Sunday, March 4, 2018

Morning Milk Combos

- Banana, dates, almonds, flax seeds, milk
- Banana, dates, walnuts, flax seeds, milk
- Banana, walnuts, flax seeds, chocolate powder, sugar, vanilla, milk
- Banana, Bournvita, milk
- Apple, peanut butter, honey, milk
- Pear, walnuts, flax seeds, honey, milk
- Mango, pistachios, honey, cardamom, milk
- Mango, cashews, sugar, cardamom, milk
- Mix nut powder, saffron, sugar, milk
- Chikoo, sugar, milk
- Thandai, milk
- Rose syrup, milk
- Horlicks, Milk
- Malt powder, milk

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Idlis and Sides

I might have died and gone to heaven. Our ancestors were really geniuses. How can such a "simple" meal be so satisfying? How could I have taken Idlis for granted for all my life? This meal was sublime, and made from scratch, and so worth it. Of course, there is no ways I could have done it without a plethora of gadgets and frozen and jarred stuff in my American-Indian kitchen. How did women accomplish this meal without them?

Ok, enough drama. I got inspirations from too many internet sources (and a lifetime of exposure to south indian food), so won't list them, but here's exactly what I did:

Friday afternoon (around 4 pm):

- Wash and soak 1 cup of udad daal.
- In another bowl, wash and soak 2 cups of khichdi rice + 1  tsp whole methi daana.

Friday night (around midnight):

- Wash and soak 2 cups thick poha(it needs about 10 mins to soften)
- Drain most of the water from the daal and grind in vitamix (around 4-5 level) until the daal is very smooth.
- Remove the batter and transfer to the instant pot inner container.
- Save about a cup of the soaking water from the rice for grinding and set aside. Now drain most of the rest of the water and transfer to vitamix. Also add the drained poha. Grind (again around 4-5 level) until the rice has a slightly coarse texture (like idli rava). You might need to use the tamper thing. Use as little water as possible.
- Transfer the rice batter into instant pot container.
- Add the saved water to Vitamix, and run it to clean up the batter, and add it to the instant pot container.
- Slowly mix everything (there is some air in the mixture already that you don't want to remove). The mixture should be thick, but pouring consistency.
- Now set the instant pot on "venting" and set it on yoghurt mode for overnight fermentation.
- Clean out the Vitamix as usual.

Saturday morning:

- Open the instant pot, and transfer about 1 container worth of batter (to save for later in the week)
- Transfer the remaining batter to a large bowl, add salt and mix carefully (don't want to deflate it too much)
- Pull out a container of regular coconut chutney from the freezer. 
- Clean out the instant pot, and using pot-in-pot method, cook about 3/4 cup of toor daal with salt, turmeric, 4-5 drumstick pieces (I use frozen ones), and one diced carrot.  20 mins high pressure.
- Malaga podi: In a shallow pan, add about 1/2 small steel vati (so say about 1/6 or 1/8 cup) of sesame seeds. roast on a medium flame till they start popping and transfer to a plate. Add a few drops of oil, add the same amount of udad daal. Roast it till it's deep golden brown, and transfer to the same plate. Add about 1/4 of the vati chana daal, and repeat. Finally, roast about 3-4 kashmiri chillies and about 1/2 resham patti red chilli with a pinch of hing and transfer to the plate. Let everything cool before grinding (I used magic bullet wet grinding blade and small container). Store in an air tight container.
- Sambar masala: In the same pan, heat a bit more oil, add small handful of chana daal, 1 big handful of coriander seeds, 1 big pinch of whole methi seeds, another 3 kashmiri chillis, and the remaining half spicy chilli, a big handful of grated coconut (I used frozen), and a few curry leaves. Keep roasting the masala while you do other things. Also grind into a coarse powder, and add water to make a thick paste.
- In a stainless steel pot, heat oil, add about half of large dices of red onions and one tomato. Let it saute for a bit. Add about 4 tbsp of tamarind pulp (from a jar, or make your own). Now add the sambar paste and let it cook for a bit.
- Add the drumsticks and carrots to this mix, roughly blend the boiled daal, and add that with some more water and salt. Bring the sambar to a boil and simmer on a low flame.
- Tomato chutney: In the masala pan, heat some ghee, add three cloves of garlic, and saute for a few seconds. Add two roughly diced tomatoes, salt, a pinch of hing, and a few curry leaves and cook until tomatoes are mushy. Let it cool a bit. Blend it in the same magic bullet jar (Notice the order in which the jar is used, so you don't need to wash/dry it at any point?). Add a little big of coconut (about 1 tbsp), about 1 tbsp of the malaga podi, and blend again. Heat a tsp of ghee in a tadka pot, and add 1/2 tsp mustard seeds and add to the chutney once they crackle. Save the chutney in another container.
-Steaming idlis: It's time. Set the instant pot on a saute mode with sufficient water. While the water boils, grease idli plates (I used both regular and the mini). Slowly fill them with the better, and put the plate contraption inside instant pot. Put it on venting, and steam mode. Set another timer for 9 minutes (IP timer won't work with venting in steam mode). Once the time goes off, turn off IP,  let the steam reduce until you can open it easily.  and serve.

Serving: Sambar in a bowl, malaga podi with a big chunk of ghee, tomato chutney, and coconut chutney with the steaming hot, super soft idlis.

What could be better?


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Instant Pot Pakoda Kadhi

This really does make a very nice kadhi with very little effort/supervision. Perfect for those days when you get back home tired and need something comforting.

In a mixing bowl, mix about 2 cups of yoghurt, 3/4 cup besan, salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder, a pinch of amchoor, mix well. Add about 4-5 cups of water. Take a big red onion, slice half of it thinly, and dice the remaining half. Start the IP on saute mode. Add oil + ghee, add jeera, kalonji, methi, whole dhania seeds (crushed using your palms), hing, 2 whole red chillies, and the sliced onions. Also add some grated ginger. Saute till onion softens, and add the kadhi mixture. Stir and close IP. Set it on Soup mode (with pressure).

In the same mixing bowl, mix the diced onion with more besan (about a cup), salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, whole coriander seeds (also crushed by hand), a pinch of baking powder, a splash of oil, and water to make a batter. Make pakodas in an appe pan. It only takes about 2 batches, and needs very little supervision.

In the mean time, you can get some plain white rice cooking. Finely chop some cilantro.

Once the pressure releases, add the pakodas to the kadhi, give it a nice stir. Garnish with cilantro.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The tooth extraction special!

I've been making too many rounds to the dentist lately, and the evening before my first extraction, as I was walking around the grocery store, I was struck with a massive, irrational panic that I won't be able to eat for a long time. So I bought a lot of food, and then the morning of, I spent an hour cooking soups to get through the rest of the day.

Spinach Soup:
Heat some oil (and a small knob of butter), add chopped ginger, garlic and white onion. Saute till soft. Add baby spinach, and saute. Also add one chopped tomato, salt, and lots of pepper. Add some water and let it cook for a bit. Once cool, also add a handful of fresh mint leaves, some milk and a dash of lime. Blend using the hand blender. (The mint gives a great flavor! Thanks to Tarla Dalal)

White pumpkin and daal soup:

If I have more of this often, I bet I would lose a lot of weight. It was also delicious. In the instant pot, heat oil, add cumin, onions, ginger and garlic (heavy on the garlic). Saute till lightly brown. Add washed green mung daal, and lots of big chunks of white pumpkin (the kind used in making sambhar). Add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt and water, and put on "porridge" mode. After it's cooked, blend with a hand blender. Eat it with some yoghurt. Super hearty (and nutritious, and tasty too!).

Papaya + Orange juice + honey + lime juice. Blend. This tastes good (but I'm not allowed acidic food now, so I'll wait another day or two, or L. will finish it).

Other ideas for days when the teeth are not too happy:
Instant oats
cream of rice
Different kinds of khichdis
Apple sauce
hallah bread
creamy peanut butter and seedless jam
mashed potatoes
cooked sweet potatoes
Soups: Mashroom, cauliflower, butternut squash, carrot and coconut, peas, almond
Smoothies/milkshakes: banana and protein powder,  banana and peanut butter
Smooth guacamole

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Special "Everyday" recipes

Here's a couple of recipes that add a little something extra to "everyday" recipes:

Methi Malai Paneer.
I actually used "malai paneer" for this recipe and also added green peas.
Finely chop and clean methi. In a pan, heat some oil and saute for a couple od minutes. Take it out and set aside. In the same pan, heat some more oil/ghee, add cumin, bay leaf, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Add chopped ginger garlic onions and saute. Add turmeric, red chilli, corriander powder. Add tomato sauce and saute. Add methi, sugar salt, milk (and cream optional). I also added some cashew paste to make it creamy, since we dind't have cream. Add Paneer, green peas, a pinch of garam masala. Simmer for a couple of minutes.

Saunf wali Hari Ghobi

Heat oil, add saunf, bay leaves, ginger and tomato (I used fresh + sauce). Saute for a bit. Add turmeric, red chilli powder, corriander powder, salt, also add yoghurt, and green chutney (with mint). Add ghobi and let it cook covered for a few minutes. L. missed having potatoes in it, so next time, I'll add that too.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Diwali Peda

1 pack Nanak khoya (defrosted). Big glass bowl, 2 mins in microwave. Stir. 1 min in the microwave. Stir. A pinch of saffron soaked in milk. Stir. 1 min in the microwave. Stir. Let cool will slightly warm. Blanch, peel and slice a few pistachios. 1 cup sugar (regular white cane sugar..not the Indian kind) and a big pinch of cardamom powder. Stir until the sugar starts to dissolve. Grease palms with ghee. Prepare pedas and garnish with slices of pistachios. Refrigerate after they set.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Guest Post: Onam Sadya

Onam Sadya Menu:
Plate Preparation:
Salt, ginger pickle, ? chutney, banana chips, fresh banana, fried kerala papad, plantains, cabbage Thoran, Avial
Course 1:
Rice, Parappu, ghee, 
Course 2: 
Rice, Sambar
Course 3: 
Rice Kalan
Course 4 : 
Brown payasam
Course 5:
Pal Payasam 


Cabbage Thoran:




2 plantains (ripe) 
1/4 tsp turmeric powder 
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 cup water

Cut plantain length wise, remove the black part. Cut into cubes. Boil with the turmeric powder and chilli powder and water and you cook. Keep stirring. Add a bit of salt. Keep it aside. 

1 cup grated coconut (frozen). Microwave. 3/4 cup is also enough
1 tsp cumin
5-6 whole black pepper
1 tsp ghee + 1/4tsp fenugreek. Roast well. Raw smell should go away. 

Grind the masala to a smooth paste. 

Now pour the coconut paste to the cooked plantains. Add salt.  Put this on the stove. Let it come to a boil. Check for salt. 

Add 1 tsp jaggary.  

Turn off the stove. Take it off the gas. 

Beat 2 cup curds. Add to the pot. Check consistency. 

Heat Ghee, add mustard seeds, red chillies, curry leaves. Pour over the kalan. Serve cold. 

Serve with Rice. 

Brown Payasam:

1 cup yellow moong daal. Dry roast well till it turns brown. Don’t leave unattended. Then wash well. Now add to the pressure cooker with 2 cups + a bit more water. 1 or 2 whistle. Turn off the stove. 1 to 11/2 cup jaggery. Cut into pieces. In a separate bowl, take 2 cups of water, boil, add the jaggery, let it melt. Then strain the syrup (if required). Take a thick bottomed vessel on the stove on a medium flame. 2 tbsp ghee. Add the cooked daal into the ghee. Add strained jaggery. Now keep stirring until everything is mixed well. Add thin (2nd milk) coconut milk. Then let it boil. 

5-6 Dry roast cardamom, remove the cover, and grind with sugar. 

Manthra brand dry ginger (soonth) - 1 pinch. 

Now add cadmom powder and soonth into only a part of 1st coconut milk and then add to the main pot. Stir well. All on medium heat. Cook for about 5-10 milk. 

Now add the first milk. Now no boiling. Remove from stove. 

In a nonstick pan, add 2 spoons a ghee, bring to medium flame, add golden raisins, roast (do not let it burnt) add 5-6 cashew pieces (split in halves). Should not get burnt. Add to the payasam as a garnish. Do not mix.