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

Roasted Sweet Potato Chaat

Sweet potatoes never existed in my mind. I remember eating boiled sweet potato long back. I remember those rare times when we used to cook using firewood, these sweet potatoes were buried under hot coal. The peel was removed from the charred baked sweet potatoes and then eaten. It has been too long since then, and sweet potatoes had long been forgotten but the smell of the charred sweet potato remained in my memory. Few days back I happened to read about the benefits of sweet potato. Sweet potato has complex carbohydrates and is high in nutrition with protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium. So thought I should try to include it in my diet. Boiled sweet potato sprinkled with rock salt did not fascinate me. So I tried to give it a little more sophisticated twist and now I am addicted to this recipe. Simple and easy to make and retains all the goodness. You will surely love this one.

Ingredients:
Sweet potatoes – 400 gm
Cooking oil – 2 tbsp
Red chilly powder – 1/4 tsp
Chaat masala – 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice from 1 lemon
Coriander leaves – few
Salt to taste

All ingredients are to taste and can be varied as per personal preference.

Preparation Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins (Includes pressure cooking time of 20 mins)
Serves: 2

Method:
Boil sweet potato. I pressure cooked it to one whistle. Peel and slice into round pieces. Pour oil on a hot tawa. Place the sliced sweet potato pieces on the tawa and roast until sides turn crisp. Flip the potato pieces and roast the other side also. When both sides are crisp enough, remove and place on an absorbent tissue paper. Put all the roasted pieces into a bowl and sprinkle red chilly powder, salt, chaat masala, and add lemon juice. Toss until all pieces get coated with the powders and lemon juice. Garnish with coriander leaves. Roasted sweet potato is ready to serve.

If you have a microwave, you could lightly brush the boiled sweet potato with butter and make sweet potato wedges in the oven. Since I am not familiar with the microwave, I do not know how exactly to do this. If you are familiar with cooking potatoes in the oven, you could follow the same steps with sweet potatoes as well.

Festival Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Uppu Kozhukattai – Savory Modak

Life in the village is more joyful during festival times. You get to taste pooja offerings from temples and neighbors. I used to particularly look forward to Ganesh Chathurthi when one of my favorite items was made – Kozhukattai. I cherish the sweet ones. Along with the sweet ones, mami (my neighbor) would make savory kozhukattais too. As a kid, I was not fond of savory items. With Ganesh Chathurthi approaching, I remembered and missed mami’s Uppu Kozhukattai (savory kozhukattai). A bit of googling and checking for recipes and I made my version of uppu kozhukattai. This is offered to Lord Ganesh on his birthday along with the sweet kozhukattai variety. The salty ones are shaped differently so that it is easy to distinguish between the two varieties. I warn you that you need to have at least an hour and a half in hand to make these steamed delights. So here is uppu kozhukattai.

Ingredients:
For Dough:
Appam/Idiayappam podi (rice powder available in leading markets) – 2 cups
Water – 2-1/2 cups
Salt  as needed
Sesame oil – 1 tsp

For Filling:
Urad dal (Black/white) – 1/2 cup
Chana dal – 1/2 cup
Green chili – 1
Dry red chili – 1
Hing – a pinch
Jeera – 1 tsp
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup

Dill leaves finely chopped (optional) – 1/4 cup
Salt as needed
Oil (coconut/sunflower) – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Method:
Soak the dals for one hour. Grind along with the chilies, hing, and salt to a coarse paste. Use very little water. The paste should not be watery. Make lemon-sized balls out of this coarse paste. Place in an idli stand and steam in a cooker for about 15 mins. Turn off and take out the steamed dal. Let it cool for couple of minutes. Use your hands to crush them into small pieces. Ensure that there are no lumps.

Keep a wok on fire, pour oil and splutter mustard seeds. Add curry leaves and then add the crushed steamed dal pieces and stir for 2 minutes. Turn off fire. Crush jeera and add this and grated coconut to the cooked dal mixture. If you are adding dill leaves, add them now. Mix well and keep aside.
Tip: Always make the filling first then make the dough for the outer covering. This ensures that the rice dough does not get dried up.

Take the rice powder in a wide vessel. Add salt. In a pot, boil water to boiling point (bubbling hot). Carefully add small quantities of boiling water to the rice powder. Stir using a flat ladle, mix well, to make a soft, smooth, elastic, half-cooked dough. Be very careful with the amount of water you add. Towards the end, use your hands to roll the dough into a tight yet smooth, elastic, and pliable mass. Cover the vessel in which the dough is kept with a clean and moist cloth. This is to avoid the surface drying up.

Grease your hands lightly with some sesame oil. Take small lime-sized quantities of the rice dough and use your palms to make small rounds. Use your fingers to flatten the balls to make small cups (about 2 inches diameter). When you flatten to make cups, make sure that the thickness of the dough is even. Take about a teaspoon of the steamed dal filling and place it towards one half of the flattened dough. Take the other half of the flattened dough and carefully bring the edges together to seal and make a half moon shaped stuffed pouch that is sealed from the edges properly.

Repeat to make more such kozhukattais. I find so much joy in making kozhukattai. It takes so much care, focus, and attention to make a good looking kozhukattai. What else can be a better gift to God and your loved ones than your time and attention?

When you have finished making all of them, place them carefully in a steamer/pressure cooker (without weight). It is okay if they are placed one on top of the other but ensure none of the kozhukattai touches the edges of the steamer. Steam in medium heat for about 10-15 mins. Open the lid. Well-cooked kozhukattais will look glossy but would have turned pale in color. Take out from the steamer and wait to cool (2 mins). Kozhukattais will be sticky if you handle them immediately after taking out of the steamer. So ensure that you wait for a couple of minutes.

Soft uppu kozhukattais are ready.

Notes: It is very important that you use the right kind of raw rice powder for this recipe. Otherwise, your kozhukatai might break or become hard. It should be raw rice that is finely powdered and not a coarse powder.
Always make the filling first then make the dough for the outer covering. This ensures that the rice dough does not get dried up.
Remember to lightly grease the steamer plate/idly tray in which you arrange the kozhukatai for steaming. This ensures that they don’t stick to the plate.
After the kozhukatais are steamed, turn off the heat and take out the plate/idly tray of kozhukatai. Let it cool off a bit. Wait for a couple of minutes before you touch them because they would be delicate due to all the steam and and heat and tend to break easily.

For modaks that will stay soft and fresh for more than 24 hours, you can follow another method to make the dough. This is explained here.
You can also make a different filling by substituting the urad and chana dal with mung dal.

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Salads, Snacks, Vegan

Chickpea Salad

Chaat or salad? You decide. A recipe that you can put together easily and pass on as a snack or as a salad before a full-course meal.

Ingredients:
Chickpeas – 2 cups
Onion – 1
Lemon – 1
Green chillies – 1
Coriander leaves – 1 bunch
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Olive oil – 1 tsp
Salt as needed

Method:
Soak the chickpeas for about 8 hours. Sprouting the chickpeas is even better. Pressure cook the chickpeas with salt in adequate water until soft.

Chop onion finely. Split the green chilly, remove the seeds, and chop finely. You could add crushed peppercorns instead of green chilly. Chop coriander leaves.

Crush the cumin seeds. Extract lime juice. Add lime juice and crushed cumin seeds to olive oil to make a salad dressing.

Add the finely chopped onion, green chillies, and coriander leaves to the boiled chickpeas. Add the salad dressing to this and toss to mix. Adjust salt if needed.

You could add tomato and cheese to this salad.

Recipe source: {++}

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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.

Breakfast, Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Dosas, Everyday Simple Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Sprouted Mung Bean Dosa (Pesarattu) and Coconut Chutney

A nutritious kick start for the day leaves you feeling good the entire day. Pesarattu or sprouted mung bean dosa is an Andhra native. I had never tried this dosa though I had seen it on restaurant menus. My sister-in-law, a girl born and brought up in Karnataka, was recovering from a bad bout of fever for which she was on antibiotics and steroids. When I asked her what special care she took to regain good health, she told me about the mung dosa she makes. Usually pesarattu is made of soaked mung bean. She makes it with sprouted mung and adds peanuts too while grinding the batter. I tried her version of pesarattu today and I loved it. So here is the recipe.

Ingredients:
For grinding:
Mung bean (green gram/cheru payar) – 2 cups
Raw rice – 1/2 cup
Onion (medium size) – 1 (optional)
Ginger – 1/2 inch
Coriander leaves – 5-7 stalks
Hing – 1/2 tsp
Jeera – 1/2 tsp
Green chilies – 3-4
Salt – as needed
Water – as needed

For cooking:
Oil – 1 tbsp

Method:
Ingredients

Wash and soak the mung bean in water for 8 hours or overnight. After 8 hours, drain the water and keep the wet mung beans in the same vessel for the next 24 hours. You will see sprouts coming out within 12 hours. You can keep it longer (24 hours) to get longer sprouts.

Soak raw rice in water for 3-4 hours. Grind sprouted mung bean and soaked raw rice along with onion, ginger, coriander leaves, hing, jeera, green chillies, and salt to make a fine paste. Add sufficient water to the batter. Do not make it too loose. This is an instant dosa batter and does not need fermentation.

making pesarattuHeat a griddle and spread a ladle full of batter on the griddle. Maintain medium heat. Drizzle 1/2 tsp of oil on the spread batter/dosa. When the sides of the dosa start turning brown (less than a minute), gently flip over the dosa using a spatula. Cook for less than a minute. Flip over to check if the dosa has become golden brown. Serve with chutney/sambar or milaga podi/gun powder. If you prefer a topping for this dosa, after you spread the dosa, you can sprinkle finely chopped onion and coriander or even cheese. Gently spread and press the onion and coriander pieces to the dosa using a spatula. Be careful when you flip the dosa over so that these pieces do not fall off. If you are adding cheese, add shredded cheese to the dosa only after it is full cooked, just before you take it off the griddle.

DSC05254

You can refrigerate this dosa batter for 3-4 days.

I made coconut chutney spiced with green chilies and ginger to go along with this dosa.

Ingredients:

Grated coconut – 1/2 of a medium-sized coconut
Green chilies – 3
Ginger – 1/4 inch
Coriander leaves – 5-6 stalks
Water – as needed
Salt – as needed

Method:
green coconut chutneyWash the green chilies, coriander leaves, and ginger. Be careful about the amount of ginger you use. Ginger can make the chutney fiery. I am not a ginger fan. So I usually use just enough to get a hint of ginger. If you like to use more ginger, use less of green chilies. Grind all the ingredients using sufficient water. I did not do a tadka for this chutney, but if you prefer a tadka, you can heat mustard seeds and urad dal in some oil. When the mustard seeds splutter and the urad dal turns red, add curry leaves to the oil and mix well with the chutney.

mung dosa served with green coconut chutney

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