I guess Brinjal Gothsu was some thing I have neverhad much in my own home. There was this one hotel in Madurai, that used to serve steaming hot blobs of ghee laden Venn Pongal with spicy Brinjal Gothsu. TIt`s a very versatile preparation and so homes in Tamil Nadu, all have their own way of preparing the same. My mother in law also makes awesome tasty Gothsu, and she once used the base of the morning rasam for Gothsu for the night. Rehashing ingredients sometimes is more tastier than the original preparations. This combination always works as the sweet spicy tanginess in the Gothsu compensates for the peppery niceness of the Pongal. Iguess this is what my telugu friends refer to as “Gojju”. When you have guests for breakfast, Gothsu is an easy tasty side for Pongal/Dosa and Idli.
1 long Japanese Eggplant diced in to 1 inch cubes.
1 1/2 cups of tamarind water.
1 Onion diced in to small cubes or 15 shallots sliced in to halves.
1 Tomato chopped in to fine pieces.
1 Spoon Sambar Powder.
1 spoon of Rice Flour diluted in 4 spoons of water.
Cilantro to Garnish.
Curry Leaves, Mustard & Urad Dhal for seasoning.
Take a kadai and place on the stove. Pour 2 spoons of oil and add urad dhal, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Keep the diced vegetbles ready to be used.
When the mustard splutters, add onions and allow to saute till soft. Now add the tomatoes and mix well.
Tap in a pinch of hing and turmeric and cook till the tomato-onion mixture is mushy.
Now add the diced eggplants, sambar powder, salt and mix well.
Add the tamarind water and allow around ten minutes for the brinjals also to cook in to the mixture and get soft.
When its a little thick, add the rice-flour water to the kadai.
Add some more water depending on what you want the final consistency to be.
Normally it would be a little thicker than “Sambar” but thinner than a chutney or dip.
Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves and serve hot with Venn Pongal.
Rava Dosa is always my husband`s most favourite breakfast/tiffin/dinner entree. Any day is Rava Dosa day even if I am not able to make his favourite coconut chutney to go with it. Add a dash of finely chopped onions and his day is made. Last night I was pretty much stumped on what to make for dinner and when I was rummaging in the pantry I saw the unopened packet of Ragi Flour that my husband had bought from the Indian Store. I gave him an option of Rava Dosa adding ragi flour for health and he welcomed the idea. I had some shallots that I had peeled earlier so I chopped them in to tiny pieces and set them aside. Ragi Rava Dosa with onions was a great healthy dinner/tiffin option. With Molagapodi or Chettinad Onion Tomato Chutney, it was simply divine.
1 cup Roasted Rava.
1/2 cup Ragi Flour.
1/2 cup All Purpose Flour.
1/2 cup Rice Flour.
1/4 cup of Sour Buttermilk if available.
Approximately 4 cups of water.
2 spoons of Jeera.
1 spoon of Whole Black Pepper .
4-5 Green Chillies finely chopped.
1 Tsp finely grated ginger(Optional).
Mix all the dry ingredients – the flours in a wide mouthed vessel. Add salt and set aside.
Add requisite water and the sour buttermilk(if available) and use a whisk to mix it in to a smooth watery batter in pouring consistency.
Keep a seasoning kadai on the stove and add 2 spoons of oil. When its hot add jeera, black pepper, ginger, curry leaves and hing.
When this is well roasted in the oil add this to the watery batter and mix well.
Put the Dosa tava on the stove and pour requisite oil.
Now sprinkle a little bit of the onions and then pour the dosa batter over it.
The dosa cannot be spread as in the case of a regular dosa. The ends should be poured first in a circle and the rest of the dosa filled in by pouring.
Add oil around the edges and slowly turn over to the other side after a few minutes.
When the dosa is flipped allow a couple of seconds to cook on this side.
Vazhakkai as in Raw Bananas already mentioned are a favourite in my family. They are readily available and when properly preserved in the refrigerator, almost stays fresh for a week or more. I never make raw bananas the day I buy them, unless I am tempted to slice them to topple in hot oil to make fresh fresh chips spiced with salt and red chilli powder. This time I was having a very good friend visiting and I made this for dinner. It`s a very healthy preparation as it basically cooks the raw bananas in water until they are half done, grates them and completes spicing it up on the kadai. Easy, healthy and of course quick.
2 Raw Bananas.
5 cups of water.
3 spoons of boiled rice.
1 spoons of toor dhal.
1 spoon of bengal gram.
1 spoon of Dhania.
5 Red Chillies.
Splice the raw banana in to two halves. without peeling the skin off. In other words, keep the skin and stalk on intact.
Put a container with 5-6 cups of water on the stove and allow to heat.
Now drop the raw banana halves in to the water and close with a lid. Allow approximately 6-7 minutes of cooking time.
Switch off the heat and allow a few minutes to cool. Drain off all the water and now you will be able to easily peel the skin off.
The bananas should be half cooked and firm and not mushy as this will render them impossible to be grated.
Grate the half cooked banans and spread them on a plate. Sprinkle salt and hing and allow to settle.
Roast the boiled rice, toor dhal, bengal gram, red chilies and the curry leaves and grind to a coarse powder in the mixer.
In a kadai, add 2 spoons of oil, mustard seeds, urad dhal, curry leaves and hing and then the grated raw banana.
Mix well and then add the roasted ground powder. Add another 2 spoons of oil and switch off when done.
I distinctly remember the first time ever I made a sandwich using a sandwich maker. My aunt had got us a Rowenta Sandwich Maker from the US some fifteen years ago…when it was still unheard of in India. My mom was not too keen to switch to alternate ways of making bread. In her mind, it was pretty satisfactory to toast the bread on a tawa and have it with butter once in a blue moon. My sister was way too young. The others could simply not muster enough time to sit through the ardous task of getting a pin converter and reading the instructions to even start operating it. I had rememberd seeing litttle gadgets in the Home Life Exhibitions, where they had a little bread shaped steel thing, where you could place the bread with the filling and manually toast it over the flame, holding it with the handles provided. It was a novel way of presenting the mundane bread. So I set aside a sunday morning to experiment…and my cousins were only too happy to sample the results of my venture!!!
The first time, I greased the electric plates, placed the bread slices on both sides and wondered what to fill in? I simply pulled out an onion and a tomato and sliced them in to very thin pieces and gingerly placed them on the bread. Sprinkled salt and pepper and some cilantro and covered the filling with the second slice of bread. We all waited with bated breath and were rewarded with the sweet smell of the onions and tomatoes and cilantro roasting in the little apparatus. Three minutes later, the red indicator light switched off and I used a pair of tongs and retrieved the sandwich pieces which were already sliced in to two by now. Crisp on the sides, yet cooked on the inside, it was a tasty treat that morning. From then on it was my own little piece of work as I would find creative fillngs for sandwiches. Bread now had a new intonation in our home….The sandwich had finally arrived!!!
4 slices of bread.
1 tomato sliced very thin.
1/2 onion sliced thin.
Cilantro chopped fine.
A handful of Part Skim Mozzarella Cheese.
Grease the 4 electric plates with cooking spray and allow to preheat for a few minutes.
Place the bread slices and arrange the tomato and onion slices alternately.
Sprinkle salt and crushed pepper and then generous helping of Mozzarella Cheese.
Sprinkle the cilantro and then place the second slice of bread and close.
After about 3 minutes, take out golden brown, crusty on the sides, Tomato Cilantro Cheese Sandwich.
Serve HOT with yummy tomato ketchup.
Serves as an excellent breakfast and quick snack for kids when they come back from school.
Great for packing for short trips and Picnic Lunches, as they are easily eatable with no fuss.
Variations in the filling give an almost completely different taste to the sandwich.
Use peanut butter, apple butter, Alu Masal, Cheese, fruit slices, grilled veggies etc for fillings.
This is a variety of “Sambar” that does not have the ground coconut and spices in it so its pretty straightforward. There are two kinds of basic sambars that we make – the variety that has spices roasted and ground with coconut and the other variety that is spiced only with the sambar powder. This is a part of the latter and hence very easy to make. This sambar is excellent also as a side for Pongal, Idlis and the like. It`s also great with Dosa, adai etc.
1 1/2 cups of Tamarind Extract.
1 spoon of heaped Sambar Powder.
1/2 cup cooked Toor Dhal.
3/4 spoon of rice flour dissolved in 4 spoons of water.
Mustard, Curry Leaves.
Take the washed and cleaned Okras and chop off the tips and the top so you have slightly longer pieces. Set aside.
Take a copper bottomed vessel and pour oil and season with mustard, curry leaves and hing. Immediately add the chopped pieces of okra and stir in well.
Allow the ladysfinger pieces to saute well in the seasoning and when its done, add the prepared tamarind extract water.
Add salt, hing, turmeric, sambar powder, cilantro and sir in well. Allow the gravy to boil and lose all the raw flavours and smells.
After about 20 minutes, the gravy would have reduced and the spices would be well entrenched in the Okra pieces.
Take the cooked toor dhal and slightly dilute with a little water and add to the reduced sambar gravy and stir in well.
If you feel that the consistency is a little too watery, add the rice flour dissolved in the water to this and stir to see instant thickening.
Allow to boil and immediately switch off the heat. Garnish with torn curry leaves and chopped cilantro.
Serve with rice and Kovakkai Curry or Kathirikkai Podimas.
Colocasia or Arbi or Sepangkizhangu, a starchy root tuber, very much similar to Potatoes, has always been a favourite. It`s slightly different from the potatoes , in that it is irregular shaped and has a slightly scaly skin. When boiled, it also gives out a slightly sticky feeling so its important that the tuber is not ovber cooked. Amma would not make it too often, but when she does D and me woud devour it right away. Many of my friends at school also loved her Arbi Fry. It`s not something that I do very regularly as it does need a little extra oil, more than I would be comfortable with…But when I do make it, I dont scrimp on the oil or the spices.
20 pieces or 1/2 kgs of Colocasia/Arbi/Sepangkizhangu.
1 1/2 spoons of Red Chilli Powder.
1 spoon of Besan and 1 spoon of Rice Flour.
A spoon of tamarind extract.
There are multiple varieties of this tuber available throughout the world and the one that I see in Indian and Chinese stores in the U.S are pretty bigger than their Indian counterparts.
Firstly wash and clean these tubers and put them, along with the skin in to the pressure cooker. Add salt and a little tamarind water and steam for about 7-8 minutes without weight.
When the steamed tubers are cooled, peel away the skin and cut them in to little cross sectional rings and place them to dry on a plate. Set aside for a few minutes.
Sprinkle salt on the arbi rings. In a little cup mix the red chilli powder, turmeric, besan, rice flour, and hing to form a powder. Add a pinch of Sambar Powder for added spice!!
Sprinkle this powder on the colocasia rings and allow a few minutes for it to stick.
Now take a non stick kadai and add 3 spoons of oil. When hot, add mustard seeds, urad dhal, curry leaves and hing and immediately the part steamed pieces of colocasia.
Add some more salt or chilli powder, if you need to at this point. Mix well and cover and cook on a low flame.
Add a little spoon of oil now and then so that the tubers dont burn. Keeo stirring the mixture carefully so all parts of the colocasia get cooked and also take care that they dont break.
In about 20-25 minutes they will be nicely done. Switch off and transfer to a serving bowl.
If you still want the roasted effect, spray a little oil, and pop it in to the oven at BROIL for 2 minutes alone.
Enjoy Delicious and crispy Sepangkizhangu/Arbi Fry with Vendekkai Sambar and Tomato Rasam.
Onion Thokku used to be my favorite side for chapattis as a student. Amma would always make Onion Thokku and she would pack delicious soft rotis for lunch, along with a side of this delectable thokku. On some days, it would be smeared on the rotis and made in to a roll. It has the most amazing flavor and aroma and is a favorite among my cousins during travel. I remember, when I was about twelve, we had gone to this trip to my cousin`s place in Delhi. The Grand Trunk Express would take it`s own sweet time to cover the 2000 odd kilometres. A standard breakfast that amma would pack would be idlis neatly parceled in green banana leaves smothered in gun powder and gingely oil. Lunch would always mostly be soft puris and this yummy Onion Thokku.
2 big Onion cut in to big pieces.
1/2 cup of Broken Urad Dhal.
6-7 Red Chillies.
2 Inch Tamarind soaked in 2 tbsp water.
Salt to taste.
In a kadai, add 2 spoons of oil, and when ready, add mustard and curry leaves and then the chopped onions. Add a little turmeric, saute well and set aside to cool.
In the same kadai, add a spoon of oil and fry the Urad dhal, red chillies and curry leaves. Set aside to cool a little.
Add the roasted spices to a mixer, add salt, tamarind and give it a pulse to allow the spices to powder coarsely.
Now add the sauteed onions also to the ground powder and pulse well to get a near smooth paste.
Use the kadai and a couple spoons of oil and add the ground onion paste and saute it well. The more this thokku is sauteed in oil, it stays and does not spoil. Allow for oil to leave the sides – This should take about 7-8 mins of stirring.
This not only compounds the flavor but also helps in preserving the thokku for a long time.
Serve with Chappathis, Puris, Curd Rice , Idlis or Dosa.
In my school days when I was a little girl, one of the things I used to hate was Idlis. I guess, I always felt that the Idlis by themselves have no taste whatsoever and derive the overall effect, by what goes on the side. Even today I feel its true. So whenever Amma used to pack idlis for lunch, some how she would find that the would come back completely untouched,with a nice sprinkling of sand on them!!! Whenever she would ask me, It seems I would tell her that when my friends were playing, the sand got in to the box!!! Now when I think about it, I realize how naive I must have sounded. Did I assume her also to be so naive??? This would happen ever often, that finally she stopped giving me Idlis for lunch.
Much later, when I was at the hostel for my post graduation, I realised how heavenly Idlis can be!!! There used to be this “Mobile” Idli Shop near my college hostel. He would simply take a plastic plate, grab a piece of banana leaf and place three piping hot idlis on them and serve them with a side of sambar and coconut chutney. My joy knew no bounds and I was so tired of the hostels spicy greasy food, I welcomed simple Idlis. I knew that they could never upset my stomach. It was always a safe bet. Many days,we would pack a few extra idlis and bring them to the hostel to make Idli Upma the next day. As I was making them for breakfast this morning, I remembered lessons that life had taught me , with the humble “Idlis” over the years….
3-4 Leftover Idlis.
1/2 Onion Chopped fine.
1/2 spoon of Red Chilli Powder.
1 1/2 – 2 spoons of Idli Gunpowder or Idli Molagapodi.
1/4 spoon of Karuvepalai Podi or Curry Leaves Powder.
A spoon of oil, mustard seeds, broken urad dhal, curry leaves, hing.
Crumble the Idlis in to little bite sized pieces and set aside spread out on a plate. If you feel that the Idlis are a little dry and rough, sprinkle a teeny bit of water and pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes.
When the Idlis are still hot, sprinkle a tad more of salt, red chilli powder and hing.
In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and when its hot, add the urad dhal, mustard, hing and curry leaves.
When the mustard splutters, immediatelyadd the chopped onions and give it a quick stir and allow to slightly become a pinkish brown.
Add the the crumbled and spiced pieces of Idlis.
Allow to stir well and let the powders mix well.
After a few minutes, add the spoon of Idli Molagapodi as well as the Karuvepalai Podi and mix in it.
Allow 2 minutes for them to mix well and switch iff heat.
Serve Hot garnished with curry leaves and a dollop of ghee for the kids!!!
Another version is to saute onions after seasonings, before adding the crumbled Idlis. Personally, I dont prefer it as I add the Molagapodi to it. But that gives a completely different tryst to the taste.
Rasam – slurp!!! It`s my all time favourite comfort food. Even a not so intersting day is made spicy and special simply thinking of making rasam. Of all the rasams that I love, my favourite has always been the home made amma`s piping hot tomato rasam. In India of course, there is a lot of tang to the tomatoes, that amma makes tomato rasam with almost no tamarind. Here, sometimes I need the kick of tanginess from the tamarind so I do liberate myself by using the tamarind water base in the makng of thakkali rasam. On days when I get tomatillos, I use them on their own. I make this rasam in a zillion ways, but here is one of them…
1 big heirloom tomato/slicing tomato/2 roma tomatoes or 3 tomatillos.
1 cup of tamarind extract from a lime sized ball of tamarind.
1 spoon of Rasam Powder.
A pinch of turmeric.
A pinch of hing.
Sprigs of Cilantro.
1/3 cup of cooked toor dhal.
2 vertically slit green chillies.
A spoon of ghee, mustard seeds, curry leaves, pinch of jeera.
In a mixer container, drop half a tomato, a few sprigs of cilantro, curry leaves and 4-5 spoons of tamarind water and grind to a smooth paste.
Add this to the tamarind water already prepared and put in the rasam pot and place over the stove.
Chop the other half of the big tomato in to little pieces and add to the pot.
Slowly add salt, hing, rasam powder, little cilantro, curry leaves, turmeric and allow to simmer on medium low flame.
It`s important that the rasam is simmered in the pot over a low flame for maximum taste.
Take the cooked toor dhal and add a cup of water and using your fingers, mash the dhal and mix it well with the water.
Add this watery toor dhal to the reduced rasam concentrate in the pot.
Stir well and when you see the first boil, switch off, add the remaining sprigs of cilantro and curry leaves, the slit chillies and close with a lid immediately.
In a small kadai, season in ghee using mustard seeds, jeera and a dash of hing and pour over the rasam in the pot.