Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rasam Powder

Rasam, a lovely blend of spices, tamarind and lentils is a favorite in southern India. Usually mixed with rice, rasam also makes a great soup. I've posted the recipe for my favorite rasam earlier, and a simple rasam as well. This is the basic spice mix used to make rasam.

Rasam Powder

1 cup Coriander Seeds
1 cup Toor Dal
1/4 cup Black Peppercorn
1/4 cup Cumin Seeds
15-20 Dried Red Chillies
1 cup Curry Leaves

Roast the coriander seeds, toor dal, peppercorn, cumin seeds and red chillies.

Separately roast the curry leaves.

Grind together to reach the consistency of semolina (a coarse grain).

This powder can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Pongal is a popular south Indian breakfast. It consists of lentils and rice cooked together and then seasoned with spices. Its usually eaten with a spicy curry of some sort, but tastes great with a sprinkling of sugar as well.

This is quite a meal on its own, and though its popular for breakfast, we tend to mix up all our foodstuffs here. Just like dosai, or upma, pongal makes for a great lunch or dinner as well.


3 cups Rice
1 cup Moong Dal (Split Green Gram)
6 cups Water (or as needed)
1 tsp Black Peppercorns
2 tsp Cumin Seeds

Cook the rice, dal and water together with some salt.

Heat a pan with some oil. Add peppercorn and cumin and let them brown a little. Coarsely crush this into a powder.

Add the crushed spice mixture to the cooked rice and dal and mix well until fully combined.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Vangibath (Rice with Eggplant)

I'm not a huge fan of eggplant, and so have been putting off making this for a long time. I got this recipe from an aunt who swore that it comes out perfect every time. I kept thinking, yeah, but eggplant flavored rice? Hmm, I'll wait!

Well, I happened to get some great eggplant in the market, and so decided to just go ahead and try it. It really is wonderful! Another no-fail recipe!

Vangibath (Rice with Eggplant)

Cook 2 cups of Rice and set aside.

Grind together:
1 tbsp Fresh Cilantro
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Ground Coriander
1/2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1/2 dried Red Chilli
1 clove Garlic, chopped
2-3 Black Peppercorn
2 Cloves, and
1 pinch minced Ginger

Set aside.

Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a saucepan, and add:
a pinch of Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds, and
1/4 tsp Sesame Seeds

When the mustard seeds pop, add and saute:
1 small Eggplant, unpeeled and diced
1/2 Onion, diced
1/2 Tomato, diced, and
1/4 cup Peas, frozen or fresh

Saute until the onions are transparent. Add the ground ingredients, and:
1 tbsp Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Turmeric, and
2 Bay Leaves.

Continue to saute until the eggplant is soft. Separate the grains of cooked rice with a fork, and add to the saute pan. Mix thoroughly and cook 3-5 minutes on low heat. Garnish with coconut and chopped cilantro.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chilli Cheese Toast

You know that craving you get when you come home from work, and just want to eat something before you start making dinner? This is just a wonderful tea-time snack. Very popular in India, chilli cheese toast has become somewhat of a tradition.

In this picture, I've used brown bread. I made a few with chillies and a few without.

Chilli Cheese Toast

10 slices of Bread (works equally on white bread as it does on baguettes or multigrain, so go with your favorite kind)
150 g Mozzarella Cheese, grated
4-5 Green Chillies, finely chopped
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder OR Crushed Red Pepper
2 pinches Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 375 deg F.

Lightly toast the bread. Make a paste mixture with the rest of the ingredients.

Apply the paste onto each slice of bread. Bake the bread for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Serve warm.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spicy Sago

Have you cooked with sago? It's a little difficult to use, since it becomes thick and soggy really fast. So you've got to soak it for just the right amount of time. It took me a long while before I figured out what that was. But once you do get it right, sago is absolutely delicious!

Khichdi is traditionally a combination of rice and lentils. In this case, we're substituting the sago for the carbohydrate (rice), and peanuts for the protein (lentils).

Sabudana (Sago) Khichdi

1 cup Sago, soaked for 2 hours in water
1 handful Peanuts, powdered
1/2 tsp Sugar
3 Green Chillies, chopped
2 Potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into small pieces
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Cumin Powder
2 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsp Oil
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
2-3 Curry Leaves
a pinch of Asafoetida
2 tbsp Coconut, grated, for garnish
2-3 tbsp Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Soak the sago for a couple of hours, until each grain loosens and feels light. Add crushed peanuts, sugar and salt and mix gently. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida and green chillies. When the mustard seeds pop, add the cooked potatoes, cumin powder, chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala and saute for a few minutes. Add the sago and stir gently. Finally add the grated coconut and cilantro leaves.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Green Rice

This is my first favorite recipe. My mum visited me while I was working in the US and made this for my friends when I had them over for dinner. I loved it because the aroma of the rice completely envelopes the house and its just so wonderful.

Green Rice

4 cups Basmati Rice
4 bunches Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
3 Green Chillies, finely chopped
1/8 cup Coconut
2 Green Bell Pepper, finely chopped
6 Spring Onions, finely chopped (green and white parts)
6 cups Water

Grind the coriander leaves, green chillies and coconut with a teaspoon of water to a chutney consistency. Saute the bell peppers and spring onions until just cooked. Add rice and continue sauteing for a couple of minutes.

Add the chutney and mix thoroughly with the rice and veggies. Add the water. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan and let the rice cook completely, stirring once in between to mix the chutney with the cooking rice.

Serve hot garnished with a little chopped coriander.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pumpkin Curry

I seem to make a lot of pumpkin curries at home. Just thinking out loud. There's pumpkin pachadi, sour pumpkin curry, olan and parsi dhansak. And that's just on my blog. I do a lot of other pumpkin dishes at home, too. Hmm... Guess I like pumpkin. Do you?

(Pumpkin Curry, from Kerala)

1/4 Pumpkin, cut into pieces
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1/2 cup Toor Dal, cooked
2 tbsp Coconut
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Sugar

4-5 Curry Leaves
1-2 dried Red Chillies
2 tbsp Coconut

Cut the pumpkin in cubes and cook with chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Add the cooked dal. Continue cooking on a low flame.
Grind the coconut and cumin together and add it to to the cooking pumpkin.
Heat a small pan with oil and add the seasoning ingredients. When the coconut is slightly reddish, add the seasoning to the pumpkin. Stir to combine. Add the sugar and stir together for a few minutes before removing from heat. Serve warm.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bean Sprouts

I absolutely love cooked bean sprouts. I love cooked sprouts - of any kind! They're so delicious. And this recipe, inspired from one of my favorite cookbooks, is an absolute favorite of mine.

Spicy Bean Sprouts

1 cup Bean Sprouts
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1/2 Tomato, blanched, peeled and cut into strips
1/4 cup Yogurt
1 tsp Gram Flour
a pinch of Asafoetida
1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Green Chilli, ground into a paste
a pinch of turmeric
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Garam Masala
1 sprig Cilantro, for garnish
Salt, to taste

Blanche bean sprouts in some boiling water. Mix together the yogurt and gram flour to make a smooth paste.

Heat some oil in a pan and add the asafoetida, cumin seeds, green chilli paste, turmeric, red chilli powder and yogurt mixture. Cook for a few minutes. Add sprouts and salt. Cook until the consistency is a little thick and add the bell pepper, tomato and garam masala. Cook for a few more minutes and then remove from heat and serve hot.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Roasted Eggplants

This very popular Indian dish is very simple to make at home. The important part of this recipe is roasting the eggplants in a pan over low-medium heat until the skin is charred and the pulp gets the smoky delicious flavor. I'm not an eggplant person, but this is a pretty good way to enjoy them.

Bhaingan Bhurta
(Roasted eggplants with spices)

2 large Eggplants
1 Tomato, chopped
1 Onion, chopped fine
1 Green Chilli, chopped fine
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1/4 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Oil
2 tbsp Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Roast the eggplants over a fire until they are soft. I use a dry pan and keep turning the eggplants until all the skin is charred. You could also do it over an open flame. Peel and mash the eggplants.

Fry the onions in the oil until golden brown. Add the green chillies, chilli powder and coriander powder. Add the tomato and fry for a few minutes. Now add the mashed eggplants and mix well. Garnish with cilantro.

This is great with roti or as a spread on toast!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spiced Mashed Potatoes

A huge favorite in my house, these potatoes are light, flavorful and delicious.

Potato Podimas (Spiced Mashed Potatoes)

1 pound Potatoes
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
a pinch of Asafoetida
6 Green Chillies
1 tsp Ginger, minced
1/2 tsp Urad Dal (split Black Gram)
1 tsp Channa Dal (Red Gram Dal)
1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
4 Curry Leaves
2-3 dried Red Chillies
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 bunch Cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Boil potatoes with turmeric and salt. Peel, mash and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add the urad dal, channa dal, asafeotida, turmeric, curry leaves, red chillies, ginger, lemon juice, salt and mashed potatoes. Stir to combine and cook together for a few minutes. Garnish with cilantro.