Bachelor-friendly, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Soups, Vegan

Carrot Almond Soup

A hot soup is just right for the season. Slight sweet taste of the carrot and onions counterbalanced by the zing of pepper. This version does not use a broth/stock, so has less cooking time but is creamy and tasty.

IngredientsIngredients:
Carrots – 2 medium-sized carrots
Onion – 1
Almonds – 15-20
Garlic cloves – 2-3
Cinnamon – 1 ”
Cloves – 2-3
Cooking oil – 1 tsp
Water – 3 cups
Dill/basil leaves – 1-2 for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 30 mins
Serves: 2 people

Method:
Soak the almonds overnight. An alternate and quick way is to add boiling water to the almonds, keep them closed for 30 mins. Peel them by gently holding the soaked almond in between your thumb and other fingers and nudging the peel gently. Keep aside.

Carrot almond soupWash, clean, and scrub the carrots lightly. Do not peel. Carrot peel is rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Heat oil in a vessel. Add chopped garlic and saute. When they turn pale, add chopped onion, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. When the onion turns pink, add chopped carrot. Saute for 2 mins. Add water. Close the vessel with a lid and let it cook for 10-15 mins. Discard the cinnamon stick and cloves. Let it cool. Strain the vegetables and retain the water in the vessel. Puree the carrot-onion mixture along with 15 pieces of almonds. Reserve 5 for dressing.

Pour the pureed carrot-onion mixture back into the vessel containing cooked water. Let it simmer on medium heat for 5-6 mins. Add salt, crushed peppercorns, and mix well. Garnish with basil leaves and almond pieces. Serve with bread/croutons.

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!

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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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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Everyday Simple Recipes, Side Dishes

Onion Tomato Subzi

When you have to make roti subzi for just one person, what subzi do you make? Here is a simple one with very few ingredients that you can prepare in 5-7 minutes.

Ingredients:
Onion (medium) – 1
Tomato (medium) – 1
Garlic – 1 pod (optional)
Hing/asafetida – a pinch
Turmeric – a pinch
Chilly powder – 1/2 tsp
Cooking oil – 2 tsps
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Grated coconut – 1 tbsp (optional)
Coriander leaves – 1-2 (optional)

Method:
Peel the garlic and onion. Chop garlic, onion, and tomato into small pieces. Pour oil into an iron wok. Crackle mustard seeds. Add chopped garlic. When they turn brown, add chopped onion. Saute for 2 minutes. Add turmeric powder, chilly powder, and hing powder. Add chopped tomato. Saute for 2 more minutes. Add salt and turn off. Add grated coconut and chopped coriander leaves if preferred. Serve with roti.

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Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Side Dishes, Vegan

Stuffed Brinjal

Another stuffed vegetable that is very similar to the previous one. I have always been a brinjal fan. Isnt it one of the prettiest of vegetables? What a color! When I buy sarees for my mother, I always look for the aubergine or the brinjal flower color because that’s her favorite! Man has not yet mastered the art of replicating the colors of Nature very well, yet we take pride in saying that we came close. Whether it is the purple brinjal or the unique green long brinjal variety, the streaked purple and white ones, or the ivory white one; all taste excellent when cooked with the right ingredients. Who can resist the smell of the smoky bhartha baingan?

Stuffed brinjal is easy to make and makes good accompaniment for rotis or puris. You can go crazy with your imagination and use anything you fancy for the masala of this recipe. Make this one and you will fall in love with brinjal.

Ingredients:
Brinjal (purple small round ones) – 250 gms
Cooking oil (sunflower) – 2 tbsps
Coriander leaves – a bunch
Salt – to taste

For masala:
Onion – 2 (medium sized)
Peanuts – 2 tbsp
Sesame seeds – 1 tbsp
Grated coconut / Copra pieces – 2 tbsp
Garlic – 3-4 cloves
Tamarind – 1 lime size
Jaggery – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder – 2 tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:

Please make sure that you use the small purple brinjal variety to make this dish. Wash the brinjal and pat them dry using a cloth. Make slits that cross each other while keeping the stem intact. Ensure that there is no dirt/worms. Keep aside.

Peel and cut the onion. In a pan, dry roast the grated coconut / copra and peanuts. Set aside.
Add one tbsp oil and add chopped onion, garlic, tamarind and saute well. After the onion turns pink, add turmeric power, chilly powder, jaggery, and salt. You may add anything you fancy, like coriander powder, garam masala, or ginger garlic paste instead of garlic. Turn off the flame and let the mixture cool. Grind this to a fine paste in a blender. Add just enough water so that the paste is not too loose. Carefully stuff this paste into the slit brinjal so that the paste of masala coats the insides of the brinjal. If you choose to and have the time and patience, you can keep this aside for half an hour before you start cooking the brinjal. I did not do this and cooked the stuffed brinjal straightaway after stuffing them with the masala.

In a thick bottomed pan, pour 2 tbsp of cooking oil and place the slit brinjal with masala stuffing. Close with a lid. Hold the brinjal stem and turn them over occasionally to cook all sides until the brinjal is tender (about 10-15 minutes on medium fire). If you prefer some gravy for the dish, you can make the masala slightly watery and that will make the dish watery. If you prefer it tangy, you can cook the stuffed brinjal in tomato puree. When the brinjal is tender, remove from fire, and add chopped coriander leaves. Serve with rotis or warm rice.

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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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