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

Sprouted Ragi Dosa

A variety of grains are cultivated in India. The best way to taste and experience grain varieties is to travel through villages. Rice and wheat (which is what most people in the city consume) is a luxury for most villagers. Villagers survive on cheaper millets such as bajra (pearl millet), jowar (sorghum), nachni (finger millet/ragi), etc. Generally labeled as food for the poor, these humble yet powerhouse grains rich in minerals are the secret to the villagers’ health and longevity. These grains are diabetic-friendly and gluten-free too!

Ragi is staple food of many villages in south India and Maharashtra. Ragi is the first solid food that is given to most South Indian kids. Ragi is rich in calcium and an excellent source of fiber. Most families living in villages include ragi in some form or the other in their everyday meal. Authentic Karnataka ragi recipes include Ragi Mudde and Ragi Roti. Bakhri of Maharashtra is an equivalent of ragi roti of Karnataka. City markets have sophisticated items like ragi cookies, biscuits, khakra, and even ragi puttu powder! Popped ragi powder called ragi huri hittu is also something found in city markets and can be used to make sweets. Ragi malt drink is a popular in many Udupi restaurants. Ragi dosa is also popular although not very commonly seen in restaurants.

One way of making ragi dosa is to get readymade ragi flour from the market and make instant ragi dosas that do not require fermentation. But I wanted to make it using whole grains and try sprouting the grain. The process is time consuming but the taste and feeling of satisfaction makes it a truly worthy experience. Sprouting ragi takes roughly 32 hours (depending on the climate in your region). This dosa batter needs fermentation. So plan for your sprouted ragi dosa at least 2 days in advance.

Ingredients:
For Batter:
Ragi – 1 cup
Raw rice – 2 cups (I used unpolished red raw rice)
Urad dal – 3/4 cup
Salt to taste

For Mixing In Batter:
Chopped onion – ½ cup
Green chilly – 2
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup

For Dosa:
Cooking Oil as needed

Method:
Sprouting Ragi:
Wash and clean the ragi grains in water. Soak the grain overnight/8 hrs in a wide mouthed vessel. Colder climates may need more soaking time. After 8 hrs of soaking, remove excess water. Close the vessel using a thin wet cotton cloth. Leave it to rest for 10-12 hrs or up to 24 hrs. Within 10-12 hrs, you will notice sprouts appearing. The length of the sprouts will depend on the climate in your region. Since it’s cold at this time here, I could get only tiny sprouts.

Roughly 6 hrs before you want to make the batter, soak 2 cups of raw rice and 3/4 cup of urad dal separately. After 6 hrs, drain excess water. When your ragi sprouts are also ready, it’s time to make the batter.

Making batter:
Grind the urad dal to a smooth paste. Then grind raw rice and sprouted ragi and mix with ground urad dal. Add salt. Mix well using your hand (this aids in fermentation). Leave undisturbed overnight (8-10 hrs). Fermentation causes batter to rise. Ensure that you choose a vessel that has some space to allow the batter to rise. After 8-10 hrs the batter would have risen and is ready to be used.

Chop onions, curry leaves, coriander leaves, and green chillies finely. Add to the sprouted ragi dosa batter. Crush cumin seeds and add it to the batter. If you like the plain variety, you could avoid this step. Mix well.

Making Dosa:
Heat an iron griddle. When the griddle is adequately hot, turn fire to low, pour a drop of oil on the griddle, and spread it around using a cotton cloth. Take a ladle full of batter and using the flat bottom part of the ladle to spread the batter. Close the dosa on the griddle using a lid. Since raw rice is used in this batter, closing it with a lid aids in dosa getting cooked faster and makes it soft yet crispy. Turn the heat up to medium and cook the dosa for about half a minute. Remove the lid. When you see that the dosa edges have turned crisp and leaves the sides, drizzle half a teaspoon oil and flip over. Cook the other side for about half a minute. Remove from fire. Serve with sambhar, chutney, or podi. When served with sambhar, sprouted ragi dosa becomes a healthy and wholesome meal. Try experimenting and including this poor man’s grain in your diet. Benefits are many!

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

Sprouted Horsegram Curry (Mulappicha Muthiracurry)

One of the best ways to include fiber in our diet is to eat whole grains and legumes. Sprouted legume immensely increases the nutritive value of the food. Horse gram is a legume that is high in iron and a good source of protein. It is a fairly good source of calcium as well. Horse gram aids weight loss.

For many years I stuck to the familiar diet that is made at home; sambar, rasam, avial, moloshyam (dal curry), and so on. Recently I have been trying to experiment and include new ingredients in my diet. This is good for a variety of reasons. Most hereditary diseases are passed on due to dietary and lifestyle habits in a family. I personally believe that when you include new items in your diet, it reduces your chances of developing certain hereditary conditions/diseases.

Here is an experiment with horse gram that I am very satisfied with. A simple sprouted horse gram curry.

Ingredients:
Horse gram – 1 cup
Water – as needed
Tamarind – 1/2 lime sized
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste

For grinding:
Coconut – 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds/Jeera/Jeerakam – 1/2 tsp
Shallot – 1
Urad dal – 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies – 4-5

For tempering:
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Method:
Soak the horse gram in water for 6-8 hours. Drain the water and clean the horse gram. Remove all the non-viable ones. Keep the drained, wet horse gram covered in the same vessel for the next 8-12 hours. The sprouting time varies depending on the weather in your region. Wash the sprouted horse gram with clean water.

Pressure-cook the horse gram with water just enough to soak the sprouted horse gram. Horse gram is a tough legume and takes time to cook and needs cooking time of 2-3 whistles. After opening the pressure cooker lid, you can use a masher to mash some of the horse gram. This helps give a good gravy consistency to the curry. Add turmeric powder and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes. Soak tamarind in warm water, extract tamarind juice, and add to the cooked horse gram.

Meanwhile, pour a drop of oil in a pan and add urad dal. Roast until golden. Break the dry red chillies into 2-3 pieces and add it to the roasted urad dal. Roast for less than a minute and turn off. Grind this along with the shallot, jeera, and coconut. Add this to the cooked horse gram. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes. When the curry starts boiling and bubbling, turn off the fire. In a pan, splutter mustard seeds in coconut oil. Add curry leaves to the spluttered mustard seeds, turn off the fire, and add to cooked horse gram curry. Serve with hot rice or roti.

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

Steamed Red Poha Dumplings

A simple steamed breakfast/tiffin item that I learned from this blog.

Ingredients:
Red beaten rice flakes (aval/poha) – 2 cups
Grated coconut – 1 cup
Oil – 1 teaspoon
Mustard – 1/2 teaspoon
Chana dal – 1 tablespoon
Urad dal – 1 tablespoon
Asafoetida powder – 1/4 tsp
Curd chillies/green Chillies/dried red chillies – 2
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
Salt to taste

Method:
Wash the poha and soak it in clean water for about half an hour. Drain out all the water and keep aside.

Heat oil in an iron wok and add mustard. When the mustard starts to crackle, add chana dal, urad dal and asafetida powder. If you are adding curd chillies, add at this stage. When the dals turn light brown, add chopped green chillies/red chillies and curry leaves. Add the wet poha, add salt and mix well. Add grated coconut and mix. Ensure that you keep the flame low.

When the mixture cools down a bit, take a lemon-sized dough and make smooth round/oval balls (kozhukattai). Keep the balls in an idli plate and steam cook for about 5-7 minutes.

Serve with sambar or any chutney.

P.S.: You may use normal poha (white poha) also for this recipe. You would need to cut down the soaking time because white poha flakes are usually very light and soak easily.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Main Dish, South Indian, Vegan

Eggplant Rice – A One-Pot Meal

Recently I have been finding one-pot meals very interesting. I never used to like them earlier, only for the reason that I was not familiar with them. At home the only one-pot meal we knew was curd rice, tomato rice, lemon rice, and tamarind rice. Apart from these, I was not used to pilaf or biriyani simply because at home we do not use garam masala. Meal to us meant rice accompanied with a gravy and a subzi. It took me several years to get out of that comfort zone.

Karnataka cuisine has many varieties of one-pot meals. The first meal I had at MTR had some of these including Bisibele bath. Personally not a big fan of that one. But vangi bath or eggplant/brinjal rice has been a favorite ever since the first time. Eggplant rice is a very good option to make when you are expecting guests and need to make rice and roti-subzi. This one-pot meal does not need much preparation, can be made quickly, and gives you ample time to attend to other things. It is a convenient lunch to carry to schools and work places.

Let me add the disclaimer first! This recipe requires a special powder called Vangi Bath masala powder. Like many other ready-to-mix powders that are available in the market (most famous brand being MTR), this powder is also available. I am not sure if it is widely available like a puliyodarai mix! In this recipe, I have not explained how to make the vangi bath mix because I do not know how to. I bought the masala mix from my friendly neighborhood Iyengar’s Bakery that sells masalas, snacks, and some tasty dosas and meals.

Vangi bath masala mix can be prepared at home and has good shelf life. Aayis Recipe, a veteran food blogger’s version can be checked here. This one over here is good too.

Traditional recipe only uses brinjal but I used potato and capsicum as well. I quite loved the taste!

Ingredients:
Rice (raw rice/biriyani rice preferred) – 1 glass
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Brinjal – 2 medium sized
Potato – 1 medium sized
Capsicum – 1 medium sized
Green chillies – 2
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Vangi Bath mix – 1 tbsp
Roasted peanuts – 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves – a bunch
Curry leaves – 2 stalks
Lemon juice – of half a lime or as desired
Salt – as needed

Method:
Cook rice in a pressure cooker. Keep aside.

Wash and clean the vegetables. Peel potato, remove stalk from eggplant and capsicum. Cut in rectangular pieces (can be cut as desired). Separate the capsicum pieces from the brinjal and potato pieces. Split the green chillies. Keep aside.

Heat an iron kadai and pour oil. Add mustard seeds to the oil. After mustard seeds splutter, add cut brinjal, potato, curry leaves, and green chillies. Add turmeric powder. Stir well to coat oil on the vegetables and close with a lid. Cook for 5-7 minutes in slow fire stirring occasionally. At 5 minutes, add capsicum pieces. Cook for another 2 minutes or so until all vegetables are tender. Add vangi bath mix and salt. Stir for a minute and turn off fire. Add the cooked rice. If rice is very hot, it might break while mixing. So make sure that the rice has cooled down a little bit. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves, roasted peanuts, and lemon juice. Mix well. Serve with papad and raita.

I made mixed veg raita using cucumber, onion, carrot, curd, green chillies, coriander leaves, and salt. Makes a wholesome meal of carbs, cooked vegetables, fresh vegetables, curd for probiotic, and the fried papad to add a little bit of sin!

Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Pickles, South Indian

Coriander Chutney Powder/Kothamalli Chutney

Moms never cease to surprise! Just when you think you have tasted almost everything that your mom makes, there comes a new one. How I wish culinary skills were hereditary! So, the latest one that mom surprised me with is a coriander chutney powder. This spicy chutney powder is made with lentil and fresh herbs. It is easy to make and totally irresistible.

Ingredients:
Fresh curry leaves – 1/2 cup
Fresh coriander leaves – 2 cups
Dry red chillies – 5-6
Urad dal – 1/2 cup
Tamarind – small lime size
Asafoetida – 1 tsp, if powder; about one-inch piece, if using whole asafoetida.
Salt to taste

Method:
Clean coriander leaves and curry leaves using water and wipe dry with a towel. Remove curry leaves from stalk and keep aside. Chop coriander and keep aside.

In a thick bottomed pan, dry roast urad dal until it turns light brown. If you are using asafoetida powder, add it to the urad dal just before you remove the urad dal from fire and lightly roast. Remove from the pan and keep aside. Add the red chillies to the pan and dry roast until the raw smell is lost and the red chillies start turning black. Ensure that flame is in ‘low’ because chillies can get burnt easily. If you are adding whole asafoetida, dry roast it until it swells and starts giving out flavor. Remove from pan and keep aside.

In the same pan, add the curry leaves. Dry roast until the curry leaves start turning crisp but retain the green colour. Before you start grinding the ingredients, ensure that the mixer jar is completely dry. Add the roasted urad dal, asafoetida, and dry red chillies to the mixer jar and grind until the ingredients turn into a coarse powder. At this stage, add the curry leaves and grind again. When the curry leaves are also ground, add fresh (but dry) coriander into the jar and grind again until all the green leaves are powdered well. Add salt and tamarind and grind again until all the ingredients are ground and mixed well. Remove from the jar. Adjust the salt to taste. Freshly ground chutney powder might be a little moist because of the use of fresh coriander leaves. You could even make tiny balls out of the ground powder or store it in powder form.

Transfer the ground chutney powder into clean, dry jar. Refrigerate and use. This will last up to a month. This chutney powder can come to your rescue on a lazy day when you are too lazy to make an elaborate meal. Just make rice and serve this chutney powder with warm rice, ghee, and pappad. You will not miss sambhar or any other subzi! You can try this chutney powder with idli/dosa also.

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

Tangy Poha

Here is a tangy variety of poha that almost tastes like puliyodarai. I tasted this at a friend’s house and soon after tasting the first spoon, me and my mother were after my friend and her mother-in-law to get the recipe secret out. I tried making it soon enough so that I don’t forget the ingredients. Dry roasted and powdered whole masala ingredients are used for this recipe. Store this powder in an air tight container and then making this tangy poha is just a matter of few minutes. Let’s look at how tangy poha is made.

Ingredients:
Poha (beaten rice flakes/aval) – 6 cups
Tamarind juice – from a lime-sized tamarind ball
Water (optional, only enough to lightly moisten the poha)
Jaggery powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

For masala:
Coriander powder – 2 tbsp
Fenugreek (uluva) – 1/2 tsp
Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder – 1 tsp
Black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Asafetida – 1/2 tsp

For seasoning:
Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp (optional)
Chana dal – 1 tsp (optional)
Roasted Peanuts – one fistful
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp

For garnish:
Coriander leaves – 4-5 stalks
Curry leaves – 2 stalks

Method:
Soak tamarind in half a glass of water and extract the juice. Choose the amount of tamarind very carefully. If you feel later that it is not sufficient, you can add lime juice to balance the taste.

Grind the poha in a mixer to make a coarse powder (slightly bigger than rawa consistency). Transfer to a large bowl and keep aside. Mix the tamarind juice along with water and salt to moisten the poha. Use water carefully because the poha should just be sufficiently moistened. The consistency should be moist powdery but neither lumpy nor dry. Add jaggery powder. Mix well. Jaggery helps balance the tanginess and enhances the taste. Keep aside for 10 minutes. Since I used matta rice variety of beaten flakes, I could not get a fine powdery version. The white rice variety helps you get a nice powdery version.

If you are using whole masala ingredients, dry roast each ingredient separately and powder them. I used powders except for fenugreek and jeera. Dry roast fenugreek and jeera in an iron kadai. Powder the roasted ingredients using a mortar and pestle before it cools down. Dry roast the remaining ingredients (coriander powder, black pepper powder, chilly powder, asafetida) together in the iron kadai in low flame for about 2 minutes until the raw smell is gone. Add the powdered fenugreek and jeera to this roasted masala and mix well.

In an iron kadai, pour oil and crackle mustard seeds. If you prefer to add urad dal and chana dal, you can add them now. When the dals turn red, add curry leaves and peanuts. Roast for a minute. Add the masala powder along with turmeric powder and stir for half a minute. Add the powdered poha. Stir and cook for about two minutes. Add coriander leaves. Tangy poha is ready.

An extremely easy alternative is to use readymade Puliyodarai mix for this recipe. Coarsely grind the rice flakes using a mixer. Add sufficient salt and water to this coarsely ground powder and moisten the powdered rice flakes. In a kadai, heat oil and crackle mustard seeds. Add sufficient puliyodarai paste to this oil and mix well. Cook for a minute. Add the moistened rice flakes powder to this. Mix well and serve.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Side Dishes, South Indian, Vegan

Chakkakuru Mezhukkupuratti – Jackfruit Seed Stir Fry

We Indians dont need lessons in frugality. Every tiny thing that can be used will be utilized and will not be wasted. When a ripe jackfruit is cut at home, the fruit is deseeded and eaten. The outer covering of the fruit is given to cattle. Cows love munching on the thick outer covering leftovers. So now the only thing that remains is the jackfruit seed. In mallu land, we make chakkakuru mezhukkupuratti (jackfruit seed stir fry) which is a very easy and tasty dish. It is also added to many different subzis such as avial. Jackfruit seeds are rich in protein, antioxidants, good sources of riboflavin and thiamine, and good for the skin, complexion, and hair.

Ingredients:
Jackfruit seeds – 15-20
Onion/Shallots- 1/10 shallots
Dry red chillies/Red chilly powder – 2 Nos/1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Water – 1 cup
Salt – To taste
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp

Method:
There are two ways to clean and prep the jackfruit seeds to make this dish.

Method 1 – Like potatoes, jackfruit seeds take some time to cook. The easiest way to cook jackfruit seeds is to pressure cook them for one whistle along with some amount of water. After pressure cooking the seeds, remove excess water and the off-white outer covering of the seed. Beneath the off-white peel is a dark brown covering. This can be retained. Dice into desired shape (long pieces or into cubes).

Method 2: This is the method I often follow. Place the seeds on a newspaper and place this on the floor. Use a pestle to pound the seeds lightly with force just enough to crush them. The peel comes off easily. Cut into desired shape. Cook them in a pan along with water until they turn soft.

 

You can either grind the onion and red chilies into a smooth paste or you can use finely chopped onion and red chilly powder.

Heat a thick bottomed frying pan and pour oil. Add mustard seeds. After the mustard seeds splutter, add the onion paste/finely chopped onion and curry leaves. Fry until chopped onion is soft/onion paste loses its raw smell. Add the cut jackfruit seeds and salt. Stir fry for about 10 minutes. You might need to add more oil if you want the edges to turn crisp. Serve as a dry subzi along with rice.

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