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.

aval kozhukattai

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 Chilies/dried red chilies – 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.

Red Poha Kozhukattai doughHeat 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 chilies, add at this stage. When the dals turn light brown, add chopped green chilies/red chilies 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, Everyday Simple Recipes, Indian, Snacks, South Indian, Tiffin, Vegan

Tangy Poha

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.

Masala for tangy pohaIf 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.

TangypohaIn 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 ready-made 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.

Indian, Kerala Recipes, Snacks

Colocasia Tuber Wafers

Last year around the same time I posted yam wafers and had promised I will post recipes using colocasia very soon. Well it took me a year!

Your chance of finding them in the market is minuscule. Only way to taste them is to try them out at home. So here goes recipe for colocasia wafers.

Ingredients:
Chembu kizhangu (taro tuber/colocasia tuber/arvi) – 1 kg
Oil (sunflower/coconut/cooking oil) – 250 ml
Salt – 2 tbsp
Water – Half a glass

Method:
Wash and scrape to remove the outer skin of the tubers. Slice the tubers to thin pieces using a slicer. Colocasia tubers are sticky in nature. Take care to separate the sliced pieces so that they do not stick to each other.

Mix the salt in half a glass of water and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a thick iron wok. When the oil smell hits you and the oil is hot enough, adjust the flame to medium and then drop a bunch of sliced pieces (as much as the oil can hold) into the oil. If you put more than the oil can hold, the slices will not cook properly.

The oil starts to bubble as soon as you put the slices. The bubbles reduce steadily as the slices get cooked and when they are properly cooked and crisp enough, the oil will not have any bubbles at all. This is one way of judging whether the slices are cooked or not. Of course, the slices turn brown in color too. Stir occasionally using a spatula. In medium heat, it takes at least 4-5 mins for the pieces to get cooked. The pieces turn golden and clink against the spatula. At this stage, turn down the heat to low and pour a teaspoon of salt water into the oil. Ensure that you stand a little away from the wok while doing this as this causes bubbles and splutter in the oil. When the bubbles die down, remove the slices from oil and spread them on to a tissue paper/newspaper to absorb extra oil. Turn the heat medium and repeat the process to make more chips.

Colocasia wafers

Wafers are sometimes served with rice and it’s a big hit with many.

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

Milaga Podi (Dry Chutney Powder)

There are two items that you will definitely find in every South Indian household – curd and milaga podi (dry chutney powder or gun powder as non-Southies call it). Podi is potent gun powder that can make any food item tasty! It is a must-have in every household as it has a good shelf life and can accompany most food items such as dosa, idli, and even rice. Lazy to grate coconut and grind a chutney? All you need to do is take few spoons of podi, mix some oil in it and serve along with the dosa or idli. You wont even miss the juicy coconut chutney! Podi is also a safe bet when you are packing food for long bus/train journeys.

dosa and idli served with podi and chutney

Every household has their own secret recipe for podi and it tastes different in every house. When in school, I used to taste podi from my friends’ lunch boxes and each of them would taste different. Podi would differ in texture, taste, and visual appeal. Grainy, powdery, spicy, orange, greenish black, they come in all varieties. Recently, I tried MTR chutney powder (they market podi by that name) and I quite liked the taste of it. Unlike authentic Tamil Nadu style podi, this one is tangy. I believe tamarind is an ingredient in that recipe. Though I liked the MTR taste, being the conservative types when it comes to food, I prefer the authentic spicy taste without any tanginess.
This recipe is a mix of 2-3 different types of podis that I have had.

Ingredients:
Black gram/urad dal/uzhunnu parippu (white or black) – 1 cup
Bengal gram/chana dal/kadala parippu (optional) – 1/4 cup
Raw rice (optional) – 1/4 cup
Dried red chilly – 10
Black pepper (optional) – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – 6-7 stalks
Asafoetida – size of a marble/2 tsp
Sesame seeds/Til/ellu (white or black) – 2 tbsp
Salt – as required

ingredients for gun powder

Method:
In a heavy bottomed pan (preferably iron), dry roast the grains one after the other until the grains turn red. First roast black gram. Then roast chana dal, followed by rice. Okay, I cheated! I roasted chana dal, kept it aside and then roasted the raw rice and black gram together. That works. When the black gram and rice are half done, add red chilies, black pepper, asafoetida, and curry leaves. If you are using asafoetida powder, you can add it towards the end of the roasting exercise. Turn off the fire and then add the sesame seeds and salt. Keep aside and let it cool down a bit.

While the roasted grains are still warm, dry grind them in a mixer. You can choose to make it powdery or grainy as per your preference. Store in a dry air tight jar. Will stay good for 3-4 months.

Gun powder

Choice of oil to be mixed with podi is a personal preference. Podi is served along with sesame seed oil (til oil/ellenna/nallenna) in most parts of Tamil Nadu. No points for guessing the oil that Keralites prefer!

Idlis and dosas soaked in spicy podi are a rage in restaurants these days. Whether you have a chutney and sambhar to go along with it or not, a well-made podi can up the taste quotient of even a poorly made idli/dosa.

Everyday Simple Recipes, Festival Recipes, Kerala Recipes, Sweets, Tiffin, Vegan

Ela Ada (Sweet Parcels)

Ela ada and steamed plantain

Ela in Malayalam means leaf (in this case banana leaf) and ada means thick flat bread. Back home at Palakkad, ela ada is a  must item on the day of Thiruvonam (harvest festival in Kerala) and sure shot on the menu when special people visit home. Ela ada, although a little time consuming, is a fairly easy dish to make. Nothing can go wrong with an ela ada. A mix of coconut and jaggery cannot be anything short of yummy. Simply coat this with a rice paste and steam it, and these sweet parcels are ready.

Elai adai

The ela ada filling offers a lot of room for creativity. My mother makes three versions, to be precise 4. One with the jaggery and coconut filling; another with jaggery, coconut, and jackfruit jam filling; another with coconut and sugar filling; and the one with coconut and salt filling. I have heard that in other parts of Kerala ela ada is made with beaten rice, jaggery, and banana pieces as fillings. Although I have never had this, it definitely sounds interesting.

Another reason ela ada is so unique is because they are steamed and contain no oil. One can eat them without feeling guilty although diabetics need to watch out for all that jaggery! Still, its better than sugar intake.

On a day my mother decides to make ela ada, all of us are in high spirits. We split the chores and participate in all the tasks, especially hunting for the banana leaves, cleaning the leaves and tearing them into appropriate pieces, adequately drying them in the sun, grating the coconut, and spreading the rice batter on the leaves. The filling is irresistibly tasty and as soon as it is made, a good portion of it disappears quickly into our tummies. Enough ranting about the ela ada. Let’s look at how to make these wrapped up irresistibles.

Ingredients for filling:

Coconut – 1 (medium size)
Jaggery – 250 gms
Jack fruit jam/Chakka Varatti – 1 cup (optional)
Cardamom/Elaichi powder – 1/2 tsp
Water – 1/2 cup

Method:
Grate the coconut and keep aside. Heat a thick deep bottomed vessel (kadai). Pour water and add jaggery. Let it melt completely. Turn off the fire and sieve to remove dirt from the jaggery. Clean the kadai and pour the jaggery syrup into the kadai and turn on the heat to medium. The syrup starts foaming and then settles down to thicken. Add the grated coconut and stir. When the water reduces and mixture thickens, add the jackfruit jam and elaichi powder. Remove from fire.

This is the stage where my mother has to fiercely guard the filling from me lest there is none left when it is finally time to make the ada! <<wicked grin>> On a more serious note, this filling is extremely tempting and is as good to be had without any further additions.

Ingredients for rice paste:
Raw rice (or rice powder) – 250 gms
Water – As needed
Gingely oil/til oil (optional) – 1 tsp

Filling and rice batter

Method:
You can make the batter in two different ways. The first method is more preferable as it gives better results where the rice coating on the adai is softer and does not stick to the outer leaf at all.

Method 1: Heat a cup of water and bring to boiling point. Once it starts bubbling, turn off the heat and add small quantities to the rice flour use a ladle to mix the water into the rice flour. Add a pinch of salt. Mix well to make a soft and firm dough. The consistency should be similar to that of idiyappam dough or modakam dough. Keep aside.

Method 2: Wash the rice and soak it in water for around 2-3 hours. Grind to make a fine and smooth paste. The batter should not be too watery or very thick. The consistency should be such that you should be able to spread it on a leaf using the back of a spatula. If you are using rice powder, simply mix water to the rice powder to prepare the batter. Keep the batter aside. You can add the gingely oil to the batter at this stage. This is optional. Wash, clean, and cut the banana leaves into small rectangle or square pieces. Turn on the gas stove flame to medium and show the banana leaf over the flame lightly ensuring that the leaf turns color but does not get burnt. This makes the leaf flexible and it can be folded easily without it breaking or causing it to tear.

Take the banana leaf bit and spread it inner side facing up. Take a ladle full of rice batter and spread it across the leaf leaving half inch space free on all sides. The rice batter should be spread like a thick dosa. If you are using the first method to make a tight dough of the rice flour, you may take a fistful of rice dough and use your fingers to pat it gently and spread a thin layer of dough on the leaf.

spread the rice paste

Take a spoon full of the filling and place it on one side of the rice spread on the banana leaf. Spread the filling in such a way that half the area of the spread rice should have the sweet filling as a topping.

Add filling

Grab the two ends of the leaf where the rice batter is without topping and fold this to the other ends of the leaf. Now the leaf has one folded side and three open sides. Lightly fold the top of the leaf and then the sides of the leaf that are open to make a sealed packet.

Repeat these steps to make similar packets until you either run out of batter, filling, or leaves. Leftover filling is not a problem at all. It is so delicious by itself and can be finished in a jiffy!

If you run out of filling mid way, instead of the filling you could add some grated coconut and sprinkle a spoon of sugar and make these sweet parcels. If you have a diabetic in the house, you could add adequate salt to the leftover batter, spread it on the leaf, and add grated coconut. You see, there is a parcel for everyone!

Arrange the sealed packets on an idli stand and steam cook for around 10-15 minutes. Turn off and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.

Steamed ela ada

When you open the packet, if the filling or the rice batter sticks only to one side, then it means that it is adequately cooked.

Opened-elai-adaiSteamed pan poli

 

 

 

 

 

Ela ada - sugar version

The aroma of steamed banana leaf combined with jaggery, jackfruit jam, and rice is heavenly.

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

Murinja Ila Dosa (Drumstick Leaves Dosa)

Soft, instant, healthy, and appetizing dosa.

Ingredients:
To Soak:
Raw rice – 2 cups

At the time of grinding the batter:
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Cumin seeds (Jeera) – 1 tsp
Salt

After grinding the batter:
Drumstick leaves– 2 cups
Gingely oil – 2 tablespoons

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

Method:
Wash and soak the raw rice for 4-5 hours. Grind the rice along with the cumin seeds and grated coconut. The batter should be smooth and neither too thin nor thick. Add enough water to the batter to get a spread-able consistency. Clean the drumstick leaves and add it to the batter. Add the required amount of salt. Mix well.

Heat girdle and pour about a full ladle of batter on to the griddle. Spread the batter around carefully using the bottom of the ladle.

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

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 served with sambhar or chutney.

Health Benefits/Alerts:
You can store this batter in the fridge for 2-3 days.

This is a very healthy diet and tastes great even when cold. This is a great way to intake drumstick leaves. Drumstick leaves have high medicinal value and is beneficial in treating many ailments. They are rich iron content and contain seven times more vitamin C than oranges! Spreading this dosa on the girdle can be a little tricky and needs some expertise.

Skill Level:
Medium

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

Ammini Kozhukattai (Steamed rice balls)

Soft and chewy steamed rice balls with a tadka and grated coconut. An easy and yummy snack item also made during Ganesh Chathurthi. This dish is also made on the occasion when small children start crawling and crosses the doorstep (vashal padi). Kids of this age would be teething and Ammini Kozhukkattais are a safe option to bite into, any day much better than plastic teethers.

Ingredients:
For Dough:
Rice flour: 1 cup
Water: 2 cups
Salt as needed
Sesame oil: 1 tsp

For Seasoning:
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard: 1 tsp
Urad dal: 1tsp
Chana dal: 1tsp
Curd chili/Red chilies: 1 or 2
Curry leaves: few
Asafetida/hing powder: ¼ tsp
Grated coconut: 1 tbsp (optional)
Milaga podi/Gun powder/Chutney powder (optional) – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Preparation Time: 25 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Makes 2 cups of ammini kozhukkattai

Method:
Heat a teaspoon of sesame oil in a wide pan. Add one cup of water and salt and bring to boil. Mix the rice flour with a cup of water and add to the boiling water. Keep stirring continuously.

When you can the dough leaves the sides of the pan and forms a thick lump, remove from the stove.

Alternatively, you can make the dough by adding boiling hot water to the rice powder, stir, and make the dough. This method is effective but you need to ensure that the water is boiling hot. The idea is to ensure that the dough is half cooked at this stage. If not, the dough will not become soft and pliable to work on.

Let the dough cool for 10 minutes. Smear a little oil in your palms and knead the dough. Take small quantities of the dough and make small marble-sized balls.

Place the rice balls in an idli tray and steam in a steamer or pressure cooker for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and crackle mustard, urad dal, chana dal and the curd chillies. When the mustard crackles, add hing and curry leaves. Add the steamed kozhukatais and stir for 5 minutes. Stir carefully ensuring that the kozhukatais do not break. Add freshly grated coconut and milagi podi (optional). Turn off and serve with coconut chutney. This is a healthy breakfast/snack item as it is steamed.

Notes:
Remember to lightly grease the steamer plate/idly tray in which you arrange the ammini kozhukatai for steaming. This ensures that they don’t stick to the plate.
After the kozhukatai 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 heat and tend to break easily.

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