Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Red chili chutney recipe/Red chili dip

The last couple of weeks I was sick & my taste buds were dead. To rejuvenate them, I wanted something very spicy & tangy. Hence made the red chili chutney as a side dish to the ragi dosa. I loved it; but nobody at home touched it! :( They could not take the spice level of the chutney. This chutney is only for those who love eating spicy, spicy & more spicy food.

Recipe Source: Southern Spice

Ingredients: (Makes around 1 cup of chutney)
Dried red chili: 12nos (I used the round variety)
Shallots or onion: Around 3/4th cup, peeled & coarsely chopped
Tomato: 1 medium sized
Oil: 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
Gram dal/channa dal/kadalebele: 1 tsp
Salt: According to taste

  • Heat oil in a wok.
  • When oil is hot, add mustard seeds. When mustard seeds splutter, add gram dal. Fry till the gram dal turns golden. 
  • Throw in the red chilies(along with the seeds, do not forget this is a spicy chutney!). Saute for 30secs. 
  • Add the onions & saute for 2-3mins (Sweating of the onions is what we need, don't over fry them). 
  • Throw in the tomatoes, salt & saute for another minute or two. Remove it from heat.
  • Allow the ingredients to cool. 
  • Blend them with very minimal water to a smooth paste. Enjoy it with idli, dosa or rice.

  1. This chutney tastes better with shallots/sambar onions. 
  2. tomatoes could be replaced with tamarind extract. 
  3. Shelf life of this chutney is no more than 2 days (when refrigerated). 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Breakfast Burritos - A Mexican Recipe: Step-by-Step

Every article we read about fitness suggest us to eat healthy morning breakfast. Never skip your breakfast! A fruit, vegetable & a source of protein plays a very important role for morning breakfast, but how many of us follow it? (I see many hundreds of nodding heads, including mine!) They are worth reading, nodding & advising :D

Burritos are one such breakfast item for our weekends. While vegetables provide the essential vitamins & fibre, whole meal tortillas & cheese provides the necessary  protein & energy. Here is the recipe for you.

This recipe is inspired from showmethecurry.

Serves: 2
Preparation time: 5mins
Cooking time: Maximum 10 mins

Tortillas: 4 nos, whole meal (For more information about tortillas, refer here).
Grated cheese: 1.5tbsp, more or less (for each burrito)
Oil/Butter: 1 tsp each (for shallow frying)

For the filling:
Shredded vegetables: 1/2 cup (I have used cauliflower, baby corn & carrots).
Olive oil: 1 tsp
Garlic: 1 small pod, minced
Ground pepper: according to taste
Pickled jalapeƱos: 1 tsp, chopped fine (optional)
Salt: According to taste
Dried or fresh basil: 1 tsp

For the filling:
Shred or coarsely mince the vegetables.
Heat the olive oil in a small pan, when oil is hot, add minced garlic & saute for 30secs.

Throw in the vegetables to the pan & saute. Cook the vegetables on medium flame for 2-3mins.

Add the ground pepper, salt, basil leaves, jalapeƱos & mix well. Turn off the heat.

For burritos:
Heat a griddle.Warm the tortillas.
The griddle must be on low heat. Place one tortilla on the griddle.

Spread the cheese all over the tortilla.

Follow it by spreading the vegetable filling.

Place another tortilla on the filling. Seal the edges. (Melted cheese helps to seal the two tortillas wonderfully).
Carefully flip. Sprinkle the oil. Cook on medium heat, until both the sides are nicely brown.

Repeat the same with the remaining two tortillas.
Cut the burritos & serve them hot with tomato salsa or any dip of your choice.

  • For those who are new to tortilla, here is a brief. Vague definition for tortilla, it is very similar to Indian chapathi. Tortillas are made using corn flour(makki aata), plain flour(maida), whole wheat flour. I am sure you can easily find the tortillas in any supermarkets in India. I have seen them during my last visit. If you really cant find tortillas & want to prepare these burritos, go ahead making them using your chapathi dough. Roll 2 chapathis (same size) & lightly toast them. Keep them aside. Prepare burritos! For people in Singapore, you get them at Mustafa, Fair price & other shops too. Here is how they look.
  • Any vegetable of your choice could be added to make these burritos. I have made burritos with grated potato  filling, paneer filling & many more.Scrambled egg could also be added as a filling.
  • Basil leaves could be replaced with fresh & finely chopped coriander leaves.
  • If you don't prefer Garlic, replace it with ginger

Friday, January 14, 2011

Homemade Idly batter | Idli Recipe: Beginner series

Idli preparation is a simple yet tricky process. Here is my effort to summarize what I have learnt so far!! 

Firstly, you need few basic tools to make idlis:
Indian mixer/blender/food processor
Idli stand/Idli plates/moulds
Steamer / Pressure cooker

Once you get hold of these tools, let us proceed to the method. In this recipe, I use de-husked black lentils & akki tari (idly rawa/Semolina). 

Information about Idly rawa/semolina:
It is normally available in Indian stores. However, if you fascinate preparing it at home, here is how you could do it:
  • Raw rice or boiled rice is thoroughly washed in water & drained. 
  • Then the moist rice is spread on a white cotton cloth. 
  • It is dried inside the house or under the shade for a day(up-to 24hours). 
  • Once the rice is completely dried, the rice is sent to the flour mill (Flour mills are very common in India. Even a small town will have couple of flour mills) & is instructed to be powdered for idly rawa. 
  • After the idly rawa is brought home, it is dried under the shade again for couple of hours to remove the moisture caused by the heat of the machine. 
  • Finally, it is stored in air tight containers & used for the next couple of months for making idli and pundi/unde(steamed dumplings) 

Soaking time: 3-4 hours
Fermenting time: 10-12 hours
Steaming time: 15-20mins

De-husked black lentils/urad gola/uddina kaalu or uddina bele: 1 cup
Idly rava/rawa: 2 cups*
Salt: 1/2 tsp, more or less
Fenugreek seeds / Menthya / Methi seeds: 1 tsp

* If you are using wet grinder, use 3 cups of idly rawa for 1 cup of urad dal. If you are not sure about the quality of urad dal &amp are using the mixie/blender/food processor, add 1/2 cup of beaten rice to lentils. Soak both beaten rice &amp lentils together for 3-4 hours.

  • Wash the lentils thoroughly & let them soak for 3-4 hours. Drain the water from the soaked lentils & add them to the food processor jar. 
  • Add 2-3 tbsp of ice cold water to the lentils & pulse for few seconds. Add few tablespoons of ice cold water to the very coarsely done lentils & pulse again. Repeat the whole process of adding ice cold water & pulsing for at-least 5-6 times. 
  • The lentils must be very smooth & frothy. 
  • Scoop out the mixture to a broad vessel. Wash the idly rawa, drain the water from the rawa & mix them with the scooped lentil paste (adjust the consistency of the batter).
  • Mix them well & allow it to ferment overnight or for 10-12 hours. After proper fermentation, the batter would have raised.
  • Grease the idli plates. Add salt to the batter & mix it. 
  • Pour a tablespoon or a little more of batter to each mould. 
  • Place it in the steamer & steam the idlis for 15-20mins.
  • To check if idli is done, insert a tooth-pick, if it comes clean, idlis are properly cooked. 
  • Remove the idli stand from steamer & allow it to cool for 2-3mins. Carefully remove the idli using a spoon or knife.
  • Serve it hot with a chutney, sambar of your choice.

  • Don't forget to add ice cold water if you are using food processor to grind the lentils. The motor of the food processor will transfer the heat to the lentil paste/batter. If batter becomes hot/warm, it will not be frothy. So, to keep the batter cold, it is advisable to use ice cold water.
  • While preparing the lentil paste, ensure not to add more water at one point. Keep adding little water & keep pulsing/grinding. This helps in making the batter frothy. 
  • Do not grind/pulse for a long time at one shot i.e. pulse only for 30-40secs. Stop and repeat.
  • Ensure no lumps while mixing semolina/rawa to the lentil batter.
  • The consistency of the final batter is very crucial. If the batter is thick, it wont ferment well. If the batter is watery, the idlis become sticky. The batter must be like the tomato ketchup.
  • Lentil and Idly rawa ratio depends on
    a) The way lentils are grinded (using wet grinder or food processors) and
    b) Quality of the urad dal/de-husked black lentils.
    If 1(black lentils/urad dal):2(idly rava/semolina) ratio does not work for you, try reducing it to 1:1.5 or worst case, try equal proportions.1:1 works for sure!!
  • Cooking time of the idli depends on the number of idli plates used. 15-20mins steaming time for 16 idlis(4*4, in my case). Adjust the cooking time according to the number of idlis to be steamed.
  • To make idli softer, you can also add a fistful of cooked rice (Grind the cooked rice along with the lentils). 
  • In case, you do not have a steamer, use the pressure cooker to prepare the idlis. Do not add the weight, instead place a steel tumbler (as shown below).

Monday, January 10, 2011

Baby corn-capsicum grilled sandwich in Mumbai style.

Who doesn't want to whip a quick brunch on weekends? I obviously do especially when we get up very hungry at noon :D Most of us relax & enjoy our weekend.

Some families cook elaborate meals on weekend as they feel, they would have rushed to make weekday food. However some families believe in relaxing & enjoying with the family, rather than spending most of the weekend time in the kitchen. I belong to the latter. I keep weekend cooking as fast as possible. 

Hence would come up with different sandwiches, burgers, poha, upma etc. This is one such sandwich tried. I love the combination of corn & capsicum. That is already evident in my previous posts, isn't it? Crunchiness & tad sweetness of the half cooked baby corn with a spicy chutney & a bite into the capsicum makes this sandwich delicious. 

Ingredients: (For 3 sandwiches)
For sandwich:
Sandwich bread: 6 slices (It could be white bread, whole wheat or multi grain).
Baby corn: 6 nos (sliced)
Capsicum: 1 no (seeded & cut into small pieces).
Broccoli: a small piece, shredded (optional)
Green chutney: 1.5 tsp for each sandwich.

For green chutney: (The below ingredients will make approximately 1.5 cups of green chutney).
Mint leaves/Pudina: 2 cups, tightly packed
Coriander leaves: 2 cups, tightly packed
Green chilies: 6-8 nos, more or less. 
Onion: 1 medium sized, chopped coarsely
Ginger: 1 inch, chopped coarsely
Lemon juice: 1.5 tbsp
Salt: According to taste

Green chutney recipe:
Wash the mint & coriander leaves thoroughly in water. Chop them coarsely. In a food processor, blend all the ingredients mentioned for the green chutney to a smooth paste. Add little water, if needed. Scoop out the chutney to a air tight container, store it & use as needed. The shelf life of chutney is around a month. 

For assembling the sandwich:
Remove the crust of your bread. (Optional).

Evenly spread a  teaspoon or more of the green chutney on the bread slice.

Throw in the slices of the baby corn on top of the chutney. Isn't attractive? I loved the green & yellow combination here. 

Sprinkle the grated broccoli.(around a tbsp).

Throw in the finely chopped capsicum (around a tbsp).

Cover with another slice of bread. 

Smear butter on top of the bread. Add few drops of olive oil or butter to the griller & grill the sandwich for 5-7 mins. *

I have grilled the sandwich on a electric griller & also on a stove-top griddle. I prefer to grill them on a electric griller. The slow cooking in the electric griller makes it tasty. However, not having a griller should not be a reason for not trying. Go ahead & make it on a tawa/griddle. While using a griddle, ensure to cook the sandwich on a low heat. Cook on both sides until golden brown.

  • Baby corn-paneer is also a very good combination to try out. 
  • The green chutney recipe mentioned here is very versatile.It could be used as a dip for fritters, french fries, pakoras, kebabs, samosas etc. The same chutney along with sweet chutney could be used for making chats, like bhel puri. So, making them in bulk is no harm.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Vegetables stuffed whole wheat Indian bread | Vegetable Paratha | Healthy Parantha Recipe

Late last year, I invested in a mini chopper & I have been using it tremendously since then. I have to still learn the art of slicing, grating & whipping using the chopper, but mincing is so much easier. I hide all the vegetables for my son & he happily eats the vegetables. It is only color-color dosa & rang bhi rangi rotti(colorful Indian bread) for him these days.

The chopper has made my work a lot easier when it comes to make parathas. Cauliflower, broccoli takes seconds to be minced. I used the same chopper to make this vegetable paratha. We all love these vegetable parathas & are currently addicted to them. 

Ingredients: (Makes around 8 parathas)
For dough:
Whole wheat flour/atta: 1.5 cups
Warm water: Around 3/th cup
Salt 1/2 tsp
Oil: 1.5 tsp

For stuffing:
Beetroot: 1 small piece (skinned)
Ginger: 1 inch piece
Carrot: 1 medium sized
Chow chow: 1 small piece(skinned)
Cucumber: 2 inch piece
Potato: 1 medium (skinned)
Green chilli : 2 nos
Salt: According to taste

Other ingredients: 
Whole wheat flour: for dusting
Oil: 1 tsp for shallow frying each paratha
Butter: 1 dollop on each paratha (optional, for serving)

For the dough:
Mix all the ingredients mentioned & make a smooth pliable dough. Let it rest for 60mins.

For parathas:

  • Grate all the ingredients mentioned for the stuffing. Mix them. (I minced them using my chopper. Super fast & perfectly done). Add salt. Squeeze out as much as water possible from the vegetables.

  • Knead the dough again & make 8 balls (approximately). 
  • Roll each ball a little & put a tbsp of stuffing in the center of the rolled dough. 

  • Cover the stuffing with the dough & seal the edges (refer to picture below)

  • Dust the stuffed ball & roll them into 7 inch diameter circle. 

  • Heat a griddle. When griddle is hot, place the rolled paratha & shallow fry both sides on a medium-high flame. 
  • Repeat the above steps for the remaining dough balls. 
  • Serve it with a dollop of butter on top of paratha & a side dish of your choice. 


  • I have used most of the vegetables available at hand to make this paratha, like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, capsicum, onion, raddish. Try to flavor the vegetables with roasted cumin seeds or ginger or chaat masala etc. Believe any combination of vegetables with a nice flavor makes it a hit at home. 
  • Always remember to cook the paratha on a medium high heat. If you cook the paratha on a slow flame, they turn hard. 
  • Squeeze out as much as water possible from the vegetables before stuffing them.
  • Parathas could be rolled thick or thin. We prefer our parathas on a thinner side. Hence, I roll it as thin as possible.
  • More the butter, more the better ;)

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