Today’s recipe is a continuation of my resolution to post healthy recipes as much as I can, going forward. Beetroot Quinoa is a dish made from a well known legume, beetroot and a not so common grain variety called the Quinoa. Like I had described in one of my earlier posts, Quinoa is a South American grain crop well known for its edible seeds. Quinoa is a super food that is rich in calories and easily digestible. Beetroot, as you may all know, is a very good source of iron and vitamins.
Beetroot Quinoa is a very easy dish to make. It literally takes 15 minutes to prepare. Also, with the way it’s made, you can either have Beetroot Quinoa as is or have the cooked beetroot only with rice. Beetroot Quinoa is a cold food and can be retained by refrigeration, making it the go-to food for bachelors and single ladies that is if you want to have healthy food, if not there is always pasta and noodles :). Also, it is a very good menu for lunch box, especially for kids 🙂
For those who worry about getting Quinoa back home, no worries, Quinoa is quite popular there and is called as (Seemai Thinai, literally known as foreign grain 🙂 ). Don’t miss out trying this truly healthy food which I believe will be a good alternative to have once in a while amongst the mundane dishes that we have often.
Hello everyone. It has been quite a while since I posted new recipes. But I am back and I hope that you had tried as many recipes as possible while I was away. Today, I am going to post an authentic Tamilian gravy dish called the Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu (it means Lentil dumplings gravy in english). It is one of my favorite gravy and is a favorite of my HB as well. It is packed with protein (lentils), hence healthy for all age groups.
The first time I had Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu was in my friend’s home during my school days. I loved it instantly. Though it might look like a time consuming process to prepare this gravy, given the preparation of the lentil dumplings and the gravy (we make them separately), it is actually an easy to make recipe. There are subtle variations to the gravy (and the dumplings as well) and the most common one is where the gravy resembles Puzhi Kuzhambu (tamarind gravy). It is a common occurrence in south Indian cuisine where you can prepare different recipes using one common gravy. For example, the tamarind gravy can be used to make Meen Kuzhambu (Fish gravy) and Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu (Lentil dumplings gravy) as well. I personally like to have a distinct taste, wherever possible, in each of the recipes that I prepare and for that reason my gravy in this recipe does not have tamarind as an ingredient:)
As I had mentioned earlier, Paruppu Urundai Kuzhambu is a two step process. One is the preparation of the gravy and the other one is the making of lentil dumplings. For those who are a bit apprehensive about the preparatory method for the lentil dumplings, worry not. You can steam the dumplings first and then drop them in the gravy. One reason why I don’t steam is that the gravy does not get absorbed by the dumplings if you do that and that will alter the taste. So do try this authentic recipe from my home state in India and as always post your comments.
Soak dal in water for one hour. Drain the water completely and grind them coarsely in a blender. Just pulse them like how you make for paruppu vada.
Crush the garlic cloves and chop the shallots. Make tomato puree and keep it ready. Grind grated coconut along with a shallot to a fine paste and keep it aside.
Heat a pan with oil and season with cloves, cinnamon and fennel seeds.
Add shallots and sauté well. Add the crushed garlic cloves.
Add tomato puree and sauté for a minute.
Add turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt. Add enough water, close the lid and bring it to boil.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix the dal, finely chopped shallots, crushed garlic, a pinch of turmeric powder and ½ tsp sambar powder and a pinch of salt.
Make small dumplings.
Add ground coconut paste and enough water to the gravy and bring them to boil.
When the gravy starts to boil, check the salt and add the dumplings. Do not stir the gravy once the dumplings are added. Cover and allow them to cook for five minutes. The dumplings will start to float on top when they are cooked. Simmer and cook for another couple of minutes and switch off the flame.
Enjoy the paruppu urundai kuzhambu with steamed rice and fryums on the side. 🙂
1.You could also steam the dumplings in pressure cooker for 10 minutes and add them to the gravy instead of adding them directly. 2.The gravy must be thin while you add the dumplings. So that it gets cooked. 3.If you feel like the gravy is so thin, take out the cooked dumplings carefully and place on a wide pan or plate. Simmer the gravy and cook until the desired consistency. Switch off the flame and transfer the gravy to the pan where the dumplings are transferred. 4.You could also use coconut milk in place of coconut paste.
Today I am posting an important process that is most often an intermediary step during the preparation of dum biriyani, hyderabadi biriyani, fried rice, etc. Boiling rice is a traditional process of cooking rice that was in existence before the advent of pressure cookers.
Boiling rice is a simple yet an efficient process where even the byproduct, i.e., the water (vadi kanchi) is consumed as well.
The main purpose of boiling rice is to make the rice fluffy when cooked. Make sure to add salt while the water boils. Constant checking of the texture of the rice is necessary.
Wash and soak the rice for 25 minutes. Drain the water and keep it aside.
Collect enough water in a wide open, thick bottomed vessel and bring it to boil in a high flame.
When the water starts to boil, simmer the flame to medium low. Add enough salt and again bring it boil. If your making biriyani, add shahi jeera, bay leaf and oil at this stage. Check for the salt. Water has to be salty.
Add the soaked rice to the boiling water and stand aside. Wait until froth is formed and the rice starts to dance on top. At this time rice would have cooked 70%. It takes only a minute so be sure to stand next to it and switch off the flame. Remaining 30% will be cooked in the hot water itself. Leave it for a minute and check if the rice is completely cooked by pressing in between your finger or tasting it.
Meanwhile take a strainer and place it on top of a wide vessel.
Immediately pour the cooked rice into the strainer and completely strain the water.
Leave it for about 5 minutes until all the water is completely strained.
Use this beautifully cooked boiled rice for making fried rice, hyderabadi biriyani, etc.
There are so many different dishes in Tamilian cuisine that they can be categorized based on the locality. One such cuisine is that of Tirunelveli, whose dishes are very popular and known for their unique taste and recipes. Here I have given a very popular dish from Tirunelveli called as Sothi. I also learnt recently that it is a popular dish in Srilankan cuisine as well. Sothi is a coconut milk based dish that has a creamy texture (somewhat like alfredo sauce, texture only not the taste) and a mild taste.
Whenever I cook Sothi, my dear friend’s mom come to my mind because she is the one who taught me to cook this dish and she is from Tirunelveli (no wonder :)). She always prepares Sothi when we visit their home for holidays. Compared to many other dishes from Tirunelveli, the number of ingredients used to prepare this dish is less. Coconut milk is the main ingredient and that gives a richness and thick consistency to Sothi.
Sochi is a pretty heavy dish in the sense that you feel the fullness even when had in small servings. Back home, Sothi is the main accompaniment for Idiyappam (string hoppers) along with diluted coconut milk with sugar. It can also be had with rice along with any spicy curry like Crunchy cauliflower. Try this ethnic dish from Tirunelveli right in your home and let me know if you like it with Idiyappam or rice. FYI, I love to have it with both 🙂
Grate the coconut and pulse them adding some water. Strain the milk using strainer. This is first (thick) milk. Add some water to the extracted coconut and pulse them again for couple of seconds and strain the milk. This is second (thin) milk. Repeat this process and extract third milk as well.
Pressure cook the dal for 1 whistle.
Grind ginger and chilli in a blender to a fine paste and keep it aside.
Chop all the vegetables and keep it ready.
In a kadai add a tsp of oil and season it with fenugreek seeds.
Add in onions, garlic and green chillies.
When the onions turn golden brown add the second and third extracted coconut milk.
Then add all the vegetables and bring them to boil. I used drumstick and carrots today. I added drumstick first as it takes lots of time to cook. After 10 minutes I added carrots.
Add the cooked dal to the vegetables and again bring it to boil.
Now add the ground mixture (ginger and chillies) along with salt.
When the gravy becomes thick, add cumin and coriander leaves.
When the mixture comes to boil for the last time add the first extracted coconut milk to it and immediately switch off the stove.
You can sprinkle lemon juice after 10 minutes(optional).
Today I am posting an interesting recipe from Chettinad cuisine. Chettinad refers to a locality in my home state in India, Tamilnadu (the most famous town being Karaikudi) The name Chettinad derives its origin from the phrase, the country of chettiars, a community in Tamilnadu known for their business acumen. Chettinad cuisine is very popular in south Indian diaspora around the world and there are dedicated restaurants catering to this particular cuisine. The dish I have posted here is called the Dosai Kuzhambu (Dosa gravy). Interesting name, right?
Dosai Kuzhambu is a gravy comprised of dosa, not the regular dosa but from the one made specifically for this dish. In Chettinad weddings you are always served with three distinct varieties of Kuzhambu (gravy), a thick one, a thin (watery) one and one more that I could not remember. Dosai kuzhambu comes under the thick variety. It is a very easy recipe to prepare and tastes similar to tomato gravy a.k.a Thakkali Kuzhambu.
As with all dishes in Chettinad cuisine, Dosai kuzhambu is made from a wide variety of ingredients. And I believe each one of them contributes to the taste. Try this authentic Chettinad recipe in your home and let me know how it goes. Also, don’t forget to suggest a complimenting side dish for this gravy in the comments section 🙂
Heat oil in a wide pan and add bay leaf, fenugreek and fennel seeds and allow them to sizzle.
Add garlic and chopped shallots and sauté until they turn translucent.
Next add in chopped tomatoes and sauté until they turn mushy.
Now add in all the masala powders (chilli, coriander, turmeric) and give a quick stir. Add very little water like ½ a cup and sauté until the raw smell of the masalas disappear and oil separates.
Make a juice of tamarind and add it to the gravy. Add a cup of water and salt and bring the gravy to boil.
Meanwhile, make a thin (not so thin) batter of gram flour and all the above mentioned ingredients.
Heat a dosa pan and make a medium thin dosa. Smear few drops of oil around the dosa.
Flip the dosa cook for a very few seconds and take it out – make sure the dosa(s) are half done so that the remaining will be cooked when added to the gravy.
Role the dosa and apply little more batter on the end and make the roll stick together without coming apart.
Cut the rolls to thin slices and keep it ready.
Now when the gravy starts to boil, add a tbsp of coconut milk and mix well.
Add the dosa roll slices carefully into the gravy. Do not use spatulas at this time. If you want to mix the gravy, just hold two ends of the pan and tilt them slightly without using spatulas. Cook for another five minutes and switch off the flame. Serve the yummy dosa kuzhambu along with hot rice and some fryams. Enjoy! 🙂
Soya beans are a popular legume variety that is known for its protein content. South Indian cuisine has a variety of dishes made with soya beans. Here I have given you a type of gravy made from soya chunks called the Soya chunks gravy. It is very tasty gravy that goes well with chappati, naan, pulav etc.
Soya chunks gravy is a very easy dish to prepare. I literally use all types of masalas, mutton masala powder, chicken 65 powder, biriyani powder and madras curry powder as ingredients. Soya beans are used to make all those meat substitutes like tempeh, tofu etc. I would say dishes made using soya chunks are the closest to regular non vegetarian dishes in taste.
As I had mentioned earlier, soy is rich in protein, amounting to 40% of its composition. Soya chunks gravy is a very healthy dish and a perfect alternative to meat. Try this healthy and tasty dish in your kitchen and let me know your awesome experiences.
It has been quite a while since I had posted a recipe for a rice variety. The recipe that I have posted today is a specialty of my MIL. It is called as the Coriander/Cilantro rice. As the name suggests, the main ingredient here is coriander. It is a very simple and tasty dish.
Coriander in general has many medicinal properties. It is used for obesity treatment, skin care and is also recommended for diabetic people. So Coriander rice is a healthy dish but you normally don’t find them in restaurant menus (maybe because it is healthy :)).
On days when you don’t feel like cooking but still want to have something healthy, Coriander rice is an apt choice. Try this simple and tasty variety rice in your kitchen and let me know what side dish you would prefer with it (I like it with simple potato chips and kadalaiparuppu thogaiyal 🙂 )
Jugalbandi is a musical word related to Indian classical music referring to duet performance of two solo musicians. The word literally means “entwined twins” (courtesy:- Wikipedia). You might be wondering why I am talking about classical music in a food blog 🙂 That is because the dish I have given here today is a mix of two distinct ingredients that makes up an absolutely delicious dish called the Mushroom-Corn Ki Jugalbandi.
Mushroom-Corn Ki Jugalbandi is a north Indian sabzi variety which is prepared using mushroom and corn with a touch of cream. My HB is a big fan of this dish and it is an amazing side dish for pulao, naan, chappati and many more. Since our diet mainly consists of chapati, I am always on the lookout for new side dishes. So when I came across this recipe online I immediately tried it out and got absolutely hooked. The corn in this dish gives a crunchiness to it and the hint of cream gives a mild sweetness as well. Trust me, it is an irresistible combination 🙂
Mushroom Corn Ki Jugalbandi is a pretty rich dish because of the cream but goes well with chappati as mentioned above because it complements with the lightness of chappati. Do try this delicious dish in your kitchen and let me know to what main entree dish does it pair well with.
Today, I have given you a recipe that I learned from my MIL. It is the Cauliflower Gravy. This is my third recipe with cauliflower as the main ingredient (the other two are Cauliflower Crust Bread and Cauliflower Fry). I have heard about this dish often from my HB. He always says that it tastes like chicken gravy but I did not get a chance to taste it until recently. And I totally agree with my HB’s assumption. It does taste like Chicken gravy!
Cauliflower Gravy is a very easy dish to make and one of the main ingredients in preparing this dish, other than cauliflower, is raw rice water (further explanation about it can be found here) and roasted gram dal powder. Cauliflower Gravy can be had with almost all main entree dishes. It can be had with just rice, as a side dish for chappati or eat as is :). No wonder it is one of the most favorite dishes of my HB.
Try this wonderful and very tasty dish in your kitchen and do let me know your thoughts. 🙂
Vegetable Biriyani is the vegetarian counterpart of the more popular Biriyani, which generally refers to the variety with meat. Back home, during family functions like marriages, baby showers etc we don’t normally serve meat in the menu. But to mark the grandeur of the function we serve vegetable Biriyani as one the dishes.
Vegetable Biriyani is popular in my home state, Tamilnadu. Honestly, I have not seen it in any other part of India. I would say it is a healthy dish since you add vegetables (English vegetables like carrot, beans, potatoes, peas etc) in abundance. You can also add fried bread pieces and that tastes good too.
The recipe for Vegetable Biriyani that I have given below does not have coconut milk as one of the ingredients and it tastes just as good as the one with coconut milk added. I have slightly modified Mom’s recipe and have presented it here. Try this tasty and rich Vegetable Biriyani in your home and let me know your experience:)
Freshly ground ginger garlic paste - 1 ¼ tbsp (I used organic garlic from trader’s joe)
Big ripe tomatoes - 1 ¼ nos
Cauliflower, medium sized potato (cut and soaked in turmeric water) - ½ + ½
Green chilli, long, slits - 9 nos
Chopped mint and coriander leaves - ½ cup
Salt - 1 ¾ spoon
Sakthi biriyani powder - ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 ¼ tsp
Homemade sambar powder - ½ spoon
Aachi red chilli powder - ¾ tsp
Garam masala powder - a generous pinch
Water, used to soak rice - 3 cups
Basmati rice - 2 cups
Chopped mint and cilantro - 1 tbsp
Sakthi biriyani powder - a pinch
Ghee - a tsp
Wash and soak basmati rice in water for 45 minutes. Drain and save the water.
Chop the vegetables and soak it in turmeric water.
Cut and chop onions, tomatoes, mint and cilantro.
Heat a pressure cooker with ghee and oil. Add biriyani powder and bay leaf.
Increase the flame to medium and add onions. Sauté until they turn translucent. add ginger garlic paste and sauté until raw smell disappears. Add tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes. When they turn mushy add in the vegetables. Stir for a minute and add in green chillies, chopped mint and cilantro. Stir well for a couple of minutes and add all the masala powders. Mix well and add water. check for salt and bring it to boil. Add the soaked rice and allow them to boil. When the water is ¾ th observed and when you see the rice on top, garnish with mint, cilantro, sakthi biriyani powder and ghee especially on the sides. Cover the lid and dum cook in low flame for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes open the lid and check if the rice and vegetables are well cooked and all the water is observed.
Serve hot with any raitha of your choice. Enjoy!!!
1.Always use freshly ground ginger garlic paste to reach a good taste. 2.You can substitute olive oil with vegetable oil. 3.I tried using organic garlic for this recipe. You could use the regular one.