January 31, 2011

WWC - Brown Rice for Dinner: an event announcement

The list goes on and on if I start talking about the health benefits of eating whole grains over the white-stuff. The most notable ofcourse is - the link between the consumption of more dietary fiber and whole grains and a lower incidence of colorectal cancer. It is also scientifically proven that by choosing foods with high-fiber content aid us in reducing and regulating our weight.

To emphasize and celebrate the goodness of our dear wholegrains, specifically, our beloved brown rice, I am guest hosting an event. I encourage (& also challenge) each one of you to swap at least one meal this month with brown rice instead of white rice. You will eat less and feel good about your intake. I promise.

So, are you all ready for taking up this challenge and send in your entries to me? Below are some details that you would want to know. :-). 

Wholesome Wholegrain Cooking (WWC)

Theme: Brown Rice for Dinner
Last Date of Submission: Feb 28th 2011

Participation Rules:

1. Make a dish with *Brown Rice* as its main ingredient and which can be served for dinner. Only Vegetarian entries and No deep fried recipes please.Eggs are allowed.

2. Use of logo is optional.

3. Provide a link to this announcement post and Sanjeeta's original WWC page in your posts. Old entries which are re-posted can be sent.

4. Send in your entries with your Name, Recipe Name, Recipe URL and a Picture (any size) to info(dot)siri(at)gmail(dot)com with a subject line of *WWC*.

5. If you don't have a blog, no worries. Make a dish with brown rice and send in the recipe details with a picture (optional) to the same email address mentioned above. I will publish them as a part of the roundup.

Some brown rice recipes already posted here -

Brown Rice and 16 Bean Adai (who said Adai can be served only for breakfast ;-))

Perfectly Oven Baked Brown Rice

I will be waiting....for all of your entries. :-)


January 28, 2011

Iron Rich Foods: Paneer Methi Chaman

Iron deficiency is one of the common problems that we, women deal with and iron rich diet is often highly recommended. Why do we exactly need Iron? - its main use is to transport oxygen to the body, ensure that our immunity system is strong and to produce energy in the body. Some of the main sources of iron are - beet root, spinach, broccoli, spinach, lentils, almonds, dates etc.

Today let us talk about our beloved Spinach. Shall we - Its not just meant for Popeye, but for all his fans too :). Me and my husband are ardent fans of both popeye and spinach. I sometimes jokingly say that my husband might be an avatar of Popeye as he can eat spinach all through the week!!

Spinach, the generously green plant is one of the popular iron foods. In a serving of 180g (3/4 cup) of spinach, body gets 6.43mg of iron.

Paneer Methi Chaman

When we are talking about *Iron-rich* recipes, the first thing that comes to our mind is -"Greens". This dish has loads of them and combined with Paneer, it tastes even better. The addition of both fresh fenugreek leaves and kasuri methi gives it an unbeatable flavor quotient.

Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 20 mins

Ingredients -

4 cups spinach, roughly chopped
1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
2 cups fenugreek leaves, roughly chopped
1 cup paneer (indian cottage cheese), cubed
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/4 tsp asafoetida (hing)
a pinch of turmeric
1/4 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp dhania powder (coriander powder)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/4 tsp garam masala
salt to taste
some fresh coriander - for garnishing

Preparation -

Step 1: Heat a small pan on medium heat and roast the dried fenugreek leaves till crisp for 1-2 mins. Keep aside.

Step 2: Boil water in a vessel and blanch the spinach and fenugreek leaves for 2-3 mins. To retain the bright green color, place the greens under cold water immediately.

Step 3: Drain the greens and blend in a mixer till smooth, adding little water at a time. Keep aside.

Step 4: Heat oil in a wide pan and add cumin seeds and onions. Saute until light golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste. Mix and cook for 1-2 mins until the raw taste disappears. Season with asafoetida, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder and dried fenugreek leaves (crushed between both the palms). Saute everything for 3-4 mins on medium-low flame.

Step 5: Add salt, paneer cubes (which can be added as-is or lightly fried in 1/2 tsp of oil, like I did) and garam masala. Depending on the consistency you want, add about 1/4 cup of water if desired. Cook on a medium-low flame for 4-5 mins, stirring once or twice in between.

Step 6: Garnish and Serve.

Note: If you want a rich, creamy taste, add in cream, milk or half-and-half.

Nitin bhayya - this post is for you. I hope - aap ye bhabhiji ke liye banauge and khilaoge bhi ;-)

Have a gorgeous weekend - for people on the west coast and for east coast - Stay warm, have hot soups and enjoy the snow :)

until next time,

January 23, 2011

Beat the Heat: Bottlegourd Kadhi (Anapakaaya Majjiga Pulusu)

Bottlegourd Kadhi (Anapakaaya Majjiga Pulusu)

About "Beat the Heat" series

This is a series dedicated to those who suffer from a constant heart burn and acidity problems. Body heat has nothing to do with the seasons. It is a common misconception that our bodies generate heat only in summers. No. the body heat is dependent on our diet in take & the body type (as Ayurveda states -Vata, Pitta & Kapha). A balanced-diet is the key here and even if you are not suffering from any body heat, it is a good practice to incorporate such cooling foods which are not harsh on our digestive systems.

About the recipe:

Bottle gourd also called as Anapakaaya (in Telugu), Lauki or Dudhi (in Hindi) is a yellowish-green vegetable, in the shape of a bottle. (hence the name - bottle gourd ;-)). It is very commonly available in India and in US, you should find in any Indian grocery stores - fresh produce section. Cooked bottle gourd is cooling, calming, diuretic and easy to digest, thanks to its high water content. It is also effective against constipation and other digestive disorders.


2 cups of chopped bottle gourd pieces (Peel the skin, remove the seeds and chop)
1 cup yogurt
2 tbsp besan (or chickpea flour)
1/4 tsp of turmeric
salt - to taste

For tempering -

1 tsp of oil
1/2 tsp of each - urad dal, mustard seeds, cumin seeds
2 green chillies, finely chopped.  (remove seeds if you want it to be milder)
2 red chillies, tails nipped
2 tsp of minced fresh ginger


1. Boil 1 cup of water in a sauce pan and add the chopped bottle gourd pieces. Cover and cook until tender. 

2. Meanwhile, whisk in yogurt, besan, turmeric, salt and 1 cup of water, so there are no lumps. I use my hand as it is much more easier. Once the bottle gourd is cooked, add to the yogurt mixture, with the water in which it is cooked. Don't discard that water. Mix.

3. On medium flame, heat oil in a pan and add all the items listed under "Tempering". Let them splutter.  Slowly add the bottle gourd-yogurt mixture. Reduce the flame to LOW and cook until the raw smell of besan is gone. The key is - when you taste it, you shouldn't taste besan at all. Stir occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of water, depending on the consistency you want. 

Garnish with cilantro and Serve.

Note: This Kadhi, which I made on a Sunday night tasted great for 5 days, when kept refrigerated. I was prepared to throw the rest on Friday, but to my surprise - it was delicious. So, now I have one more make-ahead dish in my repertoire. :-)

Previously on Beat the Heat series:

Minty Stuffed Parathas

Hope you all have a great week ahead.

until next time,

January 19, 2011

Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan, demystified

My mouth is watering at the very mention of this dish. Juicy, tender baby eggplants stuffed & dunked in a rich nutty-onion-ey gravy. What not to love in this very-popular-hyderabadi-dish. The only down-side is - its preparation and cooking time. But, for that too I have a trick for you. This recipe is a bit different than others. It makes use of a masala powder which can be ground ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Whenever you want to have some of this rich, decadent dish - pop out the masala powder, add some fried onions, turmeric & salt. Stuff the mixture into the eggplants and once they are cooked, sprinkle the rest (with some water) over them. 


Yes, it is as simple as that. Feel free to adjust the ingredients used for the masala powder - but the ones that are a must are - peanuts, sesame seeds & coconut.

It was late in the night and I was too tired to even click any pictures. Hence there are no step-by-step pictures this time. and You know what, I have a feeling there is no need of them. Have a look at the recipe & you will know why. - Just gather all the ingredients and jump right in.

If you are a hyderabadi like me, hope this dish will bring you back some of your memories from - back home. :-)

Hyderabadi Bagara Baingan

Save this recipe for those special parties where you are determined to get some Umph's and Wow's from your friends. (or) even better - treat yourself and/or your family with this decadent dish, especially when you want to buy something expensive. I am sure, after tasting this, anybody would say 'Yes' to anything you ask for. ;-)

Simplified & Adapted from my mommy's recipe. Mom, you are THE best.

Step 1 - Dry roast each of the following ingredients separately and cool them on a shallow plate. Then grind them into a fine powder (in a coffee grinder, if you have one like I did). 

1/4 cup peanuts***
2 tbsp sesame seeds***
2 tsp poppy seeds**
1 tsp coriander seeds**
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp dried coconut*** (if using frozen shredded coconut, plan to use the whole thing in one-go. It not good for refrigeration.)
1 inch cinnamon stick**
5-6 black cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns

The ones which have 3 stars (***) are a must-haves & with 2 stars (**) are good-to-have ingredients.

Store this powder in an air tight container & refrigerate. It will stay good for several weeks. Remember to use dried coconut if you want to use it later.

Now that we have our masala powder ready to go, the process is much more simple than you think.

Step 2. Wash and pat dry about 10 tender baby eggplants. Don't make slits as of now.

Step 3. Heat a tsp of oil and add 2 cups of finely chopped onions & little salt. Saute for about 8 mins on medium-low flame until golden brown. Add 1 tsp of ginger-garlic paste. Cook for 2 more mins. Remove from heat and cool down a bit.

Step 4. In a mixing bowl, add the fried onions, about 6-7 tbsp of the above masala powder, little salt, 2 tsp of tamarind pulp, 1/2 tsp of turmeric. Mix well.

Step 5. Slit the eggplants into fours. keep the stem in tact. Stuff half of the above onion-masala mixture.

Step 6. Heat a tsp of oil in a wide, shallow pan and add these stuffed eggplants. Make sure the pan is wide-enough to fit all of the eggplants in one single layer. Rotate and shake the pan occasionally so that the eggplants cook evenly, until tender - on medium flame. Cover. Let it take as long as it takes for the eggplants to cook completely. It took me about 15-20 mins. 

Step 7. Turn the flame to LOW and add the rest of the masala paste with 1.5 cups of water. Check for salt one last time. Donot use any spatula, just shake so that the eggplants are coated well. Cook on low heat until the oil start to separate at the edges. 

Ready to serve for anything - from biryani to rotis. :-)

Patience is virtue for this recipe to come out well and trust me, the end result is worth waiting for. I am sure my friends at work who got to taste it can vouch for that ;-).

Off this goes to Healing Foods: Eggplant, originally started by me & this month graciously guest hosted by dear Kavita. Hurry in your entries by Jan 31st and have a chance to win one of the two giveaways. :-)

As I said before, there are many variations of the same recipe. and the difference is mainly in the ingredients for the masala powder, in Step 1. See how Nags has prepared the same recipe, in her own ishtyle. :-)

take care and until next time,

January 17, 2011

Brown Rice and 16 bean Adai

A simple 4-step process and there you have an incredibly delicious and nutritious breakfast for you & your family. The batter can be make-ahead of time on that leisure Sunday evening and the following week, you don't have to worry about - "What to eat for breakfast?" question. I bet, the batter wouldn't stay for long, so prepare yourself to soak the next batch, almost immediately just like I do. :-)

[Update] - the 16 bean soup mix has following beans -

  • Northern
  • Pinto
  • Blackeye
  • Garbanzo
  • Kidney
  • Baby Lima
  • Green Split Pea
  • Cranberry Bean
  • Small White
  • Pink Bean
  • Small Red
  • Navy
  • White Kidney
  • Pearl Barley
  • Black Bean
  • Large Lima

Brown Rice and 16 bean Adai

my morning breakfast - brown rice & 16 bean adai served with peanut chuntey & hot tea.

Adapted from Saffron Hut.

Ingredients needed -

1 cup 16 bean soup mix (which can be found in almost every grocery store - in the dried beans aisle)
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup urad dal
2-3 red chillies
1 tsp of minced ginger
1 green chilli
1/2 cup of chopped onions
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
a pinch of asafoetida
salt - to taste
few curry leaves

Preparation -

1. Soak overnight, separately - 16 bean mix, brown rice, (urad dal + red chillies)

2. Drain the soaking water into a separate bowl and grind to a coarse paste, add one by one after short intervals - (16 beans , brown rice, urad dal with red chillies, little soaking water).  

3. To the ground bean-rice-dal paste - add chopped onions, minced ginger, green chillies, cilantro, asafoetida, salt and curry leaves. Keep aside for 10-15 mins (skip this if you are in a hurry).

4. If you are ready to use it right away, heat a little oil on a non-stick pan, laddle a scoop of adai batter in the center and spread evenly into a dosa. Cook until golden brown on both sides and Serve with some chutney.

Note - For a later use, store in a air-tight container and refrigerate. Stays good for atleast a week.

Bhuvana, this is for you. :-)

[Update] - sending this the event I am guest hosting "WWC: Brown Rice" originally conceptualized by Sanjeeta .

until next time,

January 15, 2011

Onion Uttappam

Today, my post will be sweet & simple as we are going out to watch "Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu", a socio-fantasy telugu movie produced by Walt Disney. I have a lot of expectations and hope it will keep up to that.

[Update] - We are just now home after watching the movie. The graphics and cinematography are par excellence. But a weak script and a poor screenplay can never be compensated with any of these technical gimmicks. The plot is pretty simple - a battle between good and evil. Sidharth is a blind warrior whose lady-love is Shruti Hasan and now his job is to protect the little girl Moksha (who is the only hope to restore peace) and kill the evil-spirit - Ayirendri (played by Lakshmi Manchu).
Throw in a bunch of songs here and there, couple of sword fights & there you have the movie - Anaganaga Oka Dheerudu. :-). Me & S always tend to give a rating to every movie we watch and this one would get a 2.5 out of 5.

Jumping on to today's recipe - "Onion Uttappam", with the left over idli batter. I confess, I like these more than the actual idlis. the tiny bits of crispy edges of these uttappams are to die for.

Ingredients -

Left over idli batter
finely minced ginger
finely chopped onions
2-3 green chillies, minced
fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp of oil
Salt - if the batter is not seasoned.

Other add-ins - finely chopped tomato pieces, grated carrot, peas or any slightly steamed vegetable(s) , fresh curry leaves.

Note - There are no actual measurements for this recipe. Every ingredient can be added as per taste and it tastes delicious, nevertheless. :-)

Preparation -

Mix all the ingredients. Add little water, if desired.

Heat 1/2 tsp of oil on a non-stick pan on medium. Pour the batter in the center of the pan. After 3-4 secs and swirl around (good exercise, huh? ;-)), so that the batter spreads evenly. Cook for 2-3 mins until its golden brown. Using a spatula, turn the other side and cook for 2-3 mins.

A tiny tip for the center to be cooked perfectly is -  to make two or three slits (using the same spatula) and pour a little oil droplets on them.

Once done, serve with any chutney. The dollop in the middle (in the pic) is Ginger chutney (Allam chutney) that my MIL send from India. Nothing beats that taste. huh!.

Hope you all have a great (long) weekend ahead.

until next time,

January 12, 2011

Idli 101

All happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast. ~ John Gunther

There can be a no better way to start a day with a healthy-filling breakfast. And if it something that can be prepped ahead of time - even better. For us, South-Indians, Idli is a quintessential breakfast item. We can and have eaten sometimes idli every day, all through the week. Proper ferementation and the ratio to urad dal to idli rava is crucial for spongy, feather like idlis.

Especially, if you are living in cold weather conditions like me, it becomes even more difficult to have a well-fermented-idli-batter. Below are some tried and tested tips that have worked for me in the past.
If you have any other tips & tricks for these fluffy goodies, please do share in the comment section. :-)

Idli (Steamed Savory Lentil Cake)

Ask any south-indian - "What is the most common breakfast item you had, growing up?" They would reply either Idly or Dosa.& they are very easy to make. All you need is couple of ingredients which are available in a regular Indian store and an idli stand to steam these into cakes.

Preparation -

1. Wash thoroughly, multiple times (until the water runs clear) and Soak 1 cup of (split, white) urad dal with 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds (aids the fermentation process) for atleast 6 hours.

2. After 6 hours or overnight, drain the water (into another bowl) from the dal and grind until a very smooth, silky paste. Use the drained water little by little as needed while grinding. Remember, the more you grind, the fluffier the idlis will be. Remove the batter into a big, wide bowl.

3. Wash 2 cups of Idli rava (this is different from Sooji or Coarse Rava, used to make Upma) and grind for just a couple of seconds, using little water. There is no need to wash the blender. You can do this step in the same in which the urad dal was ground. Add this idli rava to the urad dal batter and mix with hand for couple of seconds until it is mixed thoroughly.

4. Now comes the "fermentation process". If you lucky to be in a hot climate, then just place the vessel for atleast 6-8 hours in a warm place, the batter should double in volume with air bubbles formed.
If you are like me, in a comparatively colder climate, especially in Fall - then there are couple of tips & tricks that aid the fermentation process. (and will take about 12-16 hours)

a). Preheat the over at 200 F for 10- 15 minutes. Turn off and place the covered vessel (with idli batter) in the rack. After 5-6 hours, remove the vessel, pre-heat again for 10 minutes and put back for fermentation.

b). If you use a room heater (like us in the bedroom, during nights), then time the soaking process accordingly, grind and place the vessel wrapped in a old shawl, in the room. By morning, you should see the batter has fermented.

c). Another tip is to use Eno Fruit Salt or Yeast (from Jugalbandits)

d) Or sometimes, just turn on the oven light and keep the vessel in the oven. For some of my friends, this tip works like a cham.

that is my guy - an eternal 'idli-lover' eagerly waiting to pop that in his mouth.

5. Now that the batter is fermented, take some in a separate bowl and store the rest in the refrigerator for stopping the fermenting process. Add a tbsp of water (consistency of evaporated/condensed milk) and season with salt.

6. In an Idli vessel, pour some water and bring to a boil. Grease the moulds lightly with cooking spray and fill about 2 tbsp each. Place carefully in the ildli stand and steam for 12-15 minutes. Turn off and rest it for a minute or two.

7. Use a spoon to remove them onto to a plate. Serve with any kind of chutney or powder with oil or yogurt mixed with pickle. Yum!

*I wanted this blog-post out of my drafts asap, so publishing it - though it talks about basics of idli making which most of us already know* . :-).

until next time,

January 9, 2011

Beat the Heat: Minty Stuffed Parathas

Like most of us, my body too has a tendency to build up a lot of body heat and have a lot of acidity problems from time to time. especially as I am recovering from my fever (since New Year's eve), I have been taking a lot of antibiotics and they, as we all know have their side effects and generate unwanted acids in the stomach which in turn results in a burning sensation that leads to Acidity. Not a good feeling, I tell ya!

Instead of popping antacid pills for cure the problem, I turned to some natural remedies. Alkaline foods like bajra, jowar, bananas, mint, ladies finger etc aid in reducing this acidity problem. 

..so is the today's recipe - "Minty Stuffed Parathas" which I made for today's dinner. Served with cool raita, they tasted fabulous.

Acidity or not, I think these make a lovely meal at anytime of the day.

Go on, dig in as I am not watching ;-)

Minty Stuffed Parathas
Mint has got many medicinal properties and is very well known to relieve acidity. Last night for dinner, I tried my hand on these absolutely delicious and mouth-watery parathas stuffed with veggies like cabbage, potato and peas.
I think to keep the acidity at bay, there could be a no better way!
Hey that rhymes ;-).

Adapted from Tarla Dala's Acidity Cookbook.

For the dough -

1. Blend into a puree - 1/2 cup mint leaves, little lemon juice, 1/2 tsp cumin leaves, 2-3 green chilli pieces along with 1/4 cup of water.

2. Mix the prepared mint paste with about 1.5 cups of whole wheat flour (atta flour), 1/2 cup bajra flour (optional, if not just use 2 cups of atta flour), 1 tsp of oil and 1 tsp of salt. Knead with about 1.5 cups of water, adding little by little into a soft dough. Rub a little oil on top and cover with some plastic wrap. Keep aside and rest for a while.

3. For the stuffing -

Sprinkle salt over 1 cup of cabbage. Keep aside for 10 mins. Then squeeze out the water using your hands. Cut 2 potatoes into halves and boil for about 10-15 mins, until tender. Peel out the skin and mash into a bowl.
Microwave 1/2 cup of frozen peas (no need to thaw) with little water for 2-3 mins. Drain water and mash.
Heat  a tsp of oil in a pan and add potatoes & green peas. Cook for 2 mins. Don't add any water. Add the cabbage & cook 2-3 mins.
Finally add 1 tsp of garam masala, little turmeric, 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder. Season with salt. Mix well. Allow it cool for a bit.

Preparation -

4. Take a lemon sized ball of dough & roll out into a chapati. Put about 1 tbsp of vegetable stuffing on each roti, close into a dumpling. Roll out slowly into a paratha.

5. Cook each paratha on a non-stick pan until you have small brown spots on each side. A little tip is to slightly press through its edges with fingers (on the pan itself) if you think the edges are a bit dough-y. Brush little oil and Store in aluminum foil until it is ready to serve.

These parathas freeze beautifully. Make them ahead, cool a little, fold them in aluminium foil and put them in a freezer bag. Refrigerate or Freeze.

I have made a couple for my breakfast tomorrow morning. Sending these minty goodies to Sanjeeta's WholeWheat for Breakfast event.

Hope you all had a relaxing weekend and all geared up for the week ahead. You all have a good one and take care.

until next time,

January 5, 2011

Under 15 mins: Tofu Makhani

Quick, easy & delicious. That is the mantra for my weeknight cooking. I am especially inclined toward Under 15 mins recipes and one-pot meals. Really, they are life-savers, especially for me where I have to get home, tired for an hour long ultra-fast (pun intended!) VTA train journey from work.

To freshen up my boring weeknight cooking, I ordered myself a couple of Tarla Dalal's recipe books. I like the fact they are tiny and the recipe is never more than a page long. That instantly gives me energy & echoes me back saying - Yes baby, this dish is doable.

One such quick-fix dinner is this absolutely yummy Tofu Makhani. The original recipe was for Paneer Makhani & I replace paneer with healthy tofu. You can very well use Paneer or Tofu based on what is lurking around in your fridge. Be adventurous, add potatoes or any other vegetables to the same sauce. *wink*.

The.Husband raved about this dish and finished the whole thing off. Ah! I love when I don't have left-overs as I generally hate to eat food which is more than a day-long. I wonder if that is good thing or a bad thing. Good becoz I am eating less stale food; Bad becoz I have to cook more often. Blah.

Everybody loves Paneer Makhani - "cubes of Indian Cottage Cheese simmered in a tomato gravy". Here is a healthy alternative to the same which tastes even better than the paneer version. Even the non-tofu-lovers will end up asking for a second helping. I promise. Compliments well with roti or biryani or just plain rice.

Tofu Makhani

Adapted from Tarla Dalal's Cooking Under 10 mins.

Prep Time: 5 minutes 
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves 2


1 cup of extra firm tofu, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped (or 2-3 tbsp of onion paste)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
a pinch of turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder (or less - based on your desired spice-level)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves), crushed between the palms
1/2 cup half and half (can use milk or cream instead)
2 tsp oil
a pinch of sugar
salt - to taste


Step 1 - Heat a tsp of oil in a skillet and lightly fry the tofu tubes, until light brown. Keep aside on a plate with a paper towel, to drain out the excess oil.

Step 2 - In the same skillet, add a tsp of oil and saute the chopped onions. Add ginger-garlic paste & stir for couple of minutes till the onions are slightly browned.

Step 3 - Then add turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt and tomato puree. Add a cup of water & cook for 3-4 minutes.

Step 4 - Finally add in crushed, dried fenugreek leaves, half & half and a pinch of sugar. Mix well and adjust salt, if required. The gravy will be a bit whitish as soon as you add in the half & half. Not to worry, it will blend in with the spices and the gravy will get that rich tomatoe-y color. :-)

Step 5 - Gently mix in the fried tofu cubes and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Step 6 - Transfer into a bowl and Serve hot.

Sending this as my second entry to Simona's MLLA 31 event, originally started by dear Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.

until next time,

January 3, 2011

Black-eyed peas (Bobbarlu) Kootu

Eat poor that day, eat rich the rest of the year.
Rice for riches and peas for peace.
~ a Southern saying on eating a dish of Hoppin' John on New Year's Day.

I'll be honest with you guys. I heard, for the first time only about a week ago - about the Hoppin' John & the tradition of serving black-eyed peas for New Year...and the legend of the Hoppin' John dish goes something like this -

"It was the custom for children to gather in the dining room as the dish was brought forth and h op around the table before sitting down to eat.  A man named John came "a-hoppin" when his wife took the dish from the stove. An obscure South Carolina custom was inviting a guest to eat by saying, "Hop in, John". The dish goes back at least as far as 1841, when, according to tradition, it was hawked in the streets of Charleston, South Carolina by a crippled black man who was know as Hoppin' John."

Picking up the fact that the black-eyed-peas especially when served on New Year bring good luck, I made a very delightful black eyed peas kootu.

Well, following the tradition, I made sure this year we had black eyed peas & rice on the table. I hope this would bring us truck loads of luck and good health. :-)

Kootu/Koottu is typically a South-Indian delicacy. Usually made with shredded coconut, lentils and/or vegetables with an array of aromatic spices, it is a delight to eat it for lunch or dinner. This dish makes use of a kootu podi (Step 2) which is very versatile and can be used with other vegetable curries like potato, eggplant etc. I saw this dish made on a TV show featuring some kannadiga recipes. Served with rice, rotis or even dosas, it tastes delicious and very nutritious too.

Black-eyed peas (Bobbarlu) Kootu


Step 1: Grind to paste: (1 onion, chopped + 3-4 red chillies + 1 cup shredded coconut).

Step 2: Dry roast and Grind to a powder - ( 1 tbsp poppy seeds + 1 tsp fenugreek seeds + 1 tbsp urad dal + 1 tbsp chana dal + 1 tbsp sesame seeds + 1 tbsp coriander seeds + 2 tbsp peanuts)

Step 3: Boil 1 cup of black-eyed peas with 3-4 cups of water until tender. If using canned beans, drain & rinse.

Step 4: In a small bowl, take 4-5 tablespoons of kootu podi prepared in Step 2 with 1/2 cup of tamarind water. Make sure there are no lumps. Keep aside.

Step 5: Heat 1 tsp of oil in a wide skillet and add in 1 tsp of mustard seeds, until they start to crackle. Stir in 1 tsp of ginger-garlic paste and onion-coconut paste that we prepared in Step 1. Cover and cook for 2-3 mins on medium heat. Then add the (kootu podi + tamarind water) mixture. Mix the contents well. Add little water if desired. Cover and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Step 6: Season with salt, turmeric and finally add the boiled black-eyed peas. Cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring occassionally. Add 1/2 tsp of ghee and Serve hot with roti or rice.

[Edited February 2nd 2011] - My entry won a cookbook and a case of six bags of the winner's choice of Hurst Bean products in the random draw for this event. Looks like my Hoppin'n John turned out to be truly lucky. Thanks Simona and Susan

I am sending this off as an entry to MLLA 31, this month guest hosted by Simona & originally started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.

Note: This month the theme for Healing Foods event is our beloved "Eggplant" and is being graciously guest hosted by Kavita. Click here for more participation details.

until next time,
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