Thursday, April 28, 2011

dal palak (lentil and spinach)

dal is a kind of staple food us south Indians....i remember my grand mom makes a little bit of plain dal every day along with the other main menu for the day...simply cook the dal well n temper it with mustar seed, whole red chilli and curry leaves....and a dollop of ghee/butter to it makes it heavenly good :)

dal palak is just one of the different variations of dal we have at home...and a good way to incorporate veggies, especially spinach (spinach blends very well with the dal, no picky eater can separate them ;)

You'll need:

Palak/Spinach: a bunch ( washed and chopped)
Toor dal (yellow pigeon peas): 1 cup
onion: 1 medium (nicely chopped)
tomato:1 medium(chopped)
green chili: 2 nos( thinly sliced)
turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
chili powder: 1/2 tsp
jeera/cumin powder: 1/2 tsp

How to make:

Cook the dal well with enough salt and set it aside.
Heat oil in a pan. Add chopped onion and green chilis and saute them well.
When onion turns golden brown, add the chopped tomato. Let it cook for a while.
When the tomatoes are cooked, add turmeric pwdr, red chili powder and cumin powder.
Give it a stir, and add the chopped spinach. Mix it all together and cook for a couple of min.
Add the cooked dal and blend it all together.
a dollop of ghee/butter gives an added flavor to it :)
goes well with white rice as well as rotis....

P.S: you can also use masoor dal(red lentils) or moong dal( green gram) instead of toor dal...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Chinese fried rice...a quick one

i do bulk cooking at times...cook around 4-5 servings and reserve it in the refrigerator...fried rice is one of the things i cook in bulk....easy to make and stays fresh can serve it with different side dishes each time....a variety from the plain old white rice..
i like fried rice with papad (rice cracker), lemon pickle and plain raitha....simple and delicious :)

You'll need:     

Basmati rice: 2 cups (soaked in water for 2 hrs)
veggies:: 2 cups ( mainly green beans, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers,green peas), nicely chopped
scallions(spring onion): 4 nos ( nicely chopped)
clove: 2-3 nos
cinnamon sticks: 2 nos
cardamom: 2- 3nos
bay leaf: 2-3 nos
salt n oil: as per required
soy sauce: as per required (optional)
Worcestershire sauce: as per required (optional)

How to make:

Drain the soaked rice and set aside.
Heat a few tbsps of oil  in a deep skillet.Add cloves,cardamom, cinnamon sticks and let it splutter.
Then add the bay leaves and drained rice.Fry it all together for 2-3 min.
Add enough water(for 2 cups rice around  3 cups of water) and salt.
Pop the lid on and cook on medium high, stirring in between , until the rice gets cooked.
Transfer the rice into a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet add a few tbsps of oil and add ginger garlic paste and scallions.(Reserve a handful for garnish)
Add the veggies one by one, adding first the ones that require more cooking time.
Stir fry until the veggies get cooked. ( Don't overcook the veggies, it should be still slightly crisp,retaining its fresh color which really adds glory to the final product)
Pour  a couple of dashes of  soy sauce and worcestershire sauce and toss them all together..
Add the cooked rice and mix everything together and garnish with chopped scallions. have your fried rice.....enjoy ur meal :)

P.S: If you substitute water with chicken or vegetable stock for cooking the rice, it will give the rice an added flavor.

a twist in the tale....I add scrambled egg to it and present it as egg fried rice the next day.....or add fried tofu chunks for a different version of it :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cheera upperi (Sauteed Spinach)

Cheera is the malayalam word for indian spinach...its much similar to regular spinach, but has a more crisp texture...very nutritious green...good source of vitamins, iron and what not...
Cheera thoran or upperi is a common dish seen in south indian kitchen, especially kerala....yes , of course with fresh shredded coconut.....oh, yes...we mallus put coconut in anything and everything :)

You'll need:

Cheera(Indian spinach): a bunch (nicely chopped)
Shredded coconut: 4 tbsp (1/4 cup)
Shallots: 5 nos(thinly chopped)
Garlic: 4-5 pods (chopped)
Red chili flakes: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
salt: as per required.

How to make:

Heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a pan.
Add chopped shallots and garlic into the oil and saute them for a couple of min.
Add a sprig of curry leaves to it. Add the chili flakes and turmeric powder.
Now add the shredded coconut and mix them all together.
Put the greens to this and give it a mix. Pop the lid on the pan & let it cook on medium heat for 2 min.
Remove the lid, add enough salt and let it cook for a few more min, until all the water from the cheera evaporates...
Excellent side dish with daal chawal ( rice with lentil curry)...
my fav is cheera upperi with steaming rice and cold curd :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quick snack...Chickpea Poppers

I am a big fan of Rachel Ray...especially her 30 min meal shows....there is something really sweet about her...the way she talks nonstop while she cooks in her kitchen, her bubbly,giggly the girl next door nature makes me watch her shows again and again....and also to read her magazines...

This quick snack is indeed a real quick one, a crunchy salty snack.

Throughly dry canned chickpeas and spritz with EVOO(extra virgin olive oil). Season with dried oregano and garlic salt and roast at 400 F till golden crisp... its ready to munch on :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fool, everyone :)

I still remember those silly days when we eagerly wait for the fool's day to play pranks on each other. The school  summer holidays might have just begun and all used to be in such high spirits to try some silly prank on each other and once they fall for it, shout "april fool" :)...and out there again planning for the next prank....oh! my....gone are those i try to play a prank on my hubby, like i say "there is a fly over your shoulder", he gives me that look with arched brows(which says "you have nothing better to do?")
anyway its always nice to be a kid....the best time of life :)

Spring is in the air...trees start blooming...pleasant weather....what better time for garma garam pakoras(warm crispy fritters)...
Lent season is also started playing around with veggies at home...especially the ones which are not seen otherwise in my veg say, Spinach

Palak Pakoras (Spinach fritters)

You'll need:

Spinach: 1 cup (chopped)
Onion: 1 (medium sized)
Besan (chic pea flour): 1 cup
Red chili powder: 1 tbsp
Asafoetida: 1/4 tsp
Salt: to taste
Oil: enough to deep fry

How to make:

Wash and pat dry spinach and chop them nicely.
Chop the onion also into thin slices.
Mix besan, red chili powder, asafoetida, salt together.
Add a few teaspoons of water , just enough to make a thick batter.
Put the veggies in the mixture and combine it all together until all the veggies get coated with the batter.
Heat a pan with enough oil for deep frying.
Using a fork, spread small amounts of the mixture into the oil and deep fry till its golden brown on each side.
Drain them on to a paper towel...
Serve them hot with mint chutney or tomato ketchup....yummmmm
my hubby sandwich them between bread slices and eat them as bhaji pav....needless to say he is from aamchi mumbai :)

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