Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Punjabi Kala Channa Curry.

Punjabi Kala Channa Curry.

Punjabi Kala Channa Curry was something that I had tasted at a friend` s home at dinner and I flipped at the simplicity and taste of this particular dish. The Kala Channa like any other edible legume are extremely high in protien. It is also believed to be one of the earliest cultivable legume!!! The black chana  have a markedly higher fiber content than Kabuli Channa also called the Garbanzo,  and hence a very low glycemic index which may make them suitable for people with blood sugar problems.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tsp Jeera.

1 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste.

Paste from 1 Medium Red Onion.

1 Can of  Hunt`s Tomato Puree.

1 Tomato Finely Chopped.

2 Green Chillies.

1/2 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

1/4 Tsp Garam Masala Powder.

1 Tsp Dhania Powder.

1 Tsp Kasui Methi

Cilantro to garnish.

PREPARATION;

  • Soak the kala channa for 5-6 hours and cook in the pressure cooker for 3 whistles. Drain cooked and cooled kala channa and save the water.
  • In a kadai add 1 spoon of ghee and when its hot, the jeera and the ginger garlic paste. Allow it to cook well in the oil. The ginger garlic has to become almost brown.
  • Next add the smooth paste of 1 Onion. Fry this paste to a golden brown colour on a medium flame. This is the essence of any punjabi masala – to cook out the  onion paste on a medium flame and keep sauteing it until it turns golden brown and all the water is gone completely.
  • Add the sliced green chillies and then the can of tomato puree. This add valuable colour and tang to the dish, which is very important to the final flavour.
  • Now add all the dry masalas – Red Chilli Powder, Garam Masala, Dhania Powder, kasuri methi and some more chopped tomatoes and fry well for about fifteen minutes until its cooked well and the curry comes together.
  • Now add the boiled channa and the water in which it was boiled. Add enough water as you want the final consistency to be.
  • After boiling for a few minutes, switch off the flame and serve garnishd with chopped cilantro.

HINTS:

  1. Fry the onion paste well on medium flame to a golden brown colour until there is no trace of water at all and it comes to a chutney like consistency. This should take at least ten minutes or so, so do not lose your patience here.
  2. The tomato puree adds a lot of tang and colour to the dish. Feel free to use puree made from tomatoes, at home.

 

Naivedhyams/ Festival Offerings.

Omapodi / Plain Sev.

Omapodi.

I am guessing the name itself is derived from the main ingredient that differentiates this fried snack from its other variations – Omam/ Ajwain. Omam is an excellent aid in digestion and a cure for low appetite and colic and flatulence. Omapodi is a delicious snack in itself and also aids as a main ingredient in Mixture. Omapodi is also used as a garnish in north indian chats in the form of sev.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tsp Butter at room temperature.

2 1/2 Cups Besan.

3/4 Cup Rice Flour.

1 Tsp Salt.

1/3 Cup Ajwain/ Omam.

Water.

PREPARATION:

  • Keep a kadai of oil on the stove on medium heat and allow it to get hot enough to fry.
  • In a saucepan add the omam and 1 1/2 Cups of water and allow it to boil slowly. This is to enable the water to extract the essence of the ajwain in to it.
  • Give it a few minutes to become lukewarm and strain out the omam to get omam water.
  • In a wide mouthed bowl, add butter, salt, rice flour and besan. Using the omam water mix to a creamy moist dough. It should be in a consistency like Murukku Dough, o ne that allows it to get pressed using a Murukku Press. Adjust the consistency variating the water/besan.
  • Use the Omapodi Press, press it on to the hot oil.
  • Allow it to cook on both sides and drain on to a tissue.
  • Crunchy Omapodi is ready to snack by itself or to use in Madras Mixture.
Naivedhyams/ Festival Offerings.

Karaboondhi – Cripsy Fried Spiced Besan Balls.

One of the most easiest snacks to make, yet requires sleight of hand and knowledge of a few tips as its tricky. The only tricky part being the consistency of the batter. Runny batter results in “boondhis” with little tails. A batter which is too thick would not even fall through the holes and not cook enough. Kara Boondhi makes an excellent snack by itslef, but I prefer making delicious Mixture for Deepavali.

INGREDIENTS:

2 1/2 Cups Besan.

1 Cup Rice Flour.

1 Tsp Salt.

1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

Pinch of Baking Soda.

Pinch of Hing.

1 Tsp Butter.

Pinch of Baking Soda.

1 – 1 1/2 Cups of Water. (Totally depending on the kind of Besan.)

PREPARATION:

  • Set a kadai with oil to medium heat on the stove. Meanwhile mix the batter for the Kara Boondhi.
  • In a bowl add the butter and all the dry ingredients – salt, hing, red chilli powder and  baking soda.
  • Sieve the required quantity of besan as many times the store bought besan has clots which may not yield results needed.
  • Add the rice flour and the besan.
  • Use a whisk to mix as this really helps in binding all the ingredients well.
  • Pour 1 cup of water and whisk to see the consistency. If needed add more water little by little.
  • The consistency should be slightly runny but not too much.
  • Batter for KaraBoondhi.
  • Using the Boondhi Ladle or a simple perforated ladle, take out a ladle of batter and pour over the boondhi ladle and press out the batter through the holes to fall on to the hot oil.
  • The boondhis or drops will sizzle and hiss, when cooking in the oil. Use your ladle and mix it in well to allow uniform cooking.
Boondhi Ladle.
  • When starting to turn a light golden colour, remove from flame and on to a collander lined with tissue.
  • Allow the oil a couple of seconds to heat up before adding the next batch of boondhis.
  • Crisp KaraBoondhis are ready.

HINTS:

  1. Try out the boondhi ladle with the batter to see how the batter falls. You can keep the boondhi ladle on the mixed besan batter itself to see results. Then adjust the consistency of the batter by either adding more water or more besan.
  2. Use KaraBoondhis to make raitas or simply spic it up adding a little red chilli powder and hing for any anytime snack.
  3. Use with other fried snacks to make Mixture.


Naivedhyams/ Festival Offerings.

Deepavali Special – Madras Mixture.

Special Madras Mixture.
Special Madras Mixture.

Every year Deepavali has been a special occassion for the entire family to get together and celebrate the festival of lights. These days, there is a lot of TV involved, but when we were little kids, Deepavali was getting up early in the morning and having oil bath and then wearing new clothes and prostrating before the elders of the family. We would always try to compete as to who would get up early and have a bath to get ready to go out and burst crackers with friends in the neighbourhood. The earlier we get up, the more chances to enjoy more firecrackers as many of them are not as pretty when the skies light up. At around 7, breakfast would everytime be steaming hot idlis with Coconut Chutney, accompanied by the sweets and savouries made for the occassion. Then more playing and more playing until we are exhausted. Lunch would be filling and satvik and with all my cousins and family.

Many of the sweets and savouries prepared for Deepavali I would never eat much on that day. It would be fun to eat all of this later on, after a few days. The most special preparation for Deepavali has always been Maduraiamma`s Special Mixture. I dont know how exactly she does it, but every time her proportions of chilli powder, salt and hing have been spot on. When I open the container having the mixture, and I get the familiar aroma inside, it never fails to transport me to those days.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Batch of prepared KaraBoondhis.

1 Batch of prepared Omapodi.

2 cups Maida Biscuits/ Shakkarpare

1 cup Roasted Peanuts.

1/2 Cup Split Chick Peas (Pottu Kadalai.)

1/2 cup Cashewnuts.

1 cup Aval/ Poha.

Curry Leaves.

1 Tbsp Red Chilli Powder.

1 Tsp Salt.

1/2 Tsp Hing.

PREPARATION:

  • In a large mixing bowl add the prepared KaraBoondhis.
  • Next add the prepared Omapodi and break it in to little pieces.
  • Prepare the Maida Biscuits/ Diamond Biscuits  in the following manner:
Sweet and Crisp Maida Biscuits.
  • MAIDA BISCUITS:
  • Ingredients:

3 Cups All Purpose Flour.

3/4 Cup Sugar.

1/3 Cup Milk + Little water to make a stiff dough.

1/3 Cup Butter.

Pinch of Baking Soda.

  1. Cream the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda until its light and fluffy and slowly add the milk a little water with the measured  3 Cups of Maida and knead in to a stiff dough. The consistency should not be sticky and soft, not too hard that its difficult to roll in to balls. Set aside for about ten mins.
  2. Divide the dough in to balls and spread out as you would do a thick chappati.
  3. Using your knife cut vertically and then diagonally to form diamonds.
  4. Fry in oil and set aside.
  5. Maida Biscuits are ready.
  • Add the prepared Maida Biscuits to the mixture bowl.
  • Take some oil used for frying Omapodi  in a small kadai. Slowly add the roasted peanuts and fry them on medium low flame.
  • When done add to the mixing bowl.

  • Now add some more oil and fry the cashews until they are a light golden brown. Add to the mixture.
  • Similarly fry the Aval/poha and Split Chick Peas  and add to the mixture.
  • Finally add about 20-25 fresh curry leaves to the oil. When they are fried crisp add hing to the oil and pour over the mixture.
  • To all the hot fried items add salt and red chilli powder and using your hands/ ladle mix them all in.
  • Fresh homemade Mixture is ready !!!
  • Happy Deepavali Wishes to all my readers.
Brisk Breakfast · Snacks & Tiffin Items

Cracked Wheat & Oats Instant Idlis.

 

Cracked Wheat & Oats Idlis.

In my constant endeavour to find meals that are low in calories but on the other hand rich in protein and fiber, I picked out this packet of cracket wheat from the global store I regularly visit.  I did not pick out the Indian brand but from the meditteranean brand “Sadaf” which brings out this good quality cracked wheat. They are number 1, 2 and 3 based on the coarseness of the wheat grain. I bought no 2 as I did not want the grain to be far too fine and refined, or too big to bite. I am aware that cracked wheat is an excellent source of  nutrition and fiber and so I wasted no time there.

What is Cracked Wheat???

Cracked Wheat is a wheat product made from whole raw wheat kernels which are crushed or cut into smaller pieces. There are a large number of uses for cracked wheat, and the food makes a popular dietary supplement  in many cultures. Many grocery stores carry cracked wheat, which should be stored in a cool dry place until use so that it does not go rancid. If not used within one year, cracked wheat should be discarded.

Because cracked wheat is made from whole wheat berries, it carries a great deal of nutrition and fiber since it includes the fiber and nutrient rich outer bran and germ of the wheat. For this reason, it is often added to healthy diets, especially those eaten by people who are concerned about heart / diabetic health. Other whole cracked grains may be used as well, for variation in flavor and nutrition.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Coarse Cracked wheat

1 cup Steel Rolled Oats  oats.

1 Medium Carrot grated fine.

2 Tbsp Dry Coconut.

Salt to taste.

Hing

2 Cups Sour Buttermilk. (PLEASE SEE NOTES BELOW)

Finely Chopped Cilantro.

1 Tsp Baking Soda.

Season:

Mustard.

Curry Leaves.

Hing.

Cashew Pieces.

2 Tsp Bengal Gram.

2 Tsp Peanuts.

PREPARATION:

  • Take a dry kadai and dry roast the rolled oats until  you get the pleasant aroma.  Place in a large mixer.
  • In the same kadai, dry roast the cracked wheat for 3-4 minutes and add to the mixer. Pulse for a few seconds. Measure it and you will find it comes to almost the same two cups you started off with.
  • Take a wide mouthed vessel and add the pulsed powder.
  • Add finely grated carrot, finely chopped cilantro, salt, hing, baking soda, dry coconut and mix it lightly.
  • In a seasoning kadai, add 1-2 tsp oil and when its hot, add cashew, peanuts, bengal gram, mustard and then the curry leaves.
  • Allow the seeds to cackle and add it to the bowl.
  • Now add the 2 cups of sour buttermilk little by little and mix it in.
  • It should come to a slightly runny consistency but not too much. Adjust the quantity of fluid for the desired consistency.
  • Allow it to sit for 10 – 20 minutes. By now, the cracked wheat and the oats, absorb the water and it becomes slightly hard.

  • Grease the idli plates and just before spooning it on to the idli moulds, dilute the batter with a little water and then pour on to the plates.
  • Steam for about 10-12  minutes and remove and store in the casserole to serve HOT with Andhra Tomato Till Chutney.

 

HINTS:

  • I use good quality steel rolled or old fashioned oats from Whole Foods. You would probably not great results from quick cooking oats etc from stores like Walmart etc. I have seen that the oats from Walmart etc crumble very easily and dont hold on to their texture.
  • My cracked wheat is SADAF brand of coarseness 2 from an international foods store. SADAF  is pretty much available in all leading indian stores.
  • Secondly moderate the amount of buttermilk and keep the batter just as thick as idli batter and NOT runny. If your cracked wheat and oats take only 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk, you dont have to add the 2 cups. Please watch the consistency and keep it thick, if you find its too thick, you can always add a few tablespoons of buttermilk jst before adding to the idli plates.