder – 1/2 tsp
Water – 1/2 cup

Method:
Grate the coconut and keep aside. Heat a thick deep bottomed vessel (kadai). Pour water and add jaggery. Let it melt completely. Turn off the fire and sieve to remove dirt from the jaggery. Clean the kadai and pour the jaggery syrup into the kadai and turn on the heat to medium. The syrup starts foaming and then settles down to thicken. Add the grated coconut and stir. When the water reduces and mixture thickens, add the jackfruit jam and elaichi powder. Remove from fire.

This is the stage where my mother has to fiercely guard the filling from me lest there is none left when it is finally time to make the ada! <<wicked grin>> On a more serious note, this filling is extremely tempting and is as good to be had without any further additions.

Ingredients for rice paste:
Raw rice (or rice powder) – 250 gms
Water – As needed
Gingely oil/til oil (optional) – 1 tsp

Filling and rice batter

Method:
You can make the batter in two different ways. The first method is more preferable as it gives better results where the rice coating on the adai is softer and does not stick to the outer leaf at all.

Method 1: Heat a cup of water and bring to boiling point. Once it starts bubbling, turn off the heat and add small quantities to the rice flour use a ladle to mix the water into the rice flour. Add a pinch of salt. Mix well to make a soft and firm dough. The consistency should be similar to that of idiyappam dough or modakam dough. Keep aside.

Method 2: Wash the rice and soak it in water for around 2-3 hours. Grind to make a fine and smooth paste. The batter should not be too watery or very thick. The consistency should be such that you should be able to spread it on a leaf using the back of a spatula. If you are using rice powder, simply mix water to the rice powder to prepare the batter. Keep the batter aside. You can add the gingely oil to the batter at this stage. This is optional. Wash, clean, and cut the banana leaves into small rectangle or square pieces. Turn on the gas stove flame to medium and show the banana leaf over the flame lightly ensuring that the leaf turns color but does not get burnt. This makes the leaf flexible and it can be folded easily without it breaking or causing it to tear.

Take the banana leaf bit and spread it inner side facing up. Take a ladle full of rice batter and spread it across the leaf leaving half inch space free on all sides. The rice batter should be spread like a thick dosa. If you are using the first method to make a tight dough of the rice flour, you may take a fistful of rice dough and use your fingers to pat it gently and spread a thin layer of dough on the leaf.

spread the rice paste

Take a spoon full of the filling and place it on one side of the rice spread on the banana leaf. Spread the filling in such a way that half the area of the spread rice should have the sweet filling as a topping.

Add filling

Grab the two ends of the leaf where the rice batter is without topping and fold this to the other ends of the leaf. Now the leaf has one folded side and three open sides. Lightly fold the top of the leaf and then the sides of the leaf that are open to make a sealed packet.

Repeat these steps to make similar packets until you either run out of batter, filling, or leaves. Leftover filling is not a problem at all. It is so delicious by itself and can be finished in a jiffy!

If you run out of filling mid way, instead of the filling you could add some grated coconut and sprinkle a spoon of sugar and make these sweet parcels. If you have a diabetic in the house, you could add adequate salt to the leftover batter, spread it on the leaf, and add grated coconut. You see, there is a parcel for everyone!

Arrange the sealed packets on an idli stand and steam cook for around 10-15 minutes. Turn off and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.

Steamed ela ada

When you open the packet, if the filling or the rice batter sticks only to one side, then it means that it is adequately cooked.

Opened-elai-adaiSteamed pan poli

 

 

 

 

 

Ela ada - sugar version

The aroma of steamed banana leaf combined with jaggery, jackfruit jam, and rice is heavenly.

Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Kerala Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Sweets

Sweet Dosa

Samagni is back again after a long slumber! Times have changed. Monsoons are here. The summer treats like mangoes and jackfruit are not so easily found in the market. There are some but are not as tasty as they used to be in summer. When monsoons start, ripe jackfruits get soaked in the rain, and water seeps in through their thick skin making the fruit less sweet. That does not discourage jackfruit enthusiasts like me from sniffing out for them in the market and bringing them home. Only when you open the fruit, clean them out, and taste them do you realize they lack sweetness. But yet people like me need not lose hope. It can still be used to make mouthwatering stuff. One of which I had posted last year and another one that you can see below.

Sweet Jackfruit Dosa

Making a sweet jackfruit dosa is really simple. Grind a few jackfruit pieces along with soaked raw rice and jaggery. Make dosas crisp at the edges by sprinkling some ghee and they are yummilicious! so here we go:

Ingredients:
For grinding:
Jackfruit pieces: 1 cup
Raw rice soaked in water for 2 hours: 2 cups
Jaggery: 1 cup
Elaichi: 2 pods

While making dosa:
Ghee – 1 tbsp

Method:
Grind the jackfruit pieces along with raw rice, jaggery, and elaichi into a fine paste. Add sufficient water to get a normal dosa consistency.

Heat a dosa tawa in medium flame. A non-stick tawa would be ideal. When the tawa is adequately hot, lower the flame and spread half a teaspoon ghee on the tawa. Pour a ladle full of sweet dosa batter on to the tawa. Do not spread because the thinner the dosa, the more the chances of it sticking to the tawa. Cook in low flame. The sweetness of the dosa might cause it to stick to the tawa. Cook in low flame to avoid this. After a minute or so when you see the sides getting brown, pour some ghee on the dosa, and gently flip the dosa using a spatula. Cook for a minute. Remove from tawa and serve.

I feel that Keralites have the most varieties of recipes using jackfruit, both sweet and unripe. Do write to me if any of you know some unique jackfruit recipes. You know i am a die-hard jackfruit lover.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Idli Upma

A tasty and healthy evening snack that my amma makes from leftover idlis from morning breakfast.

Idli Upma

Ingredients:
Idlis (crumbled) – 2 idlis
Chopped shallots/onions– 2 tbsp
Curry leaves – 1 stalk
Green chillies – 1
Grated carrot – 2 tbsp
Chopped coriander leaves – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Oil and salt – As required
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Chutney powder/Podi (optional) – 1 tsp

Preparation Time: 2min
Cooking Time: 2min
Serves: 1

Method:
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add urad dal and let it turn red. Add curry leaves, chopped onion, and chopped green chilies. Saute until shallots turn pink. Add crumbled idli. Stir and cook for a minute. Turn off and garnish with chopped coriander leaves, grated carrot, and lime juice. If using chutney powder, garnish now. Can be eaten by itself or with chutney or sambhar.

At home, my brother and I used to fight for the roasted crumbs that stick to bottom of the pan. So to make sure you have enough of roasted crumbs, you can keep the upma on the pan and saute for a longer time.