Dals/OzhichuKootaan/Saaru, Everyday Simple Recipes, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Vegan

Cheera Moloshyam (Spinach Dal Curry)

A healthy and tasty spinach/amaranth leaves and dal combo that tastes good with rice. Does not have too many spices, a simple, no-frills curry. I make this often as it is easy. It is a dish you can cook when you are not in a mood to make side dishes. This serves as a sumptuous dish and goes well with rice and chappathi. Also called molagoottal in Tamil, this is a dish Palakkad Iyers make often.

Cheera moloshyam

Ingredients:
Spinach/amaranth leaves/cheera/keerai/palak – 3 tightly packed cups
Tur dal/split yellow mung dal – 3/4 cup
Water – 2 cups
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Coconut oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

To grind:
Grated coconut – one cup
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Dry red chilies – 3 or 4
Shallots* – 1

Alternatives:
Shallots is an optional ingredient. You may use any green leafy vegetable available in the Indian market to make this dish.

Method:
Clean the dal, add water, and pressure cook. Mash and keep aside.

In a wok, add few drops of oil and add urad dal. Roast the dal and then add the dry red chilies. Turn off the fire and keep aside.

Wash, clean, and chop the spinach. In a wok, cook the spinach with water and some turmeric powder.

Close with a lid while cooking. This will ensure that the nutrients are not lost while cooking. Cook in medium fire for not more than 5 mins. When the spinach is cooked, add the mashed dal into the spinach, mix well, and cook for 2 mins.

In a mixer, grind the grated coconut, cumin seeds, shallots, and the roasted urad dal and red chilies.

Add this ground paste to the spinach and dal in the wok. Add salt, mix well, and cook for 2 mins and turn off.

Crackle mustard seeds in some oil and add that to the cooked spinach and dal. Cheera moloshyam is ready. Serve with rice.

Notes:
An alternative to adding the ground coconut, roasted dal, and red chilly paste is to add finely chopped onions sautéed in oil.

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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.

Breakfast, Dosas, Indian, Palakkad Iyer Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Ada Dosa

Instant, crispy, filling, spicy, hot and healthy! Served with avial, jaggery, and butter – a beautiful blend of the Tamil and Malayalam food culture. Perfect breakfast for cold winter mornings. You need that sesame oil intake to keep your skin supple and moist during winter. Lentils, shallots, curry leaves, and asafetida make this a very healthy and protein-rich breakfast. Remembering my grandmother, Rukmini, and my valiamma, Madhavi, who were famous for their special ada dosa (at home we call this varatti). Relatives who are planning to visit would inform in advance so that my aunt can prepare and be ready with the batter. Both and grandma and valiamma wouldn’t use a ladle to spread the thick batter on the hot dosa tava. They would spread it with their hand. I think their love found way into the food also!

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Preparation Time:
(for batter):  10 min, previous night.
Cooking Time: 5 min.

Ingredients:
To Soak Overnight
Raw rice – 1/2 cup
Parboiled rice – 1 cup
Bengal gram(Chana dal, Kadala parippu) – 1/4 cup

At the Time of Grinding the Batter
Black gram(Urad dal, Uzhunnu parippu)* – 1/4 cup
Peeled Shallots* (cheriya ulli) – 1 cup
Dried Red chillies OR powder* – 8 – 10 nos or as required
Curry leaves – 5-6 stalks
Oil [preferably sesame(til)] – 2 tablespoons
Salt

*Alternatives:
Red chilly – Red chilly powder or Green chilly
Shallots – Onion can be used but does not give the same taste. Shallots can be substituted with asafoetida also.
Black gram – White urad dal can be used and does not affect the taste.

Method:
Wash and soak the raw rice, parboiled rice, and chana dal overnight.
Grind the dals and rice along with shallots, red chillies, and curry leaves to make a coarse paste. Ensure that the batter is very coarse and not watery. Add salt. The trick to get the right consistency is to remove all water from the soaked rice and grind with very little water.

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Heat griddle and pour about a full ladle of batter on to the griddle.

Spread the batter around by patting with a flat spoon to a make a circle. The fire should be on high.

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Add a tsp of oil around the dosai and let it cook for about a minute.

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Flip the dosai and cook in medium heat for another minute.

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Smells Yummy!
Serve hot directly onto the plate!

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List of accompaniments:
Sambhar, chutney, or butter.

Health Benefits/Alerts:
You can store this batter in the fridge for 2-3 days. Those who prefer sour dosai can let the batter ferment for 5-6 hours and then use it.

This is a very healthy diet. The use of asafoetida/shallots helps in easy digestion. Curry leaves have a great cleansing effect on the intestines. Weight watchers should watch out for the butter they eat with the Ada Dosai though!

Trivia:
This recipe is a beautiful blend of the Tamil and Malayalam food culture. Everyone in our family, irrespective of age, has been a huge fan of Ada dosai. And all new additions to the family have come around to liking it equally well. Its all about the smell….!!

Skill Level:
Medium

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Breakfast, Dosas, Kerala Recipes, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Methi Leaf Dosa

Soft, instant, healthy, and appetizing dosa.

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Ingredients:
To Soak
Raw rice – 2 cups

At the time of grinding the batter:
Shallots* (peeled) – 1/2 cup
Dry red chillies – 6-8
Salt

After grinding the batter:
Methi/fenugreek/uluva leaves– 2 cups
Gingely oil – 2 tablespoons

*Alternatives:
Red chilly – Red chilly powder
Shallots – Onion can be used but does not give the same taste.

Preparation Time (for batter): 10min
Cooking Time: 5min.

Method:
To Make Batter:
Wash and soak the raw rice for 4-5 hours.
Grind the rice along with the peeled shallots and red chillies. The batter should be smooth and neither too thin nor thick. Add enough water to the batter to get a spread-able consistency. Chop methi leaves and add it to the batter. Add salt. Mix well.

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Heat griddle and pour about a full ladle of batter on to the griddle. Spread the batter around carefully using the bottom of the ladle. Maintain low fire while spreading the dosa.

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Close the dosa with a lid. The fire should be on medium.

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Remove the lid after about 40 seconds to a minute.

Pour 1/2 tsp oil around the dosa and flip it over. The dosa does not need to be closed with the lid now. Let it cook for about 30 seconds.
Serve hot directly onto the plate!

List of accompaniments:
This tasty dosa can be had on its own. The spicier tongue can have sambhar or chutney along with it.

Health Benefits/Alerts:
You can store this batter in the fridge for 2-3 days. Those who prefer sour dosai can let the batter ferment for 5-6 hours and then use it.
This is a very healthy diet and saves the hassle of making sambhar or grinding chutney. Tastes great even when cold. Shallots and methi leaves add to the unique flavor of this dosa and make it nutritious.
Spreading this dosa on the griddle can be a little tricky and needs some expertise.

Trivia:
This recipe is a family specialty. The traditional choice for methi leaves is drumstick leaves. Since they are not available where I live, I use methi leaves. This dosa needs a medium level expertise in dosa making. It can be slightly tricky for a beginner to spread this batter. Since only raw rice is used, the batter tends to stick to the griddle if the fire is too high. The key is to maintain low fire while spreading the batter.

Skill Level:

Medium

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Chutneys/Thogayals/Dips/Podis, Kerala Recipes, South Indian

Onion & Coconut Chutney

Chutney to add spice to crisp dosa or soft fluffy idlis.

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Ingredients:

Shallots* (chopped) – 15-20
Garlic* (finely chopped) – 1 pod
Red chilies – 3
Curry leaves – 1-2 stalks
Coriander leaves – 1-2 stalks
Coconut (scraped/cut) – 1 medium cup
Oil and salt – As required

* In case any of these ingredients are unavailable, check the alternate ingredients section for other options.

Alternatives:
Onions (medium-sized) – 2
Garlic is optional

Preparation Time: 5min.

Cooking Time: 5min.

Method:
Heat Oil in a pan. Add finely chopped garlic and sauté. Add onions and red chilies. Fry till Onion turns into golden brown. Add curry leaves and coriander leaves before turning off the fire. Turn off the fire and add coconut and salt.

Grind the fried mixture in a blender first without adding water. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water and blend it well. Be careful about the amount of water you add. The chutney should not be watery. The texture of the chutney should be coarse.

List of accompaniments:
Tastes great with idlis and dosas.

Skill Level:
Low