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, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Tamarind Rasam Style Oatmeal

Simple, easy, tasty, and healthy. This recipe was on the Quaker Oats cover and I tried it with slight modifications and the result was good. This is a very easy option and good for people who don’t prefer a sweet breakfast of oats cooked in milk and sweetened with sugar/honey/jaggery.

Ingredients:
Rolled oats – 1 cup
Tomato – 1
Tamarind – small marble size
Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp (adjust as per taste)
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Garlic (chopped) – 1/2 tsp
Water – 3 cups
Curry leaves – few
Coriander leaves (chopped) – 1 tbsp
Oil – 1/2 tsp

Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Jeera powder/crushed jeera – 1/2 tsp
OR
Rasam powder – 1 tbsp

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

Method:
Soak the tamarind in half a cup of warm water. Keep aside for 5 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind to extract all the juice discarding only the remaining pulp and retaining the water.
Heat oil in a wok. Add mustard seeds and let them crackle.
Add chopped garlic and curry leaves. Let the garlic turn light brown.
Add coriander powder (you may replace this with rasam powder also).
Immediately add chopped tomato.
Stir and then add plain water and tamarind water.
Add jeera powder and pepper powder.
When water starts boiling, add rolled oats. Stir and cook until the oats gets cooked and the mixture thickens (approximately 5 minutes).
Garnish with coriander leaves.
Serve hot.

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

Avalakki Upkari (Mangalore Style Dry Poha)

Avalakki UpkariWhy maggi when you can cook a wholesome nutritious meal from scratch in less than 10 minutes? Avalakki Upkari is a recipe of coastal Karnataka. I tasted this first and learned about it from my colleague (Yes, the best part of going to office is the lunch time 😀 ). I was completely hooked to the humble yet brilliant taste. A great breakfast or evening snack that is easy to prepare. Probably as fast as maggi but beats maggi in taste and nutrition! Pair it with boiled sprouts and you have a perfect meal. 🙂

Ingredients:
Paper avalakki/paper poha/thin beaten rice flakes – 2 cups
Finely chopped onion – 1/4 cup
Coconut grated – 1/4 cup
Sugar – 1 tsp
Green chilli – 1
Coriander Leaves/Cilantro/Green Dhania – 2 tbsps
Salt as needed

For Tempering:
Coconut Oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves – 1 sprig
Turmeric a pinch

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 2 mins
Serves 2

Method:
In a large vessel, mix the beaten rice flakes, finely chopped onion, grated coconut, sugar, finely chopped coriander, and salt. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together.

Crackle mustard seeds in oil, add a pinch of turmeric, curry leaves, and chopped green chilly, and add this to the poha mixture. Mix well again using hands.

Notes:
1. Serve with boiled green mung dal (sprout for better nutrition) with a pinch of salt garnished with grated coconut and a tempering of mustard seeds.
2. You may add roasted peanuts to the poha.

Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Main Dish, Millet Recipes, South Indian, Vegan

Thinai (Foxtail Millet) Appam and Potato Mappas

Potato Mappas and Thinai AppamNever before have I thought of, collected info and ingredients, prepared, and executed a recipe with such urgency and efficiency. Appam is one of my favorite breakfasts and I wanted to try appam with Foxtail/Thinai millet. I was really excited about this gluten-free and healthy breakfast option. Soaked the ingredients (randomly without any reference), ground the batter yesterday evening. I tried to think of what side dish to prepare and suddenly remembered the vendakka mappas (a type of Okra stew, a typical Kerala preparation) curry that used to be my favorite while living in Kochi. Being unfamiliar with the dish since this is not prepared in our region, I read some recipes online and tried the same recipe with potato instead of okra. Both appam and mappas turned out to be excellent. Had to share this immediately with Samagni readers.

Foxtail Millet Appam

Ingredients:
Foxtail millet – 2 cups
Raw rice – 2 cups
Grated coconut – 1-1/2 cups
Cooked rice – 1-1/2 cups
Salt as needed
Water as needed
Sugar – 1 tsp (to be mixed with the batter next morning)
Yeast – 1 tsp (optional – i skipped this)

Preparation time: 10 mins
Soaking time: 4-5 hours
Grinding time: 10 mins
Fermentation time: Overnight (8-12 hours depending on the climate)
Makes roughly 20-22 appams

Method:
Soak the millet along with raw rice for about 4-5 hours. Using a mixer to grind this
along with grated coconut and cooked rice to a smooth paste by adding adequate amounts
of water. Make a batter of dosa battery consistency. Keep aside to ferment overnight. In
warmer regions, overnight fermentation is enough. But in colder regions, you may need to
add yeast and keep the batter at a warm place (near the stove or closer to the
refrigerator compressor). In the morning, add a teaspoon of sugar to the batter and mix
well.

To learn how to make appams, click here.

Notes:
I did not add yeast to the batter but yet it turned out fluffy and crisp at the edges. You may choose to add skip it.

Potato Mappas

Ingredients:
Potato – 300 gms, peeled and sliced 1″ lengthwise
Onion – 2 medium, thinly sliced
Tomato – 2 medium, thinly sliced
Green peas – 1/2 cup (optional)
Ginger – 1 tsp, thinly sliced 1-inch pieces
Garlic – 1 tsp, thinly sliced 1-inch pieces

Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp (you may use whole ingredients)
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Pepper powder – ¼ tsp (optional)
Green chilies – 2
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Coconut milk powder/coconut milk – 50 gms/1 cup (I used two 25 gm Maggi coconut milk
powder packets)
Salt as needed
Cardamom pod, clove, cinnamon (Optional)

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins
Serves 3-4

Method:
Heat oil (coconut oil is preferred because this is a Kerala dish) in a pan and add mustard seeds.
When mustard seeds splutter, add chopped ginger, garlic, slit green chilies, and curry leaves. Saute for a minute. If you are adding cardamom pod, clove, cinnamon, add it at this stage.
Add sliced onion and cook for 5 mins.
Add chopped tomatoes. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Add all the masala powders, i.e., coriander, chili, turmeric, pepper, garam masala. Saute and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add chopped potato and green peas. 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 green peas look well cooked. Add salt, cover and cook for 2 more minutes.

Mix the other coconut milk powder packet in half a cup milk. Add this thick coconut milk to the dish, simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from fire. Garnish with freshly ground pepper, if desired.

Notes:
You may use some cashew nuts while making mappas. Soak the cashew in warm water for 5-10 mins. Grind to a smooth paste and add this to the gravy when you add the first set of coconut milk.

Breakfast, Everyday Simple Recipes, Tiffin

Mango Cheese Sandwich

Its summer! Here is a quick breakfast sandwich to make the most out of your mango picks. Works well with kids of all ages.

Ingredients:
Ripe mango – 1
Bread slices (regular/whole wheat/multigrain)- 4
Cheese slices – 2
Amul salted butter – 1 tbsp

Method:
Wash, peel, and cut the mango into thin, flat slices. Keep aside.

Place an iron skillet on fire. Maintain fire in medium. Apply some butter on the skillet and place the bread slices. Roast only one side until light brown and crisp. Remove from the skillet and place on a plate. With the buttered crisp side of the bread facing up, place a cheese slice and layer mango slices liberally. Make sure that the mango/cheese touches the crusty side of the bread. Cover with a bread slice with buttered side facing the mango slices. Press the sandwich gently and cut it into two triangles or as desired. You can also leave the sandwich open face. You can add some black pepper for the zing if you don’t mind it crowding the mango experience.


This must be served immediately. Toast only one side so that the side that you bite into is soft. As you dig more, you meet the crust and the sweet and salty mango cheese combination.