Friday, June 21, 2013

Adai(Lentil Pancake)

Adai is one of the most popular dishes in Tamil Nadu Brahmin community. It is a wholesome pancake made with different kinds of lentil. Whenever my mom used to make small onion sambar for lunch, we would definitely have Adai for dinner. I also like it with Avial. My husband though likes it with brown sugar. We just had awesome adai with chili powder(Milagai podi) for dinner.

1 C Channa dal
1 C Toor dal
1/2 C Urad dal
1 C par-boiled rice
1 T mung dal
3-4 red chili(adjust to taste)
5 pepper corn
1/4 t asafoetida
salt to taste
1 onion, chopped(optional)
1 sprig curry leaves
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Soak Channa dal, Toor dal, Urad dal together; red chili,black pepper and rice together
 for 4 hours. Soak mung dal separately for 15 minutes.
2. Grind rice, red chili and black pepper to a smooth batter. Add drained dal to it and grind coarsely. Add drained mung dal in the end. Remove from grinder or blender; stir in salt and asafoetida; mix well.
3. Stir in chopped onion, curry leaves and cilantro before making Adai.
4. Pour 1/2 cup batter onto hot griddle and spread it round and thick. Make a hole in the center with spatula. Drizzle 1 spoon oil around the batter and in the center. Turn it over when color changes and cook on both sides till golden brown.
5. Serve it plain or with sambar, avial or milagai podi.
This batter does not have to be fermented. Onion can be omitted. Fresh grated coconut can be mixed into the batter. 

Channa dal Chutney

I developed my love for cooking and eating from my mother. She used to treat our palates to variety of dishes when we were growing up. She used to make specific accompaniments to every dish. Potato curry was made with Onion Sambar, Vathal Kuzhambu was accompanied by Parippu Thuvayal. For Idly and Dosa, my mom used to make different variety of chutney, coconut, tomato, channa dal, peanut, onion etc. Our favorite chutney to go with Idly was Channa dal Chutney. I like to add a little curd(yogurt) to it.
Yesterday I made this chutney for dinner to go with Idlly. Oh how I enjoyed it!

1/2 C Channa Dal, roasted with 1/2 t oil
3-4 red chili, roasted along with channa dal(adjust to taste)

1 pinch asafoetida
1/4 C fresh grated coconut
salt to taste
mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves for tempuring

Blend all the ingredients adding enough water. Remove from blender. Top with tempured seasonings. Serve with Idly or Dosa.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sushi Rolls

Being a food lover, I've always been a little disappointed that we cannot find too many vegetarian options at a Japanese restaurant. The first time I had sushi was at work. I liked the taste of seaweed. Many years ago my friend gave me fresh seaweed salad. Not everyone would like the taste of it. There is a Vegan restaurant that we go to once a year for my son's birthday (it's 45 miles away). Anyway, this year when we went there we tried a variety of sushi, made with yam, cucumber, pepper and avocado. They were amazing. My manager at work taught me how to make sushi.
A few weeks ago I went to an Asian Market nearby and bought the necessary items and tried my hand in making sushi. I have to say, they turned out good and every one liked it. Though my mom doesn't like the taste of seaweed.

Bamboo Sushi mat
Sushi Nori(roasted seaweed)
2 C cooked rice
1 T rice vinegar
small red pepper, julined
small cucumber, julined
1 carrot, peeled and julined
1/4 avocado, julined
prepared  Wasabi
soy sauce
How to make Sushi Rolls:
1. Place freshly made steamed rice in a large flat bowl. Sprinkle rice vinegar over the rice and mix the rice swiftly with a flat wooden spatula. Be careful that the rice does not become too sticky. Cool rice to room temperature. Cover the bowl with a damp towel to prevent rice from drying out.
2. Place a sheet of Sushi Nori over the bamboo Sushi mat with the shiny side down.
3. Spread Sushi rice evenly over the nori and leave 1 inch space at the edge of the nuri. Place your favorite fillings across the center of the sushi rice.

 4. Place your thumbs on the back of the mad and begin rolling away from you. Be sure to support the fillings with the rest of your fingers. Roll the sushi until the edge of the nori is placed under the sushi. shape the roll by pressing lightly with both hands. Remove the bamboo sushi mat and slice sushi roll into six to eight pieces.

5. Serve Sushi rolls with soy sauce and wasabi.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Green Peas Paratha

Looking in my freezer for something, I came upon a bag of frozen peas and decided that it would be a treat to make stuffed Parathas with it. My daughter helped me make it for her dad for Father's Day. I made his favorite dish, Mirchi ka Salan to go with it.

Ingredients for stuffing:
2 C fresh or frozen green peas, boiled, drained and mashed
2-3 green chili, chopped
1/2 t coriander-cumin powder
1 t chili powder(optional)
1/4 t turmeric powder
salt to taste
Ingredients for Paratha(Flat Bread):
3 C whole wheat flour
enough hot water
1 t oil
1/2 t salt

1. Add water, salt and oil to the flour and knead to a soft dough.
2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium pan. Saute chili and mashed green peas; stir in salt and spices. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3. Divide dough into large balls(tennis ball size). Flatten ball with rolling pin; place 1 tablespoon filling in the center, close it by bringing  the ends  over the filling and make into a ball. Flatten  it  with  rolling pin to make a bread.
4. Repeat the process with remaining dough.
5. Cook Parathas on a hot griddle using a teaspoon oil and both sides. Serve hot with yogurt and pickle or any vegetable. It would be great plain too.

Sunday, June 9, 2013


My daughter was very excited to plan the dinner menu yesterday when I told her that my childhood friend was coming over. She wanted me to make Mexican food for them. Although they couldn't make it here, my kids still wanted Mexican. I made Enchilada and Mexican rice. We had a great dinner. Enchilada is a baked tortilla stuffed with meat,cheese and sauce. I substituted beef with vegetables and beans. It is a very filling single dish item.

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
3 garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped
5 mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 C pink beans, soaked, cooked and drained
2 10 oz. can Enchilada sauce
1 T taco seasoning
11/2  C grated cheddar cheese
5 enchilada style tortilla(6 inch)

1. Heat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease 13x9-inch glass baking dish. In 10-inch skillet, cook saute garlic and onion in 1 T oil over high heat for a minute. Lower heat to medium and cook the vegetables till they are soft and crunchy. Stir in cooked beans and taco seasoning.
2. Stir in 3/4 cup of the enchilada sauce and 1 cup of the cheese.
3. Spoon enchilada filling onto tortillas; roll up and place seam side down in prepared baking dish.
4. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over top; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
5. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until hot. Garnish with sour cream and home style salsa.
Serve with Mexican rice.

I have used soy crumbles along with vegetables in the past.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Chocolate Walnut Cake

Who doesn't like chocolate? Well,in my house, we all love chocolate, especially my daughter. Any time I want to bake something it has to be with chocolate. We celebrated my husband's birthday yesterday, and guess what cake my kids wanted, chocolate of course. This year I made a simple chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and topped it with toasted walnuts. It was delicious.

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate,chopped
2 C granulated sugar
1/3 C plus 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/2 C buttermilk
2 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
3/4 t salt
2 C flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
6 T milk
3 C confectioners' sugar
1 C walnuts,toasted and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2.In a large saucepan, melt 1 1/2 sticks butter,chocolate, granulated sugar,1/3 cup cocoa and 1 cup water over medium heat, whisking until smooth and warm. Let cool for10 minutes.
3. Grease bottom and sides of 9-13 inch metal baking pan. Whisk buttermilk,eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon salt into chocolate mixture. Add flour, baking powder and baking soda; whisk jult until blended. Transfer batter to prepared pan; bake until springy in center, about 45minutes.
1. In medium saucepan, melt remainig 1/2 stick butter over medium heat. Whisk in 6 T milk and remaining 1/4 C cocoa, 1 t vanilla and 1/4 t salt; remove from heat. Whisk in confectioners' sugar until smooth(mix in 1to 2Tmore milk if too thick). 
2. Let cake cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes, then frost warm cake.
3. Sprinkle with walnuts. Let the cake cool completely before cutting and serving