Friday, June 29, 2012

Dosa Powder(Chutney Powder)

I love my mom's Dosa Powder. She uses various pulses like chick peas, dry green peas, and sesame seeds along with the usual ingredients. I make it the traditional way.

1 C Channa dal
1 C Urad dal(black/white)
1-1 1/2 C Red chili(adjust according to taste)
pebble size tamarind
asafoetida to taste
salt to taste
oil for roasting

1. Roast everything separately in 2 teaspoon oil.
2. Cool slightly before powdering separately. Do not roast tamarind.
3. Roast chili last.
4. Add salt, and asafoetida; run everything together in the blender once.
5. Store in air tight container.

Powder dals to your requirement, smooth or little coarse.
Mix in powdered red chili according to taste.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tomato Chutney

Over the years of cooking I've come across many ways to make Tomato Chutney. But, I love my mom's recipe the best.

2 large tomatoes
4 green chili(adjust to taste)
1 t mustard seeds
1 1/2 t urad dal(black or white)
1-2 red chili(optional)
1 t fresh cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

1. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a pan to medium heat; temper mustard, urad dal,and chili. Remove from pan.
2. In the same pan, add 1 teaspoon oil; roast tomatoes till the skin breaks. Remove from heat; allow to cool.
3. Grind everything in a blender. Mix salt to taste. Serve with idly or dosa.

Cherry tomatoes work well for this recipe.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Methi Dosa

Who doesn't like dosa. Oh those crispy crepes, whether they are plain or stuffed, dosa is my all time favorite.  My mom makes all kinds of dosas, not just the traditional ones.  She used to make methi dosa at least once a week.  I made it for dinner tonight, and served it with tomato chutney. My kids like to eat dosa with nothing but dosa powder(மிளகாய் போடி)

2 C par-boiled or idly rice
1/2 C raw rice
1/ 2 C urad dal
1 handful fenugreek seeds
salt to taste
oil for making dosa

1. Soak rice and dal separately for 4 hours.
2. Grind  rice and dal to a smooth batter. Add salt and allow it to ferment over night.
3. Heat a griddle; pour 1/2 cup of batter and spread it thin. Drizzle with oil; cook on both sides to golden brown. Serve with dosa powder or chutney.

Portobello "Cheese Steaks"

With my daughter being away at camp this week, I am cooking with mushroom almost every day. Portobello Mushroom is great for grilling. I use it in panini sandwiches and salad. Browsing through one of my vegetarian cook books, I came across a quick lunch recipe using Portobello. Since, I had a lot of pita bread that I bought to make falafel, I  made "Cheese Steaks" wrap  and served it gyro style for lunch yesterday along with corn and black bean salad.  It was awesome.

2 medium portobello mushrooms,stems removed
olive oil spray
2 medium peppers(yellow or green), thinly sliced
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/2 t salt
1/4 t coarsely ground black pepper
2 T water
1 T balsamic  vinegar
4 pocket less pita
2 C part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Spray both sides of mushrooms with olive oil and broil for 5-7 minutes till the top is cooked. Transfer to cutting board and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices; set aside.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion, pepper, salt, pepper, and water; cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir in vinegar; remove from heat. Gently stir in sliced portobellos.
3. Meanwhile, place pitas on a large cookie sheet; sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Heat pitas in oven, preheated to 400 F, until cheese has melted, about 5 minutes.
4. Roll each pita into a cone; tightly wrap the bottom half of each with parchment paper or foil to help hold its shape and prevent leakage.  Fill pita cones with warm mushroom mixture.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vegetable Barely Soup

Few weeks ago Beef Barely Soup was served for lunch in our school. Since I do not eat meat,  I started looking for vegetarian version of the same, and came upon a recipe on I made a few variations to the soup and cooked it in slow cooker. It turned out very well. It was a hearty meal.

2 T Olive oil
1 Onion, diced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Carrots, diced
1 Zucchini,sliced
2 Celery stalks, sliced
1 small green pepper, diced
2 C diced or crushed tomatoes
3/4 C barely, uncooked
8-9 C water or vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped
1 t fresh thyme
1 t fresh oregano
3-4 sage leaves
salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large stock pot, saute onion, and garlic in olive oil, until onion is cooked.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring it to a slow simmer.
3. Cook till barley is soft, 30 minutes, or longer.
4. Remove bay leaf before serving.

I cooked the soup in slow cooker for 4 hours.
I added 1 cup vegetarian beef to the soup. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Raw Papaya Kootu(Stew)

I never knew that raw papaya could be eaten until my mom saw it  in the Indian store and asked me to buy it. I came home and looked up online and found that it can be eaten cooked in salad, curries, and stew. It can also be used to make Thai salad.  I made a stew with this vegetable as per my mom's recipe. It tasted like bottle squash. We had it with roti. It can also be served with white rice.

1 raw papaya, peeled, seeded and diced
1 T Channa Dal
1/2 C cooked Toor Dal
1 t Sambar Powder
1T Curry Powder
1 t oil 
mustard seeds, urad dal, red chili, and curry leaves for seasoning

For Curry Powder:
1 1/2 t Channa Dal
1 t Coriander Seeds
5 red chili(adjust to taste)
1/2 t oil

1. Roast the ingredients for Curry Powder in 1/2 teaspoon oil, and blend to make powder
2. Take papaya and Channa Dal in a saucepan. Add enough water to it. Add Sambar Powder and salt; cook till papaya is cooked.
3. Stir in mashed cooked Toor Dal to cooked vegetable. Stir in Curry Powder; bring it to a boil.
4. Temper mustard seeds, Urad Dal, red chili, and curry leaves in 1 teaspoon oil and pour into the stew.  Stir in 1/4 teaspoon asafoetida. Serve hot with rice.

Coconut Dosa(Crepe)

My mom used to make different types of dosa for us when we were growing up.  Coconut dosa used to be a favorite of mine.  I made it last night for dinner. My daughter protested because she only likes regular dosa. But, I persuaded her to try it,and of course mom is always right, she liked it. This dosa can be prepared immediately after grinding.

1 1/2 C grated fresh coconut
1 1/2 C par-boiled rice
1/2 C raw rice
3 T toor dal
1 1/2 T urad dal
1/2 T methi seeds
10 green chili(adjust to taste)
salt to taste

1. Soak rice and dal for 3 hours.
2. Grind with chili and water to a smooth batter. Add grated coconut and grind until smooth. Stir in salt and asafoetida. Add enough water to make a thin batter.
3. Heat griddle, pour  a ladle full of batter, and drizzle with oil. Cook on both sides till golden. Serve with chutney or chili powder(dosa powder).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Drumstick Sambar

I believe that every expat has something that they miss from their Mother land. I have a few things too.. Drumstick is one of them. Oh the fragrance of Drumstick Sambar! When ever I see this vegetable in the Indian store, I buy them and freeze them. This morning, my son thundered downstairs to the smell of the sambar that I was making for dinner. Both my kids love drumstick. They call it "Long  Kaai" Sambar, because the vegetable is long and slender. There was no complains at the dinner table tonight about the dish!

2 t olive oil
3 drumticks, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 1/2 C tamarind extract(small lemon size tamarind),or paste mixed in water
2-3 spoon Sambar powder
1/8 t turmeric powder
1/2 C cooked toor dal
salt to taste
mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, and curry leaves for tempering

1. Heat oil in a sauce pan to medium heat. Add mustard, fenugreek seeds curry leaves and asafoetida to temper.  Add the drumstick and Samabar powder, and turmeric powder;  fry for 2 minutes. Stir in tamarind water, and salt; cook for 10 minutes, or until the smell of tamarind and sambar powder leaves.
2. Stir in cooked dal. Add water if the Sambar is too thick. Make sure that the Sambar is not too watery. Bring it to slow boil. Remove from heat. Season with curry leaves. Serve over hot rice.

Adjust the amount of Sambar powder according to spice level.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chocolate Truffle Torte

Last week was my husband's birthday. I was going to make Mango cake. But the mangoes at home were not ripe enough, so  I asked him what he wanted and got a request from my daughter. Guess what she wanted. Chocolate Cake! No surprise there. So, I went through my trusty Betty Crocker  cook book, and decided to make Chocolate Truffle Torte. I could not find hazelnuts anywhere in my town. I  had to drive 10 miles to buy them. But it was worth the trip. You should have seen my husband's reaction when he took the first bite. Made me happy to see it.

1 C semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 C stick margarine or butter
1/2 C all-purpose flour
4 eggs, separated
2/3 C hazelnuts, finely chopped and toasted
Chocolate Truffle Filling
Whole or chopped hazelnuts, if desired

1. Heat oven to 325 F. Grease bottoms and sides of 2 round 9x1 1/2 inches, with shortening. Line bottoms of pans with waxed paper.
2. Melt chocolate chips and margarine in heavy 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly; cool 5 minutes. Stir in flour until smooth. Stir in egg yolks until well blended.
3. Beat egg whites in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until soft peaks form.  Fold chocolate mixture into egg whites.  Fold in toasted hazelnuts.  Spread in pans.
4. Bake about 25 minutes or until tops of cake appear dry and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 5 minutes. Run knife along side of each cake to loosen; remove from pan to wire rack.  Remove waxed paper. Cool completely.

5. Prepare Chocolate Truffle Filling. Spread 2/3 cup of the filling on bottom layer. Top with other layer. Frost top and sides with remaining filling.  Drizzle with any remaining filling and garnish with hazelnuts.

Chocolate Truffle Filling:

2 C semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 C stick margarine or butter
1/2C hazelnut-flavored nondairy liquid creamer

1. Heat chocolate chips and margarine in a heavy 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted; remove from heat.
2. Stir in creamer. Refrigerate 30 to 40 minutes, stirring frequently, just until thick enough to mound and hold its shape when dropped from a spoon.  If filling becomes too thick, microwave on High 10 to 15 seconds to soften.

Vada Paav(Potato Slider)

Recently, I found these little pretzel dough slider buns at Costco. Immediately  I thought that they would be perfect to make Vada Paav. This is a popular Bombay street food. It is nothing but fried potato dumpling on a bun, spread with garlic chutney and green chutney.  My kids have never had this dish before. I made it for lunch last week, and they loved it.  My daughter said that she passed it around in her Biology class and that her friends liked it too. Now here is another chaat item that they can order the next time we go to an Indian restaurant.

For the Potato Vada
3 medium potato, boiled and mashed
2 green chilli
1 pod garlic
1-inch ginger
4 curry leaves
1/4 t turmeric powder
1/4 t asafoetida
salt to taste
1 t oil
1/2 t mustard seeds
1/4 t urad dal
 oil to fry
For dumpling batter
1 C chick pea flour(besan)
1 pinch baking soda
1/2 t turmeric powder
salt to taste

For Paav
10 Slider bun
butter to toast
garlic chutney
green chutney

1.Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a saute pan. Add mustard seeds, urad dal and asafoetida and fry for 1 minute. Pound ginger, garlic, chilli and curry leaves in a mortar. Add this to the saute pan, and stir for 2 minutes.  Stir in the mashed potato, turmeric powder, and salt.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Mix the ingredients for the batter in a mixing bowl. Add enough water to make a batter without lumps. When lifted the batter should fall like a ribbon.
3. Shape the potato mixture into small balls.  Dip them in the batter and deep fry them. They should be golden brown. Keep them aside.
4. Slice the buns. Butter the insides, and toast them on a griddle.

To build the Vada Paav:
1. Spread  the inside of the buns with garlic chutney and green chutney. Sandwich the potato dumplings between the buns and serve them warm.

Monday, June 4, 2012


My mom has gone to California to help my sister with the new baby(yet to arrive).  She is making all these delightful South Indian food for my sister. Whenever she tells me about a certain dish that she used to make when we were kids, I start craving for it. Last week, my mom said that she made morekali(மோர்களி ), I was salivating immediately. It is one my favorite childhood dishes. I don't make it often because it takes up a lot of oil. But, I had to make it. Morekali is a savory cake made with rice flour and buttermilk. More in Tamil is buttermilk. When the curds(yogurt) becomes sour, my mom used to make this dish. I made a low-fat version of this dish on Friday for dinner. My brother, who came for the weekend said that he loved it. We use green chili and dried green chili(moremilagai-மோர்மிளகாய் ) in this dish.

1 C rice flour
2 C sour curds, beaten and mixed with water
1/2 C water
salt to taste
1 t fresh cilantro, chopped
For seasoning:
2 T olive oil
1 t mustard seeds
1/4 t urad dal
1/2 t channa dal
3 green chili, chopped
8 moremilagai
1/8 t asafotida
curry leaves

1. Heat oil in a broad non-stick pan over medium high; add the seasonings and fry till the moremilagai is crisp. Add buttermilk and bring to boil.  Add salt and stir in the rice flour. Add cilantro,and cook for 10 minutes, while stirring constantly. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean, and the kali should form a ball without sticking to the sides of the pan.
2. Spread the morekali on a greased tray. Before serving, make pieces using a greased knife.
Note: Be cautioned, this dish could be addictive.

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

It has been 2 months since I wrote anything on my blog. So many things were happening.  First my sister visited from California for 2 weeks. I was involved in organizing her baby shower.  Then May went by with spring cleaning and getting my garden ready for vegetables. It is almost a year now since I started this blog, and decided to start writing again. So, here I am.

Yesterday, I made broccoli soup. I have not attempted to make it before. I have had it in school. I liked it, but it was too rich. Now that I want to shed a few pounds in summer, I looked through my cooking books and found this low-fat recipe.  It was easy to make and quick too. We had it for dinner, and my daughter loved it.

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dried thyme
1/8 t ground nutmeg
coarsely ground black pepper
2 C reduced- fat milk
1 1/3 C vegetable broth
1 1/2 C water
1 large bunch ( 1 1/2 pounds) broccoli, trimmed and cut into 1- inch pieces
1 1/2 C shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
coarsely ground black pepper

1. In a 4-quart saucepan, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook until golden.  Stir in flour, salt, thyme, nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 minutes.
2. Gradually, stir in milk, broth, and water. Add broccoli and heat to boiling over high heat.  Reduce to low; cover and simmer until broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Using an emulsion blender puree until very smooth. Or, spoon the mixture into blender and puree.
4. Return the soup to saucepan; heat to boiling over high heat, stirring occasionally.  Remove saucepan from heat; stir in cheese until melted and smooth. sprinkle each serving with coarsely ground black pepper.

Water can be substituted for broth. In that case you may have to use more salt.