Sunday, 31 January 2016

Kerala Parota / Malabar Paratha !



Kerala Parota (aka Barotta / Malabar Parata / Laccha Parata) is very common recipe down south, especially in Kerala and south parts of Tamilnadu. Its mostly called Barota in Tamilnadu and you can find Barota shops in every corner of the street in all towns and cities. They serve with a gravy called salna, though it is veg, it just smells like a non veg gravy.
I still remember having lots of these barotas that we buy from local shops for dinner and enjoy with the salna. Making these are little tricky and time consuming , but they are insanely delicious especialy when made with all purpose flour. It is not so good for health, but once in a long while it is perfectly ok :)
If you happen to see the petite chefs at roadside making this parota, you will be amazed at their speed and perfection in swirling the rolled dough. Anyways if not to that mark, I have given here a decent procedure to make those yummy parotas. 


INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tbsp Sugar
  • 2 tbsp Oil + extra for frying the parotta
  • Warm water

STEPS

  • Take the all purpose flour in a bowl and add salt, sugar and oil to it.
  • Give a mix and then slowly add warm little by little and start mixing.


  •  Knead together and form a dough (like our chapati dough).
  • Then knead for solid 5 to 7 minutes pushing  it against your palm to make the dough soft.


  •  You can see the dough has turned soft after kneading well. Rest teh dough for 30 minutes covered with a damp cloth.
  • After 30 minutes the dough will be very   elastic and pliable.


  •  Now squeeze out balls from the dough and make equal size balls.
  • Keep them covered with the damp cloth while you work with one ball.


  •  Apply oil on the countertop, and start rolling the ball with a rolling pin.
  • Roll even and  thin as possible without any shrinks to a big sheet (any shape is ok).


  •  Brush some oil all over the sheet, or just apply oil with your hands.
  • Now start folding them zig zag from one end till you reach the other as shown.


  •  Swirl them around to make a disc and securing those zig zag foldings we made.
  • Push the tail end to the backside and press with your fingers , so that it is secured in the middle.



  •  Repeat the same with all the remaining balls, and yes keep them covered again till you make one by one.
  • Now take one disc, first press with your palms to a form a flat disc, and then gently roll with the rolling pin, without damaging the layers of fold.
  • Do not roll to thin like chapati, it can be bit thicker.

  •  Place it on a hot tawa, and cook on medium heat until brown spots appear.
  • Flip the parota, brush some oil and then cook well till brown spots appear on both sides and also the parota is cooked well.


  •  Repeat the same with all the parotas.
  • Now stack all the cooked parotas and then with both hands crush them , so that the layers are popped out and the parota is flaky.



NOTES
  • Make sure you knead the dough well that it becomes soft and pliable. Also rest it for 30 minutes. Keep the dough covered with a cloth at all times during the process of making.
  • Sugar is important , so that when cooking the sugar caramelises and gives nice brown color spots.
  • After rolling them , you can freeze them for a month or more and then just cook them straight from the freezer.
  • If you want to avoid too much Maida (All purpose flour) consumption, then you can add half Maida and half Whole wheat flour.
  • Best served with Vegetable Kurma  / Chicken curry / Spicy Egg Masala .
  • Some people Use warm milk for kneading the dough. You can use that too, it makes the dough even softer.



With Love,

Manathakkali VathaKuzhambu ! (No Onion No Garlic)



Vathakuzhambu or Vatral Kuzhambu is a tangy stew from the state of Tamilnadu. It uses dried veggies like turkeyberry (sundaikai) or Sunberry (Manathakkali) or sometimes without any of them and just called vendaya kuzhambu. 
It doesnt need any exotic ingredients and very simple and quick. The best part is it has more shelf life and can be stored in fridge for 2 - 3 days. 
Today I made this with Manathakkali (in Tamil) aka Sun berry. It also has names like black night shade or wonder berry. In most of the grocery stores in Tamilnadu you can get this in dried form. At home we used to have these plants , and mom makes yummy Keerai Kuzhambu with the leaves of this plant. 
I have already posted a similar recipe, Sundaikai Vatha Kuzhambu which had onions and garlic in it. But this recipe today is made without onion or garlic like how its made in most of the Brahmin households of Tamilnadu.
Best served with rice and I pair it with curd rice too :)


INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 dried Sun berry (Manathakali Vathal)
  • 3 - 4 tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
  • a pinch of Asafoedita
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves
  • 2 - 3 tsp Sambar Powder (or Kuzhambu powder)
  • 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
  • salt as needed 
  • Tamarind (lemon size)
  • 1 tsp Jaggery

STEPS
  • Heat oil in a pan, and add the vathal (dried turkey berry) to it. Fry for few seconds until they puff up slightly.
  • Remove from pan and keep aside until needed.

  • Soak tamarind in water for 10 minutes (or microwave 30 seconds). Squeeze out the thick tamarind extract and keep ready.
  • In a pan heat oil, and splutter the mustard seeds and then add the urad dal followed by fenugreek seeds.
  • Allow the urad dal to brown nicely.

  • Keep the flame in low, add curry leaves, chilli powder, sambar powder or (homemade) chilli powder or Kuzhambu powder and fry for few seconds.


  • Without burning the spice powders, quickly add the tamarind extract and half a cup of water or more depending on the consistency of the tamarind extract.
  • Add salt( note: dried sunberry has salt already) and turmeric powder and allow the kuzhambu to come to a boil.
  • Now add in the fried vathal (sun berry) to the boiling kuzhambu , close and cook for 3 to 5 minutes

  • The kuzhambu will be thickened nicely , add jaggery and asafoedita at this point.
  • Allow the jaggery to melt and get incorporated with the kuzhambu.
  • In medium flame cook the kuzhambu for another 2 - 3 minutes and by this time oil will start separating on sides and reached the thickness we are looking for.
NOTES
  • Vathakuzhambu needs a bit more oil so that it stays good even for 2  - 3 days.
  • Use gingelly oil (nallennai) for best results.
  • Do not skip asafoedita and curry leaves  as they accentuate the flavors.
  • You can do this with any type of vatral like sundaikai vathal or even without any vathal and called Vendaya Kuzhambu.
  • Sambar powder gives nice flavor, you can also use homemade chilli powder (or  store bought kuzhambu milagai thool). It works well too.
  • Do not skip the jaggery, trust me it doesn't make the whole dish sweet but nicely balances the flavors.
  • All dried veggies (vatral / vathal) has salt in it. So keep in mind when adding salt for the kuzhambu.
  • Adjust tanginess (tamarind) and spiciness as per your taste.
  • Serve with rice and papad. Best combo.


With Love,

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Brown Rice Veg Biriyani ! (One Pot)



This weekend special is a one pot healthy Vegetable Biriyani! This is the first time I am encountering Brown Rice for Biryanis. Back in Bangalore when we used to buy brown rice and  use it for daily use with sambar / Dal. But I somehow wasn't happy with the taste and I almost quit using brown rice.
Now, a couple of days back I grabbed a brown rice pack and decided to use it for spicy pulaos and biriyanis. That way Indian spices and their flavors dominate that anyone would even forget that is even made of brown rice. 
Brown Rice takes very long time to cook, approx 50 minutes to an hour. And it needs prior soaking too without it , you will be cooking it all day. But yes, there is one brilliant invention, the pressure cooker where you can cook them quickly leaving them for 3 - 4 whistles.
Brown rice is very healthy and diabetic friendly. The health benefits of brown rice continue with its fiber, which has been shown to reduce high cholesterol levels, one more way brown ricehelps prevent atherosclerosis. Fiber also helps out by keeping blood sugar levels under control, so brown rice is an excellent grain choice for people with diabetes.(Courtesy, Google)
I have posted many biriyani recipes in the past, and In veg category you must have seen the Veg Dum Biriyani cooked in hyderabadi style where rice and vegetables are layered and simmered for a long time. But this one today is a One pot Biriyani where rice and veggies are cooked together with aromatic spices.
Though the ingredients used in both the Biriyanis are almost same, only their cooking methods differ.
If you are interested in any Non Veg Biriyanis, do check them out and enjoy your weekend.
Egg Biriyani
Chicken Dum Biriyani (Pakhi Method)
Chicken Dum biriyani (Kachi Method))


INGREDIENTS (Serves 2 - 3 )
  • 1 cup Brown Rice (Basmati / Normal)
  • 3 tbsp Oil
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 Green Cardmom
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Shahi Jeera
  • a pinch of Hing
  • 1 Onion (sliced)
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 2 Tomatoes (finely chopped)
  • 1 Big Potato
  • 1 Big Carrot
  • 8 Green Beans
  • 7 - 8 Cauliflower Florets
  • 1/4 cup Peas ( I forgot to add)
  • salt as needed
  • 1/4 cup Yogurt
  • handful chopped Coriander & Mint
  • 3 Green Chillis (slit)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Biriyani Masala ( I used homemade)
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 - 2 tsp Kewra water
  • 2 tbsp Brown Onions (approx 1 onion sliced n browned)
  • 1/2 a lemon


STEPS
  • Wash well and soak the brown rice for 1 hour. Meanwhile chop all veggies, and slice one onion. Heat some oil in a pan and fry the onions (either deep or shallow fry) until they are nicely browned. Add a pinch of salt and sugar when frying.


  • After 45 minutes of soaking rice, we can start with making biriyani, so that by the time we add the rice it will an hour of soaking.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed broad pot, and once hot add all the while spices ans saute for a minute in medium flame.

  • Then add the sliced onion and saute until it is slightly brown. Combine ginger garlic paste and saute both till onions are nice and brown.


  • Add in the chopped tomatoes and cook till they soft and mushy. Then add all the chopped vegetables and saute them well with the onion & tomatoes


  • Add salt as needed and all the spice powders (except garam masala) and give a mix. Allow it to cook for a minute


  • Now throw in the chopped coriander and mint, slit green chillis and the yogurt and mix well. Close and cook for 2 - 3 minutes.


  • Add sufficient water (1 : 3 = rice : water) and once the water comes to a boil, add the soaked brown rice and give a mix.


  • Close the pot and cook in medium flame for 40 minutes. By this time all water would be absorbed and rice should be almost cooked. Now sprinkle garam masala and the kewra water, spread the browned onions randomly.
  • Close and cook for another 10 - 12 minutes until rice is fully cooked.
  • Turn off the stove and let it rest for 10 minutes, open and squeeze lemon juice and fluff the rice with a fork.
  • THe rice may look sticky as soon as you open, but will be fine in a while.

NOTES

  • Adjust spices and powders as per taste.
  • Same recipe can be made with normal white basmati rice and will be cooked in 15 minutes. 
  • To make the cooking process faster, use a pressure cooker and cook for 3 whistles and let the steam release on its own.
  • Brown rice needs more water than normal rice. SO I used 1 : 3 here whereas usually its 1 : 2
  • Kewra water is optional but it gives a nice flavor to the biriyani.
  • The vegetables added are your choice, I forgot to add green peas. 
  • Cooking in a stock pot actually takes lot of time, Mine took total for an hour for the rice to cook perfectly.
  • Serve hot with chilled raita. A healthy and wholesome meal is ready!


With Love,

Friday, 29 January 2016

Lehsuni Moong Dal !



Lehsuni(Lasooni) Moong Dal is yellow split lentils flavored with a good amount of Garlic. Dal (lentils) are cooked in infinite ways in India but this is one is distinct with its wonderful flavor of Garlic. Even Toor / Tuvar Dal and Masoor Dal (Red Lentils) are prepared in the same way. 

I am not used to Moong Dal much in my Kitchen though I love it personally in South Indian Kootus. But a couple of times I had this garlic flavored Moong dal at friend's place at it was yumm. She even hasn't added any spice factor like Red or green chillis. With the right amount of Garlic she used, and the finely chopped tomatoes added directly to the cooked dal, fresh chopped coriander leaves, all together resulted in a flavorful and very tasty dal. 
For a cold day, this warm and flavorful dal can be relished with Rotis (or any Indian Flatbread) or with hot rice & a dollop of (Desi) Ghee.. Best comfort Food I would say !

If you are looking for different ways of cooking Dals (lentils), then check these out below.
Tomato Pappu (Toor Dal with Tomatoes cooked in Andhra Style)
Dal Makhni (Whole Black Urad Dal cooked with Red Kidney beans)
Dal Tadka (Combo of Tuvar & Moong Dal)
Carrot Kootu (Moong Dal with Carrot)
Cabbage Molagootal (Tuvar Dal with Cabbage)



INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2  cup Yellow Moong Dal
  • 2 tbsp Oil / Ghee
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 2 Dry Red Chillis
  • 3 - 4 Green Chillis
  • a pinch of Hing
  • 4 - 5 Big Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 tsp Grated Ginger
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 Big Tomato
  • salt as needed
  • 1/4 tsp Tumeric Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Red Chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp Finely chopped Coriander leaves
  • 1/2 lemon 

STEPS

  • Wash the moong dal well and pressure cook it for 2 - 3 whistles. Make sure it is not so mushy but cooked well.
  • Heat oil / Ghee in a pan, sizzle the cumin seeds and then add generous pinch of hing.


  • Grate/Mince /Chop finely the Garlic. Add the garlic and sliced onions and saute them well.
  • Throw in the ginger and the chillis too and saute on medium flame till onions turn soft.
  • Add the turmeric and chilli powders and give a mix.


  • Combine the pressure cooked dal with this and adjust water.
  • Add salt, and the finely chopped tomatoes to it.
  • Allow to cook in medium flame for 5 - 6 minutes.


  •  Add chopped coriander, and let the dal come to a boil. 
  • Turn off stove and then drizzle some lemon juice on top.

NOTES

  • You can try the same recipe with Toor Dal or Masoor Dal (Red Lentils) too.
  • Make sure you don't let the garlic burn too much. Increase/Decrease the amount of Garlic as per preference.
  • For more flavor use desi ghee for the tempering.
  • Adding finely chopped tomatoes directly to dal, gives a distinct fresh taste instead of  sauteing them in oil.
  • You can even make this with no Green chillis at all, and it is perfect for toddlers. 
  • Goes well with both rice and rotis. 



With Love,


Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Peanut Chutney (With Coconut) !


Peanut chutney always remains our favourite and hence I try variations in them, using onion , or tomatoes, or coconut. My mom makes another version of Peanut chutney that is very very simple that doesnt have any onions, tomatoes or coconut but still tastes yumm. 
If you are interested in other variations of the peanut chutney then do check these, Peanut chutney with Onions and Peanut Tomato Chutney
Though this chutney looks like coconut chutney, peanuts play a major role when compared to coconuts. But this little bit fresh coconut definitely enhances the taste and texture. 


INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 cup Peanuts
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh coconut
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp Urad Dal
  • 2 tsp Channa Dal
  • 1 inch piece Ginger
  • 4 Green Chillis
  • salt as needed

To Temper
  • 2 tsp Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/2 Cumin Seeds
  • a pinch of Hing
  • 1 - 2 Broken Red chilli
  • curry leaves

STEPS

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add the dals and fry them.
  • Once they turn slightly brown add, ginger, chillis and coconut and fry for a minute. Turn off stove and let them cool.
  • Meanwhile dry roast the peanuts till the skin is easily removable.


  • Remove the skin of peanuts completely by rubbing them between your two palms and blow the skin away.
  • Now grind together the roasted peanuts, the fried coconut and dal mixture with salt adding some water to a smooth chutney.
  • Transfer to a bowl, adjust water and then  do the tempering with the ingredients given under "To Temper".



NOTES

  • If you have roasted and deskinned peanuts handy then this chutney can be made in minutes.
  • I sometimes roast the peanuts in oven, it is much easier when compared to stove top. A large batch can be roasted and deskinned and stored in air tight container.
  • Adjust chillis as per spice level.
  • Serve with idlis / Dosas. 



With Love,